The Development of the Argument from Incipience and Eternity in the Imāmī Kalām from the Beginning until the Early School of Baghdad

One of the oldest and most important proofs offered for the existence of God in the Islamic Kalām is the argument from incipience (ḥudūth) and eternity (qidam). In this paper, I elaborate and examine the developments of the argument from reliable sources of Imāmī hadiths to the work of al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq and alShaykh al-Mufīd’s school of Kalām, and Karājakī’s so-called school of Baghdad. The research shows that the argument from incipience and eternity has undergone a considerable development in this period. The first development was from its simple versions in terms of hadiths to argumentations with philosophical and natural reasons and al-Ṣadūq’s well-formed demonstrative form of the argument in the style of Mu’tazilīs. In general, al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq’s method in the proof of the incipience of the world is to a large extent similar to that of Mu’tazilīs and Bahshamī Imāmīs with respect to its claims as well as its grounds and reasons. His arguments here show his influence from the teachings of the Mu’tazila. For al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, although beliefs are mainly supported by hadiths from the Imams, one must not or had better not rest content to them. Instead, one should support the contents of hadiths with Kalāmī arguments. In the early School of Baghdad, the argument from incipience and eternity did not go through serious changes in comparison to al-Ṣadūq’s period. The only difference was in the way the argument was formulated and certain arguments for its premises. For alShyakh al-Ṣadūq and theologians in the early School of Baghdad, Mu’tazilī arguments from incipience and eternity were not in conflict with the teachings of the Imams. On the contrary, they were in agreement with hadiths from the Imams.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Journal of Philosophy & Theology, Volume:23 Issue:3, 2018
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