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The Heirs of Muhammad
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The Heirs of Muhammad

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Within a generation of the prophet Muhammad's death, his followers-as vivid a cast of heroic individuals as history has ever known-had exploded out of Arabia to confront the two great superpowers of the seventh century and establish Islam and with it a new civilization. The Heirs of Muhammad is a swaggering saga of ambition, achievement, self-sacrificing nobility, and bloo ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 15th 2007 by Overlook Hardcover (first published October 5th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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I did not have very much knowledge on the subject to start with so I do not have much to compare it to. I really liked the way the book was divided and gained an enormous amount of knowledge on the Prophet Muhammed and all of the Caliphs that followed. It helped me gain valuable insight on how Islam started and spread so quickly.
Mohammed Alsalik
يحاول هذا الكتاب تحليل الفترة الزمنية الواقعة بين وفاة النبي وحتى مقتل الحسين وخلافة يزيد بن معاوية و يهدف من خلال الإستعراض التاريخي الملخص البحث عن جذور الخلاف السني والشيعي كيف بدأ ولماذا نشأ ؟
أغلب الاحداث والروايات التي ينقلها الكتاب وردت في كتب التراث التقليدية المعروفة ولكن بعض تحليلاته مختلفة وجديدة كليا .. ربما لأنه ينطلق من موقع محايد أو أكثر موضوعية

الفصل الأول عن المدينة ويصف المدينة بدقة شديدة وبالتفاصيل وكأنك تشاهد نخيلها والبساتين والأكواخ البسيطة المصنوعة من سعف النخيل وجريده وبالر
Benjamin Buchholz
This is a good, clear synopsis of what we know (or can know) of the first years of the Islamic state after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.

Rogerson wisely admits in his introductions the limits he has placed on himself, in terms of over-studying or devolving his arguments into the tangled levels of reliability of various traditions. He bluntly states that he has not read the volumes upon volumes of scholarly work in Arabic (not to mention Persian, German, English, Coptic, Syriac, Hebrew, Aram
The Good:
1) This is a good BASIC introductory book, a good starting book to read in understanding the early history and the root of the Sunni Shia schism in Islam. The style of the book is storytelling, not academic, therefore, easy to follow, and understand without getting bogged down with footnotes. There is a good list "further reading(s)" on p.398-402.

2) Because the Arabic names, and the style of writing lineage such as son of (ibn) or father of (abu), mother of (ummu), can be very confusing
Ali Al-Birminghami
This is primarily a historical account of the events of the first thirty years after the death of the Prophet. The writer goes into extenstive (and often laborious) detail about the military conquests of the caliphs but more interestingly, describes the political alliances of the main characters that culminate in the rise of the Ummayad dynasty.

Despite the title of the book, he only vaguely alludes to the roots of the Sunni-Shia schism and does not do it justice. The accuracy of historical acco
Can't figure out how much of this book is Rogerson's interpretation and imagination, as obviously the sources will probably not support his psychologisation.

But it's an interesting view to show how the four rightly led Caliphs were driven ever further off the right path by nepotism, manipulation and mutual distrust. It suggests that Muhammad was a great guy and that his heirs spoiled his legacy. But you could also argue that many of the flaws of the heirs were inherent in the teachings of Muhamm
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]A breezily written, enthusiastic book about the early decades of Islam. Rogerson spends a good third of the book getting to the starting point, recapitulating his earlier biography of the Prophet.[return][return]Rogerson is clearly a sympathiser, and this means that the book cannot be considered particularly neutral. But that's perhaps not such a bad thing; I am more interested in finding out what the Prophet's followers believe than in getti ...more
Khairul H.
Chronicles the the trials and tribulations (and also the successes) of the first four Caliphs of Islam and their generals after the death of Prophet Muhammad. Refreshing to read as I have read books on the same subject but written by Muslim authors in my native Malay language. The difference between those books and Rogerson's is that Rogerson also mentions their human failings (for they were after all, human beings) such as Omar al-Khattab's stern views on women's liberation, Muslim generals Kha ...more
Rogerson makes this complex story intelligible. It's very involved, so it's no wonder that few non-Muslims understand it. Besides the interwoven relationships of the principals (nicely presented in charts at the end), there is the difficulty in seeing how religion gets spread through battle. This is clearly not a story that lends itself to sound bites.

While the book gives a framework for understanding the Shiite-Sunni split, I am at a loss to actually explain it to anyone. What I did learn, was
Jun 18, 2008 David added it
Don't know if the sub title is misleading or what, but I didn't learn much about the differences between the Sunnis and Shia. What I understand from the book, that the shift happened because some thought the wife of the Prophet was more important than the fourth Caliphate.... Dunno.... Doesn't seem anything like the rift between the Catholics and Protestants.

Having said that, this was an interesting book and I'd recommend. The stories of the first four Caliphates were worth the price of the boo
Diaa El-masry
الترجمة العربية لهذا الكتاب أكثر من رائعة...
يبدوا أن مانعانيه اليوم وخاصة ثنائية السنة/الشيعة تعود في جانب كبير منها إلى جهل الطرفين وعدم قراءة التاريخ بدون عصبية وإهمال دروسه ومواعظه ...
"لقد غُرر بنا!" ،،، بالبلدي: احنا أتضحك علينا
An amazing, funny, witty and informative book, I was very pleased and plan to reread it as soon as I return to the states.
Arij Awais
Lots of personal opinions without any solid evidence and reference.
Mehmet Akif Koc
Not bad, especially for non-Muslim beginners to early history of Islam. However, provides poor information/comments on the roots of Sunni-Shia schism...
I think this is a good introduction to the "companions of the prophet" and how they influenced the direction of Islam after Mohammed's death. The author doesn't shy away from some pretty controversial topics (ex. Mohammed's marriage to Aisha)- but he humanizes the stories so the final effect is fairly balanced. I really enjoyed learning about the personalities of the early Muslims (Ali, Omar, Uthman, etc.) and how the current Islamic communities interpret their legacies. Also essential to any un ...more
Rogerson’s history of a critical era in Islam is informative but not always engaging. The book focuses on the first 40 years after the Prophet’s death, attempting to make this story accessible to Westerners and to illuminate the origins of the Shia-Sunni split. Unfortunately Rogerson’s narrative skills are frequently dull and his writing needs editing. This subject awaits a definitive treatment.
Oct 09, 2008 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in monotheistic religions
The early history of Islam from an outsiders view, the author is not a Muslim, he is not Arabic, he is a travel writer. But he seems to be able to boil down the history into an inspiring storey, where the caliphs and the prophet are men, not unreachable or vague, but alive on the pages.
A romantic, epic, tragic account of the early years of Islam, and well-told. Not really scholarly (though paradoxically a bit over-detailed at times) but instructive and enlightening.

A lots of unclear situations. I finished the book but still confused about the Suni Shia conflict. Maybe I need to read more about the subject!
This book made me undestand better how shia formed and what were the hystorical events after Prophet swa s death but I don t trust her sources 100 per cent
This is one of the best book I have read on this subject, a clear understanding of the issue that haunts the Muslim world even today. A must read!
If you want to know the history of the Prophet Muhammad from a neutral person, this book is a recommended one.
History of the Sunni/Shi'ite split. Essential to an understanding of the Muslim world today.

Very informative, historical account of Islamic history. Well researched and well written.
Best I've seen at making an extremely convoluted history easy to grasp.
A must read for every American to understand the origins and culture of Islam
Yasir Jafri
Excellent book, very informative, based on factual evidence...
Introductory history to Islam after Muhammad.
Husnah Naim
5 stars. It's amazing...
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