POLITICIAL ISLAMIC THOUGHT: AL-FARABI

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Abu Nasr al-Farabi is accepted as the first Muslim thinker to have left political writings based upon Plato.

AL-FARABI was the initiator of “Islamic philosophy” feeding and derived from Greeco-Hellenist philosophy. He profoundly influenced all subsequent Muslim philosophers, in particular Ibn Bajja, Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina. Al-Farabi had developed his theories and studies under the influence of Neo-Platonism. In addition, in his political theory corresponds and reflects Plato’s philosophy on politics, in particular in the Republic. According to Rosenthal, in Farabi’s writings, it seeks to reconcile philosophy and revelation (wahy), a necessary pre-condition of the integration of philosophy with Islam. He also aimed and emphasized the happiness for Muslim that is ultimate goal of men as in Plato and Aristotle. Al-Farabi expounds this happiness as intellectual perfection combined with the moral perfection. In addition, he accepted and was bound with the Sharia, reality and angels. As mentioned above, he was concerned about end of man and how to achieve it. Basically, he reached the conclusion that happiness can be achieved in an ideal state through knowledge and moral perfection. In his ideal state (Madina Al Fadila) there is philosopher-king, regard with Islam: ımam should possess persuasion and imagination to perfection, as well as skilled in speculative science. Therefore, Al Farabi draw a synthesis of which the philosopher-king, and the ideal ruler of Islam –the prophet/lawgiver/imam. For ideal state’s ruler that must be possess twelve qualifications which are derived from Plato. However, he was aware of the reality and near-impossibility of such a perfect rulers. Thus, he satisfied with six or seven qualifications.

Al-Farabi framed a classification of states according to its size and degree of quality/perfection. Accordingly, the smallest ideal state (Madina), the middle-sized nation that is ummah .The largest organization covers the whole inhabited earth under cultivation, which called ma’mura which may correspond the Islamic Empire, Darul Islam. Furthermore, he put forward an analogy between human body and state also rulers and ruled. The components of body is designed in a hierarchy which the supreme member is the chief (ra’is) that is heart. Lower ones is determined by their nearness or remoteness from the heart. Thus, all are united in serving the purpose of the heart.

However, Al- Farabi was aware of which the ideal state was very difficult to realize. Thatswhy, he started from ideal state whose first ruler must have twelve qualifications, then with the unable to realize them, he satisfied with six qualifications. In Siyasa, he discussed the imperfect states – Plato’s four imperfect state and his three more addition- which all together are termed (jahiliya) “ignorant states”. However, al- Farabi divided the states into an association of states acc. to the aim pursued, but distinguished more comprehensive kinds than Plato. Accordingly: first is the State of Necessity (daruriya), second; the Vile State (nadhala), third; Base and Despicable State which the citizen concentrates on the pleasures of the senses, games and other pastimes. Timocracy (madina karama), Tyranny (taghallub) where pleasure of victory have been enjoyed, Democracy (madîna jamâ’iya) where freedom of citizen whatever they please. In addition to Plato’s four forms of state, Al-Farabi added three more “ignorant states” which were Vicious (fasiqa) State where people know what true happiness is, but cannot gain it, The Transformed (mubaddala) State where there is ongoing change, and The State in Error (dalla) whose inhabitants in corrupted beliefs and bad actions commanded by their rulers who himself in error and led his people also astray.

Ahmet Enes BASKAYA

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