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Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World Paperback – February 29, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 29, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521297540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521297547
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,239,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'The authors' erudition is quite extraordinary, their industry everywhere evident, their prose ebullient.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

'Here, then, is a work of brilliance and deep intellectual penetration ... without doubt it constitutes a landmark in the history of scholarship.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

Book Description

This is a controversial study of the origins of Islamic civilisation that examines non-Muslim sources that point out an intimate link between the Jewish religion and the earliest forms of Islam. This book is for teachers and students of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Kirk H Sowell on December 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
As the other reviews to this book seem to have been written by reviewers with an axe to grind, I thought that I would say a few words about this short book. The first important thing to understand is that while Cook and Crone, both reputable scholars, put forth a carefully argued thesis here, their view is very much the minority view among non-Muslim scholars of Islam. The controversial element: while Muhammad was likely a real person, an migrant who founded a movement around 622, most other elements of early Islamic tradition, including the revelation of the Quran and the central role of Mecca, are likely invented traditions fabricated in the latter part of the seventh century.

While it is difficult to imagine that Islam as we think of it was invented after the conquests (circa 633-650), the Cook/Crone thesis is not without hard evidence. For example, coins with Quranic verses differ from the official version sixty years after it was supposedly standardized by Uthman. Some early non-Muslim sources - of very limited quantity - do seem to support a radically different story than the standard one. The fact that the tradition was not written down until well over a century after the fact certainly calls it into question if it is contradicted by other evidence, however sketchy.

One element of the thesis I find interesting is the argument that the break between Muslims and Jews took place not in the late 620s, as Muslim tradition claims, but after the conquest of Palestine. Only then, so the argument goes, was the focus of Islam reoriented toward Mecca from Palestine. I find this interesting because it would throw a great deal of light onto how exactly the Muslims managed their amazing conquests with so much apparent ease. That Christians and Jews in Palestine and Syria were unhappy with Byzantium is widely known, but this thesis adds much to that point.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The historic interpretation of the Koran is, for political reasons, still in its infacy. This book is a valuable first step.
When the "Christoph Luxenberg" book is translated into English this year (2004), it will stimulate more interest.
For a good overview of the issues presented, go to Atlantic Monthly (on-line), Jan 1999, and check out the article by Toby Lester "What is the Koran?"
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26 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to most modern so called scholarly analyses of Islam, which are apologetic, Hagarism exposes some of its falsehoods and is very helpfull for anyone who wants to research about the subject without self imposed dhimmi attitude of fear and adjustment to the current Muslim ideology.
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27 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Ned Flanders on April 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Briefly, the authors put aside the Muslim sources in their entirety as unreliable. The void is then filled by the earliest non-Muslim references to Islam. In the authors view, the non-Muslim sources can be trusted in their entirety, which are then used to reconstruct Islamic origins roughly as follows:

Islam developed from a messianic sect of "Hagarenes." Muhammad united the Arabs around the concept of One God and preached that being the descendants of Abraham, the Arabs were the rightful heirs of Palestine. The members of this sect were called "muhajirun." The "hijrah" was not from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina) but from Arabia to the "Promised Land," in which Jews participated. Muhammad was alive when the movement's messianic figure, Umar, entered Jerusalem in 638.

The Jews welcomed the new invaders, though the Christians deemed them barbarians. After a while there was a break-up between the Arabs and the Jews, the former asserting its distinct identity by emphasising that theirs was the true religion of Abraham. The Arabs accepted Jesus as Messiah but denied his death and Davidic decent for hating the cross.

Muhammad was first aligned with a number of non-Biblical prophets, then to a "prophet like Moses," recipient of a new revealed book. This is when the Quran was hurriedly composed as Muhammad's scripture, probably at the end of the 7th century. The notion of the hijrah was replaced with that of "Islam" and the believers came to be known as "Muslims."

The Arabs began looking for a new holy city, while still controlling Jerusalem. They needed a sanctuary associated with the grave of Ishmael. Eventually, in Abdul Malik's time, they located one in Mecca.
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