By Nancy Khalek
Prior to it fell to Muslim armies in advert 635-6 Damascus had an extended and prestigious background as a middle of Christianity. How did this urban, which grew to become the capitol of the Islamic Empire and its humans, negotiate the transition from a overdue old or early Byzantine global to an Islamic tradition? In Damascus after the Muslim Conquest, Nancy Khalek demonstrates that the adjustments that happened in Syria in this formative interval of Islamic existence weren't easily an issue of the substitute of 1 civilization through one other because of army conquest, yet relatively of transferring relationships and practices in a multifaceted social and cultural environment. while past due old types of faith and tradition endured, the formation of Islamic id was once laid low with the folk who built, lived in, and narrated the historical past in their urban. Khalek attracts at the proof of structure and the testimony of pilgrims, biographers, geographers, and historians to make clear this technique of id formation. delivering a clean method of the early Islamic interval, she strikes the learn of Islamic origins past a spotlight on problems with authenticity and textual feedback, and initiates an interdisciplinary discourse on narrative, storytelling, and the interpretations of fabric tradition.
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Extra resources for Damascus after the Muslim Conquest: Text and Image in Early Islam
Ultimately, what a narrative analysis can contribute to our appreciation of admittedly problematic texts is the idea that sources that contain elements of fiction are still useful, if not essential, for understanding the history of a culture. Fiction alone is not sufficient reason to immediately discount a text’s historical value. As noted above, our sources for the early Islamic period are a rich amalgam of history, hagiography, biography, geography, poetry, and battle epic. ”110 If the skeptical historian would read narrative material for the light it potentially sheds on the period in which it was produced, if not that which it describes, these new readings suggest that one can, and should, go beyond such measured acceptance.
Abı̄ Sufyān, 126. 32. Paul M. Cobb, “Community Versus Contention: Ibn ‘Asākir and ‘Abbāsid Syria,” in Ibn ‘Asākir and Early Islamic History, ed. : Darwin Press, 2001), 100. 33. Chase Robinson, Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), viii. N A R R AT I V E A N D E A R LY I S L A M I C H I S T OR Y ( 29 ) 34. As we shall see, the most persistent set of questions revolves around what we can know, using textual and material sources, about Islamic religious, social, and political origins.
10. Paul M. Cobb, “Virtual Sacrality: Making Muslim Syria Sacred Before the Crusades,” Medieval Encounters 8, no. 1 (2002): 35. 11. On the ambiguity of Mu‘āwiya’s legacy, for example, see R. Stephen Humphreys, Mu‘āwiya b. Abı̄ Sufyān: From Arabia to Empire (Oxford: One World, 2006). Pro‘Abbāsid characterizations of the Umayyads could be unabashedly vitriolic and partisan, but the bias against the Umayyad memory is also a feature of contemporary scholarship. ” See Ross Burns, Damascus: A History (London: Routledge, 2005), 123.