About the book:
Joseph Hell’s The Arab Civilization, first published in 1926, is a concise and informative description of Arab civilization from pre-Islamic Arabia to Muslim Spain. The first half of the book, covering Arabia before Islam, the time of the Prophet Mohamed, and the early Caliphate, concentrates on the socio-political situation of the time. The latter half, which deals with The Omayyads, Baghdad, and Muslim North Africa and Spain, gives a detailed and insightful look into the arts and sciences, including the acquisition of knowledge, the refinement of crafts, architecture and social developments. Compared to other works, very little attention is given to the politics of the Islamic empire, making this a very useful book for those interested in the arts and civil society during the Golden Age of Islam. Joseph Hell, in this work, is fairly objective – although the translator, S. Khuda Bukhsh, does not hesitate to insert his responses where he disagrees with the author. particularly on the character of Mohamed.