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A.D. Kurmanalyeva
Doctor of philosophy, Professor
Department of Religious and Cultural Studies
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
N.K. Aljanova
Department of Religious and Cultural Studies
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Philosophical discourse of al-Gauzily and Ibn Rushdie within Islam
Islamic bases are considered the foundation of philosophical discourse of alGauzily and Ibn Rushdie. They lived during the khaliphs that revived an antical
heritage and also when Islamic ideology in state was dominated. Intellectuals
educated in arabic language should be appropriate to «adab» measures, according
to those demands educated people should study «secular» studies but also
traditional religious teachings[1].
Term “scholastica” that was characteristic to Middle Ages philosophy and
was reflected in islamic, christian, Jews forms. Despite the earlier times of
mentioned religions their scholastic schools derive from Islamic sholastic one.
Especially, Jewish scholastics related to the name of Musa Ibn Maimonid had
culminated within the Arabic language. Not only scholars of countires converted to
Islam wrote in Arabic language, but also Jewish philosophers and contributed
greatly to the Arabic-Muslim philosophy. Coming of philosophy to Europe in
Middle ages was also due to «Arabs». Thus, we give contrary argument to
europocentric view of Hegel who said that «there are only two kinds of
philosophy those are Greek philosophy and German philosophy». Translations of
works of Socrates, Aristotel, Plato from arabic langueage to Latin language and its
spread to Europe were due to direct works of such philosophers as al-Khindi, alFarabi, Ibn Rushdi.
Arabic-Muslim philosophy which bright representatives were such thinkers as
Al-Gazali and Ibn Rushdi was created in arabic countires, non-arabic countires
(Iran, Central Asian countires) and western countries (Andalusia). It was difficult
to define of arabic-muslim philosophy because of the vast territory and diverse
culture od Arabic khalifat. One can find in this philosophical worldview the
influence of Aristotel, Plato’s teachings as well as, mutazalite, asharite, gabarite,
kadarite, kalam, Sufism and other Islamic branches and schools teachings.
If at first times the appearances of given branches were due to the power and
everyday issues, lately the were mostly concerned with theological issues.
Mutalzalite among the Islamic school influenced and gave some direction to the
discourse of Al-Gazali and Ibn Rushdie.
Mutazalite school was existed in VIII – X ғ. centuries. It greatly influenced
the kalam teachings, especially the Sunni kalam and is considered as religiousphilosophical school that could challenge the alien and foreign religiousphilosophical trends.
On the one hand, mutazalites helped to keep the true being of Islam among the
different cultures and religions and, from the other hand it argued with other
Islamic schools and enhanced its position. Fikh and hadis scholars recognized the
mutazalites who mostly relied on philosophical methods and won their opponents.
There are even some views that mutazalites influenced Christian and Jewish
religious philosophy.
Paved the way for freedom of thought Mutazalism flourished during the two
centuries and then declined and eventually disappeared. There were different
reasons for its decline. The first of which is its specification of the period it
appeared on historical arena. They appeared in a time when majority of that time
were not ready to accept the brave views that prove the bases of faith resorting to
reason. At given period to explain the religious issues on the base of reason was
considered as newness and was alien to religious ideology. Another reason of
declining its authority is its inability to choose its “auditory” correctly. They
offered the issues that required deep knowledge not to chosen ones but to the
discussion of the majority, in this case they were far from distinguishing the
exoteric issues from esoteric ones. So, they tried sometimes to make people
recognize their worldview with the help of power, etc by taking advantage their
influence on Abbasid caliphs to make the illiterate people recognize the faith issues
which they were not able to understand (especially, we can note «Creating of
Quran»). If from Islamic schools mutazalite and asharite teachings were the base of
the development of discourse for both thinkers, and al-Farabi and Ibn Sina greatly
influenced their discussing.
al-Farabi and Ibn Sina were the first who raised the problem of relation
between God and the world and their beginning led to big argument. According to
them God is the only one that does not need in reason for its being and other things
except the God need the reason. Although one can find these ideas in Ibn
Rushdie’s philosophy they were denied by al Gazali. In this case we are going to
discuss the argument of Ibn Rushdie to al Gazali about the creating of the world.
Being the authorative opponent of philosophy al Gazali tried to disclaim the
philosophical thoughts that were doubtful from theological point of view and
knowing the logic rules very well he showed the logical mistakes of philosophers
and in most cases he was a prominent in comparison to theologians. He disclaimed
the twenty thesis of philosophers concerning the creating the world, he considered
the seventeen of them as beyond the religion and the rest as opposite to religion
and one can see in his discourses that concerning the rest three ones they cant find
any agreement. These issues are: to deny the revival of body after its death, to
disclaim that God knows about the individuals and the eternity of the world [2].
Al Gazali in his work «Takhaphut al phalasifa» considers the eternity of the
world. Al Gazali blamed the ones who believe in eternity of the world for
nonecclesiastical and that it does not concede with Islamic worldview and if
anybody thinks in this way he is not a Muslim. Also, according to his worldview
belief in God is a belief in his great power, and its ability to change everything by
his will. And philosophers, according to al Gazali want to give the God the second
role. Al Gazali believes that doubt of philosophers concerning the ability of the
God to revive the body and its knowing of the individuals are their big mistake,
because by doing this philosophers limit the power and wisdom of the God.
By discoursing with al Gazali Ibn Rushdie was noting that he is not agree with
sone views of al Farabi and Ibn Sina. For instance, Ibn Rushdie does not support
the view of Ibn Sina about “possibility of being itself” and “needed through other
thing”, but to answer the al Gazali’s question he resorted to Ibn Sina’s and NeoPlatonist teachings.
Considering the issue of creating of the world al Gazali opposed to the issues
like eternity and emanation. He supported traditional views of his time such as
“world was created from nothing before the limited time and the material and form
was created”. Firstly, al Gazali was close to rational studying of the world, but as
he found out that philosophy was false for that he begun to criticize it. In this case
one can point out his following peculiarities: he raised the same issues as
philosophers; he answered on the behalf of the philosophers and given his
conclusion he showed his ambiguous feelings towards philosophy, he hated it at
the same time admired.
Al Gazali understood the difficulty reconcile the philosophical thinking with
Islam, because according to philosophical thinking, Creator could create only one
thing and was the first in hierarchical system, al Gazali set forth the God who can
create whenever he want and could create any time and anything it wanted.
He understood its necessary to prove the creating of the world in certain time.
He supported the Asharite views on if God wanted to create the world in future he
would do it in the future. For this philosophers ask why if god wanted to create it
in any time it could then why did he chose it now but not and made it in another
time. In this case there should be one thing that prevent God’s will, as the God is
the most powerful its impossible that he is needed in something. Al Gazali said
that there many similarities in the location of Heaven spheres and one of them are
oriented to the West, others to the East, as there is possibility to chose one thing for
another its no room for surprising to choose the time. Ibn Rushdie could not
answer to his argument. At this point he saw the weakness of Aristotle’s concept
and Ibn Rushdie could not conceal this weakness revealed by al Gazali and
recognized his argument.
At the end of the discussing Ibn Rushdie supported the ideas of the creating of
the world from nothing as well as the eternity of the world.
The main important thing in al Gazali’s denial is a the place he gave the magic
in the world structures. He tried to prove the miraculous possibilities of the God in
dividing the Moon, turning the stick to the snake, reviving the death.
Its necessary to reveal the meaning of miraculous (mugjiza) in the prove
concepts of Ibn Sina and philosophers. If miraculous is considered as contrary to
natural phenomena then its difficult for philosophers to recognize it. Philosophers
should deny it or as in case of recognition of miraculous intellectual capabilities of
the prophets they should recognize it. As far as it concern Ibn Sina, he considers
the forecast of the future as natural processes. According to causation laws the
information come from the heaven intellections to sphere souls through the
emanation and forecast idea of future events is appeared. If human imagination
will be able to control his external senses he will not lose his way and he is able to
accept the information through the emanation. Thus, miraculous activities of the
Prophets don’t cease the natural process of the events, on the contrary it shows the
power of Prophets imagination [4].
Miraculous things happened when the intellect is refined not imagination
power. Most people have great capacities in reasoning, they can quickly solve the
logical tasks and give enough proves that are convincing. These people need only
beginning and they can continue to develop their knowledge about the world. In
comparison to Ibn Sina Ibn Rushdie gives less convincing proves on miraculous
things. He says that ancient philosophers were tired to avoid the explaining the
miraculous things and they did it not because of lack of the faith in them but they
consider miraculous things as one of the principles of religious laws. Miraculous
things are the phenomena that contribute to the achieving of humanism.
Besides the explanation given above to the «miraculous» one can give another
explanation: although there are many possible things in nature human being is able
to do. What is possible for the Prophet is impossible for human, things that can not
be explained from logical point of view should be considered as possible things for
the Prophet.
According to Oliver Lyman might use the game methods, etc he might
conceal his real position: miraculous are the natural phenomena, although humans
can not do them by themselves, nevertheless these phenomena are appeared due to
the humans. The reason prophets can make the miraculous things mean that they
are unusual [5].
Despite the influence of ancient Greek philosophy on the discourse of al
Gazali and Ibn Rushdie, Islam philosophy it would be wrong to say that Arab
Muslim philosophy begun with the translations of Greek texts, philosophical
patterns in Islam theology begun without philosophy during the elaboration of
religious legal norms: philosophical foundation ideas of some legal methods. To
adopt the Greek logics as an argument method in Islam caused many controversial
views. Before coming the Greek logics as an analogy the adoption of lawmakers it
during their philosophical arguing is natural.
To understand the necessity of systemizing of Islamic metaphysics explaned
the necessity of the theology. For instance, it was diffucult to coordinate the idea
about that God knows everything and can do everything, the abilities of the human
towards evil with the punishment ones. In other words the problem of coordination
of controversial issues raised for theology.
There were differences between the prove and dialectical reasoning in
philosophical researches of the theologians. For instance, if in prove methods
premises that are considered as undoubted and right are used, then in dialectics the
general premises but not proved by logics are used. As theology uses the premises
taken from religious doctrine the philosophers doubt about its truthiness and
therefore the reasoning is limited. During the IX–ХІ centuries philosophers and
theologians had been denying each other and have always debated. These polemics
led to the discourse between philosophy and Kalama.
Philosophy and Kalama were the biggest schools of that period. Mainly, their
differences were there research subject. Philosophers were examining the
philosophical premises and theologians worked over the religious texts. Kalama
tried to explain the rational bases and principles of the Islamic faith. For instance,
the problem of Omnipotence of the God and to suffering without sin. The reason it
was close to the philosophy led it to use not dialectical but prove methods, but
nevertheless theologians have not resorted to that, it might be they did not want to
use the methods of non religious people. Its very important to note one thing: the
meaning of Kalama. Its name (word, story) is non-random. Its search for thruth is
happening through the questions and answers. The first participant of the discourse
gives the thesis another one asks the question. According to o. Lyman it shows the
historical fact, because at first time Muslim theologians attempted with such terms
as «defend and to rebuff». Islamic theology had to fight with Jewish, Christian and
Manilheian intellectual techniques that were highly developed in comparison with
Islamic ones. According to Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), «the main task of the
theology is to deny the ones who were going to out of the religion» [5, 28].
Many issues raised in Greek philosophy were understandable for explaining
of Islamic bases because there were already in Quran. All the issues about the ways
of avoiding Hell, social and religious traditions were written in Quran’s sayings.
Kalama examined theoretical abstract issues rather than practical ones. The
penetration of the philosophy in every sphere pushed aside the traditional Islamic
sciences and begun to damage the theologians function.
The discourse between philosophy and Kalama in the medieval Islamic world
was not an exclusion, there were other theological polemics. For instance,
mutazalites tried to form the rational bases of Islam. The main thing in their
teachings to show the Muslims the importance of the reason in cognizing the God.
After the mutazalites traditional theological school asharism came to the power. In
order to justify the main principles of Islam al Ashari proved that there is no need
religious authority and reason to substantiate the revelation. According to
Mutazalites : reason is a method of deep understanding of Quran and premise of
the true faith, with the help of reason the issues like God’s existence, essence and
features, prophets and revelation, the difference between moral and evil behavior,
nature structures and its relation with its Creator might be revealed.
Asharites denied these ideas. According to them reason alone is not able to
explain the Islamic principles. As we have noticed both of them highly asses the
reason, but they have different views on many topics.
Although mutazalites had taken some important things from philosophy, we
can not say that they were closer to philosophy in comparison to asharites. For
instance, as-Safari was mutazalite nevertheless it did not stop him to oppose the
philosophy. In polemics between mutazalites and asharites philosophical
arguments were used very often , but there was a theological discourse and this
discourse relied not on prove, but dialectical method. Although they were opposed
to each other, nevertheless there was nothing against Kalama teaching or any views
that was not appropriate to it. There are two things that were common for asharites
and as well as for mutazalites. Both schools recognize the reason in understanding
the religion. Both of them deny the view , that only philosophical reasoning
especially taken from Aristotle philosophy can explain the religion properly.
According to them philosophical ideas can not explain the religion.
Despite their denial of the philosophy, they did not deny the reason, on the
contrary they highly esteem it and could find the bases form Quran for that,
because in the scripture reasoning, thinking, understanding were offered through
the reason. Quran teachings were based on the omnipotence of the God and does
not doubt its truthiness, but nevertheless they tried to prove it through the rational
way. In traditional Islam theologians did not approve the philosophy, but they
esteemed the rational way thinking. But, theologians did not accept the rational
method that offered philosophy and there are some reasons for that: firstly,
although theologians recognize the role of philosophy nevertheless they proved
that faith and practice are achieved by religious values and through the God’s
testament. Secondly, the truth for philosophy raised the issues alien views for
Islam. Besides, the fact that philosophy came from the Greeks and the way the
Arabs translated them through the Christians meant that philosophy was two times
alien for the Islamic world.
1 Sagadeev А.В. Adab и Paіdeіa: the problems of humanism in middle ages
Muslim culture. // cultural traditions and modernity. - М., 1989. - С. 12-48.
2 Avveroes (Ibn Rushdie). – Kiev, SPb: УЦИММ-Press, Alateia, 1999. – 688
3 Madgmu al -lugati-il-arabia. – Cairo, 1994. – С. 407
4 Аbu Ali Ibn Sina. Selected: в 2 Т. – Dushanbe, Ashabat, 2003. – Т. 1. – 450
5 Oliver Lyman. Introduction to classical Islamic philosophy. – М.: whole
world, 2007. – 280 c.