In Gods Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire

Hardcover | October 8, 2014

byRobert G. Hoyland

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In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far afield as the Franks in Western Europe andthe Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period of time is aquestion that has perplexed historians for centuries. Most recent popular accounts have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later for the purpose of demonstrating that God had chosen the Arabs as his vehicle for spreading Islam throughout the world. In this ground-breaking new history, distinguished Middle East expert Robert G. Hoyland assimilates not only the rich biographical and geographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests. The story ofthe conquests traditionally begins with the revelation of Islam to Muhammad. In God's Path, however, begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by the two superpowers of Byzantium and Sasanian Persia, "the two eyes of the world." Inbetween these empires, in western (Saudi) Arabia, emerged a distinct Arab identity, which helped weld its members into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia - the Khazars, Bulgars,Avars, and Turks - also played important roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire.Well-paced and accessible, In God's Path presents a pioneering new narrative of one the great transformational periods in all of history.

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From the Publisher

In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far afield as the Franks in Western Europe andthe Tang Empire in China. The conquered terr...

Robert G. Hoyland is Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and author of Arabia and the Arabs.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 8, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199916365

ISBN - 13:9780199916368

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Customer Reviews of In Gods Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from God or good timing? Excellent exposition of the spread of the Islamic world. Uses documents from the conquered cultures to balance the Islamic accounts. An in depth study, not light reading.
Date published: 2014-12-16

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Part I: IntroductionPreface1. The SettingPart II: The Conquests2. AD 630-403. AD 640-524. AD 652-905. AD 690-740Part III: The Aftermath6. The creation of the empire7. The limits of empire8. Impact and LegacyAppendix: The AuthorsBibliographyIndex