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Al-'aql al-faāl (Arabic: العقل الفعال, romanizedAl-'aql al-f'aal) or Wahib al-suwar[1] is a kind of reason in Islamic philosophy and psychology. It is considered as the lowest level of celestial intelligences.[2]


Aql has many different meanings in Islamic philosophy and psychology. The word aql means to restrain or to tie philologically. Reason is something which prevents human from judgment and behavior. Aql gradually transformed to reason semantically. In Islamic philosophy, particularly the peripatetic school, the technical use of aql to some extent is under the affection of Greek philosophy.[3]

Historical background

For the first time, Al-Farabi numerated several meanings of aql in his book.[3]

Farabi tries to reconcile between the peripatetic attitude of active intellect with the Islamic notion of prophecy. Farabi identifies active intellect with jibril (in Islam the angel of revelation). Humans can be transformed from Aql bi-l-quwwah (potential intellect) into Aql bi-l-fi'l (actual intellect). Thereby men can be free of themselves from the darkness of ignorance. Finally aql transforms into Aql Al-mustafad (the acquired intellect). In the level that acquires intellect, aql reflects upon its own contents through inquiring among its similarities and distinction.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Azadpur, Mohammad (1 August 2011). Reason Unbound: On Spiritual Practice in Islamic Peripatetic Philosophy. SUNY Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-4384-3764-4.
  2. ^ Adamson, Peter (4 July 2013). Interpreting Avicenna: Critical Essays. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-107-35445-6.
  3. ^ a b "ʿAQL".