God and Humans in Islamic Thought: Abd Al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and Al-Ghazali
God and Humans in Islamic Thought – Book Sample
Introduction – God and Humans in Islamic Thought
The explanation of the relationship between God and humans, as portrayed in Islam, is often influenced by the images of God and of human beings which theologians, philosophers and mystics have in mind. The early period of Islam discloses a diversity of interpretations of this relationship.
Thinkers from the tenth- and eleventh century had the privilege of disclosing different facets of the relationship between humans and the Divine. God and Humans in Islamic Thought discusses the view of three different scholars of the time: ‘Abd al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and al-Ghazall.
The relationships discussed in this work are: divine assistance, luyf, according to ‘Abd al-Jabbar; human love and attraction to the Divine, ‘ishq, according to Ibn Sina; and finally the mystical annihilation of the self in the divine unity, fanm’, of al-Ghazall. They introduced three approaches of looking at this relationship. In order to perceive these concepts, their perception of God and of the human nature will also be examined here. The starting point of this research was the desire to set forth a variety of possible relationships which are all in accordance with Islamic belief but nevertheless demonstrate diversity in understanding the relationship between the human and the Divine which in turn suggests the concept of plurality within one religion.
Examining these three concepts, which build firm connections between God and humans, reveals the importance of rational inquiry in medieval Islamic thought, not only because it was a source of logical arguments for Islam against its opponents, but mainly because it built different bridges leading to God. God and Humans in Islamic Thought attempts to shed light on an important aspect of medieval rational thought in demonstrating its significance in forming the basis of an understanding of the nature of God, the nature of human beings and the construction of different bridges between them. Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin and was formerly a lecturer at Manchester University.
Her field of interest is the Islamic medieval thought and its intellectual influence on formulating Islam. Publications include “Al-Radd al-Jamil: Ghazall or pseudo-Ghazall” in ed. David Thomas, The Bible in Arab Christianity, Leiden: Brill, forthcoming; 64 entries in the Encyclopaedia for Islamic Religion, Routledge, 2005; and 9 entries in the Dictionary of Islamic Philosophers, Theommes Press, forthcoming.
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