From the Kitab al-Isharat, III.7.25:

Admonition: Do not let it occur to you that happiness in the Hereafter is of a single kind. And do not let it occur to you that it is not attained at all except through perfection in knowledge, even though that makes that kind the noblest. And do not think that the various sins sever the bond of salvation. Rather, what subjects to eternal destruction is a type of ignorance and what exposes to finite punishment is type of vice and a certain degree of it, which happens to only a few individual people. Do not, then, listen to one who restricts salvation to a few number and denies it to the ignorant and sinful forever – God’s mercy is all-embracing [7:156 ]. You will hear this further explained [cf. Isharat, IV.8.11-3].



7 thoughts on “Avicenna on salvation in the Hereafter

  1. Salam Sheikh.

    Can you furthur elaborate what the sheikh means by this:

    “Rather, what subjects to eternal destruction is a type of ignorance and what exposes to finite punishment is type of vice and a certain degree of it, which happens to only a few individual people.”


    1. salam.

      briefly, the cause of eternal destruction/suffering, according to the Shaykh, is (1) theoretical imperfection that is (2) accompanied by an awareness of what is one’s own perfection by nature. the vice that causes finite punishment/suffering, on the other hand, is either (3) theoretical, or (4) practical (i.e., moral), or (5) both, imperfection that is not accompanied by (2) i.e., an awareness of one’s specific perfection. and the ‘degree’ of this vice, for the Shaykh, will depend on the extent to which one is attached to the body. rare is the individual who satisfies both (1) and (2).

  2. Brother, thank you for sharing this knowledge. Can you please explain the what you said another way. I do not understand.

    He says “you will hear this further explained.”

    Do you know if he does explain it and what it is?

  3. salam. he elaborates further both at IV.8.11-3 of the Isharat as well as at IX.7 of the Ilahiyyat of the Shifa’. i will do a post one of these days on the nature of al-ma’aad (the Return) according to the Shaykh, God-willing.

  4. salam,
    salvation is not dependent upon perfection in knowledge, because had that been the case so all ignorant believers would have been destined for Hell, which is certainly not the case, salvation is contingent upon the acquisition or possession of true belief or sacred doctrine such as belief in Divine Unity, Prophecy, the Return, Divine Justice and Divine Guidance etc.This minimum degree of knowledge regarding the above mentioned principles or articles of faith is necessary for salvation, but one is not required to become a theologian-philosopher or a mystic to attain salvation, however it must be stated that perfection in knowledge elevates the ranks or standard of the knowledgeable as is also mentioned in the Quran “equal are not the blind and the seeing” etc.

  5. The ultimate happiness & felicity of a soul is dependent upon its ethical or moral perfection, which unlike the natural perfection of the soul is a voluntary act based on the exercise of free-will.The Soul has been encapsulated within the body to seek ethical perfection through the acquisition of sacred doctrine and the performance of righteous actions which cannot be acquired without it due to the weak nature of the soul.The soul through the medium of the physical body acquires sacred doctrine and performs righteous actions thereby acquiring the spiritual effects known as “malaka” that is associated with each action that the soul performs in the material world.It is these spiritual effects that will be the source of felicity or torment in the after life once the soul transcends into the immaterial realm of the Isthmus.When the soul acts through the bodily organs the spiritual effect of the act gets imprinted on the “tabula rasa”.These effects of the soul’s actions performed during its stay in the transient material world will assume a concrete form as either pleasures or pain in the Isthmus

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