There are a large number of articles and books on the topic of Islamic finance. A smaller number of studies, particularly in recent years, have been devoted to the study of Islamic economics. To our knowledge, however, there is no volume that considers Islam and the broader economic sphere, that is, how Islam shapes, and interacts with, the economy and economic life. Why is there a need for such a volume? An obvious starting point is that, according to the 2009 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report, 1.6 billion, or nearly one in four people in the world, are Muslims (60 per cent in Asia, 20 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa, 15 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, 2.4 per cent in Europe and 0.3 per cent in the Americas). There are 57 Muslim majority (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC) countries. In addition, one in five Muslims live in a country where Islam is a minority (160 million in India, 38 million in Europe and 5 million in the Americas). Clearly Muslims are an important part of the world economy. But why Handbook on Islam and Economic Life and not, say, a study of the economies of the various Islamic countries, such as the contribution of the OIC countries to the world system? An overriding reason is that Muslims everywhere ought not to separate economic activities from the religion – the pursuit of economic activities needs to be based on moral and legitimate foundations.