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Thursday, 4 December 2014

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PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT IN ISLAM (Continued 1) - Articles Islamic

Indian and Persian philosophy
Unlike Greek philosophy, the Indian and Persian influence on Islamic philosophy is comparatively small; nevertheless some Arabic-speaking scholars engaged with Persian and Indian ideas, particularly in the scientific realms.
In the Abbasid era, Indian medical and astronomical works were translated into Arabic. Al-Biruni (d. 440/1048) wrote on Indian philosophical and religious beliefs, and Muslim theories of atomism carry a number of marked similarities to Indian thought. A number of Persian aphoristic works and moral treatises were available to the Arabs through the work of writers such as Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ (d. 139/756) and Miskawayh (d. 421/1030). Importantly, many great figures in Islamic thought were Persians, including Ibn Sina, al-Razi and al-Ghazali.

Muslim philosophy
The earliest texts translated into Arabic were of a practical nature and concentrated on medicine, alchemy and astrology. This led to a developing interest in more theoretical and speculative works. Arab philosophers emerged during the third/ninth century. The Abbasid caliphs were interested in learning and gave financial and material support to translators and scholars. The first prominent example of an Arab-Muslim philosopher is considered to be al-Kindi (d. circa 260/873). From the time of al-Kindi, Muslim philosophy became a creative phenomenon that moved beyond translation and commentary and developed into a distinct Islamic discipline.

Muslim philosophers sought to integrate Greek thought into their Islamic framework and were interested in harmonizing rationality and religious faith. While the scholars of theology (kalam) sought to defend the revealed truths of the Qur’an and the Sunna with proofs, those who took the path of philosophy (falsafa) resorted to reason exclusively to disentangle the problems that beset the human intellect. They viewed the Neoplatonic conception of the universe as consistent with Islamic beliefs, in particular the apocryphal Theologia Aristotelis with its doctrine of emanation. There are two main types of philosophic literature: commentaries on texts and independent creative works. Both followed Greek methods of organizing scholarly work. 

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