The history of the Islamic interaction with the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity has been studied extensively in academia. The prevailing view is that Muslims had hardly any religious appreciation to the Bible and when used by Muslims it was mainly in apologetic or polemical settings. The document presented here squarely contradicts such a view. The treatise argues for the permissiblity of using the Bible by Muslims for religious purposes. Al-Biqāʿī, the author of this treatise, wrote a huge Qurʾān commentary that used the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels to interpret parts of the Qurʾān. Al-Sakhāwī, a bitter enemy, opposed such a practice. The document preserves for us a fundamental argument inside Islam about the value of the Scriptures of other religions.
Walid A. Saleh, Ph.D. (2001) in Religious Studies, Yale University, is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto. He has published on the history of tafsīr, the Qurʾān and Islamic apocalyptic literature. His book
The Formation of the Classical Tafsīr Tradition was published by Brill in 2004.
“The publication of this treatise […] does do what al-Biqāʿī intended it to do: it invites us to begin studying al-Biqāʿī’s remarkable and voluminous commentary, not just as an instance of Muslim appreciation for the Bible, but as an important contribution to the commentarial tradition.”
David Vishanoff, in
Journal of the American Oriental Society, 129.2 (2009)
“Saleh’s critical edition of this treatise is a remarkable example in unearthing intellectual nuggets […].”
Amidu Olalekan Sanni in in
JOAS 20 (2011), 281-282.
This document is of interest to students of Islamic-Jewish and Islamic-Christian interaction as well as those interested in Islamic intellectual history.