Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Profile picture
Early Islam & Late Antiquity| Medieval Philosophy & Theology| Medieval Shiʿism| Manuscripts| Assistant Professor in Islamic Thought and History @UniLeidenNews
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Jun 28 62 tweets 9 min read
In his الكشف عن مناهج الادلة, Averroes, dedicates a chapter to the various proofs for the demonstrability of God’s existence in which he surveys and critiques the viewpoints of the major intellectual traditions in Islam. 1/ The major traditions are: the Ashʿaris, whom he says are representative of the Sunnis; the Muʿtazilis; the Sufis, whom he describes as bāṭiniyya (esotericists); and the Ḥashawiyyah, the stern literalists. 2/
Mar 31 32 tweets 5 min read
In 2017 al-Azhar (traditionally described as dogmatic magisterium of contemporary Sunnism) refused to declare terror group ISIS as guilty of kufr, or unbelief. Takfir, or the accusation of unbelief, is a complex issue in Islam. Some preliminary remarks to follow in thread 1/ Takfir is accusing someone—Muslim—of holding deviant beliefs or committing actions indicative of unbelief. Takfir leads to pronouncements of apostasy (ارتداد), which in Islamic penal law can lead to corporal punishment, or death 2/
Feb 25 6 tweets 3 min read
A thread on Aqa Bozorg Tehrani (d. 1970), the inimitable bio-bibliographer who penned over 55,000 entries, 15,000 pages on Shii authors, list of extant & lost manuscripts around the world, in sciences, theology, philosophy, history, linguistics, hadith, Quran, etc. 1/ Unknown to many is that Aqa Bozorg collaborated with another two Shi’i scholars, Hasan Sadr & M Husayn Kashif Ghita. Together they responded to claim of Lebanese historian, Jujri Zaydan (d. 1914) that Shi’i authors played insignificant role in making of Islamic civilisation 2/
Feb 24 12 tweets 3 min read
Medieval Muslim sources speak of a Jewish sect that believed in the prophethood of Muḥammad. Who were they? A mini-thread 🧵🧵 1/ We read al-Juwaynī's (d. 1085) Kitāb al-irshād, a sophisticated kalām work full of gems, “a sect among the Jews, called al-ʿIsāwiyya, believed in the prophethood of Muḥammad, peace upon him..." 2/ Image
Feb 21 21 tweets 4 min read
(1) In 1978 John Wansborough published his Sectarian Milieu, arguing that most of Quranic material characterise a text that crystallised over 2 centuries, and largely outside confines of Arabia. To date Fred Donner has offered perhaps the best response to Wansboroug. Thread (2)Donner is not convinced of Wansborough's claim that both the Quran and the ḥadīth (which latter calls "sub-canonical" versions of the Quranic material) belong to the same historical circumstance, that is, both coalesced around the same time and in same locality.
Feb 19 25 tweets 6 min read
1/ On the issue of early Muslim religious identity, let us turn to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The new status of Constantinople as the New Jerusalem played a direct role in the development of early Muslim religious identity. 🧵🧵🧵 2/Muslim propagandists touted caliphs ʿUmar I (d. 644) and ʿAbd al-Malik (d. 705) Davidic Messiahs who would restore (old) Jerusalem back to its former glory. For decades academics debated the motivations behind the construction of the Dome of Rock on an ancient holy Jewish site.
Aug 13, 2022 41 tweets 7 min read
The Satanic Verses controversy has a long and recent past. The incident reached global fame after the 1988 publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel. Long before, however, the topic was fiercely debate in medieval Muslim scholarship. A general 🧵 for non-specialists. 1/ The Satanic Verses incident is known as the Story of the Cranes (قصة الغرانيق) in the Islamic tradition. It narrates the occasion when the Prophet Muhammad (died 632 CE) mistook the whispers of Satan for divine revelation. 2/
Aug 7, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
The Garden of Martyrs (روضة الشهداء) is perhaps the most popular modern account of the tragedy of Karbala and the death of Husayn b. 'Ali on Ashura in 680 CE. Composed in 1502-03, its author, Husayn Va’iz Kashifi was a Persian Hanafi Sunni who belonged to the Naqshabani Order. 1/ Kashifi was a prolific author & prominent intellectual of the Timurid period. Described as a polymath (ذو فنون) by contemporaries, he authored works, in Persian, on quranic exegesis (المواهب العالية), hadith, occultism, poetry & rhetoric, fiction & storytelling, & Hanafi fiqh. 2/
Jul 17, 2022 19 tweets 8 min read
1/Millions of Shiʿi Muslims around the world will be celebrating what they consider the appointment and designation of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib as the legitimate successor to the Prophet Muḥammad. A short thread on #EidGhadir. 2/The "investiture" of ʿAlī according to the Shiʿi sources took place on 18 Dhu l-Ḥijjah in 10 H (= March 632 AD) at a pond between Mecca and Medina, known as Ghadīr Khumm. What do they sources say happened exactly?
Jul 12, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Are we alone? Does life exist elsewhere in our universe? Some responses from medieval Muslim authorities. A short thread. 1/ Jaʿfar al-Sadiq (died 765 CE) is reported to have said: "There are seven heavens. Each contains life...and there are seven earths; five of which contains life". 2/
Jul 12, 2022 16 tweets 5 min read
In light of the stunningly beautiful images of the Webb telescope, a thread on medieval Muslim accounts of the heavens. 1/ al-Jaghmini writing in the 13th century gave us a detailed account of the heavens that examines celestial orbits and movement of planets. 2/
Jul 5, 2022 11 tweets 3 min read
A pictorial thread on horses in medieval Arabic manuscripts. First diagram offers a fairly detailed anatomy of horse (MS Arabe 2817 Bibliothèque nationale de France) 1/ Identifying a good stallion is key. Here the diagram offers tips on understanding the different bodily parts of a horse (MS 4689 Istanbul) 2/
Jul 4, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
The فرق الشيعة (published) and كتاب الاراء و الديانات (lost) by al-Ḥasan b. Mūsā al-Nawbakhtī and the كتاب التحريش by Ḍirār b. ʿAmr, written circa mid-800s and circa late 700s, respectively, are probably oldest heresiographical works in Islam. We can add a third now. 1/ Image The recently published (unicum manuscript) heresiography by Khushaysh b. Aṣram al-Nasāʾī was most probably written circa 840-860 CE. It bears the title الاستقامة في السنة والرد على أهل البدع والأهواء. h 2/ Image
Jun 28, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
Quirky remarks. The Muʿtazila emerged in the eighth century AD. Their theological inquiry was based on reason. For the Muʿtazila, rational inquiry about God, divine essence, and human agency, etc., had to be grounded in scripture. 1/ In other words, reason became a basis for theological deliberations, but reason took scriptures and revelation as its starting and end point. This epistemological orientation towards scripture is consistently found in 2/
Mar 21, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
I'm spending a good fair of my time right now on the Ṣaḥīfah al-Sajjādiyyah which claims to carry the religious and philosophical teachings of the 4th Shiʿi Imam ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (659-713). 1/ The content is quite brilliant. It reports the supplicatory prayers of ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn to mark different occasions and auspicious moments in the religious calendar, such as the whispered prayer of the lovers (see below). 2/
Jan 5, 2022 14 tweets 2 min read
I'm preparing a grant proposal for a project on the Qurʾan. It picks up where Patrica Crone left off. For a while I disliked the work of Crone. Now I am in awe of her. Crone was misunderstood. In what follows I collate her answers to questions she frequently encountered. 1/ Did Crone think Islam was original? She thought its teachings were both endogenous and exogenous. All ideas are influenced by context. She disliked term "borrowing" but preferred "intertextual". Islam inherited ideas from the past, but how it appropriated them was original. 2/
Sep 24, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
This is a remarkable find! The editor discovered a unicum copy of the Expeditions (المغازي) of Mūsā b. ʿUqbah b. Abī ʿAyyāsh (d. 141/758), one of the oldest biographies of the Prophet Muḥammad. A Brief thread. 1/ Before the discovery, we knew that the work survives in one extant manuscript held at Berlin ("fragment" Ahwardt 1552), published and translated into German by Eduard Sachau in 1904. 2/
Jun 12, 2021 42 tweets 7 min read
1/Right. Finished with the family picnic in Cambridge, so let's pick this topic up again. But before I start, a facetious note is in order. I found it hilarious that less than 24 hours after the thread was posted, people still managed to woefully misread parts of the thread 2/One or two Twitter types actually read my thread as stating, 'one must know German to do ḥadīth studies.' Another managed to misquote a tweet embedded in the Twitter quote feature! I mean, the original tweet was literally below.
Mar 5, 2021 23 tweets 7 min read
Tomorrow Pope Francis will travel to the Iraqi city of Najaf to meet Ayatullah ʿAlī al-Sīstānī, the primus inter pares of the Shiʿi Muslim scholars, and the Rector of the Seminary of Najaf, founded in 1055 AD. A thread on the millennium-old seminary. 1/ The present-day city of Najaf lies six-miles away from the Islamic garrison town of Kufa and the ancient Christian Lakhmid town of al-Ḥīra. Najaf is located on an elevated plateau near the Sea of Najaf (بحر النجف). The term Najaf describes "a hill beyond the reach of water". 2/
Jan 19, 2021 24 tweets 4 min read
1/What is the nature of the Qur’an? Was it created in time? Or has it always been (قديم)? A thread on how medieval Muslim thinkers, theologians, philosophers, and jurists understood the nature of the Muslim sacred scripture 🧵🧵🧵 2/Most Sunni theologians (متكلمون) consider the Qur’an the uncreated word of God. Writing in his famous credo, which was to represent the orthodox Sunni position, Abu Ja’far al-Tahwai (d. 932) says:
Jul 28, 2020 19 tweets 6 min read
1/Yesterday Sean (@shahanSean) briefly mentioned the doctrine of muḥādatha (محادثة). Typically the medieval literature describes non-prophetic person who converses with angels as muḥaddath (محدث). The prominent caliph ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (d. 644) is identified as such person 2/ It is well known in the early Islamic literature that the Shiʿis believed the Imams where conversant with God. In numerous reports recorded in al-Kāfī (Shiʿi ḥadīth canon) the Imām is said to be capable of audition. He is spoken to by the Angel yet he cannot see him. ImageImage