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John M. Kelly Library

Research Guide to Islam

PDF version

This research guide is maintained by Noel S. McFerran. It was last updated November 2011.

Major Reference Works

The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition

The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition.

Edited by J.H. Kramers. Leiden: Brill, 1960–2004.
[Available online for UofT use]
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – DS 37 .E5]
The new, or second edition, of this work is the largest and the most scholarly English-language work of reference about Islam available online. Includes extensive bibliographies.

The Encyclopedia of Islam, Three

The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three.

Edited by Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas and Everett Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2007–present.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – DS 37 .E523]
A third edition of this work began publication in 2007; currently it only includes articles beginning with the letters 'A' and 'B'.

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

Edited by Richard C. Martin. New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – BP 40. E525 2004X]
A somewhat more popular – but still academic – work than the Brill Encyclopedia of Islam. There are articles on the core tenets of Islamic beliefs as well as on Muslim interaction with other major world religions and other cultures (e.g. "Christianity and Islam," "American Culture and Islam").

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

Edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
[Available online for UofT use]
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – BP 40. O95 2003X]
Over 2,000 brief articles including biographical entries and definitions of terms. The dictionary focuses primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, stressing topics of most interest to Westerners.

The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam

The Concise Encyclopædia of Islam.

3rd edition. Edited by Cyril Glassé. London: Stacey International, 2008.
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BP 40 .G54 2008]
Brief articles including biographical entries and definitions of terms.. The Kelly Library owns the first edition (1st Floor Reference - BP 40 .G52 1989).

The New Encyclopedia of Islam

The New Encyclopedia of Islam.

Edited by Cyril Glassée. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2001.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – BP 40 .G42 2001]
A single volume work that encompasses the beliefs, practices, history and culture of the Islamic world, in over 1300 entries.

Historical Dictionary of Islam

Historical Dictionary of Islam.

By Ludwig W. Adamec. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
[Robarts 9th Floor – BP 50 .A33 2009X]
This work provides hundreds of entries about political and religious leaders, medieval thinkers, and other well-known figures in Islamic history. Additionally it offers information on the major sects of Islam, schools of theology, jurisprudence, and aspects of Islamic culture.

The Muslim Almanac

The Muslim Almanac: A Reference Work on the History, Faith, Culture and Peoples of Islam.

Edited by Azim A. Nanji. Detriot: Gale Research, 1996.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BP 40 .M83 1996]
Thirty-nine essays on a broad range of topics, including: history, regional developments, beliefs and practices, branches of Islam, spiritual life, women, education, literature, art, and fundamentalism.


The Noble Quran

The Noble Quran.

[Arabic edition available online:]
[English translations available online:]
The Qur'an is the main text of the Islamic religion. For most Muslims only the Arabic version is authoritative.

Encyclopedia of the Qur'an

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an.

Edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, 2001-2006. 5 volumes.
[Available online for UofT use]
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – BP 133 .E53 2001]
Almost 1000 articles on qur'anic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis. Includes extensive bibliographies.

Islamic Studies: Literature on Quran in English Language: A Bibliography.

By Muhammad Adil Usmani. Karachi: Islamic Documentation and Information Centre, 1985.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area - Z 7835 .M6U84 1985]
This guide documents published bibliographies, catalogues of major collections, and reference sources pertaining to Qur'anic literature in the English language.


There are many introductions to Islam. Most can be found in the call number area BP 161 and BP161.2.

Islam: Origin and Belief

Islam: Origin and Belief.

By Emory C. Bogle. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998.
[Robarts 9th Floor – BP 50 .B65 1998X]
This book is designed to offer the general public a concise overview of the origins, basic beliefs, and common practices of Islam, as well as the reasons for its dramatic resurgence in recent times.

Responses to 101 Questions on Islam

Responses to 101 Questions on Islam.

By John Renard. New York: Paulist Press, 1998.
[St. Michael's 3rd Floor – BP 163 .R46 1998]
A question and answer guide to Islam, ranging from "Who was Muhammad?" to "What basic views do Muslims hold on human rights?" - all with short one to two page answers.

An Introduction to Islam

An Introduction to Islam.

By Frederick Matthewson Denny. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011.
[Robarts 2nd Floor – BP 161.2 .D46 2011X]
This work includes sections on the pre-Islamic Middle East, the early Muslim world, the basic beliefs and practices of Islam, Sufi mysticism, personal and community life in Islam, and Islam and the modern world. St. Michael's has the 2nd edition (3rd Floor – BP 161.2 .D46 1994).


Oxford History of Islam

The Oxford History of Islam.

Edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
[St. Michael's 3rd Floor – BP 50 .O95 1999]
A collection of fifteen general essays dealing with topics such as art and architecture, science, medicine and technology, Islam in Africa to 1800, and the globalization of Islam.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World.

Edited by Francis Robinson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
[Robarts 10th Floor – DS 35.63 .C35 1996]
Eight broad essays covering historical periods, Muslim economics, society, learning, and art. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the interaction between Islam and the West.

The Middle East and the Islamic World Reader

The Middle East and the Islamic World Reader.

Edited by Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar. New York: Grove Press, 2003.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor – DS 44 .M533 2003]
A broad range of selected texts relating to the history of the Islamic Middle East, ranging from early Muslim scholarship to the Taliban and speeches by George W. Bush.

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook.

[Available online]
This massive database of primary and secondary source material on the Islamic world is a subsidiary of the larger Internet History Sourcebook project.

Historical Dictionary of Arab and Islamic Organizations

Historical Dictionary of Arab and Islamic Organizations.

By Frank Clements. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.
[Downsview – DS 36.55 .C57 2001X]
This work has entries for organizations as well as countries, movements, and key figures in the Arab and Islamic world. A list of abbreviations and acronyms and a chronology of events make the entries easier to follow.

Historical Atlas of the Islamic World

Historical Atlas of the Islamic World.

Malise Ruthven with Azim Nanji. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2004.
[Available online for UofT use]
[Robarts 5th Floor Data, Map Library – G1786 .S1 R92 2004]
Detailed maps showing the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and parts of Europe, as they have gone through historical changes associated with Islam. Includes maps of important cities.

The Islamic Revival Since 1988

The Islamic Revival since 1988: A Critical Survey and Bibliography.

By Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – Z 7835 .M6H24 1997X]
In addition to surveying the literature on Islamic revival worldwide, this text provides commentary on literature pertaining to important topics such as the role of women in Islam, Islamic economics, and the migration of Muslims to western Europe and North America. Contains a bibliography of materials from 1989 to 1994.

Schools and Sects

Wahhabi Islam

Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad.

By Natana J. DeLong-Bas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
{Available online for UofT use]
[Robarts 9th Floor – BP 195 .W2 D45 2000X]
Examines the foundation of this school of Islam which is dominant in Saudi Arabia.

Doctrines of Shi'i Islam

Doctrines of Shi'i Islam: A Compendium of Imani Beliefs and Practices.

By Ja'far Sobhani. London: IB Tauris, 2001.
[Robarts 9th Floor – BP 194 .S8313 2001]
This wide-ranging, comprehensive overview of the main theological and jurisprudential tenets of Shi'a Islam deals with such issues as the nature of being and the problem of evil.

Al Islam

Al Islam: Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project.

[Available online]
A large database on Shi'a Islam, with resources from books and journals that give information on art, calligraphy, and law. Also includes a gallery of images and primary sources in translation.

The Way of the Sufi

The Way of the Sufi.

By Idries Shah. London: Octagon Press, 1980.
[St. Michael's 3rd Floor – BP 189 .S388]
A profile of Sufism, a form of Islam that is noted for its mysticism and spiritualism.

The Druze in the Middle East

The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status.

By Nissim Dana. Brighton, U.K.: Sussex Academic Press, 2003.
[Robarts 10th Floor – DS 113.72 .D465 2003]
This guide to an Islamic sub-group includes a brief history of the Druze people, the fundamental principles of their faith, and the role their communities play in Israeli, Lebanese, and Syrian society.

A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith

A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith.

By Peter Smith. Oxford: Oneworld, 2000.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area – BP 327 .S55 2000]
A profile of this offshoot of Shi'a Islam, founded in the 19th century.

Finding Journal Articles

Index to Jewish Periodicals.

Index Islamicus.

[Available online for UofT use.]
The major index to journal articles, monographs, multi-author works, and conference proceedings about Islam and the Muslim world. Includes over 250,000 records from over 2,000 journals.

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.

[Available online (1949 - present) for UofT use.]
Over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles, essays in books, and book reviews in the field of religion. Covers all aspects of the major world religions including Islam.


Guide to Reference Books for Islamic Studies.

By Charles L. Geddes. Denver, CO: American Institute for Islamic Studies, 1985.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area - Z 7835 .M6G46 1985]
More than 1200 sources of information, arranged by type of publication followed by a subject breakdown which includes: religion, philosophy, language, literature, history, and geography. Most of the entries are annotated.

The Literature of Islam

The Literature of Islam: A Guide to the Primary Sources in English Translation.

Paula Youngman Skreslet, Rebecca Skreslet. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006.
[Robarts 4th Floor Reference Area - Z7835 .M6 S585 2006X]
Includes sections on the Qur'an, Qur'anic exegesis, law and legal theory, history, philosophy, and theology.

Muslim Women throughout the World

Muslim Women throughout the World: A Bibliography.

By Michelle Kimball. Boulder, CO: Lynn Rienner Publishers, 1996.
[Robarts Library 4th Floor Reference Area Z 7963 .I74K56 1996X]
A list of over 3000 English-language books and articles on Muslim women throughout the world. Most of the works are scholarly studies but some fiction, travel accounts, popular publications, and semi-devotional works are listed. Includes an annotated list of 50 recommended books and articles resulting from a survey of specialists.


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