By Philip K. Hitti

Professor Hitti, the prestigious authority at the Islamic global, perspectives the highlights of Arab historical past during the home windows of the capital towns the place these occasions happened. The account makes a speciality of six towns -- Mecca, the non secular 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 publication is addressed to the scholar and the classy layman instead of the professional. travelers to the center East and Spain will also locate the e-book particularly fascinating. the writer describes the actual settings of the towns, the first occupations of the folk, and the numerous enormous buildings. He discusses such sleek historical past of a urban as is proper 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 charges 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 historical past of the Arabs and different Moslems yet at the improvement of civilization at huge.

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The precise meaning of the verse is not clear, but its interpretation by the theologians left no doubt about the meaning. No non-Moslem is allowed to step on the inviolable soil of Mecca at any time, and the blood of him who ventures is legitimate game. Somehow the forbidden sign over Mecca's door was magnified to include not only Medina but a considerable portion of Hijaz. But while it deterred many, the mystery behind it attracted a few. The curiosity aroused was scientific as well as adventurous.

Khaybar's turn came now. The Jewish tribe of Khaybar, as intransigent as their coreligionists in Medina, had made of their oasis a stronghold considered impregnable against 37 MEDINA Bedouin attack, but the new attack was of a different kind. After a two-week assault ending June 628, the settlement yielded and was rendered innocuous. It agreed to give half of its produce of the land to the victor and live in peace under his protection. The JewishArabian problem was solved. " That made them sharers with Moslems of the privilege of being depositories of revealed scriptures, with the difference that the Koran was in perspicuous Arabic (6:59; 16:105; 26:29; 43:1-2).

It sought new channels for its expression. Islam substituted for it the holy war (jihad): military action aimed at the expansion of the faith as well as its defense. Theoretically it is the only form of war authorized, leaving no room for such thing as secular war (2:186-190). Jihad sets the community of Islam against the world, paralleling the view of modern communism. As for him who dies in the jihad, he dies in the path of Allah; he stays alive (2:149) and his share in Paradise is immediately assured.

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