Freedom from the Perspective of Islamic Philosophy: A Critical History of an Ambiguous Concept

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Dr. Ahmed Abdel Meguid
Department of Religion, Syracuse University


The question of freewill or the capacity to control and morally be held responsible for one’s actions is coeval with moral thinking and the inquiry into human nature and agency. The question acquired considerably more importance with the advent of theism. If God All Perfect and Justice is a Perfection, then judgment in the Hereafter must assume the freewill of rational agents. But how could freedom and freewill be defined? In contrast with a long history of approaching these concepts from a rational perspective, freedom has mostly been associated with sexual and bodily freedom in the last two decades. What and how could Islamic philosophy contribute to this debate? What does Islam have to say about freedom and coercion? This course investigates possible answers to these questions and more.


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