Global History
Current Debates

The Global Phenomenon of Islam Through the Lens of Late Antiquity

Nasser Rabbat
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bio
Cover image caption: A segment of the remaining frieze on the facade of the Mshatta Palace near Amman, Jordan, dated to the 740s and ascribed to the Caliph Walid II (743-44). Photo Nasser Rabbat.
Published May 25, 2021
Keywords
  • Late Antiquity,
  • Islam,
  • Qur’an,
  • First Millennium
How to Cite
Rabbat, N. (2021). The Global Phenomenon of Islam Through the Lens of Late Antiquity. Cromohs - Cyber Review of Modern Historiography. https://doi.org/10.36253/cromohs-12844

Abstract

The global reach of Islam is a poorly theorised historical phenomenon.  This essay focuses on the evolving conceptualisation of Late Antiquity as a framework for the inclusion of Islam in a West-oriented, though universally applied, periodisation.  My argument, indebted to Garth Fowden, is that Islam came out of late antiquity but brought in “Eastern” epistemologies to the mix in order to construct its own direction at its own pace.

Cover image caption: A segment of the remaining frieze on the facade of the Mshatta Palace near Amman, Jordan, dated to the 740s and ascribed to the Caliph Walid II (743-44). Photo Nasser Rabbat.