Could the Islamic prophet Mohammed be consider a philosopher?

I know some people argue that Jesus was a philosopher, but I don't notice any discussion on Mohammed.

  • 1
    For sure, neither Jesus nor Mohammed were philosophers. Nov 24 '17 at 7:29
  • 2
    Rather that being a philosopher, Jesus was the very Wisdom that philosophy purports to seek. As Augustine wrote, "He Himself is the Wisdom of God." (On the Trinity 1.6.10)
    – user3017
    Nov 24 '17 at 9:16
  • 1
    Interesting question. Whether Jesus or Mohamed may be considered a philosopher probably depends on who is reading them. Unusually I'd agree with Pe de Leao's comment on this point. If we discover the philosophy and world-view on which their teachings depend then we will see them as philosophers, (among other things), but of course not the speculative or theoretical kind. These days there is much literature explaining this philosophy. In my view Jesus promoted a neutral metaphysical position, an unfalsifiable view shared by mystics the world over.
    – user20253
    Nov 24 '17 at 10:20
  • There was at least one religious group leader who was officially a philosopher: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Applewhite In contrast, Muhammad lacked credentials. I know this sounds silly, but how do you decide if someone's coincidental activities make him a philosopher or not?
    – Fizz
    Nov 24 '17 at 13:19
  • 1
    The historical figure or the prophet you find in text of religion?
    – Philip Klöcking
    Nov 26 '17 at 7:44

Philosophy involves a quest for knowledge. Both Jesus and Mohammad possessed all knowledge requisite to their missions, if one accepts their teachings, without having to seek knowledge. Knowledge was given to them.

If one does not accept their teachings then it must still be conceded that they believed themselves to possess all knowledge requisite to their missions, and so did not need to seek it and therefore were not philosophers.

This is not to say that their teachings do not suggest philosophical questions, e.g. about the attributes of God or the nature of free will. But one is not a philosopher simply because what one says prompts philosophical questions.

In my view the proper status of neither Jesus nor Mohammad is altered one whit by whether they were philosophers or not.


Every faith is the expression of a philosophical worldview, and so every faith founder is ipso facto a philosopher of sorts, in the sense that they have to conceive, organize, and express that worldview in a comprehensible, coherent, and persuasive manner. We shouldn't idealize a philosopher as something 'other.' A philosopher is merely someone with clear and keen insight, and the cognitive and rhetorical skills to make that insight real for other people.

Of course, the founders of a faiths have not typically been intellectual/analytic philosophers of the Western sort. Part of that is historical development: modern 'rational' philosophy is influenced heavily by enlightenment thinking, with its emphasis on specificity, detail, and intellectual rigor. Earlier thinking tended to lean more on metaphysics and analogical methods. Further, religious philosophy invariably tends towards the existential and mystical — at least until it collapses into dogma — with teachers pointing at that which cannot be expressed in language so that others can gain the experience of it.

So yes, Mohammad (like other founders) was a philosopher. The philosophical message that he (and Jesus, and Buddha, etc) presented may largely be obscured by millennia of dogmatic cultism, but it's still there if one wants to dig for it.

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