Shipping Note: This item usually arrives at your doorstep in 10-15 days
Author: Ulrika Martensson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780198063018
Al-Tabari ( ca. 838-923), a brilliant scholar of 'Abbasid Baghdad, wrote extensively in all fields of the Islamic sciences 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 information 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 within which he worked, she describes Tabari's principal concern: how to combat, through good scholarship and 'good governance', the arbitrary legal and administrative practices which threatened to bring down the `Abbasid empire.
The main chapters of the book (with maps and extensive citations from 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.
List of Maps
1. Tabari’s life and works
2. Reading the History
3. Tabari’s History
5. Further reading