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 Al-muntaqā min kitāb al-ruhbān

(254 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Selections from The Book of Monks Abū Bakr ʿAbdallāh ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUbayd ibn Abī l-Dunyā Date: Before 894 Original Language: Arabic Description The surviving text comprises 24 selections, each reported in the name of an individual, including Wahb ibn Munabbih (d. 728 or 732), all of them brief, and many containing aphoristic comments or answers to questions by monks. A number are framed on recognizable sayings of Jesus. Ibn Abī l-Dunyā selected them from an earlier unknown work on monks. The exact nature of this work, and of Ibn Abī l-Dunyā’s work in which th…

Sayf ibn ʿUmar

(142 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Biography Nothing is known about the life of Sayf ibn ʿUmar al-Tamīmī, except that he is associated with southern Iraq, and was a writer of historical works. These were used as a main source by Abū Jaʿfar al-Ṭabarī for his Taʾrīkh al-rusul wa-l-mulūk, although their accuracy and objectivity were doubted from early times. Primary Sources of Information Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 106 Secondary Sources of Information E. Landau-Tasseron, ‘Sayf ibn ʿUmar in medieval and modern scholarship’, Der Islam 67, (1990), 1-26 M. Hinds, ‘Sayf b. ʿUmar’s sources on Arabia’, in Studies on the history …

 Al-burhān fī maʿrifat ʿaqāʾid ahl al-adyān

(547 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘The proof, on awareness of the beliefs of the followers of the faiths’ Al-Saksakī Date: Unknown; before 1284 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-burhān fī maʿrifat ʿaqāʾid ahl al-adyān is a brief descriptive account of religious groups and sects inside and outside Islam. At a mere 95 pages of text in al-ʿAmūsh’s edition, its descriptions are very brief and to the point. Within Islam, the book describes sects of the Khawārij, the Murjiʾa, the Muʿtazila and the Rāfiḍa (Shīʿa), numbering 73 in all, and outside it describes seven groups: the Barāhima, D…

Ḥumayd ibn Saʿīd ibn Bakhtiyār

(282 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ḥumayd ibn Bakhtiyār Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown, possibly mid-9th c. Place of Death: Unknown Biography Ibn al-Nadīm lists Ḥumayd ibn Saʿīd among theologians who may have been Muʿtazilī or Murji'ī. Since many of these died in the early 10th century, Ḥumayd would appear to have died at the same time. However, Van Ess ( TG iv, p. 132) identifies him as the Ḥumayd ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥumayd ibn Baḥr who is mentioned by Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī as being imprisoned under the Caliph al-Wāthiq (842-47), which means that he may have lived half a century earlier than the F…

 Kitāb al-Shāmil fī uṣūl al-dīn

(824 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The complete book on the principles of religion Al-Juwāynī Date: Uncertain; before 1085, and possibly after 1063 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-Shāmil fī uṣūl al-dīn is presented as an exposition of al-Bāqillānī’s (q.v.) commentary on al-Ashʿarī’s (q.v.) Kitāb al-luma ʿ, though its relationship with its predecessors, and particularly the Luma ʿ, is loose. It is, in fact, a systematic theology in its own right, one of the fullest known from the Ashʿarī school. Its date is not known, though it must pre-date the Irshād, which is a summary of it. Allard, Attributs divins, pp. 379…

 ʿUyūn al-munāẓarāt

(487 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘Choice disputes’ Al-Sakūnī Date: Unknown; before 1317 Original Language: Arabic Description ʿUyūn al-munāẓarāt is a history of disagreements in matters of religion, comprising 160 sections (in the printed edition divided into 416 numbered sub-sections, used as references here), from the first dispute between the angels and Iblīs over God’s command to venerate Adam, and continuing up to the author’s own time. It is concerned mainly with disagreements among Muslims themselves, but it also includes the views …

Unknown author

(43 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ḥadīth Wāṣil al-Dimashqī Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography - Primary Sources of Information - Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Ḥadīth Wāṣil al-Dimashqī David Thomas


(374 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Shams al-Dīn Abū l-Khayr Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sakhāwī Date of Birth: 1427/28 Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: 1497 Place of Death: Medina Biography Al-Sakhāwī was active in scholarly circles in Cairo in the late 15th century. His family originated in the village of Sakhā in the Nile Delta, and had migrated to the capital in the late 14th century. He studied under Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 1449), together with Abū l-Ḥasan Ibrāhīm al-Biqāʿī (d. 1480; q.v.), whose enemy and unrelenting critic he was to become. Al-Sakhāwī specialized in the qur’anic sciences, and was…

Ibn Bābawayh

(620 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn Ḥusayn ibn Bābawayh al-Qummī, Ibn Bābūya, al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq Date of Birth: Unknown; possibly 923 Place of Birth: Unknown, maybe Khurāsān Date of Death: 991-92 Place of Death: Rayy Biography     Although he is regarded as one of the major Shīʿī theologians and muḥaddiths, few details about Ibn Bābawayh’s life are known. Ibn al-Nadīm says that he was the son of an acknowledged Shīʿī authority, which would explain his own learning and that of his two brothers. In the 960s and 970s he lived in Baghdad and Kufa, a…

 Kitāb al-Ḥīra

(178 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ḥīra: Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 109, and Yāqūt, Irshād, vii, p. 253, list this separately from the preceding work. Abū l-Mundhir Hishām ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Sāʾib al-Kalbī Date: Before 819 or 821 Original Language: Arabic Description If this was indeed a separate work from the Kitāb al-Ḥīra wa-tasmīyat al-biyaʿ wa-l-diyārāt wa-nasab al-ʿIbād, and not the result of later confusion in listing, one work may possibly have been something like an epitome of the other. Whatever the relationship, this must have been close to the other work in contents.   Together with Ibn al-Kalbī's other wo…

 Dalā'il al-nubuwwa

(290 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Al-Bāhilī l-Baṣrī Date: Unknown; before about 915 Original Language: Arabic Description Almost nothing is known about this work, not even its proper title. It is not listed among al-Bāhilī’s works by Ibn al-Nadīm, and the only reference is given by ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt, p. 511, who mentions it together with other works about the miracles of Muḥammad that are not referred to in the Qurʾān. From what ʿAbd al-Jabbār says about these works, it appears that this one, like the others mentioned with it, made the point that even though the mirac…


(179 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Najm al-Dīn Abū l-Rajā Mukhtār ibn Maḥmūd al-Zāhidī l-Ghazmīnī Date of Birth: Unknown; late 12th or early 13th century Place of Birth: Ghazmīn, Khwārazm Date of Death: 1260 Place of Death: Unknown; presumably Khwārazm Biography Al-Zāhidī was known as a Ḥanafī jurist who was active mainly in Central Asia. He began his studies in his home region, and continued these for some time in Baghdad and also in ‘ bilād al-Rūm’. He was evidently committed to discussions with Christians, because he says in Al-risāla l-nāṣiriyya that he participated in debate with Christian scholars in his n…

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī

(428 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Qāsim Ṣāʿid ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Taghlibī al-Andalusī Date of Birth: 1029 Place of Birth: Almeria Date of Death: 1070 Place of Death: Toledo Biography Ṣāʿid ibn Aḥmad al-Andalusī was born in Almeria and received his first education there. His family later settled in Cordova, where he continued his studies. Ibn Bashkuwāl says that he was a pupil of Ibn Ḥazm, and the two men certainly knew each other. In 1046, he went to Toledo for further study under such reputed teachers as Ibn Khamīs, al-Waqqāshī and al-…

Ibn Khallād

(217 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū ʿAlī Muḥammad ibn Khallād al-Baṣrī Date of Birth: Unknown; possibly early 10th century Place of Birth: Basra Date of Death: Unknown; mid-10th century Place of Death: Unknown; maybe Baghdad Biography Born in Basra, Ibn Khallād was a student of Abū Hāshim al-Jubbāʾī (d. 933) (q.v.), and followed his master when he moved to Baghdad in later life. He was remembered as one of Abū Hāshim’s best students and was in turn the teacher of Abū ʿAbdallāh al-Baṣrī (d. 980) (q.v.) and Abū Isḥāq ibn ʿAyyāsh (d. 996), who were the teacher…

 Kitāb fī l-radd ʿalā l-Yahūd wa-l-Naṣārā

(160 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Refutation of the Jews and Christians Abū l-ʿAbbās ʿAbdallāh ibn Hārūn al-Maʾmūn Date: before 833 Original Language: Arabic Description The work is listed by Ibn al-Murtaḍā, Kitāb ṭabaqāt al-Muʿtazila, ed. S. Diwald-Wilzer, Beirut, 1988, p. 123, who says that the caliph wrote 'many books', but names only this and a work against the Manicheans.   Van Ess ( TG iii, p. 202) dismisses it and other works against non-Muslims attributed to al-Maʾmūn as part of the legend that was built up around him as a great defender of Islam. Significance It would have been one of the earliest known Musl…

 Kitāb al-radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā wa-dhikhr majāmiʿihim

(141 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘A refutation of the Christians and an account of their groups’ Al-Qifṭī Date: Unknown; before 1248 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived, and is known only through the mention by al-Ṣafadī, Al-wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, p. 340. Its contents and intention can only be guessed at, though its title indicates that, in addition to arguments against Christianity, it also contained accounts of Christian sects – possibly Copts as well as the Melkites, Jacobites and Nestorians – that al-Qifṭī would have got to know about in the course of his life. Significance It is not possib…

 Al-ghunya fī l-kalām; Kitāb al-ghunya fī uṣūl al-dīn

(759 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The indispensable, on theology; The indispensable, on the principles of religion Abū l-Qāsim al-Anṣārī Date: After 1094 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-ghunya fī l-kalām is a substantial theological treatise in three parts, only the first of which has so far been published. This is more than 350 pages long. It’s subject is the existence and nature of God and, following the precedent of earlier works of this kind, it begins with an epistemological introduction, and then a proof of the contingency of the world …

 Jawāb risālat ahl jazīrat Qubruṣ

(999 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘Reply to the letter of the people of Cyprus’ Ibn Abī Ṭālib al-Dimashqī Date: June 1321 Original Language: Arabic Description This long work is a reply to the anonymous letter that was sent in the name of the people of Cyprus to demonstrate how Christianity is supported and authenticated by the Qur’an (see ‘The letter from the People of Cyprus’); this is an extensively edited version of Paul of Antioch’s Letter to a Muslim friend (q.v.), written by Paul about a century earlier. In 1316, a version of this letter was sent from Cyprus to the theologian Ibn Taymiyya (q.v.…

 Kitāb yaḥtawī ʿalā ʿashara kutub fī l-radd ʿalā ahl al-milal

(130 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
A book comprising ten books on the refutation of the people of the religions Abū ʿAmr Ḍirār ibn ʿAmr al-Ghaṭafānī l-Kūfī Date: mid to late 8th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The work is lost, and is known only from Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 215, where his reference is probably a description of the work rather than the exact title. It would have been one of the earliest works against other religions known to Muslims at the time, presumably including Christianity. Significance It may have been substantial (though the significance of the term 'book' here must remain un…


(584 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt                 ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, ed. ʿA.-K. ʿUthmān, 2 vols, Beirut, 1966 Assemani, BO                 J.S. Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana, 4 vols in 3, Rome, 1719-28 (repr. Hildesheim, 1975) ‘Bibliographie’             R. Caspar et al., ‘Bibliographie du dialogue islamo-chrétien’, Islamochristiana 1 (1975) 124-81; 2 (1976) 187-249; 3 (1977) 255-86; 4 (1978) 247-67; 5 (1979) 299-317; 6 (1980) 259-99; 7 (1981) 299-307; 10 (1984) 273-92; 13 (1987) 173-80; 15 (1989) 169-74 Biblioteca de al-Andalus     …
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