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Hayy Ibn Yaqzhan

Hayy Ibn Yaqzhan

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Published by alif fikri

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Published by: alif fikri on Oct 16, 2008
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12/11/2012

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THE
HISTORY
OF
6,
Translated
from
the Arabic bySIMON
OCKLEY
Revised,
with
an
Introduction byA.
S.
FULTON
FREDERICK
A.
STOKES COMPANYPUBLISHERS
 
Printed
in
Great Britain
at
The
Westminster Press, London,
W.9
and bound
by
A.
W. Bain
&
Co.,
Ltd.
INTRODUCTION
T
HIS
little philosophical romance,
one
of themost interesting works of the Middle Ages,was written in Muhammadan Spain towardsthe end of the twelfth century.Since the early days of Muslim conquest,when the Arabs forced their way along NorthAfrica and in
7
I
I
crossed into Andalusia, thoseregions had seen the rise and fall of manyMuslim states, varying in territorial extent and
not
of uniform doctrinal complexion. At theperiod we now speak of the puritanic Berberdynasty of Almohads dominates the whole stage,and Abu Ya‘qub Yusuf, claiming the proudtitle Commander of the Faithful, second of hisline, rules from his capital, the City of Morocco,over all North Africa, from the Atlantic shore
to
the borders
of 
Egypt,
as
well
as
a
large tractof Southern Spain. This empire he inheritedfrom his father, ‘Abd
al-Mu’min,
who hadconquered it in his own lifetime in
a
series of brilliant campaigns lasting about thirty years,
and
most of it had been torn from the grasp
of 
another great Berber house, the Almoravids.Except in the Balearic Islands the power
o
the
 
INTRODUCTION
Almoravids was now extinct. Their sultans hadalways formally recognised the supremacy of the ruling Caliph at Baghdad. Abu Ya‘qub,however, like all his house, brooked no dictationfrom
the
Eastern
Caliphate-either
temporal
or
spiritual.
He
was lord of the Muslim West, andthe religious doctrine on which his empire
.
rested
was that laid down by his spiritualancestor and founder of the Almohad sect, theBerber Mahdi Ibn
Tumart,
one of the manyMahdis or Rightly Guided Ones of Islamichistory, divinely sent to fill the earth with justice, who died in
I I
30
(or
I
I
2
8)
and whosegrave
at
Tinmal
in
the Atlas mountains wasnow
a
holy place.Briefly, this reformed doctrine demanded
two
things: in belief,
a
purely spiritual concep
-
tion of Allah; in conduct,
a
literal acceptanceof Koranic teaching. In the first place everyanthropomorphic element must be swept out of religion
;
secondly, Muhammadan law must bebased
on
nothing but the actual statements of the Koran and the words and deeds
o
theProphet Muhammad
as
transmitted by authenticTradition.
Reasoning,” said the Mahdi,
canhave no place in the divine Law.” The name of the sect
wasGZ-Muwahhidun, i.e.
 the Unitarians,
or in its Spanish form,
AZmohades.
Any Muslimswho rejected its puritan principles were destined
INTRODUCTION
for hell
-
fire and must be helped thither
at
everyopportunity by the swords of the faithful; in
-
deed, in the eyes of the Almohads, the spiritualcondition
of 
such heretics was just
as
hopeless
as
that
of 
the Christians, who had by this timesucceeded, to the vexation of Islam,
in
restoringtheir sway over much the larger part of theSpanish peninsula. The first three centuries of Muslim rule in Spain had been distinguishedon the whole by
a
high level
of 
culture andreligious tolerance unparalleled anywhere incontemporary Christendom. But these later in
-
vasions from Africa, first by the Almoravids andthen by the Almohads, established
a
regime
o
Berber fanaticism, the brunt of which fellcruelly on the non
-
Muslim inhabitants andcompelled many of them
to
fI
ee for refuge intoNorthern Spain and Provence.In view of this ruthless theology which theCaliph publicly enforced, it is somewhat
of 
a
surprise
to
discover that his private delight wasphilosophical speculation and the society of thinkers far removed from orthodoxy. But
of 
this we have abundant evidence.
In
his schemeof life speculation and practical politics appearto have dwelt severely separate. It was one thingto preside, as he often did, over the discussionsof the intelligentsia in Marrakush and
Seville,
but quite another to discharge his office as
Com-
.
7-

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