What is Islam?

What is Islam?

Here is a brief collection of print and electronic resources that may provide an introduction to Islam, the Qur’an, Muhammad, and Muslims. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and ISSB does not personally endorse any particular authors, scholars, or opinions contained therein, but we would like to suggest these materials as a place to start learning. And of course, feel free to discuss these ideas with us and others you know. Learning and dialogue are the first steps to understanding!

From the ISSB

What is Islam?

  • The Qur’an: A User’s Guide, by Farid Esack
  • On Being Muslim, by Farid Esack
  • The Vision of Islam, by William Chittick and Sachiko Murata
  • Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters, by Omid Safi
  • Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, by Martin Lings
  • Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World, by Carl Ernst

The Qur’an

Owing to the profound richness of the style of the original Qur’anic Arabic language, it is most appropriate to call Qur’ans composed in other languages “interpretations” rather than “translations”. There are many, many editions available, but the following two represent very accessible interpretations.

The Qur’an, by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

Written in modern American English, this text provides a general introduction, an introduction to each chapter, minimal notes and no Arabic text. The verses are presented in punctuated paragraphs for ease of reading.

The Message of the Qur’an, by Muhammad Asad

Although styled in antiquated English, the general introduction, introduction to each chapter, extensive notes, and facing Arabic text and transliteration make this edition a well-researched and informative read.


Islam and Islamic Studies Resources, compiled by Dr. Alan Godlas, a professor at the University of Georgia: http://www.uga.edu/islam/

Resources for Islamic Studies, compiled by Dr. Carl Ernst, UNC Chapel Hill: http://www.unc.edu/~cernst/resources.htm