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What Was the Purpose of Astronomy in Ījī’s Kitāb al-Mawāqif fī ʿilm al-kalām?

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Chapter Summary

Around 1330, ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī, a mutakallim in contact with Rashīd al-Dīn, composed Kitāb al-Mawāqif fī ʿilm al-kalām, a work of kalām that has attracted attention from academics as well as from Muslims throughout the centuries. Sabra argued that, by Ījī's time, kalām was confidently on the offensive against falsafa, and that the Mawāqif was evidence of an attempt to develop a new Islamic philosophy and science. On the narrower question of Ījī's presentation of astronomy, Sabra concluded that Ījī's view of astronomy was "not unlike" the instrumentalist perspective expressed in Osiander's preface to Copernicus' De Revolutionibus. According to Sabra's interpretation, Ījī took the explanations of the astronomers to be neither true nor even probable. Ījī discussed astronomy in order to remove astronomy from the intellectual arsenal of the falāsifa and to show that all celestial phenomena depended directly on God for their existence.

Keywords: ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī; Islamic astronomy; Kitāb al-Mawāqif fī ʿilm al-kalām; Rashīd al-Dīn; Sabra



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