Resources for Teaching and Learning about Islam

Social Studies Review, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Resources for Teaching and Learning about Islam


Film and Video

The Holy Qur'an

Video 18 mm 1978 Frances Cockburn, J. Thompson/Inca Films.

The Qur'an, the direct Word of God revealed to Mohammad by the Angel Gabriel, is the holy book of Islam. This visually resplendent film traces the history of Qur'anic calligraphic styles - from the dignified Kufic through the cursive Naksh to the energetic Muhaqqaq of the Mamluks. Added is informative commentary on the symbolism of style, ornamentation and colors. A sophisticated film - but such a beautiful one.

Salat: How to Perform Prayer "5 Pillars of Islam" Series Video 59 mm 1991 Farouk Ubaysi-Islamic Inforomation Services

An early sequence in Salat illustrates the extraordinary global diversity of Islam. The meticulous demonstration of exactly how to perform the daily cycle of prayers, from ablution to the prayers themselves, is lengthy, but impressive in small doses. Relevant verses of the Qur'an are recited, displayed in Arabic, and both transliterated and translated for those who don't know Arabic. Other titles in the series (intended as instruction for American converts, but applicable to classroom study with careful preview and selection): Shahada, Zakat, Fasting, Hajj.

Print Materials

Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society) 1993. 174 pp.

The hadith, the sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, form a sacred literature, which for Muslims ranks second in importance only to the Qur'an itself. As a source for law, ethic, and doctrine, the immense corpus of hadiths continues to exercise a decisive influence. Islamic scholarship in the 8th and 9th centuries devoted immense efforts to gathering and classifying the hadith, and ensuring their authenticity, an undertaking which stands today as a highly original and impressive scholarly achievement. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: The Classical Texts and Their Interpretation. F.E.

Peters (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 1990. 450 pp. The basic texts of the three related religious systems are juxtaposed in a topical and parallel arrangement according to the issues that most concerned all these "children of Abraham."

A Manual of Hadith. Maulauna Muhammad Ali, (NewYork: Interlink Publishing) 1977. 408 pp.

Attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, this compendium of the Sahih Bukhari, concerns those subjects which regulate a Muslim's life - revelation, purification, prayer, pilgrimage, society, the state, etc. - providing rules for the governance of private and public life.

The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. Marmaduke Pickthall, more than one edition available.

This was the first translation of the Qur'an by an Englishman who is also a Muslim. Pickthall, a western convert to Islam, was a lifelong student of the Qur'an, and began this translation in 1919. No translation can convey the beauty, force, and dignity of the original, a thing unique in human history, the very sounds of which move people to tears and ecstasy. But this translation, a glowing and sincere presentation, will give some idea of these qualities.

Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Martin Lings (London: Allen & Unwin) 1983.

For the English retelling that is closest to the story as told by the classical texts, this is the one to read.

Muhammad's Mecca: History in the Qur'an. William Montgomery Watt (Edinburgh U. Press), 1989. 113 pp.

Demonstrates what can be learned from the Qur'an itself about seventh century Makkah and Muhammad's life there.

The Qur'an: the First American Version. Translated by T.B. Irving (Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books) 1988, 401 pp.

It is a commonplace fact that the Qur'an is untranslatable into any language, because its form and content are both divine. Its meaning, however, may be interpreted in other tongues. This presentation is the first in American English. …

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