The secret gift of reading is time.

Princeton University Press

What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic

Shahab Ahmed




What is Islam? How do we grasp a human and historical phenomenon characterized by such variety and contradiction? What is "Islamic" about Islamic philosophy or Islamic art? Should we speak of Islam or of islams? Should we distinguish the Islamic (the religious) from the Islamicate (the cultural)? Or should we abandon "Islamic" altogether as an analytical term?


Singapore-born Pakistani academic Shahab Ahmed was a postdoctoral associate at Harvard University. He passed away in 2015. Al-Fateha.