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ĀDĀB AL-BAḤTH WA-AL-MUNĀẒARA: THE NEGLECTED ART OF DISPUTATION IN LATER MEDIEVAL ISLAM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2016

Abdessamad Belhaj*
Affiliation:
Catholic University of Louvain, TECO Grand Place 45 bte L3.01.01, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract

Is it possible to invent a science that sets the rules for an ethical, logical and effective debate? Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (died in the first half of the 14th century), a logician and Ḥanafī jurist thought it possible. He undertook the task of developing a general theory of scientific discussion that had a tremendous success and impact on Muslim scholarship. Ādāb al-baḥth wa-al-munāẓara, as he called it, is a set of ethical and logical principles, taken from Aristotelian logic and Islamic law. His major treatise Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth, initiated a new discipline in which dozens of treatises, commentaries and glosses were written. In my contribution, I will shed light on this neglected science, describe its structure, expose its functions and highlight its significance for the development of debates and intellectual dialogues in the later medieval Islam.

Résumé

Est-il possible d'inventer une science qui définit les règles d'un débat éthique, logique et efficace? Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (mort dans la première moitié du XIVe siècle), un logicien et juriste Ḥanafite, a jugé une telle entreprise possible. Il a assumé la tâche de développer une théorie générale de la discussion scientifique qui a eu un énorme succès dans les cercles d’études dans le monde musulman. Il a appelé la nouvelle discipline Ādāb al-baḥth wa-al-munāẓara, un ensemble de principes éthiques et logiques, empruntés à la logique aristotélicienne et à la dialectique juridique musulmane. Son traité majeur, Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth, a initié une nouvelle discipline dans laquelle des douzaines de traités et de commentaires ont été rédigés. Dans cet article, il s'agit de mettre en lumière cette science négligée, de décrire sa structure, d'exposer ses fonctions et de souligner son importance pour le développement des débats et des dialogues intellectuels dans l'Islam médiéval tardif.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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References

1 See the following works of Khaled El-Rouayheb on logic in later Medieval Islam: Relational Syllogisms and the History of Arabic Logic, 900–1900 (Leiden-Boston, 2010); Opening the gate of verification: the forgotten Arab-Islamic florescence of the 17th century”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 38 (2006): 263–81Google Scholar; Was there a revival of logical studies in eighteenth-century Egypt?”, Die Welt des Islams, 45 (2005): 119 Google Scholar; Sunni Muslim scholars on the status of logic, 1500–1800”, Islamic Law and Society, 11 (2004): 213–32Google Scholar.

2 This dating is established by De Young, Gregg based on a manuscript by probably one of his students: “The Ashkāl al-Ta ʾsīs of al-Samarqandī: A translation and study”, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, 14 (2001): 57117 Google Scholar.

3 This dating is adopted by Ramazan Şeşen after comparing several manuscripts. See: Ramazan Şeşen, “Tawqīʿāt Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī wa-Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī”, in Yūsuf Zaydān (ed.), al-Makhṭūṭāt al-Muwaqqaʿa (al-Iskandariyya, 2008), pp. 141–51. It was strenghened by a recent study by Gholamreza Dadkhah: Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī, The Cosmos and the Soul /ʿIlm al-afaq wa-al-anfus, Edited with notes and Introductions in English and Persian by Gholamreza Dadkhah (Costa Mesa, CA, 2014).

4 Especially through his Ashkāl al-taʾsīs in geometry studied and translated into English by Gregg De Young: “The Ashkāl al-Ta ʾsīs of al-Samarqandī”.

5 ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī, The Precious Pearl, Translation and annotation by Nicolas Heer (Albany, 1979), pp. 74–5.

6 Larry B. Miller, Islamic Disputation Theory. A Study of the Development of Dialectic in Islam from the Tenth through Fourteenth Centuries (Princeton, 1985), p. 203.

7 Nicholas Rescher, The Development of Arabic Logic (Pittsburgh, 1964), p. 209.

8 Ali Bin Mahfouz, Taqrīr al-qawānīn al-mutadāwala min ʿilm al-munāẓara, with an Introduction on the Etiquettes of Debate in Islamic Scholarship (Birmingham, 2002), pp. 120–8.

9 Mehmet K. Karabela, The Development of Dialectic and Argumentation Theory in Post-Classical Islamic Intellectual History, PhD Dissertation, McGill University (Montreal, 2010), pp. 118–89.

10 Larry B. Miller, “Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī”, in Clifford E. Bosworth et al. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden, 1995) vol. VIII, p. 1038.

11 Al-Samarqandī displays his debt and continuity of the juridical tradition of dialectics in his ʿAyn al-naẓar fī ʿilm al-jadal. The book is not edited yet. Its manuscript at Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyya (no. 197) pursues three inquiries: the inquiry on the mutual implication between two things, exclusion between two things and the third on concomitance. While the inquiries are logical, the matter is juridical. See: Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī Aḥmad, al-Ṣaḥāʾif al-ilāhiyya, ed. by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sharīf (Cairo, 1999), p. 25.

12 Şeşen, “Tawqīʿāt Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī ”.

13 Anonymous, Sharḥ al-Qusṭās fī ʿilm al-manṭiq [SBB: Ahlw. 5166 = Landberg 1035], c. 1400, fol. 142b.

14 Al-Samarqandī, “Ādāb al-baḥth”, in Güney, Adem, “Kemâlüddîn Mes‘ûd b. Hüseyin eş-Şirvânî'nin Şerhu Âdâbi's-Semerkandî Adlı Eseri'nin Tenkitli Neşri”, Sakarya Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, 21 (2010/1): 85152 Google Scholar, pp. 95–6.

15 Al-Samarqandī,  “Ādāb al-baḥth”, p. 97.

16 Al-Rāzī, Sharḥ ʿUyūn al-ḥikma, ed. Aḥmad Ḥijāzī al-Saqqā (Cairo, 1986), pp. 91–2 and al-Rāzī, Manṭiq al-Mulakhkhaṣ, ed. Aḥmad Farāmarz Qarāmalikī and Ādīna Aṣgharīnizhād (Tehrān, 2003), p. 101.

17 Al-Fārābī, al-Manṭiqiyyāt, ed. Muḥammad T. Dānishpajuh (Qum, 1989), I, p. 432.

18 Al-Samarqandī, “Ādāb al-baḥth”, pp. 97–114.

19 Al-Rāzī, al-Kāshif ʿan uṣūl al-dalāʾil wa-fuṣūl al-ʿilal, ed. Aḥmad Ḥijāzī al-Saqqā (Beirut, 1992), pp. 19–63.

20 Al-Samarqandī, “Ādāb al-baḥth”, pp. 114–19.

21 Ibid ., p. 119.

22 Ibid .

23 Josef van Ess, “The logical structure of Islamic theology”, in Gustave E. von Grunebaum (ed.), Logic in Classical Islamic Culture (Wiesbaden, 1970), pp. 21–50, pp. 26–7.

24 Al-Fārābī, al-Manṭiqiyyāt, I, pp. 453–4.

25 Al-Samarqandī, “Ādāb al-baḥth”, p. 121.

26 For a recent study of al-Ghazzālī's endeavour, see: Janssens, Jules, “Al-Ghazālī: the introduction of peripatetic syllogistic in Islamic law (and kalām)”, MIDEO, 28 (2010): 219–33Google Scholar.

27 Al-Ījī, ʿAḍud al-Dīn, Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth wa-al-munāẓara, ed. Mūʾil Yūsuf ʿIzz al-Dīn (Riyad, 1991), p. 17.

28 Al-Ījī, Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth, p. 17.

29 Al-Ījī, Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth, p. 17.

30 Although it seems to be the most obvious choice, it cannot be Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī's al-Maqāṣid  since al-Taftāzānī died in 1389, 45 years after al-Ījī. If we would like to maintain al-Ījī's authorship of the book (which was unquestioned by his commentators) and the title as it is, then it should be supposed that another famous book of theology bears the same title in the first half of the 14th century. The other possiblity, which I take as my position now, is that a copyist changed (by error or for convenience) later the title into al-Maqāṣid. In my view, the title should be read al-ʿAqāʾid, the famous theological treatise of Najm al-Dīn al-Nasafī (d. 1142), for two reasons: 1. this treatise is probably the most popular book of theology in the 13th-14th centuries. 2. It contains a sentence that corresponds almost word by word to al-Ījī's statement.

31 Arthur John Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (London, 1963–1963), vol. I, p. 124.

32 Al-Ījī, Risālat Ādāb al-baḥth, p. 17.

33 For a recent scholarly biography of Ṭāshköprüzāde see: Schmidtke, Sabine, Adang, Camilla, “Aḥmad b. Muṣṭafā Ṭāshköprüzāde's (d. 968/1561) polemical tract against Judaism”, al-Qantara, 29 (2008): 79113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

34 Ḥājjī Khalīfa, Kashf al-ẓunūn ʿan asāmī al-kutub wa-al-funūn, ed. Şerefettin Yaltkaya and Kilisli Rifat Bilge, 3 vols. (Istanbul, 1972), vol. I, p. 41.

35 The relationship between adab as religious ethics and etiquette is revisited in: Sperl, Stefan, “Man's ‘Hollow Core’: ethics and aesthetics in Ḥadīth literature and classical Arabic adab ”, Bulletin of SOAS, 70 (2007): 459–86Google Scholar.

36 Ṭāshköprüzāde, Abū al-Khayr, “ Sharḥ Ādāb al-baḥtha ”, al-Munāẓara, 2 (1990): 21–2Google Scholar.

37 Abū Bakr b. Fūrak, Mujarrad maqālāt al-Ashʿarī, ed. Aḥmad al-Sāyiḥ (Cairo, 2005), p. 334.

38 Sarah Stroumsa, “Ibn al-Rāwandī's sūʾ adab al-mujādala: the role of bad manners in medieval disputations”, in H. Lazarus-Yaffe et al. (eds.), The Majālis: Interreligious Encounters in Medieval Islam (Wiesbaden, 1999), pp. 60–76.

39 Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Muḥāḍarāt al-udabāʾ wa-muḥāwarāt al-shuʿarāʾ wa-al-bulaghāʾ, ed. Ibrāhīm Zaydān (Cairo, 1902), vol. I, p. 30. For a thorough and standard study on literary debates, see: Ewald Wagner, Die arabische Rangstreitdichtung und ihre Einordnung in die allgemeine Literaturgeschichte (Mainz, 1963). On literary councils, see: Brookshaw, Dominic P., “Palaces, pavilions and pleasure-gardens: the context and setting of the Medieval majlis ”, Middle Eastern Literatures, 6 (2003): 199223 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

40 Ṭāshköprüzāde,  “Sharḥ Ādāb al-baḥth”, p. 18.

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