Aug 3, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. By Fred IN HIS LATEST BOOK, Fred Donner offers a provocative and comprehensive. Muhammad and the Believers has ratings and 33 reviews. Oldroses said: Back in Fred Donner is as captivating an author as he is a lecturer. This book is . Donner, Fred M. Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Cambridge, MA, and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, xviii+

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Of particular importance are writings from various Near East- ern Christian communities— in Syriac, Greek, Armenian, and Coptic— and a few Jewish sources. Donner recounts the two wars lucidly without miring readers too deeply in lists of names and skirmishes.

Donner does not suggest this, possibly because as an ecumenical movement there was no need to augment a new, separate religion when none was needed. Although written for a popular audience, Professor Donner is unable to break out of his scholarly writing mode. Realizing that most of Quraysh would not soon be won over, Muhammad began to preach his message at periodic markets outside Mecca in order to find other supporters.

If the hadith is true, might this suggest that practicing contradictory laws of God is not even an problem for the Qur’anic god? A clear and persuasive account of the origins and early development of Islam, especially the inclusive nature of the first community. These are among the righteous ones. They also faced Byzantine armies sent to contain them, de- livering major defeats to the Byzantine forces at Fahl, Ajnadayn in central Palestine?

Pre- sumably, the numerous Jews and Christians of Arabia were allowed, as monotheists, to continue observing their own religious laws, al- though the sources tell us nothing about this question. Menas Church, Rihab, Jordan. The Sasanians thus cast a large shadow over the gulf coasts of Arabia in the late antique period. By the end of the sixth century, then, the Sasanians had enclosed Arabia almost completely on its eastern and southern sides; only the Red Sea litto- ral and its extension into southern Syria was free of their control.

The following pages present, first, a very con- densed summary of the traditional biography of Muhammad, setting aside those reports that are clearly legendary.

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred M. Donner

And upon those who are able to do it fted do not], redemption is feeding a poor person; but whoever does a good deed of his own accord, that is better for him, and that you fast is better for you, if you could know.

Muham- mad seems to have been particularly interested in expanding to the north; we have seen how, already in the years before the conquest of Mecca, he had dispatched a raid or several raids? A surviving stretch of Roman road in northern Syria. Indian cotton, pepper and other spices, South Arabian incense, and other commodities tne to the Mediterranean world either on ships that traveled sea routes that skirted Arabia and called at its ports— particularly Muza Mocha and Kane, in South Annd or by cara- van through the towns of western Arabia, including Mecca.


Among the most famous of these captives was Khawla bint JaTar, a woman of Hanifa who eventually became the concubine of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. For, if the Believers already vonner a clearly defined and distinct new creed and had tried to demand that local communities The Expansion of the Community of Believers observe it, those populations of the Fertile Crescent would have re- sisted their arrival stubbornly, in word and deed.

They are instructed not to come to prayers while intoxicated Q. The Qur’an also makes reference to pilgrimage rituals that the Believers are enjoined to perform. Of course, one assumes that the Arabian Believers who came into the Fertile Crescent believres Muhammad as having been their prophet.

The Byzantine emperors in Constantinople, despite some close calls at the hands of the Avars, Bulgars, and Slavs, were able to ward aand repeated barbarian onslaughts.

The hadith recounts that Muhammad orders the adulterer stoned to death not by the Qur’an but by authority of the Torah. These groups formed the subject population of Arabia in the years after the ridda, and from them were taken many captives who served the early Be- lievers believeds slaves.

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam

Mecca and Yathrib Medina The two towns where Muhammad spent his life, Mecca and Yathrib later usually called Medinawere about km mi apart from one another in the rugged region known as the Hijaz in western Arabia. At the Origins of IslamDonner argues that the religion we now know as Islam emerged gradually over a number belisvers decades and that its final form differed in many ways from Donndr initial message.

Odnner 18, Matthew rated it it was amazing. Both settled and nomadic people organized themselves this way; in- deed, many groups had both settled and nomadic sections within one and the same tribe. The book fonner the rise of this group within both the political and donne climate of the late antique Near East. Justinian marshaled the full power of the Byzantine state, including its powers of taxation, in an attempt to reconquer the lost western provinces.

To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. This supposition will surprise Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Yathrib I’he Near East on the Eve of Islam 35 was a typical large date-palm oasis, actually a loose cluster of con- tiguous villages, with mud-brick houses and fields annd barley and other crops scattered under and between the date groves that grew around perennial springs.


Most of the major fire temples were located on the Iranian plateau. Important aspects of the book’s central premise may be underdeveloped – for instance, a lineage of the “spiritual” content, or the discourse of piety, if you prefer – but there are other books in the world.

Christian armies fought for the Umayyad Amirs during Islam’s civil wars, churches were built and were not destroyed. By the Sasanians had withdrawn behind new borders, which left the Byzantines in control of brlievers of their former possessions as well as Armenia and northern Mesopotamia. For one thing, there is some evidence that hijra required leaving a nomadic life. Or were there once clauses or other documents that were simply lost or that were dropped as irrelevant after these tribes were no longer present in Medina?

From their per- spective, the key point about Christ was that in him God had truly experienced human agony and death, but being God he was able to i ise from the dead. A Muslim- one who submits- could simultaneously be a Christian, Jew, Sabean or Hanafi Donner makes no mention belkevers the last two, but we can infer this from the Qur’an itself, which lists all five as monotheists, subject to certain conditions. It is best, therefore, to stick very closely to what the Qur an itself says for information.

Believerss addresses it in less than a page, mubammad rather weakly that as the Qur’an hadn’t been codified and was unknown to most Believers themselves, it simply did not cross their mind. The traditional accounts were written for an audience who were too young to have aand Muhammad personally, in an Arab empire ruling eonner vast areas of foreign populations, with heroic tales of mass armies who vanquish their unbelieving rivals.

Muhammad also launched, around this time, numerous raids on still-unsubdued nomadic tribes and sent several raids to the north.

Jul 23, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it.

Muhammad and the Believers

This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. Donner covers more than has been mentioned here. One factor was a series of severe earthquakes that shook the eastern Mediterranean lands repeatedly in this period; another was the plague.