The Hidden Pearls of Ibn Hazm
Transcribed from a Lecture by Shaykh Abu Qatadah – May Allah (swt) Hasten his release
There are personalities in history which have dazzled people and filled the world, for example in Poetry Abu Al-Tayyeb Al-Mutanabi. These types of personalities or celebrities to put it in a modern context tend to have many extreme admirers and likewise extreme haters [so to put it]. In each Art there are these types of personalities and one of these surely is Abu Mohammed Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Saeed ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi.
His roots go back to Persia. One of his grandfathers entered Al-Andalus with Abdul-Rahman Al-Daakhil from the Ummawi Family. Therefore his family had a great allegiance to the Umayyads.
Many are those who praised this man excessively beyond the bounds and likewise people discredited him in the same manner (excessively). So why was he praised and why was he dispraised.
He was born with a golden spoon in his mouth! He was the son of a minister so he was quite involved in politics from a very young age. His state would change during the course of his life from being a minister in a palace, to being imprisoned in the dungeons.
He was criticized by many Muhadiths and likewise praised due to what they perceived his harsh stance in Jarh wal Ta’deel. It was claimed he declared some trustworthy narrators as distrusted and that he declared some known narrators to be unknown.
However let us start from the moment of his birth; he is among the very few whom we know exactly when he was born. He was born in the year 384 in Ramadhan. He was born rahimahullah among the Jawaari (Slave Women/Concubines), therefore when Ibn Hazm debated with the great Maalikee Scholar Abu al-Waleed Al-Baajy which many narrators claimed won the debate, however this claim is very doubtful. Ibn Hazm is not of those who are ever beaten. Abu al-Waleed Al-Baajy during the debate told Ibn Hazm in an apologetic manner “I have sought knowledge under a lamp and a candle”. He intended to humiliate Ibn Hazm due to his lavish upbringing. Listen to the reply of Ibn Hazm “As for I, Then I have sought knowledge upon light and luminosity and you seek to be like me for I have sought knowledge for its sake”. Here Ibn Hazm is claiming that Abu al-Waleed Al-Baajy has gained knowledge in order to higher his status!
Just to note none of the Great Maalikee Scholars from Al-Maghreb Taught until they visited the east (Hub of knowledge at that point in time) as for Ibn Hazm it was never narrated that he even left Al-Andalus therefore he never performed Hajj.
For this we must say, many where his errors with regards to the Fiqh of Hajj and hence, Imam Ibn Qayyem dedicated a chapter in his book Zaad Al-Ma’ad to refute the mistakes of Ibn Hazm with regards to his views on the Fiqh of Hajj. Therefore if you ever read his book Al-Muhalla, just skip over the chapter of Hajj.
Ibn Hazm grew up amongst the concubines and he used to love literature and poetry. His Family where Malikee in Fiqh therefore Ibn Hazm studied Al-Mowatta and the Malikee fiqh and was a follower of the Madhab.
However what caused him to become a true student of knowledge?
He entered the masjid and there happened to be a debate on going concerning a Fiqhi issue. Something was mentioned which he happened to dislike, he attempted to speak then one of the people told him this is not where you’re expertise lay. Ibn Hazm got up went to his home and began to seek knowledge thereafter. He began to learn hadeeth and he memorised it, he also learned Fiqh and Memorised the Mutoon (texts). Then he came out to those people he saw debating after a few months. He debated them and beat them.
He then became more Shafi’i orientated in his fiqh after he was mesmerised by Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i by reading his books.
Ibn Hazm read the books of Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i and he realised that some of the proofs that were used by Imam Al-Shafi’i to refute Al-Istihsaan are sufficient to refute Al-Qiyas also. Therefore Ibn Hazm denied Al-Qiyas (analogy) and adopted a math’hab that died out by the death of the man who established it, Dawuud Ibn Ali and His Son Ahmed. This Math’hab was also forgotten after the death of Ibn Hazm and its Mentioning became synonymous with the name of its founder, this math’hab is Al-Math’hab Al-Dahiree.
Ibn Hazm studied logic and philosophy when he was young which affected him greatly. Therefore we see that he denied the meanings of Allah’s names and attributes but affirmed the words. Ibn Katheer speaking about him after he mentioned such a great scholar he was said he is “a Jahmi” in the issues of names and attributes.
Regardless, this Imam was great, he loved Al-Hadeeth immensely and the scholars loved him for his love of Hadeeth, his wide knowledge of it and his great respect for it. It was not known of anyone of the people of Al-Andalus who loved and revered the Sunnah as much as Ibn Hazm. They also loved him for his great mind especially in dealing with Fiqhi issues.
However they disliked him for his “Jahmi” approach to the names and attributes of Allah. In addition he denied wisdom and reason with regards to Allah’s actions. He was also disliked due to his harsh tongue. Abu Al-Abbas Ibn Tareef said “His tongue and Al-Hajaaj’s Sword are one of the same”
The Greatest calamity to happen to any scholar is for his books to be destroyed. Ibn Hazm was targeted and had all his books gathered and burned this caused him much distress. Due to this much of the knowledge we could have gained from this man is lost. One of the most important books of his that were burnt, contained gems of knowledge, it was his book Al-Isaal. Al-Isaal is the original of his book Al-Muhalla which is an abridged version of the original. Ibn Hazm speaking about his Book Al-Isaal said “I have not left a statement of a scholar in the east or the west since the Prophet was sent except that I have mentioned it”.
Ibn Hazm was truly a scholar is every art. In Fiqh he wrote Al-Muhalla which a major scholar in fiqh, Al-Izz ibn Abdisalaam spoke about and said “I was not content on giving Fatwa until I read the Muhalla and the Mughni of Ibn Qudama”.
He was a scholar when it came to “Usool” as he wrote a book called “Al-Ihkaam fi Usool Al-Ahkaam”. Obviously some things in that book we omit e.g. his denial of Qiyas and other minor issue.
He was also a scholar when it came to identifying peoples beliefs as he has a book on this titled as “Al-Fisal Fi Al-Milal Wal Ahwaa wal Nihal”
As a point to note Ibn Hazm is not to be accepted completely when it comes to narrating statements from the Asharis, as he would hold them to account for what their statements implied, while they never claimed to believe in the implicit meaning of their statements.
Ibn Hazm is also an Imam when it comes to the issues psychology. He wrote many books pertaining to this topic. An amazing book which he wrote in this topic which is highly recommended is “Mudawaat Al-Nufoos”. This book is vital for any student of knowledge as he describes ways of how to cure all spiritual diseases one may have.
He died Rahimahullah on the 28th Sha’ban 456 in a village in the outskirts of Seville at an age of around 72 years of age may Allah shower his mercy upon him and enter him the highest Paradise, Ameen.
As for now then I will mention some of his statements which really are a drop in an ocean with regards to the knowledge of this man.
– “Whoever wants the best of the Akhira, The wisdom of the Dunya, The justice of the Seera, to encompass the best of manners and to gain all the virtues then let him follow the example of Mohammed (Sallaa Allahu Alayhi Wasalam)”
– “Do not think about those who harm you, for you will be victorious then he is destroyed and your fortune will be sufficient, However if you will be defeated then everyone will harm you!”
– “Make sure that you are known to be safe to deal with, and beware of being known as a sly person as people will become wary of you, and perhaps this will cause you much pain that could possibly lead to your demise”
– “Iblees has a trap called “being wary of Riyaa”. That is that perhaps a man might stop doing an action of good out of fear it might be Riyaa, if this happens to you then carry on in your action as this is severely painful upon him (Iblees)”
– “The people of Ignorance angered me two occasions in my life, one of them was when they spoke about that which they didn’t know in the days of my ignorance, and the second of which is their silence at my presence at the days when I had knowledge. So they are forever silent about that which will benefit them and forever speaking about that what will harm them. As for the people of knowledge they have pleased me twice in my life. The first time is them teaching me in the days of my ignorance and the second is by revising and consulting with me in the days of my knowledge”
– “Tooba (Glad tidings) for the person who knows more of his own defects than what the people know of”
– “A great door of sense and tranquillity: caring less about the speech of people, and caring solely about the speech of the creator, in reality all sense and tranquillity is in this”
– “I am long astonished by death. That is because I befriended people such that we where as close as a soul to a body and I promised some of them that if one of us would die we would visit each other in dreams if it was possible. However I did not see them in my dreams after they passed away so I don’t know is it that they forgot or are they too busy”
– “The one who brings close his enemies, is the killer of himself”
– “The bud of Fitnah does not Blossom”
– “Do not give advice on condition of acceptance, and do not intercede on the conditions you are answered nor give gifts on condition of getting a reward in return, instead you should do it for the sake of good will and doing your part of giving advice and aiding others in good ”
– “There is nothing that is of the virtues that is so similar to vice as increasing in brothers and friends”
– “The boundary of the intellect is to be used to carry out righteous actions and virtues, and part of this boundary is abstaining away from sins and vice”
– “Everything has a benefit behind it, and I benefitted from the oppression of the people of ignorance against me a great benefit. This made my nature fiery, I became more alert and my thoughts began to flow. This was a reason for me writing many beneficial books and if it was not for their incitement of me I would have not wrote those great works”
– This number of statements will suffice for now. These are just the tip of the iceberg as I had to seriously narrow down what statements I will mention due to the abundance of statement of this nature.
Rahimallah Ibn Hazm and may Allah inhabit him in the Jannah Ameen