, 3-4, 1991

Early Muslim practices and attitudes towards Christians and churches in the Fertile Crescent area have long drawn the attention of modern scholars. One of the main issues tackled was the reports concerning sharing parts of Christian churches for prayer and, later, turning a few of them into Muslim mosques. The classical example usually given is the case of the Church of St. John in Damascus, but other instances have been noted as well.1 While the discussion of such takeover can hardly be said to have been satisfactorily concluded,2 other reports on certain curious attitudes and practices are waiting to be thoroughly examined. Of these, mention can be made of the crowning of Mucawiya in Jerusalem, his prayer in Golgotha, the conclusion of a pact between him and cAmr b. al-cħ in the Church of Mary, and his helping to reconstruct the Church of Edessa.3 From other reports we also learn that Khâlid al-Qasrï, the Umayyad governor of Iraq, built a church in Küfa in honor of his Christian mother4 and that even the second Abbasid caliph, al-Man§ur, helped to erect one in Damascus.5 As late as the early fourth

1 J. Wellhausen, The Arab Kingdom and its Fall (Beirut: Khayats, 1963), pp. 216,255, 330; R.Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment (London: Macmillan and Co., 1926), pp. 169-73; A.S. Tritton, The Caliphs and Their non-Muslim Subjects (London: Oxford University Press, 1930), pp. 39-42, 52. The other churches usually mentioned in this context are those of Hims, Hit, Tiberias, and possibly Ramleh. Compare: Maqdisi, Ahsan al-Taqâsïm (Leiden, 1906), pp. 156,159-60; Ibn al-Faqïh, Mukhtasar Kitâb al-Buldän (Leiden, 1302 A.H.), pp. 106-8; al-Istakhrï, Masälik al-Mamalik (Leiden, 1927), p. 61; al-Balâdhurï, Futüh al-Buldän (Beirut, 1978), p. 132; Ibn Jubayr, Rihla (Leiden, 1907), pp. 262-63; Mas<udï, Murûj al-Dhahab (Paris, 1869), V, 362-63; Ibn al-<Ibrï, Tarikh (Beirut, 1890), p. 195; Ibn Badran, Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn <Asûkir (Damascus, 1329 A.H.), I, 199-203, 209, 242; Suyuti (Shams al-Din), Ithäf al-Akhissa> (Cairo, 1982), I, 145; Manînï, Nam (Jaffa, n.d.), pp. 68, 76-77. 2 E.g., the curious idea reiterated in Muslim sources that the Umayyad Caliph, Walid I, destroyed the western part of the Damascus Church while its sanctuary and altar were supposed to be in its eastern side. This led Tritton to label such an idea as a "myth" and to doubt the bulk of Muslim reports on the peace terms usually mentioned in conjunction with the act of takeover. J. W. Sweetman, in turn, suggested that the church was not demolished but rather refashioned for the purposes of Muslim worship. See his Islam and Christian Theology (London, 1955), 11/1, 9. 3 Ibn Sa<d, al-Tabaqât al-Kubrä (Beirut, 1957), IV 254; Jaban, Tàrïkh (Beirut, 1967), V, 161; Ibn Kathhïr, al-Bidäya wa Π￿Nihäya (Cairo, 1932), VIII, 16; Ibn allibri, Tarikh, p. 108; Shihâb al-Dîn, MuthiralGharäm (Jaffa, 1946), p. 23; Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns al-Jalil (Amman, 1973), I, 263; see also Wellhausen, The Arab Kingdom, pp. 134, 214; K.A.C. Creswell, Early Muslim Architecture (Oxford, 1969), 35; S.D. Goitein, "Jerusalem During the Arab Period," in Jerusalem Researches ofEretz Israel (Jerusalem, 1953), pp. 82-103. 4 Cf. Wellhausen, The Arab Kingdom, p. 330. 5 Ibn al-Bitriq, Tarikh (Beirut, 1909), II 17-19; see also Tritton, The Caliphs, p. 52.




century, we hear Eutychius lamenting the fact that Muslims of his day gathered for prayer in the Church of Bethlehem and on the steps of the Church of Constantme m Jerusalem.6 Though not relying on the study of Muslim tradition, but on what he considered as the general agreement between Christian and early Muslim prayer practices, Tor Andrae expressed his belief that the original Muslim qibla was to the east.7 To this, one must add the reports noted by some scholars concerning cAmr b. aHÀç's prayer in a church in Egypt, where he made only a slight diversion from its eastern qibla, as well as the fact that the mosque which bears his name had one "very much turned towards the east" (qibla mushamqa jiddan) and that it remained so until turned south towards Mecca by al-WalTd's governor, Qurra b. Sharïk, in 92 A.H.8 But probably most important is the discovery, lately made public by M. Sharon, of a mosque in Be>er Orah, the Negev, which strikingly has two qiblas: an original eastern one and a later southern one.9 All this justifies a further examination of the material on traditional Muslim practices and attitudes towards prayer m churches. In itself, however, Christian prayer towards the east will not be dealt with save for noting that the Essenes, Syrians and Jacobites were known for such practice because the east was considered as the source of light, the location of the Garden of Eden, and the place from where the Son of Man will come as in Matthew 24.21.xo From a few Christian documents we can clearly learn that prayer to the east was one of the major issues in Muslim-Christian polemics during the secondthird/eighth-ninth centuries.11

East and Musharraq
The Christian prayer place is denoted m the Qui°än, S.22:40, by the plural form biyac (sing. bTca).12 Philologically, this word is derived from the root byc which conveys both the meanings of to buy and to sell. Its etymological
Ibn al-Bitrïq, Tàrïkh (Beirut, 1909), II, 17-19, see also Tritton, The Caliphs, ρ 52 Der Ursprung des Islams und Christentum (Upsala and Stockholm, 1926), ρ 4, and A J Wensinck, sv "Kibla," EI (Leiden, 1972), V, 82 8 Ρ Crone and M Cook, Hagarism (Cambndge, 1980), pp 23￿24, S Bashear, Muqaddima Fi al-Tärikh al-Äkhar (Jerusalem, 1984), ρ 60, M Sharon, "The Birth of Islam in the Holy Land," in Pillars of Smoke and Fire (Johannesburg, 1988), ρ 230, η 21 See also Yäqut, Mu<jam al-Buldän Beirut, 1957), s ν "Fustát," IV, 265, Maqrïzï, Khitat (Cairo, 1270 A H ) , Π, 246￿47, Ibn Duqmâq, al-Intisàr (Cairo, 1893 A H ), I, 62, al-Kmdï, Kitâb al-Wulât (Beirut, 1908), pp 13, 65, Ibn Taghnbirdï, al-Nujüm al-Zähira (Cairo, 1936), I, 66-67 9 M Sharon, Pillars of Smoke and Fire ρ 231 10 Shorter EI (Leiden, 1974), s ν "Kibla," 260, EI new ed , s ν "Kanïsa," IV 545, The Synac tractate, "Doctrine of the Apostles," m W Cureton, ed , Ancient Synac Documents (London and Edinburgh, 1864), ρ 24, E Peterson, "Das Kreuz und das gebet nach osten," in Fruhkirche Judentum und Gnosis pp 15￿35, Lexicon fur Theologie und Kirche s ν "Ostung " 11 WA Mmgana, ed, "Timothy's Apology," in Woodbrooke Studies, Π, 28￿30, G Graf, ed, Die Schriften Des Jacobiten Habib Ibn Khidma (Louvain, 1951), pp 154￿55, Eutychius, Kitäb al-Burhän (Louvain, 1960), pp 163-65 12 Al-KhaM b Ahmad, (d 175 A H ), Kitäb al-^Ayn (Baghdad, 1981), II, 265, Fayruzabâdï, Bas&ir (Cairo, 1385 A H ) , II, 280




development into a prayer place seems to have been acquired through connoting it with the sense of being completely sold, i.e., belonging in devotion to God. Through the Masora material, we come across instances where people express the byc (selling) of themselves to their prophet or even their mubSyaca (allegiance) to God.13 However, the Quranic context in which the plural form biyac occurs conveys a favorable attitude where it is stated that such biyac (places of prayer), together with monks' cells {$awamrì, Jewish synagogues ($alawät\ and mosques, were saved from destruction "by some people repelling others." From some taf sir sources we learn that what was meant was the repellling of polytheists by the Muslims for the purpose of saving such prayer places.14 Though not explicitly mentioned in the Qu^ân, Christian prayer to the east (mashriq) was alluded to by some commentaries in a few verses where such a term or a variant form of it occurs. Examples of such an allusion concern the phrase "li H-lah al-mashriq wa cl-maghrib" which in S. 2:177 occurs indeed in the context of turning one's face in prayer.15 However, S. 2:115 where the same phrase occurs is usually interpreted by a narrative which actually concedes to a no-qibla prayer while riding at night, or on a cloudy day.16 Such a sense of concession is supported by some traditions attributing to the Prophet, cUmar, and to other companions and successors, the saying: "mä bayn al-mashriq wa cl-maghrib qibla."17 It is in this context of concession that the Prophet is also reported to have prayed not towards the qibla while travelling on his rähila, on an ass, to Khaybar, etc. Ina few variants of such reports, however, it was noted that he directed such prayer towards the east (nahw/qibal al-mashriq).18
13 E.g., wa H-bäyMna nufüsahum li-nabiyyihim (and those who sell their souls to their prophet); yadu) l-lâhi bayna H-akhshabayni nubâyi (w (we give allegiance to the hand of God between the two mountains of Mecca), etc. See: Ibn Hishäm, Sira (Beirut, 1975), IV, 79, 117. These two verses are attributed to <Abbäs b. Mirdäs and Ka<b b. Zuhayr, respectively. 14 E.g., see Miqätil b. Sulaymán, Tafsir, Ms. Istanbul, III Ahmet 74/2, fol. 25(b); Ibn Qutayba, Tafsir Gharib al-Quf>an (Beirut, 1978), pp. 293-94; al-Farrá>, MaSäni al-Qur>än (Cairo, 1980), Π, 227. 15 Al-Tabarï, Tafsir (Cairo, 1374 A.H.), III, 337-38; Ibn Jaziyy, al-Tashil li-Wtam al-Tanzil (Beirut, 1973), I, 69; al-Nasafï, Tafsir (Beirut, n.d.), I, 90. 16 Muqàtil, Tafsir, 1,20(b); al-Jaban, Tafsir, II, 526-36; Ibn Qutayba, Tafsir, p. 62; Ibn Jaziyy, al-Tashil, I, 57; Wähidi, Asbäb al-Nuzül (Cairo, 1316 A.H.), pp. 141-42; <Abd al-Jabbar, Tanzih al-Quf>ân (Beirut, n.d.), pp. 33-34. See also Ibn (Arabfs Sharh in the margin of Tirmidhï, Sahih (Cairo, 1931), II, 138. 17 Compare: Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf (Bombay, 1979), II, 361; Tirmidhï, Sahih, II, 140-41; Ibn Maja, Sunan (Cairo, 1952), I, 323; Malik, Muwatta> (Cairo, 1951), I, 155; Ibn Humayd, al-Muntakhab min al-Musnad (Cairo, 1988), p. 130. 18 Compare: Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf II, 493-96; Malik, Muwatta?, I, 126-27 (ed. Beirut, n.d., pp. 83-84); Ibn Hanbal, Musnad (Cairo, 1313 A.H.), II, 57, 83; III, 300, 330, 332, 334, 379, 389; al-Dànmï, Sunan (Beirut, n.d.), I, 356; Abu Dawüd, Sunan (Beirut, n.d.), II, 8-9; al-Bukhan, Sahih (Beirut, 1981), II, 37; V, 55; Muslim, Sahih (Beirut, n.d.), II, 71-72, 148-150; al-Tahâwî Sharh Metani al-Äthär (Delhi, 1348 A.H.), 264; al-Nasa>ï, Sunan (Cairo, 1987), I, 243-44; II, 60-61; III, 6; al-Bustl, Mcfälim al-Sunan (Halab, 1932), I, 266; al-Shâfi<ï, al-Umm (Beirut, 1980), I, 117-19; Abü Ya <lä, Musnad (Damascus, 1985), IV, 178.



Other Qur'anic instances m which "mashriq"occurs are S. 37:5 and S. 70:40 where God is called "rabbu al-mashSriq" i.e., the God of sunrises, which are identified by some sources as either 177 or 180 yearly locations (variably depending on the lunar and solar systems) of sunrises.19 We also notice that the same phrase occurs in two poetic verses by Hassan b. Thäbit and Suräqa b. Mirdâs as titles for Allah and al-Rahmän.20 While such occurrences can echo traces of a certain solar system of worship, no clear Christian ring was attached to them. One the other hand, a few commentaries made allusions to Christian prayer to the east in the context of interpreting S. 19:16, where Maryam was stated to have secluded herself in a makänan sharqiyyan prior to conceiving Jesus. The idea reiterated here is that such a place of seclusion was a mashruqa/mashraqa, i.e., a room facing the winter sunrise, or that she simply moved to the east, with a few commentators adding that, hence, "the Christians pray eastwards."21 A cross-examination of the lexical information on the root shrq confirms that tasharruq and tashiq mean to turn eastwards or sit in a mashruqa/mashraqa/musharraqat which is again interpreted as a location or a room facing the sunrise, especially the southeast m winter. Indeed some sources strikingly point to the fact that "musharraq"m Arabic means a prayer place (musalläX especially during a festival (muralla al-cTd)22 FayrüzabädT in particular adds that muçallâaHTdwas called "musharraq"because prayer was conducted in it at sunrise.23 There are of course, conflicting views of whether to call any prayer place as musharraq or to limit it to that of Mecca where prayer of the festival was conducted.24 Probably more interesting is the information that the mosque of al-Khayf in Mecca was called al-Musharraq25

Compare Muqätil, Tafsir, II, 109(a), 209(a), Ibn Jaziyy, al-Tashil, III, 168 Ibn Hishàm, Sira III, 29, al-Taban, Tärikh, VI, 122 Compare also with Ibn Hishäm, Sira, III, 162, where "rabbu H-mashnq" occurs m a verse of Ka(b b Malik as a title for God to whom the Muslims submitted their souls during the Battle of the Ditch 21 Fayrûzabâdï, Tafsir Ibn <Abbäs (Cairo, 1951), ρ 190, Muqâtil, Tafsir I, 231(b), Ibn Qutayba, Tafsir ρ 273, Farrâ>, Ma<ânï, II, 163, al-Tabarî, Tafsir, XVI, 45-46, Ibn Jaziyy, al-Tashil, III, 3, Ibn al-Yazïdï, Gharib al-Qur>än (Beirut, 1987), ρ 110 Compare, however, with Abü <Ubayda's commentary note that "the Arabs considered eastwards to be better than westwards " Abu <Ubayda, Majäz al-Qur>an (Cairo, 1962), II, 3 22 Ibn Durayd, Jambara (Haydarabad, 1345 A H ), II, 346, al-Azharî, Tahdhib (Cairo, 1964), VIII, 318, al-Zamakhshan, Asäs al-Balägha (Cairo, 1922), I, 488 23 Fayrûzabâdï, Basä>ir III, 312 24 Ibn Manzür, Usan al-^Arab (Cairo, 1308 A H ), XII, 40-46, al-Zabïdï, Taj al-^Arus (Cairo, 1306 A H ) , VI, 391-94 Compare also with al-Saghànï, al-Takmila (Cairo, 1979), V, 89 25 Ibn Manzür, Lisân, al-Zabïdï, Taj, al-Jawharì, Taj (Cairo, 1282 A H ) , II, 94




There is strong evidence for the idea that other prayer places were called musharraqat in early Islam.26 Musrüq b. al-Ajdac (d. 63 A.H.) is reported to have said to a maa "let us go to the musharraq, meaning muçallâ." Shucba b. al-Hajjäj (d. 160 A.H.) reported how Simäk b. Harb (d. 123 A.H.) said to him on a festival day, "let us go the musharraq, meaning the muçallâ."27 One cannot overlook the fact that such information is brought by an early source like Abu cUbayd from al-A§macT (d. 213-217 A.H.) in the context of interpreting tashrTq as the festival prayer conducted in Mecca on the sunrise of the 10th of Dhu al-Hijja.28 It is also in this context that the hadith, "whoever makes the offering before the tashrTq shall do it again," is reported, albeit in a mursal form by Shacbï (D. 103. A.H.). Moreover, from Abu cAbd al-Rahmän alSulamT (d. 72-85 A.H.) we learn about c All's ruling that "no Friday or tashrTq [prayer] can be conducted except in a community center" (läjumca wa-lä tashrTq illä fT mi$rin jämi*).29 The other alternative explanations given for tashrTq were that: 1) the Quraysh used to make the nafr during the Hajj rituals when the sun had risen on Mount Thabïr (a practice contradicted by the Prophet);30 2) the offerings were not slaughtered until the sun rose (a view promoted by Ibn al-Acrâbï>,313) the term tashrTq meant takbTr following the festival prayer (a view heavily associated with the name of Abu HanTfa);32 and 4) the term tashrTq rather meant the drying of sacrificial meat in the sun. However, in spite of their apparent differences, these interpretations point in fact to the possibility that tashrTq originally meant a religious festivity connected with the sunrise, though the last interpretation given to it affected some dampening of this general sense.33
26 A unique tradition cited by Ibn Hanbal says that the Prophet was seen in Musharraq Thaqifreciting the Qur>än and calling people there to support him. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 335. 27 Abu <Ubayd (d. 224 A.H.), Gharib al-Hadith (Haydarabad, 1976), III, 452-54; Zabïdï, Taf, Ibn Manzür, Lisän; al-Azharï, Tahdhib, III, 318. 28 Compare also with the late Ibn Hajr, Tafsir Gharib al-Hadith (Beirut, n.d.), p. 132. 29 Ibn Abï Shayba, Musannaf, II, 101; Abu <Ubayd, Gharib al-Hadith, III, 452; Zayd b. <Α1ϊ, Musnad (Beirut, 1328 A.H.), p. 146; al-Azharï, Tahdhib, VIII, 318; al-Zamakhsharï, al-F&iq, I, 674; Zabïdï, Taj, VI, 394; Ibn Manzür, Lisän, XII, 43. For the sources which reported this tradition in a prophetic, marfQS, form and the debate over its authenticity see al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahädith al-Dacifa (Damascus, 1399 A.H.), II, 317-19. 30 On such a position being taken by the Prophet, see al-Dârimï, Sunan, II, 59-60; al-Azraqï, Akhbär Makka (Güttingen, 1275 A.H.), pp. 130-131. 31 It is in this context that the above-mentioned mursal tradition of the Prophet commands not to make an offering before tashriq. 32 On takbir during the tashriq days, see Abu Däwüd, al-Maräsil (Beirut, 1986), p. 96; al-Mizzï, Tuhfat al-Ashraf(Bombiiy, 1976), XIII, 326; al-Hàkim, Mustadrak (Riyad, 1968), I, 299-300. Malik, Muwatta\ I, 282-83. 33 To the inquiry of Jâbir al-Ju<fì concerning the reason for calling the days of tashriq as such, Ja<far alSádiq (d. 148 A.H.) replied: "People used to turn (e.g., to pray) to the sun (yusharriqüna li Η￿shams) in Mina during the Hajj and outside their abodes and houses." al-Fakihï, Tarikh Makka, Ms. Leiden, Or. 463, fol. 512(b). Compare also with the view attributed by the same source to Qatâda (d. 117-118 A.H.), which says that the reason was rather the drying of meat. More on the obscurity of this term in Th. W. Juynboll, "Über die Bedeutung des Wortes Taschrik," Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, (1912), XXVII, 1-7.



From the numerous traditions forbidding fasting during the tashrTq days34 and prayer at sunrise,35 we can actually learn that these were widespread practices. We also notice that some of the latter equate the rays of the sun (qam al-shams) with the horn of the devil (qarn alshaytân)36 Such prohibition must be viewed against the background of numerous other traditions which condemn the east/sunrise (al-mashriq) as the source of unbelief (kufr) and seductive temptation (fitna) In several variants of these traditions, such as condemnation includes the warning that with/from the mashriq rise the horns/rays of the devil/sun.37 From a few commentaries on these traditions we learn that the intent behind these traditions was the condemnation of sun worshipping because it equals worshipping the devil who also raises his head at the time of the sunrise.38 A similar position is expressed in the Babylonian Talmud where it was stated that God is enraged when the kings put their crowns on their heads and fall prostrate at the sight of the sunrise.39 As for traditional Islam, note has been taken of the strong connotation between condemning the mashriq (east/sunrise) and praising the south (yaman) as the source of belief, wisdom, and deliverance· an idea which has clear parallels in gnostic Christianity as well as in Judaism from the period of the Prophets.40 Against this background, the numerous prophetical traditions which say that anti-Christ (al-dajjäll) will come from the mashriq41 can be understood as a rejection of both the Christian belief that the Son of Man will come from the east and of prayer towards the sunrise. However, some "historical" elements specifying where exactly the dajjäl will come from and who will be his followers appear in certain traditional formulations undoubtedly under the impact of actual historical developments. As an example of such "historical" interference, one may point to the advent of the cAbbásid power from the east

34 E g , in Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf IV, 19, 21, Ibn Humayd, al-Muntakhab pp 262-63, al-Dânmï, Sunan II, 23-24, Muslim, Sahih III, 153, al-Tahâwï, Sharh I, 428-30, al-Hâkim, Mustadrak 1,434 35 More on this issue, below 36 Muslim, Sahih II, 104-105, al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra (Hayderabad, 1344 A H ), I, 378-79, Ibn Maja, Sunan I, 396-97, al-Nasâ>ï, Sunan I, 275, Malik, Muwatta> (Cairo) I, 220, (Beirut ρ 77, Ibn Hanbal, Musnad IV, 348, al-shâfi<ï, al-Umm I, 172, and Ikhtiläf al-Hadïth (Beirut, 1985), ρ 115￿16, Ibn Qutayba, Ta>wil Mukhtalaf al￿Hadith (Beirut, 1326 A Η ), pp 84￿87, al-Tahâwî, Sharh I, 90, 232 "Compare Ibn Humayd, al-Muntakhab ρ 241, al-Daylamï(d 509 A H ), al-Firdaws(Beirut, 1986), V, 23, Abu Ya<là, Musnad, III, 37, VII, 259, 360, IX, 339, 383, X, 49-50, XI, 457, al-Tabarânï, al-Mu^jam al-Kabir (Baghdad, 1980), VIII, 346, al-Haythamï, MajmS al-Zawahd (Cairo and Beirut, 1987), II, 225, Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf XII, 182-85, Malik, Muwatta> II, 243, 246, Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, II, 18, 23, 73, 90, 92, 111, 121, al-Bukhàrî, Sahih IV, 97, 157, VIII, 95, Muslim, Sahih, I, 52-53, VIII, 180-82 38 Al-Qastaläni, Irshäd al-Sâri (Cairo, 1293 A H ), V, 366, Χ, 226, al-Nawawï, Sharh Muslim in the margin of al-Qastalânï, I, 422-23 See also Ibn Manzür, Lisän XVII, 210, al-Zabïdï, Taj IX 306 39 Sanhédrin 100/2 40 More in S Bashear, "Yemen in Early Islam," Arabica (1989), XXXVI, 327-361 41 Al-Humaydï (d 219 A H ), Musnad (Beirut, 1382 A H ), I, 178, Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, II, 397, 407408, 457, Muslim, Sahih VIII, 203-205, Abu Däwüd, Sunan IV, 118-19, Abuü Ya<lâ, Musnad II, 346



which may have affected the appearance of traditions saying that black banners from the east will prepare the coming of the MahdT as against those which insisted that the dajjâl will specifically come from Khurâsân.42

From the Prophet to cUmar
The information about the Prophet's attitude to churches and prayer in them is extremely sporadic and does not allow for a conclusive "historical" presentation of the issue. For example, we learn from the traditional versions on the nocturnal journey by Abu Hurayra, Anas b. Malik and Shaddâd b. Aws that one of the places which the Prophet visited and prayed in on his way to Jerusalem was the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem.43 There is also the tradition of al-Walïd b. Muslim (Syrian, d. 194 A.H.) which adds that during that journey the Prophet saw a light shining on David's tower (Mihrab Däwüd) and Mary's tomb in Jerusalem and, hence, the two places became recommended for later Muslim visitations.44 Another place recommended by some of these sources is the Mount of Olives, identified as the place of ascension of Jesus to heaven: it was visited by the Prophet's wife, $af iyya, and a prayer place (muralla) Bearing the name of cUmar was also reported to have been built there later.45 We shall deal later with cUmar 's reported prayers in certain Christian churches in Jerusalem. As for the Prophet, we have a widely circulated tradition according to which he strongly condemned drawing pictures of saints (icons) when his wives, Umm Salama and Umm HabTba, told him that they saw them in a church in Ethiopia.46 However, such condemnation must be seen as part of the Muslim iconoclastic literature and will concern us only inasmuch as it directly figures in the debate over the question of whether Muslims are allowed to pray in churches.47
Compare: Ibn Humayd, al-Muntakhab, p. 30; al-Tirmidhï, Sahih, X, 89-90; Abu Ya<la, Musnad, I, 39-40; al-Häkim, Mustadrak, IV, 527-28; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, I, 4; II, 199; III, 64; IV, 216, 421; Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 1356-62, 1367-68; Muslim, Sahih, VIII, 197-98. See also The Shorter Ε.1., s.v. "Dajjäl" and M. Sharon, Black Banners From the East (Jerusalem, 1983), p. 89. 43 AI-Musharraf b. al-Murajjà, FadaHl, Ms. Tübingen, VI, 27, fols. 89(b)-90(a); Ibn al-Firkah, Bfrith alNufüs, in Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society (1935), XV, 58; Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 66-67; alWasitï, FadäHl (Jerusalem, 1979), pp. 62, 72; Ibn al-Jawzï, fadäHl (Beirut, 1980), pp. 119-20; Diyâ> al-Dïn, Fadani (Damascus, 1985), p. 58; Nuwayri, Nihäyat al-Arab (Cairo, n.d.), I, 338. 44 Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns, II, 55; al-Musharraf, FadäHl, fols. 87(b)-88(a); Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 238; Ibn al-Jawzï, Fada>il, p. 121; Ibn al-Firkäh, BäHth, in JPOS, XV, 67. 45 Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns, II, 61; Ibn al-Firkah, Bäith, in JPOS, XV, 68, 72. 46 Al-Bukhàrï, Sahih, I, 112; II, 93; IV, 245; Muslim, Sahih, II, 66-67; al-Nasâ>ï, Sunan, II, 41-42; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, VI, 51. 47 See below. For a good review of the material on Muslim iconoclasm, see P. Crone, "Islam, JudeoChristianity and Byzantine iconoclasm," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, (Jerusalem, 1980), II, 59-95, and the sources cited therein. The commonest Muslim iconoclastic tradtion and one which enjoyed the widest circulation in hadith compilation is the prophetic saying: "Angels do not enter a house which has a picture or a dog in it." For this and similar other traditions see: Malik, Muwatta? (ed. Beirut), 320-21; al-Humaydï, Musnad, I, 206; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, III, 335; al-Dárimi, Sunan, II, 284; al-Bukhârï, Sahih, IV, 82; V, 15; VII, 64-67; Muslim, Sahih, VI, 155-62; al-Qastalanï, Irshäd, V, 324-26, 374; VI, 318; Vili, 570-72; al-Nawawï, Sharh Muslim, Vili, 507-508; al-Suyüti, al-Jäml· al-Saghir (Cairo, 1954), Π, 200; al-Manâwï, Kunüz al-HaqäHq, in the margin of al-Suyutï, al-Jämi< al-Saghir, II, 155; alDhahabi, Kitäb al-Kabä>ir (Damascus and Beirut, n.d.), pp. 181-83; Ibn Humayd, al-Muntakhab, p. 206.



A few Muslim sources name bathrooms, cemeteries, and certain other locations where prayer was traditionally prohibited.48 But, as far as I know, churches were never mentioned by the Prophet among such places. On the other hand, there is a prophetical tradition which forbids mixing with Jews and Christians on their festivals since divine rage descends upon them during those times. However, this tradition was considered "weak" and occurs mostly in mawcjü'ät compilations.49 It is also interesting to see that a similar statement was attributed to cUmar where a specific prohibition to enter churches on festival occasions was added.50 There is one more tradition transmitted by cUmar b. $ubh from Muqätil b. Hayyân (d. ca. 150 A.H.) which attributes to the Prophet urging those who enter churches and other non-Muslim places of prayer to say "there is no god but Allah and we worship no one but Him."51 But actually the only "historical" policy the Prophet is reported to have taken towards churches comes in the form of an isolated tradition concerning a church of a certain branch of BanO Hanïfa. It relates how he told a delegation of that branch to change their bT% which had a monk from Banö Tay5, into a mosque simply by cleansing it with water.52 Such sporadic and meagre information left later scholars a very narrow prophetical ground to rely on. AHAynï (d. 855 A.H.) quotes the Prophet's saying, "the land was made a mosque and a punfyer for me," in order to prove that prayer in churches, though it is makruh (disliked), is certainly not haräm (forbidden).53 Ibn Hajar (d. 852 AH.) in his turn says that the Prophet's condemnation of icons in the churches of Ethiopia "contains an indication" (fThi ishara) for forbidding Muslims to pray in them ** This probably explains why most later attitudes and rulings sought authorities other than the Prophet's, namely those of companions and even successors, to rely on. Of these, the name of cUmar tops the list, albeit with reported rulings and practices pointing to two opposite directions—a clear warning of the long time it took traditional Islam to crystallize its position on the matter. To start with, the position of cUmar's rejection of entrance to churches was brought without isnad by only one classical hadïth compilation, that of Bukhârï.55 The reason given by him for such an attitude was the existence of statues (tamâthîl) and pictures ($uwar) there, and Bukhârï immediately adds that Ibn cAbbäs used to pray in a church (bTca) which did not have statues.
For example, see al-Häkim, Mustadrak, I, 251, al-Dânmï, Sunan, I, 322-23, Abu Dâwûd, Sunan I, 32-33, Ibn Maja, Sunan I, 246, Abu Ya<la, Musnad II, 503 The other locations usually added are Dunghills, butcheries, road intersections, camels' kneeling places, and the roof of the Ka<ba See also the comment of al-Bustï, Maiälim, I, 149-56 49 E g, Ibn Hibbân (d 354 A H ) , Kitäb al-Majrühin (Haydarabad, 1970), I, 132, Ibn al-Qaysarâm (d 507 A H ) , Ma<rifat al-Tadhkira (Beirut, 1985), ρ 249, al-Kmânï (d 963 A H ) , Tanzih al-Shari<a (Beirut, 1979), II, 183 50 <Abd al-Razzaq (d 211 A H ), Musannaf(Beirut, 1971 ), 1,411, al-Bayhaqï, Sunan, IX, 234, al-Suyutï, al-Amr bi H-Ittibä^ (Cairo, 1986), ρ 70 51 Al-Tabarânï, al-Mtfjam al-Kabir XII, 136, al-Kinàni, Tanzih, II, 183 52 Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf II, 80, al-Nasâ>ï, Sunan II, 38-39 53 Al-<Ayni, Wmdat al-Qâri IV, 194 54 Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bäri I, 551 55 Al-Bukhân, Sahih I, 112



Few later sources reiterate cUmar's statement without further details.56 From sources earlier than Bukhârï, we learn more about the isnäd and historical context for such statements. A tradition of Aslam, mawlä (a client) of c Umar (d. 70-80 A.H.) on the authority of Näfic, mawlä of Ibn cUmar (d. 199120 A.H.) says that when cUmar visited Syria a Christian leader prepared a feast in a church and invited him there, but he refused to attend saying, V e do not enter your/their churches because of the statues and pictures," etc.57 Only one late source brings without isnäd an isolated variant of this story which adds that cUmar sent cAlï in his place. The latter headed other Muslims, ate there, looked at the pictures, and even expressed his wonder at why cUmar did not join.58 Such an addition to the original story aimed probably to point to the Shïca general tendency of tolerating prayer in churches, a position which will be tackled later. As for cUmar's attitude, it must be contrasted with the extensive evidence provided by a few geographic, faffili and ziyârât, sources which indicate that he prayed in certain churches and hold Christian locations in Jerusalem. One of these places is the above noted Mount of Olives which according to some sources, was the place of ascension of Jesus to heaven and where cUmar performed his prayers and, hence, a "muralla" or a mosque bearing his name was eventually erected.59 We also learn that, apart from c Umar, other early Muslims, especially ascetic figures, used to visit that place and were buried there. Besides the Prophet's wife $afíyya, noted above, mention can be made of the companions Shaddäd b. Aws, cUbäda b. al-§âmit and the successors Ibn Abï Zakanyyâ, Ziyâd b. Sawda, and Râbica al-cAdawiyya (d. 135 A.H.).60 Another Christian holy place connected with the name of cUmar in Jerusalem is one called Mihrab Maryam where as in the Qur'än, 19.16, she is said to have secluded herself when she got pregnant with Jesus, and, hence, the place was sometimes called the birth place (mahd)of clsa. In this place a Mihräb of c Umar was also said to have been erected, though it was sometimes confused with the one in the other place called Mahd clsä in Muslim sources, i.e., the Church of Nativity m Bethlehem.61 Such information, however, was eventually contradicted by both traditional Muslim and Christian Arab sources which played down Muslim sanctif ication/take-over of Christian churches and holy places. A clear Syrian tradition by al-WalTd b. Muslim (d. 195-196 A.H.) from chains of the Jerusalemite family of Shaddad b. Aws says that cUmar refused to pray in the
36 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d 751 A H ), Ankam Ahi αΙ￿Dhimma (Damascus, 1961), II, 712, al￿Zarka￿ shï (d 794 A H ) , Fläm al-Säjid (Cairo, 1385 A H ), ρ 383, and Sharh Sahih al-Bukhári (Cairo, 1933), II, 45 57 <Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf I, 411-12, Ibn Abï Shayba, Musannaf, XIII, 41, cf also Sahnün b Sa<ïd (d 240 A H ) , al-Mudawwana al-Kubrä (Cairo, 1324 A H ), I, 90, al-<Ayni, <Umdat al-Qäri, IV, 192, alQastalànï, Irshäd I, 550, Ibn Hajar, Fath, II, 77 58 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Ighäthat al-Lahfän (Cairo, 1939), I, 157 59 Ibn al-Faqïh, Mukhtasar, ρ 101, al-Muqaddasï, Ahsan, ρ 172, Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf, I, 222 60 AI-Musharraf, FadäW fol 85(a), Shiháb al-Dïn, Muthir, pp 35, 49, Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf, I, 221-222, Iban al-Jawzï, Fadftil, ρ 70, al-Maqdisï, Ahsan, ρ 171 61 Compare al￿Musharraf, FadäHl, fols 31(a), 96(a-b), Ibn al-Firkâh, Ba<ith, m JPOS, XV, 72, Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 196, al-Harawï (d 611 A H ), al-Ishärät (Damascus, 1953), ρ 29



Holy Sepulcher (al-Qiyämah) or in the Church of Zion when the Jerusalem Patriarch suggested that upon the occupation of the city.62 Actually the same information is given by Eutychius, Patriarch of Alexandria (d. 328 A.H.), who adds that cUmar refused to pray m the Church of Bethlehem too.63 Another major case where one feels that there was a sharp change of attitude is in the reported information of cUmar's prayer in the Church of Gethsemane (the Tomb of Mary—qabr Maryano and his later regret for having done so. Such information is provided by another clear Syrian tradition, that of Sacïd b. cAbd al-cAzTz (d. 167 A.H.). It says: "when cUmar conquered Jerusalem he passed by the Church of Maryam, made two prostrations but regretted doing so because of the Prophet's saying, 'that is one of the valleys of hell.' " According to a few variants, cUmar expressed his regret by saying: "our fate is to have made two prostrations in the valley of hell," etc.64 Another uniquely isolated variant of this tradition was reported by two Syrians: c Ubayd b. Adam aHAsqalänT (d. 258 A.H.) and Shucayb (b. Ishâq al-Dimashqï, d. 189-198 A.H.). It says that when cUmar prayed there he refused to spit in that place and even when he was told that polytheism is committed there he responded: "the name of God is also mentioned in it."65 It seems that playing down cUmar's prayer in Gethsemane was a function of the conflicting currents in early Islam over the sanctity of certain locations in Jerusalem and the city's position in Islam, as the element of the Prophet's tradition concerning the "valley of hell" testifies to, and not necessarily of Muslim prayer in churches as such. One can even say that such a shift occurred around the turn of the century because the tradition of the Syrian Khälid b. Macdan (d. 103-118 A.H.) urges visitors of Jerusalem "to pray at the eastern Mihräb of Däwöd" (most probably the Aq§3 Mosque itself) and m any case not to enter churches or buy ò/yac(monk cells?) in them. This tradition was attributed to Khälid by his daughter, cAbada/Umm c Abdullah, as reported by Bishr b. Bakr and al-Mughïra b. cAbd al-Rahmân.66 It is interesting to notice that the variants brought by Ibn al-Jawzï and NuwayrT drop the element of forbidding entrance to churches 67 Another testimony to such shift is a tradition attributed to Kacb by two Syrian-Palestinian chains of isnäd on the authority of both Thawr b. Yazïd (from Him§, died in Jerusalem, 153 A.H.) and Muhammad b. Man§ür b. Thäbit (Jerusalemite, active around mid-second century). It warns against visiting the Church of Maryam (Gethsemane) and the two columns in the Church of the Mount of Olives (al-Tûr) because they were considered idols (tawaghTt) Again, one variant of this tradition blames the Christians for building a church in the "valley of hell."68
Al-Musharraf, Fodahl fol 21(a), Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 236, Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns, I, 255-56 Ibn al-Bitnq, Tarikh II, 17-19 64 Compare al-Musharraf, Fadähl fol 90(b), Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 213, Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns II, 61-62 65 Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf, I, 239 66 Compare al-Wasitï, FadäHl, pp 13, 44, al-Musharraf, Fadahl, fols 88(a)-89(b), Shihäb al-Dïn, Muthïr ρ 40, Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 144, 212, Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns, II, 57 67 Ibn al-Jawzï, Fadahl pp 97-98, al-Nuwayn, Nihâyat al-Arab I, 334 "Compare al-Wâsitï, Fadähl pp 21, 24, al-Musharraf, Fadähl fols 90(a-b), 95(a), Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 214, Mujïr al-Dïn, al-Uns II, 61-62
63 62



To end the discussion on cUmar's attitude towards churches, note must be made of a unique report which is reminiscent of the Prophet's directions to Banu Hanïfa concerning turning their bTca into a mosque. A tradition brought in the Musannaf of Ibn Abï Shayba says that cUmar recommended for the people of Najrän to clean a bTca in their country with water and lotus (sidr) and pray in it.69

Other Companions, Successors and Scholars:
Umar was not the only companion reported to have prayed in a church or a Christian holy place. Note has already been made of Mucawiya's prayer in the Church of Mary and on Golgotha in Jerusalem and of cAmr b. al-cħ's prayer in a church in Egypt. We have also seen that the names of $afiyya and a few other companions and successors were connected with the place of the ascension of Jesus on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. To this list, the name of c Abduläh b. cAmr b. al-cħ is added by a tradition on the authority of Ibn c At iyya (d. 132 A.H.) which says that he used to visit the Church of Bethlehem and to present oil for lighting there.70 BukhärT's anonymous statement noted above that Ibn cAbbäs used to pray in churches which did not have icons is supported by some earlier as well as later sources with some details being added. Above all, there is the full isnad brought by cAbd al-Razzâq and Ibn Abï Shayba with the line Thawrï (d. 161 A.H.)—Khu§ayf (an Umayyad mawlä d. 136-139 A.H.KMiqsam (d. 101 A.H.) who testifies that Ibn c Abbäs used to dislike prayer in a church which had icons (tamâthïl) in it.71 Ibn al-Mundhir and Baghawï are also said to have brought Ibn cAbbas's view though in a moulded form with that of Malik b. anas (d. 179 A.H.) who only ruled not to pray in churches which had icons. However, this original position was not completely dampened and was reiterated by a few later sources, albeit without isnäd.73 A few sources casually say that Abu Miisâ al-Ashcarï prayed in a church ($alä fT kanlsai but do not give any details.74 The main source for this information seems to be Ibn AbT Shayba who gives the following Syrian isnäd:

69 Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf II, 79; cf. also al-<Aynï, Wmdat al-Qârï, IV, 192; Sayyid Sâbiq, Fiqh alSunna (Beirut, 1969), I, 254. 70 Al-Musharraf, FadaHl, fol. 90(a); Shihâb al-Dïn, Muthir, p. 15. 71 <Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf I, 411; Ibn Abï Shayba, Musannaf II, 80. 72 Al-Baghawfs quoted source is al-jcfidiyyät. See for it: al-<Aynï, ^Umdat al-Qäri, IV, 192; Ibn Hajar, Fath, II, 77-78; and compare with al-Zarkashï, Nam, pp. 383-84; Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 215. More on Malik, below. 73 Al-Qastalânï, Irshäd, I, 550-51; Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf I, 215; Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh, I, 254. 74 Ibn Qayyim, Ahkäm, II, 712; al-Zarkashï, Fläm, pp. 283-84; Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf ibid; Sayyid Säbiq, Fiqh, ibid.



WakTc (b. al-Jarrah, d. 197 A.H.)-Abü Fucjäla-Azhar al-Harrânï (a Him§î, d 128129 A.H.). We also learn that the place Abu Müsä prayed in is the Church of Nahyá, possibly a miscopy of Yahyä, John the Baptist, in Damascus.75 From another Syrian tradition by the early second century Damascene, c Abbäs b. Sähm al-LakhamT, we learn that another prominent companion, c Abdullah b. Mascüd, used to sit on the steps of the Church of Damascus and circulate hadTth material. According to this tradition, Ibn Mascud was seen doing so by the Syrian successor, Abu IdrTs al-KawlänT (d. 80 A.H.).76 There is a third tradition this time by Ibn Sïrïn (d. 110 A.H.), which says that also Mucäwiya and cUbäda b. al-$ämit were seen meeting in a church to discuss prophetical hädTth π Actually, Ibn Sïrïn himself as well as other early second century prominent successors like Shacbï (d. 103 A.H.), Hasan al-Ba$n (d. 110 A.H.), and Ibrâhïm (al-Nakhacï?) are said by a few sources to have conceded prayer in churches (al-tarkhT$ frhä/lam yarü fThä bausán)78 Of more historical importance, however, is the information that cUmar b. cAbd al-cAzïz summoned people in a church after he was made caliph. Such information occurs in the early sources of Ibn Sacd and Ibn Abï Shayba but seems not to have enpyed a good circulation thereafter.79 It comes in the form of two traditions reported by Wakïc b. al-Jarrah (d. 197 A.H.) and his cousin Muhammad b. Rabïca (d. ca. 190 A.H.) from two early second century figures, cUthmän b. Abï Hind and Ismacil b. Râf ic (d. 110-120 A.H.) who actually took part in this prayer. Note also that in the variant brought by Ibn Abï Shayba from Wakïc this prayer was said to have been conducted in none other than the Church of Damascus. When trying to deal with the views and rulings attributed to scholars from the mid-second century on, the picture becomes less clear. This may be explained by the fact that Muslims were gradually acquiring their own separate mosques as well as independent religious concepts and institutions, so that prayer in somebody else's place was becoming more of a scholastic issue. Malik b. Anas (d. 179 A.H.), we are told, disliked prayer in churches owing to their impurity (najäsa) and the icons held in them. Only when he was confronted with the question of necessity during travelling in a cold and rainy country and without having anywhere else to lodge was he ready to rule for a concession.80 From another source, we learn that he disliked performing prayer in churches because of the impurity of their people keeping swines and wine in them but conceded in cases of extreme necessity owning to a heavy

Ibn Abi Shayba, Musannaf II, 80 Ibn <As3kir, Tarikh (Damascus, 1982), ρ 80; al-Bukhârï, al-Tarikh al-Kabir (Haydarabad, 1970), IV/1, 7 77 Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 757 78 Ibn Abï Shayba, Musannaf, II, 79-80, al-Zarkashï, Fläm, pp 383-84, Shams al-Dïn, Ithäf, I, 215, al-<Aynï, Wmdat al-Qäri, IV, 192, Sayyid Sábiq, Fiqh, I, 254 79 Ibn Sa<d, Tabaqät, V, 385, Ibn Abï Shayba, Musannaf, II, 80, noted only casually by Sayyid Sabiq, ibid, and without source, isnäd or any other details 80 Sahnün, Mudawwana, I, 90




rain or mud.81 Similarly, the Shäf icï school and the one generally called "a$häb Abï Hanïfa" were reported to dislike prayer in churches owing to an iconoclastic position. This included barring prayer not only in front of pictures hanging on walls but also when they were found on rugs on the floor. We notice, however, that the Shâfi cïyya are reported to have been more categorical in their rejection and even called churches "abodes of devils," (ma^ä al-ShayafTn).82 As for the HanbalT school, three different positions were variably reported 1) outright toleration; 2) outright dislike; 3) dislike of prayer in churches which had icons. Ibn al-Qayyim concludes that this last posit ion" is the obvious [one] of the rite" (wa-hädhä zähir al-madhhab).83 Apart from the iconoclastic consideration, some later sources add a new condition for allowing prayer in churches, namely the permission (idhn) by the Christians to do so. This is done at least by a few Shäf icT scholars quotes by ZarkashT and Shams al-DTn.84 Other considerations mentioned by these are not to give a chance to non-Muslims to demonstrate their ritual or their great number by praying in their places; to make sure that such places are clear of impurity, etc. To conclude this review, one may add that the Sufi position brought by Ibn al-cArabï (d. 638 A.H.) is to allow prayer in churches "because if we pray in these places it would [still] be our rite, not theirs" (fa-in $allaynä fT mithl hädhihi al-amäkin fa-min sharHnä lä min sharHhim).85 The question of whether it is permissible to establish a mosque on a location previously used as a church was not dealt with by any of the early sources I consulted, a fact which looks curious, considering the background of the numerous cases of take-over of non-Muslim places of prayer. Actually, only ZarkashT finds it appropriate to address the issue. However, he gives an unhesitatingly favorable ruling on the ground that the Prophet allowed the people of Ta'if to establish their mosque where their idols stood (haythu känat tawäghTtuhum).86 The Shica traditional material on the subject does not invoke the authority of the prophet. To the name of CA1T, reference is made only once in a tradition brought by a later source with a troubled isnäd. It is Abu al-BukhturT's (SacTd b. Fayrüz? d. 83 A.H.) from Jacfar al-$ädiq (b. 148 A.H.) his father. According to it, CA1T conceded for both ordained and voluntary prayer to be conducted in churches, but added that mosques are better.87

Al-<Aynï, <Umdat al-Qäri, IV, 192. Compare: Ibn Qayyim, Ahkäm, II, 713; Ibn <Âbindïn, Radd al-Muhtàr (Cairo, 1323 A.H.), I, 266; al-Jazïrï, al-Fiqh <-Alä al-Madhâhib ai-Arbola (Beirut, 1972), I, 283. 83 Ibn Qayyim, ibid; but compare with al-Jazïrï, ibid, who only mentions the position of toleration. 84 <Abd al-<Aziz b. <Abd al-Saläm (d. 660 A.H.), Qaw&id al-Ahkäm (Cairo, 1968), II, 132; al-Zarkashï, Fläm, pp. 383-84, quoting Ibn al-Sabbagh (d. 477 A.H.); Shams al-EÄn, Ithäf I, 214-16, quoting alAqfahshï's (d. 750 A.H.), al-Is¥är bi-Ikhtiläfal-<Ulamä\ and al-Räfi<i's (d. 623 A.H.), Nazm al-Wajiz. 85 Ibn al-<Arabï, al-Futühät al-Makkiyya (Beirut, n.d.), I, 409. 86 Al-Zarkashï, Fläm, p. 347. For the tradtion on such a position being adopted by the Prophet, see: Ibn Maja, Sunan, I, 245; al-Bayhaqï, Sunan, II, 439. 87 Al-Majlisï (d. 1111 A.H.) Bihär al-Anwär (Teheran, 1398 A.H.), LXXXIII, 330.




Another tradition brought by an IsmâcïlT, QäcjT al-Nucmän, invokes the authority of "Abu Jacfar al-$ädiq (i.e., Muhammad al-Bäqir, d. 114-118 A.H.) and the imans from among his fathers" m a group form of isnäd It concedes to prayer m sheep's resting places but does not allow it in camels' kneeling places well as "in churches and holy places of other polytheits" except on the condition that these places be swept and splashed with water before prayer (tuknas wa-turashsh wa-yu$allä fThä)88 Three more traditions in which the name of al-Bäqir occurs are concerned with deciding which pictures/icons or statues (tamäthTl) can be permitted during prayer and where they can be located. One through Zurära (b. Mu§cab?) attributes to al-Bäqir permitting pictures of trees.89 The other two were transmitted by Muhammad b. Muslim (ZuhrT? d. 124 A.H.). In one of them, alBäqir actually justifies the existence of pictures and dolls in houses if they are made or used by women in their chambers. In the second, he concedes to prayer with pictures/statues on the right, left, behind or under one's legs; but if they confront him in the qibla then they should be covered with cloth (fa* m känat fT al-qibla fa >lqi calayhä thawban îdha çallayt)90 A tolerant position on prayer in churches is attributed to al-Baqir's brother, Zayd b cAlT (d. 122 A.H.) in a tradition reported by the mam transmitter of his Musnad, Abu Khälid alFWasitï (d. ca. 150 A.H.). According to it, he said "no harm" (wa-mä yacjurruka) in doing such prayer without any conditions or reservations being added.91 Of all the ShTca authorities the name of the Sixth Imam, Jacfar al-$âdiq (d. 148 A.H.) is the one most often stated as tolerating prayer in churches and other related issues. Al-cAyyashT (d. 332. A.H.) cites a tradition by Sâlih b. allHakam which says that al-$adiq permitted prayer in churches because they were clean. When asked whether such prayer was still permitted while nonMuslims used the same place, he answered in the affirmative, suggesting that one turns to the qibla and ignore them (calli ilä al-qibla wa~dachum)92 A set of other traditions, by c Abdullah b. Smän al-HalabT, Abu Jamïla, and Abu Ba§Tr, speaks about the issue of qibla while praying in Christian, Jewish, and even Magian places. From Ibn Sinän and Abu Ba§Tr we learn that al-Sädiq allowed prayer in all these places on condition that they be cleansed by splashing water m them (rushshahä wa~$alli)93 On the other hand, Abu JamTla reported that al-$ädiq conceded to prayer in a place where a Christian or a Jew might be present but not so in the presence of a Magian, where such prayer

DaS&im al-Isläm (Cairo, 1951), I, 143 Al-Barqï (d 274 A H ) , al-Mahäsin (Najaf, 1964), ρ 507 90 Ibid 91 Zayd b <Ali, Musnad ρ 184 92 <Ayyâshï, Tafsir (Qumm, 1380 A H ), II, 316, η (1￿2), cf also al-Tawbalï al-Bahrânï (d 1107 A H ), al-Burhän and al-Kâshï/Kâshânï (d 1311, A H ), al-Sâfi I, 987, note that al-Sàdiq curiously invokes the Qur>än, S 17 84 (Kullun yaímalu calä shäkilatih) in this context 93 Al-Kulaynï (d 328-29) A H ) , al-Käfi (Teheran, 1377 A H ), III, 387, al- Majhsï, Bihâr LXXXIII, 330-31




could be conducted only in a case of extreme necessity and after splashing water.94 Halabï's traditioa in its turn, confirms al-SSdiq's permission to pray in a church on the condition of turning towards the qibla (idhä istaq balta alqibla fa-lä ba^sa bihi).95 It is of some importance to note that these traditions of al-Sädiq are the only ones which show some awareness to the issue of qibla while praying in churches and other non-Muslim places. As for the question of icons, the Muhammad b. Muslim variants of al-Çâdiq's traditions forward statements very similar to the ones he transmitted from al-Bäqir.96 On the whole, however, the tolerant positions reported from Zayd, al-Bäqir, and aKJädiq are played down when we move to the generation of the Seventh Imam, Müsä al-Käzim (d. 179183 A.H.): a process reminiscent of the shift in the positions of Sunnï scholars of the same period. In a tradition of cAlî b. Asbät from CA1T b. Jacfar (d. 210 A.H.) the latter is reported to have asked his brother, al-Käzim, about prayer in a place which has icons on its walls or entrances. To both questions, we are told, al-Käzim responded in the negative.97 Note, however, that, although Majlisï refers to a few later scholars who reportedly disliked prayer in churches because they considered them impure,98 he confirms that the well-known position of ShTca authorities is not to dislike it (al-mashhür bayna al-a§häb cadam karähat al-§alät fî al-bïyac wa-1-kanäMs).99 Traditional Muslim sources of tafsir, lexicography, and other genres provide evidence for a clear awareness in early Islam of prayer towards the east being connected with Christianity and a certain solar system of worship. Although such practice was vehemently contradicted in Muslim tradition where sunrise was connected with the devil and anti-Christ, there are vague traces of its existence in early Islam in the forms of musjarraqäte, tashrTq, qibla musharriqa, etc. As for prayer in churches, the present inquiry has proved beyond doubt that such was not an uncommon practice all over the area and throughout the first and early second centuries. However, the material reviewed above does not address the crucial question of where did cUmar, Mucäwiya, cAmr b. al-cħ and other prominent companions and successors directed such prayer. In-

Al-Kulaynï, al-Kofi, III, 389; al-Majlisï, Bihär, LXXXIII, 331-32. Al-Kulaynï, al-Käfi, III, 388. 96 Compare: al-Kulaynï, al-Käfi, III, 391-92; al-Barqï, al-Mahäsin, p.506. 97 Al-Barqï, al-Mahäsin, pp. 506-7. 98 Lit.: "Li-<adam infikäkihä min al-najäsa ghäliban. " 99 Al-Majlisï, Bihär, LXXXIII, 330-31.




deed, barring prayer in churches or, more accurately, restricting it on turning southwards, watching for icons and ritual impurity seem to belong only to the rulings of authorities from the first half of the second century. Added to the important discovery of the two-qibla mosque of Be'er Orah, our findings may give a certain support to Tor Andrae's suggestion of an early eastern qibla. However, we feel that, as far as the first century is concerned, one cannot speak of "one original qibla of Islam," but rather of several currents in the search for one. It is also plausible to suggest that this search was eventually decided after Islam acquired a central sanctuary, prayer places, and religious concepts and institutions of its own. Institute for Asian and African Studies The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mount Scopus, Jerusalem

Professor Suliman Bashear died in October of 1991 of heart failure, at the age of 47. He is the author of many published books and papers on Islamic history and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Before he joined the Hebrew University in 1987, he was teaching Islamic and Middle Eastern History at both Birzeit and Najah universities on the West Bank. This is his first article to appear in The Muslim World.

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