As an academic field, Islamic Studies covers the religion, law, culture and society of the Islamic Orient in the past and present. The Islamic Orient is in a situation of profound social and political change, which is due to a significant extent to its encounter with the societies of the Western world. Understanding of the current situation can be gained only from exact knowledge of the traditions and the historical conditions that have influenced these changes or continue to influence them. In this context, Islamic Studies is also concerned with the relations between the Islamic Orient and Europe. The Institute of Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin is organized as a historical and social science discipline.