Modern Islam can appear so diverse as to defy description, yet it is held together by stronger forces than almost any other world group-the annual hajj to Mecca itself attracts more than 1,000,000 Muslims. And despite significant religious differences, Islam remains one of the least sectarian of world religions. Most Muslims live in societies in which the influence of tradition is very strong, and in which modernization has also penetrated to some extent. The Britannica Guide to the Islamic World introduces the ideas that are the least understood to those outside the religion, and where Islam is practised throughout the world. The Britannica Guide to the Islamic World provides an unbiased and clear-sighted guide to the faith, history and politics of Islam, with an introduction by Ziauddin Sardar. Exploring the beliefs, history and politics of Islam, The Britannica Guide to the Islamic World is a clear and unbiased reference resource, compiled by experts in the field. It introduces the ideas as well as the places at the centre of one of the most important religions of our time. Founded in the seventh century by the prophet Mohammed, Islam has now spread across the world and every culture. Exploring Islamic history, beliefs and scriptures, it will be an invaluable and comprehensive guide to Muslim faith. In addition, the Guide reveals the role that Islam plays today including the conflict in the Middle East, the rise of Islamism, and the divisions between the Sunni and Shi'ite sects.