Suliman Bashear (1947-1991) was born in the northern Israeli village of Mghar. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for his B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1973). In 1976, he received his Ph.D. at the University of London for his dissertation "Communism in the Arab East," which was published both in Arabic and English.
This collection includes 15 critical and incisive studies by Bashear on various issues in the early Islamic tradition. One of the main themes running throughout these works is the gradual development of Islamic ritual and religious belief from within the historical context of Judaism and Christianity into a spiritual system seemingly rooted solely in the Hijaz. Bashear's studies consider not only the development of religious customs and beliefs, but also seek to explain how later generations recast the past in order to meet the needs of their own era.
In the “Introduction”, Lawrence I. Conrad highlights the major themes in Bashear's works and describes his unique and stormy academic career, cut short by his untimely death at the age of 44.