[Parution] H.-L. Hagemann, The Kharijites in Early Islamic Historical Tradition, Heroes and Villains, Édimbourg, 2021

Why are stories told about the Khārijites – purported rebels and heretics? From the Khārijites’ origins at the Battle of Ṣiffīn in 657 CE until the death of the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān in 705 CE, this exhaustive literary analysis provides a fresh perspective on Khārijite history as depicted in early Islamic historiography. The Islamic tradition portrays Khārijism as a heretical movement of militantly pious zealots, a notion largely reiterated by what little modern scholarship there is on the Khārijites. Hannah-Lena Hagemann moves away from the usual positivist reconstructions of Khārijite history ‘as it really was’ and instead examines its narrative function in early Islamic historiography. The results of this literary analysis highlight the need for a serious reassessment of the historical phenomenon of Khārijism as it is currently understood in scholarship.

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