Given the enormous amounts of ignorance or misinformation that surrounds the subject of Islam in contemporary rhetoric and communal debate, this book, already a few years old in its fourth edition, was a timely read for me. The author, a world-renowned scholar in the field, provides an accessible and balanced introduction to Islam.
This book is no apology for the religion of Islam, nor is it an attack on that religion. It is, thankfully, a text that is well-researched, broad in scope, and not afraid to point out the negatives in the history of religion or enumerate the areas that Islam (the use of which term is problematic because it is too amorphous) needs to consider and address going forward if it wishes to continue to be a positive presence in the contemporary world.
I found this text illuminating, chilling, confronting in parts, but overall very beneficial to my understanding of the straight path of Islam, an understanding that I believe is necessary in the light of continuing negative fear-mongering that passes for media coverage of any issue that touches on Islam.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who truly wishes to understand a little better the reality of Islam in our contemporary world.
From the back cover:
Now in a new edition, this exceptionally successful survey text introduces the faith, belief, and practice of Islam from its earliest origins up to its contemporary resurgence. John L. Esposito, an internationally renowned expert on Islam, traces the development of this dynamic faith and its impact on world history and politics. Lucidly written and expansive in scope, Islam: The Straight Path, Fourth Edition, provides keen insight into one of the world’s least understood religions. It is ideally suited for use in courses on Islam, comparative religions, and Middle Eastern history and culture.