Religious History

A History of Medieval Islam by John Joseph Saunders

By John Joseph Saunders

Aren't the phrases "Medieval Islam" a redundancy? whilst has Islam ever now not been "Medieval"? for instance, so as to research the background of the "Dark Ages", you may examine eighth and ninth century Europe, otherwise you may examine any Arab nation this present day that is guided through Islamic rules.

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The astonishing march of nearly 400 miles in the hot season must have startled the neighbouring nomads and disinclined them to join the grand alliance which the Kuraish were forming in order to annihilate the power of their adversary. In all their dealings with Muhammad, the Kuraish displayed neither unity nor energy nor resolution. The situation which confronted them was beyond their experience, and they fumbled helplessly in their efforts to master it. Divided and weak in leadership, sluggish and hesitant in action, and untrained in war, they were perhaps impelled to a supreme attempt by the importunities of the exiled Nadirites at Khaibar, and they at last assembled a force of 10,000 men, probably the biggest force ever seen in Arabia.

This same age is memorable in Arabian history for the bitter duel between the Lakhmids and the Ghassanids, two peoples who had settled respectively on the eastern and the western fringes of the Syrian Desert. D. as clients by the Persian Government, who employed them to keep the Bedouins of the interior in order, and their camp at Hira grew into a considerable town. As allies or vassals of the Persians, they took part in the incessant wars between Rome and the Sassanids by making destructive raids on Roman Syria.

Now rather antiquated, but still the fullest biography in English. Strongly Christian in tone. WATT, W. MONTGOMERY, Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953; Muhammad at Medina, Oxford, 1956. The most recent treatment, with special emphasis on the social and economic background. Dr. Watt has published a shortened version of these two books under the title Muhammad Prophet and Statesman, Oxford, 1961. Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment, London, 1926 and Tor Andrae, Les Origines de l’Islam et le Christianisme, Paris, 1955.

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