Foundational Islamic Principles
Ali ibn Aḥmad ibn Sa’eed ibn Ḥazm, Abu Muḥammad, that is Ibn Ḥazm, was born in Cordoba, Spain. His own lifespan (born 994 CE, died 1064 CE) covered a period of Islamic rule in Spain often characterised by political turbulence, but also regarded as being a golden age of Islamic civilization in Europe. A true polymath, the breadth of Ibn Ḥazm’s works and overall contribution to knowledge is quite exceptional: not only spanning the full range of the Islamic sciences, but also including philosophy, ethics, literature, poetry and being credited with pioneering what has become the study of comparative religion. Ibn Ḥazm’s contribution to the rich tapestry of Islamic thought ranks no less to that of al-Ghazāli and Ibn Taymiyah.
Yet the study of his works has not achieved the same precedence. While often described as a being a radical and a free-thinker, Ibn Ḥazm’s works have all too often been ignored or completely overlooked, not least in part because of the scathing criticisms he levelled against mainstream Islamic schools of thought.
For the first time in English, a complete translation of ‘Masā’il min al-Uṣul’ (issues or questions from uṣul) is presented. This has been taken from the second book from Ibn Ḥazm’s magnum opus of fiqh, al-Muḥalla bil’Athār. Together with the translated text, several explanatory footnotes have been added to provide, where appropriate, additional explanation and references.
These key issues of Uṣul are utilised throughout that work and are a feature of Ibn Ḥazm’s unique legal method. Many of these principles are though significant in themselves, not least because they provide a lucid empowering framework with which to approach some of the intractable debates that currently beset contemporary Islamic discourse.