Muslim Scholarship on Open Theism

Some Islamic scholars affirmed dynamic omniscience. Some in the Qadarite school (eighth century) and Abd al-Jabbar, an important figure of the Mu’tazilite school (tenth century). See Michael Lodahl, “The (Brief) Openness Debate in Islamic Theology” in Thomas J. Oord ed., Creation Made Free: Open Theology Engaging Science (Pickwick, 2009), 55, 59.

Muslim thinkers whose view are similar to open theism are Ma’bed el-Cuheni (7th century), Gaylan ed-Dimaski (8th century) and Abū l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī’ (12’th century).

Professor Legenhausen says that Hisham ibn Hakam’s (8’th century) understanding of bada’ “resembles what, today, is known as open theism.” [Divine Action, p. 142]. I suspect that until simple foreknowledge and timeless knowledge became the dominant view, more Muslims affirmed an open theist understanding of badā.]

In the 20’th century Iqbal spoke of divine risk taking. Iqbal’s The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a compilation of lectures delivered by Muhammad Iqbal on Islamic philosophy and published in 1930. Republished 1962 in Lahore. From the 1962 edition page 85 he says God takes risks by giving humans genuine freedom.

On Iqbal see:

  1. Riffat Hasan. “Freedom of Will and Man’s Destiny in Iqbal’s Thought” Islamic Studies,17/ 4 (Winter 1978), p. 207-220,
  2. Mustafa Ruzgar, Claremont theology PhD did his dissertation on Iqbal and Whitehead. He has published Islam and Deep Religious Pluralism In David Ray Griffin’s edited volume, Deep Religious Pluralism, pages 158-177 (2005). Mustafa’s chapter includes some interesting material on Iqbal’s interpretation of God and time.



Contemporary Muslims scholars engaging dynamic omniscience and/or open theism:

  1. Mirsadri, Sayyeda Saida, and Mansour Nasiri. “Openness and Bada’according to the Open Theistic View and the Shi’a Theology; A Comparative Study.” Jostarha-ye Falsafe-ye Din 7.2 (2018): 129-149. [Iran. Persian.]
  2. Ferhat Yöney. Assistant professor of philosophy at Istanbul Medeniyet University. He has published “An Examination of the Biblical Evidence for Open Theism.” Hethrop Journal (2019): 1-14.
  3. Professor Ebrahim Azadegan at Sharif University in Tehran. He published an outstanding article arguing against divine immutability in Muslim theology. He argues for a deeply relational understanding of God. AZADEGAN, E. (2020). On the incompatibility of God’s knowledge of particulars and the doctrine of divine immutability: Towards a reform in Islamic theology. Religious Studies, 1-18. doi:10.1017/S0034412520000414
  4. Bayam, Emine Gören. Doctoral dissertation 2016. (In Turkish). Acık Teizm Baglaminda Tanri’nin Onbilgisi ve Insan Hurriyeti (God’s Foreknowledge and Human          Freedom in the context of Open Theism). Istanbul University, Turkey.
  5. Bayam, Emine Gören. “AÇIK TEİZME GÖRE TANRI’NIN HER ŞEYİ BİLMESİ MESELESİ.” SBArD,  Issue 27/( Spring 2016): 195 – 208.
  7. Enes Sadan, Doctoral dissertation 2020 (in Turkish). WILLIAM HASKER BAĞLAMINDA AÇIK TEİZM’DE KÖTÜLÜK PROBLEMİ (The Problem of Evil in Open Theism in the Context of William Hasker). Sakarya University Institute of Social Sciences (SAKARYA ÜNİVERSİTESİ SOSYAL BİLİMLER ENSTİTÜSÜ).
  8. Farhan Shaw is from Pakistan living in Norway. He uses Iqbal and engages both process and open theism.
  9. Eisa Mohammadinia. “Critical Consideration on God’s essence and His features in Open Theism.” Journal of Philosophical Investigations (University of Tabriz) (2021). Rejects open theism.
  10. Eisa Mohammadinia. A Critical Comparison of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freewill in Open Theism and Mulla Sadra. PhD dissertation at Tehran University. Criticizes open theism by using the ideas of Islamic philosopher Mulla Sadra.
  11. Ali Dibaji Seyed Mohammad and Eisa Mohammadinia. “Surveying Problem of God’ s Foreknowledge in Abū al-Barakā t al-Baghdā dī ’ s view and Open Theism.” Journal:پژوهشنامه فلسفه دین (نامه حکمت) Year:1399 | Volume:18 | Issue:1 (پیاپی 35) pp. 175-196.
  12. Ali Dibaji Seyed Mohammad and Eisa Mohammadinia. “Reviewing the Relation of God’ s Knowledge and Human’ s Freewill in Open Theism Based on Sadra’s Philosophy.” Journal:جستارهای فلسفه دین Year:1398 | Volume:8 | Issue:1 pp. 83-104.


John Sanders and Klaus von Stosch coedited Divine Action: Challenges for Muslim and Christian Theology (Brill, 2021) in which four Muslim scholars from Germany and Iran engage open theism and the Muslim philosophical tradition.

  1. Saida Mirsadri uses Iqbal and references open theism in a positive way in her “Iqbal’s Process Worldview: Towards a New Islamic Understanding of Divine Action” 113-130.
  2. Darius Asghar-Zadeh (University of Munster, Germany) writes a chapter on “Divine Action and Future Knowledge: Islamic Philosophical Theology in Discussion with Christian Open Theism.”
  3. Muhammad Legenhuausen (The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qom, Iran) chapter goes through many Islamic philosophers to engage open theism but decides open theism strays from the path of the dominant Islamic philosophy.
  4. Vahid Mahdavi Mehr (University of Paderborn, Germany) “The Question of Anthropomorphism in Transcendental and Open Theology” puts transcendental theology, Islamic theology, and open theism into conversation.
  5.  John Sanders. “Sanders in Dialogue with Muslim Responses to Open Theism.” Divine Action: Challenges for Muslim and Christian Theology. Sanders and Von Stosch eds. (Brill, 2021). Pp. 65-76.

John Sanders

John E. Sanders is an American theologian who is a professor of religious studies at Hendrix College. He has published on four main topics: (1) open theism, (2) Christian views on the salvation of non-Christians, (3) Christian views on the nature of hell, and (4) applying cognitive linguistics to theology.

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