Ibn al-Malāḥimī on Zoroastrianism
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2022
The Kitāb al-muʿtamad fī uṣūl al-dīn by Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad Ibn al-Malāḥimī al-Khwārazmī (d. 536/1141) belongs to the Muʿtazilī theological works that present valuable insight into the intricate history of religions and their contacts. Recently, scholars have identified other manuscripts of this book which comprise passages absent in previously known manuscripts. The enlarged edition of 2012 now comprises the complete chapter on Zoroastrianism, of which only a short part was extant in the first edition. This article translates the whole chapter on Zoroastrianism, along with the vocalized Arabic original text, to make it more accessible to historians of Iranian religions. This translation is then followed by a discussion of the implications of this piece for the history of Zoroastrianism after Islam. After discussing the inner-textual structure of the text the inter-textual relations of this text are examined, along with al-Shahristānī’s account on Zoroastrianism. Through this comparison, it is shown that the major part of both texts most probably originates from the Radd ʿalā l-Majūs (Refutation of Zoroastrians) by Abū ʿĪsā al-Warrāq. In this way, the article shows that both al-Shahristānī’s and Ibn al-Malāḥimī’s texts are relevant for the history of Zoroastrianism in ninth-century Baghdad.
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