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The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran
Tradition, Memory, and Conversion


Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107529854

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About the Authors
  • How do converts to a religion come to feel an attachment to it? The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran answers this important question for Iran by focusing on the role of memory and its revision and erasure in the ninth to eleventh centuries. During this period, the descendants of the Persian imperial, religious and historiographical traditions not only wrote themselves into starkly different early Arabic and Islamic accounts of the past but also systematically suppressed much knowledge about pre-Islamic history. The result was both a new 'Persian' ethnic identity and the pairing of Islam with other loyalties and affiliations, including family, locale and sect. This pioneering study examines revisions to memory in a wide range of cases, from Iran's imperial and administrative heritage to the Prophet Muhammad's stalwart Persian companion, Salman al-Farisi, and to memory of Iranian scholars, soldiers and rulers in the mid-seventh century.

    • First book to focus on Iran's conversion to Islam
    • Challenges notions of a primordial 'Iranian' identity
    • Analyses the early Islamic history of Iran from a history of memory viewpoint, providing an opening for cross-cultural comparisons
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran will prove fascinating to anyone interested in identity narratives and how authors shape the past in the service of the present. Savant builds a bridge between the history of Persia and the memory of Persia, and atop this bridge we can clearly witness the inherent tension in any identity between the old and the new.' Elizabeth Urban, Marginalia

    'The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran might ultimately shape Iranian and Islamic studies not only by contributing novel scholarship to the field, but also by speaking to non-specialists' interests as well.' Mahdi Tourage, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

    '… the book [richly] captures … the medieval and modern historiographies … of … the first centuries of the medieval Islamic empire; it is a valuable tool for students and scholars of the early history of Islamic Iran and Islam.' Camille Rhoné-Quer, translated from Remmm Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107529854
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 6 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Prior connections to Islam
    2. Muhammad's Persian companion, Salman al-Farisi
    3. Finding meaning in the past
    4. Reforming Iranians' memories of pre-Islamic times
    5. The unhappy prophet
    6. Asserting the end of the past.

  • Author

    Sarah Bowen Savant, Aga Khan University
    Sarah Bowen Savant is a historian of religion and an Associate Professor at the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London. Her publications include Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim Societies: Understanding the Past (2013), co-edited with Helena de Felipe, as well as book chapters and journal articles treating early Islamic history and historiography.

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