Rational Science is Shari’a, This is Ibn Sina’s Explanation



Rational Science is Shari'a, This is Ibn Sina's Explanation

Muslim creed – Allah guarantees that people who believe and have knowledge will get a very high degree of honor and status among humans or other creatures of God. However, not a few of us try to contrast the two. In fact, as explained by Ibn Sina, between faith and knowledge, both must be firmly attached to us in order to get happiness in this world and the hereafter.


Ibn Sina divides knowledge into two branches, first is the science of religion (Al-`Ilm Al-Syar`i), the second is rational science (Al-`Ilm Al-`Aqli) or in the current context is science. Between the two there is no contradiction, they complement each other. In a treatise entitled Al-`Ilm Al-Ladunnī, Ibn Sina stated, “for those who know and understand, most of the rational sciences are shar’i, and much of the religious knowledge is rational.”

In that case, we can find many examples. As in the scientific tradition of kalam (theology), especially those concerning the existence of God, it is built on the foundation of logical and rational arguments, besides they also present arguments originating from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Rational argument complements the postulate of revelation, and vice versa.

Also in the scientific tradition of fiqh, which in the process of taking the law is based on the rules of ushul fiqh that are logical and rational, considering that apart from the Qur’an and Sunnah, there are also Qiyas and Ijma` as the basis for taking a law. Again, in this scientific tradition, religion and reason complement each other.


First, the science of religion (Al-`Ilm Al-Syar`i), said Ibn Sina, is divided into two types, the first which is basic or basic (Al-Ushlī) namely the science of monotheism which is also called the science of kalam. This science talks about the Essence of God and things related to Him (sifāt, af`āl, and asmā), prophetic issues and subsequent leadership, and matters relating to eschatological matters. Those who have a concentration in this science are called al-mutakallimūn (experts of kalam).

Ibn Sina requires that to deepen the knowledge of kalam, one must have in-depth knowledge also of the sciences related to the Qur’an and Hadith. Such as Arabic grammar, interpretation, and so on. Ibn Sina said, “Arabic grammar is the way (to understand) the science of interpretation and hadith, the science of interpretation and hadith is (the way to build) the evidences of the science of monotheism, and the science of monotheism is the most important basis for connecting a servant with his Lord. ”

The next part of the science of religion is the science of al-furū`, which is a branch. Ibn Sina simplifies this division with the term that the science of ushuli is theoretical, while the science of furu` is practical which includes relations with Allah such as prayer, fasting, zakat, and hajj; relations between humans such as association, buying and selling, debts, criminal law, marriage, talaq, inheritance and also those related to ethics (akhlaq).

The science of furu` includes discussions in the fiqh science treasures, namely the faculty of science which deals with all matters relating to acts of worship, either directly with Allah (mahdlah) or between fellow creatures (ghair mahdlah). Ibn Sina stated, “The science of jurisprudence is noble, because it provides benefits as a much-needed knowledge.”

Rational Science

Second, rational science (al-`ilm al-`aqli) is the science that details and marks something about right and wrong. This knowledge has three levels. The first level is logic (al-mantiq – the law of orderly thinking) and mathematics (al-riyādiyat – the science of numbers and calculations, also known as exact science); the second level is physics (al-thabī`iyat – the science of nature including matter, form, motion, change, planets, and so on); and the third level is the one with the highest degree, namely the knowledge of existence (al-ilāhiyyat – metaphysics).

Thus the division of knowledge according to Ibn Sina in his treatise entitled al-`Ilm al-Ladunnī. Detailed and in-depth explanations related to the rational sciences can be found in his masterpiece entitled al-Syifā which covers logic, physics and metaphysics. In another article, we will discuss Ibn Sina’s views regarding the path to knowledge, which include ta`līm al-insāni, namely the process of knowledge produced by humans through the process of objectification and reasoning; and ta`līm al-rabbāni, namely knowledge obtained through divine emanations without the medium of objectification.

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