Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī was among the last representatives of Islamic theology to espouse the systematic orthodox school founded by al-Ashʿarī. An itinerant scholar, al-Rāzī’s personal contributions as a teacher left an indelible mark on the intellectual life of the eastern provinces of the late twelfth and early thirteenth century Islamic Caliphate; his writings were distributed widely, in both the Iranian (eastern) and Arabic (western) provinces of the caliphs’ empire.
Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, whose full name was Abu ʿAbd Allah Muhammad ibn ʿUmar ibn al-Husayn ibn ʿAli al-Imam Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, was the son of Shaykh Diya al-Din ʿUmar, khatib (preacher) of Rayy, a key city in the north-central area of Iran. The family claimed both a long tribal ancestry (associated with the Taimi tribe) and descent from the family of Abu Bakr, the first caliph. Al-Yafiʿi, whose biographical sketch of al-Rāzī survives in manuscript form only, cites a long pedigree of family teachers (originally named by al-Rāzī himself, in his Tahsil al-haqq), going back to Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿarī (c. 873-c. 935), the famed figure of classical Islamic orthodox scholarship. This line of scholars led in a chain to the generation and person of al-Rāzī’s father, who was his first teacher in the fields that would make his fame. Some traditional Islamic biographers claim that the...
(The entire section is 2202 words.)
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