Five illustrations of exceptional instances of Muslim philo-Semitism are presented in this contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium on xenophilia. The first appears in a responsum of the fourteenth-century Spanish rabbi Isaac Ben Sheshet dealing with the Muslim admission of Jewish refugees into Algiers, thanks to intervention of the local qadi. The second concerns instructions given by the sixteenth-century Egyptian Sufi master al-Sha’rani to his disciples never to harm a dhimmi (that is, a Jew or Christian, especially one who is observant of his own religion). The third instance, a text on “the nobility of the Israelites,” was written by an Islamic scholar from Fez, Mahammad Ibn Zikri (c. 1665 – 1731). Ahmad al-Tijani (eighteenth century), another Sufi master, explains in a fourth text how all non-Muslims and even idol worshippers are embraced by God’s all-inclusive love. An afterword narrates how the grand mufti of Rhodes saved the local Jewish community’s Torah scrolls from the Nazis.
Research Article| April 01 2018
Paul Fenton; Muslim Philo-Semitism: Four Texts of the Fourteenth to Nineteenth Centuries, with an Afterword on the Twentieth. Common Knowledge 1 April 2018; 24 (2): 239–255. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-4362445
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