The development of Islamic Studies during the twentieth century and beyond has found little favor with Islam as a religious phenomenon. The field became dominated by rigid paradigms or concepts of antagonism and hostility among the monotheistic or Abrahamic creeds. One can cite Edward Said’s “Orientalism” (1978), Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” (1993, 1996) or the Chicago “Fundamentalism” Project (1991-1995). Paradigms lacked an awareness of the diversity of Islam and the complexity of interfaith encounters. The paper, providing a critical review of such paradigms, aims to highlight the importance of having a historical perspective, and to examine more concrete communal realities, by using sociological and cultural insights as well as comparative religion.