The Story of Islamic Philosophy
Ibn Ṭufayl, Ibn al-ʿArabī, and Others on the Limit between Naturalism and Traditionalism
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Offers a new interpretation of medieval Islamic philosophy, one informed by Platonic mysticism.
In this innovative work, Salman H. Bashier challenges traditional views of Islamic philosophy. While Islamic thought from the crucial medieval period is often depicted as a rationalistic elaboration on Aristotelian philosophy and an attempt to reconcile it with the Muslim religion, Bashier puts equal emphasis on the influence of Plato's philosophical mysticism. This shift encourages a new reading of Islamic intellectual tradition, one in which boundaries between philosophy, religion, mysticism, and myth are relaxed. Bashier shows the manner in which medieval Islamic philosophers reflected on the relation between philosophy and religion as a problem that is intrinsic to philosophy and shows how their deliberations had the effect of redefining the very limits of their philosophical thought. The problems of the origin of human beings, human language, and the world in Islamic philosophy are discussed. Bashier highlights the importance of Ibn Ṭufayl's Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, a landmark work often overlooked by scholars, and the thought of the great Sufi mystic Ibn al-ʿArabī to the mainstream of Islamic philosophy.
Salman H. Bashier is a Polonsky Postdoctoral Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in Israel. He is the author of Ibn al-Arabi's Barzakh: The Concept of the Limit and the Relationship between God and the World, also published by SUNY Press.