that the Qur'an
itself contains the record of his efforts to reach a meagre
knowledge of the great religion which surrounded Arabia, and
that the recognition of this leads, as I believe, to the explanation
of one or two things in the Qur'an and in the Prophet's career
which have hitherto been obscure. The Qur'an having thus developed
unexpected interest, has occupied more space than I had originally
designed to give it. In quoting from it, I have in some passages,
particularly those from the earlier surahs, given my own interpretation
of the Arabic; in others the rendering of Rodwell or of Sale
has been adopted.
The transliteration of Arabic names is always a difficulty.
I have not sought to be pedantically accurate, but have been
content to adopt forms already current in English, or to represent
the Arabic spelling by the nearest equivalent in Roman characters.
Diacritical points have, however, sometimes been used. Any inconsistencies
which have thus crept in will not, I hope, be found confusing.
Where an Arabic word or phrase has had to be discussed, I have
aimed at greater accuracy in transliteration.
I have tried not to overload the text with footnotes; and
while I hope the essential references are given, I have omitted
to refer to many books from which I have received help.