Islam: Resources

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The following items are recommended as valuable resources about Islam and Muslims. 

Books

An Introduction to Islam, 2nd edition
By: Frederick M. Denny (Macmillan, 1985) This book provides a thorough scholarly study of Islam as a historical faith, fully contextualized in the history of the Near East.

Bin Laden, Islam, and America's New "War on Terrorism"
By: As'ad AbuKhalil (Open Media Series, Mar. 2002) Lebanese scholar As'ad AbuKhalil examines the roots of the September 11 crisis, the causes for antipathy toward the United States, and the historical relations between the US and the Islamic world. AbuKhalil also reviews the background of US entanglement with the Middle East, and how it catalyzed militant fundamentalist networks that came to perceive the United States as an enemy.

Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, A Man to Match his Mountains
By: Eknath Easwaran (Nilgiri Press, Aug. 1999) Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pathan of Afghanistan and a devout Muslim, raised the first nonviolent army in history to free his people from British imperial rule. He persuaded 100,000 of his countrymen to lay down the guns they had made themselves and vow to fight nonviolently. This book tells the dramatic life-story of this heroic and too-little-known Muslim leader.

Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism
Ed: Omid Safi (Oneworld Publications, 2003) This compilation of essays by and about "progressive" Muslims seeks to challenge the notions about Islam held by xenophobic Westerners and extremist Muslims. Topics covered include pluralism, sexuality, gender, and race. It offers insight into contemporary problems faced by Muslims, challenges conservative and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam, and promotes a vision of Islam which recovers the religion's ideals of social justice.

Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective, 2nd edition
By: Amina Wadud (Oxford University Press, 1999) Fourteen centuries of Islamic thought have produced a legacy of interpretive readings of the Qu'ran written almost entirely by men. Muslim progressives have long argued that it is not the religion but patriarchal interpretation and implementation of the Qu'ran that have kept women oppressed. In Qu'ran and Woman, Amina Wadud provides a first interpretive reading by a woman, a reading which validates the female voice in the Qu'ran and brings it out of the shadows.

Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam
By: Abdolkarim Soroush (Oxford University Press, 2000) In recent years Abdolkarim Soroush has emerged as one of the leading revisionist thinkers of the Muslim world. Translated into English for the first time, this book features a critical introduction by the editors and an original interview that reveals the intellectual biography of the author. It sets forth Soroush's views on such matters as the inevitablity of change in religion, the necessity of freedom of belief, and the compatibility of Islam with democracy.

Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence
By: Bruce Lawrence (Princeon University Press, 1998) Islamic scholar Bruce Lawrence shatters the myth of a monolithic and violent Muslim culture. Gazing down the corridors of the future, it's easy to see more of the same for Islamic nations: war, poverty, suppression. But Lawrence is optimistic, because he takes the long view, noting how Muslim nations have always been working for better futures, even though they have been shackled with a legacy of violence from Western colonialism and imperialism.

Videos

Islam: Empire of Faith
Directed By: Robert Gardner (PBS and Gardner Films, 2001) This two-and-a-half-hour documentary relays the history of the great sweep of Islamic power and faith during its first 1,000 years — from the birth of the prophet Muhammad to the peak of the Ottoman Empire under the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent. Historical re-enactments and a remarkable exposition of Islamic art, artifacts and architecture are combined with interviews with scholars to recount the rise of early Islamic civilization.

The Message: The Story of Islam
Directed By: Moustapha Akkad (Anchor Bay, 1976) This film, starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas, tells the story of the first days of Islam. It frames the religion within the context of the society in which it emerged, with an in-depth look at the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad, and relates it to the other Abrahamic traditions.

Audio Tapes

Media Treatment of Arabs and Islam
By: Erwin Knoll and Saul Landau Featured in this tape are discussions with David Barsamian, the founder and director of Alternative Radio, an independent, award-winning, weekly radio program produced in Boulder, Colorado. AR presents information and perspectives that are ignored or distorted in the corporate-controlled media. Also included are speakers Knoll, former editor at The Washington Post and The Progressive magazine, and Landau, an award-winning filmmaker and Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

Other Materials

Discover Islam Posters and Reader
Available on Discover Islam This collection includes 25 posters intended for public display that cover a range of topics about contemporary Islam, from the five pillars of the religion to the Muslim stance on war and human rights. Written by a group of Islamic scholars from various North American Muslim organizations, this display is especially appropriate for public education. Also available is a reader which highlights similar information.