is a monotheistic religion
that affirms the existence of One absolute and perfect God.
As it spread by conquest in the 7th century, Islam encountered
many new and foreign traditions, including the work of Aristotle.
This repeatedly raised a vital question: were non-Islamic ideas
to be considered part of the One Truth?
the 9th century, al-Kindi affirmed that philosophy and
religion are merely different methods of pursuing the One Truth.
Similarly (but more specifically), al-Farabi said that
logic is the universal law of regulated thought, while revealed
religion expresses truth in the symbols of a particular place
the 11th century, ibn Sina (Avicenna) solidified Aristotle's
importance in the Islamic world and said that philosophy is
the only source of knowledge -- and knowledge is the
source of salvation. Avicenna said we begin with what
we know, and proceed through a hierarchy of sciences toward
what we don't know, culminating in "First Philosophy."
Avicenna famously distinguished between essence and existence.
This led to the philosophical concept of Necessary Existence
(i.e. God). Avicenna said happiness is found not in sense perception,
but in objects of the intellect; salvation involves correct
habits of the soul and a primary understanding of Being -- i.e.
contemplation of the purely divine.
(1058-1111) criticized Avicenna, insisting that salvation is
beyond demonstrative knowledge, and can be gained only
in the "immediate experience" of mysticism. Ibn
Rushd, or Averroes (1126-1196), worked to restore
the independence of philosophy, separating it from religion.
He said that religion may guide the masses to salvation, while
philosophy -- grasped only by a small elite -- produces the
speculative virtues that are necessary for attaining truth and
immortality of the soul.