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['Aalim Network QR] Philosophy (Clarification)

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun `Alaykum

The clarification to the concept of a "six Imami Shia" was kindly
provided by Br. Mohammad Soleiman-Panah. 

This is a clarification from a previous answer which for your
convenience, has also been included below. 

Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim
Acting Moderator for ABDG-A

---------- Forwarded message ----------


On the subject that Ibn Sina is believed to be a six Imami Shia,I don't
quite understand what "a six Imami Shia" mean. Would you tell me what it


Ibn Sina like Nasir Khosrow Ghubadiani and many other early Shia thinkers
lived during a period in which decleration of one's faith in Shia meant
death. These scholars usually kept their faith secret.  Since Ismailis
were a major political, social and intellectual force during this period,
many Shia scholar came to be known as Ismaili. Ibn Sina is one of the
scholars said to be a Six Imami, meaning he only believed in six of the
Twelver Shia (Ithna 'Ashari) Imams. Whether he was really an Ismaili or
not is not clear because of the secrecy he maintained with regard to his
faith. Wa- Allah-u 'Alamu bi-Sawab. 


This question is being asked on behalf of a friend that has begun to
embrace the Shi'a Ithna-Asheri school of Islam. 

Regarding Ghazali's book, the Inconsistencies of Philosophy (a critique
of Ibn Sinna's philosophical works, some say that Ibn Sinna was a Shi'a),
and the science of philosophy in general, " how does Shi'a religious
methodology consiliate greek philosophy with Islamic Teachings? ".  He
would also like to know to what degree Philosophy is taught in place like

Please provide any readily available references that might help my
I hope your friend finds the following response useful in his becoming
Shia'. However if there is any shortcoming, it is mine and I want him to
know that a limited forum such as this has some inherent limitations
which may distort the message being communicated. 

1) First of all Ibn Sinna is believed to be a six imami Shia.
2) Secondly Abu Hamed Mohammad Ghazzali by his own admission in the
   beginning of "Tahafot-u-l- Phalasepheh" has no formal training in
   philosophy. Being somewhat familiar with the philosophical traditions
   among shia scholars I should note that Muslim philosophers intentionally
   wrote in a way that their texts could not be used as self teaching texts.
   Even Ibn Sinna mentions to the teachers of his books that "do not give
   this knowledge to those who do not deserve it and do not hide it away
   from those who deserve it." Ghazzali has read philosophical texts by
   himself and reached his own conclusions without putting them to the test
   of critical debate and dialogue with others. For your information
   Ghazzali is considered by students of Islamic philosophy as one of the
   least informed writers on the subject. Imam Fakher Razi(known also as
   Imamul-Mushakekkin -Imam of the critics-) who has a much sharper
   criticism of ibn Sinna is considered much more informed, to the degree
   that Shahid Muttahari says "if it were not for Fahker Razi's criticism,
   Islamic philosophy would have not made so much progress." 

3) No doubt Ghazzali was a great thinker and very intelligent but
   philosophy was no his expertise. Even in his own field Hadith, Figh, and
   science of Morality about which he writes his masterpiece
   "Ihya-e-'Ulom-e-Din", Mulla Muhsen Faiz finds four areas of defect and
   set himself the task of refining Ghazzali's Ihya, which resulted in
   Faiz's Mahajjat-u-l-Bayza. Those areas of defect are : 

 (a) Neglecting Ahlul Bayt (as) as a source of Knowledge and faith; 

 (b) Building principles of "Ibadat" (worshiping) on corrupt beliefs and

 (c) Narrating from many people who are well known for their
 (d) Using many unrealistic stories from Mutessavefeh and dervishes which
     are not reasonable to rational people. 
4) As for the conciliation of Greek philosophy with Shia's beliefs, few
   points are to be made. 
 (a) There have been many traditioinal shia scholars who have opposed
     philosophy as anti Islamic. 
 (b) But there have been those who believe philosophy as a rational
     endeavour and as a necessary step in one's religious journey, for 
     one has to rationally establish existence of God, possibility of Vahi
     (revelation), necessity of prophethood, and so on before accepting a    
     particular religion. 

 (c) Philosophy in Islam, I remember somewhere in Al-Mizan Allameh
     Tabatabai claims- has a new character and Muslim philosophers have 
     added many issues to philosophy that were not discussed by the Greek. 
     That might be one reason why among Muslims, philosophy is more known as
5) Unfortunately in the West, Islamic philosophy is still known by the
   works of Ibn sinna and Ibn Rushd, while the great contribution of Mulla
   Sadra is being ignored. Philosophy of Mulla Sadra known as "Hikmat-e-
   Mute'aliya" is a philosophy in accordance with basic Islamic teaching. It
   is rich and insightful and in my opinion without any match in the West. 

6) Today Qum is the most favorable Shia center to Philosophy and it is
   Mulla Sadra's school of thoughts which dominate the philosophical
   discourse there, in Najaf (beside the late Ayt. Sayyed Mohammad Bagher
   Sadr) and in Mashad major scholars are anti philosophy. 

7) For some reference you may see most of the works of Dr. Sayyed Husain
   Nasr, Henry Corbin's Works especially Mulla Sadra, Javadi Amoli's
   "Shinakht Shinasi in Islam" (Epistemology in Islam) amongs others. 

With Regards,

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