Islamic scholars are certainly divided on the role and permissibility of Philosophy within Islam, why is that?

Definition of Philosophy

The reason is simple, philosophy means different things to different people. For some, its a speculative abstract exercise in time wasting. For others its the study of rational truths and wisdom.

There is valid reasons for these discrepancies, some philosophers were simply being overly speculative and complicating things unnecessarily, this lead to criticism, but unfortunately also it lead to philosophy being thrown away with the bath water.


Why are some Islamic Scholars so critical of Philosophy? 

The issue is similar to that of “ijtihad”. In the early times Ijtihad was synonymous with assumption and opinion, at that point some scholars were very critical of “ijtihad”. Then later some scholars pursued ijtihad without guesswork or personal opinion, and then the majority accepted it an Islamic science. 

Philosophy is similar in that it has been associated with assumption and wild conjecture. These things are not acceptable in Islamic sciences. If these things were removed from Philosophy, then that philosophy is valid. 


Some Scholars still condemn philosophy even then!

Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328) delivered  substantial critique of logic, al-Raddʿalā al-manṭiqiyyīn, which translates to the “Rejection of the Logicians”. Ibn Taymiyah was not a fan of any form of philosophy. He also wrote “Darʾ taʿāruḍal-ʿaql wal-naql”  (Averting the Conflict between Reason and Religious Tradition), which can be summarised as a rejection of intellectual thought. 

During the research of this article, I found a very interesting paper by George Tamer regarding Ibn Taymiyah and Philosophy, titled : “The Curse of Philosophy” which can be downloaded here.