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al-Razi's View on Carnal Love

al-Razi objects to carnal love because he proposes it is similar to carnal lust and pleasure.

He states that pleasure is a passion and thus, carnal love is a passion. Since passion is a blemish against reason, he proposes carnal love be avoided and suppressed in favour of reason. He states that love causes one to act irrationally, and that the beasts, children and lunatics are irrational and passionate. By objecting to carnal love, al-Razi is also speaking on the affliction after death or separation. He claims that death is inevitable, so the beast way to avoid the passion of grief (an irrational state), one must avoid affection. He says it is bad enough familiarity can cause grief, and that we must train ourselves to remember that loved ones will perish. Thus, it is easier to maintain a rational state of mind by avoiding love altogether.

He also compares love to a form of addiction, stating that even beasts seek only to satisfy their needs and urges when it comes to love, but do not further transgress, where as man cannot always stop himself from transgression. He states that man continues to seek refinement of the pleasure of lust and love, and always transgresses bounds. Thus, carnal love is irrational and should be avoided.

This is not a realistic proposal by al-Razi because he is advocating the avoidance of affection. This would mean little to no grief should be expressed for the loss of a mother, father, sister, brother, child, or spouse. al-Razi proposes it irrational to grieve over a loved one. In fact, he even proposed it irrational to have affection. This can cause one to live in an isolated and destitute life. Surely it cannot be anymore irrational to have affection for those whom one is familiar with. Even Razi, in his book, the Apology, states that an ascetic life as such is too difficult to maintain, citing the example of Socrates and his easing of his own rules in the latter part of his life. Thus, by al-Razi’s own later admission, this may be rationally ideal, but it is not possible, or at least difficult to fulfill.

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Anonymous said... October 7, 2009 at 6:05 PM

"Thus, it is easier to maintain a rational state of mind by avoiding love altogether."

"Avoiding love altogether"?? What kind of moronic view is that?- No offense btw. Love is not avoidable, it is a natural humanly thing to want and to have. It is a necessity. Without love in our lives. We are created because of Love and the entirety of our being is love. Love for our parents, for our family, for our spouse, children. If someone were to hold your wife/husband at gun point. (God forbid) Would you let them shoot and say "oh well, death is inevitable"? No you would not, because you love them. So to say that we should avoid love altogether is a very idiotic remark.

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