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Books on Islam

Books on Iran & Iranian Culture: Islam

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The Quran: Buy this book from Amazon.

The Qur'an: Text, Translation & Commentary

by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (Editor)

ISBN: 0940368323
1862pp

Containing the full Arabic text of the Qur'an, an accompanying English translation, and extensive commentary, this is a compilation of the Muslim faith's Final Revelation from God to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad. This elegantly-packaged edition includes a ribbon marker and is fully indexed.

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Muhammed - A Prophet for Our Time: Buy this book from Amazon.

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time

by Karen Armstrong

ISBN: 0060598972
256pp

Muhammad was born in 570 CE, and over the following sixty years built a thriving spiritual community, laying the foundations of a religion that changed the course of world history. There is more historical data on his life than on that of the founder of any other major faith, and yet his story is little known.
Karen Armstrong's immaculately researched new biography of Muhammad will enable readers to understand the true origins and spirituality of the Muslim faith. An acclaimed authority on religious and spiritual issues, Armstrong offers a balanced, in-depth portrait, revealing the man at the heart of Islam by dismantling centuries of misconceptions. Armstrong demonstrates that Muhammad's life - a pivotal point in history - has genuine relevance to the world we see today.

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The Spirit of Allah: Buy this book from Amazon.

The Spirit of Allah
Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution

by Amir Taheri

(Adler & Adler)

ISBN: 091756104X
349pp

Part biography and part political history, Amir Taheri's "The Spirit of Allah" (a direct translation of Khomeini's given name, "Ruhollah") is at once a detailed examination of the revolution in Iran and a three-dimensional portrait of the man whose almost gravitational centrality to it made him one of the most important and controversial figures of the late twentieth century. Beginning with his ancestry and birth and continuing to within months of his death in 1989, the book documents Khomeini's early struggles to establish himself as a religious teacher and his life in exile and growing influence over Iranian politics from abroad, culminating with his return to Iran and the first troubled years of the Islamic Republic.
Insights into the early life and private world of the self-proclaimed Imam paint a three dimensional picture of a religious leader who himself saw little more than black and white. Apart from a sensitivity to poetry, two of his own works being reprinted as an appendix, the bleakness of the Ayatollahs personal life and the volcanic anger he directed against a world he saw as corrupted fed his single-minded ambition to oust the Shah. His intolerance of politicians and ignorance of economics were to be great strengths in justifying his uncompromising pursuit of this goal.
For Khomeini, establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth was to be the aim and the responsibility of the sanctified institution of the Mullahs, in particular, those who, like him, could claim a direct line of descent from the Prophet Mohammed himself. Obedience to the law of Islam, as interpreted by his pessimistic pietism, was to be imposed from above since it was essential that the spark of the Devil, which he believed to reside in all men, be tamed.
We find in Khomeini one who was not power hungry but yet refused to allow the momentum of the multifaceted revolutionary movement to be directed by any ideology other than the radical morality that he advocated. This grim, single-minded determination was to justify acts ranging from the telling of knowing half-truths to divert his enemies to the execution of young girls.
As the emphasis of the work moves from personal history to the momentous events of the mid-1970s, Taheri documents the social, political and economic factors that were undermining the Shahs hold on power while never losing sight of the pivotal importance of Khomeini himself. Taheri, a newspaper editor and journalist has brought together innumerable sources including speeches and documents written by Khomeini himself and numerous newspaper articles, eyewitness accounts and personal interviews to add minute detail and depth to a story which, twenty-five years on, is rapidly being distorted by discontent within Iran and ideology outside it.

Will Yong

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Islamic Art and Architecture: Buy this book from Amazon.

Islamic Art and Architecture: From Isfahan to the Taj Mahal

by Henri Stierlin

(Thames & Hudson)

ISBN: 0500511004
292pp

Islamic Art and Architecture explores and celebrates the cities of Islam, from Tabriz and Yazd to Kerman to Khiva, from Lahore to Fatehpur Sikri and Sikandra. Henri Stierlin offers a key to an intimate understanding of this immense heritage in a thorough text closely allied to crisp, full-colour illustrations.

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The Art of the Islamic Tile: Buy this book from Amazon.

The Art of the Islamic Tile

by Yves Porter Gerard Degeorge

(Flammarion)

ISBN: 208010876X
288pp

This book presents a comprehensive overview of Islamic architectural decoration in all its diversity from a vast geographical area: not only the Middle East, but also Spain, northern Africa, Turkey, Iran, and the Indian subcontinent. Sumptuous color illustrations, accompanied by text that places each monument in its historical, artistic, and technological context, reveal the long-hidden secrets of the techniques of tile making that made this art form possible, and draw readers into a dazzling, magical world of fabulously decorated buildings.

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Books on Iran