Leone Caetani’s Annali dell’Islam on Sirah of the Prophet Muhammad
AbstractEarly Islam and Muslims have long caught the western historians’ fancy. While the well-known works of scholars like von Kremer (d. 1889), Muir (d. 1905), Goldziher (d. 1921), Lammens (d. 1937), and Margoliouth (d. 1940) are seen today as the cornerstones of modern western historiography of Islam, Leone Caetani (d. 1935)’s Annali dell’Islam may well be called its courtyard. Although it is probably the only significant book written by Caetani who was an Italian prince and a brilliant historian on early Islam, even a glance at it instantly impresses an onlooker with its sheer volume and depth. From its meticulous chronologies of major as well as many minor events in the history of Islam to its in-depth analyses of those events and their sources, Annali may be rightly called a major macropedia of Islamic history in a western language. The current paper tries to understand the author’s mind that went into it, taking a small sample from it which covers the Prophet Mu╒ammad (peace be upon him)’s biography or Sirah, which is the starting point not only of Islamic history but also of Islam as we know it today.
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