Research Papers

Rationalism, not dogma: Mu’tazilite legacy of progressive Islamic discourse

The Mu’tazilites, Muslim theologians of Islam’s Golden Age, used reason instead of religious authority to defend the faith. Our paper delves into their legacy, exploring their foundational principles. Mu’tazilites prioritized human intellect and rational analysis in understanding religious matters. Our study contrasts modern extremist portrayals of the Mu’tazilites with their historical role to argue that the Mu’tazilites’ reliance on rational interpretation of religion was the natural result of Islam’s rejection of priesthood and centralized religious authority. Their decline was related to the emergence and empowerment of a clerical class rooted in religious populism. Extremists today follow in the footsteps of these populists by glorifying religious authority in an attempt to eliminate diversity of thought. Our paper urges integration of historical achievements of Islamic rationalism into educational curricula to counter extremist ideologies with rational interpretation of faith.

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31.03.2024

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Mu’tazilites
Rationalism, not dogma:

Mu’tazilite legacy of progressive Islamic discourse

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