Islamic philosophy and politics

Hassan Ajami

Muslims are divided to three camps: the moderate, the fundamentalist and the liberal. Yet these three current political movements are shaped by Islamic philosophy. The Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali articulated the moderate stance of most of the Muslims through accepting both religion, namely Islam, and reason as genuine criteria of knowledge and truth. And the Muslim philosopher Ibn Taymiyyah laid down the foundations of the dominant Islamic fundamentalism through endorsing the doctrine that Islam is the ultimate criterion of knowledge and truth. But the Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd developed and defended rationalism in Islam, according to which, independent reasoning is the criterion of truth and knowledge. And hence, he built the foundations of Islamic liberalism and secularism. It is impossible to understand the contemporary political scene of the Arab-Islamic world without presenting and analyzing its philosophical roots. This is so because Islamic philosophy plays an important role in forming the Arab-Islamic political ideologies

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