The Philosophy of the Five Eternal Principles (Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi)

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi was born in a city near Tehran, namely the city of Ray. He was born in the year 863 AD and passed away in 925 AD. In the Western world, he is known as Rhazes. One of his famous works is on smallpox and measles. His work has been widely translated into various European languages, and as of 1866, it was still being reprinted.

The Five Eternal Philosophies of al-Razi

Al-Razi is a renowned philosopher, particularly known for his doctrine of the five eternals. The five eternals are God, Universal Soul, First Matter, Absolute Space, and Absolute Time. God is the creator, omnipotent, and omniscient. The Soul is a living entity, and every living thing possesses intellect. Matter is something perceptible by the senses. Space is the place of matter, and time is the state of changing matter.

In his book "Philosophy and Mysticism in Islam," Prof. Dr. Harun Nasution explains that two of the five eternals are alive and active: God and Soul. One of them is neither alive nor active but passive, namely Matter. The other two are neither alive nor active nor passive: Space and Time.

As mentioned earlier, the first matter is eternal. However, it is important to note that the world is not eternal because it does not belong to the first matter; it is composed of pre-existing material. According to al-Razi, initially, God did not intend to create the world. However, at some point, the Soul was very attracted to the first matter and played with it, causing the first matter to rebel. God then came to assist the Soul, creating the world with a strong structure so that the Soul could enjoy the pleasures within the material. Originally, the Soul forgot the true pleasure, which is to be free from the pleasures of the material. This led God to create reason, derived from God's essence, to awaken humans deceived by the pleasures of the material. The Soul will remain in the material world until it can purify itself through philosophy. Only when the Soul is pure will it return to its original state and experience true pleasure.

Al-Razi was a philosopher who boldly expressed his views, even if they contradicted Islamic beliefs. He did not believe in revelation and was convinced that human intellect alone could comprehend God and everything in the world. He also did not consider the Quran as a miracle, lacked belief in prophets, and held the belief that, besides God, there is something else eternal, something without a beginning or end.

Mushpih, writer on