Yahya ibn Aktham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Yahya ibn Aktham
يحيى بن أكثم
Judge (Qadi) of Basra
In office
817 or 818 – 825
Caliph: al-Ma'mun
Chief Judge of the Abbasid Caliphate
In office
825 – 833
Caliph: al-Ma'mun
Succeeded byAhmad ibn Abi Du'ad
Chief Judge of the Abbasid Caliphate
In office
851 – 854
Caliph: al-Mutawakkil
Succeeded byJa'far ibn Abd al-Wahid ibn Ja'far al-Hashimi
Personal
Born
Merv, Abbasid Caliphate
DiedApril 857
Al-Rabadha, Abbasid Caliphate (now Saudi Arabia)
ReligionIslam
ParentsAktham
EraIslamic Golden Age
RegionAbbasid Caliphate
DenominationSunni
JurisprudenceHanafi
Main interest(s)Islamic jurisprudence
Known forParticipation in al-Ma'mun's campaign against the Byzantines and was put in command of a raiding party which set out from Tyana in 831
Muslim leader

Abu Muhammad Yahya ibn Aktham (Arabic: أبو محمد يحيى بن أكثم, died 857) was a ninth century Arab Islamic jurist. He twice served as the chief judge of the Abbasid Caliphate, from ca. 825 to 833 and 851 to 854.

Career[edit]

Yahya was born in Marw in Khurasan and was a member of the Banu Tamim; he himself claimed descent from the judge Aktham ibn Sayfi. He studied hadith and fiqh in Basra. In 817-8 he was appointed as qadi (judge) of Basra, and he held that position until 825.[1]

Following his dismissal from Basra, Yahya was selected by al-Ma'mun (r. 813–833) to serve as chief justice (qadi al-qudat). Yahya enjoyed strong relations with the caliph and became an immensely influential member of the administration, with all decisions made by the viziers being reportedly submitted to him for approval first.[2] In 831 he participated in al-Ma'mun's campaign against the Byzantines and was put in command of a raiding party which set out from Tyana,[3] and in the following year he accompanied the caliph to Egypt and briefly acted as judge there.[4]

By the end of al-Ma'mun's reign, however, Yahya had fallen out of favor, and he decided to return to Iraq. Throughout his career he had been forced to defend himself against consistent allegations of pederasty,[5] and by the time of al-Ma'mun's death he was also facing accusations of financial mismanagement.[6] As a supporter of Sunni orthodoxy,[7] he was also opposed to the Mu'tazilite belief that the Qur'an had been created, which put him at odds with the caliph's adherence to Mu'tazilism.[8] Following the accession of al-Ma'mun's brother al-Mu'tasim (r. 833–842), Yahya lost his position and was replaced with the Mu'tazilite Ahmad ibn Abi Du'ad.[9]

In 851, following the abandonment of Mu'tazilism by al-Mutawakkil (r. 847–861), Yahya was again made chief judge and he moved to Samarra. During his judgeship he appointed a mix of qadis, selecting both men who had formerly been affiliated with Mu'tazilism, as well as those who appealed to the orthodox Hanbalis. He remained chief judge until July 854, when al-Mutawakkil dismissed him in favor of Ja'far ibn Abd al-Wahid ibn Ja'far al-Hashimi. His money and land were also seized at the time of his dismissal, and he was placed under house arrest.[10]

In 857 Yahya decided to go on the pilgrimage and intended to take up residence in Mecca. Upon learning that al-Mutawakkil had forgiven him, he changed his mind and set out to return to Iraq, but he died on the journey in April 857 and was buried in al-Rabadhah.[11]

Jurisprudence[edit]

He is generally characterised as having been affiliated with the Hanafis, and many state this without specifying his teacher in Fiqh. However some do state that he learnt from Waki' ibn al-Jarrah in particular, who would give juridical opinions on the position of Abu Hanifah, and that he also related Hadith reports from one of Abu Hanifa's main students, Muhammad al-Shaybani. Ibn Hazm's view is that he was part of an independent Basran Ra'y tradition that was later subsumed by the Hanafi school. Al-Daraqutni further alternatively lists him as a Shafi'i but this is doubted by primary sources.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, pp. 33–36; Al-Mas'udi 1873, pp. 43, 48–49; Melchert 1997, pp. 43–44; Stewart 2004, p. 344; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  2. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, p. 34; Melchert 1997, pp. 44–45; Stewart 2004, p. 344; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  3. ^ Al-Tabari 1985–2007, v. 32: p. 188; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  4. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, p. 47; Al-Kindi 1912, pp. 441–42; Melchert 1997, p. 45; Stewart 2004, pp. 344–45; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  5. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, pp. 38 ff.; Al-Mas'udi 1873, pp. 43 ff.; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  6. ^ Al-Tabari 1985–2007, v. 32: p. 230; Melchert 1997, p. 45.
  7. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, p. 33-34.
  8. ^ Hinds 1993, pp. 2–3.
  9. ^ Melchert 1997, p. 45; Stewart 2004, p. 345; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  10. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, pp. 47–48; Al-Tabari 1985–2007, v. 34: pp 116-17, 131-32; Al-Mas'udi 1873, pp. 214–15; Melchert 1996, pp. 325–26, 327, 328, 329; Melchert 1997, p. 45; Stewart 2004, p. 345; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  11. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, p. 48; Al-Mas'udi 1873, p. 289; Melchert 1997, p. 43; Stewart 2004, p. 344; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.
  12. ^ Ibn Khallikan 1871, pp. 33–36; Al-Mas'udi 1873, pp. 43, 48–49; Melchert 1997, pp. 43–44; Stewart 2004, p. 344; Bosworth 2002, p. 246.

References[edit]

Preceded by Chief judge of the Abbasid Caliphate
ca. 825–833
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief judge of the Abbasid Caliphate
851–854
Succeeded by