Thursday, January 3, 2008

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence

[Bruce B Lawrence] Islam is often portrayed, especially in Western media, as an alien, violent, hostile, and monolithic religion, whose adherents are intent upon battling nonbelievers throughout the world. Shattering the Myth demonstrates that these conceptions more accurately reflect the bias of Western reporters than they do the realities of contemporary Islam. Westerners are barraged by images of violence that usually originate from armed confrontations in one small corner of the world. Islam, Bruce Lawrence argues, is a complex, international religious system that cannot be reduced to stereotypes. As Lawrence demonstrates, Islam is a religion shaped as much by its own postulates and ethical demands as by the specific circumstances of Muslim people in the modern world.
The last two hundred years have brought many challenges for Muslims, from colonial subjugation through sporadic revivalism to elitist reform movements and, most recently, pervasive struggles with fundamentalism. During each period, Muslims have had to address internal tensions, as well as external threats. Today Muslims in the post-colonial era, only some of whom are Arab and living in the Middle East, are playing ever greater roles in economic changes, both regional and international. As the impact of these changes has become evident in societies around the globe, new leaders have come into public view. The most remarkable emerging presence is that of Muslim women. Lawrence argues that it is the experience of Muslim women in particular that calls for a more nuanced understanding of Islam today.
It is time, Lawrence believes, to replace inaccurate images of Islam with a recognition of the multifaceted character of this global religion and of its widely diverse adherents. Here he describes changes that are taking place throughout the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, enacted by governments and nongovernmental organizations alike. In a time of rapid international change, Lawrence suggests that it is time for our images of Islam to reflect more clearly the realities of Islam as it is lived. Shattering the Myth provides significant insights into the history of Islam and a greater understanding of the varied experiences of Muslims today.
"An informed interpretation of the contemporary Muslim experience . . . Lawrence's explanations for the particular states of affairs in Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia, among other cases, are compelling . . . [A] distinguished contribution."--From the foreword by James Piscatori and Dale F. Eickelman
"Bruce Lawrence's excellent analysis of Islam today brings together socioeconomic, historical, political, and religious elements, and sets these against the backdrop of global capitalism and high technology . . . . Shattering the Myth is an extremely well argued, well developed and well documented book that serves as a basis for further studies of Islam and the images held about it."--Middle East Journal
"In this thought provoking and informative work, the author ... seeks to dispel the misconceptions and fears about Islam which are too often held by those with an incomplete understanding of what Islam is and what its followers believe and seek.... Anyone wishing to develop an accurate understanding of the subject should read this book."--Virginia Quarterly Review
"In Shattering the Myth, Bruce Lawrence takes us beyond the headlines and CNN broadcasts and shows us an Islam that is not quite as neat and tidy as popularly presented."--Ethnic Conflict
"The book makes the commonsense yet often overlooked argument that Islam must be understood, in its variety, as a complex and developing religious system not separated from the everyday and global concerns of Muslims.... Insightful analysis."--Religious Studies Review
"Shattering the Myth is an important book. . . . It is a brilliant example of applied religious studies."--History of Religions
"A timely contribution to an ongoing debate on the relationship between Islam and violence, a debate that has shed more heat than light. It cannot afford to be ignored by anyone interested in the relations between Muslims and people of other faiths."--Islamic Studies

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage

[Hamza Yusuf]
In The Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage, Hamza Yusuf discusses the critical elements of a successful marriage based on the Prophetic teaching. He begins each session with an examination of a passage from the Quran, followed by the session's main topic. The various topics he covers include choosing a spouse, the legal rulings of the marital contract, life inside the home, childrearing, and the legal rulings of divorce.
People who attended the course said that it gave them a greater appreciation of their spouse, improved the quality of their marriage,and many remarked that it was a life transforming experience. This set is invaluable for couples desiring a marriage that reflects affection, compassion, and spiritual harmony.
About the Author:
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf embraced Islam in 1977. He spent several years studying in the Middle East and Africa under numerous scholars. Currently, he is the director of the Zaytuna Institute, in California, which is dedicated to the Revival of Islamic Sciences and the preservation of traditional teaching methods.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson was born in Walla Walla, Washington and raised in Northern California.
He became Muslim in 1977 in Santa Barbara, California and subsequently moved to the Middle East and studied Arabic and Islam for four years in the United Arab Emirates and later in Madina, Algeria, Morocco, and West Africa for many years. He received teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects from several well-known scholars in various countries. After a ten-year sojourn of studies abroad, he returned to the USA and took degrees in nursing from Imperial Valley College and religious studies at San Jose State University.
He has traveled all over the world giving talks on Islam. He is the co-founder of Zaytuna Institute, which is dedicated to the revival of traditional study methods and the sciences of Islam. Shaykh Hamza has translated several classical texts from Arabic and presently teaches at Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, California. He lives in California with his wife and children.

Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century

[Shehata, Ali (Author), El Khiy]
Islam has recently become one of the hottest, yet most misunderstood, news items throughout the Western world. Numerous books have been written analyzing and commenting on this religion of 1.5 billion adherents, yet few books have tackled presenting this religion's principles and beliefs to the general public.
This book is one of those few, and in fact a formidable one at that. Brimming with references and up-to-date statistics, Demystifying Islam allows the reader to quickly and intelligently become familiar with the precepts upon which Islam stands and to decide for themselves whether what is presented nightly is representative or biased. A must read for anyone who wants to better understand the growing role of Islam and Muslims not only in the global politics of this world, but also in the fabric of so many western societies.
Brimming with references and up-to-date statistics, this edition allows the reader to quickly and intelligently become familiar with the precepts upon which Islam stands, and to decide whether what is presented by the media is representative or biased. (World Religions)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel

"The first novel by the most fabulous writer of all time, Mohja Kahf!"
Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.”
When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba’s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she’s back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother’s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere. Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.
• ISBN: 0-7867-1519-7
• Format: Paperback, 448pp, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
• Style: Fiction/Literature
• Distributed by: Publishers Group West August 2006