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Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions
MUSLIM PERCEPTIONS of OTHER RELIGIONS
A Historical Survey
Edited by Jacques Waardenburg
New York Oxford
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Oxford University Press
Oxford New York Athens Auckland Bangkok Bogotá Buenos Aires Calcutta Cape Town Chennai Dar es Salaam Delhi Florence Hong Kong Istanbul Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Mumbai Nairobi Paris São Paulo Singapore Taipei Tokyo Toronto Warsaw
and associated companies in Berlin Ibadan
Copyright © 1999 by Jacques Waardenburg
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Muslim perceptions of other religions : a historical survey / edited by Jacques Waardenburg. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references ISBN 0-19-510472-2 1. Islam—Relations. 2. Islam—History. I. Waardenburg, Jean Jacques. BP171.M86 1998 297.2'8—DC21 97-29982
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
The historical and social relations between reli- gious communities are attracting increasing scholarly attention. I hope that this book with its bibliography will encourage others to continue research in this rela- tively new field. It is not just the religions them- selves—the interpretations their adherents have given them and the norms they have derived from them in the course of time—that are worthy of attention. The views, appreciations, and judgments that these adher- ents have given of each other and their behavior are equally a valid subject of investigation. This holds especially true for Islam, today’s second largest reli- gion, about which most people have opinions but only a few knowledge and insight.
Thanks are due to all those who gave this research project scholarly, moral, and financial support. With- out a subsidy from the Swiss National Science Foun- dation and the Swiss Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences the symposium would not have taken place. Without much patient work by Hilary Kilpatrick and Isabel Stümpel the text and the bibliography would not have been readable. And without the active partici- pation of colleagues who prepared papers and took part in the discussion, the whole enterprise would have been but one man’s dream. The dream started in 1965 when the late Gustav E. von Grunebaum encouraged me to study the medieval Muslim contribution to the devel- opment of Religionswissenschaft. I have extended this subject to cover the whole field of Muslim views of other religions in the course of history, collecting a vast documentation on the subject. The symposium of December 1991 has been one of the results of what may be called a lifelong dream, “Religions in the Mirror of Islam”—more or less the reverse of my doctoral dis- sertation, “Islam in the Mirror of Western Orientalists.”
Lausanne, Switzerland J. W. August 1998
In the course of history, Islam as a religion and as a religious community has come into contact with a number of other religions in the East and West. Mus- lims have met non-Muslims and their cultures in dif- ferent situations and at different times and places. Throughout this history there have been Muslim au- thors who wrote of what they knew and thought about other religions and their adherents. It is a legitimate scholarly question how, in different circumstances, they saw people with other religions or none at all, and to seek an answer through the study of texts which have reached us from the past.
This book presents some results of such research. Part I, written by the editor, is of a general nature and surveys the field. Parts II and III contain essays by different authors on specific subjects in the me- dieval and modern periods of the history of Islam. They were originally read and discussed at a sym- posium organized at the University of Lausanne in December 1991. Unfortunately, the publication of the definitive texts took much more time than I had expected; in the meantime four participants have published five books related to the subject: Camilla Adang, Islam Frente a Judaïsmo: La polémica de Ibn Hazm de Córdoba (Madrid: Aben Ezra Ediciones, 1994); Adang, Muslim Writers on Judaïsm and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996); Christine Schirrmacher, Mit den Waffen des Gegners: Christlich-muslimische Kontroversen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1992); Isabel Stümpel-Hatami, Das Christentum aus der Sicht zeitgenössischer iranischer Autoren: Eine Untersuchung religionskundlicher Publikationen in persischer Sprache (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1996); Steven M. Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).
viii Medieval Times
The Early Period ix
I Muslim Studies of Other Religions 1
1 The Early Period: 610–650 3 Jacques Waardenburg
2 The Medieval Period: 650–1500 18 Jacques Waardenburg
3 The Modern Period: 1500–1950 70 Jacques Waardenburg
4 The Contemporary Period: 1950–1995 85 Jacques Waardenburg
II Medieval Times 103
5 Christians in the Qur�an and Tafsir 105 Jane Dammen McAuliffe
6 Arab-Islamic Perceptions of Byzantine Religion and Culture 122
Ahmad M. H. Shboul
7 Some Arab-Muslim Perceptions of Religion and Medieval Culture in Sicily 136
8 Medieval Muslim Polemics against the Jewish Scriptures 143
9 Heresiography of the Jews in Mamluk Times 160
Steven M. Wasserstrom
10 Perceptions of Other Religions in Sufism 181
11 Philosophical Schools as Viewed by Some Medieval Muslim Authors: Doctrines and Classifications 195
12 Zoroastrians as Viewed in Medieval Islamic Sources 202
J. Christoph Bürgel
13 Representations of Social Intercourse between Muslims and Non-Muslims in Some Medieval Adab Works 213
III Modern Times 225
14 Christianity as Described by Persian Muslims 227
15 Arabic Muslim Writings on Contemporary Religions Other Than Islam 240
16 The Muslims in South Asia (1857–1947) 250
17 Muslim Views of Hindus since 1950 263 Asghar Ali Engineer
18 The Influence of Higher Bible Criticism on Muslim Apologetics in the Nineteenth Century 270
19 The Pancasila Ideology and an Indonesian Muslim Theology of Religions 280
Karel A. Steenbrink
20 The Debate on Muslim-Christian Dialogue as Reflected in Muslim Periodicals in Arabic (1970–1991) 297
Selected Bibliography 309 Jacques Waardenburg
The Early Period 310 The Medieval Period 312 The Modern Period 326 The Contemporary Period 330 Oriental Languages: Selected Modern
General Index 341
Muslim Author Index 349
In recent years, the ways in which artists, authors, and scholars have described people from cultures other than their own or in which one culture has viewed another one have been attracting increasing scholarly interest. This interest is twofold: first to establish which aspects of the other culture were seen and de- scribed, and second, to determine the extent to which the views of that other culture reflect particular val- ues and ways of thinking that are specific to the author’s own culture or society.
The underlying question here is to what extent a certain openness toward people from other cultures exists among given groups or individuals, if they are willing and able to learn from these other cultures, and what exactly they are prepared to learn. The at- tention paid to other cultures, of course, is not only a matter of the mind. It also has to do with intersocietal relations generally, including economic and political relations. But it is connected, too, with man’s funda- mental need for communication and with his gift of imagination.
Whereas Western views of Islam have received increasing scholarly attention during the last decades, this is much less the case with Muslim views of other cultures and religions. Yet since its inception the Muslim civilization has been in continuous relation- ship with other cultures and civilizations. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and through regions which have long been carriers of culture. As
a consequence, Muslims have come into contact with many religions. One may think not only of various forms of Christianity and Judaism inside and outside the Middle East but also of Zoroastrianism and Manicheism, Hinduism, and even Buddhism, not to speak of nonliterate religions in many parts of Asia and Africa.
A number of texts have come down to us about these cultures and their r