Parouse.com
 Parouse.com



William Montgomery Watt (14 March 1909 – 24 October 2006) was a Scottish historian, Orientalist, Anglican
Anglican
priest, and academic. From 1964 to 1979, he was Professor
Professor
of Arabic
Arabic
and Islamic studies
Islamic studies
at the University of Edinburgh. Watt was one of the foremost non- Muslim
Muslim
interpreters of Islam
Islam
in the West, and according to Carole Hillenbrand "an enormously influential scholar in the field of Islamic studies
Islamic studies
and a much-revered name for many Muslims all over the world". Watt's comprehensive biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Muhammad
Muhammad
at Mecca (1953) and Muhammad
Muhammad
at Medina (1956), are considered to be classics in the field.[1]

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Career

2.1 Ordained
Ordained
ministry 2.2 Academic career

3 Later life 4 Honours 5 Watt's views 6 Criticism 7 Selected works 8 References 9 External links

Early life and education[edit] Watt was born on 14 March 1909 in Ceres, Fife, Scotland.[2] His father, who died when he was only 14 months old, was a minister of the Church of Scotland.[2][1] Career[edit] Ordained
Ordained
ministry[edit] Watt was ordained in the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
as a deacon in 1939 and as a priest in 1940.[3] He served his curacy at St Mary The Boltons, West Brompton, in the Diocese of London
Diocese of London
from 1939 to 1941.[3] When St Mary's was damaged in The Blitz, he moved to Old Saint Paul's, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
to continue his training.[3] From 1943 to 1946, he served as an Arabic
Arabic
specialist to the Anglican
Anglican
Bishop of Jerusalem.[2] After Watt returned to academia in 1946, he never again held a full-time religious appointment. He did, however, continue his ministry with part-time and honorary positions. From 1946 to 1960, he was an honorary curate at Old Saint Paul's, Edinburgh, an Anglo-Catholic
Anglo-Catholic
church in Edinburgh.[3] He became a member of the ecumenical Iona Community in Scotland in 1960.[1] From 1960 to 1967, he was an honorary curate at St Columba's-by-the-Castle, near Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Castle.[3] Between 1980 and 1993, following his retirement from academia, he was an honorary curate at St Mary the Virgin, Dalkeith
Dalkeith
and at St Leonard's Church, Lasswade.[3] Academic career[edit] He was Professor
Professor
of Arabic
Arabic
and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh
from 1964–79. He has been called "the Last Orientalist".[4] Watt held visiting professorships at the University of Toronto, the Collège de France, and Georgetown University Later life[edit] Watt died in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
on 24 October 2006 at the age of 97.[5] Honours[edit] Watt received the American Giorgio Levi Della Vida Medal and won, as its first recipient, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies award for outstanding scholarship.[1] Watt received an Honorary Doctorate from Aberdeen University.[6] Watt's views[edit] Watt believed that the Qur'an
Qur'an
was divinely inspired, though not infallibly true.[4] Martin Forward, a 21st-century non- Muslim
Muslim
Islamic scholar, states:

His books have done much to emphasize the Prophet's commitment to social justice; Watt has described him as being like an Old Testament prophet, who came to restore fair dealing and belief in one God to the Arabs, for whom these were or had become irrelevant concepts. This would not be a sufficiently high estimate of his worth for most Muslims, but it's a start. Frankly, it's hard for Christians to say affirmative things about a religion like Islam
Islam
that postdates their own, which they are brought up to believe contains all things necessary for salvation. And it's difficult for Muslims to face the fact that Christians aren't persuaded by the view that Christianity is only a stop on the way to Islam, the final religion."[7]

Carole Hillenbrand, a professor of Islamic History at the University of Edinburgh, states:[1]

He was not afraid to express rather radical theological opinions – controversial ones in some Christian ecclesiastical circles. He often pondered on the question of what influence his study of Islam
Islam
had exerted on him in his own Christian faith. As a direct result, he came to argue that the Islamic emphasis on the uncompromising oneness of God had caused him to reconsider the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, which is vigorously attacked in the Koran as undermining true monotheism. Influenced by Islam, with its 99 names of God, each expressing special attributes of God, Watt returned to the Latin word "persona" – which meant a "face" or "mask", and not "individual", as it now means in English – and he formulated the view that a true interpretation of Trinity
Trinity
would not signify that God comprises three individuals. For him, Trinity
Trinity
represents three different "faces" of the one and the same God.

His account of the origin of Islam
Islam
met with criticism from other scholars such as John Wansbrough of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, and Patricia Crone
Patricia Crone
and Michael Cook, in their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977), and Crone's Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam.[8] Criticism[edit] Pakistani
Pakistani
academic, Zafar Ali Qureshi, in his book, Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad and His Western Critics: A Critique of W. Montgomery Watt
W. Montgomery Watt
and Others has criticized Watt as having incorrectly portrayed the life of Muhammad
Muhammad
in his works.[9] Qureshi's book was praised by Turkish academic İbrahim Kalın,[10] and has been seen by its proponents as an attempt at countering orientalist bias, inaccuracies and distortion.[11] Qureshi makes his case against Watt by stating:

"Dr. Watt has presented a highly distorted picture of the Life and Teachings of Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad. (peace be upon him). I have refuted his untenable hypotheses, biassed and prejudiced conclusions, and tried my level best to put the record straight."[12]

Georges-Henri Bousquet has mocked Watt's book, Muhammad
Muhammad
at Mecca, as an "A Marxist interpretation of the origins of Islam
Islam
by an Episcopal clergyman."[13][14] Selected works[edit]

The faith and practice of al-Ghazālī (1953) ISBN 978-0-686-18610-6 Muhammad
Muhammad
at Mecca (1953) ISBN 978-0-19-577278-4 Muhammad
Muhammad
at Medina (1956) ISBN 978-0-19-577307-1 (online) Muhammad: Prophet
Prophet
and Statesman (1961) ISBN 978-0-19-881078-0, a summary of the above two major works (online) Islamic Philosophy
Islamic Philosophy
and Theology
Theology
(1962) ISBN 978-0-202-36272-4 Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets (???) Islamic Political Thought (1968) ISBN 978-0-85224-403-6 Islamic Surveys: The Influence of Islam
Islam
on Medieval Europe (1972) ISBN 978-0-85224-439-5 The Majesty That Was Islam
Islam
(1976) ISBN 978-0-275-51870-7 What Is Islam? (1980) ISBN 978-0-582-78302-7 Muhammad's Mecca (1988) ISBN 978-0-85224-565-1 Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions (1991) ISBN 978-0-415-05411-9 Early Islam
Islam
(1991) ISBN 978-0-7486-0170-7 Islamic Philosophy
Islamic Philosophy
And Theology
Theology
(1987) ISBN 978-0-7486-0749-5 Islamic Creeds (1994) ISBN 978-0-7486-0513-2 History of Islamic Spain (1996) ISBN 978-0-85224-332-9 Islamic Political Thought (1998) ISBN 978-0-7486-1098-3 Islam
Islam
and the Integration of Society (1998) ISBN 978-0-8101-0240-8 Islam: A Short History (1999) ISBN 978-1-85168-205-8 A Christian Faith For Today (2002) ISBN 0-415-27703-5

References[edit]

^ a b c d e Hillenbrand, Carole (8 November 2006). " Professor
Professor
W. Montgomery Watt". The Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2016.  ^ a b c Holloway, Richard (14 November 2006). "William Montgomery Watt". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2016.  ^ a b c d e f "William Montgomery Watt". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 1 June 2016.  ^ a b Interview: William Montgomery Watt ^ The Herald, The Scotsman, The Times, 27 October 2006 ^ "Lecture by Professor
Professor
Carole Hillenbrand in event: Islamic Studies in Scotland: Retrospect and Prospect" (PDF). University of Edinburgh, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2017-03-25.  ^ The Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad: A mercy to mankind Archived 4 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine. (dead link) ^ Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Princeton University Press. 1987 [1] ^ Zafar Ali Qureshi, Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad
and His Western Critics: A Critique of W. Montgomery Watt
W. Montgomery Watt
and Others, Volume 1, Idara Ma'arif Islami  ^ Ibrahim Kalin, Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad
and His Western Critics: A Critique of W. Montgomery Watt
W. Montgomery Watt
and Others  ^ Ghulam Sarwar, Book Review - Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad
and His Western Critics, Volume 4, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, p. 115  ^ Zafar Ali Qureshi, Preface - Prophet
Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad
and His Western Critics: A Critique of W. Montgomery Watt
W. Montgomery Watt
and Others, Volume 1, Idhara Ma'arif Islami, p. xiii  ^ Fred M. Donner, The Study of Islam’s Origins since W. Montgomery Watt’s Publications (PDF), p. 4  ^ Jacques Waardenburg, Muslims as Actors, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, ISBN 978-3-11-019142-4 

External links[edit]

Professor
Professor
W. Montgomery Watt
W. Montgomery Watt
by Carole Hillenbrand W. Montgomery Watt: Muhammad, Prophet
Prophet
and Statesman "Sirat An-Nabi and the Orientalists" Criticism of some of Watt's works by Muhammad
Muhammad
Mohar Ali Obituary by Charlotte Alfred. Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Middle East Report Online, a journal founded in Watt's former department. Winter 2006 Professor
Professor
Watt's paper Women in the Earliest Islam Interview with Professor
Professor
Watt on Islam/Christian relations William Montgomery Watt's picture

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 108266459 LCCN: n79058634 ISNI: 0000 0001 0931 010X GND: 11899607X SELIBR: 236765 SUDOC: 027193519 BNF: cb119289340 (data) BIBSYS: 90059883 NLA: 35594523 NDL: 00460308 NKC: skuk000