Abu Bakr Razi’s Understanding of Moral PhilosophyJune 26, 2021
In the history of Islamic thought, Kindi was the first thinker to consider religion on the basis of epistemology and morality as a philosophical problem.
It is natural for Razi, who does not believe in a religion and the institution of prophethood due to his deist worldview, to consider morality as a purely philosophical problem, independent of religion. As a matter of fact, according to Razi, thanks to the power of reason and sense of justice given by Allah, man can distinguish between good and bad, useful and harmful, beautiful and ugly, right and wrong, without the need for the leadership of a prophet or any spiritual person.
Moreover, it is not compatible with Allah’s absolute wisdom, justice and mercy for him to make a prophet or a spiritual person privileged by equipping them with superior qualities and sending them to people as a guide. Because, according to the philosopher, people equipped with reason and sense of justice were created equally in terms of their abilities, and the existence of an outstanding prophet with superior qualities would break this equality. According to Razi, who claims that there is religious difference behind most of the wars that have been experienced throughout history, what leads people to adhere to a religion is the feeling of imitation, respect for ancestors and tradition, the influence of religious scholars and religious rites and ceremonies within the state on the people (Abu Hatim er-Razi , 2003: 83-85).
Razi expressed his basic thoughts on morality in his work called et-Tıbbü’r-rûhânî. As a physician, the governor of Rey Mansur b. Râzî, who gave the name of et-Tıbbü’l- Mansûrî to the book he wrote for İshak, states that he wrote this work after the governor asked him to write a moral book and call it et-Tıbbü’r-rûhani (Spiritual Health) that physical health can be completed with moral maturity. (Razi, 2008: 55). As a physician-philosopher, Razi also thought that the soul was in a more prominent and active position in the soul-body relationship, and that the mental health that would be gained only as a result of adherence to moral principles would also positively affect physical health. In this respect, he also included the subject of morality in his other works. Philosopher’s Life (es-Sîretü’l-philsefiyye), which is the autobiography of the philosopher, Iqbal and the Symptoms of Reaching the State (Alamatü’l-ikbâl ve’d-devle), which is about the characteristics a charismatic leader should have, and his findings and suggestions about the ethics of medicine. His treatises called “Medical Ethics” (Ahlaku’t-tabîb) are also important in terms of moral philosophy.
While grounding Razi’s understanding of morality, based on his frequent references both in his book Mental Health (Tıbbü’r-rûhânî) and in his other works on the subject, it is mostly based on Plato, whom he sees as “the master and greatest of philosophers”, and Câlinûs, whom he refers to as “my benefactor” obviously benefited. However, it is also possible to say that Kindi’s work named Remedy for Overcoming Sadness (Risâle fi’l-hîle li-def’il-ahzân) is among his sources, and that he was inspired by the moral values of the society he lived in.
In the first chapter of Mental Health, which he wrote in twenty chapters, Razi states that the greatest, most valuable and most beneficial blessing bestowed upon man by the creator is the mind, and reveals the importance he attaches to the function and position of the power of reason in his moral understanding at the very beginning. It is the power of reason that makes man superior to animals. Our ability to gain all kinds of benefits both in this world and in the next world, to know existence, to set goals and reach them, to make and use tools, to make science and art, and to “know God”, which is our most important and most valuable treasure, has always been the power of mind. thanks to what we have achieved. Pointing out that the plans and imaginations that underlie all behaviors are the products of the power of reason, Razi is right and beneficial or considered moral to the extent that our actions are in accordance with the requirements of reason. In that case, vulgar feelings and passions (hawa) should not be allowed to interrupt the light of the mind; The mind, which should be in a dominant position, should not be reduced to the position of a prisoner and should not be removed from being watched and reduced to a watcher (Râzî, 2008: 57-58).
Razi, who says that it is not enough for a person to be wise for his actions and behaviors to be considered moral, draws attention to the importance of will in removing the obstacles in front of the mind. According to him, willpower, like the mind, is a special ability that Allah has given only to the human species among other living beings. However, in terms of making the day of reason and will active, there are differences from society to society and from person to person, which brings the importance of education and will training to the agenda. The philosopher, who seems to be not very optimistic about this issue, thinks that people mostly act with their passion and passion, not with their reason and will. Stating that this is due to people thinking only of themselves and the moment, Razi likens this situation to the fact that a child who has an eye disease called ophthalmia (remed) cannot stop himself from playing in the sun and scratching his eyes. But moral and happy