Readings on Islam

  • Understanding Islam, by Thomas W. Lippman, is a thorough history of Islam and its adherents from a geopolitical perspective. (DuttonPlume)
  • The Everyman’s Library Edition of The Koran contains the teachings of the prophet Muhammad—the central text of Islam—in a readable English version as translated by J. M. Rodwell. (Tuttle Publishing)
  • The wide range of contemporary Islam as practiced in various Eastern and Western societies is surveyed in Islam Today, by Akbar S. Ahmed. (I.B. Taurus & Company Ltd.)
  • Islam: A Very Short Introduction, by Malise Ruthven, is a brief but comprehensive introduction to the theology of Islam and its major movements. (Oxford University Press)
  • Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, by Karen Armstrong, is about the life of the founder and prophet of Islam by one of the most accessible authors ever to treat the subject of religion. (HarperCollins)
  • Islam: A Short History, by Karen Armstrong. Armstrong’s digestible overview of the sweeping history of Islam serves as an adequate, if abbreviated, post-script to her biography of the prophet. (Modern Library)

Daniel Tepfer is a bookseller at Politics & Prose, an independent Washington, D.C. bookstore. An annotated bibliography related to current events can be found at

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