A fatwā by Ibn Marzūq al-ḥafīd of Tlemcen (d. 842/1439) on the use of human skin
"A fatwā by Ibn Marzūq al-ḥafīd of Tlemcen (d. 842/1439) on the use of human skin" by Camilla Adang
In this talk I shall discuss a fatwā issued by Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Marzūq “al-ḥafīd” (d. 842/1439), a well-known Mālikī jurist of Tlemcen. In this legal opinion, first included in al-Nawāzil al-Māzūniyya by Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā al-Māzūnī (d. 883/1478) and subsequently copied into al-Miʿyār al-muʿrib by al-Wanšarīsī (d. 914/1508), Ibn Marzūq addresses the question of whether human skin may be stripped off and used. The petitioner asks whether the statement of Ibn Ḥazm (traceable to the latter's work Marātib al-ijmāʿ) that there is a consensus forbidding this, is correct and if so, what it is based on. The muftī accepts the prohibition and categorically rejects any kind of mutilation, emphasizing the importance of preserving the dignity of the dead, whether Muslim or unbeliever. Besides the Qurʾān and the ḥadīt, Ibn Marzūq supports his opinion with a host of authoritative Mālikī sources from North Africa and al-Andalus. After a short biographical sketch of Ibn Marzūq, I shall present and analyze the fatwā.
Camilla Adang (PhD Nijmegen, The Netherlands) is Professor of Islamic Studies at Tel Aviv University. Her main fields of research are the history of Islamic thought in North Africa and al-Andalus and the legal, theological and political thought of Ibn Ḥazm of Cordoba in particular. Additional research foci are social and intellectual encounters between Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages and the Ottoman period. She is the author of Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible. From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm (Leiden 1996) and, with Sabine Schmidtke, Muslim Perceptions and Receptions of the Bible: Texts and Studies (Atlanta 2019). She also co-edited several volumes, among them Ibn Ḥazm of Cordoba. The Life and Works of a Controversial Thinker (Leiden 2013), Accusations of Unbelief in Islam. A Diachronic Perspective on Takfīr (Leiden 2015), and Islam at 250. Studies in Memory of G.H.A. Juynboll (Leiden 2020). Her recent and forthcoming publications analyze a series of texts from the fatwā collections of al-Māzūnī and al-Wansharīsī.