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Thomas W. Lippman's Understanding Islam Essay

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Thomas W. Lippman's Understanding Islam

Thomas W. Lippman gives an introduction to the Muslim world in the book Understanding Islam. He has traveled throughout the Islamic world as Washington Post bureau chief for the Middle East, and as a correspondent in Indochina. This gave him, in his own words, "sharp insight into the complexities of that turbulent region." However, the purpose of the book is not to produce a critical or controversial interpretation of Islamic scripture. It is instead to give the American layman an broad understanding of a religion that is highly misunderstood by many Americans. In this way he dispels many myths about "Muslim militants," and the otherwise untrue perception of Islamic violence. In this way the
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They feel that this makes English speakers distance themselves from Islam, even though it is similar to other western religions.

Islam "is an Arabic word that means submission, submission to the will God" (1). Muslims must abide by certain prayer rules to fulfill their religious duty. The Qur’an says prayer is a duty to be incumbent on the faithful, to be conducted at the appointed hours. "This ritual prayer gives oral expression to the believe’s submission to God" (17).

Another way Muslims show their submission to Faith, is in obliging their duty to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. This is "the unifying force in Islam, (bringing) together the rich and poor, herdsman and tycoon, scholar and illiterate, man and woman, Arab, Persian, and Turk, African and Asian" (22). Demonstrating their obedience to religious doctrine shows their compliance to the holy spirit of God.

Muhammad is the most important figure in Islam. Muhammad was a great man whose public life lasted only twenty years. He lived a life near perfection, and Muslims attempt to live according to his example, but do not emulate him as Christians do Christ. He preached the value of religious unity, and established principals to which Muslims still adhere, and are still central to Islam today. Muhammad preached that "Islam was the source of temporal as well as
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