The Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Handbook

The Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Handbook

The Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Handbook

The Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Handbook

Excerpt

In 1939 the prospect of a war which would involve many Asian nations made men in positions of responsibility in Britain suddenly aware of the meagre number of our experts in Asian languages and cultures. The Scarbrough Commission was set up, and its report led to a great expansion of Oriental and African studies in Britain after the war. In the third decade after 1939 events are making clear to ever-widening circles of readers the need for something more than a superficial knowledge of non-European cultures. In particular the blossoming into independence of numerous African states, many of which are largely Muslim or have a Muslim head of state, emphasises the growing political importance of the Islamic world, and, as a result, the desirability of extending and deepening the understanding and appreciation of this great segment of mankind. Since history counts for much among Muslims, and what happened in 632 or 656 may still be a live issue, a journalistic familiarity with present conditions is not enough; there must also be some awareness of how the past has moulded the present.

This series of 'Islamic surveys' is designed to give the educated reader something more than can be found in the usual popular books. Each work undertakes to survey a special part of the field, and to show the present stage of scholarship here. Where there is a clear picture this will be given, but where there are gaps, obscurities and differences of opinion, these will also be indicated. Full and annotated bibliographies will afford guidance to those who want to pursue their studies further. There will also be some account of the nature and extent of the source material.

The present volume differs in some ways from the others so far published, though it may be said to survey the present state of our knowledge of Islamic chronology. The intention, however, is rather that it should prove a useful reference book to many classes of workers in the field of Islamic history.

The transliteration of Arabic words is essentially that of the second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam (London, 1960 . . .

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