The Early Muslim Conquest of Syria An English Translation of al-Azdī’s Futūḥ al-Shām
This book narrates the battles, conquests and diplomatic activities of the early Muslim fighters in Syria and Iraq vis-à-vis their Byzantine and Sasansian counterparts. It is the first English translation of one of the earliest Arabic sources on the early Muslim expansion entitled Futūḥ al-Shām (The Conquests of Syria).
The translation is based on the Arabic original composed by a Muslim author, Muḥammad al-Azdī, who died in the late 8th or early 9th century C.E. A scientific introduction to al-Azdīʼs work is also included, covering the life of the author, the textual tradition of the work as well as a short summary of the textʼs train of thought. The source narrates the major historical events during the early Muslim conquests in a region that covers today’s Lebanon, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iraq in the 7th century C.E. Among these events are the major battles against the Byzantines, such as the Battles of Ajnādayn and al-Yarmūk, the conquests of important cities, including Damascus, Jerusalem and Caesarea, and the diplomatic initiatives between the Byzantines and the early Muslims. The narrative abounds with history and Islamic theological content.
As the first translation into a European language, this volume will be of interest to a wide range of readership, including (Muslim and Christian) theologians, historians, Islamicists, Byzantinists, Syrologists and (Arabic) linguists.
Introduction; 1 Summary of al-Azdī’s Futūḥ al-Shām; 2 The compiler-author and his work; 3 Policies of translation; 4 Translation
"We should once again emphasise the careful work and the exceptionally high quality of scholarship that went into the production of the volume under review. It is a most welcome addition to the existing corpus of modern translations of medieval Arabic historiography, for which both the translators undertaking the time-consuming work of preparing a precise study translation of an Arabic historical text and the publisher are to be duly thanked and commended. That said, it is also to be remarked that the present translation will reach its full impact with the publication of Scheiner’s forthcoming monograph, not least because there is hardly any other early or classical Arabic historiographer whose writing was chosen for a full translation and comprehensive study in its entirety by one and the same leading scholar in the field. With both volumes in hand, al-Azdi’s doubtless very significant oeuvre will not merely attain its proper place in the canon of early Muslim historiography, but will instantly become one of its best-studied representatives too."
Mónika Schönléber, Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Hungary; Acta Orientalia Hung. 73 (2020).