This book has been written for the sole purpose of informing the reader about the foundational beliefs of a religion that is followed by approximately 1.6 billion people. Great lengths have been taken to provide complete and factual information with every major topic and sub-topic referenced by a reliable source.
Unfortunately, in the modern day, a reasoned and unbiased examination of Islam is becoming difficult. Newscasts often show only violent images of Muslims while certain organizations and political parties have used Islam as a scapegoat for all the world’s ills. While Muslim extremists undoubtedly exist and undoubtedly commit acts of violence and oppression, these people only comprise a small minority of Islam’s followers, and like most extremists, are the least qualified to represent their religion’s principles and teachings.
Also working against Islam’s image is the common misperception that countries with Muslim majorities are backwards politically, economically and socially. While this is true in some cases, there are many countries like Turkey, Bangladesh, and Indonesia that represent some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Many people in the West do not consider these countries when discussing Islam because most people believe the Arab Middle East is the sole representative of the religion. However, all the Arab countries put together only comprise about 15% of the Muslim World.
The intent of this book is to correct misconceptions in order to explain the fundamentals of Islam in a simple and factual way. It will also attempt to address its most controversial topics. Again, the information contained within has been meticulously annotated in order to show that the Islamic principles presented are absolutely verifiable within its texts. This book is a basic overview and not meant to be exhaustive; however, reading this book in its entirety should give one an accurate overview of traditional Islam, with the complexities and vagaries of history that followed the death of Muhammad removed.
It is the author’s hope that by examining the fundamentals of the religion, light can be shed on those beliefs and practices that Muslims have believed, and perhaps, in some cases, should return to.
At its heart, Islam is a simple faith that allows its followers to embrace a level of devotion and commitment that suits the needs and inclinations of the individuals who follow its message. Despite the unfair reputation that the faith has earned in recent times, readers will hopefully come away from this text with a more complete understanding of a faith that has helped change the shape of the world.