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Studying Philosophy in a Secular University

Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have an interest in studying Philosophy after my Undergraduate degree, but have heard that many times the ideas presented in secular philosophy courses lead young people away from Islam.

I hope to one day become a seeker of Islamic knowledge, I’m diligent in my salah, fast occasionally and try to be good to my parents and family. So, I’m an average Muslim with no scholarly background. What is your advice about studying philosophy at a Secular university?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

I would strongly advise you to not study philosophy in a secular university until and unless you have a strong foundation in traditional Islamic studies, particularly theology and spirituality. Even then, one must be careful and always consult senior scholars and spiritual mentors.

We have seen too many cases of people getting confused, and even losing their faith (Allah forbid), by studying philosophy without a solid foundation in traditional Islamic studies. I say ‘traditional’ because even studying ‘Islamic studies’ in a secular university is dangerous unless one has a strong foundation and adequate time spent with righteous inheritors of our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)

For a more detailed discussion, you can read some of the related works of Hujjat al-Islam Imam Ghazali, particularly his “Munqidh min al-Dalal” (Deliverance from Error). As the Imam points out, it is not that the philosophers have strong arguments for their disbelief. Rather there are many secondary issues that might confuse one who is ill-equipped, causing him to be open to their positions of disbelief.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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