Lecker (Michael), Studies on the Life of Muhammad and the Dawn of Islam: Idol Worshippers, Christians and Jews in Pre- and Early Islam, London, Routledge, 2023, 272 p. ISBN 978-1032449821
Michael Lecker is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published extensively on pre- and early Islamic history, the biography of the Prophet Muḥammad and the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula.
This volume includes twenty articles published between 1994 and 2020 on the subject of Muhammad and the history of early Islam, covered in five sections: Arabia on the Eve of Islam, Muḥammad at Medina, Muḥammad and the Jews, Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq and the sīra and Studies on Early Islamic Literature.
The book focuses on a variety of historical questions, from the presumed Ghassanid/Byzantine involvement in the hijra and Muḥammad’s treaties with the main Jewish tribes. Predilection for detail, especially in the realms of genealogy and geography, is a salient characteristic of Lecker’s research, which in recent years has been increasingly based on digitized text repositories. Many of the articles deal with the social and economic environment or early Islam, which is vital for the study of Muḥammad’s biography. They are conceived of as building blocks in a future, refined and critical biography of the Arabian prophet.
Studies on the Life of Muhammad and the Dawn of Islam will appeal to those interested in the history of pre- and early Islam, with an emphasis on Muḥammad’s life and his relations with the Jews of Arabia.
Part 1: Arabia on the Eve of Islam
1 Pre-Islamic Arabia
2 The Monotheistic Cousins of Muḥammad’s Wife Khadīja
Part 2: Muḥammad at Medina
3 Were the Ghassānids and the Byzantines behind Muḥammad’s hijra?
4 Genealogy and Politics: Muḥammad’s Family Links with the Khazraj
5 The Emigration of ʿUtba ibn Abī Waqqāṣ6 Did the Quraysh Conclude a Treaty with the Anṣār Prior to the hijra?
Part 3: Muḥammad and the Jews
7 Abū Mālik ʿAbdallāh b. Sām of Kinda, a Jewish Convert to Islam
8 Were the Jewish Tribes in Arabia Clients of Arab Tribes?
9 Did Muḥammad Conclude Treaties with the Jewish Tribes Naḍīr, Qurayẓa and Qaynuqāʿ?
10 The Assassination of the Jewish Merchant Ibn Sunayna according to an Authentic Family Account
11 Were there Female Relatives of the Prophet Muḥammad among the Besieged Qurayẓa?
12 Wāqidī (d. 822) vs. Zuhrī (d. 742): The Fate of the Jewish Banū Abī l-Ḥuqayq
Part 4: Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq and the sīra
13 Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq ṣāḥib al-sīra/ṣāḥib al-maghāzī
14 Muḥammad b. Isḥāq ṣāḥib al-maghāzī: Was his Grandfather Jewish?
15 When did Ibn Isḥāq compose his maghāzī ?
16 Notes about Censorship and Self-Censorship in the Biography of the Prophet Muḥammad
Part 5: Studies on early Islamic Literature
17 The Jewish Reaction to the Islamic Conquests
18 Wa-bi-Rādhān mā bi-Rādhān...: The landed Property of ʿAbdallāh ibn Masʿūd
19 On the Burial of Martyrs in Islam
20 The Futūḥ al-Shām of ʿAbdallāh b. Muḥammad b. Rabīʿa al-Qudāmī