Tag Archive for: metaphysics

Maratib al-Taqwa: Sa’id al-Din Farghani on the Ontology of Ethics

Given the philosophical tradition’s explicit acknowledgment that “the Necessary in Existence” (al-wājib al-wujūd) is a proper designation for God per se, and given the fact that this acknowledgment came to be shared by various forms of Sufism and Kalam, it should come as no surprise that many scholars who investigated the reality of the human, “created upon the form of God,” concluded that ethical perfection amounted to the soul’s harmonious conformity with the Real Existence (al-wujūd al-ḥaqq). Early on, philosophers tended to keep ontology separate from ʿilm al-akhlāq, the science of ethics, but they used expressions like al-tashabbuh bi’l-ilāh, “similarity to the God,” and taʾalluh, “deiformity,” to designate the state of human perfection. Achieving perfection demanded transformation of khulq

La Grande chaîne de la conscience – Par Mohammed Rustom

Dans son Essai sur l’homme, le poète britannique Alexander Pope proposait au XVIIIèsiècle une formulation succincte d’une ancienne doctrine philosophique de la réalité. Cettedoctrine, à laquelle Arthur Lovejoy a donné le nom de “grande chaîne des êtres,” soutientque l’existence est une structure organique, entremêlée et hiérarchisée, reposant sur lesdegrés décroissants d’états de l’existence. La réalité vient de Dieu et elle part de Lui, l’ÊtreSuprême; et elle vient trouver sa fin dans la plus infinitésimale des formes d’existence.Chaque élément du cosmos, y compris le cosmos lui-même, nourrit un lien vital avec lesautres éléments qui en composent la grande chaîne. Pour citer Pope

“We are Not Our Brain: How Poets and Philosophers Saw the Immaterial Life of the Self.” Renovatio, Spring (2024) – Muhammad U Faruque


We live in an era in which the brain has come to signify the central component of human identity. It’s common to hear people blurt out statements like “our brains are wired to do XYZ,” or “the brain creates new ideas,” or “explain X to my brain” (instead of saying “explain X to me!”) to talk about their feelings, desires, experiences, and understanding. For a dyed-in-the-wool materialist who either believes there is no mind or soul or completely identifies the mind with the brain, it makes sense to replace the words “I” or “mind” with “brain.” While materialism arguably is not the dominant viewpoint in our culture, this nod to the brain puzzlingly persists when we should really be referring to the entire person/self of which the brain is a part. We unwittingly take the brain to be the center of our self, which has implications for the contours of human subjectivity, the source of our meaning, wonder, love, and beauty. Do such materialistic habits of describing ourselves render holistic conceptions of the human self involving body, soul, and spirit completely void?

The Question of Theodicy in Islamic Philosophy—Suggesting a Solution:Bada – Mona Jahangiri


“The problem of evil is one that has earned much attention in recent decades and is frequently used as a justification for atheism, and increasingly so due to the rise in popularity of secularism and atheism. How is the issue of theodicy considered in Islamic philosophy, and especially in Shia theology? Does this problem arise there at all? The following discussion addresses these questions, examining the basis of the so-called ‘problem of evil’ through the rationale and multiple perspectives offered by Islamic Sharia a theology on the issue. First, some verses in the Quran dealing with evil and
suffering will be illuminated. After that, some mutakallim ¯un’s views will be presented. Following that, the problem of evil will be investigated from the perspectives of Ibn Sına and Mulla Sadra. After briefly highlighting the mystical perspective, finally, a practical theological solution according to Shıa theology known as bada will be introduced

The Expansion of Consciousness during Mystical Experiences: The Example of Moses – Mona Jahangiri


“What happens in the brain during meditation? Neuroscientists such as Andrew Newberg, who studies religious experiences on the neural level, may provide an answer. He calls the devolution, which is similar to all mystical experiences in different faiths, self-transcendent experience (STE); in a further instance, he also calls it the feeling of Absolute Unitary Being (AUB). A more detailed consideration of related issues is done by examining the human expansion of consciousness in Islamic mysticism based on an event depicted in the Qur֓ desire to talk to or see God, his subsequent unconsciousness due to the awe of God, and his subsequent attainment of a new consciousness. The following paper will have a brief look at the case of Moses and aims to investigate the states of consciousness during such experiences. Here, an attempt will be made to trace and prove a connection between neuroscience and the mystical state of the feeling of union with God”

Qur’anic Narrative and Sufi Hermeneutics: Rumı’s Interpretations of Pharaoh’s Character – A Dissertation Presented by Amer Latif


“This dissertation examines Jalal al-din Rumi (d. 1273) hermeneutics of the Qur’an by focusing on his interpretations of the Qur’anic character of Pharaoh. Although Rumı did not write a commentary in the traditional genre of tafsır by commenting on the Qur’an in a linear verse by verse fashion, significant portions of his poetry are explicitly devoted to Qur’anic interpretation. This study proposes that poetical writings, such as Rumı’s, deserve a prominent place in the field of Qur’anic interpretation. Chapter one gives a broad overview of Rumı’s hermeneutics of the Qur’an. It shows that while Rumı posits multiple levels of meaning within the Qur’anic text, his interpretations of Qur’anic verses are informed by a binary distinction between an outer and inner meaning”

“The Gifts of Suffering & the Virtues of the Heart: Reflections from the Sufi Tradition,” in From the Divine to the Human – Atif Khalil eds. M. Faruque and M. Rustom (New York: Routledge, 2023), 143-157


“After a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, I vividly recall an interview of an elderly man as he stood over the ruins of his hometown. Overcome by grief, he informed the reporter that the food had killed not only his wife but also his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren. The tragedy took from him everything dear to his heart, leaving him shattered and alone to deal with the aftermath of the catastrophe. The story of the man—a modern version of Job—as it was recounted in the short news clip, could not but elicit profound feelings of compassion and sympathy from its global audience. It was also a story that, for those with religious and theological sensibilities, brought home what has often been identified in Western thought as the problem of suffering.”

Review of Rabia from Narrative to Myth – Atif Khalil


“Ever since Margaret Smith (d. 1970) published the Mystic A.D. 717- 801 and Her Fellow Saints in Islam almost a century ago, Rabi’a has remained a figure of abiding interest in the study of lslam in the West. For Muslims, she has often embodied the archetype of the selfless lover of God, the devotee whose sole desire is neither to be saved from Hell nor to be granted Paradise, but to receive the Beloved’s acceptance. Rabi’a Yet, how many of the stories and accounts of Rabi’a that have been recorded and repeated for more than a millennium of lslamic history actually took place? How much of what has been bequeathed to us about her by countless generations is historically accurate? This is one the guiding aims of the book: to disentangle, as much as possible, the “real” Rabi’a from the one of legend and lore. In this archival endeavor, which involved closely scrutinizing more primary sources than any other study on her thus far, Rkia Cornell left virtually no stone unturned. And in the process of doing so, she produced a theoretically rich 400+ page tome, not only on Rabi’a, but also on the unfolding and development of early Islamic ascetical, mystical”

Eternity, Perpetuity, and Time in the Cosmologies of Plotinus and Mīr Dāmād – Syed A. H. Zaidi


“The present piece focuses on the influence of Plotinus’ understanding of time and eternity as articulated in Plotinus’ third and fifth Enneads upon Mīr Dāmād’s(d. 1631–2) conception of eternity, perpetuity, and time found in his Book of Blazing Brands(Kitab al-Qabasāt).Although Mīr Dāmād’s conception of eternity, perpetuity, and time resembles that of Plotinus’ cosmologyand ontology, he departs from Plotinus’ hypostases in establishing strict parameters for each domain. Unlike Plotinus, Mīr Dāmād argues that the realm of eternity is reserved for God alone, while the realm of Perpetuity contains the Platonic Forms. For Mīr Dāmād, the realm of time is an effect of the realm of Perpetuity and a tool for human beings to understand how to measure eventsin the temporal world. Unlike many other Shī’ite philosophers, Mīr Dāmād’s articulation of these three cosmological realms incorporates thought found in the works of both prominent Sunni and Shī’ite scholars such as Ibn Sīnā, Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghāzālī, Suhrawardī, and Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī. Although his most successful student, Mullā Ṣadrā Shirazī, had ultimately disagreed with his teacher’s cosmological doctrine, he remained influenced by the multitude of sources that his teacher had used”

Teachers and Students Reflections on Learning in Near and Middle Eastern Cultures – Collected Studies in Honour of Sebastian Günther

Near and Middle Eastern Cultures