This Concise Encyclopedia of Islam is meant to represent Islam’s diversity and offer the reader a short definition of major terms and introduce major figures. In writing this Encyclopedia, the writer has chosen to use the distinction that was made by the late M.G.S. Hodgson in his Venture of Islam, between those subjects that are “Islamic” and those that are, in his word, “Islamicate.” By “Islamic,” he meant those subjects that have to do with the religion, and by “Islamicate,” he meant those subjects that are products of the culture that Muslims, and Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and others living under Islam, have produced.
We speak of “Islamic science,” meaning the scientific advances during the time of the Western Middle Ages, but those scientific advances were a product of the interaction of Jews and Christians as well as Muslims living in Islamic countries.
The reality is, the religion of Islam contributed to the development of that and other branches of learning because Muslim rulers chose to sponsor learning as part of their vision of themselves as Muslims. However, the writer has chosen to leave the political and cultural material to others.