St. Thomas Aquinas and Muslim Thought

Islam, Muslims, Islamic philosophy, theology, spirituality and Dominican mission to Spain, North Africa and Middle East loomed large on the horizon of St. Thomas Aquinas. Looking at his geographical location in Southern Italy, surrounding countries and politics, cultural milieu, time, academic interests, vocational passions and overall outlook, he seems to be acting and reacting to Muslim related matters throughout his life starting from the very early childhood. Personalities must be understood in their historical contexts as their progress, development and outlooks are very often defined by their contexts. The geo political, cultural, religious and intellectual context of the thirteenth century Southern and Northern Italy was inundated with Muslim religion, culture, politics, people, conflicts and Christian missionary overtures to Muslims. Therefore Muslims were an intrinsic part of St. Thomas’ world.

Thomas’ thirteenth century was full of drastic changes, movements and revolutions. Movements and revolutions occasion radical changes and conflicts sometimes so violent, extraordinary and powerful that they define the rest of history. It is impossible to outline the dynamics of the thirteenth century in this brief introduction but a number of important historical events, movements and influences must be singled out to understand Aquinas’ cultural milieu. The most notables perhaps are the Norman conquest of Sicily and the subsequent Christian Muslim interactions in Southern Italy; Fredrick II’s rise to the power, his settlement of the Muslims in Lucera, just a few hundred miles from Aquino in the province of Foggia in the region of Apulia, the heartland of Italy bordering both the Northern Italy and Papal states; constant warfare between the secular and papal authorities especially between Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II, his son Conrad, illegitimate son Manfred and Popes; European (Northern) Crusades (Spanish, Albigensian, Bosnian), Holy Land Crusades and ensuing evangelism; rise of mendicant orders such as Franciscan and Dominican; spread of mystical, spiritual and prophetic ideas of figures such as Abbot Joachim; translation movements transmitting Greek and Islamic philosophy and sciences to the Latin West; transmission of Platonic, Aristotelian and Islamic ethical and spiritual traditions via Muslim bridge of Spain and Sicily; Scholasticism and establishment of universities and general study schools. St. Thomas’ life mostly revolved around these realities and Muslim related issues were part and parcel of them. Thomas acted and reacted to these realities and on the way accepted, absorbed, borrowed, modified, criticized, refuted and rejected Muslim ideas, concepts and doctrines. In a sense Thomas was engrossed by the Muslim philosophy, theology, spirituality, politics and Christian mission to the Muslims.

Thomas was born around 1225 in the castle of Roccasecca, Aquino, in the Kingdom of Sicily. Aquino was just a few hundred miles south of Lucera where 20,000 Muslims were settled by Fredrick II in 1224. Lucera had a vibrant Muslim community till 1300 and played a crucial role in the Imperial court of Fredrick II. Thomas’ father Landulf was a minor knight. His mother Donna Theodora D’Aquino was from Naples and a very remote cousin of Emperor Fredrick II. Aquino was the farthest northwestern province of the thirteenth century Kingdom of Sicily. Sicily was ruled by Muslims for close to three centuries (831-1072) and countless Muslims stayed behind even after the Norman conquest of it. Likewise the German Hohenstaufen dynasty which replaced the Normans, especially Emperor Fredrick II was very Muslim friendly and was called a baptized Sultan. He became the King of Sicily in 1198 and hired Muslims into his army and even into his personal bodyguards. He is reported to have trusted his Muslim bodyguards and soldiers more than some normal mercenaries and common soldiers due to his constant warfare with papacy. The common soldiers and knights could change loyalties due to religious and financial interests but the Muslim soldiers had no such religious reasons to support papacy against the secular and Muslim friendly emperor. The bulk of St. Thomas’ family served in Fredrick’s army along with the Muslim regiment and Thomas’ brothers alternated their loyalties between the Emperor and Popes.

Thomas’ brother “Aimo, or Aimone, became a soldier and fought with the army of Frederick II, accompanied him on the fifth crusade, was captured in 1232, was held for ransom on the island of Cyprus, and was eventually released through the intercession of Pope Gregory IX in 1233. From 1233 onward Aimo supported the Pope’s cause against Frederick.” His other brother “Rinaldo, or Reginaldo, also served in the Emperor’s forces until 1245. In 1240 he is mentioned as valettus imperatoris, i.e., the Emperor’s page, a noble youth attending the sovereign’s service and being trained-such at least was the custom at Frederick’s court-for responsible office in the realm. In 1245, when Frederick II was deposed by Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons, Rinaldo changed allegiance and fought with the armies of the Pope against Frederick.”

Thomas’ early education and upbringing was in the Benediction tradition. “After his fifth birthday,” i.e., around 1230 or 1231, his parents brought Thomas to the ancient Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino.” As the youngest son in the family, he was brought as an oblate (oblntus), that is to say, he was offered to God in the Benedictine way of life for elementary training in the practice of the rule and basic education. Landulf and Theodora had made careful plans for the future of the family; Thomas, it was hoped, would become abbot of Monte Cassino.”

Thomas’ decade long stay at Mont Cassino witnessed a constant warfare between Papal and Imperial forces of Fredrick II. The Holy Roman Emperor and the Popes were fighting for authority especially in Sicily. Their troops continuously fought at various fronts. The Popes repeatedly commanded Fredrick to fulfill his vow of crusade to the Holy Land but the Emperor was afraid that papacy would misuse his absence from Italy to consolidate its powers in the neighboring Sicilian areas. “Monte Cassino had been held by imperial troops from about1225 onward. When Frederick II finally fulfilled his vow to go on a crusade to the Holy Land, a papal army under the command of a cardinal invaded the abbey and laid hands upon its valuable treasures to keep them from imperial forces. In 1229, after Frederick’s return from the Holy Land, imperial troops with a contingent of Saracens among them invaded Cassinese territory and laid siege to the abbey. The following year, 1230, saw these campaigns ended by the peace of San Germano (present-day Cassino at the foot of the Cassino Mountain), concluded on July 23.” The decade between 1230 and 1239 witnessed relative calm in the Abbey but not without simmering tensions. In 1236 the abbot Landulfo Sinnibaldo, a distant relative of the Aquino family, who originally received Thomas at Monte Cassino died. The Abbey did not receive the replacement for the next three years due to power struggle between papacy and Fredrick II. “It was not until February 1239 that the abbey obtained a new abbot. The excommunication of Frederick in March of that same year was the signal for another outbreak of hostilities between the Pope and Emperor. In April the abbey was occupied and fortified by imperial troops. Some of the monks were expelled. In June of 1239 an edict of Frederick’s banished from the kingdom all religious born outside its· territory. Only eight monks remained at Monte Cassino. It is obvious that in such circumstances there was no room for young oblates at the abbey” Thomas came back to his house in Aquino. The abbot encouraged his father to enroll him in the University of Naples to study liberal arts and philosophy.

This early childhood experience had lasting effects upon the life and writings of Thomas. “This situation is reflected in the life and writings of Thomas, who has given us two answers to this unfortunate confusion into which the Christian world was plunged. One was doctrinal, the other personal. The doctrinal answer was to be given in one of his earliest works, the Scriptum super Sententias II, dist. 44, in which Thomas states that the Pope, in virtue of his canonical office, is the spiritual head of the Church and nothing else; every other political or worldly accretion to this essentially spiritual authority is a historical accident, which may or may not be there without in any way diminishing the Church’s inner spiritual nature. Thomas’s personal answer to this problem, the one which surely grew out of his experiences with his own family, was to refuse any position in the Church that would have involved him in temporal transactions, which the Popes and ecclesiastics of his time, especially Innocent IV, considered to be their ordinary and natural business. This is the most likely reason why Thomas refused the offer of the Pope to make him abbot of Monte Cassino, even when allowed to remain a Dominican Friar and wear his habit;’ as well as the offer to promote him to archbishop of Naples with the addition of funds from the monastery of St Peter ad Aram,” and finally his firm intention to remain a Friar even if he were to be offered a cardinal’s hat.” Likewise the long presence of Fredrick’s troops including Muslims in Monte Cassino and then their reoccupation of the Abbey by expulsion of papal forces and monks would have been traumatically noticed by Thomas.

At Naples Thomas witnessed Muslim philosophical tradition in the garb of Aristotle’s philosophy and Greek logic. The university was also known for its anti-papal tendencies due to Fredrick’s patronage. “The studium at Naples was founded by Frederick II in 1224 to rival the papal studium at Bologna in particular. In the foundation charter of Frederick II explicitly stated that the first 1224 function of the studium was to train shrewd and intelligent men for the imperial service…it had clearly two fighting fronts, one toward the Church, the other toward Bologna.” Its anti-papal orientation can be gauged by its reactions to the papal anti-imperial decisions and policies. The lectures in the university were “suspended from 1229 to 1235 because pontifical troops invaded the Puglia. There was a temporary suspension of lectures in 1239 in retaliation for Frederick’s second excommunication, but the professors of the studium pleaded with him not to close the studium altogether. When Frederick’s anger abated, classes resumed on November ‘4, 1239, when Thomas entered the studium with other young nobles who were also oblates. In 1252 King Conrad moved the studium to Salerno, where there was already a school of medicine that dated back for centuries. In 1258 King Manfred returned it to Naples.”

Thomas did not study theology at Naples but liberal arts and philosophy. He was into Aristotelian natural philosophy and metaphysics at a time when students at Paris and other universities were forbidden by papal bulls to study them. Aristotelian philosophy was initially considered antithetical to the Christian faith and a tool of Muslim polemics against Christianity. That could have been one of the reasons that Fredrick encouraged translation of Aristotelian philosophy along with Muslim commentaries to undermine papal bulls and overly orthodox traditional tendencies. Aristotle was understood through the commentaries of the Muslim jurist, theologian and philosopher Ibn Rushd commonly known as “commentator” in the Latin West. “Aristotle’s natural philosophy into the schools in southern universities was the culture prevailing in Frederick’s court in Palermo… The commentaries of Averroes were the most important single project of the early thirteenth-century translators. We do not know exactly who translated the rest of the Averroist corpus, but parts of it were in circulation by 1220 or by 1230, and these came from the pen of Michael Scot.” The Muslim philosophers such as Abu Nasr al- Farabi, Abu Ali Sina and theologians such as Abu Hamid al- Ghazali had closely studied Greek philosophy and acted and reacted to it. Ibn Rushd (Averrois) was heir to this long Muslim tradition and an expositor of Greco Islamic philosophical symbioses. Fredrick enthusiastically patronized Averrois’ commentaries and other Muslim scientific works. “The whole breadth of Aristotelian science, Arabic astronomy, and Greek medicine flourished in Palermo, Salerno, and Naples prior to their assimilation in northern universities.” Therefore Thomas’ early exposure to Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy was at Naples and not at Paris as commonly contended. Albert the Great and Paris university settings enhanced that experience but did not initiate it. The twelfth century Latin Renaissance was centered in Spain and Sicily far before reaching to the academic centers of France, Germany and England.

The European transition from the so called Dark Ages to Medieval Renaissance began in the twelfth century partly due to the translation of countless philosophical and scientific Arabic manuscripts to Latin. Charles Homer Haskins, the Harvard historian of the Middle Ages, and advisor to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, noted that in Europe “A library of ca. 1100 would have little beyond the Bible and the Latin Fathers, with their Carolingian commentators, the service books of the church and various lives of saints, the textbooks of Boethius and some others, bits of local history, and perhaps certain of the Latin classics, too often covered with dust.” But the twelfth century witnessed a Latin campaign to translate books of “philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy unknown to the earlier mediaeval tradition and recovered from the Greeks and Arabs in the course of the twelfth century” ushering the “Twelfth Century Renaissance”. Haskins stated that the “Renaissance of the twelfth century, like its Italian successor three hundred years later, drew its life from two principal sources. Each was based in part upon the knowledge and ideas already present in the Latin West, in part upon an influx of new learning and literature from the East. But whereas the Renaissance of the fifteenth century was concerned primarily with literature, that of the twelfth century was concerned even more with philosophy and science. And while in the Quattrocento the foreign source was wholly Greek, in the twelfth century it was also Arabic, derived from Spain and Sicily and Syria and Africa as well as from Constantinople.”

Early Muslims were heir to the Greek scientific and philosophical tradition long lost in the Western world. They also absorbed the Egyptian, Persian, Chinese and Indian traditions of knowledge and created an Islamic synthesis in conformity with the fundamental principles of their faith. Steven P. Marrone stated that “Taken in its entirety, the evolution of speculative thought in the Muslim world marked a considerable enrichment of the philosophical heritage of late Antiquity. And Arabic achievements in mathematics and natural philosophy, especially astronomy, laid the foundations for later medieval science in the West and ultimately set the stage for the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century.” E. J. Holymard observed that “During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there was a scientific renaissance in Europe, and scholars from Christian countries journeyed to Muslim universities in Spain, Egypt, Syria and even Morocco in order to acquire knowledge from their foes in religion but friends in learning. Arabic science soon began to filter through, and by the middle of the thirteenth century the trickle had become a river.” England’s ‘first scientist’, Adelard of Bath, explained what he had learned from his Arab masters in these words: “From the Arab masters I have learned one thing, led by reason, while you are caught by the image of authority, and led by another halter. For what is an authority to be called, but a halter? As the brute beasts, indeed, are led anywhere by the halter, and have no idea by what they are led or why, but only follow the rope that holds them, so the authority of writers leads not a few of you into danger, tied and bound by brutish credulity.” Haskins observed that the Muslims “with no native philosophy and science of their own, but with a marvellous power of assimilating the culture of others, quickly absorbed whatever they found in Western Asia, while in course of time they added much from their own observation and from the peoples farther to the East. Arabic translations were made directly from the Greek, as in the case of Ptolemy’s Almagest (A.D. 827), as well as from Syriac and Hebrew. Certain of the caliphs especially favored learning, while the universal diffusion of the Arabic language made communication easy and spread a common culture throughout Islam, regardless of political divisions. The most vigorous scientific and philosophical activity of the early Middle Ages lay in the lands of the Prophet, whether in the fields of medicine and mathematics or in those of astronomy, astrology, and alchemy. To their Greek inheritance the Arabs added something of their own: observation of disease sufficiently accurate to permit of identification; large advances in arithmetic, algebra, and trigonometry, where we must also take account of Hindu contributions; and the standard astronomical tables of the Middle Ages. The reception of this science in Western Europe marks a turning-point in the history of European intelligence. Until the twelfth century the intellectual contacts between Christian Europe and the Arab world were few and unimportant.”

The Muslim Spain played a major role in this transmission process. “Spain’s part was to serve as the chief link with the learning of the Mohammedan world; the very names of the translators who worked there illustrate the European character of the new search for learning: John of Seville, Hugh of Santalla, Plato of Tivoli, Gerard of Cremona, Hermann of Carinthia, Rudolf of Bruges, Robert of Chester, and the rest. Christian Spain was merely a transmitter to the North.” Haskins further observed that “When, in the twelfth century, the Latin world began to absorb this Oriental lore, the pioneers of the new learning turned chiefly to Spain, where one after another sought the key to knowledge in the mathematics and astronomy, the astrology and medicine and philosophy which were there stored up; and throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Spain remained the land of mystery, of the unknown yet knowable, for inquiring minds beyond the Pyrenees. The great adventure of the European scholar lay in the Peninsula…the lure of Spain began to act only in the twelfth century, and the active impulse toward the spread of Arabic learning came from beyond the Pyrenees and from men of diverse origins. The chief names are Adelard of Bath, Plato of Tivoli, Robert of Chester, Hermann of Carinthia, with his pupil Rudolf of Bruges, and Gerard of Cremona, while in Spain itself we have Dominicus Gondisalvi, Hugh of Santalla, and a group of Jewish scholars, Petrus Alphonsi, John of Seville, Savasorda, and Abraham ben Ezra. Much in their biography and relations with one another is still obscure. Their work was at first confined to no single place, but translation was carried on at Barcelona, Tarazona, Segovia, Leon, Pampiona, as well as beyond the Pyrenees at Toulouse, Beziers, Narbonne, and Marseilles. Later, however, the chief centre became Toledo.”

The European’s pursuit of the Arabic and Islamic knowledge continued for the next few centuries culminating in an insatiable philosophical and scientific curiosity in France, Italy and many other areas of Northern Europe. Haskins notes that “This Spanish tide flowed over the Pyrenees into Southern France, to centres like Narbonne, Beziers, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Marseilles, where the new astronomy appears as early as 1139 and traces can also be found of the astrology, philosophy, and medicine of the Arabs on into the fourteenth century.”

In Italy, the cultural and philosophical revival first started in the South. Sicily had been under the Muslim rule from 902 to 1091. Additionally, the Italian City States such as Amalfi, Venice, Milan, Genoa and Florence were in constant close relations with the Muslim Spain, Sicily, North Africa, Syria and Egypt. Their lucrative international trade with the Middle East was on going long before the Crusades. It flourished during the two centuries of Crusader’s presence in the Holy Land and continued afterwards. The Italian merchants transmitted a host of skills, sciences, arts and values to the Italian Peninsula. For instance, “Leonard of Pisa, son of a Pisan customs official in North Africa, acquired there a familiarity with Arabic mathematics which made him the leading European mathematician of the thirteenth century.”

The Sicilian contributions to the translation and transmission movement were far greater than any other Italian state. The process was not impeded by the Norman conquest of Sicily. It was the other way around. It greatly enhanced and facilitated the transmission process. Haskins states that there was “one Italian land which took more direct part in the movement, namely Sicily. Midway between Europe and Africa, Sicily had been under Arab rule from 902 to 1091, and under the Normans who followed it retained a large Mohammedan element in its population. Moreover, it had many commercial relations with Mohammedan countries, while King Roger conducted campaigns in Northern Africa and Frederick II made an expedition to Palestine. Arabian physicians and astrologers were employed at the Sicilian court, and one of the great works of Arabic learning, the Geography of Edrisi, was composed at King Roger’s command. A contemporary scholar, Eugene the Emir, translated the Optics of Ptolemy, while under Frederick II Michael Scot and Theodore of Antioch made versions of Arabic works on zoology for the Emperor’s use. Frederick also maintained a correspondence on scientific topics with many sovereigns and scholars of Mohammedan lands, and the work of translation went on under his son and successor Manfred, while we should probably refer to this Sicilian centre some of the versions by unknown authors.”

The Western Europe learned, understood and digested many Greco-Roman sciences through the Muslim medium. It does not make sense that the Europe which for centuries had no or minimal contact with the Greco-Roman sciences and philosophy suddenly woke up to understand, digest, master and apply these sophisticated philosophical concept and scientific precincts. The Europeans needed a continuous philosophical and scientific tradition with relevant contemporary vocabulary, concepts, explanations and understandings to make sense of an old philosophical legacy and scientific heritage. This legacy was well preserved, explained, adapted and synthesized by the Muslim culture and tradition, as George Saliba very well demonstrates. The Latin Europe received a well preserved and cooked scientific tradition from the East and initially absorbed it as it was and then expanded upon it with the passage of time. The assimilation and expansion process left its indelible imprint upon the ultimate outcome. Haskins notes that the “indebtedness of the Western world to the Arabs is well illustrated in the scientific and commercial terms which its various languages have borrowed untranslated from the Arabic. Words like algebra, zero, cipher tell their own tale, as do ‘Arabic’ numerals and the word algorism which long distinguished their use as taught by al-Khwarizmi. In astronomy the same process is exemplified in almanac, zenith, nadir, and azimuth. From the Arabic we get alchemy, and perhaps chemistry, as well as alcohol, alkali, elixir, alembic, not to mention pharmaceutical terms like syrup and gum arabic. In the field of trade and navigation we have hazar and tariff, admiral and arsenal, and products of Mohammedan lands such as sugar and cotton, the muslin of Mosul and the damask of Damascus, the leather of Cordova and Morocco. Such fossils of our vocabulary reveal whole chapters of human intercourse in the Mediterranean. If Arabic learning reached Latin Christendom at many points, direct translation from the Greek was in the twelfth century almost wholly confined to Italy, where the most important meeting-point of Greek and Latin culture was the Norman kingdom of Southern Italy and Sicily.”

The Italian peninsula was too close to Muslim Sicily and Spain to escape Islamic influences. The Islamic bridge did help in transmitting many sciences, technologies, ideas and institutions to Italy. Transmission of the Arabic manuscripts from Spain and Sicily to Southern Italy was quite easy, and “it was through Spain and Sicily that Muslim learning penetrated Latin Christendom and helped stimulate the cultural awakening of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.”

Muslim presence in Sicily (827–1091) had rippling intellectual effects on Italian cities. Even the Norman conquest of Sicily and rule (1030–1198) did not eliminate the Muslim influences. During the early Norman rule of Rogers I, observes Alax Metcalfe, “the Muslim leaders were able to take a robust stance, particularly over the interrelated questions of religious continuity and leadership of their own communities. By and large, the same people who appeared to rule the towns led both the fighting and the post-conflict resolutions. In most cases, these leaders were maintained in their positions, thereby reducing the risk of rebellion since they had personally sworn to be bound by the treaty in the first instance.” He further observes that the “basis of interfaith diplomacy to guarantee peace and security was made on terms imposed by the Normans, but in terms proposed by the Muslims because the treaties, such as that at Malta, were specifically drawn up ‘according to their own [Islamic] law’. The Muslims paid the tributum or the censum, equivalent to that of the jizya, while the term ‘subjects’ (confoederati) which the Maltese Muslims agreed to become in relation to Count Roger, can be taken as the counterpart for the ahl al-dhimma (‘people of the protection’). In effect, what emerged was a type of indirect rule, not inconsistent with the constitutional and fiscal regulation of government of the Muslim dhimmi system under which the island’s Christians and Jews had been permitted to continue to worship freely, to use their own laws within their own communities, and to pay tribute in return for such guarantees.” Muslim settlements remained in Sicily for almost five centuries. Both Alfonso VI (d. 1109), the king of Leon-Castile and his son in law Norman King Roger I (1031–1101) were admirers of Islamic culture, civilization and sciences. They were patrons of Islamic sciences and facilitated their translation to Latin even at the expense of Pope’s wrath. Metcalfe notices that the “kingdom of Sicily, with its Muslim majority population on the island, played a central role in the formation of medieval Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” Muslim population was “vital to the island’s economy, in both rural agricultural and urban trades and manufacturing, as well as providing skilled craftsmen, merchants and products for export. During the period of Norman state-building, Muslims maintained their roles as naval officers, foot soldiers and as bureaucrats charged with the management of the royal fiscal administration and palaces. Arab-Muslim influence made significant impressions on palace life, art and administration as well as on the outlook and lifestyles of the kings themselves. Above all, an Arab- Islamic facet was adopted as an element within the self-consciously tripartite, authoritarian and sacral kingship of Roger II. Protocols, ceremonies, clothes and the evolution of courtly behavioural codes complemented the art, architecture and recreational pursuits around the palaces. Moreover, royal patronage of scholars made Sicily a key link in the transfer of knowledge between the lands of Islam and Christian Europe.” It was Roger II who asked the known Muslim scholar Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi to compile the book on geography. This Muslim Norman collaborated work of geography was completed in 1154 AD. Al-Idrisi worked for William I after his father’s death but returned to his homeland Morocco to die there in 1165.

Sicily remained a major center of Norman Muslim collaborations in the coming centuries. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250), the grandson of Roger II was a thorough Sicilian in his approach to Islam and Muslims. Frederick enjoyed a multicultural outlook. He, according to Donald Detwiler, was “A man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world), by Nietzsche the first European, and by many historians the first modern ruler – Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something very much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy.” He was proficient in Arabic in addition to five other languages. Arabic was an important part of his Sicilian School of poetry which played a vital role in the development of modern Italian language. Joseph Schacht calls him “the Islamophile Arabist” who “discussed philosophy, logic, medicine, and mathematics with Muslims, was influenced by their Islamic ways and established at Lucera a colony of Saracens in his service, with its own mosque and all the amenities of eastern life.” He wore an Arabic mantle at his coronation ceremony. This red silk mantle was crafted during the reign of his grandfather King Roger II by Arab workers and bore an Arabic inscription specifying that the robe was made in the Islamic year of 528 A. H. The robe had an Islamic benediction written in Arabic language wishing its wearer prosperity, generosity, splendor, fame and magnificence. This coronation robe can be found today in the Schatzkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Frederick II enlisted Muslims in his army and many of his personal bodyguards were Muslims. He did not mind his bodyguards prostrating and offering prayers at the time of five Muslim daily prayers. His personal Arabic tutor was a Muslim. He like his Muslim friends kept his wives secluded. He also tolerated Jews and included them in the court. His attitude towards Muslims was really different than his contemporaries. Initially he did not heed papal orders to crusade against Muslims. Later on when he besieged Jerusalem he did not enter the city for almost five months and negotiated the peace treaty with Egyptian Ayyubid Caliph al-Malik al-Kamil Naser ad-Din Abu al-Ma’ali Muhammad (1177-1238). It has been noticed that the “lslamophile Frederick was perhaps never personally eager to pursue a crusade against the Muslims. Instead he preferred to end the war without blood and listening to the muezzin in the holiest city of Christendom.”

The treaty of Jaffa allowed Muslims full access to the Muslim holy sites with full control of the facilities. Al-Kamil wrote to his followers that “We have only conceded to them some churches and some ruined houses. The sacred precincts, the venerated Rock and all the other sanctuaries to which we make our pilgrimages remain ours as they were; Muslim rites continue to flourish as they did before, and the Muslims have their own governor of the rural provinces and districts.”

It is argued that Frederick’s overall kind treatment of Muslims was a result of his diplomatic political disposition. Indeed diplomacy cannot be discounted but given his appreciations for Muslim sciences, language and culture his sympathetic tendencies towards Muslims can neither be slighted. There was a genuine affinity that existed between the early Norman kings and the Muslim civilization. Of course Frederick was not very diplomatic during his struggles with Popes and many European princes. His antagonistic approach to the ecclesiastical hierarchy in itself spells a secularist rather than conservative Christian propensity. The Pope’s identified Frederick’s Church antagonism with his love for Islamic ways and Muslim manners. Frederick had amply displayed the Renaissance penchant of Christian indifference and subtle appreciation for Muslim ways and was amply scolded for such a non-traditional bent.

While Muslims had good opinion of Frederick II, the Pope excommunicated him for four times due to a number of reasons one being his cordial relationships with and appreciation of Muslim religion. Abulafia notices that “the papal propagandists also accused Frederick of being too friendly to one of the religions he was said to condemn, Islam.” The Emperor was genuinely skeptical about certain aspects of the Christian tradition especially its’ incarnational and Trinitarian bent. The Pope’s solo rights of salvation and governance, an unintended off shoot of the Trinitarian outlook, was unacceptable to the Emperor. He had problem with Papal authority throughout his time as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Dorothea Weltecke notes that “Frederick’s dramatic life and reign were affected by many conflicts, notably overshadowed by his long struggle with Popes Gregory IX (1227-1241) and Innocentius IV (1243- 1254), primarily concerning rule in Italy. His demand for universal ruler ship as Christian Roman Emperor collided with the same claim by the popes. This is the time when the papal claim to real power in European politics approached its climax in theory and practice. In 1245 a council in the city of Lyon officially pronounced the emperor deposed.”

Pope Gregory declared him a “forerunner of Antichrist’, a monstrous Leviathan roaring blasphemy from a lion’s mouth, formed like a panther but with the feet of a bear… Metaphor was heaped on metaphor: the panther was also a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’… a scorpion.” The Pope sent him a stream of invective letters that “portrayed him in blood-curdling apocalyptic language as the fourth beast in the vision of the prophet Daniel, a destroyer and devourer, iron-toothed and brazen clawed, believing himself able to transform those things that are set, to direct the course of history away from its path. The atheistic emperor was seen as a new Herod, a Sadducee, and much else…” Abulafia notices that in “Gregory IX, certainly, we do see a passionate commitment to the destruction of Frederick, that is carried through to his successor Innocent IV.” The Pope publically called him a “Saracen lover”, “a destroyer of churches” and “the denier of God.” The defiant Frederick cared less about the Pope and his decision of deposing the Emperor. Frederick took out a crown and “with his eyes blazing, placed it on the head where it belonged, roaring: ‘I have not yet lost my crown, neither will pope or council take it from me without a bloody war!” Frederick is also reported to have thought of introducing a new civil religion tolerant of various religious groups.

The Emperor’s skepticism regarding some Christian dogmas embodied by Papal authority and office might have played a role in St. Thomas Aquinas’ efforts to rationalize Christian theology in his Summa Theologica. As mentioned above, St. Thomas was born in Aquino county of Sicily and was a graduate of Naples University which was founded by Frederick II in 1224. It was here that Aquinas was introduced to Aristotle, Averroes and Maimonides. We should not forget the fact that the Summa was mainly addressed to Muslim Saracens and mostly attended to Muslim objections of Christian theology. Muslim theological and philosophical thought constituted the backdrop of Aquinas’ scholastic endeavors. Aquinas had acted and reacted to Muslim scholastic tradition. Frederick’s skepticism of Christian dogmas and his appreciation of Muslim ways might have constituted the framework of Aquinas’ struggles to bring the two theological traditions close through rational discourse. In the end, in 1277 Aquinas like Frederick was also condemned by the Church.

Frederick was also well acquainted with the Muslim models of governance. Jacob Burckhardt described that Emperor Frederick II “early accustomed himself to a thoroughly objective treatment of affairs, the first modern man to sit upon a throne. His acquaintance with the internal condition and administration of the Saracenic States was close and intimate; and the mortal struggle in which he was engaged with the Papacy compelled him, no less than his adversaries, to bring into the field all the resources at his command.” He collected “Taxes, based on a comprehensive assessment and in accordance with Mohammedan practice” and “it was after genuine Mohammedan fashion that Frederick traded on his own account in all parts of the Mediterranean, reserving to himself the monopoly of many commodities and restricting the commerce of his subjects.” According to Burckhardt it was during such times and under such Sicilian leadership that “St. Thomas Aquinas, a born subject of Frederick, developed the theory of a constitutional monarchy in which the prince would be assisted by an upper house named by himself and a representative body elected by the people.”

Frederick II’s. court was an important center not only of Aristotelian but especially of Averroistic studies. The translations made in this court were of Aristotelian Greek and Arabic authors, the most important of whom was Averroes, translated in part at Toledo and at the court in Palermo. The ‘works of Averroes slowly penetrated into Latin scholasticism after 1230 and their channels were the court in Palermo and the studium in Naples.”

At Paris and Cologne (1245-1259) St. Thomas studied with Albert the Great. Albert was thoroughly influenced by the Muslim philosophers such as al- Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd and theological philosopher Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. He extensively quoted these Muslim sages in his writings and St. Thomas inherited that tendency from his teacher. Additionally Latin Averroism was rampant in Paris during Thomas’ second term (1269-1272) there. Ibn Rushd’s philosophical views were considered anti-Christian and anti-faith. Both the Franciscans and Dominicans were pitched against the Latin Averroists and their ultra –rationalist views. Therefore discussions about Muslim philosophy, theology and ethics were an intrinsic part of Thomas’ career in Paris.

During his stay in Naples, Orvieto and Rome (1259-1268) St. Thomas compiled his works such as Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica directed mostly to the Muslim audience and Christians living among the Muslims. Thousands of Christians were settled in the areas of Spain and Sicily re-conquered by the Christian crusaders. Countless Muslims stayed in the newly established Christian kingdoms of Sicily, Aragon, Castile and Valencia. The Christian leadership was afraid that the advance Muslim culture and philosophical theology would threaten the traditional faith of Christian settlers. St. Thomas and other Dominicans’ writings were mostly geared towards preservation of Catholic faith of those Christians living among the Muslims. They were also directed towards converting Muslims to Christianity as the missionary works of Dominicans and Franciscans were at their peak during the middle of the thirteenth century. Therefore, it will not be an exaggeration to state that St. Thomas Aquinas was surrounded by the Muslims, absorbed by the Muslim related sciences and matters throughout his life, acted and reacted to Muslim religion, philosophy, theology and politics and on the way appropriated, absorbed and assimilated a lot of Muslim ideas and thoughts in accordance with his synthetic project and missionary needs.

Ibn Sina and Aquinas

Ibn Sina’s philosophical encyclopedia’s (al-Shifa) important portions were translated to Latin in the twelfth century, including works of great interest to twelfth and thirteenth-century thinkers such i.e., a De anima, a Metaphysics, a Physics, and a small part of the Logic. “Ibn Sina’s influence in the West started penetrating palpably since the time of Albert the Great, the famous saint and teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ own metaphysics (and theology) will be unintelligible without an understanding of the debt he owes to ibn Sina. No one can fail to observe ibn Sina’s influence even in Aquinas’ later and bigger works like the Summa Theologica and the Summa contra Gentiles. But the influence of the Muslim philosopher in the earlier formative period of the Christian Saint is overwhelming; he is mentioned by the latter, e.g., on almost each page of his De Ente et Essentia which is, indeed, the foundation of Aquinas’ metaphysics. No doubt, ibn Sina is also frequently criticized by Aquinas and others, but even the amount of criticism itself shows in what esteem he was held in the West.”

Ibn Sina was equally influential among the medieval Jewish as well as Christian philosophical circles. Jon McGinnis observes that “Avicenna became a profound influence not only on Islamic thinking but also on that of Jews (such as Maimonides) and Christians (such as Thomas Aquinas). If a great thinker is one whose thought can be assimilated and developed by people of very different intellectual traditions, then Avicenna was, without doubt, a great thinker.” It was his philosophical writings which impacted the Latin West more than any other of his works. “Avicenna’s Canon, with its handy compendium format, proved to be immensely popular in Europe, and continued to be a medical textbook at universities into the eighteenth century. It was his philosophy, however, that would have the most enduring effect, for it would influence (sometimes negatively, other times positively) some of the great Catholic theologians and philosophers of that time, such as Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus.” Avicenna’s thought “played an important role in the reinvigoration of philosophy in Europe, as well as the formulation of Christian theology by such notaries as Thomas Aquinas and others.”

Ibn Sina was well received by St. Thomas’s teacher Albert the Great (c. 1200–1280). Albert quoted Ibn Sina extensively. He confessedly took even his famous question about motion “Is motion a flowing form (forma fluens) or the form of a flow (fluxus formae)?” from the Physics of Avicenna’s Cure.” McGinnis notes that “the psychological work of Avicenna’s Cure, was second only to Aristotle’s in influencing Albert’s own psychological works. Thus, as a notable example, in Albert’s De homine, he cited Aristotle 280 times with Avicenna coming in close behind with some 230 citations. In fact, it would seem that Albert preferred the way that Avicenna structured the science of psychology over that of Aristotle, as well as giving Avicenna pride of place when discussing the vegetative soul—that is, the principle associated with the functions of self-nourishment, growth, and reproduction— as well as the internal senses, such as imagination and memory.”

The influence of Ibn Sina upon St. Thomas was even greater. He wildly quoted Ibn Sina and absorbed many of his metaphysical ideas. McGinnes notes that “Perhaps of more importance in the long run was Avicenna’s influence on Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), whose system of thought still makes up much of the philosophical theology of the Catholic Church and Christian apologetics more generally. Here it is important to note that in Thomas’s earlier works, he is much more willing to reference Avicenna by name in a positive way, whereas in his more mature works, such as the Summa Theologiae and commentaries on Aristotle, he prefers to mention Avicenna by name only when he is in disagreement with him. Such a seeming turn of opinion, I believe, is not so much because, as Thomas grew older, he came to reject the Avicennan elements that impressed him in his youth, but because by then he had so thoroughly incorporated those elements into his own system of thought that they genuinely became his own.” John Wippel observes that Ibn Sina’s influence upon St. Thomas “is both positive and negative. That is to say, Thomas borrows and incorporates into his own philosophy various points already made by Avicenna, though frequently not without changing and adapting them to his own purposes. At the same time, Thomas is aware of a number of other Avicennian positions which he regards as incorrect and which he therefore rejects. Moreover, on many occasions Thomas cites Avicenna by name, thereby leaving no doubt concerning whom he has in mind. On many other occasions he does not explicitly identify Avicenna as his source even when he actually uses him. This is something Thomas’s reader must discover for himself.”

Jean-Pierre Torrell pinpoints another reason which might have led St. Thomas to reduce dependence upon and quotations from Ibn Sina. He states that “First received favorably, he was (Ibn Sina) later criticized by William of Auvergne in 1230, but remained in favor among certain English Franciscans such as Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus. As for Thomas, he cites him about 450 times. Avicenna’s influence is quite strong in the treatise De ente et essential (before 1256), and if Thomas cites him numerous times in the Sentences (more than 150 times in the first two books), in the two series of disputed questions De veritate and De potentia, and in several other older works, he becomes more rare as time goes on, eventually disappearing almost entirely.” This initial dependence was diluted in the later phase. “Now we have to point out a curious phenomenon: if the name of Avicenna disappears, his teaching is still recognizable in a number of places, and so we have to ask the reasons for this silence. The most likely reason, perhaps, would be that Thomas did not want to compromise a teaching that he deemed to be true with the name of a philosopher who was more and more under attack. George Anawati established a list of forty-seven instances of ideas, definitions, and distinctions from Avicenna approved by Thomas. But he also emphasizes the fact that Thomas distances himself from him on decisive matters such as the existence of secondary causes, the theory of the separated agent intellect, the necessity of creation, the creation from all eternity, the denial of free will and of the resurrection of the body, and so on. Most importantly, we might add, Thomas’s philosophy is before all else that of existent being, whereas Avicennism is a form of essentialism. In spite of the multiplicity of things that Thomas borrowed from Avicenna, we cannot qualify his synthesis as Avicennian.”

St. Thomas integrated Ibn Sina’s metaphysical ideas into his writings. For instance he borrowed from Ibn Sina the definition of “truth”, “creation” and differentiation between essence and existence, details about the nature and subject of metaphysics and discovery of being as being.

St. Thomas appropriated the very distinction between essence and existence to his metaphysical designs. McGinnis observes that “The most obvious case of such an appropriation is the real distinction between being (ens)—Avicenna would say existence—and essence (essentia). In fact, Thomas names one of his earlier opuscula, On Being and Essence (De ente et essentia), after the famous Avicennan distinction. In this work, if one sets aside the final chapter that discusses accidents, Avicenna is positively referenced more than any other philosopher, including Aristotle. Even if one includes the final chapter, where nearly half of the Aristotle references occur, Avicenna still ties Aristotle for the overall number of explicit positive references, thirteen in all. Even in Thomas’s later works where the Aristotelian actuality-potentiality distinction comes to predominate, he never fully discards Avicenna’s essence-existence distinction, as is clearly witnessed in Thomas’s account of divine simplicity and divine perfection at Summa Theologiae, part I, question 3 and 4, respectively.”

It must be noted here that St. Thomas did not just copy arguments from Muslim theologians and philosophers. He appropriated them to his Christian context. His project of reconciling the Christian faith with Aristotelian philosophy came later than his Muslim predecessors. Muslims were the medieval pioneers in the field of reconciliation of faith and reason with multiple viable paradigms. St. Thomas benefitted from these endeavors and appropriated them to his Christian needs and designs. Ibn Sina was among the widely translated and read medieval figures. He had a complete system of metaphysics as noted above. The wide circulation of his works in the medieval universities was among the main factors of his wider appeal. That is why his influence upon St. Thomas is more marked. “No doubt the following factors facilitated Ibn Sina’s influence on Latin philosophical circles: first, the translation into Latin, and fast circulation in universities, of the most essential parts of al-Shifa as early as the twelfth and thirteenth Christian centuries; and, second, Ibn Sina’s efforts to synthesize Greek and Islamic thought, an attempt in which the West found the seed for a synthesis between Greek philosophy and Christianity.” Therefore, St. Thomas, the medieval stalwart of this reconciliation project, was an heir to Ibn Sina.

Ibn Rushd and Thomas Aquinas

The tremendous impact of Spanish Ibn Rushd upon his Italian neighbor St. Thomas Aquinas cannot be denied. St. Thomas like the other scholastics was actively engaged with Aristotelianism. Ibn Rushd was the “Commentator” who had extensively studied Aristotle and explained the meanings and implications of his philosophy. St. Thomas did not refer to Ibn Rushd by name but simply as a the “Commentator” expecting his readers to know who the “Commentator” was due to Ibn Rushd’s popularity among the Latin Christians. Majid Fakhry, one of the leading authorities on Ibn Rushd, observes that “Averroes was a towering figure in the history of philosophy in general and Aristotelianism in particular, both in the East and West. Surpassing all of his predecessors, from Alexander of Aphrodisias in the second century, to Boethius in the fifth century and Avicenna in the eleventh, he was the most meticulous expositor of Aristotle’s philosophy in any language or clime up to his own day. Despite his divergences from most of the early Greek or Arab commentators, whom he constantly refers to or criticizes, his understanding of the Master is profound.” Ibn Rushd was the medieval Europe’s gateway to Aristotle. As Aristotelianism served as the core of Latin Europe’s intellectual foundations, the impact of Ibn Rushd upon the medieval Europe was tremendous. Fakhry notes that “Averroes’ impact on Western-European thought, the translation of the whole Averroist corpus of commentaries on Aristotle into Hebrew and Latin, starting early in the thirteenth century, had a far-reaching effect on philosophical and theological developments… throughout the next three centuries and beyond.”

Latin Averroism, the philosophical school named after Ibn Rushd, became so pervasive especially in the universities such as Paris that it became the major concern for the Popes and Bishops starting from the end of twelfth all the way to fifteenth century. M. M. Sharif states that “By the end of the sixth/twelfth century Averroism, i.e., the philosophy of ibn Rushd, had become so popular, particularly among the whole school of philosophers represented first by the Faculty of Arts at Paris, and had become such a menace to Orthodox Christianity that in 607/1210 the Council of Paris forbade all teachings of Aristotle’s Natural History and ibn Rushd’s commentaries on it. This prohibition was confirmed by the Legate Robert of Courcon, Cardinal of Paris, in 612/1215, and renewed by the Popes in 629/1231 and 643/ 1245. The Physics and Metaphysics of Aristotle were forbidden at the University of Toulouse by Urban IV in 662/1263. In 668/1269 the Bishop of Paris condemned thirteen of ibn Rushd’s basic doctrines, and in 676/1277 he condemned the prominent Averroist, Siger of Brabant. Yet the strength of Averroism was irresistible. No force could suppress it.” St. Thomas had no choice but to study Ibn Rushd to understand Aristotle and to refute the ultra-rationalist Latin Averroists. His interactions with Ibn Rushd started in Naples, Sicily and continued for the rest of his life.

St. Thomas, the product of Frederick’s Southern Italy and University of Naples, closely interacted with the writings of Ibn Rushd. They shared the philosophical aptitude, reformist mind, religio-political concerns and overall cultural milieu though differing religious traditions. Their end goal was the same. They intended to reconcile reason with revelation, the secular knowledge with the religious as Fakhry states. “As the two greatest Aristotelians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Averroes and Aquinas, had, despite their differences, a great deal in common. Apart from writing the most elaborate commentaries, prior to modern times, on the works of Aristotle, they were both genuinely interested in reconciling his metaphysical and ethical teaching with religious orthodoxy, Islamic in the first case and Christian in the second.” As mentioned earlier, the Muslims had been having this debate starting from the middle of eighth century. Both the theological and philosophical traditions were well established in the Muslim East as well as West by the time Aquinas embarked upon his project. He undoubtedly benefitted from these established traditions and appropriated them in accordance with his needs and agendas.

While Aquinas’s indebtedness to Islamic philosophical thought is emphasized by the majority, not many scholars active in the field openly emphasize his appreciation and appropriation of Muslim orthodox theological thought. Aquinas’s project of reconciliation of theology with philosophy and his overall goal of emancipating faith from the bondage of secular philosophical knowledge was identical to Asha’rites like al-Ghazali, al-Shahristani and al-Razi. Though less accommodative of reason in the realms of faith than the Asha’rites, nonetheless Aquinas was still closer in his overall approach to the Asha’rites than the Muslim philosophers. He referred to al-Ghazali almost 33 times in his Summa for less than his countless references to Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd but still a considerable number. His teacher Albert Magnus’s references to and appropriation of al-Ghazali’s ideas were far greater than St. Thomas. His overall theological outlook was closer to al-Ghazali than Ibn Rushd while in philosophical realms he towed the lines of Muslim philosophers more than that of Muslim theologians.

The scholars agree that St. Thomas was not a blind imitator or copier of Muslim philosophical or theological ideas. He picked and chose according to his needs and appropriated the material to his Christian context. St. Thomas was confronted with issues related to faith and reason similar to what the Mu’atazilites, Asha’rites and Muslim philosophers faced centuries before him. The Islamic scholastic and philosophical tradition was handy as most of the related works were already translated from Arabic to Latin and St. Thomas had access to them. He acted and reacted to them and in the process digested and absorbed whatever was useful to his project of reconciliation of faith with philosophy and discarded whatever he thought was in conflict with the Christian faith and tradition. There was quite a bit of absorption, appropriation and assimilation of Muslim ideas on the way. For example, even though St. Thomas disagreed with Ibn Rushd on a number of important points, he absorbed and utilized many of Ibn Rushd’s philosophical ideas. His indebtedness to Ibn Rushd can be gauged from his frequent quotations from, assessments of, interactions with and reactions to Ibn Rushd’s writings. He referred to Ibn Rushd, the Commentator, almost 503 times in his Summa Theologica.

Aquinas followed Ibn Rushd’s schemes, arguments, ideas and even methodology to at times absorb him but mostly to refute him. Randle Cloud observes that “Aquinas completes the philosophical circuit in that his work was closely influenced by that of Averroes, as both a protagonist and antagonist, but without doubt adopting the method of commentary modeled by Averroes.” Fletcher states that “St. Thomas Aquinas, whose achievement it was to show that reason and revelation could coexist in a Christian philosophy, explicitly cited Averroes no less than 503 times in the course of his work” M. M. Watt argues that “The whole range of . . . European philosophy was deeply indebted to the Arabic writers; and Thomas Aquinas owed just as much to the Aristotelianism of Averroes as did Siger of Brabant [the Latin Averroist and philosophical opponent of Aquinas].” E. Renan then was not too radical in his assessment that St. Thomas Aquinas was “the first disciple of the Grand Commentator (i.e. Averroes). Albert Magnus owes everything to Avicenna, St. Thomas owes practically everything to Averroes.”

E. Gilson would pretty much agree with Renan. He qualified the oft repeated claims that modern rationalism and scientific inquiry were the products of Italian intellectual revolution with his counter claim that the true rationalism was a product of Averroes’s mind. He argued that the pure rationalistic revolution took place in the Muslim Spain long before the Italian Renaissance. Gilson stated that “When Averroes died, in 1198, he bequeathed to his successors the ideal of a purely rational philosophy, an ideal whose influence was to be such that, by it, even the evolution of Christian philosophy was to be deeply modified.” Gilson argued that Ibn Rushd was an heir to the 9th century Mu’atazilites who endeavored to reconcile Aristotle with the Qur’an. The problem for them was “how to think as Aristotle if we believe as Mohammed?” Averroes predecessors such as Ibn Sina succeeded in solving this difficult problem by crowning natural theology and leaving the door open for supernatural light of revelation. Al-Ghazali used reason to authenticate and substantiate fundamental articles of the Muslim creed but placed it under the yoke of revelation. The credit of pure rationalism goes to Averroes who crowned philosophical rationalism even at the expense of tradition or revelation, as seen above. He believed that there was no inherent conflict between true genuine philosophy and theology even though philosophy founded on demonstrative knowledge produced more certitude. Theology was based upon the authority of revelation while philosophy was based upon inductive reasoning. Revelation was directed to the masses while the philosophy was meant for rational thinkers. Though revelation and philosophy both lead to certitude the philosophical certitude was of higher quality.

His book “The Agreement of Religion and Philosophy” or “Decisive Treatise” to Gilson was “a landmark in the history of western civilization.” St. Thomas greatly benefitted from Averroes’s arguments and crafted his discussions and arguments accordingly. Gilson sees a parallel between Averroes and St. Thomas in that “nothing should enter the texture of metaphysical knowledge save only rational and necessary demonstration. For the same reason, he [Aquinas] even agreed with Averroes that the so-called necessary reasons of so many theologians were merely dialectical probabilities.” Majid Fakhry also noted the same similarities by stating that “Averroes wrote one of the most systematic treatises in Arabic on the relation of reason and revelation, or philosophy and religion, entitled the Decisive Treatise on the Relation of Philosophy and Reason, in which he dealt with this question in a manner thoroughly comparable to Aquinas’ procedure in the opening parts of the Summa Theologica (Prima Pars) and his other works. More specifically, in the other theological treatise, the Exposition of the Methods of Proof; Averroes’ discussion of God’s existence, His attributes, His creation of the world, free will and predestination is reminiscent of Aquinas own discussion of these questions in his various scholastic writings.’ The striking correspondence between their two methods of dealing with this common cluster of questions was not purely coincidental…”

In conclusion we quote Edward Booth, a contemporary authority on Aristotle, who reaffirms the debt of St. Thomas to Averroes in the following strong words: “The ontology of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) was, therefore, a greater tributary to the comprehensive ontological figure of Thomas than appears from explicit references, and the critical association of Avicennian and Averroan theses in the De ente et essential shows this to have been the case from his earliest writings.”

Al-Farabi and Aquinas

Rev. Robert Hammond demonstrates influence of al-Farabi on medieval philosophical thought especially the close resemblance and parallels between him and St. Thomas. Hammond observes that “St. Thomas describes Being in much the same way. Not only does he unfold the same ideas as those of Alfarabi, but the surprising thing is that the ideas are couched in exactly the same words as those of Alfarabi. A glance at the writings of both Alfarabi and St. Thomas bears this out.” He further demonstrates that al-Farabi’s division of being into necessary and contingent along with its definition and vocabulary was taken over by St. Thomas. Just like al-Fa’r’abi he divided the beings into potential and actual and his definitions of potentiality and actuality are exactly the same like al-Fa’r’abi.

Hammond shows that St. Thomas copied not only the ideas but also the terms, phrases and words from al-Farabi. For instance, the proofs of God’s existence through motion, efficient cause and contingency are identical in Al-Farabi and St. Thomas. Hammond brings the quotations from both al-Farabi and St. Thomas to show their close affinity. For example the “Proof of Efficient Cause” in al-Farabi states that “In contemplating the changeable world, one sees that it is composed of beings which have a cause, and this cause, in turn, is the cause of another. Now, in the series of efficient causes it is not possible to proceed to infinity. For, if A were the cause of B, B of C, C of D, and so on, here A would be the cause of itself, which is not admissible. Therefore, outside the series of efficient causes, there must be an uncaused efficient cause, and this is God.” St. Thomas states that “In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself … Now, in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity . . . Therefore, it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.” The proof of contingency is also identical. The cosmological argument of al-Farabi is the same cosmological argument of St. Thomas. “The proof of an immovable mover by Aristotle, which leads to the conclusion that God is a designer and not a creator, was improved and corrected by Alfarabi nearly three hundred years before St. Thomas was born.” Hammond notes that “The proofs of causality and contingence as given by St. Thomas are merely a repetition of Alfarabi’s proofs. This is said, not because of any bias against St. Thomas, but rather because this is evident to anyone after studying the works of both Alfarabi and of St. Thomas.” Al-Farabi has proven the existence of God from causality. Every changing body has a cause which causes change. The series of causes has to end at an uncaused source of all causes as the circle cannot go into infinity. That uncaused cause of all causality is God. “An analysis of the proofs adduced by Alfarabi shows how he was able to arrive at their formulation. In each of his three proofs he starts out from a fact, applies a principle, and arrives at the conclusion. The fact is change, caused being and contingence. The principle is: that which is moved, is moved by another; the effect implies a cause; the contingent implies the necessary. The conclusion is that God exists.” St. Thomas argues on the exact same lines.

Al-Fa’r’abi and St. Thomas’s argument about divine simplicity is also identical. Al-Farabi states that “God is simple because He is free from every kind of composition physical or metaphysical. Physical composition may be either substantial or accidental. It is substantial if the composite substance consists of body and soul, of matter and form. Now, an infinite being cannot be a substantial composite of matter and form, because this would mean that God results from the union of finite parts which would exist before Him in time, and therefore be the cause of His being. Nor can an accidental composition be attributed to the infinite, because this would imply a capacity for an increase in perfection, which the very notion of the infinite excludes. Therefore, there is not and cannot be any physical composition.” St. Thomas says that “There is no composition in God. For, in every composite thing there must needs be act and potentiality . . . But in God there is no potentiality. Therefore, in Him there is no composition . . . Every composite is subsequent to its components. Therefore, the first being, namely God, has no component parts.”

Al-Farabi argues that “Neither can there be that kind of composition known as metaphysical, which results from the union of two different concepts so referred to the same real thing that neither one by itself signifies the whole reality as meant by their union. Thus, every contingent being is a metaphysical composite of essence and existence. Essence, as such, in reference to a contingent being, implies its conceivableness or possibility, and abstracts from actual existence; while existence, as such, must be added to essence before we can speak of the being as actual. But the composite of essence and existence in a contingent being cannot be applied to the self-existent or infinite being in whom essence and existence are one. Therefore, there is no composition of essence and existence in God. Nor can the composition of genus and difference, implied in the definition of man as a rational animal, be attributed to Him. For, God cannot be classified or defined, as contingent beings can. The reason is because there is not a single aspect in which He is perfectly similar to the finite, and consequently no genus in which He can be included.” St. Thomas states that “Existence denotes a kind of actuality . . . Now everything to which an act is becoming, and which is distinct from that act, is related thereto as potentiality to act . . . Accordingly if the divine essence is distinct from its existence, it follows that His essence and existence are mutually related as potentiality and act. Now it has been proved that in God there is nothing of potentiality, and that He is pure act. Therefore God’s essence is not distinct from His existence. Wherefore it is likewise evident that God cannot be defined: since every definition is composed of genus and difference.”

About divine infinity al-Farabi observes that “The uncaused being is infinite. For, if He were not, He would be limited, and therefore, caused, since the limit of a thing is the cause of it. But God is uncaused. Hence, it follows that the first being is infinite.” St. Thomas’s argument is very similar. “Being itself, considered absolutely, is infinite . . . Hence if we take a thing with finite being, this being must be limited by some other thing which is in some way the cause of that being. Now there can be no cause of God’s being, since He is necessary of Himself. Therefore He has infinite being, and Himself is infinite.”

Al-Farabi argues that God is immutable because “God as the first cause is pure act, without the admixture of any potentiality, and for this reason He is not subject to any change.” St. Thomas states that “It is shown that God is altogether immutable. First, because it was shown above that there is some first being, whom we call God; and that this first being must be pure act, without the admixture of any potentiality, for the reason that, absolutely, potentiality is posterior to act. Now everything which is in any way changed, is in some way in potentiality. Hence it is evident that it is impossible for God to be in any way changeable.”

Al-Farabi argues about divine unity in the following words: “God is only one. For, if there were two gods, they would have to be partly alike and partly different: in which case, however, the simplicity of each would be destroyed. In other words, if there were two gods, there would necessarily have to be some difference and some identity between them; the differential and the common element would constitute the parts of the essence of each one, and these parts, in turn, would be the cause of all; and then, not God, but His parts, would be the first being.” St. Thomas writes that “If there be two things, both of which are of necessity, they must needs agree in the intention of the necessity of being. It follows, therefore, that they must be differentiated by something added either to one or to both of them; and consequently that either one is composite, or both. Now no composite exists necessarily per se. Therefore there cannot possibly be several things each of which exists necessarily; and consequently neither can there be several gods.” Al-Farabi further argues that “If there was anything equal to God, then He would cease to be the fullness of being, for fullness implies impossibility of finding anything of its kind. For instance, the fullness of power means inability of finding identical power anywhere else; the fullness of beauty means inability of finding identical beauty. Likewise if the first being possesses the fullness of being, this means that it is impossible to find anyone or anything identical with Him. Therefore, there is one infinite being, only one God. God is one, because He is free from all quantitative divisions. One means undivided. He who is indivisible in substance is one in essence.” St. Thomas states that “God comprehends in Himself the whole perfection of being. If then many gods existed, they would necessarily differ from each other. Something therefore would belong to one, which did not belong to another … So it is impossible for many gods to exist. God is existence itself. Consequently He must contain within Himself the whole perfection of being … It follows therefore that the perfection of no one thing is wanting to God. Since one is an undivided being, if anything is supremely one it must be supremely being, and supremely undivided. Now both of these belong to God. Hence it is manifest that God is one in the supreme degree.”

Al-Farabi states that “God is intelligent. A thing is intelligent because it exists without matter. Now, God is absolutely immaterial. Therefore, He is intelligent. God knows Himself perfectly. If there is anything that would keep God from knowing Himself, that would certainly be matter. But God is absolutely immaterial. Hence it follows that He knows Himself fully, because His intellect is His essence.” St. Thomas says that “A thing is intelligent from the fact of its being without matter. Now it was shown above that God is absolutely immaterial. Therefore He is intelligent. That which by its nature is severed from matter and from material conditions, is by its very nature intelligible. Now every intelligible is understood according as it is actually one with the intelligent; and God is Himself intelligent, as we have proved. Therefore since He is altogether immaterial, and is absolutely one with Himself, He understands Himself most perfectly.”

Al-Farabi further argues “That which by its essence is intellect in act, is, too, by its very essence intelligible in act. Now, the divine intellect is always intellect in act, because if it were not so, then it would be in potentiality with respect to its object; and this is impossible. Just exactly the opposite occurs in man. The human intellect is not always in act. Man knows himself in act after knowing himself potentially. The reason for this is that man’s intellect is not his essence. Hence, what he knows does not belong to him by essence.” St. Thomas says that “A thing is actually understood through the unification of the intellect in act and the intelligible in act. Now the divine intellect is always intellect in act . . . Since the divine intellect and the divine essence are one, it is evident that God understands Himself perfectly: for God is both His own intellect and His own essence.”

Al-Farabi argues that God knows all things through his knowledge of himself “It must not be said that God derives His knowledge of things from the things themselves, but rather it must be said that He knows things through His essence. By looking at His essence, He sees everything. Hence, knowing His essence is the cause of His knowing other things.” St. Thomas almost repeats the same argument. “So we say that God sees Himself in Himself, because He sees Himself through His essence; and He sees other things, not in themselves, but in Himself; inasmuch as His essence contains the similitude of things other than Himself.”

To al-Farabi God is truth: “Truth follows being, namely, truth and being coincide. But God is the supreme being. Therefore, He is the supreme truth’. Truth is the conformity of the intellect and thing. But in God intellect and object of thought are one and the same.” To St. Thomas God is truth also. “Truth and being are mutually consequent upon one another; since the True is when that is said to be which is, and that not to be, which is not. Now God’s being is first and most perfect. Therefore His truth is also first and supreme . . . Truth is in our intellect through the latter being equated to the thing understood. Now the cause of equality is unity. Since then in the divine intellect, intellect and thing understood are absolutely the same, His truth must be the first and supreme truth.”

Al-Farabi says that God is life. “Just as we call ourselves living beings, because we have a nature capable of sensation or understanding, in like manner God, whose intellect is His essence, must have life in the most perfect degree.” St. Thomas says the same thing. “Wherefore that being whose act of understanding is its very nature, must have life in the most perfect degree.”

It is evident that St. Thomas’s theodicy bears close resemblance with that of al-Farabi. The arguments about God’s existence, being and attributes are almost identical in them. There is only one possibility that St. Thomas and other medieval thinkers must have studied al-Farabi’s philosophy and copied multiple arguments and ideas from him. He wrote his works three centuries before the birth of St. Thomas. “That Alfarabi’s Theodicy exerted a great influence on Medieval thinkers is evident, because, upon comparing the teachings of Alfarabi with those of St. Thomas, we see without doubt the influence of the former on the latter, but not viceversa.”

Al-Farabi argues that senses are the transmitters of ideas to intellect. The mind is like tabula rasa. “Every idea comes from sense experience according to the adage: “There is nothing in the intellect that has not first been in the senses.” The mind is like a smooth tablet on which nothing is written . It is the senses that do all the writing on it.” St. Thomas almost agrees. “Now, sense is a passive power, and is naturally changed by the exterior sensible. Wherefore the exterior cause of such change is what is directly perceived by the sense, and according to the diversity of that exterior cause are the sensitive powers diversified.” About tabula rasa he states that “The human intellect is in potentiality with regard to things intelligible, and is at first like a clean tablet on which nothing is written.”

After all these parallels one is tempted to wonder about the originality of St. Thomas’s metaphysical thought, “we might be tempted to wonder what is properly Aquinas’s. As for the implicit citations, we have to acknowledge that all medieval writers did this. Copyright laws were not perceived as they are now. Many ideas were considered to be public property, and no one felt the need to reference his sources. Thomas’s strength lies in the fact the he did not simply create a mosaic of all of these sources. What he wrote was his own; his teaching was not mere eclecticism, but an original synthesis.”

St. Thomas did not copy everything from al-Farabi. He picked and chose ideas in accordance with his philosophical needs and paradigms. For instance, he disagreed with al-Farabi on the eternal nature of the world and agreed with Ibn Rushd and al-Ghazali that the world and matter was created ex nihilo. “The eternity of the world and of matter as held by Alfarabi and Avicenna was rejected by Averroes and Maimonides, who taught the “creatio mundi ex nihilo.” From the latter St. Thomas borrowed the proposition that the world was created from nothing.” Not only St. Thomas but his teacher was also influenced by al-Farabi. “Alfarabi exerted a great influence on medieval thinkers. This is made clear by the fact that Albertus Magnus quotes Alfarabi, and evidently he could not quote him unless he had known his writings. Hence, the knowledge of the works of Alfarabi gave Albertus Magnus and his pupil, St. Thomas, an opportunity to do some sifting in the sense that they were enabled to throw out the theories that conflicted with Christian teaching and take in at the same time those that appeared to them as logically sound and reconcilable with Christianity.” In short, St. Thomas greatly depended upon al-Farabi in his philosophical theology. “In comparing the Theodicy of Alfarabi with that of St. Thomas, we found that the latter depends on the former for the first three arguments proving God’s existence, and also for the way in which God’s nature is known… Furthermore, Alfarabi, three hundred years before St. Thomas, taught in clear and distinct words, that the essence and existence in created things differ as different entities, while they are identical in God. This means that the Saint who came out with the same theory three hundred years later, must certainly have borrowed it from Alfarabi.”

Al-Ghazali and Aquinas

Imam al-Ghazali was perhaps the most pronounced Muslim theologian who not only thoroughly studied the Greek and Muslim philosophy but refuted some of its fundamental concepts based upon its own grounds. For example using Avicennian definition of demonstrative logic he reinterpreted causality on occasionalist lines and showed that there is no logical justification that cause and effect are necessarily always immediately and sequentially interconnected. He began his refutation by asking “whether the philosophers can demonstrate the impossibility of the contradictory of its conclusion, namely, the Ash‘arite doctrine that the world is created at that moment of time which the eternal divine will has chosen and decreed for its creation (Incoherence, 17). He argues that they can do this neither syllogistically nor by an appeal to what is self-evidently necessary. If the denial of the conclusion cannot be proven to be untrue, then its premise that the divine essential cause necessitates its effect remains unproven.” He did not deny that the natural science depends upon the belief that the nature is uniform but he denied the logical, demonstrative underpinnings of such a belief. He was not totally against philosophy but against total supremacy of philosophy especially against revelation and theology. He rebutted only those philosophical concepts which he considered incompatible with theology and conflicting authentic revelation. This is the area where he was most relevant and beneficial to St. Thomas. Al-Ghazali did for Islamic faith and theology what St. Thomas would do to the Christian faith and theology. Both reconciled theology with philosophy wherever reconciliation was possible but established superiority of faith based revelation in areas of conflict based upon philosophical principles thought not without possible contradictions. In this area of reconciliation and rebuttal al-Ghazali was a good model to emulate and St. Thomas greatly benefitted from his endeavors. There are some striking parallels in the methods, arguments, sequences and even conclusions drawn by both philosophically oriented theologians.

Imam al-Ghazali had thoroughly studied the Greco Muslim philosophy and on the way digested, absorbed, embraced and incorporated many philosophical concepts into Islamic theology, jurisprudence and mysticism. His theologico-mystical instincts were a reflection of his reinterpreted and reoriented philosophy to the extent that these seemingly contradictory sciences tend to complement each other in his scheme of thought. Michael Marmura observes that “This at first sight seems paradoxical, if not downright inconsistent. In fact, he adopted them after reinterpreting them…. rendering them consistent with his theology. This reinterpretation is not without intrinsic philosophical interest.” The so rationalized theology of al-Ghazali had lasting effects not only upon the Muslim posterity but also upon the Latin West as both the Muslim and Christian theologians were facing a sort of similar challenges. According to Eugene Myers, “since Al-Ghazali placed science, philosophy, and reason in position inferior to religion and theology, the Scholastics accepted his views, which became characteristic of most medieval philosophy”

The later Muslim theologians benefitted from al-Ghazali’s philosophical synthesis to fight against two extreme fronts; firstly to resist the increased rationalization and arbitrary allegorization of scriptural sources by some Muslim philosophers and secondly to thwart the ultra-literal anthropomorphic and corporeal tendencies of some orthodox Muslim theologians. This two pronged strategy generated heated responses from both the philosophers and theologians giving al-Ghazali a wide readership among the two otherwise contending groups. While the center right Asha’rites approved of and disseminated many of al-Ghazali’s theological synthesis, the far right orthodox Hunbalites and others refuted them with full force and religious zeal. The far left philosophers/Ismailites and center left philosophers, jurists and theologians such as Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd countered them with equal philosophical, rational and textual vigor though absorbing some of his ideas and views on the way. Consequently, al-Ghazali’s philosophical, theological and ethical works were all discussed, debated, absorbed, accepted and rejected soon after his death both in the Muslim East as well as the Muslim West. Al-Ghazali was widely known and read in the Muslim West just 30 years after his death so much so that the ultra-right Qadhi Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Hamdin of Cordova along with a host of other Muslim leaders had to issue a religious edict banning his books. Al-Ghazali’s works were banned, confiscated, publically burnt and destroyed all over Muslim Spain with the threat of property confiscation and even death. The Sultan of Morocco Ali ibn Yusuf ibn Tashifin (1084-1142) ordered burning and confiscation of al-Ghazali’s books all over North Africa. These drastic steps on the part of the highest religious and political authorities in the Muslim West indicate the level of popularity of his works among the Muslim populace and its perceived dangers.

The Christian West was also quite familiar with the works of al-Ghazali as most of his books were rendered into Latin as early as the 12th century. H. N. Rafiabadi notes that “now it has been established beyond any shade of doubt that Ghazzali’s original works on almost all subjects ranging from theology to philosophy were translated into Latin and Hebrew languages, starting from about forty years after Ghazzali’s death. In this way Sir Thomas Arnold, Gullaume, Rom Landau, W. Wolfson, Ben Ami ScharFstein, Nicholaus of Autrea Court, W. J. Countary are of this opinion that Ghazzali’s books were available from Twelfth-Thirteenth-Century A. D. onwards.” Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume noted that “His books on logic, physics, and metaphysics became known through the translators of Toledo in the twelfth century.” Frank Griffel notes that “The Doctrines of the Philosophers was translated into Latin in the third quarter of the 12th century and into Hebrew first in 1292 and at least another two times within the next fifty years. These translations enjoyed much more success than the Arabic original. In fact, in the Latin as well as in the Hebrew traditions they overshadowed all of al-Ghazâlî’s other writings. The Latin translation, sometimes referred to as Logica et philosophia Algazelis… was translated by Dominicus Gundisalivi (Gundissalinus, d. c. 1190) of Toledo in collaboration with someone referred to as “Magister Iohannes” (d. 1215), also known as Iohannes Hispanus (or Hispalensis), probably an Arabized Christian (a Mozarab), who was dean at the cathedral of Toledo in the 1180s and 1190s…”

There are several channels through which St. Thomas could have had direct access to al-Ghazali’s works. Firstly, his contemporary Raymond Martini, a thirteenth century Dominican Friar and theologian, was an expert in Oriental languages including Arabic. He was a missionary in Spain and Tunis and spent long years in a monastery in Barcelona. He compiled his main work Pugio Fidei (The Sword of Faith) mainly to refute the philosophers’ arguments against the Omniscience of God, creation ex-nihilo, immortality of the soul and resurrection of the dead. Al-Ghazali had already thoroughly exhausted these discussions in his Tahafut al-Falasifah which Raymond had access to. Raymond readily copied al-Ghazali’s arguments for God’s knowledge of particulars against the philosophers’ claims that God knew only the universals, his arguments against the eternity of the world and for creation ex-nihilo, arguments for immortality of the soul and resurrection of the dead. Charles Burnett has noted that Raymond quoted from many other books of al-Ghazali in addition to his Tahafut, “in Barcelona, Ram’on Mart’ı (ca. 1220–ca. 1285) was drawing on a wide range of Arabic philosophical texts: in his Pugio Fidei he cites (aside from those works already well known in the Latin) al- Fa¯ra¯bı¯’s commentary on the Physics, Avicenna’s Kita¯b al-isha¯ra¯t wa al-tanbıh¯t and Kita¯b al-naja¯t, al-Ra¯zı¯’s Shuku¯k ‘ala¯ Ja¯li¯nu¯s (Doubts about Galen), al-Ghaza¯lı¯’s Taha¯fut, al-Munqidh min al-dala¯l, Mi¯za¯n al-‘amal, al-Mishka¯t al-anwa¯r, Ihya’ ‘ulu¯m al-di¯n, Kita¯b al-tawba and al-maqsad al-asna¯ fi¯ asm¯ ’Alla¯h al-husna¯, as well as Averroes’ Taha¯ fut al-taha¯fut and al-dami¯ma.” Rafiabadi showed how Raymond “reproduces all the arguments of al-Ghazzali’s Tahafut along with his own. In both of his books he freely quotes from Ihya, Mizan al Amal, and Tahafut and other works.”

On the other hand, S. M. Gazanfer noted that Raymond’s works “inspired St Thomas’ Summa contra Gentiles. Both of these treatises were written at the request of the Dominican order and were aimed at refuting the arguments of philosophers and sophists against faith.” M. M. Sharif explained that “Palacios traces the development of al-Ghazali’s ideas in the West as follows. The Spanish Dominican monk Raymond Martini, who was Bar Hebraeus’ contemporary, borrowed the same ideas from him and from al-Ghazali. Instead of profiting only by the books of Muslim “philosophers,” he, unlike the scholastics, directly profited by al-Qhazali’s texts in his books entitled Pugio Fidei and Explanalio Symboli, written in the field of religion. These texts were taken from Tahafut, Maqasid, al-Munqidh. Mizan, Maqsad, Mishkal al-Anwar and Ihya’. According to Palacios, the benefit derived here is more substantial than Bar Hebraeus’ adaptations which he had made without mentioning any source, for the arguments have been taken exactly as they were in the original.
James W. Sweetman showed that Raymond Martin’s views about God’s knowledge of particulars, creation ex-nihilo, immortality of the soul and its ultimate felicity and beatitude run parallel to al-Ghazali. Sharif observed that many passages of St. Thomas’s Summa Contra Gentiles were identical with Raymond’s Pugio Fidei. St. Thomas who did not hesitate to quote directly from al-Ghazali on the other hand indirectly benefitted a great deal from works of al-Ghazali through the intermediary writings of Raymond Martin especially in the areas of defending faith and revelation against the onslaught of Aristotelian sophists as well as genuine philosophers.

The second channel of transmission was the Syriac Bishop Abu al Farj (Abulpharagius) Gregory Bar Hebraeus (1226 – 30 July 1286), an erudite Orthodox Bishop known for his encyclopedic works in theology, philosophy, history, physics and metaphysics. A. J. Wensinck in “Bar Hebraeus’s Book of the Dove” has “demonstrated that Bar Hebraeus was a close student of al-Ghazzali and modelled his mystical treatises on the Ihya, not only in arrangement but in ideas and expressions. He used, in fact, al-Ghazzali for the mystical life as he had used Ibn Sina for Aristotle. It is not surprising that he should have accepted the philosophical and scientific guidance of a Moslem but that he should have extended his discipleship to the ruling and development of the religious life is almost startling and suggests how close must have been the contact between the intellectual minds of the time… Bar Hebraeus, who knew the Ihya so well, must surely have read the Munqidh, yet apparently, he never mentions its author who had died 167 years eariler.” M. Nesim Doru in “The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Bar Hebraeus” has demonstrated that “Bar Hebraeus was greatly influenced by Avicenna’s and Tusi’s philosophical works. Yet, it was al-Ghazzali’s works that had more influence on him with respect to morality. This is well demonstrated in Bar Hebraeus’ Itiqon (ܢܘܩܝܬܝܐ) and the The Book of Dove ( ܐܒܬܟ ܐܢܘܝܕ ).” After a thorough comparison of al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din and Bar Hebraeus’s Itiqon, Doru concluded that “there is a similarity between Bar Hebraeus’ and al-Ghazzali’s works in terms of structure. Although topics are examined under different titles, it is clear that Bar Hebraeus took al-Ghazzali’s Ihya ‘ al-‘ulu m al-din as a model not only in structure and titles, but also in content. In this regard, it is possible to compare almost every title of the two books.” Bar Hebraeus garbed and transferred the Islamic concepts and contents into Christian vocabulary and images for the consumption of common Christian believers. His indebtedness to al-Ghazali’s works is clear from the minute details such as the given examples, imagery, poetry and prayer formulas but he never referenced al-Ghazali as his source.

Ramond Martin and St. Thomas benefitted from Bar Hebraeus’ works through the Christian scholars and missionaries who lived and worked in the Holy Lands, Syria and Lebanon during the Crusades. The works of Syriac bishop Bar Hebraeus were well known and practiced by the monks of Syrian Church and others all over the Crusade areas especially in Syria and Lebanon. There is plenty of historical proof that the Latin Christians closely interacted with their Syrian, Maronite, Coptic and other Eastern Christian fellows during the long centuries of Crusades. In addition to the Latin Christian Arabists having direct access to al-Ghazali’s Arabic works the Latin Christians had direct access to the works of their fellow Christians of various branches of the Eastern Christianity. Beside these open channels of exchange and transmission, Raymond Marti’s direct benefit from al-Ghazali’s works was far greater as Asin Palacios has demonstrated. Marti was proficient in Arabic language and incorporated many works of al-Ghazali in his multiple books. He seems to be the main source of St Thomas of those Muslim works which were not translated to Latin before the death of St. Thomas. He was a fellow Dominican and met with Thomas many times in Paris, Rome, Viterbo and other places.

The third channel was Moses Maimonides and other Jewish theologians and philosophers who greatly consumed al-Ghazali’s both theologico-philosophical and ethical works. The tremendous Islamic influences upon Maimonides and in turn his influence upon St. Thomas are historical facts widely accepted by the scholarship active in the field. Maimonides had read works of al-Ghazali in Arabic, absorbed many of his ideas to interpret Jewish philosophy, theology and ethics. St. Thomas’ indebtedness to Maimonides is a known fact among the scholarship.

Lastly, St. Thomas’ dependence upon and indebtedness to Ibn Rushd is amply demonstrated in the previous pages. Ibn Rushd had directly read, discussed and refuted al-Ghazali in three of his works namely Tahafut al-Tahafut, Fasl al-Maqal and Minhaj al-Adillah. He had quoted al-Ghazali extensively to refute him thoroughly. Therefore all important aspects of al-Ghazali’s theology, philosophy and ethics were present in the books of Ibn Rushd which were widely translated into Latin and Hebrew. St. Thomas had access to many of these works. Additionally St. Thomas was heir to an oral tradition of individual translations and transmission of Muslim and Jewish ideas and works before their formal public translations into Latin. Asin Palacios, Harry Austryn Wolfson, Hans Daiber and others have noticed that there was a wide range oral tradition of Arabic Latin translations and transmission among the missionaries working in the Holy Land, North Africa, Spain and Sicily through which they supplied their Latin compatriots with Muslim knowledge, ideas and discussions especially for collective missionary and apologetic works. There was a good number of Arabists among the active missionaries in the Muslim lands as well as their superiors in the Dominican and Franciscan orders. Scholars like Robert Chazan, Benjamin Kedar, Robert I. Burns and John Tolan’s detailed accounts of Dominican and Franciscan missionary zeal, Raymond of Penafort, Raymond Marti and other Dominicans’ missionary works, some Dominican and Franciscan friars’ proficiency in Arabic, their international missions and interactions especially during Crusades, their pursuit of Islamic philosophy, theology and spirituality for conversionary purposes and their role in Papal and monarchial diplomacy and politics, all substantiate the fact that there were ample communications and interactions between the Muslims, Dominicans, Franciscans etc. on the one hand and between the Eastern Orthodox, Jacobite Syrians, Maronites, Coptics and Latin Christians on the other hand. There were exchange of all sorts of ideas and materials during the productive thirteenth century. Therefore Wolfson, Daiber, Palacios and others’ contention that there was an oral tradition transmitting many philosophical, theological, moral and legal ideas and works from the Muslim East and Spain to Latin West even before or alongside the translation renaissance of the twelfth and thirteenth century are substantiated by historical proofs. The presence of such oral tradition very well illustrates the fact that some passages of Ibn Rushd’s Tahafut got to Albert Magnus even before its Latin translations. Same happened with al-Ghazali’s Ihya and other works through Raymond Marti, Hebraeus and other Christian Arabists. Therefore, St. Thomas had ample opportunities to directly and indirectly read, understand, absorb, digest, act and react to al-Ghazali’s main works.

Al-Ghazali was perhaps the most relevant figure to the synthetic project of St. Thomas and he admittedly consumed him a great deal. Rafiabadi claimes that “the greatest of the Christian writers who was influenced by Ghazzali was St. Thomas Aquinas…” Asin Palacios and D. B. Macdonald have elaborated how deeply the overall system of St. Thomas was effected by al-Ghazali. Sharif noted that “St. Thomas used some texts of al-Ghazali’s in Contra Gentiles either directly or through the mediation of Raymond Martini. Al-Ghazali’s arguments in favour of the creatio ex nihilo, his proof that God’s knowledge comprises particulars, and his justification of the resurrection of the dead were adopted by many scholastics including St. Thomas. St. Thomas, who had received his education from the Dominican order in the University of Naples, had known al-Ghazali’s philosophy well, and used his arguments in attacks on Aristotelianism. St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and al-Ghazali’s treatise on the place of reason as applied to revelation and theology run parallel in many places in their arguments and conclusions. Both of them claimed to have found happiness in the beatific vision and both stated the case of their opponents fairly before pronouncing their own judgments on it. The questions on which St. Thomas seems to have been deeply influenced by al-Ghazali are the ideas of contingency and necessity as proving the existence of God, divine knowledge, divine simplicity, divine names, and divine attributes, God’s speech a perbum mentis, the miracles as a testimony to the truth of prophecies, and resurrection of the dead.” In the previous pages we had the opportunity to discuss some of the above sketched topics and St. Thomas’s indebtedness to Muslim theologians especially to al-Ghazali’s synthesis. Here we will draw a few parallels to show the nature and extent of this indebtedness. For instance, al-Ghazali refutes with multiple arguments the philosophers’ claims that God knows only the universals because knowledge of particulars will cause change in God and change is against divine transcendental perfection. Al-Ghazali argues the opposite: “For His perfection consists in that He knows all the things. Should we have a knowledge of all temporal phenomena, it would be a sign of perfection, not of deficiency or subjugation, on our part. The same may be true of God.” St. Thomas uses the same argument with little modifications. “God knows singular things. For all perfections found in creatures pre-exist in God in a higher way… Now to know singular things is part of our perfection. Hence God must know singular things… Now the perfections which are divided among inferior beings, exist simply and unitedly in God; hence, although by one faculty we know the universal and immaterial, and by another we know singular and material things, nevertheless God knows both by His simple intellect.”

Many scholars have found parallels between al-Ghazali’s Ihya and St. Thomas’s Summa. For instance Renard noted that “Thomas is perhaps best known for his global theological synthesis, the Summa Theologiae, founded on his interpretation of Aristotelian logic. He structured his magnum opus upon the classical two-part metaphor of “going forth” from and “return” to God, a construction well known to his Muslim contemporaries, such as Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī.” F. G. Moore observed that “Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) stands to Moslem theology in this respect in somewhat the same position that Thomas Aquinas does to Christian theology. His great work, “The Revival of the Religious Sciences,” may fairly be compared to the “Summa” of Thomas Aquinas, but his personal contribution to theology was more considerable than that of the Christian theologian.” Sharif noted that “St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and al-Ghazali’s treatise on the place of reason as applied to revelation and theology run parallel in many places in their arguments and conclusions. Both of them claimed to have found happiness in the beatific vision and both stated the case of their opponents fairly before pronouncing their own judgments on it. The questions on which St. Thomas seems to have been deeply influenced by al-Ghazali are the ideas of contingency and necessity as proving the existence of God, divine knowledge, divine simplicity, divine names, and divine attributes, God’s speech a iverbum mentis, the miracles as a testimony to the truth of prophecies, and resurrection of the dead.”

Renard further notes that “Ghazālī’s Revitalization is one of the great synthetic works of the ethical and spiritual life from a Muslim perspective. Like Thomas Aquinas, Ghazālī believes that human beings are made for felicity. The eleventh-century Muslim also builds his ethical treatise on a discussion of the optimal way of performing a host of often mundane deeds and proceeds to analyze in great detail “acts that lead to perdition,” before building to a grand and lofty treatment of “acts that assure salvation.” This last section, like that pertaining to Thomas’s theological ethics, is virtually an essay on the path to spiritual perfection. Beginning with repentance, the journey leads through patience and gratitude, fear and hope, and poverty and asceticism. Acknowledging the unity of God, one proceeds to perfect trust, love and desire for God, purity of intention and sincerity. Achieving the states of mindfulness of God, self-examination, and meditation, the ascent culminates in a rich contemplation of death and the hereafter.” Renard continues observing that “Catholic moral theology blossomed into a distinct subdiscipline of the sacred sciences when Thomas Aquinas devoted a large segment of his grand synthesis, The Summa of Theology, to the subject. He opens the “second part” of the work with a discussion of happiness as the ultimate goal of humankind, thus situating himself in the tradition of Aristotelian ethics, but with a very different analysis of means to the end. Thomas divides human actions into involuntary and voluntary, inward and outward, all capable of good or ill. In that context, he analyzes human proclivities, or “passions,” and the more enduring characteristics or “habits” of the soul, with particular attention to virtue and vice. Thomas roots his discussion of sin in the concept of original sin, with its pernicious influence through the ages. He explains sin as a violation of the divine law but goes on to insist that the heart of the matter remains dependent on human volition. In that context he comes round to describing the eternal law as the standard against which one must assess the moral valence of all actions. At this juncture, Thomas introduces the element of divinely bestowed grace as the prime impetus to good action.” He notes the parallels between the works of al-Ghazali and St. Thomas in the following words. “Against the backdrop of these general principles, Thomas moves into a more detailed discussion of moral theology in light of more concrete characteristics and implications of the various virtues and vices, beginning with the “theological virtues”: faith, hope, and love. He expands on this by exploring the specific results of the “four cardinal virtues”: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. His analysis culminates in an exploration of the relationship between virtue enacted and the requirements of the various “states of life” to which believing Christians might devote themselves. In a manner reminiscent of the master work of earlier Muslim theologian Abū Hāmid al-Ghazālī… Thomas associates the life of advanced virtue with lofty spiritual (even perhaps mystical) attainment.”

We can quote Juan Casciaro to gauge the tremendous influences which Muslim philosophers, theologians and moralists had upon St. Thomas. A study by Juan Casciaro, El dialogo teologico de Santo Tomas con musulmanes y judios: El tema de la profecia y la revelacion (The Theological Dialogue of Saint Thomas with Muslims and Jews: The Theme of Prophecy and Revelation), Juan “surveys the questions of the Summa’s Secunda Secundae (Second Part of the Second Part) on prophecy with a view to assessing the influence of Muslim thought (and that of Maimonides specifically among Jewish scholars). The study categorizes Thomas’s conclusions variously as largely borrowed, borrowed and partly refuted, profoundly influenced, influenced to a lesser but still measurable degree, or independent. Casciaro observes that about two-thirds of Thomas’s material relates directly or indirectly to earlier speculations of Muslims and Jews. Quantitatively speaking, more than half of Thomas’s texts on this subject find important correspondences in Islamic and rabbinic literature, much in the form of opinions shared by Maimonides and one or more of the Muslim thinkers. There is much more extensive direct citation in Thomas’s earlier works concerning the subject, especially in the De Veritate and Summa Contra Gentiles.”

In view of the above discussion it is appropriate to state that St. Thomas owed much to the Muslim theologico-philosophical tradition and was a sort of product of it. His theological philosophy was a reflection of Muslim philosophical and theological thought. He was what he became partly due to the Muslim ideas, concepts, discussions, analysis and influences. He was an original thinker who benefitted from the Muslim works to create his peculiar Christian synthetic works which was a novelty in the Latin Christianity of the thirteenth century. St. Thomas stirred countless impulses and discussions in the medieval Christian circles which had ripple effects upon the Christianity of later centuries all the way to our modern times. St. Thomas is perhaps the most discussed, followed and revered Christian philosopher, theologian and moralist in the twenty first century. The Muslim contributions to his thought and works are tremendous and should be recognized and acknowledged as St. Thomas himself did in his many works.


Weisheipl, O.P., Friar Thomas D’Aquino, p. 7
Weisheipl, O.P., Friar Thomas D’Aquino, p. 7
Weisheipl, P. 10
Weisheipl, P. 12
Weisheipl, P. 12
Weisheipl, P. 8
Weisheipl, P. 13
Weisheipl, P. 14
Weisheipl, P. 15
Weisheipl, P. 16
C. H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, London, Harvard University Press, 1955, p. 7
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 7
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 278
A. S. McGrade (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 21
Eric John Holmyard (ed.), The Works of Geber, translated by Richard Russel, London, Dent, 1928, digitalized by the University of Michigan on July 13, 2007, p. xv
Dorothee Metlitzki, The Matter of Araby in Medieval England, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1977, p.54
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 281
See Simon Barton and Peter Linehan (eds.), Cross, Crescent and Conversion: Studies on Medieval Spain and Christendom in Memory of Richard Fletcher, Leiden, Brill, 2008, p. 53ff;
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 11
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 285; also see Eva R. Hoffman, Pathways of Portability: Islamic and Christian interchange from the tenth to the twelfth century, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, Art History ISSN 0141-6790 Vol. 24 No. 1 February 2001 pp. 17-50
See Charles Burnett, “Arabic into Latin: the Reception of Arabic Philosophy into Western Europe” in Peter Adamson and Richard C. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 370ff
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 290
See Jeremy Johns, Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 283
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 284
See George Saliba, Islamic Science and the Making of European Renaissance, London, MIT Press, 2007, p. viiiff especially chapter 6 “Islamic Science and the Renaissance Europe: The Copernican Connection”.
Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, p. 290-291
Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob (Eds.), Western Civilization, Ideas, Politics and Society, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, sixth edition, 2004, p. 250
Alax Metcalfe, The Muslims of Medieval Italy, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, p. 106
Metcalfe, The Muslims of Medieval Italy, p. 106
Metcalfe, The Muslims of Medieval Italy, p. 141
Metcalfe, The Muslims of Medieval Italy, p. 106
See detail at,_Roman_Emperor
Donald S. Detwiler, Germany: A Short History, Carbondale, IL, Southern Illinois University Press. (1999), p. 43.
Joseph Schacht and C. E. Bosworth (Eds.), The Legacy of Islam, Oxford, Oxford University Press, Second Edition, 1979, p. 24.
See David Abulafia, Frederick II, A Medieval Emperor, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 10
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 12
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 186
Dorothea Weltecke, Emperor Frederick II, »Sultan of Lucera«, »Friend of the Muslims«, Promoter of Cultural Transfer: Controversies and Suggestions, in Cultural Transfers in Dispute: Representations in Asia, Europe and the Arab World since the Middle Ages, Edited by Jorg Feuchter, Friedhelm Hoffmann and Bee Yun, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt, 2011, p. 88
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 184
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 318-319
Dorothea Weltecke, Emperor Frederick II, p. 85
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 318
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 368
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 320
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 369
Abulafia, Frederick II, p. 375
Jacob Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, translated by S. G. C. Middlemore, New York, Macmillan, 1904, p. 5
Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance, p. 5
Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance, p. 5, 6
Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance, p. 7
Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance, P. 18
Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, v. 1, p. 505
Jon McGinnis, Avicenna, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. ix
McGinnis, , Avicenna, p. 251
McGinnis, , Avicenna, p. 244
McGinnis, , Avicenna, p. 251
McGinnis, , Avicenna, p. 251
McGinnis, , Avicenna, p. 252
John F. Wippel, Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II, Washington D. C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2007, p. 32
Jean-Pierre Torrell, Aquinas’s Summa, Background, Structure and Reception, translated by Benedict M.Guevin, Washington D. C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2005, p. 82
Jean-Pierre, Aquinas’s Summa, P. 82-83
McGinnis, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 252
Nasr and Leaman eds., History of Islamic Philosophy, p. 451
Majid Fakhry, Averroes (Ibn Rshd), His Life, Works and Influence, Oxford, Oneworld, 2008, p. 165
Fakhry, Averroes, p. 167
Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, v. 2, p. 1381
Fakhry, Averoes, p. 139
Randle Cloud, “Aristotle’s Journey to Europe: A Historical Examination of the Role Played by the Islamic Empire in the Transmission of Western Philosophy of Education Sources to
Europe from the Fall of Rome to the Medieval Period”, Ph. D. thesis University of Kansas, 2007, p. 329
Richard Fletcher, Moorish Spain, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2006, p.134
Montgomery W. Watt, The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe, Islamic Studies 9,
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1972, p. 71
Quoted in Rafiabadai and Amin Kak, The Attitude of Islam Towards Science, P. 43
Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,
1938), 38
Gilson, Reason and Revelation, p. 38
Gilson, Reason and Revelation, p. 40
Gilson, Reason and Revelation, p. 79
Fakhry, Averroes, p. 139-40
Edward Booth, Aristotelian Aporetic Ontology in Islamic and Christian Thinkers, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, p. 254
See Majid Fakhry, al-Farabi: Founder of Islamic Neoplatonism, His Life, Works and Influence, Oxford, Oneworld, 2002 and I. R. Netton, Al-Farabi and His School, New York, Routledge, 1992
Fakhry, al-Farabi, p. 148 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 12
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 13-15
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 20; see also Damien Janos, Method, Structure and Development in al-Farabi’s Cosmology, Leiden, Brill, 2012
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 20; Aquinas, Summa theological,, p. 15
See Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 20-21
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 21
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 21-22
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 22
See details in Mary T. Clark (Ed), An Aquinas Reader, New York, Fordham University Press, 1999, p. 122 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 23-24
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 23-24
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 24-25
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 24; see details in Summa, p. 17 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 25; see more details in Herbert H. Davidson, Alfarabi, Avicenna and Averroes on Intellect, Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect and Theories of Human Intellect, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 44 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 25; see details in Summa, p. 40 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 25
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi , p. 25; see more details in Summa, p. 50 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 26
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 26
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 26
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 26; Summa, p. 63
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 27; see details in Fakhry, al-Farabi, p. 79 onwrd
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 27; see Summa, p. 617
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 27
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 27; see Summa, p. 104
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28; Summa, p. 102
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 28; Summa, p. 137
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 29
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 38
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 38; Summa, p. 521
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 42; Summa, p. 528
Torrell, Aquinas’s Summa, P. 85
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 32
See Herbert Davidson, Alfarabi, Avicenna and Averroes, p. 215 onward
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 54
Hammond, The Philosophy of al-Farabi, p. 55
Michael E. Marmura, “Al-Ghazali” in the Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy edited by Peter Adamson and Richard Taylor, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 145
See details in Marmura, “Al-Ghazali”, p. 153
Marmura, “Al-Ghazali”, p. 137
(Myers 1964, 39–40).
D. B. Macdonald, “The Life of al-Ghazali, with special reference to his religious experiences and opinions”, in Journal of the American Oriental Society edited by George F. Moore, New Haven, July, 1899, vol. 20, p. 99-100; N. Hanif, Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis: Central Asia and Middle East, New Delhi, Sarup & Sons, 2002, p. 178
Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, Emerging From Darkness: Ghazzali’s Impact on the Western Philosophers, New Delhi, Sarup & Sons, 2002, p. 170-171
Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume eds., The Legacy of Islam, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1931, P. 270
See details in Richard Harvey, Raymundus Martini and the Pugio Fidei: The Life and Work of a Medieval Controversialist (London, 1991, available at
Charles Burnett, “Arabic into Latin: the reception of the Arabic Philosophy into Western Europe” in the Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, P. 382
Rafiabadi, Emerging From Darkness, p. 175
S. M. Ghazanfer ed., Medieval Islamic Economic Thought, Filing the “Great Gap” in European economics, New York, Routledge, 2003, p. 21-22
Sharif, v. 2, p. 1361
See James Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology: A Study of the Interpretation of Theological Ideas in the Two Religions, Cambridge, James Clark and Company, 2002, Part Two, V. 1, p. 89-93
Sharif, v.2, p. 1362
See Hidemi Takahashi, Barhebraeus: A Bio-Bibliography. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, (2005).
Samuel M. Zwemer ed., The Muslim World, New York, Missionary Review Publishing Co., 1919, v. 9, P. 433
M. Nesim Doru “The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Bar Hebraeus” Cumhuriyet İlahiyat Dergisi – Cumhuriyet Theology Journal, ISSN: 2528-9861 e-ISSN: 2528-987X, CUID, December 2017, 21 (2): 913-946
Doru in “The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Bar Hebraeus”, p. 934
Doru in “The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Bar Hebraeus”, p. 937
See A. J. Wensinck trans., Bar Hebraeus’s Book of the Dove, Together With Some Chapters of His Ethikon, Leyden, E. J. Brill, 1919, p. XVII onward; Weitz, Lev. “Al-Ghazālī, Bar Hebraeus, and the ‘Good Wife.’” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 134, no. 2, 2014, pp. 203–223. JSTOR, JSTOR,
Rafiabadi, Emerging From Darkness, p. 184
See Zwemer ed., The Muslim World, v. 9, p. 432-433
Sharif, v. 2, p. 1362
Al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Filasifah, Problem XIII, p. 153 onward
Al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Filasifah, p. 162
Aquinas, Summa Theologica, p. 109
Renard, Islam and Christianity, p. 101
F. G. Moore, History of Religions, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1948, v. II, p. 457
Sharif, v. 2, p. ?
John Renard, Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011, p. 174
Renard, Islam and Christianity, p. 169
Renard, Islam and Christianity, p. 169
Renard, Islam and Christianity, p. xxii

Written by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah

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