الزمان الأشعري ... من الأنطولوجي ﺇلى الأيديولوﺟﻲ / Ashʿari Time: From the Ontological to the Ideological


Ali Mabrook



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مبروك, علي; Mabrook, Ali

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The preoccupation with time may take an ontological, ideological or epistemological turn. Although the Ashʿarites (theologians associated with orthodoxy in Sunni Islam) rarely referred to time in their writings, they incorporate a conception of it in their views of being and in their response to and refutation of other views on time. This study articulates the implied Ashʿarite views of time and the function of religious convictions in shaping their philosophical arguments. Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī argued that time did not change, but being within time changed. Thus time conditions change and not vice versa. But such an ontological concern and view of time may lead to viewing time as a self-sufficient substance, hence the Ashʿarites rejection of it. The rejection was expressed in logical terms, but its motivation was religious since such a substance could be comparable to the Divine. The Ashʿrites' philosophical solution was to consider time as related to moving being. Thus, for them, time does not frame events but coexists with them. For the Ashʿarites, time, like bodies, is atomized. For them, time is a sequence of discontinuous moments. Between such moments there is non-being; thus, time is associated with annihilation and God with creation. Such a view of time converges with the religious view of ever-increasing deterioration from one century to the other. Ideologically speaking, such a view of time does not allow for a historically progressive interpretation and dismisses the possibility of historical consciousness since the latter is based on continuity, flow and cumulative effect. In the Ashʿarite atomized view, change can only take place by jumps and leaps. The hegemony of Ashʿarite discourse has led to a conception of time based on discontinuities and leaps where change is seen in terms of erasing a past moment in favor of another, or at best juxtaposing the two. In both cases, interaction between past and present remains absent and historical consciousness is blocked.]

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