Rechercher sur

Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History. The Rashidun Caliphs par Tayeb al Hibri (Mars 2018)

Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History. The Rashidun Caliphs par (...)

Accueil > Bibliographie/Sites > Ouvrages > Approche historico-critique > Ouvrages en anglais > Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History. The Rashidun Caliphs par (...)


Tayeb El-Hibri specializes in classical Arabic historiography and in medieval and modern Arabic literature. He is the author of Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography : Harun al-Rashid and the Narrative of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate (Cambridge University Press, 1999), which received the Albert Hourani Award Honorable Mention of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 2000, and Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History : The Rashidun Caliphs (Columbia University Press, 2010). His published articles and reviews have appeared in Arabica, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Near Eastern Studies and Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, and The New Cambridge History of Islam (2008). He has also been consultant on Arabic and Islamic history for the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the exhibition, “al-Andalus : The Arts of Islamic Spain (711-1492).”
(Source :


The story of the succession to the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of the Rashidun Caliphate (632-661 AD) is familiar to historians from the political histories of medieval Islam, which treat it as a factual account. The story also informs the competing perspectives of Sunni and Shi’i Islam, which read into it the legitimacy of their claims. Yet while descriptive and varied, these approaches have long excluded a third reading, which views the conflict over the succession to the Prophet as a parable. From this vantage point, the motives, sayings, and actions of the protagonists reveal profound links to previous texts, not to mention a surprising irony regarding political and religious issues.

In a controversial break from previous historiography, Tayeb El-Hibri privileges the literary and artistic triumphs of the medieval Islamic chronicles and maps the origins of Islamic political and religious orthodoxy. Considering the patterns and themes of these unified narratives, including the problem of measuring personal qualification according to religious merit, nobility, and skills in government, El-Hibri offers an insightful critique of both early and contemporary Islam and the concerns of legitimacy shadowing various rulers. In building an argument for reading the texts as parabolic commentary, he also highlights the Islamic reinterpretation of biblical traditions, both by Qur’anic exegesis and historical composition.

Table des matières


1. Introduction
2. Abu Bakr : The Moment of Confirmation
3. ’Umar b. al-Khattab : A Saga of Law and Conquest
4. ’Uthman : The Challenge of Innovation
5. The Road to Civil War : Issues and Boundaries
6. ’Ali : In the Image of the Prophets
7. From Caliphate to Kingship : ’Umar’s Reign and Future Changes
8. Conclusion
Appendix 1. Abu Mikhnaf’s Account of the Saqifa of Banu Sa’ida
Appendix 2. The Succession to ’Umar
Appendix 3. Manushihr’s Declaration


(Credit Photo :

Voir en ligne : Columbia University Press