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The Khārijites in Early Islamic Historical Tradition: Heroes and Villains by Dr Hannah-Lena Hagemann

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Why are stories told about the Khārijites? The Islamic tradition portrays Khārijism as a heretical movement of militantly pious zealots, a notion largely reiterated by what little there is of modern scholarship on the Khārijites. Hannah-Lena Hagemann moves away from the usual studies of Khārijite history ‘as it really was’ and instead examines its narrative function in early Islamic historiography. 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, Hagemann’s literary analysis provides a fresh perspective on Khārijite history and highlights the need for a serious reassessment of the historical phenomenon of Khārijism as it is currently understood in scholarship.

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