Pavel Pavlovitch is professor in Medieval Arabo-Islamic Civilization at the Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies, Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski.” He holds a BA degree in history from Baghdad University, and MA, PhD and Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Sofia. Pavel Pavlovitch works and publishes in the fields of history of the Arabs before Islam, methodology of studying the early Islam, early-Islamic law and exegesis, and development of the early criticism of Muslim traditions (ḥadīth). He is a contributor to Encyclopaedia of Islam Three. His recent publications include the monograph Approaches to The Study of Early Islam (7th–8th century). Method and history (Sofia University Press, 2017; in Bulgarian) and the articles “Karīma bint Aḥmad al-Marwaziyya and the Transmission of Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Bukhārī’s al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaḥīḥ” (Cracow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2020) and “The Life and Works of Abū al-Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Bāqī b. Qāniʿ,” Journal of the American Oriental Society (2021).
Period of affiliation:
2021 - 2022
Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"
Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj of Nishapur (d. 261 H/875 CE) is famous for his al-Musnad al-ṣaḥīḥ (The Sound collection). The Ṣaḥīḥ is a compilation of traditions (ḥadīth) going back to the Prophet Muḥammad (d. 11 H/632 CE) that Sunni Muslims regard as the third most authoritative source of legal norms after the Qurʾān and Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Bukhārī’s (194–256 H/810–70 CE) ḥadīth collection al-Jāmiʿ al-ṣaḥīḥ. Muslim ranks among the founders of the science of ḥadīth criticism. Despite his renown, Muslim’s life and works came only sporadically to the attention of Western ḥadīth scholarship while arabophone studies have been restricted by the apologetic perception of Muslim. The present project studies Muslim’s life, works, theology, and method in ḥadīth criticism based on a wide range of biographical sources and ḥadīth collections. These sources are studied by a variety of text-critical approaches, including the method of ‘compilation criticism’. For the first time Muslim’s theological views are studied in a systematic manner, which offers a glimpse in the development of the early Sunni theology. Four works by Muslim that were considered lost will be reconstructed from hitherto neglected later sources. A detailed study of the transmission of Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ is part of the project, which is expected to result in the publication of a peer-reviewed article and a monograph about Muslim in English.