JOBBĀʾI, the name of two Muʿtazilite theologians, Abu ʿAli Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb (849-915) and his son Abu Hāšem ʿAbd-al-Salām (890-933).
Abu ʿAli was born in 849-50 in Jobbā in Khuzestan (for biographical details, see Gwynne, 1982, pp. 7-31). He came to Baṣra as a youth, presumably before 868, where he studied with Abu Yaʿqub Yusof b. ʿAbd-Allāh Šaḥḥām (ca. 800-71?), who is singled out as his most significant teacher. Šaḥḥām is said to have been “the youngest and most perfect” of the students of Abu’l-Hoḏayl al-ʿAllāf (ca. 752-841?), and, according to later sources, the leadership of the Muʿtazilites fell to him after the death of Abu’l-Hoḏayl (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, 1974, pp. 280-81; Ebn al-Mortażā, pp. 71-72). Abu ʿAli left Baṣra for Baghdad some time between 871 and 873. It is reported that Abu’l-Qāsem Balḵi Kaʿbi, the leading Muʿtazilite in Khorasan, visited Abu ʿAli’s salon (majles) for some time before 887, yet the anecdote of a meeting of Abu ʿAli and the heretic Muʿtazilite theologian Ebn al-Rāvandi is without foundation. Some time before 890 or 892, Abu ʿAli left Baghdad and took up residence in ʿAskar Mokram in Khuzestan, where he stayed for the rest of his life. In a mosque in ʿAskar Mokram, Abu ʿAli held public sessions that were open to the general public, and he held classes in which he taught his special students (Ḵošaym, p. 77). It was probably during these years that he met and debated with Abu’l-Qāsem Ḥāreṯ Warrāq in Suq al-Ahvāz (Ebn al-Nadim, pp. 218-19, tr. p. 425). Abu ʿAli died in Šaʿbān 303/Feburary-March 916.
Abu ʿAli had two children, a son, Abu Hāšem ʿAbd-al-Salām, and a daughter who is reported to have been well versed in Muʿtazilite doctrine and to have propagated its teachings among women (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, 1974, p. 330; Ebn al-Mortażā, p. 109). Abu Hāšem was born 890 (Ḵošaym, p. 306), and, following his father’s death in 916, he became the leader of the Baṣran Muʿtazilites. Abu Hāšem apparently spent most of his life in ʿAskar Mokram and in Baṣra (Ḵošaym, p. 310), and in 926-27 or 928-29, he took up residence in Baghdad (Ebn al-Nadim, p. 222, tr., p. 434), where he died in 933.
Works. Abu ʿAli authored numerous works, none of which, with the exception of the first volume of his Ketāb al-maqālāt (see Anṣāri), have survived. His oeuvre must have been enormous. Ebn al-Nadim’s (d. 995) Fehrest is said to have contained a work list comprising seventy titles, yet the relevant portion is not preserved. The Muʿtazilite biographical (ṭabaqāt) literature does not provide any information on Abu ʿAli’s writings. The most detailed information on his oeuvre is provided by the numerous scattered references in later works, particularly by Muʿtazilites (see Gimaret, 1976; idem, 1984). Apart from numerous independent works devoted to specific issues, responses to questions addressed to him by his students and to refutations, Abu ʿAli wrote a Qurʾān exegesis (Kohlberg, 1992b, p. 342), which was reportedly, together with the commentaries by Abu Bakr Aṣamm (d. 816), Abu’l-Qāsem Balḵi Kaʿbi (d. 931) and Abu Moslem Eṣfahāni (d. 934), among the most significant Muʿtazilite Qurʾān commentaries at that time. It was a massive work of more than 100 parts (jozʾ) that was unprecedented in comprehensiveness. Ebn Ṭāwus (d. 1266) offers very precise specifications when he quotes from Abu ʿAli’s Qurʾān commentary (tafsir). According to Ebn Ṭāwus, it consisted of ten volumes (mojalladāt), each volume comprising two parts (jozʾān). Each part must have consisted of at least thirteen quires (korrās), which at the time comprised, as a rule, either eight or ten folios. Excerpts of Abu ʿAli’s commentaries are to be found scattered among numerous later exegeses, most significantly in the Tahḏib fi tafsir al-Qorʾān of Ḥākem Jošami (d. 1101), Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad Ṭusi’s (d. 1067) al-Tebyān fi tafsir al-Qorʾān, Abu ʿAli Fażl b. Ḥasan Ṭabarsi’s (d. ca. 1153) Majmaʿ al-bayān fi tafsir al-Qorʾān, and Faḵr-al-Din Moḥammad Rāzi’s (d. 1209) al-Tafsir al-kabir. Further references to Abu ʿAli’s Qurʾān commentary are to be found in ʿAbd-al-Jabbār Hamadāni’s (d. 1025) Motašābeh Qorʾān, Moḥammad al-Šarif al-Rażi’s (d. 1016) Ḥaqāʾeq al-taʾwil fi mota-šābeh al-tanzil, ʿAli b. Ḥosayn al-Šarif al-Mortażā’s (d. 1045) Amāli, and ʿAli b. Musā b. Ṭāwus’ (d. 1266) Saʿd-al soʿud (Gwynne, 1982; Kohlberg, 1992b, p. 342; Gimaret, 1994; Nabhā).
Ebn Ṭāwus accused Abu ʿAli of deficiencies in his knowledge of Arabic, and Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAli Ašʿari (q.v.) states in his own Qurʾān commentary (of which only the introduction is preserved by Ebn ʿAsāker, p. 138) that Arabic was not Abu ʿAli’s mother tongue and that he interpreted the Qurʾān in the spoken language of Jobbā. It was the latter’s statement that induced some modern scholars (e.g., see Brockelmann, GAL, S I, p. 342) to conclude that Abu ʿAli’s commentary was in fact a translation of the Qurʾān, either in the dialect spoken at Jobbā or into Turkish. These accusations, however, belong to the realm of polemics (Gimaret, 1994, pp. 32-35). Similarly without foundation is Ebn Ṭāwus’ accusation that Abu ʿAli would neither have addressed any historical issues, be it stories of the prophets (qeṣaṣ al-anbiāʾ) or the circumstances leading to the revelation of a verse (asbāb al-nozul). The same applies to Ašʿari’s and Ebn Ṭāwus’ accusation that Abu ʿAli completely refrained from taking into account earlier Qurʾān commentaries (Kohlberg. 1992a; idem, 1992b, p. 342). It is from preserved quotations of Abu ʿAli’s commentary that some indications as to his school affiliation in legal matters might be gleaned. In most cases, Abu ʿAli opted for Ḥanafi positions, although at times he prefers the view of the Shafiʿites or the Malikites (cf. Gimaret, 1994, pp. 40 ff.).
Abu Hāšem authored numerous works, none of which have survived. The early bio-bibliographical sources give different numbers as to the total number of his writings. Ebn al-Nadim (p. 222, tr. I, p. 434) mentions a list of ten titles, whereas according to Malaṭi (p. 40), Abu Hāšem had authored 160 works in debates (fi’l-jadal). The bio-bibliographical notice by Šehāb-al-Din ʿAbd-Allāh Yāqut on Abu Hāšem (s.v. ʿAbd-al-Salām) is presumably among the lost parts of the book. The Muʿtazilite biographical (ṭabaqāt) literature does not contain any information on Abu Hāšem’s writings. The most detailed information on his writings is provided by the numerous scattered references in later Muʿtazilite works (for references, see the worklist by Gimaret, 1976; idem, 1984). He composed a number of theological summa-type works, the most important among them were apparently al-Abwāb (or: Naqż al-abwāb), al-Jāmeʿ (or al-Jāmeʿ al-kabir), and al-Jāmeʿ al-ṣaḡir, upon which ʿAbd-al-Jabbār wrote a commentary (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, 1960-69, IX, p. 69), numerous independent treatises devoted to specific theological issues, responses, and refutations.
Doctrine. Abu ʿAli played a crucial role in the development of Muʿtazilite doctrine formulating a refined theological framework that served as the doctrinal basis for the Basran school of the Muʿtazilites. His theological views apparently underwent some modifications during his life. Since, with the exception of his Maqālāt, none of Abu ʿAli’s writings are known to be extant, his doctrine can only be learned through the scattered references in later works, particularly those by later Muʿtazilites as well as the Maqālāt al-eslāmiyin of his former student Abu’l-Ḥasan Ašʿari. Abu ʿAli saw himself in the tradition of the ideas of Abu’l-Hoḏayl al-ʿAllāf, whose doctrines he set out to revive and to refine, thereby formulating a comprehensive theological system, yet not without disagreeing with Abu’l-Hoḏayl’s views regarding a number of issues; he is known to have composed a treatise entitled Masāʾel al-ḵelāf ʿalā Abi’l-Ḥoḏayl.
Abu Hāšem disagreed with his father on a number of doctrinal issues, with regard to which he formulated his own views. The differences of opinion between the two were apparently dealt with by ʿAbd-al-Jabbār in his al-Ḵelāf bayn al-šayḵayn, which is lost. He developed the notion of states (ḥāl, pl. aḥwāl) as an attempt to create a conceptual framework for analysing the ontological quality of God’s attributes and their relation to His essence within the established Muʿtazilite view of divine attributes. For this purpose, Abu Hāšem adapted the concept of state employed by the grammarians for a complement in the case of the accusative occurring in a sentence that consists of a subject and a form of kāna (to be) as a complete verb. In this case, the accusative cannot simply be taken as a predicate to kāna as it would be if kāna were incomplete and transitive; it must rather be understood as a ḥāl. On this foundation, Abu Hāšem elaborated a system of five different categories of states which he applied to both God and man. These categories are distinguished by the different ontological basis, which brings forth their actuality. According to Abu Hāšem, a state is not an entity or a thing (ḏāt, šayʾ) and can thus neither be said to be existent (mawjud) nor non-existent (maʿdum). Not being entities themselves, the states can likewise not be known in isolation. Rather, the essence is known to be qualified through them. Thus, Abu Hāšem speaks of the actuality (ḥoṣul) of the states and their initiation (tajaddod), while he refrains from asserting for them a coming to be (ḥoduṯ) that would imply their coming into existence (Frank, 1978; idem, 1980; Gimaret, 1970; Alami).
The first category is the attribute of essence (ṣefat ḏātiya, ṣefat al-ḏāt, ṣefat al-nafs) through which the essences (ḏawāt) differ from each other. The atom (jawhar), for instance, is described as an atom not through its essence but through its attribute of essence. The same applies to God, who does not differ from other essences through His mere essence, but rather through His attribute of essence. The second category of states are the essential attributes (ṣefāt moqtażāt ʿan ṣefat al-ḏāt), which are by necessity entailed by the attribute of essence as soon as it becomes existent. The attribute of essence of being an atom that is attached to an essence entails the spatiality of the atom whenever it exists. Thus, occupying a space is an essential attribute of an atom. In regard to God, the specific divine quality of His attribute of essence entails His essential attributes. These are His being powerful, knowing, living, and existing. Thus, God must necessarily and eternally be described by these attributes, which cannot cease as long as His eternal attribute of essence lasts. Man’s attributes of being powerful, knowing, and living differ in their quality from the corresponding attributes in God. They belong to the third category of states which gain actuality through an entitative determinant (maʿnā) or cause (ʿella) in the subject. Thus, the qualification of these attributes in man differs from the corresponding attributes in God. Since man’s states are caused by entitative determinants, he cannot be described as permanently or necessarily powerful, knowing, etc. Moreover, since these determinants inhere in parts of man’s body, he needs his limbs as tools for his actions and his heart in order to know. The determinant itself is therefore not sufficient to actualize man’s being powerful and knowing. Further conditions like the health of heart and limbs have to be fulfilled for them to serve as tools in carrying out actions. Thus, the realms of man’s power and knowledge are limited by the natural deficiencies of his body. God, in contrast, is unconditionally powerful and knowing since His attributes of being powerful and knowing are essential attributes which do not inhere in any locus and, thus, do not require any limbs. Yet, Abu Hāšem applied this category to God when he reportedly asserted that God is willing or disapproving through a determinant that is His will or His disapproval. Since it is impossible that a determinant may inhere in God, he maintained that God is willing or disapproving through a determinant which does not inhere in a substrate (lā fi maḥall).
The fourth category of states are those which are actualized by the action of an agent (be’l-fāʿel), in particular the existence of a temporal thing which is founded in its producer’s capability. This category is inadmissible in God. While the existence of all created beings is considered as belonging to this category, God’s existence is counted as an essential attribute entailed by His attribute of essence. The fifth category are states which gain actuality neither by virtue of the essence nor by an entitative determinant (lā le’l-ḏāt wa-lā le-maʿnā). To this category belongs the attribute of “being perceiving” (kawnohu modrekan), which is entailed by the perceiver’s being living. In regard to God, it gains actuality when the condition (šarṭ) of the presence of the perceptible is fulfilled. Man, in order to perceive, must possess healthy senses in addition to the existence of the perceptible. This is not required for God, whose being alive is an essential attribute. Thus, He perceives without senses.
Abu Hāšem reportedly further differed from Abu ʿAli on the issue of how God knows things in their state of non-existence and existence. Abu ʿAli taught that things are not things prior to their being existent since existence (kawn) means being found (wojud). Yet, a thing may be called a thing and may be known prior to its existence insofar as it is possible to make a statement about it (Ašʿari, pp. 161-62). Owing to his notion of states, Abu Hāšem was not confronted with the issue of whether a thing may be known prior to its existence. The attribute of essence, through which it is what it is, is always attached to it, regardless of whether the thing exists or not (Schmidtke, pp. 197-98, n. 137).
Abu Hāšem is further reported to have differed from his father when arguing that it is good to inflict pain even on the mere supposition that the pain is deserved, as in many cases in which blaming is considered good, the blame is in fact based on supposition rather than knowledge (Heemskerk, pp. 136-37). Abu ʿAli held, by contrast, that supposition cannot take the place of knowledge with respect to deserved pain. He is reported, however, to have made an exception for blame, considering it good to blame someone on the supposition that the person deserved to be blamed. He reportedly explained that this act of blaming is good, not because of the blaming person’s supposition (ẓann) but because of the benefit that the blamed person derives from the blame; it may prevent him from committing the offence for which he, perhaps undeservingly, has been blamed (Heemskerk, pp. 136-37).
In regard to whether God may inflict illnesses or other calamities upon men because they are deserved, Abu ʿAli held that illnesses inflicted upon infidels and sinners may serve either as a punishment or a trial. This punishment could, in his view, be appropriate in so far as God would render to man there and then some of the punishment he deserves in the hereafter. Abu Hāšem, in contrast, maintained that every illness inflicted by God on men, regardless of whether they are morally obliged or not, can only have the purpose of a trial and never of a deserved punishment. He supported this view by pointing to the principal difference between undeserved pains and deserved punishment: men must be content with their illnesses and bear them patiently, and they are not allowed to be distressed about them just as in regard to favors that God bestows on them. This is, however, not necessary in regard to pains which are a deserved punishment. Owing to these different characteristics, man would therefore be unable to recognize whether a specific illness or calamity is inflicted upon him as a trial or as a deserved punishment. Thus, Abu Hāšem concluded that illnesses can be inflicted by God only for the purpose of trial (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, 1960-69, XIII, pp. 431 ff.). Abu ʿAli is further reported to have maintained that God may inflict pain upon man for the sake of mere compensation (Mānkdim Šašdiv, p. 493). In arguing against his father’s position, Abu Hāšem had reportedly admitted that pain ceases to be unjust when it is compensated. Even with compensation, however, it would by itself still be futile (ʿabaṯ) and thus evil is inadmissible for God. Pain inflicted by God thus must result in some kind of benefit (maṣlaḥa) in addition to compensation (Mānkdim Šašdiv, p. 493).
On the issue of the nature of passing away and restoration (fanāʾ wa-eʿāda), Abu Hāšem had to assert the possibility of passing away without infringing two other vital notions of his teachings. One of these was that all atoms (jawāher) and most accidents (aʿrāż) endure by themselves. The second notion which he had to take into consideration was that an agent may effect only production (ijād) but not annihilation (eʿdām). This also applies to God. Thus, He can undo something only through the creation of its opposite. The solution of Abu Hāšem, therefore, was that God causes the passing away of the atoms through the creation of a single accident of passing away (fanāʾ). This accident is the opposite of all atoms and, thus, is capable of annihilating any atom. It must itself be existent (mawjud), but it cannot inhere in a substrate (lā fi maḥall). Furthermore, it does not endure. Most of the points of this concept had been introduced already by Abu ʿAli, but Abu Hāšem disagreed with his father on a number of details. Abu ʿAli is reported to have maintained in his earlier works that there are different types of passing away, each of which causes the annihilation of only the corresponding type of atoms. He is also reported to have revised his position in a later version of his Naqż al-tāj, stating that only one passing away is required for all atoms, and that is why the atoms will in fact pass away. Abu Hāšem and his followers disagreed. If it were not for scriptural evidence, there would be no indication that the passing away will actually occur. Abu ʿAli further rejected on principle that anything which does not subsist in a substrate may be defined as an accident. Thus he refrained from classifying passing away as an accident. Abu Hāšem and his school admitted a category of accidents which do not inhere in a substrate (Schmidtke, pp. 211-22).
On the issue of mutual cancellation (taḥāboṭ) of man’s acts of obedience and disobedience upon which a person’s fate in the hereafter is founded, Abu Hāšem disagreed with Abu ʿAli about how this cancellation works. While the latter maintained that the smaller amont of reward or punishment will simply be cancelled by the larger amount, Abu Hāšem adhered to the principle of mowāzana, which means that the smaller amount will be deduced from the larger (Mānkdim Šašdiv, pp. 627 ff.).
Abu Hāšem furthermore disagreed with his father whether, and on what grounds, repentance is incumbent upon man for all his sins. Abu ʿAli reportedly held that a sinner is always, by virtue of reason and scriptural evidence, obliged to repent for major and minor sins. Abu Hāšem, on the other hand, considered repentance as obligatory only for the grave sinner (ṣāḥeb al-kabira). In respect to minor sins, he denied that repentance is rationally obligatory and held that scriptural authority also does not definitely indicate this obligation. He compared repentance for a minor sin with a supererogatory act (nāfela), which is not obligatory in itself. It is, however, good to perform it, since it helps man to perform his duties or, in this case, to repent for his major sins (ʿAbd al-Jabbār, 1960-69, XIV, pp. 393-94). Abu Hāšem is further reported to have held that it is impossible to repent of some sins while still carrying on with others when the penitent is aware of the evil nature of the acts which he is persisting. He reportedly argued that man repents because of the evil nature of the major sin in question. Since the characteristic of evil is shared by all major sins it would be inadmissible that one repents only of some major sins because of their evil, while carrying on with others that are of the same gravity. With this position, Abu Hāšem disagreed with Abu ʿAli who admitted the possibility of repenting of some sins while carrying on with others. The only condition set by Abu ʿAli was that the sin repented and that which was continued must not be of the same kind (jens). It would, therefore, be impossible to repent of drinking wine from one pot, while continuing to drink from another, whereas it would be possible to repent of drinking wine, while at the same time carrying on with adultery (Mānkdim Šašdiv, pp. 794-95).
Influence. Apart from his son Abu Hāšem, who was rejected by a number of former followers of his father as his successor, Abu ʿAli had many students. It was apparently Abu ʿAli’s student Moḥammad b. ʿOmar Ṣaymari (d. 927) who led the group of the adversaries of Abu Hāšem. This group later became known as the Eḵšidiya, so called after the name of a student of Ṣaymari, Abu Bakr Aḥmad b. ʿAli b. Maʿjur Eḵšid (or Eḵšād; d. 932 or 937). Another famous student of Abu ʿAli was Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAli Ašʿari (873-935), who, around the year 912-13, repented from Muʿtazilite doctrines; the earliest report about his conversion is given by Ebn al-Nadim, according to whom, Ašʿari’s publicly renounced his affilliation with the Muʿtazilites in the congregational mosque of Baṣra on a Friday, but without indicating any reasons or motives on his side. (Ebn al-Nadim, p. 231, tr., pp. 450-51). Later Ašʿari sources relate that Abu ʿAli and his former student Ašʿari engaged in public debates prior to the latter’s conversion from Muʿtazilitism around 912, in the course of which Abu ʿAli was defeated which induced Ašʿari to abandon Muʿtazilism; those reports are certainly later inventions designed to inflate the reputation of Ašʿari (cf. Allard, 1965, pp. 37-46; Gwynne, 1985). Other students of Abu ʿAli were ʿAbd-Allāh b. ʿAbbās Rāmahormozi; Abu ʿOmar Saʿid b. Moḥammad Bāheli (d. 912-13); Ebn Abi ʿAllān; Abu’l-Qāsim Ḥāreṯ Warrāq; Abu’l-Qāsem ʿAli Tanuḵi; Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Wāseṭi; Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAli b. Farzawayh; Ebn Ḥarb Tostari; Abu Aḥmad ʿAskari ʿAbdaki; Abu’l-Ḥasan Esfarāʾini; Abu ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Ṣaydalāni; Abu’l-Ḥosayn Ḥosayni; and the three Khorasanis Abu’l-Fażl Kašši, Abu’l-Fażl Ḵojandi, and Abu Saʿid Ošrusani (Heemskerk, pp. 21 ff.).
Among the students of Abu Hāšem mention should be made of Abu ʿAli Moḥammad b. Ḵallād (d. 961 ?), Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Baṣri (d. 902 or 905 or 920-79), Abu Esḥāq Ebrāhim b. ʿAyyāš Baṣri, Abu Bakr Boḵāri, Abu’l-Ḥosayn Ḵawāʾefi Baḡdādi, Abu’l-Ḥasan Farzawi (who formerly had been a student of Abu ʿAli), Abu’l-Qāsem Sirāfi (initially a follower of the Eḵšidiya), Abu ʿOmrān Sirāfi (who later on became a follower of the Eḵšidiya), Abu’l-Ḥosayn Azraq, Abu Moḥammad ʿAbdaki, Abu’l-Ḥasan b. Najiḥ (who was also a student of Abu Esḥāq b. ʿAyyāš). It is not clear who succeeded Abu Hāšem as leader of the Bahšamiya following Abu Hāšem’s death. ʿAbd-al-Jabbār reports that a group of well-advanced disciples (motaqaddemun) transmitted the Muʿtazilite knowledge that they had received from Abu Hāšem, but he mentions by name only Abu ʿAli b. Ḵallād and Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Baṣri. By contrast, Ebn al-Mortażā and Abu Moḥammad Esmāʿil Farrazādi mention only one authority to have transmitted knowledge from Abu Hāšem, but they differ on his identification. Ebn al-Mortażā indicates the chain of transmission as: Abu Hāšem and his generation, Abu Esḥāq b. ʿAyyāš, Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Baṣri, and ʿAbd-al-Jabbār Hamadāni (ca. 932-1025). The chain of transmission, according to Farrazādi, was: Abu Hāšem, Ebn Ḵallād, Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Baṣri, ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Abu Rašid Nisāburi (before 970-after 1029), Abu Moḥammad Ḥasan b. Aḥmad b. Mattawayh, Moḥammad b. Mazdak, and Farrazāḏi (Gimaret, 1979, pp. 60 ff.).
It can be surmised that, some years after Abu Hāšem’s death, Abu ʿAbd-Allāh became the leader of the Bahša-miya, who in turn was succeeded after his death by ʿAbd-al-Jabbār Hamaḏāni. The latter’s successor as leader of the Bahšamiya was Abu Rašid Nisāburi, who in turn was followed by Ebn Mattawayh (Heemskerk, pp. 29 ff.). One of the disciples of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Abu’l-Ḥosayn Baṣri (d. 1044), disagreed with his teacher on a number of doctrinal points and later became known as the founder of his own school.
The doctrines of the Bahšamiya were very influential among a number of groups outside Sunni Islam, namely the Zaydiya and the Imamiya, as well as among the Jews, the Karaites, and to a lesser degree, the Rabbanites. Numerous Zaydi scholars were students of representatives of the Bahšamiya, such as the brothers Emām Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn Moʾayyad Be’llāh (d. 1020) and Abu Ṭāleb Nāṭeq (d. ca. 1033), who studied with Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Baṣri and, in the case of Moʾayyad Be’llāh, also with ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, as well as Mānkdim Šašdiw, who was a student of Moʾayyad Be’llāh, and possibly also of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār. During the 11th century, the theological thought of the Caspian Zaydis reached the Zaydis in Yemen, who strove systematically to copy and collect Muʿtazilite, preferably Bahšami, texts. Mention should be made in particular of Imām al-Manṣur Be’llāh ʿAbd-Allāh b. Ḥamza (d. 1217), who founded a library in Ẓafār that was the founding stone of the Motawakiliya, the library of the Great Mosque in Sanʿāʾ. It was from this library that the Egyptian scientific expedition, headed by Ḵalil Yaḥyā Nāmi, in 1951 procured microfilms of numerous theological texts of adherents of the Bahša-miya, such as 14 out of 20 volumes of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s Moḡni, Mānkdim’s critical paraphrase (taʿliq) of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s Šarḥ al-oṣul al-ḵamsa, several works by Abu Rašid Nisāburi, Ebn Mattawayh’s critical paraphrase (taʿliq) of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s al-Moḥiṭ fi’l-taklif, entitled al-Majmuʿ fi’l-monḥiṭ be’l-taklif, and his al-Taḏkera fi aḥkām al-jawāher wa’l-aʿrāż. Among the Imamis, mention should be made in particular of al-Sharif al-Mortażā (967-1044), who was a student of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār and who introduced Bahšami doctrine into Twelver Shiʿism (Madelung, 1970, pp. 25 ff.). On the long run, however, the influence of the doctrines of Abu’l-Ḥosayn Baṣri exceeded that of the Bahšamiya by far among the Imamis. The doctrines of the Bahšamis furthermore significantly influenced Jewish thinkers. This holds true for some representatives of the Rabbanites, such as Samuel Ben Ḥofni (d. 1013; see Sklare, 1996), and on a significantly larger scale for the Karaites. The most prominent representative of this current was Yusof Baṣir (d. after 1040; Sklare, 1995; Sklare and Ben-Shammai). Moreover, as was the case with the Zaydis, the Karaites systematically copied Muʿtazilite writings, partly in Hebrew script and partly in Arabic script. One of the very rich, though so far virtually untapped, sources for Bahšami texts in particular, is the Abraham Firkovitch-collection in the Russian National Library of St. Petersburg. It has rich holdings of copies of Bahšami texts produced by the Karaites between the 11th and 13th centuries, part of which was not found in Yemen, such as some further portions of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s Moḡni as well as the latter’s al-Muḥiṭ be’l-taklif (Borisov; Ben-Shammai; Schmidtke, 2007).
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Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: April 17, 2012
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