The Emergence of Islam
Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright
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Illustrations and Features
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...4.1 Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, University of Birmingham.4.2a and b Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, University of Birmingham.7.2 Courtesy of Prof. Erica Hunter, School of Oriental and African Studies, London....
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The story of the emergence of Islam, as it is usually told, is rather straightforward. Muhammad was born in Mecca, a pagan city in western Arabia in 570 CE. At the age of forty, he began to proclaim revelations from the one true God, the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. ...
Timeline of Traditional Chronologyf rom the Birth of Muhammad to the Death of 'Ali
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The Family Tree of the Prophet Muhammad according to the Traditional Biography
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The genealogical chart presented here portrays at once the islamic understanding of muhammad as a descendant of abraham through ishmael and his relationship—by birth or by marriage—to those figures who play a key role in the traditional account of islam’s emergence. it is a simplified genealogical chart inasmuch as other figures, such as his other wives and chil-...
Part 1: The Prophet Muhammad and the Rightly Guided Caliphs
Introduction to Part 1: Historical Overview
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Bukhari named his collection of hadith (that are reports or statements attributed—accurately or not—to muhammad) “The Valid” (Ar. sahih) because of his conviction that the hadith it contains relate the very words or deeds of the Prophet himself, perfectly preserved by a process of oral trans-mission. Yet the relevance of the hadith he includes for the context of the medieval Islamic world suggests that they may date from an period well after the life of the Prophet....
Chapter 1: Muhammad in Mecca
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According to the traditional biography of the Prophet, Khadija was Muhammad’s first wife, the only wife older than him, the only wife to bear him children who lived to adulthood, and the only wife with whom he lived monogamously (that is, Muhammad did not marry other women while Khadija was still alive). Ibn Ishaq describes Khadija as “a merchant woman of dignity and wealth” and adds, “All her people were eager to get possession of her wealth” (Ibn Ishaq, 82). ...
Chapter 2: Muhammad in Medina
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The hadith in Bukhari’s book “Virtures and Merits of the Prophet and His Companions” give to Muhammad those qualities that medieval Muslims scholars considered proper for all Muslims, or attribute to him miracles meant to prove that Muhammad was a prophet. Other hadith seem to respond to the curiosity of Muslims, for whom drawings or paintings of Muhammad were forbid-den, to visualize Muhammad’s appearance. Later mystical (or Sufi) works make Muhammad a ...
Chapter 3: The Birth of an Empire
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Ibn Ishaq has the Prophet comment, “I have never invited anyone to accept Islam but he who has shown signs of reluctance, suspicion, and hesitation, except Abu Bakr. When I told him of it he did not hold back or hesitate” (Ibn Ishaq, 116). This quotation captures the essence of Abu Bakr’s character in the traditional biography of the Prophet. Therein Abu Bakr is the first free, adult male to accept Islam. After his conversion, he never wavers from his Islamic faith or ...
Conclusion to Part One
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The 241 sermons attributed to uAli b. Abi Talib, collected by al-Radi (d. 1015) in a work known as the Peak of Eloquence, are considered by many Shiuites to have a spiritual value second only to the Quraan itself. A number of these sermons present the Shiuite narrative of the struggles for leadership of the Islamic community after the death of Muhammad. Others, such as sermon 197, offer wis-dom for the spiritual life. While not denying the importance of Islamic law and outward religious ...
Part 2: The Qur'an
Introduction to Part 2: History and Literature
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Shafiui (d. 820) is known as the founder of one of the four principal schools of Sunni jurisprudence, yet his influence on the development of Islamic religious thought far exceeds legal matters. Shafiui argued that the Quraan itself binds Muslims to obey all of the instructions and to imitate all of the practices of the Prophet Muhammad—even those not found in the Quraan. His argument implies that the Prophet Muhammad was infallible and impeccable, that all of his words and all of his ...
Chapter 4: The Qur'an and Its Message
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The structure of the word Quraan (in particular its ending -an) suggests that it was originally borrowed from aramaic (which, unlike arabic, regularly forms nouns with the ending -an) or, more specifically, a Christian form of aramaic known as syriac. arabic and aramaic/syriac are both part of the semitic language family (which includes also Hebrew and Ethiopic) and vocabulary exchange between semitic languages is quite common. The possibility that the ...
Chapter 5: The Qur'an and the Bible
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...although most islamic bookstores will not sell copies of the Bible, many will sell a work known as the Gospel of Barnabas. Today the Gospel of Barnabas, which tells the story of Jesus from an islamic perspective (narrated by Barnabas, a disciple who appears in the acts of apostles) is well known throughout the islamic world. However, the only two existing manuscripts of the Gospel of Barnabas are in italian and spanish, and they date from the Renaissance period. ...
Chapter 6: Rethinking the Biography of the Prophet
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...a widespread islamic tradition relates that God created angels from light, humans from dirt, and creatures known as the jinn from fire. This tradition seems to be inspired by the Quraan, which in one place (Q 18:50) describes the devil as one of the jinn and elsewhere (Q 7:12; 38:76) has him declare that he was made from fire. in fact, the Quraan seems to present the jinn as a certain type of demon, or fallen angel. The Quraan also has God order the devil—who is one of ...
Chapter 7: The Historical Context of the Qur'an
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The Quraan refers regularly to the “People of the Book,” a phrase that seems to refer to Jews and Christians. For example, the Quraan reprimands Jews for various sins in sura 5, verse 13, and then reprimands Christians for some of the same sins in verse 14. in verse 15, it apparently refers to both groups when it proclaims: “People of the Book, now there has come to you Our messenger, making clear to you many things you have been concealing of the Book, and effac-...
Conclusion to Part Two
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At this point, the reader who had hoped for a year-by-year description of the rise of Islam might justifiably feel disappointed. Due to the nature of our sources, a precise history of Islam’s emergence has proven to be elusive. The Islamic sources on the life of the Prophet are late; ...
Part 3: Contemporary Perspectives
Introduction to Part 3: Classical Texts and Contemporary Religion
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The conviction that Muslim societies today should be modeled on that of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina reflects a notion about the Prophet himself, namely, that he was the perfect man. Muhammad was impeccable (“free from sin”) and infallible (“free from error”). ...
Chapter 8: Contemporary Muslim Narratives of Islam’s Emergence
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Chapter 8: Contemporary muslim Narratives of islam’s Emergence v 175The idea of sharia, or Islamic law, is based on the conviction that Islam is an eternal and univer-sal religion. From the moment of creation, God willed that humanity would follow a certain code which covers every aspect of life, from clothing to food, prayer, recreation, washing, sex, and war. In other words, Islam is not a set of spiritual teachings. Islam is a code of living established by God ...
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In the excerpt below (taken from an interview with Michiel Leezenberg published in a European journal on Islam), the Iranian Shiuite philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush (b. 1945) discusses the com-mon notion that Western ethics, based on rights, are fundamentally in conflict with Islamic ethics, based on obligations (established by Muslim scholars in their explanations of the sharia). He cites the controversy surrounding the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, first pub-...
Glossary of Proper Names and Technical Terms
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Bibliography and Further Reading
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...• A series of historical biographies (Personalities in Islam) and This brief illustrated survey traces the emergence of Islam, beginning with muhammad’s early life and rise to power, then charting the origins and development of the Qur’an juxtaposed with biblical literature, including a reconsideration of the traditional biography of muhammad, and concluding with an overview of modern and fundamentalist narratives of the origins of Islam. Complete with numerous photos, feature boxes, and primary sources, this text yields a rich ...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012