freethinking


freethinking
(zandaqa)
   In Muslim heresiology, a sort of malleable gray zone between innovation and unbelief. Al-Shahrastani characterizes it in terms of ‘the exclusive, willful use of [personal] opinion’ (al-istibdad bi al-ra’y) rather than reliance upon revelation. He accordingly lumps all philosophers together under this rubric, along with Hindus, Sabeans and adherents of pre-Islamic Arab religions. More specifically, freethinking might be defined as independent thinking within an Islamicate context which (1) relies upon natural reason alone as a means to reach the truth, and (2) rejects the authority and veracity of revelation, prophecy and tradition. A freethinker may or may not reject the existence of God. Freethinkers are traditionally perceived as more radical and pernicious than garden-variety heretics, because of their skeptical and even hostile attitude towards revealed religion. However, although they often appear to fall outside the bounds of Islam altogether, they are not exactly unbelievers, at least in any strict sense. While the category of unbelief traditionally refers to non-Muslims (i.e. those who are members of some other tradition, religious or otherwise), the phenomenon of freethinking is deeply rooted in the Islamicate context and inextricably bound up with the religion of Islam, if only in an antagonistic way.
   See belief; Ibn al-Rawandi; Islam; prophecy; rationalism; al-Razi, Abu Bakr
   Further reading: Stroumsa 1999

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Freethinking — Free think ing, n. Undue boldness of speculation; unbelief. Berkeley. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • freethinking — index liberal (broad minded), licentious, radical (favoring drastic change), skeptical Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • freethinking — noun or adjective see freethinker …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • freethinking — See freethinker. * * * …   Universalium

  • freethinking — noun The principles of a freethinker; free thought …   Wiktionary

  • freethinking — Synonyms and related words: broad minded, broad mindedness, catholicity, free thought, humanism, latitudinarian, latitudinarianism, liberal, liberalism, liberalistic, liberality, liberalness, liberation, libertarian, libertarianism, libertine,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • freethinking — n. formation of beliefs and opinions which are often opposed to those held by the majority (especially on religious matters) adj. holding beliefs and opinions which are often opposed to those held by the majority (especially on religious matters) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • freethinking — noun the doctrine that reason is the right basis for regulating conduct • Syn: ↑rationalism • Hypernyms: ↑doctrine, ↑philosophy, ↑philosophical system, ↑school of thought, ↑ism …   Useful english dictionary

  • freethinker — freethinking, adj., n. /free thing keuhr/, n. a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, esp. a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief. [1685 95; FREE + THINKER] Syn. skeptic …   Universalium

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