Ibn al-Rawandi bigraphy, stories - Iranian academic

Ibn al-Rawandi : biography

827 - 911

Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Ishaq al-Rawandi ( ), commonly known as Ibn al-Rawandi ( born 827 CE–died 911 CEAl-Zandaqa Wal Zanadiqa, by Mohammad Abd-El Hamid Al-Hamad , First edition 1999, Dar Al-Taliaa Al-Jadida, Syria (Arabic)), was an early skeptic of Islam and a critic of religion in general. In his early days he was a Mutazilite scholar, but after rejecting the Mutazilite doctrine he adhered to Shia Islam for a brief period and later became a freethinker who repudiated Islam and reviled religion. Though none of his works survived, his opinions had been preserved through his critics, and the surviving books that answered him. The book with the most preserved fragments (through an Ismaili book refuting Al-Rawandi's ideology), is the Kitab al-Zumurrud (The Book of the Emerald).


Abu al-Husayn Ahmad bin Yahya ben Isaac al-Rawandi was born in Rawand:fa:راوند in Kashan, today located in Central Iran or some say in Marv-rud in Greater Khorasan, today located in northwest Afghanistan, about the year 815 CE. According to the Egyptian scholar Abdur Rahman Badawi, Al-Rawandi was born in Basra at the time of the Abbassid Caliph Al-Mamoun.Min Tareekh Al-Ilhad Fi Al-Islam, From the History of Atheism in Islam by Abd-El Rahman Badawi pages: 87-206, Second edition 1991, Sinaa Lil Nasher Egypt (Arabic) His father, Yahya, was a Jewish scholar and convert to Islam, who schooled Muslims in how to refute the Talmud.Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Genealogy to Iqbal Page 636 Al-Rawandi abandoned Islam for atheism and used his knowledge of Islam, learned from his father, to refute the Quran. Al-Rawandi is reviled by Muslims as a result of polemics he authored against all religions.

He joined the Mu'tazili of Baghdad, and gained prominence among them. But then he became estranged from his fellow Mutazilites, and formed close alliances with Shia Muslims and then with non-Muslims (Manichaeans, Jews and perhaps also Christians). He then became a follower of the Manichaean heretic, Muhammad al Warraq in which he wrote several books that criticized revealed religion.


It is generally agreed among Muslims that Ibn al-Rawandi was indeed a heretic, but there is no agreement as to the nature of his heresy. Some look for the roots of his heresy in his connections with Shi'ism, and depict him as a Mutazilite gone wild. Some regard him as an Aristotelian philosopher, while others see him as a radical atheist, and some stress the political challenge he presented to the Islamic polity.

At the same time, scholars try to account for the more positive view of Ibn al-Rawandi in some Muslim sources. Josef van Ess in particular has suggested an original interpretation that aims at accommodating all the contradictory information. Van Ess notes that the sources which portray Ibn al-Rawandi as a heretic are predominantly Mutazilite and stem from Iraq, whereas in eastern texts he appears in a more positive light. As an explanation for this difference, van Ess suggests "a collision of two different intellectual traditions," i.e., those in Iran and in Iraq. He further suggests that Ibn al-Rawandi's notoriety was the result of the fact that after Ibn al-Rawandi left Baghdad, "his colleagues in Baghdad ... profiting from his absence ... could create a black legend." In other words, van Ess believes that Ibn al-Rawandi, although admittedly eccentric and disputatious, was not a heretic at all.

He rejected the authority of any scriptural or revealed religion. This is borne out by citations from his other writings, besides the Kitab al-Zumurrud and The Futility of (Divine) Wisdom (Abath al-hikma).

Subjects discussed in the Kitab al-Zumurrud

Primacy of the intellect

God has bestowed upon human beings the gift of intellect, by which they can judge right and wrong. If what the prophets announce corresponds to what the intellect decrees, then prophets are superfluous. If it contradicts what the intellect decrees, then one should not listen to them.(132) The discussion with the Barahima, the issue of the abrogation of the law, and the question of the possibility of substituting one law for another are also part of this argument.(133) The argument is then applied to Islam in particular.(134)

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine