Islamic Philosophy

(scrapbook Otto B. Wiersma, 11 Febr 2005, update: 21 Febr 2005)


M.M. Sharif: ( )

Each culture is a super­system consisting of some large systems such as religion, language, law, philosophy, science, fine arts, ethics, economics, technology, politics, territorial sway, associations, customs, and mores.

A total culture of any organized group consists not of one cultural system but of a multitude of vast and small cultural systems that are partly in harmony, partly out of harmony, with one another.

As the researches of Kroeber and Sorokin have conclusively shown, "many great cultural or social systems or civilizations have many cycles, many social, intellectual, and political ups and downs in their virtually indefinitely long span of life, instead of just one life-cycle, one period of blossoming, and one of decline."

The Muslim civilization rose from the first/seventh to the fifth/eleventh century. Then it gradually declined till it received a deadly blow in the form of the Mongol onslaughts.

Second rise from the last decade of the seventh/thirteenth century to the end of the eleventh/seventeenth century during which period its domain covered three of the biggest empires of the world (Turkish, Persian, and Indian) only to fall again from the beginning of the twelfth/eighteenth to the middle of the thirteenth/nineteenth century; and as this study will clearly indicate there are now signs of a third rise in almost all Muslim lands.

While in the first period its glory lay also in its commercial, industrial, scientific, and philosophical fields, in the second it distinguished itself chiefly in the fields of poetry, painting, secular history, travels, mysticism, and minor arts.

A civilization can see many ups and downs and there is nothing against the possibility of its regeneration. No culture dies completely. Some elements of each die out and others merge as living factors into other cultures.

The basic conditions of the rise and fall of nations invariably arise from within.

In each case the real cause was the lowering of moral standards brought about by centuries of luxury and over­indulgence in worldly pleasures, resulting in disunity, social injustice, jealousies, rivalries, intrigues, indolence, moral degeneration combined with conformism of the worst type deadening all original thought.

It was during this period of political and moral decline that flourished such illustrious philosophers as al-Farabi, ibn Sina, Miskawaih, ibn Hazm, al-Ghazali, ibn Bajjah, ibn Tufail, ibn Rushd, and Fakhr al-Din Razi.

Denunciation of the linear conception of progress. The present-day writers criticism of them is perfectly justified in respect of their view of progress as a line, ascending straight or spirally, whether it is Fichte's line advancing as a sequence of certain values, or Herder's and Kant's from violence and war to Justice and peace, or Hegel's to ever-increasing freedom of the Idea, or Spencer's to greater and greater differentiation and integration, or Tonnie's advancing from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft, or Durkheim's from a state of society based on mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity, or Buckle's from diminishing influence of physical laws to an increasing influence of mental laws, or Navicow's from physiological determination to purely intellectual competition, or any other line of a single principle explaining the evolution of human society as a whole.

The empiricists take no account of the freedom of the will and the resolves, choices, and goals of human beings, and the idealists forget that even human beings are not minds, but body-minds.

According to Hegel, the linear progress of the Idea or Intelligence, in winning rational freedom, culminates in the State, the best example of which is the German State. Such a line of thought justifies internal tyranny, external aggression, and wars between States.

Intelligence is really only one aspect of the human mind, and there seems to be no ground for regarding this one aspect, the knowing aspect, of only one kind of the world-stuff, i.e., mankind as the essence of the world-stuff. () World-stuff is now regarded as energy which can take the form of mass.

Hegel's system encourages wars between nations; Marx's between classes.

People are in the pursuit of ideals and values (which before their realization are mere ideas); and thus if efficient causes push them on (which both Hegel and Marx recognize), final causes are constantly exercising their pull (which both of them ignore).

The dialectic of human society, according to this formula, is not a struggle of warring classes or warring nations, but a struggle against limitations to realize goals and ideals, which goals and ideals are willed and loved rather than fought against. This is a dialectic of love rather than of hatred.

Muslim thought is non-organismic, non-cyclic, and non-linear; and, positively, it involves belief in social dynamics, in progress in human society through the ages by rises and falls, in the importance of the role of ethical values in social advance, in the possibility of cultural regeneration, in the environmental obstacles as stimuli to human action, in freedom and purpose as the ultimate sources of change, and in mechanical determinism as an instrument in divine and human hands.

Besides writing on philosophy al-Kindi wrote, to number only the main subjects, also on astrology, chemistry, optics, and music; al-Farabi on music, psychology, politics, economics, and mathematics; ibn Sina on medicine, chemistry, geometry, astronomy, theology, poetry, and music; Zakriya al-Razi on medicine and alchemy; al-Ghazali on theology, law, physics, and music; and the Ikhwan al-Safa on mathematics, astronomy, geography, music, and ethics. Likewise ibn. Haitham left works not only on philosophy but also on optics, music, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, and Nasir al-Din Tusi on mathematics, astronomy, physics, medicine, miner­alogy, music, history, and ethics. In Muslim Spain, ibn Bajjah wrote on philosophy, medicine, music, and astronomy; ibn Tufail on philosophy and medicine; and ibn Rushd on philosophy, theology, medicine, and astronomy. And what is true of these thinkers is true of a host of others.

Muslim philosophy shows four distinct lines of thought. The first is the theo­logico-philosophical line, the second is mystical, the third philosophical and scientific, and the fourth is that taken by those whom we have called the "middle-roaders".

A.D. 750 the Abassides, an enlightened line of Caliphs who encouraged learning. A kind of rationalistic questioning of the authority of the Koran, which led to the rejection of the current anthropomorphism and fatalism (Motazilites), the first heretics of Islam VS orthodoxy: emphasis on the authority of the Koran (Motacallimin) VS sufis or mystics: contemplation and ecstatic meditation (mainly Persia) > independent philosophers/scientists. Plotinus's view of reality, as a kind of pyramid with God at the apex and material things at the base, and Proclus's view of hypostatized universals as constituting a hierarchy of "Causes", mediating between God and matter, came to be the recognized views in the philosophical schools of Eastern and Western Islam. The philosophy of the Arabians is not distinguished by its originality; in point of fact, it is merely an interpretation of Greek philosophy and, even as an interpretation, adds little to the interpretations already given by Plotinus, Proclus, Simplicius, and the Syrian neo-Platonists. In one respect only did the Arabians develop Greek philosophy, namely, in its relation to medicine, and it was in this regard that they exerted the most far-reaching influence in Europe. Like the neo-Platonists the Arabians were pantheists or semi-pantheists. The various teachers, however, compromise more or less successfully between philosophical pantheism and the monotheism of the Koran. The tradition of the neo-Platonists had taught that the "active intellect" is something physically distinct from the individual soul; an intelligence, namely, that is, somehow, common to all men. The Arabians adopted this monopsychism and made it part of their psychology. The passive intellect, the Arabians taught, is material, and perishes with the body. The active intellect, although it is immaterial and, therefore, imperishable, is not part of the individual soul. In the acquisition of knowledge, the Arabians taught, there is a contact (copulatio, continuatio) of the impersonal active intellect with the individual passive intellect. The Arabians contributed in a very large degree to making Aristotle known in Christian Europe; however, in doing this, they were but transmitting what they themselves had received from Christian sources; and, moreover, the Aristotle who finally gained recognition in Christian Europe was not the Arabian Aristotle, but the Greek Aristotle, who came to Western Europe by way of Constantinople. When Arabian works were translated into Latin the translation was often made from the Hebrew translation of the Arabic text, and the Jew was often the only means of interchanqe of ideas between Moorish and Christian Spain. Whatever Scholasticism owes to the Arabians, it owes in equal, if not in greater measure, to the Jews.


Shaikh Inayatullah, Pre Islamic Arabian Thought

( )

(..) Chapter 6 (..) Pre Islamic Arabian Thought by Shaikh Inayatullah , M.A Ph.D., Formerly, Professor of Arabic, University of the Panjab, Lahore (Pakistan) (..) (..) The land of Arabia (..) is bare and monotonous, unfit for cultivation and unable to support settled communities (..) energies were exhausted in satisfying the practical and material needs of daily life, and they had little time or inclination for religious or philosophic speculation. (..) Their religion was a vague polytheism and their philosophy was summed up in a number of pithy sayings. (..) language which was distinguished for its extraordinary rich vocabulary (..) poly­theism prevailed throughout ancient Arabia (..) shirk (..) (association of gods with Allah) (..) The deities of heathen Arabia were represented by idols, sacred stones, and other objects of worship. (..) The gods of the heathen Arabs were mostly represented by idols, which were placed in temples. (..) simple structures, sometimes mere walls or enclosures marked by stones. (..) priestly families which were attached to particular temples (..) Their pronouncements consisted of a few concise sentences, which ended in words having the same rhyme. This mode of expression was known as saj`. The same style is found in the earliest revelations received by the Prophet which now constitute the last chapters of the Qur'an. (..) temples (..) not only places of worship but also places of pilgrimage. (..) fairs and festivals (..) An important sanctuary of this kind was located at Mecca (..) The sanctuary consisted of a simple stone structure of cube-like appearance, which was called the Ka'bah by the Arabs. One of the walls contained a black stone (al-hajar al-aswad). Inside the Ka'bah was the statue of the god, Hubal. (..) temple is said to have contained as many as three hundred and sixty idols (..) the Ka'bah (..) consequently acquired the character of the national pantheon for the whole of Arabia (..) three consecutive months were regarded as sacred months, during which tribal warfare was prohibited (..) The territory around Mecca was also treated as sacred (haram); and the pilgrims laid aside their weapons when they reached this holy territory. The pilgrimage was called hajj. (..) The hajj as described above was retained by the Prophet as a major religious institution of Islam, with certain modifications of its ceremonials which were intended to break the link with their pagan associations. (..) The word Allah is found in the inscriptions of northern Arabia and also enters into the composition of the numerous personal names among them. There are a large number of passages in the poetry of the heathen Arabs in which Allah is mentioned as a great deity. (..) the Qur'anic monotheism did not find it necessary to introduce an altogether new name for the Supreme Being and, therefore, adopted Allah, the name already in use. (..) number of men (..) had become convinced of the folly of idolatry, and were seeking another more satisfying faith. They were fairly numerous and were called Hanifs. (..) Abraham the Patriarch as the first Hanif (..) human soul (..) identical with breath (..) nafs (..) human personality itself (..) pre-Islamic Arabs (..) believed in some sort of future existence of the soul. (..) no clear notion of life after death (..) the question of retribution for human deeds did not arise in their minds (..) The Qur'an uses the word ruh (spirit) as well as nafs for the human soul. (..) The ancient Arabs were generally fatalists. They believed that events in the lives of human beings were preordained by fate, and, therefore, inevitable. (..) The course of events was believed to be determined by dahr or time, so that suruf al-dahr (the changes wrought by time) was a most frequent expression used by the Arabs and their poets for the vicissitudes of human life. (..) The peculiar circumstances of desert life, thus, seem to have encouraged the growth of fatalistic tendencies among the Arabs. (..) The feeling of utter helplessness in the face of inexorable fate has probably given rise to another idea among the Arabs; the idea of resignation as a com­mendable virtue. (..) their moral and social ideals have been faithfully preserved in their poetry (..) The virtues most highly prized by the ancient Arabs were bravery in battle, patience in misfortune, loyalty to one's fellow-tribesmen, generosity to the needy and the poor, hospitality to the guest and the wayfarer, and persistence in revenge. (..) The tribal organization of the Arabs was then, as now, based on the prin­ciple of kinship or common blood, which served as the bond of union and social solidarity. (..) In the century before Muhammad, Arabia was not wholly abandoned to paganism. Both Judaism and Christianity claimed a considerable following among its inhabitants. (..) Almost every calamity that befell the land of Palestine sent a fresh wave of Jewish refugees into Arabia (..) Jews in the most vital particular, religion, and it is probable that they exerted a strong influence over the Arabs in favour of monotheism. (..) Christianity was widely diffused in the southern and nothern parts of Arabia at the time of the Prophet. (..) By the sixth century, Judaism and Christianity had made considerable head way in Arabia, and were extending their sphere of influence, leavening the pagan masses, and thus gradually preparing the way for Islam. (..)



(..) Chapter 7 (..) Philosophical Teachings of the Qur (..) ' (..) an by M.M Sharif (..) The Qur'an is a book essentially religious, not philosophical, but it deals with all those problems which religion and philosophy have in common. (..) The Qur'an claims to give an exposition of universal truths (..) It would be a folly to ignore the fundamentals and wrangle about the allegorical, for none knows their hidden meanings, except God. (..) Ultimate Beauty: God and His Attributes - The Ultimate (..) Being or Reality is God. (..) There are three degrees of knowledge in the ascending scale of certitude (i) knowledge by inference (`ilm al-yaqin), (..) [215] (..) (ii)knowledge by perception and reported perception or observation (`ain al-yaqin), (..) [216] (..) and (iii) knowledge by personal experience or intuition (haqq al-yaqan) (..) [217] (..) -a distinction which may be exemplified by my certitude of (1) fire always burns, (2) it has burnt John's fingers, and (3) it has burnt my fingers. Likewise, there are three types of errors: (i) the errors of reasoning, (ii) the errors of observation, and (iii) the errors of intuition. (..) Free Will (..) - God has given man the will to choose, decide, and resolve to do good or evil. He has endowed him with reason and various impulses so that by his own efforts he may strive and explore possibilities. He has also given him a just bias, a natural bias towards good. (..) So even his free choice of evil is a part of the scheme of things and no one will choose a way unto God, unless it fits into that scheme or is willed by God. (..)


Fakhry_History of Islamic Philosophy.htm

A History of (..) Islamic Philosophy (..) Majid Fakhry (..) 1983 (..) Islamic philosophy is and continues to be, even in the twentieth century, fundamentally medieval in spirit and outlook. (..) The first important modern study in the general field of Arabic philosophy is Amable Jourdain's Recherches critiques sur l'âge et l'origine des traductions d'Aristote et sur Ies documents grecs ou arabes employés par Ies docteurs scholastiques, which appeared in 1819. This book helped to underscore the influence of Arabic philosophy on Western, particularly Latin, scholastic thought. It was followed in 1852 by Ernest Rénan's classic study, Averroês et I'averroïsme, which has since been reprinted several times. In 1859 appeared Solomon Munk's Mélanges de philosophie juive et arabe, a general survey of Jewish-Arabic philosophy which is still of definite value. Early in the twentieth century appeared T. J. de Boer's Geschichte der Philosophie in Islam (1901), which was translated into English in 1903 and continues to be the best comprehensive account of Islamic philosophy in German and English. A more popular but still useful survey, Arabic Thought and Its Place in History by de Lacy O'Leary, appeared in 1922. (..) M. M. Sharif's History of Muslim Philosophy is a symposium by a score of writers and lacks for this reason the unity of conception and plan that should characterize a genuine historical survey. (..) The pivot round which the whole of Muslim life turns is, of course, the Qur'an. Revealed to Muhammad by God between 610 and 632 from an eternal codex (the Preserved Tablet), according to Muslim doctrine, the Qur'an embodies the full range of principles and precepts by which the believer should order his life. The Qur'an is supplemented, however, by a mass of utterances attributed to Muhammad and constituting, together with circumstantial reports of the actions and decisions of the Prophet, the general body of Muhammadan Traditions, properly designated in Muslim usage as the Prophetic "Way" (al-Sunnah). (..) the sciences of reading ('ilm al-qira'at), exegesis (tafsir), and jurisprudence (fiqh), (..) The canonical text of the Qur'an was finally fixed during the reign of the third caliph, Uthman (644-656), and in honor of him the authorized version of the Qur'an ever since has been called "Musaf Uthman". (..) use of analogy (qiyas) or independent judgment (ra'y) in doubtful matters (..) the school of Abu Hanifah (d. 767) and that of al-Shafi'i (d. 820) were much more liberal than the two rival schools of Malik b. Anas (d. 795) and Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 855). (..) discussion began to center by the seventh century around the questions of divine justice and human responsibility (..) allegorical interpretation in order to safeguard the immateriality and transcendence of God. (..) the development of philosophy and theology in Islam is bound up with the advent of the 'Abbasid dynasty in the middle of the eighth century (..) theology soon became the handmaid of politics. As a consequence, freedom of thought and conscience was seriously jeopardized (..) The most radical division caused by the introduction of Greek thought was between the progressive element, which sought earnestly to subject the data of revelation to the scrutiny of philosophical thought, and the conservative element, which disassociated itself altogether from philosophy on the ground that it was either impious or suspiciously foreign. This division continued to reappear throughout Islamic history as a kind of geological fault (..) mysticism or Sufism (..) scientific and medical texts were the earliest works to be translated into Arabic (..) the Christian Syrians, who paved the way for the introduction of the Greek heritage into the Near East (..) The works of those early translators were on the whole compilations which lacked originality. (..) The first genuine philosopher to write in Arabic was al-Kindi (d. ca. 866) (..) al-Kindi still stands on the borderline of philosophy and theology (..) fascinating Muslim thinkers, such as al-Nazzam (d. 845), al-Razi (d. 925), and al-Ma'arri (d. 1057), fall outside the mainstream of thought in Islam (..) al-Ash'ari is as concerned to refute the views of the "negators of the attributes," i.e., the Mu'tazilah, as he is to refute the position of the literalists and anthropomorphists. (..) al-Ash'ari (..) believe that good and evil are the outcome of Allah's decree and preordination [qada' wa qadar]: good or evil (..) In this subtle verbal distinction between what is acquired in time and what is created or predestined eternally, lies according to al-Ash'ari, the distinction between voluntary and involuntary action, and also that between the merit or demerit which attaches to the latter. (..) classic formula of bila kaifa (ask not how) (..) in the tenth and the eleventh centuries (..) two fundamental questions: (1) the nature and limits of rational knowledge in relation to religious truth ('aql AS. Sam'), and (2) the metaphysical framework in which the concept of God's sovereignty and omnipotence should be expressed (..) Abu Bakr al-Baqalani (d. 1013), (..) al-Tamhid (..) discussion of the nature of knowledge or science ('ilm) (..) defined by the author as "the knowledge of the object, as it really is (..) eternal knowledge of God (..) temporal or created knowledge of creatures (..) necessary (or intuitive) and discursive (..) Ash'arite theologians took a qualified anti-Mu'tazilite stand. The existence of God and His unity can be known rationally from the consideration of the createdness (Huduth) of the world and the logical necessity of a creator (muhdith) (..) atoms (..) are continually created by God and can only endure by virtue of the accident of duration created in them by God (..) Al-Baqalani's version (..) argument a contingentia mundi, (..) the distinction between good and evil (..) Mu'tazilah (..) held that man can determine rationally what is good and evil, prior to revelation (..) Ash'arites adhered to a strict voluntarist ethics. Good is what God has prescribed, evil what He has prohibited. (..) Dirar b. 'Amr (..) the first theologian to challenge the generally accepted dualism of substance and accident (..) Hisham b. al-Hakam (..) reduced everything to the notion of body, which according to him was divisible ad infinitum[33] (..) The number of the accidents which the orthodox recognized totals thirty. In a general way, they may be divided into primary and secondary accidents, depending on whether they accompany substance necessarily or not. (..) the Ash'arite and, to some extent, the Mu'tazilite doctors found the phenomena of motion quite baffling, and they resorted to the most far-fetched devices in attempting to explain motion rationally (..) al-Nazzam introduced the concept of the leap (tafrah), or the view that a body could move from point A to point C without passing by the intermediary point B (..) The most characteristic feature of the atoms of Kalam, as we have seen,[43] (..) al-Baghdadi (..) Thus the duration of substances was made contingent upon the inherence in them of the accident of duration (baqa'). Since, however, this accident is not capable of duration per se, it followed that either the durability of substance is to be referred to other accidents of duration indefinitely, or else another principle of durability had to be introduced. This principle the Ash'arites identified with God's own decree to preserve in being or destroy at will the atoms or ultimate components of physical objects in the world. (..) The greatest figure in the history of the Islamic reaction to Neo-Platonism is al-Ghazali (..) Born in Tus (Khurasan) in 1058 (..) Sunnite orthodoxy (..) For five years (1091 to 1095), then, al-Ghazali, as head of the Nizamiyah of Baghdad, pursued his teaching in jurisprudence and theology with great success. (..) initiation into the practice of the Sufi way, between 1093 and 1094 (..) If sense experience is not to be trusted, then by analogy the knowledge of necessary propositions or axioms is not to be trusted either. (..) might it not then be that there "exists beyond reason a higher authority, which would, upon its manifestation, show the judgment of reason to be invalid, just as the authority of reason had shown the judgment of sense to be invalid? (..) attacks on the Muslim Neo-Platonists, particularly al-Farabi and Ibn Sina (..) a work entitled the Intentions of the Philosophers, in which he states that his express purpose is to expound the doctrines of the philosophers, as a prelude to refuting them in a subsequent work (..) contribution of al-Ghazali (..) in his identification with the antiphilosophical party, and his attempt to prove the incoherence of the philosophers on philosophical grounds (..) Tahafut (..) (or Collapse of the Philosophers) (..) Al-Ghazali's attack is thus judiciously leveled at the two leading Muslim Neo-Platonists directly, and indirectly at Aristotle, their master. (..) he enumerates sixteen metaphysical and four physical propositions that have an obvious religious relevance and against which the unguarded believer must be warned (..) three are particularly obnoxious (..) the eternity of the world a parte ante, God's knowledge of universals only, and the denial of the resurrection of the body (..) al-Ghazali takes an unequivocal stand in support of the creation of time (..) The possible, the impossible, and the necessary, as indeed all other common qualities, have only a conceptual reality. What exists is simply the entity of which they are predicated. (..) Perhaps the most crucial aspect of the problem of divine knowledge, from the Islamic point of view, is the denial of God's knowledge of particulars. (..) Al-Ghazali, however, was the first theologian to undertake a systematic refutation of the concept of a necessary causal nexus. In this, he appears to have been influenced by the Greek skeptics of the Pyrrhonian school. (..) The philosophers claim that fire causes the burning of the cotton, whereas we maintain, says al-Ghazali, that the real agent in this process is God, acting either directly by Himself, or indirectly through an angel. (..) the supermundane principles or agents, particularly God, do not act by way of causal necessity, as the philosophers claim, but rather by way of will. (..) The knowledge of the sequence of such events is normally dependent on their actual occurrence. (..) however, it is not logically excluded that God or His angels may cause this power to be checked (..) pleasure or pain which man can experience after death (..) God in anthropomorphic terms (..) The latter can and ought to be interpreted allegorically, but not the former. (..)


Nasr_The meaning and concept of philosophy in Islam.htm

The meaning and concept of philosophy in Islam (..) Seyyed Hossein Nasr (..) define the meaning of hikmah as well as falsafah (..) Some of the definitions of Greek origin most common among Islamic philosophers are as follows:7 (..) 1 Philosophy (al falsafah) is the knowledge of all existing things qua existents (ashya' al-maujudah bi ma hiya maujudah).8 (..) 2 Philosophy is knowledge of divine and human matters. (..) 3 Philosophy is taking refuge in death, that is, love of death. (..) 4 Philosophy is becoming God-like to the extent of human ability. (..) 5 It [philosophy] is the art (sind'ah) of arts and the science (ilm) of sciences. (..) 6 Philosophy is predilection for hikmah. (..) Al-Farabi (..) distinction between philosophy based on certainty (al-yaqiniyyah) hence demonstration and philosophy based on opinion (al-maznunah) (..) Ibn Sina (..) Al-hikmah (..) [which he uses as being the same as philosophy] is the perfection of the human soul through conceptualization [tasawwur] of things and judgment [tasdiq] of theoretical and practical realities to the measure of human ability (..) Bahmanyar (..) "The aim of the philosophical sciences is knowledge of existents." (..) Ikhwan (..) The beginning of philosophy (falsafah) is the love of the sciences, its middle knowledge of the realities of existents to the measure of human ability and its end words and deeds in accordance with knowledge. (..) divorce between philosophy and spiritual practice in the West and especially the reduction of philosophy to either rationalism or .empiricism necessitate making a distinction between the meaning given to hikmah (..) conception of philosophy as dealing with the discovering of the truth concerning the nature of things and combining mental knowledge with the purification and perfection of one's being has lasted to this day wherever the tradition of Islamic philosophy has continued (..) Mirth Ahmad Ashtiyani, the author of Ndmayi rahbardn-i dmuzish-i kitdb-i takwin ("Treatise of the Guides to the Teaching of the Book of Creation"); (..)


KIKI KENNEDY-DAY, al-Kindi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Ishaq (d. c.866-73)

al-Kindi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Ishaq (d. c.866-73) (..) thought of Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle, through the translation movement; although he did not make translations himself, he corrected them and used them advantageously in his own thought (..) in his own day, to push for the supremacy of reason and for the importance of a 'foreign science' - philosophy - as opposed to an 'Arab science' - grammar, Qur'anic studies - was quite astonishing (..) he did not read Greek himself (..) Al-Kindi may be thought of as a stage-setter for philosophy in the Islamic world, laying out terms qua terms and redirecting the metaphysical concerns suggested by the mutakallimun (theologians) from the realm of religion to that of philosophy. (..) In the eleventh century the Kitab al-hudud (Book of Definitions) of (..) Ibn Sina (..) replaced al-Kindi's work (..) Al-Kindi's best known treatise is the metaphysical study, (..) Fi al-falsafa al-ula (On First Philosophy) (..) . (..) Aristotle teaches the eternity of the world; Al-Kindi propounds creation ex nihilo. (..) The first cause is prior in time because it is the cause of time. (..) Throughout many of his treatises, al-Kindi emphasizes the importance of the intellect ('aql) and contrasts it with matter. (..) In Aristotelian metaphysics the Prime Mover set the world in motion, but in the Hellenistic tradition, time and motion are intrinsically linked. Matter set in motion is eternally existing, since it exists before motion (and therefore before time). In this system, time is defined as the extension of the series of movements. Thus time begins with movement. In al-Kindi's system, matter, time and movement are all finite, with a beginning and a cessation at some future point. (..) al-Kindi (..) consistently tries to show that the pursuit of philosophy is compatible with orthodox Islam (..) Fehmi Jadaane ( (..) 1968 (..) ) argues that al-Kindi was strongly influenced by the Stoic tradition (..) concentrate on the life of the mind and the soul, not of the body (see (..) Stoicism (..)


Abu Nasr al-Farabi (259-339 AH / 870-950 AD)

was the first Islamic philosopher to separate philosophy and theology


Peter Adamson ,Al-Fârâbî on Logic and the Sciences

Arabic Philosophy, Lecture 6: Al-Fârâbî on Logic and the Sciences (..) Instructor: Dr Peter Adamson ( (..) al-Sîrâfî (..) no such thing as a "universal" logic (..) correctness of speech is proper to the language used, and no meaning can be expressed except in a specific language. (..) Farabi (..) opposite (..) grammar establishes rules for the language of a certain nation, whereas logic establishes the rules common to all languages (..) discern whether what we infer is certain knowledge or mere belief, whether it is the thing itself or its image and similitude (..) principles of instruction (..) principles of being (..) why the thing is (..) whether the things is (..) Active Intellect (..) giver of forms (dator formarum) (..) uncaused First Cause (..) God is an intellect and knows all things by knowing Himself. (..) The First Cause is indivisible (..) if this were so, the parts by which it would be constituted as substance would be the causes of its existence (..) due to a oneness which is its essence (..) what prevents something from being intellect and from intellecting in act is matter (..) it itself intellects its own essence (..) by the fact that its essence intellects it, it becomes intellected (..) it is intellect and intellecting by its intellecting its essence. For the essence that intellects is that which is intellected. (..) universal knowledge (..) Aristotle distinguishes between potential and active intellect (..) Lingering problems: how do we go from sense experience, which is always of the particular, to intellection, which is always of the universal? How does the intellect that grasps these universals relate to the body? (..) Alexander identifies active intellect with god, whereas for Themistius we each have our "own" active intellect (this is what "does the thinking", and my intellect is "what it is to be me" (..) - (..) my essence). (..) intellect in potentiality (..) abstract the quiddities of all existing things and their forms from their matters, so that it makes all of them a form for itself or forms for itself." (..) This commitment to abstraction sets Farabi apart from Kindi. (..) as soon as we have actual thinking going on, we are talking about actual intellect. This suggests that the "potential intellect" is merely a capacity. (..) the intelligibles (..) when they were abstracted, they became intelligibles in actuality (..) how abstraction allows for universality (..) the actual intellect (..) is able to think about itself (..) the acquired intellect (..) involves reflexivity (..) The acquired intellect is like a form for the intellect which is in actuality, and the intellect in actuality is like a substrate and matter for the acquired intellect (..) the universals arranged via self-reflexion in a scientific order (..) only in the agent intellect (..) The agent intellect is a separated form which never existed in matter nor will ever exist in it (..) Active intellect is thus needed to facilitate the acquisition of universals by individual intellects (..) active intellect plays an ontological, as well as an epistemological, role (..) Al-Farabi (..) ' (..) s main sources for ethical and political thought are, respectively, Aristotle (..) ' (..) s Ethics and Plato (..) ' (..) s Republic. (..) practical philosophy is necessary because of our capacity for free choice (..) division of society into classes, which is clearly based on the Republic. (..) religious opinions (note the term used here) as a persuasive or rhetorical version of the truths grasped in philosophy (..) virtuous religion is similar to philosophy (..) the calculative theoretical part is what a human being is not able to do when he knows it, whereas the practical part is what a human being is able to do when he knows it (..)

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037, Persian, Iran)

His philosophical works were one of the main targets of al-Ghazali's attack on philosophical influences in Islam. His philosophical works were one of the main targets of al-Ghazali's attack on philosophical influences in Islam. Avicenna's philosophy, like that of his predecessors among the Arabians, is Aristoteleanism mingled with neo-Platonism, an exposition of Aristotle's teaching in the light of the Commentaries of Thomistius, Simplicius, and other neo-Platonists. A favourite principle of Avicenna, which is quoted not only by Averroes but also by the Schoolmen, and especially by St. Albert the Great, was intellectus in formis agit universalitatem, that is, the universality of our ideas is the result of the activity of the mind itself. The principle, however, is to be understood in the realistic, not in the nominalistic sense. Avicenna's meaning is that, while there are differences and resemblances among things independently of the mind, the formal constitution of things in the category of individuality, generic universality, specific universality, and so forth, is the work of the mind. Avicenna's physical doctrines show him in the light of a faithful follower of Aristotle, who has nothing of his own to add to the teaching of his master. Active and Passive Intellect: He teaches that the latter is the individual mind in the state of potency with regard to knowledge, and that the former is the impersonal mind in the state of actual and perennial thought. In order that the mind acquire ideas, the Passive Intellect must come into contact with the Active Intellect. The neo-Platonic conception dominates Avicenna's thought in this theory of emanation. Avicenna is no exception to the general description of the Arabian Aristoteleans as neo-Platonic interpreters of Aristotle. There remain two other doctrines of general metaphysical nature which exhibit him in the character of an original, or rather an Arabian, and not a neo-Platonic interpreter. The first is his division of being into three classes: (a) what is merely possible, including all sublunary things; (b) what is itself merely possible but endowed by the First Cause with necessity; such are the ideas that rule the heavenly spheres; (c) what is of its own nature necessary, namely, the First Cause. This classification is mentioned and refuted by Averroes. The second doctrine, to which also Averroes alludes, is a fairly outspoken system of pantheism which Avicenna is said to have elaborated in a work, now lost, entitled "Philosophia Orientalis". The Scholastics, apparently, know nothing of the special work on pantheism; they were, however, aware of the pantheistic tendencies of Avicenna's other works on philosophy, and were, accordingly, reluctant to trust in his exposition of Aristotle.


Al-Ghazali, 1058-1111 (Iran, Bagdad, Iran)

Al-Ghazali explained in his autobiography why he renounced his brilliant career and turned to Sufism. It was, he says, due to his realization that there was no way to certain knowledge or the conviction of revelatory truth except through Sufism. (This means that the traditional form of Islamic faith was in a very critical condition at the time.) This realization is possibly related to his criticism of Islamic philosophy. In fact, his refutation of philosophy is not a mere criticism from a certain (orthodox) theological viewpoint. First of all, his attitude towards philosophy was ambivalent; it was both an object and criticism and an object of learning (for example, logic and the natural sciences). He mastered philosophy and then criticized it in order to Islamicize it. The importance of his criticism lies in his philosophical demonstration that the philosophers' metaphysical arguments cannot stand the test of reason. However, he was also forced to admit that the certainty, of revelatory truth, for which he was so desperately searching, cannot be obtained by reason. It was only later that he finally attained to that truth in the ecstatic state (fana') of the Sufi. Through his own religious experience, he worked to revive the faith of Islam by reconstructing the religious sciences upon the basis of Sufsm, and to give a theoretical foundation to the latter under the influence of philosophy. Thus Sufism came to be generally recognized in the Islamic community. Though Islamic philosophy did not long survive al-Ghazali's criticism, he contributed greatly to the subsequent philosophization of Islamic theology and Sufism. (..) AI-Ghazali retorts that God's creation of the world was decided in the eternal past, and therefore it does not mean any change in God; indeed, time itself is God's creation (this is also an argument based on the Aristotelian concept of time as a function of change). Even though the current of time is similar in every part, it is the nature of God's will to choose a particular out of similar ones. Philosophy declined in the Sunni world after al-Ghazali, and his criticism of philosophy certainly accelerated this decline. Nearly a century later, IBN RUSHD (Averroes) made desperate efforts to resist the trend by refuting al-Ghazali's Tahafut in his Tahafut al-tahafut (The Incoherence of the Incoherence) and Fasl al-maqal (The Decisive Treatise), but he could not stop it. (..) Once the divine determination is freely made, however, the phenomenal world changes and evolves according to a determined sequence of causes and effects. The difference between this relationship and the philosophers' causality lies in whether or not the relation of cause and effect is necessary. This emphasis on causal relationship by al-Ghazali differs from the traditional Ash'arite occasionalism.


Ibn Rushd, better known as Averroes (1126-1198, Cordoba - Morocco)

decisive role in the defense of Greek philosophy against the onslaughts of the Ash'arite theologians (Mutakallimun), led by al-Ghazali (d. 1111), and the rehabilitation of Aristotle (..) there is no incompatibility between religion and philosophy when both are properly understood (..) construction of a form of Aristotelianism which cleansed it, as far as was possible at the time, of Neoplatonic influences (..)

Averroes advocated the principle of twofold truth, maintaining that religion has one sphere and philosophy another. Religion, he said, is for the unlettered multitude; philosophy for the chosen few. Religion teaches by signs and symbols; philosophy presents the truth itself. In the mind, therefore, of the truly enlightened, philosophy supersedes religion. What is peculiar in Averroes' interpretation of Aristotle is the meaning he gives to the Aristotelean doctrine of the Active and Passive Intellect. His predecessor, Avicenna, taught that, while the Active Intellect is universal and separate, the Passive Intellect is individual and inherent in the soul. Averroes holds that both the Active and the Passive Intellect are separate from the individual soul and are universal, that i s, one in all men. Besides, Averroes speaks of the Acquired Intellect (intellectus acquisitus, adeptus), by which he means the individual mind in communication with the Active Intellect. The weakness of this doctrine, as a psychological explanation of the origin of knowledge, is its failure to take account of the facts of consciousness, which, as the Scholastics were not slow to point out, indicate that not merely an individual disposition but an active individual principle enters into the action which ones expresses by the words "I think".

The Incoherence of the Incoherence

** Introduction


(..) (..) The great period of translation of Greek into Arabic, mostly through the intermediary of Christian Syrians, was between the years 750 and 850, but already before that time there was an impact of Greek ideas on Muslim theology. (..) certain points in common, principally their theory, taken from the Stoics, of the rationality of religion (which is for them identical with Islam), of a lumen naturale which burns in the heart of every man, and the optimistic view of a rational God who has created the best of all possible worlds for the greatest good of man who occupies the central place in the universe. (..) the Ash'arites (..) are forced by the weight of evidence to admit a certain irrationality in theological concepts (..) 'Let us imagine a child and a grown-up in Heaven who both died in the True Faith, but the grown-up has a higher place than the child. And the child will ask God, "Why did you give that man a higher place?" And God will answer, "He has done many good works." Then the child will say, "Why did you let me die so soon so that I was prevented from doing good?" God will answer, "I knew that you would grow up a sinner, therefore it was better that you should die a child." Then a cry goes up from the damned in the depths of Hell, "Why, O Lord, did you not let us die before we became sinners?" ' (..) Ghazali adds to this: 'the imponderable decisions of God cannot be weighed by the scales of reason and Mu'tazilism'. (..) According to the Ash'arites, therefore, right and wrong are human concepts and cannot be applied to God. (..) The Ash'arites have taken over from the Stoics their epistemology, their sensationalism, their nominalism, their materialism. (..) Stoic influence on Islamic theology is overwhelming. (..) acts of man into five classes (..) substance and accident (..) fatalism and determinism (..) moral obligation resting on God and man relative to animals, Islam answers with the Neoplatonists in the affirmative (Spinoza, that Stoic Cartesian, will give, in his Ethica, the negative Stoic answer). (..) Ghazali (..) one cannot find proofs for the premisses of knowledge (..) Certitude is reached, he says, not through scholastic reasoning, not through philosophy, but through mystical illumination and the mystical way of life. (..) necessarily his mysticism comes into conflict with his dogmatism (..) Averroës was the last great philosopher in Islam in the twelfth century, and is the most scholarly and scrupulous commentator of Aristotle. (..) Averroës' influence on European thought during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been immense. (..) The name of Ghazali's book (..) Tahafut al Falasifa (..) Destructio Philosophorum (..) The name of Averroës' book is Tahafut al Tahafut, which is rendered as Destructio Destructionis (or destructionum). (..) The Incoherence of the Incoherence (..) According to Ghazali, the philosophers claim for their metaphysical proofs the same evidence as is found in Mathematics and Logic. But all Philosophy is based on supposition and opinion. (..) For Aristotle all necessary reasoning is deductive and exclusively based on syllogism. (..) Reason must come to a stop. (..) There must be first principles which are immediately evident. (..) Aristotle is quite unaware of the assumption on which his system is based. He is what philosophers are wont to call nowadays a naive realist. (..) Ghazali's book is badly constructed, it is unsystematic and repetitive. (..) the first problem Ghazali mentions is the philosphers' proof for the eternity of the world. (..) The theory of the eternity of the world is an Aristotelian one. (..) At the same time Aristotle believes in the finitude of causes. (..) Movement, however, by itself is eternal. (..) . Aristotle, in fact, defends the two opposite theses of Kant's first antinomy. He holds at the same time that time and movement are infinite and that every causal series must be finite. (..) The contradiction in Aristotle is still further accentuated in the Muslim philosophers by the fact that they see in God, not only as Aristotle did, the First Mover of the movement of the universe, but that they regard Him, under the influence of the Plotinian theory of emanation, as the Creator of the universe from whom the world emanates eternally. (..) Ghazali's long argument can be reduced to the assertion that once the possibility of an infinite series of causes is admitted, there is no sense in positing a first cause. (..) Aristotle's philosophy that in all change there is a potentiality and all potentiality needs an actualizer which exists already (..) Plato himself believed in the temporal creation of the world not by God Himself but by a demiurge (..) the Stoics assumed a periodical generation and destruction of the world. (..) Averroës, the whole basis of this argument is wrong for it assumes in God a will like a human will (..) Aristotle (..) regards God as in an eternal blissful state of self-contemplation. (..) This notion of God as a Self-contemplating Being, however, constitutes one of the many profound contradictions in Aristotle's system. (..) in an empty time, in pure emptiness, there cannot be a motive for a beginning and there could be nothing that could decide God to start His creation. This is Kant's antithesis of his first antinomy. (..) Ghazali's answer is that God's will is completely undetermined. (..) The idea of God's creative will is of Stoic origin. (..) We know because things are; things are because God knows them. (..) difficulty (..) Either God is beyond the laws of thought and of morals and then He is neither good nor wise, or He Himself stands under their dominion and then He is not omnipotent. (..) no causal relation between God and the world can exist at all, since all causation implies a simultaneous time. (..) according to Aristotle, becoming is nothing but the actualization of a potentiality, that is the becoming actual of a disposition. (..) Aristotle's philosophy is based on a concept, i.e. potentiality, that has been excluded by a law that he was the first to express consciously. For Aristotle is the first to have stated as the supreme law of thought (or is it a law of reality?) that there is no intermediary between being and non-being. (..) But the potential, i.e. the objective possible, is such an intermediary; it is namely something which is, still is not yet. (..) Megarian denial of potentiality has been taken over by the Ash'arites, and Ghazali in this book is on the whole, although not consistently, in agreement with them (..) The Ash'arites and Ghazali believed, as the Megarians did, that things do not become and that the future does not lie in the present; every event that occurs is new and unconnected with its predecessor. (..) Things are or are not. God creates them and annihilates them, but they do not become out of each other, (..) there is no passage between being and non-being. Nor is there movement (..) according to Aristotle, matter must be eternal and cannot have become, since it is, itself, the condition for all becoming. (..) the impossible is that which will never be realized. Aristotle does not see that this definition is contrary to the basic idea of his own philosophy-the reality of a possibility which may or may not become real-and that by declaring that the possible will have to happen he reduces it to a necessity, and by admitting that everything that happens had to happen he denies that the possibility of its not happening could precede it, i.e. he accepts, in fact, the Megarian conception of possibility which he himself had tried to refute. (..) Just as a series of numbers needs a first term but no final term, the beginning of the world does not imply its end. (..) Averroës argues that there is no essential difference between production and destruction and, in agreement with Aristotle, he affirms that there are three principles for them: form, matter, and privation. (..) When a thing becomes, its form arises and its privation disappears; when it is destroyed its privation arises and its form disappears, but the substratum of this process, matter, remains eternally. (..) The interesting point in this discussion is that, according to the Ash'arites and Ghazali, there is no causation in this world at all, there is only one extra-mundane cause which is God. (..) How can we come to the idea of any causal action in God depending on His Will if we deny generally that there is a causal relation between will and action? The same contradiction is found in modern philosophy in Mach. (..) says that causation, even in acts caused by will, is nothing but a temporal sequence of events. (..) All duality implies a relation, and every relation establishes a new unity which is not the simple addition of its terms (since every whole is more than its parts) and violates therefore the supreme law of thought that a thing is what it is and nothing else. (..) Plotinus (..) all thought is relational (..) in God (..) no plurality (..) no bridge leading from the stable stillness of His Unity to the changing and varied multiplicity of the world (..) The plurality of the world according to Ghazali cannot be explained through a series of mediators. Averroës, who sometimes does not seem very sure of the validity of mediate emanation, is rather evasive in his answer on this point. (..) The leading idea of the philosophers that all plurality needs a prior joining principle, Ghazali rejects, while Averroës defends it. (..) The Muslim philosophers, following Aristotle's Neoplatonic commentators, affirm that God's self-knowledge implies His knowledge of all universals (a line of thought followed, for instance, by Thomas Aquinas and some moderns like Brentano). In man this knowledge forms a plurality, in God it is unified. (..) For Averroës God's knowledge is neither universal nor particular, but transcending both, in a way unintelligible to the human mind. (..) two aspects of time: the sequence of anteriority and posteriority which remains fixed for ever, and the eternal flow of the future through the present into the past. (..) there is no 'now' in God's eternity in which He can know that I am sickening now (..) philosophers. Their theory of the possibility of miracles is based on the Stoic-Neoplatonic theory of 'Sympathia', which is that all parts of the world are in intimate contact and related. (..) Avicenna gives as an example of the power of suggestion that a man will go calmly over a .plank when it is on the ground, whereas he will hesitate if the plank be across an abyss. (..) The theologians, however, base their theory of miracles on a denial of natural law. (..) no nexus between the phenomena (..) the Greek Sceptics also deny the rational relation between cause and effect, and it is this Greek Sceptical theory which the Ash'arites have copied (..) for the theologians, all nature is miraculous and all miracles are natural. (..) Averroës asks a good question: What is really meant by habit, is it a habit in man or in nature? (..) If there is nothing in the world but a sequence of events, the very word 'activity' will have no sense (..) Averroës' answer to this denial of natural law is that universals themselves imply already the idea of necessity and law. (..) Ghazali's arguments for the soul's materiality may be based on the Stoic answers (..) the thinking part, of our consciousness. It is only this thinking part, according to Aristotle, that is not related to or bound up with matter; sensation and imagination are localized in the body (..) Neither the Greek nor the Muslim philosophers have ever been able to uphold a theory that does justice to the individuality of the human personality. (..) How can man's identity be attributed to body with all its accidents? For bodies are continually in dissolution and nutrition replaces what is dissolved (..) Plotinus (Enn. iv. 7. 3) argues that matter, in its continual changing, cannot explain the identity of the soul. (..) whereas Plotinus affirms the self-consciousness of a stable identity, Descartes states only that every thought has a subject, an ego. (..) Ghazali (..) nobody believes that this identity is based on a spiritual principle. Averroës regards this objection as justified. (..) The second argument is based on the theory of universals. Since thought apprehends universals which are not in a particular place and have no individuality, they cannot be material, since everything material is individual and is in space. Against this theory of universals Ghazali develops, under Stoic influence, his nominalistic theory (..) assumption that thinking is nothing but the having of images (..) representation of a particular hand, since there are no universals (..) The fallacy of the theory lies, of course, in the word 'representing', which as a matter of fact assumes what it tended to deny, namely, that we can think of a hand in general (..) The Arabic philosophers through their combination of Platonism and Aristotelianism hold, indeed, at the same time three theories inconsistent with each other, about the relation of body and soul: that the soul is the form of the body, that the soul is a substance, subsistent by itself and immortal, and that the soul after death takes a pneumatic body (..) views about religion (..) Sceptical view that religion is opium for the people (..) view that religion expresses Absolute Truth (..) intermediate view, held by Averroës, that the religious conceptions are the symbols of a higher philosophical truth (..) The resemblances between Ghazali and Averroës, men belonging to the same culture, indeed, the greatest men in this culture, seem sometimes greater than their differences. (..) Averroës is a philosopher and a proud believer in the possibility of reason to achieve a knowledge of 'was das Innere der Welt zusammenhält' (..) God, for him, is a dehumanized principle. (..) Ghazali is a mu'min, that is a believer, he is a Muslim, that is he accepts his heart submits to a truth his reason cannot establish, for his heart has reasons his reason does not know. (..) his search is for God, for the Pity behind the clouds. (..)

was born at Cordova in 520/1126 and died at Marrakush in 595/1198 (..) researches which must be done on the movements of the planets in order to found an astronomy which would be physical and not only mathematical (..) the sky: is it a substance which has existed from all eternity, or did it have a beginning? (..) Ibn Rushd approached philosophy through the Qtheoretical sciences (..) He thus saw in Aristotle mainly the logician who follows a strict method of demonstration, the scholar who starts from the concrete in order to explain it by linking it with general propositions. (..) dhaka' al-fitra (..) a gift which is given to man of remembering things and recognizing the truth, which may be translated by 'a keen sense of the truth'), and al-'adala al-shar'iyya accompanied by ethical virtue, that is a religious and moral qualification defined by the Law (..) But not all men accept proof by demonstration: some give their assent (tasdiq) only to dialectical discourses (al-aqawil al-dhadaliyya), others only to rhetorical discourses (khitabiyya). God speaks to men through these three types of discourse in order to reach them all (..) necessary to make an interpretation (ta'wil) of the literal meaning in a figurative (madhazi) meaning (..)


IBN KHALDUN, 1332 - 1406, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt

Ibn Khaldun is the most important figure in the field of History and Sociology in Muslim History. His discussion of Tribal societies and social forces would be the most interesting part of his thesis. He would illuminate the world with deep insight into the workings and makings of kingdoms and civilizations. His thesis that the conquered race will always emulate the conqueror in every way. His theory about Asbyiah (group feeling) and the role that it plays in Bedouin societies is insightful. His theories of the science of Umran (sociology) are all pearls of wisdom. His Introduction is his greatest legacy that he left for all of humanity and the generations to come.


** translator's introduction:


The Muqaddimah (..) "introduction" (muqaddimah) to Ibn Khaldun's great History (..) errors historians have committed (..) ignorance of changes in the environment within which history unfolds (..) problem of proper cross-referencing (..) repeat the same information as often as his exposition might require (..) style (..) redundant (..) primitive social organization (..) relationship to the higher, urban form of society (..) government of the state (..) higher civilization (..) commerce, the crafts, and the sciences, considered both as conditions and consequences of urban life and, as such, indispensable for the understanding of history (..) historical development of the various crafts and sciences (..) man is dependent on his physical environment (..) The physical environment also influences man's character, his appearance, and his customs, in accordance with differences in the climate and fertility of given areas. (..) the supernatural (..) which has many different manifestations. It extends from the sublime realm of the omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal Muslim Deity (..) down to the most primitive magic and superstition. (..) Ibn Khaldun restricted the influence of the Divine to the extraordinary in human affairs (..) Religious fervor (..) intensify and accelerate political movements (..) Khaldun's philosophy can be called secular (..) . In his mind the only matter for inquiry was the degree of relationship between man and the supernatural. (..) explain the origins of human social organization (..) Ibn Khaldun generalized and secularized the applicability of this deeply pessimistic theory (..) Man (..) at the pinnacle of an ascending world order which progresses from minerals, plants, and animals toward human beings. (..) Basically, however, man is an animal, and human organization starts from the realization that, if left to his own animal instincts, man would eat man. (..) co-operation (..) there must exist a group the members of which cooperate to acquire many different crafts and (technical) skills (..) Full co­operation will (in this way) materialize, and the life of the human species and of other animal species will reach perfection (..) The sages called this social organization "urbanization" (tamaddun, from Greek poliz, town). (..) The proper order of such social organization, which is political and based upon co-operation, can materialize only when there exists mutual intercourse governed by justice among the people (..) This religious law must have (as its founder) a person who lays down all these general norms (..) A person with such restraining influence upon others is called wazi by Ibn Khaldun. (..) The ability to think, God's special gift to man, is the particular human quality or innate gift that enables human beings to cooperate. (..) some kind of social organization, 'umran results. 'Umran (translated here as "civilization") is one of the key terms in Ibn Khaldun's system. (..) progress in civilization is in direct proportion to the number of people co-operating for their common good. (..) Thus, 'umran acquired the further meaning of "population, (..) two fundamentally different environments (..) "desert, desert life" (badawah, cf. Bedouins) and "town, sedentary environment." (..) badawah (..) sedentary rural people living at some distance from the great population centers (..) sedentary urban people as inhabitants of large popula­tion centers (..) In Ibn Khaldun's thinking, the sociological distinction amounts to no more than a quantitative distinction as to the size and density of human settlements. (..) What causes differences in the size of human settlements? (..) some incitement for the desire for co-operation (..) That some such factor exists, Ibn Khaldun recognized and called 'asabiyah "group feeling." (..) 103 (..) (..) Arab lexicographers correctly connect the term with the word 'asabah "agnates." Thus, it origi­nally signified something like "making common cause with one's agnates." (..) However, in Ibn Khaldun's mind the term appears to have been associated with the related words 'isdbah and Qur'anic 'usbah, both meaning "group" in a more general sense. (..) relatives (..) common descent (..) long and close contact as members of a group (..) Islam gener­ally condemned 'asabiyah as a quality and state of mind. It is traditionally considered to mean "bias," or, more specifically, blind support of one's group without regard for the justice of its cause. (..) As such, any show of 'asabiyah is depreciated as an atavistic survival of the pagan, pre-Islamic mentality. Ibn Khaldun, of course, was fully aware of this customary usage. In a locus classicus (..) 107 (..) (..) he dis­criminates between an objectionable pagan 'asabiyah and "the natural asabiyah that is inseparable (from human beings). (..) The latter is the affection a man feels for a brother or a neighbor when one of them is treated unjustly or killed. (..) it cannot as yet be determined just how original and daring Ibn Khaldun was when he gave the term the positive meaning he did. (..) it seems that his use of the term 'asabiyah in so positive a sense is his most original single intellectual contribution to the Muqaddimah. (..) Preponderance of 'asabiyah renders one group superior to others; it also determines leadership within a given group. (..) In Ibn Khaldun's view of history (..) there is no room for an abstract concept of "the state." A state exists only in so far as it is held together and ruled by individuals and the group which they constitute, that is, the dynasty. (..) the caliphate and its institutions, even though they were, for him, entirely atypical (..) human activities are undertaken to enable the individual to preserve his life and to secure his livelihood. (..) fundamental needs (..) conveniences (..) mere luxuries (..) develop the sciences (..) This development towards luxury carries its own penalty with it in the form of causing degeneration. (..) Ibn Khaldun had a lingering and rather sentimental admiration for "the good old days" when Arab civilization was imbued with the desert attitude. However, he fully recognized the superiority of sedentary culture, the goal of all of man's efforts to become civilized (..) Like an individual, the dynasty is endowed with a natural span of life. (..) Three interrelated factors (..) indulgence in luxury, loss of 'asabiyah, and financial trouble. (..) As a jurist, Ibn Khaldun was naturally much interested in questions of government finance and business matters. (..) Ibn Khaldun's attention to practical questions in a literary work showed admirable boldness. He succeeded in giving a picture of the role of capital and labor in society that not only does credit to his acumen, but bears witness to the high level the legal circles of his time had reached in their understanding of these matters. (..) Here, another problem arises. How, under these conditions, can the survival of any higher civilization be explained? (..) gains of the older civilization, at least, are preserved. (..) how all higher civilization is preserved lies in the word malakah "habit." Malakah is a loan-translation of the Greek exiz, which also was translated into the Latin habitus, from which our "habit" is derived."' (..) Through continuous repetition, an individual may master a craft or a science, thus making it his "habit." (..) Once a person has acquired the "habit" of a craft or science, it is difficult, if not impos­sible, for him to master another (..) acquisition of habits is a matter of education (..) explanation for the survival of past civilizations (..) in Ibn Khaldun's thinking, there could be no essential difference be­tween the faculties and achievements of former and contemporary generations, for political and cultural life was moving in never ending, always repeated circles (..) sources (..) al-Mawardi's Ahkdm as-sultaniyah, a rather theoretical compilation of basic data on political law and administration, and to the Furstenspiegel of the Spaniard at-Turtushi (..) Much of his material and many of his best ideas Ibn Khaldun owed to his juridical training. (..) practically every matter of detail found in the Muqaddimah was probably not original with Ibn Khaldun, but had been previously expressed elsewhere (..) The Muqaddimah re-evaluates, in an altogether unprecedented way, practically every single individual manifestation of a great and highly developed civilization. It accomplishes this both comprehensively and in detail in the light of one fundamental and sound insight, namely, by considering everything as a function of man and human social organization. (..) Machiavelli's Il Principe (..) is full of events its author had witnessed in his own time, while Ibn Khaldun was more used to deductive than to inductive reasoning. (..)


Muhammad Iqbal (1877 -1938)

Iqbal stands alone in the post classical period of Islamic philosophy as a reviver of the discipline within the Muslim world. He is the only Islamic philosopher to make a serious attempt at grabbling with the problems of modern western philosophy within an Islamic context. (..) Iqbal introduces his notion of Khudi, or self. Arising from a desire to awaken the Muslim Ummah and drawing upon inspiration from western existentialists like Nietzsche, and Muslim spiritual teachers he empowers the Muslim individual.


Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (1935-1980)

grootvader van een tegenspeler van de Amerikanen in Bagdad: Moktada al-Sadr

Our Philosophy

(.....tekst .htm op computer .....)


Murtada Mutahhari ???-???

Al-Tawhid (..) Murtada Mutahhari (..) al-kalam (..) (Muslim scholastic philosophy) (..) introduction to Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. (..) Islamic teachings (..) (i) Doctrines ('aqa'id): These constitute the issues which must be understood and believed in (..) (ii) Morals (akhlaq): These relate to the commands and teachings relating to the spiritual and moral characteristics of human beings (..) (iii) The Law (ahkam): Here the issues relating to practice and the correct manner of performing acts (..) The science which deals with the first of the above-mentioned is 'ilm al-kalam (..) issue of predestination (jabr) and free will (ikhtiyar), (..) The believers in free will were called "qadariyyah" and their opponents were known as "jabriyyah". (..) the "qadariyyah" came to be called "Mu'tazilah" and the "jabriyyah" became known as "Asha'irah ". (..) This problem also raises the issue of Divine Justice (..) The problem of justice raises the issue of the essential good and evil of actions, and the latter in its turn brings along with it the problem of the validity of reason and purely rational judgements. (..) extended to many philosophical problems, such as, substance and accident, nature of indivisible particles which constitute physical bodies, the problem of space, etc (..) In this way many of the problems of philosophy entered 'ilm al-kalam, and now there are many problems common to both. (..) Islamic philosophy and kalam have greatly influenced each other. One of the results was that kalam raised new problems for philosophy, and philosophy helped in widening the scope of kalam, in the sense that dealing with many philosophical problems came to be considered necessary in kalam. (..) Al-Kalam al-'Aqli and al-Kalam al-Naqli: (..) (..) (i) 'aqli (rational); (..) (ii) naqli (transmitted, traditional). (..) there has been a group of scholars in the Islamic world which was basically opposed to the very idea of 'ilm al-kalam and rational debate about Islamic doctrines (..) They are known as "Ahl al-Hadith." (..) MU'TAZILAH (..) five principal doctrines (..) (i) Tawhid, i.e. absence of plurality and attributes (..) (ii) Justice ('adl), (..) iii) Divine retribution (at-wa'd wa al-wa'id), (..) (iv) Manzilah bayna al-manzilatayn (a position between the two positions) (..) fisq (..) is an intermediary state between belief and infidelity (..) (v) al-'amr bil ma'ruf wa al-nahy 'an al-munkar [bidding to do what is right and lawful, and forbidding what is wrong and unlawful]. (..) The Shi'ite mutakallimun have specially mentioned justice among the principal Shi'ite doctrines because the Ash'arites - who form the majority of the Ahl al-Sunnah - implicitly deny that it is an Attribute (..) OTHER MU'TAZILITE NOTIONS AND BELIEFS (..) Physics: (..) (..) (i) Physical bodies are made up of indivisible particles. (..) (ii) Smell relates to particles scattered in air. (..) (iii) Taste is nothing but the effect of particles. (..) (iv) Light is made up of particles scattered in space. (..) (v) Interpenetration of bodies is not impossible (this belief is attributed to some Mu'tazilah). (..) (vi) Leap (of particles) (i.e. tafrah) (..) [10] (..) is not impossible (this belief, too, is attributed to some Mu'tazilah). (..) Human Problems: (..) (..) (i) Man is free, endowed with free will; not predetermined (..) Human reason can understand and judge some matters independently (..) In case of conflict between reason and Hadith, reason is to be preferred (..) the main doctrines of al-Ash'ari (..) (i) The Divine Attributes, contrary to the belief of the Mu'tazilah and the philosophers, are not identical with the Divine Essence. (..) (ii) The Divine Will is all-embracing. (..) The Divine providence and predestination encompass all events (..) (iii) All evil, like good, is from God (..) (iv) Man is not free in his acts, which are created by God (..) (v) Acts are not intrinsically good or evil (..) What is 'just', is determined by the Shari'ah not by reason (contrary to the belief of the Mu'tazilah). (..) vii) Man's power over his actions does not precede them [there is no istita'ah qabl al-fi'l], but is commensurate and concurrent with the acts themselves (contrary to the belief of the Muslim philosophers and the Mu'tazilah). (..) (viii) Absolute deanthropomorphism (tanzih mutlaq), or absolute absence of similarity between God and others, does not hold (contrary to the Mu'tazilite view). (..) (xv) The world is created in time (hadith) (contrary to the view of the philosophers). (..) xvi) The Qur'an is pre-eternal (qadim); however, this is true of al-kalam al-nafsi (meaning of the Qur'an), not al-kalam al-lafzi - the spoken word (..) (xvii) The Divine Acts do not follow any purpose or aim (contrary to the view of the philosophers and the Mu'tazilah) (..) Kalam, (..) in the sense of logical and rational argument about the principal doctrines of Islam, has a special and distinguished place in the Shi'ah tradition. (..) Sunni historians confess that from the earliest days the Shi'ite thinking was philosophical in approach. (..) In our lectures on the basics of Islamic philosophy, where we have clarified the difference between peripatetic (hikmat al-mashsha') and illuminationist (hikmat al-'ishraq) philosophies, we have also explained the difference between dialectical (Mu'tazilite and Ash'arite) kalam and mystical or intuitive approaches to philosophical issues (..) the notion of al-tawhid al-'af'ali upheld by the Shi'ah means that the system of causes and effects is real, and every effect, while being dependent on its proximate cause, is also dependent on God. (..) The doctrine of 'adl is common between the Shi'ah and the Mu'tazilah (..) The Shi'ah doctrine of free will is to some extent similar to that of Mu'tazilah (..) men are created as free beings (..) free will and freedom in Shi'ism occupy an intermediate position between the Ash'arite (absolute) predestination (jabr) and the Mu'tazilite doctrine of freedom (tafwid). (..) The Mu'tazilah believe that all deeds are inherently and intrinsically either good or evil. (..) The Asha'irah are severely opposed to this belief. They deny both the inherent goodness or badness of acts and the applicability of such judgements as "obligatory" or "undesirable" to God. (..) Shi'ism affirms a greater independence, authority and validity for reason than the Mu'tazilah (..) The Asha'irah reject the notion that the Divine Acts may be for one or several purposes or aims. (..) They state that possession of a purpose or goal is solely applicable to man and other similar creatures. (..)


Syed Hossein Nasr (Tehran 1933 - )

Nasr studied physics and mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1958 with specialization in Islamic cosmology and science.

** lecture: Islam and Modern Science


Islam and Modern Science (..) A Lecture by Seyyid Hossein Nasr (..) Islam has always encouraged knowledge, al-ilm in Arabic, (..) ever since children began to learn Lavoiser's Law that water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen, in many Islamic countries they came home that evening and stopped saying their prayers (..) science is related first of all to prestige, and secondly, to power (..) three main positions (..) relationship between Islam and modern science (..) First of all, is the position (..) one studies science and then one says prayers, loves God and obeys the laws of the Shariah, and that there is really no problem (..) Jamaluddin (..) came up with view that science per se is what has made the West powerful and great. (..) science itself is good, because it gives power (..) Secondly (..) [he argued], (..) science came from the Islamic world originally and therefore Islamic science is really responsible for the West's possession of science (..) The modernists in the Islamic world [are] one of three important groups that came into being in the nineteenth century. The other two being those who are now being dubbed as the fundamentalists, a term which I do not like at all but which is now very prevalent, and third, those who believe in some kind of Mahdiism, some kind of apocalyptic interference of God. These two groups I shall not be dealing with at the present moment. The most important group for us to consider are the modernists. (..) the Islamic world during this one hundred and fifty year period produced very few historians of science and very few philosophers of science (..) Kamal Ataturk came into power in Turkey. (..) learn about the history of Western science (..) The first person to enter the PhD program in the history of science at Harvard University is a Turk, Aideen Saeeli. (..) Ernst Renan (..) says that Averroes represents rationalism which led to modern science. (..) So a kind of psychological and, loosely speaking, philosophical alliance was created between Islamic modernist thinkers and anti-religious philosophers in the West. (..) attempt to preserve Islam through scientific support for the Islamic revelation (..) no problem as far as Islam and modern science are concerned (..) Now this position had a reverse. (..) The ulema, religious scholars of the Islamic world opposed the modernist thesis, (..) The religious scholars of Islam (..) disdained science completely. (..) And so you have this dichotomy within the Islamic world, in which the modernists refuse to study the philosophical and religious implications of the introduction of Western science in the Islamic world, and the classical traditional ulema, and this cut across the Islamic world, all refused to have anything to do with modern science. (..) there had been created within the Islamic world, a reformist puritanical movement, especially within Arabia, associated with the name of Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahab, the so-called Wahabi movement, which is still very strong in Saudi Arabia (..) the Wahabi ulema in the nineteenth century opposed completely any interest in modern science and technology (..) It is today that Saudi Arabia of course has one of the best programs for the teaching of science and technology in the Islamic world. (..) the Al-Afghani position, that science is al-ilm and let's get on with it, let's not bother with its implications (..) The second position (..) the confrontation of modern science with Islam is not at all an intellectual problem but rather an ethical problem (..) wrong ethical application of modern science (..) students are taught Islamic ethics with the hope that once they begin to learn science and engineering, they will take these and integrate them within this ethical system (..) the third point of view (..) is that science has its own world-view (..) abstract concepts (..) of space, matter and motion which Newton developed (..) It is not at all value free; nor is it a purely objective science of reality irrespective of the subject you study. It is based upon the imposition of certain categories upon the study of nature, with a remarkable success in the study of certain things, and also a remarkable lack of success [in others], depending on what you are looking at. (..) The ``how'' has been explained in modern science, the ``why'' is not its concern. (..) Bertrand Russell (..) said that modern science has nothing to do with the discovery of the nature of reality (..) I coined the term, ``Islamic Science'', as a living and not only historical reality (..) as an independent way of looking at the work of nature. (..) the idea that Western science is as much related to Western civilization as any Islamic science is related to Islamic civilization (..) the Islamic Universe (..) the Greek Universe (..) the whole science is totally integrated into the Islamic point of view (..) good cases: One of Greek science taken over by Muslims, [and the other] of Islamic science taken over by the Latin West and later on the European West. (..) No science has ever been integrated into any civilization without some of it also being rejected. (..) The Latin West was not interested in certain aspects of Islamic science which never took hold, which never became central. And some Muslims were not interested in some types of Greek Science which never took hold in Islamic soil. (..) ethical dimension of Islamic science (..) the only institution, Aligarh University in India, which is trying to deal with this subject in a living fashion (..) In every single Islamic country (..) the adoption of western science and technology goes on (..) many questions (..) First of all is this [transfer of science and technology] going on successfully? (..) the meaning and the history of Islamic science (..) Arabic the most important scientific language in world for 700 years (..) the Muslims have not had a very good record in studying their own history of science (..) history of science, [which] although allied to science, is not really science itself. It is historical knowledge, it is linguistic knowledge, [and] it is philosophical knowledge. The Muslims have not yet developed their own historiography of science. (..) Islamic science, history of astronomy, history of physics, alchemy, biology, anything you study, miraculously comes to an end in the thirteenth century which coincides exactly with the termination of political contact between Islam and the West. (..) Arab Nationalism began with a thesis, propagated by small non-Muslim minorities within the Arab world, that the Islamic civilization began to go down when the Arab hegemony over Islamic civilization came to an end. That is with the Abbasids. (..) So Arab nationalism had a lot to do with this * of trying to diminish the contribution that Islamic civilization. after the Mongol invasion and the destruction of Baghdad in 1258, which coincided with the downfall of the political hegemony of the Arabs who did not regain the political hegemony, even over themselves, until the 20th century. (..) consequence of that (..) the overlooking of 700 years (..) of Islamic intellectual history (..) very long historical loss of memory (..) it will take a long, long time to get all the [relevant] manuscripts (..) an Islamic logic of science (..) places where a great deal of the intellectual attention is being paid to the subject (..) Malaysia (..) Turkey. (..) issue, called ``Science and Technology'' (..) published by very devout Muslims, who are extremely interested in the Islamicisty of Islamic science (..) Aligarh University in India (..) MAAS Journal (..) I believe that the cultural crisis created by the successful introduction of Western science and technology, successful enough to bring about rapid cultural patterns of change, is going to continue to pose major problems for the Islamic world. The best example of that is what happened in Iran. (..) Tawhid (..) , about Unity, about the Unity of knowledge, about the Unity of God, the Unity of the universe (..) You must be able to integrate knowledge. (..) I believe that [a] very major crisis [is being] set afoot by the very application of modern technology, that is the environmental crisis. (..) an attempt is made towards the direction of alternative technologies (..) Ismail Al-Faruqui (..) The Islamisation of Knowledge (..) The problem of the partition of science from Islam is a problem that exists unless Islam is willing to give up its claim to being a total way of life (..)


Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri ( ), The West and Islam: Clash Points and Dialogues

The West and Islam: Clash Points and Dialogues (..) Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri (..) monotheism does not lead to monism; on the contrary, it leads to plurality and diversity (..) For from a strictly Islamic point of view, except for God, everything else exists in variety. (..) Islamic discourse (..) 1. A populist salvationist "messianic" discourse (..) mainly the discourse of the poor and the marginal, but it is also the discourse of those wealthy members of society who appreciate their religious and cultural heritage, and who recognize that its loss would mean a loss of everything. (..) 2. The political discourse (..) of some middle class professionals, academicians, students, and traders (..) Some of the bearers (..) did develop para-military organizations (..) Most of the bearers of this political discourse, at the present time, tend to restrict their activity to the political and/or educational sphere. (..) 3. The intellectual discourse. This is the discourse that deals primarily with theoretical and intellectual issues. (..) provide an Islamic answer to the questions raised by modernization and colonization (..) modern Western civilization viewed itself as a humanistic, man-centered civilization (..) , a sense of balance and faith in absolute moral and human values (..) high level of social coherence and solidarity (..) processes of secularization (..) Whereas partial secularism recognizes the validity and importance of values on the moral level, and of the idea of totality on the epistemological level, comprehensive secularism denies them as well as the very idea of transcendence. (..) Western romantic literature, for instance, is in essence a protest against the negative aspects of Western modernity. The writings of some conservative Western thinkers, such as Edmund Burke, include references to many topics that were later developed by the Western critical discourse on modernity. (..) The bearers of the new Islamic discourse realized, from the very beginning, the darker aspects of Western modernity (..) two Western wars, called "world wars" (..) arms race (..) centralized nation-state (..) media (..) accelerating the process of standardization and escalating the consumerist fever (..) pleasure sector (..) erotic utopias (..) divorce rates rocketed (..) The crisis of meaning, the epistemological crisis, anomie, alienation, and reification became more pronounced. (..) While the liberal capitalist project ceased to be the smashing success story it used to be, the socialist experiment collapsed and lost any vestige of credibility. Anti-humanist intellectual trends such as Fascism, Nazism, Zionism, and Structuralism emerged and reached a climax in post-modernist thought. (..) colonial pillage (..) The early reformists found many positive aspects in Western modernity. (..) Shaykh Muhammad Abduh"s oft-quoted remark that "whereas in the West he found Muslims without Islam, in the East he found Islam without Muslims." (..) how to reconcile Islam with Western modernity, and even how to make Islam catch up with it, and live up to its standards and values. (..) French troops had actually come to Algeria to spread Western civilization and modernity. His response was as cryptic as it was significant: "But why have they brought all this gunpowder?" (..) for the first time in his long history, allocates more funds for the production of weapons of destruction than for the production of food. (..) Instead of providing an Islamic frame of reference for Muslims in the modern age, the issue became how to "Islamize" certain aspects of Western modernity. (..) The bearers of the new Islamic discourse do not have the same fascination with Western modernity. Actually, a radical critique of Western modernity is one of their main points of departure. (..) Marxism was a form of critique of modernity, out of which sprung the Frankfurt School which further deepened the critique. Romantic literature, as indicated earlier, was also a protest against Western modernity. The protest of modernist literature, however, is even more profound and radical; it tries to represent the reified world of modernity, where the chain of causality is either completely broken or becomes so rigid that man becomes completely determined. (..) realization that Western modernity strips man of his specificity and subverts his human essence. (..) inextricable ties between Western modernity and Western imperialism. (..) unlike the Western critique of modernity, which is nihilistic and pessimistic, the Islamic critique is optimistic by virtue of the fact that it proposes a project for reform. (..) . What the bearers of the new Islamic discourse reject, in effect, are both the presumed centrality and universalism of the West, as well as its imperialism, which is closely linked to its claim of centrality. (..) They also reject what they consider the negative aspects of Western modernity and fully realize its crisis. (..) necessity, and even the inevitability, of engaging and interacting with Western modernity, and assimilating its achievements without adopting its value system (..) interactive critical response (..) which is the very opposite of the "positive" unqualified acceptance or the "negative" unqualified rejection of Western modernity-two extreme points between which the old discourse oscillated. (..) the bearers of the new discourse go back to the Islamic worldview, with all its values and its religious, ethical, and civilizational specificities. They explore it and try to abstract an epistemological paradigm from it, through which they can generate answers to the problems raised by Western modernity. (..) it claims that its project for reform is an answer to the crisis caused by Western modernity. (..) incorporate these achievements within an Islamic value system (..) distinguish between democracy and shura (consultation) (..) the bearers of the new Islamic discourse attempt to establish human sciences that do not exclude the human element and that are, consequently, different in their basic premises, principles, ambitions, and criteria from the natural sciences (..) human sciences (..) are not, and cannot, be value-free, and that they have to be incorporated within a value system (..) The bearers of the new discourse are quite aware of what is referred to as "the new science" that comprises concepts such as indeterminacy and that does not move within the framework of the concepts of hard causality within which nineteenth century science moved. (..) For instance the word 'aql (mind-reason) within the Islamic context has a specific and definite Islamic meaning. (..) it is no longer tenable to suppose that the word 'aql, as it exists in the Islamic lexicon, is synonymous with the word "reason," as it exists in the modern Western lexicon. With the emergence of absurd, irrational tendencies in the West, the matter has become even clearer and more crystallized. (..) Driving a car is an act rooted in a whole worldview that manifests itself in a specific lifestyle (..) the cultural dimension of all phenomena (..) cultural plurality within the framework of Islamic values (..) The bearers of the new Islamic discourse are perfectly aware of the problem of the environment and the ecological crisis. (..) Concepts such as "infinite progress" (which are central in Western modernity) are deemed by them as hostile to the very idea of boundaries and therefore to the idea of man and nature, and, eventually, to the idea of God. (..) search for new theories of development and new concepts of progress (..) criticism by the bearers of the new discourse of consumerism (the invitation to accelerate consumption, the revolution of rising expectations, etc.) (..) epistemological relativism that leads to nihilism (..) Islamic relativism (..) only one absolute, the Almighty (..) relativism of everything else (..) while the world is itself relative, it does not fall into relativism, nor does it become meaningless (..) All this leads to a belief in the idea of tadafu" (gentle conflict-interplay) and tadawul (succession or alteration), and to a recognition of the dynamism of the world. (..) modern fiqh of minorities (..) stems from the Islamic concepts of justice and equality. (..) The discourse of Western modernity demands either absolute certainty or absolute doubt; either a reason fully dominating the world, or a reason completely dominated by it (..) The new Islamic discourse, on the other hand, tries to create a human space that goes beyond the materialistic extremes of Western modernity. (..) cause and effect need not be linked in a rigidly scientific, materialistic manner (..) fadfadah (..) (..) permitting a degree of freedom without necessarily leading to incoherence and fragmentation (..) This causality, in my view, is the essence of the Islamic worldview; it asserts that A does not uniformly and absolutely lead to B, but that it does so by the will of God. (..) that the Islamic discourse in traditional Islamic societies is shari"a (religious law). (..) the new discourse attempts to resolve the problem of what I call the "duality of idiom." (..) But the idiom of the shari"a, due to the historical and cultural discontinuity caused by the colonial invasion, has become inaccessible to many people. The bearers of the new Islamic discourse are trying to decode this idiom, so that it would be possible to extract the wisdom inherent therein and apply it to modern realities. (..) the traditional discipline of maqasid (purposes) deals with this issue (..) attain an Islamic epistemological paradigm emanating from the Quran (the Muslim"s sacred text) and the sunna (the Prophet"s traditions) (..) new Islamic discourse (..) bearers realize the complex dimensions of the question of power, its various intricate mechanisms, and the relationship between local reality and international relations. (..) realize the complexity of the modern state as well as its power (..) The role of bureaucracy (..) . The heart of the matter is the necessity of setting bounds on the state and trimming its nails to enable the umma to be restored to its role as vicegerent. (..) great attention to aesthetics (..) architecture and various arts (..) Islamic artworks and buildings that follow an Islamic style, yet respond to the needs of the modern age (..) history (..) rejection of the idea of unilinear concepts (..) Dr. Bashir Nafi" finds the study of Sufism and Sufi schools an essential prologue to understanding Islamic history. (..) 1997 (..)





Averroes (Ibn Rushd)

Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

Michiel Leezenberg - Islamitische filosofie (2001)

A. van Bommel ( )

parkiet hoge prijs, kalkoen niet, parkiet praat, Nasroeddin: "Maar mijn vogel denkt!"

doel van openbaring: democratisering van kennis (vgl de regel dat kennis voor

de onwaardigen verborgen moet blijven)

door rede gemaakte structuren en systeemlogica als nieuwe goden

al-hikma (wijsheid), falsafa (filosofie)

vB vs het herleiden van gedachten uit de koran en islamitische filosofie

tot bv griekse gedachten van voorgangers (zo Leezenberg volgens vB)

vB de inhoudelijke ontwikkeling van de islamitische filosofie vanuit

moslimstandpunt moet nog geschreven worden

islam (overgave betere vertaling dan onderwerping) en nog een serie volgens

vB onjuiste vertalingen van Arabische woorden