In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.2), Ayman S. Ibrahim (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) reviews Juan Cole’s Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires (New York: Nation Books, 2018).
In his review, Ibrahim writes “In recent years, the field of Islamic Studies has witnessed a growing trend centered on reinterpreting early Islam. The reinterpretation concerns historical episodes, events, or figures, and stands in a clear dissonance with traditional narratives depicted by classical Muslim historians…Juan Cole’s ‘Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires’ is a recent representation of this trend. The author attempts to reinterpret early Islam, particularly in relation to the image of the Muslim prophet. Following Fred M. Donner’s footsteps in ‘Muhammad and the Believers,’ Cole’s Muhammad “puts forward a reinterpretation of early Islam as a movement strongly inflected with values of peacemaking” (1). If Donner’s reinterpretation portrayed early Islam as an ecumenical movement (a community of believers, not Muslims), Cole’s book emphasizes Muḥammad as a “prophet of peace” who led a peacemaking community…”
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