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
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.