Long before the events of September 11, 2001, BYU Studies began working on this special issue focusing on Islam. The authors and editors who worked on this issue have tried to capture the spirit of a religion that provides guidance to the lives of millions of people worldwide. The ever expanding influence of Islam extends to the prominent and often controversial role that Islam plays in contemporary politics. In addition, Muslim theology, scripture, art, science, and communal values have made significant contributions to world civilization. And in quiet yet significant ways, dialogue and contact between Latter-day Saints and Muslims have increased. Consequently, the editors of BYU Studies believe an issue devoted to Islam will increase understanding and allow for continued dialogue and friendship between members of the two faiths. But for such a journey to be successful, one must first understand the basic features of Islam.