Early Muslim Dogma: A Source-critical Study

Publication Year



The key sources for the reconstruction of the early history of Muslim dogma are a group of texts ascribed to authors of the late first century of the Hijra. These texts bear on two major doctrinal controversies, the Murji'ite and the Qadarite, raising issues related on the one hand to the judgement of the events of the First Civil War, and on the other to the dilemma of predestination and free will. Part I and II of this study present a new source for the early history of the Murji'a, and argue new positions regarding the early doctrine and politics of the movement. Parts III and IV are an investigation of the authenticity and dating of this and half a dozen similar sources; the issues thereby raised are fundamental for the history of Muslim dogma, and have ramifications for the study of early Muslim history at large. The book also discusses the origin of particular Muslim doctrines in the religious and intellectual trends of late antiquity.

Table of Contents

Part I. The Sirat Salim and the Early Epistles:
1. Salim b. Dhakwan and his epistle
2. Literary parallels
3. The role of Korean and hadith
Part II. The Sirat Salim and Early Murji'ism:
4. The sirat salim on the murji'a: translation
5. Murji'ite doctrine
6. Murji'ite politics
7. Murji'ite origins
Part III. The Dating of the Early Epistles:
8. The letters of Ibn Ibad to 'Abd al-Malik
9. The K. al-irja'
10. The sirat salim
Part IV. The Documents of the Qadarite Controversy:
11. The dating of traditions
12. The epistle of Hasan of Basra
13. The epistle of 'Umar II
14. The questions of Hasan b. Muhammad
15. An epistle of Jacob of Edessa
16. Conclusion

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York
Cloth: 0521233798; paper: 9780521545723