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RLG204 Exam questions.doc

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Alireza Haghighi

RLG204 ExamPart B Long EssayQ1 Provide historical and intellectual contexts within which two broad Islamic Theophilosophical schools Mutazilite and Asharite emerged Explain their central beliefs and discuss their major theological themes Finally what are the influences of these two schools on modern IslamMutaziliteHistorythOriginated in Basra in 8 century ADwanted to protect Islam from dualistic influences from Irantheir challenge was to find a compromise between simple pious tradition since it was centered in Medina from days of the ProphetTo counteract Iranian dualists Mutazilites emphasized the need to formulate Gods unity TauhidBelieved their was no similarity between God and his creationLong fierce theological battle based on Koran not being the uncreated word of God vs being createdBeliefs summary1 Unity God is one Nothing except Gods word attributes and Quran is eternal God doesnt resemble his creation 2 Justice God must act justly give out rewards and punishments according to each persons performance3 The promise and the threat When God makes a promisethreat he carries through with it4 Intermediate position A serious sinner is neither a believer nor a nonbeliever5 Commanding the right and forbidding the wrong Its a duty to oppose injustice if ableBeliefsRationalists They rejected deterministic interpretations of IslamThey believed humans were responsible for their own actions Believed that Allahs commands and restrictions were able to be discovered by using reasonTruth is not only from revelationThus the faithful can rationally know whats obligatory and forbidden Rewards and punishment are the result of freely made human actionDid not accept Hadith as legitimate sourceBeliever vs sinner Believed that sinners were MuslimSaw a serious sinner as neither an unbeliever nor a believerbut a separate category between the twoMethodology Refined the technique of using logical arguments in matters of theological speculation Used against opponents like Socrates Called Kalam logical argumentsThe Quran as Created Argued that the Quran is createdThe word of Allah is not eternal Eg it contains many references to historical people and events such a s prophet Moses Noah and MuhammadArgue that if Allahs word was eternal peoples fate would be predeterminedSee Quran as a promise to the faithful speaks of paradise and a warning to the unbeliever hellNature of Allah Stress Gods unity and justiceArgue that bc God is just he cant do the unjust Evil injustice and disobedience are not willed or created by himtheyre a consequence of mans free willHumans are free and not predetermined fate bc God is just would be unjust if he punished predetermined actionsProphets and revelation are clear signs of Allahs goodness and mercyAllah knows all knowing what our fate is but he does not determine it He gives us the freedom and chance to change our waysAshariteHistoryAlAshari was founder and defended his beliefs about Islam Koran and Sunna by the swardhe experienced life transforming dreams eg prophet appeared to himsaid to defend the Hadith He dropped everything to study the Hadith He was dissatisfied with Mutazilite theologyAlAshari represented a turning point in the development of Islamby his use of reasoned argument
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