Islamic Philosophy - Later Islamic Philosophy

Later Islamic Philosophy

The death of Ibn Rushd (Averro√ęs) effectively marks the end of a particular discipline of Islamic philosophy usually called the Peripatetic Arabic School, and philosophical activity declined significantly in western Islamic countries, namely in Islamic Spain and North Africa, though it persisted for much longer in the Eastern countries, in particular Iran and India. Contrary to the traditional view, Dimitri Gutas and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy consider the period between the 11th and 14th centuries to be the true "Golden Age" of Arabic and Islamic philosophy, initiated by Al-Ghazali's successful integration of logic into the Madrasah curriculum and the subsequent rise of Avicennism.

Since the political power shift in Western Europe (Spain and Portugal) from Muslim to Christian control, the Muslims naturally did not practice philosophy in Western Europe. This also led to some loss of contact between the 'west' and the 'east' of the Islamic world. Muslims in the 'east' continued to do philosophy, as is evident from the works of Ottoman scholars and especially those living in Muslim kingdoms within the territories of present day Iran and India, such as Shah Waliullah and Ahmad Sirhindi. This fact has escaped most pre-modern historians of Islamic (or Arabic) philosophy. In addition, logic has continued to be taught in religious seminaries up to modern times.

After Ibn Rushd, there arose many later schools of Islamic Philosophy. We can mention just a few, such as the those founded by Ibn Arabi and Mulla Sadra. These new schools are of particular importance, as they are still active in the Islamic world. The most important among them are:

  • School of Illumination (Hikmat al-Ishraq)
  • Transcendent Theosophy (Hikmat Muta'aliah)
  • Sufi philosophy
  • Traditionalist School

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