The Mystic and the Sceptic in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī

Ayman Shihadeh

in Sufism and Theology

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748626052
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653126 | DOI:
The Mystic and the Sceptic in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī

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This chapter focuses on Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, a mutakallim and a philosopher. The significance of his case stemmed from his being the most influential figure in later kalām and one of the most influential in later philosophy, at the same time his having a reputation for being disposed to doubt, and for being rumoured to have developed serious doubts with regard to the noetic value of kalām and philosophy. In several cases, he is portrayed as epitomising the tension between Sufism and the discursive methods of kalām and philosophy. Some of the biographical accounts, considered in this chapter jutaxposed this doubt with his links to Sufism, implying a direct connection between the two. The aim of this chapter is to show through an examination of key discussions in his own works, that towards the end of his life al-Rāzī ‘converts’ to Sufism, and that this crucial change should be linked to his arrival at scepticism. First, however, the chapter considers the frequently cited group of biographical accounts involving a meeting with a famous contemporary Sufism often perceived as epitomising al-Rāzī's relation to Sufism.

Keywords: al-Rāzī; mutakallim; kalām; philosophy; Sufism

Chapter.  10500 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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