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Der Islam

Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East

Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan / Hagen, Gottfried / Kaplony, Andreas / Matthee, Rudi

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100

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Volume 86, Issue 1


Muhammad, The Jews and the Constitution of Medina: Retrieving the historical Kernel

Paul Lawrence Rose
Published Online: 2011-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam.2011.012


The Constitution of Medina (Kitāb) is perhaps the earliest surviving text of Islam that is accepted as authentic even by most revisionist historians. It embodies crucial material for the history of Muḥammad's relations with the Jews of Medina as well as for the historical emergence of Islam, but its meaning and significance are difficult to ascertain, and it has proven difficult to extract the substantial kernel of historical truth which is contained within it. This article proposes a new method of doing so based on the triangulation of the Sīra narratives, the Qur'ān, and the Kitāb, in which the last may be used as a control on the other sources. The Kitāb itself is analyzed on the basis of R. B. Serjeant's critical dissection of the text into a series of component treaties concluded at various times with the Muslim, Jewish and Munāfiqūn residents of Medina. The particular episode of the Jewish Qaynuqā' tribe and its Munāfiqūn allies is investigated to demonstrate the potential of the method.

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Published Online: 2011-10-20

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Der Islam, Volume 86, Issue 1, Pages 1–29, ISSN (Online) 1613-0928, ISSN (Print) 0021-1818, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam.2011.012.

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