Ibn Aqil

Abu al-Wafa Ali Ibn Aqil ibn Ahmad al-Baghdadi (1040-1119) was an Islamic theologian from Baghdad, Iraq. Trained in the tenets of the Hanbali school ("madhab"), the most traditional school of Islamic law, he outraged his teachers by striving to incorporate liberal theological ideas into the tradition. He sought to use reason and logical inquiry to interpret religion, and was influenced by the teachings of the mystic, and universally respected and accepted saint of Islam, al-Hallaj (d. 922). [Abu al-Mughith ibn Mansur ibn Muhammad al-Hallaj was a Persian Sufi missionary. Claimed to have experienced an ecstatic sense of spiritual oneness with God, declaring, "Ana al-haqq" (I am Truth, i.e. God), for which he was executed. Claimed a religious authority greater than that of caliphs and religious scholars due to his possession of divine presence. His execution was delayed due to the popular support he received from the Hanbali masses of Baghdad. al-Hallaj himself was a Hanbali, having studied in Wasit (a Hanbali town) and was often seen praying at the grave of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. See Louis Massignon, "The passion of al-Hallaj".] In 1066 he was appointed professor at the mosque of al-Mansur in Baghdad, but persecution by conservative theologians soon led to his retirement, and in 1072 he was forced to retract his beliefs publicly, due to a threat on his life. It would seem probable however, that even after this public recantation, he still had a great admiration for al-Hallaj. Among his works of jurisprudence that have survived are "Wadih fi usul al-fiqh" and (in part) "Kitab al-funun". [John L. Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press, 2003]

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