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The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-Century Jerusalem

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Rock of Jerusalem is one of the world’s most spiritually resonant and politically contentious sites: where Adam first stepped upon leaving Paradise, Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac, Jesus preached, and Muhammad began his night journey to heaven,. Sorting through the rubble of the three competing faiths, Kanan Makiya has woven a vivid tapestry from centuries of leg ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Vintage (first published 2001)
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3.37  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all readers of good will
A fascinating piece of fiction by a young Iraqi idealist who became a part of the ex-patriate community upon whom Cheney and Rumsfeld placed irresponsible reliance in the run up to the war. The story revolves around a follower of the Prophet who led the forces that captured Jerusalum from the Christian forces in the seventh century. It gives many illuminating views into the histories of both Islam and Christianity. The author has evident intellectual gifts and could be a voice in bridging the po ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well researched book about the history of the Dome of the Rock, written in historical fiction format. However, it is not an easy read mainly due to the writing style.
This book is not so much a typical historical novel as it is a lyrical meditation on what makes a place sacred and the common ground (literally) of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, from the perspective of the latter. The story is about the 7th century conquest of Jerusalem by the early Muslim Arabs and the subsequent construction of the Dome of the Rock. The spiritual center of the book is the Rock of Foundation at the summit of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to tradition this is the ...more
Jan 15, 2010 rated it liked it
One of the most difficult books I have read recently and nearly impossible for me to review. The story is told by the Ishaq son of Ka'b a Jewish scholar in the 7th century. I think the author does a remarkable job of trying to keep the 7th c voice but still readable in the 21st century. The Jewish scholar knew the prophet Mohammed and although remaining Jewish, became a follower and Believer. He also became the confidant of the next several leaders of the faith and moves to Jerusalem with the Be ...more
Alex Marshall
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kanan Makiya will be remembered for his passionate hatred of Saddam Hussein, which moved him to sell to a gullible US government the idea that an invasion would be welcomed with flowers by the people of Iraq.
With that in mind, how sceptical should a reader be of a history of 7th century Jerusalem that presents the Muslim conquest as a rather cheerful tour of the holy places?
OK, that isn't fair to this novel, which seems to rest on solid (though mostly Western) scholarship. The storyteller is t
Sarah Clark
Mar 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Set in Jerusalem, this tale covers the momentous time from the death of the Prophet Muhammad to the rapid spread of Islam. Told through the eyes of Ishaq, son of a learned Yemeni Jew, this story traces the events that led to the building of Islam’s first monument, the Dome of the Rock, at a holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

Appeals: Very scholarly account well grounded in both history and lore from multiple religions’ points of view. Good choice for someone with a solid understand
Maximiliano Alejandro
Jun 19, 2015 added it
Recommends it for: Diego Furbatto
Excelsa obra que narra un tiempo de buenas relaciones entre los pueblos árabe y hebreo en primera instancia y marca los primeros conflictos entre las religiones del Libro (La Biblia, Torah y Corán) y los problemas sucesorios del Islam. una obra 100% recomendable y que debería no solo estar en español, sino que DEBERÍA ser materia obligada a todo cristiano como prueba de lo históricamente crueles que hemos sido en nuestra "evangelización" para con otros pueblos, desoyendo la meta y mensajes inici ...more
Jean Kelly
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book. The author has created a work of fiction while borrowing widely from documents available about the rock where various major religious events are said to have occurred. The most interesting chapter to me was the "Historical Note on Ka'b and the Rock. It really clarifies what the author's intent was.
May 05, 2010 marked it as to-read

Reviewed by The Guardian
Daughters Of Abraham
Historical fiction based on the viewpoint of a Yemenite Jewish man who converts to Islam during the Prophet's lifetime. He witnesses the Islamic takeover of Jerusalem and the building of the Dome of the Rock.
Writing is slow going. We had a good discussion.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about early Islam by reading this book. Not a very exciting story, but exciting to me nonetheless, for its almost poetic explanation of the meaning of the rock for the three monotheistic religions.
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Historical fiction of a time we know only through oral tradition and legend - faux fiction? Faux History? The underpinnings of the hatred surrounding The Rock.
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is an Iraqi academic, who gained British nationality in 1982. He is the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Although he was born in Baghdad, he left Iraq to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, later founding Makiya Associates in order to design and build projects in the Middle East. As a former exile, he was a pr ...more