Lectures on the Development of the Islamic or World-View, 
Intellectual Tradition and Polity

Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah

Published by Adam Publishers & Distributors Shandar Market, Chitli Qabar, Delhi, India


Part I


History of the Qur'an
The Earlier Prophets and their Books
Non-Quranic Prophets
The History of the Earlier Scriptures
The Four Gospels
The Preservation Of The Qur’an
Compilation Of The Qur’an
Compilation Of The Qur’an In The Prophet's Time
Compilation Of The Qur’an During Abu Bakr's Regime
Compilation After Abu Bakr's Regime
Uthman's Role In The Compilation Of The Qur’an
Authenticity Of The Qur’anic Text

History of Hadith 
History of Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence and Ijtihad
International Law
State and Administration
Educational System
Lawmaking and Judiciary
Revenue and Calendar 
Propagation of Islam


[Publisher's preamble and discussion of this book]

The Emergence of Islam is an attempt to present, in clear and simple English, the contents of a series of twelve lectures delivered by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah in March 1980 at Islands University, Bahawalpur. The lectures, which were delivered without even the help of notes, are the result of a life-long study of, and reflections on, the early period of Islam by one of the best-known Muslim scholars of our time. In these lectures the learned author attempts o highlight the basic thrust of Islamic teachings and to outline the formative period of Islam's intellectual and institutional history. Drawing upon his vast reservoir of knowledge, Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah attempts to explain, in a manner that would make even a lay audience appreciate, the genesis and growth of Islamic thought, society and state, and of the institutions which were developed o translate Islamic norms into terms of practice.

Delivered in an easy-to-understand Urdu, and a style that is inimitably simple, informal and lucid, the lectures are strikingly free of academic jargon and pedantry. The author successfully attempts to convey a synthetic picture of Islam as it unfolded itself in the early period of its history - as a religion, as a community, as a state, as an intellectual tradition, and as a set of institutions which evolved under Islamic inspiration. Luckily, the lectures, which had a large audience who found the presentations very illuminating, were tape-recorded. This made it possible o have them transcribed and subsequently to publish them, presumably without the least editing, under the title Khutbat-i Bahawalpur ("Bahawalpur Lectures"). A slightly revised edition of the Lectures was published in 1985 by the Islamic Research Institute. Since then, the Lectures have gone into several prints. The interest they generated and the appreciation they evoked are an index of the esteem in which Dr. Hamidullah's scholarship is held, especially in the South Asian Sub-continent.

With a view to make this scholarly work available to a larger body of international readership, the Islamic Research Institute decided to prepare and publish its English version. That the Institute should have taken up this task was in the fitness of things for a variety of reasons. The Lectures are, in the first place, a work of redoubtable academic value and that in itself is reason enough for their publication in a language of international importance such as English. At the same time, in addition to its being an honour to the Institute, the publication of this work also constitutes a token of the our appreciation for, and gratitude to, Dr. Hamidullah. For, apart from having an unmatched record of dedicated scholarship, he has also constantly supported and patronised this Institute. To mention merely one act of his generosity and support, about a decade ago Dr. Hamidullah graciously donated the entire amount of the Award which he received from the Government of Pakistan for his distinguished scholarly contribution to Strah studies.

The Institute was singularly fortunate in having been able to persuade a person of such an established calibre and standing as Dr. Afzal Iqbal to prepare the English version of the work. The task which he undertook was simply stupendous. For, quite evidently, the readers of the English version were bound w be different from those of the original Urdu work. They were bound to differ in their intellectual background, in their taste, and in their sensibilities. All this is in addition to the fact that lectures delivered without having been committed to writing usually do not make a readable book. Thus some change in style and a degree of editing was considered necessary while preparing the English version because the expectations of readers of a book differ from those of the audience of a lecture, even more so when the book would be in a language other than the one in which the lectures were delivered. The task was rendered even more difficult because the lectures were followed by questions and answers which form part of the Khutbat. The answers of the author doubtlessly provide very useful material for reading and reflection. However, as would seem natural. not every question was of equal interest and value, nor of equal relevance to the theme of the work.

It was decided, therefore, with the kind permission of the author, to bring out a version that would attempt to render the Khutbat into English without necessarily trying to produce its literal translation. Thus, a good deal of discretion was exercised; or to put it differently, a degree of liberty was taken with the Urdu text. Among other things, it appeared desirable to reduce the size of the book so as to make it more readable. The draft, therefore, was tightened up at several places. At places some details were omitted. Some of the questions and answers were also omitted, and on one occasion or more, the answers given by the author were merged with the main body of the lectures, As one who has remained closely in touch with Dr. Afzal Igbal during the course of this demanding work, I am a first-hand witness to the painstaking effort that he has made so as to make a valuable piece of scholarly work available to the readers of English. There can be no doubt that he deserves to be wholeheartedly applauded both for the skill and the speed with which he accomplished the task.

It seems necessary to place on record the debt of gratitude this institute roves to several institutions and individuals in connection with this work. First of all, we would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Afzal Iqbal who worked extremely hard and did, in our view, a fine job of rendering this work into English. We also owe profound thanks so the International Islamic Association of Hong Kong and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Islamabad who made substantial financial grants towards the preparation of the English version. The International Institute of Islamic Thought also provided their computer and printer facilities as well as the services of their technical staff which enabled us to have the manuscript composed for printing at a time when the Institute Press was under heavy pressure. Their assistance is gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to the Da'wah Academy of the International Islamic University who have joined hands with us in the publication of this work, and who have generously undertaken to have this work distributed across the world. To the Director General of the Dawah Academy, Dr. Mahmood Ahmed Ghazi, we are exceedingly thankful for his constant encouragement and his readiness to assist us in a variety of ways. specially for his enthusiastic willingness to promote this work.

Thanks are also due to Mr. Muhammad Naeem, Assistant Editor of Islamic Studies, who took great pains in editing and proof-reading this work. Mr. Amjad Mahmood assiduously fed the manuscript into the computer and, with remarkable patience, carried out editorial changes time and again. At the final stages, he was assisted by Mr. Ruth Khan, and, finally, by Mr. Tahir Farkhan Ahmad. The latter's experience in book-composing proved to be of great value. Mr. Zafar Ali, the Manager of Islamic Research Institute Press, took keen personal interest in producing an elegant book. Dr. Muhammad Tufail, Assistant Professor in the Islamic Research Institute, kindly prepared the index of the book. Dr. M. Khalid Mas'ud, Professor in the Institute, like ever, provided much valuable help. To all of them we owe our sincere thanks. Dr. M. Idris Zubair, Assistant Professor, International Islamic University, Islamabad also rendered valuable service in the stages of the publication of the work.

The last, but not the least is the author, Dr. M. Hamidullah, to whom we are immensely grateful. He allowed us to bring out this English version. Moreover, as ever before, he showed absolute unwillingness to accept any material benefit in return for his generous permission to publish this work. He seems more than content - as would only a selfless and pious Muslim scholar of his standing - with the valuable contribution that he has made to the dissemination of the truth and with the reward which he expects from God in the Hereafter. May God bless him. 

Zafar Ishaq Ansari

[Commentary by the translater]

I am no translator. The only translation I ever attempted was from French into Urdu. It took me years to translate Albert Camus' slim novel L'Etranger. I do not know why Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari of [the] Islamic Research Institute asked me to translate a bulky volume in Urdu into English and set me a time limit of three months. It was a mad assignment. I undertook it in a weak moment in the Ramadan of 1992. The result was daily work from four in the morning to one o'clock in the afternoon. The first draft was delivered on time. But meeting the deadline was merely a beginning. The manuscript has since been revised twice and the coming months will hopefully see the culmination of a work which was entrusted to a novice whose main qualification was enthusiasm.

Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah delivered twelve lectures in Urdu at the Islamia University, Babawalpur in 1980. The extempore discourses were published verbatim in Urdu together with questions and answers after every lecture. The second edition of the Lectures came out in 1985. The work has made a mark of its own on Urdu readers who are indeed indebted to the author for his erudition and lucid exposition of a subject which is of universal interest. Its rendering into English is designed to make the result of profound scholarship available to a much larger audience which should be able now to avail itself of the significant contribution made by an eminent scholar to modern Islamic studies.

The Urdu work was simply called Bahawalpur Lectures. We have summed up the subject in the title of the book which we have chosen to call The Emergence of Islam. The work has been divided into two parts comprising six chapters each. Part I basically deals with the historical perspective while Part II is concerned with the society set up by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and gives a glimpse of the institutions created to deal with the new order. 

In trying to strengthen the thematic unity of the work, we have taken the liberty of eliminating questions considered not centrally relevant to the subjects of different lectures. Dr. Hamidullah was gracious enough to give a reply to every question, but all queries were not equally relevant or significant. In view of their significance, some of the replies have been incorporated in the main lectures while a few others have been omitted. We realise that we have gone beyond the province of a translator. In assuming the added function of an editor, however, we believe we have been able to make the presentation a little more coherent. All our trespasses will hopefully be forgiven if only we have been able to produce a readable book. Considering that this is our first attempt at translating a major Urdu work into English, we hope the reader will be indulgent and the author not too angry at our maiden effort in communicating the core of his message to mankind. The author inspired us to undertake a difficult task. We have tried, in our own humble way, to convey his ideas to the English reading public which needs a lucid and authentic introduction to Islam, a polity that has been subjected to deliberate distortion and misrepresentation.

This work could not have been completed without the help of Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari, Director General, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, who gave us guidance, cooperation and all possible secretarial assistance. We are indeed grateful to him and his staff, particularly Mr. Amjad Mahmood, his Private Secretary, who produced a number of typescripts.

Afzal Iqbal