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Title: Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory
Author: MacDonald, Duncan B.
Language: English
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                           The Semitic Series

                             DEVELOPMENT OF
                        AND CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY

                   BY DUNCAN B. MACDONALD, M.A., B.D.




Recent scientific research has stimulated an increasing interest in
Semitic studies among scholars, students, and the serious reading public
generally. It has provided us with a picture of a hitherto unknown
civilization, and a history of one of the great branches of the human

The object of the present Series is to state its results in popularly
scientific form. Each work is complete in itself, and the Series, taken
as a whole, neglects no phase of the general subject. Each contributor is
a specialist in the subject assigned him, and has been chosen from the
body of eminent Semitic scholars in Europe and in this country.

This Series will be composed of the following volumes:

    I. HEBREWS. _History and Government._ By Professor J. F.
    McCurdy, University of Toronto, Canada.

    II. HEBREWS. _Ethics and Religion._ By Professor Archibald
    Duff, Airedale College, Bradford, England. [_Now Ready._

    III. HEBREWS. _The Social Life._ By the Rev. Edward Day,
    Springfield, Mass. [_Now Ready._

    IV. BABYLONIANS AND ASSYRIANS, with introductory chapter on
    the Sumerians. _History to the Fall of Babylon._ By Dr. Hugo
    Winckler, University of Berlin. [_In Press._

    V. BABYLONIANS AND ASSYRIANS. _Religion._ By Professor J. A.
    Craig, University of Michigan.

    VI. BABYLONIANS AND ASSYRIANS. _Life and Customs._ By Professor
    A. H. Sayce, University of Oxford, England. [_Now Ready._

    VII. BABYLONIANS AND ASSYRIANS. Excavations and Account of
    Decipherment of Inscriptions.

    VIII. SYRIA AND PALESTINE. _Early History._ By Professor Lewis
    Bayles Paton, Hartford Theological Seminary. [_Now Ready._

    CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY. By Professor D. B. Macdonald, Hartford
    Theological Seminary. [_Now Ready._

The following volumes are to be included in the Series, and others may be

    X. PHŒNICIA. _History and Government_, including Colonies,
    Trade, and Religion.

    XI. ARABIA, _Discoveries in, and History and Religion until



                           The Semitic Series

                             DEVELOPMENT OF
                     Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence
                        and Constitutional Theory

                     DUNCAN B. MACDONALD, M.A., B.D.


                                NEW YORK
                         CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS

                           COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
                         CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS

                         Published; March, 1903

                             TROW DIRECTORY
                                NEW YORK



It is with very great diffidence that I send out this book. Of the lack
and need of some text-book of the kind there can be little doubt. From
the educated man who wishes to read with intelligence his “Arabian
Nights” to the student of history or of law or of theology who wishes
to know how it has gone in such matters with the great Muslim world,
there is demand enough and to spare. Still graver is the difficulty for
the growing body of young men who are taking up the study of Arabic. In
English or German or French there is no book to which a teacher may send
his pupils for brief guidance on the development of these institutions;
on the development of law there are only scattered and fragmentary
papers, and on the development of theology there is practically nothing.
But of the difficulty of supplying this need there can be even less
doubt. Goldziher could do it fully and completely; no other Arabist alive
could approach the task other than with trepidation. The following pages
therefore form a kind of forlorn attempt, a rushing in on the part of
one who is sure he is not an angel and is in grave doubt on the question
of folly, but who also sees a gap and no great alacrity on the part of
his betters toward filling it. One thing, however, I would premise
with emphasis. All the results given here have been reached or verified
from the Arabic sources. These sources are seldom stated either in the
text or in the bibliography, as the book is intended to be useful to
non-Arabists, but, throughout, they lie behind it and are its basis.
By this it is not meant that the results of this book are claimed as
original. Every Arabist will recognize at once from whose wells I have
drawn and who have been my masters. Among these I would do homage in the
first instance to Goldziher; what Arabist is not deep in his debt? With
Goldziher’s influence through books I would join the kindred influence
of the living voice of my teacher Sachau. To him I render thanks and
reverence now for his kindly sympathy and guidance. Others in whose debt
I am are Nöldeke, Snouck Hurgronje, von Kremer, Lane—many more. Those who
are left of these will know their own in my pages and will be merciful to
my attempts to tread in their steps and to develop their results. What is
my own, too, they will know; into questions of priority I have no desire
to enter. Foot-notes which might have given to each scholar his due have
been left unwritten. For the readers of this book such references in so
vast a subject would be useless. Such references, too, would have in the
end to be made to Arabic sources.

More direct help I have to acknowledge on several sides. To the
atmosphere and scholarly ideals of Hartford Seminary I am indebted for
the possibility of writing such a book as this, so far from the ordinary
theological ruts. Among my colleagues Professor Gillett has especially
aided me with criticism and suggestions on the terminology of scholastic
theology. Dr. Talcott Williams, of Philadelphia, illumined for me the
Idrisid movement in North Africa. One complete sentence on p. 85 I have
conveyed from a kindly notice in _The Nation_ of my inaugural lecture on
the development of Muslim Jurisprudence. Finally, and above all, I am
indebted to my wife for much patient labor in copying and for keen and
luminous criticism in planning and correcting. With thanks to her this
preface may fitly close.

                                                     DUNCAN B. MACDONALD.

HARTFORD, December, 1902.

    ⁂ As it has proved impracticable to give in the body of the
    book a full transliteration of names and technical terms, the
    learner is referred for such exact forms to the chronological
    table and the index. In these _hamza_ and _ayn_, the long
    vowels and the emphatic consonants are uniformly represented,
    the last by italic.



    INTRODUCTION                                               3

                            PART I


                           CHAPTER I


                          CHAPTER II

    TO RISE OF AYYUBIDS                                       34

                          CHAPTER III

    TO PRESENT SITUATION                                      50

                            PART II


                           CHAPTER I

    TO CLOSE OF UMAYYAD PERIOD                                65

                          CHAPTER II

    TO PRESENT SITUATION                                      91

                            PART III

                   _DEVELOPMENT OF THEOLOGY_

                           CHAPTER I

    TO CLOSE OF UMAYYAD PERIOD                               119

                          CHAPTER II

    TO FOUNDATION OF FATIMID KHALIFATE                       153

                          CHAPTER III

    TO TRIUMPH OF ASH‘ARITES IN EAST                         186

                          CHAPTER IV

    AL-GHAZZALI                                              215

                           CHAPTER V

    TO IBN SAB‘IN AND END OF MUWAHHIDS                       243

                          CHAPTER VI

    TO PRESENT SITUATION                                     266



     II. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY                               358

    III. CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE                                 368

    INDEX                                                    373


    Page 30, line 5, for al-Mukanna read al-Muqanna.
     ”   86, l. 19, for first Khalifa read second Khalifa.
     ”  201, l. 26, for _tasalsal_ read _tasalsul_.
     ”  237, for Mansell read Mansel.
     ”  267, l. 30, for Haqqari read Hakkari.
     ”  299, l. 10, for _Mushriqs_ read _Mushriks_.
     ”  300, l. 4, for kalimatan ash-shahada read kalimata-sh-shabada.
     ”  325, l. 23, for _wihdaniya_ read _wahdaniya_.
     ”  339, l. 11, for _ihtiyaz_ read _ihtiyaj_.

Transcriber’s Note: The errata have been corrected.



In human progress unity and complexity are the two correlatives forming
together the great paradox. Life is manifold, but it is also one. So
it is seldom possible, and still more seldom advisable, to divide a
civilization into departments and to attempt to trace their separate
developments; life nowhere can be cut in two with a hatchet. And this is
emphatically true of the civilization of Islam. Its intellectual unity,
for good and for evil, is its outstanding quality. It may have solved
the problem of faith and science, as some hold; it may have crushed all
thought which is not of faith, as many others hold. However that may be,
its life and thought are a unity.

So, also, with its institutions. It might be possible to trace the
developments of the European states out of the dying Roman Empire, even
to watch the patrimony of the Church grow and again vanish, and yet take
but little if any account of the Catholic theology. It might be possible
to deal adequately with the growth of that system of theology and yet
never touch either the Roman or the civil law, even to leave out of our
view the canon law itself. In Europe the State may rule the Church, or
the Church may rule the State; or they may stand side by side in somewhat
dubious amity, supposedly taking no account each of the other. But
in Muslim countries, Church and State are one indissolubly, and until
the very essence of Islam passes away, that unity cannot be relaxed.
The law of the land, too, is, in theory, the law of the Church. In the
earlier days at least, canon and civil law were one. Thus we can never
say in Islam, “he is a great lawyer; he, a great theologian; he, a great
statesman.” One man may be all three, almost he must be all three, if he
is to be any one. The statesman may not practice theology or law, but his
training, in great part, will be that of a theologian and a legist. The
theologian-legist may not be a man of action, but he will be a court of
ultimate appeal on the theory of the state. He will pass upon treaties;
decide disputed successions; assign to each his due rank and title. He
will tell the Commander of the Faithful himself what he may do and what,
by law, lies beyond his reach.

It was, then, under the pressure of necessity only that the following
sketch of the development of Muslim thought was divided into three parts.
By no possible arrangement did it seem feasible to treat the whole at
once. Intolerable confusions and unintelligible complications would, to
all appearance, be the result. As the most concrete and simple side,
the development of the state is taken first. Second, on account of the
shortness of the course which it ran, comes the development of the legal
ideas and schools. Third comes the long and thrice complicated thread
of theological thought. It is for the student to hold firmly in mind
that this division is purely mechanical and for convenience only; that
it corresponds to little or nothing in the real nature of the case.
This will undoubtedly become clear to him as he proceeds. He will meet
with the same names in all three divisions; he will meet with the same
technicalities and the same scholastic system. A treatise on canon law
is certainly different from one on theology, but each touches the other
at innumerable points; their authors may easily be the same; each will
be in great part unintelligible without the other. He must then labor to
merge these three sections again into one another. His principal helps
in this, along with diligent parallel reading, will be the chronological
table and the index. In the table he will watch the succession of men and
events grouped from all the three sections; from the index he will trace
the activities of each man in these different spheres. The index, too,
will give him the technical terms and he will observe their recurrence in
historical, legal, and theological theory. Further, it will serve him as
a vocabulary when he comes to read technical texts.

But, again, another warning is necessary. The sketch given here is
incomplete, not only in details but in the ground that it covers.
Important phases of Muslim law, theology, and state theory are of
necessity passed over entirely. Thus Babism is not touched at all and
the Shi‘ite theology and law hardly at all. The Ibadite systems have the
merest mention and Turkish and Persian mysticism are equally neglected.
For such weighty organizations the Darwish Fraternities are most
inadequately dealt with, and Muslim missionary enterprise might well be
treated at length. Guidance on these and other points the student will
seek in the bibliography. It, too, makes no pretence to completeness
and consists of selected titles only. But it will serve at least as an
introduction and clew to an exceedingly wide field. And it may be well
to state here, in so many words, that no work can be done in this field
without a reading knowledge of French and German, and no satisfactory
work without some knowledge of Arabic.

And, again, this sketch is incomplete because the development of Islam is
not yet over. If, as some say, the faith of Muhammad is a _cul-de-sac_,
it is certainly a very long one; off it many courts and doors open; down
it many peoples are still wandering. It is a faith, too, which brings
us into touching distance with the great controversies of our own day.
We see in it, as in a somewhat distorted mirror, the history of our own
past. But we do not yet see its end, even as the end of Christianity is
not yet in sight. It is for the student, then, to remember that Islam is
a present reality and the Muslim faith a living organism, a knowledge
of whose laws may be of life or death for us who are in another camp.
For there can be little doubt that the three antagonistic and militant
civilizations of the world are those of Christendom, Islam, and China.
When these are unified, or come to a mutual understanding, then, and only
then, will the cause of civilization be secure. To aid some little to the
understanding of Islam among us is the object of this book.


Constitutional Development


    The death of Muhammad and the problem of the succession; the
    parties; families of Hashimids, Umayyads and Abbasids; election
    of Abu Bakr; nomination of Umar; his constitution; election
    of Uthman; Umayyads in power; murder of Uthman; origin of
    Shi‘ites; election of Ali; civil war; Mu‘awiya first Umayyad;
    origin of Kharijites; their revolts; Ibadites; development
    of Shi‘ites; al-Husayn at Karbala; different Shi‘ite
    constitutional theories; doctrine of the hidden Imam; revolts
    against Umayyads; rise of Abbasids; Umayyads of Cordova.

With the death of Muhammad at al-Madina in the year 11 of the Hijra
(A.D. 632), the community of Islam stood face to face with three great
questions. Of the existence of one they were conscious, at least in
its immediate form; the others lay still for their consciousness in
the future. The necessity was upon them to choose a leader to take the
place of the Prophet of God, and thus to fix for all time what was to
be the nature of the Muslim state. Muhammad had appointed no Joshua;
unlike Moses he had died and given no guidance as to the man who should
take up and carry on his work. If we can imagine the people of Israel
left thus helpless on the other side of the Jordan with the course of
conquest that they must pursue opening before them, we shall have a
tolerably exact idea of the situation in Islam when Muhammad dropped
the reins. Certainly, the people of Islam had little conception of what
was involved in the great precedent that they were about to establish,
but, nevertheless, there lies here, in the first elective council
which they called, the beginning of all the confusions, rivalries, and
uncertainties that were to limit and finally to destroy the succession of
the Commanders of the Faithful.


Muhammad had ruled as an absolute monarch—a Prophet of God in his
own right. He had no son; though had he left such issue it is not
probable that it would have affected the direct result. Of Moses’s son
we hear nothing till long afterward, and then under very suspicious
circumstances. The old free spirit of the Arabs was too strong, and as
in the Ignorance (_al-jahiliya_), as they called the pre-Muslim age, the
tribes had chosen from time to time their chiefs, so it was now fixed
that in Islam the leader was to be elected by the people. But wherever
there is an election, there are parties; and this was no exception. Of
such parties we may reckon roughly four. There were the Early Believers,
who had suffered with Muhammad at Mecca, accompanied him to al-Madina
and had fought at his side through all the Muslim campaigns. These were
called _Muhajirs_, because they had made with him the Hijra or migration
to al-Madina. Then there was the party of the citizens of al-Madina,
who had invited him to come to them and had promised him allegiance.
These were called _Ansar_ or Helpers. Eventually we shall find these two
factions growing together and forming the one party of the old original
believers and Companions of Muhammad (_sahibs_, _i.e._, all those who
came in contact with the Prophet as believers and who died in Islam),
but at the first they stood apart and there was much jealousy between
them. Then, in the third place, there was the party of recent converts
who had only embraced Islam at the latest moment when Mecca was captured
by Muhammad, and no other way of escape for them was open. They were the
aristocratic party of Mecca and had fought the new faith to the last.
Thus they were but indifferent believers and were regarded by the others
with more than suspicion. Their principal family was descended from a
certain Umayya, and was therefore called Umayyad. There will be much
about this family in the sequel. Then, fourth, there was growing up a
party that might be best described as legitimists; their theory was that
the leadership belonged to the leader, not because he was elected to it
by the Muslim community, but because it was his right. He was appointed
to it by God as completely as Muhammad had been. This idea developed, it
is true, somewhat later, but it developed very rapidly. The times were
such as to force it on.

Those, then, were the parties of which account must be taken, but before
proceeding to individuals in these parties, it will be well to fix
some genealogical relationships, so as to be able to trace the family
and tribal jealousies and intrigues that were so soon to transfer
themselves from the little circle of Mecca and al-Madina and to fight
themselves out on the broad field of Muslim history. For, in truth, in
the development of no other state have little causes produced such great
effects as here. For example, it may be said, broadly and yet truly,
that the seclusion of Muslim women, with all its disastrous effects at
the present day for a population of two hundred millions, runs back to
the fact that A’isha, the fourteen-year-old wife of Muhammad, once lost
a necklace under what the gossips of the time thought were suspicious
circumstances. As to the point now in hand, it is quite certain that
Muslim history for several hundred years was conditioned and motived by
the quarrels of Meccan families. The accompanying genealogy will give
the necessary starting-point. The mythical ancestor is Quraysh; hence
“the Quraysh,” or “Quraysh” as a name for the tribe. Within the tribe,
the two most important families are those of Hashim and Umayya; their
rivalries for the succession of the Prophet fill the first century and a
half of Muslim history, and the immediately pre-Islamic history of Mecca
is similarly filled with a contest between them as to the guardianship of
the Ka‘ba and the care of the pilgrims to that sanctuary. Whether this
earlier history is real, or a reflection from the later Muslim times, we
need not here consider. The next important division is that between the
families of al-Abbas and Abu Talib, the uncles of the Prophet. From the
one were descended the Abbasids, as whose heir-at-law the Sultan of the
Ottoman Empire now claims the Khalifate, and from the other the different
conflicting lines of Shi‘ites, whose intricacies we shall soon have to


Names of Khalifas are in black letters; their order in Khalifate is
indicated by prefixed Roman numerals; all dates after A.D. 622 are A.H.]


[Sidenote: ABU BAKR; UMAR]

To return: in this first elective council the choice fell upon Abu
Bakr. He was a man distinguished by his piety and his affection for and
close intimacy with Muhammad. He was the father of Muhammad’s favorite
wife, A’isha, and was some two years younger than his son-in-law. He
was, also, one of the earliest believers and it is evident that this,
with his advanced age, always respected in Arabia, went far to secure
his election. Yet his election did not pass off without a struggle in
which the elements that later came to absolute schism and revolution
are plainly visible. The scene, as it can be put together from Arabic
historians, is curiously suggestive of the methods of modern politics. As
soon as it was assured that the Prophet, the hand which had held together
all those clashing interests, was really dead, a convention was called
of the leaders of the people. There the strife ran so high between the
Ansar, the Muhajirs and the Muslim aristocrats of the house of Umayya,
that they almost came to blows. Suddenly in the tumult, Umar, a man of
character and decision, “rushed the convention” by solemnly giving to Abu
Bakr the hand-grasp of fealty. The accomplished fact was recognized—as
it has always been in Islam—and on the next day the general mass of the
people swore allegiance to the first Khalifa, literally Successor, of

On his death, in A.H. 13 (A.D. 634), there followed Umar. His election
passed off quietly. He had been nominated by Abu Bakr and nothing
remained but for the people to confirm that nomination. There thus
entered a second principle—or rather precedent—beside that of simple
election. A certain right was recognized in the Khalifa to nominate his
successor, provided he chose one suitable and eligible in other respects.
Unlike Cromwell in a similar case, Abu Bakr did not nominate one of his
own sons, but the man who had been his right hand and who, he knew, could
best build up the state. His foresight was proved by the event, and Umar
proved the second founder of Islam by his genius as a ruler and organizer
and his self-devotion as a man. Through his generals, Damascus and
Jerusalem were taken, Persia crushed in the great battles of al-Qadisiya
and Nahawand, and Egypt conquered. He was also the organizer of the
Muslim state, and it will be advisable to describe part of his system,
both for its own sake and in order to point the contrast with that of
his successors. He saw clearly what were the conditions under which the
Muslims must work, and devised a plan, evidently based on Persian methods
of government, which, for the time at least, was perfect in its way.


The elements in the problem were simple. There was the flood of Arabs
pouring out of Arabia and bearing everything down in their course.
These must be retained as a conquering instrument if Islam were to
exist. Thus they must be prevented from settling down on the rich lands
they had seized,—from becoming agriculturists, merchants, and so on,
and so losing their identity among other peoples. The whole Arab stock
must be preserved as a warrior caste to fight the battles of God.
This was secured by a regulation that no new lands should be held by a
Muslim. When a country was conquered, the land was left to its previous
possessors with the duty of paying a high rent to the Muslim state
and, besides, of furnishing fodder and food, clothing and everything
necessary to the Muslim camp that guarded them. These camps, or rather
camp-cities, were scattered over the conquered countries and were
practically settlements of Muslims _in partibus infidelium_. The duty
of these Muslims was to be soldiers only. They were fed and clothed by
the state, and the money paid into the public treasury, consisting of
plunder or rents of conquered lands (_kharaj_), or the head-tax on all
non-Muslims (_jizya_), was regularly divided among them and the other
believers. If a non-Muslim embraced Islam, then he no longer paid the
head-tax, but the land which he had previously held was divided among his
former co-religionists, and they became responsible to the state. He,
on the other hand, received his share of the public moneys as regularly
distributed. Within Arabia itself, no non-Muslim was permitted to live.
It was preserved, if we may use the expression, as a breeding-ground
for defenders of the faith and as a sacred soil not to be polluted by
the foot of an unbeliever. It will readily be seen what the results of
such a system must have been. The entire Muslim people was retained as
a gigantic fighting machine, and the conquered peoples were machines
again to furnish it with what was needed. The system was communistic, but
in favor of one special caste. The others—the conquered peoples—were
crushed to the ground beneath their burdens. Yet they could not sell
their land and leave the country; there was no one to buy it. The Muslims
would not, and their fellow-co-religionists could not, for with it went
the land-tax.

[Sidenote: UTHMAN]

Such was, in its essence, the constitution of Umar, forever famous in
Muslim tradition. It stood for a short time, and could not have stood
for a long time; but the cause of its overthrow was political and not
social-economic. With the next Khalifa and the changes which came with
him, it went, in great part, to the ground. The choice of Umar to the
Khalifate had evidently been dictated by a consideration of his position
as one of the earliest believers and as son-in-law of the Prophet. The
party of Early Believers had thus succeeded twice in electing their
candidate. But with the death of Umar in A.H. 23 (A.D. 644) the Meccan
aristocratic party of the family of Umayya that had so long struggled
against Muhammad and had only accepted Islam when their cause was
hopelessly lost, had at last a chance. Umar left no directions as to his
successor. He seems to have felt no certainty as to the man best fitted
to take up the burden, and when his son sought to urge him to name a
Khalifa, he is reported to have said, “If I appoint a Khalifa, Abu Bakr
appointed a Khalifa; and if I leave the people without guidance, so did
the Apostle of God.” But there is also a story that after a vain attempt
to persuade one of the Companions to permit himself to be nominated,
he appointed an elective council of six to make the choice after his
death under stringent conditions, which went all to wreck through
the pressure of circumstances. The Umayyads succeeded in carrying the
election of Uthman, one of their family, an old man and also a son-in-law
of Muhammad, who by rare luck for them was an Early Believer. After his
election it was soon evident that he was going to rule as an Umayyad
and not as a Muslim. For generations back in Mecca, as has already been
said, there had been, according to tradition, a continual struggle
for pre-eminence between the families of Umayya and of Hashim. In the
victory of Muhammad and the election of the first two Khalifas, the
house of Hashim had conquered, but it had been the constant labor of the
conquerors to remove all tribal and family distinctions and frictions and
to bring the whole body of the Arabs to regard one another as brother
Muslims. Now, with a Khalifa of the house of Umayya, all that was swept
away, and it was evident that Uthman—a pious, weak man, in the hands of
his energetic kinsfolk—was drifting to a point where the state would
not exist for the Muslims but for the Umayyads. His evil spirit was
his cousin Marwan ibn al-Hakam, whom he had appointed as his secretary
and who eventually became fourth Umayyad Khalifa. The father of this
man, al-Hakam ibn al-As, accepted Islam at the last moment when Mecca
was captured, and, thereafter, was banished by Muhammad for treachery.
Not till the reign of Uthman was he permitted to return, and his son,
born after the Hijra, was the most active assertor of Umayyad claims.
Under steady family pressure, Uthman removed the governors of provinces
who had suffered with Muhammad and fought in the Path of God (_sabil
Allah_), and put in their places his own relations, late embracers of the
faith. He broke through the Constitution of Umar and gifted away great
tracts of state lands. The feeling spread abroad that in the eyes of the
Khalifa an Umayyad could do no wrong, and the Umayyads themselves were
not backward in affording examples. To the Muhajirs and Ansar they were
godless heathen, and probably the Muhajirs and Ansar were right. Finally,
the indignation could no longer be restrained. Insurrections broke out
in the camp-cities of al-Kufa and al-Basra, and in those of Egypt and
at last in al-Madina itself. There, in A.H. 35 (A.D. 655), Uthman fell
under the daggers of conspirators led by a Muhammad, a son of Abu Bakr,
but a religious fanatic strangely different from his father, and the
train was laid for a long civil war. In the confusion that followed the
deed the chance of the legitimist party had come, and Ali, the cousin and
son-in-law of the Prophet, was chosen.


Fortunately this is not a history of Islam, but of Muslim political
institutions, and it is, therefore, unnecessary to go into the manifold
and contradictory stories told of the events of this time. These have
evidently been carefully redacted in the interests of later orthodoxy,
and to protect the character of men whose descendants later came to
power. The Alids built up in favor of Ali a highly ingenious but flatly
fictitious narrative, embracing the whole early history and exhibiting
him as the true Khalifa kept from his rights by one after the other
of the first three, and suffering it all with angelic patience. This
varies from the extreme Shi‘ite position, which damns all the three at
a sweep as usurpers, through a more moderate one which contents itself
with cursing Umar and Uthman, to a rejection of Uthman only, and even,
at the other extreme, satisfies itself with anathematizing the later
Umayyads. At this point the Shi‘ites join hands with the body of orthodox
believers, who are all sectaries of Ali to a certain degree. Yet this
tendency has been counteracted to some extent by a strongly catholic
and irenic spirit which manifests itself in Islam. After a controversy
is over and the figures in it have faded into the past, Islam casts a
still deeper veil over the controversy itself and glorifies the actors on
both sides into fathers and doctors of the Church. An attempt is made to
forget that they had fought one another so bitterly, and to hold to the
fact only that they were brother Muslims. The Shi‘ites well so-called,
for _Shi‘a_ means sect, have never accepted this; but it is the usage
of orthodox, commonly called Sunnite, Islam. A concrete expression of
any result reached by the body of the believers then often takes the
form of a tradition assigned to Muhammad. In this case, it is a saying
of his that ten men, specified by name and prominent leaders in these
early squabbles, were certain of Paradise. It has further become an
article in Muslim creeds, that the Companions of the Prophet are not to
be mentioned save with praise; and one school of theologians, in their
zeal for the historic Khalifate, even forbade the cursing of Yazid, the
slayer of al-Husayn (p. 28 below), and reckoned as the worst of all the
Umayyads, because he had been a Khalifa in full and regular standing.
This catholic recognition of the unity of Islam we shall meet again and

[Sidenote: ALI; CIVIL WAR]

Abandoning, then, any attempt to trace the details and to adjust the
rights and wrongs of this story, we return to the fixed fact of the
election of Ali and the accession to power of the legitimist party. This
legitimist party, or parties, had been gradually developing, and their
peculiar and mutually discordant views deserve attention. These views all
glorified Ali, the full cousin of Muhammad and husband of his daughter
Fatima, but upon very different grounds. There could not but exist the
feeling that a descendant of the Prophet should be his successor, and the
children of Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn were his only grandchildren and
only surviving male descendants. This, of course, reflected a dignity
upon Ali, their father, and gave him a claim to the Khalifate. Again, Ali
himself seems to have made a great and hardly comprehensible impression
upon his contemporaries. The proverb ran with the people, “There is no
sword save _Dhu-l-faqar_, and no youth save Ali.” He was not, perhaps, so
great a general as one or two others of his time, but he stood alone as a
warrior in single combat; he was a poet and an orator, but no statesman.
As one of the earliest of the Early Believers, it might be expected that
the Muhajirs would support him, and so they did; but the matter went much
farther, and he seems to have excited a feeling of personal attachment
and devotion different from that rendered to the preceding Khalifas.
Strange and mystical doctrines were afloat as to his claim. The idea of
election was thrown aside, and his adherents proclaimed his right by the
will and appointment of God to the successorship of the Prophet. As God
had appointed Muhammad as Prophet, so He had appointed Ali as his helper
in life and his successor in death. This was preached in Egypt as early
as the year 32.

It will easily be seen that with such a following, uniting so many
elements, his election could be brought about. Thus it was; but an evil
suspicion rested upon him. Men thought, and probably rightly, that he
could have saved the aged Uthman if he had willed, and they even went
the length of accusing him of being art and part in the murder itself.
The ground was hollow beneath his feet. Further, there were two other
old Companions of the Prophet, Talha and az-Zubayr, who thought they had
a still better claim to the Khalifate; and they were joined by A’isha,
the favorite wife of Muhammad, now, as a finished _intrigante_, the evil
genius of Islam. Ali had reaped all the advantage of the conspiracy
and murder, and it was easy to raise against him the cry of revenge
for Uthman. Then the civil war began. In the struggle with Talha and
az-Zubayr, Ali was victorious. Both fell at the battle of the Camel
(A.H. 36), so called from the presence of A’isha mounted on a camel
like a chieftainess of the old days. But a new element was to enter.
The governorship of Syria had been held for a long time by Mu‘awiya,
an Umayyad, and there the Umayyad influence was supreme. There, too,
had grown up a spirit of religious indifference, combined with a
preservation of all the forms of the faith. Mu‘awiya was a statesman by
nature, and had moulded his province into an almost independent kingdom.
The Syrian army was devoted to him, and could be depended upon to have
no other interests than his. From the beginning of Ali’s reign, he had
been biding his time; had not given his allegiance, but had waited for
the hour to strike for revenge for Uthman and power for himself. The time
came and Mu‘awiya won. We here pass over lightly a long and contradictory
story. It is enough to note how the irony of history wrought itself out,
and a son of the Abu Sufyan who had done so much to persecute and oppose
Muhammad in his early and dark days and had been the last to acknowledge
his mission, became his successor and the ruler of his people. But with
Ali ends the revered series of the four “Khalifas who followed a right
course” (_al-khulafa ar-rashidun_), reverenced now by all orthodox
Muslims, and there begins the division of Islam into sects, religious and
political—it comes to the same thing.

[Sidenote: KHARIJITES]

The Umayyads themselves clearly recognized that with their accession
to power a change had come in the nature of the Muslim state. Mu‘awiya
said openly that he was the first king in Islam, though he retained and
used officially the title of Khalifa and Commander of the Faithful. Yet
such a change could not be complete nor could it carry with it the whole
people—that is clear of itself. For more than one hundred years the house
of Umayya held its own. Syria was solid with it and it was supported by
many statesmen and soldiers; but outside of Syria and north Arabia it
could count on no part of the population. An anti-Khalifa, Abd Allah,
son of the az-Zubayr of whom we have already heard, long held the sacred
cities against them. Only in A.H. 75 (A.D. 692) was he killed after
Mecca had been stormed and taken by their armies. Southern Arabia and
Mesopotamia, with its camp-cities al-Kufa and al-Basra, Persia and Egypt,
were, from time to time, more or less in revolt. These risings went in
one or other of two directions. There were two great anti-Umayyad sects.
At one time in Mu‘awiya’s contest with Ali, he trapped Ali into the
fatal step of arbitrating his claim to the Khalifate. It was fatal, for
by it Ali alienated some of his own party and gained less than nothing
on the other side. Part of Ali’s army seceded in protest and rebellion,
because he—the duly elected Khalifa—submitted his claim to any shadow
of doubt. On the other hand, they could not accept Mu‘awiya, for him
they regarded as unduly elected and a mere usurper. Thus they drifted
and split into innumerable sub-sects. They were called Kharijites—goers
out—because they went out from among the other Muslims, refused to regard
them as Muslims and held themselves apart. For centuries they continued
a thorn in the side of all established authority. Their principles were
absolutely democratic. Their idea of the Khalifate was the old one of the
time of Abu Bakr and Umar. The Khalifa was to be elected by the whole
Muslim community and could be deposed again at need. He need be of no
special family or tribe; he might be a slave, provided he was a good
Muslim ruler. Some admitted that a woman might be Khalifa, and others
denied the need of any Khalifa at all; the Muslim congregation could rule
itself. Their religious views were of a similarly unyielding and antique
cast, but with that we have nothing now to do.

[Sidenote: IBADITES]

It cannot be doubted that these men were the true representatives of
the old Islam. They claimed for themselves the heirship to Abu Bakr and
Umar, and their claim was just. Islam had been secularized; worldly
ambition, fratricidal strife, luxury, and sin had destroyed the old bond
of brotherhood. So they drew themselves apart and went their own way, a
way which their descendants still follow in Uman, in east Africa, and in
Algeria. To them the orthodox Muslims—meaning by that the general body
of Muslims—were antipathetic more than even Christians or Jews. These
were “people of a book” (_ahl kitab_), i.e., followers of a revealed
religion, and kindly treatment of them was commanded in the Qur’an. They
had never embraced Islam, and were to be judged and treated on their own
merits. The non-Kharijite Muslims, on the other hand, were renegades
(_murtadds_) and were to be killed at sight. It is easy to understand
to what such a view as this led. Numberless revolts, assassinations,
plunderings marked their history. Crushed to the ground again and again,
again and again they recovered. They were Arabs of the desert; and the
desert was always there as a refuge. It is probable, but as yet unproved,
that mingled with the political reasons for their existence as a sect
went tribal jealousies and frictions; of such there have ever been enough
and to spare in Arabia. Naturally, under varying conditions, their
views and attitudes varied. In the wild mountains of Khuzistan, one of
their centres and strongholds, the primitive barbarism of their faith
had full sway. It drew its legitimate consequence, lived out its life,
and vanished from the scene. The more moderate section of the Kharijites
centred round al-Basra. Their leader there was Abd Allah ibn Ibad, and
from about the year 60 on the schism between his followers and the more
absolute of these “come-outers” can be traced. It is characteristic of
the latter that they aided for a time Abd Allah ibn az-Zubayr when he was
besieged in Mecca by the Umayyads, but deserted him finally because he
refused to join the names of Talha and his own father, az-Zubayr, with
those of Uthman and Ali in a general commination. The Kharijites were
all good at cursing, and the later history of this section of them shows
a process of disintegration by successive secessions, each departing
in protest and cursing those left behind as heathen and unbelievers.
Characteristic, too, for the difference between the two sections, were
their respective attitudes toward the children of their opponents. The
more absolute party held that the children of unbelievers were to be
killed with their parents; the followers of Abd Allah ibn Ibad, that they
were to be allowed to grow up and then given their choice. Again, there
was a difference of opinion as to the standing of those who held with the
Kharijites but remained at home and did not actually fight in the Path of
God. These the one party rejected and the other accepted. Again, were
the non-Kharijites Muslims to the extent that the Kharijites might live
amongst them and mix with them? This the severely logical party denied,
but Abd Allah ibn Ibad affirmed.

From this it will be abundantly clear that the only party with a possible
future was that of Ibn Ibad. His sect survives to the present day under
the name of Ibadites. Very early it spread to Uman, and, according to
their traditions, their first Imam, or president, was elected about A.H.
134. He was of a family which had reigned there before Islam, and from
the time of his election on, the Ibadites have succeeded in holding Uman
against the rest of the Muslim world. Naturally, the election of the
Imam by the community has turned into the rule of a series of dynasties;
but the theory of election has always held fast. They were sailors,
merchants, and colonizers already by the tenth century A.D., and carried
their state with its theology and law to Zanzibar and the coast of East
Africa generally. Still earlier Ibadite fugitives passed into North
Africa, and there they still maintain the simplicity of their republican
ideal and their primitive theological and legal views. Their home is in
the Mzab in the south of Algeria, and, though as traders and capitalists
they may travel far, yet they always return thither. Any mingling in
marriage with other Muslims is forbidden them.

[Sidenote: SHI‘ITES]

At the opposite extreme from these in political matters stands the sect
that is called the Shi‘a. It, as we have seen, is the name given to the
party that glorifies Ali and his descendants and regards the Khalifate as
belonging to them by right divine. How early this feeling arose we have
already seen, but the extremes to which in time the idea was carried, the
innumerable differing views that developed, the maze of conspiracies,
tortuous and underground in their methods, some in good faith and some
in bad, to which it gave rise, render the history of the Shi‘a the most
difficult side of a knowledge of the Muslim East. Yet some attempt at it
must be made. If there was ever a romance in history, it is the story
of the founding of the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt; if there was ever the
survival of a petrifaction in history, it is the survival to the present
day of the Assassins and the Druses; if there was ever the persistence
of an idea, it is in the present Shi‘ite government in Persia and in the
faith in that Mahdi for whom the whole world of Islam still looks to
appear and bring in the reign of justice and the truth upon the earth.
All these have sprung from the devotion to Ali and his children on the
part of their followers twelve centuries ago.

In A.H. 40 (A.D. 660) Ali fell by the dagger of a Kharijite. These being
at the opposite pole from the Shi‘ites, are the only Muslim sect that
curses and abhors Ali, his family and all their works. Orthodox Islam
reveres Ali and accepts his Khalifate; his family it also reverences,
but rejects their pretensions. The instinct of Islam is to respect the
accomplished fact, and so even the Umayyads, one and all, stand in the
list of the successors of the Prophet, much as Alexander VI and his
immediate predecessors do in that of the Popes.

To Ali succeeded his son, al-Hasan, but his name does not stand on the
roll of the Khalifate as usually reckoned. It shows some Shi‘ite tinge
when the historian says, “In the Khalifate of al-Hasan,” and, thereafter,
proceeds with, “In the days of Mu‘awiya,” the Umayyad Khalifa who
followed him. Mu‘awiya had received the allegiance of the Syrian Muslims
and when he advanced on al-Kufa, where al-Hasan was, al-Hasan met him
and gave over into his hands all his supposed rights. That was in A.H.
41; in A.H. 49 he was dead by poison. Twelve years later al-Husayn, his
brother, and many of his house fell at Karbala in battle against hopeless
odds. It is this last tragedy that has left the deepest mark of all on
the Muslim imagination. Yearly when the fatal day, the day of Ashura, the
tenth of the month Muharram, comes round, the story is rehearsed again
at Karbala and throughout, indeed, all the Shi‘ite world in what is a
veritable Passion Play. No Muslim, especially no Persian, can read of the
death of al-Husayn, or see it acted before his eyes, without quivering
and invoking the curse of God upon all those who had aught to do with
it or gained aught by it. That curse has clung fast through all the
centuries to the name of Yazid, the Umayyad Khalifa of the time, and only
the stiffest theologians of the traditional school have labored to save
his memory through the merits of the historical Khalifate. But even after
this tragedy it was not out with the blood of Muhammad. Many descendants
were left and their party lived on in strange, half underground fashion,
as sects do in the East, occasionally coming to the surface and bursting
out in wild and, for long, useless rebellion.


In these revolts the Shi‘a was worthy of its name, and split into many
separate divisions, according to the individuals of the house of Ali to
whom allegiance was rendered and who were regarded as leaders, titular or
real. These subdivisions differed, also, in the principle governing the
choice of a leader and in the attitude of the people toward him. Shi‘ism,
from being a political question, became theological. The position of
the Shi‘ite was and is that there must be a law (_nass_) regulating the
choice of the Imam, or leader of the Muslim community; that that law is
one of the most important dogmas of the faith and cannot have been left
by the Prophet to develop itself under the pressure of circumstances;
that there is such an Imam clearly pointed out and that it is the duty
of the Muslim to seek him out and follow him. Thus there was a party who
regarded the leadership as belonging to Ali himself, and then to any of
his descendants by any of his wives. These attached themselves especially
to his son Muhammad, known from his mother as Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya,
who died in 81, and to his descendants and successors. It was in this
sect that the most characteristic Shi‘ite views first developed. This
Muhammad seems to have been the first concerning whom it was taught,
after his death, that he was being preserved by God alive in retirement
and would come forth at his appointed time to bring in the rule of
righteousness upon the earth. In some of the innumerable sub-sects the
doctrine of the deity, even, of Ali was early held, in others a doctrine
of metempsychosis, generally among men and especially from one Imam to
his successor; others, again, advanced the duty of seeking the rightful
Imam and rendering allegiance to him till it covered the whole field of
faith and morals—no more was required of the believer. To one of these
sects, al-Muqanna, “the Veiled Prophet of Khorasan,” adhered before he
started on his own account.

We have seen already that so early as 32 the doctrine had been preached
in Egypt that Ali was the God-appointed successor of the Prophet. Here
we have its legitimate development, which was all the quicker as it had,
or assumed, a theological basis, and did not simply urge the claims
to leadership of the family of the Prophet after the fashion in which
inheritance runs among earthly kings. That was the position at first of
the other and far more important Shi‘ite wing. It regarded the leadership
as being in the blood of Muhammad and therefore limited to the children
of Ali by his wife Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad. Again, the attitude
toward the person of the leader varied, as we have already seen. One
party held that the leadership was by the right of the appointment of
God, but that the leader himself was simply a man as other men. These
would add to “the two words” (_al-kalimatani_) of the creed, “There is
no god but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God,” a third clause,
“and Ali is the representative of God.” Others regarded him as an
incarnation of divinity; a continuing divine revelation in human form.
His soul passed, when he died, to his next successor. He was, therefore,
infallible and sinless, and was to be treated with absolute, blind
obedience. Here there is a mingling of the most strangely varied ideas.
In Persia the people had been too long accustomed to looking upon their
rulers as divine for them to be capable of taking up any other position.
A story is told of the governor of a Persian province who wrote to the
Khalifa of his time that he was not able to prevent his people from
giving him the style and treatment of a god; they did not understand any
other kind of ruler; it was as much as his authority was worth to attempt
to make them desist. From this attitude, combined with the idea of the
transmigration of souls, the extreme Shi‘ite doctrine was derived.


But though the party of Ali might regard the descendants of Ali
as semi-divine, yet their conspiracies and revolts were uniformly
unsuccessful, and it became a very dangerous thing to head one. The
party was willing to get up a rising at any time, but the leader was apt
to hang back. In fact, one of the most curious features of the whole
movement was the uselessness of the family of Ali and the extent to which
they were utilized by others. They have been, in a sense, the cat’s-paws
of history. Gradually they themselves drew back into retirement and
vanished from the stage, and, with their vanishing, a new doctrine
arose. It was that of the hidden Imam. We have already seen the case
of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya, whom Muslims reckon as the first of these
concealed ones. Another descendant of Ali, on another line of descent,
vanished in the same way in the latter part of the second century of the
Hijra, and another about A.H. 260. Their respective followers held that
they were being kept in concealment by God and would be brought back at
the appointed time to rule over the world and bring in a kind of Muslim
millennium. This is the oriental version of the story of Arthur in Avalon
and of Frederick Barbarossa in Kyffhaüser.

But that has led us far away and we must go back to the fall of the
Umayyads and the again disappointed hopes of the Alids. By the time
of the last Khalifa of the Umayyad house, Marwan II, A.H. 127-132
(A.D. 744-750), the whole empire was more or less in rebellion, partly
Shi‘ite and partly Kharijite. The Shi‘ites themselves had, as usual, no
man strong enough to act as leader; that part was taken by as-Saffah,
a descendant of al-Abbas, an uncle of Muhammad. The rebellion was
ostensibly to bring again into power the family of the Prophet, but
under that the Abbasids understood the family of Hashim, while the
Alids took it in the more exact sense of themselves. They were made a
cat’s-paw, the Abbasid dynasty was founded, and they were thrown over.
Thus, the Khalifate remained persistently in the hands of those who, up
to the last, had been hostile to the Prophet. This al-Abbas had embraced
the faith only when Mecca was taken by the Muslims. Later historians,
jealous for the good name of the ancestor of the longest line of all
the Successors, have labored to build up a legend that al-Abbas stayed
in Mecca only because he could there be more useful in the cause of his
nephew. This is one of the perversions of early history of which the
Muslim chronicles are full.


But the story of the Umayyads is not yet out. From the ruin that
overwhelmed them, one escaped and fled to North Africa. There, he vainly
tried to draw together a power. At last, seeing in Spain some better
prospect of success, he crossed thither, and by courage, statesmanship,
and patience, carved out a new Umayyad empire that lasted for 300 years.
One of his descendants in A.H. 317 (A.D. 929) took the title of Khalifa
and claimed the homage due to the Commander of the Faithful. There is a
story that al-Mansur, the second Abbasid, once asked his courtiers, “Who
is the Falcon of Quraysh?” They named one after another of the great men
of the tribe, beginning, naturally, with his majesty himself, but to no
purpose. “No,” he said, “the Falcon of Quraysh is Abd ar-Rahman, the
Umayyad, who found his way over deserts and seas, flung himself alone
into a strange country, and there, without any helper but himself, built
up a realm. There has been none like him of the blood of Quraysh.”


    Shi‘ite revolts against Abbasids; Idrisids; Zaydites; Imamites;
    the Twelvers; constitutional theory of modern Persia; origin
    of Fatimids; Maymun the oculist; plan of the conspiracy; the
    Seveners; the Qarmatians; Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi and founding of
    Fatimid dynasty in North Africa; their spread to Egypt and to
    Syria; al-Hakim Bi’amrillah; the Druses; the Assassins; Saladin
    and the Ayyubids.

[Sidenote: IDRISIDS]

It is not in place here to deal with all the numberless little Shi‘ite
revolts against the Abbasids which now followed. Those only are of
interest to us which had more or less permanent effect on the Muslim
state and states. Earliest among such comes the revolt which founded
the dynasty of the Idrisids. About the middle of the second century the
Abbasids were hard pressed. The heavens themselves seemed to mingle in
the conflict. The early years of their rule had been marked by great
showers of shooting stars, and the end of the age was reckoned near by
both parties. Messianic hope was alive, and a Mahdi, a Guided of God,
was looked for. This had long been the attitude of the Alids, and the
Abbasids began to feel a necessity to gain for their _de facto_ rule
the sanction of theocratic hopes. In 143 Halley’s comet was visible for
twenty days, and in 147 there were again showers of shooting stars. On
the part of the Abbasids, homage was solemnly rendered to the eldest
son of al-Mansur, the Khalifa of the time, as successor of his father,
under the title al-Mahdi, and several sayings were forged and ascribed
to the Prophet which told who and what manner of man the Mahdi would
be, in terms which clearly pointed to this heir-apparent. The Alids, on
their side, were urged on to fresh revolts. These risings were still
political in character and hardly at all theological; they expressed the
claims to sovereignty of the house of the Prophet. On the suppression
of one of them at al-Madina in 169, Idris ibn Abd Allah, a grandson
of al-Hasan, escaped to North Africa—that refuge of the politically
disaffected—and there at the far-off Volubilis of the Romans, in the
modern Morocco, founded a state. It lasted till 375, and planted firmly
the authority of the family of Muhammad in the western half of North
Africa. Other Alid states rose in its place, and in 961 the dynasty of
the Sharifs of Morocco was established by a Muhammad, a descendant of
a Muhammad, brother of the same Abd Allah, grandson of al-Hasan. This
family still rules in Morocco and claims the title of Khalifa of the
Prophet and Commander of the Faithful. Strictly, they are Shi‘ites, but
their sectarianism sits lightly upon them; it is political only and they
have no touch of the violent religious antagonism to the Sunnite Muslims
that is to be found in Persian Shi‘ism. As adherents of the legal school
of Malik ibn Anas, their Sunna is the same as that of orthodox Islam.
The _Sahih_ of al-Bukhari (see below, p. 79) is held in especially high
reverence, and one division of the Moorish army always carries a copy of
it as a talisman. They are really a bit of the second century of the
Hijra crystallized and surviving into our time.

Another Shi‘ite line which lasts more or less down to the present day,
is that of the Zaydites of al-Yaman. They were so called from their
adherence to Zayd, a grandson of al-Husayn, and their sect spread in
north Persia and south Arabia. The north Persian branch is of little
historic importance for our purpose. For some sixty-four years, from
250 on, it held Tabaristan, struck coins and exercised all sovereign
rights; then it fell before the Samanids. The other branch has had a
much longer history. It was founded about 280, at Sa‘da in al-Yaman and
there, and later at San‘a, Zaydite Imams have ruled off and on till our
day. The Turkish hold upon south Arabia has always been of the slightest.
Sometimes they have been absolutely expelled from the country, and their
control has never extended beyond the limits of their garrisoned posts.
The position of these Zaydites was much less extreme than that of the
other Shi‘ites. They were strictly Fatimites, that is, they held that any
descendant of Fatima could be Imam. Further, circumstances might justify
the passing over, for a time, of such a legitimate Imam and the election
as leader of someone who had no equally good claim. Thus, they reverenced
Abu Bakr and Umar and regarded their Khalifate as just, even though Ali
was there with a better claim. The election of these two Khalifas had
been to the advantage of the Muslim state. Some of them even accepted
the Khalifate of Uthman and only denounced his evil deeds. Further, they
regarded it as possible that there might be two Imams at the same time,
especially when they were in countries widely apart. This, apparently,
sprang from the sect being divided between north Persia and south Arabia.
Theologically, or philosophically—it is hard to hold the two apart in
Islam—the Zaydites were accused of rationalism. Their founder, Zayd, the
grandson of al-Husayn, had studied under the great Mu‘tazilite, Wasil ibn
Ata, of whom much more hereafter.

[Sidenote: IMAMITES]

But if the Zaydites were lax both in their theology and in their theory
of the state, that cannot be said of another division of the Shi‘ites,
called the Imamites on account of the stress which they laid on the
doctrine of the person of the Imam. For them the Imam of the time was
explicitly and personally indicated, Ali by Muhammad and each of the
others in turn by his predecessor. But it was hard to reconcile with this
_a priori_ position that an Imam must have been indicated, the fact that
there was no agreement as to the Imam who had been indicated. Down all
possible lines of descent the sacred succession was traced until, of the
seventy-two sects that the Prophet had foretold for his people, seventy,
at least, were occupied by the Imamites alone. Further, the number of
Hidden Imams was constantly running up; with every generation, Alids
found it convenient to withdraw into retirement and have reports given
out of their own deaths. Then two sects would come into existence—one
which stopped at the Alid in question, and said that he was being
kept in concealment by God to be brought back at His pleasure; and
another which passed the Imamship on to the next generation. Out of
this chaos two sects, adhering to two series of Imams, stand clear
through their historical importance. The one is that of the Twelvers
(_Ithna‘ashariya_); theirs is the official creed of modern Persia.
About A.H. 260 a certain Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, twelfth in descent from
Ali, vanished in the way just described. The sect which looked for his
return increased and flourished until, at length, with the conquest of
Persia in A.H. 907 (A.D. 1502) by the Safawids—a family of Alid descent
which joined arms to sainthood—Persia became Shi‘ite, and the series of
the Shahs of Persia was begun. The position of the Shah is therefore
essentially different from that of the Khalifa of the Sunnites. The
Khalifa is the successor of Muhammad, with a dignity and authority which
inheres in himself; he is both king and pontiff; the Shah is a mere
_locum tenens_, and reigns only until God is pleased to restore to men
the true Imam. That Imam is still in existence, though hidden from human
eyes. The Shah, therefore, has strictly no legal authority; he is only
a guardian of the public order. True legal authority lies, rather, with
the learned doctors of religion and law. As a consequence of this, the
Shi‘ites still have _Mujtahids_, divines and legists who have a right to
form opinions of their own, can expound the original sources at first
hand, and can claim the unquestioning assent of their disciples. Such men
have not existed among the Sunnites since the middle of the third century
of the Hijra; from that time on all Sunnites have been compelled to
swear to the words of some master or other, long dead.

[Sidenote: FATIMIDS]

This division of the Shi‘ites is the only one that exists in great
numbers down to the present day. The second of the two mentioned above
came to power earlier, ran a shorter course, and has now vanished from
the stage, leaving nothing but an historical mystery and two or three
fossilized, half-secret sects—strange survivals which, like the survivals
of geology, tell us what were the living and dominant forces in the older
world. It will be worth while to enter upon some detail in reciting its
history, both for its own romantic interest and as an example of the
methods of Shi‘ite propaganda. Its success shows how the Abbasid empire
was gradually undermined and brought to its fall. It itself was the most
magnificent conspiracy, or rather fraud, in all history. To understand
its possibility and its results, we must hold in mind the nature of the
Persian race and the condition of that race at this time. Herodotus was
told by his Persian friends that one of the three things Persian youth
was taught was to tell the truth. That may have been the case in the time
of Herodotus, but certainly this teaching has had no effect whatever on
an innate tendency in the opposite direction; and it is just possible
that Herodotus’s friends, in giving him that information, were giving
also an example of this tendency. Travellers have been told curious
things before now, but certainly none more curious than this. As we know
the Persian in history, he is a born liar. He is, therefore, a born
conspirator. He has great quickness of mind, adaptability, and, apart
from religious emotion, no conscience. In the third century of the Hijra
(the ninth A.D.), the Persians were either devoted Shi‘ites or simple
unbelievers. The one class would do anything for the descendants of Ali;
the other, anything for themselves. This second class, further, would by
preference combine doing something for themselves with doing something
against Islam and the Arabs, the conquerors of their country. So much by
way of premise.

In the early part of this third century, there lived at Jerusalem
a Persian oculist named Maymun. He was a man of high education,
professional and otherwise; had no beliefs to speak of, and understood
the times. He had a son, Abd Allah, and trained him carefully for a
career. Abd Allah, however—known as Abd Allah ibn Maymun—though he had
thought of starting as a prophet himself, saw that the time was not
ripe, and planned a larger and more magnificent scheme. This was to be
no ordinary conspiracy to burst after a few years or months, but one
requiring generations to develop. It was to bring universal dominion to
his descendants, and overthrow Islam and the Arab rule. It succeeded in
great part, very nearly absolutely.


His plan was to unite all classes and parties in a conspiracy under one
head, promising to each individual the things which he considered most
desirable. For the Shi‘ites, it was to be a Shi‘ite conspiracy; for
the Kharijites, it took a Kharijite tinge; for Persian nationalists,
it was anti-Arab; for free-thinkers, it was frankly nihilistic. Abd
Allah himself seems to have been a sceptic of the most refined stamp.
The working of this plan was achieved by a system of grades like those
in freemasonry. His emissaries went out, settled each in a village and
gradually won the confidence of its inhabitants. A marked characteristic
of the time was unrest and general hostility to the government. Thus,
there was an excellent field for work. To the enormous majority of
those involved in it the conspiracy was Shi‘ite only, and it has been
regarded as such by many of its historians; but it is now tolerably
plain how simply nihilistic were its ultimate principles. The first
object of the missionary was to excite religious doubt in the mind of
his subject, by pointing out curious difficulties and subtle questions
in theology. At the same time he hinted that there were those who could
answer these questions. If his subject proved tractable and desired
to learn further, an oath of secrecy and absolute obedience and a fee
were demanded—all quite after the modern fashion. Then he was led up
through several grades, gradually shaking his faith in orthodox Islam
and its teachers and bringing him to believe in the idea of an Imam,
or guide in religious things, till the fourth grade was reached. There
the theological system was developed, and Islam, for the first time,
absolutely deserted. We have dealt already with the doctrine of the
Hidden Imam and with the present-day creed of Persia, that the twelfth in
descent from Ali is in hiding and will return when his time comes. But
down the same line of descent seven Imams had been reckoned to a certain
vanished Isma‘il, and this Isma‘il was adopted by Abd Allah ibn Maymun
as his Imam and as titular head of his conspiracy. Hence, his followers
are called Isma‘ilians and Seveners (_Sab‘iya_). The story which is told
of the split between the Seveners and the Twelvers, which were to be,
is characteristic of the whole movement and of the wider divergence of
the Seveners from ordinary Islam and its laws. The sixth Imam was Ja‘far
as-Sadiq (d. A.H. 148); he appointed his son Isma‘il as his successor.
But Isma‘il was found drunk on one occasion, and his father in wrath
passed the Imamship on to his brother, Musa al-Qazam, who is accordingly
reckoned as seventh Imam by the Twelvers. One party, however, refused to
recognize this transfer. Isma‘il’s drunkenness, they held, was a proof
of his greater spirituality of mind; he did not follow the face-value
(_zahr_) of the law, but its hidden meaning (_batn_). This is an example
of a tendency, strong in Shi‘ism, to find a higher spiritual meaning
lying within the external or verbal form of the law; and in proportion as
a sect exalted Ali, so it diverged from literal acceptance of the Qur’an.
The most extreme Shi‘ites, who tended to deify their Imam, were known on
that account as Batinites or Innerites. On this more hereafter.


But to return to the Seveners: in the fourth grade a further refinement
was added. Everything went in sevens, the Prophets as well as the Imams.
The Prophets had been Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and
Isma‘il, or rather his son Muhammad, for Isma‘il himself had died in his
father’s lifetime. Each of these Prophets had had a helper. The helper
of Adam had been Seth; of Noah, Shem; and the helper of Muhammad, the
son of Isma‘il, was Abd Allah ibn Maymun himself. Between each pair of
Prophets there came six Imams—it must be remembered that the world was
never left without an Imam—but these Imams had had no revelation to make;
were only guides to already revealed truth. Thus, we have a series of
seven times seven Imams, the first, and thereafter each seventh, having
the superior dignity of Prophet. The last of the forty-nine Imams,
this Muhammad ibn Isma‘il, is the greatest and last of the Prophets,
and Abd Allah ibn Maymun has to prepare the way for him and to aid him
generally. It is at this point that the adherent of this system ceases
to be a Muslim. The idea of a series of Prophets is genuinely Islamic,
but Muhammad, in Muslim theology, is the last of the Prophets and the
greatest, and after him there will come no more.

Such, then, was the system that those who passed the fourth degree
learned and accepted. The great majority did not pass beyond; but those
who were judged worthy were admitted to three further degrees. In these
degrees, their respect for religious teaching of every kind, doctrinal,
moral, ritual, was gradually undermined; the Prophets and their works
were depreciated and philosophy and philosophers put in their place. The
end was to lead the very few who were admitted to the inmost secrets of
the conspiracy to the same position as its founder. It is clear what
a tremendous weapon, or rather machine, was thus created. Each man
was given the amount of light he could bear and which was suited to
his prejudices, and he was made to believe that the end of the whole
work would be the attaining of what he regarded as most desirable. The
missionaries were all things to all men, in the broadest sense, and could
work with a Kharijite fanatic, who longed for the days of Umar; a Bedawi
Arab, whose only idea was plunder; a Persian driven to wild cries and
tears by the thought of the fate of Ali, the well-beloved, and of his
sons; a peasant, who did not care for any family or religion but only
wished to live in peace and be let alone by the tax-gatherers; a Syrian
mystic, who did not know very well what he thought, but lived in a world
of dreams; or a materialist, whose desire was to clear all religions out
of the way and give humanity a chance. All was fish that came to their
net. So the long seed-planting went on. Abd Allah ibn Maymun had to flee
to Salamiya in Syria, died there and went to his own place—if he got
his deserts, no desirable one—and Ahmad, his son or grandson, took up
the work in his stead. With him the movement tends to the surface, and
we begin to touch hard facts and dates. In southern Mesopotamia—what is
called the Arab Iraq—we find a sect appearing, nicknamed Qarmatians, from
one of their leaders. In A.H. 277 (A.D. 890-1) they were sufficiently
numerous and knew their strength enough to hold a fortress and thus enter
upon open rebellion. They were peasants, we must remember, Nabateans
and no Arabs, only Muslims by compulsion, and thus what we have here is
really a _Jacquerie_, or Peasants’ War. But a disturbance of any kind
suited the Isma‘ilians. From there the rising spread into Bahrayn and
on to south Arabia, varying in its character with the character of the


But there was another still more important development in progress. A
missionary had gone to North Africa and there worked with success among
the Berber tribes about Constantine, in what is now Algeria. These have
always been ready for any change. He gave himself out as forerunner
of the Mahdi, promised them the good of both worlds, and called them
to arms. The actual rising was in A.H. 289 (A.D. 902). Then there
appeared among them Sa‘id, the son of Ahmad, the son of Abd Allah, the
son of Maymun the oculist; but it was not under that name. He was now
Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi himself, a descendant of Ali and of Muhammad ibn
Isma‘il, for whom his ancestors were supposed to have worked and built
up this conspiracy. In A.H. 296 (A.D. 909) he was saluted as Commander
of the Faithful, with the title of al-Mahdi. So far the conspiracy had
succeeded. This Fatimid dynasty, so they called themselves from Fatima,
their alleged ancestress, the daughter of Muhammad, conquered Egypt and
Syria half a century later and held them till A.H. 567 (A.D. 1171). When
in A.H. 317 the Umayyads of Cordova also claimed the Khalifate and used
the title, there were three Commanders of the Faithful at one time in the
Muslim world. Yet it should be noticed that the constitutional position
of these Umayyads was essentially different from that of the Fatimids.
To the Fatimids, the Abbasids were usurpers. The Umayyads of Cordova,
on the other hand, held, like the Zaydites and some jurisconsults of
the highest rank, that, when Muslim countries were so far apart that
the authority of the ruler of the one could not make itself felt in the
other, it was lawful to have two Imams, each a true Successor of the
Prophet. The good of the people of Muhammad demanded it. Still, the unity
of the Khalifate is the more regular doctrine.

[Sidenote: AL-HAKIM]

But only half of the work was done. Islam stood as firmly as ever and
the conspiracy had only produced a schism in the faith and had not
destroyed it. Ubayd Allah was in the awkward position, on the one hand,
of ruling a people who were in great bulk fanatical Muslims and did not
understand any jesting with their religion, and, on the other hand, of
being head of a conspiracy to destroy that very religion. The Syrians
and Arabs had apparently taken more degrees than the Egyptians and North
Africans, and Ubayd Allah found himself between the devil and the deep
sea. The Qarmatians in Arabia plundered the pilgrim caravans, stormed
the holy city Mecca, and, most terrible of all, carried off the sacred
black stone. When an enormous ransom was offered for the stone, they
declined—they had orders not to send it back. Everyone understood that
the orders were from Africa. So Ubayd Allah found it advisable to address
them in a public letter, exhorting them to be better Muslims. The writing
and reading of this letter must have been accompanied by mirth, at any
rate no attention was paid to it by the Qarmatians. It was not till
the time of the third Fatimid Khalifa that they were permitted to do
business with that stone. Then they sent it back with the explanatory
or apologetic remark that they had carried it off under orders and now
sent it back under orders. Meanwhile the Fatimid dynasty was running its
course in Egypt but without turning the people of Egypt from Islam. Yet
it produced one strange personality and two sects, stranger even than
the sect to which it itself owed its origin. The personality is that of
al-Hakim Bi’amrillah, who still remains one of the greatest mysteries
that are to be met with in history. In many ways he reminds us curiously
of the madness of the Julian house; and, in truth, such a secret movement
as that of which he was a part, carried on through generations from
father to son, could not but leave a trace on the brain. We must remember
that the Khalifa of the time was not always of necessity the head of the
conspiracy, or even fully initiated into it. In the latter part of the
Fatimid rule we find distinct traces of such a power behind the throne,
consisting, as we may imagine, of descendants and pupils of those who
had been fully initiated from the first and had passed through all the
grades. In the case of al-Hakim, it is possible, even, to trace, to a
certain extent, the development of his initiation. During the first
part of his reign he was fanatically Muslim and Shi‘ite. He persecuted
alternately the Christians and the Jews, and then the orthodox and the
Shi‘ites. In the latter part, there was a change. He had, apparently,
reached a point of philosophical indifference, for the persecutions of
Christians and Jews ceased, and those who had been forced to embrace
Islam were permitted to relapse. This last was without parallel, till
in 1844 Lord Stratford de Redcliffe wrung from the Porte the concession
that a Muslim who apostatized to Christianity should not be put to death.
But, mingled with this indifference, there appeared a strange but regular
development of Shi‘ite doctrine. Some of his followers began to proclaim
openly that the deity was incarnate in him, and it was evident that he
himself accepted and believed this. But the Egyptian populace would have
none of it, and the too rash innovators had to flee. Some went to the
Lebanon and there preached to the native mountain tribes. The results of
their labors are the Druses of to-day, who worship al-Hakim still and
expect his return to introduce the end of all things. Finally, al-Hakim
vanished on the night of February 12, A.D. 1021, and left a mystery
unread to this day. Whether he was murdered, and if so why, or vanished
of free-will, and if so again why, we have no means of telling. Our
guess will depend upon our reading of his character. So much is certain,
that he was a ruler of the autocratic type, who introduced many reforms,
most of which the people of his time could not in the least understand
and therefore misrepresented as the mere whims of a tyrant, and many of
which, from our ignorance, are still obscure to us. If we can imagine
such a man of strong personality and desire for the good of his people
but with a touch of madness in the brain, cast thus in the midst between
his orthodox subjects and a wholly unbelieving inner government, we shall
perhaps have the clew to the strange stories told of him.


Another product of this conspiracy, and the last to which we shall
refer, is the sect known as the Assassins, whose Grand Master was a name
of terror to the Crusaders as the Old Man of the Mountain. It, too,
was founded, and apparently for a purpose of personal vengeance, by a
Persian who began as a Shi‘ite and ended as nothing. He came to Egypt,
studied under the Fatimids—they had established at Cairo a great school
of science—and returned to Persia as their agent to carry on their
propaganda. His methods were the same as theirs, with a difference.
That was the reduction of assassination to a fine art. From his eagle’s
nest of Alamut—such is the meaning of the name—and later from Masyaf in
the Lebanon and other mountain fortresses, he and his successors spread
terror through Persia and Syria and were only finally stamped out by the
Mongol flood under Hulagu in the middle of the seventh century of the
Hijra (the 13th A.D.). Of the sect there are still scattered remnants
in Syria and India, and as late as 1866 an English judge at Bombay had
to decide a case of disputed succession according to the law of the
Assassins. Finally, the Fatimid dynasty itself fell before the Kurd,
Salah ad-Din, the Saladin of our annals, and Egypt was again orthodox.


    The problem of the Abbasids; the House of Barmak; the crumbling
    of the empire; the Prætorians of Baghdad; the Buwayhids;
    the situation of the Khalifa under them; the Saljuqs; the
    possibilities of development under them; the Mongols and the
    Abbasid end; the Egyptian Abbasids; the Ottoman Sultans, their
    heirs; theory of the Khalifate; the modern situation; the signs
    of sovereignty for Muslims; five grounds of the claim of the
    Ottoman Sultan; the consequences for the Sultan; other Muslim
    constitutions; the Shi‘ites; the Ibadites; the Wahhabites; the
    Brotherhood of as-Sanusi.


We must now return to the Abbasids, whose empire we left crumbling away.
It was a shrewd stroke of policy on the part of its founder to put the
new capital, Baghdad, on the Tigris, right between Persia, Syria and
Arabia. For the only hope of permanence to the empire lay in welding
these into a unity. For a short time, in the hands of the first vigorous
rulers, and, especially, during fifty years of guidance by the House of
Barmak—Persians who flung in their lot with the Abbasids and were their
stay till the madness of Harun ar-Rashid cast them down—this seemed to be
succeeding; but, just as the empire of Charlemagne melted under his sons,
so did the empire of al-Mansur and al-Ma’mun. The Bedawi tribes fell
back into the desert and to the free chaos of the old pre-Islamic life.
As the great philosophical historian, Ibn Khaldun, has remarked, the
Arabs by their nature are incapable of founding an empire except when
united by religious enthusiasm, and are of all peoples least capable of
governing an empire when founded. After the first Abbasids, it is a fatal
error to view the Muslim dynasties as Arab or to speak of the Muslim
civilization as Arabian. The conquered peoples overcame their conquerors.
Persian nationalism reasserted itself and in native independent dynasties
flung off the Arab yoke. These dynasties were mostly Shi‘ite; Shi‘ism,
in great part, is the revolt of the Aryan against Semitic monotheism.
The process in all this was gradual but certain. Governors of provinces
revolted and became semi-independent. Sometimes they acknowledged a
shadowy sovereignty of the Khalifa, by having his name on their coins
and in the Friday prayers; sometimes they did not. At other times they
were, or claimed to be, Alids, and when Alids revolted, they revolted
absolutely. With them, it was a question of conscience. At last, not even
in his own City of Peace or in his own palace was the Khalifa master.
As in Rome, so in Baghdad, a body-guard of mercenaries assumed control
and their leader was _de facto_ ruler. Later, from A.H. 320 to 447 (A.D.
932-1055), the Sunnite Khalifa found himself the ward and puppet of
the Shi‘ite Buwayhids. Baghdad itself they held from 334. But still,
a curious spiritual value—we cannot call it authority—was left to the
shadowy successors of Muhammad. Muslim princes even in far-off India did
not feel quite safe upon their thrones unless they had been solemnly
invested by the Khalifa and given their fitting title. Those very rulers
in whose power the Khalifa’s life lay sought sanction from him for their
rule. At one time there seemed to be some hope that the fatal unity
of theocratical Islam would be broken and that a dualism with promise
of development through conflict—such as the rivalry between Pope and
Emperor which kept Europe alive and prevented both State and Church from
falling into decrepit decay—might grow up; that the Khalifa might become
a purely spiritual ruler with functions of his own, ruling with mutual
subordination and co-ordinate jurisdiction beside a temporal Sultan. The
Buwayhids were Shi‘ites and merely tolerated, for state reasons, the
impieties of the Sunnite Khalifas. But in 447 (A.D. 1055), Tughril Beg,
the Saljuq, entered Baghdad, was proclaimed Sultan of the Muslims and
freed the Khalifa from the Shi‘ite yoke. By 470, all western Asia, from
the borders of Afghanistan to those of Egypt and the Greek Empire, were
Saljuq. With the Saljuq Sultan as Emperor and the Khalifa as Pope, there
was a chance that the Muslim State might enter on a stage of healthy
growth through conflict. But that was not to be. Neither State nor
Church rose to the great opportunity and the experiment was finally and
forever cut off by the Mongol flood. When the next great Sultanate—that
of the Ottoman Turks—arose, it gathered into its hands the reins of the
Khalifate as well. This is what might have been in Islam, built on actual
history in Europe. The situation that did arise in Islam may become more
clear to us if we can imagine that in Europe the vast plans of Gregory
VII. had been carried out and the Pope had become the temporal as well as
the spiritual head of the Christian world. Such a situation would have
been similar to that in the world of Islam at its earliest time during
some few years under the dynasty of the Umayyads, when the one temporal
and spiritual sovereign ruled from Samarqand to Spain. Then we can
imagine how the vast fabric of such an imperial system broke down by its
own weight. Under conflicting claims of legitimacy, an anti-Pope arose
and the great schism began. Thereafter the process of disintegration was
still more rapid. Provinces rose in insurrection and dropped away from
each rival Pope. Kingdoms grew up and the sovereigns over them professed
themselves to be the lieutenants of the supreme Pontiff and sought
investiture from him. Last, the States of the Church itself—all that was
left to it—came under the rule of some one of these princes and the Pope
was, to all intents, a prisoner in his own palace. Yet the sovereignty
of the Khalifa was not simply a legal fiction, any more than that of the
Pope would have been in the parallel just sketched. The Muslim princes
thought it well to seek spiritual recognition from him, just as Napoleon
I. found it prudent to have himself crowned by Pius VII.


But a wave was soon to break in and sweep away all these forms. It came
with the Mongols under Hulagu, who passed from the destruction of the
Assassins to the destruction of Baghdad and the Khalifate. In A.H. 656
(A.D. 1258), the city was taken and the end of the Abbasids had come. An
uncle of the reigning Khalifa escaped and fled to Egypt, where the Mamluk
Sultan received him and gave him a spiritual court and ecclesiastical
recognition. He found it good to have a Khalifa of his own to use in
any question of legitimacy. The name had yet so much value. Finally, in
1517, the Mamluk rule went down before the Ottoman Turks, and the story
told by them is that the last Abbasid, when he died in 1538, gave over
his rights to their Sultan, Sulayman the Great. Since then, the Ottoman
Sultan of Constantinople has claimed to be the Khalifa of Muhammad and
the spiritual head of the Muslim world.

Such were the fates of the Commanders of the Faithful. We have traced
them through a long and devious course, full of confusions and
complications. Leaving aside the legitimist party, the whole may be
summed in a word. The theoretical position was that the Imam, or leader,
must be elected by the Muslim community, and that position has never,
theoretically, been abandoned. Each new Ottoman sovereign is solemnly
elected by the Ulama, or canon lawyers and divines of Constantinople.
His temporal sovereignty comes by blood; in bestowing this spiritual
sovereignty the Ulama act as representatives of the People of Muhammad.
Thus the theoretical position was liable to much modification in
practice. The Muslim community resolves itself into the people of the
capital; still further, into the body-guard of the dead Khalifa; and,
finally, as now, into the peculiar custodians of the Faith. Among the
Ibadites the position from the first seems to have been that only those
learned in the law should act as electors. Along with this, the doctrine
developed that it was the duty of the people to recognize _un fait
accompli_ and to do homage to a successful usurper—until another more
successful should appear. They had learned that it was better to have
a bad ruler than no ruler at all. This was the end of the democracy of


Finally, it may be well to give some account of the constitutional
question as it exists at the present day. The greatest of the Sultans
of Islam is undoubtedly the Emperor of India. Under his rule are far
more Muslims than fall to any other. But the theory of the Muslim State
never contemplated the possibility of Muslims living under the rule of
an unbeliever. For them, the world is divided into two parts, the one is
_Dar al-Islam_, abode of Islam; and the other is _Dar al-harb_, abode of
war. In the end, _Dar al-harb_ must disappear into _Dar al-Islam_ and the
whole world be Muslim. These names indicate with sufficient clearness
what the Muslim attitude is toward non-Muslims. It is still a moot point
among canon lawyers, however, whether _Jihad_, or holy war, may be made,
unprovoked, upon any _Dar al-harb_. One thing is certain, there must be
a reasonable prospect of success to justify any such movement; the lives
of Muslims must not be thrown away. Further, the necessity of the case—in
India, especially—has brought up the doctrine that any country in which
the peculiar usages of Islam are protected and its injunctions—even some
of them—followed, must be regarded as _Dar al-Islam_ and that _Jihad_
within its borders is forbidden. We may doubt, however, if this doctrine
would hold back the Indian Muslims to any extent if a good opportunity
for a _Jihad_ really presented itself. The Shi‘ites, it may be remarked,
cannot enter upon a _Jihad_ at all until the Hidden Imam returns and
leads their armies.


Again the two signs of sovereignty for Muslims are that the name of the
sovereign should be on the coinage and that he should be prayed for in
the Friday sermon (_khutba_). In India, the custom seems to be to pray
for “the ruler of the age” without name; then each worshipper can apply
it as he chooses. But there has crept in a custom in a few mosques of
praying for the Ottoman Sultan as the Khalifa; the English government
busies itself little with these things until compelled, and the custom
will doubtless spread. The Ottoman Sultan is certainly next greatest to
the Emperor of India and would seem, as a Muslim ruling Muslims, to have
an unassailable position. But in his case also difficult and ambiguous
constitutional questions can be raised. He has claimed the Khalifate, as
we have seen, since 1538, but the claim is a shaky one and brings awkward
responsibilities. As stated at the present day, it has five grounds.
First, _de facto_ right; the Ottoman Sultan won his title by the sword
and holds it by the sword. Second, election; this form has been already
described. Third, nomination by the last Abbasid Khalifa of Egypt; so
Abu Bakr nominated Umar to succeed him, and precedent is everything
in Islam. Fourth, possession and guardianship of the two Harams, or
Sacred Cities, Mecca and al-Madina. Fifth, possession of some relics
of the Prophet saved from the sack of Baghdad and delivered to Sultan
Salim, on his conquest of Egypt, by the last Abbasid. But these all
shatter against the fixed fact that absolutely accepted traditions from
the Prophet assert that the Khalifa must be of the family of Quraysh;
so long as there are two left of that tribe, one must be Khalifa and
the other his helper. Still, here, as everywhere, the principal of
Ijma, Agreement of the Muslim people, (see p. 105) comes in and must
be reckoned with. These very traditions are probably an expression in
concrete form of popular agreement. The Khalifate itself is confessedly
based upon agreement. The canon lawyers state the case thus: The Imamites
and Isma‘ilians hold that the appointment of a leader is incumbent
upon God. There is only the difference that the Imamites say that a
leader is necessary in order to maintain the laws unimpaired, while the
Isma‘ilians regard him as essential in order to give instruction about
God. The Kharijites, on the other hand, recognize no fundamental need
of an Imam; he is only allowable. Some of them held that he should be
appointed in time of public trouble to do away with the trouble, thus a
kind of dictator; others, in time of peace, because only then can the
people agree. The Mu‘tazilites and the Zaydites held that it was for man
to appoint, but that the necessity was based on reason; men needed such
a leader. Yet some Mu‘tazilites taught that the basis was partly reason
and partly obedience to tradition. On the other hand, the Sunnites hold
that the appointment of an Imam is incumbent upon men and that the basis
is obedience to the tradition of the Agreement of the Muslim world from
the earliest times. The community of Islam may have disputed over the
individual to be appointed, but they never doubted that the maintenance
of the faith in its purity required a leader, and that it was, therefore,
incumbent on men to appoint one. The basis is Ijma, Agreement, not
Scripture or tradition from Muhammad or analogy based on these two.

It will be seen from this that the _de facto_ ground to the claim of the
Ottoman Sultan is the best. The Muslim community must have a leader;
this is the greatest Muslim ruling Muslims; he claims the leadership and
holds it. If the English rule were to become Muslim, the Muslims would
rally to it. The ground of election amounts to nothing, the nomination
to little more, except for antiquarians; the possession of the Prophetic
relics is a sentiment that would have weight with the crowd only; no
canon lawyer would seriously urge it. The guardianship of the two Harams
is precarious. A Turkish reverse in Syria would withdraw every Turkish
soldier from Arabia and the great Sharif families of Mecca, all of the
blood of the Prophet, would proclaim a Khalifa from among themselves. At
present, only the Turkish garrison holds them in check.

[Sidenote: PAN-ISLAMISM]

But a Khalifa has responsibilities. He absolutely cannot become a
constitutional monarch in our sense. He rules under law—divine law—and
the people can depose him if he breaks it; but he cannot set up beside
himself a constitutional assembly and give it rights against himself. He
is the successor of Muhammad and must rule, within limitations, as an
absolute monarch. So impossible is the modern Khalifate, and so gigantic
are its responsibilities. The millions of Chinese Muslims look to him and
all Muslims of central Asia; the Muslims of India who are not Shi‘ite
also look to him. So, too, in Africa and wherever in the world the People
of Muhammad have gone, their eyes turn to the Bosphorus and the Great
Sultan. This is what has been called the modern Pan-Islamic movement; it
is a modern fact.

The position of the other Muslim sects we have already seen. Of Shi‘ite
rulers, there are the Imamites in Persia; scattered Zaydites still
in south Arabia and fugitive in Africa; strange secret bodies of
Isma‘ilians—Druses, Nusayrites, Assassins—still holding their own in
mountain recesses, forgotten by the world; oldest of all, the Sharifs
of Morocco, who are Sunnites and antedate all theological differences,
holding only by the blood of the Prophet. At Zanzibar, Uman and the Mzab
in Algeria are the descendants of the Kharijites. Probably, somewhere
or other, there are some fossilized descendants of every sect that has
ever arisen, either to trouble the peace of Islam or to save it from
scholastic decrepitude and death. Insurrections and heresies have their
own uses.

It only remains to make mention of two modern movements which have
deeply affected the Islam of to-day. The Pan-Islamic movement, noticed
above, strives as much as anything to bring the Muslim world into closer
touch with the science and thought of the Christian world, rallying all
the Muslim peoples at the same time round the Ottoman Sultan as their
spiritual head and holding fast by the kernel of Islam. It is a reform
movement whose trend is forward. The other two, to which we now come, are
reform movements also, but their trend is backward. They look to the good
old days of early Islam and try to restore them.

The first is that of the Wahhabites, so called from Muhammad ibn Abd
al-Wahhab (Slave of the Bountiful), its founder, a native of Najd in
central Arabia, who died in 1787. His aim was to bring Islam back to its
primitive purity and to do away with all the usages and beliefs which
had arisen to cloud its absolute monotheism. But attempts at reformation
in Islam have never led to anything but the founding of new dynasties.
They may begin with a saintly reformer, but in the first or the second
generation there is sure to come the conquering disciple; religion and
rule go together, and he who meddles with the one must next grasp at
the other. The third stage is the extinction of the new dynasty and the
vanishing of its party into a more or less secret sect, the vitality of
which is again directed into religious channels. The Wahhabites were
no exception. Their rule extended from the Persian Gulf to the Red
Sea, touched al-Yaman and Hadramawt and included some districts of the
Pashalik of Baghdad. That was early in the nineteenth century; but now,
after many dynastic changes, the rule of the Wahhabites proper has almost
ceased, although the Turks have not gained any new footing in Najd.
There, a native Arab dynasty has sprung up which is free from Turkish
control in every respect, and has its seat in Ha’il. But the zeal of the
Wahhabites gave an impulse to reform in the general body of Muslims
which is not yet, by any means, extinct. Especially in India, their views
have been widely spread by missionaries, and at one time there was grave
fear of a Wahhabite insurrection. But dead parties in Islam seldom rise
again, and the life of Wahhabism has passed into the Muslim Church as a
whole. Politically it has failed, but the spirit of reform remains and
has undoubtedly influenced the second reform movement to which we now


That is the Brotherhood of as-Sanusi, founded in 1837 by Muhammad ibn
Ali as-Sanusi in order to reform and spread the faith. The tendency
to organize has always been strong among Orientals, and in Islam
itself there have risen, as we have seen, from the earliest times,
secret societies for conspiracy and insurrection. But apart from these
dubious organizations, religious feeling has also expressed itself in
brotherhoods closely corresponding to the monastic orders of Europe,
except that they were, and are, self-governing and under no relations
but those of sentiment to the head of the Muslim Faith. Rather, these
orders of darwishes have been inclined toward heresies of a mystical
and pantheistic type more than toward the development and support of
the severely scholastic theology of orthodox Islam. This is a side of
Muhammadanism with which we shall have to deal in some detail hereafter.
In the meantime, it is enough to say that the Brotherhood of as-Sanusi
is one of the orders of darwishes, but distinguished from all its
predecessors in its severely reforming and puritanic character. It
has taken up the task of the Wahhabites and is working out the same
problem in a rather different way. Its principles are of the strictest
monotheism; all usages and ideas that do not accord with their views of
the exact letter of the Qur’an are prohibited. The present head of the
Brotherhood, the son of the founder, who himself died in 1859, claims to
be the Mahdi and has established a theocratic state at Jarabub, in the
eastern Sahara, between Egypt and Tripolis. The mother house of the order
is there, and from it missionaries have gone out and established other
houses throughout all north Africa and Morocco and far into the interior.
The Head himself has of late retreated farther into the desert. There is
also an important centre at Mecca, where the pilgrims and the Bedawis
are initiated into the order in great numbers. From Mecca these brethren
return to their homes all over the Muslim world, and the order is said to
be especially popular in the Malay Archipelago.


So there has sprung up in Islam, in tremendous ramifications, an
_imperium in imperio_. All the brethren in all the degrees—for, just
as in the monastic orders of Europe, there are active members and lay
members—reverence and pay blind obedience to the Head in his inaccessible
oasis in the African desert. There he works toward the end, and there
can be little doubt what that end will be. Sooner or later Europe—in
the first instance, England in Egypt and France in Algeria—will have to
face the bursting of this storm. For this Mahdi is different from him of
Khartum and the southern Sudan in that he knows how to rule and wait; for
years he has gathered arms and munitions, and trained men for the great
_Jihad_. When his plans are ready and his time is come, a new chapter
will be opened in the history of Islam, a chapter which will cast into
forgetfulness even the recent volcanic outburst in China. It will then
be for the Ottoman Sultan of the time to show what he and his Khalifate
are worth. He will have to decide whether he will throw in his lot with
a Mahdi of the old Islam and the dream of a Muslim millennium, or boldly
turn to new things and carry the Successorship and the People of Muhammad
to join the civilized world.


Development of Jurisprudence


    The scope of jurisprudence among Muslims; the earliest elements
    in it, Arab custom, Jewish law, personality of Muhammad; his
    attitude toward law; elements after death of Muhammad; Qur’an,
    Usage of the Prophet, common law of al-Madina; conception
    of _Sunna_ before Muhammad and after; traditions and their
    transmission; traditions in book form; influence of Umayyads;
    forgery of traditions; the _Muwatta_ of Malik ibn Anas; the
    _Musnad_ of Ahmad ibn Hanbal; the _musannafs_; al-Bukhari;
    Muslim; Ibn Maja; at-Tirmidhi; an-Nasa’i; al-Baghawi; the
    problem of the Muslim lawyers; their sources; Roman law; the
    influence of the doctrine of the _Responsa prudentium_; Opinion
    in Islam; the Law of Nature or Equity in Islam; _istihsan_;
    _istislah_; Analogy; the patriarchal period in Islam; the
    Umayyad period; the growth of the canon law.

In tracing the development of Muslim jurisprudence few of the
difficulties are encountered which surrounded Sir Henry Maine when he
first examined the origins and history of European law. We do not need
to push our researches back to the primitive family, nor to work our way
through periods of centuries guided by the merest fragments of documents
and hints of usage. Our subject was born in the light of history; it ran
its course in a couple of hundred years and has left at every important
point authoritative evidences of its whence, its how, and its whither.
Our difficulties are different, but sufficiently great. Shortly, they are
two. The mass of material is overpowering; the strangeness of the ideas
involved is perplexing. The wealth of material will become plain, to some
extent at least, as the history is traced; but for the strangeness of
the contents, of the arrangement and the atmosphere of these codes some
preparation must be given from the outset. How, indeed, can we meet a
legal code which knows no distinction of personal or public, of civil or
criminal law; which prescribes and describes the use of the toothpick and
decides when a wedding invitation may be declined, which enters into the
minutest and most unsavory details of family life and lays down rules of
religious retreat? Is it by some subtle connection of thought that the
chapter on oaths and vows follows immediately that on horse-racing, and
a section on the building line on a street is inserted in a chapter on
bankruptcy and composition? One thing, at least, is abundantly clear.
Muslim law, in the most absolute sense, fits the old definition, and is
the science of all things, human and divine. It tells what we must render
to Cæsar and what to God, what to ourselves, and what to our fellows.
The bounds of the Platonic definition of rendering to each man his due
it utterly shatters. While Muslim theology defines everything that a
man shall _believe_ of things in heaven and in earth and beneath the
earth—and this is no flat rhetoric—Muslim law prescribes everything that
a man shall _do_ to God, to his neighbor, and to himself. It takes all
duty for its portion and defines all action in terms of duty. Nothing
can escape the narrow meshes of its net. One of the greatest legists of
Islam never ate a watermelon because he could not find that the usage of
the Prophet had laid down and sanctioned a canonical method of doing so.


It will, therefore, be well for the student to work through the sketch
of a code of Muslim law which is inserted in Appendix I. One has been
chosen which belongs to the school of ash-Shafi‘i because of its general
accessibility. It should be remembered that what is given is the merest
table of contents. The standard Arabic commentary on the book extends
to eight hundred and eleven closely printed quarto pages. Even a mere
reading of this table of contents, however, will show in how different
a sphere of thought from ours Muslim law moves and lives. But we must
return to the beginning of things, to the egg from which this tremendous
system was hatched.

The mother-city of Islam was the little town of Yathrib, called Madinat
an-Nabi, the City of the Prophet, or, shortly, al-Madina, ever since the
Hijra or Migration of Muhammad to it in the year 622 of the Christian
era. Here the first Muslim state was founded, and the germinal principles
of Muslim jurisprudence fixed. Both state and jurisprudence were the
result of the inter-working of the same highly complicated causes. The
ferments in the case may be classified and described as follows: First,
in the town itself before the appearance of Muhammad on its little
stage—little, but so momentous for the future—there were two parties,
often at war, oftener at peace. There was a genuine Arab element and
there was a large settlement of Jews. To the Arabs any conception of
law was utterly foreign. An Arab tribe has no constitution; its system
is one of individualism; the single man is a sovereign and no writ can
lie against him; the tribe can cast him forth from its midst; it cannot
otherwise coerce him. So stands the case now in the desert, and so it
was then. Some slight hold there might be on the tribe through the
fear of the tribal God, but on the individual Arab, always a somewhat
cynical sceptic, that hold was of the slightest. Further, the avenging
of a broken oath was left to the God that had witnessed the oath; if he
did not care to right his client, no one else would interfere. There
was customary law, undoubtedly, but it was protected by no sanction and
enforced by no authority. If both parties chose to invoke it, well;
if not, neither had anything to fear but the anger of his opponent.
That law of custom we shall find again appearing in the system of
Islam, but there it will be backed by the sanction of the wrath of God
working through the authority of the state. The Jewish element was in
a different case. They may have been Jewish immigrants, they may have
been Jewish proselytes—many Arab tribes, we know, had gone over bodily
to Judaism—but their lives were ruled and guided by Jewish law. To the
primitive and divine legislation on Sinai there was an immense accretion
by legal fiction and by usage; the Roman codes had left their mark and
the customary law of the desert as well. All this was working in the
life of the town when Muhammad and his little band of fugitives from
Mecca entered it. Being Meccans, they must have brought with them the
more developed legal ideas of that trading centre; but these were of
comparatively little account in the scale. The new and dominating element
was the personality of Muhammad himself. His contribution was legislation
pure and simple, the only legislation that has ever been in Islam.
Till his death, ten years later, he ruled his community as an absolute
monarch, as a prophet in his own right. He sat in the gate and judged
the people. He had no need of a code, for his own will was enough. He
followed the customary law of the town, as it has been described above,
when it suited him, and when he judged that it was best. If not, he left
it and there was a revelation. So the legislative part of the Qur’an
grew out of such scraps sent down out of heaven to meet the needs of the
squabbles and questions of the townsfolk of al-Madina. The system was
one of pure opportunism; but of what body of legislation can that not
be said? Of course, on the one hand, not all decisions were backed by a
revelation, and Muhammad seems, on the other, to have made a few attempts
to deal systematically with certain standing and constantly recurring
problems—such, for example, as the conflicting claims of heirs in an
estate, and the whole complicated question of divorce—but in general,
the position holds that Muhammad as a lawyer lived from hand to mouth.
He did not draw up any twelve tables or ten commandments, or code, or
digest; he was there and the people could come and ask him questions when
they chose, and that was enough. The conception of a rounded and complete
system which will meet any case and to which all cases must be adjusted
by legal fiction or equity, the conception which we owe to the genius and
experience of the Roman lawyers, was foreign to his thought. From time
to time he got into difficulties. A revelation proved too wide or too
narrow, or left out some important possibility. Then there came another
to supplement or correct, or even to set the first quite aside—Muhammad
had no scruples about progressive revelation as applied to himself.
Thus, through these interpretive acts, as we may call them, many flat
contradictions have come into the Qur’an and have proved the delight of
generations of Muslim jurisconsults.


Such, then, was the state of things legal in al-Madina during the ten
years of Muhammad’s rule there until his death in A.D. 632. Of law there
was, strictly speaking, none. In his decisions, Muhammad could follow
certainly the customary law of the town; but to do so there was no
necessity upon him other than prudence, for his authority was absolute.
Yet even with such authority and such freedom, his task was a hard one.
The Jews, the native Arabs of al-Madina, and his fellow fugitives from
Mecca lived in more or less of friction. He had to see to it that his
decisions did not bring that friction to the point of throwing the whole
community into a flame. The Jews, it is true, were soon eliminated, but
the influence of their law lasted in the customary law of the town long
after they themselves had become insignificant. Still, with all this, the
suitor before Muhammad had no certainty on what basis his claims would be
judged; whether it would be the old law of the town, or a rough equity
based on Muhammad’s own ideas, or a special revelation _ad hoc_. So far,
then, we may be said to have the three elements—common law, equity,
legislation. Legal fiction we shall meet later; Muhammad had no need of


But with the death of Muhammad in A.D. 632 the situation was completely
changed. We can now speak of Muslim law; legislation plays no longer any
part; the process of collecting, arranging, correlating, and developing
has begun. Consider the situation as it must have presented itself to
one of the immediate successors of Muhammad, as he sat in his place and
judged the people. When a case came up for decision, there were several
sources from which a law in point might be drawn. First among them was
the Qur’an. It had been collected from the fragmentary state in which
Muhammad had left it by Abu Bakr, his second Khalifa, some two years
after his death. Again, some ten years later, it was revised and given
forth in a final public recension by Uthman, the third Khalifa. This
was the absolute word of God—thoughts and language—and stood and, in
theory, still stands first of all sources for theology and law. If it
contained a law clearly applying to the case in hand, there was no more
to be said; divine legislation had settled the matter. If not, recourse
was next had to the decisions of the Prophet. Had a similar one come
before him, and how had he ruled? If the memories of the Companions of
the Prophet, the _Sahibs_, could adduce nothing similar from one of his
decisions, then the judge had to look further for an authority. But the
decisions of Muhammad had been many, the memories of his Companions
were capacious, and possessed further, as we must recognize with regret,
a constructive power that helped the early judges of Islam out of many
close corners. But if tradition even—true or false—finally failed, then
the judge fell back on the common law of al-Madina, that customary law
already mentioned. When that, too, failed, the last recourse was had
to the common-sense of the judge—roughly, what we would call equity.
At the beginning, therefore, of Muslim law, it had the following
sources—legislation, the usage of Muhammad, the usage of al-Madina,
equity. Naturally, as time went on and the figure of the founder drew
back and became more obscure and more venerated, equity fell gradually
into disuse; a closer search was made for decisions of that founder
which could in any way be pressed into service; a method of analogy,
closely allied to legal fiction, was built up to assist in this, and the
development of Muslim jurisprudence as a system and a science was fairly
begun. Further, in later times, the decisions of the first four Khalifas
and the agreement (_ijma_) of the immediate Companions of Muhammad came
to assume an importance only second to that of Muhammad himself. Later
still, as a result of this, the opinion grew up that a general agreement
of the jurisconsults of any particular time was to be regarded as a
legitimate source of law. But we must return to consider our subject more
broadly and in another field.


The fact has already been brought out that the sphere of law is
much wider in Islam than it has ever been with us. By it all the
minutest acts of a Muslim are guarded. Europe, also, passed through a
stage similar to this in its sumptuary laws; and the tendency toward
inquisitorial legislation still exists in America, but not even the
most mediævally minded American Western State has ventured to put upon
its statute-book regulations as to the use of the toothpick and the
wash-cloth. Thus, the Muslim conception of law is so wide as to reach
essential difference. A Muslim is told by his code not only what is
required under penalty, but also what is either recommended or disliked
though without reward or penalty being involved. He may certainly consult
his lawyer, to learn how near the wind he can sail without unpleasant
consequences; but he may also consult him as his spiritual director with
regard to the relative praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of classes of
actions of which our law takes no cognizance. In consequence, actions
are divided by Muslim canon lawyers (_faqihs_) into five classes. First,
necessary (_fard_ or _wajib_); a duty the omission of which is punished,
the doing rewarded. Secondly, recommended (_mandub_ or _mustahabb_);
the doing is rewarded, but the omission is not punished. Thirdly,
permitted (_ja’iz_ or _mubah_); legally indifferent. Fourthly, disliked
(_makruh_); disapproved by the law, but not under penalty. Fifthly,
forbidden (_haram_); an action punishable by law. All this being so, it
will be easily understood that the record of the manners and customs of
the Prophet, of the little details of his life and conversation, came
to assume a high importance. Much of that was too petty ever to reach
expression in the great digests of law; not even the most zealous fixer
of life by rule and line would condemn his fellow-religionist because he
preferred to carry a different kind of walking-stick from that approved
by the Prophet, or found it fitting to arrange his hair in a different
way. But still, all pious Muslims paid attention to such things, and
fenced their lives about with the strictest Prophetic precedent.

[Sidenote: SUNNA; HADITH]

In consequence of this, there early arose in Islam a class of students
who made it their business to investigate and hand down the minutest
details as to the habits of Muhammad. This was a separate thing from the
study of law, although fated to be eventually connected with it. Even in
the time of the _Jahiliya_—the period before Islam, variously explained
as the ignorance or as the rudeness, uncivilizedness—it had been a
fixed trait of the Arab mind to hold closely to old paths. An inherent
conservatism canonized the _sunna_—custom, usage—of the ancients; any
stepping aside from it was a _bid‘a_—innovation—and had to win its way
by its merits, in the teeth of strong prejudice. With the coming of
Muhammad and the preaching of Islam, this ancestral _sunna_ had in great
part to yield. But the temper of the Arab mind remained firm, and the
sunna of Muhammad took its place. Pious Muslims did not say, “Such was
the usage of our fathers, and it is mine;” but, “I follow the usage of
the Prophet of God.” Then, just as the old sunna of the heathen times
had expressed itself through the stories of great warriors, of their
battles and loves; through anecdotes of wise men, and their keen and
eloquent words; so it was with the sunna of the one man, Muhammad. What
he said, and what he did; what he refrained from doing; what he gave
quasi-approval to by silence; all was passed on in rapidly increasing,
pregnant little narratives. First, his immediate Companions would note,
either by committing to memory or to a written record, his utterances
and table-talk generally. We have evidence of several such Boswells, who
fixed his words as they fell. Later, probably, would come notes of his
doings and his customs, and of all the little and great happenings of
the town. Above all, a record was being gathered of all the cases judged
by him, and of his decisions; of all the answers which he gave to formal
questions on religious life and faith. All this was jotted down by the
Companions on _sahifas_—odd sheets—just as they had done in the Ignorance
with the proverbs of the wise and their dark sayings. The records of
sayings were called _hadiths_; the rest, as a whole, sunna—custom, for
its details was used the plural, _sunan_—customs. At first, each man
had his own collection in memory or in writing. Then, after the death
of the Prophet and when his first Companions were dropping off, these
collections were passed on to others of the second generation. And so
the chain ran on and in time a tradition came to consist formally of
two things—the text or matter (_matn_) so handed on, and the succession
(_isnad_) over whose lips it had passed. A said, “There narrated to me
B, saying, ‘There narrated to me C, saying,’” so far the _isnad_, until
the last link came, and the _matn_, the Prophet of God said, “Some of my
injunctions abrogate others,” or “The Jann were created of a smokeless
flame,” or whatever it might be. What has just been said suggests that
it was at first indifferent whether traditions were preserved orally
or in writing. That is true of the first generation; but it must be
remembered at the same time, that the actual passing on was oral; the
writing merely aided the memory to hold that which was already learned.
But with time, and certainly by the middle of the second century of
the Hijra, two opposing tendencies in this respect had developed. Many
continued to put their trust in the written word, and even came to pass
traditions on without any oral communication. But for others there lay
grave dangers in this. One was evidently real. The unhappy character of
the Arabic script, especially when written without diacritical points,
often made it hard, if not practically impossible, to understand such
short, contextless texts as the traditions. A guide was necessary to show
how the word should be read, and how understood. At the present time a
European scholar will sometimes be helpless before even a fully vocalized
text, and must take refuge in native commentaries or in that oral
tradition, if it still exists and he has access to it, which supplies at
least a third of the meaning of an Arabic book. Strengthening this came
theological reasons. The words of the Prophet would be profaned if they
were in a book. Or, again, they would be too much honored and the Qur’an
itself might be neglected. This last fear has been justified to a certain
extent by the event. On these grounds, and many more, the writing and
transmitting in writing of traditions came to be fiercely opposed; and
the opposition continued, as a theological exercise, long after many
books of traditions were in existence, and after the oral transmission
had become the merest farce and had even frankly dropped out.


It is to the formation of these books of traditions, or, as we might
say, traditions in literature, that we must now turn. For long, the
fragmentary _sahifas_ and private collections made by separate scholars
for their own use sufficed. Books dealing with law (_fiqh_) were written
before there were any in that department of literature called _hadith_.
The cause of this is tolerably plain. Law and treatises of law were a
necessity for the public and thus were encouraged by the state. The
study of traditions, on the other hand, was less essential and of a more
personal and private nature. Further, under the dynasty of the Umayyads,
who reigned from A.H. 41 to A.H. 132, theological literature was little
encouraged. They were simple heathen in all but name, and belonged, and
recognized that they belonged, not to Islam but to the Jahiliya. For
reasons of state, they encouraged and spread—also freely forged and
encouraged others to forge—such traditions as were favorable to their
plans and to their rule generally. This was necessary if they were to
carry the body of the people with them. But they regarded themselves as
kings and not as the heads of the Muslim people. This same device has
been used after them by all the contending factions of Islam. Each party
has sought sanction for its views by representing them in traditions
from the Prophet, and the thing has gone so far that on almost every
disputed point there are absolutely conflicting prophetic utterances in
circulation. It has even been held, and with some justification, that the
entire body of _normative_ tradition at present in existence was forged
for a purpose. With this attitude of the Umayyads we shall have to deal
at greater length later. It is sufficient now to note that the first real
appearance of _hadith_ in literature was in the _Muwatta_ of Malik ibn
Anas who died in A.H. 179.

Yet even this appearance is not so much of _hadith_ for its own sake,
as of usages bearing upon law and of the law that can be drawn from
these usages. The book is a _corpus iuris_ not a _corpus traditionum_.
Its object was not so much to separate from the mass of traditions in
circulation those which could be regarded as sound of origin and to unite
them in a formal collection, as to build up a system of law based partly
on tradition. The previous works dealing with law proper had been of a
speculative character, had shown much subjective reliance on their own
opinion on the part of the writers and had drawn little from the sacred
usage of the Prophet and quoted few of his traditional sayings. Against
that the book of Malik was a protest and formed a link between such law
books pure and the collections of traditions pure with which we now come
to deal.

[Sidenote: THE MUSNADS]

To Malik the _matn_, or text, of a tradition had been the only thing
of importance. To the _isnad_, or chain of authority running back to
the Prophet, he had paid little attention. He, as we have seen, was a
lawyer and gathered traditions, not for their own sake but to use them
in law. To others, the tradition was the thing, and too much care could
not be given to its details and its authenticity. And the care was really
called for. With the course of time and the growing demand, the supply
of traditions had also grown until there was no doubt in the mind of
anyone that an enormous proportion were simple forgeries. To weed out
the sound ones, attention had to be given to the _isnad_; the names upon
it had to be examined; the fact of their having been in intercourse to
be determined; the possibility of the case in general to be tested. Thus
there were formed real collections of supposedly sound traditions, which
were called _Musnads_, because each tradition was _musnad_—propped,
supported—against the Companions from whom it proceeded. In accordance
with this also they were arranged according to the Companions. After
the name of the Companion were given all the traditions leading back to
him. One of the earliest and greatest of these books was the _Musnad_ of
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who died A.H. 241; of him more hereafter. This book has
been printed recently at Cairo in six quarto volumes of 2,885 pages and
is said to contain about thirty thousand traditions going back to seven
hundred Companions.

But another type of tradition-book was growing up, less mechanical
in arrangement. It is the _Musannaf_, the arranged, classified—and
in it the traditions are arranged in chapters according to their
subject matter. The first _Musannaf_ to make a permanent mark was the
_Sahih_—sound—of al-Bukhari, who died in A.H. 257. It is still extant
and is the most respected of all the collections of traditions. The
principle of arrangement in it is legal; that is, the traditions are
classified in these chapters so as to afford bases for a complete system
of jurisprudence. Al-Bukhari was a strong opponent of speculative law and
his book was thus a protest against a tendency which, as we shall see
later, was strong in his time. Another point in which al-Bukhari made
his influence felt and with greater effect, was increased severity in
the testing of traditions. He established very strict laws, though of a
somewhat mechanical kind, and was most scrupulous in applying them. His
book contains about seven thousand traditions, and he chose those, so
at least runs the story, out of six hundred thousand which he found in
circulation. The rest were rejected _as failing to meet his tests_. How
far the forgery of traditions had gone may be seen from the example of
Ibn Abi Awja, who was executed in A.H. 155, and who confessed that he had
himself put into circulation four thousand that were false. Another and
a similar _Sahih_ is that of Muslim, who died in A.H. 261. He was not so
markedly juristic as al-Bukhari. His object was rather to purify the mass
of existing tradition from illegitimate accretions than to construct a
basis for a complete law code. He has prefixed a valuable introduction on
the science of tradition generally. In some slight details his principle
of criticism differed from that of al-Bukhari.

These two collections, called the two _Sahihs—as-Sahihan_—are technically
_jami‘s, i.e._ they contain all the different classes of traditions,
historical, ethical, dogmatic and legal. They have also come to be, by
common agreement, the two most honored authorities in the Muslim world. A
believer finds it hard, if not impossible, to reject a tradition that is
found in both.

[Sidenote: THE SUNAN]

But there are four other collections which are called _Sunan_—Usages—and
which stand only second to the two _Sahihs_. These are by Ibn Maja
(d. 303), Abu Da’ud as-Sijistani (d. 275), at-Tirmidhi (d. 279) and
an-Nasa’i (d. 303). They deal almost entirely with legal traditions,
those that tell what is permitted and what is forbidden, and do not
convey information on religious and theological subjects. They are also
much more lenient in their criticisms of dubious traditions. To work
exclusion with them, the rejection needed to be tolerably unanimous. This
was required by their stand-point and endeavor, which was to find a basis
for all the minutest developments and details of jurisprudence, civil and

These six books, the two _Sahihs_ and the four _Sunans_, came to
be regarded in time as the principal and all-important sources for
traditional science. This had already come about by the end of the fifth
century, although even after that voices of uncertainty continued to make
themselves heard. Ibn Maja seems to have been the last to secure firm
footing, but even he is included by al-Baghawi (d. 516) in his _Masabih
as-sunna_, an attempted epitome into one book of what was valuable in
all. Still, long after that, Ibn Khaldun, the great historian (d. 808),
speaks of five fundamental works; and others speak of seven, adding the
_Muwatta_ of Malik to the six above. Others, again, especially in the
West, extended the number of canonical works to ten, though with varying
members; but all these must be regarded as more or less local, temporary,
and individual eccentricities. The position of the six stands tolerably

So much it has been necessary to interpolate and anticipate with regard
to the students of tradition whose interest lay in gathering up and
preserving, not in using and applying. From the earliest time, then,
there existed these two classes in the bosom of Islam, students of
tradition proper and of law proper. For long they did not clash; but a
collision was inevitable sooner or later.

Yet, if the circle of the Muslim horizon had not widened beyond the
little market-town of al-Madina, that collision might have been long in
coming. Its immediate causes were from without, and are to be found in
the wave of conquest that carried Islam, within the century, to Samarqand
beyond the Oxus and to Tours in central France. Consider what that wave
of conquest was and meant. Within fourteen years of the Hijra, Damascus
was taken, and within seventeen years, all Syria and Mesopotamia. By the
year 21, the Muslims held Persia; in 41 they were at Herat, and in 56
they reached Samarqand. In the West, Egypt was taken in the year 20; but
the way through northern Africa was long and hard. Carthage did not fall
till 74, but Spain was conquered with the fall of Toledo in 93. It was in
A.D. 732, the year of the Hijra 114, that the wave at last was turned
and the mercy of Tours was wrought by Charles the Hammer; but the Muslims
still held Narbonne and raided in Burgundy and the Dauphiné. The wealth
that flowed into Arabia from these expeditions was enormous; money and
slaves and luxuries of every kind went far to transform the old life of
hardness and simplicity. Great estates grew up: fortunes were made and
lost; the intricacies of the Syrian and Persian civilizations overcame
their conquerors. All this meant new legal conditions and problems. The
system that had sufficed to guard the right to a few sheep or camels
had to be transformed before it would suffice to adjust the rights and
claims of a tribe of millionnaires. But it must not be thought that
these expeditions were only campaigns of plunder. With the Muslim armies
everywhere went law and justice, such as it was. Jurists accompanied
each army and were settled in the great camp cities which were built to
hold the conquered lands. Al-Basra and al-Kufa and Fustat, the parent
of Cairo, owe their origin to this, and it was in these new seats of
militant Islam that speculative jurisprudence arose and moulded the
Muslim system.


The early lawyers had much to do and much to learn, and it is to their
credit that they recognized both necessities. Muslim law is no product
of the desert or of the mind of Muhammad, as some have said; but rather
of the labor of these men, struggling with a gigantic problem. They
might have taken their task much more easily than they did; they might
have lived as Muhammad had done, from hand to mouth, and have concealed
their own sloth by force and free invention of authorities. But they
recognized their responsibility to God and man and the necessity of
building up a stable and complete means of rendering justice. These
armies of Muslims, we must remember, were not like the hordes of Attila
or Chingis Khan, destroyers only. The lands they conquered were put to
hard tribute, but it was under a reign of law. They recognized frankly
that it was for them that this mighty empire existed; but they recognized
also that it could continue to exist only with order and duty imposed
upon all. They saw, too, how deficient was their own knowledge and
learned willingly of the people among whom they had come. And here, a
second time, Roman law—the parent-law of the world—made itself felt.
There were schools of that law in Syria at Cæsarea and Beyrout, but we
need not imagine that the Muslim jurists studied there. Rather, it was
the practical school of the courts as they actually existed which they
attended. These courts were permitted to continue in existence till Islam
had learned from them all that was needed. We can still recognize certain
principles that were so carried over. That the duty of proof lies upon
the plaintiff, and the right of defending himself with an oath upon the
defendant; the doctrine of invariable custom and that of the different
kinds of legal presumption. These, as expressed in Arabic, are almost
verbal renderings of the pregnant utterances of Latin law.


But most important of all was a liberty suggested by that system to the
Muslim jurisconsults. This was through the part played in the older
school by the _Responsa Prudentium_, answers by prominent lawyers to
questions put to them by their clients, in which the older law of the
Twelve Tables was expounded, expanded, and often practically set aside by
their comments. Sir Henry Maine thus states the situation: “The authors
of the new jurisprudence, during the whole progress of its formation,
professed the most sedulous respect for the letter of the code. They were
merely explaining it, deciphering it, bringing out its full meaning; but
then, in the result, by placing texts together, by adjusting the law to
states of fact which actually presented themselves, and by speculating
on its possible application to others which might occur, by introducing
principles of interpretation derived from the exegesis of other written
documents which fell under their observation, they educed a vast variety
of canons which had never been dreamt of by the compilers of the Twelve
Tables, and which were in truth rarely or never to be found there.” All
this precisely applies to the development of law in Islam.


The part of the Twelve Tables was taken by the statute law of the Qur’an
and the case law derived from the Usage of Muhammad; that of the Roman
_Iurisprudentes_ by those speculative jurists who worked mostly outside
of al-Madina in the camp cities of Mesopotamia and Syria—the very name
for lawyer in Arabic, _faqih_, plural _fuqaha_, is a translation of
_prudens_, _prudentes_; and that of the _Responsa_, the answers, by the
“Opinion” which they claimed as a legitimate legal method and source.
Further, the validity of a general agreement of jurisconsults “reminds
us of the rescript of Hadrian, which ordains that, if the opinions
of the licensed _prudentes_ all agreed, such common opinion had the
force of statute; but if they disagreed, the judge might follow which
he chose.” The Arabic term, _ra’y_, here rendered Opinion, has passed
through marked vicissitudes of usage. In old Arabic, before it, in the
view of some, began to keep bad company, it meant an opinion that was
thoughtful, weighed and reasonable, as opposed to a hasty dictate of
ill-regulated passion. In that sense it is used in a tradition—probably
forged—handed down from Muhammad. He was sending a judge to take charge
of legal affairs in al-Yaman, and asked him on what he would base his
legal decisions. “On the Qur’an,” he replied. “But if that contains
nothing to the purpose?” “Then upon your usage.” “But if that also fails
you?” “Then I will follow my own opinion.” And the Prophet approved his
purpose. A similar tradition goes back to Umar, the first Khalifa, and
it, too, is probably a later forgery, written to defend this source of
law. But, with the revolt against the use of Opinion, to which we shall
soon come, the term itself fell into grave disrepute and came to signify
an unfounded conclusion. In its extremest development it went beyond the
_Responsa_, which professed always to be in exact accord with the letter
of the older law, and attained to be Equity in the strict sense; that
is, the rejection of the letter of the law for a view supposed to be
more in accordance with the spirit of justice itself. Thus, Equity, in
the English sense, is the law administered by the Court of Chancery and
claims, in the words again of Sir Henry Maine, to “override the older
jurisprudence of the country on the strength of an intrinsic ethical
superiority.” In Roman law, as introduced by the edict of the Prætor, it
was the law of Nature, “the part of law ‘which natural reason appoints
for all mankind.’” This is represented in Islam under two forms, covered
by two technical terms. The one is that the legist, in spite of the
fact that the analogy of the fixed code clearly points to one course,
“considers it better” (_istihsan_) to follow a different one; and the
other is that, under the same conditions, he chooses a free course “for
the sake of general benefit to the community” (_istislah_). Further scope
of Equity Muslim law never reached, and the legitimacy of these two
developments was, as we shall see, bitterly contested. The freedom of
opinion, with its possibility of a system of Equity, had eventually to
be given up, and all that was left in its place was a permissibility of
analogical deduction (_qiyas_), the nearest thing to which in Western law
is Legal Fiction. In a word, the possibility of development by Equity was
lost, and Legal Fiction entered in its place. But this anticipates, and
we must return to the strictly historical movement.

During the first thirty years after the death of Muhammad—the period
covered by the reigns of the four theocratic rulers whom Islam still
calls “the Four Just, or Rightly Guided Khalifas” (_al-Khulafa
ar-rashidun_)—the two twin studies of tradition (_hadith_) and of law
(_fiqh_) were fostered and encouraged by the state. The centre of that
state was still in al-Madina, on ground sacred with the memories of the
Prophet, amid the scenes where he had himself been lord and judge, and
under the conditions in which his life as ruler had been cast. All the
sources, except that of divine revelation, which had been open to him,
were open to his successors and they made full use of all. Round that
mother-hearth of Islam was still gathered the great body of the immediate
Companions of Muhammad, and they formed a deliberative or consulting
council to aid the Khalifa in his task. The gathering of tradition and
the developing of law were vital functions; they were the basis of the
public life of the state. This patriarchal period in Muslim history is
the golden age of Islam. It ended with the death of Ali, in the year 40
of the Hijra, and the succession of Mu‘awiya in the following year. “For
thirty years,” runs a tradition from the Prophet, “my People will tread
in my Path (_sunna_); then will come kings and princes.”


And so it was; Mu‘awiya was the first of the Umayyad dynasty and with him
and them Islam, in all but the name, was at an end. He and they were Arab
kings of the old type that had reigned before Muhammad at al-Hira and
Ghassan, whose will had been their law. The capital of the new kingdom
was Damascus; al-Madina became a place of refuge, a Cave of Adullam, for
the old Muslim party. There they might spin theories of state and of
law, and lament the good old days; so long as there was no rebellion,
the Umayyads cared little for those things or for the men who dreamt
them. Once, the Umayyads were driven to capture and sack the holy city,
a horror in Islam to this day. After that there was peace, the peace of
the accomplished fact. This is the genuinely Arab period in the history
of Islam. It is a period full of color and light and life; of love and
song, battle and feasting. Thought was free and conduct too. The great
theologian of the Greek Church, John of Damascus, held high office at the
Umayyad court, and al-Akhtal, a Christian at least in name, was their
poet laureate. It is true that the stated services of religion were
kept up and on every Friday the Khalifa had to entertain the people by
a display of eloquence and wit in the weekly sermon. But the old world
was dead and the days of its unity would never come again. So all knew,
except the irreconcilable party, the last of the true Muslims who still
haunted the sacred soil of al-Madina and labored in the old paths. They
gathered the traditions of the Prophet; they regulated their lives more
and more strictly by his usage; they gave ghostly council to the pious
who sought their help; they labored to build up elaborate systems of law.
But it was all elaboration and hypothetical purely. There was in it no
vitalizing force from practical life.

From this time on Muslim law has been more or less in the position held
by the canon law of the Roman Church in a country that will not recognize
it yet dares not utterly reject it. The Umayyads were statesmen and
opportunists; they lived, in legal things, as much from hand to mouth as
Muhammad had done. He cut all knots with divine legislation; they cut
them with the edge of their will. Under them, as under him, a system
of law was impossible. But at the same time, in quiet and in secret,
this canon law of Islam was slowly growing up, slowly rounding into
full perfection of detailed correlation. It was governing absolutely
the private lives of all the good Muslims that were left, and even the
godless Umayyads, as they had to preach on Fridays to the People of
Muhammad, so they had to deal with it cautiously and respectfully. Of
the names and lives of these obscure jurists little has reached us and
it is needless to give that little here. Only with the final fall of the
Umayyads, in the year of the Hijra 132, do we come into the light and see
the different schools forming under clear and definite leaders.


    The Abbasid revolution; the compromise; the problem of the
    Abbasids; the two classes of canon lawyers and theologians;
    the rise of legal schools; Abu Hanifa; his application of
    Legal Fiction; _istihsan_; the Qadi Abu Yusuf; Muhammad ibn
    al-Hasan; Sufyan ath-Thawri; al-Awza‘i; Malik ibn Anas; the
    Usage of al-Madina; _istislah_; the doctrine of Agreement; the
    beginning of controversy; traditionalists or historical lawyers
    versus rationalists or philosophical lawyers; ash-Shafi‘i, a
    mediator and systematizer; the Agreement of the Muslim people
    a formal source; “My People will never agree in an error;” the
    resultant four sources, Qur’an, Usage, Analogy, Agreement; the
    traditionalist revolt; Da’ud az-Zahiri and literalism; Ahmad
    ibn Hanbal; the four abiding schools; the Agreement of Islam;
    the Disagreement of Islam; _iurare in verba magistri_; the
    degrees of authority; the canon and the civil codes in Islam;
    their respective spheres; distribution of schools at present
    day; Shi‘ite law; Ibadite law.

That great revolution which brought the Abbasid dynasty to power seemed
at first to the pious theologians and lawyers to be a return of the old
days. They dreamt of entering again into their rights; that the canon law
would be the full law of the land. It was only slowly that their eyes
were opened, and many gave up the vain contest and contented themselves
with compromise. This had been rare under the Umayyads; the one or two
canon lawyers who had thrown in their lot with them had been marked men.
Az-Zuhri (d. 124), a man of the highest moral and theological reputation
who played a very important part in the first codifying of traditions,
was one of these, and the later pious historians have had hard work to
smooth over his connection with the impious Umayyads. Probably—it may
be well to say here—the stories against the Umayyads have been much
heightened in color by their later tellers and also az-Zuhri, being a man
of insight and statesmanship, may have recognized that their rule was
the best chance for peace in the country. Muslims have come generally to
accept the position that unbelief on the part of the government, if the
government is strong and just, is better than true belief and anarchy.
This has found expression, as all such things do, in traditions put in
the mouth of the Prophet.


But while only a few canonists had taken the part of the Umayyads, far
more accepted the favors of the Abbasids, took office under them and
worked in their cause. The Abbasids, too, had need of such men. It was
practically the religious sentiment of the people that had overthrown
the Umayyads and raised them to power; and that religious sentiment,
though it could never be fully satisfied, must yet be respected and,
more important still, used. There is a striking parallel between the
situation then, and that of Scotland at the Revolution Settlement of
1688. The power of the Stuarts—that is, of the worldly Umayyads—had been
overthrown. The oppressed Church of the Covenant—that is, the old Muslim
party—had been freed. The state was to be settled upon a new basis. What
was that basis to be? The Covenanting party demanded the recognition of
the Headship of Christ—that the Kirk should rule the state, or should
be the state, and that all other religious views should be put under
penalty. The old Muslim party looked for similar things. That religious
life should be purified; that the canon law should be again the law of
the state; that the constitution of Umar should be restored. How the
Covenanters were disappointed, how much they got and how much they failed
to get, needs no telling here.

Exactly in the same way it befell the old Muslims. The theological
reformation was sweeping and complete. The first Abbasids were pious,
at least outwardly; the state was put upon a pious footing. The canon
law also was formally restored, but with large practical modifications.
Canon lawyers were received into the service of the state, provided they
were adaptable enough. Impossible men had no place under the Abbasids;
their officials must be pliable and dexterous, for a new _modus vivendi_
was to be found. The rough and ready Umayyad cutting of the knot had
failed; the turn had now come for piety and dexterity in twisting law.
The court lawyers learned to drive a coach and four through any of the
old statutes, and found their fortunes in their brains. So the issue was
bridged. But a large party of malcontents was left, and from this time on
in Islam the lawyers and the theologians have divided into two classes,
the one admitting, as a matter of expediency, the authority of the
powers of the time and aiding them in their task as rulers; the other,
irreconcilable and unreconciled, denouncing the state as sunk in unbelief
and deadly sin and its lawyers as traitors to the cause of religion. To
pursue our parallel, they are represented in Scotland by a handful of
Covenanting congregations and in America by the much more numerous and
powerful Reformed Presbyterian Church.

It is a significant fact that with the lifting of the Umayyad pressure
and the encouragement of legal studies—such as it was—by the Abbasids,
definite and recognized schools of law began to form. What had so long
been in process in secret became public, and its results crystallized
under certain prominent teachers. We will now take up these schools in
the order of the death dates of their founders; we will establish their
principles and trace their histories. We shall find the same conceptions
recurring again and again which have already been brought out, Qur’an,
tradition (_hadith_), agreement (_ijma_), opinion (_ra’y_), analogy
(_qiyas_), local usage (_urf_), preference (_istihsan_), in the teeth of
the written law—till at length, when the battle is over, the sources will
have limited themselves to the four which have survived to the present
day—Qur’an, tradition, agreement, analogy. And, similarly, of the six
schools to be mentioned, four only will remain to the present time, but
these of equal rank and validity in the eyes of the Believers.

[Sidenote: ABU HANIFA]

The Abbasids came to power in the year of the Hijra 132, and in 150
died Abu Hanifa, the first student and teacher to leave behind him a
systematic body of teaching and a missionary school of pupils. He was
a Persian by race, and perhaps the most distinguished example of the
rule that Muslim scientists and thinkers might write in Arabic but were
seldom of Arab blood. He does not seem to have held office as a judge
or to have practised law at all. He was, rather, an academic student, a
speculative or philosophical jurist we might call him. His system of law,
therefore, was not based upon the exigencies of experience; it did not
arise from an attempt to meet actual cases. We might say of it, rather,
but in a good sense, that it was a system of casuistry, an attempt to
build up on scientific principles a set of rules which would answer every
conceivable question of law. In the hands of some of his pupils, when
applied to actual facts, it tended to develop into casuistry in a bad
sense; but no charge of perverting justice for his own advantage seems to
have been brought against Abu Hanifa himself. His chief instruments in
constructing his system were opinion and analogy. He leaned little upon
traditions of the usage of Muhammad, but preferred to take the Qur’anic
texts and develop from them his details. But the doing of this compelled
him to modify simple opinion—equivalent to equity as we have seen—and
limit it to analogy of some written statute (_nass_). He could hardly
forsake a plain _res iudicata_ of Muhammad, and follow his own otherwise
unsupported views, but he might choose to do so if he could base it on
analogy from the Qur’an. Thus, he came to use what was practically legal
fiction. It is the application of an old law in some sense or way that
was never dreamt of by the first imposer of the law, and which may, in
fact, run directly counter to the purpose of the law. The fiction is
that it is the original law that is being observed, while, as a matter
of fact, there has come in its place an entirely different law. So Abu
Hanifa would contend that he was following the divine legislation of the
Qur’an, while his adversaries contended that he was only following his
own opinion.

But if, on the one hand, he was thus limited from equity to legal
fiction, on another he developed a new principle of even greater freedom.
Reference has already been made to the changes which were of necessity
involved in the new conditions of the countries conquered by the Muslims.
Often the law of the desert not only failed to apply to town and
agricultural life; it was even directly mischievous. On account of this,
a consideration of local conditions was early accepted as a principle,
but in general terms. These were reduced to definiteness by Abu Hanifa
under the formula of “holding for better” (_istihsan_). He would say,
“The analogy in the case points to such and such a rule, but under the
circumstances I hold it for better to rule thus and thus.”


This method, as we shall see later, was vehemently attacked by his
opponents, as was his system in general. Yet that system by its
philosophical perfection—due to its theoretical origin—and perfection in
detail—due to generations of practical workers—has survived all attack
and can now be said to be the leading one of the four existing schools.
No legal writings of Abu Hanifa have reached us, nor does he seem to
have, himself, cast his system into a finished code. That was done by his
immediate pupils, and especially by two, the Qadi Abu Yusuf, who died in
182, and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, who died in 189. The first was consulting
lawyer and chief Qadi to the great Khalifa Harun ar-Rashid, and, if
stories can be believed, proved himself as complaisant of conscience as
a court casuist need be. Innumerable are the tales afloat of his minute
knowledge of legal subtleties and his fertility of device in applying
them to meet the whims of his master, Harun. Some of them have found a
resting place in that great mirror of mediæval Muslim life, _The Thousand
and One Nights_; reference may be made to _Night 296_. Through his
influence, the school of Abu Hanifa gained an official importance which
it never thereafter lost. He wrote for Harun a book which we have still,
on the canon law as applied to the revenues of the state, a thorny and
almost impossible subject, for the canon law makes really no provision
for the necessary funds of even a simple form of government and much less
for such an array of palaces and officials as had grown up around the
Abbasids. His book is marked by great piety in expression and by ability
of the highest kind in reconciling the irreconcilable.

But all the canon lawyers did not fall in so easily with the new ways.
Many found that only in asceticism, in renunciation of the world and
engaging in pious exercises was there any chance of their maintaining
the old standards in a state that was for them based on oppression and
robbery. One of these was Sufyan ath-Thawri, a lawyer of high repute,
who narrowly missed founding a separate school of law and who died in
161. There has come down to us a correspondence between him and Harun,
which, though it cannot possibly be genuine, throws much light on the
disappointment of the sincerely religious section. Harun writes on his
accession to the Khalifate (170), complaining that Sufyan had not visited
him, in spite of their bond of brotherhood, and offering him wealth
from the public treasury. Sufyan replied, denouncing such use of public
funds and all the other uses of them by Harun—many enough—except those
precisely laid down in the codes. On the basis of these, Harun would have
had to work for his own living. There are also other denunciations for
crimes in the ruler which he punished in others. Harun is said to have
kept the letter and wept over it at intervals, but no change of life on
his part is recorded. Apparently, with the accession of the Abbasids
ascetic and mystical Islam made a great development. It became plain to
the pious that no man could inherit both this world and the next.

While Abu Hanifa was developing his system in Mesopotamia, al-Awza‘i
was working similarly in Syria. He was born at Baalbec, lived at
Damascus, and at Beyrout where he died in 157. Of him and his teaching
we know comparatively little. But so far it is clear that he was not a
speculative jurist of the same type as Abu Hanifa, but paid especial
attention to traditions. At one time his school was followed by the
Muslims of Syria and the entire West to Morocco and Spain. But its day
was a short one. The school of Abu Hanifa, championed by Abu Yusuf with
his tremendous influence as chief Qadi of the Abbasid empire, pushed it
aside, and at the present day it has no place except in history. For us,
its interest is that of another witness to the early rise and spread of
systems of jurisprudence outside of Arabia.

[Sidenote: MALIK IBN ANAS]

In A.H. 179, three years before the death of Abu Yusuf and twenty-nine
after that of Abu Hanifa, there died at al-Madina the founder and head
of an independent school of a very different type. This was Malik ibn
Anas, under whose hands what we may call, for distinction, the historical
school of al-Madina took form. Al-Madina, it will be remembered, was the
mother-city of Muslim law. It was the special home of the traditions
of the Prophet and the scene of his legislative and judicial life. Its
pre-Islamic customary law had been sanctioned, in a sense, by his use. It
had been the capital of the state in its purest days. From the height of
all these privileges its traditionists and lawyers looked down upon the
outsiders and _parvenus_ who had begun to intermeddle in sacred things.

But it must not be thought that this school was of a rigid traditionism.
The case was quite the reverse, and in many respects it is hard to make a
distinction between it and that of Abu Hanifa. Its first source was, of
necessity, the Qur’an. Then came the usage of the Prophet. This merged
into the usage of the Successors of the Prophet and the unwritten custom
of the town. It will be seen that here the historical weight of the place
came to bear. No other place, no other community, could furnish that
later tradition with anything like the same authority. Further, Malik ibn
Anas was a practical jurist, a working judge. He was occupied in meeting
real cases from day to day. When he sat in public and judged the people,
or with his pupils around him and expounded and developed the law, he
could look back upon a line of canon lawyers who had sat in his place
and done as he was doing. In that lies the great difference. He was in
practical touch with actual life; that was one point; and, secondly, he
was in the direct line of the apostolic succession, and in the precise
environment of the Prophet. So when he went beyond Qur’an, prophetic
usage, agreement, and gave out decisions on simple opinion, the feeling
of the community justified him. It was a different thing for Malik ibn
Anas, sitting there in state in al-Madina, to use his judgment, than
for some quick-brained vagabond of a Persian or Syrian proselyte, some
_pauvre diable_ with neither kith nor kin in the country, to lay down
principles of law. So the pride of the city of the Prophet distinguished
between him and Abu Hanifa.

But though the speculative element in the school of Malik, apart from
its local and historical environment, which gave it unifying weight, was
essentially the same as in the school of Abu Hanifa, yet it is true that
at al-Madina it played a less important part. Malik used tradition more
copiously and took refuge in opinion less frequently. Without opinion, he
could not have built his system; but for him it was not so much a primary
principle as a means of escape. Yet one principle of great freedom he
did derive from it and lay down with clearness; it is the conception of
the public advantage (_istislah_). When a rule would work general injury
it is to be set aside even in the teeth of a valid analogy. This, it
will be seen, is nearly the same as the preference of Abu Hanifa. The
technical term _istislah_, chosen by Malik to express his idea, was
probably intended to distinguish it from that of Abu Hanifa, and also to
suggest in the public advantage (_maslaha_) a more valid basis than the
mere preference of the legist.


Another conception which Malik and his school developed into greater
exactitude and force was that of the agreement (_ijma_). It will be
remembered that from the death of Muhammad all the surviving Companions
resident in al-Madina formed a kind of consultive council to aid the
Khalifa with their store of tradition and experience. Their agreement
on any point was final; it was the voice of the Church. This doctrine
of the infallibility of the body of the believers developed in Islam
until at its widest it was practically the same as the canon of catholic
truth formulated by Vincent of Lerins, _Quod ubique, quod semper, quod
ab omnibus_. But Malik, according to the usual view, had no intention of
granting any such deciding power to the outside world. The world for him
was al-Madina and the agreement of al-Madina established catholic verity.
Yet there are narratives which suggest that he approved the agreement and
local usage of al-Madina for al-Madina because they suited al-Madina.
Other places might also have their local usages which suited them better.

In the next school we shall find the principle of agreement put upon a
broader basis and granted greater weight. Finally, Malik is the first
founder of a system from whom a law book, the _Muwatta_ mentioned
above, has come down to us. It is not in the exact sense, a manual
or code; rather a collection of materials for a code with remarks by
the collector. He gives the traditions which seem to him of juristic
importance—about seventeen hundred in all—arranged according to subject,
and follows up each section, when necessary, with remarks upon the usage
of al-Madina, and upon his own view of the matter. When he cannot find
either tradition or usage, he evidently feels himself of sufficient
authority to follow his own opinion, and lay down on that basis a binding
rule. This, however, as we have seen, is very different from allowing
other people, outsiders to al-Madina, to do the same thing. The school
founded by Malik ibn Anas on these principles is one of the surviving
four. As that of Abu Hanifa spread eastward, so that of Malik spread
westward, and for a time crushed out all others. The firm grip which it
has especially gained in western North Africa may be due to the influence
of the Idrisids whose founder had to flee from al-Madina when Malik was
in the height of his reputation there, and also to hatred of the Abbasids
who championed the school of Abu Hanifa.

But now we pass from simple development to development through conflict.
Open conflict, so far as there had been any, had covered points of
detail; for example, the kind of opinion professed by Abu Hanifa, on the
one hand, and by Malik, on the other. One of the chiefest of the pupils
of Abu Hanifa, the Muhammad ibn al-Hasan already mentioned, spent three
years in study with Malik at al-Madina and found no difficulty in thus
combining his schools. The conflict of the future was to be different
and to touch the very basis of things. The muttering of the coming storm
had been heard for long, but it was now to burst. Exact dates we cannot
give, but the reaction must have been progressing in the latter part of
the life of Malik ibn Anas.


The distinction drawn above between traditionists and lawyers will
be remembered, and the promise of future collision which always has
come between historical or empirical, and speculative or philosophical
students of systems of jurisprudence. The one side points to the
absurdities, crudities, and inadequacies of a system based upon tradition
and developing by usage; the other says that we are not wise enough to
rewrite the laws of our ancestors. These urge a necessity; those retort
an inability. Add to this a belief on the part of the traditionists that
they were defending a divine institution and the situation is complete
as it now lay in Islam. The extreme right said that law should be based
on Qur’an and tradition only; the extreme left, that it was better to
leave untrustworthy and obscure traditions and work out a system of rules
by logic and the necessities of the case. To and fro between these two
extremes swayed the conflict to which we now come.

In that conflict three names stand out: ash-Shafi‘i who died in 204,
Ahmad ibn Hanbal who died in 241 and Da’ud az-Zahiri who died in 270.
Strangely enough, the first of these, ash-Shafi‘i, struck the mediating
note and the other two diverged further and further from the via media
thus shown toward a blank traditionism.

Ash-Shafi‘i is without question one of the greatest figures in the
history of law. Perhaps he had not the originality and keenness of Abu
Hanifa; but he had a balance of mind and temper, a clear vision and
full grasp of means and ends that enabled him to say what proved to be
the last word in the matter. After him came attempts to tear down; but
they failed. The fabric of the Muslim canon law stood firm. There is a
tradition from the Prophet that he promised that with the end of every
century would come a restorer of the faith of his people. At the end of
the first century was the pious Khalifa, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, who by
some accident strayed in among the Umayyads. At the end of the second
came ash-Shafi‘i. His work was to mediate and systematize and bore
especially on the sources from which rules of law might be drawn. His
position on the positive side may be stated as one of great reverence
for tradition. “If you ever find a tradition from the Prophet saying
one thing,” he is reported to have said, “and a decision from me saying
another thing, follow the tradition.” An absolutely authentic—according
to Muslim rules of evidence—and clear tradition from the Prophet he
regarded as of equally divine authority with a passage in the Qur’an.
Both were inspired utterances, if slightly different in form; the Qur’an
was verbally inspired; such traditions were inspired as to their content.
And if such a tradition contradicted a Qur’anic passage and came after it
in time, then the written law of the Qur’an was abrogated by the oral law
of the tradition. But this involved grave difficulties. The speculative
jurists had defended their position from the beginning by pointing to
the many contradictory traditions which were afloat, and asking how the
house of tradition could stand when so divided against itself. A means
of reconciling traditions had to be found, and to this ash-Shafi‘i gave
himself. We need not go over his methods here; they were the same that
have always been used in such emergencies. The worship of the letter led
to the straining of the letter, and to explaining away of the letter.


But there lay a rock in his course more dangerous than any mere
contradiction in differing traditions. Usages had grown up and taken fast
hold which were in the teeth of all traditions. These usages were in the
individual life, in the constitution of the state, and in the rules and
decisions of the law courts. The pious theologian and lawyer might rage
against them as he chose; they were there, firmly rooted, immovable.
They were not arbitrary changes, but had come about in the process of
time through the revolutions of circumstances and varying conditions.
Ash-Shafi‘i showed his greatness by recognizing the inevitable and
providing a remedy. This lay in an extension of the principle of
agreement and the erection of it into a formal source. Whatever the
community of Islam has agreed upon at any time, is of God. We have met
this principle before, but never couched in so absolute and catholic a
form. The agreement of the immediate Companions of Muhammad had weight
with his first Successors. The agreement of these first Companions and
of the first generation after them, had determining weight in the early
church. The agreement of al-Madina had weight with Malik ibn Anas. The
agreement of many divines and legists always had weight of a kind. Among
lawyers, a principle, to the contrary of which the memory of man ran not,
had been determining. But this was wider, and from this time on the unity
of Islam was assured. The evident voice of the People of Muhammad was to
be the voice of God. Yet this principle, if full of hope and value for
the future, involved the canonists of the time in no small difficulties.
Was it conceivable that the agreement could override the usage of the
Prophet? Evidently not. There must, then, they argued, once have existed
some tradition to the same effect as the agreement, although it had now
been lost. Some such lost authority must be presupposed. This can remind
us of nothing so much as of the theory of the inerrant but lost original
of the Scriptures. And it had the fate of that theory. The weight of
necessity forced aside any such trifling and the position was frankly
admitted that the agreement of the community was a safer and more certain
basis than traditions from the Prophet. Traditions were alleged to that
effect. “My People will never agree in an error,” declared Muhammad, or,
at least, the later church made him so declare.


But ash-Shafi‘i found that even the addition of agreement to Qur’an and
Prophetic usage did not give him basis enough for his system. Opinion
he utterly rejected; the preference of Abu Hanifa and the conception of
the common welfare of Malik ibn Anas were alike to him. It is true also
that both had been practically saved under agreement. But he held fast
by analogy, whether based on the Qur’an or on the usage of the Prophet.
It was an essential instrument for his purpose. As was said, “The laws
of the Qur’an and of the usage are limited; the possible cases are
unlimited; that which is unlimited can never be contained in that which
is limited.” But in ash-Shafi‘i’s use of analogy there is a distinction
to be observed. In seeking to establish a parallelism between a case
that has arisen and a rule in the Qur’an or usage, which is similar
in some points but not precisely parallel, are we to look to external
points of resemblance, or may we go further and seek to determine the
reason (_illa_) lying behind the rule and from that draw our analogy?
The point seems simple enough and the early speculative jurists sought
the reason. For that they were promptly attacked by the traditionists.
Such a method was an attempt to look into the mysteries of God, they were
told; man has no business to inquire after reasons, all he has to do is
to obey. The point thus raised was fought over for centuries and schools
are classified according to their attitude toward it. The position of
ash-Shafi‘i seems to have been that the reason for a command was to be
considered in drawing an analogy, but that there must be some clear
guide, in the text itself, pointing to the reason. He thus left himself
free to consider the causes of the divine commands and yet produced the
appearance of avoiding any irreverence or impiety in doing so.

Such then are the four sources or bases (_asls_) of jurisprudence as
accepted and defined by ash-Shafi‘i—Qur’an, prophetic usage, analogy,
agreement. The last has come to bear more and more weight. Every
Shafi‘ite law book begins each section with words to this effect, “The
basis of this rule, before the agreement (_qabla-l-ijma_), is” Qur’an or
usage as the case may be. The agreement must put its stamp on every rule
to make it valid. Further, all the now existing schools have practically
accepted ash-Shafi‘i’s classification of the sources and many have
contended that a lawyer, no matter what his school, who does not use all
these four sources, cannot be permitted to act as a judge. Ash-Shafi‘i
has accomplished his own definition of a true jurist, “Not he is a jurist
who gathers statements and prefers one of them, but he who establishes a
new principle from which a hundred branches may spring.”

[Sidenote: DA’UD AZ-ZAHIRI]

But the extreme traditionists were little satisfied with this compromise.
They objected to analogy and they objected to agreement; nothing but the
pure law of God and the Prophet would satisfy them. And their numbers
were undoubtedly large. The common people always heard traditions gladly,
and it was easy to turn to ridicule the subtleties of the professional
lawyers. How much simpler, it struck the average mind, it would be
to follow some clear and unambiguous saying of the Prophet; then one
could feel secure. This desire of the plain man to take traditions and
interpret them strictly and literally was met by the school of Da’ud
az-Zahiri, David the literalist. He was born three or four years before
the death of ash-Shafi‘i, which occurred in 204. He was trained as a
Shafi‘ite and that, too, of the narrower, more traditional type; but
it was not traditional enough for him. So he had to cut himself loose
and form a school of his own. He rejected utterly analogy; he limited
agreement, as a source, to the agreement of the immediate Companions of
Muhammad, and in this he has been followed by the Wahhabites alone among
moderns; he limited himself to Qur’an and prophetic usage.

In another point also, he diverged. Ash-Shafi‘i had evidently exercised
a very great personal influence upon his followers. All looked up to him
and were prepared to swear to his words. So there grew up a tendency
for a scholar to take a thing upon the word of his master. “Ash-Shafi‘i
taught so; I am a Shafi‘ite and I hold so.” This, too, Da’ud utterly
rejected. The scholar must examine the proofs for himself and form his
own opinion. But he had another peculiarity, and one which gained him
the name of literalist. Everything, Qur’an and tradition, must be taken
in the most exact sense, however absurd it might be. Of course, to have
gone an inch beyond the very first meaning of the words would have been
to stray in the direction of analogy. Yet, as fate would have it, to
analogy, more or less, he had in the end to come. The inexorable law that
the limited cannot bound the unlimited was proved again. “Analogy is
like carrion,” confessed a very much earlier traditionist, “when there
is nothing else you eat it.” Da’ud tried to make his meal more palatable
by a change in name. He called it a proof (_dalil_) instead of a source
(_asl_); but what difference of idea he involved in that it is hard to
determine. This brought him to the doctrine of cause, already mentioned.
Were we at liberty to seek the cause of a divine word or action and lead
our “proof” from that? If the cause was directly stated, then Da’ud held
that we must regard it as having been the cause in this case; but we were
not at liberty, he added, to look for it, or on it, as cause in any other

It is evident that here we have to do with an impossible man and school,
and so the Muslim world found. Most said roundly that it was illegal
to permit a Zahirite to act as judge, on much the same grounds that
objection to circumstantial evidence will throw out a man now as juror.
If they had been using modern language, they would have said that it
was because he was a hopeless crank. Yet the Zahirite school lasted for
centuries and drew long consequences, historical and theological, for
which there is no space here. It never held rank as an acknowledged
school of Muslim law.

We now come to the last of the four schools, and it, strange as its
origin was, need not detain us long. The Zahirite reaction had failed
through its very extremeness. It was left to a dead man and a devoted
Shafi‘ite to head the last attack upon the school of his master. Ahmad
ibn Hanbal was a theologian of the first rank; he made no claim to be a
constructive lawyer. His _Musnad_ has already been dealt with. It is an
immense collection of some thirty thousand traditions, but these are not
even arranged for legal purposes. He suffered terribly for the orthodox
faith in the rationalist persecution under the Khalifa al-Ma’mun, and his
sufferings gained him the position of a saint. But he never dreamed of
forming a school, least of all in opposition to his master, ash-Shafi‘i.
He died in 241, and after his death his disciples drew together and
the fourth school was founded. It was simply reactionary and did not
make progress in any way. It minimized agreement and analogy and tended
toward literal interpretation. As might be expected from its origin, its
history has been one of violence, of persecution and counter-persecution,
of insurrection and riot. Again and again the streets of Baghdad ran
blood from its excesses. It has now the smallest following of the four
surviving schools.


There is no need to pursue this history further. With ash-Shafi‘i the
great development of Muslim jurisprudence closes. Legislation, equity,
legal fiction have done their parts; the hope for the future lay, and
lies, in the principle of the agreement. The common-sense of the Muslim
community, working through that expression of catholicity, has set aside
in the past even the undoubted letter of the Qur’an, and in the future
will still further break the grasp of that dead hand. It is the principle
of unity in Islam. But there is a principle of variety as well. The four
schools of law whose origin has been traced are all equally valid and
their decisions equally sacred in Muslim eyes. The believer may belong
to any one of these which he chooses; he must belong to one; and when
he has chosen his school, he accepts it and its rules to the uttermost.
Yet he does not cast out as heretics the followers of the other schools.
In every chapter their codes differ more or less; but each school
bears with the others; sometimes, it may be, with a superior tone,
but still bears. This liberty of variety in unity is again undoubtedly
due to the agreement. It has expressed itself, as it often does, in
apocryphal traditions from the Prophet, the last rag of respect left to
the traditionist school. Thus we are told that the Prophet said, “The
disagreement of My People is a Mercy from God.” This supplements and
completes the other equally apocryphal but equally important tradition:
“My People will never agree upon an error.”

But there is a third principle at work which we cannot view with the
same favor. As said above, every Muslim must attach himself to a legal
school, and may choose any one of these four. But once he has chosen his
school he is absolutely bound by the decisions and rules of that school.
This is the principle against which the Zahirites protested, but their
protest, the only bit of sense they ever showed, was in vain. The result
of its working throughout centuries has been that now no one—except
from a spirit of historical curiosity—ever dreams of going back from
the text-books of the present day to the works of the older masters.
Further, such an attempt to get behind the later commentaries would not
be permitted. We have comment upon comment upon comment, abstract of this
and expansion of that; but each hangs by his predecessor and dares not go
another step backward. The great masters of the four schools settled the
broad principles; they were authorities of the first degree (_mujtahidun
mutlaq_), second to Muhammad in virtue of his inspiration only. Second,
came the masters who had authority within the separate schools
(_mujtahidun fi-l-madhahib_) to determine the questions that arose
there. Third, masters of still lesser rank for minor points (_mujtahidun
bil-fatwa_). And so the chain runs on. The possibility of a new legal
school arising or of any considerable change among these existing schools
is flatly denied. Every legist now has his place and degree of liberty
fixed, and he must be content.


These three principles, then, of catholic unity and its ability to
make and abrogate laws, of the liberty of diversity in that unity, and
of blind subjection to the past within that diversity, these three
principles must be our hope and fear for the Muslim peoples. What that
future will be none can tell. The grasp of the dead hand of Islam is
close, but its grip at many points has been forced to relax. Very early,
as has already been pointed out, the canon law had to give way to the
will of the sovereign, and ground once lost it has never regained. Now,
in every Muslim country, except perhaps the Wahhabite state in central
Arabia, there are two codes of law administered by two separate courts.
The one judges by this canon law and has cognizance of what we may call
private and family affairs, marriage, divorce, inheritance. Its judges,
at whose head in Turkey stands the Shaykh al-Islam, a dignity first
created by the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad II in 1453, after the capture
of Constantinople, also give advice to those who consult them on such
personal matters as details of the ritual law, the law of oaths and
vows, etc. The other court knows no law except the custom of the country
(_urf_, _ada_) and the will of the ruler, expressed often in what are
called _Qanuns_, statutes. Thus, in Turkey at the present day, besides
the codices of canon law, there is an accepted and authoritative corpus
of such _Qanuns_. It is based on the _Code Napoléon_ and administered
by courts under the Minister of Justice. This is the nearest approach
in Islam to the development by statute, which comes last in Sir Henry
Maine’s analysis of the growth of law. The court guided by these _Qanuns_
decides all matters of public and criminal law, all affairs between man
and man. Such is the legal situation throughout the whole Muslim world,
from Sulu to the Atlantic and from Africa to China. The canon lawyers, on
their side, have never admitted this to be anything but flat usurpation.
There have not failed some even who branded as heretics and unbelievers
those who took any part in such courts of the world and the devil. They
look back to the good old days of the rightly guided Khalifas, when there
was but one law in Islam, and forward to the days of the Mahdi when that
law will be restored. There, between a dead past and a hopeless future,
we may leave them. The real future is not theirs. Law is greater than
lawyers, and it works in the end for justice and life.


Finally, it may be well to notice an important and necessary modification
which holds as to the above statement that a Muslim may choose any
one of the four schools and may then follow its rules. As might be
expected, geographical influences weigh overwhelmingly in this choice.
Certain countries are Hanifite or Shafi‘ite; in each, adherents of the
other sects are rare. This geographical position may be given roughly
as follows: central Asia, northern India, and the Turks everywhere are
Hanifite. Lower Egypt, Syria, southern India and the Malay Archipelago
are Shafi‘ite. Upper Egypt and North Africa west of Egypt are Malikite.
Practically, only the Wahhabites in central Arabia are Hanbalites.
Further, the position holds in Islam that the country, as a whole,
follows the legal creed of its ruler, just as it follows his religion.
It is not only _cuius regio eius religio_, but _cuius religio eius lex_.
Again and again, a revolution in the state has driven one legal school
from power and installed another. Yet the situation occurs sometimes that
a sovereign finds his people divided into two parties, each following
a different rite, and he then recognizes both by appointing Qadis
belonging to both, and enforcing the decisions of these Qadis. Thus, at
Zanzibar, at present, there are eight Ibadite judges and two Shafi‘ite,
all appointed by the Sultan and backed by his authority. On the other
hand, the Turkish government, ever since it felt itself strong enough,
has thrown the full weight of its influence on the Hanifite side. In
almost all countries under its rule it appoints Hanifite judges only;
valid legal decisions can be pronounced only according to that rite. The
private needs of non-Hanifites are met by the appointment of salaried
_Muftis_—givers of _fatwas_, or legal opinions—of the other rites.

[Sidenote: IBADITES]

In the above sketch there have been of necessity two considerable
omissions. The one is of Shi‘ite and the other of Ibadite law. Neither
seems of sufficient importance to call for separate treatment. The legal
system of the Shi‘ites is derived from that of the so-called Sunnites
and differs in details only. We have seen already (p. 38) that the
Shi‘ites still have Mujtahids who are not bound to the words of a master,
but can give decisions on their own responsibility. These seem to have
in their hands the teaching power which strictly belongs only to the
Hidden Imam. They thus represent the principle of authority which is the
governing conception of the Shi‘a. The Sunnites, on the other hand, have
reached the point of recognizing that it is the People of Muhammad as a
whole which rules through its agreement. In another point the Shi‘ite
conception of authority affects their legal system. They utterly reject
the idea of co-ordinate schools of law; to the doctrine of the varying
(_ikhtilaf_) as it is called, and the liberty of diversity which lies in
it, they oppose the authority of the Imam. There can be only one truth
and there can be no trifling with it even in details. Among the Shi‘ites
of the Zaydite sect this was affected also by their philosophical
studies and a philosophical doctrine of the unity of truth; but to the
Imamites it is an authoritative necessity and not one of thought. Thus
on two important points the Shi‘ites lack the possibility of freedom and
development which is to be found with the Sunnites. Of the jurisprudence
of the Ibadites we know comparatively little. A full examination of
Ibadite _fiqh_ would be of the highest interest, as the separation of its
line of descent goes far back behind the formation of any of the orthodox
systems and it must have been codified to a greater or less extent by
Abd Allah ibn Ibad himself. Its basis appears to be threefold, Qur’an,
prophetic usage, agreement—naturally that of the Ibadite community. There
is no mention of analogy, and traditions seem to have been used sparingly
and critically. Qur’an bore the principal emphasis. See above, (p. 26)
for the Ibadite position on the form of the state and on the nature of
its headship.




    The three principles in the development; first religious
    questionings; Murji’ites, Kharijites, Qadarites; influence of
    Christianity; the Umayyads and Abbasids; the Mu‘tazilites; the
    Qualities of God; the Vision of God; the creation of the Qur’an.


Before entering upon a consideration of the development of the theology
of Islam, it will be well to mark clearly the three principles which run
continuously through that development, which conditioned it for evil and
for good and which are still working in it. In dealing with jurisprudence
and with the theory of the state, we have already seen abundantly how
false is the current idea that Islam has ceased to grow and has no hope
of future development. The organism of Islam, like every other organism,
has periods of rest when it appears to have reached a _cul de sac_ and to
have outlived its life. But after these periods come others of renewed
quickening and its vital energy pours itself forth again _alter et idem_.
In the state, we saw how the old realms passed into decrepitude and
decay, but new ones rose to take their places. The despotism by the grace
of God of formal Islam was tempered by the sacred right of insurrection
and revolution, and the People of Muhammad, in spite of kings and
princes, asserted, from time to time, its unquenchable vitality.

In theology the spirit breathes through single chosen men more than
through the masses; and, in consequence, our treatment of it will take
biographical form wherever our knowledge renders that possible.

But whether we have men or naked movements, the begetters of which are
names to us or less, three threads are woven distinctly through the web
of Muslim religious thought. There is tradition (_naql_); there is reason
(_aql_); and there is the unveiling of the mystic (_kashf_). They were
in the tissue of Muhammad’s brain and they have been in his church since
he died. Now one would be most prominent, now another, according to the
thinker of the time; but all were present to some degree. Tradition in
its strictest form lives now only with the Wahhabites and the Brotherhood
of as-Sanusi; reason has become a scholastic handmaid of theology except
among the modern Indian Mu‘tazilites, whom orthodox Islam would no more
accept as Muslims than a Trinitarian of the Westminster confession
would give the name of Christian to a Unitarian of the left wing; the
inner light of the mystic has assumed many forms, running from plainest
pantheism to mere devout ecstasy. But in the church of Muhammad they are
all working still; and the catholicity of Islam, in spite of zealots,
persecutions and counter-persecutions, has attained here, too, as in law,
a liberty of variety in unity. Two of the principles we have met already
in the students of _hadith_ and of speculative law. The Hanbalites
maintained in theology their devotion to tradition; they fought for
centuries all independent thinking which sought to rise above what the
fathers had told; they fought even scholastic theology of the strictest
type and would be content with nothing but the rehearsal of the old
dogmas in the old forms; they fought, too, the mystical life in all its
phases. On the other hand, Abu Hanifa was tinged with rationalism and
speculation in theology as in law, and his followers have walked in his
path. Even the mystical light has been touched in our view of the theory
of the state. It has flourished most among the Shi‘ites, who are driven
to seek and to find an inner meaning under the plain word of the Qur’an,
and whose devotion to Ali and his house and to their divine mission has
kept alive the thought of a continuous speaking of God to mankind and of
an exalting of mankind into the presence of God. It is for the student,
then, to watch and hold fast these three guiding threads.

       *       *       *       *       *

The development of Muslim theology, like that of jurisprudence, could not
begin till after the death of Muhammad. So long as he lived and received
infallible revelations in solution of all questions of faith or usage
that might come up, it is obvious that no system of theology could be
formed or even thought of. Traditions, too, which have reached us, even
show him setting his face against all discussions of dogma and repeating
again and again, in answer to metaphysical and theological questions, the
crude anthropomorphisms of the Qur’an. But these questions and answers
are probably forgeries of the later traditional school, shadows of future
warfare thrown back upon the screen of the patriarchal age. Again, in
the first twenty or thirty years after Muhammad’s death, the Muslims
were too much occupied with the propagation of their faith to think
what that faith exactly was. Thus, it seems that the questioning spirit
in this direction was aroused comparatively late and remained for some
time on what might be called a private basis. Individual men had their
individual views, but sects did not quickly arise, and when they did were
vague and hard to define in their positions. It may be said, broadly,
that everything which has reached us about the early Muslim heresies
is uncertain, confused and unsatisfactory. Names, dates, influences
and doctrines are all seen through a haze, and nothing more than an
approximation to an outline can be attempted. Vague stories are handed
down of the early questionings and disputings of certain _ahl-al-ahwa_,
“people of wandering desires,” a name singularly descriptive of the
always flighty and sceptical Arabs; of how they compared Scripture with
Scripture and got up theological debates, splitting points and defining
issues, to great scandal and troubling of spirit among the simpler-minded
pious. These were not yet heretics; they were the first investigators and

[Sidenote: MURJI’ITES]

Yet two sects loom up through the mist and their existence can be
tolerably conditioned through the historical facts and philosophical
necessities of the time. The one is that of the Murji’ites, and the
other of the Qadarites. A Murji’ite is literally “one who defers or
postpones,” in this case postpones judgment until it is pronounced by
God on the Day of Judgment. They arose as a sect during and out of the
civil war between the Shi‘ites, the Kharijites and the Umayyads. All
these parties claimed to be Muslims, and most of them claimed that they
were the only true Muslims and that the others were unbelievers. This
was especially the attitude of the Shi‘ites and Kharijites toward the
Umayyads; to them, the Umayyads, as we have seen already, were godless
heathen who professed Islam, but oppressed and slaughtered the true
saints of God. The Murji’ites, on the other hand, worked out a view on
which they could still support the Umayyads without homologating all
their actions and condemning all their opponents. The Umayyads, they
held, were _de facto_ the rulers of the Muslim state; fealty had been
sworn to them and they confessed the Unity of God and the apostleship
of the Prophet. Thus, they were not polytheists, and there is no sin
that can possibly be compared with the sin of polytheism (_shirk_). It
was, therefore, the duty of all Muslims to acknowledge their sovereignty
and to postpone until the secrets of the Last Day all judgment or
condemnation of any sins they might have committed. Sins less than
polytheism could justify no one in rising in revolt against them and in
breaking the oath of fealty.

Such seems to have been the origin of the Murji’ites, and it was the
origin also of the theory of the accomplished fact in the state, of which
we have had to take account several times. Thus, between the fanatical
venerators of the canon law, to whom all the Khalifas, after the first
four, were an abomination, and the purely worldly lawyers of the court
party, there came a group of pious theologians who taught that the good
of the Muslim community required obedience to the ruler of the time, even
though his personal unworthiness were plain. As a consequence, success
can legitimate anything in the Muslim state.

But with the passing away of the situation which gave rise to Murji’ism,
it itself changed from politics to theology. As a political party it
had opposed the political puritanism of the Kharijites; it now came to
oppose the uncompromising spirit in which these damned all who differed
from them even in details and brandished the terrors of the wrath of God
over their opponents. It is true that this came natural to Islam. The
earlier Muslims seem in general to have been oppressed by a singularly
gloomy fatalism. To use modern theological language, they labored under
a terrible consciousness of sin. They viewed the world as an evil
temptress, seducing men from heavenly things. Their lives were hedged
about with sins, great and little, and each deserved the eternal wrath of
God. The recollection of their latter end they kept ever before them and
the terrors that it would bring, for they felt that no amount of faith in
God and His Prophet could save them in the judgment to come. The roots
of this run far back. Before the time of Muhammad and at his time there
were among the Arab tribes, scattered here and there, many men who felt
a profound dissatisfaction with heathenism, its doctrines and religious
rites. The conception of God and the burden of life pressed heavily
upon them. They saw men pass away and descend into the grave, and they
asked whither they had gone and what had become of them. The thought
of this fleeting, transitory life and of the ocean of darkness and
mystery that lies around it, drove them away to seek truth in solitude
and the deserts. They were called _Hanifs_—the word is of very doubtful
derivation—and Muhammad himself, in the early part of his career,
reckoned himself one of them. But we have evidence from heathen Arab
poetry that these _Hanifs_ were regarded as much the same as Christian
monks, and that the term _hanif_ was used as a synonym for _rahib_, monk.


And, in truth, the very soul of Islam sprang from these solitary hermits,
scattered here and there throughout the desert, consecrating their lives
to God, and fleeing from the wrath to come. Even in pre-Islamic Arabic
poetry we feel how strong was the impression made on the Arab mind by the
gaunt, weird men with their endless watchings and night prayers. Again
and again there is allusion to the lamp of the hermit shining through
the darkness, and we have pictures of the caravan or of the solitary
traveller on the night journey cheered and guided by its glimmer. These
Christian hermits and the long deserted ruins telling of old, forgotten
tribes—judged and overthrown by God, as the Arabs held and hold—that lie
throughout the Syrian waste and along the caravan routes were the two
things that most stirred the imagination of Muhammad and went to form
his faith. To Muhammad, and to the Semite always, the whole of life was
but a long procession from the great deep to the great deep again. Where
are the kings and rulers of the earth? Where are the peoples that were
mighty in their day? The hand of God smote them and they are not. There
is naught real in the world but God. From Him we are, and unto Him we
return. There is nothing for man but to fear and worship. The world is
deceitful and makes sport of them that trust it.

Such is the oversong of all Muslim thought, the faith to which the Semite
ever returns in the end. To this the later Murji’ites opposed a doctrine
of Faith, which was Pauline in its sweep. Faith, they declared, saved,
and Faith alone. If the sinner believed in God and His Prophet he would
not remain in the fire. The Kharijites, on the other hand, held that
the sinner who died unrepentant would remain therein eternally, even
though he had confessed Islam with his lips. The unrepentant sinner, they
considered, could not be a believer in the true sense. This is still
the Ibadite position, and from it developed one of the most important
controversies of Islam as to the precise nature of faith. Some extreme
Murji’ites held that faith (_iman_) was a confession in the heart,
private intercourse with God, as opposed to Islam, public confession with
the lips. Thus, one could be a believer (_mu’min_), and outwardly confess
Judaism or Christianity; to be a professed Muslim was not necessary.
This is like the doctrine of the Imamites, called _taqiya_, that it is
allowable in time of stress to dissemble one’s religious views; and it is
worth noticing that Jahm ibn Safwan (killed, 131?), one of these extreme
Murji’ites, was a Persian proselyte in rebellion against the Arab rule,
and of the loosest religious conduct. But these Antinomians were no more
Muslims than the Anabaptists of Munster had a claim to be Christians. The
other wing of the Murji’ites is represented by Abu Hanifa, who held that
faith (_iman_) is acknowledgment with the tongue as well as the heart and
that works are a necessary supplement. This is little different from the
orthodox position which grew up, that persuasion, confession, and works
made up faith. When Murji’ism dropped out of existence as a sect it left
as its contribution to Islam a distinction between great and little sins
(_kabiras_, _saghiras_), and the position that even great sins, if not
involving polytheism (_shirk_), would not exclude the believer forever
from the Garden.

[Sidenote: QADARITES]

The second sect, that of Qadarites, had its origin in a philosophical
necessity of the human mind. A perception of the contradiction between
man’s consciousness of freedom and responsibility, on the one hand, and
the absolute rule and predestination of God, on the other, is the usual
beginning of the thinking life, both in individuals and in races. It was
so in Islam. In theology as in law, Muhammad had been an opportunist pure
and simple. On the one hand, his Allah is the absolute Semitic despot who
guides aright and leads astray, who seals up the hearts of men and opens
them again, who is mighty over all. On the other hand, men are exhorted
to repentance, and punishment is threatened against them if they remain
hardened in their unbelief. All these phases of a wandering and intensely
subjective mind, which lived only in the perception of the moment,
appear in the Qur’an. Muhammad was a poet rather than a theologian; just
as he was a prophet rather than a legislator. As soon, then, as the
Muslims paused in their career of conquest and began to think at all,
they thought of this. Naturally, so long as they were fighting in the
Path of God, it was the conception of God’s absolute sovereignty which
most appealed to them; by it their fates were fixed, and they charged
without fear the ranks of the unbelievers. In these earliest times,
the fatalistic passages bore most stress and the others were explained
away. This helped, at least, to bring it about that the party which in
time came to profess the freedom of man’s will, began and ended as an
heretical sect. But it only helped, and we must never lose sight of the
fact that the eventual victory in Islam of the absolute doctrine of God’s
eternal decree was the victory of the more fundamental of Muhammad’s
conflicting conceptions. The other had been much more a campaigning

This sect of Qadarites, whose origin we have been conditioning, derived
its name from their position that a man possessed _qadar_, or power, over
his actions. One of the first of them was a certain Ma‘bad al-Juhani,
who paid for his heresy with his life in A.H. 80. Historians tell that
he with Ata ibn Yassar, another of similar opinions, came one day to the
celebrated ascetic, al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110), and said, “O Abu Sa‘id,
those kings shed the blood of the Muslims, and do grievous things and say
that their works are by the decree of God.” To this al-Hasan replied,
“The enemies of God lie.” The story is only important as showing how the
times and their changes were widening men’s thoughts. Very soon, now,
we come from these drifting tendencies to a formal sect with a formal
secession and a fixed name. The Murji’ites and the Qadarites melt from
the scene, some of their tenets pass into orthodox Islam; some into the
new sect.


The story of its founding again connects with the outstanding figure
of al-Hasan al-Basri. He seems to have been the chief centre of the
religious life and movements of his time; his pupils appear and his
influence shows itself in all the later schools. Someone came to him
as he sat among his pupils and asked what his view was between the
conflicting Murji’ites and Wa‘idites, the first holding that the
committer of a great sin, if he had faith, was not an unbeliever, was to
be accepted as a Muslim and his case left in the hands of God; the other
laying more stress upon the threats (_wa‘id_) in the Book of God and
teaching that the committer of a great sin could not be a believer, that
he had, _ipso facto_, abandoned the true faith, must go into the Fire and
abide there. Before the master could reply, one of his pupils—some say
Amr ibn Ubayd (d. circ. 144), others, Wasil ibn Ata (d. 131)—broke in
with the assertion of an intermediate position. Such an one was neither
a believer nor an unbeliever. Then he left the circle which sat round
the master, went to another part of the mosque and began to develop his
view to those who gathered round him. The name believer (_mu’min_),
he taught, was a term of praise, and an evil-doer was not worthy of
praise, and could not have that name applied to him. But he was not an
unbeliever, either, for he assented to the faith. If he, then, died
unrepentant, he must abide forever in the Fire—for there are only two
divisions in the next world, heaven and hell—but his torments would be
mitigated on account of his faith. The position to which orthodox Islam
eventually came was that a believer could commit a great sin. If he did
so, and died unrepentant, he went to hell; but after a time would be
permitted to enter heaven. Thus, hell became for believers a sort of
purgatory. On this secession, al-Hasan only said “_I‘tazala anna_”—He
has seceded from us. So the new party was called the Mu‘tazila, the
Secession. That, at least, is the story, which may be taken for what it
is worth. The fixed facts are the rise at the beginning of the second
century after the Hijra of a tolerably definite school of dissenters from
the traditional ideas, and their application of reason to the dogmas of
the Qur’an.

We have noted already the influence of Christianity on Muhammad through
the hermits of the desert. From it sprang the asceticism of Islam
and that asceticism grew and developed into quietism and thence into
mysticism. The last step was still in the future, but already at this
time there were wandering monks who imitated their Christian brethren in
the wearing of a coarse woollen frock and were thence called Sufis, from
_suf_, wool. It was not long before Sufi came to mean mystic, and the
third of the three great threads was definitely woven into the fabric of
Muslim thought. But that was not the limit of Christian influence. Those
anchorites in their caves and huts had little training in the theology of
the schools; the dogmas of their faith were of a practical simplicity.
But in the development of the Murji’ites and Qadarites it is impossible
to mistake the workings of the dialectic refinements of Greek theology
as developed in the Byzantine and Syrian schools. It is worth notice,
too, that, while the political heresies of the Shi‘ites and Kharijites
held sway mostly in Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Persia, these more religious
heresies seem to have arisen in Syria first and especially at Damascus,
the seat of the Umayyads.


The Umayyad dynasty, we should remember, was in many ways a return to
pre-Muslim times and to an easy enjoyment of worldly things; it was a
rejection of the yoke of Muhammad in all but form and name. The fear
of the wrath of God had small part with the most of them; sometimes it
appeared in the form of an insane rebellion and defiance. Further, as
Muslim governments always have done, they sought aid in their task of
governing from their non-Muslim subjects. So it came about that Sergius,
the father of Johannes Damascenus, was treasurer under them and that
after his death, this John of Damascus himself, the last great doctor of
the Greek Church and the man under whose hands its theology assumed final
form, became wazir and held that post until he withdrew from the world
and turned to the contemplative life. In his writings and in those of
his pupil, Theodoras Abucara (d. A.D. 826), there are polemic treatises
on Islam, cast in the form of discussions between Christians and Muslims.
These represent, there can be little doubt, a characteristic of the time.
The close agreement of Murji’ite and Qadarite ideas with those formulated
and defended by John of Damascus and by the Greek Church generally can
only be so explained. The Murji’ite rejection of eternal punishment and
emphasis on the goodness of God and His love for His creatures, the
Qadarite doctrine of free-will and responsibility, are to be explained in
the same way as we have already explained the presence of sentences in
the Muslim _fiqh_ which seem to be taken bodily from the Roman codes. In
this case, also, we are not to think of the Muslim divines as studying
the writings of the Greek fathers, but as picking up ideas from them
in practical intercourse and controversy. The very form of the tract
of John of Damascus is significant, “When the Saracen says to you such
and such, then you will reply....” This, as a whole, is a subject which
calls for investigation, but so far it is clear that the influence of
Greek theology on Islam can hardly be overestimated. The one outstanding
fact of the enormous emphasis laid by both on the doctrine of the nature
of God and His attributes is enough. It may even be conjectured that
the harsher views developed by western Muslims, and especially by the
theologians of Spain, were due, on the other hand, to Augustinian and
Roman influence. It is, to say the least, a curious coincidence that
Spanish Islam never took kindly to metaphysical or scholastic theology,
in the exact sense, but gave almost all its energy to canon law.


But there were other influences to come. With the fall of the Umayyads
and the rise of the Abbasids, the intellectual centre of the empire moved
to the basin of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The story of the founding
of Baghdad there, in 145, we have already heard. We have seen, too, that
the victory of the Abbasids was, in a sense, a conquest of the Arabs by
the Persians. _Græcia capta_ and the rest came true here; the battles
of al-Qadisiya and Nahawand were avenged; Persian ideas and Persian
religion began slowly to work on the faith of Muhammad. At the court of
the earliest Abbasids it was fashionable to affect a little free thought.
People were becoming enlightened and played with philosophy and science.
Greek philosophy, Zoroastrianism, Manichæism, the old heathenism of
Harran, Judaism, Christianity—all were in the air and making themselves
felt. So long as the adherents and teachers of these took them in a
purely academic way, were good subjects and made no trouble, the earlier
Abbasids encouraged their efforts, gathered in the scientific harvest,
paid well for translations, instruments, and investigations, and
generally posed as patrons of progress.

But a line had to be drawn somewhere and drawn tightly. The victory of
the Abbasids had raised high hopes among the Persian nationalists. They
had thought that they were rallying to the overthrow of the Arabs, and
found, when all was done, that they had got only another Arab dynasty.
So revolts had begun to break out afresh, and now, curiously enough,
they were of a marked religious character. They were an expression of
religious sects, Buddhistic, Zoroastrian, Manichæan, and parties with
prophetic leaders of their own; all are swept together by Muslim writers
as _Zindiqs_, probably literally, “initiates,” originally Manichæans,
thereafter, practically non-Muslims concealing their unbelief. For
when not in open revolt they must needs profess Islam. In 167, we find
al-Mahdi, who was also, it is true, much more strict than his father,
al-Mansur, appointing a grand inquisitor to deal with such heretics.
Al-Mansur, however, had contented himself with crushing actual rebellion;
and Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, and heathen of Harran were tolerated so
long as they brought to him the fruits of Greek science and philosophy.

That they did willingly, and so, through three intermediaries, science
came to the Arabs. There was a heathen Syrian source with its centre at
Harran, of which we know comparatively little. There was a Christian
Syrian source working from the multitudinous monasteries scattered over
the country. There was a Persian source by which natural science, and
medicine especially, were passed on. Already in the fifth century A.D.
an academy of medicine and philosophy had been founded at Gondeshapur
in Khuzistan. One of the directors of this institution was summoned,
in 148, to prescribe for al-Mansur, and from that time on it furnished
court physicians to the Abbasids. On these three paths, then, Aristotle
and Plato, Euclid and Ptolemy, Galen and Hippocrates reached the Muslim


The first hundred years of the Abbasid Khalifate was the golden age of
Muslim science, the period of growth and development for the People of
Muhammad fairly as a whole. Intellectual life did not cease with the
close of that period, but the Khalifate ceased to aid in carrying the
torch. Thereafter, learning was protected and fostered by individual
rulers here and there, and individual investigators and scholars still
went on their own quiet paths. But free intellectual life among the
people was checked, and such learning as still generally flourished
fell more and more between fixed bounds. Scholasticism, with its formal
methods and systems, its subtle deductions and endless ramifications of
proof and counter-proof, drew away attention from the facts of nature.
The oriental brain studied itself and its own workings to the point
of dizziness, and then turned and clung fast to the certainties of
revelation. Under this spell heresy and orthodoxy proved alike sterile.

We return, now, to the beginnings of the Mu‘tazilites. These served
themselves heirs upon the Qadarites and denied that God predestined
the actions of men. Death and life, sickness, health, and external
vicissitudes came, they admitted, by God’s _qadar_, but it was
unthinkable that man should be punished for actions not in his control.
The freedom of the will is an _a priori_ certainty, and man possesses
_qadar_ over his own actions. This was the position of Wasil ibn Ata, of
whom we have already heard. But to it he added a second doctrine, the
origin of which is obscure, although suggestive of discussions with Greek
theologians. The Qur’an describes God as willing, knowing, decreeing,
etc.—strictly as the Willing One, the Knowing One, the Decreeing One,
etc.—and the orthodox hold that such expressions could only mean that
God possesses as Qualities (_sifat_) Will, Knowledge, Power, Life, etc.
To this Wasil raised objections. God was One, and such Qualities would
be separate Beings. Thus, his party and the Mu‘tazilites always called
themselves the People of Unity and Justice (_Ahl-at-tawhid wal‘adl_); the
Unity being of the divine nature, the Justice consisting in that they
opposed God’s _qadar_ over men and held that He must do for the creature
that which was best for it. Orthodox Islam held and holds that there can
be no necessity upon God, even to do justice; He is absolutely free,
and what He does man must accept. It flatly opposes the position held
by the Mu‘tazilites in general, that good and evil can be perceived and
distinguished by the intellect (_aql_). Good and evil have their nature
by God’s will, and man can learn to know them only by God’s teachings and
commands. Thus, except through revelation, there can be neither theology
nor ethics.

[Sidenote: ABU HUDHAYL]

The next great advance was made by Abu Hudhayl Muhammad al-Allaf (d.
_circa_ 226), a disciple of the second generation from Wasil. At his
hands the doctrine of God’s qualities assumed a more definite form. Wasil
had reduced God to a vague unity, a kind of eternal oneness. Abu Hudhayl
taught that the qualities were not _in_ His essence, and thus separable
from it, thinkable apart from it, but that they _were_ His essence. Thus,
God was omnipotent by His omnipotence, but it _was_ His essence and not
in His essence. He was omniscient by His omniscience and it _was_ His
essence. Further, he held that these qualities must be either negations
or relations. Nothing positive can be asserted of them, for that would
mean that there was in God the complexity of subject and predicate, being
and quality; and God is absolute Unity. This view the Muslim theologians
regard as a close approximation to the Christian Trinity; for them, the
persons of the Trinity have always been personified qualities, and such
seems really to have been the view of John of Damascus. Further, God’s
Will, according to Abu Hudhayl, as expressed in His Creative Word, did
not necessarily exist in a subject (_fi mahall_, _in subiecto_). When God
said, “Be!” creatively, there was no subject. Again, he endeavored—and in
this he was followed by most of the Mu‘tazilites—to cut down the number
of God’s attributes. His will, he said, was a form of His knowledge; He
knew that there was good in an action, and that knowledge was His will.

His position on the _qadar_ question was peculiar. With regard to this
world, he was a Qadarite; but in the next world, both in heaven and in
hell, he thought that all changes were by divine necessity. Otherwise,
that is, if men were free, there would be obligation to observe a law
(_taklif_); but there is no such obligation in the other world. Thus,
whatever happened there happened by God’s decree. Further, he taught
that, eventually, nothing would happen there; that there would be no
changes, but only an endless stillness in which those in heaven had all
its joys and those in hell all its pains. This is a close approximation
to the view of Jahm ibn Safwan, who held that after the judgment both
heaven and hell would pass away and God remain alone as He was in the
beginning. To these doctrines Abu Hudhayl seems to have been led by two
considerations, both significant for the drift of the Mu‘tazilites.
First, there was about their reasonings a grimness of logic touched with
utilitarianism. Thus, from their position that man could come by the
light of his reason to the knowledge of God and of virtue, they drew the
conclusion that it was man’s duty so to attain, and that God would damn
eternally every man who did not. Their utilitarianism, again, comes out
strikingly in their view of heaven and hell. These, at present, were
serving no useful purpose because they had no inhabitants; therefore, at
present, they did not exist. But this made difficulties for Abu Hudhayl.
What has a beginning must have an end. So he explained the end as the
ceasing of all changes. Second, he shows clear evidence of influence from
Greek philosophy. The Qur’an teaches that the world has been created in
time; Aristotle, that it is from eternity and to eternity. The creation,
Abu Hudhayl applied to changes; before that, the world _was_, but in
eternal rest. Hereafter, all changes will cease; rest will again enter
and endure to all eternity. We shall see how largely this doctrine was
advanced and developed by his successors.

But there were further complications in the doctrine of man’s actions and
into some of these we must enter, on account of their later importance.
Not everything that comes from the action of a man is by his action. God
has a creative part in it, apparently as regards the effects. Especially,
knowledge in the mind of a pupil does not come from the teacher, but from
God. The idea seems to be that the teacher may teach, but that the being
taught in the pupil is a divine working. Similarly, he distinguished
motions in the mind, which he held were not altogether due to the man,
and external motions which were. There is given, too, to a man at the
time of his performing an action an ability to perform the action, which
is a special accident in him apart from any mere soundness of health or

In these ways, Abu Hudhayl recognized God’s working through man. Another
of his positions had a similar basis and was a curious combination of
historical criticism and mysticism, a combination which we shall find
later in al-Ghazzali, a much greater man. The evidence of tradition for
things dealing with the Unseen World (_al-ghayb_) he rejected. Twenty
witnesses might hand on the tradition in question, but it was not to be
received unless among them there was one, at least, of the People of
Paradise. At all times, he taught, there were in the world these Friends
of God (_awliya Allah_, sing. _wali_), who were protected against all
greater sins and could not lie. It is the word of these that is the basis
for belief, and the tradition is merely a statement of what they have
said. This shows clearly how far the doctrine of the ecstatic life and of
knowledge gained through direct intercourse between the believer and God
had already advanced.

But Abu Hudhayl was only one in a group of daring and absolutely
free-minded speculators. They were applying to the ideas of the Qur’an
the keen solvent of Greek dialectic, and the results which they obtained
were of the most fantastically original character. Thrown into the wide
sea and utter freedom of Greek thought, their ideas had expanded to the
bursting point and, more than even a German metaphysician, they had lost
touch of the ground of ordinary life, with its reasonable probabilities,
and were swinging loose on a wild hunt after ultimate truth, wielding as
their weapons definitions and syllogisms. The lyric fervors of Muhammad
in the Qur’an gave scope enough of strange ideas from which to start, or
which had to be explained away. Their belief in the powers of the science
of logic was unfailing, and, armed with Aristotle’s “Analytics,” they
felt sure that certainty was within their reach. It was at the court and
under the protection of al-Ma’mun that they especially flourished, and
some account of the leading spirits among them will be necessary before
we describe how they reached their utmost pride of power and how they

[Sidenote: AN-NAZZAM]

An-Nazzam (d. 231) has the credit among later historians of having made
use, to a high degree, of the doctrines of the Greek philosophers. He
was one of the Satans of the Qadarites, say they; he read the books of
the philosophers and mingled their teachings with the doctrines of the
Mu‘tazilites. He taught, in the most absolute way, that God could do
nothing to a creature, either in this world or in the next, that was
not for the creature’s good and in accordance with strict justice. It
was not only that God _would_ not do it; He had not the power to do
anything evil. Evidently the personality of God was fast vanishing behind
an absolute law of right. To this, orthodox Islam opposed the doctrine
that God could do anything; He could forgive whom He willed, and punish
whom He willed. Further, he taught that God’s willing a thing meant only
that He did it in accordance with His knowledge; and when He willed
the action of a creature that meant only that He commanded it. This is
evidently to evade phrases in the Qur’an. Man, again, he taught, was
spirit (_ruh_), and the body (_badan_) was only an instrument. But this
spirit was a fine substance which flowed in the body like the essential
oil in a rose, or butter in milk. In a universe determined by strict
law, man alone was undetermined. He could throw a stone into the air,
and by his action the stone went up; but when the force of his throw was
exhausted it came again under law and fell. If he had only asked himself
how it came to fall, strange things might have happened. But he, and all
his fellows, were only playing with words like counters. Further, he
taught that God had created all created things at once, but that He kept
them in concealment until it was time for them to enter on the stage of
visible being and do their part. All things that ever will exist are thus
existing now, but, in a sense, _in retentis_. This seems to be another
attempt to solve the problem of creation in time, and it had important
consequences. Further, the Qur’an was no miracle (_mu‘jiz_) to him. The
only miraculous elements in it are the narratives about the Unseen World,
and past things and things to come, and the fact that God deprived the
Arabs of the power of writing anything like it. But for that, they could
easily have surpassed it as literature. As a high Imamite he rejected
utterly agreement and analogy. Only the divinely appointed Imam had the
right to supplement the teaching of Muhammad. We pass over some of his
metaphysical views, odd as they are. The Muslim writers on theological
history have classified him rightly as more of a physicist than a
metaphysician. He had a concrete mind and that fondness for playing with
metaphysical paradoxes which often goes with it.

[Sidenote: BISHR; MA‘MAR]

Another of the group was Bishr ibn al-Mu‘tamir. His principal
contribution was the doctrine of _tawlid_ and _tawallud_, begetting and
deriving. It is the transmission of a single action through a series of
objects; the agent meant to affect the first object only; the effect on
the others followed. Thus, he moves his hand, and the ring on his finger
is moved. What relation of responsibility, then, does he bear to these
derived effects? Generally, how are we to view a complex of causes acting
together and across one another? The answer of later orthodox Islam is
worth giving at this point. God creates in the man the will to move his
hand; He creates the movement of the hand and also the movement of the
ring. All is by God’s direct creation at the time. Further, could God
punish an infant or one who had no knowledge of the faith? Bishr’s reply
on the first point was simply a bit of logical jugglery to avoid saying
frankly that there was anything that God could not do. His answer on the
second was that God could have made a different and much better world
than this, a world in which all men might have been saved. But He was
not bound to make a better world—in this Bishr separates from the other
Mu‘tazilites—He was only bound to give man free-will and, then, either
revelation to guide him to salvation or reason to show him natural law.

With Ma‘mar ibn Abbad, the philosophies wax faster and more furious.
He succeeded in reducing the conception of God to a bare, indefinable
something. We could not say that God had knowledge. For it must be of
something in Himself or outside of Himself. If the first, then there was
a union of knower and known, and that is impossible; or a duality in the
divine nature, and that was equally impossible. Here Ma‘mar was evidently
on the road to Hegel. If the second, then His knowledge depended on
the existence of something other than Himself, and that did away with
His absoluteness. Similarly, he dealt with God’s Will. Nor could He be
described as _qadim_, prior to all things, for that word, in Arabic,
suggested sequence and time. By all this, he evidently meant that our
conceptions cannot be applied to God; that God is unthinkable by us.
On creation, he developed the ideas of an-Nazzam. Substances (_jisms_)
only were created by God, and by “substances” he seems to mean matter as
a whole; all changes in them, or it, come either of necessity from its
nature, as when fire burns, the sun warms; or of free-will, as always
in the animal world. God has no part in these things. He has given the
material and has nothing to do with the coming and going of separate
bodies; such are simple changes, forms of existence, and proceed from the
matter itself. Man is an incorporeal substance. The soul is the man and
his body is but a cover. This true man can only know and will; the body
perceives and does.

The last of this group whose views we need consider, is Thumama ibn
Ashras. He was of very dubious morals; was imprisoned as a heretic by
Harun ar-Rashid, but highly favored by al-Ma’mun, in whose Khalifate
he died, A.H. 213. He held that actions produced through _tawallud_
had no agent, either God or man. That knowledge of good and evil could
be produced by _tawallud_ through speculation, and is, therefore, an
action without an agent, and required even before revelation. That
Jews, Christians, Magians will be turned into dust in the next world
and will not enter either Paradise or Hell; the same will be the fate
of cattle and children. That any one of the unbelievers who does not
know his Creator is excusable. That all knowledge is _a priori_. That
the only action which men possess is will; everything besides that is a
production without a producer. That the world is the act of God by His
nature, _i.e._, it is an act which His nature compels Him to produce;
is, therefore, from eternity and to eternity with Him. It may be doubted
how far Thumama was a professional theologian and how far he was a
free-thinking, easy-living man of letters.

In all this, the influence of Greek theology and of Aristotle can be
clearly traced. With Aristotle had come to them the idea of the world
as law, an eternal construction subsisting and developing on fixed
principles. This conception of law shows itself in their thought frankly
at strife with Muhammad’s conception of God as will, as the sovereign
over all. Hence, the crudities and devices by which they strove to make
good their footing on strange ground and keep a right to the name of
Muslim, while changing the essence of their faith. The anthropomorphic
God of Muhammad, who has face and hands, is seen in Paradise by the
believer and settles Himself firmly upon His throne, becomes a spirit,
and a spirit, too, of the vaguest kind.


It remains now only to touch upon one or two points common to all the
Mu‘tazilites. First, the Beatific Vision of God in Paradise. It was a
fixed agreement of the early Muslim Church, based on texts of the Qur’an
and on tradition, that some believers, at least, would see and gaze upon
God in the other world; this was the highest delight held out to them.
But the Mu‘tazilites perceived that vision involved a directing of the
eyes on the part of the seer and position on the part of the seen. God
must, therefore, be in a place and thus limited. So they were compelled
to reject the agreement and the traditions in question and to explain
away the passages in the Qur’an. Similarly, in Qur’an vii. 52, we read
that God settled Himself firmly upon His throne. This, with other
anthropomorphisms of hands and feet and eyes, the Mu‘tazilites had to
explain away in a more or less cumbrous fashion.

With one other detail of this class we must deal at greater length. It
was destined to be the vital point of the whole Mu‘tazilite controversy
and the test by which theologians were tried and had their places
assigned. It had a weighty part also in bringing about the fall of the
Mu‘tazilites. There had grown up very early in the Muslim community
an unbounded reverence and awe in the presence of the Qur’an. In it
God speaks, addressing His servant, the Prophet; the words, with
few exceptions, are direct words of God. It is, therefore, easily
intelligible that it came to be called the word of God (_kalam Allah_).
But Muslim piety went further and held that it was uncreated and had
existed from all eternity with God. Whatever proofs of this doctrine may
have been brought forward later from the Qur’an itself, we can have no
difficulty in recognizing that it is plainly derived from the Christian
Logos and that the Greek Church, perhaps through John of Damascus, has
again played a formative part. So, in correspondence with the heavenly
and uncreated Logos in the bosom of the Father, there stands this
uncreated and eternal Word of God; to the earthly manifestation in Jesus
corresponds the Qur’an, the Word of God which we read and recite. The
one is not the same as the other, but the idea to be gained from the
expressions of the one is equivalent to the idea which we would gain
from the other, if the veil of the flesh were removed from us and the
spiritual world revealed.

[Sidenote: THE WORD OF GOD]

That this view grew up very early among the Muslims is evident from
the fact that it is opposed by Jahm ibn Safwan, who was killed toward
the end of the Umayyad period. It seems to have originated by a kind
of transfusion of ideas from Christianity and not as a result of
controversy or dialectic about the teachings of the Qur’an. We find
the orthodox party vehemently opposing discussion on the subject, as
indeed they did on all theological subjects. “Our fathers have told
us; it is the faith received from the Companions;” was their argument
from the earliest time we can trace. Malik ibn Anas used to cut off all
discussions with “_Bila kayfa_” (Believe without asking how); and he held
strongly that the Qur’an was uncreated. The same word _kalam_ which we
have found applied to the Word of God—both the eternal, uncreated Logos
and its manifestation in the Qur’an—was used by them most confusingly for
“disputation;” “he disputed” was _takallam_ and “one who disputed” was
_mutakallim_. All that was anathema to the pious, and it is amusing to
see the origin of what became later the technical terms for scholastic
theology and its students in their shuddering repulsion to all “talking
about” the sacred mysteries.

This opposition appeared in two forms. First, they refused to go an
inch beyond the statements in the Qur’an and tradition and to draw
consequences, however near the surface these consequences might seem
to lie. A story is told of al-Bukhari, (d. 257), late as he is, which
shows how far this went and how long it lasted. An inquisition was got
up against him out of envy by one of his fellow-teachers. The point of
attack was the orthodoxy of his position on the _lafz_ (utterance) of the
Qur’an; was it created or uncreated? He said readily that the Qur’an was
uncreated and was obstinately silent as to the utterance of it by men.
At last, persistent questioning drove him to an outburst. “The Qur’an
is the Word of God and is uncreated. The speech of man is created and
inquisition (_imtihan_) is an innovation (_bid‘a_).” But beyond that he
would not go, even to draw the conclusion of the syllogism which he had
indicated. Some, as we may gather from this story, had felt themselves
driven to hold that not only the Qur’an in itself but also the utterance
of it by the lips of men and the writing of it by men’s hands—all between
the boards, as they said—was uncreated. Others were coming to deny
absolutely the existence of the eternal Logos and that this revealed
Qur’an was uncreated in any sense. But others, as al-Bukhari, while
holding tenaciously that the Qur’an was uncreated, refused to make any
statement as to its utterance by men. There was nothing said about that
in Qur’an or tradition.

The second form of opposition was to any upholding of their belief by
arguments, except of the simplest and most apparent. That was an invasion
by reason (_aql_) of the realm of traditional faith (_naql_). When the
pious were eventually driven to dialectic weapons, their arguments show
that these were snatched up to defend already occupied positions. They
ring artificial and forced. Thus, in the Qur’an itself, the Qur’an is
called “knowledge from God.” It is, then, inseparable from God’s quality
of knowledge. But that is eternal and uncreated; therefore, so too, the
Qur’an. Again, God created everything by the word, “Be.” But this word
cannot have been created, otherwise a created word would be a creator.
Therefore, God’s word is uncreated. Again, there stands in the Qur’an
(vii, 52), “Are not the creation and the command His?” The command
here is evidently different from the creation, _i.e._, not created.
Further, God’s command creates; therefore it cannot be created. But it
is God’s word in command. It will be noticed here how completely God’s
word is hypostatized. This appears still more strongly in the following
argument. God said to Moses, (Qur. vii, 141), “I have chosen thee over
mankind with my apostolate and my word.” God, therefore, has a word. But,
again (Qur. iv, 162), He addresses Moses with this word (_kallama-llahu
Musa taklima_, evidently regarded as meaning that God’s word addressed
Moses) and said, “Lo, I am thy Lord.” This argument is supposed to put
the opponent in a dilemma. Either he rejects the fact of Moses being
so addressed, which is rejecting what God has said, and is, therefore,
unbelief; or he holds that the _kalam_ which so addresses Moses is a
created thing. Then, a created thing asserts that it is Moses’ Lord.
Therefore, God’s _kalam_ with which He addresses the prophets, or which
addresses the prophets, is eternal, uncreated.

But if this doctrine grew up early in Islam, opposition to it was
not slow in appearing, and that on different sides. Literary vanity,
national pride, and philosophical scruples all made themselves felt.
Even in Muhammad’s lifetime, according to the legend of the poet Labid
and the verses which he put up in challenge on the Ka‘ba, the Qur’an had
taken rank as inimitable poetry. At all points it was the Word of God
and perfect in every detail. But, among the Arabs, a jealous and vain
people, if there was one thing on which each was more jealous and vain
than another, it was skill in working with words. The superiority of
Muhammad as a Prophet of God they might endure, though often with a bad
grace; but Muhammad as a rival and unapproachable literary artist they
could not away with. So we find satire of the weaknesses of the Qur’an
appearing here and there, and it came to be a sign of emancipation and
freedom from prejudice to examine it in detail and balance it against
other products of the Arab genius. The rival productions of Musaylima,
the False Prophet, long enjoyed a semi-contraband existence, and Abu
Ubayda (d. 208) found it necessary to write a treatise in defence of
the metaphors of the Qur’an. Among the Persians this was still more the
case. To them, Muhammad might be a prophet, but he was also an Arab; and
while they accepted his mission, accepting his books in a literary way
was too much for them. As a prophet, he was a man; as a literary artist,
he was an Arab. So Jahm ibn Safwan may have felt; so, certainly, others
felt later. The poet Bashshar ibn Burd (killed for satire, in 167), a
companion of Wasil ibn Ata and a Persian of very dubious orthodoxy, used
to amuse himself by comparing poems by himself and others with passages
in the Qur’an, to the disadvantage of the latter. And Ibn al-Muqaffa
(killed about 140), the translator of “Kalila and Dimna” and many other
books into Arabic, and a Persian nationalist, is said to have planned an
imitation of the Qur’an.


Added to all this came the influence of the Mu‘tazilite theologians. They
had a double ground for their opposition. The doctrine of an absolutely
divine and perfect book limited them too much in their intellectual
freedom. They were willing to respect and use the Qur’an, but not to
accept its _ipsissima verba_. Regarded as the production of Muhammad
under divine influence, it could have a human and a divine side, and
things which needed to be dropped or changed in it could be ascribed to
the human side. But that was not possible with a miraculous book come
down from heaven. In a word, they were meeting the difficulty which has
been met by Christianity in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The least they could do was to deny that the Qur’an was uncreated.

But they had a still more vital, if not more important, philosophical
base of objection. We have seen already how they viewed the doctrine of
God’s qualities (_sifat_) and tried to limit them in every way. These
qualities ran danger, they held, of being hypostatized into separate
persons like those in the Christian Trinity, and we have just seen how
near that danger really lay in the case of God’s _kalam_. In orthodox
Islam it has become a plain Logos.

The position in this of an-Nazzam has been given above. It is interesting
as showing that the Qur’an, even then, was given as a probative miracle
(_mu‘jiz_) because it deprived all men of power (_i‘jaz_) to imitate it.
That is, its æsthetic perfection was raised to the miraculous degree and
then regarded as a proof of its divine origin. But al-Muzdar, a pupil of
Bishr ibn al Mu‘tamir and an ascetic of high rank, called the Monk of
the Mu‘tazilites, went still further than an-Nazzam. He flatly damned as
unbelievers all who held the eternity of the Qur’an; they had taken unto
themselves two Gods. Further, he asserted that men were quite capable of
producing a work even finer than the Qur’an in point of style. But the
force of this opinion is somewhat diminished by the liberality with which
he denounced his opponents in general as unbelievers. Stories are told
of him very much like those in circulation with us about those who hold
that few will be saved, and it is worth noticing that upon this point of
salvability the Mu‘tazilites were even narrower than the orthodox.


    Al-Ma’mun and the triumph of the Mu‘tazilites; the Mihna and
    Ahmad ibn Hanbal; al-Farabi; the Fatimids and the Ikhwan
    as-Safa; the early mystics, ascetic and pantheistic; al-Hallaj.

Such for long was the situation between the Mu‘tazilites and their
orthodox opponents. From time to time the Mu‘tazilites received more
or less protection and state favor; at other times, they had to seek
safety in hiding. Popular favor they seem never to have enjoyed. As the
Umayyads grew weak, they became more stiff in their orthodoxy; but with
the Abbasids, and especially with al-Mansur, thought was again free. As
has been shown above, encouragement of science and research was part of
the plan of that great man, and he easily saw that the intellectual hope
of the future was with these theological and philosophical questioners.
So their work went slowly on, with a break under Harun ar-Rashid, a
magnificent but highly orthodox monarch, who understood no trifling with
things of the faith. It is an interesting but useless question whether
Islam could ever have been broadened and developed to the point of
enduring in its midst free speculation and research. As the case stands
in history, it has known periods of intellectual life, but only under
the protection of isolated princes here and there. It has had Augustan
ages; it has never had great popular yearnings after wider knowledge.
Its intellectual leaders have lived and studied and lectured at courts;
they have not gone down and taught the masses of the people. To that the
democracy of Islam has never come. Hampered by scholastic snobbishness,
it has never learned that the abiding victories of science are won in the
village school.

[Sidenote: AL-MA’MUN]

But most unfortunately for the Mu‘tazilites and for Islam, a Khalifa
arose who had a relish for theological discussions and a high opinion
of his own infallibility. This was al-Ma’mun. It did not matter that
he ranged himself on the progressive side; his fatal error was that he
invoked the authority of the state in matters of the intellectual and
religious life. Thus, by enabling the conservative party to pose as
martyrs, he brought the prejudices and passions of the populace still
more against the new movement. He was that most dangerous of all beings,
a doctrinaire despot. He had ideas and tried to make other people live up
to them. Al-Mansur, though a bloody tyrant, had been a great statesman
and had known how to bend people and things quietly to his will. He had
sketched the firm outlines of a policy for the Abbasids, but had been
cautious how he proclaimed his programme to the world. The world would
come to him in time, and he could afford to wait and work in the dark.
He knew, above all, that no people would submit to be school-mastered
into the way in which they should go. Al-Ma’mun, for all his genius,
was at heart a school-master. He was an enlightened patron of an
enlightened Islam. Those who preferred to dwell in the darkness of the
obscurant, he first scolded and then punished. Discussions in theology
and comparative religion were his hobby. That some such interchange of
letters between Muslims and Christians as that which crystallized in
the Epistle of al-Kindi took place at his court seems certain. Bishr
al-Marisi, who had lived in hiding in ar-Rashid’s time on account of his
heretical views, disputed, in 209, before al-Ma’mun on the nature of the
Qur’an. He founded at Baghdad an academy with library, laboratories, and
observatory. All the weight of his influence was thrown on the side of
the Mu‘tazilites. It appeared as though he were determined to pull his
people up by force from their superstition and ignorance.

At last, he took the final and fatal step. In 202 a decree appeared
proclaiming the doctrine of the creation of the Qur’an as the only
truth, and as binding upon all Muslims. At the same time, as an evident
sop to the Persian nationalists and the Alids, Ali was proclaimed the
best of creatures after Muhammad. The Alids, it should be remembered,
had close points of contact with the Mu‘tazilites. Such a theological
decree as this was a new thing in Islam; never before had the individual
consciousness been threatened by a word from the throne. The Mu‘tazilites
through it practically became a state church under erastian control. But
the system of Islam never granted to the Imam, or leader of the Muslim
people, any position but that of a protector and representative. Its
theology could only be formed, as we have seen in the case of its law,
by the agreement of the whole community. The question then naturally
was what effect such a new thing as this decree could have except to
exasperate the orthodox and the masses. Practically, there was no other
effect. Things went on as before. All that it meant was that one very
prominent Muslim had stated his opinion and thrown in his lot with

For six years this continued, and then a method was devised of bringing
the will of the Khalifa home upon the people. In 217 a distinguished
Mu‘tazilite, Ahmad ibn Abi Duwad, was appointed chief qadi, and in 218
the decree was renewed. But this time it was accompanied by what we would
call a test-act, and an inquisition (_mihna_) was instituted. The letter
of directions for the conduct of this matter, written by al-Ma’mun to his
lieutenant at Baghdad, is decisive as to the character of the man and the
nature of the movement. It is full of railings against the common people
who know not the law and are accursed. They are too stupid to understand
philosophy or argument. It is the duty of the Khalifa to guide them and
especially to show them the distinction between God and His book. He who
holds otherwise than the Khalifa is either too blind or too lying and
deceitful to be trusted in any other thing. Therefore, the qadis must
be tested as to their views. If they hold that the Qur’an is uncreated,
they have abandoned _tawhid_, the doctrine of God’s Unity, and can no
longer hold office in a Muslim land. Also, the qadis must apply the same
test to all the witnesses in cases before them. If these do not hold that
the Qur’an is created, they cannot be legal witnesses. Other letters
followed; the Mihna was extended through the Abbasid empire and applied
to other doctrines, _e.g._, that of free-will and of the vision of God.
The Khalifa also commanded that the death penalty for unbelief (_kufr_)
should be inflicted on those who refused to take the test. They were to
be regarded as idolaters and polytheists. The death of al-Ma’mun in the
same year relieved the pressure. It is true that the Mihna was continued
by his successor, al-Mu‘tasim, and by his successor, al-Wathiq, but
without energy; it was more a handy political weapon than anything else.
In 234, the second year of al-Mutawakkil, it was abolished and the Qur’an
decreed uncreated. At the same time the Alids and all Persian nationalism
came under a ban. Practically, the _status quo ante_ was restored and
Mu‘tazilism was again left a struggling heresy. The Arab party and the
pure faith of Muhammad had reasserted themselves.


In this long conflict, the most prominent figure was certainly that of
Ahmad ibn Hanbal. He was the trust and strength of the orthodox; that he
stood fast through imprisonment and scourging defeated the plans of the
Mu‘tazilites. In dealing with the development of law, we have seen what
his legal position was. The same held in theology. Scholastic theology
(_kalam_) was his abomination. Those who disputed over doctrines he cast
out. That their dogmatic position was the same as his made no difference.
For him, theological truth could not be reached by reasoning (_aql_);
tradition (_naql_) from the fathers (_as-salaf_) was the only ground on
which the dubious words of the Qur’an could be explained. So, in his
long examinations before the officials of al-Ma‘mun and al-Mu‘tasim, he
contented himself with repeating either the words of the Qur’an which
for him were proofs or such traditions as he accepted. Any approach to
drawing a consequence he utterly rejected. When they argued before him,
he kept silence.

What, then, we may ask, was the net result of this incident? for it was
nothing more. The Mu‘tazilites dropped back into their former position,
but under changed conditions. The sympathy of the populace was further
from them than ever. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, saint and ascetic, was the idol
of the masses; and he, in their eyes, had maintained single-handed the
honor of the Word of God. For his persecutors there was nothing but
hatred. And after he had passed away, the conflict was taken up with
still fiercer bitterness by the school of law founded by his pupils. They
continued to maintain his principles of Qur’an and tradition long after
the Mu‘tazilites themselves had practically vanished from the scene, and
all that was left for them to contend against was the modified system of
scholastic theology which is now the orthodox theology of Islam. With
these reactionary Hanbalites we shall have to deal later.


The Mu‘tazilites, on their side, having seen the shipwreck of their
hopes and the growing storm of popular disfavor, seem to have turned
again to their scholastic studies. They became more and more theologians
affecting a narrower circle, and less and less educators of the world
at large. Their system became more metaphysical and their conclusions
more unintelligible to the plain man. The fate which has fallen on all
continued efforts of the Muslim mind was coming upon them. Beggarly
speculations and barren hypotheses, combats of words over names, sapped
them of life and reality. What the ill-fated friendship of al-Ma’mun had
begun was carried on and out by the closed circle of Muslim thought.
They separated into schools, one at al-Basra and another at Baghdad. At
Baghdad the point especially developed was the old question, What is a
thing (_shay_)? They defined a thing, practically, as a concept that
could be known and of which something could be said. Existence (_wujud_)
did not matter. It was only a quality which could be there or not.
With it, the thing was an entity (_mawjud_); without it, a non-entity
(_ma‘dum_), but still a thing with all equipment of substance (_jawhar_)
and accident (_arad_), genus and species. The bearing of this was
especially upon the doctrine of creation. Practically, by God’s adding
a single quality, things entered the sphere of existence and _were_ for
us. Here, then, is evidently an approach to a doctrine of pre-existent
matter. At al-Basra the relation of God to His qualities was especially
discussed, and there it came to be pretty nearly a family dispute between
al-Jubba‘i (d. 303) and his son Abu Hashim. Orthodox Islam held that
God has qualities, existent, eternal, added to His essence; thus, He
knows, for example, by such a quality of knowledge. The students of Greek
philosophy and the Shi‘ites denied this and said that God knew by His
essence. We have seen already Mu‘tazilite views as to this point. Abu
Hudhayl held that these qualities _were_ God’s essence and not _in_ it.
Thus, He knew by a quality of knowledge, but that quality _was_ His
essence. Al-Jubba‘i contented himself with safeguarding this statement.
God knew in accordance with His essence, but it was neither a quality nor
a state (_hal_) which required that He should be a knower. The orthodox
had said the first; his son, Abu Hashim, said the second. He held that we
know an essence and know it under different conditions. The conditions
varied but the essence remained. These conditions are not thinkable by
themselves, for we know them only in connection with the essence. These
are states; they are different from the essence, but do not exist apart
from it. Al-Jubba‘i opposed to this a doctrine that these states were
really subjective in the mind of the perceiver, either generalizations
or relationships existing mentally but not externally. This controversy
spun itself out at great length through centuries. It eventually
resolved itself into the fundamental metaphysical inquiry, What is a
thing? A powerful school came to a conclusion that would have delighted
the soul of Mr. Herbert Spencer. Things are four, they said, entities,
non-entities, states and relationships. As we have seen above, al-Jubba‘i
denied the reality of both states and relationships. Orthodox Islam has
been of a divided opinion.

But all this time, other movements had been in progress, some of
which were to be of larger future importance than this fossilizing
intellectualism. In 255 al-Jahiz died. Though commonly reckoned a
Mu‘tazilite he was really a man of letters, free in life and thought. He
was a maker of books, learned in the writings of the philosophers and
rather inclined to the doctrines of the Tabi‘iyun, deistic naturalists.
His confession of faith was of the utmost simplicity. He taught that
whoever held that God had neither body nor form, could not be seen with
the eyes, was just and willed no evil deeds, such was a Muslim in truth.
And, further, if anyone was not capable of philosophical reflection, but
held that Allah was his Lord and that Muhammad was the Apostle of Allah,
he was blameless and nothing more should be required of him. Here we have
evidently in part a reaction from the subtilties of controversy, and in
part an attempt to broaden theology enough to give even the unsettled
a chance to remain in the Muslim Church. Something of the same kind we
shall find, later, in the case of Ibn Rushd. Finally, we have probably
to see in his remark that the Qur’an was a body, turned at one time into
a man and at another into a beast, a satirical comment on the great
controversy of his time.

[Sidenote: AL-JAHIZ; AL-KINDI]

Al-Jahiz may be for us a link with the philosophers proper, the students
of the wisdom of the Greeks. He represents the stand-point of the
educated man of the time, and was no specialist in anything but a general
scepticism. In the first generation of the philosophers of Islam, in
the narrower sense, stands conspicuously al-Kindi, commonly called the
Philosopher of the Arabs. The name belongs to him of right, for he is
almost the only example of a student of Aristotle, sprung from the
blood of the desert. But he was hardly a philosopher in any independent
sense. His rôle was translating, and during the reigns of al-Ma’mun
and al-Mu‘tasim a multitude of translations and original works _de omni
scibili_ came from his hands; the names of 265 of these have come down
to us. In the orthodox reaction under al-Mutawakkil he fared ill; his
library was confiscated but afterward restored. He died about 260, and
with him dies the brief, golden century of eager acquisition, and the
scholastic period enters in philosophy as in theology.


That the glory was departing from Baghdad and the Khalifate is shown by
the second important name in philosophy. It is that of al-Farabi, who
was born at Farab in Turkestan, lived and worked in the brilliant circle
which gathered round Sayf ad-Dawla, the Hamdanid, at his court at Aleppo.
In music, in science, in philology, and in philosophy, he was alike
master. Aristotle was his passion, and his Arabic contemporaries and
successors united in calling him the second teacher, on account of his
success in unknotting the tangles of the Greek system. It was in truth
a tangled system which came to him, and a tangled system which he left.
The Muslim philosophers began, in their innocence, with the following
positions: The Qur’an is truth and philosophy is truth; but truth can
only be one; therefore, the Qur’an and philosophy must agree. Philosophy
they accepted in whole-hearted faith, as it came to them from the Greeks
through Egypt and Syria. They took it, not as a mass of more or less
contradictory speculation, but as a form of truth. They, in fact, never
lost a certain theological attitude. Under such conditions, then, Plato
came to them; but it was mostly Plato as interpreted by Porphyrius,
that is, as neo-Platonism. Aristotle, too, came to them in the guise
of the later Peripatetic schools. But in Aristotle, especially, there
entered a perfect knot of entanglement and confusion. During the reign of
al-Mu‘tasim, a Christian of Emessa in the Lebanon—the history in details
is obscure—translated parts of the “Enneads” of Plotinus into Arabic
and entitled his work “The Theology of Aristotle.” A more unlucky bit
of literary mischief and one more far-reaching in its consequences has
never been. The Muslims took it all as solemnly as they took the text of
the Qur’an. These two great masters, Plato and Aristotle, they said, had
expounded the truth, which is one. Therefore, there must be some way of
bringing them into agreement. So generations of toilers labored valiantly
with the welter of translations and pseudographs to get out of them and
into them the one truth. The more pious added the third element of the
Qur’an, and it must remain a marvel and a magnificent testimonial to
their skill and patience that they got even so far as they did and that
the whole movement did not end in simple lunacy. That al-Farabi should
have been so incisive a writer, so wide a thinker and student; that Ibn
Sina should have been so keen and clear a scientist and logician; that
Ibn Rushd should have known—really known—and commented his Aristotle
as he did, shows that the human brain, after all, is a sane brain and
has the power of unconsciously rejecting and throwing out nonsense and

But it is not wonderful that, dealing with such materials and
contradictions, they developed a tendency to mysticism. There were many
things which they felt compelled to hold which could only be defended
and rationalized in that cloudy air and slanting light. Especially,
no one but a mystic could bring together the emanations of Plotinus,
the ideas of Plato, the spheres of Aristotle and the seven-storied
heaven of Muhammad. With this matter of mysticism we shall have to deal
immediately. Of al-Farabi it is enough to say that he was one of the most
patient of the laborers at that impossible problem. It seems never to
have occurred to him, or to any of the others, that the first and great
imperative was to verify his references and sources. The oriental, like
the mediæval scholastic, tests minutely the form of his syllogism, but
takes little thought whether his premises state facts or not. With a
scrupulous scepticism in deduction, he combines a childlike acceptance on
tradition or on the narrowest of inductions.

[Sidenote: AL-FARABI]

But there are other and more ominous signs in al-Farabi of the scholastic
decline. There appears first in him that tendency toward the writing
of encyclopædic compends, which always means superficiality and the
commonplace. Al-Farabi himself could not be accused of either, but
that he thus claimed all knowledge for his portion showed the risk of
the premature circle and the small gain. Another is mysticism. He is a
neo-Platonist, more exactly a Plotinian; although he himself would not
have recognized this title. He held, as we have seen, that he was simply
retelling the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle. But he was also a devout
Muslim. He seems to have taken in earnest all the bizarre details of
Muslim cosmography and eschatology; the Pen, the Tablet, the Throne, the
Angels in all their ranks and functions mingle picturesquely with the
system of Plotinus, his ἕν, his ψυχή, his νοῦς, his receptive and active
intellects. But to make tenable this position he had to take the great
leap of the mystic. Unto us these things are impossible; with God, i.e.,
on another plane of existence, they are the simplest realities. If the
veil were taken from our eyes we would see them. This has always been the
refuge of the devout Muslim who has tampered with science. We shall look
for it more in detail when we come to al-Ghazzali, who has put it into
classical form.

Again, he was, in modern terms, a monarchist and a clericalist. His
conception of the model state is a strange compound of the republic of
Plato and Shi‘ite dreams of an infallible Imam. Its roots lie, of course,
in the theocratic idea of the Muslim state; but his city, which is to
take in all mankind, a Holy Roman Empire and a Holy Catholic Church at
once, a community of saints ruled by sages, shows a later influence than
that of the mother city of Islam, al-Madina, under Abu Bakr and Umar.
The influence is that of the Fatimids with their capital, al-Mahdiya,
near Tunis. The Hamdanids were Shi‘ites and Sayf ad-Dawla, under whom
al-Farabi enjoyed peace and protection, was a vassal of the Fatimid

This brings us again to the great mystery of Muslim history. What was the
truth of the Fatimid movement? Was the family of the Prophet the fosterer
of science from the earliest times? What degree of contact had they with
the Mu‘tazilites? With the founders of grammar, of alchemy, of law? That
they were themselves the actual beginners of everything—and everything
has been claimed for them—we may put down to legend. But one thing does
stand fast. Just as al-Ma’mun combined the establishment of a great
university at Baghdad with a favoring of the Alids, so the Fatimids in
Cairo erected a great hall of science and threw all their influence and
authority into the spreading and extending of knowledge. This institution
seems to have been a combination of free public library and university,
and was probably the gateway connecting between the inner circle of
initiated Fatimid leaders and the outside, uninitiated world. We have
already seen how unhappy were the external effects of the Shi‘ite, and
especially of the Fatimid, propaganda on the Muslim world. But from
time to time we become aware of a deep undercurrent of scientific and
philosophical labor and investigation accompanying that propaganda, and
striving after knowledge and truth. It belongs to the life below the
surface, which we can know only through its occasional outbursts. Some of
these are given above; others will follow. The whole matter is obscure
to the last degree, and dogmatic statements and explanations are not in
place. It may be that it was only a natural drawing together on the part
of all the different forces and movements that were under a ban and had
to live in secrecy and stillness. It may be that the students of the
new sciences passed over, simply through their studies and political
despair—as has often happened in our day—into different degrees of
nihilism, or, at the other extreme, into a passionate searching for, and
dependence on, some absolute guide, an infallible Imam. It may be that
we have read wrongly the whole history of the Fatimid movement; that it
was in reality a deeply laid and slowly ripened plan to bring the rule of
the world into the control of a band of philosophers, whose task it was
to be to rule the human race and gradually to educate it into self-rule;
that they saw—these unknown devotees of science and truth—no other way of
breaking down the barriers of Islam and setting free the spirits of men.
A wild hypothesis! But in face of the real mystery no hypothesis can seem

[Sidenote: IKHWAN AS-SAFA]

Closely allied with both al-Farabi and the Fatimids is the association
known as the Sincere Brethren (_Ikhwan as-safa_). It existed at al-Basra
in the middle of the fourth century of the Hijra during the breathing
space which the free intellectual life enjoyed after the capture of
Baghdad by the Buwayhids in 334. It will be remembered how that Persian
dynasty was Shi‘ite by creed and how it, for the time, completely clipped
the claws of the orthodox and Sunnite Abbasid Khalifas. The only thing,
thereafter, which heretics and philosophers had to fear was the enmity
of the populace, but that seems to have been great enough. The Hanbalite
mob of Baghdad had grown to be a thing of terror. It was, then, an
educational campaign on which this new philosophy had to enter. Their
programme was by means of clubs, propagating themselves and spreading
over the country from al-Basra and Baghdad, to reach all educated people
and introduce among them gradually a complete change in their religious
and scientific ideas. Their teaching was the same combination of
neo-Platonic speculation and mysticism with Aristotelian natural science,
wrapped in Mu‘tazilite theology, that we have already known. Only there
was added to it a Pythagorean reverence for numbers, and everything,
besides, was treated in an eminently superficial and popularized
manner. Our knowledge of the Fraternity and its objects is based on its
publication, “The Epistles of the Sincere Brethren” (_Rasa’il ikhwan
as-safa_) and upon scanty historical notices. The Epistles are fifty
or fifty-one in number and cover the field of human knowledge as then
conceived. They form, in fact, an Arabic _Encyclopédie_. The founders of
the Fraternity, and authors, presumably, of the Epistles, were at most
ten. We have no certain knowledge that the Fraternity ever took even
its first step and spread to Baghdad. Beyond that almost certainly the
development did not pass. The division of members into four—learners,
teachers, guides, and drawers near to God in supernatural vision—and the
plan of regular meetings of each circle for study and mutual edification
remained in its paper form. The society was half a secret one and lacked,
apparently, vitality and energy. There was among its founders no man of
weight and character. So it passed away and has left only these Epistles
which have come down to us in numerous MSS., showing how eagerly they
have been read and copied and how much influence they at least must have
exercised. That influence must have been very mixed. It was, it is
true, for intellectual life, yet it carried with it in a still higher
degree the defects we have already noticed in al-Farabi. To them must be
added the most simple skimming of all real philosophical problems and a
treatment of nature and natural science which had lost all connection
with facts.


It has been suggested, and the suggestion seems luminous and fertile,
that this Fraternity was simply a part of the great Fatimid propaganda
which, as we know, honey-combed the ground everywhere under the Sunnite
Abbasids. Descriptions which have reached us of the methods followed
by the leaders of the Fraternity agree exactly with those of the
missionaries of the Isma‘ilians. They raised difficulties and suggested
serious questionings; hinted at possible answers but did not give them;
referred to a source where all questions would be answered. Again,
their catch-words and fixed phrases are the same as those afterward
used by the Assassins, and we have traces of these Epistles forming a
part of the sacred library of the Assassins. It is to be remembered
that the Assassins were not simply robber bands who struck terror by
their methods. Both the western and the eastern branches were devoted
to science, and it may be that in their mountain fortresses there
was the most absolute devotion to true learning that then existed.
When the Mongols captured Alamut, they found it rich in MSS. and in
instruments and apparatus of every kind. It is then possible that the
elevated eclecticism of the _Ikhwan as-safa_ was the real doctrine of
the Fatimids, the Assassins, the Qarmatians and the Druses; certainly,
wherever we can test them there is the most singular agreement. It is a
mechanical and æsthetic pantheism, a glorification of Pythagoreanism,
with its music and numbers; idealistic to the last degree; a worship and
pursuit of a conception of a harmony and beauty in all the universe,
to find which is to find and know the Creator Himself. It is thus far
removed from materialism and atheism, but could easily be misrepresented
as both. This, it is true, is a very different explanation from the one
given in our first Part; it can only be put along-side of that and left
there. The one expresses the practical effect of the Isma‘ilians in
Islam; the other what may have been their ideal. However we judge them,
we must always remember that somewhere in their teaching, at its best,
there was a strange attraction for thinking and troubled men. Nasir ibn
Khusraw, a Persian Faust, found peace at Cairo between 437 and 444 in
recognizing the divine Imamship of al-Mustansir, and after a life of
persecution died in that faith as a hermit in the mountains of Badakhshan
in 481. The great Spanish poet, Ibn Hani, who died in 362, similarly
accepted al-Mu‘izz as his spiritual chief and guide.

[Sidenote: IBN KARRAM]

Another eclectic sect, but on a very different principle, was that of the
Karramites, founded by Abu Abd Allah ibn Karram, who died in 256. Its
teachings had the honor to be accepted and protected by no less a man
than the celebrated Mahmud of Ghazna (388-421), Mahmud the Idol-breaker,
the first invader of India and the patron of al-Beruni, Firdawsi, Ibn
Sina and many another. But that, to which we will return, belongs to a
later date and, probably, to a modified form of Ibn Karram’s teaching.
For himself, he was an ascetic of Sijistan and, according to the story,
a man of no education. He lost himself in theological subtleties which
he seems to have failed to understand. However, out of them all he put
together a book which he called “The Punishment of the Grave,” which
spread widely in Khurasan. It was, in part, a frank recoil to the
crassest anthropomorphism. Thus, for him, God actually sat upon the
throne, was in a place, had direction and so could move from one point
to another. He had a body with flesh, blood, and limbs; He could be
embraced by those who were purified to the requisite point. It was a
literal acceptance of the material expressions of the Qur’an along with a
consideration of how they could be so, and an explanation by comparison
with men—all opposed to the principle _bila kayfa_. So, apparently,
we must understand the curious fact that he was also a Murji’ite and
held faith to be only acknowledgment with the tongue. All men, except
professed apostates, are believers, he said, because of that primal
covenant, taken by God with the seed of Adam, when He asked, “Am I not
your Lord?” (_Alastu bi-rabbikum_) and they, brought forth from Adam’s
loins for the purpose, made answer, “Yea, verily, in this covenant
we remain until we formally cast it off.” This, of course, involved
taking God’s qualities in the most literal sense. So, if we are to see
in the Mu‘tazilites scholastic commentators trying to reduce Muhammad,
the poet, to logic and sense, we must see in Ibn Karram one of those
wooden-minded literalists, for whom a metaphor is a ridiculous lie if it
cannot be taken in its external meaning. He was part of the great stream
of conservative reaction, in which we find also such a man as Ahmad ibn
Hanbal. But the saving salt of Ahmad’s sense and reverence kept him by
the safe proviso “without considering how and without comparison.” All
Ahmad’s later followers were not so wise. In his doctrine of the state
Ibn Karram inclined to the Kharijites.

Before we return to al-Jubba‘i and the fate of the Mu‘tazilites, it
remains to trace more precisely the thread of mysticism, that _kashf_,
revelation, which we have already mentioned several times. Its
fundamental fact is that it had two sides, an ascetic and a speculative,
different in degree, in spirit and in result, and yet so closely
entangled that the same mystic has been assigned, in good and in bad
faith, as an adherent of both.

[Sidenote: WOMEN SAINTS]

It is to the form of mysticism which sprang from asceticism that we must
first turn. Attention has been given above to the wandering monks and
hermits, the _sa’ihs_ (wanderers) and _rahibs_ who caught Muhammad’s
attention and respect. We have seen, too, how Muslim imitators began
in their turn to wander through the land, clad in the coarse woollen
robes which gave them the name of Sufis, and living upon the alms of the
pious. How early these appeared in any number and as a fixed profession
is uncertain, but we find stories in circulation of meetings between
such mendicant friars and al-Hasan al-Basri himself. Women, too, were
among them, and it is possible that to their influence a development of
devotional love-poetry was due. At least, many verses of this kind are
ascribed to a certain Rabi‘a, an ascetic and ecstatic devotee of the most
extreme other-worldliness, who died in 135. Many other women had part in
the contemplative life. Among them may be mentioned, to show its grasp
and spread, A’isha, daughter of Ja‘far as-Sadiq, who died in 145; Fatima
of Naysabur, who died in 223, and the Lady Nafisa, a contemporary and
rival in learning with ash-Shafi‘i and the marvel of her time in piety
and the ascetic life. Her grave is one of the most venerated spots in
Cairo, and at it wonders are still worked and prayer is always answered.
She was a descendant of al-Hasan, the martyred ex-Khalifa, and an example
of how the fated family of the Prophet was an early school for women
saints. Even in the Heathenism we have traces of female penitents and
hermits, and the tragedy of Ali and his sons and descendants gave scope
for the self-sacrifice, loving service and religious enthusiasm with
which women are dowered.

All these stood and stand in Islam on exactly the same footing as men.
The distinction in Roman Christendom that a woman cannot be a priest
there falls away, for in Islam is neither priest nor layman. They lived
either as solitaries or in conventual life exactly as did the men. They
were called by the same terms in feminine form; they were Sufiyas beside
the Sufis; Zahidas (ascetics) beside the Zahids; Waliyas (friends of
God) beside the Walis; Abidas (devotees) beside the Abids. They worked
wonders (_karamat_, closely akin to the χαρίσματα of 1 Cor. xii, 9)
by the divine grace, and still, as we have seen, at their own graves
such are granted through them to the faithful, and their intercession
(_shafa‘a_) is invoked. Their religious exercises were the same; they
held _dhikrs_ and women darwishes yet dance to singing and music in order
to bring on fits of ecstasy. To state the case generally, whatever is
said hereafter of mysticism and its workings among men must be taken as
applying to women also.

To return: one of the earliest male devotees of whom we have distinct
note is Ibrahim ibn Adham. He was a wanderer of royal blood, drifted
from Balkh in Afghanistan to al-Basra and to Mecca. He died in 161.
Contempt for the learning of lawyers and for external forms appears in
him; obedience to God, contemplation of death, death to the world formed
his teaching. Another, Da’ud ibn Nusayr, who died in 165, was wont to
say, “Flee men as thou fleest a lion. Fast from the world and let the
breaking of thy fast be when thou diest.” Another, al-Fudayl ibn Iyad of
Khurasan, who died in 187, was a robber converted by a heavenly voice;
he cast aside the world, and his utterances show that he lapsed into the
passivity of quietism.

Reference has already been made in the chapter on jurisprudence to
the development of asceticism which came with the accession of the
Abbasids. The disappointed hopes of the old believers found an outlet
in the contemplative life. They withdrew from the world and would have
nothing to do with its rulers; their wealth and everything connected
with them they regarded as unclean. Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his later life
had to use all his obstinacy and ingenuity to keep free of the court and
its contamination. Another was this al-Fudayl. Stories—chronologically
impossible—are told how he rebuked Harun ar-Rashid for his luxury and
tyranny and denounced to his face his manner of life. With such an
attitude to those round him he could have had little joy in his devotion.
So it was said, “When al-Fudayl died, sadness was removed from the world.”


But soon the recoil came. Under the spur of such exercises and thoughts,
the ecstatic oriental temperament began to revel in expressions borrowed
from human love and earthly wine. Such we find by Ma‘ruf of al-Karkh, a
district of Baghdad, who died in 200, and whose tomb, saved by popular
reverence, is one of the few ancient sites in modern Baghdad; and by
his greater disciple, Sari as-Saqati, who died in 257. To this last is
ascribed, but dubiously, the first use of the word _tawhid_ to signify
the union of the soul with God. The figure that the heart is a mirror to
image back God and that it is darkened by the things of the body appears
in Abu Sulayman of Damascus, who died in 215. A more celebrated ascetic,
who died in 227, Bishr al-Hafi (bare-foot), speaks of God directly as the
Beloved (_habib_). Al-Harith al-Muhasibi was a contemporary of Ahmad ibn
Hanbal and died in 243. The only thing in him to which Ahmad could take
exception was that he made use of _kalam_ in refuting the Mu‘tazilites;
even this suspicion against him he is said to have abandoned. Sari and
Bishr, too, were close friends of Ahmad’s. Dhu-n-Nun, the Egyptian Sufi,
who died in 245, is in more dubious repute. He is said to have been the
first to formulate the doctrine of ecstatic states (_hals_, _maqamas_);
but if he went no further than this, his orthodoxy, in the broad sense,
should be above suspicion. Islam has now come to accept these as right
and fitting. Perhaps the greatest name in early Sufiism is that of
al-Junayd (d. 297); on it no shadow of heresy has ever fallen. He was
a master in theology and law, reverenced as one of the greatest of
the early doctors. Questions of _tawhid_ he is said to have discussed
before his pupils with shut doors. But this was probably _tawhid_ in the
theological and not in the mystical sense—against the Mu‘tazilites and
not on the union of the soul with God. Yet he, too, knew the ecstatic
life and fell fainting at verses which struck into his soul. Ash-Shibli
(d. 334) was one of his disciples, but seems to have given himself more
completely to the ascetic and contemplative life. In verses by him we
find the vocabulary of the amorous intercourse with God fully developed.
The last of this group to be mentioned here shall be Abu Talib al-Makki,
who died in 386. It is his distinction to have furnished a text-book
of Sufiism that is in use to this day. He wrote and spoke openly on
_tawhid_, now in the Sufi sense, and got into trouble as a heretic, but
his memory has been restored to orthodoxy by the general agreement of
Islam. When, in 488, al-Ghazzali set himself to seek light in Sufiism,
among the treatises he studied were the books of four of those mentioned
above, Abu Talib, al-Muhasibi, al-Junayd, and ash-Shibli.


In the case of these and all the others already spoken of there was
nothing but a very simple and natural development such as could easily
be paralleled in Europe. The earliest Muslims were burdened, as we have
seen, with the fear of the terrors of an avenging God. The world was
evil and fleeting; the only abiding good was in the other world; so
their religion became an ascetic other-worldliness. They fled into the
wilderness from the wrath to come. Wandering, either solitary or in
companies, was the special sign of the true Sufi. The young men gave
themselves over to the guidance of the older men; little circles of
disciples gathered round a venerated Shaykh; fraternities began to form.
So we find it in the case of al-Junayd, so in that of Sari as-Saqati.
Next would come a monastery, rather a rest-house; for only in the winter
and for rest did they remain fixed in a place for any time. Of such a
monastery there is a trace at Damascus in 150 and in Khurasan about
200. Then, just as in Europe, begging friars organized themselves. In
faith they were rather conservative than anything else; touched with a
religious passivism which easily developed into quietism. Their ecstasies
went little beyond those, for instance, of Thomas à Kempis, though struck
with a warmer oriental fervor.

The points on which the doctors of Islam took exception to these earlier
Sufis are strikingly different from what we would expect. They concern
the practical life far more than theological speculation. As was natural
in the case of professional devotees, a constantly prayerful attitude
began to assume importance beside and in contrast to the formal use
of the five daily prayers, the _salawat_. This development was in all
probability aided by the existence in Syria of the Christian sect of
the Euchites, who exalted the duty of prayer above all other religious
obligations. These, also, abandoned property and obligations and wandered
as poor brethren over the country. They were a branch of Hesychasts, the
quietistic Greek monks who eventually led to the controversy concerning
the uncreated light manifested at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor and
added a doctrine to the Eastern Church. Considering these points, it can
hardly be doubted that there was some historical connection and relation
here, not only with earlier but also with later Sufiism. There is a
striking resemblance between the Sufis seeking by patient introspection
to see the actual light of God’s presence in their hearts, and the Greek
monks in Athos, sitting solitarily in their cells and seeking the divine
light of Mount Tabor in contemplation of their navels.

But our immediate point is the matter of constant, free prayer. In the
Qur’an (xxxiii, 41) the believers are exhorted to “remember (_dhikr_) God
often;” this command the Sufis obeyed with a correlative depreciation of
the five canonical prayers. Their meetings for the purpose, much like our
own prayer-meetings, still more like the “class-meetings” of the early
Methodists, as opposed to stated public worship, were called _dhikrs_.
These services were fiercely attacked by the orthodox theologians, but
survived and are the darwish functions which tourists still go to see
at Constantinople and Cairo. But the more private and personal _dhikrs_
of individual Sufis, each in his house repeating his Qur’anic litanies
through the night, until to the passer-by it sounded like the humming of
bees or the unceasing drip of roof-gutters, these seem, in the course
of the third century, to have fallen before ridicule and accusations of

[Sidenote: TAWAKKUL]

Another point against the earlier Sufis was their abuse of the principle
of _tawakkul_, dependence upon God. They gave up their trades and
professions; they even gave up the asking for alms. Their ideal was to
be absolutely at God’s disposal, utterly cast upon His direct sustenance
(_rizq_). No anxiety for their daily bread was permitted to them; they
must go through the world separated from it and its needs and looking up
to God. Only one who can do this is properly an acknowledger of God’s
unity, a true _Muwahhid_. To such, God would assuredly open the door of
help; they were at His gate; and the biographies of the saints are full
of tales how His help used to come.

To this it may be imagined that the more sober, even among Sufis, made
vehement objection. It fell under two heads. One was that of _kasb_,
the gaining of daily bread by labor. The examples of the husbandman who
casts his seed into the ground and then depends upon God, of the merchant
who travels with his wares in similar trust, were held up against the
wandering but useless monk. As always, traditions were forged on both
sides. Said a man—apparently in a spirit of prophecy—one day to the
Prophet, “Shall I let my camel run free and trust in God?” Replied
the Prophet, or someone for him with a good imitation of his humorous
common-sense, “Tie up your camel and trust in God.” The other head
was the use of remedies in sickness. The whole controversy parallels
strikingly the “mental science” and “Christian science” of the present
day. Medicine, it was held, destroyed _tawakkul_. In the fourth century
in Persia this insanity ran high and many books were written for it and
against it. The author of one on the first side was consulted in an
obstinate case of headache. “Put my book under your pillow,” he said,
“and trust in God.” On both these points the usage of the Prophet and the
Companions was in the teeth of the Sufi position. They had notoriously
earned their living, honestly or dishonestly, and had possessed all the
credulity of semi-civilization toward the most barbaric and multifarious
remedies. So the agreement of Islam eventually righted itself, though the
question in its intricacies and subtilties remained for centuries a thing
of delight for theologians. In the end only the wildest fanatics held by
absolute _tawakkul_.


But all this time the second form of Sufiism had been slowly forcing its
way. It was essentially speculative and theological rather than ascetic
and devotional. When it gained the upper hand, _zahid_ (ascetic) was no
longer a convertible term with Sufi. We pass over the boundary between
Thomas à Kempis and St. Francis to Eckhart and Suso. The roots of this
movement cannot be hard to find in the light of what has preceded.
They lie partly in the neo-Platonism which is the foundation of the
philosophy of Islam. Probably it did not come to the Sufis along the
same channels by which it reached al-Farabi. It was rather through the
Christian mystics and, perhaps, especially through the Pseudo-Dionysius
the Areopagite, and his asserted teacher, Stephen bar Sudaili with his
Syriac “Book of Hierotheos.” We need not here consider whether the
Monophysite heresy is to be reckoned in as one of the results of the
dying neo-Platonism. It is true that outlying forms of it meant the
frank deifying of a man and thus raised the possibility of the equal
deifying of any other man and of all men. But there is no certainty that
these views had an influence in Islam. It is enough that from A.D. 533
we find the Pseudo-Dionysius quoted and his influence strong with the
ultra Monophysites, and still more, thereafter, with the whole mystical
movement in Christendom. According to it, all is akin in nature to the
Absolute, and all this life below is only a reflection of the glories of
the upper sphere, where God is. Through the sacraments and a hierarchy
of angels man is led back toward Him. Only in ecstasy can man come to a
knowledge of Him. The Trinity, sin and the atonement fade out of view.
The incarnation is but an example of how the divine and the human can
join. All is an emanation or an emission of grace from God; and the
yearnings of man are back to his source. The revolving spheres, the
groaning and travailing nature are striving to return to their origin.
When this conception had seized the Oriental Church; when it had passed
into Islam and dominated its emotional and religious life; when through
the translation of the Pseudo-Dionysius by Scotus Erigena in 850, it had
begun the long contest of idealism in Europe, the dead school of Plotinus
had won the field, and its influence ruled from the Oxus to the Atlantic.

But the roots of Sufiism struck also in another direction. We have
already seen an early tendency to regard Ali and, later, members of his
house as incarnations of divinity. In the East, where God comes near to
man, the conception of God in man is not difficult. The Semitic prophet
through whom God speaks easily slips over into a divine being in whom
God exists and may be worshipped. But if with one, why not with another?
May it not be possible by purifying exercises to reach this unity? If
one is a Son of God, may not all become that if they but take the means?
The half-understood pantheism which always lurks behind oriental fervors
claims its due. From his wild whirling dance, the darwish, stung to
cataleptic ecstasy by the throbbing of the drums and the lilting chant,
sinks back into the unconsciousness of the divine oneness. He has passed
temporarily from this scene of multiplicity into the sea of God’s unity
and, at death, if he but persevere, he will reach that haven where he
fain would be and will abide there forever. Here, we have not to do with
calm philosophers rearing their systems in labored speculations, but with
men, often untaught, seeking the salvation of their souls earnestly and
with tears.


One of the earliest of the pantheistic school was Abu Yazid al-Bistami
(d. 261). He was of Persian parentage, and his father had been a follower
of Zarathustra. As an ascetic he was of the highest repute; he was also
an author of eminence on Sufiism (al-Ghazzali used his books) and he
joined to his devout learning and self-mortification clear miraculous
gifts. But equally clear was his pantheistic drift and his name has
come down linked to the saying, “Beneath my cloak there is naught else
than God.” It is worth noticing that certain other of his sayings show
that, even in his time, there were Sufi saints who boasted that they had
reached such perfection and such miraculous powers that the ordinary
moral and ceremonial law no longer applied to them. The antinomianism
which haunted the later Sufiism and darwishdom had already appeared.

[Sidenote: AL-HALLAJ]

But the greatest name of all among these early pantheists was that of
al-Hallaj (the cotton carder), a pupil of al-Junayd, who was put to
death with great cruelty in 309. It is almost impossible to reach any
certain conclusion as to his real views and aims. In spite of what seem
to be utterances of the crassest pantheism, such as, “I am the Truth,”
there have not been wanting many in later Islam who have reverenced his
memory as that of a saint and martyr. To Sufis and darwishes of his
time and to this day he has been and is a patron saint. In his life
and death he represents for them the spirit of revolt against dogmatic
scholasticism and formalism. Further, even such a great doctor of the
Muslim Church as al-Ghazzali defended him and, though lamenting some
incautious phrases, upheld his orthodoxy. At his trial itself before
the theologians of Baghdad, one of them refused to sign the _fatwa_
declaring him an unbeliever; he was not clear, he said, as to the case.
And it is true that such records as we have of the time suggest that his
condemnation was forced by the government as a matter of state policy. He
was a Persian of Magian origin, and evidently an advanced mystic of the
speculative type. He carried the theory to its legitimate conclusion, and
proclaimed the result publicly. He dabbled in scholastic theology; had
evident Mu‘tazilite leanings; wrote on alchemy and things esoteric. But
with this mystical enthusiasm there seem to have united in him other and
more dangerous traits. The stories which have reached us show him of a
character fond of excitement and change, surrounding himself with devoted
adherents and striving by miracle-working of a commonplace kind to add
to his following. His popularity among the people of Baghdad and their
reverence for him rose to a perilous degree. He may have had plans of his
own as a Persian nationalist; he may have had part in one of the Shi‘ite
conspiracies; he may have been nothing but a rather weak-headed devotee,
carried off his feet by a sudden tide of public excitement, the greatest
trial and danger that a saint has to meet. But the times were not such
then in Baghdad that the government could take any risks. Al-Muqtadir
was Khalifa and in his weak hands the Khalifate was slipping to ruin.
The Fatimids were supreme in North Africa; the Qarmatians held Syria and
Arabia, and were threatening Baghdad itself. In eight years they were to
take Mecca. Persia was seething with false prophets and nationalists of
every shade. Thirteen years later Ibn ash-Shalmaghani was put to death
in Baghdad on similar grounds; in his case, Shi‘ite conspiracy against
the state was still more clearly involved. We can only conclude in the
words of Ibn Khallikan (d. 681), “The history of al-Hallaj is long to
relate; his fate is well known; and God knoweth all secret things.” With
him we must leave, for the present, consideration of the Sufi development
and return to the Mu‘tazilites and to the people tiring of their dry


    The rise of orthodox _kalam_; al-Ash‘ari; decline of the
    Mu‘tazilites; passing of heresy into unbelief; development of
    scholastic theology by Ash‘arites; rise of Zahirite _kalam_;
    Ibn Hazm; persecution of Ash‘arites; final assimilation of

As we have already seen, the traditionalist party at first refused to
enter upon any discussion of sacred things. Malik ibn Anas used to say,
“God’s _istiwa_ (settling Himself firmly upon His throne) is known;
how it is done is unknown; it must be believed; questions about it are
an innovation (_bid‘a_).” But such a position could not be held for
any length of time. The world cannot be cut in two and half assigned
to faith and half to reason. So, as time went on, there arose on the
orthodox side men who, little by little, were prepared to give a reason
for the faith that was in them. They thus came to use _kalam_ in order
to meet the _kalam_ of the Mu‘tazilites; they became _mutakallims_, and
the scholastic theology of Islam was founded. It is the history of this
transfer of method which we have now to consider.


Its beginnings are wrapped in a natural obscurity. It was at first a
gradual, unconscious drift, and people did not recognize its existence.
Afterward, when they looked back upon it, the tendency of the human
mind to ascribe broad movements to single men asserted itself and the
whole was put under the name of al-Ash‘ari. It is true that with him,
in a sense, the change suddenly leaped to self-consciousness, but it
had already been long in progress. As we have seen, al-Junayd discussed
the unity of God, but it was behind closed doors. Ash-Shafi‘i held that
there should be a certain number of men trained thus to defend and purify
the faith, but that it would be a great evil if their arguments should
become known to the mass of the people. Al-Muhasibi, a contemporary of
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, was suspected, and rightly, of defending his faith with
argument, and thereby incurred Ahmad’s displeasure. Another contemporary
of Ahmad’s, al-Karabisi (d. 345), incurred the same displeasure, and the
list might easily be extended. But the most significant fact of all is
that the movement came to the surface and showed itself openly at the
same time in the most widely separated lands of Islam. In Mesopotamia
there was al-Ash‘ari, who died after 320; in Egypt there was at-Tahawi,
who died in 331; in Samarqand there was al-Mataridi, who died in 333. Of
these at-Tahawi is now little more than a name; al-Mataridi’s star has
paled before that of al-Ash‘ari; al-Ash‘ari has come in popular view to
be the solitary hero before whom the Mu‘tazilite system went down. It
will perhaps be sufficient if we take his life and experiences as our
guide in this period of change; the others must have followed very much
in the same path.

He was born at al-Basra in 260, the year in which al-Kindi died and
Muhammad al-Muntazar vanished from the sight of men. He came into a
world full of intellectual ferment; Alids of different camps were
active in their claim to be possessors of an infallible Imam; Zaydites
and Qarmatians were in revolt; the decree of 234 that the Qur’an was
uncreated had had little effect, so far, in silencing the Mu‘tazilites;
in 261 the Sufi pantheist, Abu Yazid, died. Al-Ash‘ari himself was of the
best blood of the desert and of a highly orthodox family which had borne
a distinguished part in Muslim history. Through some accident he came in
early youth into the care of al-Jubba‘i, the Mu‘tazilite, who, according
to one story, had married al-Ash‘ari’s mother; was brought up by him and
remained a stanch Mu‘tazilite, writing and speaking on that side, till he
was forty years old.


Then a strange thing happened. One day he mounted the pulpit of the
mosque in al-Basra and cried aloud, “He who knows me, knows me; and
he who knows me not, let him know that I am so and so, the son of so
and so. I have maintained the creation of the Qur’an and that God will
not be seen in the world to come with the eyes, and that the creatures
create their actions. Lo, I repent that I have been a Mu‘tazilite and
turn to opposition to them.” It was a voice full of omen. It told that
the intellectual supremacy of the Mu‘tazilites had publicly passed and
that, hereafter, they would be met with their own weapons. What led to
this change of mind is strictly unknown; only legends have reached us.
One, full of psychological truth, runs that one Ramadan, the fasting
month, when he was worn with prayer and hunger, the Prophet appeared to
him three times in his sleep, and commanded him to turn from his vain
_kalam_ and seek certainty in the traditions and the Qur’an. If he would
but give himself to that study, God would make clear the difficulties and
enable him to solve all the puzzles. He did so, and his mind seemed to be
opened; the old contradictions and absurdities had fled, and he cursed
the Mu‘tazilites and all their works.

It can easily be seen that in some such way as this the blood of the race
may have led him back to the God of his fathers, the God of the desert,
whose word must be accepted as its own proof. The gossips of the time
told strange tales of rich relatives and family pressure; we can leave
these aside. When he had changed he was terribly in earnest. He met his
old teacher, al-Jubba‘i, in public discussions again and again till the
old man withdrew. One of these discussions legend has handed down in
varying forms. None of them may be exactly true, but they are significant
of the change of attitude. He came to al-Jubba‘i and said, “Suppose the
case of three brothers; one being God-fearing, another godless and a
third dies as a child. What of them in the world to come?” Al-Jubba‘i
replied, “The first will be rewarded in Paradise; the second punished in
Hell, and the third will be neither rewarded nor punished.” Al-Ash‘ari
continued, “But if the third said, ‘Lord, Thou mightest have granted
me life, and then I would have been pious and entered Paradise like my
brother,’ what then?” Al-Jubba‘i replied, “God would say, ‘I knew that if
thou wert granted life thou wouldst be godless and unbelieving and enter
Hell.’” Then al-Ash‘ari drew his noose, “But what if the second said,
‘Lord, why didst Thou not make me die as a child? Then had I escaped
Hell.’” Al-Jubba‘i was silenced, and Al-Ash‘ari went away in triumph.
Three years after his pupil had left him the old man died. The tellers
of this story regard it as disproving the Mu‘tazilite doctrine of “the
best”—_al-aslah_—namely, that God is constrained to do that which may be
best and happiest for His creatures. Orthodox Islam, as we have seen,
holds that God is under no such constraint, and is free to do good or
evil as He chooses.

But the story has also another and somewhat broader significance. It is a
protest against the religious rationalism of the Mu‘tazilites, which held
that the mysteries of the universe could be expressed and met in terms
of human thought. In this way it represents the essence of al-Ash‘ari’s
position, a recoil from the impossible task of raising a system of
purely rationalistic theology to reliance upon the Word of God, and the
tradition (_hadith_) and usage (_sunna_) of the Prophet and the pattern
of the early church (_salaf_).

The stories told above represent the change as sudden. According to the
evidence of his books that was not so. In his return there were two
stages. In the first of these he upheld the seven rational Qualities
(_sifat aqliya_) of God, Life, Knowledge, Power, Will, Hearing, Seeing,
Speech: but explained away the Qur’anic anthropomorphisms of God’s
face, hands, feet, etc. In the second stage, which fell, apparently,
after he had moved to Baghdad and come under the strong Hanbalite
influences there, he explained away nothing, but contented himself with
the position that the anthropomorphisms were to be taken, _bila kayfa
wala tashbih_, without asking how and without drawing any comparison.
The first phrase is directed against the Mu‘tazilites, who inquired
persistently into the nature and possibility of such things in God;
the second, against the anthropomorphists (_mushabbihs_, comparers;
_mujassims_, corporealizers), mostly ultra Hanbalites and Karramites, who
said that these things in God were like the corresponding things in men.
At all stages, however, he was prepared to defend his conclusions and
assail those of his adversaries by dint of argument.


The details of his system will be best understood by reading his creed
and the creed of al-Fudali, which is essentially Ash‘arite. Both are
in the Appendix of Translated Creeds. Here, it is necessary to draw
attention to two, only, of the obscurer points. On the vexed question,
“What is a thing?” he anticipated Kant. The early theologians, orthodox
and theoretical, and those later ones also who did not follow him,
regarded, as we have seen, existence (_wujud_) as only one of the
qualities belonging to an existing thing (_mawjud_). It was there all the
time, but it lacked the quality of “existence”; then that quality was
added to its other qualities and it became existent. But al-Ash‘ari and
his followers held that existence was the “self” (_ayn_) of the entity
and not a quality or state, however personal or necessary. See, on the
whole, Appendix of Creeds.

On the other vexed question of free-will, or, rather, as the Muslims
chose to express it, on the ability of men to produce actions, he took
up a mediating position. The old orthodox position was absolutely
fatalistic; the Mu‘tazilites, following their principle of Justice, gave
to man an initiative power. Al-Ash‘ari struck a middle path. Man cannot
create anything; God is the only creator. Nor does man’s power produce
any effect on his actions at all. God creates in His creature power
(_qudra_) and choice (_ikhtiyar_). Then He creates in him his action
corresponding to the power and choice thus created. So the action of the
creature is created by God as to initiative and as to production; but
it is _acquired_ by the creature. By acquisition (_kasb_) is meant that
it corresponds to the creature’s power and choice, previously created
in him, without his having had the slightest effect on the action. He
was only the _locus_ or subject of the action. In this way al-Ash‘ari
is supposed to have accounted for free-will and entailed responsibility
upon men. It may be doubted whether the second point occupied him much.
It was open to his God to do good or evil as He chose; the Justice of the
Mu‘tazilites was left behind. He may have intended only to explain the
consciousness of freedom, as some have done more recently. The closeness
with which al-Ash‘ari in this comes to the pre-established harmony of
Leibnitz and to the Kantian conception of existence shows how high a rank
he must take as an original thinker. His abandoning of the Mu‘tazilites
was due to no mere wave of sentiment but to a perception that their
speculations were on too narrow a basis and of a too barren scholastic
type. He died after 320 with a curse on them and their methods as his
last words.

[Sidenote: AL-MATARIDI]

A few words only need be given to al-Mataridi. The creed of an-Nasafi
in the Appendix of Creeds, pp. 308-315 belongs to his school. He and
at-Tahawi were followers of the broad-minded Abu Hanifa, who was more
than suspected of Mu‘tazilite and Murji’ite leanings. Muslim theologians
usually reckon up some thirteen points of difference between al-Mataridi
and al-Ash‘ari and admit that seven of these are not much more than
combats of words. Those which occur in an-Nasafi’s creed are marked with
a star.

We are now in a position to finish shortly with the Mu‘tazilites. Their
work, as a constructive force, is done. From this time on there is
_kalam_ among the orthodox, and the term _mutakallim_ denotes nothing but
a scholastic theologian, whether of one wing or another. And so, like
any other organ which has done its part and for the existence of which
there is no longer any object, they gradually and quietly dropped into
the background. They had still, sometimes, to suffer persecution, and
for hundreds of years there were men who continued to call themselves
Mu‘tazilites; but their heresies came to be heresies of the schools
and not burning questions in the eyes of the masses. We need now draw
attention to only a few incidents and figures in this dying movement.
The Muslim historians lay much stress on the orthodox zeal of the
Khalifa al-Qadir, who reigned 381-422, and narrate how he persecuted the
Mu‘tazilites, Shi‘ites and other heretics and compelled them, under oath,
to conform.

But there are several difficulties in the way of this persecution, which
make it probable that it was more nominal than otherwise. Al-Qadir was
bitterly orthodox; he had written a treatise on theology and compelled
his unhappy courtiers to listen to a public reading of it every week.
But he enjoyed, outside of his palace, next to no power. He was in the
control of the Shi‘ite Buwayhids, who, as we have seen, ruled Baghdad and
the Khalifate from 320 to 447. These dubious persecutions are said to
have fallen in 408 and 420. Again, a Muslim pilgrim from Spain visited
Baghdad about 390 and has left us a record of the state of religious
things there. He found in session what may perhaps best be described as
a Parliament of Religions. It seems to have been a free debate between
Muslims of all sects, orthodox and heretical, Parsees and atheists, Jews
and Christians—unbelievers of every kind. Each party had a spokesman,
and at the beginning of the proceedings the rule was rehearsed that
no one might appeal to the sacred books of his creed but might only
adduce arguments founded upon reason. The pious Spanish Muslim went to
two meetings but did not peril his soul by any further visits. In his
narrative we recognize the horror with which the orthodox of Spain viewed
such proceedings—Spain, Muslim and Christian, has always favored the
straitest sect; but when such a thing was permitted in Baghdad, religious
liberty there at least must have been tolerably broad. Possibly it was
sittings of the _Ikhwan as-safa_ upon which this scandalized Spaniard
stumbled. He himself speaks of them as meetings of mutakallims.


But if the mixture of Sunnite and Shi‘ite authority in Baghdad gave
all the miscellaneous heretics a chance for life, it was different in
the growing dominions of Mahmud of Ghazna. That iconoclastic monarch
had embraced the anthropomorphic faith of the Karramites, the most
literal-minded of all the Muslim sects. In consequence, all forms of
Mu‘tazilism and all kinds of mutakallims were an abomination to him,
and it was a very real persecution which they met at his hands. That
al-Qadir, his spiritual suzerain, urged him on is very probable; it is
also possible that respect for the growing power of Mahmud may have
protected al-Qadir to some extent from the Buwayhids. In 420 Mahmud took
from them Ispahan and held there a grand inquisition on Shi‘ites and
heretics of all kinds.

To proceed with the Mu‘tazilites; when we come to al-Ghazzali and his
times we shall find that they have ceased to be a crying danger to the
faith. Though their views might, that doctor held, be erroneous in some
respects, they were not to be considered as damnable. Again, in 538,
there died az-Zamakhshari, the great grammarian, who is often called
the last of the Mu‘tazilites. He was not that by any means, but his
heresies were either mild or were regarded mildly. A single point will
show this. His commentary on the Qur’an, the _Kashshaf_, was revised
and expurgated in the orthodox interest by al-Baydawi (d. 688) and in
that form is now the most popular and respected of all expositions. The
_Kashshaf_ itself, in its original, unmodified form, has been printed
several times at Cairo. Again, Ibn Rushd, the Aristotelian, who died in
595, when he is combating the arguments of the mutakallims, makes little
difference between the Mu‘tazilites and the others. They are only, to
him, another variety of scholastic theologian, with a rather better idea,
perhaps, of logic and argument. He considered, as we shall find later,
all the mutakallims as sadly to seek in such matters. Since then, and
into quite modern times, there have been sporadic cases of theologians
called Mu‘tazilites by themselves or others. Practically, they have
been scholastics of eccentric views. Finally, the use of this name for
themselves by the present-day broad school Muslims of India is absolutely
unhistorical and highly misleading.

We turn now to suggest, rather than to trace, some of the non-theological
consequences of the preceding theology.


Increasingly, from this time on, it is not heresy which has to be met
so much as simple unbelief, more or less frank. It is evident that the
heretics of the earlier period are now dividing in two directions,
one part inclining toward milder forms of heresy and the other toward
doubt in the largest sense, passing over to Aristotelian + neo-Platonic
philosophy, and thence dividing into materialists, deists, and theists.
Thus we have seen earlier the workings of al-Farabi and of the Ikhwan
as-safa. The teachings of the latter pass on to the Isma‘ilians who
developed them in the mountain fortresses, the centres of their power,
scattered from Persia to Syria. These were otherwise called Assassins;
otherwise Batinites in the narrower sense—in the broader that term
meant only those who found under the letter of the Qur’an a hidden,
esoteric meaning; otherwise Ta‘limites or claimers of a _ta‘lim_, a
secret teaching by a divinely instructed Imam, and with them we shall
have much to do later. It is sufficient here to notice how the peaceful
and rather watery philosophy of the “Sincere Brethren” was transmuted
through ambition and fanaticism into belligerent politics at the hands
and daggers of these fierce sectaries. Into this period, too, fall some
well-known names of dubious and more than dubious orthodoxy. Al-Beruni
(d. 440) even at the court of Mahmud of Ghazna managed to keep his
footing and his head. Yet it may be doubted how far he was a Karramite
or even a Muslim. He was certainly the first scientific student of India
and _Indica_ and of chronology and calendars, a man whose attainments
and results show that our so-called modern methods are as old as genius.
On religion, he maintained a prudent silence, but earned the favor of
Mahmud by an unsparing exposure of the weakness in the Fatimid genealogy.
In this sketch he has a place as a man of science who went his own way
without treading on the religious toes of other people.

His contemporary Ibn Sina (d. 428), for us Avicenna, was of a different
nature, and his lines were cast in different places. He was a wanderer
through the courts of northern Persia. The orthodox and stringent Mahmud
he carefully avoided; the Buwayhids and those of their ilk took such
heresies as his more easily. Endowed with a gigantic memory and an
insatiable intellectual appetite, he was the encyclopædist of his age,
and his scientific work, and especially that in medicine, went further
than anything else to put the Muslim East and mediæval Europe in the
strait waistcoat from which the first has not yet emerged and the second
only shook itself free in the seventeenth century. He was a student
of Aristotle and a mystic, as all Muslim students of Aristotle have
been. How far his mysticism enabled him to square the Qur’an with his
philosophy is not clear; such men seldom said exactly what they meant
and all that they thought. He was also a diligent student and reader of
the Qur’an and faithful in his public religious duties. Yet the Muslim
world asserts that he left behind him a testamentary tractate (_wasiya_)
defending dissimulation as to the religion of the country in which
we might be; that it was not wrong for the philosopher to go through
religious rites which for him had no meaning. He, too, is significant for
his time, and, if our interest were philosophy, would call for lengthened
treatment. As it is, he marks for us the accomplished separation between
students of theology and students of philosophy.

An equally well known and by us much better loved name is that of Umar
al-Khayyam, who died later, about 515, but who may fitly be grouped with
Ibn Sina. He, too, was a _bon vivant_, but of a deeper, more melancholy
strain. His wine meant more than friendly cups; it was a way of escape
from the world and its burden. His science, too, went deeper. He was not
a gatherer and arranger of the wisdom of the past; his reformed calendar
is more perfect than that which we even now use. His faith is a riddle to
us, as it was to his comrades. But it was because he had no certain truth
to proclaim that Umar did not speak out clearly. His last words were
almost those of Rabelais, “I go to meet the great Perhaps.” Anecdotage
connects his name with that of al-Ghazzali. Neither had escaped the pall
of universal scepticism which must have descended upon their time. But
al-Ghazzali, by God’s grace, as he himself reverently says, was enabled
to escape. Umar died under it.

[Sidenote: ABU-L-ALA AL-MA‘ARRI]

A very different man was Abu-l-Ala al-Ma‘arri, the blind poet and singer
of intellectual freedom. In Arabic literature there is no other voice
like his, clear and confident. He was a man of letters; no philosopher
nor theologian nor scientist, though at one time he seems to have come
in contact with a circle like that of Ikhwan as-safa, perhaps the same;
and his spirit was like that of one of the heroic poets of the old desert
life, whose hand was taught to keep his head, whose tongue spared nothing
from heaven to earth, and who lived his own life out in his own way,
undaunted. In his darkness he nourished great thoughts and flung out a
_sæva indignatio_ on hypocrisy and subservience which reminds of Lessing.
But Abu-l-Ala was a great poet, and his scorn of priests and courtiers
and their lies, his pity for suffering humanity and his confidence in
the light of reason are thrown into scraps of burning, echoing verse
without their like in Arabic. He died at the town of his birth, Ma‘arrat
an-Nu‘man, in northern Syria, in 449. The problem is how he was suffered
to live out his long life of eighty-six years.

We can now return to the development of scholastic theology in the
orthodox church at the hands of the followers of al-Ash‘ari. They
had to fight their way against many and most differing opponents. At
the one extreme were the dwindling Mu‘tazilites, passing slowly into
comparatively innocuous heretics, and the growing party of unbelievers,
philosophical and otherwise, open and secret. At the other extreme was
the mob of Hanbalites, belonging to the only legal school which laid
theological burdens on its adherents. The theologians, in this case,
certainly varied as to the weight of their own anathemas against all
kalam, but were at one in that they carried the bulk of the multitude
with them and could enforce their conclusions with the cudgels of
rioters. In the midst were the rival orthodox (_pace_ the Hanbalites)
developers of kalam, among whom the Mataridites probably held the most
important place. Thus, the Ash‘arite school was the nursling as well as
the child of controversy.

It was, then, fitting that the name joined, at least in tradition, with
the final form of that system, should be that of a controversialist.
But this man, Abu Bakr al-Baqilani the Qadi, was more than a mere
controversialist. It is his glory to have contributed most important
elements to and put into fixed form what is, perhaps, the most fantastic
and daring metaphysical scheme, and almost certainly the most thorough
theological scheme, ever thought out. On the one hand, the Lucretian
atoms raining down through the empty void, the self-developing monads
of Leibnitz, pre-established harmony and all, the Kantian “things in
themselves” are lame and impotent in their consistency beside the
parallel Ash‘arite doctrines; and, on the other, not even the rigors
of Calvin, as developed in the Dutch confessions, can compete with the
unflinching exactitude of the Muslim conclusions.


First, as to ontology. The object of the Ash‘arites was that of Kant, to
fix the relation of knowledge to the thing in itself. Thus, al-Baqilani
defined knowledge (_ilm_) as cognition (_ma‘rifa_) of a thing as it is
in itself. But in reaching that “thing in itself” they were much more
thorough than Kant. Only two of the Aristotelian categories survived
their attack, substance and quality. The others, quantity, place, time
and the rest, were only relationships (_i‘tibars_) existing subjectively
in the mind of the knower, and not things. But a relationship, they
argued, if real, must exist in something, and a quality cannot exist in
another quality, only in a substance. Yet it could not exist in either
of the two things which it brought together; for example, in the cause
or the effect. It must be in a third thing. But to bring this third
thing and the first two together, other relationships would be needed
and other things for these relationships to exist in. Thus we would be
led back in an infinite sequence, and they had taken over from Aristotle
the position that such an infinite series backward (_tasalsul_) is
inadmissible. Relationships, then, had no real existence but were mere
phantoms, subjective non-entities. Further, the Aristotelian view of
matter was now impossible for them. All the categories had gone except
substance and quality; and among them, passion. Matter, then, could not
have the possibility of suffering the impress of form. A possibility
is neither an entity nor a non-entity, but a subjectivity purely. But
with the suffering matter, the active form and all causes must also go.
They, too, are mere subjectivities. Again, qualities, for these thinkers,
became mere accidents. The fleeting character of appearances drove them
to the conclusion that there was no such thing as a quality planted
in the nature of a thing; that the idea “nature” did not exist. Then
this drove them further. Substances exist only with qualities, _i.e._,
accidents. These qualities may be positive or they may be negative;
the ascription to things of negative qualities is one of their most
fruitful conceptions. When, then, the qualities fall out of existence,
the substances themselves must also cease to exist. Substance as well as
quality is fleeting, has only a moment’s duration.

But when they rejected the Aristotelian view of matter as the possibility
of receiving form, their path of necessity led them straight to the
atomists. So atomists they became, and, as always, after their own
fashion. Their atoms are not of space only, but also of time. The basis
of all the manifestation, mental and physical, of the world in place
and time, is a multitude of monads. Each has certain qualities but has
extension neither in space nor time. They have simply position, not bulk,
and do not touch one another. Between them is absolute void. Similarly as
to time. The time-atoms, if the expression may be permitted, are equally
unextended and have also absolute void—of time—between them. Just as
space is only in a series of atoms, so time is only in a succession of
untouching moments and leaps across the void from one to the other with
the jerk of the hand of a clock. Time, in this view, is in grains and can
exist only in connection with change. The monads differ from those of
Leibnitz in having no nature in themselves, no possibility of development
along certain lines. The Muslim monads are, and again are not, all change
and action in the world are produced by their entering into existence and
dropping out again, not by any change in themselves.

But this most simple view of the world left its holders in precisely the
same difficulty, only in a far higher degree, as that of Leibnitz. He was
compelled to fall back on a pre-established harmony to bring his monads
into orderly relations with one another; the Muslim theologians, on their
side, fell back upon God and found in His will the ground of all things.


We here pass from their ontology to their theology, and as they
were thorough-going metaphysicians, so now they are thorough-going
theologians. Being was all in the one case; now it is God that is all.
In truth, their philosophy is in its essence a scepticism which destroys
the possibility of a philosophy in order to drive men back to God and
His revelations and compel them to see in Him the one grand fact of the
universe. So, when a darwish shouts in his ecstasy, “_Huwa-l-haqq_,” he
does not mean, “He is the Truth,” in our Western sense of Verity, or our
New Testament sense of “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” but simply,
“He is the Fact”—the one Reality.

To return: from their ontology they derived an argument for the
necessity of a God. That their monads came so and not otherwise must have
a cause; without it there could be no harmony or connection between them.
And this cause must be one with no cause behind it; otherwise we would
have the endless chain. This cause, then, they found in the absolutely
free will of God, working without any matter beside it and unaffected by
any laws or necessities. It creates and annihilates the atoms and their
qualities and, by that means, brings to pass all the motion and change of
the world. These, in our sense, do not exist. When a thing seems to us to
be moved, that really means that God has annihilated—or permitted to drop
out of existence, by not continuing to uphold, as another view held—the
atoms making up that thing in its original position, and has created them
again and again along the line over which it moves. Similarly of what
we regard as cause and effect. A man writes with a pen and a piece of
paper. God creates in his mind the will to write; at the same moment he
gives him the power to write and brings about the apparent motion of the
hand, of the pen and the appearance on the paper. No one of these is the
cause of the other. God has brought about by creation and annihilation
of atoms the requisite combination to produce these appearances. Thus we
see that free-will for the Muslim scholastics is simply the presence, in
the mind of the man, of this choice created there by God. This may not
seem to us to be very real, but it has, certainly, as much reality as
anything else in their world. Further, it will be observed how completely
this annihilates the machinery of the universe. There is no such thing
as law, and the world is sustained by a constant, ever-repeated miracle.
Miracles and what we regard as the ordinary operations of nature are on
the same level. The world and the things in it could have been quite
different. The only limitation upon God is that He cannot produce a
contradiction. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time. There is
no such thing as a secondary cause; when there is the appearance of
such, it is only illusional. God is producing it as well as the ultimate
appearance of effect. There is no nature belonging to things. Fire does
not burn and a knife does not cut. God creates in a substance a being
burned when the fire touches it and a being cut when the knife approaches


In this scheme there are certainly grave difficulties, philosophical
and ethical. It establishes a relationship between God and the atoms;
but we have already seen that relationships are subjective illusions.
That, however, was in the case of the things of the world, perceived
by the senses—contingent being, as they would put it. It does not hold
of necessary being. God possesses a quality called Difference from
originated things (_al-mukhalafa lil-hawadith_). He is not a natural
cause, but a free cause; and the existence of a free cause they were
compelled by their principles to admit. The ethical difficulty is perhaps
greater. If there is no order of nature and no certainty, or nexus,
as to causes and effects; if there is no regular development in the
life, mental, moral, and physical of a man—only a series of isolated
moments; how can there be any responsibility, any moral claim or duty?
This difficulty seems to have been recognized more clearly than the
philosophical one. It was met formally by the assertion of a certain
order and regularity in the will of God. He sees to it that a man’s
life is a unity, and, for details, that the will to eat and the action
always coincide. But such an answer must have been felt to be inadequate
and to involve grave moral dangers for the common mind. Therefore, as
we have seen, the study of kalam was hedged about with difficulties and
restrictions. Theologians recognized its trap-falls and doubts, even for
themselves, and lamented that they were compelled by their profession
to study it. The public discussion of its questions was regarded as a
breach of professional etiquette. Theologians and philosophers alike
strove to keep these deeper mysteries hidden from the multitude. The gap
between the highly educated and the great mass—that fundamental error and
greatest danger in Muslim society—comes here again to view. Further, even
among theologians, there was some difference in degree of insight, and
books and phrases could be read by different men in very different ways.
To one, they would suggest ordinary, Qur’anic doctrines; another would
see under and behind them a trail of metaphysical consequences bristling
with blasphemous possibilities. Thus, Muslim science has been always of
the school; it has never learned the vitalizing and disinfecting value
of the fresh air of the market-place. This applies to philosophers even
more than to theologians. The crowning accusation which Ibn Rushd, the
great Aristotelian commentator, brought against al-Ghazzali was that he
discussed such subtilties in popular books.


This, then, was the system which seems to have reached tolerably
complete form at the hands of al-Baqilani, who died in 403. But with the
completion of the system there went by no means its universal or even
wide-spread acceptance in the Muslim world. That of al-Mataridi held its
own for long, and, even yet, the Mataridite creed of an-Nasafi is used
largely in the Turkish schools. In the fifth century it was considered
remarkable that Abu Dharr (d. 434), a theologian of Herat, should be
an Ash‘arite rather than, apparently, a Mataridite. It was not till
al-Ghazzali (d. 505) that the Ash‘arite system came to the orthodox
hegemony in the East, and it was only as the result of the work of Ibn
Tumart, the Mahdi of the Muwahhids (d. 524), that it conquered the West.
For long its path was darkened by suspicion and persecution. This came
almost entirely from the Hanbalites. The Mu‘tazilites had no force behind
them, and while the views of deists and materialists were steadily making
way in secret, their public efforts appeared only in very occasional
disputes between theologians and philosophers. As we have seen, Muslim
philosophy has always practised an economy of teaching.

The Hanbalite crisis seems to have come to a head toward the close of the
reign of Tughril Beg, the first Great Saljuq. In 429, as we have seen,
the Saljuqs had taken Merv and Samarqand, and in 447 Tughril Beg had
entered Baghdad and freed the Khalifa from the Shi‘ite domination of the
Buwayhids who had so long enforced toleration. It was natural that he, a
theologically unschooled Turk, should be captured by the simplicity and
concreteness of the Hanbalite doctrines.

Added to this political factor there was a theological movement at work
which was deeply hostile to the Ash‘arites as they had developed. An
important point in the method of al-Ash‘ari himself, and, after him, of
his followers, was to put forth a creed, expressed in the old-fashioned
terms and containing the old-fashioned doctrines as nearly as was at
all possible, and to accompany it with a spiritualizing interpretation
which was, naturally, accessible to the professional student only.
Accordingly what had at first seemed a weapon against the Mu‘tazilites
came to be viewed with more and more suspicion by the holders to the old,
unquestioning orthodoxy. The duty also of religious investigation and
speculation (_nazr_) came to have more and more stress laid upon it. The
_bila kayfa_ dropped into the background. A Muslim must have a reason for
the faith that was in him, they said; otherwise, he was no true Muslim,
was in fact an unbeliever. Of course, they limited carefully the extent
to which he should go. For the ordinary man a series of very simple
proofs would be prepared; the student, on the other hand, when carefully
led, could work his way through the system sketched above. All this,
naturally, was anathema to the party of tradition.

[Sidenote: IBN HAZM]

It is significant that at this time the Zahirite school of law (_fiqh_)
developed into a school of kalam and applied its literal principles
unflinchingly to its new victim. The leader in this was Ibn Hazm, a
theologian of Spain. He died in 456, after a stormy life filled with
controversy. The remorseless sting of his vituperative style coupled
him, in popular proverb, with al-Hajjaj, the blood-thirsty lieutenant
of the Umayyads in al-Iraq. “The sword of al-Hajjaj and the tongue of
Ibn Hazm,” they said. But for all his violence of language and real
weight of character and brain, he made little way for his views in his
lifetime. It was almost one hundred years after his death before they
came into any prominence. The theologians and lawyers around him in
the West were devoted to the study of _fiqh_ in the narrowest and most
technical sense. They labored over the systems and treatises of their
predecessors and neglected the great original sources of the Qur’an and
the traditions. The immediate study of tradition (_hadith_) had died out.
Ibn Hazm, on the other hand, went straight back to _hadith_. _Taqlid_ he
absolutely rejected, each man must draw from the sacred texts his own
views. So the whole system of the canon lawyers came down with a crash
and they, naturally, did not like it. Analogy (_qiyas_), their principal
instrument, he swept away. It had no place either in law or theology.
Even on the principle of agreement (_ijma_) he threw a shadow of doubt.

But it was in theology rather than in law that Ibn Hazm’s originality
lay. Strictly, his Zahirite principles when applied there should have led
him to anthropomorphism (_tajsim_). The literal meaning of the Qur’an, as
we have seen, assigns to God hands and feet, sitting on and descending
from His throne. But to Ibn Hazm, anthropomorphism was an abomination
only less than the speculative arguments with which the Ash‘arites tried
to avoid it. His own method was purely grammatical and lexicographical.
He hunted in his dictionary until he found some other meaning for “hand”
or “foot,” or whatever the stumbling-block might be.

But the most original point in his system is his doctrine of the
names of God, and his basing of that doctrine upon God’s qualities.
The Ash‘arites, he contended with justice, had been guilty of a grave
inconsistency in saying that God was different in nature, qualities,
and actions from all created things, and yet that the human qualities
could be predicated of God, and that men could reason about God’s
nature. He accepted the doctrine of God’s difference (_mukhalafa_)
on highly logical, but, for us, rather startling grounds. The Qur’an
applies to Him the words, “The Most Merciful of those that show mercy,”
but God, evidently, is not merciful. He tortures children with all
manner of painful diseases, with hunger and terror. Mercy, in our human
sense, which is high praise applied to a man, cannot be predicated
of God. What then does the Qur’an mean by those words? Simply that
they—_arhamu-r-rahimin_—are one of God’s names, applied to Him by
Himself and that we have no right to take them as descriptive of a
quality, mercy, and to use them to throw light on God’s nature. They
form one of the Ninety-nine Most Beautiful Names (_al-asma al-husna_)
of which the Prophet has spoken in a tradition. Similarly, we may call
God the Living One (_al hayy_), because He has given us that as one
of His names, not because of any reasoning on our part. Do we not say
that His life is different from that of all other living beings? These
names then, are limited to ninety-nine and no more should be formed,
however full of praise such might be for God, or however directly based
on His actions. He has called Himself _al-Wahib_, the Giver, and so we
may use that term of Him. But He has not called Himself _al-Wahhab_ the
Bountiful Giver, so we may not use that term of Him, though it is one of
praise. Of course, you may describe His action and say that He is the
guider of His saints. But you must not make from that a name, and call
Him simply the Guider. Further, if we regard these names as expressing
qualities in God, we involve multiplicity in God’s nature; there is the
quality and the thing qualified. Here we are back at the old Mu‘tazilite
difficulty and it is intelligible that Ibn Hazm dealt more gently with
the Mu‘tazilites than with the Ash‘arites. The one party were Muslims and
sinned in ignorance—invincible ignorance, a Roman Catholic would call it;
the others were unbelievers. They had turned wilfully from the way. The
Mu‘tazilites had tried to limit the qualities as much as possible. At the
best they had said that they _were_ God’s essence and not in His essence.
Al-Ash‘ari and his school had fairly revelled in qualities and had mapped
out the nature of God with the detail—and daring—of a phrenological chart.

Naturally, Ibn Hazm made his ethical basis the will of God only. God
has willed that this should be a sin and that a good deed. Lying, he
concedes, is always saying what does not agree with the truth. But,
still, God may pronounce that one lie is a sin, and one not. Muslim
ethics, it is true, have never branded lying as sinful in itself.

For the Shi‘ites and their doctrine of an infallible Imam, Ibn Hazm
cannot find strong enough expressions of contempt.

In Ibn Hazm’s time, and he praises God for it, there were but few
Ash‘arites in the West. Theology generally did not find many students. So
things went on till long after his death. To this fiery controversialist
the worst blow of all would have been if he could have known that the
men who were at last to bring his system, in part and for a time, into
public acceptance and repute, were also to complete the conquest of Islam
for the Ash‘arite school. That was still far in the future, and we must
return to the persecution.

The accounts of the persecution which set in are singularly conflicting.
Some assign it to Hanbalite influence; others tell of a Mu‘tazilite wazir
of Tughril Beg. That the traditionalist party was the main force in it
seems certain. In all probability, however, all the other anti-Ash‘arite
sects, from the Mu‘tazilites on, took their own parts. The Ash‘arite
party represented a _via media_ and would be set upon with zest by all
the extremes. They were solemnly cursed from the pulpits and, what
added peculiar insult to it, the Rafidites, an extreme Kharijite sect,
were joined in the same anathema. Al-Juwayni, the greatest theologian
of the time, fled to the Hijaz and gained the title of Imam of the two
Harams (_Imam al-Haramayn_), by living for four years between Mecca and
al-Madina. Al-Qushayri, the author of a celebrated treatise on Sufiism,
was thrown into prison. The Ash‘arite doctors generally were scattered to
the winds. Only with the death of Tughril Beg in 455 did the cloud pass.
His successor, Alp-Arslan, and especially the great wazir, Nizam al-Mulk,
favored the Ash‘arites. In 459 the latter founded the Nizamite Academy
at Baghdad to be a defence of Ash‘arite doctrines. This may fairly be
regarded as the turning-point of the whole controversy. The Hanbalite mob
of Baghdad still continued to make itself felt, but its excesses were
promptly suppressed. In 510 ash-Shahrastani was well received there by
the people, and in 516 the Khalifa himself attended Ash‘arite lectures.


It is needless to spend more time over the other theologians who were
links in the chain between al-Ash‘ari and the Imam al-Haramayn. Their
views wavered, this way and that, only the rationalizing tendency became
stronger and stronger. There was danger that the orthodox system would
fossilize and lose touch with life as that of the Mu‘tazilites had
done. It is true that Sufiism still held its ground. All theologians
practically were touched by it in its simpler form; and the cause of the
higher Sufiism of ecstasy, wonders by saints (_karamat_) and communion of
the individual soul with God had been eloquently and effectively urged
by al-Qushayri (d. 465) in his _Risala_. But in spite of the labors of
so many men of high ability, the religious outlook was growing ever
darker. Keen observers recognized that some change was bound to come.
That it might be an inflowing of new life by a new al-Ash‘ari was their
prayer. It is more than dubious whether even the keenest mind of the
time could have recognized what form the new life must take. They had
not the perspective and could only feel a vague need. But from what has
gone before it will be plain that Islam had again to assimilate to itself
something from without or perish. Such had been its manner of progress
up till now. New opinions had arisen; had become heresies; conflict had
followed; part of the new thought had been absorbed into the orthodox
church; part had been rejected; through it all the life of the church
had gone on in fuller and richer measure, being always, in spite of
everything, the main stream; the heresy itself had slowly dwindled out
of sight. So it had been with Murji’ism; so with Mu‘tazilism. With the
orthodox, tradition (_naql_) still stood fast, but reason (_aql_) had
taken a place beside it. Kalam, in spite of Hanbalite clamors, had become
fairly a part of their system. What was to be the new element, and who
was to be its champion?


    Al-Ghazzali, his life, times, and work; Sufiism formally
    accepted into Islam.

With the time came the man. He was al-Ghazzali, the greatest, certainly
the most sympathetic figure in the history of Islam, and the only teacher
of the after generations ever put by a Muslim on a level with the four
great Imams. The equal of Augustine in philosophical and theological
importance, by his side the Aristotelian philosophers of Islam, Ibn
Rushd and all the rest, seem beggarly compilers and scholiasts. Only
al-Farabi, and that in virtue of his mysticism, approaches him. In his
own person he took up the life of his time on all its sides and with it
all its problems. He lived through them all and drew his theology from
his experience. Systems and classifications, words and arguments about
words, he swept away; the facts of life as he had known them in his own
soul he grasped. When his work was done the revelation of the mystic
(_kashf_) was not only a full part but the basal part in the structure
of Muslim theology. That basis, in spite, or rather on account of the
work of the mutakallims had previously been lacking. Such a scepticism
as their atomic system had practically amounted to, could disprove much
but could prove little. If all the categories but substance and quality
are mere subjectivities, existing in the mind only, what can we know of
things? An ultra-rational basis had to be found and it was found in the
ecstasy of the Sufis. But al-Ghazzali brought another element into fuller
and more effective working. With him passes away the old-fashioned kalam,
a thing of shreds and patches, scraps of metaphysics and logic snatched
up for a moment of need, without grasp of the full sweep of philosophy,
and incapable, in the long run, of meeting it. Even its atomic system is
a philosophy of amateurs, with all their fantastic one-sidedness, their
vigor and rigor. But al-Ghazzali was no amateur. His knowledge and grasp
of the problems and objects of philosophy were truer and more vital
than in any other Muslim up to his time—perhaps after it, too. Islam
has not fully understood him any more than Christendom fully understood
Augustine, but until long after him the horizon of Muslims was wider and
their air clearer for his work. Then came a new scholasticism, reigning
to this day.

So much by way of preface. We must now give some account of the life
and experiences, the ideas and sensations, of this great leader and
reformer. For his life and his work were one. Everything that he thought
and wrote came with the weight and reality of personal experience. He
recognized this connection himself, and has left us a book—the _Munqidh
min ad-dalal_, “Rescuer from Error”—almost unique in Islam, which, in the
form of an apology for the faith, is really an _Apologia pro vita sua_.
This book is our main source for what follows.


Al-Ghazzali was born at Tus in 450. He lost his father when young and
was educated and brought up by a trusted Sufi friend. He early turned
to the study of theology and canon law, but, as he himself confesses,
it was only because they promised wealth and reputation. Very early
he broke away from _taqlid_, simple acceptance of religious truth on
authority, and he began to investigate theological differences before
he was twenty. His studies were of the broadest, embracing canon law,
theology, dialectic, science, philosophy, logic and the doctrines and
practices of the Sufis. It was a Sufi atmosphere in which he moved, but
their religious fervors do not seem to have laid hold of him. Pride in
his own intellectual powers, ambition and contempt for others of less
ability mastered him. The latter part of his life as a student was spent
at Naysabur as pupil and assistant of the Imam al-Haramayn. Through the
Imam he stood in the apostolic succession of Ash‘arite teachers, being
the fourth from al-Ash‘ari himself. There he remained till the death of
the Imam in 478, when he went out to seek his fortune and found it with
the great wazir, Nizam al-Mulk. By him al-Ghazzali was appointed, in 484,
to teach in the Nizamite Academy at Baghdad. There he had the greatest
success as a teacher and consulting lawyer, and his worldly hopes seemed
safe. But suddenly he was struck down by a mysterious disease. His speech
became hampered; his appetite and digestion failed. His physicians gave
him up; his malady, they said, was mental and could only be mentally
treated. His only hope lay in peace of mind. Then he suddenly quitted
Baghdad, in 488, ostensibly on pilgrimage to Mecca. This flight, for it
was so in effect, of al-Ghazzali was unintelligible to the theologians of
the time; since that time it has marked the greatest epoch in the church
of Islam after the return of al-Ash‘ari.

That it should be unintelligible was natural. No cause could be seen on
the surface, except some possible political complications; the cause in
reality lay in al-Ghazzali’s mind and conscience. He was wandering in the
labyrinth of his time. From his youth he had been a sceptical, ambitious
student, playing with religious influences yet unaffected by them. But
the hollowness of his life was ever present with him and pressing upon
him. Like some with us, he sought to be converted and could not bring
it to pass. His religious beliefs gradually gave way and fell from him,
piece by piece.

At last, the strain became too great and at the court of Nizam al-Mulk he
touched for two months the depths of absolute scepticism. He doubted the
evidence of the senses; he could see plainly that they often deceived. No
eye could perceive the movement of a shadow, but still the shadow moved;
a gold piece would cover any star, but a star was a world larger than the
earth. He doubted even the primary ideas of the mind. Is ten more than
three? Can a thing be and not be? Perhaps; he could not tell. His senses
deceived him, why not his mind? May there not be something behind the
mind and transcending it, which would show the falsity of its convictions
even as the mind showed the falsity of the information given by the
senses? May not the dreams of the Sufis be true, and their revelations
in ecstasy the only real guides? When we awake in death, may it not be
into a true but different existence? All this—perhaps. And so he wandered
for two months. He saw clearly that no reasoning could help him here; he
had no ideas on which he could depend, from which he could begin. But the
mercy of God is great; He sends His light to whom He wills, a light that
flows in, and is given by no reasoning. By it al-Ghazzali was saved; he
regained the power to think, and the task which he now set before him was
to use this power to guide himself to truth.


When he looked around, he saw that those who gave themselves to the
search for truth might be divided into four groups. There were the
scholastic theologians, who were much like the theologians of all times
and faiths. Second, there were the Ta‘limites, who held that to reach
truth one must have an infallible living teacher, and that there was
such a teacher. Third, there were the followers of philosophy, basing
on logical and rational proofs. Fourth, there were the Sufis, who held
that they, the chosen of God, could reach knowledge of Him directly in
ecstasy. With all these he had, of course, been acquainted to a greater
or less degree; but now he settled down to examine them one by one, and
find which would lead him to a certainty to which he could hold, whatever
might come. He felt that he could not go back to the unconscious faith of
his childhood; _that_ nothing could restore. All his mental being must be
made over before he could find rest. He began with scholastic theology,
but found no help there. Grant the theologians their premises and they
could argue; deny them and there was no common ground on which to meet.
Their science had been founded by al-Ash‘ari to meet the Mu‘tazilites;
it had done that victoriously, but could do no more. They could hold the
faith against heretics, expose their inconsistencies; against the sceptic
they availed nothing. It is true that they had attempted to go further
back and meet the students of philosophy on their own ground; to deal
with substances and attributes and first principles generally; but their
efforts had been fruitless. They lacked the necessary knowledge of the
subject, had no scientific basis, and were constrained eventually to fall
back on authority. After study of them and their methods it became clear
to al-Ghazzali that the remedy for his ailment was not in scholastic


Then he turned to philosophy. He had seen already that the weakness
of the theologians lay in their not having made a sufficient study of
primary ideas and the laws of thought. Three years he gave up to this.
He was at Baghdad at the time, teaching law and writing legal treatises,
and probably the three years extended from the beginning of 484 to the
beginning of 487. Two years he gave, without a teacher, to the study of
the writings of the different schools of philosophy, and almost another
to meditating and working over his results. He felt that he was the
first Muslim doctor to do this with the requisite thoroughness. And it
is noteworthy that at this stage he seems to have again felt himself to
be a Muslim, and in an enemy’s country when he was studying philosophy.
He speaks of the necessity of understanding what is to be refuted; but
this may be only a confusion between his attitude when writing after
500, and his attitude when investigating and seeking truth, fifteen
years earlier. He divides the followers of philosophy in his time into
three: Materialists, Deists (_Tabi‘is, i.e._ Naturalists), and Theists.
The materialists reject a creator; the world exists from all eternity;
the animal comes from the egg and the egg from the animal. The wonder
of creation compels the deists to admit a creator, but the creature is
a machine, has a certain poise (_i‘tidal_) in itself which keeps it
running; its thought is a part of its nature and ends with death. They
thus reject a future life, though admitting God and His attributes.

He deals at much greater length with the teachings of those whom he calls
theists, but through all his statements of their views his tone is not
that of a seeker but that of a partisan; he turns his own experiences
into a warning to others, and makes of their record a little guide to
apologetics. Aristotle he regards as the final master of the Greek
school; his doctrines are best represented for Arabic readers in the
books of Ibn Sina and al-Farabi; the works of their predecessors on this
subject are a mass of confusion. Part of these doctrines must be stamped
as unbelief, part as heresy, and part as theologically indifferent. He
then divides the philosophical sciences into six, mathematics, logic,
physics, metaphysics, political economy, ethics; and discusses these in
detail, showing what must be rejected, what is indifferent, what dangers
arise from each to him who studies or to him who rejects without study.

Throughout, he is very cautious to mark nothing as unbelief that is
not really so; to admit always those truths of mathematics, logic, and
physics that cannot intellectually be rejected; and only to warn against
an attitude of intellectualism and a belief that mathematicians, with
their success in their own department, are to be followed in other
departments, or that all subjects are susceptible of the exactness and
certainty of a syllogism in logic. The damnable errors of the theists are
almost entirely in their metaphysical views. Three of their propositions
mark them as unbelievers. _First_, they reject the resurrection of the
body and physical punishment hereafter; the punishments of the next
world will be spiritual only. That there will be spiritual punishments,
al-Ghazzali admits, but there will be physical as well. _Second_, they
hold that God knows universals only, not particulars. _Third_, they
hold that the world exists from all eternity and to all eternity. When
they reject the attributes of God and hold that He knows by His essence
and not by something added to His essence, they are only heretics and
not unbelievers. In physics he accepts the constitution of the world as
developed and explained by them; only all is to be regarded as entirely
submitted to God, incapable of self-movement, a tool of which the Creator
makes use. Finally, he considers that their system of ethics is derived
from the Sufis. At all times there have been such saints, retired from
the world—God has never left himself without a witness; and from their
ecstasies and revelations our knowledge of the human heart, for good and
for evil, is derived.


Thus in philosophy he found little light. It did not correspond entirely
to his needs, for reason cannot answer all questions nor unveil all the
enigmas of life. He would probably have admitted that he had learned much
in his philosophical studies—so at least we may gather from his tone; he
never speaks disrespectfully of philosophy and science in their sphere;
his continual exhortation is that he who would understand them and refute
them must first study them; that to do otherwise, to abuse what we do
not know, brings only contempt on ourselves and on the cause which we
champion. But with his temperament he could not found his religion on
intellect. As a lawyer he could split hairs and define issues; but once
the religious instinct was aroused, nothing could satisfy him but what he
eventually found. And so, two possibilities and two only were before him,
though one was hardly a real possibility, if we consider his training
and mental powers. He might fall back on authority. It could not be the
authority of his childish faith, “Our fathers have told us,” he himself
confesses, could never again have weight with him. But it might be some
claimer of authority in a new form, some infallible teacher with a
doctrine which he could accept for the authority behind it. As the Church
of Rome from time to time gathers into its fold men of keen intellect
who seek rest in submission, and the world marvels, so it might have
been with him. Or again, he might turn directly to God and to personal
intercourse with Him; he might seek to know Him and to be taught of Him
without any intermediary, in a word to enter on the path of the mystic.

He came next to examine the doctrine of the Ta‘limites. They, a somewhat
outlying wing of the Fatimid propaganda, had come at this time into
alarming prominence. In 483 Hasan ibn as-Sabbah had seized Alamut and
entered on open rebellion. The sect of the Assassins was applying its
principles. But the poison of their teaching was also spreading among
the people. The principle of authority in religion, that only by an
infallible teacher could truth be reached and that such an infallible
teacher existed if he could only be found, was in the air. For
himself, al-Ghazzali found the Ta‘limites and their teaching eminently
unsatisfactory: They had a lesson which they went over parrot-fashion,
but beyond it they were in dense ignorance. The trained theologian and
scholar had no patience with their slackness and shallowness of thought.
He labored long, as ash-Shahrastani later confesses that he, too, did,
to penetrate their mystery and learn something from them; but beyond the
accustomed formulæ there was nothing to be found. He even admitted their
contention of the necessity of a living, infallible teacher, to see what
would follow—but nothing followed. “You admit the necessity of an Imam,”
they would say. “It is your business now to seek him; we have nothing to
do with it.” But though neither al-Ghazzali nor ash-Shahrastani, who died
43 (lunar) years after him, could be satisfied with the Ta‘limites, many
others were. The conflict was hot, and al-Ghazzali himself wrote several
books against them.


The other possibility, the path of the mystic, now lay straight before
him. In the _Munqidh_ he tells us how, when he had made an end of the
Ta‘limites, he began to study the books of the Sufis, without any
suggestion that he had had a previous acquaintance with them and their
practices. But probably this means nothing more than it does when he
speaks in a similar way of studying the scholastic theologians; namely,
that he now took up the study in earnest and with a new and definite
purpose. He therefore read carefully the works of al-Harith al-Muhasibi,
the fragments of al-Junayd, ash-Shibli, and Abu Yazid al-Bistami. He had
also the benefit of oral teaching; but it became plain to him that only
through ecstasy and the complete transformation of the moral being could
he really understand Sufiism. He saw that it consisted in feelings more
than in knowledge, that he must be initiated as a Sufi himself; live
their life and practise their exercises, to attain his goal.

On the way upon which he had gone up to this time, he had gained three
fixed points of faith. He now believed firmly in God, in prophecy, and in
the last judgment. He had also gained the belief that only by detaching
himself from this world, its life, enjoyments, honors, and turning to God
could he be saved in the world to come. He looked on his present life,
his writing and his teaching, and saw of how little value it was in the
face of the great fact of heaven and hell. All he did now was for the
sake of vainglory and had in it no consecration to the service of God. He
felt on the edge of an abyss. The world held him back; his fears urged
him away. He was in the throes of a conversion wrought by terror; his
religion, now and always, in common with all Islam, was other-worldly. So
he remained in conflict with himself for six months from the middle of
488. Finally, his health broke down under the strain. In his feebleness
and overthrow he took refuge with God, as a man at the end of his
resources. God heard him and enabled him to make the needed sacrifices.
He abandoned all and wandered forth from Baghdad as a Sufi. He had put
his brilliant present and brilliant future absolutely behind him; had
given up everything for the peace of his soul. This date, the end of 488,
was the great era in his life; but it marked an era, too, in the history
of Islam. Since al-Ash‘ari went back to the faith of his fathers in 300,
and cursed the Mu‘tazilites and all their works, there had been no such
epoch as this flight of al-Ghazzali. It meant that the reign of mere
scholasticism was over; that another element was to work openly in the
future Church of Islam, the element of the mystical life in God, of the
attainment of truth by the soul in direct vision.


He went to Syria and gave himself up for two years to the religious
exercises of the Sufis. Then he went on pilgrimage, first to Jerusalem;
then to the tomb of Abraham at Hebron; finally to Mecca and al-Madina.
With this religious duty his life of strict retirement ended. It is
evident that he now felt that he was again within the fold of Islam.
In spite of his former resolution to retire from the world, he was
drawn back. The prayers of his children and his own aspirations broke
in upon him, and though he resolved again and again to return to the
contemplative life, and did often actually do so, yet events, family
affairs, and the anxieties of life, kept continually disturbing him.

This went on, he tells us, for almost ten years, and in that time there
were revealed to him things that could not be reckoned and the discussion
of which could not be exhausted. He learned that the Sufis were on the
true and only path to the knowledge of God; that neither intelligence
nor wisdom nor science could change or improve their doctrine or their
ethics. The light in which they walk is essentially the same as the light
of prophecy; Muhammad was a Sufi when on his way to be a prophet. There
is none other light to light any man in this world. A complete purifying
of the heart from all but God is their Path; a seeking to plunge the
heart completely in the thought of God, is its beginning, and its end is
complete passing away in God. This last is only its end in relation to
what can be entered upon and grasped by a voluntary effort; in truth, it
is only the first step in the Path, the vestibule to the contemplative
life. Revelations (_mukashafas_, unveilings) came to the disciples from
the very beginning; while awake they see angels and souls of prophets,
hear their voices and gain from them guidance. Then their State (_hal_,
a Sufi technicality for a state of ecstasy) passes from the beholding of
forms to stages where language fails and any attempt to express what is
experienced must involve some error. They reach a nearness to God which
some have fancied to be a _hulul_, fusion of being, others an _ittihad_,
identification, and others a _wusul_, union; but these are all erroneous
ways of indicating the thing. Al-Ghazzali notes one of his books in
which he has explained wherein the error lies. But the thing itself is
the true basis of all faith and the beginning of prophecy; the _karamat_
of the saints lead to the miracles of the prophets. By this means the
possibility and the existence of prophecy can be proved, and then the
life itself of Muhammad proves that he was a prophet. Al-Ghazzali goes
on to deal with the nature of prophecy, and how the life of Muhammad
shows the truth of his mission; but enough has been given to indicate his
attitude and the stage at which he had himself arrived.

During this ten years he had returned to his native country and to his
children, but had not undertaken public duty as a teacher. Now that was
forced upon him. The century was drawing to a close. Everywhere there
was evident a slackening of religious fervor and faith. A mere external
compliance with the rules of Islam was observed, men even openly defended
such a course. He adduces as an example of this the _Wasiya_ of Ibn Sina.
The students of philosophy went their way, and their conduct shook the
minds of the people; false Sufis abounded, who taught antinomianism;
the lives of many theologians excited scandal; the Ta‘limites were
still spreading. A religious leader to turn the current was absolutely
needed, and his friends looked to al-Ghazzali to take up that duty;
some distinguished saints had dreams of his success; God had promised a
reformer every hundred years and the time was up. Finally, the Sultan
laid a command upon him to go and teach in the academy at Naysabur, and
he was forced to consent. His departure for Naysabur fell at the end of
499, exactly eleven years after his flight from Baghdad. But he did not
teach there long. Before the end of his life we find him back at Tus, his
native place, living in retirement among his disciples, in a Madrasa or
academy for students and a Khanqah or monastery for Sufis.

[Sidenote: THE TAHAFUT]

There he settled down to study and contemplation. We have already seen
what theological position he had reached. Philosophy had been tried and
found wanting. In a book of his called _Tahafut_, or “Destruction,” he
had smitten the philosophers hip and thigh; he had turned, as in earlier
times al-Ash‘ari, their own weapons against them, and had shown that with
their premises and methods no certainty could be reached. In that book
he goes to the extreme of intellectual scepticism, and, seven hundred
years before Hume, he cuts the bond of causality with the edge of his
dialectic and proclaims that we can know nothing of cause or effect,
but simply that one thing follows another. He combats their proof of
the eternity of the world, and exposes their assertion that God is its
creator. He demonstrates that they cannot prove the existence of the
creator or that that creator is one; that they cannot prove that He is
incorporeal, or that the world has any creator or cause at all; that they
cannot prove the nature of God or that the human soul is a spiritual
essence. When he has finished there is no intellectual basis left for
life; he stands beside the Greek sceptics and beside Hume. We are thrown
back on revelation, that given immediately by God to the individual soul
or that given through prophets. All our real knowledge is derived from
these sources. So it was natural that in the latter part of his life he
should turn to the traditions of the Prophet. The science of tradition
must certainly have formed part of his early studies, as of those of all
Muslim theologians, but he had not specialized in it; his bent had lain
in quite other directions. His master, the Imam al-Haramayn, had been no
student of tradition; among his many works is not one dealing with that
subject. Now he saw that the truth and the knowledge of the truth lay
there, and he gave himself, with all the energy of his nature, to the new

The end of his wanderings came at Tus, in 505. There he died while
seeking truth in the traditions of Muhammad, as al-Ash‘ari, his
predecessor, had done. The stamp of his personality is ineffaceably
impressed on Islam. The people of his time reverenced him as a saint and
wonder-worker. He himself never claimed to work _karamat_ and always
spoke modestly of the light which he had reached in ecstasy. After
his death legends early began to gather round him, and the current
biographies of him are untrustworthy to a degree. It says much for the
solidity of his work that he did not pass into a misty figure of popular
superstition. But that work remained and remains among his disciples and
in his books. We must now attempt to estimate its bearing and scope.


For him, as for the mutakallims in general, the fundamental thing in the
world and the starting-point of all speculation is will. The philosophers
in their intellectualism might picture God as thought—thought thinking
itself and evolving all things thereby. Their source was Plotinus; that
of the Muslims was the terrific “Be!” of creation. But how can we know
this will of God if we are simply part of what it has produced? In
answering this, al-Ghazzali and his followers have diverged from the rest
of Islam, but not into heresy. Their view is admitted to be a possible
interpretation of Qur’anic passages, if not that commonly held. The soul
of man, al-Ghazzali taught, is essentially different from the rest of
the created things. We read in the Qur’an (xv, 29; xxxviii, 72) that God
breathed into man of His spirit (_ruh_). This is compared with the rays
of the sun reaching a thing on the earth and warming it. In virtue of
this, the soul of man is different from everything else in the world. It
is a spiritual substance (_jawhar ruhani_), has no corporeality, and is
not subject to dimension, position or locality. It is not in the body or
outside of the body; to apply such categories to it is as absurd as to
speak of the knowledge or ignorance of a stone. Though created, it is
not shaped; it belongs to the spiritual world and not to this world of
sensible things. It contains some spark of the divine and it is restless
till it rests again in that primal fire; but, again, it is recorded in
tradition that the Prophet said, “God Most High created Adam in His own
form (_sura_).” Al-Ghazzali takes that to mean that there is a likeness
between the spirit of man and God in essence, quality, and actions.
Further, the spirit of man rules the body as God rules the world.
Man’s body is a microcosm beside the macrocosm of this world, and they
correspond, part by part. Is, then, God simply the _anima mundi_? No,
because He is the creator of all by His will, the sustainer and destroyer
by His will. Al-Ghazzali comes to this by a study of himself. His primary
conception is, _volo ergo sum_. It is not thought which impresses him,
but volition. From thought he can develop nothing; from will can come the
whole round universe. But if God, the Creator, is a Willer, so, too, is
the soul of man. They are kin, and, therefore, man can know and recognize
God. “He who knows his own soul, knows his Lord,” said another tradition.

This view of the nature of the soul is essential to the Sufi position
and is probably borrowed from it. But there are in it two possibilities
of heresy, if the view be pushed any further. It tends (1) to destroy
the important Muslim dogma of God’s Difference (_mukhalafa_) from all
created things, and (2) to maintain that the souls of men are partakers
of the divine nature and will return to it at death. Al-Ghazzali labored
to safeguard both dangers, but they were there and showed themselves
in time. Just as the Aristotelian + neo-Platonic philosophers reached
the position that the universe with all its spheres was God, so, later,
Sufis came to the other pantheistic position that God was the world.
Before the atomic scholastics the same danger also lay. It is part of
the irony of the history of Muslim theology that the very emphasis on
the transcendental unity should lead thus to pantheism. Al-Ghazzali’s
endeavor was to strike the _via media_. The Hegelian Trinity might have
appealed to him.


To return, his views on science, as we have already seen, were the same
as those of the contemporary students of natural philosophy. Their
teachings he accepted, and, so far, he can be compared to a theologian
of the present day, who accepts evolution and explains it to suit
himself. His world was framed on what is commonly called the Ptolemaic
system. He was no flat-earth man like the present Ulama of Islam; God
had “spread out the earth like a carpet,” but that did not hinder him
from regarding it as a globe. Around it revolve the spheres of the seven
planets and that of the fixed stars; Alphonso the Wise had not yet added
the crystalline sphere and the _primum mobile_. All that astronomers and
mathematicians teach us of the laws under which these bodies move is
to be accepted. Their theory of eclipses and of other phenomena of the
heavens is true, whatever the ignorant and superstitious may clamor. Yet
it is to be remembered that the most important facts and laws have been
divinely revealed. As the weightiest truths of medicine are to be traced
back to the teaching of the prophets, so there are conjunctions in the
heavens which occur only once in a thousand years and which man can yet
calculate because God has taught him their laws. And all this structure
of the heavens and the earth is the direct work of God, produced out of
nothing by His will, guided by His will, ever dependent for existence on
His will, and one day to pass away at His command. So al-Ghazzali joins
science and revelation. Behind the order of nature lies the personal,
omnipotent God who says, “Be!” and it is. The things of existence do not
proceed from Him by any emanation or evolution, but are produced directly
by Him.


Further, there is another side of al-Ghazzali’s attitude toward the
physical universe that deserves attention, but which is very difficult
to grasp or express. Perhaps it may be stated thus: Existence has
three modes; there is existence in the _alam al-mulk_, in the _alam
al-jabarut_, and in the _alam al-malakut_. The first is this world of
ours which is apparent to the senses; it exists by the power (_qudra_)
of God, one part proceeding from another in constant change. The _alam
al-malakut_ exists by God’s eternal decree, without development,
remaining in one state without addition or diminution. The _alam
al-jabarut_ comes between these two; it seems externally to belong to
the first, but in respect of the power of God which is from all eternity
(_al-qudra al-azaliya_) it is included in the second. The soul (_nafs_)
belongs to the _alam al-malakut_, is taken from it and returns to it. In
sleep and in ecstasy, even in this world, it can come into contact with
the world from which it is derived. This is what happens in dreams—“sleep
is the brother of death,” says al-Ghazzali; and thus, too, the saints
and the prophets attain divine knowledge. Some angels belong to the
world of _malakut_; some to that of _jabarut_, apparently those who
have shown themselves here as messengers of God. The things in the
heavens, the preserved tablet, the pen, the balance, etc., belong to the
world of _malakut_. On the one hand, these are not sensible, corporeal
things, and, on the other, these terms for them are not metaphors. Thus
al-Ghazzali avoids the difficulty of Muslim eschatology with its bizarre
concreteness. He rejects the right to allegorize—these things are real,
actual; but he relegates them to this world of _malakut_. Again, the
Qur’an, Islam, and Friday (the day of public worship) are personalities
in the world of _malakut_ and _jabarut_. So, too, the world of _mulk_
must appear as a personality at the bar of these other worlds at the last
day. It will come as an ugly old woman, but Friday as a beautiful young
bride. This personal Qur’an belongs to the world of _jabarut_, but Islam
to that of _malakut_.

But just as those three worlds are not thought of as separate in time,
so they are not separate in space. They are not like the seven heavens
and seven earths of Muslim literalists, which stand, story-fashion, one
above the other. Rather they are, as expressed above, modes of existence,
and might be compared to the speculations on another life in space of n
dimensions, framed, from a very different starting-point and on a basis
of pure physics, by Balfour Stewart and Tait in their “Unseen Universe.”
On another side they stand in close kinship to the Platonic world of
ideas, whether through neo-Platonism or more immediately. Sufiism at its
best, and when stripped of the trappings of Muslim tradition and Qur’anic
exegesis, has no reason to shrink from the investigation either of the
physicist or of the metaphysician. And so it is not strange to find that
all Muslim thinkers have been tinged with mysticism to a greater or less
degree, though they may not all have embraced formal Sufiism and accepted
its vocabulary and system. This is true of al-Farabi, who was avowedly a
Sufi; true also of Ibn Sina, who, though nominally an Aristotelian, was
essentially a neo-Platonist, and admitted the possibility of intercourse
with superior beings and with the Active Intellect, of miracles and
revelations; true even of Ibn Rushd, who does not venture to deny the
immediate knowledge of the Sufi saints, but only argues that experience
of it is not sufficiently general to be made a basis for theological

In ethics, as we have already seen, the position of al-Ghazzali is a
simple one. All our laws and theories upon the subject, the analysis of
the qualities of the mind, good and bad, the tracing of hidden defects
to their causes—all these things we owe to the saints of God to whom
God Himself has revealed them. Of these there have been many at all
times and in all countries, and without them and their labors and the
light which God has vouchsafed to them, we could never know ourselves.
Here, as everywhere, comes out al-Ghazzali’s fundamental position that
the ultimate source of all knowledge is revelation from God. It may
be major revelation, through accredited prophets who come forward as
teachers, divinely sent and supported by miracles and by the evident
truth of their message appealing to the human heart, or it may be minor
revelation—subsidiary and explanatory—through the vast body of saints of
different grades, to whom God has granted immediate knowledge of Himself.
Where the saints leave off, the prophets begin; and, apart from such
teaching, man, even in physical science, would be groping in the dark.


This position becomes still more prominent in his philosophical system.
His agnostic attitude toward the results of pure thought has been already
sketched. It is essentially the same as that taken up by Mansel in his
Bampton lectures on “The Limits of Religious Thought.” Mansel, a pupil
and continuator of Hamilton, developed and emphasized Hamilton’s doctrine
of the relativity of knowledge, and applied it to theology, maintaining
that we cannot know or think of the absolute and infinite, but only of
the relative and finite. Hence, he went on to argue, we can have no
positive knowledge of the attributes of God. This, though disguised by
the methods and language of scholastic philosophy, is al-Ghazzali’s
attitude in the _Tahafut_. Mansel’s opponents said that he was like a man
sitting on the branch of a tree and sawing off his seat. Al-Ghazzali, for
the support of his seat, went back to revelation, either major, in the
books sent down to the prophets, or minor, in the personal revelations
of God’s saints. Further, it was not only in the Muslim schools that
this attitude toward philosophy prevailed. Yehuda Halevi (d. A.D. 1145;
al-Ghazzali, d. 1111) also maintains in his _Kusari_ the insufficiency of
philosophy in the highest questions of life, and bases religious truth on
the incontrovertible historical facts of revelation. And Maimonides (d.
A.D. 1204) in his _Moreh Nebuchim_ takes essentially the same position.

Of his views on dogmatic theology little need be said. Among modern
theologians he stands nearest to Ritschl. Like Ritschl, he rejects
metaphysics and opposes the influence of any philosophical system on
his theology. The basis must be religious phenomena, simply accepted
and correlated. Like Ritschl, too, he was emphatically ethical in his
attitude; he lays stress on the _value for us_ of a doctrine or a piece
of knowledge. Our source of religious knowledge is revelation, and
beyond a certain point we must not inquire as to the how and why of that
knowledge. To do so would be to enter metaphysics and the danger-zone
where we lose touch with vital realities and begin to use mere words. On
one point he goes beyond Ritschl, and, on another, Ritschl goes beyond
him. In his devotion to the facts of the religious consciousness Ritschl
did not go so far as to become a mystic, indeed rejected mysticism with
a conscious indignation; al-Ghazzali did become a mystic. But, on the
other hand, Ritschl refused absolutely to enter upon the nature of God or
upon the divine attributes—all that was mere metaphysics and heathenism;
al-Ghazzali did not so far emancipate himself, and his only advance was
to keep the doctrine on a strictly Qur’anic basis. So it stands written;
not, so man is compelled by the nature of things to think.


His work and influence in Islam may be summed up briefly as follows:
_First_, he led men back from scholastic labors upon theological
dogmas to living contact with, study and exegesis of, the Word and
the traditions. What happened in Europe when the yoke of mediæval
scholasticism was broken, what is happening with us now, happened in
Islam under his leadership. He could be a scholastic with scholastics,
but to state and develop theological doctrine on a Scriptural basis was
emphatically his method. We should now call him a Biblical theologian.

_Second_, in his teaching and moral exhortations he reintroduced the
element of fear. In the _Munqidh_ and elsewhere he lays stress on the
need of such a striking of terror into the minds of the people. His was
no time, he held, for smooth, hopeful preaching; no time for optimism
either as to this world or the next. The horrors of hell must be kept
before men; he had felt them himself. We have seen how other-worldly
was his own attitude, and how the fear of the Fire had been the supreme
motive in his conversion; and so he treated others.

_Third_, it was by his influence that Sufiism attained a firm and assured
position in the Church of Islam.

_Fourth_, he brought philosophy and philosophical theology within the
range of the ordinary mind. Before his time they had been surrounded,
more or less, with mystery. The language used was strange; its vocabulary
and terms of art had to be specially learned. No mere reader of the
Arabic of the street or the mosque or the school could understand at once
a philosophical tractate. Greek ideas and expressions, passing through a
Syriac version into Arabic, had strained to the uttermost the resources
of even that most flexible tongue. A long training had been thought
necessary before the elaborate and formal method of argumentation could
be followed. All this al-Ghazzali changed, or at least tried to change.
His _Tahafut_ is not addressed to scholars only; he seeks with it a wider
circle of readers, and contends that the views, the arguments, and the
fallacies of the philosophers should be perfectly intelligible to the
general public.

Of these four phases of al-Ghazzali’s work, the first and the third
are undoubtedly the most important. He made his mark by leading Islam
back to its fundamental and historical facts, and by giving a place
in its system to the emotional religious life. But it will have been
noticed that in none of the four phases was he a pioneer. He was not
a scholar who struck out a new path, but a man of intense personality
who entered on a path already blazed and made it the common highway. We
have here his character. Other men may have been keener logicians, more
learned theologians, more gifted saints; but he, through his personal
experiences, had attained so overpowering a sense of the divine realities
that the force of his character—once combative and restless, now narrowed
and intense—swept all before it, and the Church of Islam entered on a new
era of its existence.

So much space it has been necessary to give to this great man. Islam has
never outgrown him, has never fully understood him. In the renaissance
of Islam which is now rising to view his time will come and the new life
will proceed from a renewed study of his works.


From this time on, the Ash‘arites may be fairly regarded as the dominant
school so far as the East is concerned. Saladin (d. 589) did much to aid
in the establishment of this hegemony. He was a devout Muslim with the
taste of an amateur for theological literature. Anecdotes tell how he had
a special little catechism composed, and used himself to instruct his
children in it. He founded theological academies in Egypt at Alexandria
and Cairo, the first there except the Fatimid Hall of Science. One of the
few blots on his name is the execution of the pantheistic Sufi, Shihab
ad-Din as-Suhrawardi, at Aleppo in 587. Meanwhile, in the farther East,
Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (d. 606) was writing his great commentary on the
Qur’an, the _Mafatih al-Ghayb_, “The Keys of the Unseen,” and carrying
on the work of al-Ghazzali. The title of his commentary itself shows the
dash of mysticism in his teaching, and he was in correspondence with Ibn
Arabi, the arch-Sufi of the time. He studied philosophy, too, commented
on works of Ibn Sina, and fought the philosophers on their own ground
as al-Ghazzali had done. Kalam and philosophy are now, in the eyes of
the theologians, a true philosophy and a false. Philosophy has taken the
place of Mu‘tazilism and the other heresies. The enemies of the faith
are outside its pale, and the scholasticizing of philosophy goes on
steadily. According to some, a new stage was marked by al-Baydawi (d.
685), who confused inextricably philosophy and kalam, but the newness
can have been comparative only. A century later al-Iji (d. 756) writes
a book, _al-Mawaqif_, on kalam, half of which is given to metaphysics
and the other half to dogmatics. At-Taftazani is another name worthy of
mention. He died in 791, after a laborious life as a controversialist and
commentator. When we reach Ibn Khaldun (d. 808), the first philosophical
historian and the greatest until the nineteenth century of our era, we
find that kalam has fallen again from its high estate. It has become a
scholastic discipline, useful only to repel the attacks of heretics and
unbelievers; and of heretics, says Ibn Khaldun, there are now none left.
Reason, he goes on, cannot grasp the nature of God; cannot weigh His
unity nor measure His qualities. God is unknowable and we must accept
what we are told about Him by His prophets. Such was the result of the
destruction of philosophy in Islam.


    Islam in the West; Ibn Tumart and the Muwahhids; philosophy in
    the West under Muwahhid protection; Ibn Bajja; Ibn Tufayl; Ibn
    Rushd; Ibn Arabi; Ibn Sab‘in.

We have now anticipated one of the strangest and most characteristic
figures and movements in the history of Islam. The preceding account,
except as relates to Ibn Khaldun, has told of the triumphs of the
Ash‘arites in the East only. In the West the movement was slower, and to
it we must now turn. The Maghrib—the Occident, as the Arabs called all
North Africa beyond Egypt—had been slow from the first to take on the
Muslim impress. The invading army had fought its way painfully through,
but the Berber tribes remained only half subdued and one-tenth Islamized.
Egypt was conquered in A.H. 20, and Samarqand had been reached in 56;
but it was not till 74 that the Muslims were at Carthage. And even then
and for long after there arose insurrection after insurrection, and the
national spirit of the Berbers remained unbroken. Broadly, but correctly,
Islam in North Africa for more than three centuries was a failure. The
tribal constitutions of the Berbers were unaffected by the conception
of the Khalifate and their primitive religious aspirations by the Faith
of Muhammad. Not till the possibility came to them to construct Muslim
states out of their own tribes did their opposition begin to weaken.
And then it was rather political Islam that had weakened. When the
Fatimids conquered Egypt in 356 and moved the seat of their empire from
al-Mahdiya to the newly founded Cairo, Islam assumed a new meaning for
North Africa. The Fatimid empire there quickly melted away, and in its
place arose several independent states, Berber in blood though claiming
Arab descent and bearing Arab names. Islam no longer meant foreign
oppression, and it began at last to make its way. Again, in the preceding
period of insurrection the Berber leaders had frequently appeared in the
guise and with the claim of prophets, men miraculously gifted and with
a message from God. These wild tribesmen, with all their fanaticism for
their own tribal liberties, have always been peculiarly accessible to the
genius which claims its mission from heaven. So they had taken up the
Fatimid cause and worshipped Ubayd Allah the Mahdi. And so they continued
thereafter, and still continue to be swayed by saints, darwishes, and
prophets of all degrees of insanity and cunning. The latest case in
point is that of the Shaykh as-Sanusi, with whom we have already dealt.
As time went on, there came a change in these prophet-led risings and
saint-founded states. They gradually slipped over from being frankly
anti-Muhammadan, if also close imitations of Muhammad’s life and methods,
to being equally frankly Muslim. The theology of Islam easily afforded
them the necessary point of connection. All that the prophet of the day
need do was to claim the position of the Mahdi, that Guided One, who
according to the traditions of Muhammad was to come before the last day,
when the earth shall be filled with violence, and to fill it again with
righteousness. It was easy for each new Mahdi to select from the vast and
contradictory mass of traditions in Muslim eschatology those which best
fitted his person and his time. To the story and the doctrine of one of
these we now come.

[Sidenote: IBN TUMART]

At the beginning of the sixth century a certain Berber student of
theology, Ibn Tumart by name, travelled in the East in search of
knowledge. An early and persistent western tradition asserts that he
was a favorite pupil of al-Ghazzali’s, and was marked out by him as
showing the signs of a future founder of empire. This may be taken for
what it is worth. What is certain is that Ibn Tumart went back to the
Maghrib and there brought about the triumph of a doctrine which was
derived, if modified, from that of the Ash‘arites. Previously all kalam
had been under a cloud in the West. Theological studies had been closely
limited to _fiqh_, or canon law, and that of the narrowed school of
Malik ibn Anas. Even the Qur’an and the collections of traditions had
come to be neglected in favor of systematized law-books. The revolt of
Ibn Hazm against this had apparently accomplished little. It had been
too one-sided and negative, and had lacked the weight of personality
behind it. Ibn Hazm had assailed the views of others with a wealth of
vituperative language. But he had been a controversialist only. There
is a story, tolerably well authenticated, that the books of al-Ghazzali
were solemnly condemned by the Qadis of Cordova, and burnt in public.
Yet, against that is to be set that all the Spanish theologians did not
approve of this violence.


Ibn Tumart started in life as a reformer of the corruptions of his
day, and seems to have slipped from that into the belief that he had
been appointed by God as the great reformer for all time. As happens
with reformers, from exhortation it came to force; from preaching at
the abuses of the government to rebellion against the government. That
government, the Murabit, went down before Ibn Tumart and his successors,
and the pontifical rule of the Muwahhids, the asserters of God’s
_tawhid_ or unity, rose in its place. The doctrine which he preached
bears evident marks of the influence of al-Ghazzali and of Ibn Hazm.
_Tawhid_, for him, meant a complete spiritualizing of the conception of
God. Opposed to _tawhid_, he set _tajsim_, the assigning to God of a
_jism_ or body having bulk. Thus, when the theologians of the West took
the anthropomorphic passages of the Qur’an literally, he applied to them
the method of _ta’wil_, or interpretation, which he had learned in the
East, and explained away these stumbling-blocks. Ibn Hazm, it will be
remembered, resorted to grammatical and lexicographical devices to attain
the same end, and had regarded _ta’wil_ with abhorrence. To Ibn Tumart,
then, this _tajsim_ was flat unbelief and, as Mahdi, it was his duty to
oppose it by force of arms, to lead a _jihad_ against its maintainers.
Further, with Ibn Hazm, he agreed in rejecting _taqlid_. There was only
one truth, and it was man’s duty to find it for himself by going to the
original sources. This is the genuine Zahirite doctrine which utterly
rejects all comity with the four other legal rites; but Ibn Tumart,
as Mahdi, added another element. It is based on a very simple Imamite
philosophy of history. There has always been an Imam in the world, a
divinely appointed leader, guarded by _isma_, protection against error.
The first four Khalifas were of such divine appointment; thereafter came
usurpers and oppressors. Theirs was the reign of wickedness and lies in
the earth. Now he, the Mahdi, was come of the blood of the Prophet and
bearing plainly all the necessary, accrediting signs to overcome these
tyrants and anti-Christs. He thus was an Imamite, but stood quite apart
from the welter of conflicting Shi‘ite sects—the Seveners, Twelvers,
Zaydites and the rest—as far as do the present Sharifs of Morocco with
their Alid-Sunnite position. The Mahdi, it is to be remembered, is
awaited by Sunnites as by Shi‘ites, and is guarded against error as much
as an Imam, since he partakes of the general _isma_ which in divine
things belongs to prophets. Such a leader, then, could claim from the
people absolute obedience and credence. His word must be for them the
source of truth. There was, therefore, no longer any need of analogy
(_qiyas_) as a source, and we accordingly find that Ibn Tumart rejected
it in all but legal matters and there surrounded it with restrictions.
Analogical argument in things theological was forbidden.

But where he absolutely parted company from the Ash‘arites was with
regard to the qualities of God. In that, too, he followed the view
of Ibn Hazm sketched above. We must take the Qur’anic expressions
as names and not as indicating attributes to us. It is true that his
creed shows signs of a philosophical width lacking in Ibn Hazm. Like
the Mu‘tazilites, _e.g._ Abu Hudhayl, he defines largely by negations.
God is not this; is not affected by that. It is even phrased so as to
be capable of a pantheistic explanation, and we find that Ibn Rushd
wrote a commentary on it. But it may be doubted whether Ibn Tumart was
himself a pantheist. All phases of Islam, as we have seen, ran toward
that; and here there is only a little indiscretion in the wording. But
it may easily have been that he had besides, like the Fatimids, a secret
teaching or exposition of those simpler declarations which were intended
for the mass of the people. Among his successors distinct traces of
such a thing appear; both Aristotelian philosophers and advanced Sufis
are connected with the Muwahhid movement. That, however, belongs to the

The success of Ibn Tumart, if halting at first, was eventually complete.
As a simple lawyer who felt called upon to protest—as, indeed, are all
good Muslims in virtue of a tradition from Muhammad—against the abuses
of the time, he accomplished comparatively little. As Mahdi, he and
his supporter and successor, Abd al-Mu’min, swept the country. For his
movement was not merely Imamite and Muslim, but an expression as well of
Berber nationalism. Here was a man, sprung from their midst, of their
own stock and tongue, who, as Prophet of God, called them to arms. They
obeyed his call, worshipped him and fought for him. He translated the
Qur’an for them into Berber; the call to prayers was given in Berber;
functionaries of the church had to know Berber; his own theological
writings circulated in Berber as well as in Arabic. As Persia took Islam
and moulded it to suit herself, so now did the Berber tribes. And a
strange jumble they made of it. With them, the Zahirite system of canon
law, rejected by all other Muslim peoples, enjoyed its one brief period
of power and glory. Shi‘ite legends and superstitions mingled with
philosophical free thought. The book of mystery, _al-Jafr_, written by
Ali, and containing the history of the world to the end of time, was said
to have passed from the custody of al-Ghazzali at his death to the hands
of the Mahdi and was by him committed to his successors. If only in view
of the syncretism practised by both, it was fitting that al-Ghazzali and
Ibn Tumart should be brought closely together. Yet it is hard to explain
the persistence with which the great Ash‘arite is made the teacher and
guide of the semi-Zahirite. There must have been something, now obscure
to us, in their respective systems which suggested to contemporaries such
intimate connection.

The rule of the Muwahhids lasted until 667, nearly one hundred years, and
involved in its circle of influence many weighty personalities. With some
of these we will now deal shortly.

It has been told above how narrow in general were the intellectual
interests of the West. Canon law, poetry, history, geography were eagerly
pursued, but little of original value was produced. Originality and the
breaking of ground in new fields were under a ban. Subtilty of thought
and luxury of life took their place. Above all, and naturally, this
applied to philosophy. And so it comes that the first philosophic name
in the Muslim West is that of Abu Bakr ibn Bajja, for mediæval Europe
Avenpace, who died comparatively young in 533. For him, as for all, and
still more in the West than in the East, the problem of the philosopher
was how to gain and maintain a tenable position in a world composed
mostly of the philosophically ignorant and the religiously fanatical.
This problem had two sides, internal and external. The inner and the
nobler one was how such a mind could in its loneliness rise to its
highest level and purify itself to the point of knowing things as they
really are and so reach that eternal life in which the individual spirit
loses itself in the Active Intellect (νοῦς ποιητικός, _al-aql al-fa‘‘al_)
which is above all and behind all. The other, and baser, was how to so
present his views and adapt his life that the life and the views might be
possible in a Muslim community.

[Sidenote: IBN BAJJA]

Ibn Bajja was a close disciple of al-Farabi, who is to be regarded as the
spiritual father of the later Arabic philosophy; Ibn Sina practically
falls out. In logic, physics, and metaphysics he followed al-Farabi
closely. But we can see how the times have moved and the philosophies
with them. The essential differences have appeared and Ibn Bajja can no
longer, with a good conscience, appear as a pious Muslim. The Sufi strain
also is much weaker. The greatest joy and the closest truth are to be
found in thought, and not in the sensuous ecstasies of the mystic. The
intellect is the highest element in man’s being, but is only immortal as
it joins itself to the one Active Intellect, which is all that is left of
God. Here we have the beginning of the doctrine which, later, under the
name of Averroism and pampsychism ran like wild-fire through the schools
of Europe. Further, only by the constant exercise of its own functions
can the intellect of man be thus raised. He must live rationally at all
points; be able to give a reason for every action. This may compel him
to live in solitude; the world is so irrational and will not suffer
reason. Or some of the disciples of reason may draw together and form a
community where they may live the calm life of nature and of the pursuit
of knowledge and self-development. So they will be at one with nature and
the eternal, and far removed from the frenzied life of the multitude with
its lower aims and conceptions. It is easy to see how the iron of a fight
against overwhelming odds had entered this soul. Only the friendship of
some of the Murabit princes saved him; but he died in the end, says a
story, by poison.

With the next names we find ourselves at a Muwahhid court, and there the
atmosphere has changed. It is evident that, whatever might be the temper
of the people, the chiefs of the Muwahhids viewed philosophy with no
disfavor. Their problem, as in the case of the Fatimids, seems rather
to have been how much the people might be taught with safety. Their
solution of the problem—here we proceed on conjecture, but the basis is
tolerably sound—was that the bulk of the people should be taught nothing
but the literal sense of the Qur’an, metaphors, anthropomorphisms and
all; that the educated lay public, which had already some inkling of the
facts, should be assured that there was really no difference between
philosophy and theology—that they were two phases of one truth; and that
the philosophers should have a free hand to go on their own way, always
provided that their speculations did not spread beyond their own circle
and agitate the minds of the commonalty. It was a beautiful scheme, but
like all systems of obscurantism it did not work. On the one hand, the
people refused to be blindfolded, and, on the other, philosophy died out
of inanition.

In accordance with this, we find the Muwahhid chiefs installing the
Zahirite _fiqh_ as the official system and sternly stopping all
speculative discussing either of canon law or of theology. “The Word so
stands written; take it or the sword,” is the significant utterance which
has come to us from Abu Ya‘qub (reg. 558-580), son of Abd al-Mu’min. The
same continued under his son Abu Yusuf al-Mansur (reg. 580-595), who
added a not very carefully concealed contempt for the Mahdiship of Ibn
Tumart. All such things were ridiculous in his philosophic eyes.


Under these men and in adjustment with their system lived and worked Ibn
Tufayl and Ibn Rushd, the last of the great Aristotelians. Ibn Tufayl
was wazir and physician to Abu Ya‘qub and died a year after him, in 531.
His was a calm, contemplative life, secluded in princely libraries. But
his objects were the same as those of Ibn Bajja. He has evidently no
hope that the great body of the people can ever be brought to the truth.
A religion, sensuous and sensual alike, is needed to restrain the wild
beast in man, and the masses should be left to the guidance of that
religion. For a philosopher to seek to teach them better is to expose
himself to peril and them to the loss of that little which they have. But
in his methods, on the other hand, Ibn Tufayl is essentially at one with
al-Ghazzali. He is a mystic who seeks in Sufi exercises, in the constant
purifying of mind and body and in the unwearying search for the one unity
in the individual multiplicity around him, to find a way to lose his self
in that eternal and one spirit which for him is the divine. So at last
he comes to ecstasy and reaches those things which eye hath not seen
nor ear heard. The only difference between him and al-Ghazzali is that
al-Ghazzali was a theologian and saw in his ecstasy Allah upon His throne
and around Him the things of the heavens, as set forth in the Qur’an,
while Ibn Tufayl was a philosopher, of neo-Platonic + Aristotelian stamp,
and saw in his ecstasy the Active Intellect and Its chain of causes
reaching down to man and back to Itself.

The book by which his name has lived, and which has had strange haps,
is the romance of _Hayy ibn Yaqzan_, “The Living One, Son of the
Waking One.” In it he conceives two islands, the one inhabited and the
other not. On the inhabited island we have conventional people living
conventional lives, and restrained by a conventional religion of rewards
and punishments. Two men there, Salaman and Asal, have raised themselves
to a higher level of self-rule. Salaman adapts himself externally to the
popular religion and rules the people; Asal, seeking to perfect himself
still further in solitude, goes to the other island. But there he finds a
man, Hayy ibn Yaqzan, who has lived alone from infancy and has gradually,
by the innate and uncorrupted powers of the mind, developed himself to
the highest philosophic level and reached the Vision of the Divine. He
has passed through all the stages of knowledge until the universe lies
clear before him, and now he finds that his philosophy thus reached,
without prophet or revelation, and the purified religion of Asal are
one and the same. The story told by Asal of the people of the other
island sitting in darkness stirs his soul and he goes forth to them as a
missionary. But he soon learns that the method of Muhammad was the true
one for the great masses, and that only by sensuous allegory and concrete
things could they be reached and held. He retires to his island again to
live the solitary life.

The bearing of this on the system of the Muwahhids cannot be mistaken.
If it is a criticism of the finality of historical revelation, it is
also a defence of the attitude of the Muwahhids toward both people and
philosophers. By the favor of Abu Ya‘qub, Ibn Tufayl had practically been
able to live on an island and develop himself by study. So, too, Abu
Ya‘qub might stand for the enlightened but practical Salaman. Yet the
meaning evidently is that between them they failed and must fail. There
could only be a solitary philosopher here and there, and happy for him
if he found a princely patron. The people which knew not the truth were
accursed. Perhaps, rather, they were children and had to be humored and
guided as such in an endless childhood.

It is evident that such a solitary possessor of truth had two courses
open to him. He could either busy himself in his studies and exercises,
as had done Ibn Bajja and Ibn Tufayl, or he could boldly enter public
life and trust to his dialectic ingenuity and resource—perhaps, also, to
his plasticity of conscience—to carry him past all whispers of heresy
and unbelief. The latter course was chosen by Ibn Rushd. He was born
at Cordova, in 520, of a family of jurists and there studied law. From
his legal studies only a book on the law of inheritance has reached
us, and it, though frequently commented on, has never been printed. In
548 he was presented to Abu Ya‘qub by Ibn Tufayl and encouraged by him
in the study of philosophy. In it his greatest work was done. In spite
of the shreds and patches of neo-Platonism which clung to him, he was
the greatest mediæval commentator on Aristotle. It is only part of the
eternal puzzle of the Muslim mind that the utility of Greek for a student
of Aristotle seems never to have struck him. Thereafter he acted as judge
in different places in Spain and was court physician for a short time
in 578 to Abu Ya‘qub. In 575 he had written his tractates, to which we
shall come immediately, mediating between philosophy and theology. Toward
the end of his life he was condemned by Abu Yusuf al-Mansur for heresy
and banished from Cordova. This was in all likelihood a truckling on the
part of al-Mansur to the religious prejudices of the people of Spain,
who were probably of stiffer orthodoxy than the Berbers. He was in Spain,
at Cordova, at the time, and was engaged in carrying on a religious war
with the Christians. On his return to Morocco the decree of exile was
recalled and Ibn Rushd restored to favor. We find him again at the court
in Morocco, and he died there in 595.

This is not the place to enter upon Ibn Rushd’s philosophical system.
He was a thorough-going Aristotelian, as he knew Aristotle. That was
probably much better than any of his predecessors; but even he had
not got clear from the fatal influence of Plotinus. Above all, he is
essentially a theologian just as much as they. In Aristotle there had
been given what was to all intents a philosophical revelation. Only in
the knowledge and acceptance of it could truth and life be found. And
some must reach it; one at least there must always be. If a thing is
not seen by someone it has existed in vain; which is impossible. If
someone at least does not know the truth, it also has existed in vain,
which is still more impossible. That is Ibn Rushd’s way of saying that
the _esse_ is the _percipi_ and that there must be a perceiver. And he
has unlimited faith in his means of reaching that Truth—only by such
capitalization can we express his theologic attitude. The logic of
Aristotle is infallible and can break through to the supreme good itself.
Ecstasy and contemplation play no part with him; there he separates from
Ibn Tufayl. Such intercourse with the Active Intellect may exist; but it
is too rare to be taken into account. Obviously, Ibn Rushd himself, who
to himself was the percipient of truth for his age, had never reached
that perception. Solitary meditation he cannot away with; for him the
market-place and contact with men; there he parts with Ibn Bajja. In
truth, he is nearer to the life in life of Ibn Sina, and that, perhaps,
explains his constant attacks on the Persian _bon vivant_.


All his predecessors he joys in correcting, but his especial _bête
noire_ is al-Ghazzali. With him it is war on life or death. He has two
good causes. One is al-Ghazzali’s “Destruction of the Philosophers;”
of it, Ibn Rushd, in his turn, writes a “Destruction.” This is a
clever, incisive criticism, luminous with logical exactitude, yet
missing al-Ghazzali’s vital earnestness and incapable of reaching his
originality. But al-Ghazzali had not only attacked the philosophers; he
had also spread the knowledge of their teachings and reasonings, and had
said that there was nothing esoteric and impossible of grasp in them for
the ordinary mind. He had thus assailed the fundamental principles of the
Muwahhid system. Against this, Ibn Rushd wrote the tractates spoken of
above. They were evidently addressed to the educated laity; not to the
ignorant multitude, but to those who had already read such books as those
of al-Ghazzali and been affected by them, yet had not studied philosophy
at first hand. That they were not intended for such special students is
evident from the elaborate care that is taken in them to conceal, or,
if that were not possible, to put a good face upon obnoxious doctrines.
Thus, his philosophy left no place in reality for a system of rewards
and punishments or even for any individual existence of the soul after
death, for a creation of the material world, or for a providence in the
direct working of the supreme being on earth. But all these points are
involved or glossed over in these tractates.

Further, it is plain that their object was to bring about a reform
of religion in itself, and also of the attitude of theologians to
students of philosophy. In them he sums up his own position under four
heads: _First_, that philosophy agrees with religion and that religion
recommends philosophy. Here, he is fighting for his life. Religion is
true, a revelation from God; and philosophy is true, the results reached
by the human mind; these two truths cannot contradict each other. Again,
men are frequently exhorted in the Qur’an to reflect, to consider, to
speculate about things; that means the use of the intelligence, which
follows certain laws, long ago traced and worked out by the ancients. We
must, therefore, study their works and proceed further on the same course
ourselves, _i.e._, we must study philosophy.

_Second_, there are two things in religion, literal meaning and
interpretation. If we find anything in the Qur’an which seems externally
to contradict the results of philosophy, we may be quite sure that
there is something under the surface. We must look for some possible
interpretation of the passage, some inner meaning; and we shall certainly
find it.


_Third_, the literal meaning is the duty of the multitude, and
interpretation the duty of scholars. Those who are not capable of
philosophical reasoning must hold the literal truth of the different
statements in the Qur’an. The imagery must be believed by them exactly
as it stands, except where it is absolutely evident that we have only
an image. On the other hand, philosophers must be given the liberty
of interpreting as they choose. If they find it necessary, from some
philosophical necessity, to adopt an allegorical interpretation of any
passage or to find in it a metaphor, that liberty must be open to them.
There must be no laying down of dogmas by the church as to what may
be interpreted and what may not. In Ibn Rushd’s opinion, the orthodox
theologians sometimes interpreted when they should have kept by the
letter, and sometimes took literally passages in which they should have
found imagery. He did not accuse them of heresy for this, and they should
grant him the same liberty.

_Fourth_, those who know are not to be allowed to communicate
interpretations to the multitude. So Ali said, “Speak to the people of
that which they understand; would ye that they give the lie to God and
His messenger?” Ibn Rushd considered that belief was reached by three
different classes of people in three different ways. The many believe
because of rhetorical syllogisms (_khitabiya_), _i.e._, those whose
premises consist of the statements of a religious teacher (_maqbulat_),
or are presumptions (_maznunat_). Others believe because of controversial
syllogisms (_jadliya_), which are based on principles (_mashhurat_) or
admissions (_musallamat_). All these premises belong to the class of
propositions which are not absolutely certain. The third class, and by
far the smaller, consists of the people of demonstration (_burhan_).
Their belief is based upon syllogisms composed of propositions which are
certain. These consist of axioms (_awwaliyat_) and five other classes of
certainties. Each of these three classes of people has to be treated in
the way that suits its mental character. It is wrong to put demonstration
or controversy before those who can understand only rhetorical reasoning.
It destroys their faith and gives them nothing to take its place. The
case is similar with those who can only reach controversial reasoning
but cannot attain unto demonstration. Thus Ibn Rushd would have the
faith of the multitude carefully screened from all contact with the
teachings of philosophers. Such books should not be allowed to go into
general circulation, and if necessary, the civil authorities should step
in to prevent it. If these principles were accepted and followed, a
return might be looked for of the golden age of Islam, when there was no
theological controversy and men believed sincerely and earnestly.

On this last paragraph it is worth noticing that its threefold
distinction is “conveyed” by Ibn Rushd from a little book belonging to
al-Ghazzali’s later life, after he had turned to the study of tradition,
_Iljam al-Awamm an ilm al-kalam_, “The reining in of the commonalty from
the science of kalam.”

Such was, practically, the end of the Muslim Aristotelians. Some
flickers of philosophic study doubtless remained. So we find a certain
Abu-l-Hajjaj ibn Tumlus (d. 620) writing on Aristotle’s “Analytics,”
and the tractates of Ibn Rushd described above were copied at Almeria
in 724. But the fate of all Muslim speculation fell, and this school
went out in Sufiism. It was not Ibn Rushd that triumphed but Ibn Tufayl,
and that side of Ibn Tufayl which was akin to al-Ghazzali. From this
point on, the thinkers and writers of Islam become mystics more and
more overwhelmingly. Dogmatic theology itself falls behind, and of
philosophical disciplines only formal logic and a metaphysics of the
straitest scholastic type are left. Philosophy becomes the handmaid of
theology, and a very mechanical handmaid at that. It is only in the
schools of the Sufis that we find real development and promise of life.
The future lay with them, however dubious it may seem to us that a future
in such charge must be.

[Sidenote: IBN ARABI]

The greatest Sufi in the Arabic-speaking world was undoubtedly Muhyi
ad-Din ibn Arabi. He was born in Murcia in 560, studied _hadith_ and
_fiqh_ at Seville, and in 598 set out to travel in the East. He wandered
through the Hijaz, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, and died at Damascus in
638, leaving behind him an enormous mass of writings, at least 150 of
which have come down to us. Why he left Spain is unknown; it is plain
that he was under the influence of the Muwahhid movement. He was a
Zahirite in law; rejected analogy, opinion, and _taqlid_, but admitted
agreement. His attachment to the opinions of Ibn Hazm especially was very
strong. He edited some of that scholar’s works, and was only prevented by
his objections to _taqlid_ from being a formal Hazmite. But with all that
literalness in _fiqh_, his mysticism in theology was of the most rampant
and luxurious description. Between the two sides, it is true, there
existed a connection of a kind. He had no need for analogy or opinion or
for any of the workings of the vain human intelligence so long as the
divine light was flooding his soul and he saw the things of the heavens
with plain vision. So his books are a strange jumble of theosophy and
metaphysical paradoxes, all much like the theosophy of our own day. He
evidently took the system of the mutakallims and played with it by means
of formal logic and a lively imagination. To what extent he was sincere
in his claim of heavenly illuminings and mysterious powers it would be
hard to say. The oriental mystic has little difficulty in deceiving
himself. His opinions—so far as we can know them—may be briefly sketched
as follows: The being of all things is God: there is nothing except Him.
All things are an essential unity; every part of the world is the whole
world. So man is a unity in essence but a multiplicity in individuals.
His anthropology was an advance upon that of al-Ghazzali toward a more
unflinching pantheism. He has the same view that the soul of man is a
spiritual substance different from everything else and proceeding from
God. But he obliterates the difference of God and makes souls practically
emanations. At death these return into God who sent them forth. All
religions to Ibn Arabi were practically indifferent; in them all the
divine was working and was worshipped. Yet Islam is the more advantageous
and Sufiism is its true philosophy. Further, man has no free-will; he is
constrained by the will of God, which is really all that exists. Nor is
there any real difference between good and evil; the essential unity of
all things makes such a division impossible.

[Sidenote: IBN SAB‘IN]

The last of the Muwahhid circle with whom we need deal—and, perhaps,
absolutely the last—is Abd al-Haqq ibn Sab‘in. He was as much a mystic as
Ibn Arabi, but was apparently more deeply read in philosophy and did not
cast his conceptions in so theological and Qur’anic a mould. He, too, was
born in Murcia about 613, and must very early have founded a school of
his own, gathered disciples round him and established a wide reputation.
High skill in alchemy, astrology, and magic is ascribed to him, which
probably means that he claimed to be a _wali_, a friend of God, gifted
with miraculous powers. He is accused of posing as a prophet, although
in orthodox Islam Muhammad is the last and the seal of the prophets. But
against this, it may be said that he had no need of the actual title,
“prophet”; many mystics held—heretically, it is true—that the _wali_
stood higher than the prophet, _nabi_ or _rasul_. He had evidently
besides this a more solid reputation in philosophy, as is shown by his
correspondence with Frederick II, the great Hohenstaufen (d. 1250 A.D.).
The story is told on the Muslim side only, but has _vraisemblance_ and
seems to be tolerably authentic. According to it, Frederick addressed
certain questions in philosophy—on the eternity of the world, the nature
of the soul, the number and nature of the categories, etc.—to different
Muslim princes, begging that they would submit them to their learned
men. So the questions came to ar-Rashid, the Muwahhid (reg. 630-640),
addressed to Ibn Sab‘in as a scholar whose reputation had reached even
the Sicilian court. Ar-Rashid passed them on; Ibn Sab‘in accepted the
commission with a smile—this is the Muslim account—and triumphantly and
contemptuously expounded the difficulties of the Christian monarch and
student. In his replies he certainly displays a very complete and exact
knowledge of the Aristotelian and neo-Platonic systems, and is far less
a blind follower of Aristotle than is Ibn Rushd. But his schoolmasterly
tone is most unpleasant, and we discover in the end that all this is
a mere preliminary discipline, leading in itself to agnosticism and a
recognition that there is nothing but vanity in this world, and that only
in the Vision of the Sufi can certainty and peace be found. So we have
again the circle through which al-Ghazzali went. As distinguished from
Ibn Rushd, the prophet, with Ibn Sab‘in, takes higher rank than the sage.
Beyond the current division of the soul into the vegetative, the animal
and the reasonable, he adds two others, derived from the reasonable, the
soul of wisdom and the soul of prophecy. The first of these is the soul
of the philosopher, and the other of the prophet; and the last is the
highest. Of the reasonable soul upward, he predicates immortality.

His position otherwise must have been practically the same as that of Ibn
Arabi. Like him he was a Zahirite in law and a mystic in theology. “God
is the reality of existing things,” he taught, and it is evident that he
belonged to the school of pantheism in which God is all, and separate
things are emanations from him. In life we have flashes of recognition
of the heavenly realities, but only at death—which is our true birth—do
we reach union with the eternal, or, to speak technically, with the
Active Intellect.


Apparently it was quite possible for him to hold these views in public
so long as the Muwahhids were strong enough to protect him. But their
empire was rapidly falling to pieces and the time of freedom had passed.
An attack on him at Tunis, where the Hafsids now ruled, drove him to the
East about 643, and there he took refuge at—of all places—Mecca. The
refuge seems to have been secure. He lived there more than twenty years
amid a circle of disciples, among whom was the Sharif himself, and died
about 667. There is a poorly authenticated story that he died by suicide.
The man himself, with so many of his time and kind, must remain a puzzle
to us. For all his haughty pride of learning, it is noted of him that his
first disciples were from among the poor. His contemporaries described
him as “a Sufi after the manner of the philosophers.” The last vestige of
the Muwahhid empire passed away in the year of his death.


    The rise and spread of darwish Fraternities; the survival
    and tradition of the Hanbalite doctrine; Abd ar-Razzaq; Ibn
    Taymiya, his attacks on saint-worship and on the mutakallims;
    ash-Sha‘rani and his times; the modern movements; Wahhabism and
    the influence of al-Ghazzali; possibilities of the present.

Our sources now begin to grow more and more scanty, and we must hasten
over long intervals of time and pass with little connection from one
name to another. Preliminary investigations are also to a great extent
lacking, and it is possible that the centuries which we shall merely
touch may have witnessed developments only less important than those with
which we have already dealt. But that is not probable; for when, after
a long silence, the curtain rises again for us in the twelfth Muslim
century, we shall find at work only those elements and conditions whose
inception and growth we have now set forth.

One name in our rapid flight deserves mention, at least. It is that of
Umar ibn al-Farid, the greatest poet that Arabic mysticism has produced.
He was born at Cairo in 586, lived for a time at Mecca, and died at Cairo
in 632. He led no new movement or advance, but the East still cherishes
his memory and his poems.


We have already noticed (p. 177) the beginnings of darwish Fraternities
and the founding of monasteries or _khanqahs_. During the period over
which we have just passed, these received a great and enduring impetus.
The older ascetics and _walis_ gathered round them groups of personal
followers and their pupils carried on their names. But it was long,
apparently, before definite corporations were founded of fixed purpose
to perpetuate the memory of their masters. One of the earliest of these
seems to have been the fraternity of Qadirite darwishes, founded by Abd
al-Qadir al-Jilani, who died in 561 at Baghdad, where pilgrimage is still
made to his shrine. So, too, the Rifa‘ite Fraternity was founded at
Baghdad by Ahmad ar-Rifa‘a in 576. Another is that of the Shadhilites,
named after their founder, ash-Shadhili, who died in 656. Again another
is that of the Badawites, whose founder was Ahmad al-Badawi (d. 675);
his shrine at Tanta in Lower Egypt is still one of the most popular
places of pilgrimage. Again, the order of the Naqshbandite darwishes was
founded by Muhammad an-Naqshbandi, who died in 791. Among the Turks by
far the most popular religious order is that of the Mawlawites, founded
by the great Persian mystical poet, Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (d. 672), whose
_Mesnevi_ is read over all Islam. These and very many others, especially
of later date, are still in existence. Others, once founded, have again
become extinct. Thus, Ibn Sab‘in, though he was surrounded by disciples
who for a time after his death carried on the order of Sab‘inites, does
not seem now to have any to do him honor. The same holds of a certain
Adi al-Hakkari who founded a cloister near Mawsil and died about 558. It
is significant that al-Ghazzali, though he founded a cloister for Sufis
at Tus and taught and governed there himself, left no order behind him.
Apparently in his time the movement toward continuous corporations had
not yet begun. It is true that there are at present in existence darwish
Fraternities which claim to be descended from the celebrated ascetics
and _walis_, Ibrahim ibn Adham (d. 161), Sari as-Saqati (d. 257) and Abu
Yazid al-Bistami (d. 261), but it may be gravely doubted whether they can
show any sound pedigree. The legend of Shaykh Ilwan, who is said to have
founded the first order in 49, may be safely rejected. It is significant
that the _Awlad Ilwan_, sons of Ilwan, as his followers are called, form
a sect of the Rifa‘ites. Further, just as the Sufis have claimed for
themselves all the early pious Muslims, and especially the ten to whom
Muhammad made specific promise of Paradise (_al-ashara al-mubashshara_),
so these Fraternities are ascribed in their origin to, and put under the
guardianship of the first Khalifas, and, in Egypt at least, a direct
descendant of Abu Bakr holds authority over all their orders.

In these orders all are darwishes, but only those gifted by God with
miraculous powers are _walis_. Those of them who are begging friars are
_faqirs_. They stand under an elaborate hierarchy grading in dignity
and holiness from the _Qutb_, or Axis, who wanders, often invisible and
always unknown to the world, through the lands performing the duties of
his office, and who has a favorite station on the roof of the Ka‘ba,
through his _naqibs_ or assistants, down to the lowest _faqir_. But
the members of these orders are not exclusively _faqirs_. All classes
are enrolled as, in a sense, lay adherents. Certain trades affect
certain fraternities; in Egypt, for example, the fishermen are almost
all Qadirites and walk in procession on their festival day, carrying
colored nets as their banners. Much the same thing held, and holds, of
the monastic orders of Europe, but the Muslim does not wait till he is
dying to put on the weeds of Ahmad al-Badawi or ash-Shadhili. Finally,
reference may be made again to the last and most important of all these
orders, the militant Brotherhood of as-Sanusi.


We have now returned to the period of al-Iji and at-Taftazani, when
philosophy definitely descended from the throne and became the servant
and defender of theology. From this time on, the two independent forces
at work are the unveiling of the mystic (_kashf_) and tradition (_naql_).
The only place for reason (_aql_) now is to prove the possibility of a
given doctrine. That done, its actual truth is proven by tradition. These
two then, _kashf_ and _naql_, hold the field, and the history of Muslim
theology from this point to the present day is the history of their
conflicts. The mystics are accused of heresy by the traditionalists.
The traditionalists are accused by the mystics of formalism, hypocrisy,
and, above all, of flat inability to argue logically. Both accusations
are certainly true. No fine fence on personality can conceal the fact
that Muslim mysticism is simple pantheism of the Plotinian type, the
individuals are emanations from the One. On the other hand, the formalism
of the traditionalists can hardly be exaggerated. They pass over almost
entirely into canon lawyers, meriting richly the fine sarcasm of
al-Ghazzali, who asked the _faqihs_ of his day what possible value for
the next world could lie in a study of the Qur’anic law of inheritance
or the like. Tradition (_hadith_), in the exact sense of the sayings and
doings of Muhammad, falls into the background, and _fiqh_, the systems
built upon it by the generations of lawyers, from the four masters down,
takes its place. Again, the accusation of illogical reasoning is also
thoroughly sound. The habit of unending subdivision deprived the minds
of the canonists of all breadth of scope, and their devotion to the
principle of acceptance on authority (_taqlid_) weakened their feeling
for argument. It is true, further, that the mystics, such as they were,
had heired all the philosophy left in Islam, and were thus become
the representatives of the intellectual life. They had so much of an
advantage over their more orthodox opponents. But the intellectual life
with them, as with the earlier philosophers, remained of a too subjective
character. The fatal study of the self, and the self only—that tramping
along the high _a priori_ road—and neglect of the objective study of
the outside world which ruined their forerunners, was their ruin as
well. Outbursts of intellectual energy and revolt we may meet with again
and again; there will be few signs of that science which seeks facts
patiently in the laboratory, the observatory, and the dissecting-room.

[Sidenote: ABD AR-RAZZAQ]

Curiously enough, there fall closely together at this time the death
dates of two men of the most opposite schools. The one was Ibn Taymiya,
the anthropomorphist free lance, who died in 728, and the other was
Abd ar-Razzaq, the pantheistic Sufi, who died in 730. Abd ar-Razzaq of
Samarqand and Kashan was a close student and follower of Ibn Arabi. He
commented on his books and defended his orthodoxy. In fact, so closely
had Ibn Arabi come to be identified with the Sufi position as a whole
that a defence of him was a favorite form in which to cast a defence
of Sufiism generally. But Abd ar-Razzaq did not follow his master
absolutely. On the freedom of the will especially he left him. For Ibn
Arabi, the doctrine of the oneness of all things had involved fatalism.
Whatever happens is determined by the nature of things, that is, by the
nature of God. So the individuals are bound by the whole. Abd ar-Razzaq
turned this round. His pantheism was of the same type as that of Ibn
Arabi; God, for him, was all. But there is freedom of the divine nature,
he went on. It must therefore exist in man also, for he is an emanation
from the divine. His every act, it is true, is predetermined, in time,
in form, and in place. But his act is brought about by certain causes,
themselves predetermined. These are what we would call natural laws in
things, natural abilities, aptitudes, etc., in the agent; finally, free
choice itself. And that free choice is in man because he is of and from
God. Further, it is evident that Abd ar-Razzaq’s anxiety is to preserve a
basis for morals. Among the predetermining causes he reckons the divine
commands, warnings, proofs in the Qur’an. The guidance of religion finds
thus its place and the prophets their work. But what of the existence
of evil and the necessity of restraint in a world that has emanated from
the divine? This problem he faces bravely. Our world must be the best of
all possible worlds; otherwise God would have made it better. Difference,
then, among men and things belongs to its essence and necessity. Next,
justice must consist in accepting these different things and adapting
them to their situations. To try to make all things and men alike would
be to leave some out of existence altogether. That would be a great
injustice. Here, again, religion enters. Its object is to rectify this
difference in qualities and gifts. Men are not responsible for these,
but they are responsible if they do not labor to correct them. In the
hereafter all will be reabsorbed into the divine being and taste such
bliss as the rank of each deserves. For those who need it there will be a
period of purgatorial chastisement, but that will not be eternal, _in sha

Like his predecessors, Abd ar-Razzaq divides men into classes according
to their insight into divine things. The first is of men of the world,
who are ruled by the flesh (_nafs_) and who live careless of all
religion. The second is of men of reason (_aql_). They through the reason
contemplate God, but see only His external attributes. The third is of
men of the spirit (_ruh_) who, in ecstasy, see God face to face in His
very essence, which is the substrate of all creation.

In his cosmogony, Abd ar-Razzaq follows, of course, the neo-Platonic
model and shows great ingenuity in weaving into it the crude and
materialistic phrases and ideas of the Qur’an. Like all Muslim thinkers
he displays an anxiety to square with his philosophy the terms dear to
the multitude.

[Sidenote: IBN TAYMIYA]

To Ibn Taymiya all this was the very abomination of desolation itself.
He had no use for mystics, philosophers, Ash‘arite theologians, or, in
fact, for anyone except himself. A contemporary described him as a man
most able and learned in many sciences, but with a screw loose. However
it may have been about the last point, there can be no question that
he was the reviver for his time and the transmitter to our time of the
genuine Hanbalite tradition, and that his work rendered possible the
Wahhabites and the Brotherhood of as-Sanusi. He was the champion of the
religion of the multitude as opposed to that of the educated few with
which we have been dealing so long. This popular theology had been going
steadily upon its way and producing its regular riots and disputings. It
is related of a certain Ash‘arite doctor, Fakhr ad-Din ibn Asakir (d.
620), that, in Damascus, he never dared to pass by a certain way through
fear of Hanbalite violence. The same Fakhr ad-Din once gave, as in duty
bound, the normal salutation of the Peace to a Hanbalite theologian. The
Hanbalite did not return it, which was more than a breach of courtesy,
and indicated that he did not regard Fakhr ad-Din as a Muslim. When
people remonstrated with him, he turned it as a theological jest and
replied, “That man believes in ‘Speech in the Mind’ (_kalam nafsi,
hadith fi-n-nafs_), so I returned his salutation mentally.” The point
is a hit at the Ash‘arites, who contended that thought was a kind of
speech without letters or sounds, and that God’s quality of Speech could
therefore be without letters or sounds.

But even the simple orthodoxy of the populace had not remained unchanged.
It had received a vast accretion of the most multifarious superstitions.
The cult of saints, alive and dead, of holy sites, trees, garments, and
the observance of all manner of days and seasons had been developing
parallel to the advance of Sufiism among the educated. The _walis_ were
untiring in the recital of the _karamat_ which God had worked for them,
and the populace drank in the wonders greedily. The metaphysical and
theological side they left untouched. “This is a holy man,” they said,
“who can work miracles; we must fear and serve him.” And so they would do
without much thought whether his morality might not be antinomian and his
theology pantheistic. To abate this and other evils and bring back the
faith of the fathers was the task which Ibn Taymiya took up.

[Sidenote: A MUJTAHID]

He was born near Damascus in 661 and educated as a Hanbalite. His
family had been Hanbalite for generations, and he himself taught in
that school and was reckoned as the greatest Hanbalite of his time.
His position, too, was practically that of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, modified
by the necessities imposed by new controversaries. Thus he was an
anthropomorphist, but of what exact shade is obscure. He was accused of
teaching that God was above His throne, could be pointed at, and that He
descended from His seat as a man might, _i.e._, that He was in space. But
he certainly distinguished himself from the crasser materialists. He
refused to be classed as the adherent of any school or of any system save
that of Muhammad and the agreement of the fathers. He claimed for himself
the rights of a _mujtahid_ and went back to first sources and principles
in everything. His self-confidence was extreme, and he smote down with
proud words the Rightly Guided Khalifas, Umar and Ali, themselves. His
bases were Qur’an, tradition from the Prophet and from the Companions and
analogy. Agreement, in the broad sense of the agreement of the Muslim
people, he rejected. If he had accepted it he would have been forced
to accept innumerable superstitions, beliefs, and practices—especially
the whole doctrine of the _walis_ and their wonders—for their basis
was agreement. The agreement of the Companions he did accept, while
convicting them right and left of error as individuals.

His life was filled up with persecutions and misfortune. He was a popular
idol, and inquiries for his judgment on theological and canonical
questions kept pouring in upon him. If there was no inquiry, and he
felt that a situation called for an expression of opinion from him, he
did not hesitate to send it out with all formality. It is true that it
is the duty of every Muslim, so far as he can, to do away or at least
to denounce any illegality or unorthodox view or practice which he may
observe. This duty evidently weighed heavily on Ibn Taymiya, and there
was fear at one time at the Mamluk court lest he might go the way of
Ibn Tumart. In one of these utterances he defined the doctrine of God’s
qualities as Ibn Hazm had done, and joined thereto denunciations of
the Ash‘arite kalam and of the Qur’anic exegesis of the mutakallims as
a whole. They were nothing but the heirs and scholars of philosophers,
idolaters, Magians, etc.; and yet they dared to go beyond the Prophet
and his heirs and Companions. The consequence of this _fatwa_ or legal
opinion was that he was silenced for a time as a teacher. On another
occasion he gave out a _fatwa_ on divorce, pronouncing _tahlil_ illegal.
_Tahlil_ is a device by which an awkward section in the canon law is
evaded. If a man divorces his wife three times, or pronounces a threefold
divorce formula, he cannot remarry her until she has been married to
another man, has cohabited with him and been divorced by him. Muslim
ideas of sexual purity are essentially different from ours, and the
custom has grown up, when a man has thus divorced his wife in hasty
anger, of employing another to marry her on pledge of divorcing her
again next day. Sometimes the man so employed refuses to carry out his
contract; such refusal is a frequent _motif_ in oriental tales. To avoid
this, the husband not infrequently employs one of his slaves and then
presents him to his former wife the next day. A slave can legally marry a
free woman, but when he becomes her property the marriage is _ipso facto_
annulled, because a slave cannot be the husband of his mistress or a
slave woman the wife of her master. It is to Ibn Taymiya’s credit that he
was one of the few to lift up their voices against this abomination. His
independence is shown at its best.


But it was with the Sufis that he had his worst conflicts, and at their
hands he suffered most. In many points his career is parallel to that of
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Sufi movement taking the place that was played by
Mu‘tazilism in the life of the earlier saint. One great difference, it
may be remarked, was that al-Ma’mun urged the persecution of Ibn Hanbal,
while an-Nasir, the great Mamluk Sultan (reg. 693, 698-708, 709-741),
supported Ibn Taymiya as far as he possibly could. The beginning of the
Sufi controversy was characteristic. Ibn Taymiya heard that a certain
an-Nasr al-Manbiji (d. 719?), a reputed follower of Ibn Arabi and of Ibn
Sab‘in, had reached a position of influence in Cairo. That was enough to
make Ibn Taymiya address an epistle to him, intended to turn him from his
heresies. It is needless to give in detail the position and content of
the epistle. He wrote as a strong monotheist of the old-fashioned type
and exposed and assailed unmercifully the doctrine of Unity (_ittihad_)
of the mystics. Al-Manbiji retorted with countercharges of heresy, and,
as he had behind him all the Sufis of Egypt—as great an army as the
Christian monks and ascetics or earlier Egypt and much like to them—Ibn
Taymiya had to pay for his eagerness for a fight with long and painful
imprisonment at Cairo, Alexandria and Damascus. Here it is evident that
he had lost touch with the drift of popular, and especially Egyptian,

But his fearlessness was like that of Ibn Hanbal himself, and in 726
he gave out a _fatwa_ which ran still straighter in the teeth of the
beliefs of the people and which sent him to a prison which he never left
alive. It had long been a custom in Islam to make pious pilgrimage to
the graves of saints and prophets and there to do reverence to their
memory and to ask their aid. It was part of that cult of saints which
had so overspread and overcome the earlier simplicity of Islam. The most
outstanding case in point was, and is, the pilgrimage to the tomb of
Muhammad at al-Madina, which has come to be a more or less essential part
of the Hajj to the Ka‘ba itself. Against all this Ibn Taymiya lifted a
voice of emphatic protest. These shrines were in great part false, and
when they were genuine the visitation of them was an idolatrous imitation
of heathen practices. Equally idolatrous was all invoking of saints or
prophets, including Muhammad himself; to God alone should prayer be
directed. The clamor raised by this _fatwa_ was tremendous. This was
no doctrine of the schools which he had touched, but a bit of concrete
religiosity which appealed to everyone. His public life practically
ended, and the practices which he had denounced abide to this day. It is
a bitter satire on his position that when he died in 726 the populace
paid to his relics all these signs of superstitious reverence against
which he had protested. He became a saint, _malgré lui_. His work had
been to keep alive the Hanbalite doctrine and pass it on unchanged to
modern times. He did not destroy philosophy: it was dead of itself before
he came. Nor Sufiism: it is still very much alive. Nor _kalam_: it still
continues in the form to which it had crystallized by his time. But he
and his disciples made possible the Wahhabites and the monotheistic
revival of our day. The faith of Muhammad himself was not to perish
entirely from the earth.

[Sidenote: ASH-SHA‘RANI]

It would now be possible to pass at once to the Wahhabite movement in
the latter part of the twelfth century of the Hijra. All the elements
for the explanation of it and of the modern situation are in our hands.
But there is one figure which stands out so clearly in an otherwise most
obscure picture and is so significant for the time, that some account
must be taken of it. It is that of ash-Sha‘rani, theologian, canonist,
and mystic. He was a Cairene and died in 973. The rule of Egypt had
passed half a century before to the Ottoman Turks, and they governed by
means of a Turkish Pasha. The condition of the people, as we find it
sketched by ash-Sha‘rani, was a most unhappy one. They were bent down,
and especially the peasantry, under a load of taxation. The Turks found
it advisable, too, to cultivate the friendship of the canon lawyers and
professional theologians in order to maintain their hold upon the people.
These canonists, in consequence, were rapidly becoming an official class
with official privileges. Further, the process, the beginnings of which
we have already seen, by which religious science was narrowed to _fiqh_,
had gone still further. Practically, the two classes of theologians left
were the canonists and the mystics. And the mystics had fallen far from
their pride of power under the Mamluks. They now were of the poor of the
land, a kind of Essenes over against the Pharisees of the schools.

Such, at least, is the picture of his time which ash-Sha‘rani gives.
How far it is exact must remain uncertain. For, of the many puzzling
personalities in Islam, ash-Sha‘rani is perhaps for us the most
unintelligible. He combined the most abject superstitions of a
superstitious age and country with lofty ethical indignation; social
humility of the most extreme with an intellectual pride and arrogance
rarely paralleled, a keen and original grasp of the canon law of the four
schools with an utter submission of the intellect to the inbreathings
of the divine from without; a power of discreet silence as to the
inconvenient with an open-mouthed vehemence in other things. He was
a devoted follower of Ibn Arabi and defended his memory against the
accusation of heresy. Yet his position is singularly different from that
of Ibn Arabi, and a doubt cannot but rise as to either his knowledge,
his intelligence, or his honesty. Practically where he differs from
the ordinary Muslim is in his extension of the doctrine of saints. As
to the Most Beautiful Names (_al-asma al-husna_), he follows Ibn Hazm.
So, too, as to God’s qualities, he follows the older school and would
prefer to leave them unconsidered. But he is, otherwise and in general, a
sound Ash‘arite, _e.g._, on the doctrine of predestination, and of man’s
part in his works (_iktisab_). There is in him no sign of the Plotinian
pantheism of Ibn Arabi. The doctrine of God’s difference (_mukhalafa_)
he taught, and that He created the world by His will and not by any
emanation of energy.


But truth for him is not to be reached by speculation and argument:
its only basis is through the unveiling of the inner eye which brings
us to the immediate Vision of the Divine. Those who have reached that
Vision, guide and teach those who cannot or have not. Upon that Vision
all systems are built, and reason can only serve the visionary as a
defence against the gainsayer or against his own too wild thoughts.
Naturally, with such a starting-point as this the supernatural side of
things (_al-ghayb_) receives strong emphasis. The Jinn and the angels are
most intense realities. Ash-Sha‘rani met them in familiar converse. He
met, too, al-Khadir, the undying pilgrim saint who wanders through the
lands, succoring and guiding. The details of these interviews are given
with the greatest exactness. A Jinni in the form of a dog ran into his
house on such a day by such a door, with a piece of European paper in his
mouth—this is a touch of genius—on which certain theological questions
were written. The Jinni wished ash-Sha‘rani’s opinion as to them. Such
was the origin of one of his books, and another sprang from a similarly
exactly described talk with al-Khadir. Yet he was content also with
smaller mercies and reckons as a _karama_ that he was enabled to read
through a certain book for some time at the rate of two and a half times
daily. To all this it would be possible of course to say flatly that he
lied. But such a judgment applied to an oriental is somewhat crude, and
the knot of the mystic’s mind in any land is not to be so easily cut.
Further, the doctrine of the _walis_ is developed by him at length. They
possess a certain illumination (_ilham_), which is, however, different
from the inspiration (_wahy_) of the prophets. So, too, they never reach
the grade of the prophets, or a nearness to God where the requirements
of a revealed law fall away from them, _i.e._, they must always walk
according to the law of a prophet. They are all guided by God, whatever
their particular Rule (_tariqa_) may be, but the Rule of al-Junayd (p.
176) is the best because it is in most essential agreement with the Law
(_shari‘a_) of Islam. Their _karamat_ are true and are a consequence of
their devout labors, for these are in agreement with the Qur’an and the
Sunna. The order of nature will not be broken for anyone who has not
achieved more than is usual in religious knowledge and exercises. All
_walis_ stand under a regular hierarchy headed by the Qutb; yet above
him in holiness stand the Companions of the Prophet. This marks a very
moderate position. Many Sufis had contended that the _walis_ stood higher
than even the prophets, not to speak of their Companions.

It will be seen that his position is essentially a mediating one. He
wishes to show that the beliefs of the mystics and of the mutakallims
are really one although they are reached by different paths. In _fiqh_
he made a similar attempt. The Sufis had always looked down on those
theologians who were canonists pure and simple. A study of canon law was
a necessity, they thought; but as a propædeutic only. The canonists who
went no further never reached religion at all. Especially they held that
no Sufi should join himself to any of the four contending schools. Their
controversies were upon insignificant details which had nothing to do
with the life in God. But could it not be shown that their differences
were not actual—one view being true and the other false—but were capable
of being reduced to a unity? This was the problem that ash-Sha‘rani
attacked. These differing opinions, he held, are adapted to different
classes of men. Some men of greater gifts and endurance can follow the
hardest of these opinions, while the easier are to be recognized as
concessions (_rukhsa_) from God to the weakness of others. Each man may
follow freely the view which appeals to him; God has appointed it for him.

Ash-Sha‘rani was one of the last original thinkers in Islam: for a
thinker he was despite his dealings with the Jinn and al-Khadir. Egypt
keeps his memory. A mosque in Cairo bears his name, as does also a
division of the Badawite darwishes. In modern times his books have been
frequently reprinted, and his influence is one of the ferments in the new


We must now pass over about two hundred years and come to the latter part
of the twelfth century of the Hijra, a period nearly coinciding with the
end of the eighteenth of our era. There these two movements come again to
light. Wahhabism, the historical origin of which we have already seen (p.
60), is a branch of the school of Ibn Taymiya. Manuscripts of the works
of Ibn Taymiya copied by the hand of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab exist in Europe.
So the Wahhabites refused to accept as binding the decisions of the four
orthodox sects of canon law. Agreement as a source they also reject. The
whole People of Muhammad can err and has erred. Only the agreement of
the Companions has binding force for them. It is, therefore, the duty
and right of every man to draw his own doctrine from the Qur’an and the
traditions; the systems of the schools should have no weight with him.
Again, they take the anthropomorphisms of the Qur’an in their literal
sense. God has a hand, God settles Himself on His throne; so it must be
held “without inquiring how and without comparison.” They profess to be
the only true Muslims, applying to themselves the term Muwahhids and
calling all others _Mushriks_, assigners of companions to God. Again,
like Ibn Taymiya, they reject the intercession of _walis_ with God. It
is allowable to ask of God for the sake of a saint but not to pray to
the saint. This applies also to Muhammad. Pilgrimage to the tombs of
saints, the presenting of offerings there, all acts of reverence, they
also forbid. No regard should be paid even to the tomb of the Prophet
at al-Madina. All such ceremonies are idolatrous. Whenever possible the
Wahhabites destroy and level the shrines of saints.

Over other details, such as the prohibition of the use of tobacco, we
need not spend time. Wahhabism as a political force is gone. It has,
however, left the Sanusi revolt as its direct descendant and what may be
the outcome of that Brotherhood we have no means of guessing. It has also
left a general revival and reformation throughout the Church of Islam,
much parallel, as has been remarked, to the counter-reformation which
followed the Protestant Reformation in Europe.


The second movement is the revival of the influence of al-Ghazzali. That
influence never became absolutely extinct and it seems to have remained
especially strong in al-Yaman. In that corner of the Muslim world
generations of Sufis lived comparatively undisturbed, and it was the
Sayyid Murtada, a native of Zabid in Tihama, who by his great commentary
on the _Ihya_ of al-Ghazzali practically founded the modern study of
that book. There have been two editions of this commentary in ten quarto
volumes and many of the _Ihya_ itself and of other works by al-Ghazzali.
Whether his readers understand him fully or not, there can be no question
of the wide influence which he is now exercising. At Mecca, for example,
the orthodox theological teaching is practically Ghazzalian and the
controversy throughout all Arabia is whether Ibn Taymiya and al-Ghazzali
can be called Shaykhs of Islam. The Wahhabites hold that anyone who thus
honors al-Ghazzali is an unbeliever, and the Meccans retort the same of
the followers of Ibn Taymiya.

These two tendencies then—that back to the simple monotheism of Muhammad
and that to an agnostic mysticism—are the hopeful signs in modern
Islam. There are many other drifts in which there is no such hope.
Simple materialism under European, mostly French, influence is one. A
seeking of salvation in the study of canon law is another. Canon law is
still the field to which an enormous proportion of Muslim theologians
turn. Again, there are various forms of frankly pantheistic mysticism.
That is especially the case among Persians and Turks. For the body of
the people, religion is still overburdened, as in Ibn Taymiya’s days,
with a mass of superstition. Lives of _walis_ containing the wildest
and most blasphemous stories abound and are eagerly read. The books of
ash-Sha‘rani are especially rich in such hagiology. It is difficult for
us to realize that stories like the most extravagant in the _Thousand and
One Nights_ are the simplest possibilities to the masses of Islam. The
canon lawyers, still, in their discussions, take account of the existence
of Jinn, and no theologian would dare to doubt that Solomon sealed them
up in brass bottles. Of philosophy, in the free and large sense, there
is no trace. Ibn Rushd’s reply to al-Ghazzali’s “Destruction of the
Philosophers” has been printed, but only as a pendant to that work. In
it, too, Ibn Rushd carefully covers his great heresies. His tractates on
the study of kalam, spoken of above, have also been reprinted at Cairo
from the European edition. But these tractates are arranged to give no
clew to his real philosophy. The Arabic Aristotelianism has perished
utterly from the Muslim lands. Of the modern Indian Mu‘tazilism no
account need be taken here. It is derived from Europe and is ordinary
Christian Unitarianism, connecting with Muhammad instead of with Jesus.


From the above sketch some necessary conditions are clear, which must be
fulfilled if there is to be a chance for a future development in Islam.
Education must be widely extended. The proportion of trained minds must
be greatly increased and the barrier between them and the commonalty
removed. The economy of teaching has failed; it has destroyed the
doctrine which it sought to protect. Again, the slavery of the disciple
to the master must cease. It must always be possible for the student, in
defiance of _taqlid_, to go back to first principles or to the primary
facts and to disregard what the great Imams and Mujtahids have taught.
So much of health there was in the Zahirite system.

Third, these primary facts must include the facts of natural science.
The student, emancipated from the control of the schools, must turn from
the study of himself to an examination of the great world. And that
examination must not be cosmological but biological; it must not lose
itself in the infinities but find itself in concrete realities. It must
experiment and test rather than build lofty hypotheses.

But can the oriental mind thus deny itself? The English educational
experiment in Egypt may go far to answer that question.













    Notes have been added where such appeared called for, but the
    index, facilitating reference to the body of the book, renders
    a full commentary unnecessary. The student should use the
    index as a vocabulary of technical terms, referring for their
    explanation to the passages where they occur.



Then I applied myself to what of arrangement was easy of attainment and
to what of attainment was easy of arrangement, until I had crowded them
[the different opinions] into four fundamentals, which are the great
principles. The first fundamental concerns the Qualities (_sifat_)
with the Unity (_tawhid_); it embraces the question of the eternal
(_azali_) Qualities, affirmed by some and denied by others, and of
the exposition of the essential Qualities (_sifat adh-dhat_) and of
the active Qualities (_sifat al-fi‘l_) and of what is necessary in
God Most High and what is possible for Him and what is impossible; it
involves the controversies between the Ash‘arites and the Karramites and
the Anthropomorphists (_mujassims_) and the Mu‘tazilites. The second
fundamental concerns decree (_qadar_) and justice (_adl_); it embraces
the question of destiny (_qada_) and decree (_qadar_); of force (_jabr_)
and acquisition (_kasb_); of the willing of good and of evil and of
the decreed and the known, affirmed by some and denied by others; it
involves the controversies between the Qadarites and Najjarites and
Jabarites and Ash‘arites and Karramites. The third fundamental concerns
promise (_wa‘d_) and the decisions (_hukms_); it embraces the question
of faith (_iman_) and repentance (_tawba_) and threatening (_wa‘id_)
and postponing (_irja_) and pronouncing anyone an unbeliever (_takfir_)
and leading anyone astray (_tadlil_), affirmed by some and denied by
others; it involves the controversies between the Murji’ites and the
Wa‘idites and the Mu‘tazilites and the Ash‘arites and the Karramites. The
fourth fundamental concerns tradition (_sam_) and reason (_aql_) and the
prophetic mission (_risala_) and the imamate; it embraces the questions
of the determination of actions as good (_tahsin_) or vile (_taqbih_); of
the advantageous (_salah_) and most advantageous (_aslah_); of benignity
(_lutf_); of the prophets being guarded against sin (_isma_); of the
condition of the imamate, by statute (_nass_) according to some and by
agreement (_ijma_) according to others, and how it is transferred on
the view of those who say it is by statute, and how it is fixed on the
view of those who say it is by agreement; it involves the controversies
between the Shi‘ites and the Kharijites and the Mu‘tazilites and the
Karramites and the Ash‘arites.—_Translated from Cureton’s Arabic text, p.



“Islam is built upon five things; testimony that there is no god but God
and that Muhammad is the Apostle of God. Prayer (_salat_), the Poor-rate
(_zakat_), Pilgrimage (_hajj_) and Fast (_sawm_) in Ramadan.”


Jibril came in the form of an Arab of the desert and sat down so that
his knees touched the knees of the Prophet and said, “O Apostle of God,
what is Islam?” He said, “That thou should bear witness that there is
no god save God and that I am the Apostle of God; that thou shouldest
perform the prayers (_salat_) and bring the poor-rate (_zakat_) and
fast in the month of Ramadan and pilgrimage to the House if the way is
possible for thee.” He said, “Thou hast spoken truly.” Then he said,
“What is Faith (_iman_)?” The Prophet said, “That thou should believe
in God and His angels and His books and His messengers and in the Last
Day, and that thou should believe in the decreeing (_qadar_) both of good
and of evil.” He said, “Thou hast spoken truly.” Then he said, “What
is right doing (_ihsan_)?” The Prophet said, “That thou should serve
God as though thou sawest Him; for though thou seest Him not, He sees
thee.” He said, “Thou hast spoken truly.” Then he said, “When shall be
the Last Day (_as-sa‘a_)?” The Prophet said, “The questioned knoweth not
more of that than the questioner.” Then he arose and went out. And the
Prophet said, “That was Jibril; he came to you to teach you your religion
(_din_).”—_Translated from Cureton’s text of ash-Shahrastani, p. 27._



Our doctrine which we teach and our religion (_diyana_) which we follow
consists in clinging fast to the Book of God and the Usage (_sunna_)
of His Prophet and to that which is handed down from the Companions,
their immediate followers (_tabi‘s_) and from the leaders (_imams_) in
tradition—with that we take refuge; and we teach that which Ahmad ibn
Hanbal—may God illumine his face, exalt his rank and make great his
reward—followed; and we shun that which is opposed to his doctrine. For
he is the excellent leader, the perfect chief, through whom God made
plain the truth, when error was made manifest, and showed the path and
smote down the innovations of the innovators, the deviations of the
deviators and the doubts of the doubters. So, the mercy of God be upon
him for an appointed leader and an instructed chief, and upon all the
leaders of the Muslims.

The sum of our doctrine is this, that we believe in God, His Angels, His
Books, His Apostles, in all that has come from God, and what trustworthy
men (_thiqat_) have reported from the Apostles of God; we oppose
nothing thereof. That God is One God, Single, One, Eternal; beside Him
no God exists; He has taken to Himself no wife (_sahiba_), nor child
(_walad_); and that Muhammad is His Servant (_abd_) and His Apostle.
That Paradise and Hell are Verity and that the Hour (_as-sa‘a_) will
come without doubt, and God will arouse those that are in the graves.
That God has settled Himself (_istawa_) upon His throne, as He has
said, (Qur. 20, 4); “the Rahman has settled Himself upon His throne.”
That God has a countenance, as He has said, (Qur. 55, 27); “and the
countenance of thy Lord will abide, full of majesty and glory;” and two
hands, as He has said, (Qur. 5, 69); “much more! both His hands are
spread out,” and (Qur. 38, 75); “that which I have created with both My
hands;” and two eyes, without asking how (_bila kayfa_), as He has said,
(Qur. 54, 14); “which swims forth under Our eyes.” That whoever thinks
that God’s name is other than He, is in error. That God has Knowledge
(_ilm_), as He has said, (Qur. 35, 12); “Not one woman becomes pregnant
and brings forth, except by His knowledge.” We maintain that God has
Power (_qudra_), as He has said, (Qur. 41, 14); “and have they not seen
that God who created them is stronger than they?” We maintain that God
has Hearing (_sam_) and Seeing (_basar_) and do not deny it, as do the
Mu‘tazilites, Jahmites and Kharijites. We teach that God’s Word (_kalam_)
is uncreated, and that He has never created anything except by saying
to it, “Be!” and it forthwith became, as He has said, (Qur. 16, 42);
“Our speech to anything when We willed it was, ‘Be’ and it was.” Nothing
exists upon earth, be it good or bad, but that which God wills; but
all things are by God’s Will (_mashya_). No one is able to do anything
before God does it, neither is anyone independent of God, nor can he
withdraw himself from God’s Knowledge. There is no Creator but God. The
works (_amals_) of creatures are created and predestined by God, as He
said, (Qur. 37, 94); “and God has created you and what ye do.” Man is
able to create nothing; but they are created, as He has said, (Qur. 35,
31); “Is there any Creator except God?” and (Qur. 16, 17) “and is He
who created like him who created not?” and (Qur. 52, 35); “were they
created out of nothing, or are they the creators?” and such passages are
many in the Qur’an. And God maintains the believers in obedience to Him,
is gracious unto them, cares for them, reforms them, and guides them
aright; but the unbelievers He leads astray, guides them not aright,
vouchsafes them not Faith (_iman_), by His Grace, as the People of
error and pride maintain. For should He be gracious unto them and help
them aright, then would they be pious, and should He guide them aright,
then would they allow themselves to be guided aright, as He has said,
(Qur. 7, 177); “whom God guideth aright, he allows himself to be guided
aright, and whom He leads astray, they are the losers.” God is able to
help the unbelieving aright and to be gracious unto them, so that they
shall become believing, but He wills that they shall be unbelieving as
is known. For He has made them impervious to all help and sealed their
hearts. Good and Evil happen according to the Destiny (_qada_) and Decree
(_qadar_) of God for good and evil, for the sweet and the bitter. We
know that the misfortune that befalls us is not in order that we may go
astray, and that the good fortune which befalls us is not in order that
we may go aright. We have no control over that which is good or hurtful
to us, except so far as God wills. We flee from our anxieties to God and
commit at all times our distress and poverty to Him. We teach that the
Qur’an is God’s Word, and that it is uncreated, and that whosoever says
that it is created is an unbeliever (_kafir_). We believe that God at
the Day of Resurrection (_yawm al-qiyama_) will be visible to the eyes,
as the moon is seen upon the night of the full moon; the believers will
see Him, according to traditions which have come down from the Prophet.
We teach that while the believers will see Him, the unbelievers will be
separated from Him by a wall of division, as God has said, (Qur. 83, 15);
“Surely not! They will be separated from their Lord, upon that Day.”
We teach that Moses besought God that he might see Him in this world;
then God revealed Himself to the mountain and turned it into dust and
taught Moses thereby that he could not see Him in this world (Qur. 7,
139). We are of the opinion that we may not accuse anyone of unbelief
(_kufr_), who prays towards Mecca, on account of sin committed by him,
such as unchastity, theft, wine drinking, as the Kharijites believe,
who judge that these thereby become unbelievers. We teach that whoever
commits a great sin (_kabira_), or anything like it, holding it to be
allowed, is an unbeliever, since he does not believe in its prohibition.
We teach that Islam is a wider idea than Faith (_iman_), so that not
every Islam is Faith. We believe that God turns the hearts upside down,
and holds them between two of His fingers, that He lays the heavens upon
a finger and the earth upon a finger, according to the tradition from
the Prophet. We believe that God will not leave in Hell any of those
who confess His Unity (_muwahhid_) and hold fast to the Faith, and that
there is no Hell for him whom the Prophet has by his witness appointed
to Paradise. We hope for Paradise for sinners and fear on their account,
that they will be punished in Hell. We teach that God will release a few
out of Hell, on account of Muhammad’s intercession (_shafa‘a_) after they
have been scorched there. We believe in the punishment of the grave. We
believe that the Tank (_hawd_) and the Balance are Verities: that the
Bridge _as-Sirat_ is a Verity; that the Arousing (_ba‘th_) after death
is a Verity; that God will set up His creatures in a place (_mawqif_)
and will hold a reckoning with the Believers.[1] We believe that Faith
(_iman_) consists in word (_qawl_) and in work (_amal_) and that it
increases and diminishes. We trust in the sound Traditions handed down
from the Apostle of God, which trustworthy people (_thiqat_), just man
from just man, up to the Apostle, have transmitted. We hold by the love
of the early Believers (_salaf_), whom God chose to be Companions to the
Prophet, and we praise them with the praise with which God praised them,
and we carry on their succession. We assert that the Imam succeeding
the Apostle of God was Abu Bakr; that God through him made the Religion
(_din_) mighty, and caused him to conquer the Apostates (_murtadds_).
The Muslims made him their Imam, just as Muhammad had made him Imam at
prayers. Then followed [as legal Imam] Umar ibn al-Khattab; then Uthman
ibn Affan; his murderers killed him out of wickedness and enmity; then
Ali ibn Abi Talib. These are the Imams after the Apostle, and their
Khalifate is that of the Prophetic office [_i.e._, they are, though not
prophets, successors of the Prophet]. We bear witness of Paradise for
the Ten (_al-asharatu-l-mubashshara_), to whom the Apostle bore witness
of it, and we carry on the succession of the other Companions of the
Prophet and hold ourselves far from that which was in dispute between
them. We hold that the four Imams were in the true way, were rightly
guided and excellent, so that no one equals them in excellence. We hold
as true the traditions which the People of Tradition (_naql_) have
established, concerning the descent of God to the lowest heaven (_sama
ad-dunya_), and that the Lord will say, “Is there a supplicant? Is there
a seeker for forgiveness?” and the rest of that which they have handed
down and established, contrary to that which the mistaken and misled
opine. We ground ourselves in our opposition on the Qur’an, the _Sunna_
of the Prophet, the agreement of the Muslims and what is in accordance
therewith, but put forth no novelty (_bid‘a_) not sanctioned by God, and
opine of God nothing that we have not been taught. We teach that God will
come on the Day of Resurrection, as He has said, (Qur. 89, 23); “When
the earth shall be turned to dust, and the Lord shall appear and the
angels, rank on rank,” and that God is near to His servants, in what way
(_kayfa_) He wills, as He has said, (Qur. 50, 15); “and We are nearer to
him than the artery in his neck;” and (Qur. 53, 8); “Then He approached
and came near and was two bows’ length distant or even nearer.” To our
Religion (_din_) belongs further, that we on Fridays and on festival
days pray behind every person, pious and profane—so are the conditions
for congregational prayers, as it is handed down from Abd Allah ibn Umar
that he prayed behind al-Hajjaj. To our Religion belongs the wiping
(_mash_) of the inner boots (_khuffs_) upon a journey and at home, in
contradiction to the deniers of this.[2] We uphold the prayer for peace
for the Imams of the Muslims, submission to their office, and maintain
the error of those who hold it right to rise against them whenever there
may be apparent in them a falling away from right. We are against armed
rebellion against them and civil war.

We believe in the appearance of anti-Christ (_ad-Dajjal_) according to
the tradition handed down from the Prophet; in the punishment of the
grave, and in Munkar and Nakir and in their questions to the buried in
their graves. We hold the tradition of the journey to heaven (_mi‘raj_,
Qur. 17) of Muhammad as true, and declare many of the visions in sleep to
be true, and we say that there is an explanation for them. We uphold the
alms for the dead of the Muslims and prayer for them, and believe that
God will help them therewith. We hold as true that there are enchanters
in the world, and that enchantment is and exists. We hold as a religious
duty the prayer which is held over the dead of those who have prayed
toward Mecca, whether they have been believers or godless; we uphold
also their right of testation. We acknowledge that Paradise and Hell are
created, and that whoever dies or is killed, dies or is killed at his
appointed time (_ajal_); that the articles of sustenance (_rizq_) from
God, with which He sustains His creatures, are permitted (_halal_) and
forbidden (_haram_);[3] that Satan makes evil suggestions to men, and
puts them in doubt, and causes them to be possessed, contrary to that
which the Mu‘tazilites and the Jahmites maintain, as God said, (Qur.
2, 276); “Those who take usury will [at the Resurrection] stand there
like one whom Satan causes to be possessed by madness,” and (Qur. 114,
4 ff.); “I take my refuge in God, from the evil suggestion, from the
stealthy one who makes suggestions in the hearts of men, by means of men
and Jinn.” We affirm that God may distinguish the pious by signs which
He manifests through them. Our teaching concerning the little children
of the polytheists (_mushriks_) is this, that God will kindle a fire in
the other world for them, and will say, “Run in there;”—as the tradition
says.[4] We believe that God knows what men do and what they will to do,
what happens and how that which does not happen, if it should happen,
would happen. We believe in the obedience of the Imams and in their
counsel of the Muslims. We consider right the separation from every
inciter to innovation (_bid‘a_) and the turning aside from the People of
wandering desires (_ahl al-ahwa_).—_Translated from the Arabic text in
Spitta’s Zur Geschichte al-As‘ari’s, pp. 133 ff._



An exposition of the Creed of the People of the Sunna on the two Words of
Witnessing (_kalimata-sh-shabada_) which form one of the Foundations of

    [Intended to be committed to memory by children. It forms the
    first section of the second book of his _Ihya_, vol. ii, pp.
    17-42 of edit. of Cairo with commentary of the Sayyid Murtada.]

We say—and in God is our trust—Praise belongeth unto God, the Beginner,
the Bringer back, the Doer of what He willeth, the Lord of the Glorious
Throne and of Mighty Grasp, the Guider of His chosen creatures to the
right path and to the true way, the Granter of benefits to them after
the witness to the Unity (_tawhid_) by guarding their articles of belief
from obscurities of doubt and opposition, He that bringeth them to follow
His Apostle, the Chosen one (_al-Mustafa_), and to imitate the traces
of his Companions, the most honored, through His aid and right guidance
revealed to them in His essence and His works by His beautiful qualities
which none perceives, save he who inclines his ear. He is the witness who
maketh known to them that He in His essence is One without any partner
(_sharik_). Single without any similar, Eternal without any opposite,
Separate without any like. He is One, Prior (_qadim_) with nothing before
Him, from eternity (_azali_) without any beginning, abiding in existence
with none after Him, to eternity (_abadi_) without any end, subsisting
without ending, abiding without termination. He hath not ceased and
He will not cease to be described with glorious epithets; finishing
and ending, through the cutting off of the ages and the terminating of
allotted times, have no rule over Him, but He is the First and Last, the
External and the Internal, and He knoweth everything.

We witness that He is not a body possessing form, nor a substance
possessing bounds and limits: He does not resemble bodies, either in
limitation or in accepting division. He is not a substance and substances
do not exist in Him; and He is not an accident and accidents do not exist
in Him, nay He does not resemble an entity, and no entity resembles Him;
nothing is like Him and He is not like anything; measure does not bound
Him and boundaries do not contain Him; the directions do not surround
Him and neither the earth nor the heavens are on different sides of Him.
Lo, He is seated firmly upon His Throne (_arsh_), after the manner which
He has said, and in the sense in which He willed a being seated firmly
(_istiwa_), which is far removed from contact and fixity of location and
being established and being enveloped and being removed. The Throne does
not carry Him, but the Throne and those that carry it are carried by the
grace of His power and mastered by His grasp. He is above the Throne and
the Heavens and above everything unto the limit of the Pleiades, with an
aboveness which does not bring Him nearer to the Throne and the Heavens,
just as it does not make Him further from the earth and the Pleiades.
Nay, He is exalted by degrees from the Throne and the Heavens, just as
He is exalted by degrees from the earth and the Pleiades; and He, in
spite of that, is near to every entity and is “nearer to a creature than
the artery of his neck” (Qur. 50, 15), and He witnesseth everything,
since His nearness does not resemble the nearness of bodies, just as
His essence does not resemble the essence of bodies. He does not exist
in anything, just as nothing exists in Him: He has exalted Himself far
therefrom that a place should contain Him, just as He has sanctified
Himself far therefrom that time should limit Him. Nay, He was before He
had created Time and Place and He is now above that which He was above,
and distinct from His creatures through His qualities. There is not in
His essence His equal, nor in His equal His essence. He is far removed
from change of state or of place. Events have no place in Him, and
mishaps do not befall him. Nay, He does not cease, through His glorious
epithets, to be far removed from changing, and through His perfect
qualities to be independent of perfecting increase. The existence of His
essence is known by reason; His essence is seen with the eyes, a benefit
from Him and a grace to the pious, in the Abiding Abode and a completion
in beatitude from Him, through gazing upon His gracious face.

We witness that He is living, powerful, commanding, conquering;
inadequacy and weakness befall Him not; slumber seizes Him not, nor
sleep. Passing away does not happen to Him, nor death. He is Lord of the
Worlds, the Visible and the Invisible, that of Force and that of Might;
He possesses Rule and Conquest and Creation and Command; the heavens
are rolled in His right hand and the created things are overcome in His
grasp; He is separate in creating and inventing; He is one in bringing
into existence and innovating; He created the creation and their works
and decreed their sustenance and their terms of life; not a decreed thing
escapes His grasp and the mutations of things are not distant from His
power; the things which He hath decreed cannot be reckoned and the things
which He knoweth have no end.

We witness that He knoweth all the things that can be known,
comprehending that which happeneth from the bounds of the earths unto the
topmost heavens; no grain in the earth or the heavens is distant from His
knowledge. Yea, He knows the creeping of the black ant upon the rugged
rock in a dark night, and He perceives the movement of the mote in the
midst of the air; He knows the secret and the concealed and has knowledge
of the suggestions of the minds and the movements of the thoughts and the
concealed things of the inmost parts, by a knowledge which is prior from
eternity; He has not ceased to be describable by it, from the ages of the
ages, not by a knowledge which renews itself and arises in His essence by
arrival and removal.

We witness that He is a Willer of the things that are, a Director of
the things that happen; there does not come about in the world, seen
or unseen, little or much, small or great, good or evil, advantage or
disadvantage, faith or unbelief, knowledge or ignorance, success or loss,
increase or diminution, obedience or rebellion, except by His will.
What He wills is, and what He wills not is not. Not a glance of one who
looks, or a slip of one who thinks is outside of His will: He is the
Creator, the Bringer back, the Doer of that which He wills. There is no
opponent of His command and no repeater of His destiny and no refuge for
a creature from disobeying Him, except by His help and His mercy, and
no strength to a creature to obey Him except by His will. Even though
mankind and the Jinn and the Angels and the Shaytans were to unite to
remove a single grain in the world or to bring it to rest without His
will, they would be too weak for that. His will subsists in His essence
as one of His qualities; He hath not ceased to be described through it as
a Willer, in His infinity, of the existence of things at their appointed
times which He hath decreed. So they come into existence at their
appointed times even as He has willed in His infinity without precedence
or sequence. They happen according to the agreement of His knowledge and
His will, without exchange or change in planning of things, nor with
arranging of thoughts or awaiting of time, and therefore one thing does
not distract Him from another.

And we witness that He is a Hearer and a Seer. He hears and sees, and
no audible thing is distant from His hearing, and no visible thing is
far from His seeing, however fine it may be. Distance does not curtain
off His hearing and darkness does not dull His seeing; He sees without
eyeball or eyelid, and hears without earholes or ears, just as He
knows without a brain and seizes without a limb and creates without an
instrument, since His qualities do not resemble the qualities of created
things, just as His essence does not resemble the essences of created

And we witness that He speaks, commanding, forbidding, praising,
threatening, with a speech from all eternity, prior, subsisting in His
essence not resembling the speech of created things. It is not a sound
which originates through the slipping out of air, or striking of bodies;
nor is it a letter which is separated off by closing down a lip or moving
a tongue. And the Qur’an and the Tawrat [the Law of Moses] and the
Injil [the Gospel] and the Zabbur [the Psalms] are His book revealed to
His Apostles. And the Qur’an is repeated by tongues, written in copies,
preserved in hearts: yet it, in spite of that, is prior, subsisting
in the essence of God, not subject to division and separation through
being transferred to hearts and leaves. And Musa heard the speech of God
without a sound and without a letter, just as the pious see the essence
of God, in the other world, without a substance or an attribute.

And since He has those qualities, He is Living, Knowing, Powerful, a
Willer, a Hearer, a Seer, a Speaker, through Life, Power, Knowledge,
Will, Hearing, Seeing, Speech, not by a thing separated from His essence.

We witness that there is no entity besides Him, except what is originated
from His action and proceeds from His justice, after the most beautiful
and perfect and complete and just of ways. He is wise in His actions,
just in His determinations; there is no analogy between His justice and
the justice of creatures, since tyranny is conceivable in the case of a
creature, when he deals with the property of some other than himself, but
tyranny is not conceivable in the case of God. For He never encounters
any property in another besides Himself, so that His dealing with it
might be tyranny. Everything besides Him, consisting of men and Jinn and
Angels and Shaytans and the heavens and the earth and animals and plants
and inanimate things and substance and attribute and things perceived
and things felt, is an originated thing, which He created by His power,
before any other had created it, after it had not existed, and which He
invented after that it had not been a thing, since He in eternity was an
entity by Himself, and there was not along with Him any other than He.
So He originated the creation thereafter, by way of manifestation of His
power, and verification of that which had preceded of His Will, and of
that which existed in eternity of His Word; not because He had any lack
of it or need of it. And He is gracious in creating and in making for the
first times and in imposing of duty—not of necessity—and He is generous
in benefiting; and well-doing and gracious helping belong to Him, since
He is able to bring upon His creatures different kinds of punishment
and to test them with different varieties of pains and ailments. And if
He did that, it would be justice on His part, and would not be a vile
action or tyranny in Him. He rewardeth His believing creatures for their
acts of obedience by a decision which is of generosity and of promise
and not of right and of obligation, since no particular action toward
anyone is incumbent upon Him, and tyranny is inconceivable in Him, and
no one possesses a right against Him. And His right to acts of obedience
is binding upon the creatures because He has made it binding through the
tongues of His prophets, not by reason alone. But He sent apostles and
manifested their truth by plain miracles, and they brought His commands
and forbiddings and promisings and threatenings. So, belief in them as to
what they have brought is incumbent upon the creation.

THE SECOND WORD OF WITNESSING is witnessing that the apostolate belongs
to the apostle, and that God sent the unlettered Qurayshite prophet,
Muhammad, with his apostolate to the totality of Arabs and foreigners
and Jinn and men. And He abrogated by his law the other laws, except so
much of them as He confirmed; and made him excellent over the rest of the
prophets and made him the Lord of Mankind and declared incomplete the
Faith that consists in witnessing the Unity, which is saying, “There is
no god except God,” so long as there is not joined to that a witnessing
to the Apostle, which is saying, “Muhammad is the Apostle of God.” And
He made obligatory upon the creation belief in him, as to all which he
narrated concerning the things of this world and the next. And that He
would not accept the faith of a creature, so long as he did not believe
in that which the Prophet narrated concerning things after death.
The first of that is the question of Munkar and Nakir; these are two
awful and terrible beings who will cause the creature to sit up in his
grave, complete, both soul and body; and they will ask him, “Who is thy
Lord, and what is thy religion (_din_), and who is thy Prophet?” They
are the two testers in the grave and their questioning is the first
testing after death. And that he should believe in the punishment of the
grave—that it is a Verity and that its judgment upon the body and the
soul is just, according to what God wills. And that he should believe
in the Balance—it with the two scales and the tongue, the magnitude
of which is like unto the stages of the heavens and the earth. In it,
deeds are weighed by the power of God Most High; and its weights in
that day will be of the weight of motes and mustard seeds, to show the
exactitude of its justice. The leaves of the good deeds will be placed
in a beautiful form in the scale of light; and then the Balance will
be weighed down by them according to the measure of their degree with
God, by the grace of God. And the leaves of evil deeds will be cast in
a vile form into the scale of darkness, and the Balance will be light
with them, through the justice of God. And that he should believe that
the Bridge (_as-sirat_) is a Verity; it is a bridge stretched over the
back of Hell (_jahannam_), sharper than a sword and finer than a hair.
The feet of the unbelievers slip upon it, by the decree of God, and fall
with them into the Fire. But the feet of believers stand firm upon it,
by the grace of God, and so they pass into the Abiding Abode. And that
he should believe in the Tank (_hawd_), to which the people shall go
down, the Tank of Muhammad from which the believers shall drink before
entering the Garden and after passing the Bridge. Whoever drinks of it
a single draught will never thirst again thereafter. Its breadth is a
journey of a month; its water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey;
around it are ewers in numbers like the stars of heaven; into it flow two
canals from _al-Kawthar_ (Qur. 108). And that he should believe in the
Reckoning and in the distinctions between men in it, him with whom it
will go hard in the Reckoning and him to whom compassion will be shown
therein, and him who enters the Garden without any reckoning,—these are
the honored (_muqarrab_). God Most High will ask whomsoever He will of
the prophets, concerning the carrying of His message, and whomsoever He
will of the unbelievers, concerning the rejection of the messengers; and
He will ask the innovators (_mubtadi‘s_) concerning the Sunna; and the
Muslims concerning works. And that he should believe that the attestors
of God’s Unity (_muwahhids_) will be brought forth from the Fire,
after vengeance has been taken on them, so that there will not remain
in Hell an attestor of God’s Unity. And that he should believe in the
intercession (_shafa‘a_) of the prophets, next of the learned (_ulama_),
next of the martyrs, next of the rest of the believers—each according
to his dignity and rank with God Most High. And he who remains of the
believers, and has no intercessor, shall be brought forth of the grace
of God, whose are Might and Majesty. So there shall not abide eternally
in the Fire a single believer, but whoever has in his heart the weight
of a single grain of faith shall be brought forth therefrom. And that he
should confess the excellence of the Companions—May God be well pleased
with them!—and their rank; and that the most excellent of mankind,
after the Prophet, is Abu Bakr, next Umar, next Uthman, next Ali—May
God be well pleased with them! And that he should think well of all the
Companions and should praise them like as he praises God, whose are Might
and Majesty, and His Apostles. All this is of that which has been handed
down in traditions from the Prophet and in narratives from the followers.
He who confesses all this, relying upon it, is of the People of the Truth
and the Company of the Sunna, and hath separated himself from the band of
error and the sect of innovation (_bid‘a_). So we ask from God perfection
of certainty and firm standing in the Faith (_din_) for us and for all
Muslims through His compassion.—lo! He is the Most Compassionate!—and
may the blessing of God be upon our Lord Muhammad and upon every chosen



    [A Mataridite who d. A.H. 537. This creed is still used as a
    text-book in schools. It is translated from Cureton’s edition
    (London, 1843) with the assistance of at-Taftazani’s commentary
    (Constantinople, A.H. 1310). The asterisks mark the points on
    which al-Mataridi differed from al-Ash‘ari.]

In the name of God, the merciful Compassionator.

The Shaykh, the Imam, Najm ad-Din Abu Hafs Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad
an-Nasafi—may God have mercy upon him!—said;—The People of Verity,
contradicting the Sceptics [_Sufistiqiya_, i.e., Sophists] say that the
real natures of things are validly established and that the science of
them is certain.

Further, that the sources of knowledge for mankind are three: the sound
Senses, true Narration (_khabar_), and Reason (_aql_). As for the
Senses, they are five: Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste and Touch, and by
each sense you are informed concerning that for which it is appointed.
True Narration, again, is of two kinds. The one is Narration handed down
along a large number of lines of tradition (_mutawatir_); that is, it
is established by the tongues of a number of people of whom we cannot
imagine that they would agree in a lie. It compels a knowledge which
is of necessity (_daruri_), such as the knowledge of departed kings in
past times and of distant countries. And the second is Narration by the
Apostle (_rasul_) aided by miracle [_i.e._, Muhammad], and it compels
deduced knowledge (_istidlali_), and the knowledge established by it
resembles in certainty and fixity the knowledge established by necessity.

Then as for Reason, it is a cause of knowledge also; and whatever is
established by intuition (_badaha_) is of necessity, as the knowledge
that everything is greater than its parts; and whatever is established
by inference is acquired knowledge (_iktisabi_), as the existence of
fire from the appearance of smoke. And the Inner Light (_ilham_) with
the People of Verity is not one of the causes of knowledge as to the
soundness of anything.[5]

Further, the world in the totality of its parts is a thing originated
(_muhdath_), in that it consists of Substances (_ayns_) and Attributes
(_arads_). The Substances are what exist in themselves, and a substance
is either a compound, that is a body (_jism_), or not compounded like an
essence (_jawhar_), namely a division that is not further divided. And
the attributes are what do not exist in themselves but have a dependent
existence in bodies or essences, such as colors, tastes, conditions
(_kawns_), odors.

The Originator (_Muhdith_) of the world is God Most High, the One,
the Eternal, the Decreeing, the Knowing, the Hearing, the Seeing, the
Willing. He is not an attribute, nor a body, nor an essence, nor a thing
formed, nor a thing bounded, nor a thing numbered, nor a thing divided,
nor a thing compounded, nor a thing limited; and He is not described by
quiddity (_mahiya_), nor by modality (_kayfiya_), and He does not exist
in place or time, and there is nothing that resembles Him and nothing
that is outwith His knowledge and power.

He has qualities (_sifat_) from all eternity (_azali_) existing in
His essence. They are not He nor are they any other than He. They are
Knowledge and Power and Life and Strength and Hearing and Seeing and
Doing and Creating and Sustaining and Speech (_kalam_).

And He, whose Majesty is majestic, speaks with a Word (_kalam_). This
Word is a quality from all eternity, not belonging to the genus of
letters and sounds, a quality that is incompatible with coming to silence
and that has no weakness.

God Most High speaks with this Word, commanding and prohibiting and
narrating. And the Qur’an is the uncreated Word of God, repeated by our
tongues, heard by our ears, written in our copies, preserved in our
hearts, yet not simply a transient state (_hal_) in these [_i.e._, the
tongues, ears, etc.]. And Creating (_takwin_) is a quality of God Most
High from all eternity, and it is the Creating of the world and of every
one of its parts at the time of its becoming existent, and this quality
of Creating is not the thing created, according to our opinion.* And
Willing is a quality of God Most High from all eternity, existing in His

And that there is a Vision (_ru’ya_) of God Most High is allowed by
reason and certified by tradition (_naql_). A proof on authority has come
down with the affirmation that believers have a Vision of God Most High
in Paradise and that He is seen, not in a place or in a direction or by
facing or the joining of glances or the placing of a distance between him
who sees and God Most High.

And God Most High is the Creator of all actions of His creatures, whether
of unbelief or belief, of obedience or of rebellion; all of them are by
the will of God and His sentence and His conclusion and His decreeing.

And to His creatures belong actions of choice (_ikhtiyar_),* for
which they are rewarded or punished, and the good in these is by the
good pleasure of God (_rida_) and the vile in them is not by His good

And the ability to do the action (_istita‘a_) goes along with the action
and is the essence of the power (_qudra_) by which the action takes
place, and this word “ability” means the soundness of the causes and
instruments and limbs. And the validity of the imposition of the task
(_taklif_) is based upon this ability,* and the creature has not a task
imposed upon him that is not in his power.

And the pain which is found in one who is beaten as a consequence of
being beaten by any man, and the state of being broken in glass as a
consequence of its being broken by any man, and such things, all that is
created by God Most High, and the creature has no part in its creation
and a slain man is dead because his appointed time (_ajal_) has come;
and death exists in a slain man and is created by God Most High, and the
appointed time is one.[6]

And that which is forbidden (_haram_) is still Sustenance (_rizq_), and
each one receives his own Sustenance whether it consists of permitted or
of forbidden things; and let no one imagine that a man shall not eat his
Sustenance or that another than he shall eat his Sustenance.

And God leadeth astray whom He wills and guideth aright whom He wills,
and it is not incumbent upon God Most High to do that which may be best
(_aslah_) for the creature.

The punishment of the grave for unbelievers and for some rebellious ones
of the believers, and the bliss of the obedient in the grave, and the
questioning by Munkar and Nakir are established by proofs of authority.
And the Quickening of the Dead (_ba‘th_) is a Verity, and the Weighing is
a Verity, and the Book is a Verity and the Tank (_hawd_) is a Verity, and
the Bridge, _as-Sirat_, is a Verity, and the Garden is a Verity, and the
Fire is a Verity, and they are both created, existing, continuing; they
shall not pass away and their people shall not pass away.

A great sin (_kabira_) does not exclude the creature who believes from
the Belief (_iman_) and does not make him an unbeliever. And God does
not forgive him who joins another with Himself, but He forgives anything
beneath that to whom He wills, of sins small (_saghira_) or great.

And there may be punishment for a small and pardon for a great one, if it
be not of the nature of considering lawful what is forbidden, for that is
unbelief (_kufr_). And the intercession (_shafa‘a_) of the Apostles and
of the excellent on behalf of those who commit great sins is established.

And those believers who commit great sins do not remain eternally in the
Fire although they die without repentance.

Belief (_iman_) is assent (_tasdiq_) to that which comes from God and
confession (_iqrar_) of it. Then, as for Works (_amal_), they are acts
of obedience and gradually increase of themselves, but Belief does not
increase and does not diminish. And Belief and al-Islam are one.* And
whenever assent and confession are found in a creature, it is right that
he should say, “I am a believer in truth.” And it is not fitting that he
should say, “I am a believer if God will.”*

The happy one sometimes becomes miserable and the miserable one sometimes
becomes happy,* and the changing is in happiness and misery, and not in
making happy and making miserable: for those are both qualities of God
Most High, and there is no changing in Him nor in His qualities.

And in the sending of Apostles (_rasuls_) is an advantage and God
has sent Apostles of flesh unto flesh with good tidings, warning and
explaining to men the things of the world and of faith, of which they
have need. And He has aided them with miracles (_mu‘jizat_) which break
the order of nature. The first of the Prophets (_nabis_) was Adam and the
last is Muhammad, Upon both of them be Peace! A statement of their number
has been handed down in several traditions, but the more fitting course
is that there should be no limiting to a number in naming them; God Most
High has said, “Of them are those concerning whom We have recited to
thee, and of them are those concerning whom We have not recited to thee.”
And there is no security in a statement of number against there being
entered among them some that are not of them, or of there being excluded
from them some that are of them. They all give intelligence concerning
God Most High, are veracious and sincere, and the most excellent of the
Prophets is Muhammad—Upon him be Peace!

The Angels are servants of God and work according to His commands. They
are not described as masculine or feminine.

And God has books which He has revealed to His Prophets, and in them are
His commands and His promises.

The Night Journey (_mi‘raj_) of the Apostle of God—Upon whom be Blessing
and Peace! while awake, in the body, to Heaven, then to what place God
Most High willed of the Exalted Regions, is a Verity.

The Wonders (_karamat_) of the Saints (_walis_) are a Verity. And a
Wonder on the part of a Saint appears by way of a contradiction of the
ordinary course of nature, such as passing over a great distance in a
short time, and the appearing of meat and drink and clothing at a time of
need, and walking upon the water and in the air, and the speech of stones
and of beasts, and the warding off of an evil that is approaching, and
the guarding of him who is anxious from enemies, and other things of the
same kind. And such a thing is to be reckoned as an evidentiary miracle
(_mu‘jiza_) on behalf of the Apostle followed by the Saint on whose part
the wonder appears. For it is evident by it that he is a Saint and he
could never be a Saint unless he were right in his religion and worship
and in abiding by the message committed to his Apostle.

The most excellent of mankind after the Prophets are Abu Bakr, the Very
Veracious (_as-Siddiq_), then Umar, the Divider (_al-Faruq_), then
Uthman, he of the Two Lights (_Dhu-n-Nurayn_), then Ali—The good-will of
God be upon them! Their Khalifates were in this order, and the Khalifate
extended to thirty years; then, thereafter, came kings and princes.

The Muslims cannot do without a leader (_Imam_) who shall occupy
himself with the enforcing of their decisions, and in maintaining their
boundaries and guarding their frontiers, and equipping their armies,
and receiving their alms, and putting down robberies and thieving and
highwaymen, and maintaining the Friday services and the Festivals, and
removing quarrels that fall between creatures, and receiving evidence
bearing on legal claims, and marrying minors, male and female, and those
who have no guardians, and dividing booty. And it is necessary that the
leader should be visible, not hidden and expected to appear (_muntazar_),
and that he should be of the tribe of Quraysh and not of any other. And
he is not assigned exclusively to the sons of Hashim nor to the children
of Ali. And it is not a condition that he should be protected by God from
sin (_isma_), nor that he should be the most excellent of the people
of his time, but it is a condition that he should have administrative
ability, should be a good governor and be able to carry out decrees and
to guard the restrictive ordinances (_hadds_) of Islam and to protect the
wronged against him who wrongs him. And he is not to be deposed from the
leadership on account of immorality or tyranny.

Prayer is allowable behind anyone whether pure or a sinner. And we give
the salutation of Peace to the pure and to the sinner.

And we abstain from the mention of the Companions (_sahibs_) of the
Prophet except with good.

And we bear witness that Paradise is for the ten to whom the
Prophet—God bless him and give him Peace!—gave good tidings of Paradise

And we approve the wiping (_mash_) of the inner-shoes (_khuffs_) both at
home and when on a journey.

And we do not regard _nabidh_ as forbidden.

And the Saint does not reach the level of the Prophets. And the creature
does not come to a point where commands and prohibitions and the details
of the statutes in their outward sense (_zahir_) fall away from him; and
the turning aside from these to the views which the People of the Inner
Meaning (_batin_) assert is a deviation (_ilhad_) through unbelief.

And feeling safe from God is unbelief. And despairing of God is unbelief.
And rejection of the statutes and contempt for the law is unbelief. And
believing a diviner (_kahin_) in what he tells of the Unseen (_ghayb_) is
unbelief. And what does not exist (_ma‘dum_) is known of God Most High
just as what exists (_mawjud_) is known of Him and it [_i.e._, what does
not exist] is neither a thing (_shay_) nor an object of vision (_mar’an_).

And in prayer of the living for the dead, and in alms offered for them
there is an advantage to them. And God Most High answers prayers and
supplies needs.

And what the Prophet has reported of the conditions of the last day
(_as-sa‘a_), of the appearance of _ad-Dajjal_ and of the beast of the
earth [cf. Revelations xiii, 11 ff.] and of _Yajuj_ and _Majuj_ and the
descent of Isa from heaven and the rising of the sun in the west, that is

And the Mujtahids sometimes err and sometimes hit the mark. And the
Apostles of mankind are more excellent than the Apostles of the angels;
and the Apostles of the angels are more excellent than the generality
of mankind; and the generality of mankind of the true believers is more
excellent than the generality of the angels.



[Translated from the Arabic text of Cairo, A.H. 1315, with the commentary
of al-Bayjuri.]

In the name of God, the merciful Compassionator. Praise belongeth unto
God who alone bringeth into existence, and blessing and peace be upon
our Lord Muhammad, his family and companions, possessors of beauty and

To proceed: The creature who stands in need of the mercy of his exalted
Lord, Muhammad ibn ash-Shafi‘i al-Fudali says: One of the brethren asked
me that I should compose a tractate on the divine unity (_tawhid_), and
I agreed to that, following the example of the most learned Shaykh,
as-Sanusi, [d. 895,] in the establishing of proofs, except that I adduced
each proof (_dalil_) in connection with the doctrine that was to be
proved, and added to it an exposition on account of my knowledge of the
limitations of that student. So, in the ascription of praise to God Most
High, it became a tractate, useful and excellent for the establishing of
that which is in it. And I called it, THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE PEOPLE IN
(_kalam_). And I pray God Most High that He will make it useful, for He
is my sufficiency, and excellent is the Guardian.

Know that it is incumbent upon every Muslim that he should know fifty
articles of belief (_aqidas_), and for each article that he should know
a proof, general (_ijmali_) or detailed (_tafsili_). Some say that it is
required that he should know a detailed proof, but the common opinion is
that a general proof suffices for each article of the fifty. An example
of a detailed proof is when someone says, “What is the proof of the
existence (_wujud_) of God?” that the answer should be, “These created
things.” That the asker should then say, “Do the created things prove the
existence of God on the side of their possibility or on the side of their
existence after non-existence (_adam_)?” and that his question should
be answered. And if the further question is not answered, but the only
answer is, “These created things,” and the answerer does not know whether
it is on the side of their possibility or of their existence after
non-existence, then the proof is said to be general; but it is sufficient
according to the common position. And with regard to _taqlid_ (blind
acceptance), which is that fifty articles are known but no proof of them
is known, either general or detailed, the learned differ. Some say that
it does not suffice, and that the _mukallad_ (blind accepter) is an
unbeliever (_kafir_). Ibn al-Arabi [d. 543] held this and as-Sanusi, and
the latter gave in his commentary on his _kubra_ a lengthy refutation of
those who hold that _taqlid_ is sufficient. Yet there is a report that he
retired from this position, and acknowledged the sufficiency of _taqlid_;
but I have never seen in his books anything but the opinion that it does
not suffice.


Know that an understanding of the fifty following articles must be based
upon three things—the necessary (_wajib_), the impossible (_mustahil_),
and the possible (_ja’iz_). The necessary is that the non-existence
of which cannot be apprehended by the intellect (_aql_), that is, the
intellect cannot affirm its non-existence, as boundary to a body
(_jirm_), _i.e._, its taking up a certain measure of space (_faragh_). An
example of a body is a tree or a stone. Then, whenever a person says to
you, that a tree, for example, does not take up room (_mahall_) in the
earth, your intellect cannot affirm that, for its taking up room is a
necessary thing, the absence of which your intellect cannot affirm. The
impossible is that the existence of which cannot be apprehended; that
is, the intellect cannot affirm its existence. Then, whenever anyone
says that such a body is bare of motion and rest at the same time, your
intellect cannot affirm that, because being bare of motion and rest
at the same time is an impossibility, the occurrence and existence of
which the intellect cannot affirm, and whenever it is said that weakness
(_ajz_) is impossible in God, the meaning is that the occurrence or
existence of weakness in God is unthinkable. So, too, with the other
impossibilities. And the possible is that the existence of which at one
time, and the non-existence at another, the intellect can affirm, as the
existence of a child of Zayd’s. When, then, someone says that Zayd has a
child, your intellect acknowledges the possibility of the truth of that;
and whenever he says that Zayd has no child, your intellect acknowledges
the possibility of the truth of that. So the existence and the
non-existence of a child of Zayd is possible; the intellect can believe
in its existence or in its non-existence. And whenever it is said that
God’s sustaining Zayd with a _dinar_ is a possibility, the meaning is
that the intellect assents to the existence of that sustaining (_rizq_)
at one time and to its non-existence at another.

On these three distinctions, then, is based the science of the articles
of belief; and these three are necessary for every _mukallaf_ [one who
has a task imposed upon him; in this case of religious duty], male and
female, for that upon which the necessary is based is necessary. The
Imam al-Haramayn (d. 478) even held that an understanding of these three
constituted reason itself and that he who did not know the meaning of
necessary, impossible and possible, was not a reasoning being. So,
whenever it is said here that Power is necessary (_wajib_) in God, the
meaning is that the intellect cannot affirm its non-existence, because
the necessary is that the non-existence of which the intellect cannot
affirm, as has preceded. But necessary (_wajib_, incumbent) in the sense
of that the not doing of which is punished, is an idea which does not
enter into the science of the divine Unity. So, do not let the matter be
confused for you. It is true that if one says that belief in the Power
of God is incumbent (_wajib_) on the _mukallaf_, the meaning is that
he is rewarded for that and punished for omitting that. Thus there is
a distinction between saying that belief in such and such is incumbent
and that the knowledge, for example, is necessary. For when it is said
that knowledge is necessary in God, the meaning is that the intellect
cannot affirm the non-existence of knowledge in God. But when it is said
that belief in that knowledge is incumbent, the meaning is that belief
in it is rewarded and lack of belief punished. So, apply thyself to the
distinction between the two and be not of those who regard _taqlid_ in
the articles of Religion as right, that so your faith (_iman_) should
differ from the truth and you should abide in the Fire, according to
those who hold that _taqlid_ does not suffice. As-Sanusi said, “A person
is not a Believer when he says, ‘I hold by the Articles and will not
abandon them though I be cut in pieces;’ nay, he is not a Believer until
he knows each Article of the fifty, along with its proof.” And this
science of theology must be studied first of all sciences, as may be
gathered from the commentary [by at-Taftazani, d. 791] on as-Sanusi’s
_Articles_; for he made this science a foundation on which other things
are built. So a judgment as to anyone’s ceremonial ablution (_wudu_) or
prayer is not valid unless the person in question knows these articles
or, on the other hand, holds them without proof.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, let us state to you the fifty articles shortly, before stating them
in detail. Know, then, that twenty qualities are necessary in God Most
High, that twenty are impossible in Him and that one is possible. This
makes up forty-one. And in the case of the Apostles, four qualities are
necessary, four impossible and one possible. This makes up the fifty.
And there shall come an accurate account of doctrines along with the
statement of them, if it be the will of God Most High.

The first of the qualities necessary in God is existence (_wujud_); and
there is a difference of opinion as to its meaning. All except the Imam
al-Ash‘ari and his followers hold that existence is the state (_hal_)
necessary to the essence so long as the essence abides; and this state
has no cause (_illa_). And the meaning of it being a state is that it
does not attain to the degree of an entity (_mawjud_) and does not
fall to the degree of a non-entity (_ma‘dum_), so that it should be
non-existence pure, but is half way between an entity and a non-entity.
So the existence of Zayd, for example, is a state necessary to his
essence; that is, it cannot be separated from his essence. And when it
is said that it has no cause, the meaning is that it does not originate
in anything, as opposed to Zayd’s potentiality (_qadir_, powerful), for
example, which originates in his power (_qudra_). So Zayd’s potentiality
and his existence are two states which subsist in his essence,
unperceived by any of the five senses; only, the first has a cause in
which it originates, and it is power, and the second has no cause. This
is the description of a personal state (_hal nafsi_) and every state
subsisting in an essence, without a cause, is a personal quality (_sifa
nafsiya_). It is that without which the essence is unthinkable; that
is, the essence cannot be apprehended by the intellect and comprehended
except through its personal quality, like limitation for a body. For, if
you apprehend and comprehend a body, you have comprehended that it is
limited. So, according to this doctrine—that existence is a state—the
essence of God is not His existence and the essences of the created
things are not their existences. But al-Ash‘ari and his followers hold
that existence is the self (_ayn_) of an entity, and according to their
view the existence of God is the self of His essence and not an addition
to it externally, and the existence of a created thing is the self of
its essence. And, on this view, it is not clear how existence can be
reckoned as a quality, because existence is the self of the essence, and
a quality, on the other hand, as we have seen already, is something else
than the essence. But if he makes existence a quality, then the thing is
plain and the meaning that existence is necessary in God, according to
the first view, is that the personal quality is a state established in
God; and its meaning, on the second view, is that the essence of God is
an entity with external reality, so that if the veil were removed from
us we would see it. The essence of God, then, is a reality; only, its
existence is something else than it, on the one view, and is it, on the

And the proof of the existence of God is the origin (_huduth_) of the
world; that is, its existence after non-existence. The world consists of
bodies (_jirms_) like essences; and accidents (_arads_) like motion, and
rest and colors. And the origin of the world is a proof of the existence
of God only because it is not sound reasoning that it should originate
through itself without someone bringing it into existence. Before it
existed, its existence equalled its non-existence; then, when it entered
existence and its non-existence ceased, we know that its existence
overbalanced its non-existence. But this existence had previously
equalled the non-existence; and it is not sound reasoning that it could
overbalance the non-existence through itself; so that it is clear that
there must have been one who caused the overbalancing, other than itself,
and it is He that brought it into existence; for it is impossible
that one of two equal things could overbalance the other without an
overbalancer. For example, before Zayd exists it is possible that he may
come into existence in such and such a year and also that he may remain
in non-existence. So, his existence is equal to his non-existence. So,
then, when he exists and his non-existence ceases, in the time in which
he exists, we know that his existence is by a bringer-into-existence and
not through himself. The proof, in short, is that you say:—The world,
consisting of bodies and accidents, is a thing originated (_hadith_),
_i.e._, an entity after non-existence. And every originated thing cannot
help but have an originator (_muhdith_). Therefore, the world must have
had an originator.

This is what can be gained by an intellectual proof. But as for the
Originator being named by the Glorious and Lofty Expression [_i.e._,
_Allah_, God] or the other Names (_asma_), knowledge of that is to be
gained from the Prophets only. So note this point carefully and also the
proof which has preceded, that the originating of the world is a proof of
the existence of Him Most High.

But as for the proof that the world has had an origin, know that the
world consists of bodies and accidents only, as has preceded. And the
accidents, like motion and rest, are originated, because you observe
their changing from existence to non-existence and from non-existence
to existence. You see it is so in the motion of Zayd. His motion is
lacking if he is at rest; and his rest is lacking if he is in motion.
Then his rest, which comes after his motion, exists after that it has
been lacking through motion; and his motion, which comes after his rest,
exists after that it has been lacking through his rest. And existence
after non-existence means having an origin. And bodies are inseparable
from attributes, because they are never free from either motion or
rest. And whatever is inseparable from a thing having origin must have
origin; _i.e._, must be an entity after non-existence. So, the bodies are
originated also, like the attributes. The proof, in short, is that you
say: Bodies are inseparable from attributes and these have an origin;
everything that is inseparable from that which has an origin, itself has
an origin; therefore, bodies have an origin. And the origin of the two
things—bodies and attributes—that is their existence after non-existence,
is a proof of the existence of Him Most High, because everything having
an origin must have an originator, and there is no originator of the
world save God Most High alone, who has no partner (_sharik_) as shall
be shown in the proof of His Unity. This, then, is the general proof, a
knowledge of which is incumbent upon every _mukallaf_, male and female,
according to the opinion of Ibn al-Arabi and as-Sanusi, who hold those
who do not know it to be unbelievers. So, beware lest there be a
contradiction in your faith.

The second Quality necessary in God is Priority (_qidam_); its meaning is
lack of beginning. And the meaning of God’s being Prior (_qadim_) is that
there was no beginning to His existence, as opposed to Zayd, for example.
Zayd’s existence had a beginning and it was the creation from the drop
from which he was created. And there is a difference of opinion whether
Prior and _Azali_ (eternal with respect to past time) mean the same or
not. Those who hold that they mean the same, define them as that which
has no beginning, and explain “that which” by thing (_shay_). That is,
prior and _azali_ are the thing which has no beginning; so the essence
of God and His qualities are included. And those who hold that their
meaning is different define prior as the entity which had no beginning
and _azali_ as that which had no beginning, covering thus both entity and
non-entity. So _azali_ is broader than prior, but they both come together
in the essence of God and His existential qualities. The essence of God
is _azali_ and His Power (_qudra_) is _azali_. But only _azali_ is said
of the states (_hals_) like God’s being powerful, in accordance with the
doctrine of the states. For God’s being powerful is called _azali_, in
accordance with that doctrine, and is not called prior, because in prior
there must be existence, and “being powerful” does not rise to the level
of existence [to being an entity], but is only a state (_hal_).

And the proof of God’s Priority is that if He were not Prior He would
be a thing originated (_hadith_), because there is no medium between
the prior and the thing originated; to everything of which priority is
denied, origin belongs. But if God were a thing originated, He would need
an originator, and His originator would need an originator, and so on.
Then, if the originators did not coincide, there would be the Endless
Chain (_tasalsul_), that is a sequence of things, one after another to
infinity; and the Endless Chain is impossible. And if the series of
originators comes to an end by it being said that the originator of God
was originated by Him, then we have the Circle (_dawr_) and it is that
one thing depends on another thing which again depends on the first. For
if God had an originator, He would depend on this originator; but the
hypothesis is that God originated this originator and so the originator
depends on Him. But the Circle is impossible; that is, its existence is
unthinkable. And that which leads to the Circle and to the Chain, both
being impossible, involves the originating of God. So, the originating
of God is impossible; for what involves an impossibility is impossible.
The proof, in short, is that you say, “If God were other than Prior,
through being a thing originated, He would have need of an originator.
Then the Circle or the Chain would be unavoidable; but they are both
impossible. So, the originating of God is impossible and His Priority is
established; and that is what has been sought.” This is the general proof
of the Priority of God, and by it the _mukallaf_ escapes from the noose
of _taqlid_, the remainer in which will abide eternally in the Fire,
according to the opinion of Ibn al-Arabi and as-Sanusi, as has preceded.

The third Quality necessary in God is Continuance (_baqa_). The meaning
of it is lack of termination of the existence; and the meaning of God’s
being continuing is that there is no end to His existence. And the proof
of God’s continuance is that if it were possible that any lack could be
joined to Him, then He would be a thing originated and would need an
originator and then the Circle or the Chain would necessarily follow.
A definition of each one of these two has preceded in the proof of
Priority and in the explanation that to a thing with which non-existence
is possible, priority must be denied. For the existence of everyone to
whom non-existence is joined is possible, and everything whose existence
is possible is a thing originated, and everything originated requires an
originator. But Priority has been established for God by the preceding
proof, and non-existence is impossible for everything for which Priority
has been established. So the proof of Continuance in God is the same
as the proof of Priority. That proof, in short, is that you say, “If
Continuance is not necessary in Him, then Priority must be negated of
Him. But Priority cannot be negated on account of the preceding proof.”
This is the general proof of Continuance, a knowledge of which is
incumbent on every individual. And similarly a knowledge of every article
is necessary and of its general proof. Then, if some of the articles are
known with their proofs, and the rest are not known with their proofs,
that is not sufficient according to the opinion of those who do not
regard _taqlid_ as sufficient.

The fourth Quality necessary in God is difference (_mukhalafa_) from
originated things. That is, from created things (_makhluqat_), for God
is different from every created thing, men, Jinn, angels and the rest;
and it is not good that He should be described with the descriptions
which apply to created things, as walking, sitting, having members of
the body, for He is far removed (_munazzah_) from members of the body,
as mouth, eye, ear and the like. Then, from everything that is in your
mind of length and breadth and shortness and fatness, God is different;
He has removed Himself far from all descriptions which apply to the
creation. And the proof of the necessity of this difference in God is
that if any originated thing resembled Him, that is, if it were laid
down that God could be described with any of the things with which an
originated thing is described, then He would be an originated thing. And
if God were an originated thing, then He would need an originator, and
His originator, another originator, and so we would come necessarily to
the circle or the chain, and both of these are impossible. This proof, in
short, is that you say, “If God resembles a created thing in anything,
He is an originated thing, because what is possible in one of two things
resembling each other, is possible in the other. But that God should be
originated is impossible, for priority is necessary in Him. And when
being originated is denied in Him, His difference from created things
stands fast and there is absolutely no resemblance between Him and the
originated things.” This is the general proof, the knowledge of which is
necessary, as has preceded.

The fifth Quality necessary in God is self-subsistence (_qiyam
bin-nafs_). That is in the essence; and its meaning is that there
is independence of a _locus_ (_mahall_, subject) and a specifier
(_mukhassis_). The _locus_ is the essence and the specifier is the
bringer-into-existence (_mujid_); then the meaning of God’s subsisting in
Himself is that He is independent of an essence in which He may subsist,
or of a bringer-into-existence; for He is the bringer-into-existence of
all things. The proof that He subsists in Himself is that you say, “If
God had need of a _locus_, that is an essence, in which He might subsist,
as whiteness has need of an essence in which it may subsist, He would be
a quality, as whiteness, for example, is a quality. But it is not sound
to say of Him that He is a quality, for He is described by qualities, and
a quality is not described by qualities, so He is not a quality. And if
He had need of a bringer-into-existence, He would be an originated thing,
and His originator would be an originated thing also, and the Circle or
the Chain would necessarily follow. Then it stands fast that He is the
absolutely independent, that is, He is independent of everything. But the
created thing that is independent is independent in a limited sense only;
that is, of one thing in place of another. And may God rule thy guidance.”

The sixth Quality in God is Unity (_wahdaniya_). It is unity in essence
and qualities and acts in the sense of absence of multiplicity. And the
meaning of God’s being one in His essence is that His essence is not
compounded of parts, and this compounding is called internal quantity
(_kamm muttasil_). And in the sense that there is not in existence
or in possibility an essence which resembles the essence of God,
this impossibility of resemblance is called external quantity (_kamm
munfasil_). The unity, then, in the essence denies both quantities,
external and internal. And the meaning of God’s Oneness in qualities is
that He has not two qualities agreeing in name and meaning, like two
Powers, or two Knowledges or two Wills—for He has only one Power and
one Will and one Knowledge, in opposition to Abu Sahl, who held that
He had knowledges to the number of the things known. And this, I mean
multiplicity in qualities, is called internal quantity in qualities. Or
the sense is, that no one has a quality resembling a quality of God.
And this, I mean anyone possessing a quality, etc., is called external
quantity in qualities. Oneness, then, in qualities, negates quantity in
them, internal and external. And the meaning of God’s Oneness in acts is
that no created thing possesses an act, for God is the creator of the
acts of created things, prophets, angels and the rest. And as for what
happens when an individual dies or falls into pain on opposing himself
to a saint (_wali_), that is by the creation of God, who creates it when
the saint is angry with the man who opposes him. Do not then explain
Oneness in acts by saying that no other than God has an act like God’s
act, for that involves that some other than God has an act, but that it
is not like the act of God. That is false. God it is who is the creator
of all acts. What comes from you by way of movement of the hand, when you
strike Zayd, for example, is by the creation of God. He has said (Qur.
37, 99), “God created you, and what do ye do?” And another than God being
possessor of an act is called external quantity in acts.

So the unity necessary in God denies the five impossible quantities.
Internal quantity in the essence makes the essence a compound of parts;
external quantity means that there is an essence which resembles it.
Internal quantity in the qualities is that God has two Powers, for
example; external quantity in them means that someone else has a quality
which resembles one of His qualities. External quantity in acts means
that some other than God possesses an act. These five quantities deny the
unity necessary in God. The meaning of quantity is number (_adad_).

The proof that Unity is necessary in God is the existence of the world.
If God had a partner (_sharik_) in divinity (_uluhiya_), the case could
not be in doubt. Either they would agree on the existence of the world,
in that one of them would say, “I will cause the world to exist,” and
the other would say, “I will cause it to exist along with thee, that we
may help one another in it.” Or they would disagree, and one of them
would say, “I will cause the world to exist by my power,” and the other,
“I will that the existence be lacking.” Then, if they agreed upon the
existence of the world in that both of them together caused it to exist,
and it existed through their action, that would necessarily involve the
coincidence of two impressors upon one impression, which is impossible.
And if they disagreed, it is plain that the will of one either would
be carried out or it would not be carried out. If the will of one,
rather than the other, is carried out, then the other whose will is not
carried out must be weaker. But our hypothesis was that he was equal in
divinity to the one whose will was carried out. So whenever weakness is
established in the case of the one, it is established in the case of the
other, for he is like the other. And if the wills of both are not carried
out, they are both weak. And upon every alternative, that they agree
or differ, the existence of a single thing of the world is impossible;
because if they agree on its existence, there necessarily follows the
coincidence of two impressors upon one impression if their will is
carried out, and that is impossible. So the carrying out of their will
is not affected, and it is not possible that a single thing of the world
should come into existence then. And if they disagree and the will of one
of them is carried out, the other is weak. But he is his like. So it is
not possible that there should come into existence a single thing of this
world, for he is weak. So _the_ God is not except one. And if they differ
and their will is not carried out, they are weak and not able to cause
the existence of a thing of the world. But the world exists, by common
witness (_mushahada_). So it stands fast that _the_ God is one; and that
was what was sought. So the existence of the world is proof of the Unity
of God and that He has no partner in any act, and no second cause in an
action. He is the independent (_al-Ghani_), the absolutely independent.

And from this proof it may be known that there is no impression, by fire
or a knife or eating, upon anything, consisting of burning or cutting or
satiety, but God makes the being burnt in a thing which fire touches,
when it touches it, and being cut in a thing with which a knife is
brought into contact, when it is brought into contact with it, and
satiety at eating and satisfaction at drinking. And he who holds that
fire burns by its nature (_tab_), and water satisfies by its nature, and
so on, is an unbeliever (_kafir_) by agreement (_ijma_). And he who holds
that it burns by a power (_quwa_) created in it by God, is ignorant and
corrupt, because he knows not the true nature (_haqiqa_) of Unity.

This is the general proof a knowledge of which is incumbent upon every
individual, male and female: and he who knows it not is an unbeliever,
according to as-Sanusi and al-Arabi. And may God rule thy guidance.

And Priority and Continuance and Difference from originated things and
Self-Subsistence and Unity are negative qualities (_sifat salabiya_),
that is, their meaning is negation and exclusion, for each of them
excludes from God what does not beseem Him.

The seventh Quality necessary in God is Power (_qudra_). It is a quality
which makes an impression on a thing that is capable of existence
or non-existence. So it comes into connection (_ta‘allaqa_) with a
non-entity and makes it an entity, as it came into connection with you
before you existed. And it comes into connection with an entity and
reduces it to a non-entity, as it comes into contact with a body which
God desires should become a non-entity, that is, a not-thing (_la shay_).
This connection is called accomplished (_tanjizi_) in the sense that it
is actual (_bil-fi‘l_), and this accomplished connection is a thing that
takes place (_hadith_). But this quality has also an eternal, potential
connection (_saluhi qadim_), and it is its potentiality from eternity of
bringing into existence. It is potential in eternity to make Zayd tall or
short or broad, or give him knowledge; but its accomplished connection
is conditioned by the state in which Zayd is. So it has two connections;
one eternal, potential, which has been described, and one accomplished,
happening. The last is its connection with a non-entity, when it makes
it an entity; and with an entity, when it makes it a non-entity. And
this, I mean its connection with an entity or a non-entity, is a
real (_haqiqi_) connection. But it has also a figurative (_majazi_)
connection. That is, its connection with an entity after it has become
so and before it has become a non-entity, as it is connected with us
after we have come to exist and before we have ceased to exist. It is
called the connection of grasping (_ta‘alluqu-l-qabdati_) in the sense
that the entity is in the grasp (_qabda_) of the Power of God. If God
will, He makes it remain an entity; and if He will, He reduces it to
non-entity. And its connection with the non-entity before that God wills
its existence is like its connection with Zayd at the time of the Flood
(_tufan_), for example; it also is a connection of grasping in the sense
that the non-entity is in the grasp of the Power of God. If God wills,
He makes it remain in non-existence, and if He wills, He brings it out
into existence. And similar is its connection with us after our death and
before the resurrection (_ba‘th_). It, too, is called a connection of
grasping in the sense of what has preceded. So the quality of Power has
seven connections: (1) eternal, (2) connection of grasping (that is, its
connection with us before God wills our existence), (3) actual connection
(that is, God’s bringing the thing into existence), (4) connection of
grasping (that is, connection with a thing after existence and before God
has willed non-existence), (5) actual connection (that is, God’s making a
thing a non-entity), (6) connection of grasping after non-existence and
before the resurrection, (7) actual connection (that is, God’s making us
exist on the day of resurrection).

But the real connections of these are two; God’s bringing into existence
and bringing into non-existence. This is a detailed statement; and a
general statement would be that God’s Power has two connections—as is
commonly accepted—a potential and an accomplished; but the accomplished
is limited to actual bringing into existence and non-existence. And
the connection of grasping is not to be described as accomplished, nor
as eternal. And what has preceded about this quality connecting with
existence and non-existence is the opinion of the multitude on the
subject. But some hold that it does not connect with non-existence; that
whenever God desires the non-existence of an individual, He takes away
from him the aids (_imdadat_) which are the cause of his continuance.

The eighth Quality necessary in God is Will (_irada_). It is the quality
which specifies the possible with one of the things possible to it. For
example, tallness and shortness are possible to Zayd; then Will specifies
him with one,—tallness, say. Power brings tallness out of non-existence
into existence. So Will specifies and Power brings out. And the
possibilities (_mumkinat_) with which Power and Will connect are six: (1)
existence, (2) non-existence, (3) qualities, like tallness and shortness,
(4) times, (5) places, (6) directions.

And the possibilities are called “the mutual opposers” (_mutaqabilat_),
existence opposes non-existence and tallness opposes shortness and
direction upward opposes direction downward, and one place, like Egypt,
opposes another place, like Syria. And this, in short, means that it
is possible in the case of Zayd, for example, that he should remain in
non-existence and also that he should enter existence at this time.
Then, whenever he enters existence, Will has specified existence instead
of non-existence, and Power has brought out existence. And it would
have been possible that he might have entered existence at the time of
the Flood (_tufan_) or at some other time; so that which specifies his
existence at this time instead of any other is Will. And it is possible
that he should be tall or short; then that which specifies his tallness
instead of shortness is Will. And it is possible that he should be in
the direction upward, then that which specifies him in the direction
downward is Will. And Power and Will are two qualities subsisting in
God’s essence—two entities; if the veil were removed from us we could
see them. They have connection with the possible only; but none with the
impossible, such as a partner for God. He is far removed from that! Nor
with the necessary, like the essence of God and His qualities. Ignorance
is the saying of those who hold that God has power to take a son
(_walad_); for Power has no connection with the impossible and taking a
son is impossible. But it should not be said that because He has no power
to take a son, He is therefore weak. We say that weakness would follow
only if the impossible were of that which is allotted to Power. But
Power has not been connected with that, seeing that nothing is allotted
to it except the possible. And Will has two connections, one eternally
potential, and it is its potentiality to specify from all eternity. So,
in the case of the tall or the short Zayd, it is possible that he might
be otherwise than what he is, so far as relationship to the potentiality
of Will is concerned. For Will is potential that Zayd should be a Sultan
or a scavenger, so far as the potential connection is concerned. And Will
has also an eternal accomplished connection, and it is the specifying
by God of a thing with a quality which it possesses. So God specified
Zayd from all eternity by His Will with the knowledge that he possesses.
And his being specified with knowledge, for example, is eternal and is
called an eternal accomplished connection. And the potentiality of Will
to specify him with knowledge, etc., in relationship to the essence of
Will, cutting off all consideration of actual specifying, is called an
eternal potential connection. And some say that Will has also a temporal,
accomplished connection. It is, for example, the specifying of Zayd with
tallness, when he is actually brought into existence. According to this
view, Will has three connections; but the truth is that this third is
not a connection but is the making manifest of the eternal, accomplished

And the connection of Power and Will is common to every possible thing to
the extent that the affections of the mind (_khatarat_) which arise in
the mind of an individual are specified by the Will of God and created
by His Power as the Shaykh al-Malawi [Ahmad al-Malawi, d. 1181] has said
in some of his books. But know that the attributing of specifying to
Will and of bringing out into existence to Power is only metaphorical;
for the true specifier is God by His Will and the true producer and
bringer-into-existence is God by His Power. Then, in the case of the
saying of the common people that Power does such and such to so and so,
if it is meant that the doing belongs to Power actually, or to it and to
the essence of God, that is unbelief (_kufr_). Rather, the doing belongs
to the essence of God by His Power.

The ninth Quality necessary in God is Knowledge (_ilm_). It is an
eternal quality subsisting in the essence of God, an entity by which
what is known is revealed with a revealing of the nature of complete
comprehension (_ihata_), without any concealment having preceded. It
is connected with the necessary, the possible and the impossible. He
knows His own essence and qualities by His Knowledge. And He knows
impossibilities in the sense that He knows that a partner is impossible
to Him and that, if one existed, corruption would accrue from it. And
Knowledge has an eternal, accomplished connection only. For God knows
these things that have been mentioned from all eternity with a complete
knowledge that is not by way of opinion (_zann_) or doubt (_shakk_);
because opinion and doubt are impossibilities in God. And the meaning of
the saying, “without any concealment having preceded,” is that He knows
things eternally; He is not first ignorant of them and then knowing them.
But an originated being (_hadith_) is ignorant of a thing and then knows
it. And God’s Knowledge has no potential connection in the sense that
there is a potentiality that such and such should be revealed by it,
because that involves that the thing in question has not been actually
revealed, and lack of actual revealing of it is ignorance.

The tenth Quality necessary in God is Life (_hayah_). It is a quality
which in him in whom it subsists validates perception, as knowledge and
hearing and seeing: that is, it is valid that he should be described
therewith. But being characterized by actual perception does not
necessarily follow from possessing the quality, Life. And it is not
connected with anything, entity or non-entity.

The proof that Knowledge and Power and Will and Life are necessary is the
existence of the created things. Because, if any one of these four is
denied, why does the created world exist? So, since the created things
exist, we know that God is to be described by these qualities. And the
reason of the existence of the created things depending on these four
is this. He who makes a thing does not make it except when he knows
the thing. Then he wills the thing which he would make and, after his
willing, he busies himself with making it by his power. Further, it is
known that the maker cannot but be living. And Knowledge and Will and
Power are called qualities of impression (_sifat at-ta’thir_), for making
an impression depends upon them. Because he who wills a thing must have
knowledge of it before he aims at it; then, after he has aimed at it, he
busies himself with doing it. For example, when there is something in
your house and you wish to take it, your knowledge precedes your wish
to take it, and after your wish to take it, you take it actually. The
connection of these qualities, then, is in a certain order, in the case
of an originated being; first comes the knowledge of the thing, then the
aiming at it, then the doing. But in the case of God, on the other hand,
there is no sequence in His qualities, except in our comprehension; in
that, Knowledge comes first, then Will, then Power. But as for the making
of an impression externally, there is no sequence in the qualities of
God. It is not said that Knowledge comes into actual connection, then
Will, then Power; because all that belongs to originated beings. Order is
only according to our comprehensions.

The eleventh and twelfth Qualities of God are Hearing (_sam_) and Seeing
(_basar_). These are two qualities subsisting in the essence of God and
connected with every entity; that is, by them is revealed every entity,
necessary or possible. And Hearing and Seeing are connected with the
essence of God and His qualities; that is, His essence and qualities are
revealed to Him by His Seeing and Hearing, besides the revealing of His
Knowledge. And God hears the essences of Zayd and Amr and a wall and He
sees them. And He hears the sound of the possessor of a sound and He sees
it, that is the sound. Then, if you say, “Hearing a sound is plain,
but hearing the essence of Zayd and the essence of a wall is not plain;
so, too, the connection of seeing with sounds, for sounds are heard
only,” we reply, “Belief in this is incumbent upon us because these two
qualities are connected with every entity; but the _how_ (_kayfiya_) of
the connection is unknown to us. God hears the essence of Zayd, but we do
not know how hearing is connected with that essence. And it is not meant
that He hears the walking of the essence of Zayd, for the hearing of his
walking enters into the hearing of all the sounds (_sawt_), but what is
meant is that He hears the essence of Zayd and his body (_juththa_),
besides hearing his walking. But we do not know how the hearing of God
is connected with the person (_nafs_) of the essence. This is what is
binding upon every individual, male and female—Our trust is in God!”

The proof of Hearing and Seeing is the saying of God that He is a
Hearer and Seer. And know that the connection of Hearing and Seeing in
relation to originated things is an eternal, potential connection before
the existence of these, and after their existence it is a temporal,
accomplished connection. That is, after their existence, they are
revealed to God by His Hearing and Seeing besides the revealing of His
Knowledge. So they have two connections. And in relation to God and His
qualities, the connection is eternal, accomplished, in the sense that His
essence and His qualities are revealed to Him from all eternity through
His Hearing and Seeing. So, God hears His essence and all His existential
qualities [all except the states and the negative qualities], Power,
Hearing, and all the rest; but we do not know how the connection is, and
He sees His essence and His qualities of existence, Power, Seeing and
the rest, but again we do not know how the connection is. The preceding
statement that Hearing and Seeing are connected with every entity is the
opinion of as-Sanusi and those who follow him; it is the preponderating
one. But it is said, also, that Hearing is only connected with sounds
and Seeing with objects of vision. And God’s Hearing is not with ear or
ear-hole, and His Seeing is not with eyeball or eyelid.

The thirteenth Quality of God is Speech (_kalam_). It is an eternal
quality, subsisting in God’s essence, not a word or sound, and far
removed from order of preceding and following, from inflection and
structure, opposed to the speech of originated beings. And by the
Speech that is necessary to God is not meant the Glorious Expressions
(_lafz_) revealed to the Prophet, because these are originated and
the quality that subsists in the essence of God is eternal. And these
embrace preceding and following, inflection and chapters and verses;
but the eternal quality is bare of all these things. It has no verses
or chapters or inflections, because such belong to the speech which
embraces letters and sounds, and the eternal quality is far removed from
letters and sounds, as has preceded. And those Glorious Expressions are
not a guide to the eternal quality in the sense that the eternal quality
can be understood from them. What is understood from these expressions
equals what would be understood from the eternal quality if the veil were
removed from us and we could hear it. In short, these expressions are a
guide to its meaning, and this meaning equals what would be understood
from the eternal Speech which subsists in the essence of God. So meditate
this distinction, for many have erred in it. And both the Glorious
Expressions and the eternal quality are called Qur’an and the Word
(_kalam_) of God. But the Glorious Expressions are created and written
on the Preserved Tablet (_al-lawh-al-mahfuz_); Jibril brought them down
[_i.e._, revealed them] to the Prophet after that they had been brought
down in the Night of Decree (_laylatu-l-qadr_; Qur. 97, 1) to the Mighty
House (_baytu-l-izza_), a place in the Heaven nearest to the earth;
it was written in books (_sahifas_) and placed in the Mighty House.
It is said that it was brought down to the Mighty House all at once
and then brought down to the Prophet in twenty years, and some say, in
twenty-five. And it is also said that it was brought down to the Mighty
House only to the amount that was to be revealed each year and not all at

And that which was brought down to the Prophet was expression and
meaning. And it is said also that only the meaning was brought down to
him. There is a conflict of opinion on this; some say that the Prophet
clothed the meaning with expressions of his own, and others, that he
who so clothed the meaning, was Jibril. But the truth is that it was
sent down in expressions and meaning. In short, the quality subsisting
in the essence of God is not a letter nor a sound. And the Mu‘tazilites
called in doubt the existence of a kind of Speech without letters. But
the People of the Sunna answered that because thoughts in the mind
(_hadith an-nafs_), a kind of speech with which an individual speaks
to himself, are without letter or sound, there exists a kind of speech
without letters or words. By this the People of the Sunna do not wish
to institute a comparison between the Speech of God and thoughts in the
mind; for the Speech of God is eternal and thoughts in the mind are
originated. They wished to disprove the contention of the Mu‘tazilites
when they urged that speech cannot exist without letter or sound.

The proof of the necessity of Speech in God is His saying (Qur. 4, 162);
“and God spoke to Moses.” So He has established Speech for Himself. And
Speech connects with that with which Knowledge connects, of necessary and
possible and impossible. But the connection of Knowledge with these is a
connection of revealing, in the sense that they are revealed to God by
His Knowledge; and the connection of Speech with them is a connection of
proof, in the sense that if the veil were taken away from us and we heard
the eternal Speech we would understand these things from it.

The fourteenth Quality subsisting in God is Being Powerful (_kawn
qadir_). It is a Quality subsisting in His essence, not an entity
and not a non-entity. It is not Power, but between it and Power is a
reciprocal inseparability. When Power exists in an essence, the quality
called “Being Powerful” exists in that essence, equally whether that
essence is eternal or originated. So, God creates in the essence of
Zayd Power actual, and He creates also in it the quality called Zayd’s
Being Powerful. This quality is called a state (_hal_) and Power is a
cause (_illa_) in it in the case of created things. But in the case of
God, Power is not said to be a cause in His Being Powerful; it is only
said that between Power and God’s Being Powerful there is a reciprocal
inseparability. The Mu‘tazilites hold also the reciprocal inseparability
between the Power of an originated being and its Being Powerful. But they
do not say that the second quality is by the creation of God, only that
when God creates Power in an originated being, there proceeds from the
Power a quality called Being Powerful, without creation.

The Fifteenth Quality necessary in God is Being a Willer (_kawn murid_).
It is a quality subsisting in His essence, not an entity and not a
non-entity. It is called a state (_hal_) and it is not Will, equally
whether the essence is eternal or created. So, God creates in the essence
of Zayd Will actual, and He creates in it the quality called Zayd’s Being
a Willer. And what is said above, about the disagreement between the
Mu‘tazilites and the People of the Sunna on Being Powerful, applies also
to Being a Willer.

[The same thing applies exactly to Qualities Sixteen, Seventeen,
Eighteen, Nineteen and Twenty,—Being a Knower (_alim_), a Living One
(_hayy_), a Hearer (_sami_), a Seer (_basir_), a Speaker (_mutakallim_).]

NOTICE. The Qualities, Power, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Seeing,
Speech, which have preceded, are called, “Qualities consisting of
ideas” (_sifat al-ma‘ani_, thought-qualities as opposed to active
qualities; see below); on account of the connection of the general
with the particular (_idafatu-l-amm lil-khass_), or the explanatory
connection (_al-idafatu-l-bayaniya_). And those which follow these,
God’s Being Powerful, etc., are called “Qualities _derived_ from ideas”
(_sifat ma‘nawiya_), by way of derivation (_nisba_) from the “Qualities
consisting of ideas,” because they are inseparable from them in a thing
eternal and proceed from them in a thing originated, according to what
has preceded.

And the Mataridites added to the “Qualities consisting of Ideas,” an
Eighth Quality and called it, Making to Be (_takwin_). It is a quality
and an entity like the rest of the “Qualities consisting of Ideas”; if
the veil were removed from us we would see it, just as we would see
the other “Qualities consisting of Ideas” if the veil were removed
from us. But the Ash‘arites opposed them and urged that there was no
advantage in having a quality, Making to Be, besides Power, because the
Mataridites said that God brought into existence and out of existence by
the quality of Making to Be. Then these replied that Power prepared the
possibility for existence, that is, made it ready to receive existence
after it had not been ready; that thereafter Making to Be brought it
into existence actually. The Ash‘arites replied that the possible was
ready for existence without anything further. And on account of their
having added this quality, they said that the active qualities (_sifat
al-af‘al_), such as Creating (_khalq_), Bringing to Life (_ihya_),
Sustaining (_razq_), Bringing to Death (_imata_), were eternal, because
these expressions are names of the quality Making to Be, which is a
quality and an entity, according to them. But it is eternal; therefore
these active qualities are eternal. But according to the Ash‘arites,
the active qualities are originated, because they are only names of the
connections of Power. So Bringing to Life is a name for the connection
of Power with Life, and Sustaining is a name for the connection of
Power with the creature to be sustained, and Creating is a name for its
connection with the thing to be created, and Bringing to Death, a name
for its connection with death. And the connections of Power, according to
them, are originated.

And among the Fifty Articles are twenty which express the opposites of
the twenty above. They are Non-existence, the opposite to Existence.

The Second, Origin (_huduth_), is the opposite of Priority.

The Third, Transitoriness (_fana_), is the opposite of Continuance.

The Fourth, Resemblance (_mumathala_), is the opposite of Difference. It
is impossible that God should resemble originated things in any of those
things with which they are described; time has no effect upon Him and He
has not a place or movement or rest; and He is not described with colors
or with a direction; it is not said with regard to Him that He is above
such a body, or on the right of such a body. And He has no direction
from Him. So it is not said, “I am under God.” And the saying of the
commonalty, “I am under our Lord,” and “My Lord is over me,” is to be
disapproved. Unbelief is to be feared on the part of him who holds the
use of it to be an article of his faith.

The Fifth is having need of a _locus_ (_ihtiyaj ila mahall_), that
is, an essence in which He may subsist, or a Specifier, that is a
bringer-into-existence. This is the opposite of Self-subsistence.

The Sixth is Multiplicity (_ta‘addud_), in the sense of combination in
the essence or the qualities, or the existence of a being similar in
essence or qualities or acts. This is the opposite of Unity.

The Seventh is Weakness (_ajz_) and it is the opposite of Power. So,
being unequal to any possibility is impossible in God.

The Eighth is Unwillingness (_karaha_, lit. dislike). It is the opposite
of Will, and it is impossible in God that He should bring into existence
anything of the world, along with Unwillingness toward it, that is, lack
of Will. Entities are possibilities which God brought into existence by
His Will and Choice (_ikhtiyar_). And it is derived from the necessity
of Will in God, that the existence of created things is not through
causation (_ta‘lil_), or by way of nature (_tab_). And the difference
between the two is that the entity which exists through causation is
whatever exists whenever its cause exists, without dependence on another
thing. The movement of the finger is the cause of the movement of the
ring; when the one exists, the second exists, without dependence on
anything else. And the entity which exists, by way of nature, depends
upon a condition and upon the nullifying of a hindrance. So, fire does
not burn except on the condition of contact with wood and the nullifying
of moistness which is the hindrance of its burning. For fire burns by its
nature according to those who hold the doctrine of nature—Whom may God
curse!—But the truth is, that God creates the being burned in the wood
when it is in contact with the fire, just as He creates the movement of
the ring when movement of the finger exists. And there is no such thing
as existence through causation or nature. So it is an impossibility in
God that there should be a cause in the world which proceeds from Him
without His choice, or that there should be a course of nature and that
the world should exist thereby.

The Ninth is Ignorance (_jahl_). Ignorance of any possible thing is
impossible in God, equally whether it is simple, that is, lack of
knowledge of a thing; or compound, that is, perception of a thing as
different from what it really is. And Inattention (_ghafala_) and Neglect
(_dhuhul_) are impossible in God. This is the opposite of Knowledge.

The Tenth is Death (_mawt_). It is the opposite of Life.

The Eleventh is Deafness (_samam_). It is the opposite of Hearing.

The Twelfth is Blindness (_ama_). It is the opposite of Seeing.

The Thirteenth is Dumbness (_kharas_). In it is the idea of Silence
(_bakam_) and it is the opposite of Speech.

The Fourteenth is God’s Being Weak (_kawn ajiz_). It is the opposite of
His Being Powerful.

The Fifteenth is His Being an Unwilling One (_kawn karih_). It is the
opposite of His Being a Willer.

The Sixteenth is His Being an Ignorant One (_kawn jahil_). It is the
opposite of His Being a Knower.

The Seventeenth is His Being a Dead One (_kawn mayyit_). It is the
opposite of His Being a Living One.

The Eighteenth is His Being Deaf (_asamm_). It is the opposite of His
Being a Hearer.

The Nineteenth is His Being Blind (_a‘ma_). It is the opposite of His
Being a Seer.

The Twentieth is His Being Silent (_abkam_). In it is the idea of
Dumbness (_kharas_) and it is the opposite of His Being a Speaker.

All these twenty are impossible in God. And know that the proof of each
one of the twenty qualities necessary in God establishes the existence
of that quality in Him and denies to Him its opposite. And the proofs of
the seven thought-qualities are proofs of the seven derived from these.
Thus, there are Forty Articles; twenty of them are necessary in God;
twenty are denied in Him; and there are twenty general proofs, each proof
establishing a quality and annulling its opposite.

NOTICE. Some say that things are four, entities, non-entities, states
and relations (_i‘tibarat_). The entities are like the essence of Zayd
which we see; the non-entities are like your child before it is created;
the states are like Being Powerful; and so, too, the relations, like the
establishing of standing in Zayd. This—I mean that things are four—is the
view which as-Sanusi follows in his _Sughra_, for he asserts in it the
existence of states and makes the necessary qualities to be twenty. But
elsewhere, he follows the opinion which denies states, and that is the
right view.

According to that view, the Qualities are thirteen in number, because
the seven derived qualities—God’s Being Powerful, etc., drop out.
God has no quality called Being Powerful, because the right view is
denial that states are things. According to this, then, things are
three:—entities, non-entities and relations. Then when the seven derived
qualities drop out from the twenty necessary qualities, seven drop also
from the opposites, and there is no quality called, Being Weak, etc.,
and there is no need to number these among the impossibilities. So, the
impossibilities are thirteen also; at least, if existence is reckoned as
a quality. That it should be is the opinion of all except al-Ash‘ari.
But the opinion of al-Ash‘ari was that Existence is the self (_ayn_) of
an entity. So, the existence of God is the self of His essence and not
a quality. The necessary qualities, on that view, are twelve. Priority
and Continuance and Difference and Self-subsistence—expressed also as
Absolute Independence—and Unity and Power and Will and Knowledge and Life
and Hearing and Seeing and Speech; and the derived qualities drop out,
because their existence is based upon the view that there are things
called states; but the right view is the opposite.

And if you wish to instruct the commonalty in the qualities of God, then
state them as names (_asma_) derived from the qualities just mentioned.
So it is said that God is an Entity. Prior, Different from originated
things, Independent of everything, One, Powerful, a Willer, a Knower,
Living, a Hearer, a Seer, a Speaker. And they should know their opposites.

And know that some of the Shaykhs distinguish between states and
relationships and say of both that they are not entities and also not
non-entities. But each has a reality in itself, except that a state has
a connection with and a subsistence in an essence, and a relation has no
connection with an essence. And it is said that a relation has a reality
outside of the mind. But to this it is opposed that a relation is a
quality, and if it has no connection with an essence and has a reality
outside of the mind, where is the thing qualified by it? A quality does
not subsist in itself, but must needs have a thing which it qualifies.
So the truth is that relations have no reality except in the mind. And
they are of two kinds; the invented relation (_i‘tibara ikhtira‘i_), it
is that which has no ground in existence, as your making a generous man
niggardly; and second, the apprehended relation (_intiza‘i_, claiming),
it is that which has ground outside of your mind, as asserting the
subsistence of Zayd, for that may be claimed from your saying, “Zayd
subsists”; so the describing of Zayd as subsisting is existent outside of
your mind.

The forty-first Article is Possibility in the case of God. It is
incumbent upon every _mukallaf_ that he should believe that it is
possible for God to create good and evil, to create Islam in Zayd and
unbelief in Amr, knowledge in one of them and ignorance in the other.
And another of the things, belief in which is incumbent upon every
_mukallaf_, is that the good and the bad of things is by Destiny (_qada_)
and Decree (_qadar_). And there is a difference of opinion as to the
meaning of destiny and decree. It is said that destiny is the will of God
and the eternal (_azali_) connection of that will; and decree is God’s
bringing into existence the thing in agreement with the will. So the Will
of God which is connected eternally with your becoming a learned man or
a Sultan is destiny; and the bringing knowledge into existence in you,
after your existence, or the Sultanship, in agreement with the Will, is
decree. And it is said that destiny is God’s eternal knowledge and its
connection with the thing known; and decree is God’s bringing things into
existence in agreement with His knowledge. So, God’s knowing that which
is connected eternally with a person’s becoming a learned man after he
enters existence is destiny, and the bringing knowledge into existence
in that man after he enters existence is decree. And according to each
of these two views, destiny is prior (_qadim_), because it is one of the
qualities of God, whether Will or Knowledge; and decree is originated,
because it is bringing into existence, and bringing into existence is one
of the connections of Power, and the connections of Power are originated.

And the proof that possible things are possible in the case of God is
that there is general agreement on their possibility. If the doing of any
possible thing were incumbent upon God, the possible would be turned into
a necessary thing. And if the doing of a possible thing were hindered
from Him, the possible would be turned into an impossible. But the
turning of the possible into a necessary or an impossible is false. By
this, you may know that there is nothing incumbent upon God, against the
doctrine of the Mu‘tazilites, who say that it is incumbent upon God to do
that which is best (_salah_) for the creature. So, it would be incumbent
upon Him that He should sustain the creature, but this is falsehood
against Him and a lie from which He is far removed. He creates faith in
Zayd, for example, and gives him knowledge out of His free grace, without
there being any necessity upon Him. And one of the arguments which may
be brought against the Mu‘tazilites is that afflictions come upon little
children, such as ailments and diseases. And in this there is not that
which is best for them. So, if doing that which is best is incumbent upon
Him, why do afflictions descend upon little children? For they say that
God could not abandon that which is incumbent upon Him, for abandoning
it would be defect, and God is far removed from defect, by Agreement.
And God’s rewarding the obedient is a grace from Him, and His punishing
the rebellious is justice from Him. For obedience does not advantage
Him, nor rebellion injure Him; He is the Advantager and the Injurer. And
these acts of obedience or rebellion are only signs of God’s rewarding or
punishing those described by them. Then him whom He wills to draw near to
Himself, He helps to obedience: and in him whose abandoning and rejection
He wills, He creates rebellion. And all acts of good and bad are by the
creation of God, for He creates the creature and that which the creature
does, as He has said (Qur. 37, 94), “and God hath created you and that
which ye do.”

And the belief is also incumbent that God may be seen in the Other World
by believers, for He has joined the seeing (_ru’ya_) of Him with the
standing fast of the mountain in His saying (Qur. 7, 139), “And if it
standeth fast in its place, thou wilt see Me.” And the standing fast
of the mountain was possible: then, that which is connected with it of
seeing must also have been possible; because what is connected with the
possible is possible. But our seeing God must be without inquiring how
(_bila kayfa_); it is not like our seeing one another. God is not seen in
a direction, nor in a color, nor in a body; He is far removed from that.
And the Mu‘tazilites—may God make them vile!—deny the seeing of God. That
is one of their perverse and false articles of belief. And another of
their corrupt articles is their saying that the creature creates his own
actions. For this, they are called Qadarites, because they say that the
actions of the creature are by his own _qudra_ (power), just as the sect
which holds that the creature is forced to the action he does, is called
Jabrite, derived from their holding a being forced (_jabr_) on the part
of the creature, and a being compelled. It, too, is a perverse article.
And the truth is that the creature does not create his own actions and
is not forced, but that God creates the actions which issue from the
creature, along with the creature’s having a free choice (_ikhtiyar_)
in them. As-Sa‘d [Sa‘d ad-Din at-Taftazani, see above] said, in his
commentary on the _Articles_, “It is not possible to render this free
choice by any expression, but the creature finds a difference between the
movement of his hand when he moves it himself and when the wind moves it
against his will.”

And to that which is possible in God belongs also the sending of a number
of Apostles (_rasuls_). And God’s sending them is by His grace, and by
way of necessity, as has preceded.

And it is necessary to confess that the most excellent of created beings,
absolutely, is our Prophet [Muhammad], and there follow him in excellency
the rest of the Endowed with Earnestness and Patience (_ulu-l-azm_; see
Qur. 46, 34); they are our Lord Ibrahim, our Lord Musa, our Lord Isa, and
our Lord Nuh; and this is their order in excellency. And that they are
five along with our Prophet, and four after him is the correct view. And
it is said, too, that the Endowed with Earnestness and Patience are more
numerous. And there follow them in excellency the rest of the Apostles.
Then, the rest of the Prophets (_nabis_), then the Angels.

And it is necessary to confess that God has aided them with miracles
(_mu‘jizat_) and that He has distinguished our Prophet in that he is the
seal of the Apostles, and that his law (_shar_) will not be abrogated
till time is fulfilled. And Isa, after his descent, will judge according
to the law of our Prophet. It is said that he will take it from the
Qur’an and the Sunna. It is said also that he will go to the Glorious
Tomb [of Muhammad] and learn from him. And know that he will abrogate one
part of the law of our Prophet with a later part, just as the waiting
period of a woman after the death of her husband was changed from a year
to four months and ten days. And in this there is no defect.

And it is necessary also that every _mukallaf_, male and female, should
know in detail the Apostles who are mentioned in the Qur’an, and should
believe in them in detail. As for the other Prophets, belief is necessary
in them as a whole. As-Sa‘d handed down an authority in his commentary on
the _Maqasid_ that belief in all the Prophets as a whole suffices, but he
was not followed.

And someone put them into verse as follows:

    “There is imposed upon every _mukallaf_ a knowledge
    Of Prophets in detail, who have been named
    In that document of ours [_i.e._, the Qur’an]. Of them are eight
    After ten [_i.e._, eighteen]. And there remain seven who are
    Idris, Hud, Shu‘ayb, Salih, and similarly,
    Dhu-l-Kifl, Adam, with the Chosen One [Muhammad] they close.”

And it is necessary to confess that the Companions (_sahibs_) of the
Prophet are the most excellent of the generations. Then their followers
(_tabi‘s_); then the followers of their followers. And the most excellent
of the Companions is Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman, then Ali—in
this order. But al-Alqami said that our Lady Fatima and her brother,
our Lord Ibrahim, were absolutely more excellent than the Companions,
including the Four [Khalifas]. And our Lord Malik [ibn Anas] was wont to
say, “There is none more excellent than the children of the Prophet.”
This is that the confession of which is incumbent; and we will meet God
confessing it, if it is His Will.

And of that the confession of which is also necessary, is that the
Prophet was born in Mecca and died in al-Madina. It is incumbent on
fathers that they teach that to their children. Al-Ajhuri said, “It is
incumbent on the individual that he know the genealogy of the Prophet on
his father’s side and on his mother’s.” A statement of it will come in
our Conclusion, if God will. The learned have said, “Every individual
ought to know the number of the children of the Prophet and the order in
which they were born, for an individual ought to know his Lords, and
they are the Lords of the People.” But they do not explain, in what I
have seen, whether that is required (_mawjub_) or desired (_mandub_);
the analogy (_qiyas_) of things similar to it would say it was required.
His children were seven, three male and four female, according to the
right view. Their order of birth was: al-Qasim, he was the first of his
children, then Zaynab, then Ruqayya, then Fatima, then Umm Kulthum, then
Abd Allah, he had the to-names (_laqab_) at-Tayyib and at-Tahir, which
are to-names of Abd Allah, not names of two other different persons.
These were all children of our Lady Khadija. And the seventh was our Lord
Ibrahim, born of Mariya, the Copt. So it stands. Let us now return to the
conclusion of the Articles.

The Forty-second is the Veracity (_sidq_) of the Apostles in all their

The Forty-third is their trustworthiness (_amana_), that is, their being
preserved (_isma_) from falling into things forbidden (_muharram_) or
disliked (_makruh_).

The Forty-fourth is their Conveying (_tabligh_) to the creatures that
which they were commanded to convey. The Forty-fifth is intelligence
(_fatana_). These four things are necessary in the Apostles in the
sense that the lack of them is unthinkable. And Faith depends on the
knowledge of these, according to the controversy between as-Sanusi and
his opponents.

The opposites of these four are impossible in the Apostles, that is,
Lying (_kidhb_), Unfaithfulness (_khiyana_) in a thing forbidden or
disliked, Concealment (_kitman_) of a thing they have been commanded to
convey, and Stupidity (_balada_). These four are impossible in them, in
the sense that the existence of them is unthinkable. And Faith depends
upon the knowledge of these, as has preceded.

These are Nine and Forty Articles and the Fiftieth is the possibility of
the occurrence of such fleshly accidents in them as do not lead to defect
in their lofty rank.

And the proof of the existence of Veracity in them is that if they were
to lie, then information from God would be a lie, for He has guaranteed
the claim of the Apostles by the manifestation of miracles at their
hands. For the miracle is revealed in place of an utterance from God, “My
servant is truthful in all that he brings from Me.” That is, whenever an
Apostle comes to his people and says, “I am an Apostle to you from God,”
and they say to him, “What is the proof of your apostolate?” then he
shall say, “The splitting of this mountain,” for example. And when they
say to him, “Bring what you say,” God will split that mountain at their
saying, as a guarantee of the claim of the Apostle to the apostolate. So,
God’s splitting the mountain is sent down in place of an utterance from
God, “My servant is truthful in all which he brings to you from Me.” And
if the Apostle were lying, this information would be lying. But lying is
impossible in the case of God, so lying on the part of the Apostles is
impossible. And whenever lying is denied in them, Veracity is established.

And as for the proof of the Trustworthiness, that is, their being
preserved internally and externally from forbidden and disliked things;
if they were unfaithful in committing such things, we would be commanded
to do the like. But it is impossible that we could be commanded to do
a forbidden or disliked thing, “for God does not command a vile thing”
(Qur. 7, 27). And it is evident that they did nothing except obedience,
whether required or desired, and “permitted” (_mubah_) things entered
among their actions only to show, whenever they did a “permitted” thing,
that it was allowable (_ja’iz_).

And as for the proof of Intelligence, if it were failing in them, how
would they be able to establish an argument against an adversary? But
the Qur’an indicates in more than one place, that they must establish
arguments against adversaries. And such establishing of arguments is only
possible with intelligence.

And the proof that fleshly accidents do befall them is that they do not
cease to ascend in their lofty rank; for the occurrence of such accidents
is in them for increase in their lofty rank, for example, and that others
may be consoled, and that the thoughtful may know that the world is not
a place of recompense for the lovers of God; since if it were, why should
aught of the defilements of the world befall the Apostles? The Blessing
of God be upon them and upon their Mighty Head, our Lord Muhammad, and
upon his family and Companions and descendants, all!

The Fifty Articles are completed with their Glorious Proofs.

Let us mention to you now somewhat of that which must be held of the
things whose proofs are authority (_sam‘i_): Know that it must be
believed that our Prophet has a Tank (_hawd_); and ignorance as to
whether it is on one side or the other of the Bridge (_as-sirat_) does
not hurt. On the Day of Resurrection (_yawm al-qiyama_) the creatures
will go down to drink of it. It is different from _al-Kawthar_, which is
a River in the Garden.

And it must also be believed that he will make intercession (_shafa‘a_)
on the Day of Resurrection in the midst of the Judgment, when we shall
stand and long to depart, even though it be into the Fire. Then he shall
intercede that they may depart from the Station (_mawqif_); and this
intercession belongs to him only.

And it must also be believed that falling into great sins (_kabiras_),
other than Unbelief (_kufr_), does not involve Unbelief, but repentance
(_tawba_) from the sin is necessary at once; and if the sin be a small
one (_saghira_) repentance is necessary to him who is liable to fall into
it. And repentance is not injured by returning to sin; but for the new
sin a new repentance is necessary.

And it is incumbent upon the individual that he set aside arrogance
(_kibr_) and jealousy (_hasad_) and slander (_ghiba_) on account of what
the Prophet has said, “The gates of the Heavens have curtains which
reject the works of the people of arrogance, jealousy and slander.” That
is, they prevent them from rising, and so they are not received. Jealousy
is a desiring that the well-being of another should pass away, equally
whether it is desired that it should come to the jealous one or not.
And arrogance is considering the truth to be falsehood and rejecting it,
and despising God’s creation. And it is incumbent also upon him that he
should not spread malicious slanders among the people, for a tradition
has come down, “A slanderer (_qattat_) shall not enter the Garden.” And
jealousy is forbidden, as is said above, when the well-being does not
lead its possessor to transgression, and if it does, then desire that the
well-being should pass away is allowable.

It is necessary also to hold that some of those who commit great sins
will be punished, though it is only one of them.

CONCLUSION. Faith (_iman_), in the usage of the language, is
acknowledgment that something is true (_tasdiq_), in general. In that way
it is used by God, when he reports the words of the sons of Ya‘qub (Qur.
12, 17). “But thou dost not believe us [art not a believer (_mu’min_)
in us].” Legally, it is belief in all that the Prophet has brought.
But there is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of belief, when
used in this way. Some say that it means knowledge (_ma‘rifa_) and that
everyone who knows what the Prophet has brought is a believer (_mu’min_).
But this interpretation is opposed by the fact that the unbeliever
(_kafir_) knows, but is not a believer. Nor does this interpretation
agree with the common saying, that the _muqallad_ is a believer, although
he does not know. And the right view as to the interpretation of belief
is that it is a mental utterance (_hadith an-nafs_) following conviction,
equally whether it is conviction on account of proof, which is called
knowledge, or on account of acceptance on authority (_taqlid_). This
excludes the unbeliever because he does not possess the mental utterance,
the idea of which is that you say, “I am well pleased with what the
Prophet has brought.” The mind of the unbeliever does not say this.
And it includes the _muqallad_; for he possesses the mental utterance
following conviction, though the conviction is not based on a proof.

And of that which must be believed is the genealogy of the Prophet, both
on his father’s side and on his mother’s. On his father’s side he is our
Lord, Muhammad, son of Abd Allah, son of Abd al-Muttalib, son of Hashim,
son of Abd Manaf, son of Qusay, son of Kilab, son of Murra, son of Ka‘b,
son of Lu’ay, or Luway, son of Ghalib, son of Fihr, son of Malik, son of
Nadr, son of Kinana, son of Khuzayma, son of Mudrika, son of Alyas, son
of Mudar, son of Nizar, son of Ma‘add, son of Adnan. And the Agreement
(_ijma_) unites upon this genealogy up to Adnan. But after him to Adam
there is no sure path in that which has been handed down. And as to his
genealogy on his mother’s side, she is Amina, daughter of Wahb, son of
Abd Manaf, son of Zuhra—this Abd Manaf is not the same as his ancestor on
the other line—son of Kilab, who is already one of his ancestors. So the
two lines of descent join in Kilab.

And it is necessary also to know that he was of mixed white and red
complexion, according to what some of them have said.

This is the last of that which God has made easy by His grace. His
Blessing be upon our Lord Muhammad and upon his family and his Companions
and his descendants, so so long as the mindful are mindful of him and the
heedless are heedless of the thought of him. And Praise belongeth unto
God, the Lord of the Worlds.



_Book I. Of Ceremonial Purity (Tahara)_

1. The water which may be used for ceremonial ablutions.

2. Legal materials for utensils; what can be purified and what cannot.

3. The use of the toothpick.

4. Description of the different stages of a ceremonial ablution (_wudu_).

5. On cleansing from excrement and its ritual generally.

6. The five things which require a fresh _wudu_.

7. The six things which require a complete ablution of the whole body
(_ghusl_) and its ritual.

8. The seventeen occasions on which a _ghusl_ is prescribed.

9. When it is allowable to wash the inner shoes (_khuffs_) instead of the

10. The conditions and ritual for the use of sand (_tayammum_) instead of

11. On uncleannesses (_najasat_) and how and how far they can be removed.

12. On ailments of women; duration of pregnancy and their conditions.

_Book II. Of Prayer_

1. The times of prayer (_salat_).

2. Upon whom prayer is incumbent, and

3. On what occasions.

4. The antecedent requirements of prayer.

5. The eighteen essential parts of prayer.

6. The four things in which the prayer of a woman differs from that of a

7. The eleven things which nullify prayer.

8. A reckoning of the occurrences of certain frequently repeated elements
in prayer.

9. On omissions in prayer.

10. The five occasions on which prayer is not allowable.

11. The duty and ritual of congregational prayer.

12. The prayer of a traveller.

13. The conditions under which congregational prayer is required and
those under which it is lawful.

14. The requirements in congregational prayer.

15. The prayers of the Two Festivals and their ritual.

16. The prayers on occasion of an eclipse.

17. Prayer for rain.

18. Prayer in presence of the enemy.

19. What is forbidden of clothing.

20. The ritual of the dead.

_Book III. Of Rates for the Poor, etc._

1. The condition of the rate (_zakat_) and of the rate-payer; what it is
levied on and consists of.

2. On camels.

3. On cattle.

4. On sheep.

5. How it affects partners.

6. On gold and silver.

7. On grain-stuff.

8. On merchandise.

9. The conditions and nature of the rate to be paid at the end of the

10. Uses to which the rate may be applied.

_Book IV. Of the Fast_

1. The conditions for the fast (_siyam_); its description; what breaks it.

2. What is meritorious in fasting; when and for whom it is forbidden; how
breaking the fast must be expiated.

3. The conditions and nature of religious retreat (_i‘tikaf_).

_Book V. Of the Pilgrimage_

1. The conditions of pilgrimaging (_hajj_); its essentials and other

2. The ten things forbidden on pilgrimage.

3. The five sacrifices of the pilgrimage.

_Book VI. Of Barter and Other Business Transactions_

1. Conditions and kinds of barter (_bay_); what may be bartered and what

2. Description and conditions of the bargain with payment in advance

3. Of pledging (_rahn_).

4. Of those who are not to be permitted to administer their own property
(_hajar as-safih_).

5. Of bankruptcy and composition and common rights in a highway (_sulh_).

6. The conditions for the transfer of debts and credits (_hawala_).

7. Of security for debts (_daman_).

8. Of personal security for debts (_kafala_).

9. Of partnership (_shirka_).

10. Of agency (_wakala_).

11. Of confession (_iqrar_).

12. Of loans (_i‘ara_).

13. Of illegal seizure and use of property; indemnity for it and its
damage (_ghasb_).

14. Of right of pre-emption (_shuf‘a_).

15. The conditions of advancing capital with participation in the profits

16. Of the letting of date-palms and vines (_musaqat_).

17. Of hiring a thing out (_ijara_).

18. Of reward for return of a thing lost (_ja‘ala_).

19. That land may not be let for a fixed amount of its produce

20. Of irrigation of waste lands (_ihya al-mawat_).

21. Of foundations in mortmain (_waqf_).

22. Of gifts (_hiba_).

23. Of found property (_luqta_).

24. Of foundlings (_laqit_).

25. Of deposits (_wadi‘a_).

_Book VII. Of Inheritance and Wills_

1. Of legal heirs (_warith_).

2. The conditions and proportions of inheritance (_farida_).

3. Of legacies (_wasiya_).

_Book VIII. Of Marriage and Related Subjects_

1. The conditions of marriage (_nikah_). What women a man may see and to
what extent.

2. The form of a legal marriage.

3. The conditions of asking (_khitba_) and giving in marriage; whom a man
may not marry; conditions for nullity of marriage.

4. The settlement (_mahr_) on a wife by her husband.

5. On the wedding feast (_walima_).

6. On the equality of the rights of the wives and the authority of the

7. On divorce for incompatibility (_khul_).

8. The forms of divorce (_talaq_).

9. On taking a wife back and the threefold divorce.

10. The oath not to cohabit (_ila_).

11. The temporary separation by the formula, _zihar_ Qur. 58.

12. The form of accusation of adultery and the defence (_li‘an_).

13. The period during which a previously married woman cannot remarry

14. Of relations with female slaves.

15. The support and behavior of a woman, divorced or a widow; mourning.

16. Law of relationship through suckling (_irda_).

17. The support (_nafaqa_) due to a wife.

18. The support due to children and parents, slaves and domestic animals.

19. Of the custody of children (_hidana_).

_Book IX. Of Crimes of Violence to the Person (jinaya)_

1. On murder, homicide and chance medley.

2. The _lex talionis_ (_qisas_) for murder, and

3. For wounds and mutilations.

4. The blood-wit (_diya_).

5. Use of weak evidence in case of murder.

6. Personal penance for homicide.

_Book X. Of Restrictive Ordinances of God (hadd)_

1. Of fornication (_zina_) of one who has been or is married (_muhsan_),
and of one who has not been or is not married.

2. Of accusing of fornication.

3. Of drinking wine or any intoxicating drink.

4. Of theft.

5. Of highway robbery.

6. Of killing in defence.

7. Of rebelling against a just government.

8. Of apostasy.

9. Of abandoning the usage of prayer.

_Book XI. Of the Holy War (jihad)_

1. The general law of _jihad_.

2. The distribution of booty taken in the field (_ghanima_).

3. The law of the tax on unbelievers (_fay_).

4. The law of the poll-tax on unbelievers (_jizya_).

_Book XII. Of Hunting and the Slaughter of Animals_

1. How an animal may be killed in the chase or otherwise.

2. What flesh may be eaten.

3. The ritual of sacrifice (_udhiya_).

4. The ritual of sacrifice for a child (_aqiqa_).

_Book XIII. Of Racing and Shooting with the Bow_

_Book XIV. Of Oaths and Vows (yamin, nadhr)_

1. What oaths are allowable and binding; how expiated.

2. Lawful and unlawful vows.

_Book XV. Of Judgments and Evidence (qada, shahada)_

1. Of the judge (_qadi_) and court usage.

2. The division (_qasm_) of property held in common.

3. Of evidence and oaths.

4. The conditions of being a legal witness (_adil_).

5. The difference of claims (_haqq_), on the part of God, and on the part
of man, and their legal treatment.

_Book XVI. Of Manumission of Slaves_

1. General conditions of manumission (_itq_).

2. The clientship which follows (_wala_).

3. Of freeing at death (_tadbir_).

4. Of the slave buying his freedom (_kitaba_).

5. Of the slave (_umm walad_) that has borne a child to her master or to
another and of her children.








The non-Arabist will gain much insight into Muslim life and thought
by reading such translations as that of Ibn Khallikan by De Slane
(Paris-London; 1843-71), the Persian Tabari, by Zotenberg (Paris;
1867-74), Ibn Batuta by Defrémery and Sanguinetti (Paris; 1853-58),
Mas‘udi by C. Barbier de Meynard and Pavet de Courteille (Paris;
1861-77), Ibn Khaldun’s _Prolégomènes_ by De Slane (Paris; 1862-68),
ad-Dimishqi by Mehren (Copenhagen; 1874), al-Beruni’s _Chronology_ by
Sachau (London; 1879).

The translations and notes in De Sacy’s _Chrestomathie arabe_ (Paris;
1826) can also be used to advantage.

Very many valuable articles will be found scattered through the
_Zeitschrift_ of the German Oriental Society (hereafter ZDMG), the
_Journal asiatique_ (hereafter JA), the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society_ (hereafter JRAS) and the Vienna _Zeitschrift für die Kunde des
Morgenlandes_ (hereafter WZ).

It is always worth while to consult the _Encyclopædia Britannica_.

The best translations of the Qur’an into English are those by E. H.
Palmer (2 vols., Oxford; 1880) and J. M. Rodwell (London; 1871). The
first more perfectly represents the spirit and tone, and the second more
exactly the letter. The commentary added by Sale to his version and his
introduction are still useful.

The _Thousand and One Nights_ should be read in its entirety in Arabic or
in a translation by every student of Islam. English translation by Lane
(incomplete but accurate and with very valuable commentary); Burton (last
edition almost complete; 12 vols., London: 1894). Payne’s translation
is complete, as is also Burton’s privately printed edition; but, while
exceedingly readable, Payne hardly represents the tone of the original.
There is an almost complete and very cheap German version by Henning
(published by Reclam, Leipzig); Mardrus’ French version is inaccurate and
free to such an extent as to make it useless. Galland’s version is a work
of genius; but it belongs to French and not to Arabic literature.

    R. P. A. DOZY: _Essai sur l’histoire de l’islamisme._ Leyden,
    1879. A readable introduction.

    A. MÜLLER: _Der Islam im Morgen-und-Abendland._ 2 vols. Berlin,
    1885, 1887. The best general history of Islam.

    STANLEY LANE-POOLE: _The Mohammedan Dynasties; chronological
    and genealogical tables with historical introductions._
    Westminster, 1894. An indispensable book for any student of
    Muslim history.

    C. BROCKELMANN: _Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur._ 2 vols.
    Weimar, 1898, 1899. Indispensable for names, dates, and books,
    but not a history in any true sense.

    T. B. HUGHES: _A Dictionary of Islam._ London, 1896. Very full
    of information, but to be used with caution. Based on Persian
    sources largely.

    E. W. LANE: _An Account of the Manners and Customs of the
    Modern Egyptians._ First edition, London, 1836; third, 1842.
    Many others. Indispensable.

    C. M. DOUGHTY: _Travels in Arabia Deserta._ 2 vols. Cambridge,
    1888. By far the best book on nomad life in Arabia. Gives the
    fullest and clearest idea of the nature and workings of the
    Arab mind.

    J. L. BURCKHARDT: _Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys._ 2 vols.
    London, 1831.

    J. L. BURCKHARDT: _Travels in Arabia._ 2 vols. London, 1829.

    R. F. BURTON: _Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah
    and Meccah._ 2 vols. Last edition, London, 1898. On the Hajj
    and Muslim life, thought and studies generally in the middle of
    the nineteenth century. Readable and accurate to a degree.

    C. SNOUCK HURGRONJE: _Mekka._ 2 vols. and portfolio of plates.
    Haag, 1888, 1889. Is somewhat dull beside Burton, but very full
    and accurate.

    W. ROBERTSON SMITH: _Lectures on the Religion of the Semites._
    First Series. New edition, London, 1894. _Kinship and Marriage
    in Early Arabia._ Cambridge, 1885.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Muhammedanische Studien._ I, Halle a. S.,
    1889. II, 1890. Epoch-marking books; as are all Goldziher’s
    contributions to the history of Muslim civilization.

    ALFRED VON KREMER: _Geschichte der herrschenden Ideen des
    Islams._ Leipzig, 1868.

    ALFRED VON KREMER: _Culturgeschichte des Orients unter den
    Chalifen._ 2 vols. Wien, 1875-77. _Culturgeschichtliche
    Streifzüge._ Leipzig, 1873.

    EDWARD G. BROWNE: _A Year Among the Persians._ London, 1893. A
    most valuable account of modern Persian life, philosophy, and
    theology, and especially of Sufiism and Babism.

    EDWARD G. BROWNE: _A Literary History of Persia._ New York,
    1902. Really political and religious prolegomena to such a

    G. A. HERKLOTS: _Qanoon-e-Islam, or the Customs of the
    Moosulmans of India._ London, 1832.



    AUGUST MÜLLER: _Die Beherrscher der Gläubigen._ Berlin, 1882. A
    very brightly written sketch based on thorough knowledge.

    GUSTAV WEIL: _Geschichte der Chalifen._ 3 vols. Mannheim,

    SIR WILLIAM MUIR: _The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall._
    London, 1891.

    THEODOR NÖLDEKE: _Zur tendentiösen Gestaltung der Urgeschichte
    des Islams._ ZDMG, lii, pp. 16 ff. All Nöldeke’s papers on the
    early history of Islam are worthy of the most careful study.

    G. VON VLOTEN: _Zur Abbasiden Geschichte._ ZDMG, lii, pp. 213
    ff. On the early Abbasids.

    R. E. BRÜNNOW: _De Charidschiten unter den ersten Omayyaden._
    Leyden, 1884.

    EDUARD SACHAU: _Über eine Arabische Chronik aus Zanzibar._
    Mitth. a.d. Sem. f. Orient. Sprachen. Berlin, 1898. On Ibadites.

    GEORGE PERCY BADGER: _History of the Imams and Seyyids of
    Oman_, by Salîl-ibn-Razîk. London: Hakluyt Society, 1871.
    Valuable for Ibadite history, law and theology.

    M. J. DE GOEJE: _Mémoire sur les Carmathes du Bahraïn et les
    Fatimides._ Leyden, 1886.

    JOHN NICHOLSON: _An Account of the Establishment of the
    Fatemite Dynasty in Africa._ Tübingen and Bristol, 1840.

    QUATREMÈRE: _Mémoires historiques sur la dynastie des Khalifes
    Fatimites._ JA, 3, ii.

    SYLVESTRE DE SACY: _Exposé de la religion des Druzes et la vie
    du Khalife Hakem-biamr-allah._ 2 vols. Paris, 1838.

    F. WÜSTENFELD: _Geschichte der Fatimiden-Khalifen._ Göttingen,

    STANLEY LANE-POOLE: _A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages._
    New York, 1901. For the origin and founding of the Fatimid
    Dynasty, the Khalifa al-Hakim, etc.

    H. L. FLEISCHER: _Briefwechsel zwischen den Anführern der
    Wahhabiten und dem Pasha von Damaskus._ _Kleinere Schriften_,
    iii, pp. 341 ff. First published in ZDMG for year 1857.

    E. REHATSEK: _The History of the Wahhabys in Arabia and in
    India._ Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal. No. xxxviii (read
    January, 1880).

    _Turkey in Europe_, by “Odysseus.” London, 1900. The present
    situation, with its historical antecedents in European Turkey
    and the Balkans generally.

    H. O. DWIGHT: _Constantinople and its Problems._ New York, 1901.

    A. S. WHITE: _The Expansion of Egypt._ London, 1899. The
    present situation in Egypt and its historical antecedents.

    W. W. HUNTER: _Our Indian Mussulmans._ London, 1871.

    SIR LEWIS PELLY: _The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain._
    London, 1879.

    W. S. BLUNT: _The Future of Islam._ London, 1880.



    _The Mishkat_, translated by Matthews. Calcutta, 1809. (A
    collection of traditions.)

    _The Hidaya_, translated by C. Hamilton. II edition. London,

    N. B. E. BAILLIE: _A Digest of Muhammadan Law. Hanifi Code._
    London, 1865.

    The same. _Imameea Code._ London, 1869. The first volume deals
    with Sunnite, the second with Shi‘ite law.

    S. KEIJZER: _Précis de Jurisprudence Musulmane selon le rite
    Châfeite par Abu Chodja; texte arabe avec traduction et
    annotations._ Leyden, 1859. To be used with caution.

    EDUARD SACHAU: _Muhammadanisches Recht nach Schafiitischer
    Lehre._ Stuttgart & Berlin, 1897. Based largely on al-Bajuri’s
    commentary to Abu Shuja: covers rather less than half the
    material of a corpus of canon law and is the best general
    introduction to the subject.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Die Zâhiriten, ihr Lehrsystem und ihre
    Geschichte._ Leipzig, 1884.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Neue Materialien zur Litteratur des
    Ueberlieferungswesen bei den Muhammedanern._ ZDMG, I, pp. 465
    ff. Deals with Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Zur Litteratur des Ichtilâf al-madhâhib._
    ZDMG, xxxviii, pp. 669 ff. Contains a notice of ash-Sha‘rani.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Über eine Formel in der judischen
    Responsen-litteratur._ ZDMG, liii, pp. 645 ff. On _fatwas_ and

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Das Princip des Istishab in muham.
    Gesetzwissenschaft._ WZ, i, pp. 228 ff.

    EDUARD SACHAU: _Muhammedanisches Erbrecht nach der Lehre
    der Ibaditischen Araber von Zanzibar und Östafrika._
    Sitzungsberichte der kön. preuss. Akad., 1894.

    EDUARD SACHAU: _Zur ältesten Geschichte des muhammedanischen
    Rechts._ Wien. Akad., 1870.

    SNOUCK HURGRONJE: _Le droit musulman._ Revue de l’histoire des
    religions, xxxvii, pp. 1 ff, and 174 ff.

    SNOUCK HURGRONJE: _Muhammedanisches Recht nach schafiitischer
    Lehre von Eduard Sachau_; _Anzeige_, ZDMG, liii, pp. 125 ff.

    S. K. KEUN DE HOOGERWOERD: _Studien zur Einführung in das Recht
    des Islam._ Erlangen, 1901. Contains introduction and part of
    section on law of marriage. Gives a good but miscellaneous
    bibliography and is written from a Persian point of view;
    transliteration is peculiarly eccentric and Arabic scholarship
    is unsound.

    J. WELLHAUSEN: _Medina vor dem Islam. Muhammad’s
    Gemeindeordnung von Medina._ In “Skizzen und Vorarbeiten,”
    Viertes Heft. Berlin, 1889.

    HUART: _Les Zindiqs en droit musulman._ Eleventh Congress of
    Orientalists, part iii, pp. 69 ff.

    D. B. MACDONALD: _The Emancipation of Slaves under Muslim Law._
    American Monthly Review of Reviews, March, 1900.



    THEODOR HAARBRÜCKER: _Asch-Schahrastâni’s Religionsparteien
    und Philosophenschulen übersetzt und erklärt._ 2 vols. Halle,
    1850-51. The Arabic text, without which Haarbrücker’s German
    is sometimes hardly intelligible, was published by Cureton,
    London, 1846.

    T. J. DE BOER: _Geschichte der Philosophie im Islam._
    Stuttgart, 1901. Unsatisfactory but the best that there is.
    It is only a sketch and takes hardly sufficient account of
    theology and mysticism.

    STANLEY LANE-POOLE: _Studies in a Mosque._ II edition. London,
    1893. Miscellaneous essays, lightly written but trustworthy.

    KREHL: _Beiträge zur Characteristik der Lehre vom Glauben in
    Islam._ Leipzig, 1877.

    G. VON VLOTEN: _Les Hachwia et Nabita._ Eleventh Congress of
    Orientalists, part iii, pp. 99 ff. On early religious sects.

    G. VON VLOTEN: _Irdja._ ZDMG, xiv, pp. 181 ff. On the

    EDUARD SACHAU: _Über de religiosen Anschauungen der
    ibaditischen Muhammedaner in Oman und Östafrica._ Mitth. a. d.
    Sem. f. Orient. Sprachen. Berlin, 1899.

    H. STEINER: _Die Mu‘taziliten oder die Freidenker im Islam._
    Leipzig, 1865.

    WILHELM SPITTA: _Zur Geschichte Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari’s._
    Leipzig, 1876. The best as yet on al-Ash‘ari, but to be used
    with caution, especially in the translations of theological

    MARTIN SCHREINER: _Zur Geschichte des Ash‘aritenthums._ In
    Actes du huitième Congress International des Orientalistes, I,
    i, pp. 77 ff. Leiden, 1891.

    M. A. F. MEHREN: _Exposé de la réforme de l’Islamisme commencée
    au troisième siècle de l’Hégire par Abou-l-Hasan Ali el-Ash‘ari
    et continuée par son école._ Third International Congress of
    Orientalists, vol. ii.

    G. FLÜGEL: _Al-Kindi genannt “der Philosoph der Araber.” Ein
    Vorbild seiner Zeit und seines Volkes._ Leipzig, 1857.

    SIR WILLIAM MUIR: _The Apology of al-Kindy, written at the
    court of al-Mámûn._ London, 1882.

    E. SELL: _The Faith of Islam._ London, 1896. II edition.
    A valuable book, but from the point of view of an Indian
    missionary. Hence the tone is polemic and the technicalities
    are Persian rather than Arabic.

    WALTER M. PATTEN: _Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the Mihna._ Leyden,
    1897. There is a valuable review by Goldziher in ZDMG, lii, pp.
    155 ff. It traces connection of Hanbalites with Ibn Taymiya and

    HEINRICH RITTER: _Ueber unsere Kenntniss der Arabischen
    Philosophie._ Göttingen, 1844.

    FRIEDRICH DIETERICI: _Alfarabi’s philosophische Abhandlungen
    herausgegeben._ Leiden, 1890. _Aus dem arabischen übersetzt._
    Leiden, 1892.

    AL-FARABI: _Der Musterstaat. Herausgegeben und Übersetzt von
    Frdr. Dieterici._ Leiden, 1900.

    G. FLÜGEL: _Ueber Inhalt und Verfasser der arabischen
    Encyclopädie der Ikhwan as-Safa._ ZDMG, xiii, pp. 1 ff. See,
    too, an excellent article by August Müller in _Ersch und
    Gruber_, ii, 42, pp. 272 ff., and Stanley Lane-Poole in his
    _Studies in a Mosque_.

    FRIEDRICH DIETERICI: _Die Philosophie der Araber im X.
    Jahrhundert n. Chr. aus der Schriften der lauteren Brüder
    herausgegeben._ Berlin and Leipzig, 1861-1879.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Materialien zur Entwickelungs-geschichte des
    Sufismus._ WZ, xiii, pp. 35 ff.

    THEODOR NÖLDEKE: _Sufi._ ZDMG, xlviii, pp. 45 ff. On the
    derivation and early usage of the name Sufi.

    ADELBERT MERX: _Idee und Grundlinien einer allgemeinen
    Geschichte der Mystik._ Heidelberg, 1893.

    JOHN P. BROWN: _The Derwishes or Oriental Spiritualism._
    London, 1868. A valuable but uncritical description of modern
    Turkish and Persian Darwishes.

    SIR JAMES REDHOUSE: _The Mesnevi of Jelal eddin ar-rumi
    translated into English._ Book I. London, 1881. See, too, a
    translation by Whinfield, London, 1887, and an edition of
    selected ghazels from the Diwan with translation and valuable
    introduction by R. A. Nicholson, Cambridge University Press,

    E. J. W. GIBB: _A History of Ottoman Poetry._ Vol. i. London,
    1900. A valuable statement of the later Persian and Turkish
    mysticism and metaphysic on pp. 13-70.

    E. H. PALMER: _Oriental Mysticism._ Cambridge, 1867.

    CARRA DE VAUX: _Avicenne._ Paris, 1900. Contains an
    introductory sketch of philosophy and theology up to the time
    of Ibn Sina. _Algazali._ Paris, 1902. A continuation of the

    A. VON KREMER: _Über die philosophischen Gedichte des Abul Ala
    Ma‘arry._ Wien, 1888.

    A. VON KREMER: _Gedichte des Abu-l-Ala Ma‘arri._ ZDMG, xxix,
    304; xxx, 40; xxxi, pp. 471 ff.; xxxviii, 499 ff.

    ABU-L-ALA AL-MA‘ARRI: _Letters Arabic and English, with notes,
    etc., edited by D. S. Margoliouth._ Oxford, 1898. See, too,
    papers by R. A. Nicholson in JRAS, October, 1900, ff.; and by
    Margoliouth, for April, 1902.

    E. FITZGERALD: _The Ruba‘iyat of Omar Khayyam. With a
    commentary by H. M. Batson and a biographical Introduction by_

    _E. D. Ross._ New York, 1900. The biography by Ross is the
    only at all adequate treatment of the life and times of Umar
    which yet exists. Of the Ruba‘iyat themselves there are several
    adequate translations, _e.g._ by Whinfield, Payne and Mrs.

    MARTIN SCHREINER: _Zur Geschichte der Polemik zwischen Juden
    und Muhammedanern._ ZDMG, xlii, pp. 591 ff. Deals with Ibn Hazm
    and Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi.

    MARTIN SCHREINER: _Beiträge zur Geschichte der theologischen
    Bewegungen in Islam._ ZDMG, lii, pp. 463 ff.; 513 ff.; liii,
    pp. 51 ff. A most valuable collection of materials with
    considerable gaps and imperfect digestion.

    D. B. MACDONALD: _The Life of al-Ghazzali._ In the Journal of
    the American Oriental Society, vol. xx, pp. 71-132.

    D. B. MACDONALD: _Emotional Religion in Islam as affected by
    Music and Singing. Being a translation of a book of the Ihya of
    al-Ghazzali._ In JRAS for April and October, 1901, and January,

    MIGUEL ASIN PALACIOS: _Algazel, dogmatica, moral, ascetica._
    Zaragoza, 1901.

    C. BARBIER DE MEYNARD: _Traduction nouvelle du Traité de
    Ghazzali_, _intitulé_ Le Preservatif de l’Erreur. In JA, vii,
    9, pp. 5 ff.

    T. J. DE BOER: _Die Widersprüche der Philosophie nach
    al-Ghazzali und ihr Ausgleich durch Ibn Roshd._ Strassburg,

    A translation of al-Ghazzali’s _Tahafut_ has been begun by
    Carra de Vaux in _Le Muséon_, xxviii, p. 143 (June, 1899).

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Materialien zur Kenntniss der
    Almohadenbewegung in Nordafrika._ ZDMG, xli, pp. 30 ff.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Die Bekenntnissformeln der Almohaden._ ZDMG,
    xliv, pp. 168 ff.

    ROBERT FLINT: _Historical Philosophy in France and French
    Belgium and Switzerland._ New York, 1894. Contains an excellent
    estimate of Ibn Khaldun as a philosophical historian.

    A. VON KREMER: _Ibn Chaldun und seine Culturgeschichte der
    islamischen Reiche._ Wien, 1879.

    ERNEST RENAN: _Averroes et l’Averroisme._ III edition. Paris,
    1861. Reviewed by Dozy in JA, 5, ii, pp. 93 ff. This review
    contains a curious description of a Parliament of Religions at
    Baghdad about A.D. 1000.

    _Philosophie und Theologie von Averroes. Aus dem Arabischen
    übersetzt von M. J. Müller._ München, 1875. The Arabic text was
    published by Müller in 1859.

    LEON GAUTHIER: _Ibn Thofail-Hayy ben Yaqdhan, roman
    philosophique. Texte arabe ... et traduction française._ Alger,
    1900. There is an earlier edition of Ibn Tufayl’s romance by
    the younger Pocock with a Latin version. Oxford, 1671.

    M. A. F. MEHREN: _Correspondance du Philosophe Soufi Ibn Sab‘in
    Abd oul-Haqq avec l’Empereur Frédéric II. de Hohenstaufen._ In
    JA, vii, 14, pp. 341 ff.

    S. GUYARD: _Abd ar-Razzaq et son traité de la Prédestination et
    du libre arbitre._ In JA, vii, 1, pp. 125 ff.

    A. DE KREMER: _Notice sur Sha’rany._ In JA, vi, 11, pp. 253 ff.

    G. FLÜGEL: _Scha‘rani und sein Werk uber die muhammadanische
    Glaubenslehre._ ZDMG, xx, p. 1 ff.

    IGNAZ GOLDZIHER: _Beiträge zur Litteraturgeschichte der Shi‘a._
    Wien, 1874.

    JAMES L. MERRICK: _The Life and Religion of Mohammed, as
    contained in the Sheeah Traditions of the Hyat-ul-Kuloob._
    Boston, 1850.

    J. B. RÜLING: _Beiträge zur Eschatologie des Islam._ Leipzig,

    L. GAUTHIER: _Ad-dourra al-fakhira; la perle précieuse de
    Ghazali._ Genève, 1878. In Arabic and French; a valuable
    account of Muslim eschatology.

    M. WOLFF: _Muhammedanische Eschatologie._ Leipzig, 1872. In
    Arabic and German; an account of _popular_ Muslim eschatology.

    DEPONT ET CAPPOLANI: _Les Confréries religieuses Musulmanes._
    Alger, 1897.

    SNOUCK HURGRONJE: _Les Confréries religieuses, la Mecque et le
    Panislamisme_, in Revue de l’histoire des religions, xliv, pp.
    262 ff.


For typographical reasons the smooth guttural _Ha_, the palatals _Sad_,
_Dad_, _Ta_, _Za_, and the long vowels are indicated by italic. The same
system is followed in the index.



      11 M.d.; Ab_u_ Bakr Kh.

      13 ‘Umar Kh.

      14 Battle of al-Q_a_dis_i_ya; fall of Jerusalem; al-Basra
         founded; fall of Damascus.

      17 Al-K_u_fa founded; Syria and Mesopotamia conquered.

      20 Conquest of Egypt.

      21 Battle of Nah_a_wand; Persia conquered.

      23 ‘Uthm_a_n Kh.

      30 Final redaction of the Qur’_a_n.

      35 ‘Al_i_ Kh.

      36 Battle of Carmel.

      40 ‘Al_i_ d.

      41 Mu‘_a_wiya I. Kh.; Herat.

      49 Al-_H_asan d.

      56 Samarqand.

      60 Schism of Ib_ad_ites from Kh_a_rijites.

      61 Karbala & d. of al-_H_usayn.

      73 Storm of Mecca & d. of ‘Abd All_a_h b. az-Zubayr.

      74 Carthage.

      80 Ma‘bad executed.

      81 M. b. al-_H_anaf_i_ya d.

      93 Toledo.

      99-101 ‘Umar II. Kh.

     110 _H_asan al-Ba_s_r_i_ d.

     114 Charles the Hammer at Tours (A.D. 732).

     121 Zayd b. Zayn al-‘_A_bid_i_n d.

     124 Az-Zuhr_i_ d.

     127-132 Marw_a_n II. Kh.

     130 Jahm b. _S_afw_a_n killed?

     131 W_a_sil b. ‘At_a_ d.

     132 Fall of Umayyads; as-Saff_ah_ first ‘Abb_a_sid Kh.

     134 First Ib_a_dite Im_a_m.

     135 R_a_bi‘a d.

     136-158 Al-Man_su_r Kh.

     138-422 Umayyads of Cordova.

     140 Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ killed.

     143 Halley’s comet.

     144 ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayd d.?

     145 Baghd_a_d founded; ‘_A_’isha d. of Ja‘far a_s_-_Sa_diq d.

     147 Homage to al-Mahd_i_ as successor in Kh.

     148 Ja‘far a_s_-_Sa_diq d.

     150 Ab_u_ _H_an_i_fa d.; trace of _Su_f_i_ monastery in

     157 Al-Awz_a_‘_i_ d.

     158-169 Al-Mahd_i_ Kh.; John of Damascus d.?

     161 Sufy_a_n ath-Thawr_i_ d.; Ibr_a_h_i_m b. Adham d.

     165 D_a’u_d b. Nu_s_ayr d.

     167 Bashsh_a_r b. Burd killed.

     170-193 H_a_r_u_n ar-Rash_i_d Kh.

     172-375 Idr_i_sids.

     179 Malik b. Anas d.

     182 The Q_adi_ Ab_u_ Y_u_suf d.

     187 Fall of Barmecides; al-Fu_d_ayl b. ‘Iy_ad_ d.

     189 M. b. al-_H_asan d.

     198-218 Al-Ma’m_u_n Kh.

     200 Ma‘r_u_f of al-Karkh d.; trace of _Su_f_i_ monastery in

     204 Ash-Sh_a_fi‘_i_ d.

     208 Ab_u_ ‘Ubayda d.; the Lady Naf_i_sa d.

     211 Theodorus Abucara d.

     212 Decree that the Qur’_a_n is created.

     213 Thum_a_ma b. Ashras d.

     215 Ab_u_ Sulaym_a_n of Damascus d.; 2nd decree.

     218-234 The Mi_h_na; Al-Mu‘ta_s_im Kh.

     220 Ma‘mar b. ‘Abb_a_d.

     223 F_at_ima of Nays_a_b_u_r d.

     226 Ab_u_ Hudhayl M. al-‘All_a_f d.

     227 Bishr al-_Ha_f_i_ d.; al-W_a_thiq Kh.

     231 An-Na_zza_m d.

     232 Al-Mutawakkil Kh.

     234 Decree that Qur’_a_n is uncreated; Scotus Erigena transl.
         pseudo-Dionysius, A.D. 850.

     240 Ibn Ab_i_ Duw_a_d d.

     241 A_h_mad b. _H_anbal d.

     243 Al-_Ha_rith al-Mu_ha_sib_i_ d.

     245 Dh_u_-n-N_u_n d.; al-Kar_a_b_i_s_i_ d.

     250-316 ‘Alids of Zaydite branch in north Persia.

     255 Al-J_ah_i_z_ d.

     256 Ibn Karr_a_m d.

     257 Al-Bukh_a_r_i_ d.; Sar_i_ as-Saqa_ti_ d.

     260 Al-Kind_i_ d.? M. b. al-_H_asan al-Munta_z_ar vanished.

     261 Muslim d.; Ab_u_ Yaz_i_d al-Bis_ta_m_i_ d.

     270 D_a’u_d a_z_-_Za_hir_i_ d.

     273 Ibn M_a_ja d.

     275 Ab_u_ D_a’u_d as-Sijist_a_n_i_ d.

     277 Qarma_t_ians hold fortress in Arab ‘Ir_a_q.

     279 At-Tirmidh_i_ d.

     280 Zaydite Im_a_ms at as-Sa‘da and San‘_a_.

     289 ‘Ubayd All_a_h al-Mahd_i_ in North Africa.

     295-320 Al-Muqtadir ‘Abb_a_sid Kh.

     297 First F_at_imid Kh.; al-Junayd d.

     300 Return of al-Ash‘ar_i_.

     303 An-Nas_a‘i_ d.; Al-Jubb_a‘i_ d.

     309 Al-_H_all_a_j executed.

     317 Umayyads of Cordova take title of Commander of the
         Faithful; Qarma_t_ians in Mecca.

     320-447 Buwayhids; al-Ash‘ari d.?

     322 Ibn ash-Shalmagh_a_n_i_.

     331 A_t_-_T_a_ha_w_i_ d.

     333 Al-M_a_tar_i_d_i_ d.

     333-356 Sayf ad-Dawla.

     334 Buwayhids in Baghd_a_d; ash-Shibl_i_ d.

     339 Return of Black Stone by Qarma_t_ians; al-F_a_r_a_b_i_ d.

     356 F_at_imids conquer Egypt; Cairo founded.

     360 Ikhw_a_n a_s_-_S_af_a_ fl.

     362 Ibn H_a_ni d.

     381-422 Al-Q_a_dir Kh.

     386 Ab_u_ _Ta_lib al-Makk_i_ d.

     388-421 Ma_h_m_u_d of Ghazna.

     403 Al-B_a_qil_a_n_i_ d.

     408 Persecution of Mu‘tazilites under al-Q_a_dir.

     411 Al-_Ha_kim F_at_imid Kh. vanished; Firdaws_i_ d.

     428 Ibn S_i_n_a_ d.

     434 Ab_u_ Dharr d.

     440 Al-B_e_r_u_n_i_ d.

     447 _T_ughril Beg, the Saljuq, in Baghd_a_d.

     449 Ab_u_-l-‘Al_a_ al-Ma‘arr_i_ d.

     450 Persecution of Ash‘arites.

     455 Alp-Arsl_a_n; Ni_za_m al-Mulk Waz_i_r; end of persecution
         of Ash‘arites.

     456 Ibn-_H_azm a_z_-_Za_hir_i_ d.

     465 Al-Qushayr_i_ d.

     478 Im_a_m al-_H_aramayn d.

     481 N_a_sir b. Khusraw d.

     483 _H_asan b. a_s_-_S_abb_ah_ seizes Alam_u_t.

     485 Ni_za_m al-Mulk assass.

     488 Al-Ghazz_a_l_i_ leaves Baghd_a_d.

     505 Al-Ghazz_a_l_i_ d.

     515 ‘Umar al-Khayy_a_m d.

     516 Al-Baghaw_i_ d.

     524 Ibn T_u_mart al-Mahd_i_ d.

     524-558 ‘Abd al-Mu’min.

     524-667 The Muwa_hh_ids.

     533 Ab_u_ Bakr b. B_a_jja d.

     537 Ab_u_ _H_afs an-Nasaf_i_ d.

     538 Az-Zamakhshar_i_ d.

     540 Yehuda Halevi d. = A.D. 1145.

     546 Ab_u_ Bakr b. al-‘Arab_i_ d.

     548 Ash-Shahrast_a_n_i_ d.

     558 ‘Abd al-Mu’min the Muwa_hh_id d.

     558 ‘Ad_i_ al-Hakk_a_r_i_ d.

     558-580 Ab_u_ Ya‘q_u_b the Muwa_hh_id.

     561 ‘Abd al-Q_a_dir al-J_i_l_a_n_i_, founder of order of
         darw_i_shes, d.

     567 Conquest of Egypt by Saladin and end of F_at_imids.

     576 Order of Rif_a_‘ites founded.

     580 Ab_u_ Ya‘q_u_b d.

     580-596 Ab_u_ Y_u_suf al-Man_su_r.

     581 Ibn _T_ufayl d.

     587 As-Suhraward_i_ executed.

     589 Saladin d.

     590 Ab_u_ Shuj_a_‘ d.?

     595 Ibn Rushd d.; Ab_u_ Y_u_suf al-Man_su_r the Muwa_hh_id d.

     601 Maimonides d. = A.D. 1204.

     606 Fakhr ad-D_i_n ar-R_a_z_i_ d.

     620 Ab_u_-l-_H_ajj_a_j b. _T_uml_u_s d.; Fakhr ad-D_i_n b.
         ‘As_a_kir d.; St. Francis of Assisi d. = A.D. 1226.

     625-941 _H_afsids at Tunis.

     630-640 _A_r-Rash_i_d the Muwa_hh_id.

     632 ‘Umar b. al-F_a_ri_d_.

     638 Ibn ‘Arab_i_ d.

     648 Frederick II. d. = A.D. 1250.

     654 End of Assassins by Mongols; Ash-Sh_a_dhil_i_, founder of
         order of darw_i_shes, d.

     667 Ibn Sab‘_i_n d.; end of Muwa_hh_ids.

     672 Jal_a_l ad-D_i_n ar-R_u_m_i_ d.

     675 A_h_mad al-Badaw_i_, founder of order of darw_i_shes, d.

     681 Ibn Khallik_a_n d.

     685 Al-Bay_da_w_i_ d.

     693, 698-708, 709-741 Mu_h_ammad An-N_as_ir, Maml_u_k Sul_t_an,

     719 An-Na_s_r al-Manbij_i_ d.?

     724 Ibn Rushd is still studied at Almeria.

     728 Ibn Taym_i_ya d.; Meister Eckhart d. = A.D. 1328.

     730 ‘Abd ar-Razz_a_q d.

     756 Al-‘_I_j_i_ d.; Heinrich Suso d.

     791 At-Taft_aza_n_i_ d.; an-Naqshband_i_, founder of order of
         darw_i_shes, d.

     808 Ibn Khald_u_n d.

     857 Capture of Constantinople by Ottomans and office of Shaykh
         al-Isl_a_m created = A.D. 1453. Thomas à Kempis d. = A.D. 1471.

     895 M. b. Y_u_suf as-San_u_s_i_ d.

     907 Accession of _S_afawids.

     922 Conquest of Egypt by Ottoman Turks.

     945 Death of al-Mutawakkil, last ‘Abb_a_sid.

     951 Beginning of Shar_i_fs of Morocco.

     973 Ash-Sha‘r_a_n_i_ d.

    1201 ‘Abd al-Wahh_a_b d. = A.D. 1787.

    1205 Sayyid Murta_da_ d.; al-Fu_da_l_i_ fl. circ. 1220.

    1252 Foundation of Brotherhood of as-San_u_s_i_ = A.D. 1837.

    1260 Ibr_a_h_i_m al-B_a_j_u_r_i_ d.; Decree of Porte that
         apostate Muslims should not be put to death.

    1275 Death of founder of Brotherhood of as-San_u_s_i_ = A.D.


[1] For Muslim eschatology reference may still be made to Sale’s
introduction to the Qur’an, § 4. The punishment of the grave is what,
in the case of unbelievers, follows the inquisition by the two angels
_Munkar_ and _Nakir_; see on them Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_, chap.
xxviii; on the whole subject, see translations by Gautier and Wolff and
tractate by Rüling (Bibliography, p. 367).

[2] This, one of the dividing questions between Sunnites and Shi‘ites,
belongs to theology as well as law. See p. 314 and Goldziher, _Zur
Literaturgeschichte der Si‘a_, p. 87.

[3] The Mu‘tazilites held that articles of sustenance of a forbidden
nature, such as pork or wine, could not be called _rizq_ in this
technical sense; that God could not so use them. The orthodox retorted
that a man might live his life out on forbidden things; had he then been
independent of God as to his sustenance? The Mu‘tazilites defined _rizq_
as “a possession which its possessor eats” and as “that from which one is
not hindered from profiting”; the orthodox, as a name for that which God
sends to man and the other animals and they eat it and profit by it.

[4] Some will run into the fire and find themselves immediately in
Paradise; these would have been believers. Others will refuse, and will
be treated as their parents.

[5] This is not the normal doctrine of Islam and the commentators have to
explain this passage away. Consult in the chapters on theology, the whole
Sufi development and especially the views of al-Ghazzali. Al-Mataridi was
greatly influenced by Abu Hanifa, who was hostile to mystics. Notice,
too, the philosophical basis and beginning of this creed.

[6] A sect of the Mu‘tazilites held that a man could have two _ajals_,
one his end by a natural death appointed by God, the other his end by
a violent death, not so appointed. The “Philosophers” are said to have
held that one _ajal_ would be when the mechanism of the body ceased to
work through the failing of its essential moisture and heat, and another
_ajal_ might come through sicknesses and accident generally.

[7] See in bibliography, S. Keijzer, _Précis, etc_. Much help as to
details of religious ritual and law will be found in Hughes’s _Dictionary
of Islam_, Sachau’s _Muhammedanisches Recht_, Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_,
and commentary to his translation of the _Arabian Nights_, Burton’s
_Pilgrimage_, and Sell’s _Faith of Islam_.


  Abad_i_, 300

  Al-‘Abb_a_s, 10, 32

  ‘Abb_a_sids, 10, 32, 34, 39, 45, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 91, 92-94, 97,
    98, 132-135, 153, 154, 167, 169, 174

  ‘Abd, 294

  ‘Abd All_a_h, father of Mu_h_ammad, 350, f.

  ‘Abd All_a_h ibn az-Zubayr, 23, 25

  ‘Abd All_a_h ibn Maym_u_n, 40, 42-44

  ‘Abd All_a_h ibn ‘Umar, 298

  ‘Abd al-Mu’min, 248, 252

  ‘Abd al-Mu_tt_alib, 351

  ‘Abd al-Q_a_dir al-J_i_l_a_n_i_, 267

  ‘Abd ar-Ra_h_m_a_n, the Umayyad, 33

  ‘Abd ar-Razz_a_q, 271, f.

  ‘_A_bid, 173, 174

  ‘_A_bida, 174

  Abkam, 340

  Abraham, also Ibr_a_h_i_m, 43, 226, 345

  Ab_u_ ‘Abd All_a_h ibn Karr_a_m; see Ibn Karr_a_m

  Ab_u_-l-‘Al_a_ al-Ma‘arr_i_, 199

  Ab_u_ Bakr, 1st Kh., 13-16, 23, 24, 36, 56, 71, 165, 200, 250, 268, 297,
    307, 313, 346

  Ab_u_ D_a_’_u_d as-Sijist_a_n_i_, 81

  Ab_u_ Dharr, 207

  Ab_u_-l-_H_ajj_a_j ibn _T_uml_u_s, 260

  Ab_u_ _H_an_i_fa, 94-102, 106, 121, 127, 193, 309

  Ab_u_ H_a_shim, 159, f.

  Ab_u_ Hudhayl, 136-139, 159, 248

  Ab_u_ Sahl, 325

  Ab_u_ Shuj_a_‘ al-Ispah_a_n_i_, 351

  Ab_u_ Sufy_a_n, 22

  Ab_u_ Sulaym_a_n of Damascus, 175

  Ab_u_ _Ta_lib, 10

  Ab_u_ _Ta_lib al-Makk_i_, 176, f.

  Ab_u_ ‘Ubayda, 150

  Ab_u_ Ya‘q_u_b ibn ‘Abd al-Mu’min, 252-255

  Ab_u_ Y_u_suf, the Q_adi_, 96-99

  Ab_u_ Y_u_suf al-Man_su_r, 252, 255

  Active Intellect, 236, 250-253, 256, 265

  ‘_A_da, 113

  ‘Adad, 326

  _A_dam, 42, 43, 171, 232, 312, 332, 346

  ‘Adam, 316

  ‘Ad_i_ al-Hakk_a_r_i_, 267

  ‘_A_dil, 356

  ‘Adl, 291

  Africa, 59

  Africa, East, 24, 26

  Africa, North, 26, 35, 45, 46, 62, 243

  Ahl al-ahw_a_, 122, 299

  Ahl at-taw_hi_d wal-‘adl, 136

  Ahl kit_a_b, 24

  A_h_mad al-Badaw_i_, 267, 269

  A_h_mad al-Malaw_i_, 331

  A_h_mad ar-Rif_a_‘a, 267

  A_h_mad ibn ‘Abd All_a_h ibn Maym_u_n, 44

  A_h_mad ibn Ab_i_ Duw_a_d, 156

  A_h_mad ibn _H_anbal, 79, 103, 110, 157, 158, 172, 175, 176, 187, 274,
    277, 293

  ‘_A_’isha, wife of Mu_h_ammad, 10, 13, 21

  ‘_A_’isha, daughter of Ja‘far a_s_-_Sa_diq, 173

  Ajal, 298, 311

  Al-Ajh_u_r_i_, 346

  ‘Ajz, 317, 339

  Al-Akh_t_al, 89

  ‘_A_lam al-jabar_u_t, 234

  ‘_A_lam al-malak_u_t, 234, 235

  ‘_A_lam al-mulk, 234

  Alam_u_t, 49, 169, 224

  Alastu bi-rabbikum, 171

  Aleppo, 162

  Alexandria, 241

  Algeria, 24, 26, 62

  ‘Alids, 18, 32-35, 37, 51, 155, 157, 166, 187

  ‘Al_i_ ibn Ab_i_ _Ta_lib, 18-31, 36, 37, 44, 45, 88, 121, 155, 182, 249,
    259, 275, 297, 307, 313, 314, 346

  ‘_A_lim, 337;
    cf. ‘ulam_a_

  All_a_h, 127, 161, 321, 327

  Almeria, 260

  Alp Arsl_a_n, 213

  Alphonso the Wise, 233

  Al-‘Alqam_i_, 346

  A‘m_a_, 340

  ‘Am_a_, 340

  ‘Amal, 294, 296, 312

  Am_a_na, 347

  ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubayd, 129

  Am_i_na, mother of Mu_h_ammad, 351

  Anima Mundi, 232

  An_sa_r, 9, 13, 18

  ‘Aq_i_da, 316

  ‘Aq_i_qa, 356

  ‘Aql, 120, 136, 148, 157, 214, 269, 272, 292, 308, 316

  Al-’aql al-fa‘ ‘_a_l; see Active Intellect

  Arabs, 8, 14, 17, 24, 40, 44-46, 50, 51, 60, 67, 68, 74, 124, 125, 127,
    133, 134, 150, 157, 243, 305

  Arabia, 15, 23, 25, 36, 37, 131

  Arabia, South, 28, 36, 37, 45, 59

  Arab ‘Ir_a_q; see al-‘Ir_a_q

  ‘Arad, 159, 309, 320

  Ar_h_amu-r-r_ah_im_i_n, 210

  Aristotelians, Aristotelianism, 134, 140, 144, 161-163, 168, 196, 198,
    201, 202, 286

  Aristotle, 134, 138, 140, 144, 161-164, 198, 221, 232, 236, 248, 253,
    255, 256, 260, 264

  ‘Arsh, 301

  Asal, 253, 254

  A_s_amm, 340

  Al-asharatu-l-mubashshara, 268, 297, 314

  Al-Ash‘ari, 187-190, 192, 193, 200, 208, 214, 217, 218, 220, 226, 229,
    230, 293, 308, 319, 341

  Ash‘arites, 191, 201, 207-213, 241-247, 272, 273, 276, 280, 291, 292, 338

  ‘_A_sh_u_r_a_, day of, 28

  A_s_l, 107, 109

  A_s_la_h_, 190, 292, 311;
    see, too, _s_al_ah_

  Al-asm_a_ al-_h_usn_a_, 210, 280, 321, 341

  Assassins, 27, 49, 53, 59, 169, 170, 196;
    see, too, Ism_a_‘_i_lians, B_at_inites, Ta‘l_i_mites

  ‘At_a_ ibn Yass_a_r, 128

  Athos, Mount, 178

  Augustine, 132, 215, 216

  Avenpace, 250;
    see, too, Ibn B_a_jja

  Averroes, Averroism, 251;
    see, too, Ibn Rushd

  Avicenna, 197;
    see, too, Ibn S_i_n_a_

  Awl_a_d ‘Ilw_a_n, 268

  Awwal_i_y_a_t, 260

  Al-Awz_a_‘_i_, 98

  ‘Ayn, 191, 309, 319, 341

  Azal_i_, 291, 300, 309, 322, 343

  B_a_bism, 5

  Bad_a_ha, 308

  Badakhsh_a_n, 170

  Badan, 141

  Badawite darw_i_shes, 267

  Al-Baghaw_i_, 81, 207

  Baghd_a_d, 5, 50-53, 56, 111, 133, 159, 162, 166-168, 175, 184, 185,
    190, 194, 195, 207, 213, 217, 220, 226, 267

  Baghd_a_d, Pashalik of, 60

  Bakam, 340

  Bal_a_da, 347

  Balkh, 174

  Baq_a_, 323

  Al-B_a_qil_a_n_i_, 200, 201, 207

  Barmak, Barmecides, 50

  Ba_s_ar, 294, 333

  Bashsh_a_r ibn Burd, 150

  Ba_s_ir, 337

  Al-Ba_s_ra, 18, 23, 25, 83, 150, 159, 167, 174, 187, 188

  Ba‘th, 296, 311, 329

  B_at_in, 314

  B_at_inites, 42, 196

  Ba_t_n, 42

  Bay‘, 353

  Al-Bay_da_w_i_, 195, 241

  Al-Bayj_u_r_i_, 315

  Baytu-l-‘izza, 335

  Bedaw_i_s, 62

  Berbers, 45, 243, 244, 248, 249

  Al-B_e_r_u_n_i_, 170, 197

  Beyrout, 84

  Bid‘a, 74, 78, 148, 186, 297, 299, 307

  Bil_a_ kayfa wal_a_ tashb_i_h, 147, 171, 191, 208, 294, 344;
    cf. kayfa

  Bil-fi‘l; see Fi‘l

  Bishr al-_Ha_f_i_, 175, 176

  Bishr al-Mar_i_s_i_, 155

  Bishr ibn al-Mu‘tamir, 142, 143, 151, 152

  Al-Bis_ta_m_i_, Ab_u_ Yaz_i_d, 183, 188, 225, 268

  Brotherhood of as-San_u_s_i_, 61, ff.

  Buddhists, 134

  Al-Bukh_a_r_i_, 79, 80, 147, 148

  Burgundy, 83

  Burh_a_n, 259, 260

  Buwayhids, 51, 52, 167, 194, 195, 197, 208

  Cæsarea, 84

  Cairo, 49, 166, 173, 195, 241, 244, 277

  Camel, Battle of the, 21

  Carthage, 82, 243

  Charles the Hammer, 83

  Chinese Muslims, 59

  Christians, Christianity, 24, 47, 48, 125, 130-134, 137, 144, 147, 151,
    181, 194

  Companions; see _Sah_ibs

  Code Napoléon, 114

  Constantine in Algeria, 45

  Constantinople, 54, 113

  Crusaders, 49

  Ad-Dajj_a_l, 298, 315

  Dal_i_l, 109, 315

  _D_am_a_n, 354

  Damascus, 14, 82, 88, 131, 175, 177

  D_a_r al-_H_arb, 55

  D_a_r al-Isl_a_m, 55

  _D_ar_u_r_i_, 308

  Darw_i_shes, 5, 61, 179, 182, 183, 203, 244, 266, 268

  D_a_’_u_d a_z_-_Za_hir_i_, 103, 108-110

  D_a_’_u_d ibn Nusayr, 174

  Dauphiné, Le, 83

  Dawr, 323

  Dhikrs, 174, 178, 179

  Dhuh_u_l, 340

  Dh_u_-l-faq_a_r, 20

  Dh_u_-l-Kifl, 346

  Dh_u_-n-N_u_n, 176

  Dh_u_-n-N_u_rayn, 313

  D_i_n, 293, 297, 298, 305, 307

  Diya, 355

  Diy_a_na, 293

  Druses, 27, 48, 59, 170

  Eckart, the mystic, 180

  Edict of the Prætor, 87

  Egypt, Egyptians, 14, 21, 23, 30, 45-49, 53, 62, 82, 187, 244, 277, 287

  Emessa, 163

  Erigena, Scotus, 182

  Euchites, 178

  Euclid, 134

  Euphrates, 133

  Fakhr ad-D_i_n ar-R_a_z_i_, 241

  Fakhr ad-Din ibn ‘As_a_kir, 273

  Fan_a_, 338

  Faq_i_h, fuqah_a_, 73, 85, 270

  Faq_i_rs, 268

  Al-F_a_r_a_b_i_, 162-164, 165, 167, 169, 181, 196, 215, 221, 236, 250

  Far_a_gh, 317

  Far_d_, 73

  Far_id_a, 354

  Al-F_a_r_u_q, 313

  Fa_ta_na, 347

  F_at_ima, daughter of Mu_h_ammad, 20, 30, 36, 346, 347

  F_at_ima of Nays_a_b_u_r, 173

  F_at_imids, 27, 36, 45, 47, 49, 165-167, 169, 173, 184, 197, 224, 241,
    244, 251

  Fatw_a_, 115, 184, 276, 277

  Fay’, 356

  Bil-fi‘l, 328

  F_i_ ma_h_all; see ma_h_all

  Fiqh, 77, 87, 116, 132, 208, 209, 245, 252, 261, 270, 279, 282;
    cf. faq_i_h

  Firdaws_i_, 170

  St. Francis of Assisi, 180

  Frederick II., the Hohenstaufen, 263

  Friday, 35, 51, 235, 298, 313

  Al-Fud_a_l_i_, 191, 315

  Al-Fu_d_ayl ibn ‘Iy_ad_, 174, 175

  Fus_tat_, 83

  Galen, 134

  Ghafala, 340

  Al-Gh_a_n_i_, 327

  Ghan_i_ma, 356

  Gha_s_b, 354

  Al-Ghayb, 139, 281, 314

  Al-Ghazz_a_l_i_, 139, 165, 176, 183, 195, 199, 207, 215-241, 245-249,
    253, 257, 260-264, 267, 270, 284-286, 300, 309

  Gh_i_ba, 349

  Ghusl, 352

  Gond_e_sh_a_p_u_r, 134

  Greek monks, 178

  Greek philosophy, science, etc., 133, 138, 140, 144, 159, 161, 162

  _H_ab_i_b, 175

  _H_add, 314, 355

  _H_ad_i_th, 75, 77, 78, 87, 94, 121, 190, 209, 261, 270

  _Ha_dith, 320, 322, 328, 332

  _H_ad_i_th an-nafs, 273, 336, 350

  _H_a_d_ramawt, 60

  _H_af_s_ids, 265

  _Ha_’il, 60

  _H_ajar as-saf_i_h, 354

  _Ha_jj, 275, 278, 292, 353

  Al-_H_ajj_a_j, 209, 298

  Al-_Ha_kim Bi’amrillah, 47, 48

  Al-_H_akam ibn ab_i_-l-‘_As_, 17

  _Ha_l, 160, 176, 227, 310, 319, 322, 337

  _Ha_l nafs_i_, 319

  _H_al_a_l, 298

  Al-_H_all_a_j, 183-185, 298

  Halley’s comet, 34

  Hamd_a_nids, 162, 165

  Hamilton, Sir William, 237

  _H_anbalites, 115, 121, 158, 167, 190, 191, 200, 207, 208, 212-214, 237,
    273, 274, 278

  _H_an_i_f, 125

  _H_anifites, 115

  _H_aq_i_qa, 328, 329

  _H_aqq, 356

  _H_ar_a_m, 73, 298, 311

  Al-_H_ar_a_m_a_n, 56, 213

  Al-_Ha_rith al-Mu_ha_sib_i_, 175, 177, 187, 225

  Harr_a_n, 133, 134

  H_a_r_u_n ar-Rash_i_d, 50, 97, 98, 144, 153, 155, 175

  _H_asad, 349

  Al-_H_asan, 20, 27, 28, 35

  Al-_H_asan al-Ba_s_r_i_, 128, 129, 130, 172, 173

  _H_asan ibn a_s_-_S_abb_ah_, 224

  H_a_shim, 10, 17, 32, 313, 351

  _H_aw_a_la, 354

  _H_aw_d_, 249, 296, 306, 311, 349

  _H_ay_a_h, 332

  _H_ayy, 337

  Al-_H_ayy, 211

  _H_ayy ibn Yaq_za_n, 253, 254

  Hebron, 226

  Hegel, 143, 233

  Her_a_t, 82, 207

  Hesychasts, 178

  Hiba, 354

  _H_id_a_na, 355

  Hidden Im_a_m, 31, 37, 41, 56, 116;
    cf. Im_a_m, Im_a_mites

  Hierotheos, 181

  Al-_H_ij_a_z, 212

  Hippocrates, 134

  H_u_d, 346

  _H_ud_u_th, 320, 338;
    cf. _ha_dith, mu_h_dath

  _H_ukm, 292

  H_u_l_a_g_u_, 49, 53

  _H_ul_u_l, 228

  Hume, 229, 230

  Al-_H_usayn, 20, 28

  Huwa-l-_h_aqq, 203

  I‘_a_ra, 354

  Ib_ad_ites, 5, 26, 54, 115, 117, 126

  Ibn‘Abd al-Wahh_a_b; see Mu_h_am, mad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahh_a_b

  Ibn Ab_i_ ‘Awj_a_, 80

  Ibn al-‘Arab_i_, 316, 322, 323, 328

  Ibn ‘Arab_i_, 241, 261, 264, 271, 277, 280

  Ibn ash-Shalmagh_a_n_i_, 185

  Ibn B_a_jja, 250, 252, 255, 257

  Ibn H_a_ni, 170

  Ibn _H_azm, 209-212, 245-248, 261, 275, 280

  Ibn Ib_ad_, ‘Abd All_a_h, 25, 26, 116

  Ibn Karr_a_m, 170, ff.

  Ibn Khald_u_n, 50, 81, 242, f.

  Ibn Khallik_a_n, 185

  Ibn M_a_ja, 81

  Ibn al-Muqaffa‘, 150

  Ibn Rushd, 161, 163, 195, 206, 215, 236, 248, 252, 255, 256-261, 264-286

  Ibn Sab‘_i_n, ‘Abd al-_H_aqq, 263, 264, 267, 277

  Ibn S_i_n_a_, 163, 171, 197, 221, 228, 236, 241, 250, 257

  Ibn Taym_i_ya, 270-278, 283-285

  Ibn _T_ufayl, 252-256, 261

  Ibn T_u_mart, 207, 245-248, 252, 275

  Ibr_a_h_i_m ibn Adham, 174, 268

  Al-id_a_fatu-l-‘_a_mm lil-kh_ass_, 337

  Al-id_a_fatu-l-bay_a_n_i_ya, 337

  ‘Idda, 355

  Idr_i_s, 346

  Idr_i_s ibn ‘Abd All_a_h, 35

  Idr_i_sids, 34, 102

  I_hat_a, 332

  I_h_s_a_n, 293

  I_h_tiy_a_j il_a_ ma_h_all, 339

  I_h_y_a_, 338

  I_h_y_a_ of al-Ghazz_a_l_i_, 285, 300

  I_h_y_a_ al-maw_a_t, 354

  Ij_a_ra, 354

  I‘j_a_z, 151

  Al-‘_I_j_i_, 241, 269

  Ijm_a_‘, 57, 58, 72, 94, 101, 105, 209, 292, 328, 351

  Ijm_a_l_i_, 316

  Ikhtil_a_f, 116

  Ikhtiy_a_r, 192, 310, 339, 345

  Ikhw_a_n a_s_-_s_af_a_, 167, 169, 194, 196, 199

  Iktis_a_b, 280;
    cf. kasb

  Iktis_a_b_i_, 309

  _I_l_a_, 355

  Il_ha_d, 314

  Ilh_a_m, 281, 309

  Ilj_a_m al-‘aw_a_mm‘an ‘ilm al-kal_a_m of al-Ghazz_a_l_i_, 260

  ‘Illa, 107, 319, 337;
    cf. ta‘l_i_l

  ‘Ilm, 201, 294, 332

  ‘Ilw_a_n, the Shaykh, 268

  Im_a_m, 26, 29, 31, 36-38, 41-43, 46, 54, 57, 142, 155, 165, 167, 188,
    197, 212, 224, 286, 292, 293, 297-299, 311, 313, 318, 350

  Im_a_m al-_H_aramayn, 212, 213, 217, 230, 317

  Im_a_mites, 37, 57, 59, 116, 126, 142, 247

  _I_m_a_n, 126, 127, 292-296, 311, 312, 318, 350

  Im_a_ta, 338

  Imd_a_d_a_t, 330

  Imti_ha_n, 148;
    cf. mi_h_na

  India, 51, 55, 56, 59, 61

  India, Emperor of, 55

  Indian Mu‘tazilism, 286

  Inj_i_l, 304

  In sh_a_’ All_a_h, 272

  Iqr_a_r, 312, 354

  Ir_a_da, 330

  Al-‘Ir_a_q, 209

  ‘Ir_a_q, Arab, 44

  Ir_da_, 355

  Irj_a_, 292;
    cf. Murji’ites

  ‘_I_s_a_; see Jesus

  Isl_a_m, 7, 13-15, 19-27, 37, 40-48, 52-55, 58, 59, 68, 71-74, 118-120,
    124, 130, 136, 141, 142, 149, 151-154, 158-161, 167, 173, 176, 177,
    180-183, 186, 190, 191, 206, 212-215, 218, 226, 228, 230, 231, 233,
    235, 238-244, 248, 261, 262, 270, 278, 282-284, 292, 296, 312

  ‘I_s_ma, 247, 292, 314, 347

  Ism_a_‘_i_l, 41, 42, 43

  Ism_a_‘_i_lians, 42, 44, 57, 59, 169, 170, 196

  Isn_a_d, 75, 78, 79

  Ispahan, 195

  Istaw_a_, Istiw_a_, 186, 294, 301

  Istidl_a_l_i_, 308

  Isti_h_s_a_n, 87, 94, 96

  Isti_s_l_ah_, 87, 100, 101

  Isti_ta_‘a, 310

  Istiw_a_; see Istaw_a_

  I‘tazala ‘ann_a_, 130

  Ithn_a_ ‘Ashar_i_ya, 38

  I‘tib_a_r, 201, 341

  I‘tib_a_r ikhtir_a_‘_i_, 342

  I‘tib_a_r intiz_a_‘_i_, 342

  I‘tid_a_l, 221

  I‘tik_a_f, 353

  ‘Itq, 357

  Itti_ha_d, 228, 277

  Ja‘_a_la, 354

  Jabarites, 292, 344

  Jabr, 291, 344

  Jacob, 350

  Jadl_i_ya, 259

  Ja‘far a_s_-_Sa_diq, 42, 173

  Al-Jafr, 249

  Jahannam, 306

  Al-J_a_hil_i_ya, the Barbarism, or the Ignorance, 8, 74, 77, 173

  Al-J_ah_i_z_, 160, 161

  Jahl, 340

  Jahm ibn _S_afw_a_n, 126, 138, 146, 150

  Jahmites, 294, 299

  J_a_’iz, 73, 316, 348

  Jal_a_l ad-D_i_n ar-R_u_m_i_, 267

  J_a_mi‘, 80

  Jarab_u_b, 62

  Jawhar, 159, 309

  Jawhar r_uha_n_i_, 231

  Jerusalem, 14, 40, 42, 146, 226

  Jesus, ‘_I_s_a_, 42, 146, 315, 345

  Jews, 24, 47, 68, 70, 133, 134, 144, 194

  Jibr_i_l, 292, 293, 335, 336

  Jih_a_d, 55, 63, 246, 356

  Jin_a_ya, 355

  Jinn, Jinn_i_, J_a_nn, 76, 281, 283, 286, 299, 304, 305, 324

  Jirm, 317, 320

  Jism, 143, 309

  Jizya, 15, 356

  John of Damascus, 89, 131, 132, 137, 146

  Al-Jubb_a_‘_i_, 159, 160, 172, 188-190

  Al-Junayd, 176, 177, 183, 187, 225, 282

  Jurisprudentes, 85, 86

  Juththa, 334

  Al-Juwayn_i_; see Im_a_m al-_H_aramayn

  Ka‘ba, 149, 268, 278

  Kab_i_ra, 127, 296, 311, 349

  Kaf_a_la, 354

  Kaf_i_r, 295, 316, 328, 350;
    cf. kufr, takf_i_r

  “Kalila and Dimna,” 150

  K_a_hin, 314

  Kal_a_m, 147, 149, 151, 157, 175, 186, 188, 193, 200, 206, 208, 214,
    216, 241, 242, 245, 276, 278, 286, 294, 309, 315, 335

  Kal_a_m All_a_h, 146

  Kal_a_m nafs_i_, _h_ad_i_th fi-n-nafs, 273, 336

  Kalimat_a_-sh-shah_a_da, 300

  Al-kalimat_a_n, 30

  Kallima-ll_a_hu M_u_s_a_ takl_i_m_a_, 149

  Kamm munfa_s_il, 325

  Kamm mutta_s_il, 325

  Kant, 191, 200, 201

  Al-Kar_a_b_i_s_i_, 187

  Kar_a_ha, 339

  Kar_a_ma, 174, 213, 228, 230, 274, 281, 282, 313

  Karbala, 28

  Karr_a_mites, 170, 191, 195, 291, 292

  Kasb, 179, 192, 292;
    cf. iktis_a_b

  Kashf, 120, 172, 179, 215, 269

  Kashsh_a_f of az-Zamakhshar_i_, 195

  Kawn, 309;
    cf. takw_i_n

  Kawn ‘_a_jiz, 340

  Kawn j_a_hil, 340

  Kawn k_a_rih, 340

  Kawn mayyit, 340

  Kawn mur_i_d, 337

  Kawn q_a_dir, 336

  Al-Kawthar, 306, 349

  Kayfa, 297

  Kayf_i_ya, 309, 334

  Kempis, Thomas à, 177, 180

  Khabar, 308

  Khad_i_ja, 347

  Al-Kha_d_ir, 281, 283

  Khal_i_fa, Khalifate, 13-28, 32-38, 45, 47, 51-58, 297, 313;
    cf. al-Khulaf_a_

  Khalq, 338

  Kh_a_nq_a_h, 229, 266

  Khar_a_j, 15

  Kharas, 340, 341

  Kh_a_rijites, 23-27, 32, 40, 44, 57, 59, 123-126, 131, 172, 212, 292,
    294, 296

  Kha_t_ar_a_t, 331

  Khi_ta_b_i_ya, 259

  Khi_t_ba, 355

  Khiy_a_na, 347

  Khuffs, 298, 314, 347, 352, 355

  Khul‘, 355

  Al-Khulaf_a_-ar-r_a_shid_u_n, 22, 87, 99, 105, 114

  Khur_a_s_a_n, 171, 174, 177

  Khu_t_b_a_, 56

  Khuzist_a_n, 25, 134

  Kibr, 349

  Kidhb, 347

  Al-Kind_i_, 155, 161, 187

  Kit_a_ba, 357

  Kitm_a_n, 347

  Kubr_a_ of as-San_u_s_i_, 316

  Al-K_u_fa, 18, 23, 28, 83

  Kufr, 157, 296, 311, 332, 349;
    cf. takf_i_r, k_a_fir

  Lab_i_d, 149

  Laf_z_, 147, 335

  Laqab, 347

  Laq_it_, 354

  L_a_ shay’, 328

  Al-law_h_ al-ma_h_f_uz_, 335

  Laylatu-l-qadr, 335

  Lebanon, 48

  Leibnitz, 192, 200, 203

  Li‘_a_n, 355

  Logos, 146-148, 151

  Lucretius, 200

  Luq_t_a, 354

  Lu_t_f, 292

  Ma‘bad al-Ju_h_ani, 128

  Al-Mad_i_na, 7, 8, 18, 35, 56, 67, 69-71, 72, 82, 87, 88, 99, 101, 102,
    165, 213, 216, 226, 278, 284, 346

  Madrasa, 229

  Ma‘d_u_m, 159, 314, 319;
    cf. ‘adam

  Maf_a_t_ih_ al-ghayb of ar-R_a_z_i_, 241

  Magians, 144

  Al-Maghrib, 243

  Ma_h_all, 317, 325

  Mahall (fi), 137

  Al-Mahd_i_, 27, 34, 45, 63, 114, 244-249

  Al-Mahd_i_, the ‘Abb_a_sid Khal_i_fa, 35, 134

  Al-Mahd_i_ya, 165, 244

  M_a_h_i_ya, 309

  Ma_h_m_u_d of Ghazna, 170, 195, 197

  Mahr, 355

  Maimonides, 237

  Maine, Sir Henry, 65, 85, 114

  Maj_a_z_i_, 329

  M_a_j_u_j, 315

  Makhl_u_q_a_t, 324

  Makr_u_h, 73, 347

  Malay Archipelago, 62

  M_a_lik ibn Anas, 35, 78, 99-103, 106, 147, 186, 245, 346

  M_a_likites, 115

  Ma‘mar ibn ‘Abb_a_d, 143

  Maml_u_ks, 53, 54, 275

  Al-Ma’m_u_n, 50, 110, 140, 144, 154-159, 162, 166, 277

  Mand_u_b, 73, 347

  Manichæans, 133, 134

  Mansel, H. L., 237

  Al-Mans_u_r, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 33, 34, 50, 134, 153, 154

  Maq_a_ma, 176

  Al-Maq_a_sid, 346

  Maqb_u_l_a_t, 259

  Mar’an, 314

  Ma‘rifa, 201, 350

  Mar_i_ya the Copt, 347

  Ma‘r_u_f of al-Karkh, 175

  Marw_a_n II., 32

  Marw_a_n ibn al-_H_akam, 17

  Mas_a_b_ih_ as-sunna of al-Baghaw_i_, 81

  Mas_h_, 298, 314

  Mashh_u_r_a_t, 259

  Mashya, 294

  Ma_s_la_h_a, 101

  Masy_a_f, 49

  Al-M_a_tar_i_d_i_, 187, 193, 207, 308

  M_a_taridites, 200, 207, 337, 338

  Matn, 75, 78

  Maw_a_qif of al ‘_I_j_i_, 241

  Mawj_u_b, 347;
    cf. w_a_jib

  Mawj_u_d, 159, 191, 314, 319;
    cf. wuj_u_d

  Mawlawite darw_i_shes, 267

  Mawqif, 296, 349

  Maw_s_il, 267

  Mawt, 340

  Maym_u_n, 40

  Ma_z_n_u_n_a_t, 259

  Mecca, 9, 17, 23, 25, 32, 46, 56, 62, 68, 174, 184, 213, 217, 226, 265,
    285, 296, 346

  Merv, 217

  Mesnev_i_, The, 267

  Mesopotamia, 23, 44, 82, 131, 187

  Mi_h_na, 156, 157

  Minister of Justice, 114

  Mi‘r_a_j, 298, 312

  Mongols, 49, 52, 53, 169

  Monophysites, 181

  Morocco, 35, 62

  Moses, 42, 149, 192, 295, 296, 304, 336, 345

  Mu‘_a_wiya, 21-23, 28, 88

  Mub_ah_, 73, 348

  Mubtadi‘, 307;
    cf. bid‘a

  Muft_i_, 115;
    cf. fatw_a_

  Muh_a_jirs, 8, 13, 20

  Mu_h_ammad, the Prophet, 7-13, 16-22, 28, 30, 35, 37, 42-45, 56, 57, 58,
    67-75, 83, 86-89, 95, 104-106, 112, 120-133, 140-150, 155, 160, 161,
    164, 165, 171, 172, 175-180, 188, 210, 227-231, 243, 245, 249, 253,
    254, 263, 270, 275-278, 284, 285, 292-294, 298, 305, 308, 312, 335,
    336, 345, 346, 349, 350, 351

  Mu_h_ammad II., Ottoman Sul_ta_n, 113

  Mu_h_ammad al-‘All_a_f; see Ab_u_ Hudhayl

  Mu_h_ammad al-Munta_z_ar, 187

  Mu_h_ammad an-Naqshband_i_, 267

  Mu_h_ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahh_a_b, 60, 283

  Mu_h_ammad ibn Ab_i_ Bakr, 18

  Mu_h_ammad ibn al-_H_anaf_i_ya, 29, 31

  Mu_h_ammad ibn al-_H_asan, 38, 96, 102

  Mu_h_ammad ibn ‘Al_i_ as-San_u_s_i_; see as-San_u_s_i_

  Mu_h_ammad ibn Ism_a_‘_i_l, 42, 43, 45

  Mu_h_arram, 347

  Al-Mu_ha_sib_i_; see Al-_Ha_rith

  Mu_h_dath, 309;
    cf. _ha_dith, _h_ud_u_th

  Mu_h_dith, 309, 321

  Mu_h_san, 355

  Mu_h_y_i_ ad-D_i_n ibn ‘Arab_i_; see Ibn ‘Arab_i_

  Al-Mu‘izz, F_at_imid Khal_i_fa, 170

  Mujassim, 191, 291;
    cf. jism’, tajs_i_m

  M_u_jid, 325

  Mu‘jiza, 141, 151, 313, 345

  Mujtahid, 38, 116, 275, 287, 315

  Mujtahid_u_n bil-fatw_a_, 113

  Mujtahid_u_n fi-l-madh_a_hib, 113

  Mujtahid_u_n mu_t_laq, 112

  Mukallaf, 280, 317, 318, 321, 323, 342, 345;
    cf. takl_i_f

  Muk_a_shafa, 227

  Mukh_a_bara, 354

  Mukh_a_lafa lil-_h_aw_a_dith, 205, 210, 232, 280, 324

  Mukha_ss_i_s_, 325

  Mum_a_thala, 338

  Mu’min, 126, 130, 350

  Mumkin_a_t, 330

  Munkar, 296, 298, 305, 311

  Munazzah, 324

  Munta_z_ar, 313;
    see, too, Mu_h_ammad al-Munta_z_ar

  Muqallad, 316, 350;
    cf. taql_i_d

  Al-Muqanna‘, 30

  Munqidh min a_d_-dal_a_l of al-Ghazz_a_l_i_, 216, 225, 239

  Muqarrab, 306

  Al-Muqtadir, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 184

  Mur_a_bi_t_s, 246, 251

  Marji’ites, 122-127, 129, 131, 132, 171, 193, 214, 292

  Murtadd, 24, 297

  M_u_s_a_, see Moses

  M_u_s_a_ al-Qazam, 42

  Mus_a_q_a_t, 354

  Musallam_a_t, 259

  Musannaf, 79

  Musaylima, 150

  Mushabbih, 191;
    cf. bil_a_ kayfa

  Mush_a_hada, 327

  Mushrik, 284, 299;
    cf. shirk, shar_i_k

  Muslim, 80

  Musnad, 79, 110

  Al-Mu_st_af_a_, 300

  Musta_h_abb, 73

  Musta_hi_l, 316

  Mustan_s_ir, F_at_imid Kh., 170

  Mutakallims, 147, 186, 193-196, 215, 231, 262, 276, 337

  Al-Mu‘tasim, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 157, 158, 162, 163

  Mutaq_a_bil_a_t, 330

  Al-Mutawakkil, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 157, 162

  Mutaw_a_tir, 308

  Mu‘tazilites, 37, 57, 120, 130, 135-138, 140, 143-146, 151-159, 166,
    168, 171, 172, 175, 176, 184-196, 200, 207, 208, 211-214, 220-226,
    241, 248, 291-294, 298, 299, 311, 336, 337, 343, 344

  Muwa_hh_ids, 179, 207, 246-257, 261-265, 284, 296, 307

  Muwa_tt_a’ of M_a_lik ibn Anas, 78, 82, 101, 102

  Al-Muzd_a_r, 151

  Mzab in Algeria, 26, 59

  Nabateans, 44

  Nab_i_, 263, 312, 345

  Nab_i_dh, 314

  Nadhr, 356

  Nafaqa, 355

  Naf_i_sa, The Lady, 173

  Nafs, 234, 272, 334

  Nah_a_wand, 14, 133

  Naj_a_s_a_t, 352

  Najd, 60

  Najj_a_rites, 292

  Nak_i_r, 296, 298, 305, 311

  Naq_i_b, 268

  Naql, 120, 148, 157, 214, 269, 297, 310

  Naqshbandite darw_i_shes, 267

  Narbonne, 83

  An-Nasaf_i_, 193, 207, 277, 308

  An-Nas_a_’_i_, 81, 152

  N_a_sir ibn Khusraw, 170

  An-N_as_ir, Maml_u_k Sul_ta_n, 277

  An-Na_s_r al-Manb_i_j_i_, 277

  Na_ss_, 29, 95, 292

  Nays_a_b_u_r, 217, 229

  Na_z_r, 208

  An-Na_zza_m, 140, 143, 152

  Neo-Platonism, 163, 164, 168, 180, 181, 196, 232, 235, 236, 253, 255,
    264, 272

  Nik_ah_, 354

  Nisba, 337

  Ni_za_m al-Mulk, 213, 217, 218

  Ni_za_mite Academy, 213, 217

  Noah, or N_uh_, 42, 43, 345

  Nu_s_ayrites, 59

  Old Man of the Mountain, Shaykh al-jabal, 49

  Ottoman Sul_ta_n, 10, 56, 58, 59

  Ottoman Turks, 36, 52, 53, 54, 60

  Pan-Isl_a_mic movement, 59

  Parsees, 194

  People of Paradise, 139

  People of the Sunna, 336, 337

  Persia, Persian, 14, 23, 31, 36-41, 44, 49, 50, 51, 82, 131-134, 150,
    155, 157, 184

  Persian Gulf, 60

  Persian mysticism, 5

  Plato, 134, 162-165, 235

  Plotinus, Plotinian, 163-165, 182, 231, 256, 269, 280

  Porphyrius, 163

  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, 181, 182

  Ptolemaic system, 233

  Ptolemy, 134

  Pythagoreanism, 168, 170

  Qa_da_, 291, 295, 342, 356

  Qadar, 128, 135-137, 242, 291, 293, 295, 342

  Qadarites, 122, 127-132, 135, 137, 140, 292, 344

  Q_adi_, 115, 156, 245, 356

  Qad_i_m, 143, 300, 322, 343

  Al-Q_a_dir, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 193-195

  Q_a_dir, 319

  Q_a_dirite darw_i_shes, 267, 269

  Al-Q_a_dis_i_ya, 14, 133

  Q_a_n_u_ns, 114

  Qarma_t_ians, 44, 46, 170, 184, 188

  Qasm, 356

  Qatt_a_t, 350

  Qawl, 296

  Qidam, 322

  Qir_ad_, 354

  Qi_sas_, 355

  Al-Qiy_a_ma, 349;
    cf. Yawm

  Qiy_a_m bin-nafs, 325

  Qiy_a_s, 87, 94, 209, 247, 347

  Qub_d_a, 329

  Qudra, 192, 234, 294, 310, 319, 322, 328, 344

  Al-Qudra al-azal_i_ya, 234

  Qur’_a_n, 24, 42, 62, 69-71, 76, 77, 85, 94-96, 99, 103-106, 109, 117,
    121, 128-130, 135, 138-141, 145-152, 155-158, 161-163, 171, 178, 188,
    190, 195-198, 206, 209, 210, 231, 235, 238, 241, 245-249, 252, 253,
    257-259, 263, 271, 272-275, 282-284, 295, 297, 303, 304, 310, 335,
    345, 346

  Quraysh, 10, 57, 305, 313

  Al-Qushayr_i_, 213

  Qu_t_b, 268, 282

  Q_u_wa, 328

  Rabelais, 199

  R_a_bi‘a, 173

  R_a_fi_d_ites, 212

  R_a_hib, 125, 172

  Rahn, 354

  Rama_da_n, 188, 292, 293

  Ar-R_a_shid, the Muwa_hh_id, 263, 264

  Ras_a_’il ikhw_a_n a_s_-_s_af_a_, 168

  Ras_u_l, 263, 308, 312, 345

  Ra’y, 86, 94

  Razq, 338

  Red Sea, 60

  Responsa prudentium, 85

  Ri_da_, 310

  Rif_a_‘ite darw_i_shes, 267, 268

  Ris_a_la, 292

  Ris_a_la of al-Qushayr_i_, 213

  Ritschl, 238

  Rizq, 179, 298, 299, 311, 317

  R_uh_, 141, 231, 272

  Rukh_s_a, 283

  Ru’ya, 310, 344

  As-s_a_‘a, 293, 294, 315

  Sab_i_l All_a_h, 18

  Sab‘_i_nite darw_i_shes, 267

  Sab‘_i_ya, 42

  Sa‘da, 36

  Sa‘d ad-D_i_n; see at-Taft_a_z_a_n_i_

  _S_afawids, 38

  As-Saff_ah_, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 32

  _S_agh_i_ra, 127, 311, 349

  Sahara, 62

  _Sah_iba, 294

  _Sah_ibs, 9, 16, 19, 71, 72, 75, 79, 88, 101, 105, 147, 180, 275, 276,
    282, 283, 293, 297, 307, 314, 346

  _S_a_h_’fa, 75, 77, 335

  _S_a_hi_fa of al-Bukh_a_r_i_, 35, 79-81

  _S_a_hih_ of Muslim, 80, ff.

  Sa‘_i_d ibn A_h_mad ibn ‘Abd All_a_h, 45

  Sa’i_h_s, 172

  Saladin; see _S_al_ah_ ad-D_i_n

  As-salaf, 157, 190, 297

  _S_al_ah_, 292, 343;
    cf. A_s_la_h_

  _S_al_ah_ ad-D_i_n, 49, 241

  Salam, 353

  Salam_a_n, 253, f.

  Salam_i_ya, 44

  _S_al_a_t, _S_alaw_a_t, 178, 292, 293, 352

  _Sa_li_h_, the prophet, 346

  Sal_i_m, Ottoman Sul_ta_n, 56

  Salj_u_qs, 207

  _S_al_uhi_ qad_i_m, 328

  Sam‘, 292, 294, 333

  Sam_a_’ ad-Dunya, 297

  _S_amam, 340

  S_a_m_a_nids, 36

  Samarqand, 82, 187, 207

  Sam_i_‘, 337, 349

  _S_an‘_a_, 36

  As-San_u_s_i_, Mu_h_ammad ibn ‘Al_i_, 61, 120, 244, 269, 273, 284

  As-San_u_s_i_, Mu_h_ammad ibn Y_u_suf, 315-318, 322, 323, 328, 334,
    341, 347

  Sar_i_ as-Saqa_ti_, 175-177, 268

  Satan, 298, 299;
    cf. shay_ta_n

  _S_awm, 292;
    cf. _S_iy_a_m

  Sayf ad-Dawla, the Hamd_a_nid, 162, 165

  Sayyid Murta_da_, 285, 300

  Semites, Semitic, 5, 51, 125, 126, 182

  Sergius, father of John of Damascus, 131

  Seth, 43

  Ash-Sh_a_dhil_i_, 267, 269

  Sh_a_dhilite darw_i_shes, 267

  Shah_a_da, 356

  Shaf_a_‘a, 174, 296, 307, 311, 349

  Ash-Sh_a_fi‘_i_, 67, 103-111, 173, 187

  Sh_a_fi‘ites, 110, 115

  Sh_a_hs of Persia, 38

  Shakk, 332

  Shar’, 345

  Ash-Sha‘r_a_n_i_, 279, 281, 283, 285

  Ash-Sh_a_hrast_a_n_i_, 213, 224, 291, 293

  Shar_i_‘a, 282

  Shar_if_s of Mecca, 58, 265

  Shar_if_s of Morocco, 35, 59, 247

  Shar_i_k, 300, 321, 326;
    cf. shirk, mushrik

  Shay’, 159, 314, 322

  Shaykh, 177

  Shaykh al-Isl_a_m, 113

  Shaykh ‘_I_lw_a_n, 268

  Shay_ta_ns, 304

  Shem, 43

  Ash-Shibl_i_, 176, 177, 225

  Shih_a_b ad-D_i_n as-Suhraward_i_, 241

  Sh_i_‘ites, Sh_i_‘a, 5, 13, 19, 26-36, 39-41, 48, 51, 52, 56, 59, 115,
    116, 121, 123, 131, 159, 165, 184, 185, 193-195, 212, 247, 249, 292,

  Shirk, 123, 127;
    cf. shar_i_k, mushrik

  Shirka, 354

  Shu‘ayb, 346

  Shuf‘a, 354

  A_s_-_S_idd_i_q, 313

  _S_idq, 347

  _S_ifa nafs_i_ya, 319

  _S_if_a_t, 136, 151, 291, 309

  _S_if_a_t adh-dh_a_t, 291

  _S_if_a_t al-fi‘l, 291, 338

  _S_if_a_t al-ma‘_a_n_i_, 337

  _S_if_a_t ‘aql_i_ya, 190

  _S_if_a_t at-ta’th_i_r, 333

  _S_if_a_t ma‘naw_i_ya, 337

  _S_if_a_t salab_i_ya, 328

  Sijist_a_n, 171

  A_s_-_S_ir_at_, 296, 306, 311, 349

  _S_iy_a_m, 353

  Solomon, 286

  Spain, 33, 82, 132, 194, 209, 246

  Spanish Isl_a_m, 132

  Stephen bar Sudaili, 181

  Stewart (Balfour) and Tait, 235

  Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, 48

  _Su_f, 130

  _Su_f_i_, _Su_f_i_ism, 130, 172, 173, 176-178, 185, 213, 216-219, 222,
    225-229, 232, 235, 236, 239, 248, 250, 252, 253, 261, 262, 264, 267,
    268, 274, 276-278, 282, 284, 309

  S_u_fis_t_iq_i_ya, 308

  _Su_f_i_ya, 173

  Sufy_a_n ath-Thawr_i_, 97, 98

  _S_ughr_a_ of as-San_u_s_i_, 341

  As-Suhraward_i_; see Shih_a_b ad-D_i_n

  Sulaym_a_n the Great, 54

  _S_ul_h_, 354

  Sunna, 74, 75, 88, 190, 282, 293, 297, 298, 307, 345

  Sunan, 75, 81

  Sunnites, 19, 35, 38, 51, 52, 59, 116, 194, 247, 298

  _Su_ra, 232

  Suso, the mystic, 180

  Syria, 21-23, 28, 45, 46, 49, 50, 82, 84, 98, 131, 226

  Ta‘addud, 339

  Ta‘allaqa, 328

  Ta’alluqu-l-qab_d_ati, 329

  Tab‘, 328, 339

  Tabarist_a_n, 36

  Tabi‘_i_y_u_n, 161, 221, 293, 346

  Tabl_i_gh, 347

  Tabor, Mount, 178

  Tadb_i_r, 357

  Ta_d_l_i_l, 292

  Taf_si_l_i_, 316

  At-Taft_a_z_a_n_i_, 242, 269, 308, 318, 345, 346

  Tah_a_fut of al-Ghazz_a_l_i_, 229, 237, 240, 257, 286

  _T_ah_a_ra, 351

  A_t_-_T_a_ha_w_i_, 187, 193

  Ta_h_l_i_l, 276

  Ta_h_s_i_n, 292

  Tajs_i_m, 209, 246

  Takallam, 147

  Takf_i_r, 292

  Takl_i_f, 137, 310

  Takw_i_n, 310, 338

  _T_al_a_q, 355

  _T_al_h_a, 21, 25

  Ta‘l_i_l, 339

  Ta‘l_i_m, 197

  Ta‘l_i_mites, 197, 219, 224, 228

  Tanj_i_z_i_, 328

  Taqb_ih_, 292

  Taq_i_ya, 126

  Taql_i_d, 209, 217, 246, 261, 270, 286, 316, 318, 323, 350

  _T_ar_i_qa, 282

  Tasalsul, 201, 322

  Tasd_i_q, 312, 350

  Tawallud, 142, 144

  Tawakkul, 179, f.

  Tawba, 292, 349

  Taw_hi_d, 156, 175, 176, 246, 291, 300, 315, 349;
    cf. muwa_hh_id

  Ta’w_i_l, 246

  Tawl_i_d, 142

  Tawr_a_t, 303

  Tayammum, 352

  Theodoras Abucara, 132

  Thiqa, 293, 296

  The Thousand and One Nights, 97, 286

  Thum_a_ma ibn Ashras, 144

  Tigris, 50, 133

  At-Tirmidh_i_, 81

  Toledo, 82

  Tours, 82, f.

  Tripolis, 62

  _Tu_f_a_n, 329, f.

  Tughril Beg, 52, 207, 212, f.

  Turkish mysticism, 5

  _Tu_s, 216, 229, 230, 267

  The Twelve Tables, 85

  ‘Ubayd All_a_h al-Mahd_i_, 45, 46, 244

  U_dh_iya, 356

  ‘Ulam_a_, 54, 233, 307

  Ul_u_h_i_ya, 326

  Ul_u_-l-‘azm, 345

  ‘Um_a_n, 24, 26, 59

  ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Az_i_z, Umayyad Kh., 104

  ‘Umar ibn al-Kha_tta_b, 2nd Kh., 13-19, 23, 24, 36, 44, 56, 86, 93, 165,
    275, 297, 307, 313, 346

  ‘Umar al-Khayy_a_m, 198, 199

  ‘Umar ibn al-F_a_ri_d_, 266

  Umayya, 10, 16

  Umayyads, 9, 17-19, 22, 25, 27, 32, 33, 53, 77, 78, 88-93, 104, 123,
    131, 133, 153, 209

  Umayyads of Cordova, 45

  Umm walad, 357

  ‘Urf, 94, 113

  ‘Uthm_a_n ibn ‘Aff_a_n, 3rd Kh., 17-22, 25, 36, 71, 297, 307, 313, 346

  Vincent of Lerins, 101

  Volubilis, 35

  Wa‘d, 292

  Wad_i_‘a, 354

  Wa_h_d_a_n_i_ya, 325

  Al-Wahh_a_b, 211

  Wahh_a_bites, 60-62, 109, 113, 115, 120, 273, 278, 279, 283-285

  Al-W_a_hib, 211

  Wa_h_y, 281

  Wa‘_i_d, Wa‘_i_dites, 129, 292

  W_a_jib, 73, 316, 318

  Wak_a_la, 354

  Wal_a_, 357

  Walad, 294, 330

  Wal_i_, 139, 173, 263, 267, 268, 274, 275, 281-285, 313, 326

  Wal_i_ma, 355

  Wal_i_ya, 173

  Waqf, 354

  W_a_rith, 354

  W_a_sil ibn ‘At_a_, 37, 129, 135, 136, 150

  Wa_si_ya, 354

  Wa_si_ya of Ibn S_i_n_a_, 198, 228

  Al-W_a_thiq, ‘Abb_a_sid Kh., 157

  Wu_du_, 318, 352

  Wuj_u_d, 159, 191, 316-319, 352

  Wu_su_l, 228

  Y_a_j_u_j, 315

  Al-Yaman, 60, 284

  Yam_i_n, 356

  Ya‘q_u_b; see Jacob

  Yathrib, 67

  Yawm al-qiy_a_ma, 295, 349

  Yaz_i_d, 19, 28

  Yehuda Halevi, 237

  Zabb_u_r, 304

  Zab_i_d in Tih_a_ma, 285

  Z_a_hid, 173, 180

  Z_a_hida, 173

  _Za_hir, 314

  _Za_hirites, 110, 112, 208, 209, 247, 249, 252, 261, 264, 287

  _Za_hr, 42

  Zak_a_t, 292, 293, 353

  Az-Zamakhshar_i_, 195

  _Z_ann, 332

  Zanzibar, 26, 59, 115

  Zaydites, 36, 37, 46, 57, 59, 116, 188

  _Z_ih_a_r, 355

  Zin_a_, 355

  Zind_i_qs, 134

  Zoroastrianism, 133, 134, 183

  Az-Zubayr, 21, 25

  Az-Zuhr_i_, 91

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