Method Religious Studies of Ibn Hazm: The Study of Al-Fashl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwal wa an-Nihal

Title : Method Religious Studies of Ibn Hazm (The Study of Al-Fashl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwal wa an-Nihal)
Author : Bakhruddin Fannani (CRCS, 2005)
Keywords : Method, Religious study, Ibn Hazm and Zhahiriyah (textualism).
This paper is a detailed examination of the views of Ibn Hazm which pour out in his written works, al-Fashl fî al-Milal wa al-Ahwâ’ wa an Nihal, with the aim of setting a course for the development of reasoned dialogue between religions based on the personal thinking of someone prominent in the history of Islam in Andalusia. The paper also seeks to understand Ibn Hazm’s ideas about religions in order to seek alternative ideas about ideas regarding the methodology of studying religion as well as adding hypotheses that will enrich the theory of dialogue between religions.

The methodology used in this study is a qualitative methodology at towards library research and analysis of written works along with documentation associated with them. The most important works written by Ibn Hazm are titled al-Fashl fî al-Milal wa al-Ahwâ’ wa an Nihal, and as such have been selected by the author as primary source data. These works have also been selected because they contain Ibn Hazm’s views about the world’s greatest religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Other books of Ibn Hazm’s essays along with books written by other intellectuals about his life and views have been selected as secondary source material for this research paper.

The analysis of data, in accordance with the form and characteristic of the matter being researched, is a historical and content analysis that has its origins in the results gleaned from library research.

A historical analysis is the author’s chosen methodology to carry out an analysis aimed at finding out as much as possible, using reports and other recorded data, about what was happening at the time Ibn Hazm wrote his works. This involves research of texts relevant to the point in time as well as the subject being researched by the author. Furthermore the historical analysis involves a critical analysis applied when historical facts were uncovered, in particular historical facts related to confirmation, comparison and interpretation. The contents analysis in this study is used to uncover the characteristics of the subject, for example how the shape of Ibn Hazm’s writings was influenced by the environment, education and doctrines prevalent at that time and subsequently.

The study forms a conclusion based on the primary research data selected by the author with support from the secondary data sources. It was discovered in the study that the views hypothesised by Ibn Hazm were influenced and not separate from the socio-political conditions prevalent at the time. As an adherent of persevering textualism Ibn Hazm placed textual epistemology as the prime methodology in carrying out religious study aimed at testing the truth of religion, that is, he used the direct study of the sacred books of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He taught, critically analysed and compared these sacred books extrinsically and drew the conclusion based on the extrinsic form of the books that they were indeed the primary source that laid down the highest authority with regard to religion.

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