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AI-na'na· Sone BeJIeclions on lIe TecInicaI Meanings oJ lIe Tevn in lIe KaIân and Ils Use

in lIe FI¸sics oJ Mu'annav
AulIov|s)· BicIavd M. FvanI
Souvce· JouvnaI oJ lIe Anevican OvienlaI Sociel¸, VoI. 87, No. 3 |JuI. - Sep., 1967), pp. 248-
FuIIisIed I¸· Anevican OvienlaI Sociel¸
SlaIIe UBL· .
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248 FISCHnL: Exploration of the Jewish Antiquities of Cochin
The facsimiles of the copper plate inscription,
first brought to the notice of Europe by Anquetil
du Perron in 1771, then around 1780 by A.
s'Gravezande and in 1806 by Buchanan have been
supplanted by the meticulous critical work carried
out by experts in the field during the nineteenth
century, thus affording a sound basis for the
understanding of these remnants of the Jewish
antiquities in Cochin.
This historical-critical survey may have indi-
cated the great efforts made throughout the last
two and a half centuries to acquaint the Western
world with these Jewish antiquities of Cochin.
During the 20th century, the interest in them did
not diminish as attested by the flow of publications
by casual visitors as well as serious scholars.106
Among those from the second half of the 19th cen-
tury, mention ought to be made of Benjamin II (1850),
J. Sapir (1860), S. Reinman (1884), E. N. Adler
(1906), E. Thurston (1909), C. Z. Kloetzel (1938), and
D. Mandelbaum (1938).
define the meaning of the term matna as it is used
in the thought of Muammar and to describe the
significance of the concept in his system, as well
as to trace the origin of the term and concept to
earlier, non-Islamic sources. The most recent of
these is the short article of Professor H. Wolfson
in Arabic and Islamic Studies in Honor of Hamil-
ton A. R. Gibb.' Indeed, the remarks which I
shall present here were, in some sense, provoked
by my reading of Professor Wolfson's article, for,
though I must confess (to borrow a phrase from
yE rtva /HE Kat aiCo C'K 7ratso3 cxovaav
in regard to Prof. Wolfson's contributions to the
history of philosophy and to the study of Islamic
thought, I cannot but differ from his understand-
ing of the term and its function in the "physics"
of Mutammar. The simple fact is that there
remains a clear need, within the body of scholar-
ship devoted to the kalam, for a systematic study
both of the term itself, in the specialised use in
which it is found in Mutammar's work and that of
other kalam writers, and of the structure or func-
tion of the concept in the "physics" peculiar to
It is not my intention here to make a detailed
analysis of Mucammar's entire theological and
philosophical system. Rather, I shall limit myself
to determining the exact meaning of the term
matna' in the kalam generally and to trying to
place this meaning within what I should call the
physics of Mutammar's system. This is the abso-
lute prerequisite to any attempted hypothesis con-
cerning the source of the concept through parallels
in classical or Hellenistic thought. The term, in
this specialised use, is to be found virtually
throughout the kalam (at least into the eleventh
century) and it is important, I think, to keep in
mind that Mutammar, in all probability, was led
by reasons first historical and then of logical con-
sistency within his own theoretical framework, to
carry the principle denoted by it to a kind of
Although the author best known for his use of
the term is unquestionably Mutammar, it would be
best to begin with a brief review and examination
of the term as it is used by other kalam authors
from abuf 1-iudhayl into the period following
abuf lalsim al-6lubba&i and al-'A3arli but prior to
the general tendency to hellenize much of the
kalam and its terminology. I shall not make any
pretense of completeness of citations (for they are
far too many, especially in the extensive writings
of 'Abd al-Oxabbar) but shall limit myself to a few
'Ed. George Makdisi (Leiden, 1965), pp. 673-88; on
earlier studies by Horovitz and Horten, cf. ibid., 685 ff.
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FRANK: Al-mata: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kalem 249
citations illustrative of typical usage, found in
several authors of different periods. This should
be quite sufficient to establish the overall pattern
of the term's use and, this done, it will then be
easier to discuss the meaning and function of the
ma'dni in the work of Mutammar.
Professor Wolfson remarks 2 that in restating
the position of Mutammar we find, with both eAbd
and gahrastani, an apparent
substitution of the term "accident" (tarad) for
the original matna.s The fact is that in many
instances the term matna is indeed used where we
might well expect the word accident; the two are
frequently used almost interchangeably. Al-'A9tari,
in the Maqdiltt al-'Islamityin, has a short section
concerning the question of whether "the maan'
which subsist in bodies are called accidents."
Again, abfU Il-Hudhayl al- Allaf is quoted as saying
that the act of perception ('idra&c) is a mana.
We find, in another place, the inverse of this
proposition, as it were, argued by al-'As'ari, who
says that the act of seeing does not imply the
coming to be of a matna in the object seen, i. e.,
no new, intrinsic determination of the being of
the object that defines it in its being perceived.
Going on in his discussion of the vision of God by
the blessed (ibid., ? 74), al-'Astari says that " some
of our fellows say that the one who holds [the
aforementioned thesis] must perforce mean, when
he mentions taste, touch, and smell, either that
God (the Exalted) creates an act of perception of
Himself in these members, without there coming
to be in Him any maca', or must mean that a
matna comes to be in Him. Now if he means the
coming to be of a macna in Him, this is impossible;
but if he means the coming to be of an act of
perception in us, this is possible."
So also, rather frequently, we find motion
(Qaraka) and in general the so-called 'akwan (the
modes of being-in-space), referred to by the term
matnd. In the classical proof of the existence of
God that is based on the temporality of bodies,
attributed to abuf 1-Hudhayl, the first two premises
are formulated by 'Abd al-xabbar in the following
terms: "that there exist ma"'ni [sc., union, sepa-
ration, movement, and rest] in bodies; and that
these ma'Ani are generated." The same author,
again, refers to desire (sahwa) as a macna, in a
passage that we can take as typical of all these
cases in which matna is used as the equivalent of
accident. He says: 8 "Now as for how he knows
that he is desiring because of a macnd, it is this:
he becomes desiring something subsequent to his
not being desirous of it, all the rest of his states
being the same [as they were]; there must, there-
fore, be something ['amr] which necessitates his
being desiring and there is no way in which he
may become desiring except through the presence
of a matna in him. He must, then, become desir-
ing because of an act of desiring [li-sahwa]."
Ibn tAyyas, another member of the Basra school
of the Muttazila, denies that the actuality of pain
('alam) is a macnd, arguing that "the pain which
occurs in his body is not due to a macna but rather
man suffers pain only at the disjoining [of the
material parts] of his body, since his health has
been vitiated and the equilibrium of his body has
Pain is, he goes on to say, a particular
perception ('idradk), defined by its content, not a
distinct accident or macnd, viz., al-'alam.
Qudra is described as a macna by 'Abd al-Gab-
"we have shown that the agent acts only
through his being qadir and that he is qadir, when
op. cit., 677.
8 Al-Farq bayn al-firaq (ed. M. Badr, Cairo, 1328/
1910), 137. and K. al-Milal wan-nihal (ed. M. Badran,
Cairo 1327/1910-1375/1955), 98.
' Ed. H. Ritter (Istanbul, 1929-30), 369. I do not
think that one has to do here with the frequent use of
ma'nt as a term for " thing" in the most general sense
(on which cf. infra, n. 15).
6 'Abd al-(abbar, al-Mujni, 4 (ed. M. Hilmi and A.
al-Afifi, Cairo, n. d.), 55, line 15; the author's disagree-
ment here is that whereas abA 1-Hudhayl holds that
'idrdk is a distinct and separate accident existing in the
heart ('ilm al-qalb = an interior act of knowing) he
considers it to be a kind of function of the faculty of
sense (al-hMssa) and its organ, within the structured
operation of the organism (binya) ; cf. the discussion of
the same topic, ibid., 34 f. On the position of abA
1-Hudhayl, cf. also Maqdldt, 569 and 312, and on his
general notion of the discreteness of the accidents in
general, cf. infra, n. 25.
6 Kitdb al-Luma' (ed. R. McCarthy in The Theology of
al-Ash'ari, Beyrouth, 1953), ?? 68 ff; on the same argu-
ment, cf. also 'Abd al-6abbhr, op. cit., 137 f.
?garh al-'usifl al-hamsa (ed. A. Ousman, Cairo, 1384/
1965), 95 (where the attribution to abil 1-Hudhayl is
given) and al-Muhit bit-taklif (ed. 0. Azmi, Cairo, n. d.)
36, where the same formulation with the term ma'na
is given.
8 Al-Mu!nf, 4, 19, lines 17-20; in translating the pas-
sage I have maintained the participial adjectives since
they are central to the structure of his thought, even
though they are somewhat awkward in English.
Al-Mufntf, 4, 29.
10 Al-Mugni, 5 (ed. M. el-Khodeiri, Cairo, n. d.) 49,
lines 6 ff.
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250 FRANK: Al-macnA: Some Reflections onr the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kala'm
he is corporeal," on account of a mactna [such
that], if it were absent, he would no longer be
The point here-and it is one upon which
the author dwells at length-is that of the distinc-
tion between God, who is
qadir per se (bi-dhtihi,
li-ma' huwa 'alayhi fi nafsihi, etc.) and whose
"being-qadir" (kawnuhu qa'diran) is a hal, and
the corporeal agent who is
through the acci-
dent (arad) of qudra that is present in him. So
also, in another place, we find macna used of the
act of knowing (rilm), where, arguing to prove
that God is knowing, etc., per se and not through
distinct, inherent acts (accidents or attributes) of
knowing, etc., the same author says 12 that this
may be demonstrated by the fact that "the very
of knowing, when it is necessary,'3
is not contingent upon any matna. The manner
of its non-contingency upon a marna is nothing
other than its necessity. Indeed, if it were possi-
ble, there would have then to be some matna, but
since it is necessary, it is independent of any
ma'na. Thus we know that the necessary attribute
l-wadiba] is not contingent upon any
marnan and that the cause [-illa] of the non-contin-
gency is the necessity and nothing else. If this
were not so, then in the matter of His knowing
(be He exalted), it would have to be a knowing
contingent upon a manan and this would lead to
unrestricted marAXnA2." Finally, in another place,
he refers to the lack of the power of efficient
in parallel fashion, saying'4 that
"in this manner one says of one who is incapable
of acting [al-4'aiz], that he is incapable of thus-
and-so, in that the power of efficient causality is
correlated to the other. Hence the absence of the
power of efficient causality is analogous, even if it
is not affirmed in a strict sense as a real macnd."
From these few examples (and many more
might be cited) we can begin to determine the
primary content of the term. From one stand-
point, the word manad, in all the citations given
above, is the equivalent of 'arad, accident, as, for
example, 'Abd al-6abbar, in the last two texts,
means by ma na precisely the act of knowing or of
qudra, as a distinct, real act, existing or inhering
in the subject and separable from it. On the other
hand, it is equally clear from the same contexts
that the reference is not simply to states and con-
ditions, considered merely as distinct realities
present in a subject, but rather as they constitute
separate determinants of its being. That is to say,
rather than regarding motion, perception, desire,
etc., as accidents ( a radl) of the subject in which
they inhere or occur (kala, kadata) or as sepa-
rable attributes, permanent or transient, of the
subject as qualified (mawsftf) thereby, they are
regarded as the intrinsic causal determinants of
the thing's being-so: the actuality of the accident
of motion in the subject is the immediate causal
determinant of its being-in-motion and so also the
other accidents are the immediate, intrinsic causes
of its being mudrilc, mus'tahi, etc.
In this sense, the term is an equivalent of the
term " cause
('illa) and this is one of the mean-
ings by which "Abd al-xabbar defines it.15 Funda-
t1 The question involved here is that the incorporeal
(i. e., God) is qddir per se; the distinction between the
qddir bi-nafsihi and the qadir bi-qudra occupies a re-
markable quantity of space in the writings of the QA41,
being the center of one of the chief quarrels between the
Mu'tazila and the followers of al-'Ag'ari.
12 Al-Muhl't bit-taklif, 173 (at the bottom) ; cf. also
ibid., 172 f; cf. also garh al-'usul al-hamsa, 199 where,
in the same argument, 'illa is used for ma'nn.
13 The "necessary" (al-w "ib) in the present context
is that whose non-existence is impossible, as opposed to
the "possible"
viz., what may exist or not
or what exists at one time and not another; note that
the term mumkin is not, as a technical term for the
possible, a kalam term; rather, the kalAm uses
(which may be distinguished in certain
contexts) as the normal terms for the possible until the
period in which the vocabulary tends to become that of
the philosophers.
5, 247.
Ibid., 253; there are a number of contexts in which
we find that the terms 'illa and ma'n& seem to be used
interchangeably, e. g., in the Tamhid of al-BaqillAni (ed.
M. el-Khodeiri and M. abu Rida, Cairo, 1366/1947), p.
42, the author says that in the case of a body's moving
after having been at rest, its moving must be either
per se or through a cause (li-nafsihi 'aw li-'illa) but
then, in repeating the same premise several lines further
on, he says that it must be either per se or because of a
maPna. 'Illa here, it should be noted, is an intrinsic
causal determinant (cf. also infra). In the same way,
al-'Ag'arl, in listing various opinions on the classic
kalAm question of whether God creates on account of a
cause (li-'illa) or not (Maqalat, 252 f.) quotes Mu'am-
mar as saying that He does (ibid., 253; cf. also infra,
n. 33) whereas, to judge from Mu'ammar's usually
quoted usage, he probably used the term ma'na. Con-
cerning the use of the term in the sense of " something
real" or "something affirmed as having reality" (gay'
mutbat-cf. al-MuIni, loc. cit.) we need make no com-
ment here save to note that in some instances there is
a degree of ambiguity concerning the strict sense in
which the term is to be taken, as for example, where
abfil-Hudhayl is said to have held that "the soul is a
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FRANK: Al-matna: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kalem 251
mentally, there can be little doubt that the term
matna, in this particular technical use, represents
in origin an equivalent of Syriac ?elleta and Greek
airta. Both the Greek and Syriac terms, it should
be noted, carry also the sense of "charge," "ac-
cusation," " pretext," etc., and so validate the
parallel also in the usual, non-technical use of the
term ma'na' in the sense of "meaning," " intent,"
Before passing on, it might be well to note
briefly the differences between the terms for cause,
viz., sabab and 'illa, as they are used in the kalam
and to remark briefly on the use of the latter as
it relates to that of matna in the sense outlined
Excluding instances in which the terms are not
used strictly-where close distinctions of meaning
are not insisted upon-we find the term sabab
(most often in the plural, 'asbaib) used to denote
the element in a chain or concatenation of causes
or the factors in a causal sequence leading from
some initial act or event to a resulting event in
another subject than that in which the sequence
was initiated. The relation of the sabab to its
result (musabbab) need not be necessary; i. e., the
term, per se, does not imply that the result follows
immediately and inevitably from the sabab or the
sequence of 'csbab, nor, again, is the sabab neces-
sarily the cause of but a single effect. Thus,
according to Bisr b. al-Muttamir, describing the
notion of tawallud, "whatever arises as the conse-
quent of our act . . ., all this is our act, coming
to be as the result of the sequence of causes
[3asbab] which result from us, as for example the
hand's or foot's being broken when a person falls
is the act of the one who occasioned its cause
['ata bi-sababihi], as also the soundness of the
hand, by being set, or of the foot by being set, is
the act of the man." 16 This use of sabab as a
causal element or factor in a sequence of events
or as the occasion of an event is found throughout
the kalam, especially in discussions of tawallud
and whenever the term is used strictly, in contra-
distinction to "illa, it is to be taken thus. 1Ila, on
the other hand, is used, when used in a strict sense,
most commonly as the direct or primary determi-
nant cause that produces its effect (ma'lul) im-
mediately and necessarily, without the interven-
tion of any other causal factor; the existence of
the 'illca necessitates that of the ma liul and a single
"illa, in contrast to sabcab, can produce but a single
effect.17 There is some debate among the early
mutakallimn as to whether the actuality of the
'illa and that of its mablul are simultaneous or
whether the former may be temporally prior to the
latter; according to al-(ubba1 it may precede by a
single, indivisible instant (waqt) and he adds that
whatever may precede its effect by more than a
single instant is not an cilla.18 Most importantly,
the ailla is most often (almost by definition) an
intrinsic cause; it is interior to the thing and
automatically produces its effect. Generally thus,
according to al-Gubbal' and his followers, no act
(fif1-being by definition the the action of an agent
who knows, wills, and intends it) can be the effect
of an tilla or, to put it the other way, no ma1lul
can be fi'l. The same distinction is held by
al-'Astarl and goes back, no doubt, to the earliest
kalam. The act of the agent can, however, be
musabbab (at least for those who hold the doctrine
of tawallud), as an agent may initiate a sequence
of 'asbAb. Therefore it is said that "the sabab
does not necessitate its effect as the tilla necessi-
tates its effect. The former comes to be through it
only as originating in the qadir, since he is the
one who causes the being of the musabbab by
causing the being of the sabab. For this reason
it is possible [for an agent] to effect [several]
actions, separately or together; this is not, how-
ever, possible in the case of causes ['ilal] since
their action is by way of necessity."
mamna other than the spirit "
(Maqdldt, 337) and
al-'AMarl's statement (ibid., 336) that Aristotle held
the soul to be a ma'na so elevated that it is not subject
to certain things and his report (ibid., 335) that " some
people hold the spirit to be a fifth ma'n4t other than the
four natures." In these instances we might have ex-
pected the term say' (thing, being) or 'amr (which is
used by 'Abd al-dabbar in the passage cited in n. 8 above
precisely as a completely neutral term, in order to avoid
ma'n& which bears that meaning which he wishes to
affirm in the context); on the other hand, Mu'ammar
and abA 1-Hudhayl are quoted in the same work (339)
as affirming that the soul is " an accident" ('arad).
It is possible that the term, even in these contexts, does
denote something like a
functioning or operative
causal element " or the like. For an instance of ma'n4
as the equivalent of 'illa in a less restricted sense than
that pointed out below, cf. at-Mujnf, 4, 337 f.
Maqalat, 401.
N. B. the discussion in al-Mujni, 4, 312-14.
MaqAlat, 390; (I am not concerned here with the
question of 'iflat al-i*tiydr); on the same subject, cf.
al-Mugn', 5, 76 (11. 13 ff.) and 46.
4, 313; cf. also Sarh al-'usill
98 f.
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252 FRANK: Al-matna: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Ka14m
To return to our principal subject then, we find
the term manac used frequently in the sense of
'illa in such a way that it is a kind of equivalent
of the term earad, in that the latter may be con-
sidered the immediate cause or determinant of the
effect in the thing of its being-so. Thus 'Abd
al-Cabbar refers to heat and cold by the term
ma na in that they are the immediate determinants
of a body's being hot or cold and goes on to say
that "it is not possible that a single maena should
be the necessitating cause [muftib] of heating
[tashin] and of cooling [tabrid], simply because
that particular heat [karaira] by which a thing is
hot is contrary to that particular coldness by which
it is cold. For this reason it is impossible that a
single thing [say'] should be the necessitating
cause of heating a body and of cooling it." 20 The
point that I would make here is that in the kalam
the term mana6 (within the area of meaning here
under discussion) nearly always means, in one
sense or another, an intrinsic, determinant cause
of some real aspect of the being of the subject.
For most authorities, whether al-'AsAarl and his
school or the Mutazila, this determinant cause is
usually an accident ('arad) or attribute
always an accident or attribute considered as a
distinct and separate cause of the thing's being-so
(kawnuhu kada' = das Sosein). This may be
illustrated quite well by a single passage: in dis-
cussing the fact that God's potential of causality
is infinite and the fact that some things are, never-
theless, impossible, 'Abd al-Nabbar notes that the
objective possibility (Pi~ha) or impossibility of a
particular thing's being involves a change of rela-
tion between God and the possible object of His
causality as it bears on its possibility and impossi-
bility at one time or another; he says then that the
alternation of the relationship resides in the
" coming to be of a new state " (tagaddud as-sifa)
on the part of the potential object, since God's
state is eternal; otherwise God, like human beings,
"would be qa'dir through an act of qudra, because,
when an attribute [sifa] is subject to becoming or
alteration of being [ta'addud], without there
being here anything that necessitates its newness
or alteration, then that which necessitates its
being-new must perforce be a mana' [sc. qudra]
that renders it necessary." 21
Taking mana& then in this sense, the most com-
mon problem which we find discussed in the
sources, where the term is used, is this: given the
maend as the intrinsic causal determinant of a
certain aspect of the being of the thing, is it, of
and in itself, the sufficient cause of the presence
of the attribute (the being-so) ? As it is treated
in the sources, by Mucammar and the other kalam
writers, this question takes on two forms; first
that of the cause or ground of the being of the
particular accident or attribute, as belonging to
or inhering in the particular subject at a particu-
lar moment of time and in a specific place, and
secondly, the inverse of this, viz., the cause or
ground of the particular subject (body, atom, etc.)
as it is, in its unique individuality, the subject
(mahall) of the particular attribute at a par-
ticular moment of time. The questions are quite
distinct in that the former involves the cause of
the attribute as it comes to be in the particular
subject in such wise that the attribute is itself
immediately the determinant factor of the thing's
being-so, while, in the latter case, the question
centers on the subject as mawsuf or qualified by
the particular attribute or accident, so that the
question becomes one of whether the reality of the
being-so of the subject is directly grounded in the
attribute or whether its being-so is mediated by
another intrinsic causal determinent (maena).
Both these aspects of the question will become
amply clear when we take up the formulations of
Mu'ammar's theory shortly. First however, in
order to gain a better general perspective on the
question, it were well to look at several texts of
other authors. The problem, indeed, is ancient in
Islam-as old as the kalam. In examining the
question, however, one must be careful to deter-
mine the precise meaning of the formulae and
their intent, since sometimes seemingly similar
formulae represent the expression of radically
different conceptions and understandings.
The most common aspect under which this
question arises, in most of the sources, is, without
much doubt, determined by the thesis of Muam-
mar and the 'ashab al-macini; that is, it is formed
by the polemic directed against their general posi-
tion and its implications. Nevertheless the prob-
lem is in no sense the unique property of
Mucammar and his followers. We read, for in-
stance, that "most of the speculative theologians
hold that when we affirm that a body is moving
after its having been at rest there must perforce
A-tqMuTni, 5, 32 (11.
Ibid., 4, 330.
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FRANK: Al-ma'na: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kalam 253
be a motion on account of which it has moved, but
the motion is not a motion of the body on account
of the coming to be of some intrinsic causal de-
terminant [manan] because of which it is its
motion, and they hold a like position regarding the
other accidents." 22 This statement simply says
that the motion is itself the sufficient cause of the
body's being in motion without the intervention of
any other cause being necessary to explain the
actuality of its being moved. The question of an
external "moving cause" is not raised since the
focus is exclusively on the function of the motion
as the determinant of the fact of the body's being
moved. Where one has to do with the question of
the mamna the problem is not considered by the
kalam as one of the extrinsic cause or source of the
movement or one of a transfer of energy, through
which a new state is effected in the object.23
Again, on the same subject, in order to avoid any
possible ambiguity in defining his own notion of
the relationship between the body as moved and
the reality of the accident of motion in the body,
al-6ubba'i says that the motion "is a motion of
it [sc. the body] neither per se nor by an intrinsic
causal determinant [macna], while others say that
it is its motion per Se." 24 The positions differ
in that the latter (that of "the others") would
seem, according to the formulation, to give a
greater ontological independence to the motion as
a distinct element in the complex (gumla) while
al-Oubbai, it would seem, here tends to make the
motion more explicitly the actuality of the body
insofar as it is in motion. The statement is quite
possibly an indication of the kind of thinking
which led his son abft Halim to the formulation
of the theory of 'ahwat.25 Against any inter-
mediary determinant in the case of motion 'Abd
al-Nabbar argues26 that "indeed, we hold that to
affirm the reality, along with the motion, of an
intrinsic causal determinant [maena] that, apart
from the motion, necessitates the body's being
moved, is to exclude it [sc. the motion] from
necessitating it, despite the fact that the knowl-
edge of its being what necessitates it is well estab-
lished since, when its being the necessitating cause
muigiban-leg. mu'gibatan?]
is not pos-
sible, that which is proximate to it cannot be the
necessitating cause either." Many other examples
may be found but these few will more than suffice
to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that
the term matn&, in this technical sense, means an
immediate, intrinsic causal determinant.
With this preface we may now proceed to a
brief examination of Mutammar's use of the con-
cept. A number of the principal texts concerning
the maedni in the thought of Mucammar have been
cited and translated in the article of Prof. Wolfson
mentioned above. I shall here restrict myself to
treating the citations found in the Kitab al-In-
titisar of al-Hayyat and those of the Maqailat of
al2AsAari; these are the earliest sources of our
information on the subject and are quite adequate
to the present discussion. Furthermore, there are
some grounds, as we shall see, to believe that some
of the later sources have, in part, at least, restruc-
tured certain aspects of the original conception of
the problem in such wise as to distort Mu'ammar's
true position.
In the K. al-Intisdr we read
Mu-ammar that "when he observed two bodies at
rest, the one next to the other, and then observed
that one had moved and not the other, Mutammar
asserted that the former must have some causal
determinant [matnan] that came to inhere in it
and not the latter,28 on account of which it moved.
373, 6
The context is isolated conceptually from any ques-
tion of the source of the impetus or of the initial cause
which determines that there shall be a motion (whether
God, man, or a " natural cause"). It should be re-
membered that for the kalAm, primary efficient causality
is generally taken to be conscious and willing, i. e., that
of an agent who is 'dlim, murid, qdsid, but this is not
here in question. The treatment of the " accident " of
i'timdd verges, in some contexts, towards the question
of the transfer of energy or force, but nonetheless i'timdd
remains an accident, to be explained like other accidents
in its inherence in the subject.
24 Maqdldt, loc. cit., lines 11 f. Note that the "per
se" (li-nafsihi) here refers only to this limited idea of
the nexus between the motion (haraka) and the actual-
ity of the body's being in motion (kawnuhu mutaharri-
kan), not as to whether motion per se belongs to a body
in such wise that it could not exist without it.
Most notably abA 1-Hudhayl tended to insist on the
ontological discreteness and separateness of all acci-
dents; cf. the text cited above (n. 5) and the remarks
on this question in my Metaphysics of Created Being
according to abi2 1-Hudhayl al-'Alldf (Uitgaven van het
Nederlands historisch archaeologisch Instituut te Istan-
bul 21, Istanbul, 1966), ch. 2, n. 6.
al-Mujni, 4, 327.
Ed. A. Nader (Beyrouth, 1957), 46.
28 CC
Ma'nan hallahu duina
"; Prof. Wolfson's
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254 FRANK: Al-matan: Some Reflections
on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the KaUlm
Otherwise it would have no more reason to move
than the other. Since this is a valid judgement
therefore, there must also perforce have come to
be in it a causal determinant on account of which
the motion came to inhere in one of them rather
than the other. Otherwise there would be no
more reason for its inhering in one of them than
for its inhering in the other. So also, if you ask
concerning that causal determinant . ..." Much
the same thing is stated by al-'A~sarl, who re-
ports 29 that Mutammar held that when a body
moved it did so "on account of a causal determi-
nant without which it would have no more reason
to be moved than another and would have no more
reason to move at the moment in which it moved
than to have moved prior to that moment. They
[sc. Mutammar and his followers] say: since this
is true, the same situation obtains in the case of
the motion: were there not a causal determinant
on account of which it became a motion of the
moved it would have no more reason to be its
motion than to be the motion of another, and this
causal determinant was a causal determinant of
the motion's being a motion of the moved on
account of another causal determinant, and the
causal determinants have no finite whole or total-
ity. Further [they say] that they [sc. the causal
determinants-ma'Anil] take place in a single in-
stant. The same also is the case with blackness
and whiteness, in the former's being the blackness
of one body rather than of another and the latter's
being the whiteness of one body rather than of
another. The same statement is made concerning
the difference of black from white and likewise,
according to them, the same is to be said concern-
ing all the other classes
and accidents,
and that when two accidents differ or are similar
one must perforce affirm the reality of infinite
causal determinants. They also assert that the
causal determinants-which have no finite total-
ity-are the act of the place 30 in which they
There are a number of elements contained in
these texts which, taken up one by one, should
lead to a fairly clear definition of Muammar's
position. First, it is to be noted that the question
to which he addresses himself is one of "why this
rather than this." In each case the example is
clearly set in terms of the paired attributes that
form, for the kalam, sets or classes
contraries: why the realisation of this one and not
that or, more exactly, why, when one is present in
several subjects (e. g., rest), does its contrary arise
in one and not the other? From this it is quite
clear that we have no unambiguous grounds for
seeing in the present passages any direct reflection
of the discussion of the categories found in Plato's
Sophist (254E) as has been suggested.31 The
mention of the classes or types of accidents, as it
occurs here, is classically consistent with kalam
usage, and though there should be little question
that the generality of kalam speculation on the
subject does ultimately reflect a classical and Hel-
lenistic background, the exact determination of
the source is extremely difficult to make.
Again, it must be noted, it is not classes or
accidents in the sense of this kind of movement
or a particular pattern or type of motion (or
whatever other accident) that Mutammar wished
to explain in terms of his infinite series of causal
determinants. Rather, as is obvious from the con-
text, it is the ground of the particular accident
(each and every accident, taken individually) as
it comes to exist in the particular substrate at the
particular moment of time that he seeks to ex-
plain-part of the question that is discussed by the
later kalam and especially the falsafa most fre-
quently under the term
and the mura "ih.
It is therefore impossible, given the structure of
the context and the nature of Mu'ammar's orienta-
tion to the problem, to find in the term ma-na any
direct and meaningful reflection of Aristotle's con-
cept of "nature," a suggestion put forth by Prof.
Wolf son in his article on the mnatnd.32 However,
before hazarding myself any attempt to suggest
certain possible parallels in Greek thought to cer-
rendering of the verb halla (which in the kalam means
to inhere in, come to inhere in) as "abide" (op. cit.,
675) may be misleading since this may tend to imply
some permanence of the hall in its mahall, something
which is not to be inferred in the use of the term apart
from some specification of the context; for example
motion is said to inhere (ihalla) in a subject but by
most of the mutakallimin cannot have any perdurance
(al-baqd') at all.
Maqdalt, 372 f. (I have here paraphrased the be-
ginning of this citation-which may be corrupt-since
the question of the status of motion, as such, is to be
taken up below).
Makan, used here simply as a normal equivalent for
body (#ism),
substrate (ma hall), etc., as the subject in
which the accident inheres; on the substrate however, cf.
infra n. 46.
31 Wolfson, op. cit., 676, n. 1; cf. also infra.
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FRANK: Al-ma'La: Some Reflections
on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Katm 255
tain aspects of Mu'ammar's understanding of the
function of the matna in the nature of things, it is
necessary to clarify in greater detail the structure
of the causal determinant as an operative function
in the material being of things, as this is mani-
fested in the recorded fragments of Mu'ammar's
own system. Without defining this as closely as
can be done on the basis of the available informa-
tion, we should be seeking a parallel to an unde-
termined quantity.
Now albeit the passage of the K. al-Intisair cited
above may be subject to more than one interpreta-
tion on some points, several things are clear
enough. Particularly, from the report of al-'As ari,
which is more precise and detailed, there can be no
question but that the series of causal determinants
discussed is, in the immediate context, entirely
intrinsic to the individual subject. That is,
however he may have analysed the more general
problem of causality as a causal nexus may exist
between two spatially distinct entities, the discus-
sion in our present texts, as also that reflected in
the polemics of later authors, concerns only fac-
tors or causal determinants which exist and func-
tion within the individual subject. The formula-
tion of al-'AsMari is absolutely unambiguous: in the
infinite series, the causal determinants exist, as
actually determinant of the effect, simultane-
as " an act of the place in which they
The act or attribute, quality, accident, or what-
ever you will, inheres in the body or substrate as
the result of immanent causes. Consistently then
with his system (cf. also infra) Mu'ammar allows
the inversion of this proposition (cf. the double
aspect of the problem mentioned above) so that
we may also say that the true causes or determi-
nants of the being of any attribute are immanent
or reside in the material subject in which the
attribute is realised. From this then there are two
consequents that we must outline before going on
with the discussion of the mal'ni and taking up
their relation to the "nature" of material bodies.
The first is that, following the logic of the system
(and Mutammar would seem to be nothing if not
rigorously consistent, to the end) he says that God
has not the power to create any accident ('arad)
of any kind, but rather creates bodies alone; 34
nevertheless he insisted that, in the sense that God
has created them as endowed with their natures
(tab', pl. taba'it) or structure (hay'a), it is ulti-
mately and truly He who is the creator of their
total reality in all its real aspects.35 Against God's
creating accidents he is reported to have argued
that whoever has the power of causing motion is
capable of being moved, etc.,36 since the effect,
within the system, is realised in the subject that
contains the immediate causes. Bodies, i. e., the
atoms that constitute them in their simple materi-
ality, are, of themselves, entirely without quality
or attribute (alrota) so that in creating them, in
their unqualified materiality (though containing
their natures), God is not involved in the im-
mediate production of any accident.
The second consequent (which has undoubtedly
deep historical roots though it appears within the
system as a direct consequent of the thesis men-
tioned above) is rather more complicated but,
from the standpoint of the present investigation,
is of greater significance. Al-'As arl mentions, in
the passage translated above,37 that "when two
accidents differ or are similar, one must perforce
affirm the reality of infinite causal determinants."
It is clear from the statement-which is absolutely
explicit-that the difference or similarity of two
accidents mentioned in this context refers to their
similarity or dissimilarity in terms of their
actuality as they are concretely realised in dis-
tinct subjects, not their similarity or dissimi-
larity as they may be considered in them-
selves, as accidents, apart from their reality in
such subjects. The whole question is laid in terms
of the why of the occurrence of a particular acci-
33 See the text cited above, n. 29; cf. also infra. By
the logic of the system he is led to posit the same kind
of infinite series even in God, in order to explain the
realisation of His act of creation (cf. Maqdldt, 253,
511-as also in His act of knowing, ibid., 168); the act
of creation (though the matter was much debated by the
mutakallimin) could not for Mu'ammar be the thing
created (i.e., the thing is not, for him, its own being-
created) (Maqdtdt, 511 and 514) as it was for some (cf.
my Metaphysics of Created Being . . . , ch. 5). With
Mu'ammar, thus, we have the creation of the act of
creation, etc. (ibid. 364 and 511), and the annihilation
of the act of annihilation, etc. (ibid., 367, Inti~sar, 22 f.,
and al-Bagdadi, 'UAl ad-Din [Istanbul, 1346/1928] 87
and 231; cf. also infra, n. 38). Thus, albeit there is an
unquestionable parallelism of logic, the infinite series of
ma ani do not meaningfully reflect Aristotle's infinity of
successive motions (cf. Wolfson, loc. cit.).
84 Cf. MaqdIdt, 199, 554, 564,
548 f.
Cf. Intisdr, 45-47.
86l Maqdlat, 548.
87 Supra, n. 29.
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256 FRANK: Al-matnA: Some
on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kaldm
dent in a given subject at a particular instant
of time and of why similar or dissimilar accidents
occur in different subjects. The fundamental
attitude and orientation is, if you will, one of a
The ma'anit or
causal determinants are the cause of their simi-
larity or dissimilarity as they determine the sepa-
rate existences of accidents as these are distin-
guished as like or unlike in distinct substrates.
The similarity and dissimilarity are first thus con-
sidered in terms of a function of the separateness
of their existence: of their being in spatially (i. e.,
materially) distinct and separate subjects, or of
their being temporally separated in the same sub-
ject. Secondly then, the cause of their being so is,
in each separate case, the series of intrinsic causal
determinants inherent in each subject (not in the
accidents). The accidents are present in two sepa-
rate substrates through the action of the causal
determinants intrinsic to each distinct body or
subject, and their similarity or dissimilarity
(whether identical accidents, contrary, or different
ones are present) is due to the series of causal
determinants which are the cause of their reality
and actuality in being the particular accidents that
they are in the particular subjects.
While this would seem to be the clear sense of
al-'AsMarl's account of Mu'ammar's thought on the
subject and is fully consistent with what we have
examined of the system thus far, the account
given by Rahrastan 19 and Raz140 would seem to
conceive a rather different problem. That is,
where the function of the causal determinants in
the sameness and difference of accidents is con-
sidered, according to the report of al-'As arl, from
the standpoint of their real, material presence in
their substrates, the latter two authorities would
make it a question of their difference or similarity
considered in themselves-in Plato's terms, as it
were, the otherness of the other from the other as
such and the sameness of the same with the same.
It is, of course, conceivable that, following the
logic of his system, Mu'ammar made all determina-
tion of being and of any modality of being, even
its relational aspects as viewed from a purely con-
ceptual standpoint, dependent upon the intrinsic
causal determinants. From the accounts given of
his theory of the function of the causal determi-
nants in producing the actualisation of accidents,
however, and that of bodies and their "natures "-
a function which is, to judge from the earlier
witnesses, always that of a real (i. e., material)
functional determinant, inhering in a concretely
existing substrate it would appear to me that the
aspect from which Rahrastanl and Razli describe
the question is not fully in harmony with the basic
"materialism" of the system. That is, without
violating the logic-the logos-of the system, it
would be difficult to abstract the accidents from
their subjects, inhering and functioning within
which the "causal determinants" determine their
being and also their being like or unlike; how shall
one do this, viz., keep the maani conceptually,
while considering the accidents in themselves?
The ma'ani reside (inhere) within the material
substrate of atoms, not within the accidents, and
for this reason it would be nigh impossible to treat
the accidents in complete abstraction while yet
keeping the determinants which belong to and
function exclusively within the particular, material
substrate from which the abstraction is made. Any
notion of " forms
or " essences
as abstract
entities is clearly foreign to the fundamental con-
creteness of Mutammar's universe. It is to be sug-
gested therefore that most likely the statements of
Rahrastanl and Razi on this subject represent a
transfer of the problem out of the original context
of Mu'ammar and the earliest kalam into one which
was more real and present to the later kalam.41
It well may be that the account they give is based
on a truncated exposition of the doctrine given
originally by al-Kabli and repeated (and perhaps
"8This kind of "materialism" (I mean one in some
respects more extreme than that of the normal kalam)
is confirmed by the statement of Intisdr 22 that the act
of annihilation or of the passing away of an accident
(al-fand') -thus even the cessation of being-must itself
always be in a subject, wherefore, in a sense, even God
cannot completely annihilate His creation, since the
material substrate must forever remain with some
89 Al-Milal wan-nihal, 98 f.
40Muqhaal 'afkdr al-mutaqaddimsn wal-muta'ab1hirin
(Cairo, 1323), 104; (both this and the text cited in the
previous note are given and commented by Wolfson,
op. cit., 687 f.; cf. however below).
For a detailed discussion of the problem of the
sameness and otherness of attributes apart from the
consideration of the material reality of an accident or
attribute in a material substrate and whether this can
be li-ma'n& or not, cf. e. g., 'Abd al-4abbar, al-Muht4
bit-taklif, 178ff. (where the question is of the differen-
tiation of God's attributes); on the same subject, cf. also
al-4uwaynt, as-,gdmil ft 'us2al ad-din (ed. H. Klopfer,
Cairo, n. d.) 169ff.
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FRANi: Al-matna: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kalhm 257
further paraphrased) by al-BagdAdl.42 On the
other hand it may well be that the use of ma'tn
in the sense of cause ('illa) or intrinsic determi-
nant was simply lost to later writers.
does not mention it in his Tatrifdt although he
does try to derive the general meaning of "thing"
from that of "meaning," "sense," etc.,43 and if
he was unaware of this specialised sense it is not
inconceivable that he and a number of other late
kalam authors simply read the sense "meaning"
into the accounts of Mutammar's thought in some
places and "thing" in others, understanding
thereby some kind of logical abstraction or ens
rationis, an jlog or what have you. Concerning
Mu'ammar's original thought it might be noted
that the notion of linking logical or conceptual
categories and distinctions rigidly to the order of
material reality is a central element of Stoic
We have yet to consider the question of causality
in general and the place of nature
(tab-) in the
context of the causal determinants, as conceived
by Mu'ammar, for this is central to the under-
standing of the whole system; i. e., the function of
"nature" is inseparable from the notion of the
causal determinants as they function in the mate-
rial world conceived by the system. How Mutam-
mar understood the relationship between external
causes and the actualisation of some effect in the
subject or in the generation of the thing as a whole
is not to be determined exactly and in detail on
the basis of the texts, insofar as I have been able
to discover. It is, in fact, of considerable signifi-
cance that the problem of external causality would
seem to have held a position of little importance
within the system as a whole; that is, it did not
have any position of major concern for Mutam-
mar's understanding of the nature of things.
Quite clearly he held that the characteristics,
qualities, etc., of things were to be explained on
the basis of their internal strncture (hay'a) and as
a function of the nature (tab") of the material
being ('ism). He is reported to have said that
"things effected through a series of causes
[al-mutawallid&t] and that which comes to inhere
in a body, such as motion, rest, color, . .
cold, dampness and dryness, are the act of the
al-'ism] in which they inhere, by its
'nature' [bi-tabtihi] and that inert matter pro-
duces [yaf'alu], by its 'nature,' the accidents that
inhere in it."
In a number of passages we are
similarly informed that the attributes of things-
the accidents which determine and define their
being-are realised in them through their na-
tures.45 Each individual atom (guz'), in fact,
produces (yaftalu) whatever accidents it has as an
act of the necessity of its nature (bi-'i_2b at-tab-).46
Mutammar is reported to have described the func-
tion of this nature in the following terms: " When
the Creator causes color to be in a body, either it
belongs to the body to be such that it takes on color
or it does not, and if it belongs to the body to take
on color then the color must come to be [yalcznu]
by its nature, and since the color comes to be by
the nature of the body it is, then, its act. It is
impossible that there come to be by its nature
what is consequent on something else."
Cf. al-Farq bayn al-Firaq, 138;
al-BakdAdt's account,
however, still leaves the relationship clearly within the
context of the accidents as concretely realised in their
separate substrates.
43 G. Fltigel's edition (Leipzig, 1845), 235 f.
Maqdtdt, 405 (where even the Koran is said to arise
within that from which it is heard). The external
cause is removed hereby from the question of the being
of things and the causes of their being, since this is
restricted to the determination of internal causes; he
says (ibid.) that the act of perception and the act of
sensation are purely the act of the sentient subject;
cf. also ibid., 382.
45E.g. Intiar, 45ff., Maqdldt, 382, 405 f., 409, 417,
etc., and
op. cit., 136.
4" Maqtdlt, 303; he is reported in this passage to have
held that
when the parts are joined, the accidents are
necessary; they [so. the parts] produce them by the
necessitating action of nature [tab'] and each part pro-
duces whatever accidents inhere in it." It would seem
from this that Mu'ammar probably distinguished be-
tween the atoms as materia and the atom as a con-
stituent part of a body and it is tempting, on this basis,
to think that there was perhaps a differentiation in the
(part) being used for the atom as
the real indivisible part of a body with its inherent
qualities and determinations, etc., and
oi5ala in the Stoic sense-cf. P. Kraus, Jabir ibn Hayyan,
2, Mdmoires de l'Institut d'Egypte 45, [Cairo, 1942]
170) as the qualitiless substrate ( drvow V OKCIe4EVOv) .
I have been unable to give this latter hypothesis any
confirmation in a quite cursory survey of a number of
texts but, nevertheless, it is quite possible that since
the distinction is not significant to the later systems,
it may have been lost already by the end of the ninth
century and is therefore not reflected in any of our
sources. This distinction between the material substrate
as actively constitutive of things (bodies) and as a
materia prima is quite Stoic.
47Maqdldt, 415. This, as well as the passages cited
in the preceding notes, clearly precludes any Aristotelian
notion of "nature" from Mu'ammar's tab'; within his
system the function of tab'/ma'n4 is rather Stoic in the
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258 FRANK: Al-matna: Some
on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kaltm
should hypothesize then-for our texts are silent
on the subject-that the intrinsic causal determi-
nants (matdmi) are the operative determinant
causes in the actualisation of the variable possi-
bilities of the nature of the particular body. On
the other hand, the structure of the particular
body, i. e., that structure or configuration in terms
of which it is such a kind of body and so liable to
various categories of accidents rather than others,
is itself a function of the "nature" of the mate-
rial substrate (the individual atoms of formed
bodies and their parts) and, in the final analysis,
is formed through the action of other causal de-
terminants. The reality of the particular thing
therefore is a function of the nature (tab') of the
material substrate considered in its structured
materiality, while the functional or active causes
in the realisation of a particular accident are the
causal determinants inherent in the thing. The
" nature "
and the intrinsic causal determinants
will be then so linked that, in the real order, each
is in fact a function of the other.
On the subject of external causes Sahrastani,
reporting the teaching of Mutammar,48 speaks of
the sun's producing heat, fire's producing burning
('ihra'q), and the moon coloration (talwin) by
nature (tabiam) and there can be little doubt that
Mutammar accounted for and somehow described
the causality of exterior forces and the like. It is
quite clear, nonetheless-and this is certainly the
central emphasis of the whole, if not its very
heart-that the primary concern of Mutammar's
thought was the character of the being of things
as determined by intrinsic causes and principles.
That is, the being of any being-its reality in
being what it is, with all its permanent and tran-
sient qualities and attributes-is determined by
materially operative causes inherent in itself inso-
far as it is a material body; the accidents (and
they are, in a real sense, constitutive of the being
of the thing in being what it is 49) of a thing are
to be explained, as accidents of the particular
being, and understood in the fact of their coming
to be realised in the thing, in terms of determinant
causes inherent in the material substrate that
underlies the being of the whole. If a thing
comes to be hot through the action of the sun, its
being hot is determined by the presence of heat in
it, which is immediately due to its nature's being
such as it is; it is possible because, given the
antecedent external cause or sequence of causes, its
nature allows of its becoming hot through a series
of causal determinants, whose actualisation, in
effecting the attribute, is a function of its nature,
constituting the actuality of the nature at the
From one standpoint it is as if he came to the
point of making the total series of causes that
effect the being of the thing interior to it in any
moment of its actuality. The insistence that mate-
rial reality makes up the totality of the real (ex-
clusive of God) is common to all the mutakallimin
as also the atomists, the Stoa, and others in
antiquity. With Mutammar, however, we find a
peculiar concentration on the functional elements
that are constitutive and determinant causes of the
thing as they exist in the immediate present of the
moment of its realisation, even though these in-
trinsic elements or causes are, in fact, operative
causes only through being affected by exterior
causes. The universal mesh of interacting causes
is, as it were, viewed as it is actually operative
(EvEpyEta) in the present subject.50 That is, the
intrinsic elements or constituents of the thing are
by nature (Iv'an) the active determinants of its
being as they are ultimately related to a series of
events stretching far beyond the temporal and
spatial limits of the individual body, but Mucam-
mar chose to consider all these in terms of the
interior determinants and elements of the singu-
lar, corporeal unit of existence, as actuated in it
in the single effect of their presence at the par-
ticular instant of the realisation of a particular
event or accident in the thing. Everything is
concentrated in the real (sc. material) present
which is the actual locus of all its causes as causes.
Thus the infinity of causal determinants exists
simultaneously in a single instant and a man, in a
single act, effects an infinity of acts simultane-
overall structure of the context. For an indication of
the functional relationship between the ma'na and the
tab', cf. al-Mfu~ni 12 (ed. I. Madkour, Cairo, n. d.) p.
320, 11. 15 ff., in which the author probably refers to the
general position of Mu'ammar.
op. cit., 97.
49 Cf. generally my Metaphysics of Created Being ac-
cording to abil 1-Hudhayl, ch. 4.
Thus is it in the same way that he says (Intisar,
46) that in any single act the agent produces an infinity
of acts; these are, no doubt, the consequences and effects
produced by the determinant causes arising in the body
which is the locus of the act, as the result of the
realisation of the act in it at the instant of its realisa-
tion. Both causes and effects, in this way, are viewed
as they exist in the present actuality of the subject in
which their own actuality is realised in the particular
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FRANK: Al-matna: Some Reflections on the Technical Meaning of the Term in the Kalam 2`9
ously. Although Mu'ammar quite clearly recog-
nised that all bodies have natures and that events
take place through these natures in the interaction
of many bodies, the system, as reflected in our
sources, centers its attention on the sole primary
reality which is the individual body in the real
present. Consequently it is the nature of the
materially unified body and the function of causes
intrinsic to it or inherent in it, as they are present
in their effect at the particular moment, which
becomes the primary locus of the investigation and
understanding of the being of things in all their
attributes, acts, etc., for this is their actuality in
being and the actuality in being of the causality
of their causes.
The notion of the accident as direct cause of
the effect while its presence as cause depends on a
series of other causal determinants reflects, in a
rather obvious sense, the distinction made by the
physicians and the Stoics between the tTLOV aUTO-
TEXES and the many secondary prior and concomi-
tant causes that effect and determine the actualisa-
tion of a particular state in the subject. Mutam-
mar, however, has restricted his view to that of the
individual thing in the single, real moment of its
present. For him, as it were, primary and secon-
dary intrinsic causal determinants function co-
herently, of themselves, entirely according to the
nature of the thing (4ihots, kiydmi) according to a
Xo'yos inherent in matter itself (al-'agza'), a Xo'yos,
according to Mu ammar, given matter in its crea-
tion by God. Again, however, his almost exclusive
concentration on the individual in the immediate
present as also his apparent denial of the reality
of motion unquestionably (though only super-
ficially, perhaps) appear to reflect certain atti-
tudes of the Megarians, even though what kinship
there may be between the two is certainly distant
and tenuously affirmed.51
To try to work out these analogies and confirm
their possible validity, whether in whole or in part,
is beyond the scope of this paper. In conclusion,
however, I should like to remark that the fact that
one may find apparent remnants and traces of a
number of diverse classical systems in Mutammar's
thought-besides those mentioned, others which
appear quite Neoplatonic 52-should give no diffi-
culty, as the same combination of disparate ele-
ments is to be found in nearly every kalam system.
Generally, insofar as individual systems are
studied for their own consistence and coherent
meaning these elements are found to be not simply
juxtaposed in eclectic salads but quite on the con-
trary, are revealed to be integrated into tightly
constructed and coherent syntheses, both in the
Muztazila and in the school of al-'Asarl. What
makes the kalam a really unique phenomenon in
the history of speculative thought is the way in
which this has been done and the basic orientation
that directed its formation and evolution. Finally,
it is for this reason that the primary task, in my
opinion, for scholarship on the kalam must be, for
some years to come, to elucidate the philosophical
and theological meaning of the kalam itself in
the individual systems of single authors. Only
after this has been accomplished will it become
possible to discover and describe genuinely mean-
ingful and significant relations between the kalam
and the thought of antiquity.
He is reported to have denied the reality of motion
saying that bodies are said to move only by way of
denomination (ft I-luja) (Maqdldt, 325 and 347) but
that in reality they are at rest (sakina) ; all modes of
being-in-space ('akwdn), he says, are really rest
(suklin) (ibid., loc. cit., and 355). The denial of motion
is certainly related to his apparent insistence on the
exclusive reality of the thing in the present moment and
this much concords with the ideas of the Megarians,
even though other elements of the system, e. g., the
absence of any evidence for "essences" or
forms" and
the nigh total concentration on material reality insofar
as his " physics " is concerned, clearly separate Mu'am-
mar from the basic foundation of their thought. On
the other hand, he clearly allowed motion some reality
as a distinct accident which inheres in things, as is
amply clear from his primary argument for the reality
of infinite causal determinants (cit. supra) and from
his argument against God's creation of movement
(Maqdtdt, 548, cit. supra, n. 36). His understanding of
the nature of movement would seem to be perhaps no
more than an extreme version of one like that of abA
I-Hudhayl, for whom the reality of movement is not
the passage over a trajectory through space but rather
consists in the act of having arrived in "the second
place "; the progression through space (as opposed to
the accident of motion [haraka] which comes to be in
the body when it arrives in the second place) abui
I-Hudhayl accounts for in a separate accident of kawn
(that is also recognized by certain later members of
the Basra school); on abA 1-Hudhayl's treatment of
motion, kawn, and becoming in general, cf. my Meta-
physics of Created Being . . ., ch. 2, ? B.
52 E. g., his description of man (Intisdr, 46, 11. 6 f.
and Maqdldt, 318 and 331 f.); as also in the charge
against him that he denied that God knows Himself,
since this would introduce into Him the duality of
knower and known (Intisdr, 45, al-Farq bayn al-Firaq,
141, and al-Milal wan-nihal, 100 f.) which, valid or not,
shows him to have had a sufficient reputation for
Neoplatonist leanings to have made the charge at least
credible or likely.
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