THE REPORT BY IBN RAJAB HANBALI (795 AH) ON STAGNATION OF ISLAMIC SCIENCES IN THE EIGHTH CENTURY AH (FAL 'ILM AL-SALAF 'ALÁ 'ILM AL-KHALAF)
Undoubtedly, the study on finding the causes of stagnation of Islamic sciences from the sixth century onward is among the important and valuable issues in the history of Islamic education. This was a period in the history of science when the glittering light of Islamic sciences went out and the evolution and growth that we see in the third, fourth and even fifth centuries left the Islamic society. The issue of stoppage of the Ijtihad chapter among the Sunni Muslims led to imitation and stagnation and the fanaticism of the four Sunni religions; the leadership of this approach was assumed by Hanbalis (Hanaabilah). In such an atmosphere, freedom of thought was accompanied by heresy and cooperation with the E'tezal school, which is indicated by the investigation of the books of that era.
The present paper, which is based on the report by Ibn Rajab Hanbali (736-795), has been prepared with regard to the report of the book “Faḍl 'Ilm al-Salaf 'alá 'Ilm al-Khalaf”. After briefly reviewing the biography, compilations, teachers, and religious and political conditions of the time of this Hanbali scholar, the amount of his attention to the sciences of his time and his excessive caution and fear concerning new sciences and also reliance solely on the righteous predecessors’ legacy are examined. After classifying sciences into useful and useless (useful vs harmful knowledge) ones, he seeks to reject new sciences. His constant concern about and frequent attacks on new sciences (sciences outside the framework of the Book [scripture] and the Tradition), especially philosophy and theology, and his defense and strong prejudice in this respect should be considered. Accordingly, the above-mentioned book is the full-length mirror of the eighth century AH on the increasing stagnation of Islamic sciences.
Keywords: Ibn Rajab Hanbali; righteous predecessors; stagnation of Islamic sciences; useful science; useless science.
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