Islamic History, part 30: the early Islamic military (7th-9th centuries CE)

Islamic History Series I feel pretty certain that nowadays we would point to the advent of Islam as the most important development of the movement that Muhammad began in Mecca and Medina in the first part of the 7th century. However, to contemporary observers in the period immediately following his death, it must have seemed … Continue reading Islamic History, part 30: the early Islamic military (7th-9th centuries CE)

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Islamic History, part 29b: Early Islamic Law (c. 700 – c. 850) — Shafiʿi and Ibn Hanbal

Islamic History Series Please start with part 29a Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafiʿi (d. ~820), who I just mentioned in the last entry, is the third legal theorist (founder of the Shafiʿi madhhab) you need to know something about. Born in Gaza in or around 767, his family moved to Mecca when he was still a … Continue reading Islamic History, part 29b: Early Islamic Law (c. 700 – c. 850) — Shafiʿi and Ibn Hanbal

Islamic History, part 29a: Early Islamic Law (c. 700 – c. 850) — Abu Hanifah and Malik

Islamic History Series This has been a long time in coming, and there's a simple reason for it: I haven't had the time to write it. Sorry. Here's the thing: the study of Islamic Law is its own discipline and it's one that I don't have a whole lot of familiarity with. I can give … Continue reading Islamic History, part 29a: Early Islamic Law (c. 700 – c. 850) — Abu Hanifah and Malik

University of Birmingham finds what might be the oldest Qurʾanic text in existence

Infirmities notwithstanding, I couldn't let this story pass by without at least mentioning it. Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK have found a manuscript of a part of the Qurʾan that can be dated to the middle of the 7th century CE, shortly after Muhammad's death: Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment … Continue reading University of Birmingham finds what might be the oldest Qurʾanic text in existence

Islamic History, part 27: early Shiʿa traditions (632-c. 800)

Islamic History Series So last time out we looked at the history we've already covered from the perspective of the emerging Shiʿa minority. Here we'll take a (hopefully shorter) look at Shiʿism itself as it began to emerge over the first century and a half after Muhammad's death. That will then take us back to … Continue reading Islamic History, part 27: early Shiʿa traditions (632-c. 800)

Islamic History, part 26: early Shiʿa history (661-c. 800)

Islamic History Series For the most part, what we've covered until this point has been the history of Sunni Islam. The Rashidun, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, Spain and North Africa, early theology, all of these stories have belonged largely within the Sunni tradition. The irony there is that "Sunni Islam," like most religious majorities (85-90% … Continue reading Islamic History, part 26: early Shiʿa history (661-c. 800)