This series of volumes on the manifold facets of Islamic culture is intended to acquaint a very wide public with such matters as: the theological bases of the faith and principles that constitute the bedrock of the overall structure; the status of the individual and of society in the Islamic world; the expansion of Islam since the Revelation: the Arab, Asian, African and European spheres espousing the new faith and the way in which the rights of converted peoples have been upheld; the vital contribution of Islamic civilization to the adventure of human knowledge in science and technology; the educational and cultural manifestations of Islamic civilization in literature, the visual arts and architecture; finally, Islam today between loyalty to its past and the inescapable conquest of modernity.
Research into Islamic science and technology is still in its early stages, but there is now sufficient material available for a preliminary study. Volume IV is intended to fill a gap which deserves a major multi-volume work. Part II deals with agricultural science, alchemy, chemistry and chemical technology, mining and metallurgy, military technology, textiles and manufacturing industries, mechanical technology, civil engineering, navigation and ship-building, medicine and pharmacy. Historians of Islamic science tend to limit their studies to the period up to the 16th century but, Part II of this volume also deals with the continuation of science and technology in the Ottoman Empire, India and Iran.