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  • 11/26/2006

The Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam

Mahmoud M. Ayoub

Book: Casebound | 224 pages | ISBN 1-85168-326-7 | Aug 2003

This new study of the Islamic tradition’s earliest years outlines and presents the key events, individuals, and socio-political conditions which defined the era of the first Four Caliphs (from the death of the Prophet to that of Ali, 30 years later), and which led to the Sunni/Shi‘i schism and the Crisis of Succession.

In an objective and thoroughly researched book which represents both Sunni and Shi‘i perspectives, Mahmoud M. Ayoub has drawn on a wide amount of primary materials dealing with this period, explaining the various sources of the violent struggles and dissension which characterize this time. Covering everything from the first caliphate of Abu Bakr to the Battles of the Camel and Siffin, the result is a key introduction to the manner in which religion and politics defined the earliest period of Islamic history, and the profound effect of the Crisis of Succession on Muslim legal and theological debates in the subsequent centuries.

In addition to offering a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, this sensitive study also features two Appendices with original translated materials, including an account of the Four Caliphs in their own words. Combining the scholarly rigour of a monograph with the accessibility of an introductory text, it is essential reading for all students and scholars of Islamic studies and of the formative years of the Muslim tradition.

Mahmoud M. Ayoub is Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Temple University, Philadelphia, U.S.A. He has lectured around the world on Islamic History and related topics, and is the author of over ten books and numerous articles and papers.


I. Introduction

II. The Crisis of Succession
a. The Safiqah debate and its aftermath

III. Abu Bakr’s Regrets and ‘Umar’s Uncertainties
a. Abu Bakr: Khalifat Rasul Allah
b. Umar: Amir al-Muminin

IV. The Second Crisis: The Shura Council and its Failure
a. The Shura deliberations

V. ‘Uthman: Khalifat Allah
a. ‘Uthman’s caliphate: Umayyad power and the beginning of Shi’i opposition
b. ‘Uthman’s critics: ‘Ammar b. Yasir and Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
c. ‘Uthman and the clash between religious authority and political power
d. The siege and ‘Uthman’s violent death

VI. Ali Wasi Rasul Allah: The Clash of Religion and Politics
a. The Battle of the Camel
b. Mu’awiyah’s opposition
c. The Battle of Siffin
d. ‘Amr’s scheme and its consequences

VII. Conclusion
Appendix I
Appendix II

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