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The Making of the Medieval Middle East$
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Jack Tannous

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179094

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179094.001.0001

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A Religion with a Thousand Faces

A Religion with a Thousand Faces

(p.260) Chapter 10 A Religion with a Thousand Faces
The Making of the Medieval Middle East

Jack Tannous

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the variety of meanings that “Islam” and “Muslim” may have held in the earliest period of Islamic history. Although later Muslim tradition would regard the earliest generations of Muslims as the most pious and devout in all of Islamic history, most of them had little detailed knowledge of the message of the Prophet and paid scant heed to its implications for how they lived their lives. Moreover, even among those who did care about the Prophet's message, there was disagreement as to what exactly it was and shifting opinions about what would later be regarded as matters of central importance. Judged by later standards, most of the earliest followers of Muhammad—both the salaf and those who came after them—will have fallen far short of the expectations and assumptions about them that they have been saddled with for many centuries.

Keywords:   Islam, Muslims, Islamic history, Muslim tradition, Prophet, Muhammad, salaf

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