Ghazali on Isma’ili da’wa

From the introduction of one of Ghazali’s tracts against the Isma’ilis, entitled Qawāṣim al-bāṭiniyya (ed. Ahmed Ates, in Ilahiyet Fakultesi Dergisi, Ankara: 1954), p. 34 (my translation): Continue reading “Ghazali on Isma’ili da’wa”

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The sufi way is not enough

Averroes, AlKashf ‘an manāhij I.1.65-6, 117 (ed. Al-Jābirī, Beirut: 1997, emphasis mine):

و اما الصوفية فطرقم في النظر ليست طرقا نظرية أعني مركبة من مقدمات و أقيسة. و إنما يزعمون أن المعرفة الله و بغيره من الموجودات شيء يلقى في النفس عند تجريدها من العوارض الشهوانيه و اقبالها بالفكرة على المطلوب (…). و نحن نقول إن هذه طريقة وإن سلمنا وجودها فإنها ليست عامة للناس بماهم ناس. و لو كانت هذه الطريقة هي المقصودة بالناس لبطلت طريقة النظر و لكن وجودها بالناس عبثا. (…). نعم لسنا ننكر أن تكون إماتة الشهوات شرطا في صحة النظر مثلها تكون الصحة شرطا في ذلك لا أن إماتة الشهوات هي التي تفيد المعرفة بذاتها, وإن كانت شرطا فيها كما أن الصحة شرطا في التعلم, وإن كانت ليست مفبيد له

Diversity of discourse in Scripture

Averroes (d. 1198) explains why Scripture addresses its adherents in different ways in the Fasl al-Maqal, II.11-12, 15 (ed. Hourani, Leiden: 1959, emphasis mine):

.والسبب في ورود الشرع فيه الظاهر والباطن هو اختلاف فطر الناس و تباين قرائحهم في التصديق

And tasdiq, he clarifies there, is either burhani (demonstrative), jadali (dialectical), or khitabi (rhetorical).

Two senses of jahl

Avicenna, Kitāb al-Shifā ͗; al-Mantiq, Kitāb al-Burhān (ed. A. Afifi, Cairo: 1965) III.4, 214-215:

Among ignorance (al-jahl), there’s that which is simple (basīṭ), which is merely the absence of knowledge ( ͑adam al- ͑ilm) in the soul. […]. And among ignorance, there’s that which is composite (murakkab), and it is not merely an absence; rather, there’s in it, together with the absence of knowledge, the existence of an opinion that is contrary (muḍād) to it, and it is ignorance by way of possession (qunya) and habit (malaka). […]. And this is only called ‘compound’ ignorance because there’s in it a conflict (khilāf) [with] knowledge and an opposition to it in two respects: the first is that the soul is devoid of knowledge, and the second is that, with its emptiness of knowledge, there has occurred in it the contrary (ḍidd) of knowledge.

Two senses of ‘ilm

Shams al-Din Isfahani (d. 1348), Tasdid al-Qawa’id fi’l-sharh al-Tajrid al-‘Aqa’id (Kuwait: 2012), 772:

Know that knowledge (al- ͑ilm) is [1] sometimes applied and by it is meant the occurrence of the form of a thing in the intellect. It is divided [1.1] into bare conceptualization (taṣawwur muṭlaq) – like our conception ‘the sun’, and ‘the moon, and ‘the intellect’ – and [1.2] into conceptualization with assent (taṣdīq) – like knowing that the world is temporally originated (muḥdath). Assent is a judgment, by negation or affirmation, between two things. And [2] other times [knowledge] is applied and by it is meant certainty (al-yaqīn), and is [as such] a division of assent because it is an assent qualified by jazm, thubāt, and muṭābaqa. [As such] it is not divided into conceptualization and assent that is firmly convinced (jāzim), corresponds (muṭābiq), and justified (thābit); for a thing is not divided into itself and into something different from itself.

The return of the non-existent

Suppose some x comes into existence at t, persists for a while, and then ceases to exist. Question is: can x ‘return’ (yu’ād) to existence, say at t’? Assume that sort of thing can happen. If so, then would also have to return to existence alongside x, insofar as it is a part of what individuates x as x. But in that case, t and t’ would be identical; and therefore, x’s return to existence would be the same thing as its beginning of existence. But that’s clearly a contradiction. And thus, the initial assumption is necessarily false.

Poetic syllogizing

There’s a certain kind of qiyas, the shaykh states in the mantiq of the Najat, 2.1-3, 9 (ed. Danishpazuh, Tehran: 1985), that

 .(…) لا يوقع تصديقاً البته و لكن تخييلا يرغب النفس في شئ أو ينفرها أو يقززها أو يبسطها أو يقبضها

That’s the poetic syllogism; it grants no tasdiq proper, only affective states. Most of tasawwuf amounts to poetic syllogizing.