In recent years, events in the Islamic world have captured the attention of the West to an unprecedented degree. However, much of the media coverage of events like the Islamic revolution in Iran has merely reinforced current prejudices and misconceptions about Islam.
This collection of essays, by specialists in a variety of disciplines, gives an impressionistic overview of contemporary Islam. Different areas of Islamic life are singled out for special attention; these include the problem of relations between Islam and the West, the role of the Sufi orders and the revival of religious fundamentalism, Islam and the feminine, Islamic economics and Islamic architecture. Geographically, the essays cover a wide area, ranging over Sudan, Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Each discussion should appeal to the layman and specialist alike and collectively they bring together a comprehensive range of material not often covered in one volume. Above all, they cut across the stereotypes of Islam found in the popular media, to reveal facets of a complex, living tradition often unsuspected in the West.
First published in 1983.