Problems of Oriental Philosophy
Dr. Asadov Adil: Moslem world and Europe



Asadov Adil Iskender Oglu




Even though contemporary Islam is exposed to a strong moral impact of the West, Mohammedan traditions, as were established in the process of its formation, are still powerful. However, the process of establishment and development of Islam has never been homogenous in itself. As in the historical evolution of Christianity, the historical development of Islam can also be divided into separate stages differing one from another by sufficiently practical features. Initial Mohammedanism leaned upon the moral principles of community – the “umma”– in Medina, headed by Mohammed, was the most brilliant embodiment of supremacy of such community principles as kindness, mercy, justice, good-neighbour relations, solidarity, impartiality in human relations, sincerity and unselfishness, absolute and practical equality of people. Similar principles are clearly seen to dominate in Europe in the V – VII centuries.

Adjustment to the militant spirit has “Sunnitized” Mohammedanism, whereas adjustment to urban spirit has “Shiitized” it. This alienation of community consciousness in two directions was observed in Europe as well. Max Weber, a German sociologist, put forward an idea of Protestantism as being a bourgeois Christianity and gave a broad logical picture of this idea. However, his concept remained incomplete because other big branches of Christianity as Catholicism and Orthodoxy (the Orthodox faith) did not attract Weber’s attention who repeatedly emphasised his bourgeois origin, and the bourgeois environment in which he was brought up and his closeness to all instincts and values of bourgeoisie. It should be added that the bourgeoisification of Christianity transformed it into Protestantism, the Christianization of militancy found its expression in the Catholicization of Christianity. Similar religious reshaping was also evident in the history of Islam.





Islam became Sunnitized from the day it forcefully made people accept the Divine Will and became Shiitized in the tendencies to benefit from the Divine Power. Like Shiism, Sunnism is contrary to community consciousness as well and accordingly to “Initial” and “True” Mohammedanism. At the same time Sunnism and Shiism were both contrary to the true knight and to the true townsman attitude to the world. Emir Timur was a true knight, but was not a Moslem in reality. Omar Khayyam was a true townsman; however, he was not a Moslem in the true sense of the word. Thus, true urbanism, leaned on absolutization of the Principle of Determinism, accepts Science as its true attitude to the world, whereas the true knighthood, absolutized the Principle of Cosmocentrism, accepts Pantheism as its true attitude to the world. Summism holds a position between Initial Mohammedanism and Pantheism, whereas Shiism holds a position between Initial Mohammedanism and Deterministic Science.

Science and scholarship activity valued and praised by Prophet Mohammed did not bear deterministic characteristics, they were of divine nature. This science focuses its attention not on understanding the laws of Nature, but on understanding Divine Will. The religious science sees the absolute beginning that set the world in motion, in the Divine Will, whereas the deterministic or analytic science sees it in the laws of Nature. When differentiating between these two sciences Mirza Fatali Akhundov in fact brought Shiism to its logical end and threw a bridge to the analytic science, in which the true townsman world outlook manifests itself.

The next world is of very little interest to Sunnism. It centres its attention more on this world than on the next one. Sunnism contrasts worthy and unworthy life in this world and acknowledges religion as the morality of worthy life. Here, Prophet Mohammed is presented as an ideal of dignity, his worldly nature is acknowledged and his relations with the next world remain in the background. As to Shiism, it is these relations that are brought to the fore. In Shiism Prophet Mohammed is presented as embodiment of the next world in this world. What’s more, this presentation refers not only to Mohammed himself but also to all his kin. The interest of Shiism to the next world is first and foremost accounted for by the town culture ideal that “everyone should be rewarded for good deeds and punished for evil ones”. Determinism of life clearly expressed in this ideal is more fundamental than and constitutes the vital basis of theoretical determinism on which science relies. As Shiism viewed the relationships between this world and the next world as relationships between the world of deed and the world of retribution and canonised the Prophet’s family, retribution for evil and good deeds was not solely of afterlife nature but also began to bear secular characteristics. This to a certain extent rationalises and secularises the Instinct of Determinism subconsciously. This is typical of town culture and the analytical thinking it rests upon. Unlike Shiism, Determinism is alien to the spirit of Sunnism. Here, a deed done for the sake of reward, and at the same time inactivity for fear of being punished are never approved of. “Shariat” (Moslem religious law) acknowledged embodiment of worthy life behaviour in Sunnism, and the legends reflecting the relationship of Prophet Mohammed’s kin with the next world in Shiism, enjoy absolute status. Shiism calls upon Allah to help people through the Prophet’s kin, while Sunnism tries to make people be worthy by subjugating them to Moslem morals.


No matter how paradoxical it may seem, vital materialism, i. e.  the instinct of preference for material  rather than spiritual wealth is strong in Shiism. This instinct is satisfied by expanding the limits of deterministic understanding of the world and is concealed by the principle of Deism. Shiism evolved from Theism to Deism as unequivocal relationships between a deed and a retribution made a specific case for unequivocal relationships between action and counteraction. Unlike Shiism, the instinct of vital materialism in Sunnism was poorly developed. The contradiction between the attachment of Sunnism to this world and its hostile attitude to vital materialism found its solution in Sufism and manifested itself in the transition from Theism to Pantheism.

Being the manifestation of town culture, Shiism may dominate under conditions where urban traditions are sufficiently developed and prevailing. The basic reason for the defeat of Ali-Ibn-Abu – Talib, official founder of Shiism, was that the town was not prosperous enough to hold a leading position in the society. The fact is that nomadic traditions still predominated a conditioned transition of power to the Amavis. But, with the flourishing of town culture and its coming to the forefront Shiism and the Abbasis, its actual patrons, started to play a key role in the Moslem world.  The decisive role of such big cities as Baghdad, Basra, Damask and Cairo in the life of society on the whole increased more and more. If the Sunni dynasty Amavis’ reign was characterized by the development of knight culture, global conquests and jihad, the reign of the Abbasis, essentially a Shia dynasty, was marked by the development of town culture, growth of the bureaucratic army and widespread craftsmanship and trade.

At the same time, during the entire history of the Islam culture, the vast majority of Moslem population remained devoted to Initial Mohammedanism by espousing the community consciousness. For these people, principles of community behaviour were of primary and exceptional importance. They did not become Shiitized as they simply could not adapt to townsman individualism and pragmatism. At the same time these people did not become Sunnitized as they simply could not adapt to nomadic severity either.

The Islam philosophy evolved mainly along the courses of these three trends of thinking. The Philosophy of Kalam was in essence the vehicle for Initial Mohammedanism, Sufirm – for Sunnism and Aristotelianism – for Shiism. Here, it was not a question of formal Mohammedanism, formal Sunnism of formal Shiism, the question was one of true Mohammedanism, true Shiism and true Sunnism. Thus, a true Moslem voluntarily subdues his will to God’s Will. A true Sunnite forcefully subdues his and others’ will to the Divine Will. A true Shiite tries to use the Divine Will for solving his own problems.


Shiism becomes stronger and increases its importance in the process flourishing towns, Sunnism – during jihad. In both cases community principles are oppressed. The Philosophy of Kalam comes into being because of nostalgia for community principles. Vasil Ibn Ata, the first historical form of Kalam developed as early as the beginning of the VIII century, expressed the spiritual opposition of Initial Mohammedanism to Sunnism, in other words, the spiritual opposition of community culture to knight culture. Kalam during the reign of the Abbasis was also in opposition to domination of Shiism to the extent it was in opposition to Sunnism during the reign of the Amavis. As to Abu-l-Hasan Ash’ari, the second historical form in the development of Kalam, which coincided, with the epoch of the Abbasis, it was conditioned by the opposition and irreconcilability of community culture to town culture. The community morals were characterized against the background of its absolute divine origin during each of the two periods of historical evolution of Kalam. The divine essence is attached to the Moslem Code of Behaviour, the vehicle of God’s will. God is unique, single, absolute, eternal, primary, mighty, the vehicle of God’s will. God is unique, single, absolute, eternal, primary, mighty, he is not created, he is creator. God is able to create, govern and destroy any world. It is only God who is absolute, primary and eternal, everything besides God is a product of his creation and is mortal. It is significant that Kalam acknowledged the Moslem Behaviour not simply as one of the creations of God but as an embodiment of God himself. It is no more chance that the idea of Koran also being as eternal and primary as God was put forward in Abu-l-Hasan Ash’ari.

“Mutakallims” – supporters of the Philosophy of Kalam, in fact proceeded from the absoluteness of religious truths – the vehicle of community consciousness,– and on this basis opposed themselves to the supporters of “Motaliza” (Oriental Aristotelianism). Freedom loving tendencies of town culture were evident in Motaliza. Here, the source of behaviour is sought in the freedom of man’s will rather than in divine revelation. Formation and progress of Motaliza fall on the second half of the years of the Amavis reign and it expresses the sufficient development of town culture during these years. In fact, Motaliza prepared the moral basis for the reign of the Abbasis.

Supporters of Motaliza did not acknowledge the absolutism of religious truths, on the contrary, they recognized the power of mind, intellect. Belief in the power of reason forms the common beginning for Motaliza and another philosophic current. Motaliza, being the first direction that proceeded from human reason, was a pragmatic trend. Here, reason was a means by which man benefited from the world and it was assessed on this basis. Pragmatically-based cult of reason was actually the faith that the analytical thinking was able to resolve all problems facing man. Another direction built on the cult of reason is Sufism consisting in rationalization of knight attitude to the world. This direction understands human reason as manifestation of superhuman and supernatural reason and sees the maturity of human reason in the degree of its conformity to divine reason.

As Islam philosophy originated, it sought a basis in the previous philosophical traditions and found such a basis in ancient Greek philosophy. The community direction in Islam philosophy leaned on Socrates and Socratism, the aristocratic trend Plato and Platonism, and the paradigmatic trend – on Aristotle and Aristotelianism. The pragmatic trend was so strongly affected by Aristotle that it fully transformed into Aristotelianism.


Moslem philosophy managed to rationalize and logically describe the Moslem spirit. The community bias of this spirit in the flow of ideas evolving along the “Khariji-Khurrami-Kalam-Ash’ari” chain, its townsman bias in the “Gadiri-Motaliza-Al Kindi-Ar Razi-Al Farabi-Ibn Sina-Biruni-Omar Khayyam-Ibn Bajja-Ibn Rushd-Ibn Khaldun” chain and the knight and aristocratic bias of the Moslem spirit in the “Juneyd Bagdadi-Hallaj-Ibn Hambal-Hamadini-Gusheyri-al Gazali-Ibn Tufeyl-Suhraverdi-Razi Fakhraddin-Ibn al Arabi-Rumi – Vahhab” chain were rationalized.

The formation of Arab philosophy was conditioned by the contradictory reality of the Islam world on the eve of the IX century. The townsman pragmatism sprouting and spreading within this world tried to destroy the Moslem knight spirit by taking up the struggle against it. The knight spirit had to protect itself by being rationalized and being expressed. Both the townsman spirit and the knight spirit were to a certain extent rationalized in the course of this struggle. Rationalization of the knight spirit proceeded from the absolutism of the major belief of this spirit – the Cult of Fate. The townsman spirit found its expression in the teaching of Kadariyya. Here, the Principle of Determinism that formed its ontological basis was rationalized and absolutized.

The increase of towns in the Islam world expanded the scope of activities of the Principle of Determinism. The developmental trends of town culture revealed in their turn a great number of problems that could be resolved by deterministic or analytic thinking. Since “European Thinking” matched Determinism more than the Islam world and thus became the leading force of the New Times history.



Author : Admin | Date: 15-03-2014, 17:11 | Views: 0