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Islamic Philosophies

Philosophical Theology In Islam, Transmission And Development Of Greek Science And Philosophy, Al-kindi And The Assimilation Of Greek Neoplatonic Metaphysics

All Muslims hold the Koran as the very word of God, who provides guidance and understanding of creation and proper human conduct by divine wisdom (hikma). This wisdom is also reflected in the oral statements of the prophet Muhammad collected in the Traditions (hadith) and in the reports of the life and deeds (sunna) of the Prophet. The study of these in the traditional Islamic religious sciences of Koranic commentary (tafsir), Traditions, religious law (al-fiqh), Arabic grammar, and related religious studies is the human response to the command of the Koran to seek out knowledge and understanding (20:114; 39:9). That search for knowledge and understanding is not limited to studies strictly religious since the whole of creation manifests divine wisdom. Hence medicine, mathematics, and study of nature can be included in the divine command, though these are classified as foreign sciences and rational or intellectual sciences. Philosophy, which retains its reference to its non-Islamic origins in its transliterated form as falsafah, is located in this second group but nevertheless came to be identified by the philosophers of the Islamic milieu with the wisdom (al-hikma) mentioned in the Koran and Traditions of the Prophet. In the classical period (eighth to twelfth centuries) the major philosophers of the lands of Islam (dar al-islam) characterized philosophical understanding at the highest levels as concerned with principles ultimately founded in God and thereby claimed a rightful stake in knowledge of the divine and of God's creation for the rational sciences. The significance of this idea can hardly be overemphasized since this controversial assertion of the value of independent rationality was a hallmark of philosophy in the classical period and has had a deep and lasting influence not only among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish philosophical thinkers in Islamic lands but also in the medieval Latin West, where its effect was shocking and altogether new.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Intuitionist logic to Kabbalah