Abstracts/Abdor Rauf Afzali

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The Scope of Reason’s Credibility

Muhammad Husainzadeh

Having an epistemological outlook, the present article seeks to show how far reason can go in gaining religious knowledge. It is clear that one can talk about this question only if one accepts that reason can however understand religious statements and judge about them. It seems that the main discussions raised by Shi‘ah scholars on the credibility of reason center on how far one can rely on reason in religion or whether in religious issues one can obtain knowledge through reason. However one cannot find any prominent figure among Shi‘ah scholars, who totally rejects the credibility of reason in obtaining religious knowledge. Among those who are likely to refute the credibility of reason in religious affairs are traditionalists (Akhbāris) and presently their successors, Aşhāb-e Tafkik (those who believer in the distinction between religion and human reason). Did they question on reject the credibility of reason or mean something else? With a reference to their words, it becomes clear that they, like other Shi‘ah scholars, accepted reason though they disagrees with the mainstream Shi‘ah in the scope of reason's credibility. In their point of view, reason is reliable but only in certain areas. Moreover, they believe that one cannot use reason to understand or infer the criteria for Islamic rulings.

After giving an account of the dominant views put forth by theosophers, jurists and scholars of the principles of jurisprudence, the author touches on other alternative views. making a mention of the most distinguished and controversial figures of the school of distinction as well as, examining some of their thoughts.



: reason, senses, traditional arguments, beliefs (creeds) external causes of knowledge, extreme rationalism.

Sunnite Theological thoughts; from Attributism to Ash’arites

Yaqub Ja’afari

The Sunnite history of theology has undergone tremendous changes. In the beginning, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a leading Sunnite traditionalist disfavored theology, but later he changed his mind under the pressure of his opponents and established a new theological school known later on as ‘attributism’. Based on their attitudes, they published many doctrinal treatises including Qadiri doctrinal treatise which was published by al-Qadir billāh, an Abbāside caliph. Later major developments were brought about in Sunnite theological views and method of debate by two triads of their main personalities. The first included ‘Abdullāh bin Sa‘aid Kelābi, Abul Abbās Qalānsi and Hārith bin Asad Muhāsibi. They served as a link between the people of tradition and Ash‘arites. The second consisted of Abu Ja‘afar Ţahāvi, Abu Mansur Māturidi and Abu al-Hasan Asha‘ari. However what gained widespread acceptance though after strong oppositions raised by its opponents and what is also the mainstream today is Ash‘arite theology.

Keywords: attributism, Ash’arism, people of tradition (traditionalists), proving attributes other than essence, theology, doctrinal sources of the people of tradition, development of theological thoughts.

The Genealogy of Modern Theology

Hasan Yusufiyān

It is with the developments of modern world that theologians are confronted with new questions. It is under these circumstances that some theologians have talked even of modernizing theology. Questions such as origin of religion, religious experience, religious pluralism, language of religion and the relation between religion and matters like morality and sciences are among the main concerns of theologians in modern times. Restating these questions constitutes a turning point in the history of theology. To mark a distinction, some add the adjective ‘modern’ to theology saying thus ‘modern theology’. This article mainly aims to evaluate the meaning of this term and show its relation with terms such as ‘philosophy of religion’ and ‘philosophical theology’ that have their roots in the West.



: philosophical theology, modern theology, religious inquiry, religious studies, philosophy, philosophy of religion, theology.

The Role of Politics in the Emergence of Theological Groups among Muslims


Doctrinal discussions constitute a major part of Islamic studies. In many of its verses, the holy Qur’an deals with such discussions, summoning people to believe in them. Being in touch with the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and being free from evil temptations, Muslims were far from getting involved in any kind of sectarianism during the lifetime of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him). However no sooner had the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away than disagreement began to appear among Muslims paving the ground for the gradual emergence of numerous sects among Muslims. The factors contributing to the appearance of Islamic sects is an important topic of discussion about Islamic sects. Dividing the influential factors into internal appearing rising within Islamic community and external originating from cultural interactions between Muslims and others, the author deals only with one of the internal factors, that is, the role of politics in the emergence of Islamic sects or supporting one sect in the face of another. To explain this factor, he studies the Islamic differing views on the subject of leadership and the promulgation of fatalism in the face of freedom of will, under Ummayid rule. The paper also touches on Abbāsides as supporting Mu‘atazilites at one time and Ash’arites at another. It shows how politics exerts its influence in promulgating or suppressing a sect.

Keywords: Islamic sects, Shi'ism, indeterminism, determinism, Khawarij, Murji’a, Mu’atazilites, Ash’arites, Ummayyads, Abbasides.


"Dualism" in Theology and Philosophy

Musā Nazeriānfar

Dualism is basically a theological term, though it is also used in philosophy. Dualism may be defined as a doctrine that is based on the existence of two opposite principles, just as a dualist is he who believes in such a doctrine. In theology, however, dualism denotes a doctrine that is based on the existence of two creators for the universe; one creator of light or good and another of darkness or evil, both of which are eternal and non-temporal. Dualists are said to be those who uphold such views. For earlier Greek philosophers as well as some European thinkers dualism denotes believing in the existence of soul and body.

Having explained people's motivations behind turning towards dualism and its various types, the paper rejects dualism by providing monotheistic arguments such as arguments from design and argument from temporal beginning and the arguments based on explaining the nature of evil. It thus proves the existence of one God, describing Him as the sole regulator of the universe.

Keywords: Monotheism, polytheism, dualism, light, darkness, good, evil, Satan, Magi, Zoroastrianism.

Reason and Religion; interaction or confrontation

Juma Khan Afzali

What is the relation between reason and religion? Are they compatible or incompatible? Questions of such kind go back to the ancient times. To answer these questions, scholars have adopted different approaches.

The present article first, while specifying the meaning of reason and religion under discussion, gives a clear picture of the conflict between reason and religion (especially in the realms of experimental sciences and humanities). It then presents dominant approaches including refutation, omission, justification and completion. Finally it throws light on its own approach, which it terms as ‘realistic approach’.

Keywords: reason, religion, conflict, refutation, omission, justification, completion, realistic approach.


Sharh al-Osul al-Khamsah: authored by Qāzi Abd al-Jabbār or Qavām al-din Mankdim?


Akbar Rashediniya

(Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsah), A commentary on five principles edited by Abd al-Karim Uthmān was first published in 2005 by Wahba Library in Cairo. The editor has mistakenly introduced Qāzi Abdul Jabbār, a Mu‘tazalite theologian as its author causing confusion among researchers. The following points challenge the idea that the book is attributed to Qāzi:

1. The work has frequently quoted Qāzi Abd al-Jabbar. If Qāzi were the real author he would not quote himself.

2. The author criticizes some of Qazi’s points of view elsewhere.

3. There are clear contradictions between the content of this work and the content of Qazi’s other works.

4. The author has considered his views as contrary to those of Mu‘atazila.

5. The methodology and literature used by the author are inconsistent with those of Qazi Abd al-Jabbar in his works.

An assessment of the content of the book reveals that it is written by Qiwam al-Din Ahmad bin Abi al-Husain bin abi al-Hashim Zaidi (d. AH 425) making it thus a Zaidi work.

Keywords: bibliography, theological sources, Mu‘atazilite sources, Zaidi source, Qazi Abd al-Jabbār, a Mu‘atazilite, Mankdim.