A Spanish stamp featuring Ibn Hazm
Ibn Hazm (7 November 994–15 August 1064) was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher, litterateur, historian, jurist and theologian born in Córdoba, present-day Spain. He was a leading proponent of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought and produced a reported 400 works of which only 40 still survive, 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
Ibn Hazm was born into a notable family - his grand father Sa'id and his father Ahmad both held high positions in the court of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II- and professed a Persian genealogy. 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).
Read Ibn Hazm's work, The Tawq-al-hamâma, in Arabic, free from the Library of the University of Leiden.
From the death of the grand vizier al-Muzaffar in 1008 the Caliphate of Cordoba became embroiled in a civil war that lasted until 1031 resulting in its collapse and the emergence of many smaller states called the Taifa's. Ibn Hazm's father died in 1012 and Ibn Hazm continued to support the Umayyads, for which he was frequently imprisoned. By 1031 Ibn Hazm retreated to his family estate and Manta Lisham and had begun to express his activist convictions in the literary form.
He served as a minister in the government multiple times, under different caliphs. He used to serve under the Umayyad Caliphs of Córdoba, and was known to have worked under Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, Hajib (Grand Vizier) to the last of the Ummayad caliphs, Hisham III.
According to a saying of the period, "the tongue of Ibn Hazm was a twin brother to the sword of al-Hajjaj" (a famous 7th century general and governor of Iraq) and he became so frequently quoted that the phrase “Ibn Hazm said” became proverbial.
He opposed the allegorical interpretation of religious texts, preferring instead a grammatical and syntactical interpretation of the Qur'an. He granted cognitive legitimacy only to revelation and sensation and considered deductive reasoning insufficient in legal and religious matters. He did much to revitalize the Zahiri madhhab, which 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. Many of his rulings differed from those of his Zahiri predecessors, and consequently Ibn Hazm's followers are sometimes described as comprising a distinct madhhab.