Prolegomena to metaphysics of al-Ghazali

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The paper considers the basic approaches and issues al-Ghazali's teachings about the reason and faith in the context of the ideal knowledge of the “golden period” of the classical Arab-Muslim philosophy. The basic approach to the understanding of al-Ghazali’s system was formulated by Ibn Rushd, who said that in al-Ghazali’s books he did not associate themselves with any of the exercises, being “with Ash'arites Ash’arites, with Sufis - Sufi, with philosophers - philosopher”. The problem of faith and reason is considered it from the point of view of kalam (“speculative theology”), fiqh (Islamic law) and Sufis. It is noted that a key reason for the understanding of his teachings as a system of metaphysics is the study, in which faith and reason complement each other on the field of knowledge, ie, it is a question of the unity of knowledge, both secular and religious.

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The spiritual heritage of Al-Ghazali (1058-1111), have earned the grateful contemporaries honorary title “Faith revivalist”, “Islam proof” is an integral part of the spiritual heritage of the world, including the “World of Islam” because his work influenced how culture caliphate, so the fate of the ancient intellectual tradition, the results of its reflection in the five centuries that preceded them created all-encompassing ideological system. Al-Ghazali expressed their philosophical creativity strict regularity of becoming big-synthesizing system, succinctly defined the phrase: “be with the others, but go yourself!” He felt a spiritual kinship with all those seemed to him standing close to the truth and commit themselves this feeling of kinship. Initially, this took the form of his repetition of student discipline, interest in knowing the reasoning of the wise, as well as hostility to following pseudo authorities. It was a process of continuous improvement in knowledge and personal development. In it, he gained an understanding of its features, the relative truth of his work and the limited self-knowledge. Fiqh showed him the appropriate and necessary rigor of formalization of reason, but it also hid from him “flexibility” of the moral spirit. Kalam opened his rational ways of understanding and the gymnastics of the mind, which led him to the realization of the ideological bias of the mind. Philosophy opened up the charm and subtle generalizations inflexibility desire to authentic knowledge - and that gave him the opportunity to see the “inconsistency” of its adherents. Knowledge and reason One of the important characteristics of classical Islamic culture is that its basic structural elements is not so much a science (as in Western thought) as value-ideological currents, which determine the nature of knowledge, interpretation and understanding of the scope of permissible epistemological worldview. These currents have a common paradigm, which is based on a certain set of estimates and representations relating to limit the grounds of human being in a world of his own nature and communication with the cosmos reflected the Islamic worldview. It is in the problem field of knowledge (based on the ideal of knowledge in Islam) thinkers of medieval Islam each problem individually (or particularly) - whether questions of culture and politics, ethics and aesthetics, philosophy and law. All of the major philosophical and socio-political currents of the Muslim Middle Ages, not limiting themselves to only one specific subject knowledge, with respect to political issues were as political theory, the philosophical - as philosophical, the legal - as legal, to the moral - as ethical and etc. Features of the ideal of knowledge in Islamic culture defined by Sharia, according to which faith and reason is not only do not oppose each other, but complement each other in the troubled field of knowledge. The term “knowledge” is found in many Qur’anic verses about a hundred times. In addition, significantly more are mentioned in the Qur'an of the concept at the heart of which is the root of the word ‘knowledge’, for example, “Say: “Is made even those who know and those who do not know” (Qur'an, 39: 9). The concept of “knowledge” includes both religious knowledge, and all other kinds of human knowledge. For example, the Qur'an clearly shows the enormous role of “knowledge” in Islam: “And do not follow in what you have no knowledge - indeed, hearing, sight, the heart - all of this will be asked” (Quran, 17:36). All many verses of the Koran states that “knowledge” is not only inseparable from the faith, and is its foundation: “Among His signs - creation of the heavens and the earth, the difference of your tongues and colors (skin). Truly, in this - the signs for those who know” (Qur'an, 30:22). “Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black (Qur'an, 35:27). And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving (Qur'an, 35:28). In this verse the term “know” (ulama) literally means in translation “scientists”, that is, they are people who devote their activities to disclosure reasons, laws and mysteries of this world. But the knowledge on which rests the faith based on reason. Links to people, “men of understanding” can be found in the Qur'an many times, and the derivatives of the word “reason” about 50 times. Numerous the of Islam claimed the right to “true understanding” of the Koran and the Sunnah, not recognizing such a right for the other. So, within the framework of Islam has developed a religious (Sunni, Shia, Kharijism with their numerous streams) and legal pluralism; in Sunni jurisprudence, such as the right to exist immediately got four schools: Hanbalism, Malikism, Shafi'ism and Hanafism. The absence of a monopoly on the “knowledge” on the part of the authorities of religious knowledge and religious leaders allowed during the Islamization of conquered peoples crops go well beyond religious dogma, including “outlandish” of science, and, above all, ancient philosophy, in the area of Islamic culture. Arab Caliphate was also a center of cultural interaction between different religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. American Orientalist F. Rouzental in his “Triumph of knowledge” emphasizes that this is where the cognitive experience gained importance, which was not equal to the “other civilizations”. The Arabic term 'ilm “accurately translated word knowledge. However, the ‘knowledge’ cannot cover all the wealth and diversity of the factual and emotional content of “ilm”. Apparently this is due to the fact that “ilm” as a universal system is a determining factor, and the hallmark of the medieval Classical Muslim philosophy. As noted by some researchers, there is no other concept like “ilm”, which would be a distinctive and defining feature of Islamic civilization in all its aspects. Universal triumph of knowledge (both scientific and religious) is partly promoted himself Islam in Muslim civilization. The ambivalence of Muslim culture, based on the principles of Shariah and the historical practice of the Arab Caliphate, it involves consideration of both in terms of ratios in her secular and the sacred, and the exoteric and esoteric nature of its “existential that”. Considering the huge role of Sharia in the world and the prevalence of secular plants in behavior and thoughts of a man, it should be noted that the Muslim culture preserved and retains a stable connection between the notions of space and ethics. This circumstance has allowed at one time considered “alien science” - a philosophy that focuses on the ancient tradition as an integral part of their own culture, and allows today to leave the door open to modern European science and culture. Speaking of the relationship between the exoteric and esoteric in the context of the problems of the mind and faith, it is necessary to note the nature of their complementarily. Analysis of the theological-philosophical level solution to the problem of the mind relations and regulations of faith shows that, despite the differences in the positions of different thinkers, they are united by the fact that, in their totality, they were in line with the esoteric tradition, associated with the priority of reason. Thus they prepared the way for the Sufi esoteric knowledge and his intellectual efforts to harmonize Shari’a and Tariqa as justification for their own approach to the problem. Sufism is not considered the relationship between faith and reason as “essencial problem in itself”, and included it in the general system of relations established by faith, and the Path of Truth (Shariah-Tariqat-Hakikat). It should be noted that the system of Sharia-Tariqat Hakikat-organized “logical form” action of the knowing subject in the search for his own absolute, thereby contributing to the emergence of a variety of options, one of which is the doctrine of al-Ghazali. Faith and reason The crown of life - a total ideological synthesis - began with “Ihya ulum al-Din” (Revival of Religious Sciences (1)), and ended with the life of al-Ghazali. Between the beginning and the end of the synthesis proceeded rethinking heritage of the past, re-evaluation of their own actions. Fiqh of the day it ceased to be a science, which is designed to canonize the interests of human social life, to justify the rule of law, bring the foundation under the “science altercation”, detailing the basics of law and became the new face of its theoretical basis - the ethical-legal system. Thus al-Ghazali did not deny the validity of the right to cash, and its necessity, and began to defend the right to justice. Therefore, it is relevant to the fuqaha corresponds to the ratio of representatives to the European free church. He tried to deny Fiqh brute force coercion to combine law and morality, logic, ethics, good intentions with deeds - in short, to realize justice in the law. He wanted all the grounds of legal regulation to subordinate the ideal principle, the imperative of absolute truth, that is, the right not to make an instrument in the hands of faqihs and those in power, and universal instrument of grace. Accordingly, Kalam for it ceases to be a way to protect the beliefs and the crowd becomes a necessary minimum of religious ideology, the moral evil, which compensates for the preservation of the community of a “mid-level” spiritual unity and comely appearance. Thus al-Ghazali tried to soften and abolish doctrinaire authoritarianism and sectarian fanaticism of opposing schools. For him, philosophy ceases to be declarative “mother of sciences” and sinless pillar of truth, and becomes a “meeting of Sciences”, which are at different distances from the truth. Conclusions philosophy and its educational potential, he believes the relative, voidable against both the “eternal” problems of life and to human life issues. Criticism of al-Ghazali’s Muslim philosophers were not “destruction” of philosophy, and the continuation of their own tradition of confrontation kalam and philosophy. Criticism of philosophy contributed to the destruction of the foundations of Kalam. Philosophy no longer had for him independent status and become a significant part of its universal ideological alternative to all areas of thought. As for Sufism, he represented not holy summit and the limit of knowledge for him, some of the future ideology and concrete, living the fate of the spirit, which is faithful to the rationalist tradition of theoretical reflection, found in Sufism last refuge from the snares and malice of mind, his self-admiration and proud detachment from the vile world. Thus, the ideological synthesis of al-Ghazali was not the result of a mechanical connection of different disciplines and their qualitatively new synthesis, embodied in the Sufi path. Essential in the synthesis of al-Ghazali is not itself the law of faith, the path of faith, or the truths of faith and the unity of the Law, the Way and the Truth. This unity was one of the few opportunities to “revolutionize” the spirit and social reform, appreciated by his contemporaries. The originality of the synthesis of al-Ghazali, not only in the fact that he personally painted and concrete, because of tradition grows out of the Arab-Muslim culture, but also in the fact that it was done as a unity of knowledge and action, as a compound word moral to the moral thing to do. Unlike other makers of teachings of al-Ghazali he left to posterity a system of ideas, communication and cementing the beginning of which is undoubtedly ethics. He tried to find a criterion of truth beyond the socio-historical existence of convention, not denying it the status of the desired source of knowledge. Going beyond the conventions of life means finding the criteria of knowledge, having reliable. Describing in the “Munqidh min al-ḍalāl” (Deliverance from error) authentic knowledge as the goal of research: “authentic knowledge as the goal of research, he writes: “This knowledge, in which the known is revealed, so that there remains no doubt, no room for error and illusion... this knowledge, in which protection against errors must comply with absolute certainty” (2). On this basis, it puts severe criticism of the theory of the religious and political powers of his time. For example, simple forms of authoritarianism in traditional beliefs of al-Ghazali revealed the secret infiltration of these forms in the “rationalized” knowledge and speculative evidence that turns the mind into an instrument of self-deception, a means of “rationalization” of lies and apologetics (usurpation of power, arrogance, deceit, enrichment of the expense of others, sectarian fanaticism etc.). Critical assessment of Kalam led him to the fact that in the future his works “Tahafut al-Falasifa” (Incoherence of the Philosophers) (3), al-Iqtisad fil-i`tiqad (Moderation in Belief) (4), “Faḍāʼiḥ al-bāṭinīyah” (Scandals of Ismaili isoterics) (5) and others, he classifies the category of "theological" debate, rather than the search for truth. Al-Ghazali saw authoritarianism fiqh in rigid adherence madhhab; Kalam authoritarianism - in its ideological blinkers; authoritarianism Ismaili esotericism - subordinate “infallible Imam”; - to authoritarian philosophy of alienation and self-confidence of logic in matters of metaphysics”, authoritarianism Sufism - in the absence of theoretical competence. Announcing kalam science, mainly engaged in “defense of the beliefs of the crowd disorientation heretics”, he finds her apologetic function has no relation to the investigation of the truth. If peripatetic philosophers proceeded from the possibility of practical reason subordination theoretical, that al-Ghazali asserted the primacy of practical reason, arguing that al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, and their followers are destroying faith, and thus the moral foundations of society and at the same time show failure to provide proof of the metaphysical apodictic provisions, the sacrifice they bring this faith. In this polemic al-Ghazali used the methods of “logical, rational and rigorous judgments”, but it was clear to him that one reason for insufficient comprehension of higher truths. And in the search for a different way of understanding the truth, he turns to Sufism. Not amenable to rational knowledge, God from al-Ghazali becomes the object of knowledge, “zauk” (taste), implying the presence of the divine world (‘alam al-malakut) - the goal and native house for searching heart. In his work “Maqasid al falasifa” (The Intentions of the Philosophers) he affirmed, that as God was the unique “existence-necessary being in itself”, then this particular divine property belongs to the God only and is known to Him only (6). According to al-Ghazali for al-Farabi and Ibn Sina knowledge is the means of improving personality and achievements bliss; while actions, as they considered, are not so necessary for this purpose. However, knowledge in itself does not mean yet, in the opinion of al-Ghazali, the achievement of perfection. The action should be considered as a necessary component, not less important than the knowledge of perfection. “...The only way to happiness - the true propose of philosophy - goes through a combination of knowledge (‘ilm) and action (‘amal) (7). Knowledge precedes actions. Action not only eliminate defects, their sources, but also establishes virtues, opposite to defects. Rectification means the action is called from al-Ghazali practical medicine and means of knowledge - cognitive medicine. According to Muslim thinker, both of these agents are equal and necessary, but they are most effective in the interaction. On the basis of al-Ghazali rejected asceticism and the doctrine of the Sufis “escape from this world”, believing that no earthly world, nor wealth in themselves are not evil. Evil they are depending on the role played in human life. Muslim jurists, according to al-Ghazali, stressed the importance of compliance with the requirements only external religion, forgetting the inner person under this spelling. Sufis also pay attention to the internal and external compliance with Sharia. Their concept of action, according to al-Ghazali, proved to be more extensive and far-reaching. Al-Ghazali stresses the need for rites of Islam have gained inner meaning for the individual man of the world. As is known, the problem of faith was formulated in the tradition of Kalam and Sufism. Nevertheless, al-Ghazali did not consider it necessary to consider in detail the views of various Islamic thinkers about the nature of faith, because he believed that it was necessary “direct proclamation of the truth, rather than a review of opinions, which do not contribute to its achievement”. He believed that faith - is the adoption of a heart, the fruit of concealing identity. “The essence of faith” to be the subject of knowledge, not opinions. According to him, faith is the extent of its foundation - in the heart of the certificate. When we talk about the cripple, he is not a man, the meaning of this is that he simply lost the perfection of the human being. The same thing happens with the faithful who do not practice their faith - it does not have perfect faith, but cannot say that it is not. Faith is infinite in its manifestations - is not a “one door, and the 70-odd” (8). That is why an unambiguous definition of faith, according to al-Ghazali, is not permissible. Faith manifests itself in different ways in practice and in the field of knowledge, in spite of the close relationship between them. Source of knowledge Mortal Sin - faith, but not all. Since the faith - it is knowledge that leads to action. We can assume the existence of a person who believes in the revelation in the sense of the knowledge of God, His attributes and uniqueness, while committing sins. This indicates a lack of faith, but not its absence. Faith for al-Ghazali - this common (collective) name that has three degrees. First - this is the heart of identity in the form of beliefs and traditions of imitation; second - that means the identity and action at the same time; third - the true identity in the form of revelation. These differ only in the degree of perfection (9). The foregoing explains the attempts of al-Ghazali's Sufi link their system with the current while the theoretical and practical problems, because problem of correlation between faith and Islam in al-Ghazali, the system has been associated with the problem of the relation of reason and religious law. This issue was considered by him as the ethical and practical. The critical attitude of al-Ghazali to the rationalism of the philosophers expressed in the denial of the ability to make absolute judgments of reason. On this basis it is proposed to look at faith as a representative of another reason, complement it. In this regard, he, in particular, wrote: “We do not object to their approval, ...we just want to illustrate the example of the resurrection, it is confirmed that belief. But we deny their assertion that the evidence is sufficient reason and can do without faith”. Despite the metaphysical-religious basis of al-Ghazali, it frees the mind from the task of research questions, which it is impossible to reach the absolute truth. Therefore, before the mind only task is to believe in what is being offered in faith. However, this conclusion does al-Ghazali's only about what is associated with the other world religious beliefs. Therefore, apart from the fact that science in such matters is “ignorance” and “a haven of self-importance”, he implies that the impact of science may be similar to the effects and results of ignorance. Ethical al-Ghazali system is historical, self-development is its essential feature. The moral condition of the soul is the true criterion of judgment about the validity of any action. In turn, the moral action - measure of the relationship of the individual to the truth of God. Al-Ghazali accused the kalam, philosophy and batynits lack of understanding of morality as the criterion and the method of finding the truth. Hence - his assertion of the superiority of Sufism, in which he saw the highest embodiment of the unity of knowledge, state of mind and action. The arrival of al-Ghazali to Sufism and develop them his moral theory and certainly moral system by combining all the achievements of the preceding period - is the objective value of such practices.

About the authors

N S Kirabaev

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Miklukho-Maklaya Str., 10/2, Moscow, Russia, 117198
Department of History of Philosophy Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

M Mukhammed Al-Janabi

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Miklukho-Maklaya Str., 10/2, Moscow, Russia, 117198
Department of History of Philosophy Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences




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Copyright (c) 2016 Кирабаев Н.С., Аль-Джанаби М.М.

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