AL-ĀRĀʾ WA’L-DĪĀNĀT, doxographical work, famous especially for its information about non-Islamic religions and Greek philosophy, written by Ḥasan b. Mūsā al-Nawbaḵtī (d. between 300/912 and 310/922), the Imamite theologian who also composed the Ketāb feraq al-šīʿa. The book was never finished (cf. Ebn al-Nadīm, Fehrest, Tehran2, p. 225) but enjoyed a high reputation. Half a century after its composition, during the time of the Ṣāḥeb b. ʿAbbād (326-85/938-95), it was regarded as the best example of its genre (cf. Yāqūt, Odabāʾ II, p. 279.1). Naǰāšī (d. 450/1058) read it under Shaikh al-Mofīd (d. 413/1022) and received an eǰāza for it (cf. his Ketāb al-reǰāl, Bombay, 1317/1899, p. 46). Ebn Taymīya (d. 728/1328) still used it as a source (see below). In fact, only Šahrastānī’s (d. 548/1153) famous handbook al-Melal wa’l-neḥal seems to have equaled it in scope and size. The book profited from earlier Muʿtazilite scholarship. The author refers to Jāḥeẓ (who quotes Naẓẓām, cf. Ebn al-Jawzī, Talbis Eblis, Cairo, n.d., p. 83.19f.) and to the pro-Shiʿite Muʿtazilite Ḥasan b. ʿAlī al-Baṣrī, known as Abū Saʿīd al-Ḥoṣrī (or al-Ḥaẓarī; cf. Qāżī ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Moḡnī V, Cairo, 1965, p. 18); he also used Abū ʿĪsā al-Warrāq’s detailed reports about Iranian religions in his Ketāb al-maqālāt or his Ketāb eqteṣāṣ maḏāheb al-eṯnayn. His treatment of Indian beliefs may have been the first of its kind in Arabic literature, although almost contemporary with Abu’l-Qāsem al-Balḵī’s (d. 319/931) statements in his Ketāb ʿoyūn al-masāʾel wa’l-ǰawābāt (cf. Masʿūdī, Morūǰ I, pp. 156f. = ed. Pellat, I, p. 66); he did not follow the fictitious description of the Brahmins given by Ebn al-Rēwandī (Rāwandī) (cf. P. Kraus in Riv. Stud. Or. 14, 1934, pp. 341f.). His knowledge about Greek philosophers may derive from personal acquaintance with such translators as Esḥāq b. Ḥonayn (d. 289/910-11), Abū ʿOṯmān al-Demašqī, and Ṯābet Qorra (d. 283/901; cf. Fehrest, p. 225). We are unable to decide whether he included many reports about Muslim heresies; since there was much more literature about this topic, only a few fragments of this kind have been preserved from his book.
No manuscript of the work has yet been found; but there are many quotations from it. They deal with the following topics. (1) Greek philosophers: on the “Sophists,” i.e., the Sceptics, and how to deal with them; on Socrates (Ebn al-Jawzī in Nawbaḵtī’s Feraq al-šīʿa, ed. H. Ritter, Istanbul, 1931, pp. 22f.); on the Stoics (Ebn Abi’l-Ḥadīd, Šarḥ Nahī al-balāḡa, ed. Moḥammad Abu’l-Fażl Ebrāhīm, Cairo, 1338/1958, III, p. 231.14f.); on Greek logic and its criticism by Muslim theologians (Ebn Taymīya, al-Radd ʿala ’l-manṭeqīyīn, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad Šaraf-al-dīn, Bombay, 1368/1949, p. 337.13f.; the same in Soyūṯī, Jahd al-qarīḥa fī taǰrīd al-naṣīḥa, ed. ʿAlī Sāmī al-Naššār, Cairo, 1366/1947, p. 325.2f.). (2) Astrolatry (Ebn al-Jawzī in Feraq al-šīʿa, p. 26f.). (3) Christianity (Qāżī ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Šarḥ al-oṣūl al-ḵamsa, ed. ʿAbd-al-Karīm ʿOṯmān, Cairo, 1384/1965, p. 291.10f.). (4) Indian religions: on the “Brahmins,” i.e., Hindus, and ascetics (Ebn al-Jawzī in Feraq, pp. 23f.). (5) Zoroastrianism (Moḡnī V, p. 71.2f., tr. in G. Monnot, Penseurs musulmans et religions iraniennes, Paris, 1974, pp. 247f.; this is greatly shortened by Ebn al-Jawzī in Feraq, p. 25, tr. in Monnot, pp. 302f.). (6) Gnosticism: on the Manicheans, and on the followers of Mazdak, Bardesanes, Marcion, Māhān, and Meqlāṣ (Moḡnī V, p. 9.9f., tr. Monnot, pp. 151f.; the discussion of the Manicheans is given in part by Ebn al-Jawzī in Feraq, p. 23, tr. Monnot, pp. 301f.). (7) Islamic theology: on Jahm b. Ṣafwān and on the “anthropomorphism” of Hešām b. al-Ḥakam, Moqātel b. Solaymān, and others (Ebn al-Jawzī in Feraq, p. 27).
See also Sezgin, GAS I, pp. 539-40.
Masʿūdī, Tanbīh, p. 396.7-8.
Ṭūsī, Fehrest, Naǰaf, 1380/1961, p. 71.8-9.
Abbās Eqbāl, Ḵānadān-e Nawbaḵtī 2, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966, pp. 136f.
Monnot, Penseurs, pp. 53f.
W. Madelung in Festschrift Spuler, Leiden, 1981, pp. 210 and 214.
(J. van Ess)
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 10, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 2, pp. 200-201