Middle East and Islamic Studies Collections: an Exhibition of Treasures
Islam was founded in Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad. Born in Mecca (c.550 CE), he received the Qur’an from the archangel Gabriel during a vision and believed this to be the uncreated word of Allah, embodying the earlier teachings of both Jews and Christians. Islam regards Muhammad as the last in a series of prophets whom God had sent to both communicate the Qur’an and restore purity of religion. By the time of his death in 632 CE, his followers were a powerful and dominant force, who subsequently conquered much of Asia, Africa and parts of Europe.
Islam is the source of collective social, cultural and religious identity for over a billion of its believers today. Up until modern times, for majority of Muslims, the religion and politics were inseparable, and this still holds true, to some extent, in many societies and in some parts of the world. For centruries since the advent of Islam, the primary identity of Muslim peoples has been religious, then ethnic or geographic. It is difficult to overemphasize the role that Islam plays in all aspects of Muslim societies and cultures.
Islam was introduced and researched as part of the theological studies programme in Durham University from the early part of 19th century. The books on Islam and Muslims have been collected in Durham throughout that period in Durham University Library and by its benifactors. Today, the University Library supports a vibrant community researchers, teachers and students of Islamic studies from many disciplines across the Universitywith a wealth of archival and modern sources of scholarship for the study of Islam and its manifestations.
Durham University Library
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