Waqar Akbar Cheema
‘Amr bin Maimun’s narration about the stoning of monkeys is usually picked by critics not only for its particular subject matter but also to use it as an inductive notion against the veracity of Sahih al-Bukhari and even hadith corpus at large. This paper analyzes its various content forms and their comparative strength according to the science of narration and discusses issues around it in light of the same.
‘Amr bin Maimun (d. 74/693) was a Yemenite from the tribe of Awd. He lived and embraced Islam during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) at the hands of Mu’adh bin Jabal. He, however, did not meet the Prophet (lam yaliq al-nabi) and is, therefore, counted among the Followers (tabi’ūn). Some authors have mentioned him in their works dedicated to the profiles of the companions of the Prophet only because he was their contemporary.
He is reported to have observed some monkeys stoning other monkey(s). His report of this account has attracted a lot of attention and critique since early days. Whereas in the pre-modern times the controversy was only around the part about attribution of adultery to monkeys and the punishment of stoning meted out to those accused of it by their fellows, in our day some people tend to use it to raise objections about the entire hadith tradition arguing that it has material which goes against ‘reason.’ Muhammad bin Isma’il al-Bukhari (d. 256/870) who has quoted a version of the story in his celebrated collection of authentic hadith reports has also come in the line of fire, and the modernists tend to use this report as an inductive argument against the overall veracity of al-Bukhari’s work.
In this paper we shall look into the details of the report with emphasis on its different content forms and their authenticity. The observations thus made will be used to critically analyze the objections and observations around this report.
2. Different versions of the report
The report about monkeys and stoning has come down to us in three different content forms. Before analyzing the significance and possible implications of these reports it is imperative to carefully consider these forms and issues around their narrative authenticity. We arrange them in order of details contained therein starting with the most elaborate one.
2.1 Version 1: Detailed description of adultery leading to stoning
Abu Bakr al-Isma’ili, Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahani, and Ibn Asakir give us the most detailed version. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (d. 852/1448) gives us al-Is,ma’ili’s version:
وقد ساق الإسماعيلي هذه القصة من وجه آخر مطولة من طريق عيسى بن حطان عن عمرو بن ميمون قال كنت في اليمن في غنم لأهلي وانا على شرف فجاء قرد مع قردة فتوسد يدها فجاء قرد أصغر منه فغمزها فسلت يدها من تحت رأس القرد الأول سلا رقيقا وتبعته فوقع عليها وأنا أنظر ثم رجعت فجعلت تدخل يدها تحت خد الأول برفق فاستيقظ فزعا فشمها فصاح فاجتمعت القرود فجعل يصيح ويومئ إليها بيده فذهب القرود يمنة ويسرة فجاؤوا بذلك القرد أعرفه فحفروا لهما حفرة فرجموهما فلقد رأيت الرجم في غير بني آدم
Al-Isma’ili quoted a longer version of this story through another chain of narrators in which ‘Isa bin Hittan narrated from ‘Amr bin Maimun that he said: “I was in Yemen grazing the sheep of my people upon an elevation. A male monkey came with a female one and laid his head on her hand. Then a younger monkey came and beckoned towards her, so she gently slipped her hand out from below the cheek of the first monkey and followed him. He mated with her as I watched. Then she returned and gently tried to slip her hand back under the cheek of the first monkey, but he woke up suddenly, smelled her, and cried out. Then the monkeys gathered round and he began screaming while pointing towards her with his hand. The monkeys went all about and came back with that monkey that I recognized. They dug a pit for the two of them and stoned them both. So I had witnessed stoning being carried out by other than humans.
The fuller version always comes though Abu Salam ‘Abdul Malik bin Muslim and ‘Isa bin Hittan. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 463/1071) states:
وأما القصة بطولها فإنها تدور على عبد الملك بن مسلم، عن عيسى ابن حطان، وليسا ممن يحتج بهما
As for the fuller story it is exclusively narrated on the authority of ‘Abdul Malik bin Muslim from ‘Isa bin Hittan, and they are both not among the narrators with whom evidence is sought.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr objection is that it involves majhūl (unknown) narrators. As for ‘Isa bin Hittan, there are two narrators by this name; al-Raqqashi and al-‘Aidhi. In one of his works Ibn Hajar positively mentions that al-Bukhari, Yaqub bin Sufyan al-Fasawi, Ibn Hibban and al-Khatib have all differentiated between the two, but elsewhere he fails to distinguish between them suggesting that the narrator here is al-Raqqashi and that Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr criticized him. However, a closer look at their profiles tells us that our narrator here is al-‘Aidhi not al-Raqqashi. It is from al-‘Aidhi and not al-Raqqashi that, both al-Bukhari and Ibn Hibban assure us, ‘Abdul Malik bin Muslim narrates. Moreover, whereas al-Raqqashi is generally known as a trustworthy narrator, al-Aidhi is so ranked only by Ibn Hibban Accordingly, scholars do not treat a narrator as trustworthy so ranked by Ibn Hibban unless another authority agrees with him. At the top of all this we have al-Tirmidhi’s testimony that al-Bukhari categorically ranked ‘Isa bin Hittan [al-‘Aidhi] as majhūl. Al-Dhahabi (d. 748/1347) mentions him in his work on weak narrators.
In the final analysis, therefore, it can be safely concluded that the fuller version is dubious (da’if) according to recognized rules of reporting as there is lack of evidence about ‘Isa bin Hittan al-‘Aidhi on the account of trustworthiness.
2.2 Version 2: Mention of adultery resulting in stoning
The most well-known version of the report is given by al-Bukhari in his celebrated compilation of authentic narrations. This version is significantly shorter than the version discussed above. It lacks the detailed description of adultery though it does make a mention of it. Al-Bukhari records;
حدثنا نعيم بن حماد، حدثنا هشيم، عن حصين، عن عمرو بن ميمون، قال: «رأيت في الجاهلية قردة اجتمع عليها قردة، قد زنت، فرجموها، فرجمتها معهم»
Nu’aim bin Hammad stated: Hushaim narrated from Husain from ‘Amr bin Maimun who said: During the pre-lslamic period of ignorance I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it, because it had committed illegal sexual intercourse. I too, stoned it along with them.
Now al-Bukhari’s work is titled as, “al-Jami’ al-musnad al-sahih al-mukhtasar min umur rasul Allah, salla allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama, wa sunanihi wa ayyamihi” (الجامع المسند الصحيح المختصر من أمور رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وسننه وأيامه). Therefore, the report of ‘Amr bin Maimun being mawquf (truncated- not going back to the Prophet) does not fulfill the essential purpose of the al-Bukhari’s collection of rigorously authentic hadith reports about the Messenger of Allah (on him be peace).
A reputed contemporary hadith scholar Hatem al-‘Awni states:
وتقل الموقوفات في كتب المسانيد, وكتب الصحاح, والسنن؛ لأن شرط هذه الكتب أن تخرج الأحاديث المرفوعة؛ وإن ذكرت الآثار الموقوفة فتذكرها عرضاً لا أصالة
In the musnad, sahih, and sunan works the mawquf narrations are few because the purpose of these books is to narrate marfu’ reports. If, however, they do mention mawquf narrations they are mentioned secondarily and not as primary focus.
Naturally, this applies to Sahih al-Bukhari as well. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani in introduction to his monumental commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari writes:
وأما الموقوفات فإنه يجزم منها بما صح عنده ولو لم يكن على شرطه ولا يجزم بما كان في إسناده ضعف أو انقطاع إلا حيث يكون منجبرا أما بمجيئه من وجه آخر وإما بشهرته عمن قاله … فالمقصود من هذا التصنيف بالذات هو الأحاديث الصحيحة المسندة وهي التي ترجم لها والمذكور بالعرض والتبع الآثار الموقوفة والأحاديث المعلقة نعم والآيات المكرمة فجميع ذلك مترجم به إلا أنها إذا اعتبرت بعضها مع بعض واعتبرت أيضا بالنسبة إلى الحديث يكون بعضها مع بعض منها مفسر ومنها مفسر فيكون بعضها كالمترجم له باعتبار ولكن المقصود بالذات هو الأصل فافهم هذا فإنه مخلص حسن يندفع به اعتراض كثير عما أورده المؤلف من هذا القبيل
As for the mawqufs, he uses the form [implying] certainty with those which are valid in his mind, although they may not meet his formal requirements of validity (wa law lam yakun ‘ala shartihi). He uses the form [implying] uncertainty, however, with reports in whose isnād there is weakness or interruption, except in those places where the report’s weakness is strengthened by its existence by way of a different route or because of its fame from the one who transmitted it … The purpose of this work, essentially, is the valid hadiths which are musnad, and this is that for which he wrote chapter headings. As for mawqufs, ta’liqs, and, yes, verses from the Qur’an, these are mentioned only secondarily (madhkur bil ‘arḍ). Thus, all of these are used to write the chapter headings. When they are considered together, however, and when they are also considered in relation to the hadiths, they explain one another, some explaining (mufassir) and others being explained (mufassar). Thus, under this consideration, some of these are also that for which he wrote chapter headings. His primary purpose, however, is hadith, so understand that, for it is a proper explanation by which many objections to the author’s citation of this type of material can be explained.
Accordingly, Dr. Isma’il Sa’id Ridwan says;
هذه رواية موقوفة من كلام عمرو بن ميمون, يحدّث فيها عمّا كان في الجاهلية من عادات وسلوكيات, وهي خارجة عن شرط البخاري في صحيحه
This is a mawquf narration of ‘Amr bin Maimun regarding the practices and conduct of pre-Islamic era and it is not according to conditions of al-Bukhari in his Sahih.
We shall return to significance of the narration’s placement in Sahih al-Bukhari later.
2.3 Version 3: Mention of stoning without reference to adultery
The third version the report comes from al-Bukhari’s Tarikh al-Kabir with two aspects worth noting; one about its isnād and the other about its content form.
قال نعيم بن حماد حدثنا هشيم عن أبي بلج وحصين: عن عمرو بن ميمون: رأيت في الجاهلية قردة اجتمع عليها قرود فرجموها فرجمتها معهم
Nu’aim bin Hammad said, Hushaim narrated from Abi Balj and Husain, who narrated from ‘Amr bin Maimun: During the pre-lslamic period of ignorance I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it. I too, stoned it along with them.
As for isnād here Hushaim narrated not only from Husain but also from Abi Balj. This is significant as Hushaim’s narration from Husain finds corroboration though Hushaim-Ibn Balj link. Furthermore, although the available edition of Tarikh al-Kabir does not reflect this, Ibn Hajar observes;
قوله عن حصين: في رواية البخاري في التاريخ في هذا الحديث حدثنا حصين فأمن بذلك ما يخشى من تدليس هشيم الراوي عنه
As for Hushaim’s words “‘an Husain”: In al-Bukhari’s narration of this report in al-Tarikh it occurs as “haddathana Husain.” Thus it removes the danger of Hushaim’s tadlis.
This makes isnād in Tarikh al-Kabir stronger than that of isnād in al-Sahih in two ways; corroboration of Husain by Abi Balj, and removal of ambiguity for the mode of transmission from Hushaim to Husain.
In its content form Tarikh al-Kabir narration is different and significant because it makes no mention of adultery. All it says is that a monkey was stoned by other monkeys without assigning any reason or background to it. Scholars such as Al-Humaidi (d. 488/1095), al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1273), al-Mizzi (d. 742/1341),  and Ibn ‘Adil al-Hanbali (d. 775/1373) have with interest noted this variance between two narrations of the report in two different works of al-Bukhari.
3. Dealing with objections
The above analysis of the three different content forms of the report along with discussion on their respective isnād puts us in a better position to critically analyze and deal with objections to this report.
3.1 On the factual truth of the account
The primary objection is that the event reported does not appear to fall in the realm of possibility. Reason and rationality, it is said, betrays belief in report of such an occurrence. It is important to note that such criticism was made by classical scholars from the traditionalist Muslim circles as well. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, for instance, says;
وهذا عند جماعة أهل العلم منكر إضافة الزنا إلى غير مكلف، وإقامة الحدود في البهائم
For attributing adultery to legally incompetent creatures and establishment of punishments among animals, it is denounced (munkar) according to scholars.
It is first to be noted that it is only a report by a person contemporary to the companions of the Prophet. It is neither a saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that it be treated as infallible, nor is it a statement of one of his companions. It’s only that a person otherwise known for his piety and righteousness recalled an occurrence he observed before he came to Islam and merely recounted it to his brethren in faith years later.
Moreover, as we have seen above the most authentic version of the narration simply mentions monkeys stoning a she-monkey without mentioning anything of adultery. That an important version of the report omits any reference to adultery tells us that this assignment of cause of stoning may have been purely speculative.
Ibn Qutaiba (d. 276/889) after quoting the Sahih al-Bukhari version with his own isnād thus observes:
وقد يمكن أن يكون رأى القرود ترجم قردة، فظن أنها ترجمها لأنها زنت، وهذا لا يعلمه أحد إلا ظنا لأن القرود لا تنبئ عن أنفسها والذي يراها تتسافد، لا يعلم أزنت، أم لم تزن؟ هذا ظن.
It is possible that ‘Amr had seen monkeys stoning a she-monkey, and he inferred that it was being stoned for committing adultery. However, one cannot know this except though inference as monkeys do not inform about themselves. A person observing them mounting each other does not know if they are committing adultery or not. This is mere speculation. 
Likewise, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (d. 1323/1905) writes:
كيف فهم الرجل أنها زنت إذ ليس فيهم زواج وأنها ليست بزوجته, وأنهم يريدون قتلها حداً ولا يدرى وجهه
How did the man learn that the she-monkey had committed adultery when there is no (concept of) marriage among monkeys, and the she-monkey was not the spouse of the monkey, and he had no means to know that the monkeys intended to kill her by the way of punishment.
At the most we can then “discount ‘Amr as a reliable interpreter of monkey intentions.”
The fact that Michael Cook does not dwell on the comparative authenticity of various versions of the report and is, therefore, ignorant of the weakness of the longer and colorful story makes Ibn Qutaiba’s treatment less convincing to him. What further supports the above take of Ibn Qutaiba is the Tarikh al-Kabir version which markedly leaves out the mention of adultery especially when considered along with its comparative strength in terms of isnād. Cook, unlike Ibn Qutaiba, is aware of this version but fails to appreciate it.
3.2 Why did Al-Bukhari put this narration in his celebrated work?
Dwelling on the question of “presence of this frivolous tradition in so prestigious a work” Michael Cook observes;
We ourselves do not need to look very far for an explanation. The clue is the context in which the tradition appears. This context is not, as might have been anticipated, that of the heavy Prophetic traditions on the stoning penalty for adultery. Instead, ‘Amr’s reminiscence is tucked away near the end of a section that collects accounts of interesting things people got up to in pre-Islamic Arabia. Many of these traditions, like ours, are not from the Prophet, and they do not serve to establish points of dogmatic or legal significance.
This is in line with Al-Qurtubi’s take who writes.
فإنما أخرجها البخاري دلالة على أن عمرو بن ميمون قد أدرك الجاهلية ولم يبال بظنه الذي ظنه في الجاهلية
Al-Bukhari reported it only to prove that that ‘Amr Bin Maimun also lived during the pre-Islamic times, without deference for what he speculated in his pre-Islamic days.
Cook further notes;
Here the section is divided between a bab ayyam al-jahiliyya and a bab al-qasama fi’l-jahiliyya, with ‘Amr’s tradition as the last but one of the latter … Most of these traditions [in these chapters] describe the activities of humans, so that it is perhaps ‘Amr’s participation in the stoning, rather than the activity of the monkeys themselves, that qualifies the tradition for inclusion here. On the other hand, one tradition describes a flood, and another a good deed performed by a kite.
Several traditions include within them statements from the Prophet or material directly related to dogmatic or legal questions; but this is clearly incidental to the reasons for which the traditions are placed in this section. In only one case is the Prophet the authority for the information on pre-Islamic matter.
Furthermore, there has been some controversy on the placement of this report in the celebrated hadith collection as well. The report is missing in some early reported versions of the Sahih; namely al-Nasafi’s transmission and al-Nu’aimi recension of al-Firabri’s transmission.
Nevertheless, it is established that al-Bukhari did relate this report for, as already noted, he brings it in al-Tarikh al-Kabir as well.
The fact of the variation across different transmissions can be explained by the combination of the facts that, (i) the Sahih was transmitted by numerous students of al-Bukhari, (ii) al-Bukhari transmitted the text during his own lifetime – at least eight years before his death, and (iii) the author was making adjustments to his work throughout his life.  However, such variations do not call into question the general integrity of the work.
Needless to say that back in the time of the author and for centuries afterwards books were not published in bound copies, nor were the changes and adjustments marked as separate editions. Far from raising any doubt about the overall integrity of the work such changes are reflective of the acceptance and reception of the work with the knowledge-seekers of the time.
That al-Bukhari had known a stronger isnād with corroboration as in Tarikh al-Kabir yet he did not include it in his Sahih also supports the idea that even he did it, it was only secondary to the purpose of his work and did not meet its standards otherwise.
The story does not come from or relate to the Messenger of Allah or any of his companions. It is only a mention of what a man who lived and believed during the time of the Prophet but never met him later recounted to fellow Muslims. The most authentic version of the story only mentions monkeys stoning one of them and gives no reason as to why they did it. There is an authentic version that makes a mention of adultery in the context; however, it was perhaps only the conjecture of the man reporting it. The version with a detailed description of adultery leading to stoning is not authentic. Al-Bukhari whose formal conditions this narration does not fulfill quoted it in his Sahih only to mention a happening of pre-Islamic times.
References & Notes:
 Al-Qurtabi, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifa al-Ashab, (Beirut: Dar al-Jil, 1992) Vol.3, 1205
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah fi Ma’rifah al-Sahaba, (Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah) Vol.5, 119
 Al-Mizzi, Yusuf bin ‘Abdul Rahman, Tahdhib al-Kamal, (Beirut: Al-Resalah publications, 1980) Vol.22, 261-262
 Al-‘Alai, Salah al-Din, Jami’ al-Tahsil fi Ahkam al-Marasil, (Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kutab, 1986) 247 No. 586
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifa, 1379 AH) Vol.7, 160
 Al-Qurtabi, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifa al-Ashab, Vol.3, 1206
 ibid., Vol.3, 1205
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan, (Beirut: Dal al-Basha’ir al-Islamiya, 2002) Vol.6, 260
 Al-Mizzi, Yusuf bin ‘Abdul Rahman, Tahdhib al-Kamal, (Beirut: Al-Resalah publications, 1980) Vol.22, 590-591
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, (Hyderabad: Da’ira Ma’arif Nizamiya, 1326 AH) Vol.8, 207
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan, Vol.6, 260; Michael Cook also wrongly identifies the narrator as al-Raqqashi. See his, “Ibn Qutayba and the Monkeys” in Studia Islamica, No. 89 (1999), 47 note 15
 Al-Bukhari, Tarikh al-Kabir, (Hyderabad: Da’ira al-Ma’rif al-‘Uthmaniya, n.d.) Vol.6, 387 No. 2727 cf. Vol.6, 386 No. 2726; Ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, (Hyderabad: Da’ira al-Ma’rif al-‘Uthmaniya, 1973) Vol.5, 215 No. 4578 cf. Vol.5, 213-214 No. 4574
 Al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din, Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala, edited by Al-Arna’ut, Shu’ayb, et al (Beirut: Al-Resalah publications, 1985) Vol.4, 160
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan, Vol.1, 208-209
 Al-Albani, Nasir al-Din, al-Radd ‘ala Ta’qib al-Hathith, (Damascus: Matb’ah al-Taraqqi, 1958) 18-21; ‘Uthmani, Muhammad Taqi, Dars-i-Tirmidhi, (Karachi: Maktaba Darul ‘Ulum, 2010) Vol.1, 67
 Al-Tirmidhi, Abu ‘Isa, al-‘Ilal al-Kabir, (Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kutab, 1409 AH) 33 cf. Al-Bukhari, Tarikh al-Kabir, Vol.6, 387 No. 2727
 Al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din, Al-Mughni fi al-Du’afa, (Qatar: Idara Ihya’ al-Turath al-Islami, 1987) Vol.2, 83 No. 4789s
 Al-Bukhari, al-Sahih, Translated by Muhsin Khan (Riyadh: Darussalam Publishers, 2007) No. 3849
 Al-‘Awni, Hatem, Sharh Muqiza al-Dhahabi, (Riyadh: Dar Ibn al-Jawzi, 1427 AH) 82
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Vol.1, 19
 Rizwan, Isma’il Sa’id, “Hushaim b. Bashir: Tadilisuhu wa Marwiyatuhu fi Sahih al-Bukhari”, in Silsala al-Dirasat al-Islamiya (Gaza Islamic University, June 2006) Vol.2, 247
 Al-Bukhari, Tarikh al-Kabir, Vol.6, 367
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Vol.7, 160
 Al-Humaidi, Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Jam’ bain al-Sahihain, (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2002) Vol.3, 490
 Al-Qurtubi, Abu ‘Abdullah, Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, (Cairo: Dar al-Kutab al-Misriya, 1964) Vol.1, 441
 Al-Mizzi, Yusuf, Tahdhib al-Kamal, Vol.22, 265
 Al-Hanbali, Ibn ‘Adil, Al-Lubab fi ‘Ulum al-Kitab, (Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-‘Ilmiyah, 1998) Vol.2, 151
 Al-Qurtabi, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifa al-Ashab, Vol.3, 1206
 Al-Dainwari, Ibn Qutaiba, Ta’wil Mukhtalif al-Hadith, (Cairo: Dar Ibn ‘Affan, 2009) 473
 Al-Kandhlawi, Muhammad Zakariyya, Kanz al-Matawari fi Ma’adan al-Lami’ al-Darari wa Sahih al-Bukhari, (Faisalabad: Mo’assasat al-Khalil al-Islamiya, 1423 AH) Vol.14, 325
 Cook, Micheal, “Ibn Qutayba and the Monkeys” in Studia Islamica, No. 89 (1999), 49
 ibid., 48
 ibid., 61 notes 72-73
 ibid., 62
 Al-Qurtubi, Abu ‘Abdullah, Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, Vol.1, 442
 Cook, Micheal, “Ibn Qutayba and the Monkeys” in Studia Islamica, No. 89 (1999), 62 note 77; see also Asad, Muhammad, Sahih Al-Bukhari: The Early Years of Islam, (Gibraltar: Dar Al-Andalus, 1981) 154
 ibid., note 78
 Al-Humaidi, Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Jam’ bain al-Sahihain, (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2002) Vol.3, 490; Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Vol.7, 160-161; Al-‘Ayni, Badr al-Din, ‘Umdah al-Qari, (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, n.d.) Vol.16, 300; see also, Asad, Muhammad, Sahih Al-Bukhari: The Early Years of Islam, 158
 Brown, Jonathan, The Canonization of Bukhari and Muslim, (Leiden: Brill, 2007) 385
 ibid., 386
 It is pertinent to quote here words of warning from Franz Rosenthal about judging techniques of classical Islamic scholarship according to modern standards; “if we want to gain a correct understanding of Muslim scholarly attitude, we must pay attention to the fundamental changes in scholarly techniques which resulted, for instance, from the invention of printing. The three distinctive ages of human cultural development are: the period before the invention of writing (the prehistoric age); the period of handwriting (the manuscript age); and the period in which we are living, of mechanically reproduced writing (the age of printing). The gap between the last two periods is much smaller than that between them and the prehistoric age, but any comparison between the manuscript age and the age of printing must take into account a great number of irreducible factors.” See, Rosenthal, Franz, “The Technique and Approach of Muslim Scholarship” in Analecta Orientalia No. 24 (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1947) 5
Published : August 18, 2016