When it first appeared in 1882, this book was a pioneering work in every respect. It was the first coherent study of 'modern' Islam, explaining in a simple and functional manner its tenets and roots, the diversity of its cultural and political experience, and its dynamism and potential for good in the modern world. This was at a time when the Muslim world was perceived by most people in the west as inert and spent, caught in an irredeemable malaise of its own making. Blunt's attitude, shaped by several factors and sharpened by personal knowledge of important parts of the Muslim world and close association with many leading reformers in it, was unprecedented and startling at the time.
This new edition includes an Introduction and numerous footnotes, updating statistics, explaining the background to historical events and religious and political figures, and filling in gaps.