Preface; Note on transliteration and dates; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Religion in the jahiliyya: theories and evidence; 2. Idols and idolatry in the Koran; 3. Shirk and idolatry in monotheist polemic; 4. The tradition; 5. Names, tribes and places; 6. The daughters of God; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
This study seeks to explain the emergence of Islam in seventh-century Arabia.
'Never before has anyone shown with such clarity how little the so-called polytheism described in the Quran has to do with the Arabian paganism described in the tradition.' Times Literary Supplement 'I find Hawting's book very inspiring ... no future scholar working with pre-Islamic times can afford to overlook Hawting's book which provides a whetstone for anyone trying to write a more positivistic analysis of pre-Islamic religion.' Acta Orientalia 'Hawting carries forward his argument in closely argued prose which is throughout fully alert to scholarship in Arabic and in European languages that relates to his case.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies