All Muslims have non-Muslim ancestors, in the Middle Ages often very few generations back in their genealogies. Despite its central importance for the formation of all Islamic societies, conversion to Islam is difficult to study. The principal reason is a lack of source material because few converts wished to advertise a non-Islamic background, together with the difficulty in recognizing and studying the sources that we have. Here a probable convert to Islam in North Africa or al-Andalus of the fifth/eleventh century is identified, using entries in the medieval Arabic biographical dictionaries. The identification is based on the man's name and genealogy, whose elements are deconstructed and studied in the context of Arabic-Islamic onomastic behavior and of the character of the names it contains. La¯wi¯ b. Isma¯'i¯l b. Rabi¯' b. Sulayma¯n was probably of Jewish background. Both the material and the methodology offer possible new ways to study this important process.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Islam - Zeitschrift fur Geschichte und Kultur des Islamischen Orients|
|State||Published - 1 Nov 2014|
- Islamic Spain