Before Revelation: The Boundaries of Muslim Moral Thought

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SUNY Press, Feb 16, 1995 - Religion - 255 pages
Before Revelation studies the development of Muslim jurisprudential and theological thought as expressed in the extensive dispute over the assessment of acts that took place before the arrival of Revelation.

Between the ninth and nineteenth centuries Muslims debated, often fiercely, the question, What is the value of an act moving from place to place, breathing, or eating a tasty food, for instance before Revelation arrives? That is, Muslims, whose existence as Muslims derived from the Qur a?nic Revelation, debated whether acts could be called good, or reprehensible, before the Qur a?n. This book analyzes that prolonged debate from a History of Religions perspective, using sources from the Muslim sciences of jurisprudential theory (us\ul al-fiqh) and theology (kala?m).
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Development and Doxography
10
The Three Positions
29
Acts Are Proscribed mahzur
31
The Permitted Position
38
No Assessment
62
Two Translations of Before Revelation Texts AlJassas Permitted and AlGhazali No Assessment
77
Translation of a Section from alfusul fi lusul of aljassas
79
An Early Debate on Thanking the Benefactor
121
The Background
125
Conceptual Sources of the Problem
127
Abu lHudhayl and the Early Mutazilah
138
The Basrans Moral Ontology and epistemology1
146
The Critique of the Mutazilah Ignoring Ontology
161
Conclusions
177
Notes
185

Translation of a Section from Kitab almustasfa fiilm alusul Abu Hamid alGhazali
87
Thanking the Benefactor
105
God As Patron Thanking the Benefactor
107

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About the author (1995)

A. Kevin Reinhart is Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College.

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