Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and arguably also the fastest growing. Individuals who practice Islam are referred to as Muslims, and there are currently 1.57 billion Muslims, compromising 23 percent of the world’s population.
Islam is a monotheistic religion governed by a belief in one God. Its principal beliefs are articulated by the Qur’an (pronounced kor-an), the sovereign text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God.
This guide serves as a compass for Islamic texts and resources that can be found online. From Islamic culture to critiques of the religion itself, below you will find some of the most insightful resources available on the world wide web. Skeptics, believers, followers, and anyone with a general interest in what is predicted to be the world’s largest religion by 2023 are encouraged to check out the links below.
Ancient Islamic Texts
- Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad: Hadith are narrations concerning the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This multi-part article explores the historical context behind several Hadith texts. The table of contents includes a searchable Hadith database, biographies of the compilers of the primary Hadith collections, and Hadith scholarship and criticism.
- Internet Sacred Text Archive: This site is a self-proclaimed quiet place in cyberspace devoted to religious tolerance and scholarship. The resource offers an extensive history of several Islamic texts including the Qur’an, Hadith, Sufi Texts, and an overview of Islamic history and culture. In addition to explaining the historical context behind each text, there are also hyperlinks so that viewers can read the featured texts in their original form.
- Islamic-awareness.org: This multi-faith interdisciplinary forum provides various resources on Islam, the Koran, and the Hadith as viewed in comparison to the Bible. The highlighted article focuses on the Qur’anic manuscripts, with actual ancient examples, paleographic techniques of deciphering the scripts, and the first and second century Hijra (the emigration of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.)
- What is Islam?: What is Islam? is an entire website dedicated to helping inquirers learn more about the Islamic faith and tradition. This particular document, which can be downloaded in PDF format, goes through the Pre-Islamic era, explains the historical significance of the prophet Mohammed, articulates the Hijra (flight), and ends with Islam today. After providing this detailed history, it offers an intricate history of the Koran and the Hadith, including when and by whom each text was written.
- What is the Koran?: Researchers with a variety of academic and theological interests have proposed controversial theories about the Koran and Islamic history. Their ideas are articulated in this insightful article as they strive to reinterpret Islam for the modern world. The online version of the article is presented in three parts.
Translations of Contemporary Works
- The Bundakji Collection: Highlighted on a website that showcases faith-inspired art, this contemporary art collection features art inspired by Ayah from the Qur’an. AdilahBundakji, the artist behind the work, is a contemporary Islamic artist and designer whose works favor diverse threads and mixed media on fabrics.
- The English Translation of the Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammed: As its title suggests, this text features the English translation of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammed. The document can be downloaded as a PDF and also includes short notes and a brief commentary from the author.
- Islamic Philosophy: This website presents and critiques various facets of contemporary Islamic philosophy. It also provides a listing of several articles that cover a wide range of text translations and other relevant topics in contemporary Islamic societies. In order to access the articles, viewers must subscribe to the Routledge Encyclopedia online — a free trial version is available.
- Islam, the Modern World, and the West: Contemporary Topics : In addition to contemporary translations of ancient Islamic texts, this resource features several articles pertaining to a great number of contemporary issues in Islamic society. Topics include Islam and slavery, Islam and AIDS, Islam and the media, globalization, human rights, and a host of other topics.
- Studies in Contemporary Islam: The Center for Islamic Studies publishes this academic journal semiannually, which is devoted to the understanding, review, analysis, and critique of contemporary Islamic religious, intellectual, and philosophical developments. Articles published within the journal draw upon various Qur’an passages, while offering an English translation and interpretation.
- The Qur’an : This translation, published by the University of Southern California’s Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, offers the English translation of the Qur’an, separated into multiple parts. The Center also offers a transliteration of the Qur’an, an index, and a search database that allows you to search for a specific verse.
Critiques and Commentaries
- Answering Islam: Answering Islam is a Christian-Muslim dialog aimed at providing an exchange of critiques and commentaries from one religious perspective to the other. The site’s creators are Evangelical Christians who present the relevant Islamic and Qur’an doctrines and then analyze them piece-by-piece as they contradict or comply with messages given in the Bible and Christian faith. Often times interchanges are lengthy, as the site’s creators respond to a great number of potential Islamic counter-arguments.
- Critique of Islam: In this article Ulrich Utiger provides a Christian view of Islam, Islamic terrorism, Al-Qaeda, and the Muslim jihad against western imperialism, Christianity, and Israel. Article contents include the American imperialism and individual liberty, Islam and socialism, the prophet Mohammed, and the Holocaust of the Jews and the end of Islam.
- FaithFreedom.org: FaithFreedom.org is the official website of Faithfreedom International–a grassroots movement composed of ex-Muslims who asked prohibited questions and eventually left Islam. The site features articles, contemporary news pieces, a blog, a user-friendly forum, and an online library all aimed at eradicating Islam.
- Load Islam: This section of the Load Islam website features articles and other resources devoted to clarifying misconceptions and myths pertaining to Islam. The articles cover a wide range of topics, including Islam’s actual teachings regarding violence, polygamy, and non-Muslims.
Islamic Cultural Resources
- Islamic and Muslim Culture: Written by Professor Kay E. Vandergrift, this article focuses on retaining some pride in and tolerance for the Muslim culture and identity following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The article features a list of websites that may contribute to the acquisition of knowledge and acceptance.
- Islamic Architecture: Architecture is a major part of Islamic culture, and today is found in many other cultures as well. This website features a collection of 600 images representing some of the over 2,000 mosques (Islamic places of worship) in the United States.
- Islamic Clothing: AlHannah.com is a top online supplier of Islamic clothing. You can view the entire clothing catalog on this site which features hijabs, scarves, outfits, accessories, men’s and children’s clothing, and a number of gift ideas.
- Islamic Culture: This website highlights several aspects of Islamic culture including clothing, food, mosques, and wedding traditions as they vary by geographic location. Islamic culture is presented through text and photographs for Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Turkey, Qatar, Yemen, and the United Arab Empire.
- Islam, Culture and Women: This article sheds light on an often seen but rarely understood topic–the role and place of women in Islamic culture and society. The article takes its reader beyond what they see and encourages viewers to consider Islamic women outside of the scope of Western norms.
- You Are What You Eat–Islamic Food Practices and Azerbaijani Identity: This article explores the dietary laws of Muslims who reside in Azerbaijan. The author writes about specific food restrictions, how meat must be cooked, exceptions to the dietary rules, and food and eating trends amongst youth.