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William Montgomery Watt (14 March 1909 – 24 October 2006) was an Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Watt was one of the foremost non-Muslim interpreters of Islam in the West, was an enormously influential scholar in the field of Islamic studies and a much-revered name for many Muslims all over the world." Watt's comprehensive biography of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, Muhammad at Mecca (1953) and Muhammad at Medina (1956), are considered to be classics in the field.


Watt, whose father died when he was only 14 months old, was born in Ceresmarker, Fifemarker, Scotlandmarker.

Watt was a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and was Arabic specialist to the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem from 1943-46. He became a member of the ecumenical Iona Community in Scotland in 1960. He was Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh from 1964-79.

The Islamic press have called him "the Last Orientalist". He died in Edinburghmarker on 24 October 2006 at the age of 97.


Watt held visiting professorships at the University of Torontomarker, the Collège de Francemarker, and Georgetown Universitymarker, and 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.

Watt's views

Watt believed that the Qur'an was divinely inspired, though not infallibly true.

Martin Forward, a 21st century Non-Muslim Islamic scholar states:

Charlotte Alfred, a reporter for the journal founded in Watt's department at Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Middle East Report, pointed out:

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


  • The faith and practice of al-Ghazālī ISBN 978-0686186106 (1953)
  • Muhammad at Mecca ISBN 978-0195772784 (1953)
  • Muhammad at Medina ISBN 978-0195773071 (1956)
  • Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, a summary of the above two major works ISBN 978-0198810780 (1961)
  • Islamic Philosophy and Theology ISBN 978-0202362724 (1962)
  • Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets (???)
  • Islamic Political Thought ISBN 978-0852244036 (1968)
  • Islamic Surveys: The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe ISBN 978-0852244395 (1972)
  • The Majesty That Was Islam ISBN 978-0275518707 (1976)
  • What Is Islam? ISBN 978-0582783027 (1980)
  • Muhammad's Mecca ISBN 978-0852245651 (1988)
  • Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions ISBN 978-0415054119 (1991)
  • Early Islam ISBN 978-0748601707 (1991)
  • Influence Of Islam On Medieval Europe ISBN 978-0852244395 (1994)
  • Islamic Philosophy And Theology ISBN 978-0748607495 (1987)
  • Islamic Creeds ISBN 978-0748605132 (1994)
  • History of Islamic Spainmarker ISBN 978-0852243329 (1996)
  • Islamic Political Thought ISBN 978-0748610983 (1998)
  • Islam and the Integration of Society ISBN 978-0810102408 (1998)
  • Islam: A Short History ISBN 978-1851682058 (1999)
  • A Christian Faith For Today ISBN 0-415-27703-5 (2002)


  1. William Montgomery Watt by Richard Holloway. The Guardian. 14 Nov. 2006
  2. Professor W. Montgomery Watt by Carole Hillenbrand
  3. Interview: William Montgomery Watt
  4. The Herald, The Scotsman, The Times, 27 October 2006

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