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If you could sum up Great World Religions: Islam in three words, what would they be?
Accurate, fair, best
Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses and John L. Esposito ? Why or why not?
Yes because its the best out there.
Any additional comments?
I found the first 2 videos to be fair and truthful. John Esposito does an excellent job of explaining the religion, the diversity of the religion and the 5 pillars. He brings in the concept of Jihad masterfully at the end of the second video.
The only complaints which were really small mistakes were around the 38 second mark in the first video in which he stated that some Muslim nations ban women from driving along with other issues. The reality is only Saudi Arabia bans women from driving which Professor Esposito is cited stating on politifact. At the 11:31 mark he states that Zakat is paid in Ramadan. Zakat is actually paid 1 year from when one meets the nisab (minimum requirement of savings to be required to pay zakat). Around 22:40 mar of the first lecture Esposito states that Islam had mainly male scholars and was patriarchal. Fine but Women Muslim Scholars vastly outnumbered Christian/Jewish women scholars which were much more patriarchal. Its very important to contextualize. We cannot compare modern day Islam to modern day Christianity/Judaism. Many modern Muslim nations are less than 60 years old and Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. However the first 1200 years of Islam, Islam was well ahead in women rights only to be surpassed in 1970 with voting, credit card and inheritance rights. In some ways Islam still stands on the moral high ground with a marriage gift, requirements of men to provide for women, requirement of men to attend religious services but not women and more. Always contextualize!!
I gave this 4 stars because it is in my opinion one of the best videos on Islam out there today that I know of. Common Ground Institute & Services is planning to release similar videos by Muslim scholars for the public. I would recommend the following scholars on You Tube for further knowledge on Islam:
-Abdul Hakim Murad
Muslim Chaplain for Wesleyan University
Hartford Seminary Masters in Muslim-Christian Relations
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This course is actually a series of essays read aloud by the professor, with no attempt to make them into lectures. As a result, the monotonous pacing and complex sentence structure make it almost impossible to listen attentively. This is the first Great Course I've e we found to be so poorly done.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This is the first "Great Courses" audiobook I've listened to and I have to say that I'm very impressed. I know quite a lot about Islam and religion in general and I was dubious about how much I would really learn from such a short course. However, I have been very pleasantly surprised! Prof. Esposito packs an enormous amount into each 30min lecture but does so with such enthusiasm and precision that you never feel that you're drowning.
The great strength of this course is its holistic approach. I knew a lot of the content before but I had never heard it presented with such an emphasis on context and the historical development of Islam. In Prof. Esposito's hands, familiar facts and concepts develop new significance as he shows how the pieces fit together to create the whole; I can think of no higher praise for a teacher.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I found this audiobook of tremendous value.The author has good grasp of the subject matter and presents it in a very interesting manner.It should be useful to anyone who wants to understand Islam both in a historical and contemporary context.Many myths about Islam are laid to rest and the fact that the three Abrahamic faiths have much in common is emphasised. Recommended listening!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful