Ibn al-Jawzi

For other uses, see Ibn al-Jawzi (disambiguation).
For other people named Abu al-Faraj, see Abu al-Faraj (disambiguation).
Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi
Title Shaykh al-Islam[1]
Born 1116

14 June, 1201 (aged 87)

AH 597 (1200/1201)[2]
Ethnicity Arab
Era Islamic golden age
Religion Islam
Jurisprudence Hanbali[3][4]
Creed Ash'ari[5]
Main interest(s) History, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh
Notable work(s) A Great Collection of Fabricated Traditions

Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (1116 – 14 June 1201) from Baghdad was an Islamic scholar whose family traces their lineage back to that of Abu Bakr, the famous companion of Muhammad and first caliph. He belonged to the Hanbali school of jurisprudential thought.[3]


His full name and nasab was Abd al-Rahman ibn Ali ibn Muhammad (Arabic: عبد الرحمن بن علي بن محمد) ibn 'Ubayd-Allah ibn 'Abd-Allah ibn Hammadi ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn 'Abd-Allah ibn al-Qasim ibn al-Nadr ibn al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd-Allah ibn al-Faqih 'Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Faqih al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.


He was known for his works in exegesis of the Qur'an as well as his numerous hadith writings. One of the more famous of the latter is his "Tahqiq", a compendium of both the hadith evidences used by the Hanbali school of jurisprudential thought and a work of comparative law (Arabic: فقه Fiqh). He is said to have been a precocious child who allegedly made his first speech at the age of ten (attended by a crowd of 50,000), and authored his first book at the age of thirteen.[8]


Ibn al-Jawzi is famous for the theological stance that he took against other Hanbalites of the time, in particular Ibn al-Zaghuni and al-Qadi Abu Ya'la. He believed that these and other Hanbalites had gone to extremes in affirming God's Attributes, so much so that he accused them of tarnishing the reputation of Hanbalites and making it synonymous with extreme anthropomorphism. Ibn al-Jawzi stated that, "They believed that He has a form and a face in addition to His Self. They believed that He has two eyes, a mouth, a uvula and molars, a face which is light and splendor, two hands, including the palms of hands, fingers including the little fingers and the thumbs, a back, and two legs divided into thighs and shanks."[4]

And he continued his attack on Abu Ya'la by stating that, "Whoever confirms that God has molars as a divine attribute, has absolutely no knowledge of Islam."[9]

Ibn al-Jawzi's most famous work in this regard is his Bāz al‐ašhab al‐munqadd 'alà muhālifī al‐madhab (The Gray Falcon Which Attacks the Offenders of the [Hanbalī] School).[4]

God is neither inside nor outside of the Universe

Ibn Jawzi states, in As-Sifat, that God neither exists inside the world nor outside of it.[10] To him, "being inside or outside are concomitant of things located in space" i.e. what is outside or inside must be in a place, and, according to him, this is not applicable to God.[10] He writes:

Both [being in a place and outside a place] along with movement, rest, and other accidents are constitutive of bodies ... The divine essence does not admit of any created entity [e.g. place] within it or inhering in it.[10]

Front cover of Al-Radd 'Ala al-Muta'assib al-'Anid published by Dar ul Kutoob Al Ilmiyah.


Ibn al-Jawzi is perhaps the most prolific author in Islamic history. Al-Dhahabi states: “I have not known anyone amongst the ‘ulama to have written as much as he (Ibn al-Jawzi) did.[6] Recently, Professor Abdul Hameed al-Aloojee, an Iraqi scholar conducted research on the extent of ibn al Jawzi's works and wrote a reference work in which he listed Ibn al Jawzees's works alphabetically, identifying the publishers and libraries where his unpublished manuscripts could be found. Some have suggested that he is the author of more than 700 works.[7]

In addition to the topic of religion, Ibn al-Jawzi wrote about medicine as well. Like the medicinal works of Al-Suyuti, Ibn al-Jawzi's book was almost exclusively based on Prophetic medicine rather than a synthesis of both Islamic and Greek medicine like the works of Al-Dhahabi. Ibn al-Jawzi's work focused primarily on diet and natural remedies for both serious ailments such as rabies and smallpox and simple conditions such as headaches and nosebleeds.[11]

See also


  1. Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam al-Nubala'.
  2. 1 2 Robinson:2003:XV
  3. 1 2 A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. pp. 251, 321. ISBN 978-1780744209.
  4. 1 2 3 Holtzman, Livnat. ""Does God Really Laugh?" – Appropriate and Inappropriate Descriptions of God in Islamic Traditionalist Theology" (PDF). Bar‐Ilan University, Ramat Gan. p. 188.
  5. Boyle, J.A. (January 1, 1968). The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods (Volume 5). Cambridge University Press. p. 299. Talbis Iblis, by the Ash'ari theologian Ibn al-Jauzi, contains strong attacks on the Sufis, though the author makes a distinction between an older purer Sufism and the "modern" one,
  6. 1 2 3 IslamicAwakening.Com: Ibn al-Jawzi: A Lifetime of Da'wah
  7. 1 2 "Ibn Al-Jawzi". Sunnah.org. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  8. "Ibn al-Jawzi: A Lifetime of Da'wah". Islamicawakening.com. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  9. Holtzman, Livnat. ""Does God Really Laugh?" – Appropriate and Inappropriate Descriptions of God in Islamic Traditionalist Theology" (PDF). Bar‐Ilan University, Ramat Gan. p. 191.
  10. 1 2 3 Swartz, Merlin. A Medieval Critique of Anthropomorphism, pg. 159. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2001.
  11. Emilie Savage-Smith, "Medicine." Taken from Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Volume 3: Technology, Alchemy and Life Sciences, pg. 928. Ed. Roshdi Rasheed. London: Routledge, 1996. ISBN 0-415-12412-3
  12. Swartz, Merlin. A Medieval Critque of Anthropomorphism. Brill, 2001


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