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In the Name of God بسم الله

is philosophy haram?

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(salam)

I have a degree in philosophy and recently I've heard from a respected sunni scholar, here in Spain, that "western philosophy is haram inasmuch as it conflicts directly with the teachings of the Qur'an (no specific ayat mentioned) and of our beloved prophet (pbuh)".

Is this a sunni minority view or does it apply also to Shi'as?

Any comment will be warmly welcomed!

(wasalam)

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Never heard anything like that before...technically aren't all ulama 'philosophers' so to speak? If you know the parameters of Islam bro, I don't see why it would be haram...

"Philosophy is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, justice, validity, mind, and language."

All these are perfectly in line with Islam...this would make all the anbiya' and imams philosophers as well...indeed they were.

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(salam)

I have a degree in philosophy and recently I've heard from a respected sunni scholar, here in Spain, that "western philosophy is haram inasmuch as it conflicts directly with the teachings of the Qur'an (no specific ayat mentioned) and of our beloved prophet (pbuh)".

Is this a sunni minority view or does it apply also to Shi'as?

Any comment will be warmly welcomed!

(wasalam)

No, this claim is wrong from a number of different standpoints.

First, as you know, the philosophy of the West is a very broad body of knowledge, with many different types of philosophies.

A number of early thinkers in Western philosophy, for example Aristotle, Plato, and Plotinus, to name some notables, had a great influence on Islamic philosophy at a very deep level.

Conversely, much of Western philosophy of the late Medieval period and early Renaissance, was directly influenced by Islamic philosophy.

We have teachings from the Prophet saying to seek truth wherever you find it. Certain teachings of certain Western philosophers are out to lunch, but others are quite compatible with Islam.

Western philosophy is fundamentally enmeshed in the way people think in the West, the sort of intellectual traditions influencing. If Islam is to spread in the West, Muslims need to explain Islam in a way that Westerners will understand it and find it familiar and recognizable. If Muslims understand Western philosophy, they can use it to "translate" Islamic ideas into more Western language so that it is easier for them to understand it and accept it.

In addition, Muslims and Islam are under steady critique and intellectual assault over their beliefs. By understanding Western philosophy, we can understand the bases of the arguments used against us, can take these arguments apart, and construct counterarguments, again using the language and ideas of Western philosophy.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding between the West and the Islamic world, and need for dialogue. For such dialogue to be effective, each side needs to understand the perspective of the other. This means Muslims need to understand how Western thinkers see the world. As a bonus, such study can find common ground to improve relations and dialogue.

Finally, just as Islamic civilization was challenged, stimulated, and renewed by its encounter with Greek thought and Persian thought, so can Islamic civilization be stimulated by encounter with some of the best of more recent Western thought. We can take advantage of some different lenses to get another perspective on Islamic texts that may enable our generation and future ones to see something that others missed earlier.

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Thanks a lot!

(wasalam)

Philosophy is definitely not haram! If you go to any traditional Shi'a Muslim Howza; they will likely include Philosophy in their studies. Philosophy is extremely necessary to understand aspects of Allah(SWT) and the creations relationship to Allah(SWT). Even most traditional Sunnis will say that philosophy is good and completely halal to learn. You will only find brain-dead wahhabis (so-called "salafis") that claim philosophy is allegedly not allowed. This is because wahhabism is a blind faith absurdity; among wahhabism's teaching is hardcore anthropomorphism that refuses any metaphors and says Allah(SWT) allegedly has real hands, fingers, feet, eyes, a face, legs, etc.

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(salam)

He was speaking on behalf of himself, but on the behalf of Islam (Sunni and/or Shi'ah).

Rather it is encouraged that we learn, read and think for ourselves. Seeking knowledge is possibly the biggest part of Islam after tawheed. Philosophy is fine as long as you do not cross the boundaries Allah has made in the Qur'an, and there are many philosophical concepts which fit nicely with Islam.

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