Now more than ever, it is crucial for Westerners to understand the faith and history that have shaped the Islamic world. Enriched by over 70 illustrations, photos, and maps, this narrative provides a stimulating depiction of the world’s second-largest religion, with over one billion adherents. Today, the Islamic world encompasses over 40 countries concentrated in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and throughout Asia. This concise text features developments from the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD to the complex political map of today. It explains the major periods of Islam’s development worldwide by focusing on the achievements of the great Islamic Empires. Topics discussed include the Golden Age of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad, the remarkable rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the flowering of the Mughal dynasty in India (creators of the Taj Mahal). Special boxed sections provide informative snapshots of Islamic art, architecture, and the Arabic language. Other sections describe Islamic history in locales such as Chechnya, China, and the United States. The book also addresses the American occupation of Iraq and the global problem of terrorism. A chronology of Islamic history, a listing of key figures in Islamic history, and a glossary of Islamic terms complete this resource.