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 bibliography. 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 late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, because these 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. Work in this field is still very much in its infancy, and thus what follows is not a conventional annotated bibliography surveying centuries of scholarship; rather, it 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 2010 and Waardenburg 1999, for example, both offer surveys of how Buddhists and Muslims understood each other in the medieval period. Akasoy, et al. 2011; Elverskog 2010; Foltz 2010; and Smith 1973, in contrast, take a geographical approach and therefore reveal how Buddhists and Muslims interacted in Tibet, Inner Asia, Iran, and India. It is these two general approaches—which may be termed the comparative and the regional—that provide the framework for this bibliography.
Akasoy, Anna, Charles Burnett, and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim. Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes. Farnham, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011.
This collection of eighteen articles surveys the cultural exchange and transmission of knowledge between the Islamic world and Tibet as they have developed from the 8th to the early 21st century.
Berzin, Alexander. “Historical Survey of the Buddhist and Muslim Worlds’ Knowledge of Each Other’s Customs and Teachings.” In A Special Issue on Islam and Buddhism. Muslim World 100.2–3 (2010): 187–203.
In this article, Berzin offers a concise overview of Buddhist and Muslim sources that reveal how each tradition understood the other from their first contact in South Asia until the Mongol Il-Khanid dynasty in Iran (1258–1336 CE). Available online for purchase.
Elverskog, Johan. Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road. Encounters with Asia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.
This work is the first monograph on Buddhist–Muslim interaction and focuses on Inner Asia from the 8th century through the Mongol Empire and to the end of the Qing dynasty in the late 19th century.
Foltz, Richard. “Buddhism in the Iranian World.” In A Special Issue on Islam and Buddhism. Muslim World 100.2–3 (2010): 204–214.
This article is a revised and updated version of a chapter from Foltz’s Spirituality in the Land of the Noble: How Iran Shaped the World’s Religions (Oxford: Oneworld, 2004) and offers a useful history of Buddhism’s presence in Iran. Available online for purchase.
Smith, Jane I. “Early Muslim Accounts of Buddhism in India.” Studies in Islam 10 (1973): 87–100.
Smith’s short article provides a convenient overview and analysis of the extant early Muslim sources on Buddhism in India.
Waardenburg, Jacques. “The Medieval Period, 650–1500.” In Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. Edited by Jacques Waardenburg, 18–69. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
In this wide-ranging overview of Islamic representations of other religious traditions during the medieval period, the author provides material on how to understand the Muslim engagement with Buddhism.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Abhijñā/Ṛddhi (Extraordinary Knowledge and Powers)
- Abortion, Buddhism and
- Ajanta Caves
- Ambedkar Buddhism
- Ancient Indian Society
- Archaeology of Early Buddhism
- Art and Architecture In China, Buddhist
- Art and Architecture in India, Buddhist
- Art and Architecture in Japan, Buddhist
- Art and Architecture in Nepal, Buddhist
- Art and Architecture in Tibet, Buddhist
- Art and Architecture on the "Silk Road," Buddhist
- Asceticism, Buddhism and
- Awakening of Faith
- Beats, Buddhism and the
- Bhāviveka / Bhāvaviveka
- Bodh Gaya
- Body, Buddhism and the
- Buddha, Three Bodies of the (Trikāya)
- Buddhism and Ethics
- Buddhism and Law
- Buddhism and Marxism
- Buddhism and Modern Literature
- Buddhist Art and Architecture in Sri Lanka and Southeast A...
- Buddhist Hermeneutics
- Buddhist Ordination
- Buddhist Theories of Causality (karma, pratītyasamutpāda, ...
- Buddhist Thought and Western Philosophy
- Buddhist Thought, Embryology in
- Buddhist-Christian Dialogue
- Cambodian Buddhism
- Canon, History of the Buddhist
- Caste, Buddhism and
- Central Asia, Buddhism in
- China, Esoteric Buddhism in, (Zhenyan and Mijiao)
- Chinese Buddhist Publishing and Print Culture, 1900-1950
- Colonialism and Postcolonialism
- Compassion (karuṇā)
- Cosmology, Astronomy and Astrology
- Culture, Material
- Dalai Lama
- Demons and the Demonic in Buddhism
- Dignāga and Dharmakīrti, The Philosophical Works and Influ...
- Drigung Kagyu (’Bri gung bKa’ brgyud)
- Dzogchen (rDzogs chen)
- Early Buddhist Philosophy (Abhidharma/Abhidhamma)
- Early Modern European Encounters with Buddhism
- East Asian Buddhist Art, Portraiture in
- Ellora Caves
- Emptiness (Śūnyatā)
- Environment, Buddhism and the
- Ethics of Violence, Buddhist
- Family, Buddhism and the
- Feminist Approaches to the Study of Buddhism
- Four Noble Truths
- Funeral Practices
- Gandhāra, Buddhism in
- Gelugpa (dGe lugs pa)
- Gender, Buddhism and
- Hakuin Ekaku
- History of Buddhisms in China
- Image Consecrations
- India, Buddhism in
- India, Mahāmudrā in
- Internationalism, Buddhism and
- Intersections Between Buddhism and Hinduism in Thailand
- Iranian World, Buddhism in the
- Islam, Buddhism and
- Japan, Buddhism in
- Korea, Buddhism in
- Laos, Buddhism in
- Linji and the Linjilu
- Literature, Chan
- Literature, Tantric
- Local Religion, Buddhism as
- Lotus Sūtra
- Mahayana, Early
- Mahāvairocana Sūtra/Tantra
- Malaysia, Buddhism in
- Mantras and Dhāraṇīs
- Merit Transfer
- Miracles, Buddhist
- Modernism, Buddhist
- Monasticism in East Asia
- Mongolia, Buddhism in
- Mongolia, Buddhist Art and Architecture in
- Music, and Buddhism
- Myanmar, Buddhism in
- New Medias, Buddhism in
- New Religions in Japan (Shinshūkyō), Buddhism and
- Śāntideva (Bodhicaryāvatāra)
- Nuns, Lives, and Rules
- Oral and Literate Traditions
- Pagan (Bagan)
- Perfection of Wisdom
- Perfections (Six and Ten)
- Philosophy, Chinese Buddhist
- Philosophy, Classical Indian Buddhist
- Philosophy, Classical Japanese Buddhist
- Philosophy, Tibetan Buddhist
- Pilgrimage in India
- Pilgrimage in Japan
- Pilgrimage in Tibet
- Psychology and Psychotherapy, Buddhism in
- Pure Land Buddhism
- Pure Land Sūtras
- Religious Tourism, Buddhism and
- Saṃsāra and Rebirth
- Self, Non-Self, and Personal Identity
- Shinto, Buddhism and
- Soka Gakkai
- South and Southeast Asia, Devatās, Nats, And Phii In
- Southeast Asia, Buddhism in
- Sri Lanka, Monasticism in
- Sōtō Zen (Japan)
- Stūpa Pagoda Caitya
- Suffering (Dukkha)
- Sutta (Pāli/Theravada Canon)
- Texts, Dunhuang
- Thai Buddhism
- Thích Nhất Hạnh
- Three Turnings of the Wheel of Doctrine (Dharma-Cakra)
- Tibet, Buddhism in
- Tibet, Mahāmudrā in
- Tibetan Book of the Dead
- Tri Songdetsen
- Uighur Buddhism
- Verse Literature, Tibetan Buddhist
- Vidyādhara (weikza/weizzā)
- Vietnam, Buddhism in
- Vision and Visualization
- Visualization/Contemplation Sutras
- Warrior Monk Traditions
- West (North America and Europe), Buddhism in the
- Wheel of Life (Bhava-Cakra)
- Women in Buddhism
- Women in the West, Prominent Buddhist
- Zen, Premodern Japanese