Islamic Ethics: Divine Command Theory in Arabo-Islamic Thought, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Islamic Ethics

Divine Command Theory in Arabo-Islamic Thought, 1st Edition

By Mariam al-Attar


224 pages

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Paperback: 9780415656702
pub: 2012-11-13
Hardback: 9780415555197
pub: 2010-03-03
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203855270
pub: 2010-04-05
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This book explores philosophical ethics in Arabo-Islamic thought. Examining the meaning, origin and development of "Divine Command Theory", it underscores the philosophical bases of religious fundamentalism that hinder social development and hamper dialogue between different cultures and nations.

Challenging traditional stereotypes of Islam, the book refutes contemporary claims that Islam is a defining case of ethical voluntarism, and that the prominent theory in Islamic ethical thought is Divine Command Theory. The author argues that, in fact, early Arab-Islamic scholars articulated moral theories: theories of value and theories of obligation. She traces the development of Arabo-Islamic ethics from the early Islamic theological and political debates between the Kharijites and the Murji’ites, shedding new light on the moral theory of Abd al-Jabbar al-Mu’tazili and the effects of this moral theory on post-Mu’tazilite ethical thought.

Highlighting important aspects in the development of Islamic thought, this book will appeal to students and scholars of Islamic moral thought and ethics, Islamic law, and religious fundamentalism.


"A major contribution to the field of medieval Islamic ethical thought, particularly that of ?Abd al-Jabbar, and it will certainly appeal to students and scholars of medieval Islamic thought in general." Abdullah Sliti, Heythrop College, University of London, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Theoretical and Historical Background 2. Ethical Presuppositions of The Qur’an and the Hadith 3. Pre-Mu‛tazilite Ethical Doctrines 4. Mu‛tazilite Ethics: Moral Interpretation of the Five Principles 5. Ethics of ‘Abd al-Jabbar: Presuppositions of Ethical Judgments 6. Analysis of Normative Ethical Judgments. Conclusion

About the Author

Mariam al-Attar is a faculty member in the Department of Ethics, Philosophy and Religion at Kings Academy in Jordan.

About the Series

Culture and Civilization in the Middle East

This series studies the Middle East through the twin foci of its diverse cultures and civilizations. Comprising original monographs as well as scholarly surveys, it covers topics in the fields of Middle Eastern literature, archaeology, law, history, philosophy, science, folklore, art, architecture and language. While there is a plurality of views, the series presents serious scholarship in a lucid and stimulating fashion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies