Historic research of the rise of Islamic civilization following the rapid and unexpected conquest of the Byzantine and Sasanian East by the Muslims, which was completed in less than two decades (634 CE–651 CE) took a new turn after Patricia Crone and Michael Cook's famous, if controversial, Hagarism saw light in 1977.1 Until that point most of the history of Islam was written on the basis of later Muslim sources, while Hagarism broadened the historical lens by using a variety of contemporary Christian, Jewish, Samaritan, and other sources in various languages including Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, and Armenian. This methodological change not only affected the research of Islamic society, but also focused the interest of scholars on the diversity of the newly created society, comprised of significant numbers of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and others, in which the Muslim conquerors were a minority in the caliphate.

Following this paradigm, Christian Sahner's...

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