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God and Logic in Islam
The Caliphate of Reason


  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107641099

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About the Authors
  • This book investigates the central role of reason in Islamic intellectual life. Despite widespread characterization of Islam as a system of belief based only on revelation, John Walbridge argues that rational methods, not fundamentalism, have characterized Islamic law, philosophy and education since the medieval period. His research demonstrates that this medieval Islamic rational tradition was opposed by both modernists and fundamentalists, resulting in a general collapse of traditional Islamic intellectual life and its replacement by more modern but far shallower forms of thought. However, the resources of this Islamic scholarly tradition remain an integral part of the Islamic intellectual tradition and will prove vital to its revival. The future of Islam, Walbridge argues, will be marked by a return to rationalism.

    • A systematic treatment of the role of reason in Islam that challenges the idea that Islam rejects reason
    • Proposes the recovery of the rationalist heritage of Islam as part of the future of Islam
    • Integrates treatment of law, philosophy, mysticism and science within a general account of Islamic attitudes to reason
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a daring attempt to understand the role of reason in the Islamic intellectual tradition and to explain it in simple, lucid terms. Full of fresh insights.' Zafar Ishaq Ansari, International Islamic University

    'This book is beautifully written and researched, deeply learned and contemplated by a fellow citizen of the 21st century who wishes to demonstrate that Islam is a reasonable mode of being human. This book demonstrates what should never have been doubted: that the venture of Islam - like the venture of Christianity or Buddhism or Judaism - has been enacted by none other than practising human beings who wish to know why they are 'here,' why they live, and why they suffer and to discover how they can live better while they are 'here.' The answers that are given are the results of human reason, but the language in which such answers are formed may be the language of science, the language of religion, the language of the enlightenment, the language of the church, or the language of Islam. This book goes some good and necessary distance in dispelling the current darkness, and I am grateful to its author for having written it.' Todd Lawson, University of Toronto

    'Walbridge's book is clearly the product of many years of study and reflection. Its tone is thoughtful, scholarly, and temperate. It is a fruitful source of insights for scholars of Islam, the Middle East, and international politics. Those who argue that Islam is inherently radical and irrational must take account of the argument he offers here, and the path he indicates for the modernization of Islam.' Luigi Bradizza, The European Legacy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107641099
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Formation of the Islamic Tradition of Reason:
    2. The diversity of reason
    3. Empirical knowledge of the mind of God
    4. The failure of the Fārābian synthesis of religion and philosophy
    5. Mysticism, post-classical Islamic philosophy, and the rise and fall of Islamic science
    Part II. Logic, Education, and Doubt:
    6. Where is Islamic logic?: the triumph of scholastic rationalism in Islamic education
    7. The long afternoon of Islamic logic
    8. The institutionalization of disagreement
    Part III. The Fall and the Future of Islamic Rationalism:
    9. The decline and fall of scholastic reason in Islam
    10. A chaos of certitudes: the future of Islamic reason.

  • Author

    John Walbridge, Indiana University
    John Walbridge is a Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He is the author of nine books on Islam and Arabic culture, including four books on Islamic philosophy, including The Wisdom of the Mystic East: Suhrawardi and Platonic Orientalism (2001) and Suhrawardi: The Philosophy of Illumination (with Hossein Ziai, 1999).

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