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Contemporary Sources.

There is an immense body of work on early and contemporary Islam by modern historians, theologians, anthropologists, and commentators, and After The Prophet includes a detailed bibliography. The following were particularly valuable in my research for this book. -- Lesley Hazleton
  • On the early caliphate:

    Wilferd Madelung's The Succession to Muhammad: a Study of the Early Caliphate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) is a magisterial study of the caliphates of Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, based on close reading of original sources. Extensively and fascinatingly footnoted, it emphasizes Ali's claim to the succession.

    Marshall G.S.Hodgson's The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization is a three-volume study of the historical development of Islamic civilization, with numerous tables of time-lines. Volume One, The Classical Age of Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961) covers the rise of Muhammad to the year 945.

    W. Montgomery Watt's The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1973), examines developments within Islam from the khariji Rejectionists to the establishment of Sunnism.

  • On Shia Islam:

    S.H.M. Jafri's The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam (London: Longman, 1979) provides a detailed and deeply sympathetic examination of Shia history and theology from the time of Muhammad through to the twelve Imams.

    Vali Nasr's The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future (New York: Norton, 2006) is an excellent and highly readable overview of the Shia-Sunni conflict in the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.

    Moojan Momen's An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985) is far more detailed than one might expect an "introduction" to be, and is especially good on Shia theology.

  • On the Iranian revolution:

    Anthropologist Michael M. Fischer's work is outstanding, in particular Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980). Also his essay "The Iranian Revolution: Five Frames for Understanding" in Critical Moments in Religious History, ed. Kenneth Keulman (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1993) and, in collaboration with Mehdi Abedi, Debating Muslims: Cultural Dialogues in Postmodernity and Tradition (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).

    Nikki Keddie's Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003) is rightfully regarded as essential reading, as should be almost all the essays in an anthology edited by Keddie: Religion and Politics in Iran: Shi'ism from Quietism to Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983).

    Ali Shariati's lectures from the 1970s can be found in translation at www.shariati.com. His most influential lectures have been published in English as What Is To Be Done: the Enlightened Thinkers and an Islamic Renaissance (Houston: Institute for Research and Islamic Studies, 1986), and as Red Shi'ism (Teheran: Hamdani Foundation, 1979). His lectures on Hussein and martyrdom can be found in Jihad and Shahadat: Struggle and Martyrdom in Islam, edited by Mehdi Abedi and Gary Legenhausen (North Haledon: Islamic Publications International, 1986).

  • On Ashura rituals and Karbala imagery:

    Peter J. Chelkowski, editor of Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran (NY: New York University Press, 1979), provides invaluable insight into both the content and import of Karbala Passion plays, while Staging a Revolution: the Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran, by Chelkowski and Hamid Dabashi (NY: New York University Press, 1999) is a superb visual survey and analysis of the collective symbols used in the Iranian Revolution and the subsequent war with Iraq.

    David Pinault provides on-the-ground understanding of the emotive and theological power of the Karbala story in The Shiites: Ritual and Popular Piety in a Muslim Community (NY: Saint Martin's, 1992) and in Horse of Karbala: Muslim Devotional Life in India (NY: Palgrave, 2001)

    Kamran Scot Aghaie's detailed work on Shia symbolism and ritual can be found in The Martyrs of Karbala: Shi'i Symbols and Rituals in Modern Iran (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004) and The Women of Karbala: Ritual Performance and Symbolic Discourses in Modern Shi'i Islam (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005).

  • On Aisha:

    Nabia Abbott's Aishah: the Beloved of Muhammad (University of Chicago Press, 1942) is the classic biography in English, drawing on the earliest Islamic histories and in particular al-Tabari, Ibn Saad, and al-Baladhuri.

    Denise A. Spellberg's Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: the legacy of Aisha bint Abu Bakr (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) provides a detailed exploration of the multiple ways in which Aisha has been perceived and interpreted over the centuries, both positively and negatively.
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September 15, 2009
from Doubleday