Page:A dictionary of Islam.djvu/13

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vii
PREFACE.

the compilation of this Dictionary, was one from a well-known Arabic scholar, to the effect that the value of the work would be enhanced if the quotations from the Qur'an, and from the Traditions, were given in their original Arabic. This, however, seemed incompatible with the general design of the book. The whole structure of the work is intended to be such as will make it available to English scholars unacquainted with the Arabic language; and, consequently, most of the information given will be found under English words rather than under their Arabic equivalents. For example, for information regarding the attributes of the Divine Being, the reader must refer to the English God, and not to the Arabic allah; for all the ritual and laws regarding the liturgical service, to the English prayer, and not to the Arabic salat; for the marriage laws and ceremonies, to the English marriage, and not to the Arabic nikah. It is hoped that, in this way, the information given will be available to those who are entirely unacquainted with Oriental languages, or, indeed, with Eastern life.

The quotations from the Qur'an have been given chiefly from Palmer's and Rodwell's translations; and those in the Qur'anic narrative of Biblical characters (moses for example) have been taken from Mr. Stanley Lane Poole's edition of Lane's Selections. But, when needful, entirely new translations of quotations from the Qur'an have been given.

The "Dictionary of Islam" has been compiled with very considerable study and labour, in the hope that it will be useful to many;—to the Government official called to administer justice to Muslim peoples; to the Christian missionary engaged in controversy with Muslim scholars; to the Oriental traveller seeking hospitality amongst Muslim peoples; to the student of comparative religion anxious to learn the true teachings of Islam;—to all, indeed, who care to know what are those leading principles of thought which move and guide one hundred and seventy-five millions of the great human family, forty millions of whom are under the rule of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Empress of India.