Some Critical Reflections on al-Jāḥiẓ’s Notions of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ (Innate Dispositions)

  • Zaid Alamiri independent
Keywords: Tab and Tiba, Innate disposition, Generated acts, al-Jahiz, Determinism and literary production

Abstract

This study sheds some light on how the philosophical and theological beliefs of al-Jāḥiẓ (d. 868), as a Muʿtazilite, influenced his literary views and opinions. Among these are the concepts of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ, which are frequently mentioned in his writings. The concepts of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ originally address philosophically related theological questions, which were extended to cover literary points. On the theological level, these concepts were used to support the Muʿtazilah’s interpretation of human free will viewed in light of their belief in the unicity and justice of God. The notions of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ arose out of the Muʿtazilah’s discussion of ‘generated acts’. Regarding the literary domain, al-Jāḥiẓ applied the concepts of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ to the interpretation of littérateur creativity and his literary production. The way al-Jāḥiẓ interpreted the notions of Ṭabʿ and Ṭibāʿ displays natural determinism disguised under Divine determinism.

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Published
2021-01-21
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Articles