Paradise and the fire

More than any other key postulate, the nature of heaven and hell has been subjected to a range of interpretations stretching from the purely literal to the utterly allegorical. Hell is a place of just chastisement for sin, which forms a temporary purgatory for sinning believers,whether any punishment there would be truly eternal was a matter of considerable dispute.23 Paradise is presented as a garden (janna) arranged in levels, a verdant place where all wishes are fulfilled, and where the...

Info

May be to human reason, by contrast to a mythological proliferation of gods, it will also prove to be its stumbling-block, and so testify that its corollary, creation, must properly be rooted in revelation. This proposed account of various Muslim understandings of creation will corroborate that intractability, as diverse schools of thought stumble in their attempts to articulate the unique relation introduced by the simple assertion, ''God says 'Be ' and it is.'' The conceptual conundra follow...

The subTle Ties of allusion

Yet, as the Niche continues, if nothing exists other than God, the ''Light of the heavens and Earth'' (24 35), ''then the name 'light' for things other than the First Light i.e. God is sheer majaz''.47 Thus, ''the 'arifun ascend from majaz to haqaqa'', from the figural to the literal.48 For ''nothing possesses huwHya ('he-ness') other than He huwa except in a figural sense (bi'l-majaz)''. ''Huwlya'', the abstract form of the third-person pronoun huwa, is one of the terms used in falsafa to...

Ma Turidism

To give another example of how misleading the nomenclature often used in theology can be, let us examine briefly the controversy over irja' or ''postponement''.13 As Khalid Blankinship has outlined in chapter 2 of the present volume, a central controversy in early Islam had evolved over the nature of belief (aman) was it primarily a matter of belief and acts, or of beliefs alone Could one be a sinner and yet at the same time remain a sincere Muslim An important school which was initiated by Abu...

The bakriyya salimiyya and karramiyya

Basri's main legacy to Sufism must be sought in a different quarter from the Sufi Mu'tazila. The important eighth-century proto-Sufi order known as the Bakriyya derived directly from his influence. This group, who were strongly aligned with the ahl al-hadith, had their origins in a figure who was reputedly a student of Basri, 'Abd al-Wahid ibn Zayd (d. 793), although the name Bakriyya derives from the latter's nephew and disciple Bakr ibn Ukht 'Abd al-Wahid ibn Zayd. The sect was strongly...

Summary And Conclusion

In the Niche, Ghazili writes that ''nothing possesses existence (huwiya) other than He i.e. God except in a figural sense (bi'l-majaz)'' and ''the knowers of God who ascend from majaz to haqiqa''. But in the Mustasfi he claims ''Every majaz figural sense has a haqiqa i.e. a literal sense but it is not necessary that every haqiqa has a majiz.'' Should we conclude that Ghazali has simply reversed himself, that non-literal and literal are symmetrically interdependent And if for Ibn Taymiyya...

The Transmission Of Knowledge

From the emergence in the eighth century of the traditional ''Islamic sciences'', which include grammar (nahw), exegesis (tafsi), dialectic theology (kalam), study of hadith, and jurisprudence (fiqh), the establishment and maintenance of a connection to the event of revelation became the central preoccupation of those who dedicated themselves to learning. If revelation represented a special infusion of knowledge into the world, this knowledge had to form the basis of human scholarly endeavours,...

Messianism

Belief in a figure who will come to the world in the end-time to combat the forces of darkness or evil is a theme common to the Western religious traditions. Meaning in history is brought to vindication through this potent image of a cosmic conflagration, succeeded by a just resolution and the ultimate victory of the good. The Muslim messianic figure, known as the Mahdi, or ''guided one'', is generally presented in hadith chapters called the books of crises, calamities or civil wars (fitan)....

Ghazali And The Seljuk Synthesis

This is not the place to rehearse the details of Ghazala's life. Elsewhere in this volume, David Burrell has described how he came to confirm the centrality of Sufism through terrible inner traumata.49 The result was that Ghazala made his famous flight from Baghdad, dedicating himself to the contemplative disciplines of Sufism. Ghazaalai hyperbolises when he expresses himself in terms of an actual disavowal of the exoteric sciences. For the fruit of his conversion was of course a bold attempt...

The Fate Of Falsafa

As Hossein Ziai demonstrates in his chapter, Abbasid civilisation showed itself willing and able to embark on one of the most ambitious projects of deliberate cultural borrowing known to history. If the Qur'an represents a first moment of Islamic xenophilia, rejecting the indigenous beliefs of the Arabs in favour of the monotheistic worldview and prophetic tales of their neighbours and rivals, then the process whereby Greek texts were translated into Arabic is surely the second. (The third,...

The rescue of integrality

His earlier observation of the Nur affair probably made him wary of Hallij's strident form of esoterism, and many accounts point to his censure of Hallij's outspokenness. It is not a matter of Junayd being more scrupulous in upholding the Shari'a, for Hallaj himself was allegedly extremely meticulous in his religious observance and renounced all legal mitigations and concessions (rukhas). Nonetheless, Junayd makes a reassertion of what has been referred to...

Problem

Reflections on the essence-attribute question were not restricted to kalam deliberations but were also systemically debated by the exponents of falsafa. For instance, Avicenna addressed this question in terms of an ontological analysis of the modalities of being namely impossibility, contingency and necessity. Avicenna argues that the impossible being is that which cannot exist, while the contingent in itself (mumkin bi-dhatihi) has the potentiality to be or not to be without entailing a...

Places Of Learning

In the pre-Ottoman Islamic world, scholarship was not rooted in any single specific venue. Nevertheless, the mosque has always been, and remains to this day, an important place of teaching. In the first Islamic cities, particularly the garrison towns built by the early Arab-Muslim conquerors in the seventh century, the mosque represented the public space par excellence. It was in the mosque that scholars sat between the five daily prayers, lecturing to their students as well as to interested...

The Moral Imperative

The centrality of worship in Islam is demonstrated already by the very structure of sura i, known as the Opener (al-Fatiha), which is traditionally understood as the epitome of the Qur'an. After beginning in God's name, the Fitiha praises God in three verses. The final two verses offer the request of the servant. Verse 5, which is structurally the middle, provides the best-known and most often recited reference to worship in Islam Thee alone we worship serve, and from Thee alone we seek help.''...

Islamic law and classical theology

Opinions differ regarding the influence of theology on Islamic law. Fazlur Rahman stresses that the origins of theology and of law were distinct, and that even in the case of the Mu'tazila there is no evidence that their theology affected their positions in positive law.27 The profound influence of kalam was in classical legal theory by contrast, in all legal schools, the content of positive law remained essentially untouched, regardless of the influence kalaam was wielding upon legal theory....

Introduction To Islamic Philosophy Notes

Ibn 'Arabi, Fusus al-hikam, ed. Abu'l-'Ali' 'Afifi Beirut, 1365 1946 , pp. 122, 178. Ibn 'Arabi also on occasion speaks of ''the deity conditioned by dogma'' al-ilah al-mu'taqad M. Chodkiewicz, An Ocean Without Shore Ibn 'Arabi, the Book and the Law Albany, 1993 , p. 128. 2. ''Locution theopathique'' is the term of the French scholar Louis Massignon, though interestingly ''theopathy'' ''theopathetic'' is attested in English as early as the eighteenth century. Louis Massignon, Essay on...

The challenge of esoteRism

Aside from bequeathing to Sufism the distinctive institution of the khanqah, the influence of Karrimism on Islamic mysticism is indirect. It should be remembered that Ibn Karram's movement was not mystical sensu stricto. However, the violent asceticism of its exponents, which cast such a spell over the working classes of Khurisanian towns such as Nlshapur, provoked an epochal reaction amongst mystics in the ninth century. With Hamdun al-Qassar and Abu Hafs 'Amr al-Haddadi at their head, their...

The Qadaris

It was the tension between free will and determinism that gave rise to the first properly theological dispute in Islam. The pre-Islamic Arabs had tended to believe in a predetermined fate dahr , and hence received the Qur'an in the same spirit. The early caliphs seem also to have upheld this view, particularly Mu'awiya 661-80 , 'Abd al-Malik 685-705 , and 'Umar II 717-20 , in connection with each of whom epistles or traditions of a deterministic hue have been associated. Usually, modern...

The Kharijites

Despite Umayyad success, opposition continued. All three of the groups which had been eclipsed during the First Civil War 656-61 continued to exist and to promote their opposition. All three contended again with the Umayyads during the Second Civil War 680-92 , which proved longer and more disastrous than the first. In this period, each of the three oppositions underwent further ideological development. The most confrontational was the radical Khawarij, who initially rejected any compromise...

The fifth belief in the day of judgement

The Qur'an frequently evokes the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and belief in a final end gives sense and purpose to the whole creation. But for the judgement, the world would be in vain 23 115-16 95 7-8 , which is why the next life is mentioned in the Qur'an exactly as often as the life of this world. The semantic logic of the qur'anic text makes the domain we presently occupy the ''first world'' al-ualaa , which exists only with reference to the ''other'' world which is to come...

David B Burrell

''Originator Badi' of the heavens and earth. When He decrees a thing, He says only 'Be ' And it is.'' There are eight names for God, among the canonical ninety-nine, which direct our attention to Allah as the source of all that is al-Badi' Absolute Cause , al-Biri' Producer , al-Khaliq Creator , al-Mubdi' Beginner , al-Muqtadir All-Determiner , al-Musawwir Fashioner , al-Qidir All-Powerful and al-Qahhar Dominator , each with various connotations of creating.2 Nothing seems simpler than...

Tim Winter

This volume presents a series of critical scholarly reflections on the evolution and major themes of pre-modern Muslim theology. Given Islam's salience in religious history and its role as final religious inheritor of the legacies of monotheism and classical antiquity, such a collection hardly needs justification. The significance of Islamic theology reflects the significance of Islam as a central part of the monotheistic project as a whole, to which it brings a distinctive approach and style,...

The Role Of Ibn Taymiyya

In particular, there emerged a few late medieval thinkers like the Syrian Hanbalite Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya d. 1328 whose campaign to critique theology was more radical than that found in earlier generations.9 He criticised the very basis of kalam by attacking the notion of definition, that is, specifying a clear and distinct meaning for abstract concepts,and without the possibility of definition there is no possibility of theological discussion, since one is then without the basic materials...

Notes on contributors

Abd-Allah received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1978 with a dissertation on the origins of Islamic law. His principal interests are Islamic intellectual and spiritual history, the history of Islam in the West, and comparative religion. He taught academically in the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia for more than twenty years before taking up his present post as chairperson and scholar-in-residence of the Nawawi Foundation Chicago , an...

The Hadith

Although the Qur'an is the unrivalled supreme revelation of Islam, the tradition also recognises a second form of revealed scripture the hadith hadith . Technically, Muslims came to define the hadith as ''the attested reports of the sayings, actions, and tacit approvals and accounts of the Prophet Muhammad''.6 These present records of the Prophet's statements, as well as statements by his companions relating to him. Collectively the hadith literature provides evidence for the Prophet's way of...

Islamic Philosophy Notes

Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe London, 1959 , p. 105. For the attitude see Dimitri Gutas, ''The study of Arabic philosophy in the twentieth century an essay on the historiography of Arabic philosophy'', British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 29 2002 , pp. 10-12. 2. Robert Wisnovsky, Avicenna's Metaphysics in Context London, 2003 , p. 301. 3. Louis Massignon, Essay on the Origins of the Technical Language of Islamic Mysticism, tr....

Reason And Revelation

Closely linked to this dialectic was the even more taxing balance which high medieval Islam thought it had achieved between ''reason'' 'aql and revelation naql . Those who stressed the former tended to assume that the Qur'an's arguments for itself proceed on the principle that reason is prior to the authority of revelation they therefore tended to support a strongly abstract model of God strict scripturalists, by contrast, often inclined to anthropomorphism. It was generally admitted that...