Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A comparison of four medieval Muslim historians' narratives of Saqīfa
Author: Latif, Farasat
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 9701
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Apr 2025
Access from Institution:
Following the death of the Prophet Muh̩ammad (peace be upon him) in 632 CE, a hastily convened meeting at Saqīfa resulted in Abū Bakr being chosen as successor. The events at Saqīfa and the issue of the Prophet’s legitimate successor soon became one of the most intractable conflicts in the religious history of the Islamic world. To date no researcher has critically analysed the range of early historical works regarding Saqīfa, nor has a comparative in-depth study of these texts been carried out. Little is known about how early medieval historians viewed and presented this controversial episode or the extent to which their historiographical works aligned with a range of proto-Sunnī and proto-Shī‘ī theological positions. Through a comparative analysis I examine the narrative representation of Saqīfa in four primary historical texts, the differences in the representation of this event, and the strategies of compilation, including selection of sources employed by each author to support a particular religio-political view on the issue of the Prophet’s succession. The four texts are: Ansāb al-Ashrāf by al-Balādhurī (d.278/892), Ta’rīkh by al-Ya’qūbī (d.283/897), Ta’rīkh al-Rusul wa ‘l-Mulūk by al-T̩abarī (d.310/923) and Kitāb al-Futūḥ by Ibn A‘tham (d.314/926-7). I argue that in view of the centrality of the Saqīfa event to both proto-Shī‘ī and proto-Sunnī doctrine, as well as the highly controversial nature of the event, these four historians constructed a narrative that reinforced their particular theological stances regarding succession to the Prophet. Written between two to three centuries after the event, these historical narratives were intended as ‘factual’ accounts of the Saqīfa incident and indicate that both al-T̩abarī’s and al-Balādhurī’s narrative aligned with proto-Sunnism, al-Ya‘qūbī’s with an early expression of proto-Imāmi Shī‘ism and that Ibn A‘tham can tentatively be associated with Batri Zaydism.
Supervisor: Bora, Fozia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available