From Legal Theory to Erkenntnistheorie

Ibn Taymiyya on Tawātur as the Ultimate Guarantor of Human Cognition

In: Oriens

Abstract

This article presents and analyzes Ibn Taymiyya’s views on tawātur in uṣūl al-fiqh and as the basis of a generalized epistemological system. In legal theory, Ibn Taymiyya expands the umbrella of what is “functionally equivalent to the mutawātir,” extending epistemic certainty to a wide range of religious knowledge. More originally, he expands tawātur beyond the realm of transmitted knowledge altogether, making it the final guarantor of all human cognition. Tawātur in this theory reveals the nature of the uncorrupted human intellect, underwriting the integrity even of the basic axioms of reason and the native intuitions of the sound human fiṭra.

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