The Qur’anic Studies Unit at the IIS inaugurated its Book Review Lecture Series with a lecture by Professor Aziz al-Azmeh on 3 February 2014. The lecture was based on Professor Al-Azmeh’s latest book, The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allah and His People (Cambridge, 2014). He presented the book as an answer to the myriad questions about the various studies conducted in the last few decades on the period known as ‘early Islam,’ while proposing a new approach.
Professor al-Azmeh began his talk by surveying a number of problematic methodologies that have been used by historians of Islam over the past decades to study ancient Islamic sources. He proposed that it is possible to read historical sources and make sense of them. He thus rejected the hypercritical methods of schools that reconstruct Islamic history only from external sources, that is, sources that are non-Islamic.