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 Risāla fī aʿlām al-nubuwwa

(228 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Letter on the signs of prophethood Abū l-ʿAbbās ʿAbdallāh ibn Hārūn al-Maʾmūn Date: before 833 Original Language: Arabic Description The work is listed by Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, p. 129. The 13th-century Shīʿī scholar Abū l-Qāsim ʿAlī ibn Mūsā ibn Ṭāwūs (d. 1266) mentions in his al-Ṭarā ʾ if fī ma ʿ rifat madhāhib al-ṭawā ʾ if, Qom, [1400] 1979, p. 424, what must be the same work with the title Kitāb a ʿ lām al-rasūl, and says that in a library in Baghdad he had examined a copy of it made in 865 (see E. Kohlberg, A medieval Muslim scholar at work: Ibn Ṭāwūs and his library, Leiden, 1992, p. 106). It was o…

Abū ʿĪsā Aḥmad ibn al-Munajjim

(390 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū ʿĪsā Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Yaḥyā l-Munajjim Date of Birth: Unknown, probably mid-9th century Place of Birth: Baghdad Date of Death: Unknown, probably early 10th century Place of Death: Unknown, probably Baghdad Biography Abū ʿĪsā Aḥmad was a member of the illustrious al-Munajjim family, which had served ʿAbbāsid caliphs from the very start of the dynasty. His grandfather, Abū ʿAlī Yaḥyā, had converted from his original Zoroastrianism to Islam at the time of the Caliph al-Maʾmūn, while his father, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī (815/16-888) (…

 Adillat al-waḥdāniyya fī l-radd ʿalā l-milla l-Naṣrāniyya

(588 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
‘Proofs of divine unity in refutation of the Christian community’ Al-Khaṭīb al-Iskandarī Date: Between 1218 and 1237 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not been edited or even studied closely since the time of Fritsch. This description must, therefore, rely on what he says (pp. 18-20). After an introduction in which al-Iskandarī explains the circumstances in which he wrote, the work is divided into four parts. In the first, where Christian mouthpieces are employed, he sets out the main Christian topics he intends to refute: t…

 Kitāb al-uṣūl

(557 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Principles Ibn Khallād Date: Unknown; before about 950 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived in its original form, and may well have been left unfinished by Ibn Khallād, to be completed by ʿAbd al-Jabbār; see D. Gimaret, ‘Les uṣūl al-ḫamsa’, p. 69. As Gimaret (pp. 68-73) shows, some idea of its contents can be gained from the Ziyādāt sharḥ al-uṣūl, a composite of at least three commentaries that were made on it successively by ʿAbd al-Jabbār, the Zaydī Imām Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyā ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Nāṭiq bi-l-ḥaqq (d. 1033), and a certain …

Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī

(763 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Ḥusayn Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Ṭayyib ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī Date of Birth: Unknown; late 10th century Place of Birth: Basra Date of Death: 28 October 1044 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Born in Basra, Abū l-Ḥusayn is known to have studied medicine and philosophy in Baghdad with the Christians Abū l-Faraj ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Ṭayyib (d. 1043) and Abū ʿAlī ibn al-Samḥ (d. 1027). From the latter he took down Aristotle’s Physica in 1004, which means he must have been studying with him earlier than this, pointing to a date of birth sometime before 980. He went on…


(1,423 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History 3 ( CMR 3) is the third volume of a general history of relations between Christians and Muslims as this is recorded in written sources.  Volume 1 covers the years 600 to 900, volume 2 carries the history from 1050 to 1200, this volume continues from 1050 to 1200, and volume 4 takes it further from 1200 to 1500.  It is hoped to continue the history through the five hundred years from 1500 to 2000 in further volumes in the series.  This and the other …

 Radd al-Muṭīʿ ʿalā risāla malik al-Rūm

(603 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Al-Muṭīʿ’s refutation of the Byzantine emperor’s letter Al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī Date: 966 Original Language: Arabic Description This work is a response to the polemical poem sent in the name of the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phocas (r. 963-69) to the Caliph al-Muṭīʿ in 966 (see the entry on Nicephorus Phocas’ representative; there was also another response by the Andalusī theologian Ibn Ḥazm [q.v.]), following a series of Byzantine victories in the mid-10th century, which are named there. It is written in the same ṭawīl meter as that poem, as convention demanded, and it seeks …

ʿAlī ibn Riḍwān

(482 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Riḍwān ibn ʿAlī ibn Jaʿfar al-Miṣrī Date of Birth: 998 Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: 1061 or later in the 1060s Place of Death: Cairo Biography ʿAlī ibn Riḍwān gave extensive details about his life and character in an autobiography, which was used by Ibn Abī ʿUṣaybiʿa. He was born into a poor family and, because he could not afford teachers, he taught himself about medicine from books. Despite this disadvantageous start, his reputation grew and he attracted a following of students. He was appointed …

Abū ʿAlī ʿUmar al-Hāshimī

(81 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū ʿAlī ʿUmar ibn Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Hāshimī Date of Birth: Unknown; late 13th century Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: 1330 Place of Death: Tunis Biography Abū ʿAlī ʿUmar al-Hāshimī was qāḍī l-ankiḥa, responsible for the administration of marriage law, in early 14th-century Tunis. Primary Sources of Information Abū ʿAbdallāh al-Zarkashī, Taʾrīkh al-dawlatayn, Tunis, 1872, p. 56 Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Idrāk al-ṣawāb fī ankiḥat ahl al-kitāb David Thomas

Abū Hāshim al-Jubbāʾī

(822 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū Hāshim ʿAbd al-Salām ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Jubbāʾī Date of Birth: 861 (or less probably 890) Place of Birth: Basra Date of Death: 933 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Abū Hāshim was the son of the leading late 9th-century Basra Muʿtazilī Abū ʿAlī l-Jubbāʾī (q.v.) and, together with Abū l-Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī (q.v.), one of his pupils. He also studied under the philologist al-Mubarrad (d. 898; this makes it improbable that he was born in 890). He was the best known among the Basra Muʿtazila in the generation following Abū…

 Al-Risālat al-ʿasaliyya

(196 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The “honey-coloured” letter’ Abū ʿUthmān ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Fuqaymī l-Jāḥiẓ Date: mid-9th c., possibly after 847 Original Language: Arabic Description ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt, i, p. 198, knows of this as a separate work from the Radd, but it is not mentioned elsewhere, and it has not survived. Significance Its title may include a play upon the yellow waist-band that Christians and other dhimmīs were required to wear (though the alternative vocalization ʿasliyya would denote 'reviling'). Such a title would have suited a letter written in cooperation with the caliph's …

 [Refutation of Christianity]

(513 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
- ʿAbdallāh al-Asīr Date: Unknown; possibly mid or late 13th century Original Language: Arabic Description Neither the title of the work nor its full contents have survived. All that is known is that it was written, in Arabic, against Christianity, and probably in response to hostile questions from a monk. It only survives as extracts in al-Qaysī’s early 14th-century Kitāb miftāḥ al-dīn. In the third, largely autobiographical part of his original Arabic work, al-Qaysī describes how he was compelled to take part in a religious debate with a monk. In the cou…


(600 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Burhān al-Dīn Abū l-Ḥasan Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar ibn al-Ḥasan al-Rubāṭ al-Biqāʿī Date of Birth: 1406/7 Place of Birth: Khirbit Rūḥa, Lebanon Date of Death: 1480 Place of Death: Damascus Biography Al-Biqāʿī was born in a small village in the Lebanese mountains. Following a feud in 1418, in which some of his closest male relatives, including his father, were killed, his mother fled with him to Damascus. There he started his education, which he continued in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Cairo. In the Mamluk capital, where he arrived in …

 Risāla fī l-radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā

(526 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Letter of refutation against the Christians Ibn Jazla Date: Unknown, but soon after 1074 Original Language: Arabic Description The letter is lost. According to a description given by Ibn Khallikān ( Wafayāt, v, p. 310), who says he had read it and thought it an excellent work, the letter contained praise of Islam and criticism of both Christianity and Judaism. In particular, it presented evidence for the truth of Islam, and predictions from the Torah and Gospel for the sending of Muḥammad, which Jews and Christians hid and refused to bring to light. Arguments of this kind, apparently ba…

 Unknown title; Radd Abī l-Ḥusayn Aḥmad Muḥammad al-maʿrūf bi-Ramaq al-Miṣrī ʿalā mā qāla Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī fī raddihi ʿalā l-Nasṭūriyya

(652 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
The refutation of Abū l-Ḥusayn Aḥmad Muḥammad, known as Ramaq (?) the Egyptian, against what was said by Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī in his refutation of the Nestorians Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Miṣrī Date: Soon after 965-66 Original Language: Arabic Description Abū l-Ḥusayn’s refutation was occasioned by a letter written by Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī in response to a request from his fellow Jacobite Abū l-Ḥasan al-Qāsim ibn Ḥabīb, who had asked Yaḥyā to write about the Christological differences between the Nestorians and Jacobites. The refutation follow…

 Kitāb al-risāla fī l-kharāj ilā l-Rashīd

(1,465 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Kitāb al-kharājThe Letter on property tax to al-Rashīd, Property tax Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥabīb al-Anṣārī l-Kūfī Date: Between 786 and 798, though Calder disputes Abū Yūsuf’s authorship and dates it to the mid-9th century Original Language: Arabic Description Since the work was ostensibly written for Hārūn al-Rashīd, it must have been completed between 786, when the caliph succeeded, and 798 when Abū Yūsuf died. If the introduction is at all accurate, it was a practical response to al-Rashīd’s request for advice about taxat…

Al-Bāhilī l-Baṣrī

(222 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū ʿUmar Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar ibn Saʿīd al-Bāhilī al-Baṣrī Date of Birth: Unknown, early 9th century Place of Birth: Basra Date of Death: About 915 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Al-Bāhilī spent the first part of his life in his native Basra, where he gained a reputation as a skilled theologian. He was a student and close associate of Abū ʿAlī l-Jubbāʾī (q.v.); Ibn al-Murtaḍā reports ʿAbd al-Jabbār recounting how the two were inseparable, and Ibn al-Nadīm says that they attended public sessions together. He also served as …

Khulāṣat al-naẓar

(168 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Biography The only information about this author comes from the Khulāṣat al-naẓar itself. As its editors Schmidtke and Ansari point out ( Khulāṣat, pp. xi-xv), he mentions a number of earlier theologians, the latest being Sadīd al-Dīn al-Ḥimmaṣī (d. after 1204) (q.v.), and while there is strong evidence of the influence of the Muʿtazilī Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī (d. 1044) (q.v.), there is no sign of later influences, such as Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭuṣī (d. 1274) and other later 13th-century Shīʿīs, whose works show the influence of philosophical terminology and method. So it is lik…

Abū l-Qāsim al-Anṣārī

(236 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū l-Qāsim Salmān ibn Nāṣir al-Anṣārī l-Naysābūrī Date of Birth: About 1040 Place of Birth: Arghiyān near Nīshāpūr Date of Death: 1118 Place of Death: Unknown; presumably in or near Nīshāpūr Biography Born near Nīshāpūr, Abū l-Qāsim al-Anṣārī studied in Khurasān with some of the leading scholars of his day, including Abū l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī (d. 1072), under whom he studied taṣawwuf, and Abū l-Maʿālī l-Juwaynī (d. 1085; q.v.), from whom he learned Ashʿarī kalām and to whose Irshād and Al-shāmil fī uṣūl al-dīn his own theological writings are indebted. He would have studied un…


(382 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Legal opinion Al-Ṭabarī Date: Unknown; before 923 Original Language: Arabic Description An opinion given in the name of al-Ṭabarī on the status of non-Muslims in areas under Muslim control is preserved in a treatise written in 1353 by the scholar Taqī l-Dīn al-Subkī. There must be some measure of uncertainty over the authenticity of this opinion, first because al-Subkī declares that he does not know which work it originally came from, and second because its character differs from al-Ṭabarī’s known works, f…
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