The Crucible of Islam

The Crucible of Islam Author G. W. Bowersock
ISBN-10 0674057767
ISBN-13 9780674057760
Year 2017-04-10
Pages 240
Language English
Publisher Harvard University Press
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Little is known about Arabia in the sixth century CE Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from the Iberian peninsula to India Today Muslims account for nearly a quarter of the global population G W Bowersock seeks to illuminate this most obscure and yet most dynamic period in the history of Islamfrom the mid sixth to mid seventh centuryexploring why arid Arabia proved to be such fertile ground for Muhammads prophetic message and why that message spread so quickly to the wider world In Muhammads time Arabia stood at the crossroads of great empires a place where Christianity Judaism and local polytheistic traditions vied for adherents Mecca Muhammads birthplace belonged to the part of Arabia recently conquered by the Ethiopian Christian king Abraha But Ethiopia lost western Arabia to Persia following Abrahas death while the death of the Byzantine emperor in 602 further destabilized the region Within this chaotic environment where lands and populations were traded frequently among competing powers and belief systems Muhammad began winning converts to his revelations In a troubled age his followers coalesced into a powerful force conquering Palestine Syria and Egypt and laying the groundwork of the Umayyad Caliphate The crucible of Islam remains an elusive vessel Although we may never grasp it firmly Bowersock offers the most detailed description of its contours and the most compelling explanation of how one of the worlds great religions took shape

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