Friday, 20 February 2009

On The Arrogance in Ignorance

"Turning from the attributes of God to the actions of God, where he delineates his view of creation, Ibn Rushd in his Tahafut al-Tahafut clearly deals with the charge against the philosophers' doctrine on the eternity of the physical universe in his polemic against al-Ghazzali.

Ghazzali perceived that the philosophers had misunderstood the relationship between God and the world, especially since the Qur’an is clear on divine creation. Ghazzali, sustaining the Asharite emphasis on divine power, questioned why God, being the ultimate agent, could not simply create the world ex nihilo and then destroy it in some future point in time? Why did there need to be some obstacle to explain a delay in God’s creative action? In response to this, Ghazzali offered a number of lengthy proofs to challenge the philosopher’s assertions.

Ibn Rushd, merely replied that the "Eternal" works differently than the "Temporal". As humans, we can willfully decide to perform some action and then wait a period of time before completing it. For God, on the other hand, there can be no gap between decision and action; for what differentiates one time from another in God’s mind?

Also, what physical limits can restrict God from acting? Ibn Rushd, in the first discussion, writes about how Ghazzali confused the definition of eternal and human will, making them univocal. For humans, the will is the faculty to choose between two options, and it is desire that compels the will to choose. For God, however, this definition of will is meaningless. God cannot have desire because that would entail change within the eternal when the object of desire was fulfilled. Furthermore, the creation of the world is not simply the choice between two equal alternatives, but a choice of existence or non-existence.

Finally, if all the conditions for action were fulfilled, there would not be any reason for God not to act. God, therefore, being omniscient and omnipotent would have known from the eternal past what he had planned to create, and without limit to his power, there would be no condition to stop the creation from occurring."

This discussion, took place a thousand years ago, in Cordoba, in Arabic, and under the rule of Islam; not the one of negative stereotypes of the 21st century, but that of the virtue of seeking knowledge and enlightenment, even about the nature of God.

The title is not directed at Them Then, but at Us Now.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Jordan and Palestine in The Early 1900s

I've had some photographs taken in Jordan and Palestine in the early 1900s sitting in a file on my pc for a while, and I've thought of printing them and framing them to hang them at home in Amman, which I will, but I also wanted to hang them on my blog's wall.

The photos were taken in the period between 1900 and 1912 and include photographs of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, Nablus, Amman, Jarash, Petra and probably Hebron. You can see the Dome of the Rock, with its dome still made of wood, before it was covered with lead, and later with gold.


p.s: Try watching it in full screen and in high quality, it's a much nicer mental trip.