The book al-Huruf has never been approached from a philosophical standpoint. Unlike the common belief, it is not a purely linguistic work and, rather, enjoys great significance regarding its philosophical aspect. Al-Huruf is considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of Farabi, and most of the studies conducted on this book emphasize that it is merely a commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. That is why Farabi’s innovations have been disregarded there. This book is of great importance not only because of its focus on linguistic principles but also because of its discussing the relationships between language and philosophy, religion and philosophy, and everyday language and philosophical language. Here, the writer also reveals the nature of the 200-year conflicts between kalam, philosophy, syntax, and logic in the world of Islam. The purpose of this study is to examine and analyze two fundamental principles and evaluate the related views.
Therefore, the writer initially attends to the general and philosophical status and writing style of al-Huruf and explains the related ideas. This book is, first and foremost, a reaction to the enemies of philosophy and rationalist trends in understanding religion. Farabi begins the book with linguistic discussions and, then, in the light of his introduction, spells out the intricacies of logical and epistemological theories, and finally clarifies the nature of ontological thoughts. In this book, he discusses how ignoring fundamental linguistic principles could harm ontological and epistemological discussions. He also illustrates how linguistic studies could demystify philosophical principles and grant them more depth and essence. Second, in addition to examining the structure of al-Huruf, the writer tries to explore Farabi’s fundamental doctrine of reconciliation. In doing so, he begins with an analysis of the two schools of Kufa and Basrah and then reviews the mentioned doctrine. In the second part of this book, Farabi demonstrates in two chapters on the unity of philosophy and religion (al-Silah bayn al-falsafah wal millah) that there is no choice but to defend the doctrine of reconciliation. He emphasizes that an irrational religion is nothing but fantasy and maintains that the fundamental principles of religion are based on the intellect and reasoning. In his view, neither Abu Bishr nor Abu Saeid had grasped the significance of this view. Matta Ibn Yunus was not merely a representative of logic and wisdom; rather, he and his companions and advocates relied only on autonomous reasoning, which Farabi found insufficient. In contrast, Abu Saeid was not merely a representative of syntax as advocated by the School of Baghdad, but, in company with several people who defended a purely religious approach, he opposed the role of reason in understanding and justifying religious beliefs. In this book Farabi tries to pose and develop a third theory based on analyzing these two approaches.