ISLAM

The word conveys the sense of total and exclusive submission to Allah and is the name of the religion enunciated by the Prophet muhammad in the city of Mecca at the beginning of the seventh century C.E. An adherent of it is called a Muslim, a person who submits to Allah totally and exclusively. While the word is normally used in this sense, in traditional Muslim usage the word also denotes the ancient monotheistic faith associated with abraham . It is in this sense that Abraham is explicitly designated as Muslim in koran 3:67; the same designation is implicit for the Old Testament prophets and for Jesus as well. Liberal-minded modern Muslims tend to interpret this as a reflection of Muslim tolerance and recognition of the prophets of Judaism and Christianity; viewed from a different perspective, the idea may also be construed as an appropriation of Jewish and Christian religious history by Muslims. In contradistinction to other religions whose names were frequently given to them by outsiders (cf. W.C. Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion, (1963), 80–82), the name Islam is indigenous and appears in the Koran eight times; moreover, the Koran maintains that Allah himself approved of Islam (Koran 5:5) and it is " the religion in the eyes of Allah" (Koran 3:19). Conversely, "whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and he will be in the hereafter one of the losers" (Koran 3:85). Muslims use Islam as the only name for their religion; other names by which Islam has been known until recently in European languages – such as "Mohammedanism" or "Mahométanisme" – are totally unacceptable to them. Nevertheless, in medieval Muslim texts one   occasionally encounters expressions such as "Muhammadan way" (ṭarīqa muḥammadiyya) in a sense identical with Islam. In the literature of tradition, the terms Islam and Muslim are sometimes also given a more sublime significance; playing on the various meanings of the Arabic root s-l-m, a tradition says that "a Muslim is someone by whose hands and tongue the Muslims are not harmed" (al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, Kitāb alīmān, 4; ed. Krehl, vol. 1, 11). Recent interpretations according to which Islam is related to salām ("peace") seem to have no basis in traditional literature, though the linguistic root of the two words is identical. In the pre-Islamic period (called the era of barbarism and ignorance, al-Jāhiliyya), Arab inhabitants of the Peninsula believed in a multiplicity of gods but were not unaware of Allah whom they believed to be the strongest among these. In the Muslim tradition, this is called "associationism" (shirk), the belief that Allah has associates (shurakāʾ) in His divinity. These associates were believed to have an essential mediatory role between human beings and Allah. Muslim tradition maintains, nevertheless, that pre-Islamic Arabs understood that Allah was more powerful than all other gods and in times of extreme danger they placed their trust in Him alone, becoming, in a manner of speaking, "temporary monotheists" (cf. Koran 29:65–66, 31:22; Izutsu, God and Man, 102–103). In the Peninsula there were also Jewish and Christian communities. The Jews lived in the northern city of khaybar and in medina where the Prophet Muhammad was active from 622 C.E. until his death ten years later. The Christians inhabited the town of Najrān and also lived elsewhere: the Christian tribe of Taghlib lived first in the Najd region of the Peninsula and later on the lower Euphrates (M. Lecker, "Taghlib" EIS2, S.V.). Small Zoroastrian communities probably existed in the eastern part of the Peninsula. Islam developed out of polemics with these religious communities and a substantial part of Muslim belief and ritual can only be understood against this background. -"The Pillars of Islam" (arkān al-islām) In contradistinction to Judaism which speaks of 613 (taryag) commandments, the Muslim tradition does not keep count of the commandments incumbent on a Muslim. However, five of these have acquired a special standing in Islamic tradition. One of them is related to the manner in which an unbeliever embraces Islam, while the other four belong to the ritual aspect of the religion. Each of these commandments is mentioned several times in the Koran, but there they do not appear as a separate group. However, in the literature of prophetic tradition (ḥadīth ), the five commandments are grouped and designed as the pillars on which Islam stands. In the collection compiled by al-Bukhārī (d. 870 C.E.), we read: "Islam is built on five (pillars): Witnessing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and the performance of prayer, and giving of alms, and pilgrimage, and the fast of Ramaḍān" (al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, Kitāb al-īmān, 2; ed. Krehl, 1, 10). 1\. The double formula saying that "there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah" (called in Arabic shahāda ("witnessing"), kalima ("word"), or kalimat alikhlāṣ ("the word of exclusive devotion") does not appear in the Koran as one unit. Its first part appears with slight modifications several times. Koran 3:18 reads: "Allah witnessed that there is no god except Him." (Cf. Koran 2:255, 37:35 and elsewhere.) The second part appears only once, in Koran 48:29: "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another…" This formula is the most distinctive expression of Muslim monotheism and of the central position accorded in Islam to the Prophet Muhammad. It is an important part of worship, appearing in the call to prayer and in the prayer itself. It is also the formal requirement for joining the Muslim community. Like other Muslim rituals, this formula seems also to have undergone certain developments before reaching its final form. The tradition maintains that the first part of the shahāda, affirming the oneness of Allah, was sufficient to indicate the conversion of Arab polytheists to Islam because it is unambiguous in the rejection of their former belief in multiple gods. When the call to Islam was directed at Christians and Jews, this part of the shahāda was no longer sufficient: an affirmation of Allah's oneness by monotheist Jews or Christians does not indicate their conversion to Islam because Christians and Jews may identify with the first part of the shahāda without changing their religious affiliation. For a Jew or a Christian, therefore, the acknowledgment of Muhammad's prophethood was considered essential. And since some Jewish groups were willing to acknowledge Muhammad's prophethood but restricted its validity to Arabs alone (see Y. Erder, "The Doctrine of Abū Īsā al-Isfahānī and Its Sources," in: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 20 (1996), 162–99), Jews and Christians were obliged – according to some traditions – not only to pronounce the double shahāda, but also unequivocally to renounce their former faiths. 2\. Prayer (ṣalāt): Pre-Islamic Arabs did not observe an obligatory daily routine which could be seen as an inspiration for the Islamic prayer. It is therefore significant to observe that ṣalāt ("prayer") is an Aramaic loan word which means bowing or prostration. Nevertheless, prayer is mentioned as an obligation of the believer already in the Meccan period of the Koran (Koran 108:1–2; 107:4–5). It seems that in the first stage of the development, the Prophet spoke of two daily prayers: in the evening and at dawn. Koran 17:80 enjoins the Muslims to "perform the prayer at the sinking of the sun to the darkening of the night and the recital of dawn (Koran alfajr)…." Later developments in this field are not very clear, but it appears that after the hijra to medina an additional prayer, called the "middle" one, was added when the Koran says: "Be watchful over the prayers and the middle prayer…" (Koran 2:239). The "middle prayer" is variously explained as the noon or the afternoon prayer. If we assume that the prayers mentioned in the first part of the verse are the two prayers which had been referred to in   the Meccan period, we reach the conclusion that after the hijra the number of prayers reached three. Though there is no hard evidence to substantiate this notion, some scholars tend to speculate that this happened under the influence of the Jews with whom the Prophet came into contact in Medina. The number of the Muslim prayers eventually reached five, but we do not know exactly when this development took place. There is some evidence to suggest that during the umayyad period in syria the number of the obligatory prayers was not generally known, and at the time of the Umayyad caliph ʿOmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (r. 717–720 C.E.) the proper time for prayer was not known either (Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 2, 39–40). As for the reasons why the Muslims eventually decided on the number of five daily prayers, these are not clear. Goldziher maintains that the number was influenced by the Zoroastrian tradition which had five daily prayers. Islamic tradition connects the establishment of the five prayers with Muhammad's miraculous nocturnal journey to heaven (isrāʾ, miʿrāj). According to this tradition, Allah intended to impose on the Muslim community 50 daily prayers, but after some negotiations (which Muhammad conducted with Allah in compliance with the advice of Moses), the number was reduced to five. The tradition maintains, however, that these five prayers have the value of fifty. In any case, post-Koranic Muslim tradition established five daily prayers: morning (fajr), noon (ẓuhr), afternoon (ʿaṣr), evening (maghrib), and night (isha). Before each prayer it is necessary to perform an ablution (wuḍu), which involves washing the hands up to the elbows, rinsing the mouth and nose, and washing the feet including the ankles. If water is not available, sand may be used; in this case the procedure is called tayammum (Koran 5:8–9). In preparation for the Friday prayer washing the entire body (ghusl) is required. The prayer itself consists of a prescribed sequence of bodily movements (rakʿa), including bending, standing, prostration, and half-kneeling, half sitting. The only texts which are essential for the prayer being valid are the formula Allāhu Akbar and the Fātiḥa, the opening chapter of the Koran. Three elements associated with Muslim prayer will serve as an illustration of the idea that Islam developed out of polemics with, and attempts to differentiate itself from, Judaism and Christianity. As is well known, Muslims now pray barefoot. However, there is evidence to suggest that in the early days of Islam, Muslims prayed with their shoes on. This was recommended, even enjoined, in order to distinguish between Muslims and Jews who are said to have prayed barefoot. The second element is the adhān, the call preceding each prayer. The tradition maintains that in the beginning the Prophet used a horn "like the horn of the Jews" for this purpose. Later he disliked this and ordered the clapper (nāqūs) to be used to summon the believers, in emulation of Eastern Christians. Eventually, ʿOmar b. al-Khaţţāb, the second caliph, had a vision in which he was told: "Do not use the clapper, rather call to prayer (with human voice)." In this way the characteristic Muslim call to prayer is said to have emerged. This call now consists of pronouncing the formula "Allahu Akbar" four times, the shahāda twice, the formula "come to prayer, come to success" twice, "Allahu Akbar" twice again, and, finally, the shahāda. The development of the Muslim direction of prayer (qibla) is the most famous reflection of the progressive dissociation of Islam from Judaism. The Muslim direction of prayer underwent several changes. The relevant traditions are reasonably clear, but there is no way to verify their historicity. Koran 2:216, considered by some commentators to be abrogated, seems to belittle the importance of the direction of prayer, saying that "To God belong the East and the West; wherever you turn, there is the face of God." On the other hand, we have three traditions concerning the direction of prayer in Mecca before Muhammad's migration to Medina in 622. According to one of them, in Mecca the Prophet faced the Kaʿba while praying; according to another, he faced Jerusalem; according to a third, which constitutes an attempt to harmonize between the first two ones, he faced Jerusalem, but took care to have the Kaʿba on the straight line between himself and Jerusalem. In this way, the tradition maintains, he faced both sanctuaries. Regarding the period of the Prophet's sojourn in Medina (622–632 C.E.), the tradition is unanimous and maintains that for the first 16 or 18 months of his stay in Medina, the Prophet and the Muslims with him prayed toward Jerusalem; this is why Jerusalem came to be known in Islam as "the first qibla and the third sanctuary" (after Mecca and Medina) (ūlā al-qiblatayn wa thālith al-ḥaramayn). There is no record of a divine command to do this; nevertheless, some commentators think that such a command was issued, while others maintain that praying in the direction of Jerusalem was the Prophet's own decision. Some suggest that the Prophet was commanded to pray toward Jerusalem "in order to conciliate the Jews." Frequently we read that at some point in time the Prophet became averse to this direction of prayer, and Koran 2:150, which commands the Muslims to pray in the direction of Mecca, was revealed in response to the Prophet's desire. The change of the qibla to Mecca introduced a crucial Arabian element into Islam and was a major step in its disengagement from Judaism. The five daily prayers may be performed in public or in private, though according to the tradition public prayer is always preferable. The only prayer which must always be performed in public is the noon prayer on Friday (jumʿa). Naturally, no congregational prayer was held before the hijra in Mecca because of the precarious position of the few Meccan Muslims in that period. Though there are some references to the jumʿa prayer in Medina before the hijra, it is clear that the jumʿa prayer acquired its central standing in Muslim ritual in the Medinan period of the Prophet's career. The choice of Friday as the Muslim day of congregational prayer was explained in various ways. Some thought that it was just to differentiate Islam from Judaism and Christianity; but this argument is good for any day except Saturday and Sunday. A classical tradition observes that although the Jews and the   Christians were given their holy books before the Muslims, the Muslims precede them in their day of prayer, in order to do them justice. The most widely accepted scholarly explanation was given by S.D. Goitein ("The Origin and Nature of the Muslim Friday Worship," Studies in Islamic history and institutions (1968), 111–25). Goitein suggests that Friday was chosen because on that day the Jews of Medina used to prepare provisions for the Sabbath; because of this Friday became a market day on which not only the inhabitants of Medina, but also the inhabitants of the adjacent areas assembled in the city and engaged in commerce. Since Koran 62:9–11 clearly says that commercial activity must cease when the call to prayer is sounded, this explanation sounds convincing. The Friday prayer is the only prayer during which a sermon (khuṭba) is delivered. The sermon normally includes praise of Allah, a prayer for the Prophet, exhortation to good deeds, and a chapter from the Koran. It is also customary to mention the ruler. This custom has great political importance: it is a symbol of the worshipers' allegiance to the government in power. Mentioning the ruler's name in the sermon is considered indicative of the preacher's (and the congregation's) political loyalty, while its omission is considered a symbol of rebellion. Mutatis mutandis, sermons are at times used for political statements in the modern period as well. Religiously speaking, Friday is not a day of rest like the Jewish Sabbath. As is clear from Koran 62:9–11, work is prohibited only during the prayer itself; after the prayer is concluded, all activities may be resumed. Nevertheless, Friday has acquired in Islam the characteristics of a holiday and is the official day of rest in many Muslim states. 3\. Pilgrimage (ḥajj): In contradistinction to prayer, the Muslim pilgrimage has clear antecedents in the pre-Islamic period. Muslim tradition maintains that pre-Islamic Arabs performed pilgrimage to the Kaʿba in Mecca, which was then a pagan place of worship, with images of idols. The transformation of the Kaʿba into a Muslim sanctuary and of the pilgrimage into a Muslim ritual necessitated an infusion of monotheistic elements into the history of both. This was achieved by describing the pilgrimage as a ritual which had begun long before Arabian idolatry came into being and was a part of the ancient monotheistic religion associated with Abraham "who was neither a Jew nor a Christian but a ḥanīf Muslim and was not of the idolaters" (Koran 3:67). According to the Koranic account, Abraham was the man who built the Kaʿba together with his son Ishmael and made it into a pure place of worship (Koran 2:125, 3:95–97). Hence the Kaʿba, an idolatrous sanctuary in the pre-Islamic period, became the holiest place in Islam. The way was now open for the next step, transformimg the pilgrimage to Mecca into an Islamic commandment: "It is the duty of all people to come to the House as pilgrim, if he is able to make his way there" (Koran 3:97). Thus the pilgrimage is a case in which Islam did not abolish a pre-Islamic ritual, but rather filled it with new content and significance. The identity of the Muslim rituals with the pre-Islamic ones caused misgivings among some early believers and at least in one case a special revelation was needed to give legitimacy to such a ritual. The pilgrimage is held annually in the month of Dhū al-Ḥijja, the last month of the Islamic year. It is obligatory for every Muslim once in a lifetime, if he has the means to perform it. At the outskirts of Mecca, the pilgrims enter into the state of sacredness (iḥrām), symbolized by the white, seamless garment worn during the pilgrimage. The uniform clothing is understood as symbolizing the equality of all believers. When the pilgrim reaches Mecca, he starts the ritual by circumambulating the Kaʿba seven times (ṭawāf). Then he covers seven times the distance between the hills of al-Safā and al-Marwa (saʿy). This is understood as commemorating Hagar's search of water for her son Ishmael. The collective rituals, so characteristic of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, begin on the 8th of Dhū al-Ḥijja, when the pilgrims set out for the plain of ʿArafāt, east of Mecca. On the 9th of the month the pilgrims stand there and listen to a sermon at the time of the noon-prayer. This is the central ritual of the pilgrimage (wuqūf). On the way back to Mecca, the pilgrims throw stones at Minā; this is meant to symbolize the stoning of the devil. On the 10th, 11th, and 12th of the month the Feast of Sacrifice (ʿīd al-aḍḥā) is celebrated. The sacrifice of an animal is obligatory on every free Muslim who can afford it. After this, the pilgrims return to Mecca and can come out of their state of sacredness. The pilgrimage has acquired tremendous importance in Islam. It allows millions of Muslims from all parts of the world to meet, exchange ideas, and get acquainted with each other. The pilgrimage is therefore an extraordinary event: in recent years, about two million Muslims participate in it. It gives the Muslims a sense of belonging to a large, universal community and strengthens the feeling of unity in the Muslim world. 4\. Fasting (ṣawm): The development of the Muslim commandment of fasting began with the migration of the Prophet to Medina in 622, when the Prophet instructed the Muslims to fast the ʿāshūrāʾ (cf. ʿasor, Lev. 16:29) on the 10th of Muḥarram, the first month in the Muslim calendar. One version of this tradition maintains that this was in emulation of, or in competition with, the Day of Atonement. Other traditions deny any Jewish connection and hold that the ʿāshūrāʾ commemorates the saving of Noah during the flood, or a fast observed by the tribe of Quraysh in the pre-Islamic period. In 2 A.H./624 C.E., Koran 2:185 was revealed, instituting the month of Ramaḍān as the month of fasting, from sunrise to sunset. This is another example of the progressive dissociation of Islam from the Jewish tradition. Henceforth, ʿāshūrāʾ was downgraded to a voluntary fast, but there are indications for its persistence into the Muslim period. Later the fast of ʿāshūrāʾ merged with the Shīʿī commemoration of the death of al-Hūsayn, the Prophet's grandson, in Karbalāʾ in 680 C.E. Throughout Ramaḍān, the believer must refrain from food, drink, and sexual relations during the daytime. Imsāk is the beginning of the fast at dawn, while ifţār signifies the breaking of the fast after sunset. Unrelated to Ramaḍān is fasting of various durations as expiation for failing to fulfill   an oath (Koran 5:92), for repudiating a wife in a forbidden way (ẓihār, Koran 58:4), for failing to perform the pilgrimage rituals properly (Koran 2:196), or for an accidental killing of a believer (Koran 4:91). 5\. Alms-giving (zakā). The pre-Islamic secular value of generosity was transformed into mandatory almsgiving in Islam. In the early Sūras of the Koran, the commandment is phrased in very general terms (Koran 13:24–26). In the late Medinan period, the tone is much more specific and the purposes for which the collected money may be used are specified: "The alms are for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives, and the debtors, and for the sake of Allah and for the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah" (Koran 9:60). Those "whose hearts are to be reconciled" are understood to be people who needed economic incentive to join Islam, while "for the sake of Allah" is interpreted as the jihād (q.v.). This suggests that the Prophet used the alms money not only as help for the needy, but also for political purposes. According to some prophetic traditions, the payment of the alms "purifies" the property retained by the payer. The Qur'an does not specify the amount to be paid as alms. Koran 2:219 seems to indicate that one should give as alms whatever is his surplus (for details on this in Islamic law, see A. Zysow, "Zakāt," EIS2, 11, 406–22). -The Expansion of Islam The first wave of conquests by Muslim Arabs, completed at the beginning of the eighth century C.E., included the Fertile Crescent, iran , egypt , North Africa, spain , the western fringes of india , and some parts of Central Asia. From the 10th century Turkish people originating on the steppes between the Caspian Sea and the Altai mountains became increasingly important as political and military champions of Islam. The conquest of South Asia (comprising today India, pakistan , and Bangladesh) began with the Indian campaigns of Maḥmūd Ghaznawī in the early 11th century, and was almost completed by the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th. The conversion of the mongols to Islam which began in the 13th century significantly extended the boundaries of Islam. The manner in which Islam came to South East Asia has not been satisfactorily described so far, but it is clear that it was not by way of conquest. The presence of Muslims in the Indonesian archipelago has been attested since the late 13th century. Muslim merchants and mystics are normally credited with bringing Islam to these areas. It is clear that Muslim conquests and the establishment of Muslim dynasties are not coterminous with the spread of Islam among the population and that the former aspects of Muslim history are known much better than the processes by which Islam became the religion of a substantial part of Asian and African populations. The number of Muslims was estimated in 2000 at 1,262 million, 77% of these living in countries where the majority of the population is Muslim. The largest concentration of Muslim population is found in the three countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) which are home to 384.3 million Muslims. Indonesia is the largest single Muslim political unit, with 212.1 million Muslims. The Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa (including the Sudan) and the Middle East comprise 257 million Muslims. Turkey follows with 66.5 million, Iran with 62.2 million, the five Muslim states of Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kirgyzstan, and Kazakhstan) with 41.5 million, and Afghanistan with 22.5 million. In Africa 58.9 million Muslims live in West Africa (south of the Sahara) and 47.1 in East Africa. The Muslim minority of China is estimated at 19.2 million, of Russia at 14.7 million, and of Europe (including the Balkans, France, and the U.K.) at 8.1 million. The number of Muslims in the U.S. and Canada is put at 2 million, although some Muslim organizations in the U.S. speak of 6 million Muslims in the U.S. alone. Reference to religion in demographic statistics is not universal, and these figures must therefore be viewed with caution. It is estimated that the number of Muslims will reach 1.8 billion by 2025; the Muslims are then expected to form almost a quarter of the global population. -General Characteristics The general character of Islam is determined by two main factors: its foundational literature and its global expansion. The foundational literature – including the Koran, the prophetic tradition (ḥadīth), the jurisprudence (fiqh ) and mysticism (taṣawwuf) – should be seen as unifying factors. The global expansion of Islam, the diverse conditions in the various areas, the different degrees to which the classical sources of Islam were internalized, the different degrees of modernization – all these explain the distinct characteristics of Islam in various areas of the world. In addition to its fierce monotheism, the universal, global appeal of Islam seems to be its most conspicuous general feature. It is based on the firm belief that in contradistinction to all other prophets who had been sent to specific communities, Muhammad was sent to all humanity. Furthermore, Muhammad is considered the last prophet to be sent to earth. Consequently, Islam and the Koran – the consummate embodiment of the divine will – will remain valid until the end of days: no prophet will ever be sent in order to bring another revelation or another sacred law. Therefore, Islam does not countenance the establishment of any new religion after the coming of Muhammad. Also, the Koran is considered to be the only scripture which was transmitted reliably and suffered no interpolation, while the Torah and the New Testament had allegedly been tampered willfully by the Jews and the Christians (taḥrīf). As a result of these and similar considerations, Muslims are "the best community ever brought forth to mankind" (Koran 3:110), and "Islam is exalted and nothing is exalted above it" (al-Islām yaʿlū wa lā yuʿ (al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, Kitāb al-janāʾiz 80; ed. Krehl, 1, 337–38). The idea of Islamic exaltedness has numerous ramifications for the relationship between Islam and other faiths (Friedmann, Tolerance and Coercion, 34–39).   The Muslim ideas relevant to this relationship have been subject to significant changes since the earliest period of Islam. Even the Koran includes divergent ideas about the relationship between Islam and other religions. On the one hand, it includes verses which seem to promise divine reward for the Jews and the Christians without mentioning their conversion to Islam as a precondition (Koran 2:62; cf. 5:69). On the other hand, it speaks about the humiliation inflicted upon them (Koran 2:61, 3:112), instructs the Muslims not to forge alliances with them (Koran 5:51), and calls upon the Muslims to fight them "until they pay the poll-tax (jizya ) out of hand while being humiliated (Koran 9:29). These and verses of similar import have been extensively commented upon in Muslim tradition and jurisprudence. The Muslim attitude to the Jews and Christians gradually moved from an initial conciliatory approach in the direction of increased rigor. (See Friedmann, Tolerance and Coercion, 194–99.) The Koran and the prophetic tradition (ḥadīth) (q.v.) constitute the major unifying factors in Islam. The Koran is considered to be the literal word of Allah. Muslim theologians debated whether it has existed since all eternity and is uncreated (ghayr makhlūq), or was created (makhlūq) at a certain point in time. Perceived as divine in origin, its style is considered inimitable (muʿjiz) in the sense that no human being is capable of producing a book of so sublime a stylistic standard. This is the dogma known as iʿjāz al-Koran, the idea that the Koran renders human beings unable to imitate it. The distinctive character of Koranic style is unmistakable; from the secular vantage point it may derive from the fact that the Koran is the only extant literary work from seventh-century Arabia. In any case, the Koran has always been the subject of boundless veneration by Muslims. Although the Koran considers itself as "a book in which there is no doubt" (Koran 2:2) and as a revelation in "clear Arabic language" (Koran 26:195), many verses are difficult to understand and the book has inspired a vast literary corpus of exegesis (tafsīr). Once the meaning of a verse was agreed upon by mainstream exegetes, the accepted meaning acquired an uncontested normative value in Muslim law and piety. The prophetic tradition (hadīth) has developed out of the conviction that a pious Muslim should emulate the Prophet in whatever he did, recall whatever he said, and even keep a record of things which gained his tacit approval. This attitude is based on the firm conviction that Muhammad possessed a perfect personality and should be treated with utmost respect. Any action which is judged incompatible with this basic idea is rejected with great severity. Therefore, one of the most meritorious actions which a Muslim can do is to revive a custom of the Prophet (sunna) which for some reason fell into disuse. The customs of the Prophet were recorded in the ḥadīth which has become a major part of Muslim religious literature, a major source of Muslim law and an important vehicle through which later generations could influence the development of Islam. The desire to emulate the Prophet brought about a tremendous proliferation of the ḥadīth, which soon became an extensive branch of Muslim religious literature. According to the traditional Muslim view, a considerable part of the hadīth, which has a reliable chain of transmitters and thus can pass the traditional test of authenticity, was actually pronounced by the Prophet and has therefore a normative value second only to the Koran itself. Modern scholarship, on the other hand, maintains that the authenticity of this material is unverifiable: since we have no extant books of hadīth from the lifetime of the Prophet, there is no reliable method which can establish whether a certain saying was pronounced by the Prophet, or originated in a later period and was attributed to the Prophet in order to prove a point of law or an idea in the religious thought of a Muslim group. In some cases it is possible to discern the religious tendency or political interest embedded in a tradition; but in the countless traditions of general ethical content lacking a point of historical reference this is frequently impossible. In the brilliant formulation of goldziher , whose study of the hadīth, written in the late 19th century, is still an indispensable masterpiece, "the hadīth will not serve as a document for the history of the infancy of Islam, but rather as a reflection of the tendencies which appeared in the community during the maturer stages of its development. It contains invaluable evidence for the evolution of Islam during the years when it was forming itself into an organized whole from powerful mutually opposed forces. This makes the proper appreciation and study of the hadīth so important for the understanding of Islam in the evolution of which the most notable phases are accompanied by successive stages in the creation of the hadīth " (Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, 19). The third unifying factor is Islamic jurisprudence (sharīʿa , fiqh ). From the very beginning, Islam strove to control the life of the community in all fields. Like Judaism, Islam is not satisfied with regulating man's obligation toward God, but also aspires to regulate his daily behavior and legislates in matters which in other cultures belong to the field of civil or secular law. Legal matters do not constitute a major part of the Koran, though topics such as the law of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and penalties for a restricted number of transgressions (theft, highway robbery, wine drinking, unlawful sexual intercourse and false accusation thereof) are discussed in some detail. Beginning in the last decades of the 8th century C.E., major compendia of Muslim jurisprudence began to emerge. Numerous schools of legal thinking (madhhab, pl. madhāhib) came into being in the formative period of Islam. Four of them (Ḥanafis, Ḥanbalīs, Mālikīs, and Shāfiʿīs) survived and are regarded as valid versions of the religious law of Islam. The Ḥanafī school, which originated in the Iraqi city of Kūfa, is the most widespread. It was the dominant school in the Abbāsid empire, in the ottoman empire , in the Moghul empire in India and in Central Asia. The Mālikīs school was predominant in Muslim Spain, and still is in North Africa. The Shāfiʿīs school is deeply rooted in Egypt and has many adherents in the Fertile Crescent. The Ḥanbalīs have official status in saudi arabia and numerous adherents elsewhere.   While the division into schools of law may indicate some measure of diversity, the common denominator between the schools is more than sufficient to consider the law as a unifying factor in Islam. The law is administered by a judge (qāḍī), sometimes assisted by a legal specialist authorized to issue legal opinions (fatwā pl. fatāwā). The formative period of Islam was characterized by immense worldly success. The great conquests of the first century of Muslim history, in which Muslims took control of vast areas in the Middle East, in the western fringes of India, in Central Asia, in North Africa and in the Iberian peninsula, transformed the history of these regions and brought them under the aegis of Islam. Later expansion and conquests did the same for other areas of the world. The chronicles of the early conquests abound in descriptions of the wealth accumulated in the course of these events, and the conquerors do not seem to have had any qualms about the riches which they amassed. Mainstream Islam legitimized this and regulated the ways in which booty may be taken and used. This reflects a positive approach of Islam to worldly success (cf. Smith, Islam in Modern History, 22–23). Yet at the same time, one can discern in early Islam a completely different trend of thought: a trend which is contemplative, stresses the uselessness of this world and sees it only as a corridor through which one must pass, but which has no real value when compared with the everlasting bliss promised to the believers in the hereafter. This was the attitude of early Muslim ascetics (zuhhād, sg. zāhid) who spared no effort to revile this world, to describe it as "a corpse pursued by dogs," as a place of unbearable stench, a place which is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the infidel. These were the precursors of the Ṣūfī movement (see sufism ) which developed into a major trend in Muslim religiosity. Since the 10th century C.E., Ṣūfi thinkers produced numerous manuals in which they described the path (ţarīqa) to God and which served as guides on the seeker's (murīd) way to spiritual perfection. These manuals, of which "The book of (mystical) flashes in Ṣūfism" (Kitāb allumaʿ fī al-taṣawwuf) by Abū Naṣr al-Sarrāj (d. 988 C.E.) is a prime example, surveys the practices and modes of thinking of the Ṣūfīs. The book speaks about the standing of the Ṣūfīs among the believers and reaches the conclusion that they are more assiduous than others in observance and do not try to avoid the inconvenient commandments by seeking allegorical explanations and legal evasions. Thus, they not only obey the letter of the law, but go beyond it and reach degrees of religiosity which can not be attained by jurists and others. They leave aside all irrelevant matters and cut every connection which may interfere with attaining their objective, which is God alone. The book also describes in great detail the spiritual stages on the Ṣūfīʾs way to God. In a later stage, from the 12th century onward, the Ṣūfīs were not only individuals exploring divine mysteries, but also organized themselves into Ṣūfī orders (ţuruq, sg. ţarīqa) which spread all over the Muslim world from the Maghrib in the West to Indonesia in the East. These orders developed around Ṣūfī masters (shuyūkh, sg. shaykh, or pīr in the eastern part of the Muslim world). These orders were of considerable importance in the life of the Muslim communities everywhere. It stands to reason that participation in the Ṣūfī ritual, such as the communal dhikr (the constant repetition of God's name), gave the common man a spiritual satisfaction unachievable by other means. Trimmingham (The Ṣūfī Orders, 229) sees a similarity between the spiritual role of a Ṣūfī order and that of a local church in Europe; another possible comparison is with the Ḥasidic movement in Judaism. While the orders developed numerous disparate characteristics in the various parts of the Muslim world, the similarities between them are sufficient to include Ṣūfīsm among the unifying factors of Islam. The more unified picture of Islam can be found in Islamic literature, while its diversity can be most profitably studied in anthropological research. Anthropological fieldwork in various areas of the Muslim world has revealed numerous characteristics which show the extent to which Islam was influenced by local cultures, especially in rural areas. In almost every Muslim house in the Indian district of Purnea a little shrine existed in which prayers were offered both to Allah and to the Indian goddess Kālī. In the same place, a part of the Muslim marriage ceremony was conducted in a shrine of the goddess Bhagvatī (Mujeeb, The Indian Muslims, 13–14). There is substantial literature about the existence of caste system among Indian Muslims, despite the classical Islamic principle of equality of all believers (Ahmad, Caste and Social Stratification…). Geertz (Islam observed, 66) maintains that in Indonesia, "the mass of the peasantry remained devoted to local spirits, domestic rituals and familiar charms. … Christians and pagans apart, all these people, gentry and peasantry alike, conceived themselves to be Muslims." Muslims for whom the classical literature of Islam is the only guide as to what constitutes Islam will probably consider such phenomena as cases of incomplete Islamization; but, of course, there is no guarantee that the Muslims in question will ever be transformed into believers conforming to the ideal of Islam as embodied in the classical tradition. -Modern Islam Barring a few exceptions, classical and medieval Muslim thought developed against the background of a dominant Muslim civilization. Both in the formative period of Islam and in the later pre-modern centuries, Muslim thinkers were active in areas which were part of secure and relatively stable political systems, headed by Muslim rulers. This situation began to change with the first Western incursions into the Muslim world and with the gradually developing sense that Islam had lost its erstwhile primacy in its relationship with other civilizations. The reaction of Muslim thinkers to this evolving situation was manifold. During the second half of the 19th century, the Muslim modernist movement came into being. In Egypt, the prominent intellectual figure was that of Muhammad ʿAbduh (1849–1905). At various times, he was teacher, journalist, and judge; his career culminated between 1899 and   1905, when he served as the muftī of Egypt. His leading ideas included the insistence on the compatibility of Islam with reason and modern science, since the Koran encouraged the study of the physical universe; the preference of reason when it conflicts with traditional knowledge; rejection of the blind following of the tradition (taqlīd); and the revitalization of independent reasoning (ijtihād). He also maintained that the restrictions placed in Islam on polygamy (the obligation to treat the wives with equality and justice; cf. Koran 4:3) are such that they amount to prohibition, and advocated the education of girls. Among his numerous followers, mention should be made of Qāsim Amīn (1865–1908), who became famous because of his advocacy of women's rights, and ʿAlīʿAbd al-Rāziq (1888–1966), who maintained that Islam "is a religion, not a state" (dīn lā dawla). In other words, and in contradistinction to the prevalent view, he advocated the separation of religion and state in Islam. This idea aroused serious opposition and caused him to be expelled from the ranks of the ʿulamāʾ and from his position as a religious judge. In the Indian subcontinent, the modernist movement was launched by Sir Sayyid Aḥmad Khān (1817–1898). Having been knighted for his loyal behavior during the Indian uprising of 1857, he devoted his life to the improvement of the Indian Muslims' relationship with the British rulers and to the advancement of modern education among Indian Muslims. In 1875 he established (with British support) the Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College, which came to be known since 1920 as Aligarh Muslim University, and served as an important Muslim institution of higher learning in which modern science was taught alongside the humanities. He promoted the idea that there can be no contradiction between the word of God and laws of nature which are God's doing. Therefore, there can be no contradiction between the Koran, Islam, and the laws of nature, and there can be no objection in Islam to the study of modern Western sciences. Aḥmad Khān also devoted considerable effort to the demythologizing of Islam and interpreting its leading ideas as conforming to human intellect. In his attempt to improve the relationship between Islam and Christianity, he disagreed with the classical Muslim accusation that Christians and Jews had falsified the Scriptures, maintained that the books of the Bible are to be considered genuine and denounced the Indian Muslim custom of refusal to dine with Christians. Like Muhammad ʿAbduh, he maintained that Islam actually prohibited polygamy by insisting on the equal treatment of all wives, an attitude of which men are emotionally incapable. Sayyid Aḥmad Khān's views found support among numerous Indian Muslim thinkers. Chirāgh ʿAlī (1844–1895) devoted much attention to the interpretation of jihād and argued that "all wars of Mohammad were defensive." He argued that "there are certain points in which the Mohammadan Common Law is irreconcilable with the modern needs of Islam, whether in India or Turkey, and requires modification. The several chapters of the Common Law, as those on political institutes, slavery, concubinage, marriage, divorce, and disabilities of non-Moslem fellow-subjects are to be remodeled and rewritten in accordance with the strict interpretations of the Koran…." He also opposed the blind following (taqlīd) of the Islamic schools of jurisprudence which were "never intended to be either divine or finite." It may be said that Chirāgh ʿAlī was one of the most radical reformers in Indian Islam. His definition of the sharīʿa as "common law" which may be changed by human intervention is a major departure from traditional norms. The most famous among Indian Muslim modernists was Muhammad Iqbal (1875–1938). A poet, a philosopher and a political thinker – he is a towering figure among the Indian Muslims in the 20th century. He enjoyed immense popularity among the Indian Muslims, mainly because of his powerful and compelling poetry in Urdu and Persian, although his philosophical and political ideas also played a role in the development of his popularity. His Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, which reflects his Islamic upbringing as well as his knowledge of European philosophy, is the most systematic formulation of his thought, though some of the arguments proffered in it are not clear. A substantial part of this work is dedicated to the description of Islam as a dynamic force in human history and to the analysis of the reasons which caused its stagnation in modern times. In Iqbal's view, the stagnation of Islam was caused by several reasons. One is the failure of the Muʿtazila which he considers a rationalist school of thought. Like other modernists, Iqbal is severely critical of Ṣūfism which preferred other-worldliness and caused the Muslims to neglect the concrete world which had been, in his view, at the center of the Koran's attention. He maintains, however, that Islam is capable of renewal and maintains that the belief in the finality of Muhammad's prophethood is a powerful intellectual tool that can be used for this purpose. In contradistinction to the classical interpretation, which used this belief as a proof of the eternal validity of the Koran and of Islamic law, Iqbal maintains that "in Islam prophecy reached its perfection in discovering the need for its own abolition." Finality of prophethood means that after the completion of Muhammad's mission nobody can ever claim personal authority of supernatural origin. Man has reached a stage in which he can open new horizons without being hampered by any constraints. The ideal believer is, therefore characterized by creativity, vitality, abhorrence of stagnation, and love of perpetual movement. Together with the use of the reinterpretation of Islamic law (ijtihād), these are the qualities which can revitalize Islam and restore its original dynamic character. The modernist movement, which aimed at bringing Islam into conformity with the modern world and was characteristic of Islamic thought in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, gradually lost its primacy and was replaced by radical trends of thought. Driven by the acute sense that modernity failed to deliver on its promise and stands in sharp contrast with the traditional Islamic ideal, radical Muslim thinkers, such as Abū al-Aʿlā Mawdūdī (1903–1979) in India and Sayyid Quţb (1906–1966) in Egypt,   initiated scathing attacks on the modernist approach. A central component of these attacks has been a categorical rejection of modern Western civilization which is seen as corrupt, licentious, irreligious and dangerous for Islam. The leitmotif of Mawdūdī's thought is that all sovereignty in the world belongs to God alone; no other source of authority, such as the will of the people, or laws promulgated by elected legislative assemblies is legitimate. In 1941, Mawdūdī juxtaposed obedience to divine law – which is Islam – with obedience to man-made laws and customs; the latter he called Jāhiliyya, a term traditionally used for the pre-Islamic, pagan period in Arab history. When Pakistan was established in 1947, Mawdūdī (and the "Islamic Group," Jamāt-i Islāmī organization which he founded) immersed himself in a struggle to enhance as much as possible the Islamic characteristics of the newly established state. While he saw himself as the vanguard of opposition to things modern and desirous of implementing the classical ideal of Islam, in many details modern ideas and modern conditions influenced his understanding of the ideal. Sayyid Quţb, the leader of the Muslim Brethren in Egypt (executed in 1966), gave much currency to the dichotomy between Islam and the Jāhiliyya which is, in his as well as in Mawdūdī's view, not only a specific historical period but also a state of affairs and a mentality which allows people to choose a way of life different from the one prescribed by God and by the Prophet Muhammad. Jāhilī society is not only that which denies the existence of God, but also that which does not deny it, but relegates God to the kingdom of heaven and does not apply His law on earth. Such societies, including those which are nominally Muslim, have to be replaced by societies living under the divine Muslim law. The radical Muslim trends which we exemplified by reference to Abū al-Aʿlā Mawdūdī and Sayyid Quţb have gained much currency since the middle of the 20th century. As a religion and a civilization, Islam has been in existence since the seventh century. At the beginning of the 21st century, Muslims live in dozens of countries in most areas of the world. These plain facts go a long way to explain the diversity of the Islamic experience. Islam has always been many things. Muslims have been warriors, rulers, mystics, writers, poets, artisans, and scholars in various fields; they have been, and still are, engaged in the whole range of human activity in widely differing circumstances. Within one century of Muslim history, they conquered a substantial part of the then known world. During the first three centuries of that history, Muslim writers produced a rich historiography, extensive literature in linguistics and lexicography, literary criticism, poetry, and jurisprudence. They stood for a long period at the cutting edge of scientific development. In its formative period, Muslim religious thought was characterized by a wide variety of views on numerous subjects. The variety of views and the nature of the arguments marshaled by their protagonists testify to the vibrant intellectual life of Islam in the early period of its history. Muslims have differed on questions such as determinism versus free will; the existence of the Koran since all eternity versus its being created at a certain point in time, with the rest of creation; the equality of all prophets versus the unquestioned superiority of Muhammad; the validity of personal reasoning versus the irrefutable authority of the prophetic tradition in jurisprudential matters; the identity of unbelievers who may be offered the status of protected communities (dhimmīs ) rather than being forced to embrace Islam; the extent of tolerance to non-Muslims living under Muslim rule and the measure of humiliation to be imposed on them. The list of these much debated issues could easily be augmented. This diversity of Muslim thought and experience has crucial significance. It means that all Muslims, in any place and historical period, must choose the type of Islamic thought and belief most appropriate to the circumstances of their lives and to their world view. It also means that the Muslim tradition includes material capable of substantiating almost any interpretation of Islam which a Muslim may want to develop. He may choose to be a fundamentalist or a modernist. He may choose to view Judaism and Christianity as basically illegitimate and corrupt versions of the divine will, or adopt a more pluralistic view of religious diversity. Professional men of religion tend to promote the view that their interpretation is the only legitimate one, and they are frequently supported by the autocratic regimes in many Muslim states. Such attitudes are belied by the long history of intellectual controversy in Islam and by the various forms which Islam took on in various times and places. Since the middle of the 20th century, radical interpretations of Islam have held sway in some of the most important areas of the Muslim world, but there is no doubt that the building bricks for a different version of Islam are readily available in the Muslim tradition. (Yohanan Friedmann (2nd ed.) -Polemics against Judaism Islamic polemics directed against Judaism and Jews are substantial neither in quantity nor in quality. The great masses of Christian subjects within the Islamic domain and the Christian powers outside caused Islamic polemics to focus on Christianity. On the whole, Arabic lore and literature reflect a negative attitude toward the Jews, one of distrust and suspicion, contempt and animosity. It is argued that from the days of the Prophet the Jews were enemies of Islam, either in direct military confrontation with the Prophet, or in plots to undermine Islam through heresy, subversion, and cunning ill will. An 11th-century admirer of samuel b. joseph ha-Nagid or the 14th-century mystic al-Jīlī (I. Goldziher in JZWL, 11 (1875), 68ff.) are exceptions in their positive attitude toward the Jews. The prevailing attitude may have come from Christian polemics which in turn were rooted to some extent in classical anti-Jewish lore. This holds true even concerning the Koran (T. Andrae, Ursprung des Islams … (1923–25), 198f.; cf. Waardenburg in Liber Amicorum, Studies… C.J. Bleeker, 1969). It is not surprising that the ever-growing mass of Christian converts to Islam should have contributed to the anti-Jewish mood. As early as the ninth century, al-Jāḥiz stated that although Judaism   may seem closer to Islam than Christianity, Muslims are more negative in their attitude toward Jews than toward Christians (ed. and tr. by J. Finkel, in JAOS, 47 (1927), 311–34). Polemic remarks appear in the Koran and the Ḥadith (G. Vajda in JA, 229 (1937), 57–127) and in numerous theological works. Systematic treatment appears in courses and manuals on theology, heresies, and comparative religion. Muslim scholars displayed a very limited knowledge of Judaism and were not acquainted with original Jewish sources, and only rarely with translations. For example, the historian Ibn Khaldūn (14th century) even quoted the Bible from the 10th century historian al-Masʿūdī. The judgments and references of the polemists were usually based on sets of passages, presumably supplied by Jews converted to Islam, and, in the critique of post-biblical Judaism, possibly going back to some karaite material. Sometimes polemics may have been geared to social-political public agitation and mob riots. For example, the enemies of the family of Samuel ha-Nagid accused Jewish dignitaries and officials of selling terefah meat to the believers. The Moroccan al-Maghribī (G. Vajda in Étude à la mémoire de Lévi-Provençal, 2 (1962), 805–13) voiced a similar argument. CONTENT The subject matter of polemics can be reduced to a few points. Islam claims to be the final dispensation, following the abrogation (Ar. naskh) of Judaism and Christianity, and regards the development of Judaism, after its abrogation, as abnormal and as a human invention (bidʿa) contrary to divine dispensation (sharʿ). This is demonstrated by a critique of the Bible. Jews are charged with tampering (tabdīl) and distorting (taḥrīf) the texts, either in reading or in interpretation. Indeed, the Scriptures contain accounts unworthy of and senseless in a divine book (e.g., the stories of Lot, Judah and Tamar, kings of Edom, stations in the wilderness). Many of the numerical computations seem faulty; contradictions and anthropomorphisms (tajsīm) abound. Conversely, the Scriptures fail to elaborate on reward and punishment in the hereafter. Disrupted by the Babylonian captivity, the transmission of events (tawātur) is defective. Finally, if the Scriptures are authentic, they must contain annunciations (aʿlām) of the advent of Muhammad. The latter are gleaned from gematria , the interpretation of the numerical value of significant words (Muhammad = 92 = bi-me'od me'od in Gen. 17:2; Paran wilderness = Mecca) etc. (cf. Strauss-Ashtor, in Sefer ha-Zikkaron le-Veit ha-Midrash le-Rabbanim be-Vinah (1946), 182–97). HISTORICAL SURVEY A tenth-century compendium by the theologian Bāqillānī presents a discussion of Judaism (Brunschvig, in Homenaje a Millás Vallicrosa). Partly provoked by the high position attained by Samuel ha-Nagid, the philosopher and historian Ibn Ḥazm (11th century) composed a substantial attack on Judaism in vitriolic language (M. Perlmann, in PAAJR, 18 (1948/49), 269–90). In the 12th century, a Jewish convert to Islam, Samuel ibn Abbas al-Maghribī produced the most important polemic work (idem, in PAAJR, 32, 1964), which was often used and plagiarized by later polemists such as Qarāfī (13th century) and Ibn Qayyim ibn al-Jawziya (14th century). The Egyptian Jew Saʿīd b. Hasan of Alexandria who converted to Islam in 1298 (I. Goldziher, in REJ, 30 (1895), 1–23; S.A. Weston, in JAOS, 24 (1903), 312–83) and the Moroccan convert ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al Islāmī (14th century) wrote popular tracts. In about 1360, Abu Zakariyyā Yaḥyā al-Rāqilī, a Morisco in Christian Spain, wrote a manual of disputation against the Jews who "loosen their tongues… against our prophet" (as in Palacios, in Mélanges Hartwig Derenbourg (1909), 343–66). As late as the 19th century, the account of Tabātabaʾī's disputation and the pamphlet Risāla Sabʿiyya appeared in Egyptian editions of Samuel's aforesaid tract (1939, 19622). Jewish replies to the Islamic contentions began to appear in the tenth century and their authors include the philosophers saadiah gaon , judah halevi , Abraham ibn Daud, and maimonides . The former three were also outstanding polemists against the Karaites. Separate tracts against Islam were rare. Ma'amar ʿal Yishma'el (13th century), ascribed to Solomon b. Abraham Adret (J. Perles, 1863; M. Zikier, in Festschrift A. Kaminka, 1937), and Keshet u-Magen (M. Steinschneider, in MWJ, 7 (1880), 1–48) of R. Simeon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran (d. 1444) came from the Jewish milieu peculiar to Christian Spain. While Jewish polemists were bitter about oppression and humiliation under Islam, they were aware that Islam showed greater affinity to Judaism than did Christianity, despite the biblical background shared with the latter. (Moshe Perlmann) -Judaism and Islam Centuries before the rise of Islam many Jewish communities were scattered over arabia , so that Judaism, in its normative and also sectarian versions, was known to the sedentary population and even to the Bedouin tribes. It was especially widespread in South Arabia, where Judaized groups and proselytes were very common. The deciphering of the South Arabian inscriptions, some of which were discovered only in the 1950s, confirm the many accounts and reports of early, pre-Islamic Christian writers about Jewish missionary activities and the persecutions of the Christians, especially in Najrān by Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās , the Jewish (proselyte) king of himyar . Raḥmān, the Merciful, as a name of God, without any other attribute, has been found many times in those inscriptions and indicates their Jewish origin. Arab historians and biographers of Muhammad's life describe the Jewish communities and tribes living in Hejaz generations before his rise. The years spent by Muhammad the Prophet and Messenger of God in the Jewish Yathrib-Medina gave him many opportunities (positive and negative) to come into close contact with the Jewish tribes living in that group of oases. This historical background explains the fact of the strict uncompromising monotheism preached by Muhammad (who objected to the Christian belief that Jesus was the son of God). Most of the bible tales to be found in the Koran and the normative form of Islam based on precepts are to be traced to the Bible and to the Oral Law. At the same time, some descriptions of the Last Judgment and of eschatological   events which preoccupied Muhammad in his early period in Mecca, and also some historical tales, stem from Christian sources and inspirations. But the main eschatological beliefs belong to the common Jewish-Christian heritage, even though they were transmitted by Christian monks. In a Ḥadith ʿAisha, Muhammad's wife, is said to have heard the tradition about the punishment in the grave (ḥibbuṭ ha-kever) from two old Jewish women in Medina. More Jewish elements can be found in those beliefs after Jerusalem was accepted as the location of the Last Judgment. Nonetheless, the Arabian character of the Koran must always be stressed as it was Muhammad's genius which founded and established Islam. The fact that some of his contemporaries, prophets, and ḥanifs tried unsuccessfully to spread monotheism in Arabia cannot lower Muhammad's stature. A large number of Jewish teachings, sayings, and normative and ethical precepts have been included in the Ḥadith literature, sometimes in the name of Jews or Jewish converts to Islam although most were inserted anonymously. Much of the narrative material gathered in the Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiyāʾ ("Legends of the Prophets") goes back to Kaʿb al-Aḥbār , the Jewish convert to Islam who accompanied the caliph omar during his visit to Jerusalem, or to wahb b. munabbih , also a convert or son of a Jewish convert. All of this Ḥadith literature (and the legends are also systematically arranged like the oral tradition) shows an astonishing knowledge of the halakhah and aggadah as laid down in talmudic and midrashic literature. As in Judaism, at first there was opposition in Islam to writing down the sayings and teachings which were transmitted, by isnād (lit., leaning, ascription of an oral religious tradition), a chain of traditioners (see below). The caliph Omar disapproved of the literary fixing of the sunna (the sayings and exemplary actions of Muhammad): "Would you like to have a (written) mathnat like the mathnat (Aramaic: mathnitha – Heb. Mishnah) of the Jews?" (Ibn Saʿd V, p. 140). It is not always possible to postulate a clear-cut dependence of Islamic teachings and methods on Judaism. The fundamental similarity of Judaism and Islam, both based on religious laws in principles, methods, and legislation, caused parallel developments in later centuries. It is a well-known fact that the geonim, the heads of the two famous talmudic academies in sura and in pumbedita , received questions concerning legal and social matters; there are many tens of thousands of their responsa extant. This was also the practice of the Muslim muftis, a category of jurists from whom every Muslim could ask a fatwā, a legal opinion based on the religious law. The fatwā and the responsum both possessed legal power. It is difficult to decide if the development of this branch of literature in both religions was independent or whether this was an example of mutual influence. For example, at the end of the typical question one finds in the fatwā and in the responsum the formula: "May our rabbi (or mufti) give his instruction (= decision) and his reward will be doubled by Heaven (= God)." Goldziher (ZDMG 52, p. 645) sees an Islamic influence in this formula of the responsum. In the first centuries of Islam the jurists were allowed to use their independent judgment (ijtihād) in their decisions, but had to base it on primary sources. Later they were restricted in their freedom of independent decision and were obliged to follow the taqlīd (precedent) and to rely on former judgments. One finds a parallel development in rabbinic Judaism, in which even the geonim were obliged to follow the authority of their predecessors. Nonetheless, social and economic transformations sometimes demanded departure from accepted laws and rules. Thus the geonim and the later generations of rabbis were obliged to establish ordinances adjusted to the new situation. A similar principle was current in the madhhab (legal school) of Mālik b. Anas, i.e., the istiṣlāḥ, the adaptation (or correction) of laws, for the benefit of the community. The influence of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is clear in the systematic dealings of the geonim with halakhic materials according to their contents, e.g., the laws of inheritance, gifts, deposits, oaths, usury, witness and writs, loans, and obligations, as they were arranged by Saadiah, Hai, Samuel b. Hophni, who wrote their works in Arabic. This is especially clear in Maimonides' code, Mishneh Torah, written in Hebrew and preceded by Sefer ha-Miẓvot (Book of Precepts), the first exposition of the 613 precepts. Maimonides' arrangement of these works indicates knowledge of the methods and principles of the fiqh literature and of the Ḥadith collections of al-Bukhārī, Muslims, and others. Maimonides applied the ijmāʿ (consensus), one of the four uṣūl al-fiqh (roots of fiqh), in his code. In his introduction to this code he gives the chain of the teachers and rabbis who during 40 generations transmitted the Oral Law from Moses to R. Ashi. This is a classic illustration of how the isnād – the method of verification of the sayings of Muhammad and his companions – was taken over by early Islam from Judaism, which traced the chain of tradition from Moses to the Men of the Great Synagogue (Avot 1); and in turn was used by Maimonides as a principle to verify the halakhah. But Islamic influence was not restricted to methodology. Some Muslim customs concerning ablutions, prostrations, and general behavior during prayer were accepted by Maimonides and his son Abraham, and aroused disagreement among the majority of the Jewish society. Jewish apocalypses ascribed to R. Simeon b. Yoḥai , and pseudepigraphic works such as Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer and Targum Jonathan show traces of Islamic influence. Note should be made of the book of R. Nissim b. Jacob (Kairouan, first half of the 11th century) called Ḥibbur Yafe me-ha-Yeshuʿah ("A Fine Treatise on Salvation"), which in its Hebrew translation was known for centuries and was often reprinted because of its popular religious contents. Its Arabic original (the exact title of which is unknown) was found in the last decade of the 19th century (ed. by J. Obermann, 1933). In Jewish literature it is the only representative of a type known in Islamic literature as Kutub al-Faraj baʿda al-Shidda ("Books of Comfort after Disaster"). A detailed comparison between the Ḥibbur and the Muslim books shows that Nissim, who was   head of the talmudic academy in kairouan , knew the stories then current in his non-Jewish environment, whether in literary form or as folktales. Islamic culture, which had absorbed the legacy of Greece and the Hellenistic world, made a tremendous impact on some aspects of Jewish thought and science. After centuries of complete disruption between that world and Judaism, the works of the Greek philosophers and scientists came back to the orbit of Jewish thinkers and scholars through Arabic translations (from earlier translations in the Syriac language). From the tenth century on, Aristotle, Plato, and Neoplatonism influenced Jewish philosophers of religion, theologians, poets, and scientists. The most famous include: Saadiah, Isaac Israeli (from Kairouan), ibn gabirol , Baḥya ibn Paquda , judah halevi , abraham ibn daud , Maimonides, and his younger contemporary Joseph ibn Aknin (not to be mistaken for Maimonides' pupil of the same name). As S.D. Goitein has shown, early sufism was also supplemented by Jewish sources. In its higher and later states, Sufism was inspired by Greek philosophy. Sufi influence is to be found in the poems of Ibn Gabirol, but the classic work which wholeheartedly advocates asceticism is Baḥya ibn Paquda 's Ḥovot ha-Levavot, which was written in Arabic. Although there is a great deal of eclecticism in this work, it is modeled mainly on Muslim sources. The most prominent representative of Sufism in Judaism is abraham b. moses b. maimon . In his book Kifāyat al-ʿĀbidīn Sufi traces are discernible, even more than in the work of Baḥya. Abraham recommends study and contemplation in order to perfect the soul engaged in the service of God. He used the term "highways" as a means that lead to perfection. In its highest degree, perfection culminates in ecstasy through the praise of God in love. Pure, humble, and sincere souls have access to the esoteric, inner mystical sense of the Torah. Baḥya's Ḥovot ha-Levavot and Abraham's Kifāyat al-ʿĀbidīn especially influenced the Jewish communities in the East, and played an important role in some later mystic movements; sometimes these mystics found common ways with Muslim Sufis (cf. also Isrāʾ īliyat, Naḍīr , Qurayẓa , Qaynuqāʿa ). (Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: I. Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien, 2 vols. (1889–90); N. Wieder, Islamic Influences on the Jewish Worship (1947); S.D. Goitein, Jews and Arabs (1955); E.I.J. Rosenthal, Judaism and Islam (1961). POLEMICS: Baron, Social2, 3 (1957), 76–85, 87, 156f.; 5 (1957), 82–105, 117–21, 136, 326–37; M. Steinschneider, Polemische und apologetische Literatur …(1887); I. Goldziher, in: JZWL, 1–11 (1862–75); idem, in: REJ, 30 (1895), 1–23; 43 (1901), 1–14; 60 (1910), 32–8; idem, in: M. Brann and F. Rosenthal (eds.), Gedenkbuch…David Kaufmann (1900), 86–102; M. Schreiner, Beitraege zur Geschichte der theologischen Bewegungen im Islam (1899, offprint from ZDMG, vols. 52–53, 1898–99); I. Friedlaender, in: ZA, 26 (1912), 93–110; A.S. Tritton, in: Islamic Studies, 1, no. 2 (1962), 60–4. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: POLEMICS: I.Y. al-Shāhabī, Istrātījiyyat al-Qurʾān al-Karīm fī muwājahat al-Yahūdiyya al-ʿālamiyya (1997); M.I. Khalaf, Qiyam al-Yahūd fi alqiṣaṣ al-Qurʾāniyya …(2001). JUDAISM AND ISLAM: M. Maas, Bibel und Koran (1893); A.I. Katsh, Judaism in Islam (1954); Abraham Geiger, Judaism and Islam (1969); R. Roberts, The Social Laws of the Qoran (1925, 19712); H. Schwarzbaum, Mi-Mekor Israel we Ishmaʿel: Yahadūt we-Islām be-aspaklariyyat ha-folklor (1975).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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