1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mahommedan Religion
MAHOMMEDAN RELIGION. The Mahommedan religion is generally known as Islam—the name given to it by Mahomet himself—and meaning the resigning or submitting oneself to God. The participle of the same Arabic verb, Muslim (in English usually spelt Moslem), is used for one who professes this religion. The expression “Mahommedan religion” has arisen in the West probably from analogy with “Christian religion,” but is not recognized as a proper one by Moslem writers. Islam claims to be a divinely revealed religion given to the world by Mahomet, who was the last of a succession of inspired prophets. Its doctrine and practices are to be found in (i) the Book of God—the Koran—which was sent down from the highest heaven to Gabriel in the lowest, who in turn revealed it in sections to Mahomet; (2) the collections of tradition (ḥadīth) containing the sayings and manner of life (sunna) of the Prophet; (3) the use of analogy (qiyās) as applied to (i) and (2); and (4) the universal consent (ijmāʽ) of the believers. The worship of Islam consists in (1) the recital of the creed; (2) the recital of the ordained prayers; (3) the fast during the month of Ramadhān; (4) alms-giving; (5) the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. The theology of Islam finds its first public expression among the orthodox in the teaching of al-Ashʽarī (d. after 932), but had its real beginning among the sects that arose soon after the death of Mahomet.
Islam is the latest of the so-called world-religions, and as several of the others were practised in Arabia at the time of Mahomet, and the Prophet undoubtedly borrowed some of his doctrines and some of his practices from these, it is necessary to enumerate them and to indicate the extent to which they prevailed in the Arabian world.
Relations with Other Religions.—The religions practised in Arabia at the time of Mahomet were heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.
1. Heathenism was the religion of the majority of the Arabs. In the cities of south Arabia it was a survival from the forms represented in the Sabaean, Minaean and Himyaritic inscriptions of south Arabia (see Arabia: Antiquities). The more popular form current among the nomads is known very imperfectly from the remains of pre-Islamic poetry and such works as the Kitāb ul-Aṣnām contained in Yaqūt’s geography, from Shahrastānī’s work on the sects, and from the few references in classical writers. From these we have mostly names of local deities (cf. J. Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentums, 2nd ed., Berlin, 1897) and ancient religious customs, which remained in part after the introduction of Islam (cf. W. Robertson Smith, The Religion of the Semites, Edinburgh, 1889, and Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, Cambridge, 1885). From these sources we learn that Arabian religion was a nature-worship associated with fetishism. Sun, moon and stars were worshipped, some tribes being devoted to the worship of special constellations. Certain stones, wells and trees were regarded as sacred and as containing a deity. Many (perhaps most) tribes had their own idols. Hobal was the chief god of the Kaʽba in Mecca with its sacred stone, but round him were grouped a number of other tribal idols. It was against this association (shirk) of gods that Mahomet inveighed in his attempt to unify the religion and polity of the Arabs. But there were features in this heathenism favourable to unity, and these Mahomet either simply took over into Islam or adapted for his purpose. The popularity of the Kaʽba in Mecca as a place of resort for worshippers from all parts of Arabia led Mahomet not only to institute the hajj as a duty, but also to take over the customs connected with the heathen worship of these visits, and later to make Mecca the qibla, i.e. the place to which his followers turned when they prayed. The name of Allah, who seems to have been the god of the Koreish (cf. D. S. Margoliouth, Mohammed, p. 19, London, 1905), was accepted by Mahomet as the name of the one God, though he abandoned the corresponding female deity Al-lāt.
2. Judaism had long been known in Arabia at the time of the Prophet. Whether Hebrews settled in Arabia as early as the time of David (cf. R. Dozy, Die Israeliten zu Mecca, Leipzig, 1864), or not, is of little importance here as Judaism cannot be said to have existed until the end of the 5th century B.C. The Seleucid persecutions and the political troubles that ended with the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) probably sent many Jews to Arabia. In the 5th and 6th centuries the history of south Arabia and of Nejrān is largely that of the strife between Jews and Christians. In the north-west the Jews possessed Temā, Khaibar, Yathrib (Medina), Fadak, and other smaller settlements. In these they lived as self-contained communities, not seeking to proselytize but working at their trades, especially concerned with money and jewelry. Mahomet seems to have expected their help in his proclamation of monotheism, and his first qibla was Jerusalem. It was only when they refused to accept him as prophet that he turned in anger against them. They had, however, supplied him with much material from the Old Testament, and the stories of creation, the patriarchs and early kings and prophets occur continually in the Koran, told evidently as they were recited by the common people and with many mistakes caused by his own misunderstanding.
3. Christianity, though later than Judaism, had a sure footing in Arabia. It had suffered persecution in Nejrān and had been supported in the south by the Abyssinian invasions. The kingdom of Hira was largely Christian; the same is true of the north Arabian tribes of Bakr and Taghlib, and east of the Jordan and on the Syrian boundary as well as in Yemāma Christianity had made progress. Pre-Islamic literature contains many allusions to the teaching and practices of Christianity. Of the time of its introduction little is known; little also of the form in which it was taught, save that it came from the Eastern Church and probably to a large extent through Monophysite and Nestorian sects. Tradition says that Mahomet heard Christian preaching at the fair of Ukaz, and he probably heard more when he conducted the caravans of Khadija. Gospel stories derived apparently from uncanonical works, such as the Gospel of the Nativity, occur in the Koran. The asceticism of the monks attracted his admiration. A mistaken notion of the Trinity was sharply attacked by him. It is curious that his followers in the earliest times were called by the heathen Arabs, Sabians (q.v.), this being the name of a semi-Christian sect. In the time of the Omayyads Christianity led to some of the earliest theological sects of Islam (see below).
4. Zoroastrianism was known to the Arab tribes in the north-east, but does not seem to have exercised any influence in Mecca or Medina except indirectly through Judaism in its angelology. As soon, however, as the armies of Islam conquered Mesopotamia it began to penetrate the thought and practices of Islam (see below).
Sources of Authority.—Islam, as we have said, is founded on: (1) the Koran; (2) the tradition or rather the sunna (manner of life of Mahomet) contained in the tradition (Ḥadith); (3) ijmāʽ; the universal agreement; (4) qiyās (analogy).
1. The Koran (properly Qur’ān from qara’a to collect, or to read, recite) is the copy of an uncreated original preserved by God (see below), sent down from the seventh heaven to Gabriel in the first heaven, and revealed to Mahomet in sections as occasion required. These revelations were recited by the Prophet and in many cases written down at once, though from ii. 100 it would seem that this was not always the case. God is the speaker throughout the revelations. It seems probable that the whole Koran was written in Mahomet’s lifetime, but not brought together as a whole or arranged in order.
As it exists now the Koran consists of 114 chapters called suras (from sura, a row of bricks in a wall, a degree or step). The first is the Fātiḥa (opening), which occupies the place of the Lord’s Prayer in Christianity. The others are arranged generally in order of length, the longest coming first, the shortest (often the earliest in date) coming at the end. Certain groups, however, indicated by initial unvowelled letters, seem to have been kept together from the time of the Prophet. At the head of each sura is a title, the place of its origin (Mecca or Medina) and the number of its verses (āyāt) together with the formula, “In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate” (except in sura 9). For liturgical purposes the whole book is divided into 60 sections (aḥzāb) or into 30 divisions (ajzā), each subdivided into a number of prostrations (rukʽa or sajda). The origin of the collected and written Koran is due to Omar, who in the caliphate of Abū Bekr pointed out that many possessors of suras were being slain in the battles of Islam and their property lost, that there was a danger in this way that much of the revelation might disappear, and that men were uncertain what was to be accepted as genuine revelation. Accordingly Zaid ibn Thābit who had been secretary to Mahomet, was commissioned to collect all he could find of the revelation. His work seems to have been simply that of a collector. He seems to have done his work thoroughly and made a copy of the whole for Abū Bekr. The collection was thus chiefly a private matter, and this copy passed after Abū Bekr’s death into the hands of Omar, and after his death to Ḥafṣa, daughter of Omar, a widow of Mahomet. In the caliphate of Othman it was discovered that there were serious differences between the readings of the Koran possessed by the Syrian troops and those of the Eastern soldiers, and Othman was urged to have a copy prepared which should be authoritative for the Moslem world. He appointed Zaid ibn Thābit and three members of the tribe of Koreish (Quraish) to do the work. Each of these made a copy of Abū Bekr’s collection, carefully preserving Koreishite forms of words. How far the text was amended by the help of other copies is doubtful; in any case the mode of procedure was undoubtedly very conservative. The four similar manuscripts were sent, one each to Medina, Cufa (Kufa), Basra and Damascus, and an order was issued that all differing copies should be destroyed. In spite of the personal unpopularity of Othman this recension was adopted by the Moslem world and remains the only standard text. A few variant readings and differences of order of the suras in the collections of Ubay ibn Kaʽb and of Ibn Mas‘ūd were, however, known to later commentators. The only variants after the time of Othman were owing to different possible ways of pronouncing the consonantal text. These are usually of little importance for the meaning. As the text is now always vowelled, variations are found in the vowels of different copies, and the opinions of seven leading “readers” are regarded as worthy of respect by commentators (see Th. Nöldeke, Geschichte des Qorāns, pp. 279 seq., Göttingen, 1860). Various characteristics enable one to establish with more or less certainty the relative chronological order of the suras in the Koran, at any rate so far as to place them in the first or second Meccan period or that of Medina. The form of the sentences is a guide, for the earliest parts are usually written in the sajʽ form (see Arabia: Literature). The expressions used also help; thus the “O ye people” of the Meccan period is replaced in the Medina suras by “O ye who believe.” The oaths in the first Meccan period are longer, in the second shorter, and are absent in the Medinan. In the earliest period the style is more elevated and passionate. Occasionally the time of origin is determined by reference to historical events. In accordance with such principles of criticism two leading scholars, Nöldeke (loc. cit.) and H. Grimme (in his Mohammed Zweiter Teil. Einleitung in den Koran. System der koranischen Theologie, Münster, 1895), have arranged the suras as follows:—
Order of Suras in Koran.
|1st to 5th yr. (a).||96. 74. 111. 106. 108. 104. 107. 102. 105. 92. 90. 94. 93. 97. 86. 91. 80. 68. 87. 95. 103. 85. 73. 101. 99. 82. 81. 53. 84. 100. 79. 77. 78. 88. 89. 75. 83. 69. 51. 52. 56. 70. 55. 112. 109. 113. 114. 1.|
|5th and 6th yr. (b).||54. 37. 71. 76. 44. 50. 20. 26. 15. 19. 38. 36. 43. 72. 67. 23. 21. 25. 17. 27. 18.|
|7th yr. to Flight (c).||32. 41. 45. 16. 30. 11. 14. 12. 40. 28. 39. 29. 31. 42. 10. 34. 35. 7. 46. 6. 13.|
|Medina.||2. 98. 64. 62. 8. 47. 3. 61. 57. 4. 65. 59. 33. 63. 24. 58. 22. 48. 66. 60. 110. 49. 9. 5.|
|Mecca. (1).|| In old sajʽ form: 111. 107. 106. 105. 104. 103. 102. 101. 100. 99. 108. 96. 95. 94. 93. 92. 91. 90. 89. 88. 87. 86. 85. 84. 83. 82. 81. 80. 79. 78. 77. 76. 75. 74. 73. 70. 69. 68. 114. 113. 36. 55. 54. 53. 52. 51. 50. 15. 22. 14.|
|Mecca. (2).||In loosened sajʽ form: 46. 72. 45. 44. 41. 97. 40. 39. 38. 37. 36. 35. 34. 32. 31. 67. 30. 29. 28. 27. 26. 71. 25. 20. 23. 43. 21. 19. 1. 42. 18. 17. 16. 13. 12. 11. 10. 7. 6. 98. (112. 109).|
|From the Flight to Badr.||2. 62. 515–88.108–120. 47 and some interpolations in Meccan suras.|
|From Badr to Ohod||8. 24. 59.|
|From Ohod to capture of Mecca.||3. 291-12. 4. 57. 64. 61. 60. 58. 65. 33. 63. 49. 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 of the chief dogmas. It must, however, be borne in mind that orthodox Theology.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 nāsikh and mansūkh (“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 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-llaha, “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-Raḥmān, “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, 1880). 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: (1) the original of the Koran, the “mother of the Book” (xliii. 3) on a “preserved tablet” (lauḥ maḥfūẓ) (lxxxv. 22), in accordance with which God acts, and (2) the throne (kursī) (ii. 256). When the heavens are created, God sits on his throne in the Spirits. 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” (rūḥ) or “holy spirit” (rūḥ ul-qudus). Another manifestation of God to the believers only is the “glory” (sakīna).
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 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 Cosmology. (Iblīs). 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, inhabitants 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 (Shaitān), 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 (1) writing (kitāb), and (2) prophets. As he had given to the Jews the Law (Taurāt) and to the Christians the Gospel (Injīl) so he revealed to Mahomet the Koran (Qurʽān, known also by other names, e.g. al-Furqān, at-Tafṣīl, &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 (Īsā) 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 (imān) and Ethics. 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 (islām) 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, ‘O 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 earth, while the soul sinks into a state of sleep or unconsciousness. At a time decreed, known as “the hour” Eschatology. (as-Saʽa), “the day of resurrection” (yaum ul-qiyyāma), “day of judgment” (yaum-ud-dīn), &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-ḥadith). 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 (isnād) 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 Taurāt 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 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 Shihāb uz-Zuhrī 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 Muwattaʽ of Mālik 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 Mālik 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. Bukhārī 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 Kitāb ul-jāmīʽ uṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ of Bukhārī (q.v.) (810–870). 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. Houdas and W. Marcais, Paris, 1903 sqq.). (ii) The Ṣaḥīḥ of Muslim (817–875) with an introduction on the science of tradition (ed. Calcutta, 1849, &c.). (iii) The Kitāb uṣ-Sunan of Abū Dāʽūd (817–888) (ed. Cairo, 1863, Lucknow, 1888, Delhi, 1890). (iv) The Jāmiʽ uṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ of Tirmidhī (q.v.). (v) The Kitāb uṣ-Sunan of Nasāʽ ī (830–915) (ed. Cairo, 1894). (vi) The Kitāb uṣ-Sunan of Ibn Māja (824–866) (ed. Delhi, 1865 and 1889). The last four are not held in the same repute as the first two.
3. Ijmāʽ 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 ijmāʽ is higher than the tradition. The former expedient was resorted to by some later theologians (e.g. Nawāwī) 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 ijmāʽ 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 ijmāʽ itself has been used in different senses: (i) The ijmāʽ of Medina was used to indicate the authority coming from the practices of the people of Medina (see below). (ii) The ijmāʽ 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 ijmāʽ of the doctors or the teachers of Islam (the mujtahidūn), these being restricted by the orthodox to the first few generations after Mahomet, while the Shiʽites allow the existence of such up to the present time.
4. The fourth basis of Islam is qiyās, 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 ijmāʽ. 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 Ramadhān; (iv) giving of the legal alms; (v) the pilgrimage to Mecca.
i. The creed is belief—“la ilaha illa-llahu, Muḥammad rasūl allahi,” “there is no god but God (Allah), Mahomet is the apostle of God.” It is required that this shall be recited at least once in a lifetime aloud, correctly, with full understanding of its meaning and with Creed.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. “Wherefore glorify God, when the evening overtaketh you, and when ye rise in the morning, and unto Him be praise in Heaven and Prayer. 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 (waḍū) 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 (miḥrab) 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-jamʽa, “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 Sūfis special attention is given to informal prayer, consisting chiefly in the continual repetition of the name of God (dhikr) (see Sufiʽism). 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 you” has been taken to refer to the Jews, who fasted on the day of atonement, but more probably refers to the long fast of Fasting. 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 Ramadhān, “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 Ramadhān, 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: (1) the legal and determined (zakāt), and (2) voluntary (ṣadaqāt). The former were given in cattle, grain, fruit, merchandise and money once a year after a year’s possession. For cattle a somewhat elaborate scale is adopted. Of grain and fruit a tenth is given if Alms. 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 ṣadaqā is found in a gift to an unbeliever (see C. M. Doughty, Arabia deserta, i. 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 support himself on pilgrimage and his family during his absence, and if he is physically capable. The pilgrimage is made at Pilgrimage. one time of the (Moslem) year, namely, from the 7th to the 10th 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 ihrām), who goes without 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 (masjīd ul-ḥarām), the kissing of the black stone, the compassing of the Ka‘ba (the Ṭawāf) seven times, three times running, four times slowly, the visit to the Maqām Ibrahīm, the ascent of Mount Ṣafā and running from it to Mount Marwa seven times, the run to Mount ‘Arafāt, hearing a sermon, and going to Muzdalifa, where he stays the night, the throwing of stones at the three pillars in Minā 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 Bukhārī’s traditions (Houdas and Marcais’s French translation, i. 493–567).
The Development of Islam.—The battle of Siffīn (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) ‘Alī 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 (Khārijiyya or Khawārij). 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 ʽAbdallah ibn ʽIbād), 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 ʽAlī with inconvenient affection. They regarded ʽAlī and his descendants as the only legitimate caliphs, and came to be known as Shiʽites (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 (imān) in the unity of God and in his apostle, and in that alone, consequently no one who held this faith would perish eternally, though he had been a sinner. This was opposed to the Khārijite doctrine that the unrepentant sinner would perish eternally, even though he had professed Islam.
The Qadarites were concerned with the doctrine of predestination 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-Juhānī, was put to death in 699. 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 expressing 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 (ijmā‘, 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 prepared to meet with many questions. The wits of the Moslems were sharpened by daily contact with Christians, Buddhists, Manichaeans and Zoroastrians. Ḥasan ul-Baṣrī (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 Wāṣil ibn ‘Atā, 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 (naql). They also called themselves “the people of justice and unity” (Ahl ul-‘adl wat-tauḥīd). Such a faith as this naturally found favour rather with the thinking classes than with the uneducated multitude, and so went through many vicissitudes. At the time of its appearance and until the reign of Maʽmūn its adherents were persecuted as heretics. After discussions among the theologians Ma‘mūn took the decided step of proclaiming that the Koran was created, and that a belief in this dogma was necessary. Other Muʽtazilite doctrines were proclaimed later. Muʽtazilites were appointed to official posts, and an inquisition (mīḥna) was appointed to enforce belief in their doctrines. This movement was strongly opposed by the orthodox and especially by Aḥmad 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, Aḥmed ibn Hanbal and the Miḥna, Leiden, 1897). Muʽtazilism 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 rule that the four legal schools of Abū Hanīfa (d. 767), Mālik ibn Anas (d. 795), ash-Shāfi‘ī (d. 819) and Ibn Hanbal (d. 855) came into existence (see Mahommedan Law). As the bases of religion and law were the same, so the methods applied in the treatment of the one affected the other. Abū Hanīfa depended little on tradition, but referred back to the Koran, making use of individual opinion (ra‘y) as controlled by analogy (qīyās) with a written ordinance. Mālik Ibn Anas supplemented the Koran and Sunna by customary law founded largely on the custom (ijmā‘) of Medina, and by what he conceived to be for the public good (istiṣlāh). Shafi‘ī recognized tradition as equal to the Koran, and even as being able to supersede its ordinances, while he also recognized the universal custom (ijmā‘) of the Moslem world as divine and binding. His four bases of religion—Koran, sunna, qiyās and ijmā‘—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 Dāʽūd uz-Ẓāhirī. Trained as a Shafiʽite, he became too strict for this school, rejected analogy, restricted ijmā‘ 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 Ẓāhirites (i.e. externalists). After Ash‘arī’s time these principles were applied to theology by Ibn Hazm (q.v.) see I. Goldziher, Die Zahiriten, ihr Lehrsystem und ihre Geschichte (Leipzig, 1884).
Before turning to the reform of Ash‘arī 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 religions practice and of mysticism in religious thought. Sufiʽism (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. Ashʽarī (d. before 942) was for forty years a Mu‘tazilite, then became orthodox (see Ashʽarī), 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‘arī was taken up and propagated by the Buyids soon after his death, and was developed and perfected by Abū Bekr ul-Bāqilānī, 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‘arīte al-Juwainī (known as Imām ul-Haramain) was persecuted under Toghrul Beg (c. 1053) and exiled, but was restored under Alp Arslan by the vizier Niẓām ul-Mulk, who founded an Ash‘arite college (the Niẓāmiyya). In the West, Ibn Hazm (q.v.) fiercely opposed the system, but Ghazālī established its orthodoxy in the East, and it spread from Persia to Syria and Egypt under the Ayyūbites and Mamelukes and thence to the Almohades in Africa under Ibn Tumart (1130). It remains the predominating influence to the present day, its only serious rival being the theological system of al-Matāridī, a Hanifite (d. 945), whose creed as represented in that of an-Nasafī 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 Wahhābism (q.v.) in Arabia, once by Bābism (q.v.) in Persia.
According to an early tradition Mahomet said that Islam would be divided into seventy-three parties (sects), of which seventy-two would perish and one would be saved. The orthodox Arabian writers on heretical sects of Islam feel compelled by this tradition to make up their number to seventy-two, and, as different writers adopt different divisions or are familiar with different parties, the names of sects amount to some hundreds. Each writer, however, adopts certain main classes under which he attempts to group the others. Abū Muṭīʽ Makhūl at the beginning of the 10th century in his “Refutation” (MS. in Bodleian Library) has six such chief classes: Ḥarūrites (i.e. Khārijites), Rāfiḍites (i.e. Shiʽites), Qadarites, Jabarites, Jahmites and Murjiites. Ibn Hazm (q.v.) adopts four classes: Mu‘tazilites (Motazilites), Murjiites, Shiʽites and Khārijites. Shahrastānī (q.v.) complains of the want of system in earlier writers, and suggests as bases of classification the position of parties with regard to the doctrines as to (1) the divine attributes, (2) predestination and free-will (3) promises and threats, faith and error, (4) revelation, reason, the imāmate. In one part of his preface he gives as the chief parties the Qadarites, Ṣifātites, Khārijites and Shiʽites, proposing to divide these classes according to leaders who agreed with the main doctrines of their class but differed in some points. In another place he mentions four opposite pairs of sects: (1) the Qadarites with their doctrine of free-will, and the Jabarites, who are necessitarians; (2) the Ṣifātites, who maintain the eternal nature of the attributes of God, and the Mu‘tazilites, who deny it; (3) the Murjiites, who postpone judgment of actions until the Last Day, and the Wā‘idites, who condemn in this life; (4) the Khārijites, who consider the caliphate a human institution, and the Shiʽites, who deify their ruler. In his detailed treatment of the sects Shahrastānī arranged them under the headings: Muʽtazilites, Jabarites, Ṣifātites, Khārijites, Murjiites and Shiʽites. About the same time as Shahrastānī two other Arabian writers wrote on the sects—Ṭāhir ul-Isfarainī (d. 1078), whose MS. is in the Berlin library, and ʽAbd ul-Qādir ul-Jīlānī (1078–1166) in his Kitāb ul-Ghanīyya li-Tālibī Tarīq il-Haqqi (Cairo, 1871). Both adopt as main classes Rāfiḍites (or Shiʽites), Qadarites (or Mu‘tazilites), Khārijites, Murjiites, Najjārites, Dirārites, Jahmites, Mushabbiha, to which Ṭāhir adds Bakrites, Karrāmites, and a class including those sects which are not reckoned as Moslem though they have sprung from Islam. Jīlānī adds to the eight the Kilābites.
The following list is not a complete list of names of sects but is founded on that of Shahrastānī.
Afṭaḥites.—Shiʽites of the Imāmite class, who ascribe the imāmate to ʽAbdallah ul-Afṭaḥi, the son of Ṣādiq.
Ajārida.—Khārijites, followers of Ibn ʽAjarrad, who agreed for the most part with the Najadāt (below), considered grave sins as equivalent to unbelief, but remained friendly with those who professed Islam but did not fight for it. They rejected sura 7 as a fable. Shahrastānī enumerates seven divisions of this sect.
Akhnasites.—A section of the Thaʽāliba not so strict in treatment of those who fear to fight for Islam.
Ashʽarites.—Followers of Ashʽarī (q.v.) who are counted by Shahrastānī among the Ṣifātites.
Aṭrāfites.—A division of the ʽAjārida who agree with the Ḥamzites except that they excuse the lower classes for inaction when they are ignorant of the law.
Azraqites.—Khārijites who followed al-Azraq in the days of Ibn Zubair. They held ʽAli to be an unbeliever; those who did not fight were unbelievers; the children of unbelievers were to be put to death and went to hell. Sin is unbelief.
Bahshamites.—Muʽtazilites akin to the Jubbāʽites.
Baihasites.—Khārijites, followers of Abu Baihas ul-Haitham, who was put to death by the caliph Walīd. They asserted the necessity of knowledge for religion.
Bāqirites.—Shiʽites who followed Abū Jaʽfar ul-Bāqir, the fifth imām, and looked for his return.
Bāṭinites.—Ismaʽilites, so called because they believe that every external has an internal (bātin), and every passage in the Koran has an allegoric meaning.
Bishrites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of Bishr ibn Muʽtamir, one of the most learned men of his party. His teaching was philosophical and was distinguished by his doctrine of “origination” (tawallud).
Bunānites.—Kaisānites, followers of Bunān ibn Simʽān un-Nahdī, who claimed that the imāmate passed from Abū Hāshim to himself and that he had also acquired the divine element of ʽAlī.
Butrites.—Zaidites, followers of Kathīr un-Nawā ul-Abtar, who agreed with the Suleimanites (Sulaimānites) except that he suspended judgment as to whether Othmān was a believer or not.
Ḍirārites.—Jabarites who empty God of his attributes, and assert that man has a sixth sense by which he will see God on the day of resurrection. The actions of man are “created” and acquired by him. A caliph need not be chosen from the Koreish.
Ghāliites (Ghulā) are the extreme Shiʽites (q.v.) in ascribing deity to the imāms. Their heresies are said to be four in number: (1) Making God resemble man, (2) ascribing change of mind to God, (3) looking for the return of the imām, (4) metempsychosis. They are divided by Shahrastānī into ten classes.
Ghassānites.—Murjiites, followers of Ghassān ibn ul-Kufī, who say that faith consists of knowledge of God, his apostle, and the Koran in general not in detail, and that faith increases but is not diminished.
Ḥabities = Ḥāyitites (below).
Ḥadathites (Ḥudabites) are Muʽtazilites, followers of Faḍl ibn ul-Ḥadathī, who agreed with the Ḥāyitites (below).
Ḥafṣites.—Ibāḍites, followers of Ḥafṣ ibn abī-l-Miqdām, who distinguished between idolatry (shirk) and unbelief (kufr).
Ḥamzites.—ʽAjārida, followers of Hamza ibn Adrak in Sijistān. They agree with the Maimūnites, but condemn the children of unbelievers to hell.
Ḥārithites.—Ibāḍites who differ from others in holding the Muʽtazilite doctrine of free-will.
Ḥarūrites.—A name given to the first Khārijites, who rebelled against ʽĀli, and met in Ḥarūra near Kufa.
Hāshimites.—Shiʽites who supported Abū Hāshim, son of Mahommed ibn ul-Ḥanafiyya, although they held that his father had gone astray.
Hāshwiites.—A party who asserted the eternity even of the letters of the Koran. They are not mentioned as a separate sect by Shahrastānī; cf. van Vloten, “Les Hachwia et Nabita,” in the Acts of the 11th Oriental Congress (Paris, 1899), pt. iii., pp. 99 sqq.
Ḥāyiṭites.—Muʽtazilites who agreed with the Naẓẓāmites, but added three heresies of their own: (1) the divinity of the Messiah, (2) metempsychosis, (3) the interpretation of all references to the vision of God as referring to the “first Reason” or “creative Reason.”
Hishāmites.—A name given to two sects: (1) Muʽtazilites, strong in their assertion of man’s free-will, even opposing the statement of the Koran. (2) Shiʽites of the extreme kind, who attributed to God a body with quantities (measurements) and qualities.
Hudhailites (Hodhailites).—Muʽtazilites, followers of Abū-l Hudhail Ḥamdān, who was a leading teacher of his party and developed the philosophical side of its teaching. Ten of his main doctrines are given by Shahrastānī.
Ibaḍites.—Khārijites of moderate tendencies (see above).
Ilbāites.—Ghāliites who put ʽAlī above Mahomet and blamed the latter because he called men to himself instead of to ʽAlī.
Imāmites.—One of the chief divisions of the Shiʽites (q.v.).
Isḥāqites.—Ghāliites agreeing with the Nuṣairites except that they incline to speak of the imams’ participation in the prophetic office rather than of their divinity.
Ismaʽīlites.—This name is applied to all who consider Ismaʽīl ibn Jaʽfar the last imām, some believing that he did not die but will return, others, that at his death his son Mahommed became imām (see Assassins); it is also used as equivalent to the Bāṭinites.
Ithnaʽasharites.—Imāmites who accept the twelve imāms (see Shiʽites).
Jabarites.—Those who deny all actions and power to act to man and ascribe all to God (see above).
Jaʽfarites.—Imāmites who carry the imāmate no farther than Jaʽfar uṣ-Ṣadīq.
Jāhizites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of the celebrated writer Jāhiẓ (q.v.), who indulged in philosophical speculations, believed in the eternity of matter, and was regarded as a naturalist (ṭabaʽī) rather than a theist (allahī).
Jahmites.—Jabarites, followers of Jahm ibn Ṣafwān, who was put to death at Merv toward the close of the Omayyad period. He was extreme in his denial of the attributes of God.
Jārūdites.—Zaidites who held that Mahomet designated ʽAlī as imām, not by name but by his attributes, and that the Moslem sinned by not taking sufficient trouble to recognize these attributes.
Jubbāʽites.—Muʽtazilites who followed the philosophical teaching of Abu ʽAlī Mahommed ul-Jubbāʽi of Basra.
Kaisānites.—A main class of the Shiʽites (q.v.).
Kāmilites.—Ghāliites, followers of Abū Kāmil, who condemned the companions (Anṣār) because they did not do allegiance to ʽAlī, and ʽAlī because he surrendered his claims.
Karrāmites.—Ṣifātites, followers of Ibn Karrām, who went so far as to ascribe a body to God, and assimilated his nature to human nature.
Kayyālites.—Ghāliites, followers of Ahmad ibn Kayyāl, who, after supporting a propaganda for an Aliite, claimed to be the imām himself on the ground of his power over the spheres.
Khalafites.—ʽAjārida of Kermān and Multān, who believed that God wills good and evil, but condemned the children of unbelievers to hell.
Khārijites.—One of the earliest sects of Islam (see above).
Khārimites.—ʽAjārida, agreeing mostly with the Shuʽaibites and teaching that the relation of God to a man depends on what he professes at the end of his life.
Khaṭṭābites.—Ghāliites, followers of Abū-l Khaṭṭāb, who was put to death by Ibn Mūsā at Kufa. He was a violent supporter of Jaʽfar uṣ-Ṣādiq, who however disowned him.
Khayyātites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of Abū-l Ḥosain ul-Khayyāt, a teacher in Bagdad, part of whose philosophical teaching was that the non-existent is a thing.
Maʽbadites.—Thaʽlabites who differed from the Akhnasites on the question of the marriage of believing women and from Thaʽlab on the question of taking alms from slaves.
Maimūnites.—ʽAjārida, followers of Maimūn ibn Khālid, who believed that God wills good only and that man determines his actions.
Majhūlites.—Thaʽlabites, agreeing generally with the Khārimites, but teaching that he who knows some names and attributes of God and is ignorant of some knows God.
Maʽlūmites.—Thaʽlabites agreeing generally with the Khārimites but alleging that a believer must know all the names and attributes of God.
Manṣūrites.—Ghāliites, followers of Abū Manṣūr ul-ʽIjlī, who at first supported al-Bāqir, but, rejected by him, claimed the imāmate for himself. He was crucified by the caliph Hishām ibn ʽAbd ul-Mālik (Abdalmalik).
Muʽammarites.—Muʽtazilites who strongly denied the predestination of God, and affirmed that God created bodies only, and that the accidents spring naturally from them.
Mufaḍḍalites.—The same as the Mūsāites (q.v.).
Mughīrites.—Ghāliites, followers of Mughīra ibn Saʽīd ul-ʽIjlī, who claimed the imāmate and prophetic office and held extremely gross views of God.
Muhakkima (the first).—Another name for the Ḥarūrites (above).
Mukarramites.—Thaʽlabites who taught that sin consists in ignorance of God.
Mukhtārites.—Kaisānites, followers of al-Mukhtār ibn ʽUbaid, who held to Mahommed ibn ul-Ḥanafīyya but was disowned by him. He allowed the possibility of change of mind on the part of God.
Murjiites.—Those who postponed judgment of actions until the Day of Judgment. See above.
Mūṣāites.—Imāmites who held to the imāmate of Mūsā ibn Jaʽfar, who was imprisoned by Harun al-Rashid and poisoned.
Mushabbiha.—Ṣifātites who compared God’s actions with human actions. They said that the Koran was eternal with all its letters, accents and written signs.
Muʽtazilites.—The rationalists of Islam. See above, cf. also H. Steiner, Die Muʽtaziliten oder die Freidenker im Islām (Leipzig, 1865).
Muzdārites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of al-Muzdār, a pupil of Bishr (cf. Bishrites) whose teaching he developed further. He taught that God has power to do evil, but, if he acted thus, would be an evil God; also that man can produce the equal of the Koran.
Najadat (also known as ʽAdhirites).—Kharijites, who followed Najda ibn ʽĀmir of Yemāma as he went to join the Azraqites but withdrew from these, being more orthodox than they. He held that fear of fighting was not sin.
Nāwisites take their name from a person or a place. They are Jaʽfarites who believe in Ṣādiq as the mahdi.
Nazzāmites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of Ibrahīm ibn Sayyār un-Nazzām, who was an extremist in his teaching of man’s free-will and other philosophical doctrines.
Nuʽmānites.—Ghāliites agreeing in some points with Hishāmites, but holding that God is a light in the form of a man, yet not a body.
Nuṣairites.—Ghāliites who agree with the Isḥāqites except that they lay more stress on the incorporation of the deity.
Qadarites.—The upholders of free-will (see above).
Qataʽites.—Mūsāites who regard the rank of the imāms as closed with the death of Mūsā.
Rāfiḍites.—A term used by some writers to denote the Shiʽites as a whole; by others given to a class of the Shiʽites who forsook Zaid ibn ʽAlī because he forbade them to abuse the Companions.
Rashīdites.—Thaʽlabites, followers of Rashīd ut-Tūsi, sometimes called ʽUshrites (“tithers”) because they differed from others on the question of tithing the produce of land watered by rivers and canals.
Rizāmites.—Kaisānites of Khorasān at the time of Abū Muslim, to whom they ascribed the imāmate and the Spirit of God. They also believed in metempsychosis.
Sabaʽites.—Ghāliites, who followed ʽAbdallah ibn Sabā (see Shiʽites).
Ṣāliḥites.—(a) Zaidites, followers of al-Hasan ibn Ṣāliḥ, who agreed with the teachings of the Butrites (above); (b) Murjiites, followers of Ṣāliḥ ibn Amr, who united with the doctrines of their own party those of the Qadarites.
Ṣaltites.—ʽAjārida who had nothing to do with the children of believers until they had grown up and professed Islam.
Shaibānites.—Thaʽlabites, followers of Shaibān ibn Salama, who was killed in the time of Abū Muslim (Moslem). They arose chiefly in Jorjān and Armenia and agreed in doctrine with the Jahmites.
Shamīṭites.—Jaʽfarites, followers of Yaḥyā ibn Abū Shamīṭ.
Shiʽites.—See separate article.
Shuʽaibites.—ʽAjārida who said that God creates the actions of men, and men appropriate them.
Ṣifātites are those who ascribe eternity to all the attributes of God, whether they denote essence or action, or are of the class called descriptive attributes.
Ṣifrites, the same as Ziyādites (below).
Sulaimānites (Suleimanites).—Zaidites, followers of Suleimān ibn Jarīr, who held that the appointment to the imāmate was a matter of consultation and that the imāmates of Abū Bekr and Omar were legal although ʽAlī had a better claim.
Thaʽlabites.—A party of the Khārijites, followers of Thaʽlab ibn Amir, who agreed with the ʽAjārida except that he was friendly with children until they actually denied the faith. He also took alms from slaves when they were rich, and gave alms to poor slaves.
Thaubānites.—Murjiites who said that faith consists in the knowledge and confession of God and His apostle, and what the intellect is not capable of doing. What the intellect can do (or leave) is not of faith.
Thumāmites.—Muʽtazilites, followers of Thumāma ibn Ashras in the days of Mamūn, who taught that all non-Moslems would become dust on the day of resurrection.
Tūmanites.—Murjiites who taught that faith depends on obedience rather to the principles than to the commands of Islam.
ʽUbaidites.—Murjiites who believed that anything but idolatry might be forgiven, and that if a man died professing the unity of God his sins would not hurt him.
Waʽīdites.—Those who, opposed to the Murjiites, pronounced judgment in this life; they are not counted as a separate sect by Shahrastānī (see above).
Wāṣilites.—A name given to those who followed Wāṣil ibn ʽAtā, the founder of Muʽtazilitism, who denied the attributes of God, asserted the power of man over his own actions, taught the existence of a middle place between heaven and hell, and despised the parties of Othman and ʽAlī alike.
Yazīdites.—Ibāḍites who said that they followed the religion of the Sabians in the Koran, and believed that God would send an apostle from the Persians.
Yūnusites.—Murjiites who taught that faith consists in knowledge of God, subjection to Him, abandonment of pride before Him, and love in the heart. Obedience apart from knowledge is not of faith.
Zaidites.—The moderate Shiʽites (see Shiʽites).
Ziyādites.—Khārijites, followers of Ziyād ibn ul-Aṣfar, who did not regard those who abstained from fighting for Islam as unbelievers, and did not kill the children of idolaters or condemn them to hell.
Authorities.—For the philosophy and theology of Ashʽarī see M. A. F. Mehren, Exposé de la réforme de l’Islamisme par Abou-ʽl Hasan Ali el-Ashʽarī (Leiden, 1878); W. Spitta, Zur Geschichte Abu-l Hasan al-Ashʽarīs (Leipzig, 1876); M. Schreiner, Zur Geschichte des Ashʽaritenthums (Leiden, 1891); D. B. Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory (London, 1903). The last work contains translations of the creeds of Ashʽarī and Nasafī (Matāridite). A further bibliography of works on the faith and outlook of Islam will be found in D. B. Macdonald’s Muslim Theology.
The text of the Koran has been edited by G. Flügel, Leipzig, various dates; and by G. M. Redslob, Paris, 1868 and 1880. There are also hundreds of Eastern editions. Concordances have been published by G. Flügel, Leipzig, 1842 (several times reprinted), also in Egypt, Palestine and India. A dictionary and glossary were published by J. Penrice, London, 1873. English translations have been made by G. Sale, London, 1734 (the fullest edition is that with notes by E. M. Wherry, 4 vols., London, 1882–1886); by J. M. Rodwell with notes, London, 1861 and 1876; and by E. H. Palmer in vols, vi. and ix. of the “Sacred Books of the East,” Oxford, 1880–1882. Among the best or best-known Arabic commentaries are those of Ṭabarī (q.v.), Zamakhsharī (q.v.), Baidhawī (q.v.), the Jalalain (see Suyuti), and such later ones as the Mafātiḥ ul-Ghaib of ar-Rāzī (d. 1210). The composition and theology of the Koran are treated in the works of Nöldeke and Grimme referred to above.
On the eschatology of Islam see M. Wolff, Muhammedanische Eschatologie (Leipzig, 1872); and on the doctrine of revelation. Otto Pautz, Muhammeds Lehre von der Offenbarung (Leipzig, 1898). (G. W. T.)
- See also Koran.
- Underlined = with interpolations.
- For the doctrines of these two sects see Shahrastānī’s Book of Sects, and for the Qadarites, A. de Vlieger’s Kitāb ul-Qadr, matériaux pour servir à l’étude de la doctrine de la prédestination dans la théologie musulmane (Leiden, 1903).
- For the origin and significance of this number see M. Steinschneider, “Die kanonische Zahl der muhammedanischen Secten und die Symbolik der Zahl, 70-73,” in Zeitschr. d. deutschen morgenl. Gesellschaft, iv., 145–170 (1850); and I. Goldziher, “Le Denombrement des sectes mohamétanes” in Revue de l’hist. des religions, xxvi. 129–137 (1892).
- The names are given throughout in the anglicized form on the analogy of Shiʽites, which is recognized in common usage. The strict termination according to the scheme of transliteration adopted in this work is iyya, or iya, e.g. Hishāmiyya for Hishāmites. For information regarding the important sects see separate articles and the preceding portion of this article.
- All these names are alternatively spelt Mo- instead of Mu-.
- These names are alternatively spelt No- instead of Nu-.