Persians in al-Andalus

andalusiabannerWe have already written an article about the Persian origin of the great Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm of Andalusia. The following great article by the bellandalus blog sheds some more light on more famous Persian Sunni scholars of Andalusia

There really needs to be a comprehensive book or article written about the migration of Persians to al-Andalus in the early medieval period and their impact on the cultural and intellectual developments there. It is a little-known fact that there were several waves of migration (primarily of scholars) from the central Islamic lands to the Iberian peninsula between 800 and 1100. The evidence for such a phenomenon definitely exists and we can even trace the origins of a few key personalities, such as Ziryab (d. 857) and Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), back to the Iranian plateau. For the latter, the great fourteenth-century historian al-Dhahabi notes:

“The sea of knowledge, the man with skills and insight, Abu Mohammad, Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Saeed ibn Hazm ibn Ghalib ibn Salih ibn Khalf ibn Madan ibn Sufyan ibn Yazid, of Persian descent, then Andalusi (Spanish), Cordoban (Qurtubi).”

قال الذهبي في بداية ترجمته :

 الإمام الأوحد البحر ، ذو الفنون والمعارف ، أبو محمد ، علي بن أحمد بن سعيد بن حزم بن غالب بن صالح بن خلف بن معدان بن سفيان بن يزيد ، الفارسي الأصل ، ثم الأندلسي القرطبي اليزيدي ( المصدر : سير أعلام النبلاء  18 /184

Another important scholar of Persian descent in al-Andalus was ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn Ja’far al-Farisi. The following is the entry about him taken from the famous biographical dictionary, the Kitab al-Silla, written by the Andalusi scholar Ibn Bashkuwal (d. 1183):

“His name was: Abd al-Aziz ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Muhammad ibn Khuwast al-Farisi al-Baghdadi.

He lived in Anda (?) in al-Andalus and was known as Abu al-Qasim.

While in the East, he learned from the scholars Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Razzaq al-Tammar, Ismail al-Saffar, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Naqqash and others. Among those who narrated [hadith] from him was Abu al-Walid ibn al-Faradi (d. 1012), the Qadi of Valencia, who met him in that city in Rabi al-Awwal of 400 A.H. [October 1009]. He had first arrived in al-Andalus as a merchant in the year 350 A.H. [961]. According to Hakam ibn Muhammad, he had been born in Rajab of 320 A.H. [932].

He was among the most distinguished scholars, having studied many of the sciences and specializing in Qur’anic sciences and the interpretation of visions. He narrated [hadith] from Abu Zayd al-Marwazi, Abu Ishaq al-Qurtubi, Abu Bakr al-Abhari, Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, Abu Tamam the legal theorist, Abu Bakr al-Adfawi, Abu Ahmad al-Samiri, al-Hasan ibn Rashiq, [Abu al-Hasan Ali] al-Daraqtuni, and Ibn al-Ward. He departed from Denia by ship in 1036, with the intention of sailing for the East. However, he was killed by the Christians en route. This was in 427 A.H. [1036], at which point he was nearly 100 years old.”

[Ibn Bashkuwal, Kitab al-Silla (Cairo, 2008), Vol. 2: 21-22]

The Kitab al-Silla contains literally dozens of more entries for various scholars of Persian origin who lived in al-Andalus. If I come across any others particularly worthy of mention, I’ll definitely share.