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by Fred M. Donner

  • ISBN: 0674050975
  • Author: Fred M. Donner
  • ePub ver: 1362 kb
  • Fb2 ver: 1362 kb
  • Rating: 4.3 of 5
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (May 15, 2010)
  • Formats: lrf mobi txt docx
  • Category: History
  • Subcategory: World
epub Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam download

Muhammad and the believers: at the origins of Islam, Fred M. Donner. J. his book is meant mainly for nonspecialists- introductory students and general readers with an interest in the beginnings of Islam.

Muhammad and the believers: at the origins of Islam, Fred M. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-674-05097-6. 3. Islamic Empire- History- 622-661. It is not intended to be a work of technical scholarship, although I hope that scholars will find some of the ideas I present in it novel and worthy of serious consideration.

Fred McGraw Donner (born 1945) is a scholar of Islam and Professor of Near Eastern History at the University of Chicago. He has published several books about early Islamic history. Donner was born in Washington, . and grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where he attended public schools.

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. The traditional view. Inside of the Book is clean and tight with no highlighting or markings. Dust jacket is wrapped in mylar

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. Dust jacket is wrapped in mylar. We provide a 100% guarantee of our products.

Muhammad and the Believers book. In "Muhammad and the Believers," the eminent historian Fred Donner offers a lucid and original vision of how Islam first evolved

Muhammad and the Believers book. 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.

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Author: Fred M Donner. Publisher: Harvard University Press. T. HE origins of Islam have always garnered academic attention from both Orientalist scholars and scholars of religion. Donner is of the ‘conviction’ that Islam began as a religious movement – not as a social, eco-nomic or ‘national’ one. Donner maintains a close proximity to the text of the Qur’an in delineating his position that the origin of Islam began as an ecumenical faith of believers, which included Jews and Chris-tians.

See this book The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years

See this book The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years 1. The Near East on the Eve of Islam. The Empires of the Late Antique Near East; Arabia Fred Donner's early interest in the role of pastoral nomadic groups in Near Eastern Muhammad and the Believers: at the origins of Islam (Cambridge, MA: Fred McGraw Donner is a scholar of Islam and Professor of Near Eastern History at the University of Chicago. In Muhammad and the Believers, the eminent historian Fred Donner offers a lucid and original vision of how Islam first evolved. 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.

Request PDF On Jan 1, 2010, Daniel Martin Varisco and others published Muhammad and the Believers . which became Shi͑i, and those national origins and not the doctrinal divide could be the relevant factor.

which became Shi͑i, and those national origins and not the doctrinal divide could be the relevant factor. It could also be that since some of the Sunni world became antagonistic to philosophy, enthusiasm for it was a potent way to oppose that world.

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years.

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.

Comments (7)

Buzatus
In "Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam" (2010), Fred Donner advances a sweeping thesis – namely, that Muhammad and the early Muslims did not view Islam as a religious confession distinct from Judaism and Christianity (and perhaps even Zoroastrianism), and that Islam was not conceived as a distinct confession by Muslims until the Umayyad period. On Donner’s view, Islam was originally conceived as an ecumenical monotheist movement that welcomed Jews and Christians as full members, but the early Umayyad rulers – ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (r.685-705 CE) being chief among them – championed the separateness of Islam for reasons that were both political and religious in nature. If Donner is right, the character of Islam was radically transformed within several decades of the death of Muhammad, and both Sunnism and Shi’ism are largely the products of Umayyad policies that distorted the basic meaning of the Qur’an. While traditional Muslims may view Donner as a godless Orientalist bent on discrediting Islam, many Western scholars of Islam will view him as a fusty conservative who, for all his critical acumen, still places too much trust in the early Islamic sources. I have tremendous respect for Donner’s work, and I was deeply impressed by his previous book, "Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing" (1998). However, I do not believe that all of the arguments of that book were successful, and I am afraid to say that Donner has failed to adequately defend the thesis of his latest book, "Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam." [1] Let me explain why.

In addition to citing several passages from the Qur’an, Donner adduces a variety of archeological evidence (deriving from documents, buildings, coins, etc.) to support his thesis. However, his assessment of the evidence is highly questionable. As regards the Qur’an, Donner neglects to consider many passages in the text – which Donner conservatively dates to the time of Muhammad – that seem to draw a sharp distinction between the true religion of Islam and the false religions of Judaism and Christianity. Moreover, the passages from the Qur’an that Donner does consider are difficult to interpret; and, while Donner claims that they reflect a fluid conception of Islam’s boundaries with Judaism and Christianity, it far from obvious that he has understood them correctly. Given the rigor of his previous work, I was surprised by how fast and loose he plays with the text of the Qur’an in this book. (For a more sophisticated – though still introductory – treatment of the relevant passages, see Carl W. Ernst’s "How to Read the Qur’an.") Donner’s handling of the archeological evidence isn’t much better. While some of the evidence is consistent with his thesis, none of it provides strong support for that thesis, and some supports no conclusions whatsoever.

Some of Donner’s arguments are especially bad. For example, on p. 222-23 he cites the fact that John of Damascus (ca. 676-749 CE) described Islam as a “heresy” as evidence in favor of his thesis. But the fact that John of Damascus described Islam as a “heresy” doesn’t show that he viewed Islam as a genuine – albeit flawed – sect of Christianity, and it certainly doesn’t reveal anything about the views of contemporary Muslims on the issue. After all, Christian writers like Irenaeus commonly applied the term “heresy” to religious sects that they regarded as non-Christian, and many Jewish writers in late antiquity continued to describe Christianity as a Jewish heresy long after Christians began viewing themselves as a separate faith. Actually, when one turns to John of Damascus’s writings, one sees that he applied the term “heresy” to both paganism and Judaism, and it’s quite clear that he didn’t regard either as a (deviant) branch of Christianity. Unfortunately, many of the archeological arguments that Donner employs are no more persuasive than this one, and the archeological evidence as a whole is unconvincing.

I want to be clear on the following point: I do not see any strong evidence – whether archeological or otherwise – that contradicts Donner’s thesis except for several passages in the Qur’an. If I am wrong about the interpretation of the Qur’an, Donner’s thesis would not be vindicated, as the archeological evidence would still be too weak to support his thesis. However, the archeological evidence is (as far as I can tell) consistent with his thesis, and if the Qur’an were silent on the issue then I would say that Donner has done the field of Islamic studies a great service in identifying an important hypothesis about the origins of Islam which, though not strongly supported by the available evidence, is nonetheless consistent with it – a weaker result than Donner intends, to be sure, but a significant one all the same. So then, how confident am I about my interpretation of the Qur’an? Pretty confident, I would say, but I won’t run through the relevant passages here. I admit that the Qur’an can be exceedingly – if not impossibly – difficult to interpret in places, and that it may not be entirely consistent in its attitudes toward Jews and Christians. Still, I think that the bulk of the relevant passages exhibit a strong differentiation between Islam on the one hand and Judaism and Christianity on the other, and that this is the position of the Qur’an on the whole. I suppose that Donner might want to argue at this point that Muhammad and the early Muslims interpreted these passages differently or simply disregarded them, but there is no reason to take these suggestions seriously. He also might want to argue that the existence of passages in the Qur’an that are critical of Judaism and Christianity need not constitute decisive evidence that the Qur’an views those religions as distinct confessions from Islam, but again I think that the Qur’an speaks rather clearly on this point.

Incidentally, it is worth pointing out that Donner agrees that the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock (c. 691 CE) express anti-Jewish and anti-Christian polemic, and that they were produced by Muslims who viewed Judaism and Christianity as religious confessions distinct from Islam. But these inscriptions consist almost entirely of paraphrases of the Qur’an, and while there is no logical absurdity in the idea that the Qur’anic passages were interpreted in a much more ecumenical spirit by the first Muslims than they were by the Muslims who built the Dome of the Rock – such changes in interpretation are commonplace in the history of religion – in this case I think that the Muslims who built the Dome of the Rock understood the passages in precisely the way that they were originally intended.

I should say a quick word about the hadith, sira, and early Islamic historical narratives. These works reflect the traditional Islamic view that Muslims sharply distinguished themselves from Jews and Christians since the beginning of Islam, and so they might seem to contain rather strong evidence against Donner’s thesis. However, these works are relatively late, and their accuracy on this issue cannot be assumed. Thus, Donner sets them aside, as I believe he is justified in doing. Still, given the failure of Donner’s arguments to establish his thesis, I think it is natural to assume that these texts, though relatively late, present an accurate portrait of how the earliest Muslims understood Judaism and Christianity.

Despite these problems, Donner’s book has several virtues, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Islam. For example, it contains a lively and critical (though perhaps a bit too trusting in places) presentation of the origins of Islam as found in the early Islamic sources. Moreover, while Donner has failed to present a strong case for his thesis, the book is full of interesting insights about early Islamic history. Finally, the book contains an eighteen page guide to scholarly publications on early Islamic history and related subjects that is full of useful recommendations.

[1] This thesis was adumbrated but not developed in the former book.
Akinozuru
This is a lucid, well-written, and fascinating introduction to the rise of Islam. Donner, a leader in his field, has produced a work that both introduces readers to the basic conventional narrative of Islam's early phase while at the same time providing a very distinct interpretation based on cutting edge research. The entire work is highly instructive. That said, the paucity of direct contemporary evidence necessarily lends a somewhat speculative quality to the endeavor. To his credit, Donner is not nearly as dogmatic as some historians who basing their interpretations on early traditions, only written down long after the fact, feel justified in asserting that the rise of Islam can only be attributed to one particular factor. In the end, Donner stresses the importance of politics and religion as motives for expansion. He makes a key decision in taking the Koran as a comparatively authoritative source on the early history of Islam. The logic--mainly internal linguistic and literary clues--seems at least somewhat reasonable. That said,the book displays some inconsistency when it comes to looking past the earliest years of Islam to the expansion outside Arabia. Here, the earliest contemporary accounts do stress the role of warfare and conflict in spreading the realm under the control of the new faith, but Donner points to the absence of archeological evidence of war's destruction to at least minimize the logic inherent in the few somewhat contemporary accounts. If the earliest accounts would tend to be most accurate, why would that not be true for all of the key early phases of Islam? Depending as it does, to a large extend on the internal terminology of Islam, Donner also makes the interesting argument that the followers at first saw themselves chiefly as ardent believers in strict monotheism and only later began to define themselves more as Muslims. That could have been the case, but could there also have been other reasons for such shifts in terminology? Still, this book should prove extremely interesting and informative for anyone interested in the early history of Islam. It is not suitable for readers who only want to have prior prejudices confirmed.

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