Why Did Ibn Hazm Begin Studying Islam?

In ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (13/547), adh-Dhahabi narrated that Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad – the father of the famous Spanish scholar Ibn al-‘Arabi – said:

“Ibn Hazm related to me the reason he began studying Fiqh.

He was once at a funeral prayer. So, he entered the mosque, and sat down without praying. A man then said to him: “Get up and pray Tahiyyat al-Masjid,” and he was 26 at the time.

Ibn Hazm himself said: “So, I got up and prayed. When we returned from the janazah, I entered the mosque, and prayed before sitting down. It was then said to me: “Sit down, sit down. This is not a time to pray,” as it was after the time of ‘Asr. So, I walked away while I was very sad. I went to my teacher that had nurtured me, and said: “Direct me to the house of the scholar Abu ‘Abdillah bin Dahhun.” So, I went to him, told him of what had happened, and he directed me to ‘al-Muwatta” of Malik. So, I began studying it at his hands, and continued studying it with him and others for a period of three years. After this, I began debating with the people.””

After mentioning this story, adh-Dhahabi then goes on to list almost 80 books that Ibn Hazm had written during his lifetime, the largest being ‘al-Isal ila Fahm Kitab al-Khisal,’ which is a longer version of the more well-known ‘al-Muhalla,’ and is over 15,000 pages long!

Considering that Ibn Hazm began studying Islam at 26, and died at the age of 71, this meant that he wrote an average of two books per year – and this is just in terms of the books whose titles we know of, as he had written over 300 other books that were burned up by the ruler of the time, al-Mu’tadid.

It is quite interesting that such a tremendously influencial scholar, with so many awesome and brilliant works, was driven to study the Din because of this single incident.

3 Responses to “Why Did Ibn Hazm Begin Studying Islam?”

  1. maybe a stupid question, but i do not know much and would love to learn.

    can you tell anything concerning the ruler Al-Mu’tadid… who was he.. and wasn’t he a Muslim? How come he burned all those books written by Ibn Hazm (rahimahullah)?

  2. No question is stupid, sister.

    As for al-Mu’tadid (Abu al-Qasim Muhammad al-Mu’tadid bin ‘Abbad) he was the ‘Abbasid ruler of Seville in Andalus, and was your typical tyrant.

    Ibn Hazm, as you know, was very harsh with his opponents, many of whom were scholars employed by the government who used their proximity to al-Mu’tadid to turn him against Ibn Hazm for their own personal gain. So, this is why he was kicked out of Cordova and had his books burned in public.

  3. Akhi Abu Sabaya I’m interested in learning a little about the life of Ibn Hazm. Can you please direct me to good authentic sources from where I can get this knowledge.

    Jazakullah Khair

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