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REL 418: THE SCIENCE OF ISLAMIC

THEOLOGY

THE POLITICAL OR SOCIAL
INFERENCE OF THEOLOGICAL
AND PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS WITH
PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO
ISLAMIC THEOLOGY

AN ASSIGNMENT

GIVEN BY

DR M.O ADENIYI

SUBMITTED BY

religion – that is. view Muslim Arabs. Olson and Jackson W. This has also been spectacularly evident in advanced countries.B. Again. Religiously Based Politics: Religious Elites and the Public. many observers of the American political scene have been disturbed by the apparent injection of religiously based values and goals into public policy debates’ A pervasive stereotype among world religions is thought to be in the air. They thus collectively group them as belonging to an advanced. Lawrence. civilized species of the human race while Americans on the other hand. in his belief. which can more or less be referred to as a Christian country. Bruce . REL/2006/017 INTRODUCTION From time immemorial. especially among adherents of Islam and Christianity. In their article. reference will be made to America with the example of the prevalent uproar. Daniel V. as belonging to a barbaric uncivilizable species of Human race and in consequence. A Professor of Islamic studies. it has been observed that theological and philosophical ideas always have Political and/or Social manifestations in the human society. Machiavelli established a relation between ‘speaking with God’ and the founding and/or reforming of states. Carroll quoted Rothenberg & Newport stating that ‘Since the late 1970. KEMI-ROTIMI MOYOSOOREOLUWA. between Surrounding Islamic countries and the entirety of America.O. quoting an unnamed source in his article titled Conjuring with Islam II implied that Muslim Arabs make Americans out to be secular regardless of their religious preference. who they believe make religion their passion. there is no hope for peace in both the near and distant future. 2 . with particular reference to America. A. the claim of having spoken with God – is necessary to effectively rule.

the Murijites and the Asharites and how their views affected and/or influenced the way they accepted and/or submitted to authority. it is can also be defined as an abstract framework for seeking answers to whatever questions a religious community may decide to pursue. These beliefs to a great extent dominated social relations and political orientation among Muslims and between Muslims and adherents of other religions. Islamic theology is thus an ideology that helps maintain worldly social and political structure based on an elaboration of the ideas of the Quran. Sequel to the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). According to David Vishanoff. theology is a systematic set of statements answering questions about God and his relationship to his creatures. It is widely believed that after the compilation of the Quran during the reign of Uthman as Caliph. Islamic theology has its root in the Quran and the Hadith and its facet can be seen on many Muslim thoughts. the way they related with their fellow Muslims and the way they 3 . various schools of thought emerged. in order to build a system of doctrines that is compatible with the theologian's worldview and that shows how the story and texts address important questions within that worldview.IN RELATION TO ISLAMIC THEOLOGY Theology can be defined as the intellectual enterprise of reflecting on a religion's founding story and texts. each with varying and a few unifying theological beliefs. the Mutazilites. In this work. references will be made to the theological view of schools of thought such as the Kharijites. These beliefs were mainly based upon the personal understanding of the Prophet’s teachings and the philosophies of the founding fathers of these schools of thought. the schools of thought made effort to locate their theology in the Quran.

he can however be treated as a believer in this life as he will be punished eternally in hell because Allah said so. their stance on faith translated into their acceptance of titular Muslims (who were common especially in newly conquered border regions) as believers even if they did not perform all the ritual duties of Islam and perhaps if they performed acts of pagan worship. sin included. does not affect his faith. Concerning the issue of Faith. These beliefs are held to still be predominant in modern day relations and rulings. The political implication of this their stance is that they accepted even sinful rulers as legitimate asserting that they should not be denied their recognition irrespective of their supposed worldliness. Both the Mutazilites and the Hanbalites took an intermediary position on faith. Islamic theology which the various schools of thought have diversifying stances about. actions and a verbal profession of the inner belief while both agreeing that sin is serious and can affect one’s faith and future punishment. Their stances on faith implied that they politically avoided implying rebellion against sinful rulers. the Murijites as well as the Asharites took a lax view and defined faith as belief supplemented by verbal profession. each finding instances and incidents to back its claim in the Quran. The perspective of the Hanbalites will also not be left out. but not peculiar to. There are a few major issues found in. For the Mutazilites. Socially. This however excludes one who commits one of those sins that Allah has explicitly regarded as disbelief. They defined faith as constituting of inner belief. Thus a man’s actions. they however noted that 4 . The Murijites considered all countries that had Muslim leaders as Darul Iman (Abode of Faithful) or Darul Islam (Abode of Islam). one who sins is neither a believer nor an unbeliever – He is simply a grave sinner. The Hanbalites on the other hand believe that sin decreases one’s faith and whosoever sins will be punished temporarily in Hell but will reach heaven eventually regardless of how small his faith is. as long as a grave sinner prays towards Mecca in profession of his faith. he is considered a believer.embraced people of other religions.

The Kharijites view of faith is indeed a very strict one. 5 . They held that the Muslim grave sinner should be expelled from the community lest he pollute the community and thereby preventing law abiding citizens of that community from getting to paradise. a definition of faith that excludes actions might be more appealing to new converts in societies that do not practice many Islamic practices while saying faith increases or decreases according to man’s actions might encourage lax Muslims towards greater piety. diverse theological views are useful for persuading different audiences. It is evident that views on faith and grave sinners were driven by different attitudes towards the Umayyad caliphs. The social implication of their theological stance is that they stood in great opposition to those who did not agree with their views and thus segregated themselves from the rest of the community. it can be concluded thus that it is indeed evident that theology can be driven by the needs of social and political situation. CONCLUSION The thoughts on faith and the Muslim grave sinner are the two most prominently featured aspects of Islamic theology. irrespective of the school of thought being considered which explains why they have been exclusively discussed in this writing. They defined faith as including actions in its entirety thus asserting that sin affects one’s faith and in fact makes one an unbeliever. and thus their inference.it is a Muslim’s duty to enjoin good and forbid evil which may sometimes include opposing wicked Muslim rulers. From the foregoing. For this reason. they were politically in constant opposition to the ruling parties of the day as they were of the opinion the sinful rulers such as the Umayyads should be fought like apostates. It can also be inferred that socially.

html 6 .ou.org/stable/3092169 • Daniel V.. 2002). Carroll. Lawrence. Olson and Jackson W.edu/V/David. 2. No.jstor.R. Islamic Theology: Kalam. 485-497 http://www.jstor. Vol. 765-786 http://www. A. History and September 11: A Special Issue (Sep.REFERENCES • Bruce .. pp.ucalgary.Vishanoff-1/Theology/index.htm • Eliezer Segal. Islamic Theology (Spring 2010) http://faculty-staff. Conjuring with Islam II in ‘The Journal of American History’. 1992). (April 2008) http://people. 89.org/stable/2579753 • David Vishanoff. pp. 3 (Mar. Religiously Based Politics: Religious Elites and the Public in ‘Social Forces’.B. 70.ca/~elsegal/I_Transp/IO8_Theology. No. Vol.