EBN ḴALLĀD, ABŪ ʿALĪ MOḤAMMAD BAṢRĪ, Muʿtazilite theologian (d. 2nd half of 3rd/10th century) of the so-called “school of Baṣra,” partisan of the ideas of Abū Hāšem Jobbāʾī. He had been Abū Hāšem’s first disciple at ʿAskar Mokram, then at Baghdad. His own followers included the two future teachers of Qāżī ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Abū ʿAbd-Allah Baṣrī and Abū Esḥāq b. ʿAyyāš (q.v.; Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 222; ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Fażl, pp. 324, 325, 328).
Ebn Ḵallād is best known as the author of a systematic exposition of Muʿtazilite doctrine entitled Ketāb al-oṣūl, on which he subsequently also began a commentary (šarḥ) that he left unfinished; it was completed by ʿAbd-al-Jabbār under the title Takmelat al-šarḥ (cf. Jošamī, fols. 74a, 75a). These two works have apparently not survived, but it is possible to reconstruct their outlines and part of their contents from two later works. One of them is Ketāb zīādāt šarḥ al-oṣūl, consisting of “supplements” compiled by the Zaydī imam Abū Ṭāleb Nāṭeq be’l-Ḥaqq (d. 424/1033) to ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s commentary (University Library, Leiden ms. no. Or. 2949). The other by an unknown author (an attribution to Abū Rašīd Nīšāpūrī not having been accepted) was probably composed as a supplement to the Ebn Ḵallād’s Šarḥ; two important fragments of it have been preserved, one corresponding roughly to chapters 1-6 of the Ketāb al-oṣūl (Grand Mosque, Ṣanʿāʾ, ms. no. ʿElm al-kalām 193; ed. Abū Rīda as Fi’l-tawḥīd), the other partly corresponding to chapters 13-16 (British Library, London, ms. no. Or. 8613; ed. R. Martin, forthcoming; on all that, cf. Gimaret).
The personal role of Ebn Ḵallād in elaborating the “Basran” tenets seems to have been quite small. ʿAbd al-Jabbār cited him only four times in the Moḡnī; in the Masāʾel of Abū Rašīd his name appears only once. His main contribution appears to have been pedagogical, explaining, and commenting on the doctrine developed by Abū ʿAlī and Abū Hāšem. Although the closest disciple of the latter, he diverged from him on several points: the possibility of seeing a body without seeing its color (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Mōḡnī IV, p. 75, ll. 5-7; cf. Ebn Mattawayh, p. 248), that speech needs structure (benya) in order to exist (Abū Rašīd, p. 153; Ebn Mattawayh, p. 348), the definition of subsistence (rezq; ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Mōḡnī XI, p. 30). His most original thesis was that speech can exist only in the air (hawāʾ; Abū Rašīd, p. 154, which should be read ellā fī jesm; Ebn Mattawayh, p. 349)
Qāżī ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Fażl al-eʿtezāl, ed. F. Sayyed, Tunis, 1974, p. 319.
Idem, Moḡnī, 16 vols., Cairo, 1960-65, XII, p. 494; XIII, p. 155.
Abū Rašīd Nīšābūrī, Masāʾel fī’l ḵelāf bayna’l-Baṣrīyīn wa’l-Baḡdādīyīn, ed. M. Zīāda and R. Sayyed, Beirut, 1979.
Ebn Mattawayh, Taḏkera fī aḥkām al-jawāher wa’l-aʿrāż, ed. S. N. Loṭf and F. BadīrʿūÚn, Cairo, 1975, p. 596; Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, ms. no. C.104, fols.194a, 203a, 212a.
D. Gimaret, “Les Uṣūl al-ḫamsa du qāḍī ʿAbd al-Ğabbār et leurs com-mentaires,” Annales islamologiques 15, 1979, pp. 68-73.
Jošamī, Šarḥ ʿoyūn al-masāʾel, Grand Mosque, Ṣanʿāʾ, ʿElm al-kalām ms. no. 212.
J. Sajjādī, “Ebn-e Ḵallād Baṣrī” in DMBE III, pp. 439-40.
Originally Published: December 15, 1997
Last Updated: December 6, 2011
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