Conversion to Islam in the Premodern Age: A Sourcebook

Publication Year



Co-edited by Nimrod Hurvitz, Ph.D. 1994, Christian Sahner, Ph.D. History 2015, Uriel Simonsohn, Ph.D. 2008, and Luke Yarbrough, B.A. 2004 and Ph.D. 2012.

Conversion to Islam is a phenomenon of immense significance in human history. At the outset of Islamic rule in the seventh century, Muslims constituted a tiny minority in most areas under their control. But by the beginning of the modern period, they formed the majority in most territories from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Across such diverse lands, peoples, and time periods, conversion was a complex, varied phenomenon. Converts lived in a world of overlapping and competing religious, cultural, social, and familial affiliations, and the effects of turning to Islam played out in every aspect of life. Conversion therefore provides a critical lens for world history, magnifying the constantly evolving array of beliefs, practices, and outlooks that constitute Islam around the globe. This groundbreaking collection of texts, translated from sources in a dozen languages from the seventh to the eighteenth centuries, presents the historical process of conversion to Islam in all its variety and unruly detail, through the eyes of both Muslim and non-Muslim observers.

Reviews and Endorsements

"This is an extremely well-conceived volume on the crucial topic of conversion, composed of enthralling selections all translated and annotated by top specialists. The field of Islamic history lacks good sourcebooks, so this volume fills a large void and opens up new vistas for both teaching and research."—Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Professor of History, University of Maryland

"Any reader interested in interreligious relations and conversions will take great pleasure in discovering this diverse collection of texts, many translated into English for the first time from various languages. There is no doubt that this work, edited by renowned historians, will quickly become a standard reference."—Anne-Marie Eddé, Professor of Medieval Islamic History, Panthéon-Sorbonne University

University of California Press
Oakland, CA
Cloth: 9780520296725; paper: 9780520296732; ebook: 9780520969100