Thursday, January 30, 2014

000011 - Ibn 'Aqil, Hanbali Jurist and Theologian

Ibn ‘Aqil, Abu‘l-Wafa‘
Ibn ‘Aqil, Abu‘l-Wafa‘ (Abu‘l-Wafa‘ ibn ‘Aqil) (Abu al-Wafa Ali Ibn Aqil ibn Ahmad al-Baghdadi) (1040-1119). Hanbali jurist and theologian of Baghdad. Because of his interest in Mu‘tazila, he was forced into exile in another quarter of the city. In 1072, he publicly retracted his writings in favor of al-Hallaj and of certain Mu‘tazili doctrines.

Ibn 'Aqil was an Islamic theologian from Baghdad, Iraq. Trained in the tenets of the Hanbali school (madhab), the most traditional school of Islamic law, he outraged his teachers by striving to incorporate liberal theological ideas into the tradition. He sought to use reason and logical inquiry to interpret religion, and was influenced by the teachings of the mystic, and universally respected and accepted saint of Islam, al-Hallaj (d. 922). In 1066 he was appointed professor at the mosque of al-Mansur in Baghdad, but persecution by conservative theologians soon led to his retirement, and in 1072 he was forced to retract his beliefs publicly, due to a threat on his life. It would seem probable however, that even after this public recantation, he still had a great admiration for al-Hallaj. Among his works of jurisprudence that have survived are Wadih fi usul al-fiqh and (in part) Kitab al-funun
, a work comprising 800 volumes.

Ibn 'Aqil was appointed to a well-known academic "chair" in Jami' al-Mansur in Baghdad. The notion of a "chair" arose in eleventh century. At that time, a study circle or a Halaqat al-'ilm or halaqa gathered around a professor who was seated on a chair, or kursi in Arabic. Initially, the chair was just to give the teacher a comfortable place and to make him higher than the seated students so they could see and hear him better. It is this notion of "chair," or kursi, that evolved into a professional position, like the chair of a board or a committee.

The professor in the chair of the study circles was either chosen by the caliph or by a committee of scholars (al-Hawza), as in present day Qum in Iran or Najaf in Iraq. They were chosen for their scholarly prowess and popularity.

Abu'l-Wafa' ibn 'Aqil see Ibn ‘Aqil, Abu‘l-Wafa‘
Abu al-Wafa Ali Ibn Aqil ibn Ahmad al-Baghdadi see Ibn ‘Aqil, Abu‘l-Wafa‘
Baghdadi, Abu al-Wafa Ali Ibn Aqil ibn Ahmad al- see Ibn ‘Aqil, Abu‘l-Wafa‘

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