In God's Path

  • by Robert G. Hoyland
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period has perplexed historians for centuries. Most accounts of the Arab invasions have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later to illustrate the divinely chosen status of the Arabs. Robert Hoyland's groundbreaking new history assimilates not only the rich biographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests.
In God's Path begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by two superpowers: Byzantium and Sasanian Persia. In between these empires, emerged a distinct Arabian identity, which helped forge the inhabitants of western Arabia into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia - the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks - all played critical roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire.
Well-paced, comprehensive, and eminently readable, In God's Path presents a sweeping narrative of a transformational period in world history.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Islamic conquest history from the outside

This is an interesting look at how historians view early Islamic conquests and the explanation of their effectiveness by looking at historical documents from Muslim and other historians at the time.

The reason I give it three stars is because it requires you to look at maps in the accompanying reference PDF if you wish to get the most out of this book. While this isn't a big issue if you don't care about maps or geography; it could become annoying if maps matter to you. If that's the case, skip this and get the physical copy instead.
Read full review

- Deep Reader "Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject."

A Great Premise, But Fails to Deliver

Most historical accounts of Islam are drawn from Muslim sources that fail to acknowledge or appreciate the events surrounding the Muslim conquests. The are often written through a lens that suggests conversion to Islam was based on divine enlightenment rather than as a consequence of oft-times brutal conflicts. The premise of the book is to provide a more balanced account drawing from non-Muslim sources. Unfortunately, the book is written in the style of high school history texts, embellished with a flair of hyperbole ill-suited for a non-fiction work. I am sure a great deal of research went into this book. But the writing filtered out much of the precision of the research. Instead of providing the reader sufficient facts that s/he can envision how the battles were fought, the book often merely states in conclusory fashion that battles were bloody without any description so that the reader would naturally draw that conclusion. Peter Ganim provides a complementary narration, over-dramatizing the text to an unbearable point compelling me to avoid any book narrated by him in the future.

Overall, this book provided much promise but it failed to deliver in both content and narration.
Read full review

- Marc D. Mootchnik

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-08-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios