Ibn al-Malahimi

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Rukn al-dīn Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad al-Malāḥimī al-Khuwārazmī (died 19 October 1141) was a Khwārazmian Islamic theologian of the Muʿtazilī and Ḥanafī schools.[1] He wrote six works known by title, but of these only one is completely preserved and two partially; the rest are lost.[2]

Rukn al-dīn Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad al-Malāḥimī al-Khuwārazmī
EraIslamic golden age
Main interest(s)Uṣūl al-fiqh
Notable work(s)al-Fāʾiq fī l-usūl
OccupationScholar of Islam
Muslim leader

Ibn al-Malāḥimī was born before 1090 in Khwārazm. He was probably active in Gurgānj, the capital of Khwārazm. In his time, Muʿtazila was popular among the Khwārazmian Ḥanafī, whereas it had been suppressed in most Muslim countries. He initially belonged to the Bahshamiyya branch of Muʿtazila, but adopted the theology of Abu ʾl-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī after its introduction to Khwārazm. He helped turn the school of al-Baṣrī into a serious rival to the Bahshamiyya in Khwārazm. He taught theology to al-Zamakhsharī, who in turn instructed him in Qurʾanic exegesis.[3]

Ibn al-Malāḥimī was a staunch opponent of metaphysics. He saw in the teachings of Ibn Sīnā a dilution of Islam's prophetic character. Christianity, in his view, was the paradigm of a religion of divine revelation and prophecy compromised by Greek philosophy. He wrote a compendium of the Muʿtazilī theology of al-Baṣrī, The Reliable Book on the Principles of Religion,[a] but only the first section and part of another have been preserved. He wrote an abridged version of his compendium, The Excellent Book on the Principles of Religion,[b] completed in December 1137. This work survives complete.[3] In it he mentions two other works[c] of his that are not known to have been preserved.[2] Between 1137 and 1141, he completed a third book, The Gift to the Theologians Concerning the Refutation of the Philosophers,[d] a comprehensive attack on Islamic philosophy, especially the teachings of Ibn Sīnā. Philosophy, he argues, will be used to justify false beliefs, as the Christians do with the Trinity and Incarnation.[3] This work once circulated as far afield as Yemen, but is now lost.[2] His last work, The Abstract,[e] is an abridged version of a work by al-Baṣrī on legal method completed by June 1140. It survives in a single incomplete manuscript.[3]


  • Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad al-Malāḥimī (2012). Wilferd Madelung (ed.). Kitāb al-muʿtamad fī uṣūl al-dīn. Tehran: Miras-e Maktoob. doi:10.1163/9789004405974. Published online by Brill, 2019{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)


  1. ^ Arabic: al-Muʿtamad fī uṣūl ̣al-dīn.
  2. ^ al-Fāʾiq fī l-uṣūl.
  3. ^ Kitāb al-Ḥudūd and Jawāb al-masāʾil al-Iṣfahāniyya
  4. ^ Tuḥfat al-mutakallimīn fī l-radd ʿalā l-falāsifa.
  5. ^ al-Tajrīd.


  1. ^ Ansari & Schmidtke 2013, p. 90.
  2. ^ a b c Madelung 2019, pp. v–xvi.
  3. ^ a b c d Madelung 2011.


  • Ansari, Hassan; Schmidtke, Sabine (2013). "The Muʿtazilī and Zaydī Reception of Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī's Kitāb al-Muʿtamad fī Uṣūl al-Fiqh: A Bibliographical Note". Islamic Law and Society. 20: 90–109.
  • Madelung, Wilferd (2011). "Ibn al-Malāḥimī". In David Thomas; Alex Mallett; Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala; Johannes Pahlitzsch; Mark Swanson; Herman Teule; John Tolan (eds.). Christian–Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History, Volume 3 (1050–1200). Leiden: Brill. pp. 440–443.