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What Do Muslims Believe?


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'What Do We Believe?', a new series from Granta Books, introduces different beliefs from across the world in lively, accessible and intelligent short books.

About the Author

Ziauddin Sardar, writer, broadcaster and cultural critic, is regarded as one of the world's foremost Muslim intellectuals. Author of over forty books, most recently Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim, he has been described by The Independent as 'Britain's own Muslim polymath'.


Pakistani-born and British-educated Sardar, author of 40 other books on Islam, pens this elucidating and very original introduction to the religion. He describes the basics of Islam, including the Qur'an and hadith, the life of Muhammad and the history of Islam and Muslims, in an easy-to-read and cogent manner. Sprinkled throughout are surprising facts, including that Muslims do not believe in original sin and that there are as many Muslims in China as in Egypt. Sardar clarifies some troubling aspects of the Prophet Muhammad's life, explaining polygamy as mainly alliance building and Muhammad's participation in battle as more limited than generally described. He criticizes Muslims for their rigidity and for losing touch with reason-which, in his opinion, is a cornerstone of Islam. He decries the literalism behind the creation of sharia law, the rejection of free interpretation of the Qur'an (called ijtihad) and unfair treatment of women, but sees these behaviors as anomalies. In contrast, Sardar acknowledges Muslims' tolerance, such as their acceptance of other prophets, their flourishing book trade and societal advancements. With its manageable length and optimistic outlook, this introduction to Islam is a cut above the rest. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"'Ziauddin Sardar is arguably one of the best-known Muslim public intellectuals in the world today. He is an iconoclast, often a gadfly and undoubtedly one of the few Muslim intellectuals who span the proverbial Two Cultures' Muslim News"

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