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New Released: Animal Sacrifice and the Origins of Islam

Brannon Wheeler uses both textual analysis and various types of material evidence to gain insight into the role of animal sacrifice in Islam.

Islam is the only biblical religion that still practices animal sacrifice. Indeed, every year more than a million animals are shipped to Mecca from all over the world to be slaughtered during the Muslim Hajj. This multi-disciplinary volume is the first to examine the physical foundations of this practice and the significance of the ritual. Brannon Wheeler uses both textual analysis and various types of material evidence to gain insight into the role of animal sacrifice in Islam. He provides a ‘thick description’ of the elaborate camel sacrifice performed by Muhammad, which serves as the model for future Hajj sacrifices. Wheeler integrates biblical and classical Arabic sources with evidence from zooarchaeology and the rock art of ancient Arabia to gain insight into an event that reportedly occurred 1400 years ago. His book encourages a more nuanced and expansive conception of “sacrifice” in the history of religion.

About the Author

Brannon Wheeler is Professor of History at the United States Naval Academy. A recipient of Fulbright Fellowships for research in Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Israel, he has been a visiting scholar at various institutions throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

Table of Contents

  1. Animal sacrifices in the life of the prophet Muhammad
    2. Burial of camels at the tombs of warriors
    3. Pagan origins of Muslim Ḥajj sacrifice
    4. Abraham as the originator of Ḥajj sacrifice
    5. Distribution of the body of the prophet Muhammad
    6. Martyred bodies and the demarcation of territory
    Conclusions: Sacrifice and nostalgia for the origins of religion.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Animal Sacrifice and the Origins of Islam

Author(s): Brannon Wheeler

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Length: 350 pages

ISBN: 978-1316511862

Pub. Date: June 23, 2022

Click Here to Buy the Book.

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