This book presents an intellectual history of today’s Muslim world, surveying contemporary Muslim thinking in its various manifestations, addressing a variety of themes that impact on the lives of present-day Muslims.

Focusing on the period from roughly the late 1960s to the first decade of the twenty-first century, the book is global in its approach and offers an overview of different strands of thought and trends in the development of new ideas, distinguishing between traditional, reactionary, and progressive approaches. It presents a variety of themes and issues including: The continuing relevance of the legacy of traditional Islamic learning as well as the use of reason; the centrality of the Qur’an; the spiritual concerns of contemporary Muslims; political thought regarding secularity, statehood, and governance; legal and ethical debates; related current issues like human rights, gender equality, and religious plurality; as well as globalization, ecology and the environment, bioethics, and life sciences.

An alternative account of Islam and the Muslim world today, counterbalancing narratives that emphasise politics and confrontations with the West, this book is an essential resource for students and scholars of Islam.

chapter |5 pages


chapter 1|21 pages

The problem of taxonomy

Categorizing contemporary Muslim intellectuals

chapter 2|31 pages

Philosophies of knowledge

Transmission and reason

chapter 3|21 pages


Alternative ways of engaging with the Qur’an

chapter 4|24 pages

Spiritual dimensions of contemporary Muslim thought

Sufism today: psychology, literature, and Islamization of knowledge

chapter 5|24 pages

Islam and politics

Thinking about secularity, freedom and democracy

chapter 6|22 pages


Islamic legal system or ethical guideline?

chapter 7|27 pages

Dealing with difference and plurality

Emancipation, toleration and human rights

chapter 8|18 pages

Issues of the twenty-first century

Globalization, ecology and medical ethics