Treatment for the Spirit, Refinement of Manners, and Renunciation of Vice


Mudawat al-nafus wa tahdhib al-akhlaq wa al-zuhd fi-al-radha’il (Treatment for the spirit, refinement of manners, and renunciation of vice) is a collection of essays on various philosophical and ethical points by the famous Muslim thinker Ibn Hazm of Andalusia (994−1064). The author portrays the ethical life as the highest attainment of the learned man, and his personal reflections appear to be the distillation of a long life of scholarship, political activism, and eventual withdrawal from the world. In the introduction, he states that he has set down what he has learned with the passage of time during a life of study, reflection, and “avoidance of the worldly pleasures that attract most men and the accumulation of superfluous treasure, which I have roundly criticized.” The work gives practical reasons for desiring knowledge, developing the intellect, and demonstrating true affection in friendship and marriage. It closes with advice on proper conduct during classes and discussions, including polite approaches to questioning instructors and engaging in debate. Ibn Hazm lived during the tumultuous period at the end of Umayyad rule in Spain. He was tenacious in his defense of the declining dynasty and suffered imprisonment and internal banishment for his views. Despite these difficulties, he wrote prolifically, although only a small number of his works have survived. Ibn Hazm is revered as a philosopher and jurist, but he is best known to world literature for his literary masterpiece on virtuous love, Tawq al-Hamamah (The neck ring of the dove). Mudawat al-Nufus is also known by the title al-Akhlaq wa-al-sayar (Ethics and behavior). From footnoted references to al-asl (the original text), this edition appears to be based on a manuscript, which unfortunately remains unidentified. The work also contains footnotes explaining unusual words and concepts. The book was privately printed in Cairo in 1905 by Shaykh Mustafa al-Qabbani al-Dimashqi at the Nile Press.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

Nile Press, Cairo


Title in Original Language

رسالة في مداواة النفوس وتهذيب الأخلاق والزهد في الرذائل

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Physical Description

77 pages ; 21 centimeters


  1. J.W. Fiegenbaum et al., “Ibn Hazm” in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition.

Last updated: January 16, 2015