A Companion to the Muslim World is an endeavour by distinguished scholars to narrow the gap of knowledge between the West and Islam. The pluralism of Muslim societies, the diversity of Qur’anic interpretations, the chronological and geographical extent of Muslim history and culture, as well as the ethnic, linguistic and social diversity of its peoples appear to be unfamiliar to many in the Western world. Equally, many Muslims remain uninformed of the peoples and societies in the West. The Companion is a contribution toward creating a better understanding in the West about Islam and Muslim societies.

The book explores a wide range of experiences – past and present, secular and sacred – of the diverse peoples and cultures of the Muslim world. Containing a series of accessible essays on themes such as “The Prophet’s City” (Reza Aslan), “Reading the Holy Qur’an” (Abdullah Saeed), “Women and Social Change” (Azizah al-Hibri), “Inclusive Governance: A Fatimid Illustration” (Shainool Jiwa), “The Art and Architecture of the Mosque” (Hasan-Uddin Khan), “The Digital Ummah” (Gary R. Bunt), and “Networks of Solidarity” (Bruce Lawrence), among others, the Companion aims to assist the non-specialist reader in understanding the Muslim world, especially those in the fields of diplomacy, journalism, international development and education.

In each city, Dr Sajoo participated in on-stage discussions hosted by professors and media personalities, among others. The book tour culminated in a series of events in Ottawa and London, where Dr Sajoo was joined by IIS’ Co-Director, Professor Karim H. Karim. Carleton University’s College of Humanities hosted one of the events, giving university students, visitors and staff, including University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr Roseann O’Reilly Runte, the opportunity to learn more about the book and interact with Dr Sajoo.

Dr Sajoo and IIS representatives also participated in roundtable discussions with diplomats and key policymakers at Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The discussions provided an opportunity for members of DFAIT’s Muslim Communities’ Working Group and others to engage in discussions about the Muslim world and learn more about the work of the IIS.

The final event in Ottawa took place at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat where the IIS hosted a dinner celebrating the book and the new Muslim Heritage Series. The Delegation building is described by His Highness the Aga Khan as a “bridge between the peoples of Islam and the peoples of Canada”. Among the attendees at the event were ambassadors, high commissioners and other senior officials from agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Canadian Heritage.

Reflecting on key themes in the civilisations and cultures of Islam, the Muslim Heritage Series aims to mobilise leading scholars to write about the Muslim world in a style and format that is accessible to the interested general public.