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Erlwein, Hannah C. (2019): Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on the Question 'Why Worship God?'. In: Journal of Quranic Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2

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A recurring concern of Fakhr (d. 606/1210) in his Qur'anic commentary, al-Tafsir al-kabir, is the presentation of an intellectual justification for the all-important Islamic doctrine that God alone is deserving of worship. When surveying al-Razi.' s arguments, they turn out to follow the same general line of reasoning: he who is creator is deserving of worship. This, however, might be seen to entail a difficulty (which al-Razi himself was actually aware of) in that unless God is the only creator, it does not seem clear why He alone, and no other entity, should be deserving of worship. The following question thus arises: do al-Razi's arguments hinge on an occasionalist worldview? Or do they allow for secondary causality? This article discusses some of the arguments al-Razi puts forward in the Tafsir for God's sole right to be worshipped. In doing so, special attention is paid to the position on causality that underlies them. It will be seen that al-Razi presents various arguments, some of which rest on an occasionalist worldview, and some of which assume secondary causality. Interestingly, his line of argument changes depending on the underlying position. The reasons as to why al-Razi presents arguments based on two mutually exclusive positions (one of which he himself does not subscribe to) are also addressed.

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