Early Islamic Cosmopolitanism? Constructing the ʾUmma of India in Pre-Mongol Muslim Scholarship
Journal: Comparative Islamic Studies
This article analyzes possible avenues for the study of a pre-Mongol Islamic cosmopolitanism. The ways in which the archetypically idolatrous land of India is treated by Islamicate thinkers of the ʿAbbasid empire and after illuminates an Islamic cosmopolitanism that managed to incorporate the other into its view of human history and religious history. Two major fields for the generation of cosmopolitan ideas are analyzed: narratives drawn from historiography, and taxonomies erected by theological-heresiographical works. Both frameworks rely on a Muslim model of history and society in which divine truth and guidance are mediated to the communities (ʾumma, ʾumam) of the world firstly by a prophet, but also by sages and philosopher-kings: figures who play important roles in Muslim accounts of India. Through applying these “universal” categories to Indian subject-matter, Muslim thinkers were able to depict Indians as partners in the human struggle to attain and preserve truth, albeit falling short of the Muslim community in various ways. In both the historiographical and the heresiographical fields, cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan trends are observable. By incorporating Indian narratives into a universalizing historical vision, Masʿūdī can best be seen to approach a cosmopolitan sensibility among thinkers within historiographic discourse. Bīrūnī goes furthest among the thinkers working within a theological-heresiographical framework in analogizing Indian philosophy with Muslim thought. It is argued that both thinkers achieve a kind of cosmopolitanism only through an elitist denigration of the commoners of their communities. In addition, their cosmopolitanism was predicated on imperial expansionism into India.
Author: Edmund Hayes
Abuladze, Ilia V. 1966. “Introduction.” In The Balavariani (Barlaam and Josaphat):
A Tale from the Christian East Translated from the Old Georgian. Translated by David Lang, 19–41. London: George Allen and Unwin.
Ahmad, S. Maqbul. 1954. “Al-Masʾudi’s Contributions to Medieval Arab Geography: Some Sources of his Knowledge.” Islamic Culture 28: 510–512.
———. 1954. “Travels of Abu ʿl Ḥasan ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn al-Masʿūdī.” Islamic Culture 28(1): 509–524.
———. 1960. “Al-Masʿūdī on the Kings of India.” in Al-Masʿūdī: Millenary Commemoration Volume, edited by S. Maqbul Ahmad and A. Rahman, 97–112. Aligarh: Indian Society for the History of Science.
Ahmed, Shahab. 2016. What is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400873586
Almutawa, Shatha. 2013. “Imaginative Cultures and Historic Transformations: Narrative in Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ.” Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago.
Aravamudan, Srinivas. 2012. Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226024509.001.0001
Asad, Talal. 1993. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
———. 2003. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press.
Bentley, Michael. 1999. Modern Historiography: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
Al-Bīrūnī, Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad b. Aḥmad. 1888. Alberuni’s India. Translated by C. Edward Sachau. London: Trübner.
———. 1879. The Chronology of Ancient Nations, translated by C. Edward Sachau. London: W.H Allen & Co.
———. 1958. Taḥqīq mā li-al-hind min maqūla maqbūla fi-al-ʿaql aw marḏūla. Hyderabad: Dairatu’l-maʿarifi’l-osmania.
Bosworth, C. E. 1991. “Farrukhī’s Elegy on Maḥmūd of Ghazna.” Iran 29: 43–49. https://doi.org/10.2307/4299847
Bowen Savant, Sarah. 2013. The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139013437
Brett, Michael. 1979. “The Arab Conquest and the Rise of Islam in North Africa,” The Cambridge History of Africa 2, edited by J. D. Fage, 502–512. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Buzurg ibn Shahriyār. 1981. The Book of the Wonders of India: Mainland, Sea and Islands. Edited and translated by G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville. London: East-West Publishers.
Crone, Patricia. 2014. Medieval Islamic Political Thought. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University.
Dabashi, Hamid. 2012. The World of Persian Literary Humanism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674067592
De Blois, François. 1990. Būrzōy’s Voyage to India and the Origin of the Book of Kalı̄lah wa Dimnah. London: Royal Asiatic Society.
Di Branco, Marco. 2010. “A Rose in the Desert? Late Antique and Early Byzantine Chronicles and the Formation of Islamic Universal Historiography.” In Historiae Mundi: Studies in Universal History, edited by Peter Liddel and Andrew Fear, 189–206. London: Duckworth.
Donner, Fred. 2010. Muhammad and the Believers: at the Origins of Islam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Durkheim, Émile. 1995. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen Fields. New York: Free Press.
Gibb, H. A. R. 1962. Studies on the Civilization of Islam. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Gimaret, Daniel. 1971. Le Livre de Bilawhar et Būdāsf selon la version Arabe Ismaélienne. Geneva, Paris: Librarie Droz.
Eaton, Richard. 2000. “Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States,” Journal of Islamic Studies 11(3): 283–319. https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/11.3.283
Eaton, Richard and Phillip Wagoner. 2014. Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300–1600. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092216.001.0001
van Ess, Josef. 1991. Theologie und Gesellschaft im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert Hidschra. Eine Geschichte des religiösen Denkens im frühen Islam. Berlin: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110868494
———. 2011. Der Eine und das Andere Beobachtungen an islamischen häresiographischen Texten. Berlin: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110215786
Fārābī, Abū Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad. 2005. “The Book of Letters.” In Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings, edited by Muhammad Ali Khalidi, 1–26. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Friedmann, Yohanan. 1975. “Medieval Muslim Views of Indian Religions.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 95(2): 214–221. https://doi.org/10.2307/600318
———. 1986. “Islamic Thought in the Indian Context.” In Islam et Societe en Asie du Sud, edited by X. Gaborieau, 79–91, Paris: EHESS.
———. 2003. Tolerance and Coercion in Islam: Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497568
Gutas, Dimitri. 1998. Greek thought, Arabic Culture the Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and early ‘Abbasid Society (2nd-4th/8th–10th centuries). London: Routledge.
Hodgson, Marshall. 1974. The Venture of Islam. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Hughes, Aaron. 2017. “Religion without Religion: Integrating Islamic Origins into Religious Studies.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 85(4): 867–888. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfx010
Huseini, Reza. 2017. “The First Islamic Millennium and the Making of the Tarikh-i Alfi in the Sixteenth Century Mughal India.” Unpublished MA thesis, Leiden University.
Ibn al-Nadīm, Abū al-Faraj Muḥammad. 1971. Al-Fihrist. Edited by Riḍā Tajaddud. Tehran: [publisher not identified].
Ibn Bābūya, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. 1975 (1395/1384). Kamāl al-dīn wa tamām al-niʿma. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar al-Ghaffārī. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyya.
Jeffrey, Arthur. 1951. “Al-Biruni’s Contribution to Comparative Religion.” In Al-Biruni Commemoration Volume, 125–161. Calcutta: Iran Society.
Khalidi, Tarif. 1975. Islamic Historiography: The Histories of Masʿūdī. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Khalidi, Tarif. 1994. Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511583650
Al-Khaṣībī, Al-Ḥusayn ibn Ḥamdān. 2007. Al-Hidāya al-kubrā. Diyār ʻAql [Lebanon]: Dār li-ajl al-maʿrifa.
Lapidus, Ira. 2002. Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lawrence, Bruce. 1976. Shahrastani on the Indian Religions. Paris: Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110800999
Lueck, Bryan. 2014. “Appendix: On Cosmopolitanisms.” In Iranian Identity and Cosmopolitanism: Spheres of Belonging, edited by Lucian Stone, 159–176.
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim, ed. and trans. 2014. Two Arabic Travel Books. New York: New York University Press.
Masʿūdī, Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn. 1938. al-Tanbīh wa al-ishrāf, edited by ʿAbd Allāh Ismāʿīl al-Ṣāwī. Cairo: Maktabat al-Sharq al-Islāmiyya.
———. 2005. Murūj al-dhahab wa maʿādin al-jawhar. Edited by Kamāl Ḥasan Marʿī. Beirut: al-Maktaba al-ʿAṣriyya.
Melvin-Koushki, Matthew. 2016. “Astrology, Lettrism, Geomancy: The Occult-Scientific Methods of Post-Mongol Islamicate Imperialism.” The Medieval History Journal 19(1): 142–150. https://doi.org/10.1177/0971945815626316
Mottahedeh, Roy. 1976. “The Shuʿûbîyah Controversy and the Social History of Early Islamic Iran,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 7(2): 163. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020743800023163
Al-Musawi, Muhsin. 2015. The Medieval Islamic Republic of Letters. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Orwin, Alexander. 2017. Redefining the Muslim Community: Ethnicity, Religion, and Politics in the Thought of Alfarabi. Philadelphia: University of Pennslyvania Press. https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812293906
Pagden, Anthony. 2000. “Stoicism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Legacy of European Imperialism.” Constellations 7(1): 3–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8675.00167
Papaconstantinou, Arietta. 2008. “Between Umma and Dhimma: The Christians of the Middle East under the Umayyads.” Annales Islamologiques 42: 127–156.
Pingree, David. 1963. “Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran.” Isis 54(2): 229–246. https://doi.org/10.1086/349703
———. 1968. The Thousands of Abū Maʿshar. London: The Warburg Institute/Brill.
Pourshariati, Parvaneh. 1995. “Iranian tradition in Tus and the Arab presence in Khurasan.” Unpublished PhD thesis, Columbia University.
———. 2004. “Khurasan and the Crisis of Legitimacy.” In Views from the Edge:
Essays in Honor of Richard W. Bulliet, edited by Neguin Yavari, Lawrence G. Potter and Jean-Marc Ran Oppenheim, 208–229. New York: Columbia University Press.
Robinson, Chase. 2003. Islamic Historiography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Robinson, Majied. 2013. “Prosopographical Approaches to the Nasab Tradition: a Study of Marriage and Concubinage in the Tribe of Muḥammad, 500–750 CE.” Unpublished PhD thesis, Edinburgh University.
Rosenthal, Franz. 1970. Knowledge Triumphant; the Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam. Leiden: Brill.
Sijpesteijn, Petra. 2013. Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673902.001.0001
Steigerwald, Diana. 2006. “Al-Shahrastānī’s Contribution to Medieval Islamic Thought.” In Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Islamic Thought, edited by Todd Lawson, 262–273. London: I.B. Tauris.
Stroumsa, Sarah. 1985. “The Barāhima in Early Kalām.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 6: 229–241.
Tabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad Ibn Jarīr. 1986. The History of al-Ṭabarī, vol. 2 History of the Prophets and Patriarchs. Translated by William Brinner. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Tattawī, Aḥmad and Āṣif Khān Qazwīnī. 1382 [2003/4]. Tārīkh-i alf ī. Edited by Ghulām Riḍā Tabātabāʾī Majd. Tehran: Intishārāt-i ʿIlmī va Farhangī.
Tavakoli-Taraghi, Mohamad. 1996. “Contested Memories: Narrative Structures and Allegorical Meanings of Iran’s Pre-Islamic History.” Iranian Studies 29:(1–2): 149–175. https://doi.org/10.1080/00210869608701847
Thaʿālibī. 1979. Histoire des Rois des Perses. Edited and translated by Hermann Zotenberg. Amsterdam: Oriental Press.
Van Bladel, Kevin. 2011. “The Bactrian Background of the Barmakids.” In Islam and Tibet: Interactions Along the Musk Routes, edited by Anna Aksoy, Charles Burnett and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim. Farnham: Ashgate.
Waardenburg, Jacques, ed. 1999. Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Webb, Peter. 2016. Imagining the Arabs: Arab Identity and the Rise of Islam. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. https://doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9781474408264.001.0001
Wink, André. 2002. Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Leiden: Brill.
Yaʿqūbī, Aḥmad b. Abī Yaʿqūb. [c. 1980]. Tārīkh. Beirut: Dār Ṣādir.