A comprehensive but concise guidebook to Islamic civilization by a Muslim intellectual. Nasr is a Harvard- and MIT-educated Iranian who was the dean of Arts and Sciences at Tehran University. He explains Islamic law, society, cultural and intellectual life, science, philosophy, and Sufism from the Islamic traditional point of view, and disputes the view of Muslim modernists and Western scholars that Islam is irrelevant to present-day life. He identifies Islam's contributions and contributors to Western civilization, finding much more unity and continuity in all aspects of Islam than the West recognizes. He objects to modernization because, in his view, it means secularization--spread in the Muslim world through education, Western-style nationalism, and European arts and sciences (the example of Saudi Arabia, of course, suggests otherwise). One of the greatest evils of secularization, to Nasr, is the attempt to make women equal to men. Women who want to be equal have a sense of inferiority which they seek to overcome by becoming males. He calls on the concerned to defend the values of traditional societies--male virility and female receptivity--before the spreading poison of modernity drags down all humankind. Despite such false notions of modernity, Nasr is erudite and sometimes eloquent in discussing Islamic civilization and its rich heritage--and his work thus offers an alternative to the misleading, sometimes hostile, literature of the Orientalists.