Offering a new reading of Islamic ethical and political thought in the Būyid period (334-440/946-1048), this book focuses particularly on the philosopher Abū Hayyān al-Tawhīdī who lived in Baghdad and what is now western Iran.
Ethics in Islam provides the first major treatment of al-Tawhīdī's ethics, political thought, and social idealism, investigating the complex influences that shaped this thought and especially his concept of friendship, which is analysed in the unique context of Būyid society. Al-Tawhīdī revives the value of friendship in politics. He introduces it as the best way to reform social and political order and as a means to the good life, to restrain passion and self-interest, to bring about cooperation and promote reason, and for action in opposition to religious zeal. Instead of seeing him as alienated from society, supposedly rejecting traditional Muslim beliefs, this book places him in his historical and intellectual contexts, and shows that while he was original in many ways, his outlook was firmly rooted in the Islamic culture in which he was educated.
Contributing to modern discussions of Islam and political ethics, this book is of interest to scholars and researchers of political philosophy, comparative ethical thought and Islamic studies.
Table of Contents
1 Ethics and the Buyid Social Imaginary 2 Knowledge-Based and Court-Based Groups and Ethical Discussions in Fourth-Century Scholarly Circles 3 Al-Taw idi and the Formation of his Ethical Thought and his Sense of the Self 4 Al-Taw idi’s al-adaqa wa al-adiq 5 Adaqa (friendship) and the Social Imaginary Conclusion
Nuha A. Alshaar teaches at the American University of Sharjah, and is a research associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. She specialises in the historical development of Islamic ethical thought and adab. She co-edited Sources and Approaches across Near Eastern Disciplines (2013) with Verena Klemm.
This is an important book, and it is an excellent one: closely argued, meticulously documented, and very well written. It not only brings al-Tawhidi more sharply into focus by clearing away the many misconceptions that have obscured his reputation. It also brings his thought alive. It shows how intricately interwoven his ethical propositions were with those of his contemporaries, notwithstanding their frequent, and substantial, differences. - Review by Eric Ormsby, Freie Universitat Berlin; Philosophy East & West Volume 67, Number 2 April 2017 602–605