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    The Cambridge History of Islam
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055024
    • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464
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Book description

First published in 1970, The Cambridge History of Islam is the most comprehensive and ambitious collaborative survey of Islamic history and civilization yet to appear in English. On publication it was welcomed as a work useful for both 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.

Reviews

‘ … 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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  • 1 - Pre-Islamic Arabia
    pp 1-29
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focusses on pre-Islamic Arabia, the history of the ancient Semitic Near East, and the history of the medieval Islamic world. The south is the region of dominance in pre-Islamic Arabia, and the Arabs of the north move in the orbit of the powerful south. Religion was an important fact in the history of the south and its peoples. In the history of Arabia, the peoples of the south were able to develop a civilization within its confines and thus relieved it of its character as a mere 'Semitic homeland' or an 'ethnic reservoir'. The history of the Arabs in the arid area of the north presents a spectacle which contrasts with that of their Semitic neighbours to the south. The dismantling of the Arab military establishment in the third century opens a new historical period in the evolution of the Arabs which lasts for some three centuries until the rise of Islam.
  • 2 - Muhammad
    pp 30-56
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For the occidental reader there are grave difficulties in attaining a balanced understanding of the historical role of Muhammad. The religious movement may be said to have begun with two visions experienced by Muhammad and briefly described in Sūra 53 of the Qur'ān, verses 1-18. The message of the Qur'ān, both in this early form and in its later developments, has sometimes been regarded by Christian and Jewish scholars as a pale reflection of some points in the teaching of the Old and New Testaments. The Qur'ān offered the Arabs a monotheism comparable to Judaism and Christianity but without their political ties. From an early date in the Medinan period, Muhammad had contracted alliances of different kinds with nomadic tribes. At first some were merely pacts of non-aggression, since Muhammad was in no position to give effective help to tribes close to Mecca.
  • 3 - The Patriarchal and Umayyad caliphates
    pp 57-103
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During a momentary pause, 'Umar paid homage to Abū Bakr, Muhammad's intimate friend and collaborator, by grasping his hand as was the custom when a pact was concluded, and his example was followed by others. Abū Bakr thus became the successor of the Messenger of God and in this way the caliphate was founded, an institution which had no equivalent, and was destined never to have any, outside the Muslim world. As soon as the rebellion in Arabia had been suppressed, Abū Bakr sent the tribes he had just subdued to carry war into the lands beyond the borders. The Caliph 'Uthmān therefore decided to have the exact and definitive Qur'anic text established by a committee of experts. During the Umayyad Caliphate poetry explored new paths. The last of the Umayyads, Marwān II, had gained military experience during the campaign in the Caucasus, and his unusual energy had earned him the nickname of al-Himār.
  • 4 - The ‘Abbasid caliphate
    pp 104-140
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The 'Abbasid dynasty, known to its supporters as the 'blessed dynasty', which imposed its authority on the Islamic empire in 132/750, claimed to inaugurate a new era of justice, piety and happiness. A great obscurity shrouds the nature of this movement, the yandaqa, which was in evidence at the beginning of the 'Abbasid period. The civil war between al-Amīn and al-Ma'mūn had demonstrated the need for the caliph to have at his disposal an armed force which was completely loyal to him and which was outside religious quarrels. Al-Mutawakkil, who took his dignity as a ruler very seriously, also governed in a very authoritarian fashion. Al-Muktafi also attempted, in the course of his brief reign, to strengthen the governmental machine. The effacement of the caliph served in fact to sanction the parcellingout of the Arab-Muslim empire, with the development of new centres, both political and intellectual, and the reappearance of local cultures.
  • 1 - The disintegration of the caliphate in the east
    pp 141-174
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The many disorders in the government, the deposition of caliphs and wazīrs, the arbitrary attitudes of the Turks, the quarrels between the different sects and theological schools, all prepared the way for new political changes in the eastern Fertile Crescent. The central authorities at Baghdād and the caliphs themselves were thus largely restricted in their freedom of action. Even before the end of the fourth/tenth century the Buyids had, in the main, to be content with maintaining the essentials of their own internal and external security. The Seljuks did not halt in Persia and the eastern Fertile Crescent. Like the Ghaznavids before them, the Seljuks and their Turkish warriors soon succumbed to the spell of that Persian culture which had just been brought to its peak by Firdawsī. Seljuk Anatolia also shortly after fell into the hands of the Mongols, and the sultans there had to take an oath of fidelity to the khans.
  • 2 - Egypt and Syria
    pp 175-230
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For more than two centuries after the Arab conquest, Egypt was a province of the Islamic empire. During the first centuries of Muslim rule, the Hellenistic era in Egypt and Syria came to an end. A primary factor in the arabization of the two countries was the massive movement of Arabs from Arabia. Jawhar, a slave of European origin, was the real conqueror of Egypt and the architect of Fatimid military power. The Fatimids had failed to complete the 'Abbasid pattern of triumphal progress from the periphery to the centre, from revolution to universal empire. In Syria too the Ayyubid principalities, though divided, maintained a measure of family co-operation in striking contrast with the regional squabbling of earlier times. For more than half a century after the coming of the Crusaders, the Egyptians held on to their bridgehead at Ascalon, using it as a base for raids into Palestine. The recruitment of Turkish mamlūks was a long-established practice in Egypt.
  • 3 - Anatolia in the period of the Seljuks and the Beyliks
    pp 231-262
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The foundation of the Great Seljuk empire and the domination of the Islamic world by the Turks is a turning point in the history of Islamic civilization and the Muslim peoples. The Seljuk state of Rūm was founded after, and because of, the movement of a large number of Turcoman tribes to Anatolia. After Süleymān's death, his sons who were with him were sent to Malik-Shāh; for a period of time, 479-85/1086-92, the throne of Iznik was vacant, and the political unity of Anatolia was broken. The quarrels between Kilij Arslan's sons, which began in 584/1188, continued after their father's death in 588/1192, and ended with the occupation of Konya by Süleymān, in 593/1196. The Mongol conquest caused the migration of a Turcoman population to Anatolia similar to that of the first Seljuk conquest. After a period of crisis from 676/1277 Turkey had a relative recovery in the period of the beyliks.
  • 4 - The emergence of the Ottomans
    pp 263-292
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the second half of the seventh/thirteenth century, as the Seljuk state fell apart, a number of principalities of a new kind came into being in the western marches of Anatolia. The emergence of the Ottoman state can be understood only in the context of the general history of the marches. The marches from the Byzantine frontier along the River Sakarya to Kastamonu were subject to the emīr of Kastamonu. The principalities of the marches had a distinct way of life, which could be described as a frontier culture, and this distinguished them clearly from the hinterland. The most salient characteristic of the culture which developed in these Turcoman principalities, was the survival of essentially Turkish cultural traditions within the context of Islamic culture. Bāyezīd crossed over to the Balkans and annexed the Dobruja; Tirnova, Shishman's capital, was occupied on 7 Ramadān 795/17 July 1393.
  • 1 - The rise of the Ottoman empire
    pp 293-323
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter shows that the conquest of Constantinople was a matter of vital concern to the Ottomans. The conquest of Constantinople turned Sultan Mehmed II overnight into the most celebrated sultan in the Muslim world. Between 858/1454 and 867/1463 Mehmed fought for mastery in the Balkans. In 873/1468 Mehmed finally annexed the territory of Karaman. Mehmed II's death was followed by a bloody revolt of the Janissaries, a dangerous civil war between two pretenders to the throne, Jem and Bāyezīd, and widespread movement of reaction against the Conqueror's policies. The Ottoman victory is described in the customary 'despatch of conquest', which Sultan Selīm sent to his son Süleymān. The Ottoman victory at Chāldirān marked a turning-point in the history of Anatolia. There were obvious political reasons why Ottoman sultans of the age of decline reformulated and appropriated the classical theory of the caliphate.
  • 2 - The heyday and decline of the Ottoman empire
    pp 324-353
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In 938/1532 Francis I admitted to the Venetian ambassador that he saw in the Ottoman empire the only force guaranteeing the continued existence of the states of Europe against Charles V. Francis I followed a personal secret policy of always maintaining the Ottoman connexion, while keeping this secret from the Western Christian world and even from his own subjects. The central part of the Hungarian kingdom was annexed to the Ottoman empire under the name of the province of Buda. The sultan recognized the Habsburg emperor as his equal, acknowledging his title of Kaiser. Disorder in the Ottoman state was due first of all to the weakening and fragmentation of the authority of the sultan. During the Thirty Years War the Ottoman-protected principality of Transylvania constituted a Protestant fortress against the Habsburgs. It had been a great political success for the Ottomans to have strengthened Transylvania as a counter-weight to the Habsburgs.
  • 3 - The later Ottoman empire in Rumelia and Anatolia
    pp 354-373
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The treaty of Carlowitz marks a turning-point in Ottoman history. The ideas of liberty and nationalism engendered by the French Revolution found a fertile ground among Christian peoples, who had begun their westernization much earlier than the Turks, and were encouraged by Christian powers to fight for their national liberation. The reforms of the Ottoman body politic were started in earnest by Sultan Mahmūd II, a strong and proud ruler who has rightly been compared with Peter the Great. Their principal aim was to save the empire by modernizing its decaying institutions. Consequently, Mahmūd broke the power of the provincial notables in Rumelia and of the Anatolian hereditary and virtually independent feudatories, some of whom had set up benevolent and popular administrations. Perhaps the most important result of the Tanzīmāt was the formation of a moderately progressive Muslim middle-class intelligentsia, whose membership consisted of civil servants, army officers, writers and a number of 'ulemā'.
  • 4 - The later Ottoman empire in Egypt and the fertile crescent
    pp 374-393
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The decline of the Ottoman state, which manifested itself in the eleventh/late sixteenth-seventeenth centuries, affected the Arab provinces as well as the older dominions of Anatolia and Rumelia. The course of the Ottoman decline accelerated during the twelfth/eighteenth century. In Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, factional contests for power reappeared in the great towns, and new local despotisms were established. The piercing of the Ottoman shield was to be still more strikingly demonstrated when Bonaparte occupied Egypt in 1213/1798, an episode which attracted the intervention of Britain, and helped to create the Eastern Question of nineteenth-century diplomacy. The conflict between Britain and France in Egypt at the beginning of the nineteenth century opened over a hundred years of rivalry in the Near East. Operations in the eastern Fertile Crescent were controlled by the government of India, which had a traditional concern with the Persian Gulf region.
  • 5 - Safavid Persia
    pp 394-429
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Despite recent research, the origins of the Safavid family are still obscure. The death of Safī al-Dīn in 735/1334 coincided with the break-up of the Mongol empire of the Il-Khāns in Persia and the eastern Fertile Crescent. Junayd's son, Haydar, became head of the Safavid order, and maintained the close alliance with the Ak-Koyunlu by marrying Uzun Hasan's daughter. Within a period of ten years from the date of his accession at Tabrīz, Ismā'īl conquered the whole of Persia, and incorporated the eastern Fertile Crescent in the Safavid empire. Within a short time, friction developed between the Turcoman and the Persian elements in the administration. By the end of Tahmāsp's reign, the offspring of unions with these Georgian prisoners must have constituted a new and not inconsiderable element in the Safavid state. The revolution in the social structure of the Safavid state effected by 'Abbas I was naturally reflected in the principal offices of state.
  • 6 - Persia: the breakdown of society
    pp 430-467
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    After expelling the Afghans, Nādir Shāh recovered the provinces taken from Persia by the Ottomans and the Russians. There was a tendency during the reign of Nādir Shāh towards a more direct administration and a strengthening of the central government, but no effective measures were taken to develop the resources of the country. Shah 'Abbās had settled a branch in Shāhijahān on the Özbeg frontier, and another in Astarābād on the Turcoman frontier. The civil administration was based on the pattern of that of the Safavid empire, the origins of which are to be found in much earlier times. The general tendency of Islamic political and religious thought on the whole made for conservatism. The treaty of Turkomānchāy marked a major change in Persia's position towards Russia, and also in the position of Britain and Russia in Persia.
  • 7 - Central Asia from the sixteenth century to the Russian conquests
    pp 468-494
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    After the formation of the three great Islamic empires of the Ottomans, the Safavids and the Mughals, the situation of Central Asia in the following centuries was determined. From the threshold of modern times Central Asian history becomes provincial history. The conquest of the khanate of Sibir by the Russians was the starting-point for their domination as far as the Pacific and also deep into Central Asia. The Persian Shāh 'Abbās the Great expelled the Özbegs again from their conquests in Khurāsān in 1007/1598. In contrast to Khokand, and also to Khīva, the khanate of Bukhara almost always suffered losses of territory in the nineteenth century. Chinese trading stations were set up at several points in the Kazakh settlement area; Kazakh trading caravans penetrated Outer Mongolia and the Tarim basin. The khanate of Khīva was now encircled in every direction by Russian territory, which for all practical purposes included the khanate of Bukhārā.
  • 8 - Tsarist Russia and the Muslims of central Asia
    pp 503-526
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the reign of Peter the Great, the Russians planned to enter eastern Turkistān by going up the Irtysh river. In May 1866 the cities of Khojand and then Ura-Tübe were taken by the Russians. The entire area acquired in these campaigns was annexed to Russia, and a governorate-general of Turkistān was established in 1867. From time to time the British had opposed the occupation of Central Asia by the Russians. They never liked the Russian advance towards India, and they wanted to stop the Russian occupation of the Khīva, Bukhārā and Khokand khanates. The steppes of the Turkish Kazakhs were annexed to Russia by their own request, and geographical conditions there were not attractive to Russian colonists. After the Russian occupation, there was no fundamental difference in the lives of the people who lived in the territory annexed to Russia or who lived under the Bukhārā khanate.

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.


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W. Caskel Entdeckungen in Arabien. Cologne, 1954.

W. Caskel Lihyan und Lihyanisch. Cologne, 1954.

E. Eickhoff Seekrieg und Seepolitik zwischen Islam und Abendland. Berlin, 1966.

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

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A. H. Lybyer The Government of the Ottoman Empire in the time of Suleiman the Magnificent. Cambridge, Mass., 1913.

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