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Philosopher of Islam Al-Kindi - Essay Example

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This paper provides an insightful study on the thoughts of al-Kindi as a philosopher so as to identify and authenticate him as the first and foremost true philosopher of Islam. Before him, Islamic philosophy was confined to the knowledge of religious principles through revelation…
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Philosopher of Islam Al-Kindi
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Philosopher of Islam Al-Kindi

He authenticated the Quranic principles and the phenomenon of God's existence through theoretical reasoning. This serves to be answering the question whether or not he was a theologian, because if he is to be called a theologian then the term philosophy cannot be associated with him. Both the terms are distinct and belong to different schools of thought.
The essay also enquires into the fact that al-Kindi's philosophy was greatly influenced by Greek philosopher and that most of his works comprise the translated work from Greek philosophy. This argument also needs to be resolved, because if al-Kindi had no originality, then he cannot be called the first Muslim philosopher. Therefore, the main question encompassing the essay is whether or not al-Kindi was the first true philosopher of Islam and this paper goes about the question by first introducing the essence of al-Kindi's philosophy and other prominent philosophers accompanies with a discussion on theology so as to confirm that he was not a theologian but a philosopher.
Truth and Integrity are said to be the essences of Islamic philosophy. Hitti (1970) says that Islamic history is an evidence of the enriching contribution of Muslim scholars on science, philosophy and theology of modern times. There have been numerous great Muslim philosophers who contributed their knowledge magnificently to various fields and aspects of philosophy. Some of them are al-Kindi, al-Ghazali, al-Suhrawardi, al-Arabi, al-Dawani, Ibn Hazm, al-Juwayni, al-Farabi and al-Razi. Of all these great philosophers, al-Kindi is known to be the first philosopher of Islam. He was the first philosopher in Arab and thus owing to his great contribution to the Arabic writings, he is often called the "philosopher of Arabs"1. Through his efforts only, the Muslims began to realise the philosophy to be an integral part of Islamic society.

The analogy of most of his works suggests that he was exhaustively inspired from the Greek Neoplatoniasm and thus his writings reflect a great influence of Aristotelianism in his thoughts. Although, this inspiration from Greek philosophy is evident but his works also highly manifest that he had used Greek concepts in newer context that had not been presented before at that time. He in fact reconciled the Greek concepts of philosophy to the Islamic principles and thus introduced an entirely new philosophy. His writings infused a new life into Islamic philosophy by making it encompass all the sciences.2

His work was claimed to be mostly influenced by the Greek thought, which was due to the fact that he considered the acquisition of knowledge to be universal. He viewed knowledge was something that could be taken on from any society, culture or school of thought. Most of his work consists of translation of Greek books into the Arabic language. He himself was of the opinion that if one is to acquire the true knowledge, he should be willing to reach anywhere in his quest of its acquisition. Therefore, the claim that al-Kindi cannot be called first true philosopher of Islam because his thought was mainly influenced by Greek philosophers does not hold true, as what he did comprises not only translations but also his own reflection on the acquired knowledge. He presented the ancient Greek thought in his own context of understanding philosophy. Al-Kindi said,

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