Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam

By Berkey, Jonathan P. | The Historian, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam


Berkey, Jonathan P., The Historian


Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. By Fred M. Donner. (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press, 2010. Pp. xviii, 280. $25.95.)

One of the ongoing debates about early Islamic history concerns the factors that led to the Arab conquest of the Middle East in the late seventh century. In a 1981 book, Fred Donner minimized the economic, political, demographic, and environmental factors, which had received much attention in the mid-twentieth century, and argued that the conquests made sense only in the light of the new religious dispensation preached by Muhammad [d. 632] and the enthusiasm it inspired in his Arabic-speaking followers. Donner's research had an enormous impact by putting the question of religion at the center of the burgeoning field of early Islamic studies.

In the present book, Donner provides a convenient and convincing summary of much subsequent scholarship on the subject. Much of the debate has centered on the historicity of the surviving sources, and, on this subject, Donner takes a respectful but appropriately cautious approach. He rejects the arguments of more radical critics that the Qur'an represents less what Muhammad took to be revelations from God than a late collection of religious meditations and pronouncements culled from a variety of sources. The Qur'an, in his view, is a fairly early document and, indeed, provides him with some of the most important evidence for what early Muslims believed (and what they did not). He recognizes, however, that most other narrative sources, at least those in Arabic and from within the Islamic tradition, were written decades, even centuries, after the events they purport to describe and so reflect later ideas and concerns rather than those of the earliest Muslims. He follows some of the most innovative recent scholarship in paying considerable attention to non-Arabic and non-Muslim sources, to archaeological remains, and also to a growing body of documentary evidence from coins, papyri, and inscriptions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.