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Early Islam between Myth and History

Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 110H/728CE) and the Formation of His Legacy in Classical Islamic Scholarship

Suleiman Mourad

This volume examines the process through which a historical character named al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī was transformed into a myth by several groups in medieval Islam. Al-Ḥasan lived in the city of Basra, southern Iraq, and was famed for his piety, which attracted to him a large number of disciples who went on to play important roles in the formation of several religious trends. The literary corpus (sayings, stories and letters) ascribed to him has been used as a window into early Islamic religious and intellectual thought. But as this study shows, this corpus was largely forged in different periods, in some cases even a thousand years after al-Ḥasan's death. It tells us more about the beliefs of those who forged the sayings, stories and letters rather than about al-Ḥasan's thought and time.

Meir M. Bar-Asher

Since the publication in 1921 of Ignaz Goldziher's Die Richtungen der islamischen Koransauslegung, which includes a discussion of Imāmī exegesis, no comprehensive work on this topic has appeared. In the intervening years, important Imāmī commentaries on the Qur’ān have become available, making possible a reappraisal of the subject. The present study aims to contribute to this task, primarily by examining the features and methods of Imāmī exegesis. Principally, it offers a description and analysis of the major tenets of Imāmī doctrine, as reflected in the earliest Imāmī works of exegesis and related sources, up to the Major Occultation of the twelfth Imam in 329/941. These include, among others, the belief in a primordial covenant between God and the Shī‘a, and the superhuman and mystical qualities with which the Imams were graced, such as their God-given, infinite knowledge, their intercession on behalf of their community, their immunity from sin and error, etc. Other tenets relate to the attitude of Imāmī Shī‘ism to its enemies, e.g. the duty to denigrate and dissociate from them. These and similar ideas are constant motifs in Imāmī exegesis, and are linked time and again with various Qur’ānic verses.
Relying on classical and modern Arabic sources, Sunnī and Shī‘ī alike, as well as on a wide range of western research, Meir Bar-Asher sheds new light on the Imāmī methods of exegesis and on the principal Imāmī doctrines as reflected in the early Imāmī exegetical corpus.

The Arabic Version of Ṭūsī's Nasirean Ethics

With an Introduction and Explanatory Notes


Joep Lameer

Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī’s (d. 672/1274) Nasirean Ethics is the single most important work on philosophical ethics in the history of Islam. Translated from the original Persian into Arabic in 713/1313, the present text was primarily intended for the Arabic-speaking majority of the people in Iraq. A fine example of medieval Persian-to-Arabic translation technique, this first edition carefully reproduces Middle Arabic elements that can be found throughout the text.


Edited by Robert McKim

Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity addresses fundamental and controversial questions raised by religious diversity. What are members of religious traditions to say about outsiders, their views, and their salvific status? And what are they to say about the religions of outsiders – about, say, whether those religions are inspired or salvifically effective or worthwhile or legitimate? Discussion of some Muslim, Christian, and Jewish perspectives is combined with more methodological work. The authors of these ground-breaking and original, yet readable and accessible, essays include established scholars and younger scholars whose reputation is growing.

Contributors are: Imran Aijaz, David Basinger, Paul Rhodes Eddy, Jerome Gellman, Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Eugene Korn, Daniel A. Madigan, Robert McKim, John Sanders, and Diego R. Sarrió Cucarella.

"Judaism, Christianity and Islam’s attitudes to other religions are thoughtfully examined in this collection, both with fine historical sensibility as well as original constructive contributions from leading scholars in the field. A series of helpful meta-reflections follow on: typologies in theology of religions; the act of comparison between traditions; and a plea for informed tolerance when difference is confronted. A rare treat: an edited collection that is of uniformly high quality, throwing immense light on the subject. It will help specialists and undergraduate students approaching the subject of religious pluralism." - Professor Gavin D’Costa, University of Bristol, September 2016.

Amr Osman

compromise their egalitarian views (p. 140). That misrepresentation takes various forms, such as presenting marginal views as having been dominant in the tradition, falsely attributing views to it, speaking vaguely or misleadingly about its diversity, or softening some of its common beliefs. What the first

Ghassan el Masri

-related matters in Islamic theology or even to give an externalist’s account of the sort of eschatological theologies present in Islam. In lange’s spirit, one may suggest here concept like “inaugurated eschatology” for certain historical applications of otherworldly beliefs in Islamic history such as in the Shīʿī

Michael L. Bevers

time where one can act unethically. All points in space and time become stages for ethical enactment. The enactment of ethics finds its foundation in three fundamentals. The first fundamental requirement is that ethics must be a lived experience mabdaʾ al-ishtighāl al-mubāshir . A system of belief

Mariam al-Attar

. Therefore, an action or behaviour would be considered wrong and prohibited because it is evil, not evil because it is prohibited. However, it must be mentioned that this does not contradict the belief that qabīḥ and ḥarām designate the same action. The Almighty explicitly states that He has endowed

A. Kevin Reinhart

Religions, and Comparative Ethics, this commonly-held belief that the Qurʾān is made up of rules poses a historiographical problem. Islam was arguably the first “world religion,” and it has proved a meaningful way to live in an astonishing set of geographical and sociological environments—urban and rural

Mohammad Fadel

probity of the earliest Muslim community, the Prophet’s closest companions, and his wives. (See Yusuf 2007, 76). Sunnīs were able to take this theologically tolerant and inclusive position because of their belief that the unity and continuity of the community was a result of its common adherence to the