1 ST. AUGUSTINE AND AL-GHAZALI ON 'FREE WILL': A COMPARATIVE STUDY ABSTRACT THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE OF ~30rtor of Vbt'10.90pbp IN PHILOSOPHY BY SHAYAQA JAMAL Under the Supervision of PROF. JALALUL HAQ DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY ALIGARH (INDIA) 2009 ~'
3 ABSTRACT The topic of present work is "St. Augustine and al-ghazali on Free- Will: A Comparative Study". It is divided into five chapters including Introduction and Conclusion. The first chapter is an introduction of the present study. It is divided into three sections: (i) Voluntarism vs. Determinism, (ii) Arguments for Determinism, (iii) Arguments for Voluntarism. In this chapter, an attempt is first made to clarify the meaning of freedom of will. Broadly, freedom of will may be understood into two senses. First one is `Free-will' as freedom of choice. Meaning thereby one does freely whatever he wants, Another meaning of `freedom' is absence of compulsion and constraint. This mean one acts willingly or voluntarily though in accordance with what is determined by God or some supreme power outside Besides these two broad district meanings of freedom, we can understand freedom in many other ways. Some possible explanations are as follows (i) (ii) Physical freedom Freedom to do as one pleases. (iii) Ideal freedom (iv) Freedom as the emergence of novelty. (v) Political freedom
4 2 Of the two theories on this issue namely, Determinism and Voluntarism, the former has its own variety. A few of its versions are given below : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Physical determinism Ethical determinism Logical determinism Theological determinism Psychological determinism Next is discussed in this chapter the theory of Voluntarism. This theory affirms that will is prior to reason or intellect. This theory has also its varieties which are as follows (I) (ii) Psychological voluntarism Ethical voluntarism (iii) Theological voluntarism All these various types of views are briefly discussed in the thesis. The second chapter is `Problem of Free-will in Judaism, Christianity and Islam'. This chapter is divided into eleven sections (i) Concept of Original Sin in Bible (ii) Maimonides on Sin and Free will (iii) Spinoza on Will and Desire (iv) Free-will in Christianity (v) Martin Luther and John Calvin on Free-Will (vi) William of Ockham on Free-Will
5 3 (vii) John Duns Scotus on Free-Will (viii)problem of Free-Will in Islam (ix) Rumi and Ibn `Arabi on Free-Will (x) Indian Sufi's Views on Free-Will (xi) Mohammad Iqbal on Free-Will The story of sin or original sin started from disobedience of Adam. God asked Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. But he exercised his discretion to disobey and eat the fruit. The problem of free will started from here. The possibility arose that Adam must have had the freedom of will to choose not to obey the command of God. On this theme, then, various views were subsequently propounded. One kind of theory was given by Maimonides. He discussed this concept of free will at length. He said that man has free will in choosing his good and bad actions. God does not predetermined man's goodness or badness. So, God is the cause of all human actions but not their sin. He argued that it would be illogical if man does not have free choice and is still responsible for his action. Spinoza's views on free will were opposite of the above. He denied divine will as well as human will. lie understood will in a different sense. According to him will is merely the activity of understanding; through understanding we affirm or deny whether a thing is good or bad. Besides the Jewish thinkers, the Christian theologians such as St. Acquinas, Luther Martine, John Calvin, William of Ockhan and John Duns Scotus also grappled with this problem. For Acquinas, actions of man and
6 4 actions of animals are not merely mechanical actions. They are for the satisfaction of their desire. Luther Martin and John Calvin both denied man's freedom of will. They pay great attention and give importance to God's grace. William of Ockham says a person who thinks is not different from the person who wills. For him intellect and will refer to same subject. John Duns Scotus makes distinction between nature and will. He holds the view that there are two sources through which events or actions occur before as i.e. will and nature. As compared to Judaism and Christianity, Islam adopts intermediate position between two theories of determinism and voluntarism. Various Muslim schools of thought, particularly Jabriah and Qadriyah debated early on the issue. The followers of Jabriah school, of thought said that God writes the destiny of child even before its birth in the womb of its mother or perhaps, even earlier, in the heaven itself. The follower of Qadr school on the other hand, maintained that man has liberty and has freedom of choice. Jabriah divided into three main groups viz. the Jahmiyah, the Najjariyah and the Diririyah. Later on, these two positions were reformulated by Ash'arites and Mutazilites. In the course of its further development, the thinkers like Wasil b Ata, al Ash'ari, Shahham, al Maturidi, Rumi, Shaikh Muhyi al-din al Arabi, Shaikh Hamid-uddin, Shaikh Nizam u'din Auliya, Shaikh Nasir u'din, Shaikh Shaf-u'din Yahya Manyari and Mohammad Iqbal and others also contributed. Their views have been briefly delineated. The third chapter is titled as "St. Augustine on Free Will". This chapter is divided into three sub-topics (i) The Fall of Man and Free Will
7 5 (ii) Arguments for Free Will (iii) God's Grace and Free Will In first section, Augustine's views on man's nature as well as nature of soul is discussed in some detail. St. Augustine says that God created man in his own image. This means that wise souls are made wise because of man's primary resemblance with his creator. God gave form to man out of earth. He, then, breathed in him His spirit. This breathing made man a being with soul. Now the question is, are we made up of both body and soul? The body is a being that serves the souls. That means mind and soul are not just added upon each other to make man. In man, the soul rather rules over the body. The body is subject to disintegration but soul is not. St. Augustine says that God is the creator of rational animal. He was entirely free in his creative acts. He could have made man exactly in the form in which we find him now. But the form in which he did make man was superior to his present formal condition. God originally created Adam without natural imperfections. Man was created as a good and innocent creature. But due to disobedience of first man the whole community became sinful. So, man's original nature was good but due to original sin his nature became corrupt. In second section, the arguments for free will by St. Augustine are discussed. There is an important difference between human being and all the rest of things. The difference which distinguishes man from any other thing is that his action depends upon his will. St. Augustine accepts will's domination over all the faculties. According to St. Augustine, there is no doubt about man's freedom of will. He believes in the reality of freedom of will in human being.
8 R He holds that man has capacity to choose his action freely. He said that free will is given by God to man to enable him to have the capacity to choose between good and bad freely. God is not at all responsible for man's evil action. Free will is good as many other things are good but through their bad use they become bad. So there is no reason for saying that God should not have given us those things that could be turned into evil. Free-will, according to St. Augustine, is an intermediate good. Goodness and badness depends upon its use. But although human beings have freedom of choice to choose between good, they cannot choose always right action. For choosing right action God's help is required. God's help is a necessary factor in choosing right action and avoiding evil action. St. Augustine further says God was free in his creative act. He created man much superior in comparison to his present state. Man was made good and the original sin was a result of man's freedom of choice. God himself played no role in man's fall. But man fell by his own free will. St. Augustine says that we should clearly understand that God's grace works upon will and it confers liberty, not free choice. Moreover, though man is free yet he is always in need of God's grace. For Augustine many people may have desire to do good but they are unable to carry out their desire in practice. People often know the law but have no will to observe the law. Pelagious had thought God's grace was not required before committing sin. It was needed to wipe out the sin. The will is free in order to follow or not follow the law. But in Augustinian thinking we find that he accept man's free. He maintains that God created man with free will. But he lost this divine gift due
9 rr to disobedience of first man. Moreover he accepts that God's grace is necessary for man's salvation. He also said that we cannot gain God's grace through our self effort. It is God's choice. He elects the people and bestows His grace. The fourth chapter of the work is titled as "Ghazali on Free-Will". This chapter is divided into six sub-topics i.e. (i) Nature of man and Soul's nature, (ii) God's will and Man's will, (iii) Knowledge, Will and Power, (iv) Arguments for Free Will, (v) Will and Motive (Niyah), (vi) Theory of Acquisition. Ghazali says that human personality and his characteristics are the result of meeting of the body and the spirit. The human self is the combination of spirit and matter. Ghazali uses the term latifah rabbaniyah through which he says man's nature is constituted. Latifah has four terms. Each of them indicates the reality of spirit and shows the relationship of the spirit to its body. The four terms are (i) QuIb (heart) (ii) Ruh (spirit or soul) (iii) Nafs (the self) (iv) Aql (intellect or intelligence) Ghazali describes man's character as consisting of beastly, animal, devilish and angelic quality. He also talks of various kinds of spirit. They are as follows (i) The sensory spirit (ii) The imaginative spirit (iii) The intelligential spirit THESis
10 8 (iv) The discursive spirit (v) The transcendental prophetic spirit All these various terms and types are briefly discussed. In the following section, Ghazali's views on the nature of God is discussed. According to Ghazali God is primarily and essentially a Will. God created the world through His Will and sustains it through His will. For proving that God is essentially will, he discussed cause and effect relation. According to Ghazali whatever happens in this world happens only by God's absolute free will. He is the only agent of all actions. So in the case of man's freedom of will, we can say that his freedom of will for performing action is also regulated by God's will. But for Ghazali, the will alone is not sufficient for causing actions. An action can happen only under three conditions viz. knowledge, will and power. Knowledge is the basis of action. But without willing it that action cannot be performed. Similarly, power or strength is also required for performing an action. For proving freedom of will, al-ghazali divided man's nature into certain categories. The first type of men are those whose character is unformed; they are ignorant. The second kind of men are those who are under the control of passions. They know the rational self is real self yet they follow their lower self. Ghazali says that they can reform their character by off shuting their evil habits. Third type of persons do evil addictively. Fourth type of people feel proud of their evil doing. Ghazali holds that the fact that human character can be changed and improved shows that man is a free agent.
11 9 Ghazali also talks of three types of action viz. (i) natural action, (ii) intentional action, and (iii) voluntary action. The natural actions are those which happen without man's will. Intentional actions are those which are done in the self protection or for avoidance of the evil by the consciousness. Voluntary actions are those in which alternative is possible and reason makes a choice to do it in one way rather than the other way. Voluntary action shows that man is free. Ghazali also pays greatest attention to motive. According to him, the motive is not an expression by voice but something that happens in the mind. It is mental occurrence that is finally expressed by tongue. There are three kinds of actions relating to the intention or will viz. sinful action, pious action and lawful action. Next is discussed theory of acquisition. According to Ghazali, "power" means the power to move and he used the word in the general sense of power of action, and power of choice. Further, "object of power" and "object of choice" meant according to him a movement which is performed by the power to move which is result of choice to move and not to move. In other words, we can say that it is a voluntary movement or voluntary action. He says in every voluntary action of man, three things are involved i.e. the power to act, the choice between moving and not moving, and the action performed by the power as a result of the choice. He said all these three things are created by God in man. He distinguishes between created power to move and created movement which is created by God in man. The power then is an attribute of man, but not an
12 10 acquisition of man, and movement is an attribute of man but also an acquisition. Both are created by God. The fifth and last chapter is Comparison between two philosophers as well as conclusion. In this chapter, I tried to compare first Islam and Christianity and then compared St. Augustine and al-ghazali. When we compare both thinkers we find that both accept the reality of free will as well as God's absoluteness. But St. Augustine gives more importance to God's grace. According to him, man cannot get salvation by his own effort. But for Ghazali man's character is subject to reform or change. Hence, man is free by his own capacity and power.