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The Cambridge History of Islam
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    Schwartz, Kathryn A. 2009. Charting Arabic Cryptology's Evolution∗. Cryptologia, Vol. 33, Issue. 4, p. 297.

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    The Cambridge History of Islam
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055055
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First published in 1970, The Cambridge History of Islam is a most comprehensive and ambitious collaborative survey of Islamic history and civilization. On publication it was welcomed as a work useful both for reference and reading, for the general reader, student and specialist alike. It has now been reprinted, with corrections, and for ease of handling the original two hardcover volumes have each been divided into two separate paperbacks.


‘… undoubtedly a very valuable and very much needed contribution to the field of Islamic studies. It is a thoroughly scholarly and often erudite presentation of the entire Muslim world that will be consulted by the specialist and non-specialist for many years to come.’

Source: The Middle East Journal

‘On the basis of length and scope, the History is the most comprehensive, and at the same time the most detailed study of Islam so far attempted, and … it is likely to remain so for at least another generation.’

Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society

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    pp 441-468
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    There is a closer relationship between Islam and its geographical setting, than that of any other of the great monotheistic religions. At the time of Muhammad, the oases of the Hijaz were prosperous market towns; these cities were caravan centres which had organized the relations between southern Arabia and the Mediterranean world ever since the decline of the former, towards the end of the fifth Christian century, had permitted them to take up the reins and assume the directing role. Two very different families of nomadic peoples, the Arabs and the Turks, undertook the diffusion of Islam, and the imprint left on the human landscape differed in each case. The essential instruments for the conversion of the countryside to Islam were the nomads rather than the peasants. The Muslim town, in fact, bears the marks of an almost total absence of municipal organization. Islam affected the condition of agriculture most through its landowning structure and laws of real property.
    pp 511-538
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    Arab immigration into neighbouring territories to the north of their peninsula had started many centuries before Muhammad, and the conquest. The coming of Islam was accompanied by a development of urbanization. In the economic-social structure, the principal distinction to be noted is that between the town and the countryside. The medieval Muslim world was situated almost exclusively within the subtropical zone. The agriculture of the Muslim countries has given rise to a special literature, the forerunner of which appeared in Iraq the 'Nabataean agriculture' of Ibn Wahshiyya, a mixture of oral traditions and borrowings from ancient treatises. In the Abbasid period, the great centre for the whole of the East was Baghdad, to be replaced after the fifth/eleventh century by Cairo, while the distant countries of the Muslim West also had their own activities, though on a smaller scale. In the Umayyad period, the governmental and administrative institutions were relatively simple.
    pp 632-656
    • By Fazlur Rahman, Central Institute of Islamic Research, Karachi
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    The period in which formative developments took place in Islam, and at the end of which Muslim orthodoxy crystallized and emerged, roughly covered a period of two centuries and a half. Sufism has exercised, next to orthodoxy, the greatest influence on the Muslim community because of its insistence on the inner reform of the individual, and has, ever since its birth, posed the biggest challenge to orthodoxy down to the dawn of modern times. From the sixth/twelfth century onwards, Sufism became a mass movement in the form of organized brotherhoods which invaded the entire Muslim world from east to west. The criticism of historic Muslim social institutions by orientalists and Christian missionaries specifies the objectives of social reform for the Modernist. A real, effective renaissance of Islam is not possible until educational developments reach the point of contributing from an Islamic standpoint to the humanities of the world at large.
    pp 671-682
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    In imperial Persia secular literature had been of a courtly character, and both its form and content reflected the tastes and interests of the kings and nobles who were its chief patrons. The destruction of Sasanian power brought to an end this system of patronage, and in the subsequent period of disruption, change and readjustment, Muslim Persians began to apply their talents to the enrichment of Arabic writing. The Shah-nama was written in an era when historical events, particularly in eastern Persia, encouraged a hopeful and spirited mood. The Sufi way of life, which advocated intense love and devotion as the means of attaining truth, found a considerable following in Persia, and Sufi convents grew increasingly popular after the fourth/tenth century. Persian mystics often were men of outstanding sensitivity and employed poetry or poetical diction to express their thoughts and to move their fellow men.
    pp 682-694
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    Islam came to the Turks through Persia. From the fifth/eleventh century, general Islamic culture was adopted by the Turks in a rather Persian form, and the new Persian literature became the source of inspiration for Turkish writers. Eastern Turkish was used as the literary language from the eleventh century until the end of the nineteenth century in all the countries where Turkish was spoken or where Turks ruled except the Ottoman Empire, western Persia and southern Crimea. In the seventh/thirteenth century a written language which was the continuation of Kara-Khanid Turkish was developed in Khwarazm in the Sir Darya delta, and from here it passed on to the Golden Horde. In recent times Navai has been regarded both as one of the greatest poets of the world, and as a mere follower of the Persian classics. The political and administrative reform movement known as the Tanzimat, which begin in 1839, had some effect on literature after 1850.
    pp 695-701
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    Urdu is the language spoken by the Muslims and by certain non-Muslim elements in the urban areas of West Pakistan and north-western India. The Sufi shaykhs, engaged in the dual task of converting the non-Muslims around them, and of evolving a technique of religious communication with their illeducated disciples, used an early form of Urdu for their popular writings, reserving the use of Persian more and more for learned dialectics. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, Urdu prose had consisted either of theological literature with an arabicized syntax or of ornate magical romances. The Mutiny of 1857, its failure, and the liquidation of Muslim supremacy in Delhi, mark a sudden revolution in Urdu poetry. Urdu fiction had begun in the later eighteenth century with the dastans of the Amir Hamza cycle. The Muslim historical novel in the hands of 'Abd al-Halim Sharar romanticized the Muslim past in stereotyped colour and imagery and rather cheap sentimentality.
    pp 702-740
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    This chapter provides an overview of Islamic art. The earliest mosques, such as the Prophet's mosque at Medina, or those of Kufa and Basra, were primitive structures, erected of perishable material. Three mosques had been erected during the reign of the Patriarchal Caliphs. The first was at Basra in 14/635 and the second at Kufa in 17/638. The third mosque was built by Amr b. al-As, the conqueror of Egypt, at Fustat in 21-2/641-2. The largest and probably the most beautiful Umayyad palace is Khirbat al-Mafjar in Jericho. The Great Mosque of Samarra, built by al-Mutawakkil is the largest mosque in Islam. Excavations by Soviet archaeologists in Samarqand and Afrasiyab, and by the Metropolitan Museum at Nishapur, exposed an interesting type of pottery. The Fatimids came to power in Tunisia and founded their capital Mahdiyya with its Great Mosque.
  • 10 - SCIENCE
    pp 741-779
    • By G. Anawati, Institut Dominicain d’Etudes Orientales, Cairo
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    Practical science was composed of personal morality, domestic morality and politics, to which Ibn Sina also appended prophetology. In the 'Prolegomena', Ibn Khaldun, the celebrated historian and sociologist of the eighth/fourteenth century, has given a clear account of the whole field of the sciences as they appeared in his time. Muslim arithmeticians practised exponentiation, and the extraction of square and cube roots, sometimes using the formulae of root approximation borrowed from the Byzantines. The general Ptolemaic theory, accepted by nearly all Muslim astronomers, met with opposition only in Spain, where Ibn Bajja, Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd rejected, in the name of Aristotle, the Ptolemaic account of the movements of the heavenly bodies. In the field of pharmacology, Muslim physicians enriched the materia medica inherited from Greece. In the Middle Ages, Muslim scientists were indisputably at the peak of their progress, scientific curiosity and research.
    pp 851-889
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    From the seventh to the ninth Christian century, Muslim invasions and raids in the Mediterranean basin brought Christendom face to face with the warlike and destructive aspect of Islam. The cultural contact between Islam and Christendom, which began in the days of the Cordova amirate, was carried on intensively by the Mozarabic and Jewish elements throughout the period of Arab domination. The praiseworthy activities of the learned men who flocked thither from every part of Europe, in order to study the treasures of Graeco-Arab philosophy and science, were a striking feature of a great part of the twelfth century. In the field of philosophy it is generally maintained that what the West knew of Greek thought, and in particular of Aristotle, was transmitted to it by the Arabs. Arab medicine, culminating in Ibn Sina, remained until the closing years of the Renaissance the most authoritative source of Western theory and praxis.

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W. Marçais , ‘L'Islamisme et la vie urbaine,’ Comptes-rendus de l' Académie des Inscriptions (1928).

E. S. Kennedy , ‘Later medieval planetary theory’ in Isis, 57 (1966).

D. C. Dennett Conversion and the Poll-tax in Early Islam.Cambridge, Mass., 1950.

D. E. Ashford Political Change in Morocco.Princeton, 1961.

H. A. R. Gibb Modern Trends in Islam.Chicago, 1947.

S. Gopal British Policy in India, 1858–1905.Cambridge, 1965.

G. Makdisi Ibn ‘Aqīl et la résurgence de l'Islam traditionaliste au XIe siècle, Ve siècle del'Hégire.Damascus, 1963.

V. P. Menon The Transfer of Power in India.Bombay, 1957.

J. A. B. Palmer The Mutiny Outbreak at Meerut in 1857.Cambridge, 1966.

J. Rypka History of Iranian Literature.Dordrecht, 1968.

D. E. Smith India as a Secular State.Princeton, 1963.

R. W. Southern Western views of Islam in the Middle Ages.Cambridge, Mass., 1962.