This is a comprehensive study of the far-reaching changes that led to a re-shaping of the philosophical discourse in Islam during the sixth/twelfth century. Whereas earlier Western scholars thought that Islam's engagement with the tradition of Greek philosophy ended during that century, more recent analyses suggest its integration into the genre of rationalist Muslim theology (kalam). This book proposes a third view about the fate of philosophy in Islam. It argues that in addition to this integration, Muslim theologians picked up (...) the discourse of philosophy in Islam (falsafa) and began to produce books on philosophy. Written by the same authors, books in these two genres, kalām and philosophy, argue for opposing teachings on the nature of God, the world's creation, and on the afterlife. This study explains the emergence of a new genre of philosophical books called "hikma" that stand opposed to Islamic theology and at the same wishes to complement it. Offering a detailed history of philosophy in Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia during the sixth/twelfth century together with an analysis of the circumstances of practicing philosophy during this time, this study can show how reports of falsafa, written by major Muslim theologians such as al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), developed step-by-step into critical assessments of philosophy that try to improve philosophical teachings, and eventually become fully fledged philosophical summas in the work of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606/1210). The book ends in a discussion of the different methods of kalam and hikma and the coherence and ambiguity of a Muslim post-classical philosopher's œuvre. (shrink)
The traditional argument of Muslim theologians that aims to verify the claims of a true prophet and distinguish him from an impostor is based on the acceptance of miracles performed in history and testified through an uninterrupted chain of tradition. A second argument that equally involves transmission through tawātur is based on the prophet’s virtuous and impeccable character establishing the trustworthiness of the prophet. These are, for instance, the types of proofs mentioned by the Baghdadian Mu‘tazilī al-Gˇāhiz in his monograph (...) Huˇgaˇg al-nubuwwa. For theologians of the Aš‘arite school this approach to the verification of prophecy posed a problem. According to classical Aš‘arite theology, good is what God commands and bad is what he forbids. If God chooses prophets to reveal knowledge about what is right and what is wrong, and thus also reveal knowledge about how to live a virtuous life, how can those whom the prophets call upon know that the prophets have a virtuous character before they even know the criteria for virtue? Early Aš‘arite theologians indeed accepted that all prophets had a most virtuous character. This fact, however, became apparent only after their message gained acceptance within their community and it cannot be regarded as a viable verification of the claim of a prophet to those he calls upon. Al-Aš‘arī, for instance, is said to have accepted a number of indications that allow humans to distinguish a prophet from ordinary people. He does not mention the claim based on the impeccable moral conduct of prophets. In fact, he stresses that in order to distinguish a true prophet from other people who are close to God, but who have no message to reveal, one should put oneÕs trust only in the occurrence of true prophetic miracles. (shrink)
This study examines the development and the circumstances which led to al-Ghazālī's judgement against peripatetic philosophy in his Incoherence of the philosophers and it establishes the early effects of his concept of apostasy on the peripatetic movement in Islam.
The second volume of _Islam and Rationality: The Impact of al-Ghazālī_ brings together twelve leading experts in the field of Ghazālī-studies who write about his thought and the influence he had on later Muslim thinkers.
Islam and Rationality offers an account of Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī as a rational theologian who created a symbiosis of philosophy and theology and infused rationality into Sufism, and how his work was received by later Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars.
The fourth/tenth-century Ṣiwān al-ḥikma is one of the most important doxographic and gnomologic texts in Arabic and was most instrumental in the transmission of philosophical knowledge from Greek into Arabic. Despite its importance, the original text has been lost and the book is known to us only in excerpts, one of which, Muntakhab Ṣiwān al-ḥikma, was so successful that it probably replaced the original. The identity of the Muntakhab’s compiler, who was also the author of Itmām Tatimmat Ṣiwān al-ḥikma, an (...) anthology of Arabic poetry written by philosophers of the Islamic period, is to date unknown. Following a suggestion made by Muḥammad Taqī Dānishpazhūh in 1959, this article produces strong evidence that it was Muʿīn al-Dīn Abū l-Aʿlā Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd al-Nīsābūrī al-Ghaznawī, and describes his life and works. (shrink)
The Shi’ah Institute in London arranged the publication of an English translation of one of the most popular Iranian textbooks of the Avicennan tradition of metaphysics in Islam. First printed in Persian in 1956, Mahdī Ḥaʾirī Yazdī’s _Universal Science_ gives an un-contextualized presentation of the most important discussions that happened within Avicennan metaphysics since its inception in the 11th century.
Law and Politics under the Abbasids: An Intellectual Portrait of al-Juwayni. By Sohaira Z. M. Siddiqui. Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Pp. xiii + 312. $99.99, $32.99, $26.