Drawing Near to God: A Discussion Guide
Hence-He is sheer being, for were non-existence to find way into Him; the evil of composite things, which consists of the composition of existence and non-existence, would find way into Him. This explains the statement of Imam Sadiq A that. It should be known that the divine philosophers have divided the Attributes of God, the Exalted, into three kinds:.
These two kinds of Attributes are considered by them to be the same as the Essence dhat ,. Second, the absolutely relative Attributes sifat idafiyyah mahdah , such as [the Attributes of] being the Originator, Provider, Merciful, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and the like. Third, the absolutely negative Attributes sifat salbiyyah mahdah , such as Unlikeness [to creatures] quddusiyyah , Oneness fardiyyah , Transcendence subbuhiyyah , and the like. These two [latter] kinds of Attributes are considered by them to be additional to the Sacred Essence, and all the negations are considered to derive from a single negation, which is the negation of contingency salb al-imkan.
Similarly, all the relations are referred to a single relation, which is the relation of Creatorhood muwajjidiyyah , and the source of relations is referred to the illuminative and emanative relation idafah-ye ishraqiyyah wa idafah-ye i fadiyyah. That is because none of the Attributes are to be considered as being identical with the Essence-when dealing with the concepts of the Names and the Attributes from the viewpoint of conceptual multiplicity.
And should we regard the Essence as being identical with the relative or the negative Attributes, that would imply that God; the Exalted, is pure relation and identical with the negative aspect. Also, with respect to their reducing all the negations to the negation of contingency and all the relations to a single relation, and their abstaining from reducing the true Attributes to anything, it may be remarked that should we consider the matter from a conceptual viewpoint, none of them derives from another, neither the negations, nor the relations, nor the true Attributes.
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But if the realities are taken into view, all the true Attributes also refer to the One Necessary Reality. The true position concerning the Attributes, in the idiom of theoretical philosophy hikmat al-nazari , is that the true and relative Attributes are absolutely different from a conceptual viewpoint, and none of them is the same as the Sacred Essence.
From the viewpoint of reality, all of them are the same as the Sacred Essence. However, there are two planes of the Attributes: one is the plane of the Essence and Attributes of the Essence awsaf dhatiyyah from which we can abstract Knowledge and Knowledgeability, Power and Powerfulness. Because God, the Exalted, is absolute perfection and the essential instance of absolute perfection.
That is because He is the principle of reality and negation of deficiency is among its implications, and perfection is the accidental instance of the negation of deficiency. A discussion around this topic will lead up to a discussion of the Names and the Attributes in accordance with their way, and that will take us beyond our present purpose. Aforetime we had given a reply, based on metaphysical reasoning, to his argument, replying as well to his recourses to the literal meanings of some traditions.
Among the noble issues referred to in this sacred tradition is that knowledge with its knowables precedes creation in pre-eternity, a matter which itself as well as its character-as to whether it is detailed or non-detailed-are subjects of a great controversy. There is also a controversy as to whether it is additional to the Essence dhat or the same, whether it precedes creation or accompanies it, with all the related details, which are in their books? We will confine ourselves to establishing the truth of the matter and refrain from criticism or refutation of other opinions.
It should be known that that which stands established with the people of metaphysical reasoning and the companions of gnosis is that which has been indicated in this noble tradition, that the knowledge of the known things precedes creation in pre-eternity azal , and that it is the same as the Essence. That His Knowledge is detailed is indicated by the statement that He was the Seer when there was nothing visible, and Hearer when there was nothing audible, because sight and hearing entail the observation of visibles and audibles in a detailed manner, as is clear enough.
Also, it refers to His detailed knowledge, where it says:. So when He brought the things into being and the known came into existence, His knowledge pertained corresponded to the known. That is because His knowledge did not obtain a new subsistence after creation, but pertained to the known after its acquiring subsistence. Now we shall explain the meaning of the Knowledge pertaining to the known.
The explanation of this noble faith-related theme, on the basis of the approach of the authorities among the philosophers, is that, as known from the preceding section, God, the Exalted, is absolute existence and absolute perfection. Absolute existence, with its complete simplicity and unity, encompasses all perfections and all existents, to utmost perfection.
The relation of other planes of existence to that Sacred Essence is that of deficiency to perfection. The knowledge of absolute perfection is the knowledge of perfection in its absoluteness, without deficiency or inadequacy, and this is the very universal, simple, and detailed disclosure, as not even an iota of existence, from pre-eternity to eternity, is beyond the realm of His knowledge and there can be no trace of plurality and composition in it. These two approaches possess utmost firmness and sublimity, but as they are extremely subtle and based on multiple principles, until these preliminaries are not learnt and as long as there is complete and consummate intimacy and thorough immersion, as well as perfect good will towards those who possess Divine gnosis ulama billah , one can not derive anything from philosophy and the terminology of the men of God and the people of the heart and from these discourses, which pile bewilderment on bewilderment.
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Accordingly, it is preferable to give a simpler explanation that is closer to the understanding of the common people. And so we say that the causality and creativity of the Necessary Being, the Exalted, is not like the causality of natural agents which combine or dissociate the existing matters, such as the carpenter who brings about changes in an existing material by arranging and separating, or like the mason who combines the existing materials.
Hence the realm of reality is within the purview of His Knowledge and they appear from the hidden realms of Divine Ipseity ghayb al-huwiyyat by His making them manifest:. It is said that the realm of concrete existents in relation to the Sacred Essence of God, the Glorious, is like the relation of the mind to the human soul, which brings into being [thoughts, ideas and images] by mere willing and manifests that which lies in the hidden realms of ipseity ghayb-e- huwiyyat.
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Hence, the entire realm of reality is within His knowledge, from which they appear and to which they return:. To offer a clearer explanation, the knowledge of the complete cause of a thing implies the knowledge of that thing. By recording the movements of the sun, moon, and the earth, he calculates the time when the earth will be positioned between the sun and the moon, or the moon between the earth and the sun. And should his records be correct his forecast will not fail by a single second. And since the entire chain of causes and effects terminates in the Sacred Essence, the Source of all sources, and since God, the Exalted, has the knowledge of His own Essence, which is the cause of all existents, being the cause He has also the knowledge of the effects.
From among the above-mentioned explanations, everyone adopts one which corresponds to his plane, and some of them are firmer and more adequate in meeting the purpose than others. The majority of the metaphysicians and theologians reduce Hearing and Sight to Knowledge, and the august Shaykh al-Ishraq has reduced Knowledge to Sight and Hearing.
Because, if what is meant by reducing Will to the Knowledge of what is appropriate, or by reducing Knowledge to Hearing, or Hearing to Knowledge, is that God, the Exalted, does not possess a will or that He does not possess hearing or sight and that Knowledge is considered by them to include Will, Hearing and Sight, it is an invalid position and an unseemly statement.
That is because it implies that God, the Exalted, is the Source of existence without possessing a will or the power of choice. Moreover, the criterion in regard to ascription of the Attributes of perfection to God is that the attribute should be an attribute of perfection for existent qua existent, and that it should be an attribute of the very reality of existence and from among the perfections of the very essence What of existence.
And there is no doubt that will is one of the attributes of perfection of the absolute reality of being. Accordingly, the more existence descends to the lower planes, the weaker it is in respect of will, until it reaches the point where it become totally devoid of it whereat it is consider by all to lack will, like the natures, such as minerals and plants. And the more it rises towards perfection and the higher horizon, will becomes more manifest in it and stronger.
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Accordingly, we observe that in the chain of natural existents, when they cross the stages of prime matter, body,-element, mineral, and plant, will and knowledge become manifest in them, and the higher they rise the more this noble faculty becomes perfect, so that the Perfect Man possesses such a perfect will that by his mere will he transforms one element into another and the world of nature is subject to his will.
Similarly, Hearing and Sight are, in accordance with confirmed truth, among the perfections of the absolute existent, and the reality of hearing and sight is not one dependent on physical organs and they do not constitute modes of cognition limited to organs and instrumental means.
Hence their affirmation in relation to God, the Exalted, Who is the very reality of existence and the mainspring of the perfection of being, is necessary. And should the purpose of those who reduce Will, Hearing, and Sight to Knowledge, or Knowledge to them, be that Knowledge and Will are posited of God in a single aspect haythiyyat al-wahidah and that Hearing, Sight, and Knowledge do not have different aspects in the Sacred Divine Essence, this is true and in accordance with metaphysical proof.
However, there is no reason to limit the matter to these Attributes, for all Attributes reduce to the reality of sheer existence, and this matter is not contrary to positing different multiple Attributes for the Divine Essence, or rather it corroborates it. That is because, as has been clearly established, the nearer an existent is to unity and farther it is from the horizon of multiplicity and freer, it is more inclusive in relation to the names and attributes, so that That which is pure existence, the simple, necessary Reality, glorious is His majesty and majestic is His power, is ultimate unity and simplicity and inclusive of all perfections and possessing all Names and Attributes, and to Him literally apply all concepts of perfection, glory, and beauty, and their applicability to the Sacred Divine is worthier and prior, with all the degrees of worthiness and priority.
To sum up, the stronger and more complete is the unity wahdah [of an existent], the applicability of the concepts of perfection to it is greater, and the greater is the number of [its] names and attributes. Conversely, the closer an existent is to the horizon of multiplicity, the lesser is the applicability of the concepts of perfection to it, and this applicability also becomes weaker and closer and similar to metaphor majaz.
And this is because unity wahdah is concomitant musawiq with existence and is a perfection of being qua being. The meaning of concomitance here is that although unity and existence are conceptually different, but in external reality the reality of existence is the same as the reality of unity. Wherever there is multiplicity, there is also to be found deficiency, nonbeing, evil, weakness and disability, and this is for the reason that the lower that existence descends through the planes of deficiency, multiplicity is greater than at all the other planes of existence.
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The station of the Lord and the Sacred Divine Being, Glorious and Exalted, which is sheer existence, is absolute unity and simplicity, and there is no way that multiplicity and compositeness should find way into Him. We have pointed out earlier that existence is the principal reality of perfection and the mainspring of glory and beauty.
Hence, sheer existence is sheer unity and sheer perfection, and, therefore, sheer unity is sheer perfection. Conversely, that which is closer to multiplicity has more of deficiency in it, and the applicability of the concepts of perfection and the names and attributes is deficient in its case and the quality of their applicability is also weak.
He has never left you nor forsaken you. He tells you to cast your worries onto Him for reasons you may not fully understand nor appreciate. These are not our battles but His. For one to burden themselves with anger, shame, feelings of wrongdoing brought about by those who may deceive or trespass against us is to unnecessarily carry the battles that are to be fought by God, not us.
Those are sins against God and brought forth by the wrongdoer and it so shall remain their battle, not ours. All to often people are hurting themselves by holding onto something that is not ours to own or keep. If you find yourself begging the Lord our God for help and you find yourself still fighting these battles one must step back and look at the situation honestly and ask, was this brought on by my will or His?
Understand you may feel alone, but I promise you are not. Peace be unto you all the days of your life and may you learn to feel the Love of our God that He give so freely. Thank you for this… I hope it reached the gentleman you meant it for directly but I feel the good Lord meant it for me. That is very imformative article. I believe it is time to be vigilant. Satan is a liar and always whisper lies into our ears. Knowing the difference in these voices will also help us to listen to God.
I get so tired of the satan excuses. Where is God when we are raped, beaten, abused? Why would God continue to let that happen to us? Why do we pray, beg, plead and God does nothing? Watch your mouth John… Read your bible from Genesis… He created you…. Come on man you sound like Thomas… Have Faith…. Whatever happen in your life happen for a reason…Look at Job he was a righteous man after God own heart..
God allowed the devil to do things to see how much you love him…I tell everybody when you accept God.. You belong to Him…. God does absolutely care about us. When there is so much good to behold in our lives; perhaps you are looking in the wrong place. I, personally, have lost dear loved ones; my loving daughter, my Mom, my Sister, and my Brother.
I hold dearly the Family I have, and hope, pray, that when the day comes for me, my Faith will not be lost. I came in contact with your message today. And I longed to hear more so that I can find the will of God for me in all areas of life.
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