Why Did Ibn Hazm Begin Studying Islam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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