The Rise of Islam

Topic Overview

This lecture will outline the key events and developments in the first centuries of Islam (c.550–750 CE). It presents some aspects of recent scholarship on the earliest formation of Islamic and Arab identities, and will situate these developments in the wider patterns of Late Antiquity: the emergence of new ethnic and religious identities across West Eurasia and North Africa, amid the transformation of the heritage of the ancient, classical world between the 3rd and 8th centuries CE. The lecture will also present some brief reflections on the significance of this period and how we think about it for contemporary society.

Books, articles etc that would be helpful for the teachers to use in preparing their own lessons

  • Brown, The World of Late Antiquity: From Marcus Aurelius to Muhammad, Thames and Hudson, 1971 (and various later editions).
  • Bernheimer and A. Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 5th ed. Routledge, 2018.
  • Hillenbrand, Islam: A New Historical Introduction, Thames and Hudson, 2015.
  • Sarris, Empires of Faith: The Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, 500-750, Oxford, 2011.


Websites / films

Powerpoint presentation is here

The full talk can be seen here: