Competing Approaches

in Islamic History

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199545728
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191777264 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

Competing Approaches

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Why are Islam, and Islamic history particularly, exempt from established rules of historical enquiry? How do the views of Muslim and non-Muslim historians compare? ‘Competing approaches’ considers these questions and discusses Edward Said's Orientalism, Marshall Hodgson's The Venture of Islam, and the work of arguably the two greatest Muslim historians al-Tabari (838–923) and Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406). The contrasting historical approaches of the Shiites and Sunnis and the debate between those who consider Islam began with Muhammad in the 7th century and those who believe Islam as a religion has developed gradually through time are provided.

Keywords: Arab Nationalism; Hadith; Hagar; Ibn Khaldun; Mecca; Medina; Muhammad; orientalism; Reconquista; Safavid; Timur

Chapter.  3656 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Islam ; Middle Eastern History

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