The Facts on File series, Encyclopedia of World Religions, is intended to provide students and general readers with handy overviews of major religious traditions, including the defining concepts, religious leaders, groups and events that shaped faiths into forces in contemporary society. Previous volumes have explored Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism and Protestantism. This latest volume focuses on Islam, the faith for more than 1.4 billion people in the world today. Readers are introduced to nearly 1,400 years of tradition and practice, from the life of Mohamed to the Five Pillars of the faith. The 546 entries prepared by an international team of 47 specialists in Islamic studies define the importance of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage as well as the Quran, the hadith and fatwas. The major divisions within the faith, such as Sunnism, Shiism and Sufism, are explained. Numerous sects and many regional practices also are noted. Islam’s connections with Judaism and Christianity are emphasized. Its influence on world civilization is demonstrated in articles on scientific, literary and artistic traditions. The historic context for the spread of Islam is highlighted in a chronology as well as numerous entries on secular leaders, dynasties, government structures and international relations. Continuing cultural manifestations are explored in examinations of everything from film to food. Surveys of particular countries and minority populations illustrate the status of Islam in the contemporary world. A general bibliography, extensive suggestions for further reading, hundreds of cross references and a detailed index guide additional research. This extensive introduction to an important belief system is quite affordable and is highly recommended for high school, public and academic libraries.