A Comparison of Averroes and Muhammad Iqbal

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Q. Compare and contrast a classical and a Muslim thinker from any one of the three paradigms i. Al-Ashari and Mau’doodi
ii) Ibn Rushd and Iqbal
iii) Ibn Arabi and Hajveri

The Rationalist school of thought in Muslim Philosophy is virtually unknown; most rationalists having been shunned by the Traditionalists. That being said, there are still a few that are widely recognized like Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Mohammed Iqbal. My focus will be to demonstrate the similarities and differences between both philosophers’ views using primarily The Decisive Treatise by Ibn Rushd and “The Spirit of Muslim Culture” from Iqbal’s The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.

One of the greatest differences one observes between Rushd and Iqbal is that Ibn Rushd advocates and favors the use of Greek methodologies of dialectical and rhetorical reasoning. He argues that the Quran orders the study of human beings via intellect and reflection, and since reflection is nothing more than reasoning, the study of humans should be carried out primarily by reason. He further gives arguments in favor of using the logico-deducto method by saying that intellectual reasoning would only be deemed sacrilegious if legal reasoning were deemed heretical as well. Also that one should not shun the Greek methodology on the basis of the Greeks’ religion if the validity of the conclusion remains the same.

On the other hand, Iqbal emphasized the use of what he terms as “inductive intellect”, hence favoring the scientific method. He argues that the sprit of the Quran is concrete in nature; hence to study it in the light of Greek philosophy only is a grave error as the speculative nature of such philosophy would conflict with it. He says that one should use sense-perception in order to study nature and history as only using inner experience is inadequate.

Another main difference we find in the thinking of Ibn Rushd and Iqbal was that Rushd implied the setting up of a sort of clergy; an...
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