Religious Studies: Islam

Other Background (Reference) Materials
Audiovisual Materials


This Web guide is intended to introduce information resources pertaining to Islam. It is a guide to get you started; there are many more resources available, so this is just a jumping-off point for your research.

Ask Us for help if you need assistance in finding information about Islam.

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Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference materials can be used to identify important concepts, find definitions, and gather background information on a topic. The University of Lethbridge Library has a large collection of reference materials related to religious studies. Following are a few of the key reference resources related to Islam:

The Islamic World: Past and Present (DS 35.53 I86 2004, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Includes broad coverage of modern topics.

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (BP 40 E525 2004, Reference Collection, Level 10 AND online)
A good general guide for those with limited background knowledge of Islam.

Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Culture (HQ 1170 E53 2003, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This encyclopedia surveys the broad spectrum of women's lives in cultures where Islam has been a significant presence.

The Encyclopaedia of Islam (DS 37 E523 1986, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This comprehensive 10 volume work includes contributions from many leading researchers in the field. Most entries deal with the pre-modern period.

A Popular Dictionary of Islam (electronic resource)
Both a dictionary and a glossary of terms that attempts to cover the entire field of Islam. Also includes brief biographies of eminent Muslims and Islamic scholars throughout the ages.

Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran (PJ 6696 Z8 P4 1976, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Includes "copious grammatical references and explanations of the text". A reprint of the 1873 ed. published by H. S. King, London.


Following is a list of general religious studies resources which you may also find useful is beginning your research:

Encyclopedia of Religion (BL 31 E46 2005 AND online)
A core reference text which takes a cross-cultural approach that emphasizes religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture.

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (BL 31 O84 1997, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Provides a general overview of a broad range of religious studies concepts.

Religion: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia (BL 80.2 L463 1996, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Another resource providing a general overview with a focus on the historical origins of religions

New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (BR 95 N48 1991, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A resource comprised of hundreds of articles on the most influential people in culture and Christendom. Each entry gives a short description a person's historical significance or main theological beliefs.

Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion (BL 65 P7 E53 2007, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This work traces the historical roots of the relations between politics and religion in the modern world, especially over the past two centuries.

Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America (BL 458 E52 2006, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A comprehensive and current description and analysis of women and religion in North America. The encyclopedia is interreligious, interracial, and multicultural and is aimed at a broad general audience.

Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion (BL 458 E53 1999, Reference Collection, Level 10)
The work endeavours to be a "culturally and historically comprehensive reference work that reflects contemporary approaches to women's history and experience in world religion from the beginning of time to the present."

Sexuality and the World's Religions (BL 65 S4 S5 2003, Main Collection, Level 9)
A look at how the world's major religions influence the sexual values, attitudes, and practices of their adherents.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (BL 65 N35 E53 2005, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Critically explores the relationships among human beings, their environments, and the religious dimensions of life in 1,000 entries from 520 international. contributors.

Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought (B 41 R43 1996, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A useful reference book with extensive inclusion of terms and concepts from Eastern religions"

The Continuum Dictionary of Religion (BL 31 C67 1994, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Includes 5,000 entries which explain theological concepts, religious practices, deities, beliefs, religious articles, schools of theological thought, and religious groups and traditions. Each definition explains what a thing is and its significance to the religion to which it belongs; it also note similarities between the term defined and ideas in other religions and refer the reader to those entries either through embedded cross-references.

The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (BL 245 H57 2000, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Comprehensive treatment of the subject of science and religion.

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Other Background (Reference) Materials

There are many versions and translations of the holy religious texts available in the library. Following is a selected list:


Sacred texts of the world: A universal anthology (BL 70 S247 1982, Main Collection, 9th Floor)
Provides a broad overview of numerous world religions.

Sacred Texts: THE QURAN

The Quran - Oxford World's Classics (electronic resource)

The Quran: An Encyclopedia (electronic resource)

The Quran - Credo Reference (electronic resource)

The Holy Qur'an : Arabic text and English translation (BP 109 1997, Main Collection, 9th Floor)

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The library's catalogue provides access to the collections in this library which are of books, as well as audiovisual materials, government documents, microforms, and electronic resources. You can search the library catalogue for specific titles, works by a particular author, or on a specific subject.

Subject Headings are terms assigned to each item to describe its content, using a set of standards that is applied to all items in the database. Below are a few of the standard subject headings used to describe content in the area of Islam and religious studies:




Islam -- Doctrines

Islam -- customs and practices

Muhammad, prophet, d. 632

Notice all of the sub-headings beneath the major subject terms which allow you to get more and more specific in terms of topic or geographic location.

These same terms (and more) will work as keyword searches, but you will get many more (and possibly irrelevant) results using a keyword search. Try both and take it from there. If you search any term in the 'subject' field, the catalogue will try to suggest related subjects for you to try, as well as more sub-categories of the subject. Of course, if you know the title or author of a book, you can search the catalogue using those fields as well.

General Resources

A few examples of some of the research guides on religious studies in the main collection that may help you get started with your research are listed below:

Research Guide to Religious Studies (BL 41 W5 1982, Main Collection, 9th floor)

Library Research Guide to Religion and Theology: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources (BL 41 K45, Main Collection, 9th floor)

You can also do an 'advanced keyword search' and restrict the 'material type' to limit your search to e-books only.

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The most current information and research on any academic topic is generally found in articles. To find articles in journals, newspapers and magazines (also dissertations, conference proceedings, government documents, and book chapters), search in the Library's subscription databases. The University of Lethbridge subscribes to several specialized databases for religious studies.

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Scholarly Approaches to the Study and Teaching of Religion
A website developed by the University of Lethbridge Department of Religious Studies with numerous links to aid in the academic study of religion.

BBC Religions: Islam
An informative introduction to all major religions of the world.

Islam and Islamic Studies Resources A selective list of Islamic resources on the web maintained by Professor Alan Godlas of Religious Studies at the University of Georgia, limited to primary sources and scholarly secondary sources. The site is intended to be of use for non-Muslim and Muslim students and teachers at all levels as who wish to get a non-sectarian view of Islam and the diverse perspectives of Muslims.

Wellcome Arabic Manuscripts A searchable online catalogue of 500 Islamic manuscripts, including digital images of the manuscripts themselves. A work in progress.

Internet Sacred Text Archive
A collection of Western, Eastern, and traditional religious texts.

Religious Studies Web Guide
A collection of free internet resources of use to researchers involved in the academic study of religion maintained at the University of Calgary.

Intute: Arts and Humanities
A collection of web links for religious studies evaluated and maintained by subject specialists in the UK.

The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
Information on denominations, specific congregations, locales, historical perspectives, and more... Data are available via hundreds of data files, searchable by country, category, popularity, denomination, etc. 

Religion... by the numbers
A huge array of sites which offer statistics on various religious denominations.

Virtual Religion Index
Index with numerous links to religion related websites.
A guide produced by a research institute on Islam in Western Europe. Contains country and city profiles, news articles, publication summaries and reviews, and other links.

Islam in Western Europe
An internet guide produced by a German Islam scholar, containing multilingual links to other sites including organizations, documents, research institutes, and mosques.

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Audiovisual Materials

To find audiovisual materials in the library catalogue go to 'Advanced Keyword' search and then limit by material type (film/video). For example there are numerous films and video on the topic of religion and Islam.

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If you need help finding or using information about Islam:

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: January 5, 2012
 Content Created: April 19, 2010

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