The first major treatment of skepticism in Islam, this book explores the critical role of skeptical thinking in the development of theology in Islam. It examines the way key thinkers in classical Islam faced perplexing questions about the nature of God and his relation to the world, all the while walking a fine line between belief in God’s message as revealed in the Qur’an, and the power of the mind to discover truths on its own.
Skepticism in Classical Islam reveals how doubt was actually an integral part of scholarly life at this time. Skepticism is by no means synonymous with atheism. It is, rather, the admission that one cannot convincingly demonstrate a truth claim with certainty, and Islam’s scholars, like their counterparts elsewhere, acknowledged such impasses, only to be inspired to find new ways to resolve the conundrums they faced. Whilst their conundrums were unique, their admission of the limits of knowledge shares much with other scholarly traditions.
Seeking to put Islam on the map of the broader study of the history of scepticism, this book will be of interest to scholars and students of Religion, History and Philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Skepticism in Islam 1 Words, Words, Words 2 A World Without Words 3 Truths Beyond Words, Truths Beyond Ideas 4 Words are Words Conclusion: To Doubt... or not to Doubt
Paul L. Heck is associate professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, specializing in the intellectual history of Islam. His research focuses on the development of theological discourse in Islam and its relation to Christianity, highlighting the dynamic interaction between the two religious traditions.