Early Islam

The Earliest Writings on the Life of Muḥammad

The ‘Urwa Corpus and the Non-Muslim Sources

Andreas Görke, Gregor Schoeler – 2024-02

The main part of this book consists of a compilation and evaluation of the corpus of traditions about the life of Muḥammad attributed to the early scholar ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr (c. 643- c. 712). ‘Urwa was the nephew of the Prophet's wife ‘A’isha, who was also his most important informant. The authenticity of a large part of these traditions is certain, since they were handed down independently from each other by two or more tradents of ‘Urwa. They are thus the oldest authentic Muslim reports about the Prophet. The authors...
more »

Al-Tabari. A Medieval Muslim Historian and His Work

With a New Foreword by the Editor

Hugh N. Kennedy (ed.) – 2024-02

This volume provides a discussion of the works of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Ṭabarī (d. 932 CE), the greatest historian of the early Islamic world. An international team of well-known scholars examine the life of the man, his work, the sources he used and his intellectual legacy. Grouped around four major themes - Caliphate and power, economy and society, Abbasids, and frontiers and the others - the contributions deal with the history, archaeology, architecture and literature of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, from ...
more »

The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muhammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims

A Textual Analysis

Uri Rubin – 2024-02

Detailed examination of traditions about Muhammad which illustrate particular themes thought to be part of the biblical prophetic paradigm: attestation, preparation, the experience of revelation, persecution, and "salvation," this last meaning the hijra. The author analyzes the ways in which Muhammad's early biographers sought to shape the Prophet's biography through biblically based, and later Qur'anic, modes of authentication. The author has abandoned the quest for the historical Muhammad becau...
more »

Between Bible and Qur'an

The Children of Israel and the Islamic Self-Image

Uri Rubin – 2024-02

This book investigates the literary role played by the Bible in Islamic sources. It focuses on the tension between Biblical and Qur’anic models as revealed in Islamic texts describing contacts between the Muslims and the “Children of Israel”, as Jews and Christians are usually called in the context of world history. By adopting the method of his earlier work on the image of the Prophet Muhammad, The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muhammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims, Rubin examines hadith reports of the first three I...
more »

The "Constitution of Medina"

Muḥammad's First Legal Document

Michael Lecker – 2024-02

The ‘Constitution of Medina’ is probably the first legal document of Muḥammad and dates back to the first year after his hijra (622 CE), or “emigration”, which brought him from his hometown Mecca to the cluster of towns known as Yathrib or Medina in the Hijāz (northern Arabia) and marked the beginning of the Islamic era. Muslim historians and jurists have been familiar with this important document for centuries, and aware of its legal and theological implications for Islamic law. It was first brought to the attention of s...
more »

The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East

Volume 1: Problems in the Literary Source Material

Averil Cameron, Lawrence I. Conrad (eds.) – 2021

This volume focuses on the problems researchers face when using (Byzantine) Greek, Syriac and Arabic sources together for the reconstruction of Near Eastern history from 400–c. 800. Contributions to the volume set the stage for a critical re-reading and revisionist interpretations of selected sources in the various cultural and literary traditions. The volume thus brings together neighbouring disciplines in ways that shed new light on this vitally important time in history. 1. Michael Whitby, Greek Historical Writing after ...
more »

The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East

Volume 2: Land Use and Settlement Patterns

Geoffrey King, Averil Cameron (eds.) – 2021

This volume revisits archaeological evidence from Syria, Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Egypt describing a variety of land-use patterns and the development of a particular type of settlement across the Near East. 1. Pierre-Louis Gatier, Villages du Proche-Orient protobyzantin (4ème-7ème s.): Étude régionale 2. Henry Innes Macadam, Settlements and Settlement Patterns in Northern and Central Transjordania, c. 550 – c. 750 3. Yoram Tsafrir and Gideon Foerster, From Scythopolis to Baysan - Changing Concepts of Urbani...
more »

The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East

Volume 3: States, Resources and Armies

Averil Cameron (ed.) – 2021

A comparative analysis of Byzantine, Sasanian and Muslim armies and their impact on state resources. Contributions discuss the organization and financing of the army in the late Roman state, the transformations and continuities of the late Sasanid state and with authority and armies in the early Muslim state. Thus, the volume brings together perspectives from neighbouring fields, presents military issues in an intercultural manner and assembles important pieces of knowledge in a comprehensive manner. 1. Jean-Michel Carrié, L...
more »

The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East

Volume 4: Elites Old and New

John Haldon, Lawrence I. Conrad (eds.) – 2021

A collection of critical analyses of the structure, historical development, and composition of the elite strata of late Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic societies in the eastern Mediterranean basin. Culture change, economic foundations, political roles and function, social composition, and background and origins of old and new elites are the focus of the contributions by scholars who deal with the fate of the later Roman elite and its successors. 1. Hugh Kennedy, Elite lncomes in the Early lslamic State 2. William Lancast...
more »

The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East

Set, Volumes 1-4

Averil Cameron, Lawrence I. Conrad, John Haldon, Geoffrey King (eds.) – 2021

Volume 1: Problems in the Literary Source Material focuses on the problems researchers face when using (Byzantine) Greek, Syriac and Arabic sources together for the reconstruction of Near Eastern history from 400–ca. 800. Volume 2: Land Use and Settlement Patterns revisits archaeological evidence from Syria, Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Egypt describing a variety of land-use patterns and the development of a particular type of settlement across the Near East. Volume 3: States, Resources and Armies focuses on a ...
more »

The Christian Communities of Palestine from Byzantine to Islamic Rule.

An Historical and Archaeological Study

Robert Schick – 2021

An assessment of the nature and social continuity of Christian communities in Palestine from 602–813. By synthesizing literary and archeological evidence, it provides a detailed discussion of disparate historical and archeological data. In the first part, the Sasanian, Byzantine and early Muslim invasions of southern Syria and the changing of government policies towards Christians are discussed. Topical studies about church use, conversion and iconoclasm, are also included. . The second part offers a useful alphabetical ...
more »

Narratives of Islamic Origins:

The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing

Fred M. Donner – 2021

How and why did Muslims first come to write their own history? The author argues in this work that the Islamic historical tradition arose not out of idle curiosity, or through imitation of antique models, but as a response to a variety of challenges facing the Islamic community during its first several centuries. In the first part, the author presents an overview of four approaches that have characterized scholarship on the literary sources, including the source-critical and the skeptical approaches, then it discusses histo...
more »

Studies in Early Islamic History

with an Introduction by G. R. Hawting

Martin Hinds – 2021

Collection of all of Martin Hinds’ (1941–1988) full-length articles which appeared in journals as well as one of his articles for the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd Edition. Most of the articles have to do with the early period of Islamic history, while two others deal with the early Abb sid caliphate. The volume is especially important in light of the fact that all of the articles were revised by the editors based on Hinds’ own corrected copies: 1. Kufan Political Alignments and Their Background in the Mid-Seventh Century A.D...
more »

A Gateway To Hell, A Gateway To Paradise.

The North African Response to the Arab Conquest

Elizabeth Savage – 2021

This book is a study of the early history of the lbadiyya in North Africa, a "moderate" movement among the Kharijis which from its base in Basra gradually spread among the Berbers of the Maghrib in the 750s. The Berbers found in this new religious allegiance an attractive ideology with which to rebel against the central caliphate. An Ibadi imamate, headed by the Rustamid dynasty, was founded in Tahart in 160 or 162/777 or 779 and lasted until 296/909, when it fell to the Fatimids. The book is divided into seven ch...
more »

Arabs and Others In Early Islam

Suliman Bashear – 2021

This work investigates available early Arabic hadith and exegetical literature in order to determine the great complexity of how Arabs, Muslims and Arab-Muslims viewed themselves and members of other communities. In particular, it focuses on the relation between definitions of “Arabness” and “otherness” with Islamic ascriptions of believers and nonbelievers and endeavors to trace the changing of these views over time. Moreover, this is an in-depth analysis of a series of ad ths and isn ds that discusses when, where, why, an...
more »

The Continuatio of the Samaritan Chronicle of Abū l-Fatḥ al-Sāmirī al-Dinfī

Including an Annotated TranslatIon

Milka Levy-Rubin (ed.) – 2021

A complete facsimile edition of the previously unedited Samaritan sequel to the Kitab al-Ta‘rikh by Abū l-Fatḥ al-Sāmirī al-Dinfī (d. ca. 1355). The edition of this chronicle photographically reproduces Paris BN Ms. Samaritain 10 (pp. 203–264), which, written in Middle Arabic, seems easily readable but poses a plethora of editorial problems. The editor entitled the work a Continuatio, and translated it into English with full editorial and explanatory annotation. The work describes the local history of the Samaritan people i...
more »

The Earliest Biographies of the Prophet and Their Authors

Josef Horovitz – 2021

Josef Horovitz (1874-1931) wrote this classic monograph a century ago in two parts in German. The editor added footnotes, corrections and the preface, and it is now a book in its own right. The translation was prepared by Marmaduke Pickthall (d. 1936). Lawrence I. Conrad, who re-edited the articles also presents a slightly corrected textual version, expanding and updating the notes and bibliography and adding a new introduction dealing with Horovitz’s and other orientalists’ work on early Islam in the early 20th century. H...
more »

Ibn Asakir and Early Islamic History

James E. Lindsay (ed.) – 2021

Ibn Asakir’s massive Tarikh madinat Dimashq (TMD) is a veritable gold mine of information for our understanding of the first five and one-half centuries of Islamic history. This book offers important insights on the mechanics of Arabic historiography, in particular on biographical sources from the Middle period. Moreover, two contributions show that Ibn ‘Asakir pursued a political and sectarian agenda within his TMD. 1. James E. Lindsay, Ibn ‘Asakir, His Ta‘rikh madinat Dimashq and its Usefulness for Understanding Early Isl...
more »

Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic

David Cook – 2021

A detailed study on the nature of Muslim apocalyptic material in Islam, both Sunni and Shi‘i . Taking a transcultural perspective by also discussing Christian and Jewish apocalyptic traditions, it offers in eight studies and three appendices a typology of apocalypses and many new insights into the matter. For instance, historical apocalypses as well as apocalyptic figures, like the Dajjal, the Sufyani and the Mahdi are discussed. Moreover, apocalyptic hadith literature, in particular Nu‘aym b. Hammadi’s (d. 844) Kitab al-Fi...
more »

The Late Antique World of Early Islam:

Muslims among Christians and Jews in the East Mediterranean

Robert G. Hoyland (ed.) – 2021

This book offers a number of innovative studies on the three main communities of the East Mediterranean lands—Muslims, Jews and Christians—in the aftermath of the seventh-century Arab conquests. It focuses principally on how the Christian majority were affected by and adapted to their loss of political power in such arenas as language use, identity construction, church building, pilgrimage, and the role of women. Attention is also paid to how the Muslim community defined itself, administered justice, and regulated relations ...
more »

The Place to Go: Contexts of Learning in Baghdad, 750-1000 C.E.

Jens Scheiner, Damien Janos (eds.) – 2021

This work focuses on the intellectual and educational history of Baghdad in the early ‘Abbasid and Buyid periods (8th–10th centuries). It covers a wide range of disciplines taught in the metropolis before the institutionalization of the madrasa system. Among these fields of knowledge are Arabic poetry and literature, the transmission of prophetic reports, Arabic historiography and astronomical-astrological teaching. Christian learning in the city is highlighted by two contributions, while two more papers focus on Jewish pra...
more »

The Making of Religious Texts in Islam: The Fragment and the Whole

Asma Hilali, S. R. Burge (eds.) – 2019

This volume offers an interdisciplinary study of the modalities, actors, technicalities and consequences of the evolving of religious texts within the perspective of the fragment versus the whole. The focus is on fragmentary texts from Islamic religious sources, and includes contributions on Qur’anic manuscripts, early graffiti, the formation of the Qur’anic canon, the Hadith literature, and Old Babylonian extispicy texts. Three main topics are addressed: - the text and its materiality; - the structure of the text and the dy...
more »

In Search of Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qur’an.

with a foreword by James Piscatori

Seyfeddin Kara – 2018

The history of the text of the Qur’an has been a longstanding subject of interest within the field of Islamic Studies, but the debate has so far been focused on the Sunni traditions about the codices of Caliphs Abu Bakr and Uthman b. Affan. Little to no attention has been given to the traditions on Ali b. Abi Talib’s collection of the Qur’an. This book examines both Shi‘i and Sunni traditions on the issue, aiming to date them back to the earliest possible date and, if possible, verify their authenticity. To achieve this, t...
more »

The Arabs and Islam in Late Antiquity:

A Critique of Approaches to Arabic Sources

Aziz Al-Azmeh – 2014

This work provides a critique of Arabic textual sources for the history of the Arabs in late antique times, during the centuries immediately preceding Muhammad and up to and including the Umayyad period. Aziz Al-Azmeh considers the value and relevance of a range of literary sources, including orality and literacy, ancient Arabic poetry, the corpus of Arab heroic lore (ayyam), the early narrative, and the Qur’an. The work includes a very extensive bibliography of the works cited. This is the first book in the Gerlach Press se...
more »