Skip to main content

In the Shadow of the Prophet

Essays in Islamic History

Roy P. Mottahedeh

In pieces drawn from over the course of his distinguished career, pre-eminent historian Roy Mottahedeh explores such diverse topics as the social bonds that connected people in the early Islamic Middle East, the transmission of learning in the Muslim world, religious and ethnic toleration in the past and in the present, and the theme of ‘wonders’ in The Thousand and One Nights. His essays extend from the early Islamic period through the medieval era and on to modern times. A number concern Iran, the country of his father’s birth, and again Mottahedeh’s studies range widely, including Persian panegyric poetry, the origins of the city of Kashan, and Shi‘ite political thought. Speaking to contemporary concerns, he also touches upon voting rights, academic freedom, and censorship.

Intended not only for those in Islamic studies but for students of history and interested lay readers, there are introductions to each section written with the non-specialist in mind, and these sections progress from more general topics to those more specialized. In the Shadow of the Prophet thus reflects Mottahedeh’s desire that the Islamic world and its history become better understood so that cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims might become the order of the day.

  • Publication date: January 19, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780861545605
  • RRP: £60.00
  • Pages: 640
  • Publication date: January 19, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780861545612
  • RRP: £42.00
  • Pages: 640


‘The fruit of decades of travel, teaching, research, and deep personal engagement with modern Iran and the Middle East, these articles are as humane as they are learned, and as wise as they are trenchant.’

Peter Brown, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Emeritus, Princeton University

‘The erudite elegance of his discourse in this remarkable collection is the result of a long, prolific life dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of the many Islams in history.’

Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

‘This book demonstrates its author’s impressive breadth and insight dealing with diverse aspects of premodern and modern Islamic history, religion, and culture. Roy Mottahedeh shows us the complexity of a civilizational experience over a millennium and highlights the place of Iranians in it. This is a timely contribution at a time when misperceptions abound. His delightful autobiography adds to the book’s appeal.’

Abbas Amanat, William Graham Sumner Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University

Roy P. Mottahedeh

Roy Parviz Mottahedeh is the Gurney Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard from 1987 to 1990 and as Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard from 2006 to 2011. His first book, Loyalty and Leadership in an Early Islamic Society, gained him a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he was among the first to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. His history of modern Iran, The Mantle of the Prophet, is an international bestseller which has been translated into numerous languages, and both this and his translation of Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence by Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr are also available from Oneworld.

Author page

More books by Roy P. Mottahedeh

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.

Select mailing lists