The Problem of the Epistemological Value of Revelational Evidence According to Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī


Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (d. 722/1322) influenced the philosophy and kalām traditions with his works. How to understand the religious texts is one of the main research subjects of these disciplines, and al-Samarqandī debated this issue by using the arguments of the Ash‘arī theologian Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210) without mentioning his name, arguing that rational proofs express definite knowledge when interpreting the revelational attributes of God (e.g., His hands and face) while revelational proofs indicate supposition (Ûann). Al-Samarqandī also explained how revelational evidence has been exposed to probable errors while transferring grammar (nahw) rules to the present day in addition to the different linguistic possibilities such as metaphor, homonymy, and transference of meaning (naql al-lugha). al-Samarqandī further developed al-Rāzī’s theory of the presumptiveness of revelational evidence to reveal how presumptions and literal proofs are indicative of definiteness. This article focuses on the epistemological value of revelational evidence according to al-Samarqandī, as well as identifying the thinkers who had influenced him regarding this issue and determining his original ideas on the subject. The article’s introduction will examine the revelational proofs and forms of signification in al-Samarqandī’s system. Afterward, the article will discuss the disputes about the value of revelational evidence, followed by the epistemic value revelational evidence expresses according to al-Samarqandī.


al-Samarqandī Arabic language and rhetoric theology hypotheticality of language revelational proofs Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī