Platon's "State" and Al-Fārābi's "Al madina al fadila

  • Hasan Sušić, dr.


Basic results which we achieved in the research of relations between Platon's "State" and Al-Fārābi's "Al madina al fadila" could be summarized in several folio wing items:

  • temporal and surface distance imposed various questions to all thinkers so that they had differently answer on them,
  • the outstanding progress of Arabic state as well as the greatness of the ter­ritory conquered by the Arabs caused Al Fārābi to establish a clear distinction betwe­en state and society while Platon stayed at the level of identification of these two, in essence various phenomena,
  • it is interesting that both thinkers develop their political ideas inaccordance with their philosophic systems, not creating a separate scope from these contents but ingeniously incorporating the ideas in the entirety of their philosophic concepti­ons,
  • Platon starts with the idea of justice, while Al Fārābi's starting point is Creator from whom, by a method of Neoplatonism, originates all existing. Consequ­ently, Platon, in contrast to Al Fārābi, moves from the philosophy to theology.
  • The organisation of Al Fārābi's town state is such that the question of Com­munism isn't asked at all, even if an aristocratic Communism like Platon's one, is discussed.
  • In addition, Al Fārābi had not developed the conception of standard state in detail because a considerable part of his discussions had already strong hypotheses in the development of Sharriyat law, Islamic philosophy, theology and political opinion of that time, in general.
  • These differences which occur on the occasion of comparison these two sig­nificant works clearly characterize Al Fārābi as an authentic thinker who belonged to a special tiadition and outstanding cultural and historical climate. Al Fārābi developed his very opinion deeply rooted in Islamic spiritual tradition. However, in addition to these differences there are also some similarities that show the greatness of the both thinkers.
  • Initial common characteristic which keeps recurring in the works of all great social analysts is their seeking for an answer to urgent questions of their epoch. In addition, by their exposing of new views on the society they deeply critiz existing situation. We got an impression that the criticism of the society was more radical and crushing in Fārābi.
  • Among the series of political forms which offers Greek experience Platon chose the kingdom. This form seemed to be a most suitable one. In contrast, Al Fārābi didn't follow his example, because he proceeded from a such cosmic system of things in which the head of state must be occupied by the ruler. It is interesting that Fārābi as well as Platon means a ruler to be a philosopher. Both of them agree that the function of ruler can perform more men if one person has not such qualities ne­cessary for that duty.
  • By stressing of differences and resemblences between Platon and Al Fārābi we tried to show that common traits of these two thinkers don't decrease the impor­tance of Al Fārābi nor we wanted to stress Al Fārābi's independence in relation with Greek way of thinking, but to show in which way, Arab Islamic world because of their own characteristics, questions which it asked and problems which had to solve, seeked a special kinds of thinkers who had to differentiate from the philosophers in other cultural climates. Therefore the investing on the differences has the aim of showing that just an opinion from our reality guarantees the greatness of an thinker and supply the eternity of his work. Such is, undoubtedly, Al Fārābī. He is a real son of Arab Islamic culture and civilization. For this reason his contribution to world culture and civilization is immense but insufficiently explored and adequately esti­mated till now.
How to Cite
Sušić, H. (1976). Platon’s "State" and Al-Fārābi’s "Al madina al fadila. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 3(4), 69-76. Retrieved from