Suggested Introductory Book on Islam from a Catholic Perspective

      A book giving a good introduction to the Muslim religion from a catholic perspective entitled “Mohammedanism” by Louis Gardet is the 143rd volume of the 20th Century Encyclopedia Of Catholicism. In my humble opinion (IMHO), It gave a good introduction to Islam or Muslimism. It answered the question I was interested in which was the difference between Shite and Sunni Muslims. The teaser in the Jacket reads:

    “Increasingly, Islam is making itself felt throughout the world. From Indonesia a great arc stretches almost continuously to Senegal . . . This vast expanse includes people of many races and tongues, with a greatly varied role in the history of the world.”  

   So says Louis Gardet, author of this book and an authority on this subject.  He adds that there are three important lessons to be learned through the study of this religion: first, the picture of Islam is that of a universalism offering itself to men of all races; second, it is the Arabs and the Arabized peoples who have played the foremost part in the Islamic world, so much so that people in the West often make the error of identifying the Muslim with the Arab, as such; and third, groups of such numbers and cultural wealth as those in Pakistan and India, Malaya and Indonesia, seem likely to play and important role in any future developments, especially now that these are independent countries.

   This work is an excellent, detailed study of Islam and an attempt to understand the Muslim world from the inside.  The author has provided the enlightened and the sympathetic approach which he feels is “necessary in any attempt to grasp a mentality so different from our own.”

I feel this is a good introduction to the Muslim religion its intricacies and how it was related to things happening in Islamic countries around 1960.

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