Philosophy is a complex subject that requires deep thinking and a rich intellect to fully comprehend. Yet, despite that characteristic, philosophy is uniquely simpler than anticipated. This is not a paradox nor is it a phenomenon. It is, what one could only describe as, Allah’s Majestic Wisdom, in that He reveals what He reveals of the unknown to the benefit of both ends of the spectrum. The Layman and the Scholar. To the benefit of the highest scholar of the highest understanding, and the lowest layman of the lowest understanding, philosophy sustains man’s understanding of existence on every level.
The Holy Scriptures which then serve as the primary source of all that is revealed to mankind, such as the Holy Qur’an, are cryptic and encoded to the eyes of he who beholds them. They speak in the tongue of he who seeks to draw from them, and every ascending level of understanding reveals something new, something exciting, and something Divine.
We want to begin, then, by understanding what philosophy has to do with religion.
Almighty Allah’s creation always emerges in pairs. Two that harmonize with each other, neither existing without the other.
In the material world, if there is an ‘up’, there should be a ‘down’. If there is a ‘front’, there must be a ‘rear’. As there is a ‘male’ so too is there a ‘female’. If there is Earth, there is Air. If there is Fire, there is Water.
Similarly, if there is Good, then there must be evil. If there is a right, there also is a wrong.
And as we expand our thinking, we find that if there is a ‘Physical’ creation, there also must be a ‘Metaphysical’ creation.
Everything that Allah has created, has a meaning, a purpose, an essence. Be that the innocent, and perceivable irrelevant stone on the ground appears just as so, or the tree sprouting from the ground, or the insect on its twig, it has a place in the material universe and a purpose to serve. That is Belief and Faith in the Divine Decree, the Power of Allah as the fifth tenet of Iman. It stands to reason that everything ‘tangible’ with its ‘tangible’ explanation, must have an ‘intangibility’ with an ‘intangible’ explanation. The human being can be understood in the material, biological sense by examining its composition through the scientific faculty, but what of the human conscience with its thoughts and emotions? These are the metaphysical proponents paired with the physical body that define the human being in its complete sense. As we can see, neither one can exist without the other.
In that very sense, humanity has divided itself into two general categories. Those who believe, and those who do not. Regardless of what the belief or disbelief may be, each category has an intellect with which to 'think', and the deeper the 'thought', the greater the knowledge, the more intrinsic the wisdom. Hence, philosophy arises both from those who are enlightened in the path of God, with the Absolute Truth of the Real, and those who are only tied to the material realm, with only an Objective Truth of the Real. Everything else in between the two remains a subjective truth. This we will explore further in. But for the moment, understand that there are, categorically, two branches of philosophy.
Religious Philosophy and Secular Philosophy.
And as we have already established throughout human history, Religion has always stood in supreme precedence over Secularism, because its philosophy is drawn from God directly through His Prophets and Scriptures, always bears absolute truth, while the other only bears an objective truth.
That is not to say that objectivity is false. Only that it is limited until it can be verified, and only Allah, who is ultimately Real, and whose Majesty is Real, can verify the truth.
Secular philosophy thus finds itself confounded with these three fundamental categories which, when based the secular thought, loop around endlessly without resolution;
‘Having knowledge does not necessarily make one right’, because secular philosophy believes that the truth is subjective. It does not recognize objective truth, nor absolute truth. This, in itself, is an ineffectual statement, because;
‘Believing in something does not necessarily justify the belief’, because secular philosophy upholds that ‘belief is an opinion’. This is because ‘belief’ is neither logical nor rational, as we will explore further. But secular philosophy further cages itself by saying;
‘Morals and ethics are inherent in man through the evolution of intellect’, because secular philosophy bases its analysis on the prime foundation that all knowledge is from the provenance of the most intelligent being on the planet— Man. And therefore the judgment of right and wrong is based on logical reason and rational reason.
This cyclical motion keeps all human thought confined in a loop, and it does not take much to recognize that there can be no ascension to enlightenment if one is ever stuck in a loop. Thus, secular philosophy, albeit containing some value, is limited.
Religious Philosophy, on the other hand, or in our case, Islamic Philosophy, governs these three fundamental categories as such;
‘Knowledge is from a source Divine, and therefore having Knowledge is having the truth’, because Knowledge connects with man’s conscious impetus to ‘know’ of the material and spiritual realm, the physical and metaphysical. This allows one to understand that;
‘Belief in something is justified when the truth of it is known’; because Faith without Knowledge is Ignorance, and therefore to ‘Believe’ in something, one must first have ‘Knowledge’ of it. Only then is any belief within the vessel of truth is fully justified, while all belief outside the truth is a mere opinion. This then endows one with;
‘Morals and ethics are defined by He who has created both right and wrong, good and evil’; because knowledge of both ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ endows one with the wisdom to make a conscious and guided decision. ‘Thought’ always precedes ‘Action’, and both are judged in accordance to how they are performed.
If the latter definitions appealed more to you than the former, than the taste on your tongue should be sweeter. Now perhaps we can understand how Philosophy and Religion are truly intertwined. One cannot understand either without the other. Without religion, philosophy becomes limited and essentially lifeless. Without philosophy, religion becomes a set of inexplicable rules and dogmas. The root cause of all religious dispute and segregation is when it is perceived and imposed without philosophical reasoning. It becomes biased and assertive. The adverse is also true. The root cause of all philosophical argument is when it is parted from a divine source of all truth. The Real becomes abstractive, the Truth becomes subjective, Belief becomes opinionated, and Wisdom becomes arrogant.