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The Muslim Sources of Rabbi Abraham Maimūni's Book "Kitāb Kfāyat al-'Ābidīn" / שאלת המקורות המוסלמיים לחיבורו של ר' אברהם בן הרמב"ם 'כתאב כפאייה אל-עאבדין'

אביבה שוסמן and Aviva Schussman
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך נה‎, חוברת ב‎ (טבת-אדר ב תשמ"ו), pp. 229-251
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23597188
Page Count: 23
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The Muslim Sources of Rabbi Abraham Maimūni's Book "Kitāb Kfāyat al-'Ābidīn" / שאלת המקורות המוסלמיים לחיבורו של ר' אברהם בן הרמב"ם 'כתאב כפאייה אל-עאבדין'
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Abstract

The consensus of modern scholarly opinion concerning Maimonides' son, R. Abraham Maimuni (1185-1237 C.E.) agrees on two aspects of his work: The first is the influence of Islamic mysticism (Ṣūfism) on his great book Kitāb Kifāyat al-'Ābidīn, the second is the undoubtedly Jewish spirit of the book, despite the above mentioned Ṣūfī influence. However, there has been controversy amongst some scholars as to whether R. Abraham was influenced by Ṣūfism literature directly, or indirectly, by absorbing the Ṣūfī atmosphere in which he lived. This article maintains that R. Abraham was directly influenced by the well known Muslim medieval philosopher, theologian and Ṣūfī, Abū Ḥamid al-Ghazzālī (1058-1111 C.E.), the author of the compendium Iḥyā 'Ulūm al-Din. The article is based on a general comparison of the two books, and more specifically on an accurate and detailed comparison of two of their parallel chapters (Tawakkul and Ikhlāṣ). The comparison shows a resemblance between the two in the structure, contents, language and ideas, despite some differences, which derive partly from the differences in the authors' literary approach and mostly from the different religions they upheld. It seems that R. Abraham used al-Ghazzālī's basic material but altered it in two directions; on the one hand he avoided some literary and ideological approaches which were typical of al-Ghazzālī as a Muslim-Ṣūfī writer; on the other hand he developed — on the basis of al-Ghazzālī's material — his independent conviction of Jewish Redemption. The argument for al-Ghazzālī's specific influence on R. Abraham is given here with reservation, taking into conideration the cultural similarity at that time between Judaism and Islam in general, and within the Ṣūfī literature itself in particular. However, one conclusion is beyond any doubt: that the possibility of al-Ghazzālī's direct influence on R. Abraham cannot be rejected.

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