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Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought

Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought: Theoretical Compromises in the Works of Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ’Arabī

INSPIRED KNOWLEDGE IN ISLAMIC THOUGHT
  • Book Title:
 Free Will And Predestination In Islamic Thought
  • Book Author:
Maria De Cillis
  • Total Pages
344
  • Size of Book:
1 Mb
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Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought

Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought  – Introduction

The subject of ‘human free will’ versus ‘divine predestination’ is one of the most contentious topics in classical Islamic thought. By focusing on a theme of central importance to any philosophy of religion, and to Islam in particular, this book offers a critical study of the intellectual contributions offered to this discourse by three key medieval Islamic thinkers: Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ‘Arabī Through investigation of primary sources, Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought establishes the historical, political and intellectual circumstances which prompted Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ‘Arabī’s attempts at harmonization.

By analysing the theoretical and linguistic ‘techniques’ which were employed to convey these endeavours, this book demonstrates that the three individuals were committed to compromise between philosophical, theological and mystical outlooks. Arguing that the three scholars’ treatments of the so-called qaḍā’ wa’lqadar (decree and destiny) and ikhtiyār (free will) issues were innovative, influential and fundamentally more complex than hitherto recognized, this book contributes to a fuller understanding of Islamic intellectual history and culture and will be useful to researchers interested in Islamic Studies, Religion and Islamic Mysticism.

 Maria De Cillis is a Research Associate and the Shi‘i Studies Co-ordinator at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, Department of Academic Research and Publications, London. Her research interests focus on the Islamic tradition in the formative period, including Islamic theology, the study of the Qur’an, Islamic philosophy, Islamic spirituality and mysticism

The subject of ‘divine predestination’

The subject of ‘divine predestination’ (qaḍā’ wa’l-qadar) versus ‘human free will’ (ikhtiyār) is one of the most contentious topics in classical Islamic thought. By focusing on a theme of central importance to any philosophy of religion in general, and to Islam in particular, this book offers a critical study of the contributions given to this discourse by three key medieval Islamic scholars: Ibn Sīnā, known in the Western world as Avicenna (d. 428/1037), al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111) and Ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240).

This volume aims to attain a proper understanding of Islamic intellectual history and culture by arguing that these three scholars’ treatments of the issues of qaḍā’ wa’l-qadar and ikhtiyār were innovative, influential and fundamentally more complex than hitherto recognized. This work shows that Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ‘Arabī were making compromises between philosophical, theological (kalāmic) and mystical (ṣūfī) outlooks on the subject of free will vs predestination.

 Their compromising stances are clearly remarkable when it is considered that the subject matters and the methodologies of kalām, falsāfa and taṣawwūf have often been perceived as starkly distinct or even mutually incompatible. This work investigates the historical, political and intellectual causes which spurred these scholars’ attempts to harmonization, and focuses on the nature of their speculations and the techniques which they employed to convey them

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