By Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Leaman, Olivier (eds.)
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It is not a huge step from discussing the relationship between God and His properties, which is after all an important aspect of what it is to know God, to wondering what the relationship is between a subject and its properties in general. This latter enquiry has no direct reference to the religious context out of which it originally arose, and yet it is still part of a way of doing philosophy which starts with a religious problem. 31 What justification is there in calling such a logical problem a part of Islamic philosophy?
One need only look at the number of students studying Islamic philosophy today in Qom in Iran, that is, in the premier centre of religious studies in that land, to realize how true is this 43 assertion and how significant is Islamic philosophy even in comparison with jurisprudence, not to speak of kaldm or theology which it overshadows in those intellectual circles in many ways. Then there is the tradition of Islamic philosophy in the Arab part of the Islamic world. Although often called “Arabic philosophy” in the West because of the predominant but not exclusive use of Arabic as its language of discourse, strangely enough in the Arab world, with the exception of Iraq and to some extent Yemen, this philosophy was to have a shorter life as an independent intellectual perspective than in Persia, being consumed in lands west of Iraq after the seventh/thirteenth century by kalam on the one hand and doctorial Sufism (al-ma’rifah or al-’irfan) on the other.
Wa’Llāhu ā’lam 55 I Religious, intellectual and cultural context 56 CHAPTER 1 The meaning and concept of philosophy in Islam Seyyed Hossein Nasr In the light of the Qur’an and Hadith in both of which the term hikmah has been used,1 Muslim authorities belonging to different schools of thought have sought over the ages to define the meaning of hikmah as well as falsafah, a term which entered Arabic through the Greek translations of the second/eighth and third/ninth centuries. On the one hand what is called philosophy in English must be sought in the context of Islamic civilization not only in the various schools of Islamic philosophy but also in schools bearing other names, especially kalam, ma’rifah, mill al-fiqh as well as the awail sciences, not to speak of such subjects as grammar and history which developed particular branches of philosophy.
History of Islamic Philosophy by Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Leaman, Olivier (eds.)