Socrates: Philosopher or Prophet? at University College London

AMSA UCL Presents TALK, Q&A + Dramatic Rendition of a portion of Plato’s Apology  

Thursday, February 7, 2013 from 18:30 to 20:30 at Medical Sciences AV Hill Lecture Theatre, WC1E 6BT, University College London

“To do this has, as I say, been enjoined upon me by the God, by means of oracles and dreams, and in every other way that a Divine manifestation has ever ordered a man to do anything” (Socrates, in Plato’s Apology).

Known as the father of Western Philosophy, Socrates was a man of great religious belief. His belief in his appointment by God to call the people of Athens to the ‘good life’ was so firm and unshakeable that in the very hour of his death sentence, he rebuked his followers for crying for, as he had said so many times, for the True Philosopher, ‘death may be the greatest of all human blessings.’

Religion in today’s world is portrayed as the antithesis of rationality and science. Yet the so-called ‘Father of Rationality’ and one of the earliest documented rational enquirers into why we live the way we do was a man who based even his smallest actions on his ‘Divine Sign’ or ‘Revelation’: “At all previous times my familiar prophetic power, my spiritual manifestation, frequently opposed me, even in small matters, when I was about to do something wrong…” (Plato’s Apology)

Islam is clear on the question of Prophethood – God in the Qur’an addresses Muhammad(peace be upon him) and says: “Verily, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent.” (Qur’an, 35:25).

Was Socrates then among these Prophets – these Warners? What is the criteria of Prophethood in Islam and does Socrates fit the bill? How can Rationality and Revelation co-exist? If science is the Act of God and true religion the Word of God, should they not go hand in hand?

Rehan Qayoom (, an active poet of both English and Urdu and an expert on the life of Socrates will be analysing and dissecting what we know about Socrates to answer these questions and to, no doubt, raise a good many more.

All are welcome.


University College London, Medical Sciences AV Hill Lecture Theatre, WC1E 6BT


Thursday, February 7, 2013 – 18:30 to 20:30

The talk will be followed by a Q&A and a dramatic rendition of a portion of the Apology.

Related Links:

The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens & the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes.
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rha) on Socrates.



6 thoughts on “Socrates: Philosopher or Prophet? at University College London

  1. Assalamo alaikum,

    I, too, have wondered about this ever since reading Khalifatul Masiv IV’s book (Revelation, Rationality & Truth). I would be grateful if the video could be uploaded as well.


  2. Amazing, wonderful, something I just talked about few days back and though to do research on this great personality. Thanks for making my life easy. God bless you and looking forward to this lecture.

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