This article examines Avicenna’s view of Aristotelian demonstrative science and the emergence of a competing philosophical system in the works of Faḫr al-Dīn ar-Rāzī. The discussion focuses on the structure of Aristotelian science and the influence of metaphysics on the analysis of sensible phenomena. Rāzī assesses the epistemological and ontological principles underlying Avicenna’s interpretation of demonstrative science. Finding knowledge of essences and the necessary relations posited in demonstrative science problematic, Rāzī develops an alternative to Aristotelian science based on a theory of phenomenal knowledge. A preliminary analysis of the reception of Rāzī’s system is also conducted.
In this article I argue that Shāfi'ī and Hanbalī jurists forged an agricultural policy beginning in the early Mamlūk period that aimed at securing the rights of peasants. They did so by introducing radical and systematic changes in the doctrines of their schools, applying the highest categories of legal reasoning (ijtihād). An analysis of Shāfi'ī and Hanbalī legal texts reveals that jurists advanced new interpretations of contracts of sharecropping and iqtā' that systematically promoted the interests of landless peasants over the elite. The legal revisions were predicated on developments in the land assignment/taxation system of the early 8th/14th century. Ultimately, the jurists' strategy exploited state innovations in the interest of advancing social and economic objectives that were independent of any centralized political authority or state institution.
This article explores a novel approach to the analysis of the external world in postclassical Ashʿarite kalām. While discussions of physical reality and its fundamental constituents in the classical period of Islamic thought turned chiefly on the opposing views of kalām atomism and Aristotelian hylomorphism, in the postclassical period kalām thinkers in the Ashʿarite tradition forge a new frame of inquiry. Beginning most earnestly with the philosophical works of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, a critical approach is developed addressing received views in ontology, including the relation of substance to accident, the status of Aristotelian form and matter, and part-to-whole relations. Drawing on Rāzī’s al-Mulakhkhaṣ and al-Mabāḥith, kalām thinkers develop several concepts to distinguish arbitrary or mind-dependent (iʿtibārī) composites (‘man-plus-stone’) from non-arbitrary composites (e.g., tree, paste, and house). Most notably, they adopt a substance-plus-accident ontology in opposition to the Aristotelian hylomorphism of falsafa. The mutakallimūn will conceive of composites as possessing ‘real unity’ (ḥaqīqa muttaḥida) while dispensing with the explanatory and causal role of Aristotelian substantial forms.