Title

خطاب ابن رشد بين حق المعرفة وضغوط الخطاب النقيض / The Discourse of Ibn Rushd Between Knowledge and Constraint

Program

ALIF

Find in your Library

http://www.jstor.org/stable/521841

All Authors

أبو زيد, نصر حامد; Abu-Zeid, Nasr Hamid

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

Publication Date

1996

doi

https://www.doi.org/10.2307/521841

Abstract

[The article examines the complexity of intellectual relations in a cultural context where the frame of reference is identical, but the discursive formations vary to the point of contradiction. The author investigates the reciprocal influences of opposed discourses, namely that of al-Ghazālī and Ibn Rushd. The first represents the quasi-philosophical formation of the Ash 'arite doctrine, charged with an element of mysticism tending towards the esoteric. The second represents Aristotelian rationalism in Islamic garb. The conflict between the two is clear enough: al-Ghazālī attacked philosophy and philosophers while Ibn Rushd attacked the dialectical theologians and more specifically the Ash 'arites, and even more so al-Ghazālī in his trilogy (Faṣl al-maqāl, Manāhij al-adilla and Tahāfut al-tahāfut). Despite the opposition between the two thinkers, reciprocal borrowing took place. Al-Ghazālī borrowed philosophical methodology to deconstruct the basis of philosophy. This is analogous to Abu al-Ḥasan al-Ash'arī's use of Mu'tazilite method to problematize Mu'tazila's dogma and replace it with Hanbalite dogma. Ibn Rushd was different, however. He did not use demonstration to establish dogma, but he used it to interpret dogma. Ibn Rushd's attack on the method of dialectical theologians (mutakallimin) was sharp because he felt they harmed both Shari'a (Islamic Law) and burhān (philosophic demonstration). Accordingly, he would allow the reading of their books only to ahl al-burhān (philosophers), not dialecticians nor rhetoricians. In his subdivisions of humanity, Ibn Rushd had affinities with al-Ghazālī. They overlap in the social significance of such a division: for both, knowledge remains the monopoly of an intellectual elite. This is so despite their different orientations: Ibn Rushd starts with the World to reach the Text (through interpretation) while al-Ghazālī does the obverse. Al-Ghazālī's intellectual discourse offers in its Ash'arite face an ideology for the masses; likewise, Ibn Rushd's careful distinction between masses and elite provides two types of knowledge, one for the intellectual elite and another type that is appropriate for commoners, without contradicting demonstration. Ibn Rushd found the Quranic description of God as Light more appropriate for the masses than the dialectical theologians' presentation of Him as an "Eternal Man." This example shows that Ibn Rushd found mysticism suits the masses more than demonstration or dialectics. The author concludes that Ibn Rushd was moving into a discursive field controlled by al-Ghazālī.]

First Page

6

Last Page

35

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