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A Foundation for Sh¯ı,¯ı Metaphysics:
Ah.mad al-Ah.s¯
a-˜ı and the Meaning
of ‘Da’ 
idris samawi hamid
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523

Starting from the time of Am¯ıru a˜l-Mu- min¯ın (A), and
based on his teachings and those of his descendants
(the Im¯ams of the Household of the Prophet (S.), his
followers, the Sh¯ı,ah, attached much importance to issues
of metaphysics. In addition, they practiced a pristine (i.e.,
pre-Sufi) mysticism. At the earliest stages neither the
pristine metaphysics nor mysticism of the Im¯ams was truly
systematized, except in the form of collections of traditions.
About the time of the , Abbas˜ı caliph Ma- m¯
un, two
processes emerge. First, the outward presence of the Im¯ams
amongst their followers begins to fade after the death of
the Eighth Im¯am , Al˜ı al-Rid.a¯ (A) (d.  ce), culminating
in the Occultation of the Twelfth Im¯am (). At the
same time, the heritage of Hellenic metaphysics and its
rationalist methodology begins to make a profound impact
on Muslim civilization and the ways of thinking of its
scholars. These two processes, combined with the absence

For the use-mention distinction, we use a single-quote name of a given
expression to mention that expression, and we use a double-quote
name of a given proposition or concept to mention that proposition
or concept.
International Journal of Sh¯ı,¯ı Studies () –
C  by Global Scholarly Publications






idris samawi hamid

of a systematic metaphysics and epistemology, led to a
partial imposition of Hellenic rationalism upon pristine
Sh¯ı,¯ı thought. This imposition of an alien system of thought
in turn appears to have inadvertently yet profoundly
led to the obscuring of much of the foundation of the
pristine metaphysical and epistemological teachings of the
Im¯ams (A).
To expand: The dicta and teachings of the Im¯ams (A)
come in the form of aphorisms, short treatises, speeches and
lectures, and supplications. Many of these were written or
transcribed under difficult circumstances. Partly in order
to preserve themselves, their teachings, and their followers
from extinction by the so-called “orthodox” authorities, the
Im¯ams (A) employed at least two techniques:
• They practiced, and insisted that their followers practice,
something they expressed by the word ‘úe¤K
’, meaning
“dissimulation” or to use Corbin’s interpretation, “the
discipline of the arcane” (Corbin , p. ).
• They also practiced the art of “dispersion of knowledge”
(Haq , pp. –). As opposed to laying out a complete
and systematic exposition of philosophical doctrine and
methodology, the Im¯ams would mention a metaphysical
issue while discussing a legal issue, or discuss a point of
doctrine in a lecture, whose deeper implications may only
be gathered by meditating upon a particular supplication,
whose understanding in turn depends on a verse of the
Qur- a¯n, the understanding of which depends on other
verses including a verse which can only be understood in
light of that original point of doctrine, and so forth.
Thus the Sh¯ı,¯ı system is a very organic and holistic
body of teachings. This raises serious problems for





a foundation for sh¯ı,¯ı metaphysics 
both the philosophical hermeneuticist and the wouldbe systematizer, not only because the corpus of Im¯ami
teachings is so huge—many tens of volumes in fact—
but because of the use of the techniques of dispersal of
information and dissimulation to protect their school from
the attacks of the authorities.
Although the Im¯ams were largely successful in
protecting their teachings, after the disappearance in 
of the Twelfth Im¯am we see the mainstream scholars
of the Sh¯ı,¯ı community gradually placing increasingly
greater emphasis and reliance upon the methods of rational
theology, many of which were derived from Hellenic
thought. Amir-Moezzi (, Ch. ) and Modarressi (,
Ch. ) each has a good description of this trend . Due to the
need to defend their faith in polemics with the Mu, tazil¯ıs
and Aˇs, ar¯ıs, they soon produced great figures in this field.
Unfortunately, when looked at through the eyes of Hellenic
rationalist technique, a significant number of the traditions
of their Im¯ams appeared to be quite irrational. Later
theologians generally bracketed these and focused on those
of the Im¯ams’ traditions which gave support to a system
of rational Ud. This process reached a high point with the
school of systematic theology of Sayh
Muf¯ıd (d. ) and
his student al-Sar¯ıf al-Murtad.a¯ (d. ) .


Amir-Moezzi and Modarressi approach this problem from entirely
different angles (theosophical and legal respectively); nevertheless,
their conclusions are basically the same.
The degree to which major (though by no means all) segments of Sh¯ı,¯ı
scholarship was won over by Hellenic rationalist methods can be partly
gauged from the fact that Far¯
ab¯ı and Ibn S¯ın¯
a both had Sh¯ı,¯ı kings
or princes for benefactors, and Corbin and others have argued that
these two philosophers, while by no means theologians, were themselves
Sh¯ı,¯ı. It is interesting to note that al-Kind˜ı (d. ) knew the Eleventh


).” Later Sh¯ı. a gerund signifying an activity.aydar al-. when translating the traditions of the Im¯ams on the subject of TK?R— translate it by ‘intellect’ or ‘reason’ . Most translators.” When the sources of Greek philosophy were translated into Arabic. Figures like Ibn T. the Arabic term ‘TK?R’ was chosen for the job. Amul˜ ı (died after ) and Ibn Ab¯ı Jumh¯ ur al-Ah. while others like H. Sayh Ah. Unfortunately. ) kept the tradition alive in a purely Sh¯ı. H . Ch. Although pristine Sh¯ı. intellect). The subversion of the thought of the Im¯ams through Greek rationalism as well as Sufism was a key concern of ˇ a later thinker. Askar˜ı (d. a word was needed to express the Aristotelian notion of the “nous” (reason.¯ı thought remained on the sidelines of mainstream Sh¯ı.¯ı ¯ doctrinal context. 64 . a project just as fraught with difficulties as that of its integration with rationalism. I say “unfortunate” because as time passed. For some details about the impact the rationalist. –) and Ni. –) and others sought the integration of pristine Sh¯ı. matull¯ah al-Jaz¯a’ir˜ı (d. ). see The Divine Guide in Early Sh¯ı.s¯a-˜ı (d.¯ı scholasticism. Arab˜ı.¯ı theology. eventually came to understand ‘TK?R’. ).¯ı thought with the theosophy of Ibn .mad al-Ah. as a substantive meaning the substance “reason” or “intellect. virtually every school of thought in Muslim civilization. asan al-. It is our ˘  64 Im¯ am. whether or not it was sympathetic or hostile to Greek philosophy. it never died out.s¯a-˜ı (d.64 64  idris samawi hamid An example of the subversion of pristine Im¯ami metaphysics by rationalism can be found in the concept “TK?R.ism (Amir-Moezzi . Neoplatonic interpretation of TK?R had on the later development of Sh¯ı.¯ı thinkers. when reading the works of the Im¯ams on TK?R. tended to interpret it as a purely rational faculty.a¯w¯ us (d.

and continues to produce outstanding exponents. ) . 65 .mad worked two centuries after ˘ Mull¯a S.s¯a-˜ı was a marja . He wrote extended˘ studies (misleadingly called “commentaries”) on   65 Historians have estimated that.mad the school of Mull¯a S. ˇ With Sayh Ah. .mad was not formally trained in the school of ˘adr¯a. ˇ In particular. ˇ ¯-˜ı and sayh ah.a˜t) (Ah. p ). Of course the philosophical tradition remains alive in the lands of Eastern Isl¯ am.mad belonged to the period of Muslim scholasticism that stemmed from the work of both the kal¯ am theologian e -D¯ın R¯az¯ı (d.mad certainly interacted with it. ) and the last great philosopher Fakhru al e -D¯ın T. ). during Mull¯a S .¯ı world ˇ and Sayh Ah.u in the post-Hellenic tradition.adr¯a (d.) ˘ in matters of ritual and practical law (ˇsar¯ı . Nas.mad al-Ah.¯ı metaphysics  ˇ contention that Sayh Ah. and˘important philosopher of the early nineteenth century. ˇ the lifetime of Sayh Ah. is still the last major original metaphysician of Western philosophy.adr¯a was ˘ the predominant school of philosophy in the Sh¯ı. yet they virtually all operate in the context of one of the traditional metaphysical systems. scientist.mad’s work represents the most ˘ sophisticated attempt to realize a systematic account of the philosophy and mysticism of pristine Tashayyu. fully one ˇ fourth of Iran followed Sayh ˘  Da ˇ Sayh Ah. The latter was both a mystic and a systematic rationalist whose influence is to be felt in Eastern Isl¯am up to this day.¯ıru al ¯s¯ı (d. . Sayh Ah. nor did he adhere to it. Sayh ˘ Ah.mad as its source of emulation (marja . ˇ Sayh Ah.mad al-ah. Of course. at the time of his death.mad ended the cycle of the great and profoundly˘ original philosophers of traditional Muslim ˇ civilization. –). a cycle that began with al-Kind˜ı (d. for example.65 65 a foundation for sh¯ı. mystic.s¯ a-˜ı . The same is largely true in the West as well: Whitehead.

Sayh Ah. 66 .66 66  idris samawi hamid a number of works of both Mull¯a S.mad would do the opposite. In fact. then applying the first principles and methodology so discovered to the problems of traditional ˇ philosophy.¯ı thought. For example.sin Fayd. mad’s ˘  66 With one exception.mad’s approach ˘ to a foundation for pristine Sh¯ı. Yet his conception and practice of philosophy or Da was in many ways incongruous with those of the “official” peripatetic and ishr¯ aq¯ı schools.mad on the part of much of the traditional scholastic˘ establishment. ˘ That exception is Henry Corbin. Sayh ˘ Ah. This led to the accusation that Sayh Ah. . Sayh Ah . His method ˘ of approaching the teachings of the Im¯ams consisted in part phenomenologically.mad ˘ ˇ did not understand traditional philosophy.adr¯a and those of the latter’s son-in-law. This has led to sometimes bitter ˇ misunderstandings of Sayh Ah. in the course of many years of research I have not found a single modern Eastern or Western scholar give anything ˇ approaching a profound discussion of the philosophy of Sayh Ah.mad understood traditional philosophy very well but to some degree ingeniously and creatively subverted it (`a la Hegel). has been subject up to now . We hope this article serves to pave the way for more than the superficial analyses of his thought to which academia. instead of subverting the language of the Qur. ˇ In this article we will discuss Sayh Ah. both East and West.a¯n and the Im¯ams (A) to fit rationalist first ˇ principles.mad. Our primary source for this discussion is al-Faw¯ a -id alˇ ˜ H ikmiyya t (The Wisdom Observations). Mull¯a Muh. This was with a view to providing a systematic yet authentic foundation for pristine Sh¯ı.¯ı thought through his definition of the concept “Da” or “metaphysics”. K¯ash¯an¯ı.

with some commentary ˇ and analysis. invites a number of questions. As an alternative and replacement of pure rational analysis. References to Sayh Ah.” In this article we will explore this concept (  Da ˇ and try to find out exactly what Sayh Ah. 67 . we see that the very expression.s¯a-˜ı takes issue with the methods of rational analysis employed by these schools to reach their goal i. ˇ Sayh Ah. is available (Hamid. In particular.. cognizance of God and reality. A preliminary version. ‘proof of Wisdom’.mad’s ˘ edition own commentary on the Faw¯ a id are based on the Tabriz (Ah.mad means by ‘wisdom’ and by ‘the proof of Wisdom’. and that there is a method of proof specific to it. ). ).mad expresses ˘ his dissatisfaction with the then prevalent modes of investigation in the sciences that pertain to cognizance of the Divine (úe¤=/ E!?ƒ).mad proposes what he calls “the proof of Wisdom ˘  TeR). does the author mean there is a science called “Wisdom”. al-Ah.s¯ a-˜ı.e. or does he mean that ‘Wisdom’ is the name of a kind of proof? Based on the author’s own commentary on the Faw¯ a -id and other statements of the author.˘ Upon preliminary observation. it appears that sometimes  67 To be published soon. ˇ At the outset of the Faw¯ a -id. Sayh Ah.¯ı metaphysics  philosophical epitome which we have critically edited and translated . including the following: • What is Wisdom (Da)? • What is a proof (TeR)? • By the expression ‘proof of Wisdom’. inclusive of philosophy (G'SGR) and theology (UeR).67 67 a foundation for sh¯ı.

.  68 Üú™ WžO™R T™eR™ž™ PžR™¦ Y§bO§dž až Þ. it was also used as an ellipsis for ‘úe¤=/ Da’ i. . and sometimes. For example. In this regard. immediately upon the author’s first use of the expression ‘Da TeR’ in the main text. .” Now we mean by ‘Da’ that Wisdom which is. ‘Da’ is used.. metaphysics. I now say: Sometimes. by ‘Da’ is meant “theoretical wisdom (úe¤WS?R Da)”. both theoretical and practical. ) I said: [We will accomplish] this [task] through the proof of Wisdom.e. that branch of philosophy that pertains to divinity i. he says in the commentary: (Ah. p. One of the most common uses of ‘Da’ among the learned was as a synonym for ‘G'SGR’ (‘philosophy’).. In the First Observation of the Faw¯ a -id. “practical wisdom (úe¤SW?R Da). . in this case. at once.68 68  idris samawi hamid he uses the word ‘Da’ in the sense of method and sometimes in the sense of a science. but for that science to which the method applies. not for the method. By means of it one becomes cognizant of Allah as well as cognizant of that which is there besides Him.s¯a-˜ı . the author says that the “proof of Wisdom” . From this passage in the commentary. is an instrument of the sciences pertaining to the real. it appears that. .e.

§SJ§ až Üú§ e¬S™Wž?žR ú§ WžO™R _ž™ §"žd§ Jž až ú§ e¬W™S?™ R ú§ WžO™R _ž™ §"žd§ až L§Sž7 § Jž ú§ WžO™R ÞQ§bJ§  ÜÜÜ?ŸVž úž e¬S™Wž?žR až úž e¬W™S?™ R úž WžO™R _ž™ §d"™Z§ \§Zž 68 .

Yet we cannot simply ˇ identify Sayh Ah. So it is plausible to suggest that the “proof of Wisdom” is a tool of metaphysics. Traditional metaphysics ( úe¤=/ Da) is a branch of philosophy (G'SGR) that comes under the Peripatetic category of theoretical wisdom ( úe¤WS?R Da). something which does not fit exactly into this categorical scheme. Here we see a more explicit connection between “the proof of Wisdom” and metaphysics.. For he clearly states that what he means by ‘Da’ is something that cannot be classified as only theoretical or only  69 až  ™ !¬ž @žeW™ž Y¬ Ýú™ WžO™R T™eR™ž™ Ýú™ e¬_™R¦% ú™ WžO™R „™ !žƒ¬ ž ž ™ eCž R ҙ Rž>ž \V™ Ý™b§b§R ÜÜÜú¨ e¬F™2ž 1¨h ž ž  Ý1™h ž ! až œ ™ ™ bžžR \žV™ Ý™ ž_ž+¬R 69 .¯ı metaphysics  This statement can be placed into one-to-one correspondence with the traditional division of metaphysics into general (úV¤ åV ) and specific (ú. are [actually] correlational accidents.69 69 a foundation for sh¯ı.e. Commentary on the ˇ Hadith of Kumayl. what is “real. . . p.mad is more explicit: (–. Sayh Ah. through the proof of Wisdom (Da TeR).¤­ åV ). of both the invisible and invisible realms. . . General metaphysics deals with the problem of determining what there is (“that which is there besides Him”) and with the classification of what there is i. Our author has something else in mind. it has been firmly established in metaphysics (úe¤=/ Da).mad’s science of “Wisdom” with the ˘ traditional scholastic science of metaphysics that goes under the same name. including [what are traditionally classified as] substances and accidents. . ) . ˘ vol. . In the course of a treatise.” Specific metaphysics deals with the problem of God and theology. that all of the motes of existence.

‘Da’ appears to have been a close 70 70 . within the context of a larger question. In early Arabic. • What kind(s) of proposition is (are) the subject of Wisdom? • What are the first principles of Wisdom? the ambiguity of ‘Da’ As we indicated above. “What is the proof of Wisdom”. • The science of Wisdom is not identical to metaphysics in the traditional scholastic sense. “What is Wisdom?” Determining the intension of ‘Wisdom’ will involve answering the following: • What is the aim of Wisdom? • What is the object of Wisdom? • What is the method of Wisdom? Under this heading we will discuss the “proof of Wisdom” proper. The foregoing preliminary observations indicate the following: ˇ • Sayh Ah. the word ‘Da’ is very ambiguous.70 70  idris samawi hamid practical. Yet there can be little doubt that what the author has in mind is in fact a metaphysics of some sort. we will approach the question. • The proof of Wisdom deals with topics which are clearly metaphysical. On the basis of the foregoing. but not both.mad does have in mind a science called “Wisdom” ˘ to which the “proof of Wisdom” applies.

Whomsoever has been granted Wisdom has surely been granted abundant goodness. We gave Luqm¯ an Wisdom.” According to Lane. which means “knowledge. the seventh Im¯am M¯ us¯a al-K¯az. the T¯ aju a ˜l-. one of the earliest authorities. the D referred to here is cognizance of the Im¯am and obedience to God. As Hellenic literature was translated into Arabic.” The S. Another verse which speaks of ‘Da’ is :: He grants Wisdom to whomsoever He wills.a ¯h. When asked about the meaning of the verse.Ur¯ us defines ‘Da’ to primarily mean. defines it as simply “knowledge (XS?R). (Q :) .r¯an˜ı n.a¯n and in sayings of the Prophet (S.. ‘Da’ became synonymous with ‘G'SGR’. In the category of practical wisdom (úe¤SW?R Da).im said that what is meant is that he was given “consciousness-awareness (TK?R) and understanding (X_GR)” (Bah.” The word ‘Da’ is also used in the Qur. “What prevents. ). And surely.   71 ÜÜÜúž WžO™R \žW¦KR§ [žÓ ž¦ KžRž až bR§a iÜ ¬  "§N¬ ¬ dž Vž až Ü¡Ÿ ™Nž ¡Ÿ ž ž ™ a KžFž úž WžO™R žd° \Vž až ܳÜ +žÙ¬ \Vž úž WžO™R ™ d§ ÜžR! 71 .. Aristotle’s ‘sophia’ was translated by ‘Da’. [or] restrains.¯ı metaphysics  synonym of ‘XS?R’. Vol .. So as a technical term. And none are mindful except those who possess kernels of consciousness . the word ‘Da’ also came to be synonymous with ‘medicine’ (‘ ¤ 7¤R’). According to Im¯am S. .71 71 a foundation for sh¯ı.a¯diq.d. p.ih. Here “the Im¯am” is to be understood as the logos through which cognizance of God is obtained.)and Im¯ams of his family (A). . from ignorant behavior.

nothing else. At the beginning of the ˇ Prologue of Faw¯ a -id. the aim of Da What is the aim of Wisdom. . ) I said: It [rational analysis] does not lead one to the cognizance of things as they are. he goes on to claim that rational analysis is an inappropriate tool for the cognizance of things. Sayh Ah.” In the main text. p.72 72  idris samawi hamid a usage which is common in Muslim lands up to the present day. ).mad states: ˘ After I noticed many of the seekers penetrating deeply into the divine sciences. and what benefit is it supposed to provide? In the Faw¯ a -id.mad says ˘ cognizance that the “intended meaning (b/Kƒ !?ƒ) is the of God. . as he (upon him and his family be the communion of Allah and peace) said: O Allah. make us see things as they are!  72 „™ bK§W¬?ž×ž X_§Z¬ YžbW§^¬bž ždž až ú™ e¬_™R¦% E ™ !™?žWžR „™ YžbK§W¬?ž ždž ú™ žSž7¬R \žV™ ¡Ÿ ™Nž . there are clear indications that the aim and benefit of Da is the cognizance (FiV) of God and of the realities of things. In the commentary he clarifies what he means by ‘the cognizance of things’: (Ah. . and that only the “proof of wisdom” can lead one to that goal.s¯a-˜ı .s¯a-˜ı . and supposing that they have penetrated deeply into the[ir] intended meaning—but which is only a deep penetration into semantics (9GR ).  ˇ In the commentary (Ah. . Sayh Ah. . p.

§d!ž W¬Rž ®  ÜÜÜ¡™ Bž iž 9™GžR! „™ L¨W°?ž×ž bž^§ ažä™b/§KWžR !ž ?WžR 72 .

This cognizance is what he (upon him and his family be the blessings of Allah and peace) asked of his Lord.73 73 a foundation for sh¯ı. when you contemplate it. that He show him those very realities. configurations. and cut off any contemplation of those factors which individuate them and distinguish them. when you contemplate them qua themselves. and positions. it has become abstracted from all indications.™bÙ§ iž až Þ. It is neither an [intelligible] meaning (!?V) or a [psychic] image (å. This is because things. are then abstracted from everything besides their quintessences. since both of the latter entail [some kind of] indication (!*) .  73 WžNž ±Ü ež*! Zž!™ X¬_§Sz Ržê Þç-è QžJž WžNž “ ž ™ WžNž µÜ ež*! ú™ Fž i™ Vž hR¦ T§. A given thing.). and cut off any contemplation of those factors which individuate it and distinguish it. modalities. and relations. When it is purified of all of these.¯ı metaphysics  I now say: The proof of Wisdom leads the one who uses it to the cognizance of the realities (L@Ka) of things (°e* ) in the state in which they really are. [you see it] purified of all aspects.

žè _žRž&ž ™ R¬ “™ž až ܑ™ ! (™GZž Ÿž"¬žV§ .§SJ§ éᓙž „™ `™ eSž>ž “ ž ™ Vž hS¦>ž µÜ ež*! L™EÜ Kžž ú™ Fž i™ Vž hR¦ `? SžWž? ž& \™Vž T§.™bÙ§ ú™ WžO™R TžeR™ž Y¬ ÞQ§bJ§  ݱÜ ež*! Y¬!™ Ý^žd¬ `§d"™d§ Y Ý`> ®!ž \V™ ç`> R™¦ až `™ eSž>ž þ§  ‹¬ .

ZžNž Ý_ž
™§ž ® WžV§ až _ž
™/ž®+žV§ \V™ S
ž ™ §ež \V™ _žeRž žSž Zž ž
™ ž [¬R @™ 7Jž @žVž ݓ
™/ž®+žV§ @™ eW™ ž \>ž S
™ ž [¬R @™ 7Jž @žVž Ý`™ eRž žSž Zž ž ݳ¬ R až Ü_ž
™ažž gb¦&™ Vž T®N§ \>ž
Ý`> S®N§ PžR™¦ \V™ 0žSž­ž ž až Ü
™ e¬G™ eOžR až
™ _ž™R @™ eW™ž \V™ 0žSž­ž Ý`>
™§ž ® WžV§ až
™ 'žÔ® R až
Üž!ž*ž% Wž_™V™ $žS ™&%™ Ÿ!žb.§ iž až !Ÿ ?Vž Y§bO§dž jžFž Ü=™2ža! až
™ Qe= až ™!ž*ž % \™>ž ž"¬ž





idris samawi hamid

What Sayh
Ah.mad appears to be saying is that psychic
and intellectual grasping and perception involve making
distinctions by means of which one can “point to” or
“indicate” (from ‘indication !*’). What one “points to” or
“indicates” in the course of intellectual or psychic grasping
is either a psychic image (å.) of the mundus imaginalis
(Qƒ G) or an intelligible meaning (!?V) of the mundus
intelligibilis (TK?R G). But seeing a thing in its deepest
state, contemplating it in its reality, in that whereby
it acquires its realization, involves bracketing all of its
individuating and distinguishing factors so that one can no
longer indicate it or point at it. Once one has accomplished
this, one can be said to have true cognizance of it. This
cognizance I call “ousiological intuition” and the process
by which one arrives at it I term “ousiological reduction.”
As we shall see, Sayh
Ah.mad considers this reality of
which one obtains cognizance
as the ousia or ground of
all created things. This ‘ousia’ turns out to be coextensive
with ‘existence’ (‘ba’) as well as ‘matter (‘¤V’) and ‘hyl¯e ’
(‘ibe^’), leading to a reversal of traditional hylomorphism .
It appears that for Sayh
Ah.mad, Da contains a
major phenomenological component.
This phenomenology
is a reversal of Husserl’s essentialistic method, whereby
one seeks to bracket existence (eidetic reduction) of a


That is, in the metaphysics of Sayh
Ah.mad, matter constitutes the
active principle of a given created ˘thing, while form constitutes the
receptive principle. This is exactly the opposite of the situation in
traditional Peripateticism, including that of Muslim scholasticism,
where matter per se is nothing but potential. But it allows a truly
ingenious application on the part of Sayh
Ah.mad of Occam’s razor:
namely, the identification of matter with˘ existence, something that
could not work in traditional hylomorphism. We will explore this
˜ ah.
further elsewhere, in ˇsa
¯ -a All¯




a foundation for sh¯ı,¯ı metaphysics 
given thing and intuit its essence (eidetic intuition). By
bracketing, if not denying, the reality of existence, Husserl,
following Kant’s lead (for whom existence was nothing
but a secondary intelligible), is left with nothing but
empty structural phenomena. Being empty, they cannot
lead to any reality outside of his mind. Interestingly, Sayh
Ah.mad’s commitment to uncovering ousia is in consonance˘
with Aristotle’s own claim that the fundamental quest of
metaphysics is the grasping of what exactly ousia is. So in
one sense the aim of Wisdom is analogous to the aim of
metaphysics in Aristotle’s view: the cognizance of ousia.
It turns out that cognizance of God and cognizance
of ousia amount to the same thing. However, this does
not mean, as the Sayh
goes to pains to point out, that
there is any identity whatsoever between God and ousia.
There is also something of a dialectic involved here, for
cognizance of God is achieved through cognizance of the
realities of things, that is, cognizance of the ground or ousia
of things. After cognizance of God has been achieved, one
can “look” at the essences of things through the “eye” of
that very ousia, for it is through ousia that essences are
realized and interconnected, while it is through essences
that ousia is manifested. That is, what we call “eidetic
intuition”, for Sayh
Ah.mad, can be accomplished only by
seeing through the eye of ousia. It turns out that this results
in, by Muslim scholastic standards, a very unconventional
view of essence that we cannot elaborate here. In the First
Observation, Sayh
Ah.mad quotes one of the Im¯ams as
saying, Beware of˘ the penetration of the faithful; for he
contemplates through the light of Allah i.e., through ousia,
not through bracketing ousia. Eidetic intuition can only
come about through ousiological intuition.



Al˜ı ibn Ab¯ı T. [sermon  ]. Given that the aim of Wisdom is the cognizance of God and the cognizance of “things”. In a famous sermon. there is an important subtlety involved. letters. 76 . For ease of reference. Al˜ı is the Nahjul Bal¯ aghah. or aphorism number. ˇ With respect to God. this doctrine lies at the heart of philosophical speculation in Muslim civilization in general.mad. The most important and authoritative collection of the sermons. ˘ especially in the Second and Twelfth Observations. the object of Da Given the foregoing. the first part of the way (d¯ın) is cognizance of Him.a¯lib states. letter. The number of editions of this work are countless. and Sh¯ı.¯ı thought in particular.  76 `? §Fž i™ Vž \™d™R Q§a¬. the Sayh adheres to ˘ the strictest possible negative theology.mad says that ˘ the cognizance of God is the final cause (úe¤@ úS¤>) of all creation. Even the One of the Neoplatonists is not equivalent to the God of ˇ Sayh Ah.mad emphasizes.76 76  idris samawi hamid ˇ In the Eighteenth Observation. the object or subject matter of Wisdom should not be too difficult to discern. . it may appear to follow that the object of Wisdom comprises God and everything else. . In a sense. nous and soul. Such a judgement would be hasty.˜ı. for the One shares the ontological rank of ˘ mundus intelligibilis with at least two others. and constitutes the purpose of creation. that cognizance of God is not cognizance of His Quintessence ( ). compiled by Sayyid al-Rad. Sayh Ah. Nothing shares in rank with the God of Tashayyu. the first Im¯am . God qua God is unknowable and incomparable. and aphorisms of Im¯ am . . we refer to it by sermon. ˇ Following the lead of the Im¯ams. However. Sayh Ah.

hyperousia. who gives this definition in his Kit¯ abu a ˜l-Ta . or genitive case) and indeclension. so how can its quintessential affections be discussed when He (Exalted is He!) has no affections other than qualities which are either. Jurj¯an¯ı. beyond the beyond and yet present.r¯ıf¯ at (Book of Definitions). The subject matter of syntax (b[¤R) comprises words ( . the subject matter (=b2bV) of a science was defined as “that whose quintessential affections [i. the coincidentia oppositorum.bR). goes on to give two examples. theology] is not the Quintessence of God (Exalted is He!). 77 77 . it is not even a “rank” in the strictest sense of the term.77 77 a foundation for sh¯ı. ). The essential aspects of the human body at issue in this science are its states of health and illness.mad ˘ says in his commentary: The subject of the science of the profession of unity (eb ¤R) [i. accusative. This is because [of the following:] The Quintessence of Allah cannot be grasped. ˇ At the end of the Second Observation. the Ultimate ?. p. It is the Deus Absconditus..e. the Unnamable. The subject of the science of medicine ( ¤ 7¤R) is the human body.e.¯ı metaphysics  Indeed. the Sayh Ah. In Muslim scholasticism. the Indescribable. as the theologians claim. essential aspects] are discussed in that science” (Jurj¯an¯ı . and ontology. classification. The essential aspects of words at issue in this science are their declension (taking on the signs of the nominative.. It is beyond categories.

the Aˇs. Yet He is Unknowable: Every proposition about His Quintessence qua Quintessence is a tautology and thus devoid of any information whatsoever. Fundamental to his solution is his breaking  78 iž þ™  žž Y¬!™ hR¦?ž×ž þ™  §ž `? Z¬ YžbW§S®Ož žW§R `§RžJž WžNž ™e™b ¬R ҙ S>™ =§b2§bVž (žÓRž až “™ž š Gž. we cannot give the details in this article.g. of creation itself. propositions pertaining to God are not tautologous. because they affirm that His Attributes are distinct from His Quintessence and coeternal with his Quintessence.mad’s full solution to the problem of ˘ reconciling God’s unknowability with cognizance of Him is original and ingenious. Since they are not tautologous. This leads to what appears at first glance to be a paradox: The aim of Wisdom.™ i¬ `? Rž 1ž!™bž>ž iž hR¦?ž×ž `? Z¬ @žVž Ýú™ e¬ ™ ¬ R _ž2™!™bž>ž \>ž §žd§ H ž eOžFž ÝM§!ž § Ü`? Z§bž[>§ “ ™ VžKžWžR љ Ož a !šž ™> T®O§™ `> ™ž ›§ >ž ž ™ ™ R¬ 78 .78 78  idris samawi hamid • from every consideration. nay.. We will discuss what he means by ‘Stations’ and ‘Designation’ momentarily. ar¯ıs. is cognizance of God. Therefore.k¯ am) pertaining to those Stations which comprise His Designation [and not His Quintessence] . e. they give us information about God’s Quintessence. ˇ Though Sayh Ah. This problem is not as crucial for. His very own Quintessence. So how can one have cognizance of Him at all? This question constitutes the fundamental problem of philosophical Tashayyu . but He is also not the subject of Wisdom.. The main point to be noted here is that not only is God unknowable. • or concomitants (ah.

g. “there is nothing like it”. it involves a series of meditations on the signs ( d ) and impressions (! ) of God around us and in one’s own self. The method by which one obtains cognizance of God through this proposition is that of ousiological reduction.mad. where “it” covers every possible subject of human grasping. God describes Himself by this proposition. e. ) When you abstract ( "¤Q) your self ((GZ) from every thing. Al˜ı is famous for the dictum.¯ı metaphysics  up of this issue into two problems: a phenomenological problem and an ontological one.a¯n. and so that self comes to be so that “there is nothing like it”. surely has cognizance of his ˇ Lord. “There is nothing like It. We will consider the phenomenological problem first. Upon return to the reality of essences and distinctions.. the mystic can only describe this experience in negative terms.79 79 a foundation for sh¯ı.” The statement of this proposition occurs in the Qur. so one should be able to have cognizance of Him through it. Whoever has cognizance of his self ((GZ). one has what mystics generally hold to be an indescribable or ineffable experience. When one reaches that state mentioned by the author where one has transcended both psychic and intelligible indication.s¯a-˜ı . Consider the proposition. Briefly. which we will discuss in more detail in the next section. then your self has come  79 Ü´ž `> S™W™Nž (žÓRž 79 . p. According to Sayh Ah. (Q :) . be it psychic or intelligible. Im¯am . one’s experience of the ˘ cognizance of the self ((GZ) as “There is nothing like it” constitutes one’s very cognizance of God: (Ah. He may say. including resemblance to anything whatsoever.

Due to this. and do not understand from this discourse what the Sufis understand. indeed I am. it becomes a sign of Allah and a mark (Vj>) of his cognizance. And He did not say. In ˘ š U[že™ až ßµÜ ež*! \žV™ ¶ž R™ ú™ SžžWžW§R \žV™ h z ž ¶ž T®N§ \>ž ëPž'žGZž Ýcì _ž ž"¬ž ž ÜÜÜ `? Z¬ . The fact of the matter is that when you abstract your self.mad L¤a bbR Real Existence. so understand and think about it!   80 The category of experience referred to in the above quote ˇ is called by Sayh Ah. “I am God.” This is a clear covering of the truth (N). one of their representatives proclaims. So when you have achieved cognizance of Allah through your self.80 80  idris samawi hamid to be a sign (d ) of cognizance of Him. “We will show them our Quintessence”. For the Sufis say that when you abstract your self this way. This is as He has said (Exalted is He!): We will show them Our signs in the horizons and in their selves until it becomes clear to them that He is the Real. then it is Allah. you have achieved cognizance of the fact that “There is nothing like It.” Understand this.

žFh ž ž Ý_ž™ þž  .

žFh ž ž žFž Ü`> ™Fž i™ Vž úž dž¦ Y§bO§ ž š U[že™ _žZ¬Fž ßé´ž _žS™W™Nž (žÓRžê Y§bO§ ž YžbR§bK§dž X_§Z¬Fž Üú§ e¬F™b/°R `§Wž_™Fž Vž љ jžOžR  ž ^¦ \V™ X_žG ž iž až Ý ž ^¦ X_žF€Fž Ü´ž `> S™W™Nž (žÓRž ܨd° ™ ž ¨ N§  ž ^¦ až ßéZž jžž ßþ§  Zžê ÞX_§S§EÜ Jž Q§bK§dž  ž _¦R™ až Üþ§  fž_™Fž Ý ž Ož^¦ _ž ž"¬ž ž „™ [ž ™dž¦ X_™d¢™ § &žê ÞhR¦?ž×ž QžJž WžNž Ý`> ™Fž i™ Vž úž Vžjž>ž až þ™  úž dž¦ Y§bO§ ž Ý_ž ž"¬ž ž \O™R¦ až až X_žF€Fž Ýé[ž žž X_™d¢™ § &žê ÞTK§dž XRž až ÜéL°žR `§Z¬ X_§Rž ›ž ¬ žÑž dž h z ž X_™'™G§Z „Ü ™ až I™Fži¦ ᠙ ž> 80 .

mad’s system: ˘ • Real Existence (L¤a bbR). • Absolute Existence (LS7ƒ bbR). but not identical. then what exactly is the object of experience. It is the ousia from which everything was made. Yes. ˇ namely. as the author makes clear at the end of the Second Observation. But this category must not in any way be confused with experience of God qua God.81 81 a foundation for sh¯ı. the ontological category ˘ corresponding. It is 81 81 . This proposition relates to something else. It is this “Designation” and these “Stations” which constitute the object of Wisdom. and where does it fit in the ontological scheme of things? ˇ It turns out that for Sayh Ah. It is also an acting. but in a secondary sense.” But the proposition relates to Him only in a metaphorical sense because to posit a relation between God and a proposition in itself compromises his Indescribability. or the Commanding that is the Acting (‰¤?GR ‘ ) of God. If it is not God that one experiences in the category of L¤a bbR. the Acting (T?GR). We see that this ousia is related to both the Acting of God and to all created things. the realization of the propositions of negative theology is achieved. we may say of God that “There is nothing like It.mad calls ˘ the Designation (Yb[?R) of God and the Stations ( VKƒ) of God. On this basis we may now introduce the three most fundamental divisions of existence ˇ in Sayh Ah. this category of experience which Sayh Ah. to the phenomenological category of Real Existence is that of existence qua existence. It is a phenomenological category.mad.¯ı metaphysics  this phenomenological category.

The cognizance of God and of the realities of things depends on an understanding of the relations between these three divisions of existence i. That is. − It may be considered as determined or particularized by something other than itself.. which is devoted to the proof of Wisdom and its distinction from rational 82 82 . is achieved through the “proof of Wisdom.mad. the method of Da Ousiological reduction and intuition. It may be considered from two angles: − It may be considered qua itself.82 82  idris samawi hamid existence totally unconditioned (5¯Ö first ousia. This is existence conditioned by something else (° 5¯Ö bbR). as well as discovering true propositions about those things that constitute the object of Wisdom. the object of Wisdom consists of the contents˘of these three categories. This is existence negatively conditioned (i 5¯Ö bbR). outcomes conditioned by essence. This is the • Delimited existence (e¤Kƒ bbR). ˇ For Sayh Ah. j¤ R bbR). It is a dynamic intermediary between the Acting of God and the particularized outcomes of that Acting. the phenomenological category of Real Existence and the ontological categories of Absolute Existence and delimited existence. This division comprises all of the outcomes of God’s Acting conditioned by something other than existence alone.” In the First Observation.e. It is the Commanding that is the outcome of the Acting (ˆ¤b?Gƒ ‘ ) and the second ousia. delimited existence may be considered qua delimited existence.

mad postulates two sources or “supports” ˘ of Wisdom and three “conditions.mad defines the “support” of the proof of Wisdom to be “that source from which it [i. does not appear to have had any major technical usage ˇ in Muslim scholasticism before Sayh Ah. ).s¯a-˜ı .e. It figures ˘ in neither Jurj¯an¯ı’s dictionary of technical terms.e.” The “condition” of the proof of Wisdom is defined to be that “through which it is realized according to the perfection of what ought to be” i. Wisdom] is obtained. In the Qur.mad... is discussed the support ([Ñ'V) of Wisdom and the condition (5®) of ˇ Wisdom. that which is  83 Üg¦!ž Vž §‘G§R ž ž Nž Vž 83 . And when he loves. then he loves. And the fu’¯ ad did not lie about what it saw . Sayh ˘ Ah.a ¯d¯ıt of the ¯ Im¯ams. On seven occasions it is mentioned along with the faculties of hearing (@Ô¤ R) and seeing (±R). Im¯am S.83 83 a foundation for sh¯ı. So the ancient Arabs surely saw it as a faculty of some sort. that through which it is a cogent ˇ proof. nor even Ibn . although a fairly common Arabic word.a¯diq is reported to have said. In the commentary (Ah. Arab˜ı’s glossary of Sufi technical terms. and once with just the faculty of seeing.¯ı metaphysics  demonstration and moral exhortation. The  F The term ‘F’. In verse eleven we find. Here. The first eighteen verses of sura fiftythree give a description of the Prophet’s own witnessing of God. the F is treated as a faculty of vision.a¯n and in the ah. p.” The two of the proof sources of the proof of Wisdom are the the heart-flux (GR) and the tradition (TK[¤R).mad Nagari’s. Ah. It does occur in the Qur.a¯n it is mentioned sixteen times. “When the light of cognizance becomes revealed in the F (of the servant). Sayh Ah.

vol.¯ı Im¯ams. or the interior of the heart. Lane (in his Lexicon. “There is nothing in the human body more subtle than the F. the two are generally distinguished. under  E).” Lane quotes the T¯ aju a ˜l-. ). according to some.¯ı. Now under the article   . or. as Lane points out. “flaming”. There appears to be no general agreement on the precise relationship between ‘SJ’ and ‘F’.mad.” The primary meaning of the gerund most immediately related to ‘F’. There is no word in English which exactly corresponds to ‘F’. pt. nor which suffers damage as easily . “ardour”. . According to T. whose dictionary Majma . quotes earlier Arabic authorities in lexicography to the effect that the F is so-called because of its G . Now G . .u a ˜lBah. there was a close connection between the F and the SJ heart.s¯a-˜ı –. Lane quotes the T¯aju a ˜l-. so much so that sometimes the words ‘F’ and ‘SJ’ are frequently treated as synonymous. the middle of the heart. “motion” or “putting into motion.urayh. ˘ In ancient Arabic. means “burning brightly or fiercely”.” This primitive significance of F is consistent with the dynamic ˇ role it plays in the metaphysics of Sayh Ah.rayn was in large part based on the traditions of the Sh¯ı. ŸFž .   84 Ü`™ eSž>ž þ™  gbž&™ Vž "¬‘d§ XRž Ý ¬ ž ž až Ü ¬ ž Ý™‘G§R „™ ú™ Fž i™ WžR ³Ü ež2™ hS¦žZ ž až Ü`§[V™ dŸ™ ž °*ž  iž až Ý™‘G§R \žV™ H § 7žR Y™'žÚ% Y™žž „™ ±ž iž až 84 . “being in a state of motion. is. from the same root. “blazing”. However.84 84  idris samawi hamid besides Allah will not occasion any impression upon him”  (Ah. according to some authorities.Ur¯ us to the effect that the heart (SKR) is the °db& or ú¤ (core or kernel ) of the F.Ur¯ us to the effect that ‘ú¤’ is used in the expression. The F is variously considered to be a covering (°+B or °a) of the heart. p.

or inner part of the heart. under the discussion of F. ˇ Sayh Ah. i+V). First. Lane quotes the same source to the effect that ‘°db&’ signifies the heart’s core. a set of objects of cognition. instead of its exterior. and a set of sciences to which that ˇ mode of cognition is appropriate. then the inconsistency disappears and we see that ‘F’ is coextensive with both ‘°db&’ and ‘ú¤’. in effect. said that the SJ is the innermost part of the SJ of the F. under the discussion of the former two.” This is meant to connote that the F is more specialized than the heart itself. the heart (SKR). The point I want to make is that the author of the T¯ aj al-. and the heart-flux (GR). To each of these there corresponds a mode of cognition.85 85 a foundation for sh¯ı. s.mad calls the heart-flux “the highest of all of ˘ of sensation (h+V. meaning. which ˘ is definitely consistent with the view that the F is more specialized than the SJ. he describes the °db& and the ú¤ as each signifying the innermost part of the heart (SJ). Then. and that a notion of motion or flux is fundamental to its meaning.mad works out ˘ some of these correspondences in the course of his section on epistemology in his Observations on the Philosophy of 85 85 . Sayh Ah. he has.mad’s use of ‘F’. “the heart’s core”.” Under the article  a % . If we follow the opinion that the F is actually the interior of the heart. the Sayh says that there are three h+V: the ˘ bosom (!/¤R).” Not counting the man’s loci ˇ five senses. This interpretation ˇ is also consistent with Sayh Ah. Based on the foregoing.Ur¯ us has been somewhat inconsistent. which seems ridiculous. So by describing the SJ as the °db& and the ú¤ of the F. or inner part of the heart. an ontological rank in the Neoplatonic hierarchy. we have translated ‘F’ as “heart-flux.¯ı metaphysics  ‘SKR ú¤’. the black. or “the black. he says that the heart (SJ) is both the °db& and the ú¤ of the F.

and the Twelve Im¯ams from his household. during the course of an attempt to define knowledge. The heart corresponds to certainty (›KeR). For Sayh Ah.1 The three types of cognition. 86 86 . which consists of intelligibles ( ibK?ƒ) or intelligible meanings ( úe¤SK?R ?ƒ) in the intellect or nous (TK?R)..86 86  idris samawi hamid Law. which consists of that which cannot be intellected or perceived by intellectual or psychic differentiation or discrimination. We will discuss the corresponding sciences later. the tradition consists of the Qur.ima˜t. the word of God and the sayings and practice of Prophet Muh. The F corresponds to cognizance (Fiƒ). Tradition The other “support” or source of Wisdom is the tradition ˇ (TK[¤R). mirrored by the imaginal faculty (Qeb). the bosom corresponds to knowledge (XS?R). his daughter F¯at. mode of cognition locus of cognition objects of cognition ontological rank of objects of cognition knowledge bosom forms or images the universal soul certainty heart meanings/ intelligibles the universal nous cognizance heart-flux light of cognizance existence qua negatively conditioned Table 4.mad. which consists of images or forms (å/R) in the universal soul (úe¤b ¤ R (G[¤R).ammad. The accompanying table summarizes the relations between these three organs and faculties.a¯n and the˘ Sunnah i.e. Briefly.

Frequently. and other civilizations. or legalistic demands he finds. one may simply accept everything one reads on faith. what Sayh Ah. China. moral. ignore apparent contradictions or paradoxes. In the West.87 87 a foundation for sh¯ı. p. consistent. philosophies or sets of philosophies. the Sufi theosophical tradition. “tradition” could mean the scholastic tradition. and for which evidence is given as support”(Gracia . there exist bodies of transmitted literature which express. 87 . or any other transmitted body expressive of teachings or doctrines which constitute a philosophy or a set of related philosophies. which seeks to be accurate. ).mad is ˘ attempting is an integration of the sapientia of the representatives of revelation with philosophical speculation and mystical experience. comprehensive. or else to develop a systematic philosophy of their own. If a body of religious literature is at issue. but building upon that which is latent in that body of literature. and simply act out whatever doctrinal. or any of its parts. how does one approach this body of literature in order to express its philosophical content? One may simply read a body of literature and not try to systematize anything. a given philosopher is engaged in both activities at once.¯ı metaphysics  ˇ Placed in a larger context. India. we accept Jorge Gracia’s definition of philosophy as “a view of the world. Given a body of literature potentially expressive of a philosophy or a set of philosophies . In principle. Individual philosophers are interested in studying a given body of literature so as to either systematically express the philosophy or set of philosophies latent in that body of literature. whether potentially or in actuality. Similar  87 For purposes of this discussion.

In the tradition of Muslim civilization. rational analysis constituted the primary tool of investigation. as well as most Western philosophy. while Suhraward¯ı and his followers applied this approach to the 88 88 . In both cases. the body of Isl¯amic religious literature.. say. Another way to approach a given body of literature is to apply some degree or other of rational analysis to both the goal of determining the propositions expressed by the body of literature and to those very propositions themselves. through the method of demonstration through first premises. this method is the preferred method of the philosophers (G&jGR) and the theologians (YbWb ¤ ƒ). especially the later ones. the sources of philosophical speculation are the rational intellect and the philosophical tradition. e. Plato or Confucius. the philosophy latent in the body of literature under investigation. A third way to approach a given body of literature potentially expressive of a philosophy or set of philosophies is to approach it through some form of intuition that is supra-rational. pure rationalists. be it Hellenic or Isl¯amic.88 88  idris samawi hamid scenarios may obtain with a reader of the transmitted teachings of. with the exception of some of the earlier YbWb ¤ V. accepted certain doctrines on faith but still used rational analysis to systematize the philosophy they considered to be latent in. in a systematic way. by and large. The G&jF were. This was the approach of the Sufi theosophists to revelation and prophetic traditions. In the case of the Muslim scholastic theologians. One could say that for post-T. namely. the investigator tries to express.g. The YbWb ¤ V.a¯n and the Sunnah. the Qur. investigating whatever they put their hands on.u ¯s¯ı scholasticism. Given those propositions. one must add the body of purely Islamic literature.

with the F and the Islamic twin sources of revelation and the traditions of the Prophet. and the Im¯ams.mad. it must also be the case that their teachings represent the pinnacles of Wisdom. the translators from Greek and Syriac made mistakes on account of which the philosophers of Isl¯am compounded upon the mistakes of the earlier ˇ philosophers.ima˜t. F¯at. who in turn learned it from the Prophet Solomon. that Plato derived his philosophy from Pythagoras. while keeping the intellect or nous in its privileged position. He approaches the problem by replacing the twin sources of G'SGR. The hermeneutic process is now put in reverse: instead of applying G'SGR to the interpretation and clarification of religious texts. of course. who in turn transmitted it ˇ from the earlier prophets. Aristotle. He justifies this in part by appealing to the legend. Now all of the prophets. and the Im¯ams.89 89 a foundation for sh¯ı. F¯at. intellect or nous and the Hellenic tradition (inclusive of its Muslim representatives). Sayh Ah. Furthermore.ammad. keenly aware of the ˘ of his predecessors to integrate the traditions attempts of G'SGR with that of the sapientia of the Im¯ams.mad claims that then ˘ philosophy became corrupted because Plato.ima˜t. and Stoics occurred. propagated by the G&jF themselves. Philosophical speculation and exposition must therefore begin with them and not with the corrupted baggage left behind by the Greeks. which manifests in this world as the Prophet Muh.¯ı metaphysics  Hellenic tradition. one first seeks to draw the principles of 89 89 .mad was. Aristotelians. received their Wisdom through the intermediary of the Logos. according to Sayh ˘ Ah. So the division of the philosophers into Platonists. and other philosophers added things of their own to the pristine wisdom they inherited from the prophets. Since that is the case. ˇ Sayh Ah.

it is not enough simply to have these sources. . Then one will discover tidbits of truth in one’s self that may be either accepted or rejected. If one refuses to change accordingly and continues to blindly follow preconceptions and preconceived principles. p. one must first respond to the calling of one’s Lord.s¯a-˜ı . –). The first condition for the cogency of the proof of Wisdom “is that you give your Lord what is His due because.” According to the commentary (Ah. the Qur. although the author says in the First Observation that the sources of Wisdom are the Islamic tradition and the F. when you contemplate by the proof of Wisdom. This at least partially explains why. and modifies it to suit his objectives. you are summoning your Lord and He is summoning you to your heart-flux. then the gate will open and cognizance will be attained. ). . the author points out that approaching God with a 90 90 . in order for the “gates to light” to be opened in the F.s¯a-˜ı . If one accepts and follows that light. The use of these sources depends upon three conditions. .90 90  idris samawi hamid Wisdom out of the divine sources and then apply these principles to finding solutions to the problems of G'SGR. p. conditions which he outlines in the First Observation. he makes full use of the terminology of G'SGR throughout the Faw¯ a -id. This requires one to give up all preconceptions and principles and approach the Lord with an empty mind. After all. and mystical experience was nothing new.a¯n and Sunnah are accessible to everyone. In another place (Ah. then the door will not open and the heart-flux will remain “closed” to one. The Conditions of the Proof of Wisdom For the proof of wisdom to be realized.

in one’s beliefs. even the F of an individual will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. one must equally exert oneself in the purification and sincerity of one’s intention so that the only goal whatsoever that one has at all times is to please God. this means that your Lord shows you the proof of Himself in your innermost self and that if this proof is accepted. The last condition is that one cultivate one’s vision through the F until. By “weigh with an even balance”. and if your actions. to contemplating the signs of God “in the horizons and in one’s self”. even for mystics. the author points out that the latter is the condition of practical Wisdom (remember that our author has said that Wisdom is at once theoretical and practical).s¯a-˜ı . Arrogance and boldness are grave dangers.91 91 a foundation for sh¯ı. In another place (Ah. “Then your Lord contends with and overcomes you. through the proof of Wisdom.” According to the commentary. then one can begin to employ the proof of Wisdom and to discover many hidden things. That is better for you and best in respect of the outcomes [of your deeds] (Q :). p.s¯a-˜ı . investigations. and beliefs manifest this acceptance. the author (Ah.a¯n (Q :). in the macrocosm and in the microcosm. The second condition for the soundness of the proof of Wisdom is that one never. with respect to all of the above 91 91 . and proclamation. ). p. ) is saying that one must exert all one’s effort. that is. so weigh with an even balance. discourse. At the same time. Later we read in the text. go beyond what one has knowledge of. Both theoretical and practical Wisdom must be in balance for the proof of Wisdom to be sound.¯ı metaphysics  mind empty of preconceptions and preconceived principles is the condition of theoretical Wisdom. According to the Qur.

but has not provide many details of the process of ousiological reduction. without existence.” According to the commentary (Ah.mad’s entire approach is also very reminiscient of Zen˘Buddhism and Taoism. Sayh Ah. the power of God’s “eye” is only available to those who worship him in ˇ total humility. one cannot conquer the “mountains” or obstacles present in the self. Surely you will walk exultantly never rend the Earth asunder.e. the heart-flux i. in one’s essence. nor will you ever surpass the mountains in height (Q :).e. A good summary though may be found in the author’s Ris¯ alah Ja . p. Every individual has two “eyes”: the eye of essence and the eye of existence.e. the F. Sayh Ah.mad then quotes the verse. To pull all of this together here is beyond our scope. can see the psychically and intelligibly intangible realities of things.mad has described the sources ˘ and conditions of ousiological intuition or vision. Without His aid. the eye of existence qua negatively conditioned. ˇ One wishes that Sayh Ah.s¯a-˜ı .. the Earth is symbolic of essence (úe¤^ƒ). That is. –).mad would have given more ˘ details of the process through which the vision of the F ˇ is attained. The eye of God i. The eye of essence can only see tangible. being.92 92  idris samawi hamid mentioned matters. “Do not ˘ upon the Earth. one sees through the “eye of God” ˇ i. for it is prideful to think that one can operate or “walk” without the guidance of God as manifested through the heart-flux. Almost paradoxically.fariyya˜t or Treatise in Response 92 92 . The ultimate goal is that one be guided at all times by the heart-flux and not by essence.. Many details may be found by combing through some of his other works. ephemeral. Sayh Ah.

it involves the piercing (I") of a total of nine veils (0) of essence.93 93 a foundation for sh¯ı. Become imbued with the temperaments of spiritual individuals. Sayh ˘ . and it will self-manifest to you. XžS?™ R \™O™R¦ až ÜXO§eRž §?ž/ٞ 1™!! „™ X§S?™ R (žÓRž až ÜXO§eRž Q§¨™ ežFž µÜ Wž'¬R „™ X§S?™ R (žÓRž ÜXO§Rž "§_ž. and which may ˇ serve to summarize the Sayh ’s approach: ˘ Knowledge is not in the Firmament. p. These veils roughly correspond to the vertical hierarchy of existence qua conditioned-by-something. so that it may descend down towards you. vol. Nor is knowledge in the Earth. quotes an interesting h.s¯ . One pierces these veils through a discipline that involves a series of forty-day ˇ cycles of intense meditation and worship. In this vein. Basically. .ad¯ıt of Im¯am Al˜ı. knowledge is created as a disposition within your hearts. Rather.    93 See al-Ah. The process of “ousiological reduction” the author calls “H+N ” (“uncovering”).far . The first fourteen and one half lines (ending in the word ‘a’) have been taken from the beginning of the immediately preceding treatise and placed at the beginning of the Ris¯ alah Ja .¯ı metaphysics  to Questions of M¯ırz¯ a Ja . ). A printed edition (not critical) of this treatise may be found in Ras¯ a’ilu a ˜l-H a-˜ı . Such sloppiness is really unforgivable. ikma˜t (Ah.dž ›ž e®— Z™¬ž a"°R I™jž­™ bK§S¬ž ž ÜXO§™bS§J§ „™ Q¨b§Vž 93 . The names of the two treatises are also reversed.fariyya˜t. p. pt. ). Be warned that the editors of this recent collection of some of the author’s works accidentally placed the first fourteen lines of this treatise at the beginning of the immediately preceding treatise. so that it may rise up towards you. . one reminiscent ¯ of a very Socratic approach to knowledge.s¯ a-˜ı (–.

s¯a-˜ı . Examining this may help to clarify the nature of the proof of Wisdom.s¯a-˜ı . if you are wrong. In the commentary (Ah. XRž ÝK™ ž?מ XRž Y až Ü`> ™žbK§>§ \V™ eŸ™Zž PžZ™bNž „™ P¬*ž jžFž Ý?ŸÚ™ . the author gives examples of these three proofs. If. but neither certainty or cognizance.   94 ˇ Note that Sayh Ah. –): If you believe that you have a creator. pointing out the differences between them. In other places. from the proof of argumentation in the best way (\' “ R¤ Rc) one acquires knowledge (XS?R) . then you have no way of being sure that. covering both this sense of ‘XS?R’ as well as that of ‘Fiƒ’. you will be free of His wrath. The goal of Wisdom is the cognizance of God. pp. then one goes about it something like this (Ah. you choose not to believe in Him. his use of the term is more general. then you can be sure that you will remain free of His wrath.mad uses ‘XS?R’ in two different ways: when used alongside ‘›KeR˘’ and ‘Fiƒ’.ž PžRž Y¬ žKž ž> Y™ @žVž i¬ ™ž[¬R€™ @§7KžR PžRž T§/§dž jžFž ÜPžž ® ?žÙ§ Y #§b§dž Tž Ý`> ™žbK§>§ \V™ Pž ™ž[ž™ @7žK ž 94 . –). each corresponding to one of the three types and loci of cognition.94 94  idris samawi hamid the nature of the proof of Da ˇ Sayh Ah.mad considers there to be three kinds of proof (TeR˘¤ R). The only way to be assured of salvation is to believe in God . He may very well punish you. Rather. it has the particular definition we discussed in the previous section.>bƒ) one acquires certainty (›KeR). From the proof of Wisdom one acquires cognizance (Fiƒ) and Wisdom. from the proof of good exhortation (['a . If one tries to reach this by means of the proof of good exhortation. p. however.

Both alternatives are absurd . and an ingenious enough opponent can probably find a way to wiggle himself out of any rational proof of the existence of God. If not. It does not create certainty. ): If it is the case that among existents there is a preeternal creator that is uncreated. This is a very abbreviated version of a popular proof of the existence of God based on contingency and the impossibility of an infinite regress or circle of causes.s¯a-˜ı . According to our author. it is designed only to silence an opponent.95 95 a foundation for sh¯ı. it will not give you cognizance of God. p. one does not obtain real cognizance from this kind of proof. then the existents [as a whole] must have a Fashioner because it is impossible: • that they bring themselves into existence. An example of the use of the proof of argumentation in the best way is as follows (Ah. Rational proofs of God’s existence have been offered  95 ÜhR¦?ž×ž ]> ™b§a§ ™Kž ™> ¬§ jžFž Ýi¬ až ÜhR¦?ž×ž  ™ žb§bWžR „™ YžNž Y § ™bžR . • that they exist without something to bring them into existence.¯ı metaphysics  Although one may obtain salvation by submitting to the proof of good exhortation. then that establishes the existence of the Necessary Existent (Exalted is He!).

ž \V™ _žRž 95 .žÐž ž ÝIšbS§Wž™ (žÓRž až ÝL¨R™­ž X¨d™Jž ÜQ¨žV§ ›™ _žbžR jžN™ až Ü_žRž š™bV§ ¡™ Cž ֙ žžbק a _ž'žGZž ž™bק Y T§e™ ž'ٞ  @š ڙ .

even though it is not possible to reach cognizance of it except through its act of selfmanifesting. This is because that which selfmanifests is more manifest than its act of selfmanifesting. yet the equally rationalist skeptics never seem to go away. So you may say: “O stander!”. presence.96 96  idris samawi hamid by major philosophers from Plato to G¨odel. not the act of standing. through his act of self-manifesting to you through 96 96 . and images in mirrors. Similar is the subsistence of rays through sources of light. or evidentness than that which selfmanifests with respect to the act of its selfmanifesting. in the very act of standing. that is. This is like the case of speech: it subsists through the speaker by means of processional subsistence. Thus. UeJ). although it is not possible to reach [cognizance of] him except through the act of standing. ˇ As an example of the proof of Wisdom. things constitute a self-manifesting of the Necessary to them and through them. This is because He (Exalted is He!) does not self-manifest through His essence. Otherwise. Now nothing is more intense in self-manifesting. This is because. He would differ from state to state. It makes use of his unique ˘theory of subsistence which we will not discuss in detail here: Every impression resembles the actional quality of its agent. Consider the acts of standing and sitting. or “O sitter!. by means of processional subsistence (ä. The stander is more manifest. Sayh Ah.mad offers the following. through its acting. it subsists through its agent.” You are only referring to the stander. than the act of standing itself.

initially. he [in effect] prevents you. which is from the proof of Wisdom. [This is the case] unless you focus on the act of standing itself. more manifest than anything.¯ı metaphysics  the act of standing.e. He (Glorified is He!) is.™ `§™+žÙ§ "šž T¬N§ Y¬ !§b_§:§ “™ž ³Ü ež*!€Fž Üdž"žWžR „™ !™bž/°R až Ý ™ ¡ž [™W§R€™ ú™ ?¬*™!€Nž až ß!ša§.§ UžežJ™ Ý`> S™?G™ ™ Ýc Ý`> ™ X¨EÜ Jž `? Z¬ až Ü]> "™®‘V§ úž Gž.  97 `? Z¬Fž Þљ jžOžR€Nž Ü!ša§. this type of inference].§ UžežJ™ ҙ S®Ož žW§R€™ X¨EÜ Jž Ü]§ žRž¬ž . So by means of this inference. for the one who has cognizance. in which case the stander through the act of standing becomes hidden from you. and it cannot occur through [a proof] other than this at all . cognizance [of Allah] occurs.97 97 a foundation for sh¯ı. from witnessing the act of standing [itself]. so that it comes to be that which manifests You? So through it [i. This is like what the Chief of the Martyrs [Im¯am Husayn] (upon whom be peace) has said [in the course of a supplication]: Can something other than You have an act of self-manifesting which You do not have..

§™ `? Z¬!™ Ýљ ežK™ R iž ÝXžEÜ KžR ™ ?מ WžZ¬ .°bž ¬R \§O™Wd§ iž YžNž Y až Ý]> !™b_§:§ ÞQ§bK§ žFž Üљ ežK™ R€™ i¬ `™ eRž T§.°bž ¤R \§O™Wd§ iž YžNž Y až Ýљ ežK™ R \V™ љ ežK™ R „™ "§_ž: XžEÜ KžR Ýљ ežK™ R€™ PžRž ]> !™b_§.¬R \žV™ ZŸežž až !Ÿb3§§ až !Ÿb_§:§ ¬*ž  ´ž Y§bO§dž iž až Y¬Fž Ü™b?§K§R až љ ežK™ R TžV™ Ý]> !™b_§.dž iž hR¦?ž×ž `? Z¬!™ _žRž _ž™  ™ ™bžR \V™ "§_ž: œ ž ™ .¬R Y¬!™ ]> !™b_§:§ „™ œ ™ ™ .GžSž žޞ Ýi¬ až ß`> ™ ž ™ "§_ž.§™ i¬ `> ™Fž i™ Vž hR¦ T§.

žZFž Üéá>™Jž džê až ÝéáXEÜ Jž džê X§EÜ KžR Pž[>ž  § ™ žežFž Ýљ ežK™ R (™GZž hR¦ .

°R \žV™ Mž¡™ Cž R™ Y§bO§dž ê Þљ jž'¬R `™ eSž>ž µÜ ž_ž+°R §e®&ž QžJž WžNž ݶž 97 . љ ežK™ R žž^ž+žV§ Pž[>ž  ž e¬Bž Üљ ežK™ R€™ T®N§ \V™ "§_ž: E ™ !™?žR ž[>™ `? Zžž&§ Y§bO§dž Ýú™ WžO™R T™eR™ž \V™ bž^§ c ™ R¬ Q™iž ™&%  ž _¦™Fž h z ž PžRž (žÓRž Vž !™b_§.žG™ žS ž Y i¬ ßjŸ.

in contravention to the Qur. through the proof of Wisdom.W§R bž^§ Y§bO§dž 98 98 . but through a field of activity or act of self-manifesting which reveals His presence. For ˘ mad. not unique ˇ to Sayh Ah.mad or to Muslim mystics for that matter. for the heart-flux is “the highest of all loci of cognition. that he or she is God.a¯nic verse which commands the opposite and which threatens to hold even one’s vision through the heart-flux to account.” One has cognizance of a standing person not through his quintessence. the existence of God is no less obvious to the heart-flux than the existence of someone standing is to the eye.98 98  idris samawi hamid The crux of all this is that. ]> ¡™ Cž ֙ T§/§ ž iž až ú§ K¬žR ú§ Fž i™ WžR `> ™ T§/§ ž až éâPžRž "§_™. however. ˘ fountain of revelation and in purity of intention. or whether there is such a thing as sight. the heart-flux has cognizance of God. then he or she is no different from any of the blind men arguing about the elephant. The object of the proof of Wisdom is not to silence the opponent but to see the realities of things with the heart-flux just as one sees the appearances of things through the five senses as well as psychic and intelligible grasping. in the otherwise one may “follow that of which one has no knowledge”. The mystical experience which constitutes one of the grounds of the proof of Wisdom is. Without proper grounding. but through the field of activity that constitutes his act of standing by which the stander manifests himself to one. not through His Quintessence. this experience must be grounded ˇ Sayh Ah . or other pantheist ÜjŸ. If someone argues with one who has achieved cognizance of God or something else through this proof. Similarly. someone may come up with the notion that all is God. of course. In fact it is more obvious.

Because revelation is God’s Word.99 99 a foundation for sh¯ı.mad’s metamystical interpretation of the proof ˘ is propositional. A logical proof is communicable only to those capable of the epistemic act of reasoning. So we must be careful to distinguish the proof of Wisdom proper from its propositional expression. but other mystics could learn from it and would-be mystics could be given some idea of what to look for as they pursue the goal of Wisdom. a metamystical interpretation of the vision of the heart-flux. 99 99 . Of course. The example Sayh Ah.mad’s metamystical interpretation of cognizance ˘ through the heart-flux. Similarly. He applies this in his correspondence of. A principle that he applies but does not state is what I call the cosmological correspondence principle: the cognizance of a higher level of existence can only be accomplished through the cognizance of a lower level. In the example given above one of Wisdom sees both the statement and application of first principles. grounding the experience of cognizance in His Word will help shield the mystic from antinomian behavior and from describing God and His relationship to the world in ways which contradict how He Himself has described Himself. in fact. not just any mystical philosopher could come up with ˇ Sayh Ah. ˇ Sayh Ah. Although probably few of us could have come up with G¨odel’s incompleteness theorem on our own. this is also true of a logical proof: its expression must be distinguished from the epistemic act involved in a proof.¯ı metaphysics  notions. given the proper tools many of us could follow his proof to the end and rationally concur with its cogency. One principle he states is that every impression resembles the actional quality of its agent. The question of metamystical expression and interpreˇ tation is important here.mad gives ˘ above as a proof of Wisdom is.

mad appears to go further than Suhraward¯ı in his ˘deemphasis of the role of Peripatetic rational demonstration. One notices upon reading the Faw¯ a -id a plethora of paradigms (SV . s. one may interpret the proof of Wisdom as a tool for the discovery of metaphysical and cosmological first principles. analogous to Suhrawardi’s program of grounding rationalism in mystical experience? Indeed. however. p. on occasion. In view of the above. He also applies rational analysis to the answering of objections 100 100 .u a For example. the act of witnessing God through the field of activity that constitutes His act of self-manifesting. Given these general principles.s¯a-˜ı . in the Sarh ˜l-Maˇsa ¯ . But. one may rationally deduce other propositions. visionary (e>) proof which entails necessary and immediate knowledge of that which is inferred (Ah. which may be used to deduce other propositions. propositions of which one has necessary (c ¤ ä²) or immediate (f¤_d) knowledge constitute first principles. apply some degree of rational analysis to the application of his metaphysical and cosmological principles to the solution of problems in G'SGR. Our author does. –).100 100  idris samawi hamid on the one hand. This issue must be studied further. p. with the act of witnessing a standing person through the field of activity that constitutes his act of standing.s¯a-˜ı a. one may ask. ). QV) proffered to serve the purpose of metamystical modeling.” In traditional philosophy. one definition the author gives of the proof of Wisdom is that it is an “experiential (a). he tries to show the inadequacies of the logical theory of predication when applied to the interpretations of the paradigms of the proof of (Ah. ˇ Yet Sayh Ah. doesn’t that turn the proof of Wisdom into a propaedeutic to rational analysis. ˇ .

one outward (œ:) and one inward (\6). Another possible way of characterizing the difference between Peripatetic metaphysical principles and those of propositional models of the proof of Wisdom is to say that the former constitute synthetic a priori principles and that the latter constitute synthetic a posteriori principles.¯ı metaphysics  to some of his positions. By an inward answer. the author appears to mean a deeper application of the proof of Wisdom. ). • is known independently of experience.101 101 a foundation for sh¯ı. but the principles applied require greater philosophical and experiential depth on the part of reader to be understood. repeated application of the proof of Wisdom opens new vistas and horizons to those who continually persist in its application. open ontology (Inada. an ability to accommodate various levels of phenomenological and philosophical preparedness. These degrees of outwardness and inwardness give the proof of Wisdom a certain openness and flexibility. it points towards a dynamic. Rather. One is not trapped within the confines of any one particular axiomatic system. he says that an objection has two answers. the proof of Wisdom is still modelled in a rational manner. On some occasions. As Inada would put it. Now a synthetic a priori principle is a proposition whose truth value • does not depend on the respective meanings of the terms of the proposition. By an outward answer the author means a response based on rational demonstration from propositional principles derived from or consistent with the proof of Wisdom. A synthetic a posteriori first principle is a proposition whose truth value 101 101 . Here.

and the definition of an a posteriori proposition is 102 102 . to acknowledge the existence of synthetic a priori propositions would probably defeat.mad’s program is to ˘ discover the truth values of certain metaphysical principles through ousiological intuition grounded in revelation.102 102  idris samawi hamid • does not depend on the respective meanings of the terms of the proposition. So it is synthetic. for one seeks˘ to discover its truth value through rational deduction. • is not known independently of experience. reject the notion of a synthetic ˇ a priori proposition. say. the proposition is also a priori. Consider the proposition. In the metamystical propositional model of the proof of Wisdom.mad then. Sayh Ah.mad’s psychology.” For Sayh Ah.” The truth value of this proposition depends neither on the meaning of ‘God’ nor on the meaning of ‘exists’.mad.˘and cognizance (Fiƒ) are all rooted in experience. or at least undermine. certainty (›KeR). knowledge (XS?R). In an example like the rational proof of God’s existence ˇ given above by Sayh Ah. “John is standing. not experience. The notion of an a priori proposition is thus difficult to hold. ˇ • In Sayh Ah. presumably inclusive of rational metaphysicians.mad would probably reject it ˘ also. his purpose. the ˘ proposition is synthetic a posteriori. The only difference is the organ of experience involved. Most philosophers today. “God exists. the knowledge of the truth value of the proposition that God exists is just as dependent on experience as the knowledge of the truth ˇ value of. for at least two reasons: ˇ • The whole thrust of Sayh Ah.

and ˇ other writings of Sayh Ah. and cognizance. We will restrict ourselves to mentioning some of the most immediate consequences of these propositions. the end of the Thirteenth Observation). as is his wont. certainty. e.103 103 a foundation for sh¯ı.g.¯ı Im¯ams whenever he can. as well as thought to be known independently of experience.a¯n or traditions.mad. the principles of Da Based on my perusal of the Faw¯ a -id. Our author would probably define a synthetic a priori proposition as something like “a synthetic proposition whose truth value is both only thought to be known in general. especially throughout the author’s later works (See. one’s metaphysical principles remain purely suppositional.” For a precondition of the knowledge and cognizance obtained through the proof of Wisdom is the emptying of one’s self of all preconceptions and preconceived notions.¯ı metaphysics  vague because it does not distinguish between knowledge. These formulae are repeated over and over again. The author summarizes these principles in the form of formulae. he prefers to speak his mind through the Isl¯amic sources of revelation and the traditions of the Sh¯ı. We will not give a detailed analysis of those commitments here. I have come across a set ˘ that appear to include the most of nine general principles fundamental philosophical commitments of the author. Most of them are in the form of verses of the Qur. its commentary.. 103 103 . Until one sees through the proof of Wisdom.

a¯n: We will show them Our signs in the horizons and in their selves until it becomes clear to them that He is the Real 30. this meditation upon the signs of God includes˘ meditation upon the objects of the macrocosm (¡OR G?R) and the astronomical sciences. For example. between ideal and material. but in a more sublime way (E® bV ‹¦>). As one climbs the ladder of existence qua conditioned-by-something. the corporeal aspect becomes more and more subtle. in ascent towards the Divine Will. as well as those of the microcosm (¡C/¤R G?R) and the natural sciences. the intelligible  104 ÜL°žR `§Z¬ X_§Rž ›ž ¬ žÑž dž h z ž X_™'™G§Z „Ü ™ až I™Fži¦ „™ [ž ™dž¦ X_™d¢™ § &ž 104 . This is the ontological principle that functorial relationships obtain between realms in the ontological hierarchy. That is. the cognizance of God depends on the cognizance of the realities of things. each realm shares characteristics that belong to the realm beneath it. disappears. Similarly.mad. and the cognizance of the realities of things depends on the cognizance of God.104 104  idris samawi hamid . whatever is intelligible has a corporeal aspect. This is illustrated by the following verse of the Qur. Whatever is corporeal has an intelligible aspect. According to this principle. [:] ˇ For Sayh Ah. The topological principle. as one descends from the Nous. The principle of ousiological reduction and ousiological intuition. the dualism between intelligible and corporeal. while the intelligible aspect becomes more intense. .

So what is missing (žK™ F§ ) in servitude is found (ž™a§) in lordship. that which is lower depends on that which is higher for realization (LK¤ W). that neither can exist without the other.a¯diq as a formula to illustrate this state of affairs: Servitude is a jewel whose ultimate reality is lordship.a¯diq as the previous principle. no one ˇ can know what this incorporeality means. The codependent origination principle. and finally.105 105 a foundation for sh¯ı.mad us˘ es the following statement of Im¯am S.¯ı metaphysics  aspect decreases in intensity while the corporeal aspect increases. This is an ontological principle that states that whatever is higher in the hierarchy of conditioned existence depends on that which is lower for manifestation (å_:). Nothing is absolutely incorporeal except God. and since all propositions about Him are tautologous.™ Ýú™ e¬™bÖ§ "°R 105 . what is hidden in lordship is attained in servitude . The cosmological correspondence principle. . This may at first glance appear to contradict what was said above to the effect that the proof of Wisdom  105 „™ …ž ™ ž Vž až Üú™ e¬™bÖ§ "°R „™ ž™a§ Ýú™ d¬™b§?§R „™ žK™ F§ WžFž Üú™ e¬™bÖ§ "°R _ž_§[N§ ݨœ ž ž bž ú§ d¬™b§?§R Üú™ d¬™b§?§R „™  ž e. according to which the inference of truths about realms higher in the vertical hierarchy of conditioned existence can not be attained without a knowledge of the state of affairs of the sensible realm. . This is an epistemic principle. This is illustrated by the same saying of Im¯am S. Sayh Ah.

atemporal. So as one applies this principle he should be under the guidance of the light of the heart-flux. saw in the science of mathematics the ideal paradigm upon which an understanding of reality must be based.a¯: Surely those who possess the kernels of consciousness-awareness know that the way of guidance to what is there cannot be known except by what is here! 32 This principle leads to a very interesting dialectical naturalism which no category of metaphysics.  106 á[ž_§^¦ Wž™ i¬ X§Sž?Ù§ iž PžR™[ž^§ Vž hS¦>ž Qžiž ™&% Y¬ ™žR! bR§a XžS™>ž Jž 106 . and Platonists in general. Sensible reality. containing only imperfect representations of these mathematical and other ideal objects. Presumably.mad correctly. This is not the case. This principle is represented by the saying of Im¯am Rid. quasi-rational modeling of the experience of cognizance. and the locus of reality was determined to be in the immaterial. It also has important consequences for Neoplatonic types of philosophy.106 106  idris samawi hamid requires an emptying of the self of all preconceptions and preconceived notions. Based upon the supposedly a priori and ideal objects of arithmetic and geometry. the cosmological ˘ principle is applicable primarily to the metamystical. Neoplatonists. and intelligible realm. Neoplatonists (like Proclus) tried to construct deductive metaphysical systems. can escape. If I am ˇ understanding Sayh Ah. was thus considered to be somehow unreal. not even the world of the nous and the intelligible. the one exercising this principle should already be able to “see” with the heart-flux.

p.s¯a-˜ı b. His proof of the   107 According to some (Swerdlow and Neugebauer . says that the principles of astronomy are derived from metaphysics. ). ˘ there are two sciences most important to the development of metaphysical and cosmological models based on the proof of Wisdom.mad.mad. geometry. .mad. Rather. astronomy ˘ is the science of the macrocosm (¡OR G?R) and alchemy is the science of the microcosm (¡C/¤R Gi).107 107 a foundation for sh¯ı. ). And the interplay of essence and existence at every rank of both conditioned existence and Absolute Existence is modeled on principles of physical ˇ science. Al˜ı to the effect that alchemy (eWeOR) “is the sister of prophecy” (Ah. pp. astronomy was considered as one of the mathematical sciences. 107 . or are to be modelled on. ). ¯s¯ı.¯ı metaphysics  ˇ This is reversed in Sayh Ah. The use of physical science in metaphysics is not ˇ altogether new. initiated ˇ by T ¯s¯ı and studied by Sayh Ah. including alchemy. he tries to apply the principles of postPtolemaic celestial physics to the processes of becoming which he calls essences . and physical science (Ragep . one of the distinguishing features of the Mar¯ aghah school of astronomy. Naturalism “holds that the best methods of inquiry in the social sciences or philosophy are. following Aristotle. This emphasis by our author on physical science in the Faw¯ a -id and in other works of his points to a very naturalistic approach to metaphysics . is an emphasis on the physical .mad would find partial ˘ of physical science in the justification for such a use legendary words of Im¯am . And Sayh Ah. In the traditional civilization to which Sayh ˘ Ah.mad belonged. For Sayh Ah. But our author shows little interest in the structures of astronomical models qua ideal structures. those of the natural sciences” (Schmitt. p.  and ).u ˘ Tu problems of Ptolemy’s models. For our author. These are chemistry (or alchemy) and ˇ astronomy.

al-T. through his theory of the active.” The corresponding gerund is ‘¡ ’. meaning. The causal principle.mad is in ˘ sharp disagreement with Ibn Sina.u ¯s¯ı. Moreover. Sayh ˘ Ah. On this point. This principle states that “every impression ( ) resembles the actional quality (G. on the other hand.) of its proximate agent (dƒR ]¤ V)” . The word ‘¤ V’ literally means “that which occasions an impression. prefers to define these in terms of ˘ “motion” (“N"a”). The words ‘ ’ and ‘¤ V’ are basically coextensive with ‘effect ’ (‘QbS?V’) and ‘cause’ (‘úS¤>’) respectively. This is because a given ¡ would need its own ¡ to come   108 Üdƒ™ ž R ]™£™ ™ ®‘V§ úž Gž. and ‘¤ V’ with ‘agens’ and ‘imprimens’ (see Freytag’s Lexicon Arabico-Latinum. and hence.108 108  idris samawi hamid dual principality of essence and existence rests on what ˇ are fundamentally naturalistic principles. under ! ).adr¯a. The Latins translated ‘ ’ with ‘impressio’. Sayh Ah.mad makes the fateful move of reversing the order of traditional hylomorphism. becoming nature of form.” Muslim scholastics frequently defined the concepts “action” (“T?GR”) and “passion” (“Q?GZ/”) in terms of “¡ ” . Suhraward¯ ı. 108 . all of whom denied the external reality of ¡ qua ¡ . of both action and passion. and M¯ır D¯am¯ad. dynamic nature of matter. even Mull¯a S. They claimed that admitting the ontic status of ¡ would result in circularity or infinite regress. .™ `§™+žÙ§ "šž T°N§ ˇ Sayh Ah.mad. “the occasioning of an impression. This principle expresses at least two ideas: ˇ − That actions are real. and the receptive.

and so forth. With respect to God. Mull¯a S. because. they were definitely aware that their Im¯ams were unequivocal about the separate and distinct reality of actions in general ˇ and God’s Action in particular. − That whatever characteristics which are manifest in a given outcome of acting (Qb?GV) are latent in the acting (T?F) from which the outcome of acting originated..109 109 a foundation for sh¯ı. sides with his predecessors on the issue of a separate Willing of God.¯ı metaphysics  into being.. this smoothness or ˘ crookedness of the writing sample is a manifestation of something latent within the field of activity from which the sample of writing originated.. while more lenient on the issue of the reality of action and passion.adr¯a’s case). But then that other ¡ would need its own.). We should add that there are few issues over which he takes such strong issue with his fellow philosophers and theologians as this one. as Sayh Ah. his On Matters of Subjective Signification).g.g. For example. part ˘.mad’s response to this elsewhere (Hamid . 109 109 . the author uses this principle in an attempt to resolve the dichotomy between unity and multiplicity. In the Third Observation of Faw¯ a -id. they twist the intentions of the Im¯ams to fit the requisites of Peripatetic method (as in M¯ır D¯am¯ad’s case) and of both Peripatetic method and Sufism (as in Mull¯a S. his Treatise on Knowledge) and Mull¯a S. as Sh¯ı. e. e.adr¯a. ˇ We have given Sayh Ah. Instead. the configuration of a sample of writing may be either ˇ smooth or crooked.adr¯a (as in. this meant denying that there was such a thing as a distinct Willing (úe¤+V) or Acting (T?F) distinct from God Himself and the outcomes of His action. He vents particular anger at M¯ır D¯am¯ad (as in. § . For Sayh Ah.¯ı theologians.mad ˘ sees it.mad.

what is hidden in lordship is attained in servitude.a¯diq as ˘ his formula of epistemological realism: Anything that you discriminate through your minds. So what is missing (KF) in servitude is found (a) in lordship. Any concept. This formula contains information beyond that which is ˇ indicative of Meinongian realism. In reality.mad uses the following tradition of Im¯am S. So this principle appears to be very closely related to the topological principle.110 110  idris samawi hamid While I have not come across a particular reference in this vein. is created like you are. The realist principle. and no propositional   110 Alexius Meinong (–). . ÜXO§eRž ¨a§‘ž ÝXO§SžV™ I¨bS§Vž bž_§Fž Ý`™ eZ™?žVž I®ž „Ü ™ ÝXO§V™ ^ža™ ]§bW§ §§¬ Vž WžS°N§ 110 . and is reverted to you . This is basically equivalent to Meinong’s  thesis to the effect that to every thought there corresponds a real object.mad’s strict negative theology. ˇ Sayh Ah. it appears that this principle is a manifestation of the aforementioned formula Servitude is a jewel whose ultimate reality is lordship. in its deepest meanings. For it also ties in to Sayh ˘ Ah. or term that the human mind can imagine or devise denotes a created thing and only a created thing. none of these things denote God qua God. notion. Important metaphysician and ontologist who helped pave the way for the modern analytical philosophy movement.

everything is composed of an act of existence and an act of becoming or essence. This principle states that every created. .111 111 a foundation for sh¯ı. That is. contingent thing is a complex of acting (T?F) and becoming-in-yieldingto-acting (Q?GZ). and coincident.” Existence is the all-pervasive and unitary active matter and ousia which constitutes the necessary and sufficient condition for the generation or becominggenerated (Yb¤O ) and the realization or becoming-realized (LK¤ W) of essences. Both originate and subsist codependently. Assuming the ontological import of the essence-existence distinction. although existence is ontologically prior to essence. Another implication of this principle is the denial of certain presuppositions underlying Peripatetic and scholastic conceptions of substance. The ontological polarity principle. while essences are the individuated acts of becoming which constitute the necessary and sufficient condition for the manifestation of existence. this principle takes both existence and essence as coprincipal. The author’s formula corresponding to the polarity principle is the following saying of Im¯am Rid. A polar dialectic obtains between them so that there can be no question of a separate entity called “existence” and a separate entity called “essence. 111 111 .a¯: Allah definitely did not create any single thing subsisting through itself and without something else. coterminous. [This is a point] for whoever desires an indication of Him and the affirmation of His existence .¯ı metaphysics  combination of them will give any information whatsoever about His Quintessence.

. and from their presence do they turn away 40. a Wisdom that is latent within the realm of His Acting-Possibility.112 112  idris samawi hamid . God created everything in the best possible way.mad states as follows: the ˘ subject is a condition of the existence of a given qualified existence of the quality. [:] The implications the author draws out of this principle and the accompanying formula are among the most profound   112 ™ ž až `™ eSž>ž ú™ Ržiž¬R \žV™ ž!ž c ™ S¬R™ ]> ¡™ Bž Yža§ `> ™ ž ™ WŸEÜ Jž Ÿ~ž ²ž LS§dž XRž þž  Y¬ Ü]> ™b§a§ X^™"™N ™ ™ X_§[¦Ó ž Tž Ý\¬_™eF™ \Vž až 1§!! až §b¦W¦'¬R ™ž'žGžRž ÝX^§±Ü bž^ L°žR @žž ¬ b™Rž až ÜYžb2§i ™ V° X^™"™N™ \>ž X_§Fž 112 . an ontic and an epistemic ˇ part. in the condition (Q¬) of being a quality. prior to the existence of the qualified subject is neither intelligible nor conceptualizable (as in the Seventeenth Observation). the Earth. Rather. The principle of the relation between quality and qualified. The creation principle. the Heavens. The formula the author uses to express this is the following verse of the Qur. we have presented them with their presence. The ontic part Sayh Ah. and in accordance with the exigencies of His own Wisdom. According to this principle. This principle has two parts. and whoever is in them would have been corrupted.a¯n: And if the Real chose to follow their passions. The epistemic part states this: the existence of any given quality.

under ! M ). especially in the area of epistemology (such as  113 Some Arabic scholars may question my translation of ‘"N™’ with ‘presence’. the Eighteenth Observation. The word ‘"N™’ commonly means “reminder” or “mentioning.mad’s system is based. the author left no commentary on the Eighteenth Observation.” Both the remembering and mentioning of a given thing presume some kind of presence of that thing to the one mentioning or remembering.113 113 a foundation for sh¯ı. however. proceeding from this principle. contains some of the highest philosophical speculations of the author. Rather. It is a task for further research to determine the smallest. He tries to explain that God is present  to His creatures through the very bounds of their acts of becoming.” Its literal meaning. 113 . I am sure that I have left a few things out.mad’s use of the term. Written later than the twelve observations that constitute the original Faw¯ a -id. Unfortunately. ˘as used in the Qur. is “presence in the mind” ˇ (See Lane’s Lexicon. present and future are all identical for Him. He is also at pains to show that God’s Wisdom in the ordering of the world does not entail determinism. and yet that past. where these themes are laid out in most detail.¯ı metaphysics  and also most difficult to follow. it is clear to me that he is interpreting ‘"N’. The above list should ˘ not be considered as constituting a mutually exclusive or jointly exhaustive set. Based on Sayh Ah.a ¯n and some of the traditions of the Im¯ ams (as in the beginning of the Fourth Observation) to signify “that through which a given thing is present to something else. irreducible set of principles upon ˇ which Sayh Ah. the Acting of God and the set of acts of becoming that constitute His creatures are engaged in a continuous dynamic interplay wherein each one operates only through the other. It appears to be the case that some of these principles are reducible to others.

towards a definition of “Da” ˇ Let us return to Sayh Ah.mad. or logical analysis.mad’s division of cognition and ˘ organs of cognition. to cognizance there corresponds the proof of Wisdom (Da).114 114  idris samawi hamid his theory.mad finds the key to this question to lie in a tradition of˘the Prophet to the effect that there are only three useful branches of knowledge: the firm sign (Dd di). p. Knowledge (XS?R) proper has its locus in the soul and the imaginal faculty. And argue with them through that which is best 42. of the identity of knowledge with the object of knowledge). To knowledge there corresponds the proof of argumentation in the best way ( \' “ R¤ Rc).a¯n: Call to the path of your Lord with Wisdom and good exhortation. Sayh Ah. and the established Sunnah (qKR ú[¤'R) (Ah. there should be a set of sciences ˇ to which that proof is applied. To each of these types of cognition there corresponds a method of proof (TeR¤R) appropriate to it. ). to certainty there corresponds the proof of good exhortation (['a .>bƒ). apparently not explicitly articulated until late in his career. and the established  114 Ü\§'ž “ ž ™ ™ R¬€™ X_§R™«ž až ßú™ [ž'žžR ú™ . [:] Given a method of proof.s¯a-˜ı . true certainty (›KeR) has its locus in the nous. These three types of proof are referred to in the Qur. the firm sign corresponds to ˘ the science of Wisdom. the just duty to the science of ethics and purification of the soul. the just duty (R?R 3ÙR). and cognizance (Fiƒ) has its locus in the heart-flux.ž>™bWžR až ú™ WžO™R€™ Pž®!ž T™eЙ &ž hR¦ =§ 114 . ˇ According to Sayh Ah.

The usefulness of other sciences. it is covered by “the just duty” because spiritual development is assisted by corporal soundness. “argumentation and conceptual 115 science mentioned by ˇ Sayh Ah.Arˇsiyya˜t (Ah. p. ).s¯a-˜ı ˇ Sayh Ah. ˇ . and it is covered by Wisdom because it gives some knowledge of the human microcosm. is to be measured in accordance with how it relates to the sciences mentioned by the Prophet. It is just a matter of appropriately fitting them somehow into these categories. regardless of the type of proof appropriate to it.mad mentions that the proof of ˘ best way”. meditation upon which is a requisite of the proof of Wisdom. Although he does not say so explicitly. For example.¯ı metaphysics  Sunnah corresponds to the science of the Law ( ?Ù¯¤ R). this does not mean that he rejects other sciences. inclusive of semantic in the analysis (y^Gƒ a 9GR  e/×). The accompanying table summarizes the relations between these sciences and the types of cognition.115 115 a foundation for sh¯ı.mad ˘ the Law The three sciences.2 In other places b. is an 115 .u a (such as the Sarh ˜l-. mode of cognition corresponding type of proof science mentioned by the Prophet knowledge logical argumentation the established Sunnah certainty good exhortation the just duty ethics and spiritual development cognizance the proof of Wisdom the firm sign Wisdom Table 4. medicine can come under the category of Sunnah because the Prophet encouraged his followers to learn it.

” In as much as each of these sciences has a role to play in the construction of metaphysical and cosmological models based on the proof of Wisdom. .mad was a practicing chemist and geologist). which includes the Law. the answers to these questions depend upon a method which requires the resources of many of the theoretical sciences and practical disciplines that underlie the traditional ˇ ˇ civilization to which Sayh Ah. . it must be one of the motives of a complete cosmology to construct a system of ideas which brings the aesthetic.s¯a-˜ı .mad belonged (note that Sayh ˘ Ah. and in “some of the physical sciences. the man of Wisdom must be familiar with rational analysis. ). the man of Wisdom must also be familiar and conversant in the “proof of good exhortation. the author says that the way of practical spiritual advancement is the inner spirit of the way of traveling the road of advancement in knowledge (Ah. which for Sayh Ah.” Indeed. analogous to the Wisdom of Plato’s Timaeus. And one of the supports of the proof ˇ of good exhortation is the tradition. in the mathematical sciences (which include astronomy). . p.mad ˘ in turn is comprised of the Qur. It is thus ˘a cosmological science.a¯n and the Sunnah.116 116  idris samawi hamid appropriate tool in those sciences which pertain to language. Thus. According to Whitehead (Whitehead . we see that Wisdom is a very organic and holistic science. xii). moral. and religious interests [of a given civilization] into relation with those concepts 116 116 . p. It deals primarily with metaphysical questions. But. In as much as the sciences of ethical and spiritual discipline must be mastered so that vision of the heart-flux be attained.

Yet Wisdom and cosmology aim for more than a structure and a system of ideas.117 117 a foundation for sh¯ı. p.¯ı philosophy. of other actual entities.mad. as we will explain elsewhere. of its prehensions.s¯a-˜ı ?. experiential knowledge associated with that which is tied to it in the way of practical action. rather. Wisdom is essentially interactive and relational. In Whiteheadean terminology. At the end of a complicated ˇ . This is ultimately the most fundamental sense of ‘údžiž bžR’ (dynamic loving). Vol . Sayh Ah. ) ˘ concludes. Da or Wisdom in the highest sense is a manifestation. I believe that the foregoing discussion illustrates the applicability of this statement to our author’s concept of Wisdom.¯ı metaphysics  of the world which have their origin in physical science. What is meant by ‘Wisdom’ is an all encompassing (f¤6¬). According to Sayh Ah. It occurs in everything in a way appropriate to it .  117 T®N§ „™  ž ^¦ až ÜT™Wž?žR \žV™ `> ™ 8§™ ž"dž Wž™ ZŸaƒ§ Vž ° ™ a ¬ R f°6™¬ž % X§S?™ R ú™ WžO™R \žV™ §"žW§Rž Ü`> ™'žž™ ¶ž 117 .mad (Ah. this is the conception of Da held by the Im¯a˘ms (A) and the one which can best capture their philosophical and mystical intentions. the most important concept in pristine Sh¯ı. It subverts any sharp distinction between theoretical and practical philosophy.u a analysis in the Sarh ˜l-Ziy¯ ara˜t of the concept and reality ˇ of Wisdom. on the part of a given actual entity. they stand in a mutual ˇ dialectical relationship. acquired through that given entity’s ground (the heart-flux in humans).

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120 120 120 120 .