Predictions of the coming of the prophet Muhammad and of Islam in the Hebrew Bible : Ibn Qutayba's "Dalā'il al-Nubuwwa" ("Proofs for prophethood")
Source document: Religio. 2011, vol. 19, iss. 2, pp. -199
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
This study outlines the Biblical citations in Dalā'il al-Nubuwwa by Ibn Qutayba. The discussed and translated citations demonstrate that Ibn Qutayba often changed and Islamized the biblical text. This, however, did not impair the reliability of the citations in the eyes of Dalā'il al-Nubuwwa's Muslim readers. On the contrary, the Islamization of the biblical passages guaranteed the popularity of Ibn Qutayba's text and the use of ample quotations from it by later authors. Ibn Qutayba considered even thus Islamized citations to be part of the earlier revelations possessed currently by "the people of the Book". The people of the Book use these citations and do not deny their verbatim meaning; they only suppose that the Prophet is not explicitly mentioned by name in the Hebrew Bible. Yet, according to Ibn Qutayba, it won't help them, for the mshabbahā in the Syriac Bible means the same as muhammad. Moreover, all testimonies of the Scripture obviously correspond, according to Ibn Qutayba, to the circumstances of the Prophet's life, his time, his emigration and his law; all this excludes the possibility that these testimonies could point to someone else. Finally, Ibn Qutayba invokes the infallible authority of the Koran: if it claims that Muhammad is mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel, there simply must be such testimonies in these books. -- Ibn Qutayba's Dalā'il al-Nubuwwa, along with the works of other Muslim authors who rendered to readers signs of Muhammad's prophetical office, show, that Islamic interpretation of the Scripture was simplistic and undeveloped both compared with Christian typological and allegorical exegesis of the Bible and Muslim exegesis of the Koran. However, we have to take into account the fact that this exegesis never became an independent literary genre and did not even play any important role in medieval Islamic theology.