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TALLINNA LIKOOL HUMANITAARTEADUSTE DISSERTATSIOONID TALLINN UNIVERSITY DISSERTATIONS ON HUMANITIES

Janis Eots

MULL SADRS TEACHING ON WUJD: A SYNTHESIS OF MYSTICISM AND PHILOSOPHY

TALLINN 2007

TALLINNA LIKOOL HUMANITAARTEADUSTE DISSERTATSIOONID TALLINN UNIVERSITY DISSERTATIONS ON HUMANITIES

Janis Eots MULL SADRS TEACHING ON WUJD: A SYNTHESIS OF MYSTICISM AND PHILOSOPHY Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Studies, Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia. The dissertation is accepted for applying for the degree Doctor philosophiae in Middle Eastern and Asian Literatures and Cultures by the Doctoral Committee of Humanities on 19 March 2007. Supervisor: Opponent: Rein Raud (PhD, Professor, Tallinn University) Leons Gabriels Taivans (PhD, Professor, Latvia University) Sajjad Rizvi (PhD, Professor, Exeter University)

The defence of the dissertation will be held at Tallinn University, Uus-Sadama 5 (U-328), Tallinn on May 29, 2007 at 2.00 pm.

Copyright: Janis Eots, 2007 Copyright: Tallinn University, 2007


ISSN 1736-5031 (publication, online, PDF) ISBN 978-9985-58-492-7 (publication, online, PDF) ISSN 1736-3667 (abstract online, PDF) ISBN 978-9985-58-493-4 (abstract online, PDF)

Tallinn University Press Narva Road 25 10120 TALLINN www.kirjastus.tlu.ee

CONTENTS
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS ............................................................................................................................................... 5 PREFACE .......................................................................................................................................................................... 6 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................................. 7 CHAPTER 1. Wujd and the Reality of Wujd .............................................................................................................. 18 1.1. Sufi Mysticisms Understanding of Wujd ....................................................................................... 18 1.1.1. Sufi Definitions of Wujd ....................................................................................................... 18 1.1.2. Wahdat Al-Wujd in Sufi Mysticism ...................................................................................... 25 1.1.3. Entification and Entity ............................................................................................................. 28 1.2. The Basic Principles of Sadrs Teaching on Wujd ........................................................................ 35 1.2.1. The Principality of Existence in Respect to Quiddity .............................................................. 35 1.2.2. Analogical Gradation of Existence .......................................................................................... 36 1.2.3. Existential Causation: The Gnostic Approach ......................................................................... 42 1.2.4. The Real as the Necessarily Existent: The Proof of the Sincere.............................................. 48 CHAPTER 2. Horizons of Wujd: Sadrs Cosmology .................................................................................................. 54 2.1. The Concept of Creation in Kalm, Philosophy and Irfn .............................................................. 54 2.2. The World of Innovation................................................................................................................... 58 2.2.1. Sadrs Teaching on the World of Command and Mr Dmds Theory of the Meta-Temporal Origination............................................................................... 62 2.3. Nature and the World of Nature........................................................................................................ 71 2.3.1. The History of the Concept of Nature in Islamic Philosophy: Avicennan Trend...................................................................................................................... 71 2.3.2. Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmns Teaching on Nature and Parallels to it in the Thought of Sadr............................................................................................................ 72 2.3.3. Ibn al-Arab on Nature ............................................................................................................ 76 2.3.4. Sadrs Definitions of Nature................................................................................................... 77 2.3.5. Substantial Motion ................................................................................................................... 79 2.3.6. Substantial Motion and New Creation ..................................................................................... 84 2.4. The Soul and Its Properties ............................................................................................................... 87 2.4.1. The Peripatetic Influence ......................................................................................................... 87 2.4.2. Sadrs Definitions of the Soul ................................................................................................ 88 2.4.3. The Soulhood of the Soul......................................................................................................... 89 CHAPTER 3. Transformations of Wujd: Sadrs Eschatology ..................................................................................... 92 3.1. Mad as a Universal Principle ......................................................................................................... 92 3.2. Pre-Existence of Souls to Bodies ...................................................................................................... 96 3.3. The Impossibility of Metempsychosis ............................................................................................ 105 3.4. The Spiritual Return ........................................................................................................................ 107 3.5. Corporeal Resurrection ................................................................................................................... 114 3.5.1. The Grave and the Awakening............................................................................................... 118 3.5.2. Rising ..................................................................................................................................... 119 3.5.3. Garden and Fire...................................................................................................................... 123 3.5.4. The Ramparts ......................................................................................................................... 125 CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................................................. 128 MULL SADR WUJD PETUS: MSTITSISMI JA FILOSOOFIA SNTEES. Kokkuvte ............................ 134 REFERENCES............................................................................................................................................................... 136

LIST OF PUBLICATIONS
I. Janis Eots 2005. A Comparative Study of Teachings of Sadr al-Dn Qnaw and Mull Sadr on Wujd A. N. Baqershahi (ed). Mulla Sadras School and Western Philosophies: The Papers Presented at the Second World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 2004, Tehran, Iran). Vol. 1. Tehran: SIPRIn Publications, 313320. (Persian translation: Barras-yi tatbq r-yi Mull Sadr wa Sadr ad-Dn Qnaw dar bra-i wujd in Majmua-i maqlt-i muntakhab duvvumn hamish-i jahn hakm Mull Sadr (Awwal-i khurddmh-i 1383, Tehrn), zr-i nazar-i S. M. Khamene, jild-i duvvum Mull Sadr wa digar falsifa, Tehrn: SIPRIn Publications 1385/2006, 183190.) Janis Eots 2005. The Eschatology of Kant and Mull Sadr Hamidreza Ayatollahy (ed). Papers of International Conference On Two Hundred Years After Kant. Tehrn: Allameh Tabatabai University Press, 2533. Janis Eots 2005. The Principle of the Systematic Ambiguity of Existence in the Philosophy of Ibn Sina and Mulla Sadra Afkar (Journal of Aqidah and Islamic Thought). Kuala Lumpur: Department of Aqidah and Islamic Thought, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Vol. 6 (Rab al-Awwal 1426/ May 2005), 161170. Janis Eots 2005. Mull Sadrs Teaching on the World of Command and Mr Dmds Theory of MetaTemporal Origination (hudth dahr) Transcendent Philosophy. London: IIS, Vol. 6, December 2005, 109 128. Janis Eots 2003. The Gnostic Element of Sadras Doctrine on Causation Safavi, Seyed G. Mulla Sadra and Comparative Philosophy on Causation. London: Salman Azade Press, 7389. Janis Eots 2002. Preexistence of Souls to Bodies in Sadras Philosophy Transcendent Philosophy. London: IIS, Vol. 3, Number 2, June 2002, 183197. Janis Eots 2002. Masala-i kaynnat-i nufs qabl az abdn dar falsafa-i Mull Sadr Khirdnme-i Sadr. Tehrn: SIPRIn, Vol. 7, Number 28, 3945. Janis Eots 2002. - - - 2000. Ma: 2002, 378390. Janis Eots 2000. Sadr al-Dn Shrz mobtaker-i hikmat-i arsh y Sayr dar istilht-i Sadr Khirdnme-i Sadr. Tehrn: SIPRIn, Vol. 5, Number 20 (September 2000), 6166. Janis Eots 2000. Unification of Perceiver and Perceived and Unity of Being Transcendent Philosophy. London: IIS, Vol. 1, Number 3, December 2000, 17. Janis Eots 1999. Rationalism and Mysticism: A Few Considerations Regarding the Superiority of the Divine Wisdom Islam-West Philosophical Dialogue. The Papers Presented at the World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 1999, Tehran). Vol. 4 Mulla Sadra and Comparative Studies, 157171. Janis Eots 1999. al-Wridt al-qalbiyya f marifat al-rubbiyya: risla- az yak hakm Khirdnme-i Sadr. Tehrn: SIPRIn, Vol. 4, Number 15 (June 1999), 7482.

II.

III.

IV.

V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI.

XII.

TRANSLATIONS OF SADRS WORKS INTO RUSSIAN:


1. 2. - -. 2004. . , . : (151 c). - -. 2000. . . : , 2, c. 109132 5, c. 109127.

PREFACE
The Arabic word wujd literary means finding (which presupposes the presence of the finder (wjid) and the found (mawjd)). If taken as a philosophical term, wujd means being/ existence. The Peripatetic first philosophy or metaphysics traditionally dealt with the mawjd (existent) in so far as it is considered as mawjd (existent), its reality, states and properties. The seventeenth century Iranian philosopher Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, better known as Mull Sadr (979-80/1571-2 1050/1640), however, put forward a thesis that what exists primarily and in the actual fact, is the wujd (existence) itself. What else there exists apart from the existence, exists through the latter. Therefore, according to Sadr, philosophy must deal primarily with the wujd, not with the mawjd. On the other hand, if taken in its mystical sense, the term wujd refers to a certain intuition that of finding the Real (i.e., the Absolute/ Nondelimited Reality) behind the veil of phenomena. Depending on the preparedness of the mystic, this intuition can be divided into different degrees. Even more importantly, the habit of finding i.e., the mystical intuition can be developed by a number of techniques. Thus, to a Sufi mystic, teaching about wujd is a teaching about mystical intuition and its gradual development. Is it possible to synthesize the philosophical and mystical understanding of wujd? If yes, can equilibrium between the mystic and philosophical approaches be maintained or, by necessity, one of them is destined to gain the upper hand in such a synthesis? Sadr apparently believed that his transcendent wisdom (alhikma al-mutaliyya) represents such a harmonious synthesis. In my dissertation, I try to establish to what degree such a claim is justified. I assert that Sadr must be qualified as a thinker of the Platonic trend (more precisely, as a follower of Plotinus and Suhraward), who attempted to integrate his pivotal principle that of analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd) (which he borrowed from Suhraward) with certain Sufi teachings, in particular those of the self-disclosure and entification of the Real and the new creation of the world in every instant. The integration was achieved by Sadr on the level of theoretical speculation, without attempting to penetrate to the heart of the metaphysical intuition that underlies the teachings of theoretical Sufi mysticism as represented by Ibn Arab school (namely, that of the gradual self-disclosure of the Real). Despite his sympathy to the teachings of Ibn Arab and his followers, he remained an outsider in respect to the Sufi tradition, who appropriated certain minor parts of the Akbarian doctrine for his own Ishrq agenda.

INTRODUCTION
As Aristotle taught in his Metaphysics, the first philosophy deals with the existent in so far as it is considered as existent1, its reality and its properties. In the Islamic Peripaticism, this definition of the subject of the first philosophy2 was never challenged: its primary concern was always thought to be the existent and its states. It is important to emphasize here that the subject of philosophical inquiry and the topic of the discourse was precisely the existent (almawjd) and not the existence3 (wujd, literally finding). The seventeenth century Iranian philosopher Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, better known as Mull Sadr (979-80/1571-2 1050/1640), however, put forward a thesis that what exists primarily and in the actual fact, is the existence itself; what else there exists apart from the existence, exists through the latter.4 Therefore, according to Sadr, philosophy must deal primarily with the existence, not with the existent or, to put it otherwise, what the philosophers have in mind when they talk about the existent (mawjd) is the existence (wujd) itself. The problem, however, is that existence, as Sadr admits, can only be grasped by knowledge of witnessing (irfn shuhd).5 It has no quiddity (mhiya) and, therefore, cannot be a subject of philosophical discourse. Intellect can grasp the nature of existence only indirectly, by examining its effects and properties in the existents. The Arabic word wujd (finding) presupposes the presence of the finder (wjid) and the found (mawjd).6 In its mystical sense, wujd refers to a certain intuition that of finding the Real behind the veil of phenomena. Depending on the preparedness of the mystic, this intuition can be divided into different degrees. Even more importantly, the habit of finding i.e., the mystical intuition can be developed by a number of techniques. Thus, to a Sufi mystic, teaching about wujd is a teaching about mystical intuition and its gradual development quite a different affair than the philosophers set of postulates on the existent and its states. Is it possible to synthesize the philosophical and mystical understanding of wujd (i.e., finding as existence and finding as mystical intuition)? If yes, can equilibrium between the mystic and philosophical approaches7 be maintained or, by necessity, one of them is
1 2

See: Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1026a 3134. Al-falsafa al-l (the first philosophy, a title which al-Kind gave to one of his treatises (see: al-Kind, Rasil al-falsafiyya, ed. Ab Rida, Cairo 1953, I)) and al-ilhiyyt (the divine things) are both treated by Muslim philosophers as synonyms of m bad al-taba (metaphysics). James W. Morris in his English translation of al-Hikma al-arshiyya always renders wujd as being, while Sajjad H. Rizvi is careful to discern a distinction between Being, the absolute prerogative of the One, and existence, a derivative mode of Being that applies to contingent beings (Sajjad H. Rizvi, Mysticism and Philosophy: Ibn Arab and Mull Sadr in Peter Adamson and Richard R. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005, 236). Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Le Livre des penetrations metaphysiques (Kitb al-Mashir), ed. Henry Corbin, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Editions Tahuri 1982, 11 (of the Arabic text). Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, al-Hikma al-mutaliyya f l-asfr al-aqliyya al-arbaa, 9 vols., eds. R.Lutf, I.Amn, and F.Ummd, 3rd edition, Beirt: Dr ihy al-turth al-arab 1981, part 9, 18. Cf. W. Chitticks statement: Existence (or, to put it more precisely, wujd J.E.) in the full sense is not only that which is there, but also that which finds what is there. The more intensely something is there, the more intensely it finds. The fullest degree of existence is found in the fullest degree of presence, perception and consciousness. (William C. Chittick, On the Teleology of Perception, in Safavi, Seyed G. (ed.), Perception According to Mulla Sadra and Western Schools of Philosophy, London: Salman Azade Press 2003, 229). By philosophical approach or philosophy I mean here wisdom, which is based rather on discussion and logical reasoning than on intuition and unveiling; by mystical approach or mysticism I mean intuitive unitive knowledge, based on intuition and unveiling rather than on discussion and logical reasoning. 7

destined to gain the upper hand in such a synthesis? Sadr apparently believed that his transcendent wisdom (al-hikma al-mutaliyya) represents such a harmonious synthesis. His belief was shared by a number of Iranian and non-Iranian scholars.8 In the current research, I shall try to establish to what degree such a claim is justified.9 Before beginning the discussion on wujd proper, in the introductory part I shall attempt to sketch Sadrs philosophical portrait, considering his teaching against the background of the main intellectual currents of his epoch, as well as to demonstrate the lasting importance of his ideas and their impact on the key philosophical trends of the beginning of the 21st century. Mull Sadr was one of the most outstanding intellectual figures in Iran during the rule of the Safavid dynasty (907/1501-1148/1736) and, perhaps, the most complete embodiment of the spirituality of the epoch. Like Safavid architecture, his philosophical project, known as the Transcendent Wisdom (al-hikma al-mutaliyya)10, impresses with its ambitiousness and grandeur. While walking through the numerous halls and passages of his magnificent philosophical edifice, one wonders, however, what has been the purpose of the architect. Did he just intend to surprise the visitor by the size and measure of his creation and its apparently eclectic combination of different styles or is there some powerful spiritual message placed behind this outward splendour and magnificence? If yes, what is the substance of that message? Nothing is wrong, of course, in the very fact of borrowing ideas and theories from the predecessors. These ideas and theories, however, are based on certain visions of the world and particular metaphysical intuitions. Without penetrating into the heart of these visions and intuitions, the ideas and theories as such cannot really become ones spiritual property. It appears that by the time when the so-called school of Isfahan (founded by Sadrs teachers Bah al-Dn mil (953/1546-1030/1621), Mr Dmd Astarbd (d. 1040/16311632) and Mr Findirisk (d. 1050/16401641)) emerged, Akbarian (Ibn Arabs) tradition in Iran was in the state of decline, to the effect that the heart and the substance of its message was lost: apparently, there was no-one in Iran, who could teach Ibn Arabs (560/1165-638/1240)

10

Thus, for example, Muhsin S. Mahdi asserts: Mull Sadr superimposed Ibn al-Arab's mystical thought (whose philosophic implications had already been exposed by a number of commentators) on the Aristotelian Illuminationist synthesis developed by Mr Dmd (Muhsin S. Mahdi,The Teachings of Mulla Sadra (sub-entry in Islam) in Encyclopdia Britannica 2006 (accessed 4 November 2006). Simon Blackburn in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy states: Mulla Sadra developed a unification of Sufi mystical or illuminationist traditions (to me, though, Sufi and Illuminationist traditions are quite distinct from each other J.E.) in Islam with Neoplatonic influences: his main precursor was Ibn Arabi (Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005, 243). It would definitely be interesting to examine, along with the influence of Ibn al-Arab and his school, that of Jall al-Dn Rm. Certain Iranian scholars believe that Sadr was more influenced by Rm than by Ibn alArab and even assert that his celebrated doctrines on the analogical gradation of wujd and substantial motion were borrowed from Rms Mathnaw (according to the oral remark of Professor Ab l-Ksim Rdfarr (Tehran University), made by him at the conference Mawln Jall al-Dn Balkh-Rm and the World Civilization (The National Library of Kazakhstan, Almaty, 1314 March 2007)). However, for a number of reasons, in the current research, I have confined the discussion on Islamic mysticism to Ibn alArab and his school. Apparently, the term was first used by Ibn Sn in his Ishrt wa Tanbht (Ibn Sn, al-Ishrt wa ltanbht, maa Sharh Nasr al-Dn al-Ts, 3 vols., ed. S.Duny, Cairo 1960, Vol. 3, 401) Nasr al-Dn alTs (597/1201-672/1274) in his commentary on the Ishrt explains the term as follows: The wisdom of the Peripatetics is a purely discursive (bahthiyya) one, but, in such issues, the truth is established through combining discourse (bahth) and theoretical inquiry (nazar) with unveiling (kashf) and tasting (dhawq). And the wisdom which includes all of them is superior (mutaliyya) to the first one (i.e., the discursive wisdom J.E.) (ibid.) 8

works thoroughly and systematically (if they were taught anywhere in Iran at all, this teaching must have taken place in an entirely scholastic way).11 The dominant intellectual tradition of the Safavid epoch was Illuminationism or the Wisdom of Illumination (hikmat al-ishrq) (named so after the title of the main work of its founder Shihb al-Dn Yahy al-Suhraward (549/1154-587/1191)). Like the Ikhwn al-Saf (Brethren of Purity) in the tenth century, the early Illuminationists not only engaged in theoretical discussions, but also established and practised their own peculiar religious rites (worshipping the celestial luminaries and separated souls as intermediaries between man and God). Suhrawards original teaching (though more research is still needed to establish its exact character and sources), apparently, was deeply influenced, besides Peripaticism, by the doctrines of Sahl ben Abd Allh al-Tstar (203/818-283/896), Husayn ben Mansr al-Hallj (244/857-309/922) and the Salmiyya school12 (the foremost exponent of whose doctrines was Ab Tlib al-Makk (d. 386/996), the author of the Qt al-qulb (The Food of the Hearts)). Thus, it (Suhrawards doctrine) was an attempt simultaneously to restore Peripaticism to its initial purity and to combine it with the teachings of the Basrian (and, to a degree, Khorasan) Sufis. Like Sadr, Suhraward failed (or did not want) to notice that the verbal doctrines of Peripaticism and Sufi mysticism each rests on its own particular metaphysical intuition, very different from the other (differences in terminology being merely an outward manifestation of this much more deeper inner intuitive difference). Sadrs teacher Mr Dmd, who developed the famous theory of the meta-temporal origination (hudth dahr), can justly be counted, along with Shams al-Dn al-Shahrazr (d. after 687/1288), Qutb al-Dn al-Shrz (634/1236-710/1311) and Ghiys al-Dn al-Dashtak (d. 948/1541), among the most significant figures of the Ishrq (Illuminationist) tradition. In his early years Sadr, according to his own statement13, was a devout follower of the doctrine of his teacher Mr Dmd in particular, of the latters theory of the principality of quiddity/ whatness (aslat al-mhiya). Somewhere in his late forties or early fifties (the exact date of this drastic change is difficult to establish), during his retreat to a mountain village of Kahak (near Qum), he came to a conclusion that the real state of affairs is quite opposite and became an ardent professor of the principality of existence (aslat al-wujd), to the point of denying the essencies any reality whatsoever either external, or mental. In the context of our discussion, it is important to ascertain if beyond this change of Sadrs philosophical stance lies a transformation of the underlying metaphysical intuition, or it is simply a change of standpoint from which to begin the reasoning, without necessarily having any genuine experience of unveiling (kashf) behind it. In order to answer the question, we first have to establish what exactly Sadr understands by the expression principality of existence. Does he refer by it to an epistemological stage of chaotification and the experience during which the mystic perceives the things in their original undifferentiated state (say, as indistinct apparitions and silhouettes looming through the mist)?14 Or is he concerned with a scholastic issue of the priority posteriority relationship between the essence of the thing and its existence? Or, perhaps, he intentionally or not mixes up a gnostic issue and a scholastic
11

12

13 14

As it is well known, the atrocities of the fanatical Shiite ulam (imported by the Safavid kings from Lebanon in order to teach masses the basics of Shiism) caused the exodus of Iranian intellectual and economical elite to the Mogol India. Among those, who emigrated, where many scholars and Sufi masters. On the Salmiyya schookl see, e.g., Gerhard Bwering, The Mystical Vision of Existence in Classical Islam: The Qurnic Hermeneutics of the Sf Sahl al-Tustar (283/896), Berlin New York: De Gruyter 1980. See: Sadr, Mashir, 35 (of the Arabic text). On this kind of mystical existentialism which rests on the experience of ecstasy, see: Toshihiko Izutsu, Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts, 2nd edition, Los Angeles: University of California Press 1984, part II, chapter VI Against Essentialism (354374). 9

one? While the entire dissertation must be viewed as an attempt to answer the above posed questions, it can be said at this point that there are few reasons to suppose that Sadr might have had profound and lasting ecstatic experiences, anything more than perceiving the aroma of the wine of ecstasy, without actually drinking it (not incidentally, in his quasi-mystical poems, Sadr rather invites ecstasy than describes real ecstatic experiences). On the other hand, Sadrs treatment of the Rising (qiyma) allows to suggest that, at the very least, he was aware of the existence of the epistemological stages at which the reality is perceived in an entirely different way than on the level of the ordinary sensory experience (which serves as the ground for the traditional essentialist stance, which underlies the philosophical system of Aristotle and that of Peripaticism in general). Since he was trained as a philosopher in the Illuminationist tradition, following Suhraward, he tended to reduce the difference between different epistemological stages to the difference in the intensity and weakness of existence (tashkk al-wujd bi l-shidda wa l-daf). Whether we share fully his approach or not, to understand it properly, we shall need to take this perspective and admit, as a working hypothesis, that the principal difference between different levels of reality lies in the strength and weakness of their particular existence. If, in the course of analysis, we establish that the principle of the analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd) can indeed be used as a universal tool to explain the structure of reality and that it never fails if applied in this capacity, then we shall have to admit that Sadrs teaching on the principality and analogicity of existence must truly be regarded as the most perfect philosophical doctrine ever worked out. If, applying the principle of tashkk al-wujd bi l-shidda wa l-daf, we come across (a) difficulty(-ies), then, in turn, we shall have to acknowledge that the applicability of Sadrs doctrine has its limitations. In the last decade or so, it has already become almost a sort of fashion to compare Sadrs philosophy, in particular his doctrine of substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya), with the Whitehedean teaching on Reality as Process. Such comparison is, in many aspects, just and correct, and Sadr does indeed treat the reality, at least in its sensible and physical level, as a unidirectional evolutionary process (as Fazlul Rahman insightfully remarks15). In the current research, however, my concern will be, first and foremost, to establish the principle of change and its object and then to examine the latters changing properties. *** A very brief account of the history of Sadrology must be given here, in order to elucidate the background of the research tradition, against which my own dissertation must be considered and which I claim to have developed in a certain aspect. It seems that, although Sadr had at least two eminent disciples, Mull Mohsen Fayd Kshn (1007/1598-1090/1679) and Abd al-Razzq Lhij (d. 1072/1662), his philosophy did not attract the attention of the Iranian intellectual elite before the second half of the 18th century, when Muhammad Bdbd (d. 1197 or 1198/ 1783 or 1784) began to teach his main work the Asfr (Journeys) in his classes of philosophy in Isfahan. The crucial role in propagating Sadrs teachings and making his hikma mutaliyya the dominant philosophical doctrine in Iran, however belongs to Bdbds disciple Mull Al Nr (d. 1246/1830-1831), who, in his seminary in Isfahan, taught the Asfr for more than sixty years, bringing up several generations of philosophers. Judging from the surviving commentaries, it seems that Nr concentrated mainly on the mystical element of Sadrs thought and, perhaps, treated the entire system as an irfn enterprise. This approach was shared by at least some of his outstanding disciples, namely, by
15

See: Fazlul Rahman, The Philosophy of Mull Sadr, Albany, NY: SUNY Press 1975, 100. 10

Sayyed Radi Lrijn (d. 1270/1853-1854) and q Muhammad Rid Qumsh (1234/18191306/1889). In turn, another Nrs student Hjj Mull Hd Sabzavr (1212/1797-1798 1295 or 1298/1797-1878 or 1881) considered Sadrs philosophy mainly in the context of Peripatetic and Illuminationist traditions (it appears that, in his own thought, he attempted to combine though, to me, unsuccessfully Sadrs doctrine of principality and analogical gradation of existence with Mr Dmds theory of meta-temporal origination). Another important exponent of Sadrs ideas in Iran in the second half of the 19th century was q Al Hakm Mudarris Zunz (1234/1818-1307/1889), the central founding figure of the philosophical school of Tehran, who, by the way, proposed a number of corrections to Sadrs ontological and eschatological doctrines. Zunzs treatise Badyi al-hikam (The Marvels of Wisdoms) (in which he answers sixteen questions posed by the Qjr prince Bad al-Mulk) brought him the fame of the father of comparative philosophy in the Islamic philosophical tradition16, and, owing to his personal contacts with the French thinker Arthur de Gobineau (who was a minister in the French embassy in Tehran in 1855-1858 and 1862-1863), the name of Mull Sadr (though not yet the fine points of his teaching) became known to European intellectual elite. In the twentieth century, Iran produced a number of distinguished philosophers of Sadrian tradition, of whom Mirz Mahd shtiyn (1306/1888-1372/1952), Seyyed Ab l-Hasan Raf Qazwn (1315/1897-1396/1975), Seyyed Muhammad Kzim Assr (1302/18841396/1975), Ab l-Hasan Sharn, Seyyed Muhammad Husseyn Tabtab (d. 1404/1983) and Seyyed Jall al-Dn shtiyn (1306/1927-1383/2005) were perhaps the most important.(Tabtab not only initiated and supervised the new critical edition of the Asfr, but also wrote very important commentaries on the book; shtiyn, in turn, composed the first comprehensive monograph on Sadrs life, works and philosophical views in Persian and prepared the critical editions of a number of Sadrs treatises). In 1912 and 1913, the German Islamicist Max Horten published two small works on Sadr (Die Gottesbeweise bei Schirazi and Das philosophische System von Schirazi), consisting mostly of (unfortunately, often quite incorrect) translations of passages from Sadrs works. Far from being a comprehensive exposition of Sadrs teachings, Hortens works, however, drew attention to his main ideas those of principality and analogical gradation of existence. In turn, Muhammad Iqbal in his Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908) discussed Sadrs doctrine of perception, in particular, the theory of the identity of subject and object17 (more precisely, the unification of the perceiver and the perceived (ittihd almudrik wa l-mudrak)), while Edward G. Browne in the fourth volume of his Literary History of Persia drew a quite detailed picture of the historical background and cultural achievements of Sadrs epoch. These four works, which appeared in the early 20th century, made Western Islamicists aware of the existence of a powerful and sophisticated philosophical tradition in Safavid Iran, the foremost figure of which was Sadr, and acquainted them briefly with some of his ideas. This slight and superficial acquaintance, however, did not begin to develop into a deeper and more lasting relationship before the 1960-s, when the French Islamicist Henry Corbin (19031978), who had by then travelled to Iran several times and spent there a significant amount of time, working in the libraries, meeting Iranian scholars and lecturing on

16

17

See: S.H.Nasr, From the School of Isfahan to the School of Tehran, in Transcendent Philosophy, Vol. 2, number 4 (December 2001), 6-9 and S.M.Mohaghegh Dmd, Nokhbegn-i ilm wa amal-i rn: q Al Modarres Tehrn, in Nme-i Farhangestn-i Ulm, Tehrn: Farhangestn-i Ulm-i rn, Vol. 3, number 4 (Summer 1996), 147151. Muhammad Iqbal, Development of Metaphysics in Persia, London: Luzac 1908, 87. 11

Islamic philosophy, published several articles on Sadr18 and, in 1964, the French translation of Sadrs Mashir (Penetrations)19 the first ever complete translation of any of Sadrs works in a European language. Corbins translation of the Mashir is lucid and philosophically correct, and his commentary insightful and meticulous. In the introduction, he devotes some twenty-five pages to the discussion of the problem of existence as it was apprehended by mediaeval Christian and Muslim philosophers. One notices, however, that his treatment of the issue remains predominantly scholastic and that in his discussion of the history of the problem of existence in the Western mediaeval philosophy he, for the most part, relies on tiene Gilsons book Ltre et lessence. The relationship between Sadrs ontology and Ibn al-Arabs teaching is only slightly and superficially touched. All in all considered, we can probably say that Corbins treatment of Sadrs philosophy represents a mixture of deep insights and quite groundless misconceptions (e.g., his belief that the doctrines of the theologians of the Shaykhiyya School, in particular, those of Ahmad al-Ahs (1166/1753-1241/1826), must be treated as a creative development of Sadrs teachings).20 I guess, however, that his interest in Sadr was, to a considerable degree, spurred exactly by these misconceptions: enthusiasm is almost always based on a kind of wishful thinking.21 The hitherto only comprehensive monograph on Sadrs philosophical teachings and, until now, the best work on Sadr in English, is Fazlul Rahmans Philosophy of Mull Sadr, published by SUNY Press in 1975. Rahman not only gives an exact and detailed account of Sadrs doctrine, perspicaciously detecting the analogical gradation of existence (tashkk alwujd) as its pivotal idea, from which the rest of his theories evolve and around which his entire philosophy revolves22, but also very skilfully places it (Sadrs teaching) in the general context of Islamic thought and reveals its primary and secondary sources. The main drawback of Rahmans work, apparently, is his scholastic treatment of Ibn al-Arabs teachings (Ibn al-Arab who, although he often uses Sufi terminology, is a theosoph with a cognitive context through and through23). Besides, Rahman bases his research almost solely on the Asfr. This limitation, by and large, prevents him from noticing the evolution of Sadrs views and does not allow him to establish the correct chronology of Sadrs works.24
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Apparently, the most important of them was La place de Moll Sadr dans la philosophie iranienne, in Studia Islamica, Paris, Vol. XVIII, 81113. Henry Corbin (trad.), Le Livre des penetrations metaphysiques (Kitb al-Mashir) Teheran Paris: Librairie dAdrien Maisonneuve 1964. See: Henry Corbin, Introduction in Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Le Livre des penetrations metaphysiques (Kitb al-Mashir), ed. Henry Corbin, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Editions Tahuri 1982, 4850 (of the French section). Ahss commentary on Sadrs Mashir (hitherto available only in a lithographic edition (Ahmad alAhs, Sharh al-arshiyya, Kerman: 1361 L.H.)) definitely testifies that he was completely unfamiliar both with the tenets of Sadrs thought and with his philosophical terminology. On the Shaykhiyya School in general, see: Henry Corbin, En Islam iranien, 2nd edition, Paris: Gallimard 1991, t. IV, 205300. In the late 1960-s and the early 1970-s, i.e., after the publication of Corbins translation of the Mashir and before Rahmans monograph came out, Pakistani scholar Ansari M. Abdul Haq published several short articles on different aspects of Sadrs thought in Islamabad (among them: Ansari M. Abdul Haq, Mull Sadrs Concept of Being, in Islamic Studies, Islamabad, Vol. 6, 1967, 268276; Ansari M. Abdul Haq, The Metaphysics of Mull Sadr, in Islamic Studies, Islamabad, Vol. 10, 1971, 291317). See: Rahman, Philosophy, 12. Rahman, Philosophy, 4. Thus, Rahman believes both the Mabd wa l-mad and the Shawhid al-rubbiyya to be written after the Asfr, while, to me, the dominating influence of Avicennan philosophy in these two works decisively proves that they were composed before the Asfr. (References to the Asfr, found in both works, I believe, were interpolated by Sadr during later revisions.)

12

Seyyed Hosseyn Nasrs (b. 1933) book Sadr al-Dn Shrz and His Transcendent Philosophy (first published in 197825), as well as his numerous articles on Sadr26, undoubtedly, were very helpful in arousing interest in Sadr (and the late mediaeval Islamic philosophy in general) among the Western philosophers and Iranologists (especially their younger generation). Nasrs writings provide plenty of useful details about Sadrs intellectual background, interesting (but often rather general) information about the sources of his doctrines and, again, in a general manner, trace the influence of his thought in Qajar Persia. For many years, Nasr has been the most prolific and influential propagator of the Sufi and philosophical heritage of Iran in the West. His works may lack deep philosophical insight and remarkable originality, and the discussion may often be limited to generalities, but, as introductions to the intellectual history of Iran and to the thought of Sadr, in particular, they have proved to be most useful. However, I cannot fully share Nasrs belief that Sadrs philosophy represents a systematic metaphysical exposition of the teachings of Ibn al-Arab and his school.27 In 1981 James W. Morris translation of the Hikma al-arshiyya (The Wisdom of the Throne) the first complete translation of any of Sadrs works in English, together with a very detailed introduction, came out in Princeton, USA.28 Until today, it remains the only reliable translation of Sadrs text available in English. Except very few cases, Morris renders the often quite sophisticated expositions of Sadrs ontological and eschatological doctrines into plain and lucid philosophical English, providing the translation with extensive and detailed commentaries. His introduction is very informative, but it does not contain an awful lot of new and bold ideas for the most part, Morris contents himself with elaborating the theories of his predecessors (Rahman, Nasr, Corbin, Izutsu). Morris argues that a central unifying metaphor of Sadrs comprehensive writings is the path of enlightenment the spiritual journey from transcendence viewed as a problematic symbol or concept, to its perception as a personal experience or event, to its full realization as the context and reality underlying all experience.29 His understanding of spiritual journey as the actualization of transcendence seems to be inspired by reflection upon the title of Sadrs main work alHikma al-mutaliyya f l-asfr al-aqliyya al-arbaa (The Supreme/ Transcendent Wisdom in Four Intellectual/ Noetic Journeys). I think, however, that the truth is much simpler namely, that the expression al-hikma al-mutaliyya refers to the fact that Sadrs philosophical system deals with metaphysical (and those directly related to metaphysics) issues only: as for the natural and exact sciences, unlike Ibn Sn (370/980-428/1037) and Suhraward, Sadr considers studying them to be below the dignity of divine (god-like) sages (mutaallihn). Morris theory of the quest and realization of transcendence, to me, has more to do with the modern American spirituality than with the thought of Sadr. Despite the above stated reservations which I have about Morris work (which, in fact, have to do more with the introductory essay than the translation proper), I have to acknowledge
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Seyyed Hosseyn Nasr, Sadr al-Dn Shrz and his Transcendent Theosophy: Background, Life and Works, Tehran: Iranian Academy of Philosophy 1978. The most important of which are Mull Sadr: his teachings, in Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman (eds.), History of Islamic Philosophy, 2 vols., London: Routledge 1996, Vol. 2, 643662 and Sadr al-Dn Shrz Mull Sadr, in M. M. Sharif (ed.), A History of Muslim Philosophy, 2 vols., Vol. 2, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz 1966, 932961. See: Nasr, Shrz, 88. In particular, he writes there: In the case of Ibn Arab especially, this [Sufi] metaphysics presents itself as so many strokes of lightning, each of which illuminates an aspect of the landscape of ultimate Reality. These flashes of light are transformed by Mull Sadr... into a more steady and continuous light. James W. Morris (transl.), The Wisdom of the Throne, Princeton: Princeton University Press 1981. Morris, Wisdom, 6. 13

that his work is by degrees superior to Parvz Morewedges translation of the Mashir, published in New York in 1992.30 In a nutshell, Morewedges command of philosophical English is far from sufficient, wherefore, due to the many mistakes and even more ambiguities found in his translation, it proves to be useless, if not misleading, for a nonspecialist reader. (Specialists will, perhaps, come across some inspiring renderings of Arabic philosophical terms among Morewedges many errors and infelicities if their patience lasts long enough to read the entire text, comparing every phrase and expression in Arabic with its translation in English.) In any case, in its present non-revised state, there is little ground in Morewedges translation to justify his claim that his work is an attempt to convince analytic philosophers of the analytic nature of Sadrian argumentation.31 One has to fully agree with Sajjad H. Rizvi that if the translation were completed in a new [revised] edition, then it would be a significant event in the study of Islamic philosophy.32 The translators introductory essay does not exceed six pages and only provides the most basic facts about Sadrs life and works.) In 2000 Christian Jambet (perhaps the most devout disciple of Henry Corbin), under the title Se rendre immortel, published his masterly French translation of Sadrs eschatological Risla f l-hashr (Treatise on Gathering)33 and two years later, in 2002, his big monograph LActe dtre: la philosophie de la revelation chez Moll Sadr34 came out. By and large, as Rizvi aptly remarks, Jambets book represents a detailed development and elaboration of Corbins thesis that true Islamic philosophy is, by necessity, a prophetic one.35 Jambet interprets Sadrs ontology as a hermeneutic for understanding Gods self-disclosure in the cosmos and argues that Sadr views the universe as a revelation of the divine act of Being. The book consists of three parts: 1) la revolution mtaphysique; 2) la revolution existentielle and 3) le salut. In the first part, Jambet explores the structure of Being, with the God of revelation as its ground and foundation. The metaphor of the light of Being/ existence is discussed in detail, and the principles of principality and analogical gradation of existence are examined. In the second part the issues of substantial movement, the soul and the world of imagination are analyzed. The final part The Salvation deals with the philosophy of spirit, return to God as unification of the knower and the known, Gods names and epiphanies. To Jambet, the primary concern of philosophy is the salvation of the soul; Sadrs ontology, therefore, must be considered as propaedeutics for his eschatology. In a nutshell, Jambets book appears to be based on a highly tendentious reading of Sadrs philosophy and represents an adaptation of his teaching to certain theses of Corbin and the author himself. That said, one has to acknowledge that, despite the apparent questionability of its main thesis (the alleged eschatological leitmotif of Sadrs prophetic philosophy), Jambets work contains numerous insights, in particular regarding the Neoplatonic elements present in Sadrs system.

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Parviz Morewedge (transl.), The Metaphysics of Mulla Sadra (Kitb al-Mashir), New York: SSIPS 1992. Parviz Morewedge, Essays in Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism, Oneonta, NY: Department of Philosophy at SUNY Oneonta 1995, XIIXIII. Sajjad H. Rizvi, Parviz Morewedge, The Metaphysics of Mull Sadr [being a translation of Kitb alMashir] in Transcendent Philosophy, London: IIS, volume 1, number 3 (December 2000), 124. Christian Jambet (transl.), Se rendre immortel, suivi du Trait de la Rsurrection de Moll Sadr Shrz, Paris: Fata Morgana 2000. Christian Jambet, LActe dtre: la philosophie de la revelation chez Moll Sadr, Paris: Fayard 2002. See: Sajjad H. Rizvi, Christian Jambet, LActe dtre: la philosophie de la revelation chez Moll Sadr in Transcendent Philosophy, London: IIS, volume 3, number 4 (December 2002), 464468. 14

Alparslan Acikgencs study Being and Existence in Sadr and Heidegger36 elucidates the common trends of Sadr and Heideggers philosophy of Being (while Acikgencs recent articles37, in turn, focus on similarities between Sadr and Whitehead). Since 1990, at least a dozen dissertations on different aspects of Sadrs thought have been defended in Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Belgium) and the USA. Brief evaluations of these dissertations have been given by Sajjad H. Rizvi (who himself defended his Ph. D. thesis on the modulation (i.e., analogical gradation J.E.) of being in Sadrs philosophy at Cambridge University in 200038), in his survey article Approaching the Study of Mull Sadr Shrz.39 The most outstanding of these studies, by no doubt, is Ccile Bonmariages Le Rel et les ralits: la structure de la ralit de ltre chez Mull Sadr Shrz40, which shows not only her profound erudition regarding the Peripatetic, Neoplatonic and Sufi background of Sadrs teachings, but also impressive command of the entire range of issues the mediaeval philosophy in the Christian West and Muslim East concerned itself with. The second volume of her dissertation consists of the French translations of large passages from Sadrs philosophical works. In spite of her meticulous examination of the Sadrian doctrine of the analogical gradation of existence, Bonmariage arrives at a conclusion that Sadrs exact position on certain issues (e.g., that of oneness-and-manyness of existence41) cannot be established with certainty due to his equivocation on the subject.42 Two recent books Sajjad H. Rizvi and Seyed G. Safavis Mulla Sadra: Philosopher of the Mystics43 and S.M. Khameneis Mulla Sadras Transcendent Philosophy44 represent introductions to Sadrs thought, aimed at wider non-specialist audiences in the West. They provide the basic outline of his doctrines, without discussing fine points and going deep into academic subtleties. The potential audience of these books is undergraduates of Islamic Studies and academics who specialize in fields related to Islamic philosophy (but not in the latter itself). In the USSR, the first research on Sadr was Hazratkulovs doctoral dissertation The Philosophical Views of Sadr al-Dn Shrz, published in Dushanbe in 1985.45 In 2000 Esots
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Alparslan Acikgenc, Being and Existence in Sadr and Heidegger: A Comparative Ontology, Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization 1993. In particular, his Philosophical Perception and Mystical Vision in Sadra within the Whiteheadean Context, in Transcendent Philosophy, London: IIS, volume 1, number 2 (September 2000), 101117. Sajjad H. Rizvi, Modulation of Being (Tashkk al-Wujd) in the Philosophy of Mull Sadr Shrz, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge: Cambridge University 2000. Rizvi deals with three facets of the problem of wujd in Sadrs thought the reality of existence, mental existence and the language of existence, showing how the notion of tashkk applies to each of them. Sajjad H. Rizvi, Approaching the Study of Mull Sadr Shrz (d.1641): A Survey of Some Doctoral Dissertations, in Transcendent Philosophy, London: IIS, Vol. 2, number 4 (December 2001), 5972. Ccile Bonmariage, Le Rel et les ralits: la structure de la ralit de ltre chez Mull Sadr Shrz, 2 parties, dissertation du grade de Docteur en Philosophie et letters, Louvain: Universit catholique de Louvain 1998. If being is one and everything is but a mode or deployment of the divine true being, then in what sense can it be said that particular beings really are? (Bonmariage, Le Rel, 188; quoted from Rizvi, Approaching, 65). Other recent Ph. D. dissertations on Sadr include: Zailan Moris, Revelation, Intellectual intuition and Reason in the Philosophy of Mulla Sadra: An Analysis of al-Hikma al-arshiyya; Trad Hamade, Dieu, le monde, et lme chez Moll Sadr al-Shrz; Mohsen M. Saleh, The Verse of Light: A Study of Mulla Sadras Philosophical Quran Exegesis; Ibrahim Kalin, Knowledge in Later Islamic Philosophy: Mulla Sadra on the Unification of the Intellect and the Intelligible and Mahmud Khatami, The Unitary Consciousness: Towards a Solution for the Ontological Crisis in Modern Theories of the Self. Sajjad H. Rizvi and Seyed G. Safavi, Mulla Sadra: Philosopher of the Mystics, Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society 2002. Seyyed Muhammad Khamenei, Mull Sadrs Transcendent Philosophy, Tehrn: SIPRIn Publications 2004. M. , , : 1985. 15

published his Russian translation of Sadrs al-Wridt al-qalbiyya46 and in 2004 that of alHikma al-arshiyya.47 In 1999 and 2004 two world congresses on Mull Sadr, organized by Sadra Islamic Philosophy Research Institute (SIPRIn) (headed by Seyyed Muhammad Khamenei), were held in Tehran. The first of them was attended by most leading specialists in Islamic philosophy and Sufism, and it was hoped by the organizers that the event would become a significant stimulus for the development of Sadrian studies in the West. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, these expectations did not fulfil. Another promising attempt was undertaken in 20002001 by the London Institute of Islamic Studies (initially supported by SIPRIn). Its then director Seyed G. Safavi (now the President of the London Academy of Iranian Studies) convened two conferences on major issues of Sadrs philosophy (in 2000 on perception; in 2001 on causation), which attracted some of the best experts from Iran and the West. It was planned to hold a series of conferences on particular aspects of Sadrs thought. Unfortunately, for the time being at least, this promising project has been stopped due to the lack of funds.48 There are few comprehensive studies on the concept and reality of existence49, and none of them is very recent. tienne Gilsons Ltre et lessence (1948) deals predominantly with the history of the concept in ancient Greek thought and mediaeval (scholastic) and modern European philosophy. Almost sixty years after its publication, it still remains unchallenged as the most comprehensive study of the issue. Jacque Maritains work Existence and the Existent (1950), in turn, deals predominantly with the relationship between existence and possibly existent things. Among the studies on the treatment on Being/ existence by particular philosophers, Anthony Kennys Aquinas on Being50 is of special importance. Toshihiko Izutsus Concept and Reality of Existence (1971) remains the best comparative study dealing with the notion of existence in European and Eastern philosophy. His Fundamental Structure of Sabzavrs Metaphysics (1969), though devoted mainly to the
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- -, , , : 2000, 2, 109132 5, 109127. - -, , , , : 2004. Of many excellent papers presented at Tehran and London conferences particularly important to my subject of research were the following ones: Alparslan Acikgenc, Philosophical Perception and Mystical Vision in Sadra within the Whiteheadean Context; Reza Akbarian, The Principle of Primacy of Existence over Quiddity and its Philosophical Results in the Ontological System of Mull Sadr; idem, Transsubstantial Motion and its Philosophical Consequences; Jawd mul, The Transcendent Theosophy and the Theosopher; Ccile Bonmariage, Elements pour la comprehension de la notion de tashkk chez Mulla Sadra; William C. Chittick, On the Teleology of Perception; idem, The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology: Reflections of the Philosophy of Afdl al-Dn Kshn; Majid Fakhry, Mull Sadrs Concept of the Soul in Relation to Avicennas Psychology; Valerie J. Hoffman, Al-Frbs True King and Mull Sadrs Path: Human Perfection and Divine Action in Islamic Esoteric Traditions; Ibrahim Kalin, Between Physics and Metaphysics: Mull Sadr on Movement; Douglas P. Lackey, The Affirmation of Flux and the Denial of Essence in Mull Sadr, and Some Theological Puzzles that Result; Latimah-Parwin Peerwani, Mull Sadr on Imaginative Perception and Imaginal World; idem, Reincarnation or Resurrection of the Soul? Mull Sadrs Philosophical Solution to the Dilemma; Seyyed Abbs Husayn Qim-maqm, Darmad bar nazariyah dar burhn-i wujdshenkht; Sabine Schmidtke, The Doctrine of the Transmigration of Soul According to Shihb al-Dn al-Suhraward and his Followers; Jane I. Smith, Barriers and Heights: Classical Islam and Mull Sadr on barzakh and arf and Sayyed Yahy Yathrib, Tahll-i intiqd masala-i aslat-i wujd. By reality of existence, I understand its principle and source or, as Izutsu puts it, that particular state that underlies every act of perception and cognition (Toshihiko Izutsu, The Fundamental Structure of Sabzawaris Metaphysics, in Sabzavr, Hjj Mull Hd, Sharh ghurar al-farid aw sharh manzma hikma, qismat-i umr-i mma wa jawhar wa ard, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Anjuman-i thr wa Mafhir-i Farhang 1384/ 2005, 27). Anthony Kenny, Aquinas on Being, Oxford: Clarendon Press 2002. 16

thought of Sabzavr, discusses the main principles of Sadrs ontology (those of principality of existence and its analogical gradation) in some detail. As it is evident from the tenets and structure of my study, I have relied on Izutsus works51 greatly, to the point that they can be, in a certain sense, regarded as my principal source of inspiration. The work which, in respect to its subject, comes closest to my study,52 apparently, is Sayyed Jall al-Dn shtiyns Hast az nazar-i irfn wa falsafa (Existence from the Standpoint of [Islamic] Philosophy and Mysticism) (1960).53 shtiyn, however, is concerned mainly with the philosophical understanding of existence, paying much less attention to the mystical one. Furthermore, his book is, first and foremost, a comparative study of two particular texts Sadrs Mashir and Dwd al-Qaysars (d. 751/1350) introduction to his commentary on Ibn al-Arabs Fuss al-hikam. It is highly questionable, whether the above text of Qaysar can be recognized as an epitome of the Sufi (even that of Ibn al-Arab school solely) teaching on wujd. The texts of Ibn al-Arab and Sadr al-Dn Qnaw (d.673/1274) seem to reveal this teaching in more depth and detail. Certainly, the discourse of Ibn al-Arab and Qnaw is often quite sophisticated and, at times, rather difficult to follow, while that of Qaysar is much more accessible. With full awareness of the latter difficulty, I have attempted to build my discussion on the Sufi understanding of wujd mainly on the texts of Qnaw. *** The first chapter Wujd and the Reality of Wujd consists of two parts, dealing with the mystical (Sufi) and philosophical (predominantly Peripatetic) doctrines on wujd respectively. An attempt is then made to establish whether and, if yes, to what extent Sadrs teaching on principality and analogical gradation of existence can be regarded as a successful synthesis of both doctrines. In the second chapter, the main levels (strata) of reality or horizons of existence, as viewed by Sadr, are examined and the implications of the gradation of existence are described. I then compare the structure of analogically graded existence, offered by Sadr, with the structures suggested by Ibn Sn, Suhraward, Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmn (d. after 411/1020-1) and Ibn alArab, considering Sadrs interpretation of innovation/ intellect, nature and soul against the background of the relevant Peripatetic, Neoplatonic (Illuminationist and Ismaili) and Sufi teachings. The third chapter deals with the transformation of existence. In it, the modalities of the souls existence before, with and after the physical body are discussed. I argue that Sadrs eschatological doctrine, by and large, is a reinterpretation of Sufi (Ibn al-Arabs) teaching of mans inner (deliberate) self-transformation, known as the change/ substitution of existence (tabdl al-wujd).

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I mean Izutsus books Creation and the Timeless Order of Things, The Concept and Reality of Existence and especially Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts and some of his articles, in particular, The Problem of Quiddity and Natural Universal in Islamic Metaphysics (in Etudes philosophiques prsentes au Dr. Ibrahim Madkour) and Mr Dmd and His Metaphysics (introduction to Mr Dmds Qabast). Recently, Sajjad H. Rizvi has briefly addressed the treatment of wujd by Ibn al-Arab and Mull Sadr in his article Mysticism and Philosophy: Ibn Arab and Mull Sadr (in Peter Adamson and Richard R. Taylor (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005, 224246, in particular 233239). Sayyed Jall al-Dn shtiyn, Hast az nazar-i irfn wa falsafa, Mashhad: Chpkhne-i Khursn 1379 L.H. 17

CHAPTER 1. WUJD AND THE REALITY OF WUJD


1.1. SUFI MYSTICISMS UNDERSTANDING OF WUJD
1.1.1. Sufi Definitions of Wujd

In order to be able to consider Sadrs teaching on Existence/ Finding (Wujd) and the Reality (i.e., the Principle)54 of Existence/ Finding (haqqat al-wujd) in the context of Sufi Mysticism (`irfn), I shall have to draw a sketchy outline of the history of the problem of wujd (existence/ being/ finding) and wahdat al-wujd (oneness/ unity of existence/ being/ finding) in theoretical Sufism (in full awareness that many of the observations presented below may seem next to commonplace to the experts in the field). The ambiguity of the term wujd (depending on the context, it can mean either existence, or being, or finding, or all) has often been an issue in the philosophical (especially ontological), theological and mystical discussions which took place in the mediaeval Islamic intellectual milieu, since neither philosophers, nor theologicians, nor Sufi mystics could do without the employment of the term in their discourses.55 Recently some Western scholars (the most prominent of whom is William Chittick (who wisely avoids translating the word wujd into English)) have also given their attention to the issue. While the exact word wujd does not appear in the Quran, the verb wajada (to find) appears there more than ten times. From the Sufi point of view, its employment in the 94th verse of the surah Joseph is of particular importance: the old Jacob, who has lost his eyesight out of the grief over the disappearance (and alleged death) of his beloved son Joseph, perceives the aroma of his lost son as soon as the caravan carrying with it Josephs shirt leaves Egypt (while he himself is tens of miles away in his home in Canaan) and exclaims: Truly, I find the scent of Joseph! which gives Sufi mystics a good cause to count him (Jacob) as one of the people of finding (ahl al-wujd) (while the entire story is often treated as a symbolic description of the relations between the lover and his mystical beloved). Also important is the verse 24th verse of the surah Light, in which it is told that
the Unbelievers their deeds are like the mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing, but he finds God at (i.e., in J.E.) him56

whence we can conclude that the only thing that can truly and really be found is God.57 (Hence, God/ the Real is the Found One (mawjd). But, upon more reflection, the mystic realizes that He is simultaneously the (only) Finder and the Finding itself.)

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56 57

We do not mean by reality (haqqa) anything else except what is the principle (or: origin) (mabda) of an external trace (athar khrij) (Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 319). Cf. C. Bonmariages translation in: Cecil Bonmariage, Acts of Men, Acts of God in Safavi, Seyed G., Mulla Sadra and Comparative Philosophy on Causation, London: Salman Azade Press 2003, 300. One of the outstanding mediaeval Muslim thinkers who paid attention to the etymological implications of wujd, was Afdl al-Dn Kshn, better known as Bb Afdl (d. ca 610/1213-1214). On his treatment of wujd, see: W.Chittick, The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology: Reflections of the Philosophy of Afdl alDn Kshn in Islam-West Philosophical Dialogue: The Papers presented at the World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 1999, Tehran), volume 2 Mulla Sadra and Transcendent Philosophy: Tehran: SIPRIn Publications 1380/2001, 531532. (Unfortunately, Chittick`s book on Bb Afdl The Heart of Islamic Philosophy (Oxford: Oneworld 2001) was inaccessible to me at the time of writing the current work.) The Holy Qurn, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Hertfordshire: Wordswordth Editions Ltd. 2000, 291. Maurice Gloton in his introduction to the French translation of Ibn al-Arabs Insh al-dawir discusses the implications of the usage of the verb wajada in this verse in great detail. See: Maurice Gloton, 18

It is commonly believed that in philosophical texts wujd almost always means being/ existence (Persian hast), but in the mystical (irfn) ones can mean either existence or finding (understood as awareness, perception and consciousness). Generally, the older the Sufi text, the greater the chance that wujd means precisely finding. (Chittick points to Ayn al-Qudt Hamadn (d. 525/1131) as one of the first Sufi authors who employed wujd in the philosophical sense i.e., that of existence/ being58). Ab l-Qsim Qushayr (d.465/1072) in his Risla (Treatise) does not give a definition of wujd, but treats it as the utmost limit of wajd (ecstasis) and applies it to the Real (haqq), stating that finding (wujd) of the Real does not take place except after the vanishing of the mortal human nature (bashariyya)59. He points out that wujd necessitates the perishment (istihlk) of the servant and compares the state of wujd to drawning in the sea (i.e., to fan the annihilation of the self). To Qushayr, the possessor of (the state of) wujd partakes in sobriety (sahw) and obliteration (mahw) simultaneously: his sobriety takes place due to his subsistence through the Real, while his obliteration occurs owing to his annihilation in the Real.60 Qushayrs contemporary Abdallh Ansr (d.481/1088) in his Manzil al-sirn (Waystations of the Travellers) defines wujd as grasping (literally: obtaining J.E.) the reality of the thing (al-zafar bi-haqqat al-shay`).61 In his Tabaqt al-sfiyya (Strata of the Sufis) Ansr indicates that the sign of wujd is annihilation (fan).62 It is difficult to make decisive conclusions about Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arabs usage of the term wujd, given the vastness of his legacy, a significant part of which remains unpublished as yet. Generally speaking, to him, wujd has two basic meanings: in the first one, it is a technical Sufi term which he explains as finding the Real in ecstasy (wijdn al-haqq f lwajd)63 (and which, thus, refers to the subjective experience of the mystic); in the second sense it points to the Reals finding itself (i.e., its self-awareness), which encompasses all levels of the created world (which, in fact, are nothing but different stages of its selfdisclosure (tajall). Hence, it can be said that the Real finds itself through contemplating itself in its essence (dht) and in its self-disclosure(s). What we refer to as the created world, cosmos or universe, is actually a result (and, simultaneously, a tool) of the Reals selfcontemplation through its self-disclosure. Hence, what is commonly known as existence, is actually a kind of finding the Reals finding its perfections (kamlt) in the loci of the manifestations (mazhir) of its names. This is true that philosophers tend to ignore (or openly refuse to admit) the fact that the entified existence (al-wujd al-ayn) of things is nothing else but the Reals permanent finding itself (wherefore wujd is inevitably subjective) and to ascribe to it objectivity. In fact, according to the teaching of Ibn al-Arab (and Sufi mysticism in general), there is no such thing as independent objective existence, since everything existing in different levels of the cosmos is nothing else but meanings and forms present in the Reals mind and imagination.

58

59

60 61 62 63

Introduction in Ibn Arab, La production des circles, traduit et prsent par Paul Fenton et Maurice Gloton, Paris: ditions de lclat 1996, XIXXX. See: W.C.Chittick, Wahdat al-wujd in India, in the Proceedings of the Conference Inner Dimension of the Islamic World. The School of Ibn Arab (22-23 January 2001). School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto (forthcoming). Ab l-Qsim al-Qushayr, al-Risla al-qushayriyya, eds. A.Mahmd and M.Sharf, Qum: Intishrt-i Bdr 1374 S.H., 132. See: Qushayr, Risla, 133. Abdallh Ansr, Manzil al-sirn, ed. A.Shirvn, Qum: al-Matbaa Quds 1417 L.H., 138. Abdallh Ansr, Tabaqt al-sfiyya, ed. H.h, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Furgh 1380 S.H., 137. Al-Shaykh al-Akbar Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, Istilht al-sfyya, ed. A.S.Hamdn, Cairo: Maktabat Madbl 1999, 9 and idem, al-Futht al-makkiyya, Beirt: Dr al-Sdir, non-dated, part 2, 538. 19

The oft-quoted definition of wujd provided by Ibn al-Arabs foremost disciple and the most remarkable systematizer and propagator of his teachings Sadr al-Dn Qnaw is the one given in the Mifth al-ghayb (The Key of the Unseen):
Wujd is one of the self-disclosures of the Unseen of the He-ness (ghayb al-huwiyya)64 and an entification of one of its states, which is of the same kind as other essential states.65

The passage, if considered outside its context, seems incompatible with Qnaws own assertion that the Real is pure finding (read: self-awareness J.E.) (al-haqq huwa al-wujd al-mahd)66 , therefore I shall quote the paragraph in which it appears fully:
The number of existents corresponds to the number of tenuities (raqq) of names and attributes, and their properties. And I told you what they are so do remember! And every relation is a property, and every property a form, and every form a specified locus of selfdisclosure of the all-comprehensive locus of self-disclosure, [comprising] [all] loci of selfdisclosure, whose source it is, and the disclosed one is the Real with its essential states, which are distinguished from it (the Real J.E.) by itself, and it is also the distinguisher of the aforementioned universal loci of self-disclosure. And wujd is one of the self-disclosures of the Unseen of the He-ness, which is of the same kind as other essential states. And when their (selfdisclosures J.E.) unification [that occurs] through the essential unity of gathering (ahadiyyat al-jam) is considered, they are the Real; and when their multiplicity is taken into account, in keeping with the property of distinction and manifestedness, the Real is they, and it is manifested in respect of them and in accordance with them.67

According to Qnaws commentator Shams al-Dn Ibn Hamza al-Fanr (751/1350-1 834/1431), what is at issue here, is the relative existence (al-wujd al-idf)68, that is, the relation (idfa) between a fixed entity and the unbounded finding/ existence (al-wujd almutlaq). However, what is not disclosed by any kind of disclosure bound or unbound, is not found, therefore, strictly speaking, it cannot be called wujd. Hence, any kind of wujd is a sort of self-disclosure. This conclusion is supported by several passages in the Mifth alghayb, in which Qnaw speaks of two kinds of unbounded wujd:
The unbounded wujd has two respects, one of which consists in its being wujd and nothing else. And in this aspect [, in which there is nothing like Him (42:11),] it is the Real, which is void of any manyness and compoundedness (tarkb), attribute and quality (nat), name and trace (rasm), relation (nisba) and property (hukm). On the contrary, it is pure wujd, and we say: It is wujd [only] in order to make ourselves understood, not because wujd is its true name. Rather, its name is its very attribute, and its attribute is its very essence.69 ... and [the second respect, in which He is the Hearing, the Seeing (42:11) is] when He perceives or is witnessed, or addresses or is addressed, and [this happens] from behind the veil of His inaccessible exaltation (izza) on the level of His Self [ the veil,] which is known as the relation of His outward manifestedness (zhiriyya) and the property of His manifestation
64

65

66

67 68 69

He-ness, now widely used in English translations of Arabic philosophical and mystical (Sufi) texts, is the literal translation of huwiyya. Probably haecceity (this-ness; that in virtue of which an individual is the individual that it is (Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 159)), introduced into the mediaeval philosophical Latin by Duns Scotus, would have been a more suitable rendering, if the American philosopher of language David Kaplan had not recently attributed the latter term a new and completely different meaning. Sadr al-Dn Qnaw, Mifth ghayb al-jam wa l-wujd, published in one volume with Shams al-Dn Ibn Hamza al-Fanr, Misbh al-uns bayna l-maql wa l-mashhd, ed. M.Khjav, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Mawl 1374/1995, 125. The passage is quoted by Mull Sadr in: Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 346. Sadr al-Dn al-Qnaw, al-Nuss mifth mafth al-fuss, quoted from: Ali Ibn Ahmad Mahim, Mashra l-khuss il man al-nuss, Qum: Markaz-i Intishrt-i Daftar-i Tablqt-i Islm Hawze-i Ilm-i Qum 1379 S.H./1421 L.H., 255. Qnaw, Mifth, 125. See: Fanr, Misbh, 675. Qnaw, Mifth, 22. 20

in the waystation (manzil) of coming down (tadall), in the aspect of His undelimited beings/ findings joining the contingents, and His lights dawning upon the entities of existents, not otherwise. And when He flashes from this direction, His wujd becomes entified, becoming bound by the concomitant attributes of every entified thing... and this entification and individualization is called creation (khalq) and other [than God].70

The first kind of unbounded wujd represents the state of undisclosedness and nonentification. As a non-entified reality, it cannot be given any name and no attribute can be ascribed to it, since names and attributes are nothing but entifications. Hence, wujd is not its true name. Rather, as the most common and most comprehensive of the Reals names, i.e., as the most universal of all entifications, it is used to point to what is not entified at all. In fact, we have to deal here with a conventional misuse of the word. In turn, in the second case the usage of the word wujd appears to be fully justified, since it is applied to the universal self-disclosure of the Real, which embraces the entire cosmos. This universal self-disclosure is known among the Sufis by a number of names, such as the breath of the Compassionate (nafas al-rahmn), the existence/ finding dispersed over the contingents (wujd munbasit al l-mumkint), the flow of finding/ existence (sarayn alwujd) and others. A more careful reading of the writings of Qnaw allows one to look at the issue from a different perspective: namely, even in the first respect a certain kind of entification is present. I mean here the Reals oneness by reality, which consists in its conceiving of itself the affair which Qnaw describes in his Nuss (Texts) as the first entification.71 Ones conceiving of oneself is self-awareness. Hence, the use of the word wujd is most proper if it is understood as the Reals non-entified finding itself, i.e., its pure self-awareness. In turn, the second aspect refers to the second entification of the Real, in which it manifests itself as the origin (mabda`) of the world (cosmos).
The originnatingness (mabdaiyya) of the Real (i.e., its being the originator of the World) is (i.e., consists in its being J.E.) the root of respects/ mental positions (itibrt) and the source of relations and relationships manifest in the wujd and non-manifest in the courtyard of intellections and minds.72

This second entification is called the level of divinity (martabat al-ulhiyya) and the presence of oneness (hadrat al-wahda). The trend is followed by Qnaws disciples, among them by Sad al-Dn al-Farghn (d. 695/1296), best known for his Arabic and Persian commentaries on Ibn al-Frids (d.632/1235) Nazm al-sulk (Poem of the Wayfaring), who interprets wujd as finding in several passages in his Muntah al-madrik (The Furthest Limit of Perceptions). He defines there the reality of wujd in the following way:
The reality of wujd is that through which the entity finds itself in itself or in the other, or [that through which it finds] the other in the other, [the other being] a locus (mahall), or a level (martaba), or what is akin to them.73

It is then explained that on the level of undifferentiated unity (ahadiyya) wujd is that through which the Essence finds itself in itself in respect of [its] enwrapping (indimj) in itself the respects (itibrt) of oneness (whidiyya), [finding them] by undifferentiated
70 71 72 73

Qnaw, Mifth, 2425. See: Qnaw, Nuss, 132. Qnaw, Nuss, p. 134. Sad al-Dn al-Farghn, Muntah al-madrik, Cairo: Maktab al-San 1876, quoted from Fanr, Misbh, 190. 21

finding, enwrapping differentiation such finding which negates manyness, distinction and otherness.74 On the level of oneness or differentiated unity (whidiyya) wujd can be considered in two aspects:
one of them is the wujd in the aspect of its being the locus of the self-disclosure of the manifestation of the Real; and the second the wujd in the aspect of its being the locus of the self-disclosure of the manifestation of the engendered existence (kawn).75

What is important about this definition (that through which the entity finds itself) is that it is mostly based on the etymological implications of the word (al-wujd m bihi wijdn, literally: Wujd is that through which finding takes place). Wujd is described here through its effect/ trace (athar) and property (hukm) and, therefore, technically speaking, what we have here is a tarsm (description), not a tarf (definition proper). In the cited passage wujd is viewed as a tool of perception, a sort of ontological mirror, necessary both for the Real and for the creation, in order to contemplate themselves and each other. Its acting as a locus of self-disclosure (majla) does not contradict its being a selfdisclosure (tajall): every self-disclosure can serve as a locus for other self-disclosures. In practice, every mirror is either well-polished or rusty, convex or concave, wide or narrow and so on. In theory, if considered as mirrors qua mirrors, they are identical and void of accidents that distinguish them from each other. Similarly, wujd, if considered regardless of its entifications or lack thereof, is qualified as mutlaq (unbounded). The unbounded being/ existence/ finding serves as a mirror for all entities. In turn, all entities mirror the unbounded wujd, but, due to their delimitations and difference in their preparednesses (istiddt), the image which appears in these mirrors is always bound and delimited, i.e., in this case mirrors impose their limitations upon the unbounded and delimit it. The only exception is the entity of the Perfect Man (or: Fully Human Being) (alinsn al-kmil), which represents the isthmus (barzakh) between the unbounded and the bound. Yet another definition of wujd is hidden deep in the text of the Mashriq al-darr (The Rising Places of the Pearls) (Farghns Persian commentary on Ibn al-Frids Nazm alSulk). It explicitly deals with the irfn understanding of wujd as finding:
...as a [special] term of this tribe (i.e., the Sufis J.E.), wajd (finding in ecstasy) means finding (read: satisfaction J.E.) of the demand of this relative finding/ existence (wujd mudf) for the presence of its unboundedness (itlq), [which is achieved] by means of annihilation (fan) and obliteration (mahw) of the manyness of descriptions (awsf) and properties of delimitation and distinction, and finding (i.e., satisfaction J.E.) of the demand [to actualize] the relation of disengagement (nisba mujarrad) and [to avoid] the delimitation of the property of manyness of levels, which hitherto was prevailing over its oneness. When this finding (i.e., satisfaction of the demand J.E.) becomes a habitude (malaka), it is called wujd.76

The definition occurs amidst a passage, in which the effects of sam (listening) are discussed. In a nutshell, the meaning of the citation comes down to the well-known Sufi axiom: To make the Real one means to omit the ascriptions (al-tawhd isqt al-idft), i.e., in order to witness the Real as non-entified unbounded finding/ being, one needs to learn to

74 75 76

Fanr, Misbh, 191. Fanr, Misbh, 191. Sad al-Dn Farghn, Mashriq al-darr, ed. S.J.shtiyn, 2nd edition, Qum: Markaz-i Intishrt-i Daftar-i Tablqt-i Islm Hawze-i Ilm-i Qum 1379/2000, 482. 22

omit the relations, relating it to the loci of manifestation (mazhir). When this ability becomes a habitude (malaka), it is called wujd. Hence, in the writings of Farghn, wujd can mean both finding/ existence in general sense and a habitude of finding of the unbounded being/ existence, possessed by the bound and delimited one (which results in the annihilation (fan) of the latter in the former). Abd al-Razzq al-Kshn (d.730/1330) discusses the concept of wujd in two separate entries of his Istilhat al-sfiyya (Glossary of Sufi Terms). In the first one, which deals specifically with wujd in the presence of bringing together (hadrat al-jam), he actually repeats Farghn`s definition:
The wujd is the Reals finding its essence through its essence (and for this reason the presence of bringing together (jam) (itself defined as witnessing the Real without [witnessing] the creation77 J.E.) is called the presence of finding (wujd)). 78

In the second entry, in which he treats wujd as one of the ten limits (nihyt) of the Sufi path, Kshn first gives the general definition of wujd (which significantly differs from that presented in the first entry):

Wujd and it is taken from His word He finds (wajada) God [ever] with him (24:39)79 and from His word: They would have find God provoking repentance (tawwb), compassionate (rahm) (4:64)80 means perception of the reality of the thing, and it is the most sublime of the levels of witnessing (shuhd) (seeing the Real through the Real81) I mean the finding (wujd) of the station, in which the trace of finding disappears completely due to obtaining the One in the entity of preeternity, and what is intended is the Reals finding its entity through its entity, without trace and name.82 (After that Kshn defines wujd in respect to different stages of Sufi path.)

In this latter definition, two things appear of particular importance. First, defining wujd as perception of the reality of the thing (which represents a slightly altered and more philosophical version of Ansrs definition (obtaining the reality of the thing83)). Every act of perception, thus, comes down to the Reals perceiving (finding) itself. Second, qualifying it as the most sublime (arfa) of the levels of witnessing (shuhd). (It should be noted that, in his Futht al-makkiyya (The Meccan Openings), Ibn al-Arab explains that witnessing is preceeded by knowledge of the witnessed the knowledge, which is called beliefs (aqid), wherefore confirmation and negation occur in witnessing84.) Actually, the quoted passage comprises two definitions, the former of which (perception of the reality of the thing) relates to the latter (the Reals finding its entity through its entity) as a universal to its particular. In all likelihood, the second definition refers to the essential self-disclosure (tajall dht) which is possessed by the Real (and, as some argue, the accomplished mystics) only. One notices that in both entries on wujd found in his Istilhat Kshn bases his definitions on those of earlier Sufi masters (in the first entry on that of Ibn al-Arab; in the second on the one provided by Ansr), but makes them more philosophical (at least in terms of style and expression), which might indicate that, a few generations after Ibn al-Arab, the intensity of irfn as living mystical experience had decreased amidst his followers.
77 78

Abd al-Razzq al-Kshn, Istilhat al-sfiyya, ed. M.Hdzde, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Hikmat 1381 S.H., 22. Kshn, Istilht, 28. 79 Qurn, 291. 80 Qurn, 68. 81 Kshn, Istilht, 124. 82 Kshn, Istilht, 251. 83 Ansr, Manzil, 138. 84 Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 138. 23

The case of Dwd al-Qaysar seems to support strongly the above guess: his treatises and, in particular, the introduction of his commentary on Ibn al-Arabs Fuss al-hikam (Bezels of Wisdom) exemplify a kind of lucid and well-presented, but significantly simplified discourse of the issues his predecessors dealt with on a more advanced level. Simultaneously, the abundance of philosophical terms indicates that the audience his writings were aimed at had quite sufficient acquaintance with the doctrines of Avicennan philosophy and Kalm. Hence, the works of Qaysar can probably be qualified as secondary school textbooks of Sufi mysticism for non-Sufi intellectuals (while Ibn al-Arab`s Fuss and Qnaw`s Mifth were definitely meant for doctoral students). Importantly, Qaysar was the first representative of Ibn al-Arab school, who spoke of the impossibility to define wujd.85 What he had in mind was, of course, a verbal definition (ta`rf lafz) (which, in fact, is a definition made by substitution of terms, i.e., the replacement of a less-known term with a better-known one).86 Since, in terms of its ipseity (inniyya), wujd is the most evident of things, argued Qaysar, it is impossible to define it, because there is nothing better known and more evident than it. At the same time, he admitted that, in terms of its reality (haqqa), wujd is the most obscure and the least known of things. Apparently, like Qnaw, Qaysar meant that the reality of the Real consists of the form of its knowledge of itself, in the aspect of its entification in its [mental] conceiving of itself, in respect of the oneness of knowledge, the knower and the known87, i.e., the form in which the Real discloses itself to itself in the first self-disclosure, namely, that of the essence. Hence, the wujd that is dispersed over the contingents, i.e., entities and relations, which become manifest in the second self-disclosure, is the shadow of the reality of wujd. Naturally, the reality of the possessor of a shadow cannot be perceived as it is by means of witnessing the shadow. (One will notice that, while Qnaws otherwise excellent discourse at times appear exceedingly terse, Qaysars explanations are often simply inadequate.) Outwardly, this was exactly Qaysars position on the point that was taken by Mull Sadr and the representatives of his school, up to the late Sayyed Jall al-Dn shtiyn (at least in the early stages of his career) and Jawd mul. They hold that the ipseity of wujd is the most evident of all things, while its reality or quiddity (mhiya) the most hidden and obscure one. Hence, it is impossible to define wujd. In his Mashir (Penetrations) Sadr writes:
The ipseity of wujd is the most evident of things in terms of presence and unveiling, and its quiddity is the most hidden in terms of conceptualization and penetration to its inner core.88

However, Qaysar, despite his philosophical inclination and the abundance of philosophical terms in his discourse, remains on the mystical track. For him wujd means, first of all, finding and awareness (which on the outer cosmic level discloses itself as outer existence and on the inner mental level manifests itself as mental existence). This can be well illustrated by his interpretation of the issue of Rising (qiyma). Following Ibn al-Arab, Qaysar speaks of two kinds of Rising the greater and the lesser one. He describes the first one as wujds making the things non-existent while manifesting itself in its oneness89 in other words, as disappearance of the subsequent entifications and return to the first entification (that of the
85

Sajjad H. Rizvi believes this to be an evidence that the language of wujd in this school (i.e., that of Ibn alArab J.E.) undergoes a transformation through the encounter with philosophy. 86 See: Dwd al-Qaysar, Matla khuss al-kalam f man fuss al-hikam, Qum: Muassasa muhibbn litiba wa l-nashr 1423 L.H., part 1, 17. 87 Qnaw, Nuss, 209. 88 Molla Sadra Shirazi, Le Livre des penetrations metaphysiques (Kitb al-Mashir), ed. H.Corbin, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Editions Tahuri 1982, 6 (Arabic text). 89 See: Qaysar, Matla, part 1, 18. 24

Reals knowledge of itself in respect of its non-differentiaton and the oneness of the knowledge, the known and the knower), i.e., to the level of pure and undifferentiated finding/ (self-)awareness. (hence, the Greater Rising (al-qiyma al-kubra) is just another name for the essential self-disclosure (al-tajall al-dht) of the Real.) In turn, the Lesser Rising (al-qiyma al-sughra) is described by Qaysar as [wujds] selftransmutation (tahawwul) from the world of the Witnessed into the world of the Unseen or from one form into another one in the same world.90 That is, in case of the Lesser Rising, one entification of wujd is replaced with another, which may belong either to the same presence or to a different one. Since Qaysars simplified discourse of the key issues of Sufi mysticism abounds with philosophical terms and expressions (while his treatment of ontological, cosmological and eschatological matters remains mystical by its nature and essential characteristics), it was prone to be mistreated as a kind of Sufi philosophy by the (relatively narrow but influential) circle of philosophically educated non-Sufi intellectuals. I call it mistreatment because Sufi mystics (including Qaysar) and philosophers (I mean the representatives of Avicennan and Suhravardian, i.e., Peripatetic and Illuminationist, traditions) used a good number of common terms, but each of the groups (mystics and philosophers) employed them in a different sense. In the given case, wujd appears to be a particularly illustrative example of such mistreatment.91.
1.1.2. Wahdat al-Wujd in Sufi Mysticism

It seems that Chitticks insightful, meticulous and exhaustive articles92, in which he examines the history of the appearance of the expression wahdat al-wujd and the reasons and modes of its attribution to the teachings of Ibn al-Arab and his school, have made, for the time being at least, any further discussion of the topic unnecessary. However, in order to provide the reader with sufficient information about the irfn context, in which I intend to consider Sadrs teachings on wujd, I shall have to discuss the subject briefly. Although for several centuries Ibn al-Arab and his school have been known as the professors of the doctrine of wahdat al-wujd, the Greatest Shaykh himself used the exact expression in his writings very infrequently (as far as I know, only once).93 If it is understood in the sense of
90 91

92

93

Qaysar, Matla, part 1, 18. Dwd Qaysar (who died in 751/1350) is the last major Sufi theorist mentioned in Sadrs works (thus, in the Asfr Qaysars name appears at least fourteen times). The names of such major 15th century figures representatives of Ibn al-Arab school as Shams al-Dn Ibn Hamza al-Fanr and Abd al-Rahmn al-Jm, to my knowledge, are never mentioned by Sadr, therefore I refrain here from discussing their position on wujd. (Besides, their main books on theoretical mysticism (irfn nazar) Fanrs Misbh al-uns (The Lamp of Intimacy) (a commentary on Qnaw`s Mifth) and Jms Sharh Fuss al-hikam (The Commentary on the Bezels of Wisdom) and Naqd al-nuss (The Critique of the Texts) (a commentary on Ibn al-Arabs Naqsh al-fuss (The Imprint of the Bezels)) represent rather skillful compilations of quotations from the works of earlier Sufi authors (in particular, Qnaw, who was the favourite of both) than original works. His most important and detailed article on wahdat al-wujd is: W.C.Chittick, Rm and wahdat al-wujd, in Poetry and mysticism in Islam: the heritage of Rumi, eds. A.Banani, R.Hovannisian and G.Sabagh, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1994, 70111. See also: Chittick, Wahdat al-Shuhd (VIII.37) in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition (CD-ROM), Leiden: 1999, and: Chittick, Wahdat al-Wujd in India. The expression appears in the Awrd al-usb (Prayers of the Week), in the Wird Laylat al-juma (Friday night prayer), where Ibn al-Arab addresses God in the following words: I ask Thee by the mystery (sirr) the one through which Thou bringst together the opposites to bring together my dispersed affair (mutafarraq amr) into gathering (jam) that makes me witness the unity of Thy Being (or: oneness of Thy 25

the Reals finding itself and its awareness of itself as the only found or existent one or rather as the finder, the found and the finding the expression describes an important part of Ibn al-Arab`s teaching on wujd but not the whole of it. This becomes evident from such Ibn al-Arabs statements as the following ones:
The Real is the entity of the wujd (finding/ being found/ non-differentiated self-awareness), not anything else, and [what is known as] the attribution of the wujd to the contingents is [nothing else but] the Reals manifestation to itself through their (i.e., the contingents J.E.) entities.94 There is nothing in the wujd except God, and although the wujd is one entity, it is multiplied by the entities of the contingents, and, hence, it is one-and-many (al-whid al-kathr).95 The wujd is the wujd of the Real, and the property (hukm) is the property of the contingent, together with its (the contingents J.E.) fixedness in its privation (adam) [of finding and being found].96 The entity of wujd is one, and the properties are different due to the difference between the fixed entities.97

Even without a detailed analysis of the four above quotations, it is evident that wahdat alwujd (if understood as oneness of finding-and-being found or as unity of the universal selfawareness) is always, except in the first (essential) self-disclosure of the Real, accompanied by kathrat al-ayn (manyness of the entities). The latter, while remaining themselves forever not found and not finding, produce the manyness of the properties (kathrat al-ahkm), thus creating an illusion of the multiplicity of wujd(s). Moreover, in actual fact, what we witness is nothing else but the Reals manifestation to itself in different ways through its own infinite respects (itibrt) or tasks (shun), i.e., relations (nisab) between its different names. This principle (oneness of wujd and manyness of entities/ properties) is expressed in different ways by Qnaw and Farghn. Thus, Qnaw writes in his Ijz al-bayn (Inimitability of Explication):
Know that distinction (tamyz) pertains to knowledge (ilm), while unification (tawhd) pertains to wujd.98

In turn, Farghn interprets wahdat al-wujd and kathrat al-ilm as two subsequent stages of the gnostic path, the apparent contradiction between which is removed and harmony is established upon reaching the highest stage the oneness of bringing together (ahadiyyat aljam) (pertaining to the Perfect Man solely).99
Existence) (wahdat wujdika) (Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, Al-Tarq il Allh: al-shaykh wa l-murd, ed. Mahmd Al-Ghurb, Damascus: Dr al-mn 1991, 188 (cf. Glotons French translation in: Gloton, Introduction in Ibn Arab, La production des circles, XXIII). As Mohsen Jahangir points out, in the Futht at least two times Ibn al-Arab employs expressions that are very close to wahdat al-wujd: 1) Fa athbata l-kathra f l-thubt wa anfah min al-wujd; fa thabata l-wahda f l-wujd wa anfah min althubt (Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 502; cf. Mohsen Jahngir, Muhyi al-Dn Ibn Arab: chehra-i barjasta irfn-i islm, 5th edition, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Dneshghah-i Tehrn 1383 S.H., 263); 2) Fa lwahda f l-jd wa l-wujd wa l-mawjd l yuqal wa l yunqal ill f l ilahu ill huwa, fa hadhihi ahadiyyat al-martaba wa hiya ahadiyyat al-kathra (Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 1, 715; cf. Jahngir, Ibn Arab, 263). Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 1, 328. Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 276. Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 566. Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 519. Sadr al-Dn Qnaw, Ijz al-bayn f tafsr Umm al-Qurn, esd. S.J.shtiyn, Qum: Bustn-i Kitb 1381 S.H., 291. Cf. Chitticks English translation in: Chittick, Rumi, 107, note 39. See: Farghn, Mashriq, 511. Cf. Chittick, Rumi, 8081. 26

94 95 96 97 98

99

The manyness of knowledge is necessitated by manyness of the known entities (malmt), while the oneness of wujd (read: finding) results from the oneness of the found (mawjd). Apparently, we are doing here with two different kinds of awareness: the discriminating (i.e., knowledge (ilm)) and the non-discriminating (i.e., finding (wujd)) (or, if you like, conceptual (tasawwur) and assertive (tasdq)) awareness). A peculiar characteristic of the non-discriminating awareness is its indivisibility and the indefinability of its object which means that the object of this kind of awareness is forever one and no statements regarding the nature of this object are ever made. (Note that in his definition of wujd (wujd is finding the Real in ecstasy), given in a number of places100, Ibn al-Arab limits the object of wujd to the Real, while Kshn is careful to point out that, in the last analysis, every sort of wujd (finding) comes down to the Reals finding its entity101 (hence, the subject and the object of wujd is one or, rather, the finder, the found and the finding is one and the same. Although at times we fancy that we are finding the Real, the actual Finder is the Real who finds itself through our entities (which, in turn, represent nothing else but the conceptual final result of the marriages (i.e., interrelationships) between the Reals different names)102 ).) To sum up, the notion of wahdat al-wujd (if understood as oneness of finding) certainly is an important element of Ibn al-Arabs vision of the actual state of affairs. However, it is definitely insufficient and one-sided if considered separately from kathrat al-ayn (manyness of entities) (the latter, in turn, necessitating manyness of knowledge). Moreover, for Ibn al-Arab and his closest followers, the aforementioned dichotomy is far too evident and unquestionable to become an apt designation for their teachings. (Imagine a group of people, describing themselves as the professors of the brightness of daylight and the tenebrity of the darkness of night!) As Chittick has explicitly shown, the label of the professors of wahdat al-wujd stuck to Ibn al-Arab and his followers mainly owing to the efforts of the Hanbalite jurist Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), who used the expression wahdat al-wujd in the titles of two of his polemical treatises Ibtl wahdat al-wujd (Showing the Falsity of Wahdat al-Wujd)103 and Risla il man salaha an haqqat madhhab al-ittihdiyyn ay al-qiln bi wahdat alwujd (A Treatise written to the one who asked me about the reality of the position of Unificationists, that is, those who support Wahdat al-Wujd).104 Ibn Taymiyya dubbs Ibn alArab and his school as the professors of unification (ittihd) of God and creation and incarnation (hull) of God in creation. In addition, he accuses them of supporting the idea of (Gods) ineffectuality (tatl) (i.e., admitting the possibility of Gods leaving aside the governing of his creation).

100 101 102

103 104

Ibn al-Arab, Istilht, 9; idem., Futht, part 2, 538. Kshn, Istilht, 351. Cf. the following lines from the Dvn of Shams Tabrz: O thou whose flute is all creation, [the flute], [which is] filled with thy tune! If thou art not keen on listening (sam), dont touch the flute of the soul. Thou breathed the breath of I breathed, thou blew in everything. Since thy breath is the soul of the read, dont wail without our read. (Jall al-Dn Rm, Guzide-i ghazaliyyat-i Mawlaw, ed. S.Shamisa, 5th edition, Tehrn: Mahrat Publishers 1375 S.H., 114.) Ibn Taymiyya, Majmt al-rasl wa l-masl, ed. M.R.Rid (n.p., n.d.), part 1, 61120. Ibn Taymiyya, Majma, part 4, 2101.

27

As for the faith in God, writes Ibn Taymiyya about Ibn al-Arab and his followers, they think that His wujd is identical with the wujd of the cosmos and that the cosmos has no other maker than the cosmos itself.105

(To what one can object that, according to Ibn al-Arab, the cosmos does not have wujd, since wujd is only possessed by the Real and that a non-existent (not found) thing cannot have a maker of any sort.) As Chittick points out, Ibn Taymiyya considered wahdat al-wujd synonymous with atheism (i.e., ineffectuality (tatl) J.E.) and unbelief, since he saw it as a denial of the distinction between God and the cosmos.106 In a nutshell, penetration to the core of the subtle and sophisticated (and at times shocking for an ordinary experience and common sense) teachings of Ibn al-Arab was well beyond the scope and capacity of Ibn Taymiyya (and also many of the alleged supporters of the ideas of the Greatest Shaykh), so he did what most of us would have done with a dangerous troublemaker: dismissed his claims (to the extent he was able to understand them) and branded him as a spiritual criminal (i.e., heretic). The label stuck well.
1.1.3. Entification and Entity

Two important concepts, which need to be explained in order to understand Sufi mysticisms vision of the structure of reality, are entification (taayyun) and entity (ayn). The literal meaning of the Arabic word taayyun is self-distinction, while ayn, in its broader sense, refers to everything that is somehow distinguished. As a technical term, taayyun is used to describe the actualization of the latent possibilities of self-distinction inherent within the nondelimited wujd, while ayn is employed to refer to any particular possibility of selfdistinction. 107 Conventionally, we speak about two kinds of entities the fixed (thbita) and the found (or existent) (mawjda) ones, the first group representing non-actualized possibilities, fixed in the Reals knowledge, and the second actualized possibilities, found by the Real and by ourselves. However, in reality the fixed realities never become found and existent, but remain not found (madm) forever. What appears in wujd and is found, is their properties (ahkm), effects (thr) and traces (rusm), which bind and delimit the unbounded wujd. As Ibn al-Arab points out, the entities, which are fixed in privation (adam) (i.e., non-existence J.E.), have never felt the scent of the found (mawjd)108 i.e., have no notion of it and have never experienced (tasted) it. It should be mentioned here that, historically, Ibn al-Arab was not the first Islamic thinker who used the term fixed entities (ayn thbita): although the exact inventor of the term is not known, it seems certain that it first came up in the discussions on the nature of creation, which took place in the Mutazilite circles. Generally, the Mutazilites interpreted creation as Gods giving existence to non-existent entities (madmt). Each of the latter was supposed to be somehow distinguished from the rest hence, they were called ayn as well. While they
105 106 107

108

Ibn Taymiyya, Majma, part 4, p. 73, quoted from: Chittick, Rumi, 85. Chittick, Rumi, 86. Cf. Chitticks definition in: W.C.Chittick, Sadr al-Dn Qnaw on Oneness of Being in The International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 21, 1981, 183. Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, Fuss al-hikam, ed. A. Aff, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Intishrt-i al-Zahr 1370 S.H., part 1, 76. Cf. C. Daglis translation in: Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, The Ringstones of Wisdom, translated by Caner K. Dagli, Chicago: Kazi Publications 2004, 101. 28

could not be found and tasted, they were believed to possess a certain kind of existence (say, that of logical possibility), which was described as fixedness in privation (thubt f ladam).) If so, there is only one entity that is found (mawjd) in the true sense of the word the entity of wujd (which takes us back to the previously discussed issue of wahdat al-wujd). According to Ibn al-Arab and his followers, the creation and structure of the cosmos cannot be properly understood unless it is viewed as a gradual entification (=self-distinction) of wujd or the Real. Apart from his magnum opus, Ibn al-Arab deals in detail with the entification (although not employing the term taayyun itself) of the Real in such treatises as the Insh al-dawir al-ihtiyya al l-mudht al-insn li l-khliq wa l-makhlq (Drawing the Circles which encompass the Correspondence of Human Being to the Creator and the Creation) and the Aqlat al-mustawfiz (The Fetters of the One Ready to Jump Up). However, since the writings of Qnaw provide a more succinct and systematic discourse of the issue, it is more convenient to examine a few passages from them, in particular, from his Nass al-nuss (The Text of the Texts), in order to get an overall picture of Ibn al-Arab and Qnaw`s treatment of the subject. Generally, Qnaw speaks about two entifications of the Real, the first of which is often referred to as the true oneness (or the oneness of reality) (al-wahda al-haqqiyya) and the second as the originatingness (i.e., the capacity of being the origin of things) of the Real (mabdaiyyat al-haqq).109 All subsequent stages of the Reals entification are treated as concomitants (lawzim) of the Reals knowledge of Himself (which, in turn, is itself a concomitant (lzim) of the first entification).
The Unseen of the He-ness of the Real (ghayb al-huwwiyyat al-haqq) is an allusion to the Reals unboundedness (itlq) in the respect of non-entification. The true oneness of the Real, obliterating all respects, and names, and relations, and relationships, consists in its intellection of itself and perception of itself in the aspect of its entification. Although this intellection and entificational (taayyun) perception adjoins the aforementioned unboundedness [but is not the unboundedness itself], in relation to the Reals entification in the intellection of every intellecter (mutaaqqil), in every self-disclosure, it represents itself as an unbounded entification, which is the broadest of all entifications, and the witnessing of the perfect ones, and it is the essential self-disclosure which possesses the highest station of unification (tawhd).110

Nothing can be said about the non-entified Unseen of the He-ness which, likewise, cannot be denominated by any name (not even by the name the Real (al-haqq) or the Essence (al-dht)). What is conventionally named the Essence represents the true oneness, in which no trace of manyness is perceived. The crucial point of the passage is the assertion that this true oneness consists in the Reals intellection of itself and its perception of itself in the aspect of its (the Reals) entification which indicates that, by perceiving itself, the Real entifies itself to itself, or rather that its very self-intellection (in which the intellecter, the intellected and the intellection remain undifferentiated in any way) is, in a certain aspect, identical with its self-distinction (=entification). (Hence, what is conventionally referred to as the existence of the cosmos (wujd al-lam), is nothing but the Reals multi-modal perception of itself.) The second part of the quotation deals with the essential self-disclosure of the Real, i.e., the Reals disclosure through itself to itself the disclosure, in which it discloses itself only to itself and to the perfect ones (the poles and the solitaries).

109 110

See, for example: Qnaw, Nuss, 132135. Qnaw, Nuss, 132. 29

As Qnaws commentator Ali Ibn Ahmad al-Mahim (776/1375-835/1432) points out, since relations depend on entifications, and these relations rank in grades, the gradation of entifications is also inevitable.111 Namely, the Real first perceives (becomes aware of) itself as itself. Then it perceives its characteristics (such as oneness, necessity etc.). The perception of these characteristics can only occur through/ due to the Reals knowledge of itself: one must first know/ establish the essence in order to ascribe to (or negate) it certain characteristics. What we call the essence (al-dht) is, in fact, nothing else but the first entification of the Real.
The application of the name essence to the Real is not correct except in respect of its entification ... [that] which is the first entification. And it (i.e., the first entification J.E.) encompasses the essential names those which are the keys of the Unseen through its essence. And what is named the essence, does not differ from its names in any aspect, but, as for the names, some of them differ from the others and oppose them, and some of them unite with the others in the aspect of the essences encompassion of their entirety.112

The first entification is often referred to as undifferentiated oneness (ahadiyya), because it contains all attributes and perfections of the Real in a undifferentiated state. Since at this level the essence is not distinguished from its names in any way, it is impossible to conceive of the Real as the origin (mabda) and the originator (mubdi): nothing is originated yet. More importantly, there is only one entity (conventionally referred to as the essence) entified in the first entification. There is a group of people among mystics, known as the folk of bringing together and finding (ahl al-jam wa l-wujd) or the folk of one entity (ahl alayn al-whida)113, who deny the existence of manyness of any kind, thus also denying the multiplicity of entities. They can also be regarded as the realizers of the first entification (i.e., the witnessers of the Reals essential self-disclosure), with an important notice that the first entification encompasses all subsequent entifications which occasion the manyness of entities. While the manyness of entities is latent and not actualized in the first entification, it is not dismissed as a possibility. How is manyness brought into existence? This happens by means of knowledge, which is the only intellected concomitant of the essence.
And the essence has only one concomitant, not more, which differs from it only by relative difference, and that concomitant is knowledge.114 And it (knowledge of itself J.E.) is the mirror of the essence in the aspect of its (the essences J.E.) encompassing the essential names [ the names] which do not differ from the essence in any respect... and it, that is knowledge, is the root of the manyness of meanings and its source, and I have said that knowledge is like a mirror of the known [entities], and also [like] that (i.e., the mirror J.E.) of the essence [considered] together with its essential names, because in the aspect of knowledges distinction from the essence, which is a mentally posited (itibr) distinction, the entification of the Real in the Reals intellection of itself through itself is intellected [accidentally], and its essential knowledge [acts] like its mirror.115

As Mahim explains, since knowledge is the locus of impression of everything and entification is impossible before impression (irtism), that is through knowledge and in

111 112

See: Mahim, Mashra, 101. Qnaw, Nuss, 217218. 113 See: Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 447, lines 1517 and: W. Chittick, The Self-Disclosure of God : Principles of Ibn al-Arabs Cosmology. New York: SUNY Press 1997, 183184. 114 Qnaw, Nuss, 220. 115 Qnaw, Nuss, 221. 30

knowledge that the level of divinity or differentiated oneness (whidiyya) and other universal levels and particular entities become entified.116 In other words, entification is a (ruling) property (hukm). In order to ascribe it to the object, we must know the object first. Hence, knowledge is like the occasion (sabab) (i.e., the immediate cause) of entification.
And [differentiated] oneness is affirmed for the Real in the aspect of knowledge, and in it (knowledge J.E.) and through it the level of divinity (ulhiyya) and other levels and known entities (malmt) become entified due to the impression of the entirety in it.117 The Reals being the origin (mabdaiyya) consists in its being the root of respects and the source of relations and relationships, manifest in the wujd and non-manifest in the courtyard of intellections and minds. And what is described as the unbounded, one and necessary wujd (read: finding J.E.), consists in the wujds (findings J.E.) entification in its divine essential relation to knowledge, and in the aspect of this relation and not in any other one the realizer calls the Real the origin.118

After the Real has become aware of itself as itself, in the respect of its knowledge, it becomes aware of itself as the Necessary One Unbounded Wujd (Finding). In the aspect of this differentiated awareness, it is called by the realizers (i.e., the mystics who have succeeded in establishing the true state of the affair (nafs al-amr)) the Origin. The second entification is also known as the level of differentiated oneness (martabat alwhidiyya) and the level of divinity (martabat al-ulhiyya). Differentiated oneness (whidiyya) refers to the essence in respect of its being the root and source of the divine names and to their (names) oneness in respect of the essence and manyness in respect of the attributes.119 The difference between undifferentiated oneness (ahadiyya) and differentiated one lies in the fact that on the level of differentiated oneness the distinction of the essence from its (essential) names is intellected through their (names) manifestation in it (the essence) in actuality, while this is not the case on the level of undifferentiated oneness.120 Regarding the term divinity (ulhiyya), it should be kept in mind that, what it refers to, is nothing but a certain level of the Reals entification namely, the level on which the Real appears as God (ilh). Ibn al-Arab and his followers hold that it is impossible to speak of God without an object in respect to which He manifests Himself as God i.e., without that which is godded over (malh the word is a participle, derived from the same root as ilh). Malh is more or less synonymous with marbb (vassal) (the one in respect to whom the Lord (rabb) exercises his lordship (rubbiyya)).121 Depending on whether the first and the second entifications are considered as two different levels of manifestation of the single entity of wujd or regarded as one level (which is possible due to their sharing the absence of every engendered thing, in respect to them (i.e., the first and the second entifications), from itself and from its likeness)122, the mystics of Ibn al-Arab school speak about six or five universal presences (hadart) or levels (martib) (the level (martaba), according to Qnaw, consists of the reality of every thing not in the aspect of its disengagement, but in the aspect of the intellection of relation that brings together
116 117

See: Mahim, Mashra , 221. Qnaw, Nuss, 220. 118 Qnaw, Nuss, 134. 119 See: Kshn, Istilht, 27. 120 See: Mahim, Mashra , 229. 121 See: W.Chittick, Self-disclosure, 5961. 122 See: A.Jm, Naqd al-nuss f sharh Naqsh al-fuss, ed. W.Chittick, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Muassisa-i pazhhish hikmat wa falsafa-i rn 1381, 31. 31

1) the reality of the thing [itself] and 2) the wujd which makes manifest it and the realities which accompany it123). According to Qnaw, there are five universal levels or presences of the entification of unbounded wujd (also named the breath of the Compassionate and the self-disclosure that flows everywhere): 1) the luminous unseen presence of knowledge, which encompasses every manifest thing (al-hadra al-ghaybiyya al-ilmiyya al-nriyya al-muhta bi kull m zahara) (to which pertain disengaged meanings and knowledgeable relations and names); 2) opposite this presence lies the presence of manifestation (zuhr) and the witnessed [domain] (shahda), to which pertain the manifest [part] of the engendered existence; 3) between these two presences is situated the presence of bringing together and finding (al-jam wa l-wujd) and hiding and displaying (al-ikhf wa l- iln), the possessor of which is (the Perfect) Human Being.124 (It is easy to notice that, for Qnaw, five universal presences are reducible to the three aforementioned, which, in turn, come down to a single universal presence that of the Perfect Human Being, the other four presences being nothing but its particular levels.) Two other presences, according to Qnaw, serve as intermediaries: 4) the presence of the spirits and the preserved tablet, which is an intermediary between the presence of the Unseen and that of the Perfect Man (being closer related to the Unseen); 5) the presence of imagination (khayl) or (imaginal) likeness (mithl). In turn, Kshn and Abd al-Rahmn al-Jm (817/1414 898/1492) speak of six universal presences or levels instead of five. In the introduction of his Naqd al-nuss f sharh naqsh alfuss (The Critic of the Texts Commenting the Imprint of the Bezels) Jm lists these levels as follows: 1) the Unseen of the Unseen (or: the Absent of the Absent) (ghayb al-ghuyb), also known as the first Unseen, the first entification, the level of bringing together and finding (cf. Qnaw!), the oneness of bringing together (ahadiyyat al-jam), the station of bringing together and the reality of realities. On this level, there is no manifestation of things of whatever kind present, due to the complete removal of their entities; 2) the second Unseen, also known as the second entification. It is called the second Unseen due to the absence of engendered things from themselves and from their likenesses (while they are present, fixed, realized and distinguished from each other in the Reals knowledge). This level is also known as the world of meanings (lam alman), the presence of the [thin] cloud (hadrat al-am) (because of its being the barrier that separates oneness and manyness), the presence of impression (irtism) (due to the impression of relative manyness, related to divine names, and real manyness, related to the engendered being and the latters realities, in it), the presence of pre-eternal knowledge and the level of contingency; 3) the level of spirits or the world of Command, the higher world and the world of Dominion the level of the manifestation of simple disengaged engendered realities to themselves and to their likenesses; 4) the level of the world of Image, i.e., the level on which the subtle engendered indivisible non-disconnectable non-connectable things are found;

123 124

Qnaw, Ijz , 141. Qnaw, Ijz, 10. 32

5) the level of bodies, or the level of sense perception, or the world of the Witnessed. On this level dense compound engendered things, which can be divided and disconnected, are found; 6) the level which encompasses (or brings together) all (other) levels due to its property of isthmus (barzakh) the level of the Perfect Human Being.125 Jm provides a lot of details in his account (which, in turn, is based upon an even more expansive discourse of Farghn126), but it seems that he fails to emphasize the crucial point that the five or six presences are universal levels of finding and awareness of one entity (which, depending on the respect in which we consider it, can be called the Real as well as the creation). (Although he quotes Muayyid al-Dn al-Jand (d. ca. 700/1300), saying that there is one entity in wujd (finding/ awareness), which is the entity of the unbounded real finding/ awareness, and it and no-one else is the found (mawjd) and the witnessed (mashhd)127, he does not appear to attribute particular importance to the quoted statement.) Qnaw`s discourse on entification is much more (and perhaps too) succinct, since he focusses his attention on the issue of the Complete Human Being (the Perfect Man) and treats four other presences as necessary intermediaries for the entification of the form of this fifth and central presence (whereas, in respect of its rank and waystation, the Perfect Man himself serves as an intermediary between the Real and the creation). Qnaw describes the Perfect Human Being as the possessor of the station of oneness of bringing together (ahadiyyat al-jam) and the locus of the essential self-disclosure (tajall dht). In fact, his presence is that of the first entification (hence, the six-presence scheme, proposed by Kshn, Jm and others appears to be faulty, because its first presence (in case it is qualified as the first entification) coincides with the sixth one (the reality of the Perfect Human Being)). The form of the Perfect Human Being cannot be fully actualized without the actualization of four other presences, therefore its actualization necessitates their entification:
Indeed the object of desire was the Perfect Man himself (literally: in his entity J.E.), not anything else, because of his being the complete locus of the self-disclosure of the Real, through which the Real manifests itself in the aspect of its essence and the totality of its names, and attributes, and properties, and [mentally posited] respects (itibrt), in keeping with its knowledge of itself through itself in (or: regarding) itself.128 The first of the intellected levels is the entification which encompasses all entifications, and it possesses the oneness of bringing together, and it pertains to the True Human Being, whose form is Adam.129 And the heart of all forms of finding (al-suwar al-wujdiyya) is the True Perfect Human Being (al-insn al-kmil al-haqq) [who is] the isthmus between necessity and contingency and the all-encompassing mirror of the essence and the level [ when I say the level, I refer to] the attributes of eternity and its properties, as well as [to] the newly-appearing events. For this reason, the earth, which is the centre of the circle of finding/ existence, was established as the locus of his vicegerency, and its (the earths J.E.) station of meaning, which at present is veiled by its form, possesses the rank of originatingness (i.e., serves as the point of origin J.E.) in sending forth (inbith) the merciful breath in order to engender the universal configuration of finding. And, in this respect, it (the earth J.E.) corresponds to the True Human Being, who descends upon it by [virtue of] [his] vicegerency, because he (the Perfect Human Being J.E.)
125 126 127 128 129

Jm, Naqd, 30-64, in particular 3031. See: Farghn, Muntah, part 1, 77107, in particular 1718 and 45. Jm, Naqd, 29. Qnaw, Nuss, 182. Sadr al-Dn al-Qnaw, Kitb al-Fukk f asrr mustanadt hikam al-Fuss, ed. M.Khjav, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Mawl 1371 S.H./1413 L.H., 192. 33

is the first in respect of rank and way-station, although he is the last in respect of form. And he is the intermediary between the Real and the creation, and through him and from his level the effusion of the Real and the assistance (madad) that which is the occasion of the subsistence of what is other than God reach the world in its entirety, in its highness and lowness, and if he (the Perfect Human Being J.E.), in the aspect of his being the isthmus that which does not differ from any of the two sides, did not exist, nothing of the world would receive the unique divine assistance because of the lack of correspondence and relationship, and the former (i.e., the divine assistance J.E.) would not reach the world, and he was intended, and indeed he is the intention (amd) of the heavens.130

Like the heart in the human body and the earth in the visible cosmos, the Perfect Human Being was intended first, but was completed last. The rest of the presences/ levels came into being as particularizations of this first and last and, therefore, universal and all-encompassing presence. Until the human body is not fully developed and exists as an embryo in mothers womb, it is not proper to speak of heart in the strict sense of the word: rather, we should speak about some kind of prototype or sprout of heart. The same is also the case with the Perfect Human Being: namely, if the presence of the True Human Being (i.e., the level of the first entification) is considered without the subsequent presences, what we get is the appointed vicegerent without an established locus of vicegerency and the central point of the circle without the circle itself. He is the Reals intended one and its object of desire. However, this intention cannot be realized and the object of desire cannot be gained possession of except through creating the intellectual, spiritual, imaginal and sensible presences with their particular inhabitants. To achieve a state of perfect equilibrium, one must traverse (i.e., consider mentally, actualize in imagination and experience through sense perception) all possible states of disequilibrium. To summarize briefly the analysis of the treatment of the issue of entification by Ibn al-Arab`s school, it must be said that the most important and perhaps the only (apart from Ibn al-Arab himself) reliable exponent of this teaching was Sadr al-Dn Qnaw. To him, the entification of the four universal presences (that of meanings, spiritual, imaginal and sensible) is the necessary precondition of the entification of the form of the Perfect Human Being (al-insn al-kmil) (while his meaning and reality becomes entified by the first entification). The entity of the Perfect Human Being is the centre of the circle of finding/ existence and the heart of the cosmos: whatever is found, is found through it. This entity is the locus of the essential self-disclosure of the Real (but we know that this kind of self-disclosure destroys its locus which means, the Perfect Human Being does not have a particular and specified entity, formed by a particular divine name which has the overwhelming influence upon it). Due to a complete equilibrium of all divine names in it, the Perfect Human Being might be called the entity of non-entification. An important practical implication of the teaching on the Perfect Human Being is the belief in the existence of the particular locus of its manifestation in the engendered world the human being who is referred to as the pole (qutb). (The pole is the heart of the engendered wujd (finding) and the mirror of the one all-encompassing complete essential self-disclosure.131) The entities of the rest of the saints (literally: [Gods] clients) (awliy), in turn, perform the functions of other parts of the spiritual body of the Great Man (al-insn al-kabr), i.e., the cosmos.

130 131

Qnaw, Fukk, 248. Sadr al-Dn al-Qnaw, al-Nafaht al-ilhiyya, ed. M.Khjav, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Mawl 1375 S.H./1417 L.H., 158. 34

1.2. THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SADRS TEACHING ON WUJD


1.2.1. The Principality of Wujd in Respect to Quiddity

To the mystics of Ibn al-Arab`s school, each of the things found in the external world represent a particular kind of entification of the all-inclusive finding (al-wujd al-mm) and a specific articulation of the Breath of the Compassionate. As I mentioned earlier, every fixed entity (ayn thbita) is nothing else but a (particular or general) possibility of the entification of wujd. There is no sense to talk about the principality of possibility (aslat al-imkn) and the mental positedness (itibriyya) of wujd or vice versa, because wujd and fixed entities are interdependent and act as each others mirror. For the philosophers, ever since the time of Plato and Aristotle (though the exact Arabic philosophical terms wujd and mhiya came into use much later), the question of the nature of relationship between existence/ finding and quiddity has been an apple of discord the discord, the ultimate cause of which, it is now believed, lies in the difference of the character of the initial mystical intuition. The professors of the principality of quiddity (aslat almhiya), like Mull Sadrs teacher Mr Dmd (d. 1040/1631 or 1632), based their philosophical position, as Toshihiko Izutsu points out, on an eidemic intuition of eternal archetypes, a mystical experience of the trans-sensible essences of the things132 that is, on an intuition of the eternal ideas of things, wherefore they can be qualified as Platonists. In turn, the professors of the principality of existence/ finding (aslat al-wujd), whom Izutsu describes as the possessors of a dynamic intuition of a dynamic reality133, based their philosophical doctrines upon the intuition of the all-encompassing flow of the primordial creative energy (the cosmic Life).134 They believed that this dynamic creative reality or energy manifests and existentiates itself in an infinite number of phenomenal forms, which the intellect converts into static and fixed entities, which are referred to as quiddities (mhiyt). In a certain aspect, the entire history of metaphysics can be regarded as a neverending and non-gainable fight between these two basic intuitions the intuition of immutable essences and the intuition of the flow of existence/ finding. From a mystical (irfn) point of view, neither of the two intuitions is sufficient to reflect the true state of affairs, because each of them focuses on one or two universal presences of the cosmic finding or self-awareness: the first one on the supra-temporal presences of pure meanings and disengaged spirits, the second on the imaginal and sensible ones. (Sadr was well aware of this difference between universal presences when he limited the domain of the applicability of the principle of the substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya) to the physical and imaginal worlds and remarked that this principle does not apply to the realities existent in the realm of Divinity (suq al-ulhiyya).135) Sadrs position on the existence/ finding quiddity/ whatness (wujd mhiya) relationship is succinctly expressed in the following statement: Quiddity is an imitation (hikya) of existence/ finding.136 In modern terms, he might have described it as a mental photography of the infinite flow of wujd, which registers the parameters of the latter at a particular instant.

132

133 134 135

136

T. Izutsu, Mr Dmd and His Metaphysics, in: Mr Dmd, al-Qabast, ed. M.Mohaghegh, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Muassisa-i Intishrt wa chp dneshghh-i Tehrn 1374 S.H., 1112. Izutsu, Mr Dmd, 12. See: Izutsu, Mr Dmd, 12. On suq al-ulhiyya see e.g.: Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, al-Mazhir al-ilhiyya f asrr al-ulm al-kamliyya, ed. S.M.Khmene, Tehrn: Szmn-i Chp wa intishrt Vazrat-i Farhang wa Irshd-i Islm 1378 S.H., 48. See e.g.: Sadr, Mashir, 7. 35

From the mystical point of view, both principles the principality of existence/ finding and the principality of quiddity give a one-sided representation of the true state of the affair. The mystics of Ibn al-Arab school would say that wujd and mhiya each possesses a particular kind of principality or fixedness (thubt) (refer to the earlier discussion on oneness of wujd and manyness of entities).
1.2.2. Analogical Gradation of Existence

It seems pretty certain137 that terms tashkk (analogical gradation or systematic ambiguity) and mushakkik (analogically graded or systematically ambiguous) were coined by the Arab translators of Aristotles works on logic and their Neoplatonic commentaries, as an attempt to translate the Greek word amphibolos (a term which is used to describe a certain kind of homonym, namely, a word which is used in one and the same sense, but in different ways). In the Jadal (Topics) of the Shif (Healing) Ibn Sn defines an analogically graded (or: systematically ambiguous) (mushakkik) term as follows:
This is a term whose meaning is one, but this one meaning is not shared by all referents in an identical way, as it is the case with a univocal (mutawtin) term, in case of which the same meaning is shared [by all referents] in the same degree.138

In the Uyn al-hikma (Sources of Wisdom) Ibn Sn presents the following division of different modes of attribution:
If a term is applied to many things, this [application] can be made in one sense [and] in the same way (al l-siw), as [the word] animal is applied to man and horse, [and then] it is called univocal (mutawtin). If it is applied in different senses, as [the word] ayn is applied to cash (dinr) and to an eye, it is called shared (mushtarak). If it is applied in one sense, but not in the same way, it is called analogically graded (mushakkik), as it is the case with existence/ finding (wujd), which is applied both to substance and accident.139

What Ibn Sn has in mind here, is the tashkk f mafhm al-wujd (analogical gradation of the concept of existence/ finding), a particular case of the tashkk bi l-taqaddum wa ltaakhkhur (analogical gradation through/ in terms of priority and posteriority) namely, he states that the existence/ finding of substance is prior to that of accident. As it is well known, Ibn Sn denies the tashkk f haqqat al-wujd (analogical gradation of the reality of existence/ finding). To him, there are two kinds of existents: the necessarily existent (wjib al-wujd) and the possibly existent (mumkin al-wujd). In his discourse on the proof of the sincere (burhn al-siddqn) (see the relevant subchapter) and elsewhere B Al takes great pains to demonstrate that their becoming one another (interchangeability) and the analogical gradation of their realities (i.e., becoming more or less necessary or contingent respectively) is impossible. The option of the analogical gradation of the single nature of existence/ finding, on which insists Sadr, seems to Ibn Sn particularly absurd (he only admits this kind of tashkk in quantities and qualities).
137

138

139

See: H.A.Wolfson, The amphibolous terms in Aristotle, Arabic philosophy and Maimonides, in Harward Theological Review, 31 (1938), 173; C.Bonmariage, Elements pour la comprehension de la notion de tashkk chez Mulla Sadra in Islam West Philosophical Dialogue. The papers presented at the World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 1999, Tehran), Vol. 2. Mulla Sadra and Transcendent Philosophy, Tehrn : SIPRIn Publications 1380/2001, 127146. Ibn Sn, Shif: Jadal, ed. F.El-Ahwani under the supervision of I.Madkour, Cairo: GEBO 1965, 118. Cf. Bonmariages French translation in: Bonmariage, Elements, 128. Ibn Sn, Uyn al-hikma, quoted from: Fakhr al-Dn al-Rz, Sharh Uyn al-hikma, ed. A.al-Saq, Tehrn: 1373 S.H./1415 L.H., Vol. 1, 117. 36

Historically, the issue of the tashkk of the reality of wujd is a by-product of Platos theory of the eternal ideas of things140: the existence/ finding of the archetype of a thing was naturally supposed to be stronger and more intense than that of its shadows and idols found in the natural world. According to Ibn Sn, who rejects the existence of the eternal ideas of things, the tashkk in the reality of existence/ finding is impossible for at least two important reasons: 1) it is impossible that the essence (dht) and the essential (dht) would be analogically graded in respect of their instances (afrd). (Otherwise, it would be possible to claim that our cat is more cat than our neighbours cat, i.e., that the cathood of the former is stronger and more intense than that of the latter); 2) tashkk in terms of intensity and weakness would necessitate specific difference (al-ikhtilf al-naw) between the instances of the nature in which the difference occurs, so that it (the specific difference) would become the cause of the difference between their (instances) essential differentiae (al-fusl al-dhtiyya) (hence, the instances of allegedly one nature would, in fact, appear to represent different natures). From what was said above, it is evident that analogical gradation of the reality of existence/ finding in terms of intensity and weakness (tashkk f haqqat al-wujd bi l-shidda wa l-daf) only makes sense for the Platonic trend of philosophy with its belief in the external existence of the archetypes of things, while it sounds nonsense to the followers of Aristotle, who grant universals only mental (dhihn) existence. In classical Islamic philosophy, the most significant representative of the Platonic trend was, apparently, Suhraward, better known as Shaykh al-Ishrq (the Master of Illumination) (after the title of his main work Hikmat al-ishrq (The Wisdom of Illumination)). According to his teaching, God (or, more correctly, the creative principle of the cosmos) is the Light of Lights (nr al-anwr), inaccessible and infinite in its intensity, while the cosmos consists of the hierarchy of lights, which are either pure (mahd) and disengaged (mujarrad) or accidental (rid) (by the latter Suhraward means the physical lights which, to him, are shapes or forms of something else (i.e., higher spiritual lights), while pure spiritual lights are lights in themselves). There is horizontal (or: latitudinal) (ard) and vertical (or: longitudinal) (tl) organization present in the hierarchy of lights. The first one deals with the lords of (different) species (arbb al-anw), i.e., their angels or luminous archetypes. These archetypes or angels do not relate to each other as cause and effect, which is the case with the parts of the vertical order. Different levels of the vertical order, from the Light of Lights to the weakest possible light, share the reality of light (haqqat al-nr), but differ from each other by the degree of intensity which this shared reality possesses in every particular case. This difference, allegedly present in the single reality of light, is called the analogical gradation of light (tashkk al-nr). In two of his works, namely, the Mashri wa l-mutraht (Paths and Havens) and the Talwht al-lawhiyya wa l-arshiyya (Intimations of the Table and the Throne), Suhraward posed a number of proofs to support this principle and to refute Ibn Sns objections against the analogical gradation of substance and the essence of the thing. Four centuries later, in the relevant chapter of his Asfr (Journeys), Mull Sadr repeated Suhrawards arguments in
140

This observation was made by Prof. Gholam Reza. Aawn in his lecture on Ibn Sns ontology, delivered at the International Avicenna Colloqium in Hamdn (Iran) on 23 August 2004. (Unfortunately, the text of the lecture is not published in the Proceedings of the Colloqium.) See also: Gholam Reza Aawn, Why is Mull Sadr Called Sadr al-Mutaallihn, in A.N.Baqershahi (ed.), Mulla Sadras School and Western Philosophies: The Papers Presented at the Second World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 2004, Tehran, Iran), Vol. 1, Tehran: SIPRIn Publications 2005, 233238. 37

favour of the analogical gradation of the essence in terms of intensity and weakness almost verbatim, only changing nr (light) to wujd (existence/ finding). In what follows, I shall briefly discuss Sadrs four main arguments in favour of the analogical gradation of wujd (the actual author of which, as mentioned above, was Suhraward). 1) The essence and the essentials can be analogically graded in respect of their instances. Suhraward and Sadr both state that the sages of Fars (Iran) and the ancients in general hold that some of the luminous substantial lights were causes of the others in respect of their simple (non-compound) substantiality.141 However, the reference to the beliefs and practice of the ancients can by no means be regarded as a philosophical proof, especially because Ibn Sn, in a number of his writings, takes great efforts to demonstrate the opposite. Thus, in the Maqlt (Categories) of the Shif he writes:
I do not mean that one quantity is not greater or smaller than another one; what I mean is that one quantity is not stronger and greater in its being a quantity than another one, which shares with it [the concept of quantity], although the former is greater [than the latter] in respect of the relative (idf) meaning I mean the relative length.142

A few lines later, he says:


Know that many without relation is number and many in relation [to something] is an accident of number. Likewise, the nature of blackness and temperature is identical in all black and hot things respectively. Indeed, the diversity takes place in regard to specific features of instances, not due to the substance of the shared quiddity and its root.143 Then he goes on to explain: The true blackness does not become more intense or weaker, but what is blackness in comparison with one thing, is whiteness in comparison with another. Whatever kind of blackness is supposed, it does not become more intense or weaker as regards its selfhood, but this happens when it is considered in comparison [with something]. Therefore the contrariety (taqbul) of two sides includes what is situated between them, and the conditioning of true opposition is not destroyed by the utmost limit of contradiction.144

As we see, Ibn Sn univocally denies the possibility of the analogical gradation in terms of intensity and weakness in the nature and substance of thing: according to him, it can be applied to accidents only. Moreover, tashkk can only be perceived if one accident is considered in comparison with another. Sadr explains that, as a result of a mental operation, carried out by the assistance of the estimative faculty (wahm)145, a more intense instance is perceived as a likeness (mithl) of a weaker one, together with the allowance of addition (tajwz ziyda), not as an increase of the intensity of the universal nature itself in some instances or as a greater degree of manifestation of its universal traces in some instances (the latter case is explained by the Peripatetics as being caused by the difference in the degree of truthfulness of attribution of a single derivative to two instances from which it was derived).

141 142

Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 432433. Ibn Sn, Shif: Qtiqriys, quoted from: Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 434435. 143 Ibn Sn, Shif: Qtiqriys, quoted from: Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 435. 144 Ibn Sn, Shif: Qtiqriys, quoted from: Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 435. 145 Estimative faculty is a potency to perceive an intelligible meaning, simultaneously attributing it to a particular sensed thing (thus, in fact, identifying the intelligible meaning with a sensed affair). Chittick suggests to translate wahm as sense-intuition (William C.Chittick, Teleology, 224). 38

As a result, considering two blacknesses, the Peripatetics do not see one common affair in which they differ. Instead, they establish in each of them the constituent through which the difference occurs, namely, its species-forming differentia. Moreover, they detect in two bodies intensely black and weakly black the concept in which the difference lies: according to them, it is the concept of black (aswad); and, indeed, one of them possesses that characteristic which is called blackness in a greater degree than the other. Suhraward in the Mashri attempts to demonstrate the validity of the principle of the analogical gradation of the essence and the essentials (his reasoning is repeated almost verbatim by Sadr in the Asfr). Shaykh al-Ishrq argues that the difference between two measures is in/ through the measure itself and the difference between two blacknesses is in/ through the very blackness. From accidents and shapes, Suhraward then moves to substances. He argues that the Peripatetics deny the analogical gradation of substance in terms of intensity and weakness due to the fault which inheres in their definition of substance (they define it as an existent which does not abide in a substratum (mawd)). However, he does not propose any other definition of substance instead of the rejected one, but simply points out that, since the corporeal substances are like shadows of the intelligible ones, it is impossible that the former might equal the latter in substantiality, because, according to the teachings of the school of Plato, the substantiality of the cause is prior to that of the effect.146 It is evident that Suhraward does not actually refute Ibn Sn`s (fairly sound and well-made) arguments against the analogical gradation of the essence and the essentials. He also fails to provide a better definition of substance instead of the rejected one. Suhrawards criticism of Ibn Sn has more to do with the difference in the basic approaches of two philosophers (in other words, with their entirely different vision of the reality) one can say that Suhraward criticizes Ibn Sn for his not being a Platonic. Interestingly, in the relevant chapter of the Asfr, after a detailed account of Ibn Sns opinion on the issue, Sadr does not present a refutation of it of any considerable substance (except the aforementioned succinct reference to the beliefs of the ancients). This is in his work al-Shawhid al-rubbiyya f manhij al-sulkiyya (The Witnesses of Lordship Regarding the Methods of Wayfaring) where he states that, unlike all other universal meanings (=concepts), wujd does accept analogical gradation:
The universal meanings be they either essentials or accidents do not become stronger and weaker, except wujd, which differs in its essence in terms of perfection and imperfection, priority and posteriority, poverty and wealth (or: independence) (ghin), because it is entified through its essence and, consequently, in its essence, it is [both] the prior and the priority, and the posterior and posteriority, as it is also the perfect and perfection. And the privation (adam) of it is imperfection and the imperfect, and the evil (sharr) and evilness (sharr) in its essence.147

2) Analogical gradation in terms of intensity and weakness does not necessitate specific difference (al-ikhtilf al-naw) between the instances of the nature in which the difference occurs. Sadr asserts that the ancient Stoics have successfully proved that the instances of the reality of existence/ finding do not differ from each other by their differentiae, despite their diversity in terms of intensity and weakness. He points out that the Peripatetics themselves have established the (fact of the) increase and decrease of the intensity of qualities as regards the motion of a corporeal object in respect of the levels/ degrees of
146

147

See: Sh.Y.Sohravardi, Oeuvres philosophiques et mystiques, ed. H.Corbin, 2e edition, Tehran Paris: Academie Imperiale Iranienne de Philosophie et Depositaire Librairie Adrien Maisonneuve 1976, t. 1, 297302. Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, al-Shawhid al-rubbiyya f manhij al-sulkiyya, ed. S.J.shtiyn, 2nd edition, Qum: Bstn-i Kitb 1382 S.H., 241. 39

qualities, such as temperatures and blacknesses. Besides, the Peripatetics also admit that a single motion is an individual affair, possessing a connected he-ness from the beginning to the end. Hence, holds Sadr, it is evident that intense and weak degrees of blackness, in respect of their blackening the body, share in their specific quiddity. 3) Diversity in respect of quality and diversity in respect of quantity represent the same kind of analogical gradation. The rules of common usage (urf) in Arabic permit to apply terms intensity/ strength (shidda) and weakness (daf) only to qualities, while, in turn, the terms increase (ziyda) and decrease (nuqsn), and manyness (kathra) and fewness (qilla) can be applied to quantities only. However, a sage and philosopher is not concerned with the observance of the rules of common usage. Some commentators of Ibn Sn tried to distinguish intensity from greatness in measure by claiming the increase in the intensity of quality to be limited, while alleging the increase in quantity to be unlimited, but, according to Sadr, the acceptance of the statement does not necessarily lead to the establishment of two different kinds of analogical gradation pertaining to quality and quantity respectively. Another attempt to distinguish between intensity/ weakness and greatness/ smallness in measure was made by those followers of Ibn Sn who asserted that something is called great or small in measure when it is possible to point to the exact measure in which two things equal each other and to establish the additional measure the measure by which one thing exceeds the other. To refute the assertion, Suhraward and Sadr argue that the reality of every number is constituted by one repeated a certain number of times, not by other numbers. Therefore, every number is a simple (non-compound) species, which is not composed of other numbers. (Thus, four is not constituted by three and one, nor is three constituted by two and one.) When the intellect divides any number into parts, the form of that number disappears and another form comes into existence. 4) The difference in terms of intensity and weakness and perfection and imperfection is not limited to the accidents of quality and quantity, as the Peripatetics assert, but also applies to the substance. This fourth principle is perhaps the most important and sensitive one, because it deals with the issue of limitations of analogical gradation. Suhraward148 (and Sadr, who repeats him verbatim) points out that the limitation of intensity and weakness to quality and quantity only contradicts the beliefs of the ancients, in particular Empedocles and Plotinus, who regarded the substances of this lower world as the shadows of the substances of the higher world. Sadr explains that this means that they (the ancient sages) treated the substances of the higher world as causes and those of the lower one as their effects, because the substantiality of the cause is by necessity fuller and more complete than the substantiality of the effect, and then adds that, to him, intensity has no other meaning except this one, i.e., that some substances are more intense and stronger in their substantiality than other ones. (This approach to reduce all accidental differences to substantial one(s) is most typical of Sadr, who regards substances as dynamic entities, whereas Ibn Sn believes them to be static and immutable, while (as he hold) only accidents are subject to change.) To summarize, analogical gradation of substance in terms of intensity and weakness is an indispensable constituent of the (conventionally) essence-based (or perhaps it is better to say: archetype-based) philosophical systems like those of Plato, Suhraward and Mr Dmd. (All of them would agree that a table which exists in the domain of archetypes is undoubtedly stronger than the one that is found in the material world, it is more truly a table.) In turn, according to the sense experience based philosophy of Aristotle and Ibn Sn, the principle of
148

See: Sohravardi, Oeuvres, t.1, 13. 40

analogical gradation in terms of intensity and weakness is only applicable to two categories of accidents quality and quantity. (Since Peripaticism denies the existence of the realm of archetypes or eternal forms of things, the sole basis of its judgments is the observations made in the physical world by means of external senses. Obviously, this is absurd to claim that my cat is more cat than that of my neighbours.) Since the bulk of Sadrs texts (the Asfr in particular) consist of scrupulous analysis of other peoples philosophical ideas and opinions, it is often difficult to understand his own position. This is also the case with tashkk. It seems, however, that what Sadr actually believes in and insists upon, is the analogical gradation of the reality of existence/ finding (and certainly not that of the concept of substance (mafhm al-jawhar)) in terms of intensity and weakness (tashkk haqqat al-wujd bi l-shidda wa l-daf) namely, he holds that the wujd of the existential (wujd) cause is stronger than that of the existential effect. The existential cause (al-illa al-wujdiyya) is the cause of the existence of the effect in other words, that through which the latter subsists. Sadr calls the relation which is established between the existential cause and its effect the illuminative relation (al-idfa alishrqiyya). According to him (his treatment of the issue differs significantly from Suhrawards approach), the illuminative relation is the relation which, properly speaking, consists of one side only, because, what outwardly looks like the other side, actually completely lacks the ability to subsist on its own, subsisting, instead, on the first side. Sadr refers to the relation that exists between the sun and its ray as the most illustrative example of this kind of relation: the ray, he argues, has no true existence of its own. Hence, it must be considered exactly as the suns illuminative relation. Sadrs teaching on existence/ finding, in general, can be described as a special kind of Platonism namely, the Platonism of wujd. According to him, the sensible wujd is a shadow of the imaginal one, which, in turn, itself is a shadow of the intelligible wujd. Hence, what is truly real, is only the intelligible wujd; while imaginal and sensible (especially the latter) wujd is only a metaphor of this first true real wujd, whose intensity is (or, at least, seems to be) unlimited and infinite. (However, Sadr admits that the number of human souls which reach the realm of the intelligible wujd is extremely small, the overwhelming majority of them remaining in the precincts of the imaginal world.) The decisive importance that Sadr attributes to the notion of tashkk permits us to say that the general trend which he follows in his ontology is that of Plato, Plotinus and Suhraward. In this overall Platonic scheme, the validity of the teachings of Ibn al-Arab, and the theoretical mysticism in general, seems to be limited to the intermediary world of imagination only. In his Risla al-hdiya (Guiding Treatise) Qnaw reduces all kinds of tashkk to difference in manifestation of a certain reality, which, in turn, according to him, comes down to difference in the preparedness (istidd) of the particular loci of manifestation.
If a reality differs in [respect of] its being stronger, or more prior, or more intense, or more preferred, in the view of a verifier, all this comes down to [difference in] manifestation, not to plurality (taaddud) occurring in the manifested reality, whatever reality it be knowledge, existence/ finding or other one. A [certain] receptacle may be better prepared [to serve as a receptacle] for the manifestation of a [certain] reality as such than another receptacle, although the reality is one in all cases. Ranking in excellence (mufdala) and difference occur between its manifestations in accordance with the manifesting affair (al-amr al-muzhir), requiring [such] entification of that reality which differs from its entification in another affair.149

149

Sadr al-Dn Qnaw, al-Risla al-hdiya al-murshidiyya, in Sadr al-Dn al-Qnaw and Nasr al-Dn al-Ts, Mursalt, ed. Gudrun Schubert, Beirut: Jamiyyat al-mustashriqn al-lmniyya 1416/1995, 166 (also 41

Qnaws point can be explained by imagining a number of metallic mirrors some of which are well-polished, but the others rusty which reflect one and the same object. Obviously, the better polished the mirror, the brighter the reflection of the object (which is what analogical gradation through intensity and weakness, according to Qnaw, is about). However, the reflected images also differ from one another in shape and size, this latter kind of difference being caused by the difference in shape and size of the mirrors. (E.g., some of them are big and others small; some are convex, the others are concave etc.) Certainly, this latter kind of difference cannot be removed by polishing. Hence, the verdict of theoretical mysticism on the doctrine of the tashkk bi l-shidda wa l-daf is that, although the theory reflects an important aspect of reality, if it is proposed as the key doctrine dealing with the core and heart of reality and most fully reflecting the true state of affairs (as, in all likelihood, it is the case with Plato and the Platonic trend (the most important representatives of which in Islamic philosophy are Suhraward, Mr Dmd and Mull Sadr)), it proves to be able to provide only a simplified picture of reality first of all, because, in this doctrine, there is no place for the crucial Sufi teaching on the Reals names and attributes as the cause of the diversity of the phenomena of the witnessed and the absent domains.
1.2.3. Existential Causation: The Gnostic Approach?

It is well known that the first elaborated doctrine of causation was worked out by Aristotle more than two thousands years ago. Other theories which have appeared since then either have been branches and extensions of Aristotelian basics or, if they ventured to deny them, have ended up in some kind of agnosticism (e.g. Humes theory of patterns (into which the things fall) or Ghazls theory of the habit of God (dat Allh)). In the Islamic thought, these are definitely the Peripatetics (mashiyyn) who seem to be most concerned with the topic. As for the Mystics (uraf), terms cause (illa) and causation (illiyya) seldom appear in their writings. As far as I know, the only work in which Sadr discusses the problem of causation at length, is the Asfr, where the sixth waystation (marhala) of the first journey, entitled On the Cause and the Effect, occupies most of the second part of the book (about 260 pages)150. The overall scheme of the Asfr, claims Sadr, is devised after the scheme of four journeys accomplished by a perfect mystic (rif) (not a philosopher!)151 which means that, travelling from one waystation of the book to another, the person in quest of the Truth, by means of intellectual meditation (supported by certain ascetic practices), is supposed to accomplish a deed of a mystic, rather than that of a philosopher. But, of course, this is merely a claim. To be able to speak of the gnostic element in greater detail, I have to say a few more words about Sadrs general approach to the problem of causation, as it appears in the Asfr.
quoted in: Abd al-Rahmn al-Jm, al-Durra al-fkhira, ed. N.Heer and A.Msav Behbahn, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Muassisa-i mutlet-i islm dneshghh-i Tehrn 1382/2003, 45). There are other relevant chapters in different parts of the book, e.g. the second station of the first journey On Making (f l-jal) (Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 396-446). Besides, the 4th, the 5th and the 6th ishrqs (illuminations) of the 4th shhid (witness) of the 1st mashhad (locus of witnessing) of the Shawhid alrubbiyya also deal with the problem of causation (Sadr, Shawhid, 113135). Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 13. Interestingly, Ibn al-Arab speaks of three journeys only (to the Real, from the Real and in the Real) and says nothing about the fourth journey, added by by Sadr (the journey with the Real in the creation) (see: Ibn al-Arab, Muhyi al-Dn, al-Isfr an natij al-asfr, ed. M. F. al-Jabr, Damascus: Dr al-Hikma 2000, 3839). 42

150

151

The issues Sadr discusses at the beginning of the sixth station (of the first journey) seem to be typically Peripatetic ones (e.g. causal necessity; common postulates regarding the four causes etc.). Gradually Sadr introduces some ideas of the Mutakallimn (particularly, those of Fakhr al-Dn al-Rz (543/1149-606/1209), the author of the Mabhith al-mashriqiyya (Illuminating Discourses), and the Ishrqs (such as Suhrawards idea that, in certain circumstances, a compound cause can produce a simple effect), in order to demonstrate that the apparent originality of these views is based on certain misunderstandings and inability to penetrate to the crux of the approach of their predecessors. While, by and large, Sadr seems to follow the traditional Peripatetic line in his discourse, he is also eager to integrate in his teaching some elements of other schools of thought, particularly the Sufi theorists idea of the inclusion of the effect in its cause. On the whole, having studied the relevant chapter of the Asfr, one gets the impression that Sadr, in regard to the problem of causation, is trying to reconcile and make compatible with each other a number of doctrines (those of Peripatetics and Mystics, as well as those of Illuminationists and the Mutakallimn) based on totally different fundamentals. Being brought together, they cannot produce anything else but an eclectic mixture, different parts of which are loosely connected with each other and do not make a solid whole. In reply to this, it could be said that the Asfr was apparently devised to be, first of all, a textbook for advanced students of philosophy. To serve the purpose, it necessarily had to be a book of an encyclopaedic approach, i.e., it had to deal with all existing approaches and theories regarding every particular problem, e.g. causation. But in such a case, one should argue, the title of the book Four intellectual (or: noetic) journeys (al-Asfr al-aqliyya alarbaa) is likely to be a mere metaphor with no reality behind it, because there is no guarantee at all that an encyclopaedic discourse of philosophical matters will lead to any kind of intellectual perfection apart from developing students skill of theoretical discourse and logical reasoning. What should we answer to this objection? First of all, the problem of causation should not be regarded as a separate matter. Instead, it should be put into the broader context of Sadrs philosophy. That Sadrs philosophy is ontology-based, is a commonplace, the following quotation from the Mashir (Penetrations) should suffice to prove it:
The problem of existence/ finding is the foundation of philosophical principles and the basis for theological problems, and the pivot around which rotates the mill of the science of Unification (tawhd), and the science of Return (mad), and Mustering (hashr) of spirits and bodies, and a lot of [other things], in finding which we have no companion and in obtaining which we remain unmatched. If anyone is ignorant of the knowledge (=gnosis) of existence/ finding, his ignorance spreads upon the [very] sources of problems and upon the most important of them, and, due to his unawareness of it (the problem of existence/ finding J.E.), the mysteries of knowledge and the secrets of it, and the knowledge of lordships (ilm alrubbiyyt) and their prophecies, and the knowledge of the soul and its conjunction [with its Origin] and its return to the Origin of its origins and its ends escape from him.152

Hence, there is no doubt that the problem of causation is viewed by Sadr as a branch of a more fundamental problem of existence/ finding. The key ontological principle of Sadr, as we know, is that of the principality of existence/ finding (aslat al-wujd). In his own words, the principle is briefly formulated thus:

152

Sadr, Mashir, 4 (of the Arabic text).

43

Consequently, Sadr believes that only the existence/ finding of a thing enjoys true reality, while the quiddity is a mere mental limitation and abstraction (or, as the late Henry Corbin would have put it, imitation (hikya)), which does not enjoy any reality at all. Hence, it is clear that the real cause of the thing, according to Sadr, is the cause of its existence/ finding, not the cause of its quiddity. As the lattter one (quiddity) is a mere mental concept, it is evident that its constituents (muqawwimt) are also mere abstractions of mind. Hence the cause effect relationship between any particular quiddity and its constituents is manifestly a pure mental abstraction and, as we know, what most befits Divine sages (mutaallihn) is to have business with true realities of the things, rather than to deal with their mental abstractions and limitations.153 Now, the last quotation from the Mashir has already introduced us to another key principle of Sadrs ontology namely, the principle of the oneness (or: unity) of existence/ finding (wahdat al-wujd):
and the existences/ findings are nothing else but the rays and lights of the True Light and Eternal Existence/ Finding exalted be its sublimity! except that each of them has its [own] essential attributes and intelligible meanings [which are] called quiddities.

In other words, there is only one real Existence/ Finding (the Necessary One); the other (contingent) beings are mere rays, illuminations and emanations of this Pure Light Existence/ Finding. Perhaps this principle is more explicitly defined elsewhere:
There is nothing in wujd except His (i.e., Gods J.E.) essence, His attributes and His actions, which are the forms of His names and the loci of manifestation of His attributes.154

As Muhammad Khjav writes in his preface to Sadrs Tafsr, what Sadr professes here is the individual oneness (al-wahda al-shakhsiyya) of Existence/ Finding155, not a oneness of the species (al-wahda al-nawiyya) except that when he saw it (the principle of the individual oneness of Existence/ Finding J.E.) to be [a matter which is] difficult [to grasp] for the minds and [therefore to become] a motive for arguments and [his] opponents, he reduced it to the oneness of the species and proceeded (i.e., continued his discourse J.E.) in this way, thus breaking the resistance of opponents and saving himself from the slander of the ignorants and those pretending to be philosophers, hinting at what was his purpose, of the Truth and an insightful view156. As Khjav points out, this oneness of the species admits the existence of a number of systematically ambiguous grades (al-martib al-mushakkaka), which differ from each other by their intensity (shadda) and weakness (daf), priority (taqaddum) and posteriority (taakhkhur). Besides, they also relate to each other as causes and effects and, hence, it becomes evident that one can speak of causation only in regard to the oneness of the species. As for the individual oneness, the problem of causation is, properly speaking, irrelevant to it, because, in this case, we cannot speak of two different entities related to each other as cause and effect. Now, we have to keep in mind that the teaching of the oneness of the species is, in fact, a reduction and simplification of a more lofty and subtle teaching of the individual oneness of Existence/ Finding, in order to make the subtle irfn doctrine comprehensible, to a degree, to those who have not yet reached the relevant station of Gnosis. Therefore, one can say that, from Sadrs point of view, the reflection on the problem of causation (like the cogitation on the problem of wujd as a whole) is meant to serve as a
153

154 155

156

If we accept the division of four Aristotelian causes into existential causes (al-ilal al-wujdiyya) (the efficient (or the agent) cause and the final cause) and constituent causes (al-ilal al-taqwmiyya) (the formal cause and the material cause), it is evident that Sadr is predominantly concerned with the first group. Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Asrr al-yt, ed. M.Khjav. Tehrn: Iranian Academy of Philosophy 1981, 24. M.Khjav, Muqaddimma in the Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Tafsr al-Qurn al-Karm, Qum: Intishrt-i Bdr 1366 S.H., part 1, 31 (of the introduction). M.Khjav, Muqaddimma, 3132. 44

means for a spiritual wayfarer to help him to achieve a more elevated state of gnosis, the relevant theories being considered as mere tools which enable him to proceed along the path of the noetic (intellectual) service (which means, as soon as he will have passed the relevant station, they will become useless to him). But is not such a conclusion a bit hasty and premature? To get an additional support for my claim, I shall now turn to some of Ibn al- Arabs ideas regarding causation the ideas, reflection upon which will, hopefully, enable me to consider the problem in a broader context of the irfn thought, so that, when I return later to the original teaching of Sadr, this would help me to draw some more decisive conclusions. As for the Greatest Shaykh, he, like Sadr, seems to have had a number of apparently contradictory approaches to the problem. His dominating idea with respect to causation, however, seems to be that of a complete inclusion of the effect in its cause, as far as its existence is considered. To demonstrate this, Ibn al-Arab uses two mathematical proofs. The first proof is an arithmetic one and deals with the numerical unity:
[All] numbers became manifest from the [number] one, in line with their certain ranks and, consequently, the one brought the numbers into existence and the numbers divided the one.157

By this statement, Ibn al-Arab confirms that all numbers are actually included in one. As every number is, in fact, one, repeated a certain number of times, it is, therefore, nothing else than a sum of ones and, as such, a derivative from one. In the Futht, the same idea of the complete inclusion of the effect in its cause is expressed in geometrical terms:
The cosmos in itself is like the point in the centre of the circle, the encompassing circumference of the circle and what is between them. The point [in the centre] is the Real (alhaqq) and the empty space outside the circumference is non-existence (adam) or darkness, and what is between the point in the centre and the empty space outside the circumference of the circle, is the contingent [existence] and we have given the [central] point because it is the principle of the existence of the encompassing circumference (of the circle), which becomes manifest by means of the point; and the contingent [existence], likewise, does not become manifest [in any other way], except through the Real. Now, as for the circumference, if we imagine lines [, leading] from the centre of the circle to the circumference, [ lines] which do not end anywhere else except the point in the centre, then each of them, in such a case, will be [a part] of this point [in the centre of the circle] [as its extension].158

However, an element of simplification is always present in such mathematical proofs, used to demonstrate the validity of a certain metaphysical truth.
He is indeed every thing in [His] manifestation and [, at the same time,] He is not the things in His Essence may He be Transcendent and Exalted! but He is He and the things are the things.159

In other words, we can speak of the Reals identity with the things only in the aspect of its manifestation, regarding it as the Unbounded Existence/ Finding (al-wujd al-mutlaq) and the
157

158

159

Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, 77. Cf. C. Daglis translation in: Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, The Ringstones of Wisdom, translated by Caner K. Dagli, Chicago: Kazi Publications 2004, 102. Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 275. Russian scholar Andrey Smirnov gives a more detailed account of Ibn Arabs views on the problem of causation in his excellent article: ., (What do we mean by Medieval Arabic Philosophy) in the (Mediaeval Arabic Philosophy) Mo: 1998. 7881). Ibn al-Arab, Futht , part 2, 638. 45

Breath of the Compassionate (al-nafas al-rahmn), i.e., if we view it as the Manifest One (alZhir) and admit that the Manifest One, the manifestation (zuhr) and the locus of manifestation (mazhar) is one and the same thing, then we can say, the Real is, in this aspect, identical with all things, as far as it is the Manifest One, as long as the manifestation continues. However, Abu l-Al Aff believes that, for Ibn al-Arab, the causes are immaterial or, as it is said, non-existent (ghayr wujdiyya) entities160, i.e., the Divine Names. Indeed, writes Aff they (the aforementioned entities J.E.) are the causes of all existents, which means they are universal intelligible realities which are manifested in forms of the outer world and the Divine Essence in the aspect in which it is considered in itself, i.e., as one shorn of all attributes, which are attributed to it, is not the cause of any effect; and, indeed, it is the cause of the existence/ finding of every effect in the aspect in which its attributes, manifest in every part of existence/ finding, are attributed to it.161 As I see it, two Affs key points are, first, that the problem of causation is related to the station of (differentiated) oneness (maqm al-whidiyya), not to the station of uniqueness (=undifferentiated oneness) (maqm al-ahadiyya); second, that the true nature and the essential character of every existent, according to Ibn al-Arab, is determined by its fixed entity (al-ayn al-thbita) (which is eternally present in the Reals Knowledge). This apparently static, quiddity-based view on causation, at first sight, seems to have little in common with Mull Sadrs dynamic existential vision. However, it must be kept in mind that the Divine Names are, in fact, nothing else than particular modes (shun) in which we witness one and the same reality, i.e., the Reals essence or the True Existence/ Finding.162 To summarize, Ibn al-Arabs approach to the problem is, as it is peculiar to him, flexible and multifaceted. What matters, is the way of looking at the issue: in result of the change of the standpoint the cause and the effect can exchange their particular places, and, for the one who sees the entirety of truth, the cause becomes the effect of its effect and [, in turn,] its effect becomes its cause.163 Although reflection upon the consequences of a change of the standpoint is an important element both of Ibn al-Arab and Sadrs thought, Sadr believes that a gradual modification of the common approach, consisting of a number of apparently insignificant alterations, is more productive than a sudden revolutionary change.164 In this case, too, the radical idea of Ibn al-Arab of the interchangeability of cause and effect is not supported by Sadr, as we can guess from its not being mentioned in his encyclopaedic account. I can suggest that the idea was unacceptable to Sadr for, at least, two reasons: first, because, from a purely philosophical point of view, such an exchange would cause the metamorphosis of the reality (inqilb al-haqqa), i.e., the cause, as far as it is considered as the cause, cannot become the effect; second, because, according to the principles of the principality of existence/ finding and the analogical gradation (tashkk) of it, the existence/ finding of the cause is always stronger and of more intensity than that of the effect. It is, therefore, impossible that the weaker existent becomes the cause of the stronger one.
160 161 162

163 164

Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 2 (the commentaries), 247. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 2, 247. Hence, every particular problem we encounter such as the problem of causation to a degree is caused by the particular mode in which we witness the Reality. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 185. To understand this better, one has to compare the ideas of the new creation (khalq jadd) and the substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya) two basic principles of Ibn al-Arab and Sadrs teachings, respectively (see the subchapter 2.3.6). 46

More importantly perhaps, for a mystic who professes the individual oneness of existence/ finding, there is no point to speak of the interchangeability of what is one as an individual his main concern is to witness this oneness (or rather as it is often said, to contemplate the oneness in the manyness and the manyness in the oneness). Now I shall quote a passage from the Asfr which, I believe, could be regarded as an epitome of Sadrs gnostic view on causation:
it has been unveiled that everything which can be named existence/ finding, whatever kind of existence/ finding it be, is nothing else but one of the modes (shun) of the One [-and-] the Eternal and one of the qualities (nut) of its essence, and one of the flashes (lamat) of its attributes; and, consequently, what was stated at the beginning, that there is the cause and the effect found, was stated in accordance with the remarkable theoretical view but, eventually, in keeping with the gnostic wayfaring, this [statement] was transformed into [an assertion] that, of these two, the cause is a real thing, but the effect is [only] one of its aspects (jiht), and [that] causation and what is called the cause and its impact (tathr) upon the effect, can be reduced to the causes phasing (tatawwur) itself in a [certain] phase (tawr)165 and featuring (tahayyuth) itself in a [certain] feature, [and that the effect is] not a real thing, [actually] differing from it (the cause J.E.).166

This gnostic approach, as we see, results in the denial of any ontological independence of the effect and in a complete inclusion of its existence/ finding in the existence/ finding of its cause. Whatever relation there exists between the cause and the effect, therefore, is not a categorical (maqliyya), but an illuminative (ishrqiyya) one167 i.e., a relation which consists of an illuminating thing (mushriq) and its illumination (ishrq) (e.g. the aforementioned relation between the sun and its rays or that between the speaker and his speech). As there is no real encounter (taqbul) of two different things in such a relation, the relation (idfa) being also the related thing (mudf), it is clear that, from a logical point of view, it is a metaphorical (majz), not a real (haqq) one, wherefore we can, perhaps, say that, for a mystic who professes the individual oneness of existence/ finding, the whole problem of causation (like many other philosophical issues) is based on a metaphor (i.e., a metaphorical relation between what is, in fact, one), not upon a reality, because, as Sadr himself states it:
" the existent (mawjd) and the existence/ finding (wujd) are confined to one individual reality which has no companion in true existentiality (mawjdiyya) and has no peer (literally: second (al-thn) J.E.) in its entity (f l-ayn), and, in the dwelling of Existence/ Finding, there is not anyone else, except the Dweller".168

Now, when it has become evident that Sadr believes the traditional Peripatetic approach to causation to be superficial and lacking due insight, there arises a question why he pays so much attention to it, at least in the Asfr. The simplest answer is, possibly, that Sadr regards Peripatetic philosophy as the necessary propaedeutic (preparatory study) which has to be studied before the students could be introduced to what can be called the "Transcendent Philosophy" (al-hikma al-mutaliyya) in the proper sense of the term. As Sadr definitely
165

166 167

168

Of course, by employing these terms (tawr; tatawwur) Sadr alludes to the principle of the substantial motion. It seems, however, that, since this principle does not pertain to the world of pure intelligibles (almaqult al-mahda), the employment of a more general term modification (tashaun) would be more appropriate to the purpose. Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 300301. The term "illuminative relation" (al-idfa al-ishrqiyya) was invented by Suhraward (see: Sohravardi, Oeuvres, t. 1, 487). However, Sadr interprets it in a very different way (see my article: J.Eshots, Unification of Perceiver and Perceived and unity of Being in the Transcendent Philosophy, Vol. 1, 3, December 2000, 17). Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 292. 47

thinks his "Transcendent Wisdom" to be the best possible combination of theoretical and practical parts of wisdom, it is clear that ascetic practices and sound theoretical background are equally important constituents of his system, as his goal is to reach the place where the two seas meet". As for Sadrs method of theoretical discourse, his well-known saying is: We agree with them in the beginnings and differ from them in the ends169 (in other words, we begin our discourse in the usual manner of the Peripatetics (and the Illuminationists), but we end it in a completely different way). In brief, not infrequently in the Asfr Sadr starts to discuss a particular problem with a commonplace of Peripatetic (Avicennan) philosophy, then, slightly changing and gradually altering it, slowly shifts the matter into the precincts of 'irfn and eventually we find ourselves in the gnostic sanctuary of Oneness (haram al-wahda) or rather find the Oneness and lose ourselves. The methodological basis of this approach is, of course, the principle of the substantial motion. As for the choice of the starting point, it seems to be determined by the supposed audience to which the particular work (the Asfr) is addressed.170 Now, if we agree with James Morris that Sadrs immediate audience is a narrow group of highly educated scholars, trained for the most part in the religious schools and at least superficially acquainted with the various theoretical disciplines treated in his philosophy,171 it becomes evident why Sadr had to start thence whence he started, i.e., from the commonplaces of Avicennan philosophy: unlike popular Sufi teachings, intended for common people, his teaching is meant for the learned ones no wonder, therefore, that the way in which he addresses them has to be match their learning and dignity. Besides, causation, which is one of the most important problems of Peripatetic philosophy, certainly seemed to Sadr to be a particularly suitable topic to discuss in order to show the superiority of the Gnostic approach to the philosophical one. By highlighting the universality of the principles of the principality and oneness of existence/ finding, Sadr showed the limited applicability of such key concepts of Peripatetic philosophy as cause and effect and demonstrated that, from the standpoint of the professors of the individual oneness of existence/ finding, every duality (twoness) is only a metaphor.
[In the beginning] was [only] God and nothing was with Him and even now the case has not changed.172

1.2.4. God as the Necessarily Existent/ Found: The Proof of the Sincere That all cosmological proofs of the Necessarily Existent, as ones that point to the cause by its effect, possess a certain inconclusiveness and uncertainty, was well realized by the brightest minds of Islamic Peripaticism, first of all, by Ibn Sn, therefore they attempted, to quote Avicenna himself, to adduce evidence through Him, not towards Him173, i.e., to prove the

169 170

171 172

173

Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 423, footnote 3 (where the statement is quoted by Sabzavr). For audiences towards which Sadrs writings were originally directed see more: J.W.Morris (transl.) The Wisdom of the Throne, Princeton: Princeton University Press 1981, 3941. Morris, Wisdom, 39. Both the hadth and Ab l-Qsim al-Junayds (the famous Sufi shaykh who died in Baghdad in 298/910) remark upon hearing it are quoted many times by Sadr and his commentators. See e.g.: Sadr, Mashir, 89 (of the Persian text). Ibn Sn, Al-Ishrt wa l-tanbht, maa Sharh Nasr al-Dn al-Ts, ed. S.Duny, Cairo 1960, Vol.3, 483. The English translation by Toby Mayer: Toby Mayer, Ibn Sns Burhn al-siddqn in the Journal of Islamic Studies 12:1 (2001), 25. 48

Necessary through itself, without referring to the contingent. The question is whether this objective can be achieved by means of philosophy in principle. Ibn Sn made an attempt to fulfil the task in his famous burhn al-siddiqn (proof of the sincere).174 In brief, it can be reduced to the following: there is no doubt that there is existence/ finding. Every existent is either necessarily existent in itself or contingently existent in itself.175 If it is contingent, by virtue of its derivation ab extra, it is dependent on the necessary.176 (The chain of contingents, either finite or infinite, will remain contingent by its very nature.) Therefore every series composed of causes and effects, be it either finite or infinite, terminates in the Necessarily Existent through itself.177 Though this proof does not deal with any particular physical phenomenon (such as motion), evidently, it cannot dispense with adducing evidence of the necessary through the contingent. By virtue of this, it belongs to the class of assertoric demonstrations (barhn anniyya) and, as such, does not provide us with full certainty. As it is well known, Sadr pointed out that Ibn Sns argument deals with the concept of existence/ finding (mafhm al-wujd) and not with its reality (haqqa).178 Therefore, he argued, it cannot be considered as the way of the sincere (minhj al-siddqn) in the true sense of the term. But what about Sadras own proof? It is based on four fundamental ontological premises, namely: 1) the principality of existence/ finding (aslat al-wujd); 2) the analogically graded oneness (al-wahda al-tashkkiyya) of existence/ finding; 3) the principle what is simple in its reality is all things (bast al-haqqa kull al-ashy); 4) the contingency of poverty (al-imkn al-faqr)) that results in identifying the reality of existence/ finding with the Necessary. Here is the summary of the proof in Sadrs own words:
The reality of existence/ finding, by virtue of its being a simple affair, not having a quiddity, nor a constituent or a delimiter, is the Necessary itself, requiring the most complete perfection, infinite in its strength, because every other level of it, which is poorer than this one in strength (i.e., weaker), is not the pure reality of existence/ finding. Rather, it is the reality of existence/ finding together with a deficiency of it, and the deficiency of every thing is self-evidently other than that thing [itself], and deficiency of existence/ finding is not existence/ finding rather [it is] privation of it, and this privation (=non-existence/ non-finding) accompanies existence/ finding not because of the root of existence/ finding, but because of the existences/ findings falling into a subsequent (=descendent) level or [one, coming] after it. And deficiencies and privations afflict the seconds in their capacity as seconds, and the First is in its most complete perfection that which has no limit and, in regard to which, it is impossible to conceive of anything more complete than itself, and deficiency and poverty grow out of effusing (ifda) and making (jal) and also terminate in them, and the he-nesses of the seconds are connected to the First and their deficiency is aided by its perfection and their poverty (need) by its independence.179

174

175 176 177 178

179

The most detailed version of it is to be found in his Ishrt, namat 3, fusl 915 (Ibn Sn, Ishrt, Vol. 3, 447455). Ibn Sn, Ishrt, Vol.3, 447. English translation by Mayer: Mayer, Burhn, 22. Mayer, Burhn, 36. Ibn Sn, Ishrt, Vol.3, 455. English translation by Mayer: Mayer, Burhn, 35. Sabzavr remarks that Sadr is speaking of the existence itself while Ibn Sn uses the concept of existence to speak of particular existents and to reason to the existence of the Necessary Existent (Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 21, note 1). Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 24. 49

If the reality of existence/ finding is not the Necessary, says Sadr, then it is not the reality of existence/ finding either, since necessity is one of its properties (ahkm). It should be noted that he identifies the Necessary (wjib) with the Independent (ghan) and the contingent (mumkin) with the poor and needy (faqr). The poverty of the latter is caused by deficiency of existence/ finding, which means that the poor is poor in so far as it is not sheer existence/ finding (while the independent is independent exactly through its being pure existence/ finding). Hence, by its very nature, sheer existence/ finding does not admit poverty and need, independence being its innate property. In the last analysis, all other existents except the reality of existence/ finding are nothing but illuminative relations (al-idfat al-ishrqiyya), modes (shun) and directions (jiht) of this reality. As such, they can only be called existence/ finding metaphorically, since they do not refer to the meaning of (the reality of) existence/ finding by their essences.180 Thus, the individual oneness of existence/ finding is established. Since existence/ finding is one, it cannot depend on anything else simply because there is none other to depend on (I do not take into account privations and deficiencies, which result in sheer non-existence/ non-finding). This reasoning allows us to realize the metaphorical character of the necessary contingent dichotomy and simultaneously shows us that the real cannot be truly proved through the metaphorical. Hence, we can say that what Sadr actually proved whether intentionally or not was the philosophys inability to demonstrate its first principles in particular, to prove the reality of existence/ finding which suggested its need for some kind of mystical intuition. It is worth mentioning that, to the best of my knowledge, unlike Ibn Sn, Sadr never uses the exact term burhn al-siddqn. As a rule, he replaces burhn with minhj (way), thus indicating that the way of the sincere lies beyond the limits of philosophy proper. Moreover, if Ibn Sn and his commentator Nasr al-Dn al-Ts (597/1201-672/1274) understand the term siddqn simply as a synonym for divine sages or metaphysicians (ilhiyyn), Sadrs understanding of it is different. While in his philosophical works (like the Asfr) he suffices with a slightly altered definition of Ibn Sn, describing the siddqn as those who adduce evidence (yastashhidna) through Him towards Him181, in his Tafsr, in the commentary upon the eighteenth verse of the surah The Iron: and Those who believe in God and His Messengers they are the Sincere, Sadr gives a more detailed explanation of what he understands by the term sincere (siddq):
the true faith of unveiling (kashf) [is] that which is possessed by [Gods] clients and chosen mystics, and, indeed, they are the sincere (=attestants) (siddqn) and the witnessers (shuhad), due to the utmost degree of their attesting (tasdq), acquired through unveiling, and their passing away (fan) from themselves, acquired through an inner [spiritual] struggle with the soul and its commanding faculties.182

Then he discusses at length four different levels of faith. The fourth and the highest level, claims he, is that possessed by Gods clients, the sincere and the witnessers:
The fourth [level] [consists in] witnessing this (the objects of faith J.E.) through witnessing the Real Existence/ Finding, and its attributes and traces, and in not seeing [these] acts and traces as an independent existence/ finding, and in not looking at a thing without seeing in it the Real, given the difference of mirrors in limpidity and turbidity, and the difference of the Reals manifestation in them in disclosedness and hiddenness.

180 181

Instead, they refer to existence together with deficiency of it, i.e., to insufficiency and poverty of existence. Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 13. 182 Sadr, Tafsr, Vol. 6, 229. 50

And the lights of undifferentiated unity (ahadiyya) have taken possession of such a servant, and the blinding lights (sawte) of the divine tremendousness (azama) have manifested themselves to him, and they have turned him into crumbled dust183, and [thus] the mountain of his ipseity is destroyed, and it collapses before him, and, at this station, the others perish from his view and in his light the veils and curtains burn away, and the Real calls: Whose is the kingdom today? and answers itself to itself: Gods, the One, the Overwhelming (40:16)184. And at this level the faithful (mmin) is called [Gods] client (wal), sincere (siddq) and witnesser (shahd). and [this faithful] is [called] the sincere because the perfection of the level of the sincere is engendered by the perfection of the level of gnosis (marifa), and the most perfect level of gnosis is witnessing (mushhada), and the one who has witnessed the Real Existence/ Finding and its level in perfection, and the all-enconpassingness of [its] effusion and the allinclusiveness of the mercy, pouring from it upon every thing, in such a way that there is no partner to it either in existence/ finding, or in bestowing existence (jd), is the most tremendous sincere (=attestant) (al-siddq al-azam) not anyone else, of those who have not known the Real and its effusion otherwise than through a proof (dall) or by following authority (taqld), without insight (basra) and unveiling.185

In the above quotation Sadrs gnostic understanding of the term siddq is quite unmistakable: the siddqn are none but those who have witnessed the Real through unveiling. Those who know Him through a proof only, cannot be regarded as such. Thus, the minhj al-siddqn is, in fact, the way of mystics. Needless to say, it can hardly be travelled by means of logical reasoning. The late Tabtab wrote a few insightful glosses upon Sadrs discourse of the minhj alsiddqn, in which he pointed out that all ontological proofs of the Necessarily Existent are by necessity assertoric (anniyya) ones, because we travel in them from some concomitants (lawzim) of existence/ finding (such as its being a reality fixed by its own essence or its being the first cause) to some other (such as its being necessary through its essence).186 Of course, he was absolutely right and so was he when he remarked that the principle of the existence/ finding of the Necessary through essence is self evident (darr) to the human being and that the demonstrations of it are, in fact, nothing but alertings (tanbht).187 However, this was not necessarily due to Sadrs lack of insight and inability to distinguish between philosophical and mystical approaches that he mixed them together (leaving it for cleverer people of later generations to make the distinction). Rather, it seems that he did this on purpose, in order to show the Peripatetic philosophers the limits of their method by pointing out to its inability to conclusively prove its first principles, for which it can only give assertoric demonstrations. It is important to note that the key passage of the Asfr on the minhj al-siddiqn is based on the supposition of the cause effect relationship between different levels of wujd (the reality of wujd does not have any imperfection, and the imperfection afflicts wujd due to its being caused (malliyya), and it is so because the effect can not equal its cause in the excellence of existence/ finding 188) as well as that of the specific oneness (the oneness of
183

184

185 186 187 188

An allusion to the Quranic verse: and when His Lord disclosed Himself to the mountain, He made it crumble to dust and Moses fell down thunderstruck (7:143) (Qurn, 128). The English translation of the Quranic verse by Chittick: W.C.Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn alArabis Metaphysics of Imagination, New York: SUNY Press 1989, 433. Sadr, Tafsr, Vol. 6, 232. Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 29, note 1. Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 14, note 3. Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 16. 51

species) (al-wahda al-nawiyya) of existence/ finding (there is no essential difference between its instances (afrd) except in perfection and imperfection, and strength and weakness, or due to additional affairs, as it is the case with the individuals of the same quiddity of species189). Now, one knows that elsewhere Sadr dismisses both suppositions as non-applicable to the reality of existence/ finding as the possessor of individual oneness ( and such is the case with the individual oneness (al-wahda al-shakhsiyya), which is the very reality of existence/ finding in the eyes of the deeply-rooted [in knowledge] through a special proof of Existence/ Finding 190) the reality, whose effects are nothing but its directions (jiht) and stages (atwr)191 (and, as such, they enjoy only metaphorical not real wujd). Hence, it is evident that the whole argument, as presented in the Asfr, is based on at least two suppositions, which, though not outright false, are gross simplifications. By necessity, the argument itself is also a simplification a simplified discursive explanation of an experiental issue, I would say. *** Sadrs approach to the reality of existence/ finding represents a mixture between Platonic and Aristotelian approaches. Like Aristotle, Sadr believes it to be simple/ non-compound (bast). Like Plato, he believes it to infinitely surpass all other kinds of existence/ finding in terms of strength/ intensity (shidda). Hence, the two main characteristics by which it differs from the rest of wujd are absolute simplicity/ non-compoundedness (basta) and infinite strength/ intensity (shadda). Among the few passages in Sadrs works in which he attempts to give a sort of definition of the reality of existence/ finding, the following one in the Mashir seems to be particularly illustrative:
By the reality of existence/ finding we mean that [kind of existence/ finding] to which nothing, except pure existence/ finding is admixed, be it (the admixture J.E.) either a limit (hadd), or an end (nihya), or an imperfection, or universality, or particularity, and it (the reality of existence/ finding J.E.) is [also] called the Necessarily Existent/ Found (wjib alwujd).192

In the above quoted definition Sadr treats the reality of existence/ finding as the pure idea of existence/ finding namely, as the existence/ finding unalloyed with any admixture and impurity and, therefore, infinitely intense. Due to its purity and unalloyedness, this idea or reality of existence/ finding relates to other kinds of existence/ finding as the highest level to the lower ones (which are fully included in the former), as the following passage from the same treatise also seems to confirm:
Indeed, the whole of existence/ finding, regardless of the difference between its species and the instances of its quiddity and the dissimilarity between its genera and differentiae in respect of [their] limits (=definitions) and realities, is a single substance, possessing a single he-ness (huwiyya), which [, however,] has high and descendent stations and degrees.193

189 190

Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 15. Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 179180. 191 Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 300301. See the previous subchapter (1.2.3) and also my paper The Gnostic Element of Sadras Doctrine on Causation in the Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Mulla Sadra: Causation according to Mulla Sadra and other Schools of Philosophy. 5-6 May 2001 SOAS (London), London: Salman Azade Press 2003, 8698. 192 Sadr, Mashir, 45 (of the Arabic text). 193 Sadr, Mashir, 5 (of the Arabic text). 52

I would venture to assert that, all in all considered, Sadrs general treatment of the issue of existence/ finding is predominantly Platonic, because this is exactly the Platonic doctrine of the (realm of) forms/ archetypes, which necessitates the analogical gradation of existence/ finding, situating the pure and infinitely intense idea or reality (haqqa) of existence/ finding at the top of the pyramid of wujd and its infinitely weak and extremely alloyed with the impurities of matter tenuity (raqqa) at its base. The Sufi treatment of wujd as self-awareness/ consciousness, although it was well known to Sadr, appears to have been unacceptable to him mainly because he seems to have believed that this approach is incompatible with the Platonic one. Hence, his transcendent philosophy (al-hikma al-mutaliyya) should be qualified as a modification of Platonism (Platonism of wujd). Sadr admitted the validity of the Sufi teaching on the individual oneness of existence/ finding, but, apparently, understood that it will not be accepted by those wayfarers who have not as yet experienced certain inner transformation (the Greater Rising). Therefore, he built the greatest part of his discourse on the premises of the oneness of the species of wujd and its analogical gradation.

53

CHAPTER 2. HORIZONS OF WUJD: SADRS COSMOLOGY


2.1. THE CONCEPT OF CREATION IN KALM, PHILOSOPHY AND IRFN The underlying vision and basic intuition of Sadrs philosophy is one of constant flow and perpetual motion towards perfection. The elements of other philosophical and mystical teachings, in particular those of Ibn Sn and Ibn al-Arab, serve Sadr as rough building material. Therefore, Sadrs treatment of the cosmological theories of Peripaticism and theoretical mysticism should be qualified as radical reshaping, not merely an adjustment. I shall try to demonstrate the veracity of this statement in the present chapter. Although the theories on creation and development of the cosmos that appeared in Muslim thought since the time of the Mutazilites (the first philosophical school in the world of Islam) have been examined by other researchers in sufficient detail, I shall, nevertheless, make an attempt to present a sketchy outline of the major trends found in these teachings, in order to have an opportunity to consider Sadrs own theory against the background of those of his most important predecessors. This task is, however, complicated by the obvious diversity of approaches taken by different schools and individuals, which is reflected in the diversity of the employed terms. Apparently, the most general terms used to describe the act of creation (but also its product) is khalq (designating creation as production of some new thing on a previously unemployed pattern or the determination of the proportions (taqdr) of something which is to be brought into existence194 ). In the aforementioned sense the term khalq is used mainly by the theologians (mutakallimn) and mystics, while the philosophers seem to prefer either the very general fil (act) or hudth (literally happening, occurrence, in theological sense origination). The difficulty with the terms fil and khalq is that, depending on the context, they can mean either the act, or its product, and not infrequently it is possible to read them in both meanings. This, fortunately, is not the case with hudth (if understood as the new arrival or origination). A newly arrived thing is named hdith or muhdath, but never hudth, whence the possibility of confusion is excluded. It seems that the early Mutakallimn always understood hudth as new arrival in time, that is, as temporal origination (in which sense it is the opposite of qidam (literally oldness, antiquity, technically eternity), considering the former as an essential attribute of creation (created world) and the latter as that of God. (Indeed, as creatures that enjoy a temporally limited existence, we can only testify to Gods oldness and His being ancient, i.e., much older than ourselves and everything around us. The notion of eternity proper is beyond our understanding.) With the appearance of other theories on the subject among the Muslim Peripatetics this sort of new arrival in time or temporal origination came to be known as hudth zamn. The Peripatetic philosophers believed the physical world to be eternal. For this reason, they maintained the applicability of the principle of temporal creation only to certain parts of the world, namely to the existents of the sublunary sphere, the domain of engendered existence and corruption (kawn wa fasd), not to the world as a whole. What applied to the world in its entirety, according to Ibn Sn and his followers, was the principle of hudth dht (the essential origination). That is, the Peripatetics believed the world to be created in its essence, not in time. This essential origination was, in fact, just another name for contingency: according to the falsifa (Peripatetic philosophers), the world had a principle outside it, which perpetually necessitated its existence, while in its essence it remained forever contingent. The actual meaning of the essential origination (hudth dht), thus, can be described as making
194

See: R.Arnaldez, Khalq (IV.980a) in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition (CD-ROM), Leiden: Brill 1999. 54

the world necessary through the other (wjib bi ghayrihi). This borrowed necessity of the world was understood by the falsifa as its perpetual support by the Necessarily Existent and the formers subsistence through the latter. In other words, God was regarded as the existential cause (illa wujdiyya) of the world and the world as Gods existential effect. Therefore, creation could by no means be regarded as a single instantaneous act (as most of the Mutakallimn were inclined to think). On the contrary, it was an everlasting act of the Necessary the perpetual endowment of the contingent with existence. On this point, there was no principal disagreement between the philosophers and the mystics, although the exact terms, in which the idea of Gods perpetual support of the world was expressed, were quite different in each tradition. Creation definitely was not the main concern of Ibn Sn and his followers, who considered the God world relationship, first and foremost, in terms of necessity and contingency195, wherefore, in the last analysis, creation came down to the necessarys lending existence to the contingent. Thus, in his Al-Mabda wa l-mad (Beginning and the End) Ibn Sn says:
Innovation (ibd) is perpetual making something (tayyis) what is nothing (lays) in its essence, in such a way which does not depend on any other cause except the essence of the First One, without the intermediation of any matter, tool, meaning and interconnection.196

Similarly, in the Talqt (Explanatory Notes) he describes the newly arrived (muhdath) as everything that becomes something after being absolutely nothing, that is, after its being non-existent in its essence, not in a certain state of existence.197 It is easy to notice that, while Ibn Sn describes creation in its absolute sense as perpetuity (the Necessarys perpetual giving existence to the contingent or its perpetual providing the latter with somethingness), this perpetuity is understood by him as something static and not subject to change and development. What is contingent in itself, can become necessary through the other. However, there is no way in which its contingent essence could increase in its strength and intensity and gradually approach the domain of necessity. Nor is giving perpetuity (idma) thought as infinite series of instantaneous bringing the thing into existence and immediate depriving it of the latter, in order to replace it with its likeness (mithl) in the following instant. Apart from creation in its absolute sense, Islamic philosophy deals with a number of phenomena which can be described as relative or limited creation and each of which represent a creation of certain kind. Usually, the philosophers distinguish three of them: ibd in the narrower sense (creation of the Intellect and intelligible affairs), khalq in the narrower sense (creation of natural existents) and takwn (creation of those compound natural existents which are subject to engendering and corruption).198 In its narrower sense, the term ibd describes the production, without the anteriority of matter or time, of incorruptible and eternal existents, whether incorporeal (the separated intellects) or corporeal (the celestial spheres).199 The Ismaili philosophers (e.g. Ab Yaqb al-Sijistn200) usually consider the term in connection with the divine command Be! (Kun!)

195 196

197 198 199 200

Among the most recent publications on this topic, see especially: T. Mayer, Burhn. Ibn Sn, al-Mabda wa l-mad, ed. A.Nrn, Tehrn: Intishrt-i moassisa-i motlet-i islm dneshgh-i Mac Gill (shuba-i Tehrn) 1984, 77. Ibn Sn, al-Talqt, ed. A.Badav, Qum: Bstn-i Kitb Press 1379 S.H., 98. See e.g.: Sadr, Tafsr, Vol.1, 218. See: L.Gardet, Ibda (III.663b) in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. See: Ab Yaqb al-Sijistn, Kitb al-Yanbi, 40 in Henry Corbin, Trilogie ismaelienne, Teheran-Paris: Librairie Adrien Maisonneuve 1961. 55

(36:82)201, through which the primordial establishing of the world takes place. Ismaiili thinkers often oppose the world of these incorruptible and eternal existents (lam almubdat) (or the world of Command (lam al-amr)) to that of the natural ones (lam almakhlqt). The basic concept employed by Sadr to describe Gods creative activity is the concept of speech (kalm). Speech is an attribute of the speaker and subsists through him by the subsistence of the act through the actor. The speaker brings speech into existence through his breath (nafas), that is, the air that comes out from his bosom.202 Quoting one of the mystics of Ibn al-Arab school, Sadr writes:
The world did not become manifest otherwise than through [Gods] Speech or, rather, the world in its entirety is nothing but different kinds of speech, in accordance with its twenty-eight stations and way-stations found in the Breath of the Merciful, which is an existential effusion pouring out from the spring of effusing and mercy, whereas the contingents are entifications of this existential effusion. The intelligible substances are the higher letters (hurf liyyt), which are Gods perfect words (kalimt Allh al-tmt) the ones which neither perish, nor become less perfect. The corporeal substances are nominal and actual compound existents (murakkabt ismiyya wa filiyya) that are subject to disintegration (tahll) and corruption (fasd), and to their separated and concomitant attributes and accidents, like flexibility (bin) and non-flexibility (irb). And all of them (i.e., intelligibles and bodies J.E.) subsist through the existential Breath of the Merciful, which in their terminology is called the Real through which creation takes place (al-haqq al-makhlq bihi)203, like the letters and words subsist through the breath of the speaker a human being created in the form of the Merciful, in accordance with its (the Breaths J.E.) way-station and places of articulation (makhrij).204

The above quotation (as well as a good number of similar ones found in Sadrs writings) testifies that he considered the terminology of Sufi mysticism and Kalm to be more adequate for description of creational processes than the language of Avicennan philosophy. All creatures, whether spiritual or corporeal, are Gods words (kalimt Allh), and, therefore, are articulations and entifications of His inarticulate and non-entified Speech, creative energy or Breath of the Merciful. The speech becomes articulate when the breath subsequently passes through a number of the places of articulation (makhrij al-hurf) and twenty-eight principal articulations are brought into existence. Arranged in different sequences, these articulations form words. In respect to the way in which they are intended, three kinds of words can be distinguished.
Know that the first intention (gharad) of the speaker in [his] desire (irda) of speech is the configuration (insh) of the entities of letters and words and bringing them into existence from the hidden thought (damr) to the places of articulation, and this is the entity of communication (ilm). But necessitating a trace (athar), in keeping with a [certain] command, prohibition, reporting (ikhbr), wish (tamann), summoning (nid), inquiry (istifhm) or else, is the second intended and the second furthest limit (ghya), apart from making known, because there are three kinds of speech: the highest, the medium and the lowest. The highest speech is the one, in which the speech itself is the first essential intended, and there is no nobler and more important intended than it due to its being the furthest limit to what comes after it. And this is like the innovation of the world of Command through His word: Be! and [through] nothing
201 202

Quran, 373. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 7, 34. 203 The term, which is employed by Ibn al-Arab in the Futht several times (II 60:12, 104: 6; III 77: 25), apparently belongs to the Seville Sufi Abd al-Salm Ibn Barrajn (d. 536/1141) (on him, see, e. g.: Muhammed al-Adln al-Idrs, at-Tasawwuf al-andals: asusuhu an-nazariyya wa ahamm madrisahu, Casablanca: Dr al-thaqfa 2005, 8390). 204 Sadr, Asfr, part 7, 5. 56

else, and they (the innovated substances J.E.) are Gods perfect words and the realities (inniyt) of the intelligibles the ones which neither perish, nor become less perfect and Gods intention in configurating them is nothing but His command The medium kind of speech is that in which the speech has another intended (maqsd) (i.e., object J.E.) apart from the speech itself, but this second intended is necessitated by it (the speech J.E.) as a concomitant without a possibility of detachment (infikk) in actual fact (f lwqi). This is like the command to the celestial angels and the governors of the heavenly spheres and luminaries to [perform] what He has obligated them to perform, that is, the acts of governance (tadbrt), giving movement (tahrkt) and yearning (ashwq), and the acts of worship (ibdt) and devotion in respect to other intelligible furthest limits, and inevitably they disobey not God in what He commands them (66:6).205 The same is the case with the angels of earthly natures and elemental bodies, such as the governors of mountains, seas, clouds, winds and rains. Whenever Gods command reaches them either without an intermediary or through the intermediation of another command, not through the intermediation of [natural] creation (khalq) they obey it and do not revolt. The lowest kind of speech is the one in which the entity of speech has another intended and at times it (the intended J.E.) does not oppose the speech, and at times it does. Even if the intended does not oppose the speech, there is a possibility of its opposition and disobedience, since in this case it is not preserved from an error and disobedience. An example of this sort of speech is Gods command to the obliged ones (mukallifn) and His addressing them, namely the two weighty ones (al-thaqaln), that is the jinn and the people, through the intermediation of descending the kingdom (mulk) and dispatching the messengers.206

This theory is an extension and elaboration of the well-known Ibn al-Arabs teaching on two kinds of Command the engendering (takwn) and prescriptive (taklf) ones. The first is delivered without an intermediary and therefore cannot be disobeyed; the second is delivered through the intermediation of a law-giving prophet and can be ignored.207 The novelty of Sadrs theory lies in introducing the third kind of command the innovative one (amr ibd), which represents a sort of speech in which the speech itself is the only intended (maqsd) of the speaker. Sadr places this kind of speech as the first in the hierarchical order. Importantly, along with Gods innovative and engendering commands (by which the world of Intellect and the world of Nature, respectively, are brought into existence), Sadr counts the third kind of speech the law-giving command (amr tashr) (i.e., the command given through/ in the form of a certain religious law brought by one of the great prophets) among the forms of Gods creative activity. What distinguishes this latter kind of activity from the others is the objects ability to resist the creative command and disobey it. For this reason, the third kind of Gods speech, namely His law-giving command, can be regarded as the highest one in respect to the freedom of the object. However, while acknowledging that creation is not complete without this third kind of Gods creative activity the law-giving (tashr) one (i.e., without delivering a religious law), I shall currently limit the discussion to the first and the second kinds, namely innovation (ibd) and engendering (takwn).

205 206

The English translation of the Quranic verse belongs to W.C.Chittick: Chittick, Self-disclosure, 435. Sadr, Asfr, part 7, 56. Cf. Sadr, Mafth al-ghayb, ed. M.Khjav, Beirt: Muassasa al-tarkh al-arab 1999, part 1, 93-96 (the passage is examined by C. Dagli in: Caner K. Dagli, Consciousness and Causation in Mulla Sadra in Safavi, Seyed G., Mulla Sadra and Comparative Philosophy on Causation, London: Salman Azade Press 2003, 240241). 207 See e.g.: Chittick, Self-disclosure, 292294. 57

2.2. THE WORLD OF INNOVATION Each of the two kinds of Gods creative activity necessitates the existence of the world of its own. The division of the cosmos into two parts the world of immaterial and incorruptible existents and the world of the material and corruptible ones, characteristic of the Ismaili philosophy, is also typical of Sadrs thought. Thus, in the Mashir he writes:
Gods act (fil) is divided into command (amr) and creation (khalq). This [natural] creation is a temporally originated one (hdith zamn).208

In the Shawhid Sadr refers to the two modes of existence of things and their emergence from the first governance (al-tadbr al-awwal) as innovation and engendering:
The existence of things and their emergence from the first governance occurs in two ways: as innovation (ibd), which is the emergence of existence from the Necessary [-and-the-] Real without the participation of the aspect of receptivity (qbiliyya), and as engendering (takwn), which depends on the readiness of the receptacle.209

In general terms, it would not be wrong to assert that, for Sadr, innovation (ibd) is a synonym for the Quranic command (amr) and vice versa. The same seems to be the case with creation (khalq) and engendering (takwn). Yet another pair of synonyms for amr/ ibd and khalq/ takwn is aql/ taba (intellect/ nature) the terms which Sadr understands differently from his predecessors (I shall return to this latter pair of terms a bit later). The existents of the world of Command or Innovation differ from those of the world of Creation or Engendering by their immateriality, incorruptibility and lack of quiddity (mhiya). Since they are immaterial, they are not created in time. Since they are incorruptible, they are not subject to change and transmutation. Since they do not have quiddity, they do not differ from God (=the Real) and from each other in their essences: the difference is only in the degree of (fullness) of reality possessed. The professors of the principality of existence may perceive the world in terms of the Divine Speech while the affirmers of the principality of quiddity can see it as the Divine Book. However, both groups confirm the analogicity between the processes of speech and writing in the cosmos and the human being. For this reason, Sadr finds it convenient to describe Gods creativity in terms of speech. Not only creativity in general, but also its manifestations on every level of existence (kinds of speech) can be aptly described in these terms, as we see it in the Asrr al-yt (Mysteries of the Quranic Verses), in the chapter devoted to the discussion of the issue of Gods perfect words:
Know that between the Originator and the world (i.e., the world of Nature and natural bodies J.E.) there are luminous intermediaries and active occasions (asbb fala), which apparently stand above creation (khalq), but below the Creator, because they are Gods veils, luminous pavilions and everlasting radiances, like the radiance of this sensible (mahss) sun, which (the radiance of the sun J.E.) is like an isthmus between the radiant essence and the things illuminated by it. These intermediaries are referred to as Gods words and the perfect words The task of these words is perpetual effusion. Certainly, these intermediaries are simple existential he-nesses and essences separated from corporeal matters and lifted above the world of time and place. Since every separated [substance] is a spiritual affair, its existence is identical with its knowledge and perception. Hence, inevitably, these intermediaries are holy intellects and noble spirits

208 209

Sadr, Mashir, 58 (of the Arabic text). Sadr, Shawhid, 277. 58

In the aspect of Gods communicating (making known) realities through them, they are called words (kalimt). In the aspect of their necessitating the existence of engendered things (kint) at every moment they are called Gods command (amr Allh) and His compelling decree (qadahu al-hatm). In the aspect of their maintaining the life of [other] existents, they are called the spirit (al-rh) In their essence these [three] are one, but this one is multiplied through the multiplicity of the kinds of traces, or in respect to the directions of its effusion upon things, or in respect to its connections (taalluqt) with them, and becomes many through their manyness as it happens with existence, which is one reality, but becomes many through the manyness of quiddities To conclude, Gods word is an existent spiritual affair which supports prophets through revelation (wahy), inspires Gods clients through charismatic acts (karmt) and revivifies the hearts of the wayfarers among the [true] believers through faith (mn).210

As we see, words (kalimt) is only one of many designations of the intermediaries between God and the world of Nature, which are thus named in the aspect of their communicating realities (haqq) through perpetual existential effusion. In terms of sense perception, the notion of the world of Command as envisaged by Sadr is best explained by the symbol of the radiance of the sun: while the radiance is certainly different from the luminary, it represents itself as its continuation. The peculiarity of this continuation is the decrease of its intensity (and, therefore, the increase of its weakness) in proportion with its nearness to the surface of the earth (read: the world of Engendering) and distance from its source (read: Gods Essence). Another characteristic of this radiance (read: the world of Command) is its evident and total dependence on its source: as soon as a cloud hides the sun, the radiance disappears instantly (although its effects and traces (e.g. warmth) may last for some time). These characteristics allowed Sadr to describe the world of Command in its entirety as the illuminative relation (al-idfa al-ishrqiyya) of Gods essence, in the same sense in which the radiance of the sun can be called the illuminative relation of the latter. As Gods essence is simple in its reality (bast al-haqqa), so its extension and radiance, namely the world of Command, is also simple, if it is considered as pure (illuminative) relation of the former, without taking into consideration its relationship with the world of Nature and serving as intermediary between God and the engendered existents. If, however, it is considered in connection with the world of Nature and Engendering, it becomes multiplied through the multiplicity of its effects and traces upon different parts of the latter. Thus, a ray which falls on a black surface warms it sooner than a ray which falls on a white one. It is, however, obvious that the actual differentiation takes place only upon Gods Commands entering the realm of Nature. The existents of the world of Command or Innovation relate to each other as different aspects and layers of light:
The world of Command is a single existent in its essence, but it is multiple in respect to the effusions (ifdt) and the acts of bringing into existence (jdt) and it is the world of Light, which in its entirety is [nothing but] levels of divinity, which are like simple (non-compound) layers that differ in respect of the strength and weakness of their luminosity. Each of the layers is encompassed and subjugated by the layer which is higher than it [in the hierarchy], and so it continues up to the Light of Lights, and everything is encompassed by the ruling authority (sultn) of its light and the assault of its greatness, and obliterated by them.211

210 211

Sadr, Asrr, 7475. Sadr, Asrr, 106. 59

Sadrs treatment of the realm of immaterial existence in terms of the hierarchy of light was not a novel one: the merit of replacing the static Aristotelian system of intellects with the dynamic hierarchy of lights, as it is well known, belongs to Suhraward. However, while the latter concentrated on the general rules and principles of the behaviour of light that apply both to the separated and material lights, Sadr focussed his attention mainly on the differences between the two kinds of light, which resulted, in particular, in his detailed analysis of the rules that govern the world of material lights, that is, the world of Nature. Apart from the vertical (or: latitudinal) (tl) division, which in the above quotation is described in terms of subjugated layers or strata, there exists a horizontal (or: longitudinal) (ard) one that is, division in respect of the directions towards which a certain segment of light is focused. This segmental or directional division of the force-field of light represents the order of the archetypes of engendered existents or their lords of species (arbb al-anw). This takes us to Sadrs treatment of Platonic forms or likenesses (al-muthul al-afltuniyya). Most researchers either believe that in his treating the issue Sadr closely followed Suhraward (this seems to be the opinion of S.J.shtiyn212), which is generally truth, but not a full truth, or hold that he dealt with the issue in a rather confused manner (this appears to be the substance of Fazlul Rahmans evaluation213), which is establishing the fact without discussing its reasons. I am inclined to think that, what looks like confusion, actually is the result of the unequal distribution of attention, so characteristic of Sadr: while some important issues are dealt with in great ( at times, it seems, almost excessive) detail, he refers to many other significant ones in passing, in a few remarks scattered among his voluminous writings. In Sufi view, the entity (ayn) of every thing is a product of a series of marriages (nikht) between Gods names, starting from the mothers of names (ummaht al-asm), i.e., the most universal ones, and ending with the most particular. Obviously, entities that belong to one existential direction (a certain aspect of existence) differ from those that pertain to another one. If there is any analogue of the Platonic form or likeness at all in theoretical Sufi mysticism (irfn nazar), it is this common existential direction shared by a number of entities. While each entity itself is a particular name of God, the dominant common characteristics shared by a number of entities is also a Gods name a more general and encompassing one. Thus, the Sufi theorists understand Platonic forms as Gods names or general existential directions, which are present in the Unbounded Existence in a differentiated or undifferentiated way, depending on the level of entification. Despite the different terminology, employed by the Sufis of Ibn al-Arab school and the Illuminationist philosophers (Suhraward and his followers), their general understanding of the mechanism of the emergence of the horizontal (or: latitudinal) (ard) division of existence (i.e., that of existential trends or Platonic forms) appears to be more or less identical, as far as one can conclude from the few short passages devoted to the topic that are found in Suhrawards Hikmat al-ishrq. In particular, he writes:
The priority of some dominating lights to others is intellectual, not temporal; but no man can reckon their number or determine their ranks. They are not ordered only vertically, for some are equal to others. Because the higher lights possess many luminous aspects or interact with each other, the existence of other equal dominating lights may occur from them. Were this not so, equal species would not occur. Those dominating lights that come into being from the higher dominating lights, by virtue of their beholding the Light of Lights and every other higher light,
212

213

See: S.J. shtiyn, Sharh-i hl wa r-yi falsaf-yi Mull Sadr, 3rd edition, Qum: Bstn-i Kitb Press 1378 S.H., 221242 (where the author actually discusses the views of Suhraward, not those of Sadr!). See: Rahman, Philosophy, 4649 and 147149. 60

are nobler than those which occur from the aspect of rays. Among the rays, there are also ranks and levels. Thus, among the dominating lights are mother-lights (cf. the mothers of names in Sufi terminology! J.E.) the fundamental vertical lights with few radiant and substantial intermediaries while others are lights horizontal in their ranks from intermediate rays.214

What we learn from this passage about the archetypal lights, comes down to the following: 1) they are ordered horizontally (latitudinally); 2) they are the product of the interactions of the intermediate rays that are irradiated by the dominant vertical lights, but not of the mutual effects of these lights themselves upon each other; 3) they can also be treated as luminous aspects (or: directions) (jiht) of the higher lights; 4) there is a sort of gradation in terms of intensity and weakness between these horizontal lights (e.g. the light of the lord (luminous intelligible form) of human species is obviously stronger than that of the mosquito); 5) although this is not stated explicitly, we can conclude that the archetypal lights are a byproduct of the interaction of the higher dominant vertical lights. Thus, Platonic forms or the luminous lords of species (arbb al-anw) of material existents (frequently referred to as idols or talismans), which dwell in the world of Innovation, represent the result of the interplay of the rays of the dominant vertical lights. The relationship of each of these forms or lords of species to its respective species is described by Sadr in following words:
Every corporeal substance has a perfect and complete specimen (fard) in the world of Innovation, which is the root and the principle, and other specimens are its branches, effects and traces. This first specimen, due to its completeness and perfection, has no need in any matter and locus, on which it would depend, which [independence] is not the case with the others. Indeed, [the rest of them,] due to their weakness and imperfection, have need in matter, either in their essences or in their acts.215

One notices that the difference between the lord of species and its vassals (i.e., between a Platonic form and its idols) lies solely in the possessed degree of perfection and intensity. This difference is not an essential one. Therefore, it is possible to overcome it. This allows us to conclude that there is not any distinct border between the world of Innovation and that of Engendering. At least theoretically, the existents that belong to the latter can gradually transform themselves into those of the former, the vassals thus becoming united with their respective lords of species. The need for matter and locus can be overcome through increase in perfection and intensity. I am aware that the above conclusions, in particular, the statement on the absence of a distinct borderline between the world of Innovation and that of Engendering, seem to contradict certain other principles of Sadrs cosmology. Thus, in the first part of the third journey of the Asfr Sadr states:
The divine (read: Platonic J.E.) forms are simple (=non-compound) existences that differ from each other. They are not afflicted by contingency These divine forms do not belong to the world (i.e., the world of Nature or Engendering J.E.) and to what is other than God. Their existence is not different from the Real Existence, and they do not exist in (or: through) themselves and owing to themselves. Rather they can be counted among the levels of divinity and stations of Lordship. They exist by one existence [with God] and subsist by one subsistence [with Him], while the world is what is other than He, and it (the world, i.e., the world of Nature J.E.) is nothing but bodies, their forms, natures, accidents and matters. The new arrival (i.e., temporal origination J.E.) and self-renewing of all of them has been established through a demonstration, in the discussion on corporeal substances. There is nothing eternal (qadm) in
214

215

Suhraward, The Philosophy of Illumination, edited and translated into English by John Walbridge and Hossein Ziai, Provo: Brigham Young University Press 1999, 119. Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 62. 61

the world [of Nature]. What is eternal, is God, His decree, His knowledge, His command and His perfect words.216

Sadr, thus, seems to altogether deny any difference except that of intensity between Gods Essence (the Unbounded Existence) and the forms of the species present in the world of Innovation and to count them as part of the realm of Divinity (al-suq al-ilhiyya). Moreover, he asserts the eternity (qidam) of these forms (i.e., the lords of species) and the new arrival (temporal origination) of their vassals that pertain to the world of Nature. How can the eternal become temporally originated and vice versa? A standard answer of a preSadrian philosopher would be that such becoming is impossible, because it presupposes an overthrow (i.e., metamorphosis J.E.) of the reality (inqilb al-haqqa). To Sadr, however, eternity and temporal originatedness seem to be no more than characteristics of certain stages or grades of existence characteristics, which point to certain degrees of intensity and weakness of existence, respectively. Weak and unstable existence is commonly referred to as hdith (newly arrived or temporally originated); strong and intense one as qadm (eternal). The totality of strong and intense existents is known as the world of Innovation (lam al-ibd); the entirety of the weak ones as the world of Nature (lam al-taba) (while Nature itself is understood as a flowing substance (jawhar sayl) whose reality is selfrenewal and flow217). Sadr himself explicitly states the actual inevitability of the metamorphosis of the reality of a thing and the change of its configuration (nasha) in the Asrr, where he writes:
The transfer from the natural configuration to the other-worldly configuration is impossible otherwise than through the overthrow of the substance (inqilb al-jawhar) and change of essence (tabaddul al-dht) because the first and the other configurations differ in their species and are distinguished from one another in the kind of their existence, not [only] in their descriptions and accidents.218

The first and the other configurations (al-nasht al-awla wa l-ukhra), mentioned in the quotation, correspond to engendering (takwn) and innovation (ibd) respectively. Hence, transfer from the first configuration to the other one is, in fact, transfer from engendering to innovation. The necessity for receptacle (qbil) or matter only pertains to the initial weaker stages of existence of substantial form. In the more advanced and stronger ones these two are no longer required. 2.2.1. Sadrs Teaching on the World of Command and Mr Dmds Theory of the Meta-Temporal Origination The idea of the necessity of some sort of intermediary between eternity and time, to my knowledge, was first expressly formulated by Proclus in his o oo (Elements of Theology)219, but the immediate source of Mr Dmds theory should be thought in the philosophy of Ibn Sn, who employed the term dahr (aeon or meta-time) in his discourses to point to the existence with time (not in it) and to the relationship of the unchanging to the changing:
The intellect can think of three kinds of engendered existence: 1) the existence in time (f lzamn), that is, the [category] when [which pertains to] the changing things, which have a
216 217 218 219

Sadr, Asfr, part 6, 233234. See: Sadr, Hudth al-lam, ed. M.Khjav, Tehrn: Mawl 1366 S.H., p. 206 and Sadr, Asrr, 8485. Sadr, Asrr, 87. See: Proclus, Elements of Theology, ed. E.R.Dodds, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1933, 229. (Sajjad H. Rizvi, however, holds that Mr Dmad was more clearly influenced by Iamblichus than Proclus.) 62

beginning and an end, and their beginning is other than (or: differs from) their end. In other words, they are passing (muqtadiyyan) and are always in flow, and are perpetually in the state of passing and self-renewal; 2) the existence with time (maa l-zamn), which is called the metatime (or: the aeon) (al-dahr). This [kind of] existence encompasses time, and time is inside this existence, because it (time J.E.) is configured (or: originated) (yanshia) from the movement of the celestial sphere, and this kind of existence is (read: can be described as J.E.) the relation of the fixed (thbit) to the changing (mutaghayyir), except that the estimative faculty (wahm) cannot perceive it, because it sees everything in time, and it sees everything that enters it in terms of was and is, and the past, the present and the future, and applies to everything when, [placing it] either in the past, or in the present, or in the future; 3) the existence of the fixed (immutable) with the fixed (immutable). It is called the everlasting (alsarmad), and it encompasses the meta-time (aeon).220 The relation of the eternities (abadiyyt) to time is meta-time. Time is changing, but the eternities do not change.221

As we see, Ibn Sn uses dahr in two senses (which are, however, closely intertwined with each other): 1) to refer to an intermediate ontological level that is situated between pure eternity and time proper a sort of meta-time or existence with time, not becoming afflicted with its properties; 2) to point to a relation of the fixed and the eternal-without-end (abad) to the changing and temporal. In the aspect of this relation, he envisages two parallel ontological levels that of meta-time and that of time proper (the level of the sarmad or everlastingness, which is thought as the relation of one fixed entity (Gods Essence or one of His attributes) to another (i.e., to an other attribute), has no direct relation with the world of changing existents). Ibn Sn then explains the difference between being in time and being with time. A thing which is in time changes through the change of the latter and all accidents of time are ascribed to it. The moment of its beginning (or that of the beginning of its act) differs from the moment of its end. In turn, a thing which is with time does not change through the change of time and the accidents of time are not ascribed to it.222 According to Proclus, the contents of this intermediate ontological level are the heavenly bodies, matter and probably time itself.223 In turn, Ibn Sn seems to count among the contents of dahr the celestial sphere (falak) and time (regarding which, he points out that it is impossible to attribute to it when; as for the celestial sphere, he describes it as unchanging in its essence and the subject (hmil) of time, whose locomotive faculty (or: power)224 (alquwwa al-muharraka) is the actor of time225). Since, according to Ibn Sn, Platonic forms of things (their lords of species) have no objective (external) existence and the universals are conceptualizations that exist only in the mind, there is no point in ascribing them existence in meta-time (aeon). Generally, the notion of dahr is interpreted by Ibn Sn in terms of rest and movement and designates an intermediary between the Eternal Immobile Prime Mover and the temporally originated existents that are perpetually subject to (some kind of) movement,

220 221 222 223

224

225

Ibn Sn, Talqt, 170. Ibn Sn, Talqt, 46. See: Ibn Sn, Talqt, 170. See: Proclus, Elements, 229 and F.Rahman, Mr Dmds Concept of Hudth Dahr: A Contribution to the Study of God-World Relationship Theories in Safavid Iran in the Journal of Near East Studies, Vol.39, 2, Chicago: Chicago University Press 1980, 140. Chittick suggests to translate quwwa as potency: Given that every faculty is at the same time a potentiality, quwwa can better be translated as potency (Chittick, Teleology, 222). Ibn Sn, Talqt, 170171. 63

which eventually comes down to engendering and corruption (kawn wa fasd), namely the furthest celestial sphere (al-falak al-aqs) or the firmament. Mr Dmds theory of hudth dahr seems to be developed from the above discussed seminal ideas of Proclus and Ibn Sn, with this difference that, in his system, the most important objects of the meta-temporal origination are the intelligible substances, i.e., the vertical and horizontal intellects. A devout follower of Suhraward, he professes the principle of the principality of essence (aslat al-mhiya) and treats existence as a secondary intelligible that has no referent in the outside. Therefore, according to him, the object of meta-temporal origination is the essence of the thing. Furthermore, meta-temporal origination is preceded by meta-temporal non-existence (non-existence in meta-time) (adam dahr). Like Suhraward, Mr Dmd holds that the intelligibles of the vertical order differ from each other by strength and weakness of their quiddities, thus also subscribing to Shaykh al-Ishrqs theory of analogical gradation (tashkk) (which, as we know, was later taken over by Sadr, who, however, interpreted it in a very different way). As it was explained above, before Mr Dmd put forward his theory of meta-temporal origination, there were two dominant approaches in Islamic thought to the issue of hudth. The theologians (mutakallimn) believed the world to be temporally originated (hdith zamn) after its temporal non-existence (adam zamn). The philosophers (I mean the Peripatetics Ibn Sn and his followers) held that the world as a whole was eternal in time (qadm zamn), but originated in its essence (hdith dht), i.e., contingent and utterly and perpetually dependent on its cause the Necessary Existent (wjib al-wujd). Mr Dmds point was that the philosophers were right in their belief that origination in its true sense had nothing to do with time. However, their theory of essential origination, which came down to the ascription of the attributes of necessity and contingency to God and the world respectively, failed to detect the exact receptacle (wi) of the origination of the world. The importance of his own doctrine of meta-temporal origination, by and large, lied in the fact that it offered a solution of the above problem. Hudth dahr is a kind of origination which occurs outside time and place but also outside Gods Essence. What is outside time and place (and, therefore, outside matter) and outside Gods Essence, is His command (amr) or innovation (ibd), a single creative act, which occurs in a durationless instant Our command is but a single (act) like the twinkling of an eye (54:50).226 But, obviously, the effect of a single action, if it is simple and noncompound in every aspect, must also be a single affair, as the well-known philosophical (Neoplatonic by its origin) axiom states: Nothing issues from one but one. How, then, the obvious and undeniable multiplicity of things arise? According to the stance taken by the essentialists, from Plato to Mr Dmd, the sensible things are nothing but shadows of their primordial intelligible forms. These intelligible forms, Platonic likenesses or archetypes, certainly, stand above the domain of time and belong to the world of Command or the ontological level of meta-time. Hence, the source of multiplicity must be sought there and, apparently, its emergence has something to do with Gods first (and only) creative act or with its effect. I shall now quote a couple of passages from Mr Dmds Qabast (Embers), which might shed some light on the possible ways for the solution of the problem.
When the first issue (al-sdir al-awwal), which is called the First Element of the World of Command, issues from the Originator, who is Real and One in every aspect (exalted be His authority!), in it appears a combination of intertransfusing (or: interconnected) (mutasfiqa)
226

Quran, 460. 64

respects, [such as] contingency in itself (or: in essence) and necessity through the other, quiddity and ipseity (inniyya), intellection of the substance of [its own] essence and intellection of the essence of the Real-the-Originator-the-Effuser-the-Beginning. In conformity with these respects, there appear many aspects in the essence of the Innovator, [who is] the Real [and] the One. And, because these aspects produce the respects of delimitation, the Complete Actor is one in essence, but multiple in the respects of delimitation, which multiply the essence of the substratum (mawd). Therefore, He is the author and the innovator of the essence of the First Intellect, which is contingent in its essence, and the producer of its (the First Intellects J.E.) ipseity, which is necessary through the other, and the effuser of the substance of its (the First Intellects J.E.) essence, which intellect the substance of its essence and the essence of its actor.227

Ibn Sn, Suhraward and Mr Dmd believe the source of multiplicity to lie in the first intellect or the first dominating light. Different aspects of its contemplation, they hold, give rise to the second intellect, the first celestial sphere and the soul of the first celestial sphere. In turn, Sadr holds that the Real, being simple in its reality, encompasses all things (bast alhaqqa kull al-ashy).228 For the sake of its being simple in its reality, it does not accept multiplicity. As we see, Mr Dmd ascribes manyness and multiplicity to God himself, albeit only if He is considered in His respects of delimitation (haythiyyt al-taqayyudiyya) i.e., in the aspect of His acts, not in that of His essence. Therefore, the stance taken by Mr Dmd differs from the attitude of Sadr significantly: while the former, negating the plurality in Gods essence, ascribes it to His acts and effects, the latter denies the actual plurality even in the world of Command. What is usually considered as its plurality is, in fact, only plurality in respect to its effects in the world of Nature. Furthermore, one can question whether the Originators originating the quiddity of the first issue and His creating its ipseity can be considered, even theoretically and in mind, as two different aspects of His act, or as two acts. Sadrs answer would definitely be no, because, according to his principles, quiddity is a mere possibility (imkn) of a certain kind (direction, aspect) of existence. This possibility can be actualized or it can remain forever in a nonactualized state, but, as such, it is not created and originated by any kind of creation and origination. It seems that Mr Dmd understands Gods originating the first issue (al-sdir al-awwal) as His creation of a universal and all-encompassing principle, which contains in itself all particular principles to be actualized gradually at the subsequent stages of origination.
The relation of the Active Intellect to the world of elements, or rather the relation of the First Intellect, which is the (Prime) Element of the universal order, and the Element of the world of contingency, to other parts of the order is that of a drawing point to the drawn line and a rotating spark to the witnessed [luminous] circle, an intermediate movement to the finite one, a flowing instant to continuous extended time, in [the aspect of] the formers drawing the latter, together (i.e., simultaneously J.E.) with the formers being outside of the latter and not being constituted by it. Hence, it is known that God is the One who created the effusing intellect, the drawing point, the revolving spark, the intermediate movement and the flowing instant, and grasped it (i.e., each of them J.E.) with the hand of His power, and made it rotate, and revolved it, and made it travel, and gave it movement, in accordance with His knowledge,

227 228

Mr Dmd, Qabast, 220. The idea of the simplicity of the Good (and, concomitantly, of the Intellect) belongs to Plotinus, who discusses it in the 7th treatise of the 6th Ennead, in particular in VI.7.9 and VI.7.32 (where he states: He (the Good Y. E.) is none of these things, and He is all things ( ) , , , -: 2005, 139 204). 65

judgment, will and desire, in order to give perfection to the basic trend of the impression of good in the order of existence.229

On the basis of the above quotation, it can be concluded that, according to Mr Dmd, the entire world of Command is created and initially exists as a point of light, the vertical intellects or dominant lights being nothing else but its gradual extensions. In the process of extension, the initial intensity weakens and wears off. (A similar theory of the gradual extension of a point of light as the cause of the existence of the visible universe was developed by Robert Grosseteste in his treatise De luci seu de inchoatione formarum.230) However, while Sadr views origination, first and foremost, in terms of analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd), Mr Dmds primary concern seems to be the relationship between Gods decree (qad) and its gradual actualization (measuring out) (qadar). I am inclined to think that the main source of inspiration for his theory of meta-temporal creation was the Quranic teaching on qad and qadar (which was developed in great detail in the Mutazilite Kalm). While the relation of Gods command to natural creation and engendering, as envisaged by Mr Dmd, can be illustrated by a number of examples as the relation of a point to the line drawn by it, the relation of a spark to the fiery circle, the relation of Gods decree to its measuring out, the relation of potentiality to actuality or the relation of non-differentiation (ijml) to differentiation (tafsl), it is more difficult to grasp (the nature of) Gods relation to His command. Is it that of the creator of the point to the point and the originator of the spark to the spark? I think, in philosophical terms, the best description of this relation is exactly the aforementioned one i.e., the relation of the originator of the principle to that principle. Mentally, this universal principle can be divided into an infinite number of levels and aspects (which can be referred to as particular principles). Neither the universal, nor the particular principles are temporally originated. The existentialists (those who, like Sadr, profess the principality of existence) would say that they are not originated at all, by any kind of origination, their distinction from each other being nothing but a product of mental reflection and abstraction in the mind (intiz f l-aql). The essentialists (those who, like Mr Dmd, believe in the principality of quiddity (whatness)), however, hold these principles to be originated but neither by temporal origination (the absurdity of such supposition is selfevident), nor by essential one (which, they say, is not origination proper and should be understood as mere priority by essence (taqaddum bi l-dht)). According to them, they are originated by meta-temporal origination (hudth dahr), which occurs with time, but not within it. Hence, the world of Command is not simply a continuation of Gods essence and attributes, which differs from the Godhead only in intensity (as Sadr holds). According to Mr Dmd, the difference lies in the ontological status (sarmad against dahr) and in worlds of Command being originated by meta-temporal origination (which is regarded by Mr Dmd as Gods only essential creative act).

229 230

Mr Dmd, Qabast, 408409. See: Robert Grosseteste, Opera, eds. A.Shishkov and K.Vinogradov, Moscow: URSS 2003, 72-84 and: A.Speer, Physics or Metaphysics? Some Remarks on Theory of Science and Light in Robert Grosseteste in J.Marenbon (ed.), Aristotle in Britain during the Middle Ages, Turnhout: Brepols 1996, 73-90. I have discussed some parallels between Suhraward and Grossetestes teachings in my article Two Mediaeval Versions of the Metaphysics of Light: Robert Grosseteste and Shihb al-Dn Yahy Suhraward, published in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences (Riga: University of Latvia), number 2 (46) (December 2005), 110122. 66

Another important difference between Mr Dmd and Sadr lies in the fact that the latter treats the celestial spheres as part of the world of Nature, while Mr Dmd, as most preSadrian philosophers, believes them to belong to the world of Innovation. According to Mr Dmd, the world of Command (Innovation) consists of two principal levels: the world of immaterial intellects and the world of celestial spheres. Furthermore, every temporal existent also exists on the level of meta-time (as a Platonic form and archetype), but not every metatemporal existent exists in time.
Among the made (i.e., originated J.E.) things, there are: 1) such which do not undergo transmission (intiql) from one state to another, and such a thing is pure act and sheer fixity (or: immutability), which, in the aspect of its existence in itself, does not become connected with (or: dependent on) time or instant, in the same way as it does not become connected with it (time or instant J.E.) in the aspect of its existence in relation to the maker and its proceeding from the latter; 2) such which do change in their existence and undergo transmission from an actual task (or: state) to a potential one and vice versa. And such things, in the aspect of their existence in themselves, inevitably become connected with time, or instant, or matter, or substratum, although in the aspect of their existence in relation to their maker they are not connected with any of them. Therefore, such a thing has (i.e., is placed within J.E.) a period of time if it is considered in itself, but there is no period of time between it and its maker. Also, it possesses matter if it is considered in itself, but this is not the case in the aspect of its proceeding from the maker and its existence in relation to this maker. That is [to say], its presence to itself is wrapped by the veils of matter. Therefore, it is not material and temporal in this respect (i.e., in respect to its maker J.E.), but only in respect of its essence as it is per se. [On the Division of Contingent and Possible Things.] Among the possible things, there are such, which, according to their essential possibility (jawz dht), are completely ready to receive the effusion. If their he-ness is not connected with matter, as this is the case with intelligible substances, they have meta-temporal innovative beginning. If they are existentially connected with matter, as this is the case with the movements of the celestial spheres and their natural forms, they have meta-temporal invented (ikhtiriyya) beginning. And there are such, whose readiness to accept the effusion is not actualized otherwise than through that kind of possibility, whose meaning is preparedness (istidd), and these are the engendered ones (kint). In respect of its origination in meta-time, such possible thing has a meta-temporal invented origin; in respect to its creation in time, it has a temporal engendered beginning. Hence, the originated things can be divided into innovated (mubdat), invented (mukhtarit) and engendered (mukawwant). Making (jal) and leaving trace (or: displaying effects) (tathr) manifests itself either as origination in meta-time, which is either innovation or invention, or as origination in time, which is artisanry and engendering. Of them, the highest in excellence is innovation, which is making an unbounded something from the unbounded (or: absolute) nothing. The most worthy of the name of innovation is the making of quiddity itself through simple making.231

Origination in its true sense, thus, is limited to the innovation of quiddity (ibd al-mhiya) (in other words, to the creation of the archetypes (or lords of species) of things), asserts Mr Dmd. As we know, these archetypes are originated by meta-temporal origination (essential origination (hudth dht), according to Mr Dmd, is nothing but priority by/ through essence (taqaddum bi l-dht)232). From this point of view, the world of separated intelligibles, originated by hudth dahr, is the only truly real world. Temporal origination is caused by and temporalities (zamniyyt) come
231

232

Mr Dmd, mdt, in Mr Dmd, Musannaft, ed. A.Nrn, Tehrn: Anjoman-i thr wa Mafkhir-i Farhang 1381 S.H., part 1, 4546. See e.g.: Mr Dmd, mdt, 23. 67

into existence due to the imperfection of certain quiddities, which [imperfection] make impossible their subsistence as an individual existent (shakhs), but allows them to subsist as species. In this connection, the images of point and line, spark and luminous circle, flowing instant and time seem to be more apt to describe the relation of the archetype (lord of species), originated by meta-temporal origination, to its instances, talismans and shadows that are perpetually brought into existence in the material world by temporal origination than to explain the relation of the First Intellect to what is below it (because what is below it are other intellects, which also are originated and exist only meta-temporally, being always with time, but never in it. Otherwise, one has to conclude that the First Intellect also relates to other vertical intellects as a lord of species to his species and that every higher level of existence relates to all levels below it as dahr to zamn, i.e., that the Second Intellect relates to the First one as zamn to dahr and as an instance to its lord of species, while relating to the Third one as dahr to zamn and as a lord of species to its instance and shadow and so on, until we come to the world of Engendering, which is the lowest level of existence. Sadrs approach does not raise the problem of the interrelationship between intellects of the vertical order, since in his system their differentiation and distinction from each other is a purely mental affair (amr dhihn) and a product of the reflection of mind: in actual fact, they are (simultaneously) one and many. As part of the Godhead and the Domain of Lordship, they are actually (but not essentially) one, but they can be distinguished either through analogical gradation in terms of intensity and weakness (tashkk bi l-shidda wa l-daf), which distinction gives rise to the order of vertical intellects (uql tl), or in respect of the different directions and focuses of rays and segments of radiance (Gods act). Furthermore, Sadr treats the celestial spheres, their souls and movements as part of the world of Nature and subjects of substantial motion, while Mr Dmd believes them to belong to the world of Command and, therefore, to be immutable in their essences (not in acts). However, he distinguishes them from the separate intellects by calling the celestial spheres, their movements and forms (i.e., souls) mukhtarat (inventions) and the separated intellects mubdat (innovations). The mukhtarat are essentially connected with (and dependent on) matter (albeit an incorruptible one), while the mubdat have no connection with it. In so doing, he follows the Peripatetic tradition, in which both the celestial spheres and their souls are treated as by-products of the innovative origination. (The well-known belief of the philosophers is that, when the First Intellect reflects upon its source and originator, this reflection brings into existence the Second Intellect; when it reflects upon its essence in relation to its source, the soul of the first celestial sphere is brought into existence; finally, when it reflects upon its essence without relation to its source (seeing itself as non-existent), this reflection brings into existence the first celestial sphere.) The question is: can a separated (from matter) (and, therefore, incorruptible) substance give rise to a material and corruptible one? The pre-Sadrian philosophers held that, with the exception of the corruptible sublunary sphere, produced by the lowest intellect (commonly referred to as the Active Intellect (alaql al-fal)), the spheres produced by other intellects were material, but incorruptible. The cause of the corruptibility of the sublunary sphere was the (relative) weakness of this lowest intellect and the exhaustion of its creative power. The admittance of the possibility of such exhaustion, in turn, gave additional support to the theory of the analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd), developed by Suhraward and elaborated by Sadr. Indeed, if such exhaustion of creativity existed, it had to be a gradual and stage-by-stage process. Hence, the matter from which the second celestial sphere was created had to be more corruptible than that of the first one, while the matter of the third
68

sphere had to be of less strength than that of the second, and so on, because the basic principles of falsafa excluded the possibility of jump (i.e., a sudden significant change of qualities). If the principle of analogical gradation is applicable to the matter of celestial spheres, their respective governors (the souls) must strive to relieve them of their imperfection and weakness and to bring them to perfection, thus also perfecting themselves. Hence, both the celestial spheres and their souls must be in perpetual motion, experiencing dressing after dressing (al-labs bad al-labs). Therefore, the domain of immutability in Sadrs system is limited to the world of Innovation proper, i.e., to the region of dominant separated lights (also referred to as the domain of Lordship). Both Sadr and his teacher Mr Dmd distinguish between essential possibility (imkn dht) (a sheer and unconditioned possibility of existence) and possibility of preparedness (imkn istidd) (readiness of matter to receive a certain form, which (readiness) depends on another previously received form, the previous form acting as matter and receptacle in respect to the subsequent one), ascribing the latter only to the existents of the world of Engendering. However, while Mr Dmd holds that possibility of preparedness is irrelevant to celestial spheres, because he believes their matter to be incorruptible and, therefore, not subject to change, Sadrs opinion is opposite: he believes them to be in perpetual state of perfecting themselves through alteration of position (wad), which entails perpetual change of form and development of preparedness. That said, I have to admit that the central issue of Mr Dmds theory of hudth dahr is that of separated substances, in particular, the archetypes, or lords of species, and their relation to their material instances, shadows and talismans, which experience perpetual temporal engendering. Why did Sadr not subscribe to Mr Dmds theory of hudth dahr (and, to my knowledge, never employed the expression itself)? Meta-temporal origination is the origination of quiddity (-ies) (or bringing it/ them into existence in a durationless instant). Sadr holds that quiddity is never brought into existence (has never felt the scent of existence, as Ibn alArab says about fixed entities233) I mean the external existence. Rather, to him, it represents a mental photograph of a certain aspect or direction (jiha) of the flow of existence. In the world of Command, this aspect manifests itself as a ray of light which distinguishes itself from other rays by its specific direction. As far as this direction is specified, it is not any other direction, nor is it all directions. In so far as a thing is defined as something, it is not anyhing else: by defining a thing we implicitly admit that it is not all things. This specification is a purely mental operation. We do not give outer existence to a concept that exists in our mind (e.g. to the concept of the Companion of the Originator (shark albr)): there is no way we can do it, as much as we wanted. Since quiddities are nothing but mental pictures and imitations (muhkt) of the aspects/ directions of the outer reality, they exist only in our mind as afterthoughts of our intuitions. We do not originate them, but abstract them, as an attempt to logically define an intuitively perceived reality. Since quiddities are not created (brought into external existence), there is no point in allocating to them a special kind of origination (the meta-temporal one).

233

Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 76. 69

One, however, notices that, while Sadr rejects the theory of the hudth dahr, he does not reject the notion of dahr, but treats it as a relation between different kinds of existents, not as a mode of existence.
The existents which do not exist either through motion, or in it, do not exist in time. Rather, their fixity is considered [as being] with the changing ones, and this withness is called dahr.234

Celestial spheres exist in motion, so fixity cannot be ascribed to them. What can be regarded as fixed, are only the vertical and horizontal separated intellects, the latter of which are the lords of the species of their vassals natural existents. Hence, what can be described as dahr is the lords of species relation to its vassal. However, in the numerous passages of Sadrs works in which this relation is examined the term dahr appears very infrequently. Instead, Sadr describes the relationship between the lord of species (a separated horizontal intellect or rather a ray of light which, in certain aspect, can be distinguished from other rays and radiances) and its vassal (an ever self-renewing and perpetually flowing natural body) as that of cause-effect, root-branch or spirit-body one. The relation meta-time time is, in fact, treated by Sadr as a concomitant of existential causal relationship between the spiritual lord of species and its material vassal. In Sadrs analogicity-and-movement based approach, there is no clear-cut distinction between spirits and bodies, roots and branches, causes and effects, the world of Command and the world of Nature. Each can gradually change into its opposite. The system of concepts which was constructed to demonstrate a static intuition could serve as means to explain and prove a dynamic one only if entirely different meaning was attributed to the key concepts (i.e., if they were viewed in light of an entirely different intuition). The concept of dahr, as the domain of immutable once-and-forever originated quiddities, is inseparable from the static intuition. For this very reason, there was no place for it in the conceptual system designed to reflect the intuition of dynamics. According to the principles of analogical gradation of existence and substantial motion, one and the same particular existence (al-wujd al-khss) can pertain to both the world of Command and the world of Nature, depending on the particular stage and phase of its development which is at issue. The existence of command (al-wujd al-amr) (also known as the innovated existence (al-wujd al-ibd)), when it descends from the presence of the Divine Essence and reaches the horizon of natural bodies, due to the decrease of its intensity, acquires the properties of natural existence (al-wujd al-tab) and vice versa when the strength of the natural existence increases, it assumes the properties of the existence of command and innovation. The entire process of the origination of natural existents and their return to God is envisaged by Sadr as descending and ascending the arcs of the circle of being through decrease and increase of their intensity of existence. The change of intensity entails and necessitates the change of properties. Engendering and corruption, peculiar of the world of elements, is simply a concomitant and a witness of weakness and exhaustion of intensity, while immutability and fixity, characteristic of the domain of Lordship, is a concomitant of strength and high intensity. Since the increase and decrease of intensity is a gradual affair, it is, in fact, impossible to draw a distinct borderline between the world of Innovation and Command and that of natural creation. Rather, we should speak of the isthmus, or border region, or transitional phase(s) that separate(s) them. In Sadrs process-based approach, Intellect (aql) refers to the principle of immutability and fixity, which, albeit in a different degree, determines the characteristics of the high-

234

Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 182. 70

intensity existence, while Nature points to the principle of changeability and flowing, which exerts decisive influence upon the low-intensity one. I shall now examine the properties of the low-intensity existence spectrum, commonly known as the world of Nature, in order to proceed to the discussion on the border region between two spectra in the final part of this chapter. 2.3. NATURE AND THE WORLD OF NATURE
2.3.1. The History of the Concept of Nature in Islamic Philosophy: Avicennan Trend

Nature () as a philosophical term, as far as we know, was introduced by Aristotle, who employed it to describe a universal form of engendering235 and believed it (nature) to be the only proof of the existence of Intellect (o). In turn, Plotinus called it the logos (divine intellect) acting in a visible form. To him, it was the last of the logoi and the dead one, i.e., incapable of producing another logos and producing only visible forms. According to Plotinus, Nature was generated by the Universal Soul and was the object of its (the Souls) contemplation (whereas the object of Natures own contemplation was natural bodies).236 The early Muslim Peripatetics commonly treated nature as the essential first principle of motion and rest. Thus, Kind defined it as the beginning (or: principle) (ibtid) of motion and rest after motion.237 This approach was, by and large, followed by Ibn Sn, many of whose remarks on the subject represent paraphrased passages from Aristotles Physics. E.g. in the Uyn al-hikma he states:
Nature is an occasioner (sabab) in that it is a certain essential principle (mabda; ) of motion and rest to that, in which it is inherent, essentially, not by accident.238

Elsewhere in the Uyn Ibn Sn restates the same idea, replacing motion (haraka) with change (taghayyur) and rest (sukn) with stability (thubt):
Nature is the essential first principle (mabd awwal) for the essential movement of that in which it is present, in short, for every essential change (taghayyur) and every essential immutability (thubt).239

A more careful examination of the relevant passages in Ibn Sns works, however, allows us to conclude that nature occasions motion only in a body which is not in its natural state and/ or position. (Apparently, this was apprehended by Kind, when he spoke of nature as the way that leads to rest (al-tarq il al-sukn).240) In the Najt (Deliverance) this is explained by Avicenna in the following way:
If nature requires the motion of a certain thing, this thing is not in its natural state, and nature moves it [only] in order to return it to its natural state and to reach the latter. When the natural

235 236 237

238 239

240

See: .. , , , , 23. See: , , , 6465. al-Kind, Rasl al-falsafiyya, ed. Abu Rid, Cairo: 1950, part 1, 169, quoted from: R.Arnaldez, Haraka wa sukn (III.169 b), in EI. Ibn Sn, Uyn al-hikma, quoted from: D.E.Pingree and S.Nomanul Haq, Taba (X.25 a), in EI. As A.-M. Goichon points out, this statement represents a free translation of a passage from the second book of Aristotles Physics (see: R. Arnaldez, Haraka). See: R. Arnaldez, Haraka. 71

state is reached, the necessitator (mawjib) of the motion is lifted, and the [natural] motion of the thing becomes impossible Every motion through nature is a natural flight from a [certain] state, and whenever such a flight occurs, it is a fleeing from a disagreeable state.241

Undoubtedly, nature tries to return the body to its natural state by the nearest way possible. In case of local (makn) motion, this attempt is manifested in the straightness (istiqma) of motion. As soon as the natural state is fully achieved and actualized, the natural motion comes to an end. This allowed Kind to describe the state of rest as the realization of actuality and the last fulfilment.242 In a short passage in the Talqt Ibn Sn states with certainty that nature is not the actor (fil) and the cause (illa) of the thing, namely that it is capable neither of bringing a thing into existence, nor of sustaining it. Its function comes down to creating preconditions for bestowal of a certain form upon matter, that is to say, to perfecting and refining the imkn istidd:
In reality, nature is incapable of more than giving motion (tahrk) and preparation (idd), through which the matter which is moved by it (i.e., nature J.E.) can receive the form, towards which it (matter) is moved, and nature is neither the actor, nor the effuser (mufd) of existence. Rather, the effuser is the Bestower of forms (whib al-suwar), whereas nature is the mover of the thing, which moves it towards what is effused upon it by the Bestower of forms. It performs no other act except moving the thing towards its furthest limit (ghya) that, through which it (the thing) is presented to the First Actor, and it (nature J.E.) seems to perform this function unwillingly, as if it were being compelled.243

Nature is presented here as the innate organizing principle of matter, consciousness of the unconscious. Like matter, it is passive and inert in itself and seems to perform its function as if it were being compelled (this enigmatic expression, probably, led Sadr to suppose the existence of two different natures, one of which obeys the soul willingly (because ii is a part and a level of the soul), but the other unwillingly and under compulsion244).
2.3.2. Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmns Teaching on Nature and Parallels to It in the Thought of Sadr

It is difficult to tell, to which extent Sadr was acquainted with the Ismaiili teachings on nature, the most detailed presentation of which is found in Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmns Rhat al-aql (Quietude of Intellect). (Kirmns manuscripts were not widely available in the libraries of Safavid Iran.) Although Kirmns formal definition of nature virtually repeats the Aristotelian one (nature is the principle of movement and rest of the thing in which it is essentially inherent245), his actual understanding of it is much closer to (in fact, almost identical with) that of Plotinus, who treats nature as the active element of corporeal existents, their form, life and soul (viewing these three terms almost as synonyms (the realm of Nature,
241

242 243 244 245

Ibn Sn, al-Najt min al-gharq f bahr al-dallt, ed. M.T.Dneshpazhh, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Tehran University Press 1379 S.H., 212213. Kind, Risl, part 1, 86, quoted from: R.Arnaldez, Haraka. Ibn Sn, Talqt, 209. Sadr, al-Hikma al-arshiyya, ed. G.han, Isfahn: Kitbfursh-yi Shahriyr 1341 S.H., 233. Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmn, Rhat al-aql, Beirt: Dr al-Andals 1983, 296, quoted from: Daniel De Smet, La Quitude de lintellect: Neoplatonisme et gnose ismalienne dans loeuvre de Hamd ad-Dn al-Krmn (Xe/Xie s.), Leuven: Peeters 1995, 324, n. 62. 72

which is Life, [also] named the Soul)).246 Daniel De Smet in his Quitude de lintellect lists three important points in which Kirmns treatment of nature differs from the Aristotelian one and coincides with that of Plotinus: 1) Nature emanates from the celestial world; 2) the difference between animated and unanimated nature disappears, all earthly creatures possessing soul; 3) Nature is understood as pure form, synonymous to Soul and Life, and not as entity composed of form and matter.247 Kirmns most important point is that Nature is two-partial in its essence and represents simultaneously the active and the passive principles, acting both as matter which receives form and as the moving form of every thing. As matter, Nature gives the thing its corporeality, i.e., body; as form, it gives it the soul and prepares it for the receipt of effusion of the Active Intellect.248
It was explained earlier that, when the thing which is known as the prime matter (hayla) came into existence, this (coming) happened without an intention on the part of the innovation (=the first innovated or the First Intellect J.E.), so that prime matter would find its cause in the latter. And it lacked the excellence that was in the possession of the other, namely the actual intellects, emanating from the noblest relation the one which [is found] in the innovation, (which (innovation J.E.) is [simultaneously] the first innovated), but the divine solicitude (inya), which pervades everything, turned towards it (the prime matter J.E.), and from the blinding radiance (sut) of its (solicitudes J.E.) lights was engendered that, whose engendering in it (the prime matter J.E.) was possible, in keeping with its (the engenderings J.E.) ranks in excellence. And we say: this existent, which was the prime matter, was one thing, having two parts in its essence, through which it existed. Each of these two parts [,in turn,] is divided into [many] parts, which have one common name and many [particular] names, each of which is the proper name of one of these [specified] parts. Furthermore, every part has two relations: 1) a relation to what is the source of its existence in the world of Innovation, which is the First Innovated, and through this relation it is one. This relation is [established] in the aspect of its (the relevant parts J.E.) substance and through it its quiddity is known; 2) a relation to the existents whose existence is through it. Through this relation it (the part of the prime matter J.E.) is multiple, and this relation is [established] in the aspect of its acts in these existents. [As for] the first part, when it is related to what is the source of its existence, wayfaring the path of encompassing its quiddity, [we find that] it is the actual life, emanating from the world of Holiness, [which life is] not independent in its existence through (or: in) its essence and is not separated from that on which its existence depends, because its existence [arises] from the nonseparated relation, and it permeates the world of Body. The heavens and the earth are full of it; nothing is void of it and nothing is hidden from it. [This Life-Nature] acts in the corporeal world, giving everything its first perfection that which concerns its existence (literally: being existent). When it is related to the existents that exist through it, [then,] generally, wayfaring the path of encompassing its act, [we find that] it is the mover of everything in which it resides and the perfection of its existence through its existence, while [considered] particularly, it is that which, in respect to its acts, [is present] in every part. When it moves bodies by circular motion, it is the orbit; when it moves fire and air up, it is lightness; when it moves water and something heavy down towards its centre, it is heaviness; when it moves the plant to grow, it is the vegetative soul; when it moves the animal to seek pleasure, it is the animal soul; [finally,] when it moves to encompass the existents [by knowledge (?)], it is the rational soul. All this, through (or: in the aspect of) its being an actor, is one nature, but through its acts in different matters those in which it acts it is multiple

246 247

See: De Smet, Quitude, 324. See: De Smet, Quitude, 324, n. 63. Cf. , , , 8.2., 426. 248 See: Kirmn, Rhat, 269273. 73

When the second part of matter is related to what is the source of its existence, attempting to encompass its quiddity, [we find that] it is potential life, emanating from the world of Holiness, not independent through (or: in) its essence and not without need [, in respect of this existence,] in the first part that which is the actual life. The existence of the world of Body consists in it (the second part of prime matter J.E.), and is acted upon in it. It (the second part J.E.) is receiving through its act, and gives from its essence to every existent its first perfection that which is inseparable from its being existent, [but does it] in cooperation with its pair (i.e., the first (active) part J.E.). When it is related to the existents, the source of whose existence it is, in a general way, it is a three-dimensional body, but [when it is related to them] in a particular way, that is, in accordance with the manner in which each thing receives the act of the actor, [then,] if it moves by circular motion, it is celestial spheres and luminaries; if it moves by rectilinear motion, it is fire, air, water and earth; if it moves in all directions (up, down, right, left, forwards, backwards), without leaving its place, it is the plant; when it moves in all directions, leaving its place and experiencing transmission (intiql), it is the animal, and all this is one Nature and one Body. But, [if considered] in accordance with [the manner of] its receiving the effects of the actor, it becomes multiple.249

Thus, Kirmn treats Nature as the fundamental life-giving principle of the corporeal universe, in which he distinguishes the active and the passive components. Such approach, certainly, is much closer to the Platonic understanding of Nature than to the Aristotelian one: according to Plato, the bodily cosmos, which is originated, has two causes The Author (or: Demiurge) (br) and the prime matter; according to Aristotle the eternal corporeal world has one cause its Prime Mover. However, Kirmns treatment of Nature is not identical with the (Neo)Platonic approach either: much like Aristotle, Kirmn considers Nature (namely its active component) to be the mover of the corporeal universe in its totality and in its parts. One may wonder whether Kirmns teaching of two natures has anything in common with an outwardly similar hypothesis of Sadr. The latter hypothesis, however, applies only to the higher animals, in particular, to human beings. According to it, there are two natures inherent in human being, one of which emanates from the essence of the soul, being its level and faculty, whereas the other inheres in the elements and members of the body. The first obeys the soul willingly and spontaneously, while the second does it unwillingly and under compulsion.250 If we project this theory on the macrocosmic level, some similarity between it and Kirmns teaching becomes evident: both thinkers discern the active and the passive aspects of Nature. However, in the system of Kirmn Nature is, more or less, the substitute for the Platonic Universal Soul; for Sadr it is one of the (lower) levels of the soul or the soul in the aspect of its dependence on the body.251 Kirmns approach is much broader than Ibn Sns one: while Avicenna treats nature as occasioner (sabab), responsible for the preparatory possibility (imkn istidd) and bestowing upon body motion (more specifically, that kind of motion, whose purpose is the achievement of rest), Kirmn believes it to be both motion and rest, the mover and the moved (body), act and being acted upon (infil), actuality and potentiality and, perhaps most importantly, actual and potential life or, more precisely, the emanation (inbith) of Life that has emanated from the world of Holiness. Kirmns remarks on the origin of Nature are succinct. He views Nature as the by-product and the secondary result of the first emanation (the primary result of which is the Second
249 250

Kirmn, Rhat, 269271. See: Sadr, Arshiyya, 233. 251 See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 67. 74

Intellect). In one respect, Nature is a potential intellect, which unites in itself prime matter and form.252 In another respect, Kirmn seems to identify it with prime matter which is animated through the act of immaterial intellects.253 It relates to what ranks below it in the cosmic hierarchy as the separated intellects relate to itself i.e., acting upon the existents of a lower rank, it leaves in them traces and effects which are essentially similar to those left in itself by the pure intellects, as this passage seems to testify to:
so that it would be known that solicitude (inya) flows in every existent [,pervading it] from above and, in this act, it acts as Nature, in keeping with its status of a power flowing in it (the world of bodies J.E.) from the world of Divinity, which (power J.E.) [sympathetically] inclines towards what is actualized by the intention of pure intellects, namely [towards] the bodies which precede it (Nature J.E.) in excellence (sharaf), [manifesting itself as] ordering in levels (tartb) [those] bodies [that are] formed from such matters which cannot be used for the creation of higher [celestial (?)] bodies and creating from these matters the noble animals and placing what is incapable of producing higher incorruptible bodies among the existents through a sort of creation, in conformity with what suits it, in a way which is similar to the act of the pure intellects upon what was actualized by the intention of the innovation that which is the first innovated, which precedes them in excellence, that is, [by] the glorification and praising of the Most High (praise be to Him!), and encompassing its [own] essence and rejoicing owing to this encompassing, namely upon the prime matter, which does not have a degree of that which transcends it in excellence, that is, of the actual intellect, and it is not in conformity with its [actual] waystation that they (the pure intellects J.E.) make it, through what flows in it, namely [through] their lights, similar to their essences in act and an occasion of the existence of other than it, and give it forms that suit it, such as [those of] the celestial spheres, luminaries and the others.254

In short, when the prime matter is acted upon by the immaterial intellects, their lights and energies permeate it, thus making it, to a degree, similar in act, not in essence, to these intellects. Namely, the prime matter becomes capable of acting as the life-giving and animating principle which pervades every part and level of the corporeal world. But, in its passive aspect, Nature itself is this corporeal world in its entirety, ranked in degrees and levels. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that Nature acts upon itself, actualizing its own potentiality. Although Kirmn evidently prefers to describe Nature as Life or, more precisely, as that kind of Life, which permeates and sustains the world of the bodies (material universe), I believe it is possible, employing different terms, to call it the principle of corporeal existence. I mean that, when existence descends from the level of pure intellects to the level of natural bodies, it manifests itself as Nature. Regardless of their particular concerns and different terminology, on this principal point the positions of Kirmn and Sadr (but not that of Ibn Sn!) seem to coincide. This coincidence does not necessarily testify to Sadrs acquaintance with this particular Kirmns work. However, with a high degree of certainty, it can be asserted that Sadr was aware of the existence of the perspective of thought that opens after one has realized that in the bodily world Life always manifests itself as Nature. The novelty of Sadrs approach lies in considering the issue in the context of and as an evidence to the principle of the analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd). Finally, I would like to observe that Kirmns cosmological doctrine is based on an earlier teaching of Ab l-Yaqb al-Sijistn, discussed in detail in his Kitb al-Yanbi (Book of the Sources). The potential affair which emanates from the First Innovation (al-mubda l-awwal) is called by Sijistn the Universal Soul (al-nafs al-kulliyya). From the Universal Soul, according to Sijistn, emanate prime matter and form, which become intermediaries for
252 253

See: Kirmn, Rhat, 80. See: Kirmn, Rhat, 167. 254 Kirmn, Rhat, 225. 75

the origination of the material world.255 Postulating the existence of a common originating principle of prime matter and form, i.e., the Nature (taba), Kirmn, by and large, followed the approach of Sijistn. In this sense, either consciously or not, Sadrs cosmology, as far as it is recognizes two fundamental existential levels the world of Command/ Innovation and the world of Nature/ Engendering follows the trend which was established by the Ismail thought, in particular by Kirmn.
2.3.3. Ibn al-Arab on Nature

Although Ibn al-Arabs influence on Sadrs teaching on Nature is, no doubt, significant, I dare to assert that it is not as crucial as that of the Neoplatonists. Generally, Ibn al-Arab speaks about two natures, the first of which relate to the second as mother to daughter. The first nature is the one which receives the traces and effects of Gods names. This nature is, in fact, the Cloud (am) and the Breath of the Merciful:
Nature is more worthy to be attributed to the Real than anything else, because everything else becomes manifest only in that which becomes manifest from Nature, that is, the Breath, which permeates the cosmos And look at the inadequacy of the property of the [First] Intellect, for in reality it is one of the forms of the Cloud and the Cloud is one of the forms of Nature.256

Nature manifests itself to the cosmos only in and through its traces, remaining forever unseen and hidden in its essence.
Nature is the highest, greatest mother of the cosmos, of whom the cosmos never sees the entity, only the effects, just as it never sees anything of the Real but its effects, never its entity.257

Ibn al-Arab calls this nature the highest and greatest mother (al-umm al-liyt al-kubr)258, while Chittick qualifies it as the receptivity that allows the existent thing to become manifest (thus treating it as the passive/ receptive cosmic principle (cf. the Chinese yin).259 The second nature is the one which receives the traces and effects of the First Intellect. Ibn al-Arab calls it the second mother and the daughter of the Greatest Nature. It acts as an intermediary between the Universal Soul and the Dust (hab) (i.e., the prime matter).260 In a number of places Ibn al-Arab discusses the relation between Command and Nature. To him, this relationship is like that between man and woman:
A woman in relation to a man is like Nature in relation to the Divine Command, since the woman is the locus of the existence of the entities of the children, just as Nature in relation to the Divine Command is the locus of the manifestation of the entities of the corporeal bodies. Through it they are engendered and from it they become manifest. So there can be no Command without Nature and no Nature without Command. Hence the engendered existence depends upon both.261

One notices that Ibn al-Arab sees the main difference between Command and Nature in activity and receptivity peculiar to each of them respectively. Therefore, to him, the world of Command means the world in which activity dominates over receptivity and the world of
255

See: F.Daftary, A Short History of the Ismailis: Traditions of a Muslim Community, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1998, 95. 256 Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 420, quoted from: Chittick, Knowledge, 140. 257 Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 4, 150, quoted from: Chittick, Knowledge, 141. 258 See e.g.: Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 4, 150. 259 Chittick, Knowledge, 140. 260 See: Chittick, Knowledge, 140. 261 Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 90, quoted from: Chittick, Knowledge, 141. 76

Nature the world in which receptivity has the upper hand over activity. This domination, however, does not depend on the intensity of existence as such or, at least, the intensity of existence is not the only factor which makes the male dominate over the female or vice versa. In all likelihood, Sadr would have agreed that Nature is the breath of the Merciful but he would have added that not everything that can be qualified as breath of the Merciful is Nature: to him, Nature typifies the lowest kind of existence the one which lacks permanence and stability and, therefore, is forced to perpetually renew and reproduce itself.
2.3.4. Sadrs Definitions of Nature

In his Risla f hudth al-lam (Treatise on the Origination of the World) Sadr provides such definition of nature:
[Nature is] a thing, whose reality consists of self-renewal (tajaddud) and flow (sayaln).262

In the Asrr we find a more expanded version of the same definition:


Inevitably, among the existent substances must exist a flowing substance, self-renewing in its essence, the mode of whose existence consists in passing (inqid) and self-renewal, in such a way that it is impossible to conceive of fixity and continuance (istimrr) neither in respect of its existence, nor in respect of its non-existence, and this substance cannot be an immaterial and incorporeal one otherwise the potentiality (power) of preparedness (al-quwwa al-istiddiyya) would not be [present] in it. On the contrary, it is a material substance, in which some sort of potentiality and some sort of act are present.263

In the first definition nature is treated as a habitude of action, while in the second one as the principle and source of change. The novelty of Sadrs approach can be better apprehended if we keep in mind that philosophers previous to him considered the principle of change and renewal to be either motion or time but never nature. Sadr holds that this testifies to his predecessors lack of insight: according to him, they failed to apprehend that motion is an attribute of nature and a concomitant of its existence, but time the measure of the selfrenewal of the substance of nature. What is even more important, they were unable to understand that, in its low-intensity spectrum, existence does not manifest itself otherwise than as, in and through this flowing affair (i.e., nature), whose marks (almt) time and movement are.
A gradual transition (literally: coming out) (khurj) from potentiality to actuality constitutes the meaning of motion and [that of] its existence in mind, in conformity with the outside. That through which the transition from potentiality to actuality takes place, is nature. The thing which receives (i.e., serves as the receptacle for J.E.) the transition, is matter. The transitioner (makhraj) (i.e., the maker of transition, its efficient cause J.E.) is another terrestrial or celestial substance. The measure of transition is time, whose [true] reality is nothing else than the measure of self-renewal and passing.264

To explain his point, Sadr compares movement with an individual (shakhs) whose spirit is nature and time with an individual whose spirit is meta-time. According to him, nature relates to the soul, or rather to the intellect, as a ray relates to the sun, the former being individuated through the individuation of the latter.265

262 263

Sadr, Hudth, 206. Sadr, Asrr, 8485. 264 Sadr, Hudth, 208. 265 See: Sadr, Hudth, 228. 77

In a passage, crucial for the understanding of Sadrs views on natural existence (al-wujd altab), he qualifies the latter as a self-renewing and gradual (tadrj) one:
An essentially self-renewing affair (which is the nearest actor (al-fil al-aqrab) of motion J.E.) is the kind of the existence of bodily nature, which has an intelligible reality with God and a gradual continuous he-ness in matter (which is a [purely] potential affair). In the same way as, according to the common belief of philosophers, existence itself is differently actualized in things in the aspect of strength and weakness, independence and need, priority and posteriority, some [individual] existences are gradual (tadrj) in their essence and heness, not through (or: due to) an attribute which is predicated to them. Such [, for example,] is the existence of bodily nature. And this kind of existence, because of its not being able to last perpetually in its he-ness, is gradually actualizing and self-renewing in its engendered being (mutajaddid al-kawn).266

Apparently, lasting and perpetuality of an individual existence has something to do with its strength and intensity. Depending on the degree of the latter, this existence displays different properties. Low-intensity existences cannot actualize themselves instantaneously and become fully present now and here. Instead, they require temporal and spatial continuity in order to actualize themselves and to display their properties. Or perhaps low-intensity existence itself generates tempo-spatial continuity, in which case time and space are nothing but concomitants of the former? If so, the reason of Sadrs non-acceptance of Mr Dmds theory of hudth dahr is evident: in all likelihood, he considered time and meta-time (as well as space and meta-space (the space of the world of Soul or the world of Imagination) to be concomitant properties of certain spectra of intensity. Upon decrease or increase of intensity, these properties convert one into another (time becoming meta-time and vive versa). (Hence, time and space must also be interconvertible, but this conversion, apparently, depends on a different principle, not that of the change of intensity.) According to Sadr, the border region between the act of nature and the act of soul is the beginning of the horizon of the animal (awl ufq al-hayawn). This border region also separates material sensible engendered existents from immaterial formal imaginal ones.267 Can this sensible material perpetually self-renewing entity, namely nature as understood by Sadr, be described as self-contemplating logos, whose self-contemplation brings into existence all natural bodies? That is, does Sadrs definition of nature is compatible with that of Plotinus? The main difficulty in making them compatible lies in the fact that each of them results from a different vision. Plotinus vision is one of sublime contemplation of the One, while Sadrs intuition is that of perpetual flow towards perfection. To Plotinus, the sensible universe comes into existence due to impurity and alloying of contemplation. When the contemplating subject manages to purify itself, this impurity disappears. In turn, to Sadr nature is a flow which brings the lower up and makes the unaware and unconscious aware and conscious. But, very much like Plotinus, Sadr admits that our need in sense experience is confined to the initial stages of perception and holds that on higher stages the soul does not require a sensible object in order to perceive its (the objects) likeness in its own world (that of Imagination). Thus, Plotinus and Sadr agree that the realm of Nature is one of semiconscious and alloyed contemplation, therefore the soul must inevitably leave it during its spiritual progress (ascent) towards the intelligible. However, unlike Plotinus, Sadr stresses the positive aspect of nature: it is the gate that opens towards the realm of divinity and the flow which brings everything unconscious towards consciousness.

266 267

Sadr, Hudth, 253. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 5, 347. 78

Sadr would definitely agree with Kirmns treatment of Nature as Life and bestower of the first perfection upon the existents of the bodily world. He would also affirm that nature is the mover of every natural existent. However, Sadr never makes an explicit division between the active and the passive (receptive) aspects of nature, as Kirmn does, treating nature simultaneously as the mover of the body and the body itself. According to Sadrs principles, such division is a relative affair: what truly and really is, is the flow of existence, which manifests itself as the movement of the body. The mover of the body is a direction of the dominant light or higher intelligible existence, which exerts influence upon the lower light or sense existence. Hence, the solution of the problem of movement lies in the principle of the analogical gradation of existence (tashkk al-wujd), not in the interplay of activity and receptivity.
2.3.5. Substantial Motion

I shall now proceed to the discussion of substantial motion (al-haraka al-jawhariyya), to subsequently examine how this theory is related to Ibn al-Arabs teaching on the new creation (al-khalq al-jadd). One of the earliest definitions of motion in Islamic philosophy belongs to Kind: Motion is a change of the state of the essence (al-haraka tabaddul hl al-dht).268 This definition, however, provokes more questions than it provides answers. What exactly is state? Does the change of state necessitate the change of essence? If yes, in which way? The problem of motion received more substantial treatment in the works of Ibn Sn, who wrote in the Najt:
[The word] motion is employed to describe (1) a gradual change of a stable state in the body, in such a manner that through this change the body directs itself towards something and (2) the arrival through this change at this thing.269

He then adds that motion must manifest itself as leaving the previous state and that this state must be capable of decreasing and increasing, because that of which the body gradually comes out, directing itself towards something [different], remains, in such a way that its remaining does not contradict [the bodys] coming out of it otherwise, coming out of it would be an instantaneous affair, not a gradual one. Then, continues his reasoning Ibn Sn, the state of such a body is either similar in every moment of this coming out, or not. But it cannot be similar, because, if it had been similar, then coming out of it would not have occurred, since everything, coming out of which occurs gradually, remains, without being similar in itself in respect of its state, during its coming out of this state. Such a thing, inevitably, allows increase and decrease. Among the states which experience motion Ibn Sn names whiteness and blackness, heat and cold, length and shortness, nearness and distance, greatness and smallness in volume.270 Following Aristotle, he describes motion as act (fil) and the first perfection of the thing in potentiality, in that aspect in which it is in potentiality:

268 269 270

Kind, Rasl, part 1, 196, quoted from: R.Arnaldez, Haraka. Ibn Sn, Najt, 203. Ibn Sn, Najt, 203204. 79

Motion is what is conceived from the state of the body, due to its gradual coming out of stable form (haya), and it is coming out of potentiality into actuality in a continuous manner, not instantaneously.271

As it is well known, Aristotle and Ibn Sn limited motion to four of ten categories namely to place (or where) (o/ ayn), position (/ wad), quality (o/ kayf) and quantity (oo/ kamm).272 Regarding substance (o/ jawhar), Ibn Sns view was that it does not experience motion. Although engendering (kawn) and corruption (fasd) of substance outwardly resemble motion, in fact they cannot be regarded as such, because, according to Ibn Sn, they occur instantaneously, not gradually.273 In the philosophy of Mull Sadr the (existence of) substantial motion is an undeniable and self-evident truth (despite which, Sadr made a lot of effort to demonstrate it in many ways). Perhaps only the principle of the analogical gradation of existence can be regarded as more significant and entailing more important consequences than the principle of substantial motion (but, in fact, both are intertwined and inseparable from each other). But, in order to understand what Sadr meant by substantial motion and why he was so unshakeably convinced of its existence, we need to examine his concept of motion first, finding out how it differs from that of Ibn Sn. Sadr describes motion as a flowing state, whose existence is between pure potentiality and pure act and whose concomitant is a finite gradual continuous affair which has no existence that is described with presence and all-comprehensiveness (jamiyya) elsewhere except in the estimative faculty (wahm).274 Technically this definition represents a combination of two Avicennan definitions of motion, each of which deals with the latter in a different aspect. In the first definition Ibn Sn describes motion as a continuous intelligible affair of the object, moving from the place of the beginning [of the movement] to the place of its end.275 This definition deals with the finite (qatiyya) movement, which exists only in our mind (dhihn) or estimative faculty (wahm), but is not found in the outside, among the entities (f l-ayn). Notice that Sadr treats it as the concomitant of the real motion that exists in the outside. The second definition describes motion as an existential affair [that exists] in the outside and which consists in the bodys being in an intermediate position between the place of the beginning [of its movement] and the place of its end, so that, whichever point between these two is taken, its (the bodys J.E.) before and after is not in it (the supposed point J.E.). This state lasts as long as the thing continues to be moving.276 This is the definition of the intermediate movement (al-haraka al-tawassutiyya), i.e., the movement as it is perceived by our sense faculties. Sadr describes it as a flowing state (hla sayyla) between potentiality and actuality. Despite his criticisms of the above quoted Avicennan definitions277 (which result from Sadrs extreme existentialist position and his denying any reality to quiddity), one cannot fail to notice that he develops his teaching on movement on the basis of Ibn Sns doctrine. In other words, Sadr treats an intermediate movement, understood as a flowing affair, as a reality which exists in the outside, while he views the finite one as a

271 272 273 274 275 276 277

Ibn Sn, Najt, 208. See: Ibn Sn, Najt, 204208. See: Ibn Sn, Najt, 205. Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 59. Ibn Sn, Shif, quoted from: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 31. Ibn Sn, Shif, quoted from: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 32. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 3237. 80

concomitant of the former, which exists only in the estimative faculty i.e., he sees the finite movement as a shadow of the intermediate one. However, if we consider movement as the mobility of a thing (mutaharrikkiyyat al-shay), it is nothing but self-renewal (tajaddud) and passing (inqid). Its proximate cause (al-illa alqarba), by necessity, must also be an affair which is not stable in its essence otherwise, the parts of movement would not become non-existent. Or perhaps it is more appropriate to say that motion is an essential concomitant of the existence of this affair, which is fixed in its quiddity and self-renewing in its existence and, if it is so, it is more suitable to focus our attention on the accompanied (malzm), not on the accompanying (lzim). The accompanied affair, whose concomitant is motion, is, of course, nature (taba).
The proximate cause of every species of motion is nature, and it is the substance which constitutes the body and through which the body is actualized as a species, and it (and not motion J.E.) is the first perfection of the natural body in the aspect of its actual existence. Hence, it is established and verified that every body is an affair which is self-renewing in its existence and flowing in its he-ness (or: ipseity) (huwiyya), although it is fixed in its quiddity, and through this, it differs from motion, because the meaning of the latter is self-renewal and passing.278

In other words, there is no such a thing as stable body, as far as its existence is considered. On the contrary, every body should be considered as a particular aspect of the flow of existence an aspect, whose apparent stability results from an error of our sense perception. Motion is not external to such a body and is not predicated to it from outside. Rather, this is a certain quiddity which is predicated to one or another aspect or level of existence. The principles of Peripatetic philosophy require an unchanging substratum for every change. In Sadrian philosophy, in which body is viewed as an existentially self-renewing and perpetually flowing affair, it apparently cannot serve as such substratum. Sadr solves the arising difficulty by stating that the requirement for the stability of substratum applies only to those motions which are not existential concomitants of nature (for example, passage from one place to another, transmutation and growth). As Tabtab remarks in his gloss, this assertion, in fact, testifies that Sadr believes that all categories move through the movement of the substance which is their substratum. Tabtab also notes that non-concomitant movements, which occur in the categories of place, position, quality and quantity, do not rely on the nature of the moving substance as such, but, nevertheless, the furthest limits of these non-concomitant movements are the concomitant ones, which directly depend on the nature of their substratum.279 Another difficulty concerning the substratum of movement lies in the fact that, according to Aristotle and Ibn Sn, it consists of something potential and something actual. Sadrs answer to them (and probably also to Kirmn) is that the postulate of the existence of two different affairs, one of which is potential and another actual, is a product of mental analysis (tahll aql), while in reality the potential and the actual is one and the same thing and belong to one existential direction. The fixity of movement manifests itself as its self-renewal, and, likewise, the fixity of that through which movement occurs, that is, nature which is engendered in the bodies, manifests itself as its essential self-renewal. But what is the mechanism of this fixity-and-self-renewal? According to Sadr, it is based on the possibility of preparedness (imkn istidd), and the self-renewal of nature manifests itself as dressing after dressing (al-labs bad al-labs). As Fazlul Rahman justly remarks, the self-renewal is

278 279

Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 62. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 62, note 2. 81

perceived by Sadr as an essentially evolutionary and unidirectional individual processentity.280 To understand this properly, we must keep in mind that the reality of prime matter is nothing else than potentiality and preparedness, while the reality of form is nature with its selfrenewing temporal origination. Through its evolving preparedness, the prime matter receives a new form in every instant, each form having a different matter, which accompanies it by necessity. In turn, this matter is prepared to receive another form, different from that which necessitated it (matter) through preparedness. Thus we find that form is prior to matter in essence, but its (the forms) individual he-ness (ipseity) is posterior to matter in time. Hence, both form and matter possess self-renewal and perpetuity through the other. The popular belief that the form of a non-compound body is one and unchanging arises from the similarity of the changing forms. In actual fact, however, these forms are one by their philosophical definition (hadd) and meaning, but they are not one in number, because they are renewed and replaced with each other in every instant, in a continuous manner.281 This made Tabtab conclude that Sadr saw existence as one continuous flowing affair, from which hypothetical limitations (i.e., the intelligible quiddities e.g. those of man, animal, plant etc.) are abstracted by mind.282
There is one continuous (or: uninterrupted) individual existence, which has infinite limitations in potential in respect to instants, hypothesized in its time, and [, therefore,] in it exist an infinite number of species in potentia and in meaning, not in actu and in [actual] existence.283

The difficulty with the apparent lack of an unchanging and persisting substratum (mawd) in substantial motion, to which pointed Ibn Sn, is easily resolved if we agree to treat substance not as a static affair, but as a dynamic one and as an individual process. 284
Although it is necessary that the substratum of every movement subsists through its existence and individuation, in the individuation of a corporeal substratum, it is sufficient that there is matter which is individuated through the existence of some [sort of] form, quality and quantity, and it (matter J.E.) can change in respect to the particularities of each of them (i.e., form, quiddity and quantity J.E.).285

In other words, the subsistence of the substratum is achieved through the existence of matter and some indeterminate form, quality and quantity. As Fazlul Rahman observes, this indeterminate form, quality and quantity behaves vis--vis the progressively emerging infinity of determinate forms, qualities and quantities as a genus does vis--vis concrete species.286 Hence, the persisting substratum is an unbounded body (jism mutlaq), i.e., a body-in-general, not a particular body, while the unity of the moving substance is one of the process-entity or the event-structure.287 On the other side, as Tabtab remarks, if the movement lacks unity of continuity, the subsistence of substratum alone does not provide the unity of movement. Moreover, according to Tabtab, while the subsistence of substratum is a necessary precondition of the accidental movements (such as the movements in quality, quantity, position and place), because they are accidents, whose existence is only possible in substratum and whose
280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287

Rahman, Philosophy, 100. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 6364. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 64, note 2. Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 86. See: Rahman, Philosophy, 100. Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 8788. Rahman, Philosophy, 100. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 9293 and: Rahman, Philosophy, 100101. 82

individuation takes place through it, this is not the case with the material substance, which exists through itself and, in its individual unity, does not require anything else apart from its own existence, which is simultaneously its individuation. The material substance, says Tabtb, insofar as it is considered as the possessor of substantial motion, is both the movement and the moving one, because its selfhood which is movement is attributed to its selfhood which is substance. In a nutshell, accidental movements in respect of their unity and individuality require a substantial substratum, a possessor of unity and individuality, as a root and basis of their flowing unity and individuality.288 While accidents need substance as their substratum and cannot exist without it, the substance has no need in a substratum other than itself. Since Sadr views every corporeal and psychic substance as an evolutionary and unidirectional process, its actual substratum is nothing else than the continuity of this process.289 Does Sadrs theory of substantial motion, as gradual and evolutionary unidirectional movement towards perfection, constitute a revolutionary new teaching in the context of Islamic philosophy? By no means the idea, probably stemming from the Neoplatonic concepts of processio and reditus, found its expression in the well-known teaching of scala naturae, which was equally popular in the mediaeval Europe and the mediaeval Muslim East.290 The uninterrupted chain of being, which ascends from the lowest and simplest to the highest and most complex creatures, was viewed as the product of gradual emanation and natural growth of things in perfection. Among the first Muslim philosophers who discussed the issue in their treatises in detail were the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwn al-Saf). Thus, they wrote:
Know, o brother, that the sublunary beings begin from the most imperfect and lowest states and then ascend towards the most perfect and eminent state. This occurs with the passage of time and with every instant, since their nature does not receive the emanation from the spherical forms at one single time, but gradually, one thing after another. 291

Sadrs merit lies in discussing this Neoplatonic theory in terms of Peripatetic philosophy and in overcoming the resistance of the latter by interpreting material substance as a continuous flow and evolutionary process, instead of viewing it as a static and unchangeable entity. Besides, while Ikhwn al-Saf focus their attention on the universal chain of being, Sadrs main concern lies with a particular corporeal or psychic substance. This is not minerals becoming plant and plants developing into animal that concerns Sadr, but bodys becoming soul and souls becoming intellect, this worlds growing into the other one (the hereafter) and the transformation of the first (corporeal) configuration (al-nasha al-awla) into the other (spiritual) one (al-nasha al-ukhra). This is primarily an eschatological concern: this-worldly life, events, phenomena are regarded by Sadr as preparatory stage(s) and shadow(s) of the other-worldly one(s) (the eschatological implications of the theory of substantial motion will be discussed in detail in the third chapter). In the world of Nature all substances are subject to substantial motion, because the existence of a material substance, regardless of the corruptibility (in case of elemental bodies) or the
288 289 290

291

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 3, 87, note 1. See: Rahman, Philosophy, 100. On scala naturae, see: A.Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press 1936. Ikhwn al-Saf, Rasl, 4 vols., Beirt: Dr al-Sdir 1957, Vol. 2, 183, quoted from: D. De Smet, The Sacredness of Nature in ShiI Ismaili Islam in K.van Berkel and A.Vanderjagt (eds), The Book of Nature in Antiquity and Middle Ages (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change. 10), Louvain: Peeters 2005, 87, note 8. Cf. also Y.Marquets French translation in: Y.Marquet, La determination astrale de l evolution selon les Freres de la Purete in Bulletin dEtudes Orientales 44 (1992), 129. 83

incorruptibility (in case of celestial ones) of its matter, can only be envisaged as an unidirectional evolutionary process or, to say it more precisely, in respect to its existence, every material substance is an individualized unidirectional evolutionary process. During its development, this substance becomes subject to an infinite number of changes and alterations dressing after dressing, which means that, in order to assume a new and higher form, it does not need to take off the previous lower one (e.g. in order to assume the form of animal soul, the substance does not need to abandon and take off the form of the vegetative one). Quite the opposite, in order to be able to receive a higher form, the substance must first receive the lower one (thus, in order to be able to receive the form of animal soul, the respective substance must first receive that of the vegetative one). Sadr calls this rule (the principle of) the lower possibility (al-imkn al-akhass) (which is to be understood as the necessity to previously actualize the lower possibility in order to allow the actualization of the higher one) and, in the ascending arc of being, places it opposite the well-known Peripatetic rule of the higher possibility (al-imkn al-ashraf) (according to which, the actualization of the lower possibility is only possible through and after the actualization of the higher one) in the descending arc. More importantly, the existence of natural body is only possible and can be conceived of as substantial motion and stability in flow. The particular evolutionary path taken by a certain aspect of the flow of material existence (thought of in terms of substantial motion) is determined by its particular principle, referred to as its nature (taba). This particular principle or nature of the body is, in fact, nothing but tenuity (raqqa) that links the reality (haqqa) or immaterial archetype of the thing with its material idols. Although nature is the proximate cause of substantial motion, the ultimate goal of the latter is to bring the substance out of the world of Nature, placing it among the inhabitants of the world of Command, that is, to increase the intensity of its existence to a level sufficient to make possible it to exist as pure disengaged dominating light (nr mujarrad qhir) or Intellect.
2.3.6. Substantial Motion and New Creation

I shall now attempt to compare Sadrs theory of substantial motion with Ibn al-Arabs teaching on new creation (khalq jadd). During the 20th century it became almost a commonplace belief among the experts in Islamic philosophy that Sadrs theory represents nothing else than a philosophical demonstration of Ibn al-Arabs teaching on new creation (Sadr himself being partially responsible for the spread and strengthening of the belief, since in his discourses on substantial motion he had employed the expression khalq jadd a number of times292). Is it really so? Or is Sadrs usage of the aforementioned Quranic and Sufi term merely a rhetorical technique, designed to capture the attention of the audience and to intrigue them? Before I try to answer these questions, I must first briefly examine the concept of new creation and its history. As Ibn al-Arab himself acknowledges, his idea of the perpetual renewal of creation was, at least partially, inspired by the Asharite teaching on substances and accidents. As it is well known, the Asharites believed the world to consist of immutable substances and ever changing accidents. Their famous axiom was The accidents do not remain for two moments (al-ard l tabq zamnayn). While the Asharites viewed substance as the underlying substratum of accidents, they hold that the substances of which the world consists have no independent existence in themselves, but wholly depend on Gods power, which continually recreates the world in every instant (needless to say, such understanding of substance (jawhar) makes it practically synonymous with atom (al-jawhar al-fard, literally an
292

See e.g.: Sadr, Asrr, 63, 86. 84

indivisible particle)).293 In the twelfth chapter of the Fuss, which contains one of the most important discussions on khalq jadd, Ibn al-Arab admits that two groups the Asharites and the Relativists (hisbniyya) in their reasoning have approached to the understanding of the mystery of perpetual creation, but, states he, both have failed to penetrate to its heart and core. As for the Asharites, they have grasped the perpetual renewal of some of the existents, namely the accidents, but they have not realized that the world in its entirety represents nothing else than the totality (majm) of accidents, for which reason it entirely changes in every moment. In turn, the Relativists have apprehended that the world perpetually changes in its entirety, but they have failed to notice the oneness of the entity of the substance which receives the form of the world and which does not exist otherwise than through it (whereas the form also cannot be conceived otherwise than through this substance).294 Importantly, in this discussion Ibn al-Arab defines the new creation as the self-renewal of the affair with every breath (tajdd al-amr maa l-anfs)295, which (self-renewal) is necessitated by the facts that God manifests Himself [anew] in every breath296 and that a [particular] self-disclosure is never repeated.297 (However, Ibn al-Arabs commentator Muayyad al-Dn al-Jand remarks that the Reals essential self-disclosure is one and eternal, and, if considered without any relation, it never changes in any way. The perpetual change and alteration of the Reals self-disclosures witnessed by (certain strata of) mystics are occasioned by the change of the preparedness of the receptacles.298) One notices that, every time, a new creation is necessitated by and depends on a new breath. These breaths represent fragments or instances of the all-encompassing Breath of the Merciful (nafas al-Rahmn). It seems not unreasonable to assume that perpetual origination, in a way, results from the fragmentation of the Breath of the Merciful in respect to its particular receptacles, which, due to their limitations and difference in preparedness, cannot receive this all-encompassing breath in its entirety at one time, but are only able to do this gradually, dividing it in different directions and aspects according to the division that exists between Gods names. Hence, in the same way as no human being, due to the narrowness of his breast, can partake of the Breath of the Merciful otherwise than through a series of subsequent breaths, our mystical intuition cannot conceive of creation otherwise than as of an (infinite) chain of self-disclosures, every link of which simultaneously marks the appearance of a new form and the disappearance of the previous one. Thus, the teaching of new creation in Ibn alArabs thought deals mainly with the relationship between the limited existence and the unlimited one. Due to its confinement in time and space, the material universe is also confined in meaning or probably the actual case is vice versa: its limitation in meaning manifests itself as spatial and temporal limitation(s).The narrowness of the receptacle, thus, makes the Reals act upon it to be actualized gradually, step by step, instant after instant (=breath after breath), creation after creation. (Sadr would certainly say that this narrowness and confinement results from the weakness/ lowness of intensity of the natural existence or that at its lower degrees of intensity existence manifests itself as natural one, i.e., as an existence which is confined in time and space and cannot simultaneously assume more than one particular form.)
293 294 295 296 297 298

See: S. van den Bergh, Dhawhar (II.493a) in EI. See: Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, 125. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, 125. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, 126. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, 126. See: Muayyad al-Dn al-Jand, Sharh Fuss al-hikam, 2nd edition, ed. S.J.shtiyn, Qum: Bstn-i Kitb 1381 S.H., 494495. 85

A number of passages found in the Futht testify that the perpetual new creation of the world is necessitated by the narrowness of the receptacle. However, to Ibn al-Arab, this receptacle is existence (=finding) itself:
Within the Treasuries are found the individuals of genera. These individuals are infinite, and that which is infinite does not enter into existence, since everything confined by existence is finite.299 The possible things are infinite, and there cannot be more than the infinite. But the infinite does not enter into existence at once (dafatan); rather it enters little by little, without an end.300

But, upon a more careful examination of the above quotations, one realizes that, what the Greatest Shaykh understands here by existence is the external and natural existence. Furthermore, one notices that, to Ibn al-Arab, new creation is not a unidirectional and evolutionary process i.e., the subsequent form is not necessarily more perfect in any aspect than the previous one. Also, in new creation, through assuming a new form, the (material) existence unclothes itself of the earlier one, wherefore the process must be described as dressing after undressing (al-labs bad al-khal), not as dressing after dressing (al-labs bad al-labs), as it is the case with substantial motion. This is, apparently, the most important difference between Ibn al-Arab and Sadrs teachings on khalq jadd and haraka jawhariyya respectively. Ibn al-Arab is overwhelmed by the vision of the perpetual renewal of the world, which can probably be characterized as the attempt of the finite to grasp the infinite and the try of the limited to take grip of the unlimited the task, which can never be completed. Sadr, in turn, envisages the material world as a flowing substance which, in its every part and by every instant, moves one albeit an immeasurably small - step closer towards spirituality and perfection. The new creation, as it is understood by Ibn al-Arab, i.e. the limiteds attempt to express and manifest the unlimited, takes place in keeping with a certain regular pattern (likeness is normally replaced with likeness, not opposite with opposite) the pattern which is cyclically repeated and recreated. For this reason, it can be described as a cyclical event and presented graphically as circular motion. In turn, substantial motion as envisaged by Sadr, i.e., as unidirectional evolutionary process and gradual spiritualization of material existence, occurring due to the increase of the latters intensity, can be graphically presented as a half of the circle, i.e., as its ascending arc. What happens to the moving substance once it has reached the summit of the arc? According to Sadr, it remains with the Godhead, becoming existentially one with its noetic archetype (the respective dominating light). This difference in approaches results from a more principal difference between the visions of the two thinkers: while, to Ibn al-Arab, existence is an accident of the fixed entity, the presence or absence of which does not in any way change the quiddity/ whatness of the respective entity and its status in Gods mind, to Sadr, there is no such thing as an externally non-existent entity, eternally present in Gods mind. Rather, the existence is the only thing which is/ exists, whereas quiddities are nothing else than its potential limitations, which does not really exist, but are abstracted by the mind from the perpetual flow of (one and the same) existence and its different aspects. Although there is a noticeable and undeniable parallel between Sadrs vision of the flow of existence and Ibn al-Arabs teaching on the Breath of the Merciful, there is apparently more consequence in Sadrs position, which denies the whatnesses any reality whatsoever. On the
299 300

Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 361, quoted from: Chittick, Knowledge, 96. Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 482, quoted from: Chittick, Knowledge, 96. 86

contrary, regarding Ibn al-Arabs teaching, it must be said that the existential status of the places of articulation (makhrij al-hurf), passing through which the inarticulate breath becomes articulated, thus giving birth to letters and words, remains ambiguous and is not (cannot be?) explained properly. That said, I have to add that when Sadr employs the term khalq jadd, he does it either to designate the self-renewal of (bodily) nature in general301 or to point to the ultimate limit of this self-renewal the developing of the (configuration of) this world into that of the other one (the hereafter).302 (The former was discussed above; the latter will be examined in detail in the third chapter.) 2.3. THE SOUL AND ITS PROPERTIES As it was said above, different parts of the spectrum of wujd possess different properties. This difference arises from change of the wujds intensity. (Cf. the different properties of water in temperatures below 0 C, between 0 and 100 C and above 100 C.) Thus far, I have attempted to examine the properties of the top and the bottom of the range of existence (i.e., those of Intellect/ Innovation and Nature/ material origination). Between these two principal ranges or levels of intensity, there is a sort of a border area or the medium spectrum, usually referred to as the soul (al-nafs). I shall now attempt to succinctly examine its specific properties and characteristics, which allow to distinguish it from both extremes. The range of the so-called natural existence is the domain of the sense perception (hiss); the range of the innovative (ibd) one the realm of the Intellect (aql) and the intellection (taaqqul). The middle part of the spectrum of existence i.e., the psychic (nafsn) existence, manifests itself as imagination (khayl) or imaginary perception (takhayyul). This is probably the point where Sadrs cosmology comes closest to that of Ibn al-Arab, treating existence (wujd) as perception (idrk) and erasing the border between ontology and epistemology. To identify itself fully with the latter (Ibn al-Arabs teaching), it needed to accept the principle of the parallelism between the great man and the small one, i.e., the universe and the human being. This identification was never made explicitly by Sadr, because the acceptance of the theory would inevitably lead to an outright rejection of the Aristotelian cosmology and, by necessity, to its replacement with the Neoplatonic one, reintroducing the notion of the cosmos as living and conscious being and representing the psychic world as the product of the imagination of the Universal Soul. If the cosmos is a living and conscious being, there is no need for the omnipotent and omnipresent god (unless we interpret him as the reality of existence (haqqat al-wujd)).
2.4.1. The Peripatetic Influence

Following Aristotle, al-Frb and Ibn Sn had viewed and defined the human soul in relation to the body, as its form, power, faculty and entelechy. According to the principles of Sadrs philosophy, this approach was wrong, because the body represented an existence of a lower rank and intensity and, as such, could not give an adequate representation of the reality that was of a higher intensity of existence. Although, to my knowledge, Sadr never applies the term in his discourse on the soul-body relationship, he definitely views the body as the
301 302

See e.g.: Sadr, Asrr, 63; 8687. See e.g.: Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 17. 87

illuminative relation (al-idfa al-ishrqiyya) of the soul, i.e., as a sort of radiance, irradiated by the latter (thus, in the Asfr he writes: The true body the one, in which the flow of the light of sense and life occurs essentially, not accidentally, relates to the soul as radiance relates to the sun303). What appealed to Sadr in Frb and Ibn Sns teachings on the soul was their admittance of the possibility of the souls development into an actualized intellect, by means of which (development) it gradually became more and more independent of the body and continued to exist after its separation from the body (i.e. the physical death). I believe this Peripatetic theory of the development of the soul and its ascent from the level of the material intellect (al-aql al-hayuln) to that of the acquired one (al-aql al-muktasab) and not Ibn al-Arabs teaching on the new creation was the primary and the most essential source of inspiration for Sadrs doctrine of substantial motion. One important reason to assert this lies in the fact that the aforementioned development of the soul is based on the principle dressing after dressing i.e., in order to take on a new higher form, the soul does not have to put off the previous one, but keeps it as a concomitant of the new one.
2.4.2. Sadrs Definitions of the Soul

Apart from the standard Peripatetic definition of the soul as the first entelechy (perfection) of the natural body304 (which he considers to be correct but incomplete, because it does not deal with the essence of the soul, but only with its relation to the body), Sadr offers at least two alternative definitions. The first one describes the soul in relation to the acts that proceed from it:
I call every active faculty (quwwa filiyya) which produces traces not in a univocal (or: one and the same) way the soul. This expression names this faculty not in the respect of its simple (non-compound) essence, but in the aspect of its being the principle (or: source) of such-like acts (i.e., acts that occur not in a univocal manner J.E.).305

The second one also defines the soul in respect to its actions, but in this case by stating that they are carried out through one or more intermediaries, not directly:
We treat as the soul the faculty of the natural body whose rank is such that it performs its acts by employing (literally: by making serve to itself) (istikhdm) other faculties [that are] under it.306

This second definition cannot be properly understood if considered without connection with Sadrs famous principle the soul is all faculties (al-nafs kull al-quwa), which (principle) is a branch and an instance of the more general principle, mentioned above, namely a thing which is simple is all things (bast al-haqqa kull al-ashy), which is to be understood to the effect that a more intense degree of existence contains in itself all weaker ones.
It was previously established that the Author (al-br) is all things without multiplication [of His essence]. Therefore, whatever is closer to Him, is stronger in its oneness and brings together in itself more meanings, to the effect that every existent is a world in itself, [ a world] which imitates (or: reproduces (?)) the world of Lordship. The human soul brings together in itself all that is dispersed in the body and the forms of the bodily members, that is, faculties and tools. The difference in the shapes of the bodily members is the shadow of (i.e., reflects J.E.) the difference among the perceptual and locomotive faculties, whose tools are dispersed in other
303 304 305 306

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 99. See e.g.: Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 17. Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 5. Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 17. 88

bodily parts with (or: through) the dispersion of spirit which disperses [itself] from the heart into veins and arteries. These faculties, regardless of their differences and division into branches, are brought together in the existence of the soul, and the soul unifies itself with them by a unification [akin to] the actual unification of the intellect with the intelligible substances.307 2.4.3. The Soulhood of the Soul

The soul begins its life as a corporeal faculty (al-quwwa al-jismniyya), which, due to the low intensity (=weakness) of its existence, conceives of itself as of and manifests itself in a multitude of faculties, which, in turn, can only exercise their power by means of the natural body and its members, employed by these faculties as (their respective) tools. According to Sadrs vision, all material things or rather prime matter itself experience perpetual spiritualization. This spiritualization of matter should be understood as gradual increase of the intensity of its existence. A certain phase of the process of spiritualization and a definite range of intensity, which has certain specific properties, is commonly referred to as the [human] soul (al-nafs [al-insniyya]). At the lowest limit of the spectrum, the soul is almost completely immersed in matter and represents nothing more than a bodily power/ faculty. Upon reaching the highest limit of the spectrum, it fully disengages itself from (any sort of) the body and becomes pure spirit:
You must know that the soul, which is the form of the human being, is corporeal by its [temporal] origination (jismniyyat al-hudth) and spiritual by its subsistence (rhniyyat albaq), because, as it was established earlier, the passive intellect is the last of the corporeal meanings and the first of the spiritual ones. The human being is a road stretched between the two worlds, and he is simple by his spirit, but compound by his body. The nature of his body is the purest of the earthly natures, and his soul is the first of the levels of the noble souls. He has a rank that permits him to assume an angelic form. When he turns away from what befits him best, [then] he deserves that [to which he has turned himself] rather than ascent to the ranks of the noble ones. He takes off the human form, and the angelic form eludes him, and through his actions he assumes either devilish, or [predatory] beastly, or brutish form, and remains in the flame of fires, without ascending to the degrees of gardens.308

To Sadr, the term nafs designates a certain spectrum of existence, possessing a particular level of intensity and displaying specific properties, which are not displayed by the higher and lower (stronger and weaker) spectra. In view of this, the soulhood (nafsiyya) of the soul is not an accident that occurs to it when it takes charge of a natural body, as both Peripatetics commonly hold (their belief being rooted in the gnostic myth of the imprisonment of the soul in the body by the evil Demiurge309). Rather, the soulhood of the soul is a particular kind of existence, which is exemplified by the soul as long as the latter depends on the physical body and employs its faculties.
The soulhood of the soul is not a relation accidentally occurring to its existence, as the common philosophers thought, likening the souls relation to the body to that of a ruler to his city or a captain to his ship. Rather the soulhood of the soul is its particular mode of existence, [which is] not like the state of ruler, captain, father or the rest of those who [first] have their own proper essence, which [then] happen to become related with the other, after their essence
307 308 309

Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 121122. Sadr, Shawhid, 311. Among the Muslim thinkers, the theme was developed by Ibn Sn in his Risla f l-tayr (Treatise on the Bird) (see: Ibn Sn, Risla f l-tayr, in H.Corbin, Avicenne et le rcit visionnaire, t.2, Teheran_Paris: Librairie dAdrienne Maisonneuve 1954, 2639) and by Shihb al-Dn Yahy Suhraward in several treatises, particularly in the Risla f l-ghurba al-gharbiyya (Tale of the Occidental Exile) (see: Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi, The Philosophical Allegories and Mystical Treatises, a Parallel Persian-English Text, ed. and transl. W.M.Thackston Jr, Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers 1999, 106126. 89

has [already] come into existence, because it is impossible to conceive of such existence of the soul as long as it remains the soul in the aspect of which it does not depend on the body and does not employ its faculties, unless its existence is so transformed and its substantiation strengthens to such a degree that it becomes self-sufficient in its essence and ceases to depend on the natural body, and returns to his people rejoicing (84:9) or burns in a blazing fire (111:3).310

To properly understand the character of the souls dependence upon the body, it must be kept in mind that the soul needs the body in its acts, whereas in its essence it is fully independent even during its residence in the natural world. Furthermore, depending on the standpoint taken, one can discern either one or two intermediaries between the soul and the body proper namely, the animal spirit (al-rh al-hayavn) and the heart (qalb), which must be treated as borderline substance(s) between psychic and physical realms. The role of the animal spirit is discussed by Sadr in one of his early treatises, namely al-Wridt al-qalbiyya f marifat al-rubbiyya (The Inrushes of the Heart Concerning the Knowledge of the Lordship), where he writes:
The carrier (or: subject) (hmil) of all faculties of the human soul and its vicegerent is the vaporous animal spirit, which emanates from the pure and subtle part of the mixtures (ikhlt) in the same way as the [bodily] members emanate from their (mixtures J.E.) impure and dense part, its (animal spirits J.E.) locus of origin being the conically shaped heart.311 these elements and pillars continue to mix perpetually, until finally [their mixing] results in [giving existence to (?)] the human body. The human body [, in turn,] continues to refine and unify itself, and to purify and to change itself, until this results in its [animal] spirit the one which is a subtle body that emanates from the heart, from its left cavity. In respect to its purity and refinement, its light and luminosity, and its distance from the opposites (closeness to which causes corruption), this animal spirit resembles the body of the celestial sphere. Therefore it becomes the mirror for the rational soul, through which it perceives existence in its entirety.312

Speaking in terms of intensity of existence, a more intense and stronger existence (the psychic one, i.e., the soul) cannot perceive and govern a weaker existence (i.e., the natural one or that of the sensible body) otherwise than through an intermediary that shares the characteristics of both. Hence, it is evident that external forms can be perceived by the soul only accidentally, serving as temporal preparatory tools until the essential perception is fully developed.
The five perceived ones (i.e., things perceived by five external faculties of the soul J.E.) are hidden (ghaybiyya) (i.e., not perceived externally J.E.) luminous likenesses that exist in another world, not the qualities that are called the sensible ones (mahsst) [which are not perceived] otherwise than accidentally, and they (the qualities essentially perceived by the soul J.E.) are psychic qualities (kayfiyyt nafsniyya), and if you want to learn the truth, [you must know that] these faculties do not subsist by the bodily parts, but rather the bodily parts subsist by their command, because the demonstration shows unshakeably that if some thing inheres in some other thing and the existence of this inherent thing in itself is its very existence in its locus, [then] it is impossible that it would exist in one world and its locus in another. Hence, the inherent thing and that in which it inheres [both] are in one [and the same] world, and the perceiver and the perceived are of one kind.313

In other words, the perceiver (mudrik) and the perceived (mudrak) always belong to one and the same configuration (nasha) and level of existence. This truth constitutes Sadrs famous principle of the unity (or: unification) of the perceiver and the perceived (ittihd al-mudrik wa l-mudrak), according to which the real objects of our perception are the forms created by
310

311

312 313

Sadr, Arshiyya, 238239. Cf. J.Morriss earlier English translation, from which I borrow the translation of the Quranic verses (Morris, Wisdom, 139). Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, al-Wridt al-qalbiyya f marifat al-rubbiyya, ed. A.Shafh, Tehrn: Iranian Academy of Philosophy 1979, 8384. Sadr, Wridt, 90. Sadr, arshiyya, 236. 90

and residing in our soul. The external sensible forms are only needed in the initial stages of the development of the human soul when its soulhood has not yet become strong enough, because it is still deeply immersed in matter (one can argue, as Plato does, that the real purpose of the souls recourse to these outer forms is to facilitate its remembering (recollection) of their luminous intelligible likenesses, but, to my knowledge, there are no indications in Sadrs texts that would prove his support of Platos claim).
The truth about seeing, as God has revealed to us, is that, after meeting these specified preconditions (i.e., the provision of the externally visible things that can be seen with our outer eyes J.E.), with Gods permission, from the soul arise forms, dependent (muallaqa) on it, [ forms] which subsist through it and are present to it, and appear as likenesses (of the outer forms J.E.) in its own world, not in this [outer] world.314

These forms, once brought into existence, are preserved by the faculty (or: power) of imagination (quwwa al-khayl) and constitute our store of the hereafter. The key faculty of the human soul the one which makes it soul is the faculty of imagination, which stores and preserves the images received by the common sense (al-hiss almushtarak). These two faculties (faculty of imagination and common sense), in fact, represent one faculty or power, in which two aspects that of receipt and that of preservation which differ from each other in terms of strength and weakness and perfection and imperfection, can be distinguished. While during its bodily existence the soul is all external and internal faculties, after its separation from the natural body it retains only the faculty of imagination or rather itself becomes pure imagination (by which becoming I mean the souls perpetual creating immaterial measurable likenesses (muthul miqdriyya ghayr mdiyya)). When the intensity of the intelligible light-existence, which constitutes the world of Innovation, decreases, it leaves the horizon of Intellect and dawns over the horizon of imagination. On this horizon, each ray of the intelligible light is transformed into an immaterial measurable likeness. When, in turn, the light of existence leaves the horizon of imagination (or that of the soul proper) and dawns over the horizon of Nature, appearing in the world of Sense, this subtle immaterial image thickens and hardens, becoming seemingly firm and unchangeable. Then we refer to it as to material natural body (al-jism al-tab almd). Thus, according to Sadr, in the last analysis, all existential changes and metamorphoses come down to more or less radical change of the intensity of wujd.

314

Sadr, arshiyya, 237. 91

CHAPTER 3. TRANSFORMATIONS OF WUJD: SADRS ESCHATOLOGY


3.1. MAD AS A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE The Arabic term for eschatology is ilm al-mad (the knowledge/ science of return/ resurrection). Mad is the verbal noun (masdar), derived from the verb ada, (the fourth verbal form of the verbal root a-w-d), which means to return something to somebody, to recommence, to reiterate.315 Literally, mad designates the place of return. However, as a theological and philosophical term, it combines in itself the sense of return and that of recommencement/ reiteration, denoting simultaneously the process of return to God (i.e., to the reality and principle of existence) and resurrection or the second creation. Mad as an eschatological concept denoting return/ resurrection is divided into mad rhn (spiritual return) and mad jusmn (corporeal restoration). According to the Mutakallimn, mad rhn consists in the return of the spirits to their restored bodies. According to the Falsifa, it should be understood as the return of a particular human soul to the Active Intellect. As for the mad jusmn, most Peripatetic philosophers tend to negate it (thus, in fact, negating any kind of return/ resurrection for the overwhelming majority of human beings all those, whose souls fail to ascend to the Active Intellect and unite with it). Ibn Sn was in doubt regarding the subject however, as one can conclude from the succinct remarks in the Shif (Healing) and [al-Risla] al-Adhawiyya (The Enlightening [Treatise]), he was ready to admit that the bliss of the blissful ones in the hereafter might be caused by perception of imaginal forms, similar to dream images, but of stronger and more lasting effect than the one provoked by witnessing the latter.316 The return of every thing towards its root and principle is recognized as an axiom by all currents of Islamic philosophy and theology. Therefore, the lasting argument between different theological and philosophical schools concerns not the if of mad (i.e., its actual occurrence), but its how (i.e., its qualities and characteristics). The return/ restoration of all existents is an important consequence of the principle of substantial motion, therefore it is no wonder that Sadr discusses mad as a universal cosmological principle in most of his works. Thus, in the arshiyya he says:
every natural substance has an essential motion, and creation and sending forth (bath), and beginning and return. The philosophers have established for natures essential furthest limits, as well as essential beginnings, and the return of every thing is to that [affair] from which it begins. The return of the bodies is to [bodily] faculties, the return of faculties to souls, the return of souls to spirits, and the return of everything is to Him (may He be exalted!).317

In light of Sadrs basic philosophical principles, the return to God must (and can only be) understood as the increase of the intensity of existence, its strengthening and becoming simpler and more inclusive. Therefore, the souls return to the intellect is nothing else than an intensification of its existence. (Elsewhere Sadr, following Plotinus, describes intellects as powerful senses and senses as weak intellects.318) Different kinds of mad are discussed in detail in the Risla f l-hashr (Treatise on Gathering) (hashr (gathering, mustering, assembling) in Sadrs terminology is
315 316 317 318

See e.g.: R.Arnaldez, Mad (V.892.b), in EI. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 150151, where the relevant passage from Ibn Sns Adhawiyya is quoted. Sadr, arshiyya, 284. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 101. Cf. Plotinus, Enneads VI.7.7: , (, , , VI-IX, 176) and the Uthljiy: nasifu tilka l-hass fa naqlu: innah uql dafa wa nasifu tilka-- uql fa naqlu: innah hass qawiyya (A.Badav (ed.), Aflotn inda l-arab (Uthljiy), 3rd edition, Qum: Intishrt-i Bdr 1413 L.H., 147). 92

synonymous to mad). Sadr distinguishes seven kinds of gathering: 1) gathering of pure intellects; 2) gathering of rational souls; 3) gathering of animal souls; 4) gathering of vegetative faculties and other bodily natures; 5) gathering of minerals and elements; 6) the return of engendered self-renewing natural sensible forms; 7) the return of prime matter and material bodies.319 The philosopher gives four proofs of the gathering of intellects. First. The he-nesses of intellects are pure existences without quiddity/ whatness and lights unalloyed with darkness. Difference between them and the Light of Lights and between themselves is only in perfection and imperfection, and intensity and weakness, therefore their he-nesses are not separated from Gods ipseity. Second. The principle of the nobler possibility demands continuity of meaning between the Light of Lights and what is supposed to be the Proximate Light, and also between the latter and the light which follows it, of the intelligible lights that differ from each other only through/ in intensity and weakness otherwise, the lack of such continuity would necessitate the existence of an infinite number of hierarchically ranked lights confined between two confines (mahsra bayn al-hsirayn). Third. Since there is no veil between the Intellect and the Real, the former is able to witness in itself the Real, although without penetrating to the depth of the latter (otherwise the Intellect would encompass the Real and dominate it), and the Real discloses itself to the Intellect by an essential self-disclosure, the very existence of the Intellect consisting of this Reals selfdisclosure in the form of its essence. Fourth. Due to the absence of any veil between the Innovator and the Intellect, the latter perceives the essence of the Innovator (which (essence) is light at the utmost degree of its manifestation) without an intermediary and the assistance of another form i.e., as an essentially perceived form, the perceiver and the perceived form becoming one thing. As for the rational souls, they either possess an intellectual perfection or not. The souls which possess it (the souls of the celestial spheres and some human souls) become intellect in actu (aql bi l-fil), and, inevitably, they are gathered in God, because they are gathered in the Intellect, and what is gathered in what is gathered in another thing, is gathered in the latter. The human souls which possess a potentiality of intellectual perfection, but fail to actualize it during their natural life (i.e., life in the natural body) go to intelligible (noetic) Fire (Hell). After spending a certain period there they are either gathered in the Intellect or, due to continuous association with low and base affairs, their potentiality of perfection fades away and disappears. The souls of other animals after natural death return to their respective intellectual form, i.e., their archetype or lord of species. This return is similar to the return of the faculties of the human soul to the latter. Sadr emphasizes that every individual human being with his specified he-ness, which is distinct from other individual he-nesses, after his natural death enjoys some kind of subsistence through his self-perceiving essence, while other animals, which, to him, do not possess essential self-awareness, do not enjoy it. This is probably one of the most arguable points of Sadrs doctrine of universal gathering or resurrection. Elsewhere, he states that most people do not have the rational soul.320 Hence, what subsists must be the animal soul which is common to all animals. It is difficult to understand why Sadr believes some of the animal souls to perceive themselves and to be aware of themselves, while he denies this selfperception and self-awareness to the others. If the imaginative faculty is part and parcel of the
319 320

See: Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Risla f l-hashr, ed. M.Khjav, 2nd edition, Tehrn: Mawl 1377 S.H., 8. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 372. 93

animal soul, all animals must possess it, though in different degree. If all animals possess it and are aware of themselves, they must all enjoy some sort of psychic individual subsistence. The apparent inconsistency of this part of Sadrs doctrine, to my mind, can be eliminated by admitting that, unlike other animals, human beings perceive themselves as distinct individual he-nesses, i.e., are aware not only of themselves, but also of their individuality. This latter kind of awareness, to me, might indeed be regarded as the cause of their subsistence as individual existences after the natural death. As for the vegetative soul, that kind of it which permeates the semen in its progress and perfection ascends to the degree of animal; some part of that kind ascends even higher to the degree of human being. (By these two kinds of the vegetative soul Sadr means the lower level of the animal and rational souls, responsible for feeding, growth and reproduction.) Other kinds of the vegetative soul in their motion towards God are not able to dispense with the vegetative perfection due to the fortification (taakkud) of their food-based existence (wujd ghad) and (strengthening of) their ipseity of growth and reproduction, because the things fortification in a lower degree prevents it from ascending to a higher one. Therefore, the station to which this latter kind of vegetative soul is gathered is lower than that of the two other ones. Similarly, if mineral and elemental forms are transformed into vegetative or animal forms, they are gathered through the gathering of the latter. If they are not transformed, they are gathered in and return to their relevant lords of mineral and elemental species. The return of sensible material forms (such as sensible fire and water), likewise, is to their other-worldly counterparts (i.e., the imaginal forms of the world of isthmus (barzakh). Finally, the return of prime matter, material bodies and motion is to non-existence, perishing (bawr) and ceasing (inqit). This is so because every thing returns to its root and principle, and the principle of prime matter is possibility (imkn), and that of motion potentiality of preparedness (quwwa istiddiyya), and return to possibility cannot be anything else than ceasing and perishing. Alternatively, employing the Sufi terminology, it can be said that everything returns to God through the Perfect Man, who is the locus of manifestation (mazhar) of Gods Greatest Name. All other things are also loci of manifestation of different Gods names, but the names which they manifest are smaller and less encompassing. The reality of the Perfect Man is more intense and simpler than the realities of all other things. Due to its utmost simplicity and extreme intensity, it encompasses in itself all lower, less intense and less simple (more complex) things. To put it more definitely, the Perfect Man is the level of existence that comes after the Reality of Existence or God proper. However, as far as the differentiation of existence into levels is a mental affair, the Perfect Man is a mental abstraction. One notices that in his treatment of the issue, Sadr is strongly influenced by Neoplatonists, in particular by Plotinus, as the quotations from the Uthljiy (Arabic paraphrase of selected passages from the 4th, 5th and 6th Enneads) show. However, to Plotinus, there is no way in which the lower logos might transform itself into a higher one: how could the image of the sun, reflected on the surface of a pool, transform itself into the actual sun? To Sadr, the relation between a higher and a lower (stronger and weaker) logoi is like the relation between the sun and its ray, i.e., the illuminative one. Therefore, the lower logos does not differ from the highest in its essence (because this essence is nothing more than a certain level, or aspect, or direction of existence). Owing to the oneness and analogical gradation of existence, the possibility of ascent (as well as that of descent) is always present.

94

Having thus discussed the universal levels of existence and their respective gatherings, we must keep in mind that, to Sadr, the furthest limit of every thing is the Reality of Existence and the Necessary One. All things move towards it by substantial essential motion the motion through which the substance phases itself in different existential phases, rising from the lowest levels to the highest ones.321 In the conclusive (8th) chapter of the Risla f l-hashr we come across two intriguing statements: 1) the whole of existence is like one continuous circle which rotates around itself322; 2) the whole of the world is a sensing and rational animal.323 The perpetual rotation of the circle of existence around itself presupposes the eternity of existence, not the eternity of the world/ cosmos. The latter, being a sensing and rational animal, has its natural lifespan, as all animals do. In the concluding passage of the treatise Sadr discusses the issue of the day of Lordship (yawm al-rubbiyya) (which he also calls the day of separation (yawm al-fasl)) and the day of God (yawm ilh) (which he also refers to as the day of bringing together (yawm al-jam). One day of Lordship equals a thousand years of human count, while one day of God adds up to fifty thousand years. The notion of the day of Lordship is inspired by the Quranic verse: He governs the affair from the heaven to the earth, and then it (the affair J.E.) ascends to Him in a day, whose length is one thousand years according to your reckoning (32:5)324; the idea of the day of God takes its origin from another verse: The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day which lasts fifty thousand years (70:4).325 Sadrs commentator Mull Al Nr (d. 1246/1830-1) believes every seventh day of the eternal year to be the day of the Intermediate Rising ( al-qiyma al-wasta), which occurs through the Blowing of Terror (nafkha al-faza) (while the Greater Rising happens through the Blowing of Stunning (nafkha al-saq)).326 There is a point in his reasoning: in the Asrr Sadr calls the death (return) of the soul the death of Terror (mawt al-faza) and the death of the spirit the death of Stunning (mawt al-saq).327 However, he does not describe the death of the soul (or its return to the intellect) as the intermediate Rising. Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, Sadr never employs the term intermediate Rising (al-qiyma al-wasta) (while he speaks of the greater and lesser Risings many times). Instead, as at least one passage in the Tafsr testifies, he considers the seven weeks of Gods eternal year as smaller metahistorical cycles parts of the great cosmic cycle (which shows that, in this part of his teaching, he was influenced by Ikhwn al-Saf and perhaps by other Ismaiili thinkers).328 One notices, however, that Sadrs statements regarding the greater cosmic cycle and the universal Greater Rising are brief and elusive. He believes existence to be eternal, while holds the cosmos (the sensing rational animal) to be perishing, in its parts and in its entirety. The
321 322 323 324 325 326

327 328

See: Sadr, Hashr, 80118. Sadr, Hashr, 118. Sadr, Hashr, 122. Quran, 346. Quran, 503. See: Sadr, Tafsr, part 6, 346-347. Ibn al-Arab Sadrs theory of two blowings is inspired by the Quranic verses: And the Trumpet is blown (or: and the forms are blown into J.E.), and what is in the heaven and in the earth swoons (saiqa) away, except whom God wishes [not to swoon]. Then, it is blown (or: the forms are blown into J.E.) the second time and, lo, they stand, looking around (39:68) (Quran, 394) and: And the Trumpet will be blown (or: the forms will be blown into J.E.), and [everything] in the heavens and the earth will be terrified except whom God wishes [not to be terrified], and all will come humbly (27:87) (Quran, 318). See: Sadr, Asrr, 167. See: Sadr, Tafsr, part 6, 160161. 95

question is, whether he believes the cosmos to be a sort of Phoenix/ Simurgh a creature which periodically burns itself to ashes, in order to come forth again with new life? (If so, the great day or eternal year of God must be treated as something like Indian kalpa or Chaldean great year.) Unfortunately, neither the Risla f l-hashr, nor other Sadrs writings contain explicit statements on the issue: it might have been rather dangerous to openly propagate the (age old) idea of the periodical perishing and rebirth of the (physical, psychic and spiritual/ intelligible) cosmos in its entirety, thus associating oneself with the non-believers. In the remaining part of the chapter I shall deal with the return of the human soul. As the highest and most sophisticated kind of mad, it encompasses and contains in itself the mad of all lower and less perfect existents, therefore, it can be said that the return of the human soul is (or presupposes) the return of everything. This is obvious that the return journey can only be commenced after reaching the destination of the onward journey and completion of the mission for the sake of which that journey was undertaken. What is this mission? To give existence to what is non-existent in itself, but is capable of coming into existence through the other i.e., to pure possibility. 3.2. PRE-EXISTENCE OF SOULS TO BODIES Sadrs famous principle the soul is corporeal by its origination (hudth) and spiritual by its subsistence (baq) seems to imply the impossibility of any kind of pre-existence of souls to bodies. If so, Sadrs view on the topic must be in disagreement with the verses of the Quran and the Imamite doctrine, which unequivocally ascribe to the human soul a kind of existence preceding the creation of the material body. Moreover, the aforementioned principle seems to be inconsistent from a purely philosophical point of view as well, because one of the key principles of the classical Islamic philosophy is: Every thing returns to its root (or: source) (asl). How can then one should ask the thing, which is entirely corporeal by its creation, return to the realm of the spirit? After all, one can only return to the place which it comes from. Interestingly, Sadr himself seems (or pretends?) to be unaware of any of these contradictions. In his works, he explicitly declares his adherence to the Quranic, Prophetic and Imamite teachings on the pre-existence of souls and repeatedly quotes the relevant passages from the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet and Imams. In the Quran, this is the so-called Covenant of Alast verse (7:172), which speaks of the pre-existence of human souls in the most unequivocal way:
When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam from their loins their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)? they said: Yea, we do testify! (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: Of this we were never mindful.329

Of the sayings of the Prophet which concern the topic, Sadr often quotes the following one:
The spirits (of men) are armies drawn up in ranks: [Those who recognize one another are in harmony and those who dislike one another are in disagreement].330

As for the sayings of the Shiite Imams, the following one, attributed to Jafar al-Sdiq, is apparently Sadrs favourite one:
329 330

Quran, 132. Morris, Wisdom, 141. 96

God created us (i.e., the Imams J.E.) from the light of His Greatness and Majesty, then gave our creation a form from the clay [which was] hidden under the Throne, and made the light inhabit this form, and we were people of light; and He created the spirits of our followers from our clay.331

Sadr claims that the essential principles of his philosophy (including that of the corporeal character of the origination of the soul) have been unveiled to him directly by God. Does God contradict Himself in Sadrs teachings? Before we can get to the root of this real or apparent contradiction, we need to examine in more detail what kind of existence the souls allegedly enjoy before the origination of their natural bodies. It is well known that earlier Islamic philosophers Ibn Sn in particular held that any kind of the souls pre-existence to the body is impossible, because the admittance of such pre-existence would inevitably lead to a number of absurdities, such as transmigration of souls, eternity (qidam) of the soul, multiplicity of individuals of a single species and their differentiation without matter and material preparedness, the souls divisibility after its unity (like the one which is inherent in contiguous quantities), or its ineffectuality (tatl) before the origination of the body. Sadrs solution of the difficulty is based on three principles: 1) the principle of the principality of existence; 2) the principle of the analogical gradation of existence; 3) the principle the thing which is simple by its reality is all things. I shall try to explain how it works. First of all, according to the principle of the principality of existence, the quiddity (mhiya) of the thing, being a mere mental abstraction, does not possess any reality whatsoever (has never felt the fragrance of [the outward] existence). Now, existence possesses various levels (martib), which differ as regards their intensity and weakness. The properties (ahkm) and traces (thr) of the weaker level, as far as they concern its existence (not its non-existence (privation) (adam)), are fully possessed by the stronger one. As one which is closer to the Necessary Being, the latter is also simpler. Its more perfect simplicity allows it to be more things as far as their existence is considered (of course, we are now discussing only the vertical order of the universe, leaving aside the horizontal one, which is based on the difference among Gods names and attributes and their interaction). To clarify the point, Sabzavr, one of the most eminent representatives of Mull Sadrs school, often compares the world of the entified existence with a cone. Let me quote from his commentary to the Asfr:
The world of the entified existence is like a cone: the light of its summit is at the Necessary One (may He be exalted!) and its base is at the matters (mawwd), because in every thing which is nearer to the Necessary One, prevail the properties of necessity, such as oneness and simplicity, while in every thing which is nearer to the matters, prevail the properties of contingency (imkn), such as manyness and compoundedness (tarkb).332

331

Sadr,arshiyya, 239. Cf. J.W.Morriss English translation in: Morris, Wisdom, 141. One will notice the difference between the spirits of the Imams, which are created from the pure Divine Light, and those of their followers, which are created from the clay the Imams bodies of light. (Hence, only a second rate spirituality (that with the alloy of the clay of the Throne) can be ascribed to the latter, while that of the first rate (the pure essential spirituality, which is void of the alloy of the clay) is confined to the Prophet and Imams.) 332 Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 321, note 2. 97

Graphically, it might look something like this:

We come to the conclusion that, in the vertical descendent order, the existence of the lower and weaker level is fully included in that of the higher and more intense one. Sadr himself confirms this view in the following words:
as an intense light contains the levels of lights which are lower than it though not in a way, in which a compound thing contains a simple one so a strong existence includes in it what is in weak existences, which are lower than it, and it causes the effects, which are caused by them.333

Therefore, if we view the human soul as a certain level of existence, as such it is fully included in the relevant higher level (whatever we call it: the intellect, the o, the subjugating light (al-nr al-qhir)) of existence, which is stronger and more intense (what it lacks in comparison with the lower level (the soul), is the particular limit of privation and non-existence, which is possessed by the soul due to its greater proximity to the world of matters). Now, every existent has its particular lord lord of the species (rabb al-naw). This lord of the species, which is a member of the horizontal chain (al-silsila al-ardiyya) of intellects (and, as such, enjoys a kind of intellectual/ noetic existence), is the souls perfect cause (while it is itself an effect of the Universal Intellect and a direction (or: aspect) (jiha) of it). Earlier we learnt334 that, in keeping with the gnostic wayfaring (al-sulk al-irfn), only the cause is a real thing but the effect is [merely] an aspect of its aspects335 and that the effect is not a separate thing, differing from its cause. This gives Sadr a full right to assert that the human souls exist before the bodies through the perfection of their cause and occasion
333 334

335

Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 148. See subchapter 1.6. (Existential Causation: the Gnostic Approach) and also my paper: Y.Eshots, The Gnostic Element of Sadras doctrine on causation in the Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Mulla Sadra: Causation according to Mulla Sadra and other Schools of Philosophy. 5-6 May 2001 SOAS (London), London: Salman Azade Press 2003, 7389. Sadr, Asfr, part 2, 300. 98

(sabab), and a perfect occasion entails the occasioned thing [and brings it forth] together with it; and so the soul exists together with its occasion, because its occasion is perfect by its essence and complete by its benefaction (tmm al-ifda) and if a thing is such, [the thing] [which is] occasioned by it does not become detached from it.336 Hence, he concludes:
when you have obtained the knowledge of certainty of its (the souls J.E.) existence before the body and have known the meaning of occasion and being occasioned, and [learnt] that the essential occasion is the completeness of the occasioned (thing), and its furthest limit (ghya), you have obtained the knowledge about its engendered existence before the body through the perfection of its being and its independence (ghan).337

Apart from the Asfr, the problem of the pre-existence of souls is also discussed in the Tafsr. Sadrs commentary on the 22nd verse of the surah The Heifer contains a discussion on the Covenant of Alast. While the employed terminology is slightly different (instead of terms occasion (sabab)/ the occasioned thing (musabbab) or cause (illa)/ effect (mall), Sadr uses the set reality (haqqa)/ tenuity (raqqa)), the overall treatment of the problem, as well as the general conclusion, is very similar. I shall quote here the most essential part of the discussion:
The realizers (muhaqqiqn) among the folk of unification (ahl al-tawhd) say that the one who is addressed by the words of God: (may He be exalted!): Am I not your Lord?, in respect of making the covenant, is the reality (haqqa) of the human being, which exists in the Divine World and the Realm of Lordship; and indeed, every natural species has its noetic reality and separated (i.e., from the matter J.E.) form, and its likeness of light in the world of noetic realities and divine likenesses, [which were] known to the lordly sages and ancient gnostics as the forms of what is in the knowledge of God and they called them the lords of the species, and some of them held that each of these lords of the species is an angel, entrusted, by the permission of God, to preserve the other individuals of the species the species, whose form he is at God, in the world of separate forms and noetic likenesses of light and his (the lords of the species J.E.] relation to them (the other individuals of the relevant species J.E.) is that of the root to the branches and that of the light to the shadows. The difference between the reality of the human being and other realities lies in [the fact] that each of the latter is a vassal (marbb) of one [particular] name among the names of God, but the reality of the human being is the locus of manifestation of the name God (Allh), which contains in itself [all] other names, and its vassal, and in [the fact] that other instances (afrd) cannot descend from the level on which they stand and ascend from one station to another, in order to reach the divine presence, while this is not the case with the reality of the human being, which alone is prepared to act through its engendered form (al-sra al-kawnyya) as the lordly vicegerent and through its noetic form it is prepared to remain faithful to the covenant in the end, as [it is prepared] to the reception, in order to receive and conclude the covenant, in the beginning.338

Sadr attributes tremendous importance to the opposition reality/ tenuity (haqqa/ raqqa) (which, as we have seen, he identifies with the opposition between the lord of the species and an individual belonging to the relevant species). As this opposition seems to constitute the very core339 of the problem of pre-existence of souls, I shall quote here a part from the chapter in the Asfr, which deals with the nature of this opposition:
336 337 338 339

Sadr,Asfr, part 8, 346347. Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 347. Sadr, Tafsr, part 2, 243. Cf. the comments of Sabzavr: The realitys being in its lofty station is (i.e., presupposes J.E.) the tenuitys inclusion in it; and the tenuitys [coming] to the earth is (=means) the realitys becoming (sayrra) the tenuity without its lofty station; and around this rotate all the symbols of the sages and allusions of the prophets, such as eternity (qidam), origination (hudth), effusion (ifda), descent (tanazzul), ascent (sud), falling (hubt), particles (dharrt) and seeds (barazt) Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 332, note 2. 99

Know that particular corporeal forms are universal realities which exist in the world of Gods command and decree (qad), as He (may He be exalted!) said: There is no thing, whose storehouses are not at Us, and We send them down but in a known measure (15:21).340 The storehouses (khazn) are the universal noetic realities, and each of them has [its] particular tenuities, which exist through particular measured occasions (asbb qadar), such as specific matter and position, as well as [certain] time and place. The universal realities exist at God in a principal way (bi l-asla) and these sensible tenuities exist through the ruling (or: property) (hukm) of dependence and inclusion. The realities [if taken] as universalia in their lofty divine existence are not transmitted, but their tenuities, through the ruling (or: property) of continuity (ittisl) and transmutation, and encompassing of other levels, descend and display themselves in the moulds of apparitions and [material] bodies, as it was said earlier in regard to the meaning of the descent of the angels to the creation by Gods command; and the tenuity is the reality through the ruling of continuity, and the difference between them is only in respect of intensity and weakness, and perfection and deficiency.341

These quotations allow me to assert that, in a general way, the pre-existence of souls to bodies is understood by Sadr as the pre-existence of reality to tenuity, the occasion (the cause) to the occasioned thing (the effect) and the lord of the species to the individual of that species. It is important to underline that this pre-existence bears an essential (dht)342, not a temporal, character, i.e., the existence of the reality and the occasion is prior to that of the tenuity and the occasioned thing in essence, not necessarily in time. Hence, the existence of the soul is prior to that of the (natural) body in/ through essence, not in/ through time and this is, indeed, this essential pre-existence (or the absence of it), which really concerns Sadr. The difference among individual human souls, says Sadr, is caused by the difference among the active directions (al-jiht al-filiyya) and intellectual aspects (al-haysiyyt al-aqliyya) in the reality of the human being (his lord of the species), which, in turn, is caused by the influence of different divine names and attributes and their interaction. In his Tafsr Sadr explains the idea in the following way, employing the illuminationist terminology:
the reality of the human being, which exists before these earthy (turb) engendered states (akwn) in the world of the Lordly Presence, possesses noetic directions and aspects, which multiply in it due to the multiplication of the necessary illuminations of light and the multiplication of the contingent deficiencies, and manyness of joinings, which occur between light and darkness, necessity and contingency, perfection and deficiency; and these noetic directions are the occasions (asbb) of multiplicity of the engendered states in the individuals of the human kind.343

Having ascertained these important points, I must add that this essential pre-existence has several stations or levels. Though, to my knowledge344, Sadr does not speak at length about these stations in any of his works, he briefly enumerates them in some of his treatises, in particular, in the Asrr, where he writes:
[God] took their (i.e., the childrens of Adam J.E.) spirits from the loins of their noetic father and this is the noetic station of cutting into patterns (maqm aql tafsl) the individuals of human kind, [which follows] after the existence of their entities in Gods knowledge in a simple noetic manner; and He said, pointing to another station, [which comes] after the aforementioned stations: [We said:] O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the
340 341 342 343 344

I have used here Chitticks English translation of the verse, which was taken from: Chittick, Self-Disclosure, 36. Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 126127. Both Sabzavr and Nr speak of the meta-temporal or aeonic (dahr) pre-existence as well. Sadr, Tafsr, part 2, 244. Unfortunately, Sadrs glosses to Qutb al-Dn Shrzs commentary on the Hikmat al-Ishrq, which are said to contain important discussion on the pre-existence of souls, were not available to me. Prof. Hossein Ziai told me in 2002 that he has prepared the text for the edition but, until now, I have not got any notice regarding the publishing of the book. 100

Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression345 and this is also a configuration (or: modality) (nasha), previous to this [this-wordly] existence.346

In this passage, Sadr mentions at least three stations (maqmt) or configurations/ modalities (nashat) of the soul, prior to its this-wordly station and configuration, in which it exists together with the material body: 1) the station, in which the soul exists as an entity in Gods knowledge; station of nondifferentiation, succinctness and simple noetic existence, which, in fact, in not in any way different from the existence of God (maqm bast aql; maqm ijml aql); 2) the station, in which the souls are cut into patterns, i.e., the station of noetic differentiation (which is also the station of bearing witness at the Day of the Covenant of Alast); 3) the station of the imaginal forms (al-suwar al-mithliyya), which is the world of apparitions (ashbh) (the station of the imaginal Garden, in which Adam and Eve dwelt before their coming to the world of engendered nature). While it is possible to mentally discern other stations in the souls descendant journey, the given three ones constitute its three main phases, in complete accordance with Sadrs teachings of three worlds (sensible, imaginal and intelligible/ noetic) and two risings (qiyma) the greater and the lesser, where the latter is understood as the souls return to the world of imaginal forms and apparitions, whereas the former means its return to the world of fully separated spirits (pure noetic forms). What should be emphasized here, is the fact that the fixed entities of souls, which exist in Gods knowledge, do not possess any existence of their own. Instead, they exist through the existence of God, being not differentiated from Him in any way, as far as their existence (which is their subsistence through God) is considered. Hence we can conclude that the souls, if taken as the fixed entities in Gods knowledge, preexist to their natural bodies by the pre-existence of God to what is other than God (in this case, the lord of the species of the human being is itself nothing else but an active direction of the Universal Reality). Since Sadr relates the world of noetic forms to the divine region (al-suq al-ilh) or the Godhead, which is not other than God (m siw Allh), but exists with/ through the existence of God, this is correct in regard to the second station as well. Hence, the first and the second stations pre-exist to the third and the following stations in the arc of descent as what is with God pre-exists to what is other than God. How does the pre-existence of the soul agree with its origination (hudth) together with the body? To answer this question, we must pay attention to the specific status of the human soul in the universe the status, which distinguishes it from all other existents, namely, its being the locus of manifestation of the name God (Allh), which contains in itself all other Gods names. This unique status, which the human soul has obtained through the knowledge of all Gods names, allows it to travel freely from one station and modality to another (i.e., to witness itself in its intellectual, psychic and natural aspects, seeing itself simultaneously as reality and tenuity). Sadr emphasizes the uniqueness of the ontological status of the human soul more than once. E.g. in the Asfr he states:
The human soul does not possess a certain (literally: known) (malm) station in he-ness (huwiyya) and a definite degree in existence, as it is the case with other natural, psychic and intelligible existents: each of them has a certain station. On the contrary, the human soul

345 346

Quran, 7. Sadr, Asrr, 186. 101

possesses different stations and degrees, and it has preceding and subsequent configurations, and in each station and world it takes on a different form.347

After a few pages, he says:


they (those who are firmly rooted in knowledge (rsihn f l-ilm), i.e., the realizers, those who have established the true state of the affair J.E.) hold that the soul has many modes (shun) and stages (atwr) and, notwithstanding its simplicity, possesses [a number of] existential states (al-akwn al-wujdiyya), some of them before the nature, some with the nature, and some after the nature.348

Hence, one can conclude that what is originated after the acquisition of a specific preparedness and the fulfilment of certain preconditions is neither the reality of the human soul, nor the fixed entities of individual souls rather it is one of the existential states, possessed by a particular soul. A few lines later Sadr explains the point more precisely:
What depends on the body [in its origination] is one of the souls modalities, the preparedness of the body being the precondition of the existence of this this-wordly configuration (or: modality) of the engendered nature; and this is the direction (=aspect) of the souls poverty, need, contingency and deficiency, not the direction (=aspect) of its necessity, independence and perfection.349

It should be noted that what Sadr (as well as the representatives of the falsafa tradition in general) call the soul (al-nafs) in the strict sense of the term, is actually this-worldy configuration of the soul, in which it exists together with the engendered nature and material body. If we take the word soul in this strictly philosophical sense, there is no doubt whatsoever about the corporeal origination of the soul inasmuch as it is the soul (al-nafs bi m hiya al-nafs) (i.e., as far as it is confined to its this-wordly modality and withness (companionship) of the engendered nature).
it has been established earlier that the existence of the soul and its being the soul is one and the same thing, and, in regard to this existence, it is a form, which is related (lit.: ascribed) (mudf) to the body and administers it and what needs the body, is the souls dependent (taalluq) existence, and its direction (aspect) of being the soul, and its administration (tasarruf) of the body, and its becoming perfect in it. This kind of existence pertains to the souls essence and is originated through the origination of the body; it becomes invalid through the invalidation of it, in the sense that the soul, inasmuch as it is the soul, the possessor of the bodily nature, is invalidated and its substance transforms itself into another kind of existence according to its substantial perfection, which is directed towards the furthest limit; and annihilation of the thing into its furthest end and its principle is more noble and more preferable [than its subsistence through itself].350

It is evident that Sadr does not question the invalidation (butln) of the souls this-wordly configuration, i.e., the corruption of the soul inasmuch as it is taken as the bodily nature and has no doubt about the corruption of the corporeal and originated modality of its existence. Hence, his famous principle the soul is corporeal by its origination and spiritual by its subsistence should not be understood in terms of al-mabda wa l-mad (the place of beginning and the place of return). Instead of pointing to the place of the souls beginning (allegedly the body) and its place of return (spirit), the principle provides us with brief formulae of two subsequent modalities of the soul: its this-wordly and temporally originated configuration/ modality is corporeal (and hence corruptive), while its other-wordly and
347 348

Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 343. Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 346. 349 Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 347. The passage is discussed in detail by M.Khjav in: Muhammad Khjav, Soul, Its Reality and Its Perfectionary Journey in Mulla Sadras Philosophy, in the Transcendent Philosophy, London: IIS, Vol. 4, number 2, June 2003, 8283. 350 Sadr, Asfr, part 8, 375. 102

subsistent configuration is spiritual. (One can also say: the souls corporeal configuration is temporally originated, while its spiritual modality is subsistent.) One notices that Sadr is careful not to use the word soul when he speaks about the intelligible/ noetic modality which exists before the material body, while he readily applies it to the modality which comes after the corporeal modality. Indeed, if the soul during its residence in the material body reaches a degree of perfection which allows it to unite with the Active Intellect and to return directly to its lord of the species, it becomes a noetic form and a pure intellect, and therefore cannot be called the soul in the strict sense of the term. Like other philosophers, Sadr, however, has little doubt that this lofty degree is reached only by a handful of the individuals of the human species. As for the remaining majority, their souls reach such a degree of separation from the matter, which only allows them to travel as far as the world of Imagination. In this case, the souls existence after the natural body is based on the subsistence of its faculty of imagination. Though it has not reached the threshold of the Godhead (al-suq al-ilh), thus becoming a pure intellect, it enjoys a kind of imaginal existence (similar to what we experience in dreams) and resides either in the imaginal Garden or in the imaginal Fire (i.e., witnesses either beautiful and agreeable or ugly and disagreeable forms, which are the likenesses of its acquired habits (malakt)). In the latter case, it is absolutely correct to characterize this post natural modality of the soul as its spiritual subsistence. It is quite clear that the souls existence after the body cannot be fully understood without the true knowledge of its existence before the body, and vice versa, since our knowledge of the beginnings and the ends rests on the principle of the parallelism and reciprocal correspondence of the stations of the descending and ascending arcs of the circle of Being.
The furthest limits (=ends) and the places of beginning are parallel to each other and [they are] situated [exactly] opposite each other.351 Every degree of the ascending arc [of the circle of Being] is situated [exactly] opposite its counterpart, which is one of the degrees of the descending arc.352

In keeping with this principle, every station and modality of the souls existence before the natural body has a counterpart in its existence after this body. Those counterparts are of one and the same genus, although their entities are different. A brief account of these parallel and mutually corresponding stations/ modalities of the circle of Being is given in most of Sadrs works. Thus, in the arshiyya, Sadr writes:
Know, my beloved, that we came to this world from the Garden of God, which is the Enclosure of Holiness, through which are holified the holy ones, and from this garden to the Abode of Life and the Garden of Bodies, and from there to this world, [which is] the Abode of Deed (amal) without Reward; and from this world we go to the Abode of Reward without Deed; and those of us, whose innate disposition (fitra) has remained sound and whose deeds are beautiful, go to the Garden of God, if they are among those drawn near [to God], the ones who have become perfect in this world, or to the Garden of Life, if they are among the People of the Right Side; and those, whose deeds were ugly and whose hearts have become black, remain under (=in) the Fire of Gods wrath, in Gehenna.353

351 352

Sadr, arshiyya, 273. Sadr, arshiyya, 273. 353 Sadr, arshiyya, pp. 274275. 103

On the basis of the above-quoted passages from the Asrr and the arshiyya, we can draw the following circle:

When the human spirit reaches the stage of its sacred father, the end of the circle of being joins up with its beginning, and the separation of the engendered existence is removed from it by the existential connective substance of meaning.354

Hence, it is evident that, for Sadr, the denial of the souls existence before the body actually implies the denial of its existence after the body, since the latter existence is understood by him as the souls return to its beginning and source, after its obtaining bodily, psychic and intellectual perfections. The denial of the souls existence before the body, through the existence of its principle and source, would lead to the denial of any kind of its existence after the body; whence we should have no other choice than to follow the path of the Aeonists (dahriyyn) and the Naturalists (tabiyyn), which, in turn, would invalidate the Transcendent Wisdom. As for the exact way of the souls pre-existence to the body, in a nutshell, it can be characterized as the existence of the effect and the occasioned thing through its cause and occasion. This pre-existence bears an essential, not a temporal, character and consists of several stations and at least two existential modalities the noetic (intellectual) and the
354

Sadr, Tafsr, part 2, 247. 104

psychic (imaginal). The soul, though it is a shadow of its noetic cause and principle, pre-exists the natural body as a more intense light pre-exists a weaker one. This body, then, is the effect of the soul and the soul, being its cause, brings it to perfection, which eventually allows it to enter the world of separated intellects and subjugating lights. The intellect, which subjugates the soul, in turn, uses the body as a tool to bring the soul itself to the highest possible perfection, which results in its becoming the actual intellect, i.e., in the actualisation of its hidden intellectual potentiality. Since this actualisation cannot take place otherwise than by means of the natural body, the latter is originated, in order to ensure the possibility of the souls progress towards perfection. Hence, the natural modality is an indispensable stage of the souls journey towards perfection, while the natural body is nothing else than a specific level (martaba) of the soul. 3.3. THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF METEMPSYCHOSIS Sadr strongly denies the possibility of metempsychosis or transmigration of souls (tansukh) if the soul is understood as the principle of bodily faculties and the administrator of a particular material body, because such possibility is in complete contradiction with his teaching on the substantial motion of the soul.
The soul has an essential connection with the [natural] body, and their composition is a unified [and] natural one, and each of them performs a substantial essential motion together with the other.355

The soul begins its existence as a material body, in order to be gradually developed into and actualized as the soul proper. This initial natural stage of the souls development requires its existence as a sensing affair (amr hss). When the intensity of the souls existence has achieved a certain degree, it becomes able to subsist without a material body, as pure imagination (though the latter itself can be treated as a kind of body i.e., an imaginal body/ likeness of intelligible meanings). The substantial motion, according to Sadr, is a unidirectional evolutionary affair in respect both to the soul and to the body (and eventually leads to their complete unification in the realm of pure Intellect).356 Having become a purely perceptual existence (wujd idrk), the soul dispenses with the five external senses. Its development into pure consciousness is an essential and, therefore, inevitable affair, holds Sadr, because once a thing is actualized as a certain species, its return to sheer potentiality in respect to that species is impossible.357 Besides, between the form and the matter of every natural compound affair exists a sort of unity, which makes impossible subsistence of one of them and perishing of the other, in so far as they are considered as form and matter, because the former relates to the latter as perfection to imperfection. This is also true in respect to genus and differentia. The soul in the aspect of its being the soul (the perfection of a material body and its administrator) is the specific form (sra nawiyya) of that body and the formal cause of the
355 356

357

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 2. Cf. Chitticks statement: Contrary to what was thought by some of the earlier philosophers, disengagement (i.e., separation (tajarrud) J.E.) does not imply a rejection of the body. This is because the essential reality of the body is formal, not material. The more the soul is strengthened, the more the bodys intellective form is intensified and the more its existence is consolidated (Chittick, Teleology, 237). Chittick is, perhaps, influenced by the popular Sufi belief that the entire body of the saints becomes the soul. I am inclined to think that already in the imaginal (psychic) realm/ spectrum of wujd the terminology which is based on distinction between the soul and the body becomes irrelevant. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 2. 105

quiddity of the obtained psychic species. In turn, the body, in the aspect of its being the body, is the matter of the soul that is essentially connected with it and the material cause of the species. Therefore, in respect to the souls natural receiving (or: passive) connected existence (al-wujd al-taalluq al-infil al-tab), its subsistence without a natural body is impossible. But, unlike other souls, human souls have another kind of existence apart from the bodily one. In respect to its separated existence, the soul cannot become connected with a material body be it either the one in which it used to reside before the separation or other. Metempsychosis must not be confused with the corporeal return. Metempsychosis (tansukh) in the sense of the transfer of the soul from one elemental or natural body to another be it either more or less perfect is impossible. What is not only possible, but also inevitable, is the transformation of the soul from its this-worldly natural and bodily configuration to the other-worldly one and its assuming an other-worldly form (imaginal body), in conformity with its this-worldly states and habits. As it was stated earlier, there are four principal paths which can be taken by the soul in its essential development in the other (imaginal) world. It can assume a luminous angelic form if it fears God and strives to be virtuous, or a devilish one if it chooses the path of evil and wickedness. If it makes no conscious choice, but follows its animal passions, the soul takes either the form of a predatory beast if the habitude of wrath (ghadab) predominates over that of the appetite, or the form of a lustful brute if the appetite (lust) (shahwa) predominates over wrath. In respect to this other-worldly form or imaginal body the soul does not act as the administrator and mover. Rather, this imaginal body is its shadow and concomitant (lzim), to which the soul pays little (if any) attention.358 Naturally, the owner of the shadow cannot use the shadow as means for achieving perfection, nor can the shadow have any sort of influence upon him or change his state in any way. The situation is more complicated, if the soul has acquired a number of intense virtues and vices. Sadr supposes that the imaginal body of such soul successively assumes a number of different angelic and animal forms in keeping with the presently predominant virtue or vice. If one or more of the evil passions developed in the soul during its natural life gradually fade away and disappear in the afterlife, the relevant imaginal form (of a certain animal which symbolizes that passion) gradually becomes less and less intense, until it is replaced with another imaginal animal form, which symbolizes a different passion. This change of the souls imaginal bodies, to Sadr, is a true and undeniable affair in the eyes of the folk of revealing, but, as he asserts, it cannot be regarded as metempsychosis, because it simply reflects the change of the souls inner state.359 To this, one can probably object that, according to the principle of analogical gradation of existence, sense (hiss) must be treated as weak imagination (khayl daf). Hence, the natural sensible body also is a mirror though less perfect than the imaginal one of the souls inner state(s). If we admit that sense and imagination differ from each other only in the degree of intensity, what can prevent the soul from changing its sensible (=low-intensity imaginal) body according to its newly acquired inner state? Sadr holds the preventing affair must be the specific preparedness possessed by the matter of a particular body. But the transformed soul (or, say, the transformed individual spirit) can probably adapt matter for the expression of its (the souls) state through continuously exerted influence upon it (matter). On a pre-discursive level, Sadrs denial of metempsychosis is rooted in his dominant intuition of the perfectional flow of existence and its intensifying movement (al-haraka al358 359

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 19. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 3031. 106

ishtiddiyya). Absorbed by this intuition, he believes all affairs that entail regress or weakening of existence, after its becoming strong, to be in disagreement with the universal principles of philosophy (which, in fact, are the product of his reflection upon the consequences of the aforementioned intuition) and, therefore, impossible and absurd. One particular group of human beings the divine sages or those perfect in knowledge (alkmiln f l-ilm) according to Sadr, become free from both this-worldly natural and other-worldly imaginal bodies through unification with the Active Intellect.360 3.4. THE SPIRITUAL RETURN As it was mentioned above, the Mutakallimn distinguished between corporeal and spiritual mad, treating the first as the resurrection of material bodies and the second as restoration of spirit in the latter. None of the two kinds of mad in their traditional theological sense is compatible with the principles of Peripatetic philosophy, therefore the falsifa dismissed the possibility of the occurrence of corporeal return altogether and reinterpreted the spiritual return in accordance with the underlying intuition of their doctrine. At least in case of Ibn Sn this intuition can be defined as an acute awareness of the evil nature of the natural sensible world and, consequently, a burning desire to intellectually flee from it towards the spiritual and intelligible one, which is perceived as pure good or the closest station to the latter that can be possibly attained. Albeit with different acuteness, since the times of Plato, this intuition was shared by most outstanding Greek and Muslim philosophers, wherefore we can probably describe the falsafa tradition as that of intellectual flight from the evil, personified by prime matter. The teaching of Muslim philosophers, from Ibn Sn to Sadr, on mad rhn cannot, in all likelihood, be properly understood without an awareness of the aforementoned fact namely, that philosophy, as a method of reflection and a way of life, is a flight from the sensible towards the intellectual. In view of this, it is just natural that all philosophers agree upon the substance and necessity of spiritual (read: intellectual (aql)) return. For this very reason, Sadrs doctrine on mad rhn is, apparently, one of the least original components of his philosophy. Although in its most mature version, presented in the Asfr, Sadrian teaching on spiritual return differs from Avicennan one in some important points (e.g. in the understanding of the substance of the Active Intellect (al-aql al-fal)), on the whole it represents a slightly altered repetition of the latter (a good deal of Sadrs text consisting of paraphrased passages from Ibn Sns writings).361 In view of this, I shall first give a succinct account of Ibn Sns teaching on spiritual return, as it is presented in his al-Mabd wa l-mad, and then examine the points in which Sadrs treatment of the issue differs from that of Ibn Sn. In a nutshell, according to Ibn Sn, the spiritual return of the human soul consists in its theoretical facultys (al-quwwa al-nazariyya) attainment of the acquired intellect (al-aql almustafd) through establishing a contact with the Active Intellect (al-aql al-fal). (The Active Intellect, as he explains, is that of the separated intellects which is the nearest to us. The Greek term was first introduced by Aristotle in his De Anima (III.5), where he used it to refer to the active part of the human soul. Alexander of Aphrodisias in his

360 361

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 6. Cf. e.g. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 124 and Ibn Sn, Mabd, 111112; Asfr, part 9, 135 and Mabd, 113. 107

commentary on the passage describes the Active Intellect as god362 apparently because he perceives as a logos which, through its self-contemplation, brings into existence the world below it.) Behind this Avicennan theory of spiritual return/ resurrection as attaching the theoretical faculty of ones rational soul to the Active Intellect, apparently, lies the intuition that, in the true sense, the cosmos does not exist otherwise than as the Intellect, or rather, as intellection (intellectual perception). The theoretical faculty of the soul the only part of it, which, to Ibn Sn, survives the natural death, in fact, is nothing else but perception and awareness. To enjoy genuine happiness in this life and the afterlife, it must separate itself from the impurities of prime matter, becoming pure intellection (taaqqul/ idrk aql) which, to Ibn Sns belief, is the very mode of the existence of the eternal intellects. In Ibn Sns opinion, the existents which pertain to the domain of sense cannot be truly perceived and do not deserve to be called the perceived. What can be truly and really perceived are the Pure Good and the spiritual substances (i.e., the intellects or the intellections):
The perceived (mudrak) and the received (munl) is not the eaten [thing], or the scent, or what is similar to them, but the thing which is pure splendour and sheer good the one from which effuses every good, and every order (nizm), and every pleasure, and also what counts as the angelic spiritual substances those which are the essentially beloved ones.363

The theoretical faculty of the rational human soul is originated together with the body as pure potentiality of intellection. In this purely potential state, it is referred to as the potential intellect (al-aql bi l-quwwa) or the (primo-) material intellect (al-aql al-hayuln). The name is given to it due to its similarity to the prime matter of bodies, which, not possessing any form in itself, is capable of assuming every sensible form: not having any intelligible form of its own, the potential or material intellect has a capability to take on every intelligible form.364 This potential intellect (intellection) is defined by Ibn Sn as the readiness (literally: shaping J.E.) of the soul (tahayyu li l-nafs)365 or a sheer preparedness (istidd) of the soul to assume all forms.366 This potentiality of intellection is actualized by the Active Intellect (whose activity should be understood as its being the intellect (intellection) in actu (al-aql bi l-fil) and whose being the intellect does not differ from its being the intellected (maql)). The first thing originated by the act of the Active Intellect upon the material intellect is the habitual intellect (intellectus in habitu; al-aql bi l-malaka). It represents the form of the primary intelligibles (al-maqlt al-uwla), i.e., axiomatic truths (some of which e.g. The whole is greater than its part are actualized without having recourse to logical reasoning and practice and some other e.g. Every terrene body is heavy through practice). The theoretical faculty of the soul follows these forms and submits itself to them in order to obtain other more sophisticated ones (i.e., the secondary intelligibles). The actualization of the habitual intellect gives the soul a possibility to use syllogism (qiys) and logical definition (hadd). However, the conclusions of the syllogism and the logical definition are accepted as true and valid only due to the effusion of the light of the Active Intellect. When the soul actualizes in itself the acquired intelligibles though without their actual occurrence in it, in the aspect of their actualization in it, it becomes the actual intellect
362 363 364 365 366

See: F.Rahman, Akl (V.892.b), in EI. Ibn Sn, Mabd, 111112. See: Ibn Sn, Mabd, 97. Ibn Sn, Mabd, 96. Ibn Sn, Mabd, 97. 108

(intellect in actu; al-aql bi l-fil) (which means that the soul becomes able to intellect them whenever it wishes, without having to seek them anew). When, in turn, the actual existence of these intelligible forms in the soul is considered, these intelligibles are collectively called the intellect that is acquired (or: obtained) from outside (aql mustafd min al-khrij) (that is, from the Active Intellect J.E.), through demand (talab) or device (hla). Therefore, it can be called the actual intellect in respect to itself and the acquired intellect in respect to its actor.367 The only intelligible form which is essentially perceived by the acquired intellect is that of the Active Intellect. All other intelligible forms are perceived through the latter, in an accidental manner.
It was explained [earlier] that the [individual] intellect refines the intelligibles from the sensible affairs and makes itself similar to the former, and that it intellects through a habitude acquired from the thing which is intellect in its essence and intelligible in its substance not that kind of the intelligible, which is separated (or: abstracted) by the intellect from a nonintelligible shape, thus becoming [accidentally] intelligible. And it is more proper for such a substance to be the principle (mabd), so that the rest, which is not intelligible in its essence, might be intellected through it. And this is so because the thing which is something in its essence is the principle in respect to every thing which is not the aforementioned thing.368

Thus, to Ibn Sn and his followers (in this case, including Mull Sadr) the spiritual return/ resurrection means the unification of the theoretical faculty of the rational human soul with the Active Intellect (the nearest of the separated intellects in respect to the inhabitants of the sublunary sphere). Through this unification, it permanently perceives the Sheer Good and the Necessarily Existent, the separated intellects and its own essence. This permanent unalloyed intellection, together with awareness of it, necessitates its eternal bliss. This takes us to the issue of the bliss and misery of the soul. While the soul resides in the natural body, it can enjoy two kinds of bliss, one of which pertains to the theoretical faculty and the other to the practical one. The theoretical bliss is the perfection of the souls essence taken without relation to the body and consists in its becoming a knowing (lim) and intellectual (aql) substance. Practical happiness is the perfection of the soul considered in the aspect of its connection with the body and consists in its possessing the shape (property) of bringing under control (istl) the latter. After the natural death, only theoretical bliss continues. It is important to note, however, that pleasure (ladhdha) which accompanies perception does not result from acquisition of perfection. Rather it consists in perception of the agreeable (mulim). The agreeable for the rational soul is the intellection (taaqqul) of the Sheer Good, the existents that are engendered from it in a hierarchical order (i.e., the separated intellects) and its own essence. Its pleasure, therefore, consists in its perceiving (awareness) of this (theoretical) perfection. Two kinds of obstacles essential and accidental ones can prevent the soul from attainment of happiness and make it suffer. Essential imperfection consists in conscious determining oneself on partiality and denial, while possessing yearning for intellectual perfection, and in forsaking attempt to fully acquire the actual intellect. Ibn Sn qualifies this as an incurable disease, which after the natural death results in an everlasting intellectual suffering, incomparably more intense than any kind of physical pain.369 (Sadr in the Asfr identifies the

367 368 369

Ibn Sn, Mabd, 99. Ibn Sn, Mabd, 102. See: Ibn Sn, Mabd, 113. 109

souls which possess the potentiality of intellectual perfection, but do not actualize it and consciously neglect it as the hypocrites (munfiqn).370) In turn, accidental imperfection consists in the souls taking on bodily shapes (i.e., accidents) (al-hayt al-badaniyya) due to its habit to submit to the wishes of the body. These acquired bodily shapes (traces) remain in the soul after its separation from the material body through physical death, preventing it from experiencing intellectual happiness. Since they are alien to the substance of the soul, their presence in it causes it to suffer. However, Ibn Sn is inclined to think that, after a certain period of time, these shapes fade away and perish.371 It is not unlikely that Sadrs teaching on the suffering of the grave (adhb al-qabr) was inspired by this Avicennan idea of the temporally accidental suffering of the soul due to its associating itself with the natural body. The above discussed true (read: intellectual) happiness and suffering, however, is the share of a relatively small number of human souls. As for the majority of the human souls, in which the yearning towards intelligibles does not develop expressly and with certainty, Ibn Sn believes them to possess certain illusory (wahmiyya) or suppositional (zanniyya) happiness or suffering. He refers to the opinion of Frb that, after their natural death, these souls, due to their yearning for the natural body, might somehow relate themselves to celestial and atmospheric bodies, which could serve as the loci of manifestation (mazhir) for forms, created in their imagination (according to Frb and Ibn Sn, both imagination (creating images) (takhayyul) and estimation (attributing a particular illusory meaning to a certain image) (tawahhum) require a corporeal substratum a postulate which will be most vigorously attacked by Sadr).372 As Sadr himself states on a number of occasions373, there is no disagreement between him and the earlier Muslim philosophers on the issue of spiritual (or, to put it more precisely, intellectual (aql)) return. In his earlier works, such as al-Mabd wa l-mad and alShawhid al-rubbiyya, the chapters on mad rhn represent, by and large, compilations of paraphrased passages from the writings of Ibn Sn. In some later works, like the arshiyya, Sadr does not discuss the topic at all, only making a brief statement about his full agreement with the predecessors (while he discusses there the corporeal return in great detail). Therefore, this is probably only in the tenth chapter of the fourth journey of the Asfr,374 where the issue is treated by him both in detail and with some originality. This originality, however, has more to do with the style and less with the subject-matter namely, Sadr quotes certain Quranic verses and employs Quranic images, outwardly attempting to demonstrate the complete agreement between revelatory wisdom and philosophical intuition, but, in the actual fact, interpreting the Quranic text in accordance with his philosophical concern of the attainment of intellectual perfection. A particularly good example is Sadrs treatment of those human beings, which, while possessing ability and taste for intellectual perfection, do not actualize it, deliberately abandoning the path leading towards unification with the Active Intellect, and, instead, turning to imaginal and sensible pleasures, as the hypocrites (munfiqn).
The miserable ones divide in two groups one of which consists of the inhabitants of this world, and the universal veil [which is] cast on their hearts and another group, which consists of the hypocrites (munfiqn) those, who, in principle, possess preparedness and, in respect to their innate nature (fitra) and first configuration, receive the light of true knowledge (marifa),
370 371 372 373 374

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 132. The passage will be examined later. See: Ibn Sn, Mabd, 113. See: Ibn Sn, Mabd, 114115. See e.g.: Sadr, arshiyya, 245. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 121184. 110

but go astray from the path and their hearts become veiled by the veil, obtained owing to acquisition of vices through committing acts of disobedience and performing the acts of brutes and predatory beasts, and plotting devilish schemes, until dark shapes and gloomy habits take root [in them].375

Sadr then states that, due to these acquired habits, their souls experience a painful suffering, being tied up and shackled by the shackles of material affections (alq al-hayl) in the darkness of this-worldly desires (shahawt al-duny).376 This picturesque description, based on the Quranic imagery, shows that Sadr confuses essential intellectual suffering with accidental one. The suffering of the soul which has failed to actualize its ability for intellectual development, to Ibn Sn, consists in the painful awareness of this failure:
In the same way as sensible pain consists in sensing what is contrary to ones [object of] yearning and in awareness of movement towards its opposite, this [intellectual] pain also consists in the same [sort of awareness].377

In turn, tormenting bodily shapes (read: desires), which result from the souls submitting itself to the bodily appetites in this-worldly life, are, rather, accidental obstacles that will be eventually removed if the soul has an experience of unification with the Active Intellect. In its metaphorical sense, as a denomination of those human beings who fail to actualize their potentiality for perfection, the term munfiqn, apparently, was first used by the Sufi theorists of Ibn al-Arab school probably, by Qaysar, who wrote in his commentary on the Fuss:
As for the hypocrites those who possess the preparedness of perfection and the preparedness of imperfection, although they experience pain due to their awareness of perfection and the impossibility to achieve it, since their preparedness of imperfection predominates, they consent to remain imperfect and their pain wears off after the Vengefuls taking [His] vengeance upon them through making them suffer, and their suffering becomes sweet (i.e., pleasant J.E.), as we observe this happen with the one, who first does not consent to a base affair, then, when it happens with him, and he is afflicted with it, and it is produced by him a number of times, he becomes disposed to it and gets used to it, and begins to take pride in it, after being ashamed of it.378

Sadr quotes the above passage of Qaysar in the 28th chapter of the 4th journey of the Asfr (On the manner in which the inhabitants of Fire remain eternally in it). His not taking Ibn Sns point on the intellectual suffering and attempts (inspired by Qaysar) to correct it result from his belief that the absence of something (in the given case the absence of intellectual perfection and union with the Active Intellect) is a non-existent affair (amr adam) and, as such, cannot cause either pleasure or suffering. Hence, the cause of suffering must be something existent and found (say, the shackles of material affections and the scorpions of this-worldly appetites). In the 30th chapter of the 4th journey of the Asfr (On the entification of the locus of suffering and punishment in Fire) Sadr clarifies his position, to the effect that the rational soul (the divine spirit, the locus of wisdom and knowledge and an intellectual substance perceiving the purely intelligible forms) is blissful in this world and in the hereafter, since, in actual fact, it never leaves its noble place (the world of the Intellect), and does not belong to the world of misery in any aspect. This soul, however, is not found in most human beings379 (i.e., it cannot
375 376

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 132. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 132. 377 Ibn Sn, Mabd, 113. 378 Qaysar, Matla, part 1, 435. 379 Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 372. 111

be actualized partially or exist as mere potentiality and yearning, as Ibn Sn seems to admit). What does not exist (is not found), cannot experience either pleasure or pain. On the other hand, wrath (ghadab) and appetite (shahwa) are natural perfections of the animal soul, by means of which the latter lauds and praises God. Whatever the animal soul does, driven by wrath and appetite, is its natural act, and natural acts are not liable to punishment. The real locus of suffering, argues Sadr, must therefore be something mixed between the rational and the animal souls. To him, it is the rational soul in the aspect of its connection with the animal soul, before the formers becoming the actual intellect. This mixed affair is like an isthmus, which brings together both sides. In the aspect of its being the animal soul, it is the object of punishment; in the aspect of its being the rational soul, it perceives the pain.380 According to this theory, the punishment is inflicted upon the animal soul for its disobeying the commands of the rational soul. However, the animal soul seems to be unaware of its being punished, because the awareness of punishment and award pertains to the manifestations of the rational soul. Therefore, it appears that the rational soul, attempting to punish the animal soul, in fact punishes itself. The above theory is likely to have its source in the teachings of certain Mutakallimn (probably Ghazl or Rz). There is a trace of incompleteness on it, because, alongside with sound ideas, it seems to include a touch of absurdity as well. Furthermore, since true bliss pertains to the rational soul proper and consists in its witnessing the Sheer Good and the intellects, even a total obedience of the animal soul to the rational one cannot give it more than illusory and imaginal happiness. Therefore, the unhappiness and misery, caused by disobedience, must likewise be a metaphorical and imaginal affair. Hence, the above discussed kind of misery cannot be regarded as true and real misery. In a nutshell, while true (read: intellectual) happiness is reserved for a small minority of people (those who possess the rational soul, i.e., have fully actualized its theoretical faculty, attaining unification with the Active Intellect), the true misery, for the above stated reasons, cannot exist at all. Hence, since the admittance of its existence does not agree with the key principles of Sadrs thought, the lot of the overwhelming majority of human beings in the hereafter is an imaginal affair either imaginal bliss (sada khayliyya) or imaginal misery (shaqwa khayliyya). Before I proceed to corporeal (read: imaginal) resurrection, a few words must be said about Sadrs understanding of the Active Intellect (al-aql al-fal). As most Peripatetic terms, it was invented by Aristotle, who, however, used it only once in De Anima III.5, apparently in order to refer to the active part of the rational human soul, which actualizes its passive counterpart. Due to the brevity and obscurity of the passage, the opinion of the commentators divided: while Alexander of Aphrodisias, as it was mentioned above, believed the to be God, Themistius insisted on its being nothing more than a part of the human soul. Ibn Sn, who had to rely on the Arabic translations (of rather poor quality) and the commentary of Frb, treated the aql fal as the lowest member of the hierarchy of separated substances, which, in their totality, constituted the intellectual (noetic) universe. He held it to be responsible for providing material objects with individual forms and the human intellect with universal ones (whence, in the latter Peripatetic tradition both in the East and the West it was often called the Giver of Forms (Dator formarum; whib al-suwar)). It must be admitted that Ibn Sns teaching on establishing a permanent contact with the Active Intellect (ittisl bi l- aql al-fal) is not void of certain contradictions, due to the conflicting influences of Aristotle and Plotinus (although Ibn Sn did not know Plotinus by name and believed the Uthljiy to be written by Aristotle, he was, undoubtedly, deeply influenced by some Plotinian ideas, discussed in the latter book).
380

Sadr, Asfr, 371. 112

What, after all, is understood by being in touch (ittisl) with the Universal Intellect and/ or unification (ittihd) with it? Does it mean achieving the most sublime state of perceiving/ witnessing the Pure Good and unification with it, as Plotinus believed? Or is it simply an acquisition of a skill to separate the intelligible forms of things from their material shapes, i.e., an ability to invent logical definitions, consisting of genus and differentia (e.g. man (=human being) is a rational animal)? In the latter case, as Sadr points out381, it is difficult to earnestly believe that possession of such knowledge and awareness of possessing it can cause happiness which is incomparably more intense than any sort of sensory pleasure. Therefore, we must either treat this unification in Plotinian sense or agree that, at times, Ibn Sn presents himself as a complete simpleton. In Sadrs cosmology, as I attempted to demonstrate in the 2nd chapter, the division of the world of Intellect into a number of levels is a mental (dhihn) affair. Therefore, Sadr treats the Active Intellect not as a vertical intellect, but as a horizontal one namely, as the lord of the human species.
When the light the one which is its (the human souls J.E.) intelligible form becomes more intense, it unites with the universal human spirit, which is called the Spirit of Holiness, the Active Intellect and the Active Principle the one, the width and wideness of whose existence is such that its relation towards all human individuals, instances and specimen is one and the same. 382

The identification of the Active Intellect with the archetype of the human species, however, poses several questions, which Sadr does not explicitly answer. According to the principle every thing returns to its root/ principle, the return of the rational human soul to its lord of species must be a universal affair. Hence, all human souls return to their soul-giver (ravnbakhsh) and the universal human spirit (in fact, they always remain with it, although their preoccupation with bodily affairs may make them forget this). Therefore, spiritual/ intellectual mad must be understood as actualization of awareness of the true state of things (i.e., restoring the ability to perceive oneself as the eternal intellectual human being). How does this awareness or the intellection of ones intelligible self relate to the awareness/ intellection of the Sheer Good? Sadr does not examine this relationship in a speculative discourse, presenting instead a paraphrase of the introduction of Suhrawards Safr-e Smurgh (The Shrill Cry of the Simurgh) (in which the Persian word Smurgh is replaced with its Arabic analogue Anq).383 In the Ishrq tradition, Anq/ Smurgh is a symbol of the Universal Intellect (al-aql al-kull)384 and, concomitantly, of all particular intellects (while in the Sufi tradition of Ibn al-Arab school Anq, on the contrary, refers to prime matter385). The import of Sadrs statement the arrival of the wayfarers at their destination occurs owing to the assistance of this holy bird386 seems to be that an individual human soul acquires awareness of God, Sheer Good and the Light of Lights through coming in touch (ittisl) and unification (ittihd) with the awareness of the Active Intellect (i.e., through annihilating its individual awareness in the universal one).

381 382 383

384

385 386

Sadr, arshiyya, 244. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 144. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 144146. Cf. Suhrawards Persian text in: Shihb al-Dn Suhraward, Safr-i Smurgh, Tehrn: Mawl 1374 S.H., 78. Sayyed Jafar Sajjd holds that Smurgh is the symbol of the Universal Soul (nafs-i kull), but his arguments do not appear to be convincing. See: S.J.Sajjd, Sharh-i risl-i frs-yi Suhraward, Tehrn: Hawze-i hunar 1376 S.H., 173. See: Kshn, Istilht, 105. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 146.

113

In the falsafa tradition, wayfaring (sulk) is commonly understood as separation from matter and actualization of the intellect. Sadrs theory of spiritual return, which is simultaneously a teaching on theoretical wayfaring (al-sulk al-nazar), gives a fairly typical description of this intellectual method. This description has some originality of expression, but adds little to the ideas of his predecessors. His attempts to correct Avicennan doctrine on mad rhn in accordance with the Platonic spirit of his own philosophy, e.g. the interpretation of the Active Intellect as the lord of the human species, testify to his awareness of the imperfection and inner contrariety of the former doctrine, but, at the same time, his suggested improvements make it even more contradictory. 3.5. CORPOREAL RESURRECTION To Sadr, the difference between the kinds of perception (sensible, imaginal, and intellectual) is a difference in the intensity of existence, not in essence. Therefore, as it was previously mentioned, like Plotinus, he believes senses to be weak intellects and intellects strong senses.387 If so, his statement that most human beings do not experience spiritual (i.e., intellectual) return/ resurrection should be understood to the effect that they do experience it, but their experience is weak and of low intensity, therefore, it should be better described as imaginal one. The usage of the traditional theological terms mad rhn instead of mad aql and mad jusmn for mad khayl is only for the sake of convenience and in order to avoid undesired problems with the exoteric scholars (al-ulam al-zhirn). Therefore, while Ibn Sn is uncertain (or, to put it better, has little care) about the mad of those human beings which fail to come in touch with the Active Intellect, Sadr is very certain that they do experience it, though it is an experience of a lesser intensity than spiritual (intellectual) return/ resurrection. The necessity of the imaginal mad is, thus, dictated by the principles of the principality and analogical gradation of existence, and is most convincingly proved by Sadr. His proof of the necessity of corporeal (imaginal) return/ resurrection is based on several important premisses, which, simultaneously, appear to be the key principles of Sadrs philosophy in general. First. In every existent thing, the principle of its being existent (=being found) (mawjdiyya) is its existence (finding), while quiddity only follows existence (as a shadow follows its possessor). Hence, the reality (haqqa) of every thing is its specific kind of existence, not its quiddity. Existence is, therefore, an entified he-ness (al-huwwiyya al-ayniyya), which cannot be imitated by any mental affair. It is not possible to refer to it otherwise than through pure knowledge of witnessing (irfn shuhd).388 Second. The individuation (tashakhkhus) of every thing is nothing else than its specific kind of existence (nahw wujdihi al-khss). Existence and individuation are unified in their essence, while they differ as concepts. The so-called individuating accidents (al-awrid almushakhassa) are, in fact, only signs and concomitants of an individual existential he-ness, and even in this capacity they can be accepted only if taken not in their entities and individuals, but as perpetual changeability of limitation (or: definition) (hadd) (and, hence, quiddity) in the accident.389 (I.e., what subsists is accident-in-general, while its intensity is in perpetual change. This change of the intensity of accident, naturally, is caused by and must be viewed as the concomitant of the perpetual change of the intensity of substance.)
387 388

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 101. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 185. Cf. Ibn Sns statement in the Ishrt: It is not possible to point to the First One except by pure intellectual knowledge (irfn aql) (Ibn Sn, Ishrt, 275). 389 See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 185. 114

Third. The nature of existence accepts intensity and weakness by its very essence (which is simple and non-compound both externally and mentally). Hence, the difference between its instances is not by essential differentia, accident or any other individuator that is added to the principle of this nature (as the Peripatetics hold), but by essential intensity and weakness and (essential) priority and posteriority. However, the universal concepts that are essentially attributed to the instances of existence and extracted from them (i.e., the quiddities) differ from each other by genus, differentia and accident. Therefore, it is said that existence differs in species, because the essentialists (those who believe in the principality of quiddity) treat different levels of intensity of existence as different species. Fourth. Existence accepts intensifying motion (al-haraka al-ishtiddiyya) and substance is capable of an essential transformation (istihla) of its substantiality. Parts and limitations of a single continuous motion, as it was previously established, do not exist in actu, but only in potentia and as abstractions of the mind. Hence, all parts of such motion exist by one and the same existence. (At the utmost, Sadr is ready to grant the quiddities abstracted from different stages and levels of substantial motion some sort of undifferentiated existence (wujd ijml).)390 Fifth. Every compound thing is what it is through its form, not through its matter. Matter is nothing else than the subject (carrier) of the potentiality and possibility of the thing and the substratum of receiving/ passivity (infil) and motion. Therefore, if one supposed the subsistence of the form of a compound thing without matter, he would find the thing existing in the totality of its reality. Sixth. The individual oneness (unity) of every thing which is the same as its existence is not univocal in fashion and does not pertain to the same degree to all existents. On the contrary, like existence itself, it is ambiguous and analogically graded: in continuous quantities (measures) it manifests itself as continuity and uninterruptedness; in time and gradual affairs as ceasing and self-renewal; in numbers as actual manyness; in natural bodies as potential manyness. Furthermore, in separated substances it manifests itself otherwise than in material ones, because their capacity as vessels of existence is different. (The latter postulate seems to reflect the influence of Mr Dmds teaching (though radically reinterpreted by Sadr) on wi al-dahr and wi al-zamn.). As ones separation from matter and substantiation increases and he grows more powerful and more perfect, he becomes able to encompass more and more things and bring together more and more different affairs, until eventually he actualizes in himself the form of existence in its entirety. Due to its ability to encompass everything, the human soul moves freely up and down the scale of existence, decreasing and increasing its intensity at its will. Owing to its phasing itself in different phases, one and the same thing can be at times connected with matter and at other times separated from it (while this separation also has different degrees). Seventh. The he-ness and individuation of the body occur through its soul, not through its bulk (matter). Even if a natural form is changed into an imaginal one, the he-ness of human being, regardless of all transformations, remains (one and) the same, because it exists as a gradually actualized continuity. The soul, as the form of perfection and completeness of human being, is the principle of its essence and the place of the origin of its faculties and tools (such as eyes, ears, nose etc.), and the source of its dimensions and parts, which preserves all them in this natural engendering and simultaneously gradually changes them into parts of the spiritual (i.e., imaginal) body, and then into simple intellectual substance. The change of matter is not an obstacle for the subsistence of a compound thing, because matter constitutes it not in the aspect of its specification and entification, but as genus and something indefinite

390

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 186. 115

and non-specified (amr mubham).391 (The latter postulate, as it was mentioned above, plays a crucial role in Sadrs teaching on substantial motion.) Eighth. The imaginal faculty does not reside in any part of material human body. Moreover, it does not exist in any direction (aspect) of the natural world. It exists in an intermediate substantial world, which is situated between the world of intellectual (noetic) substances and the world of material natural existents (i.e., in the world of Imagination (lam al-khayl) or that of Likeness (lam al-mithl)). Ninth. Imaginal forms (and perceptual forms in general) do not penetrate into the substratum of the soul, or into any other locus. They subsist through the soul as the act subsists through its actor, not as the received affair subsists through its receiver. As long as the soul is connected with the (natural) body, its sense perception is different from imagination, because the former requires external matter and specific preconditions, but the latter does not require them. But after the souls coming out of the natural world the difference between sensing and imagination disappears, because, when the imaginal faculty grows strong and comes out of the dust (ghubr) of the natural body, all faculties unify and return to the common sense (al-hiss al-mushtarak), and the imaginal faculty replaces all other faculties. In another aspect, the souls power, knowledge and appetite becomes one thing, therefore, by imagining the objects of appetite, the soul simultaneously makes them present. Tenth. In the same way as measurable forms and bodily shapes and figures are produced by the actor with the participation of matter, which receives them in accordance with its preparedness, they are also produced by active directions and their perceptual aspects without its participation. (Sadr believes that celestial spheres and planets are produced by the intellects exactly in this way as pure acts of thought).392 Basing his reasoning on Ibn alArabs discourse on himma (aspiration) in the Fuss393, Sadr asserts that intensity and weakness of the imaginal forms one perceives depends on his ability or inability to bring together his aspiration. Eleventh. There are an infinite number of worlds and configurations existent, but all they can be divided into three genera: 1) the world of perpetually engendering and corrupting natural forms; 2) the world of sensible perceptual forms; 3) the world of intellectual forms and archetypes. The peculiarity of the human soul consists in its being gradually engendered in each of these three worlds, while subsisting as individual. Beginning with its earliest infancy, the human being undergoes natural engendering (al-kawn al-tab), in conformity with which he is a smooth-skinned (i.e., natural) human being (insn bashar). In the process of substantial motion, his existence gradually becomes purer and subtler, as a result of which purification he experiences the psychic engendering (al-kawn al-nafsn), in conformity with which he is the other-worldly psychic human being (insn nafsn ukhraw), the object of Sending Forth (Awakening) (bath) and Rising (qiym). Then he is gradually transferred from the psychic engendering to intellectual (noetic) one (al-kawn al-aql) and becomes the intellectual (noetic) human being. (What we get here, in a nutshell, is Plotinus reinterpreted in accordance with the theory of substantial motion.) One has to fully agree with Fazlul Rahman, who considered these eleven principles to be not only the constituents of Sadrs proof of corporeal resurrection, but also the main principles of his philosophy and their consequences.394 But Rahman does not pose a question, why this is the case, i.e., why Sadrs proof of mad jusmn, as presented in the Asfr395, consists of
391 392

See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 190191. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 192193. 393 See: Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 8889. 394 Rahman, Philosophy, 255. For his account of these principles, see: Rahman, Philosophy, 255257. 395 Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 185197. 116

the (most masterly composed) summary of Sadrs philosophy proper. The importance and sensitivity of the issue can only be understood properly if it is considered in the context of Sadrs relationship with the audiences towards which his writings were directed and his full awareness of their preparednesses and the set of beliefs they adhered to.396 My observation is that, when Sadr presents his arguments of a major issue of his teaching, they often look like roadmaps depicting the stages of transformation of a common (exoteric) religious belief into a philosophical truth. What we encounter in the given case, is the transformation of the dogma of the resurrection of natural bodies into the doctrine of the subsistence of imaginative faculty and its becoming the substratum of the experiences of the afterlife. Apart from its religious importance, the issue of corporeal return also concerned Sadr as a particular instance of the lower possibility (al-imkn al-akhass). The theory of the lower possibility, as we remember, demands that in the ascending movement towards God all lower evolutionary stages of perfection must be fully actualized before the ascending affair can move to a higher stage. Hence, it is impossible to jump from the sensible world to the intellectual one, bypassing the domain of imagination. Rather, the overwhelming majority of the human souls remain forever enjoying themselves in the imaginal Garden or suffering in the imaginal Fire (for this reason, Sadr compares human souls with ways (sirtt), only some of which arrive at the destination, while the others stop at some intermediate point without reaching the intended place397). Even more importantly, Sadr apparently felt that his predecessors, like Ibn Sn and Suhraward, have failed to do the justice to mad jusmn, treating it as an uncertain and insignificant affair. It does not follow hence, nevertheless, that Sadr did not share his predecessors belief that, whosoever has ability and preparedness for it, must strive to achieve unification with the Active Intellect at all cost. Of course, he did share it fully, as we saw it in the previous subchapter during the discussion on the hypocrites. Moreover, unlike Ibn Sn, Sadr viewed separation (tajarrud) as a gradual process that takes no less than ones lifetime to complete not as an instantaneous (durationless) act of thought. The greatest part of the road, along which the folk of tajrd have to travel in order to achieve unification with the Active Intellect, according to Sadr, goes through the domain of imagination. If so, the roadmap of spiritual return proper does not give a full account of the complexity of the issue of mad. What the common Peripatetic tradition understands as spiritual return represents little more than development of the skill to conceptualize sense data. Ibn Sns Neoplatonic treatment of coming in touch with the Active Intellect as intellection of Pure Good (which cannot be conceptualized and defined by genus and differentia) disagrees with the Aristotelian understanding of tajarrud as conceptualization of sense experiences, thus revealing the contradictoriness of his approach. In any case, imagination is not a major issue in Peripatetic interpretations of mad. Sadrs interpreting the Active Intellect as the lord of human species, together with his treatment of separation as a gradual affair, make imagination an essential phase of the evolution of the human soul from sense into intellect. The domain of Imagination and its landmarks are described by Sadr in terms of the Quranic eschatology or one will also be just in asserting the opposite, namely, that the Quranic eschatology is interpreted by him as a series of events pertaining to the imaginal phase of the souls substantial evolution. I shall now attempt to examine some of these landmarks the Grave (al-qabr), the Sending Forth/ Awakening (al-bath) and the Rising (al-qiyma) proceeding subsequently to the analysis of the experiences of Garden and Fire.

396 397

For a more detailed account of these audiences, see: Morris, Wisdom, 3941. See: Sadr, arshiyya, 264. 117

3.5.1. The Grave and the Awakening

Although the influence of Ibn al-Arabs teaching on the barzakh (isthmus)398 on Sadrs conception of the Grave is considerable, it seems that its principal source must be sought in Ibn Sns seminal remarks on the bodily shapes (al-hayt al-badaniyya) that inhere in the soul due to its habit to obey the wishes of the body, wherefore the soul, in fact, identifies itself with the latter. After the souls separation from the natural body, these shapes remain in the soul, causing accidental suffering due to the presence in it of what is alien to its essence.399 To Sadr, this is exactly the souls habit to identify itself with the natural body that causes it to suffer or to experience bliss in the Grave:
When the spirit abandons the natural body, it retains some sort of connection with this body not with its material parts, as some of the recent [scholars] have thought400 but with the body in its entirety in the aspect of its (i.e., the bodys J.E.) form and the shape of its frame (haykal), which remain in its (the souls J.E.) memory. And the soul, when it abandons the body, carries with it the estimative faculty, which perceives particular meanings through its essence and corporeal (read: imaginal J.E.) forms through employing imagination. when a human being dies and imagines his essence as [an affair which is] separated from this world, and [mistakenly] identifies it as that very human being which is dead and buried the one which died in his form [in the same manner as in dream visions he witnesses himself in the same form in which he exists in this world, and witnesses the affairs by true witnessing through his inner sense]401 and finds his body in the grave, and perceives the pain that afflicts the body as sensible punishment, in keeping with what the true Laws tell us, this is the suffering of the Grave (adhb al-qabr). But, if he is a blessed one, he imagines what is promised by the Law in an agreeable form, in conformity with the objects of his beliefs, such as gardens, rivers, parks, page-boys, houris, cups of the allotted [substance] (i.e., wine J.E.), and this is the reward of the Grave (thawb al-qabr) and the true Grave consists of these shapes.402

Grave is the first other-worldly stage of the souls substantial evolution, at which the soul continues to identify itself with its natural body, in spite of its actual separation from the latter, and imagines that as/ through this natural body it receives sensible reward and sensible punishment for its this-worldly acts performed in conformity with its beliefs or contrary to them. Thus, grave, reward and punishment are imaginal and illusory affairs that exist only in the consciousness of the soul. If the latter did not identify itself with the natural body and did not believe in posthumous reward and punishment, it would not experience them. Experiences of the Grave result solely from our estimations (awhm). However, it is impossible to avoid burial in the psychic grave and not to identify our self with the natural body otherwise than through an intense and lasting experience of separation (tajrd) from the latter. How is such experience provoked? There must have been a complex of ascetic exercises (riydt), practised by the people of separation (ahl al-tajrd) previously to Sadr (a good number of allusions to such exercises are dispersed among the writings of
398 399

See e.g.: Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 1, 304-307 and part 3, 249250. See: Ibn Sn, Mabd, 113. 400 Apparently, Sadr refers to the famous theory of the Shii Mutakallim Sadr al-Dn al-Dashtak al-Shrz (828/1425903/1497) (discussed in the latters Risla f l-mad) on the twofold connection of the soul with the natural body through the animal spirit and directly with parts of the body. While the first connection is destroyed by natural death, the second, as Dashtak holds, remains intact. Dashtak believes that every particle of the natural body is somehow branded by the soul during their coexistence. By this brand, different parts of the destroyed body will recognize each other upon Rising, coming together and restoring the decayed shape, after which the soul will return to it. (See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 205.) 401 Sadr, Mafth, part 2, 726. 402 Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 219. According to Khjav, the last paragraph is a paraphrase of a passage from Ghazls al-Madnn bihi al ghayr ahlihi (What Must Be Kept from the Unworthy) (see: Sadr, Mafth, part 2, 726). 118

Suhraward403). As for Sadr, most of his works can (and must) be treated as textbooks of theoretical separation (let us remember that he called his magnum opus Four intellectual (or: noetic) journeys (al-Asfr al-aqliyya al-arbaa)). Gradually the intensity of the images of the Grave fades away and the soul becomes aware that its estimative faculty has made an error, identifying itself with the physical shape of the dead body. It realizes that, as a non-compound spiritual affair, it is all things that its scope of intensity allows it to encompass. This gradual wearing off of the intensity with which the soul perceives itself as its former natural body is called Sending Forth (or: Awakening) (bath) and coming out of the Grave.
Awakening consists of the souls coming out of the dust of these shapes, like an embryo comes out of its strong dwelling, and the difference between the state of Grave and the state of Awakening is like the difference between mans state in the womb of his mother and that of his coming out of it, and, indeed, the state of Grave is a specimen of the states of Rising.404

When the time for Rising comes, the man wakes up from the sleep of the Grave and, willingly or not, directs himself towards God. Rising from the Grave, i.e., ceasing to identify oneself with the natural body with its wishes and appetites, is one of the essential stages of the soul and an indispensable phase of its substantial development. Since it is an essential affair, its occurrence cannot be prevented by accidental obstacles (such as habits and attachments, referred to by Ibn Sn as bodily shapes). However, the presence of the latter in the soul can make it perceive the event of Rising (and the essential motion in general) as something unpleasant and painful. Once the soul comes out of the Grave, it ceases to identify itself with and imagine itself in the shape of its natural body, but its previous bodily affections remain in it, therefore it is limited (muqayyad) in its creative activity and can only produce images (imaginal forms) of the objects of its affections. Such relative captivity of its imaginative faculty can be described as imaginal Fire (Hell) (al-nr al-khayliyya), while relative freedom of this faculty in producing forms may be considered as imaginal Garden (Paradise) (al-janna al-khayliyya).
3.5.2. Rising

According to Sadr, Rising (qiyma) is a state of consciousness and a stage of perceptual existence (al-wujd al-idrk), at which a complete destruction of habitual this-worldly images and manifestations of existence occurs. He believes that the Quranic verses which describe the events of the Last Day (e.g. When the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness, and the sun and the moon are joined together (75:8-10)405, and the heavens shall be opened as if these were doors, and the mountains shall vanish, as if they were a mirage (78:19-20)406, when the sun is folded up, when the stars fall, loosing their lustre (81:1-2)407) should be understood as allusions to such transformation of consciousness. The focal point of this transformation is witnessing the unbounded existence existence which is not limited in any way.

403 404

See e.g.: Suhraward, Philosophy of Illumination, 15 and 159162. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 219. Cf. Ibn al-Arabs statement: The period of barzakh, in relation to the last configuration, corresponds to the womans carrying the embryo in her belly (Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 3, 250. The English translation by Chittick in: Chittick, Self-Disclosure, 351). 405 Quran, 514. 406 Quran, 520. 407 Quran, 526. 119

In Sufi terms, Rising is equivalent to the Reals essential self-disclosure (al-tajall al-dht) the disclosure, in which it manifests itself as the Unbounded (or: Absolute) Existence (alwujd al-mutlaq). This essential self-disclosure, as it was mentioned earlier, destroys the locus of its manifestation , i.e., the mountain of the souls he-ness, wherefore it ceases to perceive itself as an individual with a set of specific characteristics and, instead, becomes aware of itself as of the whole of existence (i.e., a drop comes to perceive itself as the ocean). Following the Sufi theorists, Sadr describes this transformation of consciousness as the return of its (the souls J.E.) [specified] existence to the existence of the Real through lifting (or: removing) its delimited existence.408
When the manifestation of the light of oneness grows strong, The shadow of frames is lifted from the world.409

The experience of coming in touch with Pure Existence/ Finding (witnessing the essential self-disclosure of the Real) brings the awareness of existence as flow and, hence, the apprehension of the instability and illusory character of all existential images and forms (particular existences). Therefore, sarayn al-wujd (flow of existence) is, first and foremost, an intuition produced by the risen consciousness that has been awakened from the illusion of stability of the (sensible and psychic) world, as Sadr seems to testify in the following passage on the Rising, found in the arshiyya:
Know that the Rising is inside the veils of the heavens and the earth and that it relates to this world as human being relates to womb and bird to egg; and whoso has not destroyed the building of the outer, the inner states are not revealed to him, because the Unseen and the Witnessed cannot be brought together in one locus (mawdi) And the mystic witnesses these states and awe-inspiring affairs [of Rising] upon the manifestation of the authority (sultn) of the other world to his essence, and hears the call: Whose is the Kingdom today? Gods, who is the One and the Overwhelming (40:16)410 and sees the heavens [being] rolled up in His right hand (39:67)411, and, upon [the occurrence of] the Rising, sees this earth quaking and the mountains [being] broken into pieces, so that there is no stability and no solidity in them, and, when the veil is removed through the Greater and Lesser Risings, he sees every thing in its root, without the error of the sense and the doubt of the estimative faculty, and he [also] sees the compound individual possessors of positions (i.e., the natural bodies J.E.) as [perpetually] self-renewing and transforming matters and forms, together with their different accidents those through which their existence as sensible individuals, whose loci of manifestation are the tools (i.e., the organs J.E.) of senses and their receptabilities, is completed. And at Rising they (the possessors of positions, i.e., natural bodies J.E.) are seen by another kind of seeing and at the other-worldly locus of witnessing they do not possess this [sensible] existence, but at the Plain of Rising the mystic witnesses (=perceives) the things in their principal realities by his other-worldly sense, illuminated by the light of Sovereignty, and he witnesses the mountains as plucked wool-tufts (101:5)412, and [then] understands the meaning of His word: They ask you concerning the mountains. Say: my Lord will uproot them and scatter them as dust. He will leave them as plains smooth and level. Nothing crooked or curved wilt thou see in their place (20:105-107).413 And on that day he sees the fire of Gehenna encompassing the unbelievers (i.e., the natural existents J.E.) (9:49)414 and sees how the bodies are being burnt and the skins are being roasted through (4:56)415, and
408 409

Sadr, Mafth, part 2, 723. Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Majmua-i ashr, ed. M.Khjav, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Mawl 1997, 62. 410 The English translation of the verse by Chittick: Chittick, Knowledge, 433. 411 Quran, 394. 412 Chittick, Self-Disclosure, 367. 413 Quran, 259. 414 Quran, 149. 415 Quran, 67. 120

the flesh is being melted [in the fire] whose fuel is men and stones (2:24)416, and [how] the seas are boiling over with a swell.417

The vision of Rising, generally speaking, is the vision of oneness of the true existence (the Real) and illusoriness of its limitations. Upon a closer examination, however, one finds that what is at issue is not an absolute individual oneness (according to which, all is He418), but a sort of oneness-in-manyness and manyness-in-oneness (wahda f l-kathra wa kathra f lwahda): though the mystic perceives the perpetual change and flow of the natural bodies, he simultaneously witnesses the stability of their principal realities (al-haqq al-asliyya) (which, as it was indicated earlier, should be understood as directions (jiht) and aspects of the reality of existence (or rays of the Light of Lights), which appear (can be discerned) at a certain level of its weakening and descending. Therefore, it can be stated that in the above quoted description of the experience of Rising Sadr combines the approaches of Sufi mysticism and Neoplatonism. The dominating intuition is, apparently, that of the natural world as Fire (Hell) (He sees the fire of Gehenna encompassing the unbelievers, and sees how the bodies are being burnt, and the skins are being roasted through, and the flesh is being melted in the fire, whose fuel is men and stones), whence he considers all its inhabitants in particular those who develop liking for and affection to it to be unbelievers (kfirn), while those who have cut their spiritual connections with the natural world, turning their aspirations towards and putting their trust into the truly real intellectual/ noetic existence, but still remain in this world in the aspect of their bodily frames (or the animal soul in general) can be treated as Abrahams, being placed amidst fire, but not burning in it.419 In the Asfr Sadr identifies the experience of Rising as change of the this-worldly configuration into the other-worldly one or as change/ replacement of existence (tabdl alwujd), which can occur both before and after the natural death (in the former case it is called voluntary death (al-mawt al-ird)420).

We have lifted the veil, and today thy sight is piercing (50:22)421 because of the change of their (the mystics and the risen ones J.E.) this-worldly configuration into an other-worldly one. And when their configuration, and their hearing, sight and [other] senses are changed into/ replaced with [the other-worldly] hearing, sight and senses, [simultaneously,] in respect to them,

416 417 418

419

420 421

Quran, 5. Sadr, arshiyya, 267268. This seems to have been the dominant intuition of the ecstatic (in particular, Persian) mysticism since the 11th century at least. According to some testimonies, the expression was first employed by Abdallh Ansr, but, apparently, it was Jm who managed to express it in the most impressive way: A neighbour, an intimate friend and a travelling companion, all is He. In paupers rugs and in kings satin, all is He. In the assembly of separation and in the closet of gathering, all is He. By God, all is He, then [again], by God, all is He. (Abd al-Rahmn Jm, Lawh, in: M.M.T.Majlis, Risle-i tashwq al-slikn, with the attachment of A.Jms Lawh and F. Irqs Lawme, Tehran: Nr-i Ftima Publishers 1996, 62. Cf. Chitticks translation (W.C.Chittick, Sufism: A Short Introduction, Oxford: Oneworld 2000, 75).) According to the Quran, when Abraham, who had come to believe in the True-and-One God, destroyed the images of his tribal gods, his tribesmen sentenced him to death in fire, but the fire, obeying Gods command (We said: O Fire! Be thou cool and (a means of) safety for Abraham! (Quran, 266-267)), did not burn him. The symbol of Abraham, to my knowledge, is never employed by Sadr, but it would be a very appropriate one to indicate the state of the separated souls (of the wise men and mystics) in the kingdom of Nature. See: Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 238. Quran, 446. 121

are changed all existents that are [found] in the heavens and on the earth, because they also have a this-worldly configuration and an other-worldly one.422 And through this change/ replacement in existence, regardless whether it occurs before the [natural] death, with it, or after it, the human being becomes worthy of entering Garden and the Dwelling of Peace, and through it is established the difference between the inhabitants of Garden and the inhabitants of Fire. As for the inhabitants of Garden, they have illuminated hearts and [wide] opened breasts, and purified bodies, and forms separated from the dirt of natural matter, which is not the case with the inhabitants of Fire, because in the essences of the latter the change/ replacement of the natural existence has not taken place.423

The term tabdl al-wujd (change/ replacement of existence) has strong Sufi connotations: the Sufis believe there is a class of Gods clients/ friends, called abdl (the changed/ replaced ones), whose bad character traits He replaces with (or makes look as) good ones. Since the abdl enjoy Gods special favour, they should not be judged by common standards. Rm, however, interprets tabdl rather as ripening (strengthening) of ones individual existence:
Who are the abdl? Those who become replaced (or: substituted). Through replacement (or: substitution) their wine becomes vinegar.424

Though, as far as I know, Sadr never refers to the Rms verse in his writings, like all educated Persians, he had certainly studied the Mathnaw and, in all likelihood, had come across the verse on some occasion. Besides, Rms conception of three essential stages of the Sufi path ([First] I was raw, [then] became ripe, [then] was burnt to ashes (Khm bodam, pokhta shodam, skhtam)425) might have been an important though not the only source of inspiration for Sadrs doctrine of substantial motion of the soul. However, according to Rm (and the Sufis in general), the intensifying motion results in the de-entification of the entity and in the annihilation (fan) of the limited existence in the non-limited one. To be a changed one (badal, pl. abdl), in the eyes of a Sufi, means to witness the Real (the Unbounded Existence) in all particular and limited existences not to witness the archetypes of the things and not even to meditate upon the existents as the manifestations of different Gods names. In Sadrs interpretation, however, tabdl al-wujd is, first and foremost, tabdl al-nasha (change of the configuration): upon the increase of the intensity of the souls this-worldly (=sensible) existence, it gradually changes into the other-worldly (=imaginal) one. In this case, the Rising, apparently, refers to the moment when the soul becomes fully aware of the occurrence of the change, while the change itself is a gradual affair that usually takes ones lifetime in the natural body to be completed. Furthermore, to Sadr, tabdl al-wujd means simultaneously Rising, the change of sense existence to imaginal one and entering the (imaginal) Garden. Remaining on the sensible level of existence means, properly speaking, remaining in the Fire of Nature without Rising. Is, then, the Garden of the prophets and Gods clients, to which the former invite us, the imaginal Garden, while that of the philosophers is the intellectual one? I shall attempt to answer this question in the next subchapter.

422 423 424 425

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 282. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 283. Jalaluddin Rumi, The Mathnawi, ed. R.A.Nicholson, London: Luzac and Co 19251940, book 3, verse 4000. Jall al-Dn Rm, Dvn-i Shams-i Tabrz, Tehrn: Intishrt-i Amr-i Kabr 1354 S.H., 372. 122

3.5.3. Garden and Fire

Depending on the degree to which the soul is able to identify itself as the unbounded existence (or: absolute being) (al-wujd al-mutlaq), its post-Rising (bad al-Qiyma) existence pertains either to Garden (Paradise) or Fire (Hell). Furthermore, Sadr distinguishes two gardens the Garden of Those Drawn Near to God (jannat al-muqarribn) (i.e., the Intellectual or Noetic Paradise) and the Garden of the People of the Right Side (jannat ahl alyamn) (the Imaginal Paradise) and two fires the Fire of the People of the Left Side (nr ahl al-yasr) (the Imaginal Hell) and the Fire of Nature (nr al-taba) (the natural world proper). Undoubtedly, two gardens and two fires represent nothing but certain ranges of perceptual existence (wujd idrk) between which there are no clear-cut borders. Each particular range of the scale of perceptual existence corresponds to a certain cosmological level: the Garden of Those Drawn Near to God to the world of Innovation/ Intellect; the Fire of Nature to the world of Nature and Engendering; the Imaginal Garden and the Imaginal Fire to the intermediate world of the Soul (the former in the aspect of the souls independence of the natural body, while the latter in the aspect of its dependence on/ connection with the latter). According to the principle of tashkk al-wujd, the souls post-Rising existence is an analogically graded affair which allows the possibility of the existence of an infinite number of degrees of intensity, the higher of which are referred to as Garden and the lower as Fire.
The Sensible (read: Imaginal J.E.) Garden [belongs] to the People of the Right Side and the Intelligible One to those drawn near to God (and they are the highest). And, likewise, the Fire is two fires: the Sensible Fire and the Fire of Meaning. The sensible one is [created] for the unbelievers, and the Fire of Meaning for the arrogant hypocrites, [that is,] the sensible [fire] is for the bodies and that of meaning for the hearts. Both the Sensible Garden and the Sensible Fire are worlds of measurable quantity, [but] one of them is the form of Gods mercy and another the form of His wrath, and Garden is created by essence, but Fire by accident, and there is a secret in it.426

The secret to which Sadr refers, apparently, consists in Fires being a concomitant (lzim) of Garden and in wraths accompanying mercy namely, Garden could not be created otherwise than together with Fire. However, the human soul which begins its existence as part of Fire (the world of Nature) is not meant to remain in it forever. On the contrary, through a gradual increase of the intensity of its existence, it is supposed to ascend from Fire to Garden, but it cannot begin its existence as the soul elsewhere except in Fire (the natural world). Fire is not an evil. Rather, an evil is a belief that there is nothing in existence except Fire and the refusal to come out of it. What pertains to the other world (al-khira) proper is the Garden of the People of the Right Side and the Fire of the People of the Left side, i.e., Garden and Fire as psychic realities. Both of them are imaginal affairs, but the Imaginal Garden is created by unbounded and nondelimited imagination (imagination of the soul which is convinced of the rightfulness of its actions and its worthiness of entering Garden), while the Imaginal Fire is a product of bound and delimited imagination of the soul which perceives itself as transgressor and, therefore, is tormented by its conscience. From another aspect, the entire psychic world (the domain of imagination) can be considered as Garden, while the natural world in its totality may be treated as Fire, because, as long as the soul is connected with and dependant on prime matter, it is tormented by the perpetual change and instability inherent in the world of Nature, which does not permit it to contemplate itself and its principle (whereas the experiences of Imaginal Garden should be understood exactly as images in which the soul contemplates itself and its lord). The

426

Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 322. Cf. Sadr, arshiyya, 273. 123

following passage in the Asfr (almost verbatim repeated in the Asrr as well) is particularly suggestive of such interpretation:
As for the inhabitants of Fire, there is no doubt concerning the self-renewal of their skins and transformation of their bodies, and their turning from one form into another because their natures [manifest themselves as] material bodily faculties and it was previously established that the acts and receivings (infilt) of material faculties are finite, therefore ceasing and change are inevitable in them. Then, change of bodies and transformation of matters must inevitably have its cause in a circular movement produced by celestial bodies, which encompass the engendering and corrupting bodies possessors of directions. And the judgment concerning the inhabitants of Fire is [made] in accordance with what Gods command gives them through the locomotive faculty, put in the Furthest Body, which compels it to move and [through] the luminaries (i.e., the fixed stars J.E.) [that remain] fixed in respect to the travelling of the seven bright ones (i.e., the planets J.E.) and they have influence upon the creation of the inhabitants of Fire through inflicting upon them different kinds of suffering and sorts of punishments in accordance with what is required by their previous practices, principles of their actions, their beliefs and intentions As for the inhabitants of Garden, they do not experience this kind of change, transformation, engendering and corruption, because their configuration is lifted above the natural configuration and its properties, and their movements and actions are of different kind, wherefore they do not experience tiredness and exhaustion, nor are their deeds afflicted by weariness, because their movements and actions are not corporeal, but are like operations of estimative faculty (wahm) and movements of inner consciousness (damr) that occur without [entailing] tiredness, weariness, exhaustion and fatigue, since, in respect to them (the inhabitants of Garden J.E.), the heavens and their movements are rolled up, due to their standing on the right side and possessing a station at which time and place are rolled up. In their time, the past and the future of this [our] time are brought together, and their place contains everything that the heavens and the earth contain in themselves. Nevertheless, the Garden of the Deeds and its pleasures undoubtedly must be counted among sensible affairs, except that, although they are sensible affairs, they are not material and natural ones, but their forms are perceptual ones, whose entified existence is their very sensibility (or: being sensed) (mahssiyya), and everything that is in this Garden has a psychic existence Despite this, in the world of gardens take place self-renewals [which manifest themselves as] engendering of forms of Garden, [emerging] not from material occasions, but from the active directions of the soul and Gods tasks (shun) And thus it has been established that the principle of changes in the horizons (i.e., in the natural world J.E.) takes its beginning in the world of souls, and the configuration of gardens427 is the configuration of souls, and inside them are found psychic engendered affairs.428

If we take this stance and interpret Garden as the world of the Soul and Imagination, and Fire as the world of Nature, the experience of Rising, apparently, must be understood as the moment of truth, at which the inhabitant of the natural world realizes the true character of the latter, i.e., witnesses it as Fire and, therefore, makes a firm decision to strive for coming out of it which coming out, however, does not necessarily mean his physical death. Rather, it means a change of the state of his consciousness, in particular, his abandoning the habit to identify himself with his bodily shape and its pleasures and pains. To attain psychic or imaginal bliss, it is sufficient to stop to identify ones self with his natural body. Whoso is able to conceive of himself as of pure soul and imagination, having nothing to do with the physical body, comes out of Fire and enters Garden. In this sense, entering Garden is a common experience of all human beings that occurs during sleep and sometimes at the state of awakeness when we see dreams or have dream-like visions. The visions of prophets and Gods clients, according to Sadr (though the original idea apparently belongs to Suhraward),
427

428

Apparently, Sadr means that each human soul possesses its own imaginal Garden and employs here the plural form to refer to the totality of them. Sadr, Asfr, part 9, 381382.

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also pertain to the world of Imagination, but differ from those of ordinary people by their greater intensity, due to which they can externalize these visions and make other people witness them.
Whoever has understood how God exercises His power in respect to the existence of imagination, and [in respect to] what is found by the soul in a single instant, such as huge bodily forms and [gigantic] dimensions, and their attributes and states, will easily affirm the corporealization of spirits (tajassud al-arwh) and the assumption of bodily forms by the intentions, and the immediate bringing to [ones] presence the objects of appetites [that occur] through sheer aspiration, intention and appetite, not in the direction of bodily matter. And to this kind [of imaginal affairs] pertain the appearance of angelic individuals to prophets and Gods clients, and their (the angels J.E.) descending with prophetic revelation (wahy) and charismata, in forms of sensible bodies, [which happen] owing to the manifestation of the authority (sultn) of the other world to their (i.e., the prophets and Gods clients J.E.) hearts and to their inner faculty. Some of the People of Revealing have been left in doubt, whether they have seen what they have seen namely, the forms which appeared and made themselves present to them with the eye of sense or with the eye of imagination. The truth [about these forms] is that they are forms [which are] [firmly] established in existence and that they are stronger in obtaining (i.e., are perceived more intensively J.E.) than natural forms, except that a precondition for obtaining them in the most complete manner is the predomination (or: the overwhelming influence) (ghalaba) of the active faculty of the soul, i.e., the form-making (musawwara) [faculty], and preserving them through intense aspiration.429

The experiences of prophets and Gods clients, thus, take place in the Garden of Imagination, but, unlike the ordinary people (whose imaginative faculty is weaker due to their engagement with the bodily affairs), the latter are able to externalize their visions, so that they produce effects in the natural world (this phenomenon is commonly referred to as the kharq al-da (disruption of the habit)). Interpreting the gift of sainthood (walya) in terms of the extreme intensity of the imaginative faculty and understanding himma (aspiration) as the ability to externalize imagined forms and to make them subsist in the outside is most typical of Ibn alArab and Qnaws apprehension of the nature and properties of sainthood to the extent that it is probably not utterly wrong to describe them as ahl al-khayl (people of imagination) par excellence. As numerous accounts, found in their writings, show, both Ibn al-Arab and Qnaw had many intense visionary experiences. Sadr seems to fully take their stance in his treatment of high intensity of imagination as the key property of sainthood. Now, if the Garden in which the experiences of prophets and Gods clients take place and to which they invite the common folk is the Garden of Imagination or the Garden of Soul, who, then, inhabits the Garden of Intellect? Sadrs answer, apparently, is that the difference between intelligible and imaginal realms is a relative (nisb) and/ or a mental (dhihn) affair: imagination can and must be treated as weak intellection. Hence, the prophets, Gods clients and true knowers (or divine sages), whose perceptual faculty has been developed to its perfection, reside simultaneously in both gardens essentially in the Intelligible/ Noetic Garden and concomitantly in the Imaginal one, because their essences, due to their simplicity, have become all things.
3.5.4. The Ramparts

A few words must be said about Sadrs treatment of the Ramparts (or: Heights) (Arf). The issue of Arf is discussed in verses 46 53 of the seventh surah (called by the same name). Sadr seems to have drawn his inspiration particularly from the verse 7:46: Upon the Ramparts, there are people who know everyone by his marks.430 Traditionally the
429 430

Sadr, Asrr, 231232. Quran, 119. 125

commentators of the Quran and the Mutakallimn had identified the Arf with a wall erected between Garden and Fire, mentioned in the verse 57:13 (A wall with a door [in it] is put up between them. In its inner side is mercy, in the outer side wrath431). The men on the Ramparts were, in turn, identified as the people, the weight of whose good and bad deeds is in perfect balance, wherefore, it was said, they could not enter either Garden or Fire, but remained in the isthmus between them, partially experiencing both states. Sadr dismisses the interpretation of the Mutakallimn as lacking due insight and, instead, proposes his own:
the inhabitants of Ramparts are the perfect in knowledge and gnosis, those who recognize each group of people by their [specific] marks and, by the light of their insight, see the inhabitants of Garden and the inhabitants of Fire, and their states in the other world However, they (the inhabitants of Ramparts J.E.) are counted as belonging to this [natural] world in respect to their bodies and, thus, through their bodies they are earthly beings, but through heir hearts heavenly ones. Their apparitions (or: silhouettes) (ashbh) belong to the mat (farsh) [of Nature]; their spirits pertain to the Throne (or: Canopy) (arsh). They have not yet died by natural death so that they might enter Garden in body, as they have entered it in spirit When they come out of the [natural] world, their hope becomes its very fulfilment and their potentiality the very actuality and obtaining, but before this their state is an intermediate perfection (kaml barzakh) between the states of the inhabitants of Garden and the inhabitants of Fire, because their hearts partake in the pleasures of Garden, such as faith and [true] knowledge (marifa), but their bodies are tormented by the torments and pains of this [bodily] world.432

The symbolism of the passage from the arshiyya, to me, is transparent: Sadr interprets the Ramparts (Arf) as the situation of the people (sages and mystics) whose souls have experienced the Greater Rising before their natural death and (final) separation from the material body. By their souls, they belong to the other (imaginal) world; by their (natural) bodies, they still reside in this (physical and sensible) one.433 (This is most likely that Sadr counts himself as one of this group.) Such interpretation of the Ramparts makes one even more confident that, in the most esoteric sense, Sadr regards the natural world as the true Fire, while he sees the other world the world of Imagination in its entirety as Garden. Knowing everyone by his mark, in all likelihood, must be understood as the ability to recognize those who, like themselves, after dying by voluntary death before dying by natural one, have risen from the graves of matter by their explicit and implicit attitudes towards this-worldly and other-worldly affairs. * * * As we have seen, traditional Islamic eschatological concepts are interpreted by Sadr as states and phenomena of perceptual existence (wujd idrk). The central concept of Rising (qiyma), according to Sadr, refers to the moment of truth, which brings intense awareness
431 432 433

Quran, 471. Sadr, arshiyya, 278. The twenty-second chapter (the Bezel of the Wisdom of Intimacy in the Word of Elias) of Ibn al-Arabs Fuss is likely to have been Sadrs direct source of inspiration. Ibn al-Arab writes there: The mystics here appear as if they [still] were in the form of this world, due to what pertains to them of its properties. But [in actual fact] God, the Most High, has [already] changed them, in their insides, into the other-worldly configuration (al-nasha al-ukhrawiyya) and, by their [true inner] form, they are not known to anyone except the one to whom God reveils them through his insight and he understands. And there is no knower of God, [knowing Him} through His self-disclosure, who has not been changed into the other-worldly configuration and has not been gathered in the world and risen in his grave, and he sees what you do not see and witnesses what you do not witness. (Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 186. Cf. C. Daglis translation in: Muhyi al-Dn Ibn al-Arab, The Ringstones of Wisdom, translated by Caner K. Dagli, Chicago: Kazi Publications 2004, 213). 126

of the perpetual change and instability of the world of Nature and erases the borderline between sense and imagination, replacing the illusion of stability and permanence of the surrounding world with the intuition of the flow of existence (sarayn al-wujd). Furthermore, Sadr believes this flow to be a unidirectional motion of the substance towards higher and higher degrees of intensity, wherefore there is no return possible from a higher level of substantial evolution to a lower one. The inhabitants of the Garden of Imagination never come back to the earth of natural existence. Therefore, metempsychosis (unless we interpret it as the change of the imaginal body of the soul in keeping with the change of the souls dominant virtue or vice) is impossible. As for the spiritual and corporeal returns, Sadr interprets them as intellectual/ noetic (aql) and imaginal resurrections respectively. Unlike Ibn Sn, who apparently believed imagination to be a hindrance to the spiritual return (the souls coming in touch or unification with the Active Intellect), Sadr holds that spiritual (read: intellectual/ noetic) resurrection cannot occur otherwise than through corporeal (read: psychic/ imaginal) one, because sense (hiss/ ihss), imagination (khayl/ takhayyul) and intellection (aql/ taaqqul), to him, represent three degrees of the ever-increasing intensity of perception (perceptual existence). According with his principle of the lower possibility (al-imkn al-akhass), in the ascending movement, the lower possibility must be actualized first before the actualization of a higher one can occur. Depending on the standpoint taken, different affairs can be considered as the Garden (aljanna) and the Fire (al-nr) (i.e., Paradise and Hell). The natural existence, due to its perpetually experienced engendering and corruption, is most worthy of the name of Fire, though there can be manifestations of Garden in it (i.e., at times particular loci of the natural world can be perceived as belonging to Garden, if they are seen with the eye of imagination). Intellectual existence, in turn, must be considered as Garden in the true sense of the word (because, to Sadr, the real bliss consists only in witnessing intellectual/ intelligible not psychic/ imaginal affairs). As for the world of Soul, it contains in itself both the Imaginal Garden and the Imaginal Fire. However, Sadr apparently believes that in its essence it is Garden, which is sometimes mistakenly perceived as Fire due to the painful psychic experiences (which, nevertheless, last only as long as the soul remains attached to its natural body by keeping in itself bodily desires, which cannot be satisfied after its separation from the natural body). The souls which during their natural lifetime experience at least partial spiritual Rising and realize the true character of this and other worlds, but, for the time being, remain connected with their natural bodies, to Sadr, can be best described as the men of the Ramparts (rijl al-arf) those who know the inhabitants of both worlds by their marks. In view of the aforementioned peculiarities, Sadrs eschatological doctrine can be defined as a teaching on the transformations of perceptual existence, in which particular attention is paid to the analysis of the states and properties of imagination.

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CONCLUSION
As it was demonstrated in the first chapter, the Sufis use terms wujd and mawjd predominantly in the sense finding and found respectively. The finding at issue in Sufism is a sort of metaphysical intuition, similar to that of kashf (unveiling). The object of this finding the found (mawjd) is, ultimately, none but the Real (al-haqq). This is univocally stated by the famous Sufi definition of wujd as finding the Real in ecstasy (wijdn al-haqq f l-wajd).434 Such interpretation of wujd and mawjd seems to be supported (and perhaps inspired) by the Quranic usage of the verb wajada (to find) (in particular in the verse 24:39435). In turn, the ninth century Arab translators of Aristotles works used the terms wujd and mawjd to render into Arabic Greek words (being/ existence [in a certain way]) and (the being/ existent [which exists in a certain manner]).436 Muslim Peripatetics in particular Ibn Sn in fact, did not attribute to words wujd and mawjd the meaning of existence and existent (after all, these two Latin terms themselves, as Gilson has shown437, only began to be employed in their modern sense in the seventeenth century), but read them, in conformity with the sense-setting rules of the Arabic language, exactly as finding and found. The difference is that, for Ibn Sn and his followers, wujd and mawjd mean finding and found either by sense perception or by logical reasoning.438 What is found by sense perception, is called mawjd tab (natural existent) and is the subject of natural sciences (tabyyt). What is found by logical reasoning, is called mawjd talm (abstract existent) or mawjd dhihn (mental existent) and is the subject of mathematical sciences (riydiyyt). Both kinds of found things (=existents) (mawjdt) are, however, subject to a number of common laws. The science which deals with these common laws of existence and existent the states of the found (=existent), in so far as it is considered [only] as found (=existent) in ancient and mediaeval philosophical tradition was known as metaphysics (Arabic m war (or: m bad) al-taba) or the first philosophy (al-falsafa al-l) and in modern times (starting from the eighteenth century) came to be known as ontology (science of being/ existence). Sadrs understanding of the subject of the first philosophy is in no way different from that of Ibn Sn: in many works he repeats the standard Peripatetic definition of this subject as the unbounded found (existent) (mawjd mutlaq)439 or, more precisely, as the states of the found (existent), in so far as it is [considered as] found (existent) and the primary divisions of the unbounded found (existent), without [their] becoming a particular kind of the found (existent), pertaining to natural or mental existents (tabyyt aw talmiyyt).440

434 435

Ibn al-Arab, Istilht, 9 and Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 538. The mystical implications of the verse are discussed by Ibn al-Arab in detail in the 178th chapter of the Futht (see: Ibn al-Arab, Futht, part 2, 338339; cf. M. Glotons French translation in: Ibn al-Arab, Muhyi al-Dn, Trait de lAmour, traduit par Maurice Gloton, Paris: Albin Michel 1986, 138140). 436 tienne Gilson, Ltre et lessence, Paris: Vrin 1948, 38. 437 Gilson, Ltre, 4143. 438 Ab Barakat al-Baghdd (about 470/1077-after 560/1164), however, believes mawjd to mean things being in such a state that it could be perceived (kawnahu bi haythi yudrak) (Ab Barakat al-Baghdd, Kitb alMutabar, Haydarbd 1358 L. H., part 3, 20, quoted from: Izutsu, The Fundamental Structure, 30). 439 Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 24. 440 Sadr, al-Masil al-qudsiyya in Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, Se risle-i falsaf (Mutashbiht al-Qurn, alMasl al-qudsiyya wa Ajbt al-masl), 2nd edition, ed. S.J.shtiyn, Qum: Markaz-i intishrt-i daftar-i tablght-i islm hawze-i ilm-i Qum 1378 S.H., 191. 128

God, or the Truly Existent, according to Peripatetic tenets, cannot be found by sense perception. Hence, He is found by means of logical reasoning (induction) and is, therefore, conceived of as a logical necessity (the Necessarily Found (Existent) (wjib al-wujd)) and, by virtue of this, is a mental existent (mawjd dhihn/ talm) like the higher genera (ajns liyya). In turn, (theoretical) Sufism, as represented by Ibn al-Arab school, bases its teachings on the presumption of perpetual experiencing of the Real through its subsequent and never repeating self-disclosures, perceived by mystical/ metaphysical intuition. (At least) in case of accomplished mystics, sense perception is believed to become an integral part and aspect of this intuition (wherefore it is said that they see God in this world with their bodily eyes). In order to understand the role of the concept of wujd in Sufi teachings, the opposition wahdat al-wujd kathrat al-ilm (or kathrat al-ithbt) (oneness/ unity of finding/ existence manyness/ plurality of knowledge (or manyness/ plurality of fixity) seems to be of particular importance. This opposition pertains to the level of the Reals differentiated oneness/ unity (whidiyya or wahdniyya) and must be understood to the effect that the Real finds itself as one single entity, but knows itself by/ through (infinite) different names and attributes (e.g., as the Knowing, the Willing, the Merciful etc.) (The same, of course, is the case with each of us each of us finds (=perceives) himself as one entity, while he knows this one entity to possess (countless) different characteristics.) These different facets of one being, though, do not exist as separate entities in the outside world. They do exist (are fixed) as separate things/ entities only in the Reals (or our) consciousness. This fixity (thubt) in ones consciousness is referred to as knowledge (ilm). Now, its plurality/ manyness is based on malzm lzim relationship, i.e., concomitance: each characteristic which the Real knows itself to possess entails another one (e.g., its life entails knowledge, knowledge will, etc.). All entities, fixed in the Reals consciousness (mind), thus, are nothing but its own infinite characteristics (which are concomitants of its more general characteristics and the product of the latters marriages (nikht)). But the Real finds all them (i.e., all us) by one undivided and non-differentiated finding. What, if any, parallels can be drawn between wahdat al-wujd wa kathrat al-ilm, professed by the Sufis of Ibn al-Arab school, and aslat al-wujd bi l-nisba l-mhiya (principality of existence/ finding in relation to whatness/ quiddity)? As I attempted to show above, principality of finding/ existence in relation to quiddity, as posed by Sadr, is a speculative issue, which, perhaps, is based on his misunderstanding of the principle of aslat al-mhiya (principality of whatness/ quiddity). What Suhraward had in mind by posing the latter principle was that certain essence (which he treated as a ray or direction of light) possessed certain essential states and properties, regardless of its actualization in the sensible world or lack thereof (i.e., its being or not being found by sense). Sadr, who followed this Platonic by nature teaching in his youth, at some point concluded it to be false and, instead, put forward the theory of the aslat al-wujd. According to it, all attributes and properties of a thing were the attributes and properties of its existence (being found); the whatness/ quiddity was nothing but a shadow of existence, having no reality at all. However, if we agree with Sadr that whatnesses/ quiddities have no reality whatsoever441 (or, at best, have it by following (bi l-tabiyya), i.e., as minds attempt to grasp different aspects of (external) wujd by imitating them), it remains unclear what causes the evident differentiation of wujd. Is self-differentiation wujds inherent property? As the doctrine of tashkk al-wujd the pivotal doctrine of his philosophy shows, Sadr seems to have been inclined to think so.
441

The Sufis of Ibn al-Arab school hold that, while the fixed entity (ayn thbita), undoubtedly, has never felt the fragrance of outer existence/ is never found in the outside, through its properties, it establishes a certain mode or aspect, in which the Unbounded Finding/ Existence finds/ manifests itself. 129

Further, if we accept the postulate of wujds self-differentiation, it still remains unclear, what makes this self-differentiation to occur according to a certain pattern in other words, who or what is responsible for the structure of wujd? Is it not the Reals knowledge of itself as the Sufis hold? Sadr gives no definite answer to this question. The main impulse that made Sadr to dismiss aslat al-mhiya and to claim principality for existence/ finding, apparently, came from the teachings of Ibn al-Arab (in particular, from certain passages in the Fuss442 ). That said, Ibn al-Arab uses the terms wujd (finding/ existence) and ilm (knowledge) / thubt (fixity) to refer to two different kinds of the Reals awareness of itself the non-differentiated (wujd) and the differentiated (ilm/ thubt) ones. Furthermore, wujd and ilm/ thubt are interdependent and act as each others mirrors: namely, fixed entities mirror the unbounded and non-delimited wujd and the unbounded wujd, in turn, acts as the mirror of these entities or, to put it otherwise, the fixed entities provide loci for the manifestation of wujd (self-disclosure of the Real), while unbounded wujd (=the Real) provides loci for the manifestation of the entities, fixed/ established in the Reals knowledge. Thus, wujd and ilm (and, hence, the known things (malmt) or fixed entities (ayn thbita)) are interdependent and in need of each other. Taking a certain standpoint, it is possible to talk about the principality of existence/ finding and derivatedness and shadowiness of knowledge (and the known things). Taking the opposite standpoint, though, one can claim principality for knowledge (and the entities fixed in it) and assert the derivatedness of wujd. Therefore, Ibn al-Arab describes the relationship between wujd and ilm (and malmt) as interdependence. Principality of either existence/ finding or knowledge (and the known entities) is, to him, a relative affair. However, as I have attempted to demonstrate, the pivotal principle of Sadrs philosophy appears to be not the principality of existence/ finding, but the analogical gradation of the latter in terms of intensity and weakness (tashkk al-wujd bi l-shidda wa l-daf). This pivotal principle (upon which most, if not all, of his other theories rest) results, as a logical consequence, from Platos theory of ideas, according to which, the intelligible images or archetypes of things are much more real (and, therefore, it can be said, enjoy much stronger existence, or are found more intensively) than their sensible likenesses and material instances. The pivotal position of this principle in Sadrs thought allows me to qualify him as a (predominantly) Platonic philosopher (who was particularly influenced by Plotinus and Suhraward). Considering Sadrs teachings on two principal strata of wujd the world of innovation/ Command and that of Nature against other relevant Neoplatonic doctrines (in particular, those of Plotinus, Kirmn and Mr Dmd), I, however, come to the conclusion that, partly due to the incorporation of many elements of Aristotelianism, Sadrs thought (like that of Suhraward) represents a significantly reduced form of Platonism. Like Suhraward, Sadr reduces the difference between the Real or Necessarily Existent (The Light of Lights, in Shaykh al-Ishrqs terminology) and other existents (lights) to difference in intensity (strength) and weakness of existence (which reduction, in potentia at least, allows these other existents (lights) to become (or to strive to become) the Light of the Lights). This reduction of difference between the Real or the Necessarily Existent and the creation or possible existents to the difference of intensity only made Sadr to dismiss Mr Dmds teaching on metatemporal origination, as well as to replace the Neoplatonic teaching on Nature with that of Aristotle and Ibn Sn.
442

E.g., the above quoted statement from the forth chapter: The fixed entities (in Sadrs view, identical to whatnesses/ quiddities J.E.) have never felt the (slightest) scent of the found/ existent (Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 76). 130

As it was explained earlier, the principle of the analogical gradation in terms of intensity and weakness (tashkk bi l-shidda wa l-daf) follows as a logical consequence from Platos theory of ideas. In Islamic philosophy, this principle was introduced by Suhraward, who considered it being interrelated with the principality of whatness/ quiddity (aslat al-mhiya). Sadrs own explanation of the principle of the analogical gradation of existence/ finding, as given in the Asfr443, allows me to qualify it as tashkk wujd al-mhiya (the analogical gradation of the existence/ finding of the whatness/ quiddity) and comes down to grading the latters existence in intelligible, imaginal and physical grades. The whatness/ quiddity of, say, a fly, remains the same regardless whether it enjoys intellectual, imaginal or physical existence. This is not the case that what exists in the natural world as a fly, becomes a bird in the imaginal world and a dragon in the intellectual one. Hence, the increase and decrease of the intensity of the existence of a certain whatness/ quiddity must be understood as intellectualization (taaqqul) and corporealization (tajassum) of this existence, i.e., as the change of the latters modality (while the quiddity remains the same). The substantial motion, thus, comes down to the increase of the intensity of the things (i.e., the essences) existence. That is to say, an affair (e.g., the human soul), which begins to exist as an entirely corporeal thing, gradually comes to experience, first, imaginalization (takhayyul) and, subsequently, intellectualization. This substantial motion, or increase in the intensity of existence, can also be treated as the tenuitys (raqqa) gradual return to its reality (haqqa) (or, as the Sufis do it, reduced to the gradual perfection and refinement of the preparedness (istidd) of the receptacle (qbil) or locus of manifestation (mazhar)). Although Ibn al-Arabs teaching on the new creation (as numerous references to the latter, found in Sadrs works, seem to suggest) is likely to have been the principal source of Sadrs inspiration for proposing the theory of substantial motion, he appears to have missed the focal point of Ibn al-Arabs doctrine. Ibn al-Arab defines the new creation (or: new measuring out) (khalq jadd) as the renewal of the affair with every breath (tajdd al-amr maa l-anfs)444 or the change of the world with every breath [occurring] in one entity.445 This renewal or change, as Kshn indicates, results from the difference of the relations of wujd in respect to each possible thing in every instant446 and is based on the mystical intuition, which perceives the world (=cosmos) (lam) as the Reals imagination (khayl). Though Ibn al-Arab sometimes refers to the process of new creation (as perceived by a particular mystic) as taraqq (advancing, developping)447, this advancing is not to be interpreted as advancing towards and reaching certain final and ultimate perfection, e.g., childs becoming adult or a minor clerks becoming the director of a company. Rather, this is an imaginal advancing the kind of advancing which we experience in dreams (and, therefore, it is called by Ibn al-Arab taraqq bad almawt (advancing after the death)448), not unsimilar to the Reals advancing from task to task.449 Sadrs substantial motion, in turn, is a finite unidirectional evolutionary affair. Upon reaching the desired perfection (be it physical or psychic as we know, according to Sadr, there is no haraka jawhariyya in the world of intellect, because intellect is a fully perfected soul), it ceases. Therefore, substantial motion (also referred to by Sadr as the increase of the
443 444 445 446 447 448 449

Sadr, Asfr, part 1, 440445. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 125. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 125. See: Kshn, Istilht, 133. E.g., Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 124. Ibn al-Arab, Fuss, part 1, 124. According to the Qurn, every day He (i.e., God J.E.) is upon a [different] task (55:29) (the English translation by W.C.Chittick (Chittick, Knowledge, 98; cf. Qurn, 462)).

131

intensity (strengthening) of the things existence (tashdd al-wujd)) must be understood as the instances gradual return to its archetype (lord of species). The expressions haraka jawhariyya, tashdd al-wujd and tajawhur (substantialization), thus, are all used by Sadr to describe the process of the things gradual return to its root and principle (asl). Both concepts new creation and substantial motion are employed by their authors to describe certain perfectionary journeys. However, in each case, this journey appears to be of an entirely different character. While Ibn al-Arab has in mind an infinite journey in the realm of (the cosmic) imagination, Sadr is concerned with the finite journey of a physical and psychic instance to its intelligible archetype. Sadrs eschatology, by and large, must be qualified as Platonic, because he interprets the souls gathering (hashr) as its return to its respective (human or other) lord of species (intelligible archetype). This return, as it was stated above, is understood by him as gradual intensification of the souls existence (which presupposes tajarrud (separation, disengagement, i.e., the souls getting free of (corporeal and psychic) matter and quitting it)).450 Since the human soul (and, probably, the soul of the higher animals) (unlike the souls of plants and lower animals) is endowed with imaginal faculty (which, along with memory, is responsible for creating its particular individuality), it, however, usually cannot return to its intelligible archetype (lord of the human species, identified by Sadr with the Active Intellect) immediately after its leaving the physical body, but has to linger in the world of imagination (lam al-khayl) for a certain period. Only the souls of the divine sages (al-hukam almutaallihn) during their residence in the physical body reach such a degree of intensity of existence which is sufficient for the immediate entering the world of intellect (thus becoming themselves intellects) and unifying with the lord of the human species. The overwhelming majority of the human souls, though, only reach such degree of the intensity of existence which allows them to travel from the natural world to the domain of imagination. Hence, the spiritual (read: intellectual) return (mad rhn (iqr: aqln)) is, apparently, the share of the elite (of the elite) of mankind, while most human beings, for the time being, seem to be destined to experience only corporeal (read: imaginal) return (mad jusmn (iqr: khayl)). The possibility of the further intensifying of their existence in the hereafter (that would allow these as yet intellectually unripe souls to enter the world of intellect and unite with the lord (archetype) of human species) is not ruled out by Sadr rather, it is implicitly indicated, but never affirmed explicitly. The discussion of the issues related to the corporeal (i.e., imaginal) return and the souls abiding in the world of imagination (the imaginal garden and fire; the states occurring at the time of and accompanying Rising), as it was noticed earlier by James Morris451, represents a compilation of quotations from Ibn al-Arabs Futht (in particular, from the chapter 64). Acknowledging his debt to Ibn al-Arab in the issue of corporeal (imaginal) return, Sadr, however, undoubtedly believes this kind of return to be inferior to the spiritual (intellectual) one (which is allotted only to the divine philosophers (the truly perfect, in Sadrs view)). 0As it is well known, the teachings of Ibn al-Arab and his school deal predominantly with imagination and the imaginal world. In terms of Sadrs gradation of wujd, this means they are concerned with the medium intensity existence. Hence, though the Sufi teachings may be fully valid in respect to this range of the intensity of the unbounded existence, the highest and most intense level of wujd that of intellect is, apparently, inaccessible to them. The states of this higher level of existence, as a matter of fact, can only be correctly described by those
450

See Chitticks discussion on tajarrud in William C. Chittick, The Heart of Islamic Philosophy, Oxford: Oneworld 2001, 76 079 and Chittick, Teleology, 225. 451 See, e.g.: Morris, Wisdom, 184, note 176. 132

whose own individual existence has reached this highest level of intensity namely, by the divine sages the masters of the Transcendent (in fact, Ishrq) Philosophy.452 Thus, the analysis of the eschatological part of Sadrs philosophy makes me qualify this philosophy as a late mediaeval Islamic variety of Platonism, which incorporates in itself, on inferior rights, certain minor elements of the teaching of Ibn al-Arab (while the pivotal principles of Sadr and Ibn al-Arabs thought those of tashkk al-wujd (analogical gradation of existence/ finding) and tajall al-haqq (self-disclosure of the Real) respectively for the above given reasons, appear to be incompatible). To the Sufis, as it was stated above, wujd refers to a certain ecstatic experience (finding the Real in ecstasy, or, in other words, experiencing the oneness/ unity of the Absolute Reality, underlying the multiplicity of phenomena and manifested through it). Sadr, however, believes the highest level of mystical experience (haqq al-yaqn (the true certainty)) to consist in [the mystics] finding the divine and engendered realities (al-haqq al-ilhiyya wa l-kawniyya) and their concomitants in his (own) essence through tasting and finding453 or, in other words, in entering the World of Innovation (the realm of intelligible archetypes or Platonic ideas) and unification with the lord of human species (though he emphasizes that these intelligible realities or ideas (lords of the species) of the things are nothing but rays and radiances (aspects and segments of radiance) of the Reality of Existence.) Upon a scrupulous analysis, one cannot fail to notice that Sadrs teaching on the horizontal and vertical division of existence/ finding (i.e., on its levels and aspects) represents but a slightly modified version of Suhrawards teaching on the analogical gradation of light (tashkk al-nr). Sufi teaching on wujd, based on a very different kind of ecstatic experience, was only partially accepted (and understood) by Sadr. All in all considered, he must be qualified as a thinker of the Neoplatonic (more precisely, Ishrq) trend. He attempted to integrate his pivotal principle that of tashkk al-wujd (which he borrowed from Suhraward) with certain Sufi teachings, but lacked proper training in (both practical and theoretical) Sufism. The integration was therefore only achieved at the level of logical speculation not that of metaphysical intuition. Despite his sympathy to the teachings of Ibn al-Arab and his school, he remained an outsider in respect to the Sufi tradition, who appropriated certain minor parts of the Akbarian doctrine for his own Ishrq agenda.

452

The evidence of the achievement of this highest level of intensity that of intellect according to Suhraward and Sadr, is the experience of tajarrud (the souls separation from the physical body). Thus, in the qz alnmn Sadr says: The man is not counted among the divine sages (al-mutaallihn) until he does not acquire a habitude of taking off [and putting on] his body, so that the body, in relation to him, becomes like a shirt, which he takes off at times and puts on at other times (Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, qz al-nmn, ed. M.Muayyad, Tehrn: Cultural Studies and Research Institute 1982, 57. Apparently, the passage paraphrases paragraph 274 in J. Walbridge and H. Ziais edition of Suhrawards Hikmat al-ishrq (Suhraward, The Philosophy of Illumination, eds. Walbridge, John, and Ziai, Hossein, Provo: Brigham Young University Press 1999, 160161). 453 Sadr, qz, 58. 133

MULL SADR WUJD PETUS: MSTITSISMI JA FILOSOOFIA SNTEES


Kokkuvte Araabia sna wujd thendab kirjanduslikult leidmist (eeldab leidja (wjid) ja leitava (mawjd) kohalolekut). Vaadates seda filosoofilise terminina, thendab wujd olemist/ eksisteerimist. Esimene peripateetiline filosoofia vi metafsika tegeles philiselt mawjdga (eksisteeriv) mral, mil seda peetakse mawjd-ks (eksisteeriv), selle reaalsuse, olekute ja omadustega. 17. sajandi Iraani filosoof Sadr al-Dn al-Shrz, kes on laiemalt tuntud Mull Sadr nime all (979-80/1571-2 1050/1640), tuli aga vlja teesiga, et see, mis eksisteerib primaarselt ja tegelikult, on wujd (eksistents). See, mis eksisteerib eraldi eksistentsist, eksisteerib lbi viimase. Seetttu peab Sadr arvates filosoofia tegelema eelkige wujd-ga, mitte mawjd-ga. Teisest kljest, vaadeldes seda mstilises mttes, viitab termin wujd kindlale intuitsioonile telise leidmisele (s.t absoluutne/piiritlemata telisus) nhtuse loori taga. Sltuvalt mstilise valmisolekust vib seda intuitsiooni jagada erinevatesse astmetesse. Mis veelgi thtsam, leidmise harjumust s.t mstilist intuitsiooni on vimalik vlja ttada erinevate tehnikate abil. Seega on sufi mstikule petus wujd-st petus mstilisest intuitsioonist ja selle jrkjrgulisest arengust. Kas on vimalik snteesida wujd filosoofilist ja mstilist mistmist? Kui jah, siis kas on vimalik silitada tasakaal mstilise ja filosoofilise lhenemise vahel vi on paratamatult hele mratud saada domineerivaks sellises snteesis? Sadr nhtavasti uskus, et tema krgem tarkus (al-hikma al-mutaliyya) esindab sellist harmoonilist snteesi. Kesolevas vitekirjas pan vlja selgitada, mil mral on selline vide igustatud. Sissejuhatuses on esitatud wujd probleem, nagu Sadr seda mistis, koos sadroloogia ldise ajaloo lhikese levaatega. Esimene peatkk Wujd ja Wujd reaalsus koosneb kahest alapeatkist, kus on vastavalt vaadeldud wujd mstilist (vlja ttanud Ibn Arab ja edasi arendanud Qnaw, Farghn jt) ning filosoofilist (vlja ttanud Ibn Sn ja Suhraward ning muutnud Sadr) doktriini. Esimeses alapeatkis on ksikasjalikult uuritud sufi wujd definitsiooni ning leidmise/ eksistentsi samasuse (wahdat al-wujd) ja selle entifikatsiooni (taayyun) petust. Teises alapeatkis on esitatud Sadr eksistentsi lemvimu teooriate anals ja selle analoogne gradatsioon. Sadr vaateid phjuslikkusele ja burhn al-siddqn teooriale on arutatud ka teemadena, mis on otseselt seotud wujd analoogse gradatsiooniga. Teises peatkis Wujd: Sadr kosmoloogia silmapiirid (koosneb neljast alapeatkist) vaadeldakse Sadr eksistentsi philisi reaalsuse vi silmapiiri astmeid, s.t uuritakse innovatsiooni (ibd), olemuse (taba) ja hinge (nafs) maailmu ning kirjeldatakse gradatsiooni eksistentsi implikatsioone. Vrdlen Sadr poolt vljapakutud analoogselt gradueeritud eksistentsi struktuuri Ibn Sn, Suhraward, Hamd al-Dn al-Kirmn ja Ibn Arab poolt vljapakutud eksistentsi struktuuridega, vttes arvesse Sadr innovatsiooni/intellekti, olemuse ja hinge tlgendust thtsate peripateetiliste, neoplatonistlike, ismailiitide, valgustus- ja sufi petuste taustal. Teises alapeatkis on ksikasjalikult arutatud Sadr innovatsioonimaailma petust, vrreldes seda Mr Dmd meta-ajalise tekke teooriaga. Neljandas alapeatkis uuritakse Sadr olemusliku liikumise teooriat (al-haraka al-jawhariyya), vrreldes seda Ibn Arab uue loomise petusega (al-khalq al-jadd).

134

Kolmas peatkk Wujd muundumised: Sadr eshatoloogia koosneb viiest alapeatkist ja vaatleb eksistentsi muundumist. Selles arutatakse hinge eksisteerimist enne fsilist keha, koos sellega ja peale fsilist keha. Arvan, et Sadr eshatoloogiline doktriin on suuresti sufismile omane (Ibn Arab) inimese sisemise (tahtlik) muundumise petus, mida tuntakse ka eksistentsi muutuse/asendamise (tabdl al-wujd) taastlgendusena. Esimene alapeatkk vaatleb mad (tagasitulek) universaalse printsiibina. Seejrel arutatakse hingede eelnemist kehadele ja taassnni vimatust. Viimased kaks alapeatkki vaatlevad hingelist tagasitulekut ja kehalist taassndi. Lppsnas kinnitan, et Sadr peab olema Platoni koolkonna kompetentne mtleja (tpsemalt Plotinuse ja Suhraward jrglane), kes pdis integreerida oma prdelist printsiipi eksistentsi analoogset gradatsiooni (tashkk al-wujd) (mille ta laenas Suhraward-lt) teatud kindlate sufistlike petustega, eriti tegelikkuse eneseavalduse, entifikatsiooni ja maailma uue loomisega igal hetkel. Sadr saavutas integratsiooni teoreetilise spekulatsiooni tasandil, pdmata tungida metafsilise institutsiooni sdamesse, mis rhutab teoreetilise Sufi mstitsismi petusi, nagu neid esindab Ibn Arab koolkond (tegelikkuse jrk-jrguline enesepaljastus). Vaatamata sellele, et talle olid Ibn Arab ja tema jrglaste petused smpaatsed, ji ta sufi traditsioonist vljasolevaks, kuid llitas Akbariani doktriini kindlad vikesed osad enda Ishrq tsse.

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Nimi: Jnis Eots Snniaeg ja -koht: 26.08.1966, Riia Kodakondsus: Lti Haridus 19731984 19851991

Jaunjiljava Keskkool Moskva Kirjandusinstituut, tlkeosakond, prsia keel, (ilu)kirjanduse tlkija

Teenistuskik 2006 Lti likool, Aasia uuringute instituut, nooremteadur 2002 Lti likool, Aasia uuringute osakond, kaasaegsete keelte teaduskond, lektor 20042005 Lti likool, religiooniajaloo osakond, teoloogia teaduskond, lektor 2001 Grandid 20062007 20052006 20042006 19891991 Lti Riikliku Kultuurkapitali Fond Lti likool, Kristaps Morbergi Stipendium Lti Teadusnukogu Moskva Kirjandusinstituut, Pavel Antokolski Stipendium

Vrkeelteoskus inglise, vene ja prsia keel knes ja kirjas kl. araabia, kl. kreeka, prantsuse ja trgi keel

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CURRICULUM VITAE
Name: Janis Eots Date and place of birth: 26.08.1966, Riga Citizenship: Latvian Education 19731984 19851991 Jaunjiljava Secondary School Moscow Institute of Literature, Department of Translation, Persian language, translator of (fiction) literature

Employment 2006 University of Latvia, Institute of Asian Studies, Junior Research Fellow 2002 University of Latvia, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, lecturer 20042005 Department of the History of Religions, Faculty of Theology, University of 2001 Latvia lecturer Grants 20062007 20052006 20042006 19891991 Languages speaking, reading and writing knowledge of English, Russian, Persian reading knowledge of classical Arabic, classical Greek, French, Turkish The Grant of the Latvian State Cultural Capital Foundation Kristaps Morbergs Fellowship for Doctoral Students, University of Latvia The Latvian Council of Science Research Grant for Doctoral Students Pavel Antokolsky Fellowship for Young Translators, Moscow Institute of Literature

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TALLINNA LIKOOL HUMANITAARTEADUSTE DISSERTATSIOONID


1. . . . . . : - , 2000. 162 . . , 1. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-135-0. 2. MART KIVIME. Ajaloomtlemise kolm strateegiat ja nende dialoogisuhted minevikuga (lisades tlgitud R. Koselleck, J. Rsen, E. Nolte). Historismi muutumise, arendamise, letamise probleemid. Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2000. 201 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 2. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 998558-164-4. 3. . . : - , 2000. 177 . . , 3. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-125-3. 4. . . . : , 2001. 142 . . , 4. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 9985-58-180-6. 5. LAURI LINDSTRM. Album Academicum Universitatis Tartuensis 19181944. Rahvus, sugu, snnikoht ja keskhariduse omandamise koht lipilaskonna kujunemist ja krghariduse omandamist mjutavate teguritena. Tallinn: TPU Press, 2001. 92 p. Tallinn Pedagogical University. Dissertations on Humanities Sciences, 5. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-190-3. 6. AA MEMPE. cce o-am cmo 19181940. a epae poo a. : - , 2001. 165 . . , 6. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-205-5. 7. AIVAR JRGENSON. Siberi eestlaste territoriaalsus ja identiteet. Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2002. 312 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 7. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 9985-58-239-X. 8. DAVID VSEVIOV. Kirde-Eesti urbaanse anomaalia kujunemine ning struktuur prast Teist maailmasda Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2002. 104 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 8. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-242-X. 9. ROMAN KALLAS. Eesti kirjanduse petamise traditsioon XX sajandi vene ppekeelega koolis. Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2003. 68 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 9. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 9985-58-256-X. 10. KRISTA KERGE. Keele variatiivsus ja mine-tuletus allkeelte sntaktilise keerukuse tegurina. Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2003. 246 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 10. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58265-9. 11. . : 19201930- . : - , 2004. 168 . . , 11. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 9985-58-302-7. 12. VAHUR MGI. Insenerihendused Eesti riigi lesehituses ja kultuuriprotsessis (19181940). Tallinn: TP kirjastus, 2004. 146 lk. Tallinna Pedagoogikalikool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 12. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-344-2. 13. HEIKKI OLAVI KALLIO. Suomen ja Viron tiedesuhteet erityisesti Viron miehitysaikana vuosina 19401991. Tallinn: Tallinnan Pedagogisen Yliopiston kustantamo, 2004. 243 lk. Tallinnan Pedagogisen Yliopiston. Humanististen tieteiden vitskirjat, 13. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-350-7. 14. LLE RANNUT. Keelekeskkonna mju vene pilaste eesti keele omandamisele ja integratsioonile Eestis. Tallinn: TL kirjastus, 2005. 215 lk. Tallinna likool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 14. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-394-9. 15. MERLE JUNG. Sprachspielerische Texte als Impulse fr schriftliche Textproduktion im Bereich Deutsch als Fremdsprache. Tallinn: Verlag der Universitt Tallinn, 2006. 186 S. Universitt Tallinn. Dissertationen in den Geisteswissenschaften, 15. ISSN 1406-4391. ISBN 9985-58-409-0 16. ANDRES ADAMSON. Hertsog Magnus von Holmsteini roll Lnemere-ruumis Liivi sja perioodil. Tallinn: TL kirjastus, 2005. 156 lk. Tallinna likool. Humanitaarteaduste dissertatsioonid, 16. ISSN 1736-3624. ISBN 9985-58-427-9. 17. . .. , : Homo urbanis . : - , 2006. 146 . . , 17. ISSN 17363624. ISBN-10 9985-58-435-X. ISBN-13 987-9985-58-435-4.

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18. JULIA TOFANTUK. Construction of Identity In The Fiction of Contemporary British Women Writers (Jeanette Winterson, Meera Syal, and Eva Figes). Tallinn: Tallinn University Press, 2001. 160 p. Tallinn University. Dissertations on Humanities Sciences, 18. ISSN 1736-3624. ISBN 978-9985-58-479-8.

ILMUNUD VEEBIVLJAANDENA
. : ( ). : - , 2006. 131 . . . ISSN 1736-3624. ISBN 978-9985-58-455-2. MARIS SAAGPAKK. Deutschbaltische Autobiographien als Dokumente des zeit- und selbstempfindens: vom ende des 19. Jh. Bis zur umsiedlung 1939. Tallinn: Verlag der Universitt Tallinn, 2006. 163 S. Universitt Tallinn. Dissertationen in den Geisteswissenschaften. ISSN 14064391. ISBN 978-9985-58-469-9.

ILMUNUD MONOGRAAFIANA
ANNE LANGE. Ants Oras. Monograafia. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2004. 493 lk. ISBN 9985-77-163-X.

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