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Hamza b. ‘Ali b. Zuhra al-Halabi

Al-Sayyid Abūl-Makārim ʿIzz al-Dīn Ḥamza b. ʿAlī b. Zuhra al-Ḥusaynī al-Ḥalabī, b. 511/1118 – d. 588/1189) famous as Ibn Zuhra was a Faqih, Usuli, Mutikallim, Nahwi, and one of the great Shi’a scholars of sixth century AH.

He is in possession of a fiqh book by the name of al-Ghunya. He is prominent in thinkers’ viewpoint as Sahib al-Ghunya.  Of his prominent pupils are Shadhan b. Jibra’il Qummi, Muhammad b. Ja’far al-Mashhadi, Ibn Idris al-Hilli.

Birth and Lineage

Ibn Zuhra was born in Aleppo,Sirya in 511/1189 on Ramadan month. He was one of the respectable Sayyids whose lineage goes back to Ishaq b. Ja’far al-Sadiq (a). Because of this, these Sayyids are well-known as Ishaqiyyun. It has been said that his lineage refers to Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a) through 9 or 12 people.

Muhammad Baqir Khwansari has written:

“Ibn Zuhara’s lineage goes back to Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a) through 12 people who all are respectable Sayyids.”

Mirza ‘Abd Allah Afandi Isfahani elaborates on Ibn Zuhra’s lineage:

“Al-sayyid al-‘Izz al-din Abu l-makarim Hamzah b, ‘Ali b. Abi l-mahasin Zuhra b. Abi al-Hasan b. Abi l-mahasin Zuhra b. Abi l-mawahib ‘Ali b. Abi salim Muhammad b. Ibrahim Muhammad al-Naqib b. ‘Ali b. Abi ‘Ali Ahmad b. Abi Ja’far Muhammad b. Abi Abd Allah al-Husayn b. Abi Ibrahim Ishaq al-Mu’tamin b. Abi Abd Allah Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq (a) al-Husayni al-Halabi.”

His Family

Ibn Zuhra was from a respectable family and Twelver Shi’a Sayyids of Aleppo whose great ancestor had migrated from Medina to Harran village around Aleppo. This family had always been the focus of knowledge, superiority, and piety, and many Shi’a scholars have benefited from them. Ibn Zuhra is one of the most prominent of this family. He is so well-known that whenever Ibn Zuhra name is said without a sign or analogy, it obviously refers to him.

Scholarly Position of Ibn Zuhra

Ibn Zuhra has some works in different fields of knowledge; however, only one of his books by the name of Ghunyat al-nuzu’ ila ‘ilmay al-usul wa al-furu‘ has been remained. Ghunya is an admirable masterpiece in an era of stagnancy of Usul and Fiqh. His dauntless criticisms and discords with al-Shaykh al-Tusi in this book have prepared criticizing the ideas of past people. This book embraces three parts including Kalam, Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh.

High-quality discourses in Ghunya represent Ibn Zuhra’s vast knowledge of Usul ‘Ammah and Usul Khassah and his attentiveness.

Some of His Usuli Viewpoints

•        Ibn Zuhara believes pure decree entails neither wujub nor istihbab literally when talking about decree issue, but religiously it entails wujub. Further, the decree religiously signifies fawr (it literally means a state of haste which there is no slowness); however, it literally signifies neither fawr nor tarakhi (i.e. to hesitate), in contrast with what al-Shaykh al-Tusi holds.

•        According to Ibn Zuhra, prohibition also signifies hurma, but prohibition does not signify that the prohibited matter is corrupted. It is contrary to al-Shaykh al-Tusi’s point of view.

•        Universal phrases are not made to denote universal meaning, for these phrases are applied both to give universal and particular meaning. This stand is against to al-Shaykh al-Tusi’s belief.

•        The concept of property in Usul al-Fiqh is not legitimized.

•        Ibn Zuhra explains three conditions concerning the authenticity of repetitive (mutiwatir) hadith:

First, the number of narrators must be so significant that the probability of their agreement on the falsity of Hadith is low. Second, it must be obvious that the narrators have no shared motivation to lie. Third, the narrators must have no doubt about what they narrate.

•        Khabar Wahid (a hadith which is not repetitive) does not bring certainty, and is approximately reliable just in case the narrator is ‘Adil. Moreover, it is reasonably jay’iz to conform to a wahid hadith, yet religiously, there is no reason to conform with wahid hadith. In this case, he is in disagreement with al-Shaykh al-Tusi while agreeing with al-Sayyid al-Murtada.

•        About analogy (qiyas) and ijma’, he accepts the prominent idea of Twelver Shi’a.

Ibn Zura in the View of Other Scholars

Al-Shaykh al-Hur al ‘Amili Says:

“He was a learned man, a scholar, a reliable and honorable person, and possesses plenty of works.”

Al-‘Allama al-Majlisi refers to him as a perfect scholar.

Muhaddith Nuri has written:

“Hamza b. ‘Ali b. Zuhra is a great respectful faqih, well known as Sahib al-Ghunya. He, his father, his ancestor, his brother, and his nephew are all great faqihs of us, and their family is so great and respectful in Aleppo.”

Muhaddith Qummi Says:

“Ibn Zuhra al-Halabi is a great scholar, an honorable learned man, and a well-known faqih who has many works in fields of Imama, fiqh, and nahw.”

His Teachers

•  ‘Ali b. Zuhra al-Halabi, his father

•  Al-Sayyid Abu l-mahasin Zuhra al-Halabi, his ancestor

•  Abu Mansur Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Mansur Naqqash Musili

•  Abu ‘Abd Allah Husayn b. Tahir b. Husayn, who has narrated from Shaykh Abu l-futuh

His Pupils

•  ‘Abd allah b. ‘Ali b. Zuhra, his brother

•  Sayyid Muhyi al-din Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah, his nephew

•  Shadhan b. Jibra’l Qummi

•  Shaykh Muhammad b. Ja’far al-Mashhadi, the author of al-Mazar

•  Shaykh Mu’in al-din Salim b. Badran Misri Mazani

•  Ibn Idris al-Hilli, the author of al-Sara’ir

•  ‘Izz al-din Abu l-Harath Muhammad b. Hasan Baghdadi

His Works

Ghunyat al-nuzu’ ila ‘ilmay al-usul wa al-furu’, famous as al-Ghunya, his most prominent book which has a complete course of usul al-fiqh and demonstrative fiqh.

  1. Al-I’tirad ala al-kalam al-warid min Hims
  2. Al-Jawab ‘amma dhikarah mataran
  3. Al-Jawab ‘an al-kalam al-warid min nahiyya al-Jibil
  4. Jawab al-masa’il al-warida min Baghdad
  5. Qabas al-anwar fi nusra al-‘itra al-akhyar
  6. Jawab al-kitab al-warid min Hims
  7. Mas’ala fi al-radd ‘ala al-munajjimin
  8. The problem of prohibiting fuqqa’
  9. The problem regarding that God is jabbar and hayy (all-alive)
  10. Examining the problem of nikah mut’a being halal
  11. A treatise about the problem of thinking and reasoning
  12. Al-Nokat
  13. Disputing philosophical problems

Demise

He passed away in Rajab month, 585 AH/1189 at the age of 74, and was buried on the foot of Jawshan Saghir Mountain.

On his tomb it is inscribed:

In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful

This is the respectful tomb of Abi l-Makarim Hamza b. ‘Ali b. Zuhra b. ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Ishaq b. Ja’far al-Sadiq, peace be upon him and his ancestors and his offspring and purified ‘a’imma, and his death was in 585 AH (God bless him).

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