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Theology Assignment: Neo-Platonism in Islamic Philosophy (Essay Sample)


Discussion on islamic religion


Neo-Platonism in Islamic Philosophy
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Neo-Platonism in Islamic Philosophy
Islamic view of the world and civilization have been significantly impacted by Neo-Platonism philosophy. Islamic philosophy in the medieval era was firmly grounded in Neo-Platonism, and Aristotelianism the influences derived from Neo-Platonism became visible enough with the promotion by Muslim scholars such as Al-Farabi ( Fakhr, 2014). Despite its high impact in the tenth century, it weakened towards the end of the 11th century following a strong counter-reactions. This was mainly propagated by Al-Ghazali who opposed the Neoplatonic school of thought. Though with its death in the Islamic world, its ideas still permeate into the logic behind Islam practices and their way of life. This paper seeks to highlight the significance of Neo-Platonism for Islamic philosophy and the contributions that Al-Farabi and Ibn-Sina had in the propagation of this thought and beliefs of Islam.
The primary influence of Neoplatonism is the linking of the transcendence of God together with his creation ( Iqbal, 2013). Enforcing a lot of stress on the transcendent nature of their Quranic God, the creative aspect and character of God were ignored. Neoplatonists believe that everything has its emanation from one God. Al-KIndi who is considered as the father of the philosophy of Islam also has been known to hold Neoplastic views. The doctrine comes to its peak of intellectual understanding with the development of emanationist hierarchies that Ibn Sina and al-Farabi worked them out. The opinions of these two Islamic scholars were developed and modified further by great thinkers such as Ibn al-Arabi and Shabab al-Din al- Suhrawardi. Neo-Platonism became one of the fundamental strata in the theology of Ismailis and had had a lasting impact on this group of Muslims. Despite the fact that the decline in its acceptance developed due to the rise of other philosophies, its cultural, religious and historical legacy remains to the present day.
God’s description that is found in the holy book of Muslims is clear and well elaborated. However, by looking at several issues in the religion such as God’s attributes, the omnipotence character of God and man’s freedom of choice, and anthropomorphism, interpretation of theology in Islam became complicated. The God in the Quran is immanent and transcendent ( Iqbal, 2013). In all things that are known and yet to be known, nothing is comparable to him but is very close to all people than anything else. He provides revelations of himself to human beings and is interested keenly with the twists of our history. Moreover, he is the one God that brings ex nihilo into existence. Neoplatonic emanation concept is found nowhere in the Quran. However, Neoplatonists shift from emphasizing on the belief of creation and putting more emphasis on that of emanating eternally.
It is evident that the philosophy of Neo-Platonism has been used to emphasize the transcendence of the deity that is also consistent with teachings of the Quran though neglecting the immanent aspect s...
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