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What’s in a Name? ʿAbdallāh b. Isḥāq b. al-Shanāʿa al-Muslimānī l-Isrāʾīlīand Conversion to Islam in Medieval Cordoba

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Chapter Summary

Conversion changed the religious character of the entire Middle East in the period from the first/seventh-century conquests to about the sixth/twelfth or seventh/thirteenth century. At the start of the first/seventh century, there were no Muslims in what is now the Arab world. By the sixth/twelfth century, the vast majority of the populations of that area were Muslims. In his Ṭabaqāt al-umam, Ṣāʿid of Toledo devotes a long section to men of science in al-Andalus. He lists several skilled doctors in the capital, Cordoba. Among these he mentions Sulaymān b. Ḥassān b. Juljul, ʿAbdallāh b. Isḥāq b. al-Shanāʿa al-Muslimānī l-Isrāʾīlī medical practitioners and teachers in Cordoba toward the end of the fourth/tenth century. For Jews as for Christians, conversion may have looked like a good career move. ʿAbdallāh b. Isḥāq b. al-Shanāʿa al-Muslimānī l-Isrāʾīlī is certainly not the only Jewish convert to Islam in the Middle Ages, not even in al-Andalus.

Keywords: Ṣāʿid of Toledo; al-Andalus; Christians; Cordoba; Islam; Jewish convert



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