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Professor of Islamic history at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her recent work includes Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh University Press, 2004) published in the United States as God's Rule: Government and Islam (Columbia University Press, 2004). Also by Patricia Crone in openDemocracy: “What do we actually know about Mohammed?”, 31 August 2006. This paper was first published on 1 May 2007.