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Al-Nāshiʾ Al-Akbar

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Chapter Summary

Al-Nāshiʾ was an elder contemporary of the Baṣra Muʿtazilῑ Abu ʿAlῑ al-Jubbāʾῑ, but unlike him was not known for major teachings about the faith. It is evident that many early Muslim works on other religions contained both descriptive accounts and counter arguments. Al-Nāshiʾs work appears to have conformed to a well-established tradition of descriptive and polemical works on both non-Islamic religions and philosophies and views expressed within Islam. The real character of al-Nāshiʾs heresiography is difficult to discern since there are no means of telling how much Ibn al-ʿAssāl cut out. Against Christians who draw on scripture alone, al-Nāshiʾ argues that favourite texts give no warrant for belief in any of the doctrines that typify Christianity. According to kalām logic, accidents were the source of the qualities of material beings. Although they themselves were uncharacterisable, they gave bodies the qualities that were uniquely theirs by inhering within them.

Keywords: Al-Nāshiʾ; Christians; Islam; Muslim works



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