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Muhammed was the founder of Islam, and it is important to remember that he was a direct descendant of Abraham. In his day, many people were worshipping idols and he preached that people go back to the monotheistic Abrahamic traditions. Today Islam, Christianity, and Judaism seem so separte, but if we investigate objectively we find that they are very connected and they share the same ideals and teachings.
Islam: A Short History
Karen Armstrong
The picture of Islam as a violent, backward, and insular tradition should be laid to rest, says bestselling author Karen Armstrong. Delving deep into Islamic history, Armstrong sketches the arc of a story that begins with the stirring of revelation in an Arab businessman named Muhammad. His concern with the poor who were being left behind in the blush of his society's new prosperity sets the tone for the tale of a culture that values community as a manifestation of God.

The Koran : A Very Short Introduction
by Michael Cook
The Koran has constituted a remarkably resilient core of identity and continuity for a religious tradition that is now in its fifteenth century. In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Cook provides a lucid and direct account of the significance of the Koran both in the modern world and in that of traditional Islam. He gives vivid accounts of its role in Muslim civilization, illustrates the diversity of interpretations championed by traditional and modern commentators, discusses the processes by which the book took shape, and compares it to other scriptures and classics of the historic cultures of Eurasia.

The Koran (Penguin Classics)
by N. J. Dawood (Translator)
A revised, updated translation of the Koran. The clear, fluent, authoritative English rendering of this holiest of Muslim texts preserves the characteristic flavor and rhythm of the original, following the sequence of the Koranic suras.

Understanding Islam : An Introduction to the Muslim World
by Thomas W. Lippman
Lippman's study of the Muslim world--from its earliest roots to today's global power politics--includes crucial new material on the Islamic community today. There are also updated descriptions of internal politics in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and other Islamic nations. Essential reading for both students and all who seek greater understanding of the world in which we live.

Essential Sufism
by James Fadiman (Editor), Robert Frager (Editor)
Sufis can be described as the mystics of Islam. They are celebrated in the West for their joy, humor, and devoted worship. Two students of Sufism, James Fadiman and Robert Frager, have collected some of the jewels of Sufic literature, polished them up a bit, and organized them for ready contemplation. Rumi's poems, Attar's stories, Mohammed's terse sayings, and even some moving pieces from contemporary Western devotees make Essential Sufism a treasury of Sufic literature. The extensive introduction provides practical context, and preambles to each section set the tone for what's to come. If you haven't encountered the wisdom of Sufi mysticism, the material in this book is a good place to start; if you have, it's a comfortable place for return.

More coming soon!

= Gary Beckwith's comments

= This book was suggested by a Friend of the Harmony Institute.

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