Islamic Civilzation in Thirty Lives

Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives

The First 1,000 Years

  1. Chase F. Robinson
  • ISBN 9780500110300
  • 23.50 x 15.20 cm
  • Hardback
  • 272pp
  • With 72 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2016

A unique introduction to Islamic history, featuring the individuals – caliphs, sultans, scholars, mystics, writers and travellers – who shaped the course and reflect the diversity of Islamic civilization

‘A beautifully written, well-illustrated set of brief, vividly drawn portraits’ – Times Higher Education
‘An elegant digest of the many colourful, creative and technologically innovative manifestations that the Prophet Muhammad inspired from his seventh-century oases in the Arabian peninsula’– 1843
‘Fascinating … offers a unique introduction to Islamic history … not to be missed’– Timeless Travels

Islamic Civilzation in Thirty Lives

Religious thinkers, political leaders, law-makers, writers and philosophers have shaped the 1,400-year-long development of the world’s second-largest religion. But who were these people? What do we know of their lives, and the ways in which they influenced their societies?

Chase F. Robinson weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world-conqueror Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the 15th.

Beginning in Islam’s heartland, Mecca, and ranging from North Africa and Iberia in the west to Central and East Asia, Robinson not only traces the rise and fall of Islamic states through the biographies of political and military leaders, but also discusses those who developed Islamic law, scientific thought and literature. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of rich and diverse Islamic societies.

Alongside the famous characters who coloured this landscape are less well-known figures, such as Ibn Fadlan, whose travels in Eurasia brought fascinating first-hand accounts of the Volga Vikings to the Abbasid Caliph, the eleventh-century Karima al-Marwaziyya, a woman scholar of Prophetic traditions, and Abu al-Qasim Ramisht, a 12th-century merchant millionaire.

An illuminating read for anyone interested in learning more about this often misunderstood civilization, this book creates a vivid picture of life in all arenas of the pre-modern Islamic world.

Chase F. Robinson was Lecturer and Professor of Islamic History in the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1993 until 2008, when he was appointed Distinguished Professor of History and Provost of the Graduate Center of the City of University of New York, where he now serves as President. His books include, Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest; Islamic Historiography; and The New Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 1.