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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.
Fred M. Donner is Professor of Near Eastern History in the Oriental Institute and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.
Table of Contents
|List of Maps||p. ix|
|A Note on Conventions||p. xvii|
|The Near East on the Eve of Islam||p. 1|
|The Empires of the Late Antique Near East||p. 3|
|Arabia between the Great Powers||p. 27|
|Mecca and Yathrib (Medina)||p. 34|
|Muhammad and the Believers' Movement||p. 39|
|The Traditional Biography of Muhammad the Prophet||p. 39|
|The Problem of Sources||p. 50|
|The Character of the Early Believers' Movement||p. 56|
|The Expansion of the Community of Believers||p. 90|
|The Community in the Last Years of Muhammad's Life||p. 92|
|Succession to Muhammad and the Ridda Wars||p. 97|
|The Character of the Believers' Early Expansion||p. 106|
|The Course and Scope of the Early Expansion||p. 119|
|Consolidation and Institutions of the Early Expansion Era||p. 133|
|The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692||p. 145|
|Background of the First Civil War||p. 146|
|The Course of the First Civil War (35-40/656-661)||p. 155|
|Between Civil Wars (40-60/661-680)||p. 170|
|The Second Civil War (60-73 /680-692)||p. 177|
|Reflections on the Civil Wars||p. 189|
|The Emergence of Islam||p. 194|
|The Umayyad Restoration and Return to the Imperial Agenda||p. 195|
|The Redefinition of Key Terms||p. 203|
|Emphasis on Muhammad and the QurĈan||p. 205|
|The Problem of the Trinity||p. 212|
|Elaboration of Islamic Cultic Practices||p. 214|
|Elaboration of the Islamic Origins Story||p. 216|
|The Coalescence of an "Arab" Political Identity||p. 217|
|Official vs. Popular Change||p. 220|
|The umma Document||p. 227|
|Inscriptions in the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem||p. 233|
|Notes and Guide to Further Reading||p. 237|
|Illustration Credits||p. 265|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|