Examining the theoretical problems which arose when the modern European ideology of nationalism was adopted by Muslim societies organized into formally modern states, this book, first published in 1987, also deals with the practical difficulties arising from the doctrinal incompatibility between Islam and the non-Muslim concept of the territorial nation-state.
It illustrates this conflict with a consideration of the record of several states in the Islamic world.
It suggests that whereas the state, an organization of power, has been a most durable institution in Islamic history, the legitimacy of the nation-state has always been challenged in favour of the wide Islamic Nation, the "umma", which comprises all the faithful without reference to territorial boundaries.
To this extent too, the more recent conception of Arab nationalism projects a far larger nation-state than the existing territorial states in the Arab world today.
This title will be of interest to students of Middle Eastern studies.