Suliman Bashear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Suliman Bashear PhD (Arabic: سليمان بشير‎, Sulaymān Bashīr, Hebrew: סולימאן בשיר‎; 1947–October 1991) was a leading Druze Arab scholar and professor, who taught at Birzeit University, An-Najah National University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Bashear was noted for his work on the early historiography of Islam.

Life and education[edit]

Bashear was born in the northern Palestinian village of Mghar. Bashear studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for his BA (1971) and MA (1973). In 1976, he received his PhD at the University of London for his dissertation ‘Communism in the Arab East’, which was published both in Arabic and in English.

He died in October 1991 following a heart attack, cutting short a promising career. In the last six years of his life, he had produced no less than fifteen published articles.[1]


Bashear made international headlines when he was injured after allegedly being thrown from a second-story window by his students at the University of Nablus in the West Bank as he argued that Islam developed as a religion gradually within the historical context of Judaism and Christianity rather than being the revelation of a prophet.[2] However, this incident has been denied by Bashear’s wife, Dr. Lily Feidy, where she wrote in an email message, “Please note that Suliman was never attacked or injured by his students; nor was he physically attacked by anybody else. I have been asked this question a million times”.[3]

Bashear's historiography of early Islam considered not only the development of religious customs and beliefs, but also traced how later generations recast the past in order to meet the needs of their own era. Like the work of Patricia Crone, John Wansbrough, Yehuda D. Nevo, and other historiographers of early Islam, Bashear's research challenged what he considered to be the myth of a unified beginning Islam.

Books and articles[edit]



  1. ^ Obituary in introduction to Studies in early Islamic tradition by Laurence Conrad, University of Hamburg
  2. ^ The New York Times Radical New Views of Islam and the Origins of the Koran
  3. ^ Sadeghi, Behnam, and Mohsen Goudarzi. "Ṣan ‘ā’1 and the Origins of the Qur’ān." Der Islam 87.1-2 (2012), page 32. DOI: 10.1515/islam-2011-0025
  4. ^ Fred McGraw Donner - 2010 "The original concept of zakat or sadaqa as a payment in expiation for sin, rather than alms, is brilliantly explored in Suliman Bashear, "On the Origins and Development of the Meaning of Zakat in Islam," Arabica 40 (1993): 84-113"