In "Understanding Islam" Dr. Dirks offers a timely and factually correct alternative to understanding Islam.
It is written for the Western, and primarily Christian reader.
The primary focus of the Book is on what is termed Sunni Islam, i.e., the Islam practiced by approximately 85-90% of the self-professed Muslims in the world.
The Book is unique in several respects. It treats Islam from its own point of view. It is written by a natural-born American for the Western reader, and thus may avoid some of the cultural overlay that accompanies some books on Islam written by other Muslim authors.
The author is an American who has practiced Islam both while living in America and in the Middle East, thus offering a broader perspective than would have otherwise been possible.
As a convert from Christianity to Islam, and as a former ordained minister within Christianity, the author does a very good job of expounding the commonalties and contrasts of Islam with Judaism and Christianity, while still avoiding the temptation to distort Islam by interpreting it from within a Judaeo-Christian perspective.
The reader is introduced to Islam almost exclusively through the two primary sources of Islam, i.e., the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which are the only completely authoritative sources on Islam.Dr. Jerald F. Dirks holds B.A. and M. Divinity from Harvard University and doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver.
He is a former ordained minister (deacon) in the United Methodist Church and is author of The Cross & The Crescent and Abraham - The Friend of God. He published over sixty articles in the field of clinical psychology and over one hundred and fifty articles on Arabian horses.
He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and interacted widely with the Muslim communities in the United States.