Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions, An
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright
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I thank the Earhart Foundation, together with my university, the University of Dallas, for generously funding a sabbatical leave (AY 2003–2004), during which I drafted this book. I also thank Cornell University Press for allowing me to reprint words, phrases, and paragraphs from Alfarabi: The Political Writings: The Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, trans. Muhsin ...
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Now more than at any time for centuries, Alfarabi, a tenth-century Muslim political philosopher, is especially timely. This book is intended as an introduction to Alfarabi’s thought not through a survey of his many writings but through an analysis especially of one of them, one with special relevance to our times. In his Attainment of Happiness, Alfarabi envisions the ...
Two. The Impossibility of the City in the Republic
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Before turning to the Republic itself, I must say a word or two about Alfarabi’s access to the Republic. Alfarabi refers explicitly to the Republic in the Attainment of Happiness (AH) three times. Most of his references there are to Republic, bks. 6–7. I will discuss his handling of these references in chapter 3. In his Political Regime (PR), Alfarabi discusses at great length the ...
Three. The A Fortiori Argument
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If the Republic’s virtuous city is impossible, then a fortiori Alfarabi’s regime of the inhabited world in the Attainment of Happiness (AH)—composed of virtuous nations, each of which is composed in turn of virtuous cities—is impossible (cf. AH, Mahdi, ed., secs. 44–47; Yasin, ed., 81–85; VC,Walzer, ed., 15.3). After our look at the Republic, where Socrates never went so far as to ...
Four. Alfarabi on Jih
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Heraclitus ascribed a significant place to war in human life.1 To my knowledge, however, Plato’s Athenian Stranger was the first to claim that human beings desire “to have things happen in accordance with the commands of [their] own soul—preferably all things, but if not that, then at least the human things” (Laws 687c1–7). We have already seen just such a desire ...
Five. The Multiplicity Argument
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Alfarabi claims that religion is inherently multiple. Religions must be adapted to the time and place for which they are given (AH secs. 24, 33, 46). Each nation possesses a distinct national character (AH 45–47 and PR, Hyderabad ed., pp. 40–41). If a religious law, which does not suit its national character, is legislated for a nation, it will not give rise to a virtuous nation. ...
Six. The Limits of Knowledge and the Problem of Realization
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Yet on many occasions he renders it as “realization.” 1 Of course, both meanings are within the range of denotations of the Arabic word. Mahdi stresses that he has not stuck to a rigid literalism in his translation, because the text does not lend itself to one. And he acknowledges that all translations engage to some extent in interpretation.2 He cannot possibly be faulted for a “mistaken” translation. Indeed, I do ...
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Index of Passages from Alfawarabi’sAttainment of Happiness
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Page Count: 180
Publication Year: 2006