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IBN ijAZMl S CONTROVERSY WITH THE OHRISTIANS:

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A STUDY OF' A SECTION OF HIS AL-FISAL
@) George Willard Ylhyte
1984
SUbmitted in partial fulfillm.ent.
o ~ the requirements for the
mastert's degree.
October 16, '198h

~ G i l l University
Institute of Islamic Studies
lklntreal, P.Q.,
Canada
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Abstract
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Author: George W. Why te.
Department:, Institute of Islam1c Studies, McGill University
Degree: Ma s t-e r 0 ( Art s .
'Date: Oc t 0 ber, I 98 4 .
TitIe: Ibn'Hazm's Controversy Wlth the Chrlstians:
A ,Study of a Section of his ;
The primary concern of thlS thesis IS to elaborate Ibn
1 '.
conception of the as it is in pages 2-
78 of Volume q of his al-FisaJ. In order that this may be
.
f properly we mention the historicai background out of
which Ibn wrote, considering briefly his
education, and sources of information about Christi'ans'/ We
have aiso remarked on the historical of the
Chfistians in al-Andaius a,nd their condition in Ibn Hazm's
day.
The second chapter of this work is overview of the
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contents of this section of al-Fisal with reference to its

organization, its argument, and its problems.
ln the ,final chapter the text of al-Fisai is studled

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und e r the top i c s 0 f ( pur p 0 se, au die n c e and me t ho dol 0 g' yin 0 r der.
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that we may evilluate the success of. Ibn Hazm's effort.
, After having considered Ibn Hazm's intentions in his
work, we conclude that his efforts failure to
Christlans, because he refused to see truth
existing beyond the realm of his own narrow conception of
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Auteur:
De pa r t emen t :
Di pl S'me:
Da te:
/
Rsum
George Whyte
1 n s t 1 tut des E t u des 1 s l am 1 que s, Uni ver s i t
McG i 11.
Oc t 0 b r e , l 984
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Ti t re: La Controverse d'Ibn Hazrn avec les Chrlt lens:
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Une Etde d'une Partle de son ai-Pi-saI.

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Le but de cet t eth s e est l'a na 1 y se deI a , con cep t 1 ()Jn des
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.chrtlens et de leur religion selon Ibn ':Iazm dans son oeuvre
Chapitre Il, pp.2-78. AfIn d'accompllr cette
no use s qui 5 son sun ta b 1 eau du mo n d e dan sie que lIb n ':la zm a
avec mention sa 'Politique 'et littraire, sa
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formation, et ses sources de renseignement concernant les
chrtiens. Nous notons aussi l'expt!rience historique des
chrtiens en al-Andalus et leurs cond.itions d'Ibn
Hazm
.
Le chapitre de ce travatl consiste en survol du
texte de cette partie d'al-Fisal. Nous parlons de

l 'organization du texte; de son argumentation et des
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que soulve la prsegtation d'Ibn
Dans le dernier chapitre nous rpondo.ns aux questions
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l'auteur?
d'al-Flsal. Quelle est l'intention 'polinique de
,
A quel lecteur Quelle est sa
suivantes
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mthodologie? Nous enfin le sucees de l'entreprise
d'Ibn Hazm dans son analyse des chre'tlens et de leur rel igion.
En essayant de de'terminer le but d'Ibn f:lazm dans ,sa
controverse, nous somnes arrivs 'cl la conclusion qu'il a
dans ses efforts quant sa connaissance des chrtiens
parce qu'il a refus d'admettre l'existence de n'Importe
quelle vrit' en dehors de sa conception restreinte de

l ' [ 5 J am.
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Preface
dl
ln this work 1 have transliterated Arabie terms according
to the system used by the Instltute of Islamic studles.
Oc;casionally an Arablc termwll1 be used as part of a citation
in which another transllteration system is used. In such cases
1 h a ve aIl owe d the 0 r 1 gin ait r ans 1 i ter a t Ion t 0 s tan d, but h a v e
put ln brackets, lInnediately following It, the same term
rendered according to the Institute's system.
Inasmuch as two systems of dating occur in the text of
this work, HIJri and Christian, 1 have usually noted the
approXlmate Christian date wlth the HijrT date Lrst, as
follows: 384(994. Where the Hljr date ocurs alone ln a
citation, 1 have not Included the Christian date. In every
case where the Hljri date stands alone, It will be Identiftep
a s fol 1 ow S: 4 36 A. H .
Throughout this work
Flsal, by which
.
u sua Il y
have frequently referred
mean pp.2-78 of th{ second
to al-
Volume of
Kitb al-Fisal fi 'l-Milal wa 'l-'Ahwa' 'l-Nihal whlch was
.
printed in Cairo by the Adabiyya House in Sq a1-
Khu?ar al-Qadim, 1317/1902. Whenever 1 refer to sorne other
se.ction from this work, this should be clear from the context.
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read and rerebd t'Ln se-J",,"fll t,l.mes, 01.";; ye ",g
r
m ... Il (; H 1 i n th P. ve T' '7 d i r c t ion Ina v e ., 1:1 1. l n f 0 PM Lo1 p t i 11
work.
l 91030 'G' r.k tl e Christi?n :1ef.;r'led Board for
hnr; tl1e financifl1 and materia:J sUJ.-";::.orr I!iven by it.
in corn:rlon wit' the ;;[1[1:, ott'er "i.'t.si, iiio\oIS"
('"
who have sacrificed much to see trlelr t efforts
!
completed, my wife hos her labor, vAcation morDl
for my thesis. vou.
,M
-vi-
Table of eontents
Page
Abstract
i
Re'sum{
1 i i
Preface.
v
of Contents
v il
Chapter
l,'. Ibn Hazm: His Life and Times.
A. Hi s 1 if e, and
c are e r
The hi story of the text of al-Fisal . 4

C. The Christians of al-Andalus 6
D.
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Influen,ces in the Apologetlc Method of Ibn
,Hazm .

. . .22
E. Notes to Chapter . . . . .26
II. Ibn Hazm's Polemic against the Christians.
A. Ibn Hazm's Introduction 35
.
i. Purpose. 35
il. Overview of the Christian Docwnents and
their a.uthors. . . . . 37
iii;The Nature of the Transmission of Chris-
tian Religious Teaching. .42
The Doctrinal Foundation of the Chris-
t i an s.
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B. The Main Body of 1 bn Hazm' s Argument
against the Chr ist i ans.
i The Pro'o f tha t the Ch ris tian s do not Accept
the Torah of the Jews. . . . . .
ii,
The Contradictions oi the Four Gospel,s
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iil.The Contradictions in the Rest of the -New
Tes tamen t. .

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i v. A DlSCUSS ion of the Chrlstians'
Errors Ot her than thse round in their
Scriptures

v. The Refutation of the Rest of the Objec-
t ions which the Christians brlng against
the Mus l irns.

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C. Notes to Chap ter 1 1
,III. An Analysis of Sorne Issues Arising from Ibn
Hazm's Presentation.
A. The Purpose of Ibn Hazm' Controversy with
the Ch ris a t i ans . .'.
B. His Intended Audience
C. His Metho.dolgY
D. A Methodologlcal Problem.
E. Z ~ h i r Interpretation in the Realm of
Dogma tic s
F . 1 b n J:la zm' s Vi ew 0 f Ch ris t i anS cri pt ure
49
51
64
65
68
71
89
91
95
97
102
105
G" Co n C 1 u s ion, 109
H. Notes to Chapter III. 111
1 V. Canc lus l on. 116
A. Notes to Conclusion 122
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Bibl iography 123
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Chapter 1
Ibn HaDn: His Lite and Times
A. The Lite and Career

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'The lite and work.of Ibn are not noticeably marked
b y mo der a t i n. Tu r bu 1 en c e and . u ph e a v a des cri b e h' i s pol i tic a 1 \
career. His later literary output on such matters, as theoJogy
and jurisprudence were of such originaJity and i'gnited such
opposition that they were celebrated'by a pUbJIC 'auto';da-
fe.,l His tierce and sometimes vulgar invective couJd scarcely
fail to bring upon him the hatred of his opponents quite apart
from his analysis and refutation of their views.
CAli b 'Ahmad b. Sacid b b. Ghlib b. Slih 'Ab
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was born in 384/994 in Cordova, then capital of al-
Andalus. He claimed -ancestry from one Yazid who was the
Persian mawl of Yazld, the brother of (first
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'Umayyad callph in Damascus). When the estabilshed
themselves in.aJ-AndaJus, one of Ibn ancestors was
supposed to have aJso accompanied them and settled there.
2
Ibn'
an historian c9ntemporary to our author claimed
however:
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L'une des extravagances d'Ibn Hazm de revendiquer
1 a P ers e c oome ber ce au des a f am i Il e, a 1 0 r 5 qu' i 1 t ait
de souche muwallad et appartenait une famille
( c adj am) deN i e b 1 a; e fut son g ra n d - P r e qui s e
l'Islam.
Since there both Jews and Christians in al-Andalus,
his family probably had belonged to one of those two 'religious
communities. There is no Indication as to which 01 the two it
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was the greater numbers of the Christian comnunity
are perhaps suggestive that it was in this community that his
family derived its origin.
His father 'Arunad was vizier under al-Mansr b. 'Abi cA_
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mir' and his son, thus his 'famil'y was a prosperous
one and he was afforded an excellent education which included
the whole gamut of Arabic and Greek Jearning with the
exception of mathematics.
4
However, the early calm he enjoyed
would be upon the Clrcumstances of political
instability which faced the 'Umayyad throne and whose final
collapse would leave al-Andalus dlvided into small states. In
the tumul t of the CiVil war WhlCh started, in 398/1008, 'Alynad.,
Ibn father, was lmprisoned when the 'Umayyad caliph
Hi s ham II was depos ed. 'Al)mad di ed the f 011 ow.i ng year
(402/1012).
Ibn Hazm for the next few years would also be involved in
the struggle for the cause of the 'Umayyads. The Berbers '
captured Cordova in 403/1913 and burned the of the
family of Ibn J:fazm. In 407/1016 Ibn J:fazm was 'imprisoned by, the
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Slav leader, Khayran, and at his release was banished ta Hisn
near Seville. When two years later Khayran put the
'Unayyad cAbd al-Rahman l'y al-Murtada on the throne', Ibn l:fazm
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back to Cordova to fight on his side agalnst the Berbers.
However, the Berbers were victorious and Ibn was again
i mp ris 0 n e d
The were able to throw off the yoke of the
Berbers in 41t,./1023 and cAbd ,al-Ralynan V al-Mustazhir ,owas
proclaimed as caliph. Ibn Hazm was again called to se,rve as
vizier. This caliph's reign lasted only seven weeks, however,
before a mob murdered him and Ibn Hazm once found himself
in prison.
He was to serve as vizier one more tlme under Hisham III
al-MuCtadid (418/1027), but when he tao was assassinated in
422/1031 the 'Unayyad reign was finally t
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rminated and Ibn
Hazm turned definitively away from poJiticaJ life.
He'had sorne ddficulty finding refuge since his ellemi-e-s--
encouraged those ln power ta refuse to accord him asylum, but
he flnally settled at his ancestral home.
5l
It was here he died
in 456/1064.
6
It was in the perlo.d following his departure tram

pol itics that most of the fOU? hundred works, WhlCh are
attrlbuted to him by hlS son, were written.
7
Many of these
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have survived to the present and range broadly ln their
subject matter-- from jurisprudence to psychology and poetry,
and include hlS al-Flsal, an study of
religion and philosophy. Perhaps he iS most popularly Known
for his Tawg the poetry ln which he describes his
own experience of love. His other works are not less profound,
yet they have had a much more restrlcted as
,
small of manuscrigts of al-Fisal exemplifies
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(see bel,ow)-- because of the opposition WhlCh juridical
views provpked from the reigning Mallk school of his time.
8
B. The History of the Text of al-Flsal.
The text upon this stud! is
1
based s lia printed
edition ... which appeared ln calrj;'ln flve pa\rts ln 1317-11'32
A.H."
9
'This IS, in turn based on the Cair.ene manuscript Ilsted
below with the other copies of the text whlch Friedlander says
ex i s tin ma nus i pt:
1) A ma nus cri p t 0 f the- Uni ver S 1 t'y 0 f Ley den. . . 1 n t wo
vol ume s, the f i r s t da t e d 7 2 2 A. H., the sec 0 n d 7 34 A. H .
2) A codex in the British Museum ... conslsting of two
volumes both written in 734 A.H. 3) An incomplete
manuscript of the Hofbibliothek ln Vienna ... dated 1091
A.H., 4} A.manuscript in Cairo of the year 1271 A.H. 5)
A ma nus cri pt i n th r e e vol ume sin t 8 e 1 i b r a r y 0 f Ya 1 e
University ... written in 1298 A.H.
Friedlander also mentions the existence of another
manuscript which was one tlme in the possession of Count
Landberg and the whereabouts of which 'he was not able to
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trace.
II
Th1\s 1s poss1bly manuscript have seen
ln the Chester Beatty Museum ln Dublin.
12
Apparently,
accordlng to Friedlander, the Calro printed text, though
f ait h fui t 0 the ma nus cri p t ver s Ion, "i s . f a u 1 t y, and fui lof
t;rrors and lacunae.,,13 He made thls remark hdvng exarnlned
only sorne of the sections of prlncipally those
WhlCh form the basis of his translation.
14
However the results
of his analysis of these sections should be applicable ln sorne
degree to those which speak of the Christlans.
The five manu5cripts represent two quite distinct
tradItions but the relationship varies ln dlfferent parts of
the text. In the early part of the work, the manuscripts of
1
Leyden, Yale and Cairo form a group as do those of the British
"'useum and Vienna' s Hofbibl iothek. In the latter part, the
Vlenna manuscript 15 defective so the two are the
manuscrlpts of Leyden and the British Museum on the one hand
and those of Cairo and Yale on the other. ln sorne cases the
variants not only differ ln form but also contradict eaeh
o the r i n co n tell t .
Ibn ':Iazm's exposition about the Christlans is found
principally in two sections of the version of al-Fisal wheh
.
/las been published in a printed edition of the Calro
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manuscript. This printed edit ion has been divided into five
volumes and 1s bound in two books. The fIrst section on the
Christians is found in the first volume, pags 48-65; the
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second i5 found in the second volume, pages 1-110. Pages 1-78
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of the second section, the basis of this thesls, are of
particular interest since their content is the 'fruit of Ibn
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of the Christians' scripture. The reason for
which 15 distinguished from other heresiographers
previous ta and contemporary with him lies in his concern ta
base his ,conclusions about hls opponents upon the words of
their own texts. This writer has not colJated the various
ma nus cri p t 0 pro duc e a cri t J cal e dit Ion 0 f the tex t 0 f a 1 - .
Fis a 1 b e i n g s t u die dan d t h i sis, u n for t u na t e l'y, are al.;
.
limitation. However, the text of the printed e"ditlon is
sufficiently intelligible in content for the purpose of
understandlng the method and results of Ibn nalysis
of the Christian religion, its history, its books and its
doctrines.
C. The Christ(ans of al-Andalus.
Christians were present in the state, known later under
Mu s 1 i m r u 1 e a sai - And a 1 us, sin cep e r ha pst he f i r ste e n t ury
A.D. The Apostle Paul hlmself intended to visit Spain although
the New Testament does not record that he succeeded in his
intjentlon.
15
In any case, it 1S at a Iater period that the
definitive character of Christianity there took forme
Until about IJ.OO A.D., Spain was ruled from Rome, but jus't
as the col;onization by Rome of most of. th'e countryside was not
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very profound, 50 tao, the Christianization of Spain in this
,
period was not very profound.
16
While it is true that many of
the hymns which were ta be used later by the Christians of al-
Andalus were composed during this time,17 it is also true that
the worship of the anclent gods continued ta exist.
18
(mperidl
Roman control ended definitively when, first the Sueves and
,.
Vandals, and later the ViSigoths entered Spain along the Rrnnan
roads. Certainly the political chaos which continued until the
end of the sixth century A.D. aided ln the survlval of the
worship of the gods.
19
Not much is known about the popular religion of the
Visigoths at any perlod of hlstory, but officially at least,
they were Arians
20
until 589 A.D. The council held irr T o l e d ~
that year was th product of the efforts of King Reccared who
ha d b e e n con ver t e d t 0 the Ch ris t i an i t Y 0 f. the Roma n bis hop i n
587 A. D. Th i s cou n cil i s ex t r eme 1 y i mp 0 r tan t bec au set he
decisions implemented as a result of Its having taken place,
determined the direction and shape that Christianity in the
Iberlan peninsula would take afterwards. At the council, t\he
king, his family, and his nobles fprmally anathematized
o
Arianism,and accepted the creed of Nicea.
21
A fw but by no
means ail the Visigothic bishops accepted the declarations of
the councll. Perhaps for this reason KIng Reccared believed it
necessary to make the sweeping changes he did Jn the pol itical
structure of the Visigothlc Church. To ensure his continued
support among the hierarchy, he gave the bishops whom he
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favoured more power. Those with less authority would be less

able to raise opposition. Thompson says:
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The twenty-three disciplinary canons entalled a major
con s t i t,u t ion a lin nova t ion. The Ca t ho 1 i c bis hop s wh 0
assembled at Toledo in 589 (A.D.) became closely
associated, as their Arian predecessors are known not to
have been, with leglslation on secular matters. Eltner at
the King's instigation or after consultation with him--
or even without consultation-- they published rulings on
matters that not be described as wholly
ecclesiastical.
Of ,the legislation whlch was promulgated by the council
were laws aimed at restoring a higher spiritual and
e duc a t ion ail e v e 1 amo n g the cie r g y - - wh i ch ha d no t b e en the
case under Arian rule.
23
For the general populace, the council
instituted that the Nicene Creed was to be recited every
Sunday "as a guarantee against Arianism.
1I24
This institution
of the Nicene Creed was an in western
Christianity25 and interesting was the
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inclusion
of the filloque
26
clause.
27
The Thlrd Councii of Toledo in 589 is especia1ly
important for this study because Ibn indirect
reference to it and mentions King Reccared by name. This
oc.curs in the midst of a discussion ln which hts goal is to
demonstrate to his readershlp that the foundation of the
Christian rests not on divine revelation, but on
h urna n i n ven t ion:
Moreover the (Christians) would aIl agree that every
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book which they have (from) after that (period) is a
composition of later writers from among their bishops and
patriarchs, such as (those who made up) the six major
councils of patriarchs and blShops and the rest of their
minor councils. In addition, they have their lawand
various legal provisions instituted by RakadTd,the king,
and the Christians of al-Andalus are still practicing
according to 1t. The rest of the Christians (elsewhere)
have (their'own) laws which were made for them by
whomever of the l r bis hops God chose. They not dis te
about any of this that It is Just as we have stated.
l)
There is a footnote to the above Arabie text which
indicates that an alternate readlng exists in WhlCh the name
of the king is given more accurately as RakarTd the king.
There can be no doubt as to the identity of the personage
being referred to. It also seems probable that in his
reference to the minor counclls, Ibn Hann has in mind the most
.
famous and important counciJ that.had been held in the
,
pen 1 n sul a , th a t 0 f the Th i rd Co une 1 lof ToI e dOl n 589 A. D . [f
this is true, I-bn J:lazm is probably reflecting somethlng of the
s tan d i n g wh i ch t h i ski n g and t h i seo u n cil he 1 d i n the'
Christian Church of hlS day. [t is unlikely tha't he has read
about KIng Reccared in works which reached him from outside of
al-Andalus. Perhaps he had access to literature,about the
history of the Church there, but his remark, "They do not'
dispute about any of this that it is just as we have stated,"
i n die a tes t ha the ha d d 1 r e c t c omn'u n i ca t ion 0 n 't h 1" s s u b J e c t 2 9
with hlS ChrIstian contemporarles who were likely the source
of his information and not Just coJlaborators of It. No matter
what hlS source was, we have, in Ibn statement, a
w i t ne s s t 0 the bel i e f th a t wa s cu r r en t ev e n un t.1 1 the end 0 f
the century, that King Reccared had introduce"d a
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law code which replaced the Roman code. A single territorial
code was not, however, introduced until Chlndasvind
promulgated his code (now lost) ln 643-4 A.D.
30
The Christians of al-Andalus under Muslim rule are known
as Mozarabs.
31
The meanlng of thfs term 15 not entlrely clear.
Many of the Christians spoke Arablc and as a society they
adopted many of the cultural forms of their rulers-- dress,
art, architecture, etc., 50 the term may slgnlfy "arabized
Christians." Ibn J:lazm himself never makes use of the term,
preferrlng the common Arablc designation
In many respects the Mozarabic Church and Christian
community maintained a greater continuity wlth the period
before the InvaSion of the Muslim armies ln 711 A.D. than was
the case with the period after 1084 A.D. when Toledo was taken
from Musllm control by the Chr:is,tlans pushing south. The
symbol of the new era was the discontinuatlon of that
liturglcal tradition known as the Mozarabic Rite and the
imposition on the churches of the various kingdoms of what had
been al-Andalus, now newly controlled by Christians, of a
unlform rite based on that of the Church of Rome. This was
complete by 1089 A.D.
32
Whlle it IS true that the most strlklng feature of the
Mozarabic Chrlstian community was its with the
past, this did not mean that there were no changes ln the
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composition of the community's membership or that the
community was completely stagnant, having no religious or
cultural progress to its credit in the four centuries
following 711 A.D. There:was development and change but the
source of this flowed out of what had already existed as a
heritage from the Romanized'Visigoths. The source would be
enriched by its oew location within the Islamic Ummah, but, as
we will argue, those elements which always remained ln control
of the Interpretation and Integration of what it was to be
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Christian were pre-Islamlc. In contrast, western Chrlstianity
outslde of al-Andalus conformed more and more to a standard
set by Rome.
33
There are several factors contrlbuting to thlS
continuity. The invasion 01 711 A.D. set up' new parameters, at
flrst largely definable ln terms of the new politlcal arder
imposed by the within which the and
social development of ail of al-Andalus would henceforth take
place. Yet the new parameters would not remain for long
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limited to the political-milltary one; the Muslim invaders
belonged to a larger and richer civilization WhlCh would
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establish its own values and structures ln the new territory.
Since the Christian community a part of the social whole,
it tao was constrained ta function and develop as a sub-
community of the Islamlc community. While the boundartes of ""'
the new civilization as a whole were defined abstractly and
intanglbly, there was a very important definition--
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that of the community's territory-- which arose as a result
.
the invasion of 711 A.D. Jean Gautier-Dalch says this:
Les structures de l'habitat au sud des Pyr'n'es, la
veille' de l'Invasion mllsulmane n'taient "[l.as diff're'ntes
de de la Gaule et de l'Italie P1usieurs
agglomrations urbaines possdaient une encei.ntt! et l'on
a soutenu que des ouvrages jalonnaient les
approches des zones plus ou moins rebelles la
domination mais la
qu'un dans l'Espagne du dbut du vlii
e
Elle n'avait pas de signification autre que
militaire et, pour ce qui concerne les villes, il ne
s'agissait que d'un vestige .
Led b a r q u eme nt a rab 0 - ber b r e de 7 Il (A. D.) a
profondment modifi ces donnes. La Pninsule a t
coupe en deux, et l'on est passe! d'une situation de paix
relative, troubl'e seulement par des rvoltes localis'es
dans .les rgions pe'rifriques, un tat de guerre
pe'rmanent, interrompu cert's par des trves de fait ou de
- drOit, plus ou moins longues mais toujours prcaires,
entre les musulmans qui en occupen"t la majeure partie et
des noyaux de rsistance qui ont progress,ivement tendu
l'aire ob Ils 'taient ns. Aux uns et aux
fortification s'est comme une necessit'.
A numbef of thlngs, important for understandlhg the life

of the Christian C'ommunity which Ibn J:lazm knew, were implied
in this .new boundary which had been erecte'd between al-Andalus
and the Christian klngdoms to the-north. As Gautier-Dalch
\
says a permanent state of war eXlsted between the states to
the north and al-Andalus. In any such circumstance,
governments were very jealous ta protect their soverelgnty
within thelr sphere of authority. This meant that the
Mozarabs' primary political allegiance would be in no way
allowed to be common with that of their fellow Christians
outside' o'f al-Andalus. Nor was o\,Jtside political authority
allowed to Interfere in the direction of the Church. In
-12-
320/930, the Mozarabic Metropolitan of Toledo was brought
under submission to cAbd al-Rahman III definitively, although
otherwi.se, as says, "Les comnunauts
1 '
chretiennes ne verront aucun trouble apport leur
o r g a n i s a t ion rel i g i eus e etc i v"i 1 e 'Cl Iii n t rie ure d e l a
monarchie cordouane . ,,35 This was in fact one of the
cOhtinuities between and the era before
it. Among the important features of the Church under
VisigothlC klngs was that -the) bishops were selected, not by a
higher ecclesiastical authorlty-- such as the bishop of Rome--
but by the king. obviously the case before 589 A.D.
when the Arian clergy made no of submlsslon to
li
orthodox theology, but the case was the same' under King
1
Reccared and his s&ccessors.
36
The submisslon of, the
Metropolltan of Toledo to Caliph was another continuation
of the pasto
It should be noted that this political and territorial
boundary described by was hermetically
sealed. Numerous examples could be given to show that there
was, ln fact, relatlvely free pass.age across it for
,
indiViduals who deslred to do so. Messenger says that the
scholars 'and clerics seemed -to have been always on the road on
"errands diplomatie, ecclesiastical, military and persona!. ln
othis way circle of interc'ourse-, Celtic, Frankish, Spanish,"
Italian and Byzanne was constantly evolvlng.,,37 One example
of partlcular was the vlsit of the Bishop Eulogio to
..
-13-
f
.
-

1
\ -
, .
- ,.
\ 1
.)
__

:
Pamplona in his for the Hun known"books."38
.
"
Following from this freedom of movement is another fpctor
in the "1,aintenance of continuity in the'reiigiQn of the
Mozarabs.' The direction of religious influence was outward and
not,inward since the net flow of the Christian population was
not into al-Andalus, but away from it. According to Lvi-
P,rovenc;:a 1 :
On se rappelle q'Alphonse III attira vers le royaume
asturlonais des colons mozarabes pour repeupler les
ter rit 0 i r: e s q li' i 1 a v ait r i c u p r s sur 1 e s Mu sul ma n set'
que, f)our en 893 (280Y,' la place forte de
Z amo ra. : . C' est 1 e m'me sou ver a i n qui ace u e i Iii t l' ! v 1:: que
mozarabe d'Erclvica, St!bastien, expulse' d'al-Andalus ...
'Aprs Alphonse III, on enregistre encore, dans les
documents chrtiens, des passages de groupes de religieux
en terre lonaise . (la l' inmigration
augmentait detelle fac;:on) . artir du xie sIcle, les
noms de Mozarabes vont devenir\d plus 'en plus nombreux
dans les documents et c stillans,
donations ou autres, qui nous s nt ....
The number of Mozarabs who went to Leon and Castille was
significant enough that:changes were effected by their
""
influence in the way the local inhabitants named their
\ Q
children-- Arab names became very common. Other terminology
1
which was arabized was that for clothing, furnlture and
,
certain .institutions.
40
By the degree of the arabization'wh'ich
/ ' ','
,had taken root among tne Mozarabs, we can see the extent to
1
11\ .
,1 which the p'rocess of arabization must have advanced among the
woole population of al-Andalus: The directipn of cultural
i n f 1 u e n cet he r e wa s no t f rom Eu r o,p e, 1 'u t f r om the g r e a ter
Islamic civilization. 50, the clergy complained that their
. '
.... - -- ,.,-..... "" .. ...... .,_ --
IV
-14-:-
1

1
- "
, '1\
--
lait y were not interested in learning Latin. Arabic and Arab
cultural aChie.verlents were much more for th; young
i
"
men who preferred Arabie poetry to the cultural forms of the
rest of Europe.
41
This was not surprising given the evident
superiorlty of the cjvilization which was in flower in al-
Andalus to that which existed in the Christian
territories. What frightened the clergy was the number of
conversions of Christians to Islam, as weIl as the trend
toward acculturation to the surrounding civilization which
they saw among the Christianso, The conversions and cultural
"
change, t hey beli eved, th r ea tened t he con t i nued ex i sten-ce of
Christianity from withln.
42
This contributed to the resistance
on the part of the to any ln ,official refigious
practice or belie! from the way these things had a)ways
existed. Relfgious change seldom arises from among the masses.
"
IJ is usually introduced from the top down and this was the
case for both Christianity43 and Islam in al-Andalus.
44
It is
./
U
ironic that the acceptance by the Mozarabs of many Islamic
cultural patterns was one of the reasons for the continuity of
L)
the tradition in the religious life of
these same Mozarabs.
One other important factor which, aided in preserving the
continuity of the Mozarabic community resulted from the status
which was imposed upon its members by the early Arab rulers at
. )
the time of the capitulation to then:t in 711. The text of a"
t r e a t y b e t we e n the Vis i go t hic 1 e a der, The 0 d em i r , 1 0 r d 0 f the
-15-
district of Murcia, and cAbd al-CAztz b. Msa b. Nusair has
.
survived and it shows that the Christians were given the
ch 0 i ce 0 f e i the rad 0 p tin gis 1 am 0 r r e t a i n i n g the i r own
rel i g ion, i n che a the y wo u 1 d bec orne tri but a rie s 0 f the
state.
45
The result of this tolerance over the Muslims' term
of political lordship in al-Andalus was that the Mozarabs
retalned so,me measure of thei r former government wl thin thei.r
comnunities. In at least the larger Mozarab conmunities
classes continued to exist wl-th those on top being reasonably
weIL off.
46
Under the 'Umayyads, the Mozarabs oi these
protected comnunities were subject to their own administration

whlch was made up of members of. their own comnunity. Although
the Muslim authorities had the power of veto, the Christian
officiaIs were chosen by the 'comnunity itself. The head of the
administration was most olten termed 'count' the
Latin 'defenser' or 'protector"aiso were used. The tax
agent was called 'exceptor.,47 ln legai matters which
concerned only the Mozarabs, there existed a court over which
(or judge) of the Christians' pres-ided. Ibn J:lazrn
/
mentions that he knew the Christians' of Cordova
personally.4& These continued to adminlster the
Visigothic code.
49
ln many cases th'e social positions 'and
divisions themselves went back to the Vi.sigothic period an.
even 'the count was in some cases a descendant of the
Visigothic kings.
50
T'he Muslims aiso permitted a continuity in ecclesiasticai
-16-
_.
)
(
administration such that:
A partir de la conqute et la fin du xie
sicle, le territoire de l'Espagne demeura partag
suivant les divisions IJ'c!poque
des Wisigoths. Sous le callphat, l'.lntrieur
Andalus, troiS provinces continuaient
pourvues d'un et de plusieurs
51
celles de Tolde, de Lusitanie et de Btique.
According to the tolerance of the Musl ims
w a suc h t ha t the t rue a ris toc r a c y amo n g the Mo z a rab s wa s t 0
b e fou n d amo n g cie r g y, wh eth e r belon gin g t 0 an 0 r der l 0 r no t. 5
2
'
This is also echoed by Ibn Hazm:
We have never as greedy a communlty (as is that
of the ChrlstiaRs) in the amassing ofoa fortune in
d i rh ams and i n 0 the r cu r r en c y, and 1 n the ho a r d 1 n g 0 fit
and in the preventing in any way that they use any part
o fit. Nor dot he i r bis hop s, p rie s t sor mo n k s g ive a n y
par t 0 fit a sai ms i n a n y chu r ch, con ven t 0 r cou n t r y 0 a t
any tirne. Thus according to the word of thei r God they
necessarily will not be entering paradise untll the carne 1
(IS able to) penetrate the eye of the needle. This, by
God, is the 1 have witnesses of your
shameflJJness.
For a select group of Mozarabs, Ide was not aIl bad, at
least in Ibn f:lazm's time. Except for an episode known as the
Martyrs' Movement, there was very Ilttle active persecution of
the Mozarabs at any period.
54
Mozarabs from the tenth century
untiJ the coming of al-Mu'rabitn anq al-Muwahhidnwere able to
participate fully ln Muslim soclety.55 One notable example of
the prestige to which a Mozarab could rise IS found ln the
instance of Rabi
c
b. Sacid, the metropolitan of Cordova during
the reign of cAbd III who appointed him as legate ta
-17-
-
r
L
the court of the Germanie prince, Otto 1. He was sent to Syria
and Constantinople to gather works of art. He was also
respected by al-Hakam Il for his phllosophical and
astronomlcal knowledge.
56
As weil, "intermarrlage among aIl
elements of populatlon-- Berber, native lberlan, Hispano-
Roman, V1Slgothic, Arab-- was comnon ... ,,57 Usually though, but
appare'ntly not always, these marriages meant loss for the
Christian
. \
ln some ways th Mozarabs were not identlfiably different
from Musllms. They dressed in the same ways, they enjoyed the
. same culture and spoke the same WhiLe Arablc was
the language of scholarship and the
Mozarabs who participated ln those aspects of society were
1
able to use it,59 the everyday speech of most people,
Mozarabs, Musl'lms and Jews was a Roman dJalect derlved from
Latin.
60
Indeed, there were Muslim ascet-lcs who praticed
thelr religIon wlthout ever learnlng Arabic.
61
In spite of the great degree of official tolerance, there
is evidence that IndJcates that the ,Mozarabs felt oppressed by
their status as conquered people. The most obvious eVldence is
the general decllne ln numbers which the Mozarabs suffered as

members left mostly to the beneflt of the Musllm comnunol-ty,
over the whole perlod from the eJghth to the eleventh
centuries in which the Muslims retained political contro1.
62
It 15 not pOSSIble to give fJgures either for the total number
\
-18-
-
l'
{
.,.
.l._
of Mozarabs " or for their proportion of the whole population at
any particular time. Lvi-Provenal said that the mass of al-
Andalus' population was always made up of "le prol'tariat
rural," of whm we cannat know whether the majority were
Mozarabs or converts ta ISlam.
63
Yet in the towns:
... le seul fait acquis est que chaque agglomration
urbaine, au xe comme plus tard, abritait dans son
enceinte une communaut chrtienne et une communaut
juive, coup sr infrieurs en nombre-- sauf dans
quelques cas isols-- au reste de la population
Even the degree t9 which the Mozarabs asslmilated
themselves into the domlnan1\ ,culture may be interpreted as an
indication of the negative pressure whlch they felt against
t hem as memb ers 0 fan 0 the r rel i g ion. 1 n the n i nt h ce n t ury
Alvaro could complain that, "those Christlans who worked. in
government offices .. were openly implicated in Muslim errors
by not maklng public profession of their religion, by not
praying in public, by not making the sign of the cross on
thei r toreheads when they yawned .. ,,65 Indeed, there were
Christians who posed outwardly as If they were Musllms, and,
as has already been mentioned above, most ,Chrlstians used
\
Arab-Muslim names
66
as did even the bishop of Cordova, Rabi
c

J
b. Sa id.
At the beginning of the tenth century A.D., there was a
consultation of Muslim jurists of whom the opinion was that
the Christlaris should not be allowed ta construct new churches
in the main part of the towns, but only outside in quarters
.
-19-
.'
\
i
where Christians were in the majorlty and sufficiently removed
from MusIlr[ll populations. They were, however, allowed to
using churches already constructed.
67
ln some of the hymns of the Mozarablc rite is expressed
the des ire t 0 b e f r e e 0 f Mu Sil m r u 1 e . Me s sen g ers a ys:
Other hymns for saints, them Sts. Agatha,
Eugenia, Sebastian, Thyrsus and Faustus, contain
references to the MosJem 'yoke.' Here the prayers of the
saint are Invoked for the removal of the alien power.
Tu redde nos iam IIberos
lugo remot pessimo. (A.H.128, St.Agatha)
1 u g um, quo des t dur um , au fer a tac i us.
(A.H.27,164, St. EugenIa)
GentJs iugum, quod impie comprimat,
Tuo depelle adiumento gratiae. (A.H.27,235,
St. Sebastian)
Te martyr lacrimJs vernule poscimus,
Per te omnipotens condItor oscius
Durum, quo premimur, hoc lugum auferat
-E t 1 a e t 0 s f a c i a t s a e c 1 a i n omn i a ( A . H. 2 7 ,
249, St. Thyrsus)
Precamur, almi martyres,'
Per unum et trJnum Deum,
Ut iugum iam'velociter,
Qu 0 d sus tIn s, au fer a t. ( A H . 2 7, 1 7 4 , \,
St. Faustus)
There were between thirty and fort y hymns composed during
the perlod of Muslim dominion. Most of these date from the
late eighth and ninth centuries after which the Mozarablc rite
..
remained stable through the eleventh century.69 Many of the
hymns were composed at the time of the Martyrs' Movement and
even by Eulogio, one of the participants in that series of
-20-
- "
\
events
70
whose biography was wr-itten by Paul AIbar of Cordova.
This movement represents the most serious reaction of the
Mozarablc community agalnst the sorts of oppression ta which
1 ts members bel i eved they were ,subj ect. Eulogio says:
None of our people . can go among them (the Musllms)
or cross thelr quarter safely; those who are recogl1ized
as priests are foI1owed by cries of derision, as
imbeciles are, and the small boys shout obscenities at
them, and throw stones after them We are caiumniated
by them often, incessantly in fact. ma,ny of/them thlnk
us unworthy to touch their clothes .. they thPnk l't
pollutIon if we mix in thelr affatrs in any way.7
The key here, probably, is that those who were recognlzed
as prlests were subject to humiliation. However, EulogiO
expressed very serlOUS resentment at the treatment accorded
Christlans. Two incidents ln whlch Christians were put to
d ~ a t h acted as a catalyst among some Christian clerlcs. '
Eulogio encouraged them and others to attack Islam and its
" ~
prophet in public. About ftfty Christians ln ail brought about
their martyrdom in this way, among whom was Eulogio himself in'
869. With his death the movement came ta an end although
undoubtedly much ill-feeling continued to exist.
The beliefs of the Mozarabs, at least officially was
strictly brthodox. Pope Alexander II declared in 1073 A.D.
that the rites were "bene catholici et omni haeretica
pravitate mundi."
72
Their substance and spirit made them to be
a We ste r n 1 i tu r g y 73 Pro b a b 1 Y ~ 0 r th i s r e as 0 n ,lb n Ha zm d i d
1
not believe it necessary to single the Mozarabs out by name
-21-
-
for particular attention ln his analysis of the Christians.
Ironically, once Toledo fell from Muslim control, the
Mozarabic rIte was quickly put aSide over the strong
objectIons of the Mozarabs. No longer would their bishops be
chosen locally, either. Under King james of Aragon (1218-1276
A.D.), the archbishop of Toledo was Don Sancho who was
a p p 0 i nt e d no t b Y the k i n g , h i s own fat he r, but b Y the Pop e i n
Rome. 74 The end of Muslim rule ln ai-Andaius was the beginnlng
of a new klnd of church from that which had existed ln Ibn
Hazm' s day.
The only other major group in al-Andalus, besides the
Mozarabs, who were not Muslims were the Jews. Little is known
about them although mueh of what IS true about the status of
the Mozarabs can be applied to them as weIl.
D. Influences ln the Apologetic Method of 1 bn Ha zm
.
If one the work of Ibn Hazm with other polemical
treatlses, Christian or Musllm, one will see that Ibn Hazm's
. .
work by its accuracy and comprehension of hlS topic has no
rivaIs. Even as great a poiemicist as John of Damascus who
weIl understood the Qur'anlc teaching about Jesus,75 mixed
much error into his analysis of other areas of Muslim practice
and belief. For example, he accused the Muslims of worshipping
the Ka
c
bah.
76
In their call to prayer, John of Damascus sald
-22-
..
that the Muslims were Identifying 'Allah with Khabar ('akbar)-
- Aphrodite and the morning starJ7 Yet, John of Damascus was
far more honest and accurate than most polemicists, certalnly
more so than Eulogio, who besldes being associated with the
Martyrs' Movement, wrote a polemlc against the Musllms. Daniel
s a y s the fol 1 ow 1 n g ab 0 ut t h 1 S b 0 0 k byE u log 1 0 :
His method is to attack the authortty of the Praphet
to teach, as would be the method af mast later Christian
attacks on Islam ... Thls book Includes supposed events of
the Prophet's Ide which we may place in three
categories. The first covers the misrepresentatlon of the
actual facts . The second category includes total
mis s ta t eme nt s, a s ab 0 u t the Pro ph et' s cap tu r e of
Damascus . In the third category we find misrep-
resentatlons-- equally fictltious-- of the of.
the Prophet ... the real Interest in these passages is
that in type, and often letter for letter, they
foreshadow the argument of twelfth- and thirteenth-
ce n t ury ( A . D.) pol em ici s t s
Ibn Havn iS'clearly not influenced by this sort of
.
pol em i cal lit e rat ure ont hep art a f the Ch ris t 1 ans. Ait hou g h
he mentions arguments which Christians put forth against
Muslims, universally the Christian arguments to which he
alludes show"better information and precision about Islamlc
teaching than is the case even in the wrl.tlngs of John' o'f
Damascus. He does not, apparently, conslder it worthwhile to
argue agalnst this type of nonsense.
In Spain, Ibn ':Iazm has no Musllm predecessors for the
type of polemlc which he produced.
79
He does mention that he
uses many sources for his work but very little precise
1
1 den tif i c a t ion () f t h em ca n b e f 0 lJ n d 1 n a 1 - F i al:
-23-
------ - --- ---- -
J
-
We have eommunicated with, and received information
from, people of different countries, and have always been
anxious to enquire into things that were unknown to us.
We have had at our disposaI numerous historical works
containing the records of many nations, both Arabs and
non-Arabs. We have also received information about the
kingdoms of the Christians, as far as the country of Rm
(Byzantium), and also about the kingdoms of the Slavs,
Turks, and Negroes, both of ancient and modern
t ime s. 8
Of the sou r e e s wh i cha r e me n t ion e d he r e , i t i son 1 y
possible for us to identify three by in what concerns the
Christians. Ibn Hazm mentions a bellef of JulIan, Metropolitan
. ./
of Toledo,81 he cites one of the teachings of John
Chrysostom,82 and he mentions a discussioQ that his companion
al-Husain b. Baqi had had with a Christlan.
83
Numereus ether
citations are made from individuals or documents.
For example, we do not know from what document on the history
of Visigothic Spain he gained his information about King
, Reccared. ,.
,
"
In his discussion of the Gospels ,and other New Testament
books, he cites directly from the documents themselves. Does
he use an Arabie version of the New Testament or does he use a
translation in another language? Ibn nowhere states that
" .
he can read any language other than Arabie, so any speculation
et T)T'I"s/"nt T'l"mein unconfirmed in ST'f'A. However, since
many citizens of al-Andaius spoke a Roman dialect as an
everyday language, it would not be surprising if Ibn Hazm is
.
-24-
also proficlent If thiS, language whose roots were in
The task of learning Latin itself would not have been
La tin.
such an
task, if Indeed he 15 able ta speak the Roman dlalect.
In this case he would have been able ta read Vulgate. This
IS an interestlng posslblity but the need ta read Latin may
not have been pressing since there is eVldenee that several
,
Arabie versions of the Bible had already existed in Spain long
before Ibn Hazm's tlme. fact parts of the Bible may have
\
been translated ln Arabie as early as 719
Ibn Hazm's Influence on posterity was somewhat restrlcted
because hlS unpopularlty made It dlfflcult for students to
come to hlm
85
and beeause hlS Virulent attaeks agalnst those
with whom he disagrees made his works less such
people. CheJne suggested that the works of al-Qays and of
Fray AnSelmo Turmeda also known as cAbd 'Allah al-TarJuman
were to sorne extent based on that of Ibn Hazm.
86
The Moriscos
later produced polemical llterature agalnst the Musllms which
ln at least one case refer directly to al-Qays and perhaps to
al-Tar juman. The arguments which are set for,i'h ln the Morisco
document "are similar in style 'and content to those of Ibn
Hazm.
87
As we shall see, Ibn Hazm deserved to be taken more
seriously for his method of research and his in
applying 1t than on account of hls vitriollc attacks against
his opponents. His contemporarles on the whole_ took the latter
more seriously and mlssed the former.
-25-
Notes to C:hapter
..
\
1. I. "The Heterodoxies of the Shi ites in the
Presentation of Ibn ':Iazm," JAOS, V.28 (1907), p.12.
l
2. M.A. Abdul Samad, "Ibn.':Iazm's Concept of
Thesls at McGllI University, 1978, 7.
3. Ibn ':fayyan, from DhakhTra of Ibn Bassam.V.8 pp.142-143, as
t
l)
cited in E. Histoire de l'Espagne Musulmane.
V.3. Paris: Editlons G.-P. Malsonneuve, 1953, p.182.
4. M. Asi'n Palaclos, Abenhazam de Cordoba y su Hlstor la
.... ) 1. Mad ri d: Rea 1 Academi a de
la Historla, 1928, pp.188ff.
5: Manta Lsham was near Labla. R. Arnaldkz, "Ibn ':Iazm," in
The En c y cl 0 P e d 1 a 0 fis 1 am. New E d. V. 3. Lei den: E . J. B r i 1 l ,
1971, p.790, mentions that Manta LTsham was the ancestral home
of Ibn Hazm' s fami ly. Labla was located near Niebla on the
Huelva. These locations may be seen by looking west
of 5 e v 1 Il e, pp. 36 - 37 0 f An His t 0 r i cal At 1 as lof 1 siam (W. C.
Brice, ed.),Lelden: E.J. Brlll, 1981.
6. For further detalls about the life of Ibn ':Iazm, cp. R.
Arnaldez, "Ibn t:Iazm," pp.790-799.
-26-
'1
(
----------
, ,
Q
1
7. Friedlander, p.l1.<>
8 . I. Go 1 d Z 1 he r.1 The Z ah i r s'l The i r doc tri n and the i r
(Wolfgang Behn, tr.). Leiden: E.J. Br.il1, 1971.
pp.l10ff.
9. Friedlander, p. 17.
10. Ibid .. )-17.
Il. Ibid.,p.24, cp. als.p n. 1
0
1 2. The Che ste r Bea t t Y Lib ra r y: A Ha n d 1 i s t 0 f the A rab i c
Manuscrlpts (A.J. Arbi"'r""'y, ed.). V.4, Dublin: Hodges Figgis
and Co. Ltd., 1959. The manuscript, dated 6 Ramadan 742 (13
i;;;,
Feb. 1342), contains only V.l of gl-Fqal.
13. Friedlander, p.?t:; __
.< 14. Ibid., p.18. Frledlander deals with the 'sections of al-
'which contain Ibn J:Iazm
l
s polemic against the Sh-cah.
15. The Holy"Bible, "Epistle to the Romans," 15:24,28.
16. J.N. Hillgarth, "Popular relIgion in Visigothic Spain,' Il in
Visigothic S'pain: New Approaches (E. James, ed.).Oxford:
j
Clar,endon Press, 1980, p7.
\ 1
17. H. Allinger, "The Mczarabic Hymnal and Chant, with special
emphasts up'cn the cf PrudenUus . ," New York, Thesis at
" \
Union Thec!. Seminary, 1953, pp.12ff.
."
18. Hillgarth, "pcpJf;r Religion," p.IO.
19. Ibid., p.ll.
20. Arianism, an earl.y Chi-'\.stian sect fcllowing the teaching
,
cf Arius whc rejected the teaching cf the Council of Nicea .
that the Christ was Gcd and, that Hf'" had twc natur!"s, divine and
.
hwnan. This will be elabclfted further in Chapter II.
, .
21. E.A. Thcmpson, "The ccnversion cf'the .Spanish Suevi .
\ ,
Cathol'icism,'" in V isigcthic p. 84.
22. Goths in Spain, Oxfcrd: The Clarendon
Press, 1969, p .. 98.
.;
,
23. HllJgarth, "PopuJar Religion," p.19.
24. 'Ibid., p.26.
2 5. . 1 b id'., p. 2 6
{ ,
-28-
.'
, Q
\
26. Filioque-- ,"and from the Son"'. Inserted ln the Nicene
Creed by the Latin' churches 'over the dissension of the Eastern
Or t ho d 0 Chu r ch. Th l s r e fer s t 0 the "mo d e 0 for i gIn" 0 f the
"
Holy Spirit, that 1s, does the Spirit proceed from both the
Father and the Son or just from the, Father<
o
27. Thompson, The Goths in Spain, p. vii.
28. al-Fisal, V.2, p.3
.
29. Ibn Hazm stated that coneerning other tapies he did talk
with Chrrtians. Cf. V.2,pp.27, 41, 108 to eite .just
a few.
30. P.O. King, "King-Chindasvind and the Territorial
-Law-Code of the Visigothic in V-isigothic Spain,
pp. 135-136. n.4, p.136.
, ,
31. Mozarab is derived Jrom the Arabie participle "mustaCrib,"
,
32. Ruth E. "Mozarabic hymns in relation to
\
contemporary culture ln Spain," Tradito V.4,L!t946), p.I77.
33., Allinger, "Mozarabic Hymnal," p.12.
34. Jean Gautier-Dalehi, "ChSteaux et peupIemnts dans la
Pninsule ibe'rique (Xe.-Xllle. in Economie et
"
-29-
. l
\
l' ......
. 1
"
':
(,
Socit dans Pays 'de la Couronne de Castille, London:
Variorum,Reprints, 1972, p.95.
35. Histoire, p.215.
36. Hillgarth, "Popular Religion," p.45.
\
37. Messenger, "Mozarabic Hymns and Cu 1 turej Il p.169.
38. N. Daniel, The Arabs and Europe, London: Longman
\1,
Group Limited, 1975, pp.39
o
ff. Eulogio wrote a polemical
treatise.against Islrun and he based his attack, at least
o
partly, on these "unknown books" which he found outside al-
Andalus.
39. Lvi-Provenal,'Histoire, p.216.
40. Ibid., p.2i7.
4 1. A G. Ch e j n e 1 sIam and the We st,. The Mo ris cos, A 1 ban y :
State University of New York Press, 1983, p.72.
"
42. Ibid., p.72.
-"
f
43. As far as we know, no public consensus was ever taken by
King Reccared in order to find out if the mass of the people
wished to renounce Arianism.
o
j
-30-
. -
-
(
, .
44. John Boswell, The Royal Treasure: Mslim'Communitles
under the Crown of Aragon in the Fourteenth Century, New,
Haven: Yale University Press, 1977, pp.1-2.
45. E. Lvi-Provenal, "Mozarabs" in Encyclopedia of Islam.
vol.3:2. edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. R. Basset, R.
Hartmann, Leiden: E.l. Brill Ltd., 1913, p.611.
46. Histoire, p:220.
1
'47. Idem "Mozarabs", p.611.
4.8.'.al-Fisal, ,V.2, p.IOS.
o
49. 1 n the c i t a t ion f rom a l - Fis a l fou n d j n n. 26 ab 0 v e ,lb n
":Iazm mistakenly attr ibuted the law code of the Vislg.othic
to Reccared. In any case we have in his citation a
,;l
reference to the that the Christians were subject to a
Visigothic code in al-Andalus and not to an Islamic code.
50. Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism (Natalie
Gerardi, tr.).London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974, p.90 and
Lvi.Provn:al, "Mozarabs," p.611.
51. Lvi-Proven:al,'Histoire, p.220.
-31-
...
..
i
,
1
" ..
52. p.220.
,
/'
/
,
j
"
53. vo1.2, p.54,'
54. Poliakov, Anti-Semitism, p.90.
,
55. "Mozarabs,"
56. Idem Histoire,
57. Boswell, The Royal Treasure, p.I-2.
"
58 . Messenger, "Mozarabic Hymns and Culture'," p.169.
59. A. Castro, The Structure of Spanish (Edmund King,
t r . ). P r i n cet 0 n, New J ers e y: P r i ne e ton Uni ver s i t Y Pre s s' " 1 954 ,
p.321.
60. Histoire, p.183.
1
61. Poliakov, Anti-Semitism, p.90:
."
62. Daniel, The Arabs, p.13.
, 1
63. Histoire, p.165.
64,. p.165.
-32-
f
-
"
.
"
65.fDaniel, The Arabs, p.l2.
,
66. Ibid., p.35.
67. Ldvi-Provenal, Htstoire, p.224.
68. Mess,enger, "Mozarabic 'Hymns and Culture," pp.169-170.
69. Ail i n g e r, "Mo z a rab i c H yman al," 'p. 29.
70. Messenger, "Mozarabic Hymns and Culture," p.170.
71. Eulogio, 88 in Daniel, The Arabs,
72. Messenger, "Mozarabic Hymns and Culture," p.I77.
73. R.F. Lechner, "Mozarabic Rite," i'n New Catholic
Encyclopedia. V.IO, New york: McGraw-Hlll Book Co, 1967.
74. The Chronicle of James l, King of Aragon (Jopn'Forster,
tr:). London: Chapman and Hall,Ltd, 1883, pp.593,'600.
75. D.J. Sahas, John of Damascus on Islam: the "Heresy of the
1 s hma e lit es," Lei den: E . J. B r i 1 l, 1 9 7 2, p. 7 8 .
76. Ibid., p.84.
,.
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...
,/
(
-
77. Ibid., p.S7.
78. Daniel, The Arabs, pp.39ff.
79. M. de Epalza, "No!es pour Hi,stoire des polmiques
anti-Chritiennes dans l'Occident Musulman,"
(1971), p.100.
80. V.I, p.175, as cited in Friedlander, p.13.
81. Ibid., V.2, p.35.
82. Ibid., p.72.
- .
83. Ibid., p.44.
84. H.S. Gehman, "The Arabie Bible in Spain," Speculum, V.I,
'" (1926), pp.2l9-22l.
85. Friedlander, p.ll.
86. Chejne, Islam and the West, p.83.
87. Ibid., p.85.
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*
\
\
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\
II
Ibn Polemic the
A. Ibn Hazm's Introduction

i. Purpose.
1
"Ae for the Gospels and the books of the Chrle tians J we
shel1, if God (May He be set forth
.laid down in (them) in such a way that anyone who lt
exposition) will not be in doubt that thei (the Gospels)
,
(
no in them end are forseken
(by'iod). ,,1 abrupt 1s very typical of Ion Itazm'e
\\
style. He intends, as a in lal-Fisa1, to "set

fortb" and "expos both 18 lamie tru th and the error in the be-
liers of other and communitles. In ois of
tte Christians, be immediately end does not deviate from
1:.1s course.
plan Ibn presentation
more by his desire be thRn profoundlv analy-
tic. ';:'herefor'e, he dnes not stlldy subject in order ta dis-
cover the theme or themes which render coherent, but rather
he tskes up issues,
one fli'tr flle oth-r "8 t\. t
co , c;o I.ey j.l'"t"'sen.
tbel1'Jselvt"s. Ee sets the foundatioll of h' t
lS, ation by an
tntl'"oduct:on to -:c,f' vBriotlS (l;roups of Clll'..":i8!".8 anri!
- 3)-
their writings. He then presents a brief interpretation of the
development of the Christian Church and its doctrinal
deve 1 opmen t .
1
In the main body of the treatise on the Christians, Ibn
criticizes the Old foundation upon which the
New is built. Thereafter he allows the order of his treatment
to be set mainly according ta the arder of the arrangement 'of
\ . 2
the text of Matthew's and JohnJs Gospels. A very'few remarks
are made'about the other books of the New Testament to form a
conclusion to his consideration of the speclfically canonical /
scriptures.
/
/
/
/
/
The last section of his presentation IS made up of two
qulte different parts. One is a collection of
criticisms of Christian bellef and practice. The ,other part is
/
/

a presentation of three objections which Chrlstlans apparently
were maklng against Muslims and Ibn s response ta these
objectlons.
3
[n his statement of purpose, Ibn aiso what he
will not do, that IS, provide proof that the Christian
scriptures do not come as direct revelatlon from Gad or from
the Messlah. He mentions that ln the case of the Torah,
because the "mass of the Jews clalm that the Torah WhlCh they
possess was sent down by Gad upon Ms (Mose-;);,,4 he IS
obliged ta refute their claim. The Jewish understandlng of
-36-
/
/
/
-
/
/
/
God's revelation to the prophets is, in Ibn Hazm's
understanding, closer to that' of the Musllms than is that of
the Christians. In fact, the Christians' claims in this matter
are so completely different from those of the Musllms that Ibn
believes he does not even have to refute them. He says:
As for the Chrlstians, they spared us aIl that
inconvenlence" because they 'did not claim that the Gospels
were revealed by Gad to the Messlah nor (even) thatthe
Me s s i ah b r a u g h t the Go s pel s ta t hem. Ra the r, aIl the
Chrlstlans from fIrst to last. . agree that four well-
known meg compased the four histories at various periods
of time.
The ChrIstian groups which our author mentions are the
cAr y sis ,6 t 1;1 e Ma 1 k i s,7 the Na s t ris ,8 the Ya'q bis ,9 the
and the Blq'anTs.
11
Although he understand.s ,the
principal dlfferences among the various Christian groups, he
rarely notes- t-hes.e differences in connection with the
,
particular scriptures upon whicl") their arguments depend, in
the course of his analysis. There are probably twa reasons for
, " ,
thls. First, he is concerned wlth the words 'of the scriptural
texts. By settl'ng' forth their true meaning, he belleves that
he invalidates aIl the deductions which Christians have made.
Second, the largest group of Christians, whom he caiis
Melchites, agree in thelr Interpretation of scripture. Where
he makes reference to dogmatics, he tacitly makes this group
the standard.
li. Overvlew of the Christian Documents and their
'-
Authors.
-37-
J
"
\
,
Ibn Hazm comments that Matthew the Levite
12
was a direct
.
disciple of the Messiah. This lS a signlficant factor for Ibn
Hann's discussion because one of the essentlal features of
.
t rue sc r i pt ure 1 n h i sun der s tan d 1 n gIS t ha t the r e mu s t b e an
unbroken chain of transmitters of that scripture aIl the
back to th prophet who received the revelation. If one of the
transmitters is not trustworthy, his testimony may not be
accepted in the matter of religious teaching.
Ibn Hazm proposes that Matthew's Gospel was wrjtten nine
, . '
years after the ascenSion of the Messlah, that of Mark twenty-
\
two years after, Luke's Gospel after Mark's, and John's Gospel
more than sixt Y years after the ascension of the Messiah. In
da tin g the Go s pel s 1 b n Ha zm und e r 1 i ne s the' f a c t t ha t the i r
origin 15 not from a prophet but from uninspired followers of
a prophet.<:lThe source of Ibn Hazm's informatIon about these
dates i5 difficult to know slnce many dlfferent opinions were,
. held by Christlan5.
Ibn remarks that Matthew wrote hlS Gospel ln Hebrew
in Syrla and later, ln John, the son of Zebedee,13
he says that thls John transJated Matthew's Gospel Into Greek.
No source for this latter can be found. In any case It
wo u 1 d b e d 1 f fIC U 1 t t 0 belle v eth 1 s pro p 0 s 1 t ion, g 1 ven the
greatly dlfferlng language styles of the two Gospels.
Eus e b 1 us 1 4 r e cor de d t ha t Ma t t h ew' s Go s pel ha d b e en pro duc e cl i n
L
,
t
J
':

4
,
)
Aramaic. ontrary ta Ibn ':Iazm, the traditi'onal Christian view
is that Matthew's Gospel was written, not ln
Palestine.
15
but i n
Ibn ':fazm says that Mark the is said, \by the
Christians, not to be the author of the Gospel which bears his
name. He cites the Christians to the effect that Mark was a
dis'ciple of Simon Peter, the son of Jonah,I7 who after wrlting
i t, e ras e d h i s n ame and a t trI but e dit 1 n ste a d _ t 0 h i S dis c i pie ,
--
Mark,18 Accordlng ta Paplas who was cited by Euseblus,19
was Peter's interpreter (hermneuts). Although Peter, in
Christian tradition, is always associated with Mark's Gospel,
Mark is afways acknowledged to be Its wrlter.
20
[bn
unfavorable interpretation of this Christian tradition is
probably what led him to his conclusion above. ,I,bn f:lazm also
goes against the traditjional Christian understanding of the
origin of this Gospel, which is Rome, 21 by statlng that had
been written in Antioch.
About Luke,22 the writer of the Gospel whlch bears hlS
name, Ibn t:Jazm says that he was a doctor from Antloch, that he-
was a disciple of Peter's and that he wrote hlS Gospel in
Greek at Achia.
Z3
Ibn Hazm agrees with the Christlans that'Luke was not an
.
eyewi t nes s of Jesus' ministry (Co 1 .4: 14) but a companion of
Paul's24
on his Journeys (II Tlm.4:1l). Perhaps, _ln saylng
-39-
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..
of Peter' s, Ibn I:Iazm refers to the
indirect instruction Luke received from Peter by virtue, as
our au t ho r s ta tes, 0 f Pau l 's i n s t r u c t ion bel n g der ive d f r om
Peter. Ibn recognlzes that Paul was Luke's companion in
his discussion of the Acts of the Apostles. Both the anti-
Marcionlte prologue and Jerome confirm Ibn Hazm's view that
Luke was in Achia when thls Gospel was wrltten.
25
Ibn ':Iazm says that John, the son of Zebedee was a direct
--------- ---- , .
dis ci pIe 0 f t he Mes si ah-and te' hi s Gos per at -
Athens
26
in Greek. It is an accepted Christian belief that
John was a direct disciple of the Messiah. In fact he, his
I;>rother James, and Pet'er formed the inner group of the
disciples. Christian tradition gives uncertain evidence about
..
where John wrote hlS Gospel, although Irenaeus follows
Polycarp ln that it was written at
Ibn Hazm then lists the rest of the books of the New
Testameot tagether wlth their respective authors. He makes
on 1 yon e r ema r k ab 0 u t the con t en t s 0 fan y f t hem, t ha t i 5 ,
that the Book of Revelatian
28
was wntten by John, the son of
Z e b e d e e , and ha sin i t " 0 n 1 y wh a the s a win h i s d r e am s ,
(durlng) hlS nocturnal Journey and unpleasant myths.,,29
Virtually aIl of this book is the record of John's vlsion of
he a ven wh i ch b e gin s w i t h the wo r d s :
On the Lord's Day 1 was in the,Spirit, and 1 heard
30
behlnd me a laud voice llke a trumpet, which said ... "
1
,/
!
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1
/ "
By his reference ta the "nocturnal jout"ny", Ibn ':Iazm i5
probab),y j.referring ta this vision.
says:
-"
Ibn Hazm claims that Paul was a disciple of Peter. He
For e x am pie Pau 1re p 0 rte d 1 n t h ~ Act s 0 f t he A p 0 s t 1 e 5
(9:27} and il) one of his Epistle5 (Gal.l:18) that he
5 t a y e d w 1 th Pet e r for 0 n 1 y f i f tee n d a y 5. The n he me t h i m
another time and stayed with him a short time as weil
(Acts 15; Ga1.2:9,1l). The third tune they were" t a ~ n
away together and cruclfied wlth' the cur5e of Gad.
-------------1FF-eorrf'----'tt-hA-l--S- 1 a 5 t rema r k the r e i s no ba 5 i sin t he New
Testament. Paul is regarded by Chrlstians as an eyewitness of
i
the Messiah because of his experlence on the road to Damascus
\ >
(Act59). Ibn Hazm also states that there are fifteen epi5tls
attributed to Paul, but even lf the Epistle ta the Hebrews is
l' ,
counted, there are only fourteen books accepted by the
Christians to have come from the hand of Paul: Romans, 1 and
Hebrews. Althaugh -the Epistle ta the Hebrews dIffers in
"style, form, and Chrlstology" from those of Paul, and:- nothing
speaks for authorshlp ~ y him, the Eastern Church accepted
Pauline authorshlp befare the Western Church, which rejected
this epistle until the fpurth century A.D.
32
Ail the other
books of the New Testament are accounted for ln Ibn Hazm's
list, and he glves no clue whether he Includes any additlonal
book or books bey.ond these or there is a m,lscounting on his
part or by the editar.
fJ
-41-
\
-

, 1
'\
... \
.Ibn Hazm points out that none of the ("est df the writings
,. :0.
,
which tre Christ'ans possess can be said to have' come frbm God
sin cet he y r e a l'l the pro duc t ion s 0 f me n. . The y fi n d the i r
origin among t,he bishops and patriarchs, ,such as tho'se who
made up the major and minor Church councils. Although he says\
.
there were six major councils as weIl as other cbuncils,
in fact, were major councils whose
, 0
decisions are accepted by aIl orthO'dox'Christians. The date' '.
and major issue are included in brackets the name of
e a c h 0 f. the s ev e n cou n cil s: Nic e a 1 (3 25, Ar i an 1 sm) ;
Constantinople 1 (381, Appolinarianism); Ephesus (431,
'.
Nestorianism); (451,
II (553, Three Chapters Constantinople III (680-
681, Monothelitism); and II (787, Iconoc1asm).33
Not only were the Christian documents hman productions,
according to Ibn J:Iazm, but the whole r'eligious practice of the
Christians was ba.sed on human Ibn Hazm names
Reccared
34
as the 9ne who established the reJigious
Jegislation p'ract-iced by 'the Christians of aJ-AndaJus.
C
o
,-
-""" . - -y
Elsewhere the Chr-kstl{\ns' bishops legislated thelr practice
for them.
..
iii. The Na.ture 'of the Transn:tission of Christian
ReJigious Teaching;
!.


l'
1
-
(
"
Ibn Hazm uses an Islamic structure to organize hls
presentation o{ the ChrIstian conception of the nature of the
transmlssion'of Information about the Messlah. He presupposes
.
that the Christians must use the same procedures and standards
of verification for saylngs by the Messiah do the Muslims
f 0 the i r ha dit h 1 i t rat ure. Jus tas ev e r y ha d t h mu s t go bac k
t h r 0 u g h a n, un b r 0 ken cha i n 0 f relia b 1 e w 1 t ne s ses s t 0 an
eyewitness of the Prophet so the Chrlstians must
agree.to use the same system. Thus he orgaruzes the New
Testament writers into companions of the Messlah and followers
of the companlons. The former group Includes Peter,
\ ,
John, James and Jude. The latter group is made up of Paul,
Mark and Luke .. No doubt thlS IS why Ibn Hazm trIed" ta prove
,
that Paul was Peter's disclple-- in order to fit hlm Into this
pattern.
Ibn ':Iazm says that It is upon the four Gospels and the
other books (of the New Testament) that the Christlans r,ely,
and that aIl the Christians in the whole world have the same
copy of them. No changes can be Incorporated into the text
without comlng to 1Igh.t. Th.e Chrlstlans know that the
situation of the early Chrlstlans was more dlfficult than,that
of the Jews. Yet in spi te of the advantages tha t the Jews had
n
which made the of their Torah easier-- advantages
which the Chrlstians lacked-- corruption and idol-worshlp
crept in, which resulted in the loss for them of their
o r i gin aiT 0 r ah, the i r t ell1p J e and the i r k i n g d om
-43-
,
..
Ibn says that no more than one hundred tweAty men
believed the Messiah during his Ilfetime,35 a fIgure based on
Actsl:15. In thlS early perlod they were forced to hide and
meet in secret. To cite Ibn Hazm:
Anyone who was selzed (as a member of this rel igion)
was ki lIed, either by stonlng as were killed YaCqub b.
Ysuf (James the son of Joseph) the carpenter and
Ishtiban (Stephen)-- who they talled the ftrst of the
Martyrs-- and others. Or he would be crucifled as were
Batirah (Peter), Andrlyas (Andrew) h!s brother, Shimcn
(Simon) the brother (should be "son") of Yusuf (Joseph)
the carpenter, Fllsh (Phtllp), and Blus (Paul) and
others. Or he would be killed Wl th the sword as were
Ya C q b (J ame s) the b rot he r 0 f Y han n a (J 0 h n), T ma r
(Thomas), Bartalma Yahdha b. Yusuf (Jude
the son 0 f Jo sep h ) the car pen ter and Ma t ta (Ma t t h,ew). 0 r
(he was put to 'death wlth poison)3gs was 1;>.
Sdhay (John the son of Zebedee). 1
Ibn assessment of the history of the early
Christians is somtimes il') accord with the evidence that we
have and somet imes 1 t i s not. For example, Josephus records
that Jarl1es, the son of Joseph,37 was. stoned to death.
Stephen's de.ath is recorded in Acts7:59. Peter's death by
crctfix!on (upslde down) IS found in the apocryphal "Acts of
Peter".38 "The Martyrdom of St. Andrew",39 a third century
apocryphal book popular with the Gnostics, sald Andrew was
cructfied. There lS little said about Simon, the son of
Joseph, ln Christian traditlon,40 50 we cannot say h0W he
dled. There are contradlctlng tradItions about Phllip's death.
Q
Po J Y car p S a y s Ph 11 1 P dIe d 0 f na t u raI cau ses, but e 1 5 ew he ( e he
is said to have been cructfled.
41
Ter,tullian says Paul was
beheaded. Other traditIons say he died a martyr's

,
..
)
1
/
1
de a th. 4
2
J ame s , the brother of John, was, put to death by the
sword at the orders of Herod Agrippa, ActsI2:2. Th Gnostic
"Acts of Thomas" says that Thomas was martyred in indla.
43
, -
Church traditions Bartholomew's death in a varlet y of
ways.44 As was the case wlth his brother James, llttle IS
known about the life of Jude, the son of J'oseph the carpenter.
Matthew's death was put dawn to martyrdom by fire or sword,
but only by late legend.
45
According to Polycarp, John, the
son of Zebedee, died .peacefully at Ephesus. There IS, however,
\
a later tradition passed on by George Hamaftolus to the effect
that John was martyred.
46
The point of Ibn I:fazm's discussion of this ddficult
penod for the Christians is to show that they could not be
sure of the contin';lity of the transmiSSion of thelr
(
j scrlptures. Therefore, during the three-hundred-year period of
persecution after the ascension of the Messiah, "the Gospel
which was sent down from Gad (May.He be powerful and exalted)
was lost except for small portions which God (May He be
exalted) preserved as a s-hame against them.,,47 Since the words
of the Messiah are recorded almost exclusively in the Gospels,
it is in them that we would expect Ibn Hazm ta flnd the, few
traces of the original words of the Messiah of which the true
Gospel was composed. only about which\ Ibn Hazm
remarks are those in which Jesus refers to\"himself as a
prophet or as a man:
Then (Jesus) said to (the comnon people): "1 know you
-L5..:
f
, -
J

will say to me: "Doctor heal yourse1f, do here in your
hometown what we have heard you have done in QafarnahOm
( s j c ) ( Ca p e r n a um) Il Tru! y 1 s a y t 0 Y 0 u t ha t Rot 0 n e 0 f
the prophets was in his hometown."
4
The persecution of the Chrlst'lans, says Ibn ':fa zm ,
contlnued untl! Constantine
49
converted to Chrlstlanlty. He
converted because hls mother, Helena, who was a Christian and
j'
the daughter of Chrlstlans, ralsed Constantine as a Christian.'
l ven soC 0 n s tan tin e and h 1 S son a f ter h 1 m we r e A ri ans. 1 b n
Hazm remark s:
.
They say that the'Messlah IS only a creat
3
8 servant,
merely a prophet of God (May He be Exalted).
Accordlng to Eusebius,51 Constantine adopted Chrlstlanlty as a
result of revelatlon of the Christian God in a dream. Although
Ibn ':favn argues that Helena was a Christian and therefore
- j n s 't r ume n t aIl n Con s tan tin e 's con ver s Ion, ace 0 r d 1 n g t 0
Eusebius both she and Constantlne's father were pagans at the

birth of their s'on. Helena later became a Christian through
her son
As Constantine belng an Arlan, Latourette
52
doubts
whether Constantine ever understood the nlcetles of the Issues
involved ln the question of Arlanlsm. HIS ftrst Interest ln
the question was poli tlcal, because the di,spute over A.r lUS
threatened the dlsruptlon of the Church. Constantine supported
the Councll of Nlcea and preslded over ItS openlng session.
When the Counctl declded against the Arlan' party, he enforced
obedience to ItS detqilons.
53
-L6-
f
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"
Gradually, the Arian party restored its fortunes and
gained .favour with Constantine when Eusebius of Nlcomedia
bec a[T1e h i s 't rus t e d a d VIS e r, a s u p p 0 r t r 0 fAr 1 us. 5 4 S h 0 r t 1 Y
,
before Constantine's death, he was baptized by Eusebius of
55
,
Three sons of Constantine dlvided up the empire between
themselves, but on the death of'one, Constantine the
empire was dlvlded between the two survlvors, Constans ln the
and Constantlus ln East. Church,
,supported by Constans supported the declslons of Nlcea, but
the Eastern bis'hops seem t9 have opposed Nlcea and Co'nstantius
sympathlzed wlth thern. The antl-N'lcene cause was strengthened
Q
further wlth the appolntment of Eusebius of Nlcomedla as
blshop of Constant Inople ln 339 ",A.D. 56
With the conversion of,Constantine, the situation of the
Chrstians was much easler vis--vIs the state, but Ibn Hazm
points out that another problem arose. Mass conversions took
place and many of those who becarne Chrlstlans contlnued to
\
believe whatever error they had belleved before they became
1
ChrLStlans. Thus says Ibn si'read
the Chrlstlans as" dld othe, errors. )
,(, ".
The result of this hlstory, accordlng/to Ibn ':fazm, is
that the Christlans cannot verity any of the daims that they
-h7-
"
make as ta the sayings or mi racles which t,hey attfibute to
l
the
disciples. Their clalms are iike those'of the Jews who claim
mJracles for their rabbis and leaders, like those of the
Manlchaeans for Mani, like those of certain sects
who c1aim miracles for pious men.
58
Ibn ':IazlTi says that, "aIl
of this IS decelt, lYlng and pure tabrication.,,59
1 v. The Do c tri na 1 Fou n d a t ion a f the Ch r i.s t i ans .
)
Our author is weil aware that the Important Christian
doctriAes were those of the trlnity, the divinlty of the
Messiah, hlS filiatIon from Gad, and the union of divine and
human natures ln the Messiah. These doctrines whlch are based
on the Gospels and on passages ln them Whlch are clted from
'he Dld Tes,";"ent,60 f1nd thelr ultlmate rerlVatlon in the
Christians' interpretation of the Old Testament. Ibn f;fazm says&
the Jews oppose the Christlans and claim that they have
misrepresented t'he Torah and the ,books of the prophets.
According to hlS claims, the Christians, although asserting
that the transmission of the Jewish documents is genuine,
relnterpret the sections whlch they select and make thlS the
unique entire foundation of their apologetic. Ibn HaDn
says that the Christians "possess no other argument at ail
except this. ,,61 Therefore, since he has previous ly set forth
the corruption and deceit of the Jewish scrlptures and the
rupture of their transmission bacK to the prophets who brought 0
the books, and slnce he had aiso shawn that the transmission
\
-48-
f'
1
- ,
,
"
o the Christian scriptures is entirely unreliable and that
they have not even been revealed by God to prophets in the
first place, the entire foundation qf the Christlans IS
inva'll'dated, in Ibn Hazm' s opinion.
/
B. The Main Body of Ibn Argument Against, the
Ch ris tian s

"'\

i. The Proof that the hrist lans do not Accept ,-'
of the Jews.
In order to show that the Christlans do not really base
their teachtngs on the Old Testament, Ibn Hazm examines the
11St5 of generattons whlch occur ln the book of Gene515
62
and
shows that there are dl5crepancles of detatls the
j
genealogles, which are found ln the Torah ln Hebrew and the
Tora,h ln Greek, the Septuagint. An example follows:
1 n the Tor ah 0 f the J ew s, JUS tas we h a ye me n t Ion e d
above, (t t says) that when \iahala 1 (Maba lalel) reached
the age 0 f S J x t y - f 1 Y e y e ars he bec ame h e fat he r 0 f Y,a rad
(Jared), but ac'cordlng to aIl of the Chrlstlans, when
Mahall reached one hundred and slxty-flve years he begat
yarad. The two sects agree on the age of Yrad when -
Khankh (Enoch) was born to hlm. In the Torah of the
Jews, as we have rnentJoned, when Khanukh reached (the age
of) slxty-flve he beC;,ame the of Matushalakh
(\i t h use l ah), The t 0 t a lof K han 4 kh' 5 Y e ars wa s t h r e e
hundred and slxty-flve. But, accordlng to ail the
Christlans, when Khankh reached one hundred and Sixt y-
flve years; Matoshalakh was borne The total of Khan.okh's
years flve hundred and slxty-flve years. In thlS section,
each of the two sects accuses the other of-I'Ylng ln two
places. The tirst of them (concerns) the age of Khankh
when MatOshalakh was borne The second (concerns) the
-u9-
----
1
-
c,
total age of Khankh 63
Ibn distinguishes between the two Torahs by
the,one used by the Jews as the Torah of Ezra
64
and the one used by the Chrlstians as the Torah of Ptolemy.65
Accordtng to Neh.12: 1,13, Ezra was a priest returned from
'exi le ln Babylonla WI th Zerubbabel. He brought WI th him a copy
of the law and encouraged observance of It ln Jerusalem. In
later Jewish tradition he IS regarded as a second Moses who
revlved Judalsm. Perhaps the reason Ibn ':fazm designat"es the
Hebrew language TOrah as the Torah of Ezra can be found ln the
artlcular cantillatlon (method of chanting) whlch was
-------------------
assoclated This anclent practice "probably went

\
back to Ezra himself Ln the fourth
-------------------------
Seventy-two Jewish translators are supposed to have
a version of the Old Testament for Ptolemy II.
The whole body of the Hebrew Bible was in Greek by
67
132 B.C. .
The Greek Old Testament became known as the Septuagint and is
the version most commonly used by the early Chrlstlans.
Ibn concludes his examination of
/'
between these two versions of the Torah by saying:
1
Consider this 'section alone. In It IS sufficient
certalnty of the futtllty of the religlous teaching of
'the two sects-- how much mor If the rest of what we have
me n t Ion e dis ad d e d tOI t. 1 n the J ew i s h Tor a han d t ha t 0 f
the Christians there 'IS more distreement, which makes us
the more certain in regard. '.'.
-50-
------------------
ii. The Contradictions and Deceits of the Four Gospels.
The presentation of errors of the four Gospels
"occupies the major portion of Ibn Hazm',S 'discussion of the
Christians. He hlmself says at the conclusion of his
diScussion of. the ,four Gospels:
There 1s no escaping (the conclusion) that these
seventy sections from the Gospels are sheer falsehood and
contradiction. Some of the sections have three lies and
(sorne fewer, even though the Gospels are not very,
long.
6
'
1 n con t ras t, the dis eus s Ion 0 f the r est 0 f the New Tes t ame n t
i s 1 i mit e d t 0 0 n e 0 r t wo c i t a t ion s f r 0Il1 e a cha u t ho r w i t h the
exception of Paul, from whose epistles about s'ix citations are
made.
-----
of the Gospels begins with the
. -------
,
t
-------------
f i r s t cha pte r 0 f Ma t t h ew , a b 0 u t ---wtlTCll
The starting point of mankind (provided) the starting
point for the Gospel of Matthew the Levite, the
70
irst of
the Gospels ln order of wrltlng and prestlge .
In fact Matthew' s Gospel does not begln ,by traclng Jesus'
descent from Adam, the fIrst of mankInd, but from Abraham. Ibn
J:iazm lays the basls for' hlS discusslon of this section from
-=--,,--- -
Matthew's Gospel by quoting it directly with very ILttle.
trom the Gospel texte ihere can be little doubt that
he had a copy of the Christian scriptures ln front of him,
given the precision of his citation.
-51-
!
- ........ -.... , ...
. (
J
\,
"
. "
J
.... -

The opening discussion of the Gospels Illustrates the
various, ty_pes of deceit of which Ib,n Hazm accuses the
. .
Christlans throughout hlS presentation against them. Flrst,
there are problems ln the wording-of the text itself which our
author demonstrates as evidence of Matthew's error. The
of Jesus are llsted in three groups which are said
ln the gospel to equal fourteen each. Ibn Hazm counts them and
shows that thls is not the case. The total does not equal
forty-two either. \
Second, there 1's deceit in the way the Gospels cite from
otner sources ln the next step in hlS preseptatlon, Ib-n Hazm
;ompares the generatlons lncluded ln Matthew's Gospel wlth
th ose lis t ed in the J ew i 5 h sc r 1 pt ure 5 7l The dis cre pan cie s
between the two and the lacunae of Matthew's GQspel are
pointed out as eVldence that the writer of the Gospel was
"
certainly not a prophet.
Th rd t he con t t fuI. Al though the
Ch ris tian s say t hey be 1 1 eve in t he vi r gin b ___
Messiah, WhlCh IS a true doctrine according to Jews,
Christians and MuslLms, says our au'thor, Matthew's genealogy
is traced through Joseph, not througt1 Mary. Thus in Ibn ':Iazm's
opinion, it is implied by the Christians that Joseph was
J e's u st r ea 1 fat he r
-52-
\
Ibn Hazm then attempts to show that Luke implies the same
thing by traclng the Messlah's gescent through Joseph to David
the king as does Matthew. However Luke's genealogy goes back
to a different of David. No explanation can the fact
/
tht there IS 'deceit ln one of'these two Ilneages-- according
ti Ibn and he mentions the effort of one Christian
scholar to do 50 before showing the futility of this argument.
The above discussion closes wlth a statement typical of
the way ln which every section of this presentation IS closed:
"50 then, there IS no way to amend thls clalm-- it is a lie.
The 'clearness of the deceit ln one of these two lineages IS
inescapably obvlous.,,72
Although each Gospel )s coherent wHhin Itself and one
r
narrative follows the next in a sequence which makes good
sense wlthin the 'Gospel, Ibn moves from one unit to the
next ln hls treatment of the Gos.pels with almost complete
dis reg a r d for the con tin u 1 t Y b et we e n the s e uni t s. Th 1 SIS no t
t 0 s a y t ha the t r e a t s e a chu nit 0 f tex tin c omp Jet e i sol a t Ion.
from the,other, however. He does compare parai leI passages
Gospels these eXlst. He also refers to sections
of the If
contrlbutes to maklng hls argument more He does
this when sorne other section obvlously diverges from
interpretatlon of the Intention of
under con'slde(ation.
-53-
(
the passage
-
,
..
-
f
We ma y dis t t n g dis h amo n g the se ver a 1 d orna i n sin wh i ch
according to Ibn the error of the Gospels manifests
i tself. In' the discussion of the genealogies of Matthew' sand
Gospels, for example, his object is ta show that the
me a n i n g 0 f the set e x t SiS W r 0 n g 1 n 0 the r dis cu s s ion s, h i s
abject is to show that the meaning o'f the text'contradicts
sbme Christian doctrine which iS false. His consideration of
the narrative about the Messiah being filled with the Hoiy
Spirit IS typical:
It is mentioned in' the sectton (Matt.3:16) which we
dIS cu s.s e d ( ab 0 ve) t ha t the Me s s i ah ( P e ace b e u p 0 n h 1 m)
was filled with the Holy Spirtt. In ,the flrst chapter of
Luke's Gospel (Lk.I:41) (i
73
sa ys that) Yahya b. Zakariyya
(John the son of Zechartah ) was filled with the Holy
Spirit in the womb of his mother and Yahy' s mother as
weIl was ftlled with the Holy Splrtt. do noi see the
MeSSlah havlng the Holy Sptrit tn any way different from
the way Yahy and his'mother had the Holy Spirtt. 50 what
did he (the Messiah) have over the of
them?
Slight,ly ddferent, but in the same category is Ibn Hazm's
demonstration of the contradiction between the practice of the
Christians of his own day and the practtce of the Messiah and
the early dIsciples. The Messiah and his were
c ire umc i s e d, k e ptt he fa s t 0 f the J ew 5 and the Pas s 0 ver and
observed the Sabbath unt il they died.
75
Ibn Hazm says about
t he Ch ris tian 5:,
the of any of ,the
(laws imposed by the Messlah) to be necessaty __ ____
by their own admission they eontradlct the Messiah. They
don 0 t con s 1 der c 1 r c ume t s ion t 0 ben e ces s a' r y . The y set
the t 1 me 0 f the Sa b bat h t 0 he f i r s t d a y 0 f the we e k . o.
-5u-
'.
1
f
Mo;e than one hundred years after_he of
Messiah they ahother fast. . /
the
The fact that Christians pay 50 li ttle heed to the
of the Messiah in defining their own practice is, for'
our author, an evidence of the enormous extent to which
Christianity has c!ev,iated from the truth revealed by to
the ty1essiah in the original Gospel. When our author refers to'
the creation of another fast, by the Christians or thei.r
blshops, one hundred years after the of the Mesriah,'he
is pr::obably referring to the cre'ation OL the fast of Lent.
1
This fast goes back to the second, century A.o. in the E'astern
l
- Church and meant as a preparation the paschal feast of
. .
Easter. lin the early the first t,hree centuries
after the, time of"the Messiah, ,the fast did not exceed a week
Il
in length and one ,or two days wa.s the'usual limit. In the'
fouflth century the fst was extended to be fort y days in
length. 77 ",
Biblical scholars 'say the'ver.y first followers of
the Mes.siah/were regarded as forming a sect of Judaism, but
early on, certainly before one hundred years had passed,
--/
growth of the Gentile,population in' the new corrmunity required
"'---------
that the development of the c?mTlunity be not -restr'icted by
"
purely Jewish practices or by initiation of Gentile converts
into Judasm.
",
!, ' ,
. .e.s.-Lr-.run 1 bn, I;Iazm' s d,i S,CU 5 si O.D..-.
-;55-
"

p
j
/
.'
"
"
..
of the -Gospel accounts in whieh the Messiah predicts his
return ta earth af.ter hlS death, resurr.eetlon and aseensi6n.
In the Gospel of Mat,thew in which the dlsciples'are told: "If <'
to th,e next; you will not /
Israel bfore the son of /.n
# d - h' , fI
you are pursue ln t lS ,Cl ty ee
have visited aIl of the citles
o
of
cometi.,,78 In the Gospels of Mark and Lukethe Messiah says:
" Sorne' 0 f the sep 0 pIe s tan d i n g he r e w; lin 0 t tas t e de a t h
before they see the Yingdom of God, eoming in power. ,,79 ':Iazm
rejects these saylngs as lies, pOlnting out that the Ilmits
- , .
before which the Messiah would return passed and no one saw
..
wh a t ha d b e e n p r om 1 s e d t 0 t hem, " t ha t i s, h i s 'p u b 1 i cre t u r n i n
power before all those present on that day had died.,:80
..
.
. .
,The problem arises from Ibn Hazm's defense'against a
1
'problem pd'se.d to, the Musl ims on thlS topie: "
_ ,
If (the Christians) say that ln your (the Muslims')
sou n des t r e p 0 r t 5 , '- y 0 u r .P r 0 ph e t ( G 0 d Ble s shi man d g r an t
n i m s a'l vat ion) sai d a s hep 0 1 nt e-d t 0 a y 0 u n g boy f the
Ban al-NajJar who was present, that when this' (boy's)
llfetime compl.et,ed he would see the hour of the
resurreetion, yet that boy died a't the end of childhood.
(The best reports also say) that (the Prophet) said to _
the Arabs when they questloned hlm (about) when "the hbur
of Resurrection" would take plac'e, he pointed---to the
youngest of them and sald that he' would finish his Ide,
but de a t h wo u 1 d no t corne un t i l the Il hou r 0 f r e sur r e c t ion"
'had taken place-- (if the Christlans bring this up) we
say that thf uttefance is in error eoncerning (the
Propnet) '0'
Given the gnerll level of Christian polemi,c against the
-
by ttie Christians,' this seqion above is very
strikif!g. 'Most p9ler:nics were by people completel,y
ignorant of Muslim beliefs incapable o"f taklng Muslims
-56-
{
seriously. This argument supposes a go06 knowledge of the
among sorne Christ1ans', a knowledge on a par
with Ibn knowledge of the wr1tings. Yet n
the Christian polemical has surv1ved from h1s
day and earlier, such knowledge 1S Jacklng. On the other
hand, it 1S d(fficult to believe'that Ibn ':fa.zrn would propose
an argument unknown to the Chr1stians. Perhaps some of the
cultivated Christians of Ibn J:fazm's acquaintance were aware,
en 0 u g h 0 f Mu s 1 1 m bel i e f s t ha t the y we r e ab 1 e toma k eth i s
defence to Ibn Hazm personally.
Ibn Hazm's own knowledge of the Christian scriptures. was
...
not perfect nd he made mistakes. In his discussion about tl;le
prophethood of John the Bapt1st' he says:
Jhe Christians conf1rm that there were prophets after
h i m- - (f 0 r . ex amp 1 e) a pro ph etc ame toP a u 1 i n 0 r der t 0
announce that he would be cruclfied. Th1s 1S by
Luke in the (Acts of the Apostles) .
. "
This refe.r.ence does not exist in' the Acts of. the Apost les or
in the New Tes,tament. It is leported that Agabus the prophet
told Paul that th'e Jews would bind him and hand him overl! to
t'he Gentiles (Acts 21:10-11).
.
One of the best examples of Ibn use of empirical
evidence as proof that the Christian scriptures were taise
cornes in his discussion of the Messiah's parable of the
mustard seed in Matthew' s Gos-pel (Matt. 13: 31ft.):
-57-
-
ln the thIrteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matta
(Matthew) the said: "The kingdom of heaven IS
1 lke a mustard seed WhlCh a man planted a plot
1 and. 1 t 1 S the sma 1 les t 0 f a lit he (s e e d s) of pla n t s ,
yet when 1 t sprouts, 1 t over ail the green herbs
and plants 50 that the' bi rds of the sky land ln 1 ts
branches and make thelr dwelling ln them." Ab Muharrmad
sai d : y 1 t b e far f rOm the Me s s 1 ah ( P e ace b e u p 0 n h i m)
thai he (be accused) of havlng made thlS utterance
because he who sald l't was wlcked, and knew very Ilttle
ab6ut agriculture. We have seen the growlng of
(for ourselves) and those who have seen It ln distant
countrles have reported to us, but we never saw, nor dld
any who reported to us, see any (mustard plant) upon
whlch a blrd cOL\ld land. Errors llke thls could never
befall a prophet-- much (could they befall) God
(He IS powerful and exalted).
Immediately followlng the above, Ibn Hazm dlscusses the
1
Gospel texts WhlCh Ispeak"'f havlng brothers and
slsters, and whlch re,er to hlm as the son of both Joseph and
'v\ary.
ln 1 refutat.on of these texts he say"
for hls mother (Mary".the Messlah's mother), we and
the Jews and the. whole mass oJ the Chrlstlans are agreed
that she bore hlm, llke ail women (who have had bables)
and s he g a v e b 1 r t h t 0 h 1 m , JUS tas do ail wome n - - the r e
15 a sect runong the Chrlstlans whlch says she dld not
have a normal pregnancy, but Instead he came ln by he,r
e a r and we n t 0 U t 0 f he r b 1 h ca n aIl n the s ame 1 f} s tan t
1 ike water ln a dralnplpe.
ThiS has not been able to ascertaln the truth of such
an ascrlptlon ta a Christian group. Perhaps Ibn
mis und ers t 00 d the t e a chi n g 0 f 0 ne 0 f t he Ch ris t i ans e c t s. The
teaching seems ta deny the human element of the Messia-h's
.person and thus might be a Docetlc or Gnostic-type heresy.
Ibn Hazm real1zes that this is not the bellef of the
of Christians. His main pOint 15 to prove {hat the
-58-
1
\
\
Gospels do not really teach that Mary was a vlrgin when Jesus
was He presents t'bis argument against those Christ'jans
who try to manipulate the words of the text to praye
---Otherwi se:
We, know that (MarlY) said (ln the Gospels) that the
carpenter or blacksmiQth was (the Messiah's) f,ather, his
progenitor. Thus if they say that the husband of the
mother 15 narned "father" in the Hebrew language, we say:,
"G r an t e d t ha t t h 1 S ma y sorne t 1 me s b eth e cas e, h ow do e s - 1 t
work out in these cases in the Gospels are agreed
that he had brothers and slsters?'Moreover they are the
children of Ysuf (Joseph) the carpenter or blacksmith.
Never 15 lt found ln the Hebrew language that the
stepfather'S5son by another mother is called a
brother "
The argument is a 11ttle obscure because Ibn presumes
that his readers understand the Christian argument that
Joseph's children were born to a wife prevlous ta his marriage
to Mary and therefore that these children were stepbrothers
0.
and steps1sters ta Jesus. In fact this was accepted
by the Eastern Church, not by the Latin Church whlch
dominant in al-Andalus. In the Wst, the brothers ,and slsters
of Jesus were believed to have been his cousins. Perhapswe
have here an indication that Ibn Hazm's main source of
information on this topic was 'from books, and' those mainly
from an Eastern Christian source.
.
)
Ou,r author makes the interesting claim that "Buliyan
( sic'), Me t r 0 pol i tan 0 f Tu 1 a q i 1 ah" ( J u 1 i an 0 f ToI e do) 8
7
believed that the brothers and sisters mentloned were born of
J 0 sep han d Ma r y 1 t is possible that Ibn interpretation
-59-
\
'1
'l '
of the meanlng of therGospels about thls was opposed 50
1
strongly by the Chrlstlans of al-A.ndalus that he -belJeved it
'necessa'ry ta provlde thls support for hlS Interpretatl>n of
.'"
the text of the Gospels. It 15, however, f)"robably no/ true
C;
t ha t J u lia n he 1 d t Il e v 1 ew he r e as cri b e d t a h 1 m. A J t hou g h
Helvldlus held thlS vlew ln the fourth century, It came ta be
understood as a heresy ln Ilght of the Increaslngly po(>ular
: t ha t Ma r y ha d r .ema 1 ne d a p e r p a 1 v 1 r gin and a s the
movement developed.
88
,\
One narrative from the Gospel of Matthew whlch recelves
a t t en t 1 0 n f r om 1 b n Ha zm a t 5 e ver a 1 d 1 f fer en t pla ces 1 n h 1 5
IS that of the grantlng of the keys of heaven to
Pet e r (Ma t t 1 6 : 1 9 ) :
In the chapter of Matthew's Gospel the
Me s S 1 ah s a y s t 0 Bat 1 r ah ( Pet e r ): "1 W 1 1 1 g 1 vey out he
keys of of heaven. Everythlng whlch
f,o r b 1 don e art h w 1 J 1 b e for b 1 d den 1 n he a ven. A 1 J t ha t y 0 U
permit on earth Will be permltted ln heaven. "Four Ilnes
after thls utterance the sald (contlnulng ta
speak to Batlrah): "Get behlnd me, you detractor, and do
oppose me. You do not know how to pJease Gad. On the
con t r a r y, y a u are gUI de d b Y wh a t, pie a ses me n : . .
'mmedlately after he granted hlm the keys of heaven
and appolnted hlffi ta a rank of godhood ... (Jesus) sald to
Batlrah that he was a transgressor, opposlng hlm and
of what was ta Gad. HIS only gUidance
was hurnan pleasures. By God, If t-he latter report were
true the Messlah vlolated (truth) when he appolnted one
who was Ignorant of God's Will, one who contradlcted hlm
(the Messlah) and who was gUlded only by the approval of
men, (rank) that IS proper only of Gad and ta what
no one should seek after except God-- as was the
Me 5 S 1 ah d 1 d 1 n the f 1 r s t r e par t. Sur e 1 y t h 1 S WO u 1'<:1 b eth e
most atroclous act of aIl tllne. Therefore, ta whomever
these traits bei'ong, lt IS certain that he would not 'even
be the keys of the public tOI let or of the dung
heap.
-60-
..

.
/
of the violent Invective ln Ibn whole
section on the Chrlstians -IS to be-found in this place. The
men who wrote these Gospels are consldered by Ibn ':Iazm to be
the most wlcked men of aIl creation and he says that no
greater decelt can be dreamed of than that these men_would be
'glven a position of dlvlnlty and control which only belonged
to Gad. Peter; Matthew, John, James and Jude were not even the
true disciples. Since they claimed divinity for the
,Messlah they are no different from ail the other sectarians
who clalm divlnity for thelr leaders.
90
1 n h 1 S dis cu S S 1 on _ 0 f Lu k e 's GO s pel , cha pte r 12, 1 bn
.
showed a faulty understanding of the Christian conception of
...
the distinction between the diVine son and spirit.
He say s:
ln the twelfth chapter of Lqa's (Luke's) Gospel
(12:10) the.Messiah sald: "Whoever says against
the son of man Will be forgiven. However, whoever curses
the Holy Spirit Will not be forgiven." Ab- Muhammad s""id:
This (tex!) 1s sufficlent to Invalldate what they say
because the son of man, to these Christians IS
hJmself the Holy Spirlt.
r---"
The main body of Christlans has never belleved that the son of
1
man and the Spirit were ldentical. The misunderstandlng
seems ta ar Hazm' s refusaI to acc.ept that the
, \
_ Christian doctrine of \the Trinit y posits a true unit y of three
" ''\,. a
persans. HIS the TrJnlty IS never based on
more than a gross simpl--r+-l.jatlon of this doctrine.
-61':'
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1

"
Ibn Hazm discusses the words of Jesus on the cross,
"Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are
doing do they unders,tand their act.ions , ,,92 WhiCh are cited
from Luke's Gospel (23:33), he pushes Hie implications of the
narrative to absurdity. He asks if Jesus prayed to himself or
to someone else. If he prayed to someone else, thiS would
that there were two gods. If he 'prayed to himself. he could
have just as weIl given forgiveness on his own authority. Then
Ibn I:lazm asks 1f the request was answered or not. If It
wa 5 n' t, t h i s wo u 1 d i n d e e d b e b ad - - a g 0 diS pra y erg 0 i n g
unheard. If.. his prayer was answered the Christians were acting
unjustly in eursing the Jews whom their God had forgiven.
This last statement may be historicaJ reference to the
treatment whieh the Jews reeeived at the hands of the
,
Christians in Spain. For example, Juli,an of Toledo who was
mentioned by Ibn I:lazm! preslded oyer a council whose
concerning the Jews'was ext,r,emely harsh.
93
Ibn pushes the doctrine of the two natures of the
Messiah ta absurd conclusions as weil:
1 n the Go 5 p e J s 0 f Ma t t a (Ma t t 27 : 4- 6 , 50 ). and Ma r q u s h
(Mk. 1 5 : 35 , 37) i t s a ys th a t (t he Me s 5 i ah) cri e d 0 ut a t the
top of his voiee at fhe time he was crucified: "My Gad,
my Gad, why ha ve you abandoned me?"
Would a god abandon a god? What greater stupidity
could there be than this? 50 if the (Christians) say to
us: "A Il of th i sis on 1 y are po r t ab 0 ut h i s h fna n
nature," we say to them: "Vou say in aIl of this that -the
-62-
...
".:
, -
, 1
dld (so and 50) and sald (such and suoh). However
you belleve that the Messlah had two 'natures: human and
divine. (Although according ta the Ya'qblyyah, . he.only
had one nature). AlI of you (Chrlstlans) say, hawever,
t ha t the div 1 ne na t ure 1 sin un J 0 n w i t h the' huma n
nature ... (yet) you ascrlbed aIl of the (above) ta the
divine nature. Rather the real truth according ta this
accursed prlnclple of yours would be that you say that
haIt the Messlah dld (50 sa) and haIt the Messlah
sai d (s u cha n d suc h ) ... 9
One of the main proofs whlch Ibn produces as eVldence of'
the corruption of the Gospels 15 the absurdity of the
implications of what the Chrtstians say and belleve. Sometllnes
he 15 convlnclng, but sometlmes hls argument 15' trivial, as ln
the lmmedlately above ln whlch the doctrine of the
IS mocked.
1 n h i s dis cu s S Ion 0 f the tex t ab 0 u t the woma n t a ken i n
adultery (IJn.8:3-11) Ibn remarks not 50 much about the
passage itself but the fact that the Chrlstlans do not believe
i t:
c \
The falsifled (the words) of the Messiah'
and comnitted outrages agalnst hlm les"t they
against themselves of their outrages and iniquity
Ibn Hazm's comment is obscure, but
.t-
It may be a reference ta
the hlstory of transmiSSion of thls partlcular text. Accordlng
to R.E. Browne,96 thlS passage 1S not found ln any of the
Il!
impprtant early Greek manuscrlpts tram the Eastern Church.
Only the Western Church attests to it as scrlpture in the
earl,y centuries. It has been suggested that "the .ease wlth
which Jesus forgave the .. eA,w8s hard to reconcI1e \VIth
-63-
1
"
j ,
the stern penitential in vogue in the early
Church. ,,97 1 f Ibn Hazm was aware of sorne of the debate about
thlS passage, it would appear to hlm. that the Christlans
.changed the words of Jesus very easily and for Impure motives
. \ .
In the last sectJon of his discussion of the Gospels, Ibn
Ha zm g ive saI i S t 0 fat tri' but es 0 J the s i ah d r a wn f r am the.
'.
1
Gospel of John whlch demoostrate that he had many purely human'
This IS conclusive ln Ibn Havn's thlnking
. .
that Jesus could not also be divine. He says that thlS 1s the
sum of the Gospels' teaching about the Messiah:
Another time he was hungry and looked for something to
eat, he was thirsty and he drank, he persplred because he
was afrald, he cursed a tree when he did not find flgS in
It to eat, he despalred, he rode a donkey, he was taken
and hlS face was slapped, his head was struck wlth
sticks, they spat in hlS face, and beat his back with
WhlpS. The police killed hlm: they mocked hlm and made
hlm drink vlnegar frn a sponge. He was crucifled between
two thieves. His hands were nailed. He dled at once. He
was burled. Then he came back ta llf after hlS death. He
had no particular plan when he came back ta life again
after his and the only reason he met witgghis
companions was to look for something ta eat. ..
iil. Cpntrad1ctions in the Rest of the New
,Not only is )he section analysing the Gospels much longer
than this section, but lt is also more accurate. For example,
Ibn J:iazm says that the Epistles of Jude and James use -the
expressions: "God the father of our Lor'd the Messiah said .. :',
and God the father of our Lord the Messiah did .. r
99
He
r ema r ,k s t ha t the s e exp r e S s ion s are use d as i f J u d e and J ame s
\
-64-
are reportingla fllialtion and chitdblrth like any other
men. In fac,t, these expressions do not occur in the Epistles
of Jude and

In comnentlng about a sl1pposed saying of the Apostle
Paul, Ibn says:
Blus (Paul) sald in one. of his Epistles that the
propagatIon of religious decelt would not more than
thirty years. (BGlus) IS consldered to be more credltable
t han MG s ab. c 1 tn r a n (Mo ses) b Y the -( Ch ris t i ans). 1 f
(BGlus) spoKe the truth, they need no more proof of the
genuineness of Islrun and the prophethood of Muhammad (Gad
bless hlm and grant hlm salvation) than thlS saying. (To
substantlate) thtB clalm are four hundred and fifty sorne
years as a slgn. 0
There )s nothlng ln the Epistles of Paul which resembles
thlS texte Although Ibn says little of substance about,
Pau l 's Epi s t 1 e , h 1 S r ema r k 1 S 1 mp 0 r tan t for an 0 the r r e a son .
This saying that Islam had existed for 450 and sorne' years at
1 .
the t 1 me 0 f the w r lt 1 n g 0 f a 1 - Fis al, li r e fIe c tin g an
.
uncorrupted statement by Ibn would date this part of the
work. ta wlthln th tast five or six years of the end of Ibn
1
Hazm's lIte since he dled in 456 A.H.
IV. A Discussion of the Christians' than
Those Pound in their Scriptures.
The f 1 r 5 t topic Ibn Hazm takes up in this i s St.
John Chrysostom'slOl
identification of the fig tree of
<::.
Matt.21:18-19. In the Gospel account, Jesus had cursed a fig
"

r
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... '
t r e-e wh e n he, b e i n g h l:I n g r y , ha d fa i 1 e d t 0 f n d f ru i tin i t .
Afterwards it drled up. According to Ibn ':fazm, John' Chrysostom
said that this was the tree from whlch Adam ate and for whlch
cause he was driven from t,he Ga\den of Eden. Later the Messiah
was crucifled on cross made from wood of this tree. The
proof of this is that one can never find a cave which does not
a fig.tree at its mouth. Almost aIl of Chrysostom's
writings have survlved, yet Astn, Palacios was unable to find
this account. He suggests that It IS derived not from
Chrysostom, but from a tradition based on the '''innumerable
Greek Medieval legends whlch bring into relation the tree of
\ .
the cross with the tree of whose fruit and Eve shared ln
Paradise.,,102
Ibn J:lazm neX0t accuses the Christians of havI.ng Images ln
their churches. This gives us sorne insight ioto the religious
practices of the Christians in al-Andalus. He remarks:
,
.. they have agreed to make representatlons in thelr
churches of what say 1s a deplctlon of the
Creator Another representat10n 15 of the and
another 1s of Maryam (Mary). (Also) deplcted are Btirah
(Peter), BOlus (paul), the cross, Jlbri' Il (GabrIel},
Miki'II (Michael) and Isrifl. They bow down to the
1 ma g e SIn w 0 r shi pan d de d 1 ca ter e l 1 g 1 0 U s f a s t s t a t hem.
There can be no doubt that thlS IS worshrp of rdols and
unadulterated assocIatIon (of that WhlCh rs not God wlth
Gad), although the (Chrlstlans) deny that they worsh1p
idols. They worship them publlcly and therr argument for
thlS 1s the pretext of worshrpplng splrltually. That is,
they draw near by the (adoratron of the Images) to those
who are wlth the Images, not ta the Images
themselves.
1 s r fIl, a n an gel me n t Ion e d 1 n the Qu r ' n, but no tin the
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./0 ..
, .
/
\
Bible" is he who will blow the trumpet on the Day of
Resurrectlon-- It seems unllkely th.at he would f1nd
1
representation ln Christian churches.
One of the most surprlslng elements of thls whole work is
the lack of Importance glven to the Christian doctrine of
Ch ris t '5 a ton eme nt. 1 b n Ha zm' 5 en tir e t r e a tme n t 0 fit t sas
follows:
J
dtstiesstng thlng IS the stupidlty of the
saytng of ail the (Chrlstlans) that the \iesslah came to
take away our suffertngs through hlS injuries a'nd our
s t n s t h r 0 u g h h t s wo und Th t s s t a t eme n t 1 S mo c k e r yin the
extreme. 1 wlsh 1 knew'Whlch slJfferlng he took away
through hls Injuries or how the Slns of the people were
taken away by the wounds of the Messtah. The only thlng
we. see JS that they.suff8& and Sin llke everyone else.
There IS no dlfference.
The fact that Ibn relegated thlS teaching of the
Christlans to the very end of hls study shows hlS failure to
upderstand-the spirli of the Gospels' teachlng about the
Me s 5 1 ah" We h a ve s e e n t ha t 0 u r au t ho r ma ste r e d the de t a 11 s a f
the Christian documents and doctrine 10 a !ashion
unparallelled hlS contemporary Musllm polemlClsts. Yet,
that whlch lntegrated the details for the Chrlstians and that
which lay at the heart of the divergence between Islam and
Christlanlty is barely mentloned by Ibn Hazm.
With respect ta the Christian clatms that Helena
(H i 1 n ), the ma the r a f. Con s tan tin e, h a cl fou n cl the -c ras s u p 0 n
which Jesus hacl been cruclfled, the natls WhlCh had pierced
1
1
-.!.:
/
his han\is, the thorns which .had been pu't on his head and even
the blood which had rushed out of his slde, Ibn wonders
where these thlngs had been kept for more than two hundred

years--duHng which were hidlng because they were
------
-----
-----
/ members of a proscrlbed rel iglon. Jerusalem was emptied and it
lS certain that the enemles of the Messiah dld not pay any
attention to hls effects. Thus, in his opinion that neither
the cross was discovered nor was it disovered by Helena, Ibn
preceded modern scholarshtp by many centuries.
105
Ibn is also disgusted by the Ignorance of many of
the Chrlstians who think that their monks and hermits endure
great spiritual struggles ln their cells and monasteries. In
order to prove t,hat they do not really endure great pains he
compares the Christian ascetics with those from other
religions.
I06
He says' that the Mananlyyah make extreme
t 0 w 0 r shi P , the S ab i B ns (this group ls ment10ned three1times
"
\
in the Qur'n) castrate themselves or tear out their eyes in

worship and the Hund (the J:ilndus) burn themselves\tith fire
and cast themselves from the highest mountains in order to
gain favour with al-Budd (Buddha). The Hund go about naked
and hav,e nothing to do with the affairs of this world. In
contrast, the Christiarr-bishQps, priests and primates
107
were
not ascetics at aIl. On' the contrary, they were morally
depraved, adulterous and avaricious for wealth.
v. Refutation of the Rest of the Obj!ections v.lhich the
-68-
.... ", ..... " ..
"
Christians Bring Agains't ,the Muslims.
,'.
The char-acter of the 'Changes at point
"
as ,Ibn'Hazm tre,ats individually the objections raised' by the
Ch.ristians against his: polemlc. The objections have to do, not
1
with Christian scriptures and teaching, but rather with
,
of the and Islamic history and
tradition.
J
d
o
t
'"
en t ChLl s t i_a'1'--_____ _
cl a i m- t ha t the ver 5 e sin the Qu r " li n '. wh i ch s a y t ha t, rh e
disciples of the Messiah his helpers and aiso helpers of
"
God (Qur.61:14), to the disciples the New
Testament. Ibn Hazm does not present the Christian side to the
argument and we can only guess what it must have been from his
answer that this verse applies to the Muslims who truly
fo119wed the Messiah. Pete,r, john, Matthew, Jude and James
were never 'true alsciples of the Messiah slnce they claimed
thi "he was divine, says Ibn Hazm.
The second objection by the Christians is apparently a
claim that the Qur'an teaches a orm of the incarnation whete
l
it says that G?d will come wlth a,ngels (Qur.89:23; 2:206).
They say that this is the same thing which the Christian
scriptures 'teach. Ibn ':Iazm answers that'there is no slmilarity
at aIl. In fact, these verses are Ardabic expressions me,aning
,- t ha t Go d 's for ce an d au t ho rit Y will come .
-69-
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.,
"
, \
\ ,
,.:- '
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9
(
, '
r
h
, .
The final argument of the Christians is an attack
the reliabil,t"t;y of the Qur'anic text. They present
ob j e ct ion s t 0 wh i chI b n ':la zm r e s po n d 5 i n div i du a Il y. W i th t h i 5 ,
his presentation about cornes to an end. What
, .
..
follows in al-Fisal is a develoPf!1ent'of the reasons why lsIam
is superior to" the religion of the 'Jews ancr the Chr,istians.
Hazm 'discusses these two religions,
ris t ! an t Y i seo n c e r ne d a t l e a st, no
, broached.

\
..

\r
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'"
,
'\
"::5
Q
\
. \
\
\ .
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but
n'ew top i ds
, .
'"
L
far as
are
o
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, [1
.\>
"
/.
. /

f
,,-
.\
1.' a 1 - Fis al, 2, p 2

Notes to Chapter II
d
2. Ibn J;Iazm by his dlvlSlon betwCn0e Gospels of
Matthew, Mark and Luke on tne one hand, ofJJohn
\
on the other, his awareness that the four Gospels do not aIl
conform to the same literary style. The first three are,
similar enough to fall Into one category and are referred ta
l ,
as the Synoptlc Gospels by bibllcal scholars. About John's
Gospel Ibn says:
Of ail the Gospels that of Yhanna (John) ha!> 'the
amount of dlsbe.lief, th most contradictions and
i t i s the mo st c omp 1 ete 1 y f r 1 v plo us, al - FIS al, 2, p. 61 .
.
Ibn Hazm follows the text of Matthew's Gospel, section by
.
section. I\t each t?PlC whkh he chooses to examIne he refers
to paralleJ accounts from Mark's and Luke's Gospels and
.
oc cas ion aIl Y f r om th a t 0 f J 0 h n. Wh e n he r e a che s the end 0 f
,Matthew' s Gospel, he trea,ts some sections from Mark's Gospel,
ttten'rom Luke' s.,
,
Gospel.
his way through John's
,
3. The nature ang of the work changes at this point.
,
Although his interest in the Christia'ns lit takes 'a
, t'
min 0 r roI e. The chi e f con c e r n bec orne s, a pre sen t a t ion 0 f the
\
truth of Islam in distinction to the faults bf the both th
"
'\
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'(
1
" ,-'.
f
..
\ \
" .
. Christlans.
4. al-FlsaI, 2, p.2
.
--
5. 1 b 1 d.
6. The Ar/ans. In al-Fl?al, 1, p.48, Ibn Hazm descnbed the
A.r lan sect:
Arno n g the Ch r J s t 1 ans 1 s a g r 0 U P c omp 6 se d'Of the
fol 1 owe r' s 0 f A. r y s who wa sap rie s t j n Ale xa n d ria. He
belle v e d 1 n the ab s 1 ut e' uni c 1 t Y ( 0 f Go d) and t ha t the
(Peace be upon hlm) was a created servant, and
that the word of God (May he be exalted) WhlCh was ln hlm
created the heavens and the earth. '\rys "lived ln the
tlme of Qustantn (Constantine) who bUllt Qustantnlyyah
(Constantlnopl). '(This king) was the flrst of tne klngs
of the Rm (Byzantines) who converted to Chrstlanlty and
he followed t'he school of '\rys.
Ibn Hazm's description of the doctrine of the Arlans s
substantlally accurate and touches the ma n are a 0 f con t e n t Ion J"-
between them and orthodox ChrlstJans. Modern scholars say that
AriUS (256-336 A.D.) was educated ln Alexandrla but ln 318'
A . D. came 1 n toc 0 n fIl C t w 1 th Ale x and e r ., bIS hop 0 f Ale x and r la.
A r 1 ma 1 n t a 1 ne d t ha t the es sen ce 0 f the 0 n 0 f Ch ris t wa s
different from that of the Father because he had been created.
The Father declared him to be his Son, but because he had a
"
'beglnning ln tlme, he wa's a finite an.d therefore was
, !
neither the Son nor the Logos in and of him;self," but only by
the grace hf God. Arius aIso beJieved that was the
first of cLeatio.n and throug..!L)(m the universe was creted and
is adminlstered. The Logos took on the flesh of Jesus and
-72-
,
1
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bec ame h i s sou 1
At the Counci 1 of Nlcea, Arlanlsm was declared a heresy,
but the Arlan party malntained power\,and Influence wlth the
varlous emperors untll 381 A.D. when at the second ecumenlcal
Councll of Nlcea, the Nlcene Creed was reaffirmed. Ananlsm
was repressed wlthln the empire but continued to hold
amo n g the bar bar 1 ans. 1 t wa s b r 0 u g h t t 0 Spa 1 n b y the var 1 0 U S
barbarian Invaders and untll 589 A.D. Arianlsm was dominant
there.At that tlme Nlcene Chrlstlanlty was offlclally adopted
under King Reccared. Cp. al-Flsal, 2, p.4.
7. The Me 1 ch 1 tes.
"'n
Hazrn al so described the \ielchltes,

.
l , p.48, as be 1 ng the school of the mass of the Chrlstlans of
al-Andalus as wei 1 as elsewhere. He s ays that th 1 s group was
1
!I
the largest of three whlch was based on the extlnct sect of
the Barbaranlyyah which belleved that csa (Jesus) and hlS
mother were two gods beslde God. He elaborated the doctrine of
the Me 1 chi tes as fol 1 ow s, ..!lu..i., p . 49 :
belleve that God (vi-lE) has revealed hlmsel f to be
three thlngs: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; ail of them
are eternal. (They also belleve) that csa (Peace be upon
him) is fully a god and fully a man and that one of them
do es. no tex 1 s t w i t hou t the 0 the r. The huma n par t 0 f h i m
/' was the one w.ho was ,crUCI f i ed and klll.ed al though the
diVine aspect was not atfected by any of t/tlat. (Theyalso
belle v e) t ha t Ma r yam (Ma r y, mo the r 0 f J e sus) g a ve b i r t h
to both god and man and the two of them were one being--
the son of God.
According to ChristIan scholarship, the Melchites were
part of the larger orthodox .. comnunity. They were the
-73-
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"
Christians of Syrla and Egypt who remalned ln comnunlon Wlth
Constantinople and who accepted the resolutlons of the
ChalcedQn council. The Chrlstlans of al-Andalus could not
properly be called V1elchltes, however, even though they too,
acepted Chalcedon and were ln communion wlth both Rome and.
Con st an t 1 no pie.
\
1
8. The Nestorlans. Concernlng thls group Ibn ~ a z m sald, IbId.,
p.49:
The Nastrlyyah belleve exactly the Sillme (as the
\1e 1 chi tes) . w 1 t hou t dis tin c t Ion, ex cep t t ha t the y S a y
Maryam (Mary, the mother of Jesus) dld not glve bl rth to
a gord, but ta a human baby, and God ("A1ay he be exal ted)
dld not glve blrth to a man, but to a god ... ThiS IS the
group whlch domlnates ln V1SII, cl raq , Fans (Persla) and
Khurasan. They trace theJr rlgln back to Nastr
(Nestorius) who was 'patrtarch of Qustantinolyyah
(Constant 1 nopl e). .
The Nes t 0 ria n par t y t 00 k J t s n ame f rom Nes t 0 r 1 u s (d . c . 4 5 l
A.D.) who was a native of Syrla. He entered a monastary at
Antioch and ,Iater was appolnted to the see of Constantinople
"
by TheodosIus Il ln 428 A.D .. He was charged wlth heresy for
denylng the doctrine of Theotokos (the doctrine that Mary gave
birth to God) and deposed by the CounCll of Ephesus ln 431
A.D.
The Eastern bishops who
r
rejected the teachlngs of this
Ceuncil gradually formed a separate Church which had its
;;-errtre in Persia. After the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.),
many Nestorians emigrated to Persian territory.
'-74-
(
Ibn rlghtly presented the maIn dlfferences between the
Nestorlans and Orthodox Chrlstlanity. Modern hlstorical
"
scholarshlp conflrrl1s that the Nestorlans belleved that there
were two separate persons ln the Messlah, one divine and the
o the rhuma n. 1 n par tiC U 1 art he y r e J e c t e d the' ter m The 0 t 0 k 0 s
The Oxford Dlctionary of the Christian Church (F.L. Cross,
ed.). Oxford University Press. 1974, pp.961-963.
Hencef;orth thls tltle will be abbrevlated as OOCC.
9. The Jacobites. About thls group Ibn Hazm said, al-Flsal, l,

p. 48:
\
The YaCqbiyyah belleve that the Messiah IS God (May
He be exal ted) hlmself and that God dld and was
cruc'ifled ancd was kllled ... then (after three days) he
rose up and returned as he was (before). (They believe)
that God (May He be exalted) assumed (the n'ature of) a
creature and the creature, (the nature) of an eternal
being, and that It was He (May He be exalted) who was in
th,e womb of Maryam and born through her. (ThiS group)' IS
ail through Egypt, Nbah, Ethlopla and (lt is the sCho,ol,)
of the klngs of the two comnunlties mentloned above .
They trace their orlgin back to YaCqb al-Bardhacani
(Jacob Baradaeus) who was a ln Qustantiniyyah
(Constantinople). \, . .
Modern historians gree that it through the efforts
of Jacob Baradaeus (c.500-578 A.D.), a Syrian monk and later
bishop of Edessa lc.542 A.D.), that the Syrian Monophysites
became the national Church and they took thelr name him.
QQ., pp.720-722.
The Monophysites believe that the Messlah had in his person
-75-'
,
..
one nature whlch was divine. From this cornes ,the doctrine of
Theopaschitism, that on the cross God suffered. The
Monophysites dld not come "Into belng as a distinct group until
o
after the Councii of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) when the Dyophyslte
(two CGmplete natures ln the person of the Messlah-- one
divine and the other human) doctrine was formally defined,
\
ODCC., pp.931-932.
1
1 b
0
The Ma r 0 nit es. 1 b n Ha zm d i d no t des cri b eth e Ma r 0 nit e sin
.
hls summary of the doctrines of the various Christian sects in
al-Flsal, l, pp.4-8-49. Thelr name 15 derlved from the Syrian

monk, Maron (d.423 A.D.). They were orlglnally monothel1tes
(those who belleved that ln the Christ two
but one will), following Sergius of Constaninople and from the
S e ven t h un t i 1 the t h 1 rte e n t h c e n t ury the y for me d the i r own
hierarchy.
Il. The Paulicians. We may be falrly confident that this is
the group meant when Ibn ':'azm used the term because
in Vo1.1 of al-Fisal, p.48 he gave a similar Iist of the sects

of the Christians in which he mentioned the followers of Blus \
l,
al-Shamasha!i (Paul of Samosata). The BlqanTs take their name
from this Blus. Ibn ':'azm said about them, Ibid., p.48:
Among the Christians are the followers of Blus al-
Sharnashati who was patriarch of Antioch'before the
(publlc)'appearance of the Christians. He belleved in the
absolute and undivided unlcity (of God) and that Cjs
(Jesus) was a servant and messenger of God llke one of
(the other) prophets (Peace be upon them). believed
that God "(May He be exal ted) created (ci's) in the womb
-76-
'.'
,
-
o \
{
of Maryam (Mary, the mother of Jesus) wi thout a man' s
participation and that he was a'man with no divinity ln
hlm. He used t.o say: 1 do not know what the Word or th'"e
Ho lyS P 1 rIt 15."
12. Matt al-Lwn. The name of the disciples of the Messiah
occur so frequently that thelr Engl ish equlvalents will be
used ln the outllne and only at thelr flrst occurrence wlll
thelr Arable transllteratlon be Indlcated in the footnotes.
13. Yhanna b. Sidhay.
14. Euseb'lus (d.J39 A.D.) ci ted Papias who wrote c.140 A.O.,
\
ta the effeet that Matthew '''eomplled the oracles" ln Hebrew.
ThIS was understood by the early Church to mean tha<t Matthew
wrote hls Gospel in Aramalc, The New Bible 'Olctlonary
(J.O. Douglas, ed. ).Grand Rapids, Mich.: 'Mn. B. Eerdmans Pub.
Co. 1962. Henceforth the title will be abbrevlated as NDB. In
the DICtlonary of the Bible (James Hastings, ed.). New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963, p.631, accordlng to the repor.t
of Eusblus, Pantaeus found the original Aramalc Gospel of
Matthew ln India ln the second century. Henceforth the
Dlctionary of the Bib!e will be abbrevlated as
15. Donald Guthrie, Introduction to the New Testament, Downers
Grave, III.: Inter Varsity Press. 1970, p.28.
'r
16. Marqush al-Harni. Mark the Gospel writer is usually
identHied with John Mark, the companion of Paul and Barnabas
-71-
___ "M __
"

in the book of
an Aaroni te as
ActsI2.25. The Te'stament nowhere calls him
does Ibn Hazm.
17. Shlmcn Batirah b. Tuma. TJn1i is an error. Matt.16:17 and
Johnl:42 said that he was the son of Yunas or Yuhannas.
18. 2" p.3.
1 9. NBD , p. 7 82
20. Guthrie, Introduction, p.69.
21. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (G. A.
Buttr.ick, ed.). New York: Abington Press, pp.268-Z69.
Henceforth the Will be abbreviated as lOB.
22. LOqa.
23. Aqayah.
24. B 1 us .
2 5. Gu t h rie, 1 nt r 0 duc t ion, p 96
26. AshTniyyah. This is probably a misprint. for Athens.
27. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church
-78-
t
t-
, '
'" '
(J.O. Douglas, ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 19711.
p.544. Henceforth the title will be abbreviated as Irx:c.
28. Kitb wa-l-Icln, the Book of Insplration- and.
Revelation,. .---/'
29. al-Flsal, 2, p.3.
o
30. Ali citations will be taken from the New
International Version of the Holy BIble, Grand Rapids, MiCh)
Zondervan Bible Publishers, 19,78.
31. al-FI,sal, 2, p.lI.
o
32. lOB, V.2, p.571.
33. ODOC, p.993.
34. Rakrid the king. Cf. the discussion in chapter l, fP.6ff,
35. Actually, according to Paul (I Cor.15:6) there were five
hundred who the resurrection.
36. al-Fisal, 2, p.4

37. lOB, V.2, p.793.
-79-
'.
1
-
t
38. NDB, p.937.
39. ODCC, p.51.
(
--/
40. Ibid. ,
.,,--
p.1276.
r
41. lli..s!., p.I080.
\.
42. Ibid., p.735.
43. Ibid., p.1369.
44. lOB, V.I, p.359.
45.,Ibid., V.3, p.302.
..
46. NOS, p.641.
47. al-Fisal, 2, pp.I.j.-5
.
4&. 'Ibid., p.59, from
\ .
49. Qustantn (284-337 A.D.), the son pf Constantlus Chlorus
. .
,
and Helena, was the first Christian emperor of Rome.
50. al-Fisal, p.5
.
" -80:- -
,1
1
l, \
. .
\
,,'
5 1. Eus e b 1 US, Vit a Con st. 3, 4 7 1 n Ka r 1 Bau s, From the
ApostollC Communlty to Constantine, (Hlstory 6f the Church,
, f ,.
1 . ). New Y 0 r k : The, 5 e a bu r y Pre s s. l 980, pp. 4 0 8 - 409 "
52. Lat 0 ure t te, K. 5 ., .<\ HIS t 0 r y 0 f Ch ris t 1 an 1 t y, V. l , ' New
York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1953, p.153.
53. Ibid., p.157.
54. Ibid., p.158.
55. Ibid., p.337
,56. Ibid., p.159.,
57. Manlchaeism was founded by Mani, rapidly spread throughout
the Perslan Emp'i re and reached as far as China by ,the eighth
century. In hlS own lifetlme (216-277 A.D.) Manichaeism
reached Egypt and spread alon& the Mediterranean shore of
North Afrlca. It took hold in Rome, Spain, and southern Gaul.
'----
The religion disseminated very:early ln Armenia and Asia
Minor and, carried by the Christian the
Mani hlmself incorporated many different elements from
Christianity, even calling himself "Apostle of Jesus Christ."
cf. 1 DOC, , pp.624-625; and A.V.W. Jackson, Researches in
New Columbia Univ. 1932,
-81 ...
\
1
\
58. Th,e Jews clai'm miracles for their Rabbis and of
the l r c omnu nit i es, a 1 - Fis al, 2, p. 5. Th 1 s s t a t eme n t b Y 1 b n
.
Hazrn is conSIstent wlth the modern Vlew that the Manichaeans
counted ManI as dIVIne, Jackson, Researches, p.19.
"
"The Rawafld make claims for whom they exalt as
important," as do certain other Muslim sects for pious men--
Ibrahim b. Adham, Ab Muslim al-Khlani, Shayban al-Raci, ai-
l
Fi s'a 1 , 2, p. 5
. .
Accordlng to our author, none of the claims made by the
,
groups above can be believed because they do not have proper
authority on an unbrokery chain of witnesses. The claims
1
1
are 'b a s e don 1 y '0 n he ars a y. As 1 a n ex amp 1 e ,lb n f:I a zm, 1 n a 1 -
2, pp.5-6, describes the early situation of,the
Manichaeans:
The case of the companlons of with ManT was like
this. He manifested hlmself ln publIC only for a period
of three months when Bahram b. Bahram the king deceived
him and pretended that he belleved hfm in order that he
mlght seIze ail of (ManTl s ) companlons. Then he cruclfLed
Ma nia n d ail ( h 1 S dis c i pie s) W 1 th the cu r seo f Go d .
ln case of the Manlchaeans, accordlng to Ibn no one
was left who had been a dIrect witness of Mani. Every mIracle
must have the proper attestatIon, in an unbroken chain of
witnesses going back generation by generation, to an
eyewltness of 11. None of the above comnunlties 1s able to
,
produce such an attestatIon so thelr reports are not to be
,b e 1 i ev e d ,ln 1 b n I:Ia zm' s 0 pin 1 0 n .
-82-
\
;
l,
, i
", '


, / l
59. 2,
\ \
60. In al-Fisal, 2, )bn lists the books
f r om wh 1 ch the Ch ris t i a"f der l the 1 r doc tri ne s: the Zab r
" 1
"
(Psalms), th IshCaya (Isaiah), the book'of Iramlyya fx
. ,
(Jeramiah), the Torah, the book of SU'layman (Soloman) and the
bookqof Zakhariyya (Zechariah).
0 _
The i\dentification of the book of Sulayman Is not certaln-
- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon have
tradionally been to Salomon. \
6L Ibid.
62. Gen.5; 11:12-26.>
63. AI-Fieal, cf. Gen.5:
1
5 ff.

66. lOB, V.3, p.297.
1 0
67., 1 DOC , p.897.
-83-
\
'"
,1
.. ,
.
...
..
"?
68. al.Fisal, 2
1
p.IO.
o
o
69. [bid., pp.68-69.
70. Ibid., p.IO.

, 1
71. Ibid., pp.lO-II. The books, other than the Torah,

mentioned here the Kitab Malakhim and the Kltab
WabrahiymTm. The fIrst is an Arabie transllteration of the
He b r ew t i t 1 e for the Boo k 0 f Kin g sin the 01 d Tes t ame nt. The
'.
second is an Arabie transliteration of the Hebrew titleof the
Book of 'Chronieles, although the iteration is sllghtly
impree i se.
The tact that the of these books are given in Arabie
transliteration is perhaps indicative of Ibn ':Iazm's Inability
tQ read Hebrew. He seems to be copying the titles
Arabie translation of the 01d Testament.
. 72. al-Fisal,


2, p.15
1
V. b. iyya wi Il be

Baptist.
74. aJ-Fisal, 2, p.17.
o
7'. '2, p.21-22. Aiso p.23.
-84-
to as John the
! ,
!
..
f
-
1
f
'>,
76. Ibid., p.23.
1
77. O'Shea, W.J., "lent," New Catholic EncycJopedia, V.8. New
York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967, pp.634-636.
78. al-Fisal, 2,p.27; quotation from Matt.lO:23.
o
79. Mk.9:1; lk.9:77
80.- al-FlSal, 2, p.27.
o
..
81. Ibid., pp.27-28.
82. Ibid., p',JI .
. 83. Ibid.,
84 . ..!..!U.&. , p. 35.
!
85. 1 b id.
\\1,
86. NBD, p.167.
2, p.35. Julian of Toledo (d.690) was important
a bishop and writer in the history of the Church
l'
which was centralized for the first time under his episcopate
-85-
'p
-
Saif ul Haq
.,.,
.
t
,
...... '--
at Toledo. He had a strong' influence on the development of the
Mozarabic rite. cf. D. Attwater, Therpenguin Dictionary of
\
S'aints, Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin B90ks, 1965, p.207. ,,<).
88. NBD, p.167.
89. al-Fisal, 2, pp.36-37."
.
90. The 0 t ,h e r" sec t s wh i cha r e me n t ion e d i n a 1 - F i' al, 2, P .3 8 ,
are: The Saba'iyyah (one party of the Shicah oJ cAli foun..ded
by Aqah b. Saba'), the the companion's of
al-J:lallj, the the and Mushariqah.
91. Ibid., p.59.
92. Ibid., p.60.
93. Attwater, Diet. 'of Saints, p.20?
94. al-Fisal, 2, p.61.
95. Ibid'., p:66.
. "
96. R.E. Browne, The Gospel of John. I-XII (The Anchor Bible.
29). Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., 1966, pp.335-
336.
-86-
. '
/
f
_ .
--------
97. Ibid., p.335.
.. . Q
98.
99. Ibid., p.70.
100. Ibid., pp.71,-72.
101. Fam al-Ohahab, patriarch of
.
_ (Constantinople). John Chrysoom (c.344:407ifA.O.) became
patriarch of Constantinople in 398 A.D. The lIlame "Golden Mouth
..
al-Dhahab/Chrysostom) was given to him in the sixth
century A.D. cf. NBD, pp.225-226
102. As(n Palacios, Abenhazam, V.2, p.1l2,
103. al-Fisal, 2, p.72
.
' 104. Ibid.
1 05. NBO, p. 45 8 .
al - Fis al, 2, P i7 4.
\
107. Jathlaqah. (sing. Jthiliq= Cath.olicos). This term was
not used in the Western Church in general nor the Spanish
Church in particular. It is an Eastern,ecclesiastical term.
-87-
(')
\
cf-. As{n Palacios, p.116.
\
)
J
. ,
>-
lJ
-,

1

/
o ,
,
---"-----
Chapter III
An Analysis of Sorne Issues Arising from Jbn
Hazm's Presentation.
\_ A. The of Ibn Hazm's Controversy with the Christians.
',Although the treatment accorded the various gr?upYi
studied by Ibn was far more honest and objective than was
1
normal ly 'the ln poJemical works of that time, al-FisaJ
.
.
was npt written merely to present the beliefs of the various
groups. Ibn ':Iazm tells l(S more than once that ",he has in mlnd
,"
")
specific goals which he wishes to achieve through his work. He
is not content merely to set .forth the deceit, hypocrisy, and
inner contradictions of the Gospels and o-ther writlngs of the
Chrlstians. He does wish to achieve this, of 50 that
there will be no obscuri,ty or/,:...doubt that theChrlsti.(ns have
no truth to offer. Jn the ver:y first paragraph of his
1
/
p,resentatlon, Ibn Hazm makes/ thlS explicit:
, 1
1
1
As for the Gospels Jnd the books of the Christiqns, .we
if God wilJs (Mly He be exalted), set forth the
deceit laid down in their Gospels as weil as the
are in them, in such a way that
anyone who sees it (this expositi-on) will not be in
doubt they (th Gospels) have no iJ;ltelligence 1?
them and that they re altogether forsaken (by God).
However, far more important' is that this "maklng visible" of
the Christians' errors wtll result in the liberation of the
-89-
knowledge f those who wer,e bl i'nd to thei r error through
ignorance. Ibn ':Iazm says:
50 the obscurity on that, point will beentirely faken
awayand everyone who was by their secqecy,
whether the"y be from among the leaders or from corrmon
people or 'from any other religious group as well,.will be
made to know the futility of aIl that these two religiou.s
'groups possess, (the Jews and the Chr istians), when we
make it cJear. 50, everyone who takes into consideration
thls treatise of ours will be certaio that those who
wrote the Gospels and compose11 them were 1 iars 'of renown-
- (made evident) from decelt of their self-contradictions
which al'e found in the accounts which they reported. (It
will be that they despised and ruined tflose who
trusted them.
, ,,)
Much the same point is with the addition that once
the 1s exposed, the truth will also be expos,ed
4
'so that
those casting off the one may take up the other:
We ask God" wbo gUlded us to the blameless corrrnunity
of Islam, which 15 clearly untouched by anythlng which is'"
contrary ta that we'not be allowed to stray Into
error after He has (already) guided us, in order that we
will (be able to) set forth (to the reader) the comnu.nity,
of truth, the religion of truth and the doctrine of truth
which are unblemished by the fault of dlsbelief, and (In
o r der th a t we ais 0) exp 0 set he c orrrnu nit i es 0 fer r 0 r and
the i r i n cor r e c t doc trI n es, and we h a v e set for th, pla 1 n 1 y
and obviously that who composed the Gospels were
scoundrels who had nothing but contempt for those
they led into error and who despised true rel igion. '
"
In the section of al-Fisal under which the heterodoxies of the
.
- , ,
Shicah are exposed, Ibn ':fazm,expresses his personal Interest
in producing his treatise:
(Certain sections among the adherents of eterodoxy
and fallacy) hide behind am5iguous
exp r e s s ion s, s 0 as toma k e hem mo r e a t f ra c t ive t 0
ignorant people and to those of their followers who think
weIl of them and to make it difficult f.or the bulk of
their opponents to grasp ( full of) the
-90-
(
--------------------;---------- ---
,
. --
heresy ,in question .. We are necessarily cornpelled to
. disclose forgeries of th'is kind and expose them in the
clearest possible terms. We thus hope 'to get near Allah
by rendiug asunder their veils and disclosing their
secrets. (
Here we have Ibn highest goal and motive. In publJshIng
the truth, Gad is served. Since the lies of the various
, '
rel J g ion sot he r t han 1 sIam h a v e b e e n i n ven t e d i n 0 pp Q S i t Ion \ t a
obedl.ence to God, the production of by which the
1 ies are destroyed, 15 for Ibn l:Iazm an ac't of This
mot ive cannat be
)
self ish 's i n ce Ibn Hazm' s effort ta seen as
.
draw near to God i 5 inextricably bound up 1 n hi 5 effor t ta
"--....
draw others near to God as we 1 1
B. Ibn Hazm's intended audience.

N ow he r e i s t h j s, go a lof b r i n gin g 0 the r 5 t 0 the t rut h
stated 50 clearly as in the section'under which the errors of
the Shrcah are Ibn does not consider some of
the Shicah sectarians ta be Muslims at all,6 aithough they
claimed this of themselves. They are, however, according ta
the arder 01 presentation of al-Fisal, closer to the truth
.
than ot'her religious groups who made no claim to be Muslim. It
seems that Ibn HaDn has more expectation that those who calI
themselves Muslims, ev en if 50 far from the trJth that they
can not properfy be called true Muslims according
author, are more likely ta read and profIt from this work than
are those who make no pretense of following the Prophet
Muhammad
.
-91-
,
But t 0 wh om i-s the dis put e a gai n s t H! e ris t 1 ans
cwritten? The work bears no expllcit address and the internaI
e',.(idence i5' not wl'thout A.M. Turki suggests
that Ibn J:fazm a,nd other heresiographers, who, like him are
opposed to the doctrine of the equivalence of proofs (takafu'
al-adilla), address themselves to non-Muslims ln their
hereslographical worksJ By Inference from this, Ibn '!azm, ln
his work against the Christians, must be addressing
Chrlst:ians. Turki says further that thls non-Musllm audience
expla'ins why I:bn ':Iazm makes constant reference to a,Y;'guments of
a rat ion ait Y pee ven t hou g h he ho 1 d s s C rl P t u rai a r g ume n t s t 0
have an absolute prlority.8
The fa c t th a t ver y 1 i t t 1 e exp 1 iCI tus e 0 f the Qu r ' an i s
made is strong support for Turkl's contentIon. In only a few
cases does an argument based on the Musllm scrlpture appear ln
the secJion of al-Flsal wliich we are studying (oufslde of that
portion in which the subject of the argument. dtrectly concerns
the text of the Qur'an):,In each of these instances,9 Ibn Hazm
presents his case thoroughly, using a strictly ratlonal
1
argument. The Qur'anic references were strictly subidlary to
,
this primary W4Y of arguing.
Some more support for 's contention can.be adduced
from the fact that on occasion, Ibn Hazm addresses the
Christians using the second person. For example:
'-92- .
\-d
-
.
,
1. f Y 0 u ( C h ris t 1 ans) d i d 1 1 k ew i s e w i th' Y 0 u r r e po r t san d
if youf bishops who between you and the prophets
(Peace be upon them) had done so as weIl, we wouldnot
have rebuked you. On the contrary you would have done
t"hat which is correct and have been am()f}g the rightly-
guded ones who follow the revealed truth and those who
off the error of neglect. But you did not act this
way. Rather you followed the (blshops) blindly ln aIl
that they legisla.ted for you. Taus, you will perish both
in this world and in the next.
This address in the second person IS relatlvely rare
.,.
however. More often the Christians are addressed in "the thtrd
person as If Ibn ':fazm IS thlnking of another group as hl.s
au die ne e The exp r es s Ion "1 f t, h e y sa '.1 , We s a y :' i s fa 1 r 1 y
comnon. In the same way, most of hls arguments against
Christians, for example who say that their pOint rests upon
sorne technlcallty of the Hebrew or Latin language,ll do not
s e em t 0 h FlV t":h v iew t ho s e who are bel n g .r e fut e d. Th 1 sis the
case ln the Christians' argument that Joseph was merely the
stepfather of Jesus or that the between the
g e n e a log i es 0 f Ma t t h ew and Lu k e cou 1 d ber e sol v e d b Y s a'y i n g
\
that one llne was that of those who had been adopted.
In building hlS case against the Chrlltians, Ibn Hazm
t .
makes the background of his argwnent very clear. The Gospels,
etc., are ci ted at length-- often at greater length than 1 s
necessary for hls argument. This points in the direction that
Ibn Hazm's hearers were not famlliar with the texts under
\
consideration.
In sorne references, Ibn assures his readership that
-93-
"
J
the authbr or book whlch he js clting is in fact, weIl known
and accepted by the Christians. There would be little need to
do this if lt were known by his readershlp.
r
1
Agai,n, the manner in which Ibn Hazm states his inteQtion
ta brlng a agalnst the Christians can hardly be meant to
l , ,
cause-Christians ta want ta become even given the
fact that argumentative literature long r-mained the format
for proseletyzing treatises. He s'tates:
The Christians are a of a book and they afflrm
the prophethood of sorne of the prophets (Peace be upon
them), yet the generality of '(the Chrlstians) and their
sects do not affirm the uniclty (of God) absolutely.
Rather they belleve ln thf2trlnlty. Sa thls lS the place
of a wo r d a gai n st th em. , '
The language of al-Flsal strongly pOints ta an Intended
Muslim audience. Ibn Hazm wr'tes in Arabie which automatically
IlmIts his ,ChrIstian readership to rninority who can read
, \
thlS language. We have no record that there was'ever any
, \
attempt ta have this work translated into any language widely
used by the Christlans, Greek or LatIn, for example.
Flnally, the encyclopedic breadth'of ai-Fisal's subrect
...t
matter precludes that it be ta merely the
,
Chflstlans. Ibn Hazm conscious)y writes this to achieve
.
several purposes, as has been presented above, one of which is
ta cause who have been enl-ightened with re-spect to the
errors of the various sects: to"avold these errors themselves
"
or as the case mlgh'tbe, t-o remove themselves from them and to
-94-
, ;
join themselves ta the truth of Islam. From the' indications of
the internai evidence, it appears that Ibn Hazm also holds
sorne hope that thiS goal might be achieved for any Christian
who. reads the section against the Christians. At the same
time, he does not expect that Christian audience will be the
most important one reached by this work. Since he 'writes it
r
from a Muslirn perspective, he assumes that as a
--<
whole will "be of most interest to Muslims. 50 it must be
as largely addressed to that latter religious
,
group.
C. His Methodology.
Ibn Havn adheres to the juridicai and theologicaI '
/ principles o the legal school known as "madhhab al-zahir" or
"madhhab .Dawd".13 It was founded by "Dwd b. Khalaf (sic)
al-Isbahan,,14 who di.ed in Baghdad in 270 A.H. It 1S only
pertinent here to elaborate the distinctions of the school in
so far as it 1S determinative of Ibn ':'azm's analys1s of 'the
Chrlstians' scriptures.
The primary concern of this school was to develop a
system in which aIl decisions were based directly on the

Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet. As twas the case for the
other legal schools, this latter was to be discovered by the
careful InvestIgation and verification of the traditions
recorded about him. The distinguishing feature of
-95-
\
0'
l
}
the ?ahiris was their attempt, both theoretically and
practically to excise

" non - r e v e lat Ion ll" e 1 eme n t s f r om the i r
de v e 1. 0 pme nt and a p plI ca t ion 0 f ma t ter s 0 f J uri s p r u den ce. A
,?
cjurist's personal interpretaion was to be exluded completely,
in order 'that only tne will of God,would be controlling. Arnong
the prevail"ing sources of authority, ln ther legal schools,
for making legal deductions were "ra'y" (the well-informed
opinion of jurist) anq "qiyas" (the deduction of a legal
principle based on an analogy to a judgement to be found in
the traditions or Qur'an). Such subjective sources were
opposed by the ?ahiri schoo1.
15
This school rejected not only
interpretation on the part of each Individuai jurist, but also
stood against the following of the subjective Interpretation
/
derived from anyone other than the prophet, no matter how
'"
pious or Goldziher says:
. Dawd also "taqld", Le. the
unconditional following of the teachings of a certain
'imam', or of a certain school, in 9uestions that were
not clearly explained in the valid legal sources. "The
indiscr iminate Imitation of the teachings of a fall ible
person (macsQm) Islobjectionable and evidence of
nar rO\\ffii ndeanes s". 0 .
WhFlt' the ?iihirs proposed as a princip}e of positive
o
that the expllcit wording of the text,
"
whether this be from the Qur'an or, from the be taken
.. ;.;
a t 1 t s f ace val u e Go 1 d z i h ers a ys:

,The (sic) are just as in deducing a
law from the hadith as when they are the wording of
the Koran as a basis for their jurisprudential deduction.
It is in that field t'oo, that they follow unswervingly
their basic'doctrine -of the relationship of the
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,;
";'
'.
1
(
. jurlsprudent to the of the law-giver. They consider
i t u n jus t If i a b 1 e t 0 t r yan d gue s s the i n t en t ion O'f the
law-giver on the basis of ,subjective judgement and to
d ra w a n a n a log y f r om t h i sIn t e n t Ion and g Ive t 0 --1 e gal
practlce a direction which, under the pretense
fol 1 ow l n g the spi rit 0 f the 1 a't', d par t s f r om the
objective meaning of the text.
Ibn Hazm himself says:
1 t i s the (s.i c) dut y toi n ter pre t Go d' s wo r d
literally. This may be abandoned only when another
written word of God, or the consensus (of the companions
of the Prophet) or compelling fact based on logic
supplies conclusive evidence that a word of
God should n'ot be understood literally.ljfhe word of God
and communications and laws issued in His name are not
s.ubject to change; the consensus does not claim an}ithing
but the truth, and God says nothing but the truth, but
wha,tever ls refuted O?8the basis of conclusive evidence
challenges the truth.
D. A methodological problem.
LiteraI Interpretation of the eoxplicit word'ing of the-..j
text may be. Ibn Hazm's battle-cry in his dealings wlth the
. .
Gospels and other Christian scriptures, but in fact the battle
takes place over an e,ven more primary issue than the correct
Interpretation of the words on the page. There must exist a
standard of truth in order to guarantee that an Interpretation
l
has meanlng. Words have to be definable and concepts have to
have content. The stan,dard accordlng to Ibn Hazm 1 les nowhere
else but in the true revelatlon which Muslims possesSe
A serious prob'lem is uncovered If we ask how the truth of
Islam is to)e verified. Although Ibn Hazm demonstrates to his
own 5 a t i 5 f a c t> ion t ha t the r e ca n ben 0 do U b t ab 0 u t the
1;.
-97-
\
integrity of nor about that of the transmission of
his after him, this is begging the question. By what
standard can the revelation delivered by be judged
true? Ibn is clear that the reason of man cannot reign
over the revelation of God, yet at the same time he appeals to

anyone who has a grasp of reason to see the truth of Islam. He
states:
Know ye that the relIgion of Allah is open, with no
hidden meaning in it, public, with no secret behind it,
aIl 0 fit log i cal d emo n s t rat ion, w i t h no 1 a x i t Y ab 0 u t i t.
Suspect ye everyone who calls on you to follow him
without proof and everyone who claims for religion
secrecy and a hidden meaning, for (aIl such claims) are
nothing but presumption and Iles. Know ye that the
Apostle of Allah not conceal even as much as a single
wo r d 0 f the Law ..

ln order to see the matter from Ibn perspective, we
-
first have to discuss briefly his theory of knowledge. Roger
Arnaldez says:
de Ibn Hazm repose tout entier sur trois
i n t u i t ion s f 0 n d ame n t ale s, l' i n t u i t ion sen s i b 1 e ,
l'intuition linguistique et l'intuition rationelle.
Toutes trois ont le caractre donn. Il ne faudrait
d'ailleurs pas y voir trois sources
connaissances; en re"'alit,f!, elles se confondent\ o
;1'
Quite clearly Ibn eaking of the role of
reason, is not ta be understood a or
scientific sense. It should be that this rational
intuition is a capacity native to aIl men unless there is some
impediment, either or acquired. Some men, for example,
deliberately refuse to accept the evidence of their senses and
thus put themselves outside of the possibility to receive
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)
"
f
-
1
--

revelation from God; As he says:
"'
Therefore, a report may not be accepted as genuine
unLess (it cornes from) one who is mature in years. The
information must be (open) to both believer and
unbeliever. Only he whQ refuses to believe his senses (is
excluded) beau,se 2i fools himself and says: "ThIs is
on 1 y b e gui 1 eme nt. "
Not i cet ha t the r e i S ft 0 spi rit ua 1 0 r my s tic a 1 d i' f fer e n ce
between the intellects of believers and unl:hdievers. _Both are
equally capable of maklng judgements as to the truth. There
may be a problem ln detecting error ln cases where those who
are p e r pet rat 1 n g i t dei 1 ber a tel y v e i lit i n 0 r der t 0 de c ive .'
those who follow them, but once thelr error is compared to
God's revelation, the lie will be obvlous. The point is that
human rea'son does not judge the truth of God's revelation at
aIl. Reason's functlon is merely ta recognize the truth of the
revelation WhlCh, however, is unchanged whether reason
,
or Jhere is, however, a means by which
reason can identify the truth according to Arnaldez and this
is the "dalil" (proof). He says:
Le "dalil" n'est donc pas un raisonnement, mais
fait. Sa est un indice de son absence
est uni n die e d' e r r eu r , ' et l' a r g ume n t n g a tif 1 n ter v'l en t
souvent: tels docteurs n'ont pas de "daIII" en leur
f a v e ur; telle 0 pin 1 0 il n' a pas de" d ail 1-", e Ile est
fausse. Notons cependant qu'Il eXIste une recherche du
"dalil", ou "Istidlil", reconnue par Ibn Hazm, et qui a
la forme d'un raisonnement. L'auteur en plusieurs
types, mais Ils ont tous le d'une infrence
et ne sauraient cons
22
tuer eux seuls une
science autonome.
AlI religions, howe,ver, claim to t,he trut,h. Ibn ':Iazm
is only able to refute the Christian which he
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/
analyses, because he rejeets the Christian definitions which
render their teachings intelligible. For eample, Ibn
c,ites from Mattflew's Go&pel the foll?wing narrative,'spoken by.
the Messiah:
False prophets and lying wonders wilt appear they'
will demonstrate great wonders and signs even
those believing the will deceived.
Ibn refutation depends on the reader acceptlng his
definition of the nature and' of spiritual power. The
Christian and Jewish scriptures understand miracles
differently from Ibn Threfore his argument can have no
meaning for those groups. Ibn ':Iazm says:
If It were permItted that a false prophet could
perform miracles, it would be possible for a true prophet
to 'speak lies even as he announced his warnings; or (it
would be possible) for a sorcerer to perform the same
signs as those of a true prophet. Thus would truth be
mixed up with,falsehood and there would be no way to
dis tin gUI S h the 0 nef r om the, 0 the rat aIl. T h i SIS the
corruptfon of aIl truth, invalidation of the
necessity of the truth and the deceiving of the senses .
As for us, we definitely wil'l not accept (the'
proposition) that a prophet would Ile nor that the one
who Is not a prophet could perform miracles, nor
s!:'rcer
2
P' nor liars and not even'-t-hose who practise
plety.
By adhering to a philosophically naive understanding of
.
reason, Ibn ':fazm's judgements inevitably reflected a dual
standard. Because the Qur'n and ahdith defined truth, no
difficulties found thereln would serve as evidence of their
ip any way suspect. On the other hand, since aIl other
religions inevitably were different trom Islam, the.y were
presupposed t9 be taIse. Nowhere 1s Ibn Hazm's problem of lack
. .
-100-
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,
(
\
r '
,1
of objectivity more apparent than in his refusaI to interpret
, >
the Qur'an and the literally where this results in a
nonsensical interpretation, to Ibn
, It would appear that the Christians with whom Ibn
had actually debated objected to his inconsistent and
arbitrary application of the principle of literaI
interpretation. When he the Christians of
anthropomorphism, they reply that the Qur'an itself says the
,
same thing as do the Gospels. We only have the argument which
these Christians pose, though,-In Ibn words:
The (d\ristians') second (obJection) 15 that ln (the
Mu 5 1 i ms') b 00 kit 5 a ys" " And t h Y Lor d s ha 1 1 come w i t h
an gel s, ra n k 0 n ra n k" , 5, and ais 0 : "Wa i t the y for na u g h t
else than that Allah shou1.d come unto them ln the shadows
of the clouds wi
2
g the angeIs? Then the case would be
al ready j udged." /, -
, The Ch ris t i ans s a y ) ; ;bo y 0 u no t 5 a y the 5 ame t h 1 n g as
do the Torah and the G6spels, Just as they say the sarne
thlng as IS in'your book? We say that between the two
there is a separation as great as there IS between
the-poles of the celestial sphere. That whlch IS ln the
Qur
1
an is obvious and does not need to be Interpreted.
The me an J n g 0 f (t hep h ras e ), "Y 0 urL 0 r d w i 1 1 corne..." and
"God will come to them . " IS that it 15 a manner-of
teachlng in (Arabie) language-- ln which the Qur'an
descended in the presence of wltn,esses-- the same thlng
as when It IS said, "The king Will come" and, "the king
will arrive among us." What is meant IS that hls force,
h i s au t ho rit yan d h! S C omna n d w 1 1 1 come. Th us, the ma t ter
which IS denied (in this book) is not the same as you
recited. Likewlse the denlals and contradictions (to be
found) ln the Torah and the Gospels'29bout WhlCh we
wrote, are not found in the Qur'an.
Ibn tries to demonstrate here that the obvious
meaning of the text lS not the real meaning ln violati'on of
his own canon of interpretation. He does not show the same
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r
o
flexibility when the case involves the text other the
Qur'an or the literature.

E. Zahir Interpretation ln the Realm of Dogmatics.
)
In Ibn the Zahir school flnds its greatest
exponent. According to Goldzlher, he is important not only as
a jurisprudent, but also because he attempts to apply the Za-
'hirl methodology in the realm of dogmat1cs.
28
This application of the prlnciples of textual
analysis to dogmatics lS of interest in that it is precisely
this analysis which dominates Ibn presentation of those
errors of the Chr1st1ans whlch he conslders to be the basis of
their rel1g1ous bellef, that, is the doctrines of the trinity,
of the sonship of Jesus Messiah, and of his incarnation.
29
,
.The main aspect of this method of dogmat1c elaboration is h1S
refusaI to use analogical reasoning. Accordlng to Ibn
one may not define the attributes of God by negative
that is, by "negation of quality which he
does not possess".30 He is annoyed by the
Christians' reasoning about G01 in this vein:
Sorne of them say that whereas we find things to be of
two types, living and non-living, is necessary that
the Creator (May He be and exalted) be living.
And whereas we find life to be divided into two types,
reasoning and non-reasoning, it 15 necessary that the
Creator (May He be exalted) be endowed with the power to
reason.
This is an \extremely stup1d utterance for two reasons.
-102-
F Ir S t t h i s div i s ion i san a t u rai div 1 s ion 0 f 0 ne
( 1 a r g e r) c a t ego r Y' , for i f the 0 n e den om i n a t e d "t h e
Creator" (May He be exalted) is living, ln that he has
this attribute, He falls in with the rest of the living
creatures underthe category of the living. He lS defined
b y the de f i ,n i t ion s 0 f 1 i v j n g and r e a son i n g ( b e i n g s ). 1 f
this class is the case, He is a compound of his category
and hlS class. Everything which is defined is flnite and
everyt,hlng which is compound 15 created.
The second reason is that this divisl0n which they
make is wrong and a misrepresentation they are
obligated to begin with a flrst type which 1S closest to
the,nature (of reality). They should say: We ftnd thlngs
(to be either) substance or Then they may
include (the Creator) under whichever of the two
c'\:t"egorles they want. If they say that He is under (the
category of) substOance, the necessary conclusl0n is that
. they will define him by substance. If .,this is true, the
necessary impllcation is that He lS every
being is created, as we have already
demonstrated31
The positive element of ':Iazm's argumentation foflows from
the fashion in which he discovers the meanrng of scriptural
texts. He iF)sists that the, explicJt wording is the limit of
dogmatlc deduction. Therefore his must be restricted to
one of recognition and of gathering the pertlnent data under
approp,riate categories. Ultimately, his efforts were not
succesful and "his attitude toward dogamtic controversies
remained completely inconsequential as a qualification for a
theologian to be recognized as an adherent of the Zhirite
schJol.,,32
There is another aspect which forms part of Ibn J:Iazm' s
o p
methodology, and which, although not inevitably following from
hls principles, i5 at Ieast consistent with them. He
says about the Jews:
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p
We have already remarked that we shall not use against
them any quotation from their Torah which is not clear in
i t s me a n i n g , sin cet he 0 p p 0 n e nt mi g h t -r e ply s a yin g
that the Lord meant by it anything he likes.
He elaborates on the same idea when it comes to refuting the
errors of the Shicah:
We wish, however the reader of thlS our bOok to
understand "that we do not consider permissible-- as do
those in whom their no good-- to quote in anyone's
name any sttIter;cent which he did not make verbatim, though,
the general view (conveyed by the quotation) may go back
t 0 h,i m (t he quo t e d p ers 0 n ). For the 1 a t ter ma y no t a 1 wa y S
cling to the consequences following from his (general)
view and thus a contradiction may appear (between the
quo t a t Ion and the a c tua 1 0 pin i 0 n,s 0 f the quo t e d w rit e r )
You must know that quoting ln anyone's name-- be he an
infidel, a heretic or a (mere) sinner-- a statement which
he did not make verbat im is equal to tell ing 1 about
hlm, and lying is not allowed against anybody.
One would imagine that thlS rigorous approach would also be
"
applied by Ibn in his study of the ChrIstian documents
and, to a great extent, lt is. He does not always succeed in
living'up to his principle because he largely
the spirit of Christianity. There were many instances in which
his criticism is impotent since he is refutlng errors to which
the Christians do not hold. A case in point is hlS diScussion
of the granting "the keys of the to Peter and the
other disciples by the Messiah:
35
Ibn J:lazm argues that ln
doing this, Jesus appointed the discIples to a status of
divinity. His refutation which follows is based on this
deduction, but in tact Christians have never belleved that the
disciples were anythLng other than men. ThIS misinterpretation
wa sad ire c t r e sul t 0 f 1 b n f:I a zm' s i mp 0 s i t ion 0 f Mu s 1 i m
-104-
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p
definitions on speciflcaJly Christian concepts. This problem

has' air eady been' men t i oned ab.ove under the dis cu s sion .0 f 1 b n
of the verification of truth. In splte of his
to be completely his enunclated
principles, the tact" that he does consciously try, to act
according to them 1s perhaps the Single factor whlch
contributes most to his l.mportance in the hlstory of polemicaJ
literature.
F. Ibn View of Christian Scripture.
-
Given that these were the principles by whlch Ibn Hazm
--
judges the Christian of their scriptures, a
outline of his opinion of these scriptures should be set
forth. Ibn f:iazm, holding, as he does to the truth of the
literai text of the Qur'an also believes that the Gospel which
jesus brought is the word of God.
36
He belleves that the
disciples of Jesus were those who truly loved God and were
glven power from him.
37
In fact he says that "we worshlp God
38
w i t h the s ame 1 0 ve t ha t the y do .
However, this bellef does not cause him to treat the
Gospels and othei sc;iptures the Christians nor the
disciples mentioned in them, with respect since neither the
Christians nor their scriptures have much ln common witn what
the Qur'an mentions. Ibn J:lazm says about the disciples:
One thing we will deny-- we are absolutely sure and we
-lD5-
4.
<
\
,r
speak with certainty-- is that Batirah (Peter) the liar,
Matta the policeman, Yunanna (John) the
despiser; YahGdha (Jude) and Yafqb (James) the depraved
ones, Marqush (Mark) the corrupter, LGq (Luke) the
debauched llar and BQlus (Paul) the ignorant one were
never true disciples. On the contrary they are from the
group about whom God said: "One party was
disbelievlng."39
)J;;;:;
'y,
ln accordance wlth hlS prlnclples, ibn does
not concern himself with "speculation" about details which the
Qur'an ooes not provlde-- such as what happened ta the
original disciples who made up the "party who believed" and
.:1)
why did they not predomlnate or at least contInue to exist
untll the time of Ibn Hazm's writing. AlI he says is: "We do
not know their names because God dld not tell us . ,,40
Ibn Hazm concludes that the Gospels and other scriptures
.1
which he studies are not derived from the Messiah, but were
wrltten by these men who were not even the true discIples of
o
the Messiah. It is important ta understand that whlle Ibn Hazm
is conscious that the Christians regard their scriptures as
having a similar function for them as does the Qur'n for
Muslims, he analyses the Gospels as if the Chri'stians regard
them as ahdTth or traditions about the Messlah. His rationale
.
for treating'them in this way stems from the fact that these
books are acknowledged, by the Christians, to have been
written by the men who.se names .they bear. They also
correspond, in the type of information which they contain.,
very closely to the lirrature.
1
/
!
-106-
This is why Ibn J:iazm makes such a point of proving that
the Christian documents fall short of the proper criteria by
which good and acceptable reports are JUdgd. Instead, he says
that the original companlons of Jesus were few ln number to
begin with so their reports could not be verified by a large
body of parallel reports. They were men of bad character who
-0
.... "
not only manufactured Iles about the Messiah; but dellghtedf ln
ruining those who belleved their lies ta be true. Even If they
1
had wanled to produce accurate reports, they were rendered
incapable because Satan "destroyed the .. perception of thelr
hearts and perverted their tongues . Almost ln the
Christian scriptures can be safely attributed to the Mes_sl-ll,
accordlng t Ibn Hazm.
Not only were the original companions not trustworthy
reporters, in his opinion, but the hlstory, of the Chrlstlans
is such that the chaln of transmiSSion of thetr scrlptures IS
also,completely deflclent. Ibn Hann descrlbes the hlstory of
the Church ftS follows: the early Chrlstlans, even durlng the
lifetime of >the Messiah, were forced ta hide because of the
persecution which they suffered. They were forced ta propagate
thelr religion secretly and to meet ln secret. If they were
caught as ChrlstiaRs they were pur ta death. They continued ta
live in these conditions for three hundred years during which
tlme the original Gospel whlch Gad had revealed to the Messlah
was lost for small portions which God preserved as a
1
shame agalnst then1'.1i Relief for the Chrtstians came only after
.--'
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1
Constantine, klpg of the Roman empire,42 ta their
relIgion. The result of hls declaring Christianity to be the
relIgion of the empIre,was the entrance of masses of people
who brought into Christianity aIl sorts of false teaching and
amo n g t hem we r eth e Ma n 1 cha e ans and 0 the r -s. "T h e y ob r 0 u g h tIn
whatever error they wanted.,,43
Ta make rnatters worse, the whole edIflce of ChristIan
practlce 15 not bUllt even on the thoroughly
Il ' ,
documents that they do possess. The laws of Chrlstians of
al-Andalu5 were Instituted by KIng RakdId (Reccared) "and the
rest of the Christians (elsewhere) have (their own) laws which
were ,made for them by whomever of thelf biShops God chos,e. ,,44
The Ch ris t 1 ans 0 f h 1 5 own d a y are gUI 1 t Y 0 f "t a q 1 Id" - - 0 f
blIndly following their bishops and leaders, Instead of the
practlce of the Messiah. Thus, they are no less guilty than
were those who originally corrupted their Gospel. This leads
Ibn Hazm ta conclude hl5 critici5m of the transmission of the
Christian documents with these word:
Do you consider It appropriate that sorne of your _
patriarchs lay down laws and others of them
other laws? 50 every Feliglous sect curses whoever
practices differently from lts own prescriptIons? How
then can they be in this state? What religion is more
unclean, more in error and more depraved than a religion
of this character? They would have, from what we have
discussed in this section, sufficient (demonstratIon) of
the futliity of they are holding to, if they had a
grasp of reason.
)
For him, the Christian scriptures and are marked by a
total absence of "daII!." which would have demonstrated' the'ir
-108-
...
"
1
...
\ .
veracity: Instead, what characterizes '!:hem is "kadhib"--
lying, deceit. In fact, this term occurs so often in sunmary
of Ibn arguments that It aimost functions as a theme
running his whole treatise on the Christians.
Therefore, whereas the presence of "daIiI" wouid have verlfled
that the Christian documents were from God, the actual
presence of "kadhlb" functions as an "anti-dalI" provlng that
they were not revealed by God.
'(7
G. Conclusion.
lbn by his precision, hlS fairness, and rigour left
an ama z i n g pie c e 0 f s ch 0 1 ars h i P U n r t un a tel y , the s e ver y
characteristics contributed to his Incapacity to win a wlde
audience for his For those wlth whom he disagreed,
.''''-.
especially among his fellow Muslims and countrymen, he
no invective. He bitterly opposed their errors: The
fact that often his criticsm must have been ta the point could
not have-but made matters worse. After up ai-Andalus,
he was forced to flee ta Majorca. Thereafter he was forgotten
ln al-Andalus and his views were not even taken up for
refutatlon.
46
it it iR better for the history of
the hetweF'n Huslims And Christians that
Ibn not circulAtion. His

nrobAblv would
-109-
. of bis scholarship and, therefore, bis work would not hAve
contributed to a level of discussion between the
memb"lrs' of two ",roups than has taken place over centur'-
ies. It ia unfortunate even today polemic8. are still pro-
which pAy no to intellectuel honesty,
or to the texts of religion being refuted. Ibn
.
shed of his invective, could hAve prov1ded a model for et leBst
"
this aspect of such diJcussion te emulete
\
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1
" 1
"' ..
. (
1P )
1
Notes' to Chapter III
1. a 1 - F i al, 2, p 2 . Cf. a l S 0 p. 3 C; a bo " e, no t e 1.
2. Ibid., pp.6-7.
\
3. Ibid., p.35.
4. Ibid., 4, pp.178-179, as citd in Friedlander, p.40.
5. Ibid., p.I7S, as cited in Friedlander, p.40.
We h a v e air e a d y' des cri b e d i n t h i s w r k the i n f am i e s 0 f
the religions opposed to Islam (and the lies) which are
fou n d i n the i r 5 cri p t ure s, v i z ., t ho seo f the J ew 5 ,
Christians and (sic), besides which nothing
remains for them, 50 that nobody who becomes acquainted
with them (their Scriptures) will doubt that those people
are engrossed in error. Now let us proceed with these
f 0 u"r sec t s ( 0 f the Shi c ah) and des cri b eth e l r' de tes ta b 1 e
tenets so that this' work may render clear to every reader
t ha t the y are en g r os se d i n e r r 0 r and ab sur dIt y, and ma y
thus prevent those whom Allah wishes to guide to the
right way from joining thern or continuing (to bel with
them.
'"
\
6. 2, p.78. ')
7. A.M. Turki, ilL; rtHutation du 'scepticisme et la de
\\Na connaissance dans les d'Ibn ':Iazm;' Studia"Islamica,
, 1
V ,\5 0 (1 9 7 9 ), p. 3 9
, 8. Ibid., p.39.
-111-
, '
.. -
p
.."
~ .... 1 ____ ---.:
,
9. al-Fisal, 2, pp.42, 58-59,62-63.,
.
,
10. Ibid., pp.76-77.
11. Ibid., 1, p.50.
It cannot be proved by the (Christians) that
" k n ow 1 e d g e " i s ca J 1 e da" son" - - n e i the r f r OIT/ the j r
Gospel, nor from thei r other books ... Yet 'one of them
claimed that in al-Ltniyyah (Latin), it is required (-
t ~ a t the knowledge of the knowing one be said to be his
son. '
12. Ibid., p.48.
13. I. Goldzihed The Zahirs (W. Behn, tr.>.Leiden: E.J

BrilI, 1.971, p.l.
14. Ibid., p.29.
15. Ibn Hazm took an independan,t ,course from Dawd in being
more consistent ~ i t h DawGd's pribciples than was DwGd
himself, since the latter was "compelled to come to a
compromise with 'qiyas,'" if no tradition, even if weakly
,supportd, could be !found. cf. Ibid., p.112.
16. Ibid., p.29. The source for the citation from DawGd"is not
cl ea r 1 y g i ven
17. Ibid., p.52.
\
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(
18. Ibid., ",.115-116.
/'
'19. 2, p.116, as cited in Frledlander, p.38.
20. Roger Arnaldez, "La raison et l'identification de la
Ibn Louis Massignon, Vol.l,
Damascus: l'Institut d'Etudes Islamiques de de
Paris et de l'Institut Franais ,de Damas (1956), p.il!.
21. al-Fisal, 2, p.74

22. Arnaldez, p.114.
23. Matthew24:41-45; Ibn Havn aiso cites a paraI leI passage
from Mark's Gospel, Ma.rkI3:22. al-Fisal, 2, p.47
.
24. al-Fisal, 2, p.47
.
25. Ibid.,
26. Qur'an 89:22, in The Meaning of the Glorious Koran
(Marmaduke Pickthall, tr.). London: George Allen and Unwin,

1976.
27. Qur'an 2:210, Ibid.
\
-113-
\
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(
-"

,
r '
/
28. Ibn represents ,in his own time the opposition
- 0 '
against the prevailing Muslim orthodoxy; this 1s the new point
which he introduced to the circle of the ri school, not
on 1 y a s reg a r d s j uri s p r u den ce, but aIs 0 a s reg a r d s do gma tic s
Cp. Goldziher, The ZhirTs, p.IIO.
29. al-Fisal, 2, p.69 is an example of the prominence in which

Ibn believes the Christians hold these doctrines. The
.
of space gven to the refutation of thes doctrines is
also indicative of Ibn judgement about their
impo r tance.
30. Goldziher, The, Zahiris, p.144.
31. al-Fsal, 1, pp.5i-52 .
.
32. Goldziher, The ZhirTs, p.156.
33. al-Fisal, l, p.15, as cited in Friedlander, p.IS.
34. Ibid., p.41, as cited in Friedlander who goes' on to cite
1 b n Ha zm f rom a 1 - Fis a J, 4, p. 1 78
. .
, 35. 2, p.36-37.
36. Qur'an 3:3,48,65; 5:66,110.
...
-114-
. '
l '
1
" 1
(
37. Qur1an 61:14; 3:55-57.
38. al-Fisal, 2, pp.38-39

39. The ,verse cited is found in Qur'an 61:14.
40 a 1 i sai, 2, p. 38

41. Ibid., p.61.
42. The 'question whether Constantine the Great a Roman or
Byzantine emperor depends uto when one' defines the beginning
of the ByzantIne Empl,re. So scholars date the beg,inning of

it to the founding of Constantinople in 330 A.D. Most seholars
date the beginning of the Byzantine Empire to the time of
death of Justinian (565), when the divisiQn between the
e a ste r n ah d we ste r n ,p 0 r t ion s of. the Emp ire bec ame p e r ma ne n t 1 y,
fixed. ,cf. J.M Higgins, "Byzantlne Church, History of" New
Catholie Eneyelopedia,
43. Ibid., pp.4-5.
44., Ibid., p.3. f
45. Ibid., pp.23-24.
'", " .
4'6. Goldziher, The Zihiris, p',157
.
-115-
-
,
1.
{
,
Conclusion
By what standard ought the success of Ibn HaDTI's analysis
of the Christians be judged? It might be judged by the extent
to which he is successful in what he set out to do-- that i5,
to set forth the deceit and cOQtradictions of the Christians
'
scriptures "ln such a way that everyone who sees them will not
doubt that they have no intelligence in them and that they are
altogether forsaken by GOd.,,1 Arnaldez says that there are two
points which should be understood about Ibn discussion
of the. non-Muslim religions:
O\'First), "he is interested ln them only in relation to
or problems which enable him to compare them with
Islam .. the second point to be noted .. (is that) Ibn
Hazm is afways weIl informed, whether he is writing of
non-Muslims or of Musllms whom he 1S crltlcizing. He sets
the of his honestly,
accurately, and often ln detail."
These two points define Ibn Hazm's own criteria for evaluating
the success of his efforts and 1t is eV1dent that he judges
d
hims..elf successful according to them. The confirmation of this
can be found at the close of every section of his presentation
in which he always concludes wlth a remark about the lies that
are@ev1dent '1);) the text under consideration or about the
deceit of the Christians in interpreting the passage in the
way they do.
In' spite of Ibn Hazm's self-approbation, believe that
he must be judged a failure, and the criteria for determining
-116-
" ,
t
"
this must be whether or not he achieves the potential for
success he possesses. His potential derives partly from
, the circumstances inwhich he was raised-- he was the son of a
high and affluent offIcial ln the government of astate
flourishing with the hlghest culture that the world had to
offer. Scholars and books were plentlful and Ibn Havn was
given an excellent education. Partly his potential derives
fr'om his own native abihties. No one who conslders the gamut
of subjects which Ibn treats inteliigently can deny that
his is a intellect. His study of the Christians is not
his most important work-- lt JS not even the most important
study withln the plan of al-Fisal-- and yet Ibn
treatment of this topic is metlculous, comprehensive and
insightful. He is able to Integrate his accurate understanding
of" the h i s t 0 r y 0 f the Ch ris t i ans and the Ir doc trin e s w i t h h i s
interpretation of their scriptures in the course of his
polemlc. If his conclusions do not reflect a genuine
,
understanding of the spIrit of Christlanity, this lS not a
fault in intellectual ability, but of his priorlties which do
rate this understanding highly.
Ibn s potent ial lS great because of his moral
character. He was an idealist, courageous, and honest, ready
to suffer personal discomfort and ev en more-- perhaps the risk

of death for the sake of his convictions. Arnaldez says:
HIS virulent attacks against the MllkT fukaha'
(fuqah') who, always supporting those in powr, held
sway in the schools and exerted their influence on
-117-
1
.......
(
..
golitical aod social lite, his stand against the
Abbdlds of Sevf" Ile whose imDostures in
short' hlS radl'ca non-contorm1ty, earnea hlm the hlitred
of the official thlnkers and the hostillty of the
who fQund such a person undesirabl(,\e ln their territory.
1 b n ':fa zm i saI s 0 en erg et 1 c and dis c i pli ne d , and he ca 11 s
"
men to fo'llow hls example ln renouncing a life of pleasure in
order to engage in the research and use of those sciences
would "lead man to victory and to well-being in the next
wo rI d. ,,4
, ")1
"
ln spite of his potential he never gained more than a
modest following ln his own lifetime, his books were burned
and after hlS death his writings continued to be attacked.
5
Thus, Ibn ':lazm, who potentially was worthy of a large
audience, never achieved this. His greatest failure though,
J"as that of not providing an,y impetus ln redefining the
directi'on and methods of the study of other religions. If he
(,
had combined his meticulous method of study, his wide
/
knowledge, hls capacity to integrate his flndin'gs into
perceptive and radical conclusions
6
with a genuine desire to
understand the motivation of those wlth whom he disagreed, it
would have been within his reach to provide a seed for the
growth of a true'science of the study of religion. If such a
science had begun developing from the time of Ibn
perhaps the whole course of relations between Chrlstians and
Muslims might have had a different history-- a more positive
one. the same failure which prevented Ibn Hazm from
provlding any impetus ln the development of a true sCIence of
-118-
,
1
",
{
religion him from having a wider influence in
1
every othej'sphere in which he worked.
1
1
The f ail ure t 0 set a n ew d ire c t ion i n rel i g i 0 U 5
/
/
scholar;hip is rooted in Ibn f:lazf1)'S complete confidence that
, ./
he understood the truth of God. Since he believes that ail
truth is ta be found in God's revelation of Islam, and he also
belie"ves that by followl'!'tg certin principles Intrinsic within
that truth, the truth 1s entirely clear, he conslders that
those who disagree with him are disagreeing, in effect, with
\
God's revelation. His belief in the error of those with whom
he disagrees is founded on hls understanding of human
psychalogy of which Arnaldez says:
He realized that the human soul,. tf left to itself,
spontaneously inclines towards dl'shonesty, and therefore
he mlstrus ted those internai recesses of the soul in
which are hldden unexpressed and unexpressable
intentions, double meanlngs whose ambiguity leads ta
Indecision. HIS experience as an adult of those in power
or seeking power confirmed ln him a mournful sceptlcism.
It may be said that the ideas which govern ail his works
were controlled by these basic r-eactions ta the human
v(ces as he saw them practised in his own day. He was
tau g h t b Y 1 sIam t 9 a t the r e i s no r e f u g e f r am suc h e v.i 1 s
except in God.... ,;:1
/
"
....
It is not possible to argue that Ibn Hazm was merely a
ma n 0 f h i s t i me and the r e for e he cou 1 d no t ma k eth e nec es s a r y
changes ln his thinking for which he is being judged a
failure. He was a particularly ,intolerant man and his
judgement af the fai 1 ures and errors, of others was harsher
than was comnon in his day. Few sc olars suffered the hatred
and reprobatlon that he He refused to admit that
\
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~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
\ '
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o

he could be wrong or that his system of interpretatlon of
God's $cripture co,uld be improved. This 1s a type of arrogance
and was po1nted out ~ o him by the Chrlstians who percelved
that his Zhir method, which he applied to the Interpretation
of thelr serlptures, was not applled in his interpretation of
the anthroportlorphic deser ipt i ons of God to be found i n, the
Qur'n.
8
Not only was Ibn t:Iazm extraordinarily confident in
himself, but he was also inconsistent in the application of
his refusaI to believe that truth eouid exist in those with
\
whom he disagreed. For example, he believed that he could
learn from Aristotie and that what he learned could be
profitable for the study of Arabie even though he disagreed
about many things with Aristotle. He sald that God has ereated
in man a capaclty for understanding.
9
Ibn Hazm should have
been able to say that even If men are naturally inclined to
dishonesty, they still must use the naturaJ capaclties which
,
God has given them in orde)to lIve in God's world. It must
have been evident to Ibn Hazm that at least sorne Chr,istians,
even if he believed that they were mlsgulded rellgiously, had
been more successful in solving the problems WhlCh faced them
in this world than was the case for sorne Muslims, and that
even this 11mited discovery made by the Christians might be
wo r t h k n ow a n g
Instead, Ibn Hazm refused to acknowledge that any truth
-120-
-,-
.,.
L
(
o
exists the Christians. Their leaders and scholars were
\
aIl corrupt or fools. The result of his refusaI to acknowledge
his own'capacity to err and that of others ta flnd truth was a
fundamental failure in his scholarship. AImost un'iversally,
the polemlcal writings produced by Christians or Mruslims had
been produced with little knowledge of the beliefs and
practices being opposed. Slnce little or no supporting
evidence accompanied the arguments of these polemics, their,
authors could hardly "have dared to qe generous ln their
assessment of the intentions of their opponents or of the
truth that might have existed their opponents
r
errors.
Ibn was a scholar of and higher category and
could have been more generous and objective in his
presentation. His refusaI to be objective meant that his work
Iacked the scientiflc spirit that was necessarily lacking in
(
the rest of the polemical literature that existed. Instead of
his work providing the example of a new way of studylng
religion, his al-Fisal remained of a piece with that wh}ch
. )
preceded it.
* \
-121-
,
(
,
Notes to Corrclusion
1. a 1 - Fis al,' 2, p.
( .
2. A r na 1 d e "1 b n J:la ZO)" p.. 7 9 6
'\
3. p.791.
1
1
1>
)
4. Ioid., p.791'.
..
5. C. Van Are'ndonk, 1'1 bn J:lazm," 1 i'a of 1 s t am
V.III:l, p.386.
)
.
6. Cp. Goldziher, The Zhiris, who :;peaks of Ibn Hazm'sIY'
. .
capacity for and conclusions in respect
to his efforfs ta develop a ZhirT system of dogmatics:
7. "Ibn pp.791-792.
8. al-F.sal, 2, p.75' .
1
9. Arnaldez, "Ibn p.794.
, .
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,
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