Who is Ebu’l-Berekât Baghdadi?June 25, 2021
Although Ebu’l-Berekât BaEbu’l-Berekât Baghdadi was one of the most influential philosophers of Islamic philosophy in the 12th century, he is an underrated thinker. There has been no philosopher known in Western thought in the Middle Ages and beyond.
Abu’l Baghdadi’s real name is Hibetullah, he was born in Baghdad to a Jewish family. He later became a Muslim. It is thought that he had good relations with the Abbasid caliph Muktafi Billah at the time.
In some sources, Ebu’l Berekat is considered superior to Ibn Sina and even Arsisto as a philosopher. In Islamic philosophy, he criticizes the Peripatetics, ignored the Israki school, produced original ideas and mainly influenced the development of the philosophy of kalam. Philosophers of kalam, such as Fahruddin Razi and Nasir Tusi, took support from Ebu’l Berekat’s ideas in order to protect their rational thought systems against al-Ghazali’s skepticism. For this reason, he is counted among the theologians, but it is also accepted that the originality of his works exceeds the limits of the theologians.
It is seen that the classification of sciences, the logical system, and the forms of explanation it brings to knowledge have arguments similar to philosophical orientations that are out of date and will appear especially later (especially after the Middle Ages). It makes the science and knowledge field, which it organizes as mental sciences (logic, mathematics, astronomy), sensory sciences (natural sciences) and mental sciences, metaphysics, theology, the basis of its philosophical system, and raises all its views on this basis. These distinctions are partly a re-critical evaluation of Aristotle’s metaphysics.
In his metaphysical system, Baghdadi, although a rational philosopher, introduced the concept of probability, but he interpreted it in a different way. He finds al-Ghazali’s critical skepticism unacceptable to his system. His search is aimed at finding a way that will save human beings from the probabilistic uncertainty of sense data in the theoretical mind and convey them to language with a mental intuition. He claims that this path is possible with an irrational intuition, so that he takes a different path from both peripateticism and illumination.
Ebu’l Berekat divides the categories field into two areas as those belonging to thought and those belonging to existence; Accordingly, for example, time and space are categories of thought, and categories such as quality and effect are categories of existence. The philosopher explains and justifies these categories in his system. It brings important philosophical explanations especially about time. He asserts the infinity of time and space, and also argues that creation has no beginning and no end. He proved that time has nothing to do with motion and motion has no number.
Depending on these, he divides human knowledge into two parts as things we know directly (essential information) and information we know through senses (accidental information). He bases his knowledge of God as an accidental knowledge, according to which we will never know the essence and attributes of God.
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