Ibn Sina (Avicenna)

Discussion in 'Siyar an-Nubala' started by AbdalQadir, Dec 1, 2011.

Draft saved Draft deleted
  1. sunnistudent

    sunnistudent Veteran

    I am not very sure about this matter,because I remember reading this

  2. Abu Fadl

    Abu Fadl Banned

    Brother, that was not the question actually. If you have a look again you will see I asked about kufr specifically. That's not to ask if he would have agreed with everything the philosophers said and joined them. It's also right to point out here that they all did not hold the same views either, so it's not necessary that the same kufr fatwa would have been applied to Ibn Rushd by Imam-e-Ghazali. We don't really know and I don't think anyone after Ibn Rushd did put such a fatwa of kufr on him?

    In other words, is there a rebuttal of Ibn Rushd's defence?

    Brother, in the nicest possible way, I would ask you to be cautious in the presumptions you have about other people and the assumptions you make, especially when it's in the condescending fashion we have become so accustomed to from your honourable self.
  3. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    and chances are, that imam ghazali would have written a counter-refutation annihilating ibn rushd's delusions and fallacies, that would put the matter to rest once and for all.

    ibn rushd's diatribe against ghazali is presented in favorable light by orientalists and modernists, mostly because imam ghazali was an orthodox sunni muslim. those who have a hidden dislike of imam ghazali try to promote ibn rushd and take this opportunity to throw dirt on imam ghazali.

    the baTinis/ismayilis positively hate him - no wonder such hate percolates into people leaning towards rafD.

    we ask Allah ta'ala to vouchsafe us.
  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i wonder if you had read both ghazali and ibn rushd, would you have asked this question?
  5. Abu Fadl

    Abu Fadl Banned

    I think these arguments are not for the lay people to make judgements on. Without being an expert in philosophy it's better to refrain from ideological judgements but instead read the information available like NJ is doing. It's certainly not something to get emotional about as unbeknown is.

    Avicenna, by the way, studied Hanafi fiqh.

    Ibn Rushd does make certain clarifications which is why I say both sides should be read such as the philosophers not believing that the world is essentially eternal and that it is not uncreated.

    I wonder if Imam Ghazali would have been around to read Ibn Rushd, would he have reversed his kufr fatwa on the philosophers?

    By the way Imam Ghazali was also quite cautious of ilm ul kalam. All I am saying is to avoid the simplicity in your arguments.
  6. Just to clarify, we don't use the 'first cause'/'first mover' argument; we believe each and every thing is directly willed by Allah, and that what some consider causation (like Ibn Sina) is in actual fact merely correlation ('aadah).
  7. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Brother nj, not doing takfir may be for many reasons, as you might know far better than me, the takfir issue having been discussed exhaustively on SP under diverse threads devoted to a myriad range of personalities and contexts. Finding an excuse to avoid takfir does not mean a whole-hearted endorsement of a person's position. More importantly, according to many scholars, including Sayyidi Alahadhrat, the maxim followed is " LAZIM OF A MADHAB IS NOT LAZIM " or '' The inadvertant consequences of a madhab are not the madhab itself ". In this case unless the person explicitily confirms that his madhab is both, the statement itself as well as what it entails, takfir will not materialize. This has been one of the prime reasons why our ulema did not do a blanket takfir of the mu'tazilites. So did those who considered ibn sina a muslim agree with his philosophy also? Or, as you suggest, reports of him being a sunni hanafi or of his repentence may have been a reason, as has happened closer home. The bottom line is: irrespective of who is the author of those books and at what point of time they were written, do they contain statements that explicitily or implicitily oppose those fundamentals of the creed of Ahlussunnah which have been taught to us by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and about which there is no DoO ? [For e.x: is it not kufr to consider GOD a 'cause'- as stated by sheikh abu adam at the link above?] If they do then is not caution more important than academics? Afterall, not all kufr is committed intentionally. Wassalaam.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  8. It is interesting to note that the idea of a Necessary Being [wajb al wujud] or, in other words the idea of a First Cause, as a proof of God's existence, was first proposed by Ibn Sina and is used by all religious philosophers as "proof" of a God
    ever since both in the East and West.
  9. a very interesting discussion is taking place...but I wish all brothers would stick to the topic. I have yet to read either of the works in question but I think that the point GG was making earlier was that not all Sunni scholars agreed with Imam Ghazali on the issue of the takfir of Ibn Sina.

    It would be interesting to see how many people in this debate have actually read both the Tahafut and the Tahafut from cover to cover. I suspect apart from gg and ah not many. Certainly not me but I have them ready to read. Hence I will be on here much less frequently as I earlier said.

    I think some people are forgetting that Shaykh al Rais Ibn Sina was a Muslim philosopher arguing from within an Islamic cosmology using the techniques of neoPlatonism and peripatetic philosophy as was Imam Ghazali. And Ibn Rushd who followed him.

    Here is an interesting excerpt about Ibn Sina which I only discovered yesternight:


    and perhaps most importantly vis-a-vis his takfir by Imam Ghazali:

    Allah knows best.
  10. brother unbeknown, thank you for your advise and i understand that this is not the place to discuss such matters. initially, it was about takfir-issue that led me to post.


    Everything apart from God is contingent. if God chose A, He might instead have chosen not-A. Could there have been a situation in which God chooses neither A nor not-A. such a situation could only have been a time yet God is eternal and has no time in which to contempolate a range of possibilities before deciding which, if any, to actualize.

    bear in mind that this is a response to mutakallimun's proof of volition and it is this kind of philosophical criticism that Ibn Sina was trying to refute through his idea of a Necssary Being.

    it is not an argument but merely a demonstraion that when one seeks the idea of God through reason alone like the philosophers and to which the mutakallimun were trying to respond in the same way then it has to abide by the very framework it is trying to utilize to refute. the end. no more from
  11. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

  12. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Global Disclaimer:


    'Appeal to Authority' is considered a logical fallacy. But in the case of the deen, all those who lack proper/relevant/adequate qualification/training and aptitude for independent inquiry and research are commanded thusly:

    " Ask the people of understanding if you do not know"​

    Hence in matters of religion I rely on and follow those whom I trust to show me the right from the wrong. Believe it or not, most of the times this necessitates relying from bottom to top rather than vice-versa unless an irrefutable and unambiguous position is known. So my views are only as accurate as my sources. Sweet and Simple.


    Coming from X the advice seems strange!

    Anyways I see no change in my positions. I have clearly stated that many of ibn Sina's views contradict the fundamentals/creed of Ahlussunnah and so according to me he is not from it. I did not make takfir of him because I did not know for sure and wanted to play safe.

    But just now i found this.

    And I dunno.

    Through all this you seem to be implying that it's just a difference of syntax or maybe definitions and the great Imams were being Quixotic attacking the philosophers for no reason!

    "Al-Ghazali’s attack was multidimensional – commentators have identified at least seventeen different points of contention – but perhaps the most interesting issues have to do with God as a freely acting agent able to intervene in the world in any way that he chooses. Consider, for example, the question that caliph Abu Yaqub posed to the young Ibn Rushd – are the heavens created? The Islamic philosophers who were the focus of al-Ghazali’s ire had tended to argue that they were not. Ibn Sina’s view, for instance, was “emanationist”: he claimed that the universe was not created ex nihilo at a particular moment in time, but rather that it exists out of necessity, emanating in manifold forms from God’s divine nature. Or to put this differently, God is the divine One, the pure intellect upon which all reality is founded, and to which it is connected by logical relations.

    Obviously, this is a highly esoteric conception of God, and to the uninitiated likely it makes little sense, but certainly it didn’t please al-Ghazali. It is easy to see why – it seems to do away with God as a free agent. Al-Ghazali ‘s response to all this was to argue that the Qur’an is quite clear that the universe was created by God. If God is an agent, able to act according to his own will, then it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that he created the world ex nihilio, and that he could eliminate it again should he so choose. In effect, then, al-Ghazali defends a particular conception of divine agency: God is all-powerful, therefore, he can act to create and destroy worlds.

    Ibn Rushd’s critique of al-Ghazali’s view of divine agency is exemplary in terms of the kinds of argumentative techniques that he employed. He argued that al-Ghazali goes wrong by mixing up the temporal and the eternal. It is quite reasonable to suppose that temporal beings (i.e., humans) can decide to embark upon some course of action, then delay doing so, then begin, then stop, and then start again, but it doesn’t work that way for God. Consider, for example, what follows from God’s omniscience and omnipotence: God will always know the best arrangement for the universe, and he will always be able to instantiate it, so it doesn’t make sense to think that he might choose not to instantiate it at a particular moment in time. To put this another way, there is nothing internal nor external to his nature that might lead him to delay the moment of creation. Indeed, it isn’t clear that there will even be different moments in time for God, especially if one thinks that God is present across all times.

    Similar kinds of difficulties afflict al-Ghazali’s position if one reflects upon God’s perfection. God is eternal and unchanging. This makes it problematic to suppose that he has desires that he might act upon in the same way that human beings have desires which they act upon. The idea of desire suggests some kind of perturbation in God’s nature, which is then annulled when the desire is fulfilled. But this makes no sense, since it implies a change in God’s nature – and as we have seen God’s nature is eternal and unchanging. It seems to follows then that God’s acts must simply be a manifestation of his nature, and that they are not willed in the same way that human beings will their acts.

    It is easy to see why this kind of argument might get an Islamic philosopher into trouble. As al-Ghazali suggested, it does seem to do away with God’s agency – his freedom to choose. Although Ibn Rushd denied this particular criticism, he was aware that there was a general issue about the impact of philosophical arguments on less sophisticated believers."

    " There is a fundamental disparity between al-Ghazali’s theological view and the Neoplatonic Aristotelian philosophy of emanationism. Al-Ghazali epitomizes this view in twenty points, three of which are especially prominent:

    (1) the philosophers’ belief in the eternity of the world,

    (2) their doctrine that God does not know particulars, and

    (3) their denial of the resurrection of bodies.

    These theses are ultimately reducible to differing conceptions of God and ontology. Interestingly, al-Ghazali’s criticism of philosophy is philosophical rather than theological, and is undertaken from the viewpoint of reason.

    First, as for the eternity of the world, the philosophers claim that the emanation of the First Intellect and other beings is the result of the necessary causality of God's essence, and therefore the world as a whole is concomitant and coeternal with his existence.
    Second, the philosophers deny God's knowledge of particulars or confine it to his self-knowledge, since they suppose that to connect God's knowledge with particulars means a change and plurality in God's essence. Al-Ghazali denies this. If God has complete knowledge of a person from birth to death, there will be no change in God's eternal knowledge, even though the person's life changes from moment to moment.

    Third, the philosophers deny bodily resurrection, asserting that 'the resurrection' means in reality the separation of the soul from the body after death. Al-Ghazali criticizes this argument, and also attacks the theory of causality presupposed in the philosophers’ arguments (see CAUSALITY AND NECESSITY IN ISLAMIC THOUGHT). The so-called necessity of causality is, says al-Ghazali, simply based on the mere fact that an event A has so far occurred concomitantly with an event B. There is no guarantee of the continuation of that relationship in the future, since the connection of A and B lacks logical necessity. In fact, according to Ash‘arite atomistic occasionalism, the direct cause of both A and B is God; God simply creates A when he creates B. Thus theoretically he can change his custom (sunna, ‘ada) at any moment, and resurrect the dead: in fact, this is 'a second creation'.

    Al-Ghazali thus claims that the philosophers' arguments cannot survive philosophical criticism, and Aristotelian logic served as a powerful weapon for this purpose. However, if the conclusions of philosophy cannot be proved by reason, is not the same true of theological principles or the teachings of revelation? How then can the truth of the latter be demonstrated? Herein lies the force of al-Ghazali’s critique of reason."

    Yeah? How unfortunate that the Mutakallim IMAMS did not have YOU by their side to teach them. . .

    and nobody, not a single IMAM in all this time dared to point this out ?

    Pretty dull, wasn't he?

    Yes one of them is called BLAMEWORTHY kalam and was criticized by the likes of Imam Shafi (rahimahullah).

    . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    That which confirms to the creed of Ahlussunnah is accepted everything else rejected.

    And they couldn't ?

    Whats the reason for quoting an incomplete sentence ?

    Lets get this straight.I don't trust you so I don't want to learn from you. and I DONT WANT TO ARGUE WITH YOU. My knowledge is not even a fraction of yours. Why don't you take all your lamentations to the SCHOLARS?

    Maybe they won't take you seriously because you're still not a force to reckon with. So I suggest you write a book "TAHAFUT AL MUTAKALLIMEEN" and perhaps we can get someone to do a PHD on your philosophy. Then they'll take you seriously.

    Here's a faster way:

    Take this up with Sheikh Abu Adam of sunnianswers. He's devoted all his time to refuting heresies. He will here you out. Then we'll see which way the camel sits.

    Or better still:

    Deflate a bit. And use your talents to benefit the Ummah of the BELOVED (may He be whelmed in Peace). You'll find much more satisfaction and peace this way than going around the net and screaming " Everyone is fallible " "Even the Greatest can make Mistakes" . .. . .. .


    Free advice:

    I am as 'lay' a man as they come. So no use arguing with me. If you lose: Shame on you! If you win: so what?
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  13. brother AH,

    thank you for that article. it is absolutely sound reasoning. difference of opinion aside, imam ghazali was imam ghazali and to blame him and imam razi and imam shahrastani for the scientific decline is absolute non sense. i like this reasoning from the article:

  14. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    this article challenges the neo-orientalist (and the muslim apologist) carping that imam ghazali was responsible for the 'intellectual' decay among muslims.

    From the nineteenth century, some writers have suggested that the decline of science in Islam was caused by the negative attitude of Muslim theologians. Thus Sachau says, `The fourth century (Islamic calendar) is the turning point in the history of the spirit of Islam. But for al-Ash`ari and al-Ghazali, the Arabs might have been a nation of Galileos, Keplers, and Newtons. Speaking about al-Ash`ari, E.G. Browne compared the destructiveness of his influence to that of Jenghiz Khan and Hūlāgū. A similar point of view is adopted by George Sarton, who labels the views of al-Ash`ari and al-Ghazālī as scholasticism, which ‘were obstacles to the progress of science in the Middle Ages.
  15. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    gg, sadly though unsurprisingly, you missed the contextual point of my post to br nj.
  16. brother unbeknown, these are both your statments.

    make your mind up!

    * frankly, eternity of the world as mutakallimun understood it is different to how Ibn Sina explained. the arguments for the existence of God. compare both the particularization of the Kalam and Necessary Being of Ibn Sina. you will see that kalam argument falls prey to many crucial objections. al-Ghazali also develops Juwayni's two fold technique, one which presupposes creation and proves an agent from there and the other looks at the whole and deduces from there. al-ghazali discards the first proof and builds on the second one by conceding that the other argument can be explained in terms of natural causes hence he moves to planetary movements to infer God based on the astronomy of his times, which redundant now. the point is that philsophical arguements for the existence of God and mutakallimun's arguments are two different domains. the mutakallim is actually preaching to the faithful and comes with all fanciful terms and arguments which in reality cannot be logically demonstrated though for masses they are right. al-shaykh al-Rais gave us muslims an argument with which we can argue on the basis of a philosophical framework.
    various arguments had to prove not just God but also the nature of God too such as unity, incorporeality, etc. the problem that kalam scholars faced was to rationally justify a necessary attributes and ancillary attributes and so on.

    about eternity, just to furnish an example, mutakallimun say that eternal is that which does not have a beginng in time. now, if lets look at the idea of time. if i say that time does not have an independent existence, it is merely a side effect of matter. first it was matter then came time. not that first there was time then there came matter. matter was prior to time and when a change took place in matter then the measurement of this change is time. so if you now define, that which does not have a begining in time is eternal. hence in the just mentioned framework, eternity for me is different to the eternity of the one who thinks time came first.
    this is not the debate but presented to explain to you that there are such things within the whole issue. excuse the typing errors.
  17. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    I think we're not discussing the iman/kufr of ibn Sina but his deviance from the creed of Ahlussunnah BECAUSE OF GIVING PHILOSOPHICAL DEDUCTIONS /ARISTOTELIAN LOGIC PRECEDENCE OVER THE WELL ESTABLISHED CREED. But if anyone wants to believe that 'shaykh al rais' was right in believing that the world is eternal, denying bodily resurrection etc. then, well, its a free country. And comparing the controversy around Avicenna to that around ibn Arabi is idiotic at the very least. But then again its a free country. Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti (rahimahullah) has written a book in defence of ibn Arabi : "Advice to the DOLT who considers ibn Arabi a kafir" but as always 'advice is hated by those who need it most'. Anyone sincerely wishing to know about ibn Arabi should read articles by Sheikh G.F.Haddad. And i think the mods had decided to disallow 'flash'ing by certain people. . . . . . .
  18. and as for those who did takfir of al-shaykh al-akbar Ibn 'Arabi, there is also a huge list amongst them zayn al-din al-iraqi, ibn hajar al-asqalani, Abu hayyan al-tawhidi, mulla ali qari, jalal al-din suyuti and many more. you can read that in al-shinqiti's 'bulugh ghayati al-amani.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2011
  19. i'm only here for a flash to say that, for example, imam ibn rushd al-hafid [ a prominent judge of maliki fiqh] Imam razi, Imam manawi and ibn khallikan considered al-shaykh al-Rais Ibn Sina as a muslim.
  20. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    what judgement is better than that of the preceding Imams?! Those glorious people who knew their Lord better than we ever could.

Share This Page