Early History of Apostasy in Islam: Zindigs, Atheists, Dualists, Mystics, and Freethinkers


Muslims are triumphalists, especially when they parrot the journalistic cliche that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world or when they present the testimony of someone who has "embraced Islam"; Islam, "that least huggable of faiths," as Rushdie calls it.' Many Muslims seem incapable of believing that any born Muslim could possibly wish to leave the most perfect of religions. This incomprehension is well illustrated by Dr. James L. Barton and analyzed by Frithjof Schuon. Dr. Barton gives us this conversation he had in Turkey at the end of the nineteenth century:

A high official once told me that Turkey gives to all her subjects the widest religious liberty. He said, "There is the fullest liberty for the Armenian to become Catholic, for the Greek to become an Armenian, for the Catholic and the Armenian to become Greeks, for any one of them to become Protestants, or for all to become Muhammadans. There is the fullest and completest religious liberty for all the subjects of this empire."

In response to the question, "How about liberty for the Muhammadan to become a Christian'?" he replied, "That [is an] impossibility in the nature of the case. When one has once accepted Islam and become a follower of the Prophet, he cannot change. There is no power on earth that can change him. Whatever he may say or claim cannot alter the fact that he is a Muslim still and must always be such. It is, therefore, an absurdity to say that a Muslim has the privilege of changing his religion, for to do so is beyond his power." For the last forty years the actions of the official and influential Turks have borne out this theory of religious liberty in the Ottoman empire. Every Muslim showing interest in Christian things takes his life in his hands. No protection can be afforded him against the false charges that begin at once to multiply. His only safety lies in flight.'

Schuon, a Western convert to a mystical variety of Islam, explains the Muslim mindset:

The intellectual-and thereby the rational-foundation of Islam results in the average Muslim having a curious tendency to believe that non-Muslims either know that Islam is the truth and reject it out of pure obstinacy, or else are simply ignorant of it and can be converted by elementary explanations; that anyone should be able to oppose Islam with a good conscience quite exceeds the Muslims' power of imagination, precisely because Islam coincides in his mind with the irresistible logic of things.;

But of course, history furnishes us with countless examples of those who have struggled free from the all-encompassing, suffocating embrace of Islam to breathe the bracing air of intellectual freedom.

One of the first individual apostates was Ubaydallah b. Jahsh, who embraced Islam and then left it during the Prophet's lifetime. Along with three friends, `Ubaydallah came to the conclusion that

their people [the pagan Arabs] had corrupted the religion of their father Abraham, and that the stone they went round was of no account; it could neither hear, nor see, nor hurt, nor help. "Find for yourselves a religion" they said; "for by God you have none." So they went their several ways in the lands, seeking the hanifiya, the religion of Abraham.... `Ubaydallah went on searching until Islam came; then he migrated with the Muslims to Abyssinia taking with him his wife who was a Muslim, Umm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sufyan. When he arrived there he adopted Christianity, parted from Islam, and died a Christian in Abyssinia.

After 'Ubaydallah's death, the Prophet married his widow, Umm Habiba.4

We also have the evidence of the so-called wars of apostasy (the riddah) when many tribes that had adopted Islam reverted to their ancestral religion even before the death of the Prophet. Some scholars argued that these wars were political rather than religious.' But as Montgomery Watt has pointed out, the leaders of the riddah, often called the false prophets, represented themselves as possessing prophetic aspirations, hence it was not wholly devoid of religious character.'

Save a remnant here and there, faith was vanishing, and the Arabs throughout the Peninsula were relapsing into apostasy. Yet Islam was to be the Faith of all Arabia;-"Throughout the land there shall be no second creed," was the behest of Muhammad upon his deathbed. False prophets must be crushed; rebels vanquished; apostates reclaimed or else exterminated; and the supremacy vindicated of Islam. It was, in short, the mission of Abu Bakr to redeem the dying Prophet's words.7

The rebellions were crushed with much cruelty, which included the mutilation of writers who had mocked the Prophet in earlier days. The subsequent history of Islam provides us with many examples of individual apostates, but since history is written by the victors, we do not have many details. Nonetheless, the names of the apostates have become familiar through the works of those who tried to refute the arguments of these former Muslims turned agnostic or atheist: al-Rawandi, alRazi, al-Ma'arri,H `Umar Khayyam, Ibn Dirham, and Ibn al-Mugaffa', to whom we will now turn.

We know from the Koran itself that there were Arab skeptics in Mecca who did not accept the "fables" recounted by Muhammad-they scoffed at the notion of the resurrection of the body, they doubted the divine origins of his "revelation," and even accused him of plagiarizing the pagan Arab poets; certain verses of the Koran are even now attributed to the pre-Islamic poet al-Qays. As J. M. Robertson suggests, it is thanks to these Meccan freethinkers that we have so few miracles attributed to Muhammad in the early days of Islam, for these opponents of Muhammad disbelieved in a future life and miracles, and they put to Muhammad challenges that "showed they rationally disbelieved his claim to inspiration. Hence, clearly, the scarcity of miracles in [Muhammad's] early legend, on the Arab side." But, as Robertson concludes, "On a people thus partly `refined, sceptical, incredulous,' whose poetry showed no trace of religion, the triumph of Islam gradually imposed a tyrannous dogma, entailing abundance of primitive superstition under the aegis of monotheistic doctrine."9

Pagan Arabs lacked any deep religious sense, they were not wont to thank superior powers for their worldly sucesses. Thus, it is not surprising that these pagan attitudes prevailed in the early years of Islam. Arabs converted out of cupidity and hope of booty and success in this world. Many outwardly confessed their belief but in fact had no inclination toward Islam and its dogma and ritual. Aloys Sprenger estimates that at the death of Muhammad the number who really converted to Muhammad's doctrine did not exceed a thousand. If things went wrong, the bedouins were ready to drop Islam-apostasize-as quickly as they had adopted it. The fact that Islam restricted wine drinking and sexual intercourse, "the two delicious things," did not endear Muhammad to them, either.

The Arabs also resisted the institution of Muslim prayers and ridiculed the movements of the body connected with it. As Ignaz Goldziher says,

there are countless stories, unmistakably taken from true life, which describe the indifference of the desert Arabs to prayer, their ignorance of the elements of Muslim rites and even their indifference towards the sacred book of God itself and their ignorance of its most important parts.") The Arabs always preferred to hear the songs of the heroes of paganism rather than holy utterances of the Koran. It is related that `Ubayda b. Hilal, one of the chiefs of the Khawdrij, used to ask his men, while they were resting frombattle, to come to his tent. Once two warriors came. "What would you prefer?" he asked them, "that I should read to you from the Koran, or that I should recite poems to you?" They replied: "We know the Koran as well as we know you; let us hear poems." "You godless men," said `Ubayda, "I knew that you would prefer poems to the Koran.""'

We have the evidence of al-Jahiz that the Arabs mocked and derided the Koran.12 We might here quote a Muslim leader of the early days who is reputed to have said: "If there were a God, I would swear by his name that I did not believe in him."

THE UMAYYADS (661-750 C.E.)

The Umayyads have always been considered "godless" by their opponents. The ignorance of Islamic doctrine and ritual continued well into the first Islamic century; indeed, Islam can not be properly said to have existed in the sense of a fixed dogma until later. We can get a glimpse of the kind of atmosphere that the caliph al-Walid 11 (ruled 743) grew up in by the verses he addressed to the Koran, referring to the threats made by the Koran against the stubborn opponents:

You hurl threats against the stubborn opponent, well then, I am a stubborn opponent myself.

When you appear before God at the day of resurrection just say:

My Lord, al-Walid has torn me up."

Walid II is said to have stuck the Koran onto a lance and shot it to pieces with arrows repeating the above verses. Walid II certainly did not abide by the interdictions of the Koran. An intensively cultivated man, he surrounded himself with poets, dancing girls, and musicians, and lived the merry life of the libertine, with no interest in religion.


In Islam, the term zindiq was, at first, applied to those who secretly held dualist doctrines derived from Iranian religions, such as Manichaeism,14 while publicly professing Islam. Thus a zindiq was a heretic, guilty of Zandaqa, heresy. The term was later extended to mean anyone holding unorthodox or suspect beliefs likely to perturb the social order. Finally, zindiq came to be applied to all kinds of freethinkers, atheists, and materialists."

Goldziher admirably sums up the different elements that make up what we call the zindiqs:

Firstly, there are the old Persian families incorporated in Islam who, following the same path as the Shu'ubiya, have a national interest in the revival of Persian religious ideas and traditions, and from this point of view react against the Arabian character of the Muhammadan system. Then, on the other hand, there are freethinkers, who oppose in particular the stubborn dogma of Islam, reject positive religion, and acknowledge only the moral law. Amongst the latter there is developed a monkish asceticism extraneous to Islam and ultimately traceable to Buddhistic influences.16


The first person to be executed on a charge of heresy, zandaqa, was Djald Ibn Dirham, on the orders of the Umayyad caliph Hisham, in 742 or 743 C.E. There is no indication that Dja'd was a dualist; rather, he was probably put to death for holding views, later associated with the Mu`tazilites, of the createdness of the Koran and of free will. He is also said to have denied the divine attributes, and as a consequence, held that "God did not speak to Moses, nor take Abraham as His friend." He is said to have been a materialist and his followers are said to have accused the Prophet Muhammad of lying and to have denied the resurrection.

Serious persecutions of the zindigs began under the Abbasid caliph alMansur (reigned 754-775 c.E.). Many zindiqs were put to death under his reign, the most famous being Ibn al-Mugaffa' (executed 760 C.E.)

Ibn al-Mugaffa` was asked by the caliph al-Mansur to draw up an amnesty for Mansur's uncle, but the caliph was not at all pleased at the language used by Ibn al- Mugaffa' in the finished document. It is generally held that for this reason al-Mansur had Ibn al-Mugaffa` executed in a most horrific manner-his limbs were cut off one by one and fed into a blazing fire. But it is also very probable that Ibn al-Mugaffa`'s unorthodox religious views played an important role in his condemnation.

Francesco Gabrieli,'7 Paul Kraus, and others have shown that an anti-Muslim work of a pronounced rationalist tendency was correctly attributed to Ibn al- Mugaffa`. The latter, according to Kraus, was the intellectual heir to the rationalist tradition that flourished at the time of the Sassanid king Chosroes Anusharwan, who is said to have fostered a "veritable hellenistic Aufklarung [Enlightenment]." At any rate, from the perspective of the Manichaen faith, Ibn al-Mugaffa` attacked Islam, its Prophet, its theology and theodicy, and its concept of God. How do we reconcile Ibn al-Mugaffa`'s rational skepticism and his adherence to Manichaean dualism? Gabrieli points out that intellectuals like Ibn al-Mugaffa' had already given an allegorical interpretation to the Manichaen mythology, and interpreted the universe and man's place in it in gnostic terms, rational and hellenistic.

Ibn al-Mugaffa' is also renowned for his translations from Pehlevi or Middle Persian literature into Arabic. His translation of The Book of Kalda and Dimna, ultimately derived from the Sanskrit Fables of Bidpai, is considered a model of elegant style.


Under Mansur's successors, al-Mahdi (775-785 c.E.) and al-Hadi (785-786 c.E.) repression, persecution, and executions were applied with even greater ferocity. Special magistrates were appointed to pursue the heretics, and the whole inquisition was masterminded by the Grand Inquisitor, called the Sahih al-Zanadiqa. It was enough for a simple rumor to be aired for the Inquisitor to take immediate steps to incriminate the suspect. Often the zindigs were arrested en masse, imprisoned, and finally brought before the inquisitor or the ruler, who then questioned them on their beliefs. If the suspects abjured their heretical religion they were released, if they refused; they were beheaded and their heads displayed on a gibbet. Some were crucified. Al-Hadi seems to have had some strangled also. Their heretical books were cut up with knives.

We have a glimpse of the whole procedure from this comic anecdote about Abu Nuwas (b. 762, d. between 806 and 814), the great lyric poet whose twin passions were beautiful boys and wine. One day he entered a mosque drunk as ever, and when the imam recited verse 1 from sura CIX:

"Say: 0! You unbelievers. . . ," Abu Nuwas cried out, "Here I am!" Whereupon the faithful whisked him off to the chief of police, declaring that Abu Nuwas was an infidel, on his own admission. The chief of police then took Abu Nuwas to the Inquisitor. However, the latter refused to believe that the poet was a zindiq and refused to proceed any further. But the crowd insisted, and to calm a potentially dangerous situation, he brought a portrait of the prophet of the dualists, Mani, and asked Abu Nuwas to spit on it. Abu Nuwas did even better than that, he pushed a finger down his throat, and vomited on the picture, whereupon, the Inquisitor set him free. We know that on another occasion Abu Nuwas was in prison on charge of zandaga. Heresy seems even to have penetrated the Hashimite family, the family to which the Prophet had belonged. Several members of the family were executed or died in prison. 18

Ibn Abi I-IAwja' (executed 772) was one of the more interesting zindiqs. Apparently he believed that light had created good, while darkness had created evil; he also taught rneternpsychosis* and the freedom of the will. Before his death, he confessed that he had fabricated more than four thousand traditions (hadith), in which he forbade Muslims what was in fact permitted, and vice versa, and he made Muslims break the fast when they should have been fasting, and vice versa. He is supposed to have posed the problem of human suffering: "Why," he asked, "are there catastrophes, epidemics, if God is good?" According to al- Biruni, Ibn Abi 'I-,Awja' was wont to shake the faith of simple people with captious questions about divine justice.

Ibn Abi 'I-,Awja' is said to have had a discussion with the imam Jalfar al-Sadiq that is recorded and reveals the full extent of his unorthodoxy: He believed in the eternity of the world: he denied the existence of a Creator. One day he asked Ja'far to justify the institution of pilgrimage, and refused to accept the answer that it was ordered by God, since this reply merely pushed the question further back to someone who was not present. He also cast doubt on the justice of some of the punishments described in the Koran. Ibn Abi I-`Awja' also accused some of the prophets mentioned in the Koran, especially Abraham and Joseph, of lying.

And like so many :indigs of the period, he doubted the official dogma of the inimitability of the Koran. Even if we cannot specifically link the above dialogue with the historical figure of Ibn Abi l-,Awja', it gives a true picture of the current :indfq beliefs. He was taken prisoner, and put to death in 772.x"

Bashshar ibn Burd (c. 714/15-killed 784/85) was one of the poets who was eventually seized, charged with zandaqa, beaten, and finally thrown in a swamp. He was the descendant of a noble Persian family, though his father was a slave and, on being freed, a bricklayer. He had strong national sentiments, and did not miss an opportunity to glorify the memories of ancient Iran. He did not have a high opinion of the Arabs. He was born blind, and was considered physically very ugly, which may go toward explaining, in part, his celebrated misanthrophy. Bashshar b. Burd excelled as a writer of panegyric, elegy, and satire.

His religious views are difficult to esatablish with certainty, since he often concealed, the opportunist that he was, his true opinions. According to Vadja, he belonged to the Shia sect of the Kamiliv~va, and anathematized the entire Muslim community. When charged with zandaga, it was alleged that Bashshar did not pray in an orthodox manner. What is more, he is said to have mocked it by parodying, when drunk, the call to prayer.

He is also accused of being disrespectful toward the institution of pilgrimage. On one occasion, he left for the pilgrimage, solely to deflect any suspi cion that he was a zindiq, but stopped at Zorara, where he spent his time drinking. As the pilgrims were returning he joined them, and pretended on arrival home to have completed the entire pilgrimage.

One of the charges often leveled at the zindiqs, and Bashshar b. Burd, was their continual undermining of the orthodox view of the miraculous nature of the Koran, which the orthodox considered inimitable. No one, in the orthodox view, was capable of reaching the perfection of the Koran. Goldziher gives this example of the zindigs' irreverence:

It is reported that at Basra a group of free thinkers, Muslim and non-Muslim heretics used to congregate and that Bashshar b. Burd did not forego characterising the poems submitted to this assembly in these words: "Your poem is better than this or the other verse of the Koran, this line again is better than some other verse of the Koran, etc."20

Bashshar did in fact praise one of his own poetic products, when he heard it recited by a singing girl in Baghdad, as being better than the Surat al-Hashr. The way of expression of the Koran was criticized and the similes found wanting. Al- Mubarrad tells of a heretic who ridiculed the parable in sura XXXVII.63 where the fruits of the tree Zakkum in hell are likened to the heads of devils: "The critics say: `He compares the visible with the unknown here.' We have never seen the heads of devils; what kind of a simile is this?"

Bashshar seems to have denied the resurrection and the last judgement in some of his verses. He may well have believed in metempsychosis, i.e., the transmigration of souls. In some celebrated verses, Bashshar defends Iblis (the devil), being made of fire, for refusing to prostrate himself before Adam, being made of ordinary clay. In another one of his verses, he prayed to the Prophet Muhammad to join with him in an attack upon the deity. He also seems to have held Manichaean beliefs laced with Zoroastrianism.

But, in the words of Regis Blachere, "Along with these beliefs there would seem always to have been a profound scepticism mingled with a fatalistic outlook leading Bashshar to pessimism and hedonism."" But out of prudence he was obliged to pay lip service to orthodoxy. This view of Bashshar being a skeptic is endorsed by Vadja, who argues that it seems totally out of character for someone as dissolute as he to adhere to a religion as ascetic as Manichaeism.

Hammad `Ajrad (executed 777 C.E.) belonged to a circle of freethinkers based at Basra. Their reunions, already alluded to above, were attended by such unorthodox poets as Bashshar, Salih b. 'Abd al-Quddus, Ibn Sinan of Harran, and Ibn Nazir, among others. Hammad was accused of not praying in an orthodox fashion and of preferring some of his verses to those of the Koran. He was accused of the dualist heresy and of composing verses the zindiqs recited in their prayers. Even if he was not high up in the religious hierarchy of the Manichaeans, Hammad was certainly a sympathizer to the extent that his religious poetry found its way into the liturgy of the Manichaeans. He was put to death by the governor of Basra.


In our sources for this group, certain names keep cropping up, but often we do not have any other details about their views or works. Thus we are told that Qays b. Zubayr was a notorious atheist, that al-Baqili denied the resurrection, that Ibrahim b. Sayyaba was a indiq and claimed that pederasty was the first law of zandaga, and so on.

We do know a little more about Muti` b. Iyas, who gives every sign of being a zindiq. But the details we have of his life point rather to someone with a skeptical turn of mind with no real profound interest in any religion:

He began his career under the Umayyads, and was devoted to the Caliph Walid b. Yazid, who found in him a fellow after his own heart, "accomplished, dissolute, an agreeable companion and excellent wit, reckless in his effrontery and suspected in his religion." When the Abbasids came to power Muti` attached himself to the Caliph Mansur. Many stories are told of the debauched life which he led in the company of zindiqs, or freethinkers.... His songs of love and wine are distinguished by their lightness and elegance.22

Abu `Isa Muhammad b. Harun al-Warraq

Al-Warraq was accused of zandaqa, and is important for, among other reasons, being the teacher of the Great Infidel himsef, al-Rawandi. Unfortunately none of his literary work survives, and we have only tantalizing glimpses of it in the quotations by other Arab scholars. Some of his works are also known from refutations. Al-Warraq started as a Mu'tazilite theologian but seems to have been excommunicated for holding heterodox opinions. Al-Warraq wrote a remarkable history of religions, where his objectivity, rationalism, and skepticism are given free rein. His critical examination of the three branches of Christianity of his time again reveal his dispassionate tone and rationalism, where there is no question of a dependence on revelation.

Al-Warraq may well have had ShFFa sympathies, but it is uncertain whether he was really a Manichaean. However, he does seem to have believed in the two principles, and very certainly in the eternity of the world. Louis Massignon correctly sums him up as an independent thinker and skeptic rather than someone who believed in any fixed system of thought.23 A victim of the Abbasid persecution, al-Warraq died in exile in 909 in Ahwaz.


Al-Mutanabbi (915-965) is considered by many Arabs as the greatest poet in the Arabic language. Born in Kufa and educated in Damascus, al-Mutanabbi modelled himself on the poetry of Abu Tammam and set out consciously to make a name for himself. According to Blachere, al-Mutanabbi was influenced in his religious and philosophical development by a certain Abu 'I-Fadl of Kufa, who was a "complete agnostic," and an early patron of his works.24 Under Abu '1-Fadl's influence, al-Mutanabbi cast off Muslim religious dogmas, which he regarded as spiritual instruments of oppression. He then adopted a stoic and pessimistic philosophy. The world is made up of seductions that death destroys; stupidity and evil alone triumph there.

Not achieving the fame he dreamed of and felt he merited, al-Mutanabbi became determined to dominate by violent means. He began revolutionary propaganda, and then led a rebellion of a politico-religious character, where he claimed to be a prophet with a new Koran (hence his name al-Mutanabbi, in Arabic, "one who pretends to be a prophet"). He was defeated, captured, and imprisoned for two years in Hims. He was fortunate to be spared his life, since to claim to be a prophet is rank heresy, and equally to claim to have a new Koran is against all orthodox belief.

After his release, al-Mutanabbi was lucky enough to find patronage at the court of Sayf al-Dawla at Aleppo. For nine years, al-Mutanabbi sang the praises of this prince, and the odes he composed for him are considered the greatest masterpieces of Arabic literature. Al-Mutanabbi seems to have quarreled with Sayf al-Dawla, and was obliged to slip away from Aleppo to Egypt, where he found patronage with the Ikhshidid ruler Kafur. He was to quarrel with the latter as well and obliged to flee. He was eventually killed by bandits while returning to Baghdad.

Al-Mutanabbi wrote a vast number of odes praising sometimes second rate patrons and at others the great Sayf al-Dawla. Some of the odes are full of bombast and some are sublime, but underneath them all we can discern a skepticism, a certain disillusionment with a world kept in chains by ignorance, stupidity, and superstition, from which only death can liberate us. But, as David Margoliouth points out, for many Muslims, al-Mutanabbi's odes are

defaced by utterances which imply disrespect for the prophets and revealed religion. His most offensive line for Muslims is one in which he tells his patron, an Alid, "the greatest miracle of the man of Tihamah (i.e., Muhammad, the Prophet) is that he is thy father"; in another he tells a patron that if his sword had hit the head of Lazarus on the battlefield, Jesus would not have been able to restore him to life; and that if the Red Sea had been like his hand, Moses could never have crossed it.25

Al-Sarakhsi (executed 899)

The spirit of philosophical inquiry, however, did eventually lead to a questioning of the fundamental tenets of Islamic belief, something that led people like al- Kindi's pupil Ahmad b. al-Tayyib al-Sarakhsi into deep trouble. Al-Sarakhsi took an interest in Greek philosophy and was the tutor of the caliph al-Mu'tadid. He incurred the wrath of the caliph for discussing heretical ideas rather openly, such that the caliph was obliged to order his execution. According to al-Biruni, alSarakhsi wrote numerous treatises in which he attacked the prophets as charlatans. Al-Sarakhsi was led into his religious skepticism by the rationalism of the Mu`tazilites, with whom he sympathized, and his philosophical enquiries.26


I. S. Rushdie, The Ground beneath Her Feet (New York: Henry Holt, 1999), p. 74.

2. James L. Barton, Daybreak in Turkey (Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1910), pp. 256-57. quoted in S. Zwemer, The Law of Apostasy in Islam (New York: Marshall Brothers Ltd., 1924), pp. 44-45.

3. F. Schuon, Stations of Wisdom (London: John Murray, 1961), p. 64.

4. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad. trans. A Guillaume (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 99.

5. Julius Wellhausen, Skizzen and Vorarbeiten (Berlin: Verlag von Georg Reimer, 1884-99), vol. 6, pp. 7-37; Caetani, Anna/i dell'I.slam (Milan: Ultico Hoepli, 1905-26), vol. 2, pp. 549-831.

6. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), pp. 147-48.

7. W. Muir, The Caliphate, Its Rise, Decline, and Fall (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1915), p. 16.

8. Full name: Abu I-°AIa' Ahmad b. 'Abd Allah b. Sulayman al-Ma`arri.

9. J. M. Robertson, A Short History of Freethought Ancient and Modern (London: Watts, 1906), vol. I, p. 259.

10. Aghani, IX, p. 89; XIV, p. 40. Some mixed up the poems of Dhu'I-Rumma with the Koran: ibid., XVI, p. 112.

11. 1. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, trans. C. R. Barber and S. M. Stern (London: Allen and Unwin, 1967-7 I), vol. I, pp. 43-44.

12. al-Jahiz, Bayan, fol. 128a [II, p. 317].

13. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, p. 65, referring to al-Mas`udi, VI, p. 10 (ed. F. Gabrieli in RSO 27 [19341: 41). There are interesting facts about the freedom in religious matters of these Umayyads in Aghani, VI, p. 141; M. J. de Goeje and P. de Jong, eds., Fragmenta Historicum Arabicorum (Louvain, 1869), p. 114.

14. Mani or Manes (c. 216-76 C.E.), a teacher of Persian origin who, influenced by the Gnostic traditions of Persia, developed a theology of light and darkness, good and evil. He practiced severe asceticism, including vegetarianism.

15. B. Lewis, Islam in History (Chicago, 1993), pp. 285-93.

16. I. Goldziher, Salih b. 'Abd al-Quddus and das Zindikthum wahrend der Regierung des Chalifen al-Mahdi, in Transactions of the Ninth Congress of Orientalists, vol. 11, p. 105, quoted in R. A. Nicholson, A Literary History of the Arabs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930), pp. 372-73.

17. F. Gabrieli, "La Zanadaqa au Ier siecle Abbaside," in L'Elaboration de l'Islam, ed. C. Cahen et al. (Paris: Centre d'etudes superieures specialise d'histoire des religions de Strasbourg, 1961).

18. G. Vadja, "Les Zindiqs en pays d'Islam au debut de la periode Abbaside," in Revista degli Studi Orientali 17 (1938): 184.

19. Ibid., pp. 173-229.

20. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, p. 363.

21. "Bashshar b. Burd," in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2d ed. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999), vol 1, pp. 1080-82.

22. Nicholson, A Literary History of the Arabs, p. 291.

23. "Warrak," in Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1913-1934), vol. 4, p. 1218.

24. "al-Mutanabbi," in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2d ed., vol. 7, pp. 769-72.

25. D. S. Margoliouth, "Atheism (Muhammadan)," in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. James Hastings (Edinburgh).

26. Majid Fakhry, A History of Islamic Philosophy, 2d ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987).

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!