Preface to the Third Edition
This edition does not differ from the second except in a few words and phrases as demanded by clarity or syntactical precision. The changes are unnoticeable except in verbatim comparison. Hence, there is no need to mention them.
My reticence to undertake more serious emendation of the text is not due to any judgment on my part that in its second edition the book is perfect. I do not tire of repeating here what I said in the preface to the first edition, namely, that this book is merely the beginning of scientific Islamic research in an important field. I have discussed many problems attendant upon such research in my book Fi Manzil al Wahy ["At the Locus of Revelation"] written after my pilgrimage and following the traces of the Prophet through Hijaz and Tihamah. I therefore refer the reader to it. Preoccupied with other things during the last eight years I have not been able to pursue my study of the life of the Prophet, of his teaching, and the careers of his companions, nor to analyze in detail the general assertions of the concluding chapters of the second edition. But I hope God will grant me the power to do so in a separate book devoted entirely to the subject. Perhaps, after reading the conclusion of the present edition, the reader might even share this hope with me.
Finally, I thank God for the appreciation with which this book has been met by Muslim as well as non-Muslim readers, and for the reviews and announcements of it in the publications of East and West. I pray Him to guide those who undertake the continuation of this research that they may be capable of bringing it to its ultimate purpose of service to the truth.