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

Dr. Ahmed Abdel Meguid
Last Update June 24, 2022
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About This Course


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.


10 Lessons3h

Unit 1 – The Genesis of the Concept of Freedom

Unit 2 – The Connection Between Freedom and Reason

Unit 3 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Social Contract

Unit 4 – Idealism and Marxism

Unit 5 – Postmodernism

Unit 6 – The Birth of Postmodernism

Unit 7 – Understanding Freedom from Different Perspectives

Unit 8 – Islam & Freedom (I)

Unit 9 – Islam & Freedom (II)

Unit 10 – Islam & Freedom (III)

Your Instructors

Dr. Ahmed Abdel Meguid

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Dr. Ahmed Abdel Meguid has been an Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University since 2011. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in the same year. His areas of specialization include the history of philosophy and philosophy of religion with a special focus on late 18th, 19th and early 20th-century German philosophy, as well as Islamic philosophy, theology, and mysticism. He has significantly contributed to the Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought and has also contributed to other books and articles on Islamic philosophy and political realism. He has received multiple awards and honours including the Fund for Innovative Teaching Award from Emory University in 2011.
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Duration 3 hours
10 lectures