Introduction to islam-read before you judge

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    Introduction to islam

    Introduction to Islam This book was first published in the sixties, since when it has been reprinted several times. In every edition, there has been an initial chapter outlining the background to the book, where in Shaikh Tantawi explained the reasons for his writing the book, and the circumstances under which it was first published. In this, the tenth edition, we give a more detailed summary than in earlier editions. Shaikh Tantawi grew up in Syria at the beginning of this century. He always expresses great admiration and gratitude to his father. Shaikh Mustafa Tantawi, who was a leading Faqih (jurist) in his country. According to Shaikh Tantawi, people in those days were either Shaikhs (scholars of Islam) or Effendis (Arabs who had “received a secular education). The Shaikhs were uninformed about the modem sciences of the Effendis, whereas the Effendis were ignorant of religion. Fortunately for Shaikh Tantawi, he was among the few to receive both types of

    Some years ago Shaikh Tantawi wrote a book entitled : (Religious Reform), wherein he discussed the need for religion | and referred to the mooted question of whether man can live without religion. According to Shaikh Tantawi, such questions can only be answered by counter-questions, such as whether it is possible for man to lead a material life, casting off all his inner emotions of love, and admiration of nature and her beauty. In this context the author also discussed the values of western philosophers and thinkers such as Kant, Newton, Pascal and Goethe. To disprove the statement made by some of them that the universe was created by accident, the author gave the following example. If we were to place five balls, four white and one red in a bag, the probability of taking out the red ball the first time would be one in five. Similarly, if there were nine white balls, the ratio would be one in ten. But if one were to place an unlimited number of balls in the bag, the probability of picking out the red ball would be one to an unlimited number. Therefore we cannot say that the red ball could be picked at the first or even the hundredth attempt. So how could the planets that orbit on a set course without colliding with one another have come into existence by accident? Therefore, there must be a Divine Power behind them. In 1936 Shaikh Tantawi went to work as a secondary school teacher in Iraq, and he was assigned to the teaching of Arabic literature and religion. It was during this time that he felt the need for a simple and comprehensive book on Islam. He decided to campaign for this idea, and wrote many articles urging the Ulema to compile such a book. But no one responded. Many years passed. Meanwhile, other scholars who, like the Author, were also well read in religious and secular studies had decided to write books on Islam. While many of these were excellent, a simple and comprehensive book on Islam had still not been published. In 1966 the author wrote an article called “A General Introduction to Islam”. It was published in the journal of the Muslim World League at Mecca, and caught the attention of a minister in the Saudi Arabian government, Mr. Muhammad Umar Tawfiq. He immediately advised the Muslim World League to commission the services of Shaikh Tantawi to write this book.


    Simon Paynton

    Looks interesting, @isiz.  I’ve read “Muhammed” by Karen Armstrong, and some stuff on Sufism.

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