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   Islam
A Short History
by Karen Armstrong
Retail Price: $9.99
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Category: Islam
Code: 271 |  ISBN: 081296618X |  272 pp. |  Publication Date: 2002
Publisher: Random House
Format: Trade Paperback
About this book
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. One fifth of the globe's population is Muslim. In the pre-modern era, the Islamic empires were the greatest and most strategically placed power on earth, until they were superseded by the European nations in the nineteenth century. Yet a curious ignorance about this important faith prevails in the West. Ever since the Crusades, Europeans have cultivated a distorted vision of Islam as an inherently violent and intolerant faith, ruthlessly oppressive to women, and the enemy of decent civilization. This prejudiced view of Islam has become one of the received ideas of the Western world. But the history of Islam reveals a very different reality. It is vital to see the Muslim faith and culture in a more accurate perspective, since a dangerous gulf now yawns between Islam and the West which does not bode well for the peace of the next millennium. This history of Islam will trace its historical development from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day, and will not only give the reader basic information about the faith but will also explain some of the difficulties that Muslims have with Western modernity and the reasons for its continuing appeal in our increasingly secular world. The aim of the book is to show that what is called "Islam" is a much more rich and complex phenomenon than its modern "fundamentalist" strain suggests, that there are many other directions in which Islam could go in the next millennium, and that, like any human enterprise, Islamic history has had its splendors, its glorious achievements, and its moments of genius, as well as its flaws.

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