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AL-FĀRĀBĪ’S tradition VIS-À-VIS philosophical pluralism

Abū Nar al-Fārābī (870-950 A.D.) is referred to as the founding father of Islamic philosophy, who influenced the later Muslim thinkers to treat philosophy as an “authentic science”. He managed to reconcile Muslim thoughts with Greek philosophical traditions. Consequently, his efforts were essential for establishing philosophy as a legitimate theoretical practice in the Muslim world. This paper offers an analytical explanation as to why al-Fārābī took a combinative approach in philosophy and how he combined two seemingly disparate philosophical traditions. The paper explains how he harmonized the philosophy of Plato with that of Aristotle; it also explores how he combined Islam and Greek philosophy. The paper then shows how his innovative ideas became a “tradition” in the history of Muslim philosophy. Finally, the paper relates al-Fārābī’s philosophical tradition with the challenge of modern pluralism. It is argued that the Muslim world, by following his approach, cannot fully respond to contemporary philosophical pluralism. In this regard, “Perennial Philosophy” as an essential characteristic of many Muslim philosophies, will be analyzed in relation to philosophical pluralism.

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