Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 422 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
NOLDEKE. Mecca. 1st to 5th yr. (a). 96. 74. III. Io6. 108. Io4. 107. Io2. 105. 92. 90. 94. 93. 97. 86. 91. 80. 68. 87. 95. 103. 85. 73. fol. 99. 82. 81. 53. 84. 100. 79.77. 78. 88. 89. 75. 83. 69. 51. 52. 56. 7o. 55. 112. 109. 113. 114. 1- 5th and 6th yr. (b). 54. 37. 71. 76. 44. 50. 2o. 26. 15. 19. 38. 36. 43. 72. 67. 23. 21. 25. 17. 27. 18. 7th yr. to Flight (c). 32. 41. 45. 16. 30. II. 14. 12. 40. 28. 39. 29. 31. 42. 10. 34. 35. 7. 46. 6. 13. Medina. 8.47. 58. 22. 48. 66. 6o. Ito. 49. 9. 5. G RIMME. Mecca. (1). 1 In old saj' form: 111.107. Io6. 105. 104. Io3. 102. lot. loo. 99. 108. 96. 95. 94. 93. 92. 91 90. 89. 88.2. 86. 85. L. 83. 82. 81.80. 79. a 77. 76. 75.74.. 7o. 69. 68. 114. 113. 36. 55. 54. 52. 52. 51. 50. 15. 22. (2). In loosened saj' form: 46. 72. 45. 44. 41. 97. 4o. 39. 38. 37. 36. 35. 34. 32. 31. 67. 3o. 22. 28. 27. 26. 71.2 5. 2o. 23. 43. 21. 19. 1.42. 18. 17. Medina. 16. 13. 12. I I. 10.1: 6. 98. (112. Io9). From the Flight to 2. 62. 515_88.10s-12o. 47 and some interpolations Badr. in Meccan suras. From Badr to Ohod 8. 24. 59. From Ohod to cap- 3. 291_12. 4. 57. 64. 61. 6o. 58. 65. 33. 63. 49. ture of Mecca. 110. 48. 51_14. 66. 91_24. After capture of Mecca. 925-124. On the supposition that the arrangements given above are at any rate approximately correct, it is possible to trace a certain development in the teaching of the Koran on some Theology. of the chief dogmas. It must, however, be borne in mind that orthodox Islam recognizes the Koran as the work not of Mahomet but of God. Yet Moslem theologians recognize that some revelations are inconsistent with others, and so have developed the doctrine of ndsikh and mansukh (" abrogating " and " abrogated "), whereby it is taught that in certain definite cases a later revelation supersedes an earlier. A critical study of the Koran shows in the earlier revelations the marks of a reflective mind trained under the influence of Arabian education 1 Underlined = with interpolations. Order of Suras in Koran. and stirred by an acquaintance (somewhat imperfect) with Judaism and Christianity. The later revelations seem to be influenced by the now dominant position of the Prophet and a desire after the capture of Mecca to incorporate such heathen religious ceremonies as are national. God is one and universal from the beginning. His unity is emphasized as against the mistaken conception of the Christian Trinity. At first his might is taught by the name Rabb (Lord) which is generally used with an attribute as " the highest Lord," " Lord of the worlds," " Lord of men," " Lord of heaven and earth," " Lord of the East and West," or " our Lord." Then he is identified with the god Allah (see above) and the first part of the later Moslem creed is announced—la ilaha illa-llahia, " there is no god but Allah." But every act of creation is a proof not only of God's power but also of his beneficence (xiv. 37), and so he becomes known as ar-Rahman, " the Compassionate." The attributes of God may all be arranged in the three classes of his power, unity and goodness. They are expressed by the ninety-nine " beautiful names " applied to him in the Koran (see E. H. Palmer, The Quran in " Sacred Books of the East," vol. vi., Introd. pp. 67–68, Oxford, x88o). In the Medina period of Mahomet's life the nature of God is not so clear, and the description of it varies according to the moods of the Prophet. Beside God are two other uncreated beings: (r) the original of the Koran, the " mother of the Book" (xliii. 3) on a "preserved Spirits tablet " (lauh mahfuz) (lxxxv. 22), in accordance with which God acts, and (2) the throne (kursi) (ii. 256). When the heavens are created, God sits on his throne in the seventh heaven; around him are angels, pure, sexless beings, some of whom bear the throne, while some are engaged in praising him continually. They are also his messengers and are sent to fight with the believers against the heathen. Some are the guardian angels of men, others are the watchmen of hell. Mediate beings between God and man are the " word " (amr) and from it the " spirit " (rah) or " holy spirit " (rah ul-qudus). Another manifestation of God to the believers only is the " glory " (sakina). God created the world in six days according to the plan of the Book. Each new life was created by God's breathing into it a cosnoiogy. soul. The duality of soul and body is maintained. In each man is a good and a bad impulse. The bad impulse which was latent in Adam was roused to action by Satan (Iblis). Adam by his fall lost the grace of God, which was restored to him solely by the gracious choice of God. Between men and angels in their nature are the genii (jinn) male and female, in-habitants of desert places, created from smokeless fire. They had been accustomed to spy round heaven, but in Mahomet's time could learn no more of its secrets. Some of them were converted by the Prophet's teaching. Lowest of creation in his estate is Satan (Shaitdn), who was an angel but was expelled from heaven because he refused to worship Adam at his Lord's command. God has revealed himself to man by (r) writing (kitab), and (2) prophets. As he had given to the Jews the Law (T aural) and to the Christians the Gospel (Injil) so he revealed to Mahomet the Koran (Qur'an, known also by other names, e.g. al-Furgan, at-Tafsil, &c.), each single revelation being called an aya. With his revelation God has also sent an apostle or prophet to each people. Several of these are mentioned in the Koran, Moses the prophet of the Jews, Jesus (Isa) that of the Christians. Mahomet is not only the apostle of the Moslems but the " seal of the prophets," i.e. the final member of the class. His mission at first was to warn men of imminent judgment. Later he became more of a teacher. At first he seems to have relied for the salvation of men on his natural faculties, but later announced the doctrine of God's election. The ethics of the Koran are based on belief (imdn) and Bthlcs. good works, the latter alone occurring in the early Meccan suras. Fear of the judgment of God was a motive of action; this is followed by repentance and turning to God. A complete surrender to God's will (islam) is the necessary condition of religious life and is expressed in the phrase so common in everyday speech among the Moslems—inshallah, " if God will." God has full power to overlook evil deeds if he will. Unbelievers can acquire no merit, however moral their actions. A short account of the chief ethical requirements of the Koran is given in xvii. 23–40: " Put not God with other gods, or thou wilt sit despised and forsaken. Thy Lord has decreed that ye shall not serve other than Him; and kindness to one's parents, whether one or both of them reach old age with thee, and say not to them, ` Fie,' and do not grumble at them, but speak to them a generous speech. And lower to them the wing of humility out of compassion, and say, ' 0 Lord! have compassion on them as they brought me up when I was little! ' Your Lord knows best what is in your souls if ye be righteous, and, verily, He is forgiving unto those who come back penitent. " And give thy kinsman his due and the poor and the son of the road; and waste not wastefully, for the wasteful were ever the devil's brothers, and the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord. " But if thou dost turn away from them to seek after mercy from thy Lord, which thou hopest for, then speak to them an easy speech. " Make not thy hand fettered to thy neck, nor yet spread it out quite open, lest thou shouldest have to sit down blamed and straightened in means. Verily, thy Lord spreads out provision to whomsoever He will or He doles it out. Verily, He is ever, well aware of and sees His servants. " And slay not your children for fear of poverty; we will provide for them; beware ! for to slay them is ever a great sin. " And draw not near to fornication; verily, it is ever an abomination, and evil is the way thereof. " And slay not the soul that God has forbidden you, except for just cause; for he who is slain unjustly we have given his next of kin authority; yet let him not exceed in slaying; verily, he is ever helped. " And draw not near to the wealth of the orphan, save to improve it, until he reaches the age of puberty, and fulfil your compacts; verily, a compact is ever enquired of. " And give full measure when ye measure out, and weigh with a right balance; that is better and a fairer determination. " And do not pursue that of which thou hast no knowledge; verily, the hearing, the sight and the heart, all of these shall be enquired of. " And walk not on the earth proudly; verily, thou canst not cleave the earth, and thou shalt not reach the mountains in height. " All this is ever evil in the sight of your Lord and abhorred." (E. H. Palmer's translation.) The eschatology of the Koran is especially prominent in its earlier parts. The resurrection, last judgment, paradise and hell are all described. At death the body again becomes n'schatology. earth, while the soul sinks into a state of sleep or unconsciousness. At a time decreed, known as " the hour " (as-Sa'a), " the day of resurrection " (yaum ul-giyyama), " day of judgment " (yaum-ud-din), &c., an angel will call or will sound a trumpet, the earth will be broken up, and the soul will rejoin the body. God will appear on his throne with angels. The great book will be opened, and a list of his deeds will be given to every man, to the good in his right hand, to the evil in his left (sura 69). A balance will be used to weigh the deeds. The jinn will testify against the idolaters. The righteous will then obtain eternal peace and joy in the garden (al-janna) and the wicked will be cast into the fiery ditch (Jahannam), where pains of body and of soul are united. 2. The Tradition.—The revelation of God is twofold—in a writing and by a prophet. The former was contained in the Koran, the latter was known from the actions of Mahomet in the different circumstances of life. The manner of life of the Prophet (sunna) was contained in the tradition (al-hadith). The information required was at first naturally obtained by word of mouth from the companions and helpers of Mahomet. These in turn bequeathed their information to their younger companions, who quoted traditions and gave decisions in their names. For long these traditions circulated orally, the authority of each depending on the person who first gave it and the reliability of the chain (isndd) of men who had passed it on from him. At first this tradition was regarded as explanatory of, or at the most supplementary to, the teaching of the Koran. Early Moslem teachers pointed to the Jews as having two law-books—the Taurdt and the Mishna—while Islam had only one—the Koran. But opinion changed, the value of tradition as an independent revelation came to be more highly esteemed until at last it was seriously discussed whether a tradition might not abrogate a passage of the Koran with which it was at variance. The writing of traditions was at first strongly discouraged, and for more than a century the stories of the Prophet's conduct passed from mouth to mouth. Had all the narrators been pious men, this might have been tolerable, but this was not the case. The Omayyad dynasty was not a. pious one. Men who were not religious but wished to appear so invented 420 traditions to justify their manner of life. The sectarians did not hesitate to adopt the same means of spreading their own teaching. Many Moslem writers testify to the fact that forged traditions were circulated, and that religious opinion was confused thereby. The need for some sort of authoritative collection seems to have been felt by the one pious Omayyad caliph, Omar II. (717-720), who is said to have ordered Ibn Shihab uz-Zuhri to make such a collection. Of this work, if it was carried out, we know nothing further. It was, however, by a man born during this reign that the first systematic collection of traditions was made—the Muwatta' of Malik ibn Anas (q.v.). Yet this work is not a book of tradition in the religious sense. It is really a corpus juris and not a complete one. The object of Malik was simply to record every tradition that had been used to give effect to a legal decision. The work of sifting the vast mass of traditions and arranging them according to their relation to the different parts of religious life and practice was first undertaken in the 3rd century of Islam (A.D. 815-912). In this century all the six collections afterwards regarded as canonical by the Sunnites (orthodox) were made. By this time an immense number of traditions was in circulation. Bukhari in the course of sixteen years' journeying through Moslem lands collected 600,000, and of these included 7275 (or, allowing for repetitions, 4000) in his work. The six collections of tradition received by the Sunnites as authoritative are: (i) The Kitab ul jami' us-Sahib of Bukhari (q.v.) (810-87o). This is the most respected throughout the Moslem world and most carefully compiled (ed. L. Krehl and T. W. Juynboll, Leiden, 1862—and frequently in the East; also with many commentaries. French translation by O. Hondas and W. Marcais, Paris, 1903 sqq.). (ii) The Sabah of Muslim (817-875) with an introduction on the science of tradition (ed. Calcutta, 1849, &c.). (iii) The Kitab us-Sunan of Abu Da'ud (817-888) (ed. Cairo, 1863, Lucknow, 1888, Delhi, 189o). (iv) The Jami' us-Sabah of Tirmidhi (q.v.). (v) The Kitab us-Sunan of Nasa' i (83o-915) (ed. Cairo, 1894). (vi) The Kitab us-Sunan of lbn Maja (824-866) (ed. Delhi, 1865 and 1889). The last four are not held in the same repute as the first two. 3. Ijma' is the universal consent which is held to justify practices or beliefs, although they are not warranted by the Koran or tradition, and may be inconsistent with the apparent teaching of one or both of these. These beliefs and practices, which had often come from the pre-Islamic customs of those who had become believers, seem to have escaped notice until the Abbasid period. They were too deeply rooted in the lives of men to be abolished. It became necessary either to find a tradition to abrogate the earlier forbidding one, or to acknowledge that ijma` is higher than the tradition. The former expedient was resorted to by some later theologians (e.g. Nawawi) by a fiction that such a tradition existed though it was not found now in writing. But in earlier times some (as Ibn Qutaiba) had adopted the latter alternative, saying that the truth can be derived much earlier from the ijma' than from the tradition, because it is not open to the same chances of corruption in its transmission as the latter. Tradition itself was found to confirm this view, for the Prophet is related to have said, " My people does not agree to an error." But ijma' itself has been used in different senses: (i) The ijma' of Medina was used to indicate the authority coming from the practices of the people of Medina (see below). (ii) The ijma' of the whole community of Moslems is that most commonly recognized. It was used to support fealty to the Abbasid dynasty. By it the six books of tradition mentioned above are recognized as authoritative, and it is the justification of the conception of Mahomet as superhuman. (iii) Some of the more thoughtful theologians recognize only the ijma' of the doctors or the teachers of Islam (the mujtahidun), these being restricted by the orthodox to the first few generations after Mahomet, while the Shi'ites allow the existence of such up to the present time. - 4. The fourth basis of Islam is giyas, i.e. analogy. It is that process by which a belief or practice is justified on the ground of something similar but not identical in the Koran, the tradition or ijma'. Originally it seems to have been instituted as a check upon the use of private opinion (ra'y) in the teaching of doctrine. The extent to which it may be used is a subject of much discussion among theologians. Some would apply it only to a " material similarity," others to similarity of motive or cause as well. Worship and Ritual.—The acts of worship required by Islam are five in number: (i) the recital of the creed; (ii.) observance of the five daily prayers; (iii) the fast in the month of Ramadhan; (iv) giving of the legal alms; (v) the pilgrimage to Mecca. i. The creed is belief—" la ilaha ilia ilahu, Muhammad rasul allahi," "there is no god but God (Allah), Mahomet is the apostle of God." It is required that this shall be recited at least Creed. once in a lifetime aloud, correctly, with full understanding of its meaning and with heartfelt belief in its truth. It is to be professed without hesitation at any time until death. ii. Every man who professes Islam is required in ordinary life to pray five times in each day. In the Koran these prayers are commanded, though four only are mentioned. " Where- Prayer. fore glorify God, when the evening overtaketh you, and when ye rise in the morning, and unto Him be praise in Heaven and earth; and in the evening and when ye rest at noon " (xxx. 16-17), but commentators say the " evening " includes the sunset and after sunset. The five times therefore are: (1) Dawn or just before sunrise, (2) just after noon, (3) before sunset, (4) just after sunset, and (5) just after the day has closed. Tradition decides within what limits the recitals may be delayed without impairing their validity. Prayer is preceded by the lesser ablution (wadu) consisting in the washing of face, hands (to the elbows) and feet in prescribed manner. Complete washing of the body (ghusl) is required only after legal pollution. In prayer the worshipper faces the qibla (direction of prayer), which was at first Jerusalem, but was changed by the Prophet to Mecca. In a mosque the qibla is indicated by a niche (mihrab) in one of the walls. The prayers consist of prescribed ejaculations, petitions, and the recital of parts of the Koran, always including the first sura, accompanied by prostrations of the body. Detailed physical positions are prescribed for each part of the worship; these vary slightly in the four orthodox schools (see below). On a journey, in time of war or in other special circumstances, the set form of prayers may be modified in accordance with appointed rules. Besides these private prayers, there is the prayer of the assembly, which is observed on a Friday (yaum ul jam'a, " the day of assembly" ) in a mosque, and is usually accompanied by an address or declamation (khutba) delivered from a step of the pulpit (minbar). Special prayers are also prescribed for certain occasions, as on the eclipse of the sun or the moon, &c. Among the Sufis special attention is given to informal prayer, consisting chiefly in the continual repetition of the name of God (dhikr) (see SuFI'ISM). This is still a characteristic of some of the dervish (q.v.) communities. iii. The command to fast begins with the words, " O ye who believe? There is prescribed for you the fast, as it was prescribed for those before you." The expression " those before Pasting. you " has been taken to refer to the Jews, who fasted on the day of atonement, but more probably refers to tiie long fast of thirty-six days observed by the Eastern Christians. In the passage of the Koran referred to (ii. 179-181) Moslems are required to fast during the month of Ramadhan, " wherein the Koran was revealed," but if one is on a journey or sick he may fast " another number of days," and if he is able to fast and does not, " he may redeem it by feeding a poor man," but " if ye fast, it is better for you." This fast was probably instituted in the second year at Medina. At that time the corrected lunar year was in use and Ramadhan, the ninth month, was always in the winter. A few years later Mahomet decreed the use of the uncorrected lunar year, which remains the standard of time for the Moslem world, so that the month of fasting now occurs at all seasons of the year in turn. The fast is severe, and means entire abstinence from food and drink from sunrise to sunset each day of the month. The fast is associated with the statement that in this month God sent down the Koran from the seventh heaven to Gabriel in the lowest that it might be revealed to the Prophet. iv. Alms are of two kinds: (I) the legal and determined (zakat), and (2) voluntary (.adagat). The former were given in cattle, grain, fruit, merchandise and money once a year Alms. after a year's possession. For cattle a somewhat elaborate scale is adopted. Of grain and fruit a tenth is given if watered by rain, a twentieth if the result of irrigation. Of the value of merchandise and of money a fortieth is prescribed. In the early days of Islam the alms were collected by officials and used for the building of mosques and similar religious purposes. At the present time the carrying of these prescriptions is left to the conscience of the believers, who pay the alms to any needy fellow-Moslem. A good example of a sadaga is found in a gift to an unbeliever (see C. M. Doughty, Arabia deserta, 446, ii. 278, Cambridge, 1888). v. The fifth religious duty of the Moslem is the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca, which should be performed once by every Moslem " if he is able," that is if he can provide or obtain the means to Pilgrimage. support himself on pilgrimage and his family during his absence, and if he is physically capable. The pilgrimage is made at one time of the (Moslem) year, namely, from the 7th to the loth of the month Dhu'l-Hijja. For the arrangements for the journey from various countries to Mecca see CARAVAN. When the pilgrim arrives within five or six miles of the holy city he puts off his ordinary dress after ablution and prayer, and puts on the two seamless wrappers which form the dress of the pilgrim (the ihram), who goes with-out head-covering or boots or shoes. He must not shave at all, or trim the nails or anoint the head during the ceremonial period. The chief parts of the ceremonial are the visit to the sacred mosque mesjzd ul-izardm), the kissing of the black stone, the compassing of the Ka'ba (the Tawaf) seven times, three times running, four times slowly, the visit to the Maqam Ibrahim, the ascent of Mount Sala and running from it to Mount Marwa seven times, the run to Mount 'Arafat, hearing a sermon, and going to Muzdalifa, where he stays the night, the throwing of stones at the three pillars in Mina on the great feast day, and the offering of sacrifice there (for the localities see MECCA). After the accomplishment of these ceremonies the ordinary dress is resumed, the pilgrimage is finished, but the pilgrim usually remains another three days in Mecca, then visits Medina to pay his respects to the tomb of Mahomet. Beside the hajj (great pilgrimage) Islam also recognizes the merit of the 'umra (or lesser pilgrimage), i.e. a religious visit to Mecca at any time accompanied by most of the ceremonies of the hajj. The ceremonies of the hajj have been described by several European travellers who have witnessed them, such as J. L. Burckhardt in 1814, Sir Richard Burton in 1853 (see bibliography to MECCA). A concise account of them is given in T. P. Hughes, Notes on Muhammadanism (3rd ed., London, 1894). Details in vol. i. of Bukhari's traditions (Houdas and Marcais's French translation, i. 493-567). The Development of Islam.—The battle of Siffin (657) between 'Ali and Moawiya was the occasion of the first breach in the unity of Islam, and the results remain to this day. The occasion was in the first case political, but politics were at that time too intimately connected with religion to be considered apart from it. After the battle (see CALIPHATE) 'Ali was practically compelled to submit his claims to arbitration, whereupon a number of his supporters broke away from him, saying that there should have been no appeal save to the Book of God. These men were for the most part country Arabs, and, inspired by the free spirit of the desert, were democratic, claiming that the caliph should be elected by the whole community from any family (and not from the Koreish alone), and that the caliph might be deposed for sin. A few extremists were republicans and would do without a caliph altogether. The whole party was known as the Kharijites (Kharijiyya or Khawarij). The Moslems who disagreed with them were regarded by them as renegades and were to be put to death. They were soon divided into extremists and moderates. The former put to death the children of unbelievers and refused to hold intercourse in daily life with unbelievers. The moderates, who came to be known as Ibadites (from their leader 'Abdallah ibn 'Ibad), would allow the children of unbelievers to grow up, and would then deal with them according to their choice. In ordinary life they would mix with all men, but marriage with other Moslems outside their own ranks was forbidden. These still remain in Oman, parts of Algeria and East Africa. Another party, consisting mainly of city Arabs infected with Persian ideas as to the divinity of the ruler, clung to 'Ali with inconvenient affection. They regarded 'Ali and his descendants as the only legitimate caliphs, and came to be known as Shi'ites (q.v.). They remain to-day the largest part of Islam outside orthodoxy. During the Omayyad caliphate (661–750) there were three centres of religious thought and influence; students and teachers often passed from one to the other, thus making universal the teachings which in their origin were due to local circumstances. These centres were Damascus (the seat of the caliphate), Medina and the East (Irak, &c.). In Damascus the' court was worldly and indifferent to the interests of Islam. The early Omayyads were distinguished for their striving after dominion (mulk). Instead of attempting to propagate Islam, they tolerated other religions and favoured Christians who were distinguished as poets (e.g. Akhtal) or officials (John of Damascus), or men likely to be of use to them in any way. The doctrines of Christianity began to influence even serious Moslems and to affect their way of stating Moslem belief. John of Damascus (d. before 767), the Greek theologian, and his pupil, Theodorus Abucara (d. 826), have written controversial works on Islam, from which it seems probable that disputations on subjects pertaining to religion were held between Christians and Moslems. Two schools of heretical Moslem sects arose under these influences—that of the Murjiites and that of the Qadarites. The Murjiites (" postponers ") were so called because they postponed the judgment of human actions until the Day of Judgment. In politics they accepted the Omayyads as de facto rulers, since they were Moslems, and left the judgment of their actions to God. As theologians they taught that religion consists in belief (iman) inthe unity of God and in his apostle, and in that alone, cnv sequently no one who held this faith would perish eternally, though he had been a sinner. This was opposed to the Kharijite doctrine that the unrepentant sinner would perish eternally, even though he had professed Islam. The Qadarites were concerned with the doctrine of pre-destination and free-will. So long as Moslems were fighting the battles of Islam they naturally paid most attention to those revelations which laid stress on the absolute determination of a man's destiny by God. They fought with great bravery because they believed that God had foreordained their death or life and they could not escape His will. In the quieter realm of town and court life and in their disputations with Christians they were called upon to reconcile this belief with the appeals made in the Koran to man's own self-determination to good, to courage, &c. Mahomet was not a systematic theologian and had done nothing to help them. The Qadarites declared that man had power over his own actions. But the teaching of predestination had gained too great a hold on Moslems to be thus displaced. The teaching of the Qadarites was held to be heresy, and one of its first professors, Ma'bad ul-Juhani, was put to death in 699.1 During this period Medina was the home of tradition. Those who had been in closest relation with the Prophet dwelt there. The very people of the city derived a certain splendour and authority from the fact that Mahomet had lived and was buried there. Free thought in religion had little chance of arising, less of ex-pressing itself, in the holy city. But the Koran was diligently studied, traditions were collected (and invented) though not yet written in books, and innovation (bid'a) was resolutely avoided. At the same time it really did contribute a new element to religious practice, for the custom (ijma', see above) of Medina gained a certain authority even in Syria and the East. In the East, on the other hand, there was more mental activity, and the religious teachers who came from Medina had to be pre-pared to meet with many questions. The wits of the Moslems were sharpened by daily contact with Christians, Buddhists, Manichaeans and Zoroastrians. Masan ul-Basri (q.v.), who has been claimed as one of the first mystics, also as one of the first systematic theologians of Islam, was remarkable alike for his personal piety and his orthodoxy. Yet it was among his pupils that the great rationalist movement originated. Its founder was Wasil ibn 'Ata, who separated himself (whence his followers were called Motazilites, strictly Mu'tazilites, " Separatists ") from his teacher and founded 'a school which became numerous and influential. The Mu'tazilites objected to the attributes of God being considered in any way as entities beside God; they explained away the anthropomorphisms used in speaking of the deity; they regarded the Koran as created and as a product of Mahomet writing under the divine influence. Briefly, they asserted the supremacy of reason ('aql) as distinct from faith received by tradition (nagl). They also called themselves " the people of justice and unity " (Ahi ul-'adl wat-tauhzd). Such a faith as this naturally found favour rather with the thinking "saes than with the uneducated multitude, and so went through ny vicissitudes. At the time of its appearance and until the reign of Ma'mun its adherents were persecuted as heretics. After discussions among the theologians Ma'mun took the decided step of proclaiming that the Koran was created, and that a belief in this dogma was necessary. Other Mu'tazilite doctrines were proclaimed later. Mu'tazilites were appointed to official posts, and an inquisition (mikna) was appointed to enforce belief in their doctrines. This movement was strongly opposed by the orthodox and especially by Ahmad ibn Hanbal (q.v.). By him the founding of theology on reason was rejected, and he suffered persecution for his faith (see W. N. Patton, Ahmed ibn Hanbal and the Mihna, Leiden, 1897). Mu'tazilism retained its sway until 849, when the caliph Motawakkil again declared the Koran uncreate and restored orthodoxy. It was during the early years of the Abbasid 1 For the doctrines of these two sects see Shahrastani's Book of Sects, and for the Qadarites, A. de Vlieger's Kitab ul-Qadr, materiaux pour servir a l'etude de la doctrine de la predestination dans la theologie musulmane (Leiden, 1903). rule that the four legal schools of Abu Hanifa (d. 767), Malik ibn Anas (d. 795), ash-Shafi'i (d. 819) and Ibn Hanbal (d. 855) came into existence (see MAHOn&MEDAN LAW). As the bases of religion and law were the same, so the methods applied in the treatment of the one affected the other. Abu Hanifa depended little on tradition, but referred back to the Koran, making use of individual opinion (ra'y) as controlled by analogy (giyas) with a written ordinance. Malik Ibn Anas supplemented the Koran and Sunna by customary law founded largely on the custom (ijma`) of Medina, and by what he conceived to be for the public good (istislah). Shafi'i recognized tradition as equal to the Koran, and even as being able to supersede its ordinances, while he also recognized the universal custom (ijma') of the Moslem world as divine and binding. His four bases of religion—Koran, sunna, giyas and ijma'—have been generally accepted in Islam (see above). Ibn Hanbal's position has been already mentioned. All these four schools are reckoned orthodox, and all orthodox Moslems belong to one or another of them. Another teacher of this time, who founded a school which did not succeed in being recognized as orthodox, was Da'ud uz-Zahiri. Trained as a Shafi'ite, he became too strict for this school, rejected analogy, restricted ijma' to the agreement or custom of the companions of Mahomet, and accepted the whole of the Koran and tradition in the most literal and external sense. His followers were called Zahirites (i.e. externalists). After Ash'ari's time these principles were applied to theology by Ibn Hazm (q.v.) see I. Goldziher, Die Zahirilen, ihr Lehrsystem and ihre Geschichte (Leipzig, 1884). Before turning to the reform of Ash'ari and the introduction into orthodox theology of scholastic philosophy it is necessary to notice another phase of religious life which became the common property of orthodox and heretics. This was the introduction of asceticism in religious practice and of mysticism in religious thought. Sufi'ism (q.v.), which combined these two, is rightly not counted among the sects of Islam. Asceticism seems to have won a certain amount of approval from Mahomet himself, who much respected the Christian monks. The attention paid in early Islam to the joys and punishments of. the future life led to self-denial and simple living in this world. An Arabian writer, speaking of the simplicity of manners of the first four caliphs, says that their affairs were conducted with more consideration of the future life than of this world. Many Moslems went even farther than these caliphs, and gave up all concern as far as possible with the affairs of this world and lived in poverty, in wanderings or in retirement (see DERVISH). For the historical development of this movement, with its accompanying mysticism, see SUFI'ISM. Ash'ari (d. before 942) was for forty years a Mu'tazilite, then became orthodox (see ASH`AR!), and at once applied rational methods for the support and interpretation of the orthodox• faith. Before him, reason had not been allowed any scope in orthodox theology. He was not the first to use it; some teachers (as al-Junaid) had employed it in teaching, but only in secret and for the few. The methods of scholastic philosophy were now introduced into Moslem theology. The chief characteristic of his religious teaching was the adoption of the via media between materialistic grossness and the ideas of pure speculative philosophy. Thus he taught, as to the attributes of God, that they exist, but are not to be compared with human attributes; as to His visibility, that He can be seen but without the limitations of human sight. As to the great question of free will, he denied man's power but asserted his responsibility. So he passed in review the doctrines of God, faith, the Koran, sin, intercession, &c., and for the first time in the history of Islam produced a systematic theology. The teaching of Ash'ari was taken up and propagated by the Buyids soon after his death, and was developed and perfected by Abu Bekr ul-Bagilani, the Cadi (d. 1012), but up to the middle of the 5th century of Islam (c. A.D. 1058) was suspected elsewhere and confounded with Mu'tazilism. The Ash'arite al-Juwaini (known as Imam ul-Haramain) was persecuted under Toghrul Beg (c. 1053) and exiled, but was restored under Alp Arslan by the vizier N4am ul-Mulk, who founded an Ash'arite college (the Niyamiyya). In the West, Ibn Hazm (q.v.) fiercely opposed the system, but Ghazali established its orthodoxyin the East, and it spread from Persia to Syria and Egypt under the Ayyubites and Mamelukes and thence to the Almohades in Africa under Ibn Tumart (113o). It remains the predominating influence to the present day, its only serious rival being the theological system of al-Mataridi, a Hanifite (d. 945), whose creed as represented in that of an-Nasafi is still used largely by the Turks. Since the 12th century no great theological movement has been made in Islam. The quiet of religious life has twice been broken, once by Wahhabism (q.v.) in Arabia, once by Ba.bism (q.v.) in Persia.
End of Article: NOLDEKE

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.