Cover: Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, from Harvard University PressCover: Muhammad and the Believers in PAPERBACK

Muhammad and the Believers

At the Origins of Islam

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Product Details


$20.50 • £16.95 • €18.50

ISBN 9780674064140

Publication Date: 05/07/2012


304 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

21 halftones, 6 maps

Belknap Press


A learned and brilliantly original, yet concise and accessible study of Islam’s formative first century… Donner’s explanation of the process by which Muslims came to define themselves is both fascinating and enlightening.—Max Rodenbeck, The New York Times

Provocative and accessible… Donner’s vision of an ‘ecumenical Islam’ is thought-provoking… Donner’s overarching thesis in Muhammad and the Believers is convincing. It sheds light on a world far more fluid and confused than the one we have come to expect from the usual storyline.—Christian C. Sahner, The Times Literary Supplement

Donner is to be commended for posing questions that many mainstream scholars have chosen to leave aside.—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books

It is an excellent introduction to how and why the faith was born, and explains its proliferation in the Middle East and beyond… Donner uses the original text of the Qur’an and other source materials dating from the same period to piece together the history of the faith. What quickly becomes clear is that Islam, and what it means to be a ‘Muslim,’ have both changed dramatically since the early days… Muhammad and the Believers is full…of intriguing questions and challenges readers to reconsider what they think they know about Islam… [It’s] a rewarding read.—Dan Sampson,

In Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, Donner takes a fresh look at the heart and soul of Islamic history.—Joseph Richard Preville, The Saudi Gazette

Donner is one of the leading scholars of early Islam in the world. No other book I know of distills the often highly arcane and dispersed stuff of scholarship on the first century of Islamic history into such an accessible narrative account that, in addition, offers a compelling new interpretation on the formation of Islamic confessional identity. A tremendous achievement.—Ahmet Karamustafa, Washington University in St. Louis

This is an invaluable book. Not only does it provide a sane and lucid guide to the origins of Islam, a topic that is currently more mired in controversy than any other in the entire field of ancient history, but it is also a stimulating and original work of scholarship in its own right.—Tom Holland, author of Millennium

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