IN THE NAME OF GOD Alhikmah A Critical, Intellectual Journal Winter 2008 "Alhikmah" is devoted to providing a platform for discussions

in philosophical, cultural and critical issues. It is published twice yearly in Europe, Northern Africa, North America and Asia. Alhikmah provides a form for scholars, academics, postgraduates students, and researchers across key areas of philosophy and religious studies, particularly religion, philosophy, theology, mysticism, and ethics. Alhikmah offers an international advisory board, reflecting Alhikmah's specialist contributions and appeal. The readers and contributors are requested to send their articles and suggestions to the following address: Mail Address: Islamic Research Institute for Culture and Thought, No.2, second St. Ahmad Qasir Ave.Tehran, Iran. Postal Code:1514615911 Fax: 0098-21-88764792. E-mail: URL: * Alhikmah does not necessarily subscribe to the viewpoints it publishes. * All rights reserved for Alhikmah. Editorial Board Abaszadeh Mahdi (M.A.) Kazemzadeh Parvin (M.A.) Nozohoor Yousef (Ph.D) Moradkhani Ali (Ph.D) Shojaie Seyed Ali (M.A.) Vakili Hadi (Ph.D) International Editorial Advisory Board Prof. Gholamreza A'vani (Iranian Institute of Philosophy) Prof. Hiedar Baqhir (Para Madina University , Indonesia) Prof. Reza Davari (Tehran University, Iran) Dr. Mohammad Ilkhani (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran) Prof. Ibrahim Kalin (George Town University, USA)

Prof. James Morris (Exeter University, UK) Prof. Abdullah Nasri (Allameh Tabatabie University, Iran) Prof. Peiravani (Texas University, USA) Editorial Executive Managing Editor: Ali Akbar Rashad Editor-in-Chief: Hossein Kalbasi Editor: Sadrodin Moosavi Jashni Managing Secretary: Parvin Kazemzadeh Technical Manager: Seyed Ali Shojaie Design: Bijan Sayfouri Production: Seyed Gholam Reza Hoseini Typesetter: Leila Pakzadian


/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

Table of Contents 4. Editor,s Note Articles 7.Relation between Reason and Faith(By M.MohammadRezaei) 26.Scope of Function and Application of Reason in Understanding and Realization of Religion(By A.Rashad) 51.Theism, Atheism, and Rationality(By A.Plantinga) 62.On the Faith-Reason Controversy(BY M.Khatami) 78. Science and Reason, Reason and Faith(BY A.I.Tauber) 113.The Relationship between Religion and Philosophy In the history of Islamic thought(By R.Akbarian) Book Reviews 146.Review of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran(By M.Rezaei Esfahani) 160.God and Man in the Quran(By I.Al΄akub) 161.On Wisdom and Knowledge 165.Rationality and Religion

Alhikmah /winter 2008


today more than ever cultural interactions and exchanges are on the anvil. If yesteryears one would speak of closed or “island” societies or cultures. However.Editor’s Note Language. Since the universe and man are enchanted with this ultimate goal. art and knowledge for a better understanding of the past civilizations. “theosophy” is not merely a set of obscure. If historians and archeologists focus on some manifestations of religion. static phenomenon nor is it indifferent towards the impacts of its surrounding environment. Today the philosophical – or more precisely theosophical – language has demonstrated its capacity and capability for forging mutual understanding among traditions and cultures. the language of this kind of knowledge too is not unfamiliar for different reasons and natures. religion and culture are the true and original manifestations of man’s life. It has been this very 4 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . culture is not a single-dimensional. It should be borne in mind that the utilization of this language and materialization of is capacities require a new approach to this concept and rereading of its true content. playing a crucial role in the life of individual and society similar to the vital role soul plays in the body. However appropriate language and literature are the unavoidable prerequisites to any cultural exchange and interaction among societies. effective patterns and models. Evidently. intricate and inaccessible lingual concepts or terms rather theosophy means a wellfounded knowledge of the truth that reflects a direct relationship with the essence and secret of the universe. Indeed the regulation of social relations and creation of a balance between individual and collective powers and institutions depend on the capacity and capability of culture in offering suitable. art. today too the same factors must be considered the true representatives of societies and nations.

Zoroaster and Tao to each other and on the other have created a link in the chain of the divine prophets from Adam to Noah. Moses and Muhammad. Attempts will be made in Al-Hikmah to concentrate on a specific topic in each edition to provide an opportunity for its scrutiny from different angles. theologians and theoreticians as well as the advocates of cultural theoretical issues. Hence all interested thinkers. The Al-Hikmah offers a platform for dialogue among the philosophers. Naturally. artists. Jesus Christ. Abraham. poets and artists are all questing for this knowledge and language. Editor-in-Chief Alhikmah /winter 2008 /5 . Hence the mystics. the language. ambiance and milieu of the journal are closer to the language of philosophy and theoretical issues. Hermes. philosophers. researchers and students are encouraged to transform this journal into a dynamic platform for fruitful dialogue and exchange of ideas.knowledge and its concomitant language that on the one hand have related Confucius. scholars. Buddha.


Relation between Reason and Faith (or Philosophy and Religion)
Mohammad MohammadRezaei

Abstract The issue of relation between reason and religion, or in other words philosophy and religion, or relation between religious belief, rationality, and faith is one of the most important issues in the field of study of religion and philosophy of religion. In this field, there is an essential question: Is religious belief rational or irrational and even an anti-rational, which should be believed in? To answer this question, there are two distinct viewpoint in the Western world: Religious beliefs are consistent with reason; this viewpoint is called rationalism; Religious beliefs are inconsistent with reason or even they are anti-rational; this viewpoint is called fideism. Among rationalists, the viewpoint of Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant, and from among fideists, the viewpoint of Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Norman Malcolm, and Plantinga have been mentioned and discussed. Three arguments offered by Kierkegaard for fideism, i.e. approximation argument, postponement argument and passion argument have been discussed in more details.
* Associated Professor, Member of the Department of Philosophy, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran. E-Mail: MohamadRezaie391

In the conclusion, the viewpoint of Islam concerning the relation between reason and religion has been introduced and it is emphasized that in Islam, there are, in general, a harmony between reason and religion; while fideism as it is introduced in the West, is not introduced in Islam; and the reason behind this is mysteriousness of the main principles of Christianity and rationality of the main principles of Islam. Keywords: reason, religion, philosophy, faith, rationality, religious belief, Islam, Christianity, Trinity, philosophy of religion. Introduction One of the most important issues in the philosophy of religion is the relation between faith and reason. On this issue, there are important questions: Is religious belief rational, or is faith essentially an anti-rational or at least irrational activity? If, according to assumption, we are not able to prove religious beliefs rationally, is their acceptance rational as well? For example, if we cannot offer a rational argument for existence of God, is belief in existence of God rational? In the Christian world, there are two opposite viewpoint concerning the relation between faith and reason: The first viewpoint is that faith or in other words faith beliefs are consistent with reason; for example faith in God is in harmony with reason. This viewpoint is called rationalism. The second viewpoint maintains that faith or in other words faith beliefs are inconsistent with reason. This viewpoint is called fideism. Each of these two viewpoints will be discussed in brief. Each of these viewpoints is divided, according to consistencies and inconsistencies, to various subdivisions, some of which will be discussed shortly. In the conclusion, Islam’s viewpoint in this regard is discussed. Rationalism In the Western world, many thinkers, theologians, and philosophers, including Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), Cartesian philosophers, John Locke (1632-1704), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Clifford (1845-1879), and Richard Swinberne (1934- ) think that faith and reason are consistent; they are, of course, of different opinions about this consistency. Some of them maintain that one has to believe in the main principles of Christianity; the

/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

other religious teachings, however, are in harmony with reason. Some others think that all religious teachings are in harmony with reason, some of which will be mentioned in this article. Also, here by reason we mean rationality, or argument or rational explication; and by faith, we mean acceptance, and submission to something with confidence. 1- Thomas Aquinas’ Viewpoint: Thomas Aquinas, who is one the greatest Christian theologians and philosophers, believes that: reason is in almost perfect harmony with religion and faith. For a man of 13th Century in the Western Europe, one of the meanings of the term “philosopher” was impious. He could not think of a man who was at the same time a philosopher and a saint (Gilson,1375, p. 24, Persian Translation). Aquinas, however, considered Aristotle’s philosophical ideas and thoughts to be in harmony with Christianity; in other words, he baptized Aristotle (Ibid, p.27). He never thought that an inconsistency might be found between goals of philosophical enquiry and goals of theological enquiry. In his viewpoint, their final goals were the same. If knowledge of God is the highest summit where human enquiry may attain, there is essential agreement between teachings of the teacher of Christianity’s truth and philosopher’s teachings. At the level of natural knowledge, philosopher is a theologian as well (Ibid, p. 35). Now, was it necessary that God communicate a set of teachings to human beings through revelation? Thomas believes that for man’s salvation, in addition to philosophical knowledge, which is product of human reason, another category of knowledge which is inspired by God is necessary. That was why God, by His Will, wanted to make man happy. This is his very understanding of this saying that the final goal of man is happy countenance, i.e. eternal life with God (Ibid, p. 41). Thomas states, “Thus, if the only way open to the knowledge of God were the way of reason, the human race would dwell long in thick darkness of ignorance: as the knowledge of God, the best instrument for making men perfect and good, would accrue only to a few, and to those few after a considerable lapse of time”, and with numerous mistakes. That is why Thomas states: for man’s more appropriate and certain salvation, it was necessary that man learnt Divine truths through Divine revelations (Ibid, p. 44).

Alhikmah / Winter 2008/

Book 20: Proverbs. and to follow the Absolute Perfect is preferred. 66). other sciences are at the service of this science. Philosophers go to study the issue of God through reason. holy teaching is not based on philosophical sciences. Also. only a few of them might attain the complete happiness seems to be doubtful. and more explicitly. Thomas’ remark that if God abandoned human beings by themselves. This is another version of fideism. we have to first believe in the teachings of the Bible. for example eclipse. thus Thomas’ idea that holy teaching or articles of faith are not based on a philosophical or rational principle cannot be defended. and then we may understand them. in other words it has not adopted its own principles from such sciences. p. In the same way that astronomer and physicist study the same issue.Also. which is a Christian 10 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . for God is the Absolute Perfect and the Creator of man. is a rational statement. In what it knows or what it teaches. he is of the opinion that holy teaching is based on no philosophical principle. some mistakes seem to be admitted in his viewpoint. p. “She (wisdom (or. Critique Thomas is one of the greatest rationalist Christian theologians and philosophers who has played an important role in rational explication of Christian teachings. holy knowledge is not indebted to philosophical sciences (Ibid. If some articles of faith of holy teaching are beyond the scope of reason. That Thomas says holy teaching is necessary for man’s happiness is a rational statement. Thomas maintains that holy teaching employs other sciences as its own maidens. physicist through direct observation and astronomer through mathematical reasoning (Ibid. 9:3). that is. and theologian understands the same in the light of Divine revelation. reason)) hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city” (The Bible. this means that they cannot be grasped by reason easily in the same way that Thomas himself believes that Trinity. King James. Concerning priority (or posterity) of the holy teaching to philosophical sciences. Thus. 46). nevertheless. Thomas believes that the same issue may be studied from various angles. And that we should follow God’s teachings. Concerning priority of philosophy or holy teachings.

if we consider God as rewarding and punishing one behind moral law. Immanuel Kant Kant is one of the great philosophers of the Western world who is considered by some thinkers to be among those who believe in complete harmony between reason and religion. Thus. 1952. Kant considers morality to be essentially independent and maintains that only through morality and practical reason we may understand God. In this book. 1989. we do not need to refer to religion in order to know moral law or to follow the law. Also. p. and acceptance of. according to Kant. and man has to be humble before them. his statement is not correct. p. 1989. and our motivation to obey moral law is fear of punishment or hope for reward. 95). and this will devalue our morality (Sullivan. a law is of moral value when it has been enacted by us. In the field of religion. Historical religions claim that the Scriptures are ultimate sources of religious truth. we have followed the rule of caution. since it has categories and concepts which are of use only in the field of experience. If we consider morality as loyalty to. 262). Kant is agnostic. we have been exposed to another approach to will. even.article of faith. 263). p. in other words. will never be grasped by reason. thus. But in the field of practical reason. he cannot accept a rational theology. Kant is of the view that theoretical reason fails to prove or negate metaphysical things. therefore. he maintains that it is able to prove the existence of God. can be understood through reason. he is of the opinion that man cannot have a commitment to God (Sullivan. Thus. before admitting the Bible’s God we should compare Him with our ideal of moral perfection or moral principles (Kant. Having divided reason into theoretical and practical. God’s will. he asserts that there is perfect harmony between practical reason and religion. Man’s autonomy cannot be based on a thing other than reason. Not all articles of faith. for. 1960. he has authored a book called Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. It is pertinent here to briefly explain some of his ideas concerning the relation between reason and religion. Kant says: Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 11 . 191). concerning theoretical reason. Since Kant rejects any theoretical knowledge concerning God. but a theology which is based on morality (Kant. p. soul and its eternity.

p. but they are heartfelt wishes to do all human duties as if they are Divine commandments (MohammadRezaei. This means that we have to interpret the Scripture symbolically. “Hence for its own sake morality does not need religion at all … by virtue of pure practical reason it is self-sufficient”. Thus. 81). p. are not dogmatic ideas and religious practices. voluntarily. 3). This is not true. Thus. but such an idea does not require us to negate worships and religious practices. Kant maintains that the essence of religion is morality. any critique and objection to his principles will cause problems for his philosophical system. comes to the result that it is preferred for man to follow Divine commands. … is to make men better. quoted conceptually). then if man’s reason. it is difficult to make claims of moral requirements sensible. Critique Kant has come to such results on the basis of principles of his own philosophical system. If. since without the idea of God and His will. We consider contents of the Scripture as authentic revelation only when their moral teachings are in accord to the rules which we have previously known congruence with their truth based on completely rational arguments. God is an Infinite Wise Being. Naturally. 268). Thus. we can consider all our duties as if they are commands of God.“For the final purpose even of reading these holy scriptures. 95). for not only these 12 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . to follow God’s commandments is completely consistent with man’s autonomy. 1960. our own practical reason is valid only based on religious belief and practice. p. have to know what is my duty. One of the principles of his moral system is that following God’s commands is inconsistent with man’s autonomy. p. in other words. 90). such following is consistent with man’s autonomy. But. The main traits of moral religion. and we do so to give spirit and strength to our own moral intention (Ibid. 142. according to reason we can only believe that we have a moral commitment to become religious. as Kant believes. p. p. even. which are in congruence with our moral argument within the limits of pure reason (Ibid. before I can accept it as a Divine command. 1379. the holy scriptures should be interpreted according to moral law and not vice versa” (Kant. religion’s claims should be limited to those ones. therefore. I. (Ibid. and not verbally (Ibid.

That Kant has not proposed such a way is a shortcoming in his moral system. it is not right to interpret the religion symbolically according to morality or ignore some duties. religion. proposes ways in the form of practices to realize moral goals and overcome material desires or modify them. and the attempt to apply rational categories to religion is completely out of place. Tertullian. he means Greek philosophy. however. sends commands in the form of religion through revelation to guide man and for attaining the highest good or absolute perfection. faith and 13 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . The possible answer is "nothing". We should not deprive ourselves of epistemic and other dimensions. Faith creates its own justification and its own criteria of internal assessment. yearning to overcome these desires will be awakened in us.are not obstacles to attain moral goals. Consequently. then. says: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? (By Athens. he would have to propose a way to overcome them. For no one of these commandments has been issued in vain. and through following these ways. Religion is an activity wherein reason is properly inoperative. it was necessary to attain moral perfection or sacredness. The theologian of the 3rd Century. There are two versions of fideism. but desires are obstacles to attain sacredness. The other is epistemic in nature. It is not so much against reason as above reason. If God Who is both infinite Reason and good-wanting. but are also ways to realize moral goals as much as possible. Thus. If according to Kant. Religion is bound to appear absurd when judged by the standards of theoretical reason. Fideism Fideism may be called the position that holds that objective reason is simply inappropriate for religious belief. man has to try to learn the language of this religion in order to understand religion’s commandments and act accordingly so that he may acquire the highest good as much as possible. and by Jerusalem he means Christian Church). Religion is of various dimensions and aspects: one of these dimensions is moral one. Faith does not need reason for its justification. we are not allowed to take one of the religion’s dimensions as an axis and undertake interpretation in accordance to it in a symbolical manner.

Soren Kierkegaard. 14 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . father of existentialism. purposes. seems to hold to both versions of fideism. faith is the highest virtue precisely because it is objectively uncertain. It is rarely the case in ordinary life that reason is our basic guide. faith. not reason. Paul holds the same).reason have nothing to do with each other. Kierkegaard The Danish philosopher. 397. (Pojman. Even if we had direct proof for theism or Christianity. Paraphrasing Hume. that alone which promised eternal happiness. for such objective certainty would take the venture out of the religious pilgrimage. For him. reason comes in largely as an afterthought in order to rationalize our intuitions and commitments. adhered to a "religion within the limits of reason alone". p. 33). for he says: the heart has its own reasons which are not known by the reason. is the greatest virtue a human being can reach. “knowledge of metaphysical issues is not really desirable. 33). For him. and some people may abandon the reasoning powers so that they may believe (Peterson. we would not want it. Faith is necessary for the deepest human fulfillment. we all have an essential faith in something. p. Kierkegaard adhered to "reason within the limits of religion alone". because it prevents the kind of human striving that is essential for our fullest development. venturing forth over seventy thousand fathoms of ocean water. p. Tertullian seemed to hold that religious faith is both against and beyond human reason (and perhaps St. Blaise Pascal may be thought among defenders of the second version of fideism. 1991. would subscribe to the latter position. the rationalist. for. reducing it to a set of dull mathematical certainties. He unashamedly proclaimed faith to be higher than reason in the development of essential humanness. Kierkegaard thought that we all live by simple faith in plans. such as Calvin. his viewpoints in this regard are introduced briefly below. Faith is the lover's loyalty to the beloved when all the evidence is against her. If Kant. risk. and people. the two are completely opposite to each other (Pojman 1987. but many fideists. Because of the importance of Kierkegaard in the field of fideism. Peterson 1991. he might have said “that reason is and ought to be a slave to faith”. 397) For Kierkegaard. for personal growth into selfhood depends on uncertainty.

and he considers three essential points: Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 15 . therefore. The passion argument: The most essential and valuable trait of religious faith is passion. An infinite passion requires objective improbability. 398. p." (Pojman. 1987. at best. One cannot be totally committed to any belief based on an enquiry in which one recognizes the possibility of a future need to revise the results.According to Kierkegaard. "In this manner God becomes a postulate. Therefore. It becomes clear rather that the only way in which an existing individual comes into relation with God. but not in the otiose manner in which this word is commonly understood. 1987. genuine theistic faith appears when reason reaches the end of tether. The postponement argument: One cannot have an authentic religious faith without being totally committed to the belief in question. that which is most essential and valuable in religious faith requires objective improbability (Ibid. only approximate results. Then the postulate is so far from being arbitrary that it is precisely a life-necessity. authentic religious faith cannot be based on an enquiry in which one recognizes the possibility of a future need to revise the results. 397). Since all rational enquiry recognizes the contingency of future revision. all historical enquiry is inadequate for religious faith. Robert Adams mentions Kierkegaard's arguments as follows: The approximation argument: All historical enquiry gives. Therefore. is when the dialectical contradiction brings his passion to the point of despair. a passion of the greatest intensity. when the individual sees that without God there is no purpose to life. p. Adams. no authentic religious can be based on it. and helps him to embrace God with the "category of despair" (faith). 408) Critique From Kierkegaard's arguments for fideism one would find that he employs rational arguments to prove fideism. Approximate results are inadequate for religious faith (which demands certainty).

Some of them result in certainty. authentic religious faith cannot be based on such uncertain results. Historical traditions and reports are of some kinds. At least the historical statement that "Kierkegaard lived in the 19th Century and advocated fideism" results in certainty. thus. or they doubted in John's Gospel which is the most desired one for Christians. (Smart. Since historical enquiry will never come to an 16 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Sense tradition is the one that narrator himself has heard its contents or eye-witnessed it.) One of Kierkegaard's motivations to introduce this argument may be distrust in the Bible. and it is so repeated that no possibility of error is admitted in it. for the Bible is a historical text and enquiry. But from this. Persian trans. doubted in truth of some events recorded in the Scriptures.Rational argument is not able to explain essential principles of Christianity such as Trinity. Even they said that the historical and real Jesus was other than the Jesus appeared in Gospel. Postponement argument is valid for historical enquiry as well. Muslim jurists maintained that “tradition” which is a historical report is of two kinds: unanimous tradition and isolated tradition. which has been narrated through various ways. p. 1383. 342) 2. Unanimous tradition is a sense and repeated narration. One of the problems. it does not result that no historical evidence and enquiry may lead to certainty. thus. p. Critics of the Bible made clear that the first five books of the Bible have not been written by Moses (a). In brief. and the like. was doubts in the Bible. and some do not. and showed the miraculous aspect of the history of the Bible to be trivial. Christian thinkers think that essential principles of Christianity are mysterious. Kierkegaard says that the results of rational arguments are always subject to revision. thus. 1378/1999. critical study of the Sacred literature puts some of the esteemed beliefs under doubt. In postponement argument. which leads to certainty. which arose from historical enquiry. 255. and all historical enquiries give [at best] approximate results. the Eucharist. the Bible is not supported by certain. but rather they have been written at least by four different persons. for the same reason they cannot be expressed within the frame of rational arguments.Religion's teachings cannot be taken from the Bible. And repeated tradition is the one. some traditions are of the kind about which there is no possibility of error (Sadr.

The other objection is that the postponement argument itself is a rational argument. this does not seem to be a correct criterion. there is some kind of rational argument. we found that Kierkegaard lived in the 19th Century. if faith is some sort of leap and one wants to select from among the existing religions. authentic commitment and faith will be necessarily postponed. To criticize the postponement argument one may state: 1.complete negation of rational argument is against evidence. faith and commitment based on such traditions are certain. 2. thus. If he selects according to some criterion. Kierkegaard stands against rational argument with the help of rational argument (this is similar to liar paradox in which one says that all my sayings are lies). what criterion is there for his selection? In which religion can he believe? Is he obliged to believe in his ancestors' religion. his belief is only a blind imitation. or ought he to select based on some criterion and then believe? If he proceeds to select without a criterion.The third objection is that.if his criterion is his ancestor[s' religion]. again newer problems will appears. As a result. and in the process of historical enquiry there appears always new problems. In this case. for this statement as well is a narration. since religious faith is based on the former ones. since these are always subject to revision and will never attain certainty. it too will find an unstable state. Sciences such as mathematics are among certain sciences and enjoy perfect certainty. As regards to historical enquiry. His ancestors' religion may be combined with superstitions. as a result of this process. which is impossible. then this is "preponderance without there being a preponderant". and this will continue forever. He cannot say that this one is not so.if one's criterion to select a 17 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . Now. thus. as said previously. B. if religious faith is based on historical enquiry or rational argument. are of perfect certainty. some states are possible: A. many historical enquiries. as one attempts to solve these problems. accordingly. in the selection of fideism as the best approach to religion and God. 3. religious commitment and faith based on historical enquiry will be always postponed. Then. selection among rationalism and fideism needs rational argument. Consequently. for example. which are based on unanimous traditions. this one is a lie as well. and no doubt is admitted in them.end.

Kierkegaard states: "Without risk there is no faith. who appears to be unconscious and may already have drowned. if there is no risk. 2. the two following examples may be examined: “1. that criterion is not other than rational assessment. 38) From the abovementioned Kierkegaard's statement it be concluded that faith is inconsistent with certainty and reason. there is no room for risk and venturing to appear. religion will lose its valuable and essential trait. To illustrate that how uncertainty is a good position for infinite passion. who is crying for help. 182. that religion should be assessed rationally. and whenever risk reduces. this is "preponderance without there being a preponderant". And if reason accepts that religion. and religious beliefs being realistic.religion is consistency. non-contradiction. In 18 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . In other words. 1941. still preserving my faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual's inwardness and the objective uncertainty. an infinite passion requires objective improbability. and if he believes according to some criterion. If he believes in some religion without assessment or criterion. I do not believe. Kierkegaard maintains that the more there is uncertainty or in other words the more there is risk.You plunge into a raging torrent to rescue from drowning someone you love. If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty. over seventy fathoms of water. passion will be lesser and. and then proceeds to compare them with each other. p. there will be no faith. he may believe in it. on the contrary. If I am capable of grasping God's objectivity. as a result. And. p. This is not other than opposition to fideism.You plunge into a raging torrent in desperate attempt to rescue someone you love. and this is the same as rationalist viewpoint to religion. and select the best. so as to remain out upon the deep. before believing or leaping in a particular religion. in other words. the more religious faith appears. 1991. Peterson. In a passage. reason has to employ such criteria concerning various belief systems. 3." (Kierkegaard. wherever certainty governs.Religious passion is the most valuable and essential trait of religious faith.

plunging into the torrent.One has to be certain that torrent is torrent (and not. Absolute trust of rational believers in God. a smaller chance that you will be able to save your loved one. he is able to rescue her. is not lesser than that of the believers who do not have such arguments.he should be certain that.both cases. you manifest a passionate interest in saving the person. But. D. risking your own life in order to do so. one may mention the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH). objectively considered. From among the ancients as well as the contemporary ones . C. For example. Also.plunging into the torrent is a sign of loving the loved one and passion for her. The Christian one has to be objectively certain that he sacrifices himself for Christianity and not for worthless things. p. and not complacency. in addition to having rational arguments for their beliefs. he proves with the help of rational argument that where there is no certainty.He should be certain that it is his own loved one (and not that of other person) who is drowning.Although Kierkegaard tries to show that faith and rationality are inconsistent. if we pay more attention to examples. 2. if one scrutinizes it will become clear that this very passion argument as well is based on rational argument. there will be more passion.He has to be certain that to risk the life is a sign of passion. Thus. 2. A greater passion is required for a more desperate attempt” (Adams. rationality of religious belief does not reduce passion. for example. mountain). passion is objectively based on many certainties: A. manyexamples may be found that. Critique 1. for which they have authentic rational arguments. contrary to Kierkegaard's opinion. he has some certainties as presuppositions for this: 1Christianity has particular principles and foundations which distinguish it from other religions..e. and the Commander 19 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . I think Kierkegaard would say there is more passion in the second case than in the first.The second objection is that. the Kierkegaard's saying that passion is not consistent with certainty is not true. B. i. Also. have unfathomable passion for their beliefs as well. 1987. For in the second case you risk your life in what is. 414). in the example of one who risks his all things.

If we are to enter such language games. there is no argument for religion.Kierkegaard states that rational arguments for existence of God do not lead to certainty. and in this sense. a question arises: on what basis is this selection made? It seems that before entering the language games. p. we accept it and live with it. (Wittgenstein. so that the concepts they use cannot be adequately grasped by outsiders. the best 20 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . is absurd. Wittgenstein ridicules Father O'Hara for giving the impression that there is a nonperspectival. Critique What is wrong in such fideist viewpoints is that various religions have different and sometimes contradictory claims. Thus. to accept the essence of religious framework or to enter that language game lacks rational justification. one may say that rational arguments for existence of God lead to certainty. Wittgenstein believes.e. and they are able to come to certainty in this way. we have to participate in practices of that religion. One has to share in a form of life in order to understand the way the various concepts function in that language game. Ali (A) as well as the infallible Imams and lovers of the traditions of these great men who though speak of rational argument and rationality of their own religious belief. In his Lectures on Religious Belief he argues that there is something sui genesis or special about the very linguistic framework of believers. Now.of Faithful. and rational argument does not reduce one's passion. i. it can be said that certainty is in agreement with faith. Such a viewpoint. in other words. show unfathomable sion for their religious belief as well. we have to select. and also for some people rational argument for existence of God leads to certainty. Thus. 3. and such a language game is not based on argument. 418) In brief. and each of them has a language game other than the other ones’. impartial way of assessing the truth value of religious assertions. 1987. Ludwig Wittgenstein's Fideism Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is one of the great philosophers of the Western world in the 20th Century. Wittgenstein is of the opinion that to grasp religious concepts we have to enter the religious language game. at least for some people. Against this opinion.

for the period of life will not allow us to enter all of them. p. while they are in conflict with each other.” he answers that for him various basic beliefs may be rational. revelation. Christianity. from among them should be selected. They think that even if we have no evidence for religious beliefs. if Christians believe in Trinity.) is one of the contemporary thinkers of the Western world.Plantinga's viewpoint concerning God seems to be very similar to “argument of human nature” to prove existence of God in Islamic field. and then we may enter it. and Judaism. seek to show that religious experiences provide a firm basis for religious beliefs. How can this be justified?. for example he [Platinga] believes that existence of God is one of the basic beliefs. these beliefs are rational and justified. of course there are traits such as creatorness and being absolute good for God which are common among religions such as Islam. thus. he has a basic belief and says that basic belief concerning God states that He is a person who is the absolute 21 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . and for basic beliefs such as existence of God. but differences involve other beliefs which are obtained differently.The philosophers believing in reformed epistemology. We obtain other beliefs through revelation and intuition. and. but not all of them are true. what has he to do? Should he abandon his basic belief or his revelatory learning? He believes that Christian beliefs including Trinity are true. and secondly. for him. and make them rational and justified. and Muslims and Jews have their own beliefs. no argument is needed to be provided To the question that "followers of various religions maintain that their beliefs concerning God are among basic ones. Critique 1. He is one of the founders of a special kind of reformed epistemology. there are two sources for beliefs of Christianity: first. Alvin Plantinga's Fideism Alvin Platinga (1932. on the other hand. it is because of the fact that God has introduced Him in the Bible as such. 135). intrinsic attitude to belief in God and some of His traits. Differences between monotheistic religions are traced back to the sources of revelation (Plantinga. but he faces an essential problem: if one's basic belief is in conflict with a belief he got through revelation. for example.

11). p. Thus. the Holy Quran says: "Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the deaf. in other hadith he says: "He who is rational. that criterion will be the basis. powerful.Adherents of various religions maintain that their basic belief is the same as their own belief concerning God. and this is the essential defect of his thesis. With the help of reason and religion. and he who has religion will go to the Paradise" (Ibid. a Lecture in Arabic. In such cases. we mention some verses and traditions concerning reason:The Holy Quran mentions revelation of the Holy Quran to reason: "LO! We have revealed it. how may this belief turn into three persons? Such conflict between beliefs taken from two sources cannot be removed. and when we provide some speculative criterion. For example. illusive and real basic beliefs are similarly true. unless we abandon one kind of our beliefs. has religion. man can attain eternal happiness. that ye may reason" (12: 2) In other verses. if one’s basic belief concerning God says that He is a person." (8: 22). and the other claims otherwise and admits explicitly that his basic belief is not sheltered against doubt and it may be false. Now. p. Islam maintains that reason and religion are two Divine Graces God has granted to human beings. as long as we have no criterion for truth of basic beliefs.25). 22 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Imam Sadiq (a) says: “Reason is believer's guide” (Kulayni. then what can be done? Alvin Plantinga does not seem to provide such criteria. Concerning relation between reason and religion. what criteria may be employed to distinguish true basic belief from untrue one? If one thinks mistakenly that his own basic belief has particular traits. but. it is necessary to briefly introduce Islam's viewpoint in this regard. Reason confirms religion. who have no reason. Also. these basic beliefs are in conflict with each other. and this is against our assumption. and good. and this is not what Alvin Plantinga wants. the dumb. Viewpoints of the Holy Quran and Traditions Concerning Relation between Reason and Faith At the end of our discussion concerning relation between reason and religion in the Western world. 1363/1984.knower. and religion confirms reason. 2.

Difference is only a matter of the scope of reason. In Islam. No Islamic school seems to deny importance of rationality completely. it is acceptable. therefore. It is through reason and with the help of rational argument that man thinks that following religion will lead to happiness. if some conflict is observed. if the Infallible figure has said something which is not understandable for direct reason. To select a religion and to follow that as well are done by reason. and they cannot be rationally proved. Thus the same as explicit commands of the Scriptures. It leads to the conclusion that in the field of Islam. Also. That is why reason has been regarded as one of the sources of religion. there is no conflict between reason and religion. and not to seek to understand and then to believe.From these verses and traditions. Minor commands as well are either in harmony with reason or based on reason. In other words. and Divine commands have been handed down to man in two ways: first. and the other through reason. some at higher levels and some other at lower levels. reason is Divine evidence in man's nature. it is between rational statements and narrated ones which may be solved by particular methods. since the essential principles of Christianity are mysterious and irrational. many thinkers have found no option other than to say: “Believe to understand”. since authority of the sayings of Infallible figure has been proved through rational argument. from whatever school they may be. In the Christian world. And Islamic principles of religion may be demonstrated by rational argument. we may remove conflict between rational statement and narrated one. in the same way that we reconcile two contradictory reports based on the preponderances concerning conflicts. and even Christian rationalists have failed to 23 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . since it is based on the above-mentioned rational statement (authority of the sayings of Infallible). In other words. Thus. through revelation and Scriptures. it is well understood that Islam has put great importance on rationality. reason is of paramount importance both to refer to religion and to find religious statements. religious ones. which are authentic and authority. employ reason at various levels. evident commands of reason (whether theoretical or practical) are authentic. The main reason behind fideism in Christianity seems to be this very mysteriousness and irrationality of the Christian principles.

10. Sadra Publications. trans. Gilson. (1991). Peterson Michael. Swenson and Walter Lowrie. TM. Robert. Muhammad. 2. there is no fideism. the Cloister Library. Bible 3. Bustan-e Ketab. Harper Torchbooks. Kierkegaard’s Argument against Objective Reasoning in Religion. 12. Ashenayi ba ‘ulum-i Islami. Vol. Abbott. America. Princeton University Press. in Great Books of the Western World. 42. Muhammad Baqir. T. Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. 6. trans. Oxford University Press. 5. Moasseseh al-Wafa. David F. in Philosophy of Religion. 9. 24 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . (1960). with an Introduction and notes by Greene. vol. Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah. Thus in Islam.. Kulayni. Chicago….. (1941). 4. as in Christianity. Etien. and this is because of the importance attached by Islam to rationality.rationally understand the essential principles of Christianity such as Trinity and the like.l1376 AH/1997 AD. 7. Tehran. The Critique of Practical Reason. Beirut. Waedsworth Publishing Company. and in such cases they have found no way out other than fideism. Qom. Immanuel. Hutchins. Qom. New York. tr. References The Holy Quran Nahj al-balaghah 1. MuhammadRezaei. 1379 AH/ 2000 AD. Kant. 1403 AH (Lunar) Bihar al-anwar. 289-361. Eds. Peterson Michae. 11. ed. Tarhe Now. Oxford.… Reason and Religious Belief..H.. Hudsin. (1363 AH/1984 AD). R. H. Immanuel. Qom. Kant. (1379 AH/ 2000 AD) Tabyin wa naqd-i falsafahye akhlaq-i kant. tr. Kierkegaard Sören. Mutahhari. Encyclopedia Britannica INC. (1375 AH/ 1996 AD). Neww York. Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Foundations of Christian Philosophy. 1952. 1 8.M. (1987). Kafi. Louis Pojman. Morteza. Adams. Majlisi. Bustan-e Ketab.K. …Reason and Religious Belief. by Muhammad MuhammadRezaei and Seyyed Mahmoud Musawi. Tehran. pp.

(1382 AH/2003 AD). Sobhani Ja‘far. trans. America. Waedsworth Publishing Company. Louis.J. Philosophy of Religion.. 14. Qom. Human Religious Experience. 1417 AH (Lunar).(1378 AH/1999 AD) Qawa‘id-i kulli-yi istenbat. Ninian. by Muhammad Muhammad Rezaei and Abolfazl Mahmoudi.13. Cambridge University Press. Smart. Bustan-e Ketab. (1989) Immanuel Kant’s Moral Theory. Moasseseh al-Nashr al-Islami. Tehran. Sadr. New York. Buhuth fi’l milal wa’l nihal. Sullivan. Qom. 17. translated and commented by Reza Islami. 16. 15. Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 25 . Muhammad Baqir. SAMT Publications. R. Pojman. (1987).


Function and application of reason in study of religion is one of the essential issues of the * . we mean kinds of contributions reason has in the field of study of religion and religiosity. Reason has many functions and achievements in research “within religion” and “concerning religion” as well as in religiosity and realization of religion. E-Mail: Rashad @iict. Tehran . Methodology for discovery of religion. the author has proposed a plan titled “ Detailed Structure of Function and Application of Reason in Study of Religion” which may be employed as an introduction to an inclusive and perfect . sources of religion. study of religion. Iran. Keywords: Reason. Associated professor. the most important one is dividing it to general and particular functions. From among eight classifications of functions. Member of the Department of Philosophy and President of Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought (IICT). which is discussed in brief. While confessing that such a subject may not be discussed sufficiently in an article .Scope of Function and Application of Reason in Understanding and Realization of Religion Ali Akbar Rashad * Abstract Reason has many functions and achievements in research “within religion” and “concerning religion” as well as in religiosity and realization of religion. religion’s functions Introduction By functions of reason concerning religion.

In spite of the fact 28 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . For example.which is its first and most important function .As the whole argument (and as sufficient cause to understand and prove a proposition) 1-2. Fifth) Classification of functions of reason in terms of four fields of religious independent judgment or inference (ijtihad) (i. nature (fitrah)). Reason’s generating knowledge in understanding religion . kinds of (his classification will be described in details). for example: First) Division of functions of reason in terms of the role the application of reason plays in discovering propositions of the four fields of religion (Theology. Fourth) In terms of various applications reason has in the fields of each of other references (Book.As a part of argument (and associate cause to understand and prove) Second) Division of the functions of reason in terms of its various applications: 1-1. fields of understanding.Assessing (because of the importance of this classification. Third) Following the division of reason into theoretical and practical.Within religion. This proposition tells us that out of human’s mind.e. 2. Morality. 3. Practical traditions. concept-generating. its kinds are described here). functions of reason in two scientific and practical fields of religion may be divided into two groups. Verbal traditions. explanation and realization of religion). Collection of functions of reason.Concerning religion 1-2. Religious Judgments and Knowledge) 1-1. there is a reality called God.logic of discovering religious propositions and teachings. may be classified as follows: Functions and applications of reason concerning religion may be classified in various ways. “God exists” is an epistemic proposition implicating a factual reality.Making sense. functions of reason may be divided into four kinds. Sixth) Function of reason in terms of inclusion of all fields of religion or a particular field of it in what follows.Seventh) Division of functions to: 1-Generation of knowledge.means that some religious sciences are generated and handed down to us by reason. among other things.

they speak to deniers of God’s existence saying that “Can there be doubt concerning Allah. existence of a God who has sent a prophet. In other words. Have ye then no sense?” (21: 10) as well as verses 164. in this way. But we say that since God is Wise. That in Islam number of principles of religion is considered to be three or five and sometimes even more is only a mathematical division. commands (Holy ought tos and ought not tos) and morality (deontological might and might not) will be meaningless. and 171 of the Chapter 2 as well as the verse 22 of the Chapter 8 emphasize reason’s role in generating knowledge. and if there is no origin beyond. then narration (Scripture) may be appealed to explain and prove religious propositions. in the 29 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . and Merciful. and also. resurrection is required. prophethood and revelation are proved. reason as well as nature play their role in generating knowledge. appeal to tradition leads to vicious circle. He guides His creatures to the path of perfection. since He rewards good-doers and punishes evil-doers. Thus. the proposition “God exists” is the basis of principles of religion and all imperative propositions of religion are based on it. and imperative and behavioral teachings are all in its debt for their meanings and values. according to this verse as well. Before proving the origin of religion. and therefore produce some parts of religious knowledge. 170. general prophethood. should be proved. the Creator of the heavens and the earth?” (14: 10). “Now We have revealed unto you a Scripture wherein is your Reminder. As seen. [they say] "refer to your reason and nature and see whether it is possible that there be no God". Just. Divine prophets (a) as well refer understanding of the principle of principles of religion to human reason or nature. and this proposition is understood and proved with the help of reason. First of all. but the fundamental principle of religion is only one and that is the proposition “God exists”. it is not taken from traditions or Scriptures.that “God exists” is a basic religious proposition. and special prophethood. Some verses such as “Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you His portents so that ye may understand” (2: 73). who has brought His book. and before accepting authority of the revealed book and sayings and conducts of the Infallible.

without application of reason. also applying of the same grace. There is no doubt in the correctness of ascribing verses to the revelatory origin of the Holy Quran. for example: “… listen to the word of Allah. nor would he be an addressee of religion. If the addressee of religion lacked reason. for example: “And they say: Had we been wont to listen or have sense. a Lecture in Arabic. the explanation of the fact that man is at the position of addressee of religion is his very reason.” (67: 10)i. for example “Bring me a scripture before this (Scripture). listening to the word of Allah has been introduced as an introduction to understanding it. while admitting our inability. The second role played by reason in the field of study of religion is to make sense of other proofs. but if the appearance of tradition induces an irrational claim. then used to change it. after they had understood it. we will stop at the same point.” (12: 2) introduces the mystery of the eloquence of the language of Holy Quran in that it makes possible to understand it and think about it. and if from appearance of the verse or statement of the Infallible a teaching or proposition inconsistent with rational criteria is resulted. and if it is impossible to acquire the reasonable and rational sense. in other words. there may some doubts in correctness of ascribing it to the Infallible. knowingly ?” (2: 75). when a particular knowledge and meaning is acquired through other proofs and arguments. human is able to understand holy uttering. In this verse. we had not been among the dwellers in the flames. Some other verses regard tradition and reason to be comparable with each other and discuss with deniers in this way. it is impossible to understand narration. reason forces us to review it to find the exact and correct sense of the verse or narration.same way that some verses introduce knowledge as the source of proofs to recognize truth and find knowledge as the essence of the revealed book. or some vestige of knowledge (in support of what ye say)” (46: 4). The third function of reason is that it assesses truthfulness and meaning. Some verses mention the role reason plays in making sense. that meaning is assessed by reason to make a distinction between true and false. And the verses such as “Lo! We have revealed it. 30 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . that ye may understand.

reason says: human being is a social being in nature. and the other is division to two kinds of 1.for example. Thus. and sense-assessing roles of reason in the field of religion appear both in discovering religion and in application of other arguments and proofs . among the widest classifications are. and access to all truths of the world and all interests of human being is not possible [only] with the help of reason and other epistemic sources which are accessible to man. sense-making. we consider function of religion in a particular field (such as theology.particular functions. in helping to make use of the Holy Quran. and man is not able to enact all laws which provide his interests as it should. necessity of acceptance of religion by human being as well as necessity of religiosity is proved. and religious knowledge) as special function. 31 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . and verbal and practical tradition to find Divine wills and in realization and application of religion. And he is not other than the Creator of human beings. Thus. It is in this way that foundations of necessity of religion and philosophy of religion are proved with the help of reason. but rather it is necessary to make oneself committed to it and realize religion in the scene of human individual and social life. Consequently. firstly. There are many general functions for reason. Chapter One . origins of religion should be explained with the help of non-narrative epistemic arguments and sources. religious judgments. origin of law should be one who knows man and his interests as it should.general functions and 2. Relying on the accumulated experiences. and sense-appreciating. three functions of knowledge-generating.General Function of Reason in Discovering and Applying Religion The term “general function” of religion is applied to that kind of functions which are not specific to a particular field of religion. it does not suffice to only believe in religion. for example scope and kinds of functions of reason are simultaneously explained based on these two divisions. religious ethics. According to reason. and among them are functions described in what follows briefly: Understanding the Presumptions for Necessity of Religion Before accepting a religion. In this article and mentioning about 35 functions in brief chapters.Knowledge-generating. sense-making.

For example. Thus. education. is itself a sort of understanding the point. action. it lacks sense individuation and has no objective and definitive interpretation! They maintain that religion is so readable that a text accepts even contradictory readings. the interpreter organizes positive laws according to requirements of such traits. 1-3. belief in religion. reason disproves readability of revelatory text. for example through establishing “starting points to discover-understand religion". Thus. reason is responsible to prove the necessity of religion. and religiosity. and proves understandability of religion. reason prepares the grounds for belief in Divine wisdom and justice to understand identity of epistemic systems of religion.Proving the Possibility to Understand Religion The importance of the question “is it possible to attain correct and precise understanding?”will become clearer when one pays attention to the present debates concerning possibility orimpossibility of understanding the essence of religion and true religion. in addition to proving the origin of religion and explaining its foundations. and provides understanding one with such grounds. Relying on clear proof. But this does not mean that all religious texts are understood differently by 32 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . as a result. cannot be denied. it will lead to vanity. 1-2-Making grounds for understanding epistemic systems of religion In addition to proving presumptions of acceptance of religion and belief in it. reason specifies foundations to understand each of the five religious epistemic systems (i. Some people think that since religious text readable. insight. reason proves that God is Wise and Just. That some texts (verses and narrations) are sometimes understood differently by different persons. and knowledge) based on various principles.otherwise. value. he finds a teaching which is inconsistent with wisdom or unjust. or he admits his failure to understand it.e. of course. it is proved that His sayings and acts should be wise and just. and if from among deduced judgments. This admission of failure in understanding. Consequently. imperative and value judgments as well are wise and just. and in this way. They think that all the Scriptures are subject to this general judgment. he will regard it to be illusory or incoherent for it is inconsistent with traits of justice and wisdom.

To Establish Regulations and to Make Rules for DiscoveringUnderstanding of Religion Some rules and regulations for discovering-understanding of religion are provided by reason. or these different understandings are all contradictory and different. and not as a universal one. This claim may be accepted as a particular affirmative proposition. including the Holy Quran and tradition. and organizing rules which are deduced through sources and documents. For that religion’s incomprehensibility is inconsistent with the traits of wisdom. 1-4.Contribution to Recognition of Identity of Epistemic Fields of Religion Reason helps us to recognize characteristics and qualities of each of the epistemic fields of religion. Thus. understanding religion may be answered only through employing reason.each and every one. If there were not assistance of reason. designing and establishing rules and laws governing discovering religious propositions and teachings in each of the epistemic fields. and religious text’s being wise and consequently guide. Some of these rules may be employed universally and in 33 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . and judgments. even if human beings were able to establish rules for discovering and they were able to apply the term “rules” on them. morality. justice of the Origin and the Author of the Scripture as well as the Truth’s being guide. Many questions concerning possibility of. such organization would not become possible. to systemize all what we call logic of discovering-understanding of religion is performed with the help of reason. 1-5.Contribution to Arranging Logic of Discovering-Understanding of Religion Another general function of reason in the field of religion is to help to organize collection of rational laws and rules for discovering-understanding of religion. To recognize qualities of topics and issues discussed in theoretical and practical philosophies as well as characteristics of the fields such as religious knowledge. In the absence of reason. they would never be able to organize them so systematically that they might be employed in discovering religion and its propositions. theology. it plays a critical role in the process of discovering religion. and methodology for.

Those who appeal to this rule concerning consensus believe that if all jurists and scholars of an age are in agreement concerning a judgment. based on them. is expected to send prophets to guide human beings. For example. To prove the necessity of authority of Infallible Imam and appointing him as well. so that agreement on the false decision may be removed and not all believers may go wrong. Reason is able to recognize and determine many of these conditions. because of His mercy. Investigation of this 34 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and in this way general prophethood is proved. and they are helpful in understanding [only] a particular field and even in a particular part of that field. we say: God. because of His mercy. in some way. Discovering and Proving Authority of Religious Proofs and References Discovering religious arguments and proving authority of references and proofs are mainly performed with the help of reason. and even. but false. induce the correct decision to one of the jurists. it is the Infallible and Authority who has to prevent all the jurists from committing mistake. Application and efficiency of a proof or a method or a rule depend upon realization of some conditions and observance of some conditions. From amongst general rules which are of use in all fields is the rule of mercy which is of striking use both in theology or apologetics (Kalam) and in jurisprudence (fiqh). since for their false decision the entire ummah will go wrong. he may be able to attain guidance and salvation. are of limited uses. the rule of mercy is useful in the field of proofs for judgments. and all of them make the same.some fields. however. we mean conditions for efficiency and application of proof and argument as well as methodology and rule for discovering religious propositions and teachings. he has to. or he himself as a jurist has to provide the correct one. this rule has been applied to prove authority of consensus. legal decision. in the same way to prove necessity of legislation of imperative and governmental teachings the same rule is appealed to. It is said that God. the rule of mercy is appealed to. In addition to the fields of theology and judgments. By regulations of discovery. Some of them. In the field of theology. should provide man with efficient governmental rules and political teachings so that.

verbal and practical traditions. Without the help of reason.Comparison and Recognition of True and False in Religious Knowledge In addition to playing a role in discovering arguments. regulations. is rational. is among critical points in understanding of religion. to recognize them as well is one of the functions of reason which is of paramount importance. 1-11. This contribution of reason is one of its most significant functions. Book. in disagreement of arguments. the way to remove disagreement between two arguments which are individuals of the same kind of proofs and references may be discussed. to make distinction between tradition and other than tradition. A great volume of the issues in the field of legal theory. Establishing Rules and Regulations to Validate Religious Proofs In addition to proving authority of valid proofs and references (religious sources). Interpretation and Representation of Proofs another function of reason is to interpret verses and narrations as well as to make them speak. and for example. as well as specifying proofs and references and their senses. nature. reason helps us to distinguish genuine knowledge from authentic one. which one is the original one and which ones have to follow it. Enacting regulations and Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 35 . Determination of Relation between Valid References and Proofs Determination of universal relation between each proof and reference with others is among very important and critical topics in the logic of discovering religion. even in the topic of words. verbal tradition and practical tradition. which is prior and which is posterior. and reason plays a very striking role in this regard. reason helps the interpreter and understanding one to validate proof of authority. Interpretation (understanding and interpretation) of the Book. which one is preponderant and which is preponderated. we are neither able to prove authority nor to validate arguments and proofs to discover religion. and when compared. and methods. Through providing rules. is mainly performed with the help of reason. That from among reason.function of reason comprises the main part of science of legal theory. This is other than the issue of disagreement between arguments. proving authority.

Disagreement between two judgments. which occurs when two judgments disagree with each other so that the two cannot be executed simultaneously. under the title "Equivalences and Preponderances" in the legal theory this point is discussed. necessity of simultaneous rescuing of two drowning ones may be mentioned. and designing suitable methodologies. 1-15. Here. there is no disagreement between judgments or arguments. For example. but rather the referent we face is both a referent of command and a referent of prohibition. as if the same act is at the same time a referent of "commanded act" and a referent of "prohibited act". 3. it is necessary to introduce a topic titled “ways to cure and remove pathogens from understanding of religion and application of proofs of discovering". another function of reason in the field of study of religion is to compensate errors committed in man’s knowledge of religion. it is called "gathering of command and prohibition in the same subject". In terminology of the legal theory. in addition to pathology of religious knowledge (as mentioned above). When we acquired knowledge in some way .Disagreement between two arguments. reason provides the interpreter with such possibility.rules.and then found that we had committed an error in acquisition of that knowledge. 1-13. under logic of discoveringunderstanding of religion. rational.whether through reason or other proofs .Disagreement in referents of the subjects of two judgments (when referents of the subjects of two judgments are the same) which may be called correspondence of two subjects. these ways are. it is again reason which teaches us the way to remove or correct that error. 2.and this ability is regarded as an independent function . Mending and Compensation of Errors in Religious Knowledge In addition to all functions mentioned for reason. Hence. 1-14.Ways to Solve Kinds of Disagreements In the field of logic of discovering and religious knowledge.and one can (and in fact should) deem the two functions as two separate ones. reason removes pathogens from religious knowledge . three disagreements may occur: 1. 36 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . It should be explained that. mainly.

pp.but rather prayer is in its own right necessary. of course. praying is necessary for him. only subjects of the two judgments are. On the one hand. 89-160). are completely in disagreement with each other on this point.Well-known example for this point which is generally mentioned in the literature of legal theory is: when someone is in an usurped place and [at the same time] he has to particular in the field of deduction of judgments. is in a way an act of praying and it is necessary. pp. For example. and still goes on. Mirza Na'ini (reh). one can find a host of various opinions. and implicates prohibition of it. it invites man to follow moral and behavioral teachings in the field of morality. Here. which should be solved by reason. the same. one argument signifies necessity of prayer. of course. great figures such as Akhund Khorasani (Khorasani. 1404 AD (lunar). On this point. he has to avoid from going to the usurped place. Action of such a person.and two arguments do not disagree with each other. 1355 AD (lunar) (Kazemeyni. no disagreement between judgments (or commands) has occurred. altogether. The point is not. for. who are among great legalist and jurists and contemporary to each other. 394-453). may occur in the field of deduction of ideological propositions of religion. and the same act is a referent of manipulating in other's property and it is an act of usurpation and consequently prohibited. 14th. undated. according to the command "go to pray". for example when he bows. Some of these disagreements. in terms of referents. and on the other according to the command "do not usurp". 1-16-Judgment about Necessity of Commitment to the Contents of Religious Propositions In the same way that reason forces human being to be committed (by his limbs and probably by his heart) to juridical and functional teachings in the field of judgments. and usurpation is in its own right prohibited. d. appears as 37 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . This function. and the other prohibits one from usurpation. in the field of theology. and 15th functions of reason. In this way we mentioned the 13th. Finding solutions for each of the three above-mentioned disagreements (disagreement between two judgments and correspondence of the two subjects) may be regarded as one of the important functions of reason. The debate has been in process before these two great figures. so simple.

from amongst the eight categories of functions. proving a proposition is the same as establishing it in man's heart. between understanding and faith. Here. Chapter Two: Particular Functions of Reason in Investigating and Realization of Each Religious Field As said previously. through his own reason. From amongst the particular functions. morality (2-3). If we apply the term "general function" to those which are in use in most of five (or at least two) fields of religion. Thus far. each of epistemic-practical systems and fields of religion. what has been said suffices us. it leads to belief.justification of the necessity of belief (in other words. when for example man. necessity of religion and universal prophethood. It is pertinent to describe particular functions of reason in two categories of investigation and realization. though when a proposition is proved by rational arguments. understands God's existence. and consequently. Reason dictates that if a Divine proposition has been proved by valid arguments. 2-1. and there is no gap between "knowledge" and "belief". though there are more functions for reason. at the same time he believes in God as well. and education (2-4) are placed in the following stages.Particular Functions of Reason in the Field of Theology (Beliefs Divine Propositions) 2-1-1. the term "particular function" should be applied to those which are in use only in one field. In what follows. Reason understands the main and basic beliefs such as the necessity of the Necessary Being. some particular functions of reason are explained. it should be believed in and committed to. tawhid (monotheism or unity of being). only through heart commitment). resurrection. the most important function is in the field of theology and religious knowledge (2-1). In enlisting and describing general functions of reason. while fields of judgments (22). it satisfies reason automatically.Independent Understanding of Principles of Theology One of the particular functions of reason in the field of theology is independent understanding of the important divine propositions. 38 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . the most important one is dividing it into general and particular functions. we have briefly studied the general functions of reason. Consequently.

Independent understanding is the one in which all premises (or at least the major term of an argument generating knowledge) are (is) rational. An understanding whose major term is narrative, however, does not lead to independent rational understanding. 2-1-2- Understanding and Proving Minor Divine Propositions of Religion Reason is able to understand and prove some minor Divine propositions as well. For example, in addition to proving the "necessity of prophethood", some consequences of this principle such as infallibility of the prophet are also understood with the help of reason. Reason states: "If the prophet is not infallible, understanding, interpretation, promotion, or execution of shari'a (religious laws) will be subject to error; also in his commitment to shari'a, the prophet is likely to commit mistakes. And all these will lead to contradiction and even bewilderment of believers. If the prophet is not infallible, he will not receive the revelation correctly, or he will regard other than revelation as revelation, or he will not be able to interpret revelatory findings correctly, and in transferring or promoting it, he will commit errors; and all these will violate the objective of prophethood. "Prophet should be infallible" or "messenger is infallible" are minor divine propositions but they are understood and proved by reason. The list of minor divine propositions, which are understood by reason, is a very long one. In Islamic philosophy, metaphysical theology (al-ilahiyat bi'l ma'na al-akhas) attempts to find and prove religious ideas even in the language of philosophy (pure demonstrative reason). When metaphysical theology is discussed in philosophy, naturally we deal with a collection of rational propositions which are understood and proved through rational premises. It applies to the discipline of kalam (apologetic or theology) – though it is a multi-ware and multi-method discipline, it is regarded to be among rational sciences; for reason is the main reference, and rational method is the most important one for finding or defending ideological propositions. Hence, majority of topics and concepts discussed in kalam are rational.

Alhikmah / Winter 2008/


2-2-Particular Functions of Reason in the Field of Judgments (Ought to’s) Reason is widely used in the field of judgments. Here some characteristic instances and cases are mentioned. 2-2-1- Understanding some Important Propositions and Major Judgments A striking part of the principles and important Divine commandments is rational. Even without being revealed by the Legislator, such judgments were understandable; and this has led reason to be regarded as one of the sources of jurisprudence. This function of reason will be clearly confirmed through referring to the juridical rules which are general juridical commandments. 2-2-2- Independent Understanding of Some Arguments and Philosophies of Religious Judgments In the field of judgments, we deal with “ought to’s” (command and prohibition: Ask to do some act and ask to leave some other act). Hence, we should regard “judgments” as “ought to’s”. In morality, however, we deal with “may’s” and may not’s”; for, there, it is good and evil, may and may not, which matter. In religious thinking, “may’s” and “ought to’s” have been distinguished from each other by Muslims; and this is a very accurate and correct one, thanks to comprehensiveness and richness of Islam. In other religions such as existing Christianity or in quasi-religions such as Buddhism, such a distinction is not possible. That is why in such religions no epistemic field called “judgments” exists; but, their teachings is divided into theology and morality. Even if there are some “ought to’s” in these schools, they are classified under morality. Since judgments play an important role in Islam, the Muslims, have separated them from morality. Alas, in generating sciences as compared to the part of judgments, a remarkable indolence may be observed. In the field of judgments, the first source is the Holy Quran. The second, third, fourth, and fifth sources are, respectively, verbal tradition, reason, practical tradition (mode of conduct), and probably nature. Consensus is also regarded to be among sources of jurisprudence. The main part of principles and rules employed in deduction of judgments are rational ones; even if while discussing, we regard them to be legislative, and

/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

try to base their authority on legislation (which is the popular approach in today jurisprudence). Juridical rules are mainly rational; for such rules are divided into two categories: 1- They are resulted from rational approach, but because of non-opposition of the Legislator, they have been deemed as authentic ones. If we study rules of this category thoroughly, we will find that a rational argument underlies each of them; and the sagacious people have acted according to them because of their [rational] foundation. 2- They are based on rational argument(s), and regarded as completely rational rules. Hence, important juridical propositions are understood and proved with the help of reason. Presence of reason and its impact on devotional laws is, of course, a weak one. 2-2-3- Contribution in Recognition of Minor Terms and Referents of General Legal Judgments (Study of Judgments) Recognition of minor terms and referents of general legal judgments is among the main functions of reason. To base positive laws on legal theory without employing reason is not possible. For example, it is reason which is able to distinguish harm from other than harm, and make possible to apply the rule of no harm in certain cases and for certain referents. 2-2-4- Recognition of Subjects of Judgments (Study of Subjects) Subjects of judgments are of three kinds: legal, conventional, and scientific: 1- Legal subjects: subjects which are invented by the Legislator, and have been enacted by the Legislator, such as prayers and fasting. 2- Conventional subjects: subjects which are followed from convention, and the Legislator has taken them from convention. When people call some financial interaction or barter “exchange” and the Legislator accepts it, the judgments issued will be applied to the same subject as interpreted conventionally. 3 - Scientific subjects: sometimes, the subject is neither of the kind enacted by the Legislator nor of the kind which may be understood by convention and majority of people; but its recognition requires some expertise, and it should be recognized within the framework of a particular science and through a particular science. We call the latter group, “scientific subjects”.

Alhikmah / Winter 2008/

including goals of legal rules and reasons behind legal rules. for invented legal subjects could be deduced only by the jurisprudent. In fact sense is particularist and does not proceed to judge. 2-2-6-Understanding the Effects Resulting from Execution of Judgments In addition to understanding advantages and disadvantages in theoretical and real worlds. Reason is responsible to explain the philosophy of jurisprudence in the sense of philosophy of judgments (and not philosophy of the discipline of jurisprudence which is a part of philosophy of religious knowledge). is a gift of reason. to serious personal attempt which is the jurisprudent’s duty. and reason is able to recognize many advantages and disadvantages. To recognize this group needs. and such recognition is. possible only with the help of juridical expertise.The above threefold division is the one proposed by the author of this article. It is not absolutely correct. of the kind of philosophy and among rational sciences. 2-2-5. sometimes. and sometimes other it should be done by experts of other sciences such as natural sciences. scientific. and is regarded as a part of philosophy of religion. even empirical science. and the like… Sometimes it is said that jurisprudent has nothing to do with the subjects of judgments. to recognize some subjects. since they are non-legal ones. the term “conventional subjects” should be applied to a group of subjects which is known for public and convention. is not possible without involvement of reason. anthropology. essentially. for science. recognition of the advantages and disadvantages in 42 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and that they regard the conventional subjects. though they are not legal ones. which are complex and whose recognition needs accurate. absolutely out of the scope of the jurisprudential study is not correct. “Philosophies of” are. To deduce invented legal subjects. and it is not able to understand universal things or issue universal judgments. sometime. and professional investigation should be classified under an independent group which is called “scientific subjects”.Understanding the Philosophy of Judgment Judgments are based on advantages and disadvantages. expertise and knowledge is necessary. sociology. Those subjects. like other ijtihadi issues. Reason is involved in recognition of scientific subjects. for. for.

execution of some judgments should be stopped (Hurr ‘Amili. sometime because of certain causes and in some situations. 61: 129). 318). recommended. Since He has not communicated His command. may be regarded as delegation of judgment. it is 43 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . 3. the same silence. of course. thus judgment suggests permission. Ibid. 1403 AH (Lunar). It is reason which recognizes results of judgment.Judgment concerning Permission. if a committed figure commits an error in this regard. 15:53.has kept silence on some issues. or Relief. “Permitted [subject]” has three senses or functions: 1. and the Wise never commits wrongdoing. in other words what is not prohibited. and delegation is regarded as a judgment about such cases. According to some traditions (hadiths). in other words. and even Right of Legislation in the Cases Left Unsaid In some cases (which are called “what for it there is not text” by Mirza Na’ini.execution is possible by reason. relief or even right of legislation for human beings. may be regarded as a function of reason in removing disagreement between judgments. What is faculty. 1404 AH (Lunar). and disliked.[subjects] permitted (judged to be permitted).Opposite to prohibited. for God is Wise. the King of Wisdom and Eloquence (s) has said: “Allah -the Exalted. and punishment without warning is wrong. Of course. Some other people say: “The Legislator had to communicate His judgment in whatever way possible. Here. but His silence does not stem from forgetfulness (Suduq. whether good or evil. some people think that reason commands to permission. other than reason. since prohibition has been mentioned in no text. when performed. Hurr ‘Amili. of course. thus. which includes necessary.[Subjects] without judgments. For example. he could not be punished. permitted in the most particular sense. permitted in the most general sense of the term. permitted. this has been explicitly mentioned in some hadiths. and we call them “zone of delegated legislation”) reason suggests permission. “Left Zone” by Shahid Sadr. one may call those cases “cases left unsaid”. This function has a critical impact on the judgment about subject. p. able to recognize this? Recognition of the disadvantages resulted from judgments when performed. 2-2-7. Inspired this noble saying. here the committed one is exempted". 2.

so that the administrative branch (or other branch) may not impose its own will. and the other branch proceeds to legislate. 2. national and climatic conditions. while the whole system is guided by the jurisprudent)? Also. while judicial and administrative branches are merged into one body (in other words. Part of them is accidental. For the first and second kinds. and when he is absent.necessary to discuss what is meant by the lack of text or silence of the Legislator. governmental affairs should be organized through his command. Essential elements of the religious government are of the first and second kinds. maybe the legislative branch is managed separately. and selecting methods (classification.deduced judgments. them. or even five bodies. and should be deduced and adopted from religious proofs. Methodology)2 ii One of the fields of Divine legislative providence is the state of execution of legal rules which requires programs. the role of reason is to make sense of. 2-2-8. i. The Legislator has stated that when the Infallible is present. Essentially. and division). relying on armed 44 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . For example. But due to shortage of space it cannot be discussed here. armed forces should be organized independent from other three branches. A part of these three elements is essential for the religious government and society.Specifying a Mechanism for Realization of Social Judgments of Religion (Program. This is one of the essentials of religion. while the heads of judicial and administrative branches (observing separation of powers) are supervised by him? Or. and to evaluate.e. The goal of these three elements is to prepare the grounds to actualize religion or to make shari‘a operational according to temporal and regional. it has some contribution. a fully qualified jurisprudent should proceed to execute the commands. it may be said that the branches of the government should increase from three to four. and non-essential ones are of the third kind. and for the third kind. it is in the place of the source of knowledge-generating and it is a reference of legislation. and they cannot be replaced. judgment and administration are assumed by the same branch.delegated judgments. organization. regimentation.. But is separation of powers necessary? Is the jurisprudent able to play the role of the head of legislative body. Organization.stipulated judgments. judgments we deal with in governmental aspects are of three kinds: 1. and 3.

to other parts of the system. Thus. may be deemed as mentioning the particular case after universal one. similar to its functions in the field of judgments and religion’s functional system. and mentioning it independently. “practical philosophy” is applied only to morality. more or less. follow different variable conditions. in the existing pattern of the Islamic Republic of Iran armed forces and cultural branch are not controlled by one of the three branches of the government. The reason behind this similarity is that the two fields of judgments and morality are defined under practical philosophy of religion.forces. and 2. independence of the cultural branch and armed powers may be defended according to the same principles of the theory of separation of powers. Since it is a discretional job to determine essentials of the religious government. and education). and this is a completely wise and realistic decision. one of the divisions of functions of reason is division according to general realms: 1. but by the Leader. Consequently. reason plays the role of interpretation and evaluation. In fact if the formation of ideas and mentalities is exclusively in the hands of one of the branches. Though. Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 45 . we mention some functions of reason in the field of morality. For example. in addition to the four branches. Human’s characters appear in his conducts. that branch will be able to make votes as well.Functions of Reason in the Field of Morality (Values and Behavioral System of Religion) Functions of reason in the field of morality are. at least. 2-3.practical philosophy (religious judgments. morality. in this part. organization of government may be flexible. Hence. and to emphasize the particular one.Speculative philosophy (religious ideas and knowledge). Here. Also. according to other terminology. and can be formulated in a scientific way. another independent branch called cultural branch should be devised in the system. This function of reason may be regarded as a referent of the previous function.

If beauty and ugliness cannot be rationally understood. Then. to prove rationality of beauty and ugliness of acts. and soul is blended with Divine nature. we cannot believe in truth of His communications. such an understanding is both a basis for morality and a foundation for many 46 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and what is beautiful may substitute ugly! But. the first point from among the three abovementioned points may be regarded as a natural (fitri) argument. With these explanations. commits (God forbid) ugly acts like lying. it is well known that falsehood is impossible to replace truth and [it is impossible] to say that false is good. which aims to morality. we would find beauty of justice and ugliness of injustice through our conscience. for He is always possible to say (in lie): “this is good and that is evil”! That is why if we deny beauty and ugliness rationally. or truth is impossible to replace falsehood. If we know beauty and ugliness of acts which are essentially beautiful or ugly dependent upon the Legislator’s judgment (like Ash‘aris). in other words. and it is impossible to say that truth is evil. through our conscience. then it will be permitted that the Legislator. it becomes clear that beauty and ugliness are rationally understood. Since. the two should be able to replace each other. we deny them religiously as well. Thus. and even if the Legislator did not present injustice as ugly and justice as beautiful. that some acts are ugly and some others are beautiful. it becames clear that one of the most important functions of reason is to understand and prove beauty and ugliness of acts.2-3-1. he has appealed to the following arguments: We find. what is ugly may replace beautiful. and if it is rationally permitted that the Legislator may lie. in the same way that He performs beautiful acts. If we believe that we are not able to understand ugly and beautiful actions rationally. we would have denied religious beauty and ugliness as well.Grounds for Understanding of Morality and Arguments and Philosophies of Moral Propositions Understanding of beauty and ugliness is one of the functions of reason in the field of an epistemic system. Khwajah Nasir Tusi (597-672 AH (Lunar)) has specified judgments of acts in terms of beauty and ugliness rationally. reason is other than nature and it is not a level of the soul.

a prior and more important command will be violated. we would have been able to prove and understand them with the help of reason. and a murder. wherein moral judgment turns into obligation. reason understands being and whatness of the main and important moral judgments. "righteousness is beautiful”.Recognition of Disadvantages and Advantages Resulting from Execution of Moral Judgments and Understanding of priorities. we find that there are many values and characterical things common between various individuals and human societies. the same religion is not able to issue two equivalent. reason recognizes actions which are referents and minor terms of moral universals and major terms. and Removal of Disagreement between Moral Judgments with each other and between Moral Judgments and Juridical Judgments If God’s prophet is prosecuted by some criminals. and conducts of various nations. principles. For. will occur. lives. and major terms. universals. whether religious or othrewise. inconsistency between judgments of the two systems and epistemic fields of religion cannot be defended. which are agreed upon by all human societies. 2-3-3. Thus. but inconsistent. and vice versa. 2-3-2. reason finds that if I observe the moral command. For example what is unacceptable in morality but acceptable in jurisprudence. it prefers to leave the important command to observe the 47 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ . “breach of trust is ugly”. We may mention propositions such as “lying is ugly”. judgments in its two functional and characterical systems.Recognition of Minor Terms and Referents of Moral Propositions In addition to recognition of foundations. When we study minds. “trustfulness is beautiful”. and even if they have not been communicated by religion. 2-3-4. At least in strong cases of beauty and ugliness.juridical and educational topics. murder of the prophet. should I show his safe place to those who want to murder him and ask me to betray him? Here.Independent Understanding of Important Moral Propositions In addition to understanding the whyness of moral judgment. for example not only it states “lying is evil” but also recognizes an act which is a referent of lying.

judgments. righteousness is actually a contribution to the murder of the prophet. blood-money. and on this basis. 2-4. there is a striking disagreement between religious and nonreligious societies. reason judges by its own discretion.Specification of a Mechanism to Realize Religious Morality Specifying the main mechanism (program. functions of reason in the field of educational knowledge of religion may also be 48 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . For. reason has a limited scope.: If we apply the term “general functions” to the interdisciplinary fieldseven if between two fields. for. and in the field of social relationships too there are many stipulations.Permission or Enactment of Moral Judgment Where There Is no Judgment Where no moral judgment has been issued by the Legislator. 2-3-7. retaliation. and morality. and methodology) for the realization of morality is another function of reason. 2-3-5. For example judgments about bounds. we will be able to prefer prior to other than prior and more important to important. here. 2-3-6. That is why agreement upon the field of morality between human beings is stronger than upon the fields of judgments and laws. In the field of morality. it determines priorities. since religious ones enjoy the source of shari‘a as well and atheists are heedless to this source. commanded by reason. for all of them adopt moral judgment from common sources of reason and human nature. Reason recognizes disadvantages and advantages resulting from performance of moral judgments. reason plays a more serious role than in the field of commandments. organization.Special Functions of Reason in the Field of Religious Education and Religious Knowledge Like its functions in the field of theology. and the like. which is the ugliest act. N. hence. But concerning judgments.more important one.majority of functions of reason in the field of practical philosophy will be among general functions. in the field of commandment of worship.B.Encouragement of Good and Acquiring of Virtues as well as Persuading to Give Up Vice Encouragement of the people to acquire virtues and do good as well as to leave vice and evil is another function of reason in the field of morality.

To be brief. Rashad. Like for those three fields. Hurr 'Amili. edited by Abdolrahim Rabbani. 101-120) 2. pp. the status of the grace of reason as viewed by the Holy Quran in a chapter of "Nahadhaye Rahnamaye Fahme Din" in Falsafayi din (Philosophy of Religion).discussed here. Dar Ihya al-Thurat al-Arabi. This function of reason. I have described in Sacred Democracy (Democracy – yequdsi) (See. 18 Alhikmah / Winter 2008/ 49 . We think that the following points should be discussed in details. To do justice to the point. a detailed research and study is needed. 1383. though in full details. for this one as well one may present certain subdivisions in the same way that reason has many functions in the field of religious knowledge. 1382) References 1. Third Chapter: Detailed Structure of “Function and Application of Reason in Explaining Religion and Realizing It” Preface: Introduction of the Point First Part: Generalities In this part. I have discussed briefly. we ignore introduction and study of these two fields. (Rashad. in which relationship between reason and revelation as viewed by the Holy Quran is seen clearly. Beirut. What has been so far said has been an overview of our conception of the scope and kinds of functions and applications of reason to find and apply religious propositions and teachings. 1403 AH (Lunar). Details of these topics have been discussed in the book “Neo-Sadrean Philosophy”. Second Part: Foundations and Arguments for Authority of Reason in Religion Third Part: Scope and Kinds of Functions and Applications of Reason in Religion Fourth Part: Methodology for Application of Reason in Study of Religion Notes 1. Wasai'l al-Shi'a. Muhammad ibn Hasan. meanings and levels of reason as well as methodology to find it should be explained. vol.

. Man layahdar alfaqih. 5. Ali Akbar. Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought. Tusi. 2nd edition. 9. Tehran. 1382/2003 (Summer). Qabasat Journal. Entesharat 'Ilmiyah Islamiyah. Tehran. 6. Ali Akbar. Institute of Islamic Publications. undated. Qum. Muhammad Kazim. Khurasani. Fawaid al-usul. Rasahd. vol. Maktab al-A'lam al-Islami.2. 4 7. vols. vol. Tajrid al-i'tiqad. 1407 AH (Lunar). Rasahd. Kazemeyni. 50 / Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . vol. Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn al-Husayn. 1404 AH (Lunar)."Nahadhaye Rahnamaye Fahme Din" (Institutions to Understand Religion). 1 4. Suduq. 1-2 3. 1404 AH (Lunar). Khwajah Nasir. Institute of Islamic Publications. Kafayat al-usul. Qum. 2nd edition. issue 32. annotated by Mohammad Javad Hosseini Jalali. (1382/2003) Sacred Democracy (Democracy-ye qudsi). Muhammad 'Ali. 2nd edition.

There is an obligation of something like an obligation to proportion one’s beliefs to the strength of the evidence. University of Notre Dame . from some illusion.Theism. There are. we might say. and Rationality Alvin Plantinga * Abstract Atheological objections to the belief that there is such a person as God come in many varieties. the theist may say. he may be inclined to thind of the atheist as the person who is suffering. cognitive dysfunction Atheological objections to the belief that there is such a person as God come in many varieties. Keywords: Atheological objection. Professor. as a centerpiece. and unnatural condition with deplorable noetic consequences Isn’t there something deeply problematic about the idea of proper functioning? What is it for my cognitive faculties to be working properly? What is cognitive dysfunction? What is it to function naturally? My cognitive faculties are functioning naturally. The theist. USA. The theist. the familiar objections that theism * .edu . evidentialist objection. from some noetic defect. in this way. theist. from an unhappy. according to which a theist who has no evidence has violated an intellectual or cognitive duty of some sort. whose cognitive faculties do not work properly. Here we have. doesn’t see himself as on the other foot. E-Mail: Alvin-plantinga. proper functioning. for example. the evidentialist objection to theistic belif.1@nd. unfortunate. unlike the atheist. when they are functioning in the way God designed them to function. is an intellectual gimp. The theist without evidence. atheist. however . has an easy time explaining the notion of our cognitive equipment’s functioning properly: our cognitive equipment functions properly when it functions in the way God designed it to function. Atheism.

Russell's reply: "I'd say. not that theism is incoherent or false or probably false (after all. that it is inconsistent with the existence of evil. Among those who have offered this objection are Antony Flew. as a centerpiece. the evidentialist objection to theistic belief. A person who believed without evidence that there are an even number of ducks would be believing foolishly or irrationally. who was once asked what he would say if. inductive. God! Not enough evidence!'" I'm not sure just how that reply would be received. one who accepts belief in God but has no evidence for that belief is not. up to snuff. or even approximately. According to the first. 'Not enough evidence. like many others. there is precious little by way of cogent argument for that conclusion) but that it is in some way unreasonable or irrational to believe in God. precisely. Brand Blanshard. after dying. hence there is at best insufficient evidence for the existence of God. and Michael Scriven. even if that belief should happen to be true. but my point is only that Russell. the same goes for the person who believes in God without evidence. or abductive-is successful. and the like. and there are at least two corresponding senses or conceptions of rationality lurking in the nearby bushes. has endorsed this evidentialist objection to theistic belief. that it is a hypothesis ill-confirmed or maybe even disconfirmed by the evidence. is the objector's claim here? He holds that the theist without evidence is irrational or unreasonable. Another sort of objector claims. a theist who has no 52/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .is somehow incoherent. is the problem with such a theist? The objection can be seen as taking at least two forms. On this viewpoint. Here we have. Now what. he were brought into the presence of God and asked whyhe had not been a believer. does he mean when he says that the theist without evidence is irrational? Just what. The objection in question has also been endorsed by Bertrand Russell. But then the belief that there is such a person as God is in some way intellectually improper-somehow foolish or irrational. intellectually speaking. as he sees it. Perhaps more important is the enormous oral tradition: one finds this objection to theism bruited about on nearly any major university campus in the land. what is the property with which he is crediting such a theist when he thus describes him? What. exactly. that modern science has somehow cast doubt upon it. The claim is that none of the theistic arguments-deductive.

evidence has violated an intellectual or cognitive duty of some sort. He has gone contrary to an obligation laid upon him-perhaps by society, or perhaps by his own nature as a creature capable of grasping propositions and holding beliefs. There is an obligation or something like an obligation to proportion one's beliefs to the strength of the evidence. Thus according to John Locke, a mark of a rational person is "the not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proof it is built upon will warrant," and according to David Hume, "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence." In the nineteenth century we have W.K. Clifford, that "delicious enfant terrible" as William James called him, insisting that it is monstrous, immoral, and perhaps even impolite to accept a belief for which you have insufficient evidence: Whoso would deserve well of his fellow in this matter will guard the purity of his belief with a very fanaticism of jealous care, lest at any time it should rest on an unworthy object, and catch a stain which can never be wiped away1 He adds that if a belief has been accepted on insufficient evidence, the pleasure is a stolen one. Not only does it deceive ourselves by giving us a sense of power which we do not really possess, but it is sinful, stolen in defiance of our duty to mankind. That duty is to guard ourselves from such beliefs as from a pestilence, which may shortly master our body and spread to the rest of the town.

And finally: To sum up: it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.3 (It is not hard to detect, in these quotations, the "tone of robustious pathos" with which James credits Clifford.) On this viewpoint theists without evidence-my sainted grandmother, for example-are flouting their epistemic duties and deserve our disapprobation and disapproval. Mother Teresa, for example, if she has not arguments for her belief in God, then stands revealed as a sort of intellectual libertine-someone who has gone contrary to her intellectual obligations and is deserving of reproof and perhaps even disciplinary action.

Alhikmah / Winter 2008 /


Now the idea that there are intellectual duties or obligations is difficult but not implausible, and I do not mean to question it here. It is less plausible, however, to suggest that I would or could be going contrary to my intellectual duties in believing, without evidence, that there is such a person as God. For first, my beliefs are not, for the most part, within my control. If, for example, you offer me $1,000,000 to cease believing that Mars is smaller than Venus, there is no way I can collect. But the same holds for my belief in God: even if I wanted to, I couldn't-short of heroic measures like coma inducing drugs-just divest myself of it. (At any rate there is nothing I can do
directly; perhaps there is a sort of regimen that if followed religiously would

issue, in the long run, in my no longer accepting belief in God.) But secondly, there seems no reason to think that I have such an obligation. Clearly I am not under an obligation to have evidence for everything I believe; that would not be possible. But why, then, suppose that I have an obligation to accept belief in God only if I accept other propositions which serve as evidence for it? This is by no means self-evident or just obvious, and it is extremely hard to see how to find a cogent argument for it. In any event, I think the evidentialist objector can take a more promising line. He can hold, not that the theist without evidence has violated some epistemic duty-after all, perhaps he can't help himself- but that he is somehow intellectually flawed or disfigured. Consider someone who believes that Venus is smaller than Mercury-not because he has evidence, but because he read it in a comic book and always believes whatever he reads in comic books-or consider someone who holds that belief on the basis of an outrageously bad argument. Perhaps there is no obligation he has failed to meet; nevertheless his intellectual condition is defective in some way. He displays a sort of deficiency, a flaw, an intellectual dysfunction of some sort. Perhaps he is like someone who has an astigmatism, or is unduly clumsy, or suffers from arthritis. And perhaps the evidentialist objection is to be construed, not as the claim that the theist without evidence has violated some intellectual obligations, but that he suffers from a certain sort of intellectual deficiency. The theist without evidence, we might say, is an intellectual gimp.

54/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

Alternatively but similarly, the idea might be that the theist without evidence is under a sort of illusion, a kind of pervasive illusion afflicting the great bulk of mankind over the great bulk of the time thus far allotted to it. Thus Freud saw religious belief as "illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most insistent wishes of mankind."4 He sees theistic belief as a matter of wish-fulfillment. Men are paralyzed by and appalled at the spectacle of the overwhelming, impersonal forces that control our destiny, but mindlessly take no notice, no account of us and our needs and desires; they therefore invent a heavenly father of cosmic proportions, who exceeds our earthly fathers in goodness and love as much as in power. Religion, says Freud, is the "universal obsessional neurosis of humanity", and it is destined to disappear when human beings learn to face reality as it is, resisting the tendency to edit it to suit our fancies. A similar sentiment is offered by Karl Marx: Religion . . . is the self-consciousness and the self-feeling of the man who has either not yet found himself, or else (having found himself) has lost himself once more. But man is not an abstract being . . . Man is the world of men, the State, society. This State, this society, produce religion, produce a perverted world consciousness, because they are a perverted world . . . Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people. The people cannot be really happy until it has been deprived of illusory happiness by the abolition of religion. The demand that the people should shake itself free of illusion as to its own condition is the demand that it should abandon a condition which needs illusion.5 Note that Marx speaks here of a perverted world consciousness produced by a perverted world. This is a perversion from a correct, or right, or natural condition, brought about somehow by an unhealthy and perverted social order. From the Marx-Freud point of viewpoint, the theist is subject to a sort of cognitive dysfunction, a certain lack of cognitive and emotional health. We could put this as follows: the theist believes as he does only because of the power of this illusion, this perverted neurotic condition. He is insane, in the etymological sense of that term; he is unhealthy. His cognitive equipment,

Alhikmah / Winter 2008 /

unbelief is a result of sin. According to the book of Romans. namely. is abundant testimony that his conviction. from an unhappy.) Now of course the theist is likely to display less than overwhelming enthusiasm about the idea that he is suffering from a cognitive deficiency. working the way it ought to work. He will see the atheist as somehow the victim of sin in the world. is under a sort of widespread illusion endemic to the human condition. and unnatural condition with deplorable noetic consequences.6 Were it not for the existence of sin in the world. human beings would believe in God to the same degree and with the same natural spontaneity displayed in our belief in the existence of other persons. says Calvin. He would instead face the world and our place in it with the clear-eyed apprehension that we are alone in it." says Michael Scriven. ("When we die. The theist doesn't see himself as suffering from cognitive deficiency. and that any comfort and help we get will have to be our own devising. unfortunate. and no prospect of anything. or an 56/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . that there is some God. he may be inclined to see the shoe as on the other foot. From this we conclude that it is not a doctrine that must first be learned in school. in one of his more memorable lines. in this way. who though they struggle furiously are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God. intent on novelty and eager to concede as much as possible to contemporary secularity. a "sense of deity. from some illusion. after death. he wouldn't be under the spell of this illusion. as it were in the very marrow. "is inscribed in the hearts of all. is naturally inborn in all.we might say. and is fixed deep within. isn't working properly. we rot. As a matter of fact.his own sin or the sin of others." he says. who would embrace such an idea. There is no Father in heaven to turn to." According to John Calvin. If his cognitive equipment were working properly. but dissolution. . the perversity of the impious. . he may be inclined to think of the atheist as the person who is suffering. it isn't functioning as it ought to. . It is at most a liberal theologian or two." He goes on: Indeed. it originates in an effort to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness. but one of which each of us is master from his mother's womb and which nature itself permits no man to forget. from some noetic defect. God has created us with a nisus or tendency to see His hand in the world around us.

This is the natural human condition. or theological. claiming that what they see as sickness is really health and what they see as health is really sickness. this viewpoint will determine what you take to be natural. Thus the believer reverses Freud and Marx. the dispute here is ultimately ontological. though in some ways much more important. due perhaps. or normal. here we see the ontological and ultimately religious roots of epistemological discussions of rationality. if you think of a human being as the product of blind evolutionary forces. or thinks that she is a cleverly constructed robot that has no thoughts. feelings. at least in the sense in question. Obviously enough. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 57 . but an ontological or theological dispute. The fact is. What you take to be rational. or metaphysical. or healthy.external world. if you think there is no God and that human beings are part of a godless universe. with respect to belief. or consciousness. and created with a natural tendency to see God's hand in the world about us. It is then much more like sense perception or memory. it is fundamentally not an epistemological dispute. It depends upon your philosophical anthropology. or the past. it is because of our presently unnatural sinful condition that many of us find belief in God difficult or absurd. then of course you will not think of belief in God as a manifestation of wishful thinking or as any kind of defect at all. a natural tendency to recognize that he has been created and is beholden to his creator. How can we tell what it is healthy for human beings to believe unless we know or have some idea about what sort of creature a human being is? If you think he is created by God in the image of God. So the dispute as to who is rational and who is irrational here can't be settled just by attending to epistemological considerations. Calvin thinks. owing his worship and allegiance. one who does not believe in God is in an epistemically defective position-rather like someone who does not believe that his wife exists. in whole or in part. On the other hand. Your viewpoint as to what sort of creature a human being is will determine. your viewpoints as to what is rational or irrational for human beings to believe. depends upon your metaphysical and religious stance. then you will be inclined to accept a viewpoint according to which belief in God is a sort of disease or dysfunction. to a sort of softening of the brain.

as applied to us and our cognitive equipment. But from a theistic point of viewpoint. I think tells in favor of the theistic way of looking at the matter. My car works properly if it works the way it was designed to work. if at all at that level. is not more problematic than. the idea of proper functioning. like ropes and linear accelerators. an ecosystem. they have been created and designed by God. if it does what a refrigerator is designed to do. and is finally to be settled. Thus. of their not working as they ought to. have been designed. theist and atheist alike speak of a sort of dysfunction. So far as nature herself goes. But then it seems patent that what constitutes proper functioning depends upon our aims and interests. a rope. a garden patch is as it ought to be when it displays a luxuriant preponderance of the sorts of vegetation we propose to promote. he has an easy answer to the relevant set of questions: What is proper functioning? What is it for my cognitive faculties to be working properly? What is cognitive 58/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . isn't a fish decomposing in a hill of corn functioning just as properly. Something we have constructed-a heating system. But how are we to understand that? What is it for something to work properly? Isn't there something deeply problematic about the idea of proper functioning? What is it for my cognitive faculties to be working properly? What is it for a natural organism-a tree. for example-to be in good working order. just as excellently. of cognitive faculties or cognitive equipment not working properly. that of a Boeing 747's working properly. a garden patch"functions properly" only with respect to a sort of grid we impose on nature-a grid that incorporates our aims and desires.So the dispute as to who is healthy and who diseased has ontological or theological roots. as one happily swimming about chasing minnows? But then what could be meant by speaking of "proper functioning" with respect to our cognitive faculties? A chunk of reality-an organism. I think. This. And here I would like to present a consideration that. to be functioning properly? Isn't working properly relative to our aims and interests? A cow is functioning properly when she gives milk. a part of an organism. a linear accelerator-is functioning properly when it is functioning in the way it was designed to function. As I have been representing that matter. My refrigerator is working properly if it refrigerates. is the root idea of working properly. say. But according to theism. human beings.

when they are functioning in the way God designed them to function. for while perhaps the atheological objector would prefer to see our cognitive faculties function in such a way as not to produce belief in God in us. having the interest such remarks usually have in philosophical contexts. but it is at least and immediately evident that the atheological objector would then owe us an argument for the conclusion that belief in God is indeed less likely to contribute to our individual survival. when they function in the way we want them to. as being healthy. In this way. But of course this will not be a promising line to take in the present context. A second possibility: proper functioning and allied notions are to be explained in terms of aptness for promoting survival. he may be thinking of proper functioning as functioning in a way that helps us attain our ends. But how could such an argument go? Surely the prospects for a non-question begging argument of this sort are bleak indeed. how does he conceive dysfunction? How does he see dysfunction and its opposite? How does he explain the idea of an organism's working properly. when they function in such a way as to enable us to do the sorts of things we want to do. for the theist. On the other hand. naturally enough. if the atheological evidentialist objector claims that the theist without evidence is irrational. or of some organic system or part of an organism's thus working? What account does he give of it? Presumably he can't see the proper functioning of my noetic equipment as its functioning in the way it was designed to function. at least in this area of his life? More importantly. then he owes us an account of this notion. That would be an autobiographical remark on his part. 59 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . either at an individual or species level. Why does he take it that the theist is somehow dysfunctional. Taken this way the atheological evidentialist's objection comes to little more than the suggestion that the atheologician would prefer it if people did not believe in God without evidence. First. we think of our bodies as functioning properly. or the survival of our species than is atheism or agnosticism. he may say. the same cannot be said. so how can he put it? Two possibilities leap to mind. and if he goes on to construe irrationality in terms of defect or dysfunction. There isn't time to say much about this here.dysfunction? What is it to function naturally? My cognitive faculties are functioning naturally.

p. Calvin. would be more likely to contribute to the survival of our race than widespread theism. for example-is true. By way of conclusion: a natural way to understand such notions as rationality and irrationality is in terms of the proper functioning of the relevant cognitive equipment. 4. Clifford. The atheist evidential objector.3 (p. Sigmund Freud. 30.K. Seen from this perspective. 3. 1961). 3: Introduction to a Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. "The Ethics of Belief. in Lectures and Essays (London: Macmillan.Institutes of the Christian Religion.) 60/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . K. 1. Ibid. 6.)." in Lectures and Essays (London: Macmillan. p. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press. 2. 2. then it seems wholly implausible to think that widespread atheism. W. (1960). the question whether it is rational to believe in God without the evidential support of other propositions is really a metaphysical or theological dispute. 186. p. W. What does he mean when he complains that the theist without evidence displays a cognitive defect of some sort? How does he understand the notion of cognitive malfunction? NOTES 1. 43. 184. vol. The Future of an Illusion (New York: Norton. Engels. (1879). 183. for example. The theist has an easy time explaining the notion of our cognitive equipment's functioning properly: our cognitive equipment functions properly when it functions in the way God designed it to function. John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Collected Works. References 1. Ibid. 1960).K. 5. Clifford. trans. owes us an account of this notion. trans. Marx and F.44). Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press."The Ethics of Belief" . John Calvin. 1879). p.For if theism-Christian theism. however. 1975). by Karl Marx (London: Lawrence & Wishart.

3.).The Future of an Illusion (New York: Norton. (1961) . Engels.). vol. K. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 61 . 4. (1975) . and F. 3: Introduction to a Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. Sigmund. by Karl Marx (London: Lawrence & Wishart.Collected Works. Freud. Marx .


Quran. Professor.1 I. University of Tehran. deal with human beings as members of a worldwide community that meets the full train of both reason and Key words: Faith. Divine Message. especially in present time. Reason. Rationalism He who takes away reason to make way for faith puts out the light of both. Fideism. No more explanation needed here indeed. However. giving the priority to reason but recognizing human. temporal restrictions. since reason begins from rules that are evidently known to be true and proceeds logically ∗ .On the Faith-Reason Controversy ∗ Mahmoud Khatami Abstract The relation of reason to faith has always been crucial for some of the issues and questions that. Iran. ultimately reason and faith will agree because the truths known by faith will be authenticated by reason in an agreement of truth with itself. I.2 However. The first theory claims that the truth of Divine message is the truth of reason revealed to us before we have been able to discover it. The overall aim of this paper is rather to review some aspects of the problem that seem to be often missed in modern controversy on the The following discussion is not aspiring to generate a new idea about their relation or to discuss the controversy so as to conclude any discussion. Rationalists take this position. E-Mail: khatami@ut. Divine Guidance. modern debate commonly has occurred among three principal theories. . Introduction There is a diversity of promising theories one may take concerning the relation between faith and reason.

this position overlooks emotive and performative aspects of faith. not only are humans caught in the clutches of reason. (ii) Suppose one finds a rational manner to admit that reason is sufficient to the world. independent of one another--reason is the method for knowing in one realm and faith is the way of knowing in the other realm. they are also hopelessly schizophrenic. This theory is regularly understood to mean that religious knowledge is obtained by faith and understood by reason. It sees the problem of the realm of reason. It is more suspicious of the use of good reasons in general. but that Abraham cannot be understood by rationalist philosophers in 64/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and (b) reporting of the facts of immediately present experience. Kierkegaard understood quite well that one cannot step outside reason to talk about it. and supplements reason with the realm of faith. Meanwhile. there are two ways of knowing. then they are mutually exclusive. and espouses a more general anti-intellectualism. and connect those propositions to one another logically. A Third theory also developed through modern thinkers seems to be accepted widely in the West. but are instead a matter of irrational faith. It generally views that religious beliefs are not subject to rational evaluation. The second theory assumes the incommensuratablity of reason and faith. For him. In addition. (i) suppose one rejects the proof for God's existence. This will lead to absolutism. or opposition to reliance on good reasons. it is argued that such a reason implies either of two possible upshots to the rationalist assumption. But having created two realms. then (a) he is reduced to the tautologies of pure logic. II. reason is instrument for understanding of what is given by Divine message. According to this view. III. it moves religious beliefes that cannot be understood by reason to the realm of faith. Although there are some true evidence to the rationality of faith. However.from them to achieve certainty. Even reminiscence of very recent events cannot be trusted. as one certainly can when he confines his thinking to what can be demonstrated by reason unaided. the paradox of Abraham is not that faith must contradict reason. (i) skepticism or (ii) absolutism. religious knowledge itself is founded on faith. In this case one may make a list of the true propositions that give a comprehensive explanation of the world.

Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 65 . instead I will briefly depict his idea in the light of the Quran. generally speaking. and not be affected by passion. The absurdity here has the type of an impossible proposition provided that meaning should only be logical. the foundation can be said." for it always slips away when one assume to grab it. and can be justified in their faith rationally. and yet he does speak. It is not contrary to reason because it is. except from the point of view of a logical reason that has been defined as a reason that has no origin except itself. these positions are not the only ones available to the believers. but not in itself. otherwise it seems to be paradoxical."4 I am not exposing his philosophical approach and arguments here. Within the realm of reason. the foundation of reason. This requires considering the role of passion in regard to reason. What Abraham says is logically absurd. Mulla Sadra argued for a mutually inclusive relation between faith and reason. What Abraham says however is absurd: it cannot be apparently logical. Abraham's silence is a silence for logical reason. Nevertheless. or understood about the foundation. In later Persian philosophical period. that the foundation cannot be said clearly and distinctly does not mean that it has no meaning or that it cannot be grasped without difficulty. claiming that “both of them command the same true.” since he may claim that this "otherwise" is not unreasonable or contrary to reason. However. But this requires a very important condition: Reason must be considered here in itself. bestowed degrees of reason in common. but it is not to say that it has no meaning.3 II.thinking that they have gone beyond religious doubt to rational certainty. The depth of the foundation of reason is not necessarily the depth of unnecessary complexity and rationalizing obscurity. as people are. Abraham cannot speak. one may argue against this “provided that. Reason Wedded to Faith: Mutual inclusion However. But it can only be said "ironically. known. it cannot appear as what it is within the realm of reason. Reason and faith have the same hierarchic structure in that every level of faith corresponds a similar degree and level of reason. but that logical impossibility does not mean that nothing can be said.5 Now. in fact. As foundation. at the same time they enjoy the corresponding degrees of true faith they have.

by inventing excuses for what we instinctively want to do. Reason tends to be exhibited as an instrument of desire. The philosophers did not dawdle in this protest against the domination of reason. and arguments which we instinctively want to believe. The mystics were enthusiastic in claiming that emotion was a better and more reliable direct for man than reason. its authority was challenged from various lodgings. The reason is required to formulate specious explanations to rationalize the irrational acts of unconscious desires. In defending of reason. it is affected by passion in its variety. Human beings were disappointed with reason and looked for guidance to irrational elements in human nature. we would remember that it is no longer possible to restore to it that situation of unqualified incomparability which was accorded to it by the rationalists. The poets of the Romantic revival insisted on the natural worth of emotion and gloried in uninhibited expression of all emotions. In the Freudian theory the irrational unconscious acts deeply. Both are necessary for a full. The psychologists queried the view that man is a rational being and arranges his life in the light of reason.This will make clear that. The inconsistency between reason and passion runs through human history. There is a great agreement of truth in the criticism to which it was subjected. rich and balanced life. Reason counsels prudence and caution while passion exhorts man to dare and take risks. but to reconcile them is an extremely difficult problem. authority of reason has been succeeded by an episode of revolution against reason. We are witnessing the violent reaction against reason today. Its job is to safe the ends which we unconsciously set ourselves. Reason is the power of deceiving ourselves into believing that what we want to think that true is in fact true. After a long period of unquestioned supremacy. The Quran points to how one deceives himself when he is under the control of a base passion: 66/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . The eighteenth century was the age of reason par excellence. Over-confidence in the power of reason has been followed by disappointment with reason. a) The Role of Passion Faith seems to be a type of passion. while reason here is a servant. In the modern history of western thought. when reason seems to conflict Divine Message.

nothing wrong will be with reason as such. Moreover. as they followed their base passions. Wouldst thou then be guardian over him. However. instead of guiding man to the right way. Passion is blind and can 67 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . leads him more astray. This discovery however is reational. in letting reason to be conquered by our passions. reason plays in it the minor role of a submissive to passion. The result is that Allah's Law of Retribution sends him astray. notwithstanding his knowledge. We have to discern a manner of introducing agreement between the two and employing them for best interests. The question is only of giving it the appropriate function. The abolition or deteriorating of either will hurt human personality. The mistake is ours. However. The Quran says: (Their fate) is manifest unto you from their (ruined and deserted) dwellings . all passions and desires join into a harmonious entire and are organized into a rational system by reason. reason. Or deemest thou that most of them hear or understand? (25 : 43-44). Animal passions and sensual desires are not concealed but only put in their appropriate position. On the other hand. and seals up his hearing and his heart and puts on his sight a covering (45 : 23). There might be a disagreement between reason and passion. therefore. but an obstacle to the search of worthy ends. It can guide accurately only when it is performing correctly. is not an aid. if reason has to have full performance. Otherwise. In this case. reason performs a controlling but not a repressing role. It is obvious that reason may often be enrolled in the service of selfish desires and base passions. Reason and passion are important essentials. In such a case. when it is misted up by passion. reason performs appropriately and gives right guidance. a feeble personality is not continued by reason and. to remedy is not to suppress one or the other. It is evident that reason. In a well-adjusted mind. In such a mind. it must be qualified and developed like other faculties of the mind. These are people who have allowed their reason to be distorted by base passions: Hast thou seen him who maketh his baser desire his god. although they were keen-sighted (29: 38).Hast thou seen him who chooseth for his god his own baser passion. Reason functions according to the role one gives it. but to strike equilibrium between the two. it is not the mistake of reason that it sometimes leads us astray.

This knowledge may be insufficient. However. Reason can examine itself and can discern its own restrictions. But man have a real self also and our knowledge of it is miserably insufficient. But when we wish to accomplish our fate. may be against faith. but reason recognizes passion’s correct position in life. we should always act on the instruction of scientific reason.not control itself. One may talk about it only in the light of eternal verities which transcend science. Science may claim that it has discovered knowledge and much more about human body. we would go beyond this rational restriction. Therefore. we may be allowed to question whether there is any other way to knowledge. b) The Role of Science The reason purified from passion has no disagreement with Divine Message. Gradually science is increasing our knowledge. The Quran speaks of the slaves of passion in no uncertain terms: And if they answer thee not. Such a 68/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . left to itself. And who goeth farther astray than he who follows his passion without guidance from Allah (28 : 50). But what about modern science which claims true facts are accessible through scientific reason with objectivity? Being a very strong challenger for religion. at least to knowledge that matters moreknowledge of our aim in life and how it may be achieved. His guidance and His command. Common sense cannot catch Ultimate Reality and the real self of man can grasp itself only by the direction of the Ultimate Reality or God. The real self is not subject to quantitative treatment of the scientist. Reason rightly decides only when all the related facts are located before it. will tend to restrain reason. If the knowledge is insufficient. the necessity of divine direction without which he will remain earth-bound. In the physical world. The instruction of reason is based on the knowledge at its disposal. then know that what they follow is their passion. Scientific research reveals reason as its best. It is helpless when these facts cannot all be achieved. the instruction is necessarily uncertain. modern science. We should search for rational faith which is the vehicle of Divine guidance. so how one may allege mutual inclusion between faith and reason? Scientists claim that whatever knowledge we have achieved about this mysterious universe is in debt to reason. as a rational and objective vehicle. Passion. nonetheless it is valuable and obligatory.

whereas things which are injurious to life and weaken man's ability for development are undesirable. We cannot grasp the real self by science. to save our honor rather than life. But reason does not merely assert its judgement on things. Through this knowledge. to sacrifice one good for the sake of another. Science has placed the requisite knowledge of the properties of material things and of their effects on man's body. It judges on things to be good. though his preference and desire favors the hurtful things. Suppose we face a situation in which we can save either our life or our wealth. and will guide us to the true way. All we can say is that we can achieve the goal provided we live in harmony with the eternal verities. reason finds it easy to answer questions about which things are desirable and which are undesirable. Reason clearly refers to an accepted criterion of values.reason acts in the light of His guidance. scientific reason may fails to make the right choice. Reason evaluates things by the criterion of self-interest. and our knowledge of this self is imperfect. and our reason should have either way to access it. Again a situation may arise in which we can save our honor only at the cost of life. faith supplements reason. though perhaps not as promptly as in the earlier case. Things which contribute to self-protection and improvement of life are qualified as good. In this way we will be completely ready to undertake the problems of life and we would be responsible before the powers we have c) The Role of Value Value is the most living issue in a religious life. These verities are hidden from our view and transcend science. When the choice is between valuable and invaluable things. and encourages man to choose them. and we may see how reason helps us to take value. It is worthy to note that the more privileged the values may be the more 69 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . The case will be more crucial if we are to choose between two good things (not between a good and a bad). The essence of the real self is unknown to science. reason tells us which one of the things we desire is good and valuable and which one is bad and hurmful. Reason then commands to choose it. or not-good. Reason tells us to choose life and be resigned to the loss of our wealth. First of all. The criterion of values helps us to decide which of the two good things is privileged. But man has a real self too. Hence. Reason tells us.

Here faith accords reason over the stile. how they should be known. Therefore. It leads to an implicit refutation of an objective scheme of values that is valid for human beings at all times. only in relation to the singular experiencing person. Prepared with adequate knowledge of values. the realm of ends is definitely outside its jurisdiction. 70/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . the existence of which the person concerned recognizes and acknowledges. However reason. be meant to have only subjective validity for the person concerned. if so. The highest value can be determined only according to the fate of the self. That there is one absolute standard of values. and faith confirms it as reason confirms faith. Knowledge of these presupposes knowledge of the heights to which the human self can rise through its constant growth. The criterion of values constructed by reason is useful. live and act in full agreement with the undeniable moral order of the universe. which is the same for all rational beings. Faith is the only source of our knowledge of the highest values. Therefore. felt the need of some reliable foundation of values other than reason. Confronted with condition where we are called upon to choose between two values. is just what morality means. judges on relative values. while the authority of reason cannot be questioned in the world of fact. if we want. so that it can be compared with other values. It cannot be refuted that knowledge of ultimate values is crucial for the right ways of life and the unrestricted growth of the self. therefore. Reason. It inclines to give a subjective definition. It cannot even give an ultimate answer to the question as to whether there are ultimate values and. Religion. The ultimate values cannot. is continually revising and reconstructing its criterion of values and its moral norms in the light of fresh knowledge. Ultimate validity can only relate to universal values and norms. we can. nevertheless. The knowledge does not consist in merely the recognition of a value as a value but involves a just approximation of the degree of worth possessed by it. of course. we can then rapidly choose the higher and sacrifice the lower value for the sake of the higher. which is the main tool of knowledge we have.purified should be reason from material interests. Considering men have. what is notorious is not the existence of an objectively valid Moral Law but only the way of its being. involves belief in objective and ultimate values and in an objective and ultimate moral norm. if being in worldly experimental attitude.

This shows the necessary relationship between reason and faith. However. The needs of the real self may be as insistent but are only dimly perceived. When a man has to choose between life and money. we may not be able to come to a decision which of the two values is the higher. The needs of the physical self are clearly perceived and easily satisfied. yet has overlooked the feeling of performance which should come with the right choice. by looking for them. we should let ourselves be guided by the light of Divine message. He has chosen rightly. Reason will recommend him to save honor at the cost of life. The ends we ought to pursue are those which can fully satisfy our needs. He may even make the right choice but for wrong reasons. but because he is frightened of gaining social condemnation. To choose the higher value is an act of faith. which. In the fitful light of reason. III. Conclusion The above discussion shows that the rational sciences furnish useful knowledge regarding the means by which we may attain our ends. In this way. When the light of pure reason flashes. it is silent on the vital question of what ends we ought to set for ourselves. qualifies itself to maintain its existence on a higher level in this world and Hereafter. he does not delay to throw away money and save his life. Reason can recommend delay of conclusion. it is not easy to see the way in which they can be gratified. but he may not be entirely convinced by rational arguments. Reason can help us to secure food and water. It directs us towards the ends of the human life. we have already made the choice.Character is fortified by our intentional sacrifice of a lower value to save a higher one. a conviction in God and in the Hereafter which is confirmed by pure reason. one may tell that the rational knowledge regarding ultimate values can be accomplished and confirmed by Divine message. Food and water appease hunger and thirst. but the same man may be forced to choose between life and honor. not because he values it more than life. It is a spiteful choice and the man might not reconcile himself to the loss of either of the two very valuable things. Here too reason is forced to lean on faith. Here instinct backs his choice. The 71 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . He may choose honor. We can delay conclusion but we cannot delay action and when we have acted. On the basis of scientific knowledge and experience.

saying: Our Rabb ! Thou hast not created this in vain (3 : 189). needs to be clarified further in the light of the Quran. The distinction between body and soul. The Quran speaks of men who have grasped the meaning of His message. In the Quranic view. standing and sitting and reclining. and reflect on the creation of the heaven and the earth. In the West. is basic to the teaching of most religions. It speaks of those who believe as "having both knowledge and faith"(30 : 56). there can be no real conflict between faith and reason. are surely signs to men of understanding. as "men of real understanding" (5: 100). Through intense reflection on His message. Such as keep before their mind the Laws of Allah. Religion (also moral life) is possible only for a being who possesses a permanent self. he appears to be a physical organism. To deny the existence of a permanent self is to deny absolute values and the denial of absolute values entails the denial of moral standard too. but he reveals himself as a free being when "value" categories are applied. What is needed for this purpose is a happy blend of the two. man is not compounded of two distinct entities-soul and body. Quran does not support this dichotomy. However. By achieving insight into absolute values become capable of leading a moral life. They are the true believers because irrational belief has no value (65: 10). conflict between faith and reason is a strand that runs 72/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . We would do well to lay the following soul-stirring verse to heart: In the creation of the heavens and the earth. So far as the Quran is concerned. nor through reason alone. They are the twin stars that enlighten the path of man. An ethical policy is based on a system of values. Reason wedded to faith leads us to the inner spirit of the Faith. the worth of the human self and its possibilities and destiny. matter and spirit. and in the alternation of night and day.distinction between physical self and real self which runs through the above discussion. the only dependable source of knowledge is Divine message. If we apply to him the categories of science. Value is relative to the person who experiences. we can hope to understand the meaning and purpose of creation. He is a single indivisible being. The. and a system of absolute values has meaning only in relation to a real self. His message shed lights our path in the realm of values. we cannot understand His message only by faith. however. Regarding the absolute values.

when an encompassing temptation from Satan comes to them. far from being antithetical. as well as sustain. The warfare between science and religion ran its sanguinary course through several centuries. Faith in the absolute values which set the goal to both human attempt and cosmic process. puts himself in the hands of God and in return asks for the fulfillment of his personality. This is the Quranic outlook asserted in many verses and reinforced by the clear statements of the Prophet. once realizes this. For those who do good in this world there is a good reward (here) and the Hereafter will be still better (16:30). It helps man to maintain a happy balance between the demands of his body and the demands of his real self. It should be clear by now that it is not the purpose of God to strangle reason and encourage blind faith to supplant it. and finally faith in a purposive life. here refers to the clarity of mental vision: Those who have due. In the mentality of man.through history. need. knowledge. The believer. 73 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . Many may know the truth through reason but they "see" it in the right perspective when the image in the eye of faith is superimposed on the image in reason's eye. Only recently the truth has dawned on the Western people that reason and faith. which reveals a few of the infinity of His aspects. Faith in the reality of the human self and in its unlimited capacity for development. each other. Far from decrying reason. not only knows but sees. His message helps reason to reach maturity. and Lo! they see (the truth) (7 : 201). the Quran insists on our making full use of our intellectual faculties to understand and appreciate the ultimate truth conveyed through Divine message (wahy). regard for God's Laws. Seeing. The Quran referring to this bargain says: Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth (9 : 111). The Quran nowhere glorifies blind faith. having reached this stage. The human mind. the Quran seeks to implant faith in the heart of reason—faith in God who sustains the universe. and experience. The Islamic way of life has for its goal the development of the human personality in all its aspects. they remember the Divine guidance. This clear perception of truth helps to lead man to peace and eternal happiness.

Reason and Revelation in Islam ( London. Arberry. Heidegger writes of what he calls "the otherwise tonality" of the principle of sufficient reason. This theory also shows that taking side for or against reason with regard to faith is plausible.J. Indiana University Press. Kierkegaard helps us see the necessity of such a ground by showing the impossibility of giving an explanation of Abraham. A.). 1991). Tehran 1364 H. For historical trends and major approaches see these two classic books for the Medieval debate on this subject: GILSON. which is the very basis for my existence as a unique individual.S. or at least through intelligence alone. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. 74/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . a tonality that does not deny that everything has an explanation. C. For example see Mafatih al-qayb. Fraser (New York: Dover. Trans. his approach to the subject is commonly accepted by Persian philosophers and jurisprudents after him. Book. IV (XIX. Locke J. but that alerts us to the fact of the ground of what can always be heard "before" reason as well as always ignored (Martin Heidegger. translated by Reginald Lilly (Bloomington:. when the correspondence of reason and faith in the same level and degree will not be respected. (Emmanuel Levinas.. 1938. Garden City. The principles of reason have their origin in the apologetic character of reason. The Principle of Reason. Essays Concerning Human Understanding. 39-40). 1969 252-253) 4. but its necessity comes not from itself. it was provided for a definite object and when it attempts speculation on a higher plane it enables us at the most to conceive possibilities.Notes 1. gust as the principle of contradiction is necessary to all reasoning. Sadra speaks of this rule widely in his works. 1957). R. (The Two Sources of Religion and Morality.( New York: Charles Scribner's sons. it does not attain any reality". can (man) do so: intelligence would be more likely to proceed in the opposite direction. and A. 3. E. but from the demand that I give an acceptable explanation to another. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Ashley Audra and Cloudesley Brereton. This is traditionally known as the implying rule (qaedatol molazama) indicating that Kollama Hakama beheshshar’. hakama behel ‘aql. ed. Then it is plausible when Bergson discusses the question whether it is possible for human intellect to reach reality and gives a negative answer : "Not through intelligence. Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages. 4) 2. 1995). 5.

Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.NJ: Doubleday Anchor Books. translated by Reginald Lilly . p. Levinas E. 5. 124) Such expressions are due to neglection of the degrees of reason. CN: Greenwood Press. pp. even less. install them in human beings . frankly admitted that science can never give us "spiritual. (1969). (1938). . . Arberry A. Indiana University Press.) 6. 25 . (1991). Essays Concerning Human Understanding. Fraser (New York: Dover.Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. (1957). science can. 1970.. . at the most. the most eminent physicist of his time. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. 201). Tehran: Eslamiyyeh 1364 H. Heidegger M. Locke J. Mafatih al-qayb.( New York: Charles Scribner's sons. (Einstein. Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages.J. .The Principle of Reason. E.. Science cannot create ends and. 2. A. C. or when Einstein.S Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 75 .Bloomington:. Reason and Revelation in Islam ( London). Out of My Later Years.Gilson. He argued that only men to whom Faith has been vouchsafed." guidance..) 3. (1995). could give us guidance in the "spiritual" sphere: "On the other hand. and not being affected by passion and utilitarian ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals". A. supply the means by which to attain certain ends. representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgements with respect to values and ends on the basis of scientific method and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. ed. Mulla Sadra. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors . Westport. 4. ed. References 1.


insofar as the principles of one do not conflict with those of the other. How Kant regarded reason as unified has been deliberated in three basic formulations: 1. He concludes his article as follows: The challenge of how reason might be regarded as unified. but grows from modernity’s conundrum of determining how humans can be both part of the natural world of cause and effect. 2. and at the same time exercise free will and thus assume moral responsibility. Both can be derived as components of a unitary and complete system of philosophy. (Neuhouser 1990. Then he goes to introduce a Kantian perspective in this regard and speaks of the unity of reason (theoretical and practical). Member of the Department of philosophy. They are compatible with each other. p. the “unity of reason” problem. 3. Baylor university.Science and Reason. the author will firstly mention the history of debates between science and religion from "monkey trial" up to multiverse hypothesis. E-Mail: ait@bu. 12) * Professor.” or constitute what is in essence a single activity of the subject. which has as its starting point a single first principle. Tauber * Abstract In this article. that is. They possess an identical underlying “structure. Reason and Faith Alfred I. does not first appear with Kant’s . as well as theories posed to show that there are no design and intelligence in universe.

Suffice it to note that while Kant regarded reason as fundamentally unified.” The 1960 movie “Inherit the Wind. nor the argument for others has resolved the issue. and then. they cannot abide placing their God outside His handiwork. ruled against teaching a new form of creationism in the public high school. This fundamental characteristic seems best to address the unity of reason question. After a long trial that delved into the nature of scientific theory and the questions of what constituted scientific knowledge. the author shows that the autonomy of both theoretical and practical reason serves as the bedrock of Kant’s entire philosophy. some comparing it to Scopes circus of 1925. I was fascinated with the arguments about God’s presence or absence in nature. practical. as now. in 2004 had instructed teachers to read a short statement about the inconclusive status of neo-Darwinian evolution theory and suggest that Intelligent Design might be entertained as an alternative explanation. why should He be omitted from designing the greatest of creations. in the cosmos. Keywords: science. The case arose from a suit brought by parents against the Dover school board. The country was riveted on the courtroom drama. how theoretical and practical reason functioned in different domains remained a beguiling question. and at the very least. the judge ruled Intelligent Design was a ploy to bring religion into the classroom and accused certain board members of duplicity. cognitive functions During the week before the Christmas of 2005. theoretical. III. I can well understand how religionists regard nature with awe. meaning. captured my own imagination as a youngster.In this article. the Bible describes how Adam was made in the image of God. sitting in the Federal Middle District of Pennsylvania. But. neither this interpretation. and perhaps more importantly. a system that provides for freedom in both the apprehension of the natural world and the discernment of moral action in the social world.” so well enacted by Spencer Tracey and Fredric March. and to find coherence. which. others did not. faith. If He is present in their daily lives. when Clarence Darrow confronted William Jennings Bryan in the famous Tennessee “monkey trial. 78/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Judge Jones only confirmed what the voters had already accomplished by throwing the errant board members back to church. human intelligence? After all. Judge John E. Kant. Jones. reason.

theological reason is conflated with scientific reason. Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of “chance and necessity” are not scientific at all. like our own. makes no comment about God’s presence or absence). incidentally. into the epistemological domain. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology. The slippage is evident: Schönborn propels his metaphysical reason. The Dover case took on a special luster during the summer of 2005. an abdication of human intelligence. In other words. His intelligence. but evolution in neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided. and the boundaries are trespassed as if there were no difference. True believers maintain that orthodox scientists are blind to a deeper Reason. the Catholic Church will again defend human reason by proclaiming that the imminent design evident in nature is real.Accordingly. Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true. The Kantian lesson (discussed in detail below and elaborated in the Appendix) — how reason must make way for faith — is simply ignored. So what looked to Darwin and his followers as only a contingent. unplanned process of random variation and natural selection — is not. that which supports God’s cosmological purpose. but as John Paul put it. because they have yet to see His fingers at work. while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth. Rather than provide divine 79 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . He claimed that he was protecting “rationality” against an ideological science: The Catholic Church. Cardinal Schönborn wrote a controversial op-ed piece. where the preponderant scientific interpretation sees no design (and. not science… Now at the beginning of the 21st century. must have some engineering capability dwarfing even our wildest conceptions. faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science. is. only understandable as an act of deliberate design. in fact. including the world of living things. when in the New York Times. proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world. blind evolutionary process.

because pre-suppositions are. Both sides claim a rational discourse. Schönborn must dispute dominant scientific opinion. its knowledge perhaps designed for one purpose. concerns the character of reason. “reason” is used by like-minded theologians as some kind of universal solvent for dissolving problems without acknowledging that it is not reason that is in dispute. indeed. but given the pre-suppositions of each system. applied to another. the conclusions of the respective positions are irreconcilable. has asserted its own program at the expense of other modes of knowing. Argument is stultified. scientific facts are not at issue. and. science embraces a naturalism whose metaphysics are defined independently of teleology. More to the point. its technology applied for diverse social pursuits. intelligent people espouse Intelligent Design. its findings interpreted to support one metaphysics. and the question upon which I will focus.2 And now we come to the heart of the matter. Indeed. Collingwood described them. Unfortunately. The question of whether Intelligent Design might take its place in the scientific menu does not strike me as particularly interesting at this point. but rather their interpretation. and here we come face to face with the challenge in its starkest terms: Schönborn’s metaphysics demands divine intervention. Given his first allegiance to his own religious tenets he had no other option. as R. the suppositions that are closed to further analysis or revision (Collingwood 1940). specifically its notions of objectivity coupled to empiricism. What I am calling “slippage” is a result of these competing metaphysics. so that we should recognize the instrumentality of reason: Science may be used by anyone. but what intrigues me. In short. scientific method. or another.G. Start with different presuppositions and logical progression will bring the disputants to very different ends. Reason is simply the tool used by each to support its respective agenda. the Cardinal insists on projecting his faith into the natural world. but rather the metaphysics in which reason functions.presence and teleology with its own reason.1 We have witnessed endless and convincing rebuttal. because his reasoned theology (as in the Church’s persecution of Galileo) apparently could not accommodate neo-Darwinian blind evolution. They are the bedrock of the conceptual apparatus they support. 80/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .

In a sense. More than just rejecting religious doctrine. Each has its place. The Problem Neo-Darwinism’s non-teleological.4 We will not settle the matter by argument. may or may not include a divine presence. and therein. Galileo’s case has been settled. the meaning of those findings. and consequently. but as in the case of the Cardinal. but about the metaphysics in which science functions. a religious orthodoxy disputed the science. The best we can do is support the liberalism. which allows communities with different belief systems to thrive next to each other. but rather that the wondrous picture science presents may be translated into religious terms and effectively employed against those who supported and developed the system for very different ends. rational or otherwise. not in the particulars of evolutionary findings. The classic examples are the religious disputes arising from Galileo’s astronomical findings and Darwin’s theory of common descent. To that end. Such a view leaves humans the chore of defining significance and meaning within a human construct. its authority. neo-Darwinism asserts its own metaphysical picture in contrast to it: a stark. If one wishes to impose a secondary layer of divine interpretation upon those findings. a displacement of a master divinity. The drama is not about science per se.3 When the fossil record is placed within a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. In each instance. Nietzsche’s challenge 81 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . but more deeply how the metaphysics in which science functions as an instrument of inquiry is in conflict with others. but Darwin’s still lingers. God is besides the matter. fine.The Intelligent Design case exemplifies not only how science is in tension with different worldviews. materialistic view may be interpreted as denying major assertions of Christian theology. but do not conflate two ways of knowing. a “meta-theory” has supplanted the scientific one. materialistic universe with no telos. Indeed. I will direct my comments. from the heart’s beating to the brain’s functions — rests on a denial of design. Since science’s understanding of the universe and our place in it. each form of materialistic theory — from evolution to the origin of the universe. and much else. This is my theme. I believe that challenge lies at the base of the conflict between secularism and religious ideology. And the irony of our age is not that science cannot trump fundamentalist arguments.

they are correct. I also seek seamless connections between a materialistic universe governed by laws that have no personal enchantment and the various dimensions of my subjectivity. Indeed. science and religion are closely aligned. but rather as a result of differing metaphysical presuppositions (e. and thus committed to a vast program of empirical discovery. they largely define the humanistic project. Indeed. and so on — as my identity is refracted from different perspectives. moral — to integrate its worldview with human experience. So I share with the fundamentalists a humane aspiration to understand my own identity — psychologically. human deliberation? Can we successfully assert our own significance? Can we meaningfully exist without divine revelation and live in a world navigated and created by human intentions and will? These questions have rested at the heart of the secular enterprise throughout modernity.. Marcum 2003. spiritual. can the values which govern society be truly based upon. The fundamentalists aspire to integrate a scientific picture — evolution — with deeply held religious commitments. we are reminded that for a vast proportion of Americans. science as a branch of philosophy still adheres to the humanist tradition. revealed and doctrinaire. Man define his cosmos? Beyond naturalistic explanation. not so much because of reason. at least not as a dogma.g. but quickly separate. In this. the world science presents cannot provide meaning that satisfies their existential needs. sociologically. all of us seek some kind of “placement. or even derived from.” On this view. I firmly reside within a humanist tradition that attempts to provide responses to these existential questions within the framework of “Man as the final measure. spiritually.(“God is dead!”) remains an abiding unresolved question: Can. their broader agenda of promoting 82/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .” The difference between fundamentalists and me is that they have a scheme. I readily admit that science requires some “framing” — aesthetic. In short. In contrast to a cosmos revealed by revelation. or even should. and I do not. science not only provides the basis for technological advances. but answers to its deepest commitments of exploring nature as a response to our metaphysical wonder. Indeed. and when liberal society is confronted by such expressions of discontent as the Dover case. 2005). Instead. science was born as natural philosophy. and despite deep tensions.

1996). the science-humanist alliance. and how those Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 83 . at least my colleagues knew such turn of phrases as “the Enlightenment” and could respond with a kindly nod or a disapproving frown. The essay goes on to celebrate the virtues of an independent mind. turns out not to be a trivial question. “Have the courage to use your own understanding…” (1784. “What is the Enlightenment?” I paused. we must chart our present predicament. The tack taken here is guided by a sighting of reason. In any case. a man about my own age). That safe harbor is the Enlightenment. “Enlightenment is mankind’s exit from its self-incurred immaturity” or as he further extolled. but for now. I was presenting a report to a group of physicians. deep trouble. where despite encountering a universe of different kinds of problems. From this vantage. must be seen again as a key bulwark of modernity and its liberal program. Shortly thereafter I initiated my career shift into philosophy. we require a steady compass to hold our course. So let us begin with a review of some history. a man in his mid-40s at the time (that is. and dropped the phrase. there in the boardroom of the big city hospital. a vision of personal freedom. “the Enlightenment. This is only a partial answer and we will have occasion to visit this conceptual question again. I suggest we find our bearings by looking back to the port from which we embarked. melded in philosophy. The Call of the Enlightenment What is Enlightenment? Kant’s famous answer. let me ask a simpler historical question: What is the Enlightenment? That. also.liberal inquiry must bring them again into close proximity. but soon discerned that he was genuinely perplexed from a state of utter ignorance. guided by rationality. South African (and thus possessing an accent that smacked of erudition). I realized that we were in trouble. From there. long before I attained my present level of alarm. moral forthrightness. and above all. the winds are coming from starboard. which captures these moral and epistemological virtues of the philosophes.” probably as a dangling participle to no good effect. stopped me by asking. as I learned about 15 years ago. the chief medical officer. and a rather general haughty air about him (no doubt from the authority of his position). At that moment. They knew how we are the products of that cultural moment. not sure of his intention.

scientific knowledge is neutral. in many respects. Instead of sputtering some incoherent mumblings. Somewhat chastened by the postmodern critique of any final Truth. Indeed. 84/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . the confidence in progress. the sanctity of secularism. fallibilism is assumed. I still believe we make an important distinction between an understanding of reason that serves a predetermined goal (for instance one defined by religious faith that is constrained a priori by presuppositions deemed immune in advance to questioning). I have often contemplated how I might have answered my physician inquisitor. law. marked modernity’s coming of age.values developed and continue to guide liberalism and the specific endeavor we call education. the relentless questioning of authority and doctrine. Inquiry in this latter formulation has no telos other than the inquiry itself. Science played a singular role in promoting this enterprise and. the promotion of individuality and free-choice. I would have explained that the clinical science that he practices is a product of a new way of thinking. the fallibility of knowledge. was indebted to it. but not necessarily so. In this sense. these precepts. specifically I am referring to its program of truth-seeking. born during the “Century of Genius” (Whitehead 1925) as an expression of a form of rationality that had become a tool for open-ended inquiry. Each share the same critical values. I wish I could have quickly listed the key components of the Enlightenment: celebration of an unfettered reason. the process of study is putatively immune to bias and prejudice (at least in its theoretical prime state). the centrality of selfhood and moral agency. In short. the same methods of analysis and tireless questioning of the fruits of their respective studies. Modern science in many ways exemplifies the Age of Reason. and perhaps most evidently in theology. I would have emphasized the open-ended character of truth-seeking. and. social mores. in turn. I will be making the case that this view of epistemic accomplishment is fundamental to liberal thought and that this characteristic binds science firmly to the humanities. That alliance may be directed towards secular ends. not least. and. as opposed to the use of enlightened reason that is open-ended. the agnosticism about the divinity. objectivity is sought. refracted into the worlds of politics.

and that standard as applied to the human sciences (Comte 1825. the growing separation between science and the humanities prompted C. assuming to apply its methods and logic in arenas where.[I]n the dimension of describing and explaining the world. Because of its success and its independence of the larger philosophical context from which it emerged. 1964). 82-3) Here. 1974). Despite the achievements of science. Snow to describe academic culture as comprised of “Two Cultures” (Snow 1959. The first was intellectual: Scientism was viewed as imperialistic. science was regarded as an unruly adolescent: full of itself. asserted a rigid factuality to what constituted knowledge. He described mutual illiteracy. Let us briefly review that recent history.the scientific account of “what there is” supersedes the descriptive ontology of everyday life…. The second domain of controversy arose from the political and social consequences of the first. P. science is the measure of all things. pp. despite its authority. caution is required. would devalue other hermeneutical forms of inquiry. brimming with confidence and even arrogance. humanists 85 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . Thus. which prevented scientists and humanists to engage each other across the boundaries separating their respective disciplines. A particularly invasive scientific philosophy. Science and Reason’s Division Almost half a century ago. as a purely intellectual conflict. and of what is not that it is not. Humanists feared an imbalance in two domains. most scientists and humanists found themselves on different sides of the demarcation lines outlined by the positivist program. of what is that it is. “common-sense” or “common-place” is a placeholder for all those modes of knowing eclipsed by the triumph of science’s worldview. I would have explained that his ignorance was symptomatic (a word he would undoubtedly have understood and would hopefully peak his interest) of the troubled status of this humanist-science alliance. positivism. (Sellers 1956. As Winfred Sellers noted (writing as a philosopher): The scientific picture of the world replaces the common-sense picture…. 1997.Returning to my doctor colleague. overflowing with its power and promise. Humanists were suspicious of claims that are by their very nature fallible and which history has repeatedly demonstrated are infected by pernicious cultural determinants.

Bridged by inter-disciplinary studies of science. 86/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .” whose authority rested on the economic bounty indebted to scientific advances. a kind of political arrogance. are not our subject. science was wrenched back from its isolated status. Many were troubled by the danger of misplaced applications (like nuclear power) and. Ironically. 1962) marks the beginning of a new movement to study sciencein a broadened humanistic context. Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge (1958. These matters. coincident with Snow’s critique. largely as a result of its material success. while germane. so that a gentle species of scientism seeped into the schools educating new generations of citizens. these were prominently energized by. science education dominated other forms of knowing.rightly feared the imbalanced influence of the science “lobby. the original cultural divide began to mend in an unexpected way. increasingly dominated public policy decisions and education resources. suffice it to note that by the end of the 1950s. a “military-industrial complex.” which prominently displayed its products in Vietnam and later in Iraq. The social apparatus that supported the scientific enterprise ranged from the educational reform stimulated by the Sputnik challenge to scientific industries promoting their vested interests. which employed analytic tools quite alien to the then current “internal” approaches espoused by Rudolf Carnap and other logical positivists. Indeed. and the Two Cultures were melded back to one. The sacrosanct status of scientific rationality and claims to orderly progress was challenged by Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). The Two Culture divide was consequently also an expression of how science. and sociologists pursued an ambitious program to characterize the laboratory as an intellectual and cultural activity. Beyond the technology sold to the domestic West. historians. with a vengeance. only to be broken again along different fault lines. which seemed to accompany the power of unbridled technology. science no longer was allowed to perform insulated from outside scrutiny. Here. Indeed. where philosophers. which closely followed Michael Polanyi’s exploration of a more comprehensive appreciation of scientific thinking than that offered by positivist philosophies of science. what Eisenhower menacingly described. even more.

liberal society. and then I will return to explore the circumstances of their continued alliance. Revelation had been displaced by a critical stance oriented by new standards of what is factual and what is not. p. who responded to the 18th century challenge of understanding the legitimate claims of science. Husserl (1935. This project articulated the Enlightenment’s highest ideals. The break was. how they separated. 1981). I present a review of the original alliance of humanists and scientists. and why a renewed effort to hold their common ground is incumbent on both. what is knowledge and what is opinion. confident that neither would conflict with the other. reason must “be its own pupil” (Kant 1787. moral discourse. We must also review some key historical features that highlight the parting of science from the humanities — very broadly and very briefly — and then I will return to explore the circumstances of a new alliance. now based on those who would still embrace the original Enlightenment values characterizing modernity. 1970). however. 109 [B xv]) and thus remain loyal to its own “character. each of whom. The Fractured Alliance 1. already evident at the end of the 18th 87 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . He specifically sought to define reason in its various guises so that the pursuit of knowledge and the faith of belief might proceed on their respective courses. 1998. we will ponder in various ways how.To place these developments in their historical context. History “Natural philosophy” became “science” in the mid-19th century. profoundly understood that the bifurcation of reason bestowed a conundrum that could only be addressed by a synthesis of science and its supporting philosophical critique.5 Here.” I will first review some key historical features that highlight the parting of science from the humanities. both natural and social scientists. We begin with Kant. I am following the tradition initiated by Kant (Wein 1961) and then developed by Whitehead (1925). despite the radical differences of their respective philosophies. distinguished their own technical and professional route from the more general concerns of humanists. what is objective and what is subjective. and Gadamer (1976. when practitioners. and religion in the face of rapidly changing notions of the divine and its place in a secular.

And. perceiving this division. In 1840. The term “scientist” was coined by a British scientist and philosopher of science. Goethe. who wrote during the same period as Whewell. pp. referred to himself as a “natural philosopher. To do so. writing in the Introduction of his Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences.” which also points to analysis of a particular kind. In the same period. wisdom. What strikes me as noteworthy is not this definition. the word “science” has an ancient etymology.” originally meant “to separate one thing from another. sciens. “We need very much a name to describe a cultivator of science in general. The Latin scientia means “knowledge” as opposed to sapientia. a new lexicon was required to distinguish practitioners of one sort from the other. I should incline to call him a Scientist”(p. which included the search for laws in biology. Kant’s formulation provided a model by which science and religion might co-exist secure in their respective domains (discussed further below). and “practical” reason dealt with the moral realm (social or humanistic concerns). In addition. but the word “scientist” is distinctly modern. “scientist” was too easily associated with commercial overtones of technical applications and thus the 88/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . scientia is knowledge of. when both poets and physicists recognized a seeming chasm opening between them. Indeed.century. cxiii). sought a reunification of “science” and “poetry” in the realm of aesthetics (Tauber 1993). In short. The term “philosophical” was not explicitly defined. Charles Darwin. a dissatisfaction with teleological arguments. “knowing. but the late date of its birth. the word “science” is ancient. In other words. but generally stood for an approach to the study of the natural world (Rehbock 1983). a certain speculative or intuitive attitude in method (especially rampant amongst the Naturphilosophen) and idealist approach (ibid. “Pure” reason referred to the cognitive functions that humans apply to the natural world. the world. 3-11). This strategy proved futile. as opposed to the more self-reflexive domain of wisdom. William Whewell (1794-1866). Whewell commented. Kant conceptualized the split by dividing human cognition into what he called ‘pure’ and “practical” reason. to distinguish. After all. or cognition about.” Darwin was very careful with his language and as a gentleman he had good reason to prefer the older designation. Certainly this etymology closely adheres to what we broadly understand to be what science seeks.

the educated classes were comfortably conversant with the latest scientific findings. did a scientist emerge as someone different from a philosopher. and many pursued. but certainly natural history remained the province of a wide audience. physics and chemistry were employing new mathematics. Claude Bernard and other physiologists were reducing organic processes to physics and chemistry. focused attention to the rapid growth of technical knowledge became a pre-requirement for active participation. as well as the mathematics supporting them. Methodological separation Advances in scientific techniques and methods of study required specialization. In short. in contrast to the pristine search for knowledge. The field of “biology” was invented as its own discipline in the first decade of the 19th century and by the 1820s.designation carried a pejorative connotation of someone who was inclined to look for the economic benefits of discoveries. 2. and this demanded specialized training. both in terms of material investigations. If one examines the Western intellectual world as late as the 1850s. I mention all of this to make a simple point: Until the mid-19th century. And I am not referring to its popular mode: I mean specifically that gentlemen would go to natural history meetings well into the 1850s and 1860s without any professional encumbrances to their full participation. The examination of the natural world was part of what philosophers did. In short. science was a category of philosophy. The techniques developed in the 19th century reflected a growing sophistication. Chemistry and physics began to separate a bit earlier. Not until the end of the 19th century could the term scientist assume its current neutrality. primarily statistical in nature. until about 150 years ago. Only as the methods of scientific inquiry became increasingly technical and a new professionalism took hold in its various disciplines. science was divided into various natural and social sciences. which by the 1870s created statistical mechanics and all that it spawned. most scientists and most philosophers shared the same intellectual bed. what we would call amateur science (Tauber 2001). Eventually this professional narrowing led to academic and professional segregation. By the 1870s. Concurrently. each of Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 89 .

spiritual. Indeed. while science underlies such engineering. the intellectual discipline of each domain drifted apart. these methodological differences are rooted in a deeper philosophical divergence. It is the difference between second order and first order pursuits. on the other. the two are distinct. The fruits of that labor resulted in new industries derived from scientific findings and their successful application to material culture.which assumed a high degree of technical competence and cognitive training (Smith 1997). writ large. Philosophical divide During the Enlightenment. technology is the application of knowledge for material innovation. the great Scottish skeptic. military. I mention it here to emphasize that science has been too often associated with its product as opposed to its deeper commitments to philosophical inquiry. The hermeneutical methods used in the humanities. But the interpretations applied to human creativity are not suitable for the study of nature under the present scientific paradigm. the investment has been true to its promise. on one hand. Distinctions between opinion and knowledge. while science is based in another domain: Science seeks to discover the character of nature and is thus part of natural philosophy. and much else. More importantly. albeit of a special kind. and social power. have their own standing. Those who would separate science and the humanities would do so primarily on this difference. by the mid-18th century had reached a critical crisis. Indeed. Since the Renaissance. and few could dispute that the triumphs of technology are inseparably linked to the success of the underlying science. and those who commented on the social. always a central concern of philosophy in one form or another. On this view. and psychological domains. science has been sold as a package deal: Invest in scientific inquiry and the discoveries will be converted into economic. those who pondered the nature of knowledge were struck by a growing separation of investigative methods employed by those who studied the natural world. But with the close identification of science and technology this distinction is often blurred. The object of investigation determines different approaches and different truth criteria. David Hume. Technology builds on scientific insight. 3. drew these distinctions with 90/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . But I wish to note that technology is not science.

and in fact. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 91 . In other words. was. Such knowledge is derived from appearances — the cognitive product or the phenomenon that we perceive. the thing-in-itself we cannot know. On what basis could. Thus one kind of knowledge was differentiated from the other. 117 [Bxxx]). unknowable. but the means by which humans might know such metaphysical claims was not discernable by the same means humans knew the natural world. with social or humanistic concerns. best exemplified by scientific inquiry. In contrast. 1998. the role of emotions. p. the moral-spiritual-personal. or at least the ability to know that world objectively. for example. The noumenon. He called these. Kant thought that humans possess one faculty for knowing the material world. knowledge of the natural world or the moral universe be conceived as legitimate and well-grounded? Kant began by offering a schema of the mind that made the natural world intelligible. p. The place of reason. in terms of the first form of understanding. by which Kant meant the possibility of going beyond the science of appearances to address moral pursuits. 375 [B333]). Faith refers to metaphysics. and the ability to understand human psychology each required a model of the mind that would account for their respective claims to these particular forms of knowledge. People might believe in the freedom of the will. and thus our ontology is of a “second-order. “practical” reason dealt with the moral realm. that is.” Kant was satisfied: “What the things may be in themselves I do not know. the conviction of things not seen” (Epistle to the Hebrews 11:1) (See Appendix). and thus susceptible to scientific investigation. respectively. He presented Kant with the challenge of refuting a skepticism that placed in doubt the reality of the natural world. the argument followed a strong Christian tradition: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. and also do not need to know…. the immortality of the soul. “pure” and “practical” reason.” (Kant 1787. As Kant acknowledged: “Thus I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith (ibid. the intuitions of the spiritual domain. “Pure” reason referred to the cognitive functions that humans apply to the natural world. and God. and he held that a second universe.particular sharpness. He conceptualized that to know the natural world and the moral domain required two different kinds of human cognition.

Systems of justice. only an interpretative stance makes any sense when assessing a work of art or determining the emotional meaning of behavior. Analytically.g. indeed. From this perspective. a way to save Belief. they frame the basic issues regarding the place of science in our pluralistic society. The line separating objectivity from subjectivity is highly dynamic. The general point. from a philosophical point of view. it is disingenuous to insist that science has no metaphysics: As a branch of philosophy it has first 92/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Specifically. but also with its limitations. Friedman 1992). as opposed to analyze. a new metaphysics also emerged. cultural practices. historically contingent. Kant’s warnings not to trespass into a realm best left to others were naïve. this is a key component of science’s epistemological mission..” In short. but rather rest on different kinds of assessment and interpretation. and continuously contested. is simply that when science is viewed circumspectly it becomes only one of several modes of inquiry. on what basis might a scientific attitude allow for the spiritual? These questions will not rest and. Despite the obvious importance of making these distinctions. and the one to which I will return. employ a legitimate countervailing method of knowing. Brittan 1978. but as modern science developed its distinctive epistemology. But what he in fact did (for those so inclined) was to legitimatize one way of knowing as “real” and the other as “less real. albeit with its particular strengths. from Kant’s perspective. science could claim a special legitimacy.The consequence of this division was. we can separate the epistemological and metaphysical concerns of a philosophy of nature. and the meaning of behaviors cannot be reduced to strict objective inquiry (the standards simply do not exist). the history of science is marked by the controversy of defining those margins. the hermeneutical disciplines. And when religious knowledge makes its claims. albeit the Kantian transcendental claims were immediately attacked (Beiser 1987) and the philosophical basis of Kant’s theory of science led to unresolved debate (e. where does scientific inquiry end and other modes of knowing take over? For instance. Any commitment to this configuration of reason required that some balance be sought between what Kant called the reason of the empirical domain and the reason of the moral. Indeed. those that interpret. Indeed.

Given that the metaphysical questions remained. Yet. A second dimension of science’s metaphysics concerns the abiding questions that direct its inquiry. Into our own era. Discontent with a scientific worldview that had relinquished divine guidance. and so on. 3) laws will emerge from this inquiry and they remain inviolable.principles. and the power of its predictability points to a new mastery of nature shared by all. Within its ontological domain. 2) we might discern this order by detached empirical observation. science embraced the basic questions ancient philosophers had inherited from even more ancient myth and religion: What is the world? How is it organized? Where does Man fit into that universe? What is distinctly human? Science presented cogent answers in its distinctive voice in terms decidedly non-metaphysical. I call this aspect of science’s metaphysics its “logical” structure and it includes such precepts as 1) the world is ordered. while the terms of engagement had been radically altered and the ontological voice muted. the technical product of this methodological logic. 4) why nature corresponds to our human mathematical and objective descriptions is mysterious. when the integration of empirical study did not clearly coincide with the rational constructions of their dogmas. Science the right interpretation” (1840. “Man is the interpreter of Nature. insularity). Whewell could assert with arrogant confidence. pre-suppositions. In the United States this independence of religion led stalwart promoters of secularism (like the Robert Ingersoll and Cornell’s founding president. Andrew Dickson White [Feldman 2005]) to denounce religion as an offense against science. it is not surprising that the results science offered were construed as alternatives to traditional religious beliefs. but the empirical product of that method has been highly successful and thus approximates a depiction of the real as truth. xvii). by the midnineteenth century. neutral rational description and objective analysis. Indeed. Indeed. the original metaphysical inquiry remained embedded (but hardly dormant) in the scientific enterprise. which dwell in the deep reaches of its conceptual structure. 1838) soon became commonplace sentiments: 93 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . competing metaphysical positions have provoked conservative theologians to accommodate themselves to science’s claims. left fundamentalists resenting the scientist’s independence (or better. Darwin’s prescient early journal musings (July 1.

one could argue that these values captured much of philosophy’s pride and business. Accordingly. which spans the classics to modern science. These underlying values tie together the central concerns of the humanities and science into a powerful alliance. or what I am calling. tolerance.” (1987. science found itself caught in the cross fire of an ideological war that has been waged for over five centuries. Humanists were originally concerned with a general education. while the religionists peered through another. In fact. and a self-critical attitude. Although we are usually struck by how science followed a naturalistic philosophy. science became a powerful instrument of secularization. inasmuch as the secularists regarded investigative findings with one set of lenses. Today the humanities are the direct heir of the original humanistic disciplines. In short. for no less than The Truth was at stake.” (like the word “scientist”) was coined in the 19th century to apply to the rediscovery of the classical tradition in the medieval period. the scientific worldview could make its claims based on a long history of coupling its particular concerns to this much larger agenda. 539). Binding the Sciences to the Humanities The project of protecting liberal education requires the alignment of science with its humanistic origins. science’s deeper philosophical project. But recall that science also originated as a contributing member of the humanistic faculty. since neutrality was never a viable option.—He who understands baboon <will> would do more toward metaphysics than Locke. a strictly neutral science would posture itself towards neither camp. revision and correction of opinion. “Humanism.) The answers science provided were hardly neutral.“Origin of man now proved. even its empiricism is based on a rationality that had 94/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and on this broad view. the borders were violated by both parties as they sought to bolster their own programs. And no wonder. Theoretically. but given its historical and cultural affinity with the humanist tradition. p. open communication. (Cosslett [1984] offers a rich compendium of the 19th century debate. But humanists accorded particular importance to the liberal agenda: freedom of thought. science is part of a larger historical development of humanistic thought. Moreover. 84e. and science seems far distant from those origins.—Metaphysic must flourish.

Revelation has been displaced by a critical stance oriented by new standards of what is factual and what is not. the standards of discourse are human-derived (as opposed to divinely inspired). is essentially meaningless. is a human-centered focus of inquiry –– “human-centered” in two senses: First. although science and humanities pursue different objects of inquiry.deep roots in philosophy. they support each other in common purpose and the same philosophical self-critical attitude. a picture of reality that offers insight. a fact. 1996. the place of objective knowledge as opposed to subjective opinion is tested and contested. Commentators from Goethe (Tauber 1993) to Whewell (1840) to Michael Polanyi (1958. tested against the investigations of nature. What is the significance of a scientific fact or larger theory unless it may be applied to human understanding? “Understanding” entails many layers of interpretation. like the humanities. In short. Through ruthless self-criticism. and thereby an orientation. and here the linkage to the humanistic 95 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . What is knowledge and what is opinion? What is objective and what is subjective? The second component refers to knowledge directed at developing human industry. indeed instantiated. the natural world. Science is sustained. These are the deepest values of science and the underlying philosophy guiding its methods and defining its aims. Nature devoid of human value and human caprices demanded stark answers to starkly posed questions. it is open to revision through free argument. the historical record reveals fallibility. and we are left with an essentialist core: Science. And beyond this kinship we find other aspects that link them. Subordinate the difference of science’s object of study. of Man in Nature. by a self-critical philosophy. 2001). and thus interpretation is required (Tauber 1993. And when opinion is held. “Industry” does not refer here to material culture. the frame of reference is always in doubt. 1962) have understood that raw knowledge. The study of nature is deeply committed to a personal comprehension of the world. 1997. Scientific findings alone are insufficient for determining significance. as well as differing methodologies (the empirical basis of scientific investigations). but rather the more general understanding of industry as the systematic labor to create value.

the military. because the boundaries of science cannot be circumscribed to the laboratory or technical discourse (Gieryn 1995). as did an entire generation following them. which affect our material culture. Certain conclusions beckon: First. and ultimately the sense of meaning and significance ascribed to the scientific portrait of the world. Science influences its supporting culture. and finds itself. medicine. Only an educated public can make appropriate use of the fruits of scientific labor. ultimately. the critique of science is essential to its flourishing. in its service. how much of human behavior is determined by the genetic dimension? Why should we preserve natural resources? When does a fetus become an individual? Can vaccines be developed to prevent AIDS? To what use should nuclear energy be applied? And on. Polanyi called this final step “personal knowledge” when he wrote about the same time as Thomas Kuhn about the limits of positivism. that scientific knowledge was ultimately humancentered in the sense discussed here. and virtually all aspects of our society. Closely linked to that application.disciplines becomes most evident. Both recognized. The findings seep into applications. a careful scrutiny is required to apply the conceptual lessons appropriately. science is part of a larger historical development of humanism. The “naturalization” of man. from the evolution of species to the biological character of the mental testifies to how successfully scientific explanations have been translated into potent theories of man and society. thus a close coordination between scientists and lay public is required to reap the greatest harvest from the investment made in research. With these critiques. Second. (For instance. 96/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Science gains its place at the table precisely because of its power to define a competing worldview. endlessly. the converse operation is also necessary. This interdisciplinary effort arises.) Notwithstanding the effective penetration of scientific theory into notions about the nature of our social and psychological existence. the values that govern its use. philosophy and history of science find their most pressing calling. the “package deal” of doing science and placing science within its intellectual and social contexts argues that science and its study as a human activity cannot be separated. On this broad view. namely a critical view of the truth claims made by scientists.

the human sciences. and in that critique. The sociologies of each group had radically diverged. philosophers as diverse as Heidegger and 97 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . interpret its development. Taking their lead from Goethe and Schiller. In turn. The mission of the humanistic disciplines to critique science. Third. have markedly altered how we conceive the world in which we live and our relation to it. As such it has proven to be a crucial means of discovering our world and characterizing our relationship to it. and beyond this professional separation. science is only one system of investigation within that larger arena of human study of nature. also requires an intimacy between the laboratory scientist and her humanist commentator. beyond the material fruits of scientific labor. man and society. have bestowed their own theories on human character and conduct. the humanists lamented the scarcity of meaningful dialogue between themselves and their scientific colleagues. After all. the ability to translate scientific discoveries and theories into wider conceptual and social contexts. scientists were not interested in their own histories. One might even say that self-critical scientists are themselves engaged in the philosophical project of ‘natural philosophy’ by carefully examining their methods and truth claims. much less the philosophy undergirding their discipline (Kuhn 1962). that there is a worldview at all! The theories and methods that have demonstrated the worlds of molecular biology. as science assumed its new independent standing. where their significance might be more fully appreciated. And more. it is subject to criticism. or. Thus cross-fertilization had become increasingly barren. After all. the respective mode of discourse seemed foreign to the other. quantum mechanics. This essentially philosophical self-criticism is probably the most fundamental shared characteristic of science and philosophy as generally construed. as Thomas Kuhn noted 40 years ago. the most profound effect is science’s worldview. the disciplines of history and philosophy of science matured. tectonic plates. for better and for worse. But like any mode of philosophical study. and so on. scientific method itself is scrutinized and thereby improved. Further. They filled a gapping hole. as Heidegger (1977) noted. and assist efforts made from within the scientific establishment in its own self-critical evaluations seem to warrant historians and philosophers the status of bona fide adjuncts in science faculties.Perhaps not surprisingly.

Secularism is the object of dissension. This fundamental kinship remains. this position is unacceptable. Whether the divine exists or not is simply not at issue. was guilty by association in the eyes of the true 98/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . that part of philosophy which focused on nature. But the intellectual drive is the same. existence is mysterious enough to make room for both knowledge and belief. a liberalism which advocates tolerance for each point of view. Basically. An Unholy Alliance Until fairly recently. natural. for science has no means to explore that dimension. and the technical virtuosity of the modern scientist. but protecting free inquiry and open interpretation remains a challenge that can only be successfully accomplished by the strong alliance of those committed to the larger liberal agenda. Because the secularists were better able to employ science for their own ends. science’s worldview is not necessarily incompatible with a divine presence. and thus has provided views of a reality replete with novel challenges for defining meaning and significance to human existence.Whitehead. For those who wish to impose their own theological teleology on human knowledge. investigating the natural world was of one piece with the rest of philosophy. and therein is the rub. 1993: 121): “How are we to restore the unity of human nature…” in a disenchanted world? Viewed from the secular perspective. Weber and Foucault. Of course. What have changed are the sociologies of science and the humanities. science is agnostic about religious claims. At the foundations that set their respective agendas. to both secularists and religionists. Further. and supernatural. Natural philosophy. or to listen to Him. The crisis created by the ascendancy of a scientific material universe was aptly summarized by Schiller (1801. scientists and humanists share the same set of basic values to govern their pursuits and their respective logics: a telos of inquiry that has no telos — the inquiry is done for itself. liberalism rests on the altar for sacrifice. science. But science’s neutrality is intolerable. It makes no attempt to address God. And beneath that religious conflict. have repeatedly shown how science has effectively competed with earlier metaphysical systems. was easily integrated with the other concerns. science joined other cultural forces to offer alternative definitions of human identity and Man’s relationship to the larger universe — cultural.

Objectivity thus attains a new standing as communal witnessing has effectively replaced private inspiration and insight. thereby rationalizing a redistribution of power and authority from monarchial and ecclesiastical centers to liberal institutions. the rise of free agency. superstition. strong arguments have been made as to how post-Reformation Protestantism also contributed to rise of modern scientific epistemology [Harrison 1998]. and as God’s place in the universe shifted. The power of science’s discourse rests in its powerful epistemology. it has little choice but to move with the secularists. so did Man’s. Here we see the convergence of other cultural forces that combined in the rise of secularism: the re-alignment of authority. The empiricist measures his findings against a natural object that “speaks” back to him in a public voice. 2) this naturalized world view placed divine intervention increasingly peripheral to human understanding. Scientific knowledge thus displaced opinion in every realm of knowledge. In short. the more judicious adopted an agnostic metaphysical orientation: Following Kant. who make no theological demands on its truth claims. the claims for individuality. the autonomy of the individual. but only one consistent with the best scientific interpretations.believers. various forms of knowledge must be differentiated 99 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . (And of course. indeed.6 Instead of aligning science to the secularist project. Science partook in this social revolution in at least three ways: 1) the technology based on scientific discoveries revolutionized the material culture. revealing mysterious forces and events as natural and thereby open to human understanding. human nature also became increasingly naturalized at the expense of an older religious metaphysics. These developments placed God under a new lens of inquiry. And. and other intimacies of the heart with a different logic and a different understanding of the world. Secularization signals God’s retreat from the everyday world of common experience and activities. if science must choose. and 3) the logic and standards of knowledge as applied to the natural world were extended to the social and psychological domains of human experience. And in this context.) Scientists embraced these new cultural values and enthusiastically declared that a more rigorous objectivity had replaced folk psychology. and also refers to a major realignment of social hierarchies and the rationale for new political structures. science may allow a divine presence.

and thus would not offer. a basis for religious belief. but Man must govern himself by human-derived standards and modes of knowledge that in our era reflect a certain kind of rationality. God may come and go as He likes. if not in error (Popper 1963. he drove his interlocutors to face their complacent assumptions and lazy beliefs. and what we feel. 100/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Fallibilism is the lynch pin of the entire enterprise. or opine is a set of different kinds of assertions. indeed. pp. the debate would have been quelled. Science erected a neutral picture that tilts one way with God. What we can know is one set of experiences. He thus left a domain for belief that would originate in different human faculties of thought and emotion. Following Kant. Kant thus alerted the natural philosopher not to probe into areas that scientific method had no ready access. But which way the cosmos tilts is dependent on individual choice. one way or the other. By endless interrogation. He thus established the basic demand of philosophical inquiry. we call such knowledge ‘objective’ and we attain it by a form of reason fashioned by certain epistemological criteria.from beliefs. for the body of knowledge is assumed to be incomplete. Kant’s suggestion has had only mixed success. Kant’s formulation provided a model by which science and religion might co-exist secure in their respective domains. but all understood that much more was at stake than material gain. but revelation is not one of them. knowledge is what we agree is universally accessible. 228ff. If science was regarded simply as a tool for technological advancement. These may change. He profoundly understood that science would not ask for. because the growing hegemony of a non-revealed worldview continues to be intolerable to those who steadfastly champion their particular religious beliefs. To know the difference and to keep them separate is the foundation of a liberal society. intuit.). Belief falls into the domain of personal choice. That pluralistic option threatened those who could not claim the same kinds of certainty science exhibited employing a different kind of rationality and a different basis for objective judgment. Socrates specifically opposed reasoning directed to confirming revelation and opinion. Unfortunately. they do. and another without Him.

… [this] is implicit in the very idea of a shaping of the intellect. Criticism necessarily presupposes doubt. By segregating religious insight from knowledge. requires fashioning an argument. Doubt and skepticism remain the cardinal virtues of scientific theory as well as underlying its various modes of proof. In the face of suspected imperfection the first step toward improvement will always be critical. but the key difference is the object of inquiry: The theologian probes the human heart and soul. by leaving different kinds of rationality to explore distinctive domains. Derived from this self-critical foundation. it takes itself to be governed. thus “saving” belief from the tyranny of science’s power. This understanding of rationality might be equally applied to religious argument and scientific dispute. The difference is telling: The values by which science defines nature have evolved during the modern period to attain a powerful means to separate human prejudice and belief from an objective account. a means to expose and solve problems.’ (Fisch 2006) Rationality on this view becomes a category of action. and how inquiry might gauge its success or failure is determined by a larger set of goals. by contrast. Kant established this crucial distinction by disallowing “pure reason” to impose its own categories upon the metaphysical universe. Hence the term ‘constructive skepticism. To doubt is to suspect something might be amiss. And success is assessed by rationality oriented by criticism: Entertaining a doubt adds up to little more than applying a question mark. and thus rationality assumes an instrumental quality. the scientist explores the natural world. 101 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . to criticize is to argue that it is.[A]ny thinking … is under a standing obligation to reflect about and criticize the standards by which. but is also a necessary prerequisite for positive action. science developed values that seek to legitimate interpretation by parsimony. coherence. at any time. 81) The perfectionism of endless critique provides the scientist with the basic value of inquiry. (McDowell 1994. critical discourse requires rich background knowledge and a developed logic of problem-seeking and solving. a value which binds science to its philosophical antecedents. serious criticism. and predictive capacities. Skeptical discourse requires a supply of interrogatives. he made room for belief. or raising one’s eyebrows. This lesson is a key precept of the liberal agenda.

I peer at the New York Times daily and conclude that it is hardly clear that the liberal program is thriving. one that instantiates our highest ideals of unfettered inquiry.” a family that has shared goals and characteristics. It is time for humanists of all stripes to train their collective sights on the real enemy. I have become preoccupied with thinking about the fate of democracy since 9/11. about stem cell research and creationism. has been redefined by standards inimical to scientific ideals. has provided us with those standards. Will the Enlightenment — with its commitment to the autonomy of reason — someday in the not too distant future be viewed as an anomalous event in world history? Can the values of tolerance. Science. Conclusion So in the end. Whether their protection of liberalism. with the fall of the 102/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . about terrorism and torture.Again we see the deep affinity of science and the humanities: Both must promote pluralism to protect free inquiry and critical analysis freed of doctrine. Like most Americans. Let us begin with the latter. where reason. in certain quarters. That amnesia has dire consequences given the new challenges of a postmodern era. how should we regard the religionists’ project? Two attitudes beckon. self-scrutiny and pluralism hold the ground against religious fundamentalism? In 1989. intellectual freedom and pluralism will be steadfast and successful represents the crucial test in these days so painfully marked by the fundamentalist assaults of the Taliban and Cardinal Schönborn. science and the humanistic disciplines are rivals and at the same time locked into the same “family. Sharing a common ancestry. about our military exploits and conservative domestic politics. I believe that in order to understand the current attacks on science. which is largely political. more than other intellectual activities. From deeply blue Boston. science seemed to forget its humanistic origins. political in the broadest sense of the term. or whether it can sustain assaults on its central role in democratic societies. But with the vast social and intellectual forces that bestowed a unique mode of inquiry (and the rewards of technological success). the other which is not. we best understand the character of scientific inquiry within its larger context and defend it on the basis of its crucial role as a liberal institution. one which is conciliatory.

I end by emphasizing that human reason apparently has a basic property. That challenge is to find a way of cohering a world that has no obvious coherence. And on a more conciliatory note. one demonstrated by myriad psychological and cognitive studies: Coherence of experience. but I can only share my own perspective that religious fundamentalism continues to haunt the liberal tradition. the questions remained. I have enjoyed stimulating discussions with colleagues in the Baylor University Department of Philosophy. but the answers became increasingly circumscribed. Indeed. cognitive scientists have demonstrated the ability to screen out or forget data or experience conflicting with more dominant experience. In that evolution. This project helped to crystallize ideas that had been in suspension for some 103 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . and we thereby acknowledge that the drive for coherence requires a different kind of understanding. and especially the warm hospitality extended by Jim Marcum. one which acknowledges science’s own domain. Accepting its limits. where pluralism protects free inquiry and critical analysis freed of doctrine. but the character of reason in a liberal society. May we engage each as best we can. coherence of belief. Perhaps the view from Waco is more optimistic. At stake is not only the standing of science in the American educational system. many worlds comprise reality. at least not directly. so that now science admits it cannot address the original query. we do well to recognize that the metaphysical wonder that lies at the heart of the scientific query originates with the very same religious questions that evolved into philosophical ones. for the invitation to deliver this lecture and to participate in the other activities related to it. Acknowledgements I am most appreciative of the Reynolds Lectureship Committee. chaired by Professor Robert Baird. and then into the domain of science. and metaphysicians jealously guard their presuppositions to hold their world together. coherence of understanding seems to be a basic property of the human mind. I doubt that many would have predicted the world in which we now live — a world full of ironies. Freud discovered numerous defense mechanisms to hold the psyche together. But as we gaze at the deep chasm of a materialistic universe.Berlin Wall. science resides within its own metaphysical strictures.

time, and the paper is part of a continuing dialogue with Menachem Fisch, whose work has inspired me to again re-visit the question of the relationship between science and religion in the context of debates about rationality and objectivity. Despite the differences we hold, I am much indebted to his delineation of these issues, and in dedicating this paper to him, I offer my sincere thanks for his constructive criticisms. Notes
1. The debate about the evolution of biological complexity has a long history (Ruse 1996), and a rich literature has recently developed on this question (Pennock 2001; Ruse 2003; Dembski and Ruse 2004; for a concise review, see Nakhnikian 2004) In the spate of letters following Schönborn‘s editorial (NY Times July 11, 2005), Robert Cone succinctly noted that “natural selection may be unplanned, but it is not unguided. It is guided by need, whether for shelter, reproduction, food, safety, or other vital necessity.” Indeed, in the course of random mutations, more complex options are offered and these may be chosen to accommodate the stresses of changing environments and competition among other species. On this view, biological diversity, initiating sometimes more complex, and at other times, more simple “solutions,” have appeared. According to neo-Darwinism, “design” is an unnecessary element in explaining evolution. Complex structures evolve, according to this view, by a step-wise process, where structure A is used for one function and may then be used as the basis for the evolution to structure B that addresses a different function, and so on. In short, a complex biological structure cannot appear de novo, but rather develops by myriad intermediate stages to appear as a complex entity. 2. Science’s instrumentality has at least two dimensions: The first refers to how research is applied (perhaps, employed) to devise technologies. These might be put to constructive use (the usual case) or instead, employed as a tool for purposes quite at odds with the original intent of seeking knowledge for our social good. This instrumental quality of science (its technological power) holds one of its ironies: Instead of maintaining its original philosophical credentials, science, more precisely its technological progeny, too often has become so divorced from those earlier concerns that the basic research has become a tool that may be applied independently of the primary intent of the investigation. Co-opted by those whose own agenda has nothing

104/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

to do with promoting the Western values that spawned science in the first place, we have painfully learned how powerful technologies may be used as an instrument of power for socio-political ends at odds with our own. A second sense of instrumentality refers to science’s intellectual activity, a mode of discovery and knowing, where the findings are used like a currency to buy different goods. The goods are findings or ideas, which are then placed into a conceptual context. The competing context may be differing scientific theories, but in this discussion, I am interested in religious contexts. Where the physicist will admit that knowledge reaches a limit, the true believer will push the universe’s origins back into the divine act. The question at hand thus may be simply defined: Where does knowledge end and belief begin? That border has again become an active battlefield, for no less than the authority of knowledge is at stake. Simply, science without its supporting liberal, self-critical foundations becomes instrumental, solely a tool for technology, or, as a tool for ideologies, competing with liberalism. 3. The creationists pose a somewhat different kind of argument, not one that acquiesces to the scientific findings, but rather a dispute over the facts themselves. They have stubbornly opposed contemporary Darwinism by insisting that creationism is a bona fide theory of life and that the findings documented by evolutionists assume a different meaning in creationist theory. Students of this controversy have concluded, and I think fairly, that the argument cannot be won by evidence (Sober 1993). The Darwinists point to myriad molecular, paleontologic, and organismic data to show blind evolution at work in the field and laboratory, as well as in the geological record. The creationists argue that God placed the history there by reason of His own wisdom; that evolution is directed and thus bestowed by God; that he created the world, or perhaps He continues to guide evolution, for His own purposes. Given the fundamentally different underlying presuppositions of each point of view, there is no meaningful debate. 4. Interpretation follows from a complex array of underlying suppositions and a tradition of supporting interpretations. For instance, in the 19th century those seeking a materialistic explanation of life to discredit vitalism measured heat production of contracting muscles to account for the energy exchange of muscle metabolism. Hermann Helmholtz, and others, could fully account for the biochemistry of this process to argue effectively against vitalist forces. That episode was in a long train of laboratory findings that followed a reductionist strategy to establish a materialistic

Alhikmah / Winter 2008 /


science of life. It was part of a revolutionary philosophical program (Galaty 1974; Moulines 1981). Darwin’s theory of evolution and Pasteur’s microbiological demonstrations against spontaneous generation were battles fought in the same war. Needless to say, the vitalists held to a radically different philosophy of the organic, so their interpretations wildly differed. They simply argued that Helmholtz’s experiments were still too insensitive to detect the vitalistic element. Indeed, vitalism, even in respectable scientific circles, would not fully expire until the turn of the century, and again, its demise was supported by a large intellectual project of support that brought not only biophysical findings to bear, but invoked a cultural environment accepting a non-vitalist interpretation. In our own era, science for the creationist, or for that matter anyone holding to a conflicting metaphysics, may use research findings as an instrument for support of their own agenda. (See footnote No. 2) 5. How science might require a philosophical self-consciousness is an old theme, and, at least for me, builds from Alfred North Whitehead’s own commentary about the need for scientists to become more self-aware of their philosophical debts: “If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc hypotheses, it must become more philosophical and must enter upon a thorough criticism of its own foundations” (1925, p. 24). I am not pursuing that agenda here except in the broadest sense, namely to remonstrate the place of science in the liberal university. Thus this essay might better be regarded as a contribution to the wider discipline of science studies. 6. The enthusiasts even argued that scientific methods were applicable to all domains of human need. As discussed, this caused controversy within the academy, because scientism not only became a method of investigating the natural world, it was regarded by some as representing the way we best construct a worldview from one end of human experience to another (Wilson 1998). Appendix: Kant and the Unity of Reason From our perspective, Kant occupies a unique position, poised between the Enlightenment’s ideal of exercising pristine rationality and the Romantic confusion of a collapsed conviction in that project. As opposed to a romantic integration of man and nature, or at least the assumption of a harmony of structure between reason and nature, Kant perceives a tension. Although reason maintains its hegemony, albeit somewhat restricted to certain questions, its grounding has vanished. If the noumenal reality can only be refracted by reason’s own laws, if the real is a synthesis of mind and nature, if the very self which knows the world is itself a noumenon and thus

106/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008

(Kant 1787. namely. p. reason’s ends are practical. are derived from the regulative principle Kant introduces to Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 107 .6). which is comprised by the search for its own grounding.). where the demands of each are met: Reason. but like an appointed judge who compels witnesses to answer questions he puts to them. i. So both in its impossible search for the Unconditioned and its enclosure within the laws of its function. citing Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Those standards. but only in reason’s own terms. reason structures reality according to a human perspective. Kant meticulously derived reason’s “laws.. 1998.” which include the unrequited search for the Unconditioned (the ground of the world from a unified. but rather with ideas. or hope. must approach nature with its principles in one hand. what could reason’s own foundations be? Kant’s answer: “Reason operates according to laws that it gives to itself” (Neiman 1994. by seeking “its own reflection in nature” (ibid. #370).e. not speculative. p. p. altogether. p. single substance [ibid. For Kant. and since the rational is not centrally concerned with cognition per se. in the other hand. p. reason becomes “the capacity to act according to purposes” (ibid. And key to this formulation is the regulative principle of reason. p. the principles of reason are the standard by which it is judged” (Neiman 1994. reason constructs a world delimited by its resources and faculties.. and. 86]). where reason must judge the world and itself in interplay. its pursuit of the Unconditioned. who has recited to him whatever the teacher wants to say. the experiments thought out in accordance with these principles — yet in order to be instructed by nature not like a pupil. underlies every scientific investigation. The schema calls for the Understanding to gather all that which constitutes knowledge. so we might better understand the relationship of theoretical and practical reason as unified by another agenda. in order to be taught by nature. Science demands a subtle dialectic. according to which alone the agreement among appearances can count as laws. Simply. not as the world really is in any final sense. 109 [B xiv]) Thus the “concepts of the understanding give order to experience. This idea.91). nothing less than the pursuit of an all-encompassing ontology. This Kantian presentation of how “metaphysical wonder” drives human inquiry is formulated as a “regulative” (as opposed to constitutive) teleology. 5). and Reason then applies its quest for ends (both metaphysical and moral) “to question experience and so to form constructions more interesting than simple aggregates of assertions about the data of experience” (Neiman 1994. and these laws are distinctly human.observed as any other natural object. Further. 88. as already mentioned.

according to Kant. to which it fits the empirical conditions and according to which it even declares actions to be necessary that yet have not occurred and perhaps will not occur…(A548/B576. which determines the temporal sequence according to rules. Indeed. cannot be applied to it. which. (A553/B581. Reason must be free of experience to accomplish its responsibilities. religion. science becomes an expression of this human freedom.e. without the ordering reason provides. but with complete spontaneity it makes its own order according to ideas. Unlike certain human behaviors that have an obvious empirical content and thus deterministic causality. p. by employing principles of 108/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . 543). 1787. Seeing theoretical reason functioning analogously to practical reason. ibid. permits reason to function independently of nature and thereby engage in a science of discovery and understanding. that is by being able to develop ideas about experience autonomously. ibid. p. Thus reason’s freedom is not solely a moral characteristic. p. Indeed. and thus the dynamical law of nature. 541) He goes on to maintain that “the ideas of reason have actually proved their causality in regard to the actions of human beings” (A550/B578. morality. remains unprocessed and unstructured. of reason. reason does not give in to those grounds which are empirically given. p. which when extended to the study of nature. For since reason itself is not an appearance and is not subject at all to any conditions of sensibility [i. naturalistic]. he regards reason possessing a freedom from natural causality that distinguishes it from the world that it examines. recorded but unexplained. genuine scientific thinking is a product of reason. and more radically. no temporal sequence takes place in it even as to its causality. In short. As Kant wrote in the first Critique. more specifically reason’s freedom to develop ideas based on experience. and on this view.7).. Thus Kant’s description of reason would allow for rational self-determination in both the domain of theoretical pure reason and the ethical deliberations of practical reason. one cannot say that before the state in which it determines the power of the search to constitute experience. and philosophy itself” (ibid. which allows it to be free and autonomous. reason is outside the natural domain. but constitutes its basic feature. 542). another state proceeds in which this state itself is determined. “regulative principles of reason shape our actions in science. 1998. and it does not follow the order of things as they are presented in the intuition.

How Kant regarded reason as unified has been deliberated in three basic formulations: 1. G. G. 3.” or constitute what is in essence a single activity of the subject. neither this interpretation. and at the very least. F. the “unity of reason” problem. and by adopting its own motives and purposes for its own actions. that is. does not first appear with Kant’s schema. reason is unified. (1987) The Fate of Reason.. both can be derived as components of a unitary and complete system of philosophy. Beiser. (1940 ) An Essay on Metaphysics. C. but grows from modernity’s conundrum of determining how humans can be both part of the natural world of cause and effect. Jr. but needless to say. 2. the autonomy of both theoretical and practical reason serves as the bedrock of Kant’s entire philosophy. 3. a capacity to surpass the confines of experience [that] allows theory to be extended to the realm of the unobservable. (Neuhouser 1990. R. insofar as the principles of one do not conflict with those of the other. (1978) Kant’s Theory of Science. The challenge of how reason might be regarded as unified. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 109 . References 1.organization of its own. others did not. nor the argument for others has resolved the issue. they are compatible with each other. 2. 71) and thus construct solutions whether posed naturalistically or morally. Collingwood. Reason possesses a general property. p. Oxford: Clarendon Press. they possess an identical underlying “structure. Brittan. how theoretical and practical reason functioned in different domains remained a beguiling question. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.” (Neiman 1994. This fundamental characteristic seems best to address the unity of reason question. G. Princeton: Princeton University Press. and at the same time exercise free will and thus assume moral responsibility. Suffice it to note that while Kant regarded reason as fundamentally unified. a system that provides for freedom in both the apprehension of the natural world and the discernment of moral action in the social world. p. 12) As presented here. which has as its starting point a single first principle.

pp. (2005) Divided by God. 15.virginia. Gadamer. Lawrence. G. From Darwin to DNA.). Feldman. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 7. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1998) Critique of Pure Reason. 16. By F. 110/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . D. 6. M. P. (2004) Debating Design. Kuhn. 17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Markle. I. (1974) “The Philosophical Basis for Mid-19th Century German Reductionism” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 29:295-316. (1998) The Bible. Darwin. Lovitt. Guyer and A. and Ruse. Gieryn. M. F. C. Wood. (1987) Darwin’s Notebooks. Idem. Protestantism. (1995) “Boundaries of Science” in S. Schmidt. Harrison. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Husserl. New York: Harper and Row. (1992) Kant and the Exact Sciences. E. D. (1784. T. America’s Church-State Problem — and What We Should Do About It. M. W. 14. M. CA: Sage Publications.) Evanston: Northwestern University Press. J. (1787. A. G. 1981) Reason in the Age of Science. trans. New York: Farrar. W. http://etext. Straus. Galaty. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Petersen. 1836-1844.H. 11. 58-64. (1984) Science and Religion in the Nineteenth Century. T. T.) Ithaca: Cornel University Press. 115-136. Thousand Oaks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Friedman. pp. Jasanoff. 10.html 9. trans.4. 393-443. 8. Kant. Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. 12. P. P. C. H-G. (1977) “The Age of the World Picture” in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. 18. Fisch. W. N. Cosslett. E. 5. Marcum. Barrett et al (eds. Dembski. pp. Carr (trans. and Giroux. (1932. What is Enlightenment? Berkeley: University of California Press. and the Rise of Natural Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 13. and T. 1996) “What is Enlightenment?” in J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1976. (2003) “Exploring the Rational Boundaries between the Natural Sciences and Christian Theology” Theology and Science 1:203-20. 1970) The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Pinch (eds. Heidegger. H. (2006) “Rational Rabbis: Its Project and Argument” Journal of Textual Reasoning.

and Scientific Perspectives. Pennock. 30. New York. Dahlstrom. P. (1981) “Hermann von Helmholtz: A Physiological Theory of Knowledge” in H. Ruse. Wilkinson and L. (1990) Fichte’s Theory of Subjectivity. (1958. pp. Popper.). O.T. (1983) The Philosophical Naturalists: Themes in Early 19th Century British Biology. M. McDowell. 29. 21. (2001) Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics: Philosophical. Dordrecht: D. 28. (1996) Monad to Man: The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology. New York: Oxford University Press. F. Nieman. C. G. Polanyi. Jahnke and M. (1994) The Unity of Reason. Corrected edition. (1801.Schiller. 31. Nakhnikian. (2005) “Finding Design in Nature” The New York Times. M. and Scientific Perspectives” Philosophy of Science 71:593-604. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Epistemological and Social Problems of the Sciences in the Early 19th Century. (2004) “It Ain’t Necessarily So: An Essay Review of Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics: Philosophical. 20. A. (2003) Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? Cambridge: Harvard University Press. U. July 7.Idem. 6573. 86-178. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1993) Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man. (1963) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. pp. 24. Willoughby in Essays. 19. 1962) Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-critical Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. W. Otte (eds. Rehbock. F. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Schönborn. J. (2005)”Metaphysical Foundations and Complementation of the Natural Sciences and Theology” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 17:45-64. Neuhouser. Idem. Theological. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. N. Re-reading Kant. edited by W. Theological. Hinderer and D. K. Moulines. translated by E. 2005. N. New York: Harper Torchbooks 27. M. 26. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. S. 23.Y: Continuum Publishing. F. R. 1997) Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind. Sellers. Reidel Publishing Co. (1994) Mind and World. 25. (1956.. Cambridge: The MIT Press. C. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 111 . 22.

32. 1-49 Idem. (1997) The Norton History of the Human Sciences.). (1925) Science and the Modern World. New York: Vintage Books 112/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . 33. Idem. I. Snow. London: J. CO: Westview Press 35. I. Norton. 289-312. Tauber (ed.Parker 38.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 36:244-257. (1959) The Two Cultures. pp. W. W. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. pp. H. 34. (1840) Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences. (1993) Philosophy of Biology. pp.) Science and the Quest for Reality. Leclerc (ed. Smith. (1993) “Goethe’s Philosophy of Science: Modern Resonances. Boulder. Tauber (ed. The Elusive Synthesis: Aesthetics and Science. Idem. C. Berkeley: University of California Press. Sober. W. (1998) Consilience.) The Relevance of Whitehead. P. London: Macmillan 39. New York: New York University Press. E. I. (2001) Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing. 289-315. Tauber. (1996) “From Descartes’ Dream to Husserl’s Nightmare” in A. (1961) “In Defense of the Humanism of Science: Kant and Whitehead” in I. A. (1997) “Introduction” in A. A. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Whitehead. E. O. New York: W. Whewell. 36. Wilson.. R. 37. Wein.

from al-Kindi. an effort to reconcile the dead who never ceased to differ when alive. We are all well aware of the extraordinary importance attached to religion in the Islamic civilization. and it follows that Islam has contributed nothing to the philosophical heritage of humanity. Member of the Department of Philosophy. al∗ Associated professor. we are told. Tarbiat Modares . In this identification the most illustrious Muslim sages. which arises for anyone looking at the history of Islamic philosophy. is about all the Islamic thinkers have left us. that is to say when they are not engaged in something considerably worse. and it is indeed difficult to find a response. Now the precise question is whether Shreds of Greek thought more or less clumsily patching up theology that. sometimes from Aristotle. E-Mail: Dr. an impossible synthesis of Plato and Aristotle. Never do we meet with a genuine impulse of thought which at one and the same time is thoroughly Islamic and really creative. and we know too that Islam.R. Sometimes they borrow from Plato.Akbarian@gmail. is: what is the relation between religion and philosophy? This has been a controversial question for a long time. Iran. and other Abrahamic religions each produced a certain body of doctrine in which philosophy went more or less happily hand-in-hand with religious dogma of doctrine rather vaguely known as scholastic philosophy. which is entirely satisfactory for such thinkers and systems of thought.The Relationship between Religion and Philosophy in the History of Reza Akbarian Islamic Thought ∗ The obvious question.

Sufis and transcendent theosophy. and a worldview. 114/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . which has been lived. which has been contemplated by generations of sages and seers over the centuries. and they demonstrate in their totality a very significant aspect of Islamic intellectuality. it has always been the sayings of Imam Ali and other Shi’ite Imams that have dominated over the centuries as the representatives par excellence of Islamic wisdom and of the esoteric and exoteric message of the Prophet. which relate knowing and being as well as knowing. although their schools are not the only ones to have existed in Islam. which satisfied the thought of our predecessors for so many centuries. These schools of philosophy functioned in a universe dominated by the Qur'anic revelation and the sayings of the prophet of Islam. and the sacred revelation. namely. where the Islamic graft was inserted into the Hellenic tradition will be examined. to Suhrawardi. Ibn Sina (or Avicenna). it is merely because a historian who deals with ideas is bound at least to make them intelligible to his readers. a more theoretical attitude is provisionally adopted. Illuminationists. hoping to be expressed the point of view of four important schools. attempts have been made to repeat the metaphysical principles. the philosopher-scientists. Thus. In this paper. and Ibn 'Arabi. at that precise point. each speaks for a perspective. thinkers’ thought in the Islamic world in its nascent state. which is the direct manifestation of being in becoming of the Eternal in the temporal. revealing horizons which have determined the intellectual life of many of the great sages of Islam. may still be found conceivable today. In this regard also. To see how much truth there may be in this view. to suggest how doctrines. the demonstration attempted is purely historical: if.Farabi. and from them to Mulla Sadra and Allameh Tabatabaee. In addition. The personalities their doctrines are of great importance in their own right and playa particularly significant role in the school with which they are connected. very occasionally. Also attempts have been made to discuss the relation between religion and philosophy before delving into the various schools and different attitudes of Islamic philosophy in itself and in its relation to different stages of Islamic thought. namely. Moreover. they are among the most important to have come into being after this early period.

All these subjects were also studied as an integral part of the Arabic language: mastery of the science of verb declension. structuring. classification and ordering of the subjects Islam. Syriac and Sanskrit into Arabic. Indeed. commentary and explanation. Gradually they were made available to all Muslims and improved upon as research methods. took on the color and beliefs of the people after a time.The Sciences which Developed because of the Qur'an The sciences of the din (religion) of Islam came into being at the beginning of the Prophet's mission and the revelation of the Qur'an. however. Study of these sciences developed in the first century after the Hijrah (hegira) although initially. Changes in the subject matter and the structure of disciplines took place such that today. was the Qur'an. love of Him drew them to a clarity and sweetness of style. which was formed after the death of the Prophet. the art of metaphors and good style. all subject matter concerning divine gnosis is supported by proofs and reasons taken from the Qur'an and the traditions. and remained there for some time in its original Greek. Access to these sciences was at first available only to the Caliph (who was at that time leader of only Arab Muslims). grammar. amongst Muslims. came to include a large part of the inhabited world (and which today numbers over six hundred million inhabitants). which entered the Islamic arena via the Greek. deny 115 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . not in any formal way. what stimulated scholars to record and arrange the laws of the Arabic language coherently was the sense that they were serving God. including laws governing the behavior and transactions of Muslims. and meanings of words. We as Shi'as. which in turn generated the Science of correct speech and composition. Even philosophy. Many different Sciences were translated from Greek. The original reason the Muslims translated and transmitted the natural Sciences and mathematics from other cultures and languages into Arabic was the cultural stimulation given to them by the Qur'an. It was at this point that a number of disciplines came into being including the Science of Traditions and the Science of establishing the authority and sincerity of those men who transmitted it (transmitters of tradition). and the philosophy and science of derived meanings allowed greater precision and clarity in the study of the Islamic Sciences as a whole.

which religion and philosophy have in common. which illuminated the world. and other times.that the caliphs and the kings who followed them had legitimate claim to the guardianship and execution of the law even though they expanded Islamic civilization. was from the light of the miracle of the Qur'an. and life after death.1 It confirms in the Arabic tongue what went before it. for it is similar to the Scriptures of the earlier apostles. The fact 116/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . but it deals with all those problems. and do not fully agree with the way they explained the realities of Islam. The Qur'an is a book essentially religious. free-will. The Qur’an is full of ideas about God and His divine government. the individual soul. The doctrine propounded by the Qur'an is not a new doctrine. not philosophical. permanence and change. The appearance and diffusion of the revelation caused a change in the direction of history and generated a chain of important events resulting in the progress and development of the culture of man. which. although not properly philosophical in character. truth and error. While dealing with these problems it also throws light on such conceptions as appearance and reality. Both have to say something about problems related to the significance of such expressions as God. with their intellectual background could easily understand. admonishing the unjust and giving glad tidings to the righteous 2 The Qur’an is a book of wisdom. human origin and destiny. as well as eternity and immortality. not philosophical. It is a book essentially religious. existence and attributes. space and time. the Book of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus-in being a guide to mankind. and which the people of other lands. and the inter-relations of these. speaking other languages. with their own intellectual background could easily interpret. parts of which relate to its basic principles. but it deals with all those problems. the world. The Qur'an claims to give an exposition of universal truths with regard to these problems – an exposition couched in a language (and a terminology) which the people immediately addressed. which religion and philosophy have in ommon. Indeed the light of wisdom. good and evil. (umm al-kitab) and explain and illustrate them in detail. only needed to fall into the right soil to become fruitful of philosophic consequences.

commenting upon it and drawing the legal or moral corollaries implicit in it. There is no doubt that the discussions of kalam go back to the very early Islamic community. if Islamic life. What they refrained from was not the discussion of such issues but from going deep into them or forcing the issues. Islam has also produced extensive and variegated forms of theology. laying the foundations for the later issues of 'ilm alkalam. Thus arose the sciences of reading (‘ilm al-qira’at). and jurisprudence (fiqh). 4 Discussions on these matters as qadar.that there is no philosophy in Scripture does not warrant the conclusion that Scripture could have exerted no influence on the evolution of philosophy. 5 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 117 . the nature of belief and unbelief. After the death of the Prophet of Islam. From these sciences. there soon stemmed the whole body of subsidiary disciplines. Without being a book of theology that provides a systematic analysis. the first generation of Muslim scholars dedicated themselves wholly to the fixing of the sacred canon. 3 Besides the very diverse and rich spiritual tradition associated with Sufism within Islam. It is said that this term refers to the understanding of the Word of God (kalam Allah) or the Qur’an and that the founder of this form of Islamic thought was 'Ali ibn Abi Talib who was thus considered as the first mutakallim or scholar of kalam. continued during the times of the sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and the tabi'un (those who followed them). Overwhelmed by the awesome sacredness of the divine Word and the Prophetic Way. the only basic sciences the nascent community needed in order to assimilate or live by the divinely revealed ordinances of the Qur’an. exegesis (tafsir). the early community was faced with certain questions. which the inquiring human mind obviously poses when confronted with the verities of religion. eschatology and the fate of sinners. which came to be known in Islamic thought as kalam. collectively referred to as the linguistic or traditional sciences. contained speculative as well as practical elements-even if they were only speculative in a properly religious sense-the possibility of such influence becomes at once conceivable. the Attributes of God. from its beginnings. the Qur'an dealt with all the issues that were discussed in kalam as fully developed later. as distinct from the rational or philosophical sciences. however.

which was until that time. Right from the outset of intellectual and juridical dispute. and the pursuit of knowledge in matters relating to faith and the universe in the Qur’an. The intellectual and gnostic aspects of the personality of Imam 'Ali had a great impact on the formation of Shi'ite intellectual and philosophical thought and their openness to intellectual discourse. The Muslims united these sciences into a new corpus. sprung up many denominations. This is so not only in matters of faith but also in religious rituals and norms of worship. there have. Many of the greatest scientists like Aristotle were also among the greatest philosophers." became "crystallized" into its components. which was to grow over the centuries and become part of the Islamic civilization. after several centuries. The schools of law and the Sufi brotherhoods became separately established in the third Islamic century. the various intellectual perspectives. In order to attain firm belief and conclusive conviction. In a similar manner. still close to its origin. In the ancient world. since the concepts and 118/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . it is imperative to resort to those who have acquired knowledge in religion and the ways of spiritual prosperity. sects and schools of thought in Islam. the Shi'a sided with 'Ali and after him with his sons. We can thereby legitimately refer to these schools as Muslim. into the Islamic worldview. 406/1015) entitled Nahj al-balaghah ("Path of Eloquence"). philosophy and science were not separated. Integrated into the basic structure derived from the Revelation itself. and therefore in a state of "fusion. As evidence of this unique quality of the Imam. one needs not go further than the collections of his sermons. already existing in Arabic.It was expected that Muslims would take to philosophical and intellectual reasoning during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad. And the revelation. for the seed of philosophical reasoning in the universal sense of the term was sown in the Noble Qur'an and nurtured by the Blessed Prophet through his sayings and general guidance. and founded the diverse schools of philosophy and the arts and sciences. As a consequence of the encouragement of intellection and reasoning. therefore. letters and sayings which were compiled by al-Sharif al-Radi (d. They absorbed the useful elements and supplemented them with their own inquiries. absorbed the nourishment provided by the vast heritage of the ancient world. and in most fields they were able to make important discoveries.

In addition to practical disciplines like scientific and medical works.formulations used by them were integrated into the Islamic view even if they originated elsewhere. Rise of the Islamic philosophical school The beginnings of the Islamic philosophical school coincide with the first translations of the works of the Greek masters into Arabic from Syriac or Greek. in conjunction with the three basic "dimensions" of the Law. who contributed so abundantly to the scientific and philosophical enlightenment in Islam. collections of moral aphorisms appear to have been among the earliest texts to be translated into Arabic. Islamic schools which were to become an accepted part of Islamic civilization. and the foundation given to it by the Qura’nic revelation. was that the “Traditionism” of early 119 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . Theological divisions. growing out of philosophical controversy or inquiry racked the whole of the Muslim community. Caliphs upheld one theological view against another and demanded adherence to it on political grounds. Interest in science and philosophy grew during this period to such an extent that scientific and philosophical output was no longer a matter of individual effort or initiative. freedom of thought and conscience was seriously jeopardized. and the Truth. The Arabs. As a consequence. Nevertheless. Their interest in the more abstract aspects of Greek thought must have been a subsequent development. In this way there developed. which was cherished and disseminated partly as a matter of social refinement and partly as a matter of moral edification. are a practicalminded people. with the inevitable result that theology soon became the handmaid of politics. The ideas and points of views contained in these translations formed a large part of the nutriment which Islam sampled and then assimilated according to its own inner constitution. however. as well as the Persians. the Path. the development of philosophy and theology in Islam is bound up with the advent of the ‘Abbasid dynasty. They were interested primarily in Aristotelian logic and Greek philosophy as a prelude to the study of theological texts. Translators even when they affected interest in other than the purely practical disciplines of astrology or medicine at all were content with this species of ethical and religious literature. One lasting consequence of the introduction of Greek philosophy and the Greek spirit of inquiry.

and. Hellenic current of ideas. is distinct from the rational or the philosophical. Scholastic theology will be discussed only in so far as it absorbed. the total and supreme apprehension of reality. and of the urgent need to subordinate reason and emotion to this experience.theologians and jurists. the varying degrees of allegiance to Greek philosophy and logic not only gave rise to the diverse theological schools of thought. But. Indeed. whether it is distinct or not. The works of those early translators were on the whole compilations which lacked originality. which we shall designate as the Islamic philosophical school. such as Malik b. Moreover. The mystical experience. or by-passed Islamic philosophy. Being Muslims by faith. Anas. To theology might be added another movement whose relation to philosophy has also fluctuated between the two poles of total endorsement or total disavowal-mysticism or Mysticism is ultimately rooted in the original matrix of religious experience. But it might be mentioned at this stage that alKindi’s theological interests did act as a safeguard against the total 120/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . it can hardly be irrelevant to man’s rational or philosophical aspirations. reacted to. less often. almost from the beginning it was standard for the orthodox to reproach all those who “looked into the books of the Greek philosophers” 6 even presumably when they did not understand them. as they were to the defense of orthodoxy against heretics and free thinkers. could no longer do so without recourse to the weapons which their rationalist opponents had borrowed from the Greeks. but generated the more distinctly. which grows in turn out of man’s overwhelming awareness of God and his sense of nothingness without Him. since it allegedly leads to the very object which reason seeks. it is said to be contrary to it. Such theological preoccupation was a distinctive feature of the development of Islamic philosophy. The great Ash‘arite “reformers” committed. it is often claimed. was no longer tenable in its pure or original form. they were naturally anxious to justify their interest in the pagan philosophers of antiquity. The rise and development of this school is the primary concern of the present history. How far they succeeded in so doing and how far it was possible for them to span the distance separating Islamic belief from Greek speculative thought will be seen in later chapters. namely.

submersion of religious belief in the current of abstract philosophical thought. whose doctrines are a combination of the ideas of Aristotle and of some Neo-platonists. and in general the learned men. and medicine. as an integral part of their studies in philosophy. which profess to be disciples of the Greeks. have also been Sufis. and the ideas of oriental mystics (‘urafa) also included new thoughts and was thus able to excel over all the systems of philosophy of the East and West. This is primarily syllogistic: it seeks to determine the place of each being. who have made use of the eminently initiatic language of the Illuminatist philosophers to describe the journey of the Sufi toward gnosis. they were then able to review and select from among the appropriate philosophical principles and to present a mature philosophical system. Many Illuminatists. have also been among the group that have cultivated mathematics. which in addition to including Platonic and Aristotelian ideas and Neo-Platonic thought from Alexandria. although the largest portion of the new system was Aristotelian. It is the Peripatetic school. In the western Islamic world there has been existed a school of "philosophical" thought. for these learned men took an interest in all the arts and sciences. The best expression of the doctrines of this school appears in Avicenna's early writings. But it was not very long before geniuses such as Abu Nasr Farabi and Ibn Sina were able to learn the entire sum of philosophical thought of that time by their constant efforts. The representative of this school who was closest to Aristotle was Averroes who. and for this reason their philosophy had an Aristotelian and peripatetic color. The Book of Healing is the most comprehensive encyclopedia of knowledge ever written by one person. and helped to keep alive the traditions of learning in those fields. With God given talents that flourished under the radiance of the light of revelation and the explanations of the Imams. The Peripatetics were very strong 121 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . in a vast system based upon the philosophy of Aristotle. and undoubtedly the most influential Peripatetic work in Islam. astronomy. had less effect upon the Islamic than upon the Christian world. particularly those of later centuries. and should be studied more as a great member of the tradition of Western philosophy than as an integral part of Islamic intellectual life. paradoxically. Many members of this school.

Islamic philosophy nevertheless has had and continues to have several historical embodiments in them. They increase in their reality-a reality independent of personal taste or of the individual-to the extent that the gnostic divorces himself from his individual perspective and limited existence. is an Islamic intellectual discipline in contention. on the other hand. not to speak of kalam or theology which it overshadows in those intellectual circles in many ways. but their influence weakened during the succeeding period. to realize how true is this assertion and how significant is Islamic philosophy even in comparison with jurisprudence. in this ambience. They have had a continuous tradition down to the present day. And the knowledge of the ontological relationship between that being and Being itself. For the gnostic. chiefly because of the metaphysical (as against rationalistic) emphasis in their doctrines. knowledge of Nature is secondary to knowledge of the Divine 'principle. The phenomena of Nature become "transparent" for the gnostic. Moreover. For the gnostic. became strong after the sixth/twelfth century and al-Ghazzali's triumph. and directions-these and many other such symbols are aspects of the being of things. Nature does playa positive role in guiding him to his ultimate goal. so that in each event he "sees" the archetype. because of the rapport between the Gnostic and the universe. Yet.during the fourth/tenth and fifth/eleventh centuries. One need only look at the number of works have been written in the history of philosophy in the Islamic world. called falsafah and later hikmah. and also because of the use of their language by certain Sufi masters. The symbols of substances-geometric forms and numerical quantities. Islamic philosophy has had a continuous history going back to the earliest Islamic centuries and transmitted from master to disciple over numerous generations. the knowledge of anything in the universe means ultimately knowledge of the relationship between the essence of that particular being and the Divine Intellect. accord or opposition with other intellectual disciplines but in any case it was and remains a Part: and parcel of Islamic intellectual life. The Illuminatists. debate. Islamic philosophy. and identifies himself with Being. colors. Although of course a single reality in itself. All these embodiments of the Islamic philosophical tradition have received treatments in various histories of Islamic philosophy which have appeared in both Islamic and Western languages whether it be the older 122/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .

we should find no philosopher in the Islamic world who would admit an absence of all relation between philosophy and religion. for they maintain that al-Farabi and Ibn Sina actually founded one. if there is any difference of principle. especially the Greek. we have tried to bring out the relation of Islamic philosophy to the Islamic revelation itself and to point out its rapport with other religious and theological discourses and disciplines which grew over the ages as branches of that tree of knowledge which has its roots in the Qur'anic revelation and whose many branches include Islamic philosophy itself. as he holds. and the refusal by many to take Islamic philosophy seriously as philosophy. or. They would view the matter not so much from the standpoint of the mere definition of reason as from that of the actual conditions of fact under which it has to work. which alone. fully deserves that name. as an independent philosophical tradition and in its relation to earlier schools of thought. Of course. the Muslim philosophers subordinate it to Islamic philosophy. but with the place it occupies in the hierarchy of the sciences. Now it is a fact that between ourselves and the Greeks the Islamic revelation has intervened. They would certainly regard an exercise of pure reason as a possibility as we witnessed it after Plato and Aristotle and believed in this idea that reason can not obtain knowing of the truth and can not stand to itself. in relation to the Islamic revelation and other intellectual disciplines within Islamic civilization. it is not concerned with the concept of philosophy. But it does not require much pressure to extract the admission that his philosophy is the only example and that if it is the only example it is precisely because it stands on one hand in being constructed on a purely rational basis and on the other hand have been influenced from the revealed teachings of Islam. While the pure rationalist puts philosophy in the highest going back to the medieval period or modern Orientalism which considers Islamic philosophy to have come to an end with Ibn Rushd or soon thereafter. Also. What they would certainly deny is that no Muslim has ever successfully constructed a philosophy. Thus. and identifies it with wisdom. and has profoundly modified the conditions under which reason 123 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . as well as its influence upon later Western thought. So I have sought to discus about this philosophical tradition. it is rather on facts than on principles that they disagree with the rationalists. It was precisely to avoid such a limitation of historical perspective.

it is not always easy to distinguish philosophy from theology. and every philosophy. which produced the issues. then there are ways to find appropriate clues beneath the surface of the text. Followers of this approach claim that it is possible to interpret any aspect of Islamic philosophy in line with this central problem. and between Islam and Greek thought. Unless we 124/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . which will show that the central problem lurks there somewhere. But is it not also a mere confusion of philosophy with theology? Confusion of philosophy with theology (Kalam) There are discussions in the history of philosophical books which clearly are Islamic. It would be tempting to argue that what makes Islamic philosophy an appropriate general concept is that it encompasses a feature of that philosophy which is shared by all its instances. or even from law or grammar. or perhaps into others still worse. and in fact represents the deep structure of the argument of the text. which arise within these contexts. Many of the questions. so that the central issue is to carry out such reconciliation. If it is not obvious that it does. will fall into them again. have direct philosophical relevance. A different view has it that the whole of Islamic philosophy represents an attempt to accommodate Islam with rationality. So that henceforth the only safe plan is to take revelation for our guide and make an effort to understand. between faith and philosophy. Once you are in possession of that revelation how can you possibly philosophize as though you had never heard of it. the traditional Islamic sciences. This was the leading motive of the philosophers themselves. and the shape of that philosophy was powerfully affected by the disciplines. and when we assess their work. but which are certainly not clearly philosophy. Many commentators have argued that indeed there is such an agenda. we have to bear this in mind if we are to understand what the texts they produced actually mean. A very influential school of interpretation is convinced that the basis of all work in Islamic philosophy is the opposition between religion and reason. which sets out to be self-sufficing. its contents and this understanding of the contents of revelation will be philosophy itself.has to work. Despite the best efforts of some of the philosophers. since this problem runs through all such writing. The errors of Plato and Aristotle are precisely the errors into which pure reason falls.

Islamic philosophy has remained a major intellectual activity and a living intellectual tradition within the citadel of Islam to this day while continuing to be fully philosophy if this term is not limited to its recent schools in the Anglo-Saxon world. most Western scholars of the subject have chosen to identify other schools of Islamic thought such as kalam as Islamic and Islamic philosophy as "foreign". The intention has been to present in this book as much of the variety of Islamic philosophy as possible. It runs the danger of trying to fit the whole of Islamic philosophy into a conceptual straitjacket. from which 125 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . and the assumption is made that there is just such a common theme to those writings. the apparent conflict between two different approaches to the same issue might seem to be highlighted. Certainly. however . it is entirely mistaken to see this dichotomy as lying at the heart of that philosophy. Islamic philosophy has had its opponents in Islamic circles but it has also had its defenders in not only the Shi'ite world but also in certain areas and schools of the Sunni world. 7 In any case. which is the basis to the philosophical writings. After all. and. not a dead and completed doctrine from the Middle Ages. which will inevitably restrict its scope and interest. There is difference between this living intellectual tradition and theology. In this regard. or might seem to imply. We should resist this temptation. Although there are many discussions in Islamic philosophy of religion and reason. this Western view has been adopted by a number of Muslim scholars trained in the rationalistic and sceptical modes of Western thought and impervious to the still living tradition of Islamic philosophy within the Islamic world and the possibility of gaining certitude intellectually. appealing to those very voices within the Islamic world which. and to represent it as a continuing and living tradition of philosophical work. calling philosophy "Islamic" implies. It might be that that dichotomy lies at the heart of medieval Jewish and Christian philosophy. since it is linked with philosophy.grasp the central idea. that the religious character of what is discussed is crucial. based on divine revelation. which would deny the title of philosopher to even Plato and Aristotle. we are in danger of misunderstanding those writings. Furthermore. Theology remains in its proper place. have opposed Islamic philosophy. but there is no reason to import such a dichotomy as a leading principle in Islamic philosophy.

and if he fails to convince his opponent. into this position. it is simply because it is true. We are reminded in the first place of all those vehement protests. But something still more curious follows. it constitutes a distinct science starting from faith and turning to reason only to draw out the content of faith or to protect it from error. 126/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . it reaches an accord with revealed teachings spontaneously and without having to deviate in any way from its own proper path. once reason. Just as certain followers of kalam regard philosophy as a false. Never will a follower of philosophy admit that there is anything in the doctrine of philosophy contrary to the letter or the spirit of the faith. depends on nothing but its own proper method. If it does so. Philosophy. but if it is rational. made by Mutakalimin against the paganization in Islam by philosophers. all intrinsic relation between Islam and philosophy becomes a contradiction. doubtless. has been divorced from faith. If his philosophy is true. For Islamic philosopher any conflict between a certitude faith and a philosophical thesis is a sure sign of philosophic error. and because one truth cannot contradict another. because. As soon as we look at Islamic philosophy in this light some rather surprising but no less inevitable consequences begin to appear. If a philosophy is true it is simply because it is rational. owing all its truth to the self-evidence of its principles and the accuracy of its deductions. it would be lack of candor on his part to appeal to faith for his justification. then reason is no longer able to distinguish truth from error. When such a conflict declares itself. for a philosopher expressly maintains that the accord between revelation and reason is an accord of truth with itself. it is solely in virtue of its own rational evidence. so certain philosophers reply that it is true but not in the least because it is Muslim. in fact. it is not at all because it is Islamic. and prefer to follow instead the principles of some pagan philosopher or his Muslim receives its principles. as regards its exercise. based on human reason. we have a system in which philosophic conclusions are deduced from purely rational premises. In it. he must re-examine his principles and check his conclusions until he discovers the mistake that vitiates them. We must therefore choose. For when we refuse to be guided by revelation. They are forced.

According to their opinion. But does this historical reality exist? Is it even conceivable that it ever existed? Some historians of philosophy have denied it. In addition. whether Islamic. to hand philosophy over to reason and restore Islam to religion? How in fact have philosophic thought and Islamic faith conceived their interrelations? What has each been conscious of giving to and receiving from the other? These are immense questions. Islam was altogether un-speculative? If it means that Islam is not a philosophy. relying on what they conceived to be the exclusively practical character of primitive Islam. The logical upshot of this attitude is a pure and simple negation of the whole concept of Islamic philosophy. but simply by a more correct and complete deduction of the consequences implied in his own principles than Aristotle was able to achieve for him. gave it precision. it did not accomplish this by means of any appeal to Islam. AlFarabi and Avicenna. and if. than there would be to baptize Aristotle in order to discuss philosophy with him. regarding the concept of Islamic philosophy resting on serious bases. or Jewish. Philosophical discussions pass between man and man. not between man and Islam. how could it possibly have such a character without ceasing to be? The philosophical principles of them are those of Aristotle that is to say of a man. a stranger. to all speculation. What is meant by the assertion that. nothing could be more obvious. in short. supposing that the corresponding historical reality exists.Some of them deny that Islam has seriously influenced the course of philosophic speculation. we are to have any hope of defining it. that it was no more than an effort of 127 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . and maintain that the concept of Islamic philosophy is quite obviously void of meaning. who knew nothing of any revelation. regarded from the standpoint of philosophic speculation. Why not abandon a notion as an Islamic philosophy? Would it not be simpler to disassociate the two notions altogether. as they considered. and there was no more need for them to baptize Aristotelianism in order to make it true. completed it. Christian. But if it is proposed to maintain that even in the properly religious field Islam carried with it no "speculative" elements. If they took up the doctrine of Aristotle and purified. at the outset at any rate. is nothing but Aristotelianism rationally corrected and judiciously completed. al-Farabi and Avicenna’s philosophy lacks all intrinsic character of Islamic philosophy.

that. "Nahj-Al Balaghah". there seems to be nothing theoretically contradictory about the idea. we shall have to go back beyond Qur’an to tear a many pages of the collective of prophetic hadith. of the conditions of fact under which the reason of Muslims is to be exercised. present some utterances that could be rewritten in a philosophic style and result in the mentioned outcomes. then. then that is going somewhat farther than history will warrant. we may add that there is nothing that renders it absurd a priori from the philosophical standpoint. and despite not having a philosophic style of expression. but there may very well be an Islamic exercise of aid. preached faith in Divine Providence. having never been reached by Plato and Aristotle before. If then history presents no obstacle to a study of this kind. Philosophy is based upon human intelligence. The Holy Qur’an is full of theosophy and instructions in religiousphilosophical matters. If the case stands thus. Why should we refuse to admit a priori that Islam might have been 128/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . at once material and spiritual. We shall have to deny that the prophet Himself taught the doctrine of the unity of God. an important part of Islamic Instructions consists of believing in the only God. is that Muslims founded their own philosophy based on a presentation of the Divine Existence. and all the speculative mysticism of the Islamic world that sprang out of them. his divine providence and good tidings of an eternal life and the looking of the divine nature of the Most high. The narratives of the Infallibles consist of fine matters of philosophic and mystical subjects. "Toheed-eSadough" and "Osool-e-Kafi" are consisting of the principles of mysticism and philosophy. Doubtlessly. therefore the correctness of its laws lies within the improvisation of the principles and the accuracy of conclusion. There is no such thing as an Islamic reason. in communities. announced eternal life in an everlasting Kingdom. They started to think in philosophic way when there existed a great civilization based on the Islamic piety. namely. This is not to mistake philosophy theology. What distinct Islamic philosophers from Greek philosophers. although we do not yet know what goes to make up an Islamic philosophy. to suppress the saying of the Imams. Where shall we find this eminently practical and un-speculative Islam? Well. there is at least a standing-ground on which it would not be impossible.

by the mediation of faith in revealed to change the course of the history of philosophy by opening up to human reason. According to above points. After all. This question found its most harmonious solution in the hands of Mulla Sadra. that gnosis in which faith and reason find their common ground. and thus divorces itself from the twin sources of transcendent knowledge. the sense of the transcendent and the revealed is a potent force in Islamic society. on the basis of much of the wisdom of antiquity. who like the sages before him expounded that Divine Wisdom or sapientia. which ignores both revelation and intellectual intuition. this 129 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . with a constant interplay of arguments and suggestions. which occupied the Muslim philosophers from the very beginning. Islam is a tradition based wholly upon a distinct revelation. looms large on the horizon. in both the macrocosmic and the microcosmic sense. consequently. a worldview in which the role of revelation. And we may go a step further and say that a cursory glance at the history of philosophy in the Islamic world would strongly suggest that it did happen. but that does not warrant the assumption that it could not possibly happen. it is important to realize that we have here a dynamic relationship between the Islamic sciences and philosophy. can hope to be anything but a disrupting and dissolving influence in Islamic society. there is the question of the relation between reason and revelation. It is our hope that the present book will reveal some of the riches of this tradition as well as clarify its history and role for Islamic civilization as well as for European intellectual history in which it played a crucial role at an important stage of the development of Western thought. Closely connected to above point. No philosophy. one which has survived as a living reality to this day. It is deeply rooted in the worldview of the Qur'anic revelation and functions within a cosmos in which prophecy or revelation is accepted as a blinding reality that is the source not only of ethics but also of knowledge. created one of the richest intellectual traditions in the world. The Islamic philosophical tradition reacted in numerous ways with other schools of Islamic thought and. so that it is important to include a discussion of those sciences in such a way that one can see how they have both affected and been affected by philosophy. perspectives as yet undreamt of? The thing might well have failed to happen. It is therefore what we quite call Islamic philosophy.

If one puts modern nationalistic and chauvinistic ideas aside and looks upon the whole of the Islamic philosophical tradition. one which has survived as a living reality to this day. One need hardly mention that.apparent interplay between these two different domains seems to be highlighted. one cannot but call it Islamic philosophy for both intellectual and historical reasons. its very conception of al-'aql (reason/intellect) was transformed by the intellectual and spiritual universe within which it functioned in the same way that reason as transformed by the rationalism of the Age of Enlightenment began to 130/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . The Islamic philosophical tradition reacted in numerous ways with other schools of Islamic thought and. It is our hope that this book will reveal some of the riches of this tradition as well as clarify its history and role for Islamic civilization as well as for European intellectual history in which it played a crucial role at an important stage of the development of Western thought. They want to consider despite the attempt of a number of not only Western but also Westernized Muslim scholars who. will produce thinkers who will frame their philosophical principles in a universe dominated by the Qur'anic revelation and the manifestation of the nature of the Divine Principle as the One. created one of the richest intellectual traditions in the world. Every attempt. which is Islamic. will meet with the lack of success that the history of modem times so amply illustrates. In such a world. Quite obviously. a society. then faith and reason can never become truly harmonized. which is then made to bring about a harmony. It also exercised an influence upon Hindu India with which the present volumes have not been greatly concerned although some allusions have been made to this important chapter in the interaction of Islamic philosophy with intellectual traditions of other civilizations. a philosophical tradition was created which acted as catalyst for the rise of medieval Jewish philosophy and had a profound impact upon both philosophy and theology in the Christian West. having surrendered to the rationalism of modern philosophy. on the basis of much of the wisdom of antiquity. once the function of the intellect is reduced to reason and also revelation is limited to its most exoteric and outward level of meaning. to read this understanding of reason back into Islamic philosophy. While being philosophy in the fullest sense of the term.

Yet there will remain a connection with ideas or thinkers who worked within the context of Islamic culture at some stage. All these factors converge to point to the Islamic nature of Islamic philosophy in the same way that Christian philosophy is Christian and Jewish philosophy is Jewish. The relevant question is how far the particular philosophical idea or theory can be connected with predominantly Islamic ideas along a chain of transmission or influence. which is Islamic. This latter enquiry has no direct reference to the religious context out of which it originally arose. What make it significant are the excellence of the philosophy itself. This fact is an undeniable truth for anyone who has studied Islamic philosophy from within the tradition it remains an essential reality. will produce thinkers who will frame their philosophical questions in terms of that society. to wondering what the relationship is between a subject and its properties in general. a society. There are also other reasons. which starts with a religious problem. Why it is Islamic philosophy Is there. but it will be framed within the language of Islam and will reflect on the way in which that conception of divinity has been refined and developed within Islam. Sometimes these are just Islamic versions of entirely universal philosophical issues. no philosophical agenda which Islamic philosophy has and which uniquely characterizes it? Quite obviously. and yet it is still part of a way of doing philosophy. What is Islamic about the discussion is its conception of God and His Qualities.function differently from the ratio and intellectus of a St. given the emphasis on the unity of God. and the wealth of ideas which were produced. For example. Thomas. then. Islamic philosophy is first of all philosophy. It is not a huge step from discussing the relationship between God and His properties. What is philosophical about the discussion is its use of very abstract concepts to make sense of the idea of such knowledge. which it is not possible to discuss here but which are mentioned in several of the essays that follow. This need not be a uniquely Islamic idea. Also the Islamic philosophers were Muslim 8 and nearly all of them devout in their following of the Shari'ah. the question of how it is possible to know God will take a particular form within an Islamic context. It is 131 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . and its content is going to resemble the content of philosophy in general.

It will be fairly clear to any reader of the sections in this book which look at this sort of philosophy that such a criticism is misplaced. that of philosophy. without any real attempt at showing how those ideas link up with specifically Islamic issues. That is. and beyond. which appeared in the Islamic world. philosophers today just as it did in the past. They have argued on occasion that what we have here is the mere replication of Greek ideas in Arabic dress. and the peripatetic tradition in Islamic philosophy is obviously based upon an originally non-Islamic source. and to think as a result that what is going on is quite different from what is really going on. 132/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Yet we should be very careful in what we say about such cultural contact. Although we have stressed here the role of Islamic philosophy as a vibrant and important philosophical activity. they will see the task of reconciling reason with religion as the leading theme of Islamic philosophy. a whole range of that sort of philosophy was quite clearly influenced by Greek thought. which speaks to.patronizing to suggest that one has to stress the impact of Islamic philosophy on the West. and in this contact between two cultural movements a great deal of interesting and perceptive work resulted. which has been criticized by some Islamic philosophers for its very distance from religion. so that it can be recognized as a dynamic and living tradition. for it to be taken seriously. and they will argue that what he is doing is arguing that the latter form of thought is compatible with Islam. That is. There was a genuine attempt at seeing how the conceptual machinery of Greek thought could be applied to Islamic issues. It is important to emphasize that this is but one type of Islamic philosophy. and a type. It is all too easy to link discussions in Islamic philosophy with earlier Greek discussions. All these factors converge to point to the Islamic nature of Islamic philosophy in the same way that Christian philosophy is Christian and Jewish philosophy is Jewish. commentators will examine how the non-philosophical aspects of Islam affect the development of the philosophy. Many readers will observe al-Farabi using religious terminology to express a point from Greek philosophy. it cannot be doubted that much of the discussion of this type of philosophy is carried out in terms of exploring its roots in other areas. The time has come to put Islamic philosophy within its appropriate context. In particular.

Islamic philosophy then gets relegated to the history of ideas. but also the inevitability of what they were doing. which one can just pick up and put on. Perhaps he was using Islamic language to describe Greek arguments in order to take a short cut along the path of reconciling Islam with Greek philosophy. It is not the case that the Islamic philosophers took Greek (and indeed other) concepts and then used them in their attempts to make sense of the Islamic world. as compared with the systems of philosophy which created the conceptual materials of the debate in the first place. and of adapting the concepts so that they could carry out such a task. than it really was. which arose within their own culture. All that was going on would have been highly derivative. and the way in which the new term will have to be related to such a system is distinct.Perhaps al-Farabi was deliberately trying to pass off Greek thought as being far more religious. It was capable of taking some of the key philosophical concepts from earlier cultures and using them to answer problems. which arose within Islam on the other. since they went on to try to show how relevant the conceptual distinctions in question are to the living experience of faith. This is very relevant to the accusation that Islamic philosophy is derivative and so not of the first calibre in so far as philosophical thought goes. Concepts are not like clothes. The combination of abstract philosophical thought on the one hand with problems. or at least different. They wanted to show that the Islamic sciences which were part of the traditional canon of doing things and sorting our problems needed to be supplemented the ancient sciences. and especially by philosophy. and is regarded as an interesting aspect of cultural contact. or at least Islamic. If all that the philosophers were doing was to use what were originally Greek ideas and applying them to Islamic problems. Those thinkers who were directly concerned with the nature of religion and religious experience did not wish to distinguish precisely between the Greek use of philosophical terminology and its Islamic version. and this could only be done if the same sort of language is used in both cases. is a potent and unstable mixture responsible for 133 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . one might think that there is not much originality or creativity at issue here. The system of concepts and practices in which the old term was embedded are now absent. 9 It has to be acknowledged also that the philosophers were interested in campaigning for not only the acceptability.

This is not to say that Islamic philosophers could therefore abandon Aristotelian accounts of the creation of the world. since the terms themselves when moved from one context to another have a different range of meanings.the richness and diversity of Islamic philosophy itself. could not always be simply replicated in the Islamic world but have to be adapted to make sense. which arose in the Greek world. But the Islamic philosophers should not be seen as being primarily concerned with ersatz philosophical notions derived originally from non-Islamic cultures. which made it compatible. one might be tempted to study them within the context of their original Greek expression rather than via the accretions. we can grasp the context within which it worked. which seem to point to its being eternal because it went against the truth. and they transformed them in the ways in which they used them. of course. It might be accepted that Islamic philosophy is interesting. Some of these philosophical expositions are more interesting and wellconstructed than others. with their understanding of the Qur'an and offered the various explanations. and yet its dependence on a system of thought coming originally from without the Islamic world has led to the development of a tendency to study it from an historical rather than a philosophical perspective. but the important point to make is that they are all philosophical arguments. It is just that the nature of a particular culture puts the emphasis upon a different aspect of the problem depending upon the nature of that culture. which occurred during their passage through the Islamic world. and are to be assessed from the perspective of philosophy. which came to them through the rich intellectual background. For example. which was available to them. After all. in discussions of the creation of the world it is important to note that the Islamic world wanted to mark the fact that according to the Qur'an the world had a beginning and will have an end. or apparently compatible. Many Islamic philosophers produced modifications of the Aristotelian theory. In this regard. This was a matter not just of choice but really of necessity. but it does not follow that it cannot be creative because it is dependent upon previously 134/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . These thinkers certainly did use the notions. The philosophical issues. if one is interested primarily in the philosophical issues.

in his yielding to the Creator. According to this philosophy. and outside of which any study of them would remain superficial and incomplete. but some of it is capable of establishing entirely new ways of going on which in turn establish new traditions of thinking about problems and resolving difficult conceptual issues. understanding of some of the principles of Islam is necessary here. He is like all the other elements of the cosmos. it is necessary to point out certain fundamental features of the vision of reality or the metaphysics. like much philosophy of any kind. possessing many levels of existence and of states of consciousness from the Supreme Principle to earthly man and his terrestrial ambience. is just the accretion of new technical representations of existing issues. we can see how on the basis of those traditions it represents a new direction of thought. he has no separate individual existence of his own. and the appropriate techniques to use in order to understand it are going to be philosophical. reflects the Divine Intellect to his own 135 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . 10 In addition. 11 Just as all genuine Islamic teachings. reality is not exhausted by the psychophysical world in which human beings usually function. but a large variety of different techniques. It is in this hierarchic universe that man's life takes place and possesses meaning. On the contrary. which underlies all the teachings of this school. whether seen as the Transcendent or the Immanent. Islamic philosophy is primarily philosophy. According to it. so do Islamic philosophy that can properly be called Islamic reveal the unity of God as the axis of reality. To understand the approach of Islamic philosophy. this Ultimate Reality gives rise to a universe which is hierarchical. or.existing intellectual traditions. which depend upon the particular point of view of the thinkers themselves. The philosophy and Irfan like arts and sciences in Islam are based on the idea of unity. at the very least. nor is consciousness limited to the everyday level of awareness of the men and women of present-day humanity. insofar as they form the matrix within which the Islamic philosophy have meaning. But in either case. which is the heart of the Muslim revelation. a Muslim as a complete and universal man and as a comprehensive role model in his whole being is surrendered to God. Ultimate Reality is beyond all determination and limitation. There is certainly no one philosophical approach present in Islamic philosophy. Much Islamic philosophy. is capable of stepping out in a new direction.

This traditional metaphysics. It is a reality of Divine Origin. At its core lies a metaphysical intuition. He has a complete character in relation to the esoteric and exoteric aspect from the viewpoint of intellectuality. The true Gnostic is from this point of view "one with reality"." From this spring a science of the universe. a science of the soul." He has become in fact the channel of grace for the universe. the traditionalists refuse to reduce the existence of religion to only the terrestrial and temporal realm. as well as among themselves. it is gnosis. is a knowledge. that the Gnostic’s relation to world is intellective. Religion is not only the faith of the men and women who possess religious faith. and the science of mathematics.12 which is neither abstract. Islamic culture as a whole will not accept. knowledge such as comes only to the right "mode in the knower. It is a indeed. Religion for them is not only the faith and practices of a particular human collectivity. and also provides the key to the understanding of both: the necessity of the plurality of religions. which lies at the heart of religion. which in reality should be used in the singular as metaphysic. each of them a part of that gnosis that comprehends all things. spirituality. He is a Gnostic truly. he understands it "from the inside. This religion illuminates the meaning of religious rites. by way of reestablishing the old distinction. nor merely sentimental. which would change with every alteration in the cultural fashions of the day or with new discoveries of a science of the material world. This is precisely what the capacity and. In contrast to most modern theologians. Metaphysics understood in this perspective is a veritable "divine science" and not a purely mental construct. each of them in essence a different metaphorical setting for that one science that the mind strives after. We shall thus have to say. which happens to be the recipient of a particular religious message. which sanctifies and illuminates. philosophers. doctrines and symbols. they would become mere facts. and legal aspect. and the way to penetrate into other 136/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and scholars of religion who have either consciously or unconsciously adopted the scientistic view. which reduces Reality as such to physical or historical reality. nor analytical. The phenomena of Nature would lose any connection with the higher orders of reality.

anthropology. who sees all things "as they really are. as understood traditionally. such as 137 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . The sage does not let himself be drawn into the specialist's single-level "mode of knowing. Without either reducing their religious significance or diminishing our own commitment to the religious universe to which we who wish to study other religions belong. medical healer. that "total thing". They are regarded by most Islamic commentators as due to the lack of a more universal point of view on the part of those who have only embraced a less universal one. Such conflicts are not. if this latter term is understood. It is what one might call Islamic philosophy in the highest meaning of the term. He is the hakim. however. Inasmuch as the hierarchy of knowledge in Islam. Some of their writings. It is the science which lies at the very center of man's being as well as at the heart of all orthodox and authentic religions and which are attainable by the intellect." Other writings. spiritual guide. but at its heart lies pure metaphysics.religious universes. as the science of Ultimate Reality. in conformity with it. to cultivate the philosophy dealing with the reality. This early stabilization of the theoretical outlook of Islam extended also to the type of man who embodied it. as it has existed historically. Intellectual achievement is thus. Regarded from their own point of view. The philosophy in the Islamic world possesses branches and ramifications pertaining to cosmology. not to be confused with the subject bearing the name metaphysics in post-medieval Western philosophy. primarily those of the Peripatetics. were to be translated into Latin to help form that Western scholasticism which was later to give way to seventeenth-century "western philosophy. each of these schools may be said to possess a certain "philosophy” and." for then he would forfeit the higher knowledge. It is first of all the Supreme Science or metaphysics. which deals with the Divine Principle and Its manifestations in the light of that Principle. art and other disciplines. as elsewhere. between incompatible orthodoxies. Only the gnostic. has been united by a metaphysical bond much as a vertical axis unites horizontal planes of reference the integration of these diverse views "from above" has been possible. who encompasses within himself some or all of the several aspects of the sage. scholar." is able to integrate all these views into their principial unity. in a sense. always patterned upon the model of the unattainable complete.

We come to realize that so much of the knowledge which we seek elsewhere exists in its pure and unadulterated form already in our midst. moreover. while what is called religious to the extent that this category still possesses meaning in the contemporary world seems to have little to do with philosophy.those of the Sufis and Illuminatists. symbols. This knowledge which is available to the intellect religions or traditions. is based most of all on metaphysics and nearly every treatise on traditional philosophy deals with the transcendent origin and end of things.17 The Islamic philosophers 138/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . although rich in many fields.that is.15 Islamic philosophy. images and other means sanctified by the message from Heaven or the Divine which gives birth to each tradition. Islamic philosophy as a contradictory term The very term 'Islamic philosophy' may appear contradictory to those for whom 'philosophy' is identified with that particular mode of knowledge. at the end of this introduction let me have a cursory glance at the process of Islamic philosophy in the Islamic world. rites. which is the origin of all existence. a view of the interrelation between all realms of knowledge. 14 13 is. Moreover. Islamic philosophy also possesses a unified vision of things .16 The Islamic philosophers were the first to make the discussion of being the cornerstone of philosophy and sought to relate every existing thing to Pure Being. in metaphysics they developed a philosophy of nature within a general world view in order to create a close relationship between various forms and branches of the sciences and to relate multiplicity to unity. contained at the heart of all and its realization and attainment is possible only through those traditions and by means of methods. a term which is meaningless in its world view. thus understood. has by definition nothing to do with religion. However. we find it to be full of vast stores of wisdom which today remain relatively unknown to the majority of contemporary Muslims. down to comparatively recent times. Philosophy. although we have been practically unaware of its existence. It is first of all necessary to clarify what is meant in this book by Islamic philosophy. which were to have an influence on certain Western circles such as that of Dante. which has come to monopolize almost completely the term philosophy in the West. and yet for the most part to remain almost unknown in the Western world. When we turn to Islamic philosophy.

The affective role of al-Kindi in entering and widely spreading of Greek philosophical thoughts among Moslems is considerable. We can not consider him as the founder of Islamic philosophy. then review the other historical evidences of Islamic philosophy growth process. The Islamic philosophers . which determines man's life and conduct on earth. according to them. Al-Farabi's answer to the question of existence is totally different from those of Greek 139 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . This Law helps human intelligence to overcome the limitations imposed on it by the passions and to see the good and evil nature of things in their true perspective. as the haqiqah. explaining the relation of piety and philosophy. The nature of the truth. every true manifestation of it possesses an aspect of beauty and harmony. Metaphysics is. Because the spirit of Islam is based on intelligence and discernment.if of course we understand by philosophers as we do throughout this essay hukama or sages . Similarly. The way we could adopt in order to prove the identity and validity of what we call "Islamic Philosophy" was firstly to study the philosophic thought of Moslems as its early birth time and at the time when Islamic cult was linked to Greek tradition. moreover. And for this reason the expression of Islamic philosophy especially metaphysics is combined with the beauty of language and with highly artistic forms of expression. Al-Farabi was the first person to interpret Greek philosophy on a new basis of principles. is such that it is beautiful. it is the inner dimension of this very Shari’ah.developed an ethical system based not only on 'rational ethics' but on the specific teachings of the Qur’an. the Divine Will appears not in an abstract manner but in concrete injunctions contained in the Sacred Law or Shari'ah. never divorced from ethics and from the practical aspect of religion in that.based their conception of beauty on the notion of harmony and sobriety and conceived of beauty not as the luxury it is considered today but as a necessary condition of a truly human existence. though he has been observed with the thoughts based on Greek principles in the field of religious instructions and has somehow been mixed with it. These and many other aspects of Islamic philosophy we must thoroughly re-explore and re-understand before we take any further steps. the Islamic philosophers developed an aesthetics highly refined and closely connected to metaphysics. In Islamic ethics.

and lacks its actual existence within itself. is only capable to answer the question. Avecina is honored for presenting a new demonstration called "Borhane e Seddigheen". The path he took reaches the meaning of essence-less God. The Genuineness of Existence is a philosophic theory having deep roots in supernatural experience of Existence. the essence of God is a pure being. Essence is the presence of the possible in Divine knowledge.philosophers. The primary origin. It will never exist if God does not grant its existence. He was well aware of the religious concept of Creation and the concept of real Distinction which exists. nor they believe in Creator-being. His theory on Existence consists of a minute system based upon the clear principle of distinction between "the concept of Existence" and "the reality of Existence". the truth. in their view. he could change his entire structure of Super-nature from Aristotelean 140/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . he has gone farther than Aristotle and has taken the concept "existence" beyond the area of essence. the causality and the other philosophic matters have changed. between "Essence" and "Existence". and through its clear and systematic expression enjoying full discipline and knowledge. Taking "existence" as a metaphysical being different from "identity". in other words to the area of Actual Existence. and is transferred from all usual concepts of previous philosophies to the discussions of existence. Avecina's philosophy is mostly around the analysis of Existence. "Why is the world as it is?”. like Plato and Aristotle to be able to present such a demonstration where they do not believe in identity of Essence and Existence in God. therefore an infinite Existence. do not discuss the relationship between God and the world on the basis of Existence. both in logic and also in metaphysic. the experience in which Mulla-Sadra could unite the ability of intellectualanalytic thinking and the direct experience of reality together. also by focusing on the Holy Verses and utterances renewed the islamic philosophy with his unique recreation and faculty. As a result of this change. Based on above. none of which could be found in Greek works. In Avecina's approach. He based the theory of the Genuineness of Existence totally on the basis of his Supernatural structure. It is not imaginable that philosophers. Mulla-Sadra gave a new figure to Islamic philosophy through his mastery over the philosophy of Illumination and Peripatetics. but can not make a clear reason why the world exists.

For anyone convinced of this. all these deep discussions are based on a series of questions already proved in general principles of the philosophy. We may either admit with this idea that metaphysics are destined to sink into oblivion along with the theologies of which they are nothing but the shadow. we may suppose that it will long continue to inspire metaphysics. while in Islamic texts the measure of necessity of Existence is emphasized upon. it is inconceivable that the systems of Avicenna. and as Allamah Tabatabaei said.philosophy into a new philosophy basically non-Aristotelean. or. His method in monotheistic discussions and matters are based on reasoning from essence to essence and from essence to attributes and actions. The necessity of Existence is the center around which Avecina and al-Farabi based their reasons. but they were revealed so that they might become so" -not quite all of them perhaps. The great religious truths were not rational when they were revealed. Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra would be what in fact they are had they been altogether withdrawn from Divine religion influence then it becomes highly probable that since the influence of Islam on philosophy was a reality. if anything of the Qur’an has passed into metaphysics. Mulla-Sadra and his pupils' style of survey in God's Essence and Attributes which is fully inspired by the Holy Qur’an. Nahj-Al Balaghah plays a great role in Islamic philosophy. are totally different from the prevoius philosophers. Nahj-Al Balaghah and the utterances of the Infallibles. at least we may reasonably ask whether the classical metaphysic was not nourished on the substance of Christian revelation to a far greater extent than we usually imagine. which is the infinity of Divine Essence. in short. Conclusion There are therefore good historical reasons for doubting the radical divorce of philosophy and religion in the centuries that followed the Middle Ages. but some. Mulla-Sadra who revolutionary changed theosophical thoughts. was deeply influenced by Imam Ali's utterances. If pure philosophy took any of its ideas from Islamic revelation. the concept of Islamic philosophy is not without a real meaning. since theology seems to survive its own funeral oration. In that formula we 141 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . To put the question in this form is simply to re-state the problem of Islamic philosophy in another field. if. two different attitudes remain open.

49. 435f. xlvi. which has remained. See al-Ash‘ari. But we felt that we had to dispel the common conception of the Muslims as merely Puritan warriors and merchants.: 33. x1vi. 15 vols. whose strange bent for the subtleties of algebra and logic somehow also enabled them to become the transmitters of Greek learning to the West. 2. As against that all too current notion. and then quickly forgotten in the West. and this we shall do by putting the following question: what intellectual advantages were to be gained by turning to the Qur’an and hadiths as sources of philosophic inspiration? Everyone who is left far from his Sources wishes to return to the time when he was united with It. Notes 1. n. half unknown at best. 4.): 90. Strangely enough. Al-Milal. 18. 2. up to the present Western impact upon the Islamic world. Ibid. 12. pp. which alone can render our existence and activity meaningful. 5. cit. 58f. which had an essential influence on the Western world up to the time of the Renaissance. and al-Farabi. 3rd ed. and which once again fused the constituent elements of Greek science into a powerful unitary conception. p. the major factor in the Islamic perspective. Al-Bayadi. pp. 3. al-Muqaddimah. Maqalat al-Islamiyin. The whole Qur'an is an invitation to reflect and draw lessons and directs attention to the methods of reflection. Qur'an..have the whole meaning of the question to which the lectures that now follow will attempt an answer. Al-Bayadi. 6. it is this latter conception. op.Tafsir al-kabir.d. ihsa’ al-’Ulum. Our first task will be to interrogate the Islamic philosophers themselves as to their own idea of Islamic philosophy. 485. op. 142/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . p.: 36. Al..18 The pertinence of studying the Islamic intellectual tradition is that it can aid us to regain those principles.1 (Beirut. v. cit. See for this general classification of the sciences Ibn Khaldun. we have tried to present a brief picture of a culture whose spiritual values are inextricably tied up with mathematics and with metaphysics of a high order. 9-10.

And then there are arguments from the other side. 1977). and they misidentified some of the authors anyway. "Oriental Metaphysics" in J. For the traditional school the Buddhist or Taoist vision of the Void does not at all negate the universality of the metaphysics enshrined in the philosophia perennis. For a synopsis of this metaphysics. Neither language is criterion. The Sword of Gnosis (Baltimore. Since much works was written in Persian going back to Ibn Sina himself and many and in fact. or nationality. may be difficult for Westerners to grasp. For them the truly contemplative attitude is based on "intellection. Needleman (ed. We do include some philosophical work here which has direct reference to some religious topic which is just philosophy." We should be mindful here of the changing usage of words. Islamic philosophy was created by Muslims who were Arabs. Survey of Metaphysics and Esoternm. For a more fucile approach to these metaphysical doctrines as far as the general American public is concerned. so defined. 1974). The intellective function. Smith. A Guide for the Perplexed (New York. A good deal of philosophy. From the Divine to the Human. According to this universality of Islamic philosophy. 11. in fact it provides a most powerful expression of this metaphysics in a language. Schuon.7. let us say. Islamic philosophy might be thought to be the sort of philosophy produced by Muslims. most of the Islamic philosophers were Persian while some were from Turkish or Indian ethnic backgrounds. but this would be too narrow also. which is complementary but not contradictory to that of. Schumacher.F. Guenon. In the west. Forgotten Truth (San Francisco. see F. Indians. we can not specialize it to a very particular nation. that is Arabs. Schuon. Moreover. and E. 8. see H. "Intellect" and "intellectual" are so Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 143 . Persians and later Turks. 1992). Persia has remained the main centre of Islamic philosophy during most of Islamic history. 9. Many Christian and Jewish philosophers worked within the style and tradition of Islamic philosophy.). and failed to represent clearly what the original debate was. To this situation is added the observation that the Islamic philosophers did not have access to the Greek thinkers in their original language or even in many cases in very accurate translations. Malays ete based on translations often made by Christians and influenced to some extent by Christian and Jewish interactions with Greek philosophy. 10. and some of it has no direct religious relevance anyway. Hinduism and Islam. Their interpretation of Greek philosophy was highly mediated by Hellenistic and Neo-platonic traditions. was produced by non-Muslims. which we have included. 12. also R.

(Beirut. Knowledge and the Sacred. A. F. Needleman (ed. xxviii and 52. Tradition emphasizes more the aspect of continuity and transmission and religion revelation and the reception of a message of Divine Origin. 5.E. "Oriental Metaphysics" in J. All civilizations have decayed. 15 vols. (1977) translated by R. London.F. Nicholson. 1926. One of the most basic doctrines of the philosophia perennis is that intellectus is not to be confused with ratio. References 1. The Sword of Gnosis (Baltimore).closely identified today with the analytical functions of the mind that they hardly bear any longer any relation to the contemplative. trans. chapter I. The East is sleeping over truths. Nasr. The Transcendent Unity of Religions. 1926. That is why so many of these treatises are called al-Mabda' wa'l-ma'ild in Arabic or Aghaz wa anjam in Persian. P. only they have decayed in different ways: the decay of the East is passive and that of the West is active. "What is Tradition?" 15. Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines. (1978) Stations of Wisdom. Townsend (New York) 7.). Schuon. Nicholson. 1954. 17. A Guide for the Perplexed (New York). Schumacher. 13. trans.5. also F. From Rumi's Mathnawi. Schuon.Tafsir al-kabir. see F. vol.E. E. London. A. the two constitute basically the same reality. Schuon.H...The Holy Quran 2. translated by R. II. Palmer (London. 6. the West lives in errors. Townsend (New York. 3rd ed. Rumi's Mathnawi. (1974). Schuon. G. The Transcendent Unity of Religions. . This question and its pertinence for the Muslims of the present day is dwelt on in S. 22. 1975).' F. especially the Prologue. Reason as currently understood is the reflection upon the plane of the mind of the Intellect. R. Schuon. 1978). F. p. 16. Otherwise. .) 3. Matheson. Stations of Wisdom. On the distinction between intellect and reason. 14. London. H.H. chapter two. 18. P. See Nasr. M. 4. (1975). translated by D. Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts. pp. trans. Guenon. trans. vol. Palmer (London) 144/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . II. Al. p. G.

9. London. Smith. M.. Schuon.8. translated by D. Matheson. (1954) Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts. F. . H. (1992) Forgotten Truth (San Francisco) Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 145 .


this book will be used as a reference (for more details. some of its volumes have been published. Center of World Islamic Sciences . Leiden. Thus far. Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe in Leiden. * Assistant professor. the present paper is an attempt to provide an unbiased report about the Encyclopedia. McAuliffe. Making use of the Introduction of this Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia of the Quran. Netherlands. Criticisms of the Encyclopedia are. Encyclopedia: Leiden Encyclopedia of Quran. which is under process in The Netherlands. E-mail: Quransc@yahoo.(General Editor). general ones. Qum .Book Reviews Review of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran* Mohammad Ali Rezaei Esfahani ** Abstract The present writing seeks to introduce the new Encyclopedia of the Quran organized by Dr. Keywords: Encyclopedia: A comprehensive book written concerning a science in which various subjects have been described. Netherlands. D. 2006. J. Quran: The holy book of ** . containing 6236 verses handed down to us by the Holy Prophet (s) successively and without interpolation. see the first part of the present article). of course. which will be discussed in the next issues of the Journal. . Iran. Also its strong and weak points will be discussed.

or theories previously presented (and not newlyoriginated points resulting from the author's new speculations). a research grown out of a host of 148/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . 3-2. cause the scholars to be reluctant to compile Encyclopedia in sacred and religious subjects. but its main axis is the Quran (and not the Encyclopedia of the Quran together with exegesis). and arguments about the subject discussed. Note It should be emphasized that the main principle in writing an Encyclopedia is to make an unbiased report of information and avoid prejudice.Making use of scientific prose. which makes the researcher needless of other references. Mc Auliffe. Following scientific method to compile encyclopedic articles. Such losses. and avoiding bombastic wordings. 3-5.Observing technical styles of writing.Presenting points which have been put within the framework of consistent knowledge.Observing conciseness and avoiding prolixity and repetition. 2.Presenting articles within the framework of reports.Points' being well-supported. including: 3-1. Portraying comprehensive information concerning a subject or scientific discipline. 3-6.Observing impartiality in presenting points. Definition A collection of articles which portrays a series of the exegeses of the Quran. the Editor. there is no need to wordings and to keep them far from truth. Arranging information in the frames of articles (ordered thematically. 3-8. and avoiding prejudice or imposing one’s viewpoint on the reader. 3-4. Thus. viewpoints. the following features may be concluded for the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran. Features of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran From the Introduction of Dr.Features of a Desired Encyclopedia: The most important features of a desired Encyclopedia are as follows: 1. 3-7. alphabetically or logically) 3. as written by some authors1. Hence the best way to defend correct opinion is to refrain from unfairness and present the truth.Making use of original and authentic sources. 3-3. directly or indirectly.

and its board of advisors consists of Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd. William Graham (the US). which may attain the highest achievement of the century in the field of Quranic research. and four renowned Western Quranic researchers accompany her: Claude Gilliot (France). Executive Stages The project of the Encyclopedia of the Quran began in The Netherlands by Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe with the cooperation of various scholars in 1993. Creating a reference work. in 2002 and 2003. Andrew Rippin (Canada).Alphabetical order predicted for the Encyclopedia will be extended to include detailed and long articles. respectively. are from various countries. The Encyclopedia advances more extensive studies in the field of Quran in future decades. Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe is a professor of Georgetown University (In the US).The Encyclopedia of the Quran looks both at future and past. and such an insight has shaped structure of this Encyclopedia. Muhammed Arkoun. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 149 . Dr. This Quranic work is sponsored by Brill Publications. Widad al-Qazi (Chicago). and its contributors. and its first volume was published in 2001 by Brill Publications in Leiden (The Netherlands).viewpoints and demonstrative bases coming to provide and uplift scientific understanding of the Quran. Goals 1. 3.To make researches in the Quran accessible for academic scholars and learned readers. whether Muslim or nonMuslim. and the third volume containing entries beginning with letters J to O were published. This volume contains entries beginning with letters A to D. Its second volume containing entries beginning with letters E to I. Gerald Hawting (England). taking into account incomplete information concerning Quran in European languages and to present such information to students. Approaches 1. 2. 2. Angelica Neuwirth (Germany). Gerhard Böwering (the US). Editorial Board The editor of this Encyclopedia. Fred Leemhuis (Netherlands).

Wars. 5. … Study A: Strong Points of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran 1. Ears. a thematic list containing English words and Arabic ones. concepts. East and West. but only references to even such well-known exegetes of the Quran as Tabari and Fakhr Razi. the titles of some entries in the third volume are introduced below. Advice. Epigraphy. Theft. Ethics and the Quran. Earth. Interpolation. Exegesis of the Quran: Early Modern and Contemporary. values. Education. For the reader’s information. 4. entries are in English (unlike the Encyclopedia of Islam in which Arabic terms have been transliterated into English). Eve. Enemies. Exhortation. arranged alphabetically. Refuge. Heaven.Various methods and viewpoints have been deliberately used in the Encyclopedia. Quran in everyday life.3. Virtues and Vices: Commanding and Forbidding. and events found in the Quran or having a remarkable relation to the Text. Jest.The Encyclopedia does not include exegeses of the Quran. Eyes. 6. Elements.Contribution of a large number of authors from the West and East. Hence. and these entries are of two kinds: A) Entries concerning personalities. Earthquake. Exegesis of the Quran: Ancient and Medieval. In this Encyclopedia. Emigrants and Helpers. Ezekiel. 150/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . will be included in the last volume2. Virtue. Ezra. there will be no independent article. Evening. Scientific Structure About 1000 entries (arranged alphabetically) will be included in this Encyclopedia. And to solve the problem of inventing equivalent words for Arabic terms. Evil deeds. Economy. Exile. B)Entries concerning important issues in the field of Quranic studies such as Arts and Architecture in the Quran. Science of History and Quran. achievements of this century as well will be promoted. Face. Evil. Elephant. Ecology. places names.The most extensive span of an accurate scientific research concerning the Quran will be included in the Encyclopedia. Egypt. Election. Achievements of the past century will be valued. Idris. acts. Emigration. Elias. Eternity. Jealousy. Eschatology. Face of God.

But the author has not noticed that there are three main theological (kalami) currents in the Islamic world: First) Ash‘ari theologial (Kalami) current Second) Mu‘tazali theological (Kalami) current Third) Shi‘i theological (Kalami) current And as to the third current. Weak Points of the Leiden Encyclopedia 1.Paying attention to new themes (such as feminism) along with traditional Quranic themes. For example. Shi‘ism believes in continuance of prophethood in Imamah. 460 AH (Lunar)) and Shaykh Tabarsi (d.Separating the Encyclopedia of the Quran from exegesis 4. Third example: in the article “’A'isha”5. For example.Claim of careful study (which has been mentioned in the Introduction of Encyclopedia) is not consistent with works of some contributors in some articles of the Encyclopedia. B. it has been said that the accusation of interpolation to Shi‘ism is unfounded. 3. Another example: in the article “Interpolation”4 written by Newby. 548 AH (Lunar)) among Mu‘tazali Shi’i exegetes. it is an independent current.2. and introduces Sahykh Tusi (d. Margot Badran says explicitly that the Holy Quran defends the rights of women. in “Exegesis of the Quran: Classical and Medieval”6. though similar to Mu‘tazali one in some categories such as rationalism. 406 AH (Lunar)) as one of the commentaries of Mu‘tazalis. 5. disagree with Shi‘ism concerning this important Shi‘i theological (kalami) idea.Avoiding the approach of previous Orientalists and being fair in opinions in many cases: For example in the article “Feminism and the Quran”3. Mu‘tazalis. and the Shi‘ia’s Quran is not different from that of the Sunnis. Claude Gilliot mentions the book “Haqa’iq al-ta’wil fi mutashabah al-tanzil” of Sayyid Murtada (d.Scheduled project and promptness in publication of the Encyclopedia. however. Denis Spellbery says that superiority of Fatima (s) to all women of the world has been explicitly mentioned. or Mu‘tazalis accept “intermediate position” which is not accepted by Shi‘i theology (Kalam)7. and each of the two has its own features. 151 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / .

And this will become clear from above exegeses easily. 1898). AbulFutuh Razi’s Exegesis is roughly a Persian translation of Shaykh Tusi’s Tebyan (with some additions. but by Indian Sir Seyyed Ahmad Khan. Dhahabi’s al-Tafsir wa’l mufassirun. And the faculty of thought is used to reflect upon and 152/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . and Fayd Kashani’s Safi. the term "reason" in exegetical issues has two applications. Thirdly. 1905) who have combined the Western civilization and Science with the Quran. demonstrative reason which proceeds to comment using rational arguments. The second is the illuminating reason for faculty of thought. and the two latter’s methodology for commentary is a deductive (and not pure narrative) one. Rotraud Wielandt has restricted rational exegesis to deductive ones of those such as the Indian Seyyed Ahmad Khan (d. thus we pay no attention to the appearance. in what follows in the article. of course. But.Of course. by the late AbulFutuh Razi). 2. And in the same article “Exegesis”. it seems that such a mistake in the Leiden Encyclopedia has its roots in books such as Dr. Methodological Problems in Presenting Reports of Exegeses First example: In “Exegesis of the Quran: Early Modern and Contemporary”9. and the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (d. which has ascribed these ideas to Sayyid Murtada prior to them8. 1930). Firstly. Muhaddith Bahrani’s alBurhan. But. ‘Arusi Huwayzi’s Nur al-thaqalayn. For example the verse "The Hand of Allah is above their hands" (48: 10) is commented upon taking into account the fact that "God is not body". the author ascribes al-Hidayat wa’l ‘irfan fi tafsir al-quran bi’l quran to Muhammad Abu Zayd (d. Rather. this book is among scientific. and not rational exegeses. the greatest Shi‘i narrative exegeses are “Exegesis of ‘Ayyashi”. And interestingly enough. which is of use in various exegetical approaches. and. Sayyid Murtada was a great Imami Shi‘i scholar. this book has not been authored by Abu Zayd. Rippin introduces AbulFutuh Razi’s Exegesis as the greatest Shi‘i narrative Exegesis. rational exegeses are not restricted to deductive ones. secondly. and say that "hand" refers to power. first.

For example paying attention to social trends in commentary as well as to scientific methodology and the role of modern sciences which become clear through studying Exegesis of ‘Amm Juz’ and exegesis of his disciple Rashid Ridha in al-Minar. According to a wrong understanding of the verse "And We reveal the Scripture unto thee as an exposition of all things" (16: 89) it was thought that the verse meant that all sciences are in the Holy Quran. 1856) and Tantavi's al-Jawahir. Thus. 548 AH (Lunar)). Of course. which is the right approach. The latter approach is called deductive10. and this is as arms in the hands of Muslims against the West. The second example: in the same article "Exegesis of the Quran: Early Modern and Contemporary". and then the author mentions Ruh al-ma'ani of Alusi (d. For example.understand verses and their frames of reference. rational exegeses are not restricted to those of the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (1848-1905) and the Indian Seyyed Ahmad Khan (18171898). 505 AH (Lunar))11. Second: Imposing scientific theses on the Holy Quran which is interesting for those who are fond of the modern sciences. to sum up and to deduce. and is still going on. the author has admitted that scientific exegesis of the Quran proves miracle of the Quran. and those such as Muhammad Abduh sought to follow this path. there have been some innovations in Muhammad Abduh's exegesis. of course. the Egyptian Abdulrazzagh al-Nufal in his various books follows this approach. Such an exegesis has a one-thousand-year-old history among Muslims beginning from exegeses of Shaykh Tusi and Tabarsi (d. 606 AH (Lunar)) and through deducting sciences from the Holy Quran. In this article. Third: employing sciences from the Holy Quran. But the author has not realized that scientific exegesis of the Quran began during the time of Ibn Sina (370-428 AH (Lunar)) in his Rasa'il and it has been proceeded in three approaches: First: Deduction of sciences from the Holy Quran.12 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 153 . Rotraud Weilandt says that scientific exegesis of the Quran began with Fakhr Razi (d. and this is the approach chosen by Ghazali (d.

In a hadith attributed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).Repetition of Unfounded Claims and Accusation Imposed by the Earlier Orientalists upon the Holy Quran Although there is a great distance between the general approach of this Encyclopedia and that of earlier studies of Orientalists and a fair and scholarly approach governs many articles in it. has posed the same question and answered it in details. editor. without a new research and imitating the earlier ones repeated the previous claims of Orientalists. it was Adrian Rayland (1676-1718) who posed such a question about the Holy Quran. For example. erroneously. But. some of which are mentioned below. But. and editorial board of the above Encyclopedia to researches made by Orientalists and critiques of Muslims concerning such studies have created. it has been said that Aaron had a sister called Mary. “O sister of Aaron!” (19: 28). while Aaron had died centuries before Jesus’ mother. fourteen years after the publication of Abdolrahman Badawi’s book. In the Bible. 61). Under the entry “Aaron”. in his Difa' 'an al-Quran (p. and Muslims have answered this question many times mentioning Orientalists’ mistake in understanding the above verse. The point made by Andrew Rippin is not a new one. Andrew Rippin says that the Quran. but this was in the time of Moses. rather a repetition of sayings of earlier Orientalists. some authors. Andrew Rippin would have noticed that this sentence of the Quran had been quoted by Mary’s enemies and is a proverb among his folk. they said about virtuous persons that “he (she) is Aaron’s brother (sister)”14. 1988). Abdolrahman Badawi (d. Since. for the first time. This Andrew Rippin’s error in understanding the Quranic verse and his heedlessness to exegeses and exegetical hadiths as well as ascribing historical mistake to the Holy Quran (that the Holy Quran has confused Mary of Moses’ age with Mary of Jesus’ time) have created problems for the Leiden Encyclopedia as much as heedlessness of Andrer Rippin. strangely enough. if he had studied Shi‘i and Sunni important exegeses. it has been said that since Aaron was such a virtuous man that he was an example among children of Israel. and not in the time of Jesus13. considers Jesus’ mother as Aaron’s sister. the same mistake of the earlier Orientalists is repeated in the 154/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 .

Najjarzadegan (Salamat al-Quran min al-tahrif). originally. necessarily. From among those who have written on this point. This. why does the author accuse Shi‘as of such point? While. one may mention: Ayatullah Kho’i (reh) (al-Bayan). and some of them mention exegetical points and differences in Readings. which has been sent unto Muhammad (PBUH). However. but it has been altered. The term A'immah has been altered into the term ummah. the point that the original version of the Chapter Ahzab had been longer than the Chapter Baqarah has been mentioned by some Sunnis. Shi‘as have commented the Seven Readings of the Quran to deduce legal decisions15. and the scholars of two schools reject interpolation. the Quran's being interpolated has been rejected. but such verse is not included in the Quran at all. But. ascribed to Ubay ibn Ka‘b and ‘Ayishah17. Dr. It is ascribed to Shi‘as that they believe that the Chapter Ahzab was. many such hadiths are inconsistent with the Quran. for example: He quotes the verse Rajm from Suyuti. and chains of transmission of such hadiths are inconsistent. and what is inconsistent with the Quran is not authentic.Leiden Encyclopedia without making any reference to the answer given by Badawi. firstly. longer than the Chapter Baqarah. Thirdly. in “Interpolation”16 of Newby included in the Leiden Encyclopedia. and makes duties of its editor. in particular about historical issues ascribed to religions and Scriptures. Example: Juynboll. makes internal inconsistency of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran clear. hadiths concerning interpolation have been many times criticized and rejected by the great Shi‘i and Sunni scholars. as mentioned above. in Hadith and the Quran. who attempts to avoid inconsistent points in this book. Then. such inconsistencies are sometimes seen inn the Leiden Encyclopedia. has said some points about interpolation in the Quran. 155 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / . no inconsistency between points provided in a book. Ayatullah Muhammad Hadi Ma‘rifat (Sianat al-Quran min al-tahrif). more burdensome. the latter's book has been recently reprinted with some additions. the point is not correct at all. Secondly. For. Internal Inconsistency in the Leiden Encyclopedia There should be.

It Has Not Collected all Necessary Information in a Field As was mentioned above on the features of an Encyclopedia. Jane Dammen Mc Aulife has said that the exegetes of the Quran regarding the verses 3:61 (Ayat al-mubahalah) and 33:33 (ayat al-Tathir) are related to Faima (s).Fourthly. and Husayn are meant. verses pertaining to Fatima have been mentioned. she quotes from Tabari's Tafsir that by “Household” in the Chapter Ahazab. of course. Yet some verses. Mrs. Concerning Fatima. Hasan. interpretation.00 books have been authored23. since the Readings have not been widely transmitted and the Quran cannot be understood through them. including the Chapter Kawthar21 and ayat al-nazr in the Chapter al-Insan (the verse 1 beginning with hal ati (Hath there…?)). since Hafas’ Reading by ‘Asim has the greatest correspondence with the Quran and generally accepted by Muslims. and some people may take it as an indication of unawareness of the author. Muhammad. or inner implication. concern Fatima (s). 5. has not sometimes fulfilled this responsibility. have been confirmed and emphasized by the great Shi‘i and Sunni interpreters22. However. Example: in the Article “Fatima”. 156/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Of course. The Leiden Encyclopedia. but she quotes from ‘Akramah that the Holy Prophet’s wives are meant19. And. Fatima. more than 24. Occasions of revelation of some of them. Then. it has drawn the attentions and the existing Qurans in the Islamic world are published on the basis of this Reading. ‘Ali. the Encyclopedia’s responsibility is to provide all necessary information in such a concise manner that it would make the reader needless to refer to other books. it has been reported that the verses concerning Fatima (s) in the Holy Quran amount to 60 to 135 verses20. the Seven Readings of the Quran mentioned in some hadiths have been doubted by Shi‘i scholars for their chains of transmission18. in many of them. however. and in some of them Fatima (s) has been regarded as the verse’s referent. they cannot be employed as bases to deduce legal judgment. Heedlessness of the editor and author of the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran to this valuable Shi‘i and Sunni heritage regarding verses about Fatima cannot be overlooked.

they have employed Messrs. some Quranic researchers in the Asian countries may not have enough command of English.28 1.e. i. But in the contemporary age and in the Middle East. the author had to mention the weakness of chain of transmission of ‘Akramah's hadith. and if she (he) makes a report about some viewpoint. Muhammad Ali Amirmoezzi and Mohsen Zakeri.Secondly. Iraq. she (he) should report the opposite one as well. in Egypt. Ayatullah Marefat (author of Tafsir al-athari al-jami' wa'l tamhid fi ulum al-quran) and many others. In the above instance wherein a hadith was quoted from ‘Akramah. while the two are unknown for the Scientific Society of the Quran and for those who research in the Quranic field in Iran. But in Iran. For example in Iran. and in fact infallibility of the Household. Iran. there are great Quranic researchers like Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi (author of Tafsir nimunah). However. but their command of original sources as well as their scientific strength cannot be ignored. Of course.25 Also. particularly because the great figures in the “biographies and criticisms of traditionists” among Shi‘a and Sunnis have regarded ‘Akramah's hadiths to be weak and considered him as a Kharijite24 (who are enemies of 'Ali (a) and the Household (a)). the author of Encyclopedia should provide a comprehensive report of viewpoints in a subject. and Pakistan and some other countries there are dozens of great Quranic researchers. For example. being far from any sin. for as mentioned by some interpreters ayat al-tathir signifies virtue.. some of whom have authored dozens of Quranic exegeses or books in the field of Quranic or related sciences. she had to mention the implicative weakness of ‘Akramah's hadith (: revealed concerning the Holy Prophet's special wives26). And even their works might be translated into English. the abovementioned Tafsir Nimunah has been translated into some current languages of the world. strong and prominent scholars of the Quran have not been employed by the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran.It Has Not Employed Authors Specialized in the Quran Employing various authors from all corners of the world is one of the strong points of this Encyclopedia.27 And this cannot be about all wives of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) concerning whose repentance the verses 4-6 of the Chapter al-Tahrim have been revealed. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 157 . Lebanon.

p. Notes 1. p. Da'irat al-ma'arif quran. 18 12. Ibid. In this way their reports were not regarded as one-sided ones. Method for Rational and Deductive Exegesis 11. 1. Dr.. There are.. 1. vol. p. pp. al-Jawahir. vol. For more details. p. p. Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). Osweh Press 13. 8 .. 12. 242. 1. (points are classified by the author of this article) 3. Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). the editor of the Encyclopedia was able to invite their opponents to criticize their ideas and opinions and publish both works in the same article or along with each other. But all of them have not been mentioned in this article.Moreover. See. 1. An Introduction to Scientific Exegesis of the Quran. Muhammad Ali. Exegesis of the Quran: Classical and Medieval. 99-124. Margot Badran 4 . 2. And even the works of some of them like Muhammed Arkoun and Hamed Abu Zayd have been put to question. For more details about Shi'I. pp. Handbook of Methods and Trends in Commenting upon the Quran. 1. NB. Denis Spellbery 6 . 1. Mohhamad Ali. al-Tafsir wa'l mufassirun. other major objections to the Leiden Encyclopedia of the Quran. Ibid. vol. 2. See. 199-203. p. but will be presented soon as a series of articles or in an independent book. vol. Rotraud Wielandt 10. vol. Claude Gilliot 7. pp. For more details see Rezaei Esfahani. 289. Mu'tazali. 55-60. Ihia al-'ulum. Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). see Rezaei Esfahani. of course. Along with employing these figures. pp. vol. and Ash'ari viewpoints. vol. 'A'isha. Mustafa Mahami. vol. Interpolation. see kalami books such as Khwajah Nasir's Sharh Tajrid and Sharh Mawaqif Iji. vol. 11 2. Aaron. Gordon Darnell Neweby 5 . Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). 1-2. "Feminism and the Quran". Exegesis of the Quran: Early Modern and Contemporary. some authors have been employed in this Encyclopedia who are against the general current of the contemporary Quranic researchers in the Islamic world. Andrew Rippin 158/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . 404 9 . Ibid. 2. Introduction. Dhahabi.

pp. Some great figures. 3. Safi.. p. See Fakhr Rzai's Tafsir. Newby 17. 2. See Commentaries by Qurtabi. 2. 4915. 242. Qamus al-rijal. . Fatima dar a'yinah kitab (Fatima as Mirrored in Books) 24. Seyyed Muhammad Bagher. Fatima alZahra fi'l quran… 21. 6. 327 25. 51 15. 12.A. 3. p. Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe 20. 13. See. Nur al-thaqalayn. Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). 2. 8 27. al-Bayan fi tafsir al-quran. Nur al-thaqalayn. Fatima. vol. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 159 . Nimunah… 22. See. vol. 93-96. 376-396. Baghawi in Ma'alim altanzil as well as al-Mizan. Tabari. Muhammad Hadi. Readings. Readings and hadith of the Seven Interpolated (qara'at wa hadith sab'ah ahraf). 314. Esma'il Ansari Zanjani Kho'ini. vol. 1. p. Hojjati. vol. Readings (qara'at) 19. vol. p. 72 18. under the Chapter al-Kawthar. 192-193. 348-361 26. Hadith and the Quran. Introduction to Quranic Sciences (qara'at wa'l tamhid fi 'ulum al-quran). vol. An Study of the History of the Quran. al-Mizan. Nimunah… 23. p. 5. Sahih. of course. Suyuti. 310-311 28 . Encyclopedia of the Quran (Leiden). vol. Ibid. vol. vol. Tustari. see al-Tafsir wa'l mufassirun. 3. Faza'il Fatima fi'l dhikr al-hakim. G. Nimunah. Musnad of Ahmad. Ma nazzala min al-quran fi sha'n Fatima al-Zahra. 16. Tafsir. See Shaykh Haydar Ali Mu'ayyid. 333. vol. al-Mizan. pp. Bukhari. al-Burhan. pp. al-Itqan. Seyyed Sadiq Shirazi. Nishaburi in his Ghara'ib al-quran. p. Dhahabi. Seyyed Muhammad 'Ali Halv. p. Mjama' al-bayan under the verse 19: 28. p. pp. hadiths 4914. vol. 132. See Kho'i Abolqasem. Ma'refat. Juynboll 16. but they have doubted in ascribing such hadith to him. Interpolation. authenticated 'Akramah. pp. Mizan al-i'tidal.H. vol.14.


The Structure of the Ethical Terms in Koran. Qatar) **. In this book. His numerous references as well reveal his great attention to the history of Islamic culture from the very beginning up to its blossoming. Japan. and as seen. the author shows his considerable ability in the field of the Holy Quran and Arabic poetry. the author of the book was one of the salient figures in the field of studies concerning the Holy Quran and Islamic culture. so that the reader feels his great respect for the God's Book and Quranic concepts.God and Man in the Quran* Toshihiko Izutsu** A professor of the Faculty of Cultural Studies and Linguistics in Keio University in Tokyo. and this point is a fully new look at the world. * . he has tried to somehow pave the way to better understand the mission of the Holy Quran by people of the era of Revelation as well as people of our age. the author proceeds to study changes and developments in Arabic terms used by the Holy Quran. Introduced by: Isa Ali Al'akub (Qatar University . In this. his aim has been to say that such semantic changes suggest a point of paramount importance. which seems to be helpful to understand conceptual structure of the Holy Quran. . many Islamologists and researchers of the Islamic culture refer to his works. In the book under question as well. and seeks to discuss their developments since the Ignorance Era up to the time when they were employed by the Quran. just equivalent to what is called in German "Weltanschauung". Arabic translator: Zahed veysi. he himself refers the reader to his own other work. In God and Man in Quran. As said by Professor Toshihiko Izutsu in the introduction to book.

In the first chapter. semantics is analytical study of key-terms in a language in order to find a conceptual understanding in looking at the world (Weltschauung) for those who employ that language as a tool. taking into account difficulties of what is called semantics and its great need to organization. In this way. For the same reason. instead of individual and separate concepts which are far away from the universal structure (Gestalt) in which they have been incorporated. theses based on methodologies of semantic studies and applied methodology based on the terminology of the Holy Quran have been combined.the Great. and their relation with each other. of course not only to speak and think. to present their understandings and interpretations about their surrounding world. though this was strange. from the very beginning. when the Islamic revelation began to employ them. From the very beginning. those terms of the vocabulary do not equally contribute 162/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . the author mentions the distinction between basic senses of the terms and their relational senses. unconventional. the author has tried to give a clear picture of the relation between semantic methodology and Quranic studies. exactly. and hence unacceptable. he says that the in the main body of this study. including the term Allah. personal relation between the Creator. he believes that Quranic semantic study reveals viewpoint of this valuable book to the structure of the world and its main parts. he emphasizes that in this book. He explains that the key-terms which are of crucial usages in shaping the look of the Holy Quran at the world. all these systems or in other words the universal context in which these terms were used led to conflicts with polytheists. the author has attempted to present his own viewpoint about this discipline. but rather almost all of them had been of use in pre-Islamic era. the important thing is. the author says that for him. terms create a strict system whose main pattern consists of some very important terms. According to him. are not new and innovative. Then. Yet. and in this way. Nevertheless. and that through semantic study along with Quranic look at the world. Also. the sort of conceptual system used by the Quran. but also and in addition to these. He says in this regard that for him.and man in the Quran is discussed. In this regard. he explains that he puts importance on two essential points: semantic study and the Quran. "lesson of Semantics and Quran".

in whatever way it may be seen. For example. he has to try to read Quran without calling ideas presented by the Muslim thinkers after revelation of the Holy Quran. the term "Qirtas" used in the Chapter "In'am" is literally and in terms of Arab Culture history. That is. for the Holy Quran tries hard to negate such qualification of the Holy Prophet. These terms. and tries to create a comprehensive idea of the conceptual sketch of the Quranic viewpoint to the world. i. the author calls. the term "sha'ir" seems to be much more important. in order to attain this goal. it plays no role in finding Quranic viewpoint to the being. value of this term. he gives examples of systems such as kalam. Islam. the author explains essential structure of the Quranic outlook. Here. he speaks of the Quranic key-terms in the history and for this he uses two terms "synchronic" and "diachronic". of course he does so through analytical and systematic study of the important terms which seem to play a paramount role in finding the prevalent idea which has been permeate throughout the Holy Quran. In other words. In the third chapter. Faith (iman). He comes to the conclusion that no semantic field in the Quranic system may be found which has no relation to "Allah" and is not placed under this essential concept. concentrated about "Allah". Messenger (nabi). However. "key-terms". is much less than the term "nabi". In the second shaping that existential look whose basis is vocabularies. essentially. the author tries to employ a methodology he pictured in the first chapter. And this is the same concept which has forced researchers in the field of semantic of words to say that the world of the Quran is. In the following chapters. philosophy. the author tries to read the Holy Quran free from any a priori idea. In this regard. the author mentions a very important point. of paramount importance. and Sufism which had taken their key-terms from Quran. Of this kind are the terms Allah. Thus. On the contrary. while in the Ignorance Era this was not the case. Disbelief (kufr). and Prophet (rasul). Nevertheless.e. that the Quranic dominance became so that all Islamic systems of thought had to go to the treasure of Quranic terminology to acquire their primary elements. which are of semantic usages in creating conceptual structure of the Quranic look. as said. he has to attempt to find structure of 163 Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / .

e. moral relation. and it goes without saying that the fair reader will agree with ideas presented by the author in an expressive way. In this way. In the closing chapters of the book. He believes that whenever these relations are established between God and man. in the same way that in the History of Islam. connective relation. 2007. Journal 164/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . From translated copy of that book which published in the "Islamic Knowledg" (www. The first one of these conceptual opposites is relation between God and man for which four forms may be imagined: existential relation. USA. i. (An Arabic translation is at the publishing precess). something called "Muslim Ummah" was found. each of which shapes a concrete semantic the author discusses four relations between God and man. in the same way that it was understood by the Companions of the Prophet and his immediate followers. there will be found a special group of individuals who admit such relations and select their positive aspects for their look at life and being. in the latter's principal face.1 Notes 1. the author comes to a brief and important result: Quran is a great and multi-layered system which relies on some essential and conceptual opposites.iit. relation between the Lord and His Bondman.the idea of the world in the Quran.

and historical articles. Introduced by: P. 514 pages. On Wisdom and Knowledge . ∗ .Tehran. A Collection of Philosophical. along with his genius. Arranged in 14 chapters. The second section contains 10 scientific interviews with the late Professor. Iran. Throughout his life he was engaged in explaining and defending Transcendental Philosophy and introducing it to Orientalists. studying genealogy of philosophical and mystical rules and principles and exploring the viewpoints of Muslim philosophers. Professor Seyyed Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani is one of the most eminent commentators of the Islamic philosophy and mysticism. .Mystical Articles and Interviwes (Professor Seyyed Jalaleddin Ashtiani) Editor: Hasan Jamshidi.Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought Publishes:∗ On Wisdom and Knowledge ** On Wisdom and Knowledge. On Philosophy and Knowledge contains two sections.200 copies. Henry Corbin calls him "Newly-appeared Sadra". Professor 'Allamah Seyyed Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani may be considered among neo-Sadrean philosophers. 2006 . shaped him as a great figure and a distinct symbol of philosophy and knowledge.. mystical. persistence. **. Through his relentless efforts to revive scientific heritage of the predecessors. explanation of difficult points in Islamic philosophy. and scientific tolerance. Attendance in the classes of great teachers. a collection of philosophical-scientific articles and interviews of the late Professor Seyyed Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani. strong memory. the first section includes his philosophical. Iran . Researcher of the Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought. he played a critical role in the history of rational sciences. theological (kalami).Kazemzadeh. was printed and published in 514 pages in 1. Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought Pub.

and studied the main texts of the two fields.Titles of some chapters of this section are as follows: The End of Sainthood in Ibn Arabi's Thinking. he attended Ayatollah Borujerdi's School of Jurisprudence (Fiqh). Then. and that he did not find something satisfying in that philosophy". Professor Ashtiyani left for Qazvin and attended the class of Aqa Seyyed AbolHasan Rafi'i Qazvini. he left his birthplace for Qom to complete his education. 166/ Alhikmah/ Winter 2008 . Professor Ashtiyani attended 'Allamah Tabataba'i's class for 8 years. and commentary on the Holy Quran (partially). he attended the class of Mirza Ahmad Ashtiyani. in this class. Tasawwuf (Mysticism) in Islam. Professor Seyyed Jalal alDin Ashtiyani says: "For me. Iran. A Critique of the Critique of the Sih Asl (Mulla Sadra's Treatise on Three Principles). To complete his studies in the field of Sadrean philosophy. in one of his interviews. Two years later. he left Qazvin for Najaf. and completed his Kharij level. he was promoted and became assistant professor. Concerning Henry Corbin. Because of his interest in philosophy and mysticism. he was appointed a lecturer of Mashhad University in Islamic philosophy and mysticism. a complete course in fiqh (jurisprudence). what attracted Corbin to the Eastern philosophy and in particular our mysticism was his disappointment of the Western philosophy. Commentary on the Chapter Fatiha. After completing his primary education. and attended the classes of the teachers in Najaf Seminary for two years. Having returned to Tehran. and made uses of his guidance to solve his problems. After primary stages of education in this city. Professor Seyyed Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani was born in 1925 in Ashtiyan. In 1959.

After being inflicted with a protracted disease. At the same time he was authoring books and articles concerning religious philosophy. and created works of great value. Introduced by: P. Borrowed from: www. Commentary on Farabi's Fusus al-hikam. Alhikmah / Winter 2008 / 167 . Iran.Mehrnews. Commentary on Qaysari's Introduction to Fusus al-hikam. and editing manuscripts of the philosophers and mystics of the predecessors. Fayd Kashani's Usul al-ma'arif.1 Reference 1. Mulla Sadra's Shawahid al-rububiyah. Commentary on the Chapter Fatiha.Kazemzadeh. Biography and Philosophical Viewpoints of Mulla Sadra's Zad al-musafir. Mulla Sadra's al-Masha'ir. Mulla Sadra's al-Mabda' wa'l ma'ad. Ibn Turkah's Tamhid al-qawa' Professor Seyyed Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani passed away at 80.Tehran. the Muslim philosopher and theosophist. he was teaching in Seminary and University. Naqd al-nusus fi sharh naqsh al-nusus of 'Abdolrahman Jami. He was one of the last figures in Sadrean philosophy in Iran. Researcher of the Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought.For more than 40 years and before illness preventing him from teaching and studying. and Selection of Works of Iranian Divine Philosophers. Some of his works are as follows: Being according Mysticism and Philosophy.


the volume is ideal for student and general readership. it is argued. www.2 Notes 1. 2. The book deals squarely with such problems as the existence of different religions. Rationality and Religion . Based on the prestigious Stanton lectures at the University of Cambridge. 1998 . Iran. and how religion should be treated in a pluralist society.Rationality and Religion1 Roger Trigg Rationality and Religion deals with the perennial question of how far religious faith needs reason. the relation between science and religion. By Roger Trigg Blackwell . UK . and indeed needs the idea of a transcendent God.Blackwell publishing.. as well as for philosophers and theologians.Kazemzadeh.. This is one of the most fundamental issues facing religion at the present time. Can religion still be the subject of rational discussion or must it be privatized and left to the personal decisions of individuals as to how they should live their lives? Can it make claims that demand universal attention? This book is a spirited contribution to a vital contemporary debate. 224 Pages Introduced by: P. Researcher of the Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought. Religion must claim truth.Tehran.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful