Islam is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the West. Myths and stereotypes surround it. This clear and penetrating volume helps readers to make sense of Islam. It offers a penetrating guide to the diversity and richness of contemporary knowledge about Islam and Muslim society. Throughout, the emphasis is upon the value of pluralistic approaches to Islam, rather than condensing complexity with unifying concepts such as `Orientalism'.
Interdisciplinary in scope and organization, the book cuts through the bewildering and seemingly anarchic diversity of contemporary knowledge about Islam and Muslim society. The methodological difficulties and advantages of Western researchers focusing on Islam are fully documented. The book demonstrates how gender, age, status and `insider'/`outsider' status impacts upon research and inflects research findings.