The Islamic world is changing fast, and in that context a significant debate has developed among Islamic thinkers. The non-Muslim world's perceptions of Islam have tended to be dominated by unrepresentative radical extremist movements and media interpretations of events involving such movements. Many people are unaware of the depth and variety of traditional Islamic thought, while many who have had a formal training in Islamic studies have tended to concentrate on the traditional. This encyclopedia covers the full range of Islamic thought, justified by the contemporary significance of Islam, in historical depth. It takes substantial note of contemporary trends across the Muslim world, and the material on historical Islam has contemporary reference.