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Islamic philosophy, modern

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H008-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

There are a number of major trends in modern Islamic philosophy. First, there is the challenge of the West to traditional Islamic philosophical and cultural principles and the desire to establish a form of thought which is distinctive. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, Islamic philosophers have attempted to redefine Islamic philosophy; some, such as Hasan Hanafi and Ali Mazrui, have sought to give modern Islamic philosophy a global significance and provide an agenda for world unity.

Second, there is a continuing tradition of interest in illuminationist and mystical thought, especially in Iran where the influence of Mulla Sadra and al-Suhrawardi has remained strong. The influence of the latter can be seen in the works of Henry Corbin and Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Mulla Sadra has exercised an influence over figures such as Mahdi Ha’iri Yazdi and the members of Qom School, notably Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The philosopher Abdul Soroush has introduced a number of concepts from Western philosophy into Iran.

Finally, there have been many thinkers who have adapted and employed philosophical ideas which are originally non-Islamic as part of the normal philosophical process of seeking to understand conceptual problems. This is a particularly active area, with a number of philosophers from many parts of the Islamic world investigating the relevance to Islam of concepts such as Hegelianism and existentialism. At the same time, mystical philosophy continues to exercise an important influence. Modern Islamic philosophy is thus quite diverse, employing a wide variety of techniques and approaches to its subject.

Citing this article:
Morewedge, Parviz and Oliver Leaman. Islamic philosophy, modern, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H008-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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