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The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate (Wilferd MADELUNG)

The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate (Wilferd MADELUNG)

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Wilferd Ferdinand Madelung, né en allemagne en 1930, a été formé à l’université de Hambourg, de Georgetown (USA) et du Caire. Il obtint son doctorat en 1957. En 1958, il a été envoyé en Iraq par le gouvernement allemand pour travailler à l’ambassade. Par la suite, il devint professeur d’études islamiques à l’Université de Chicago en 1969 et professeur d’arabe à l’Université d’Oxford à partir de 1978 jusqu’en 1998. Il fut également Senior Research Fellow à l’Institute of Ismaili Studies.


In a comprehensive study of early Islamic history, Wilferd Madelung examines the conflict which developed after Muhammadās death for the leadership of the Muslim community. He pursues the history of this conflict through the reign of the four āRightly Guidedā caliphs to its climax in the first inter-Muslim war. The outcome of the war, which marked the demise of the reign of the Early Companions, resulted in the lasting schism between Sunnite and Shiāite Islam. Contrary to recent scholarly trends, the author brings out Aliās early claim to legitimate succession, which gained support from the Shiāa, and offers a convincing reinterpretation of early Islamic history. This book will make a major contribution to the debate over succession.Wilferd Madelungās book The Succession to Muhammad has been awarded the Best Book of the Year prize by the Islamic Republic of Iran for the year 1997.

Table des matières

Introduction; 1. Abu Bakr: the successor of the Messenger of God and the caliphate of Quraysh; 2. ’Umar: Commander of the Faithful, Islamic meritocracy, consultation and Arab empire; 3. ’Uthman: the Viceregent of God and the reign of ’Abd Shams; 4. ’Ali: the counter-caliphate of Hashim; Conclusion: Restoration of the community and despotic kingship.

(Source : Cambridge University Press)

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