Basic Questions and Introductory Works on Islam

Ten Things Everyone Needs to Know about Islam by Professor John Esposito of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Islam: Fundamental Questions and Answers compiled by the Council on Islamic Education (link fixed, December 2004; March 17, 2006). The original document was a collaborative effort primarily by university professors of Islamic Studies. This set of basic questions and answers was designed specifically for K-12 use.

Understanding Islam and Muslims" is the title of a document that originally resided at the Islamic Affairs Dept. of the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington. The link consists of succinct answers to a number of elementary questions about Islam. (Link fixed, December, 2004).

Introduction to Islam, an online book by M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of Law at DePaul University in Chicago.

Islamic Terms

A Glossary of Islamic Terms, developed by the Islamic scholars at ISL software. 

Resource Bibliographies

Essential Resources for Islamic Studies (link fixed Nov. 12, 2001) This list of resources for Islamic Studies specialists is a modified version of the document originally compiled by Knut Vikor of the Centre for Middle East Studies at Bergen, Norway. (link fixed 18 August 2005)

Bibliography for Medieval Islam compiled by Rizwi S. Faizer, Ph.D. Organized into the categories of journals on Islam, introduction, Islamic history, thought, and institutions (the last three categories being further subdivided), this partially annotated bibliography includes many of the most important Islamic Studies resources for readers of English. (Link fixed 9 January, 2002.)

The Moral Economy of Islam: A Bibliography This extensive list of non-web-based resources, although largely unannotated, is still an important scholarly tool; compiled in 1998 by the Institute of International Studies; University of California, Berkeley.

Filmographies of Islam

  • The Ellen-Fairbanks D. Bodman Collection of Middle Eastern and Islamic World Films for specifically Islamic films, search either "Islam" in the title or in the description.

    Encyclopedias for Islam

    Other general resources useful to students of Islam are
  • Mircea Eliade, Ed. Encyclopedia of Religion.
  • John Esposito, Ed. Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. New York: Oxford, 1995, 4 volumes.
  • Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden: Brill), now on CD-ROM.
  • Ehsan Yarshater, Ed. Encyclopedia Iranica, Many articles from the letter 'A' to 'D' are now on-line (link fixed 18 August 2005) in PDF format, so readers will need to have Adobe Acrobat in order to read them. A small number of articles for the letter 'E' are also online, but these articles can only be properly read by downloading a special font. (Link fixed, November 7, 2001.)

    Major Muslim Organizations in the North America

    Muslims are free to practice Islam in the West, and hence there are a number of important Islamic organizations active in the West. Among them are the following:
  • ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) has large a website that is a particularly rich resource for current news articles dealing with the North American Muslim community and the crisis that has ensued following the World Trade Center disaster.
  • ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) is the largest Muslim organization in North America.
  • ISRA (Islamic Studies and Research Association) is a relatively new organization that differs sharply from the above two organizations primarily because it does not exclude the Sufi dimension from Islam.

    Comprehensive Links for Islam 

    Huma Ahmad's "Mamalist of Islam Links is one of the largest alphabetized and categorized list of websites dealing with Islam. There is also a search engine on the site. The big drawback to this site is that there are no annotations. Nevertheless, it is a rich resource. (Link fixed, February 14, 2002.)  

    Also useful for students of Islam are the following "metapages": 

  • IslamiCity in Cyberspace is a well designed page consisting of diverse sections including Qur'an, Sunnah, a Cultural Center that has excellent links for art and architecture, a page of Islamic educational institutions, and much more.

  • The Islam Category of the Open Directory Project is a huge but well-organized collection of briefly described links to all varieties of sites dealing with Islam.

  • Islam, a nice well-organized selection of essential links.

  • MSA-USC Islam Server, is one of the most essential reference tools for the study of Islam on the web. Most importantly, it contains complete searchable English language databases for both Qur'an and Hadith. All of the material on this site is in harmony with a Salafi understanding of Islam.  

  • As-Sunnah Foundation of America is a large Sunni site that includes Sufism as a dimension of Islam. Among its contents are original writings on Islamic topics, materials from classical Islamic texts, a chat room, and links to other Islamic sites.

  • Islam SuperDirectory is a large collection of topically organized Islamic links compiled by Ali, a Sunni (Ahl as-Sunnah w'al-Jama'ah) Muslim.

  • The Islam Page of Ibrahim Shafi, a Sunni Muslim site with many excellent Salafi/Wahhabi links and documents. (Back on-line, 6/7/98)

  • Islam Web Directory at About.com created and maintained by Christine Huda Dodge, an American Muslim woman who has converted (or reverted, as some Muslims prefer to say) to Islam. Her well-organized site indexes Islamic sites that are acceptable to the Salafi Islamic worldview dominant in the U.S. today. It excludes Shi'ism as well as Sufi dimensions of Islam.

  • BBC Islam Site has a variety of useful audio files from their broadcasts on Islamic topics such as Muslim beliefs, the Prophet Muhammad, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and contemporary topics such Muslim women (link fixed 17 March, 2006).

  • Metalist of Lists of Resources Related to Islamic Organizations in North America Compiled by the National Muslim Students Association (MSA), some of the contents of this site are lists of mosques, North American Islamic organizations, Islamic schools, financial institutions, Muslim relief organizations, bookstores, sources of free books and literature.

  • Free Muslim Resources This page contains a number of links to free Islamic materials.

  • Islamic Texts and Resources Metapage, Muslim Thought is now offline, but I have linked here an archived copy of it for historical reasons (even though most of its links do not work, since this was one of the first comprehensive Islamic websites for Islamic thought.

    Bookstores for Islamic Studies

  • Updated Extensive Worldwide List of Islamic Booksellers Originally maintained by John E. Hinton, this list is categorized by country. It includes dealers and developers of Islamic software. Wherever available, email and website addresses are provided.

  • Arshad Khan--The Bestsellers US Distributors of TaHa Books.
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