1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shahrastānī

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SHAHRASTĀNĪ [Abū'l-Fatḥ Maḥommed ibn 'Abdalkarīm ush-Shahrastānī] (1076 or 1086–1153) Arabian theologian and jurist, was born at Shahrastān in Khorasan and studied at Jurjānīyah and Nīshāpūr, devoting his attention chiefly to Ash'arite theology. He made the pilgrimage in 1116, on his way back stayed at Bagdad for three years, then returned to his native place. His chief work is the Kitāb ul Milal wan-Niḥal, an account of religious sects and philosophical schools, published by W. Cureton (2 vols., London, 1846) and translated into German by T. Haarbrücker (2 vols., Halle, 1850–1851). After a preface of five chapters dealing with the divisions of the human race, an enumeration of the sects of Islam, the objections of Satan against God and against Mahomet and the principles on which the sects may be classified, he deals with (1) the sects of Islam in detail, (2) the possessors of a written revelation (Jews and Christians) or something resembling it (the Magi), (3) the men who follow their own reason, i.e. the philosophers of Greece and their followers among the Moslems; the pre-Islamic Arabs, the Indians and the heathen. Among Shahrastānī's other works still in manuscript only are a history of philosophers, a dogmatic text-book and a treatment of seven metaphysical questions.

A brief account of him is given on the authority of his pupil, the historian Sam'āni, in Ibn Khallikān, vol. ii., pp. 675 ff.  (G. W. T.)