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Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Muhammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads Paperback – 15 Sep 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; Reprint edition (15 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560005866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560005865
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,959,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Born in Iran, he received a dual PhD in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Dabashi has written 20 books, edited four, and written over 100 chapters, essays, articles and book reviews. An internationally renowned cultural critic, his writings have been translated into numerous languages.

Dabashi has been a columnist for the Egyptian al-Ahram Weekly for over a decade, and is a regular contributor to Aljazeera and CNN. He has been a committed teacher for nearly three decades and is also a public speaker, a current affairs essayist, a staunch anti-war activist, and the founder of Dreams of a Nation. He has four children and lives in New York with his wife, the Iranian-Swedish feminist scholar and photographer Golbarg Bashi.

Follow him on Twitter @HamidDabashi
Visit his website

Product Description


"In this unprecendented study, Dabashi combines the insights of Weberian sociology with Rieffian psychoanalysis and applies both to the originary period of Islamic history... [S]atisfying book. Recommended for all levels of readers." --B. B. Lawrence, Choice

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Diet History, Theory Smorgasbord 3 Jun. 2003
By Tron Honto - Published on
Format: Paperback
I made the mistake of reading this book directly after reading W. Madelung's impressive work on the succession to Muhammad. In short, Madelung's work far surpasses this one.
Granted, however, this work does not aim to do what Madelung sought to do. Dabashi, here, focuses on Weberian theory of *charisma* and its subsequent routinization. As such, the aim of author is to 1) expand upon Weberian theory of authority and 2) revise it insofar as the specificities of the period can inform and mature this theory. In this, he more or less succeeds, and this has brought his work broader appeal outside the field of Islamics than, for example, Madelung's source-heavy study. To summarize the book, three trends of authority appeared after Muhammad's death as a way of continuing his authority that would profoundly impact and guide the currents of Islamic history thereafter. These three are the Sunni (institutional), Shi'a (individual), and Khawarij (negational).
Though the theory is more or less solid, the approach is methodologically sloppy-movements appear to at times to be given more cohesion and definition than they really had. Anachronisms abound. Mostly, these appear throughout as a tendency that comes all too close to a picture wherein these three currents of authority formed instantaneously after Muhammad's death. Much of this also arises from the fact that Dabashi's work is also quit weak when in comes to sources and citing evidence to support many of the sweeping generalizations that are made concerning the period in question.
This work will most likely be more enjoyed by the sociologist of religion than the historian.
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