Wednesday, August 31, 2016

God as the sole Necessary Existent (wājib al-wujūd)

The historical centrality and foundationality to the history of Muslims of the philosophers’ rational striving to know truth-as-it-Really-is can most economically be illustrated by way of the philosophers’ definition of God. Ibn Sīnā conceptualized God as the sole Necessary Existent (wājib al-wujūd) upon W/which all other existents are necessarily contingent. It is this philosophers’ conceptualization of God that became the  operative concept of the Divinity taught in madrasahs to students of theology via  the standard introductory textbook on logic, physics, and metaphysics which was taught to students in madrasahs in cities and towns throughout the vast region from the Balkans
to Bengal in the rough period 1350–1850, and which was tellingly entitled Hidāyat al-ḥikmah, or Guide to Ḥikmah [45] In the discourse of madrasah theology, God is conceptually posited as and routinely referred to as “The Necessary Existent”...
-Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic. (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2015, 18-19.

[Chapter 1 is available as a PDF on the Princeton University Press website.]