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By Dr. Jerald F. Dirks. Written for the Western reader, Understanding Islam's primary focus is on Sunni Islam, i.e., the Islam practiced by approximately 85-90% of the self-professed Muslims in the world. The book is unique in several respects. It treats Islam from its own point of view. Written by a natural-born American and perhaps avoiding some of the cultural overlay that accompanies manuscripts on Islam by other Muslim authors, Dirks book offers a broader perspective than would have otherwise been possible. As a convert from Christianity to Islam, and as a former ordained Christian minister, he does a very good job of expounding the commonalties and contrasts of Islam with Judaism and Christianity, while avoiding the temptation to distort Islam by interpreting it from within a Judaeo-Christian perspective. The reader is introduced to Islam almost exclusively through the two primary sources of Islam, i.e., the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which are the only completely authoritative sources on Islam. Amana Publications (December 2003), English, Paperback: 394 pages.
Dr. Jerald F. Dirks holds B.A. and M. Divinity from Harvard University and doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver. He is a former ordained minister (deacon) in the United Methodist Church and is author of The Cross & The Crescent and Abraham: The Friend of God. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and interacted widely with the Muslim communities in the United States.