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IMPIETY AND RELIGIOUS DISSENT While moderate Óanbalism and Susm became mainstream trends, members of the radical Óanbal and ͨf traditions were labeled as dissenters, and charged with theological error and impious conduct. Similar charges are advanced, in our sources, also against Muslims of other aliations. Let us rst look at the vocabulary used by medieval Sunns to denote impiety and dissent. It is quite long, and the spectrum is wide, ranging from the derision of the shara (istihzå bi-l-shara) by failing to pray regularly enough, to wholesale rebellion against it (ma‚iya). The phrases raqq al-diyåna (weak in his religiosity) or qall al-dn (lacking in religiosity) are used for a Muslim considered not devout enough, while a dissenter of sorts may be called mubtadi (innovator), or assigned the much harsher epithets zindq or mulªid (heretic or apostate).1 Dissent was dened by acts (and the abstention from acts), as well as by beliefs (aqåid). In the rst category, we nd the negligence of prayer and ritual ablutions, the consumption of wine, improper clothing, immodest sexual conduct, immoral behavior, the initiation of bida, the study and instruction of philosophy and the sciences of the ancients, and the employment of supernatural powers attributed to Satan or the jinn. The second category, that of dogmatic deviations, includes the denial of basic tenants of faith such as prophecy in its scriptural sense, the nality of Muªammads prophecy, the afterworld and the resurrection of the dead, or materialism (dahriyya). Belief in wrong theological tenants (s¨ al-itiqåd or alålat al-itiqåd or fasåd al-aqda), especially regarding the attributes of God, namely radical Óanbal anthropomorphism (tashbh or tajsm), or Mutazil total denial of all positive attributes of God (inªilål and ta†l), were also regarded as reprehensible dissent by mainstream ulamå and the rulers who supported them. Recourse to astrology was seen as an indication of weakness of belief, or as outright heresy, or as an aspect of the Sha and Bå†iniyya—unequivocally rejected sects in the Sunn-revivalist


For a discussion of these terms, see Lewis, Some Observations, 52–57.

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Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan  

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