Muhsin Mahdi, "Alfarabi" in History of Political Philosophy, eds. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1987.


“Alfarabi was the first philosopher who sought to confront, to relate, and as far as possible to harmonize classical political philosophy with Islam – a religion that was revealed through a prophet-legislator (Muhammed) in the form of a divine law, that organizes its followers into a political community, and that provides for their beliefs as well as for the principles and detailed rules of their conduct. Unlike Cicero he had to face and solve the problem of introducing classical political philosophy into a radically different cultural atmosphere; unlike Augustine he did not have a relatively free sphere of this-worldly life in the organization of which classical political philosophy could apply unchallenged, but had to face and solve the problem of the conflicting claims of political philosophy and religion over the whole of man’s life.”