It is the first major reference work about Islam to be written by a Muslim for a Western audience. No other single-volume work in print encompasses the beliefs, practices, history and culture of the Islamic world, whose faithful number some 800 million today.
This revised edition with more than fourteen hundred entries cover an extraordinary range of Islamic literature and history, religious and ritual practices, prayer, prophets, sects, law, the calendar, social institutions, history, ethnography, nationhood, languages, medicine, science and major cities and centers of learning. It provides invaluable background and insights into understanding current events in the Islamic world. A chronology, maps, dynastic charts, diagrams of the Hajj and the branches of Islam and a recommended bibliography are included. Written for the general reader and researcher, it assumes no prior knowledge of the subject. Detailed cross-references lead the general reader into deeper knowledge of Islam, whatever his starting point. Many quotations, and hitherto un-translated prayers, support the religious and philosophical entries.
“Erudite, accurate and comprehensive. All this factual information is given in detail, yet readably, with clarity and elegance.”–Daily Telegraph
“This beautifully illustrated book is a feast of fact and insight …. An enormous amount of information is contained here, all of it fascinating.”