World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


MEDIEVAL ARABIC PHILOSOPHY - 1/2 (189) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: WED 21, 9-11am

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description:
Chair: Kevin Gray (Instructor, American University of Sharjah, UAE)

Paper Presenter: Saliha Kizilkaya (Independent Researcher, USA), “Al-Kind's Approach to the Concept of Religion”
Al-Kind’s Approach to the Concept of Religion. One of the essential subjects of philosophy is religion. It has been attracting the attention of philosophers and thinkers and has been discussed since the first ages. These discussions in different environments and religions took a variety of methods. Although the concept of religion has similar meaning among distinct surroundings, it has a different understanding in each culture and thought. This characteristic of religion has a remarkable value for modern era religious studies. Muslim philosophers who constituted their own philosophical tradition examined this issue throughout the course of time. Muslim philosophers’ concepts of religion is not unique, rather each philosopher echoes a diverse approach to the religion. Since al-Kind’ represents first period Muslim philosophers and has impacted later thinkers, his aspect of religion is significantly important. The aim of this paper is to discuss al-Kind’s concept of religion. The early Muslim philosophers’ apprehension on the notion of religion will be delineated through al-Kindi’s approach to religion. For this, al-Kind’s al-Ras’il al-falsafiyya will be the essential reference of the paper. Indeed, the paper deals with the influences on al-Kind by both Greek philosophers’ methodological comprehensions towards the notion of religion and by Muslim theologians. Finally, the paper sheds light on al-Kind’s legacy and impact to subsequent sentiments on the notion of religion.

Paper Presenter: Hassan Jamsheer (Prof., Chair of Middle Eastern Studies, Dept of Philosophy and History, University of Lodz, Poland) “The validity of Ibn Rushd's ideas for contemporary political thought: Faith, rationalism, ethical values”
The question of succession of governmental systems in the Arab-Islamic world was singled out by the Maghribian scholar Muhammad Abid al-Jabiri as a cardinal one, regarding Ibn Rushd as the very philosopher, whose thought can resolve the problem (with Ibn Khldoun being the second). All other names in Arab-Islamic thought, who devoted their works to royal-sultanic advices had reduced the question of governance in the Arab-Islamic world to the acknowledgement of its the ideal nature at the times of Caliphate and the coup carried out by Mu’awia without describing what was the meaning of such a despotism which covered the entire history of Islam. In his works “Al-Dharouri fi-l-siyasa” (“What is Necessary in Politics”), “Fasl al-maqal fi ma beina-l-shari’a wa-l-hikma min-al-ittisal, au wujub an-nadhar al-aqli wa hudud at-ta’wil (ad-din wa-l-mujtama’”) [“Decisive Treatise on the Connection between Religious Law and Philosophy, or The Necessity of Rational Outlook and Limits of Interpretation (Religion and Society)”], and above all “Tahafut al-tahafut” (“The Incoherence of Incoherence”), Abul-Walid al-Qurtubi Ibn Rushd tackled the problem of governance not only as a philosopher, but also as a long-time jurist (‘qadhi’). Moreover he was the son and grandson of Cordoba’s grand jurists (‘qadhi al-qudhat’). Our Ibn Rushd’s significance derives also from his solid knowledge of Islamic sciences (i.e. “Bidayet al-mujtahid wa nihayet al-muqtasid”, where he presented the ‘fiqh’ of four Sunni ‘shari’a’ schools). Hence, his defence of philosophy (meaning rationalism and logic) was carried out against al-Ghazali by means of the ‘shari’a’. Emphasising the methodological and genetic independence of religion and philosophy, he simultaneously acknowledged their compatibility in aiming at truth and virtues (‘fadhila’). Also, he concentrated attention upon the relation between religion and society. The paper is an attempt to sum up Ibn Rushd’s political thought, which is based upon faith, rationalism and human values. It is (in my opinion) an elaborate answer to radical Islamic thought and the so-called fundamentalism. The research is carried out on the basis of sources, and attempts to sum up the attainments of academic works published within activities in framing, in 1998, the 800 anniversary of the philosophers’ death.