Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam

by Patricia Crone

Francis Robinson | Published in 31 Jul 1988
  • Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam
    Patricia Crone - Basil Blackwell, 1987 – vii + 300pp - £27.50

No scholar in recent years has done more to challenge old orthodoxies, both Muslim and Western, about the emergence of Islam in seventh-century Arabia than Patricia Crone. In 1977 she published with Michael Cook, Hagarism: the Making of the Islamic World, which argued on the basis of contemporary non-Muslim sources hitherto ignored, that there was a very intimate link between the earliest form of Islam and Jewish Messianism. It was, as the authors cheerfully admitted, 'a book written by infidels for infidels' and with 'what from any Muslim perspective must appear an inordinate regard for the testimony of infidel sources'. I know of no Muslim who accepted the thesis, which is hardly surprising, while if you mention it to western scholars of Islam they tend to look embarrassed, as though not quite sure what to do about it.

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