Murad Idris. “Ibn Ṭufayl’s Cri­tique of Pol­itics.” Journal of Islamic Phi­losophy 7 (2011): 67–102.

The political rela­tions mar­shaled in Ibn Sīnā’s two stories [Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, and Absāl and Salāmān] are reducible to an either/or. Either agreement and harmony are realized as the ideal and norm of inter­per­sonal life, or they break down and things fall apart. Mean­while, the con­struction of pol­itics in Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān breaks down assump­tions fun­da­mental to Ibn Sīnā’s two alle­gories and to this polar­ization between total agreement and absolute tragedy. Indeed, it is the way in which Ibn Ṭufayl builds his case against mass pol­itics that demands special attention. His Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, I argue, shows that political ideals can them­selves be tragic and self-subversive, and this is an ever-present pos­si­bility in politics.

My first aim is to elab­orate on the alle­gories’ dif­fering por­trayals of pol­itics. Second, I map out the con­tours of the ethical values implicit in Ibn Ṭufayl’s allegory, namely how ideals and oblig­a­tions fall into internal con­tra­diction, and how their pro­lif­er­ation leads them into oppo­sition with each other. My reading locates dis­agreement at the foun­dation of political life in Ibn Ṭufayl’s allegory, where unre­lenting com­mit­ments to asso­ci­ation, hos­pi­tality, friendship, and care of others can bring about neg­ative con­se­quences, including the very oppo­sites of these com­mit­ments’ aims. Through moments of antinomy in his story, where the prin­ciples of political and ethical action con­tradict one another or oth­erwise fail, Ibn Ṭufayl turns Ibn Sīnā’s alle­gories on their head. In the final section, I bring Ibn Ṭufayl’s cri­tiques to weigh on assump­tions about political harmony and dis­agreement in political theory.” (70)