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The Legacy of Islam

Kitab Bhavan

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ISBN 10: 8171512399 / ISBN 13: 9788171512393
Published by Kitab Bhavan, 1997
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Legacy of Islam

Publisher: Kitab Bhavan

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

About this title


an excerpt from the: PREFACE !--end of chaptitle--The Legacy of Islam is a companion volume to The Legacy of Greece, The Legacy of Rome, The Legacy of the Middle Ages, and The Legacy of Israel. It seeks to give an account of those elements in the culture of Europe which are derived from the Islamic world. Broadly speaking, the Legacies of Greece and Rome are the legacies of two homogeneous and original cultures, each emanating from a definite geographical centre. The Legacy of the Middle Ages is the legacy of an epoch in the development of western European civilization. The Legacy of Israel is 'the contribution that has come to the sum of human thought from Judaism and from the Jewish view of the world'. The Legacy of Islam is to be understood in a different sense from any of these. It is a provocative title, the meaning of which is only fully explained by the book itself. The nearest parallel is the Legacy of Israel. But whereas it is from the religion of the Jews that the complexion of the Legacy of Israel is derived, in the Legacy of Islam we do not treat of the Legacy of the religion of Muhammad qua religion: the reader will learn from this book that there is little that is peculiarly Islamic in the contributions which Occidental and Oriental Muslims have made to European culture. On the contrary, the legacy has proved least valuable where religion has exerted the strongest influence, as in Muslim Law. But Islam is the fundamental fact which made the Legacy possible. It was under the protection and patronage of the Islamic Empire that the arts and sciences which this book describes flourished. Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and the language of Arabia lies behind all that has been written in this book. Islamic and Arabic have often been used as interchangeable terms, and Language and Religion in the great days of the Muslim Caliphate were inseparable. Arabic is the Greek of the Semitic world, and it was a fortunate thing for Islam that its message was delivered at a time when Arabic was potentially at its zenith. Aramaic was a poverty-stricken tongue compared with Arabic, and not even classical Hebrew at its best could rival Arabic in its astonishing elasticity. From its own inner resources it could evolve by autogenous processes the 'mot juste' which new arts and new sciences demanded for their intellectual expression. A fundamental characteristic of the Semitic languages is to have only three consonants to the verb. There are exceptions to this rule in the various languages, but such exceptions are comparatively rare. It follows almost inevitably that compound words to express complex ideas arc practically unknown in Arabic. Consequently, it is the more interesting and remarkable that a language which is so circumscribed should be able to cope with all the lore of the Greek world and so seldom give rise to a suspicion that any strain is being put upon its resources.

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