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Title: Ash'arism meets Avicennism : Sayf al-Din al-Amidi's doctrine of creation
Author: Hassan, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 2103
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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It is now broadly recognised that, far from extinguishing the tradition of 'falsafa' in the Islamic world, al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), in his thoroughgoing critique of Ibn Sina's metaphysics, actually inaugurated an era of greater interaction between falsafa and kalam. Indeed, post-Avicennan Ash'arism was profoundly influenced by the legacy of Avicennism. Sayf al-Din al-Amidi (d. 631/1233) is one post-Avicennan Ash'ari versed in both traditions whose works represent their convergence. Primarily known for his jurisprudence, al-Amidi's theological and philosophical works have not received due attention. This thesis takes the issue of the world's creation - traditionally a site of contention between Muslim philosophers and theologians - and considers how al-Amidi's thought reflects the confluence of his influences. It is argued that the philosophers' and theologians' respective doctrines of creations are embedded in contrasting frameworks rooted in distinctive worldviews. On the one hand, Ibn Sina's metaphysical distinction between the possible and necessary of existence is the basis of his conception of the world's pre-eternal emanation. On the other, for the mutakallimun, the physical theoretical framework of atomism bolsters their view that God created the world from nothing, since by that framework, the temporal finitude of existents aside from God is proven. The thesis therefore provides (in Chapter 1) a biography and overview of al-Amidi's works, then (in Chapter 2) explains the aforementioned frameworks for the discussion of creation, before devoting a chapter each (Chapters 3 and 4) to al-Amidi's reception of each framework, and finally studying (in Chapter 5) his own doctrine of creation. It emerges that al-Amidi begins a committed Avicennist, before developing, by stages, a strong reaction to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's (d. 606/1210) integration of falsafa with kalam. The intellectual challenges he faces in incorporating Avicennism's most compelling theories without compromising core Ash'ari beliefs indicate some of the key issues facing theologians of his era.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral