Islamic studies is generally known as an effort to know everything related to the religion of Islam. In other words we can say that Islamic studies is a conscious and systematic effort to understand Islam comprehensively and discuss lock, stock and barrel about Islamic religion and wahtever related to it such as it's teachings, history, daily practice, doctrines etc.
To study particular religion is not the right of it's followers and adherents only but also the outsiders. As matter of fact, there are some non-Muslim who devoted his life to study Islam. Islamic studies to the Muslim people is to understand deeply about his religion, it's teachings and practices so that he can implement it in a correct way. While the non-Muslim's motivation to study Islam is merely for the sake of knowledge and science.
The non-Muslims who study about Islam is known as the orientalists (Mushtashriqin). The orientalist literary means the one who study about the oriental world. That is the study about the east, including the world of Islam, by the westerners. Earlier, their studies were emphasized on the negative side of Islam to seek the weakness of the doctrines and daily practices along the history of Islam. But ultimately, many of them found the truth and have an objective and scientific view about Islam as a religion which in turn showed them the way to embrace Islam. Certainly their founds contributed positively to the development of Islamic studies and to the Muslim people itself.
The reality of the historical fact showed that Islamic studies which dominated by the Muslim scholars was subjective, apologetic and exclusive in character. By that way, the Islamic teachings that comes from Quran and Hadith which was basically rational and adaptive to the development of the world become static to the global changes, therefore it will be out of date. Ironically, the phenomenon mentioned above has been, all the times, the goal of the orientalists to prove that Islam is irrational, unable to respond the global changes and therefore it is not suitable for the modern world. As a result they believe that Islam is a menace to the development of the modern world which is promoted by the western countries.
The contact between the modern civilization and Muslim civilization suggested the Muslim scholars to be objective and open to the outsider's view which in turn, introduced the scientific approach as well as rational and objective studies to the Islamic world and civilization including the study of Islam within the Muslim perspective itself. At las it will develop the "Islamic studies" to be more relevant to the need of Muslim people particularly in the response to the challenge of the modern world and global era.