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In a convincing reinterpretation of early Islamic history, Wilferd Madelung examines the conflict that developed after the death of Muhammad for control of the Muslim community. He demonstrates how this conflict, which marked the demise of the first four caliphs, resulted in the lasting schism between Sunnite and Shi'ite Islam. In contrast to recent scholarly trends, the author takes up the Shi'i cause, arguing in defense of the succession of 'Ali. This book will make a major scholarly contribution to the debate over succession.
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"The Succession of Muhammad is not a work for the faint of heart....it is a compelling reassessment of the Rashidun caliphate that should be required reading for evryone interested in the historiography of early Islam." James E. Lindsay, MESA Bulletin
"For those who have been lamenting the decline or near demise of solid, historical narratives, this is a book to cherish." Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Religious Studies Review
"This erudite, complex, and fascinating book rexamines the struggle over and for the office of caliph. This book performs a valuable service by counter-balancing popular views about the origins and development of Shi`ism." Elton L. Daniel, Middle East Journal
"Madelung brilliantly dissects the myriad, conflicting accounts of Ali's numerous confrontations, as well as the final one...Bound to provoke controversy, this volume has laid down a marker. Critics will be expected to attain a standard of scholarship considerably more incisive than all too much of what has been available to date." Andrew J. Newman, University of Edinburgh
"This is a judicious and honestly critical account of monetous events that reflects the weight of information in a wide array of Arabic texts...The response this book should provoke has possibilities for opening up a discussion of the succession to leardership in general at the endof Late Antiquity." Jrnl of Near Eastern Studies
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