A fresh look at the origins and development of Islam, this is a fascinating reconstruction of the era of the first three generations of Muslims. Using a wealth of classical Arabic sources, it chronicles the lives of the Prophet Muhammad, his Companions, and the subsequent two generations of Muslims, together known as the "the Pious Forebears" (al-salaf al-salih). Examining the adoption in contemporary times of these early Muslims as legitimizing figureheads for a variety of causes, both religious and political, Afsaruddin tries to establish where their sympathies really lay. Essential reading for anyone interested in the inception of the Islamic Faith, this important book will captivate the general reader and student alike. Asma Afsaruddin is Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. She is the author of /Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership/.