1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ibn Ḥazm

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21867101911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 14 — Ibn ḤazmGriffithes Wheeler Thatcher

IBN ḤAZM [Abū Maḥommed ʽAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Ḥazm] (994–1064), Moslem theologian, was born in a suburb of Cordova. He studied history, law and theology, and became a vizier as his father had been before him, but was deposed for heresy, and spent the rest of his life quietly in the country. In legal matters he belonged first to the Shāfiʽite school, but came to adopt the views of the Zāhirites, who admitted only the external sense of the Koran and tradition, disallowing the use of analogy (Qiyās) and Taqlīd (appeal to the authority of an imām), and objecting altogether to the use of individual opinion (Raʽy). Every sentence of the Koran was to be interpreted in a general and universal sense; the special application to the circumstances of the time it was written was denied. Every word of the Koran was to be taken in a literal sense, but that sense was to be learned from other uses in the Koran itself, not from the meaning in other literature of the time. The special feature of Ibn Ḥazm’s teaching was that he extended the application of these principles from the study of law to that of dogmatic theology. He thus found himself in opposition at one time to the Moʽtazilites, at another to the Ashʽarites. He did not, however, succeed in forming a school. His chief work is the Kitāb ul-Milal wan-Niḥal, or “Book of Sects” (published in Cairo, 1899).

For his teaching cf. I. Goldziher, Die Zahiriten, pp. 116-172 (Leipzig, (1884), and M. Schreiner in the Journal of the German Oriental Society, lii. 464-486. For a list of his other works see C. Brockelmann’s Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, vol. i. (Weimar, 1898), p. 400. (G. W. T.)