Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam

Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism

HENRY STUBBE
EDITED AND INTRODUCED BY NABIL MATAR
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/mata15664
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  • Book Info
    Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam
    Book Description:

    Henry Stubbe (1632--1676) was an extraordinary English scholar who challenged his contemporaries by writing about Islam as a monotheistic revelation in continuity with Judaism and Christianity. His major work,The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism, was the first English text to document the Prophet Muhammad's life positively, celebrate the Qur'an as a divine revelation, and praise the Muslim toleration of Christians, undermining a long legacy of European prejudice and hostility.

    Nabil Matar, a leading scholar of Islamic-British relations, standardizes Stubbe's text and situates it within England's theological and intellectual climate in the seventeenth century. He shows how, to draw a historical portrait of Muhammad, Stubbe embraced travelogues, Latin commentaries, studies on Jewish customs and Scripture, and, most important, Arabic chronicles, many written by medieval Christian Arabs who had lived in the midst of the Islamic polity. No European writer before or for a long time after Stubbe produced anything similar to what he wrote about Muhammad the "great Prophet," Ali the "gallant" advocate, and the "standing miracle" of the Qur'an. Stubbe's book therefore makes a unique contribution to the study of the representation of Islam in Western thought.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52736-1
    Subjects: Religion, Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION The “Copernican Revolution” of Henry Stubbe
    (pp. 1-48)

    European medieval representations of the Prophet Muḥammad and of the beginnings of Islam were uniformly negative, as Norman Daniel showed in his magisterialIslam and the West: The Making of an Image(1960). Although Nicholas of Cusa described the Prophet as merely a man in error (Cribratio Alkorani, ca. 1458–64), European writers always viewed Muḥammad and the Qur’ān from an oppositional perspective. John Tolan has shown that from Theodor Bibliander’sMachvmetis Sarracanorvm principis vita(Basel, 1543)¹ to Humphrey Prideaux’sThe true nature of imposture fully display’d in the life of Mahomet(1697) there was not a single European text...

  5. THE PRINTED AND MANUSCRIPT SOURCES Editorial Policy
    (pp. 49-64)

    Theoriginallsurvives in fragments as well as in toto. Although the text was not printed until 1911, three excerpts had appeared in print in 1693 and 1695, in letters by Charles Blount to the earl of Rochester (published twice), and to Thomas Hobbes.

    December 1678 and 1693: letter from Blount to Thomas Hobbes (“Arrians”) appeared in Charles Blount’sThe Oracles of Reason(London, 1693), 97–105. The letter corresponds to fols. 38–41 in University of London MS 537. The letter is reproduced in Thomas Hobbes,The Correspondence, ed. Noel Malcolm (Oxford, 1994), 2:759–763.

    December 1678 and 1693:...

  6. THE ORIGINALL & PROGRESS OF MAHOMETANISM
    • History of early Christianity
      (pp. 65-110)

      I intend to write of one of the greatest transactions the world hath ever yet been acquainted with: “The Original and Progress of Mahometanism,” wherein a new religion was introduced into the world to the desolation, in a manner, of paganism, Judaism and Christianity, which hath now maintained itself above a thousand years and has increased its extent and proselytes over more than a fifth part of the known earth. Whereas Judaism, including all its colonies, was never equal thereunto, nor perhaps Christianity itself, if we consider the condition of it either before Constantine, or even to the days of...

    • CHAPTER 3 A BREIF ACCOUNT OF ARABIA AND THE SARACENS The History of the Saracens and of Mahomet
      (pp. 111-120)

      The better to understand this particular history of the Saracens and Hagarenes, it is necessary we make a relation of the Arabians in general.¹ For the general situation, constitution, and religion thereof had an influence upon the Mahometan revolution, and the whole religion of Arabia was interposed in the production of it. The Arabians received their denomination not from Arabus, a son of Apollo, as the Latins imagine, but from Araba, one of the provinces of what is vulgarly called Arabia, situated near Medina where it is thought Ismael did first seat himself.² But this Araba or Arabum or Arabia...

    • CHAPTER 4 THE TRANSACTIONS FROM THE BIRTH OF MAHOMET TO HIS FLIGHT FROM MECCA
      (pp. 121-130)

      During those transactions, Mahomet was born about the year of Christ 580. Some place it in 570, others in 600, others in 620; but I follow the most probable account since it is generally agreed that he was forty years old in 620, at which time he began his prophesy.¹ He was of the most noble tribe of the Coreischites. His father’s name was Abdalla, his mother Amena or Emena, both of that tribe.² He was born at Mecca; his father was curious to have his nativity calculated, and it was predicted that he should be exceedingly advanced by the...

    • CHAPTER 5 MAHOMET’S CONDUCT AT MEDINA, THE EMBASSY OF ALI TO THE HAGARENES AND SARACENS
      (pp. 131-156)

      And now we see him seated at Medina. There he erects a prophetical monarchy, and entitling God and the angel Gabriel to his dictates, he imprinted a greater awe thereof in his followers and was more absolutely obeyed than force or terror could otherwise make him. He declares that after Moses, the Jewish state being corrupt and apostatized from the law given by Moses and grown wicked in their lives, that Isa was sent to reform them and all the world, by a spirit of meekness; that the Jews persecuted and would have crucified him, but that the divine providence...

    • CHAPTER 6 THE RETURN OF ALI AND THE WARS OF MAHOMET
      (pp. 157-168)

      He set all things in such order here as he had done at Agra and retired back to Medina with a numerous retinue of volunteers who came of their own accord to attend and guard the prophet. They disciplined themselves there every day, and what time could be spared from theirsallahand their military exercises was employed in working upon some trade, the prophet teaching them that that food was most pleasant, nourishing, and blessed which every man gained by his particular industry and labor and that God delighted in those alms to be given which a man had...

    • CHAPTER 7 MAHOMET’S LAST PILGRIMAGE, HIS DEATH, AND BURIAL
      (pp. 169-176)

      He did not suppress this year nor the next, which was the last of his life, but to testify his veneration to the Caaba, to return thanks to God for his success, and to give an example to the Arabians in what manner they should continue their pilgrimages of devotion to Mecca. He, in the company of all those who had followed him to Medina, began the most illustrious procession that ever was in the world. As you might at any time have seen these conquerors of Arabia at work, mending or making their cloths, cultivating rice, picking of oats,...

    • CONCERNING THE JUSTICE OF THE MAHOMETAN WARS, AND THAT MAHOMET DID NOT PROPAGATE HIS DOCTRINE BY THE SWORD, WITH A VINDICATION OF MAHOMET’S CARRIAGE TOWARDS THE CHRISTIANS
      (pp. 177-184)

      It is a vulgar opinion that Mahomet did propagate his doctrine by the sword and not only compelled the Arabians at first to receive his doctrine but obliged his successors by a perpetual vow or precept to endeavor the extirpation of Christianity and all other religions. But how generally so ever this be believed, and how great men so ever they be who assist it, this is no other than a plain mistake. It is most true that Mahomet did levy war in Arabia, but it was <108> under the pretense of restoring an old religion, not to introduce a...

    • CONCERNING THE CHRISTIAN ADDITIONS
      (pp. 185-198)

      I have already shown that Arabia was the common receptacle for the persecuted Jews and Christians of all sorts and sects to retire unto. I must add thereto this limitation: that persecution works this effect upon all religions that such as then do continue firm and constant are more pious and devout than at other times, the indifferent and the vicious usually adhering to that religion which prevails and prospers. And the martial spirit seldom persists in that profession which excludeth him from employment. Upon this account, the Nestorians, Jacobites, the Arians, Arabians, and Judaizing Christians were of more exemplary...

    • AS TO THEIR OPINIONS CONCERNING GOD, PURGATORY, JUDGMENT, AND PARADISE, THEY ARE THESE:
      (pp. 199-212)

      That god is one god; that there is none other; that He hath no equal,¹ no son nor associate; that His eternity hath neither beginning nor end; that it is impossible to explain properly His attributes, and that no intellect can comprehend the extent of His dominion; that contemplative men may conjecture at His being by the daily occurents on earth, but never understand His essence; that the heavens are His throne, the earth His footstool, but that the government of both is no trouble to Him; that He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, who sits upon the universal throne by...

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 213-258)
  8. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HENRY STUBBE
    (pp. 259-264)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 265-274)