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What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, Second Edition

Narrated by: Neil Shah
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
4 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there has been an overwhelming demand for information about Islam, and recent events - the war in Iraq, terrorist attacks both failed and successful, debates throughout Europe over Islamic dress, and many others - have raised new questions in the minds of policymakers and the general public. This newly updated edition of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam is the best single source for clearly presented, objective information about these new developments, and for answers to questions about the origin and traditions of Islam. Editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam and The Oxford History of Islam, and author of The Future of Islam and many other acclaimed works, John L. Esposito is one of America's leading authorities on Islam. This brief audiobook remains the first place to look for up-to-date information on the faith, customs, and political beliefs of the more than one billion people who call themselves Muslims.

©2011 Oxford University Press, Inc (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • Cheimon
  • New York, NY USA
  • 01-11-15

Fairly flat and superficial - expected more

The book is set up as a long series of Frequently Asked Questions - sadly, the answers don't extend beyond the typical FAQ format either. It is a very basic bird's eye view of some of the history, religious tenets and practices in Islam.

Given Professor Esposito's resume, I was hoping for a deeper and more coherent religious and sociological perspective. Instead, he remains at the very surface of belief and history.

In addition, he weaves in a steady undercurrent of perhaps necessary, but just very tired-sounding affirmations of the peacefulness of Islam and of the overwhelming majority of those who practice it. That's all well and good, and probably can't be said often enough (even within a single book), but that can't be ALL everyone needs to know about Islam? I, for one, would like to know more.


(Perhaps this is just not meant to be an audiobook... the questions do not build on each other very much, so a lot of information is repeated in various spots. Maybe a good book to have on the shelf for the odd Islam question that might come up, not a very satisfying listen though.)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Informative 101 Material

Would you consider the audio edition of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, Second Edition to be better than the print version?

I did not read the print edition.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

There is not a story to change. It is a non-fiction book in question and answer format.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The presentation was very matter-of-fact.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was not particularly moved, however I did learn about Islam.

Any additional comments?

This book describes the main tenents of Islam. The book does tend to make the argument that all of the extremist violence that the world has seen from Islam is the result of misinterpretation. I tend to agree with that premise. However, probably to understand the faith more completely, one should probably read the Quoran. No immediate plan to do that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

A great overview, but with constraining bias

The author seemed to capture the general mind of the modern muslim and the modern muslim beliefs, which is invaluable in understanding and outreach to the Islamic community. This is what I bought the book for, so for me personally, it was a home run. The book is written in Q&A form, answering the questions the scholar finds as the most frequent from the public. But one of example of the constraining bias was with the Q&A format. The questions sounded like the vague FAQ of progressive college freshmen, and not deeply convicted or mature people of any other faith or viewpoint.

The author, well suited for the freshmen audience, only asked himself softball questions with the implication that progressive ideals were ultimately the good that Islam needed to achieve, a view, that historical Islam would find laughable and insulting. The author was caught between his progressive ideals, and his islamic ideals, and ultimately mashed them together to reveal a clear bias in how He sees the muslim world. The author did not make a good defence for the sake of the conservative muslim, who was not well-represented in this work.

The author, when comparing and contrasting Islam with other religions, gave a good idea of what a modern muslim may think of Christianity, but did not represent modern Christianity accurately. So the author contrasted his modern, progressive view of Islam the often a conservative view of Christianity. When defending Islam, the author cited the quran, but failed to cite the Bible in any groundings of what He considered Christianity. Therefore, many of the comparisons lay flat, either in a comparison with the modern general view of both, or in a comparison of the Holy books.

I found myself agreeing with the authors views of reformed progressive Islam, which he clearly prefered, and I found myself understanding the thinking of a typical modern muslim. But for deep scholarly research about many aspects of conservative Islam, or the the idea of Islam being the one true religion and muslim apologetics, you could see this book as an overview, and then look elsewhere.

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Fantastic piece about a beautiful religion

Would you listen to What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, Second Edition again? Why?

Absolutely. It is rare to find an unbiased look at Islam, but John Esposito nailed it. Was incredibly impressed.

What other book might you compare What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, Second Edition to and why?

No God But God

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • 09-22-15

Good for insomnia

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Neil Shah's reading voice is drone-like, the text itself is not at all what I expected. I wanted to gain an understanding of Islam to be able to draw comparisons, to understand why the world is the way it is (e.g. extremist views on one side vs. extremist views on another side). None of this is gleaned. I tried to get on with this book several times, but finally gave up. Its just so dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. Zzzzz.