Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam

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Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam
book cover
Author Patricia Crone
Published 1987 (Gorgias Press)
ISBN 1-59333-102-9
OCLC 57718221

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.


If 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.[1]

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.


Robert Bertram 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."[2] Fred M. Donner, on the other hand, states that "[the] assumption that Mecca was the linchpin of international luxury trade [has] been decisively challenged in recent years – notably in Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam."[3]


  1. ^ Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (Princeton, U.S.A: Princeton University Press, 1987), p.134
  2. ^ R.B. Serjeant, "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam: Misconceptions and Flawed Polemics", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1990, p.472.
  3. ^ 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. 

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