Islam in the Middle Ages: The Origins and Shaping of Classical Islamic Civilization

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In the Middle Ages, a varied and vibrant Islamic culture flourished in all its aspects, from religious institutions to legal and scientific endeavors. Lassner, Reisman, and Bonner detail how all three montheist traditions are linked to the same sacred history. They trace the most current scholarship on the Arabian background to Islam, the prophet's early religious message and its appeal. They the Qur'an and how it would have been understood by the earliest generations of Muslims. How much does historical memory come into play in current depictions of this early era? Beyond religious institutions, Muslim scholars and scientists were vital to both the transmission of knowledge from the Greek civilization and to the uninterrupted progress of science. The authors explore the role that non-Muslim minorities played within this culture and they detail the splits within the Muslim world that continue to this day.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lassner (emeritus Jewish civilization, Northwestern U., Illinois) and Bonner (Medieval Islamic history, U. of Michigan-Ann Arbor) boil down the extensive temporal, geographic, and cultural breadth of Islam into an overview for general readers of the religion during the Middle Ages of Christian Europe. Most of their treatment is chronological, describing such stages of the history and Arabia on the eve of Islam, the Prophet's mission in Mecca and Medina, the ummah becomes an Arab kingdom, Alids versus Abbasids and Shi'ites versus Sunnites, and the end of the formative period of Medieval Islam. The final section explores various aspects of the religion, including the Qur'an and its commentators, the formation of Islamic law and legal tradition, and Islamic theology and popular religion."


Reference & Research Book News

"This fresh look at the first four centuries of lslam is a valuable introduction to the subject. . . . The story is told clearly and insightfully, with relevance for the nonspecialist reader."


Saudi Aramco World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275985691
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2009
  • Series: Praeger Series on the Middle Ages Series
  • Pages: 343
  • Sales rank: 1,314,752
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Arabia on the eve of Islam 3

2 Muhammad Prophet of Islam : origins 15

3 The Prophet's mission : Mecca 29

4 The Prophet's mission : Medina 47

5 The Meccan response and the triumph of the ummah 65

6 Succession, conquest, and expansion : the ummah becomes an "Arab kingdom" 81

7 The Hashimite restoration : a revolution shaped by images of an idealized past 103

8 The split between the Hashimites : 'Alids versus Abbasids/Shiites versus Sunnites 117

9 Centralizing power : the rise of a universal Islamic empire 135

10 Emerging cracks within the universal Islamic empire 157

11 The changing political climate : heralding the end of the formative period of medieval Islam 181

12 The Qur'an and its commentators 203

13 The major themes of Muslim scripture 217

14 The formation of Islamic law and legal tradition 235

15 The formation of different schools of Islamic law 255

16 Islamic theology and popular religion 271

App. 1 Dynastic orders 305

App. 2 Glossary of technical terms 307

App. 3 Chronology 311

App. 4 Illustrations 315

Selected bibliography 323

Index 329

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