Al-Tanuki was a judge who was born in Basra and lived in Baghdad during the tenth century CE. During his life, he wrote three books which compiled poetry, stories, anecdotes and hadith. In this introduction to al-Tanuki's works and thought, Nouha Khalifa identifies the central theme of hardship and deliverance within wider narratives about love, generosity and the journey. Al-Tanuki was principally concerned with how humankind can alleviate hardship and suffering in life and achieve deliverance. His unshakable conviction in the necessity of deliverance was rooted in his Mu'tazilite doctrine, an early school of Sunni Islamic theology which sought to ground Islamic tenets in reason, and which drew upon different aspects of early Islamic philosophy, Greek philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy. This is a fascinating commentary on medieval Middle Eastern culture, history, philosophy and religious thought.
Nouha Khalifa holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and is a lecturer in Arabic language and literature at Birkbeck College, University of London.