chapter  1
Introduction: Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority
Pages 16

Today’s Muslim world displays a wide variety of ways that public religion and personal piety manifest themselves in both discourse and practice.1 This is not to say that, in the past, Islamic religiosity was less varied and diverse. In fact, it could be argued that quite the contrary might be true. After all, in earlier times, while exchanges between different parts of what was then called the dar al-islam – or Abode of Islam – were constant, contacts were not maintained with today’s speed or intensity because communications were more cumbersome and slower. Therefore, cultural differences between the various regions may actually have been more distinct and pronounced. With the introduction of modern technology in communication and transportation, interaction across the Muslim world has certainly become more rapid and frequent, and it has increased in volume.