- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. The traditional view, which presents Islam as a self-consciously distinct religion tied to the life and revelations of the prophet Muhammad in western Arabia, has since the 1970s been challenged by historians engaged in critical study of the Muslim sources.
In Muhammad and the Believers, the eminent historian Fred Donner offers a lucid and original vision of how Islam first evolved. He argues that the origins of Islam lie in what we may call the "Believers' movement" begun by the prophet Muhammad—a movement of religious reform emphasizing strict monotheism and righteous behavior in conformity with God's revealed law. The Believers' movement thus included righteous Christians and Jews in its early years, because like the Qur'anic Believers, Christians and Jews were monotheists and agreed to live righteously in obedience to their revealed law. The conviction that Muslims constituted a separate religious community, utterly distinct from Christians and Jews, emerged a century later, when the leaders of the Believers' movement decided that only those who saw the Qur'an as the final revelation of the One God and Muhammad as the final prophet, qualified as Believers. This separated them decisively from monotheists who adhered to the Gospels or Torah.
In Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, Donner takes a fresh look at the heart and soul of Islamic history.
— Joseph Richard Preville
A learned and brilliantly original, yet concise and accessible study of Islam's formative first century...Donner's explanation of the process by which Muslims came to define themselves is both fascinating and enlightening.
— Max Rodenbeck
It is an excellent introduction to how and why the faith was born, and explains its proliferation in the Middle East and beyond...Donner uses the original text of the Qur'an and other source materials dating from the same period to piece together the history of the faith. What quickly becomes clear is that Islam, and what it means to be a "Muslim," have both changed dramatically since the early days...Muhammad and the Believers is full...of intriguing questions and challenges readers to reconsider what they think they know about Islam...[It's] a rewarding read.
— Dan Sampson
Donner is to be commended for posing questions that many mainstream scholars have chosen to leave aside.
— Malise Ruthven
Provocative and accessible...Donner's vision of an "ecumenical Islam" is thought-provoking...Donner's overarching thesis in Muhammad and the Believers is convincing. It sheds light on a world far more fluid and confused than the one we have come to expect from the usual storyline.
— Christian C. Sahner
List of Maps ix
A Note on Conventions xvii
1 The Near East on the Eve of Islam 1
The Empires of the Late Antique Near East 3
Arabia between the Great Powers 27
Mecca and Yathrib (Medina) 34
2 Muhammad and the Believers' Movement 39
The Traditional Biography of Muhammad the Prophet 39
The Problem of Sources 50
The Character of the Early Believers' Movement 56
3 The Expansion of the Community of Believers 90
The Community in the Last Years of Muhammad's Life 92
Succession to Muhammad and the Ridda Wars 97
The Character of the Believers' Early Expansion 106
The Course and Scope of the Early Expansion 119
Consolidation and Institutions of the Early Expansion Era 133
4 The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 145
Background of the First Civil War 146
The Course of the First Civil War (35-40/656-661) 155
Between Civil Wars (40-60/661-680) 170
The Second Civil War (60-73 /680-692) 177
Reflections on the Civil Wars 189
5 The Emergence of Islam 194
The Umayyad Restoration and Return to the Imperial Agenda 195
The Redefinition of Key Terms 203
Emphasis on Muhammad and the Qur'an 205
The Problem of the Trinity 212
Elaboration of Islamic Cultic Practices 214
Elaboration of the Islamic Origins Story 216
The Coalescence of an "Arab" Political Identity 217
Official vs. Popular Change 220
Appendix A The umma Document 227
Appendix B Inscriptions in the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem 233
Notes and Guide to Further Reading 237
Illustration Credits 265