Ibn Hazm Criticism - Essay

Reinhart Dozy (essay date 1913)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Dozy, Reinhart. “‘Abd-er-Rahmân V and Ibn Hazm.” In Spanish Islam: A History of the Moslems in Spain, translated by Francis Griffin Stokes, pp. 574-80. London: Chatto & Windus, 1913.

[In the following essay, Dozy concentrates on Ibn Hazm's romantic imagination, noting his relationship to Caliph ‘Abd-er-Rahman V and the latter's anti-Christian views.]

The historian of a calamitous epoch, and of a people rent and agonised by civil wars, sometimes longs to avert his gaze from the strife of factions and its attendant bloodshed, in order to soothe the imagination for a while in the realms of fancy, amidst ideals of innocence and peace. Let us therefore...

(The entire section is 2779 words.)

H. A. R. Gibb (essay date 1926)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Gibb, H. A. R. “The Golden Age (a.d. 945-1055).” In Arabic Literature: An Introduction, pp. 33-81. London: Oxford University Press, 1926.

[In the following excerpt, Gibb mentions Ibn Hazm's Kitāb al-fasl fi al-milal wa al-ahwā' wa al-nihal, calling it “the first systematic and critical work on the religions of mankind.”]

The chief figure in the prose literature of the eleventh century is Ibn Hazm of Cordova, the grandson of a Spanish convert. In his early years he was pre-eminently a poet, but, belonging to the narrowest school of Islamic theology, his activities were diverted to bitter attacks on his theological opponents; the sharpness of his...

(The entire section is 568 words.)

A. J. Arberry (essay date 1953)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Arberry, A. J. “Preface and Preliminary Excursus.” In The Ring of the Dove, by Ibn Hazm, translated by A. J. Arberry, pp. 7-14, 19-32. London: Luzac & Company, 1953.

[In the following excerpt, Arberry summarizes the historical and literary contexts of Ibn Hazm’s The Ring of the Dove and presents his translation of the author's preliminary excursus to the work, which details its structure and approach to the subject of love.]



I have divided this treatise into thirty chapters. Of these, ten are concerned with the root-principles of Love, the first being the...

(The entire section is 4565 words.)

A. S. Tritton (essay date December 1964)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Tritton, A. S. “Ibn Hazm: The Man and the Thinker.” Islamic Studies 3, no. 4 (December 1964): 471-84.

[In the following essay, Tritton surveys Ibn Hazm's thought, touching on his methods of argumentation as well as on his views concerning epistemology, theology, metaphysics, the natural world, and other subjects.]

Ibn Hazm was a man of many interests; in addition to theology, on which he wrote two big books, and law on which he wrote a bigger volume, he had an eye on the common things of life. He records trivialities and, of course, shared many of the beliefs of his age. The common folk thought that the earth was flat and sunrise was at the same time all...

(The entire section is 5427 words.)

Muhammad Abu Laylah (essay date 1990)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Laylah, Muhammad Abu. “Ibn Hazm's Milieu.” In In Pursuit of Virtue: The Moral Theology and Psychology of Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, with a translation of his book Al Akhlaq wa'l-Siyar, pp. 13-54. London: TaHa Publishers, 1990.

[In the following excerpt, Laylah evaluates the totality of Ibn Hazm’s work as a scholar, critic, psychologist, moralist, and historian.]

We know from Ibn Hazm's own writings that he lived in al-Andalus in times of great political turmoil. He describes the confusion of the civil war, he names his outstanding contemporaries, and he himself clearly played a great part in the political and intellectual life of the period. In particular, he...

(The entire section is 15270 words.)

Lois A. Giffen (essay date 1992)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Giffen, Lois A. “Ibn Hazm and the Tawq al-hamāma.” In The Legacy of Muslim Spain, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, pp. 420-42. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1992.

[In the following essay, Giffen analyzes The Ring of the Dove, considering this treatise on love to be Ibn Hazm's literary masterpiece and examining its origins, structure, content, themes, reception, and depiction of women and Arab society.]


About three centuries after the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, and shortly before or after the thirtieth year of his very eventful life, ‘Alī b. Aḥmad b. Sa‘īd b. Hazm...

(The entire section is 12739 words.)

Abdul Ali (essay date fall 1995)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Ali, Abdul. “Ibn Hazm as Moralist and Interpreter of Love.” Hamdard Islamicus 18, no. 3 (fall 1995): 77-84.

[In the following essay, Ali assesses Ibn Hazm's writings on the psychology of love and enumerates his contributions to the Muslim understanding of morality and virtue.]

Abū Muḥammad Ibn Hazm (994-1064 a.d.) was the greatest and most original genius of Muslim Spain. He was a distinguished jurist and historian of his time as well as a great authority on juridico-theological studies. His analysis of religious and civilizational factors governing human life and social organization is said to have inspired Ibn Khaldūn, who, in the fourteenth century...

(The entire section is 3106 words.)

Mercedes García-Arenal (review date February 1996)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: García-Arenal, Mercedes. Review of Islam frente a Judaísmo: La polémico de Ibn Hazm de Córdoba. International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, no. 1 (February 1996): 110-11.

[In the following review, García-Arenal summarizes the salient features of critic Camilla Adang's study of Ibn Hazm's polemical writings on Judaism.]

This book is devoted to the polemical writings against Judaism of Ibn Hazm of Cordova (d. 456/1064), a poet, historian, jurist, and theologian and one of the most important figures and minds of Western Islam, equaled perhaps only by Ibn Khaldun. Ibn Hazm is a very relevant figure both because of the importance of his written work...

(The entire section is 686 words.)

Al Makin (essay date March 1999)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Makin, Al. “The Influence of Zahiri Theory on Ibn Hazm's Theology: The Case of His Interpretation of the Anthropomorphic Text ‘The Hand of God.’” Medieval Encounters 5, no. 1 (March 1999): 112-20.

[In the following essay, Makin suggests that there is a contradiction between Ibn Hazm's general adherence to Zahiri (“literalist”) theoretical principles and his metaphorical interpretation of God's anthropomorphism.]

Ibn Hazm, a theologian, philosopher, jurist, and moralist, was born at Cordova in 384 a.h. (994 a.d.) and died at Manta Lisham in 456 a.h. (1064 a.d.).1 From childhood onwards he lived through several traumatic experiences. For...

(The entire section is 3977 words.)

Ghulam Haider Aasi (essay date 1999)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Aasi, Ghulam Haider. “Ibn Hazm: His Life and Environment,” “Study of Other Religions,” and “Principles and Methodology of the Study of Religions.” In Muslim Understanding of Other Religions: A Study of Ibn Hazm's Kitab al-Fasl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa' wa al-Nihal. pp. 43-58; 59-64; 65-80. Islamabad, Pakistan: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Islamic Research Institute, 1999.

[In the following essays, Aasi remarks on Ibn Hazm's life and historical background, then discusses his religious thought.]



Ibn Hazm's full name is Abū...

(The entire section is 10544 words.)

Jessica A. Coope (essay date 2000)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Coope, Jessica A. “With Heart, Tongue, and Limbs: Ibn Hazm on the Essence of Faith.” Medieval Encounters 6, no. 1-3 (2000): 101-13.

[In the following essay, Coope explores Ibn Hazm's explication of the essentials of Muslim faith in his Kitab al-fasl fi al-milal wa al-ahwa' wa al-nihal.]

A student in my undergraduate Religious Studies seminar recently told me he wanted to write his term paper on the topic of solidarity within religious communities. As a believing Christian, he said, the fellowship and common beliefs he shared with members of his church gave him strength, peace of mind, and clarity of intention like nothing else in his life. Yet as he worked...

(The entire section is 5531 words.)

Camilla Adang (essay date 2000)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Adang, Camilla. “Islam as the Inborn Religion of Mankind: The Concept of Fitra in the Works of Ibn Hazm.” Qantara 21, no. 2 (2000): 391-410.

[In the following essay, Adang probes Ibn Hazm’s views on the subject of fitra (inborn nature), especially his literalist notion that all human beings are born as Muslims and remain so until reaching adulthood, whereupon they either formally adopting the Islamic faith or renounce it in favor of Judaism, Christianity, polytheism, or another system of belief.]


A question much debated in religious communities is that of identity, of belonging: who belongs to...

(The entire section is 9568 words.)