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11 - Philosophy vs. Mysticism: An Islamic Controversy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2024

Michael McGhee
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

Islamic philosophy makes a sharp distinction between different categories of believers. Some, and indeed most, believers follow Islam in an unquestioning and natural manner. They adhere to the legal requirements of the religion, carry out the basic rules concerning worship, pilgrimage, charity and so on, and generally behave as orthodox and devout Muslims. Some are more devout than others, and some occasionally behave in ways reprehensible to the teachings of Islam, but on the whole for the ordinary believer Islam presents no serious theoretical problems. There may well be practical problems in reconciling what they wish to do with what Islam instructs them to do, but this for most people is not something which leads them to question their faith as such. It merely leads them to wonder how to reconcile in a practical way the rival demands of religion and their personal wishes.

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Spiritual Life , pp. 289 - 306
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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References

Al Ghazālī, . 1967. Munqidh min al-dalāl (‘The Deliverer from Error’), trans. W. M. Watt. (London: Allen and Unwin).Google Scholar
Al Ghazālī, . 1989. The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife (Kitāb dhikr al-mawt wa-mā ba’dahu). Book XL of The Revival of the Religious Sciences (lhyā’ ‘ulūm al-dīn), trans. T. J. Winter. (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society).Google Scholar
Leaman, O. 1985. An Introduction to Medieval Islamic Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
Leaman, O. 1988. Averroes and his Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
Leaman, O. 1990. Moses Maimonides (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
Rosenthal, E. 1958. Political Thought in Medieval Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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