Full course description
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This is the first of a three-part course on Islamic theology (kalām) based on Kashf al-murād, al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī’s renowned commentary on the final part of Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’s Tajrīd al-iʿtiqād, one of the most important works of medieval Muslim theology in Shīʿī and Sunnī seminaries. In this course, students are introduced to the philosophical and theological proofs for the existence of God. The importance of the philosophical tradition for the development of kalām is highlighted insofar as the notion of being ‘necessary of existence’ is adopted by later Imāmī scholars to prove not only, on the one hand, that a being which is Necessary of Existence must be characterized by certain essential attributes (ṣifāt), but also why these cannot be additional to the essence of such a being on the other.
Of these, the attribute of God’s justice (ʿadl) has special significance given its importance in the dialectical history of Muslim theology and the controversies which took place between the Muʿtazilīs and Ashʿarīs. Hence in the latter stages of this course, students will focus on this notion and its attached themes in-depth.
Throughout the course the position of Imāmī theologians is compared and contrasted to the positions of the Muʿtazilīs and the Ashʿarīs, thereby allowing students to gain a deep appreciation for the diversity of opinions on a range of topics in the history of Muslim theology.
Lesson 1 Introduction
Section 1: On His Existence (Fī wujūdihi taʿālā)
Lesson 2 Section 2: On God's Attributes (Fī ṣifātihi taʿālā)
Issue 1: That God is Powerful (Fī annahu taʿālā qādir)
Lesson 3 Issue 1: That God is Powerful (Fī annahu taʿālā qādir) (continued)
Lesson 4 Issue 1: That God is Powerful (Fī annahu taʿālā qādir) (continued)
Lesson 5 Issue 2: That God is Knowing (Fī annahu taʿālā ʿālim)
Lesson 6 Issue 3: That God is Living (Fī annahu taʿālā ḥayy)
Issue 4: That God is Volitional (Fī annahu taʿālā murīd)
Lesson 7 Issue 5: That God Hears and Sees (Fī annahu taʿālā samīʿ baṣīr)
Issue 6: That God Speaks (Fī annahu taʿālā mutakallim)
Lesson 8 Issue 7: That God is Permanent (Fī annahu taʿālā bāq)
Issue 8: That God is One (Fī annahu taʿālā wāḥid)
Issue 9: That God is Different from Every Other Quiddity (Fī annahu taʿālā mukhālif l-ghayrihi min al-māhiyyāt)
Lesson 9 Section 3: On God’s Acts (Fī afʿālihi taʿālā)
Issue 1: On the Establishment of the Rational Intelligibility of Goodness and Badness (Fī ithbāt al-ḥusn wa-l-qubḥ al-ʿaqliyayn)
Lesson 10 Issue 1: On the Establishment of the Rational Intelligibility of Goodness and Badness (Fī ithbāt al-ḥusn wa-l-qubḥ al-ʿaqliyayn) (continued)
Issue 2: That God is a Moral Agent and Does Not Perform Any Bad Actions (Fī annahu taʿālā lā yafʿal al-qabīḥ wa lā yakhill bi-l-wājib)
Issue 3: That God Has the Power to Perform Bad Actions (Fī annahu taʿālā qādir ʿalā al-qabīḥ)
Lesson 11 Issue 4: That God Acts for a Purpose (Fī annahu taʿālā yafʿal li-gharaḍ)
Issue 5: That God Desires the Performance of Good Actions and Dislikes the Performance of Bad Actions (Fī annahu taʿālā yurīd al-ṭāʿāt wa yakruh al-maʿāṣi)
Issue 6: On Free Will (Fī annā fāʿilūn)
Lesson 12 Issue 11: On taklīf, Its Goodness, and Some of Its Properties (Fī ḥusn al-taklīf wa bayan māhiyatihi wa wajh ḥusnihi wa jumlat min aḥkāmihi)
Lesson 13 Issue 11: On taklīf, Its Goodness, and Some of Its Properties (Fī ḥusn al-taklīf wa bayan māhiyatihi wa wajh ḥusnihi wa jumlat min aḥkāmihi) (continued)
Lesson 14 Issue 12: On luṭf and Its Properties (Fī luṭf wa māhiyatihi wa aḥkāmihi)
Hours of Study
Dr Wahid Amin (Lecturer)
Dr Wahid Amin completed a BSc in Physics from Imperial College London and a PGCE from the Institute of Education, University College London. He then began his studies at the Al-Mahdi Institute and simultaneously completed a BA in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham, graduating from both in 2008. He went on to read for an MSt in the Study of Religions at the University of Oxford. His DPhil, also from Oxford, studied the metaphysics of necessary existence in the thought of the Persian polymath Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274). He joined AMI in 2015 as a Lecturer in Islamic Philosophy where he teaches courses on Islamic philosophy, theology, logic, and mysticism. He is also the Head of Publications at AMI Press and an Associate Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham. As an intellectual historian of Islam, his primary research interests revolve around post-classical Islamic philosophy and theology. He also maintains an interest in contemporary Islamic philosophy, the intersection between Islamic philosophy and political theory, and modern Shīʿī legal theory.
Professor Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ghari Fatemi (Tutor)
Professor Seyed Mohammad Seyed Ghari Fatemi spent thirteen years studying in the Ḥawza ʿIlmiyya of Qom between 1981 and 1994, completing his advanced studies (dars al-khārij) in Arabic literature, legal theory, jurisprudence, philosophy, and Islamic theosophy under prominent scholars such as Ayatollah Ḥusayn ʿAlī Muntaẓarī, Ayatollah Sayyid Muḥammad Rūhānī, and Ayatollah ʿAbd Allāh Javādī Āmulī. Alongside his seminary studies, he also completed an LLB (1984) and LLM (1991) in Public Law at the University of Tehran. He received his PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manchester in 1999.
He has been working with AMI since 1995 and currently lectures on Islamic legal theory. He is a Professor of Comparative Human Rights, Islamic Hermeneutics and Legal theory, and Philosophy in the Faculty of Law at Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran) where he supervises masters and doctoral students researching a range of topics. Seyed Fatemi is also a full member of the Academy of Sciences of Iran and a member of the Department of Biomedical Ethics at the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences. He has previously taught in the Ḥawza ʿIlmiyya of Qom, at Mofid University (Qom), the University of Birmingham, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.
He has numerous publications to his name in Persian and English and has organised and presented at dozens of conferences in the fields of law, Islamic studies, and bioethics. He is the author of Human Rights in the Contemporary World (Ḥuqūq-i bashr dar jahān-i muʿāṣir). The first volume of this work (An Introduction to Theoretical Issues: Concepts, Foundations, Scope and Sources) was first published by the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights and Shahid Beheshti University and is now in its eighth edition. The second volume (Analytical Essays on Right and Liberties) is in its fifth edition, and a third volume (Islam and Human Rights) is forthcoming.