The Most Famous

WRITERS from Iraq

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This page contains a list of the greatest Iraqi Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 7,302 Writers, 26 of which were born in Iraq. This makes Iraq the birth place of the 38th most number of Writers behind Bulgaria, and Mexico.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Iraqi Writers of all time. This list of famous Iraqi Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Iraqi Writers.

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1. Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780 - 855)

With an HPI of 75.93, Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages on wikipedia.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Arabic: أَحْمَد بْن حَنْبَل, romanized: Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal; November 780 – 2 August 855) was a Sunni Muslim scholar, jurist, theologian, traditionist, ascetic and eponym of the Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence—one of the four major orthodox legal schools of Sunni Islam. The most highly influential and active scholar during his lifetime, Ibn Hanbal went on to become "one of the most venerated" intellectual figures in Islamic history, who has had a "profound influence affecting almost every area" of the traditionalist perspective within Sunni Islam. One of the foremost classical proponents of relying on scriptural sources as the basis for Sunni Islamic law and way of life, Ibn Hanbal compiled one of the most significant Sunni hadith collections, al-Musnad, which has continued to exercise considerable influence on the field of hadith studies up to the present time. Having studied jurisprudence and hadith under many teachers during his youth, Ibn Hanbal became famous in his later life for the crucial role he played in the Mihna instituted by the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun toward the end of his reign, in which the ruler gave official state support to the Mu'tazili doctrine of the Quran being created, a view that contradicted the orthodox position of the Quran being the eternal, uncreated word of God. Living in poverty throughout his lifetime working as a baker, and suffering physical persecution under the caliphs for his unflinching adherence to the traditional doctrine, Ibn Hanbal's fortitude in this particular event only bolstered his "resounding reputation" in the annals of Sunni history. Ibn Hanbal later came to be venerated as an exemplary figure in all traditional schools of Sunni thought, both by the exoteric scholars and ascetic Sufis, with the latter often designating him as a saint in their hagiographies. The 12th-century jurist and theologian Ibn al-Jawzi relates he "was the foremost in collecting the prophetic way and adhering to it." He was further praised by the 14th-century historian and traditionist al-Dhahabi, who referred to Ibn Hanbal as "the true shaykh of Islam and imam of the Muslims in his time; the traditionist and proof of the religion'." In the modern era, Ibn Hanbal's name has become controversial in certain quarters of the Islamic world, as the Hanbali reform movement known as Wahhabism has cited him as a principal influence along with the 13th-century Hanbali reformer Ibn Taymiyya. However, it has been argued by certain scholars that Ibn Hanbal's own beliefs actually played "no real part in the establishment of the central doctrines of Wahhabism," as there is evidence, according to the same authors, "the older Hanbali authorities had doctrinal concerns very different from those of the Wahhabis," due to medieval Hanbali literature being rich in references to saints, grave visitation, miracles, and relics. In this connection, scholars have cited Ibn Hanbal's own support for the use of relics as one of several important points on which the theologian's positions diverged from those adhering to Wahhabism. Other scholars maintain he was "the distant progenitor of Wahhabism", who also immensely inspired the similar conservative reform movement of Salafism. Ibn Hanbal's family was originally from Basra, and belonged to the Arab Banu Dhuhl tribe. His father was an officer in the Abbasid army in Khorasan and later settled with his family in Baghdad, where he was born in November 780 CE / Rabi' al-Awwal 164 AH. Ibn Hanbal married two wives in his life and has several children, including an older son, Salih, who later became a judge in Isfahan and authored the notable work al-Sunna. His first wife, Abbasa bint al-Fadl, bore his son Salih. They were together for 20 or 30 years until her passing. Ibn Hanbal remarked about her: "In the 20 or 30 years we were together, we never had a disagreement." His second wife, Rayhana bint Umar, bore his other son Abd Allah and was noted to have one eye. Ibn Hanbal married her as he was impressed by her religious commitment. They were together for seven years. Ibn Hanbal studied extensively in Baghdad, and later traveled to further his education. He started learning jurisprudence under the celebrated judge of Hanafi jurisprudence, Abu Yusuf, who was the student and companion of Abu Hanifa. After completing his studies with him, Ibn Hanbal began traveling throughout Arabia to collect narrations of Muhammad. Ibn al-Jawzi stated Ibn Hanbal had 414 traditionists whom he narrated from. With this knowledge, he became a leading authority in the field, leaving behind an immense encyclopedia of narrations, al-Musnad. After several years of travel, he returned to Baghdad to study Islamic law under al-Shafi'i, with whom he formed a close bond with. Ibn Hanbal became a judge in his old age. Through his students, the Hanbali school of jurisprudence was established, which is now most dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Unlike the other three schools—Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi'i—the Hanbali school remained largely Athari in its theology. In addition to his scholastic enterprises, Ibn Hanbal was a soldier in the war frontiers and performed pilgrimage five times in his life, twice on foot. Ibn Hanbal is known to have been called before the Mihna of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun, who wanted to assert his religious authority by pressuring scholars to adopt the Mu'tazili doctrine of the Quran being created, rather than uncreated. According to Sunni tradition, Ibn Hanbal was one of the foremost scholars in resisting the caliph's interference and his imposed doctrine. Ibn Hanbal's stance led to the Hanbali school establishing itself firmly as not only a school of jurisprudence, but theology as well. Because of Ibn Hanbal's refusal to accept the Mu'tazili doctrine, he was imprisoned in Baghdad throughout the reign of al-Ma'mun. In an incident during the rule of al-Ma'mun's successor, al-Mu'tasim, Ibn Hanbal was flogged to unconsciousness; however, this caused great upheaval in Baghdad and forced al-Mu'tasim to release him. After al-Mu'tasim's death, al-Wathiq became caliph and continued his predecessors' policies of enforcing the Mu'tazili doctrine and, in this pursuit, banished Ibn Hanbal from Baghdad. It was only after al-Wathiq's death and the ascent of his brother al-Mutawakkil, who was much more tolerating of the traditional Sunni beliefs, that Ibn Hanbal was welcomed back to Baghdad. Ibn Hanbal died on Friday, 2 August 855 / 12 Rabi' al-Awwal, 241 AH at the age of 74–75 in Baghdad. Historians relate his funeral was attended by 800,000 men and 60,000 women, and 20,000 Christians and Jews converted to Islam on that day. His grave is located in the premises of the Ahmad ibn Hanbal Mosque in al-Rusafa District. Ibn Hanbal's principal doctrine is what later came to be known as "traditionalist thought," which emphasized the acceptance of only the Quran and hadith as the foundations of orthodox belief. He did, however, believe that it was only a select few who were properly authorized to interpret the sacred texts. Ibn Hanbal understood the perfect definition of God to be that given in the Quran, whence he held that proper belief in God constituted believing in the description which God had given of Himself in the Islamic scripture. To begin with, Ibn Hanbal asserted that God was both Unique and Absolute and absolutely incomparable to anything in the world of His creatures. As for the various divine attributes, Ibn Hanbal believed that all the regular attributes of God, such as hearing, sight, speech, omnipotence, will, wisdom, the vision by the believers on the day of resurrection etc., were to be literally affirmed as "realities" (ḥaqq). As for those attributes called "ambiguous" (mutas̲h̲ābih), such as those which spoke of God's hand, face, throne, and omnipresence, vision by the believers on the day of resurrection, etc. they were to be understood in the same manner. Ibn Hanbal treated those verses in the scriptures with apparently anthropomorphic descriptions as muhkamat (clear) verses; admitting to only a literal meaning. Furthermore, Ibn Hanbal "rejected the negative theology (taʿṭīl) of the Jahmiyya and their particular allegorizing exegesis (taʾwīl) of the Quran and of tradition, and no less emphatically criticized the anthropomorphism (tas̲h̲bīh) of the Mus̲h̲abbiha, amongst whom he included, in the scope of his polemics, the Jahmiyya as unconscious anthropomorphists." Ibn Hanbal was also a critic of overt and unnecessary speculation in matters of theology; he believed that it was fair to worship God "without the 'mode' of the theologoumena (bilā kayf), and felt it was wise to leave to God the understanding of His own mystery. Thus, Ibn Hanbal became a strong proponent of the bi-lā kayfa formula. This mediating principle allowed the traditionalists to deny ta'wil (figurative interpretations) of the apparently anthropomorphic texts while concomitantly affirming the doctrine of the "incorporeal, transcendent deity". Although he argued for literalist meanings of the Qur'anic and prophetic statements about God, Ibn Hanbal was not a fideist and was willing to engage in hermeneutical exercises. The rise of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the Ashab al-Hadith, whose cause he championed, during the Mihna; would mark the stage for the empowerment and centering of corporealist ideas in the Sunnite orthodoxy. Ibn Hanbal also recognized "Divine Form (Al-Şūrah)" as a true attribute of God. He disagreed with those speculative theologians who interpreted the Divine Form as something that represents pseudo-divinities such as the sun, moon, stars, etc. For Ibn Hanbal, to deny that God truly has a Form is Kufr (disbelief). He also believed that God created Adam "according to His form". Censuring those who alleged that this was referring to the form of Adam, Ibn Hanbal asserted: "He who says that Allah created Adam according to the form of Adam, he is a Jahmi (disbeliever). Which form did Adam have before He created him?" One of Ibn Hanbal's most famous contributions to Sunni thought was the considerable role he played in bolstering the orthodox doctrine of the Quran being the "uncreated Word of God" (kalām Allāh g̲h̲ayr mak̲h̲lūḳ). By "Quran," Ibn Hanbal understood "not just an abstract idea but the Quran with its letters, words, expressions, and ideas—the Quran in all its living reality, whose nature in itself," according to Ibn Hanbal, eluded human comprehension. Ibn Hanbal favoured independent reasoning (ijtihad) and rejected blind following (taqlid). His staunch condemnation of taqlid is reported in the treatise Fath al-Majid by Hanbali judge Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1782–1868). Comparing taqlid to polytheism (shirk), Ibn Hanbal states: "I am amazed at those people who know that a chain of narration is authentic, and yet, in spite of this, they follow the opinion of Sufyan, for God says, 'And let those who oppose the Messenger's commandment beware, lest some fitna should befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them.' Do you know what that fitna is? That fitna is shirk. Maybe the rejection of some of his words would cause one to doubt and deviate in his heart, and thereby be destroyed." It is narrated by Abū Bakr al-Marwazī in his Mansak that Ibn Hanbal preferred one to make tawassul or "intercession" through Muhammad in every supplication, with the wording: "O God! I am turning to Thee with Thy Prophet, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad! I am turning with you to my Lord for the fulfillment of my need." This report is repeated in many later Hanbali works, in the context of personal supplication as an issue of jurisprudence. Ibn Qudamah, for example, recommends it for the obtainment of need in his Wasiyya. In the same way, Ibn Taymiyyah cites the Hanbali fatwa on the desirability of Muhammad's intercession in every personal supplication in his Qāida fil-Tawassul wal-Wasiīla where he attributes it to "Imām Ahmad and a group of the pious ancestors" from the Mansak of al-Marwazī as his source. As there exist historical sources indicating patently "mystical elements in his personal piety" and documented evidence of his amiable interactions with numerous early Sufi saints, including Maruf Karkhi, it is recognized that Ibn Hanbal's relationship with many of the Sufis was one of mutual respect and admiration. Qadi Abu Ya'la reports in his Tabaqat: "[Ibn Hanbal] used to greatly respect the Sūfīs and show them kindness and generosity. He was asked about them and was told that they sat in mosques constantly to which he replied, 'Knowledge made them sit.'" Furthermore, it is in Ibn Hanbal's Musnad that we find most of the hadith reports concerning the abdal, forty major saints "whose number [according to Islamic mystical doctrine] would remain constant, one always being replaced by some other on his death" and whose key role in the traditional Sufi conception of the celestial hierarchy would be detailed by later mystics such as Hujwiri and Ibn Arabi. It has been reported that Ibn Hanbal explicitly identified Maruf Karkhi as one of the abdal, saying: "He is one of the Substitute-Saints, and his supplication is answered." Of the same Sufi, Ibn Hanbal later asked rhetorically: "Is religious knowledge anything else than what Maruf has achieved?" Additionally, there are accounts of Ibn Hanbal extolling the early ascetic saint Bishr the Barefoot and his sister as two exceptional devotees of God, and of his sending people with mystical questions to Bishr for guidance. It is also recorded that Ibn Hanbal said, with regard to the early Sufis, "I do not know of any people better than them." Moreover, there are accounts of Ibn Hanbal's son, Sālih, being exhorted by his father to go and study under the Sufis. According to one tradition, Sālih said: "My father would send for me whenever a self-denier or ascetic (zāhid aw mutaqashshif) visited him so I could look at him. He loved for me to become like this." As for the Sufis' reception of Ibn Hanbal, it is evident that he was "held in high regard" by all the major Sufis of the classical and medieval periods, and later Sufi chroniclers often designated the jurist as a saint in their hagiographies, praising him both for his legal work and for his appreciation of Sufi doctrine. Hujwiri, for example, wrote of him: "He was distinguished by devoutness and piety ... Sufis of all orders regard him as blessed. He associated with great Shaykhs, such as Dhul-Nun of Egypt, Bishr al-Hafi, Sari al-Saqati, Maruf Karkhi, and others. His miracles were manifest and his intelligence sound ... He had a firm belief in the principles of religion, and his creed was approved by all the [theologians]." Both non-Hanbali and Hanbali Sufi hagiographers such as Hujwiri and Ibn al-Jawzi, respectively, also alluded to Ibn Hanbal's own gifts as a miracle worker and of the blessedness of his grave. For example, Ibn Hanbal's own body was traditionally held to have been blessed with the miracle of incorruptibility, with Ibn al-Jawzi relating: "When the Prophet's descendant Abū Ja'far ibn Abī Mūsā was buried next to him, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's tomb was exposed. His corpse had not putrified and the shroud was still whole and undecayed." Although there is a perception that Ibn Hanbal or his school were somehow adverse to Sufism, scholars such as Eric Geoffrey have asserted that this opinion is more partial than objective, for there is no proof that the Hanbali school "[attacked] Sufism in itself any more than any other school," and it is evident that "during the first centuries some major Sufis [such as Ibn Ata Allah, Hallaj, and Abdullah Ansari] ... followed the Hanbalite school of law." By the twelfth-century, the relationship between Hanbalism and Sufism was so close that one of the most prominent Hanbali jurists, Abdul Qadir Jilani, was also simultaneously the most famous Sufi of his era, and the Tariqa that he founded, the Qadiriyya, has continued to remain one of the most widespread Sufi orders up until the present day. Even later Hanbali authors who were famous for criticizing some of the "deviances" of certain heterodox Sufi orders of their day, such as Ibn Qudamah, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, all belonged to Abdul Qadir Jilani's order themselves, and never condemned Sufism outright. As has been noted by scholars, it is evident that Ibn Hanbal "believed in the power of relics," and supported the seeking of blessing through them in religious veneration. Indeed, several accounts of Ibn Hanbal's life relate that he often carried "a purse ... in his sleeve containing ... hairs from the Prophet." Furthermore, Ibn al-Jawzi relates a tradition narrated by Ibn Hanbal's son, Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who recalled his father's devotion towards relics thus: "I saw my father take one of the Prophet's hairs, place it over his mouth, and kiss it. I may have seen him place it over his eyes, and dip it in water and then drink the water for a cure." In the same way, Ibn Hanbal also drunk from Muhammad's bowl (technically a "second-class" relic) in order to seek blessings from it, and considered touching and kissing the sacred minbar of Muhammad for blessings a permissible and pious act. Ibn Hanbal later ordered that he be buried with Muhammad's hairs he possessed, "one on each eye and a third on his tongue." Sufi scholar Gibril Haddad reports from al-Dhahabi that Ibn Hanbal "used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet." Citing the aforementioned report of Ibn Hanbal's devotion towards Muhammad's hair, al-Dhahabī then goes onto staunchly criticize whoever finds fault with the practices of tabarruk or seeking blessings from holy relics, saying: "Where is the quibbling critic of Imām Ahmad now? It is also authentically established that Abd Allāh [Ibn Hanbal's son] asked his father about those who touch the pommel of Muhammad's pulpit and touch the wall of his room, and he said: 'I do not see any harm in it.' May God protect us and you from the opinion of the dissenters and from innovations!" When asked by his son Abdullah about the legitimacy of touching and kissing Muhammad's grave in Medina, Ibn Hanbal is said to have approved of both these acts as being permissible according to sacred law. According to Hanbali scholar Najm al-Din Tufi (d. 716 A.H/ 1316 C.E), Ahmad ibn Hanbal did not formulate a legal theory; since "his entire concern was with hadith and its collection". More than a century after Ahmad's death, Hanbali legalism would emerge as a distinct school; due to the efforts of jurists like Abu Bakr al-Athram (d. 261 A.H/ 874 C.E), Harb al-Kirmani (d. 280 A.H/ 893 C.E), 'Abd Allah ibn Ahmad (d. 290 A.H/903 C.E), Abu Bakr al-Khallal (d. 311 A.H/ 923 C.E) etc., who compiled Ahmad's various legal verdicts. Ibn Hanbal also had a strict criterion for ijtihad or independent reasoning in matters of law by muftis and the ulema. One story narrates that Ibn Hanbal was asked by Zakariyyā ibn Yaḥyā al-Ḍarīr about "how many memorized ḥadīths are sufficient for someone to be a mufti [meaning a mujtahid jurist or one capable of issuing independently-reasoned fatwas]." According to the narrative, Zakariyyā asked: "Are one-hundred thousand sufficient?" to which Ibn Hanbal responded in the negative, with Zakariyyā asking if two-hundred thousand were, to which he received the same response from the jurist. Thus, Zakariyyā kept increasing the number until, at five-hundred thousand, Ibn Hanbal said: "I hope that that should be sufficient." As a result, it has been argued that Ibn Hanbal disapproved of independent reasoning by those muftis who were not absolute masters in law and jurisprudence. Ibn Hanbal narrated from Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Qaṭṭān that the latter said: "If someone were to follow every rukhṣa [dispensation] that is in the ḥadīth, he would become a transgressor (fāsiq)." It is believed that he quoted this on account of the vast number of forged traditions of Muhammad. Ibn Hanbal appears to have been a formidable opponent of "private interpretation," and actually held that it was only the religious scholars who were qualified to properly interpret the holy texts. One of the creeds attributed to Ibn Hanbal opens with: "Praise be to God, who in every age and interval between prophets (fatra) elevated learned men possessing excellent qualities, who call upon him who goes astray (to return) to the right way." It has been pointed out that this particular creed "explicitly opposes the use of personal judgement (raʾy) ... [as basis] of jurisprudence." Ibn Hanbal was praised both in his own life and afterwards for his "serene acceptance of juridicial divergences among the various schools of Islamic law". According to later notable scholars of the Hanbali school like Ibn Aqil and Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Hanbal "considered every madhhab correct and abhorred that a jurist insist people follow his even if he considered them wrong and even if the truth is one in any given matter." As such, when Ibn Hanbal's student Ishāq ibn Bahlūl al-Anbārī had "compiled a book on juridicial differences ... which he had named The Core of Divergence (Lubāb al-Ikhtilāf)," Ibn Hanbal advised him to name the work The Book of Leeway (Kitāb al-Sa'a) instead. The following books are found in Ibn al-Nadim's Fihrist: Usool as-Sunnah: "Foundations of the Prophetic Tradition (in Belief)" as-Sunnah: "The Prophet Tradition (in Belief)" Kitab al-`Ilal wa Ma‘rifat al-Rijal: "The Book of Narrations Containing Hidden Flaws and of Knowledge of the Men (of Hadeeth)" Riyad: Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah Kitab al-Manasik: "The Book of the Rites of Hajj" Kitab al-Zuhd: "The Book of Abstinence" ed. Muhammad Zaghlul, Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, 1994 Kitab al-Iman: "The Book of Faith" Kitab al-Masa'il: "Issues in Fiqh" Kitab al-Ashribah: "The Book of Drinks" Kitab al-Fada'il Sahaba: "Virtues of the Companions" Kitab Tha'ah al-Rasul : "The Book of Obedience to the Messenger" Kitab Mansukh: "The Book of Abrogation" Kitab al-Fara'id: "The Book of Obligatory Duties" Kitab al-Radd `ala al-Zanadiqa wa'l-Jahmiyya: "Refutations of the Heretics and the Jahmites" (Cairo: 1973) Tafsir: "Exegesis" Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal Ibn Hanbal has been extensively praised for both his work in the field of prophetic tradition (hadith), jurisprudence, and his defense of orthodox Sunni theology. Abdul-Qadir Gilani stated that a Muslim could not truly be a wali of Allah except that they were upon Ibn Hanbal's creed; despite praise from his contemporaries as well, Yahya ibn Ma'in noted that Ibn Hanbal never boasted about his achievements. There have some alleged views that his juristic views were not always accepted. Qur'anic exegete Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, who at one time had sought to study under Ibn Hanbal, later stated that he did not consider Ibn Hanbal a jurist and gave his views in the field no weight, describing him as an expert in prophetic tradition only. However this must be seen in context of its time, as Ibn Hanbal's school was still at its infancy and not followed by so many people yet compared to the other schools and the students had conflict with Al-Tabari's school. Consider how the Masa'il of Imam Ahmad, i.e. the first written compilation of Ibn Hanbal's question and answers, was written by Abu Bakr al-Khallal who lived around the same time as Al-Tabari, and the first written compilation of Ibn Hanbal's fiqh was Al-Khiraqi who also lived around that same time. The more systematic teaching of Ibn Hanbal's jurisprudence in education facilities only occurred after that point. Likewise, some consider how the Andalusian scholar Ibn 'Abd al-Barr did not include Ibn Hanbal or his views in his book The Hand-Picked Excellent Merits of the Three Great Jurisprudent Imâms about the main representatives of Sunni jurisprudence. However, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr actually has praised Ibn Hanbal's jurisprudence by saying "He is very powerful in the fiqh of the madhab of the ahl al-hadith and he is the Imam of the 'ulama of ahl al-hadith." Be that as it may, the vast majority of other scholars do recognize Ibn Hanbal's prowess as a master jurist worthy of one whose methodology became foundation for its own school of jurisprudence. Imam Shafi'i said, among many other praises, "Ahmad is an Imam in eight fields: he is an imam in hadith, jurisprudence, Al-Qur'an, Al-Lughah, Al-Sunnah, Al-Zuhd, Al-Warak, and Al-Faqr". Al-Dhahabi, one of the most major Islamic biographers, notes in his masterpiece Siyar A'lam Nubala that Ibn Hanbal's status in jurisprudence is alike Al-Layth ibn Sa'd, Malik ibn Anas, Al-Shafi'i, and Abu Yusuf. Muhammad Abu Zahra, a contemporary Hanafi scholar, wrote a book titled Ibn Hanbal: Hayatuhu wa `Asruhu Ara'uhu wa Fiqhuh, and there he mentioned the heavy praises of various other classical scholars towards Ibn Hanbal and his school of jurisprudence. It is reported that Ibn Hanbal has reached the title of al Hafidh of Hadith according to Jamal al-Din al-Mizzi classification, as the title bestowment were approved by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani that Ibn Hanbal has memorized at least 750,000 hadith during his life, more than Muhammad al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj who each memorized 300,000 hadith, and Abu Dawud al-Sijistani who memorized 500,000 hadith. Abu Zur'ah mentions that Ibn Hanbal has memorized 1,000,000 hadith, 700,000 among them are related to jurisprudence. While according to the classification from Marfu' Hadith of Ibn Abbas which recorded by Al-Tabarani, Ibn Hanbal has reached the rank of Amir al-Mu'minin al-Hadith, a rank that only reached by very few Hadith scholars in history such as Malik ibn Anas, Yahya ibn Ma'in, Hammad ibn Salamah, Ibn al-Mubarak, and Al-Suyuti. Ibn Hanbal's Musnad is not, however, ranked among the Kutub al-Sittah, the six big collections of hadith. Ahmad ibn Hanbal was largely depicted in Qatar TV's 2017 Ramadan drama serial "The Imam" starring Mahyar Khaddour in the lead role.

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2. Al-Masudi (896 - 956)

With an HPI of 72.87, Al-Masudi is the 2nd most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.

al-Masʿūdī (full name Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī al-Masʿūdī, أبو الحسن علي بن الحسين بن علي المسعودي), c. 896–956, was a historian, geographer and traveler. He is sometimes referred to as the "Herodotus of the Arabs". A polymath and prolific author of over twenty works on theology, history (Islamic and universal), geography, natural science and philosophy, his celebrated magnum opus The Meadows of Gold (Murūj al-Dhahab) combines universal history with scientific geography, social commentary and biography.

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3. Fuzûlî (1494 - 1556)

With an HPI of 71.47, Fuzûlî is the 3rd most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.

Muhammad bin Suleyman (Azerbaijani: Məhəmməd Süleyman oğlu, مَحمد سلیمان اوغلی; 1483–1556), better known by his pen name Fuzuli (Füzuli, فضولی), was a 16th-century poet who composed works in his native Azerbaijani, as well as Persian and Arabic. He is regarded as one of the greatest poets of Turkic literature and a prominent figure in both Azerbaijani and Ottoman literature. Fuzuli's work was widely known and admired throughout the Turkic cultural landscape from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with his fame reaching as far as Central Asia and India. Born in 1483 in modern-day Iraq, Fuzuli studied literature, mathematics, astronomy, and languages as a child. During his lifetime, his homeland changed hands between the Aq Qoyunlu, Safavid, and Ottoman states. He composed poetry for officials in all three empires, writing his first known poem to Shah Alvand Mirza of the Aq Qoyunlu. Fuzuli wrote most of his poetry during the Ottoman rule of Iraq, which is why he is also sometimes called an Ottoman poet. Throughout his life, he had several patrons but never found one that fully satisfied him—as he wrote—and his desire to join a royal court was never realised. Despite wishing to see places like Tabriz in modern-day Iran, Anatolia, and India, he never travelled outside Iraq. In 1556, Fuzuli died from the plague and was buried in Karbala. Fuzuli is best known for his Azerbaijani works, especially his ghazals (a form of love poem) and his lyric poem Leylī va Macnūn, which is an interpretation of a Middle Eastern story of tragic love. He also wrote dīvāns (collections of poems) in Azerbaijani, Persian, and possibly Arabic. His style has been described as being distinguished by his "intense expression of feelings" and his use of mystic metaphors and symbols. His poetry shows influences from Persian poets like Nizami, Jami, and Hafez, as well as Azerbaijani poets like Habibi and Nasimi. Fuzuli played a role in the development of the Azerbaijani language, with his writings being described as elevating Azerbaijani poetry and language to new heights. His work has been characterised as a reconciliation of Azerbaijani, Persian, and Arabic literary practices, as well as of Shia and Sunni beliefs. He remains a popular poet in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. Fuzuli, whose given name was Muhammad and whose father's name was Suleyman, was born in 1483. He wrote under the name Fuzuli, which can be translated either as "presumptuous, superfluous" or "exalted, superior, virtuous". In his Persian dīvān (a collection of poems), he wrote that he picked this name to stand out, knowing that no one else would choose such a pen name. Little is known about Fuzuli's youth. He was probably a Shia Muslim of Azerbaijani Turkic origin, descending from the Bayat tribe. Although some contemporary sources refer to him as Fuz̤ūlī-yi Baghdādī (lit. 'Fuzuli of Baghdad'), suggesting he was born or raised in that city or its surroundings, other sources cite the nearby cities of Najaf, Hilla, or Karbala as his birthplace. His father was reported to have once been a mufti (Islamic jurist) in Hilla, which suggests that Fuzuli likely came from an educated family. As a child, he studied literature, mathematics, astronomy, and languages, learning Persian and Arabic in addition to his native Azerbaijani. He had an interest in poetry since his childhood, with his poems suggesting that his initial inspiration was drawn from the works of the late-15th-century Azerbaijani poet Habibi. Fuzuli lived in Iraq under the Aq Qoyunlu confederation, which ruled the region between 1470 and the conquest of the region by Shah Ismail I of the Iranian Safavid dynasty in 1508. By the time of the Safavid takeover, Fuzuli was already a popular young poet and had dedicated his first known poem, a Persian qaṣīdah (eulogy), to Shah Alvand Mirza of the Aq Qoyunlu. After 1514, the poet received patronage from Ibrahim Khan Mawsillu, the Safavid administrator of Baghdad, whom he met during Mawsillu's visit to Najaf and Karbala. He dedicated his first known Azerbaijani poem, a mas̱navī (a poem written in rhyming couplets) entitled Bang va Bādah (lit. 'Hashish and Wine'), to Ismail I and two qaṣīdahs and one tarjī'band (a poem with repeating verses) to Mawsillu. After Mawsillu was murdered by his own nephew in 1527, Fuzuli lost his patron and moved to either Hilla or Najaf, likely because he could not find another reliable patron among the Safavid nobles. During this time, he worked as a custodian of the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf. Despite his employment, he did not have much money and relied on different patrons for support. His life between 1527 and 1534 is largely unknown. When Sultan Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire captured Baghdad in 1534, Fuzuli was already in his fifties. He presented the sultan with a long qaṣīdah and also wrote qaṣīdahs to Ottoman officials in his entourage in order to earn their favour. One of these officials, Celalzade Mustafa Çelebi, was appointed nişancı (head of the Ottoman Empire's imperial chancery) while in Baghdad and arranged for the poet to receive a daily grant of nine akçes from the excess of donations made to Shia shrines. When Fuzuli was unable to obtain the money from the officers of the Ministry of Evkaf, who were responsible for distributing it, he expressed his disappointment in a poetic letter called Şikāyatnāmah (lit. ''Complaint''), written in Azerbaijani and addressed to Çelebi. In the letter, he declared that he had abandoned all hope, explaining that he had been greatly affected by the political and theological instability of his age. His stipend was restored following the letter. At the time, he was working as a candle-lighter at the Bektashi convent in the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala. He wrote in his poems that he had never found a patron who satisfied his needs and his desire to join a royal court had never been realised. Despite expressing a strong desire to see places like Tabriz in modern-day Iran, Anatolia, and India, he never travelled outside modern-day Iraq. In 1556, he died from the plague, either in Baghdad or Karbala, and was buried in Karbala near the Imam Husayn Shrine, in a türbah (a small tomb-mausoleum). According to Bektashi oral tradition, the türbah was built by Abdü'l-mü'min Dede, the Bektashi sheikh (a spiritual guide) of Fuzuli, and the poet was buried next to him. Fuzuli composed poetry and prose in Azerbaijani, Persian and Arabic. Fifteen of his works are extant. The Encyclopædia Iranica distinguishes his work by "the way in which he integrates the mystic and the erotic, in the combination of the conventionality of his topics with the sincerity of his style, and in his intense expression of feelings of passionate love, of pity for the unfortunate, and of patience in the face of adversity". His frequent use of love themes in his poetry has earned him the nickname poet of love by scholars. Abdülkadir Karahan, a scholar of medieval Turkic literature, notes that what distinguished Fuzuli was his "sincerity, enthusiasm, simplicity, sensitivity, and power of expression". Alireza Asgharzadeh, an academic studying Iranian and Azerbaijani culture, describes Fuzuli's poetry as having "manifested the spirit of a profound humanism, reflecting the discontent of both the masses and the poet himself towards totalitarianism, feudal lords, and establishment religion". His poems have also been described by the literary researcher Muhsin Macit as having a "multi-layered structure" because of his "skilful use of metaphors and mystic symbols". Macit has also stated that Fuzuli's poems in Azerbaijani "have a multi-faceted structure, which, combined with perfection of expression, gives them permanence". His works show influence from Persian poets like Nizami, Jami, and Hafez, as well as Azerbaijani poets like Habibi and Nasimi. Fuzuli is best known for his works in Azerbaijani, especially his ghazals (a form of love poem) and his mas̱navī Leylī va Macnūn (lit. 'Leylī and Macnūn'). Written in 1535 or 1536, the latter is a lyric poem that interprets the Middle Eastern story of the tragic romance between Leylī and Macnūn. Fuzuli reveals in the work that he was prompted to write it upon the request of some Ottoman poets who had accompanied Sultan Suleiman during his invasion of Baghdad. Accepting the request as a challenge, he completed the work within a year. Before beginning the work, he studied Persian versions of the story, particularly drawing inspiration from the 12th-century poet Nizami's rendition. Despite this, Fuzuli made significant changes to the narrative. For instance, while Nizami's work concludes with Majnun's death, Fuzuli's version sees the two lovers reunited in heaven and their graves transformed into türbahs. His interpretation of the story generated more interest than previous Arabic and Persian versions, which the Turkish literature scholar İskender Pala attributes to the sincerity and lyricism of the poet's expression. The work has been described by the Encyclopædia Iranica as "the culmination of the Turk[ic] mas̱navī tradition in that it raised the personal and human love-tragedy to the plane of mystical longing and ethereal aspiration". Through his interpretation, the story of Leylī and Macnūn became widely known and Fuzuli's poem is considered one of the greatest works of Turkic literature. Another well-known work by Fuzuli is the maqtal (a poem about a historic death) Ḥadīqat al-Su'adā (lit. 'The Garden of the Blessed'), which is about the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in the Battle of Karbala, which he fought in 680 CE against the second Umayyad Caliph Yazid I. In the introduction, the poet explains that while there were existing works about the battle in Arabic and Persian, there were none in a Turkic language, leaving the Turkic people deprived of this knowledge. Adapted from the 15th-century Persian poet Husayn Kashifi's Rawz̤at al-Shuhadā (lit. 'The Garden of Martyrs'), it is considered a masterpiece of the Turkic maqtal genre and is the most popular among contemporary works covering the Battle of Karbala. It was written before 1546, as library records show that the oldest available copy, the Cairo manuscript, dates back to that year. Fuzuli was also the author of a dīvān in Azerbaijani, which is his most extensive work in this language. It comprises around 300 ghazals, 40 qaṣīdahs, 42 qiṭ'ahs (a form of monorhyme poetry), several dozen rübā'īs (four-line poems), and more. In the preface of his dīvān, he emphasises the importance of science to poetry, writing that without it, poetry is fleeting and compares it to a wall without a base. Karahan regards several of the qaṣīdahs in the dīvān as masterpieces, including the radif (couplet poems with same end-word) eulogies to Muhammad titled Ṣabā (lit. 'Wind'), Sū (lit. 'Water'), Gül (lit. 'Flower'), and Xancar (lit. 'Dagger'), as well as the qaṣīdah composed by Fuzuli to commemorate Sultan Suleiman's capture of Baghdad. Nonetheless, the ghazals in the dīvān were more popular. Karahan states that Fuzuli "reached the peak of lyricism, mystical love and excitement in his ghazals". Other works by him in Azerbaijani include the allegorical-satirical poem Bang va Bādah, which is over 400 couplets long and imagines a dispute between wine and hashish over their respective merits; a translation of the Persian poet Jami's Forty Hadith titled Ḥadīs̱-i Arba'īn tarcümasī (lit. 'Translation of Forty Hadiths'); and an allegorical mas̱navī titled Ṣöḥbat al-As̱mār (lit. 'Conversation of Fruits'), which depicts vineyard fruits engaging in self-praise and arguments. Additionally, he wrote a poetic letter to Sultan Bayezid II and four others to his Ottoman officials. Fuzuli also wrote several works in Persian, including a dīvān that comprises 410 ghazals, 46 qiṭ'ahs, several dozen qaṣīdahs, over a hundred rübā'īs, and more. Karahan states that this collection of poems demonstrates that the poet's proficiency in Persian was equal to that of any classical Iranian poet. The collection opens with a prose preface, where the poet praises the merits of poetry, his enduring fascination with it, and its ability to turn pain into pleasure. In the dīvān, he shows influences from Persian poets like Hafez and Jami. He also wrote Haft Jām (lit. 'Seven Goblets', also called Sāqīnāmah, lit. 'Book of the Cupbearer'), a seven-part mas̱navī consisting of 327 couplets, with each part focusing on a specific musical instrument. The work is notable for its mystical elements. Another Persian mas̱navī by the poet is Ṣiḥḥat va Maraz̤ (lit. 'Health and Sickness', also called Ḥusn va ‘Ishq, lit. 'Beauty and Love'). It was inspired by the 15th-century Persian poet Fattahi Nishapuri's Ḥusn va Dil (lit. 'Beauty and Heart') and is an important work in demonstrating Fuzuli's knowledge of both medicine and well-being of the body and the soul. It tells the story of a dervish losing and regaining his body's health physically because of its struggle with a disease and later psychologically because of its struggle with love. Fuzuli also has a prose work in Persian titled Rind va Zāhid (lit. 'Rind and Zahid'), which describes a relationship between a father named Zāhid and his son Rind. Zāhid is trying to guide Rind to live according to Sharia (Islamic religious law) by encouraging him to attend the mosque, read the Quran, and avoid writing poetry. Rind initially resists his father's views, but ultimately chooses to accept them of his own accord. Additionally, Fuzuli wrote Risālah-i Mu'ammīyāt (lit. 'Treatise of Riddles'), a work consisting of 190 riddle poems, and Anīs al-Qalb (lit. 'Close to the Heart'), a 134-couplet-long qaṣīdah. The latter piece is in the form of a naṣīḥatnāmah, a type of guidance letter for Ottoman sultans, that Fuzuli wrote for Sultan Suleiman. In the qaṣīdah, Fuzuli offers guidance to the Sultan on how to govern and serve the people. According to the professor of Turkic literature Hamide Demirel, Fuzuli presents the people's viewpoint towards a tyrannical ruler, presenting his opinions "in what were for the age very advanced terms" on the appropriate relationships between the populace, the Sultan, and the state. Demirel states that the language used in the work is stronger than a typical naṣīḥatnāmah and even possesses characteristics of a revolutionary manifesto. She concludes from Fuzuli's works that "he must have been no less highminded as a man than he was great as a poet". Arabic works by Fuzuli include eleven qaṣīdahs and a prose work titled Maṭla' al-I'tiqād (lit. 'The Birth of the Belief'). The prose work analyses the origins and destiny of humanity according to the Islamic theological discipline ʿIlm al-Kalām. Fuzuli presents the perspectives of Greek and Muslim philosophers on these topics in the work. The only known manuscript copy is housed in the library of the Asiatic Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His Arabic qaṣīdahs are believed to be fragments from a larger dīvān. All of them discuss Muhammad and his cousin and son-in-law Ali, who is also the first Shia Imam. Mazıoğlu states that Fuzuli's qaṣīdahs to Ali are indicative of his Shia devotion. The content and metaphors used in his Arabic qaṣīdahs are similar to those in his Azerbaijani and Persian ones. Mazıoğlu adds that these qaṣīdahs are "perfect in terms of expression and form", demonstrating his proficiency in the Arabic language. Described by Kathleen Burrill, a professor of Turkish studies, as the "foremost of all the Azeri [Azerbaijani] poets", Fuzuli is also regarded as one of the greatest Turkic poets. He had a major influence on Azerbaijani and Ottoman literature, and is sometimes considered an Ottoman poet because he composed most of his poetry after the Ottoman conquest of Iraq. His work also had an impact on literature written in Chagatai, a Turkic literary language that was once widely spoken across Central Asia; later writers in Ottoman and Chagatai literature drew on the poet's work because of his ability to reinterpret traditional themes and ideas through his poetry, which brought the two literary traditions closer together. Bektashis consider Fuzuli to be one of the "Seven Great Poets" who lived between 14th and 16th centuries and represent Bektashi literature. His work has been characterised as a successful reconciliation of Azerbaijani, Persian, and Arabic literary practices, as well as of Shia and Sunni beliefs. He had a son who was also a poet and adopted the name Fazli in tribute to his father. Fazli is believed to have received his poetic education from Fuzuli, and wrote both religious and secular poems in Azerbaijani, Persian, and Arabic. Widely recognised and admired throughout the Turkic cultural landscape from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Fuzuli's work was famous not only in the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and Central Asia, but also in the Indian subcontinent, as indicated by Indian library catalogues. The poems were transcribed by scribes from various linguistic backgrounds using different writing systems over a vast area. Fuzuli's Leylī va Macnūn was particularly popular in India's Muslim-inhabited regions. As many Muslim Indians migrated to places like South Africa, the work's popularity spread there as well. This has elevated Fuzuli's prominence among South African Muslims, who view Leylī and Macnūn as the "Islamic equivalents of what Romeo and Juliet have stood for culturally, and literarily, in the West", as described by the literary scholar Salvador Faura. Some of Fuzuli's works have been translated into English. Ṣöḥbat al-As̱mār was translated by the Turkologist Gunnar Jarring in 1936 in Lund under the title The Contest of the Fruits, and Leylī va Macnūn was translated by the writer-translator Sofi Huri in 1970 in London under the title Leyla and Mejnun. Fuzuli's poetry played an important role in the development of the Azerbaijani language, with the modern scholar Sakina Berengian referring to him as the "Ferdowsi and Hafez of Azeri literature", comparing him to two poets regarded as among the greatest in Persian literature, and stating that Azerbaijani poetry and language reached new heights in his writings. Karahan regarded Fuzuli as a "brilliant linguist" because of his ability to compose poetry in non-native languages without any errors in language or technique. While he drew inspiration from earlier Persian works for most of his Azerbaijani pieces, he was able to add a "particular stamp of his personality" on his interpretations of subjects, which made them popular. The harmonious and expressive nature of Fuzuli's poems, informed by his musical knowledge, makes them suitable for setting to music. His ghazals continue to be enjoyed in Turkey, including by members of high society and performers in rural areas, where classical Turkish music merges with folk music. The first opera in the Islamic world, Leyli and Majnun, was composed by the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov in 1908 and based on Fuzuli's work of the same name. The poet's ghazals were also the subject of Fuzuli Cantata, a cantata composed by another Azerbaijani composer, Jahangir Jahangirov, in 1959. Fuzuli remains a popular poet in countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. An administrative region and its capital city in Azerbaijan are named after him. Additionally, a street in Tabriz is named after the poet. In October 1994, the Turkish Authors' Association and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality jointly organised an academic conference in Istanbul about Fuzuli to honour the 500th anniversary of his birth. Another conference took place in Konya in December of the same year. Kaplan, Mahmut (2021). Fuzuli: Hayatı, Eserleri, Şiiri (in Turkish). Lejand. ISBN 978-625-44305-9-6. Azerbaijani Wikisource has original text related to this article: Məhəmməd Füzuli Media related to Fuzuli at Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Ahmad ibn Fadlan

4. Ahmad ibn Fadlan (900 - 960)

With an HPI of 68.93, Ahmad ibn Fadlan is the 4th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Aḥmad ibn Faḍlān ibn al-ʿAbbās ibn Rāshid ibn Ḥammād, (Arabic: أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد بن حماد; commonly known as Ahmad ibn Fadlan (or Ibn Foszlan in older European literature), was a 10th-century traveler from Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid caliph, al-Muqtadir of Baghdad, to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his risāla ("account" or "journal"). His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including eyewitness accounts of life as part of a trade caravan and witnessing a ship burial. He also notably described the lifestyle of the Oghuz Turks while the Khazaria, Cumans, and Pechnegs were still around. Ibn Fadlan's detailed writings have been cited by numerous historians. They have also inspired entertainment works, including Michael Crichton's novel Eaters of the Dead and its film adaptation The 13th Warrior. Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. However, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Richard N. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or even the dates of his birth and death. Primary source documents and historical texts show that Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was a faqih, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence and faith, in the court of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir. It appears certain from his writing that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had already been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Abbasid Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to 921 and his self-reported travels. Ibn Fadlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to the iltäbär (vassal-king under the Khazars) of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış. On 21 June 921 (11 safar AH 309), a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad. Primarily, the purpose of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the recently converted Bulgar peoples living on the eastern bank of the Volga River in what is now Russia. Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor and lead counselor for Islamic religious doctrine and law. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar Khaganate, Oghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River and the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rus, i.e. the Varangians (Vikings) on the Volga trade route. All told, the delegation covered some 4000 kilometers (2500 mi). Ibn Fadlan's envoy reached the Volga Bulgar capital on 12 May 922 (12 muharram AH 310). When they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khan and presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph's letter, but was criticized for not bringing with him the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of the Bulgars. For a long time, only an incomplete version of the account was known, transmitted as quotations in the geographical dictionary of Yāqūt (under the headings Atil, Bashgird, Bulghār, Khazar, Khwārizm, Rūs), published in 1823 by Christian Martin Frähn. Only in 1923 was a manuscript discovered by Zeki Velidi Togan in the Astane Quds Museum, Mashhad, Iran. The manuscript, Razawi Library MS 5229, dates from the 13th century (7th century Hijra) and consists of 420 pages (210 folia). Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan's text (pp. 390–420). Additional passages not preserved in MS 5229 are quoted in the work of the 16th century Persian geographer Amīn Rāzī called Haft Iqlīm ("Seven Climes"). Neither source seems to record Ibn Fadlān's complete report. Yāqūt offers excerpts and several times claims that Ibn Fadlān also recounted his return to Bagdad, but does not quote such material. Meanwhile, the text in Razawi Library MS 5229 breaks off part way through describing the Khazars. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories. The Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, and Ibn Fadlan's mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details in his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. One scholar calls it an "illuminating episode" in the text where Ibn Fadlan expresses his great anger and disgust over the fact that the Khan and the Volga Bulgars in general are practicing some form of imperfect and doctrinally unsound Islam. In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize, implement, and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their respective society. Consequently, many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were "like asses gone astray. They have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to reason". A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs (روس) or Rūsiyyah. Though the identification of the people Ibn Fadlān describes is uncertain, they are generally assumed to be Volga Vikings; the traders were likely of Scandinavian origin while their crews also included Finns, Slavs, and others. The Rūs appear as traders who set up shop on the river banks nearby the Bolğar camp. They are described as having bodies tall as (date) palm trees, with blond hair and ruddy skin. Each is tattooed from "the tips of his toes to his neck" with dark blue or dark green "designs" and all men are armed with an axe, sword, and long knife. Ibn Fadlan describes the Rus as perfect physical specimens and the hygiene of the Rūsiyyah as disgusting and shameless, especially regarding to sex (which they perform openly even in groups), and considers them vulgar and unsophisticated. In that, his account contrasts with that of the Persian traveler Ibn Rustah, whose impressions of the Rus were more favorable, although it has been attributed to a possibly intentional mistranslation with the original texts being more in line with Ibn Fadlan's narrative. He also describes in great detail the funeral of one of their chieftains (a ship burial involving human sacrifice). Some scholars believe that it took place in the modern Balymer complex. They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food. (In chronological order) Ibn Faḍlān, Aḥmad; Frähn, Christian Martin (1823). Ibn Foszląn's und anderer Araber Berichte über die Russen älterer Zeit. Text und Übersetzung mit kritisch-philologischen Ammerkungen. Nebst drei Breilagen über sogenannte Russen-Stämme und Kiew, die Warenger und das Warenger-Meer, und das Land Wisu, ebenfalls nach arabischen Schriftstellern (in German). Saint-Petersburg: aus der Buchdruckerei der Akademie. OCLC 457333793. Togan, Ahmed Zeki Velidi (1939). Ibn Fadlan's Reisebericht (in German). Leipzig: Kommissionsverlag F. A. Brockhaus. [from Razawi Library MS 5229] Kovalevskii, A. P. (1956). Kniga Akhmeda Ibn-Fadlana o ego Puteschestvii na Volgu 921-922 gg (in Russian). Kharkov. [Includes photographic reproduction of Razawi Library MS 5229.] Canard, Marius (1958). "La relation du voyage d'Ibn Fadlân chez les Bulgares de la Volga". Annales de l'Institut d'Etudes Orientales de l'Université d'Alger (in French). pp. 41–116. Dahhan, S. (1959). Risālat Ibn Fadlān. Damascus: al-Jāmi‘ al-‘Ilmī al-‘Arabī. McKeithen, James E. (1979). The Risalah of Ibn Fadlan: An Annotated Translation with Introduction. Ibn-Faḍlān, Ahmad (1988). Ibn Fadlân, Voyage chez les Bulgares de la Volga (in French). Translated by Canard, Marius; Miquel, Andre. Paris: Sindbad. OCLC 255663160. [French translation, including additions to the text of Razawi Library MS 5229 from Yāqūt's quotations.] al-Faqih, Ibn; Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad; Aḥmad Ibn Faḍlān; Misʻar Ibn Muhalhil Abū Dulaf al-Khazrajī; Fuat Sezgin; M. Amawi; A. Jokhosha; E. Neubauer (1987). Collection of Geographical Works: Reproduced from MS 5229 Riḍawīya Library, Mashhad. Frankfurt am Main: I. H. A. I. S. at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. OCLC 469349123. Бораджиева, Л.-М.; Наумов, Г. (1992). Ibn Fadlan - Index Ибн Фадлан, Пътешествие до Волжска (in Bulgarian). България ИК "Аргес", София.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) Flowers, Stephen E. (1998). Ibn Fadlan's Travel-Report: As It Concerns the Scandinavian Rüs. Smithville, TX: Rûna-Raven. OCLC 496024366. Montgomery, James E. (2000). "Ibn Faḍlān and the Rūsiyyah". Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. 3: 1–25. doi:10.5617/jais.4553. [Translates the section on the Rūsiyyah.] Frye, Richard N. (2005). Ibn Fadlan's Journey to Russia: A Tenth-Century Traveler from Baghdad to the Volga River. Princeton: Marcus Weiner Publishers. Simon, Róbert (2007). Ibn Fadlán: Beszámoló a volgai bolgárok földjén tett utazásról. Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North. Translated by Lunde, Paul; Stone, Caroline E.M. Penguin Classics. 2011. ISBN 978-0140455076. Aḥmad ibn Faḍlān, Mission to the Volga, trans. by James E. Montgomery (New York: New York University Press, 2017), ISBN 9781479899890 Ibn Faḍlān, Ahmad (2018). Viagem ao Volga (in Brazilian Portuguese). Translated by Criado, Pedro Martins. São Paulo: Carambaia. ISBN 978-85-69002-40-6. Ahmad Ibn Fadlān is a major character in Michael Crichton's 1976 novel Eaters of the Dead, which draws heavily on Ibn Fadlān's writings in its opening passages. In the 1999 film adaptation of the novel, The 13th Warrior, Ibn Fadlān is played by Antonio Banderas. Ibn Fadlān's journey is also the subject of the 2007 Syrian TV series Saqf al-Alam. Samirah "Sam" al-Abbas, a main character from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, as well as her betrothed, Amir Fadlan, are said to be descendants of Ahmad ibn Fadlan. In the 2003 anime Planetes, the body of an astronaut named Ibn Fadlan was buried in a metal coffin by being sent to the depths of space. However, although he says that he belongs to space, he somehow returned to his world environment and was perceived as space debris. Like Ibn Fadlan as a real-life voyager, the retired astronaut says something important. Nabidh Frye, Richard N. (2005). Ibn Fadlan's Journey to Russia: A Tenth-Century Traveler from Baghad to the Volga River. Markus Wiener Publishers. ISBN 978-1558763661. Gabriel, Judith (November–December 1999). "Among the Norse Tribes: The Remarkable Account of Ibn Fadlan". Saudi Aramco World. Vol. 50, no. 6. Houston: Aramco Services Company. pp. 36–42. Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. Retrieved 1 December 2012. Hermes, Nizar F. (2012). "Utter Alterity or Pure Humanity: Barbarian Turks, Bulghars, and Rus (Vikings) in the Remarkable Risala of Ibn Fadlan". The (European) Other in Medieval Arabic Literature and Culture: Ninth-Twelfth Century AD. The New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave. Knight, Judson (2001). "Ibn Fadlan: An Arab Among the Vikings of Russia". In Schlager, Neil; Lauer, Josh (eds.). Science and Its Times. Vol. 700 to 1449. Detroit: Gale. Lunde, Paul; Stone, Caroline E.M. (2011). Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North. Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0140455076. Montgomery, James E. (2000). "Ibn Fadlan and the Rūsiyyah". Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. 3: 1–25. doi:10.5617/jais.4553. Perry, John R. (2009). "Review of Frye (2005)". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 68 (2): 159–160. doi:10.1086/604698. ISSN 1545-6978. JSTOR 10.1086/604698. Zadeh, Travis (2017). "Ibn Faḍlān". In Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (3rd ed.). Brill Online. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_30766. ISSN 1873-9830. Works by Ahmad ibn Fadlan at Open Library

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5. Enheduanna (-2300 - -2300)

With an HPI of 68.76, Enheduanna is the 5th most famous Iraqi Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Enheduanna (Sumerian: 𒂗𒃶𒌌𒀭𒈾 Enḫéduanna, also transliterated as Enheduana, En-he2-du7-an-na, or variants) was the entu (high) priestess of the moon god Nanna (Sīn) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur in the reign of her father, Sargon of Akkad (r. c. 2334 – c. 2279 BCE). She was likely appointed by her father as the leader of the religious group at Ur to cement ties between the Akkadian religion of her father and the native Sumerian religion. Enheduanna has been celebrated as the earliest known named author in world history, as a number of works in Sumerian literature, such as the Exaltation of Inanna feature her as the first-person narrator, and other works, such as the Sumerian Temple Hymns may identify her as their author. However, there is considerable debate among modern Assyriologists based on linguistic and archaeological grounds as to whether or not she actually wrote or composed any of the rediscovered works that have been attributed to her. Additionally, the only manuscripts of the works attributed to her were written by scribes in the First Babylonian Empire six centuries after she lived, written in a more recent dialect of the Sumerian language than she would have spoken. These scribes may have attributed these works to her as part of the legendary narratives of the dynasty of Sargon of Akkad in later Babylonian traditions. The cultural memory of Enheduanna and the works attributed to her were lost some time after the end of the First Babylonian Empire. Her existence was first rediscovered by modern archaeology in 1927, when Sir Leonard Wooley excavated the Giparu in the ancient city of Ur and found an alabaster disk with her name, association with Sargon of Akkad, and occupation inscribed on the reverse. References to her name were then later discovered in excavated works of Sumerian literature, which initiated investigation into her potential authorship of those works. Enheduanna's archaeological rediscovery has attracted a considerable amount of attention and scholarly debate in modern times related to her potential attribution as the first known named author. She has also received considerable attention in feminism, and the works attributed to her have also been studied as an early progenitor of classical rhetoric. English translations of her works have inspired a number of literary adaptations and representations.

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6. Berossus (-400 - -300)

With an HPI of 63.78, Berossus is the 6th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Berossus () or Berosus (; Ancient Greek: Βηρωσσος, romanized: Bērōssos; possibly derived from Late Babylonian Akkadian: 𒁹𒀭𒂗𒉺𒇻𒋙𒉡, romanized: Bēl-reʾû-šunu, lit. 'Bel is his shepherd') was a Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and astronomer who wrote in the Koine Greek language, and who was active at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. His original works, including his Babyloniaca, have been lost but fragmentarily survive in some quotations, especially in the writings of the fourth-century Christian writer Eusebius. Berossus has recently been identified with Bēl-reʾû-šunu, a high priest of the temple Esagila Temple mentioned in a document from 258 BC.

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7. Ibn al-Jawzi (1116 - 1200)

With an HPI of 62.96, Ibn al-Jawzi is the 7th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Abū al-Farash ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Jawzī, often referred to as Ibn al-Jawzī (Arabic: ابن الجوزي; c. 1116 – 16 June 1201) for short, was a Muslim jurisconsult, preacher, orator, heresiographer, traditionist, historian, judge, hagiographer, and philologist who played an instrumental role in propagating the Hanbali school of orthodox Sunni jurisprudence in his native Baghdad during the twelfth-century. During "a life of great intellectual, religious and political activity," Ibn al-Jawzi came to be widely admired by his fellow Hanbalis for the tireless role he played in ensuring that that particular school – historically, the smallest of the four principal Sunni schools of law – enjoy the same level of "prestige" often bestowed by rulers on the Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanafi rites. Ibn al-Jawzi received a "very thorough education" during his adolescent years, and was fortunate to train under some of that era's most renowned Baghdadi scholars, including Ibn al-Zāg̲h̲ūnī (d. 1133), Abū Bakr al-Dīnawarī (d. 1137–8), Sayyid Razzāq Alī Jīlānī (d. 1208), and Abū Manṣūr al-Jawālīkī (d. 1144–5). Although Ibn al-Jawzi's scholarly career continued to blossom over the next few years, he became most famous during the reign of al-Mustadi (d. 1180), the thirty-third Abbasid caliph, whose support for Hanbalism allowed Ibn al-Jawzi to effectively become "one of the most influential persons" in Baghdad, due to the caliph's approval of Ibn al-Jawzi's public sermonizing to huge crowds in both pastoral and urban areas throughout Baghdad. In the vast majority of the public sermons delivered during al-Mustadi's reign, Ibn al-Jawzi often presented a stanch defense of the prophet Muhammad's example, and vigorously criticized all those whom he considered to be schismatics in the faith. At the same time, Ibn al-Jawzi's reputation as a scholar continued to grow due to the substantial role he played in managing many of the most important universities in the area, as well as on account of the sheer number of works he wrote during this period. As regards the latter point, it is important to note that part of Ibn al-Jawzi's legacy rests on his reputation for having been "one of the most prolific writers" of all time, with later scholars like Ibn Taymīyyah (d. 1328) studying over a thousand works written by Ibn al-Jawzi during their years of training. As scholars have noted, Ibn al-Jawzi's prodigious corpus, "varying in length" as it does, touches upon virtually "all the great disciplines" of classical Islamic study.

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8. Al-Mutanabbi (915 - 965)

With an HPI of 62.07, Al-Mutanabbi is the 8th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Abū al-Ṭayyib Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Mutanabbī al-Kindī (Arabic: أبو الطيب أحمد بن الحسين المتنبّي الكندي; c. 915 – 23 September 965 AD) from Kufa, Abbasid Caliphate, was a famous Abbasid-era Arabian poet at the court of the Hamdanid emir Sayf al-Dawla in Aleppo, and for whom he composed 300 folios of poetry. His poetic style earned him great popularity in his time and many of his poems are not only still widely read in today's Arab world but are considered to be proverbial. He started writing poetry when he was nine years old. He is well known for his sharp intelligence and wittiness. Among the topics he discussed were courage, the philosophy of life, and the description of battles. As one of the greatest, most prominent and influential poets in the Arabic language, much of his work has been translated into over 20 languages worldwide. His great talent brought him very close to many leaders of his time, whom he extolled in return for money and gifts. His political ambitions, however, ultimately soured his relations with his patrons and his egomania may have cost him his life when the subjects of some of his verse attacked him.

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9. Ibn Sirin (653 - 729)

With an HPI of 61.28, Ibn Sirin is the 9th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Muhammad Ibn Sirin (Arabic: محمد بن سيرين) (born in Basra) was a Muslim tabi' as he was a contemporary of Anas ibn Malik. He is claimed by some to have been an interpreter of dreams, though others regard the books to have been falsely attributed to him. Once regarded as the same person as Achmet son of Seirim, this is no longer believed to be true, as shown by Maria Mavroudi.

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10. Ibn Khallikan (1211 - 1282)

With an HPI of 60.39, Ibn Khallikan is the 10th most famous Iraqi Writer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Ibrāhīm bin Abū Bakr ibn Khallikān (Arabic: أحمد بن محمد بن إبراهيم بن أبي بكر ابن خلكان; 22 September 1211 – 30 October 1282), better known as Ibn Khallikān, was a renowned Islamic historian who compiled the celebrated biographical encyclopedia of Muslim scholars and important men in Muslim history, Deaths of Eminent Men and the Sons of the Epoch ('Wafayāt al-Aʿyān wa-Anbāʾ Abnāʾ az-Zamān'). Due to this achievement, he is regarded as the most eminent writer of biographies in Islamic history.


Pantheon has 30 people classified as Iraqi writers born between 2300 BC and 1967. Of these 30, 2 (6.67%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Iraqi writers include Karim Findi, and Muhsin al-Ramli. The most famous deceased Iraqi writers include Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Masudi, and Fuzûlî. As of April 2024, 4 new Iraqi writers have been added to Pantheon including Ishaq ibn Hunayn, Jacob of Serugh, and Ahmet Haşim.

Living Iraqi Writers

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Deceased Iraqi Writers

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Newly Added Iraqi Writers (2024)

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