Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2005)
This compact introduction to Islam describes the essential aspects of Islam as a living religion and social force. The book is organized around seven topics: the life of Muhammad; Islamic political development and territorial expansion; the important groupings of Islamic believers (Sunni, Shi‘ite, and Sufi); the Qur’an (the Holy Book of Islam); Sunnah, Hadith (the record of the Prophet’s actions and sayings), and Shari‘ah (the compilation of Islamic law); the five Articles of Faith and the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that govern faith and action; and other binding religious observances and festivals. The presentation of these seven aspects of Islam strikes a balance between fact, tradition, current interpretation, and commentary.
S. A. Nigosian underscores two fundamental points: that to understand Islam properly, it is necessary to see it as a major faith tradition, with Muhammad as the last of a series of messengers sent by God; and that to grasp the spirit of Islam, one must recognize its emphasis on an uncompromising monotheism, with strict adherence to certain social, political, and religious practices, as taught by the Prophet and elaborated by tradition.