The first Islamic conquest of Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem)
: a critical analytical study of the early Islamic historical narratives

  • Othman Al-Tel

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis is an attempt to find some concerte scientific historical explanation and interpretation of the many questions which have arisen concerning the reasons behind the inaccuracies and contradictions in the early Islamic narratives and sources with regard to the first Islamic conquest of Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem). The study attempts to establish new evedence and to develop new evidence for anacademic debate concerning the early Islamic history of Aelia. It examines the historical evidence of the first Islamic conquest of Aelia by critically analysing the early historical narratives and sources as well as examining the historical background of some important narrators who related these accounts. It also critically examines the topography and geographical boundaries of the Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem) region in order to define its true historical boundaries. Thesegeographical boundaries later become most useful in finding plausible explanations for the reasons behind the inaccuracies in the early Islamic sources regarding many issues relating to the first Islamic conquest.

In order to provide more support for an accurate picture of the first Islamic conquest of Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem) the study further analyses the history of Aelia beginning from the start of the first Islamic conquests in Syria in 13 A.H/ 634 A.D until the arrival of Umar Ibn al-Khattab in the region in 16 A.H/ 637 A.D. This is done in two ways. First, it examines early narratives in order to accurately define the period of time that the Muslim army spent besieging the walled part of Aelia. Secondly, it endeavours to explain and clarify the reasons behind the uncertainty and inconsistency in the identity of the military leader who carried out the siege operation. This has been clear done by critically analysing the relevant narrations and defining the accurate identity of the military leaders who lead the conquest of Aelia and dates of the conquest. Further support of the view taken in the basis are provided by discussing the true reason behind ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab first historic visit to Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem), analysing the early narrations and sources, linking the reasons mentioned therein with the surrounding contemporary circumstances and explaining the reasons for the inaccuracies of the Islamic sources and accounts. It further highlights the reasons behind the different visits of ‘Umar’s to Syria and his activities in each visit, and also examined the attitude of Aelia people towards the first Islamic conquest in the light of ‘Umar’s Assurance of Safety (aman) to its people. Lastly, the study examines the early Muslims organisation and administration of Aelia (Islamic Jerusalem) as well as the clear Islamic interest in the region.
Date of AwardOct 2002
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsIslamic Research Academy

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