Study Questions for F. E. Peters
Muhammad and the Origins of Islam


I.  Founding Fathers
  • What was the relationship between Abraham and Arabia, particularly Mecca, according to Muslim tradition?
  • Who were the "Founding Fathers?" Founding what? Fathers of whom?
2.  Colonial Era in Arabia
  • How important were the Christian and Jewish communities in Arabia
  • What role did Abyssinia play in Arab history in the period before Muhammad?
3.  The Arabic Oikoumene [know what "Oikoumene" refers to]
  • Compare Persian to early Roman interests in Arabia
  • Be able to compare Patricia Crone's views of Mecca with those provided by Peters in this chapter and the next
4.  The Family and City of Muhammad
  • How did the Meccans organize use of the Ka'ba before Muhammad and Islam?
5.  The Gods and the Shrine
  • What was "The Era of Ignorance" and how did Muslims explain it?
6.  A Prophet at Mecca
  • How did Muhammad become a 'prophet?'  And what did that mean in 7th century c.e. Mecca?
7.  The Migration to Medina
  • Why did Muhammad move to Medina?  What was the move's significance for the Muslim community?
8.  The City of the Prophet?
  • What did Muhammad do in Yathrib/Medina?  How do we know? For the future Islamic world, why are Muhammad's activities in Medina important?
9-11.  Last three chapters
  • How did Muhammad conquer Mecca
  • What was the Islamic community at Muhammad's death? - size, shape, institutions, leadership?