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The Extremadura was changing political boundaries.

However, the 12th Century Renaissance was about to be born.

The crucible for that renaissance was a man called ibn Rushd.

The exact year was 1126 AD.

He was born in Cordoba, Andalusia.

He was formally named Abul Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd.

We refer to him as Averroes.

 

ibn Rushd

Before I get ahead of myself I should state the context of the era that Averroes lived in. This is not an easy task and I hope not to confuse you with detail. However, I will do my best to keep the following context honest, concise and without malice.

Andalusia was in an almost constant state of upheaval. The political thinking and warring factions originated from three distinctly different areas.

They were the Arabic East, the Maghreb of northern Africa and the Christian northern section of Iberia.

The philosophies of that time also varied. There were themes that rested on the theology of Islam. These themes were also used to decide cases of law. The legal scholars and judiciary decided cases based on this theological philosophy.

However, keep in mind that the intellectuals and those in power did not think of this as a philosophy. In fact, they looked askance at the concept of philosophy. Their theological philosophy, if I may call it that, was based on the Revelation given to Mohammed. Several branches of legal doctrine were also born from this.

Additionally, there were varieties of this doctrine; some were more conservative than others. The most conservative came with the Berbers from the Maghreb when they invaded southern Iberia. Even in those instances, as there were several invasions, the level of conservative legal doctrine varied. Those concepts also changed over time; often becoming more liberal.

One line of thought was that these conservative doctrines were necessary and natural for the invading Berbers. The reason offered was that the mentality was more militaristic than intellectual. Valuable time and efforts could not be squandered arguing over details.

Therefore the Islamic doctrines, previously defined, served well to settle legal matters.

 

Tomorrow: The Maliki School of Jurisprudence

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