World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Amr ibn Ubayd

Article Id: WHEBN0005120471
Reproduction Date:

Title: Amr ibn Ubayd  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 2006 CAF Champions League, Mu`tazila, Wasil ibn Ata, Arab Air Carriers Organization, UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup
Collection: 761 Deaths, Muslim Scholars of Islam, Muslim Theologians, Mutazilites
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Amr ibn Ubayd

Muslim scholar
Amr Ibn Ubayd
Died 761 CE
Era Islamic golden age
Religion Islam
Jurisprudence Mu'tazili
Main interest(s) Islamic theology

Amr Ibn Ubayd ibn Bāb (Arabic: عمرو بن عبيد بن باب‎, died 761) was one of the earliest leaders in the "rationalist" theological movement of the Mu'tazilis, literally 'those who withdraw themselves' - which was founded by Wasil ibn Ata (died 749). A student of the famous early theologian Hasan al-Basri, he led the Mutazilis during the early years of the Abbasid caliphate. He generally followed a quietist political stance toward the Abbasid political establishment.[1]


  • Life 1
    • The Mu'tazila 1.1
  • See also 2
  • References 3


His grandfather had been captured when the Muslims conquered Kabul under Abd Allah ibn Samora in 663 and again in 665. Amr's father had served as a sergeant under al-Hallaj, but by profession he was a weaver; Amr had learned the same craft and thus may have made an early acquantance with Wasil ibn Ata. Their close personal relations are attested by the fact that Wasil married his sister. Doctrinally, they had disagreements in the beginning; Wasil is said to have converted Amr to his Mu'tazilite opinion in a long discussion. More than Wasil, Amr had belonged to the circle of close disciples around Hasan al-Basri, whose Tafseer he transmitted.

The Mu'tazila

According to the Muslim heresiographers, members of the movement adhered to five principles, which were clearly enunciated for the first time by Abu al-Hudhayl. These were: (1) the unity of God; (2) divine justice; (3) the promise and the threat; (4) the intermediate position; and (5) the commanding of good and forbidding of evil (al-amr bil ma'ruf wa al-nahy 'an al munkar). It is said that when Hasan al-Basri was questioned about the position of the Muslim who committed a grave sin, his pupil Wasil bin 'Ata' said that such a person was neither a believer nor an unbeliever, but occupied an intermediate position. Hasan was displeased and remarked, 'He has withdrawn from us (i'tazila 'anna)', at which Wasil withdrew from his circle and began to propagate his own teaching. The historicity of this story has been questioned on the ground that there are several variants: according to one version the person who withdrew was Amr ibn Ubayd, and according to another the decisive break came in the time of Hasan's successor Qatada ibn De'ama. Moreover, it is noteworthy that at least one influential member of the Basra school, Abu Bakr al-Asamm, rejected the notion of an intermediate position and argued that the grave sinner remained a believer because of his testimony of faith and his previous good deeds. This was also the view of the Ash'arites.[2]

After his masters death he seems to have contended with Qatada ibn De'ama (died 735) for the leadership of the school. The fact that he lost this competition may explain, to a certain degree, why he became a Mu'tazilte and created a circle of his own. It seems almost certain that Amr did not start playing a major role in the Mu'tazilite movement until after Wasil's death in 749. In about 759 he had to negotiate, as the doyen of the Mu'tazilities, with the caliph al-Mansur concerning the attitude of his adherents toward Nafs az-Zakiya, who had begun propaganda for the cause of the Alids in Iraq. Although there were strong sympathies for al-Nafs al-Zakiya among the Mu'tazilities (probably not so much because the members of the movement believed in the 'Alid pretendent as the true Mahdi, but because of their frustration with Abbasid rule), Amr ibn Ubayd managed to remain neutral. He died before the outbreak of rebellion.[3]

See also


  1. ^ John Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press 2003
  2. ^ Ash'ariyya and Mu'tazila,
  3. ^ Van Ess, Une lecture à rebours de l'histoire du mu'tazilisme, ch. 5, Revnue d'Etudes Islamiques 47, 1979
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.