Page last edited on 23 April, 2003
on Islamic Philosophy
Chapters in this essay
Groundwork on Islamic Philosophy
- Philosophy and Islam
- Analytical Arguments
- Cosmological Arguments
(Aristotle, Al-Kindi, Ibn Rushd, Al-Ghazzali,
Liebniz, Iqbal, & Craig)
- Teleological Arguments
(Paley, Sober, Alkindus, Iqbal, Russell, & Kant)
- Ontological Arguments
(Anselm, Descartes, Kant, & Avicenna)
- Arguments against the existence of God
There is a strong tradition of rigorous Islamic thought on philosophical
issues. Issues in Islamic metaphysics and epistemology are varied
and complex. There are strong and useful similarities of thought
within Muslim and Western thought. Western philosophers have expanded upon
many of the debates originating within the Islamic world, as the Muslims had
done earlier with the Greek scholars. It would be a mistake, however, to
consider Islamic thought a relic of the past. Islamic philosophy is
showing signs of significant recovery and with the emergence of an integrated
worldview, it will be a viable discipline.
The consensus among modern Muslim philosophers seems to be moving away from
the purely empirical arguments for Godís existence. The recent
consensus of Islamic thinkers like Ghazzali, Al-Attas and Iqbal seem to prefer
arguments from religious experience over the rational arguments.
Apart from the basic question of how faith and reason interact in
epistemology, there are significant other issues in philosophy that need study.
For instance, is there an Islamic response to the mind-body problem?
Are we to reject the concept of the soul as Kant did since it is an obscure
concept? Or can it be reinterpreted to be read as the mind? If so,
what constitutes the mind? Does Islam provide its own ethical framework?
If so, what are its principles and does it resolve the problems with Western
ethical theories (of Aristotle, Kant, Mill or Nietzche)? How does Islam
tackle the radical existentialism of Satre or Heidegger? These are just
some of the other problems, besides those in epistemology and metaphysics that
will face future Muslim philosophers.
Resolving these problems will have profound implications on the Islamic
worldview and values. It is also a prerequisite to any tangible and
independent Islamic academic philosophy.
In the modern context it is important, for Islamic thought at least, to
reassert itself clearly and define its parameters upon which a modern Islamic
epistemology can be built. The work of European and American
philosophers cannot be ignored, and their criticism should be used to recreate
the vigor of Islamic philosophy which has been lost over the past few centuries.