Ibn Hazm

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Andalusian Philosophers
Medieval Philosophy
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Name: Abū Muhammad ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn Sa’īd ibn Hazm
Birth: November 7, 994 (Córdoba, Al Andalus (Spain)
Death: August 15, 1064[1] 456 A.H. [2] (Manta Lisham, near Sevilla, Spain)
School/tradition: Islamic philosophy
Main interests
Metaphysics (incl. Theology), Ethics
Notable ideas

Ibn Hazm (November 7, 994 – August 15, 1064[1] 456 AH[2]) in full Abū Muhammad ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn Sa’īd ibn Hazm (Arabic :أبو محمد علي بن احمد بن سعيد بن حزم), sometimes with al-Andalusī al-Zāhirī [3] was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher, writer, historian, jurist and theologian born in Córdoba, present day Spain.[4] He was a leading proponent of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought (madhab), which argued that people are bound to obey only the law of God, in its zahir or literal sense, without restrictions, additions, or modifications. He denied the legitimacy of legal rulings based upon qiyas (analogy), principles of personal evaluation, or the consensus of a community of scholars. He created a Zahiri grammar for use in interpreting sacred texts, which specifically eliminated the ambiguities used by grammarians to explain certain syntactical forms. Ibn Hazm considered deductive reasoning appropriate only for reflecting on knowledge gained from revelation and sense data, but not for seeking out new truths in law and religion. He criticized Islamic theologians, philosophers and mystics for raising questions about revealed truths, and resolving them by purely human means.

Contents

Ibn Hazm reportedly produced four hundred works of which only 40 have survived, covering a range of topics such as jurisprudence, logic, history, ethics, medicine, comparative religion, and theology, as well as the The Ring of the Dove, on the art of love.[4]

Life

Ibn Hazm was born into a noble family; his grandfather Sa'id and his father Ahmad both held high positions in the court of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II[5]- and professed a Persian genealogy.[6] However, scholars believe that Iberian converts adopted such genealogies to better identify with the Arabs and favor evidence that points to an Christian Iberian family background hailing from Manta Lisham (near Sevilla).[6]

Career

Ibn Hazm received an excellent education in religious sciences, literature, and poetry. After the death of the grand vizier al-Muzaffar in 1008, the Caliphate of Cordoba became embroiled in a civil that lasted until 1031, resulting in its collapse and the emergence of many smaller states called the Taifas.[6] Ibn Hazm's father was disgraced after the fall of Caliph Hisham II, and his family home at Balat Mughith was destroyed in the course of bloody battles between Arabs and Berbers. After his father died in 1012, Ibn Hazm continued to support the Umayyads, for which he was frequently imprisoned.[6]He served as vizier at least twice, under 'Abd al-Rahman III al-Murtada and 'Abd al-Rahman V al-Mustazhir, and possibly a third time under the last caliph, Hisham al-Mu'tadd. By 1031, discouraged by his political experiences and disgusted by the conduct of his contemporaries, Ibn Hazm had retreated to his family estate at Manta Lisham where he spent his last thirty years in writing and literary activities.[6] He died August 15, 1064.

According to a saying of the period, "the tongue of Ibn Hazm was a twin brother to the sword of al-Hajjaj, a famous seventh-century general and governor of Iraq"[6] and he became so frequently quoted that the phrase “Ibn Hazm said” became proverbial.[6]

Thought and Works

Ibn Hazm was a leading proponent of the Zahiri (literal) school of Islamic thought (madhab). He is reported to have produced four hundred works, of which only forty have survived, covering a range of topics such as jurisprudence, logic, history, ethics, comparative religion, and theology, as well as the The Ring of the Dove, on the art of love.[4]

Originally a Shafi'i jurist, Ibn Hazm joined the Zahiri (literal) school and brought to it a systematic structure of logic. He opposed the allegorical interpretation of religious texts, and promoted a grammatical and syntactical interpretation of the Qur'an. He created a Zahiri grammar for use in interpreting sacred texts, in which he specifically eliminated the ambiguities used by grammarians to explain certain syntactical forms. He maintained that language by itself provided everything necessary for the understanding of its content, and that God, who revealed the Qur'an in clear (mubin) Arabic, had used the language to say precisely what He meant. Each verse was to be understood in its immediate and general sense; when God wanted a verse to have a specific meaning, an indication (dalil) was given, either in the same verse or in a reference from another verse, signifying that the meaning was to be restricted. In a case where two meanings were possible, such as an imperative verb which could be interpreted either as a command or as a suggestion, the correct meaning of a Qur'anic text could be determined by referring to a hadith (oral tradition) which had been verified as authentic.

In opposition to the Malikiyah, Ibn Hazm argued that people are bound to obey only the law of God, in its zahir or literal sense, without restrictions, additions, or modifications. The zahiri denied the legitimacy of legal rulings based upon qiyas (analogy) and focused upon the literal meanings of legal injunctions in the Qur'an and hadith. They also rejected the use of the principles of personal evaluation; the pursuit of what is considered good (istihsan), the pursuit of values for the common good (istislah), and especially the recourse to personal opinion (ra'y) by which the jurists sought to extend divine law to cases not mentioned in the texts (nusus). He never accepted that the consensus of a community of scholars on a legal question as legitimate authorization for the derivation of a law, and limited the validity of consensus (ijma') to the companions of the Prophet.

In Al-ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (Judgment on the Principles of Ahkam), and in his voluminous treatise on Zahiri law, Kitab al-muhalla (The Book of Ornaments), Ibn Hazm developed a methodology for classifying human acts within the five established juridical categories (ahkam) of obligatory, recommended, disapproved, forbidden, and lawful. If an action did not fall into one of the first four categories, and there was no text (Qur'an or authentic hadith) to establish its particular status, the act was lawful. Many of Ibn Hazm’s rulings differed from those of his Zahiri predecessors, and consequently Ibn Hazm's followers are sometimes considered as a distinct school of Islamic thought (madhhab).

Ibn Hazm also wrote a critical survey of systems of philosophical thought, the Fisal (Detailed Critical Examination). He used an examination the philosophical and religious ideas of the skeptics, Peripatetics, brahmans, Zoroastrians and other dualists, Jews, and Christians to establish the preeminence of Islam. He also attacked Muslim theologians, particularly the Mu'tazilah and the Ash'ariyah, and the philosophers and mystics, on the grounds that they all raised questions about the revealed text and resolved them by purely human means. Ibn Hazm granted cognitive legitimacy only to revelation and sensation and considered deductive reasoning insufficient in legal and religious matters. He believed that human reason, since it was derived entirely from immediate sense experience, should be applied only to understanding sense experience and revelation, and not in an attempt to discover further truth.

The Dove’s Neck-Ring

Tawq al-hamamah (The Dove's Neck-Ring), a collection of prose passages and poetic illustrations about love and lovers, was first written during Ibn Hazm’s youth and revised later. In classical Arabic literature, the dove was a symbol of love, or romance. The ring was a reference to a necklace, or adornment, around the neck. The book was intended as a means of adding adornment to love. The work was inspired by 'ishq (defined by Hakim Bey as "crazed hopeless passion"), but cautioned the reader against breaking religious injunctions and praised chastity. Though it gave a standard treatment to a popular theme in Arabic literature, The Dove's Neck-Ring was distinguished by penetrating insight into human psychology. Examining the exchanges between women and their lovers, Ibn Hazm found insincerity, a gap between what was said and what was thought. His conclusion that language often serves to mask thought led to a profound reflection on the use of language and on Zahir, the "apparent" or literal meaning of words.

Works

  • Al-Akhlâq wa’l-Siyar (Morals and Behaviour)
  • Al-fasl fil al-Milal wal-Nihal (on Sects)
  • Al Kitab al-Muhallā bi'l Athār (The Book Ornamented with traditions) The only book of his Legal rulings existent to date.
  • Ihkam Al Ahkam fi Usul al Ahkam His work on jurisprudential principles or Usul Al Fiqh.
  • Tawq al­-hamamah (The Dove's Necklace) or (Ring of the Dove)
  • Mukhtasar al-Muhalla li Ibn Hazm, an abridgment of Ibn Hazm's fiqh manual [7].

Al-Dhahabi lists the following catalog of Ibn Hazm's works:

  1. Al-Isal ila Fahm Kitab al-Khisal in 15,000 folios.
  2. Al-Khisal al-Hafiz li Jumal Shara'i` al-Islam in two volumes.
  3. Al-Mujalla in two volumes.
  4. Al-Muhalla in eight volumes.
  5. Hujja al-Wada` in one volume.
  6. Qisma al-Khumus fi al-Radd `ala Isma`il al-Qadi in one volume.
  7. Al-Athar al-Lati Zahiruha al-Ta`arud wa Nafyi al-Tanaqud `Anha in 10,000 folios, unfinished.
  8. Al-Jami` Fi Sahih al-Hadith, without chains of transmission.
  9. Al-Talkhis wa al-Takhlis fi al-Masa'il al-Nazariyya
  10. Ma Infarada Bihi Malik aw Abu Hanifa aw al-Shafi`I
  11. Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha' al-Khamsa Malik wa Abi Hanifa wa al-Shafi`i wa Ahmad wa Dawud [al-Zahiri]
  12. Al-Tasaffuh fi al-Fiqh in one volume.
  13. Al-Tabyin fi Hal `Alima al-Mustafa A`yan al-Munafiqin in 3 tomes.
  14. Al-Imla' fi Sharh al-Muwatta' in 1,000 folios.
  15. Al-Imla' fi Qawa`id al-Fiqh in 1,000 folios.
  16. Durr al-Qawa`id fi Fiqh al-Zahiriyya in 1,000 folios.
  17. Al-Ijma` in one small volume.
  18. Al-Fara'id in one volume.
  19. Al-Risala al-Balqa' fi al-Radd `ala `Abd al-Haqq ibn Muhammad al-Saqali in one small volume.
  20. Al-Ihkam li Usul al-Ahkam in two volumes.
  21. Al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Nihal in two large volumes.
  22. Al-Radd `Ala man I`tarada `ala al-Fisal in one volume.
  23. Al-Yaqin fi Naqd al-Mu`tadhirin `an Iblis wa Sa'ir al-Mushrikin in one large volume.
  24. Al-Radd `ala Ibn Zakariyya al-Razi in 100 folios.
  25. Al-Tarshid fi al-Radd `Ala Kitab al-Farid li Ibn al-Rawandi fi I`tiradihi `ala al-Nubuwwat in one volume.
  26. Al-Radd `ala Man Kaffara al-Muta'awwilin min al-Muslimin in one volume.
  27. Mukhtasar fi `Ilal al-Hadith in one volume.
  28. Al-Taqrib li Hadd al-Mantiq bi al-Alfaz al-`Ammiyya in one volume.
  29. Al-Istijlab in one volume.
  30. Nasab al-Barbar in one volume.
  31. Naqt al-`Arus in one small volume.

Ibn Hazm also wrote more than ten books on medicine. His translated works include including al-Akhlaq wa al-Siyar fi Mudawat al-Nufus (Morals and Right Conduct in the Healing of Souls), Tawq al-Hamama fi al-Ulfa wa al-Ullaf ("The Ring of the Dove: Love and Lovers"), Maratib al-`Ulum ("The Categories of the Sciences"), al-Mujalla, and partial translations of his al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa' wa al-Nihal ("The Separators Concerning Religions, Heresies, and Sects"). [8]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ibn Hazm. The Ring of the Dove: A Treatise on the Art and Practice of Arab Love, Retrieved March 18, 2007.. Trans. A. J. Arberry. (Luzac Oriental, 1997 ISBN 1898942021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 THE CLASSIFICATION OF HADITH: According to the links in the isnad [1]University of Southern California: Compendium of Muslim Texts. Retrieved March 18, 2007
  3. A. R. Nykl. "Ibn Hazm's Treatise on Ethics, Retrieved March 18, 2007." The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 40 (1) (Oct., 1923): 30-36.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Ibn Hazm." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 23 Oct. 2006
  5. The court was under the effective rule of the Grand Viziers al-Mansur and his successor and son al-Muzaffar
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 "Ibn Hazm." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 23 Oct. 2006
  7. G.F. Haddad[2] www.sunnah.org. Retrieved March 18, 2007.
  8. [3]www.sunnah.org. Retrieved March 18, 2007.

References

  • Chejne, Anwar G., and 'Alī ibn Ahmad Ibn Hazm. 1982. Ibn Hazm. Chicago, Ill: Kazi Publications. ISBN 0935782044
  • Goldziher, Ignaz and Wolfgang Behn, trans. and ed. The Zahiris, Their Doctrine and Their History: a contribution to the history of Islamic theology. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1971.
  • Ibn Hazm; translation and preface by A. J. Arberry. The Ring Of The Dove. London: Luzac, 1953. ISBN 1898942021 [4]Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  • Nykl, A. R. "Ibn Hazm's Treatise on Ethics, Retrieved March 18, 2007." The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 40 (1) (Oct., 1923): 30-36.
  • Pulcini, Theodore, and Gary Laderman. 1998. Exegesis as polemical discourse: Ibn Hazm on Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press. ISBN 0788503960

External links

All links retrieved March 30, 2014.

  • Arnaldez, Roger. Ibn Hazm, Islamic Philosophy Online.

General Philosophy Sources

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