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By Philip K. Hitti

Professor Hitti, the celebrated authority at the Islamic international, perspectives the highlights of Arab background during the home windows of the capital towns the place these occasions happened. The account specializes in six towns -- Mecca, the spiritual capital; Medina, the caliphal capital; Damascus, the imperial capital; Baghdad, the highbrow capital; Cairo, the dissident capital; and Cordova, the eu capital. The process is ancient instead of geographical, and the booklet is addressed to the scholar and the aesthetic layman instead of the professional. travelers to the center East and Spain will also locate the e-book specially attention-grabbing. the writer describes the actual settings of the towns, the first occupations of the folks, and the numerous huge constructions. He discusses such glossy background of a urban as is suitable to the tale, however the emphasis is at the interval of Arab ascendancy -- approximately, the 7th to the 13th century. as well as Arabic resources, he fees Europeans' descriptions the place acceptable (such descriptions are infrequent simply because Europeans weren't allowed in such towns as Mecca and Medina). As he makes transparent, the six towns have been greater than capitals; they left their indelible imprint not just at the next heritage of the Arabs and different Moslems yet at the improvement of civilization at huge.

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Example text

For the first time in its history the Peninsula was seemingly united under one scepter and subjected to one prophet. One of the generals who contributed to that end was a brilliant Qurayshi, Khalid ibn-al-Walid. " As the Book of Allah, the Koran, complete and ready, existed from eternity, but was dictated piecemeal to Muhammad in the course of twenty-two years beginning 610. Revelations were occasioned by particular conditions confronting the Prophet partly in Mecca, mostly in Medina. During his lifetime Muhammad does not seem to have attempted a systematic collection of his revelations and their fixing by committal to writing.

Its Quraysh were peerless as custodians of a national shrine, controllers of international trade, and consummate politicians. No, not Medina but Mecca was to be the radiant center of Islam and its religious capital. So long as Muhammad was in Mecca, he was on the defensive. His attitude was conciliatory; his approach basically religious. But now the situation radically changed. His attitude became hostile and his approach politico-military. "Subdue and convert" was the new motto, of which a better version would read: subdue and conversion will follow.

Piety featured their daily conduct. The principal events enacted in Medina under the Orthodox caliphate can be summed up under four headings: the Islamization of the Peninsula, the canonization of the Koran, the conquest of the Fertile Crescent, Persia, and Egypt, and the civil war. Islamization and conquest went to a certain extent hand in hand now and later. In the case of the bulk of Arabia both were the proud achievement of the first caliph abu-Bakr (632-634), father-in-law of the Prophet and a former merchant.

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