Wellington City Libraries

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Welcome to Wellington City Libraries' page of resources on Islam. Here you'll find a cross-section of what the library holds on Islam, some quick links into our online databases and the library's catalogue, and links to websites on Islam selected by our subject librarians. The Dewey Decimal call number for Islam as a subject is 297. (A comprehensive list of Dewey numbers for other religions can be found on the Beliefs homepage.)

Last updated 11 July 2017.


Recent items:

(Books and DVDs.)


Syndetics book coverFighting hislam : women, faith and sexism, by Susan Carland. Between the extremes often portrayed in western media, there is a group of Muslim women who have chosen to fight sexism from within, committed to this fight and their faith. "Here, Carland talks with Muslim women about how they are making a stand for their sex, while holding fast to their faith. At a time when the media trumpets scandalous revelations about life for women from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Muslim women are always spoken about and over, never with. In Fighting Hislam, that ends." (publisher's summary)

Syndetics book coverIslam evolving : radicalism, reformation, and the uneasy relationship with the secular West, by Taner Edis.
"How is Islam adapting to the rapid changes of the 21st century? Despite political unrest and terrorism, the author argues that many Muslim societies are successfully developing their own versions of modern life. In contrast to the secular liberal model that prevails in the West, Islam is demonstrating alternative ways to be modern while maintaining a distinctly Muslim worldview. Professor Edis, an American physicist with a secular viewpoint who was raised in Turkey, is uniquely qualified to evaluate the interplay of modern trends and Islamic values. He devotes separate chapters to prominent examples of what he calls Islam's "pious modernity." ... This balanced overview of Islam's relationship with the modern world will be of interest to open-minded readers in both the West and the East." (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShi'i Islam : a beginner's guide, by Moojan Momen. "Provides readers with an accessible and insightful introduction to the Shi'i branch of Islam, from its beginnings after the death of the Prophet Muhammad through to the present day. As well as providing a historical overview, the book also introduces readers to Shi'i doctrines and practices, explains the key differences between the Shi'i and Sunni branches of Islam, and addresses the role and position of women within Shi'i communities." (drawn from publisher's description)

Syndetics book coverOne Islam, many Muslim worlds : spirituality, identity, and resistance across Islamic lands, by Raymond William Baker.
Islam has emerging as a strong transnational force. What implications does this have for the West? Baker argues that this renewed vigour does not stem from official religious institutions, nor violent, marginal groups. His analysis of the Islamic world leads him to look to centrists to bring new life to Islam, and build a cohesive Islamic identity that belongs in the modern world.

Syndetics book coverThe handy Islam answer book, by John Renard, Ph.D.
This user-friendly guide answers nearly 800 questions that cover Islamic history, religious practices, and Muslim cultural perspectives. Some questions include Why is Mecca a holy city for Muslims? What do Muslims mean by the term Allah? What is the Muslim "call to prayer"? Is it similar to "church bells"? Do Muslims, Christians, and Jews worship the "same God"? Why do Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim parts of Israel/Palestine as "Holy Land"? Why do some people, such as the Taliban, not want girls to get an education? Muslims are diverse, and they have a vast range of views about Islam, just as any other religious adherents. This guide brings us further down the path of understanding.

Syndetics book coverMecca : the sacred city, by Ziauddin Sardar.
Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad, the direction towards which Muslims turn when they pray and the site of pilgrimage which draws about three million Muslims every year. The author traces its history, from its origins to its beginnings as a religious centre of a world empire. He includes stories of his own and others pilgrimages to peel back the layers and mystery to present a warmth and fascination with the place. This is a blend of history, narrative and memoir, and worth exploring.

Syndetics book coverWhat is veiling? by Sahar Amer.
"Ranging from simple head scarf to full-body burqa, the veil is worn by vast numbers of Muslim women around the world. What Is Veiling? explains one of the most visible, controversial, and least understood emblems of Islam. Sahar Amer's evenhanded approach is anchored in sharp cultural insight and rich historical context. Addressing the significance of veiling in the religious, cultural, political, and social lives of Muslims, past and present, she examines the complex roles the practice has played in history, religion, conservative and progressive perspectives, politics and regionalism, society and economics, feminism, fashion, and art." (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe first Muslim : the story of Muhammad, by Lesley Hazleton.
"It is surprising how little most people know about the life of the prophet Muhammad. Hazleton sets out to rectify that in this eminently readable biography. Relying on two biographies from the eighth and ninth centuries, as well as other sources, she presents Muhammad's life as both history and story. It begins with a moving scene: Muhammad alone in the barren mountains, at night, praying and waiting. Who he is and how he came to be there are revealed in chapters that show him as an orphan in need of protection, as a young camel driver appreciated for his fairness, as a prophet touched by Allah, and as a political leader driven to bring the message to all those with ears to listen. ... A highly readable, insightful biography." Drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics.

Syndetics book coverThe illustrated guide to Islam : history, philosophy, traditions, teachings, art & architecture / Raana Bokhari & Mohammad Seddon ; consultants: Riad Nourallah & Moya Carey ; with contributions by Caroline Chapman ... [et. al.].
An in-depth study of the history, ideology, culture and traditions of Islam, discussing the core beliefs, practices and sacred texts central to the religion, and the significance of holy sites, prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. It explores the rich cultural heritage of the Islamic world, with examples of the most spectacular artistic and architectural achievements shown in 1000 photographs. It includes an insightful overview of Islamic faith and teachings, and an exploration of the Quran, both as the revealed word of God and as a religious manuscript. It also features a survey of beautiful design and architectural accomplishments, from calligraphy, ceramics and carpets to mosques, bazaars and palaces. Includes maps, fine-art paintings and a guide to the world's greatest museum collections of Islamic art.


Introduction to Islam with Bilal Dannoun.
Voice of Islam presents Islam through its television programs, lecture tours, DVDs and other books and publications in a correct manner as a reminder and education for Muslims, and to show non Muslims the correct manner in which we should be acting and practising our religion. (drawn from the booklet)

Sufi soul : the mystic music of Islam, Songlines MWTV for Channel 4.
For hundreds of millions of Sufi followers worldwide, music is at the heart of their tradition and a way of getting closer to God. From the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey to the qawwali music of Pakistan, Sufism has produced some of the world's most spectacular music celebrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Dalrymple's film traces the shared roots of Christianity and Islam in the Middle East and discovers Sufism to be a peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic bastion against fundamentalism"--Container

Muhammad, legacy of a prophet, (DVD)
Tells the story of the seventh century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shape the lives of more than 1.2 billion people. Three years in the making, the film takes viewers not only to ancient Middle Eastern sites where Muhammed's story unfolds, but into the homes, mosques and workplaces of some of America's estimated seven million Muslims to discover the many ways in which they follow Muhammad's example.



Yes - we now have a small number of e-books on Islam which are free to download and borrow.

Some titles :

Online databases & articles

Featured database :

Available through Oxford Reference Online.

  • Oxford Dictionary of Islam
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions
Wellington City Libraries also subscribe to a number of different online databases that provide news and periodical articles on a wide range of topics, including relligion and Islam. Follow the links at www.mygateway.info to select EBSCO or Gale databases.

Journal titles:

  • Arabic sciences and philosophy : a historical journal
  • Contemporary Islam
  • Insights (Pakistan)
  • Islam & science
  • Islamic studies
  • Muslim world
  • One country (English ed.)

Useful websites

  • Muslims
    Concisely explains the basic principles of Islam, including the most widely accepted definition of jihad. This site provides an abundance of facts about Islamic history, beliefs, and various other topics through its portrayal and interviews of Muslims.
  • Islam @ University of Southern California
    Includes three translations of the Qur'an; introductions to and texts of the Sunnah (examples) and Hadith (sayings) of Muhammad; descriptions of the fundamentals of Islam; Islamic principles in society; and relations between Islam and other religions. Also contains an extensive glossary of Islamic terms and concepts. From the Muslim Students Association at the University of Southern California (MSA-USC).
  • Islam 101
    An educational site on Islam, its way of life, civilization and culture. It includes an introductory course on Islam and presents Islamic views on contemporary issues.
  • Al-Islam.org
    Created and maintained by the Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project (DILP). To facilitate access to resources related to Islamic history, law, practice, and the societies of various Muslim peoples. The homepage provides a general search engine, and an option to browse the site and its materials in four different languages. For those unfamiliar with the subject, they may want to begin by perusing the materials in the "Discover Islam" section.
  • Introduction to Islam
    Online version of M. Cherif Bassiouini's book, the purpose of which is "to convey to a non-Muslim audience an understanding of Islam, its history, culture, and contribution to civilization." Includes maps, charts, pictures, and drawings. Relevant verses of the Qur'an (Koran) and sayings of the Prophet (Hadith) have been included where appropriate. The Arabic text of the Qur'an is also included.
  • Muslimahspeaks
    A voice for Muslim women with lectures and interviews.
  • NZ Muslim net
    Portal for the New Zealand Muslim community with forums, chat room, library, gallery, and articles.

Contact Us:

Interested in finding out more about what the library holds on beliefs? Found a topical online resource you'd like to share? Contact us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz. We'd love to hear from you!

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