ابن حزم وتصنيف الأديان: البدايات الأولية لنظرية ما قبل الدين
(Ibn Hazm and Classification of Religions Preliminary Enquiries into the Theory of Meta-Religion)
This study focuses on Ibn Hazm contribution to the classification of religion. It explains both the structure and the objectives of his classification. The study pays special attention to the time frame and epistemological structures that influenced Ibn Hazm’s project. It shows how his limited information about eastern religions had a negative impact on parts of his classification. Although Ibn Hazm is partially polemical in his account, yet an overall assessment of his efforts shows the real value of the evaluative principles for establishing truth and falsity in religions. This study shows the tremendous impact of Ibn Hazm’s efforts on the history of religion as a contemporary discipline and how the results of his investigations on the Bible have been widely accepted by the scholars of the Biblical Studies. This is because his line of investigation is not limited to a mere description of the religious phenomena, but rather he carried on this endeavor to include an objective evaluation. This exactly what a contemporary scholar of history of religion like Ismail Ragi Al Faruqi discovered in Ibn Hazm this significant contribution and developed it into a full-fledged theory of meta-religion. Perhaps, Al Faruqi’s theory of meta-religion with its evaluative principles is nothing but a genuine effort to complete Ibn Hazm’s project. Obviously, Al Faruqi connected his academic project with phenomenology of religion and made the supposition of meta-religion as a meaningful effort to go beyond the mere description of the religious phenomena. This is where we can safely say he certainly completed Ibn Hazm’s efforts.
Keywords: Ibn Hazm, Classification of Religions, the Theory of meta-religion.