Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ

The Fatimid Egyptian Convert Who Shaped Christian Views of Islam


Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ (ca. 955–ca. 1020) was a celebrated writer of Coptic Christianity from Fatimid Egypt. Born to an influential Muslim family in Cairo, Ibn Rajāʾ later converted to Christianity and composed The Truthful Exposer (Kitāb al-Wāḍiḥ bi-l-Ḥaqq) outlining his skepticism regarding Islam. His ideas circulated across the Middle East and the Mediterranean in the medieval period, shaping the Christian understanding of the Qurʾan’s origins, Muḥammad’s life, the practice of Islamic law, and Muslim political history. This book includes a study of Ibn Rajāʾ’s life, along with an Arabic edition and English translation of The Truthful Exposer.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
David Bertaina, PhD. (2007), The Catholic University of America, is Professor of History at the University of Illinois Springfield. He publishes on the history of Christian-Muslim encounters and the relationship of the Bible and Qurʾan, including the edited volume Heirs of the Apostles (Brill, 2019).
List of Figures
Note on Translation and Transliteration

Part 1 Study

1 The Life of Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ
 1 Introduction
 2 Ibn Rajāʾ and the Fatimid Era
 3 The Biography of Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ

2 The Context for Ibn Rajāʾ’s The Truthful Exposer
 1 Title, Date, and Audience: Copts and Muslims ca. 1009–1012
 2 Ibn Rajāʾ’s Intellectual Circles
 3 Ibn Rajāʾ on Muslim Conversion to Christianity

3 The Arguments and Sources of The Truthful Exposer
 1 Ibn Rajāʾ on the Qurʾan
 2 Ibn Rajāʾ on Muḥammad
 3 Ibn Rajāʾ on the Hadith
 4 Ibn Rajāʾ’s Use of Intra-Islamic Disputations
 5 Ibn Rajāʾ’s Use of Christian Arabic Sources

4 The Reception of The Truthful Exposer
 1 Literary Afterlife from the Mediterranean to Europe
 2 A Comparative Analysis of the Arabic and Latin Versions
 3 The Arabic Manuscripts and Notes

Part 2 The Truthful Exposer (Kitāb al-Wāḍiḥ bi-l-Ḥaqq)

Introduction: Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ’s Conversion and Purpose for Writing

1 On Divisions among Muslims: A Lack of Consensus about the Qurʾan and Interpretation

2 A Refutation of the Alleged Alteration of the Torah and the Gospel

3 On Muḥammad as a Prophet of the Sword; Anecdotes of Christians Living under Islam

4 On Those Who Converted to Islam in Fear of the Sword

5 On Musaylima the False Prophet and al-ʿAnsī

6 On Muḥammad’s Claim of How the Revelation Came to Him

7 On the Meaning of the Qurʾan: Different Texts and Readings (qirāʾāt) of the Qurʾan

8 On What Muslims Have Lost from the Qurʾan

9 On Their Agreement about Marwān Ibn al-Ḥakam’s Version

10 On the Authority of Interpreting the Qurʾan

11 On Inconsistencies and Repetitions in the Qurʾan

12 On the Subject of Mary the Copt

13 On Sexual Themes in the Qurʾan

14 On the Zayd Scandal

15 On the Repetition of Passages in the Qurʾan Taken from the Torah, Psalms, and Gospel

16 On the Inimitability of the Qurʾan

17 On the Audience for the Qurʾan and the Bible as a Source

18 On Contradictions in the Qurʾan

19 A Refutation of Muḥammad’s Alleged Favor over Other Prophets

20 A Refutation of Muḥammad’s Never Disbelieving or Worshipping Idols

21 A Refutation of Equating Jesus with Adam (Q 3:59)

22 A Response on the Anthropomorphizing of God in Christianity and the Qurʾan

23 A Response on the Union of Jesus Christ at the Incarnation

24 A Response on the Crucifixion of Christ (Q 4:157)

25 On the Destruction of the Kaʿba

26 On the Black Stone

27 On the Pilgrimage to Mecca

28 On the Sacrifice of Cattle and Camels

29 On Contradictions in the Qurʾan and Oral Traditions

30 On Marriage and Divorce in the Qurʾan; On Muḥammad’s Night Journey

31 Conclusion: Closing Exhortation

32 Appendix: Additional Contradictions in the Qurʾan

Index of The Truthful Exposer
Index of Biblical and Qurʾanic Citations
Index of People, Places, and Subjects
This book will appeal to academic libraries, specialists, and those interested in Christian-Muslim relations because it provides the first published Arabic text and English translation of this work as well as the first book-length study of Ibn Raja’ in the English language.
  • Collapse
  • Expand