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(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     …

Ibn ʿAbd al-Rafīʿ

(111 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥasan ibn ʿAbd al-Rafīʿ Date of Birth: 1239 Place of Birth: Unknown; presumably North Africa Date of Death: 1333 Place of Death: Tunis Biography Ibn ʿAbd al-Rafīʿ was a Mālikī jurist and chief qāḍī of Tunis, distinguishing himself by the length of his career in the judiciary. Among his works were Mufīd al-ḥukkām (‘Instructions for judges’), and Ikhtiṣār ajwibat Ibn Rushd (‘Abridgement of the responses of Ibn Rushd’), presumably on the philosopher’s legal opinions. Primary Sources of Information Abū ʿAbdallāh al-Zarkashī, Taʾrīkh al-dawlatayn, Tunis, 1872, p. 57 S…

 Kitāb al-bad’ wa-l-ta’rīkh

(720 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Creation and history Al-Maqdisī Date: About 966 Original Language: Arabic Description The work is divided into 22 chapters: 1-4 on sources of knowledge, and proofs of God and prophethood; 5-10 on the creation, Adam and the end of time; 10-14 on descriptions of the world and events before the coming of Muḥammad; and 15-22 on the life of Muḥammad, Muslim sects and Islamic history to the mid-10th century. In the opening chapters, al-Maqdisī shows that he is fully aware of different teachings within and outside Islam about the points that he makes, and he mentions t…

Abū ʿAmr Ḍirār ibn ʿAmr al-Ghaṭafānī l-Kūfī

(689 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ḍirār ibn ʿAmr Date of Birth: unknown, c. 730 Place of Birth: possibly Kūfa Date of Death: unknown, c. 800 Place of Death: possibly Basra Biography Ḍirār does not figure prominently in biographical works, and little is known for certain about his life. He is associated with scholars who flourished in the late 8th century and is identified among the participants in a debate before Yaḥyā l-Barmakī in the reign of Hārūn al-Rashīd. His date of death can therefore be given roughly as 800, and since he is said to have lived to about 70, he was probably …


(400 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Qaḥṭabī Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Before 940 Place of Death: Unknown Biography The author of a refutation of Christianity that is virtually unknown is himself almost completely unknown. Ibn al-Nadīm links an al-Qaḥṭabī with a certain Ibn al-Baṭrīq, saying that the latter translated a work of the Greek physician Alexander of Tralles for him ( Fihrist, p. 352), and he also lists the Christian sects that appeared in al-Qaḥṭabī’s refutation of Christianity (p. 405). In addition to this, Abū Manṣūr al-Baghd…

 Kitāb al-radd ʿalā Yūshaʿ Bukht maṭrān Fārs

(193 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Refutation of Īshōʿbokht, metropolitan of Fars Ḥumayd ibn Saʿīd ibn Bakhtiyār Date: Mid-9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The work is mentioned by Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 220 (margin, which reads the last words of the title as Maṭr Ibn Fāris, though Fück, ‘Neue Materialien zum Fihrist’, ZDMG 90 (1936) 298-321, p. 308, emends this to ‘metropolitan of Fars’). The Christian’s name suggests he was an East Syrian. Fück identifies him as Īshōʿbokht of Rēwardashīr (as does G. Monnot, Islam et religions, Paris, 1986, p. 77), although Van Ess ( TG iv, pp. 132-33) argues that sinc…

 Kitāb al-munqidh min al-taqlīd wa-l-murshid ilā l-tawḥīd

(1,055 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘Deliverance from imitation and guidance to divine unity’ Al-Ḥimmaṣī Date: 1185 Original Language: Arabic Description This work is a compendium of Muʿtazilī theology. It is known by a number of titles, Kitāb al-munqidh min al-taqlīd wa-l-murshid ilā l-tawḥīd, Kitāb al-murshid ilā l-tawḥīd wa-l-munqidh min al-taqlīd and Al-taʿlīq al-ʿirāqī (prompting Muḥammad Bāqir al-Khwānsārī to suggest that it is a commentary on a work by al-Ḥimmaṣī’s contemporary Abū l-Faḍl al-ʿIrāqī l-Qazwīnī l-Ṭāwūsī). It was evidently regarded as important among al-Ḥim…

 Radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā

(750 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Refutation of the Christians Abū ʿAlī l-Jubbāʾī Date: Unknown; before 915-16 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived, and its original title, if different from that given above, is not known. ʿAbd al-Jabbār mentions in the Tathbīt p. 198 that Abū ʿAlī wrote a work against the Christians, but says nothing more about it. It is quite likely that the anti-Christian arguments he quotes from Abū ʿAlī by name in the Mughnī, although without identifying any source, are from this work. According to the sequence of fragments preserved by ʿAbd al-Jabbār, the refut…

Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdallāh ibn Qutayba

(359 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ibn Qutayba Date of Birth: 828 Place of Birth: Kūfa Date of Death: 889 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Ibn Qutayba was educated in conservative intellectual circles, and he identified himself as a follower of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal. His ideas found favour with the Caliph al-Mutawakkil, and from about 851 he held the post of qāḍī under the patronage of the vizier al-Fatḥ ibn Khāqān. He lost this post when the latter fell from favor in 870, and after that mainly devoted himself to writing. He wrote on a range of topics, mainly adab, for which he was primarily known, and religious matters. His adab works…

 Taʿlīq Sharḥ al-uṣūl al-khamsa

(468 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Comments on the Commentary on the five principles Mānkdīm Shashdīw Date: Unknown; between about 990 and 1034 Original Language: Arabic Description The Taʿlīq Sharḥ al-uṣūl al-khamsa is a commentary on ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s (q.v.) lost Sharḥ al-uṣūl al-khamsa (q.v.), which the latter dictated between 970 and 990 as a commentary on his own extant Kitāb al-uṣūl al-khamsa. Comparison between the Taʿlīq and ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s original work shows extensive additions and amplifications - ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s bare reference in a single sentence to the doctrine of the Trin…


(43 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Foreword Abbreviations John Tolan, Introduction David Thomas, Muslim regard for Christians and Christianity Nicholas Drocourt, Christian–Muslim diplomatic relations. An overview of the main sources and themes of encounter (600–1000) Works on Christian-Muslim relations 900-1050 Index of names Index of works David Thomas

Khabar al-Yahūd wa-l-Naṣārā

(207 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Biography The author of this account about a meeting between the Fatimid Caliph al-Ḥākim and a deputation of Christians and Jews was evidently a Druze. The account itself identifies him as Ḥamza ibn ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad, the upholder of al-Ḥākim’s divinity and founder of the Druze sect, who died sometime after al-Ḥākim’s disappearance in 1021. The 18th-century Orientalist J.M. Venture de Paradis (translated by Ruffin, Appendix, pp. 110-11) relates how he obtained a MS found in a Druze village, which contained, among other things,  an account of a dialogue between a…

Abū l-Qāsim al-Balkhī

(466 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Qāsim ʿAbdallāh ibn Aḥmad ibn Maḥmūd al-Balkhī, al-Kaʿbī Date of Birth: Mid-9th century Place of Birth: Balkh Date of Death: 931 Place of Death: Balkh Biography Born in Balkh in Khurāsān, al-Balkhī traced his ancestry back to the tribe of Kaʿb. He studied in Baghdad under the grammarian Mubarrad (d. 898) and the Muʿtazilī Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Khayyāṭ (d. 913), and remained in the capital long enough to attract the attention of notable scholars, who reacted to a number of his works. But he spent his mature years back in h…

 Kitāb al-ḥujja fī ithbāt al-nabī ʿalayhi l-salām

(127 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The Proof in confirmation of the Prophet, peace be upon him Abū Sahl Bishr ibn al-Muʿtamir ibn Bishr al-Hilālī Date: early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The work, which was written in verse, is mentioned by Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 185. It was one of the earliest examples of the 'proofs of prophethood' genre, and it may have listed and commented on biblical proof verses and also refuted arguments from Christians. Significance It presumably employed similar arguments to those in contemporary works, and may have fed later works of this kind. Manuscripts - Editions & Transla…

 Kitāb al-dīn wa-l-dawla

(793 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The Book of religion and empire’ Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Sahl Rabban al-Ṭabarī Date: c. 855 Original Language: Arabic Description From the time it was first published the authenticity of this work has been disputed, most vehemently by M. Bouyges. But Sepmeijer, Thomas, and Adang have shown that it is undoubtedly ancient and attributable to ʿAlī l-Ṭabarī, and questions of its authorship should be regarded as settled.   It is a defense of the prophetic status of Muḥammad, based on a range of arguments including his and his Companions' virtues, his miracles, and above…

 Jawāb ʿan kitāb malik al-Rūm

(359 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Reply to the letter of the Byzantine emperor Abū l-Ḥasan ibn al-Munajjim Date: About 935 Original Language: Arabic Description Elsewhere in the Tathbīt (p. 343), ʿAbd al-Jabbār refers to a reply which Abū al-Ḥasan wrote to a letter ( kitāb) from the Byzantine emperor. In his letter, which was written after the Byzantine capture of Melitene in 935, the emperor rejoiced at the misfortunes brought on the Islamic state by the Carmathians, and especially their attacks on Mecca and murder of pilgrims. This emperor would have been Constanti…


(596 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Chapters Al-Ashʿarī Date: Unknown, probably between about 900 and 932 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived. Ibn ʿAsākir ( Tabyīn, p. 128, McCarthy, Theology, pp. 211-12) describes its contents as follows: ‘A refutation of the atheists and those who are outside the religion of Islam, such as the philosophers, the naturalists, the materialists, the assimilators and those who teach about the eternity of destiny, according to the differences of their views and the varieties of their positions; then…

 Awāʾil al-adilla fī uṣūl al-dīn

(789 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Fundamentals of the proofs for the principles of religion Abū l-Qāsim al-Balkhī Date: Unknown; before 931 Original Language: Arabic Description The Awāʾil al-adilla appears to have been a compendium of Muslim doctrines according to Muʿtazilī principles, and it was evidently a significant work. It attracted refutations from al-Ashʿarī (q.v.), al-Māturīdī (q.v.), Ibn Fūrak, and others, while the historian Abū Naṣr al-Muṭahhar ibn Ṭāhir (or al-Muṭahhar) al-Maqdisī (q.v.) praises its argument for the existence of a Creator ( Kitāb al-badʾ wa-l-taʾrīkh, 6 parts in 2 vols, Cairo…


(297 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
ʿIzz al-Mulk Abū ʿAbdallāh (or ʿUbayd Allāh) Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim ʿUbayd Allāh Ismāʿīl ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Ḥarrānī al-Musabbiḥī al-Kātib Date of Birth: 977 Place of Birth: Fusṭāṭ Date of Death: April-May 1030 Place of Death: Fusṭāṭ Biography Al-Musabbiḥī is mainly known as a historian of Fatimid Egypt, thanks to the surviving section of his Akhbār Miṣr (‘Accounts of Egypt’). He saw military service under the Fatimid dynasty, and rose to the position of governor, for which he received the title amīr. Although he was probably a Sunnī (though Daftary, p. 23, suggests he ma…

 Kitāb ʿalā l-Naṣārā

(77 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Against the Christians Abū ʿAmr (Abū Yaḥyā) Ḥafṣ al-Fard Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description The work is mentioned by Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 230. It presumably contained arguments like those in similar works written in this period. Significance It may have contributed arguments to later Muslim refutations. Manuscripts -- Editions & Translations -- Studies -- Keywords Chronological Category: 800-900 Dynasty/Ruling elite: Abbasids Genre & Source Type: Kalam, Refutations Muslims: Murjiis David Thomas
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