scriptural creeds, will suffice. For them, kalam proofs were at once reprehensible innovations and too obscure and precarious to serve as reliable bases for sound belief.
According to Ibn Taymiyya, man knows God immediately and intuitively by virtue of his innate, primordial nature (fitra), instilled in him by God. Those with a sound fitra are able to bear witness to God's existence without reflection. Yet he accepts that fitra is easily corruptible in unhealthy environments, especially when influenced by misguided or heretical doctrines and methods, such as those found in kalam and philosophy. For those with an unsound fitra, Ibn Taymiyya prescribes a different mode of theological knowledge, akin to an argument from design, namely the contemplation of God's "signs" in nature, through which one will be able to recognise God's existence immediately.2
Ghazala, primarily a Sufi, secondarily a mutakallim, likewise maintains that man knows God through fitra, without discursive reasoning.3 Resorting to proofs may become compulsory upon some, especially those plagued by doubts. Yet, for him, the most superior method of knowing God, which provides direct experience of "witnessing" Him and renders all other methods superfluous, is that of Sufi spiritual discipline. Thus, much more mildly than Ibn Taymiyya, Ghazala too expresses some aversion to purely rational proofs for the existence of God, which he considers ultimately mediocre and primarily therapeutic.
Notwithstanding the great variety of stances, in the present chapter we are concerned only with some of the rational proofs expounded in the theological tradition, especially in kalaam. Rather than attempting to account comprehensively for all proofs and their historical development, we shall consider some representative (but not always obvious) examples of the main proofs. A convenient starting-point will be a categorisation of proofs provided by Fakhr al-Din al-Raza (d. 1210), an outstanding philosopher and mutakallim, who surveyed and assessed the previous philosophical and theological dialectic more systematically and insightfully than did his predecessors. He distinguishes between four categories: (1) arguments from the creation of the attributes of things (a subspecies of the argument from design); (2) arguments from the creation of things;(3) arguments from the contingency of the attributes of things (a subspecies of the argument from particularisation); and (4) arguments from the contingency of things.4 The first type will be discussed below under "Common teleological arguments'';the second and third under ''Kalam cosmological arguments'';and the fourth under ''Avicenna's argument from contingency''.
First, however, a preliminary problem, already hinted at, merits consideration. How do the mutakallimun justify their contention that theological reflection constitutes a duty (wajib)? The problem is fundamentally ethical, turning on the contentious question of the nature and grounds of ethical obligation. In the remainder of this section, we shall consider two contrasting solutions: one from Mu'tazilite ethical realism, the other from Ash'arite divine command ethics.
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