The Manda Family: A Dynasty of Isfahani Scholars

In: Arabica


The Manda family was an important scholarly dynasty in Isfahan. From the beginning of the third century/ca 816 until the Mongol conquest of Isfahan in 632/1235-633/1236, its members were active in the fields of ḥadīṯ transmission and criticism, theology, and historiography. Despite its significance for the Ḥanbalī scholarly tradition, Āl Manda has remained marginal in the works of Western Islamicists during the last fifty years, whereas Muslim scholars have focused almost exclusively on the most prominent representative of the family, Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda (d. 395/1005), and, to a lesser extent, on his son, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (d. 470/1078). In this essay, I catalogue all members of the Manda family who are mentioned in Arabic bio-bibliographical sources. I study in detail the theological views of Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda and his son ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad, as well as Muḥammad b. Isḥāq’s contribution to the development of ḥadīṯ criticism.