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In the Name of God بسم الله

Why studying Philosophy is wrong

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Salam,

 

I just watched a video of Yasir Qadhi - who is apparently against philosophy. He states:

"Philosophy is a science whose basic premise is flawed", "Ultimate truth cannot be arrived using our intellect".

"There have been thousands of philosophers, who have not agreed on one single issue"

"Philosophy has no relevance to our lives, it won't make me a better person"

Do any philosophers here want to have a go at Yasir Qadhi? Does he make any sense to you?

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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7 minutes ago, AmirAlmuminin Lover said:

Salaam Alaykum

I don't NOT believe in whatever he said. Allamah Tababayie was one of the great philosophy teachers in history and he recommended to study that.

Yeah man, I'm offended by such ridiculous words of Yasir Qadhi.

I finally got an answer as to, why he doesn't believe in Imamah etc

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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I finally got an answer as to, why he doesn't believe in Imamah etc

I have never witnessed a human being that believes in Imamah and their enemies. If your heart accept all the sahaba, khalifa and the family of Prophet Muhammad, then your heart will never accept the Imamah, no matter what.

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http://en.wikishia.net/view/Islamic_Philosophy

The Islamic world has reacted differently to philosophy. Many Shiite scholars take the entry of the Greek philosophy to the Islamic world to be a conspiracy by the Abbasid government in order to prevent people from referring to Ahl al-Bayt (a) by presenting new sciences. Philosophers such as Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i and Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi have admitted that this was the intention of the Abbasids.

Opponents of the Islamic philosophy have a different view about it. Some of them take philosophy to be blasphemous and thus, they excommunicate philosophers from Islam. And some of them believe that philosophy involves some blasphemous contents, but since Muslim philosophers are not cognizant of such contents, they should not be considered as unbelievers. More moderate opponents of the Islamic philosophy hold that philosophy is as helpful as other disciplines and sciences, but maintain that philosophy has no role in religious knowledge and thus, sacred religious texts should not be interpreted in accordance with philosophical foundations.

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The Late Ayatollah AI Uzma Agha Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Isfahani (r.a) (1303-1365) was one of the well-known scholars of the last decades. He was a spiritual leader as well as a jurist. He was a great spiritual and moral influence for years upon the Hauz-e-Ilmia of Mashhad. ‘Represent great schools of thoughts are a result of his teachings. This was because all his life he stood like a firm barrier against narrow-mindedness and deviations. He considered the Holy Quran and the traditions of Ahlul Bayt (as.) to be the only source of true Islam.

Most of the present Shia scholars and religious leaders had been his students. They have always followed his teachings.

All the celebrations and functions that we see on the occasion of the birth of the present Imam, Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) are due to the patronage of this great scholar. It was he who had provided a spark and it resulted in the great illuminations of this joyous occasion.

When this great teacher was himself a student all kinds of schools of thoughts had penetrated the academic world. For example the philosophical school, the Gnostics and others. This scenario confused him to a great extent. Being a revolutionary thinker he could not decide upon the direction that he should take for spiritual advancement. At last he prayed to Hazrat Vali Asr (a.s.) and sought his help to find a way for him.

Hazrat (a.s.) also honoured him by his presence when he was in, Wadi-us-Salaam, Najaf sitting near the graves of Prophet Hud (a.s.) and Prophet Saleh (a.s.). Hazrat (a.s.) met him and guided him too..... When he called Imam (a.s.) for help with his eyes filled with tears he was rewarded with the visit from Imams (a.s.). He not only had the honour of seeing the Imam (a.s.) with his own eyes but he was also cured of the disease of indecision.

 

When he awoke and looked at Hazrat (a.s.) he saw a green band on the chest of Imam (a.s.). It was 20 centimeters wide and 40 centimeters long. Inscribed upon it in luminous white were the following words.

"Seeking Knowledge from sources other than Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is equivalent to denying us. And certainly I am established at present by Allah. And I am the Hujjat, the son of Hasan (al-Askari) (a.s.)"

The word ‘Hujjat Ibnul Hasan’ was inscribed like a signature. After this the Imam (a.s.) disappeared from his sight. The timely message of Hazrat (a.s.) served like an ointment for his burnt heart. The correct path become manifest to him. After this event of having been honoured by the clear guidance of Imam (a.s.), the respected scholar never referred to him by any other title except the title of "Master Of All Sciences."

The profound lesson of Imams (a.s.) became the torch of guidance for his way.

The message was clear. Imam meant to say that "whatever knowledge you desire, obtain it from us." Whether it is the knowledge of Allah, the knowledge of your own self, the knowledge of this world, or the Hereafter, follow me and my instructions. After this the Late Ayatollah came to Iran. In Iran he began to teach religious students through a method purely based on the Quran and the traditions of Ahlul Bayt. His sole endeavour was to keep alive the knowledge and recognition of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) The writings of the knowledgeable Ayatullah are still treasured by some of his students...

(Quoted from Deen-e-Fitrat Vol. 1)

http://www.alseraj.net/maktaba/kotob/english/FourteenInfallibles/Glimpses/books/glimpses/glimpses.html

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^ Sayyid Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani did not believe in the scholarly achievements of Mirza Mahdi Isfahani. He held that Isfahani did not have the capacity and talent to learn philosophy. According to him, Isfahani's strenuous efforts to understand complex problems of philosophy and mysticism frustrated him and so he could not tolerate philosophy and mysticism anymore. This is why he campaigned against philosophy.

- Isfahani also critized higly Sayyid 'Ali Qadi Tabataba'i, 

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On 11/21/2017 at 11:51 AM, Dhulfikar said:

I have never witnessed a human being that believes in Imamah and their enemies. If your heart accept all the sahaba, khalifa and the family of Prophet Muhammad, then your heart will never accept the Imamah, no matter what.

Yeah true. I just feel he is against philosophy because it requires us to apply reason.

The moment we apply reason, then there is no way anyone can reject Imamah.

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On 11/21/2017 at 8:16 PM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Yeah true. I just feel he is against philosophy because it requires us to apply reason.

The moment we apply reason, then there is no way anyone can reject Imamah.

Do you define Reason as a sensible way of asking questions?

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9 minutes ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Yeah that is right. I just feel statements like that belittle the role of our intellect.

Which "statements" ?   The two sentences contradict: "right" in the first, "belittle" in the second.

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Its purpose is to gain an general understanding of existence qua existence. This helps to determin between what is real existent and what is not. This is important becaouse it establishes God existence through intellectual means which imam ali (as) said intellect is like a horse. A horse takes you to your destination. Anyways quran and hadith support intellectual usage an numerouse and large amount of times.

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The study of philosophy is Wajib. There is no subject more important than it. Not history, fiqh, irfan, biology, economics or anything else.

The problems with people like Yasir Qadhi is that they gained some 'knowledge' and appear to be rather intelligent (to ordinary people), but in reality they are not so smart. And I believe that is true about many people with formal qualifications.

So you can ‘authenticate’ ahadith, but can’t engage in simple natural theology?

BTW he gets the scope of philosophy wrong right from the start of that video.

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I am of the belief that God would not have endowed us with an intellect if He had not intended for us to use it

This controversy is not new: the early Christians also had disputes over the usefulness of philosophy when compared to theology. Tertullian wrote "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church?" (De praescriptione haereticorum). Later, Thomas Aquinas, using theories and commentaries from Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) would reconcile reason with revelation and demonstrate that there is no conflict between them, and while they are not the same in terms of their formal object, they are both important.

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Yassir Qadhi is basically of the Salafi-Athari Aqeedah though he is not part of the modern Salafi movement in his outward alliances or in Fiqh. He believes Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى ascends, descends, occupies place, literally has hands, feet, a shin, fingers, but that it is acceptable to hold heretical beliefs like this because 'they are nothing like ours'. He is on record against the Asharis and Ashari Aqeedah, who value philosophy (though he is much softer toward them).

Salafi-Atharis know their beliefs can not be substantiated using the rational faculties of our mind, but rather they contradict it gloriously. So what do they do? They call anyone who employs the use of rational sense as a philosopher, an imitator of Hippocrates, a Mutazili, and so on.

I'm sorry but 'God i believed in blind dogma that strongly went against the most basic facets of my rational mind you endowed with me' isn't a valid excuse.

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On 11/21/2017 at 8:16 PM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Yeah true. I just feel he is against philosophy because it requires us to apply reason.

The moment we apply reason, then there is no way anyone can reject Imamah.

Or accept Salafi-Athari Aqeedah which he is upon. 

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Salaamu alaykum everyone,

I have studied (Western) philosophy at a university level and have a BA in it. Here are some thoughts:

On 11/21/2017 at 9:48 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

"Philosophy is a science whose basic premise is flawed", "Ultimate truth cannot be arrived using our intellect".

This is, as Imam Ali would say, a truthful word by which he means falsehood (not necessarily intentionally, of course.) Ultimate truth is arrived at through the heart. But this statement he made is not an experience of the heart - it is a proposition formulated with the rational mind in language. I wonder how Yasir Qadhi arrived at that conclusion given that ultimate truth cannot be arrived at using our intellect? This is the problem with relativism. As soon as you relativize the propositions the rational mind assents to, you're own position becomes literally incoherent. Yasir Qadhi would know this if he studied basic philosophy. In fact, if the intellect is unable to discern truth from falsehood, how is it that he accepts any of his aqaa'id? His position is self defeating - if the intellect cannot know ultimate truth, it also cannot know that it cannot know ultimate truth. For the statement "the intellect cannto know ultimate truth" is itself a statement of ultimate truth, or it is not. If it is not, it is meritless because it's not different than saying "I like ice cream" or a speculation. If it is a statement of ultimate truth, then by his very act of making the statement he has shown that it is possible to know ultimate truth.
 

On 11/21/2017 at 9:48 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

"There have been thousands of philosophers, who have not agreed on one single issue"

Yeah that's just not true. The jumhoor of philosophers historically have accepted things like the law of non-contradiction, for example. By their very act of philosophizing, they agree that the rational mind can grasp things that cannot otherwise by understood without reflection. There is a lot of agreement between philosophers on things that are false as well - logical positivism for example, because the position is literally incoherent.

But the bigger problem is that ulema from various religions, between each other and within their own religion have shown an astounding range of disagreement. There are ulema who claimed that the shariah is not necessary to follow, there are Christians who claim the Trinity, etc etc. The only point of agreement really is in the existence of the Divine between the various religions, and even then, some religions have been mushrik.

Disagreement proves nothing. 

 

On 11/21/2017 at 9:48 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

"Philosophy has no relevance to our lives, it won't make me a better person"

That's demonstrably false. If you believe, as Nietzsche did, that "God is dead" and that morality is completely relative, and in principle cannot have a basis without God, then philosophy is incredibly relevant. Whether you can rationally demonstrate the existence of God is extremely relevant. Whether a Divine command theory is coherent is extremely relevant. 

Yasir Qadhi does not seem to understand that the thrust of anti-religious thought is coming out of Western philosophy, and you aren't going to combat that except by studying their thought. It's like how the ulema would study the "deviant" schools of Islam and offer responses. You can't respond to what you're ignorant of. 

 

On the other hand, we have extreme positions like this brother:

 

3 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

The study of philosophy is Wajib. There is no subject more important than it. Not history, fiqh, irfan, biology, economics or anything else.

The study of philosophy is waajib kifaa'i at best. It is waajib 'ayni to attain certainty in the foundations of the religion if one has doubt, but this can be achieved by watered down arguments that are more properly kalaam for the vast majority of people. Most people do not even really have the intelligence to delve deeply into philosophy as it is an extremely technical subject on par with theoretical physics and the like. It is waajib 'ayni only on a person who requires that level of rational inquiry to arrive at certainty, which is not more than 0.1% of the population.

Furthermore, here are subjects more important than it: Quran, hadith, fiqh, akhlaq and irfaan. These are the subjects the Prophet (s) primarily taught. If philosophy was the most important subject, the Prophet (s) would have came as a philosopher. But he did not. The Quran and hadith in fact provide a) the spiritual disposition and even vision (shuhood) to reason soundly, and b) propositions that we can measure our philosophical conclusions against. If the thaqalayn contradict the conclusions of our reasoning, either our interpretation must be wrong or our reasoning must be flawed. Without the thaqalqyn, the dark soul will use reason to justify the most horrendous conclusions, as we have seen with Western philosophy. The Ruh or spirit, is deeper than the rational mind. 

Philosophy becomes important when the very foundations of the Deen are being attacked, and a rational defense is required. This is why the likes of Allamah Tabatabai delved deep into the subject; it's not because philosophy is more glorified than the other subjects. It's because in his day you had 95% of the scholars sitting their debating wudhu while the youth were apostating because nobody could even provide a rational basis for the existence of God and philosophies like Marxism were providing an alternative worldview. Philosophy also helps makes understandable the propositions of the Quran concerning reality in a rational language, and to independently prove them using the aql. 

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On Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 8:18 PM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Salam,

 

I just watched a video of Yasir Qadhi - who is apparently against philosophy. He states:

"Philosophy is a science whose basic premise is flawed", "Ultimate truth cannot be arrived using our intellect".

"There have been thousands of philosophers, who have not agreed on one single issue"

"Philosophy has no relevance to our lives, it won't make me a better person"

Do any philosophers here want to have a go at Yasir Qadhi? Does he make any sense to you?

Studying philosophy  is not wrong. 

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This is exactly why salafis are a complete joke intellectually yet continue to grow in influence among sunnis. One user on SC summed it up well saying "I believe this is largely due to very simple and straight forward nature of their philosophy, or in other words they have no philosophy at all, so minds can easily digest them. In psychology it is rule that mind will go for simple things. So they are deceiving muslims controlling their minds. Man who have invented Wahabism should be indeed a hell of a genius. It penetrates mind even when they reject it out loud."

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1 hour ago, Shi3i_jadeed said:

This is exactly why salafis are a complete joke intellectually yet continue to grow in influence among sunnis. One user on SC summed it up well saying "I believe this is largely due to very simple and straight forward nature of their philosophy, or in other words they have no philosophy at all, so minds can easily digest them. In psychology it is rule that mind will go for simple things. So they are deceiving muslims controlling their minds. Man who have invented Wahabism should be indeed a hell of a genius. It penetrates mind even when they reject it out loud."

Easy come, easy go. Salafis are the easiest people to make into atheists. 

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@Ayuoobi

You said this:

The study of philosophy is waajib kifaa'i at best. It is waajib 'ayni to attain certainty in the foundations of the religion if one has doubt, but this can be achieved by watered down arguments that are more properly kalaam for the vast majority of people. 

_

Now, I don't know if this is something some fuqaha have stated, but this is not everyone's opinion regarding it.

This is how Sayyed Al-Khoei answered when he was asked about falsafa (philosophy):

سؤال 1291: هل إن دراسة الفلسفة لازمة لطالب العلوم الدينية الذي يضع نفسه في موضع الاخذ والرد بالنسبة إلى سائر العقائد والاديان، وهل هناك وجوب كفائي على طلاب العلوم الدينية في القيام بهذا الدور، وهل يمكن إدخال هذا تحت عنوان كونه (أي الفلسفة) مقدمة للامر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر أو كونه مقدمة للحفاظ على الدين أو كليهما، وإن لم تكن لازمة لطلاب العلوم الدينية فهل فيها رجحان أو لا رجحان فيها أصلا، ثم إن دراسة الفلسفة على من تكون غير جائزة ـ أرجو أن توضحوا لنا جواب هذه الفقرة تماما ـ ولو فرضنا أن فهم علم أصول الفقه أو بعض أبوابه ـ فهما صحيحا كاملا ـ كان متوقفا عليها فهل هناك رجحان في دراستها عموما، أو بقيد أن هذا الطالب يكون له مستقبل جيد في الافادة إن شاء الله..؟

الخوئي: لم يتضح لنا توقف ما ذكر على دراسة الفلسفة وقد تعرضوا للمقدار اللازم منها في طي أصول الدين والفقه، وإذا خاف من الضلال إثر دراستها حرم وإلا فلا مانع منه في حد نفسه، والله العالم.

http://www.al-khoei.us/books/?id=8384

NOTE: since Mirza Jawad Al-Tabrizi did not offer any commentary on Sayyed Al-Khoei's answer that means he agreed with it.

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10 hours ago, Ayuoobi said:

If the thaqalayn contradict the conclusions of our reasoning, either our interpretation must be wrong or our reasoning must be flawed.

Did you not use reasoning to arrive at that conclusion? Do I not use reason to evaluate your statements, and the truthfulness/validity of my spiritual experiences too? Why is reason an acceptable tool in determining that the thaqalayn is true, but it is not allowed to contradict the thaqalayn on philosophical matters (please note I didn't say spiritual or fiqhi matters)? It's like a Christian saying that the bible can never be wrong even if it makes illogical statements. What if the thaqalayn hypothetically negated the principle of non-contradiction; what would you do then?

 

I will respond to the rest of your post later, inshallah. My initial post needs explanation.

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On 12/24/2017 at 12:28 PM, Muhammed Ali said:

Did you not use reasoning to arrive at that conclusion? Do I not use reason to evaluate your statements, and the truthfulness/validity of my spiritual experiences too? Why is reason an acceptable tool in determining that the thaqalayn is true, but it is not allowed to contradict the thaqalayn on philosophical matters (please note I didn't say spiritual or fiqhi matters)? It's like a Christian saying that the bible can never be wrong even if it makes illogical statements. What if the thaqalayn hypothetically negated the principle of non-contradiction; what would you do then?

 

I will respond to the rest of your post later, inshallah. My initial post needs explanation.

You're arguing against an argument I never made. I didn't say philosophy was not important, and in fact said that it confirms the foundations of the religion on an independent basis.

What I said is that it's not the most important. Giving an argument for why philosophy is important =/= giving an argument for why it's the most important. Especially in the face of the thaqalayn.

Not sure if related, but the principle of non-contradiction is also found in the thaqalayn ("if it were from other than your Lord you would find many contradictions in it.")

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13 hours ago, Ayuoobi said:

You're arguing against an argument I never made.

I don't agree witht that. E.g. you said if philosophical conclusions disagree with the thaqalayn then we must reject the former. I disagree. I think if a religion contradicts solid philosophical arguments then it has problems.

Quote

and in fact said that it confirms the foundations of the religion on an independent basis.

Without philosophy a lot of those foundations either cannot be believed in or are weakly established. E.g. You cannot prove the existence of God with a reasonable degree of ceritiude just because a text said so. Rather you must use philosophy do that.

Religion cannot negate philosophy but philosophy can negate religion.

Quote

Not sure if related, but the principle of non-contradiction is also found in the thaqalayn ("if it were from other than your Lord you would find many contradictions in it.")

And this proves my point :) If you find a definite rational error in a religious text then the text has a problem.

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On 12/26/2017 at 1:23 PM, Muhammed Ali said:

you said if philosophical conclusions disagree with the thaqalayn then we must reject the former.

Except that's not what I said. I said that either our philosophical arguments are flawed or our interpretation of the ayaat/hadiths in question are wrong. This is on the assumption that the religion is true; the other possibilities are that the religion is false and the philosophical arguments disprove them, or that both the philosophical arguments and the religion in question are false. I discounted these because I'm assuming that the religion in question (Islam) is true in this thread.

 

On 12/26/2017 at 1:23 PM, Muhammed Ali said:

You cannot prove the existence of God with a reasonable degree of ceritiude just because a text said so. Rather you must use philosophy do that.

There is a third alternative: the direct witness of God in the heart. This is more certain than any philosophical argument. This is the true aim, and what the Prophet (s) primarily taught.

 

The basic problem with the whole "religion cannot negate philosophy but philosophy can negate religion" is that you implicitly believe rationality is true knowledge. It is not. It is an intermediary step; true knowledge is by the witness of the heart and beyond mere language and concepts. Once this is understood, you realize that philosophy, while valuable, has only a relative value. You can continue believing it is the be all and end all, but it will make your heart hard and misdirect you from the true aim. That is my sincere advice to you brother, and it comes not from me but from the likes of Ayatollah Khomeini and even Allamah Tabatabai. Th

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