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.
The third volume in the series looks at Islam from a historical and geographical angle, and describes the social and religious setting in which the Prophet Muhammad and his successors undertook to spread the teachings of Islam. The main features of the political system founded by the Prophet are outlined, and we follow the emergence of the umma or Islamic community. The Muslim faith spread into Arabia and beyond through jihad, preaching and diplomacy. In places as far apart as Persia, Africa and Europe the process of Islamization faced widely differing challenges. The skills of the Muslim armies are described in this volume, and the role of the jihad is considered. We look at the Muslim institutions that were established previously non-Islamic societies, and the contribution of those civilizations to Islamic science and culture. The impact of Western colonialism on Muslim countries is evaluated, as is the situation of Muslim minorities in Western countries today.