Muslim jurist and theologian. Born 780, died 855.
A lifelong native of Baghdad, ibn Hanbal played a significant part in the development of Islamic tradition. His work in collecting reliable oral tradition accounts of the life and acts of the Prophet Muhammad (such traditional accounts being called hadith) was finished, after his death, by his son Abdullah (828-903), and forms the basis of one (the smallest) of the four central Sunni-Islamic legal/theological schools. Today, the followers of this tradition are among the most fiercely puritan of the Sunni Muslim schools, and ibn Hanbal's philosophical heirs are found today mostly in Saudi Arabia.
Despite his great efforts on behalf of Islam, ibn Hanbal held views that were not always considered orthodox by his contemporaries. In contravention of the prevailing rationalistic view of Islam held by the Mutazilites, ibn Hanbal maintained that the Qu'ran was not a created object, but rather was of the same transcendent substance and nature as God. For this, he was repeatedly jailed and flogged.