Models of Leadership in the Adab Narratives of Joseph, David, and Solomon

Lament of the Sacred

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Sami Helewa
  • Lanham, MD: 
    Lexington Books
    , November
     234 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Carlos Grenier forthcoming.


Sami Helewa’s book opens anew the Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ (Tales of the Prophets) in terms of the leadership of ancient prophets in a Muslim context of friendship and enmity in the narrative detail of the prophets Joseph, David, and Solomon. Although the Qiṣaṣ genre is not court-based, advice literature, these tales could function as advisory literature through the legendary-prophetic figures. It is hardly surprising that the prophets of ancient times have been moral prototypes for the Judo-Islamic search for religio-political leaders. However, the themes of leadership, friendship, and enmity are embedded in these tales in the writing of great Medieval-Muslims like al-Ṭabarī of Baghdād and al-Thaʿlabī of Nīshāpūr, who were great scholars (ʿulamāʾ) and men of literature (ʾudabāʾ). Like the religious side of these tales, Helewa maintains that the adab side of the Qiṣaṣ has equal importance of meaning to the struggle of ancient prophets in their friendships and hostilities. These tales, as astutely compiled from Baghdād and Nīshāpūr, mirror interesting cultural nuances of expected leadership inherent in these great cities of learning. This book will be a great value for those interested in the Sīra genre, the overall Qiṣaṣ genre, the inheritance of prophets, the adab of religious writing, the advice literature, and the history of Baghdād and Nīshāpūr.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Sami Helewa is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Catholic Studies at Campion College, University of Regina.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments