ʿABD AL-ḤAQQ AL-ISLĀMĪ

ʿABD AL-ḤAQQ AL-ISLĀMĪ (end of 14th century), Jewish convert to Islam. 'Abd al-Ḥaqq was apparently a Moroccan Jew (the surname indicates a convert to Islam). We know next to nothing of his identity or his background. Towards the end of the 14th century, at the age of about 40, he converted to Islam. Sixteen years later he wrote a work in Arabic, The Sword Extended in Refutation of the Rabbis of the Jews, attacking the Jews and demonstrating the falsity of their beliefs. The text is an unsophisticated manual for disputations with Jews, and uses standard arguments of Islamic anti-Jewish polemic. ʿAbd al-Haqq claims that the dhimma , or contract, between Islam and the Jews has been abrogated by the Jews themselves, as they are no longer genuine monotheists. Mistreatment of the prophets by Jews of biblical times shows this, as does the introduction of post-biblical feasts. The transmission of their Scriptures from early times cannot be trusted, and they have introduced falsifications into the texts, as can be seen from the presence of anthropomorphic passages in the Bible. The books of the Jews, in particular the biblical texts, he asserts, should thus be censored. Nonetheless, like other polemicists (e.g., Samau'al al-Maghribī ), ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq is able to claim authenticity for the biblical text when it agrees with his case, and, making use of knowledge from his Jewish background, he appeals to gematria to show that Muhammad and Mecca are referred to in the Bible – thus, in Genesis 12:9, where Abraham is said to have gone "towards the south," hanegbah in Hebrew, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq points out that the numerical value of the letters in this word, 65, is the same as that of the letters in the name of the city of Mecca. By similar means he shows that king Ahab (in I Kings 20:6 and 22:35) was a believer in Muhammad. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Perlmann, "Abd al-Ḥakk al-Islamī, a Jewish Convert," in: JQR, New Series 31, (1940/41), 171–91; E. Alfonso (ed. and trans., with intro. and notes), Al-Sayf al-Mamdūd fial-radd 'ala ahbār al-Yahūd. Espada extendida para refutar a los sabios judios (1998). (David J. Wasserstein (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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