Paradigm Shift in Philosophy of Science: into Islamic Epistemology

July 28, 2008 at 6:52 am | Posted in Artikel: Wawasan | 2 Comments

Holistics & Integralistics ParadigmÓ


Ahmad Y Samantho,


( QS AN-NAHL, 16: 78 )


A.Multi Dimensional Crisis caused by Western-Secular Paradigm in Sciences’ Development

Dr. Armahedi Mahzar said in his Introduction for Hussain Heriyanto Book of “Paradigma Holistik” that in second medieval of the late century, there had been happen paradigm shift or inclination to changes into more new paradigm in sciences. Paradigm is a philosophical assumption that becomes basics or fundamental principles for any field of civilization such as science and technology.The dominant paradigm in the beginning of the last century is materialistic-mechanistic paradigm which known as Cartesian-Newtonian Paradigm.

The success of Newton theory of gravitation and mechanics, had strengthened by another theory such as hypothetic-deductive method which rational-speculative that develop by Rene Descartes, with ‘over’ (extreme) experimental-inductive and objective-empiric method, develop by Roger Bacon.

Descartes tried to found an unshakable philosophy in order to combat skepticism, he use the indubitably of doubt it self as the cornerstone of his philosophy. Furthermore, the existence of the ego of the doubter and thinker is a corollary based on that foundation. He introduced clarity and distinctness as the criterion of indubitably, which he made a standard for distinguishing correct from incorrect ideas. He also attempted to employ a mathematical approach to philosophy, and in fact sought to introduce a new logic.

Hence, to begin with doubt as a starting point for arguing with the skeptics is reasonable. However, if some one to imagine that nothing is quite so clear and certain and that even the existence of the doubter must be inferred from the doubt, this would not be valid. Rather the existence of the aware and thinking ego is at least as clear and indubitable as the existence of the doubt it self which is one of its states.

Descartes’ thought is very proper to be appreciated in combating skepticism, but we can’t accept his principal idea about cogito ergo sum (“I thing therefore I am”), because, Descartes’ principal idea (with Newtonians’ idea on mechanical principles) were the basics that had develop and founded the materialistic and mechanistic paradigm on western philosophy and sciences. This materialistic-mechanistic paradigm and secularism are opposed with the Islamic philosophy on spiritual existence and reality.

Materialistic-mechanistic paradigm, that based on Cartesian and Newtonian method on “hypothetic (deductive)—experimental (inductive)”, had brought reductionism-materialistic inclination. Therefore, live, even consciousness had reduction to be just a mechanistic-material movement. This secular idea mainstream was spread and influence many fields on philosophy-ideology, cultures and sciences of modern humans’ live.For instance, Adam Smith on economics talks on “market mechanism”, Charles Darwin on biology talk on “evolution mechanism’ and Sigmund Freud psychologist, talk on “psyches defense mechanism”.

This reductionism-mechanism ended at atomistic and mechanistic ontology (secularism),so reject and neglectdivine roles on nature and even negate the existence of God.This is opposed to Islamic principal belief and reality.

Furthermore, as stated by Mr. Armahedi Mahzar in his lectures on Islamic Philosophy of Sciences in ICAS:Cartesian-Newtonian Paradigm domination on modern sciences had led human civilization to the multi dimensional crisis for human live. This crisis became both internal and external crisis and causes external criticism. Internal crisis of this paradigm was shown by Einstein Principles of Relativity, Heisenberg principle of Indeterminacy, and Godel Theorem of Incompleteness.

External crisis of modern sciences (Cartesian-Newtonian / materialistic-mechanistic Paradigm) causing several problematic crisis such as: military mass destruction with nuclear, chemical and biological mass destructive weapon; environmental degradation caused by depletion, pollutions, degradation, and destruction; social fragmentation caused by industrialization, urbanization & fragmentation; human psychological alienationwith natural, social, and technical environments.

Armahedi Mahzar said that external criticism of modern science occurs in at least three criticism: (1) Theological (science is partial by rejecting the Supernatural Reality), (2) Philosophical: a) phenomenologist philosophical criticisms (science is only the theme of human experience); b). post-structuralism philosophical criticisms (science is just another story); (3) ideological criticisms held by: a) Neo-Marxism (science is in the interest of the capital), b) Neo-Feminism (science is in the interest of male), c) Radical Ecologist (science is in the interests ofhuman) & d) Religious Ethicist (science is in the interests of white man).

As the hypothetic conclusion, in the reality we can say that modern science is not really complete, not rational, not objective, and not neutral.Why it can occur in modern sciences or Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm? First, it may be caused by epistemology of modern science with ‘over’ rationalism, ‘over’ empiricism, ‘over’ reductionism. This kind of epistemology further influence ontological paradigm of: materialism, mechanism, atomism; and brought axiological paradigm on neutralism, humanism and individualism.

So we must review and reconstruct our paradigm into holistic and integrality’s paradigm according to Islamic direction on Tawheed Principles on Divinity, nature and human being. The first of all, we must start from ontological and epistemological reconstruction. Hence, here in this paper I want to discuss and doing reconstruction in our mind to solve the main problems and crisis of human live and civilization.

B.What is Epistemology?

The term of epistemology was used firstly in 1854 by JF Feriere. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy which tries to answer basic questions as Kant says:“Waskann ichwissen?” (“What can I know?”)[1]Because the answer is about the central problem of human thinking, so epistemology has a central position, as Ayn Rand mentions, epistemology is the basic of philosophical sciences. Epistemology is one of the core areas of Philosophy. It is concerned with the nature, sources and limit of knowledge.[2]

          The term epistemology was derived from the Greek word: ‘Episteme’ and ‘Logos’. Episteme mean ‘knowledge’ or ‘the truth’ and ‘logos’ means ‘think’ ‘word’, or ‘theory’. Runes say that ‘epistemology is the branch of Philosophy that explains sources, structure, and method and knowledge validity.[3]

           In the 5th century bc, the Greek Sophists questioned the possibility of reliable and objective knowledge. Thus, a leading Sophist, Gorgias, argued that nothing really exists, that if anything did exist it could not be known, and that if knowledge were possible, it could not be communicated. Another prominent Sophist, Protagoras, maintained that no person’s opinions can be said to be more correct than another’s, because each is the sole judge of his or her own experience.[4]Plato, following his illustrious teacher Socrates, tried to answer the Sophists by postulating the existence of a world of unchanging and invisible forms, or ideas, about which it is possible to have exact and certain knowledge. The things one sees and touches, they maintained, are imperfect copies of the pure forms studied in mathematics and philosophy. Accordingly, only the abstract reasoning of these disciplines yields genuine knowledge, whereas reliance on sense perception produces vague and inconsistent opinions. They concluded that philosophical contemplation of the unseen world of forms is the highest goal of human life.

Epistemology also can be defined as ‘The Theory of Knowledge’. Epistemology in it’s explanation consists of two parts: ‘a general epistemology’ and ‘a special epistemology’ or ‘theory of specific knowledge’, especially for scientific knowledge; so it can mention as “Philosophy of Science”.[5] The Philosophy of Science (Knowledge) and Epistemology cannot be separated one from another. Philosophy of Science based on epistemology, especially on problem of scientific validity.[6] Validity of Sciences consists of three concepts of the truth theory: correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic. Correspondence needs harmony between idea and external fact (universe), its truth is empiric-deductive; coherence requires harmony among logical statements, this truth is formal-deductive; while Pragmatic requires instrumental criterion or necessity, this truth is functional.

Correspondence products are empirical sciences like: physics, chemistry, biology, sociology; coherence products are abstract sciences like: mathematics and logic, while pragmatic products are applied sciences like: medicine. So epistemology is the fundamental base of philosophy of sciences, especially to make identification to scientific knowledge, or daily knowledge, and how to use the right methodology and procedure to get scientific knowledge.[7]

C.The Importance of Epistemology

            Why epistemology is so important for human live? According to Murthadha Muthahhari[8]: In the recent era, much social philosophy, schools of thought (Mazhab), ism, ideology, was has been important things, because every one needs to have a certain form of thinking that his live activities would relies upon and based on it. At the contemporary there are often conflicts happened among various ideology and schools of thought[9] of many groups, communities, nations, states.

            Even according to Samuel J. Huntington[10], he says there is a ‘class of civilizations’ in third millennium in the world.Nowadays, we see American and Britain Military to conquer the large natural sources like oil and gas and to protect Israel-Zionism ambitions had under attack and invasion made Iraq.

Everything’s doing by human being was based on his thinking and his ideology.And a certain ‘ideology’ is depending on a certain ‘worldview’.Even ‘world view’ is based on its epistemology in his philosophy.[11] That is why epistemology was so important to study and research.

      According to Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi in Philosophical Instruction, An Introduction to Contemporary Islamic Philosophy:[12] ‘There is a series of fundamental problems that confront man as a conscious being whose activities spring from his consciousness; and if man becomes negligent and remiss in his efforts to find correct answers to these problems, he will find instead that he has crossed the boundary between humanity and bestiality. Remaining in doubt and hesitation, in addition, to the inability to satisfy his truth-seeking conscience, will not enable man to dispel anxieties about his likely responsibilities. He will be left to languish or, as occasionally happens, turn into a dangerous creature. Since mistaken and deviant solutions, such as materialism and nihilism, cannot provide psychological comfort or social well being one should look for the fundamental cause of individual and social corruption in aberrant views and thoughts. Hence there is no alternative but to seek answers to these problems with firm and unflagging resolution. We may spare no effort until we establish a basis for our own human lives and in this way assist others as well, and arrest the influence in society of incorrect thoughts and the deviant teachings, which are current.

            Now that the necessity of an intellectual and philosophical endeavor has become clear and no room has been left for doubt or uncertainty or hesitancy, it remains for us to take the first step in mandatory and unavoidable journey upon which we have resolved by facing up to the following question: Is the human intellect able to solve these problems?

        This query forms the nucleus about which the problems of epistemology are centered. Until we solve the problems of this branch of philosophy, we will neither be able to arrive at solutions to the problems of ontology nor to those of the other branches of philosophy. Until the value of intellectual knowledge is determined, claims presented as actual solutions to such problem will be pointless and unacceptable. There will always remain such questions concerning how to the intellect can provide a correct solution to these problems.

             It is here that many of the well-known figures of western philosophy, such as Hume, Kant, August Comte, and all of the positivists have blundered. With their incorrect views they have mislaid the cultural foundations of western societies, and even the scholars of other sciences, they have misled especially the behaviorists among psychologists. Unfortunately, the battering and ruinous waves of such teachings also have spread to other part of the world, and apart from the lofty summits and un-impregnable cliffs that rest on the stable and firm grounds of divine philosophy, all else more or less has come under their influence.

           Therefore, we must endeavor to take the firs steady step by laying the foundations of our house of philosophical ideas solidly and sturdily until, with the help of Almighty God, we are worthy to tread trough other stages and arrive at our desired goal.

II.Religion and Science[13]

             Philosophical discussion of the relation between modern science and religion has tended to focus on Christianity, because of its dominance in the West. The relations between science and Christianity have been too complex to be described by the ‘warfare’ model popularized by A.D. White (1896) and J.W. Draper (1874). An adequate account of the past two centuries requires a distinction between conservative and liberal positions. Conservative Christians tend to see theology and science as partially intersecting bodies of knowledge. God is revealed in ‘two books’: the Bible and nature. Ideally, science and theology ought to present a single, consistent account of reality; but in fact there have been instances where the results of science have apparently) contradicted Scripture, in particular with regard to the age of the universe and the origin of the human species.

              Liberals tend to see science and religion as complementary but non-interacting, as having concerns as different as to make conflict impossible. This approach can be traced to Immanuel Kant, who distinguished sharply between pure reason (science) and practical reason (morality). More recent versions contrast science, which deals with what and how of the natural world, and religion, which deals with meaning, or contrast science and religion as employing distinct languages. However, since the 1960s a growing number of scholars with liberal theological leanings have taken an interest in science and have denied that the two disciplines can be isolated from one another. Topics within science that offer fruitful points for dialogue with theology include Big-Bang cosmology and its possible implications for the doctrine of creation, the ‘fine-tuning’ of the cosmological constants and the possible implications of this for design arguments, and evolution and genetics, with their implications for a new understanding of the human individual.

              Perhaps of greater import are the indirect relations between science and theology. Newtonian physics fostered an understanding of the natural world as strictly determined by natural laws; this in turn had serious consequences for understanding divine action and human freedom. Twentieth-century developments such as quantum physics and chaos theory call for a revised view of causation. Advances in the philosophy of science in the second half of the twentieth century provide a much more sophisticated account of knowledge than was available earlier, and this has important implications for methods of argument in theology.

A. Religion and Western Predecessors of Science

                 Western interest in a systematic account of the natural world is an inheritance from the ancient Greeks rather than from the Hebrew tradition, which tended to focus on the human world. The Greek concept of nature was not set over against a concept of super natural, as it has been in more recent centuries, so it is possible to say that Greek philosophy of nature was inherently theological. Early Christian scholars were divided in their approach to Greek natural philosophy, some making great use of it for apologetic purposes, others rejecting it.

                    After the fall of Rome, the centre of scholarship shifted eastward. Islamic scholars in the middle Ages were largely responsible for preserving the learning of the Greeks, as well as for significant scientific developments of their own in the fields of optics, medicine, astronomy and mathematics. It was through Muslims in Spain that important scientific works by Aristotle were introduced to western Europe in the twelfth century. The influence of these works on Christian thought culminated in Thomas Aquinas’ two Summas (Aquinas, T.; Aristotelianism,).

B. Early Modern Science and Worldview

                At the end of the nineteenth century, White (1896) and Draper (1874) promoted the view of science and religion as traditional enemies. However, revisionist history at the end of the twentieth century presents a much more complex picture. It is true that the Catholic Church silenced Galileo (§§1, 4) in 1633, that René Descartes’ mechanics’ conception of matter was condemned, and that fear of censorship had a generally chilling effect on scientific theorizing throughout the seventeenth century (see Descartes, ). However, it must be noted that not all of the Catholic officials were opposed to Galileo. In addition, a number of the century’s greatest scientists were Catholic: Pierre Gassendi , Marin Mersenne, Blaise Pascaland Nicolas Steno, as well as Galileo and Descartes. The Jesuit order was home to a number of scientists who were not outstanding theorists but contributed significantly to experimental science.

              In the early modern period, it is difficult to distinguish conflicts between science and religion on the one hand from intra-theological conflicts and conflicts between the new science and the Aristotelian scholastic synthesis on the other. The Galileo affair needs to be interpreted in the light of both these complications, since it is not possible to understand the resistance to Galileo’s astronomy without recognizing the fact that it called into question an entire socio-political order founded on a picture of the cosmos and of the place of humans in it. The affair was also an internal church struggle concerning the proper interpretation of Scripture. Galileo followed Augustine’s rule that an interpretation of Scripture should be revised when it is found to conflict with other knowledge. This put him in conflict with conservative church officials who adopted a more literalist interpretive strategy. A further complication is the fact that the new science was often liberally mixed with magic and astrology, which the Catholic Church condemned both because they dabbled with the demonic and because of suspicion that they confirmed Calvinist views of determinism against the Catholic view of free will.

                  Robert Merton (1938) argued that Puritanism promoted the scientific revolution, a thesis still debated over half a century later. While Merton’s thesis was overstated, it is likely that a particular Reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God – that God’s sovereignty excludes all active contributions of lesser beings to his work – made the modern scientific and philosophical conception of matter as inert or passive more acceptable to Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle (§4) and other Protestants than it would otherwise have been. Here again it is important to recognize the interplay of Aristotelianism and intra-theological disputes. The mechanicist conception of matter was a direct rejection both of Neoplatonic magical conceptions and of the Aristotelian teleological and organicist view, that ‘forms’ inherent in substances provided built-in powers and goals. At the same time, it furthered theological convictions first expressed by late medieval nominalist theologians. It is one of the great ironies of history, then, that Newton’s mechanicist conception of the material universe so quickly evolved into Pierre Simon de Laplace’s purely materialist and determinist view, the latter being absolutely incompatible with religion.

C. Indirect relations

               If direct conflicts between Christian theology and the various theories of modern science have often been overemphasized, the deleterious effects on theology of indirect conflicts between religion and science have received too little attention. These indirect interactions can be considered under the headings of metaphysics and epistemology.

               Metaphysics. Descartes’ mechanicist view of matter as pure extension, accompanied by a view of mind as ‘thinking substance’, inaugurated a metaphysical dualism that has replaced older and more nuanced views of Christian anthropology. In so far as this dualism has been shown to be philosophically untenable, Christianity, with its view of the soul and afterlife, has appeared untenable as well (see Dualism).

                  The clockwork image of the universe as a closed system of particles in motion, strictly governed by the laws of physics (the image epitomized in the nineteenth century by the work of Laplace), created insuperable problems in accounting for divine action. A popular variety of deism offered the most reasonable account: God was the creator of the universe, and responsible for the laws of nature, but has no ongoing interaction with the natural world or with human history (see Deism). The alternatives for theists were accounts of miraculous interventions or an account of God as an immanent sustainer of natural processes (see Miracles). The former seemed to make God irrational (contradicting God’s own decrees) or inept(needing to readjust the system). The latter view made it difficult to maintain any more sense of God’s personal involvement in human life than was possible for the deists. Much of the difference between liberal and conservative Christianity can be traced to theories of divine action: conservatives tend to take an interventionist, liberals an immanentist, view.

                  Epistemology. Medieval theologians had two sets of epistemological categories at their disposal, those relating to scientia (demonstrative or scientific knowledge) and those relating to opinio (‘probable’ beliefs, including those based on authority). So those theological conclusions that could not be deduced from first principles could, happily, be based on unimpeachable authority, the very word of God. However, in the modern period, the range of scientia contracted to the spheres of mathematics and formal logic; Humeand Kant both provided powerful critiques of deductive arguments for the existence of God and of natural theology generally. Furthermore, when probable knowledge took on its contemporary sense of knowledge based on the weight of empirical evidence, appeals to authority became irrelevant, and most judged it impossible to provide empirical evidence for theological claims. Thus the central question for modern liberal theologians has been how, if at all, theology is possible.

                      Liberal theology diverged from more traditional accounts as a result of its strategies for meeting the problems raised directly or indirectly by science. Following Friedrich Schleiermacher, many liberal theologians have understood religion to constitute its own sphere of experience, unrelated to that of scientific knowledge. Theological doctrines are expressions of religious awareness, not accounts of a supernatural realm. God works immanently, not by interventions in either the natural world or human history. Thus liberal theology has avoided direct conflict with modern science, at the cost (or with the beneficial consequence) of a radical revision of the very concepts of religion and theology. However, Ian Barbour’s Issues in Science and Religion (1966) presented an encyclopedic overview of the points at which scientific claims are relevant to religious thought, and in Myths, Models, and Paradigms (1974) he argued for significant epistemological similarities between science and religion. Since then, a growing number of scholars from the liberal wing of Christianity have begun to call the modern division of territory into question.

D. Geology, evolution and the age of the earth

                  Physics and astronomy were the main scientific foci for theologians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; geology and biology held an analogous place in the nineteenth and twentieth. For centuries, the biblical narrative from creation to Christ and the projected Last Judgment provided the skeletal outline for accounts of natural as well as human history. For instance, the story of Noah and the Flood served as a useful explanation for marine fossils found high above sea level. However, by the seventeenth century, the short span of history calculated from the Bible was being challenged from a number of directions. (James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Irish archbishop, has been credited with the calculation that creation took place a mere 4004 years before Christ.) Although sporadic attempts to reconcile geological history with Genesis continue up to the present, in the eighteenth century a large number of geologists already recognized that the Flood hypothesis could not explain the growing body of knowledge regarding rock stratification and the placement of fossils. A much longer history of the Earth, prior to human history, had to be presumed. At the same time, Egyptian and Chinese records were calling into question the short span of human history calculated from the Bible.

                While some contemporary opposition to evolutionary theory involved ‘young earth’ chronology, negative reactions in the nineteenth century to Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) were more often objections to social Darwinism and to the claim that humans were kin to the ‘lower animals’; other negative reactions focused on the fact that natural selection provided an alternative to divine design for explaining the fit of organisms to their environments, thus undermining an important apologetic argument. Nonetheless, many theologians and other believers readily accepted the ttheory and judged the changes it required in theology to be salutary rather than mere accommodation (see Darwin, Evolution, theory of).

E. Biological Sciences

                        The theory of evolution is a surprisingly hot issue again at the end of the twentieth century. A Gallup poll published in the magazine US News and World Report(December 23, 1991) reported that a majority of North American Christians are sceptical of the macroevolutionary paradigm. The best explanation for this resistance is probably the fact that the issue has come to be framed in terms of creation versus chance as an account of the origin of the human species. That the issues can be formulated in these terms is due in part to a (defective) theory of divine action that contrasts God’s creative acts with natural processes, rather than allowing that God may work through natural processes, including those that involve random events. The controversy is exacerbated by the use made of evolutionary biology by proselytizing atheists.

              Genetics provides a new area for dialogue between religion and the biological sciences. Studies showing a genetic basis for human characteristics and behaviour raise questions about the status of the human person – for example, questions about free will and determinism – that have been the province of philosophy and religion. Of particular interest are studies of twins suggesting a genetic factor in religious behaviour (for example, Eaves et al. 1990).

                 Genetic research in general and genetic engineering in particular have raised a number of ethical questions that relate to theological ethics. For example, while most people favour genetic treatment for illnesses, many are opposed to germ-line intervention, which would affect all succeeding generations. Some objections are based on quasi-religious positions: scientists should not ‘play God’. This line of thinking calls for theological scrutiny: are not human beings themselves created in order to participate in God’s ongoing creative process? It is noteworthy that in 1991, the US National Institutes of Health awarded its first grant ever to a theological institution to the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (Berkeley, California) to study the theological and ethical implications of the Human Genome Initiative, the project to map human DNA.

F. Cosmology

                  Physical cosmology is the branch of science that studies the universe as a whole. Beginning in the 1920s, developments in this field have sparked lively debate at the interface between theology and science. The Big-Bang theory, based on the expansion of the universe and a variety of other data, postulates that the universe originated in an extremely dense, extremely hot ‘singularity’ some 15 to 20 billion years ago (see Cosmology). Many Christians, including Pope Pius XII, greeted this theory as a confirmation of the biblical doctrine of creation. It was not only religious people who saw it as such; Frederick Hoyle defended a steady-state model of the universe, in which hydrogen atoms come into being throughout an infinite time span, partly because he saw it as more compatible with his atheism.

                    The discussion among theologians on the relevance of Big-Bang cosmology to the doctrine of creation involves controversy over the very nature of theology. As mentioned above, it has been common among liberal theologians since Schleiermacher to claim that religious meaning is entirely independent of scientific fact. Theologians who hold this position claim that the doctrine of creation, having to do only with the relation of all that exists to God, says nothing about the temporal origin of the universe, and is therefore equally compatible with any cosmological model.

                  A more recent area of research that has occasioned theological speculation can be referred to as the issue of the anthropic principle. A number of factors in the early universe had to be adjusted in a remarkably precise way to produce the universe we have. These factors include the mass of the universe, the strengths of the four basic forces (electromagnetism, gravitation, and the strong and weak nuclear forces), and others. Calculations show that if any of these numbers had deviated even slightly from its actual value, the universe would have evolved in a radically different manner, making life as we know it – and probably life of any sort – impossible. An example of the ‘fine-tuning’ required is that if the ratio of the strength of electromagnetism to gravity had varied by as much as one part in 1040, there would be no stars like our sun.

                      Many claim that this apparent fine-tuning of the universe for life calls for explanation. To some, it appears to provide grounds for a new design argument (see, arguments for the xistence of God). Others believe that it can be expm,lained in scientific terms – for example, by suggesting that there are vastly many universes, either contemporaneous with our own or in succession, each of which instantiates a different set of fundamental constants. One or more of these universes would be expected to support life, and it is only in such a universe that observers would be present to raise the question of fine-tuning. Whether or not the fine-tuning is taken as evidence for the existence of God, it has important consequences for theology in that some philosophers believe that it argues against an interventionist account of continuing creation and divine action, since the prerequisites for humanexistence were built into the universe from the very beginning.

G. Physics and Metaphysics

               A variety of developments in physics since the end of the nineteenth century have called into question the determinist worldview. Quantum physics has introduced indeterminacy into the worldview of physics. Quantum theory generally allows only for probabilistic predictions regarding classes of events, not for prediction of individual events. It is unclear whether this limitation represents only a limit of human knowledge, or whether it signifies genuine indeterminacy in nature (see interpretation of Quantum mechanics).

                      However, scholarly opinion tends towards the latter view. Thus, most physicists reject the determinism of the Newtonian worldview, at least at this level. ‘Quantum non-locality’ refers to the peculiar fact that electrons and other sub-atomic entities that have once interacted continue to behave in coordinated ways, even when they are too far apart for any known causal interaction in the time available. This phenomenon calls radically into question the Newtonian picture of the universe as discrete particles in motion, interacting by means of familiar physical forces. If Newtonian determinism had strong implications for theories of divine action, it is surely the case that these developments in quantum physics must have theological implications as well. What these implications are is still very much an open question.

                        A more recent development, which cuts across physics and the other natural sciences, is chaos theory (see Chaos theory). This is the study of systems whose behaviour is highly sensitive to changes in initial conditions. What this means can be illustrated with an example from classical dynamics: the movements of a billiard ball are governed in a straightforward way by Newton’s laws, but very slight differences in the angle of impact of the cue stick have greatly magnified effects after several collisions; moreover, initial differences that make for large differences in later behaviour are too small to measure, so the system is intrinsically unpredictable. Chaotic systems are found throughout nature – in thermodynamic systems far from equilibrium, in weather patterns and even in animal populations. Chaos theory is relevant to discussions of divine action not because chaotic systems are indeterminate (that is, not causally determined) and thus open to divine action without violation of laws of nature. Rather, the recognition of the ubiquity of chaotic systems shows the intrinsic limitations of human knowledge, and leads to the negative but important conclusion that one is rarely (or never) in a position to know that God is not acting in natural processes.

                         Another development throughout science with important implications for the issue of determinism and divine action is the recognition of ‘top-down causation’. The sciences can be conceived as a hierarchy in which higher sciences study progressively more complex systems: physics studies the smallest, simplest components of the universe; chemistry studies complex organizations of physical particles (atoms and molecules); biochemistry studies the extremely complex chemical compounds making up living organisms, and so on. The dream of the logical positivists was to provide an account of the sciences wherein the laws of the higher-level sciences could all be reduced to the laws of physics (see Logical positivism). This concept of explanatory reductionism followed naturally from the ontological reductionism that has become an important tenet of the modern scientific worldview: if all entities and systems are ultimately made up of the entities studied by physics, their behaviour ought to be understandable in terms of the laws of physics. So ontological and explanatory reductionism entail causal reductionism, or ‘bottom-up causation’. If the laws of physics are deterministic, we have a deterministic account of the whole of nature. However, it has become apparent that the behaviour of entities at various levels of the hierarchy of complexity cannot always be understood entirely in terms of the behaviour of their parts; attention to their interaction with non-reducible features of their environments is also required. Thus, the state or behaviour of a higher-level system exercises top-down causal influence on its components.

                           Arthur Peacocke (1990) has used this development in scientific thought to propose new directions for understanding divine action. In his ‘panentheist’ view, the universe is ‘in’ God, and God’s influence on the cosmos can then be understood by analogy with top-down causation throughout the hierarchy of natural levels (see God, concepts of §8). While this proposal does not answer questions about how God affects specific events within the cosmos, it does dissolve the long-standing problem of causal determinism.

H. Epistemology and language

              The shift from medieval epistemology to modern empiricism required radical revision of religious epistemology. Various strategies were employed during the modern period to show theology to be epistemologically respectable. However, the increasing prevalence of atheism in scholarly circles suggests that these strategies have not been successful. At a point in intellectual history that some would call the end of the modern period, theories of knowledge have changed enough that the question of the epistemic status of theology needs to be examined afresh. Our concern here will be only with changes relating directly to science.

             Theologians’ statements have sometimes been dismissed on the grounds that they describe states of affairs that are unimaginable or non-picturable. However, quantum theory and other recent scientific developments describe a physical reality that is equally unimaginable and, some would say, calls into question traditional two-valued logic. This line of argument is intended to point out that a view of knowledge more humble than that of the modern period is called for; reality is more complex and mysterious than anything our language and concepts allow us to capture.

                   It has often been said (especially by theologians) that theology differs radically from science in that science is objective while all religious knowledge is self-involving, the product of an interaction between God and the human subject. Another way in which science has tempered older views of knowledge, and narrowed the difference between science and theology, is in its recognition that scientific knowledge itself is interactive. Measurements are interactions with the phenomena being measured, especially at the subatomic level.

                     Most modern thinkers have judged it impossible to provide empirical support for theology. However, beginning with the work of Ian Barbour (1974), there has been an investigation of the ways in which theological reasoning resembles that of science, including accounts of suitable data for theology. This development was made possible by advances in philosophy of science that show science itself to be a more complicated, and more human, enterprise than the positivists assumed.

I. Religion’s Implications for Science

                        Most of this entry has focused on the implications of science for religion. However, it is also the case that religion has implications for science. It has been argued that Christian doctrine was an important contributor to the rise of modern science: God’s freedom entailed that features of the natural world could not be deduced a priori from rational principles, yet God’s goodness and faithfulness suggested that the world would not be so chaotic as to be unintelligible. The very existence of religion is a valuable reminder that there are boundaries beyond which scientific explanation cannot go, and its doctrines help to answer questions that lie beyond those boundaries. The Newtonian era saw the separation of natural philosophy (science) from natural theology, and since then it has been a methodological presupposition of science that it should provide purely natural explanations. Science has thereby set boundaries on its own competence, but this does not mean that what is beyond its competence is therefore unimportant (or non-existent).

                    Cosmology and physics raise questions they cannot answer: Why is the behaviour of natural processes law-like? What caused the Big Bang? Why is there a universe at all? While theology and science may interact in minor ways within each of their proper domains, it is here that theological explanation comes into its own.


              Islamic Philosophy may be defined in a number of different ways, but the perspective taken in this paper is that it represents the style of philosophy produced within the framework of Islamic culture and the principles and value of Islamic Religion. This description does not suggest that it is necessarily concerned with religious issue, nor even that Muslims exclusively produce it.[14]

                  This explanation is quoted from the article title ‘Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy’, written by Shams C. Inati, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

          “Muslim philosophers agree that knowledge is possible. Knowledge is the intellect’s grasp of the immaterial forms, the pure essences or universals that constitute the nature of things, and human happiness is achieved only through the intellect’s grasp of such universals. They stress that for knowledge of the immaterial forms, the human intellect generally relies on the senses. Some philosophers, such as Ibn Rushd and occasionally Ibn Sina, assert that it is the material forms themselves, which the senses provide, that are grasped by the intellect after being stripped of their materiality with the help of the divine world. However, the general view as expressed by al-Farabi and Ibn Sina seems to be that the material forms only prepare the way for the reception of the immaterial forms, which are then provided by the divine world. They also state that on rare occasions the divine world simply bestows the immaterial forms on the human intellect without any help from the senses. This occurrence is known as prophecy. While, all Muslim philosophers agree that grasping eternal entities ensures happiness, they differ as to whether such grasping is also necessary for eternal existence.[15]

A.Nature of Knowledge

            Muslim philosophers are primarily concerned with human happiness and its attainment. Regardless of what they consider this happiness to be, all agree that the only way to attain it is through knowledge. The theory of knowledge, epistemology, has therefore been their main preoccupation and appears chiefly in their logical and psychological writings. Epistemology concerns itself primarily with the possibility, nature and sources of knowledge. Taking the possibility of knowledge for granted, Muslim philosophers focused their epistemological effort on the study of the nature and sources of knowledge. Their intellectual inquiries, beginning with logic and ending with metaphysics and in some cases mysticism, were main by directed towards helping to understand what knowledge is and how it comes about.

Following in the footsteps of the Greek philosophers, Muslim philosophers consider knowledge to be the grasping of the immaterial forms, natures, essences or realities of things. They are agreed that the forms of things are either material (that is, existing in matter) or immaterial (existing in themselves). While the latter can be known as such, the former cannot be known unless first detached from their materiality. Once in the mind, the pure forms act as the pillars of knowledge. The mind constructs objects from these forms, and with these objects it makes judgments. Thus Muslim philosophers, like Aristotle before them, divided knowledge in the human mind into conception (tashawwur), apprehension of an object with no judgment, and assent (tashdiq), apprehension of an object with a judgment, the latter being, according to them, a mental relation of correspondence between the concept and the object for which it stands. Conceptions are the main pillars of assent; without conception, one cannot have a judgment. In itself, conception is not subject to truth and falsity, but assent is. However, it should be pointed out that tashdiq is a misleading term in Islamic philosophy. It is generally used in the sense of ‘accepting truth or falsity’, but also occasionally in the sense of ‘accepting truth’. One must keep in mind, however, that when assent is said to be a form of knowledge, the word is then used, not in the broad sense to mean true or false judgment, but in the narrow sense to mean true judgment. In Islamic philosophy, conceptions are in the main divided into the known and the unknown. The former are grasped by the mind actually, the latter potentially. Known conceptions are either self-evident (that is, objects known to normal human minds with immediacy such as ‘being’, ‘thing’ and ‘necessary’) or acquired (that is, objects known through mediation, such as ‘triangle’). With the exception of the self-evident conceptions, conceptions are known or unknown relative to minds. Individual Similarly, Muslim philosophers divided assent into the known and the unknown, and the known assent into the self-evident and the acquired. The self-evident assent is exemplified by ‘the whole is greater than the part’, and the acquired by ‘the world is composite’. In Kitab at-Tanbih ‘ala Sabil as-Sa‘ada (The Book of Remarks Concerning the Path of Happiness), al-Farabi calls the self-evident objects: ‘the customary, primary, well-known knowledge, which one may deny with one’s tongue, but which one cannot deny with one’s mind since it is impossible to think their contrary’. Of the objects of conception and assent, only the unknown ones are subject to inquiry. By reducing the number of unknown objects one can increase knowledge and provide the chance for happiness. But how does such reduction come about?

B.Sources of Knowledge

                     In Islamic philosophy there are two theories about the manner in which the number of unknown objects is reduced. One theory stresses that this reduction is brought about by moving from known objects to unknown ones, the other that it is merely the result of direct illumination given by the divine world. The former is the upward or philosophical way, the second the downward or prophetic one. According to the former theory, movement from the known objects of conception to the unknown ones can be effected chiefly through the explanatory phrase (al-qawl ash-sharih). The proof (al-burhan) is the method for moving from the known objects of assent to the unknown ones. The explanatory phrase and proof can be either valid or invalid: the former leads to certitude, the latter to falsehood. The validity and invalidity of the explanatory phrase and proof can be determined by logic, which is a set of rules for such determination. Ibn Sina points out that logic is a necessary key to knowledge and cannot be replaced except by God’s guidance, as opposed to other types of rules such as grammar for discourse (which can be replaced by a good natural mind) and metre for poetry (which can be replaced by good taste).

By distinguishing the valid from the invalid explanatory phrase and proof, logic serves a higher purpose, namely that of disclosing the natures or essences of things. It does this because conceptions reflect the realities or natures of things and are the cornerstones of the explanatory phrase and proof. Because logic deals only with expressions that correspond to conceptions, when it distinguishes the valid from the invalid it distinguishes at the same time the realities or natures of things from their opposites. Thus logic is described as the key to the knowledge of the natures of things. This knowledge is described as the key to happiness; hence the special status of logic in Islamic philosophy.

C.Logic and Knowledge

We are told that because logic deals only with the known and unknown, it cannot deal with anything outside the mind. Because it is a linguistic instrument (foreign in nature to the realities of things), it cannot deal with such realities directly, whether they exist in the mind or outside it, or are external[16] to these two realms of existence. It can only deal with the states or accidents of such realities, these states comprising links among the realities and intermediaries between the realities and language. Logic therefore deals with the states of such realities, as they exist in the mind. ‘Subject’ or ‘predicate’, ‘universality’ or ‘particularity’, ‘essentiality’ or ‘accidentality’ exemplifies such states. In other words, logic can deal with realities only in that these realities are subjects or predicates, universal or particular, essential or accidental and so on.

Because the ultimate human objective is the understanding of the realities, essences or natures of things, and because the ultimate logical objective is the understanding of conceptions, logicians must focus on the understanding of those conceptions that lead to the understanding of the essences if they intend to serve humanity. Ibn Sina points out that since the essences are universal, such expressions are also universal in the sense of representing universal conceptions such as ‘human being’, not in the sense of being universal only in expression, such as ‘Zayd’. A universal expression can be applied to more than one thing, as the last two examples show, but one must keep in mind Ibn Sina’s distinction between these two types of universal expressions: the former represents reality, although indirectly, the latter does not. It is only the former with which the logician should be concerned (see Logic in Islamic philosophy).

Considering that the discussion of universals occupies a central place in Arabic logic, it is important to focus briefly on this subject to ensure understanding of the proper objects of the knowledge of the natures of things. Muslim philosophers divide universal expressions into five types, known together as the five predicable: genus, species, difference, property and common accident. Genus refers to the common nature of all the species that fall under it, such as ‘animality’ for ‘human being’, ‘dog’,‘cat’ and so on. As such, it tells us what the general nature of a thing is. Species refers to the common nature of all the individuals that fall under it, such as ‘human being’ for ‘John’, ‘George’ and ‘Dorothy’. As such, it tells us what the specific nature of a thing is. Difference refers to that which differentiates the members of the genus, such as ‘rational’, which differentiates the species of being human from other animal species; it tells us which thing a being is. These three universals are essential to a thing; that is, without them the essence will not be what it is. Property and common accident are accidental, in that they attach to the thing but are not part of its essence. Property refers tosomething that necessarily attaches to one universal only, such as ‘capacity for laughter’ for ‘human being’. Common accident refers to a quality that attaches to more than one universal, either in an inseparable manner, such as ‘black’ for ‘crow’, or in a separable manner, such as ‘black’ for ‘human being’. The inseparability of the common accident, however, is only in existence.

Only the first three of the above universals constitute the essences of things. If one is to understand the essence of a thing, one must first understand its genus, species and difference or differences. The understanding of these three universals takes place through the explanatory phrase and proof, of which these universals are simple elements. The explanatory phrase is either definition or description. The definition is a phrase, which mirrors the essence of a thing by indicating its general and specific essential qualities, that is, its genus, species and difference; the description is like the definition except that it indicates the property instead of the difference. Thus the description does not give a complete picture of the essence of a thing as does the definition. The proof is a set of propositions, which consist of conceptions joined or separated by particles. The proof that helps in the understanding of the essences of things is that which moves from known universal judgments to an unknown universal one.

The important question that concerned Muslim philosophers is how the universals or forms that are essential to the natures of things arrive at the human mind before it has the chance to employ the explanatoryphrase and proof to compose known conceptions and known judgments from them. In order to answer this question, Muslim philosophers first discussed the structure of the human soul and then the steps through which the universals pass on their way to the place of knowledge (see Soul in Islamic philosophy). As stated above, conceptions come to the mind through either the philosophical way or the prophetic way. The philosophical way requires one first to use one’s external senses to grasp the universals as they exist in the external world, mixed with matter. Then the internal senses, which like the external senses are a part of the animal soul, take in these universals and purify them of matter as much as possible. The imagination is the highest internal sense, in which these universals settle until the next cognitive move. It is from this point to the next step in the philosophical journey that the details seem particularly unclear.

D.The Role of the Mind

All Muslim philosophers believe that above the senses there is the rational soul. This has two parts: the practical and theoretical intellects. The theoretical intellect is responsible for knowledge; the practical intellect concerns itself only with the proper management of the body through apprehension of particular things so that it can do the good and avoid the bad. All the major Muslim philosophers, beginning with al-Kindi, wrote treatises on the nature and function of the theoretical intellect, which may be referred to as the house of knowledge.

In addition to the senses and the theoretical intellect, Muslim philosophers include in their discussion of the instruments of knowledge a third factor. They teach that the divine world contains, among other things, intelligences, the lowest of which is what al-Kindi calls the First Intellect (al-‘Aql al-Awwal), better known in Arabic philosophy as the ‘agent intellect’ (al-‘aql al-fa‘al), the name given to it by al-Farabi, or‘the giver of forms’ (wahib as-suwar). They contend that the world around us is necessary for the attainment of philosophical knowledge. Some, such as Ibn Bajja, Ibn Rushd and occasionally Ibn Sina, say that the mixed universals in the imagination that have been derived from the outside world through the senses are eventually purified completely by the light of the agent intellect, and are then reflected onto the theoretical intellect.

Al-Farabi’s and Ibn Sina’s general view, however, is that these imagined universals only prepare the theoretical intellect for the reception of the universals from the agent intellect that already contains them. When expressing this view, Ibn Sina states that it is not the universals in the imagination themselves that are transmitted to the theoretical intellect but their shadow, which is created when the light of the agent intellect is shed on these universals. This is similar, he says, to the shadow of an object, which is reflected on the eye when sunlight is cast on that object. While the manner in which the universals in the imagination can prepare the theoretical intellect for knowledge is in general unclear, it is vaguely remarked by al-Farabi and Ibn Sina that this preparation is due to the similarity of these universals to the pure universals, and to the familiarity of the theoretical intellect with the imagined universals owing to its proximity to the imagination. In other words, the familiarity of this intellect with what resembles its proper objects prepares it for the. Reception of these objects from the agent intellect.

E.Philosophical and Prophetic Knowledge

The prophetic way is a much easier and simpler path (see Prophecy). One need not take any action to receive the divinely given universals; the only requirement seems to be the possession of a strong soul capable of receiving them. While the philosophical way moves from the imagination upward to the theoretical intellect, the prophetic way takes the reverse path, from the theoretical intellect to the imagination. For this reason, knowledge of philosophy is knowledge of the natures of things themselves, while knowledge of prophecy is knowledge of the natures of things as wrapped up in symbols, the shadows of the imagination.

Philosophical and prophetic truth is the same, but it is attained and expressed differently. Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy Ibn Yaqzan is the best illustration of the harmony of philosophy and religion (see Ibn Tufayl). The so-called double truth theory wrongly views these two paths to knowledge as two types of truth, thus attributing to Ibn Rushd a view foreign to Islamic philosophy. One of the most important contributions of Islamic philosophy is the attempt to reconcile Greek philosophy and Islam by accepting the philosophical and prophetic paths as leading to the same truth.

Muslim philosophers agree that knowledge in the theoretical intellect passes through stages. It moves from potentiality to actuality and from actuality to reflection on actuality, thus giving the theoretical intellect the respective names of potential intellect, actual intellect and acquired intellect. Some Muslim philosophers explain that the last is called ‘acquired’ because its knowledge comes to it from the outside, and so it can be said to acquire it. The acquired intellect is the highest human achievement, a holy state that conjoins the human and the divine realms by conjoining the theoretical and agent intellects.

Following in the footsteps of Alexander of Aphrodisias, al-Farabi, Ibn Bajja and Ibn Rushd believe that the theoretical intellect is potential by nature, and therefore disintegrates unless it grasps the eternal objects, the essential universals, for the known and the knower are one. Ibn Sina rejects the view that the theoretical intellect is potential by nature. He argues instead that it is eternal by nature because unless it is, it cannot grasp the eternal objects. For him, happiness is achieved by this intellect’s grasping of the eternal objects, for such grasping perfects the soul. Muslim philosophers who believe that eternity is attained only through knowledge also agree with Ibn Sina that knowledge is perfection and perfection is happiness.

F.Islamic Concept of Knowledge[17]

Various epistemological issues have been discussed in Muslim philosophy with an orientation different from that of Western epistemology. Today attempts are being made to understand the basic epistemological issues in terms of that orientation..

With this view, an attempt is made in this paper to delineate the different shades and connotations of the term ‘ilm, i.e., knowledge, in the Islamic context. It is hoped that this brief attempt will serve as a step for future groundwork for the construction of a framework for an Islamic theory of knowledge.

In the Islamic theory of knowledge, the term used for knowledge in Arabic is ‘ilm, which, as Rosenthal has justifiably pointed out, has a much wider connotation than its synonyms in English and other Western languages. Knowledge in the Western world means information about something, divine or corporeal, while ‘ilm is an all-embracing term covering theory, action and education. Rosenthal, highlighting the importance of this term in Muslim civilization and Islam, says that it gives them a distinctive shape.

It may be said that Islam is the path of “knowledge.” No other religion or ideology has so much emphasized the importance of ‘ilm. In the Qur’an the word ‘alim has occurred in 140 places, while al-‘ilm in 27. In all, the total number of verses in which ‘ilm or its derivatives and associated words are used is 704. It is important to note that pen and book are essential to the acquisition of knowledge. The Islamic revelation started with the word iqra’ (‘read!’ or ‘recite!’).

According to the Qur’an, the first teaching class for Adam started soon after his creation and Adam was taught ‘all the Names’.

Allah is the first teacher and the absolute guide of humanity. This knowledge was not imparted to even the Angels. In Usul al-Kafi there is a tradition narrated by Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) that ‘ilm is of three types: ayatun muhkamah (irrefutable signs of God), faridatun ‘adilah (just obligations) and sunnat al-qa’imah (established traditions of the Prophet [s]). This implies that ‘ilm, attainment of which is obligatory upon all Muslims covers the sciences of theology, philosophy, law, ethics, politics and the wisdom imparted to the Ummah by the Prophets

‘Ilm is of three types: information (as opposed to ignorance), natural laws, and knowledge by conjecture. The first and second types of knowledge are considered useful and their acquisition is made obligatory. As for the third type, which refers to what is known through guesswork and conjecture, or is accompanied with doubt, we shall take that into consideration later, since conjecture or doubt are sometimes essential for knowledge as a means, but not as an end.

In the Islamic world, gnosis (ma’rifah) is differentiated from knowledge in the sense of acquisition of information through logical processes. In the non-Islamic world dominated by the Greek tradition, hikmah (wisdom) is considered higher than knowledge. But in Islam ‘ilm is not mere knowledge. It is synonymous with gnosis (ma’rifah). Knowledge is considered to be derived from two sources: ‘aql and ‘ilm huduri (in the sense of unmediated and direct knowledge acquired through mystic experience).

It is important to note that there is much emphasis on the exercise of the intellect in the Qur’an and the traditions, particularly in the matter of ijtihad.

Exercise of the intellect (‘aql) is of significance in the entire Islamic literature, which played an important role in the development of all kinds of knowledge, scientific or otherwise, in the Muslim world. In the twentieth century, the Indian Muslim thinker, Iqbal in his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, pointed out that ijtihad was a dynamic principle in the body of Islam. He claims that much before Francis Bacon the principles of scientific induction were emphasized by the Qur’an, which highlights the importance of observation and experimentation in arriving at certain conclusions. It may also be pointed out that Muslim fuqaha and mufassirun made use of the method of linguistic analysis in interpreting the Quranic injunctions and the sunnah of the Prophet (S). Al-Ghazalis Tahatut al-Falasifah is probably the first philosophical treatise that made use of the linguistic analytical method to clarify certain philosophical issues..

There was made a distinction between wisdom (hikmah) and knowledge in the pre-Islamic philosophy developed under the influence of Greek thought. In Islam there is no such distinction. Those who made such a distinction led Muslim thought towards un-Islamic thinking. The philosophers such as al-Kindi, alFarabi and Ibn Sina are considered to be hakims (philosophers) and in this capacity superior to ‘ulama‘, and fuqaha this misconception resulted in al-Ghazali’s attack on the philosophers. Islam is a religion that invites its followers to exercise their intellect and make use of their knowledge to attain the ultimate truth (haqq). Muslim thinkers adopted different paths to attain this goal. Those who are called philosophers devoted themselves to logic and scientific method and the Sufis derogated them, though some of them, such as Ibn Sina, alFarabi and al-Ghazali took recourse to the mystic path in their quest of the truth at some stage. ‘Ilm may not be translated as mere knowledge; it should be emphasized that it is also gnosis or ma’rifah. One may find elements of mystic experience in the writings of Muslim philosophers. In the Western philosophical tradition there is a distinction between the knowledge of the Divine Being and knowledge pertaining to the physical world. But in Islam there is no such distinction. Ma’rifah is ultimate knowledge and it springs from the knowledge of the self (Man ‘arafa nafsahu fa qad ‘arafa Rabbbahu, ‘One who realizes one’s own self realizes his Lord’). This process also includes the knowledge of the phenomenal world. Therefore, wisdom and knowledge, which are regarded as two different things in the non-Muslim world, are one and the same in the Islamic perspective.

In the discussion of knowledge, an important question arises as to how one can overcome his doubts regarding certain doctrines about God, the universe, and man. It is generally believed that in Islam, as far as belief is concerned, there is no place for doubting and questioning the existence of God, the prophethood Muhammad and the Divine injunctions, that Islam requires unequivocal submission to its dictates. This general belief is a misconception in the light of Islam’s emphasis on ‘aql.

Ilm is referred to in many Quranic verses as ‘light’ (nur), and Allah is also described as the ultimate nur. It means that ‘ilm in the general sense is synonymous with the ‘light’ of Allah. This light does not shine forever for all the believers. If is hidden sometimes by the clouds of doubt arising from the human mind. Doubt is sometimes interpreted in the Quran as darkness, and ignorance also is depicted as darkness in a number of its verses. Allah is depicted as nur, and knowledge is also symbolized as nur. Ignorance is darkness and ma’rifah is light. In the ayat al-kursi Allah says: (Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth … Allah is the Master of the believers and He guides them out of the darkness into light). Usually darkness is interpreted as unbelief and light as faith in God. There are so many those who struggle against darkness may attain verses in the Quran as well as the traditions of the Prophets that emphasize that light.

In Islam ‘ilm is not confined to the acquisition of knowledge only, but also embraces socio-political and moral aspects. Knowledge is not mere information; it requires the believers to act upon their beliefs and commit themselves to the goals, which Islam aims at attaining.

Islam never maintained that only theology was useful and the empirical sciences useless or harmful. This concept was made common by semi-literate clerics or by the timeservers among them who wanted to keep common Muslims in the darkness of ignorance and blind faith so that they would not be able to oppose unjust rulers and resist clerics attached to the courts of tyrants. This attitude resulted in the condemnation of not only empirical science but also ‘ilm al-kalam and metaphysics, which resulted in the decline of Muslims in politics and economy. Even today large segments of Muslim society, both the common man and many clerics suffer from this malady. This unhealthy and anti-knowledge attitude gave birth to some movements, which considered elementary books of theology as sufficient for a Muslim, and discouraged the assimilation or dissemination of empirical knowledge as leading to the weakening of faith.

After the decline of philosophical and scientific inquiry in the Muslim east, philosophy and sciences flourished in the Muslim west due to endeavours of the thinkers of Arab origin like Ibn Rushd, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Bajja, and Ibn Khaldun, the father of sociology and philosophy of history. Ibn Khaldun’s philosophy of history and society is the flowering of early work by Muslim thinkers in the spheres of ethics and political science such as those of Miskawayh, al-Dawwani, and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. The credit for giving serious attention to sociopolitical philosophy goes to al-Farabi, who wrote books on these issues under the titles of Madinat al-Fadilah, Ara’ ahl al-Madinat al-Fadilah, al-Millah al-Fadilah, Fusul al-Madang, Sirah Fadilah, K. al-Siyasah al-Madaniyyah, etc.

Muslims never ignored socio-political economic and other problems pertaining to the physical as well as social reality. They contributed richly to human civilization and thought by their bold and free inquiry in various areas of knowledge even at the risk of being condemned as heretics or rather unbelievers. True and firm believers in Islamic creed, like al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Bajja, al-Haytham, Ibn ‘Arabi and Mulla Sadra, and in recent times Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Iqbal and al-Mawdudi were not spared fatwas of kufr by the partisans of blind imitation who were hostile to the principle of ijtihad, research and critical thought.

Along with the Muslim astronomers, mathematicians, natural scientists and physicians like Ibn Sina, Zakariyya alRazi, and others who were instrumental in the development of human knowledge and civilization, it would be unjust not to mention the significant contribution of Ikhwan alSafa (The Brethren Purity) a group of Shi’i-Ismaili scholars and thinkers who wrote original treatises on various philosophical and scientific subjects, an effort which signifies the first attempt to compile an encyclopaedia in the civilized world.

In brief, it may be justifiably claimed that the Islamic theory of knowledge was responsible for blossoming of a culture of free inquiry and rational scientific thinking that also encompassed the spheres of both theory and practice.

G.Epistemology in Islamic Thoughts

Although there is an assumption that Islamic philosophy is an extension of Greek philosophy,[18] history shows that it only because of the chains that link the Islamic world with the Greek through the assimilation between cultures. The masterpieces of Muslim philosophers such as al-Kindi (d 260 H/873), al-Farabi (d 339 H/950), Ibn Sina (d 428 H/1037), al-Ghazali (d 505 H/1111), and Ibn Rushd (d 595 H/1198).

Prophetic philosophy, is a trademark of Islamic philosophy that could not be found in the Greek’s works. One of the books of Ibn Bajja (d 533 H/1138 M) and Ibn Tufayl (d 581 H/1185 M) “Hayy bin Yaqzhan” is original. At this point of view, al-Qur’an brings absolutely new doctrines to observe God and the universe, also laws that had not been introduced by the Greek philosophy.

In Qur’an and hadith, there are many verses that related to knowledge, either the importance or the limitations of knowledge as well.[19] Questions whether philosophy and revelation could be linked together were the major works of Muslim philosophers such as al Kindi. The other philosopher Ibn Rushd in his book “Fashl al-Maqal” (Decisive Treatise) explained that there is no contradiction between philosophy (hikmah) and religion.[20]

                 After many centuries of declining interest in rational and scientific knowledge, the Scholastic philosopher Ibn Rushd and other Islamic philosophers of peripatetic helped to restore confidence in reason and experience, blending rational methods with faith into a unified system of beliefs. Ibn Rushd followed Aristotle in regarding perception as the starting point and logic as the intellectual procedure for arriving at reliable knowledge of nature, but he considered faith in scriptural authority as the main source of religious belief.

IV.Science in Islamic philosophy[21]

              Islam attempts to synthesize reason and revelation, knowledge and values, in its approach to the study of nature. Knowledge acquired through rational human efforts and through the Qur’an are seen as complementary: both are ‘signs of God’ that enable humanity to study and understand nature. Between the second and eighth centuries AH (eighth and fifteenth centuries AD), when Muslim civilization was at its zenith, metaphysics, epistemology and empirical studies of nature fused to produce an explosion of‘scientific spirit’. Scientists and scholars such as Ibn al-Haytham, al-Razi, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Sina and al-Biruni superimposed Plato’s and Aristotle’s ideas of reason and objectivity on their own Muslim faith, thus producing a unique synthesis of religion and philosophy. They also placed great emphasis on scientific methodology, giving importance to systematic observation, experimentation and theory building.

                  Initially, scientific inquiry was directed by everyday practices of Islam. For example, developments in astronomy were influenced by the fact that the times of Muslim prayer were defined astronomically and its direction was defined geographically. In the later stage, the quest for truth for its own sake became the norm, leading to numerous new discoveries and innovations. Muslim scientists did not recognize disciplinary boundaries between the ‘two cultures’ of science and humanities, and individual scholars tended as a general rule to be polymaths. Recently, Muslim scholars have started to develop a contemporary Islamic philosophy of science by combining such basic Islamic concepts as ‘ilm (knowledge), khilafa (trusteeship of nature) and istisla (public interest) in an integrated science policy framework.

A.Science and metaphysics

             The Muslim inspiration for the study of nature comes straight from the Qur’an. The Qur’an specifically and repeatedly asks Muslims to investigate systematically natural phenomena, not simply as a vehicle for uunderstanding nature but also as a means for getting close to God. In Surah 10, for example, we read:

“He it is who has made the sun a

radiant light and the moon a light [reflected], and has determined for it phases so that you might know how to compute years and to measure [time]…in the alternative of night and day, and in all that God has created in the heavens and on earth, there are messages indeed for people who are conscious of Him.” (Surah 10: 5-6)

                     The Qur’an also devotes about one-third of its verses to describing the virtues of reason. Scientific inquiry, based on reason, is thus seen in Islam as a form of worship. Reason and revelation are complementary and integrated methods for the pursuit of truth.

                   The philosophy of science in classical Islam is a product of the fusion of this metaphysics with Greek philosophy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Ibn Sina’s theory of human knowledge (see Ibn Sina) which, following al-Farabi, transfers the Qur’anic scheme of revelation to Greek philosophy. In the Qur’an, the Creator addresses one man – the Prophet – through the agency of the archangel Gabriel; in Ibn Sina’s Neoplatonic scheme, the divine word is transmitted through reason and understanding to any, and every, person who cares to listen. The result is an amalgam of rationalism and ethics. For Muslim scholars and scientists, values are objective and good and evil are descriptive characteristics of reality which are no less ‘there’ in things than are their other qualities, such as shape and size. In this framework, all knowledge, including the knowledge of God, can be acquired by reason alone. Humanity has power to know as well as to act and is thus responsible for its just and unjust actions. What this philosophy entailed both in terms of the study of nature and shaping human behaviour was illustrated by Ibn Tufayl in his intellectual novel, Hayy ibn Yaqzan. Hayy is a spontaneously generated human who is isolated on an island. Through his power of observations and the use of his intellect, Hayy discovers general and particular facts about the structure of the material and spiritual universe, deduces the existence of God and arrives at a theological and political system (see Epistemology in Islamic philosophy; Ethics in Islamic philosophy).

                     While Mu‘tazilite scholars had serious philosophic differences with their main opponents, the Ash‘arite theologians, both schools agreed on the rational study of nature. In his al-Tamhid, Abu Bakr al-Baqillani defines science as ‘the knowledge of the object, as it really is’. While reacting to the Mu‘tazilite infringement on the domains of faith, the Ash‘arites conceded the need for objective and systematic study of nature. Indeed, some of the greatest scientists in Islam, such as Ibn al-Haytham (d. 1039), who discovered the basic laws of optics, and al-Biruni (d. 1048), who measured the circumference of the earth and discussed the rotation of the earth on its axis, were supporters of Ash‘arite theology (see Ash‘ariyya and Mu‘tazila).

                       The overall concern of Muslim scientists was the delineation of truth. As Ibn al-Haytham declared, ‘truth is sought for its own sake’, and al-Biruni confirmed in the introduction to his al-Qanun al-mas‘udi: ‘I do not shun the truth from whatever source it comes.’ However, there were disputes about the best way to rational truth. For Ibn Sina, general and universal questions came first and led to experimental work. He begins his al-Qanun fi’l-tibb (Canons of Medicine), which was a standard text in the West up to the eighteenth century, with a general discussion on the theory of drugs. For al-Biruni, however, universals came out of practical, experimental work; theories are formulated after discoveries. But either way, criticism was the key to progress towards truth. As Ibn al-Haytham wrote,‘it is natural to everyone to regard scientists favourably…. God, however, has not preserved the scientist from error and has not safeguarded science from shortcomings and faults’ (see Sabra 1972). This is why scientists so often disagree amongst themselves. Those concerned with science and truth, Ibn al-Haytham continued, ‘should turn themselves into hostile critics’ and should criticize ‘from every point of view and in all aspects’. In particular, the flaws in the work of one’s predecessors should be ruthlessly exposed. The ideas of Ibn al-Haytham, al-Biruni and Ibn Sina, along with numerous other Muslim scientists, laid the foundations of the ‘scientific spirit’ as we have come to know it.

B. Methodology

             The ‘scientific method’ (see Scientific method), as it is understood today, was first developed by the Muslim scientists. Supporters of both Mu‘tazilism and Ash‘arism placed a great deal of emphasis on systematic observation and experimentation. The insistence on accurate observation is amply demonstrated in the zij, the literature of astronomical handbooks and tables. These were constantly updated, with scientists checking and correcting the work of previous scholars. In medicine, Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Razi’s detailed and highly accurate clinical observations in the early third century AH (ninth century AD) provide us with a universal model. Al-Razi was the first to observe accurately the symptoms of smallpox and described many ‘new’ syndromes. However, it was not just accurate observation that was important; equally significant was the clarity and precision by which the observations are described, as was demonstrated by Ibn Sina in his writings.

              The emphasis on model construction and theory building can be seen in the category of Islamic astronomical literature known as ‘ilm al-haya, or ‘science of the structure(of the universe)’, which consists of general exposition of principles underlying astronomical theory. It was on the strength of both accurate observation and model construction that Islamic astronomy launched a rigorous attack on what was perceived to be a set of imperfections in Ptolemaic astronomy (see Ptolemy). Ibn al-Haytham was the first to declare categorically that the arrangements proposed for planetary motions in the Almagest were ‘false’. Ibn Shatir (d. 1375) and the astronomers at the famous observatory in Maragha, Adharbayjan, built in the thirteenth century by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, developed the Tusi couple and a theorem for the transformation of eccentric models into epicyclic ones. It was this mathematical model that Copernicus used to develop his notion of heliocentricity, which played an important part in the European ‘scientific revolution’.

               Apart from the exact sciences, the most appropriate and interesting area in which theoretical work played an essential role was medicine. Muslim physicians attempted to improve the quality of materia medica and their therapeutic uses through continued theoretical development. Emphasis was also placed on developing a precise terminology and ensuring the purity of drugs, a concern that led to a number of early chemical and physical procedures. Since Muslim writers were excellent organizers of knowledge, their purely pharmacological texts were themselves a source for the development of theories. Evolution of theories and discovery of new drugs linked the growth of Islamic medicine to chemistry, botany, zoology, geology and law, and led to extensive elaborations of Greek classifications. Pharmacological knowledge thus became more diversified, and produced new types of pharmacological literature. As this literature considered its subject from a number of different disciplinary perspectives and a great variety of new directions, there developed new ways of looking at pharmacology; new areas were opened up for further exploration and more detailed investigation. Paper-making made publication more extensive and cheaper than use of parchment and papyrus, and this in turn made scientific knowledge much more accessible to students.

            While Muslim scientists placed considerable faith in scientific method, they were also aware of its limitations. Even a strong believer in mathematical realism such as al-Biruni argued that the method of inquiry was a function of the nature of investigation: different methods, all equally valid, were required to answer differenttypes of questions. Al-Biruni himself had recourse to a number of methods. In his treatise on mineralogy, Kitab al-jamahir (Book of Precious Stones), he is the most exact of experimental scientists. However, in the introduction to his ground-breaking study India he declares that ‘to execute our project, it has not been possible to follow the geometric method’; he therefore resorts to comparative sociology.

                  The work of a scholar of the calibre and prolificity of al-Biruni inevitably defies simple classification. He wrote on mineralogy, geography, medicine, astrology and a whole range of topics which dealt with the dating of Islamic festivals. Al-Biruni is a specific product of a philosophy of science that integrates metaphysics with physics, does not attribute to either a superior or inferior position, and insists that both are worthy of study and equally valid. Moreover, the methods of studying the vast creation of God – from the movement of the stars and planets to the nature of diseases, the sting of an ant, the character of madness, the beauty of justice, the spiritual yearning of humanity, the ecstasy of a mystic – are all equally valid and shape understanding in their respective areas of inquiry. In both its philosophy and methodology, Islam has sought a complete synthesis of science and religion.

                       Polymaths such as al-Biruni, al-Jahiz, al-Kindi, Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Razi, Ibn Sina, al-Idrisi, Ibn Bajja, Omar Khayyam, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Rushd, al-Suyuti and thousands of other scholars are not an exception but the general rule in Muslim civilization. The Islamic civilization of the classical period was remarkable for the number of polymaths it produced. This is seen as a testimony to the homogeneity of Islamic philosophy of science and its emphasis on synthesis, interdisciplinary investigations and multiplicity of methods.

C.Revival attempts

               At the end of the twentieth century, scholars, scientists and philosophers throughout the Muslim world are trying to formulate a contemporary version of the Islamic philosophy of science. Two dominant movements have emerged. The first draws its inspiration from Sufi mysticism (see Mystical philosophy in Islam) and argues that the notions of ‘tradition’ and the ‘sacred’ should constitute the core of Islamic approach to science. The second argues that issues of science and values in Islam must be treated within a framework of concepts that shape the goals of a Muslim society. Ten fundamental Islamic concepts are identified as constituting the framework within which scientific inquiry should be carried out, four standing alone and three opposing pairs: tawhid (unity), khilafa (trusteeship), ‘ibada (worship), ‘ilm (knowledge), halal (praiseworthy) and haram (blameworthy), ‘adl (justice) and zulm (tyranny), and istisla(public interest) and dhiya (waste). It is argued that, when translated into values, this system of Islamic concepts embraces the nature of scientific inquiry in its totality; it integrates facts and values and institutionalizes a system of knowing that is based on accountability and social responsibility. It is too early to say whether either of these movements will bear any real fruit.

D. Holistics-Integralistics Paradigm & Methodology in Mulla Sadras’ Thought.

                 The very advanced attempt to searching andexploring the truth and reality was made by Mulla Sadra (1236-1311 AD ).He is the prominent Islamic scholar who sintetized and combine several approach and methodology had ever build in Islamic History andhuman civilizations in the harmonious & proportional way, such as peripateticism (rationalty & empiricism / masyaiyah from Palto & Aristolesfrom Greek era, Al Kindi [801-873 AD],Al Farabi [ 865-925 AD], Ibnu Sina [980-1037 AD], and Ibn Rusyd [1126-1198 AD] ), al-Razy [1149-1209] and iluminationism (isyraqiyah, by Sukhrawardi [1153-1191]and Theosophy and Mysticism(Gnostics / Irfan) from Ibn Arabi [1165-1240 AD], Nasirudin Al Thusi [1201-1274] and Al Qunawi [12090-1240 AD] and Trancendent Theosophy of Mulla Sadra (al Hikmah al Muta’aliyah).

Mulla Sadras principle theory and ontological paradigm are: The Four Jouorney (al asfar al Arba’ah), Transubtantial Movement (al Harakat al Jauhariyah),as-Shalat al-Wujud , Tasykik al-Wujud. In Epistemolgy, Mulla Sadra, and of course another several Islamic Scholars, had been following the Islamic Epistemology on Philosophy and ‘Islamicate‘ Science (vis a vis modern western-secular science) as we mention before.

Mulla Sadra (Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi) (1571/2-1640)[22]

Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi (Mulla Sadra) is perhaps the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years. The author of over forty works, he was the culminating figure of the major revival of philosophy in Iran in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Devoting himself almost exclusively to metaphysics, he constructed a critical philosophy which brought together Peripatetic, Illuminationist and gnostic philosophy along with Shi‘ite theology within the compass of what he termed a ‘metaphilosophy’, the source of which lay in the Islamic revelation and the mystical experience of reality as existence.

Mulla Sadra’s metaphilosophy was based on existence as the sole constituent of reality, and rejected any role for quiddities or essences in the external world. Existence was for him at once a single unity and an internally articulated dynamic process, the unique source of both unity and diversity. From this fundamental starting point, Mulla Sadra was able to find original solutions to many of the logical, metaphysical and theological difficulties which he had inherited from his predecessors. His major philosophical work is the Asfar (The Four Journeys), which runs to nine volumes in the present printed edition and is a complete presentation of his philosophical ideas.

1 The primacy of existence

Sadr al-Din Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yahya al-Qawami al-Shirazi, known variously as Mulla Sadra, Sadr al-Muta’allihin, or simply Akhund, was born in Shiraz in central Iran in AH 979-80/AD 1571-2. He studied in Isfahan with, among others, Mir Damad and Shaykh Baha’ al-Din al-‘Amili, Shaykh-e Baha’i, before retiring for a number of years of spiritual solitude and discipline in the village of Kahak, near Qum. Here he completed the first part of his major work, the Asfar (The Four Journeys). He was then invited by Allah-wirdi Khan, the governor of Fars province, to return to Shiraz, where he taught for the remainder of his life. He died in Basra in AH 1050/AD 1640 while on his seventh pilgrimage on foot to Mecca.

Safavid Iran witnessed a noteworthy revival of philosophical learning, and Mulla Sadrawas this revival’s most important figure. The Peripatetic (mashsha’i) philosophy of Ibn Sina had been elaborated and invigorated at the beginning of the Mongol period by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, and there existed a number of important contributors to this school in the century before Mulla Sadra. Illuminationist (ishraqi) philosophy, originated by Shihab al-Din al-Suhrawardi, had also been a major current (see Illuminationist philosophy). The speculative mysticism of the Sufism of Ibn al-‘Arabi had also taken firm root in the period leading up to the tenth centuryAH (sixteenth century AD), while theology (kalam), particularly Shi‘ite theology, had increasingly come to be expressed in philosophical terminology, a process which was initiated in large part by al-Tusi (see Mystical philosophy in Islam; Islamic theology). Several philosophers had combined various strands from this philosophical heritage in their writings, but it was Mulla Sadra who achieved a true fusion of all four, forming what he called ‘metaphilosophy’ (al-hikma al-muta‘aliya), a term he incorporated into the title of his magnum opus, al-Hikma al-muta‘aliya fi’l-asfar al-‘aqliyya al-arba‘a (The Transcendent Wisdom Concerning the Four Intellectual Journeys), known simply as the Asfar.

Mulla Sadra made the primacy of existence (asalat al-wujud) the cornerstone of his philosophy. Aristotle (§§11-12) had pointed out that existence was the most universal of predicates and therefore could not be included as one of the categories, and al-Farabi added to this that it was possible to know an essence without first knowing whether it existed or not, existence thus being neither a constitutive element of an essence nor a necessary attribute, and that therefore it must be an accident. But it was Ibn Sina who later became the source for the controversy as to how the accidentality of existence was to be conceived. He had held that in the existence-quiddity (wujud-mahiyya) or existence-essence relationship, existence was an accident of quiddity. Ibn Rushd had criticized this view as entailing a regress, for if theexistence of a thing depended on the addition of an accident to it, then the same principle would have to apply to existence itself. This was merely an argument against the existence-quiddity dichotomy, but al-Suhrawardi had added to this another argument, asserting that if existence were an attribute of quiddity, quiddity itself would have to exist before attracting this attribute in order to be thus qualified. From this, al-Suhrawardi deduced the more radical conclusion that existence is merely a mental concept with no corresponding reality, and that it is quiddity which Constitutesreality.

It was this view, that of the primacy of quiddity (asalat al-mahiyya), which held sway in philosophical writing in Iran up to Mulla Sadra’s time. Indeed, Mir Damad, Mulla Sadra’s teacher, held this view. However, Mulla Sadra himself took the opposite view, that it is existence that constitutes reality and that it is quiddities which are the mental constructs. By taking the position of the primacy of existence, Mulla Sadra was able to answer the objections of Ibn Rushd and the Illuminationists by pointing out that existence is accidental to quiddity in the mind in so far as it is not a part of its essence. When it is a case of attributing existentiality to existence, however, what is being discussed is an essential attribute; and so at this point the regress stopped, for the source of an essential attribute is the essence itself.

2 The systematic ambiguity of existence

A concomitant of Mulla Sadra’s theory that reality and existence are identical is that existence is one but graded in intensity; to this he gave the name tashkik al-wujud, which has been usefully translated as the ‘systematic ambiguity’ of existence. Al-Suhrawardi, in contrast to the peripatetics, had asserted that quiddities were capable of a range of intensities; for example, when a colour, such as blue, intensifies it is not a new species of ‘blueness’ which replaces the old one, but is rather the same ‘blue’ intensified. Mulla Sadra adopted this theory but replaced quiddity with existence, which was for him the only reality. This enabled him to say that it is the same existence which occurs in all things, but that existential instances differ in terms of‘priority and posteriority, perfection and imperfection, strength and weakness’ (making reality similar to al-Suhrawardi’s Light). He was thus able to explain that it was existence and existence alone which had the property of combining ‘unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity’.

Reality is therefore pure existence, but an existence which manifests itself in different modes, and it is these modes which present themselves in the mind as quiddities. Even the term ‘in the mind’, however, is merely an expression denoting a particular mode of being, that of mental existence (al-wujud al-dhihni), albeit an extremely attenuated mode. Everything is thus comprehended by existence, even ‘nothingness’, which must on being conceived assume the most meagre portion of existence in order to become a mental existent. When reality (or rather a mode of existence) presents itself to the mind, the mind abstracts a quiddity from it – being unable, except in exceptional circumstances, to grasp existence intuitively – and in the mind the quiddity becomes, as it were, the reality and existence the accident. However, this ‘existence’ which the mind predicates of the quiddity is itself merely a notion or concept, one of the secondary intelligibles. It is this which is the most universal and most self-evident concept to which the Aristotelians referred, and which al-Suhrawardi regarded as univocal. But in reality there are not two ‘things’, existence and quiddity, only existence – not the concept, but the reality – and so ‘existence’ cannot be regarded as a real attribute of quiddity; for if this were possible quiddity would have to be regarded as already existent, as al-Suhrawardi had objected.

3 Substantial motion

Another of the key properties of existence for Mulla Sadra is its transubstantiality, effected through what he termed motion in substance (al-haraka fi’l-jawhar) or substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya). The peripatetics had held that substance only changes suddenly, from one substance to another or from one instant to another, in generation and corruption (and therefore only in the sublunar world), and that gradual motion is confined to the accidents (quantity, quality, place). They also held that the continuity of movement is something only in the mind, which strings together a potentially infinite series of infinitesimal changes – rather in the fashion of a film – to produce the illusion of movement, although time as an extension is a true part of our experience. What gives rise to movement is an unchanging substrate, part of the essence of which is that it is at an indefinite point in space at some instant in time; in other words, movement is potential in it and is that through which it becomes actual. Mulla Sadra completely rejected this, on the grounds that the reality of this substance, its being, must itself be in motion, for the net result of the peripatetic view is merely a static conglomeration of spatio-temporal events. The movement from potentiality to actuality of a thing is in fact the abstract notion in the mind, while material being itself is in a constant state of flux perpetually undergoing substantial change. Moreover, this substantial change is a property not only of sublunary elemental beings (those composed of earth, water, air and fire) but of celestial beings as well. Mulla Sadra likened the difference between these two understandings of movement to the difference between the abstracted, derivative notion of existence and the existence which is reality itself.

Existence in Mulla Sadra’s philosophical system, as has been seen, is characterized by systematic ambiguity (tashkik), being given its systematic character by substantial motion, which is always in one direction towards perfection. In other words, existence can be conceived of as a continual unfolding of existence, which is thus a single whole with a constantly evolving internal dynamic. What gives things their identities are the imagined essences which we abstract from the modes of existence, while the reality is ever-changing; it is only when crucial points are reached that we perceive this change and new essences are formed in our minds, although change has been continually going on. Time is the measure of this process of renewal, and is not an independent entity such that events take place within it, but rather is a dimension exactly like the three spatial dimensions: the physical world is a spatio-temporal continuum.

All of this permits Mulla Sadra to give an original solution to the problem which has continually pitted philosophers against theologians in Islam, that of the eternity of the world. In his system, the world is eternal as a continual process of the unfolding of existence, but since existence is in a constant state of flux due to its continuous substantial change, every new manifestation of existence in the world emerges in time. The world – that is, every spatio-temporal event from the highest heaven downwards – is thus temporally originated, although as a whole the world is also eternal in the sense that it has no beginning or end, since time is not something existing independently within which the world in turn exists (see Eternity).

4 Epistemology

Mulla Sadra’s radical ontology also enabled him to offer original contributions to epistemology, combining aspects of Ibn Sina’s theory of knowledge (in which the Active Intellect, while remaining utterly transcendent, actualizes the human mind by instilling it with intellectual forms in accordance with its state of preparation to receive these forms) with the theory of self-knowledge through knowledge by presence developed by al-Suhrawardi. Mulla Sadra’s epistemology is based on the identity of the intellect and the intelligible, and on the identity of knowledge and existence. His theory of substantial motion, in which existence is a dynamic process constantly moving towards greater intensity and perfection, had allowed him to explain that new forms, or modes, of existence do not replace prior forms but on the contrary subsume them. Knowledge, being identical with existence, replicates this process, and by acquiring successive intelligible forms – which are in reality modes of being and not essential forms, and are thus successive intensifications of existence – gradually moves the human intellect towards identity with the Active Intellect. The intellect thus becomes identified with the intelligibles which inform it.

Furthermore, for Mulla Sadra actual intelligibles are self-intelligent and self-intellected, since an actual intelligible cannot be deemed to have ceased to be intelligible once it is considered outside its relation to intellect. As the human intellect acquires more intelligibles, it gradually moves upwards in terms of the intensification and perfection of existence, losing its dependence on quiddities, until it becomes one with the Active Intellect and enters the realm of pure existence. Humans can, of course, normally only attain at best a partial identification with the Active Intellect as long as they remain with their physical bodies; only in the case of prophets can there be complete identification, allowing them to have direct access to knowledge for themselves without the need for instruction. Indeed, only very few human minds attain identification with the Active Intellect even after death.

5 Methodology

Even this brief account of Mulla Sadra’s main doctrines will have given some idea of the role that is played in his philosophy by the experience of the reality which it describes. Indeed he conceived of hikma (wisdom) as ‘coming to know the essence of beings as they really are’ or as ‘a man’s becoming an intellectual world corresponding to the objective world’. Philosophy and mysticism, hikma and Sufism, are for him two aspects of the same thing. To engage in philosophy without experiencing the truth of its content confines the philosopher to a world of essences and concepts, while mystical experience without the intellectual discipline of philosophy can lead only to an ineffable state of ecstasy. When the two go hand in hand, the mystical experience of reality becomes the intellectual content of philosophy.

The four journeys, the major sections into which the Asfar is divided, parallel a fourfold division of the Sufi journey. The first, the journey of creation or the creature (khalq) to the Truth (al-haqq), is the most philosophical; here Mulla Sadra lays out the basis of his ontology, and mirrors the stage in the Sufi’s path where he seeks to control his lower nafs under the supervision of his shaykh. In the second journey, in the Truth with the Truth, the stage at which the Sufi begins to attract the divine manifestations, Mulla Sadra deals with the simple substances, the intelligences, the souls and their bodies, including therefore his discussion of the natural sciences. In the third journey, from the Truth to creation with the Truth, the Sufi experiences annihilation in the Godhead, and Mulla Sadra deals with theodicy; the fourth stage, the journey with the Truth in creation, where he gives a full and systematic account of the development of the human soul, its origin, becoming and end, is where the Sufi experiences persistence in annihilation, absorbed in the beauty of oneness and the manifestations of multiplicity.

Mulla Sadra had described his blinding spiritual realization of the primacy of existence as a kind of ‘conversion’:

In the earlier days I used to be a passionate defender of the thesis that the quiddities are the primary constituents of reality and existence is conceptual, until my Lord gave me spiritual guidance and let me see His demonstration. All of a sudden my spiritual eyes were opened and I saw with utmost clarity that the truth was just the contrary of what the philosophers in general had held…. As a result [I now hold that] the existences (wujudat) are primary realities, while the quiddities are the ‘permanent archetypes’ (a‘yan thabita) that have never smelt the fragrance of existence. (Asfar, vol. 1, introduction)

Therefore it is not surprising that Mulla Sadra is greatly indebted to Ibn al-‘Arabi in many aspects of his philosophy. Ibn Sina provides the ground on which his metaphilosophy is constructed and is, as it were, the lens through which he views Peripatetic philosophy. However, his work is also full of citations from the Presocratics (particularly Pythagoras), Plato, Aristotle, the Neoplatonists (see Neoplatonism in Islamic philosophy) and the Stoics (taken naturally from Arabic sources), and he also refers to the works of al-Farabi, and Abu’l Hasan al-‘Amiri, who had prefigured Mulla Sadra’s theory of the unity of intellect and intelligible. This philosophical heritage is then given shape through the illuminationism of al-Suhrawardi, whose universe of static grades of light he transformed into a dynamic unity by substituting the primacy of existence for the latter’s primacy of quiddity. It is in this shaping that the influence of Ibn al-‘Arabi, whom Mulla Sadra quotes and comments on in hundreds of instances, can be most keenly felt. Not only is that apparent in Mulla Sadra’s total dismissal of any role for quiddity in the nature of reality, but in the importance which both he and Ibn al-‘Arabi gave to the imaginal world (‘alam al-mithal, ‘alam al-khayal).

In Ibn Sina’s psychology, the imaginal faculty (al-quwwa al-khayaliyya) is the site for the manipulation of images abstracted from material objects and retained in the sensus communis. The imaginal world had first been formally proposed by al-Suhrawardi as an intermediate realm between that of material bodies and that of intellectual entities, which is independent of matter and thus survives the body after death. Ibn al-‘Arabi had emphasized the creative aspects of this power to originate by mere volition imaginal forms which are every bit as real as, if not more real than, perceptibles but which subsist in no place. For Mulla Sadra, this world is a level of immaterial existence with which it is possible for the human soul (and indeed certain higher forms of the animal soul) to be in contact, although not all the images formed by the human soul are necessarily veridical and therefore part of the imaginal world. For Mulla Sadra, as also for Ibn al-‘Arabi, the imaginal world is the key to understanding the nature of bodily resurrection and the afterlife, which exists as an immaterial world which is nevertheless real (perhaps one might say more real than the physical world), in which the body survives as an imaginal form after death.

Philosophy has always had a tense relationship with theology in Islam, especially with the latter’s discourse of faith (iman) and orthodoxy. In consequence, philosophy has often been seen, usually by non-philosophers, as a school with its own doctrines. This is despite the assertions of philosophers themselves that what they were engaged in was a practice without end (for, as Ibn Sina had declared that what is known to humankind is limited and could only possibly be fulfilled when the association of the soul with the body is severed through death), part of the discipline of which consisted in avoiding taqlid, an uncritical adherence to sects (see Islam, concept of philosophy in). It is the notable feature of Mulla Sadra’s methodology that he constantly sought to transcend the particularities of any system – Platonic, Aristotelian, Neoplatonic, mystical or theological – by striving to create through his metaphilosophy an instrument with which the soundness of all philosophical arguments might be tested. It is a measure of his success that he has remained to the present day the most influential of the ‘modern’ philosophers in the Islamic world.


             To summarize this epistemological discussion, let us quote the comparation schema from Dr. Haidar Bagir lectures & his paper: Contemporary Critisism of Methodology in Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy, 7 p, as follow:




1. Sources of Knowledge :



1.Empirical-observable world

2.Rational (Analitical; Reason)

3.Imaginal Realm (khayal/barzakh)

4.Intuition (hight Intelect, Qald, Fuad)

5.Historical fact

6.Sacred Text (revelation/wahyu)

2. Limit of Knowledge

Rational science (ratiocination)

No limit expect to know Dzat al Wujud (God)

3..Structure of Knowledge

In the modern era there is separable view between Subject & Object (Objectivity)

1.Ilm al Husuli (Aquired Knowledge)

2.ilm al Hudhuri ( Presential knowledge) & Ilmu Laduni

3.Subject & Object are unity

4. Validity of Knowledge

1.Logical Coherence


3.Pragmatic Funtion

1.Logical Coherence


3.Pragmatic Funtion



5. Main Division & Relation

1.Theoritical Philosophy

2.Practical Philosophy

1.Theoritical Philosophy (al Hikmah Nazhariyah)

2.Practical Philosophy (al hikmah Amaliyah)

Practical Phylosophy (Science-technology must relies on or based on Theoritical Phylosophy.        

            Hence, Islamic Holistic and Integralistic Paradigm on epistemology, on ontology and on axiology are the prime principles that we are need to reviewing and reconstructing our philosophy, our sciences, our ideology and our civilization.

            According to Mr. Armahedi Mahzar in Integralist Reflection there are Evolutionary Cycle of existential stages and Dynamic Integrality between Ultimate Reality (God, Allah SWT) and Human Actuality with evolution and devolution. This is the principle of : Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun.Wallahu ‘alam.

Group Discussion : Ahmad Y. Samantho, Andri Kusmayadi, Dede Azwar Nurzaman & Mahdi Alatas

List of works

                Mulla Sadra [Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi] (c.1628) al-Hikma al-muta‘aliya fi-’l-asfar al-‘aqliyya al-arba‘a (The Transcendent Wisdom Concerning the Four Intellectual Journeys), ed. R. Lutfi et al., Tehran and Qum: Shirkat Dar al-Ma‘arif al-Islamiyyah, 1958-69?, 9 vols; vol. 1, 2nd printing, with introduction by M.R. al-Muzaffar, Qum: Shirkat Dar al-Ma‘arif al-Islamiyyah, 1967.(This is Mulla Sadra’s major work, often known simply as Asfar (The Four Journeys). The full edition includes partial glosses by ‘Ali al-Nuri, Hadi al-Sabzawari, ‘Ali al-Mudarras al-Zanuzi, Isma‘il al-Khwaju’Ial-Isfahani, Muhammad al-Zanjani and Muhammad Husaynal-Tabataba’i.)

                Mulla Sadra [Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi] (c.1628) Kitab al-masha‘ir (The Book of Metaphysical Penetrations), ed., trans. and intro. by H. Corbin,Le livre des pénétrations métaphysiques, Paris: Départment d’Iranologie de l’Institut Franco-Iranien de Recherche, and Tehran: Librairie d’Amerique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, Bibliothèque Iranienne vol. 10, 1964; French portion re-edited Lagrasse: Verdier, 1988; ed. and trans. P. Morewedge, The Metaphysics of Mulla Sadra, New York: Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science, 1992. (Corbin is a synopsis of Mulla Sadra’s ontology, with a useful bibliography of Mulla Sadra’s writings and introduction by Corbin. Morewedge provides a parallel Arabic-English edition; the translation is based on Corbin’s edition of the text.) Mulla Sadra [Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi] (c.1628) al-Hikma al-‘arshiyya (The Wisdom of the Throne), ed. with Persian paraphrase by G.R. Ahani, Isfahan, 1962; trans. and intro. J.W. Morris, The Wisdom of the Throne: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mulla Sadra, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.(A useful summary of Mulla Sadra’s views on theology and eschatology; the introduction to the English translation provides an informative general introduction to Mulla Sadra work.)

References and further reading

Barbour, I. (1966) Issues in Science and Religion, New York: Harper & Row.(Very accessible survey of relations

between science and Christianity, beginning in the modern period.)

Barbour, I. (1974) Myths, Models and Paradigms, New York: Harper & Row. (Methodological comparison of

science and religion, making use especially of Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of science. Very accessible.)

Barbour, I. (1990) Religion in an Age of Science: The Gifford Lectures, 1989-1991, San Francisco, CA:

HarperCollins, vol. 1.(Combines and updates material from previous books. A particularly good


Bakar, O. (1996) ‘Science’, in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman, History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Routledge, ch. 53,

926-46.(Discussion of some of the main thinkers and principles of science in Islam.)

Dani, A.H. (1973) Al-Biruni’s India, Islamabad: University of Islamabad Press.(Al-Biruni’s research on the people

and country of India.)

Darwin, C. (1859) The Origin of Species, London: John Murray.(Classic statement of Darwin’s thesis.)

Draper, J.W. (1874) History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, New York: D. Appleton.(A once-popular

denunciation of Catholicism for its interference with scientific development.)

Eaves, L.J., Martin, N.G. and Heath, A.C. (1990) ‘Religious Affiliation in Twins and Their Parents: Testing a Model

of Cultural Inheritance’, Behaviour Genetics 20 (1): 1-21.(Provides some evidence for a genetic component

in religious behaviour.)

Fakhry, M. (1983) A History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Longman, 2nd edn.(A general introduction to the role

of reason in Islamic thought.)

Hill, D. (1993) Islamic Science and Engineering, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.(The classic work on the

practical aspects of Islamic science.)

Hefner, P. (1993) The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.(Example

of theological use of the theory of evolution.)

Hourani, G. (1975) Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science, Albany, NY: State University of New York

Press.(An important collection of articles on particular theoretical issues in the philosophy of science.)

Hourani, G. (1985) Reason and Tradition in Islamic Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.(A discussion

of the clash between reason and tradition in Islamic culture as a whole, especially in ethics.) Ibn Tufayl

(before 1185) Hayy ibn Yaqzan (The Living Son of the Vigilant), trans. S. Oakley, The Improvement of Human Reason Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokhdan, Zurich: Georg Olms Verlag, 1983.(This translation of Hayy ibn Yaqzan was first published in 1708.)

Kirmani, Z. (1992) ‘An Outline of Islamic Framework for a Contemporary Science’, Journal of Islamic Science 8

(2): 55-76.(An attempt at conceptualizing modern science from an Islamic point of view.)

Izutsu Toshihiko (1971) The Concept and Reality of Existence, Studies in the Humanities and Social Relations 13, Tokyo: Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies.(Although concerned primarily with the philosophical ideas of Mulla Sadra’s principal nineteenth century follower, Mulla Hadi al-Sabzawari, this work contains an extremely valuable exposition of the history of the existence-essence controversy in metaphysics, and deals with Mulla Sadra’s views in many places.) Leaman, O. (1985) An Introduction to Medieval Islamic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.(A

general approach to the role of philosophy in Islam.)

Leslie, J. (1989) Universes, London: Routledge.(An accessible account of the anthropic or fine-tuning issue.)

Lindberg, D.C. (1992) The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical,

Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 BC to AD 1450,Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Lindberg, D.C. and Numbers, R.L. (eds) (1986) God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between

Christianity and Science, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (Criticizes accounts of the history

of science and religion that presuppose the warfare model.)

Merton, R. (1938) Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth-Century England,New York: Harper & Row,

repr. 1970. (Presents the thesis that the development of science was encouraged by Puritanism.)

Murphy, N. (1990) Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.(On the

relation between theological method and philosophy of science. Presupposes some knowledge of philosophy.)

Murphy, N. and Ellis, G.F.R. (1996) On the Moral Nature of the Universe: Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics,

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.(Comprehensive model for relating natural and social sciences to theology and ethics. Moderate technicality.)

Nasr, S.H. (1978) Sadr al-Din Shirazi and His Transcendent Theosophy: Background, Life and Works, Tehran: Imperial Academy of Philosophy.(The first part of a planned, but so far uncompleted, two-volume work, the second volume of which is intended to deal with Mulla Sadra’s philosophical ideas; contains the best bibliography of Mulla Sadra’s works.)

Nasr, S.H. (1996) ‘Mulla Sadra: His Teachings’, in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds) History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Routledge, 643-52.(Short summary of Mulla Sadra’s thought.)

Nasr, S.H. (1993) The Need for a Sacred Science, Richmond: Curzon Press.(An argument for the significance of

religion in any understanding of science.)

Pines, S. (1964) ‘Ibn al-Haytham’s Critique of Ptolemy’, in Actes du Xe Congrès internationale d’histoire des

sciences, Paris: Ithaca.(One of the most important works in Islamic astronomy.)

Peacocke, A.R. (1979) Creation and the World of Science: The Bampton Lectures, 1978, Oxford: Clarendon

Press.(Thorough survey of issues in the relation of contemporary science to Christian theology. Expands on

issues of evolution and creation, and the hierarchical ordering of the sciences. Less accessible than arbour.)

Peacocke, A.R. (1990) Theology for a Scientific Age, Oxford: Blackwell; enlarged edn,Minneapolis, MN: Fortress

Press, 1993.(Relates top-down causation to divine action.)

Rahman, F. (1975) The Philosophy of Mulla Sadr (Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi), Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. (To date, the only full-scale study of Mulla Sadra’s philosophy in English.)

Ziai, H. (1996) ‘Mulla Sadra: His Life and Works’, in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds) History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Routledge, 635-42.(Biographical essay discussing Mulla Sadra’s influence and works.)

Rolston, H. (1987) Science and Religion: A Critical Survey, New York: Random House.(A good introduction to the

field; less readable than Barbour, but aesthetically pleasing.)

Russell, R.J., Murphy, N. and Peacocke, A. (eds) (1994) Chaos and Complexity: Scientific Perspectives on Divine

Action, Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory; distributed by University of Notre Dame Press.(A series

of articles on divine action, of various levels of technicality.)Sabra, A.I. (1972) ‘Ibn al-Haytham’, in C.C.

Gillispie (ed.) Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 6th edn. (An excellent introduction to the thought and work of Ibn al-Haytham.) Pakistan, November 26-December 12, 1973, Karachi: Hamdard Academy.(Contains numerous papers discussing all the major works of al-Biruni.)

Saliba, G. (1991) ‘The Astronomical Tradition of Maragha: A Historical Survey and Prospects for Future Research’,

Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 1 (1): 67-100.(A study of a particularly well-developed period of

astronomical research in the Islamic world.)

Sardar, Z. (1989) Explorations in Islamic Science, London: Mansell.(Some contemporary debates on the nature of

Islamic science.)

Young, M.J.L., Latham, J.D. and Serjeant, R.B. (1990) Religion, Learning and Sciences in the Abbasid Period,

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.(The leading work on the most important period for science in the Islamic world.)

White, A.D. (1896) A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, New York: D. Appleton, 2

vols.(Referred to in introduction and §2.)

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1.0, London: Routledge

ÓIt is one topic written to fulfill requirement of Final Examination of IslamicPhilosophy of Science Lectrures atICAS – Jakarta, Januari2004.

[1] Koento Wibisono, Dasar-Dasar Filsafat, (Jakarta: Penerbit Karunika Universitas Terbuka, 1989), p. 517.

[2] Peter D. Klein, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Routledge: London and New York, 1998), version 1.0.

[3] Dagobert D. Runes, Dictionary of Philosophy, (Totowa New Jersey: Adams & Co., 1971), p. 94.

[4] George Thomas White Patrick, Introduction to Philosophy, (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1954), p. 325.

5 Wibisono, Op.Cit., p.517.

6 Doni Gahral Adian, Menyoal Objektifisme Ilmu Pengetahuan, (Jakarta: Teraju, 2002), p. 17.

7 Ibid., p. 19.

8 Murthadha Muthahhari, Mengenal Epistemology, translated from Iranian book: Mas’ale Syenokh, (Teheran:Intisyaarate Shadra, 1989), p. 180.


9 Ibid.

10 Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instruction, An Introduction to Contemporary Islamic Philosophy, (New York: Binghamton, University Global Publications, 1999), p. 85-6.

[13] Nancey Murphy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1, London.

[14] Oliver Leaman, Routledge Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy, Version 1.0, (London and New York:Routledge, 1998), p. 2.

[15] Shams C. Innati, Routledge Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy, Version 1.0, (London: Routledge, 1998), p. 43-7.

[17] Dr. Wahid Akhtar, Islamic Concept of Knowledge,

[18] For further information’s according to this discourse check Musa Kazhim in “Kekhasan Filsafat Islam”, an introduction to Majid Fakhry, Sejarah Filsafat Islam: Sebuah Peta Kronologis, (Bandung: Mizan, 2001). This book is transliteration from Majid Fakhry, A Short Introduction to Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism, (London: Oneworld Publication, Oxford, 1977).

[19] Sari Nusaibeh, “Epistemology”, in History of Islamic Philosophy, ed. S. H. Nasr and Oliver Leaman, (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), Part II, p. 824-40.

[20] Ibn Rushd star his risalah with provokating question according to legality of philosophy. See Ibn Rushd, Fashl Al-Maqal fima baina Al-Hikmah wa Al-Syari`ah min Al-Ittishal, (Kairo: tt.), p. 2.

[21] ZiauddinSardar,Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1.0, London: Routledge

[22] JOHN COOPERRoutledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1.0, London: Routledge


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