The Life of Ibn Hanbal is a translation of the biography of Ibn Hanbal by the Baghdad preacher, scholar, and storyteller Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H/1200 AD), newly abridged for a paperback readership by translator Michael Cooperson Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H/855 AD), renowned for his profoundknowledge of hadiths-the reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds-is a majorfigure in the history of Islam.
He was famous for living according to his ownstrict interpretation of the Prophetic model and for denying himself the mostbasic comforts, even though his family was prominent and his city, Baghdad, wasthen one of the wealthiest in the world.
Ibn Hanbal's piety and austerity madehim a folk hero, especially after he resisted the attempts of two caliphs toforce him to accept rationalist doctrine.
His subsequent imprisonment andflogging is one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval Islamic history, and hisprincipled resistance influenced the course of Islamic law, the rise ofSunnism, and the legislative authority of the caliphate. Set against the background of fierce debates over the role of reason and the basis of legitimate government, it tells the formidable life tale of one of the most influential Muslims in history.