Shi'i Islam and Christianity
However, it is a distinct feature of the Shi`i works that they have been forerunners in the matter of referring to and quoting profusely from the sayings and sermons of Christ as compared to all other Muslim sects.
3-- In the books of the Shi`ah special attempt has been made to deal with the life and character of Christ [Masih (`a)]. In the sermon 159 in Nahj al-Balaghah, `Ali (`a), while highlighting the piety of great prophets, writes about Christ:
"Hadrat Masih (`a) laid his head on a stone, put on dress made of coarse material, took tough food. His main diet was hunger, at night the moon provided him only light; during winter he slept under the sun at times when it shone or set down; his fruit and vegetable was none other than what the earth grows for animals. He neither had wife that could instigate him to do follies nor did have a child that could make him sorrowful with concern; nor had any property which might have taken away from him; nor had he any kind of greed (for worldly things) that could cause him humiliation. He had no means of moving except his own feet, his servants were his own hands."
On another occasion, addressing one of his companions, Nuf Bukali, Hadrat `Ali (`a), says: "Blessing be on those pious persons who have turned away from the worldly attachments like Christ."
Mutual Influences in Kalami (Theological) Polemics
As it is generally accepted by researchers and scholars that Islamic Kalam has exercised influence on Jewish and Christian Scholasticism. In a similar way, it is also incontrovertible that on the land the views of Muslim Mutakallimun, with regard to the Divine Attributes, in the course of their polemics and discussions with the Christian scholastics, particularly in the issue of trinity have developed and attained maturity of thought. Undoubtedly, the use of the term Attribute (sifat) and emergence of the concept of universal (kulliyat), during the medieval period of Christianity, through the Latin translation of the work of Ibn Hayman, Hidayat al-Mudallin (A Guide for Wayward) (530-601 A.H./1135-1204 A.D.), were influenced immensely by Islamic `ilm al-Kalam. He and before him Sa`diya Gawun (Sa`id al-Fayumi - 271-331 A.H./892-922 A.D.), had acquired their knowledge of the Greek philosophy indirectly from `Arabic translations and their Islamic commentaries. They themselves wrote in `Arabic (which was the academic language of that period). The ground conducive for the acceptance of the teachings of Muslim Mutakallimun, particularly al-Ghazzali, through Sa`diya, who might be justifiably regarded as Ash`airah of Judaism, for he not only adopts the method of Ash`ariyyah but also in specific issues, makes use of their arguments. Yahud Ahlawi from Totedo, born in 479 A.H., who was a contemporary of al-Ghazzali, like him felt that philosophy in questioning the fundamentals of faith by interpreting them on the basis of logical argument results in weakening of the creed. With this view he embarked upon writing a book on refutation of philosophers, entitled al-Khazari, briefly called Khazri. Yahud-e Ahlawi, in his book, Logical and Philosophical Jargons, followed the same method and arguments that were advanced by al-Ghazzali against philosophers.
Much more than him another scholastic thinker of the Jewish creed, Hasda'i Karaska was undoubtedly influenced by Tahafut al-Falasifah of al-Ghazzali though Wolfson, the Professor of Harvard University, rejects this view, arguing that Tahafut al-Falasifah was translated into Hebrew after the death of Karaska. His argument seems to be baseless, for Tahafut al-Tahafut by Ibn Rushd was translated before 729/1328 by Qalunimus bin Dawud and was published under the title Hapatlat Hapala, while Karaska died in 814/1210. Even on this ground if we accept that there was no possibility of his direct access to the arguments of al-Ghazzali, forwarded in Tahafut al-Falasifah, it may be conjectured that undoubtedly he could have possibly referred to al-Ghazzali's arguments by means of the translation of Al-Ghazzali's Tahafut al-Falasifah.
Raymond Martin, one of the eminent Christian scholastics, who died in 1285 A.D., is the person who worked as a link between European Christianity and al-Ghazzali, because in his works, Interpretation of the Secrets of the Disciples of Jesus, and The Sword of Faith, he has evidently borrowed ideas from al-Ghazzali. The influence of Ibn Sina on B. Spinoza's various views, particularly his doctrine of emanation (ifadah), serves as irrefutable in the view of the thinkers of the East and the West.
From these examples it may be inferred that the scholastics of other religions, particularly the Christianity, have benefited from Muslim mutakkalimun in the middle ages without doubt. But the question arises as to whether non-Muslim scholastic thinkers have also influenced in a similar way of the Muslim scholastics.
5-- The Mu`tazilah claimed that the Asha`irah in preaching uncreatedness of the Qur'an, were advocating the Christian doctrine about Logos, and as a result have fallen prey to a kind of pluralistic heresy (shirk). The Mu`tazilah argued that the emphasis of the Asha`irah on the uncreatedness of the Qur'an cause them in believing the doctrine of the eternity of the Qur'an and its coexistence in pre-eternity with Allah. Thus they attributed eternity to the Qur'an along with the Eternity of Divine Essence. Shaykh al-Mufid says: