Reaction and reconstruction twelfth to seventeenth centuries

The twelfth century was marked by a myriad political and intellectual currents. The caliphate grew weaker, regional dynasties seized the chance to assert their independence, and the caliphs increasingly proclaimed kalaam theological positions as the official doctrine of state. Many jurists followed, and at times initiated, trends that considered the Greek sciences and especially the Greek-inspired philosophical world-view to be heretical. However, the pursuit of the sciences and of philosophy, including medicine, that once thrived exclusively under the patronage of the caliphs and other Arab overlords, continued to be supported by a range of princes, rulers and kings in centres in Iran, Central Asia, Anatolia and elsewhere.

Three types of reaction to philosophy were initiated by three figures whose work has forever defined normative Islam and emerged as predominant doctrinal processes that gained strength with every passing century in the religious, juridical and legalist domains. These trends are briefly indicated here in relation to the principal views of a proponent of each one: (1) Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari, (2) Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and (3) Ibn Taymiyya.

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