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WHAT DOES KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS DIFFERENT FROM KNOWLEDGE OF HIS EXISTENCE MEAN?

  • The parable designed in the Introduction to the Twenty-second Word in order to show the difference between an apparent belief and real belief in the unity of God is enough to understand the meaning of that saying. You can also refer to the First and Second Stations, and Aims of the Thirty-second Word.
  • Since the explanations of the scholars of methodology and theology concerning the principles of the Islamic creed and Existence and Unity of the Necessarily-Existent Being are not sufficient in the view of Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi to establish the essential reality, he wrote that to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi.

Indeed, the knowledge of God acquired through theology is not perfect and thereby does not give satisfaction. If the necessary information is given in the way followed in the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, then it will suffice to give both perfect knowledge and complete satisfaction. I hope that each treatise of the Risale-i Nur collection functions as a lamp on the illuminating highway of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition.

Also, in the same way that (in the view of Muhy al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi) the knowledge of God which Fakhr al-Din al-Razi gained through theology is imperfect, the knowledge gained through the way of Sufism is so too, when compared with the knowledge acquired directly from the Wise Qur’an through direct inheritance to Prophethood. For in the way of Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi, some belonging to his school have gone so far, in order to gain a permanent satisfaction, as to deny the existence of the universe in their assertion that there is no existent but He. While some others have, again so as to gain a permanent satisfaction, followed a strange way and completely ignored the creation in their proposition that there is no witnessed but He. As for the knowledge acquired from the Wise Qur’an, besides giving a perfect and permanent satisfaction, it neither condemns the universe to non-existence nor ignores it with total indifference. Rather, it elevates the universe from being chaos to the rank of cosmos, and employs it in the name of God Almighty. Thus, each thing becomes a mirror to the knowledge of God, as Sa’di al-Shirazi says:

In the view of the discerning people, each sheet of the book of the universe opens a window on the knowledge of God Almighty. 

Elsewhere I have explained the difference between the way, obtained from the Qur’an, and the way of theologians, by means of the following comparison:

There are two ways to supply water for a town: one constructing canals or drainage by digging through hills to carry water from a great distance; the other obtaining water by digging wells everywhere. While the first way is very difficult and laborious, the other is easy for those capable of doing that. It is just as in this comparison that, by interrupting the chain of ‘cause and effect’ at some point in the past – on the premise that a never-ending chain of ‘cause and effect’ is inconceivable because it demands at the very beginning a Creator of that chain of causes – theologians go a long distance in order to demonstrate the existence of the Necessarily-Existent Being. But there is an ‘inexhaustible source of water’ everywhere along the highway of the Qur’an. Each Qur’anic verse can, like the staff of Moses, make ‘the water of life’ gush out wherever it strikes, and demonstrates the truth, In each thing there is a sign showing that He is One.

Besides, belief is acquired not only through learning; it should also be imbibed and appropriated by many other faculties of man. As food is distributed, after digestion in the stomach, among all the members of the body in different ways and doses, so also are the matters of belief, after being received by intellect through learning, assimilated by the spiritual faculties such as the spirit, heart, soul and other innermost senses according to the need and capacity of each. If any of them does not receive its share, belief cannot be perfected. It is this point which Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi brings to the attention of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi.

 

 

Last Updated on April 6, 2002

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