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By Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr

During this, the 1st English translation of 1 of the main recognized books via the influential Islamic philosopher al-Sadr, an acclaimed historian explains and areas in context the philosopher's perspectives.

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It is self-evident that a human by virtue of adherence to the divine law is obligated to de¥ne his/her practical position before it. When the rulings of the divine law are not overwhelmingly self-evident and clear to a degree which relieves one of any need to establish an argument, then it is not logical that people be forbidden to de¥ne their practical position through inference. Unfortunately, however, this question happens to have acquired another form not lacking some degree of obscurity and confusion.

This argument is traditional in ShŠ‘Š jurisprudence and represents the thinking of a hierarchical society. In fact, pre-modern Islamic law represents the pre-modern society of Muslims in the Middle East in that it recognizes three different absolute distinctions of status: between male and female, between Muslim and non-Muslim, and between slave and free. This last distinction was discarded as no longer meaningful by Muslim jurists; and the other two distinctions are no longer acceptable. Perhaps Muhammad Baqir as>-Sadr would have written these out of contemporary Islamic law, had he not been savagely killed in his native Iraq on April 8th, 1980 on the order of Saddam Hussein, who subsequently killed scores of ShŠ‘Š jurists to keep his ShŠ‘Š subjects cowed.

Already in the nineteen-¥fties one of the leading thinkers among the Iranian clergy, Muh>ammad Hiusayn Tabataba’i, had written an attack on materialistic philosophies, in particular, Communism, and the very able and proli¥c Iranian Ayatollah Mortaza Mot#ahharŠ had both popularized and extended this attack. Sadr drew on these sources as well as his extensive reading of pro- and anti-Communist literature in Arabic, and on his growing knowledge Introduction 29 of Western philosophy as available in Arabic translation, in order to write a series of books that would have enormous readership in the Arab world: Our Economy, Our Philosophy, The Interest-Free Bank, and The Logical Bases of Induction, as well as a host of shorter works.

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