Was Mohammed a philosopher?



Could the Islamic prophet Mohammed be consider a philosopher?

I know some people argue that Jesus was a philosopher, but I don't notice any discussion on Mohammed.

Rocky Sherbet

Posted 2017-11-24T03:10:51.850

Reputation: 21

1For sure, neither Jesus nor Mohammed were philosophers. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-11-24T07:29:06.197

2Rather that being a philosopher, Jesus was the very Wisdom that philosophy purports to seek. As Augustine wrote, "He Himself is the Wisdom of God." (On the Trinity 1.6.10) – None – 2017-11-24T09:16:41.243

1Interesting question. Whether Jesus or Mohamed may be considered a philosopher probably depends on who is reading them. Unusually I'd agree with Pe de Leao's comment on this point. If we discover the philosophy and world-view on which their teachings depend then we will see them as philosophers, (among other things), but of course not the speculative or theoretical kind. These days there is much literature explaining this philosophy. In my view Jesus promoted a neutral metaphysical position, an unfalsifiable view shared by mystics the world over. – None – 2017-11-24T10:20:41.513

There was at least one religious group leader who was officially a philosopher: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Applewhite In contrast, Muhammad lacked credentials. I know this sounds silly, but how do you decide if someone's coincidental activities make him a philosopher or not?

– Fizz – 2017-11-24T13:19:55.603

Even if we follow the Wikipedia definition of someone engaging in "rational inquiry into areas that are outside either theology or science", we still have to decide if creating a religion counts as theology or not. – Fizz – 2017-11-24T13:27:35.027

@PeterJ. Yes, of course, you are right. 'Philosophy' and 'philosopher' are porous terms; and in the world-view sense, which is perfectly valid, both Jesus and Mohammad were philosophers. I took the question as meaning 'philosopher' in the sense in the inquiry sense which predominates in Philosophy Stacks. Nice intervention, thanks. – Geoffrey Thomas – 2017-11-25T19:13:02.260

1The historical figure or the prophet you find in text of religion? – Philip Klöcking – 2017-11-26T07:44:49.883

@GeoffreyThomas - I added a proviso, but I wouldn't disagree with your answer. . – None – 2020-01-30T10:55:30.237



Philosophy involves a quest for knowledge. Both Jesus and Mohammad possessed all knowledge requisite to their missions, if one accepts their teachings, without having to seek knowledge. Knowledge was given to them.

If one does not accept their teachings then it must still be conceded that they believed themselves to possess all knowledge requisite to their missions, and so did not need to seek it and therefore were not philosophers.

This is not to say that their teachings do not suggest philosophical questions, e.g. about the attributes of God or the nature of free will. But one is not a philosopher simply because what one says prompts philosophical questions.

In my view the proper status of neither Jesus nor Mohammad is altered one whit by whether they were philosophers or not.

Geoffrey Thomas

Posted 2017-11-24T03:10:51.850

Reputation: 34 276


Every faith is the expression of a philosophical worldview, and so every faith founder is ipso facto a philosopher of sorts, in the sense that they have to conceive, organize, and express that worldview in a comprehensible, coherent, and persuasive manner. We shouldn't idealize a philosopher as something 'other.' A philosopher is merely someone with clear and keen insight, and the cognitive and rhetorical skills to make that insight real for other people.

Of course, the founders of a faiths have not typically been intellectual/analytic philosophers of the Western sort. Part of that is historical development: modern 'rational' philosophy is influenced heavily by enlightenment thinking, with its emphasis on specificity, detail, and intellectual rigor. Earlier thinking tended to lean more on metaphysics and analogical methods. Further, religious philosophy invariably tends towards the existential and mystical — at least until it collapses into dogma — with teachers pointing at that which cannot be expressed in language so that others can gain the experience of it.

So yes, Mohammad (like other founders) was a philosopher. The philosophical message that he (and Jesus, and Buddha, etc) presented may largely be obscured by millennia of dogmatic cultism, but it's still there if one wants to dig for it.

Ted Wrigley

Posted 2017-11-24T03:10:51.850

Reputation: 9 139