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Book: Somewhere between Islam and Judaism

Chapter: 4. Zindīqs and the Construction of Islamic Orthodoxy

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.42204


The fourth chapter, Zindīqs and the Construction of Islamic Orthodoxy, is based on a lecture I gave at the Oriental Institute at Oxford University. It demonstrates how the term “zindīq” (heretic) was used to refer to individuals, though rarely communities, who were believed to be nominally Muslim, but who subscribed to what were increasingly becoming non-orthodox practices or beliefs. It was a catch-all phrase that could be used to describe everything from Manicheans to libertines, and from court secretaries to one’s theological opponents, it argues that zindīqs served a double role: They revealed the wages of improper belief, just as they aided in the articulation of true belief.

Chapter Contributors

  • Aaron Hughes ( - aaronhughes) 'University of Rochester'