The Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective

This brief survey text tells the story of Islam. Gabriel Said Reynolds organizes his study in three parts, beginning with Muhammad’s early life and rise to power, showing the origins and development of the Qur an with a distinctive, if unique, juxtaposition between the Qur’an and biblical literature, and concluding with an overview of modern and fundamentalist narratives of Islam’s origin, which reveals how those who represent Islam’s future begin by shaping its past.
Reynolds’s narrative of Islam’s founding traces Muhammad’s life in Mecca and Medina as well as the first four caliphs whose history illustrates the differences between Sunni and Shi ite views of Islam. His fascinating look at the structure and meaning of the Qur’an and its use of biblical language helps to illustrate and clarify its religious meaning. The book yields a rich understanding of diverse interpretations of Islam’s emergence, suggesting that its emergence is itself ever-developing.
The book provides a variety of helpful pedagogy, including chapter summaries, questions for review and discussion, photos, maps, suggested readings, glossary, and timeline.