Adrien Candiard, O.P.
PhD candidate and IDEO member
icon-calendar April 23, 2019
In the ninth volume of his large book Darʾ taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql, which constitutes a precise and extremely informed refutation of rationalist ideas, Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328) devotes almost fifty pages to the refutation of Aristotle’s metaphysical ideas, as presented by Ṯābit b. Qurra (m. 288/901) in his Talḫīṣ.
Unlike philosophers who all presuppose an autonomy of reason in relation to the revelation, Ibn Taymiyya defends the idea that revelation is reason and the starting point of all reasoning.
God cannot be the final cause only (Aristotle’s “unmoved mover”), but must be considered at the same time the efficient cause, which contradicts Aristotle. For Ibn Taymiyya, revelation teaches us that God is both Ilāh (“God”, the final cause as an object of adoration) and Rabb (“Lord”, the efficient cause as a creator). Ibn Taymiyya also refutes the idea that the world is eternal, which is incompatible with revelation, regardless of what philosophers who claim to be Muslim say. Finally, he defends the non-Aristotelian idea that there is willingness in God, as a primary cause. It is by His willingness, and not driven by his desire or by any need, that God creates the world.
The “God of the philosophers”, to use Blaise Pascal’s phrase, is not the revealed Creator God, but only the fruit of the error of a human reason that would be abandoned to itself.
Adrien Candiard, « L’Egitto sciita : la dinastia fatimide » in: Luciano Vaccaro (éd.), Popoli, religioni e Chiese lungo il corso del Nilo, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano, Gazzada Schianno : Fondazione Ambrosiana Paolo VI, 2015, p. 189−299.
PhD candidate in Islamic studies, Paris
icon-calendar June 15, 2016
The theory of knowledge according to the Andalusian theologian and jurist Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456/1064) seems to be paradoxical at first glance. On the one hand, he is an enthusiastic defender of the use of reason in theological discussions. And on the other hand, he has a literalistic reading of the revealed and transmitted texts.
In fact, Ibn Ḥazm adopts Aristotle’s theory of knowledge, based on axioms and on the logical demonstration of new knowledge derived from these axioms, with the difference that he considers the revealed texts to be axioms, not knowledge that should be tested by reason.
The logical result of this theory of knowledge is that the demonstrative evidence is the reason itself, not its exercise, implying that there is no more difference between faith and knowledge, between God and the science of God, and generally speaking, between science and the mere accumulation of knowledge.
For Ibn Ḥazm, if the non-Muslim and the deviant Muslim refuse the demonstration of the truth of Islam, they cannot be but liars or hypocrites, because their very own reason has to tell them that Islam is the truth.
Alumnus of the French École normale supérieure, Paris
icon-calendar June 16, 2015
Muḥammad ʿAbduh identifies the reality of Islam and its rationality, and opposes the tradition he sees as rehearsed. In this, he is an heir of the Enlightenment and their pretention in inventing a unique universal system of reasoning, ignoring multiple types of reasoning.
Adrien Candiard is French and lives in Cairo.
He completed his studies in history and political science, and he joined the Dominican Order in 2006.
He graduated in theology and then settled in Egypt in 2012. He studied Arabic and completed his Master’s Degree in Islamic studies at the American University of Cairo. He is currently preparing a PhD from the École pratique des hautes études (Paris).
His research focuses on the classical Islamic theology (kalām) and the relationship between reason and revelation in Islam. He is the author of En finir avec la tolérance? Différences religieuses et rêve andalou (Paris, PUF, 2014), and Comprendre l’islam. Ou plutôt : pourquoi on n’y comprend rien (Paris, Flammarion, 2016).