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Routledge Handbook on Early Islam by Herbert Berg -ed.- (January 2017)

Routledge Handbook on Early Islam by Herbert Berg -ed.- (January 2017)

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The editor

Herbert Berg is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and Director of International Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington


The history of early Islam or origins of Islam remains highly contested. From the beginning of modern scholarship on this formative period, scholars have questioned traditional Muslim accounts. Scholarly fixation on early Islam is mirrored by sectarian rivalries between Sunnis and Shi’is, both of whom trace their origins to this period and continue to engage in apologetics and polemics based on this period. Moreover, contemporary movements from Salafists to modernists (and even the New Atheists) point to Islam’s origins to justify their positions. In other words, almost every major debate in the study of Islam and among Muslims about Islam’s beliefs, practices, institutions, etc. look to the formative period of Islam.

As a result there is no shortage of specialized scholarly literature on this period, but there is no definitive overview of the whole subject area aimed at academics and intelligent non-specialists. Thus the Routledge Handbook on Early Islam presents an opportunity to fill an important gap and make a lasting contribution to Islamic Studies.


Section 1: The Foundational Sources

1. The Qur’ān Behnam Sadeghi
2. The Qur’ān and other Scriptures Gabriel Said Reynolds
3. Muhammad Stephen J. Shoemaker
4. The Canonization of the Qur’ān David S. Powers
5.Sunna and Hadith Jonathan A.C. Brown
6. The Sīra Gregor Schoeler
7.Exegesis Andrew Rippin
8. Islamic Law Wael B. Hallaq

Section 2: Early Muslims

9. Pre-Islamic Arabia, and "Pagans" Uri Rubin
10.Early Muslims and the Peoples of the Books Frank Peters
11.Politics and Economics of the early Caliphate Hugh Kennedy
12. Identity and Social Formation in the early Caliphate Chase F. Robinson
13.Sunni and Shī’ī Perspectives Mahmoud Ayoub
14. Sufis Michael Sell

Section 3: Reinterpretations of Early Islam

15. Modernists
16. Muslim Brotherhood
17. Salafīs and other Islamists
18. Feminists Leila Ahmed
19. Secularists Ruth Mas
20. Qur’ānists Aisha Musa
21.The Nation of Islam and Islamic Origins Herb Berg