The Relationship between God's Knowledge and Will in the al-Ghazālian Theology: A Critical Approach

  • Hasan Akkanat Hacı Bayram Veli University
Keywords: Al-Ghazālī, divine attributes, omniscience, divine will, two-valued logic


Three divine attributes (knowledge, will and power) discussed in the classical ages of Islamic theology were established as a doctrine in time, and the other doctrines of divine attributes were removed from the Sunnī theology. Divine knowledge is an attribute whose activity is generally to know all possible options about the universe, while the divine will is another attribute whose activity is to choose only one of the similar or dissimilar options. But they are seen incompatible when considered in the frame of God’s relationship to the universe: (i) if it is obviously known which option will happen, it is not really chosen at the moment of choice, and (ii) if it is uncertain which option will be chosen, it cannot be known which option will happen until preference. What is problematic here is that you attempt to design the divine attributes and actions according to two-valued logic: His all activities must happen one after another. Then, which solution is proposed for the issue by al-Ghazālī, who claims that knowledge and the will are the mutually compatible and complementary attributes for God’s relationship to the universe? I discuss whether al-Ghazālī supports his claim with adequate arguments or not.