this partial knowledge, is more deserving of the description ‘like an ass carrying books’(QLXII,5), than one who has no knowledge at all but at least admits his own incapacity andlimitation.
Again, in his commentary on
, Mulla Sadra writesIt may be that a learned and clever man has perfect knowledge of grammar and rhetoric, andability in the art of discursive reasoning (
) and disputing with opponents in the science of
, yet with all this rhetorical excellence he does not hear one letter of the Qur’an as it reallyis, nor does he understand a single word. This is how it is with most of those who are involvedwith mere argumentation (
), who are deluded by the glitter of an illusory wisdom anddeprived of the wine of gnosis contained in the cup of the Qur’an, by their being ‘Deaf, dumb and blind’ (Q. II, 18), because they lack inward perception (
), for which this wordlysensory perception is a mere husk, and by the husk nothing is attained but the husk.
On the other hand, equally if not more limiting in Mulla Sadra’s view is any form of speculativeinterpretation (
the outer meaning of the words of the Book. In fact, heconsiders those who take the ‘outward way’ of understanding the Qur’an, maintaining its imagesat an elementary level of understanding, to be closer to a realisation of the truth (
) thanthose who take the way of
In his commentary on the fourth verse of
,Mulla Sadra explains thatTaking the Qur’anic words away (
) from their well-known and familiar meanings is acause of confusion for those who contemplate them. The Qur’an was revealed to guide God’sservants, to teach them and make things easier for them by whatever means. It was not meant to be obscure or difficult. So it is necessary that the [Qur’anic] words be referred back to theconventional meanings by which they are known among people so that no ambiguity (
)should be imposed upon them.
In his commentary on the words ‘
thumma ‘stawa ‘ala ‘l-‘arsh
(then He seated Himself upon theThrone) in the same verse, Mulla Sadra defines four different exegetical approaches to the
(equivocal verses) in the Qur’an.
There are, he explains, the two extremes of theanthropomorphists (
), such as the Hanbalites on the one hand, and those who interpretmetaphorically (
) such as the Mu’tazilites on the other. Between these two extremes arethose who interpret some verses literally and others metaphorically (or, who are
concerning some verses and
concerning others). A fourth group comprise those whomSadra calls ‘the people rooted in knowledge’ (the
referred to in Q.III,7) whohave protected the the words of the Qur’an from distortion and forgery. They are those whoseinterpretation of things (‘
) mentioned in the Qur’an and
maintains the forms in which