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The apologetic and pastoral intentions of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's polemic against Jews and Christians

Hoover, Jon

The apologetic and pastoral intentions of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's polemic against Jews and Christians Thumbnail


Professor of Islamic Studies


The Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258 and subsequent Mongol incursions into Syria through the early 1300s ushered in a period of great political and religious anxiety in the Near East. The Mongol Ilkhanid rulers of Persia and Iraq corralled the Christian Armenians of Cilicia to their side and sought an alliance with the Franks in the west against the Maml?k sultans of Syria and Egypt. The Ilkhanids converted to Islam only very slowly with the Ilkhan ruler Oljeitu (d. 1316) being particularly indecisive. Baptized a Christian, Oljeitu converted to Buddhism, then to Sunnism and finally to Sh?inline imageism, which put him further at odds with the Maml?k champions of Sunnism. The Frankish Crusaders relinquished their last Levantine territories in the late 1200s, but they continued to be a thorn in the flesh to the Maml?ks from Cyprus.

This climate of religio-political competition formed the backdrop for the writing of several major Muslim refutations of Christianity in the Maml?k sultanate. Three of these responded directly or indirectly to a letter written by Paul of Antioch, Melkite Bishop of Sidon, probably in the early 1200s. Paul undermined Islam's claim to universality by arguing that it was intended only for the pagan Arabs and that the Qurinline image?n confirmed Christian doctrine. Paul was refuted first and directly by Egyptian jurist inline image b. Idr?sal-Qar?f? (d. 1285). Later on, an anonymous Christian in Cyprus reworked Paul's letter and sent it to Damascene scholars Ibn Taymiyya in 1316 and Ibn Ab?inline image al-Dimashq? in 1321. Both wrote refutations, with Ibn Taymiyya's Al-Jaw?b inline image (The Correct Answer) being the longest response to Christianity in the Islamic tradition and one of the most sophisticated as well.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2010
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2014
Journal Muslim World
Print ISSN 0027-4909
Electronic ISSN 0027-4909
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 100
Issue 4
Public URL
Publisher URL;jsessionid=4E3A7A7C4A6AEFE08A4C03B0A64D9B92.f02t01


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