Farabi’s Understanding of State and Politics

Farabi’s Understanding of State and Politics

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Adopting the idea that a virtuous life can only be realized in an ideal society, Fârâbî first examines the problem of how human communities could have reached the idea of ​​living together and organizing at the highest level, which they call the state. According to him (a) people may have thought of establishing such an order among themselves, inspired by the order in the general plane of existence, which can be called “ontological theory”.

(b) Human beings may have arrived at the idea of ​​organization as a regular social structure and state, based on the coordinated work of the heart, brain, and internal and external organs that perform various functions in their own existence. This approach of Farabi can be called “bio-organic theory”. (c) Humans, who are by nature a “civilized being” (social) by nature, may have seen that they would be insufficient to meet their many and varied needs on their own, and they may have felt the need for an organization in which the division of labor and solidarity among them can be realized at the highest level, which is called “fitrat theory”. naming is possible. (d) Al-Farabi, who sees love and justice as two indispensable values ​​for people to live as a community, may have thought that justice must be fully realized in order to achieve this goal of a person who naturally tends towards happiness, and this can only be achieved through a strong organization called the state. This explanation of the philosopher can also be called the “theory of justice”. (Fârâbî, 1986: 117-119; Kaya, 1985: 153-154)

Fârâbî, who tries to reveal the origin of the idea of ​​the state, also classifies human communities in terms of their ability to realize the division of labor, solidarity and moral competence in the face of needs. According to this, the philosopher who divides human communities (elictimâ’âtü’l-insâniyye) into two as “competent” (kamile) and “incompetent” (gayrü’l-kamile), the competent or developed ones are small (city), medium (state). and large (united states); classifies those who are not competent or underdeveloped as houses, streets, neighborhoods and villages. According to Fârâbî, who states that there is a part-whole or complete-complete relationship between all these classes from small to large, the house is a part of the street, the street is a part of the neighborhood; While the village is the servant of the city, the neighborhood is the city; The city is a part of the country, and the nation living in the country is a part of the human community living in the flourishing regions of the world. Another classification put forward by Fârâbî is the distinction between “virtuous state” (al-medinetu’lfazı la) “immoral state” or “ignorant and perverted states” (al-müdüzü’l-cahile ve’d-dâlle). According to the philosopher, while there is only one form of the virtuous state, the virtuous states, which are its opposites, are divided into four as “ignorant state”, “perverted state”, “fasiq state” and “changeable state”. Of these, there are six different forms of the ignorant state, and the mentality and moral structure of the head of state, and the understanding of the rulers’ humanity, life, morality, justice and law, play an important role in determining them (Fârâbî, 1986: 117-118, 131-135).

The philosopher, who likens the virtuous state to a healthy organism, states that the efficient and regular functioning of state institutions and organizations depends on the competence, ability and attitude of the head of state, just as each organ has a certain task in a body and their efficient work depends on the heart. However, despite the fact that the heart and other organs that make up a body perform their duties in a natural way, the institutions and organizations that make up the state have to fulfill their obligations in a hierarchy of their own will and with a sense of responsibility. At this point, the position of the head of state as the chief organizer of the state mechanism gains great importance. According to Fârâbî, the twelve basic qualities that a virtuous head of state should have are: (a) A complete and healthy physical structure, (b) the ability to correctly understand and evaluate everything that is said to him, (c) sharp intelligence and prudence, (d) strong memory, (e) the ability to express one’s thoughts in a clear and understandable way, (f) love of learning and teaching, the will to face all difficulties for this purpose, (g) temporary and temporary and sexual relations such as eating-drinking, playing-entertainment, property-property, sexual intercourse. not to be fond of vulgar pleasures, (h) to love truthfulness and honesty but to hate lies and liars, (i) to hate injustice and cruelty and to act with the passion to realize justice, (i) to be fond of human dignity, (k) to persevere in doing what needs to be done, with determination and courage (l) richness of heart and full-heartedness.

Stating that he is aware of the fact that it is very difficult to collect all these features in a single person, the philosopher is of the opinion that the head of state should have at least the following six qualities: He must be wise, he must know the laws and customs laid down by the previous ones, he must have the ability and ability to make judgments about new situations that were not on the agenda of the previous ones, without breaking with the tradition. Must have experience, must be equipped to make provisions for the solution of new issues that have not been enacted by the previous ones.