What You Need to Know about Islam & Muslims

What You Need to Know about Islam & Muslims
by George Braswell Jr., Broadman and Holman Publishers,
ISBN 0-8054-1829-6, 2000, $9.99, 183 pages

Dealing with Muslims is a frustrating and bewildering process. We get a great many e-mails from Muslims throughout the world, and what is interesting about them is that they are as varied and contradictory as any human enterprise can be. Not only do they not agree on what Islam teaches, but they also are divided on who is a true Muslim and who is not. The situation is about as confused as the denominational world of Christianity is in the United States.

George Braswell is a Professor of Missions and World Religion who lived in Iran for seven years after graduating from Yale and the University of North Carolina. He has written several books in this subject area and is recognized as an authority on Islam. The strength of this book is that it is a comprehensive, accurate, and complete source written in a way that American readers can understand.

Braswell begins by a very short listing about the extent and numbers of Muslims in the world. He then gives a condensed history of Mohammed and explains the role of Medina and what happened when Mohammed died. This is very brief, but provides the essentials of Mohammed's life. The next section lists the beliefs of Islam and gives a very useful glossary of Islamic terms, followed by the Muslim view of how to get to heaven. In 44 pages, the basics of the Muslim faith are explained and a discussion is then given of the expansion of Islam after Mohammed's death.

The next section of the book deals with issues that people are going to run into in dealing with Muslims. The unity and diversity of Muslims with all the various groups and sects are explained. How Muslims live is then discussed with hospitality, marriage, heaven, women, clothing, weddings, funerals, etc. all being explained. Issues such as abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, church/state, and human rights are then explored. The final section of the book deals with Christianity and Islam. It explores what Muslims believe about Christ and Christianity, what to expect when teaching a Muslim, and gives a survey of the Muslim faith in the United States including activists groups that are functional today.

If you want a complete and condensed book about Islam that can be read in one night, this is the best you will find.

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