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 Radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā

(621 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Refutation of the Christians Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī Date: Mid-9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The work survives as quotations in the refutation made by the 10th-century Syrian Orthodox Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, who refers to al-Kindī’s Maqāla fī l-radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā, ‘Treatise on the refutation of the Christians’. While Yaḥyā has undoubtedly reproduced what he thought were the main points, he may well have omitted other parts. G. Endress, The works of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, p. 100, suggests the Radd was originally part of a longer work, the Risāla fī iftirāq al-milal fī l-ta…

Abū ʿAmr (Abū Yaḥyā) Ḥafṣ al-Fard

(485 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Ḥafṣ al-Fard Date of Birth: Unknown, mid-8th c. Place of Birth: Possibly Egypt Date of Death: Unknown, mid-9th c. Place of Death: Possibly Egypt Biography Ḥafṣ al-Fard was probably born in Egypt, and is linked with Egypt at certain points in his life. He traveled to Iraq as a young man, and studied in Basra under Abū l-Hudhayl al-ʿAllāf (d. between 840 and 850) (q.v.) and others. He also became known to a number of leading scholars, including Abū ʿUthmān al-Jāḥiẓ (q.v.), who mentions him in his Kitāb al-ḥayawān. He was regarded as Abū l-Hudhayl’s intellectual equal, but at some poi…


(217 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn ʿAbdallāh Date of Birth: 1141 Place of Birth: Al-Ruhā (Edessa) Date of Death: 1215 Place of Death: Ḥarrān Biography Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Ruhāwī would have known about Christianity from his earliest years, and may well have known some Christians closely. His home town of al-Ruhā had retained a substantial Christian population through all the centuries of Muslim rule, and its churches were a feature that travelers noted with admiration. Since 1098 it had been the crusader county of…

 Naqḍ al-tathlīth ʿalā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī

(281 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Criticism of the Trinity, against Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī Al-Rummānī Date: Unknown, but if after Yaḥyā’s death between 974 and 994 Original Language: Arabic Description It is entirely possible that al-Rummānī knew Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (q.v.) personally. They were both teachers of Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī, and they must have encountered each other at the various assemblies they frequented in the capital. But nothing is known about the contents of this work, and it has not survived. It is mentioned by al-Tawḥīdī ( Al-muqābasāt, ed. M. Tawfīq al-Ḥusayn, Baghdad, 1970, no. 30, p. 150). Given al-Rummānī’s pr…


(1,894 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History 1 ( CMR1 to give it its acronym) is the first part of a general history of relations between Christians and Muslims as this is recorded in written sources. This history is intended to cover the whole span from the early seventh century to the present, and will include all continents. CMR1 takes in the first nine hundred years from 600 to 1500, while CMR2, CMR3 and the other histories will take in the five hundred years from 1500 to 2000 and after. While CMR1 covers the area of what may conveniently, if rather loosely, be called t…

 [Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa]

(143 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Bishr al-Ḥarbī Date: before 898 Original Language: Arabic Description A work about proofs of prophethood is mentioned by Ḥājjī Khalīfa, Kashf al-ẓunūn ʿan asmā l-kutub wa-l-funūn, 7 vols, ed. G. Flügel, Leipzig, 1835-58, iii, p. 237, though nothing else is known about it. It would probably have been a typical example of the 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…

ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā al-Jarrāḥ

(760 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā ibn Dāwūd ibn al-Jarrāḥ Date of Birth: 11 August 859 Place of Birth: Unknown, possible Dayr Qunnā, south-east of Baghdad Date of Death: 1 August 946 Place of Death: Dayr Qunnā or Baghdad Biography ʿAbd al-Jabbār ( Tathbīt dalā’il al-nubuwwa, ed. ʿA.-K. ʿUthmān, 2 vols, Beirut, 1966, p. 343) names the author of a reply to a letter from the Byzantine emperor as ʿĪsā ibn Dāwūd ibn al-Jarrāḥ. This would appear to identify him as the father of ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā, ‘the good vizier’, but the circumstances in which ʿAbd al-Ja…

Muslim regard for Christians and Christianity, 900-1200

(5,394 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Muslim attitudes towards Christians who lived within the increasingly fragmented Islamic world remained governed by the so-called Pact of ʿUmar, though it is unclear how far its stipulations were applied beyond the exaction of the jizya. 1  The evidence of such texts as the 11th-century Khabar al-Yahūd wa-l-Naṣārā (q.v.), in which the Fatimid Caliph al-Ḥākim retires from his meeting with the heads of the main client faiths to consult the sources about the treatment of d himmīs, and of Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kātib’s Al-durr al-thamīn (q.v.) from the later 12th century, which t…

 Radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā

(278 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Refutation of the Christians Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Iskāfī Date: 1st half of the 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This work, of which the title ‘Refutation of the Christians’ is unlikely to be original, is lost. According to ʿAbd al-Jabbār ( Tathbīt dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, ed. ʿA.-K. ʿUthmān, 2 vols, Beirut, 1966, i, p. 148; cf. p. 198), it may, together with a number of other works, have referred to the popular Christian belief that God took Mary in the way that a man takes a woman as wife. It may also have contained two arguments quoted from al-Iskāfī by Abū a…


(450 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
BHG            Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca ‘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             J. Lirola and J.M. Puerta (eds), Biblioteca de al-Andalus, Almería, 2004-6 BL             British Library BNF             Bibliothèque nationale de France Brockelmann, GAL             C. …

Abū ʿUthmān ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Fuqaymī l-Jāḥiẓ

(413 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Al-Jāḥiẓ Date of Birth: c. 776 Place of Birth: Basra Date of Death: 869 Place of Death: Basra Biography Al-Jāḥiẓ was born and brought up in Basra, and there learnt the Arabic language and literary skills for which he became celebrated. In kalām he was a student of Ibrāhīm al-Naẓẓām, though he did not always agree with his master’s views. Even while still a student in the early 800s, al-Jāḥiẓ wrote works that brought him to the attention of the Caliph al-Maʾmūn. He spent long periods in Baghdad and Samarra, though he always returned to his home town. He made a living by his li…

 Kitāb al-maʿūna fī l-uṣūl

(381 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Assistance, on the principles Ibn al-Ikhshīd Date: Before 938 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived. Since it was never finished, it may have been begun towards the end of Ibn al-Ikhshīd’s life. According to later reports, it was on the principles of Muʿtazilī theology (see Mourad, p. 84), though it also contained an examination of Christian doctrines, possibly among those of other faiths. This examination was evidently very accomplished, since ʿAbd al-Jabbār singles it out from other refutations of Christianity as a qiṭʿa ḥasana, ‘fine piece’ ( Tathbīt, p. …

Al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar

(351 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-ʿAbbas ʿAbdallāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anbārī, Ibn Shirshīr Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Anbār, near Baghdad Date of Death: 906 Place of Death: Egypt Biography Little is known about al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar’s life, except that he lived in Baghdad until about 893 and was employed as a government official, and that he moved to Egypt, where he remained until his death. Al-Nāshiʾ was remembered for his singular theological views about God’s radical distinctiveness from creation, according to which humans cannot share in any real sense characteristics posse…

 Kitāb al-ārāʾ wa-l-diyānāt

(479 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Opinions and confessions Abū Muḥammad al-Nawbakhtī Date: Unknown; probably early 10th century Original Language: Arabic Description This work, which Ibn al-Nadīm (p. 225) says al-Nawbakhtī did not finish, has not survived. It is known through quotations contained in later works, particularly al-Masʿūdī and Ibn al-Jawzī (see Iqbāl, Khāndān-i Nawbakhtī, p. 139, and D. Thomas, Anti-Christian polemic in early Islam, Cambridge, 1992, p. 42, for references). These show that it covered a wide range of beliefs and doctrines, referring to such groups as the Gre…

Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Miṣrī

(555 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Ḥusayn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Miṣrī Date of Birth: Unknown, possibly late 9th or early 10th century Place of Birth: Unknown, possibly Egypt Date of Death: Unknown, mid or late 10th century Place of Death: Unknown, probably Baghdad Biography Nothing is known about Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Miṣrī except what can be gathered from the Jacobite Christian Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī’s contribution to a polemical correspondence between the two. This comprised three elements: Yaḥyā’s letter to his fellow Jacobite Abū l-Ḥasan al-Qāsim ibn Ḥabīb in refutation o…


(273 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Jamāl al-Dīn Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm al-Shaybānī l-Qifṭī Date of Birth: 1172 Place of Birth: Qifṭ, Upper Egypt Date of Death: 1248 Place of Death: Aleppo Biography Al-Qifṭī spent his early years in Cairo and then Jerusalem. In 1201, following the death of Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn and the disturbances in the city, he moved to Aleppo and continued the studies he had begun years earlier. His evident abilities brought him to the ruler’s attention, and he entered public service as the head of finances, and finally from 1236 until his death as vizier to al-Malik al-ʿAzīz. He managed to keep up …


(451 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā ibn ʿAlī ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Rummānī, al-Ikhshīdī Date of Birth: 909 Place of Birth: Baghdad Date of Death: 994 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Abū l-Ḥasan al-Rummānī moved at the centre of Baghdad intellectual and cultural life in the 10th century. He was an expert in jurisprudence, and served as judge in an area of the capital, though he was recognized above all for his knowledge of Arabic language. As a young man, he witnessed the famous debate held in 932 on the merits of logic and grammar between the Christi…


(48 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Foreword Abbreviations John Tolan, Introduction Marcus Bull, The Western narratives of the First Crusade David M. Freidenreich, Christians in early and classical Shīʿī law David M. Freidenreich, Muslims in Western canon law, 1000-1500 Works on Christian-Muslim relations 1050-1200 Index of names Index of works David Thomas


(719 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr ibn Yazīd al-Ṭabarī Date of Birth: Uncertain; probably 839 Place of Birth: Āmul, Ṭabaristān Date of Death: 17 February 923 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Al-Ṭabarī’s unusual intellectual abilities were evident from a young age. As early as his mid-teens he began his travels in search of learning, and visited scholars in Rayy, Basra and Kūfa as well as further afield in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. In about 870 he settled in Baghdad, where he followed legal studies under the Shāfiʿī expert al-R…

Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥabīb al-Anṣārī l-Kūfī

(425 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb Date of Birth: Unknown, approx. 740 Place of Birth: Kūfa Date of Death: 798 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Abū Yūsuf's origins are obscure, though it is known that he studied under leading legal experts of his day, including Abū Ḥanīfa and Mālik ibn Anas. Since the former died in 767, it is plausible to suppose that Abū Yūsuf was born 20 to 30 years earlier in order to have been old enough to be his student. He was made qāḍī in Baghdad under one of the early ʿAbbasid caliphs, and he came to the notice of Hārūn al-Rashīd (r. 786-809), whose high regard is indicated by the title of qāḍī l…
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