Christian-Muslim Relations 600 - 1500

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
General Editor: David Thomas, Alex Mallett
Associate Editors: Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Barbara Roggema, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule and John Tolan
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History Online is a general online history of relations between the faiths. It covers the period from 600 to 1500, when encounters took place through the extended Mediterranean basin and are recorded in Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin and other languages. Christian Muslim Relations Online comprises introductory essays on the treatment of Christians in the Qur’an, Qur’an commentaries, biographies of the Prophet, Hadith and Sunni law, and of Muslims in canon law, and the main body of more than two hundred detailed entries on all the works recorded, whether surviving or lost.

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Maʿānī ibn Abī l-Makārim

(742 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Maʿānī ibn Abī l-Makārim ibn Barakāt ibn Abī l-ʿAlāʾ Date of Birth: Unknown, mid-12th century Place of Birth: Unknown, Egypt (possibly Miṣr, possibly al-Maḥalla) Date of Death: After 1207, possibly after 1221 Place of Death: Unknown, Egypt (possibly Miṣr) Biography Little is known about the author (or authors) of the entries for the 73rd and 74th Coptic Orthodox patriarchs (Mark III ibn Zurʿa, 1166-89, and John VI, 1189-1216) in the well-known compilation known as the History of the Patriarchs. The entries were written in stages: 1.      The first stage is dated Shawwāl AH 603 =…


(541 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-ʿAlāʾ Aḥmad ibn ʿAbdallāh ibn Sulaymān al-Maʿarrī Date of Birth: 973 Place of Birth: Maʿarrat al-Nuʿmān, northern Syria Date of Death: 1058 Place of Death: Maʿarrat al-Nuʿmān Biography A. Abel, ‘La “Réfutation d’un Agarène” de Barthélémy d’Édesse’, Studia Islamica 37 (1973) 5-26, p. 25, mentions in passing that al-Maʿarrī wrote a work called Risālat al-Masīḥiyya, which he dedicated to one of his correspondents, the Būyid vizier Abū l-Qāsim al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī l-Maghribī (d. 1027). He does not cite a source for this information, and this title d…

 Mabādi’ al-mawjūdāt wa-marātib quwāha

(207 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
The principles of existent things and the degrees of their potencies Faraj ibn Jirjis Afrām Date: 10th century Original Language: Arabic Description This was a treatise on God’s triunity, his characteristics ( awṣāf) and the way in which Christians speak of plurality, substantiality ( jawhariyya) and persons ( uqnūmiyya). According to the passage in the Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn mentioned above, Jirjis reworked a treatise with the same title by the Muslim Abū Sulaymān Ṭāhir al-Manṭiqī (who is presumably Abū Sulaymān al-Sijistānī [q.v.]), using ‘thoughts and …

 Al-madhamma fī istiʿmāl ahl al-dhimma

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
'Censure concerning the employment of dhimmīs' Ibn al-Naqqāsh Date: 1357-58 Original Language: Arabic Description The Madhamma has the form of a fatwa, requested by a petitioner who wants to know whether it is lawful ( yajūz) for non-Muslims to be employed by emirs in affairs of state such as tax collection. The negative answer that Ibn al-Naqqāsh gives is in fact not his own; most of the Madhamma corresponds verbatim to the section on state employment in the Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma of the Ḥanbalī jurist Ibn al-Qayyim (q.v.) (ed. Ṣ. Ṣāliḥ, i, pp. 208-44). Since Ibn al-Qayyim died in 1350 and the Mad…

 Madkhal al-sharʿ al-sharīf ʿalā l-madhāhib al-arbaʿa; Al-madkhal ilā tanmiyyat al-aʿmāl bi-taḥsīn al-niyyāt wa-l-tanbīh ʿalā baʿḍ al-bidaʿ wa-l-ʿawāʾid allatī untuḥilat wa-bayān shanāʿatihā

(833 words)

Author(s): Hoover, Jon
Al-madkhal‘Introduction to the sublime law of the four legal schools’ Ibn al-Ḥājj al-ʿAbdarī Date: October-November 1331 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-madkhal is a large and wide-ranging book of more than 1,200 pages across four volumes in the printing of Maktabat Dār al-Turāth in Cairo. Ibn al-Ḥajj’s primary objective is reform of society by increasing adherence to the sharīʿa, and especially purifying the intentions of actions. The first volume includes long discussions on the proper comportment of religious scholars and women, with criti…


(142 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
Against the Armenians Jacob of Edessa Date: Unknown Original Language: Syriac Description This text consists of a series of anti-Armenian remarks addressed to an anonymous pupil. Significance It mentions the circumcision of Muslims and their practice of performing three genuflections ( burkē) facing southwards during the ritual 'of the sacrifice' (or during prayer?) Manuscripts MS Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – Syr. 62, p. 108 (1360) MS BNF – Syr. 111, fols 192r-193v (16th c.) Editions & Translations Kayser, Canones, pp. 3-4 (edition), 34-35 (trans.) Lamy, Dissertat…

 Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm

(894 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, Edmund
Keys of the sciences Abū ʿAbdallāh al-Khwārazmī Date: Late 10th century, and after 977 Original Language: Arabic Description In this work, which is dedicated to Abū l-Ḥasan al-ʿUtbī, fixing the date of its composition as some time shortly after 977, al-Khwārazmī aims at compiling a concise dictionary of definitions, a reference work, of the technical terms that a secretary of the chancery or financial departments of the bureaucracy would need, and which a narrow education in language, grammar and rhetoric would n…

Magister Seguinus or Siguinus

(139 words)

Author(s): González Muñoz, Fernando
Magister Seguinus Date of Birth: 11th century Place of Birth: Southern France Date of Death: After 1087 Place of Death: Unknown Biography Seguinus was a member of a religious community in France, and in his youth he received a monastic education. He travelled to Lorraine, Germany and Spain. In addition to his Ars lectoria, he claims to have written a Liber de orthographia, and declares his intention of writing a Liber de metris. Neither of these latter two works has been conserved or identified. Primary Sources of Information C.H. Kneepkens and H.F. Reijnders (eds), Ars lectoria. Un art …

Maḥbūb ibn Qusṭanṭīn al-Manbijī

(387 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Agapius, Agapios, (Aghābiyūs) of Manbij (Mabbūg, Hieropolis) Date of Birth: Last quarter of the 9th c. Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: After 942 Place of Death: Presumbly Manbij Biography We know very little about the author of an early Christian Arabic universal history that is usually (but rather oddly) known as Kitāb al-ʿunwān, ‘The Book of the title’. The author’s name is given in the manuscripts Sinai Ar. 456 and 580 as Maḥbūb ibn Qusṭanṭīn al-Rūmī al-Manbijī, that is, the ‘Byzantine’ from Manbij (Mabbūg or Hierapolis, northeast of Aleppo in Syria); the title-…

 Majlis dhakara[hu] Īliyya muṭrān Naṣībīn ḥaḍarahu Isrāʾīl al-Kaskarī

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Roggema, Barbara
A disputation reported by Elijah, Metropolitan of Nisibis, which Israel of Kashkar attended, The Debate between Israel of Kashkar and al-Sarakhsī Unknown author Date: Unknown, probably 2nd half of 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This text purports to be a report of a religious debate that took place between the East-Syrian bishop Israel of Kashkar (d. 872, q.v.) and Aḥmad ibn al-Ṭayyib al-Sarakhsī, student of the famous Muslim philosopher and polymath Abū Yūsuf al-Kindī (q.v.). The latter is said to have been the ins…

 Majmūʿ li-l-sana kullihā tadhkūr fīhi akhbār al-qiddīsīn …

(2,105 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Compilation for the entire year mentioning the lives of the saints (and similar titles); known collectively as the Melkite synaxaria Synaxarion of the Greek Church Date: Originates in second half of 11th c.; later additions Original Language: Arabic Description The present entry is a postscript to B. Flusin’s entry on the ‘Synaxarion of the Great Church’ (q.v.), that is, the Greek Synaxarion of Constantinople; Flusin’s entry has already mentioned the existence of an 11th-century Arabic translation of the work.  What follows is wholly dependent upon J.-M. Sauget, Premières recherch…

 Al-majmūʿ al-mubārak

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Moawad, Samuel
Tārīkh Ibn al-ʿAmīd'The blessed collection''The history of Ibn al-ʿAmīd' Al-Makīn Jirjis ibn al-ʿAmīd (the elder) Date: After 1277 Original Language: Arabic Description Ibn al-ʿAmīd's historical work, Al-majmūʿ al-mubārak (‘The blessed collection’), is a secular history with minimal interest in ecclesiastical matters. It seems that its title is not original but merely a description of the work by later scholars or copyists. It was written by Ibn al-ʿAmīd in his retirement in Syria and covers the period from creation to th…

 Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn wa-masmūʿ maḥṣūl al-yaqīn

(1,459 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn'Compendium of the principles of religion and the received tradition of what has been found to be certain', 'Compendium of the principles of religion' Al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: Between 1260 and 1275 Original Language: Arabic Description This substantial work comprises 70 chapters in five parts, together with an introduction and conclusion. In some manuscripts it is divided into two volumes. Vol. 1 contains two parts divided into 19 chapters. The first part, chs 1-15, can be regarded as a general introduction …

 Mā kataba bihi Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī ibn Ḥamīd ibn Zakariyyā ilā Abī Bakr Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Quraysh fī ithbāt ṭabīʿat al-mumkin wa-naqḍ ḥujaj al-mukhālifīn li-dhālika wa-l-tanbīh ʿalā fasādihā

(774 words)

Author(s): Platti, Emilio
Fī ithbāt ṭabīʿat al-mumkinWhat Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī ibn Ḥamīd ibn Zakariyyā wrote to Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Quraysh in support of the nature of the possible, and in refutation of the arguments of those who deny this, which are shown to be untenableEstablishing the nature of the possible Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description This longer treatise is part of the set of Yaḥyā’s philosophical-theological treatises mentioned by Endress in his chapter ‘Metaphysics: Questions of kalām’ (sec…

 Mā kataba ilā Abī ʿUmar Saʿd ibn [Saʿīd] al-Zaynabī fī naqḍ al-ḥujaj allatī anfadhahā ilayhi fī nuṣrat qawl al-qāʾilīn inna l-afʿāl khalq li-Allāh wa-iktisāb li-l-ʿibād

(682 words)

Author(s): Platti, Emilio
What (Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī) wrote to Abī ʿUmar Saʿd ibn [Saʿīd] al-Zaynabī about the critique of the arguments he communicated to him, in support of those who assert that actions are God’s creation and an acquisition of man Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description Before defining his own position on iktisāb ( kasb), Yaḥyā makes an extensive presentation of Abū ʿUmar Saʿd al-Zaynabī‘s arguments in defense of the Islamic theory of acquisition. We can summarize them as following: all human actions ‘come into being’ ( muḥdath); everything brought into being is a ‘cr…

 Al-makhraj wa-l-mardūd fī l-radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā wa-l-Yahūd

(578 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘Repudiation and rebuttal, in refutation of the Christians and Jews’ Al-Būṣīrī Date: Before 1296 Original Language: Arabic Description This poem rhyming in lām, 284 verses long in Basaj’s edition of al-Būṣīrī’s poems, is effectively an apology for Muḥammad which includes short refutations of Christian and Jewish beliefs. It can be divided into three major parts: the refutations of the two faiths (vv. 1-80); predictions from the Bible of the coming of Muḥammad (vv. 81-179); descriptions of Muḥammad’s characteristics a…

Al-Makīn Jirjis ibn al-ʿAmīd

(715 words)

Author(s): Sidarus, Adel
Al-Makīn Jirjis, known as Ibn al-ʿAmīd (the Younger) Date of Birth: Unknown; probably first half of 14th century Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly in the vicinity of Old Cairo Date of Death: Unknown; after 1398 Place of Death: Monastery of St Arsenius (also called ‘al-Qusayr’), Ṭura Biography Jirjis ibn al-ʿAmīd ‘the younger’ was a priest and practical physician ( mutaṭabbib) who is known to have flourished in the last decade of the 14th century. He held a high position somewhere in the civil administration of the Mamluk state, as his title al-Makīn (‘the powerful or holder of a power…

Al-Makīn Jirjis ibn al-ʿAmīd (the elder)

(648 words)

Author(s): Moawad, Samuel
Al-Makīn Jirjis ibn Abī l-Yāsir ibn Abī l-Makārim ibn Abī l-Ṭayyib ibn al-ʿAmīd (the elder) Date of Birth: 25 February 1206 Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: After 1280 Place of Death: Damascus Biography Jirjis ibn al-ʿAmīd was a Coptic historian; he is often referred to by his honorific al-Makīn, ‘the man of rank’. Our main information about him and his family is based on his own statements in his historical work called A l-majmūʿ al-mubārak (see below). The short biographies of Ibn al-ʿAmīd by Ibn al-Ṣuqāʿī in Tālī kitāb wafayāt al-aʿyān, al-Ṣafadī in Al-wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, and al-Maqr…

Makkīkhā ibn Sulaymān al-Qankānī

(453 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
Biography Makkīkhā ibn Sulaymān, chief-sacristan ( qankānī) possibly of the church of the East Syrian (‘Nestorian’) patriarchal see in Baghdad (Fiey, ‘Le patriarche nestorien Makkiha Ier’, p. 451), studied in his native city Baghdad and was attracted to the monastic life. For some time he also practiced as a physician. After serving as a priest in one of the churches of Baghdad he was appointed bishop of Tīrhān/Tayrhān in central Iraq, where he became popular because of his oral translations into Arabic of the scriptura…

 Maktbānutā d-zabnē

(536 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
Kitāb al-azminaChronography Elias of Nisibis Date: 1019 Original Language: Arabic Description Elias’ Chronography consists of the chronicle itself followed by chronological tables and a treatise on computation. It is bilingual, the right-hand or first column in Syriac, the left-hand in Arabic. Both columns give brief descriptions of historical events in chronological order. Elias is one of the few Christian historiographers to mention his sources. Among the Christian authors he used appear Jacob of Edessa (q.v.) and Dionysius of Tell-Maḥrē (q.v.)…
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