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Extra resources for A record of Buddhistic Kingdoms : being an account by the Chinese monk Fâ-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline translated and annotated with a Corean recension of the Chinese text by James

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With the expansion of Islam and the foundation of the Arab empire, it became a world language and the language of medieval Islamic civilization, the Latin of the Muslim world. But the most remarkable result of its association with the Qur'an has been the maintenance of its original structure throughout this long period of thirteen centuries, a linguistic feature which has had far-reaching extra-linguistic consequences in Arab history. It proved to be the single most important factor in the rise of Arab nationalism in the nineteenth century, and has functioned, 28 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA particularly after the secularization of Arab society and the political fragmentation of the Arab world, as the most objective element in Arab nationalism.

To emphasize such dependence, however, even if there were more justification for the assertions than there is, diverts attention from a proper understanding of the beginnings of the Islamic religion in its historical context. In a sense we can say that the ideas of the early passages of the Qur'an were accepted by Muhammad and his followers because they thought they were true; but this does not explain why certain ideas were selected for emphasis. When a modern scholar looks at the relation of these ideas to the historical situation in Mecca in the years from 610 onwards, he sees that they are specially appropriate and relevant.

The Ethiopian occupation lasted for about half a century, punctuated by the revolt of Abraha, an Ethiopian soldier of fortune who killed the Himyaritic viceroy of the negus, and asserted his virtual independence. Various activities are associated with his name as the building of a famous church in San'a', al-Qalis{eccksid), but more celebrated is his expedition against Mecca which, if proved historical in its important details, would be a contemporary testimony to the rising power of that caravan-city and the 14 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA Arab area.

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A record of Buddhistic Kingdoms : being an account by the Chinese monk Fâ-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline translated and annotated with a Corean recension of the Chinese text by James by Fa Xian; James Legge


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