belief


belief
, faith
(iman)
   In the formative period of Islam, an early theologico-political controversy emerged around the question of what qualifies a person as a Muslim. Answers ranged from the bare act of witnessing (‘I declare there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God’), to external performance of the divine law, to having proper knowledge and right intention in the heart. The outcome of this debate, and the subsequent mainstream position, comprised a fusion of all three to some extent. A closely related issue concerned the status of sinning Muslims, specifically, whether they ceased to be Muslims altogether. The Kharijites in particular defended this radical stance, which however soon gave way to a range of more moderate, ‘intermediate’ positions. It was not unusual for philosophers to be charged with freethinking or heresy (zandaqa) or, more dramatically, outright unbelief (kufr) by the more traditionalist elements within Islam. The Hanbalites in particular were quite free with such accusations, but perhaps the most important instance of it is associated with the great Ash‘arite theologian and Sufi, al-Ghazali, who in his Incoherence of the Philosophers, charged Peripatetics like al-Farabi and Ibn Sina with seventeen counts of heretical ‘innovation’ (bid‘a) and three counts of unbelief (kufr). The three major philosophical conclusions that al-Ghazali characterized as incompatible with Islam are (1) the eternity (rather than createdness) of the universe, (2) the claim that God knows things only insofar as they are universals (and not temporal particulars), and (3) the denial of the resurrection of the body (i.e. conceiving the ‘return’ [ma‘ad] in purely spiritual or intellectual terms). Although Ibn Rushd responded forcefully to these charges in his Decisive Treatise and Incoherence of the Incoherence, al-Ghazali’s portrayal emerged triumphant historically, and philosophy as a self-sufficient way of knowing over against theology and mysticism declined dramatically in the Sunni world. Although philosophers in the Shi‘ite milieu confronted their own share of such accusations (e.g. Mulla Sadra), they were never quite as devastating, perhaps because the later Persians’ approach was more synthetic and informed by the vital concerns and commitments of the Islamic tradition.
   See freethinking; al-Ghazali; Ibn al-Rawandi; Ibn Rushd; Ibn Taymiyya; Kharijites; Mulla Sadra; Mu‘tazilites; al-Razi, Abu Bakr
   Further reading: al-Ghazali 1997/2000; Hallaq 1993; Ibn Rushd 2001a

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

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  • Belief — is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. [Citation last = Schwitzgebel first = Eric editor last = Zalta editor first = Edward contribution = Belief title = The Stanford Encyclopedia of… …   Wikipedia

  • Belief — • That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Belief     Belief …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • belief — be·lief n: a degree of conviction of the truth of something esp. based on a consideration or examination of the evidence compare knowledge, suspicion Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • belief — 1 Belief, faith, credence, credit are comparable when they mean the act of one who assents intellectually to something proposed or offered for acceptance as true or the state of mind of one who so assents. Belief is less restricted in its… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Belief — Be*lief , n. [OE. bileafe, bileve; cf. AS. gele[ a]fa. See {Believe}.] 1. Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • belief — (n.) late 12c., bileave, replacing O.E. geleafa belief, faith, from W.Gmc. *ga laubon to hold dear, esteem, trust (Cf. O.S. gilobo, M.Du. gelove, O.H.G. giloubo, Ger. Glaube), from *galaub dear, esteemed, from intensive prefix *ga + *leubh …   Etymology dictionary

  • belief — ► NOUN 1) a feeling that something exists or is true, especially one without proof. 2) a firmly held opinion. 3) (belief in) trust or confidence in. 4) religious faith. ● beyond belief Cf. ↑beyond belief …   English terms dictionary

  • belief — [bə lēf′, bēlēf′] n. [ME bileve < bi , BE + leve, contr. < ileve < OE geleafa: see BELIEVE] 1. the state of believing; conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real 2. faith, esp. religious faith 3. trust or confidence [I …   English World dictionary

  • belief — [n1] putting regard in as true acceptance, admission, assent, assumption, assurance, avowal, axiom, certainty, conclusion, confidence, conjecture, conviction, credence, credit, deduction, divination, expectation, faith, fancy, feeling, guess,… …   New thesaurus

  • BELIEF — The Bible In the Bible there are no articles of faith or dogmas in the Christian or Islamic sense of the terms. Although trust in God is regarded as a paramount religious virtue (Gen. 15:6; Isa. 7:9; cf. Job 2:9), there is nowhere in Scripture an …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • belief — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ absolute, deep seated, deeply held, fervent, firm, passionate, profound, strong, strongly held, unshakable, unwavering …   Collocations dictionary