Religious and scientific scholar from Khorasan (B. 1149, Rey – D. 1210, Herat). His full name is Muhammed bin Ömer bin Hüseyin bin Hüseyin bin Ali et-Teymî el-Bekrî. He was an all rounder scholar who studied and worked on almost all sciences of his times such as kalam, fiqh procedure, commentary, Arabic language, philosophy, logic, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics. His family was originally from Taberistan. He is known as İbnü’l-Hatîb by the Western Islamic World and as Fahruddîn Razî and Fahr-i Razî by others. His father Ziyauddin Ömer, a scholar of fiqh (Islamic Law) and kalam (explaining and proving the religious principles using rational evidences) was known with his nice and impressive oratory and so being called as “Hatibü’r-Rey” (T.N. The Orator of Rey). Razî took lessons from his father until his death when he was sixteen. In order to continue his education, he went to Simnan from Rey. After getting educated for a while on fiqh (Islamic Law) there, he returned back to Rey again and took philosophy and kalam lessons from Mecdüddîn el-Cilî, who was a famous hodja.
After completing his education and reaching high positions in science, he made travels to some places. In Harezm, he made discussions with the persons connected with Mütezile (the opinion owners who ground on what mind calls beautiful or ugly). Then he went to Maveraünnehr. After he returned to his hometown, he went to Gazne and then to Khorasan. Fahreddin Razî, who stayed in Herat for a while, proved with evidences that the beliefs of Kerrâmiyye sectary were wrong.
Fahreddin Razî was curious about kalam, philosophy and metaphysics, and was talented and inquiring regarding these subjects. He met the works of Farabî and Avicenna at Khorasan. He benefited a lot from them and had the opportunity of further improving his knowledge. He dealt with medicine, astronomy, language and literature and wrote on these subjects. Râzî made scientific discussions with well-known scholars at the places he visited. By doing so, he further improved his knowledge.
Râzî, who went to Transoxiana, Türkistan, Khorasan and many Indian cities, returned to Rey with a poor financial situation, however he got out of the financial problems upon the marriage of his two sons with two daughters of a rich doctor. Razî established good relationships with Gur Sultan Gıyasettin and his brother Şihabudîn and served in their governments. Then he returned to Khorasan and continued his science and education studies with Harzemşah Tökiş. Razî, who were allocated to madrasahs both in Gur and in Harizm, was known as the Shaykh al-Islam; afterwards he gained a considerable reputation, prestige and respectability.
In the field of Islamic sciences, after foundation of many small states which became independent after quitting the Abbasid caliphate, the intellectual dynamism improved, cultural level increased and became widespread. The palaces of the said states overflowed with scientists, poets, scholars, and other intellectuals. Emergence of many groups which abused the scientific and cultural studies for destructive political and religious purposes should also be mentioned. Despite the weakening and power loss of the Abbasid state and the entrance of the Islamic world into a period of overall disintegration and decomposition, the scientific discussions among the Sünnî ulama (scholars) and the scholars from other sectarians have become the distinguishing feature of that period. The foundation of these large and small states facilitated the increase of wealth, development of civilization and accordingly the initiation of a bright era with regard to the scientific movements. For example, well-known scientists, intellectuals and sufis, who still had a distinguished name, such as İbn Rüşt, Necmüddîn Kübra, Feridüddîn Attar, Seyfüddîn Âmidî, İbn Fârız, İbn Arabî, Sadruddîn Konevî, Mevlâna, grew during that period, namely during the late 12th century and early 13th century. On the other hand, due to the Mongolian invasion after 1225 of the Islamic world, who was tired out with the continuing crusades, the development of science and civilization took a major blow. That was the period when Razî lived.
Although Razî was well known with his broad knowledge of kalam, he was also a big commentator (Koran interpreter) and an important philosopher. Exactly like Gazali, he introduced some innovations in the fields of kalam, commentary, usul al-fiqh, and logic and these innovations recognized widely by the successor scholars. Razî also possessed a broad knowledge of the mental sciences. Famous sufi Muhyiddin b. Arabî had heard of the reputation of Razî and wrote a letter to him. Moreover, İbn Teymiye said that İbn Arabî had had largely benefited from the philosophical works of Razî, especially the “el-Muhassal”. His lessons, sermons, and books, being extremely clear, fluent and readily understandable, laconic, impressive and systematic also improved his impact. He was expressing even the difficult scientific subjects such as kalam and philosophy with a quite clear language. There was a very large group of people around him consisting mostly of experts but who were still eager to learn.
The scholars of kalam (individuals who are trying to prove rationally and logically the existence, uniqueness and capacities of the God based on Koran and the hadiths), who were following the methodology of Eşarî previously, eventually started to use also logic to explain the apocalyptic (communication of the orders or thoughts by Allah to the prophets) facts more easily and effectively. As of 11th century, it was made more influentially and systematic and peaked especially in the works of el-Cüveynî such as “İrşad” and “eş-Şâmil”. With Gazalî, kalam gained a new style. While retaining his initial anti-philosophy attitude, he also started to use the methodology of logic, mental evidences and some philosophical approaches. This method constituted the foundations of the philosophical kalam understanding of the successor scholars. Together with Razî, this ecole almost peaked with regards to its power and perfection. In the works of Razî, the kalam-related problems were recognized by their integration with other sciences. He combined the kalam and ethics in his tract called “Esasü’t-Tenzil” and the kalam and the Islamic sufism in his works called “Levamiu’l-Beyyinat” and “Esasu’t-Takdis”.
İbn Haldun, who said that Râzî had combined and integrated the kalam and metaphysics, also pointed out his importance in the field of logic and said he had reshaped the logic. So indeed Razî handled logic differently and later the madrasah hodjas utilized his style. Briefly, Razî not only restructured the books on kalam with a new perspective and further embedded the philosophical issues into this science; he more importantly subjected the traditional issues of kalam to a philosophical resolution and interpretation differently than the previous scholars of kalam.
While Razî mainly dealt with kalam, he also gave importance to fiqh. His works on usul al-fiqh such as “el-Mahsul fî Usuli’l-Fıkh”, “el-Meâlim” and “İhkâmu’l-Ahkâm” proves his competency of fiqh. Razî quoted many hadiths especially in his commentary. With these quotations, he sometimes referenced the source of the hadith and sometimes delivered the script of the hadith as it is. Razî delivered his opinions on the fundamentals of hadith as the occasion arose. When he talked about the implication (connection between the words and the meaning), he briefly referred ahad (meanings) and mütevâtir (the hadith whose word meaning has been related to) news. Razî’s interest to other sciences never decreased his love of Koran. It is rumoured that he said: “I experienced all methods of the science of kalam and all approaches of philosophy; however I couldn’t gain the benefit I obtained through reading the Kuran.” On the other hand, he wrote his works on commentary towards the end of his life.
Fahreddin Er-Razî died in 1209 in the Ramadan. It is rumoured that, he had been poisoned by Kerramî People whom he had criticized and whose mistakes he had explained. Upon his will, his death was kept secret. Although he was buried in his house in the dark of the night, it was demonstrated as if he had been buried at a mountainside. This was because they were worrying that the Kerramis might exhume and savage his dead body.
Râzî’s nearly two hundred known works are related to almost all fields of the Islamic life of thought and they incorporate almost all sciences of the period. However, although some of his works has reached today, unfortunately many more couldn't. Some of his works, which were considered to be lost, are being found in various libraries as a result of searches. Unfortunately, most of his works are still being stored as manuscripts in various libraries. A considerable portion of them are also available in the libraries in Turkey.
REFERENCE: Mian Muhammed Şerif / İslam Düşüncesi Tarihi (Çev. Mustafa Armağan, 4 cilt, 1990), Süleyman Uludağ / Fahrettin Razî, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi (c. 5, 2005), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (C. 12, 2017).