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13. Essai sur les {acoles Philosophiques chez les Arabes,


A. Schmolders, p. 216

14. Schmolders, op. cit., p. 220

>15. ditto , ditto p. 215

17. See Ency. of Islam, iii, 174

18. ditto , iii, 1097 f.

19. See The Kitab al-Luma' f1 ' l-Tasawwuf of Abu lasr 'Abdallah B. 'All al-Sarraj al-Tusz, edited by R. 2. Nicholson, London, 1914, pp. viii-ix.

20. See Essai, L. {assignon, p. 216, note 1

21. See The Religious Psychology of al-Ghazzall, an unpublished thesis in the Case Memorial Library, Dartford, by W.J. Skellie, p. xi

The summary of the Book of Knowledge begins arbitrarily at page number(1) fifty.


The Introduction: The author ascribes praise to Allah and prays for His success-bringing aid in his undertaking of composing the book. He tries to silence the blamers, as he

tells what impelled him to write it. No competent guides to

the next world are left. there are only imitators who are in the clutches of ShaitAn and who believe that jurisprudence and dialectics comprise all knowledge. Real knowledge which Allah mentioned in His book has become folded away leaving a breach in Islam which he proposes to close.

He has composed the book on four quarters: 1) a quarter on Religious Services, 2) one on Oustoms, 3) one on the Things

Which Destroy, and 4) one on the Things Which Save. All this begins with the book of Knowledge in which he distinguishes the useful knowledge from the harmful and proves that the present generation has deviated from the true way and is satisfied with the husk rather than the kernel. This is followed

by a table of contents.

Then he tells what he plans to mention in each quarter,

which is largely what the other-worldly divines consider to be important. The Ihya' differs in five respects from other



books on these subjects: 1) unveiling and discriminating,

2) arrangement of material, 3) condensing and corroborating,

4) omitting what others accurately wrote, and 5) establishing and clarifying certain obscure matters.

There are two reasons for arranging the book-in four

parts: the first is thu..t this branch of knowledge is divided into practical and mystical, each of which have two parts, thus making four; the second is that the popular science of jurisprudence, which many follow, is in four divisions and Hone who follows the style of one who is beloved becomes beloved." Somebody once did this to attract a prince to the study of medicine, but this knowledge is more important than medicine, for it concerns the soul, To do this, that is to use this device to attract people to that knowledge which gives meaning to life eternal is more Important than attracting them to knowledge which benefits only the physical body. Then there follows a table of contents of the Hook of knowledge which is divided into seven parts.


A. The Excellence of Knowledge (as Shown in)

1. Evidential verses from the Qur'An

2. The Traditions about Huham had (al-akh bar )


3. Traditions about the Companions (al-athar)

The learned are the only ones placed in the cate

gory of men, because the peculiar property by which man is

differentiated from the rest of the animals is divine learn

ing. As a sick man dies without nourishment and medicine so dies the heart, if its nourishment which is knowledge Is withheld. People are sleeping; but they will pay attention, when it comes time for them to die. In this world try to benefit by acquiring what will benefit you in the next world; that is, knowledge. Knowledge elevates one's rank as is shown by the case of a certain slave. When he acquired knowledge, he was

able to refuse a ruler of a city entrance to his house. Tf

one is poor, knowledge is wealth for him; if he is rich, it

is adornment.

B. The Excellence of Learning (as Shown in)

1. Evidential verses of the Qur'an

2. Traditions about MIuhammad (akhbar) .

Even the angels lower their wings in humility to a learned person who does well. To go early to learn knowl

is a treasure chest. To attend the public audience of a learned man is preferable to one thousand cycles of worship. 3. Traditions about the "ompanions (athdr)

edge is preferable to one hundred cycles of the

worship. I t
How can one who does not seek knowledge be impelled to noble action? To learn a problem (of religion) is

preferable to spending a night in (worship). The death of one thousand worshippers is easier to endure than that of a

learned person. In seeking knowledge one's aim must be true.

C. The Excellence of Teaching (as shown in)

1. The Evidential Verses of the Qur'an

Allah entered into covenant with those to whom knowledge had been given that they should reveal it and not hide it. Allah said, "Teach them the Book and divine wisdom" (2:123).

2. The Traditions about Muhammad

The learned who teach are to Allah as some of his

angels; their intercession is acceptable. Knowledge passes with the passing away of the learned. A word of wisdom which

you teach to a brother Muslim is equivalent to a year's wor

ship.. All manner of creatures pray for a teacher who teaches

people to do good. The Prophet himself preferred a session of teaching to one of supplication. He likens people to di-

fit, some do neither. A guide to the good is like one who

does it. Envy is allowable in the case of a man to whom Allah gave wisdom, who does it, and who teaches it. 1uhammad's

successors, are those who revive and teach his law.

versEe plots of ground: some receive

benefit, some give bene


3. The Traditions from the Companions

A learned man mediates between Allah and His

creation. The learned are lamps of their time. 3y their

teaching the learned help mankind to rise above the level

of beasts. The learned are more compassionate on Muslims

than their own fathers; they keep them from the Fire. In the

sight of Allah to learn knowledge is reverential fear; to teach it is almsgiving; by it Allah elevates people. It is the lead

er; religious works are its followers. The blessed receive

it by illumination; the wretched are denied it.

D. Rational Evidential Examples

What is sought is recognition of the great value and excellence of knowledge. Therefore one must first know the meaning of excellence.

The word "excellence" is derived from fadl which is "that which is extra". Excess of perfection gives one thing excellence over another. Thus knowledge is an excellence in relation to other attributes, and it is an excellence in itself irrespective of relationship to anything else, for it is an attribute of Allah's perfection. Precious objects are sought for various reasons. What is sought for its own sake, like knowledge, is nobler and superior to what is sought for other


What is sought for its own sake is happiness in the next


world to which knowledge is the only way of approach. So

it is a most excellent possession. it is a source of happiness in the present and the next world. This is not strange for the excellency of anything is known by its fruits. The

fruit of knowledge is to approach the Lord of the Worlds,

while in the present world it gives one great influence, as revealed by the uncultured people's respect of a learned man.

Various branches of knowledge differ in excellence. The excellence of learning and teaching is obvious from the preceding statements. If knowledge is the most excellent thing, to teach it must be most excellent. The present world Is a

seed-bed for the next world. In the present world man's ac

tivities are in three main divisions: first, what is fundamental; second, what is preparatory; and third, what is comple

mentary. The noblest of these are the fundamental, while of

them, political science is the noblest.

The political science which seeks to improve mankind and

guide them to the straight road which saves in the present world and the next abode is of four ranks: the first and

highest is the rule of the prophets; the second, the rule of

caliphs, kings, and so on over both leaders and masses on

their outer deeds only, not on their inner thoughts; the third,

those who know Allah and whose jurisdiction is over the inner things of leaders; and fourth, the jurisconsults' rule over


the inner life of the masses only.

After prophecy the noblest of these four professions is teaching. This is nobler because of certain considerations: first, the excellence of the intellectual sciences over the lingual; second, the universality of the benefit; third, the sphere where the work is carried on. A teacher deals with the noblest part of man: his heart. He polishes and perfects it for the next abode. His service is a kind of worship, a kind of vice-gerency of Allah„ He is like a keeper of His most precious treasures, and is permitted to spend it for anyone who needs it. He is an intermediary between Allah and His creatures.


This contains an exposition of what constitutes a personal and a general obligation and the limits of the place of theology and jurisprudence and the superiority of the knowledge of the next abode.

A. An Exposition of that Knowledge Which Is a Personal Obligation.

The Prophet said, "The quest of knowledge is an obliga

tion on every male Muslim." "Seek knowledge, even

if it be in

China." People have become divided into more than twenty


groups over the kind of knowledge he meant. Each group tried to make it mean its ideas of knowledge. The jurisconsults said, "It is jurisprudence"; the commentators, "It is knowledge of the Book and usage"; the Sufis, "It is Sufi teachings", but they disagreed among themselves. Abu Talib al-IMMakki said it was to know the five pillars of Islam.

Since this book is concerned with only practical knowledge,, we shall stop at it. It is in three parts: 1) belief, 2) performance, and 3) abstention. At puberty a rational man needs to know the two'words of the testimony and needs nothing

edge on faith. This fulfils his immediate personal obligation.

These contingent circumstances may involve 1) performance of the required duties, 2) omission of some actions, or 3) may pertain to articles of faith.

Let us first consider the active duties. After the morning worship the coming of the noon worship renews a man's obligation to know how to perform the ablution and worship. One can say, "The necessity of knowledge, which is a condition of action, comes after the necessity for the act--." '12he same is true in the case of other acts of worship. Ramadan brings new obligations to know the meaning of the fast. Wealth brings the need to know about the religious tax. Likewise the pilgrimage brings new obligations. Individual requirerments are

more unless new

contingencies arise. He may take this knowl


graded according to one's circumstances. A mute need not learn what is forbidden of speech, for example, as it is not

obligatory to learn what does not concern one. As for be

liefs, he must have knowledge of them as doubts enter his

mind and he needs to learn what will clear up his doubts. These doubts may come to one's mind naturally or by"being in a country where current practices stir up doubts. "Whoever

learns the necessary knowledge and the time of its obligation has learned that knowledge which is a personal obligation."

will learn from part four what he needs.

It is necessary to know evil to avoid falling into it.

Most of this is contained in the Perils of the Heart, which

is in Part Four. Complementary to the "two words" is faith in the Garden, the Fire, the Judgment Day, and the Resurrection. Ordinarily one should hasten to learn what he expects

to happen in the near future. So what MM.uhaimnad meant by knowl

edge which he made definite by Alif and Lam is knowledge of

how to perform the religious works which are well-known to be obligatory on Muslims.

B. An Exposition of the Knowledge Which Is a General Obligation.

Obligations are distinguished by reference to the divisions of the sciences. Sciences related to general obligations are

divided into 1) religious, and 2) secular. The former are



those learned from the prophets, not by use of the reason.

The latter are divided into what is: a) praiseworthy, b)

blameworthy, and c) permissible.

a) the praiseworthy are connected with what is benefi

cial to the present world, as medicine and arithmetic, and are divided into what is a general obligation and what is

a virtuous act though not obligatory. A general obligation is every science which is indispensable to the set-up of the present world, such as medicine and arithmetic. If some undertake them, the obligation falls away from others. The fundamentals such as agriculture, weaving, political science, and even cupping and tailoring are among the general obligations. Without them people would be distraught with fear of distruction. A virtuous act is extra study in medicine and arithmetic beyond what is necessary.

b) The blameworthy sciences are knowledge of magic and making talismans and so on,

c) the permissible is the science of poetry which has nothing unsound in it, history of tradition, and so on.

The sciences which we intend to expound are all praiseworthy; but since some which are really blameworthy are sometimes confused with them, we divided them into praiseworthy and blameworthy. The praiseworthy have four divisions: 1)

fundamentals, 2) subsidiary, 3) introductory, 4) supplementary.


1) The science of fundamental sources has four parts: a) the Qur'an, b) usage of His Messenger, c) agreement, and d) traditions about the ompanions. Agreement and the traditions about the Companions are fundamental principles be

cause they prove usage. The Companions witnessed what others

did not see.

2) The subsidiary principles are those understood

.from the fundamental principals by inference, if not literally. This is of two kinds: what is concerned with that which

is conducive to good in the present world, and the next abode.

The jurisconsults are responsible for the former. The latter

concerns knowledge of the state of the heart. This is found in the latter half of the Thya'. The part which proceeds from the heart and affects the limn in their worship is contained in the first half of the book.

3) The preliminary sciences act as instrumental sciences as philology and grammar which aid in obtaining knowledge of the Book and usage. Though not sciences in themselves

pertaining to the divine law, studying them is necessary because the law came in the language of the Arabs. Penmanship is another, though not necessary; for the Prophet illiterate.

4) The supplementary sciences are divided into: what

is connected with a) the words, as variant readings; b) meaning, as exposition of the Qur'an; and c) the regulations of


the Qur'an, as 1) knowledge of the verses that abrogate and those that are abrogated, 2) Those that have general or universal application and those that are special and particular, and 3) knowledge of verses that are definite proof texts and those whose meanings are merely probable. This science is

called the rundamental Principles of Jurisprudence and is

related to the science of Usage.

Supplementary to the science of traditions is knowledge of the pedigree, rectitude, and life periods of the tradi

tionists. All this is praiseworthy, but classed as general


Jurisprudence and jurisconsults are connected with the present world and world divines because there would be no need of them if contentions about the present world were to cease. So they need jurisconsults to help rule them. Jurisprudence is also connected with religion because the present world is a seed-bed for the nex4abode, and religion is only brought to completion in the present world. The state and religion are twins: religion is a foundation, while the sultan is a watchman. The way of control is by settling quarrels by jurisprudence. In jurisprudence a knowledge of the ways to govern and guard is found. The Companions used to guard against giving legal opinions but not about the science of the Qur'dn and theway to the next abode. If you object

about what is mentioned about Fastin and Prayer in the quar

ter, on the Various Kinds of Worship or about the Exposition

of the Lawful and the Unlawful in the Section on Practice, you should know that the matters dealing with the next world most frequently discussed by the jurisconsult are three: 1) al-Islam, 2) worship and the religious tax, and 3) the lawful and the unlawful. The jurisconsult's thought is limited to the present world. He judges a man's Islam by an expres

lion of the tongue even/Sunder constraint of tine sword; the

heart is outside his scope. The effect of this applies to blood and wealth, but not to the wealth of the next abode. In Judging worship to be valid he depends on the outward form, not on the presence of the heart and humility and attentiveness which give the real value to the outer forms. Regarding the religious tax he is satisfied to have the sultan's requirements met, though trickery may be practiced.

As for the lawful and the unlawful, scrupulousness (war ) from the unlawful comes from religion, but it has four degrees: 1) That by which a man fulfils what is due the testi

mony he gives. This guards from what is obviously unlawful;

2) that of the virtuous which guards from doubtful things; 3) that of the pious who forsake the clearly permissible lest it lead to the unlawful; and 4) that of believers who turn away from everything except Allah lest they spend any time on that

which does not bring them closer to Him.

AU except the first degree are outside the scope of the jurisconsult. He does not speak about the scruples of one's heart. Only incidentally does he speak about the qualities of the heart and the next abode. The noble part

of knowledge is to act according to it. Then how can a jurisconsult's knowledge of divorce, accusation of adultery,

commercial down-payments, and hiring a thing out be considered as food for the way to the next abode.

In reply to your objection that I have made jurisprudence

equal to medicine, I should say that jurisprudence is nobler from three points of view: 1) it deals with divine law, 2)

neither the healthy nor the sick can dispense with it, 3) it

is near to the science of the way to the next abode, because it deals with acts which in turn originate from the heart. On the other hand, sickness and health originate from the

four humours which are attributes of the body. However juris

prudence is viewed in relation to medicine, its nobility is obvious.

Knowledge of the way to the next abode is in two parts:

a) mystical or spiritual knowledge, and b) the science of practical religion ('ilm mukashafah wa._:'ilm mu'amalan). The first

is inner knowledge ('ilm al-batin), the goal of all knowledge. It is an expression to designate the illumination that appears

in a heart after its purification from blameworthy qualities.

By this many things about the Being of Allah, His attributes, and His works are disclosed as well as about the Prophet and

revelation and about the Garden. After the fundamentals there

are various stages in man's knowledge of these matters. Some believe all of it is symbolical; some, that part are symbolic

and part are in accord with the real nature understood from

his confession of the impossibility to know Him; some claim

great knowledge of Him; and others, the limit is the belief

of the masses.

Mystical knowledge makes these things as clear as the

seeing in which there is no doubt. This is possible for man

except when the mirror of his heart is heaped up with dirt. Knowledge of the way to the next abode means knowing how to

clean this mirror. It is to abstain from the appetites and

follow the example of the prophets. This needs discipline,

knowledge, and teaching. This is not written in books and is

only discussed by people who share in it.

b) the science of practical religion('ilm al-mu'amalah)

is knowledge of the states of the heart, both praiseworthy

and Ulameworthy. For the former the author lists most of the accepted virtues and ends with mention of the science of eschatalogy. The blameworthy are mostl man's defects

the words; some, that the end of man's knowledge

of Allah is


which center around too great a concern for self and the things which pertain to a fleeting present world. Knowledge

of the definition, real nature, causes, fruits, and ways to

improve the praiseworthy characters is knowledge of the

next abode and is a personal obligation. Destruction awaits one who avoids them. A jurisconsult would refrain from replying if consulted about one of them like sincerity, for example; but would tell you volumes about divorce or racing. He too, should give precedence to personal-obligations, not the general. Medicine, a general obligation, is neglected in many cities, while there is competition in Jurisprudence.

Is this to obtain control of endowments and surpass one's contemporaries in a way which is not possible in medicine?

The deception of false teachers has effaced the science

of religion. Leaders like Al-Shafi'1 and Ahmad Bin Hanbal used to consult Shaiban al-Rd'i and Ma'ruf al-Karkhl, thus acknowledging their particular kind of knowledge. So it was

said, "Those who are learned in the externals are an adorn

ment of the earth and the visible world, just as the mystics

are an adornment of the heavens and the heavenly kingdoms."

The words of al-Sari, al-Junaid's teacher, indicate that to succeed a Sufi should acquire tradition and learning before becoming a Sufi. The beneficial proofs of scholastic

theology are found in the Qur'a.n. Beyond this is innovation.


Though not known in the time of the Companions it has become a general obligation. Philosophy is composed of four parts: mathematics, which is permissible provided people do not go to deeply into it; b) logic; c) metaphysics, which is also included in theology and sage of which Is false; d) natural science, some of which is contrary to religious law and true

religion. There is no need of the seven sciences included

in natural science. Theology became a general obligation in order to protect the masses from it. But for the innovator

there would have been no need for more than what was known in the time of the Companions. A theologian should consider himself as a guard on the way of pilgrimage. He has no more

religion than the belief of the masses; mystical knowledge of Allah does not appear in scholastic theology which must come by soul-struggle.

This pushes back the scope of the theologian and juris

consult to that of guarding and preserving. Why do you demean them so? For answer I say to know the truth is the ideal way, not to know it by means of men who represent it. These men agree that they are outstanding; however precedence is by knowledge of the next abode and walking on its way.

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