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"Who's Better than God to Rule?" - An Inquiry into the Formation of the First Islamic State (622-32 CE)

  • Author(s): Shuayb, Fiazuddin
  • Advisor(s): El-Fadl, Khaled A
  • et al.


"Who's Better than God to Rule?" - An Inquiry into the Formation of the First Islamic State (622-32 CE)


Fiazuddin Shuayb

Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Studies

University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

Professor Khaled Abou El-Fadl, Chair

This dissertation is a historical research in the formation of the first Islamic State during the era of the Prophet Muḥammad (ca. 622-32 CE). While many academic works have referred to it largely within either biographical (e.g. `the life of Muḥammad' and the like) or mega-historical conceptual frameworks (e.g. `the history of Islam' etc), few have focused exclusively on the political context of the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach drawn from the social sciences, especially political anthropology, history and political science, and the Islamic sciences, I describe the various cultural processes involved in the founding of the early Islamic State and its structure, including an in-depth examination of the local Arabian and regional political environments, the make-up of Arabian society and religion, the Makkan opposition to Islam, the Muslim response to persecution, and how the Qur'an undermined ultimately undermined order and authority in Makka. Also explored in this research are the policy functions of the Islamic State, that is, its conduct, including its relations with non-Muslims, law, warfare, political economy, and foreign relations, which are interpreted through an explanatory framework based on the system's idéologique or native logicality. Last but not least, aspects of the nascent Muslim body politic that are distinctively Islamic are highlighted, such as its innovative notion of rulership (namely, the prophet or messenger of God as a political agent who exercises ḥukm Allah or `rule by that which God has revealed'), the concept of Sharia or divine law, the non-distinction of the religious and the secular or spiritual and temporal domains of society, and the practical demonstration of its uncompromising monotheistic theology as a political ideology and mode of governance.

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