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A forgotten copy of Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī’s Mukhtaṣar fī ‘aqā’id al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa ascribed to the Imam al-Ghazālī

A case of mistaken identity or of an outright forgery?
Ismail K. Poonawala

Abstracts

In his 1929 article “Muslim Heresiography,” Helmut Ritter revealed the existence of a ms. entitled ‘Aqāʾid al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa in ‘Āṭif Efendi library by Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī. It was composed in 540 A.H. The author had access to genuine Bāṭinī/Ismā‘īlī works and it contains the most elaborate refutation of the Ismā‘īlī doctrines known so far. Muḥammad al-Ghāmidī edited this ms., transcribed in 1095 A.H., collated with another copy, derived from the same ms. Recently, I discovered another copy of it, ascribed to al-Ghazālī, in the library of Āstāna-i Quds, transcribed in 793 A.H. Thus, this copy is three centuries older than the ‘Āṭif ms. and is more reliable.

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Author's notes

I would like to thank Anne Regourd for her careful reading, comments and suggestions that has improved the format.

Full text

Introduction

  • 1 Helmut Ritter, “Philologika III: Muhammedanische Häresiographen,” Der Islam, vol. 18 (1929), pp. 34 (...)
  • 2 H. Ritter, ibid., p. 47. See also Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynaties: A chronologic (...)
  • 3 It states:
    "(...) ثم ولي من بعده محمد المقتفي لأمر الله في وقتنا هذا سنة أربعين وخمسمائة. ها ولأيّ ا (...)
  • 4 It is very strange that the editor al-Ghāmidī (see note 8) completely omitted the colophon from the (...)

1In his article “Philologika III: Muhammedanische Haresiographen,” Helmut Ritter revealed the existence of a ms. in ‘Āṭif Efendi (no. 1373) entitled Mukhtaṣar fī ‘aqā’id al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa by a previously unknown author Abū Muḥammad [al-Yamanī].1 Ritter noticed that the section dealing with the Abbasid caliphs concluded with the name of al-Muqtafī. The author stated: “Then after him Muḥammad al-Muqtafī li-Amr Allāh succeeded, at this time of ours, the year five hundred and four.” Al-Muqtafī’s reign began in 530/1136 and ended in 555/1160.2 Hence, Ritter suggested that the date 504 must be a scribal error for 540/1145-46. Ritter’s suggestion is confirmed by the text of this newly discovered ms. (fol. 51 recto).3 The colophon at the end of the ‘Āṭif Efendi ms. stated that it was copied by Ibrāhīm b. Mullā Badrī on Jumādā I, 25, 1095/[May 9, 1684].4 On the other hand, the ms. in the Kitābkhāna-i Āstāna-i Quds was transcribed on Friday Dhū al-qa‘da, 6, 793/[Oct. 6, 1391]. Hence, this newly discovered ms. is not only three centuries older than the ‘Āṭif ms. but also more reliable.

  • 5 H. Ritter, “Philologika III: Muhammedanische Haresiographen,” p. 47, stated:
    “Die Schrift enthält ne
    (...)
  • 6 Samuel Miklos Stern, “Abū’l-Qāsim al-Bustī and His refutation of Ismā‘īlism,” Journal of the Royal (...)
  • 7 Al-Ghazālī, Faḍā’iḥ al-Bāṭiniyya or al-Mustaẓhirī, ed. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Badawī, Cairo, al-Dār al-qawm (...)

2Ritter also observed that the true significance of the ‘Āṭif ms. consisted in its detailed description of the Bāṭinī [i.e. Ismā‘īlī] belief system derived from a number of authentic Bāṭinī works, such as [Kitāb al-]Iftikhār of Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī (d. after 361/971), an anonymous [Kitāb al-]Ajwiba given to the questions raised by ‘Alī b. Muḥammad al-Ṣulayḥī (d. 459/1067), Shajarat [as is in the ms., and cited by Ritter] al-dīn wa-burḥān al-yaqīn by Abū Tammām (lived during the first half of the fourth/tenth century), and [Kitāb al-]Iṣlāḥ of Abū Ḥātim [al-Rāzī] (d. 322/934-35). Ritter further added that the author of this work was of Yemenī origin and well acquainted with the history of the Qarāmiṭa [i.e. the Bāṭinīs] in that country.5 It should be noted that this heresiography contains the most elaborate and profound refutation of the Bāṭinīs [Ismā‘īlīs]. It is therefore more valuable than those written by Abu al-Qāsim al-Bustī (d. ca 420/1030)6 and al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111).7 Al-Yamanī’s critique is worthy of examination but beyond the scope of this article and will be treated in a separate study to follow.

Tribulations of a manuscript

  • 8 Al-Yamanī, Abū Muḥammad, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, ed. Muḥammad b. ‘Abdallāh Zarbān al (...)
  • 9 Ibid., p. 29.

3The ‘Āṭif ms. (as described by Ritter) was edited and collated with another copy preserved in the King Sa‘ūd University [Library] in Riyāḍ (no. 704), by Muḥammad b. ‘Abdallāh Zarbān al-Ghāmidī.8 The editor stated that the latter copy was most probably copied from the ‘Āṭif ms.; however, he failed to support his presumption with any specific evidence. He added that a third copy of this ms. was located in the Awqāf Library, Baghdad, transcribed by Muḥammad Thābit al-Alūsī in 1309/1891-92, but the editor was unable to obtain a photocopy for the preparation of his critical edition.9 The editor should be commended for making this important heresiographical work available to the scholarly readers and amending many major and minor scribal errors and providing copious explanatory notes with a brief introduction. But it is obvious from his comments that the editor held very rigid orthodox (Wahhābī) views and lost his objectivity in his numerous comments. In short, the Ismā‘īlīs, for al-Ghāmidī, were a misguided sect (firqa ḍālla); hence they deserved nothing but condemnation.

4Recently I obtained a photocopy of a ms. preserved in the Kitābkhāna-i Āstāna-i Quds [i-Razavī, Mashhad] entitled Kitāb al-firaq wa-al-tawārīkh (The book of heresiography and histories). It is ascribed to the Imam, ujjat al-Islām, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ghazālī [al-]Ṭūsī. The Library catalog entry given at the beginning of the ms. noted the following in Persian:

5"كتابخانه آستانقدس
اسم كتاب: الفرق والتواريخ عربي
مصنف: محمد بن محمد بن محمد غزالي طوسي
خطي: نسخ مختلف السطر
چاپی:
سال چاپ یا تحریر: 793 عدد اوراق: 192
جزؤ كتب: عقائد [the word is scratched] تاريخ شماره: 279
شماره عمومي: 7832 شماره قبض:
واقف: خريدار تاريخ وقف: مهر 1329
طول: 24 عرض: 18 گنجه".

6It is followed by a seal mark (that also appears on the title page and at the end of the colophon):

7 "سال 1348 خورشیدي
باز بيني شد [the following two words are scratched]."

8The title page is framed within a rectangular (triple double sided boarder) and states [fig. 2]:

  • 10 In the ms.: أعلا.

9"كتـــاب الفـــرق والتـــواريــــخ
للشيخ الإمام حجّة الإسلام
محمد بن محمد بن محمد الغزّالي
الطوسي رضي الله عنه وعن الأئمة الصالحين
نسخ برسم مولانا سيّد الوزراء
الكبراء الأجلّاء جمال الدين محمد بن إبراهيم الشاودي
خلّد الله ظلّه وأعلى10 مجده".

  • 11 In a private communication with Prof. C.E. Bosworth he informed me that he had not come across the (...)
  • 12 It reads:."صار من الخزانة المهدوية (...) تاريخ شهر شوال 1126"
  • 13 Fihrist-i kutub-i khaṭṭī-yi kitābkhāna-i Āstān-i Quds-i Razavī, vol. 7 (part 1), compiled by Aḥmad (...)

10It was transcribed for the grand and venerable vizier Jamāl al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Shāwadī. We do not have any information about him and the dynasty he served.11 It seems that following the fall of that dynasty the ms. changed hands several times. Hence, diagonal lines were drawn on the last three lines (from the above description) to remove any affiliation with the vizier and the dynasty that he served. As the ms. passed from one owner to the next we find at least five notes of possession in Arabic on the top, left, and bottom margins of the front page [see fig. 1]. A note on the top states that it [i.e. this ms.] became the property of the Mahdawī Library (al-Khizāna al-mahdawiyya) in the month of Shawwāl 1126/[Oct. 1714].12 The ms. was cataloged and its physical characteristics were briefly described by Aḥmad Gulchīn.13 He also noted that it was purchased by the Library [i.e. Āstāna-i Quds] in the month of Mihr [7th month of the Iranian calendar] 1329/[June 1911].

Questions of Authorship

11It is difficult to surmise why, when, and by whom it was ascribed to a well-known figure in Islamic history, namely Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ghazālī al-Ṭūsī. Was it a unique case of mistaken identity or an outright forgery? The answer could be, either a false identity or a counterfeit ascribed to a famous personality for authenticity and importance.

  • 14 See Jill Kraye et al. (eds.), Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages, London, The Warburg Institute, U (...)
  • 15 W. Montgomery Watt, “al-Ghazālī”, EI2, states that there is a great difficulty in the study of al-G (...)
  • 16 W.M. Watt, “A forgery in al-Ghazālī’s “Mishkāt,” JRAS, 1949, pp. 5-22. Authorship issues are raised (...)

12The false ascription of a book to a famous author is not a new phenomenon in any society including the Muslim society. Before the invention of printing press, when handwritten copies of a book were few in circulation, it was common to find works falsely ascribed to a famous scholar. A person of unorthodox views, like the Pseudo-Dionysius, assigned his works to one with excellent reputation to avoid censorship. Another example is that of Plotinus’s Enneads (parts IV-VI) which got labelled as was the Arabic translation entitled Aristotle’s Theologia.14 Many spurious works were ascribed to al-Ghazālī. Ignaz Goldziher and Miguel Asin Palacios have warned us that all the works ascribed to al-Ghazālī were not genuine.15 In his article “A Forgery in al-Ghazālī’s Mishkāt,” Montgomery Watt demonstrated that the ‘Veils-section’ of Mishkāt al-anwār is a forgery.16 He argued that the contrast between that section and the rest of the Mishkāt is glaring. He concluded that the alleged traces of Neoplatonism in al-Ghazālī’s thought avail nothing to soften that contrast. On the other hand, Frank Griffel noted that a ms. of al-Ghazālī was ascribed to the latter’s son. He stated:

  • 17 Ibid., p. 59. The ijāza is to be found in a ms. Yale University, Beinecke Memorial Library, Landber (...)

“A manuscript of one of his legal works copied two years after al-Ghazālī’s death in 507/1113 contains an ijāza issued by a Muḥammad al-Ghazālī who, if he existed, may have been the author’s son.”17

13Griffle added that there was very little or no information about al-Ghazālī’s children. His kunya “Abū Ḥāmid” did not necessarily mean that he had a son by the name Ḥāmid. In his al-Ghazālī’s Philosophical Theology, Griffel, who freshly examined the life and thought of this great thinker based on the latest scholarship and newly discovered sources, stated:

  • 18 F. Griffel, ibid.

“There is no information as to what became of al-Ghazālī’s children. ‘Abd al-Ghāfir al-Fārisī [d. 529/1134, a colleague of al-Ghazālī] provides the information that he had only girls. There was, in fact, no prominent male descendent of al-Ghazālī, at least not someone who merited mention in the biographical dictionaries.”18

  • 19 Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, al-Faḍā’īḥ al-Bāṭiniyya.

14Griffel, therefore, dismisses the information contained in the Yale University ms. as merely a forgery intended to increase the manuscript’s market value. As noted above an almost identical ascription appears on the ms. of Āstāna-i Quds. I think, the above attribution is a testimony of fake ascription simply to boost the importance of the ms. as well as its patron for whom it was transcribed. However, there were certain features in this ms. that might have prompted a cunning and resourceful person to forge the identity that of a genuine work of al-Ghazālī. Unfortunately, the author of the Mukhtaṣar or ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa did not reveal his true identity except assuming an anonymous kunya Abū Muḥammad for reasons explained below. Muḥammad and Abū Muḥammad go a long way in confusing the real identity of a person. Moreover, al-Ghazālī had also written a long refutation of the Ismā‘īlīs/Bāṭinīs known as al-Mustaẓhirī or al-Faḍā’īḥ al-Bāṭiniyya and so the one who forged the attribution of this ms. to the latter must have been very clever.19 One might add that perhaps the vizier serving the dynasty was facing stubborn opposition from various religious and ethnic groups and that this ms. falsely attributed to Imam al-Ghazālī might have served the purpose of imposing a strict orthodox Sunnī doctrine on the populace.

Who is Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī?

  • 20 Al-Yamanī, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, p. 1.
  • 21 Ibid., p. 1. The Arabic reads:
    "قال بعض المصنّفين في هذا الفنّ من علماء اليمن".

15The next important question is: What do we know about the actual author Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī? May be a little material exists on him. He is mentioned by two Yemenī authors. The first is a Ḥanbalī Abū al-Faḍl ‘Abbās b. Manṣūr al-Saksakī (d. 683/1284-85). In his al-Burhān fī ma‘rifat ‘aqā’id ahl al-adyān (The Guide to information of the tenets of the people of faith) he copied most of his information on al-Yamanī’s background from one of his books, especially concerning the Bāṭiniyya/Ismā‘īlīs from al-Yamanī and referred him only by his kunya.20 The second is ‘Abd Allāh b. As‘ad al-Yāfi‘ī (d. 768/1366-67). In his Marham al-‘ilal al-mu‘ḍila (Ointment for chronic diseases), he relied on al-Yamanī’s work. Regrettably, al-Ghāmidī is not clear whether al-Yamanī is mentioned explicitly by al-Yāfi‘ī or not. Al-Ghāmidī then added that Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr al-Wā‘iẓ summarized the portion about the sects [from al-Yāfi‘ī’s book] copied from al-Yamanī’s book—but he did not refer the latter by his kunya, rather alluded to him by stating: “Some author of this genre [i.e. heresiography] from the scholars of Yemen, said.”21

  • 22 See Ḥusayn Fayḍallāh al-Hamdānī, al-Ṣulayḥiyyūn wa-al-ḥaraka al-Fāṭimiyya fī al-Yaman, Cairo, Makta (...)

16The book was compiled in 540/1145-46 as stated above. The most probable reason one can surmise for the author not revealing his true identity was that he was afraid of reprisal from his Ismā‘īlī neighbors. Looking at the historical background of Yemen at that time one can conclude that although the Ismā‘īlī political power was in decline they were still capable of mounting a successful counter attack.22 The author’s critique of Ismā‘īlī doctrines—the most elaborate of its kind—as indicated by Ritter was based on authentic Ismā‘īlī works that were accessible to him. How the author was able to get access to those highly guarded secret works remains a mystery. Did he disguise himself as an Ismā‘īlī? One cannot answer those questions with certainty. However, referring to the Ismā‘īlīs he stated:

“I am well-acquainted with them because of the proximity of residence and also due to my copious reading of their repugnant books. I understood their meaning and allusions that lead to annulment of the sharī‘a.”

  • 23 The edited text, pp. 512-13 of al-Yamanī, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, reads:
    "وذلك أني خب (...)
  • 24 See his introduction, pp. 4-13.

17The above statement is followed by an impressive list of authentic Ismā‘īlī books he was able to consult.23 It clearly implies that the author lived in close vicinity of the Ismā‘īlīs, perhaps in the Ḥarāz region; hence he had to be prudent for his own safety. This was probably the reason why he did not divulge his actual identity and used the anonymous kunya Abū Muḥammad. As for his own beliefs, no doubt, he held a very strict orthodox Sunnī faith, yet he was well acquainted with the Ismā‘īlī doctrine. It is quite evident from his work and this aspect is elaborated by al-Ghāmidī in the introduction as he explicated the socio-political circumstance through which Yemen was passing at that time.24

Āstāna-i Quds ms.

18It is an excellent copy transcribed, as stated on the title page for the vizier, that is three centuries older than the ‘Āṭif copy. The colophon states that it was transcribed in 793/1391, however without the name of the copyist. It reads:

  • 25 The ms., has ذو, which is incorrect.

19"تمّ الكتاب بحمد لله ومنّه، وصلّى الله على رسوله ونبيّه سيّدنا محمدٍ وآله وصحبه وسلّم. فرغ من نسخه يوم الجمعة سادس يوم من شهر ذي25 القعدة سنة ثلـٰـــــث وتسعين وسبعمائة من الهجرة النبوية على صاحبها أفضل الصلوٰة والسلــٰـــــم، ورضي الله عن الصحب أجمعين". [fig. 7]

20The Arabic text on the inside page of the ms., following the title page, begins with basmala, ḥamdala and taṣliya without the title and the author’s name. Let me cite below the first two paragraphs which resemble very closely to the printed text. It begins:

  • 26 Apparently the word looks like البري in the ms. because the letters alif and raʾ are mixed up.
  • 27 In the ms. the letter raʾ appears as dāl.
  • 28 The ms. reads: الإلاهيه
  • 29 It is a corrected reading in the margin. The original text reads: وصحت.
  • 30 Ink has faded over this word.
  • 31 Ink has faded over this phrase.

21"بسم الله الرحمـٰـــن الرحيم. الحمد لله الذي فطر العبادَ على ربوبيّتهِ، وأكلَّ الألسنَ عن بلوغ صفتهِ، وأحصر الأبصارَ عن إدراكهِ، وأقصر الأحلامَ عن إحاطتهِ. البارئ26 الذي لا بارئ27 له، والفردُ في الإلــٰـــهيّة28 الذي لا تأتي معه، الذي وتحقّقت29 للفكر معرفته، وحقّق بالعلامات التي في خلقه ألوهيّتهُ. أحمدهُ30 بنعمتهِ على نعمته ونقمتهِ، وأشكره بمنّتهِ على منّتهِ وعقوبتهِ، لأنّه لا يُحمد على المكروه غيرهُ، وأسألهُ تسديدي لرضاهُ وتقواهُ. وأشهد أن لا إلــٰــه سواهُ وحدهُ، لا شريك له، شهادة ًفي صميم القلبِ محلّها، وهو أحقُّ بها وأهلها. وأشهد أنّ محمداً عبده ورسولهُ،31 أرسله بالهُدى ودين الحقّ، فبلّغ الرسالةَ ولم يكتمها، وأدّى الأمانةَ ولم يخنها. فصلّى الله عليه وعلى آلهِ ومن اختارهُ من بعدِ، وسلّم تسليماً.

  • 32 The ms. reads: شتاً.
  • 33 The ms. reads: الفرقه.
  • 34 This is how it is written in the ms. I think it is incorrect. In the edited text it reads as follow (...)
  • 35 The ms. reads: للعباده . The above passage begins on fol. 4 recto and continues on verso.

22وبعد هذا، فإني لماّ رأيتُ الناسَ لما غفلوا عن أديانِهم، واستخفّوا بمعادهم، واستهتزأوا في فسادهم بالإصغا[ء] إلى أهل البدعِ والأهوا[ء] بما زخرفوهُ، وصنعوهُ، وأوّلوهُ، وتأوّلوهُ عن ابتداع مذاهب شتىّ،32 وتـــأوّلوهُ عليها من الكتاب على غيرما نزل، ومن السنّة على غير ما قيل، وشيئاً ابتدعوهُ من تلقا[ء] أنفسهم عناداً لفساد دين الإسلام، أحببتُ أن أجمعَ مُختصراً أذكر عقائد الثلـٰث والسبعين فرقةً33 التي ذكرها رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم لينقمع حائرُ فكرٍ عن الدخول[4 ألف] في بِدَعِهم لأنّه عليه السلام ذكر رجل34 عنده بالصلاح، وأطنبوا في وصفه واجتهادهِ للعبادة 35.[fig. 3]“ …

23In short, the Āstāna-i Quds ms. is a better copy of Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī’s ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa and it needs to be critically re-edited based on this ms. It consists of 190 fols., or 381 pages (that include two pages before the title page and an extra page added in a different hand after the completion of the ms.). It is written in a clear naskh without vocalization. It is rubricated, but most of the words are without diacritics and vowel marks. The number of lines varies per page from a minimum of eighteen to a maximum of twenty-four; but most pages contain twenty-one lines. There are several comments in the margins written in a different hand than the scribe. Most of the corrections are indicated by the letters صح while other corrections are indicated by the letter ط [ظ=ظن, i.e. conjecture]. A few times corrections are located above the words rather than in the margin/s. At times missing words are added in the margins. The division of the ms. and the sequence remain the same as in the printed version.

24Before concluding this article let me reproduce one section from this newly discovered ms. (cited as Āstāna) about the Ismā‘īlīs wherein the author cites a number of Ismā‘īlī works. The text of this ms. is certainly superior to that of the ‘Āṭif ms., namely the edited text. Variant readings from the edited version (by al-Ghāmidī) are indicated in the notes with the word: ‘Edn.’

Annotated text edition

  • 36 In Āstāna ms. this section begins on fol. 116 recto, while in Edn it starts at vol. 2, p. 512.

25فصل36

  • 37 Edn:.بمقابلتهم
  • 38 ذات is dropped in Edn and has و.
  • 39 Instead of بظواهر أسمائها خدعةً in Edn: جعلوا هذه أسماءها خديعة منهم.
  • 40 Edn:.وأنّ لها فوائد خفية عن
  • 41 In ‘Āṭif ms. it was استطاع, but the ed. corrected it from another ms.
  • 42 Edn: باطنها.
  • 43 Writing in Āstāna ms. resembles ولحسف.
  • 44 We do not know what the author means by al-awwal and the ed. did not explain it. Generally, the aut (...)

26وبعد هذا، فاعلمْ، أيّدك الله، أنّهم رسموا لمـُقابلتهم37 هذه ألقاباً منكرةً، وأعداداً متوافقةً، وأمثالاً متألّفةً، ذات38 بواطنَ خفيّةٍ، ستروها عن الناس بظواهر أسمائِها خدعةً39 منهم لمن سمعها. فيقعُ عندهُ صحّة ذلك، لها فوائد خفيتْ عنه.40 فيجتهدُ الأحمقُ على الاستطلاع41 بِبواطنها،42 وكشفِ43 رموزِها حيث [fol. 116 recto] غابتْ عنه. فيقعُ في شركِهم، كما يُنثر الحبُّ للطير. ولأنّ كلّ ممنوعٍ مجتهدٌ في البحث عنه، والاطلاع عليه، كما قال الأوّلُ:44

  • 45 Edn:أحبُّ شيءٍ إلى الإنسان ما مُنعا … .منعت شيئاً فأكثرت الولوع به

27أُحِبَّ إلى الإنسانِ ما مُنعا45 والنفوسُ حريصةٌ على ما مُنعتْ

  • 46 It seems that some words are missing or that it is a scribal. Edn:والنفوسُ حريصةٌ على ما منعته وإن (...)
  • 47 لك: missing from the Edn.
  • 48 عليهم: missing from the Edn.

28وإنْ خسرت.46 ولم أقلْ لك47 ذلك كذباً عليهم48 بسبب البغضةِ بيني وبينهم، وإنْ كنتُ وإيّاهم كما قال الأول:

29 ولــن يُراجـع قلبي حــبّــهم أبــــــــداً وكنتُ من بُغْضِهم مثل الذي ركـنوا

  • 49 Edn: خبيرٌ بهم.
  • 50 In ‘Āṭif ms.: ولكثرة while in the other ms.: .وكثرة
  • 51 Edn: .معناها
  • 52 Edn: .الوضيعة
  • 53 It is by Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī and ed. by I.K. Poonawala, Beirut, Dār al-gharb al-islāmī, 2000. S (...)
  • 54 This is how it is in ‘Āṭif ms., while in Edn: كتاب الحصر. We do not know anything about it.
  • 55 It is difficult to know the author because there are several works by such title, see I.K. Poonawal (...)
  • 56 We do not know anything about it, see ibid, p. 320.
  • 57 Concerning its printed editions, see id., “Why We Need an Arabic Critical Edition with an Annotated (...)
  • 58 Nothing is known about it, see id., Biobibliography, p. 320.
  • 59 It is ascribed to the Fāṭimid Imam-Caliph al-Mu‘izz, see ibid., p. 65.
  • 60 It is by al-Qāḍī al-Nu‘mān, see ibid., p. 67.
  • 61 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 316.
  • 62 It is mentioned by Ḥasan b. Nūḥ al-Bharūchī, Kitāb al-Azhār, vol. 1, ed. by ‘Ādil al-‘Awwā, in Munt (...)
  • 63 لأبي محمد is dropped from the Edn. It is edited and translated by W. Madelung & P. Walker, “The Kit (...)
  • 64 لأبي حاتم : is dropped from Edn. Kitāb al-Iṣlāḥ, by Abū Ḥātim Aḥmad al-Rāzī, ed. by Ḥasan Mînûchehr (...)
  • 65 It is probably Kitāb al-Shajara by Abū Tammām or Kitāb Shajarat al-yaqīn, by ‘Abdān, ed. by ‘Ārif T (...)
  • 66 Nothing is known about it, see I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 319.
  • 67 It is by Abū al-Ḥasan Muḥammad al-Nasafī, see ibid., p. 42; for the reconstruction of its contents (...)
  • 68 It is mentioned in the Risālat Abī ‘Īsā al-Murshid, see S.M. Stern, Studies in Early Ismā‘īlism, p. (...)
  • 69 It is Kitāb al-Maqālīd al-malakūtiyya, by Abū Ya‘qūb Isḥāq b. Aḥmad al-Sijistānī and ed. by I.K. Po (...)
  • 70 It is also by Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī but not extant, see the introduction of ibid.
  • 71 It is al-Risāla al-durriyya by Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī and ed. by Muḥammad Kāmil Ḥusayn. For detail (...)
  • 72 In ‘Āṭif and the other ms. it was رسالة, but was corrected by the ed.
  • 73 It is Risālat al-nuẓum by al-Kirmānī, ed. by M.K. Ḥusayn, for details see I.K. Poonawala, Biobiblio (...)
  • 74 It is Risālat al-rawḍa by al-Kirmānī and ed. by M.K. Ḥusayn, for details see ibid., p. 100.
  • 75 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 318.
  • 76 It is ascribed to Ja‘far b. Manṣūr al-Yaman and ed. by Rudolf Strothmann, for details see ibid., p. (...)
  • 77 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 319.
  • 78 See ibid., p. 318.
  • 79 This word is dropped from Edn.
  • 80 It is corrected and in Āstāna:.فلذالك
  • 81 Edn: .حضرني
  • 82 ‘Āṭif: منه, Edn: منها as corrected by the ed. from another ms.
  • 83 Edn:.أعلم
  • 84 وبه التوفيق: dropped from Edn.

30وإنّما الصدقُ أَولى بالرجل مِن سواهُ. وذلك أني خبّرتُهم49 جدّاً لقُرْبِ الدارِ من الدار، وأكثر50 ما قرأتُهُ من كتبِهم الشنيعةِ، وعرفتُ معانيها51 ورموزاتها المؤدّية إلى تعطيل الشريعةِ، والمؤلّفة في الأمور القطيعة،52 ككتاب الافتخار،53 وكتاب الفجر،54 وكتاب المسألة والجواب،55 وكتاب المؤيّد،56 وكتاب رسائل إخوان الصفا[ء]،57 وكتاب المماثلة والمحاصرة،58 وكتاب تأويل الشريعة،59 وكتاب تأويل القرآن،60 وكتاب الاسترشاد،61 وكتاب تأويل النحو،62 وكتاب الازدواج لأبي محمد [عبدان]،63 وكتاب الإصلاح لأبي حاتم،64 وكتاب شجرة الدين،65 وكتاب اللذّة،66 وكتاب المحصول،67 وكتاب البرهان،68 وكتاب المقاليد،69 وكتاب البشارة،70 وكتاب الرسالة الدرّية،71 والرسالة72 الملقّبة بالنظم،73 والرسالة الملقّبة بالروضة،74 كتاب سلّم الهداية،75 وكتاب الكشف،76 وكتاب كشف الكشف،77 وكتاب السرّ،78 وغير ذلك ممّا يطول شرحه79 [و]تعدادها. فلذلك80 ذكرتُ ما حضرلي81 ليعجبَ منها مسلمٌ عاقلٌ، ويحذّر منهم82 غرٌّ جاهلٌ. والله العالمُ83 بالصواب، وبه التوفيق.84 [fig. 6]

Conclusion

31As demonstrated above the text of the newly discovered ms. is not only superior and more reliable but three centuries older than the ‘Āṭif ms. Hence, a new edition based on it is a desideratum.

Figure 1. Front page with the library catalog entry

Figure 1. Front page with the library catalog entry

Figure 2. Title page with marginal notes of possession

Figure 2. Title page with marginal notes of possession

Figure 3. Beginning of the manuscript

Figure 3. Beginning of the manuscript

Figure 4. Chapter on the Shī‘a-Rāfiḍa, fol. 100v.

Figure 4. Chapter on the Shī‘a-Rāfiḍa, fol. 100v.

Figure 5. Beginning of the Ismā‘īlis, fol. 109r

Figure 5. Beginning of the Ismā‘īlis, fol. 109r

Figure 6. The author cites Ismā‘īli works that imply ta‘tīl al-sharī‘a, fol. 116v.

Figure 6. The author cites Ismā‘īli works that imply ta‘tīl al-sharī‘a, fol. 116v.

Figure 7. Colophon of the manuscript, 793/1391, fol. 192v. Comments written in 967 A. H.

Figure 7. Colophon of the manuscript, 793/1391, fol. 192v. Comments written in 967 A. H.

Figure 8. Diagram of the Earth, Seven Spheres, and the Outer Sphere, fol. 164r.

Figure 8. Diagram of the Earth, Seven Spheres, and the Outer Sphere, fol. 164r.
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Notes

1 Helmut Ritter, “Philologika III: Muhammedanische Häresiographen,” Der Islam, vol. 18 (1929), pp. 34-54. The author and his book are described on p. 47. A copy of this ms. was acquired by the library of the University of Indiana as stated by Wilferd Madelung & Paul Walker, An Ismaili Heresiography: The ‘Bāb al-shayṭān’ from Abū Tammām’s Kitāb al-shajara, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1998, pp. 6-7, n. 9.

2 H. Ritter, ibid., p. 47. See also Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynaties: A chronological and genealogical manual, New York, Columbia University Press, 1996, p. 6.

3 It states:
"(...) ثم ولي من بعده محمد المقتفي لأمر الله في وقتنا هذا سنة أربعين وخمسمائة. ها ولأيّ الملوك قد ذكرهم علي بن الجهم الشاعر بأرجوزته التي ذكر فيها ابتدا[ء] الخلق والأنبيا[ء] والملوك إلى أيّام أحمد المستعين بالله".
The errors should be noted in the printed edition of the ‘Āṭif ms., vol. 1, p. 233 (for its details see n. 8 below). The year is 504, and instead of Aḥmad al-Musta‘īn (d. 252/866, see C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, p. 6) it has Aḥmad al-Mustanad.

4 It is very strange that the editor al-Ghāmidī (see note 8) completely omitted the colophon from the end of the text as if it was insignificant. He simply mentioned the date and the copyist briefly in the description of the ms. in the introduction.

5 H. Ritter, “Philologika III: Muhammedanische Haresiographen,” p. 47, stated:
“Die Schrift enthält neben vielen bekannten auch manches, was man sonst nicht findet. Ihr eigentlicher Wert besteht aber in der ausführlichen Darstellung des Lehrsystems der Bāinīje, die noch dadurch an Bedeutung gewinnt, daß sie wörtliche Auszüge aus bāṭinidischen Schriften gibt, so aus dem
iftiḫār des abū [sic] Ja‘qūb as-Siğistānī (…) der mas’ala des abū Ḥusain ibn at-??, [sic] den Responsen auf dies Anfragen des ‘Alī b. Muḥ. aṣ-Ṣailahi (?) [Ṣulayḥī] eines ihrer Missionare im Jemen, der šağarat ad-dīn waburhān al-jaqīn des Abū Tammām, dem iṣlāḥ des Abū [sic] Ḥātim.
Da der Verfasser besonders gut mit der Geschichte der Karmaten im Jemen vertraut ist, liegt es nahe, an jemenischen Herkunft zu denken.”

6 Samuel Miklos Stern, “Abū’l-Qāsim al-Bustī and His refutation of Ismā‘īlism,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS), 1961, pp. 14-35; republished in his Studies in Early Ismā‘īlism, Jerusalem, The Magnes Press, 1883, pp. 299-320.

7 Al-Ghazālī, Faḍā’iḥ al-Bāṭiniyya or al-Mustaẓhirī, ed. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Badawī, Cairo, al-Dār al-qawmiyya li-al-ṭibā‘a wa-al-nashr, 1964; al-Ghazālī is refuted by ‘Alī b. Muḥammad b. al-Walīd, Dāmigh al-bāṭil wa-ḥatf al-munāḍil, ed. Muṣṭafā Ghālib, Beirut, Mu’assasat ‘Izz al-Dīn, 1982, 2 vols. See also Henry Corbin “The Ismā‘īlī Response to the Polemic of Ghazālī,” in Sayyid Husein Nasr (ed.), Ismā‘īlī Contributions to Islamic Culture, Tehran, Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1977, pp. 67-98; Ismail Kurban Poonawala, “An Ismā‘īlī Refutation of al-Ghazālī,” in Proceedings of the 30th International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa, held in Mexico City, Mexico, 1976, Mexico, 1982, Middle East, vol. 1, pp. 131-34.

8 Al-Yamanī, Abū Muḥammad, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, ed. Muḥammad b. ‘Abdallāh Zarbān al-Ghāmidī, Madina, Maktabat al-‘ulūm wa-al-ḥikam, 1414/1993-94, 2 vols. Originally, it was presented as a PhD dissertation to the Islamic University in Medina. The list of sources is inaccurate. A reference to Suhayl Zakkār’s Akhbār al-Qarāmiṭa, Damascus, 1980, in vol. 1, p. 4, is misleading. Zakkār neither cited nor referred to al-Yamanī’s work.

9 Ibid., p. 29.

10 In the ms.: أعلا.

11 In a private communication with Prof. C.E. Bosworth he informed me that he had not come across the name of the vizier, but suggested that as he was a contemporary of the copyist and may have been a vizier of some local dynasty like the Muẓaffarids (r. 713-95/1314-93) who ruled southern and western Iran or the Sarbadārids (r. 737-88/1337-86) who ruled western Khurāsān. See also C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, pp. 264-65, 269.

12 It reads:."صار من الخزانة المهدوية (...) تاريخ شهر شوال 1126"

13 Fihrist-i kutub-i khaṭṭī-yi kitābkhāna-i Āstān-i Quds-i Razavī, vol. 7 (part 1), compiled by Aḥmad Gulchīn Ma‘ānī, Mashhad, Chāpkhāna-i Ṭūs, 1346 Shamsī, pp. 143-44.

14 See Jill Kraye et al. (eds.), Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages, London, The Warburg Institute, University of London, 1986.

15 W. Montgomery Watt, “al-Ghazālī”, EI2, states that there is a great difficulty in the study of al-Ghazālī’s thought because several works have been attributed to him which he did not write. See also W. Montgomery Watt, “The Authenticity of the Works Attributed to al-Ghazālī,” JRAS, 1952, pp. 24-45. Full citations of the works by Ignaz Goldziher and Miguel Asin Palacios are given by W. Montgomery in his aforementioned articles.

16 W.M. Watt, “A forgery in al-Ghazālī’s “Mishkāt,” JRAS, 1949, pp. 5-22. Authorship issues are raised because Abū Ḥāmid’s brother, Aḥmad al-Ghazālī, wrote some mystical works. I would like to thank Anne Regourd for bringing this article to my attention.

17 Ibid., p. 59. The ijāza is to be found in a ms. Yale University, Beinecke Memorial Library, Landberg 318, fol. 230a. The ijāza was issued by “Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ghazālī al-Ṭūsī.” See Leon Nemoy, Arabic Manuscript in the Yale University Library, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956, p. 109, no. 999 as cited by Frank Griffel, Al-Ghazālī’s Philosophical Theology, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 59, 305, n. 263.

18 F. Griffel, ibid.

19 Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, al-Faḍā’īḥ al-Bāṭiniyya.

20 Al-Yamanī, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, p. 1.

21 Ibid., p. 1. The Arabic reads:
"قال بعض المصنّفين في هذا الفنّ من علماء اليمن".

22 See Ḥusayn Fayḍallāh al-Hamdānī, al-Ṣulayḥiyyūn wa-al-ḥaraka al-Fāṭimiyya fī al-Yaman, Cairo, Maktabat Miṣr, 1955, ff. 232.

23 The edited text, pp. 512-13 of al-Yamanī, ‘Aqā’id al-thalāth wa-al-sab‘īn firqa, reads:
"وذلك أني خبيرٌ بهم جدّاً لقرب الدار من الدار، ولكثرة ما قرأتُ من كتبهم الشنيعة، وعرفتُ معناها ورموزاتها المؤدّية إلى تعطيل الشريعة، والمؤلّفة في الأمور الوضعية كـكتاب الافتخار (...) رسائل إخوان الصفاء (...) وكتاب تأويل الشريعة، وكتاب تأويل القرآن (...) وكتاب الإصلاح (...)".

24 See his introduction, pp. 4-13.

25 The ms., has ذو, which is incorrect.

26 Apparently the word looks like البري in the ms. because the letters alif and raʾ are mixed up.

27 In the ms. the letter raʾ appears as dāl.

28 The ms. reads: الإلاهيه

29 It is a corrected reading in the margin. The original text reads: وصحت.

30 Ink has faded over this word.

31 Ink has faded over this phrase.

32 The ms. reads: شتاً.

33 The ms. reads: الفرقه.

34 This is how it is written in the ms. I think it is incorrect. In the edited text it reads as follows:
... التي ذكرها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لنفع حائر ينكر عن الدخول في بدعتهم، روي أنه عليه السلام ذكر عنده رجل بالصلاح فأطنبوا في وصفه واجتهاده في العبادة...

35 The ms. reads: للعباده . The above passage begins on fol. 4 recto and continues on verso.

36 In Āstāna ms. this section begins on fol. 116 recto, while in Edn it starts at vol. 2, p. 512.

37 Edn:.بمقابلتهم

38 ذات is dropped in Edn and has و.

39 Instead of بظواهر أسمائها خدعةً in Edn: جعلوا هذه أسماءها خديعة منهم.

40 Edn:.وأنّ لها فوائد خفية عن

41 In ‘Āṭif ms. it was استطاع, but the ed. corrected it from another ms.

42 Edn: باطنها.

43 Writing in Āstāna ms. resembles ولحسف.

44 We do not know what the author means by al-awwal and the ed. did not explain it. Generally, the author gives the name of the poet or says:.قال بعض الشعراء، أو: وقال في ذلك [الشاعر]

45 Edn:أحبُّ شيءٍ إلى الإنسان ما مُنعا … .منعت شيئاً فأكثرت الولوع به

46 It seems that some words are missing or that it is a scribal. Edn:والنفوسُ حريصةٌ على ما منعته وإن خسرت .

47 لك: missing from the Edn.

48 عليهم: missing from the Edn.

49 Edn: خبيرٌ بهم.

50 In ‘Āṭif ms.: ولكثرة while in the other ms.: .وكثرة

51 Edn: .معناها

52 Edn: .الوضيعة

53 It is by Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī and ed. by I.K. Poonawala, Beirut, Dār al-gharb al-islāmī, 2000. See also id., Biobibliography of Ismā‘īlī Literature, Malibu (CA.), Undena Pub., 1977, pp. 82-9.

54 This is how it is in ‘Āṭif ms., while in Edn: كتاب الحصر. We do not know anything about it.

55 It is difficult to know the author because there are several works by such title, see I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 103, 144, 320.

56 We do not know anything about it, see ibid, p. 320.

57 Concerning its printed editions, see id., “Why We Need an Arabic Critical Edition with an Annotated Translation of the Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ in Nader El-Bizri (ed.), The Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ and their Rasā’īl: An Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2008, pp. 33-57. The critical edition in Arabic with annotated English translation is in the process of publication by the Oxford University Press in coordination with The Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and several volumes have been already published.

58 Nothing is known about it, see id., Biobibliography, p. 320.

59 It is ascribed to the Fāṭimid Imam-Caliph al-Mu‘izz, see ibid., p. 65.

60 It is by al-Qāḍī al-Nu‘mān, see ibid., p. 67.

61 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 316.

62 It is mentioned by Ḥasan b. Nūḥ al-Bharūchī, Kitāb al-Azhār, vol. 1, ed. by ‘Ādil al-‘Awwā, in Muntakhabāt ismā‘īliyya, Damascus, Syrian University Press, 1958, pp. 181-250. See also I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 317.

63 لأبي محمد is dropped from the Edn. It is edited and translated by W. Madelung & P. Walker, “The Kitāb al-Rusūm wa-al-izdiwāj wa-al-tartīb, attributed to ‘Abdān,” in Omar Ali-de-Unzaga (ed.), Fortresses of the Intellect: Ismaili & other Islamic Studies in Honour of F. Daftary, London, I.B. Tauris, 2011, pp. 103-66.

64 لأبي حاتم : is dropped from Edn. Kitāb al-Iṣlāḥ, by Abū Ḥātim Aḥmad al-Rāzī, ed. by Ḥasan Mînûchehr, prepared for publication by Mehdî Moḥaghegh and English Introduction by Shin Nomoto, Tehran, University of Tehran, 2004. See also I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, pp. 36-9.

65 It is probably Kitāb al-Shajara by Abū Tammām or Kitāb Shajarat al-yaqīn, by ‘Abdān, ed. by ‘Ārif Tāmir, Beirut, Dār al-āfāq al-jadīd, 1982. See also W. Madelung & P. Walker, An Ismaili Heresiography: The ‘Bāb al-shayṭān’ from Abū Tammām’s Kitāb al-shajara.

66 Nothing is known about it, see I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 319.

67 It is by Abū al-Ḥasan Muḥammad al-Nasafī, see ibid., p. 42; for the reconstruction of its contents see the English Introduction to al-Sijistānī’s Kitāb al-Maqālīd al-malakūtiyya, see n. 61 below for details.

68 It is mentioned in the Risālat Abī ‘Īsā al-Murshid, see S.M. Stern, Studies in Early Ismā‘īlism, p. 15.

69 It is Kitāb al-Maqālīd al-malakūtiyya, by Abū Ya‘qūb Isḥāq b. Aḥmad al-Sijistānī and ed. by I.K. Poonawala, Tunis, Dār al-gharb al-islāmī, 2011.

70 It is also by Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī but not extant, see the introduction of ibid.

71 It is al-Risāla al-durriyya by Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī and ed. by Muḥammad Kāmil Ḥusayn. For details see I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 100.

72 In ‘Āṭif and the other ms. it was رسالة, but was corrected by the ed.

73 It is Risālat al-nuẓum by al-Kirmānī, ed. by M.K. Ḥusayn, for details see I.K. Poonawala, Biobibliography, p. 100.

74 It is Risālat al-rawḍa by al-Kirmānī and ed. by M.K. Ḥusayn, for details see ibid., p. 100.

75 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 318.

76 It is ascribed to Ja‘far b. Manṣūr al-Yaman and ed. by Rudolf Strothmann, for details see ibid., p. 73.

77 Nothing is known about it, see ibid., p. 319.

78 See ibid., p. 318.

79 This word is dropped from Edn.

80 It is corrected and in Āstāna:.فلذالك

81 Edn: .حضرني

82 ‘Āṭif: منه, Edn: منها as corrected by the ed. from another ms.

83 Edn:.أعلم

84 وبه التوفيق: dropped from Edn.

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1. Front page with the library catalog entry
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 648k
Title Figure 2. Title page with marginal notes of possession
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 720k
Title Figure 3. Beginning of the manuscript
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-3.jpg
File image/jpeg, 828k
Title Figure 4. Chapter on the Shī‘a-Rāfiḍa, fol. 100v.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-4.jpg
File image/jpeg, 800k
Title Figure 5. Beginning of the Ismā‘īlis, fol. 109r
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-5.jpg
File image/jpeg, 764k
Title Figure 6. The author cites Ismā‘īli works that imply ta‘tīl al-sharī‘a, fol. 116v.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-6.jpg
File image/jpeg, 792k
Title Figure 7. Colophon of the manuscript, 793/1391, fol. 192v. Comments written in 967 A. H.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-7.jpg
File image/jpeg, 764k
Title Figure 8. Diagram of the Earth, Seven Spheres, and the Outer Sphere, fol. 164r.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/docannexe/image/2072/img-8.jpg
File image/jpeg, 773k
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References

Electronic reference

Ismail K. Poonawala, « A forgotten copy of Abū Muḥammad al-Yamanī’s Mukhtaṣar fī ‘aqā’id al-thalāth wa-sab‘īn firqa ascribed to the Imam al-Ghazālī », Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen [Online], 18 | 2014, Online since 31 July 2014, connection on 17 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cmy/2072 ; DOI : 10.4000/cmy.2072

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About the author

Ismail K. Poonawala

University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)

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Copyright

Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen

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