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By Israel Friedlaender, Jewish Theological Seminary of 


I. Shiitic Elements in Jewish Sectarianism.* 

3. The One True Prophet 

The doctrine which will now engage our attention has 
been of tremendous importance in the development of the 
religious thought of the East. It would widely exceed the 
scope of our present enquiry, were we to treat of this far- 
reaching as well as fascinating doctrine with any amount 
of detail. We must perforce limit ourselves to those 
aspects of it which afford points of contact with similar 
teachings within Judaism. 

Perhaps we shall best illustrate the character and at 
the same time the inexhaustible vitality of this conception 
if we reproduce side by side its most ancient and its most 
modern formulation, widely removed from one another 
both in time and in space. 

What is believed to be the oldest exposition of our 
doctrine is found in the so-called Pseudo-Clementine writ- 
ings which were composed in Northern Syria in the sec- 
ond century of the Christian era." 1 "The aim of mankind, 

'Continued from New Series, vol. II, 481 ff. — The two preceding instal- 
ments of this article (New Series, I, 183 ff. and II, 481 ff.) are quoted as 
Shiitic Elements I and II. 

1,1 On the Pseudo-Clementines see F. Ch. Baur, Kirchengeschichte der 



according to the teaching of the Pseudo-Clementines, is the 
attainment of the Supreme Good, i. e. of the recognition 
of God. Man by reason of his sin is unable to attain this 
end by himself and he must therefore be aided by revela- 
tion which is transmitted through the True Prophet ( alrfim 
irpo<j>riTTi( ). The True Prophet has not manifested himself 
in one, but in different persons and, changing names and 
appearances, traverses the different periods of the world's 
career til<l in his time he will be at rest. Just as the True 
Prophet returns as the same, so, too, the religion revealed 
by him is the same. There is no development but merely 
a constant repetition of the one and same religion. The 
primitive revelation in Adam, pure Mosaism and Christian- 
ity are in consequence identical."™ 

And this is the formulation which the representatives 
of the modern Babis or, as they are now commonly called, 
the Bahais, give to this essential doctrine of their faith." 3 

drei ersten Jahrhunderte (Tubingen 1863), 218 ff.; Harnack, Dogmenge- 
schichte", I, 294 ff., and Uhlhorn in PRE'., IV, 171 ff. 

172 Uhlhorn's analysis ibidem. 

178 As Babism has been repeatedly referred to in this article and will 
even more largely be drawn upon in the following, a few words about the 
origin of this sect may be welcome to the reader. MIrza 'AH Mohammed, 
of Shiraz in Persia — subsequently called the Bab (see presently) — manifested 
himself in his native town in the year iz6o of the Hegira (May 23, 1844), 
exactly a millennium after the birth of the Shiitic Mahdi Mohammed b. al- 
Hasan (above, note 62). At first he claimed to be merely the Bab ("Gate," 
"Entrance"), i. e. the mediator and forerunner of the Mahdi, but afterwards 
he maintained to be himself not only the Mahdi but also a Divine incarnation, 
lie was executed on July 9, 1850 and his followers the Babis were persecuted 
with indescribable cruelty by the Persian Government. The Bab insisted, 
in accordance with the theory set forth in the text, that his mission was 
not final and that a Greater One (designated by him as man yushiruhu 'llahu 
"He whom Allah shall manifest") would appear after him. The Bab appointed 
as his successor, more correctly as his vice-gerent (Khalifa, see. later under 
No. 8), Subb-i-Ezel, but in 1868 Ezel's half-brother BahS'ullah revealed 
himself as the Greater One predicted by the Bab. He was acknowledged by 


"The object for which man exists is that he should know 
God. Now this is impossible by means of his unassisted 
reason. It is therefore necessary that prophets should be 
sent to instruct him concerning spiritual truths and to lay 
down ordinances for his guidance. From time to time 
therefore a prophet appears in the world. There is no dis- 
agreement between the prophets : all teach the same truth, 
but in such measure as men can receive it. One spirit 
indeed speaks through all the prophets."" 4 "The reality of 
God in them never varies; only the garment in which the 
Primal Reality is clothed is different, according to the time 
and place of their appearance and declaration to the world. 
One day it is the garment of Abraham, then Moses, then 
Jesus, then Baha'ullah. Knowledge of this oneness is true 
enlightenment. ' "" 

nearly all Babis who since then prefer to be called Bahais. Baha'ullah died 
in 1892 and was succeeded by his eldest son 'Abbas Effendi who still resides 
as the head of the sect in Acco. [Since the above was written, 'Abbas 
Effendi has come over to this country where, according to the newspapers, 
he resides in Montclair, N. J.] The spread of Babism has been astonishing 
and its adepts are recruited from all faiths and nationalities, both of Asia 
and Europe. Especially noteworthy is its propagation in this country where 
there are a number of well-organized Babi communities. A succinct and 
comprehensive presentation of Babism, together with a full bibliography, 
has been given by Edward G. Browne, in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion 
and Ethics, II, 299-308. A profound analysis of Babism will also be found 
in Goldziher's presentation of Islam in Die Orientalischen Religionen, Berlin 
and Leipzig 1906, p. 128 ff., and in his Vorlesungen, 295 ff. Further details 
will be touched upon in the course of this article. 

1,4 E. G. Browne, A Year amongst the Persians, London 1893, p. 302 
f., from a conversation of the author with two representatives of Babism, 
See on the formulation of the same doctrine by the Bab himself F. C. 
Andreas, Die Babis in Persien, p. 40 ff. 

1W Eric Hammond, The Splendor of God, being extracts from the 
Sacred Writings of the Bahais, with introduction, p. 15; see also p. 33- The 
author appears to be a convinced Bahai. 


Between these two poles, represented, with certain 
modifications, 1 ' 6 by the ancient Clementine dogma and the 
teachings of present day Babism, lie innumerable applica- 
tions of the doctrine of the One True Prophet. 

A striking formulation of this dogma which deserves 
our special attention is found in the teachings of Mani- 
chseism. Giving a nationalistic coloring to this essentially 
universalistic doctrine, ManI declares : "Wisdom and deeds 
have always from time to time been brought to mankind 
by the messenger of God called Buddha to India, in 
another by Zoroaster in Persia, in another by Jesus in the 
West. Thereafter this revelation has come down, this 
prophecy in this last age, through me ManI, the messenger 
of the God of Truth to Babylonia."" 7 

It was probably through the medium of Manichseism 
that this profound conception gained access into Moham- 
medanism. It has fundamentally affected the prophetology 
of orthodox Islam in which the belief in a series of dispen- 

176 According to the Clementines, there is a final manifestation in which 
the True Prophet will be "at rest." According to the Babis, the number of 
manifestations is unlimited: "there have been endless numbers of them in 
the past, as there will be in the future" (E. G. Browne, IRAS., XXI (1889), 
914). Again, according to the Clementine doctrine, all manifestations are 
identical; "there is no development but merely a constant repetition of the 
one and same religion" (comp. above), while, according to Babism, there 
is a constant upward development from manifestation to manifestation; "a new 
prophet is not sent until the development of the human race renders this 
necessary" (Browne, A Year amongst the Persians, 303). This difference 
is of far-reaching importance, but does not affect the particular phase dis- 
cussed in the text. 

177 Biruni, 207; Sachau's translation, 190. See also p. 192. The 
Babylonian particularism of the Manichaeans is also evident from the fact 
that the head of the sect was obliged to reside in Babylonia, Fliigel, Mani, 
97 and 105. 


sations, 1 ' 8 the recognition of their transitory value, 1 ' 9 and the 
admission at the same time of the prophetic, hence God- 
inspired, character of their representatives clearly point to 
this source. But it became of infinitely greater significance 
in heterodox Islam which is not only more generous in the 
recognition of the relative truth of the dispensations pre- 
ceding Mohammed, 180 but, denying the fundamental Islamic 
dogma of the finality of his message, 181 consistently admits 
of an endless chain of prophetic manifestations after 
him. 185 In this form the conception of the One True Pro- 
phet has been in constant operation in Mohammedan sectar- 
ianism and has found expression in innumberable move- 
ments and doctrines. 

1.8 The five prophets who are believed to have appeared as founders of 
new religious before Mohammed are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and 
Jesus. These with Mohammed and the Mahdi who is to appear in fulness of 
time, make seven, see later. 

1.9 This is involved in the naskh doctrine, according to which the previous 
revelations have been abrogated and superseded by the Koran. Comp. Goldziher 
in Orientalische Religionen, 98. 

180 This applies particularly to Zoroaster. When asked by Professor 
Browne, whether Babism regarded Zoroaster as a prophet, one of the Babi 
preachers replied: "Assuredly" (A Year amongst the Persians, 327). "It is 
true," Professor Browne was told on another occasion, "we do recognize 
Zoroaster and others, whom the Musulmans reject, as prophets" (7. c, 305), 
Ishak "the Turk" declared that Abu Muslim was a prophet sent by Zoroaster 
and that Zoroaster was alive and had never died (Browne, Persia, 315). 
According to Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), many otherwise orthodox Mohammedans 
believed in the prophecy of Zoroaster (Milal wa'n-nihal, I, 113, 6). 

1,1 Compare later p. 247 and 277 f. 

is! p er haps the most striking formulation of this doctrine of infinite 
manifestations is the one given by the Bab (see note 173) in one of his 
epistles (Browne, JRAS., 1892, 473): "In the time of Noah, I was Noah, In 
the time of Abraham Abraham, in the time of Moses Moses, in the time 
of Jesus Jesus, in the time of Muhammed Muhammed, in the time of 'All 
Muhammed (the name of the Bab) 'Ali Muhammed (this is undoubtedly the 
meaning of 'Ali-kabla-nabtl, nabll being the numerical equivalent of Muham- 
med). In the time of "the Greater One to Come" I shall surely be "the 


Looked at in this light, a fundamental doctrine of the 
Jewish sectarian Abu 'Isa stands out in its full meaning and 
assumes wide historic significance. 

Abu 'Isa manifested himself in an age and in a land 
which were marked by the wide currency of the belief 
characterized above. He addressed himself exclusively to 
the Jews whom he endeavored to free from political 
oppression, and he retained all the fundamental tenets of 
Judaism. Yet, actuated by the conception which recognizes 
the relative truth of the various, yet identical, manifesta- 
tions of the Divine, Abu 'Isa, in a manner which vividly 
reminds us of the formulation of Mani, "acknowledged the 
prophecy of Jesus, the son of Mary, and the prophecy of 
the Master of the Muhammedans, contending that each of 
these tzvo was sent to his own people. He advocated the 
study of the Gospels and of the Koran as well as the 
knowledge of their interpretation, and he maintained that 
the Muhammedans and Christians were both guided in their 
faith by what they possessed, just as the Jews were guided 
in their faith by what they possessed.""" 

This doctrine of Abu 'Isa, recorded by ifirkisanl, is 
fully confirmed by Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), who regards this 

Greater One to Come," in the time of "the Greater One to Come Later" 
"the Greater One to Come Later," in the time of "the Greater One to 
Come still Later" "the Greater One to Come still Later" (etc.) until the 
end of 'Him who has no end, just as in the beginning of Him who has no 
beginning I was in every manifestation the proof of God towards his 

™» Kirij. 312, 5: i»dSddSn an«x rinjai D'-ia p 'D'j? ftiaia »B»p ia« ijski 
iiBiym jxip^Hi S>«kSk fwipa ibni noip >Sk liiyaa nanao nn«i bs ]* nyn 
nnn<N »b «oa Kama fia« bs iaj?n ip '-iks^ki J'D^dd'jx i« oyn «om»BBn 
BnH'N »b «aa iin^N lajm «aa. 


theory of Abu 'Isa as the corner stone of his teachings, 184 
and is often referred to by other Mohammedan theologians 
who take great pains to refute this attempt of the 'Isawiyya 
to limit the validity of Mohammed's message to the Arabic 
race. 18l> If we are to believe Ibn Hazm, 186 Abu 'Isa gave 
expression to his reverence for the founders of Christianity 
and Islam by calling himself Mohammed, the son of 
Jesus,* 8 ' and went so far as to believe in the immaculate 

184 Ibn Hazm's report about Abu 'Isa (Milal wa'n-Nihal, I, 99) contains 
little else beyond a statement of the view mentioned in the text. Shahrastani, 
on the other hand, who gives an elaborate historical account of Abu 'Isa, 
leaves this particular doctrine unmentioned and attributes it to one of the 
subdivisions of the 'Isawiyya (see later p. 243). Ibn Hazm's account has been 
reproduced in text and German translation by Poznanski in JQR., XVI, 765 
ff. The 'Isawiyya, according to Ibn Hazm, advanced the argument that 
Mohammed as the prophet of the Arabs occupied the same position and 
deserved the same recognition as Job, Bileam, and the other non-Israelitish 
prophets mentioned in the Bible, who were sent to their respective races. Ibn 
Hazm winds up his account by making the following interesting statement: 
"I have met many distinguished men among the Jews who hold the same doc- 
trine" (see about this statement later, note 197). — Abu 'Isa and the 'Isawiyya 
are referred to incidentally in other passages of his Milal. Thus in one 
passage (I, 112, penult, ff.) Abu 'Isa is mentioned among Shiitic and non- 
Mohammedan pseudo-prophets of whom miracles are reported, which miracles 
however, are worthless, "since miracles can only be relied upon when trans- 
mitted by multitudes." He refutes the 'Isawiyya with the same arguments 
as Rirkisani (in the polemical chapters mentioned below, note 190), pointing 
out their inconsistency in accepting Mohammed as prophet and yet refusing 
to accept his claim that he was sent to the whole world (I, 114 f.). As one 
of the Jewish sects the 'Isawiyya are briefly referred to I, 117, 16 and V, 
122, 8. 

185 See Poznanski, JQR., XVI, 770 f. According to Bagdad! and Ibn 
Kayyim al-Jauziyya (Poznanski, ibidem), Mohammed was believed to have 
been sent to the whole world, except to the Jews and such nations as possess 
revealed writings. See also later, note 194. 

186 Milal, I, 99. 

181 Comp. Poznanski, I. c, 770. I may mention in passing that the passage 
in Hirschfeld's Arabic Chrestomathy, objected to by Poznanski, ib., note 3, 
is confirmed by the MS. and that Jesus, and not Abu 'Isa, is meant there. 


conception of Christ. 188 Ifirkisanl is inclined to ascribe the 
recognition of Christianity and Islam on the part of Abu 
'Isa to a selfish motive. For by acknowledging these two 
prophets outside of the canonical range of Jewish prophecy, 
he had, in the opinion of this author, greater chances of 
finding credence for his own prophetic pretensions. 189 But 
KirkisanI can scarcely have taken his own explanation seri- 
ously. For his thorough and elaborate refutation of this 
view of Abu 'Isa, to which he devotes two separate chapters 
in his work, 190 distinctly shows that this opinion was not the 
freakish fad of an irresponsible sectarian, but the settled 
conception of the age. 191 ' As a matter of fact, this view 
which admits the relative truth of Christianity and Islam is 
found not only among the sects closely related to the 
Isawiyya, such as the Ra'yaniyya, 192 the Sharakaniyya (or 

ls * Milal, II, 12: "The 'Isawiyya from among the Jews agree with us, 
and so do the Aryiisiyya (Arians), the Bulkaniyya (Paulicians), and the 
Makdfiniyya (Macedonians) from among the Christians, that he (Jesus) was 
a human being, created by God in the womb of Mary without a male." 

189 Kirk. 312, 9 ff. Elsewhere (Hirschfeld, Arabic Chrestomathy, 117, 
1 ff.), Kirkisani makes the same charge against Mohammed who pretended 
to believe in Jesus, so that his own claim as a prophet might not be denied, 
"in the same manner as mentioned by us of Abu 'Isa al-Isfahanl." 

100 Chapter 13 and 14, MS. British Museum Or. 2524, fol. 33&-39&. The 
refutation of Islam and Christianity which follows immediately is only a 
part of his polemics against Abu 'Isa who acknowledged Jesus and Mohammed. 

191 This may also account for the answer of Jacob ben Ephraim (Kirk-, 
312, 2 ff.) which so greatly shocked our author. To the Rabbanites of that 
period the Karaites who renewed the ancient vexatious contentions about the 
festivals seemed less sympathetic than the 'Isflniyya, in spite of the fact that 
the latter "ascribed prophecy to those who did not possess it." 

182 Bagdadi (ed. Mohammed Badr, p. 263, 13): "at- 'Isawiyya wa'r- 
Ra'yaniyya . . . afcarru bi-nubuwwati Muhammadin" "The 'Isawiyya and the 
Ra'yaniyya.. .admit the prophecy of Muhammed." The Ra'yaniyya are prob- 
ably identical with the Yiidganiyya, see later. 


Shadakaniyya) 193 and the Mushkaniyya 194 as well as the 
Karaitic faction of the Dusturians, 1 '" but it is also attributed 
to Anan, 196 and we have positive evidence that it was shared 
by representative and otherwise irreproachably orthodox 
Jews. 191 

It is evident that a doctrine like this which regards all 
positive religions as nothing but transient forms of the 
same Divine truth, as different garments in which the Primal 
Reality clothes itself," 8 carries within it a spirit of toler- 
ance which no religion, claiming to be the exclusive and 

193 Bagdad! 9, 14; comp. Schreiner in REJ., XXIX, an, and Shiitic 
Elements, I, 207, n. 92. 

1M Shahr., 169: "It is mentioned of a number among the Mushkaniyya 
(for variants see Shiitic Elements, I, 207, n. 93) that tbey firmly believe in 
the prophecy of the Chosen One (= Muhammed) for the Arabs and the 
rest of mankind, with the exception of the Jews, the latter being a people 
(forming) a religious community and (possessing) a revealed book" (MS. 
British Museum Add. 7250 omits wa-kitabin). See above, note 185. 

M * Kirkisanl, MS. British Museum Or. 2324, fol. 356: JO Dip J'nnD^S 'SI 
ND ftni JO SlpS« «in >B mpISM! »3a»nS» "Among the Dusturians there are 
people from among our adherents (i. e. Karaites) who agree with him (with 
Abu 'Isa) in this opinion to a certain extent." 

108 Griitz, V, 188, comp. Kirk., 305, 2. Poznaftski, REJ., LX, 308 f. doubts 
this generally accepted opinion. In view, however of the statements of 
Kirkisanl as well as of Arabic authors, his doubts seem scarcely justifiable. 
Anan may have been a politician, but, considering the facts adduced above, 
it would be unfair to seek political reasons (Harkavy, Studien und Mittei- 
lungen, VIII, 102, n. 39), or even more objectionable motives (Pinsker, »Blp^>, 
p. 20; Weiss, Dor dor we-dorshow, IV, 51) for his advocating a conception, 
which was in his age widespread in the East. It was scarcely of immediate 
benefit in a Mohammedan state to recognize Jesus as prophet. Steinschneider's 
harsh judgment (Polemische und apohgetische Literatur, 343 f.) is certainly 
not justified. 

m Ibn Hazm, above note 184. In another passage, which seems to be 
missing in the printed edition, I. E. insinuates that the leading Jews were 
convinced of the truth of Mohammed's claim, but refused to admit it (Gold- 
ziher, Kobak's Jeshurun, VIII, 78). Ibn Kajjim al-Jauziyya (d. 1350) reports 
the same view of a distinguished Egyptian Jew, Goldziher, I. c, IX, 22 f. 

198 Above, p. 237. 


final manifestation of Divine truth, can afford to exhibit. 
For tolerance, as Carlyle put it, has to tolerate the unessen- 
tial. It is certainly not accidental that the rule of the 
Fatiinides, whose religion of state in the form of the 
Isma'iliyya doctrine hinges on the dogma of the One True 
Prophet and whose political claims are entirely based on 
the theory of the periodic manifestations of the Deity, is 
characterized by unparalleled tolerance. 19 * It is the immed- 
iate consequence of the same basic principle which explains 
the all-embracing spirit of tolerance in modern Bahaism, a 
doctrine which addresses itself alike to "Buddhist and 
Mohammedan, Hindu and Zoroastrian, Jew and Chris- 
tian" 2 ™ and commands the Bahais to "associate with all the 
people of the world, with men of all religions, in concord 
and harmony, in the spirit of perfect joy and fragrance;" 201 
for "intolerance is, in the rule of the Bahai, the one im- 
possible word." 202 

From this tolerance towards other religions which, 
properly considered, removes the boundary lines between 
faith and faith, it is only one short step to the desertion 
of one's own religion. The scantiness of our sources does 
not enable us to determine whether the few apostasies 
related of early Jewish sectarians, such as the conversion to 
Christianity of Meswi al-'Okbari, ** or the repeated changes 
of faith of David al-Mukammas 204 are to be traced to this 
theory. 208 But there is every reason for assuming that this 

1M Browne, Persia, 399, Dussaud, Histoire et religion des Nofeiris, 49. 

300 Hammond, The Splendor of God, 11. 

*» L. ft, 37- 

•" L. c, 47- 

*» Poznanski in RBJ., XXXIV, p. 180. 

204 £irk., 306; Harkavy's introduction, ib. t p. 260. 

205 Ibn Hazm (d. 1064) quotes the view of one of his Jewish friends, 
the physician Isma'il b. al-rjaddad (or al-ljarrad), w h Q believed that all 


doctrine was in operation in the case of Sabbathai 
Zevi and those that followed him. It is true, these 
sectarians were impostors and swindlers who were 
actuated not by dogmatic principles but by gross selfish 
motives. Yet, there is method in their charlatanism, and 
there is little doubt in my mind that when Sabbathai Zevi, 
faced by the punishment of the Turkish authorities, threw 
down his Jewish cap and exchanged it for the turban, 306 the 
theory of the One True Prophet lingered in the back of 
his mind to allay his scruples. His adherents in any event 
were not slow in adducing philosophical reasons for this 
treacherous act of their prophet. 20 ' 

But in its full and unrestricted operation our dogma 
may be seen in the case of Jacob Frank who raises the 
disloyalty towards one's religion to a full-fledged philo- 
sophic doctrine. To justify, whether in his own eyes or in 
those of his followers, his frequent changes of faith — he 
had changed his religion no less than five times — , 208 this 
versatile scoundrel cleverly defends apostasy on philosophic 
grounds. "When people change their religion, it is only, 
as if one were pouring out oil from one vessel to another.'" * 

religions were equally justifiable and that every man ought to adhere to his 
own ancestral faith. When entreated by our author to embrace Islam, he 
replied: "To change one's religion is to play comedy," or "he who leaves his 
own religion and embraces another, is impudent and plays comedy with (all) 
religions. He also disobeys God, who is worshiped by him by means of thai 
religion," Milal wa'n-nifral, V, 120 and 121; comp. Schreiner in ZDMG., 
XLII, 616 f., 657 f. It is not impossible that this belief in the relativity of 
all religions is a reflection of the doctrine mentioned in the text. 
*" Gratz, X, 220. 

»" Gratz, 1. c, 222 f., 230, 453, 457; "?ai3 flX'S TISp, 326, 3%b, 416. 
Sabbathai himself spoke openly of his conversion, Gratz, /. c, 445- 

208 imj?l pJKIB, p. 252. 

"• lb., 255. 


"Know ye," declares Frank to his followers, 210 "that it is 
impossible for anyone to get to a new place, unless he has 
made a start, and this start is he who founded the religion 
of Islam. After him came the second who revealed to us 
the mystery of Baptism and to him we shall now revert." 
His innermost conviction, which was nothing but a thorough 
contempt for all positive religions, is betrayed in another 
utterance of his: "He who studies all the religions and 
systems and books that have been founded or written until 
this day, is like one who turns his face backwards and looks 
at things that are already dead." 211 "Your old books and 
systems are bound to be shattered like vessels of clay." 212 

4. Successive Incarnation 

The theory of the One True Prophet is logically insep- 
arable from the doctrine of Successive Incarnation. At the 
bottom of both lies the fundamental Gnostic or rather Neo- 
Platonic conception that God, "the unoriginated, inconceiv- 
able Father," who is without material substance, is entirely 
unknowable and therefore can make himself known to man 
only by incarnation, by embodying himself in human form, 
i. e. in the prophets. 218 Thus the prophet or the Messiah, 
the "Christ," becomes the manifestation, and the only 
manifestation, of God on earth, a view which logically leads 
and has in the course of history actually led to the deification 
of the prophet. In conjunction with the theory of the One 
True Prophet, the doctrine of Incarnation is widened to 
that of Successive Incarnation, which teaches the periodic 
manifestation, or incarnation, of God in various ages in 

m lb. 101. 
m lb., 119. 
*" lb., 122. 
w Comp. Uhlhorn in PRE., 3 IV, 171; comp. also Shiites, II, 86, 4 S. 


different human personalities who, embodying, as they do, 
the same Divine substance, are, in reality, one: the One 
True Prophet. 214 As to the number and identity of the 
persons, in whom the Divine has thus been successively 
incarnated, a great deal of uncertainty seems to have pre- 
vailed from the very beginning. Thus in the Pseudo- 
Clementines the persons in whom the One True Prophet 
has revealed himself are specified in one place as Adam, 
Enoch, Noah, Abraham Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, in another 
as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Christ, 
in both the number seven seems to be intended. 216 Later 
applications of this dogma show numerous variations, in 
accordance with local and historic requirements. 

The theory of Successive Incarnation has had far- 
reaching consequences for the dogmatic development of 
Islam. It succeeded in forcing its way into orthodox Islam 
whose prophetology is profoundly affected by it, 216 but here 
it was checked in its course by the emphasis laid on the 
final character of Mohammed's prophetic message. 2 " In 
heterodox Islam, however, in which this barrier was partly 
or completely removed, 218 the doctrine of Successive Incarna- 
tion has found an almost unlimited field of operation. 

214 Above, p. 236. 

215 Shiites, II, 85 f. 

216 See Goldziher's article "Neuplatonische und gnostiche Elemente im 
Hadit" in ZA., XXII, 324 ff. 

217 The title "Seal of the Prophets" assumed by Mohammed (Koran 33, 
40) is interpreted in this sense and is emphasized by the canonical hadith which 
makes Mohammed declare "there is no prophet after me," comp. Shiites, I, 
47, and II, 48. According to Biruni, 207, already Mam believed that he was 
"the Seal of the Prophets." According to Shahrastani (I, 192), Man! predicted 
that "the Seal of the Prophets" (i. e. Mohammed) would come to the Arabs. 
The latter is no doubt a clumsy Mohammedan fabrication. 

218 See above p. 239. In modern Babism the title "Seal of the Prophets," 
as applied to Mohammed, is interpreted as "the seal of the prophets who have 


We can observe the march of this conception from the 
early devlopment of Shiism down to the present day. The 
attempt has been made to find in the theory of Successive 
Incarnation the very germ of Shiism, by identifying it with 
the Raj'a doctrine enunciated by the founder of Shiism, 
'Abdallah b. Saba. 219 This view can scarcely be upheld, for 
Raj'a in its original meaning excludes incarnation. 220 But 
the doctrine of Successive Incarnation begins to appear in 
full-fledged size among the numerous Shiitic factions which 
sprang up in 'Irak in the second century after Mohammed. 
Without making the slightest attempt at completeness, we 
may single out a few representatives of this doctrine within 
heretodox Islam. The sectarian Mugira b. Sa'Id (d. 737) 
of Kufa, whose teachings betray throughout the profound 
influence of Gnostic ideas, taught "that the prophets never 
differed in anything concerning the laws." 221 His contem- 
porary and townsman Abu Mansur al-'Ijli held similarly the 
belief in the uninterrupted succession of apostles, 222 or, as 
another report puts it, "that the apostles would never cease 
and the apostleship would never cease." 228 'Abdallah b. 
Mu'awiya, the contemporary of Abu 'Isa al-'Isfahani, 
maintained that he was God and that the Divine 
Spirit manifested itself in Adam, then in Seth, then 

gone before and the key of those who are to come," Browne, A Year amongst 
the Persians, p. 327 (I may mention in passing that the expression "key of 
prophecy" is applied to Moses by as-Su'udi, Disputatio pro religione Moham- 
tnedanorum contra Christianos, Leiden 1890, p. 189). — On this fundamental 
distinction between orthodox and heterodox Islam see Goldziher, Vorlesungen, 

249 f. 

212 See AbS., II, 11. 

220 Ibidem. In the same manner Raj'a is to be distinguished from the 
Transmigration of Souls; below, note 283. 

221 Shiites, I, 60, 1. 

222 L. c, I, 62, 13. 

222 L. c, II, 92, 5 ff. 


it circled through the prophets and finally revealed 
itself in him. 22 * The famous rebel and Pseudo- 
Messiah Mukanna' (d. 780) asserted in exactly the 
same manner that he was a Divine incarnation and that the 
Divine Spirit, after having manifested itself in Adam, Noah, 
Abraham, Mohammed, 'All, and others, finally settled in 
him. 225 It is the same doctrine for which in a later century 
the celebrated mystic Husein b. Mansur al-Hallaj, whose 
influence survived long after his death and penetrated 
beyond the boundaries of Islam. 228 suffered martyrdom at 
the hands of the 'Abbasid government. 22 ' 

The same theory of prophetic cycles, with a complicated 
and systematic elaboration of the various manifestations 
and their mode of succession, forms the basis of the 
Isma'iliyya doctrine which, after tremendous upheavals, led 
to the establishment of the Fatimid dynasty and became the 
acknowledged religion of that powerful empire. 228 

It lies at the bottom of the doctrine of the Hurufi sect 
whose founder Fadlallah of Astarabad in Persia maintained 

224 L. c, II, 45, n. 8. 

225 t. c, II, 120, 30 ff., Goldziher in ZA., XXII, 337 ff. The number of 
manifestations specified by Mukanna' (ibidem, 338, n. 4) amounts to seven. 

226 Comp. JQR., XIX, p. 92, n. 1 and Shiites, II, 115, n. 2. 

227 Shiites, II, 114 f. and Browne, Persia, 428 ff. rjallaj is addressed as 
"the eternal and luminous Creator who assumes human form in every age and 
period and in our own time has assumed the form of al-IJusein b. Mansur 
(= Hallaj)," Birunl, 212, 1. 

228 See the elaborate presentation of the Isma'iliyya doctrine by Browne, 
/. c, 405 ff., and Goldziher, Vorlesungen, 247 ff. For further literature see 
Shiites, II, 19, 27 ff. On the influence of these originally Neo-Platonic ideas 
on Judaism see Goldziher, Kitab ma'Snl al-nafs, p. 41 ff. On their effect 
on Judah Halevi see the same in RBJ., L, 32 ff. The doctrine quoted by 
Goldziher in ZA., XXII, 329, n. 1, according to which the "Luminous Sub- 
stance" was transferred from the forehead of Adam to that of Seth, then 
Enoch, etc., and through Ishmael to the ancestors of Mohammed, strikingly 
resembles even in its details Judah Halevi's theory of the JlSuD. 


that God manifested himself in him, "after having revealed 
himself in the person of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and Muham- 
med," and suffered martyrdom for his belief at the hands 
of Miranshah, the son of Timur, in 1393. 229 

The doctrine of Successive Incarnation is still widely 
represented among numerous sects in the East, such as the 
Yezidis, Druzes, Mutawile, and Nuseiriyya, 230 but here, too, 
it has found its most perfect expression in the teachings of 
Babism or Bahaism. We have already referred to the 
cardinal importance which Bahaism attaches to the doc- 
trine of the One True Prophet. 231 It is therefore with per- 
fect consistency preached in Bahaism that "Adam, Noah, 
Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammed, though in common 
parlance spoken of as being distinct, are yet but one, the 
Primal Will," 232 and that it is therefore "correct to say that 
Moses is identical with Jesus, or Jesus with Muhammed." 233 
The Christian adepts of Bahaism have drawn the logical 
conclusion of this doctrine and consistently declare that the 
present head of the Bahais, 'Abbas Effendi, is a reincarna- 
tion of Christ. 234 

I believe it is not too far-fetched to find a reflection of 
this widespread idea in the abrupt notice of ShahrastanI 235 

229 Textes Persans relatifs A la secte des ffouroufis (E. J. W. Gibb Me- 
morial Series, Vol. IX), p. xiii, xvii. See also ibidem, 30 ff. 

230 Comp. Kremer, Geschichte der herrschenden Ideen des 1 slams, p. 13 f. 
On the older Shiitic representatives of this doctrine see ib., p. 188 ff. See 
also Goldziher in Orientalische Religionen, p. 126 f. 

231 Above p. 236 f. 

232 E. G. Browne in IRAS., XXI (1889), p. 914. The number ot 
prophets enumerated there amount together with the Bab to seven. In the 
passage quoted above in note 182 the number of manifestations including 
"the Greater One to come" amounts to seven. This is perhaps not accidental, 
see later p. 253 f. 

233 Browne, Tarikh, 335. 

234 Browne, Persia, 311. Goldziher in Orientalische Religionen, 128. 

235 I, 168, 10 ff. Instead of 'Isa read Abu 'Isa. 


that "Abu 'Isa al-Isfahani maintained that he was a pro- 
phet and that he was the messenger of the Messiah the 
Expected One. He also maintained that the Messiah 236 had 
five messengers who appeared before him one after the 
other," and "that the Messiah is the most excellent of all 
the children of Adam and higher in station than the preced- 
ing prophets." 23 ' 

The fragmentary character of our material unfortun- 
ately does not enable us to judge whether the adoption by 
Abu 'Isa of the theory of Successive Incarnation involved 
the consequence of the deification of the Messiah, drawn by 
radical Shiism. But our doctrine with all its extravagant 
implications is almost without modifications reproduced in 
the teachings of the Sabbathians. According to the belief 
of the Donmeh sect, "the soul of the Messiah which forms 
a part of the Deity, representing the Deity in the flesh, in 
corporeal life, clothes itself in every age in the body of a 
perfect man . . . This soul of the Messiah has also em- 
bodied itself in Jesus and Muhammed. In Sabbathai Zevi 
it has found, as it were, its full expression." 238 

236 On the meaning of the word in this connection see later, p. 258 ff. 

287 Shahr., ibidem. — The conception of Abu 'Isa as the One true Prophet 
probably underlies the curious distinction which Abfl'1-Fadl as-Su'Qdi (ca. 
r 53S)» Disputatio pro religione Mohammedanorum contra Christianos, Leyden 
1890, p. 189, draws between the 'Isawiyya and the Isbahaniyya. The former 
are "the adherents of Abu 'Isa al-Isbahani who maintain that Jesus and 
Muhammed were prophets sent to their respective races only." The latter 
are "the adherents of Abu 'Isa al-Isbahani who maintain that Abu 'Isa was 
a prophet sent prior to Moses," a view which, as Su'udi polemically points 
out, is at variance with the general Jewish belief that "there was no prophet 
prior to Moses, the latter being in their opinion the key of prophecy and 
the first-born of apostleship," and also contradicts the Torah "which expressly 
declares that God's commands were given to men prior to Abu 'Isa." It 
would be interesting to know whether this distinction is an invention of 
Su'udi or whether it was, as seems more natural, derived from an older 

238 Gratz, Frank und die Frankisten, 14. 


Jacob Frank who, as was repeatedly stated before, had 
in his youth come in intimate contact with the Donmeh, 
held essentially the same belief. He declared "that all great 
prophets and seers that have arisen in Israel from antiquity 
until now were all the same soul and the same spirit in 
different shapes, this soul transmigrating and changing its 
forms in the course of many years." 239 David, Elijah, Jesus, 
Mohammed, Sabbathai Zevi, and his successors, among the 
latter specifically Berachiah (the son of Jacob Querido), 
whom the Sabbathians of Salonika worshiped as a divinity 
in prayer, 240 and finally Frank himself were one and the same 
person in different bodily forms, and one and all were the 
same incarnation of the Deity. 241 Just as the Christian 
Bahais look upon 'Abbas Effendi as an incarnation of Christ, 
so could the adherents of Frank who lived among Christians 
consistently affirm their belief that Jesus was hidden in 
Frank. 242 

It would be futile to deny that the blasphemous heresies 
of these sectarians are intimately related to certain similar 
speculations of the Kabbalah 248 of which these heretics were 
passionate admirers and believers. But when we remember 
the fact that, prior to the development of this phase of the 
Kabbalah, a doctrine of undoubtedly Mohammedan origin, 
belonging to the same set of ideas, became part and parcel 
of the nationalistic philosophy of Judah Halevi, 244 we can 

S8 » imsn pjsiD, p- 45- 

240 L. c, 97; Gratz, Prank, p. 14; compare the prayer ib., Appendix VI, 


»» Gratz, X, 378. 

242 Prank und die Prankisten, 26. 

248 Comp. Griitz, X, 209 f. and 463 «. 

244 Above, note 228. — An interesting example of the influence of the 
Isma'Iliyya (or Karmatian) doctrine on the Kabbalah is quoted by Ad. Frank, 
La Kabbale, Paris 1889, p. 32. 


have but little doubt that at least in the peculiar formulation 
which this conception assumed at the hands of the Sabbath- 
ians the theory of Successive Incarnation was not altogether 
dependent on the Kabbalah and must have passed through 
the medium of the non- Jewish influences referred to above. 
The effect of this heterodox Mohammedan dogma may 
perhaps extend to a specific detail. In spite of the fact that 
the number of Divine manifestations is unlimited and end- 
less, 245 a view which is preached with particular emphasis 
by the Bab, 246 the sum of the Divine incarnations is fre- 
quently fixed at seven, the old sacred figure. This number 
is already discernible in the Pseudo-Clementines 24 ' and is 
possibly applicable to Mohammed. 248 It occurs with aston- 
ishing frequency in the history of Shiitic sectarianism 2 * 9 and 
forms the basis of the complicated dogmatic system of the 
Isma'Iliyya who are for this reason called Sab'iyya or 
Seveners. 250 It is still represented in our own days in the 
teachings of the Druzes 251 and the Nuseiriyya, 252 partly also 
in those of the Babis. 253 

245 Above, note 176. 

246 Above, note 182. 
2 « Shiites, II, 85 f. 

248 Above, n. 178. Perhaps the same applies to Mohammed's contempor- 
ary Omayya b. Abl Salt who was anxious to assume a prophetic role, Shiites, 
II, 28 n. 1. 

24 » Comp. Shiites, II, 80 f., 127. 

250 See, e. g., Browne, Persia, 408 ff. On the same number in the 
doctrine of Bihafarid, comp. ib., 310, and among the Hurufis Textes persans 
relatifs a la secte des J^ourouHs, p. xvm. 

251 Comp. de Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe 2 , II, 250 ff. 

252 Dussaud, Histoire et religion des Noseiris, 42 ff., 70 f., 74 f. 

253 See note 232. Comp. also Andreas, Die Babis in Persien, p. 40. — 
'Abbas Effendi, the present head of the Bahais, speaks in one case (Some 
Answered Questions, translated by Laura Clifford Barnay, p. 189) of Abraham, 
Moses, Christ, Mohammed, the Bab, Baha'ullah, in another (Myron H. 
Phelps, Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi, New York and London 1903, 


Perhaps it is not accidental that the two Jewish refer- 
ences to these periodic manifestations quoted above seem to 
imply the number seven. In the case of Frank this number 
easily suggests itself. 854 Perhaps it is also applicable to the 
belief of Abu 'Isa, recorded by Shahrastani 255 and vividly 
reminiscent of the five anti-Mohammedan dispensations 
assumed in Islam, 258 that the Messiah was preceded by five 
apostles. For in as much as, according to the same author, 
Abu 'Isa considered himself the forerunner of the Mes- 
siah, 257 the sum of all the manifestations would amount to 

5. Taewid 
The unsurpassable gulf which Neo-Platonism created 
between God and the world necessitated the introduction of 
a mediating power, a Demiurge, such as found expression 
in the Logos doctrine of Philo and in the Christology of 
orthodox and heterodox Christianity. The same philosophic 
necessity prompted similar speculations in Jewish Mysticism 
of all ages. 258 In orthodox Islam with its crude but healthy 
monotheism there was no room for such extravagant no- 
tions. The greater is the force with which they make their 
appearance in heterodox Islam. If the prophet or Imam 
was conceived as an incarnation of the Deity, there was 

p. 127, similarly p. 254) of Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, and 
Baha'ullah as the great divine manifestations of the past. In both cases 
the number amounts to six. If this number be not a mere coincidence, the 
quoted utterances may darkly hint at the possibility that 'Abbas EJffendi himself 
is the seventh manifestation. Comp. later, note 277. 

254 Above, p. 252. 

255 Above p. 251. 

256 Above, note 178. 

*" See later, p. 261 and 268. 

235 Comp. Ginzberg in Jewish Encyclopedia (Article "Cabbala"), III, 462, 
especially 4640. 


nothing simpler than to follow the example of Christianity 
and identify the prophet with the Demiurge who rules the 
world on behalf of the unknowable, inconceivable Father. 21 * 
We do not refer here to the numerous instances in which 
mystics and impostors, on the basis of the doctrine of Suc- 
cessive Incarnation or in a fit of pantheistic ecstasy, believed 
or declared themselves to be divine. We have rather in 
view those cases in which a human being is unequivocally 
proclaimed to be a Creator or a Demiurge. A curious ex- 
ample of this Christian influence within Islam is the theory 
of Ahmad b. Ha'it and Ahmad b. Yanus, 260 the disciples of 
the famous Mu'tazilite philosopher Nazzam (ninth cen- 
tury) 261 "that the world had two creators : one who is eternal, 
and this is God, and the other one who is created and this is 
the Word of God, Jesus Christ." 262 Other sectarians, how- 
ever, gave a distinct Mohammedan coloring to this anti- 
Mohammedan doctrine. They taught "that God created 
Muhammed and 'AH and then turned over the matter (i. e. 
the management) of the world to them, so that it is they 
who create, sustain, bring to life, and put to death," 263 or, 
as another reliable authority 264 formulates this theory, "that 
God created Muhammed and turned over the management 
to him, so that it is he who created the world, to the exclu- 
sion of God. Then Muhammed turned over the manage- 
ment of the world to 'AH b. Abi Talib who is thus the third 

269 From this point of view Mohammedan writers rightly compare the 
extravagant notions of the ultra-Shiites concerning 'All with those of the 
Christians concerning Christ, Shiites, II, 101. 

260 See regarding the variations in the forms of their names Shiites, 
II, 10. 

201 lb., 58. 

202 lb., 90 f. 
283 lb., 91, 16. 
264 lb., 91, 19. 


Demiurge." 265 This doctrine was called Tafwld (i. e. "Turn- 
ing over") and its adepts were designated as Mufawwida™ 
The same heresy has been able to maintain itself down to 
the present day. For the catechism of the modern Nuseir- 
iyya, in reply to the question, "Who created us?," gives the 
curt answer: "'All." 26 ' 

While making full allowance for the undoubted influ- 
ence of the Kabbalah with its speculations about the soul 
of the Messiah 268 and its theories of an intermediary divine 
being, 269 I am inclined to believe that the extreme formula- 
tion of this dogma in the case of Sabbathai Zevi and his 
followers is in some way connected with the extravagant 
doctrines of radical Shiism. The inveterate Sabbathian 
adventurer Michael Cardoso taught "that the God of Israel 

263 In accordance with the same theory, the Rawandiyya who attacked the 
Caliph Mansfir in his palace (Shiitic Elements, II, 503) believed, "that 
their. Lord, who provided them with food and drink, was Abu 
Ja'far al-Mansur" (Tabari, III, 129). — The Karaite Jepheth b. 'AH (ca. 950) 
mentions among various, apparently Mohammedan, heresies also the view 
"that the creator of the world is no more alive, but created the world and 
then withdrew and disappeared" (Pinsker, 'Blp^, p. 26). I may mention in 
this connection that a number of Mohammedan heterodoxies are quoted 
by Hadassi in his "IBSfl HsVH, Alphabet l"S. 

260 Shiites, II, 91, 19. 

267 lb., II, 127, 11. Comp. 128, 2. Already Ibn Teimiyya (d. 1328), the 
famous Mohammedan theologian, attacks the Nuseiriyya, because they believe 
that "the creator of heaven and earth is 'AH, the son of Abu Talib, who is 
their god in heaven and their Imam on earth" (Dussaud, Histoire et religion 
des Noseiris, 46). Their confession of faith which imitates the orthodox form 
reads: "I testify that there is no other God except 'AH, the son of Aba 
"Talib" (ib., 55). Mohammed was created by AH, ib., 59. 

268 Comp. Griitz, X, 439. 

269 Comp. Ginzberg in Jew. line., Ill, 461 f. The designation of 
Metatron as JBp " is ascribed by Kirkisani (ed. Harkavy, 300, 9) to the 
Talmud and used by him as a point of attack against the Rabbanites. On 
the Mohammedan polemics against this conception see Schreiner, ZDMG., 
XLH, 598. 


is not the Cause of all Causes which is called the infinite 
(Bn-Sof) and Primal Cause, but it is necessary that there 
should be a second cause which should have end and limit 
and should possess a nature comprehensible to human 
beings." 2 ™ Sabbathai himself is said to have signed an 
epistle to his followers with the words ; "I am the Lord your 
God, Sabbathai Zevi," 2 ' 1 and in a discourse delivered by him 
after his conversion in the presence of the Sultan he is 
said to have declared in a manner which is paralleled by 
similar notions within Islam 272 "that God was a beautiful 
youth bearing resemblance to himself." 213 

But a more striking application of the Tafwld doctrine 
is the belief, enunciated by Jacob Israel Duchan and repudi- 
ated even by rabid Sabbathians, 2 " "that the Holy One, 
blessed be He, had ascended on high and that Sabbathai 
Zevi went up in his place to become God" 2 ' 5 or, as it is put 
more tersely in another source, "that Sabbathai Zevi de- 
clared to be God and that the Holy One, blessed be He, 
withdrew from his world and left the management of the 
world in his hand.'"" 

270 Gratz, X, 439. 

271 lb., 209; 433. 

272 Thus the Holy Spirit (or Gabriel), who appears to Mohammed in 
human form (Koran, 53, 8 ff.), approaches Mary as a perfect man (»'&., 19, 17). 
The Shiitic dogmatist Hisham b. al-Hakam conceived God as a human figure 
of the most proportionate size, Shiites, II, 67. Other parallels — they are 
hardly more than parallels — are not wanting. 

278 iS nan ihibb ins* una sin n"apn», Gratz, i. c, 439. An allusion to 

it was found in Cant. 2, 9 '3xS HH Plan («&.). 

274 Such as Cardoso, Gratz, I. c, 455. 

275 Gratz, 439: mS«S lOipna /lty <3S 'H3BM b>yh pSflDJ rt"3pntS»; comp. 

p. 450: icipnS rky -p"»i rkyta n"apn». 

276 ib., p. 439: iiaSiya nbym n"apne> wrbm tntw lasy by ia« yw 
ma niaSipn narun Sa rMm (read lotojm?). 


It is impossible to assume that such extravagant teach- 
ings should have proceeded from the loins of Judaism, 
unless we assume some connection, be it open or subter- 
ranean, with the polytheistic and pantheistic notions of 
heterodox Islam, the influence of which we have already 
been able to discern in many other Jewish heresies. 

6. Prophet and Messiah 

The Gnostic doctrine of the successive incarnation of 
God in the One True Prophet had originally a purely theo- 
logical character. It assumed a political tendency through 
the identification of the "Prophet" with the Messiah (the 
"Christ," the Mahdi, or the Imam) who is expected not only 
to represent in flesh the spiritual and incomprehensible 
Divine Being but also to fill the earth with justice and to 
bring back worldly power to those who have lost it. The 
Prophet par excellence, who represents the periodic mani- 
festations of Divinity, is thus distinguished from and raised 
above the prophets commonly so-called, who, too, are in- 
spired by God but who are neither charged with a political 
mission, nor do they as fully and immediately participate 
in the Divine essence as the Prophet-Messiah. 2 ™ 

This is probably the background of Abu 'Isa's doctrine 
that the Messiah is superior to all prophets, 2 ™ while, with 

277 In one of his expositions {Some Answered Questions, 188 f.), 'Abbas 
Effendi, the head of the Babis, expresses a similar idea by drawing a sharp line 
of distinction between these two classes of prophets. "The independent pro- 
phets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new cycle." "The other prophets 
are followers and promoters, for they are branches and not independent." The 
latter are like the moon which borrows its light. The former are like Abraham, 
Moses, Christ, Mohammed, the Bab, Baha'ullah (comp. above, note 233). The 
latter are like Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. 

2,8 Above, p. 251. 


the lower rating of the prophets, he was able to place the 
Rabbis on the level of prophecy. 279 

But more specifically the Hebrew term nabt' assumes 
the meaning of a forerunner or herald of the Messiah, who, 
probably under the influence of the role assigned to the 
prophet Elijah in Jewish and Christian Messianism, 280 pre- 
dicts and prepares his return. In this restricted sense of a 
lower grade of divinity and a subordinate political function 
the term nabt, as contrasted with the title Mashl a h, is occa- 
sionally found in the accounts of Jewish sectarians. 

Thus David Reubeni in a conversation with a Kadi of 
Fez who believes in the approaching redemption of the Jews 
is addressed in the following manner: "The Jews of Fez 
and vicinity and even the Muhammedans ask what you are : 
'a prophet or a Messiah?.' " 2S1 In reply Reubeni emphati- 
cally denies that he is a prophet and claims to be a military 
commander and the son of King Solomon. 282 

The appearance of Sabbathai Zevi was the signal for 
an outburst of Messianic frenzy which found expression in 
a host of Messianic or prophetic pretenders. For, as Jacob 
Sasportas, the cool-headed witness of these events, expresses 
it, "the passion of the multitude prevailed upon their imag- 
ination and they fancied the one to be a prophet, the other 

™ si*, 3", 25 n»a» *b nrby'i *nn tnh dhmbi j»j»aiS» idk ym 

Wiivhtt Samoa "He exalted the station of the Rabbis and respected them 
highly, so that he placed them on a level similar to that of the prophets." 

280 Comp. Ginzberg, Jewish Encyclopedia, V, 126 f. ; Friedmann, '2T K311 
1!tS», introduction, p. 21 S. 

281 Neubauer, Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles, II, 279: p'B3 "WH 0H1IWI 

rvtwa is H»aa nn» y» nnoi» nn d>Skiw.-i dji ronw^Di. 

288 Ibidem. 


to be a Messiah."™ Nathan of Gaza, the famous impresario 
of Sabbathai Zevi, was generally designated as "the pro- 
phet," i. e. the prophet of the Messiah. 284 

This peculiar transformation of the term nabf may 
very well have taken place in Judaism without foreign inter- 
ference. But it is in any event interesting to observe a 
corresponding development in the meaning of the Moham- 
medan term nabt. Thus 'Abdallah b. Saba who regarded 
'All as the Messiah or, according to some authors, even as 
a divine incarnation, 280 calls himself the prophet of 
'All. 286 The revolutionary agitator Ishak the Turk, 
who appeared in the eighth century in Central Asia, 287 
is called the prophet of Zoroaster who was, as he believed, 
to return as the Mahdi. 288 The famous Hallaj who was 
originally one of the missionaries or "prophets" of 
the eighth Shiitic Imam 'All ar-Rida 289 was assisted, 
after he had manifested himself as God, by three 
prophets. 290 All the numerous petty sectarians who arose 
in 'Irak in the eighth century were prophets in this sense, 
for they invariably supported the claim of one Mahdi or 
another. 2 " 

Instead of nabt, we find in the same connection 
the expression rasul "messenger, apostle," not in the 

288 h$M raps, 4b: nn k»33 nt nvn ibii dm'dt nvzm Dni»n jionn '3 

rt'tPn; compare also gb: IVVO. PItl M»33 ftl JIlTlS TFiyh itlpn B» DM1, 
56^, and elsewhere. 

284 L. c, gb, and elsewhere. In the same sense Cardoso (above, p. 256) 
declared himself a "prophet," Gratz, X, 230. 

280 AbS., I, 296 ft. 

286 L. c, II, 15, n. 2. 

287 Browne, Persia, 313 ft. 

288 Nadlm, Fihrist, 344. Comp. above, note 180. 

289 Browne, Persia, 429. 

290 L. c, 431, 6. 

291 Comp. AbS. , II, 15. The examples given there can be multiplied. 


sense of rasul allah, as Mohammed is commonly 
styled, but rather signifying the rasul of the Messiah™ 2 In 
this particular meaning of the term we must understand 
the notice of Shahrastanf 93 that "Abu 'Isa maintained that 
he zvas a prophet and that he was the messenger (rasul) of 
the Messiah the Expected One. 2 " He also maintained that 
the Messiah had five messengers who appeared before him, 
one after the other." 295 In a similar sense must be inter- 
preted the "prophecy," claimed by Yudgan, the successor 
of Abu 'Isa, 296 and so must also be taken the words of 
Biruni 297 who informs us that the Jews expected the Messiah 
to appear in the year 1023, "so that many pseudo-prophets 
among their sects, such as ar-Ra'i, 298 Abu 'Isa and others 
like them, pretended that they were his (i. e. the Messiah's) 
messengers (in Arabic rusul) to them (i. e. their sects)." 

7. The Da'I 
The complicated character of the Messianic idea and 
the variety of Messianic forerunners, such as the prophet 

292 The Pseudo-Messiah of Yemen is called by Maimonides (Kobez, ed. 
Lichtenberg, II, 26, 4 where the British Museum MSS. differ somewhat) 
WOT W Hint?. The same expression I. c, ya, second column, 1. 6 from below. 
The modern Yemenite Pseudo-Messiah (Shiitic Elements, II, 513 f.) is often 
designated in exactly the same manner, naStt" niJ?D!2, p. 12, comp. 11 and 13. 

299 I, 168. 

294 wa-za'ama [AbUl 'Isa annahu nabiyyun wa-annahu rasUl al-masih ai- 
muntazar. That Abu 'Isa claimed no more than prophecy is repeatedly asserted 
by IJirkisanl ( e( j Harkavy), 284, 6, 311, 20; see note 296. 

295 wa-za'ama anna li'l-maslh lyamsatan min ar-rusul ya'tUna kablahu 
vialiidan ba'da wafridin. Comp. above, p. 251. 

296 Kirk., 284, 14; 312, 16. In another passage, ZfhB., Ill, 176 l£irkisanl 
says: "and others like Abu 'Isa al-Isbahani who claimed prophecy, and just 
as Yudgan claimed that he was the Messiah." Similarly (Hirschfeld, Arabic 
Chrestomathy, 121, 24): ". Yudgan the Da'I and his claim that he is the 
Messiah." The latter statement contradicts his own words, ed. Harkavy, 312, 
16. See later, note 307. 

297 15, 11. 

298 Undoubtedly the title of Yudgan, see later p. 284 f. 


Elijah, the Ephraimitic Messiah, the Antichrist, gave the 
Messianic impostors, as long as they were content with 
the subordinate position of a forerunner and did not aspire 
to the supreme post of the Messiah or Mahdl, a choice of 
roles. But a peculiar coloring was given to the idea of 
the Messianic forerunner through the identification of the 
latter with the characteristically Persian figure of the Da'I, 
or propagandist, a figure which plays so tremendous a role 
in all the Mahdistic movements of Islam. No one who has 
studied the history of early Islam can, to quote but one 
example, withhold his admiration from the wonderful spirit 
of organization and discipline which characterizes the da'wa 
(propaganda) of the 'Abbasides and from the many Da'is 
representing it who often suffered death and torture in 
executing their mission. This type of Da'I has survived 
down to the present day in the missionaries of the Babis of 
whom such an authoritative student of Babism as Professor 
Edward G. Browne speaks in terms of profound respect 
and admiration. 299 

For our present purpose it is necessary to call special 
attention to the political significance of the Da'I which was 
exceedingly great. The head of the 'Abbaside propaganda 
Abu Muslim wielded such tremendous influence that it 
excited the jealousy of his sovereign and resulted in his 
assassination. Abu Muslim's influence became even more 
evident after his death when he was regarded as a divine 
incarnation by his adherents and when the desire to revenge 
him led to dangerous insurrections against the Caliphate. 
In the Karmatian propaganda the Chief Da'is, though 
ostensibly working in the interest of some MahdT, were little 

"• A Year amongst the Persians, 210 f., JRAS., XXI, 497; Persia, 236, 
305, 410 ft*. Comp. also van Vloten, 48, Blochet t,e Messianisme dans 
I'hHirodoxie Musulmane, 16. 


less than the Mahdl himself and the title Mansur borne by 
them 80 " had a distinct Messianic connotation. 301 Some of the 
Da'ts were even looked upon as Divine incarnations. 302 No 
wonder then if so many who began as Da'ls soon realized 
their superiority over the Mahdis for whom they worked 
and often set themselves up as such. 

Perhaps these peculiar notions and conditions are re- 
flected in the report of Shahrastani about Abu 'Isa and 
Yfldgan. Both made their appearance in a land and in an 
age in which the Da'i was a familiar and at the same time a 
prominent figure wielding great political power. If we are 
to believe Shahrastani, 303 Abu 'Isa, realizing his mission, 
went to the distant Band Musa behind the "sand river" 804 to 

300 Shiites, II, 109, 27. 

801 Ibidem, note 2. Compare also AbS., II, 30, n. 4. 

802 Shiites, I, 68 and footnotes. "Every human being:, after having suc- 
ceeded in reaching the degree of a Missionary, is able to raise himself to the 
rank of the Preexistent (the Mahdi) and to substitute him," Blochet, /. c, 60. 

3CS I, 168. 

304 The "sand river" is the Sambation, compare my remarks in JQR-, 
New Series, I, 256. The liberation of the Eost Tribes was considered an 
integral part of the Messianic redemption and the Messianic candidates had 
to live up to it. For this reason the Pseudo- Messiahs are often brought in 
connection with the Eost Tribes, particularly with the Bene Moshe and the 
Sambation. The Messianic enthusiast Abraham Abulafia (d. ca. 1291) claimed, 
like Abu 'Isa, to have penetrated to the Sambation (Gratz, VII, 192). David 
Reubeni's pretensions hinge on his connection with the Eost Tribes and the 
Bene Moshe (Gratz, IX, 229). Among those who denied that Sabbathai Zevi 
was dead, there were many who maintained that he was hidden among the 
Bene Moshe (!"P31B HtPpO, VI, 3, compare above, note 53). He was generally 
expected to proceed to the Bene Moshe living on the Sambation and to marry 
the daughter of Moses, f>313 flS'S 11Sp, 40, 370, comp. Gratz, X, 198 and 
457. The modern Yemenite Pseudo-Messiah was expected to attack San'a with 
an army consisting of Gadites and Reubenites, TBD pX, II, 151; IDVl fTUM 
rPJETl , 37. Compare the utterances of this prophet with reference to the ten 
Tribes and the Bene Moshe 1TUN, p. 6. — Undoubtedly under the influence of 
these Messianic conceptions a Mohammedan Pseudo-Messiah in Yemen is 


preach to them after the manner of the Persian Da'is the 
word of the Lord. He regarded himself, at least in the 
beginning, merely as a forerunner of the Messiah, but he 
thought none the less highly of the dignity of his station. 
"And he maintained that the Messiah is the most excellent 
of the children of Adam and that he is superior in station 
to all the prophets that have gone by, and that he (himself) 
as his messenger was also the most excellent of all. He 
demanded faith in the Messiah and he magnified the propa- 
ganda of the Dai, maintaining that the Da'l, too, is the 

In a similar manner Shahrastanf 06 relates of Yfidgan. 
who in all probability looked upon himself merely as the 
Da'l of Abu 'Isa, 3W in as much as the latter was believed 
to be alive, 308 and was expected to return as the Messiah, 
that "among the things which are reported of him was the 
fact that he magnified the office of the Da'l." 309 

Shahrastani's remarks are none too lucid and perhaps 
they ought not to be pressed too strongly. But if they are 

brought in connection with the Banu Musa, Ibn al-Athir, Chronicon, ed. 
Tornberg, VIII, 22. 

805 wa-sa'ama anna' d-d&'iya aidan huwa'l-masihu (Shahr., I, 168, 13 ff., 
comp. also line 10). MS. British Museum Add. 7250 puts more correctly 
aidan after wa-aa'ama, so that the meaning is: "he also maintained that the 
Da'l was the Messiah." 

306 1 68, ult. 

307 That he did not consider himself the Messiah is clear from Rirljisani's 
words (284, 13): "It is said ihat he (Yfldgan) was a disciple of Abu 'Isa 
Obadiah and also claimed prophecy. His pupils (variant: adherents), how- 
ever, niaintain that he was the Messiah." The same is repeated 312, 16. The 
contradictory statement (above, note 296) can scarcely be correct. 

308 Above, note 33. 

309 Shahr. wa-ftm& nukila 'anhu ta'stm amr ad-d&'i. Yttdgan is designated 
by Kirljisanl as DaT, above, note 296. This then need not be a misspelling for 
Ra'i, see later, p. 283. 


to convey any meaning, they can only be understood in the 
light of the Persian Shiitic propaganda. 

8. Succession 

In the course of the above expositions mention has 
already been made 310 of the contrast, based upon the con- 
ception of Raj 'a and Docetism, between the Wakifiyya and 
Kitti'iyya, a contrast which invariably reveals itself after 
the death of a Mahdi. Two examples will suffice to illus- 
trate the practical issue involved in this contrast. When 
Musa, the son of the sixth Shiitic Imam Ja'far as-Sadik, 
died (about 800), there were many who doubted or denied 
that he was dead and who expected his return as the 
Mahdi. They were called Wakifiyya "the doubtful ones." 
Others, however, termed Kitti'iyya "the assertive ones," 
among them some of his intimate associates, transferred the 
dignity of Imam and Mahdi to his son 'AH b. Musa. 3 " 
Again after the death of the eleventh Shiitic Imam al-Hasan 
al-'Askari (d. 873), there were people, termed Wakifiyya, 
who doubted or denied the reality of his death and awaited 
his return as the Expected Mahdi. 812 Others, however, styled 
Kitti'iyya, asserted that he was actually dead and accord- 
ingly transferred the Messianic claim to his baby son 
Mohammed b. al-Hasan, 3ia the twelfth and last Imam and 
the acknowledged Expected One of present day Shiites, who 
are for this reason, in addition to their appellations as 
Ithna' ashariyya (Twelvers) and Imamiyya, also designated 
as Kitti'iyya.* 1 ' 

310 Shiitic Elements, II, 485. 
»» Comp. Shiites, II, 51. 

312 lb., 52- 

313 Shiitic Elements, II, 49s f. 
3M Shiites, II, 52, 15 ff. 


An exact analogy to this theory and practice of Mes- 
sianic succession is afforded by the history of the Sab- 
bathian movement. When Sabbathai Zevi died, there were 
many Jewish Wakifiyya who doubted his death and, be- 
lieving him to be hidden, continued to regard him as the 
Messiah and to expect his return." 5 They were, and still 
are, called the Izmirlis, after Izmir (= Smyrna), the home- 
town of Sabbathai. 316 There were others, however, who, 
after the manner of the Kittl'iyya, asserted the reality of 
Sabbathai's death and accordingly transferred the Messianic 
dignity to Jacob, or Ya'kub, Querido. They were called 
the Yakublis. 31 ' This does not preclude that when Querido 
died they, in turn, like their Mohammedan counterparts, 
denied his death and believed him to be hidden. 318 

It is clear that the Wakifiyya, those who deny the 
Messiah's death and believe in his concealment and return, 
cannot consistently appoint a permanent successor to one 
who is but temporarily absent. They do however need and 
are consequently forced to appoint a temporary leader to 
take charge of the affairs of the faithful, pending the 
Messiah's appearance, in other words, a vice-gerent, a 
Khalifa"' Thus when the famous Messiah of the 
Keisaniyya sect Mohammed b. al-Hanafiyya disappeared, 
his political agent Mukhtar, whose insurrection shook the 

315 Above, note 53 and elsewhere. 

316 Shiitic Elements, II, 494. 

317 Ibidem. 

318 lb. 498. 

3W In a measure this idea is implied in the title Khalifa (Caliph), the 
vice-gerent of Mohammed, comp. Wellhausen, Das arabische Reich, 22 f. 


young Caliphate in its foundation, 320 proclaimed himself his 
Khalifa™ The notorious Shiitic sectarian Abu '1-Khattab 
denied the death of the Imam Ja'far as-Sadik and, pending 
his return, assumed the title and the functions of a 
Khalifa™ A somewhat similar example is afforded by the 
history of modern Babism. The Bab manifested himself in 
1844,™ but he insisted that his manifestation was not final 
and was to be followed by that of a Greater One, whose 
advent he indefatigably proclaimed. Before his death, he 
appointed Subh-i-Ezel as the Khalifa, the vice-gerent, of 
the new community, pending the appearance of the new 
manifestation. 824 In 1866 Baha'ullah, one of the disciples 
of the Bab and a half-brother of Subh-i-Ezel, revealed him- 
self as the "Greater One" predicted by his master. A split 
immediately followed. The Babis were divided into two 
camps: the Bahais who acknowledged Baha'ullah as the 
Mahdi, — they now form the bulk of the sect, — and the 
Ezelis who denied that the Mahdi had appeared and who 
therefore continued to look upon Subh-i-Ezel as the vice- 
gerent of the community. 825 The strife between the follow- 
ers of the two brothers became so intense that the Turkish 
Government was forced to separate them, the Ezelis being 

320 Shiitic Elements, II, 487. 

321 Abs., II, is. 

822 Ibidem. Similarly the Shiitic pseudo-prophet Abu Mansur (see note 
353) claimed to be the Khattfa of Mohammed al-Bayr, the father of Ja'far 
as-Sadik, Bagdadi, 234, 12. The successors of Fadl-allah al-IJurufi, who was 
believed to be hidden, are also designated as Khalifas, JRAS., 1907, 536, 540. 

823 Above, note 173. 

SM Browne in JRAS., XXI, 505, 513; Tarikh, XVIII; Andreas, Die Babis, 

325 In 1908 Subh-i-Ezel was still living in Famagusta on the island of 
Cyprus, with a few followers, Browne in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion 
and Ethics, II, 303a. 


removed to Cyprus and the Bahais to Acco, where their 
present head continued to reside till a short time ago. 826 

Such or similar speculations will probably have to be 
drawn upon to explain the succession of the Messianic claim 
from Abu 'Isa to Yudgan, although the paucity of our ma- 
terial can justify nothing beyond vague conjectures. Abu 
'Isa, in this the sources unanimously agree, considered him- 
self merely the precursor, or the Da'I, of the Messiah, which 
fact however did not prevent his followers from regarding 
him as the Messiah himself. When he died, a split was 
inevitable. There were those who, like the Wakifiyya, 
denied the reality of his death and, believing him to be 
hidden, expected his return. 827 They were called the 
'Isawiyya. 828 Among them was his disciple Yudgan who, 
assuming temporary charge over the faithful, declared to 
be his "prophet" or Khaltfa.™ There were others, however, 
who, like the Kittl'iyya, insisted that Abu 'Isa was dead. 
They therefore regarded Yudgan as the Messiah and, when 
he died, they expected his own return. They were called 
the Yudganiyya. 880 Curiously enough, as in the case of the 
Babis, though the analogy is of course a mere coincidence, 
a migration and a geographical separation appears to have 
taken place. For it seems that the 'Isawiyya, those who 
continued to expect Abu 'Isa's return, left Ispahan and 
migrated to Damascus, where IjCirkisani, two centuries later, 
still found remnants of them to the number of twenty or 

326 Browne, ibidem, and elsewhere. 

327 Above, note 33. 

328 Or Isfiniyya (Ibn Hazm and Kirfcisani), also Isfahaniyya, comp. 
Shiitic Elements, 203, n. 73. 

329 Comp. above, p. 261 and 264. 
— Sirfc., 312, 16. 


thirty souls, 881 while the Yudganiyya seem to have remained 
in their old home. 882 

The careful reader may have observed that the ex- 
amples derived from the history of Babism are not perfectly 
analogous to the other instances quoted, in as much as in 
Babism the belief in Docetism and in the concealment of the 
Mahdl seems to be entirely eliminated. The reason for this 
lies in the fact that the Raj 'a doctrine which regulates the 
succession in other Shiitic sects, though adopted and em- 
phatically preached by the Babis, is interpreted by them 
in a sense in which the original meaning is so thoroughly 
transformed that it closely approaches the doctrine of rein- 
carnation and transmigration which officially they violently 
oppose. 888 The comparatively recent change in the leader- 

381 sirfc., 284, 11: ri'JiD'ySso jibij?' na«ns» p njwoj p»Dnai 

"In Damascus there are a number of his (Abu 'Isa's) adherents, known as 
the 'Isflniyya (var.: 'Isawiyya)*'; 317, 5 'JKDBSkSk 'D'J? '3N 3SrttK KDN1 
NDB3 pB>J?3 n»a» BpB ptOTTlS nnaO 'p3 '¥«« JNB "As for the adherents 
of Abu 'Isa al-Isfahani, those who have remained in Damascus alone are 
about twenty souls"; MS. British Museum Or. 2524, fol. 340: pa' oh "fin 

snip jkpibsso nnjD brfn pewa kdbj j'ii»6n in jne^a n'atp nSn nnaa 

N3?'N N*1*D* "so that no one was left of them, except about twenty or 
thirty souls in Damascus. Perhaps a few of them can also be found in 
Ispahan." The latter statement in all probability refers to the Yudganiyya 
as a subdivision of the 'Isawiyya (see next note). It is natural to assume 
that, when Abu 'Isa had been defeated and killed, his adherents, at least 
some of them, fled to Syria. That there were relations between Syria and 
Persia is shown by such names of Persian-Jewish sectarians as Ba'lbekki and 

832 Sirk., 317, 6: JNflBxNS I'D' 1B3 DrUOB rrUNni'^N KDN1 "As for 
the Yudganiyya, a few persons of them are still to be found in Ispahan." This 
is probably the reason why the 'Isawiyya are not designated as Isfahaniyya by 
Kirkisanl. The 'Isawiyya evidently expected the manifestation of their 
prophet to take place in Damascus. 

833 Browne, Tarikh, 335 ff., 357, and elsewhere. See also the expositions 


ship of the sect affords a striking example of this trans- 

The Bab was unselfish enough to insist that he was to 
be followed by a Greater One to Come. Buha'ullah revealed 
himself, and was accepted as such, by the Babis. Before 
his death, Baha'ullah appointed his eldest son 'Abbas 
Effendi to be his successor. 334 'Abbas who, to judge by the 
utterances and actions reported of him, strikes one as a 
personality of acute intelligence and commanding power 
advances no other claim beyond that of carrying out the 
mission of his father whom he regards as a divine mani- 
festation and whom already in his life-time he used to 
address as Lord (= God). 385 He is content to style as well 
as to consider himself 'Abd al-Baha "the servant of Baha 
('ullah)." 386 This, however, does not prevent his followers 
from looking upon him in a less humble light. For there 
is no doubt that, in their eyes, he is gradually moving into 
the place, formerly occupied by his father, as an incarnation 
of Divinity. His sister, in relating his biography to an 
American lady is anxious to report of him the same mirac- 
ulous characteristics as of his father. 33 ' His daughters 
address him in the family circle sometimes as Father, some- 
times as Lord, for "they recognize in him the ideal blending 
of attributes human and divine," 338 and his adherents already 

of 'Abbas Effendi on the subject in Some Answered Questions, 318 ff. In 
the same way the Imamiyya accept the Raj'a doctrine but emphatically reject 
the transmigration of souls, Shiites, II, 26 f. Comp. above, note 220. 

334 Browne in Hastings' Encyclopedia, II, 3040. On the strife of 'Abbas 
Effendi with his brother, which even spread to America, see ibidem, 

333 Hammond, The Splendor of God, 41. On other Divine appelations 
of Baha'ullah see Browne in Hastings' Encyclopedia, II, 306a. 

330 Comp. Goldziher, Vorlesungen, 302, and others. 

337 See later, note 374. 

338 Hammond, /. c, 40. 


in his life-time raise him above the level of his father by- 
maintaining that he was appointed by the latter "to inaugu- 
rate another larger presentation of the principle of Universal 
Peace and of the Divine Unity which the Bab and 
Baha'ullah had preached and prayed for." 388 "He inspires 
them so completely with that immanence that they are im- 
pelled to imitate him in accepting the dictates of that divine 
being," 3 " and his American believers openly declare that he 
is a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. 341 

We have expatiated on all these facts, because once 
more they find an analogy in the history of Sabbathianism. 
After Sabbathai's death the Sabbathians transferred their 
allegiance to Jacob Querido whom they now regarded as the 
true redeemer and as the full incarnation of the soul of 
the Messiah, apparently implying thereby that Sabbathai 
had been but an incomplete and preliminary manifestation 
of it. 342 When Querido died, the leadership of the sect 
was transferred to his son Berechiah who was in turn re- 
garded as a divine incarnation and was worshiped in 
prayer by the Sabbathians. 343 

9. Anointment 

It would be a futile task to attempt to penetrate into 
the dark recesses of the pseudo-Messianic consciousness 
which rather belongs to the domain of psychology or 
pathology. On the whole it will be found that the Mes- 
sianic pretenders are more modest in their claim than their 
followers, and while the leader is satisfied to be the fore- 

339 Ibidem. 

340 L. c, 43- 

841 Browne, Persia, 311. Goldziher in Orientalische Religionen, 128. 

342 Gratz, X, 305; 459 »nnt» tVVQ Nli"ltS> U'DKiYI. 
348 L. c. t 306. See above, p. 252. 


runner of the Messiah, the believers insist that he is the 
Messiah himself. Often, indeed, the pretender himself is 
in doubt as to the exact nature of his claim, which will be 
found to increase with the increase of his influence. It will 
hardly be possible to throw light into this dark domain 
and I have touched on the subject merely to show that this 
uncertainty of Messianic pretensions has colored the reports 
about our much quoted sectarian Abu 'Isa. 

The few existing data clearly suggest that he claimed 
to be a precursor or a messenger of the Messiah. 84 * At the 
same time, as ShahrastanI 3 *' informs us, he maintained, or 
was said to maintain, that "God had spoken to him and had 
charged him to deliver the children of Israel from the 
ungodly nations and wicked rulers," and, as a result of this 
charge, he headed an armed uprising, a fact which is at- 
tested both by KJrkisani and Shahrastani. 846 It is not far- 
fetched to assume with Graetz 34 ' that, not being of Davidic 
stock,— a condition indispensable for a Messianic candidacy, 
— he contented himself with the role of the Ephraimitic 
Messiah, 348 while his Jewish opponents, if we are to trust 
MakrizI, 349 looked upon him after his defeat as the Anti- 

344 Above, p. 268. 

345 I, 168, 12. 

m To these Maimonides might be added, Shiitic elements, I, 206, n. 88. 
See, however, note 348. 

347 V, 462. 

348 Speaking of the Pseudo-Messiah of Ispahan, Maimonides maintains 
that he considered himself the Messiah (Iggeret Teman, in Kobez, II, 70, 
second column, !. 1, r,'VB KVW 1»«1). In the Arabic original Maimonides 
still more clearly emphasizes the fact that he was of Davidic origin. It 
can, however, be shown that Maimonides in this part of his account confused 
Abu 'Isa with David Alroy, a confusion which has been taken over from 
Maimonides by Gratz. 

349 See note 351. 


christ, whose manifestation would take place in Ispahan. 35 * 
Be this as it may, the following notice preserved by 
Makrizi seems to point to some such Messianic conception. 
"The Isbahaniyya," says Makrizi 3 " 1 "are the adherents of 
Abu 'Isa al-Isbahani. He laid claim to prophecy and (he 
maintained) that he was lifted up to heaven, fa-masaha ar- 
rabb 'ala ra'sihi and that the Lord patted him on his head, 
also that he beheld Muhammed and believed in him. The 
Jews of Ispahan maintain that he is the Dajja.1 (the Anti- 
christ) and that he will come forth from their region." 

Curiously enough the identical story of a heavenly visit 
is reported of the Pseudo-Messiah Abu Mansur of Kufa, 
a younger contemporary of Abu 'Isa. 382 Abu Mansur, who 
originally considered himself the "prophet" of the fifth 
Shiiric Imam Mohammed al-Bakir (d. 735), but after his 
death advanced his own candidacy as the Mahdl, 353 main- 
tained that "he was lifted up to heaven and beheld the 
object of his worship (i. e. God) who patted his head with 
his hand 354 and said to him ; 'My child, descend and bring a 
message from Me.'" 355 

350 That the Dajjal (Antichrist) would proceed from Ispahan was also 
believed by Mohammedans, Birunl, 211, Ibn Falfih, ed. de Goeje, 299, 
Mulfaddasi, 399. Schreiner (ZDMG., XLH, 596) suggests that this belief 
arose from the fact that Ispahan was supposed to have been founded by 
Jews. From MufcaddasT, /. c, it would seem, however, that Ispahan was 
connected with the Antichrist because of its violent opposition to 'All. Another 
widespread conception locates the Antichrist at Eydda, Biruni, ibidem, and 
many others. 

3,1 ffitaf, ed. Cairo, IV, 372. 

382 See Shiites, I, 62 and the sources quoted ib., II, 89, 14 f. 

353 lb., II, 95, 32. Comp. above, note 322. 

354 Ibn Hazm, Milal, IV, 185 (= Shiites, I, 62, 7) masaha ra'sahu 
biyadihi, Shahr. 136 fa-masaha bi-yadihi ra'sahu, Bagdad! 215, 1 and 234, 13 
masaha yadahu (or bi-yadihi) 'ala ra'sihi. 

355 Alluding to Koran 5, 71. 


Of course, both in the case of Abu 'Isa and Abu 
Mansur the story was suggested by the mi'raj, the "heavenly 
journey" of Mohammed, alluded to in the Koran. 356 But 
apart from the desire of using Mohammed as a pattern, 
another tendency was undoubtedly in operation. In the 
case of Abu Mansur the motive seems clear: the story is 
to convey Abu Mansur's familiarity with the Almighty who, 
according to one source, even condescended to address our 
heresiarch in Persian, his native idiom. 35 ' I have, however, 
the feeling that in the case of Abu 'Isa some more solid 
claim is involved. Masaha in Arabic means generally "to 
touch, to rub, to pat," 858 but it also signifies "to anoint" and 
the national lexicographers explain properly the term 
al-masih "Messiah" as mamsuh bi'd-duhn "anointed with 
oil." 859 In the history of the Jewish Pseudo-Messiahs we 
often find that they insist on having been miraculously 
anointed and in this way fitted for their Messianic task. 360 

356 Sura 17, 1. According to Blochet in Revue de I'histoire des religions, 
XL (1899), p. 19 ff., the legend is of Persian origin. Manl as well as 
Bihafarid claimed to have similarly ascended to heaven, Blruni, 209 and 211. 

35T Shiites, II, 90, 22. 

358 In the sense "to touch" the Hebrew ntPli is used by Hisdai Crescas 
in his Or Adonai (ed. Vienna), p. 486, Dlp02 JPB"1 mtfOl vh» 2"lp<tM 
tfltfDfl. It is undoubtedly an Arabism. 

359 Lisan al-'arab. s, v. 

300 Already Justin Martyr (second century) in his Dialogus cum Tryphone 
(ch. vm ) reports it as generally accepted that "Christ... has no power, until 
EHas come to anoint him," comp. Klausner, Die messianiscken Vorstellungen, 
62, n. 2. From the later history of Jewish Messianism the following examples, 
which no doubt can be considerably multiplied, present themselves. The 
Messianic enthusiast Abraham Abulafia (d. ca. 1291) pretended that, when 
in ecstasy, "he felt as if his whole body from head to foot had been anointed 
with anointing oil" (Bernfeld, 0'ilSn TtjTl, p. 381). The Pseudo-Messiah Moses 
Botarel (about 1409) claimed that the prophet Elijah anointed him with holy 
oil, Gratz, VIII, 98, and M.GWJ., 1879, p. 80. Joseph Caro claims of Solomon 
Molcho n*6j? niai ntfDO nB>Dn>n (Gratz, IX, 543). See also the curious 
picture representing the anointment of Sabbathai Zevi, Jew. Hnc, XI, 222. 


It is therefore to be assumed that the words fa-masaha 'aid 
ra'sihi originally 361 meant to convey that God had poured 
holy oil on his head and by consecrating him as the Mashl a h, 
"the Anointed one," empowered him to become the redeem- 
er of Israel." 

10. Inspiration 

Prophecy, in accordance with the Gnostic theory, is the 
incarnation of the Divine essence in man. Hence the 
knowledge possessed by the prophet must be supernatural 
and free from human admixture. The Shiites have drawn 
the full consequences of this conception. The Imams, as 
the incarnation of Divinity, are credited with the knowledge 
of "what is within the borders of the seven earths below 
and what is in the seven heavens above and what is on 
land and on sea," 363 and this knowledge is immediately de- 
rived from a Divine source, not conveyed by any human 
means of information or instruction. A Shiitic theologian 
gives the following explanation of the omniscience of the 
Imams : "Their source is either a tradition which every one 
of them has received from his father, the latter from his 
own father and so on up to the Prophet, or it is Revelation 
and Inspiration. For this reason it has never been recorded 
of any of them that he has ever gone to a teacher, or studied 
under a master, or asked any questions." 364 

SG1 Although subsequently masafra may have been taken by the Arabic 
authors, who reproduce Abu 'Isa's story, in its ordinary meaning "to touch" 
or "to pat." This meets the objection of Baron Rosen, IjCirkisani (ed. 
Harkavy), Introduction, p. 265, n. 3. 

sea Already suggested by Harkavy, ibidem, and ^N"ltS"2 fllflSH ni"11p7, 
p. 10. 

m Shiites, II, 105. 
364 L. c, 55- 


It is in consequence of this conception which regards 
inspiration as the only true source of knowledge and is 
therefore bound to mistrust all knowledge transmitted 
through a human medium that Mohammed proudly desig- 
nates himself as nabi umml "an illiterate prophet" 368 and 
otherwise boasts of his ignorance. Whether Mohammed 
was able to read and write is a mooted point often discussed 
by scholars, 366 though it is a well-established dogma of Islam. 
But that he was sorely ignorant is admitted by all and this 
ignorance, instead of proving a drawback, was of effective 
assistance in establishing his claim as a prophet. 

In modern Babism the same claim of ignorance is re- 
peated with almost nauseating persistence. The mission- 
aries and theologians of Babism are indefatigable in pointing 
out that the Bab was umml "illiterate," 36 ' that he was "an 
unlettered youth, 368 "not trained in the learning of the 
schools," 360 "untaught in the learning of men," 3 ™ "that he 
had never studied in any school and had not acquired 
knowledge from any teacher." 3 ' 1 The same claim is urged 
by 'Abbas Effendi in favor of his father Baha'ullah, the 
successor of the Bab. "It is also evident that he has never 
studied or acquired this learning." 3 ' 2 "Baha'ullah had never 
studied Arabic; he had not had a tutor or teacher nor had 
he entered a school." 3 ™ From the same motive the admirers 

365 Koran 7, 156; comp. also 29, 47. UmmX (from umma "nation") shows 
exactly the same development in meaning as '13. 

aw g ee the material collected by Pautz in his Muhammed's Lehre von 
der Offenbarung, Leipzig 1898, p. 257 f. 

361 Browne, Tarikh, 341. 

838 Idem in IRAS., XXI 903. 

869 Ibidem, p. 884. 

»• Tarikh, 31. 

3,1 Some Answered Questions, 30. 

3,8 L. ft, 34. 

3,3 L. ft, 41. 


of 'Abbas Effendi, the present head of the Bahais, make 
much of the fact that he had never applied himself to study 
and that "he had never been a day in a school.""* 

Of course, all this parading of the ignorance of the 
prophets is nothing but a foil for the glory and the truth 
of the writings revealed through them. Mohammed's claim 
of illiteracy has no other purpose than that of enhancing 
the uniqueness of his literary achievement. The Koran is 
the only miracle of which Mohammed professes to be cap- 
able. Every Koran verse is an aya, a sign or a miracle, and 
the inimitability of the Koran, not only as regards its con- 
tents but also as regards its Arabic diction, is constantly 
appealed to by Mohammed, and so it is by the Mohamme- 
dans down to the present day, as the principal argument 
for its divine origin. 3 ' 5 

In heterodox Islam which rejects the finality of Mo- 
hammed's message the inimitable character of the Koran is, 
in consequence, repudiated. But the production of new 
revealed writings, which, in turn, pretend to be inimitable 
and which, in accordance with the anti-Arabic tendency of 
heterodox Islam, are not confined to the Arabic language, 
has remained the principal proof which the prophetic pre- 
tenders employ to substantiate their claim.. 

Thus Salih, the prophet of the Berber tribe Baragwata 
in the extreme North-West of Africa, composed in the 
eighth century, in furtherance of his prophetic pretensions, 
a new Koran consisting of eighty suras in the Berber Ian- 

874 Phelps, Ivife and Teachings of 'Abbas iSffendi, p. 25 (in the name of 

'Abbas' sister). 

315 Conip. Schreiner in ZDMG., XUI, 663 ff. 
376 Shiites, II, 49- 


Fadl-ullah, the founder of the Hurufi sect, (d. 
1393),"' composed the Jaufldan, a new Persian Koran, in 
which, as the Huruf Is believe, the Koran as well as the pre- 
vious revelations find their explanation and fulfilment. 3 " 1 

The greatest possible emphasis is laid on this fact in 
Babism. The principal argument which the Babis advance 
to prove the inspired character of Bab's message is the 
sacred BaySn revealed through him. 3 " They triumphantly 
point to the fact that while, during the 1260 years which 
had elapsed since the revelation of the Koran, "none, how- 
ever skilled in rhetoric and eloquence, had presumed even 
to make this attempt," an unlettered youth should suddenly 
have revealed these verses which were "incomparably 
superior to the Koran in point of eloquence and beauty so 
that it was impossible to take exception to them or deny 
them." 380 When after the manifestation of Baha'ullah in 
1866 the Babis split into two sections, both by the Bahais 
who acknowledged his claim and the Ezelis who rejected it 
"utmost stress was laid upon the verses (ayat) being the 
essential sign and proof of a prophet and that the Lawh-i- 
Naslr in which Beha announced his prophetic mission, and 
other writings of his, fulfilled the conditions which consti- 
tuted 'verses,' among them 'knowledge unacquired by 
study.' " m 

We are now sufficiently prepared to comprehend the 
full significance of the statement of regarding 
Abu 'Isa: "His miracle of legitimation in the eyes of his 

3 ™ Above, p. 249 f. 

3.8 Textes persans relatifs A la secte des IJouroufis, xvn. 

3.9 The Bayan exists in three recensions, two in Arabic and one in 
Persian, Andreas, Die Babis, 40. 

"* Tarikh, 41. Comp. also JRAS., XXI, 917 and 925; Some Answered 
Questions, p. 27. 

381 Browne, A Year amongst the Persians, 515. 


adherents consisted in the fact that, although, as they assert, 
he was by profession a tailor and, according to their asser- 
tion, zvas ummi, illiterate, and not able to write or to read, 
he brought forth books and writings, without anyone having 
instructed him." m The same statement KirkisanI repeats 
in a later passage: 383 "We have already related in what 
has preceded that Abu 'Isa claimed prophecy and that his 
miracle of legitimation in the eyes of his adherents consisted 
in the fact that he was umml, illiterate, without being able 
to write or to read and then brought forth books and writ- 
ings and that this was only possible by means of prophecy." 
In the special chapter which the same author 384 devotes to 
the refutation of Abu 'Isa's doctrine he reverts to the same 
claim which he cleverly endeavors to invalidate. "As to 
the miracle which they claim in that he had been ummi, 
illiterate, and then brought forth books and writings, — even 
if the matter had been as they mention, even then it might 
be possible that he (Abu 'Isa) had applied himself to it 
from the beginning of his cause and its very start and that 
he had (merely) simulated ignorance and illiteracy, in order 
to facilitate what he had in his mind." 

The same claim of ignorance meets us in later times 
in heterodox Jewish circles. 

382 sirk., 284, 9: vh sons iujn» md'd tsai «o«>3 vbin ]»s nax 
ins nefap is lu \a («v) senssoi nana intase «ip> sVi ana' . This was 

misunderstood by Gratz, V, 173 f., who represents Abu 'Isa as being well- 
versed in Bible and Talmud and gifted with literary ability. Nor has Eppen- 
stein, ibidem, 173, n. 3, who points out Gratz's mistake, grasped the underlying 
conception of Kirkisani's notice. 

883 lb., 311, 20 ft. 

384 MS. British Museum Or. 2524, fol. 340. 


The pseudo-prophet who appeared in the thirteenth 
century in the large community of Avila in Old Castille 385 
was credited with the same transformation. His admirers 
piously related "that he was ignorant from his childhood 
and was neither able to read or to write. An angel who 
used to appear to him in sleep, sometimes also in waking, 
endowed him with the faculty of composing a voluminous 
work, full of mystical content, under the title "Wonders 
of Wisdom" and a bulky commentary in addition to it." 386 
This fact created a tremendous sensation among his con- 
temporaries. 38 ' 

The pseudo-Messiah Moses Botarel, who appeared in 
Spain in the beginning of the fifteenth century, similarly 
laid claim to ignorance. 388 

It is probably from the same motive that Jacob Frank 
constantly harps on the fact that he is an ignoramus. 889 

The Messiah who appeared in Yemen in 1868 was, 
like his predecessor at the time of Maimonides, an ignorant 
fellow. But it is characteristic of the influence of the en- 
vironment that he nevertheless considered it his duty to 
compose "verses" which strongly remind one of the old 
Arabic semi-prophetic rhyme-prose (the so-called saj') and 
which his opponent the traveler Jacob Saphir very cleverly 
ridicules. 380 

385 Gratz, VII, 196 f. 
388 Ibidem. 

387 Ibidem, 197. 

388 Gratz in MGWI., 1879, p. 80: At the age of twenty-five he did not 
know Hebrew, till Elijah suddenly illumined him. 

389 irnjn pjjno, 33, 179, 232. 

"° nwn p'n mm, p. 34; 56: vfn nn »h ntn ansan nan bs nroasi 
.ojni pra .djjb lAinai .ojns tfo »bi» tfn .oyo. 

jewish-arabic studies — friedi.aender 28l 

11. Social Position 

As in all revolutionary upheavals, so in sectarian move- 
ments the first to respond are usually the lower classes, 
those that have nothing to lose and much to gain from the 
overthrow of the existing order of things. Shiism, being 
Messianic, was revolutionary in character. When transfer- 
red to Persia, it became the organized protest of the Persian 
nation not only against the political dominion of the Arabic 
conquerors but also against the religion represented by 
them. 381 While, however, the higher Persian classes, in the 
expectation of political and financial benefits, hastened to 
make their peace with the new masters, 892 the adherents of 
Shiism mainly recruited themselves from the lower classes 
which expected their salvation from the political and social 
revolution preached and prepared by Shiism. 

This social contrast manifested itself very early in the 
great Shiitic uprising of Mukhtar who pretended to act on 
behalf of the expected Mahdl Ibn al-Hanafiyya. 393 
Mukhtar's main support came from the Mawali, the eman- 
cipated slaves of Persian origin in Kufa. Their social 
position may be gauged from the fact that, not being able 
to afford regular arms, they had to content themselves with 
clubs and were for this reason nicknamed Khashabiyya 
"men of wood." 894 

This condition becomes even more evident when we 
call to our mind the professions of some of the Shiitic sec- 
tarians which, in accordance with oriental usage, are often 
indicated in their names. Thus we find among the Shiitic 

391 Comp. Shiites, Introduction, I, 2. 

392 Comp. van Vloten, 20. 
893 Shiitic Elements, II, 487. 

394 Shiites, II, 93 ff., particularly 94, 15 ff. 


Pseudo-Messiahs Bazig the weaver, 3 * the most despised pro- 
fession in the East, 896 and it is worthy of mention that one 
of the authors who record the existence of this sectarian 3 " 
sneeringly implies that the recognition of prophets of such 
low social standing is typical of Shiism. 338 The 'Abbasid 
Da'l and "prophet" Khidash who was executed by 
the Omayyads in 736, 339 was a potter. 400 The famous general 
and sectarian Abu Muslim was a saddler. 401 The celebrated 
Pseudo-Messiah Mukanna' was a fuller. 402 The great rebel 
and beresiarch Babak was a shepherd. 408 The famous Shiitic 
mystic Hallaj was, as his name indicates, a wool-carder. 404 
The Keisanitic champion and poet as-Sayyid al-Himyarl 
was the object of ridicule, because his associate in doctrine 
was a cobbler. 406 

895 lb., I, 64, 6; II, 96, 9 ff. 

890 lb., II, 96, 15 ff. On the odium attaching to the weaver trade see, in 
addition to the references given (. c, Wellhausen, Das arabische Reich, 146, 
n. 1, Barhebraeus, Laughable Stories, ed. Budge, No. 470 ff. and already 
Josephus, Ant., XVIII, 9, 1 (the last two references were indicated to me 
by Professor Joseph Horovitz and Professor Louis Ginzberg). 

897 Ibn Uazm (d. 1064), Shiites, I, 64, 7-8. 

898 Very characteristic is the story told by Barhebraeus (/. c, No. 471) 
of a weaver who wanted to become a prophet. "The people told him: 'Never 
has there been seen a prophet who was a weaver.' He, however, replied to 
them: 'Shepherds with all their simplicity have been employed as prophets, 
why should not weavers be fit for it?' " (Budge's translation misses the 

899 Shiites, I, 64; II, 98. 
409 van Vloten, 49. 

4<a He was called Abu Muslim as-Sarraj. The latter is correctly explained 
by Darmsteter, 40, and Browne, Persia, 236, as saddler. This is to be added 
to Shiites, II, 118, 9. 

408 Shiites, II, 120, 9. 

408 Browne, Persia, 325. 

404 See presently. 

405 Shiites, I, 78, 2; II, 134, 31. As further examples may be quoted the 
ultra-Shiitic propagandists Abu Zakariyya nl-Khayy&t (the tailor) and 'All 
an-Najjar (the carpenter), Shiites, II, 17, 9. From Shahr., 187, 12, it would 
seem that the famous heresiarch Bihafarid was a khawwaf (shoemaker). But 


It can be easily imagined that the low occupation of the 
sectarian leader or pseudo-prophet may frequently have 
proved inconvenient to his followers, the more so, since, 
in accordance with the oriental custom, the profession often 
forms part of the name. It is therefore not surprising that 
the attempt should have been made to put a more favorable 
construction on such uncomplimentary designations. We 
have a curious instance of this tendency in the case of 
Hallaj. It was apparently mortifying to the admirers of 
this famous mystic who was believed to be a divine incarna- 
tion and a revealer of sublime truths to have their great 
patron styled a hallaj, a wool-carder. Hence it was main- 
tained "that the name al-Hallaj was metaphorical, and was 
given to him because he could read man's most secret 
thoughts, and extract from their hearts the kernel of their 
imaginings as the wool-carder separates the cotton-grains 
from the cotton." 40 ' An interesting analogy is found in the 
case of the famous Mu'tazilite philosopher an-Nazzam, who 
was called by this name because he used to string pearls in 
the market of Basra (from nazama "to string pearls"), 
whose name, however, was interpreted by his admirers to 
convey that he was able to string together prose and 

When we turn to Jewish sectarianism, we find sub- 
stantially the same state of affairs. From the account of 
Kirkisanl we gain distinctly the impression, and occasionally 

the correct reading is Khawaf, the name of a district in Nisabflr (comp. 
Houtsma, WZKM., 1889, p. 30). Cureton's edition and Haarbrucker's trans- 
lation, I, 283, penult, are to be corrected accordingly. 

406 Browne, Persia, 433. 

«* Shiites, II, 58, 12. 


we are expressly informed, 408 that the Jewish sectarians 
were people of low standing both, socially and intellectually. 
We are, in consequence, not surprised to hear that the most 
important Jewish heresiarch of that perriod, Abu 'Isa 
al-Isfahani, was not only illiterate but by profession a 
tailor.** On the same ground we are justified in assuming 
that, if his disciple and successor is designated as ar-Ra'T, 41 " 
he was purely and simply a shepherd. His designation by 
Hadassi, 4 * 1 in the clumsy manner characteristic of that 
author, as T?li3 nj?n, which was unjustifiably taken to be 
sarcastic, 412 would characterize him more exactly, if it be 
not a mere paraphrase of the Arabic word, as a camel-herd. 
The name Ra'yaniyya which is found in connection with 

408 Comp. Shiitic Elements, I, 208. Of the followers of the sectarian 
Meswi (or Meshuye) of 'Okbara (near Bagdad) Ijyirkisani makes the rather 
uncomplimentary remark that "there has never been seen among them a 
scholar or a thinker" (Kirk., 285, 18). 

409 Above, note 372. — The modern Pseudo-Messiah in Yemen was very 
poor and engaged in a low profession. According to some (n'JBTI JI3T1 n"UK, 
p. 51), he was a tailor in skins (fllllj? 1BW, "furrier?"). Others report 
that he was a potter (TDD ]3», II, 149), or a cobbler (naWniyDD, 13). Of 
course, this low social position is characteristic of the Yemenite Jews in 
general. — Mordecai of Eistenstadt (about 1679) who had come in contact 
with the Sabbathians in the Orient set himself up as the Messiah, maintaining 
that Sabbathai Zevi had been his forerunner. Sabbathai could not bring about 
the redemption because he was rich, while the Messiah must needs be poor, 
Griitz, X, 303 f. 

410 Birunl, 15, n, comp. above, p. 261. A Pseudo-Messiah by the name 
ar-Ra'i who in all likelihood was a Jew is mentioned by a Mohammedan 
author (ZDMC, XX. 490) as having appeared in Tiberias. He is certainly 
not identical with ar-Ra'i mentioned by Birflni (as suggested by Sachau in 
his translation, p. 373), but he affords a good example of another shepherd 
who laid claim to prophecy. 

411 1B3n bzm, alphabet T2 : nyi"IH Kin (read IKni') |KJ"1V m DIM 

t"?oj nyn. 

412 Harkavy in Gratz, V, 483; b»1Vi ninsrt nilipS, p. 19- 


this sect" 3 would lead us to assume that Yudgan's by-name 
ar-Ra'i was also pronounced Ra'ya or Ra'yan. 414 Perhaps 
the further conjecture may be ventured that this designation, 
pointing to a low social occupation, was annoying to his 
adherents and was therefore interpreted by them, in ac- 
cordance with the biblical usage, which is occasionally found 
in Arabic, 416 in a metaphorical meaning as "the shepherd of 
the nation." 4 " 

The above derivation of the name of Yudgan does not 
in any way militate against the assumption that he was at 
the same time a Da'i of Abu 'Isa and, like his master, held 
that office in high esteem.' 1 " The attempt to explain Da'i 
as a scribal error for Ra'i 418 is not convincing, for the im- 
portance accorded to the Da'I both by Abu 'Isa and Yudgan 
is in perfect agreement with the conceptions of their age 
and environment. 

4,3 Bagdad! "al-'Isawiyya wa'r-Ra'yaniyya" (above, note 192). Goldziher's 
objections to this reading (ZDMG., LXV, 361) which he regards as an error 
for "Yudganiyya" are not justified. Comp. also next note. 

414 Just as we find Mashka and Miishka'iyya, alongside of Mushkin and 
MUshkaniyya, Shiitic Elements, I, 297, n. 93. Ra'yan looks like a Persian 
adaptation of Ra'i, while Ra'ya looks Aramaic. Perhaps the reading iOyi 
(instead of K'yNT, note 416) reflects the fame form of the name. 

415 Thus the Caliph Yazid, son of Mu'awiya, is designated as "the ra'i 
(shepherd) of all religious people," van VIoten, 36. 

416 Kirk., 284, 12: «'j?«i nsxrem moo' 'V»t mi junv «d»j> 'ssnys \#3\ 

nOH^H 'J?X1 na» 'K (var. »>jn) "After Abu 'Isa came Yudgan, the same 
who is called by his adherents Ra'i (shepherd, var. Ra'ya? see note 414), i. e. 
the Shepherd of the Nation." 

417 Above, p. 264. 

418 Harkavy is his introduction to KirkisanI, p. 206, n. 1, in Gratz, V, 477, 

ninan niiipS , 19. 

286 the; jewish quarterly review 

12. Jihad 

Jihad or the fight against unbelievers is one of the 
fundamental precepts of Islam. But apart from the duty 
of fighting unbelief outside the Mohammedan community, 
the faithful Muslim, in obedience to the Koran which fre- 
quently emphasizes "the command to do right and the pro- 
hibition to do wrong," 41 ' is called upon to fight wrong and 
injustice wherever they meet him. As to the mode in which 
this fight ought to be carried on, the view shared by a 
variety of sections within orthodox Islam or bordering on 
it is that it is not sufficient to fight with the heart and the 
tongue (i. e. by conviction and persuasion), "but that appeal 
must be made to arms." 4 ' The Shiites, however, are of the 
opinion that the use of arms is prohibited. "All the 
Rawafid. 421 so the dogmatist Ibn Hazm 422 informs us, hold 
to it, though they be killed. . . But they believe in it (in 
the prohibition of arms) only so long as the speaking Imam 
( = the Mahdi) does not come forth. When he does come 
forth, then the drawing of swords becomes obligatory." 
Peculiarly enough this view is quoted in an old source 423 as 
one of the analogies between Shiism and Judaism. "The 
Jews say, There shall be no fighting for the sake of God, 
until the Messiah, the Expected One, goes forth 424 and a 
herald from heaven proclaims (his arrival). The 

419 al-amru bi'l-ma'riif wa'n-nahyu 'ani'l-munkar, Koran 3, 100, 106, no, 
et passim. 

420 Shiites, II, 93, 15. 

421 Nickname for Shiites. 

422 Shiites, II, 92, 33 ff, 

428 In the anthology of the Spaniard Ibn 'Abdi Rabbihi (d. 940), comp. 
Shiites, II, 95, and Shiitic Elements, II, 497, note 78. 

424 This is probably a reference to the wars with Gog and Magog and 
the Antichrist which play so prominent a part in the later Messianic specu- 
lations of Judaism. 


Rafida 425 say, There is no fighting for the sake of Allah 
until the Mahdi goes forth and a herald 426 descends from 

This theory which restricts all fighting to Mahdistic 
movements places every Mahdistic candidate in the neces- 
sity to rise in arms against the powers that be, without any 
regard to possible consequences, for his neglect to fight 
would immediately disqualify him as a Messianic candidate. 
From this logical but extremely dangerous conclusion the 
Shiites were saved by the adoption of the principle of 
takiyya "fear, precaution." 427 This principle which acknowl- 
edges the claim of practical expediency became of utmost 
importance to Shiism which has always been in opposition 
to the existing order of things and has constantly knocked 
up against reality. 428 It also offered a convenient solution 
to the perplexing question which must trouble the con- 
science of every faithful Shiite why the Mahdi who must 

425 i. e., the Shiites, comp. note 421. 

426 sabab, comp. Shiites, II, 95, n. r. 

427 Corresponding in substance to the Talmudic D31K. Compare on 
takiyya Goldziher, "Das Prinzip der takiyya im Islam," in ZDMG., LX, 213 
ff., particularly p. 217 ff., idem, Vorlesungen, 215, and on the application 
of the takiyya among modern Babis, ib., 303. 

423 One is vividly reminded of this Shiitic principle when one reads how 
some of the Sabbathians justified the apostasy of their Pseudo-Messiah (comp. 
above, note 207). "Moses, too, who lived at first with Pharaoh, used to 
change (i. e. to simulate) his action (l'E>J?a ilStra), so also did Sabbathai 
change his actions" (Gratz, X, 457). When Abraham Abulafia (comp. above, 
note 360), in order to escape death, renounced his beliefs in the presence 
of the Pope, he claimed that God had endowed him with a "double mouth" 
(ibidem, VII, 195. Compare especially the Shiitic examples quoted by 
Goldziher, ZDMG., EX, 224). A clear reflection of the takiyya principle is 
the 1 6th rule of the modern Sabbathians (the so-called Donmeh) in Salonika 
which enjoins upon them "to observe carefully the customs of the Turks, 
whose eyes would be blinded in this way" and particularly to practice "every- 
thing which is visible to the eye" (Danon, in nsttTl "1BD, I, 169). 


be cognizant of all the wrong and injustice rampant in this 
world yet remains hidden and does not come forth to fill 
the earth with justice. 42 ' 1 

While the saner elements within the Shi'a thus made 
peace with reality, there were radical sections which repu- 
diated this pact with convenience and considered it their 
duty to fight, without any regard to their strength or their 
fate. Fiat mstitia, pereat mundus became their watch- 
word. This view is in all likelihood the source of the 
terroristic Shiitic movements which played a considerable 
part in the eighth century in 'Irak. 430 One of these terrorists 
was Mugira b. Sa'Id of Kufa. 431 He regarded Ja'far as- 
Sadik, the sixth 'Alidic Imam, as the MahdI. 432 When the 
decisive moment arrived, he rose in arms, accompanied by 
a small band of mazvalis (emancipated slaves), against the 
governor of Kufa. They were, as was to be expected, 
exterminated (in 737). Mugira's "army" consisted alto- 
gether of twenty men. 433 According to Tabari, 434 they were 
no more than seven men. 

Perhaps some such notions may have prevailed among 
the Jewish sectarians who arose about the same time and 
in similar surroundings. Abu 'Isa considered it his duty 
to fight the Mohammedan power and met his fate. His 
successor Yiidgan who otherwise upheld his views thought 
it wiser to keep his peace. One of the followers of Yiidgan 

429 Goldziher, Vorlesungen, 218 f. 

430 Shiites, I, 35, 12; 62 f. ; II, 92 f. (= Jabiz, Kitab al-fyayawan, ed. 
Cairo, II, 97), 153. 

431 Shiites, II, 79, 22 ff. 

432 lb., II, 107. lb., I, 60, 10 probably not Mugira himself, but his suc- 
cessors are meant, comp. II, 87, 12 ff. 

433 lb., II, 79, 36. 

434 lb., line 37. 


was a certain Mushka or Mushkan. 436 He adhered, as 
Shahrastani 486 informs us, "to the doctrine of Yudgan, with 
the exception that he considered it obligatory to rise against 
his adversaries and to wage war against them. He rose, 
accompanied by nineteen men, and was killed in the neigh- 
borhood of Kumm." 

Whether the reference to the number 19 which is the 
all important sacred number of the Babis 437 and already 
figures as such in the ancient Persian religion, 488 is a matter 
of intention or coincidence, is scarcely possible to 
determine. 4 " 

13. Tabdie 
It is well known that one of the principal arguments 
cited in support of Mohammed's claim to prophecy are the 
references to him in the older sacred writings, notably in 
the Bible and the Gospels. To meet the obvious objection 
that such references are missing, the theory of tabdil ("alter- 
ation") is advanced which proclaims that the Bible and 
the Gospels had been wilfully altered and the passages 
predicting the advent of Mohammed maliciously done away 
with. Withal the Mohammedan theologians continue to 
point to a number of biblical passages which even in their 

486 See on the variations of the name Shiitic Elements, I, 207, n. 93. 

486 I, 169, 3 ff. 

487 Browne, A Year amongst the Persians, 320; JRAS., XXI, 499: 
Tarikh, 136; Hastings' Encyclopedia, II, 3066, and others. 

488 Browne, Persia, 98. In Islam it is signalized already by Ibn 'Arabi 
(d. 1240), Browne, Tarikh, xm. 

489 It may be mentioned in this connection that the rebel and pseudo- 
prophet Mukhtar (.Shiitic Elements, II, 487), after having been besieged in 
Kufa for four months, finally made a sally with nineteen men and was killed 
in 687, Wellhausen, Religios-politische Oppositionsparteien, 86. 


present form contain, in their opinion, an unmistakable 
allusion to Mohammed's mission and name. 440 

This slander against the pre-Mohammedan writings 
was soon enough visited upon orthodox Islam, against 
which the identical accusation was brought forward by 
Shiism. The Shiites are firmly convinced that the Koran 
originally contained an express reference to 'AH as the 
appointed successor of Mohammed and they staunchly 
maintain that the divine book had been altered and inter- 
polated by the companions of the Prophet who were hostile 
to 'All and that, in consequence, it cannot be relied upon 
in its present shape. 441 This view gained wide currency 
among the Shiitic sects and gave rise to extensive polemics 
between them and the orthodox. 

Just as Mohammed claimed that he was foretold in the 
Bible and Gospels, so did the Shiitic pseudo-prophets en- 
deavor to make themselves and their followers believe that 
their name and advent had been predicted in the Koran. 
Thus the Shiitic sectarian Abu Mansur (early eighth cen- 
tury), nicknamed al-Kisf (the "Fragment"), maintained 
that he was alluded to in the verse: "If they should see a 
fragment (kisf) of the sky falling down" (Koran 52, 
44). 4B His contemporary and fellow-Shiite Bayan b. Sam'an 
pointed to the verse: "This is an illustration (bayan) for 
mankind" (Koran 3, 132) as containing a reference to 
him. 44 * Similarly Ahmad b. Yanus, a Mu'tazilite heretic, 

440 See on this question which figures so prominently in polemical liter- 
ature Steinschneider, Polemische und apologetische Literature, 320 ft., Gold- 
ziher, ZDMG., XXXII, 344 ff., and Schreiner, ibidem, XI.II, 595; 599 «■ 

441 Compare Shiites, II, 61 f. 
441 Compare Shiites, II, 61 £. 
443 Shiites, I, 62. 

448 lb., I, 61. 


pretended to be a prophet, 444 maintaining that he was alluded 
to in the verse: "Announcing an apostle who will come 
after me, whose name will be Ahmad" (Koran 61, 6). 445 

As a reflection of the Mohammedan tabdil theory we 
may perhaps regard the doctrine of the Jewish sectarian 
Isma'il al-'Okbari (ninth century) who, according to 
Kirkisanl, "maintained that there are things in the Bible 
which were not so as they are at present written down." 44 * 
The illustrations quoted by Kirkisanl 44 ' are all textual 
emendations which have no dogmatic significance. But it 
is clear that such an attitude towards the Bible is only 
possible on the assumption that human hands had tampered 
with it. 

It is not impossible that the specimens of biblical 
criticism, which belong to the same period and point to a 
similar environment, 4 " were not inspired by the attempt to 

444 lb., II, 11. 

445 lb., II, 88, 30. 

«• Kirk., 314, V.U.: »n KB >Sj* pn bS N'tPK 3Kri3S» 'B IK DJrt HJK Wl 
ftairWB 1«S«. In the same passage Kirkisanl mentions the fact S'J?ODK jtf 

»a <Sy nan \* aj< fimpto \n oyn 'ipi (read a'naSs?) anaSs Saa» naapSs 

ainaD in "that Isma'il al-'Okbari set aside the kettb and kerS, maintaining that 
the reading ought to be in accordance with what is written," a view which was 
shared by some of the Karaites of Khorasan (Kirk., 319, 2). Kirkisanl 
himself points out the contradiction between this view and the one quoted 
in the text. Hadassi (alphabet TV, fol. 41, ult.) seems to suggest that Isma'il 
considered both the kettb and kerS false. The original meaning of this con- 
tention of Isma'il probably was that the divergence between the ketib and kerS 
was an indication that the Bible had been wilfully altered. 

447 315, 1 «■ 

448 I refer to the "objections" of Chivi ha-Balchi (treated exhaustively 
by Poznanski in pjin, VII (1907), p. 112 ff.) and the Genizah fragment 
published by Schechter, JQR., XIII, 34s ff. (see the literature quoted by 
Poznanski, /. c, 27 ff.). 


invalidate the Bible as a whole but were rather meant to 
discredit its present textual form. 449 

The endeavors of Sabbathai Zevi and his followers to 
find allusions to his name in the Bible 45 " are scarcely 
analogous to the Mohammedan tendency referred to above. 
But a good parallel is afforded by the modern Pseudo- 
Messiah of Yemen who has been repeatedly mentioned in 
these expositions before. Orthodox though he was, he did 
not hesitate to preach that the Bible contained mistakes and 
misreadings. 451 This theory enabled Shukr al Kuheil, who 
was only half-learned and, as it seems, half-witted, 452 to find 
allusions to his name and appearance in the Bible. He had 
the boldness to declare that in the verse Isai. 45, 1 ("Thus 
saith the Lord unto His anointed one, to Cyrus") Cyrus 
(enw) was an error for Shukr (1315?) . 45S In the Messianic 
passage Micah 5, i 454 he read, instead of DlpD ("his goings 
forth shall be from of old, or from the East"), kjusd ("his 
goings forth shall be from San'a"). In Gen. 10, 30, he 

448 A similar view with regard to Chivi is expressed by Poznanski, /. c. 
(reprint), p. 18. 

*" Sabbathai's second name »3X was supposed to' be the abbreviation of 
HTT lfUlDSa pHlt (Habak 2, 4) and this was taken as a proof that his 
advent was predicted by that prophet, '35f 'jaij flX'X, ioa, 13a, 17&, 18&, 
330, etc. 

431 JVJBTI JDTI n-IJK. 36: DH2 V \WV2V D'K'33 '1BD lS'BK m nsSai 
niNUtym ^liSan JO. He also used to correct the Zohar, ibidem (in a letter 
from San'a). 

452 flUK, 32 (in a letter from San'a) : SsS J?H<3 nsp n)H "IDn X1D "JK 
<TJ? "VfV 'N3. 

458 rVUK, 36 and TED J3N, II, 151. 

454 mJX, 23 (in a letter of the Messiah himself). Shukr quotes incorrectly 
D*Tp!3 VfilNXIft 1TP but he has undoubtedly our passage in mind. 


substituted for mpn in the Arabic name of the local moun- 
tain opj bi.' K 

14. Prohibition oe Meat 

When after the destruction of the Second Temple 
certain ascetically inclined people proposed to forbid the 
use of meat and wine, because they had been offered on the 
altar which now lay in ruins, they were checked by the 
judicious R. Joshua ben Hananiah who pointed out to them 
that by the same analogy they would have to renounce many 
other eatables indispensable for life. 456 This tendency, which 
was thus suppressed in talmudic Judaism, asserted itself, 
like many other austerities of the law disposed of by the 
Rabbis, in Jewish sectarianism, 457 notably in Karaism. Al- 
ready Anan forbade the eating of meat in the exile 438 and 
he was followed in this prohibition by later Karaite author- 

455 Ibidem. The latter reading is probably meant more in the nature of 
an identification than of an emendation. The places mentioned in that 
biblical passage were located in Southern Arabia. Uzal (verse 27) is inter- 
preted already by Saadia as an equivalent for San'a (compare AbS., II, 
25, n. 2). 

456 Tosefta Sotah, end; b. Baba batra 60b. 

457 Already the Dositheans refrained from the use of meat, Krauss in 
Jew. Bnc, IV, 643*. Benjamin of Tudela (Itinerary, ed, Adler, JQR., XVII, 
763) mentions "mourners of Zion" among the Jews of Arabia (to be dis- 
tinguished from the ]W2 »S2N known from Karaitic literature, comp. Marx 
in ZfhB., XIV, 138) who refrained from meat and wine. 

458 -fn 'S5? npa*<ni py nihnihH D*n n>Ss;6« <b nn^s nnnna «ina« 
•vtyhn xin "Nip jo njwaM 'DoipS« Wjh naaj^N S'VBDni I'a'ia 

"The first to forbid meat in exile was the Exilarch Anan, and he was followed 
in this by Benjamin (an-Nahawandi), Isma'il al-'Okbari and Daniel al-KQmisi 
as well as by a large section of Karaites of this generation" (Kirkisani, quoted 
from a MS. by Harkavy in the Russian-Jewish monthly Woshkod, February 
1898, p. 9, n. 3). On the prohibition of meat by Anan see also Harkavy, 
Studten und Mitteilungen, VIII, 4, 141, 148, and 193. 


ities/ 59 even by those who, like Isma'il al-'Okbari, otherwise 
violently opposed him. 460 This restriction, together with the 
prohibition of wine, 461 became particularly characteristic of 
the Karaite ascetics who settled in the Holy Land and 
formed the community of the so-called "Abele Zion." 462 In 
the time of Kirkisani, as we learn from his own words, 48 " 
the bulk of Karaites refrained from eating meat, and the 
wide currency of this restriction may perhaps be best in- 
ferred from the exceptions quoted by the same author who 
circumstantially relates that one of the Karaitic sectarians 
had composed several pamphlets to prove that meat was per- 
missible 464 and that there were Karaites who "considered 
permissible the eating of the flesh of sheep and cattle in the 
exile." 465 

It would lead us too far afield to inquire into the 
motives underlying this restriction. They were probably 
manifold, springing partly from tendencies of asceticism 
which was considered meritorious as long as the Jews were 
banished from their land, partly from a literal interpre- 
tation of the verse Levit. 17, 3 which forbids the slaughter 
of animals outside the camp, or from the conception, already 
voiced in the presence of Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, which 
regards the secular use of the animals or substances form- 
erly sacrified on the holy altar as an act of irreverence and 

459 See previous note. 

480 Comp. Kirk., 284, 27; .115, 12. 

4fii Anan also forbade the drinkinjj of wine in the exile, Harkavy, Studien, 

4, 21. 

468 Gratz, V, 269; 507 f. 
483 Above, note 458. 
464 Kirk., 3 r5, 22. 
405 lb., 318, 18. 


impiety. Be the motive whatever it may, the prohibition of 
meat was, as its formulation clearly indicates, 406 confined to 
the state of the Jews in the dispersion. Nor was it 
prompted by any vegetarian or humanitrian considerations. 
For the prohibition of meat by the Karaites was by no 
means absolute. Anan allowed the flesh of the deer 4 " and 
that of the pigeon and turtle-dove among the birds, 468 while 
the later Karaites distinctly confine the prohibition to the 
flesh of sheep and cattle. 459 

The same prohibition of meat and wine is reported 
of the Jewish sectarians Abu 'Isa and Yudgan. 4 ™ This 
spirit of self-abnegation which was regarded as the only 
attitude befitting the unfortunate condition of the Jews in 
the exile found a particularly favorable soil in these secta- 
rian circles which believed in the approaching Messianic 
redemption and partly endeavored to bring it about by the 
force of arms. The Yudganiyya particularly were charac- 
terized by ascetic tendencies and were given, as both 
Kirkisani and Shahrastam inform us, to much praying and 
fasting. 4 ' 1 The same disparaging attitude towards the exile 
reveals itself in another doctrine, preached by Yudgan and 
shared by some Karaites, "that the sabbaths and festivals 

466 a>S»aS» <fi "in exile," above, n. 458, also Kirk., 318, 18, and often 
by later authorities. 

«" Harkavy in Jew. Enc. (article "Anan"), I, 555a. Harkavy does not 
indicate his source. See also next note. 

468 Harkavy, Studien, 67; 155, comp. 188. On the meat of the cock, ib., 
145. n. 5, 154, 156, n. 5. Elsewhere (Gratz, V, 477) Harkavy formulates 
Anan's prohibition with a slight difference: "Vom Fleische gestattete er bloss 
Gefliigel, mit Ausnahme der Hiihner, und den Hirsch." 

469 Kirk., 318, 18, and the passages enumerated in note 458. 

470 Kirk., 311, 24; 312, 17. Shahr., I, 168, ult. only of Yudgan. 

4,1 Kirk., ib., Kl'hs ms^Kl rwSs^K }6»)?nD'l ; Shahr., ib., yafruHu 
'alz-zuhdi wa-takfiri' $-$alati. 


are no more valid in this age and are (to be observed) 
merely as a recollection." 472 

While the prohibition of meat by these sectarians is 
thus fully in accord with widely current Jewish tendencies, 
there is something in the formulation of this prohibition, 
as reproduced by Shahrastani, which cannot possibly be 
ascribed to these influences. For, according to this author, 
Abu 'Isa "prohibited in his book™ all slaughtered animals 
and he forbade the eating of any creature endowed with 
a living spirit unconditionally, be it a bird or an animal."* 4 
The contrast to the Karaite practices discussed above is 
palpable. The complete prohibition of birds differs essen- 
tially from the Karaitic custom and the motive underlying 
this prohibition seems essentially different as well: it is 
neither asceticism nor the exile, but the objection to the 
destruction of life. I am therefore inclined to assume that, 
in addition to Jewish influences, Abu 'Isa was swayed in 
his prohibition by foreign non- Jewish conceptions. 

1 believe that the source of Abii 'Isa's prohibition is to 
be found in the doctrines and practices of Manichaeism and 
the sects emanating from it, whose influence on Jewish 
sectarianism has already been proved by other instances. 
The prohibition of meat and wine is a characteristic feature 
of Manichseism. Already before the birth of ManI his 
father Futtak was repeatedly warned by a heavenly voice 

m Kid?., 312, 18: ttyhM SOP! 'B HQpND "W'Jw'ttO n«3D«^K JK JUSJftM 
13T 'n K83K1. The ShadgSniyya, a sect closely related to the Yudganiyya, 
held the same opinion, Pinsker, *t31p7, 26. 

413 This is apparently one of the revealed books which he produced, after 
the manner of Mohammedan sectarians, in spite of his ignorance (comp. 
above, note 382). 

4,4 Shahr., I, 168: wa-frarrama A kitabihi' d-ddba'ifra kullaha wa-naha 'an 
akli dl rulim 'ala'litlaki tairan kana au bahimatan. 


to refrain from meat and wine 4 ' 5 and the same restriction 
is one of the essential conditions for admission into the 
Manichcsean community. 476 The Manichseans, as Ibn Hazm 
tersely remarks, "do not believe in (the use of) slaughtered 
animals." 4 " The motive is supplied by Blruni who relates 
that Man! "forbade to slaughter living creatures or to cause 
them pain." 4 ' 8 Mazdak, who is dogmatically a lineal de- 
scendant of Mani, was prompted by the same motive when 
he forbade the slaughtering of animals until they died a 
natural death. 4 ™ The heresiarch Bihafarid, 480 a contemporary 
of Abu 'Isa, who seems to have been largely influenced by 
Manichseism and Mazdakism, prohibited, in contradistinc- 
tion to Mazdak, the flesh of dead animals, but that he was 
none the less actuated by the same tendency is shown by 
the fact that he allowed the slaughtering of small cattle 
when they were enfeebled. 481 apparently believing that to kill 
them in this state involved no cruelty to them but charity. 482 
It is in doctrines like these which were undoubtedly in 
vogue in the age and in the environment of Abu 'Isa that 
we have to look for an explanation of his sweeping prohib- 
ition of the destruction of life which is both in its extent 

4.5 Flflgel, Mani, 83. According to the old Persian conception which is 
still voiced by Firdausi in the tenth century, it was the Devil who beguiled 
the people "from the primitive and innocent vegetarianism supposed to have 
hitherto prevailed into the eating of animal food" (Browne, Persia, 115). 

4.6 Flugel, I. c, 95, 1. 

4 " Milal wa'tt-niftal, I, 36, 14: ma-hum Id yarauna 'd-daba'ika, the same 
expression as used by Shahrastani (above, note 474) of Abu 'Isa. 

478 207, 21. 

4,9 Blruni, 209, 16. This motive would meet the difficulty pointed out 
by Noldeke, Geschichte der Araber und Peyser, 460. 

480 Comp. Shiitic Elements, II, 500. 

481 Blruni, 211; Shahr., 187.. 

482 In addition Bihafarid, just like Mani, forbade the drinking of wine, 


and motive different from similar practices current in 
Jewish sectarian circles. 

Perhaps this may also throw some light on the re- 
mark of IfirkisanI : "He (Abu 'Isa) prohibited meat and 
wine, not on the basis of Scripture but because he main- 
tained that God had commanded him to do this through 
prop1iecy." m Anan, who is designated by I£irkisanl as the 
first who forbade the eating of meat/ 84 tried to deduce this 
prohibition from the Bible. 488 Abu 'Isa, however, was con- 
scious of the fact that this prohibition was an innovation of 
his own and had no source in the similar practices current 
in certain Jewish circles hitherto. 486 

15. Number oE Prayers 

According to Shahrastani, 48 ' Abu 'Isa instituted ten 
daily prayers and he also specified the time at which they 
should be recited. Kirkisam, however, reports that he in- 
stituted seven daily prayers,, in accordance with the Psalm 
verse (119, 164) : "Seven times a day do I praise Thee be- 
cause of thy righteous judgments." 488 It is to be assumed 

"•"311, 24: rhbtt ]h nyr ru»a Sa aswa^x jo vh strrnhxi nrhbtt Dim 

Siai^Na fn man. According to Hadassi (Alphabet TS ), he adopted the 
prohibition of meat and wine from the Rechabites, but this would only apply 
to meat. 

484 Above, note 458. 

485 See Harkavy, Studien und Mitteilungen, VIII, 193 f. The same 
applies to his prohibition of wine. For the later Karaites comp. Gratz, V, 

48e Whether Abu 'Isa's prohibition of wine which is characteristic of 
Mani and Bihafarld is to be ascribed to these influences or to the general 
tendency observable among Karaites is difficult to determine. It certainly 
was not suggested by the precept of orthodox Islam which in Persia more 
than elsewhere was and still is very frequently violated. 

«' I, 168, 16. 

488 311, 23. Similarly Hadassi. 


a priori that the smaller number is the correct one. Now 
while it may be possible that Abu 'Isa justified the new 
number of prayers by the Psalm verse, it is little likely 
that he derived it from it, particularly when we remember 
that, as If irkisani further informs .us, he also retained the 
regular prayers of the Jews. 489 We have already had re- 
peated occasion to point to the extraordinary prominence 
accorded to the number seven in heterodox Mohammedan 
circles whose influence on Abu 'Isa has been traced above. 
It is no wonder therefore that it should also have influenced 
the number of prayers. Thus is said to have instituted 
seven prayers. 490 Of still greater importance is the fact that 
the contemporary of Abu 'Isa, the Persian Bihafarid, who 
also in this instance proves himself a follower of Manichasism 
and Mazdakism — in the latter the seven, together with the 
twelve, looms most prominently as a sacred number — , 491 
established seven prayers, the character of which is thus 
specified by Birunl: 492 "one in praise of the one God, one 
relating to death, one relating to the Resurrection and Last 
Judgment, one relating to those in heaven and hell and what 
is prepared for them, and one in praise of the people of 
Paradise." It needs no great stretch of imagination to 
assume that the example of this or a similar sectarian is 
responsible for the new number of prayers instituted by 
Abu 'Isa. In the character of the prayers established by 
Bihafarid there is nothing which a professing Jew could 
not with a clear conscience adopt. They were, to judge by 
the description of Birunl, more in the nature of supplications 
or praises than a collection of liturgies, as in the case of the 

489 311, 26. 

4W Flugel, Mani, 41. See later, note 494. 

491 Comp. Shahr. 193. 

492 P. 210. Sachau's translation 193. 


Jewish or Mohammedan ritual, and their content is in strik- 
ing harmony with the Psalm word by which Abu 'Isa a 
posteriori justified them. The character of these prayers as 
short individual eulogies also makes us understand why they 
did not replace the regular Shma' and Shmone 'Bsre which, 
as Kirkisani tells us, he was commanded by God to retain, 
"according to the order of the Rabbanites." 483 In the light 
of these facts, we are also able to explain the discrepant 
statement of Shahrastani who speaks of ten prayers. The 
ten prayers of Abu 'Isa consisted of the seven special 
prayers suggested to him by heterodox Islam and the 
three regular prayers retained from the Jewish liturgy. 4 " 4 

*» 311, 26. 

494 p er haps a similar explanation applies to the Manichaean prayers. 
According to Nadim's Fihrist (Text: Fliigel, Mani. 64, translation, ib.. 96), 
Mani instituted four or seven prayers. Of these Nadim only deals with the 
four, describing their contents and the times of their daily recitation (comp. 
Fliigel, 303). Shahrastani only knows of four (ib.). Perhaps it may be con- 
jectured that the four prayers were conceived as regular daily prayers, while 
the seven prayers were, after the manner of those instituted by Bihafarid, 
eulogies to be recited on special occasions. This would remove the difficulty 
discussed by Fliigel (/. c, 311).