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Muslim Perceptionsof Other Religions
MUSLIM PERCEPTIONSof OTHER RELIGIONS
A Historical Survey
Edited byJacques Waardenburg
New York Oxford
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Oxford University Press
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Copyright 1999 by Jacques Waardenburg
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataMuslim perceptions of other religions : a historical survey /edited by Jacques Waardenburg.p. cm.Includes bibliographical referencesISBN 0-19-510472-21. IslamRelations. 2. IslamHistory.I. Waardenburg, Jean Jacques.BP171.M86 1998297.2'8DC21 97-29982
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of Americaon acid-free paper
The historical and social relations between reli-gious communities are attracting increasing scholarlyattention. I hope that this book with its bibliographywill encourage others to continue research in this rela-tively new field. It is not just the religions them-selvesthe interpretations their adherents have giventhem and the norms they have derived from them inthe course of timethat are worthy of attention. Theviews, appreciations, and judgments that these adher-ents have given of each other and their behavior areequally a valid subject of investigation. This holdsespecially true for Islam, todays second largest reli-gion, about which most people have opinions but onlya few knowledge and insight.
Thanks are due to all those who gave this researchproject scholarly, moral, and financial support. With-out a subsidy from the Swiss National Science Foun-dation and the Swiss Academy for the Humanities andSocial Sciences the symposium would not have takenplace. Without much patient work by Hilary Kilpatrickand Isabel Stmpel the text and the bibliography wouldnot have been readable. And without the active partici-pation of colleagues who prepared papers and took partin the discussion, the whole enterprise would have beenbut one mans dream. The dream started in 1965 whenthe late Gustav E. von Grunebaum encouraged me tostudy the medieval Muslim contribution to the devel-opment of Religionswissenschaft. I have extended thissubject to cover the whole field of Muslim views ofother religions in the course of history, collecting a vastdocumentation on the subject. The symposium ofDecember 1991 has been one of the results of what maybe called a lifelong dream, Religions in the Mirror ofIslammore 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 areligious community has come into contact with anumber 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 aboutother religions and their adherents. It is a legitimatescholarly question how, in different circumstances,they saw people with other religions or none at all,and to seek an answer through the study of textswhich have reached us from the past.
This book presents some results of such research.Part I, written by the editor, is of a general natureand surveys the field. Parts II and III contain essaysby 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 inDecember 1991. Unfortunately, the publication ofthe definitive texts took much more time than I hadexpected; in the meantime four participants havepublished five books related to the subject: CamillaAdang, Islam Frente a Judasmo: La polmica deIbn Hazm de Crdoba (Madrid: Aben Ezra Ediciones,1994); Adang, Muslim Writers on Judasm andthe Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996); Christine Schirrmacher,Mit den Waffen des Gegners: Christlich-muslimischeKontroversen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin:Klaus Schwarz, 1992); Isabel Stmpel-Hatami, DasChristentum aus der Sicht zeitgenssischer iranischerAutoren: Eine Untersuchung religionskundlicherPublikationen in persischer Sprache (Berlin: KlausSchwarz, 1996); Steven M. Wasserstrom, BetweenMuslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis underEarly Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1995).
viii Medieval Times
The Early Period ix
I Muslim Studies of Other Religions 1
1 The Early Period: 610650 3Jacques Waardenburg
2 The Medieval Period: 6501500 18Jacques Waardenburg
3 The Modern Period: 15001950 70Jacques Waardenburg
4 The Contemporary Period: 19501995 85Jacques Waardenburg
II Medieval Times 103
5 Christians in the Quran and Tafsir 105Jane Dammen McAuliffe
6 Arab-Islamic Perceptions of ByzantineReligion and Culture 122
Ahmad M. H. Shboul
7 Some Arab-Muslim Perceptions of Religionand Medieval Culture in Sicily 136
8 Medieval Muslim Polemics againstthe Jewish Scriptures 143
9 Heresiography of the Jewsin Mamluk Times 160
Steven M. Wasserstrom
10 Perceptions of Other Religionsin Sufism 181
11 Philosophical Schools as Viewedby Some Medieval Muslim Authors:Doctrines and Classifications 195
12 Zoroastrians as Viewedin Medieval Islamic Sources 202
J. Christoph Brgel
13 Representations of Social Intercoursebetween Muslims and Non-Muslimsin Some Medieval Adab Works 213
III Modern Times 225
14 Christianity as Described byPersian Muslims 227
15 Arabic Muslim Writings on ContemporaryReligions Other Than Islam 240
16 The Muslims in South Asia(18571947) 250
17 Muslim Views of Hindus since 1950 263Asghar Ali Engineer
18 The Influence of Higher Bible Criticismon Muslim Apologeticsin the Nineteenth Century 270
19 The Pancasila Ideology and an IndonesianMuslim Theology of Religions 280
Karel A. Steenbrink
20 The Debate on Muslim-Christian Dialogueas Reflected in Muslim Periodicalsin Arabic (19701991) 297
Selected Bibliography 309Jacques Waardenburg
The Early Period 310The Medieval Period 312The Modern Period 326The Contemporary Period 330Oriental Languages: Selected Modern
General Index 341
Muslim Author Index 349
In recent years, the ways in which artists, authors, andscholars have described people from cultures otherthan their own or in which one culture has viewedanother one have been attracting increasing scholarlyinterest. This interest is twofold: first to establishwhich aspects of the other culture were seen and de-scribed, and second, to determine the extent to whichthe views of that other culture reflect particular val-ues and ways of thinking that are specific to theauthors own culture or society.
The underlying question here is to what extent acertain openness toward people from other culturesexists among given groups or individuals, if they arewilling 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 amatter of the mind. It also has to do with intersocietalrelations generally, including economic and politicalrelations. But it is connected, too, with mans funda-mental need for communication and with his gift ofimagination.
Whereas Western views of Islam have receivedincreasing scholarly attention during the last decades,this is much less the case with Muslim views of othercultures and religions. Yet since its inception theMuslim civilization has been in continuous relation-ship with other cultures and civilizations. It extendsfrom the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and throughregions which have long been carriers of culture. As
a consequence, Muslims have come into contact withmany religions. One may think not only of variousforms of Christianity and Judaism inside and outsidethe Middle East but also of Zoroastrianism andManicheism, Hinduism, and even Buddhism, not tospeak of nonliterate religions in many parts of Asiaand Africa.
A number of texts have come down to us aboutthese cultures and their religions, written by Muslimtheologians and jurists, travelers and historians, andmen of letters, as well as other people of imagination.These texts testify to voluntary and involuntary meet-ings that have taken place between Muslims and otherpeoples. They are the sources of this book.
Part I, Muslim Studies of Other Religions, ismeant to open up this area as a field of research.Jacques Waardenburg surveys the fields broad out-lines and supplies information especially