Fundamentals of Knowing God in Greek Philosophy and Divine Religion

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In this research, effort has been made to discuss and compare the genuine foundations and basic fundamentals of Knowing God and the ways of gaining the knowledge of God in Divine Religions and in Greek Philosophy.

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Preface

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The book that is with you, is the general layout of “Divine Theology” and the “Theology of Greek Philosophy.”

In this research, effort has been made to discuss and compare the genuine foundations and basic fundamentals of Knowing God and the ways of gaining the knowledge of God in Divine Religions and in Greek Philosophy.

Studying this book will bring us near to the view that the monotheistic religions have exhibited a “new logic” in the “Ma’rifat (knowledge, gnosis) of God” which the like of has never been found in the human sciences.

Here, I consider it my duty to thank the respected Master and Faqih, the commentator of Qur’an and the diver in the (sea) of gnostic knowledge of Holy Imams, Hazrat Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Baqir Miyaangi for this reason that I have reaped benefits from him which has been reflected in this present book.

The Author

Introduction

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

1. The history of Islamic contemplation and culture has witnessed diverse conjunctions with different human knowledge especially the exotic reflections.

As we know, the spread of the geographical domain of Islam was accompanied with the attachment of various tribes and nations. Consequently, different thoughts and reflections entered the domain of Islam. Amongst them were the thinking of Indian, Iranian and Greek philosophers and gnostics and the beliefs of Zorastrians, Jews and Christians. The transfer of Greek philosophical books into Arabic gave momentum to the above matter.

In the meanwhile, the Muslims who saw themselves alien to the numerous thoughts and beliefs showed various reactions against these types of beliefs. These reactions can be summarized into three important pivots and inclinations:

A. Some of the Islamic scholars did not pay attention to these exotic elements since most of them did not consider as permissible, any kind of research and investigation in Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge) and beliefs; not even with regard to the divine works. They use to remain silent in front of the questions related to beliefs and believed in the literal meanings of Qur’an without any examination and analysis. They suggested this as the only way of solution.

The above tendency has been in vogue mostly among the Ahlul Sunnat1 and one can count the Hanbalities and Ahlul hadith as those following this view. The slogan of this group was “Asso’aal Bed’ah” i.e. asking questions about religious belief is heresy and forbidden. From among those who belonged to this group, one can name persons like Malik-bin Anas, Muhammad bin Idris, Shafa’ee, Sufyan Sun and in particular Ahmad bin Hanbal.

B. Some others showed a passive reaction before the alien thoughts. They form a wider spectrum. Some reacted through submission and acceptance, and others who enjoyed relative freedom and had the ability to do “Ijtihad” by taking possession over the alien elements and adorning them over the foundations of religion gave entry to them in the head stock of Islamic culture.

Transfer and translation of the alien philosophical thoughts into Arabic language has passed three stages: Translation, interpretation and their appropriation and arrangement with the Islamic Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge) and establishment of new philosophical orders.

The second and third centuries Hijri was a sparkling period for the translation of philosophical books. Among the renowned translators, we can mention the names of Husayn bin Ishaq and his son Ishaq bin Husayn.

The third and fourth centuries can be reckoned as the period of acquisition and interpretation of the works of Greek and Alexandria laws, an endeavour started by individuals like Qavarri, Yuhanabin Hailan, Abu Yahya Maruzi, Abu Bashar Mata bin Yunus and Abu Zakaria Yahya bin Adi.

The third period started from the third and fourth century and reached its perfection in the fifth century. One can name “Qandi” and “Faarabi” as the commencers of this period. The climax of this stage can be seen in the works of “Ibn Sina” and “Sahrvardi”.

The recent stage has been a dominant one amongst Muslim thinkers. The result has been a mixing of the religious Ma’arif (gnostic Knowledge) with non-religious elements in such manner that the system of beliefs has enjoyed much less purity than required. In reality, these thinkers, directly and before coming in contact with the alien culture (through referring to the inspiration and relation about them), had not acquired a faithful and religious system. By having one of the religious Ma’arif in hand (a confused one, at that) they would encounter the non-religious belief, strive in comprehending it, and occasionally would write their descriptions.

Thereafter, by taking and accepting them, they strived hard to coordinate these types of beliefs with the religion’s Ma’arif and fashion them together within one rational system. It can be said that these thinkers, in the threshold of Islamic thoughts and by reaping the benefits of religious Ma’arif, have given dept and profundity to the human Ma’arif, Greek beliefs and other ancient schools of thoughts and have given new shape to them and presented them in the form of philosophical systems. In this way, that which reaped the maximum benefit was the human philosophies. By getting nourishment from the Divine Ma’arif, their weaknesses and feebleness decreased and they were strengthened and prepared for stepping into the field of sciences and knowledge.

On the other hand, the Divine Ma’arif sustained a real loss because gradually and systematically it lost its purity and its basic elements were forgotten. In any case, the above course can be named as “the manner of composition and adaptation of divine and human Ma’arif” (gnostic knowledge) or “the manner of systems-making on the basis of combination.”

C. Another tendency to which we shall now refer is the course that has been referred to by most of the theologians, (especially the holy theologians) jurisprudence and thinkers among the Shias and some parts of the Ma’arif too has been acted upon. But on the whole and in the form of one united system, it has been less exposed to public view.

This path is an analytical encounter with the religious authorities and the human view. In this course, the religious Ma’arif and the human belief will be examined and discussed in three stages: Acquisition and explanation of religious world-view in the form of one united system, well- reasoned, and on the basis of becoming learned in religious sources. The second stage is recognizing and interpreting the human world-views. The third stage is comparing the religious theologies with each of the human world-views and separating them from each other.

The above course can be named as “the greatest Fiqh” and “the way of segregation in Islamic beliefs” or “the related discourse.” On the one hand it engages in obtaining knowledge in the most basic religious matters, and on the other hand it resorts to separating the religious Ma’arif from the non-religious one. In this method, talk is not about contravention and confutation, problems and answers, and correctness and incorrectness. Rather the discourse is in perceiving the Ma’arif and separating them from each other.

The author, by confessing to the paucity of means in this research, applied the above method to the most fundamental and the highest form of religious Ma’arif i.e. recognizing the fundamentals of knowing God. This is a small step on a great path. Of course, in this research, benefit has been derived from the views and confirmations of great Jurisprudents and exegetists too. On the whole, it is expected from concerned thinkers and Islamic scholars that they do not withhold their useful guidance, and help the author in reaping the benefits of their instructions.

2. There is no doubt that until today various methods have been born of culture and civilization. These methods, from the viewpoints of policy, principle and consequences, possess common and contrasting points. Therefore, judging about a particular reflection does not necessarily embrace the other reflective systems. Rather, it involves only their common points. However, without the least doubt, the Greek philosophy due to the influence which it had on other schools of thought possesses significance and importance such that makes it distinct and superior from the others. Although other reflections before the Greek culture found its existence in other places like Iran, India and China, none of them had exerted influence on other civilizations and sects to the extent Greece had, such that Greece has come to be known as the fountainhead of human views.

It is by favour of the above point that the importance of recognition and separation of “Greece and religion” will become clear. By “Greece” is meant the reflections of Greek philosophers, in particular Socrates, Plato and especially Aristotle.2

By “religion” is meant the divine religions i.e. the collective teachings which the Divine Prophets presented on behalf of Almighty God to the people for their guidance, like the religion of Islam, and of the Jews and Christians. In as much as the religion of Islam is the final and most perfect of all the religions and the Holy Qur’an has remained immune from the calamities of deviation, our emphasis is more so on Islam and our testimonies too are from the Qur’an.

3. Undoubtedly, the “Fitrah (innate nature) or the natural “Ma’rifat (knowledge about God) is one of the fundamental structures of religious Ma’arif. Regretfully, not enough attention was given to this in past philosophical and theological discussions.3

In recent years too, while some have embarked upon that, often we see insufficient and weak reasons have been set forth in proof of God. The claim to this is that “Fitrah” (innate nature) is a part of religious theological logic that, along with the other parts, collectively shows the true path of “knowing God” in the logic of divine religions. What this book has intended to prove is this that the Compassionate God has not abandoned the most basic matters related to belief and has not left its affairs to the various Ma’arifs (gnostic knowledge) and to the human contradictions. Rather, right from the first step of search of religion, He has helped and shown the path.

4. It is necessary here to have a general outlook and a brief review over the discussions of this book.

In the first section, while comparing briefly the “Usul” (principles) prevailing over the Greek reflection on the one side and the basic foundation of divine religions on the other side, we shall reach the conclusion that the real differences of these two inclinations should be linked in their roots and essence. A deeper investigation will take us towards this concept, that the real foundation and the corner-stone of differences of these two schools of thought (with regard to the Ma’rifat of God) will return back to one basic and foremost principle of ‘collateral proof’ (not acceptable proof).4

In the Greek reflection, the prevailing inclination is this: that every knowledgeable matter has been manifested as a mental complication and naturally the mind should undergo an autopsy with the knife of logic and philosophy so that henceforth it is either approved or rejected. The concept of God and proof of His existence too, like other mental concepts, is an unknown and irresolute affair which one has to achieve with mental labouring, and after passing through various stages of examination and discussion. It is clear that except for some specific group of people and thinkers for all the others, this rational behaviour is forbidden and restricted. (Plato has emphasized this matter).

The principle of collateral proof in its turn relies on two other foundations. One is imagining God in the mechanism of abstraction and separation, and the other is its confirmation with a definite method, which Aristotle succeeded in explaining for the first time. By making use of the matter of abstraction of collective concepts and the way of combining concepts and jurisdictions he was able to explain the method of rational collateral proof. In the first section this logical method will be evaluated and analyzed and in the second section the kind of its functioning in theologies and ‘knowing God’ will be revealed.

In the second section the Greek philosophy and its theologies will be discussed in five stages. These stages are the period of fantasies, the beginning of philosophy, the philosophy of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The real emphasis is on Plato and especially Aristotle and thus while examining the fundamental of their theologies we shall, in contrast, briefly refer to the religious fundamentals.

On the other hand, the inclination towards the divine Prophets and the Ma’rifat of God is rooted not as one rational affair and that too unknown and uncertain, but as one clear mysticism and Ma’rifat in the heart and innate disposition of all the human beings. Thus, if at times, this Ma’rifat (knowledge about God) lacks the required divulgence and manifestation, it is due to inattentiveness or human negligence and external hindrances and factors where the tarnished dust settles over the mirror of Fitrah (innate nature) and deprives man from remembrance. Therefore, the cornerstone of the upright religion consists of the norm of “innate definition”.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا

On this basis, the divine Prophets put the innate Ma’rifat into operation through elegant methods. These methods were ‘reminding’ and notifying the very same Ma’rifat. Therefore ‘reminding’ was the real path of the divine evangelists, and is the second stage from the stages of divine theology (knowing God). However, in as much as man is the bearer of free-will and power and is in the position to express gratitude and submission before God or turn away and express obstinacy in front of these “reminders,” so in the third stage of divine theologies the matter of “submission” is set forth.

In this way, the first stage from the stages of guidance and belief is given to man and he finds readiness and honour in entering in the next stage of the journey to God and the path of bondage.

These three stages (definition, reminding, and submission) form the logic and the real fundamentals of religious theology (knowing God) which will be discussed in order in the third Chapter of this book.

  • 1. We say this because the matter of deviation of the Akhbarit never manifested in the form of beliefs of the Hanbalites. Basically in the history of culture of Shias you will never come across a religious scholar who will reckon discussion of beliefs and its defence to be as heresy and or will adopt silence before the questions and doubts related to beliefs. The Akhbaris who in deducing the commandments (Ahkams) and the independent reasoning (Ijtihad) and its logic were denying Ilm al-Usul (Methodology), have themselves narrated traditions from Imams (‘a) that consists of the deepest form of Islamic Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge and beliefs). Nevertheless, while coming across such traditions they never resorted to deriving independent reasoning, comparing or analyzing and for this reason they were close to the above tendency. (The matter of differences between Hanbalites and Akhbarit and the defects of these two schools of thoughts are out of the scope of our discussion).
  • 2. From among the inclinations which we often come across in the study of Greek culture is the inclination towards “mysticism and intuition” and its necessities, among them being the belief in “unity and Existence.” This aspect of Greek culture which reached its climax through ‘Platonism’ is out of scope of our discussion. But in continuation of this discussion we do intend to earmark a section regarding the comparison of the ‘Greek mysticism’ with the “religious Ma’arif.” If the opportunity is provided, this Section too will be presented to the respected readers in the future.
  • 3. Some of the exegetists, scholars of hadith, theologians and jurisprudents long ago presented useful discussions about innate Ma’rifat (knowledge about God) under the concerned verses and traditions. However in the conventional philosophical and theological discussions of the past, this has either not been discussed at all or has not been seriously mooted.
  • 4. We do not use the term ‘acceptable proof’ from this account: that in the logic of religion too it occupies a place and that position is argumentation and disputation. In the second stage of the third section of the book while setting forth the discussion, appropriate rationalization and notification has come in the discussion of argumentation and disputation and we shall discuss about the place, condition and form of argumentation and reasoning in religion. Basically, most of the religious Ma’arif are not built upon the philosophical, sensory or experimental satisfaction and it is due to this that the Philosophical and experimental sciences are not having the ability to reject and deny them. This is because some types of of Ma’arif have a deeper outlook than the human sciences. On the whole, the human sciences have the ability to prove and approve the religious Ma’arif through different ways. In particular, one can make use of them as a matter of support to the religious Ma’arif in the position of “argumentation and disputation” at the proportionate circumstances.

Section One: Proving God

Proof of God in Greece

Introduction

Before entering into this discussion, we remind you of two points. First, we shall provide a general outlook over Geek culture, then present some of the similarities of opinion between the Greek and divine beliefs.

1) A possible general analysis of Greek civilization is to say it started with fantasies, passed through the stages of intellectualism and intuition, and culminated with religion. In the beginning, the people of Greece distilled their fantasies into legends. Later, they rationalized the various disillusioned and sceptical philosophies, and still further they turned towards mysticism, finally then accepting religion.

However, the Greek fantasies did not grow at one stroke but were preceded by the past matter. This past matter, namely, the Green fantasies, dominated the divine Fitrah (innate nature) and reflections of the past religions. Therefore the most important matter set forth in this period of fantasy is the matter of gods and divine myths.

It was when the Greek fantasies started to dominate over this pure divine Fitrah that the matter of the gods was mooted. The next stage was rationalization. The rationalization was too preceded, as was the case with previous fantasies. The fantasies were refined in the filter of rationalization. For example, in Aristotle’s eyes the gods were transformed to the “first stimulant” or the “intellect” and/or the “reasons”; in Plato, “examples” replaced the notion of the gods.

Insofar as the human intellect could not find a reply to its queries in the prior fantasies, the inclinations in later periods were towards discusses of morals or scepticism.

This next stage was the inclination towards intuition (divine vision) and mysticism. In this stage, reasoning was purified in the filter of intuition. For example, in the case of the first stimulant, intellect and the separable being in Plato’s view got transformed to “the (Absolute) One”, the “Supreme being” and “indescribable peak of thought and reflection.” The negative philosophies of Plutonism were among the last endeavors of Greek Culture in theologies and gnosis. Here the Greek civilization came to an end and the religion of Christ came into existence.

Just as this stage appeared in Greece after the duration of the Jewish religion, so too it took shape in another form in the middle century. This period lasted until the appearance of the Last Prophet and the religion of Islam.

The famous historian of philosophy Kapilstan says: “From the time when thought and semi-scientific and semi-philosophical research of the cosmologists replaced wisdom, counsel and (seven) maxims of the wise and the myths of the lyrists, one can say that philosophy (in any logical state) took the place of art. This philosophy reached its climax at the time of Plato and Aristotle and finally succeeded to its highest level of ascension, not in mythology but in mysticism1

Will Durant, about the Greek Civilization says: “The religious and philosophical campaign had at present seen three stages: Attack to religion like the period before Socrates, endeavour on the path of substituting religion with the natural fantasies like the period of Aristotle and Epicures and finally returning back to religion in the period of sceptics and Stoic philosophers. This movement eventually ended in neo-Platonism and Christianity. Such kind of sequence has taken place many times in history and perhaps today too it is in the state of coming into existence…” 2

2) A few similarities can be seen between the Greek beliefs and the divine beliefs.

One view is this that the Greek culture has derived benefits from past religions, especially from the teachings of Jewish religion. Regarding this, we mention some of the testimonies:

Kapilstan says: “It was the Jews who alleged that the eminent Greek philosophers with their important thoughts and reflections were greatly indebted to the holy book.”

“Piloon” who was the fascinated one among the Greek philosophers believed that both in the Greek philosophy and in the holy book and tradition of the Jews one can find a unique reality while he was of the opinion that the philosophers have taken advantage of the holy books

Pilooyunus (from the neo-Platonists) was of the same view that Plato has taken his wisdom from the fine books (Pentateuch) [Old Testament]. 3

Huze Nufisaguri ... had a close relation with the religious life of that time. Apparently, in Alexandria, it was at the place of conjunction and meeting of the Greek philosophers, that exclusive knowledge and Oriental religion has come into existence.4

Will Durant says: “In the entire tempests and disturbances of this period, the Jews preserved their patrimonial love for knowledge and devoted more than their required share in literature persistent in this period. Some of the most sublime parts of the holy book belongs to this period. The Greek Jews, mostly in Alexandria and partly in other East Mediterranean cities wrote masterpieces like the “Book of Jama’e” (Society book), “Prophet Daniel”, some parts “proverbs”, “Zaboor of Davood” and some greater portion of the Unknown Principle in Arabic, Hebrew and Greek languages. The scholars used to interpret the verses of Torah in to Hebrew language d schools were opened for teaching the book of principles of Torah and analyzing its moral standards for the ever-increasing young generation.”5

This recommendation was strengthened in the middle century by students of Yustin, Tatiyanus and the philosophers after him. However, another justifications, which was set forth in the middle centuries was the matter of ‘Logos’.

Yustin who was a Christian scholar, by making use of the Gospel of John, would say: “Isa Messiah is a word (logo) and the word of God … and the word of anyone who comes in this world it illuminates its luminosity. So one can conclude that it is possible to achieve faith in God through natural revelation of divine word before it is incarnated in the body of Isa and confessed among us.”6

Laaktanteyus, a Christian scholar, believed that Socrates, Plato and Sankara said many good things and in fact each one of them attained a part of the whole reality. However, the main point is this: that no one can distinguish the truth from falsehood in the beliefs of the philosophers unless he has recognized the reality from before and no one can recognize the truth from before unless God has taught him the truth through revelation7.

Some of the Christian scholars like “Arigen” too have reckoned reason to be similar to “word” and Isa Messiah and consider that to be dependent on the Divine Essence. In any case, our purpose here is to describe the dividing points of Greek philosophy from religion.

Proof of God in Greece

“Greece at the time of Plato was the fountain-head of such practice according of God that accepts the proof by means of reasoning”8

Among the evident specifications of Greece was independent reasoning in achieving the realities, and one of the realities too was God. This independency of reason can be seen in different ways in Greece and perhaps before Greece in nearly every kind of human and non-religious reflection. However, it entered a new phase through Socrates. He revolted against devoutness in morals and wanted to establish a rational moral.

The majority of the people of Athens were suspicious of Socrates. The religious-minded people reckoned him to be the most dangerous of the sophists because he was against every kind of religious ceremonies and celebrations. However, he reflected on the ancient religion and wanted every law to be weighed accurately with the yardstick of reason.9

The method of Socrates’ reasoning was a special one that reached its perfection at the time of Aristotle. It is here that some have reckoned Socrates to be the founder of philosophy. However, before describing this method we should pay attention to its principle and root.

Perhaps one can find the special independency of “reason” in the views of Heraclites. He was the first person to emphasize that perceptible things are always in the state of change. Even if the philosophers before him had comprehended this reality, it was he who emphasized this matter. His fame too was mainly due to some sentences, which he has explained in this regard. For example the sentence: “You cannot keep your foot twice in one river because the fresh water is constantly flowing and passes from you.”

Aristotle narrates that Heraclites said: “All the perceptible things are always in the state of flux and no knowledge or recognition is connected to them.10

The result of this view is that rational knowledge and recognition has no concern with the perceptible things and the affairs belonging to the material world. One cannot recognize the perceptible things unless if we remove it by some means from its materialistic and trivial state and give a non-material aspect to it. This affair was fulfilled in Greece through separation of the universal concepts from the particular ones. The Universals with all its kinds form the basis of Greek knowledge. It is only the abstractional affairs, which are constant and “reason” encompasses them.

Therefore, the only means for recognizing the world is the Universals. Perhaps the first person who put into Operation the beliefs of Heraclites was Socrates. He (i.e. Socrates) who was living during the time of sophists sought to find a solution for the doubts of the sophists.

The sophists recommended the theory of relativity and denied all things which possessed the required and universal consideration. However Socrates paid attention to this reality that the Universal concept remains uniform. It is possible that the particular ones undergo change but the meaning remains constant”.11

The main aim of Socrates was to describe a blissful and ethical life and he sought to fulfil this task by resorting to the Universal definition of ethical virtues. He reckoned the source of these definitions to be the human soul. However, he believed that one could have access to the Universal definitions only through reasoning and dialogue.

In the beginning, he would with utmost skill reveal his opponent’s self-contradictions and manifest his mistake for him. Thereafter, he would assist him in following the matter by himself and in discovering the truth. Dialogue and Dialectic would begin from a “less adequate” definition and move forward to a more adequate definition and or move forward from observation and examination of trivial cases to a Universal definition. Sometimes he would not reach to any decisive conclusion in practice but nevertheless his aim was one: i.e. searching one correct and Universal definition12.

Therefore, Aristotle says that there are two advancements in knowledge that we can truly attribute to Socrates: putting into effect the inductive reasoning and the universal definitions.13

Plato, who became acquainted with the beliefs of Heraclites through Kratulus (one of the followers of Heraclites) accepted his view that the perceptible things are constantly in the state of revival and becoming (process), and no type of knowledge and recognition has an attachment with the perceptible things. He also accepted the view of his teacher Socrates that probe and definition is through the Universals.

Plato, who reckoned on the one hand the perceptible things to be variable, and on the other hand that recognition is possible through invariable and general affairs, came to this view that the Universals exist in another world called the world of “exemplary ideas” These Universals or exemplary ideas are abstract and fixed affairs which exist in another world separate from the perceptible things. On the other hand, the perceptible things exist by virtue of benefiting from the exemplary ideas and the actual recognition of one thing is in reality the recognition of its abstract example.

Aristotle accepts the recommendation of “Ma’rifat” (gnostic knowledge) through the Universals from his master Plato. However, he does not believe that there is another existence for the Universities separate from the perceptible things. According to Aristotle, “the reasoning by virtue of which it makes possible and explains the view of Plato about rational knowledge, only proves that Universal is a reality and fantasy and illusion is not for the mind. However it does not prove that the Universal is separated from the abstract things, life and innate order.”14

On the other hand, he finds many faults about the view of exemplary ideas. Therefore, Aristotle, while accepting this matter that knowledge is connected to the Universal, and searching for the Universal in the perceptible world, acknowledges that the perceptible, abstract and multiple are not due to the multiplicity and greatness of the Universal. Thus everything has a Universal aspect and it is the responsibility of the philosophers to detach that Universal.

According to Aristotle, Universal is not merely a subjective concept or a state of literal definition. Rather, like the Universality in mind a specific essence exists in the perceptible things even though this specific essence is not immaterial and separate from the perceptible things. This specific essence that has one kind of existence in a person is a real foundation for the separable Universal that has a numerical unity in mind, and it indiscriminately be the carrier of all grades of parts. The matter of existence of common genus in species too is expounded in the same manner until we reach to the genus of genera which the highest genus that can be indifferently conveyed over the lower genus.

This genus of genera is of the same category, which according to Aristotle is ten and is named as the ten categories. In this way we reach the species, genera and categories.

Similarly, by paying attention to the various species, the concept of reason, apart from separating the common aspects between them which were genus, also separates the uncommon ones which are differentiated. By combination of common factors and the distinguishing factors i.e. genus and differentia it achieves a universal meaning of one kind.

Therefore, for recognizing the quality of a person, firstly by way of the afore-said separation, we come to know the kind of that person; but the quality of this kind is yet unknown. So by the same method we attain the genus and differentia and by combination of the two known universal (genus and differentia) we attain the unknown (definition and quality of its kind). By this method we will be successful in discovering the quality of things.

This matter was true to imaginations. However with regard to confirmations i.e. certifying the attribute for the proposition, we first gather together the elementary materials i.e. a number of known suppositions and then we keep two self-evident propositions and two known confirmations (where carrying the attribute upon the proposition in them is self-evident) next to each other in a special form till we reach to the third case which was unknown. Here we will succeed in proving the unknown proposition.

From the above matter it becomes clear that making use of the Universals for proving an affair requires a special method. The Universals as per special rule, are classified and by means of combination of these Universals we come to the propositions and by combination of the propositions we will, by following rule, have access to the rational proofs and reasoning and will discover the unknown proposition.

Therefore, making use of the Universals’ special logic is required, a logic Aristotle succeeded in discovering. As a result of compiling his logic and making perfect Heraclites beliefs, Aristotle presented the method of rational proof. By making use of this logic and the capital of Universals he himself produced a rational system which according to him was in conformity with the concrete and external system.

So henceforth, for every claim a proof was to be presented which would be in agreement with the scale of Aristotle’s logic. In the view of Aristotle and other philosophers the existence of God too was a claim, which needed philosophical proofs and before establishment of that, the philosophers had no right to believe in the existence of God.

Proof of God in Religion

In the divine religions God has not been set forth as one unknown matter so that His existence can be proved by logical proofs and adjustment of abstract concepts. Rather, one of God’s actions is to make Himself known to the people and to remind them of Him. It is merely a kind of manifestation of innate “Ma’rifat (gnosis), a “Ma’rifat” (gnosis) which has been deposited in the heart of man and man must pay attention to that (Ma’rifat).

The role of Prophets was too to remind the people of their innate “Ma’rifat”; not to prove God. For this reason the Prophets instead of setting up scientific Academies and presenting the logic of separation of the Universal species and differentia and describing the conditions of collection of propositions and preparing the students for perceiving the proofs of existence of God, by taking for granted the innate “Ma’rifat” and its awakening, strived mostly in proving their Messengership through miracles. After proving their Prophethood and Messengership they would introduce beliefs, morals, commandments and the way of living a prosperous life and finally would strive to bring religion to its objectivity through divine rule.

Pious and alert people too by listening to the verses of Holy books, would perceive the reply to their innate call and pay heed to their deposited Ma’rifat and pursue the religion. Of course, impure people like Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab and Abu Sufyan too abstained from accepting God or the Messengership of Holy Prophet (S) due to various reasons like jealousy or material and economic benefits.

Other too, who wished to have lengthy discussion with regard to proof of God, were introduced as obstinate persons. Although Prophet (S) and the Holy Imams (a) were always ready for discussion and good disputation and even trained some for this purpose, such good disputation is different from establishing philosophical proofs. The manner of these two paths and their addressers and their aims differ from each other.

In dispute, the aim is refuting the false matter or disproving the refutation, which has been established on true saying. In this way, the obstacle to guidance i.e. the enemy, the very mental fabrications and false superstitions, is broken, and the way is prepared for guidance through reminding. Therefore the aim of Dispute is not to make the enemy reach the fact but to remove the obstacle to one’s guidance. Discussion about dispute and proofs in the methods of Prophets will come in the second stage of the third section of the book.

The manifestation of theology after the divine religions too shows the same meaning because the theologians take for granted the existence of God and their aim is to defend the divine “Ma’arif” (gnostic knowledge) and to get rid of the doubts of the obstinate ones. If ever they resort to logical reasoning for proving the existence of God it is merely for debate, dispute and silencing of the enemy and not for achieving the fact, since a theologist has already reached the fact from before.

Now we shall derive testimonies from three divine religions i.e. Islam, Christianity and Judaism with regard to the above matter.

1) Religion of Judaism

None of the writers of the Old Testament have discussed the existence of God in the form of indescribable question and answers and or in the form of intermixed skepticism since the Semitic soul sees God in the inspiration. What we said about the Old Testament is also true to the New Testament with a slight variation.15

In the Journey of Exodus, it has come in Torah that: “Moses in reply said: Indeed Thy will not accept they and me will not listen to me. Rather they will say. Jehovah has not been revealed upon you. Then God told him: “What is in your hand?” He replied: A rod. God said: Throw it on the ground. When he threw it on the ground it turned into a snake and Moses fled from it. Then God told Moses: Stretch out your hand and catch its tail. So Moses stretched out his hand and when he caught hold of the snake, it turned back into his rod. This was, so that they believe that Jehovah of their God, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God and Yaqoob’s God is revealed upon him.” (Old Testament (Torah); London 1895; Journey of Exodus; Chapter Five)

Just as it can be seen Bani-Israel had doubted the Prophethood of Prophet Moses and it was not that they have denied God and in order to prove that God has conversed with Moses (Jehovah), God gives Moses the miracle of the rod.

In the book of ‘Prophet Ezekiel’ it has come that: “And his sons (Bani-Israel) are adamant and hardhearted and I am sending you to them to say that the God (Jehovah) has said as such and whether they listen or (not for they are seditious people) they will realize that a Prophet is among them.” (Same source: hook of Prophet Ezekiel chapter two)

“Surely if I had sent you to other than Bani-Israel they would have listened to you. However the family of Israel do not wish to listen to you for they do not wish to listen to me for the entire family of Israel are adamant and hardhearted.” (Same source, chapter three)

Just as it can be seen in the above verses the reason that the family of Israel did not accept God and His Prophet was that they were hardhearted, adamant and seditious and not because they lacked reasons for proving God. Similarly it has come in the above verses that Bani-Israel will realize that a Prophet is among them i.e. as soon as listening to the talks of Prophet and verses of God they will understand that these talks are the verses of God and its speaker is a Prophet. This is because the talks of a Prophet is the reply to the innate call of human beings and causes man to pay attention to his Ma’arif (gnosis). However, it is only for the pure heart, which is ready by tongue and action to accept the existence of God and not the hard and cruel heart.

2) Religion of Christianity

In the Gospel of Barnabas it has come that: When Isa (Yasou) reached the age of thirty, Gabrail descended upon him and delivered God’s message to him and Isa (Jesus) realized that he is one Prophet sent towards the Israelites. So after bidding farewell to Mary, he came down from the mountain and traveled towards Jerusalem. On the way, he came across a person who suffered from leprosy and he cured him. When people came to know of this affair, they proceeded towards Isa (‘a) and surrounded him in order to be informed of the realities.

We continue the talk from the sayings of Barnabas: “The soothsayers went back and forth towards Yasou and said: This tribe wishes to see you and hear from you, so climb over this stand and when God presents you a word converse with Him in the name of God. Thus Yasou climbed on top, the place where the speakers were habituated in speaking over there and when he signaled with his hand, a signal for observing silence, he opened his mouth and said: Blessed is the name of God who wills by His Beneficence and Mercy. Then He created His creatures so that they praise Him. Blessed is the pure name of God who created the light of all His Prophets before anything else in order to send them for the deliverance of the world…”

Thereafter, he spoke something about the creation of angels and man and about the history of man and the previous Prophets. Then he referred to the Day of Judgement and advised the people and rebuked the soothsayers for being negligent in the way of God and for being greedy. Similarly he rebuked the scholars because of their corrupt teachings and concealment of the Divine Laws.

Barnabas says: “The words of Yasou had its effect on the tribe such that all began to cry from the small to their big ones. They implored his mercy and lamented before him in order that he prays for them. But the words had no effect among their priests and chiefs who did not conceal on that day their enmity with Yasou since he had spoken such words, which were against the priests, the scholars and their writings. So they decided to kill him…” (Gospel of Barnabas)

Just as it can be seen, after the speech of Prophet Isa (‘a), which did not contain any philosophical proofs in proving God or Prophethood, the people were impressed and moved. While paying attention to God they recognized Isa (‘a) by his speech and reckoned him to be the Prophet of God, except for the priests and chiefs among them. As Prophet Isa had spoken against them and raised the curtain from their ugly deeds, they bore enmity with him and were determined in killing him.

Therefore in the invitation of Isa, there was no logical reasoning and the people too were moved and accepted his call except the unjust and the evil-doers who denied him due to their obstinacy.

Perhaps some may say that Bani-Israel by means of guidance of the preceding Prophets through philosophical reasoning all believed in God and so Isa did not produce any logical reasoning for them.

In reply, let us assume upon the truthfulness of this saying, that all the people before the appointment of Prophet Isa were believers:

Firstly, with regard to the previous Prophets like Prophet Moses nothing like proof of God through philosophical reasoning can be found in the Old Testament. Rather, testimonies can be found contrary to this matter, some of which we described in the section on Judaism.

Secondly, recognizing God is the most fundamental matter in the guidance of man. If the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is achieved through logical reasoning then an “Ulul-Azm” (Arch-Prophet) like Isa should at least speak about and remind the people about it on some occasions. But in the heavenly books at hand this matter cannot be seen at all.

Thirdly, understanding this philosophical reasoning requires a very sharp mind and one has to go through many stages while the majority of the people are helpless in this regard. Therefore if the Ma’rifat of God was stalled upon such reasoning then at the least some of the Bani-Israelites should not have recognized God. Thus it was necessary upon Isa to refer to these reasoning and explain them in his first invitation or in the later ones; however, we do not see anything of this kind. The Christian philosophers of the middle century too, under the influence of the Holy Book, reckoned man to be carrying a divine image, the presence of God in our existence. That is to say, God is constantly present in us by means of this image. This matter is sometimes propounded as divine intuition.

They reckoned the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God to be a potential Ma’rifat and thought the reasoning for proof of existence of God to be only a factor for actualization of the potential Ma’rifat.

Bunawantura believed that the existence of God is a reality that xists in the depths of our hearts, and the best and the most reliable way for achieving the Ma’rifat of God is the innermost part and the journey of the self, not a journey of the horizons. This is because the Ma’rifat of God exists in a person potentially and by way of natural disposition and man should, by deliberation and reflection with regard to this innate Ma’rifat put it into effect. The journey of the horizon too is derived from the journey of the soul; with the journey of the horizons man should ponder over the realities of the external world and the divine manifested signs so that his innate Ma’rifat is manifested more. These divine signs, because of being a sign and a symbol are one kind of reminder and remembrance of God.

Gariguri Nisa believed that the best way of knowing God is knowing ones own self because if man recognizes himself as a divine image he has in reality recognized God.16

3) Religion of Islam

In numerous verses the Holy Qur’an calls itself the book of guidance.17 And the most fundamental matter in the guidance of man is the matter of knowing God. Therefore one should see how Qur’an interprets the matter of knowing God. Moreover, since the traditions of the Infallibles too are considered to be the interpretations of Qur’an we shall make use of the traditions too along with the verses of Qur’an.

The verses of Qur’an have spoken in various forms of the innateness of Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and the heedlessness of proof of God. Over here we divide the verses of Qur’an and traditions into ten parts and in every part a few Ayats and traditions will be referred to as examples.

1-In many verses of Qur’an it has come about the divine Prophets saying that there is no doubt and hesitation in the existence of God and if it is asked from the people as to who is their creator they will reply God.

قَالَتْ رُسُلُهُمْ أَفِي اللَّـهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ

“Their Apostles said: Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth?” (Holy Qur’an: 14:10)

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ

“And it you ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say: Allah” (Holy Qur’an: 25: 31) and (39: 38)

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ

“And if you should ask them who created them, they would certainly say: Allah” (Holy Qur’an: 43: 87)

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّن نَّزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوْتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ

“And if you ask them who is it that sends down water from the clouds, then gives life to the earth with it after its death, they will certainly say, Allah” (Holy Qur’an: 29: 63)

((قال رسول الله (صلّى الله عليه و آله):كلُّ مولودٍ يُولَد على الفطرة، يعني على المعرفةِ أنّ الله عزّ و جلّ خالقُه، فذلك قوله عزّ و جل: وَلَئِن سأَلْتَهم مَن خَلَق السماواتِ والأرضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ الله))

Holy Prophet (S) said: “Every child is born in accordance with his innate disposition (Fitrah) and by “Fitrah” is meant “Ma’rifat” (gnosis) and recognition of God being the Creator and this verse “If you ask who is the creator of the heavens and the land they will say: ‘God”, gives indication to this same matter.( Shaikh Kulaini - Usul al-Kafi. Tasheeh ali-Akbar Ghaffari, Darul Kutub al Islamiyah, Tehran, 5th Edition vol. 2. pg. 13)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) في قول الله: وَ إذ أخذ ربك من بني آدم. الاية. قال: كان ذلك معاينة الله فأنساهم المعاينة و أثبت الاقرار في صدورهم و لولا ذلك ما عرف أحد خالقه و لا رازقه و هو قول الله: و لئن سئلهم من خلقهم ليقولن الله))

It is narrated from Imam Sadeq (‘a) about the verse of covenant that: In the covenant, the people witnessed God with certainty. Then God made the people to forget this test but kept their confession towards God protected within their hearts. And if this test and confession was not there, nobody would have recognized his Creator and Sustainer; this verse gives indication to this very matter: “If you ask them who has created them, they will say ‘God’.” (Allama Majlisi - Bihar al-Anwar Darul Kutub Islamia, Tehran 4th edition vol. 5 pg. 223)

2-It has come in the verse of covenant that God took confession from the sons of Adam about His lordship and this confession was taken in order that the unbelievers and the polytheists cannot say on the Day of Judgement that they were heedless of God or that because their forefathers were polytheists they too became polytheists.

This verse and numerous traditions, which have come under this verse shows that all the human beings have witnessed God by test in a world before this world. If in case this Ma’rifat (gnosis) was not there, then recognition of God, His name and attributes would have become impossible for man. Thus God has taken from the human beings their confession in His Lordship so that the argument is finished upon all of them and they do not put forward any excuse that they were heedless of God or attribute their disbelief to their social environment or a society contaminated with polytheism.

This verse shows that this innate Ma’rifat is the actual argumentation upon all the human-beings and it should be such that it should have the possibility of manifesting and appearing in every person in this world so that God can argue against their excuse of heedlessness. Similarly, this Ma’rifat should be so clear and powerful within a person that environmental and family conditions do not affect and overcome him. That is to say, even in a society contaminated with polytheism, it (i.e. Ma’rifat) should not get destroyed.

Now we mention a Holy verse along with some traditions.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَا أَن تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَـٰذَا غَافِلِينَ. أَوْ تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أَشْرَكَ آبَاؤُنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةً مِّن بَعْدِهِمْ أَفَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ

“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! We bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this or you should say: Only our fathers associated others (with Allah) before, and we were an offspring after them. Wilt Thou then destroy us for what the vain doers did?” (Holy Qur’an: 7: 172-173)

((قال زرارة و سألته عن قول الله عزَّ و جل و إذ أخذ ربك من بني آدم. الاية. قال: أخرج من ظهر آدم ذريته الى يوم القيامة، فخرجوا كالذر فعرفهم و أراهم نفسه و لولا ذلك لم يعرف أحد ربه...))

With regard to the verse of covenant, Imam Baqir (‘a) said: “God takes out the sons of Adam from the rear of Adam till the Day of Judgement. They were minute particles when God made them recognize Him and if this event had not occurred then no one would have been able to recognize Him.” (Usu1 al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 13)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: سألته عن قول الله عزَّ و جل: "فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها"، ما تلك الفطرة؟ قال هي الاسلام، فطرهم الله حين أخذ ميثاقهم على التوحيد، "قال ألستُ بربكم" و فيه المؤمن و الكافر))

About the verse of “Fitrah” (innate disposition) it was asked from Imam Sadeq (‘a) as to what is “Fitrah”. Imam replied: “It means Islam. At the time of covenant God natured the people upon “Tauheed” (monotheism) and said: “Am I not your Lord?” In this event, both the believers and unbelievers were present.” (Usu1 al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 13)

((عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا عبدالله (عليه السلام) عن قول الله: و إذ أخذ ربك من بني آدم. الاية. قال: ثبتت المعرفة في قلوبهم و نسوا الموقف و سيذكرونه يوماً و لولا ذلك لم يدر أحد من خالقه و لا من رازقه))

It was asked from Imam Sadeq (‘a) about the verse of covenant and he said: “The recognition of God remained firm in the hearts of the people. They have forgotten the place of covenant but a day shall come when they will remember it. If such an affair was not there, then nobody could know who is his Creator and Sustainer.” (Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 280)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) في قول الله: و إذ أخذ ربك من بني آدم. الاية. قال: كان ذلك معاينة الله فأنساهم المعاينة و أثبت الإقرار في صدورهم و لولا ذلك ما عرف أحد خالقه و لا رازقه و هو قول الله: و لئن سئلتهم من خلقهم ليقولن الله))

(Same source; vol. 5; pg. 223)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) في قوله و إذ أخذ. الاية. قلت معاينة كان هذا؟ قال نعم فثبتت المعرفة و نسوا الموقف و سيذكرونه و لولا ذلك لم يدر أحد من خالقه و لا من رازقه، الحديث))

(Same source; vol. 5; pg. 237)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) في قول الله و إذ أخذ ربك من بني آدم. الآية. قال نعم لله الحجة على جميع خلقه أخذهم يوم أخذ الميثاق هكذا- و قبض يده-.))

(Same source; vol. 5; pg. 280)18

3-In the verse of “Fitrah”, the verse first calls (the people towards religion and then interprets the religion as “Fitrah” of God which man has been natured and molded upon that (Fitrah). In the end, the verse says that such ‘Fitrah’ is not worthy of change and alteration and the everlasting and steadfast religion too is the same innate and natural religion. Therefore the religion which is not based on “Fitrah” cannot be steadfast and permanent.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّـهِ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state - the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know” (Holy Qur’an: 30:30)

The traditions which have come in the books of tradition about the matter of Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God being innate and natural are many. For example in the book of “Esbaatul-Huda” there is a chapter in the beginning of the book named as: “Annal Ma’rifatul Ejmaliyatun Zarooriyatun Mauhebatun Fitriyatun Laa-Kasbiyeh” and 65 traditions have been narrated and the author adds that he has brought only some of these traditions.

Similarly in the book of “Tauheed al-Sadooq” in the 53rd chapter under the title “Bab Fitrahullah azza Wa jallal khalqo alal tauheed”, ten traditions have been mentioned with regard to Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God being innate.”

Moreover, in the book of Usul al-Kafi, five traditions have been narrated under “Babo Fitrahul Khalqe alal tauheed”.

Over here, we narrate as an example, few traditions from the book of Bihar al-Anwar:

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) في قول الله عزَّ و جل: فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها، قال فطرهم على التوحيد))

About verse of Fitrah, Imam Sadeq (‘a) said: God has natured the people upon Tauheed (Monotheism). (Bihar al-Anwar; vol.3; pg. 277)

((وعن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: قلت: ((فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها)) قال التوحيد))

(Same source)

((وعن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: سالته عن قول الله عزَّ و جل: ((((فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها)) قال التوحيد))

(Same source)

((وعن زرارة قال قلت لابي جعفر (عليه السلام) اصلحك الله قول الله عزَّ و جل في كتابة: ((فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها)) قال: فطرهم على التوحيد عند الميثاق على معرفته انه ربهم. قلت: و خاطبوه؟ قال: فطأطأ رأسه ثم قال: لولا ذلك لم يعلموا من ربهم ولا من رازقهم))

(Same source; pg. 278)

Imam Baqer (‘a) with regard to verse of Fitrah said: At the time of covenant, God made the people recognize His Lordship and natured Tauheed (monotheism) upon them. The narrator asked Imam (‘a): Did God address them? Imam shook his head in the affirmative and said: If such an address was not there, then people would not have recognized their Lord and Sustainer.

((عن زرارة قال: سألت ابا جعفر (عليه السلام) عن قول الله عزَّ و جل: ((فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها)) قال: فطرهم على على معرفته انه ربهم و لولا ذلك لم يعلموا- اذا سُئِلوا- من ربهم ولا من رازقهم.

(Same source; pg. 279)

4-Verses of Qur’an reckon religion to be “Hanif.” (Upright) and just as it was seen in the verse of Fitrah, Qur’an has interpreted “Hanif” as Fitrah (innate disposition) and in other aspects of verses too, the traditions have interpreted “Hanifiyeh” as Fitrah.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state - the nature made by Allah in which He has made men.” (Holy Qur’an: 30: 30)

حُنَفَاءَ لِلَّـهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِ

“Being upright for Allah, not associating aught with Him” (Holy Qur’an: 22: 31)

وعن قول الله عز وجل: ((حنفاء لله غير مشركين به))، فقلت: ما الحنفية؟ قال: هي الفطرة))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol.3; pg. 276)

عن ابي جعفر (عليه السلام) قال: سألته عن قول الله عز وجل: ((حنفاء لله غير مشركين به)) و عن الحنيفية؟ فقال هي الفطرة التي فطر الناس عليها، لا تبديل لخلق الله قال: فطرهم على المعرفة))

(Same source: pg. 279)

About the meaning of “Hanifiyeh” Imam Baqer (‘a) said as such: It means the Fitrah (Innate disposition) which God has created everyone in accordance to that and there is no alteration in the creation of God. He has created everyone based on His Ma’rifat and recognition.

وما الحنيفية؟ قال: هي الفطرة التي فطر الناس عليها، فطر الله الخلق على معرفته))

(Same source: pg. 279)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: إن الحنيفية هي الاسلام))

(Same source: pg. 281)

5-Those verses, which consider guidance to be the Action of God - These verses, from the viewpoint of number, are the most and from the viewpoint of reasoning are the best in serving the purpose of our discussion.

To elaborate, in many verses God has mentioned guidance to be an act exclusive for Himself having no one as partner in that act. These verses consider real guidance to be that guidance, which is only from God i.e. its doer, is God.

In the traditions too which have come with regard to this matter in various books, the action of definition of God is explicitly considered as the creative power of God in which no one else plays any role. Therefore if God had not introduced Himself none could have had the ability of knowing Him because there is no human channel for knowing God – any channel would have been merely the human imagination.

As examples we mention some verses and traditions:

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْـهُدَىٰ

“Surely ours is it to show the way” (Holy Qur’an: 92: 12)

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He please.” (Holy Qur’an: 28: 56)

لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّـهِ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ

“To make them walk in the right way is not incumbent on you, but Allah guides aright whom He pleases.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 272)

إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى

“Surely Allah’s guidance, is the (true) guidance.” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 71 and 2: 120)

وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ الْهُدَىٰ هُدَى اللَّـهِ أَن يُؤْتَىٰ أَحَدٌ مِّثْلَ مَا أُوتِيتُمْ أَوْ يُحَاجُّوكُمْ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“Surely the (true) guidance is the guidance of Allah” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 73)

قلت لابي عبدالله (عليه السلام): المعرفة مِن صنع مَن هي؟ قال من صنع الله، ليس للعباد فيها صنع))

Narrator says: I asked Imam Sadeq (‘a) that Ma’rifat and making (the people) to recognize God the work of whom? Imam (‘a) said: It is the work of God and not His servants. (Usul al-Kafi; vol.1; pg.163)

))عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال ليس لله على خلقه ان يعرفوا وللخلق على الله أن يعرًّفهم، ولله على الخلق إذا عرَّفهم أن يقبلوا))

(Same source pg. 164)

Recognition of God is not the responsibility of human beings. It is upon God to introduce Himself and it is upon the people to accept Him after introduction.

قلت لابي الحسن الرضا (عليه السلام) للناس في المعرفة صُنع؟ قال: لا. الحديث))

It was asked from Imam Reza (‘a) whether the people had any role in the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God to which Imam (‘a) replied in the negative. (Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 5; pg. 221)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: لم يكلف الله العباد المعرفة و لم يجعل لهم اليها سبيلا))

Imam Sadeq (‘a) said: God has not made responsible the human beings for His Ma’rifat and has also not set up any way in them for Ma’rifat. (Same source: pg. 222)

((سُئِلَ أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) بِمَ عرفت ربك؟ قال بما عرَّفني نفسه))

It was asked from Amir al Mu’meneen Ali (‘a) as to how he has recognized his Lord. He replied: I have recognized Him by His own introduction.

((سمعت ابا عبدالله (عليه السلام) يقول: إن أمر الله كله عجيب إلّا أنه قد إحتج عليكم بما قد عرَّفكم من نفسه))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol.1; pg. 86)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: إن الله احتج على الناس بما اتاهم و عرَّفهم))

(Same source pg.162)

((إن الله يحتج على العباد بما اتاهم و عرفهم، ثم ارسل اليهم رسولاً و أنزل عليهم الكتاب فأمر فيه و نهى..))

(Same source pg.164)

((قلت لابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) أصلحك الله هل جُعِلَ في الناس اداة ينالون بها المعرفة؟ قال: فقال: لا، قلت: فهل كلفوا المعرفة؟ قال لا، على الله البيان))

(Same source pg. 163)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) أنه سُئِل عن المعرفة أهي مكتسبة؟ فقال: لا. فقيل له فمن صنع اللع عز وجل ومن عطاءه هي؟ قال نعم و ليس للعباد فيها صنع و لهم إكتساب الاعمال))

(Tauheed al-Sadooq; chapter 64; pg. 416)

قال أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام): إعرفوا الله بالله و الرسول بالرسالة و اولى الامر بالامر بالمعروف و العدل و الاحسان))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 85)

وعن منصور بن حازم قال: قلت لابي عبد الله (عليه السلام) إني ناظرت قوما فقلت لهم: إن الله أكرم و أجل من ان يعرف بخلقه، بل العباد يعرفون بالله، فقال رحمك الله))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 270)

((إلهي بِكَ عَرَفْتُكَ وَاَنْتَ دَلَلْتَني عَلَيْكَ وَدَعَوْتَني اِلَيْكَ، وَلَوْلا اَنْتَ لَمْ اَدْرِ ما اَنْتَ))

(Dua al-Abu-Hamza Ath-Thumali)

((يا مَن دَلَّ على ذاته بذاته))

(Dua al-Saba.)19

6-Verses of Qur’an reckon the responsibility of Prophets and the heavenly books to be that of “reminding”. Just as we had seen in the previous verses, recognition of God takes place through God himself.

Therefore, it can be said that the roles of Prophets in the section of ‘Knowing God’ is not to prove God which is unknown. Rather their role is to remind the Ma’rifat of God since, the people, by getting involved in this material life become heedless of the Ma’rifat of God. Thus the role of Prophets is to remind this Ma’rifat. This reminder in Arabic is the same “Tazakkur” With regard to proving some unknown affair or teaching some matter the word of “Tazakkur” is not used in Arabic language. Rather “Tazakkur” is used in the case of reminding something which was previously existing.

((فيقال أذكرتُه و ذكرتُه ماكان فتذكر))

(Faiyumi: Al-Mesbah Ul Munir; pg. 209)

((و الذِكر و الذِكرى بالكسر، خلاف النسيان))

(Jauhari: As-Sahih; vol. 2; pg. 665)

((ذكرت الشيء، خلاف نسيته، ثم حمل عليه الذكر باللسان و يقولون إجعله منك على ذُكر بضم الذال، أي لا تنسه))

(Fars bin zakaria - Muajam Maqayes ul Lughat; vol. 2; pg. 358)20

Now we mention here some verses and traditions about ‘Tazakkur’.

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ

“Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder” (Holy Qur’an: 88: 21)

فَذَكِّرْ إِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَىٰ. سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَن يَخْشَىٰ.

“Therefore do remind, surely reminding does profit” (Holy Qur’an: 87: 9 & 10)

مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ. إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ.

“We have not revealed the Qur’an to you that you may be unsuccessful. Nay, it is a reminder to him who fears.” (Holy Qur’an: 20: 2 & 3)

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ وَقُرْآنٌ مُّبِينٌ

“It is nothing but a reminder and a plain Qur’an” (Holy Qur’an: 36: 69)

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

“It is nothing but a reminder to the nations.” (Holy Qur’an: 38: 87)

وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ

“…And this is naught but a reminder to the morals.” (Holy Qur’an: 74: 31)

With regard to the duties of a Prophet, Ali (‘a) says:

(( فبعث فيهم رُسُله و واتر اليهم انبيائه ليستأدوهم ميثاق فطرته و يذكروهم منسئ نعمته))

(Nahjul Balagha 1st sermon)

Then God appointed Prophets and Messengers one after the other in order to take back the covenant of Fitrah from the people and make them heedful of this forgotten bounty.

Just as it can be seen the duty of the Prophets is to remind about the divine Fitrah regarding which in the previous world a pledge and covenant had been taken. This Fitrah is the very great bounty, which is forgotten and neglected by most of the people.

The renowned historian, Masoodi too in the beginning of his book ‘Murooj uz Zahab’ has narrated a very magnificent and meaningful sermon from Ali (‘a). In this sermon, while explaining the greatness of Holy Prophet of Islam (S), Ali (‘a) mentions the fact that Holy Prophet use to warn the people of the pledge and covenant of ‘Alam al-Zar’ (World of pre-existence):

((فضَّل محمداً (صلَّى الله عليه و آله) في ظاهر الفترات، فدعا الناس ظاهراً و باطناً و ندبهم سراً و اعلاناً و استدعى (عليه السلام) التنبيه على العهد الذي قدمه الى الذر قبل النسل))

(Murooj az-Zahab. Daarul Ma’rifat; vol. 1; pg. 33)

7-Many verses after mentioning some points like the manner of creation and regularity of the Universe, set forth the matter of ‘Tazkereh’ (reminder) and with phrases like ‘La’allakum Tazakkaroon’ (so that you may be mindful) or ‘Afalaa Tazakkaroon’ (will you not then mind?) They explain that the ofersaid matter is because of reminding the human-beings and play the role of admonishers and not proving a vague and unknown matter, as was described by Ayats in point No. 6.

قُل لِّمَنِ الْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ. سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّـهِ قُلْ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ.

“Say: Whose is the earth, and whoever is therein, if you know? They will say: Allah, Say: Will you not then mind?” (Holy Qur’an: 23: 84-85)

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ خِلْفَةً لِّمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يَذَّكَّرَ

“And He it is who made the night and the day to follow each other for him who desires to be mindful.” (Holy Qur’an: 25: 62)

وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

“…And makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 221)

وَالسَّمَاءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ. وَالْأَرْضَ فَرَشْنَاهَا فَنِعْمَ الْمَاهِدُونَ. وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ.

“And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely we are the makers of things ample. And the earth, We have made it a wide extent; how well have we then spread (it) out. And of everything we have created pairs that you may be mindful.” (Holy Qur’an: 51: 47-49)

It has come in Nahjul Balaghah that:

((الحمدلله المتجلّي لخلقه بخلقه))

(Nahjul Balaghah - Subhi Saleh Sermon; No. 108; pg. 155)

All praise is to God who through His creatures has become manifested upon them.

((بها (الآلآت و الأدوات) تجلَّى صانِعُها لِلْعقول))

(Same source, sermon 186; pg. 273)

((لم تُحِطْ به الاوهامُ بل تجلى لها بها (مرائى)))

(Same source, sermon 185; pg. 269)

((الظاهر بعجائب تدبيره للناظرين))

(Same source, sermon 213; pg. 329)

8-Verses, which say that man pays attention towards God and seeks, help from his Creator in certain situations of life like at the time of tribulation, adversity and fear and helplessness. Basically, the world is neglectful of God. Therefore at moments of danger when man loses hopes from all the worldly manifestations, the material obstacles and curtains over the Fitrah (innate disposition) are removed from his eyes and the light of innate Ma’rifat starts setting in and this takes place all by itself without man having any authority over it.

This setting of light is the same bestowing of God’s Ma’rifat through God Himself just as the word ‘Aataynaahum’ (We have given them) has been used in some of the verses. However after the setting of light and coming out from the condition of helplessness, man becomes free once more to either continue his heedfulness and submission to God or start disbelieving in Him which usually he selects the second one.

إِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فَإِلَيْهِ تَجْأَرُونَ. ثُمَّ إِذَا كَشَفَ الضُّرَّ عَنكُمْ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنكُم بِرَبِّهِمْ يُشْرِكُونَ. لِيَكْفُرُوا بِمَا آتَيْنَاهُمْ فَتَمَتَّعُوا فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ.

“Then when evil afflicts you, to Him do you cry for aid. Yet when He removes the evil from you, lo! A party of you associates others with their lord. So that they may be ungrateful for what We have given them; then enjoy yourselves; for soon will you know.” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 53-55)

فَإِذَا رَكِبُوا فِي الْفُلْكِ دَعَوُا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ إِذَا هُمْ يُشْرِكُونَ

“So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safe to the land, lo! They associate others (with Him).” (Holy Qur’an: 29: 65)

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُ اللَّـهِ أَوْ أَتَتْكُمُ السَّاعَةُ أَغَيْرَ اللَّـهِ تَدْعُونَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ. بَلْ إِيَّاهُ تَدْعُونَ فَيَكْشِفُ مَا تَدْعُونَ إِلَيْهِ إِن شَاءَ وَتَنسَوْنَ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ.

“Say, "Have you considered: if there came to you the punishment of Allah or there came to you the Hour - is it other than Allah you would invoke, if you should be truthful?" (40)No, it is Him [alone] you would invoke, and He would remove that for which you invoked Him if He willed, and you would forget what you associate [with Him].” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 40-41)

وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فِي الْبَحْرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدْعُونَ إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاكُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ أَعْرَضْتُمْ وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ كَفُورًا

“And when adversity touches you at sea, lost are [all] those you invoke except for Him. But when He delivers you to the land, you turn away [from Him]. And ever is man ungrateful.” (Holy Qur’an: 17: 67)

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلَهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنْهُ نَسِيَ مَا كَانَ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ مِن قَبْلُ وَجَعَلَ لِلَّـهِ أَندَادًا لِّيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ 

“And when adversity touches man, he calls upon his Lord, turning to Him [alone]; then when He bestows on him a favor from Himself, he forgets Him whom he called upon before, and he attributes to Allah equals to mislead [people] from His way. Say, "Enjoy your disbelief for a little; indeed, you are of the companions of the Fire.”" (Holy Qur’an: 39: 8)

 أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّـهِ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ

“ Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.” (Holy Qur’an: 27: 62)

((الله هو الذي يتألَهُ إليه عند الحوائج و الشدائد كل مخلوق عند إنقطاع الرجاء من كل من هو دونه و تقطُّع الاسباب من جميع ما سواه... الى أن قال: و هو ما قال رجل للصادق (عليه السلام) يا ابن رسول الله دلَّني على الله ما هو؟ فقد أكثر علي المجادلون و حيروني، فقال له يا عبدالله هل ركبت سفينة قطّ؟ قال نعم. قال: فهل كسر بك حيث لا سفينة تنجيك ولا سباحة تغنيك؟ قال: نعم. قال: فهل تعلَّق قلبك هنالك أنّ شيئا من الاشياء قادر على أن يخلِّصك من ورطتك؟ فقال: نعم، قال الصادق (عليه السلام) فذلك الشيء هو الله القادر على الإنجاء حيث لا مُنجي وعلى الإغائة حيث لا مُغيث...))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 231)21

“Allah is He who all the creatures at the time of need, hardship and hopelessness from all other things, cry and lament before Him and seek shelter in Him.” A person told Imam Sadiq (‘a): “O son of Messenger of Allah, you guide me towards Allah for many controversies have perplexed me.”

Imam (‘a) said: “O’ the slave of Allah have you ever travelled by ship?” He replied: “Yes.” Imam said: Has it happened that your ship was broken and there was no other ship to save you and you also did not knowing swimming to help you save your life? He replied: “Yes.” Imam (‘a) continued and said: “At that moment, didn’t you perceive by heart that there is someone who can save you from this dangerous situation?” He replied: “Yes.” Imam (‘a) said: “That someone is God who is powerful enough to save when others cannot do so.”

9- Verses which reckon the duty of man to only accept and submit before the innate Ma’rifat (gnosis). Just as we had seen in the other mentioned verses, guidance and introduction of God has been fulfilled through God Himself and the role of the Prophets in this regard is reminding and making (the people) to remember the same Ma’rifat.

Over here a question may arise that what is then the role of man with regard to guidance and recognition of God? The Qur’an reckons the duty of man to be submission before the divine guidance i.e. after the ‘Hujjat’ (argument) is completed for man through reminding it is now obligatory upon him to submit himself before God. Thus the religion of God is Islam and Islam means submission before God.

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّـهِ الْإِسْلَامُ

“Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 19)

((الاسلام هو التسليم))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 309; Traditions l, 2, 3, & 4)

Of course man in this position is free i.e. in return for the gift and bounty of guidance he can either be grateful or ungrateful and so man has a role in the matter of being guided. To elaborate more, just as it was mentioned before, man has no role in the original guidance and recognition of God. However in the matter of ‘being guided’ and putting one’s self on the path of guidance, man plays a decisive role. In reality, guidance is related to both the sides - One is the guidance of God and the other is the submission of man.

إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا

“We have shown (man) the path, either he be grateful or ungrateful” (Holy Qur’an: 76: 3)

إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely the guidance of Allah, that is the (true) guidance, and we are commanded that we should submit to the Lord of the worlds.” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 71)

فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا  وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ  وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ 

“So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of the message.” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 20)

كَلَّا إِنَّهُ تَذْكِرَةٌ. فَمَن شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ.

“Nay! It is surely an admonition. So whoever pleases may mind it.” (Holy Qur’an: 74: 54, 55)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) الى ان قال: والله على الخلق اذا عرفهم ان يقبلوا))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 164)

((قال الصادق (عليه السلام) الى ان قال: عرفناه إمّا آخذا و إمّا تاركاً))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 5; pg. 196)

Imam Sadiq (‘a) with regard to verse No. 3 of Chapter Insaan of Holy Qur’an has said: “We have introduced ourselves to mankind and they either accept this ‘Ma’rifat’ or forsake it.”

10-Verses of Qur’an reckon the cause of not acquiring guidance to be the free will of man and wicked morals like injustice and abomination. Just as we had seen in the verses in point No. 9 man is free in front of innate ‘Ma’rifat’ to either submit himself or reject it. Here we narrate verses, which say that unjust people refrain from accepting the truth and from submitting themselves before God and those people who have ethical values have faith in God.

In none of these and other verses have come that because of not having any reason for proof of God and or for not understanding the philosophical proofs a person has become an unbeliever and no where it is mentioned that a person with a good mind who has the power of perceiving philosophical proofs has turned towards religion and Islam.

وَلَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ وَمَا يَكْفُرُ بِهَا إِلَّا الْفَاسِقُونَ

“And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressor.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 99)

وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا الظَّالِمُونَ

“…And none deny Our communications except the unjust.” (Holy Qur’an: 29: 49)

بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ

“Evil is that for which they have sold their soul that they should deny what Allah has reveal.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 90)

وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

“And Allah does not guide the transgressing people.” (Holy Qur’an: 61: 5)

وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“And Allah does not guide the unjust people” (Holy Qur’an: 61: 7)

قُلْ مَن رَّبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَرَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ. سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّـهِ قُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ. قُلْ مَن بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ يُجِيرُ وَلَا يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ. سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّـهِ قُلْ فَأَنَّىٰ تُسْحَرُونَ. بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ.

“Say: Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the mighty dominion?

They will say: (This is) Allah’s. Say will you not then guard (against evil)?

Say: Who is it In Whole hand is the kingdom of all things and who gives succour, but against Him succour is not given, If you do but know? They will say: (This is) Allah’s. Say: From thence are you then deceived?

Nay! We have brought to them the truth, and most surely they are liars.” (Holy Qur’an: 23: 86-90)

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ وَنُورُهُمْ

“And (as for) those who believe in Allah and His apostles, these it is that are the truthful and the faithful ones in the sight of their Lord: they shall have their reward and their light.” (Holy Qur’an: 57: 19)

مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ. إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ.

“We have not revealed the Qur’an to you that you may be successful. Nay, it is a reminder to him who fears.” (Holy Qur’an: 20: 2,3)

قال الصادق (عليه السلام) في قوله عزّ و جل: إنا هديناه السبيل إمَّا شاكراً و إمّا كفوراً. قال: عرفناه إما آخذاً و إما تاركاً. و في قوله عز وجل: واما ثمود فهديناهم فاستحبوا العمى على الهدى، قال: وهم يعرفون))

(Bihar al-Anwar: vol. 5; pg. 196)

Just as it can be seen, the common point between these ten set of verses and traditions is that the manifestation of religion from God, contrary to the Greek philosophy is not an unknown and uncertain affair which can be proved by means of philosophical proofs. Rather making (the people) to recognize God is a task fulfilled by God Himself and the ‘Ma’rifat’ of God is one innate (Fitrah) Ma’rifat.

By paying attention to these verses one can in short present the mechanism of guidance as such:

The guidance of man passes through the three channels of definition (of God), reminding and submission and finally man is guided on the straight path. And in none of these three channels any matter by the name of proof of God and establishment of logical reasoning for the existence of God is propounded.

In the end it is necessary to mention that explaining the mechanism of guidance, describing the three afore-said channels and mentioning the various ways for reminding (the people) and the difference between argumentation and reminding are all outside the scope of this section and God-willing, we shall explain them in the future sections.

This section sufficed to bring only a few points to show that in the method of religion and Prophets, for introducing God and having faith in Him there exists nothing such as proof of an unknown affair and abstract reasoning like the method of formal logic of Aristotle.

  • 1. Fredrik Kapilstan - History of Philosophy.
  • 2. Will Durant - History of Civilization, old edition vol. 6, and pg. 270
  • 3. Kapilstan: History of Philosophy vol.1 pg.636
  • 4. Kapilstan: History of Philosophy vol.1 pg.618
  • 5. Will Durant-History of Civilization old edition; vol. 6. pg. 198 onwards
  • 6. Aten Thelson - The spirit of philosophy of the middle century
  • 7. Aten Thelson - The spirit of philosophy of the middle century, pg. 43.
  • 8. A. J. Arbari - Reason and Revelation in Islam
  • 9. Will Durant - History of Civilization; new edition; chapter 16; pg. 416
  • 10. Aristotle - Metaphysics
  • 11. Kapilistan- History of Philosophy; vol.1; pg.149
  • 12. Kapilistan- History of Philosophy; vol.1; pg.152.
  • 13. Kapilistan- History of Philosophy; vol.1; pg.149
  • 14. Kapilistan- History of Philosophy; vol.1; pg. 401.
  • 15. A. J. Arbari - Reason and Revelation in Islam; pg. 5
  • 16. The matter which was mentioned from Bunawantura and Gariguri Nisa was taken from the treatise of Dr. Aawani in the middle century
  • 17. Refer to Holy Qur’an: Baqarah: 2 and 185
  • 18. Ayatullah Mesbah Yazdi under this holy verse says: It seems that such verbal conversation cannot he achieved except with intuitive knowledge and heartly vision and its proof is the numerous traditions, which speak of interpretation of dream and the matter of examination. Several traditions, which from the viewpoint of its contents are similar and from the viewpoint of reference too are reliable, have been narrated in authentic hooks like Usul al-Kafi. Tafseer of Ali ibn Ibrahim, Tafseer al-Burhan, Tafseer al-Noor al-Thaqalain and other hooks. Perhaps the purpose of most of the verses of Qur’an it to make (the people) heedful of this tame innat “Ma’rifat” and acquaint the heart with God to the greatest possible extent. (Ma’ad of Qur’an: pg. 39, 46).
  • 19. Similarly refer to chapter 64 of the book of Tauheed of Sadooq under the title “Bab ut ta’reef wal Bayan wal hujjato wal Hedayah” Where 17 traditions have been narrated and also chapter 9 of Bihar al Anwar vol.5 from the chapter of Adl under the title of “Innal Ma’rifatu Menhu Ta’ala” where 13 traditions have been narrated.
  • 20. Ayatullah Javadi Amuli says: If the general principles of religion were unpreceded for mankind then neither its teaching would have something by the name of ‘Tazkerah’ (reminder) nor their rejection would have found something by the name of ‘Nesyaan’ (forgetfulness). That its affirmative matter is in the name of ‘zekr’ and its negative matter in the name of ‘Nesyaan’ it shows that that general principle was having a previous recognition and man was aware of them. It was known to him in one special place and was and rather is specifically inclined towards it but is neglected and forgotten. (Origin of Ma’ad pg. 75)
  • 21. In this regard refer to the traditions which have come under the tafseer of ‘Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-Rahim’ in the various Tafseers (traditional) books like tafseer of Burhan under Sura Hamd tradition No. 8 and 12.

Section Two: Philosophical Theology (Knowing God)

Introduction

In this section the main emphasis is on the Eminent Greek Philosophers Plato and Aristotle. However, it is appropriate to first briefly look into the theology during “The Period Of Fantasies” and “The Cosmologists Before Socrates” and then during the time of Socrates.

Period of Fantasy

The period before Philosophy is usually propounded as the period of fantasy in Greece and the most fundamental matter pertaining to the fantasy of this period is the matter of gods. It seems that choosing the name ‘fantasy’ for this period has a close connection with the matter of gods and divine myths such that the Greeks without any rational and philosophical analysis were directly considering a supernatural agent for every natural, social and ethical manifestations. Indeed, for everything which they encountered in this world they expounded the happenings with those agents (living) out of this world. These super-natural agents were the same numerous gods of the Greeks who had a close connection with the various matters of this world.

Thus, as a means for expounding the happenings of this world, the matter of gods was propounded in the Greek culture with extensive and simple fantasies and without rational and philosophical examination. These gods, who attracted the whims and fancies of the Greeks, were accompanied with analogy, simile and syllogism for justifying the natural and human affairs. Therefore the Greek gods had mostly human figures while some possessed beastly forms, and they took shape from the syllogism and simile of gods with the natural agents.

The journey of fantasy did not end here by way of simile. Rather in the same way, they contemplated biography, ethics, manner of living, ancestors and sons for the gods and these were explained in the mould of myths.

Of course, as it was mentioned in the first section, the Greek fantasies were in the form of images placed upon the previous matter. This prior matter was the divine ‘Fitrah’ and the reminding of the previous religions. That the Greeks turned towards fantasies of gods and not to any other thing for analyzing the events of this world shows their special condition and state of affairs.

From the time when human beings began to expropriate the divine ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition) through fantasies, the human Greek culture was born. In the subsequent periods, this kind of expropriation underwent a change and took the form of philosophical expropriation and finally mystical expropriation.

It appears that the above explanation explains the most fundamental factor in the multiplicity of gods. However, this does not mean that other factors like political and tribal considerations were not having any effect in aggravating the multiplicity of gods. Similarly other justifications for the origin of fantasy of gods have been explained, which are not inconsistent with the above explanation and it is needless to mention them.

With regard to the above matter, we mention here a testimony:

“Political and tribal separations added fuel to so many gods and made impossible the worship of One God…When the religious fantasies of the Greeks came out from the local limits it became the cause of myths and common gods of the Greeks. For every social and natural manifestation, for each of powers of the land and the heavens, for every joy, good fortunes, evils and works the Greeks considered one source or one god for them. The Greek gods were having human figures. This too is another specialty of Greece and no other nation has ever imagined there gods resemble so closely the human beings… With regard to each of the gods, there existed a myth, which would clarify their race, their human connection and similarly the customs related to them. These myths which would arise either out of the local exigencies or was the product of the poets brought into existence the beliefs, philosophy, etiquette and history of ancient Greece… In the Greek myths, the world is not the creation of gods. The world was existing prior to the gods.”1

The theology at the time prior to philosophy can be summarized and said as such: During this period, the gods were propounded in a polytheistic manner through fantasies, imaginations, simile and syllogism. This theology in general is categorically opposite to the divine theology and this disagreement will be discussed in the section of religions. However the point which is worthy of attention is the influence which the theology of this period had on the later periods of philosophy especially during the time of Plato and Aristotle. This influence was to such extent that the later philosophers were speaking of gods and the matter of imagination and analogy too has always been propounded in Greece.

When Aristotle proves the multiplicity of gods by means of multiplicity of movement he coincides his ancestors gods with immutable essences (original movers). He says: “On account of the former ones and ancient forefathers you have like a heritance remained in your place in the form of a myth… He imagined that the original essences are the gods.”2

Period of Commencement of Philosophy

The birthplace of Greek philosophy and the foremost Greek philosophers were among the people of ‘Ayooniya’ Miltus was the cradle of ‘Ayooniyus’ philosophy because it was in Miltus that Thales the first famous ‘Ayooniyus’ philosopher sparkled. The philosophers of ‘Ayooniya’ were deeply under the influence of variable affairs, nativity and development, disintegration and death.

However, as much as these philosophers have employed their mind and intellect in explaining the Universe they have paid attention to this point that in spite of every change and transition a thing should have a firm and steadfast existence since change is from one thing to another. Thus a thing which is prior, fundamental and remaining and takes different forms should be existing. The philosophy and cosmology of ‘Ayooni’ is basically an endeavour in making clear the point that what is the first agent or the matter of (all) the matters and the source of each and every thing.

The thinkers of ‘Ayooniya’ were having differences in the nature of “matter of (all) the matters” but all of them were unanimous in its being material. Thales was of the opinion that it was water, Anaximans believed it was air, Heraclites reckoned it to be fire and so on…3

In the philosophy and reflection of this period, the matter of God and theology is not propounded, the witness being that some words and references about gods have been narrated by some of these thinkers4.

In other words, the belief in God, which was propounded in all the periods, was still not given a place in the mould of philosophical system.

Basically, during this period science and philosophy were not yet distinguished from one another and scientific and philosophical research too were mostly concentrated in finding the original agent in the material world and this situation continued up to the time of Socrates and sophists. Rational theology had still not a solemn place in the reflection of the Greeks and whatever has been related with regard to God in the rational forms and figures and in philosophical orderly reflection are very insignificant and imperfect which the best specimen of that can be found in the philosophy of ‘Anaxagoras’.

About him, Aristotle says as such:

“In this manner whenever a person would say that intellect is the cause of regularity and order in the entire nature just as it is in the animals, then as against the aimless sayings of the past people, he is considered to be a wise man. We certainly know that Anaxagoras was having this opinion. In spite of this, it is believed that ‘Hermutimus’ the native of Klazumanai has spoken about that more than him.”5

Anaxagoras uses intellect as a mechanical tool in the making of Universe and whenever he became helpless in the explanation of the cause of existence then, out of necessity he would bring intellect in the forefront. But in other instances he reckoned (other) things and not intellect to be the cause of events. 6

‘Parmenides’ who was one of the philosophers prior to Anaxagoras disbelieved the presence of any kind of movement in life and in this way he created problems for the future thinkers. As such, every thinker after him who reflected in the affairs of life and nature, instead of conceiving movement to be a certain and undeniable reality had to strive hard in its explanation and justification.

Anaxagoras who had imagined the picture of life in the beginning (intermixed in numerous forms) to be from innumerable and static matter, when faced with the matter of power or the power which is entrusted with giving movement to the original mass and creating the things of the world, introduced the principle of ‘Nus’.

‘Nus’ in distinct moments, gives the initial shake to that unlimited mass and becomes the cause of spinning and rotation, which accomplishes in various break-up of the original matter and then continues its motion till it results in the formation of happenings of nature. Thereafter ‘Nus’ in between becomes alien and idle and perhaps becomes only a spectator to the factory of existence. 7

With regard to ‘Nus’ there are a few points, which are worthy of attention.

1) According to Aristotle, whenever Anaxagoras would get stuck up in explaining something, he would bring intellect in the forefront.

2) On the one hand ‘Nus’ (intellect) is possessing divine attributes like ‘infiniteness’ ‘free-will’, ‘independent subsistent’ and ‘regulator of the Universe’ but on the other hand Anaxagoras ascribes attributes like ‘the most delicate things’ and ‘place being incumbent’ to ‘Nus’. It is for this reason that it is said Anaxagoras has not gone further than imagining a bodily principle. Aristotle too likens ‘Nus’ to a mechanical tool.

3) Even if we accept ‘Nus’ as one philosophical god, this god is not entrusted with sufficient role in this world and secondly it passes through the channel of simile and imagination and thus Nus like the other things of the world possesses a place.8

Such kind of defective philosophical theology had been propounded in a more defective form at the time of Anaximanas, Kasnufanas and Heraclites (much before Anaxagoras).

Over here we mention in brief the philosophical theology of these three philosophers.

Anaximanas: In his philosophical reflection, he imagined the source of the Universe to be the ‘air’. On the other hand ‘Anaximanas’ determined air to be the God which is in existence and is great, unlimited and always in motion. He says ‘that the air is God’ and even the gods too ‘have come into existence from air’.9

In this way, Anaximanas takes God in his philosophical mould and considers it (i.e. God) as equal with the original source of the Universe (i.e. air).

Kasnufanas: He says: “One God, the greatest god among all the gods and the humans which neither in figure nor in thinking is similar to the mortal creatures.” “A god which is static and firm in its place and which never moves.”10

About him, Aristotle says as such: “By only paying attention to the entire cosmos, he says that one (To hen) is God (To Theon).”11

According to Aristotle’s report, Kasnufanas believed in some kind of Unity of Existence and Oneness. It seems that he replaces ‘Aarkhe’ or the original source of the previous philosophers with Oneness and names it as God and considers God too as equal to the Universe. In this regard Plato says that according to Kasnufanas “Whatever we can name the entire things they are the creation of One.”

In none of his sayings Kasnufanas shows what he means by God is something outside this world and his idea is a continuation and logical expansion of philosophical course of the ‘Ayooniyus’ thinkers who searched the source of existence in every place and everything.12

Heraclites: He gives a more philosophical meaning to god after Kasnufanas.

The basic principles of his world-view (Ontology) and theology comprises of:

1) Existence in spite of its numerousness is one.

2) Oneness, born of contention is constantly in paradoxes.

3) Contrast and contradiction in existence is the very ‘logos’ or “the Universal everlasting laws.”

4) The world is constantly in the state of change and perfection.

5) The original source of the world is fire.13

6) According to Heraclites, fire the everlasting rotator is god. He says: “The One, who only He is the wise, wishes to and also does not wish to be named by the name of Zayus.” “God is day, night, winter, summer, war, peace, statiety and hunger and changes in the form of fire such that whenever it is mixed with fumigation’s then it is named according to the (particular) smell of each one of them.”

“This saying of Heraclites has become the source of numerous research, debate and differences of opinion in its interpretation. The thing which can be clearly inferred is that the world and its various occurrences are countless manifestations of God.”

Heraclites himself says: “All things are One.”14

In this manner, theology in rational and philosophical form, is one temporal matter in human civilization and culture. By philosophical theology is meant imagining God and proof of his existence in the mould of one rational system and giving shape to it based on the principle of this system. We shall witness the complete specimen of this kind of rational theology in the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

Basically, such kinds of reflections are generated at the time when philosophical reflections have sufficiently developed in the field of ‘beings’ and the philosophical systems are on the verge of growth and expansion.

Considering that the world of existence without God cannot be explained and justified, the matter of God finds its place in the philosophical systems. This matter can clearly be observed in the beginning of Greek philosophy.

In the initial stages of this period when philosophy had not yet adequately developed and the philosophical systems had not entered the scene, rational and philosophical theology and the matter of God was not at all propounded in its philosophical mould. Right from the time when philosophical system began to lay foot in the field of human culture and civilization, God too like other things, took a mental shape and philosophical color and it is precisely for this reason that the visualization of God, by gradual development of philosophical reflection, took birth from the mother of human mind and in the custody of human thoughts, it grew bigger and bigger.

The commencement of philosophy was conceiving of a birth which, for the first time flaunted in the form of ‘Nus’ (intellect) in the philosophy of Anaxagoras. It is for this reason that the philosophical portrait of God was born and in philosophies like the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle it requires ample of years for this powerless child to settle down and appear in the form of one rational and philosophical powerful God.

Theology of Socrates

Speaking about the views of Socrates is indeed difficult. The description of one of his students by the name of ‘Guznafun’ is not compatible with the description of another of his student by the name of ‘Plato’ in all the instances. Similarly the depiction of Socrates which is presented in the first conversation of Plato is not the same as the Socrates propounded in the later depictions.

Nevertheless, if this certification of Aristotle that Socrates did not teach exemplary ideas is accepted, then the true Socrates is the same, which has been propounded in the primary works of Plato. As such, it would also have less contradiction with the descriptions of Guznafun. Previously, we had mentioned something about the aim and method of Socrates and it was explained that with the great attachment which Socrates had in the manner of ethics he intended to find a reliable base for ethics and finally reckoned this base to be the Universal and ethical definitions. According to him the manner of reaching these Universals is dialectics and discussion in the definitions so that one can move from a partial definition to a more general definition.

Aristotle explicitly asserts that Socrates was preoccupied with ethical matters and did not engage in the whole of nature. Rather he was in search of the whole in ethical fields and he was the first person who focussed contemplation of definition.15

The aim of Socrates was achieving a virtuous and ethical life and recognition and knowledge of the Universal definition, which is attained through dialectic and debates. On the other side, the specification of Socrates ethics is a relation, which is set forth between knowledge and virtue, meaning that a wise person, who knows what is the truth, also acts upon it. In other words, no person intentionally and by knowledge involves in evil actions. Thus, knowledge of the Universal definition is the necessary and adequate condition for a virtuous living.

Just as Aristotle used to state, there does not exists any weakness in the views of Socrates about ethics, obligation and responsibility because, there does not exists a possibility that after (achieving) knowledge of the definition, man does not act, due to moral vices, upon the necessities of ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnostic knowledge). In other words, ethical qualities and habits are having no place in the philosophy of Socrates.

Now regardless of this that the necessary consideration between knowledge and action, self-love and essentials of man is towards perfection or other things, this result can be understood from the philosophy of Socrates that perfection and guidance of man lies in the knowledge (Ma’rifat) of the Universal definition and the mechanism of guidance is dialectics.

The General Principles of Socrate’s Theology

By paying attention to what was said earlier, the theology of Socrates is capable of being projected in few sentences:

1) In view of the fact that Socrates has not presented a philosophical system with regard to the world, rational philosophy too are not propounded in his philosophy.

2) More than any other thing, Socrates focussed his attention towards man and presented one ethical system for man.

3) Socrates reckoned the guidance and perfection of man to be in ethical and virtuous life and for the reason that virtue is necessary after acquiring knowledge of Universal definition and the fact that virtue is the same as knowledge, the perfection of man lies in recognizing the Universals.

4) According to Socrates, the mechanism of guidance is inductive dialectic with this meaning that dialectic and dialogue begins from partial definition and along with the contravention and confirmations which is mooted in relation to the definition, a Universal definition with regard to ethical actions is finally achieved.

5) In the view of Socrates, ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnostic knowledge) is the same as virtue and ‘Ma’rifat’ accompanies the virtue. Therefore, there remains no place for moral purification or striving for keeping aloof from mental vices or becoming endowed with spiritual habits. Ethical weakness, obligation and responsibility too are devoid of any meaning and is seen as a kind of practical compulsion in Socrates philosophy.

6) In the philosophy of Socrates God has not been given any place and for a prosperous living, man 15 needless of God, divine Prophets and religions and he should only bear the trouble of dialectics.

7) It is narrated that Socrates has spoken about the traditional Greek gods and similarly it has been narrated that Socrates had reckoned the human intellect to be a part of ‘Universal intellect’. 16

If these talks have been said on the part of Socrates, perhaps one can consider a role for gods or Universal intellect in the philosophy of ethics of Socrates, in such manner that the gods in the form of genetic and without sending the Prophets guide the intellect of man. Moreover, by paying attention to the other sayings of Socrates, the help of gods is either through presentation of intellect and or by means of placing the Universal definition, in the human soul and or in reminding the Universals.

Describing the differences of Socrates ethical system with the divine religions is outside the scope of this discussion. However, inasmuch as this system does not consider any place for sending of Messengers and the matter of divine rules and legislation’s, its encounter with the divine religions becomes manifest. With regards to the origin of God’s existence and His role in the Universe, Socrates has not narrated self-sufficient discussion and only some scattered words from him are at hand which indicate the multiplicity of gods. Hence its difference with the monotheism of religions. About ‘Universal intellect’ too, there is no explanation at hand.

On the whole, it can be said that Socrates is not the master of cosmology and theology. Rather, just as it has been said by Aristotle he was engaged more in ethics and his ethics too leave no place for the divine religions.

Theology of Plato

The matter of God and Theology are among the complicated and vague matters in Plato’s philosophy regarding which, many discussions and interpretations have taken place and these interpretations too have mostly been propounded on the basis of probability.

Regarding this, Plato himself in the treatise of ‘Taima’oos’ says: “It is difficult finding the creator and father of the Universe and in case of discovering Him, it is impossible to talk about Him with every one.”17

Moreover, in the treatise of ‘Jamhur’ he says: “The source of goodness lies in the farthest end of the world of rational ideas and one can see that with hardship.”18

Before the matter of God in Plato’s philosophy is discussed, it is appropriate to cast a short glance over his philosophy. Just as it was said before, Plato believed that perceptible things are in the state of ‘becoming’ whereas rational recognition is with regard to those things which are in the state of ‘are’ and the constant Universals which intellect can recognize them, are existing in a world different from the perceptible and variable world.

These Universals or parables are placed with special arrangement and in an orderly manner in the world of exemplary ideas such that the more we go up in the chain of exemplary ideas the more encompassing and Universal parables we do achieve. On top of this is placed the ‘absolute goodness’ which according to the statement of Aristotle is the same as ‘Oneness’.

On the other hand, Plato propounds the matter of ‘Creator’ or ‘Demurage’ for explaining the relation between the perceptible world and the rational world and the manner of formation of the perceptible world. “In the treatise of Tima’oos, Plato explicitly mentions that God or the Creator makes the things of this world according to the pattern of images (exemplary ideas).”19

“It cannot be denied that Plato speaks in ‘Tima’oos’ in such manner that as though the Creator (Demurage) i.e. the efficient cause of regularity in the Universe makes the things of this world out of images as an exemplary cause. Thus the image or exemplary ideas are completely separated from the Creator such that if we name the Creator as God we should then conclude that the images are not only far away from the things of this world but are also away from god.”20

Till here it appears that the god of Plato is the very Creator or Demurage which is separate from the exemplary ideas and absolute goodness and its work is making the perceptible world from the pattern of exemplary ideas.

On the other hand, Aristotle states that in the view of Plato, ‘Oneness’ is the cause of (essence) of images”21

Plato himself says in the book of Jamhur that: “I suppose that the source of goodness is having a place in the farthest end of the world of rational ideas and it can be seen with great hardship. However if a person witnesses that, then he will inevitably admit that the source of every good and beauty is the same and the creator of illumination and center of light in the perceptible world is none other than that and the source of reality and intellect in the world of rational ideas too is the same.”22

“In the same way one should acknowledge that those things too which are recognizable, not only acquire the quality of recognition from the source of goodness but their existence and essence too are from goodness. This is not withstanding the fact that goodness is not exactly as existence but with respect to power and greatness, it is by many degrees higher than existence.”23

As such, in the philosophy of Plato we are faced with two gods: ‘Creator’ and ‘absolute goodness’. Plato too in his sixth letter to his friends endorses this matter. In that letter he asks his friends “to swear faithfulness in the name of god who is the Leader of all present and future things and in the name of father of that Leader and Cause.”24

This god and its father have been adapted to Demurage (Creator) and Absolute goodness (oneness).

Now let us see how in the view of Plato, people can recognize God. According to him, the real recognition is the very recognition of the Universals and image and the most Universal images too is Absolute goodness and Oneness which was the god of Plato and is placed on top of the image. It is to be seen as to how the recognition of image and Universals is to be acquired.

Plato narrates in detail the way of achieving the recognition of the image in the seventh book of Jamhuri: In the beginning of this book, he sets forth the famous example of the cave in the words of Socrates and then mentions that it is only the philosophers who have liberated themselves from the darkness of the cave and obtained the brightness of the sun and Absolute goodness.

Thereafter he continues and says: “A philosopher who has met Absolute goodness should come down to the territory of the captives and take over the reign of their affairs until a virtuous city is established and the people reach prosperity. However if someone wishes to become a philosopher and engage in witnessing the ideas, absolute goodness and god he should from before, pass through some stages.

The first knowledge, which Socrates25 recommends is the knowledge of numbers and arithmatics. By means of this knowledge, the soul elevates from the environments of the transient world to the position of real perception. Concerning this, man can lead his soul to an upper world and incite it to reflect about the reality of numbers and not allow the soul to consider the numbers to be the agent of visible and perceptible things.

The second knowledge, which is recommended, is Geometry. Since the matter of geometry is an existing everlasting and subsistent knowledge it drives the soul towards the realities. Thereafter the geometry of space and stars are discussed. In this course the research moves from plane geometry to space geometry until it helps one philosopher in getting closer to the abstractional ideas through advancement from the next perusal of difficulty number two to the next perusal of difficulty number three.

The last stage in the premises of dialectic is the knowledge of voices and music. Of course, the emphasis is not on studying the voices itself but studying their relation between them. After successfully passing the above premises, a person is now worthy enough to participate in Dialectic (rational argumentation, debate and dispute) so that he is able to release himself completely from the shadows of the cave and is able to remember the rational ideas.

However, the debater should possess other qualities too which consist of: Will, courage, beauty, natural disposition, sharp-mind, memory, untiring aspirations, love towards every kind of work and physical and spiritual powers.

Of course the aged cannot pass this path because it is easier for the old to avoid rather than acquire knowledge and the difficult and heavy works should be entrusted to the young.

As such, the philosophers should learn the above teachings from childhood and till the age of eighteen they should have the primary knowledge of literature, music and mathematics. Thereafter till the age of twenty they should be given physical and military training. Then, for a period of ten years they should engage in mathematics and should by now put together those knowledge which they had learnt in a diversified manner in their childhood. At that time, the best are chosen and for five years, i.e. till the age of thirty-five, they should strive in acquiring the knowledge of debate. After that, he should spend fifteen years in acquiring methodical experiences until at the age of fifty, this selected person finally succeeds in meeting Absolute goodness.26

Universal principles of Plato’s Theology

The theology of Plato can be summarized in a few sentences:

1) For Plato, searching God is difficult and speaking to people about God is impossible.

2) In Plato’s theology we come across two existences which in all probabilities both are god and or one is the real god and the other a secondary one just as Plato remembers them as father and son.

3) ‘Ma’rifat’(gnosis) is only reminiscence and rational intuition27 of images and intellectual ideas. This intellectual ideas or concepts become feasible through rational disputation and debate.

4) One of the two god’s of Plato is placed on top of the rational ideas which is ‘Oneness’ and ‘Absolute goodness’

5) When the other god of Plato i.e. Creator (Demurage) appears in Plato’s philosophy and the relation between the two perceptible and rational worlds are propounded in an interrogatory manner and Plato sets forth the other god for solving this problem. This god i.e. Creator occupies no more a place in the chain of exemplary ideas and gets separated from Oneness and Absolute goodness.

6) The theology of Plato is in reality a philosophical theology. That is to say, Plato is capable of being imagined and perceived only within the framework of philosophical system.

7) The more abstract and universal the images the more difficult become their recognition. Therefore recognizing the Absolute goodness, which is placed on top of the rational idea and is one of the two gods of Plato, is the most difficult recognition and from the viewpoint of time too, it is reckoned to be the last recognition.

8) Both the gods of Plato, especially the Absolute goodness are capable of being recognized only by the philosophers and the philosophers are restricted people who possess physical, external, spiritual, mental and… abilities who, after passing through many stages become capable at the age of fifty of perceiving the Absolute goodness. The rest of the people i.e. the majority are deprived from perceiving god and their prosperity lies only in being obedient to the philosophers and rulers of Plato’s virtuous city.

The above discussion is the result of Plato’s theology. All these outcomes are against the construing of divine religions from Almighty God and the way of His recognition.

In the next section divine theology will be evaluated in detail and then its glaring difference with the above results will be revealed. We shall index-wise present here the views of divine religions especially with regard to the above discussion. Its explanation will be given later on.

1) The Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is Universal and is not exclusive for some particular people.

2) There is no knowledge, which is preliminary step towards recognition of God, and the recognition of God is not propounded in the mould of philosophical systems.

3) Recognition of God does not need philosophical and rational deliberation. Rather making the people to recognize God is the responsibility of God and so it does not involve any intellectual problem for man.

4) The fundamental pillar of divine theology is ‘Tauheed’ (monotheism).

5) God cannot be described and depicted in any rational and mental form. His holy presence is pure and free from any rational imagination. All the human conception about Him is an imagination, which is the outcome of the system of human mind and is not capable of being accepted in the presence of Holy God.

6) The real Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is not possible by means of Dialectic and disputation but the heart of man is the focal point of Ma’rifat (gnosis) and he is the address of God’s definition. Of course, one should not utilize this talk in the sense that we reject every kind of reflection and debate in the domain of religious belief. Good argumentation and disputation enjoys a special position in all the religious sciences, which shall be clarified in the future, discussion.

Theology of Aristotle

In the first section it was mentioned that Aristotle’s logic seeked to discover the unknown by making use of the capital of Universals and by employing his own special method. Now the same matter will be discussed from another dimension until we reach the theology of Aristotle. Basically the logic of Greek philosophers is composed of two important parts:

1) Discovering the Universals.

2) Transition from one Universal to another Universal or from one incident to another incident through the method of deduction.

Taking into consideration the interpretation of a philosopher, the discovery of the Universals is accomplished from the Universal. In this way, Socrates who reckons the place of the Universals to be in human conscience strives by means of dialectic and conservation, to take out the Universals and description of the Universals from the soul of man.

Since Plato considers the world of exemplary ideas to the place of Universals he strives to meet the Universal idea by transition from this world of ideas and since Aristotle reckons the perceptible world and the particulars to be the place of Universals, he propound the matter of separation of the Universals from the particulars.

Therefor the matter of separation is having a deep relation with the interpretation of Aristotle of the Universals and the important means of difference of Aristotle with Plato and Socrates should be searched in this region, not in the second part of logic where the matter of deduction and the passing of one Universal to another is discussed.28

The matter as to how this separation takes place and by which means it is fulfilled is a complicated and important part of the world-view of Aristotle. He i.e. Aristotle himself was aware of the problems of separation. “By being aware of this that we are not by any means able to always acquire innate or real description (which is fulfilled through separation and composition of genus and differentia) Aristotle reckoned nominal or descriptive definition although he was not so much optimistic about them.”29

Surely the discussion about separation requires a separate time. However, it should be said in brief that by being heedful of the common and contrast points ‘Universal’ becomes separated. The common points among the parts get separated to one category in the form of ‘species’ and the common points among the various species get separated in the form of ‘genus’. Acquiring the separation from the contrast points among the species forms the ‘differentia’ These Universals from lower to higher ones, are classified in such manner that on top of the various classes is placed the ‘categories’.

Till here, the capital of logic has been brought together. From here onwards we enter the second stage of logic namely, movement from known imaginative principles to an unknown aim and in other words, the act of deduction. For example, from composition of two known imaginations (genus and differentia) we reach to one unknown imagination (quality of species) and finally we describe the specie by means of genus and differentia.

This part of logic, which is usually regarded as the entire logic of Aristotle and is labeled as formal logic, is having a perfect relation with the first part. That is to say, this logic has been designed for a journey from special elements (abstractional elements) to special unknowns (Abstractional Universal Unknowns) and for this reason there exists a relation between contents and forms which one can call the logic of Aristotle as the logic of contents also.30

However in the section of confirmations, we should first of all achieve the known confirmations. A known confirmation is a confirmation which has been formed from two known imaginations called subject and predicate which the relation between these two also are known and self-evident.

Therefore, the foundation of every confirmation is imagination. On the other hand, if the relations of all the unknowns to the subjects are unknown and not evident then, no knowledge can be acquired and a philosopher in his journey will never reach his destination.

In this way, the principles and confirmations are fixed which can be recognized through intuition and without the establishment of proofs and the foundation of a rational movement is towards the direction of the unknowns. Thus the primary perceptions enjoy a special place in the philosophy of Aristotle.

With regard to the law of non-contradiction and the law of three exclusion, Aristotle says: “Therefore it -is evident that such a principle is the most perseverant of all the principle. Now we shall mention this principle:

The being and non-being of one thing - both of these is not possible at one time and in the same thing and for the same cause… This is the strongest of all the principles.”31

“However, in reality the existence of no central thing in between two contradictions is possible. Rather with regard to one thing, (only) one thing (whatever it may be) should be either confirmed or rejected.”32

Of course more than their direct usage in reasoning as minor and major ones, these evident principles are a guarantee to the authenticity of the reasoning. This is because as soon as we accept the preliminaries in deductive reasoning we cannot reject anymore its result; otherwise we will have believed that there is and (also) there is not Oneness in a thing.33

However, Aristotle describes the manner of passing from known confirmations to unknown confirmations by means of syllogism, induction and analogy. Now, by paying attention to the above points let us see how Aristotle acts with regard to recognition of God.

Rational recognition is the same recognition of the Universals and Universals too consists of two parts:

1) Known imaginations.

2) Unknown imaginations.

First of all, Aristotle must gather together one known Universal imagination of God since his ultimate aim is proving existence for God. Thus a known imagination should be brought about from existence. Thereafter the relation between these two imaginations should be proved through syllogism and through two known propositions, which the subject and predicate as well as the relation in them are known. Therefore, for proving God three stages should be passed:

1) A known imagination of God.

2) A known imagination of being existent.

3) Proving and making clear the relationship between the above two imaginations by means of two known proposition which are placed next to each other in the form of syllogism and giving effect to the third proposition (acknowledging the relationship between God and existence)

Now it should be seen as to how these three stages are passed.

A) Imagination or Notion of God

Basically, every philosopher who in the beginning builds a mental system for himself and in the end of the affair engages in proving God, pays attention and proves God by considering his philosophical and mental principles. This matter was explained before and was also seen in Plato’s philosophy. In the same manner, Aristotle too creates an imagination of God in his mind.

Now we refer to the important elements of Aristotle’s philosophy, which have had a role in giving shape to the imagination of God:

1-the world was existing from eternity without having been created from eternity. This matter is the characteristic of Greek culture wherein the matter of creation of world by the hands of God is not discussed.

2-There exists motion in the world and this motion is necessarily eternal.

3-As against existence, Motion actually requires a source. Therefore the world in general requires one ‘original mover’ which itself is motionless. Otherwise it would require another mover and this would result in an endless chain.

4-The original mover cannot, by will and intention or as an efficient cause run the Universe as according to Aristotle, in the mode of motion, a reaction is shown from the motion upon the mover and so the mover too undergoes change and motion. Nevertheless since the original mover is the beloved and the goal of existents, for this reason, the existents are having love and attraction towards the original mover and this becomes a cause for movement towards the original mover. Therefore the original mover is the source of motion in the form of un-voluntary final cause.

5-The original mover should be a pure act and non-material and there should not be any potentiality in it; otherwise reaction, change and movement will occur (in that).

6-since an act is having a general resemblance with the doer, the original mover, by decree of its being non-material, cannot perform any bodily action. Rather his activities should be purely spiritual and intellectual. Therefore the only work of the original mover is contemplating.

7-The Ma’rifat (knowledge) which the original mover possesses is not a knowledge which requires change, sensation and newness. Therefore the original mover only understands it and so Aristotle introduces the original mover as intellect and thought of thought and according to his owns interpretation “Contemplating about him is contemplating the contemplation” and “contemplating with the contemplation is one and the same.”34

8-It was mentioned before that Aristotle usually places the Universals in ten stages and on top of each is placed one category which all together we will be having ten categories. One of these categories is essence while the other nine are accidents. Aristotle places the original mover under the category of essence and remembers it as a motionless essence.35

9- Aristotle has probably reckoned multiplicity for the motionless movers. Inasmuch as Aristotle reaches to the imagination of God through motion and from the other side various kinds of motions are existing in the world, therefore as a rule, Aristotle is bound to believe in the multiplicity of gods. Regarding this he says: “As far as we see, apart from the absolute motion of the entire world (which we say the original essence causes movement for their motionless ones), there exists other spatial motions like, the everlasting wandering stars (i.e. the planets); so each of these spatial motions too should be brought into motion by means of one essence.

Therefore it is obvious that the essences will necessarily be having the same number as the spatial motion of stars… the total number of spheres… would amount to fifty-five. However if we do not add to the moon and sun those motions which we talked about then the number of spheres would amount to fourty-seven. So let us consider the number of spheres to be of this amount just as the essences and motionless bases can probably be imagined to be of the same number. This is because we should leave the talk to a more capable thinker.”36

It seems that Aristotle was not having a clear notion in mind of the number of gods and so with humbleness he entrusted with humbleness, the actual and integral opinion to much more capable thinkers than him and he sets forth his own views on the basis of probability only.

10-The god of Aristotle can neither be worshipped nor loved nor one can expect help from him. In the Great Ethics, Aristotle explicitly says: “Those who imagine that they can love god are in error because god cannot answer our love and (so) we cannot, in any condition say that we are loving god.”37

From the above points we come to this conclusion that the god (or gods) which Aristotle has imagined on the basis of his philosophy is the original mover and the beloved of the Universe who is having no Will and Capability and is only occupied in thinking about himself.

In other words the god of Aristotle is a perfect example of one philosopher (like Aristotle himself).

B) Imagination of Existence

According to Aristotle, existence is the most Universal38 and it can be carried over all the categories. He says: “The word existence is used in many ways but regarding one nature it is (used) in a prescribed form and is (also) not used in homonymous manner (by commonness in name). Rather (it is used) in the same manner which every healthy thing is attributed to good health…Thus the term existence is used in many meanings but all those meanings return back to one derivation (or source)… because they too are a demonstration of one and the same concept in some manner.”39

Therefore inasmuch as existence is used in different meanings it is not ideal homonymy and since the various meanings of existence find connection with one fixed nature it is also not expressional homonymy, rather existence is a kind of equivocal category i.e. existence is not having one meaning but its different meanings finds connection with one meaning by some means or the other.40

C) Proof of God

In the previous two stages, Aristotle attained a clear imagination of god and existence. Now he should clarify and reveal the relation between these two notions and should prove the proposition that “God (original mover) is existing.” In proving too, the fundamental reasoning of Aristotle is the reasoning of motion. His proof can be discussed in this manner:

1) The world is in motion.

2) Every motion is having a mover.

Conclusion: The world is having a mover

1) If that mover is having another mover too till no end, then an infinite regress comes into picture.

2) Whereas infinite regress is false and impossible.

Conclusion: The mover of the world is itself not having a mover i.e. he is propounded as the original mover.

With these two exceptive and categoric syllogism Aristotle succeeds in proving the original mover. The minor and major above syllogism should be known from before. It seems that Aristotle has deduced the motion of the world from change and decadence of the existents of the world which he reckoned to be self-evident and has understood the dependence of motion on a mover from the obvious principle of ‘Sufficient mode’.41

Universal Principles of Aristotle’s Theology

Now it’s appropriate to summarize the Universal principles of Aristotle’s theology in few sentences:

1) The matter of God is resolved in a broad sense at the conclusion of Aristotle’s philosophy and after natural sciences and theology. It means that before the discussion of natural sciences and general principles of philosophy one cannot talk of God and God too can be proved after passing the various sciences like physics and general philosophy. Therefore imagination of God in the position of affirmation and also its confirmation in the position of proof is fulfilled in preliminary sciences and philosophical systems on the basis of proven matters.

2) Since Universal is a matter of recognition and notion of the intellect, God too is set forth as one Universal. Aristotle places God under the Universal category of essence.

3) The notion of God takes shape by paying attention to the rational systems, which has been planned from before. This matter is absolutely clear in the diverse interpretation of Plato and Aristotle about God.

4) On the basis of Aristotle’s philosophical system, God is one mover who being an extreme limit, sets the world into motion and he neither possesses any Wills nor does he perform any act. Rather God is an intellect, which puts himself in the state of thinking i.e. a perfect deceitful Greek philosopher.

5) God is having no work with this Universe and so he neither introduces himself to the people nor he is capable of sending a Prophet or religion for the guidance of the people. On the other hand, the people too cannot love and hence worship god.

6) God and his existence are imagined as the two Universals (category of essence and equivocal category of existence).

7) Existence of god is dependent on rational proof (and there is no other way for recognizing god).

8) The rational system of Aristotle is unable to reject the matter of polytheism. Rather with the special move, which Aristotle makes, not only he proves the existence of the highest mover as a motionless essence but through multiplicity of kinds of motion, he also proves the multiplicity of motionless essence and the multiplicity of gods.

9) For Aristotle, the matter of monotheism and polytheism is propounded as one difficult and vague matter. Therefore he leaves its decisive view to the more capable thinkers than himself and what he does is only he confirms the matter of polytheism on the basis of probability.

The above point is the conclusion of Aristotle’s theology. Some of these points have already been discussed in the previous section and the rest of the points too will be compared with the viewpoint of religions in the next section.

Over here, we mention briefly the divine principles, which are set forth against Aristotle’s principles:

1) Recognition of God is needless of any philosophical system. Rather definition (of God) is fulfilled through God and man is needless of knowledge in remembering the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God.

2) Definition and Gnosis of God is prior to this world and all the human sciences (from the viewpoint of time).

3) Rank-wise too, ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnosis) of God is placed in the beginning of religion.

4) Since definition (of God) is the action of God, therefore it is far from any kind of ambiguity and God has uniquely introduced Himself to man. So in divine theology, there is no place for polytheism.

5) In place of the matter of ‘proof’ the matter of ‘reminding’ is set forth in religion.

6) The notion of God is not discussed in religion by any meaning.

7) The God of religion is a God to be loved who looks at His creatures with Grace and Mercy. The humanity of the people too is on the basis of the degree of their relationship with God and this relationship in the form of worship, is counted as the ultimate aim of creation.

8) The God of religion is a personal God. Therefore at times of remembering the ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition), man pays attention to his external Creator with His Divine Beauty and Majesty and calls Him with all his strength.

  • 1. Will Durrant - History of Civilization; New edition; chapter 8; pg. 197-203.
  • 2. Aristotle – Metaphysics.
  • 3. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first part from pg. 25 onwards.
  • 4. For example. Aristotle attributes this saying: “All the things are filled with God” to Thales. History of Kapilstans philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 38.
  • 5. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 14-15.
  • 6. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 17.
  • 7. “The first Greek philosophers”- Dr. Sharaf; pg. 409-412.
  • 8. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first part; pg. K 95-101.
  • 9. The First Greek Philosophers; pg. 147.
  • 10. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first parts; pg. 69.
  • 11. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 22.
  • 12. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 167.
  • 13. Regarding this matter, researchers are having difference of opinion as to whether fire is meant to be discussed as the original source for the beings or that Heraculitis finds fire as the best example to show the idea of constant change of things through their forms and perceptibility. Aristotle while emphasizing the first view says: “Hipasus a native of Metapuntus and Heraculitis a native of Afsus reckoned (this principle) [matter of all matters to be the fire” (Metaphysics; pg. 13)
  • 14. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 239, 258 & 259.
  • 15. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 25 and 428.
  • 16. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 160.
  • 17. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; pg. 247.
  • 18. Plato – Jamhur.
  • 19. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 234.
  • 20. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 238.
  • 21. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 26.
  • 22. Book of Jamhur 7th section; pg. 400, 401.
  • 23. Book of Jamhur 6th section; pg. 384.
  • 24. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part 1; pg. 247.
  • 25. The book of Jamhur is arranged in the form of narrative sayings of Socrates and it is presumed that in the year 411 BC Socrates entered into a debate one night with some people in the house of an old man by the name of Safalus and the next day he narrated the points of his discussion to his friends.
  • 26. Jamhur 7th section; pg. 392-446.
  • 27. With regard to intuition of Plato, the matter of discussion is whether this intuition is of mystical or rational type. The intuition of Plato is one mental and rational intuition because his method for the intuition of rational ideas is the method of dialectic and debate and the preliminaries of Dialectic too like mathematics, strengthen more the mind of a person until it gives a spiritual and seizing condition to him. The commentators of Plato too like ‘Estees’ and ‘Ritar’ believe that exemplary ideas are rational and are perceived by means of intellect and only ‘Tilur’ in the treatise of ‘Mehmani’ has interpreted the words of Plato as one spiritual journey. (History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; First part; pg. 271 onwards.)
  • 28. Here two points are worthy of attention:
    a) Logic takes shape by being attentive to the philosophy of logic and the basis of gnosiology of a philosopher. For example Aristotle, by being heedful of his philosophical viewpoint with regard to the universals, attains the matter of abstraction and by paying attention to the matter of abstraction, he sets forth the logic of deduction of the unknown from the abstractional affairs.
    b) Some people by mistake compare the dialectic logic of Socrates or Plato with the deductive logic of Aristotle whereas dialectic is placed in front of abstraction because dialectic and abstraction are both used for discovering the Universals. If we wish to compare the deductive logic of Aristotle with the logic of Plato, the portion of division and composition of Plato should be correspondingly placed in front of Aristotle’s logic and then compared.
  • 29. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; pg. 385-386.
  • 30. In modern times especially in Europe great attempt has been made to wipe as far as possible the tint of content from this logic and make it more formal. However in this logic or rather in any other logic, one cannot empty its mould from the contents under the condition that a special mould is placed upon every kind of contents and gives a positive result. This affair will be ascertained at the time when more encompassing and absorptive moulds than the existing mould are assembled.
  • 31. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 97.
  • 32. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 119.
  • 33. Metaphysics-Paul Fulkia
  • 34. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 409; Similarly History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; pg. 428-434.
  • 35. For example, Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 395-404, 405 & 406.
  • 36. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 403-407.
  • 37. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 2; pg. 432.
  • 38. Ref. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 76- last line.
  • 39. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 89-90.
  • 40. In transcendental wisdom, existence is ideal homonymy but its predication upon its meanings takes place in various manner and this difference is due to differences in applicability and not in meaning and concept. Therefore existence, while possessing ideal homonymy is also one equivocal category. The reason as to why this category is considered as equivocal is that on that on the one hand, it is having one singular meaning but on the other hand its predication upon its meanings takes place in various forms (first principle, precedence, ancientness and severity and so it creates a doubt for man whether it possesses one or many meanings. If we observe Aristotle’s views from the view-point of transcendental wisdom, (we have to then say that) Aristotle or such wisdom believe in ideal homonymy of existence and its doubtful predication upon its meanings and or the equivocalness of existence has also caused Aristotle to commit mistake and so has traversed a path between ideal homonymy and expressional homonymy.
  • 41. This principle is counted to be the source of many other rational principles like the principle of causality, principle of essence and principle of effect and as the real pivot, the principality of intellect is discussed. However till the time of ‘Laibnits’, much attention was not given to this principle. As per this principle, every existence is having a fixed cause and there is nothing, which is void of rational mood. This principle is also remembered as the principle of general and inclusive intellectual concepts. (For details refer to Metaphysics of Paul Fulkia; pg. 92-96).

Section Three: Divine Theology

First Stage: Definition (of God) in Divine Theology

It was related that in the divine religions, mysticism to lordly essence has never been discussed in the form of one irresolute and uncertain matter, which requires philosophical proof. It was also said that its secret too, from the viewpoint of religious sources is the same ‘Ma’rifat’(gnosis) which has been deposited in man’s heart, a ‘Ma’rifat’ which is the outcome of action and creation of God and is the result of His definition.

In the numerous sources and references which we had presented, this point was clearly mentioned that it is Al-Mighty God who by His Grace and Mercy has made the light of His ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnosis) to glimmer in the heart of His slave, has placed the sweet savor of Ma’rifat in man’s chaste life and satiated him with His limpid Ma’rifat. It is He who after bestowing the source of life to the creatures, once again gifted man with a dignity and made man’s heart and Fitrah (innate disposition) the area of descent of His Ma’rifat (gnosis) and manifested Himself to the people with all His Beautiful and Majestic qualities.

It is the same Ma’rifat which at times of hardship and tribulation or in the state of intimate supplication and invocation or at times of observing true signs, returns back to the Fitrah of heart.

In that condition a slave not only feels by reality of gnosis his Creator and object of worship in his conscience and sits lamenting and whispering before Him but finds Him as the One and Powerful and himself as the one overwhelmed by His Power, sees Him in perfection and greatness and himself as low and inferior, sees Him as All-Forgiving and himself as drowned in sins and finally finds Him as Merciful and Generous and himself as needful of His bounties.

This gifted Ma’rifat and scintillating guidance is reckoned to be the foundation of divine religions and just like a center column of the tent of religion, the collection of Divine Sciences and ethical and practical injunctions are established on that (Ma’rifat). If it was not for this divine gift, man would have been unable to perceive His Ma’rifat and reality.

بك عرفتك و أنت دللتني عليك و لولا انت لم ادر ما انت

Rather, without this definition (of God), even the Ma’rifat of the position of Messengership and ‘vilayat’ (Mastership) would not have been possible for man

اللهم عرفني نفسك فإنك ان لم تعرفني نفسك لم اعرف رسولك

This Innate Ma’rifat is having such foundational and infrastructural aspect in the divine religions that even if among some of the worships it is reckoned to be the pillar of religion it is for this reason that this worship causes in man, the condition of returning back to his self, remembering that innate Ma’rifat and paying attention to God.

Prayer is the remembrance of God and ascension of a believer and if mysticism of the self or soul is the mysticism of God it is because the soul is the bearer of that divine remembrance. Returning back to the self and evading from every sham and deception and recovering that original simple and pure Fitrah (innate disposition) causes once again to return back to that same innate Ma’rifat (gnosis).

The discussion, which has come in Qur’an and traditions (of God) can be divided into two main sections. The first section is the discussion, which shows in which place the innate Ma’rifat was given to man and from what time man has been entrusted with this divine trust. In the second section, discussion will be about procurement and consequence of that definition (of God) and its reality and specifications.

Birth-Place of Definition (of God)

What is evident from the divine proofs and testimonies is this that the soul of man, before coming into this world and getting attached to the corporal body has already passed through another world or rather worlds. It has witnessed events and scenes and in every stage has experienced some learning and realities such that all of these play a fundamental role in this world and the life Hereafter.

In some of these places, like the world of spirits [Alam al-Arwah (world of shadow [‘Azlah’ and ghost [‘eshbah’ man was possessing only the soul while in some other places like the world of pre-existence (‘Alam al-zar’) and substance (‘Alam al-teenat’) the soul of man was given a special mould and body. It was in these very worlds (before the world of tillage and generation) that all the human beings without any exception were granted in a lustrous and holy sphere, the divine grace and dispensation and after receiving the most highest monotheistic knowledge they were made to confess and give a covenant.

ألستُ بِرَبِكُم، قالوا: بلى..

Of course, after coming into this world man tends to forget the specifications of these places and stages. However the essence of that innate knowledge is present near man and is always blended with his substance (i.e.clay) and accompanies his nature.

(نسوا الموقف و ثبتت المعرفة)

This firm and permanent Ma’rifat has been so fixed like a strong pillar in the existence of man that till the present world, it has been made perseverant on the

basis of ‘Upright (‘Haneef’) religion’ and it is a fortification whose strength is very much indebted to the irresistible pillar of Fitrah.

The verses and traditions, which speak about the priority of the previous worlds, are so reliable and numerous that counting all of them would not be an easy task.

Moreover, this matter is so much certain and confirmed that in the opinion of most of the Islamic thinkers, belief in the existence of previous worlds is counted to be one of the religious certainties and exigencies1.

To such extent that the early theologian Shirazi who himself was the initiator of ‘Trans-Substantial Motion’ and believed in the theory of “Corporal contingency and spiritual permanence” when comes across such traditions he says:

“The soul of man was prior to body in existence, needless of bringing (the theory) of transmigration into picture. The traditions, which have been narrated from Shia sources regarding this matter, are so numerous that they cannot be counted. As such, the precedence of soul to the body is the religious exegencies of Imamia faith”.2

Before going into the details of this matter it is necessary to point out that what this discussion intends to follow is explaining the monotheistic Fitrah (innate disposition) and proving the innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) as the basis of theology (knowing God) and the foundation of divine guidance. As such, discussion about birth place of definition (i.e. introduction of God) and the specification of the previous creations has no direct interference in our purpose such that even if all the proofs and testimonies related to the previous worlds are doubted and denied or as is the practice of some, they are understood sarcastically and metaphorically and they reckon the birth place of definition (of God) to be this very world, yet there will not be any blot in the genuine claim of our discussion.

The past proofs and the coming proofs explicity prove (correct) this claim that the basis of theology or rather the essence of all the divine knowledge towards innate Ma’rifat returns back to the very former meaning (definition). However, considering the fact that the creation of the previous worlds and their true specifications are reckoned to be among the lofty Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge) of Islam and having knowledge about them will help increase one's insight of divine Ma’arif and the entire existence and its commencement and end, we therefore intend to bring here, the proofs of the existence of the previous worlds.

However due to numerousness of such proofs we shall mention at first the reference and sources of 200 traditions3 and then present some verses and traditions in the text.

These evidences are present in most of the authentic traditional books like Usul al-Kafi, Furu al-Kafi, Elal-ush-Sharaye and in exegesis (tafseers) pertaining to traditions. However on account of easy reference of the researchers, the evidences will be narrated from the book of Bihar al-Anwar.

These traditions comprises the secrets such that when the treasure of divine secrets, Amir al-Mo’meneen Ali (‘a) was teaching them to Haaris Hamedani he would address him as such:

((يَا حَارِثُ : إِنَّ الْحَقَّ أَحْسَنُ الْحَدِيثِ ، وَ الصَّادِعَ بِهِ مُجَاهِدٌ ، وَ بِالْحَقِّ أُخْبِرُكَ فَأَرْعِنِي سَمْعَكَ ، ثُمَّ خَبِّرْ بِهِ مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ حَصَانَةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِكَ .أَلَا إِنِّي عَبْدُ الله : وَ أَخُو رَسُولِهِ ، وَ صَدِيقُهُ الْأَوَّلُ .قَدْ صَدَّقْتُهُ : وَ آدَمُ بَيْنَ الرُّوحِ وَ الْجَسَدِ...))

“O’ Haaris, surely truth is the best of all the speeches and the one who inclines towards it is a Mujahid (warrior). I will speak the truth; so turn your ears towards me and listen to my sayings. Thereafter you narrate them to your trusted companions. “Know that I am the slave of God and the brother of Messenger of God and the first one to acknowledge him. Indeed I have acknowledged him at that time when Adam was between soul and body.”4

Yes, so that the pilgrims to Mecca during ‘Ehram’ (pilgrims garb) know that which of the trusts they will fulfill and to which of the covenants they will act upon and they take the Divine Essence and ‘Hajar a1-Aswad’ (black stone) as witness upon them. In front of this phrase of ‘Alasto’ they cry out:

((أمانتي أديتها و ميثاقس تعاهدته، لِتَشهد لي بالموافات))

(Muhaqqiq Hilli- Sharaye Islam; pg. 201 and wasail us Shia Beirut 5th print; vol. 9; chapter 12 & 13)

It is not ungraceful to mention this point also that the traditions concerning this chapter (the previous places of soul) can be seen in most of the discussions pertaining to beliefs like the various chapters of Monotheism, Prophethood, Imamet, Resurrection, Haj, invocation, soul, creation, etc. and very few discussions can be seen wherein this matter has not been discussed in some way or the other.

For this reason it has been said: The proofs and traditions with regard to the discussion are reliable proofs in reliable chapters.

However on the other hand, these worlds have been subjected to analogical gradation by some of the Muslim thinkers and contemporary commentators and have been rejected by some others. It should be said with utmost regret that the doubts and difficulties which have been set forth in this regard are merely improbabilities in front of decisive proofs and which have been borrowed from the Mu’tazilites.

Moreover, it is noteworthy to know that some of these problems had also been propounded during the time of holy Imams. The narrators of traditions have put forward these problems before the holy Imams and they too have given a proper reply in every case. Therefore it can be claimed that the reply to most of the objections on previous worlds can be derived from the traditions (which shall be mentioned in detail at the opportunate time).

Regarding the sources of traditions it is necessary to mention this point that a few of these traditions have been repeated due to chain of transmission and authorities of the traditions and or the connection of the traditions with some diversified sections. However, considering that the examination of chain of transmission of the traditions and their technical discussion is not possible at this opportunity, the above considered aspects and the chain of transmission of the traditions will be examined one by one in an independent book, although the people of skill are aware that in cases when the tradition are ‘one after another’, ‘helping’ and ‘certain’, there is no need to examine the chain of transmission of the tradition.

Now we draw the attention of the respected readers to some of the verses and traditions in this regard.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَا أَن تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَـٰذَا غَافِلِينَ

“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! We bear witness” (Holy Qur’an: 7: 172)

Most of the traditions concerning our discussion have come under this afore-mentioned verse and it is noteworthy that in the discussion about several worlds, this verse has been rationalized. This matter shows that the covenant had been taken in several worlds. In the first section a tradition regarding the world of pre-existence (alam al-zar) was mentioned under this verse. Now we bring here a tradition about the world of spirits (alam al-arwaah).

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: ما تقول في الارواح انها جنود مجندة، فما تعارف منها ائتلف و ما تناكر منها إختلف؟ قال: انى نقول ذلك؟ قال: فإنه كذلك، إن الله عز وجل أخذَ من العباد ميثاقهم و هم اظلّة قبل الميلاد وهو قوله عز وجل: ((و إذ أخَذَ ربُكَ من بني آدم...))

(Elalush-Sharayeh; pg. 39; chapter 77)

Imam Sadiq (‘a) said: “Surely God took promise from His slaves at the time when they were a shadow and they were not yet born in this present world and verse 172 of chapter A’raf is a witness to this same matter.”

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

“And when we made a covenant with the prophet and with you, and with Nuh end Ibrahim and Musa and Isa, son of Marium, and we made with them a strong covenant.” (Holy Qur’an: 33: 7)

(( قال الصادق (عليه السلام): كان الميثاق مأخوذا عليهم لله بالربوبية ولرسوله بالنبوة ولأمير المؤمنين والأئمة (عليهم السلام) بالإمامة فقال: ألست بربكم ومحمد (صلَّى الله عليه و آله) نبيكم وعلي (عليه السلام) إمامكم والأئمة الهادون أئمتكم، فقالوا: بلى. فقال الله تعالى: إن تقولوا يوم القيامة اي لئلا تقولوا يوم القيامة إنا كنا عن هذا غافلين فأول ما اخذ الله عز وجل الميثاق على الأنبياء له بالربوبية وهو قوله وإذ أخذنا من النبيين ميثاقهم..))

(Burhan fi Tafseer al-Qur’an; vol. 3; pg. 294)

Under many verses of Qur’an, we find traditions like the above one and great emphasis has been laid on the conversation of God with the people and the taking of covenant in the form which has come in verse 172 of chapter A’raf. Therefore taking all these traditions in the allegorical and metaphorical sense is far from truth and in none of the proofs one can find emphasis on metaphorical meaning.

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ

“And if you ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say: Allah.” (Holy Qur’an: 31: 25)

((...قال ابو جعفر (عليه السلام): أخرج من ظهر آدم ذريته الى يوم القيامة، فخرجوا كالذر فعرفهم و أراهم نفسه و لولا ذلك لم يعرف أحد ربه، وقال: قال رسول الله (صلّى الله عليه و آله):كلُّ مولودٍ يُولَد على الفطرة، يعني على المعرفةِ أنّ الله عزّ و جلّ خالقُه، فذلك قوله عزّ و جل: وَلَئِن سأَلْتَهم مَن خَلَق السماواتِ والأرضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ الله))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 13)

In this tradition and other traditions like the one which has been mentioned under verse no.5 ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition) has been adapted to the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and monotheism. Our discussion too is about this same Fitrah which is reckoned to be the fundamental of religion and the other meanings of Fitrah like creation are not within the scope of this discussion.

Similarly, it has been stipulated in this tradition that if Ma’rifat was not innate it was not possible for man to recognize God. Compare this matter with the saying that: “That knowledge (i.e. Innate Ma’rifat) which is vague and weak is subject to wrong interpretations. The conclusion is that a person says false and undue things about gods instead of worshipping the One God.”5

Of course, the matter of lucidness of innate Ma’rifat will come but the point which should be said in reply to the above saying is this that polythesim and blasphemy is not the result of weakness of innate Ma’rifat. Rather it is the result of turning away from the innate Ma’rifat and the reminding and turning towards non-innate paths. This matter was clearly seen in the previous section in the theology of Plato and Aristotle where Plato, with great hardship and difficulty succeeded in bringing a father and son for god and Aristotle believed with doubt in forty-seven gods.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّـهِ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state - the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know” (Holy Qur’an: 30: 30)

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: سألته عن قول الله عزَّ و جل: "فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها"، ما تلك الفطرة؟ قال هي الاسلام، فطرهم الله حين أخذ ميثاقهم على التوحيد، "قال ألستُ بربكم" و فيه المؤمن و الكافر))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 12)

أَفَغَيْرَ دِينِ اللَّـهِ يَبْغُونَ وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ

“Is it then other than Allah’s religion that they seek (to follow), and to Him submits whoever is In the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him shall they be returned.” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 83)

((ثم إن الله تبارك وتعالى نادى في أصحاب اليمين وأصحاب الشمال: ألست بربكم ؟ فقال أصحاب اليمين : بلى يا ربنا نحن بريتك وخلقك مقرين طائعين ،  وقال أصحاب الشمال : بلى ياربنا نحن بريتك وخلقك كارهين. وذلك قول الله: " وله  أسلم من في السموات والارض طوعا وكرها وإليه ترجعون)) قال: توحيدهم الله))

(Tafseer Aiyashi; vol. 1; pg. 182)

From these traditions it can be understood that the people have been put to test and examination in the previous worlds too and in all the stages of examination they were possessing a free will and by their own free will they have acted accordingly. For instance, in the beginning of the above tradition it has come that in the world of pre-existence God asked the people to enter the fire. Consequently, the people of the left (hand) objected while the people of the right (hand) obeyed.

وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ

“And we will turn their hearts and their sights, even as they did not believe in it the first time.” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 110)

((قال علي بن ابي طالب (عليه السلام)... كما لم يؤمنوا به أول مرة)) يعني في الذر و الميثاق...))

(Burhan; vol. 1; pg. 549)

With regard to the above verse, Ali (‘a) said: “By ‘first time’ is meant the world of pre-existence (alam al-zar) and the covenant (mesaaq).”

فَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا بِمَا كَذَّبُوا بِهِ مِن قَبْلُ كَذَٰلِكَ نَطْبَعُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

“…But they would not believe in what they had rejected before; thus it is that we set seals upon the hearts of those who exceed the limits.” (Holy Qur’an: 10: 74)

عن أبي جعفر وأبي عبدالله عليهما السلام قالا : إن الله  خلق الخلق وهي أظلة ، فأرسل رسوله محمدا صلى الله عليه وآله) فمنهم من آمن به ومنهم من كذبه ،  ثم بعثه في الخلق الآخر فآمن به من كان آمن به في الاظلة وجحده من جحد به يومئذ ،  فقال : ما كانو ليؤمنوا بما كذبوا به من قبل))

(Tafseer Aiyashi; vol. 1; pg. 126)

تِلْكَ الْقُرَىٰ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنبَائِهَا وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا بِمَا كَذَّبُوا مِن قَبْلُ كَذَٰلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ الْكَافِرِينَ

“These town: - We relate to you some of their stone:, and certainly their apostles came to them with clear arguments, but they would not believe in what they rejected at first; thus does Allah set a seal over the hearts of the unbelievers.” (Holy Ouran: 7: 101)

((وما كانوا ليؤمنوا بما كذبوا من قبل)) يعنى في الذر الأول قال: قال لا يؤمنون في الدنيا بما كذبوا في الذر وهو ردٌّ على من انكر الميثاق في الذر الاول))

(Burhan; vol. 2; pg. 26)

From this tradition and the one, which will come under verse 9 it is apparent that the worlds of pre-existence have been many.

هَـٰذَا نَذِيرٌ مِّنَ النُّذُرِ الْأُولَىٰ

“This is a warner of the warners of old.” (Holy Qur’an: 53: 56)

سألت ابا عبدالله (عليه السلام) عن قوله تبارك وتعالى: ((هذا نذير من النذر الاولى)) (قال ظ): يعني محمدا (صلى الله عليه و آله) حيث دعاهم إلى الاقرار بالله في الذر الاول

(Tafseer Noor-us-saqalain; vol. 5; pg. 173)

خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ

“We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete…” (Holy Qur’an: 22: 5)

 سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن قول الله عز وجل: " مخلقة وغير مخلقة " قال: المخلقة هم الذر الذين خلقهم الله في صلب آدم (عليه السلام)، أخذ عليهم الميثاق ثم أجراهم في أصلاب الرجال وأرحام النساء وهم الذين يخرجون إلى الدنيا حتى يسألوا عن الميثاق. وأما قوله: " وغير مخلقة " فهم كل نسمة لم يخلقهم الله عز وجل في صلب آدم حين خلق الذر وأخذ عليهم الميثاق، وهم النطف من العزل والسقط قبل أن ينفخ فيه الروح والحياة والبقاء

(Furu al-Kafi; vol. 6; pg. 12)

From this tradition it becomes clear that the molecular bodies have been transferred to the embryo of man. Thus there remains no place for any doubt about ‘transmigration’ which is the most significant doubt with regards to pre-existing world. This is because the soul of man does not enter into two different moulds.

Rather, in the world of pre-existence it enters the molecular body and in this world too it enters the same molecular body which by getting transferred into embryo is now capable of growth and development. Paying attention to this point will also be extremely beneficial in replying to the doubt of ‘Akelo wa Ma’kool’ in bodily resurrection.6

Outcome of Definition (of God)

1-Characteristics of Innate Disposition ‘Fitrah’

Just as it was seen in the first section the outcome of definition of God is a Ma’rifat (gnosis) very sublime and a recognition conscientious with regard to Divine Essence. The result of definition (of God) is neither belief in God nor inclination nor ability and capability in recognizing God, nor empirical knowledge and not (even) intuitive knowledge in the common sense. Rather, Ma’rifat and recognition is much more higher and exalted than the common human sciences and therefore it cannot be inserted into the usual divisions of human sciences.

Nevertheless, some of the above matters are certain and correct in its own place. However the whole truth is that none of these interpretations can be a true exposition of the foundation of monotheistic Fitrah in the divine religions.

In the entire reasoning of Fitrah (innate disposition) the talk is about Ma’rifat, witnessing with clearness and heartly observation and examination. It is obvious to what extent an appreciable and fundamental difference exists between these two basis, which is oftenly overlooked.

For clarifying the matter, we shall briefly make a comparative examination of these views:

A) Fitrah (Innate Disposition) is Not a Belief

As per our past sayings, what is meant by monotheistic Fitrah is Ma’rifat and recognition, not belief in God. Although after the recognition of God man oftenly submits himself before God just as God has taken this belief, confirmation and confession from all the human-beings in the previous worlds, yet considering the fact that this present world is the place of test and affliction and man’s misgivings and carnal desires are no less and on the other hand man is the possessor of will-power and authority it therefore cannot be said that every human-being necessarily believes in God. Even though the lofty Ma’rifat is from the Blessed and Supreme God its bearer gets reminded by the reminding of the exhorters and by propaganda of the evangelists and oftenly he finds belief and faith too in God.

With this explanation of Fitrah there will no longer remain a place for asking this question that why some of the people deny God. This is because Fitrah is Ma’rifat (gnosis) and the authority of admission and rejection is entrusted to man. Thus it is endowed with good and evil and reward or punishment pertains to them.

In addition, when the same Fitrah becomes shy due to the external factors, the light of reality remains hidden from man.

صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ

In the discussion of ‘submission and faith’ this matter will be examined in a more detailed form.

B) Fitrah is Not Inclination towards God

In spite of this, inasmuch as man by his divine Fitrah finds the Compassionate and Merciful, Generous and Gracious, Graceful and Intimate God with all his existence, he therefore inclines towards Him and loves Him. Thus inclination is newly from Fitrah.

As such, the one who observes his God in the light of Fitrah with the qualities of Beauty and Magnificence will pay close attention to Him and will not submit his heart to anyone other than Him. Basically true love can be found in the true Beloved and whatever is other than Him is wish carnal desires and egotism even though it may be expressed in beautiful words and the one who reckons the metaphor to be the castle of reality is far from reality:

((أيكون لِغيرك من الظهور ما ليس لك.. عميت عين لا تراك...))

(Dua al-Arafa; Imam Husayn (‘a) - Mafatihul Jenan)

Yes, the one whose existence has been filled with desires, arrogance, pride, obstinacy and darkness has not left any place for light in his heart and will not have any inclination too towards God. As such, the question that why Pharaoh, Niraun, Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, Chenghiz and Timur did not have any attraction and inclination towards God will stand no credit. The description of this matter will come in the section of ‘Submission’.

C) ‘Fitrah’ is Not an Ability to Know God

Basically the power to know God is given to man when he has not recognized God. Thus at that time the power and ability of this recognition will be given to him so that by this means he recognizes God. However, just as we had seen previously, the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God has been granted to man in a very clear and expounded manner. Thus there remains no place for power and ability because the outcome of ability will be the acquisition of some affair whereas the Ma’rifat is (already) obtained and present near man in the most highest form even though it may be concealed.

Yes, if we say that man is capable of remembering the Ma’rifat of God and becomes reminded after the reminding of the exhorters and or man is having the ability to do reasoning and argumentation for proving the same innate Ma’rifat then such a saying is absolutely correct and man is possessing such abilities. However these are having no relation with the ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition) which is the fundamental of religion and they should not be used in explaining and justifying that Fitrah.

2-Innate ‘Ma’rifat’ is a Comprehensive and Clear ‘Ma’rifat’ not Abstract and Ambiguous

Qur’an and traditions have interpreted innate Ma’rifat to be a heartly vision and a self-evident examination and observation.7

These wordings of Qur’an and traditions, in the most audible expression indicate the clearness of the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and the intensity of its lucidity in the heart and mind of man. As such, this saying that due to the weakness and ambiguity of innate Ma’rifat and its vagueness in the field of recognition one should embark upon intellectual and conceptual recognition and or this saying that innate Ma’rifat is abstract and within one’s power and one should in this world expound it through reasoning and proofs, will in reality amount to comparison (equation) of Qur’anic innate Ma’rifat with the innate Ma’arif of ‘Dakaart’ and ‘Laibnites’ and reminds one of the beliefs of recent ‘Rationalism’ as against ‘Amperism’

The luminousness and holiness of the past innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) is so intense that the firmness of the foundations of religion in the nature of man is indebted to the firmness of this Ma’rifat. The expression of vision and examination is so expressive in the lucidity and authenticity of this recognition that it has also perplexed the traditionalists and so they were putting forth this question that whether God can be seen with the physical eyes or not? The Holy Imams too would reply that by such expression is meant heartly vision and not vision with the physical eyes or perceptions with mental and heartly illusions. (Some of these proofs will come under point no. 5)

Paying attention to the following point can to a large degree be a reply to the existing doubts about innate Ma’rifat. Just as it was seen in some of the traditions in Section One, this examination has been forgotten by man and the one who has made to forget is God.

[ابو عبدالله (عليه السلام)] كان ذلك معاينة الله فانساهم المعاينة.

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 5; pg. 223)

As such, man forgets the Ma’rifat at the time of birth and it is after the gradual passage of some time and especially after the reminding of the exhorters and warnings of the warners that he once again remembers the same Ma’rifat.

أَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُم مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيهِ مَن تَذَكَّرَ وَجَاءَكُمُ النَّذِيرُ

“Did we not preserve you alive long enough, so that he who would be mindful in it should mind? And there came to you the warner…” (Holy Qur’an: 35: 37)

In some of the traditions the maximum age for getting reminded has been mentioned to be eighteen.8

Based on the above explanation, reasoning out this verse

وَاللَّـهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا

“And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers - you did not know anything…” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 78)

For denying, ‘Fitrah’ will not have the kind of granted and esteem ‘Ma’rifat’. It has been said that the above verse rejects any kind of past Ma’rifat whereas just as it can be precisely perceived, this holy verse negates knowledge and awareness at the time of birth and does not say anything in connection with the past awareness which is made to be forgotten at the time of birth and is remembered by man after a lapse of some period. These past Ma’rifats have been mentioned and emphasized in other verses and traditions and it is even specifically mentioned that this Ma’rifat is made to be forgotten at the time of birth. Therefore there exists no contradiction between those verses which prove the past Ma’rifat and the above verse. Rather the verses explain and clarify each other.

Another matter, which becomes clear from the above description is that theology (i.e. recognition of God) being innate is not a reason of being independent from ‘reminding’. Rather the vice-versa is also true. We shall once more refer to this matter in the chapter of ‘reminding’.

Another conclusion which we can derive from the above discussion is that ‘Fitrah’ and ‘reminding’ as a means of guidance for man are alone counted to be a strong reason and an independent channel. Rather it can be claimed that a superior and genuine Ma’rifat of God is the same Ma’rifat which is acquired from Him and the other ways and means of recognizing God should eventually lead to and terminate in this very innate Ma’rifat. On the other hand acquiring the strange ways instead of Fitrah (innate disposition) will be a strange Ma’rifat different from the innate and genuine Ma’rifat.

((... فكيف يوحده من زعم انه عرفه بغيره و إنما عرف الله من عرفه بالله، فمن لم يعرفه به فليس يعرفه، إنما يعرف غيره...))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 114)

How be it that the one who imagines he has recognized God through a means other than His means is a monotheist! Surely, only the one who has recognized God by (means of) God has truly recognized Him and anything besides this will be recognition of someone else and not God.

This matter was already mentioned in the first section and it will again be discussed in the chapter of ‘reminding’.

3-Before Becoming Reminded, Innate Ma’rifat is Simple not Absolute.

By simple, we mean that man is heedless and takes no notice of his innate Ma’rifat and by absolute we mean being heedful of Ma’rifat.

This too is one of the mysteries of God where man, because of being busy in his daily life, oftenly tends to neglect God and does not pay attention to Him. If it was not such then the wheel of man’s material life would not have rotated and people would not have adequately paid attention to their physical and material dimensions.

Moreover the aspect of test and affliction of this present world too would have been weakened. If deception and the matter of negligence of this world were not existing, then the worship of God would not have had that importance which could lead man to the position of nearness to God and His representative.

Nevertheless, the argumentation will be finished upon man and by being reminded he will thereafter select his path: Either the route of submission and arranging the material life on that basis or the route of whims and desires and arranging all the affairs on that pivot.

4-‘Fitrah’ is the Make of God

Just as it was said in the first section, definitions of God is the act and make of God and man plays no role in it. Even the power of egotism by way of ‘definition’ is taken away from man. Therefore there exists no responsibility for acquiring this Ma’rifat and man is only duty-bound to follow it and submit himself before his Lord.

From the above description we draw this conclusion that innate Ma’rifat is not one of the branches of human sciences. This is because Fitrah (innate disposition) is the act of God and it should not be compared with the empirical knowledge, primary axioms, secondary axioms, views close to axioms and similarly intuitive knowledge which are in common use. (We shall refer to these sciences under point no. 5).

5-The Focal Point of Innate Ma’rifat is the Heart not Mind

((عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام) قال: قلت له:أخبرني عن الله عز وجل هل يراه المؤمنون يوم القيامة؟ قال: نعم، وقد رأوه قبل يوم القيامة، فقلت: متى؟ قال: حين قال لهم: {أَلَسْتُ بِرَبّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى} ثم سكت ساعة، ثم قال: وإن المؤمنين ليرونه في الدنيا قبل يوم القيامة، ألست تراه في وقتك هذا؟ [دقت شود].. وليست الرؤية بالقلب كالرؤية بالعين))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 117)

It was asked from Imam Sadiq whether the believers would see God on the Day of Judgement? Imam replied: Yes and they have witnessed God even before the Day of Judgement. It was asked when it was so and Imam replied: When it was said to them:

ألستُ بِرَبِكُم، قالوا بلى

Thereafter, he kept silent and then said: Verily the believers witness God in this world and before the Day of Judgement too. Do you not just now witness God?… Witnessing by heart is not similar to witnessing by the eyes.

Therefore observation of God is one Universal matter and is not specifically meant for a particular group, although the grades of observation are varied.

((... فقال: يا أمير المؤمنين هل رأيت ربّك حين عبدته؟ قال: فقال: ويلك ما كنت أعبد رباً لم أره، قال: وكيف رأيته؟ قال: ويلك لا تدركه العيون في مشاهدة الأبصار ولكن رأته القلوب بحقائق الايمان))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg.109; Similarly Nahjul Balaghah, Subhi Saleh)

((.. يا ابا جعفر اي شيء تعبد؟ قال (عليه السلام):الله. قال :هل رأيته؟ فقال (عليه السلام):لم تره العيون بمشاهدة العيان،ولكن رأته القلوب بحقائق الايمان...))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 108; similarly Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 97)

((.. [الله] الظاهر لقلوبهم بحجته...))

(Nahjul Balagha; pg. 155)

(([الله] قد إحتج عليكم بما عرفَّكم من نفسه))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 86)

((الايمان، معرفة بالقلب و إقرار باللسان و عمل بالاركان))

(Nahjul Balaghah; pg. 508)

From these traditions and its like it becomes clear that the base and foundation of divine belief is heartly ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnosis) which is the same innate Ma’rifat. In none of the reasoning of Fitrah it can be seen that innate Ma’rifat is of the kind of conceptual and imaginative Ma’rifat. Thus interpreting Fitrah as empirical sciences, primary and secondary axioms, views close to axioms, etc is not correct.

Fitrah (Innate Disposition) And Imagination of God

Basically, in the divine reasoning it is not observed that mental and imaginary Ma’rifat have been mentioned to be one of the basis or stages of divine faith. Rather the possibility of imagining the essence of God and even describing Him by means of understandings and imaginations has been rejected.

((وقد ضلَّت في ادراك كنهه هواجس الاحلام لانه أجلُّ من أن يحده الباب البشر بالتفكير))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 51)

((.. لأنه الله الذي لم يتناه في العقول...))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 54)

((محرم... على غوائص سابحات الفطر تصويره.. ممتنع... عن الاذهان أن تمثله... قد ضلَّت العقول في أمواج تيار إدراكه))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 70)

Depiction of God by the ‘Ghawa’es’ (those who think deeply and deliberate in the imagination of God) is forbidden, it is impossible to depict Him in our mind The intellects, in the stormy waves of His perception have gone astray.

((... فلا تدرك العقول و أوهامها ولا الفكر وخطراتها ولا الالباب و أذهانها صفته...))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 45)

((إن الله تبارك و تعالى أجَّلُ و أعظم من أن... تبلغه الاوهام أو تحيط به صفة العقول))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 75)

((لا تقدِّره العقول ولا تقع عليه الاوهام... سبحانه وتعالى عن الصفات))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 79)

It is necessary to mention this point that in the last two traditions and the like of them, (‘Sefat’) quality and (‘Sefaat’) qualities means description and descriptions i.e. (‘Sefat’) pertains to its infinitive and not the outcome of infinitive. Apart from the fact that the contents of the traditions itself bear testimony to this meaning the lexicographical lexicons too emphasis on this meaning.

((وصف: وصف الشيء له وعليه وصفاً. وصفه: حلاه و الهاء عوض عن الواو))

(Ibn Manzur, Lesaan al-Arab- Beirut; vol. 15; pg. 315 1st edition)

الصفة من الوصف مثل العدة من الوعد و الجمع صفات

(Fayumi, Mesbah ul-Munir; pg. 661)

((وصفهُ وصفاً وصفة))

(Zamakhshari, Asas ul-Balagha; pg. 501)

This too is one of the mistakes which has been committed by some and they have interpreted ‘Sefat’ and ‘sefaat’ everywhere as outcome of infinitive. Thereafter they have encountered problems in the meanings of traditions and for finding a solution they have resorted to esoteric interpretation. Examining these esoteric interpretations is not within the scope of our discussion.

((أصِفُ الهي بما وصف به نفسه و أعرفه بما عرَّف به نفسه))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 80)

((سبحانك ماعرفوك ولا وحدوك، فمن أجل ذلك وصفوك، سبحانك لو عرفوك لوصفوك بما وصفت به نفسك... إلهي لا أصف إلا بما وصفت به نفسك))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 114)

O’ God, Thou are free from defects. They have not recognized thee and have not attained monotheism and so they have described (Thee). If they would have recognized Thee, they would have described Thee in the same manner which Thou Thyself have mentioned… O’ God, I will not describe Thee except by the very descriptions which Thou have mentioned.

((أصِفُه بما وصف به نفسه من غير صورة))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 47)

I shall depict God the very descriptions, which He Himself has related, without presenting any depiction of God.

From such traditions it becomes clear that the description of God is accomplished through Him only, without the means of understandings webbed by the mind. Rather He is Greater than that which can be shown by the human mind and thus in the interpretation of ‘Allaho Akbar’ it has been said:

((الله أكبر من أن يوصف))

“Allah is much Greater than what one can describe”9

From the above tradition which was narrated as an example, we conclude the following two points:

1-It is impossible to imagine the Essence of God through the minds, intellects and meditations and therefore verses and traditions have forbidden contemplation in the Essence of God.10

2-Description of God is not possible through rational understandings. In the chapter of Tauheed (Monotheism) and recognition of God, all verses and traditions negate depiction of God through rational understandings. With regard to the matter of Names and Attributes it is commended to follow the Qur’an and this very reason has caused the theologians to set forth right from the beginning the attachment of Names and Attributes as one principle in the theologian discussions.

The question which is set forth over here and has become the cause of esoteric interpretation of the above tradition is this that basically man’s recognition is not possible except through mental understandings and every confirmation is fulfilled on the basis of some imaginations and man is capable of only perceiving the meanings and proving its external existences. In the discussion of recognition of God too, it is concluded that: “We should imagine God with one Universal concept.” Other than this situation, the prayers and invocation towards God get transformed to a loose tongue and will finally lead to nullification.

The basis and foundation of such thought and its real planning goes back to the period 600 years before the appearance of Christianity in Greece just as we had seen in the first discourse.

As against this interpretation of recognition of God and such contemplative disposition, the divine religions presented a new and novel path in theology and recognition of the Name and Attributes which is the path of innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and His Names and Attributes.

In this path, the people witness God along with His Names and Attributes in the light of innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) and this heartly witnessing is accomplished without any means of imagination and understanding. On this basis, the Names and Attributes will not become absolute upon the essential concepts and even the general concepts. Rather the Names and Attributes of the Exalted God are used in the form of ‘Ta’beer’ (interpretation).

The measure of the Names and Attributes in innate theology means referring to the Holy Essence of God - which from before has been witnessed in the light of ‘Fitrah’. In the school of ‘Ta’beer’ (interpretation), the Name and Attribute is absolutely applied to the Holy Essence without the means of mental understanding and the corrector of this absoluteness is the innate Ma’rifat.

The famous sermon of Imam Reza (‘a) which is the Universal principle of monotheistic Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge) and is very much similar to the first sermon of Nahjul Balagha, begins with such sentences:

((أول عبادة الله تعالى معرفته، وأصل معرفتة الله توحيده، ونظام توحيد الله نفي الصفات عنه...))

Thereafter he says:

((فأسمائه تعبير))

(Oyoon Akhbar Reza (‘a) pg. 150-151)

((... ومن زعم أنه يعبد المعنى بالصفة لا بإلإدراك فقد أحال على غائب... ثيل له: فكيف سبيل التوحيد؟ قال: باب البحث ممكن و طلب المخرج موجود، إن معرقة عين الشاهد قبل صفته و معرفة صفة الغائب قبل عينه...))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 276)

In this tradition, the difference between the two doctrines of ‘Tauseef’ (description) and ‘Ta’beer’ (interpretation) is expressed. In the method of ‘Tauseef’ God is introduced through the channel of understandings and imaginations and the Ma’rifat of God comes after His description. However in the method of innate Ma’rifat and ‘Ta’beer’, God has been perceived before description, through His own channel and in the light of innate Ma’rifat and the level of measure of Names comes after the level of Ma’rifat of the Divine Essence.

Considering the fact that God is a ‘witness’ and He is not ‘hidden’, therefore, before the measure of Names and Attributes, it has been well known among the mystics and the general application of Names and Attributes is merely an interpretation and reference to the Holy Essence which has been already recognized from before.

In the method of ‘Ta’beer’ (interpretation) the Names and Attributes signify the external Essence and the implication of Names and Attributes has been the Holy Essence of God which by His own introduction becomes the well-known ‘Fitrah’ and not the mental implications and concepts.

((والأسماء و الصفات، مخلوقات و المعني بها هو الله))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 4; pg. 153)

((سألت أبا الحسن الرضا (عليه السلام) عن الاسم ما هو؟ فقال (عليه السلام): [فهو] صفة لموصوف))

(Ma’aniyul Akhbar; pg. 2, and Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 192)

Basically, in the Qur’anic and traditional Ma’arif (gnostic knowledge), Names and Words are not assigned for understandings Rather words are corresponding to the external realities and Name (noun) is for the real subject of qualification and not the form and understandings of subject of qualification. In the next tradition the manner of significance of Name upon the external Essence is explained.

 ((... ومن عبد المعنى دون الاسم فذاك التوحيد... الله معنى يدل عليه بهذه الاسماء وكلها غيره، يا هشام الخبز اسم للمأكول والماء اسم للمشروب...))

  (Usu al-Kafi; pg. 114)

((عن أبي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: من عبدالله بالتوهم فقد ... ومن عبد المعنى بإيقاع الاسماء عليه بصفاته التي وصف بها نفسه فعقد عليه قلبه ونطق به لسانه في سرائره وعلانيته فأولئك أصحاب أمير المؤمنين))عليه السلام))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 220)

It is obvious that the mental implications are not subject to worship. Rather the external Essence is worshipped and Name too is applied in the same sense. In traditions, on the basis of this principle, the entire concepts which are used with regard to the creatures, is negated for God and the verbal commonness is interpreted in the most highest and precise form.

((فمعاني الخلق عنه منفية))

(Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 79)

 وإنما سمي الله عالما لانه لا يجهل شيئا، فقد جمع الخالق والخلوق اسم العالم واختلف المعنى...  فقد جمعنا الاسم بالسميع واختلف المعنى وهكذا البصير))

(Oyoon Akhbar al-Reza; pg. 147)

God is named as ‘A’lam’ (All-Knowing) because He is not ignorant of anything. Then surely the Creator and the creature are common in the noun of ‘A’lam’ but the meaning or implication of ‘A’lam’ is different in the Creator and creature. The same is true with the words of ‘Samee(All-Hearing) and ‘Baseer’ (All-Seeing)

((... [الله] ولا شيئاً يقع عليه إسم شيء من الاشياء غيره))




(Oyoon Akhbar al-Reza; pg. 172)

Here, it is necessary to mention this point that the above matters are only a flash from the flashes of Qur’an and the teachings of the Household of the Holy Imams. Since this matter is not directly related to our discussion we have refrained from discussing it in length until perhaps at an opportunate time, we clarify the natural disposition of Fitrah in Names and Attributes and the manner of application and measurement in the Names of Creator and creatures by means of interpretation and precise implication of verbal commonness.

On the basis of the aforesaid matters we can have one system of arrangement in theology:

1- Confirmative or Positive Theology (conceptual)

2- Negative Theology (transcendence [of God)

3- Innate Theology (heartly)

1-Positive Theology (Conceptual):

This kind of Theology which can also be named as the human theology was, for the first time discussed and clarified in Greece and Aristotle succeeded in discovering and compiling its logic. In this method, only the mental and reflective powers are relied upon as the source and basis of recognition and in reality it is this mind and intellect of man which alone forms his power of Ma’rifat (gnosis). From the other side, the intellect is only capable of perceiving the mental concepts and intellectual Universals.

In this method, recognition and judgement of everything is fulfilled with the tools of understandings and the proof of God too is no exception to this universal rule. As such, for recognizing God and His Attributes we first deliberate over the mental understandings and imaginations and then we place these understandings as an intermediary in the recognition of God and in this way God and His attributes are imagined. In the later stages, it is these very mental perceptions and imaginations, which along with philosophical proofs are employed in proving and confirming.

The fulfiller of such kind of attitude is a series of Universal imaginations with regard to God. We have named this mental disposition as positive and conceptual theology for this reason that in this method, the Universal understandings which are achieved through mental mystic journey is attributed to God and is proven in respect of God. This type of theology was discussed in detail in the previous chapters.

2-Negative Theology (Transcendence [of God)

In this method, all the concepts, which in the first method are attributed to God, are negated. This is because God the most Exalted is construed as holy and free from every exposition and convention. The limited human intellect does not have the capability of finding the route to His Holy position and the human understandings are inaccessible to the sanctuary of His Essence and Attributes. For this reason, His sacred Essence is purified and sanctified from such type of understandings.

This method was discussed in clear terms by ‘Platinos’ (Platonism) in the conclusion of Greek culture and thereafter in the middle century it was examined and discussed by Duanuzyus.

Plato negated from God all the concepts and qualities, which were mentioned prior to him through the philosophers especially Aristotle and he set, free God from such attributions.

“God is absolutely sublime; He is one (Unique); beyond every thought and every existence; indescribable and unperceivable which there is no talk about Him (unutterable) and which there is no knowledge about Him (unknowing). That which is spoken is about essence and neither essential substance nor existence and nor life can be related to God. Of course, it is not that He is less than all of such things but for the fact that He is higher than all these things.”11

Let it not remain unsaid that some of the Muslim theologians too have discussed theology (knowing God) and recognition of Attributes in the form of its negation and privation. They believe that we possess only negative Ma’rifat (gnosis) with regard to God and His attributes and they even reduce the positive Attributes to negative Attributes.

With regards to the discussion of Names and Attributes, the indisputable verses and especially the traditions of the holy Imams (‘a) mention this very negative (attributes) and inclines towards the aspect of negativeness of Attributes.

What we come across in the entire verses and traditions is the description of the negative Attributes of God.12

However, it should be known that this is only a part of the reality and this opinion cannot, in any manner be attributed to the divine Ma’arif (gnosis). Relying on this aspect and not paying attention to what is discussed in the Book and traditions with regards to the conscientious and innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God, can exhibit an incorrect outlook from the viewpoint of religion which will be miles away from the reality.

3-Innate Theology (Heartly)

This matter is one of the special characteristics of the divine religions and is from the scientific miracles of the school of revelation and messengership. In none of the past and coming human schools any of the signs of this wonderful method and this lofty reality can be found. In this method, God has bestowed His Grace commonly to all the people and granted His Ma’rifat along with His Attributes to the people and has established various ways for reminding the people of this divine Ma’rifat. Therefore the people are possessing a non-conceptual and heartly Ma’rifat (gnosis) with respect to God and His Attributes and the path of theology is remembering this Ma’arif and its intensification through worship.

One of the fundamental differences between this inclination and the method of positive theology is that in the latter, the basis and criterion for recognizing God is the mental faculty and power of framing concepts of a person, such that anyone whose wresting and abstractional powers are more, the better will be his recognition of God. However, in this method, (i.e. innate theology) inasmuch as the source of Ma’rifat and its reminding and intensification are from God’s side, anyone who achieves more the satisfaction of God and engages in worship and devotion the greater and more powerful will be the glimmer of light of innate Ma’rifat upon his heart and his Ma’rifat (gnosis) towards God, His Names and Attributes will multiply.

This innate Ma’rifat is a positive and heartly reality. However, considering the fact that it does not fit the vessel of words and verbal utterances and cannot indure the mould of letters to this understanding and on the other side the mind is looking forward to find a way in understanding this reality and concept, the only way for explaining the innate Ma’rifat with the intellectual tongue is mentioning the positiveness of Names and Attributes. In this way, in the level of intellectual explanation of innate Ma’rifat and explaining its difference with mental understandings, the positive theology is having a fundamental role to play and it is set forth as complementary to the innate Ma’rifat. As such, it finds a special place in the overall divine Ma’arif.13

With this explanation, the secret of utilizing positive expressions by the Holy Imams (‘a) in describing the Names and Attributes of God becomes clear.

The traditions which support the description of such matter are manifold and from the viewpoint of exposition are diverse.14 Some of these traditions have divulged this lofty understanding in the form of “coming out of the two boundaries” (boundary of negative theology and boundary of simile).15

The boundary of negative theology and boundary of simile is a comprehensive concept which should be negated from God, the Exalted and in reality if we wish to express that heartly Ma’rifat in the form of words, we cannot find better expression than interpreting it as “coming out of the two boundaries.”

The essential matter and the key to the solution of this complication (pertaining to beliefs) lies hidden in this fundamental point that, from the viewpoint of Ma’arif of Qur’an and Ahlul bait (‘a) the matter of “coming out from the two boundaries” and the positive Ma’rifat has been propounded only in the level of intellect and discursive recognition. This is due to the severe emphasizes and insistences of the Divine Prophets upon referring to the Fitrah (innate disposition) and conscience as a positive and genuine Ma’rifat. Man in his conscience and reference to his Fitrah (innate disposition) discovers and calls out the real God with His beautiful Names and Attributes. He converses with Him and whispers the secrets of his heart and his agonies to Him.

Of course this is not with regards to an unknown and equivocal God and not with an imagined and conceptual God. Rather he discovers a God who is nearer to him than his jugular vein and is more acquainted to him than he himself. He discovers a God who is a companion and a congenial mate. 16 An Associate and a Comrade, Merciful and Benevolent.

It is not that he imagines these qualities where he finds Him Beloved and Curer. When he finds such a God in his conscience with the severest Ma’rifat and highest stage (of course with different degree of capability) he does not have from his Ma’rifat any kind of imagination and confirmation in mind. He becomes perplexed and befuddled. He does not resemble anything and does not conceive any fantasy, illusion and syllogism. He prostrates, glorifies (‘Sobboohun Quddoos’) elevates his Holy Essence (negating similarity). The human mind allures that if there is no illusion and understanding then in what manner He is (existing), Fitrah comes into the scene and without paying attention to the manner it shows that He (i.e. God) is existing and is more evident than all the evident things.17

Fitrah (innate disposition) warns the mind (intellect) that if the outlook of understanding is narrow, it is not having the right of refusing. The intellect too, by following the conscience confirms His existence (negation of negative theology). With this abstract and general description it becomes clear that those who remember the positive and transcendence Ma’rifat by the above meaning as “negative theology” are to what extent far from reality. Yes, those who have only paid attention to the positive aspect of the mind and have neglected the supreme innate Ma’rifat can be related to negative theology.

From the view-point of Ma’arif of Qur’an and traditions going out from the two boundaries and going out from positive Ma’rifat is a path which the intellect, by announcing its helplessness towards the most sublime realities, expands the way for the heartly journey and prepares the Fitrah (Innate Disposition) for the position of Divine Grace.

((العلم نورٌ يقذفه الله في قلب من يشاء))

Second Stage: Reminding and Argumentation in Religious Theology

On basis of the points which were discussed in the first stage, (definition) the people are carriers of supreme and manifest Ma’rifat (gnosis) of the exalted God. Moreover they have acquired this Ma’rifat from the Essence of the Exalted Creator which is the only correct and acceptable Ma’rifat before the One (God). However, considering the fact that man tends to neglect and forget this innate Ma’rifat when he steps into this material world, God delegates the Prophets and the Holy Imams for reminding the same divine Fitrah (innate disposition) in order that the argumentation is finished upon him and the path of perfection and guidance is opened before him.

The Divine Holy Essence has shown different ways for reminding the people and has vested various proofs and reasoning to the Prophets for this purpose. We can perhaps conclude and show these ways in three important pivots: ‘Severance’, ‘Signs’ and ‘Worship’.

Severance

This matter takes place in different ways. Sometimes it is accomplished without the free will of man and sometimes it is exposed to view by free will, endeavour and struggle. On the basis of levels of severance, the granted Ma’rifat (gnosis) too are different.

The reason that severance from material attachments becomes the cause of remembrance is this that such kinds of attachments are the most important channel for man’s neglectfulness from the innate Ma’rifat. By eliminating such attachments, the obstacles and veils are removed from the Fitrah (innate disposition) and the light of innate Ma’rifat begins to glow (once again) and this glowing is the same granted Ma’rifat which is mentioned in Qur’an by the word ‘Atainaahum’18. One of the instances of severance which is accomplished without man’s authority and which has been emphasized a lot in verses and a tradition is the state of helplessness and losing of hope in this world. (Which is mentioned in Qur’an and traditions by the words ‘Ba’san we Zarraa’.

Under these circumstances too, the introducer to God and His qualities is God Himself and the real reminder, in the position of proof is the Benevolent God. However, in the position of proving and explaining, whenever the Holy Imams (‘a) were faced with the real seekers of guidance and Ma’rifat then, for reminding the Ma’rifat, they would recall the same conditions and manifestations of the Ma’rifat of God in the hearts and the people too, by recalling those same conditions, remember the Ma’arif which they had acquired at those moments.

Acquiring and accomplishing such kind of reminding, by way of proof and confirmation, is known as the general guidance (‘Aamah’).

General Guidance and Special Guidance

The first level of guidance which we name it as general guidance, is a level which the Ma’rifat of God is given to all the people in such manner that they cannot deny that by heart. In case of aversion and rejection19 man comes to a halt on the path of guidance and it is possible that he even becomes deprived from remembering the initial Ma’rifat. However in case of submitting himself before God, and in accordance with the degree of his submission and struggle, a greater manifestation of the past and innate Ma’rifat glows in his heart and the Ma’rifat of God becomes much more severe and scintillating.

This severeness which possesses greater levels is set forth as special guidance (‘Khaseh’) because it does not occur for all the common people but specially occurs for the faithful believers.

Paying attention to this matter can be a reply to some of the questions pertaining to beliefs, which are propounded in connection with some verses of Qur’an.20

Another instance of severance consist of “volunatary severance” from the worldy manifestations which is accompanied with untiring struggle and endeavour. However its result will be a higher Ma’arif and a reminder more severe than the divine and innate Ma’arif and will lead to a much higher stage than the special guidance

إلهي هب لي كمال الإنقطاع إليك، وأنر أبصار قلوبنا بضياء نظرها إليك، حتى تخرق أبصار القلوب حجب النور، فتصل إلى معدن العظمة، وتصير أرواحنا معلقة بعز قدسك.

(Supplication of Sha’baniyeh)

It is here that the obligation of ethics and its importance becomes clear and the narrow relation of true ethics and mystics with the most fundamental matter pertaining to beliefs in the school of revelation becomes manifest. From this viewpoint, ethics smoothens the way for ascending to the peak of bondage and perfection of course not as a collection of practical precepts but as a path which acquaints man with the source of Ma’rifat and basis of guidance.

While discussing the stage of ‘submission’ we shall once again refer to this matter even though going into its details is not within the scope of our discussion.

Signs (‘Ayata’)

One of the ways, which God introduces Himself is through His creatures which in the terminology of Qur’an are known as Ayats, signs and reminders21.

The reason that these creatures are called as Ayats is that they are all the signs of God’s existence and His attributes and the motive of remembering them is that contemplating and reflecting over them will cause one to remember the innate Ma’rifat of God.

It is necessary to mention a few points with regards to this chapter:

First Point: As said before, in many verses of Qur’an God mentions guidance to be one of His Actions confined to Himself and in the traditions too, the Ma’rifat of God is reckoned to be the make of God where no one plays any role in it.22

By paying attention to this matter it can be said that not only has God created the creatures of the world but has originated them in the form of Ayat and sign of His existence and Attributes. Therefore, the existence of the creatures and their being a sign are both from God and He introduces Himself and His Attributes through them (i.e. creatures). Thus in some of the verses of Qur’an, God introduces Himself as the Demonstrator of Ayats (signs):

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ

“We will soon show them our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth” (Holy Qur’an: 41: 53)

In another place, after mentioning the wonders of creation it says:

وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَأَيَّ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ تُنكِرُونَ

“And He shows you His signs: which then of Allah’s signs will you deny?” (Holy Qur’an: 40: 81)

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ الْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِنِعْمَتِ اللَّـهِ لِيُرِيَكُم مِّنْ آيَاتِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ

“Do you not see that the ships run on in the sea by Allah’s favour that He may show you of His signs? Most surely there are signs in this for every patient endurer, grateful one.” (Holy Qur’an: 31: 31)

Basically, in the logic of religion, man does not find God through his own imagination and confirmation. Rather God has manifested Himself either directly or through the signs of creation and man only perceives this manifestation and remembers God and thereafter he uses this same manifestation in the form of words and expresses them and occasionally uses them in reasoning and argumentation. On this basis, the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God which is achieved through journey of the horizons and the self also is the donation of God,23 not the creation of man.

Therefore, man is helpless in explaining the essence of that Ma’arif too and only confesses that the Wise and All-Knowing, Mighty and Powerful, Compassionate and Merciful God is outside the two boundaries (boundary of negative theology and simile) and that He is not in any way similar to the creatures in Essence and Attributes.

Second Point: Many Qur’anic verses and traditions reckon the true Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God to be the same Ma’rifat which was given to man in the past worlds and which the people have evidentally succeeded in witnessing God and His Attributes by heartly vision and are (still) capable enough to remember that Ma’arif in this present world.24

From this point we draw this conclusion that the outcome of true ways of theology cannot be against the innate Ma’rifat. Rather it should terminate in the same Ma’rifat. As such, the Ayats and signs all lead to the remembrance of innate Ma’rifat and for this reason the verses of Qur’an, after mentioning the wonders of creation, reckon the result of observation and contemplation to be reminding and remembrance:

وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

“And of everything we have created pairs that you may be mindful.” (Holy Qur’an: 51: 49)

وَمَا ذَرَأَ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَانُهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ

“And what He has created in the earth of varied hues; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who are mindful.” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 12)

نَحْنُ جَعَلْنَاهَا تَذْكِرَةً

“We have made it a reminder...” (Holy Qur’an: {56: 73}, Similarly {40: 13}; {88: 17-21} and {87: 1-10})

Third Point: An important matter, which exists with regards to reminding of the creatures, is that the remembrance of God in this way is possible through contemplation, reflection and intellection. This matter shows a fundamental difference between the first method of ‘Tazakkur’ (reminding) i.e. ‘Severance’ and the second method of ‘Tazakkur’ i.e. ‘creatures’

To explain more, in the first method, by attaining severance, the innate Ma’rifat is revealed upon man’s heart and without any contemplation and partly without free-will and despite the inner desire, man pays attention to God and His attributes. However, in the second method, a person becomes reminded after pondering and contemplating in the created beings and their regularity and not in the Essence of God.

This matter shows the important position of contemplation and intellection in theology and one of the reasons as to why contemplation and intellection have been emphasized in divine religions is this very matter. Of course the intellect is having other significant roles that cannot be discussed over here.25

A point which is necessary to be discussed over here is that the way of contemplation and intellection in this method is different from the way which is propounded in the Greek philosophy because:

Firstly, intellection in Greece is done for discovering an unknown mental affair but over here, inasmuch as man is the bearer of innate Ma’rifat and God too has made the creatures as His signs and (as) the path for paying attention and remembering the innate Ma’rifat contemplation and intellection are therefore for the elimination of neglectfulness and (for) paying attention to the known and forgotten affairs, not for discovering the unknown.

Secondly, just as it was said in the first section, the manner of rationalization in Greek philosophy is only focused at the mental (rational) Universals and considering that the intellect is only capable of perceiving the rational Universals, it can therefore build for itself the Universals and or do abstraction and engage in their combination until the unknown matter is solved. In the matter of theology too, the manner of Greek rationalization first imagines God by paying attention to the philosophical system planned from before and later, with imaginations and confirmations, it makes clear the notion of God and engages in proving the same notion. However in the manner of divine rationalization the matter of imagination of God is not propounded at all and by pondering over the creatures, man becomes reminded and focuses itself to the heartly Ma’rifat which is the outcome of the Action of God.

Of course, there exists other important and precise differences between the manner of philosophical rationalization in Greece and the manner of divine rationalization which itself requires a separate discussion.

Fourth Point: Another difference that exists between the first method (severance) and the second method (signs) is that in the former, the addressee is much more prepared in receiving guidance and in the words of Qur’an:

زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ

“…The oil whereof almost gives light through fire touch it not - light upon light.” (Holy Qur’an: 24: 35)

As such, the one who engages in purification of his soul and keeps aloof from moral vices, his heart will be more ready in accepting the light and submitting before God. Therefore by reminding and remembering the conditions of “hardship and adversity” and severance, it pays attention to the innate Ma’rifat and submits in front of this heartly proof and innate reasoning and expresses that it has seen God with all his existence.

However, the addressee in the second method enjoys less preparedness as compared to the addressee in the first method. Therefore the one who reminds should, through the channel of contemplation and intellection in the created signs and their regularity and through rational reasoning, prepare a person for reminding. Of course, those who possess hindrances for guidance and or are not at all wishing guidance belong to the group of addressee’s of the second type. However reasoning in the verses of Qur’an are not propounded as reminding for them but as good dispute and argumentation.

Fifth Point: From the previous point another conclusion can be derived and that is: In addition to being a path for reminding and remembering God and innate Ma’rifat, the creatures and the signs of creation are also a channel for reasoning together and disputing with the opposition and the obstinate (people) and with those who are faced with obstacles and difficulties in the path of guidance and or wish to seek reasoning and rational explanation about God.

In other words, the results and consequences of the signs of creation and reasoning in them are different because of the differences in the capability and preparedness of the people and the addressees. If in case the addressee wishes to seek guidance and is prepared to accept the reality then by pondering and contemplating in the signs of creation he will be reminded of the innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and in fact, contemplating in the creatures is instrumental in eliminating the veil and becoming heedful of the innate Ma’rifat of God.

If the addressee wishes rational proof for the existence of God, then by means of reasoning in the creatures and their regularity, he will confess in the existence of God and if there exists any intellectual obstacles in the path of guidance then by such reasoning, one can eliminate these obstacles. However, if the addressee is obstinate and has some other aim in mind, then by such kind of argumentation one can condemn him and impel him to surrender before the truth. Of course, rationalization in the Ayats (sings) is propounded as argumentation for the afore-said three persons.

Here it is necessary to say something about disputation and argumentation.

Argumentation

‘Ehtejaj’ (Argumentation) means establishing an argument for proving the sought matter and by argument is meant proof and reasoning.26

In the Mu’jam (Lexicon) of ‘Maqayes Lughat’ it has come that: The actual meaning of Haj is ‘to intend’ and proof is called as ‘Hujjat’ (argument) for this reason that through the channel of proof, the desired reality is intended. It then gives argumentation the meaning of predominance by means of proof.27

Therefore, argumentation is the same literal reasoning i.e. establishing absolute proof for proving a claim which is finally accompanied with the acceptance and submission of the opposite person and or leading to the triumph and victory of one side and the silence of the opposite person.

Considering the fact that the opposite persons engaging in argumentation are different, therefore the kinds of argumentation too are different. By way of general classification it can be said that the opposite person is either possessing rational, spiritual and moral problems where discussion in this case will be propounded as “special argumentation” or is possessing one of the aforesaid problems where in this case discussion will be called as ‘dispute’ which itself is of two types.

A) Special Argumentation

In this kind of argumentation the opposite person is not having complete readiness for getting reminded and finding the path of true and innate Ma’rifat. On the other hand, he himself seeks rational proofs with regards to God. In this case, the existence of God is rationalized through the means of created beings. In reality, it is God who has placed these created signs as a means for rationalizing His own existence and a person explains that in the form of rational reasoning and the opposite person by pondering over that, confesses to the existence of a Creator.

Although this type of argumentation the achievement of which is a rational resolution and faith, has been emphasized in the course of religions and in the life of the divine Prophets, yet it should be noted that this rationalization differs from what is discussed in the Greek philosophical and rational disposition. It is necessary to mention these differences:

1-Just as it was mentioned in the previous discussions, argumentation by this meaning cannot by any means be a true haven for religion in the guidance of the people. Rather a recognition which is acquired from this path cannot be compared with the innate and real Ma’rifat.

The innate Ma’rifat is a hearlty and conscientious vision of Exalted God, His Names and Attributes. This same Ma’rifat whose base has been placed in the nature of everyone, is the fundamental of divine theology and knowledge and Ma’rifat in reality is applied to this same class of recognition and it also is the true argument between the Creator and creatures.

Basically, contemplation and concentration in the created signs too is a bridge for the seekers of truth for transition to the real Ma’rifat. However, in the Greek philosophical school, mental (rational) recognition is the only way for receiving the fact and without the philosophical journey, a person will remain in ignorancy and perplexity. The pinnacle of Ma’rifat and the object of this journey too is nothing but a mental (rational) resolution and faith. It is obvious to what extent this difference and its effects separates these two disposition and draws them to two diverse direction.

The method of Greek philosophy right from the outset, keeps the way of philosophical and rational journey before the seekers of truth and does not recognize any other way (other than this) for attaining the reality. However the divine religions open the door of rational reasoning and argumentation only at the time when the person is either suffering from mental (rational) doubts and or due to the deviation of Fitrah, he is not having the requisite readiness for true guidance and seeks rational explanation about God.

It is for this reason that the divine Messengers, for eliminating the mental doubts and establishing rational proofs, were resorting to rationalization in proving God.

In the famous tradition of ‘Ahlijeh’ it has come that:

Mufazzal narrates in a letter to Imam Sadiq (‘a) that groups of people are denying God and that they have resorted to debate and discussion in this regard. He asks Imam (‘a) to write to him some points about argumentation and its disapproval. Imam (‘a) in the beginning of his reply sets forth the matter of innate Ma’rifat and ‘Meesaaq’ (covenant) as a major argument for all and then teaches Mufazzal the rationalization of created signs.

)) ونحن نحمد الله على النعم السابغة والحجج البالغة والبلاء المحمود عند الخاصة والعامة فكان من نعمه العظام و آلئه الجسام التي أنعم لها تقريره قلوبهم بربوبيته، و أخذه ميثاقهم بمعرفته...))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 152)

2-Argumentation in the Ayats (signs) is easily perceivable and understandable and a slight deliberation in them will result in confirming the existence of a Creator. In other words the innate and conventional intellect is easily able to follow the causer from the effect and the Creator from the created beings. Of course the more the deliberation in the effects and the created beings, the more clear will be the reasoning for a Creator. This point is apparent in all the related Ayats (verses) and tradition. Basically the usage of such words like Ayats and signs in the Holy Qur’an with regards to the created beings and especially its emphasis on their being an evident and manifest proof, relates the same matter.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

“We will soon show them our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth.” (Holy Qur’an: 41: 53)

In many famous and diverse traditions too, this implication has been clearly expressed:

((هل يكون بناء من غير بانٍ أو جناية من غير جان؟))

“Is there a house without a ‘maker’ or a crime without a criminal?” (Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 26)

((البعرة تدل على البعير، والروثة تدل على الحمير، وآثار الأقدام تدل على المسير، فهيكل علويٌ بهذه اللطافة ومركز سفلي بهذه الكثافة كيف لا يدلان على اللطيف الخبير؟))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 55)

3-this kind of argumentation is not in need of any preliminary and complicated sciences and is free from the shackles of every form of philosophical system and its preliminaries. In other words, it has not been formed by paying attention to one special philosophical school and method and hence it is capable of being perceived and understood by all.

4-In this type of rationalization there is no way for intellection in the Essence of God and the Creator. On the contrary, intellection in the creatures is the basis for confessing and confirming the Creator and thus in the traditions, contemplation and intellection in the Essence of God has been prohibited and condemned. However, contemplation in the creatures has been praised and in many verses and traditions such contemplation has been called for which we will mention two of the traditions as examples:

((قال ابوعبدالله (عليه السلام): إياكم و التفكر في الله))

“Be on guard against contemplation in God.”28

((عن ابي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: إذا انتهى الكلام إلى الله فأمسكوا، و تكلموأ فيما دون العرش ولا تكلموا فيما فوق العرش))

“When the talk reaches to God, then pause and talk about what is below the ‘Arsh’ (Throne) and not what is above the ‘Arsh’.29

This method, by making use of concept and combination of meanings does not terminate in the imagination of God and His Attributes. Rather, by paying attention to the creatures and the effects it achieves the Causer and the Creator and this is having a fundamental difference with what was seen in the Greek philosophical school which was the imagination of the Attributes of God and His existence.

Basically, with deliberation in the created beings, the intellect finally terminates in a recognition which admits a Creator This rational recognition is not worthy of comparison with the innate Ma’rifat of God because in the latter, the personal and external God is perceived in the conscience and this conscience in reality is the grant of Ma’rifat from God in the heart of the human beings. The same is true with regards to the Attributes of God.

Various traditions explain this matter very explicitly:

((إن العقل يعرف الخالق من جهة توجب عليه الإقرار ولا يعرفه بما يوجب له الإحاطة بصفته))

“Surely intellect (reason) recognizes God for this reason that it becomes the cause of confessing to the existence of God and not because of being conversant in His Attributes.”30

(After mentioning the four kinds of rational recognition he says)

((... فليس من هذه الوجوه شيءٌ يمكِّن المخلوق أن يعرفه من الخالق حق معرفته غير أنه موجود فقط))

“The real recognition of God is not possible by the aforesaid ways except to the extent that He is existing.”31

((وهو خلاف ما يعقل))

“God is not he who can be rationalized.”32

In a tradition it has come that “one can confess to the Attributes of God but he cannot be conversant in it. Thus we know Him to be Wise but the Essence of His Wisdom is unknown to us.”33

In other words, just as it has repeatedly come in the exposition of Ahlul Bait (‘a) this reasoning only provides us with recognition confined to the two limits of nullification and simile. (حد التشبيه و التعطيل)

This proof obligates us to confess to the existence of a Creator and the bestower of Life but does not present any kind of His notion and description. The rational Ma’rifat of God is set forth in the form of exit from the two boundaries i.e. God exists but not like other creatures, God is an entity but not like other entities, God is Wise but not like other wise beings…34

These differences guides us to one Universal principle and it is this that the kind of rationalization and its categories in the school of divine Prophets can have differences with what we see in the human school of thought. Argumentation should be such that it should possess all the aforesaid specialities and more important than all it should not lead to any kind of notion and description of the Divine Essence, His Names and Attributes.

The reasoning which finally terminates in some kind of notion and description of God cannot by any means, be approved by Shariat (Divine Law). Therefore it should be noted that putting into operation the concepts and categories in rationalization is accepted to the extent that it does not draw the mind towards mental and even heartly llusion and does not lead to an alien path far from the divine Fitrah (innate disposition).

6-Considering that this kind of argumentation can easily be perceived and understood, if a person does not, by this method confess to the existence of God then it is either due to the non-reflection and non-deliberation with regards to reasoning and or due to commitment of sins and sickness of the heart.

((ولعمري ما أتى الجهال من قِبَل ربهم و أنهم ليرون الدلالات الواضحات و العلامات البينات في خلقهم... و لكنم قوم فتحوا على انفسهم أبواب المعاصي و سهلوا لها سبيل الشهوات، فغلب الاهواء على قلوبهم))

(Bihar a1-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 152)

((عن أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام): و لو فكروا في عظيم القدرة و جسيم النعمة لرجعوا الى الطريق و خافوا عذاب الحريق و لكن القلوب عليلة و الأبصار مدخولة...))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 26)

This matter will be explained more in the discussion of “Obstacles of guidance and submission.”

B) Disputation (‘Jedal’)

Disputation (‘Jedal’) on the measure of ‘Fe’aal’ is one of the infinitives of ‘Bab al-Mufa’eleh’ and in meaning it has been described as dispute and discussion between two parties where normally one is on the truth and the other on falsehood.

Therefore, the addressee of the dispute is not empty-minded and has something to say and does not merely intend to learn (only). As such, the one who engages in disputation and debate with the believers, possesses such thoughts which become an obstacle for him to accept guidance. This mental obstacle is either in the form of contravention, which enter the religious beliefs and or is in the form of false delusions, which he believes and becomes an obstacle from accepting the truth.

In the first case, the rightful disputer should reply to his contravention and in reality should erase his contravention and finally show the true matter devoid of any blot and difficulty. In the second case he should remove the false thoughts of the opposite person and render them futile. In both the cases the obstacles in the path of guidance get destroyed and the ways for finding guidance (which were previously mentioned) are opened.

In all of the disputations which the Holy Imams have had with the opposition, one can see reasoning in the created signs and their unrefutable regularity and preciseness. Therefore, in some of these debates while the matter of the opposite person(s) would be contravened eventually they would also be reminded of God through these very created signs.

The above matter applies to that person who intends to seek the truth. However, if he is obstinate and even after the finalization of argument he denies the truth and conducts the discussion for other reasons like enfeeblement of religious beliefs of the Muslims then in such a case, disputation with him is performed for defending the beliefs of the Muslims and showing the power of divine Ma’arif, without having any consideration for the opposite person.

Ibn Abil Auja says; “He (i.e. Imam Sadiq [A.S.) counted so many signs of God’s power to me that I thought this very moment God will appear between him and me.”35 Even though his companions brought faith in God and became Muslims, he himself was not prepared to submit before God because he was not clear-sighted. This is a sentence which was said about him by Imam Sadiq (‘a) and which can also be seen in Holy Qur’an36 and other heavenly books.37

Good Disputation and Its Conditions

In many verses of Qur’an and traditions disputation and debate with regards to religious beliefs has been prohibited and rebuked. On the other hand, in some of the verses and traditions disputation has been reckoned to be permissible and even ordered for in some instances and a few disputations has been admired by the Holy Imams (‘a). However deliberating with regard to these reasons will clarify this point that the instances of command and prohibition were different and disputation is of various kinds where some others are accepted and considered good and even obligatory. Just as it can be derived from verse 124 of Chapter Nahl in Holy Qur’an, disputation is of two types: Good disputation and bad disputation. A good disputation possesses certain conditions and instances, which shall be mentioned in brief.

First Condition
Before disputation, the disputer should find the true matters and Ma’arif and through disputation and discussion, he should seek to prove and clarify those matters and reject the contravention which have entered the true matters. Therefore, the only dispute which has been emphasized in the traditions is that which is based on the teachings of Qur’an and the Holy Imams (‘a) and not (used) as a means for discovering the unknowns pertaining to the mind.

This point is one of the important differences, which exists between the disputation and dialectic of Socrates and Plato and the disputation in divine religions.

Just as it was mentioned in the theology of Socrates and Plato, the former reckoned dialectic and dialogue to be a means for achieving the truth and the Universal definition. The latter (Plato) thought that rational intuition, notion and categories was possible through rational disputation and debate. However in divine religions, disputation is utilized only as a means for defending the truth and not for discovering the divine Ma’arif. Therefore the haven for divine Ma’arif is not disputation but on the contrary relying on disputation is counted to be a deviated channel.

((ما ضل قومٌ إلا أوثقوا الجَدَل))

“No tribe got deviated except when that tribe relied on disputation” (took it as a means for discovering the truth).38

Kulaini in his noble book ‘Kafi’ narrates: One of the natives of Syria who thought himself to be the master of discourse went to Imam Sadiq (‘a) for debate. Imam (‘a) asked: “Is your words the saying of Holy Prophet (S) or is it from yourself.” The man replied:

‘From both’. Imam (‘a) rebuked him and intimated to him that a speaker should have acquired his words from Holy Prophet (S). Then he told Yunus bin Yaqoob who was present in the gathering as such: “If you were good in debate, you would have spoken to this man.” Yunus said: “You have prohibited conversation in religious matters.” Imam replied: "Woe upon the speakers who forsake our matters and utilize their own points in debate…”39

From this tradition and the next one we come to know that a speaker, before entering into discussion and debate in any matter should be well acquainted with the Ma’arif and beliefs of the Holy Imams (‘a) in that subject and then enter into disputation on their basis and for the purpose of showing the reality.

Imam Sadiq (‘a) told some of his companions as such:

((قال أبو عبدالله (عليه السلام) لبعض أصحابنا: حاجوا الناس بكلامي فإن حجوكم فأنا المحجوج))

“Enter into argumentation with the people by my sayings for in such a case, if they engage in discussion with you they have in fact engaged in discussion with me”40

((قال ابو عبدالله (عليه السلام) لِطائفةٍ من اصحابه: بينوا للناس الهدى الذي أنتم عليه...))

“Make clear to the people, the guidance which is upon you”41

((قال أبو الحسن موسى بن جعفر (عليه السلام) لمحمد بن حكيم: كلِّم الناس و بيِّن لهم الحق الذي أنت عليه...))

(Shaikh Mufeed: Tasheeb ul Ehteqaad be sawaab ul Enteqaad; pg. 55)

From the last two traditions, we realize this fact that conversation and disputation is for the purpose of explaining and not discovering guidance and reality.

Imam Sadiq (‘a) said: “Forsake those who enter into disputation (with you) while they possess no knowledge of the matter of discussion.”42

Second Condition
Apart from the fact that the bases and aim of a disputer should be on the basis of divine Ma’arif, his method in proving the true matter or contravening the false matter too should be a divine method and he should utilize the correct points in proving his claim.

The above condition along with its logic has been explained in detail in one tradition. In the end of the tradition a point also exists which approves the first condition.43

A question that may arise over here is that if in the method of disputation also, one should collect true matters then why Prophet Abraham in his disputation said ‘Hadha Rabbi’ with regard to the moon, stars and sun.

This question was asked by Ma’moon from Imam Reza (‘a) and Imam in reply said: This saying of Prophet Abraham was by way of negation and inquiry and not in the form of confession and information.44

That is to say Prophet Abraham at first set forth the saying of the un-believers and then proceeded in contravening it and at the time of expressing the sayings of the un-believers, he had not accepted those sayings. Rather it was like asking the un-believers: “Is this my God? This interrogation was in the form of negatory interrogation and not in the form of giving information of his beliefs.

Third Condition
The disputer should possess the power and ability of debate and should be aware and rather dominant in the manner of entering into the discussion as well as coming out of it. For this reason the Holy Imams have prohibited disputation in most of the instances and have permitted only a limited people to engage in discussion and debate with the opposition. Moreover in certain cases, they have taught the method of good disputation to these people and have trained them and pointed out their weak points.

This matter has been explained in continuation of the tradition of Yunus bin Yaqoob, which was mentioned in the first condition. Another tradition has been narrated in this regard.45

Fourth Condition
Disputation should first of all be beneficial and secondly the temporal and spatial conditions and the situation of disputation and the opposite person should suitable for the debator.46

Fifth Condition
There should exist a necessity for disputation. In numerous traditions, disputation and argumentation id hostility in religious discussion has been prohibited and one of the signs of piety, temperance and perfection of religion has been mentioned to be abandonment of dispute and argument. Even the truthful disputation has been prohibited in the traditions and as against the abandonment of arguments, a lot of reward has been narrated for it.47

Moreover, in these traditions doubt, hypocrisy and corruption of the heart has been mentioned to be the effects of disputation and argumentation. Due to the large number of traditions about disputation and argumentation and the condition of brevity of this discussion, we shall only narrate the references of such traditions.48

In verses of Qur’an too, disputation in religious matters has been rebuked49.

From the verses of Qur’an, traditions and historical evidences we come to know that disputation has not been discussed in the divine religions as a primal principle. From historical view-point also, disputation entered the Islamic gatherings at that time when due to the influence of alien thoughts and expansion of false reflections the necessity of confrontation was felt by the Muslims.50 The reason for such an affair too is clear from the previous discussion.

Worship

Here, by worship we mean worship in the general sense which includes obedience of God, acting upon the injunctions and religious laws (Shariat), remembering God, invocation (‘Dua’), seeking forgiveness, contemplating, having sincerity and in general all the aspects of obedience of God.

((ما العبادة؟ قال [ابو عبد الله (عليه السلام)]: حُسن النية بالطاعة مِن الوجوه التي يُطاع منها...))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 83)

About the importance of worship, suffice it is to say that it has been propounded as the goal of creation.

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And I have not created the Jinn and the man except that they should serve Me.” (Holy Qur’an: 51: 56)

The fundamental role of worship will be clear when the meaning of worship and its diverse dimensions and various effects are clearly explained.

Whatever will be referred to in this place will be the masculine aspect of worship.

After receiving the common guidance from the afore-mentioned ways, man becomes prepared for achieving the special guidance and the journey towards God i.e. more remembrance with regards to innate Ma’rifat and a much higher level of heedfulness towards the gifted Ma’rifat which has been given to the human beings in the previous worlds.

Now the question which arises is that how and by what means these remembrances and intensification of innate Ma’rifat are achievable? Is it possible by producing more imaginations about God? Or it is assured through various ascetism and keeping one’s self aloof from the people and going into seclusion?

In this regard, the divine religions have propounded the path of remembrance (of God) through the method of worship and have stated that the only way of journey towards God and His proximity and the only way of achieving the most sublime Ma’arif of God and the highest guidance is through the channel of worship and obedience.

وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا

“…And if you obey him, you are on the right way” (Holy Qur’an: 24: 54)

In the verses of Qur’an and traditions of the Holy Imams worship has been mentioned as:

“Remembrance”51,

“The straigth path”52,

“The light and splendour of heart”53 ,

“The pleasure of the lovers”54,

“The path of the Prophets”55,

“The path of reaching to God”56 and

“Confession of His Divinity.”57

Among the effects of worship we find such expressions as “Guidance” 58,

“Faith and light of Ma’rifat59,

“Increase in religion and un-forgetfulness of God”60,

“Fear of God and heartly satisfaction”61,

“Salvation”62,

“Proximity”63 and

“Satisfaction of God”64

Moreover, the devotees on the path of submission and remembrance have been called under the titles of

“Ahl of God”65 and

“Companion of the Beloved”.66

As such, worship is the path of illumination of the heart, the receiving of the lustre of Ma’rifat of God and His remembrance and in short the path of special guidance and the highest recognition of God.

Similarly, prayers and other religious worships are the only way for reaching towards God. Compare this point with the following view: “At the time of unveiling of the inner part and its discovery and opposition with the apparent form of Shariat (religious laws), the duties are rendered null. This is because there exists no duty for the enchanted ones.67

The difference of these two sayings is the difference between divine path (reaching to God) and the human path.

From the above discussions, the role of religious precepts and teachings as a path of special guidance and intensification of innate Ma’rifat becomes clear in religion and it becomes known that religion without precepts and teachings is imperfect. It is by keeping trace of this discussion and making clear its various angles that one can reveal the firm relation between the gnostic and convictional dimension and the practical and obligational dimension of religion and in the final analysis reach to this conclusion that the teachings of Prophets and Imams (‘a) are collectively inter-woven and connected to each other while separation between its elements and lack of faith in some will bear no result other than remaining aloof from the school of revelation and stepping on the path of deviation.

Basically, one should confront the assault on culture and the alien information and give reply to their queries. If the Muslim society is possessing some problem it should strive in eliminating it by applying religious jurisprudence (Ijtihad) in religious sources and by taking the temporal and spatial conditions into view. If as a reaction to the cultural assault of the west and the phenomenon of blast of information, this method engages in summarizing religion in ethics or beliefs and deletes or limits the Shariat or shows less importance to it, then not only we have not done any service to religion but have also weakened it.

The matter is not that the (religious) precepts and Shariat are reckoned to be the essence of religion but the whole point is that Shariat and Worship are the only way for reaching to the essence of Ma’rifat.

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ

“And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and that is the right religion.” (Holy Qur’an: 98: 5)

Third Stage: Submission in Divine Theology

At the time when man, by going through the stage of ‘definition’ (of God) and ‘remembrance’ sees the gifted and granted Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God in the light of ‘Fitrah (innate disposition) and perceives with reality its essence he finds himself in front of two ways: “Submission and gratitude” and the other “denial and infidelity”

إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا

“Surely we have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” (Holy Qur’an: 76: 3)

At this very halting place it is crucial that the fundamental and decisive choice of man in his guidance becomes clear. It is not improper to pursue the matter by setting forth a question. From the one side, Holy Qur’an attributes guidance to God and from the other side it severely emphasizes the choice of man and his position in his prosperity.68

Regarding the first set, one can mention the following verses:

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْـهُدَىٰ

“Surely ours is it to show the way” (Holy Qur’an: 92: 12)

لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ

“To make them walk in the right way is not incumbent on you, but Allah guides aright whom He pleases.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 272)

إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ

“Surely the (true) guidance is the guidance of Allah.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 120)

إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ

“Surely the guidance of Allah, that is the (true) guidance” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 71)

The following verses on the other hand reveal the second point:

فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ

“So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of message” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 20)

كَلَّا إِنَّهُ تَذْكِرَةٌ. فَمَن شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ.

“Nay! It is surely an admonition. So whoever pleases may mind it.” (Holy Qur’an: 74: 54 and 55)

Now, how should these verses be interpreted so that they are in harmony with each other and with respect to the other verses, reveal the position of Qur’an in this matter? By deliberating and reflecting over the verses it will become clear that discovery and perception of guidance is related to the discovery of the two stages of ‘definition’ and ‘Submission’ and guidance is consisting of two inseparable parts: One is the help and favour of God and the other is the acceptance and submission of man.

قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Say: Surely the guidance of Allah, that is the (true) guidance, and we are commanded that we should submit to the Lord of the worlds.” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 71)

((عن أبي عبدالله (عليه السلام) قال: لِلخَلق على الله أن يُعَرِّفَهم و لله على الخلق إذا عرفهم أن يَقْبلوا))

“It is upon God to introduce Himself to the people and it is upon them to accept Him after introduction”69

As such, introducing Himself and showing the path of goodness and righteousness and guiding towards the true path is from God’s side. In contrast, seeking and searching the truth, accepting and bowing down before God and traversing the path of bondage and perfection are the duties of man.

فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا

“So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 20)

Guidance by way of ‘definition’ (of God) and being guided by means of ‘submission’ are in reality the two pillars from the pillars of logic of theology and the school of divine prophets which if linked together with ‘reminding(s)’, the pillar of divine theology becomes completed and the means of submission and servitude reach perfection. We have already spoken about ‘definition’ and ‘reminding’ in the past and the topic of this stage is the discussion of ‘submission’.

Right over here it, we emphasize that the discussion of submission, like the discussion of definition and reminding is from the special qualities of divine religions and is from the specialities of the school of revelation. In the logic of Greek confirmation the talk is not about faith and belief or denial and disobedience towards Ma’rifat and certitude. First of all in that logic, the criterion and basis is ‘rational Ma’rifat.’ Secondly, in the course of this Ma’rifat nothing such as heartly contract and faith or elusion from Ma’rifat is imagined.

The philosophy of Greece reckons the real value and the true part of man to be the faculty of speech i.e. the faculty of thought. It does not speak about the acquaintance of heart in a person and about the heart which is the place of belief and disbelief and nor about free will and authority which is the basis of these two (i.e. belief and disbelief). These matters will gradually be mentioned in these very writings. So it is better to return back to the main topic and be after the discussion of ‘submission’. This discussion will be set forth in two chapters: One is the basis of confession and denial and the other is the consequence and outcome of the path of submission.

The first part will reveal this matter that how man shows reaction in front of the clear path and the manifest Ma’rifat and basically why and how man turns away from Ma’rifat and reality and chooses obstinacy and transgression.

Obstacles and Stimulations of Submission

In verses and traditions much has been spoken about the obstacles of guidance and its manifold conditions and stimulation. Throughout Qur’an and the heavenly books the matter of moral vices and sensual habits have been propounded as the basis of belief and disbelief.

On the other hand, what can be insignificantly seen in the human gnostics is the effects of such kind of matters in theology and basically in every kind of Ma’rifat and recognition. The source of these two viewpoints should each be looked for in the logic of theology.

After this, we shall strive to discuss the essential differences between these two viewpoints and explain them commensurate with our discussion and as per our ability.

1-Will Power and Driving Force

Will Power and Driving Force70

Considering that man is having the means and the power to choose, he is therefore able to select each of the ways, which are opened before him. In instances when the behaviour of man has become endowed with goodness and evilness and reward and punishment are derived from them, free will and authority play a special and decisive role. Although, various internal and external factors too are having an effect on the behaviour of man, yet the free will of man, due to its special cause has reigned over the other factors and conditions and plays a basic and fundamental role.

The basic and fundamental point is that from the viewpoint of divine religions the driving forces and the different ground words like spiritual conditions, companionship and social relations, merely encourage and call man towards fulfillment or abandonment of an affair. These incentives will be effective in the emanation of action only when man himself selects through free will, one of them and pursues it.

In reality, the internal incompatible stimulation and the environment of man with its diversified conditions opens various ways before man and invites him to traverse them. However, selection will be fulfilled when man chooses through his will power one of the many ways and becomes determined in fulfilling it. In more precise terms, the strength of will-power is placed at the top of motives and stimulation and reigns over them and not that it is the effect and decree of the external conditions or according to some the very same conditions and desires. (In continuation, we shall have another reference of the discussion of free will and authority).

2-Relation of Ethics and Will-Power with Belief and Deed

Just as it was pointed out, the role of ethical virtues and vices in faith and deed and similarly the underlining on the matter of free-will and sovereignty of human-will upon the realm of faith and deed is among the outstanding points and criterions of divine Ma’arif. One of the matters which at times has been referred to in verses and traditions and which can be said to be from the indisputables of revelation and the certainties of religion is these very two matters. Incidentally this matter is reckoned to be one of the pivots of differences between the logic of confirmation of Greece and the innate logic of religions. For clarifying the matter, we have to discuss a little more about it.

Submission or denial occurs in places and degrees when man has traversed from the two stages of ‘definition’ and ‘reminding’, has witnessed God in the light of ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition) and the divine argumentation has reached its perfect manifestation. As mentioned before, the innate Ma’rifat is so intense in its lucidity and powerful in manifestation that it has been referred in Qur’an and traditions under such titles and names as ‘heartly vision’ and ‘observation’. Similarly the Glorious Qur’an reckons the reminding and the innate proofs to be the ‘clear signs’ and illuminatory and indubitable reminders.

Therefore, from the viewpoint of Islamic Ma’arif after man becomes reminded and conscientiously perceives the reality of the Exalted God, his soul and life gets cleansed from doubt and uncertainty and finds his Creator with His perfect and glorious Attributes just as He Himself has introduced.71

Here man’s duty begins and it is here that the role of man in faith and disbelief becomes clear and this question arises that what is the reason of the disbelief of the disbeliever? In reply it should be said that even though free-will and authority is the actual reason and the fundamental factor in giving direction to man, yet other determinant factors are having an opening in this regard and prepare the ground of evil free-will and or good free-will without negating it. What are these determinants?

From the viewpoint of Qur’an, these driving forces are moral feebleness and heartly indignation since a gloomy heart never accepts light and is weary of it.

The verses of Qur’an reckons the reason for disbelief of the disbeliever and polytheism of the polytheists and their not being guided as “haughtiness and arrogance”, “injustice and jealousy”, “hatred and cruelty”, “lust and seeking superiority” and “debauchery and denial.” (These verses will come later on).

Such kind of terms and concepts which can be seen throughout Qur’an indicates on the one hand that from the view-point of Qur’an, man in his actions possesses will and power of selection and the most important basis for unworthy choice is the ethical feebleness and spiritual vices which has grown from the past evil choices. On the other hand it reveals this meaning that the condition for reaching the path of guidance and religious belief is keeping pure the substance (‘Teenat’) and safeguarding the purity of heart and soul.

This matter relates the firm relation of the realm of ethics and beliefs from divine viewpoint and this relation is the same thing which the Greek philosophy was unable to explain and even explicitly rejected it.

“Relation between Ma’rifat and virtue is the distinctive ethics of Socrates. According to him, Ma’rifat and virtue are one, meaning that a learned man who knows what is the truth, also acts upon it. In other words, no person knowingly and intentionally will commit an evil act.”72

The analysis of Aristotle from the ethical viewpoint of Socrates too shows the same point. “According to some, when someone is possessing knowledge it is impossible and rather surprising that he gets influenced by some other power and like a curtain gets pulled towards any direction. This is the view of Socrates.”73

Therefore, Aristotle has severely overrun this view and said: “However, this Socratic view is clearly discordant with the reality.”74

Plato too took away this view exactly from his master. “Plato accepted Socrates view that virtue and Ma’rifat are one.”75

“He has been loyal to this thought that virtue is Ma’rifat and that virtue is capable of being learnt just as he believed that nobody knowingly and intentionally performs an evil act.”76

On the basis of ethical views of Socrates and Plato, there exists a necessary and indispensable relation between Ma’rifat and action and the only motive and driving force of man’s behaviour is his acquaintance and knowledge.

These two philosophers have reckoned knowledge to be the factor which gives shape to action and they have not considered any role for the spiritual instigation and internal desires in knowledge and Ma’rifat. Moreover, they do not even take note of the free will and the created freedom of man. Basically, free will in its true sense is vague and indipictable in Greek philosophy. (In this connection, more will be said later on).

Because of the fact that the ethics of Socrates does not consider any role for ‘desire’, ‘lust’ and ‘anger’ in the behaviour of man, Aristotle has strongly condemned it and considers it to be far from truth. He recognizes the two factors of ‘intellection’ and ‘desire’ as the mechanism in man’s behaviour and action and names both of them collectively as ‘selection’.

“As such, the basis of ethical deed is free selection and the basis of selection is desire and an order which pays attention to ultimateness.”77

“As such we can say that selection of the determinant is an intellection based on desire and or a desire founded on reason” 78

In accordance with what was said, Aristotle goes one step ahead than his predecessors. In addition to recognition and intellection, he refers to inclination and enthusiasm as an effective factor in ethical deed. This very point made Aristotle efficient enough to re-introduce the role of ethical feebleness and carnal desires. In spite of all these, he too like his predecessors was unable to depict and make clear free will, freedom and man’s power and ability in action and inaction.

In spite of the fact that Aristotle had severely strived to explain free-will and selection in the Greek philosophy and has discussed about it in various chapters of his book of ethics79, yet in the fine analysis he reckons the ‘act of free-will’ to arise from desire (lust and anger)80 I and introduces ‘selection’ as ‘desire’ based upon ‘reason’.81

As such, Aristotle does not believe in an independent identification for free-will separate from notion, confirmation and enthusiasm. The identification that makes man efficient (despite his inner desire) in relation to a special deed and the best knowledge, is resorting to the abandonment of that work and seeing his recognition as insignificant. In other words, the Greek philosophers have not depicted free will as being instrumental in man’s sovereignty over his desire and Ma’rifat. Rather they were adjudging man’s free will to his own knowledge (in Socrates ethics) or to his rational desire (in Aristotle’s ethics).

It seems that the unacceptable depiction of free will and authority by the Greek philosophers was having a root in their study of ‘psychology’ and ‘humanities’. Aristotle who is the most eminent representative of Greek reflection believes in three outstanding powers for the soul.

“Soul is having three outstanding powers which are indicative of the truth as well as the basis for action.

They are sensation, intellection and desire”.82

When the sensual powers are confined to these three powers, the other human powers and qualities are described in such manner that they return back to these three powers. As such, free-will is not set forth as one of the primary qualities and characteristics of the soul and it is for this reason that in the analysis of behaviour, the free-will and selection returns back to the same intrinsic qualities and primity of soul i.e. intellection and desire.

Undoubtedly any philosopher who has not brought ‘free-will’ as one of the ‘primary qualities of the sour’ in his study of humanities and does not consider it to be derived from ‘definition of man’ and does not set or rather make it dominant over the other powers, will not be able to specifically describe free-will. Consequently compulsion and determinism will put on the garb of freedom and authority and it is obvious that such a philosophy will be entangled in all the necessities and effects of compulsion and coercion.

As against the Greek philosophical schools, the divine religions while emphasizing knowledge and awareness to be the effective factors, introduce carnal and sensual desires as the most important factor of man’s turning away from the truth and stress upon the created freedom, ability and authority of man in his destiny. From the viewpoint of religions, after passing the two stages of ‘definition’ and ‘reminding’ man succeeds in conscientious comprehension and lofty recognition of God. As such, the only reason why man does not submit before God is the evil free will and following of desires by utilizing the voluntary and created power.

In other words, the recognition of God is a heartly Ma’rifat (gnosis), not a mental and imaginary feature and this Ma’rifat is the gift of God, not the discovery of man. Similarly, the real Ma’rifat is manifested by reminding (and the argumentation is completed) and not by philosophical proof and confirmation. Therefore, the reason of disbelief of the disbeliever is evil morals and their evil free will, not mistake in imagination and error in the method of confirmation.

Undoubtedly, the successive stipulations and emphasizes of Qur’an regarding moral virtues and vices and their role in belief and disbelief is not capable of perception and explanation except from this viewpoint. Some of the Orientalist and some of the thinkers who are not acquainted with the logic of Qur’an in the matters of belief, when coming across such verses and traditions, depict religion merely in ethical and exhortative manner.

According to the logic and ways of monotheistic religions in the matter of theology, ethics is one of the important basis of achieving the truth and not merely in the meaning of advice and exhortation. From the viewpoint of Qur’an and traditions, moral vices and the darkness resulting from it are counted to be one of the barriers of recognition and prepare the ground for the evil free will of man. In contrast, the moral virtues prepares the soul and the self of man in receiving the divine Ma’rifat and the light of guidance.

Unfortunately, the religious sources and evidences have been less scrutinized and analyzed from this aspect. The result of such inattention is that the logic of theology of revelation is intermixed with the alien elements and most of the truths of Qur’an has been vaguely hidden behind the curtain. It should be known that most of the objections of the westerners and the deviators in religion are in reality in these very non-religious elements which in the course of time have become inter-mixed with Ma’arif and revelation in an unsuitable and un-matchable manner.

The bedecking of religion from the non-religious elements (whether those elements be correct or incorrect) is one of the pressing duties of the Theological Centers in the field of Islamic research and one should look for the process of reforms in Islamic reflection in this area.

Now we shall discuss in brief, the veils and obstacles of submission from the viewpoint of Qur’an.

3-Obstacles of Submission in Qur’an

In general, the afore-said obstacles in Qur’an return back to two internal and external factors and each of these two also consist of two set of factors which are as follows:

A) Moral vices and sensual attachments

B) Abomination and committing of sins

C) Satan of Jinns

D) Satan of men

Each of the above titles in its turn is possessing numerous meanings, which we shall refer to some of them and in each of the cases usually one verse will be sufficient and for some others references will be produced in the end.

A) Moral Vices

The point which should be reminded about moral vices is that these vices takes shape by man’s free-will and he is in a position to acquire them.

I) Carnal Desires and Extensive Love

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّـهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

“Have you then considered him who takes his low desire for his god, and Allah has made him err having knowledge and has set a seal upon his ear and his heart and put a covering upon his eye. Who can then guide him after Allah? Will you not then be mindful?” (Holy Qur’an: 45:23)

أفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّـهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Similarly {28: 50},

وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُّسْتَقِرٌّ

{54: 3},

أَفَمَن كَانَ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ كَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُم

{47: 14} and

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَقَفَّيْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِ بِالرُّسُلِ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ أَفَكُلَّمَا جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَىٰ أَنفُسُكُمُ اسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ

{2: 87})

According to the above verse, deviation, the sealing of heart, ears and eyes and deprivation from guidance are the effects of man’s evil free will and selection of carnal desires as objects of worship.

وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ

“And as to Samood, We showed them the right way.” (Holy Qur’an: 41: 17)

II) Hard-heartedness

 وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ. ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً

“…And He shows you His signs so that you may understand. Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 73, 74)

According to this verse, the created signs (‘Ayaat al-Takweeni’) [which was discussed in the second stage along with intellection opens the way for the guidance of man. But hard-heartedness and cruelty of a person becomes the cause of not allowing his intellect to attain anything. In such kind of verses and traditions the number of which is not less, intellection and reason have been propounded as the associate of the heart and mind. It should be seen what are the meanings of intellect from the viewpoint of revelation?

In the other heavenly books too much has been spoken about hard-heartedness and cruelty of man and the matter of heart becoming as hard as the stone has been discussed as the factor for turning away from truth and standing against God and His religion. For example in the journey of exodus from Torah it has come that: “Moosa and Haroun came to Firaun and said: “Jehovah the God of Israel has said to set free my nation so that they can observe a festival for me in the desert.” Firaun replied: “who is Jehovah that I should listen to his words and set free the Israelis. I do not know who is Jehovah and I shall not release the Israelis.” (Old Testament (Torah), London 1895 Journey of Exodus; chapter 5; pg. 89)

Thereafter Prophet Moses displayed numerous miracles before Firaun which each of the time Firaun did not submit due to his heard-heartedness. The sentence “the heart of Firaun became hard” has been repeated for more than ten times in the journey of exodus. (Old Testament (Torah); pg. 92-95, 97-100, and 104)

III) Pride and Arrogance

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ بِغَيْرِ سُلْطَانٍ أَتَاهُمْ إِن فِي صُدُورِهِمْ إِلَّا كِبْرٌ

“Surely (as for) those who dispute about the communications of Allah, without any authority that has come to them, there is naught in their breasts but (a desire) to become great” (Holy Qur’an: 40: 56)

Thus the divine signs are sufficient for guidance. However a group have disputed and contended against it and this disputation is not due to ignorance of the reality but because of pride and haughtiness.

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَفَلَمْ تَكُنْ آيَاتِي تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ وَكُنتُمْ قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ

“As to those who disbelieved: What! were not my communications recited to you? But you were proud and you were a guilty people.” (Holy Qur’an: {45: 31}; Similarly {2: 17}, {7: 36, 40, 76}, {46: 10}, and {63: 5})

IV) Avarice

فَلَمَّا آتَاهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ بَخِلُوا بِهِ وَتَوَلَّوا وَّهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ. فَأَعْقَبَهُمْ نِفَاقًا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ.

“But when He gave them out of His grace, they became niggardly of it and they turned back and they withdrew so He made hypocrisy to follow as a consequence into their hearts.” (Holy Qur’an: 9: 76, 77)

The effect of avarice is turning away from religion.

V) Seeking Loftiness of Position and Rank. About the denial of the divine signs by Pharoah and his followers, Qur’an says:

وَجَحَدُوا بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنفُسُهُمْ ظُلْمًا وَعُلُوًّا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

“And they denied them unjustly and proudly while their soul had been convinced of them; consider, then how was the end of the mischief-makers.” (Holy Qur’an: 27: 14)

B) Committing Sins

I) Injustice

وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا الظَّالِمُونَ

“…And none deny Our communications except the unjust” (Holy Qur’an: 29: 49)

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Holy Qur’an: {6: 144}. Similarly {9: 109}, {2: 86 and 258}, {61: 7}, {28: 50}, {46: 10} and {27: 14})

In the Bible it has come that: “So the reason that He (i.e. God) made Pharoah’s heart hard was that he punished our nation and wished to do injustice upon them” (Gospel of Barnabas)

II) Abomination

وَلَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ وَمَا يَكْفُرُ بِهَا إِلَّا الْفَاسِقُونَ

“And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressors.” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 99)

In this verse, disbelief is confined to ‘Fisq’. Perhaps the reason may be due to the wide meaning of ‘Fisq’, which includes in it every action, which is evil.

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

“Surely Allah does not guide the transgressing people” (Holy Qur’an: {63: 6}, Similarly, {2: 26}, {61: 5}, {9: 80})

III) Performing Indecent Acts

ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُوا السُّوأَىٰ أَن كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ

“Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah.” (Holy Qur’an: 30: 10)

This warning of Qur’an is very severe and grave that sins do not remain merely within its limits. Rather, because of the reciprocal relation and connection of behaviour with the human heart and soul, any indecent act will have a direct effect on man’s heartly position before religion and he will start rejecting it.

IV) Lies and Falsehood

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ

“Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.” (Holy Qur’an: 39: 3)

C& D) Satan of Jinn and Men

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ

“And thus did we make for every prophet an enemy, the Shaitans from among men and jinn.” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 112)

كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنسَانِ اُكفُر

“Like the Shaitan when he says to man: Disbelieve.” (Holy Qur’an: 59: 16)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ارْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الْهُدَى ۙ الشَّيْطَانُ سَوَّلَ لَهُمْ وَأَمْلَىٰ لَهُمْ

“Surely (as for) those who return on their backs after that guidance has become manifest to them, the Shaitan as made it a light matter to them, and he gives them respite.” (Holy Qur’an: 47: 25)

وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

“And the Shaitan desires to lead them astray into a remote error.” (Holy Qur’an: {4: 60}; Similarly {6: 43, 121}, {7: 27}, {22: 3}, {27: 24} and {29: 38})

It has come in the Bible that: “Faith never errs because its foundation is God and His words… However [Satan with all his efforts plans to nullify the faith”. (Gospel of Barnaba: pg. 211, 212)

With regard to our topic of discussion, many traditions have been narrated which for the sake of brevity we shall refer to only some of them.

((قال ابوعبدالله (عليه السلام) أصول الكفر ثلاثة: الحرص و الاستكبار و الحسد))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 289; Tradition no. 1)

((قال النبي (صلَّى الله عليه و آله): اركان الكفر اربعة: الرَغْبَة و الرَهْبة و السَخط و الغضب))

(Usul al-Kafi; tradition no. 2; vol. 2; pg. 289)

The Holy Prophet (S) said: “The pillars of disbelief are four: Greed in worldly things, fear from its decadence, discontent and anger.”

((عن أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) قال: بُنِيَ الكفر على أربع دعائم: الفسق و الغلُو و الشك و الشبهة))

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 72; pg. 116; Tradition no. 15; Similarly Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 72; chapter: 99 from pg. 104 to 123. Traditions 1, 2, 16, 17, 19 and vol. 70; pg. 53; tradition no. 15 and pg. 55 tradition no. 24)

To Sum Up

Good and evil free will and moral virtues and vices are having many effects on man’s life. Just as it was said in the first chapter of the stage of ‘Submission’, among its effects one can mention submission or non-submission before God and just as it will come in the second chapter, the result of such submission or non-submission will be enjoyment of ‘spirit of faith’ or its deprivation and consequently will amount to worship or disobedience. The outcome of submission and worship too (as was mentioned in the stage of ‘reminding’) is acquisition of ‘special guidance’, intensification of innate Ma’rifat (gnosis) and a more lofty recognition of the Exalted God.

The effects of free will and the moral capacities which have not been discussed in length, is the kind of perception of innate Ma’rifat and being reminded of it in the very first stage of guidance (general guidance). Of course, the essence of Ma’rifat of God has been manifested to all and the divine argumentation will be completed upon all the human beings (just as it was mentioned in the stage of definition). However the spiritual condition of a person is not ineffective in the kind of manifestation of innate Ma’rifat and being reminded of it. Perhaps some of the expressions of Qur’an like.

((إن الله لا يهدي القوم الظالمين))، ((إن الله لا يهدي القوم الفاسقين))، ((ثم قست قلوبكم من بعد فهي كالحجارة أو أشد قسوة))

Could also be other than ‘special guidance’ encompassing and controlling the ‘general guidance’ and the type of perception of the first stage of guidance. As such, free will and morals will be having a fundamental role in recognition, beliefs, deeds and in reality, in all the aspects of man’s life.

Outcome of Submission

The last stage on the path of guidance is submission before the Beneficent God and by taking this step man reaches to the position of ‘being guided’ and the course of divine general guidance. The gift of this stage is perceiving the spirit of faith of the Compassionate God. Like the innate Ma’rifat, the spirit of faith too is a gift and bounty from the Merciful God with the difference that the basis of innate Ma’rifat is common (for all) whereas the spirit of faith is earmarked only for those who submit and bring faith. While mentioning the specifications of faith, we shall describe and make clear the above matter.

In divine works, the matter of faith and its issues have been mooted from various angles. Here we shall, at first explain the various meanings of faith and then see the divine faith from two dimensions of ‘believers faith’ which is the act of man and ‘spirit of faith’ which is the creation of God. While mentioning some of their specialities we shall also briefly compare them with the viewpoints of Greek philosophers.

(1) Meaning of Faith

In the generous Qur’an and noble traditions, the term of ‘faith’ is applied to various meanings. Among the various meanings we may mention the following:

“Confession by tongue”83, “confirmation by heart”84, “divine duties”85, “acting upon the duties and abstaining from cardinal sins”86 “performing the obligation and leaving the absolute sins”87 and performing the obligatory and recommended acts and abstaining from the forbidden and abominable acts (even permissible [‘Mubah’] acts).88

The meaning which has been emphasized more than all other meanings and which also matches with the actual meaning of divine faith is the meaning of “belief of heart accompanied with confession by tongue and action by the limbs” and it is this very meaning that has been utilized in the meaning of apparent submission vis-a-vis ‘Islam’89 This meaning has been set forth by the Holy Imams (‘a) as against the two widespread views.

‘Murja’a’ reckoned the apparent confession of the Ka’bites to be sufficient for Islam and faith and the ‘Khawarij’ believed that acting upon the obligatory (acts) and abstainence from the cardinal sins were necessary in Islam and faith. Meanwhile the true inheritors of the religion of God and the true exegetists of the Generous Qur’an have, by virtue of Qur’an and Sunnat of Holy Prophet (S) expressed this fact that apparent confession is sufficient for (bringing) Islam. However for faith only the condition is necessary and its adequate condition is apparent confession and heartly belief along with divine action. Thus faith by the above meaning will be synonymous with heartly submission and its requisites i.e. submission by tongue and deeds.

In Islamic sources, faith by the above meaning has been associated with another matter by the name of “spirit of faith.” That is to say, in proportion to a believers faith, God helps and provides relief to his heart, makes the light, tranquility, expansion, piety, brightness and certitude to glimmer in his heart and existence and makes a believer fortunate with a lustrous and spiritual reality called “spirit of faith.” In this section, more than anything else these two topics i.e. believers faith and spirit of faith will be emphasized. One of them is the act of man while the other the make of God. One takes shape on the basis of spiritual position of a person and his freewill while the other is imparted by God.

(2) Spirit of Faith is the Make of God

In the tradition it has come that:

((قلت لأبي عبدالله (عليه السلام) " أُولَـٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ"، هل لهم فيما كتب في قلوبهم صُنْع؟ قال: لا))

(Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 15)

About this verse, that “God has put down faith in their hearts” I asked Imam Sadiq (‘a) whether the believers are having any role in the putting down of faith to which Imam (‘a) replied ‘No’.

The spirit of faith is the substantiation and support of God towards His faithful slaves.

لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُولَـٰئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّـهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّـهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. Those - He has decreed within their hearts faith and supported them with spirit from Him. And We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him - those are the party of Allah. Unquestionably, the party of Allah - they are the successful. (Holy Qur’an: 58: 22)

(Holy Qur’an: 58: 22 [see above] Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 15; tradition 1 & 5, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 190; tradition 5; pg. 194-200 and vol. 68; pg. 274)

The spirit of faith is repose and a pacification, which is revealed from God upon the heart of a believer.

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ وَلِلَّـهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. (Holy Qur’an: 48: 4)

Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 15; tradition 1, 3 & 5)

The spirit of faith is the same divine piety, which is attached and accompanied with the believers.

إِذْ جَعَلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

When those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism - the chauvinism of the time of ignorance. But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and imposed upon them the word of righteousness, and they were more deserving of it and worthy of it. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing. (Holy Qur’an: 48: 26)

Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 200; tradition 21

At times when believer returns back and revolts against the basis and foundation of faith (submission), the spirit will be taken away from him.

إذا زنى الرجل أخرج الله منه روح الايمان

(Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 178; Similarly, pg. 19; tradition 4, 5 and pg. 198; tradition 16)

The line of demarcation between a believer and non-believer is the spirit of faith.90

Just as the line of demarcation between Infallible and Non-Infallible is the Holy Spirit (‘Rooh al-Qodos’). (Holy Qur’an: Mujadala: 22, Baqarah: 253, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 179; tradition 3 and pg. 191)

(3) Faith and Heart

Divine faith (faith of a believer and spirit of faith) is an affair related to the heart and in the divine works, man’s faith has been remembered under such names as

“Object in the heart” 91,

“Submission by heart”92,

“An agreement in heart and by heart”93,

“Confirmation by heart”94,

“Whatever is steadfast in the heart”95,

“Whatever is pure in the heart”96,

“Faith in heart and by heart”97 and

“White spots in heart” 98.

The spirit of faith has been remembered under such titles as:

“A making in the heart”99,

“Verification by heart”100 and

“An inscription in the heart”101.

Such definitions show that faith is a matter related to the heart and is not an affair related to the tongue and not a notion and confirmation related to the mind. If man, fully submits himself before God, then God too will directly confirm his heart and soul without the means of understandings and imaginations.

(4) Faith and Action

After man submits himself before God and admits Him by heart, then in proportion to his faith, a light is imparted to him which its essential condition is religious conduct and worship of God.

Among the characteristics of Shi’ism is the view of ‘faith’ and ‘Islam’. As against the Khawarij and Murjaans, the Shias have reckoned religious deeds to be of material in faith and believe it to be a condition for faith. On the other hand they do not consider worship and deeds to be of material in Islam in its apparent form.

This view (i.e. Shia view) has been drafted on the basis of Qur’an and tradition.102

Many traditions substantiate this matter that a believing person does not commit a sin and if at all it is seen that a believer commits a sin it should be then admitted that God has taken away the spirit of faith at the time of performance of sin and even much before that. Moreover it is only through repentance and penitence that the previous brightness and purity will be returned back to him.

The above point is yet another difference between divine theology and philosophical theology meaning that the result of notion and affirmation of God is eventually a rational (mental) confirmation of the existence of God. Undoubtedly, the necessary relation between ‘mental confirmation’ and a ‘spiritual deed’ is absurd even though every mental confirmation is usually proportionate to a special deed. Basically, from the viewpoint of philosophy there does not exist any kind of necessary and logical relation between mental confirmation and its corresponding deed. Therefore at the time of leaving that deed, no harm comes to the mental dole and from here the separation between knowledge and deed takes place in the form of justified views.

However the outcome of divine stages of theology is the heartly contract and finally the receipt of spirit of faith which will be followed by conduct commensurate with faith i.e. there exists a necessary and essential relation between faith and worship. In spite of this, freewill does not lose its sovereignty in all the stages. The secret of this talk is hidden in the rudiments of faith.

In as much as after submission and as per its intensity man enjoys the spirit of faith, the same submission (after faith too) which has taken shape on the basis of free-will, manifests into action along with divine stipulation and confirmation. In reality at the time of disobedience and sins too, a person gives up by his own free-will the basis of faith (which is the very submission) and finally the divine confirmation is taken away from him and the unjust and unworthy deed is manifested by him.

In this way, sins bring harm to the essence of faith because of destroying its basis and in this regard many tradition have been narrated. Just as it was formerly said, it has come in these traditions that at the time of disobedience and transgression, the spirit of faith is taken away from the sinful person.103

(5) Faith and its Degrees

The submission of people before God is not of one level because, commensurate with their spiritual capability and freewill they submit themselves before God with special degrees. As such, the faith of the people possesses different ranks and degrees and with regards to divine confirmation and spirit of faith too, they enjoy a special degree. It is for this reason that the devoutness of the believers and their religious conduct are diverse.

On this basis, the traditions which have explained various meanings for faith not only have no contradictions among each other but reveal the different levels of faith.

The point which is necessary to be said over here is this that a person does not constantly remain fixed in the same level of faith. Rather he fluctuates in various degrees. The secret of this matter is that the basis of faith and the spirit of piety is the submission of man on the basis of free-will and created freedom. After submission too, this freedom keeps its power and a person can either turn around from submission or strengthen it and ascend to a higher level of faith.

((... ثم قال ابي الحسن (عليه السلام): نحن نؤيد الروح بالطاعة و العمل له))

“We confirm the spirit of faith by obedience of God”.104

We should say that many traditions have come regarding the levels of faith and its condition and causes. For the sake of brevity, we shall content ourselves only by the mentioning some of their references.105

Gist of the Discussion

“The Greek philosophical theology” and “the divine theology possess different basic facts and results. In this book, while a comparison was made between these two schools of thought, the diverse basic facts and results were discussed and in each of the cases adequate reasoning were presented. Over here we shall refer only to some of the basic fundamentals of these two schools of thought.”

(A) Fundamentals of Greek Philosophical Theology
(1) The notion of God and His affirmation takes shape in the mould of one philosophical arrangement and system. As a rule, this kind of theology is brought into existence when philosophical reflections about the world and existence have developed to a sufficient level and the philosophical schools of thought are on the verge of growth and development. Since the world without God is not capable of philosophical explanation therefore the notion of God, finds its place in such kind of school commensurate with the philosophical system.

(2) This kind of theology is a creatable matter in human culture and civilization and in Greece it begins in a deficient state with Anaximanas, Kasnufanas, Heraclites and then Anaxagoras and finds its perfection in Plato and Aristotle.

(3) The notion of God from other sciences is recent because it takes shape on the basis of knowledge of existence and theology in general.

(4) Understanding such kind of theology is complicated and difficult matter because from the view-point of notion it depends on the preceding sciences and from the view point of confirmation of special logic which a philosopher presents, it is having a stoppage. On the other hand, considering that the more we advance towards abstraction the more we remain far from sensation and the more difficult becomes the recognition, therefore the recognition of God who is an absolute abstract, is the most difficult of all the recognition. Plato and Aristotle have emphasized this matter.

(5) This kind of theology is specifically for some special people who possess the required conditions. These conditions have been specified by Plato.

(6) Recognition of God is the act of man and by his mind a person can imagine God.

(7) The basis of God’s recognition is a rational (mental) imagination of God and this imagination and notion too is Universal because other than the Universals, the intellect does not recognize correctly and accurately any other thing. Therefore, in order to prove monotheism we are in need of another proof.

(8) Recognition of God reaches perfection when Universal imagination is made ready and is affirmed by philosophical method i.e. the relation of God with external existence is proved.

(9) There does not exist any relation between ethics and recognition of God and moral virtues and vices are having no effect in the recognition of God. Incidentally man’s freewill and his influence in the recognition of God and basically in every kind of recognition and conduct is not capable of explanation and clarification.

(10) Any special deed is not an essential condition for recognizing God and there does not exist a relation between mental confirmation and conduct.

(B) Fundamentals of Divine Theology
(1) Recognition of God is ascertained without any kind of philosophical arrangement and system.

(2) Recognition of God is ancient and Ma’rifat (gnosis) of His Holy Essence has been accompanying man’s soul right from his birth and rather before his birth.

(3) Recognition of God is having no stoppage upon different and rudimentary sciences.

(4) Recognition of God is not a matter of mental complication and so is not peculiar to some specific people. It involves all the common people.

(5) The focal point of God’s Ma’rifat is the heart of man and man perceives God with his soul and existence without the means of mental understandings.

(6) Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is the act and make of God. It is as He has defined Himself and this definition and Ma’rifat (gnosis) is outside the scope of human sciences.

(7) In divine definition (of God), man is heedful of an external and personal God and not a Universal God. Thus the monotheism of God is not separate from His Ma’rifat (gnosis).

(8) Instead of ‘proof’, discussion is about ‘reminding’.

(9) There prevails a deep relation between man’s freewill and morals on the one hand and the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God and faith in Him on the other hand.

(10) The essential condition of recognition of God and divine faith is a specific act and there exist a firm relation between faith and action.

  • 1. The matter of past worlds is not peculiar to the Imamieh sect and Ahlul Sunnat too have narrated numerous traditions in this regard in their reliable hooks. For example Suyuti in the hook of Durrul Mansoor narrates under verse 172 of chapter A’raf of Holy Qur’an only the tradition proving the precedence of the past worlds. These traditions have been narrated from Holy Prophet (S), some of his companions, disciples of the companions and famous and reliable scholars of Ahlul sunnat (Jalaluddin suytui, Durrul Mansoor; Daarul-Fiqh-Beirut; vol. 3; pg. 597 to 607).
  • 2. Book of Arshia.
  • 3. A- Bihar al-Anwar, Darrul Ketab al Islamiyeh; vol. 3 chapter 11 (...Al-ta’reef fil Meesaaq); pg. 276; tradition no. 7, 10, 11, 16, 17, 20 Totally 6 traditions. Of course the other traditions of this chapter too prove the context.
    B- Bihar al-Anwar vol. 5; chapter 10 (Teenato wal Meesaq) pg. 225; Tradition no(s): 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67. Total 38 traditions.
    C- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 15; chapter 1 (Bada’o khalqahu wa maa yata’allaqo bezalek) from tradition 3 to 48 apart form 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 37, 38. Total 39 traditions.
    D- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 25; chapter 1 (Khalaqahum wa teenatahum Wa arwaahahum alaihe as-salaam) traditions no(s): 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 Total: 24 traditions. Of course other traditions too prove the point.
    E- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 26; chapter 7; pg. 117 (Ennahum (alaihessalaam) ya’refoon annaas) traditions 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 38. Similarly chapter 5; pg. 108; tradition no. 13 and pg. 320, tradition no. 2; Total: 9 tradition.
    F- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 60; chapter 41 (Bada’o khalq al-ensaan) pg. 317; Tradition 28, 30, 31 (pg. 344), 31 (pg. 346), 40, 58, 81, 106. Total 8 traditions.
    G- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 61; chapter 43. (Fi khalqel arwaah qablal Ejsaad) pg. 131 from traditions 1 to 19, similarly pg. 41 tradition 12 and pg. 79, tradition 12. Total 21 traditions
    H- Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 99; chapter 40. (Fazl ul Hajere Wa ellato estelameh) pg. 216, traditions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 19, 29 and as per the context of such traditions we have traditions 3, 7, 12, 22, 25, 28. Total 15 traditions.
  • 4. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 6; pg. 179. Apparently the world between soul and body has been the world of substance (Teenat) or the world of pre-existence (Alam al-zar) because these two worlds are after the world of soul and before the world of bodies.
  • 5. Muhammad Taqi Mesbah - Treatise on Beliefs; pg. 36.
  • 6. Similarly [chapter Ale-Imran verse 81 Faiz Kashani, Tafseer Safi, Beirut vol. 1; pg. 351. Noor us Saqalain; vol. 5; pg. 173 [Hajar: 75; Tafseer Aiyashi; vol. 1; pg. 249 [Waqe’ah: 46; Tafseer Mizan; vol. 19; pg. 125 [Taghabun : 2; Usul al-kafi; vol. 1; pg. 426 [Mu’menun:12; Burhan vol. 3; pg. 111 and [Insaan: 1]
  • 7. Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 107; chapter 8. Similarly Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 13 and Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 5; pg. 223, 227
  • 8. Burhan; vol. 3; pg. 336; Traditions 3 and 4.
  • 9. Ma’niul Akhbar; pg. 11; tradition no. 1 & 2.
  • 10. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 2S7; chapter 9 (“Annahi anil tafakkor fi zaatellahe ta’ala”) In this chapter 32 traditions have been narrated.
  • 11. Fredrik Kapilstan - History of Civilization; vol. pg. 645.
  • 12. For example: Tauheed of Sadooq chapter of Names of the Exalted God. From pg. 185 to 223; Similarly pg. 76, 65, 70, 98, 99 etc.
  • 13. In commentary of the chapter ‘Haadi Ashar’ it has come as such:
    ((وفي الحقيقة المعقول لنا من صفاته ليس الا السلوب و الاضافات و اماكنه ذاتة وصفاته، فمحجوب عن نظر العقول ولا يعلم ماهو الا هو))
    Miqdad ibn Abdulla Sayuri; An’naafe Yaum ul Hashr... pg. 18.
  • 14. Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 65-99 and pg. l85-223.
  • 15. Usul al-Kafi; pg. 82, 84, 85 and Tauheed Sadooq; pg. 81, 101, 102, 104, 107.
  • 16. Dua al-Mashlul - Mafatihul Jenan.
  • 17. Dua al-Arafa - Imam Husayn (‘a) in Mafatihul Jenan
  • 18. Nahl: 52 & 53
  • 19. Bani Israel: 67
  • 20. For example Taghabun: 11 and Baqarah: l-2.
  • 21. Baqarah: 164, Yunus: 6, Ra’ad: 2 & 3, Nahl: 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 65-79, Bani Israel; 66, Taha; 54, Anbiya: 32, Shura: 8, Rum: 20-26, 46, Luqman: 31, Mu’men: 81. Sajdah: 53, Mu’min: 13, Furqan: 62, Zaariyaat: 49-55, Waqe’aa: 73,
    Yunus: 3, Ghasheya: 17-21, A’ala: 1-10
  • 22. First Section
  • 23. ليس العلم بالتعلم، إنما هو نور يقع في قلب من يريد الله تبارك وتعالى أن يهديه، فإن أردت العلم فاطلب أولا في نفسك حقيقة العبودية
    (Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 1; pg. 225). From the clear evidences of this tradition is ‘Ma’rifatullah’ just as guidance by way of precedance is true to the Ma’rifat of God. Another point which can be seen m this tradition it that preferent of servitude is for knowledge and guidance. This matter will be discussed in the “Third Method”.
  • 24. First and Second Section.
  • 25. The role of contemplation and rationalization and their importance in divine Ma’arif is not something which can be denied. But it does not mean that intellect in all the affairs is capable of achieving the truth independently and without the help of inspiration. Basically intellect (reason) cannot reach to the boundaries of the unseen and whatever is said about it is nothing more than mere conjecture and supposition. Among the unseens is the matter of notion of Essence, Attributes and Actions of Exalted God, which was discussed, in the first stage. If we pass over from this Set of Ma’arif then contemplation and thought with the aid of inspiration can traverse stages of recognition and Ma’rifat. Among them we may mention proof of existence of God, Monotheism (Tauheed), Prophethood, Imamat etc. Intellect is inaccessible to the injunctions but for discovering the aim of legislator and more important than that examining the ways for executing the injunctions, contemplation plays an important role.
  • 26. Fayumi - Mesbah al-Mnnir; pg. 661 and Jauheri - Mesbah; vol. 1; pg. 304 and Ibn Manzoor - Lesan al-Arab; vol. 3; pg. 54.
  • 27. Fars ibn Zacharia - Mu’jam Maqa’ees Lughat; vol. 2; pg. 3; similarly, Lesan Al-Arab vol. 3; pg. 54.
  • 28. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 259.
  • 29. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 259.
  • 30. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 147.
  • 31. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 148.
  • 32. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 266.
  • 33. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 147.
  • 34. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 3; pg. 257 chapter 9. Section three, first stage.
  • 35. Usul al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 76.
  • 36. Baqareh: l8 and 171, A’raf: 64, Naml: 66 and 81, Rum: 53, Fusselat: 17, Muhammad: 23.
  • 37. At the time when Hazrat Isa (‘a) was in Jerusalem having an argument with the obstinate army they told him: “Show us your God so that we become Jews.” Then Isa at that moment replied: “If you were having vision I would have showed Him any time, but since you are blind I am unable to show Him to you.” (Bible of Barnaba; Chapter 152; pg. 310)
  • 38. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; pg. 52.
  • 39. Usu1 al-Kafi; vol. 1; pg. 171.
  • 40. Shaikh Mufeed: Tasheeb ul Ehteqaad be sawaab ul Enteqaad, pg. 54.
  • 41. Shaikh Mufeed: Tasheeb ul Ehteqaad be sawaab ul Enteqaad, pg. 54.
  • 42. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; pg. 129 and 139.
  • 43. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; pg. 6 and 125
    ((... ذكر الصادق (عليه السلام) الجدال في الدين و أنَّ رسول الله (صلَّى الله عليه و آله) و الأئمة المعصومين (عليهم السلام) قد نهوا عنه، فقال الصادق (عليه السلام): لم ينه عنه مطلقا لكنه نهى عن الجدال بغير التي هي أحسن... و هل يؤتى بالبرهان إلا في الجدال بالتي هي أحسن؟ قيل يا ابن رسول الله فما الجدال بالتي هي أحسن و التي ليست بأحسن؟ قال أمَّا الجدال بغير التي هي أحسن أن تجادل مُبْطِلاً فيورد عليك باطلاً فلا تردَّه بحجة قد نصبها الله تعالى و لكن تجحد قوله، أو تجحد حقاً يريد ذلك المبطل أن يعين به باطله فتجحد ذلك الحق مخافة أن يكون له عليك فيه حجة لأنك لا تدري كيف المخلص منه، فذلك حرام على شيعتنا أن يصيروا فتنة على ضعفاء إخوانهم المبطلين... ))
    In continuation of the tradition, while explaining the above matter, it has made clear one of the disputation of Qur’an about the matter of the Day of Judgement and then says:
    فهذا الجدال بالتي هي أحسن لأن فيها قطع عذر الكافرين و إزالة شبههم...))
  • 44. Tauheed of Sadooq; pg. 74.
  • 45. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; pg. 136.
  • 46. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; pg. 130.
  • 47. Basically in the Ma’aaref of Holy Book and traditions where there is way for acquiring the lofty Ma’arif , instead of using the concepts of son, discussion, disputation and contention we find such terms as ‘Zekr’ (mentioning), ‘Mozakereh’ (conversation) and ‘Tazakkur’ (reminding) etc etc. which shows the special method of the Prophets in achieving the described reality. (Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 1; pg. 198 to 206 chapter of ‘Mozakeratul Elm’; traditions 6, 8, 11, 17, 18, 21 , 26, 36, 37, and Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 186-188 chapter of ‘Tazakerul Akhawan’).
  • 48. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 2; chapter 17; pg. 124 61 traditions have been narrated with regards to this matter (traditions 3 to 14, 16, 19, 20, 22 to 24, 27, 30 to 32, 47 to 56, 58, 59, 61.
  • 49. Dr. Mohsin Jehangiri: “The appearance of theology and its position among the sciences” pg. 80-81. In this research article, verses in this regard are mentioned and historical evidences too are produced.
  • 50. Ibidem.
  • 51. Holy Qur’an: Taha: 14, Jumsh: 9, Maedeh: 91, A’ala: 14 & 15.
  • 52. Holy Qur’an: Ale-Imran: 51, Zukhruf: 64, Yasin: 61
  • 53. Dua Kumail, Ghurar al-Hakam, Dharul Kutub, Qum; vol. 2; pg. 479.
  • 54. Ghurar al-Hakam; vol. 1; pg. 25.
  • 55. Shaikh Saduq ‘Al-Khisal’ pg. 621.
  • 56. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 84; pg. 134.
  • 57. Shaikh Saduq ‘Elal ush Sharaye,’ pg. 114.
  • 58. Holy Qur’an: Nur: 54 and ‘A1-Khisal’ pg. 621.
  • 59. A1-Khisal; pg. 621.
  • 60. Elal ush Sharayeh; pg. 114.
  • 61. Usul al-Kafi; vol. 2; pg. 83.
  • 62. Holy Qur’an: A’ala: 14 & 15, Jumah: 10.
  • 63. Dua Kumail.
  • 64. Al-Khisal; pg. 621.
  • 65. Ghurar al Hakam; vol. 1; pg. 54.
  • 66. Ghurar al-Hakam; vol. 1; pg. 15
  • 67. Sharafuddin Dawud Qaisari - Rasa’el Qaisari - resalat-e-tawheed wa Nabuwwat wal Vilayat, chapter one pg. 24. The scholar Laahiji, in compiling the matter says commonly: “If the absolute enchanted one is intoxicated or has become exterminated then there remains no religious duties for him, and if he is from the perfect ones (which was referred to in the third section) then even though from the view-point of un-official guidance he is charged with the injunctions of the Shariat and the commandments and prohibitions are not removed from him yet, he is no more in need of following any means for his perfection because he has reached to the extreme end of his perfection: “Commentary of Gulistan-e-Raaz”
  • 68. The same question and want of its reply is the very one of the means of appearance of the two views of ‘Efraat wa Tafreet’ (going to two extremes) i.e. compulsion and freedom in the Theological centers of the Muslims. Of course, compulsion and freedom is having an ancient record among the human gnositcs and right from ancient times has drawn man’s thoughts towards it. However the apparent two-foldness of some of the verses of Qur’an especially in the matter of guidance on the one hand and the non-presentation of a plan comprehensive in this regard and the lack of separation between ‘divine guidance’ and ‘being guided’ on the other hand has not been ineffective in giving shape and intensifying the two schools of ‘Qadari’ (Free will) and ‘Jabri’ (determinists).
  • 69. Usul kafi; vol. 1; pg. 164.
  • 70. Driving Force: By Driving Force is meant everything, which impels man towards his goal. We have selected this term for the reason that in it, there does not exist a causal coercion meaning. In the traditions too, this term has been used in this same meaning. *-((سائقه))
    ((قال امير المؤمنين (عليه السلام): البغي، سائق الى الحين))
    Injustice and encroachment drives man towards destruction. Commentary of Ibn-Mitham on hundred sayings of Amir ul Mo’meneen Ali (‘a) pg. 129.
  • 71. Holy Qur’an: Baqarah: 89, l46, 2l3, 253, 254.
  • 72. Fredrik Kapilstan “History of Philosophy”; vol. 1; pg. 155.
  • 73. Aristotle: Good Morals.
  • 74. More discordant is that some are still intending to collect the views of Greek philosophers. If this method is having no objection for the ancients it is unforgivable for the modern ones. The view of “philosophical Unity” (of God) which was having a splended past is now having no attraction for the researchers of history of philosophy. Nowadays the works of Plato and Aristotle have been translated into various languages and their contradictions and differences have become clear and obvious for all. Aristotle in ‘Metaphysics’ has himself with decisiveness great vigor made an inroad in the belief of his predecessors like his master Plato and Socrates and criticizes their views severely which one of the cases is the above saying. Those who, for various reasons engage in explaining and collecting the opinions of the Greek sages, unwillingly impart this point that the philosopher have not understood their own and others views and so they criticize each other.
  • 75. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 298.
  • 76. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; pg. 299.
  • 77. Morals of Nikumakhs; Vol. 2; pg. 5.
  • 78. Morals Nikumakhs; vol. 2; pg. 5.
  • 79. For example the same above reference pg. 60 to 80.
  • 80. Morals of Nikamakhs; vol. 1; pg. 63.
  • 81. Morals of Nikamakhs; vol. 2; pg. 5 and vol. 1; pg. 67.
  • 82. Morals of Nikamakhs; vol. 2; pg. 4.
  • 83. For example:
    ((يا ايها الذين آمنوا بالله و رسوله))
    Holy Qur’an: Nisa: 136 The first faith gives the meaning of confession and the second faith gives the meaning of heartly confirmation and the meaning of verse is as such: “O’ those who have confessed to the rightfulness of the religion of God, confirm it too by the heart. Similarly, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 273. In that tradition another verse too has been mentioned in this regard.
  • 84. For example:
    ((يا ايها الذين آمَنوا آمِنوا بالله و رسوله))
    Holy Qur’an: Nisa:136 The first faith gives the meaning of confession and the second faith gives the meaning of heartly confirmation and the meaning of verse is as such: “O those who have confessed to the rightfulness of the religion of God, confirm it too by the heart.”Similarly, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 273. In that tradition another verse too has been mentioned in this regard.
  • 85. For example: Holy Qur’an: Baqarah: 143
    ((ما كان ليضيع ايمانكم))
    “ After the change in the direction of ‘Qibla’ the Muslims asked Holy Prophet (S) whether their prayer in the direction of ‘Baitul Muqaddas’ had become void or not? In reply, the afore-said verse was revealed. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 274 and vol. 69; pg. 77, 78
  • 86. For example: Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 262 last line; pg. 270; tradition 26 and pg. 277, 299 tradition 27 and vol. 69; pg. 73.
  • 87. For example: Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 256, 259, 296 and vol. 69; pg. 63; tradition 7; pg. 73; tradition 28
  • 88. Traditions which have described the qualities of the believers. For example from Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; chapter 19 ‘Qualities of Shia’.
  • 89. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; chapter 26 - “Difference between faith and Islam.” In this chapter besides the verses of Qur’an, 56 traditions have been narrated. Moreover Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; chapter 30: “Surely action (deed) is part of faith.” Besides verses of Qur’an 30 traditions have been narrated. Most of these traditions bear witness to the afore-said meanings.
  • 90. The materialistic philosophers and psychologists in their study of human beings have come to this conclusion that man is a perfect and complicated animal. Of course they cannot be considered as wrong because materialistic thought and belief do not basically possess the power of distinguishing and describing the truth and the sublime it knowledge. At times, they interpret themselves. However, they too should consider us right for considering man to be a divine creature because a believer is assisted by God and moves towards Him. Basically, from divine view-point one cannot have a specific definition for all the human beings because man is in motion and fluctuating between the two extremes of “lowest than an animal” and “highest than an angel”.
  • 91. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 282.
  • 92. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 265.
  • 93. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 256, 291 and vol. 9; pg. 65, 69.
  • 94. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 273 and vol. 69; pg. 68; tradition 21.
  • 95. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 251.
  • 96. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 72.
  • 97. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 72.
  • 98. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 196.
  • 99. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 273, 274.
  • 100. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; pg. 273, 274.
  • 101. Holy Qur’an: Mujadala: 22, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 200; tradition 22.
  • 102. For example: Holy Qur’an: Hujarat:14, Nisa: 136, Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 68; chapter 24: “difference between Faith and Islam” pg. 225 till 309; vol. 69; chapter 30: “Surely action is part of Faith is scattered over the organs” pg. l8 to 149.
  • 103. For example: Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 19, 178, 198
  • 104. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; pg. 194.
  • 105. Holy Qur’an: Anfal: 3, Fath: 5, Bara’at:124, 125; Mujadala: l2, Ahzaab: 22, Baqarah: 261, Ale-Imran: 173, Waqe’ah: 8-l0, Muddaair: 31, and Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 69; chapter 32 - “Levels of Faith and realities pg. 154 and chapter 33 - “Tranquility and spirit of Faith and its excesses and deficiencies pg. 175.