Conversion to Islam in the Premodern Age

A Sourcebook

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Nimrod Hurvitz, Uriel Simonsohn, Christian C. Sahner, Luke Yarbrough
Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Literature
  • Berkeley: 
    University of California Press
    , December
     382 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Mehraj Bhat forthcoming.


Conversion to Islam is a phenomenon of immense significance in human history. At the outset of Islamic rule in the seventh century, Muslims constituted a tiny minority in most areas under their control. But by the beginning of the modern period, they formed the majority in most territories from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Across such diverse lands, peoples, and time periods, conversion was a complex, varied phenomenon. Converts lived in a world of overlapping and competing religious, cultural, social, and familial affiliations, and the effects of turning to Islam played out in every aspect of life. Conversion therefore provides a critical lens for world history, magnifying the constantly evolving array of beliefs, practices, and outlooks that constitute Islam around the globe. This groundbreaking collection of texts, translated from sources in a dozen languages from the seventh to the eighteenth centuries, presents the historical process of conversion to Islam in all its variety and unruly detail, through the eyes of both Muslim and non-Muslim observers.

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

Nimrod Hurvitz is Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel and the author of The Formation of Hanbalism: Piety into Power.

Christian C. Sahner is Associate Professor of Islamic History in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Cross College, and the author of Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World

Uriel Simonsohn is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel and the author of A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam.

Luke Yarbrough is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of Friends of the Emir: Non-Muslim State Officials in Premodern Islamic Thought.


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