Tabari (Makers of Islamic Civilization)

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Abo Jafar Muhammad b. Jar'ir b. Yazid al-Tabari (c.223-310/839-923) was one of the most outstanding scholars of Abbasid Baghdad. Her produced works in the sciences of Prophetic tradition, Qur'anic exegesis, jurisprudence, history, theology, ethics and medicine, and was a master of Arabic linguistics and poetry.

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About The Book

Al-Tabari (ca. 828–923 CE),a brilliant scholar of 'Abbasid Baghdad, wrote extensively in all fields of the Islamic science of his day. Now, the most widely read of his works are his massive 'History of the Messengers and Kings' and his Qur'an commentary. The History is the primary source for the information that we have about Sassanid Persia and the first three centuries of Islam. It is also an argument for grounding knowledge and policy on experience and rationality.

In the introductory chapters, Martensson explains the methodologies that underpin Tabari’s contribution to history, scriptural interpretation and jurisprudence. Through an account of Tabari’s education, writings, political contacts, and the political context in which he worked, she describes Tabari’s principal concern: how, through good scholarship and ‘good governance’, to combat the arbitrary legal and administrative practices which threatened to bring down the ‘Abbasid caliphate.

The main chapters of the book (with maps and extensive citations form the History) show how Tabari demonstrated his general argument: that good governance should depend on merit, not family or tribal loyalties; that political and religious authority should be separated; that administration should manage the needs of society’s conflicting interest-groups rationally, through rule of law and a centralized taxation policy.

That argument has urgent relevance for contemporary Muslims, as does Tabari’s observation that, while the causes of insurrection can be justified, its effects seldom can.

About The Author

Ulrika Martensson teaches religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, researching on theories of state, knowledge and interpretation in medieval, modern and cotnemporary Islamic thought. She is the author of ‘Discourse and historical analysis: the case of al-Tabari’s History’ (20005), and ‘The persuasive proof: a study of Aristotle’s Politics and rhetoric in the Qur’an and al-Tabari’s Commentary’ (2008).

Data sheet
EAN 13 / ISBN9780198063018
AuthorUlrika Martensson
PublisherOxford University Press
Year Published2009
Height9.4 Inches
Width7.1 Inches
Length0.4 Inches