In “The Early Islam, from Ugarit to Samarra”, the history of a religious movement later to be known as Islam will be retold –not as it can be found in all encyclopedias, history books and TV documentaries– but as it can be inferred from the material evidence if investigated in an unbiased fashion. “Unbiased” here means that all we know –or rather only seemingly know– from the Islamic historiographic literature (the “Traditional Account/ Report”) will be ignored: first as it stems from an era several centuries after the alleged events it describes; secondly as it is mostly legendary and follows a “theological program” and thirdly as in many cases it flatly contradicts the material evidence we have on coins, inscriptions etc. The re-interpreted history will be presented in the form of the account of a journey. In some cases, words everyone would expect in a history of “early Islam” will not appear and for good reason. The term “muslim”, for example, appears only very late on in non-Islamic sources, in fact only several generations after the alleged founding of the new religion. Other words appear with different meanings, e.g. “Islām” originally does not designate a new religion, “Arabī” does not designate an ethnic group and other examples.
Publication: 2014 - 304 pages - 22 x 15 cm - ISBN: 978-3-943147-99-5
First publication: Schiler Verlag (Germany), 2006
This translation has received the support of the Prince Claus Fund.