Abu Bakr Razi’s Understanding of Philosophy

Abu Bakr Razi’s Understanding of Philosophy

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

The main problem for a philosopher in the history of thought is to base the relationship between the “one” and the “many”, the eternal and the later, the unchanging and the changing being, as a reasonable system.

Razi explains the relationship between God-being and the emergence of cosmic existence with the system he calls the five eternal principles: God (al-kudemaü’l-hamse). These five eternal principles are; It is God (creator or al-bari), Nafs (universal soul), time 8dehr), space and matter (hayula). In the beginning, these five entities were present at the same time, and this movement was out of the question. The soul succumbed to its excessive desire to be with matter and thus the movement began, but this was in an irregular way. Since God is merciful, he has mercy on the soul and the world. By granting reason to the soul, he gave it the opportunity to realize his own mistake and to regulate the disorderly movement. He says that the evil in the world does not come from God, but from the relationship of the soul with matter. According to Razi, it is philosophy, not religion, that will ensure purification from the dirt and rust of this world.

As Razi Kindi adopts, he does not accept creating out of nothing and over time.

These five eternal principles that form the backbone of Razi’s metaphysics and his work named al-Ilmü’lilahi, in which he illustrates his views in this direction, are among the works that have received the most criticism and the most rejections in the history of Islamic thought. Objections to the philosopher are that he accepts an eternal existence other than God, that the system contains contradictions within itself, and that this system is not original and was taken from pre-Socratic philosophers or Sabians from Harran or Manichaeans. It is noteworthy that Ismaili writers were in dispute with him. The main themes of the Ismailis’ attacks on Razi’s position are: time, nature, spirit, and prophecy. Their objections primarily target the most decisive argument of Razi’s philosophy, the adoption of the five eternal principles. While Razi says that it is the philosophers’ duty to awaken the sleeping souls, the Ismailis answer that the duty of awakening these souls rests on the power of the philosophers.

The excerpts and summary texts of his work El-İlmü’l-ilahi were published by Paul Kraus under the title of Resa’il Philosophy. (Cairo 1939)

Natural Philosophy

Razi is the founder of this philosophy movement, known as tabiyyun (naturalists), which tries to ground all kinds of formations, developments and changes in nature at the theoretical level. Razi, a deist philosopher, is also a deep rationalist. He successfully applied the methods of observation, experiment and induction in his studies. Razi argued that matter has the power to move dynamically due to its structure, and tried to base his thoughts on this subject in his work named İnneli’l-cismi hareke min zatih ve inne’l-hareke mebde’s tabi’iyye. In addition, he wrote thirty-two works on the interpretation of nature and natural events, but these have not reached us.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook