UIUC PHIL 110 - Islam: Reason and Revelation (4 pages)

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Islam: Reason and Revelation

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Islam: Reason and Revelation


Brief overview of Kalam, Rational Theology, and Sufism.

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Lecture Note
University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign
Phil 110 - World Religions
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Lecture 22 Outline of Last Lecture I Arabia II The Principle Sources of Livelihood III Social Structure IV Religion of Arabia V Ethical Codes of Arabia VI Muhammad and the birth of Islam VII Meccan Reception of Muhammad s Teaching VIII Muhammad at Medina 622 CE IX The Treaty with Meccan 628 CE X The Qur an The Word of God XI Revelation XII Major Themes of the Qur an XIII Sunna of the Prophet XIV The 5 Pillars of Islam PHIL 110 1st Edition XV Profession of Faith XVI Prayer XVII Almsgiving XVIII Fasting XIX Pilgrimage XX Jihad Outline of Current Lecture XXI Dogmatic Theology Kalam Eighth Tenth Century XXII Many Meanings XXIII What is Kalam XXIV Why Kalam XXV Two Approaches to the Role of Reason XXVI Traditionalism XXVII Rational Theology XXVIII Islamic Philosophy What has Athens to do with Mecca XXIX Philosphy Reason and Revelation XXX Rational Inquiry XXXI Interpretation XXXII Sufism XXXIII Sufism and Reason XXXIV Unveiling Kashf Current Lecture XXXV Dogmatic Theology Kalam Eighth Tenth Century a The Principles of Faith i God only one true God for all Humanity ii Prophecy and Muhammad is the Messenger iii Hereafter b The Sources i The Qur an The word of God ii Sunna Muhammad sayings and actions Many Meanings a What exactly do Muslims believe about God Prophecy and Muhammad and Hereafter b Answer it is impossible to provide an answer that would satisfy all Muslims Muslims have agreed on generalities and disagreed on details XXXVII What is Kalam a literally means speech and discussion b discussion on theological matters c the science that involves arguing with rational proofs in defense of the articles of faith and refuting all opinions contradicting them XXXVIII Why Kalam a First Qur an i The Qur an had discussed all issues related to belief in God prophecy and eschatology supporting its statements with arguments ii Discussed the beliefs of other religions such as paganism Christianity and Judaism iii It contains ambiguous verses and seemingly contradictory verses that need an interpretation b Second The Influence of Greek Philosophy and Science i contact with Christian theologians ii the Christians has had centuries of sophisticated theological debate in which employed the tools of philosphy iii some intellectually inclined muslims felt that they should attempt to learn how to argue their own position int erms that would make sense to followers of other religions XXXIX Two Approaches to the Role of Reason a Traditionalism the Qur an and Sunna are the only source of religious knowledge and the criterion for examining what one might obtain through reasoning b Thus employing reason to articulate ideas about for example God s essence and his attributes beyond what the Qur an addressed is an innovation in religion that would lead to heresy XL Traditionalism a it would be possible for the believers not to accept anything unless it appears reasonable to them b There are issues in the Qur an whose true meanings believers cannot perceive through reason but they are obliged to believe in and accept them c Thus the right approach is to believe in these issues without asking about their realities and to delegate their knowledge to God XLI Rational Theology a Revelation is the primary source of Muslim Creeds b Employment of Greek logic and offering arguments that are different from those of the Qur an c Extreme stress upon reason as the primary determinant of how the Qur an should be interpreted and defended XXXVI XLII XLIII XLIV XLV XLVI XLVII XLVIII Islamic Philosophy What has Athens to do with Mecca a Islamic or Arabic b Started in eight century when translation from Greek and Syriac into Arabic took place c Muslim philospher accepted many of Greek philospher s theories especially Plato nad Aristotle as true d And brought the Greek thought to its peak of sophistication within the Islamic context Philosphy Reason and Revelation a appeal to observation and logical reasonsing b rational inquiry reason provides a sufficient means to understand the principles of faith c reason and revelation are two primary sources of truth d revelation does not contradict reason Rational Inquiry a Three Principal Types of Arguments i demonstrative argument ii dialectical argument iii rhetorical argument b The Qur an used these 3 arguments to address different individuals according to the degree of their understanding Interpretation a interpretation should be properly understood and applied b the act of extending the connotation of the term from the real to figurative meaning without violating the linquistic usage c Three cases in which interpretation is needed i where the pronouncements of the Qur an appear to conflict with each other ii where those pronouncements appear to conflict with the principles of natural reason iii Metaphorical expressions Sufism a sufi means a wearer of wool suf b ascetic life style c developed in early Islam d Sufis based their experience on the Qur an and Sunna e emphasized religious practices over theoretical knowledge f The perfection of faith and practice through sincerity not through the disciplined exercise of the rational faculty Sufism and Reason a the Sufis understood that reason was human faculty that had to be developed in order for the perfection to be achieved b what they did not accept was that either Kalam or philosophy was the best way to train one s rational thinking c Following the Sunna of the Prophet and exercising god wariness and sincerity would result in perfect rational faculty and unveiling Kashf Unveiling Kashf a to unveil is to remove the separation that prevents visions and understanding b to witness and experience reality directly without the intermediary of concepts c thus the principles of faith are grounded in certainty

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