Robert Hoyland's erudite new narrative of the so-called “Islamic conquests” uses a vast amount of primary and secondary sources to address key questions about how the early Muslims took control of Byzantine and Sasanian territory. By doing so, he broadens the scope of the earlier published “conquest narratives,” aptly contextualizes early history of Islam into the late antique landscape, and hence does not present a one-sided image of the events. However, the author claims that it was not religious zeal that motivated the fighters, but the doctrines of emigration (hijra) and fighting (jihād). This interpretation belies the monograph's title, which is a reference to and translation of the qurʾānic term fī sabīl Allāh that is usually used in connection with fighting (jihād) and represents an important Islamic theologumenon.

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