Ījī, ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated


ĪJĪ, ʿAUD AL-DĪN AL- (ah 680?756/1281?1356 ce) was a Muslim theologian and jurist of the Il-khanid period. He originated from a well-to-do family of notables and judges living in the town of Īg in the province of Shābankārah, near the strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. As a young man, he tried to make a career at the court of the Mongol dynasty reigning in Iran, the Il-khanids in Tabriz, and succeeded in winning the favor of the powerful vizier Rashīd al-Dīn Fal Allāh, a Jew who had converted to Islam when the Mongols themselves finally gave up their inherited shamanist or Buddhist convictions. Rashīd al-Dīn gave him a teaching post at a mobile "university" that accompanied the Il-khanid ruler Öljeitu during his campaigns, but because al-Ījī was a Sunnī, his position may have become precarious when Öljeitu turned to Shiism in 1310. In the long run, he seems to have returned to Shābankārah, where, after the death of his father in 1317, he had to administer large estates that secured the wealth of his family in the form of a charitable trust (waqf). When Rashīd al-Dīn was executed in 1318, al-Ījī severed his relations with the court and returned only when Rashīd al-Dīn's son Ghiyāth al-Dīn managed to take over the vizierate in 1327; he then became chief judge of the empire. However, with the end of the Il-khanid dynasty in 1335, he moved to Shiraz where he found the protection of the provincial ruler Abū Isāq Injü and became chief judge of the town. His salary was much lower than before, but he enjoyed the atmosphere of an art-loving court and the company of poets such as āfi Shirazi (d. 1390?). This phase of quiet life lasted for almost twenty years until, in 1354, al-Ījī's patron was driven out of Shiraz by Mubāriz al-Dīn, a rival ruler whose sphere of influence also included Shābankārah. Al-Ījī therefore prudently knotted secret connections with the new man and escaped to his native town shortly before Shiraz was captured. His treason did not, however, go unnoticed. Apparently at the initiative of a former adherent of Abū Isāq Injü, he was imprisoned in a fortress near Īg and died there in 1356.

Al-Ījī was a prolific writer. Many of his works are dedicated to Ghiyāth al-Dīn or Abū Isāq. Intended as systematic handbooks for teaching in high schools, they have no claims to originality, but they are well structured and reflect the long scholarly tradition of the Muslim East, which had never been completely interrupted by the Mongol invasion. They cover the disciplines of scholastic theology, jurisprudence (according to the Shāfiʿī school), Qurʾanic exegesis, rhetoric and dialectics, ethics, and, to a certain extent, historiography. Their popularity is attested by the great number of commentaries on them. Some of them are still used in religious universities such as al-Azhar in Cairo. They have, however, been almost completely neglected in Western scholarship. The most important work among them is the Kitāb al-mawāqif (Book of stations), a concise summa theologica that, after the example of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, explains traditional Ashʿarī doctrine in philosophical terms borrowed from Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). It consists of six books, of which only the last two deal strictly with theological problems, which are subdivided into matters depending on reason (the essence of God and his attributes) and on revelation (eschatology, belief and sin, and so forth). The first four books are concerned with the general conceptual framework of theological discourse: epistemology, philosophical principles (such as necessity, possibility, eternity, and contingence), accidents, and substances.


Further biographical information can be found in my article "Neue Materialien zur Biographie des ʿAudaddīn al-Īgī," Die Welt des Orients 9 (1978): 270283. The Kitāb al-mawāqif was first analyzed in Louis Gardet and Georges C. Anawati's Introduction à la théologie musulmane (Paris, 1948). I have translated and commented upon the first chapter of the Kitāb al-mawāqif, on epistemology, in my Die Erkenntnislehre des ʿAudaddīn al-Īcī (Wiesbaden, 1966).

Josef van Ess (1987)