This chapter argues that what may be called the reformist Islam approach, which rightly points to Islam’s multivocality, has emerged as a major approach to the study of Islam’s relationship to democracy and democratization. The chapter details the key assumptions of this approach: Islam is the ‘language of politics’ for Muslims, reformist Islam is a crucial force for liberalization and democratization in Muslim contexts, and a ‘third model’ democracy that is neither secular nor theocratic is possible. While it rejects approaches that essentialize religion, this approach still emphasizes the centrality of religion, and especially reformist religious resources. This chapter does not aim to negate the reformist Islam approach, but building on institutionalist approaches and critical literature on secularism, this chapter points to the ways in which modern institutional developments or state building in Muslim contexts transformed religion’s institutional roles, thereby exacerbating problems for democracy and individual rights in contemporary Muslim majority contexts. Consequently, this chapter proposes what it suggests a more capacious theoretical approach to the study of religion’s relationship to democratization in Muslim contexts, in general, and for this inquiry, in particular.