Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam
|Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam|
|Published||2004 (Gorgias Press)|
Meccan Trade And The Rise Of Islam is a book written by scholar and historiographer of early Islam Patricia Crone. The book argues that Islam did not originate in Mecca, located in western Saudi Arabia, but in northern Arabia.
In traditional Islamic accounts, Mecca is portrayed as a wealthy trading center, full of merchants trading goods by caravan from Yemen in the south and Syria and the Byzantine Empire in the north. The book argues that Mecca was in fact way off the incense route from Yemen to Syria, which bypassed where Mecca is today by more than 100 miles. Furthermore, it claims that there is no mention of Mecca in any Non-Islamic sources of that period.
- It is obvious that if the Meccans had been middlemen in a long-distance trade of the kind described in traditional Islamic literature, there ought to have been some mention of it in the writings of their customers who wrote extensively about the south Arabians who supplied them with aromatics. Despite the considerable attention paid to Arabian affairs there is no mention at all of Quraysh (the tribe of Mohammed) and their trading center Mecca, be it in the Greek, Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, or other literature composed outside Arabia.[this quote needs a citation]
An examination of all available evidence and sources leads Crone to conclude that Mohammed's career took place not in Mecca and Medina or in southwest Arabia at all, but in northwest Arabia.
R.B. Serjeant, reviewing the book in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, described it as a "confused, irrational and illogical polemic, further complicated by her misunderstanding of Arabic texts, her lack of comprehension of the social structure of Arabia, and twisting of the clear sense of other writings, ancient and modern, to suit her contentions." Fred M. Donner, on the other hand, states that "[the] assumption that Mecca was the linchpin of international trade [has] been decisively challenged in recent years – notably in Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam." 
- R.B. Serjeant, "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam: Misconceptions and Flawed Polemics", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1990, p.472.
- Donner, Fred M. (2010). Muhammad and the Believers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-674-05097-6.
- Meccan Trade article by R. B. Serjeant - JSTOR - Journal of the American Oriental Society... Vol. 110, No. 3, Jul. - Sep., 1990