Beings and Their Attributes

The Teaching of the Basrian School of the Mu'tazila in the Classical Period

By Richard M. Frank

Paperback : 9781438459288, 216 pages, June 1978
Hardcover : 9780873953788, 216 pages, June 1978

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Table of contents



1. The Background and Evolution of the Concept of the Attributes

2. The Ontological Structure of the Living Composite:Some General Notions

3. The Attribute of the Essence

4. The Essential Attributes

Essential Attributes and Characteristics .

Similarity and Difference.

The Modes of the Actuality of Attributes .

Attributes Ascribed to the Gins and to the Naw

5. Attributes Grounded in the Presence of an Accident

a) The 'akwaân

b) Accidents that do not effect a state either of the substrate or of the totality

c) Accidents that effect a state of the composite whole as a totality but have no determinant effect on the substrate as substrate .

d) Accidents that necessitate a state of the total composite and also have a determinant effect on the substrate as such


6. Attributes Determined by the Agent Who Causes the Existence of the Thing (bil-fâ `il)

"Derived Predicates" (as-sifat al-muštaqqa)

7. Attributes and Characteristics that are Grounded Neither in the "Essence," Nor in an Entitative Accident


Index of Proper Names

Index of Technical Terms

Index of Citations of Kalâm Works


Presents a classification and analysis of the metaphysics of the predominant tradition of Mu-tazila—that of Basra—in the period of the highest development (AD 900–1050). This is the first of the major schools of Sunni Muslim theology and their metaphysics, and the first book to deal with the underlying theoretical principles of earlier Islamic theology.