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With Heart, Tongue, and Limbs: Ibn Hazm On the Essence of Faith

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In the Kitāb al-īmān or Book of Faith, a section from Ibn Hazm of Córdoba's major treatise on religions and heresies entitled Al-fasl fi al-milal wa al-ahwā' wa al-nihal, the author uses the exegetic techniques of Zāhirism to lay out what he believes are the essential characteristics that make one a Muslim. Those characteristics fall into three categories: belief held in the heart (tasdīq bi al-qalb), profession of belief with the tongue (iqrār bi al-lisān), and pious work of the body (amal al-jawārih). His intent in the Kitāb al-īmān is to attack the concept of religious tolerance and to reaffirm that being a Muslim means being different from Jews and Christians in thought, word, and deed. His use of Zāhirism as a guide to reading scripture directly supports his attack on Christianity and Judaism.

Affiliations: 1: University of Nebraska, Lincoln


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