Based on a symposium on the theme "Islam and the History of Religions," this important work features thoughtful essays on the study of Islam. On its publication in 1985, this text influenced the transition of Islamic studies from Orientalism and area studies to religious studies, and is now republished in the Oneworld Classics in Religious Studies series. Organized around five themes in religious studies, the scholars in this volume call for an increase in the attention given to Islam as part of religious studies and for greater clarity in our understanding both of Islam and of religion in terms of Islam. They urge creative adaptation and application of history of religions methods to different fields of Islamic religious data, including textual, social-historical, and ritual-symbolical. Constructive criticism of long-accepted approaches to the study of Islam and attempts to apply the methods of other disciplines to Islamic religious data are here presented in the interest of bringing about change and improvement in the study of Islam as a religion.
'Virtually no one else has even considered such a vast but essential undertaking. It goes beyond existing works on almost every score.' Bruce B. Lawrence, Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of Religion, Duke University