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Rituals of Islamic Monarchy

Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire

Andrew Marsham

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This fascinating history explores the ceremony of the oath of allegiance to the caliph from the time of the Prophet Muhammad until the fragmentation of the caliphate in the late ninth and tenth centuries.

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Section I: Rituals of Rulership in Arabia and the Conquest Polity (c.570-692)
1. Ritual and Authority in the Late Antique Near East
2. The Bay'a: the Expression of Loyalty in the First Century of Islam.
3. Authority and Succession in the 'Conquest Polity' (622-661)
4. Near Eastern Kingship: The Sufyanid and Zubayrid Caliphates (661-692)
Section II: The Marwanid State (692-749)
5. The Wilayat al-'ahd: Dynastic Succession in Early Islam
6. State Ceremonial: the Bay'a in the Early Marwanid Period
7. Revolutionary Bay'as: Loyalty at the End of the Marwanid Caliphate and During the Abbasid Revolution
Section III: The Early Abbasid Caliphate (749-817)
8. Succession in the Early Abbasid Period
9. Documents and the Bay'a from al-Wal?d II to al-Mu'tazz (743-870)
10. Al-Mansur and the Succession of al-Mahdi: 136/754-160/776
11. Succession and Civil War
12. Al-Ma'mün and al-Rida
Section IV: The Rise of the Turks (817-870)
13. Al-Mu'tasim and al-Wathiq
14. Al-Mutawakkil and the Third Century Civil War
Conclusion and Comparisons.

About the Author

Andrew Marsham is a Lecturer in Islamic History at the University of Edinburgh.


The book impresses particularly because of the author's critical treatment of the sources and resulting historical approach. Andrew Marsham has not only filled a gap by presenting a comprehensive study of the caliphal bay'a up to the tenth century, his study is also an example of how to deconstruct a normative view of Islamic history that uncritically takes classical sacralizing Sunnite interpretations of the Muslim past for granted.
- Almut Hofert, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

‘It [Rituals of Islamic Monarchy] could not be more timely. The scale of its achievement and historiographical value will not have to wait to emerge in the fullness of time: it is already making its mark.’

- Jinty Nelson, King’s College London, Early Medieval Europe Vol. 22 Issue 1