Muḥammad and His Followers in Context

The Religious Map of Late Antique Arabia


This book surveys and analyzes changes in religious groups and identities in late antique Arabia, ca. 300-700 CE. It engages with contemporary and material evidence: for example, inscriptions, archaeological remains, Arabic poetry, the Qurʾān, and the so-called Constitution of Medina. Also, it suggests ways to deal with the later Arabic historiographical and other literary texts. The issue of social identities and their processes are central to the study. For instance, how did Arabian ethnic and religious identities intersect on the eve of Islam? The book suggests that the changes in social groups were more piecemeal than previously thought.

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Ilkka Lindstedt, Ph.D. (2014), is Lecturer in Islamic theology at the University of Helsinki. He deals with pre-Islamic Arabia, early Islam, Arabic historiography, and Arabic epigraphy. Recent publications include: Ilkka Lindstedt, Nina Nikki, and Riikka Tuori (eds.), Religious Identities in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Walking Together & Parting Ways, Brill 2022.
List of Figures
A Note on Style

1 Introduction
 1 Prolegomena and Methodological Considerations
 2 Ethnic, Linguistic, and Tribal Situation in Arabia before Islam

2 Judaism
 1 Judaism in Late Antiquity
 2 The Arabian Context
 3 Conclusions

3 Christianity
 1 Christianity in Late Antiquity
 2 The Arabian Context
 3 Conclusions

4 Gentiles
 1 Introduction
 2 Idolatry and Polytheism in Arabia
 3 Gentile Monotheism in Arabia
 4 The Idea of Abrahamic Descent in Arabia before Islam
 5 An Excursus to Later Arabic Historiography: ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib’s Dream
 6 Conclusions

5 The Rise of the Gentile Prophet in Mecca
 1 Introduction and Methodological Considerations
 2 Mecca
 3 Excursus: Arabic Historiography on the Meccan Period
 4 Conclusions on the Meccan Period

6 The Founding and Consolidating of the Community in Medina
 1 The “Constitution” of Medina
 2 The Believers in the Medinan Qurʾān
 3 The People of the Book in the Medinan Period
 4 The Jews in the Qurʾān
 5 The Christians in the Qurʾān
 6 Inna al-dīn ʿinda Allāh al-islām
 7 Gentile Purity and Dietary Regulations
 8 The Eschaton Postponed?
 9 Excursus: Arabic Historiography and the Medinan Era
 10 Conclusions on the Medinan Era

7 Near-Contemporary Non-Arabic Views on the Prophet and His Community
 1 Near-Contemporary Non-Arabic Views on the Prophet’s Community

8 Concluding toward Early Islamic Times
 1 “No Two Religions”
 2 Conclusions

Scholars and students of the Qur’an and Islam: Arabists, Islamicists, epigraphists, and Middle Eastern studies researchers and students.
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