Allah the Almighty said in the Holy Quran:

Oh mankind!

Lo!  We have created you male and female, and have have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo1 Allah is Knower, Aware.[1]

 (QS. al-Hujurat:13)


  1. A.    WORLD VIEW
    1. 1.      INTRODUCTION

The development of Islamic philosophy through the age of Islam can not be separated with the early development of history of Islamic civilization. Islamic thought and science had appeared in the time of Prophet Muhammad, since Islam was revealed, the Arabs were famous for their stupidity (jahiliyah), the Quraisy, and Arabic community just had 17 great smartest people in writing and reading.[2] Tribes of Aus and Khozroj, Yastsrib Community (Madinah) only had 11 people in reading. It was caused the Arabs, only a few recognized and knew science, knowledge and other skills. They tended to follow their desire, lust, conflict each other, drinking khamr, prostitution always done every day, women were not respected, and have no value for them.

The cases of Arabic social problem, Prophet Muhammad , the messenger of God, Allah SWT,  with a special aim to complete and repair the attitude and behavior of Arabs both vertical onto God and Horizontal to social ethic. Prophet Muhammad begins to pay attention to develop and introduce them science and knowledge, gives a good example how to live in good conduct and follow the law of Islam.[3]

The development of Islamic Sciences include Islamic Philosophy signed with, first, the coming down of first revelation received by Prophet Muhammad with the short word, “read” (iqro’[4]). Pay attention and research every action or phenomena happened in the world, take a conclusion about the essence which is behind the factual and empirical action. Allah SWT. has spoken in his Verse.

“Read! In the Name of your Lord who has created (all the exists), he has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, who has taught (the writing) by the pen, He has taught man that he knew not”[5].

            The second Factor of development Islamic science is supported by the strong spirit of the Arabs in memorizing literature, poetry and every field in science, Prophet Muhammad makes a new tradition those are writing and reading, all Sahabat are ordained to be writer for writing every revelation (wahyu) received by prophet Muhammad from God.                                                

  1. 2.      BACKGROUND

            The main aim to study Philosophy both Islamic philosophy and western philosophy is to obtain ideas, opinions, conclusions in every investigation based on rationality and logic. Logic is one of the ways of thinking logically, properly, systematically, and rationally. Islam is not only a doctrine religion which merely given, but also Islam is rational religion which explained logically and systematically. Islam can not decide the problems of lives even by tradition (hadits) nor Qur’an unless by explanation based on logic or rationality because Islam is rational religion.

The great Islamic Scholars or Islamic Philosophers aim to defense and to explain that the Islam religion can prove the existence of god, existence man, and existence of universe, and also explain term of prophecy (annubuwwah), revelation, the Day of Judgment and Divine.

The chief aim of Islamic philosophy is to give account not of Muslim culture as a whole, nor of Muslim thought in general, but only of one aspect of Muslim thought, Muslim philosophy. But since this philosophy had its beginning in a religion based on philosophical fundamentals and it developed in close association with other spheres of thought, such as sciences, humanities, and arts. Besides writing on philosophy, the great Muslim philosophers like al-Kindi writes astrology, chemistry, optics, and music; al-Farabi writes music, psychology, politics, economics, and mathematics; Ibnu Sina on medicine, chemistry, geometry, astronomy, theology, poetry, and music; Zakriya al-razi on medicine and alchemy; al-Gazali on theology, law, physics and music, from Muslim Spain, Ibnu Bajjah wrote on philosophy, medicine, music, and astronomy; Ibnu Tufail on philosophy and medicine; Ibnu Rusdy on philosophy, theology, medicine, and astronomy. And what is true of these thinkers is true of host of others.[6]

Before discussing theology in Islam, we also discuss and know pre-Islamic philosophical thought in India, in Chinese, in Iran, and Greek thought. The thinking of the early Greeks, like of all ancient people, Egyptians, Babylonians, Hittites, Phoenicians, and Indians, was more mythological and speculative, more poetical and theological than physical or metaphysical. It exhibited more the play of imagination than the working of reason. It is true that the basic efforts of the Greeks, as of those other people, was to understand the origin of nature of things, but, like children , what they understood was a world of their own make-believe  rather than the real world around them.

Islam with its special aim makes effort to disseminate Islamic teaching not only inside Islam but also outside of Islam. So, Islam needs discipline and method of studying to explain Islam to Non-Islam, for example, Islam should make grammar in Arabic language (Nahyu wa sharfu) and also must understand another knowledge to compare between eastern and western science. The western, Greek science has contribution to develop Islamic or eastern science and influence each other.

Theology in Islam is famous for its doctrine, but with the growing up of schools of theology especially Mu’tazila school with its rational methodology, Islam begin to think properly and systematically in disseminating Islamic teaching to western or non-Islam. Whereas, the Western begins to receive and study Islamic sciences that the Islamic philosophy or theology in Islam can be understood well by using systematical method. 

In this paper, hopefully, the writer can explain well the topics based on some questions, how was Islamic social sphere in the time of translation movement?, What are the contributions of Greek/Western science to Islamic Philosophy?, How did the school of theology  influence the development of Islamic Philosophy in the early rise of caliphate (khalifah) age ? Why is theology in Islam always be discussed through the age without ending?. What are the main factors or causes of disintegration in Islam?.


  1. B.     IDEOLOGIES 
    1. 1.      The Rise of Islamic Theology

            The Qur’an is a book essentially religious, not philosophical, but it deals with all those problems which religion and philosophy have in common. Both have to say something about problems related to the significance of such expressions as God, the world, the individual souls, and the inter-relation of these; good and evil, free will, and life after death. While dealing with these problems it also throw light on such conceptions as appearance and reality existence and attributes, human origin, and destiny, truth and error, space and time, permanence and change, eternity and immortality. The Qur’an claims to give exposition to those problems and try to explain regarding something untouchables and invisibly in reality like heaven, hell, the Day of Judgment, existence of God, Names of God. Those become debatable in Islamic scholars especially discussing of theology. [7]

            The rise of Islamic theology was begun in the end of Ali Bin Abi Tholib Era and in the beginning of Muawwiyah, they fight over authority of caliphate (khalifah), finally Muawiyah become Khalifah. the conflict has impact for Islam in the time. Islam is divided in 3 big factions, the follower of Muawiyah, the follower of Ali and khawarij. And later grow si’ah and sunni and theology in Islam. The schools of theology in Islam are:


  1. a.      Mu’tazilah  

The general mu’tazilah position always focuses on thinking and rationality in every giving view of something like interpretation of Al-quran. This school has influenced Islam and has important roles in deciding problems of religion. In the age of Bani Abbas, Mu’tazila becomes formal school in government.

Some views of Mu’tazilah:

1)     God’s Almighty’s justice necessitates that man should be the author of his own acts; then alone can he be said to be free and responsible for his deeds.

2)     The justice of God makes it incumbent upon him not to do anything contrary to justice and equity.

3)     Denial of punishment and reward meted out to the dead in the grave and questioning by the angels Munkar dan Nankir

4)     Denial of indication of the Day of Judgment.

5)     The Mu’tazilah also deny the existence of the recording Angels (kiraman katibin)

The Mu’tazilah and the Sunnites differ mostly from one another in five important matters; the problem of attributes, the problem of the beatific vision, the problem of promise and threat, the problem of creation of the actions of man, and the problem of the will of God.[8]


  1. b.      Ash’Ariyah

Ash’arism is the name of a philosophic- religious school of thought in Islam that developed during the fourth and fifth/tenth and eleventh centuries. This movement was an attempt not only to purge Islam of all non-Islamic elements which had quietly crept into it but also to harmonize the religious consciousness with the religious thought of Islam.  It laid the foundation of an orthodox Islamic theology or orthodox  kalam, as opposed to the rationalist kalam of the Mu’tazila; and in opposition to the extreme orthodox class, it made use of the dialectical method for the defense of the authority of divine revelation as applied to theological subjects.

The position at the end of the third/ninth century was such that the development of such movement as orthodox kalam was inevitable. Mu’tazila with its concept of rationalization began to study the Arabic translation of the work of Greek physicist and philosophers, made available to them by early “Abbasid Caliphs, particularly by al-Mansur and al-Ma’mun, they began to apply the Greek philosophical methods and ideas to the interpretation of the basic principles of Islam as well.

Actually, in this paper can be explained detail about schools of theology in Islam not only two schools mu’tazila and ash’ari, but so many schools in Islam, like maturidi, murji’ah. Isma’ili, wahabi, and so on. In this paper, the writer focuses on the development of Islamic theology, Islamic thought, Islamic philosophy, searching manuscripts, translation movement for scientific and philosophical work.

The rise of Islamic scholasticism (kalam) is much more important for our purposes than the religio-political factions discussed above are the more strictly theological divisions which began to split the ranks of Islam from the earliest times but apparently gained momentum with the introduction of Greek philosophy in the eighth and ninth centuries. The early jurists (fuqoha) and Traditionists (muhaddithin), despite their avowed literalism, did not fail altogether to perceive the obvious logical in congruencies of the sacred   texts and the problem of interpretation and harmonization which they inevitably raised.

Most ancient authorities agree that the first abstract issue on which the earliest theological controversies hinged was the question of free will and predestination (qodar). Some of the first theologians to discuss were Ma’bad al Juhani (d. 699), Ghailan al-Dimasqi (d.before 743), Wasil b. Ata’ (d.748) Yunus al-Aswari and Amr B. Ubaid (d.762). other theologians, like the famous Hasan al-Basri 9d.728), who is at the center of many theological developments, tended to confirm the traditional repudiation of free will in the interest of a quasi-absolute predestination eschatology. Some ancient authorities, however, attribute to him belief in free will.[9]


2. Translation movement and searching manuscripts    

     a. The development of Science and knowledge in the age of Bani Umayyah

            One of the aspects of civilization is to develop science and knowledge. In the age of Khulafau ar-Rasyidin and Prophet Muhammad focused on understanding Al-Qur’an from Hadits to deepen religion belief (al-aqidah), attitude, worship, but after that time focused on sciences and knowledge which inherited by the states before Islamic rising.

            The regional authority of Bani Umayyah were Andalusia, North Africa, Syam, Irak, Iran, Khurosan, and Tiongkok. Bani Umayyah authorized and conquered the centers civilization, Greek Iskandariah, Antiokia, Harran, Yunde sahpur, which was developed by scientists of Yahudi and Nasrani from Zoroaster. The scientists had embraced Islam but they still used and kept the heritages of Greek sciences. 

            Some of them got important occupation in the Palace of Caliph (khalifah) , their attendance in Islam can tinged and gave the new concept of thinking to understand sciences and knowledge. For example, Khalid Ibn Yazid was interested in Chemistry and medicine. He provided and paid some Greek Scholars to translate chemical books from medicine to Arabic language; it was first translation in the history of Islam.[10]

            The Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz instructed Islamic scholars to compile Hadits, he had strong connection with Ibnu Abjar, a doctor was from Iskandariyah and later became his private doctor. Those views influenced mindset of khalifah in studying medical science and Greek science.

            In the age of Bani Umayyah, the classification of science was divided into:

Religious sciences, all sciences originated to Al-Qur’an and Hadits

1)     Historical sciences, the sciences discussed history of life and biography.

2)     Science of language, include Arabic grammar (Nahyu, and sharfu,)

3)     Philosophical sciences, logical sciences, Medicine, Chemistry, Astronomy, Mathematic.


b. Bani Abasiyah (132 H/750 M.)

            The extraordinary achievements of Islam in the age of Bani Umayyah could conquer the regions of Romawi and Persia Empire, and then followed by Bani Abbasiyah, the development of Islamic civilization in science and knowledge was mor awful. The great movement of development of science and knowledge was happened and initiated by Khalifah Ja’far al-Mansur after he had built Bagdad Town (144 H/762 M) and it later became capital of state.

            Khalifah al-Ma’mun had a strong desire to do translation of Science and knowledge from Greek to Arabic language and built Translation School (Sekolah Tinggi Terjemah) in Bagdad. It was equipped with library that was Baitul Hikmah, the place which was Hunain Ibn Ishak known (809-877 M), translation of Greek Medicine Book, included the book of medicine which we know “MATERIA MEDICA”. Hunain had translated book of Galen in healing field and philosophy 100 books into Syiria, 39 books into Arabic language.

  1. 1.      Development of Naqli Science

Naqli science is a science which refers to Alqur’an and hadits,:

  1. Interpretation science (tafsir)
  2. Tradition science (al-hadits)
  3. Theology (kalam)
  4. Mysticism (tasawuf )
  5. Language (al-luhgoh)
  6. Jurisprudence and law (al-hukmu wal fiqhu)
  7. 2.       Development of logical Science (Aqli)
    1. Medicine
    2. Philosophy
    3. Optics
    4. Astronomy 
    5. Mathematic
    6. Chemistry
    7. History and Geography 
    8. 3.      Development of Ideologies
      1. Khawarij
      2. Murji’ah
      3. Qadariyah and Jabariah
      4. Mu’tazilah
      5. Ahl Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah

Some crucial matters of ideology discussed are among other things about:

1)     Reason and Revelation

2)     Free Will and Freedestination

3)     Power and absolute Will of God

4)     Qualities of God

5)     Concept of Faith[11]


  1. C.    CLOSING

            Many problems that we discuss and search regarding history of Islamic civilization and development of Islam from age to the age, theology and Islamic philosophy have an important role to answer clearly many questions of existence of God, reality of universe and being of human based on logic and rationality but without negation of exoteric and esoteric.

            We can not deny that the contribution of Greek sciences and scholars has great implication to develop Islamic science through the age.

            Islamic civilization had achieved golden age in the age of Bani Umayyah. After that age, Islam experienced decline especially in the period of Invasion. The decline of Islam in three Dinasty (Usmaniyah, Shafawiyah, and Mughal), the golden age of Islam was ended. Islam would be tinged and influenced by the West. And the next discussion will be period of reawakening of Islamic civilization.


  1. Amin , Ahmad, Dhuha al-Islam, (Kairo: Maktabah al-Nahdah, 1972) Vol.I
  2. De Boer, Dr.T.J., translated by Edward R. Jones, B.D, The History of Philosophy in Islam, (New York Press: 1967)
  3. Fakhr, Majid i, A history of Islamic Philosophy, (New York and London, Colombia University Press: 1970)
  4. Harun Nasution,Teologi Islam,Aliran-aliran Sejarah Analisa Perbandingan, (Jakarta,:Penerbit Universitas Indonesia (UI Press) 1986 Cet. Ke.5 p. iii
  5. Hodgson, Marshall G.S. translated by Mulyadi Kartanegara, The Venture of Islam (Iman dan Sejarah dalam Peradaban Dunia), (Jakarta, Paramadina: 2002)
  6. Madjid, Nurkholish, Islam Doktrin dan Peradaban, (Jakarta, paramadina: 2000)
  7. Rahman, Fazlul. Islam (Bandung, Pustaka: 1997)
  8. Sharif,  M.M.,  A History of Muslim Philosophy, ( New Delhi : 1995) Vol. I
  9. Sunanto,Musyrifah, Sejarah Islam Klasik, Perkembangan Ilmu Pengetahuan Islam (Bogor: Kencana, 2003)

10. Watt, Montgomery W., The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe, (Endinburg University Press: 1972) 

Yatim, Badri,

[1] Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, tax and explanatory translation,Taj Company Ltd Karachi Lahore Rawal pindi, tt

[2] Musyrifah Sunanto, Sejarah Islam Klasik, Perkembangan Ilmu Pengetahuan Islam (Bogor: Kencana, 2003) hal. 13

[3] . Ibid Hal. 14.

[4] The word iqro’ is a small talk of God but has big meaning function for human life, when Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation in Gua Hirah.

[5] QS. Al-Alaq ayat 1-5

[6] M.M. Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, ( New Delhi : 1995) Vol. I page 12

[7] Ibid, page 136

[8] Ibid page 203

[9] Majid Fakhri, A history of Islamic Philosophy, (New York and London, Colombia University Press: 1970) page 56-57.

[10] Ahmad Amin, Dhuha al-Islam, (Kairo: Maktabah al-Nahdah, 1972) Vol.I Page 262.

[11] Harun Nasution,Teologi Islam,Aliran-aliran Sejarah Analisa Perbandingan, (Jakarta,:Penerbit Universitas Indonesia (UI Press) 1986 Cet. Ke.5 p. iii


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