“ON THE WAY OF TRUTH”: IBN ḤAZM’S ṬAWQ AL-ḤAMĀMAH AND THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF LOVE Cover Image
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“ON THE WAY OF TRUTH”: IBN ḤAZM’S ṬAWQ AL-ḤAMĀMAH AND THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF LOVE
“ON THE WAY OF TRUTH”: IBN ḤAZM’S ṬAWQ AL-ḤAMĀMAH AND THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF LOVE

Author(s): Jalal abd Alghani
Subject(s): Epistemology, Middle Ages, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: mediaeval Arabic theory of love; Ibn Ḥazm; Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah; epistemology; al-Jāḥiẓ; Ibn Abī Dāwūd al-Ẓāhirī;

Summary/Abstract: Ibn Ḥazm’s (d. 456/1064) Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah is a sui generis work in the history of mediaeval Arabic culture. Modern scholarship on Ibn Ḥazm’s Ṭawq proceeds along three lines: (1) editing and translating the Ṭawq; (2) explicating the Ṭawq and enquiring into its originality; and (3) looking into the Ṭawq from a comparative perspective. I intend, however, to pursue further the question of the Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah’s uniqueness, and I would also suggest a new reading of the text based on the exposition of its epistemology. My main proposition is that the Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah’s idiosyncracies rest on Ibn Ḥazm’s endeavour to advance an epistemic justification of the concept of love. Ibn Ḥazm stresses that writing on love is beyond any fictional narrative. He underlines the idea that entering into the phenomena of love should adhere to al-ḥaqīqah (the truth) and should avoid any kind of flawed explorations. To arrive at an understanding of the work through the angle of al-ḥaqīqah, Ibn Ḥazm further contends that writing on love should be based on three key principles: (i) testimony; (ii) observation; (iii) and knowledge stored in memory. These principles are behind the Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah’s epistemology that renders any writing on love not merely a fictional narrative but a textual attempt to depict the actual human experience. By deploying the principles of epistemology to investigate love, Ibn Ḥazm’s Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah not only modifies the existing genre of writing on love and lovers but also considers some aspects of this emotion that had hitherto evaded literary and scholarly treatment. This paper will explore Ibn Ḥazm’s perspective on the ways of writing on love and manifest his epistemological approach in exploring the essence of this emotion as well as its causes and symptoms.

  • Issue Year: 69/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 37-62
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: English