Islam and the Integration of Society

Islam and the Integration of Society

Islam and the Integration of Society

Islam and the Integration of Society

Excerpt

T o try to write something which will be of interest to both orientalists and sociologists suggests the fool who rushes in. Yet that is what I have done. Perhaps this book, despite its imperfections, will bring home to sociologists the value of the material to which Islamists have access and will help Islamists to appreciate the importance of asking sociological questions.

Since the book is likely to be read by those who have not specialist knowledge of Islam, nothing has been assumed, but there are explanations of most matters and many repetitions. If to some readers the repetitions seem tedious, I would crave their indulgence and ask them to remember that not all have their specialist knowledge.

The sociologically-minded reader will find a good general account of Islam in Sir Hamilton Gibb Mohammedanism (Home University Library), while Bernard Lewis The Arabs in History is a convenient brief presentation of the historical background. The publication of this book is likely to be preceded by that of an abridgement of my two volumes on Muhammad, entitled Muhammad, Prophet and Statesman.

Arabic names have been transliterated according to one of the standard British systems. It proved impracticable to have diacritical marks in the text, but they are to be found in the index. One modification has been made in the system, namely, the use of an apostrophe between two consonants to indicate that they are not to be sounded together, e.g. Is'haq. Apart from this the pairs of consonants dh, gh, kh, sh, th represent each a single sound. The apostrophe elsewhere -- between two vowels, or between a consonant and a vowel -- stands for the glottal stop which the Arabs regard as a consonant.

Among the people to whom I am indebted are colleagues at Edinburgh, especially J. R. Walsh and Pierre Cachia, who have discussed various matters with me, and J. Spencer Trimingham, of Glasgow, who kindly commented on the first draft of the section on West Africa.

W. MONTGOMERY WATT

Edinburgh, September, 1960.

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