Course Title : Islamic Philosophy
Code Course
Credits ECTS
ISC 431-1 A -1 4 0 0 4.00 6
Lecturer and Office Hours
Teaching Assistant and Office Hours
Course Level
Description This course will address the development of philosophy in Islamic geography in the VII-XV centuries, the contribution of Muslim philosophers in the further development of philosophy inherited from Greek antiquity, the most important representatives, their works and approaches. The mediating role of Muslims in transmitting ancient Greek philosophy to Europe. History of philosophical thought and philosophical currents during this time and the situation in the century. XX-XXI.
Objectives Learning the history of philosophy, Muslim philosophers and works that have been done in the field of Islamic philosophy as well as knowledge of the main topics addressed in Islamic philosophy.
Course Outline
1Kalam and the rise of the philosophical tradition in Islam The Arabic word kelam word, conversation, whereas the word mutekel-lim names what speaks, the lecturer (in grammar, first person). Here it is not possible to show the evolution by which the word kalam ended in the meaning of theology in general, and the word mutekel-limun (those who deal with the knowledge of kalam, ‘ilm ul-kalam) in the meaning of“ theologians ”. As Islamic scholasticism, kalam is characterized as a purely rational dialectic which is realized with theological notions. The Mu'tazilites are a group of Muslim thinkers who were formed in the first half of the second century AH in the city of Basra. Their movement has expanded so rapidly that this name has served to name a good part of the cultured Muslim elite. The capital of the Abbasid caliphate, Baghdad, for many governments becomes the seat of their school, and their teaching, at one point, has even been imposed, as the official teaching of Sunni Islam. Their thoughts and approach influenced as a catalyst in the translations of scientific and philosophical works from Greek antiquity and other civilizations. The end of the Mutazilites marked the emergence of the kalam of Ash'ari and Maturidi. Dr. Ahmed Fuad El-Ehwani, Filozofia Islame, fq. 13-24; Sejjid Husein Nasr, Udhërrëfyes i të riut mysliman në botën moderne, 97-108
2Islamic philosophy: its meaning and place in Islamic sciences In the definition of Islamic philosophy: it is the research of the cosmos and man. Kelami is the support of basic religious principles with rational arguments. So it is not true to consider that philosophy is the same as kalam; to conclude that the Islamic philosophy represented by the Muslims has only been transmitted by other philosophies, nor do we consider that philosophy is what tasawwuf is. Knowledge such as Fiqh and Usuli belong to the group of Shari'ah knowledge and not to the group of philosophical knowledge, in that ordinary professional sense; although the foundations of fiqh were later influenced by Aristotle's ‘logic’, as the reflection on the fourth basis of usuli fiqh, qiyas (analogy), most closely explains. Religion, science, art, literature, industry and economics are exactly the issues that characterize the cultures of peoples. They are reciprocal, they influence each other. Religion, science and philosophy have played an important role in the scene of Islamic culture. When reconciliation between these three aspects of cognition is reached, Islamic culture has flourished, risen and developed. Nasr, Sejjid Husein, Filozofia Islame nga zanafilla e saj deri sot, Fondacioni Rumi, Tirane 2011: 45-64
3The period of translations and the study of philosophy The Arabs in the first century AH were not preoccupied with the translation of philosophy because their care, as it has become clear to us, was focused only on the translation of science. The period of translations in the full sense of the word began in the time of the Abbasids. Abbasid Caliph Ja'far al-Mansuri founded Baghdad, which for a long time was fortunate to be the birthplace and heart of Islam. Caliph al-Mansuri then invited George Baht-Yeshuan of Jund Shapuri in 148 AH, appointed him superior to the physicians, and remained in that position until his death in 150 AH. Thus, the center of the cultural, philosophical and scientific movement has passed from Jundi Shapuri to Baghdad. Caliph al-Ma'mun in 215 AH established the Institute for Translation which is called the 'House of Wisdom'. Appointed translators and their collaborators, who have been excellent at mastering the Syrian and Greek languages ​​with great care in Arabic. Dr. Ahmed Fuad El-Ehwani, Filozofia Islame, fq. 38-58
4Al-Kindi philosophy and al-Farabi cosmology Al-Kindi is rightly known as the 'Arab philosopher' and the 'Islamic philosopher'. His philosophy to us was unknown because his books were lost; barely twenty-some treatments have been found. Al-Kindi, the most honest part of philosophy made knowledge of the first Philosophy. He presents God with the qualities that Islam brings, that He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything He created. According to Aristotle, God is the Mover of the world, while according to Al-Kindi, he is the creator of the heavens and the earth. Al-Kindi has laid the foundations of Islamic philosophy. After him appeared Abu Nasr Al-Farabi (259-339 h. / 870-950), who strengthened its foundations and strengthened its construction. The Arabs called him the Second Teacher, since Aristotle was the first Teacher. He is an Islamic philosopher even though he is of Turkish descent. We will have the opportunity to explain this more broadly when we talk about the existence of God in Muslim philosophers, the theory of emanation, and the chain of existence from God Almighty. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:59-72
5Psychology and ontology of Ibn Sina Islamic philosophy reached its peak with Abu Ali Ali Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sinan (370-428 AH / 870-950). He has written numerous works on philosophy. Has written for each of its branches. After him philosophy has not progressed in that sense as it has progressed with it. Ash-Shifa 'divided his work into four parts: logic, physics, mathematics and metaphysics. He summarized it in the work An-Najat, in the well-known treatise. In psychology, he divided the soul into four powers: 1) Nutritional power, 2) sensory power, 3) imaginative power, and 4) reasoning power. Through the former man is nourished and ensures the growth of the body. As for the relationship of the active intellect with the human soul, Ibn Sina only instructs us to suppress matter and purify the soul from the impurities of vice until it becomes a pure vessel suitable for receiving divine inspiration. Ibn Sina, brought the new theory that confirms that God is a Necessary Being. Nasr, Sejjid Husein, Filozofia Islame nga zanafilla e saj deri sot, Fondacioni Rumi, Tirane 2011: 79-88
6Imam Ghazali and his critique of philosophy Imam Al-Ghazali (Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali) was born in the town of Ghazal in the district of Tus, in a suburb of present-day Mashhad, in the province of Khorasan in Iran, in the year 450 h./1058. Al-Ghazali is one of the scholars who wrote a lot, who wrote with high quality, who knew how to write, while even today his works are legible, even impassable for all fields of knowledge and for all ages of readers. He brilliantly established the balance between spirituality and physics and regarded them as close and inseparable. Al-Ghazali has recently been rediscovered among both Muslims and non-Muslims, making him one of the most widely read Muslim authors of all time. Tehafut’ul-felasifeh (Philosophy’s Self-Destruction), laying out and attacking philosophical issues in twenty points. In this work Al-Ghazali severely criticized dogmatic philosophers, ruined their doctrine, but does not offer new doctrine in this regard. However, his philosophical and theological stance on the problems posed can be indirectly noted. Corbin, Henri, Historia e Filozofisë Islame, Logos-A, Shkup 1997:109-112
7Ibn Rushd and the Response to Ghazali Philosopher Ibn Rushd was born in Cordoba and taught law, mathematics and medicine. In Latin Europe Ibn Rushd was known as the "Commentator", the commentator on the works of Aristotle. Ibn Rushd explained and summarized the works of Aristotle. Made three types of comments: small, medium and large. The first thing he started to deal with was fiqh. In the Islamic world he greatly influenced this discipline. His work Bidajet ‘ul-mujtahid ve nihajet‘ ul-muktesidi is well known. In the field of reconciling religion and philosophy Ibn Rushd wrote two small works whose value is great: Al-Kashfu an menahijh'il-edil-leh and Fasl'ul-makali fi ma bejne'l-hikmeti ve'sh -sheri'ati min 'el-ittisal. His philosophy can be understood from his response to al-Ghazali's Tahafut ‘ul-Falasifah në in the work Tahafut‘ ut-tahafut, which has been translated into Latin and was influenced by Thomas Aquinas. In the last moments of his life Ibn Rushd was struck with great trouble when the jurists intervened with the caliph and incited hatred between him and Ibn Rushd. After his death, philosophy did not reach such heights. One of the reasons that prevented the development of philosophy is that freedom of thought was eliminated in the name of religion. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:90-96; Ibn Rushd, Fjala Vendimtare Rreth Fesë Dhe Filozofisë, Logos-A, Shkup 2017:28-38
8Middterm exam
9A different philosopher: Ibn Khaldun and the theory of the state Abdurrahman ibn Muhammad known as Ibn Haldun was born in 1332 in Tunisia. His most famous work is Al-Mukaddimeh, which in both content and method, style and style surpasses all others. It is the introduction to the work Ki¬tab’ul-iber, and has been translated into Albanian. Mukaddime deals with the relationship between geographical conditions and social life, material and spiritual determinism, gives a typology of societies, talks about the phenomenon of asabiyya (group feeling) and the theory of the state, of religion-state relations, of the institution of caliphate, there the theory of phases, the organic theory of society, etc. are revealed. Ibn Khaldun says that states and civilizations have five phases during which they complete their natural life: the phase of victory, of despotism, of well-being and comfort, of peace and of dispersal and destruction. He asserts that there are three factors that produce development and accelerate the "destructive aging" of the dynasty: indulgence in luxury, loss of security and financial problems. The desire of the ruling group for exclusive control over all sources of power and wealth lead to tense relations, a fatal alienation between the dynasty and the people whose asabiyya supported and maintained it. Corbin, Henri, Historia e Filozofisë Islame, Logos-A, Shkup, 1997:176-179
10A great parenthesis and the influence of Islam in the West The influence on Europe of Ibn Rushd, who himself was from Spain, was extremely profound, giving rise to a philosophical current called "Latin Averroism", which was later banned by the Catholic Church. The translations carried out in this period stimulated the birth of new currents of thought in Europe and took philosophical and theological discussions to a new level. C. H. Haskins, who analyzes the influence of these translations, calls this period the "Renaissance of the twelfth century." The profound influence of the translations made in Andalusia on the Christian world of the Middle Ages, may also make it easier for us to understand a paradox that we briefly mentioned above. In important philosophical matters it was impossible to ignore the ideas of Muslim thinkers. Thoma d’Aquini who put his stamp on the religious thought of the Middle Ages and can be called the “Ghazali of the West”, in his work Summa Theologica, refers by name in more than two hundred places to Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. Kalin, Ibrahim, Islami dhe Perëndimi, Logos-A, Shkup, 2011: 55-58: 95-101
11Topics of Islamic philosophy: Logic and research methods Muslim philosophers attached great importance to logic, on the one hand because of its attractiveness and on the other hand because it is the tool of philosophy. In the previous lecture we saw how kalam is distinguished from philosophy, based on the method followed by both sciences. Logic is the method of philosophers, while dialectics is the method of kalamists. Logic is the ordering of known premises from which an unknown conclusion can be drawn. This ranking can be according to syllogism and testimony. The Arabs attached great importance to syllogism so it came down to reducing any thought to syllogistic forms, and even conclusions were inevitably drawn from their assumptions. Perhaps Ibn Sina's section on Ash-Shifa logic is one of the most adequate examples of such in-depth logical discussions. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:104-113
12Topics of Islamic philosophy: Allah Muslim philosophers had no difficulty discussing God and His attributes in setting the subject, given the absolute unity that Islam brought. Philosophers inherited two theories from the Greeks concerning God. The first is Aristotle's theory, according to which God is the Immovable Mover, namely that He is the First Cause in the movement of the world. What is tangible to this theory is that God is Existent, because Aristotle's metaphysics is based on this. Metaphysics according to Aristotle's conception discusses the Existent as such. Plotinus' theory supports emanation - the theory that the world necessarily flowed from God as light flows from the Sun or water from a spring. Islamic theory distinguishes between God and the world; it basically calls for creation from non-existence, that the world is not from always, that it was created according to His words (Yasin, 82). That is why all the kalamists said that God is the Creator. Here we will address the opinions of Islamic philosophers on this subject, such as: Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:113-123
13Topics of Islamic philosophy: The world Is the world eternal or created? How was this world created? Who created it? These are the main questions that the kelamists discussed. Philosophers from the Greeks inherited the idea of ​​the eternity of the world. This idea is clearly expressed in Aristotle, while less so in Plato and Plotinus. Muslim philosophers have had different views on these theories. Some of them follow Islamic theory and, based on this, contain the creation that the world is not eternal and eternal. Some others accepted the idea of ​​the eternity of the world, but tried to interpret the eternity of the world in a way that does not contradict the creative power of God, while the third group of philosophers invoked the verse of beings and their derivation from God through emanation. Here we will address the opinions of Islamic philosophers on this subject, such as: Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:123-133
14Topics of Islamic philosophy: Man Man is body and soul and therefore he must equally satisfy the needs of the body and the needs of the soul in order to establish a healthy life in this world. Philosophy inherited from the Greeks another thing which has to do with human philosophy, and that is the division of people into aristocrats and minorities. This division is related to nature in man and is not the path that leads to equality between people. The aristocracy consists of people who perfect themselves with theoretical sciences, not with practical skills. In general, Greek philosophy really preferred theory to work, and there is no doubt about that. This theory was also adopted by Muslim philosophers. Here we will address the opinions of Islamic philosophers on this subject, such as: Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. El-Ehwani, Ahmed Fuad, Filozofia Islame, Zëri Islam, Prizren, 2002:133-146
15The study of Islamic philosophy in the twentieth century. XX-XXI Stagnation within the Muslim ummah was not in favor of philosophy. Since Ibn Rushd, Islamic philosophy has not developed significantly, except for some gloss and supergloss, no compilation. This situation began to change only at the end of the XIX century and during the XX and XXI centuries, with Afghani, Abduhun, Iqbal, Ehwan, Abdurrazik, etc., but not according to their predecessors. However, philosophy has its place among the knowledge scientific. It can play a positive role in Islamic and world doctrine and it is trying to do so. At least Islamic philosophy is playing this role. Muhammed Iqbal, Ali Shariati, Muhammed Behiu, Al-Ehwani, Sayyid Hussein Nasri, Al-Attasi and others are valuable ambassadors in presenting Islamic values ​​to Muslims and non-Muslims themselves. Here we will talk about the main authors and works in the field of history of Islamic philosophy by Muslim and Western authors. Nasr, Sejjid Husein, Filozofia Islame nga zanafilla e saj deri sot, Fondacioni Rumi, Tirane 2011:27-44, 307-313
16Final Exam
Other References
Laboratory Work
Computer Usage
Learning Outcomes and Competences
1The student will get to know the most important Muslim philosophers, their thoughts and works.
2The student will teach the main topics of Islamic philosophy.
3The student will know Islamic philosophy and its influence on the European Renaissance.
Course Evaluation Methods
In-term studies Quantity Percentage
Term Projects00
Contribution of in-term studies to overall grade40
Contribution of final examination to overall grade60
ECTS (Allocated Based on Student) Workload
Activities Quantity Duration
Total Workload
Course Duration (Including the exam week : 16 x Total course hours) 16464
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 14684
Assignments 000
Midterms 111
Final examination 111
Other 000
Total Work Load 150
Total Work Load / 25 (hours) 6

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