By Majid Fakhry
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Additional info for Islamic Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide
The pursuit of religious piety was identified from the earliest times with the strict observance of the precepts of the Shari‘ah, or Holy Law, as laid down in the Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith). However, as early as the seventh century pious souls began to preach asceticism and renunciation of the world, beautifully exemplified in the lives of al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 728) and his followers, especially the great woman mystic, Rabi‘ah al-‘Adawiyah (d. 801). This asceticism was destined to lead in due course to Sufism, whose ultimate goal was to seek a direct channel of communication with God, either through vision or contemplation (mukashafah), as al-Junayd (d.
If necessary, then we have no choice but to study it; if unnecessary, then we have to justify this claim and demonstrate its validity. 3 It is significant that, despite his dependence on Aristotle, al-Kindi did not confine the function of philosophy to purely abstract thought; instead, as a good Muslim, he believed philosophy to be the ‘handmaid’ of religion. For the truth the philosophers seek is not different from the truth to which the prophets have summoned humankind. In fact, for al-Kindi the truth, ‘to which Muhammad the truthful, may God’s blessings be upon him, has summoned, added to what he has received from God Almighty’, is such that it can be demonstrated by recourse to rational arguments which only the fool can question.
For ‘without unity, they would not exist; their unity being identical with their existence. It is by reason of unity, then, that everything comes to be, and the True One is the Creator and Preserver of everything He has created. ’7 Upon these distinctly Plotinian premises, which he doubtless derived from the apocryphal Theology of Aristotle, on which he is is said to have written a commentary, al-Kindi bases his thesis that the One is the originator of everything, not in the manner of emanation adumbrated by the writer of the Theology but rather in the manner of creation ex nihilo laid down in the Qur’an.
Islamic Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide by Majid Fakhry