Hassaballa, Hesham A.

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Hassaballa, Hesham A.


Education: M.D.


Pulmonologist working in Chicago, IL. Founder and executive board member of Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations; cochair of the media relations committee for the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. Resident scholar and fellow, International Strategy and Policy Institute.


(With Kabir Helminski) The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, Three Leaves Press/Doubleday (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of the blog God, Faith, and a Pen. Contributor to book Taking Back Islam, Rodale Press. Contributor to periodicals, including the Chicago Tribune. Columnist for Religion News Service and Beliefnet online, 2001—. Associate editor, Illume Magazine.


Hesham A. Hassaballa is a pulmonary and critical care physician who has also written about his religious faith of Islam. He is a columnist for Beliefnet.com and contributed to the anthology Taking Back Islam, which won the 2003 Religion Communicators Council's Wilbur Award in 2003 for best religion book of the year. With Kabir Helminski, he is the author of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, a work meant to clear up the misconceptions that many Westerners have about Muslims in a time when there is much fear about extremist Islamists. The authors write about the prophet Muhammad; relate many of his famous sayings, or Hadith, as they are called; provide quotes from the Qu'ran; and address what they feel are Westerners' uninformed ideas about Islamic culture's attitudes concerning the role of women, jihad (holy war), and the use of violence (they emphasize that Muhammad stressed the use of force only for defense). One point that they make in particular is that it is important to understand the historical context in which the Qu'ran was written in order to truly appreciate it. While a Publishers Weekly contributor considered the book merely a "workman-like and incomplete introduction to Islam" that offers more quotations than explications, other reviewers were more impressed. Booklist contributor Ray Olson held that the text "ranks toward the top" of books about Islam for a non-Muslim audience, and C. Brian Smith concluded in Library Journal that it makes for a "welcome additions to public and academic libraries."



Booklist, February 15, 2006, Ray Olson, review of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, p. 22.

Library Journal, February 1, 2006, C. Brian Smith, review of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, p. 82.

Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam, p. 60.


Beliefnet,http://www.beliefnet.com/ (February 5, 2008), brief biography on Hesham A. Hassaballa.

Spirituality and Practice,http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ (February 5, 2008), Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat, review of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam.