Based on a critical review of the relevant scholarship, and using epigraphic and other material evidence as well as more traditional sources, this book presents a comprehensive and innovative reconstruction of the rise of Islam as a religion and imperial polity. It reassesses the development of the imperial monotheism of the New Rome, and the history of the Arabs as an integral part of late antiquity, and the emergence in this context of what was to become Muslim monotheism, which is compared with the emergence of other monotheisms from polytheistic systems. Topics discussed include the emergence and development of the Muhammadan polity and its new cultic deity, its associated ritual, the constitution of the Muslim canon, and the development of early Islam as an imperial religion. Intended principally for scholars of late antiquity, Islamic studies and the history of religions, the book opens up many novel directions for future research.

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