By Richard C. Martin
Drawing on texts either old and glossy, this e-book explores rational theology in Islam, from 9th and 10th century Mu'tazilism to rationalist modernist scholarship.
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Additional resources for Defenders of Reason In Islam: Mu'tazilism and Rational Theology from Medieval School to Modern Symbol
More divisive in early kalam disputations were issues that arose from the civil strife Cfitna) that broke out following the murder of the third caliph, 'Abd al-Jabbar and Classical Mu'tazilism 'Uthman (reg. 644-656). As that contentious debate is remembered in Islamic tradition, 'Uthman's Meccan clansmen insisted that 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (reg. 656-661), the fourth caliph and the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, should avenge 'Uthman's murder. Others argued to the contrary, that 'Uthman had not ruled according t o Quranic a n d prophetic principle, and therefore he deserved punishment, even death.
He was also accused of zandaqa (irreligion) which was punishable by death, but the charges did not stick. In the continuing debate about 'Uthman's murder, which was now between Shi'i and Sunni (ah1 alsunna wa l- jama'a) parties, Dirar accepted the intermediate position of the Mu'tazila. Like the Mu'tazili mutakallimun, Dirar was a rationalist who gave reason ('aql) a role in understanding divine truth alongside revelation (shar' ). Nonetheless, in Dirar's time the Mu'tazili madhhab had not formed into a definite school.
Although the widespread influence of the Mu'tazila was coming to a close by the time 'Abd al-Jabbar died, he had several students of note, some of whose works have survived. We will consider some of them and their followers below, after assessing the decline of the Mu'tazila in the eleventh century. As indicated above, the last decades of Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar's life were tumultuous politically in Rayy, in Iran and Khurasan more broadly, and indeed in the Abbasid capital in Iraq, Baghdad. T h e eleventh century marked a period of transition when Islamic civilization as we understand it today developed its most lasting institutions and ideas.
Defenders of Reason In Islam: Mu'tazilism and Rational Theology from Medieval School to Modern Symbol by Richard C. Martin