Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi

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For other people named Abu al-Faraj, see Abu al-Faraj (disambiguation).
Muslim scholar
Abd al-Rahman ibn Ali ibn Muhammad
Title Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi
Born AH 508 (1114/1115)[citation needed]
Died AH 597 (1200/1201)[1]
Ethnicity Arab
Era Islamic golden age
Jurisprudence Hanbali[2]
Main interest(s) History, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh
Notable work(s) A Great Collection of Fabricated Traditions

Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (508 AH-597 AH) 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.


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.[4]


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 believed that Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal himself disapproved of such theology. Ibn al-Jawzi's most famous work in this regard is his Daff' Shubah al-Tashbih (also incorrectly printed under the title al-Baz al-Ashhab al-Munqaddu ala Mukhalifi al-Madhhab; note that the relationship of the recently printed Kitab Akhbar as-Sifat of Merlin Swartz to this work is still a question of debate[citation needed]).

God is neither inside nor outside of the Universe[edit]

Ibn Jawzi states, in As-Sifat, that God neither exists inside the world nor outside of it.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[2] 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. The number of Ibn al-Jawzi’s books reached a staggering total of 376 texts.[6] 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.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Robinson:2003:XV
  2. ^ a b c d IslamicAwakening.Com: Ibn al-Jawzi: A Lifetime of Da'wah
  3. ^ "Ibn Al-Jawzi". Sunnah.org. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  4. ^ "Ibn al-Jawzi: A Lifetime of Da'wah". Islamicawakening.com. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  5. ^ a b c Swartz, Merlin. A Medieval Critique of Anthropomorphism, pg. 159. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2001.
  6. ^ "Ibn al-Jawzee". Sunnahonline.com. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  7. ^ "Ibn Al-Jawzi". Sunnah.org. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  8. ^ 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 0415124123
  9. ^ Swartz, Merlin. A Medieval Critque of Anthropomorphism. Brill, 2001


External links[edit]