There is little doubt that the civilization of Islam is undergoing a monumental crisis. In one form or another, this crisis has been going on for well over two hundred years. It still has not worked itself out. Islam as a religion, as a method of worship for millions of believers, is most certainly alive and well. The vitality of the faith is palpable. So is what most people, especially in the West, understand to be Islam nowadays; namely the political and violent manifestations of radical Islam. These are ever present and have caused the rest of the world profound concern and anxiety. When Islam is seen only in terms of the ideology of political Islam, it is not in crisis, but rather one cause of crises. Both these aspects of Islam - religious observance and the political arena - seem to give the lie to the assertion that Islam is in retreat. But focusing on the religiosity of Muslims or on the rise of political Islam simply deflects or disguises the problem. The world which Islam has built over the centuries - its civilization in the broadest sense of the word - has been seriously undermined. How this came about and whether the damage inflicted on Islamic civilization is terminal or not is the subject of this book.
-Ali Al Allawi, from the prologue to The Crisis of Islamic Civilization