Arabia and the Birth of Islam: When History, Myth and Opinion Become Inseparable

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Suleiman A. Mourad

Abstract

In The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity, Aziz al-ʿAzmeh takes on a massive challenge to try to reconstruct the religious scene in Arabia on the eve of the emergence of Islam. He contends that Muhammad was able to champion a little known deity called Allah and the success of his movement made it a major religious divinity in the Near East. This article challenges the premises of Azmeh’s approach, methodology and findings. It argues that the scanty historical evidence does not allow for any credible historical reconstruction of Arabian society and religion. Moreover, the use of the Qurʾan as a window into Muhammad and his mission produces tentative results at best. Essentially, Azmeh only succeeded in analyzing a selection of several religious histories (i.e., what is believed and not what is factual) and presenting them as the history of the rise of Islam.

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How to Cite
A. Mourad, S. (2021). Arabia and the Birth of Islam: When History, Myth and Opinion Become Inseparable. Hawliyat, 19. https://doi.org/10.31377/haw.v19i.676
Section
Articles in English