The Vision of Islam by Sachiko Murata
This introduction to Islam for Western readers explores the fundamental religious beliefs held by Muslims for nearly 1400 years. It covers the four dimensions of Islam - practice, faith, spirituality and the Islamic view of history, as outlined in the Hadith of Gabriel. Interweaving teachings from the Koran, the sayings of the Prophet, and the great authorities of the tradition, the book introduces the essentials of each dimension. It then goes on to describe how each has been manifest in Islamic institutions throughout the course of history.