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date: 10 December 2022

Buddhist and Muslim Interactions in Asian Historyfree

Buddhist and Muslim Interactions in Asian Historyfree

  • Johan ElverskogJohan ElverskogDepartment of Religious Studies and History, Southern Methodist University


In the popular imagination, the meeting of Buddhism and Islam is often conceptualized as one of violence; namely, Muslims destroying the Dharma. Of course, in more recent years this narrative has been problematized by the reality of Buddhist ethnic cleansing and the genocide of Muslims in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Yet, what needs to be recognized is that the meeting between Buddhists and Muslims has never simply been one of confrontation. Rather, the interaction of these two religions—which has been going on for more than one thousand years across the length and breadth of Asia (from Iran to China and Indonesia to Siberia)—has also involved much else, including artistic, cultural, economic, and intellectual exchanges.


  • China
  • Religion
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • World/Global/Transnational

Early Interactions

The first meeting of Buddhists and Muslims occurred in the 8th century in the area that is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. This region had long been the center of the Buddhist world. The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, who, just decades before the Muslim conquests, passed through taking meticulous notes, recorded an extensive Buddhist presence in several areas. By his reckoning, Bamiyan in Afghanistan had 10,000 monks, the area of Sind had 460 monasteries, and the coastal region toward Iran had 180 monasteries, with 11,000 monks.1 It was in these areas where Buddhism and Islam first came into contact in the early 8th century.

When the first Muslim armies moved into the area, however, it was ruled by several Hindu dynasties and Buddhism was, for various reasons—ranging from shifting trade networks to the dynamics of Hinduization—slightly on the wane. Nevertheless, some Buddhist monasteries still remained and were supported by local wealthy merchants who thrived on the international trade across both the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean. Indeed, one of the main reasons Muslim armies moved into the area was to gain control of this central node in the Eurasian trade network. As such, most of northwest India was brought under Islamic control by treaty (ṣulḥ) rather than force (‘anwa). Moreover, within this process, the Buddhists were classified in relation to Zoroastrianism and thus given dhimmi status. As the 9th century historian Baladhuri writes of the incorporation of the city of al-Rur:

He conquered the city by treaty (ṣulḥ) with the condition that he would not kill them nor enter their temple (budd). And he said, “The Budd will be considered similar to the churches of Zoroastrianism (majus).” He imposed tribute (kharaj) on those in al-Rur and built a mosque.2

Thus, as with many other empires, the Muslims largely kept the local ruling elite in place and allowed them not only to practice their traditional religions, but also even to be confirmed as the local rulers of the Muslim state by means of traditional customs. For example, “Kakah b. Kotok, the ruler of Budiyah, was confirmed as the hereditary sub-governor of the region for the Arabs in a ceremony which followed Buddhist (samani) customs of this family.”3 In fact, the early Muslim state even continued the policy of allotting 3 percent of tax revenues for non-Muslim religious mendicants. And when Buddhists petitioned the authorities in order to restore one of their temples, permission was granted.4

Even though such early policies were later revoked, the Buddhist community continued to thrive for centuries under Islamic rule. Bamiyan in Afghanistan, for example, continued as a functioning site of Buddhism well into the 11th century.5 In the area of Sind in what is today Pakistan, Buddhists were also erecting inscriptions recording their donations to the Buddhist community in the 11th century.6 As confirmed by Arab geographers, there were still many cities in these areas that had both “infidels” and “idolators” in the 10th and 11th centuries.7 The famous scholar al-Biruni, for example, whom Mahmud of Ghazna brought with him on his campaigns, recorded the existence of Buddhist monasteries in Central Asia in the early 11th century:

Before the first establishment of their rites and the appearance of Budhasaf people were Σαμαναυιοι‎, inhabiting the eastern part of the world and worshipping idols. The remnants of them are at present in India, China, and among the Taghazghar; the people of Khurasan call them Shamanan. Their monuments, the Baharas [monasteries] of their idols, their Farkharas [monks] are still to be seen on the frontier countries between Khurasan and India.8

Moreover, Asadi Tusi described in his Garshasp Name of 1048 how Mahmud of Ghazna arrived at a Buddhist monastery outside of Kabul:

When he reached the Buddhist shrine [bot-khane] of the Subahar He saw a house [khane] so fine that it was like the Spring.9

Indeed, the poet further informs us that the walls of this monastery were made of marble, the flooring of silver, and in the middle was a large golden Buddha with a “face like the moon.”10 However, since the historical record is so spotty, it is unclear how well, or for how long, this monastery or any others survived. Yet, from all the available evidence, including the account of an 8th-century Chinese prisoner of war from the Battle of Talas and the account of a Korean Buddhist pilgrim in Islam-controlled Central Asia, it seems that Muslims largely allowed the Buddhists to continue with their religious observances.11

The reasons for and consequences of such policies carried out by the ruling Muslims were no doubt many, beginning simply with early Muslims having a quite sophisticated knowledge about the Dharma. The main reason for this was largely the result of one family, the Barmakids, who provided the Abbasid caliph with viziers during the last half of the 8th century.12 The Barmakids descended from a distinguished Buddhist family who controlled the famous Naw Bahar monastery in Balkh. The uncle of the first Barmakid vizier was, in fact, the abbot.13 Yet, for whatever reason—political, economic, familial, or spiritual—one line of this family converted to Islam.14 In turn, they were to move up through the ranks and ultimately establish themselves as key figures in the Abbasid revolution and its early rule of the Muslim world.15 And even though this family grew in prominence in the caliphate, it appears as if the family in Balkh remained Buddhist and even tried to maintain its control of Naw Bahar and its numerous satellite monasteries in Central Asia.16 Yet for how long they did so, or whether it was even possible to do so with the increasing power of the Abbasid caliphate, is unclear. Nevertheless, what is clear is that, as with many religious converts, the Barmakids had their feet in two worlds—the Buddhist and the Muslim—and as they moved into the upper echelons of the caliph’s administration, this dual orientation was to have a profound impact on the entire trajectory of the dynasty. In particular, coming from Central Asia, they were well aware of the broader Indic world made available to them through the Buddhist world, and it was this world and its systems of knowledge that they started to promote at the Abbasid court.

This Indian phase of early Islam had already begun during the tenure of the first Barmakid vizier, Khalid ibn Barmak (d. 781–782 ce), and it was to continue until the fall of the family from the caliph’s graces in 803. Yet, before this fall the Barmakid viziers not only sent envoys to India to bring back medicines, texts, and scholars, but they also promoted Islamic engagement with the East. To this end they supported the translation of Sanskrit texts into Arabic so that this material would be accessible to Muslim scholars. Within this project, one early focus was Indian astronomical literature. Three major textual traditions are known to have been translated in the 8th century, and these Indian traditions were subsequently to shape Muslim calendrical and astronomical sciences for centuries.17 Muslim scholars were also interested in Indian medical knowledge, as evidenced in Ali ibn Sahl at-Tabari’s mid-9th-century compendium of medicine and natural philosophy, the Paradise of Wisdom (Firdaws al-Ḥikma), which includes material from several Sanskrit works, including the Carakasaṃhitā, Suśrutasaṃhitā, and Vagbhata’s Compendium on the Heart of the Eight Branches (Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṃhitā).18

The intellectual transfer from India to the Muslim world would also come to include mathematics. It influenced, for example, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (fl. 807–847 ce), who was principally responsible not only for the diffusion of Indian numerals in the West, but also the creation of algebra.19 There also appears to have been an Indic influence in the realm of metaphysics, especially regarding the theory of atomism that “had become firmly established in [Muslim] theological circles by the middle of the ninth century.”20 Yet the Muslim interest in things Indian went beyond the sciences and included literature as well. Thus, it is from this period that there appeared the famous collection of animal tales, the Kalīla wa dimna, based on the Indian Pañcatantra.

Of course, none of these translations or intellectual transfers is specifically Buddhist. Nevertheless, their importance lies in how they reveal the larger shift toward the East during the Barmakids. In particular, it provides a frame within which to situate the trip to India of Yahya ibn Khalid, whom the Barmakids sent to collect pharmaceuticals and speak to doctors and scholars. Moreover, upon his return to Baghdad, he was asked to write a report about his travels and it is from him, an individual who actually traveled in India in the 8th century, that we have our first extensive account of Buddhism in a Muslim source.

The original report is now lost; however, it was fortuitously copied by the polymath Ya’qub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (c. 801–873 ce). In turn, this copy fell into the hands of Ibn al-Nadim (d. 998 ce), who incorporated Yahya ibn Khalid’s account of his travels in India in his monumental Kitāb al-Fihrist. And from it we learn that ibn Khalid not only identified the different schools of early Buddhism and ritual practices such as pilgrimage, but was also the first to describe the nascent movement of Tantric Buddhism.

Yet Muslims did not simply engage with Buddhists as an ethnographic other. Rather, on account of their interactions, Muslims also came to draw upon the Buddhist tradition as most famously seen in the story of Bilawar and Budasaf, which was simply a retelling of the Buddha’s life. The story had initially been translated into Arabic from Pahlavi, or medieval Persian, during the Barmakid period when interest in the East ran high. And the story apparently spread like wildfire.21 In fact, one measure of this popularity is revealed in ibn Khalid’s use of the term Budasaf in the 8th century, without much concern for its elaboration. Presumably it was on account of the Bilawar and Budasaf story that the term was well known. And this would continue to be the case through the centuries. The noted Shi‘ite scholar, Ibn Tawus (d. 1266 ce), for example, used an episode from the Bilawar and Budasaf story in order to illustrate a particular point in a treatise on astronomy.22 And he too felt no need to explain or elaborate on the story—it was simply part of the Muslim cultural repertoire.

The Muslim familiarity with Buddhist literature went beyond the story of Bilawar and Budasaf. The “Story of the King’s Gray Hair,” told by the 10th-century Shi‘ite theologian Ibn Babuya, for example, was apparently based on Buddhist stories about the devadutta, “messengers of death,” as found in several jataka stories about the Buddha’s previous lives.23 Moreover, the circulation of Buddhist stories in the Muslim world is also evidenced in the Buddhist parable of the blind men trying to describe an elephant, which became a famous part of Sufi lore.24 How such transmissions actually occurred, however, is largely unknown. Indeed, one can wonder whether such stories were originally shared among the merchants at caravanserais on the fabled Silk Road. Or were they actually read in translation? The fact that Ibn al-Nadim listed a title similar to the “King’s Gray Hair” in his Fihrist confirms that at least this story was eventually translated into Arabic and circulated in the Muslim community.25

Such borrowings from the Buddhist world were not limited to the purely intellectual sphere. As scholars have shown, there was also a Buddhist influence on Islamic art, especially in early Islamic metalwork, which copied the geometrical and vegetal patterns as well as the lions and mythical creatures that decorate Buddhist ivory panels and stone carvings. It has also been suggested—though it is still greatly debated—that the Islamic madrasa was based on the Buddhist monastery. Nevertheless, what is not in dispute is that it was also Inner Asian Buddhists who brought two of the most revolutionary developments in world history into the Islamic world: Chinese papermaking and block printing technology.26 And while the later did not subsequently flourish in the Muslim world, it is clear that paper not only played a role in the bureaucratic formation of the Abbasid caliphate, but one can also make the argument that the introduction of papermaking technology was crucial for the very rise of Islam, since, much like the linkage between the printing press and Protestantism, it clearly would not do to have a religion that was focused on a text, if that text was not readily available.

Such transfers between the Buddhist and Islamic worlds were not unidirectional. The transmission also went from West to East as evidenced in Greek medical knowledge being adopted in Tibet, which involved not only the theoretical conceptualizations of Galen, but also practical applications such as the Muslim methods of urine analysis and healing head wounds, both of which became a part of the Tibetan medical tradition.27 And while there were other such influences, it does need to be recognized that our Buddhist sources regarding this encounter are extremely limited.28 Moreover, the one major source that does shed light on the issue, the Kālacakratantra, reflects the waning power of the Dharma and thus famously lashes out at Islam.29 Most notably, the whole teaching is premised on the myth of Shambhala, which claims that when the world becomes fully Islamic, the 25th king of Shambhala will ride forth with his Buddhist army, kill all the Muslims, and thereby usher in the Golden Age of the Dharma.30

Be that as it may, the Kālacakratantra contains not only this vision of Islam’s destruction, but also offers us the earliest Buddhist interpretation of Muslim thought and practice. It recognizes Muhammad as the founder of the tradition and that “ar-Rahman”—the common epithet for Allah, meaning “the compassionate”—is the omnipotent creator of the world. Moreover, it is a person’s duty to follow God’s command, and one will either be rewarded with heaven or punished with hell. The Buddhists also knew that Muslims did not believe in reincarnation, but in bodily resurrection in the afterlife. They were also cognizant of Muslim ritual practices, such as fasting during Ramadan. They knew about the five daily prayers, during which they first wash, then kneel down and “draw in their limbs like a tortoise.” Yet for the Buddhists, the most bizarre Muslim custom was circumcision: “[they] cut the skin from the tips of their penises as cause for happiness in Heaven.”31

Above and beyond these practices, the one Muslim ritual that receives the lengthiest and most vitriolic Buddhist attack is animal sacrifice. The Buddhists mainly misconstrued the preparation of ḥalāl meat, during which an animal’s throat is cut with the prayer Bismillah, as an actual blood offering to Allah. Although their understanding of this ritual was flawed from the beginning, the author(s) of the Kālacakra spends a great deal of energy in condemning this practice. And in their misguided attack, they parallel this Muslim practice with Vedic sacrifice, which Buddhists had long critiqued, and thereby in a curious manner linked the two enemies of the Dharma—Islam and Hinduism—into one.32 This reflects well the historical context of the Kālacakratantra’s composition and the two issues facing the Buddhist community at the time: Hinduization and Islamization.

Even so, the Kālacakratantra still does reflect Islamic influences, especially in its astrological system, which was created in reaction to the growing influence of Muslim science in 10th-century India. In particular, Indian astronomy at this time had begun to adopt certain aspects of Islamic Ptolemaic theory.33 Buddhist scholars saw this importation of Western science as a “corruption” of ancient Indian wisdom and therefore created the Kālacakratantra system as a direct refutation of Greek and Muslim influence.34 In doing so, however, they actually created a new astrological system that was indebted to the very tradition it was rejecting. The Kālacakratantra thus not only uses Islamo-Ptolemaic methods for reckoning positions, but also in its orientation of the heavens, it abandons the Indian focus on the Pleiades and adopts instead the Western first point of Aries. Thus, in more ways than one, the Kālacakratantra, which was to shape the Buddhist tradition for the next millennium, was very much a product of Buddhist–Muslim interaction.

The “Dark Ages”

Such interactions were becoming less common by the 11th and 12th centuries because the Muslim and Buddhist worlds were growing apart both politically and economically. Thus, the earlier Islamic engagement with and knowledge of Buddhism largely came to an end. In fact, Muslim knowledge of the East largely froze in the 8th century. After that time, the same ideas were repeated over and over again through the centuries even though the realities of Asia had changed in the interim. Muslim authors thus still talked about the Tibetan and Turk Empires in the 12th century even though both had collapsed centuries earlier. And as one can well imagine in this “dark age,” Muslim knowledge of Buddhism did not expand either. Instead, the same cursory ideas about the Dharma came to be repeated through the centuries. For example, after pointing out that Buddhists are “theologically deficient (mu‘aṭṭila),” the 10th-century polymath Mutahhar b. Tahir Maqdisi notes simply the difference between the Nikaya and Mahayana interpretations of the Buddha: “they form two parties: that which affirms that He was a prophet commissioned as an apostle, and another which affirms that the Buddha is the Creator Himself.”35

This is not to say, however, that Muslim intellectuals ignored entirely the East or the Dharma. Even on the other side of the Muslim world, in Toledo, Abu’l-Qasim Qadi Sa‘id al-Andalusi wrote about Indian religions in his Ṭabaqāt al-’Umam of 1068.36 Yet what they wrote was nothing new. Moreover, this curiosity about the East was more a reflection of the noted turn to the fantastic than any real critical engagement.37 Thus, if later authors dealt with Buddhism at all, they simply repeated what the few earlier authors, such as Ibn Khurdadhbih, Jayhani, Zurqan, and Iranshahri (whose works are now lost), had written. And even though there may have been a little bit more information about Buddhism in these later works, none of them reflects any firsthand knowledge of contemporary Buddhism.

Gardizi’s mid-11th-century Zayn al-akhbar, for example, notes the Buddha’s focus on reason and the importance of meditation, but not the rise of tantra or even the varieties of Mahayana.38 The same phenomenon is also found in Shahrastani’s Kitab al-milal wa-n-nihal of 1125 ce.39 His work has the longest description of Buddhism in any Muslim source, but it does not contain anything new or an awareness of developments in the Buddhist tradition from the 8th century.40 Similarly, the anonymous Persian geography of 982 ce, the Hudud al-‘alam, describes Tibetan Buddhism in its entirety by noting simply that “all the people are idolaters.” And this shrinking awareness of—or interest in—the Dharma is perhaps epitomized in Marvazi’s Ṭabī‘iat al-Ḥayawān (The Natural Property of Animals) from the beginning of the 12th century wherein the Buddhist tradition in its entirety is boiled down to one sentence: “They have many tales about Buddha and the Bodhisattvas on which they meditate. Most of them believe in metempsychosis [reincarnation].”41

Even reincarnation does not gain much attention in Muslim sources, which is notable because at the time there was a rather intense debate in Muslim intellectual circles about metempsychosis.42 The reason was that Muslim scholars wanted to incorporate Neoplatonism into Islam but the Greek philosophers, especially Plato, believed in reincarnation, and this presented a problem because it challenged their own belief in bodily resurrection.43 For Muslims to fully incorporate Neoplatonic thought, this contradiction had to be resolved. Yet in doing so, the debate became wholly framed within a Western context. Never is the Buddhist view on the subject mentioned, much less engaged, and only rarely the Hindu. Indeed, the fact that Muslim scholars could so readily ignore Indian theories of reincarnation within this debate is symptomatic of how far apart the two worlds had grown. By the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries, Muslim thinkers had neither contact with nor interest in the East. In fact, India and the broader Asian world was no longer a place that had something to offer.

And this disconnect between the Buddhist and Muslim worlds continued with the arrival of the Khitans in the Muslim world. The Khitan were a Mongolic people who had adopted numerous Chinese customs during their rule of north China as the Liao dynasty (907–1125 ce). Yet they had also maintained their nomadic traditions and thus when they were conquered by the Jurchen—who founded the Jin dynasty in north China (1115–1234 ce)—the Khitans fled to the Mongolian plateau. There they regrouped and after acquiring numerous Turkic and Mongol followers, the Khitans—now renamed Qara Khitai (“Black Chinese”)—moved into the area of Eastern Turkestan. From there, the Western Liao started to project their power westward, finally wresting control of Central Asia from the Seljuk Turks. Thus, for the first time ever, Muslims found themselves under the rule of the nomadic Sino-Mongol Qara Khitai.

Rather than resisting this imposition of “infidel” rule, however, most Muslims came to accept the Qara Khitai. One reason for this acceptance was that the Qara Khitai were understood to be Chinese, who at the time were greatly revered in the Islamic world.44 Thus the fact that it was the Chinese who were their rulers helped blunt criticism among their Islamic subjects about the Qara Khitai not being Muslim. Yet even more important was the fact that the Qara Khitai not only brought back order after centuries of upheaval, but also reinvigorated the Inner Asian economy. In fact, it was precisely because they were able to do so that Muslim jurists were able to claim that the Qara Khitai, although infidels, were nevertheless a righteous government.

One of the main reasons such an argument was feasible was that since the 11th century, Muslim political theory had been based on the principle of justice. Indeed, the importance of justice above all else came to be encapsulated in a famous phrase—“A just infidel is preferable to an unjust Muslim ruler”—that was remarkably attributed to the Prophet Muhammad.45 For a people who had suffered nearly a century of continuous political and economic upheaval at the hands of various ineffectual Muslim rulers, righteous infidel rule was no doubt a blessing. Muslim scholars, however, did not only recognize the Qara Khitai as just rulers, but also depicted them “as a mighty wall or dam that protected Islam from its eastern enemies.”46 Of course, the claim that the Western Liao were a bulwark against the infidel hordes of the East was largely a literary trope, but it was an image that burnished the Khitan’s reputation and fostered their claims of legitimacy in the Muslim world. On account of their Sino-nomadic legitimization policies, the Qara Khitai state functioned as a perfect buffer between the Muslim world and the Buddhist world. In large measure, the Muslim and Buddhist worlds would therefore remain separate during the Western Liao period.

But not entirely, since, at this same time, Muhammad Ghuri (1162–1206 ce) overthrew the Ghaznavid dynasty in Afghanistan and shortly thereafter began to invade India. Muhammad Ghuri was thus the first Central Asian ruler who projected Muslim power beyond the Punjab. And by 1206, his forces had marched all the way across north India and even attempted an invasion of Tibet by following the Brahmaputra River up through the Himalayas.47 While this particular expedition failed spectacularly, by the early 13th century, India, from the Khyber Pass to Bengal, was under the control of the Ghurids. In order to secure their hold on power, they followed the age-old Muslim custom of temple destruction. Although it is now known that the claims of such destruction are vastly inflated in Muslim conquest literature as well as in Hindu and Buddhist histories, it is definitely known that at least eighty temples were destroyed during this period.48

Two of these destroyed temples were Buddhist, including Nalanda.49 While the destruction of two monasteries may not seem like a great many, it was actually a devastating blow to the Buddhist community, since that was basically all they had left. Not only had they lost ground to the Hindus over the previous centuries, but also many Buddhists had simply moved further and further east and north. Thus, when the Ghurids arrived, India was far from being a Buddhist country. Nevertheless, with the support of an ever-dwindling pool of Buddhist merchant elite, the tantric tradition had been kept alive in the few remaining Dharma institutions, such as the monasteries of Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramasila. When the Ghurids sacked these institutions, it was therefore a devastating blow to the Dharma in India. At the same time, however, it was also a boon to the burgeoning Buddhist movement in Tibet, where many tantric masters sought refuge. In fact, it was the particular form of Tantric Buddhism that subsequently developed in Tibet—especially its rituals concentrating on power and its projection—that would result in it being adopted by imperial courts across Asia, most notably among the Mongols.

The Mongol Empire

Möngke Khan, for example, hosted the Tibetan lama Karma Pakshi at his imperial court, and Khubilai Khan (r. 1260–1294 ce) received tantric initiation from his personal guru Pakpa Lama.50 Moreover, Khubilai’s brother, Hülegü, the founder of the Il-khans in Iran, was a devotee of Tibetan lamas. In fact, he had three Buddhist temples built in the Muslim world: one at his summer pastures in the mountains of Armenia and two in Iran at Khoy and Maragha. Three of his successors—Abaqa (r. 1265–1282 ce), Arghun (r. 1284–1291), and Gaikhatu (r. 1291–1295)—also supported the Dharma.51 Gaikhatu’s investiture ceremony, for example, included a tantric initiation, and Arghun held debates at his court that pitted Indian, Tibetan, and Uygur Buddhists against local Muslim scholars such as “Ala” ad-Dawla as-Simnani.52 Arghun, moreover, wanted his son, the future Ghazan Khan, to be trained in the faith.53 Yet this period of Mongol Buddhist rule in Iran eventually came to an end when Ghazan Khan converted to Islam in June 1295.

Even so, for nearly forty years during the Mongol rule of Iran, there was a period of intense Buddhist–Muslim interaction. The most remarkable monument capturing this world is Rashid al-Din’s Compendium of Chronicles, which includes the most extensive and well-informed presentation of Buddhism in any Muslim source and covers not only the basics, such as the biography of the Buddha, the Wheel of Life, and the worship of Maitreya, but it also explores the worship of the Buddha Amitabha and the Bodhisattva Guanyin, as well as the Buddho-Daoist worship of the Big Dipper. Yet above and beyond providing such a sweeping survey of 14th century Buddhism, Rashid al-Din also paralleled Buddhism and Islam by presenting the Buddha as a prophet with a book, just like Muhammad and the Qur’an. It was precisely such speculations that allowed Sufi masters like ‘Ala al-Dawla Simnani to declare the Dharma as being similar to Islam.54 This Buddhist–Muslim interface also enabled the charismatic Sufi Baraq Baba to draw upon the new Tibetan Buddhist idea of incarnations and proclaim Öljeitü Khan to be a manifestation of Ali.55 And later, other Sufis such as ‘Abd al-Qadir Badayuni would draw upon other Tibetan Buddhist notions, such as projection bodies, to reconceptualize their own tradition.56 Yet it was not only in the realm of theology that Buddhist Il-Khanid rule had such profound impacts. Rather, as is now well attested, it was also within this environment that one of the more remarkable developments of Islamic art history occurred: the representation of Muhammad in Persian miniatures.57

Of course, not all Muslims approved of such exchanges. Ibn Taymiyya, the reformist Sunni theologian from Syria, for example, leveled the most famous critique against the Mongols.58 He saw their continued adherence to not only non-Islamic Mongol rituals, but also Mongol laws that contradicted the Shari‘a, as evidence of their impiety.59 As they were less than true believers, ibn Taymiyya therefore claimed the Mongols could be killed. Famously, and more controversially, he also asserted that anyone who had dealings with the Mongols, even if they were Muslim, could also be killed.60 All Muslims, of course, did not agree with ibn Taymiyya, and not only about his justifying the killing of innocents.61 Many also opposed ibn Taymiyya’s other hardline interpretations of Islam, such as his rejection of music, dancing, and of relic worship.62 Thus when Ibn Taymiyya tried to stop the worship of Muhammad’s footprint in Damascus in 1304, he was driven away by an enraged mob who accused him of impiety.63 The Muslim response to the Mongols was therefore not only ambivalent, but also diverse on account of many extenuating factors such as religious, economic, and political concerns.

Post-Mongol Eurasia

The Buddhist–Muslim exchanges that were made possible by the pax mongolica came to an end as the empire broke off into numerous successor states during the 14th century. Indeed, in post-Mongol Eurasia the Buddhist and Muslim worlds once again largely split into two: a Turkic-speaking Muslim half and a Tibeto-Mongol Buddhist half. Yet, even though there were extensive political and economic feuds between these fractious post-Mongol states, there still is evidence of continued Buddhist and Muslim engagement. One such example is the Arabic astronomical handbook (zij) prepared in 1366 for Prince Radna by Khwaja Ghazi al-Sanjufini from Samarkand. At the time, Prince Radna was the Mongol viceroy of Tibet in residence in Hezhou in Gansu province. And although a Buddhist, he was also interested in Islamic science. Thus in order to better understand al-Sanjufini’s work, he had parts of it translated into Mongolian and even glossed in Chinese and Tibetan.64 And the possibility of such amiable exchanges is also noted by Ghiyath al-Din Naqqash, the official scribe of a Timurid embassy that Shahrukh Khan sent to the Ming court in 1419, who informs us that in the city of Hami in western China: “Amir Fakhru’d-Din had had built a magnificent mosque, facing which they had constructed a Buddhist temple of a very huge size, inside which there was set up a large idol.”

In fact, even after the Moghuls converted to Islam there was relative peace between the Muslims and Buddhists in Eastern Turkestan for at least two generations. One Muslim traveler, for example, who passed through the area noted that Buddhist monasteries and mosques stood side by side, a situation that was also recorded in Luo Yuejiong’s Record of Tribute Guests (Xian bin lü), which notes that “In Lükchün [in Eastern Turkestan] . . . live two kinds of people: Muslims and Buddhists.”65 Moreover, as evidenced in the alliance forged in 1578 between ‘Abd al-Karim Khan of the Moghuls and Altan Khan, the Buddhist ruler of the Mongols, it is clear that Buddhists and Muslims could come together, especially since at the time religion was often secondary to other political, economic, and ideological concerns.

Yet this situation began to change with the appearance of the Naqshbandi Sufis among the Moghuls in the 15th century, especially on account of their call for the implementation and enforcement of shari‘a law. In particular, since the Naqshbandiyya called for the “remov[al] of the evil customs of the strangers,” Buddhists were expelled from their domains.66 Thus, by the 1430s, the city of Turfan had essentially been purged of all its Buddhist inhabitants.67 The same fate would befall Hami over the coming decades. The city where mosques and temples had stood side by side would be emptied of its Buddhist population by the 1480s. Yet such persecution was not the only consequence of the Moghul adoption of Naqshbandi Sufism.68 Rather, much as had happened earlier in Tibet, it also inadvertently fostered a rebirth of the Buddhism among the Oirads and Mongols.

In particular, it was at this time that righteous Mongol rule came to be envisioned as being wholly Buddhist. Although this had never been the case historically, promoting such an idea was important for the legitimacy of the Oirad, who could not claim to be direct descendants of Chinggis Khan and thus could not claim to rule in the Chinggisid mold. Indeed, much like Tamerlane and the Timurids, they too had to contend with the Mongol legacy as non-Mongols.69 And thus much as the Timurids had come to identify themselves with Islam; the Oirads came to focus on Buddhism and especially the relationship between Khubilai Khan and the Tibetan Pakpa Lama. Thus, much as had happened in the Islamic world, the Dharma was thereby superimposed on the traditional matrix of the Mongol legacy and the Chinggisid principle. In the case of Buddhism, the theory that came to be articulated owed its origins to the writings of Pakpa Lama and his vision of “two realms”: the sacred and the secular.70 Proper Mongol Buddhist rule was therefore based on a symbiotic relation between the khan, who controlled secular affairs, and a Tibetan lama, who controlled spiritual affairs. It was therefore this ideal that the Oirad ruler Esen revived in grappling with the Mongol legacy.

Esen therefore claimed to be restoring the righteous Mongol rule that had been forsaken when the Dharma had been abandoned. Thus, after having secured his Buddhist bona fides in the mold of Khubilai Khan, Esen actually proclaimed himself khan and the rightful ruler of all the Mongols in 1453. While the Ming court in China hesitantly approved this move, the Mongols saw this action as a gross violation of the Chinggisid principle and a bold usurpation of the Mongol throne. They therefore violently resisted, and after Esen’s death in 1455, the power of the Oirad collapsed. Yet even so, Esen’s Buddhist turn would live on as a means of becoming khan among the Mongols, especially for those of less than pure Chinggisid lineage such as Altan Khan, the Tümed ruler, who met with Sönam Gyatso in 1578 and famously gave him the title Dalai Lama.71

The meeting between Altan Khan and Sönam Gyatso, which took place on the shores of Lake Kökenuur in the northern reaches of the Tibetan plateau, was to become an iconic moment in Eurasian history. Indeed, because the Mongols, Tibetans, and especially the Manchus took so much stock in this new Buddhist Chinggisid vision of rule, much of East Asia’s subsequent history would flow out of this event.

But other events would also play a role, such as when the Naqshbandiyya preacher Ishaq Wali (d. 1599) put Muhammad Khan (d. 1609) on the Moghul throne and also made him the qutb (“mystical axis” or “pole of the universe”) and ghwath (“mystical helper of the age”) of the tradition, which thereby paved the way for a theocracy. Such a religiopolitical structure had never before existed in Inner Asia. In both Buddhism and Islam, there had always been a separation between religion (samgha and ulama) and state (khan and caliph). By fusing these two entities into one, Ishaq Wali’s vision thereby shattered this separation of power. It also coincidentally ended the possibility of Mongol blood or the Mongol legacy transcending religious divisions, since one’s faith was now inalienably tied to one’s lineage, group, tribe, ethnicity, and nationality. And as can well be imagined, the elevation of Muhammad Khan as Grand Master of the Naqshbandiyya did much to generate a sharp divide between the Buddhists and Muslims of Inner Asia. Yet it was not the only one. In Tibet, the Great Fifth, Ngakwang Lozang Gyatso (1617–1682), would promote a similar theocratic model as the Naqshbandiyya by fusing both religious and political authority within the institution of the Dalai Lama. Thus, Ishaq Wali and the Fifth Dalai Lama created not only two new religiopolitical institutions, but also ushered in an age where Buddhists and Muslims often saw themselves at odds, a situation that came to a head when the Qing dynasty in China (1644–1911) conquered large parts of Muslim Inner Asia.

The Qing Dynasty

At issue was not only the Manchu—ostensibly Buddhist—conquest of northwest China, but also the appearance of fundamentalist Naqshabandi Sufism among the Hui (Chinese Muslims) in the 1760s.72 The Hui had long since transformed their religious practices and community into localized Sino-Islamic ones and had for centuries worked within the shifting political winds emanating out of Beijing.73 In the 1760s, however, a sheikh named Ma Mingxin (1719–1781) returned from studying in Mecca and Yemen, where, at the time, an intellectual revolution was taking place. This was the time of tajdid, or renewal movements such as that of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi Islam, which advocated for a return to the “true religion.” In the case of ‘Abd al-Wahhab, this included purging the tradition of perceived “cultural accretions” as well as creating a righteous Islamic state ruled by sharia law. When Ma Mingxin returned to the Qing domains in 1761, the goal of his form of Naqshabandi Sufism was purification and revival on Middle Eastern models.

Ma Mingxin was successful in obtaining converts in the local community, not least because of his zeal and ideas, but also because he carried the legitimacy of having studied in the West. He knew both Arabic and Persian, unlike many local religious leaders who had forgotten such languages long ago. Thanks to these academic credentials and to old grievances in the Muslim community concerning the power of hereditary sheikh lineages, monetary disputes, and other matters, Ma Mingxin’s following continued to expand. For a while, the tensions within the community remained internal. Eventually, however, friction between these two Muslim communities escalated into violence and thus the Qing state became involved. In particular, the court began implementing laws that discriminated against Muslims based solely on their religion.

The Board of Punishments passed the first of these laws in 1762. It mandated all Muslim leaders had to report any inappropriate behavior within their community to the authorities; in addition, local officials had to report Muslim criminal acts to the Qing. As could have been expected, the court records began to fill with Muslim acts of criminality, and local officials inundated the court with reports of Muslim bandits and their intrinsic propensity for violence. In response, the Qing became more suspicious and drafted further regulations concerning Muslims. Thus, Muslims found in groups of three or more with any weapon were immediately deemed to be criminals. In the 1770s, the Qing court even created a new criminal act, or category: “brawling.” This could be used as a pretense to arrest Muslims specifically.

As an inevitable result, Muslims who may not have sided with Ma Mingxin and his teachings joined him in protesting Qing policy, thus further reinforcing the Qing’s fear of a growing fundamentalist Islamic anti-Qing movement. The mutual animosity culminated in 1781 when a Qing official, sent to quell a local disturbance between the two Muslim communities, declared to one group that the new teachings of Ma Mingxin would be exterminated. To his dismay, his audience turned out to be Ma’s followers and they summarily executed him.

With the death of a Qing official at the hands of these new Sufi teachings, the internecine violence moved to a new level, that of “rebellion.” In official discourse, such a categorization mandated a swift and brutal response by the Qing state. What ensued was a “War on Terror” to restore social order. And to insure that the Buddhists of the Qing—Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, and Tibetans—supported these policies, there was an outpouring of works focusing on Shambhala and the final cosmic battle against the Muslims. The first of these was the Guidebook to Shambhala (Sambha la’i lam yig), written by the Sixth Panchen Lama, Lozang Penden Yeshé (1738–1780), who also composed a famous poem in which he expressed the wish to be reborn in Shambhala during the reign of Kulika Rudrachakrin, the Buddhist ruler who was to kill all the Muslims.74 In turn, Buddhists began writing about and praying for rebirth in Shambhala, as well as putting needles in the foundations of stupas in the belief that they would transform into weapons during the final battle. This fervor for both rebirth in Shambhala and participation in the apocalyptic conflict came to include the building of large temples dedicated to Shambhala and the Kālacakratantra across Inner Asia.75And considering the Muslim rebellions that raged up through the 1860s and 1870s, from the northwest to the southeast, it is perhaps not a surprise that Qing Buddhists drew so heavily upon the Shambhala myth in this period.76 Indeed, the Shambhala prophesy in these Qing works “made sense” of their world and also justified action in the world. Qing Buddhists were fighting for the preservation of their Buddhist world, which they deemed to be under mortal threat from Muslims.

As is known, Muslims did not bring down the Qing Dynasty, nor did Buddhism die out in Inner Asia, but clearly the apocalyptic vision of the Shambhala myth resonated for Qing Buddhists as the Manchu Empire was wracked by internal and external threats throughout the 19th century. These included not only Muslims who were rebelling, but also the devastating quasi-Christian Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864).77 And along the coast the Qing was being challenged by various imperial powers, resulting in everything from the Opium Wars (1839–1842, 1856–1860) to the Boxer Rebellion (1899–1901).78 For Qing Buddhists, all of these upheavals were readily conceptualized as heretical challenges to the authority and legitimacy of the Bodhisattva Manjusri’s Buddha field, namely, the Qing dynasty. Thus, it was precisely within this framework that the Shambhala myth was mobilized again and again in new guises in order to save the Dharma and the state.

Buddhist–Muslim Interaction in the 21st Century

It is perhaps not surprising to learn that the Shambhala myth is being used in the 21st century in Sri Lanka and Myanmar to justify the Buddhist ethnic cleansing and genocide of Muslims.79 Of course, the myth has now been updated so as to incorporate the rhetoric of ethnonationalism—as well as the transnational rhetoric of Islamophobia—but it still works in much the same way. It is a powerful myth that Buddhist fundamentalist groups—such as MaBaTha and 969 in Myanmar and Bodu Bala Sena in Sri Lanka—use to dehumanize Muslim minorities.80 But as has been the case with Buddhist—Muslim interaction over the course of the last 1200 years, it has not only been about violence. Rather, there is now also a lively Buddhist–Muslim inter-religious dialogue in both the East and West.81

Discussion of the Literature

Although Buddhists and Muslims have interacted for more than a millennium across the length and breadth of Eurasia, there has been relatively little scholarly work on this particular religious encounter. Why scholars have overlooked this meeting is certainly an important question; however, it is one that is beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, one can note that scholarship often creates artificial boundaries of study that obscure the messy realities of lived human experience. Indeed, it is presumably on account of various scholarly frameworks—such as nation-states, area studies, linguistic specializations, and even disciplines—that the history of Buddhist–Muslim interaction has largely been ignored. In the first decades of the 21st century, however, as these same conceptual frameworks have come under increasing scrutiny, new chapters of human history are beginning to be explored, and one of these is the meeting between the worlds of Buddhism and Islam. Yet work in this field is still very much in its infancy and thus what follows is simply an overview of some of the available scholarly literature on the meeting of Buddhists and Muslims in both the past and present across various regions of Asia.

Even though there is not a great deal of scholarship on the historical interaction of Buddhists and Muslims, there are several studies that provide valuable introductory overviews of such meetings. Berzin and Waardenburg, for example, both provide surveys of how Buddhists and Muslims understood each other in the medieval period.82 The works of Akasoy, Burnett and Yoeli-Tlalim, Elverskog, Foltz, and Smith, however, take a geographical approach and therefore reveal how Buddhists and Muslims interacted in Tibet, Inner Asia, Iran, and India.83 And it is these two general approaches—what may be termed the comparative and regional—that provide the framework for what follows.

Historically, Buddhists and Muslims have met in places across the length and breadth of Asia: in Burma, China, and Sri Lanka. However, some of the earliest and most sustained interactions took place in Inner Asia—the wide swath of territory stretching from Afghanistan to Mongolia—as seen in the works of MacLean, Mair, and Tremblay.84 Moreover, this engagement did not come to end with the coming of Islam, as is often imagined. Rather, it continued for centuries, most notably during the reign of the Qarakhitai and the later Mongols, as explored by Biran and Rossabi.85 And even after the collapse of the Mongol empire, the meeting of Buddhists and Muslims continued in Inner Asia, as poignantly captured in the 15th-century account of a Timurid embassy to Ming China, translated by Maitra.86

Much as Tibet is nowadays (2019) readily identified with Buddhism, Iran is today synonymous with Shi’a Islam. Of course, as much as Iran was not always Shi’a, it was also not always Muslim. Rather, Buddhism also played an important role in Iranian history, and Iranians helped shape Buddhist history, as seen in Skjaervø’s article on Khotan.87 In Iran itself, however, the history of Buddhism in Iran can generally be said to be two periods: the pre- and early Islamic period, and the Mongol Il-Khanid period of the 13th and 14th centuries. The works of Bailey, Ball, Bulliet, and Melikian-Chirvani all investigate the early period and reveal not only the presence of Buddhists and their temples in Iran, but also their lasting influence in the realms of art, language, and politics.88 Of course, after this early period, it has generally been assumed that Buddhism disappeared in Iran; however, as the work of Grupper and Elias reveals, there was a formidable Buddhist presence in Iran during the period of Mongol rule.89 Moreover, as Amitai reminds us, when the Mongols did finally convert to Islam, it did not take place as often imagined.90

Even though Buddhism and Islam presumably interacted with each other for centuries in Southeast Asia, unfortunately very little evidence exists of such encounters. Indeed, as seen in the work of Johns, it is not really until Islam was firmly established in the early modern period that sources actually become available.91 Yet if the history of the Buddhist–Muslim encounter in Southeast Asia may be murky, it is certainly the case that Southeast Asia is the one place where such interaction is most pronounced in the 21st century. Moreover, as seen in the essays collected in Silva, as well as the works by Berlie, Burr, Jerryson, and Loos, the meeting between these two religious traditions is nowadays most often framed within the confrontational modern discourses of economics, ethnic identity, nation-states, and migration.92 Yet, as the articles by Berlie, Horstmann, and Ismail also reveal, this is not necessarily always the case in all places.93

Although many people think about Tibet solely in terms of Buddhism, the fact of the matter is that there has long been a Muslim presence in the land of snows. Indeed, Muslim traders came to Tibet already in the empire period, as seen in Akasoy and Yoeli-Tlalim’s study of the musk trade.94 Yet this exchange was not only financial, as Tsering and Yoeli-Tlalim show.95 However, as Warikoo and Zarcone also make clear, most Muslims came to Tibet as traders, such as the Kashmiris and Chinese Hui, and as such—namely, a minority trading community—the Muslims of Tibet have faced the standard gamut of reaction by a dominant culture, from acceptance to violent rejection, as seen in the work of Emmer and Fischer.96 And invariably, as explored in Sagaster’s study of Baluchistan, this dynamic has also shaped the Tibetan Muslim view of Buddhists.97

Finally, although Buddhist and Muslim perspectives on art are usually imagined as being diametrically opposed—as well evidenced in the articles by Ernst and Flood—the fact of the matter is that it was probably in the realm of aesthetics and material culture where the richest exchange occurred between these two worlds.98 Indeed, as seen in the works of Canby, Fehévári, Flood, and Gruber, such exchanges were not only diverse but also went in both directions.99 Yet, at the same time, as all the articles in Komaroff and Carboni’s volume reveal, it is also very difficult to deduce precisely how and in which direction such transmissions actually occurred.100

Primary Sources

There is a remarkable dearth of Buddhist sources on Islam. Why this is the case is hard to explain, although the fact that in many places Islam displaced Buddhism as the dominant religion certainly played a role in this reality. Indeed, the fear of such conversion no doubt explains the general animosity toward Islam found in many Buddhist works, as seen in both Yang’s translation of Hye Ch’o’s Wang och’ōnch’ukkuk-chŏn and the Turkic anti-Islamic poem translated by Tezcan and Zieme.101 Yet the main source for this Buddhist anti-Muslim sentiment was no doubt the Kālacakratantra, as revealed in the two articles by Newman, which, as seen in the later works of Jikme Lingpa and Taranatha, was to shape Tibetan conceptualizations for centuries.102 However, not all mentions of Islam in Buddhist sources are negative, as seen in the work of Chattopadhyaya and van der Kuijp.103

Although not a great deal of Islamic literature exists that explores the Dharma explicitly, there is certainly more than there is on Islam in Buddhist sources. Much of this literature can be found in “Discussion of the Literature,” such as The Fihrist, the work of Rashid al-Din, and Shahrastani.104 Yet such works from the medieval Muslim heartland were not the only Islamic responses to Buddhism, as seen in Murata and Strassberg’s translation of two Chinese Muslim sources, as well as the Persian sources from the post-Mongol period explored by Alam and Subrahmanyam.105

Further Reading

  • Atwill, David G.Islamic Shangri-La: Inter-Asian Relations and Lhasa’s Muslim Communities, 1600–1960. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018.
  • Frydenlund, Iselin. “Religious Liberty for Whom? The Buddhist Politics of Religious Freedom During Myanmar’s Transition to Democracy.” Nordic Journal of Human Rights 35, no. 1 (2017): 55–73.
  • Johnson, Irving Chan. The Buddha on Mecca’s Verandah: Encounters, Mobilities, and Histories along the Malaysian-Thai Border. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012.
  • Lawrence, Bruce B. Shahrastani on the Indian Religions. The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton, 1976.
  • Perreira, Todd LeRoy. “‘Die before you die’: Death Meditation as Spiritual Technology of the Self in Islam and Buddhism.” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 247–267.
  • Reis Habito, Maria. “The Notion of Buddha-Nature: An Approach to Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue.” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 233–246.
  • Scott, David A. “Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons.” Numen 42, no. 2 (1995): 141–155.


  • 1. Derryl N. MacLean, Religion and Society in Arab Sind (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1989), 7; and André Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, vol. 1, Early Medieval India and the Expansion of Islam 7th-11th Centuries (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1990), 135. For more on the early history of the Buddhist traders in this area, see W. Ball, “Two Aspects of Iranian Buddhism,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute of Pahlavi University 1 (1976): 116–122.

  • 2. Quoted in MacLean, Religion and Society, 41.

  • 3. MacLean, Religion and Society, 42.

  • 4. MacLean, Religion and Society, 44.

  • 5. Gianroberto Scarcia, “A Preliminary Report on a Persian Legal Document of 470–1078 Found at Bamiyan,” East and West 14 (1963): 73–85; Deborah E. Klimburg-Salter, The Kingdom of Bamiyan: Buddhist Art and Culture of the Hindu Kush (Naples-Rome: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1989), 41; and Zemaryalai Tarzai, “Bamiyan 2006: The Fifth Excavation Campaign of Prof. Tarzai’s Mission,” Silk Road Studies 4, no. 2 (2006): 21.

  • 6. Wink, Al-Hind, vol. 1, 149.

  • 7. S. Razia Jafri, “Description of India (Hind and Sind) in the Works of Al-Istakhri, Ibn Hauqal and Al-Maqdisi,” Bulletin of the Institute of Islamic Studies 5 (1961): 8, 14, 18, 33, 36.

  • 8. C. E. Sachau, The Chronology of Ancient Nations: An English Version of the Arabic Text of the Athar-ul-bakiya of Albiruni, or “Vestiges of the Past,” Collected and Reduced to Writing by the Author in A.H. 390–1, A.D. 1000 (London: William H. Allen, 1879), 188–189.

  • 9. Quoted in A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, “The Buddhist Ritual in the Literature of Early Islamic Iran,” in South Asian Archeaology 1981, ed. Bridget Allchin (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 273.

  • 10. Melikian-Chirvani, “The Buddhist Ritual,” 273.

  • 11. Robert G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1995), 248; and Han-Sung Yang, Yün-Hua Jan, Shotaro Ilda, and Laurence W. Preston, trans. and eds., The Hye Ch’o Diary: Memoir of the Pilgrimage to the Five Regions of India (Berkeley, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1989), 52

  • 12. On the history of the Barmakids, see Dominique Sourdel, Le vizirat ‘abbaside de 739 à 936 (132 à 324 à l’Hégire) (Damascus, Syria: Institut français de Damas, 1959), 129–144; Hugh Kennedy, When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2004), 37–44, 62–65; and Kevin van Bladel, “The Bactrian Background of the Barmakids,” in Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes, ed. A. Akasoy, C. Burnett, and R. Yoeli-Tlalim (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011), 43–88.

  • 13. This fact led the Arab geographer Ibn al-Faqih to actually compare the Barmakids with the Quraysh, who were the guardians of the Ka‘ba in pre-Islamic times (Hugh Kennedy, The Early Abbasid Caliphate: A Political History [London: Croom Helm, 1981], 101).

  • 14. On the possible reasons for the Barmakid conversion to Islam, see C. E. Bosworth, “Abu Hafs ‘Umar Al-Kirmani and the Rise of the Barmakids,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 57, no. 2 (1994): 270.

  • 15. On policies implemented by the Barmakids, see Hugh Kennedy, “The Barmakid Revolution in Islamic Government,” Pembroke Papers 1 (1990): 89–98.

  • 16. Richard W. Bulliet, “Naw Bahar and the Survival of Iranian Buddhism,” Iran 14 (1976): 140–145.

  • 17. As David Pingree has pointed out, the three traditions are based on Brahmagupta’s Brahmasphutasiddhanta, Āryabhaṭa’s Khaṇḍakhādyaka, and Āryabhaṭa’s Āryabhatiya; see “Al-Biruni’s Knowledge of Sanskrit Astronomical Texts,” in The Scholar and the Saint, ed. Peter J. Chelkowski (New York: New York University Press, 1975), 67–68.

  • 18. Max Meyerhof, “’Ali at-Tabri’s ‘Paradise of Wisdom’, one of the Oldest Arabic Compendiums of Medicine,” Isis 16, no. 1 (1931): 12–13, 42–46. For a list of other Indian medical texts translated into Arabic at this time, see Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, “Early Arab Contact with South Asia,” Journal of Islamic Studies 64, no. 1 (1994): 52–69.

  • 19. Jacques Vernet, “Al-Khwarazmi,” in Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. P. J. Bearman et al., 2nd ed. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1960–2005).

  • 20. Majid Fakhry, A History of Islamic Philosophy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 33–34.

  • 21. It was presumably translated before 815; see Daniel Gimaret, Le Livre de Bilawahr et Budasf selon la version arabe ismaélienne (Geneva, Switzerland: Librarie Droz, 1971), 61. For an edition of the Arabic, see Daniel Gimaret, Kitab Bilawhar wa Budasaf (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Machreq Éditeurs, 1986).

  • 22. Zeina Matar, “The Buddha Legend: A Footnote from an Arabic Source,” Oriens (1990): 440–442.

  • 23. S.M. Stern and S. Walzer, Three Unknown Buddhist Stories in an Arabic Version (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 4–6, 15–24.

  • 24. Carl-A. Keller, “Perceptions of Other Religions in Sufism,” in Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey, ed. Jacques Waardenburg (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 184.

  • 25. Stern and Walzer, Three Unknown Buddhist Stories, 5.

  • 26. Jonathan M. Bloom, Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001); and Johan Elverskog, “A Buddhist Origin for Islamic Blockprinting?” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 287–301.

  • 27. Christopher I. Beckwith, “The Introduction of Greek Medicine into Tibet in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 99, no. 2 (1979): 297–313; Christopher I. Beckwith, “The Medieval Scholastic Method in Tibet and the West,” in Reflections on Tibetan Culture: Essays in Memory of Turrell V. Wylie, ed. L. Epstein and R. Sherbourne (New York: E. Mellen Press, 1990), 307–313; Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, “On Urine Analysis and Tibetan Medicine’s Connections with the West,” in Studies in the History of Tibetan Medicine, ed. Frances Garrett, Mona Schrempf, and Sienna Craig (Sankt Augustin, Germany: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, forthcoming); and Dan Martin, “Greek and Islamic Medicines’ Historical Contact with Tibet: A Reassessment in View of Recently Available but Relatively Early Sources on Tibetan Medical Eclecticism” (unpublished paper presented at the Islam and Tibet Conference, November 18, 2006, Warburg Institute, London).

  • 28. On the sparsity of references to Islam in Indian literature and epigraphy as a whole from the 7th to 11th century, see Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, Representing the Other? Sanskrit Sources and the Muslims (New Delhi: Manohar, 1998), 92–97.

  • 29. Even though scholars disagree on the time and place of the Kālacakratantra’s intial appearance (between the 9th and 11th centuries; and northwest and east India), a central element of the work is the tension between Buddhism and Islam. See Giacomella Orofino, “Apropos of Some Foreign Elements in the Kālacakratantra,” in Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the IATS, Graz, 1995, ed. H. Krasser et al. (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1997), 717–724; and John Newman, “Islam in the Kālacakra Tantra,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 21, no. 2 (1998): 332.

  • 30. On the myth of Shambhala, see Edwin Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala: A Search for the Mythical Kingdom Beyond the Himalayas (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1980); and Lubos Belka, “The Myth of Shambhala: Visions, Visualizations, and the Myth’s Resurrection in the Twentieth Century in Buryatia,” Archiv Orientální 71, no. 3 (2003): 247–262.

  • 31. Newman, “Islam in the Kālacakra Tantra,” 325.

  • 32. Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp, “The Earliest Indian Reference to Muslims in a Buddhist Philosophical Text of circa 700,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 34 (2006): 196–200.

  • 33. David Pingree, “The influence of Islamic Ptolemaic theory upon Indian astronomy can be traced back to Munjala in the 10th century. . . , ” Jyotihsastra: Astral and Mathematical Literature (Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1981), 34.

  • 34. Newman, “Islam in the Kālacakra Tantra,” 336, n. 46.

  • 35. Bruce B. Lawrence, Shahrastani on the Indian Religions (The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton, 1971), 103.

  • 36. M. S. Khan. “An Eleventh Century Hispano-Arabic Source for Ancient Indian Science and Culture,” in Prof. H. K. Sharwani Felicitation Volume (Hyderabad, India: 1975), 357–389.

  • 37. Richard C. Foltz, “Muslim ‘Orientalism’ in Medieval Travelogues of India,” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religiouses 37, no. 1 (2008): 82.

  • 38. V. Minorsky, “Gardizi on India,” in Iranica: Twenty Articles (Teheran, Iran: University of Tehran, 1964), 208.

  • 39. For a full translation of Shahrastani’s work, see Livre des religions et des sectes, trans. Daniel Gimaret and Guy Monnot (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1986). The description of Buddhism is in vol. 2, pp. 530–533.

  • 40. Lawrence, Shahrastani, 42–43.

  • 41. Vladimir Minorsky, Sharaf al-Zaman Tahir Marvazi on China, the Turks and India (London: The Royal Asiatic Society, 1942), 42.

  • 42. Paul E. Walker, “The Doctrine of Metempsychosis in Islam,” in Islamic Studies Presented to Charles J. Adams, ed. Wael B. Hallaq and Donald P. Little (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1991), 219–238.

  • 43. On Plato and his Phaedrus, see Gannanath Obeyesekere, Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist and Greek Rebirth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 253–318.

  • 44. Michal Biran, The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 100.

  • 45. A. K. S. Lambton, “Justice in the Medieval Persian Theory of Kingship,” Studia Islamica 17 (1962): 91–119.

  • 46. Biran, Qara Khitai, 171.

  • 47. André Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, vol. 2, The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest: 11th–13th Centuries (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1997), 149.

  • 48. Richard M. Eaton, “Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States,” in Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, ed. David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2000), 246–281.

  • 49. Wink, The Slave Kings, 147.

  • 50. Thomas Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 50. Although it was Möngke who greatly advanced Mongol power in Islamic lands, Muslim sources surprisingly do not hold him in contempt. The introduction of the qubchir tax, however, was roundly despised by the Muslims because it seemed to function very much like the Islamic jizya poll tax (Thomas T. Allsen, Mongol Imperialism: The Policies of the Grand Qan Möngke in China, Russia and the Islamic Lands, 1251–1259 [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987], 167–168); on the relationship between Khubilai Khan and Pakpa Lama, see Dieter Schuh, Erlasse und Sendschreiben mongolischer Herrscher für tibetische Geistliche (Sankt Augustin, Germany: VGH Wissenschaftsverlag, 1977); Janos Szerb, “Glosses on the Oeuvre of Bla-ma ’Phags pt: II. Some Notes on the Events of the Years 1251–1254,” Acta Orientalia Hungarica 34 (1980): 263–285; Constance Hoog, Prince Jin-gim’s Textbook of Tibetan Buddhism (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1983); and Herbert Franke, Chinesischer und Tibetischer Buddhismus im China der Yüanzeit (Munich: Kommission für Zentralasiatische Studien/Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996).

  • 51. Tegüder converted as a youth to Islam and when he took the throne he ruled as Sultan Ahmad (r. 1282–1284); however, his reign was a disaster and his conversion had no impact on the Mongol elite, who drove him out of power. See Reuven Amitai, “The Conversion of Tegüder Ilkhan to Islam,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 25 (2001): 15–43; and Judith Pfeiffer, “Conversion to Islam among the Ilkhans in Muslim Narrative Traditions: The Case of Ahmad Tegüder” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2003).

  • 52. Jamal J. Elias, The Throne Carrier of God: The Life and Thought of ‘Ala’ ad-dawla as-Simnani (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 18, 26.

  • 53. Rashiduddin Fazlullah, Jami’u’t-tawarikh: Compendium of Chronicles, A History of the Mongols, Part Three, trans. W. M. Thackston (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 664.

  • 54. M. Molé, “Les Kubrawiya entre le Sunnisme et Shiisme aux Huitième et Neuvième Siécles de l’Hégire,” Revue des Études Islamiques 29 (1961): 76–90.

  • 55. Judith Pfeiffer, “Conversion Versions: Sultan Öljeytü’s Conversion to Shi‘ism (709/1309) in Muslim Narrative Sources,” Mongolian Studies 22 (1999): 45–46.

  • 56. Ahmed Azfar Moin, “Challenging the Mughal Emperor: The Islamic Millennium according to ‘Abd al-Qadir Badayuni,” in Islam in South Asia in Practice, ed. Barbara Metcalf (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 390–402.

  • 57. Robert Hillenbrand, “The Arts of the Book in Ilkhanid Iran,” in The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353, ed. Linda Komaroff and Stefano Carboni (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), 135–167, esp. 150.

  • 58. For the historical context of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwas and his critique of the Mongols, see Thomas Raff, Remarks on an Anti-Mongol Fatwa by Ibn Taimiya (Leiden, The Netherlands: self-pub., 1973), 38–59; and Denise Aigle, “The Mongol Invasions of Bilād al-Shām by Ghāzān Khān and Ibn Taymīyah’s Three ‘Anti-Mongol’ Fatwas,” Mamluk Studies Review 11, no. 2 (2007): 89–120.

  • 59. Reuven Amitai, “Ghazan, Islam and Mongol Tradition: A View from the Mamluk Sultanate,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 59 (1996): 9; D. Aigle, “Le grand jasaq de Genghis-khan, l’empire, la culture mongole et la shari‘a,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 47, no. 1 (2004): 31–79; and D. Aigle, “Loi mongole vs loi islamique. Entre mythe et réalité,” Annales: Histoire, Sciences sociales 59, nos. 5–6 (2004): 971–996.

  • 60. David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 64–65.

  • 61. For an overview of the unflattering contemporary views on Ibn Taymiyya, see Donald P. Little, “Did Ibn Taymiyya Have a Screw Loose?” Studia Islamica 41 (1975): 93–111.

  • 62. Muhammad U. Menon, Ibn Taimīya’s Struggle Against Popular Religion (The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton, 1976); Jean R. Michot, Musique et danse selon Ibn Taymiyya: Le Livre du Samac et de la Danse (Kitab al’Sama c wa’l-Raqs) compilé par le shaykh Muḥammad al-Manbijī (Paris: J. Vrin, 1991); and Niels Henrik Olesen, Culte des saints et pélerinage chez Ibn Taymiyya (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1991).

  • 63. Perween Hassan, “The Footprint of the Prophet,” Muqarnas 10 (1993): 341.

  • 64. Herbert Franke, “Mittelmongolische Glossen in einer arabischen Astronomischen Handschrift von 1366,” Oriens 31 (1988): 95–118. On the scientific contents of al-Sanjufini’s zij, see E. S. Kennedy and Jan Hogendijk, “Two Tables from an Arabic Astronomical Handbook for the Mongol Viceroy of Tibet,” in A Scientific Humanist: Studies in Memory of Abraham Sachs, ed. Erie Leichty et al. (Philadelphia: The University Museum, 1988), 233–242; and E. S. Kennedy, “Eclipse Predictions in Arabic Astronomical Tables Prepared for the Mongol Viceroy of Tibet,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 4 (1990): 60–80.

  • 65. K. M. Maitra, A Persian Embassy to China: Being an Extract from Zubdatu’t Tawarikh of Hafiz Abru (New York: Paragon Book, 1970), 14–15; and Luo Yuejiong, Xian bin lü (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983).

  • 66. This particular phrase (“sharr-i rusūm-i bīgānegān”) is found in several Naqshbandiyya letters (Jo-Ann Gross and Asom Urunbaev, The Letters of Khwāja ‘Ubayd Allāh Aḥrār and His Associates [Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002], 114, 128, 166).

  • 67. Kim Hodong, “The Rise and Fall of the Hami Kingdom (c. 1389–1513),” in Land Routes of the Silk Roads and the Cultural Exchanges between the East and West before the 10th Century (Beijing: New World Press, 1996). One should also note that at Toyuq, the Uygur Buddhist cave temples became the seat of Sufi dervishes “who considered the caves to be the abode of the ‘Seven Sleepers’ of Islamic hagiography” (David A. Scott, “Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons,” Numen 42, no. 2 [1995]: 146).

  • 68. Another facet of this process of religious conversion was the incorporation of Buddhist stories into the Muslim tradition. For example, the story of a sandstorm from Xuanzang’s pilgrimage through Central Asia became part of Kataki Sufi lore (Masami Hamada, “Islamic Saints and Their Mausoleums,” Acta Asiatica 34 [1978]: 81–83). Moreover, the so-called “Uwaysi” sufis had a legend about a sufi named Muhibb-i Kuhmar (“Lover of the Mountain Snake”) and a holy snake that was apparently modeled on a Buddhist snake story connected with the philosopher Nagurjuna (Julian Baldick, Imaginary Muslims: The Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia [New York: I.B. Tauris, 1993], 163–165). The same kind of appropriation of Buddhist elements into Islam also happened in Java; see A. H. Johns, “From Buddhism to Islam: An Interpretation of the Javanese Literature of the Transition,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 9, no. 1 (1966): 40–50.

  • 69. Johan Elverskog, “The Tumu Incident and the Chinggisid Legacy in Inner Asia,” The Silk Road 15 (2017): 142–152.

  • 70. Sh. Bira, “Qubilai Qa’an and ‘Phags-pa bLa-ma,” in The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy, ed. Reuven Amitai-Preiss and David O. Morgan (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1999), 240–249.

  • 71. On these developments, see Johan Elverskog, The Jewel Translucent Sutra: Altan Khan and the Mongols in the Sixteenth Century (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2003), 129–179.

  • 72. Joseph F. Fletcher, Studies on China and Islamic Central Asia, ed. Beatrice Manz (Aldershot, UK: Variorum, 1995); and Jonathan N. Lipman, Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997).

  • 73. Zvi ben-dor Benite, The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard East Asia Center, 2005); and James D. Frankel, Rectifying God’s Name: Liu Zhi’s Confucian Translation of Monotheism and Islamic Law (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011).

  • 74. Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala; Charles Bawden, “The Wish-Prayer for Shambhala Again,” Monumenta Serica 36 (1984–1985): 453–509.

  • 75. Lubos Belka, “The Myth of Shambhala: Visions, Visualizations, and the Myth’s Resurrection in the Twentieth Century in Buryatia,” Archiv Orientální 71, no. 3 (2003): 252, 262.

  • 76. Kim Hodong, Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864–1877 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004); and David G. Atwill, The Chinese Sultanate: Islam, Ethnicity, and the Panthay Rebellion in Southwest China, 1856–1873 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005).

  • 77. Stephen R. Platt, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War (New York: Knopf, 2012).

  • 78. Julia Lovell, The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China (New York: Overlook Press, 2015); and Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).

  • 79. On the violent component of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism, see Stanley J. Tambiah, Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Tessa J. Bartholomeusz and Chandra Richard De Silva, eds., Fundamentalism and Minority Identities in Sri Lanka (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998); Tessa J. Bartholomeusz, In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002); and Ananda Abeyesekara, “The Saffron Army, Violence, Terror(ism): Buddhism, Identity, and Difference in Sri Lanka,” Numen 48, no. 1 (2001): 1–46. On Buddhist persecution of Muslims in Myanmar, see Melissa Crouch, Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Francis Wade, Myanmar’s Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim ‘Other’ (London: Zed Books, 2017); and Michael Walton, Buddhism, Politics, and Political Thought in Myanmar (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

  • 80. Iselin Frydenlund, “Buddhist Islamophobia: Actors, Tropes, Contexts,” in Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion, ed. Asbjørn Dyrendal et al. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2019), 279–302.

  • 81. One of the earliest to do so was Sophie Gilliat, who proposed that a dialogue could develop around common social-ethical issues (Sophie Gilliat, “Islamic and Buddhist Doctrines of Personhood: Some Reflections for Interfaith Dialogue,” World Faiths Encounter 6 [1993]: 28–32). This idea subsequently was adopted by Scott, who not only expanded Gilliat’s work by including a historical dimension, but also explored some further theological possibilities (David A. Scott, “Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons,” Numen 42, no. 2 [1995]: 141–155). This task has more recently been taken up by Imtiyaz Yusuf in his spirited defense of religious pluralism as found in the Qu’ran (Imtiyaz Yusuf, “Islamic Theology of Religious Pluralism: Qu’ran’s Attitude to Other Religions,” Prajñā Vihāra 11, no. 1 [2010]: 123–140). Such inquiry, which aims to build bridges between Buddhists and Muslims, is evidenced in two volumes that have recently appeared. One of these volumes, part of the Common Ground Project initiated by H. R. H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan in collaboration with H. H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and edited by Shah-Kazemi, contains two articles comparing the spiritual teachings of Buddhism and Islam (Reza Shah-Kazemi, Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism, Lewisville, TX: Fons Vitae, 2010.). The second collection, which was published in The Muslim World, contains a much wider range of scholarly approaches to the question of Buddhist–Muslim exchange (e.g., Toby Mayer, “Yogic-Ṣūfī Homologies: The Case of the ‘Six Principles’ Yoga of Nāropa and the Kubrawiyya.” The Muslim World 100 [2010]: 268–286).

  • 82. Alexander Berzin, “Historical Survey of the Buddhist and Muslim Worlds’ Knowledge of Each Other’s Customs and Teachings.” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 187–203; and Jacques Waardenburg, “The Medieval Period, 650–1500,” in Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey, ed. Jacques Waardenburg (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 18–69.

  • 83. Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett, and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011); Johan Elverskog, Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010); Richard C. Foltz, “Buddhism in the Iranian World,” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 204-214; and Jane I. Smith, “Early Muslim Accounts of Buddhism in India,” Studies in Islam 10 (1973): 87–100.

  • 84. Derryl N. MacLean, Religion and Society in Arab Sind (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1989); Victor H. Mair, “Three Brief Essays Concerning Chinese Tocharistan, no. B: Early Iranian Influences on Buddhism in Central Asia,” Sino-Platonic Papers 16 (1990): 131–134; and Xavier Tremblay, “The Spread of Buddhism in Serindia: Buddhism Among Iranians, Tocharians, and Turks before the 13th Century,” in The Spread of Buddhism, ed. Ann Heirman and Stephen P. Bumbacher (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007), 75–129.

  • 85. Michal Biran, The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Morris Rossabi, “The Muslims in the Early Yüan Dynasty,” in China under Mongol Rule, ed. John D. Langlois Jr. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981), 257–295.

  • 86. K. M. Maitra, A Persian Embassy to China: Being an Extract from Zubdatu’t Tawarikh of Hafiz Abru (New York: Paragon Book, 1970).

  • 87. Prods Oktor Skjaervø, “Khotan, An Early Center of Buddhism in Chinese Turkestan,” in Buddhism Across Boundaries: Chinese Buddhism and the Western Regions, ed. Jan Nattier and John McRae (Taipei: Foguangshan Foundation for Buddhist & Culture Education, 1999), 265–344.

  • 88. H. W. Bailey, “The Word ‘But’ in Iranian,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 6, no. 1 (1931): 279–283; Warwick Ball, “Two Aspects of Iranian Buddhism,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute of Pahlavi University 1 (1976): 103–163; Richard W. Bulliet, “Naw Bahār and the Survival of Iranian Buddhism,” Iran 14 (1976): 140–145; and A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, “The Buddhist Heritage in the Art of Iran,” in Mahayanist Art After A.D. 900, ed. William Watson (London: Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, 1977), 56–73.

  • 89. Samuel M. Grupper, “The Buddhist Sanctuary-Vihara of Labnasagut and the Il-Qan Hülegü: An Overview of Il-Qanid Buddhism and Related Matters,” Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 13 (2004): 5–78; and Jamal J. Elias, The Throne Carrier of God: The Life and Thought of ‘Ala’ ad-dawla as-Simnani (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995).

  • 90. Reuven Amitai, “Sufis and Shamans: Some Remarks on the Islamization of the Mongols in the Ilkhanate,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 42, no. 1 (1999): 27–46.

  • 91. A. H. Johns, “From Buddhism to Islam: An Interpretation of the Javanese Literature of the Transition,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 9, no. 1 (1966): 40–50.

  • 92. K. M. de Silva et al., Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies: Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988); Jean A. Berlie, The Burmanization of Myanmar’s Muslims (Bangkok: White Lotus Press, 2008); Angela Burr, “Pigs in Noah’s Ark: A Muslim Origin Myth from Southern Thailand,” Folklore 90, no. 2 (1979): 178–185; Michael K. Jerryson, “Militarizing Buddhism: Violence in Southern Thailand,” in Buddhist Warfare, ed. Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 179–209; and Tamara Loos, “Colonial Law and Buddhist Modernity in the Malay Muslim South,” in Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 72–99.

  • 93. Jean A. Berlie, “A Comparative Study of Buddhism and Islam in Yunnan Province,” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 337–348; Alexander Horstmann, “Ethnohistorical Perspectives on Buddhist–Muslim Relations and Coexistence in Southern Thailand: From Shared Cosmos to the Emergence of Hatred?,” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 19, no. 1 (2004): 76–99; and Mohamed Yusoff Ismail, “Buddhism in a Muslim State: Theravada Practices and Religious Life in Kelantan,” The Muslim World 100 (2010): 321–336.

  • 94. Anna Akasoy and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, “Along the Musk Routes: Exchanges between Tibet and the Islamic World,” Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity 3, no. 2 (2007): 217–240.

  • 95. Tashi Tsering, “The Advice of the Tibetan Muslim ‘Phalu’: A Preliminary Discussion of a Popular Buddhist/Islamic Literary Treatise,” Tibetan Review Part 1 (February 1988): 10–15; Part II (March 1988): 18–21; and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, “On Urine Analysis and Tibetan Medicine’s Connections with the West,” in Studies of Medical Pluralism in Tibetan History and Society, ed. Sienna Craig et al. (Halle, Germany: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, 2010), 195–211.

  • 96. K. Warikoo, “Trade Relations between Central Asia and Kashmir Himalayas during the Dogra Period (1846–1947),” Cahiers d’Asie Centrale no. 1–2 (1996): 113–124; Thierry Zarcone, “Sufism from Central Asia among the Tibetans in the 16th–17th Centuries,” The Tibet Journal 20, no. 3 (1995): 96–114; Gerhard Emmer, “Dga’ Ldan Tshe Dbang Dpal Bzang Po and the Tibet-Ladakh-Mughal War of 1679–84,” in The Mongolia-Tibet Interface: Opening New Research Terrains in Inner Asia, ed. Uradyn E. Bulag and Hildegaard G.M. Diemberger (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007), 81–107; and Andrew Martin Fischer, “The Muslim Cook, the Tibetan Client, His Lama and Their Boycott: Modern Religious Discourses of Anti-Muslim Economic Activism in Amdo,” in Conflict and Social Order in Tibet and Inner Asia, ed. Fernanda Pirie and Toni Huber (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008), 159–192.

  • 97. Klaus Sagaster, “Kesar, der islamische Antichrist,” in Documenta Barbarorum: Festschrift für Walther Heissig zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Klaus Sagaster and Michael Weiers (Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1983), 341–348.

  • 98. Carl Ernst, “Admiring the Works of the Ancients: The Ellora Temples as Viewed by Indo-Muslim Authors,” in Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, ed. David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2000), 98–120; and Finbarr Barry Flood,“Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Iconoclasm, and the Museum,” The Art Bulletin 84, no. 4 (2002): 641–659.

  • 99. Sheila R. Canby, “Depictions of Buddha Sakyamuni in the Jami’ al-Tavarikh and the Majma’ al-Tavarikh,” Muqarnas 10 (1993): 299–310; Géza Fehévári, “Islamic Incense-burners and the Influence of Buddhist Art,” in The Iconography of Islamic Art: Studies in Honour of Robert Hillenbrand, ed. Bernard O’Kane (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 127–141; Finbarr B. Flood, Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); and Christiane J. Gruber, The Timurid “Book of Ascension” (Micrajnama): A Study of Text and Image in a Pan-Asian Context (Rome: Ediciones Patrimonio, 2008).

  • 100. Linda Komaroff and Stefano Carboni, eds., The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

  • 101. Han-Sung Yang et al., The Hye Ch’o Diary: Memoir of the Pilgrimage to the Five Regions of India (Berkeley, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1989); and Semih Tezcan and Peter Zieme, “Antiislamische Polemik in einem alttürkischen buddhistischen Gedicht aus Turfan,” Altorientalische Forschungen 17, no. 1 (1990): 146–151.

  • 102. John Newman, “Eschatology in the Wheel of Time Tantra,” in Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez Jr., (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 284–289; John Newman, “Islam in the Kālacakra Tantra,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 21, no. 2 (1998): 311–371; Michael Aris, ‘Jig-med-gling-pa’s ‘Discourse on India’ of 1789: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of the Cho-phyogs rgya-gar-gyi gtam brtag-pa brgyad-kyi me-long (Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies of ICABS, 1996); and Taranatha, History of Buddhism in India, trans. Lama Chimpa and Alaka Chattopadhyaya (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1990).

  • 103. Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, Representing the Other? Sanskrit Sources and the Muslims (New Delhi: Manohar, 1998); and Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp, “The Earliest Indian Reference to Muslims in a Buddhist Philosophical Text of circa 700,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 34 (2006): 169–202.

  • 104. Bayard Dodge, The Fihrist of al-Nadim: A Tenth Century Survey of Muslim Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970); and Karl Jahn, Die Indiengeschichte des Rašid ad-Din (Wien, Germany: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1980); Lawrence, Shahrastani.

  • 105. Sachiko Murata, Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light: Wang Tai-yü’s Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih’s Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000); and Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006).