The Search for Felicity in al-Madinat al-Fadilah and Hayy ibn Yaqzan: A Comparison of the Rational Religion of Abu Nasr al-Farabi and the Rational Mysticism of Ibn Tufayl Open Access

Mckinney, Jarred (Spring 2018)

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This essay examines al-Farabi’s and ibn Tufayl’s presentation of the journey to human felicity within al-Madinat al-Fadilah and Hayy ibn Yaqzan. Al-Farabi’s project is best understood as rationalist religion which leads him to posit the need of community. Ibn Tufayl’s project, on the other hand, dismisses the notion of society and encourages rational-mysticism which is individualistic in scope. Upon delineating their religious notions, I will present the implications these variant understandings had on their understanding of the importance of community.




Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                    1


Chapter 1     Historical Background and Comments on the Text                     7

                        Historical Background                                                                       7

                        Comments on the Texts                                                                    9


Chapter 2     Neoplatonism and al-Farabi’s Metaphysics                                13

                        Neoplatonism                                                                                  13

                        Al-Farabi’s Cosmology                                                                    17


Chapter 3     Rationalism                                                                                    20

Hayy’s Rational Foundations                                                          20

                       To the First Cause                                                                          28

                        Sufficiency of the Rational Faculty                                                  33


Chapter 4     Mysticism                                                                             42                   

Ibn Tufayl’s Mysticism                                                                    42

                        Al-Farabi’s Rationalism and ibn Tufayl’s Rational-Mysticism         49


Chapter 5     King, Philosopher, Politics                                                          58

Characteristics of Al-Farabi’s Philosopher-King                              58

                        The King and Hayy                                                                          61

                        Politics or A Lack Thereof                                                               67


Chapter 6    The Role of Society in Attainting Felicity                                             76

                        Society                                                                                             76

                        The Role of the Philosopher                                                            83


Chapter 7      The Medium of Transmission                                                          88

                         Implications on the Medium of Transmission                                  88


Conclusion                                                                                                            91             

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