Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Defining a Christian Virtue in the Islamic Context: the Concept of Gratitude in Elias of Nisibis’ Kitāb Dafʿ al-Hamm

Ayşe İçöz

Abstract


https://doi.org/10.12730/13091719.2018.92.179

The eleventh-century “Nestorian” cleric Elias of Nisibis’ (d. 1046) Kitāb dafʿ al-hamm (The Book of Elimination of Grief) provides a strategy for readers to deal with unwanted sorrow and help them to attain moral perfection. This article focuses on an unstudied part of Dafʿ al-hamm, the virtue of gratitude, which constitutes the second chapter of the book. Analyzing the content, structure, and language, this article intends to determine how gratitude is defined and promoted in the text and the ways in which the author engaged with the surrounding Islamic culture. Throughout the chapter, Elias employs traditional Islamic material, from Sufi sources to ḥadīth quotations, to encourage his Christian audience to attain gratitude. This implies a high level of integration of the author and his Christian readers in the surrounding Islamic culture.


Key Words: Christian ethics, gratitude, Elias of Nisibis, Dafʿ al-hamm.


References


Abū Dāwūd, Sulaymān ibn al-Ashʿath al-Sijistānī. Sunan Abī Dāwūd. 4 vols. Edited by Muḥammad Muḥyī al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd. Beirut: al-Maktabah al-ʿAṣriyyah, 2011.

Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Shaybānī. al-Musnad. 20 vols. Edited by Aḥmad Muḥammad Shākir and Ḥamzah Aḥmad al-Zayn. Cairo: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1995.

Bertaina, David. “Science, Syntax, and Superiority in Eleventh-Century Christian-Muslim Discussion: Elias of Nisibis on the Arabic and Syriac Languages.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 22, no. 2 (2011): 197-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2011.560433.

Chabot, Jean Baptiste, ed. Synodicon Orientale: Recueil de Synods Nestoriens. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1902.

Chiabotti, Francesco, Eve Feuillebois-Pierunek, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, and Luca Patrizi, eds. Ethics and Spirituality in Islam: Sufi Adab. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

El Cheikh, Nadia Maria. “Adab Literature: 9th to 13th Century.” In Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. Edited by Suad Joseph. Brill Online, 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICSIM_0031. Accessed September 13, 2018.

Elias of Nisibis. Kitāb dafʿ al-hamm. Edited by Qusṭanṭīn al-Bāshā. Miṣr: Maṭbaʿat al-Maʿārif, 1900.

———. Il Libro per Scacciare la Preoccupazione (Kitāb dafʿ al-hamm). Edited and translated by Anna Pagnini and Samir Khalil Samir. Torino: Silvio Zamorani, 2007-2008.

Freidenreich, David M. and Miriam Goldstein, eds. Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Friedmann, Yohanan. “Dhimma.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, and Everett Rowson. Brill Online, 2013. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-3/dhimma-COM_26005. Accessed April 30, 2018.

Graf, Georg. Geschichte der Christlichen Arabischen Literatur. 5 vols. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1947.

Griffith, Sidney. “Islam and the Summa Theologiae Arabica: Rabīʿ I, 264 AH.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 13 (1990): 225-264.

———. “The Muslim Philosopher al-Kindi and His Christian Readers: Three Arab Christian Texts on ‘The Dissipation of Sorrows’.” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 78 (1996): 111-127. https://doi.org/10.7227/BJRL.78.3.9.

———. “The Virtue of Continence (al-ʿiffah) and the ‘Perfect Man’ (al-insān al-kāmil): An Islamochristian Inquiry in Abbasid Religious and Philosophical Circles.” In Gotteserlebnis und Gotteslehre: Christliche und Islamische Mystik im Orient, edited by Martin Tamcke, 25-47. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2010.

Gutas, Dimitri. Greek Thought Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early ʿAbbāsid Society (2nd-4th/8th-10th Centuries). London: Routledge, 1998. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203316276.

Hourani, George. Reason and Tradition in Islamic Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511570780.

Ibn ʿAdī, Yaḥyá. The Reformation of Morals / Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī:  A Parallel English-Arabic Text Translated and Introduced by Sidney H. Griffith. Edited and translated by Sidney Griffith. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

Ibn Manẓūr, Abū l-Faḍl Muḥammad ibn Mukarram. Lisān al-ʿArab. 20 vols. Būlāq: al-Maṭbaʿah al-Kubrá al-Amīriyyah, 1883.

Ibn Miskawayh, Abū ʿAlī Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yaʿqūb. Kitāb tahdhīb al-akhlāq wa-taṭhīr al-aʿrāq. Edited by Ḥasan Tamīm. Beirut: Dār Maktabat al-Ḥayāh, 1961.

Izutsu, Toshihiko. Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qurʾān. Montreal & Ithaca, NY: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.

Khalil, Atif. “The Embodiment of Gratitude (Shukr) in Sufi Ethics.” Studia Islamica 111 (2016): 159-178. https://doi.org/10.1163/19585705-12341337.

al-Kindī, Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq ibn al-Ṣabbāḥ. Risālah fī l-ḥīlah li-dafʿ al-aḥzān. In Rasāʾil falsafiyyah li-l-Kindī wa-l-Fārābī wa-Ibn Bājjah wa-Ibn ʿAdī. Edited by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Badawī. 3rd ed. Beirut: Dār al-Andalus, 1983.

———. Studi su al-Kindī II: Uno Scritto Morale Inedito di al-Kindī [Risālat Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī fī l-ḥīlah li-dafʿ al-aḥzān]. Edited and translated by Hellmut Ritter and Richard R. Walzer. Roma: Dott. Giovanni Bardi, 1938.

Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Levy-Rubin, Milka. “Al-Shurūṭ al-ʿumariyya.” In Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Edited by David Thomas. Brill Online, 2013. http://www.paulyonline.brill.nl/entries/christian-muslim-relations/al-shurut-al-umariyya-COM_23497. Accessed April 30, 2018.

al-Māwardī, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥabīb. Adab al-dunyā wa-l-dīn. Edited by Muṣṭafá al-Saqqā. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-ʿUlūm, 1988.

Monferrer-Sala, Juan Pedro. “Kitāb al-majālis.” In Christian-Muslim Relations 600-1500. Edited by David Thomas. Brill Online, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-8054_cmri_COM_23351. Accessed May 16, 2018.

Noble, Samuel, and Alexander Treiger, eds. The Orthodox Church in the Arab World 700-1700: An Anthology of Sources. Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2014.

al-Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAbd al-Jabbār ibn Aḥmad al-Hamadānī. Shar al-Uṣūl al-khamsah. Edited by ʿAbd al-Karīm ʿUthmān. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 2001.

Samir, Samir Khalil. “Un Auteur Chrétien de Langue Arabe, Elie de Nisibe.” In Islamochristiana 3 (1977): 257-284.

———. “The Earliest Arab Apology for Christianity (c. 750).” In Christian Arabic Apologetics during the Abbasid Period (750-1258), edited by Samir Khalil Samir and Jørgen S. Nielsen, 56-114. Leiden: Brill, 1994.

al-Sijistānī, Abū Dāwūd Sulaymān ibn al-Ashʿāth. Sunan Abī Dāwūd. 5 vols. Translated by Nasr al-dīn al-Khattāb. Riyadh: Maktabat Dār al-Salām, 2008.

al-Tirmidhī, Abū ʿĪsá Muḥammad ibn ʿĪsá ibn Thawrah. al-Jāmiʿ al-kabīr. 6 vols. Edited by Bashshār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf. Beirut: Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī, 1998.

Walzer, R., and H. A. R. Gibb. “Ak̲h̲lāḳ.” In Encyclopédie de l’Islam. Accessed May 24, 2018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004206106_eifo_COM_0035.


Full Text: FULL TEXT



A Journal on Islamic and Religious Studies, 2009-2019 eISSN 1309-1719

Design by Bursa İlahiyat Foundation