Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s Attitude toward Reasoning: Interpreting his last Will

Document Type : Biannual Journal

Authors

1 Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies

2 Researcher of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies

10.30465/cw.2020.5419

Abstract

There is a will which is attributed to Razi which have been a controversial topic from ancient times until now. Preferring Qur’anic method to theology and philosophy, some scholars, such as Ibn Emad Hanbali and Fathalla Kholeif, think of that as a kind of repentance from rational discussion. There is a statement which is apparently narrate by Ibn Salah, quote Razi’s word that he regretted studying theology and philosophy; that he said: “I regretted studying theology (Kalam)” and then he wept. This quote support former interpreting. We proved, in this paper, that that interpretation is not authentic and the meaning and purpose of it is different; thus it is not a kind of repent, but rather it is a moderate rationalism (opposite to both classical rationalism and fideism), which he held in his life and could be found in his works. And, it is showed that what is quoted from Ibn Salah is not reliable; because could not be found in Ibn Salah’s works, perhaps it is a transited saying from him. Those writers, who quoted from Ibn Salah, a few centuries after him; thus it is not acceptable. Therefore, this narration is not authentic. This story is important, because it targeted reasoning in Fakhr system of thoughts; if it is true, then it shows that Kalam is not in harmony with real, orthodox Islam, as those who mentioned it maintain. But if not true, it shows that Razi did not believe that theology (Kalam) is not a real part of Islamic sciences. As a matter of historic facts, there is not an authentic source for the story. Therefore, it seems that someone made it up to justify their fanatic, extremist, fundamental interpretation of Islam, in which they have not tolerated any kind of reasoning, including Islamic theology (Kalam), the field of study that Razi well represent.
For Ash’ari scholars like Fakhr Razi, reasoning is a useful, discursive tool to assess and study claims and beliefs, and particularly to defend religious doctrines. However, their attitude toward reasoning and intellect (Aql) itself is far from their Mu’tazali opponents. While Mutazalis see reasoning as a source for inferring truth, their Ash’ari opponents see it as a tool to assess claims, interpreting holy texts, including Qur’anic verses.
On the other hand, for Fakhr’s part, in the will we could find him in a mediocre rationality position. He stated that what he discussed in his life was not of stubbornness, carelessness or recklessness, but just for the sake of reason. In other works he can be seen committed to Quranic verses and holy texts, beyond reasoning as a source superior to the text; so to speak, he only used reasoning for understanding; and that he put the “Quranic method” on the top of the list, do not imply that he denied reasoning and respective fields of study totally. But a few figures, like Ibn Emad al-Hanbali or Kholief, saw it as a kind of repentance of discursive methods, which is impossible to justify such a position. As to Razi we could see that he had held such a position in his whole career, as he had scrutinized philosophical doctrines, assessing every claim, and always put the Quran on the top of everything else. Therefore, to say Razi repented Kalam is not a valid, authentic conclusion.

Keywords


Persian
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamed Muhammad (1380 SH) Kimyaye Saadat, vol. 2, ed. H. KhadiwJam, Tehran: Elmi wa Farhangi Pub.
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamed Muhammad (1392 SH) Ihya Ulum al-Din, vol. 1, trans. Khawrazmi, ed. H. KhadiwJam, Tehran: Elmi wa Farhangi Pub.
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamed Muhammad (1394 SH) Jawahir al-Quran, trans&ed. M. Kompani Zarea, Tehran: Negahe Moaser Pub.
Al-Nawawi, Yahya b. Habash (1394 SH) al-Taqrib Wa al-Taysir Fi Usool al-Hadith”, trans. A. Fallahi, Tehran: Ihsan Pub.
Al-Nawawi, Yahya b. Habash (1396 SH) Fatawaye Imam Nawawi, trans. I. Qazinia & A. Qalabandi, , Tehran: Ihsan Pub.
Al-Tahawi, Abu Jaffar (1995) al-Aqidah, unk: Dar Ibn Hazm.
Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar (1340 SH) “Resaley Dar Khodashenasi”, ed. S. M. Sabzewari, Tehran: University of Tehran press.
 Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar (1340 SH) “Resaleye Tahsil al-Haqq ya Usool al-Din”, ed. S. M. Sabzewari, Tehran: University of Tehran press.
Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar (1354 SH) al-Tahbir Fi Ilm al-Ta’abir, ed. I. Afshar, Tehran: Bonyad Farhange Iran.
Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar (1386 SH) Tafsir Kabir, 9 vols, trans. A. A. Halabi, Tehran: Asatir Pub.
Ghasemi, Azam (1395 SH) “Rabeteye Din Wa Akhlaq Nazde Mutazilah”, Tarikh Falsafaf, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 113-138.
Halabi, A. A. (1376 SH) Tarikhe Elme Kalam, Tehran: Asatir pub.
Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Ahamd b. Ali (1395 SH) Sharhe Nokhbat al-Fikr, trans. I. A’l Ibrahim, Torbate Jam: Imam Muhammad Ghazali Pub.
Ibn Khallakan, Ahmad b. Muhammad (1381 SH) Manzar al-Insan: Tarjomeye Wafayat al-Ayan, vol. 3, trans. Ahamad b. Shojae Sanjari, Urmia: Urmia University press.
Ibn Qefti, Ali b. Yusuf (1347 SH) Tarikh al-Hokama, ed. B. Darayi, Tehran: University of Tehran press.
Mayel Herawi, GH. (1343 SH) Sharhe Hal Wa Zendegi Wa Munazerat Imam Fhakhr al-Din Razi, unk: Intisharat Matbuat Tuuzareth.
Mohaaqqeq, Mahdi (1365 SH) “Ashnayi Ba Sharhe Uyun al-Hikmah Imam Razi”, Maref, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 109-130.
Munshi Yazdi, Nasir al-Din (1388 SH) Durat al-Akhbar Wa Lumat al-Anwar, Tehran: Hikmat Pub.
Qutb al-Din Shirazi, Masoud b. Mosleh (1367 SH) “Muqaddama Bar Hikmat al-Ishraq”, trans. S. J. Sajjadi, Tehran: University of Tehran press.
Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, Yahya b. Habash (1367 SH) Hikmat al-Ishraq, trans. S. J. Sajjadi, Tehran: University of Tehran press.
Shahrezuri, Muhammad b. Mahmoud (1389 SH) Kanz al-Hikmah, trans. Z. Dorri, Tehran: Sadra Islamic Wisdom Foundation Press.
Shibli, Muhammad (1329 SH) Elme Kalame Jadid, trans. M. T. Fakhr Daei Guilani, Tehran: Sina Press.
 
Arabic
Al-Shafei, Muhammad b. Idris (1357 H) al-Risalah, ed. A. M. Shakir, Egypt: Matbaa Mustafa al-Babi.
Ibn Abi Usaibaa, Ahmad b. Qasem (2001) Uyun al-Anba Fi Tabaqat al-Atiba, vol. 3, ed. A. Najjar, Cairo: Al-Heyat al-Misriyya al-Ammeh lilkitab.
Ibn Emad al-Hanbali, Abdul Hay b. Ahmad, Shatharat al-Thahab Fi Akhbar Man Thahab, vol. 8, ed. A. & M. al-Arnaout, Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir.
Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Ahamd b. Ali (2002) Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 6, ed. A. Abughada, unk: Maktaba al-Matbuat al-Islamiyya.
Ibn Salah, Uthman b. Abdul Rahman (1992) Tabaqat al-Fuqaha al-Shafeiyya, with commentary of Yahya al-Nawawi, revised by Yusuf b. Abdul Rahman, ed. Y. A. Najib, unk: Dar al-Bashayer al-Islamiyya.
Sobki, Abu Nasr Abdul Wahhab b. Ali (1971) Tabaqat al-Shafeiyya al-Kobra, vol. 8, ed. A. Muhammad & M. M. al-Tanaji, unk: Dar Ihya al-Kotob al-Arabiya.
 
English
Jaffer, Tariq (2015) Razi: Master of Quranic Interpretation and Theological Reasoning, USA:OUP.
Kholeif, Fathalla (1966) A Study on Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi and His Controversies in Transoxiana, Beyrouth: Dar El-Machreq.
 
Manuscripts
Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar, al-Wasiyya, Manuscript no. 66831 Parliament Library of Iran.
Fakhr al-Din Razi, Muhammad b. Omar, Lataef Ghiyathi, Manuscript no. 78702 Parliament Library of Iran.