Remembering Community: Historical Narrative in the Formation of Sunni Islam


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Religious Studies


This study charts the construction of putative Sunni historical categories such as the Prophet's Companions (al-Sahaba), The Rightly Guided Caliphs (al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun), and the Righteous Forefathers (al-Salaf al-Salih). It also analyzes the construction of conventional narratives of the early history of the Muslim community, particularly its discord in the first civil (656-661) war and its reconstitution under the Umayyad dynasty (661-750). This project argues that these seemingly inconsequential narratives—often taken as neutral versions of factual events from which other versions deviate—in fact provide a considerable amount of ideological support to the construction and maintenance of authority, authenticity, and orthodoxy in Sunni Islam.