'ABD al-JABBAR b. AHMAD b. 'Abd al-Jabbar al-HamaJani al-Asadabadi, Abu 'l-Hasan, Mu'tazilite theologian, in law a follower of the Shafi'i school. Born about 3t5, he lived in Baghdad, until called to Rayy, in 367/978, by the sahib Ibn 'Abbad, a staunch supporter of the Mu'tazila. He was subsequently appointed chief qadi of the province; hence he is usually referred to in later Mu'tazili literature as qadi al-qudat. (For some anecdotes on his relations with Ibn 'Abbad see Yaqut, Irshad, ii, 31t, 314). On the death of Ibn 'Abbad, he was deposed and arrested by the ruler, Fakhr al-Dawla, because of a slighting remark made by him about his deceased benefactor (Irshad, i, 70-1, ii, 335). No details seem to be available about his later life, and we do not seem to know, for instance, whether he was re-instated in his office. He died in 415/10t5.

His main dogmatic work is the enormous al-Mughni, of which the greater part has been preserved (in San'a, see: Fihris Kutub al-khizana al-Mutawakkiliyya, 103-4; some volumes in Cairo, brought from Ďan'a, see: kh. Y. Nami, al-Ba'tha al-Misriyya li Taswir al-Makktutat al-'Arabiyya, Cairo 195t, 15). Another important handbook of his dogmatics, al-Muhit bi'l-Taklif, was compiled by his pupil Ibn Mattawayh [q.v.]. Several volumes in Ďan'a, Fihris, 10t (vol. i, Berlin 5149; Taymuriyya, 'Aqa'id 357; fragments in Leningrad, see A. Borisov, Les manuscrits mu'tazilites de la Bibliotheque publique de Leningrad, Bibliografiya Vostoka, 1935, 63-95). His monograph on prophecy (Tathbit Dala'il Nubuwwat Sayyidina Muhammad, Shehid 'Ali Pasha 1575, cf. H. Ritter, Isl., 19t9, 4t) contains also important discussions of the views of other schools, especially those of the Shi'a. Another important dogmatic treatise seems to be his Sharh al-Usul al-khamsa (Vat. 10t8). For other writings that have come down to us, cf. Brockelmann. It is not only from his own works, however, that his system can be reconstructed. All the writings of the latter Mu'tazila--including the Zaydi writers on dogmatics; as a matter of fact, his own books, too, have been preserved
mainly by the Zaydis of Yaman--are full of reports on his opinions. He was the chief figure in the last phase of Mu'tazilism, but his teaching has not yet been studied. 
(S.M. Stern)


Abu Sa'id al-Bayhaqi, Sharh 'Uyun al-Masa'il, MS Leiden, Landberg t15, fol. 1t3v--1t5v, whence Ibn al-Murtada, (al-Mu'tazila, Arnold), 66 ff.
al-khatib al-Baghdadi,qTa'rikh Baghdad, xi, 113 ff.
al-Subki, tabaqat, iii, 114, t19-t0
Ibn al-Athir, viii, 510-1, ix, 77-8, t35, x, 95
I. Goldziher, Isl., 191t, t14
M. Horten, Die philosophischen Systeme, 457-6t
A. S. Tritton, Muslim Theology, 191-3. -- 'Abd al-Jabbar's tabaqat al-Mu'tazila was the main source of Abu Sa'id al-Bayhaqi's important historical account of the Mu'tazila in the introduction of his Sharh 'Uyun al-Masa'il. Al-Bayhaqi's account was taken over, in a slightly abbreviated form, by Ibn al-Murtada (ed. Th. W. Arnold).

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Source: from the Encyclopedia of Islam --© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands