Cover image for A history of Islamic societies
A history of Islamic societies
Lapidus, Ira M. (Ira Marvin)
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxx, 970 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS35.63 .L37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this second edition, first published ijn 2002, Ira Lapidus explores the origins and evolution of Muslim societies. The book, revised and updated, is divided into three parts. The first covers the formative era of Islamic civilization. The second traces the diffusion of worldwide Islamic societies, while the third explores their reaction to European imperialism, and emergence as independent states. The concluding chapters consider Islam's recent history, the formation of Islamic revival movements and global Islamic identities. The book is essential reading for students and for those seeking to understand the Muslim peoples.

Author Notes

Ira M. Lapidus is Professor Emeritus of History, University of California at Berkeley

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A Berkeley history professor directs his research to the general reader in this historical account of Islamic societies throughout the world. First the book presents the life and beliefs of the Prophet himself and illustrates Islam's initial contact with the other civilizations of its period and place. Lapidus then traces the origins of Islamic culture in the Middle East and shows its spread throughout the region and into Asia and Africa through the nineteenth century. Most pertinent for today, the author examines the Islamic revival in Iran and the current rise of Arab nationalism. An in-depth and detailed treatment but one that is highly accessible and instrumental in clarifying the aims and directions of Muslim society in both a political and a religious sense. Maps, glossary, and bibliography; to be indexed. JB. 909'.097671 Islamic countries-History / Islam-History [CIP] 87-11754

Library Journal Review

Respected scholar Lapidus here emphasizes what he argues to be the distinctive features of Islamic societiesthe developments of communal, religious, and political institutions. The book's first section deals with the Islamic transformation of traditional Middle Eastern societies; the second, the diffusion of Middle Eastern Islam to other regions; and the last, the disruptions of Muslim societies with the collapse of the Islamic empire and European domination. The book covers Africa and Central and Southern Asia as well as the Middle East. Recommended for all research and general library collections. J. Anthony Gardner, California State Univ., Northridge (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Lapidus (University of California, Berkeley) asserts that the common perception of Muslim societies is that state and religion are unified, and that Islam is a total way of life that defines political as well as social and familial matters. Yet, historically, most Muslim societies did not and do not conform to this ideal, and were and are built around separate state and religious institutions. Lapidus, author of Muslim Cities in the Later Middle Ages (CH, Jun '67), Middle Eastern Cities (1969), and Contemporary Islamic Movements in Historical Perspective (1983), has written an encyclopedic survey of Muslim societies through history. This single-volume history is intended to supplement The Cambridge History of Islam (CH, May 71), and is aimed at a broad audience. It covers all the areas worldwide in which the more than 900,000,000 Muslims now reside. The work includes descriptions of the various Muslim brotherhoods and religious divisions, and demonstrates convincingly that Islam is not a monolithic whole. The book is well illustrated with photographs and sketch maps. It contains a lengthy bibliography, lineage tables, and a useful glossary of Muslim terms. Destined to become a classic, it is highly recommended for college and public libraries. -P. F. Barty, University of North Alabama

Table of Contents

Part I The Origins of Islamic Civilization: The Middle East from c.600-1200
The Preaching of Islam
1 Arabia
2 The Life of the Prophet
The Arab-Muslim Imperium, 632-945
3 The Arab conquests and the socio-economic bases of empire
4 The Caliphate
5 Cosmopolitan Islam: the Islam of the imperial elite
6 Urban Islam: the Islam of the religious elites
7 Islamic culture and the separation of state and religion
8 The fall of the 'Abbasid empire
From Islamic Culture to Islamic Society: Iran and Iraq, 945-c.1200
9 The post- 'Abbasid Middle Eastern state system
10 Muslim communities and Middle Eastern societies
11 The collective ideal
12 The personal ethic
Part II The Worldwide Diffusion of Islamic Societies from the Tenth to the Nineteenth Century: Introduction
The Middle Eastern Islamic Societies
13 Iran: the Mongol, Timurid, and Safavid empires
14 The Turkish migrations and the Ottoman empire
15 The Arab Middle East
16 Islamic North Africa and Spain to the nineteenth century
Islam in Central and Southern Asia
17 Inner Asia from the Mongol conquests to the nineteenth century
18 The Indian subcontinent: the Delhi Sultanates and the Mughal empire
19 The formation of Islamic societies in Southeast Asia
Islam in Africa
20 Islam in Sudanic, Savannah, and Forest West Africa
21 Islam in East Africa and the rise of European colonial empires
Part III The Modern Transformation: Muslim Peoples in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Introduction
Nationalism and Islam in the Middle East
22 Iran: state and religion in the modern era
23 The dissolution of the Ottoman empire and the modernization of Turkey
24 Egypt: secularism and Islamic modernity
25 The Arab Middle East: Arabism, military states, and Islam
26 North Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Secularism and Islam in Central and Southern Asia
27 The Indian subcontinent: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
28 Islam in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
29 Inner Asia under Russian and Chinese rule
Islam in Twentieth-Century Africa
30 Islam in West Africa
31 Islam in East Africa
32 Muslims in Europe and America
Conclusion: secularized Islam and Islamic revival