Culture shapes every aspect of the relationship between God and the believer in Islam – as well as between believers, and with those beyond the fold. Fasts, prayers and pilgrimages are attuned to social rhythms, old and new, no less than the designs of mosques and public gardens, the making of ‘religious’ music, and ways of thinking about technology and wellbeing. Ancient deserts and modern urban landscapes may echo with the same call for transcendence, but in voices that emerge from very different everyday realities.
What are the implications of this holistic view in a diverse world of Muslims and non-Muslims? How do core ethical values interface with the particulars of local cultures in all their complexity, especially when it comes to matters like the status of women and the scope of individual religious freedom? The answers – at a time when secular and Muslim identities appear to be locked in conflict – are explored in this Companion by some of today’s finest scholars.