Philosophy and Religion in the Political Thought of Alfarabi

Religions 14 (7) (2023)
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Abstract

Philosophy and religion were the two important sources of knowledge for medieval Arab Muslim polymaths. Owing to the difference between the nature of philosophy and religion, the interplay between philosophy and religion often takes the form of conflict in medieval Muslim thought as exemplified by the Al-Ghazali versus Averroes (Ibn Rusd) polemic. Unlike the Al-Ghazali versus Averroes (Ibn Rushd) polemic, the interplay between philosophy and religion in the political philosophy of Abu Nasr Alfarabi takes the form of harmonious co-existence. Although, for Alfarabi, religion is an inferior form of knowledge as compared to philosophy, the present article will show that philosophy and religion play equally significant roles in Alfarabi’s virtuous city and that in the absence of either philosophy or religion, the political system proposed by Alfarabi cannot exist.

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Ishraq Ali
Zhejiang University

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