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IslamisationComparative Perspectives from History$
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A. C. S. Peacock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417129

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417129.001.0001

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What Did Conversion to Islam Mean in Seventh-Century Arabia?

What Did Conversion to Islam Mean in Seventh-Century Arabia?

Chapter:
(p.83) 5 What Did Conversion to Islam Mean in Seventh-Century Arabia?
Source:
Islamisation
Author(s):

Harry Munt

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417129.003.0005

In a late seventh- or very early eighth-century Coptic homily anachronistically attributed to the church father Athanasius of Alexandria (d. 373), it is lamented that, following the Arab conquest of Egypt in the early 640s, ‘many Christians, Barbarians, Greeks, Syrians and from all tribes will go and join them in their faith’.1 This prophecy comes across as somewhat hysterical to many modern observers – at least within its seventh-or eighth-century context – since it is now the generally accepted consensus of historians that the processes through which the inhabitants of the conquered territories of the Middle East converted to Islam were extremely gradual and persisted for centuries. Monumental changes to the political, social and religious life of many communities in this region came in the decades and centuries after the conquests – developments to which many non-Muslims fully contributed – but Muslim-majority populations are not thought to have emerged widely until the ninth or tenth centuries at the very earliest.

Keywords:   Islam, Arabia, Conversion, Muhammad, Political

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