St. Thomas Aquinas and Islamic Influence
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
There is no doubt that the greatest Philosopher and Theologian to come out of the Christian faith is none other than Thomas Aquinas, more commonly known as Saint Thomas Aquinas. His book, Summa Theologica has had a significant, positive impact on the development, teaching and continued persistence of Christian teachings since the 13th century CE, well into our times. Yet, what most Christians who rely on the arguments and reasoning of Christianity’s biggest and best intellectual mind fail to mention is best summed in the following quote:
“Averroes’ greatest influence was as a commentator. His doctrines had a varying fortune in Christian schools. At first they secured a certain amount of adherence, then, gradually, their incompatibility with Christian teaching became apparent, and finally, owing to the revolt of the Renaissance from everything Scholastic, they secured once more a temporary hearing. His commentaries, however, had immediate and lasting success. St. Thomas Aquinas used the “Grand Commentary” of Averroes as his model, being, apparently, the first Scholastic to adopt that style of exposition; and though he refuted the errors of Averroes, and devoted special treatises to that purpose, he always spoke of the Arabian commentator as one who had, indeed, perverted the Peripatetic tradition, but whose words, nevertheless, should be treated with respect and consideration. The same may be said of Dante’s references to him. It was after the time of St. Thomas and Dante that Averroes came to be represented as “the arch-enemy of the faith”.” – The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Averroes”.
Some through their ignorance might focus on Aquinas’ refutation of the errors of Averroes, however anyone who has actually read the works of the revered Christian saint and teacher would understand that these “refutations” were more in defense of philosophical positions and creeds which Christians held dear. It is clear that if anyone were to read Averroes’, “”Kitab al Fasl al Maqal – On the Harmony Between Religions and Philosophy”, most of Aquinas’ arguments are explicitly based on the logical positions expounded upon within. A free download of the book is available here and is essential reading for any Muslim.
wa Allaahu ‘Alam.