Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

After The Prophet's Death

It is at this pivotal moment in history that Barnaby Rogerson picks up the story of Islam. Essentially the sequel to his acclaimed biography of the Prophet, Rogerson's new book follows the reigns of Muhammad's first four successors, or caliphs: the zealously loyal early convert to Islam, Abu Bakr; the deeply pious though unapologetically misogynistic warrior, Umar; the kindly yet politically inept septuagenarian, Uthman; and Ali, the Prophet's beloved nephew and son-in-law, the man whose partisans (the Shiatu Ali) would one day launch a wholly new sect in Islam - the Shia. Together, these so-called "Rightly Guided Caliphs" ushered in a time that most Muslims regard as the Golden Era of Islam, a period in which the small community of faith that Muhammad left behind blossomed into a vast empire stretching from the Indian subcontinent to North Africa. What Rogerson's astute scholarship and detailed narrative shows is that this period in Islamic history was in reality far from a golden era.

Reza Aslan reviews Barnaby Rogerson's new book.
(Link via 3quarksdaily)

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