Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Allah 'Unlimited' by Reason?

Ibn Hazm
Cordoba, Spain

I offer today another explanation by James V. Schall of theological voluntarism, which he expressed in an article titled "Regensburg Revisited: The Roots of Islamic Violence" (The Catholic Thing, October 1, 2013):
In its Muslim form, [theological voluntarism] . . . seems to be rooted in al-Ghazali and in Ibn Hazm, to whom Benedict referred. In Islam, the notion that God is limited by anything, even His own decrees or reason, is seen to be an insult to Allah. Allah can do the opposite of what he commands. He can call good evil and evil good. He is under no obligation to reveal truth to man. And if he does, he can change his mind and will the opposite later on. These positions are spelled out carefully in the Regensburg Lecture.

Thus, the philosophic root of violence means that such violence used to convert people is perfectly legitimate if Allah commands it, which he appears to do. To deny this possibility as "irrational" would be itself to blaspheme. We would claim that reason could limit the freedom of Allah to which we are to submit ourselves as the only reality to which we need to pay attention.
A question arises: Do al-Ghazali and in Ibn Hazm speak for Islam itself in their understanding of Allah's nature as arbitrary will?

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At 12:59 PM, Anonymous tom Ball said...

Say, isn't there something in the Sharia against statues like that?

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, there's a danger we might start worshiping it.

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

I wonder whether Muslims even ponder the implications of divine-command theory.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I wonder, too. I'm not familiar with the philosophical discourse among Muslim intellectuals. I think, rather, that pious Muslims model their behavior upon Muhammad, whom the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sunnah portray as both kind and cruel.

Jeffery Hodges

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