Between history and exegesis: The origins and transformation of the story of Muḥammad and Zaynab bint Ǧaḥš

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Abstract

This article examines the origins of the story of the Prophet Muḥammad’s controversial marriage with Zaynab bt. Ǧaḥš as well as its transformation and reinterpretation through the centuries. The fact that the story features in different genres of Islamic literature as well as in non-Muslim sources allows for a reconstruction of how and where the story emerged, how it spread and to what extent it was transformed over time. In the course of this reconstruction, the article critically assesses different approaches to the historicity of reports on the life of Muḥammad. With its analysis of later Muslim sources, it also illustrates different strategies of reinterpreting and recasting traditions and shows how societal change and different ideologies influenced the interpretation of the story
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-63
Number of pages23
JournalArabica
Volume65
Issue number1-2
Early online date8 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Mar 2018
EventRepresentations of Muhammad - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Oct 201524 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Zaynab bt. Ǧaḥš
  • Zayd b. Ḥāriṯa
  • Prophet Muḥammad
  • Qur’an
  • exegesis
  • Sīra
  • Tafsīr
  • representations of Muḥammad
  • historical Muḥammad
  • sources for the life of Muḥammad
  • criterion of Embarrassment

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