The First Muslims

History and Memory

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About The Book

A fresh look at the origins and development of Islam, this is a fascinating reconstruction of the era of the first three generations of Muslims. Using a wealth of classical Arabic sources, it chronicles the lives of the Prophet Muhammad, his Companions, and the subsequent two generations of Muslims, together known as the "the Pious Forebears". Examining the adoption in contemporary times of these early Muslims as legitimizing figureheads for a variety of causes, both religious and political, Afsaruddin tries to establish where their sympathies really lay. Essential reading for anyone interested in the inception of the Islam, this important book will captivate the general reader and student alike.

About The Author

Asma Afsaruddin is Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. She is the author of /Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (October 1, 2007)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781851684977

Raves and Reviews

"Well-researched and measured. An eloquent and cogent explanation of the historical roots and meanings of many key concepts relevant to today's discussion of contemporary Islam, including the role of jihad in the Islamic tradition. Her book should be required reading for any Muslim or non-Muslim who mistakenly believes the faith is immutable."

– Washington Post

"Well-researched and measured. An eloquent and cogent explanation of the historical roots and meanings of many key concepts relevant to today's discussion of contemporary Islam, including the role of jihad in the Islamic tradition. Her book should be required reading for any Muslim or non-Muslim who mistakenly believes the faith is immutable."

– Washington Post

"A nuanced and erudite portrait of early Muslim lives and ideas. This is a rich and much-needed text. Its range of scholarship, balanced statements and acute sense of the past and the present makes it required reading for both specialists and non-specialists."

– The Times Higher Educational Supplement

"A nuanced and erudite portrait of early Muslim lives and ideas. This is a rich and much-needed text. Its range of scholarship, balanced statements and acute sense of the past and the present makes it required reading for both specialists and non-specialists."

– The Times Higher Educational Supplement

"A thoughtful, critically informed reading of Islam's early history from a modernist perspective."

– Choice

"A thoughtful, critically informed reading of Islam's early history from a modernist perspective."

– Choice

"This attractive and readable book", "Afsaruddin has a clear argument, and her passion and commitment to the modernist position shine through"

– Speculum - A Journal of Medieval Studies

"An outstanding, panoramic view of the development of the early Muslim community and its leading intellectual figures."

– Roy Mottahedeh

"Helpful and clarifying… A clearly written and argued work"

– William Graham - Dean (Harvard Divinity School), Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies (FAS)

"A splendid piece of forensic scholarship. Highly readable and aptly revisionist, this book will be as welcome for novice non-Muslims as for devout believers."

– Bruce Lawrence - Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of Religion, Duke University and author of 'The

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