The meaning of the word “Islam” has become controversial and needs to be clarified in today’s increasingly violent world. The source of the religious teachings of Islam is the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. Since the laying down of the Quran which is closely related to the Bible and the Torah (the Christian and Jewish religious texts); there have been many meaningful translations of the Quran from Arabic into English. However the recently released book titled The Quran Essential Teachings authored by Abdur Raheem Kidwai presents the essence of Islam with greater lucidity and simplicity.
This illuminating book sheds light on the Quran as the word of God, which was intended to teach all believers in one God the path to a pious, peaceful and just life. The chapters of the book are based on the chapters/surahs in the Quran and have meaningful and relevant headings and subject matter.
Some of the chapters are indispensable if one wants to do away with the false notions about Islam created by fundamentalist and terrorist groups.
These chapters are related to God’s messengers such as Jesus, Moses, and Noah etc. Other chapters are related to the importance of good social conduct, prayer, the creation of mankind, the treatment of children and relations between husband and wife.
The chapter titled Good Social Behavior reveals that (Surah al-Hujurat 49:10-13) opens with a note on human fraternity and unity indicating that all mankind is one, having been born from Adam and Eve. Vices like character assassination, racial superiority and dissension are abhorred by God and that the infinite divisions of humankind into tribes, races, groups etc. on the basis of language, colour and region are only labels because actually human beings are all one in the eyes of God. God rewards or punishes His created beings only in proportion to his or her faith and piety.