Arabia vs. Europe
Who were the true occasionalists?
To begin a comparison between occasionalists from the eastern and western hemispheres of the world, a clear definition of Occasionalism must be stated. Occasionalism is the belief that everything is caused by God, from the motion of the tiniest spider, as it rushes across the room, to the cataclysmic event of stars exploding. It is also the belief that there is no substance other than that of God. This is the basic definition. But as with every other philosophic belief, there are some philosophers who modified this definition. For example, some occasionalist's such as Al-Ghazali believed that events are caused by Angels as well.
Occasionalism began in Iraq, in the city of Basra under Al-Ashari who was previously a member of the Mu'tazilah. He had some disagreements with the Mu'tazilah's beliefs concerning the creation of the Quran, where he believed that the Quran is eternal, but the words when read or printed are created, whereas the Mu'tazilah believed the Quran was created.
He also believed that the world is recreated by God every second. On describing the mind, which is the essence of the soul, he stated that the mind is totally separate from the world surrounding it, and that it cannot touch it.
Al-Ghazali was the most well known occasionalist of his time, since he was famous for many other things, specifically his famous dislike of the Neo-Platonists, who had appeared and flourished in Arabic Philosophy during that period. He was titled the "Enemy of the Neo-Platonists", and published several books attacking their concepts and philosophic beliefs; foremost among these books, is the one titled "The Incoherence of the Philosophers". The most famous saying in Arabic philosophy that describes occasionalism was that "God burns Cotton", versus that of Neo-Platonism which is,