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Stanford University Press

Story of Reason in Islam

Sari Nusseibeh

Paperback

9781503600577

 

In The Story of Reason in Islam, leading public intellectual and political activist Sari Nusseibeh narrates a sweeping intellectual history — a quest for knowledge inspired by the Qu'ran and its language, a quest that employed Reason in the service of Faith. Eschewing the conventional separation of Faith and Reason, he takes a fresh look at why and how Islamic reasoning evolved over time. He surveys the different Islamic schools of thought and how they dealt with major philosophical issues, showing that Reason pervaded all disciplines, from philosophy and science to language, poetry, and law. Along the way, the best known Muslim philosophers are introduced in a new light. Countering received chronologies, in this story Reason reaches its zenith in the early seventeenth century; it then trails off, its demise as sudden as its appearance. Thereafter, Reason loses out to passive belief, lifeless logic, and a self-contained legalism. Nusseibeh's speculations as to why this occurred focus on the fortunes and misfortunes of classical Arabic in the Islamic world. Change, he suggests, may only come from the revivification of language itself.

Contents

- The Arabian Desert

- The Daunting Idea of God

- Free Will and Determinism

- The Qur’an: Created or Eternal?

- From Wasil to Ibn Hanbal

- Early Islam: Literacy, Conflict and Expansion

- Speculative Discourse: A Style

- Discourse: In Pursuit of the Ultimate Answers

- Law and Morality

- Al-Ma’mum and the Devils’ Banquets

- The Language-Logic Debate

- Back to the Human Will and Language

- Expanding the View

- An Interlude: Caliph, Imam and Philosopher-King

- Philosophy and Politics

- The Philosophers’ Frenzy

- Back to Wine and Logic

- Motion and Light

- The Nature of Truth

- Fardajan and Beyond

- The Cosmos

- Cosmic Lights

- Fast Forward

- Language and Reason: The Dilemma