So I bought In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and The Creation of an Islamic Empire. I’m about a third of the way though, which isn’t saying much since it’s a rather short book. I don’t know if I’m disappointed in it or not. Having read Tom Holland’s In The Shadow of the Sword which covers much the same period I feel like it goes into more detail than Holland’s work but if you’ve read Holland’s work then you kind of know the history already.
There wasn’t really an Islamic conquest: differing Arab groups, often with local allies, found that the Byzantine and Persian empires were so weak that they could raid them with impunity and these raids developed into a conquest. Among these groups were a bunch of people who called themselves “the faithful” who were actually a mix of Christians, Jews and what later became Muslims. Then at some point after the Arab conquests there was a war between them and all these Arab groups became Muslims and the histories were written to turn the Arab conquests into Islamic conquests under a guy called Muhammad.
In God’s Path fills in some of the details but the broad strokes are the same. I was hoping for more though: there are times when he takes a Christian source, marries it to a Persian or Muslim source and says, “This source appears to be talking about his battle” and it’s all a bit vague, I wanted something a bit more meaty. I’d recommend it if you haven’t read Tom Holland’s work and want a Tl;Dr version of it without the wider background context of Late Antiquity. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it on it’s own though; obviously I’ll have to read the rest.
In other news: Tomorrow I’m again off to Shrewsbury to get wine with Gman, from thence we will get very drunk before I go to the cinema with Jboy before more drinking and hopefully seeing BM.
W is continuing to remind me of my ex. Not only does she look like my ex, but she is also as introverted as my ex and, though we talk a lot, getting her to come for coffee is proving difficult. Also, being Polish, she’s a bit worried about Brexit and various racist goings on at the moment.