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Arabic word denoting "submission to God"; the name given to the religion of Mohammed and to the practises connected therewith. This religion was preached first to Mohammed's follow citizens in Mecca, then to all Arabia; and soon after his death it was spread to distant lands by the might of the sword. Its followers are called "Moslems" (Arabic,"Muslimin"). The word "Islam" represents the infinitive, the noun of action, of the factitive stem of the Arabic root "salam," and is rightly compared (Zunz, "Literaturgesch." p. 641; comp. Steinschneider, "Polemische und Apologetische Literatur," p. 266, note 56) with the use of the "hif'il" of "shalam" in later Hebrew; e.g., Pesiḳ. 125a ("mushlam"); Tan., ed. Buber, Gen. p. 46 ib. (where "hishlim" is used of proselytes).

Motive Principles.

The preaching of Mohammed as the messenger of God ("rasul Allah"; See Mohammed) owed its origin to the prophet's firm conviction of the approach of the Day of Judgment ("Yaum al-Din") and to his thorough belief in monotheism. The former was primarily a reaction against the conduct of the Meccan aristocracy of his time, which in his eyes was sensual, avaricious, proud, oppressive, and wholly indifferent to things spiritual; the latter was a protest against the polytheistic traditions of the Arabs. Mohammed was led to both through Jewish and Christian influences, to which he was subjected in his immediate surroundings as well as during the commercial journeys undertaken by him in his youth. Only in the second period of his activity, after the Hegira—the departure of himself and his most faithful followers to Medina (formerly Yathrib) in 622—did he undertake a practical organization of his prophetic work, and, by making concrete laws, give a definite form to the general religious feelingwhich had been aroused by his preaching. These laws dealt both with social relations and with religious worship. It was only then that the religious tendency which had arisen out of a reaction against the heathenism of Arabia took on the form of a real, positive institution.

Mohammed's conception of his own calling and the fate which his efforts had to endure at the hands of the infidels ("kafir"= "kofer") appeared to his mind as a reflection of the prophets of the Bible, whose number he increased by a few characters (e.g., Hud and Ṣaliḥ) borrowed from an old tradition (see Jubilees, Book of). The persecutions which were suffered at the hands of their fellow citizens by those whose work he had now taken up were repeated in his own career. There was the same obstinate refusal, the same appeal to ancestral traditions, the resigning of which for the sake of a Godsent message heathen nations had ever opposed. In the conduct of the Meccans toward Mohammed were repeated the actions of earlier peoples toward the messengers and prophets sent from time to time by Allah to mankind. Mohammed himself was the last link in the prophetic chain; the conclusion, the "seal of the prophets" ("khatam al-anbiya'"; comp. parallels in "J. Q. R." xiv. 725, note 5).

Relation to Predecessors.

In reality this confession or practise which he sought to establish was nothing new: it was only a restoration of the ancient religion of Ibrahim, to which God had called him (Mohammed) through the medium of Gabriel, the angel of revelation, whom he identified with the Holy Ghost. He claimed that he was to continue the mission of the earlier prophets from Adam to Jesus, and demanded for all of them faith and recognition; he would have their revealed books recognized as Holy Scriptures, viz., the Torah ("Taurat"), the Psalms ("Zabur"), and the Gospel ("Injil"). In addition, certain other prophets had written the will of God on rolls. As to his personal valuation, he made the most modest demands: he did not wish to be regarded as being above the sphere of humanity; he was only a man, of the same flesh and blood as those to whom his speech was directed; and he even declined with consistent firmness the suggestion to perform miracles, the one and only miracle being God's inimitable, unsurpassable word ("ḳur'an"), as the instrument of which he was called by God. Hence he emphatically denied the claims which Christianity made in regard to the character of its founder—a character which he held to be in contradiction not only to that of a prophet sent by God, but also to that of the transcendental monotheism which he (Mohammed) preached: "He is Allah, one alone; he begets not, and is not born; and no one equals him in power" (sura cxii.).

Since he claimed to be a restorer of the ancient, pure religion revealed to Abraham, he connected his teaching with that of the Holy Scriptures of the Jews and Christians, of whose contents, however, he had in many particulars only a very imperfect knowledge—his teachers having been monks or half-educated Jews—and this knowledge he often repeated in a confused and perverted fashion. What he received from the Jews was mixed with haggadic elements current orally among Arabian Jews or existing in written form [—probably preserved in Ethiopic translations of Hebrew pseudepigraphic writings.—K.]; and his conception of Christian teachings was sometimes that of the heretical sects (Collyridians, Docetæ) scattered throughout the Orient, and not recognized in the canonical doctrines of Christianity. As has recently been shown, Mohammed himself not only borrowed from Jews and Christians, but was influenced also by Parseeism, with the professors of which ("majus," "magian") he came into direct contact (I. Goldziher, "Islamisme et Parsisme," in "Actes du ler Congrès Internat. d'Histoire des Religions," i. 119-147, Paris, 1901).

The Koran.

The first and most ancient document of Islam is naturally the Koran ("Proclamation"), which, containing God's revelations to Mohammed, forms the foundation of his religion. The doctrine of faith and practise preached by Mohammed is unfolded gradually with the succession of stages in the growth of the Koran. In the first period of his activity (at Mecca) he was occupied chiefly with his inspirations in regard to the truths of the faith, the monotheistic idea, the divine judgment, and his prophetic calling. The monotheistic conception of God, which he opposes to Arabian heathendom, agrees in substance with that of the Old Testament; he emphasizes, however, as Nöldeke has pointed out, "more the universal power and the unhindered free will of God than His holiness." Mohammed connects the idea of omnipotence with the attribute of mercy, which forms an essential element in the exercise of God's omnipotence and which is expressed in the name for God taken from the mother religion, "al-Raḥman" ("Raḥmana"), usually joined with "al-Raḥim" (="the Compassionate"). The formulation of the social and ritualistic laws was revealed to him principally after the Hegira, during his sojourn in Medina; while the most essential elements of the ritual ordinances had been evolved during the Meccan period. In Medina he had counted much on the support of the influential Jews, by whom he expected to be regarded as the final messenger of God promised in the Scriptures. He accordingly at first made them various concessions. He pointed to Jerusalem as the direction ("ḳiblah") toward which they should turn when praying, and he established the tenth day of the first lunar month ('Ashura) as the great annual fast-day. The prohibition against eating swine's flesh was also taken from Judaism, and, like that against drinking wine, was accepted, since it was difficult in those days for Arabs to procure that beverage; whereas the adoption of the Biblical prohibition against camel's flesh would have encountered great opposition, because such meat formed an integral part of the national food (Fränkel, "Aramäische Fremdwörter im Arabischen," iii.). Circumcision, a custom preserved from old Arabian heathendom, does not possess in Islam the fundamental character peculiar to it among the Jews.

Opposition to Judaism.

In view, however, of the obstinate opposition maintained by the Jews, Mohammed soon annulled some of these concessions. The ḳiblah was directedtoward Mecca (sura ii. 136); the month Ramaḍan became the great period of fasting, in place of the tenth day of the first month; and in other cases also he opposed some of the principal details of Jewish practise. He set aside the restrictions of the dietary laws (retaining only those in regard to swine's flesh and animals which die a natural death or are offered as heathen sacrifices); and he protested against the Jewish conception and observation of the Sabbath. Instead of the day of rest in commemoration of God's resting, he appointed Friday ("Jum'ah") as a day of assembly for divine worship ("Die Sabbath-Institution in Islam," in "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," pp. 86-101). In the abolition of such Biblical ordinances he laid down the principle of Abrogation which forms the basis of Islamic theology.

Institutions of Islam.

The fundamental obligations of Islam, called "pillars of religion," in their most complete systematic form are five in number: (1) The "shahadah," the confession of faith: "There is no God but Allah; and Mohammed is his apostle." This twofold confession ("kalimata al-shahadah") is amplified into the following creed: "I believe in Allah, in his angels, in his [revealed] Scriptures, in his Prophets, in the future life, in the divine decree [in respect to] the good as well as [to] the bad, and in the resurrection of the dead." (2) "Ṣalat" (divine worship), to be performed five times a day; viz., at noon ("ẓuhr"), in the afternoon ("'aṣr"), in the evening ("maghrib"), at the approach of night ("'isha'"), and in the morning between dawn and sunrise ("ṣubḥ"). The institution of these five times of prayer developed gradually; to the three daily prayers which Mohammed himself appointed after the Jewish pattern were soon added the other two, in imitation of the five "gah" of the Parsees. (3) "Zakat," the levying of an annual property-tax on all property, the sum coming into the state treasury from this source to be used for the public and humanitarian objects enumerated in the Koran (sura ix. 60). (4) "Al-ṣiyam" (= Hebr. "ẓom"), fasting from morning till evening every day during the month Ramaḍan (the severity of this law was lightened by certain indulgences). (5) "Al-ḥajj" (the pilgrimage) to Mecca, imposed on every one for whom the performance of this duty is possible. The ceremonies incident to this pilgrimage Mohammed preserved from the traditional practises followed during the period of heathendom, although he reformed and reinterpreted them in a monotheistic sense (C. Snouck Hurgronje, "Het Mekkaansche Feest," Leyden, 1880). Dozy's theory, based on I Chron. iv. 39-43 (see his "De Israelieten te Mekka," Haarlem, 1864; German transl., Leipsic, 1864), that the pilgrimage ceremonies of olden times in Mecca were instituted by Israelites, more particularly by Simeonites who had been scattered thither, and that even the nomenclature of the rites may be etymologically explained from the Hebrew, has found little favor (comp. Geiger, "Jüd. Zeit." iv. 281; "Z. D. M. G." xix. 330).

In addition to the religious duties imposed upon each individual professing Islam, the collective duty of the "jihad" (= "fighting against infidels") is imposed on the community, as represented by the commander of the faithful. Mohammed claimed for his religion that it was to be the common property of all mankind, just as he himself, who at first appeared as a prophet of the Arabs, ended by proclaiming himself the prophet of a universal religion, the messenger of God to all humanity, or, as tradition has it, "ila al-aḥmar wal-aswad" (to the red and the black). For this reason unbelief must be fought with the force of weapons, in order that "God's word may be raised to the highest place." Through the refusal to accept Islam, idolaters have forfeited their lives. Those "who possess Scriptures" ("ahl al-kitab"), in which category are included Jews, Christians, Magians, and Sabians, may be tolerated on their paying tribute ("jizyah") and recognizing the political supremacy of Islam (sura ix. 29). The state law of Islam has accordingly divided the world into two categories: the territory of Islam ("dar al-Islam") and the territory of war. ("dar al-ḥarb"), i.e., territory against which it is the duty of the commander of the faithful ("amir al-mu'minin") to lead the community in the jihad.

For the exercise of the ritual duties certain ceremonies are appointed (e.g., the preliminary ablutions and the definite number of bows and prostrations in the case of the ṣalat), the forms of which were, however, still variable during the first century of Islam. The early dispersion of the Moslems into distant lands, in which they conducted wars of conquest, made it difficult to establish a fixed practise. The most varying opinions arose concerning the regulations which the prophet had ordained in regard to these forms and the manner in which he had himself performed the ceremonies—in a word, concerning what was the "sunna" (traditional custom) in these matters. The claim as to the validity of each opinion was based on some alleged report ("ḥadith") either of a decree or of a practise of the prophet or of his companions ("aṣḥab"). In regard to these questions of detail, as indeed in regard to questions of law in general—which latter embraces both jurisprudence and matters of ritual—it was only in the second century after the establishment of Islam that fixed rules were adopted. These were founded partly on what was recognized as tradition, partly on speculative conclusions, and partly on the generally acknowledged and authenticated consensus of opinion in the community ("ijma'"). These legal regulations were worked up systematically, and furnished material for the activity of those theological schools in which was developed the Mohammedan law that to-day is still recognized as authoritative.

The study of law is one of the most important of Mohammedan sciences, "fiḳh" (lit. "reasonableness" ="juris prudentia"; Hebr. "ḥokmah"). Its students are the "fuḳaha" (sing. "faḳih"; i.e., "prudentes" ="ḥakamim"). On the development of this science Roman and Talmudic law, especially the former, has exercised a great influence. The studies of the oldest law schools have led to different results in the regulation of many details of the law according to the varying application of the data and of the fundamental principles. Hence arose the differencesin the ritualistic practises and in the verdicts of the various legal sects ("madhahib") of Islam. Many of these sects have since disappeared; but the Hanafites, the Shafiites, the Malikites, and the Hanfalites have survived to the present day, and are distributed over large tracts of the extensive Islamic world.


By far the largest sect is that of the Hanafites, founded in the school of the Imam Abu Ḥanifah (d. 150 A.H.=767 C.E.); it predominates in Turkey, in middle Asia, and in India. The Shafiites, named after the Imam Al-Shafi'i (d. 204=819), prevail in Egypt, southern Arabia, the Dutch colonies, and in German East-African territory. The Malikites, named after Malik ibn Anas, the great Imam of Medina (d. 179=795), include those who profess Islam in northern Africa and some in Upper Egypt. The Hanbalites, distinguished for their rigor and intolerance, and for a strict adherence to tradition, are named after the Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241=855). This sect suffered a serious decline after the fifteenth century; but it revived in the eighteenth century in the Wahabite movement of central Arabia, where the general adoption of its point of view led to the foundation of the Wahabitic dynasty. These four sects stand on the common basis of the sunna.

The Mohammedan schismatic movement was in origin not religious, but political. Its central point is the question as to the rightful successor to the prophet in the government of the Islamic community. While the Sunnites recognize the right of election to the califate, the Shiites refuse to accept the historical facts, and recognize as legitimate rulers and successors ("khalifah") to the prophet only his direct blood relations and descendants in the line of his daughter Fatima, the wife of Ali. But they are again divided among themselves according to which branch of the prophet's descendants they recognize. The Shiitic High Church, represented by the sect of the Ithna-ashariyyah (="Twelvers"), also called "Imamites," derive the legitimate succession in the califate (they prefer the term "Imam" to "Khalifah") from Ali, and transmit it from father to son until the twelfth Imam, Mohammed b. Ḥasan al-'Askari. This Mohammed is said to have disappeared mysteriously in the year 266 A.H. (=879 C.E.), when he was but eight years old; and the "Twelvers" hold that since then he has lived in concealment, and will appear again at the last day as Imam Mahdi. Another branch of the Shiites, the so-called "Isma'iliyyah," known in history as "the Fatimites," founded a dynasty which was powerful for some time in North Africa and in Egypt (909-1171 C.E.). As a result of the veneration paid by the Shiites to the family of Ali and Fatima (belief in the infallibility of the Imams is obligatory on all Shiites), doctrines of incarnation have sprung up within these sects, which join to the theory of the legitimate imamate the belief that the possessor of this dignity becomes super human; and this belief is even carried to the point of recognizing the existence of "God-men."

Liberal Movement in Islam.

The Gnostic teachings that have developed in Islam have exercised an influence on its cosmogonic and emanational theories, plainly evidencing the effect of Babylonian and Parsee ideas. To this day the stunted remains of these old tendencies survive in the Druses, Noṣairians, and the other sects scattered through Persia and Syria; and the history of Islam as well as a not inconsiderable literature bears testimony to the extent of their influence (comp. Dussaud, "Histoire et Religion des Noṣairis," Paris, 1900; Seybold, "Die Drusenschrift 'Das Buch der Punkte und Kreise,'" Tübingen, 1902). An acquaintance with the dogmatic movement in Islam and with the sects that have proceeded from it is of great importance for the study of the history of religious philosophy in Judaism, and of its expression in the Jewish literature of the Middle Ages. As early as the second century of Islam, through the influence of Greek philosophy a rationalistic reaction took place in Syria and Mesopotamia against a literal acceptance of several conceptions of orthodox belief. This reaction touched especially upon the definition of the attributes of God, the doctrine of revelation, and the conceptions of free will and fatalism. While the strictly orthodox party, represented for the greater part by the followers of Ibn Ḥanbal (see above), clung in all questions to a literal interpretation of the Koran and tradition, the Motazilites introduced a more reasonable religious view, one more in keeping with the essence of monotheism (see Arabic Philosophy).

Its Spread.

Wholly without parallel in the history of the world was the rapid and victorious spread of Islam, within scarcely a century after the death of its founder, beyond the boundaries of Arabia, over Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, middle Asia to the borders of China, the whole coast of North Africa (ancient Mauritania and Numidia), and Europe as far as Spain. It subdued the Sudan as well as India; it flooded the Malayan islands; and it has not yet finished its propaganda among the negroes of Africa, where it is steadily gaining ground. Starting from Zanzibar, it has spread to Mozambique, to the Portuguese colonies on the coast, to the negro tribes of South Africa, and it has even penetrated Madagascar. Islam is represented in America also, in some of the negroes who have immigrated to the western hemisphere. The slight Islamic propaganda of modern times among the Christians of North America is a peculiar one. It finds its expression in an English-Mohammedan service, in an Islamic literature, as well as in a newspaper ("The Moslem World"). In England, also, a Mohammedan community has recently been founded (Quilliam; comp. "Islam in America," New York, 1893).

The total number of professors of the Mohammedan faith in the world has been variously estimated. Two computations of modern times should especially be mentioned: that of the Mohammedan scholar Rouhi al-Khalidi, who gives the total number as 282, 225, 420 ("Revue de l'Islam, "1897, No. 21), and that of Hubert Jansen ("Verbreitung des Islams," etc., Friedrichshagen, 1897), whose estimate, in round numbers, is 260,000,000.

Relation to Judaism:

In connection with the general sketch given above it is of especial importance from the Jewish standpoint to note the relations between Jews and Mohammedans.

In the Koran many a harsh word is spoken against the Jews, probably as the immediate effect of the difficulties which people in Arabia offered to the fulfilment of Mohammed's hopes and of the obstinate refusal with which they met his appeal to them. They are characterized as those upon whom "God's anger rests" (suras v. 65, lviii. 15, and, according to the traditional exegesis of Mohammedans, i. 7). They are taxed with having a special hatred for the faithful (v. 85); hence friendships with them should not be formed (v. 56). This sentiment is presupposed to a still greater degree in the old ḥadith. It was a general conviction that the Jew who seems to salute a Moslem with the usual salaam greeting, instead of saying the word "salam" (health) says "sam" (death), which has a similar sound. One instance of this is related as having taken place even as early as the time of the prophet (Bukhari, "Isti'dhan," No. 22; idem, "Da'awat," No. 56). "Never is a Jew alone with a Moslem without planning how he may kill him" (Jaḥiẓ, "Bayan," i. 165). In this way a fanatical rage against the Jews was infused into the minds of the Mohammedans. On the last day the faithful will battle with the Jews, whereupon the stones will say to the believers: "Behind me lurks a Jew, oh Moslem! Strike him dead!" (Musnad Aḥmad, ii. 122, 131, 149; Bukhari, "Jihad," No. 93).

Treatment of Jews.

But, in spite of the continuance of this malevolent disposition in single cases, one gathers from the old literature of Islam the general impression that after the foundation of the Mohammedan community a milder sentiment in respect to the Jews was introduced. Even Mohammed had already proclaimed toleration of the "Ahl al-Kitab" in consideration of their paying a certain tax ("jizyah") into the state treasury; although, to be sure, a certain humiliation for the unbelievers attached to the collection of this tax (sura ix. 29). In the following generation, under the calif Omar, the details were fixed for the execution of this general law. One might say that side by side with the harshness shown by Mohammed and Omar toward the Jews settled in Arabia itself (they were, in fact, all driven out), there existed a more tolerant disposition toward those who were brought under the Mohammedan yoke through the extensive conquests of Islam. This disposition is expressed in many old ḥadiths, of which the following may serve as an illustration: "Whoever wrongs a Christian or a Jew, against him shall I myself appear as accuser on the Judgment Day." A number of current decrees emphasize the duties toward the "mu'ahad" (those with whom a compact has been made to protect them), or the "dhimmi" (those recommended to protection)—such are the names given to the professors of other faiths who are granted protection—and whenever mention is made of protection of the "persecuted," the commentators never omit to add that this is obligatory in regard to Moslems and also in regard to the "ahl al-dimmah." It is probable that the influence of the old Arabic conception of the duty of caring for whomsoever the tribe had taken under its protection is to be seen here; according to that conception, difference in religion was not sufficient ground for making an exception (an example of this may be found in "Kitab al-'Aghani," xi. 91).

Pact of Omar.

In the instructions which Omar gave to the generals as they set forth to spread the supremacy of Islam by the power of the sword, and to the officials to whom he entrusted the administration of the conquered lands, the injunction to respect and guard the religious institutions of the inhabitants of such lands who profess other faiths often occurs; e.g., in the directions given to Mu'adh ibn Jabal for Yemen, that no Jew be disturbed in the exercise of his faith ("Baladhuri," ed. De Goeje, p. 71). Omar likewise directed that some of the money and food due to the poor from public revenues be given to non-Moslems (ib. p. 129). Characteristic of this attitude toward the Jew is a story—somewhat fabulous, it is true—told of a house in Busrah. When Omar's governor in this conquered city desired to build a mosque, the site of a Jew's house appeared to him to be suitable for the purpose. In spite of the objections of the owner, he had the dwelling torn down, and built the mosque in its place. The outraged Jew went to Medina to tell his grievance to Omar, whom he found wandering among the graves, poorly clad and lost in pious meditation. When the calif had heard his complaint, anxious to avoid delay and having no parchment with him, he picked up the jaw-bone of an ass and wrote on it an urgent command to the governor to tear down his mosque and rebuild the house of the Jew. This spot was still called "the house of the Jew" up to modern times (Porter, "Five Years in Damascus," 2d ed., p. 235, London, 1870). To Omar, however, is likewise ascribed the origin of a pact ("'ahd 'Omar"; See Omar) whose provisions were very severe.

Whatever may be true as to the genuineness of these "pacts" (see in this connection De Goeje, "Mémoire sur la Conquête de la Syrie," p. 142, Leyden, 1900; T. W. Arnold, "The Preaching of Islam," p. 52), it is certain that not until the science of Mohammedan law had reached its full development in the Fiḳh school and the canonical law had been definitely codified after the second century of the Hegira, was the interconfessional law definitely established. A chapter dealing with the social and legal position of those "possessing Scriptures" may be found in every Mohammedan legal code. There is a regular gradation in respect to the degree of tolerance granted by the various legal sects ("madhahib"). On the whole, the attempt was made in these codes to adhere in theory to the original fundamental laws. The adherence was modified, however, by a certain amount of increased rigor, corresponding to the public feeling of the age in which the codes came into existence—that of the Abbassids. The most intolerant were the followers of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal. The codification of the laws in question has been given in detail by Goldziher in "Monatsschrift," 1880, pp. 302-308.

Anti-Jewish Traditions.

The different tendencies in the codifications are shown in divergences in the decrees attributed to the prophet. While one reads, "Whoever does violence to a dhimmi who has paid his jizyah and evidenced his submission—his enemy I am" ("Usd al-Ghaba," iii. 133), people with fanatical views haveput into the mouth of the prophet such words as these: "Whoever shows a friendly face to a dhimmi is like one who deals me a blow in the side" (Ibn Ḥajar al-Haitami, "Fatawi Ḥadithiyyah," p. 118, Cairo, 1307). Or: "The angel Gabriel met the prophet on one occasion, whereupon the latter wished to take his hand. Gabriel, however, drew back, saying: 'Thou hast but just now touched the hand of a Jew.' The prophet was required to make his ablutions before he was allowed to take the angel's hand" (Dhahabi, "Mizan al-I'tidal," ii. 232, 275). These and similar sayings, however, were repudiated by the Mohammedan ḥadithcritics themselves as false and spurious. They betray the fanatical spirit of the circle in which they originated. Official Islam has even tried to turn away from Jews and Christians the point of whatever malicious maxims have been handed down from ancient times. An old saying in regard to infidels reads: "If ye meet them in the way, speak not to them and crowd them to the wall." When Suhail, who relates this saying of the prophet, was asked whether Jews and Christians were intended, he answered that this command referred to the heathen ("mushrikin"; "Musnad Aḥmad," ii. 262).

Under the dominion of the Ommiads the followers of other religious faiths were little disturbed, since it was not in keeping with the worldly policy of those rulers to favor the tendencies of fanatical zealots. Omar II. (717-720) was the only one of this worldly-wise dynasty who trenched upon the equal privileges of unbelievers; and he was under the pietistic influence. Intolerance of infidels and a limitation of their freedom were first made a part of the law during the rule of the Abbassids (see Abbassid Califs), who, to bring about the ruin of their predecessors, had supported theocratic views and granted great influence to the representatives of intolerant creeds (comp. "Z. D. M. G." xxxviii. 679; "R. E. J." xxx. 6). Under them also the law was introduced compelling Jews to be distinguished by their clothing ("ghiyar"; Abu Yusuf, "Kitab alKharaj," pp. 72-73, Bulak, 1302). At a later period such distinguishing marks became frequent in the Mohammedan kingdoms, especially in North Africa, where the badge was known as "shaklah" (Fagnan, "Chroniques des Almohades et des Hafçidcs Attribué à Zerkechi," p., 19, Constantine, 1895).

Influence of Judaism on Islam.

The debt of Islam to Judaism is not limited to the laws, institutions, doctrines, and traditions which Mohammed himself borrowed from the Jews and incorporated in his revelations (see Koran). For its later development, also, Islam made use of much material presented to its teachers through direct association with Jews, through the influence of converted Jews, and through contact with the surrounding Jewish life. Many a Jewish tradition has thus crept into Islam and taken an important place there. It is related that 'Ayisha, the wife of the prophet, owned to having received the idea of the torments of the grave ("'adhab al-ḳabr" = Hebr. "ḥibbuṭ ha-ḳeber") from Jewish women, and that Mohammed incorporated it in his teaching. Other eschatological details of Judaism served to embellish the original material, much of which goes back to Parsee sources (e.g., the leviathan and "shor ha-bar" as food = preserved wine as a drink in paradise; the "luz"="'ujb" out of which men's bodies will be reconstructed at the resurrection, etc.; see Eschatology). From the very beginning Jews versed in the Scriptures ("ḥabr" [plural, "aḥbar"] =Hebr. "ḥaber") became of great importance in providing such details; and it was from the information thus supplied that the meager skeleton of the teachings of the Koran was built up and clothed.

These aḥbar hold an important position also as sources for information concerning Islam. It will be sufficient here to refer to the many teachings in the first two centuries of Islam which are recorded under the names Ka'b al-Aḥbar (d. 654) and Wahb ibn Munabbih (d. circa 731). In the first place, Islam owes to this source its elaborations of Biblical legends; many of these elaborations are incorporated in the canonical ḥadith works, and still more in the historical books (e.g., Ṭabari, vol. i.); and they early developed into an important special literature, a compilation of which is found in a work by Tha'labi (d. 1036) dealing exhaustively with these subjects and entitled "'Ara'is al-Majalis" (frequently printed in Cairo). Here belong the many tales current in Islamic legendary literature under the name "Isra-'iliyyat" (= "Jewish narratives"; comp. "R. E. J." xliv. 63 et seq.). According to the researches of F. Perles and Victor Chauvin, a large number of the tales in the "Thousand and One Nights" go back to such Jewish sources (see Arabian Nights).

The system of genealogy, so important among the Arabs, connecting early Arabian history with that of the Biblical patriarchs, also goes back to Jewish sources. In particular a Jewish scholar of Palmyra is mentioned who adapted the genealogical tables of the Bible to the demands of Arabic genealogy (comp. references in Goldziher, "Muhammedanische Studien," i. 178, note 2). It was likewise such Jewish converts who offered the material for certain theories hostile to Judaism; for example, the view, not generally accepted by Mohammedans (ib. i. 145), but which is nevertheless very widely spread, that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was consecrated as a sacrifice ("dhabiḥ") to God, originates from the teaching of a crafty convert who wished to ingratiate himself with his new associates (Ṭabari, i. 299).

Influence of Jewish on Mohammedan Law.

Islam in the course of its development borrowed also a large number of legal precepts from the Jewish Halakah. The importance attached to the "niyyah" (= "intentio") in the practise of law is at first glance reminiscent of the rabbinical teaching concerning "kawwanah," even though all the details do not coincide. The Mohammedan regulations appertaining to slaughtering, those relating to the personal qualifications of the "shoḥeṭ" (Arabic, "dhabiḥ") as well as those in regard to the details of slaughtering, show plainly the influence of the Jewish Halakah, as a glance into the codes themselves will prove. These are easily accessible, in the original as well as in European translations (Nawawi, "Minhag al-Ṭalibin," ed. Van den Berg, iii. 297, Batavia,1882-84; "Fatḥ al-Ḳarib," edited by the same, pp. 631 et seq., Leyden, 1894; Tornaw, "Das Muslimische Recht," p. 228, Leipsic, 1855). For example, the Mohammedan law in regard to slaughtering ordains expressly that the "ḥulḳum" (Hebr. "ḳaneh") and the "mari'" (Hebr. "wesheṭ") must be severed, and forbids killing in any other manner. On the other hand, the law, peculiar to Islam, that the slaughterer in the performance of his duty must turn the animal toward the "ḳiblah," has given material for halakic reflections on the part of Jews (Solomon ben Adret, Responsa, No. 345; "Bet Yosef," on Ṭur Yoreh De'ah iv., end). The rule that God's name be mentioned before slaughtering is probably a reflection of the Jewish benediction, as are also in general the eulogies ordained by Islamic tradition at the appearance of certain natural phenomena (Nawawi, "Adhkar," p. 79, Cairo, 1312), which may be traced back to the influence of Jewish customs. Mohammedan law has adopted literally the provision "ka-makḥol ba-she-poperet" in the case of the precept concerning adultery, and it betrays its source through this characteristic form of speech ("R. E. J." xxviii. 79), which is not the only one that teachers of Islam have taken over from rabbinical linguistic usage (ib. xliii. 5).

The attempt has been made by Alfred von Kremer ("Culturgesch. des Orients Unter den Chalifen," i. 525, 535) to show by many examples that the codifiers, of Mohammedan civil law were influenced by Talmudic-rabbinical law. There is, however, legitimate doubt in the case of many of such coincidences whether Roman law, the influence of which on the development of Mohammedan law is beyond question, should not be considered as the direct source from which Islamic teachers borrowed. Such a question must arise from a consideration of the legal principle of the "istiṣḥab" (= "præsumptio"), the meaning and application of which coincide fully with that of the rabbinical principle of the ("Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes," i. 239). Likewise the rules and , and the fundamental principle of the ("istiṣlaḥ") are found literally among the cardinal juridical principles of Islamic law (ib. p. 229; "Muhammedanische Studien," ii. 82, No. 6). In spite of the fact that it is a principle of Islamic tradition to avoid all imitation of the usages and customs of the ahl al-Kitab and that the disapproval of many usages of religious as well as of secular life is specifically ascribed to such a cause ("R. E. J." xxviii. 77), still many religious practises of Judaism have been incorporated into Islam; for example, many details in the ceremony of burying the dead, as "ṭaḥarah" (washing the dead), holy texts being recited during the washing of the various parts of the body (Al-'Abdari, "Madkhal," iii. 12, Alexandria, 1293). Such intrusive customs are not seldom censured by the purists of Islam as being "bid'a" (unorthodox innovations), in opposition to the "Sunnah" (old orthodox usage). Those elements of Mohammedan religious literature which correspond to the Jewish Haggadah offer a large field for derivation; in this connection See Ḥadith.

Islam is regarded by Mohammedans, as may be easily conceived, not only as the final stage of the divine revelation, but also as being quantitatively richer than either Judaism or Christianity. More ethical demands are made by it than by the older religions. This idea found expression in an old ḥadith which even at a very early period was misinterpreted to read: "Judaism has 71, Christianity 72, and Islam 73 sects." The word which was taken to mean "sects" denotes literally "branches," and should be interpreted "religious demands," "the highest of which is the acknowledgment of God and Mohammed, and the lowest the removal of offense from the way" (on the original meaning of this saying see Goldziher, "Le Dénombrement des Sectes Mohametanes," in "Revue de l'Histoire des Religions," xxvi. 129-137).


The theological relation of Islam to Judaism is presented in an extensive polemical literature on the part of Mohammedan scholars. The subject-matter of this literature is closely related to the attacks and accusations already directed against Judaism by the Koran and the ḥadith. In the Koran (ix. 30) the Jews are charged with worshiping Ezra ("'Uzair") as the son of God—a malevolent metaphor for the great respect which was paid by the Jews to the memory of Ezra as the restorer of the Law, and from which the Ezra legends of apocryphal literature (II Esd. xxxiv. 37-49) originated (as to how they developed in Mohammedan legends see Damiri, "Ḥayat al-Ḥayawan," i. 304-305). It is hard to bring into harmony with this the fact, related by Jacob Saphir ("Eben Sappir," i. 99), that the Jews of South Arabia have a pronounced aversion for the memory of Ezra, and even exclude his name from their category of proper names.

More clearly still does this literature bring forward an accusation, founded on suras ii. 70, v. 15, that the Jews had falsified certain portions of the Holy Scriptures and concealed others (iii. 64, vi. 91). Even in Mohammed's time the rabbis were said to have misrepresented to the prophet the law in regard to adulterers ("R. E. J." xxviii. 79). In later times the details as to these falsifications were continually augmented. It was said, for example, that in order to rob the Arabs of an honor done to their ancestors the Jews wrongly inserted in the Pentateuch the choice of Isaac as the child whose sacrifice God demanded of Abraham and which the paṭriarch was willing to make, whereas in reality it was Ishmael (comp. "Muhammedanische Studien," i. 145, note 5). But the accusation of misrepresentation and concealment is most emphatic in connection with those passages of the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Psalms in which the adherents of Islam claim that Mohammed's name and attributes, his future appearance as "seal of the prophets," and his mission to all mankind were predicted.

Mohammedan, theologians divide these charges into two classes: they hold (1) that in some cases the original text itself has been falsified, while (2) in others it is the interpretation of a genuine text that has been wilfully perverted. Whereas in the earlier period of the controversy these accusations were made against the "aḥbar" as a class, who were represented as leading the Jewish people astray, lateron the personal nature of the charge was accentuated, and the fault ascribed to Ezra "the writer" ("al-warraḳ"), who in his restoration of the forgotten writings was said to have falsified them ("Z. D. M. G." xxxii. 370). Abraham ibn Daud ("Emunah Ramah," p. 79) combats this accusation. According to tradition, Ibn Ḳutaiba (d. 276 A.H. = 889 C.E.) was the first to bring together the Biblical passages supposed to refer to the sending of Mohammed. His enumeration of them has been preserved in a work by Ibn al-Jauzi (12th cent.), from which it has been published in the Arabic text by Brockelmann ("Beiträge für Semitische Wortforschung," iii. 46-55; comp. Stade's "Zeitschrift," 1894, pp. 138-142). These passages recur with more or less completeness in the works of all Moslem apologists and controversialists (comp. the enumeration of the Biblical names of the prophet and the Biblical verses relating to him in "Z. D. M. G." xxxii. 374-379), and are usually combined with similar New Testament prophecies supposed to refer to him (Παράκλητος, confused with Περικλυτός, is taken to mean Mohammed). Of the Biblical names supposed to allude to Mohammed, Jewish apologists have been compelled most often to refute the identification of with the name of the prophet of Islam.

With this portion of the polemic directed against the Bible is often connected an exposition of the contradictions and incongruities in the Biblical narrative. The first to enter this field was the Spaniard Abu Mohammed ibn Ḥazm, a contemporary of Samuel ha-Nagid, with whom he was personally acquainted (see Bibliography below). He was the first important systematizer of this literature; and his attacks upon Judaism and its Scriptures are discussed by Solomon ben Adret in his "Ma'amar 'al Yishmael" (Schreiner, in "Z. D. M. G." xlviii. 39).

Restriction of Recognition of Islam.

One of the earliest points of controversy was the contention of the Jews that, although Mohammed was to be regarded as a national prophet, his mission was to the Arabs only or in general to peoples who had had as yet no revealed Scriptures ("ummiyin"; Kobak's "Jeschurun," ix. 24). In opposition to this, Mohammedan theologians and controversialists declared that Mohammed's divine mission was universal, hence intended for the Jews also. Abu 'Isa Obadiah al-Iṣfahani, founder of the 'Isawites (middle of the 8th cent.), admitted that Mohammedanism as well as Christianity was entitled to recognize its founder as a prophet, whose mission was intended for "its people"; he thus recognized the relative truth of Islam in so far as its followers were concerned (Ḳirḳisani, ed. Harkavy, § 11).

The turning-point in this controversy was the question of abrogation of the divine laws, inasmuch as a general acceptance of Islam presupposed the abolition of the earlier divine revelations. Otherwise the abolition of the Sabbath law (see "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," p. 100), of the dietary laws, and of other Biblical precepts and regulations given by God would lose all claim to validity. Consequently the Mohammedans, while maintaining the authority of the ancient prophets, had to demonstrate the provisional and temporary nature of such of the earlier divine laws abrogated by Mohammed as they did not claim to be out-and-out inventions. So much the more vigorously, therefore, did the Jewish dogmatists (Saadia, "Emunot we-De'ot," book iii.; Abraham ibn Daud, "Emunah Ramah," pp. 75 et seq.) oppose from a philosophical standpoint this view, which attacked the essential principles of the Jewish religion.

The anti-Jewish controversialists of Islam assumed as an established fact that the Jews were required to hold an anthropomorphic, corporeal conception of God ("tajsim," "tashbih"). Judaism is even held responsible for the anthropomorphic conceptions found in other confessions (see "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," p. 100, note 1). The Biblical passages brought forward as proof (among the earliest of them is Gen. i. 26-27) are counted with those which it is claimed were falsified by the Jews. Besides the Biblical passages, references from the Talmud in which extremely anthropomorphic statements are made concerning God ("God prays, mourns," etc.) are also brought forward to support these charges. The material for the last-named class of attacks was probably furnished by the Karaites, who are treated respectfully by the Mohammedan controversialists, are characterized as standing closer to Islam, and in general are exalted at the expense of the Rabbinites.

Ibn Ḥazm extends the attack against the Jews to the rabbinical amplifications of the laws, to the "bonds and chains" with which the Jews have, with unjustifiable arbitrariness on the part of the Rabbis, been bound. Since the time of the Jewish, apostate Samuel. b. Yaḥya, the polemic has taken the form of satire, directed most often against the minutiæ of the precepts on slaughtering and on the order of procedure in connection with the "bedikat ha-re'ah." The same controversialist also began to criticize the text of certain prayers (which he cites in Hebrew) and to hold up the conduct of the Rabbis to ridicule. Later Islamic controversialists have copied extensively from this convert from Judaism.

  • M. Lidzbarski, De Propheticis, Quæ Dicuntur, Legendis Arabicis, Leipsic, 1893;
  • G. Weil, Biblische, Legenden der Muselmänner, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1845;
  • V. Chauvin, La Recension Egyptienne des Mille et Une Nuits, in Bibliothèque de la Facultéde Philos. et Lettres de Liège, Brussels, 1899.
  • Dozy, Het Islamisme, Haarlem. 1863 (French transl. by Chauvin, entitled Essai sur l'Histoire de l'Islamisme, Paris, 1879);
  • A. von Kremer, Gesch. der Herrschenden Ideen des Islams, Leipsic, 1868;
  • idem, Culturgeschichtliche Streifzüge auf dem Gebiete des Islams, ib. 1873;
  • idem, Culturgesch. des Orients Unter den Chalifen, Vienna, 1875-77;
  • Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, London, 1885;
  • Sell, The Faith of Islam, Madras, 1886;
  • I. Goldziher, Die âhiriten, Ihr Lehrsystem und Ihre Gesch.:
  • Beitrag zur Gesch. der Muhammedanischen Theologie, Leipsic, 1884;
  • idem, Muhammedanische Studien, Halle, 1889-90;
  • C. Snouck Hurgronje, De Islam, in De Gids, 1886;
  • Nöldeke, Der Islam, in Orientalische Skizzen, pp. 63-110, Berlin, 1892;
  • Grimme, Mohammed, part ii., Münster, 1894;
  • E. Moutet, La Propagande Chrétienne et Ses Adversaires Musulmanes, Paris, 1890;
  • T. W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, London, 1896;
  • Rüling, Beiträge zur Eschatologie des Islams, Leipsic, 1895;
  • H. Preserved Smith, The Bible and Islam, or the Influence of the Old and New Testament on, the Religion of Mohammed (Ely Lectures), London, 1898;
  • Pautz, Muhammeds Lehre von der Offenbarung, Leipsic, 1898;
  • M. Steinschneider, Polemische und Apologetische Literatur in Arabischer Sprache Zwischen Muslimen, Christen, und Juden, in Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vi., No. 3, ib. 1877;
  • I. Goldziher, Ueber Muhammedanische Polemik Gegen Ahl al-Kitab, in Z. D. M. G. xxxii. 341-387;
  • M. Schreiner, Zur Gesch. der Polemik Zwischen Juden, und Muhammedanern, ib. xlii. 591-675.
  • Abdallah b. Isma'il al-Hashimi, a polemic against Christianityand its refutation by 'Abd al-Masiḥ b. Isḥaḳ al-Kindi (commencement of 9th cent.), London. 1880;
  • comp. Al-Kindi: The Apology Written at the Court of Al-Mamun in Defense of Christianity Against Islam, with an, Essay on its Age and Authorship, London Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1887 (comp. Steinschneider in Z. D. M. G. xlix. 248, note 2);
  • Ibn Ḳutaiba (d. 276 A.H. = 889 C.E.), ed. Brockelmann;
  • Al-Mawardi (d. 450 = 1058). ed. Schreiner, in Kohut Memorial Volume, pp. 502-513;
  • Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456 = 1064), Kitab al-Milal wal-Niḥal, Cairo, 1319 = 1901;
  • Samau'al b.Yaḥya al-Maghribi (Jewish apostate, wrote 1169), Ifḥam al-Jahud (extracts therefrom revised and published by M. Schreiner in Monatsschrift, xlii. 123-133, 170-180, 214-223, 253-261, 407-418, 457-465);
  • Mohammed ibn Ẓufr (a Sicilian; d. 565=1169), Khair al-Bishar bi-Khair al-Bashar, Cairo, 1280=1863;
  • Aḥmad b. Idris al-ḥimhaji al-Ḳarafl (d. 684= 1285), Al-Ajwibat al-Fakhirah 'an al-As'ilat al-Fajirah, ib. 1320=1902;
  • Sa'id b. Ḥasan of Alexandria (Jewish apostate; wrote 720=1320), Masalik al-Naẓar (excerpts published by I. Goldziher in R. E. J. xxx. 1-23);
  • Mohammed ibn Ḳayyim al-Jauziya (d. 751=1351), Irshad al-Ḥajara min al-Yahud wal-Naṣara, Cairo, 1320=1902 (for different title see Steinschneider, l.c. p. 108, No. 87);
  • Abdallah al-Tarjumani (Christian apostate, wrote 823=1420), Tuḥfat al-Arib fi al-Radd 'Ala Ahl-al-Ṣalib, Cairo, 1895 (transl. by Jean Spiro in Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, xii. 68-89, 179-201, 278-301, under the title Le Présent de l'Homme Lettré pour Refuter les Partisans de la Croix;
  • Turkish transl. by Mohammed Dhini, Constantinople, 1291=1874);
  • Abu al-Faḍl al-Maliki al-Su'udi (wrote 942=1535), Disputatio pro Religione Mohammedanorum Adversus Christianos, ed. F. T. van den Ham, Leyden, 1890;
  • Sayyid 'Ali Mohammed (a Shiite), Zad Ḳalil (Indian lithograph, 1290=1873; the Biblical references are inserted in the Arabic text with Hebraic letters and Arabic transcription);
  • Proof of the Prophet Mohamet from the Bible, No. 23 of the publications of the Mohammedan Tract and Book Depot, Lahore, is wholly modern;
  • Al-Kanz al-Maurud fi-ma Baḳiya 'Alaina min Naḳs Shari'at al-Yahud (a Druse polemic against the Pentateuch;
  • extracts from it have been published by I. Goldziher in Geiger's Jüd. Zeit. xi. 68-79);
  • I. Goldziher, Proben Muhammedanischer Polemik Gegen den Talmud: i. (Ibn Haẓm) in Kobak's Jeschurun, viii. 76-104;
  • ii. (Ibn. Ḳayyim al-Jawziya), ib. ix. 18-47 (Arabic text with German transl.)—an especial anti-Talmudic polemic.
K. I. G.
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