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Forum LockedThe Mutazili school & rationalism

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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04-May-2009 at 02:49
The Mutazili (Mutazilite) is a school of Islamic thought that was developed in the Umayyid period and came to prominence in the Abbasid period after it received the patronage of several Abbasid Khalifs, who used the school as their main weapon against apostates and heretics who threatened the state.

The Mutazilis differed from other schools in their heavy reliance of scientific rationalism, logic and philosophy. They did not rely heavily on Hadiths, fiqh or other historical documents to make their judgements. The most famous & controversial of their teachings is on the nature of the createdness of the Quran. They reasoned that since God had no form, he could not possibly speak, and therefore the Quran could not the the word or God, instead saying that it was created by God.

I'm interested in the opinions of other AE forumers on the vices & virtues of the Mutazilis, and also to the extent that their thinking has influence modern Islamic thought. Is it fair to say that the Wahabbis rejection of blind adherence to scholars is a descendent of the Mutazilis rejection of blind adherence to scholars?
Is Mutazili thinking naturally dominant in educated societies with limited Islamic scholarship?
"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor
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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-May-2009 at 15:28

Hello to you all

The claim that Mutazilah were "rational" and enlightened people is one of the biggest lies that have propagated especially the last few years.

The reason is simple. As always, people who know little about Islam and its cultural and judicial history start philosphizing about how rational those mutazilah were and how dogmatic fundamentalist were the orthodox sunnis who distroyed them and sent Islam into the dark ages.

 
Well here is some news to you, Mutazaliah were the most dogmatic and fundamentalist sect that ever came in Islam, as fundamentalist as Khawarij except they were in power and the last ones were not. Mutazilah believe that any one who committs a great sin was an apostate and that he had to re enter Islam. If he didn't he might be killed for apostacy.
 
Mutazilis were extreme literalists when it comes to religious rulings. There was little place for reason when a text exists on a subject even if it had a weak narration chain. Just look at their rulings on non-muslim rights to understand.
 
The only part they used reason in it was faith. In theology the mutazilis who knew how weak Hadiths may be and how complex the quranic text is so they thought it was safer from a theological perspective to use reason in analyzing those text because come on dude, we are talking about God not some minor judicial ruling.
 
Anyway, the great Moroccan philoshepher Muhammad Abid Al-Jabri explained all this with exceptional insight in his series of books "Critique of Arab Reason":
 
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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2009 at 00:16
Originally posted by Al Jassas

The claim that Mutazilah were "rational" and enlightened people is one of the biggest lies that have propagated especially the last few years.

Personally, just because they are supposed to have relied on rationalism and logic to derive their views, I don't see that in anyway implies that they were rational & enlightened people. The clear counter case in my mind is their opinion on the createdness of the Quran, which applies logic to such an extreme that the answer is irrelevent and the question stupid. However this was a belief they were prepare to forcable prosetlyise through whippings.
The only part they used reason in it was faith. In theology the mutazilis who knew how weak Hadiths may be and how complex the quranic text is so they thought it was safer from a theological perspective to use reason in analyzing those text because come on dude, we are talking about God not some minor judicial ruling.

As I had understood it the mutazilis generally did not have a good knowledge of Hadiths, and rarely used them (and even more seldomly correctly).
"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
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