Type of paper: Essay

Topic: God, Philosophy, Life, World, Religion, Existence, Philosopher, Evidence

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/09/28

Islamic Philosophy

Question 1.
Philosophy can be defined as the search for answers to the eternal problem of human existence. The specificity of most philosophical issues in general is that they cannot be resolved purely in a theoretical way. The true philosopher is aware that the eternal problem of existence is the eternal, that do not have exhaustive data for all decisions. The deeper and thinner the response is, the more new issues it puts in front of a creative human thought.
In the Islamic philosophy, scientists can underline those thinkers, who supported the Scripture, by following its main beliefs, and those, who tried to understand it with the help of mind. The last group of philosophers was called callam. They elaborated rational thoughts in Islamic philosophy. Al Ghazali was their main representative despite the difference of his thoughts.
So, taking into consideration the question of the world’s eternity, it is difficult to individuate a stable approach of the philosopher to the issue, because all his life he was looking for the answers at the eternal questions, wandering between opposite ideas. First of all, it is daring to say that the viewpoint of Al Ghazali had been developing during all is lifetime. That is why it is very important to take the ideas from different periods of his researches, taking into consideration cultural, social and historical contexts. His creative path was closely linked with a critical and important period in the history of Muslim civilization, when, after great flourishing and development it went to its decline. The crisis had a strong social-political, but mostly spiritual and ideological nature and necessity to choose a path between rational and theological ideas. On the one hand, this choice would have followed the development of intellectual and rational living which in its turn continuously fragmented weaked, but still dynamic Muslim religious identity. On the other hand, it was connected with the tendency of a collapse of all rational discussion and interpretation, including any form of innovative thought. From the point of view of Al Ghazali, there was no logical and absolutely convincing answers to sophisticated and profound religious issues, because there would always be another logical question to answer, and so on to infinity (McGinnis, 2007, n.d). Thus, a rational space cannot give a definitive answer. All answers to questions are relative, and therefore it is impossible to build a religious knowledge to rational criteria. Al Ghazali believed that limitation and the inability to give a full answer by rational means proved that only God knows the answer. However, did he support the idea of his existence and the world eternity? Yes, he did, and no he did not support it at the same time. For Al Ghazali doubt is a tool of destruction of rational arguments and evidence of their relativity.
Al Ghazali, in fact, did not find the proof of his beliefs in the rational ideas, because they were too controversial and allowed too many interpretations. The fragility of his opinions created a space for ideological reels, especially among the ordinary faithful Muslims. On the other hand, his skepticism regarding the rational knowledge was not so absolute to relinquish it, because it had a specific and relative truth.
Ideas are mutable. Ideas about God have no exception. They appear, live, undergoing changes and disappear. There is a view that Judaism is an ancient humanistic religion worthy of the greatest respect because of its beneficial effects on humanity.
Maimonides is a very important figure in the Jewish philosophy. As well as Al Ghazali, he supported the idea of a rational background in the religion. However, Maimonides had a firm position about the eternity. In all his works, there was a clear idea of the existence of future life. The philosopher underlined that the purpose of life, according to his ideas, laid into a desire to get into a better world for righteous (Maimonides & Rosner, 1979, p. 93). Maimonides gave a great importance to the issue of the world’s eternity, because he believed “if the world had been created by God, He exists, but if the world was eternal, there was no God” (Maimonides & Rosner, 1979, p. 90-93). Thus, Maimonides believed in equal possibilities to prove and opposite the idea of world’s eternity and God’s existance. And yet the philosopher did not share the position of medieval Jewish theologians who defended the theory on Almighty God, as a creator of everything in the world. According to the philosopher, God created nature, but He did not interfere in its affairs, because its laws were self-sufficient and self-regulated. Maimonides wrote his works for those who appreciated science, philosophy and reason. He considered that there was no need to serve God by prayings. Defending the biblical myth, Maimonides tangled in its own contradictions.
Maimonides and Al Ghazali belonged to different time periods and lived in different conditions, philosophical systems and ideologies. However, both scientists were first to introduce rational approach to the religion. Investigating the eternal question of the world’s eternity and God exists, they supported a similar idea and could not have found a clear answer to that question. So do people today.

Question 2.

Recognition or non-recognition of a rational proof of God's existence depends on the attitudes, mentality and style of language the philosopher used. There is no universal and suitable for all cultures and individuals, logical proof of God's existence.
The basic principle of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas was a harmony of faith and reasoning (Kreeft, 1990, n.d). He tried to prove the existence of God and rejected the objections to the truths of the faith. He built all of his work in the form of questions and answers, which always represented the dissenting opinions, and tried to show the truth in each approach. Aquinas was recognized as the most authoritative Catholic religious philosopher, who combined Christian principles with the ideas of Aristotle.
Without resorting to the teachings of the Church, philosopher based the evidence of existence of God on arguments of reason and logic. He formulated five main ideas that proved the existence of God (Kreeft, 1990, n.d). The first idea proved it through movement. According to the philosopher, everything is moving since it was powered by something else, which in its turn was moved by something third. He considered God to be a root of the entire movement. Moreover, since nothing can produce itself, then there is something that is the root cause of all that exists. Everything has the ability to potential and real life. If we assume that all things are in potency, then nothing had emerged from nowhere. There should be something that contributed to the translation of things from the potential to real state. And it is God. People talk about varying degrees of perfection of a subject only through comparison with the most perfect one. So, there always used to be something more beautiful and noble. It was God. Since the formulation of these five main proofs, many centuries have passed. In all times, philosophers, theologians and religious scholars have waged a persistent dispute in this regard. The rapid development of natural history and science in the age of the Renaissance has contributed to the emergence and development of new ways to prove God. Important new scientific discoveries of the 20th century also made a significant contribution to the knowledge of the thinking person questions the nature of the universe and the existence of its root causes.
The ideas of Aquinas differed from the ideas of other ideologists of those times towards the same question of God’s existence. Al-Ghazali remained too controversial in his proofs. His contemporaries went to God in different ways. Depending on personal preferences, ones chose the Kalam, others - mediation imams falsafu, while the third chose Sufi mysticism. Al-Ghazali studied carefully all theories of Islam, but could not have formulated a clear position. Like each modern skeptic, Al-Ghazali was aware that confidence is a psychological state and not always an objective position. Al-Ghazali made a great research and a great contribution because of reconciliation between rival religious systems of values and ideas found in the niche where the opposing forces are dampened. In his view, these contradictions were resolved at the level of the Sufi value system. Through Sufism many profound rational ideas were preserved and brought to the modern generation.
Al-Farabi (2007, p. 54) gave a great importance to the human mind. The world itself was described by Al-Farabi in the form of nine circles in each of the spheres with the living souls. They caused a rotation of the spheres around the Earth. The ability to move they received from the first push. Al-Farabi used the ideas of Aristotle’s Doctrine of Form and Matter to explain the diversity of the world.
Ibn Sina (2007, p. 148) theorized that a nature is eternal and has laws which do not change arbitrarily. He thought that the soul is the body and its individual immortality is impossible. Thus, the philosophy of Ibn Sina is objective-idealistic.
The teachings of Ibn-Rushd (2007, p. n.d) were based on the naturalistic concepts of Aristotle. Ibn-Rushd saw the world as an eternal and necessary process which was based on pramateria. He rejected the understanding of the material world as possible being. He considered that the existence of God was not preceded by matter, but created with it. God's function consisted in the transformation of capabilities inherent in matter, in reality. The movement is eternal. The creation of the world by God does not exist. All of these ideas were presented by Ibn Sina.
In conclusion it can be said that Al-Ghazali was and still is an outstanding religious and philosophical thinker, who gained the respect not only for his ideas but gave a support to his opponents because of the openness, depth, and eager to seek true knowledge. It can be seen that Arab philosophers, who usually were doctors, astronomers and travelers, supported science and experience more than the abstract thoughts. Uquinian ideas can be called opposite to the principles supported by Arab philosophers. Their thoughts were based on religious dogmas while Aquinas tried to remain abstract from it. However, all mentioned philosophers interpreted the works of Aristotle.


Kreeft, P. (1990). A summa of the Summa: The essential philosophical passages of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa theologica. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Maimonides, M., & Rosner, F. (1979). Moses Maimonides' Glossary of drug names. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society; Part 1, Chapter 73.
McGinnis, J. (2007). Classical Arabic philosophy: An anthology of sources. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub.

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