This book engages with the work of Miskawayh, a formative Islamic Philosopher in the 11th century, who is acknowledged as the founder of Islamic Moral Philosophy.
Miskawayh’s The Refinement of Character (Tahḏīb al-Aḫlāq) draws from both ancient Greek philosophical tradition and Islamic thought, highlighting the concepts he integrated into what he argued to be the moral core of Islam. This book pursues a comparative study by analyzing and outlining the inherent philosophical concerns of the Aristotelian concepts of Happiness, Justice and Friendship, which are then brought into conversation with Miskawayh’s own concepualizations of them. While Tahḏīb al-Aḫlāq is deeply influenced by Aristotle’s ethics, Miskawayh employs not only a Platonizing interpretation of Aristotelian philosophy, but also incorporates traditions of Islamic thought. The study therefore concludes that Miskawayh is merely a transmitter of ancient Greek philosophy, as shown by both his critical survey of the material available to him and his own critical contributions. Essentially, Miskawayh attempted to harmonize philosophical and religious concepts of knowledge, demonstrating the interlinking of what are perceived as—at times detrimentally—incompatible positions. Ufuk Topkara illustrates how Aristotle’s Ethics are integrated, modified and at times adjusted to the broader narrative of Islamic thought and how Miskawayh’s discourse, albeit philosophical in nature, remains religious in its outlook.
Providing clear insight into Miskawayh’s work, this book is ideal for students and scholars of Islamic Philosophy and Muslim Theology.
Dr. Ufuk Topkara (Assistant Professor for Comparative Theology from an Islamic Perspective, Humboldt University Berlin) is interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to Islamic Theology, involving engagement both with other Theologies and Philosophy. He is the author of Umrisse einer zeitgemäßen philosophischen Theologie im Islam. Die Verfeinerung des Charakters.