I have already bought the Kindle version, but I found the printed book in the IIUM library. Seemed in pristine condition, probably have never been read. Only at 20% of the kindle ebook, but noted that it is a great book. A book which you want to finish it fast, because it is so good.
The book is written based on a short course in introduction to Islam for undergraduates in an American university, which was held since 1980s. The students include both muslims and non muslims. They got a lot of feedback from their students.
The author based the book on the Gabriel Hadith, about Islam (submission), Iman (faith) and Ihsan (doing what is beautiful). The chapters explained the differences between these 3. It is like a stage of ascendancy. You submit first, then have faith and then have Ihsan, which is the highest rank.
The exact difference between Islam and Iman is explained in the Quran 49:14. A story about the bedouins saying to the Prophet PBUH that he have faith.
The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts; and if you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not diminish aught of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Quran 49:14)
In the Islam chapter, after explaining the 5 pillars of Islam, they touched on the 6th pillar, jihad. Jihad is a term which was always misinterpreted by the westerners. It's basic meaning is struggle. Struggling in doing all the 5 pillars of Islam and having Iman, is also a jihad.
A quote from the hadith when the muslims had just returned from a battle. Prophet PBUH said "We have returned from a lesser jihad to a greater jihad." The people said, "O Messenger of God, what jihad could be greater than struggling against the unbelievers with the sword?" He replied, "Struggling against the enemy in your own breast." This Hadith clearly explained the exact meaning of jihad.
I am still at the Iman chapter. The authors exquisitely explained tawhid in a very simple explanation. They used the ayat, which can be defined as the verses of the quran. Also ayat which is defined as proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc by Mohsin Khan; are things around us and within us. How to relate all this with God. The relation between Tanzih and Tashbih. The Mercy of God is above His Wrath. Many examples were taken from the Quran itself. Also, they used many examples from the 99 names of Allah, mentioned in the Quran.
In my opinion, this book should should be translated to Bahasa Malaysia, in view to reach a wider readership. Most of us muslims, never understood why we become muslims in the first place. Even though the book is intended for non muslims, I think muslims will benefit a lot from it too.
As of today, at this time of writing, I have finished the book. But I need to reread it soon, to get a better understanding of it.