Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925) and al-Fārābī (d. 950) both adopt the classical ideal of a philosophical way of life in the sense that being a philosopher implies certain ethical guidelines to which the philosopher should adhere. In both cases, moreover, their ethical writings appear to reflect a certain tension with respect to what the ethical goal of the philosopher consists of. In this study, I will argue that this apparent tension is relieved when their ethics is understood as a progression in a double sense. In the first sense, both authors adopt the Neoplatonic distinction between pre-philosophical and philosophical ethics. The second aspect of the progression takes place within the degree of virtue required of the philosopher, which for al-Rāzī and al-Fārābī proceeds in contrary directions. For al-Rāzī, the philosopher progresses from the moderately ascetic requirements of Spiritual Medicine to the higher license present in Philosophical Life, following the stages of the life of Socrates. In contrast, for al-Fārābī the progression follows roughly along the Neoplatonic grades of virtue from Aristotelian moderation, which in Exhortation to the Way to Happiness is connected with character training in a pre-philosophical sense, towards purely contemplative existence.