The Impact of Doctrinal and Intellectual Conflicts on Medieval Islamic Sciences

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Younis Fareed Abu Alhaija, Hatim Muhammad Mahamid


This study deals with the issue of incompatibility with reason and transmission (al-‘aql wal-naql), which created doctrinal and intellectual conflicts between Sunni and hadith scholars (transmission) and between people of rational opinion (reason) and their impact on Islamic sciences in the Middle Ages. These conflicts appeared mainly after the openness of Muslims to other cultures, and translation of books of logic and philosophy of the Greeks, Persians and of other ancient cultures. Some Muslim intellectuals and scholars were influenced by that philosophy by venerating the mind and making it the basic criterion for the concept of science in Islam. This controversy resulted in number of trends and schools of thought that dealt with transmission and reason on different foundations and approaches. After the emergence of Ash‘ariyya and the attempts to reconcile between transmission and reason, and the victory of the Sunna and hadith over people of opinion and philosophy, the argument ended that everything that was mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and what was authenticated on the Prophet do not conflict with reason.

This research shows that the victory of the hadith scholars over people of opinion, since early eleventh century on, resulted in the spread and diversification of religious sciences by establishing religious institutions, such as the madrasa. The matter that contributed to the revival of various religious sciences and the Sunna, but the door remained open, and controversy existed between scholars and intellectuals over the extent to which action is defined by opinion and reason in religious matters and its various activities to these days.

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