Christian-Muslim Relations 600 - 1500

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General Editor: David Thomas, Alex Mallett
Associate Editors: Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Barbara Roggema, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule and John Tolan

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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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(352 words)

Author(s): Kilpatrick, Hilary
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Shābushtī (or Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq) Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Probably Iraq Date of Death: 999 or 1008 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Al-Shābushtī is said to have descended from a Daylamī family in the service of the Būyids. All that is known with certainty of his life before he became the librarian of the Fatimid Caliph al-ʿAzīz (r. 975-96) is that he spent some time in Basra, studying with a scholar of the history of the Prophet’s family who was also a keen music-lover ( Al-diyārāt, p. 269). Given his knowledge of the Iraqi lite…

 Shahādāt min qawl al-Tawrāt wa-l-anbiyāʾ wa-l-qiddīsīn

(362 words)

Author(s): Toenies Keating, S.
Witnesses from the words of the Torah, the prophets and the saints Ḥabīb ibn Khidma Abū Rāʾiṭa l-Takrītī Date: Unknown, probably between 820 and 830 Original Language: Arabic Description Extant manuscripts give no title or author for this text, simply beginning with ‘Witnesses from the words of the Torah’. It has, however, been included among copies of other writings associated with Abū Rāʾiṭa and has not been attributed to anyone else. Further, most of the passages are found in similar translations throughout his other apologetic writings. The text itself is a list of approximat…

 Shāh marwārīd

(230 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
'The king of the pearls' ʿAbdishoʿ of Nisibis Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description This work is no longer extant. ʿAbdishoʿ refers to it in his Catalogue of books and in the preface to his Paradise of Eden and mentions that he wrote it in Arabic. On account of its title, Shāh marwārīd, it cannot be excluded that this work is an Arabic translation or reworking of the Syriac Ktābā d-marganitā discussed above. This assumption is confirmed by the note in MS St Mark’s Monastery 159 (mentioned above), which refers to ‘the book of Shāh marwārīd or of the pearl ( marganitā) in the Arabic…


(451 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū al-Fatḥ Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Karīm ibn Aḥmad al-Shahrastānī Date of Birth: 1086 Place of Birth: Shahristān, northern Khurāsān Date of Death: November 1153 Place of Death: Shahristān Biography Al-Shahrastānī was born in a little village on the edge of the Qara Qum desert. There he received his first education, but as a young teenager (before 1100 at the latest) he travelled to Nīshāpūr to continue under leading scholars of the Ashʿarī school. He made the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1117, and on his way back taught for three y…

 Al-shakk al-wārid min al-imām Fakhr al-Dīn al-khaṭīb ʿalā l-ittiḥād wa-jawāb al-shaykh al-Ṣafī fī l-masʾala l-tāsiʿa min Kitāb al-arbaʿīn

(311 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
‘The doubt raised by the imām Fakhr al-Dīn the secretary about the act of Uniting and the response of the shaykh al-Ṣafī’, concerning question nine of Kitāb al-arbaʿīn’ Al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: Between 1238 and 1243 Original Language: Arabic Description This brief work (also known by the slightly different title Al-shukūk al-wārida min al-imām Fakhr al-Dīn ibn al-Khaṭīb ʿalā l-ittiḥād wa-jawāb al-akh al-fāḍil al-Ṣafī, ‘The doubts raised by the imām Fakhr al-Dīn ibn al-Khaṭīb on the act of Uniting, and the response of the virtuous brother al-Ṣafī’) is not liste…

Al-Shams ibn Kabar

(533 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Shams al-Riʾāsa Abū l-Barakāt ibn al-Akmal al-Asʿad ibn Kabar, al-qiss Barṣawmā Date of Birth: Unknown; second half of the 13th century Place of Birth: Possibly Old Cairo Date of Death: 10 May 1324 Place of Death: Old Cairo Biography It appears that Abū l-Barakāt was born into a wealthy family in Old Cairo. He learned Arabic, mathematics and Coptic, and at some point he became secretary ( kātib) to the prince ( amīr, not the sultan as Cheikho and some Copts assert) Baybars Rukn al-Dīn al-Manṣūrī l-Dawādār (d. 1324). In this position, according to al-Maqrīzī, he assi…

 Sharbē medem men qlisastiqē – hānaw dēn tashʿyātā ‘edtānāyātā – wa-d-qosmosṭiqē – hānaw dēn tashʿyātā ‘ālmanyātā,

(680 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
‘Some narratives from Qlisastiqē – that is, ecclesiastical histories - and from Qosmostiqē – that is, secular histories’.‘The chronicle of Khuzistan’ (after the probable geographical provenance), ‘Anonymous Guidi’ (after the name of the first editor) Unknown author Date: Mid-7th c., after 652 Original Language: Syriac Description This incomplete brief chronicle, covering 23 pages in the Guidi edition, is incomplete at the beginning and the end. In its present form it covers the period between the death of the Persian ruler Hormizd IV (590) …


(237 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The explanation Ibn Khallād Date: Unknown; before about 950 Original Language: Arabic Description The work is lost. It was a commentary on Ibn Khallād’s own Kitāb al-uṣūl and, according to ʿAbd al-Jabbār in his Tathbīt (p. 198), like that earlier work it contained polemic ( al-masāʾil lahum wa-l-radd ʿalayhim) against the Christians. The Sharḥ was presumably noteworthy to the later Muʿtazilī because it contained more elaborate versions of the arguments from the work on which it was a commentary, and maybe also additional arguments borrowed from ot…

 Sharḥ al-amāna l-mustaqīma wa-ibānat ghalaṭ al-yaʿāqiba wa-l-nasṭūr ʿalā sabīl al-ījāz

(774 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Exposition of the Orthodox faith and concise clarification of the error of the Jacobites and the Nestorians, Exposition of the Orthodox faith ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Unknown, but probably late in Ibn al-Faḍl’s life Original Language: Arabic Description The Exposition of the Orthodox faith is a dogmatic treatise with extensive polemic against the Jacobites and the Nestorians. Originally written in Greek, it was then translated by the author into Arabic at the request of John, bishop of Manbij (Hierapolis) and Dulūk (Doliche),…

 Sharḥ amānat ābāʾ majmaʿ Nīqiyya al-thalāthamiʾa wa-l-thamāniyata ʿashara

(1,234 words)

Author(s): Masri & Mark N. Swanson, Pierre
Commentary on the Creed of the 318 fathers of the Council of NicaeaCommentary on the Creed, Apologetic commentary on the Creed Apologetic commentary on the Creed Date: Probably written between 1160 and 1172 Original Language: Arabic Description The Commentary on the Creed is a substantial work that occupies 209 folios in the unique manuscript (which is incomplete at its beginning). The author divides the Creed into 19 lemmas and then adds commentary which, depending on the lemma, ranges from less than a page to more than 50. Although t…

 Sharḥ asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā

(182 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Explanation of the beautiful names of God Ibn Barrajān Date: 12th century; before 1141 Original Language: Arabic Description Ibn Barrajān’s Sharḥ asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā includes accounts of more than 113 names of God. Each is structured in three sections. In the first, the verbal root of each name is explained; in the second, mentions of the names in the Qurʾan and Hadiths are set out; and in the third, attaining the power of God’s names is explored. Significance In his explanations of the divine names, Ibn Barrajān makes frequent use of biblical quotations, showing no appa…

 Sharḥ risālat al-ab al-qiddīs … anbā Bisantīyūs usquf madīnat Qifṭ

(3,084 words)

Author(s): van Lent, Jos
Exposition of the letter of the holy father … Abba Pisentius, bishop of the town of QifṭThe Letter of Pseudo-Pisentius; The Letter of Pisentius; Pseudo-Pisentius of Qift; LetPis; Pis The Letter of Pseudo-Pisentius Date: Unknown; a ‘primitive’ Coptic or Greek recension, now lost, may have been composed around 935-50 Original Language: Coptic Description This apocalyptic sermon is known from a fairly large number of Arabic manuscripts, and in about half of them it is preceded by a version of the Life of Pisentius. It purports to be a pastoral letter addressed by Bishop Pisentiu…

 Sharḥ al-uṣūl al-khamsa

(401 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Commentary on the five principles ʿAbd al-Jabbār Date: Between 970 and 990 Original Language: Arabic Description The work, which is lost, has a complicated history. Like a number of Muʿtazilī authors of his time, ʿAbd al-Jabbār wrote an exposition of the five principles to which members of the school subscribed, the Kitāb al-uṣūl al-khamsa, which has survived (Gimaret, pp. 79-96). This contains a single brief reference to the doctrine of the Trinity (p. 84). He himself then wrote the lost Sharḥ al-uṣūl al-khamsa as a commentary on this work, dictating it while he was engaged …

 Shēltā d-shēl ʿĀzrā sāprā kad hwā b-madbrā w-talmideh ʿameh da-shmeh Qarpus

(861 words)

Author(s): Debié, Muriel
Ḥezwā da-ḥzā 'Āzrā sāprā ʿal malkutā d-IshmaʿlāyēThe Question of Ezra the Scribe, which he asked when he was in the desert with his disciple CarpusThe Vision of Ezra the Scribe which he saw concerning the kingdom of the Ishmaelites, The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ezra Unknown author Date: Unknown, perhaps early 8th c. Original Language: Syriac Description This brief East-Syrian text (seven pages in the manuscripts and editions) is anonymous and does not give any clear information about its time of composition. It contains the Christian apocryphal revelati…

 Shifāʾ al-ghalīl fī bayān mā waqaʿa fī l-Tawrāt wa-l-Injīl min al-tabdīl

(570 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Assuaging thirst in explanation of the alterations that have occurred in the Torah and Gospel Al-Juwāynī Date: Unknown, probably in the years before 1058 Original Language: Arabic Description The Shifāʾ itself gives no hint about the circumstances of its composition, though M. Allard suggests that a likely place would have been Baghdad, where debates between Muslims, Jews and Christians were frequent, and that the date would have been sometime between 1048, when al-Juwaynī probably arrived in Baghdad (Walker and Eissa, A guide to conclusive proofs, p. xxiii, narrow this down to…

 Shrōrō galyō

(366 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
‘The evident truth’ Jacob bar Shakkō Date: Before 1231 Original Language: Syriac Description This work is no longer extant but, as is suggested by Bar Shakkō himself, a brief summary may be found in Part 2, ch. 41, of the Book of treasures (see below), entitled The religion of the Christians has more truth than all other confessions. The Shōrō galyō was meant as a refutation of the ḥeryōyē, a normal designation for Christian heretics, but in this case it is clear that Muslims were addressed, as appears from the argumentation, which runs as follows: Truth can sub…

 Shu’ālē luqbal harrātīqē w-Ishmaʿlāyē

(503 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
‘Questions against the heretics and Ishmaelites’ Yoḥannān bar Zoʿbī Date: Unknown: early or mid-13th century Original Language: Syriac Description This brief, still unedited, treatise of no more than two folios (146r-147v) is ascribed to Rabban Yoḥannān, a normal designation for Yoḥannān bar Zoʿbī also found elsewhere. Bar Zoʿbī’s authorship is further confirmed by the fact that this work is found in a compilation containing several of his other works, although it is not mentioned by ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikhā in his description of Bar Zoʿbī’s works in his Catalogue of authors. This treati…

 Shurūṭ ahl al-dhimma; Bayān mā yalzam ahl al-dhimma fiʿluhu; Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma

(700 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Conditions pertaining to the ahl al-dhimma [non-Muslims permanently resident in Muslim territory]; An explanation of what is incumbent upon ahl al-dhimma; Rulings concerning ahl al-dhimma Abū Yaʿlā ibn al-Farrāʾ Date: Mid-11th century Original Language: Arabic Description Since no manuscript of the Shurūṭ ahl al-dhimma itself has been studied, many details are unknown, among them its length, the range of its contents, its intended audience, and the reasons for its composition. It doubtless treated the legal framework of the compact ( dhimma) that, in the theory of the Musli…

 Al-Shurūṭ al-ʿumariyya

(1,496 words)

Author(s): Levy-Rubin, Milka
Shurūṭ ʿUmarʿAhd ʿUmar, ʿAqd ʿUmarThe Pact of ʿUmarThe Conditions of ʿUmar Unknown author Date: 8th to beginning of 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The Pact of ʿUmar is the name given to the canonical text that defines the status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule and the restrictions imposed upon them. The name does not refer to various other documents which attempt to do the same but have not been canonized such as, for example, the document adduced by al-Shāfiʿī ( Kitāb al-umm, 4 vols, Cairo, 1968, iv, pp. 118-19, trans. B. Lewis, Islam, from the prophet Muhammad to the cap…

Simʿān ibn Kalīl

(879 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Simʿān ibn Kalīl ibn Maqāra ibn Abī l-Faraj; al-Shaykh al-Makīn (as a bureaucrat); Simʿān al-ḥabīs (as a monk and recluse) Date of Birth: About 1150 Place of Birth: Bashū or Shū, perhaps in the Nile Delta Date of Death: Towards 1240 Place of Death: Presumably the Monastery of St John the Short, Wādī l-Naṭrūn, Egypt Biography According to his great-nephew, the historian al-Makīn Jirjis al-ʿAmīd (q.v.), Simʿān ibn Kalīl ibn Maqāra was born in a village known as Mīkāʾīl Bashū (or bi-Shū); the name was derived from the village church, that of the Archangel Michael ‘of Bashū’ (or ‘in Shū’). (Timm, D…
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