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Patricia Crone proves without doubt two important points Islam began in northwest Arabia, therefore not in Mecca The traditional account of trade and wealth in the Mecca of southern Arabia is false it was too expensive to transport cheap goods like leather and coarse woollen clothes 800 miles by camel to Syria, when Syrians could get cheaper, higher quality goods locally How could Mecca support 2 3000 camels without local pasture land and make a profit from trade from cheap, unspecialised goods How could traders manage the logistics of a 2 month round journey on camels Why didn t they simply ship it up the Red Sea from Aden and bypass Mecca entirely Why would Mecca be on a trade route when it had nothing to offer passing trade She also makes a great job at examining the sources of the Islamic tradition it is clear that much of it is unhistorical and the work of storytellers The allusiveness of the Qur an seems to have led to much of the exegetical storytelling output The later findings by Dan Gibson confirms many of her conclusions I read it in just 2 days, which shows what a great read it is, at least I found it fascinating. I don t believe in any religion so I m impartial to this I read this book out of pure curiosity with no agenda and I was ready to take some of the author s arguments The author makes some very weak arguments and supports them with even weaker evidence Also, most of the text in the book is contained in footnotes rather than the body of the text, which is VERY distracting Finally, the book is EXTREMELY repetitive You can read the whole book cover to cover, or you can read the first page and the last page and you ll gain the exact same amount from this book The author thinks that repeating the same argument 100 times in 100 different ways makes it a strong argument, but no, her arguments are still weak and unsupported not to mention illogical. I enjoyed reading this book even though Crone adopted lots of fallacies, and she didn t give the references to back some sensitive claims if you ever noticed which made her miss the objectivity of research, I read a critical translation of her work and what I found out is that she was so subjective and turns out to make a hypothesis then consider it as a fact thereinafter, she s brilliant at making the reader confused, she is so smart Crone s argument boils down to 1 Meccan trade was at most a local business by 600 AD, rather than supplying goods to empires Further the goods traded were probably leather and cheap items rather than light, expensive luxury items spices, incense, or perfume that would have made overland transportation worth the cost Rather, maritime trade made sense in terms of cost 2 Mecca was unlikely the site of pre Islamic pilgrimage fairs.3 In any case it s unlikely that the Quraysh would have gotten rich off of either trade or pilgrimage.4 Meccan trade might throw light on mechanics behind the spread of Islam, but cannot explain why Islam appeared in Arabia, or why it had such a massive political effect.Thorough scholarly work, but perhaps not entirely necessary for a hobbyist to wade through the meticulous textual evidence on what items were mentioned to be transported where. ( Download Book ) ♗ Meccan Trade And The Rise Of Islam ♡ Meccan Trade And The Rise Of Islam Is An Extremely Controversial But Effectively Argued And Extensively Documented Work The Author Presents A Radical Challenge To A Number Of Standard Assertions About The Socio Economic Milieu In Which Islam Arose R Stephen Humphreys, University Of Wisconsin, Madison Patricia Crone Reassesses One Of The Most Widely Accepted Dogmas In Contemporary Accounts Of The Beginnings Of Islam, The Supposition That Mecca Was A Trading Center Thriving On The Export Of Aromatic Spices To The Mediterranean Pointing Out That The Conventional Opinion Is Based On Classical Accounts Of The Trade Between South Arabia And The Mediterranean Some Years Earlier Than The Age Of Muhammad, Dr Crone Argues That The Land Route Described In These Records Was Short Lived And That The Muslim Sources Make No Mention Of Such Goods In Addition To Changing Our View Of The Role Of Trade, The Author Reexamines The Evidence For The Religious Status Of Pre Islamic Mecca And Seeks To Elucidate The Nature Of The Sources On Which We Should Reconstruct Our Picture Of The Birth Of The New Religion In Arabia Patricia Crone Is Professor Of Islamic History At The Institute For Advanced Study, Princeton Her Books Include Medieval Islamic Political Thought Edinburgh And Pre Industrial Societies Anatomy Of The Premodern World Second Edition, Oxford An eye opening account of what we do and do not know about Arabia trade and Mecca during the time of Muhammad and the centuries following him Her thesis is basically that Mecca could not have been the central trading hub as later Muslims claimed as it could not have been economically viable given how much cheaper it would be for the trading ships to sail up to the Sinai area rather than to take goods on camelback from Mecca up to the Jordan Israel area This combined with the fact that there are no mentions of Mecca on any map until the 9th century definitely give credence to her thesis.While this book gets bashed sometimes for departing from the consensus amongst historians, but the question is not whether it departs from this consensus but whether its claims can be supported from evidence.Would highly recommend also reading R B Sergeant s response to it in an article titled Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam Misconceptions and Flawed Polemics , as well as Crone s response to Sergeant, Serjeant and Meccan Trade. I know almost nothing of Muslim historiography, and in this sense the book was enlightening if overly pre occupied with random spice lists The general approach to Religious phenomena wasn t as helpful as i would have expected it seems principally an attempt to introduce the hermeneutic of suspicion and historical critical readings into the use of Muslim source material to question whether or not Mecca really occupied a central node in a vast trading empire Worth reading, but I doubt I ll read it again. Excellent BookWell researched and well thought out Raises a lot of questions and pokes even holes in traditional understandings of the beginning of Islam Only problem with the digital version is many formatting and spell problems Still an outstanding study, well worth the time spent studying. An excellent read that challenges the historicity of the Arab trade and also the location and importance of Mecca Certainly a book that forces the reader to look outside of the orthodox established origin narrative.