Fakhr al-Din al-Razi:The Science Lover In Islam

Muhammad Ibn Umar Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Ali, nicknamed Fakhruddin or Abu Abdullah Ar-razi and better known as Fakhurddin Ar-Razi was born in 544 h, in the City of Ray, Iran. It is said that the Ar-razi family originated in Tabaristan, and from some of his genealogy links to the Quraysh tribe, the Taymi clan, and still has bloodshed from Abu Bakr As-Shiddiq RA. Ar-razi embraced the Shaykh madzhab in philosophy, and the Ash’ari in theology.

Ar-razi lived in the old times of the Daula Abasiyah, the era in which the golden age of Islam began to fade. The crusade that raged since 493 H and continued until nearly two centuries thereafter, and the expansion of the East against the territory of the Daula at that time increasingly dragged Muslims into the era of decline.

The political situation in the country also does not change chaotic. The caliph’s authority began to falter, and the emergence of tribes who claimed to have the right to power such as the Seljuqs, Khawarizm Shah and Ghouri increasingly indicated the weak authority of the sultanate at that time. Not unlike the economic and social conditions that increasingly illustrate the dark politics of the people at that time.

Miraculously, the state of knowledge and intellectuality is inversely proportional. As quoted by Ibn Khaldun, that in the East (Masyriq) the majority of the population is a mixture of Arabs and Non-Arabs, is experiencing extraordinary intellectual growth. Will Durant said that growth occurred in several regions such as Baghdad, Damascus, Ray, and so forth. Until it can be concluded that the intellectual dynamics of that time was not much different from the Al-Ma’mun era, even though the golden graph was decreasing.

The city of Ray, which is the birthplace of Ar-razi, is known as the birthplace of many great scholars. Like the Sufi, Abu Zakariya Yahma Bin Mu’adz Al-Razi (d. 258 H), then the doctor and great philosopher, Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Zakariya Al-Razi (d. 311 H), the language expert, Abu Al-Husayn Ahmad bin Faris Al-razi (d. 315 H), hadith expert, Ibn Abi Hatim Al-razi (d. 327 H), and so on. In addition, as a positive impact of the intellectual dynamics at the time, there were also many emerging scholars who were contemporary with Ar-razi. Among them are Al-amidi (d. 631 H), Al-‘izz ibn Abdissalam (d. 660 H), Ibn Rushd (d. 595), Al-suhrawardi (d. 587 H), Ibn Arabi (d. 638 H ), Abdul Qadir Al-jilani (d. 561), and many other big names.

Ar-razi grew up in the realm of knowledge, otherwise his intellectual journey began with the study of the father of Dhiya’uddin Umar, one of the Asiatic scholars of the Shaykh civilization. The book “Ghayatul maram fi ‘ilmil pen” which is the result of his writing is sufficient proof of the father’s maturity in the field. As-subki even referred to it as one of his most precious and most beautiful books. Undoubtedly, As-Subki praised Ar-razi’s father as an encyclopedic scholar and scholar.

From his father, Ar-razi learned various disciplines such as theology and caliphate until his death. Ar-razi in some of his literature referred to the father as an “al-imam as-a-ra” and also a shaykh and a teacher. If ordered then the Arad razi theology is as follows; Ar-razi studied with his father Dhiya’uddin Umar, while his father was with Abi Qasim bin Nashir Al-anshari (w. 511 H), and then Abi Qasim on Abu Al-ma’ali Al-Juwaini (w. 487 H), Al- also to Abu Ishaq Al-Isfirayini (w. 418 H), Abu Ishaq to Abu Al-husein Al-bahili, Al-bahili to Abu Al-hasan Al-asy’ari (w. 324 H).

After the death of his father, Ar-razi traveled to Simnan, but soon he returned to his hometown Ray. There he also studied with Majduddin Al-Jily, a friend of Muhammad Ibn Yahya, a student of Al-Ghazali. At Al-Jili who was then known as someone who was quite knowledgeable, Ar-razi studied kalam science and philosophy. In addition to being awarded a scientific environment and qualified teachers, Ar-razi also has extraordinary intelligence. In a short time he was able to memorize the books of his predecessors, such as Al-juwaini’s As-syamil, Al-ghazali’s Al-mustashfa, Al-mu’tamad’s Abi Al-husein Al-Basri, and others. In one note Ar-razi once said that he was not permitted to teach kalam (theology) unless he had memorized twelve thousand pages.

If calculated, there are quite a number of disciplines controlled by Ar-razi. Starting from theology, philosophy, fiqh, ushul fiqh, interpretation, history, chemistry, medicine, and even magic does not escape from his research. Disciplined science that is not a lot does not even make Ar-razi’s knowledge in each discipline shallow. In fact, his writings in a discipline that was considered foreign even though it became a best-seller became a reference for those interested in the field.

The book “As-sir Al-maktum fi Mukhathabat As-syams wa Al-Qamar wa An-nujum” as mentioned by Al-hafidz Adzahabi is one of the writings of Ar-razi. What later sparked controversy among Islamic scholars afterwards, due to his discussion of magic. Some, like As-subki in his work Thabaqat deny that this book is the fruit of Ar-razi. There are limited to doubt, like Ibn Khaldun. However, the majority of scholars agree that this book is purely the work of Ar-razi.

Apart from the disagreement between the scholars, it would be nice if we hear the Ar-razi apology when exploring this discipline. As quoted by Salih Az-zirkan in his dissertation “Ar-razi wa ara’uhu al-kalamiyah wa al-falsafiyah”; Whereas magic (as a science and not a practice) in Fakhruddin’s view of Ar-razi is not something that is despicable. Furthermore Ar-razi argued that the experts had agreed, because the essence of science was noble. As he said “Is the same as those who know those who do not?”. And because magic is unknown, it will be difficult to distinguish it from miracles.

Without intending to go into more detail, it feels like from this Ar-razi phrase we are able to extract a digest. That Ar-razi is seen as a greedy student of science. Certainly not greedy in the negative sense, but when a discipline is viewed as beneficial, it does not shy away from it. A bit impressed by the perfectionists, but more dominant to say it was a form of hard work.

Ar-razi died in 606 AH in the city of Harah. From his personality who does not know fatigue to wander in search of knowledge or discussion we will say that Ar-razi is a lover of science. In fact, he once said, “For God’s sake, I’m afraid at mealtimes I can’t concern myself with matters of science. Because truly time and age are precious. ” Not surprisingly, As-subki dubbed him the “Reformer of the Sixth Century Hijriyah”.


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