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  • 11/16/2005

Dictionary of Islamic Philosophical Terms



The Arabic title given to Aristotle’s fifth book on logic, viz.Topica; seeTubiqa.Jiddah:The category of "state" or possession as one of the ten Aristotelian categories (al-maqulat al-‘ashr).

Jirm (pl. ajram):

"Body"; a term used specifically for a heavenly body (falak) as opposed tojism which denotes a "body" in the world of four elements.al-Juz' alladhi la yatajazza':"A part that cannot be further divided", an expression used by the Muslim scholastics and philosophers for atom (uncuttable). Some of the theories with them may be listed as follows:

Atoms exist in fact (bi’l-fi‘l) and are determined–view of al-Baqillani.

Atoms exist in fact but are not determined–view of al-Nazzam.

Atoms are determined but they exist only in potentiality (bi’l-quwwah)–view of al-Shahrastani.

4.    Atoms are not determined and further exist only in potentiality–view held by most of the philosophers.

Juz' ikhtiyar:
Freedom of choice.


A body composed of the four elements (al-‘anasir al-arb‘ah) in various proportions; a body thus is composite and divisible. According to the philosophers, a body is composed essentially of prime matter ( hayula) and form (surah) both of which in themselves are imperceptible and indivisible. A distinction must be made between the two cognate terms jism andjism (q.v.): the former refers to the earthly bodies and the latter to the heavenly bodies. While the earthly bodies are made of a single element –the celestial element; the heavenly bodies are made of a single element –the celestial element; the heavenly bodies thus are simpler (basit) than earthly bodies. The termjism is used specifically to denote the minerals. See alsoal-‘anasir [al-ajsad?] al-arab‘ah.al-Jism al-basit: The simple substance, i.e. a body composed of one and the same element like that of a heavenly sphere.

 al-Jism al-ta'limi:

Mathematical body, i.e. a three-dimensional continuum or volume having length, breadth and depth.

al-Jism al-tabi'i:

The natural body composed of "matter" which is its substratum and the "form" which is combined with it. Natural bodies make the subject-matter of physics. What is common to them is their three-dimensional form, while the matter in them is composed of the four elements (al-‘anasir al-arb‘ah, q.v.) in various proportions. Ja'l: Causation inKalam it means "creation".

 Ja'l basit:

Compound production; simple causation. Ja'l murakkab:Compound production; compound causation.

 Jam' al-masa'il fi mas'alat-in:

The fallacy of many questions. Jins:Genus, first of the five predicables (al-alfaz al-khamsah); ajins is predicated of many things differing in species (nau‘), i.e. it is a wider class which includes within it narrower sub-class called species.

 Jins al-ajnas:

Lit. "genus of genera"; technically summum genus, i.e. the highest class which no longer can be regarded as a species of a class higher or wider than itself; opposed tonau‘ al-anwa‘.al-Jins al-tab'i:Lit. "natural genus"; technically the form of genus as an idea or a universal subsisting in the active intellect (al-‘aql al-fa‘‘al).

al-Jins al-'aqli:Lit."mental genus"; technically the form of genus as an idea or a universal, as manifested in the concrete particular objects.al-Jins al-mantiqi: Lit."Logical genus"; technically the form of genus as an idea or a universal existing in the human mind

Jihah (pl. jihat):

Modality of a proposition, i.e. the degree of certainty or probability with which the predicate is affirmed or denied of a subject indicated by such expressions as "necessary," "impossible," or "possible". See alsoal-qadiyat al-dururiyah, al-qadiyat al-ihtimaliyah, al-qadiyat al-mutlaqah. al-Jawahir al-awwal: First substances, i.e. all the individual things in the visible world: stars and the earth, plants and animals, etc.

 al-Jawahir al-thani:

Second substances, i.e. the species and genera of things as predicables in logic in contrast withal-jawahir al-awwal  which are the concrete individual things in the visible world.Jauhar:Lit. "Jewel"; technically substance, one of the fundamental terms with the philosophers: the first of the ten Aristotelian categories (al-maqulat al-‘ashr). As a general term jauhar signifies everything that exists in reality, all bodies and parts of bodies, the sky and the stars and the earth, water and fire and air, plants and animals, in short all things in the visible world. According to the Mutakallimun, particularly the Ash‘arites,jauhar is merely a bearer of accidents, and as a substratum of accidents it is constituted of atoms which by their aggregate compose the body. al-Jauhar al-fard: The single or indivisible substance, i.e. atom; also sometimes called al-jauhar al-wahid; see alsoal-juz’ alladhi la yatajazza’.

 Jauhar qa’im-un bi-nafsihi:

The name given by philosophers to the human soul which, according to them, is "a substance subsistent by itself", i.e. is independent of the body.
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