Who was Ibn Kammuna (died 1284)?
1.He was a 13th century Jewish physician, philosopher and critic of Islam who lived almost all his life in Baghdad.He wrote his most famous book,a book against Islam,under the rule of the non-Muslim Mongols in Baghdad.The non-Muslim Mongols conquered Irak and Iran by 1258 under Hulagu Khan,grandson of Genghis Khan(1162-1227),the founder of the Empire.
2.And so for more than 30 years Islamic law was replaced by Mongol legislation that gave equality under the law to the Jews,Christians,Zoroastrians and of course the Mongols,who had their own religion,with the Muslim majority.Then the Mongol ruler became Muslim and the equality ended,Islamic law returned.
About the Mongol conquest of Irak and Iran
The Mongol army under Hulegu Khan of 1 million soldiers laid siege and conquered Baghdad,the center of the Muslim world.They killed 1 million people there and captured the caliph.A carpet was wrapped around him and horses stepped on the carpet till he died.It was because there was the belief that if the caliph’s blood was spilled into the ground it would be bad luck.
The caliph killed was the last of the Abbasid dynasty (ruled 750-1258).Strangely,when the Abbasids came to power in 750,overturning the Omeyyad dynasty,they captured all the Omeyyad princes the could find,50 of them,killed them all placed a carpet over them and had a grand feast and celebration.
Ibn Kammuna wrote 2 books on religion
1.”Treatise on the Differences between the Rabbanites and the Karaites”
Those are 2 different Jewish groups.
2.”Tanqīḥ al-abḥāth lil-milal al-thalāth”,translated under the title “Examination of the Three Faiths”(1280)
It is a comparative treatise on the three monotheistic religions Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and challenges the legitimacy of Islam where he states that there is an incompatibility between Islamic law-Sharia and the principles of justice.He says that shows the claim of Muhammad being a perfect man is false and that people convert to Islam for insincere motives.
How the book is divided
1.It begins with a chapter about prophecies in general.
2.Then 3 chapters,one is about Judaism,the other about Christianity and the third about Islam.
3.Ibn Kammuna is favorable to Judaism,skeptical about Christianity and severe against Islam.
The Reasons the book by Ibn Kammuna says as to why people convert to Islam:
“That is why, to this day:
1.We never see anyone converting to Islam unless in terror
2.Or in quest of power
3.Or to avoid heavy taxation
4.Or to escape humiliation
5.Or if taken prisoner
6.Or because of infatuation with a Muslim woman, or for some similar reason.
7.Nor do we see a respected, wealthy, and pious non-Muslim well versed in both his faith and that of Islam, going over to the Islamic faith without some of the aforementioned or similar motives.”
Ibn Kammuna also judges Muhammad
He says that Muhammad was unoriginal and imperfect:
“We will not concede that Muhammad added to the knowledge of God and of obedience to him anything more than what was found in the earlier religions.”
“There is no proof that Muhammad attained perfection and the ability to perfect others as claimed.”
Ibn Kammuna was almost killed by a Muslim mob because of his book against Islam
Four years after the publication of the book there was rioting in Baghdad because of it, forcing Ibn Kammuna to flee that city in secret.It was recorded by the 13th century historian Ibn al-Fuwati.
“In this year 1284 it became known in Baghdad that the Jew Ibn Kammuna had written a volume in which he displayed impudence in the discussion of the prophecies. God keep us from repeating what he said.
The infuriated mob rioted, and massed to attack his house and to kill him. The amir…and a group of high officials rode forth to the Mustansiriya madrassa, and summoned the supreme judge and the law teachers to hold a hearing on the affair. They sought Ibn Kammuna but he was in hiding. That day happened to be a Friday. The supreme judge set out for the prayer service but as the mob blocked him, he returned to the Mustansirya.
The amir stepped out to calm the crowds but these showered abuse upon him and accused him of being on the side of Ibn Kammuna, and of defending him. Then, upon the amir’s order, ii was heralded in Baghdad that, early the following morning outside the city wall, lbn Kammuna would be burned. The mob subsided, and no further reference to Ibn Kammuna was made. As for lbn Kammuna, he was put into a leather-covered box and carried to Hilla where his son was then serving as official. There he stayed for a time until he died.”
Why did it take 4 years after publishing his book for Ibn Kammuna to be attacked?
Several reasons have been proposed:
1.The book was only for a limited circle of readers and then news of it spread.
2.Another is that the people of Baghdad were exasperated that Ahmad Tekuder (ruled 1282-1284) the first Mongol ruler who had converted to Islam,had just been overturned by his nephew Arghun,who was a Buddhist.
3.Another is that Ibn Kammuna’s protector,Vizier Al-Juwayni,had just been executed by Arghun and they were persecuting all who were the friends and relatives of the dead vizier.
How Islamic rule returned
1.In 1258 all Iran and Irak were under the Mongols,under Hulagu Khan and Islamic law was abolished.
2.He was succeeded by his son Abaqa in 1265.
3.In 1282 Abaqa’s brother,Ahmed Tekuder,who had converted to Islam,began ruling.
4.Ahmed was overturned by his nephew Arghun,a Buddhist,in 1284.
5.Arghun died in 1295 and after alot of intrigue Mahmud Ghazan (1271–1304),son of Arghun,who had converted to Islam,began ruling in 1295 and imposing Islamic law.
The Death of Ibn Kammuna
From what we know he died in 1284 shortly after having escaped,in Hilla,in his son’s house.
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