Author : Imam Reza Network

Before entering into discussion we remind you of two points. Firstly we shall project a general outlook over the Geek culture and then present some of the similar opinions between the Greek and divine beliefs.

1) If we wish to present a general analysis of the Greek civilization perhaps we can say that the Greek civilization started with fantasies and passed through the stages of intellection and intuition and finally ended in religion. In the beginning, the people of Greece with fantasies reached to a legend. Later they rationalized the various disillusioned and sceptical philosophies and still further they turned towards mysticism and finally accepted religion.

However the Greek fantasies did not grow at one stroke but was precedented to the past matter. This past matter, which the Greek fantasies, started dominating in that was the divine Fitrat (innate nature) and the reflections of the past religions. Therefore the most important matter which is set forth in the period of fantasy is the matter of Gods and divine myths.

It was when the Greek fantasies started to dominate over this pure divine Fitrat that the matter of gods was mooted. The next stage was rationalization but the rationalization too was precedented to the past matter, which was the same previous fantasies. The fantasies were refined in the filter of rationalization and as an example, the gods in the eyes of Aristotle were transformed to the “first stimulant” or the “intellect” and or the “reasons” in Aristotle and “examples” in Plato replaced the gods.

As far as the human intellect precedented to the fantasies did not have the ability to give reply to all the human affairs, the inclinations in the later periods were towards discussions in morals or scepticism.

The next stage was inclination towards intuition (divine vision) and mysticism. In this stage, the reasoning found purification in the filter of intuition and as an example the first stimulant; intellect and separable being in the view of Plato got transformed to “the (Absolute) One”, the “Supreme being” and “indescribable peak of thought and reflection.” The negative philosophies of Plutonism was the last of the endeavors of Greek Culture in theologies and gnosis and here the Greek civilization came to an end and the religion of Christ came into existence.

Just as this stage appeared in Greece after the Jewish religion in the same manner after the Christian religion too it took shape in another form in the middle century which lasted till the appearance of the Last Prophet and the religion of Islam.

The famous historian of philosophy Kapilstan says: “From the time when thought and semi-scientific and semi-philosophical research of the cosmologists replaced wisdom, counsel and (seven) maxims of the wise and the myths of the lyrists, one can say that philosophy (in any logical state) took the place of art. This philosophy reached its climax at the time of Plato and Aristotle and finally succeeded to its highest level of ascension, not in mythology but in mysticism” (Fredrik Kapilstan – History of Philosophy)

Will Durant, about the Greek Civilization says: The religious and philosophical campaign had at present seen three stages: Attack to religion like the period before Socrates, endeavour on the path of substituting religion with the natural fantasies like the period of Aristotle and Epicures and finally returning back to religion in the period of sceptics and Stoic philosophers. This movement eventually ended in neo-Platonism and Christianity. Such kind of sequence has taken place many times in history and perhaps today too it is in the state of coming into existence…” (Will Durrant – History of Civilization, old edition vol. 6, and Pg. 270)

2) A few similarities can be seen between the Greek beliefs and the divine beliefs, which for justifying that some of the viewpoints have been explained.

One view is this that the Greek culture has derived benefits from the past religious especially from the teachings of Jewish religion, but of course with changes, which are the specialties of the Greek culture. Regarding this, we mention some of the testimonies:

Kapilstan says: “It was the Jews who alleged that the eminent Greek philosophers with their important thoughts and reflections were greatly indebted to the holy book.” (Kapilstan: History of Philosophy Vol. 1. Pg. 636)

“Piloon” who was the fascinated one among the Greek philosophers believed that both in the Greek philosophy and in the holy book and tradition of the Jews one can find a unique reality while he was of the opinion that the philosophers have taken advantage of the holy books” (Kapilstan: History of philosophy vol.1 Pg.636)

Pilooyunus (from the neo-Platonists) was of the same view that Plato has taken his view that Plato has taken his wisdom from the fine books (Pentateuch) [Old Testament]. (As above Pg. 670)

Huze Nufisaguri & had a close relation with the religious life of that time. Apparently, in Alexandria e the place of conjunction and meeting of the Greek philosophers, exclusive knowledge and Oriental religion has come into existence. (As above Pg. 618)

Will Durant says: “In the entire tempests and disturbances of this period, the Jews preserved their patrimonial love for knowledge and devoted more than their required share in literature persistent in this period. Some of the most sublime parts of the holy book belongs to this period The Greek Jews, mostly in Alexandria and partly in other East Mediterraneancities wrote masterpieces like the “Book of Jama’e” (Society book), “Prophet Daniel”, some parts “proverbs”, “Zaboor of Davood” and some greater portion of the Unknown Principle in Arabic, Hebrew and Greek languages.

The scholars used to interpret the verses of Torah in to Hebrew language d schools were opened for teaching the book of principles of Torah and analyzing its moral standards for the ever-increasing young generation.” (Will Durant-History of Civilization old edition; vol. 6. Pg. 198 onwards) This recommendation was strengthened in the middle century by students of Yustin, Tatiyanus and the philosophers after him. However, another justifications, which was set forth in the middle centuries was the matter of ‘Logos’.

Yustin who was a Christian scholar, by making use of the Gospel of John would say: “Isa Messiah is a word (logo) and the word of God … and the word of anyone who comes in this world it illuminates its luminosity. So one can conclude that it is possible to achieve faith in God through natural revelation of divine word before it is incarnated in the body of Isa and confessed among us.” (Aten Thelson – The spirit of philosophy of the middle century)

Laaktanteyus a Christian scholar believed that Socrates, Plato and Sankara have said many good things and in fact each one of them attained a part of the whole reality & However, the main point is this that no one can distinguish the truth from falsehood in the beliefs of the philosophers unless if he has recognized the reality from before and no one can recognize the truth from before unless if God has taught him through revelation. (As above Pg. 43)

Some of the Christian scholars like “Arigen” too have reckoned reason to be similar to “word” and Isa Messiah and consider that to be dependent on the Divine Essence. Anyhow our purpose over here is to describe the dividing points of Greek philosophy from religion.

Proof of God in Greece

“Greece at the time of Plato was the fountain-head of such practice which according of God and accepts the proof by means of reasoning” (A. J. Arbari – Reason and revelation in Islam)

Among the evident specification of Greece was independent reasoning in achieving the realities and one of the realities too was God. This independency of reason can be seen in different ways in Greece and perhaps before Greece and basically in every kind of human and non-religious reflection. However it entered a new phase through Socrates. He revolted against devouteness in morals and wanted to establish a rational morals. “The majority of the people of Athens were suspicious of Socrates.

The religious-minded people reckoned him to be the most dangerous of the sophists because he was against every kind of religious ceremonies and celebrations. However he reflected the ancient religion and wanted every law to be weighed accurately with the yardstick of reason.” (Will Durant – History of Civilization; new edition; chapter 16; Pg. 416)

The method of Socrates reasoning was a special one which, reached its perfection at the time of Aristotle and it is here that some have reckoned Socrates to be the founder of philosophy. However, before describing this method we should pay attention to its principle and root.

Perhaps one can find the special independancy of “reason” in the views of Heraculitis. He was the first person to emphasize on this matter that the perceptible things are always in the state of change. Even if the philosophers before him had comprehended this reality yet it was he who emphasized this matter and his fame too was mainly due to some sentences, which he has explained in this regard. For example the sentence: “You cannot keep your foot twice in one river because the fresh water is constantly flowing and passes from you.”

Aristotle narrates that Heraculitis said: “All the perceptible things are always in the state of flux and no knowledge or recognition is connected to them.” (Aristotle – Metaphysics)

The result of this view is that rational knowledge and recognition is having no concern with the perceptible things and the affairs belonging to the material world and one cannot recognize the perceptible things except if we remove it by some means from its materialistic and trivial state and give a non-material aspect to it. This affair was fulfilled in Greece through separation of the universal concepts from the particular ones. The Universals with all its kinds form the basis of Greek knowledge. It is only the abstractional affairs, which are constant and “reason” encompasses them.

Therefore, the only means for recognizing the world is the Universals. Perhaps the first person who put into Operation the beliefs of Heraculitis was Socrates. He (i.e. Socrates) who was living during the time of sophists seeked to find a solution for the doubts of the sophists. “The sophists recommended the theory of relativity and denied all things which possessed the required and universal consideration. However Socrates paid attention to this reality that the Universal concept remains uniform. It is possible that the particular ones undergo change but the meaning remains constant”. (Kapilistan- History of Philosophy; vol.1; Pg.149)

The main aim of Socrates was to describe a blissful and ethical life and he would fulfil this task by resorting to the Universal definition of ethical virtues. He reckoned the source of these definitions to be the human soul. However he believed that one could have access to the Universal definitions only through reasoning and dialogue.

In the beginning, he would with utmost skill place the opposite person to self-contradiction and manifest his mistake for him. Thereafter he would assist him in following the matter by himself and in discovering the truth. Dialogue and Dialectic would begin from a “less adequate” definition and move forward to a more adequate definition and or move forward from observation and examination of trivial cases to a Universal definition.

Sometimes he would not reach to any decisive conclusion in practice but nevertheless his aim was one: i.e. searching one correct and Universal definition. (As above Pg. 152) Therefore, Aristotle says that there are two advancements in knowledge which we can truly attribute them to Socrates; putting into effect the inductive reasoning and the universal definitions. (As above Pg. 149)

“Plato” who became acquainted with the beliefs of Heraculitis through “Kratulus” (one of the followers of Heraculitis) accepted his view that the perceptible things are constantly in the state of revival and becoming (process) and no type of knowledge and recognition is having attachment with the perceptible things. He also accepted the view of his teacher Socrates that probe and definition is through the Universals.

Plato who reckoned on the one hand the perceptible things to be variable and thought on the other hand that recognition is possible through invariable and general affairs, came to this view that the Universals are existing in another world called the world of “exemplary ideas” These Universals or exemplary ideas are abstract and fixed affairs which exists in another world separate from the perceptible things. On the other hand, the perceptible things are existing by virtue of benefiting from the exemplary ideas and the actual recognition of one thing is in reality the recognition of its abstract example.

Aristotle accepts the recommendation “Ma’refat” (gnostic knowledge) through the Universals from his master Plato. However he does not believe that there is another existence for the Universities separate from the perceptible things. According to Aristotle, “the reasoning by virtue of which it makes possible and explains the view of Plato about rational knowledge, only proves that Universal is a reality and fantasy and illusion is not for the mind. However it does not prove that the Universal is separated from the abstract things, life and innate order.” (As above Pg. 401)

On the other hand, he finds many faults about the view of exemplary ideas. Therefore Aristotle while accepting this mater that knowledge is connected to the Universal and searches the Universal in the perceptible world, yet perceptible, abstract and multiple are not due to the multiplicity and greatness of the Universal. Thus every thing should be having a Universal aspect which the responsibility of the philosophers is to detach that Universal.

According to Aristotle, Universal is not merely a subjective concept or a state of literal definition. Rather, like the Universality in mind a specific essence exists in the perceptible things even though this specific essence is not immaterial and separate from the perceptible things. This specific essence which is having one kind of existence in a person is a real foundation for the separable Universal which is having a numerical unity in mind and it can without any difference be the carrier of all grades of parts.

The matter of existence of common genus in species too is expound in the same manner until we reach to the genus of genera which the highest of that is not the genus which can be indifferently conveyed over the lower genus. This genus of genera is of the same category, which according to Aristotle is ten and is named as the ten categories. In this way we reach the species, genera and categories.

Similarity, by paying attention to the various species, the concept of reason apart from separating the common aspects between them which were genus, also separates the uncommon ones which are differentia and by combination of common factors and the distinguishing factors i.e. genus and differentia it achieves a universal meaning of one kind.

Therefore, for recognizing the quality of a person, firstly by way of theafore-said separation, we come to know the kind of that person but yet the quality of this kind is unknown. So by the same method we attain the genus and differentia and by combination of the two known universal (genus and differentia) we attain the unknown (definition and quality of its kind). By this method we will be successful in discovering the quality of things. This matter was true to imaginations. However with regard to confirmations i.e.

certifying the attribute for the proposition, we first gather together the elementary materials i.e. a number of known suppositions and then we keep two self-evident propositions and two known confirmations (which carrying the attribute upon the proposition in them is self-evident) next to each other in a special form till we reach to the third case which was unknown. Here we will succeed in proving the unknown proposition.

From the above matter it becomes clear that making use of the Universals for proving an affair requires a special method. The Universals as per special rule, are classified and by means of combination of these Universals we come to the propositions and by combination of the propositions we will, by following rule, have access to the rational proofs and reasoning and will discover the unknown proposition.

Therefore, for making use of the Universals special logic is required which Aristotle succeeded in discovering this logic. As a result, by compiling his logic and while making perfect Heraculitis beliefs, Aristotle presented the method of rational proof and by making use of this logic and the capital of Universals he himself produced a rational system which according to him was in conformity with the concrete and external system.

So henceforth, for every claim a proof was to be presented which would be in agreement with the scale of Aristotle’s logic. In the view of Aristotle and other philosophers the existence of God too was a claim, which needed philosophical proofs and before establishment of that, the philosophers were having no right to believe in the existence of God.

Chapter Two: Proof of God in Religion

Basically in the divine religions God has not been set forth as one unknown matter so that His existence can be proved by logical proofs and adjustment abstract concepts. Rather one of the actions of God is to make Himself known to the people and to remind. It is merely a kind of manifestation of innate “Ma’refat” (gnosis), a “Ma’refat” (gnosis) which has been deposited in the heart of man and man must pay attention to that (Ma’refat).

The role of Prophets too were to remind the people of their innate “Ma’refat” and not to prove God. For this reason the Prophets instead of setting up scientific Academies and presenting the logic of separation of the Universal species and differentias and describing the conditions of collection of propositions and preparing the students for perceiving the proofs of existence of God, by taking for granted the innate “Ma’refat” and its awakening, strived mostly in proving their Messengership through miracles. After proving their Prophethood and Messengership they would introduce beliefs, morals, commandments and the way of living a prosperous life and finally would strive to bring religion to its objectivity through divine rule.

Pious and alert people too by listening to the verses of Holy books, would perceive the reply to their innate call and pay heed to their deposited Ma’refat and pursue the religion. Of course, impure people like Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab and Abu Sufyan too abstained from accepting God or the Messengership of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) due to various reasons like jealousy or material and economic benefits.

Other too, who wished to have lengthy discussion with regard to proof of God, were introduced as obstinate persons. Although Prophet (S.A.W.) and Holy Imams were always ready for discussion and good disputation and even trained some for this purpose, yet good disputation is different from establishing philosophical proofs. The manner of these two paths and their addressers and their aims differ from each other.

In dispute, the aim is refuting the false matter or disproving the refutation, which has been established on true saying. In this way, the obstacle to guidance i.e. the enemy, which is the very mental fabrications and false superstitions, is broken and the way is prepared for guidance through reminding. Therefore the aim of Dispute is not to make the enemy reach the fact but removing the obstacle of ones guidance. Discussion about dispute and proofs in the methods of Prophets will come in the second stage of the third section of the book.

The manifestation of theology after the divine religions too shows the same meaning because the theologians take for granted the existence of God and their aim is to defend the divine “Ma’aref” (gnostic knowledge) and to get rid of the doubts of the obstinate ones. If ever they resort to logical reasoning for proving the existence of God it is merely for debate, dispute and silencing of the enemy and not for achieving the fact, since a theologist has already reached the fact from before.

Now we shall derive testimonies from three divine religions i.e. Islam, Christianity and Judaism with regard to the above matter.

1) Religion of Judaism:

“None of the writers of the Old Testament have discussed the existence of God in the form of indescribable question and answers and or in the form of intermixed skepticism since the Semitic soul sees God in the inspiration. What we said about the Old Testament is also true to the New Testament with a slight variation.” (A. J. Arbari – Reason and Revelation in Islam; Pg. 5)

In the Journey of Exodus, it has come in Torah that: “Moses in reply said: Indeed Thy will not accept they and me will not listen to me. Rather they will say. Jehovah has not been revealed upon you. Then God told him: “What is in you hand?” He replied: A rod. God said: Throw it on the ground.

When he threw it on the ground it turned into a snake and Moses fled from it. Then God told Moses: Stretch out your hand and catch its tail. So Moses stretched out his hand and when he caught hold of the snake, it turned back into his rod. This was, so that they believe that Jehovah of their God, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God and Yaqoob’s God is revealed upon him.” (Old Testament (Taurat); London 1895; Journey of Exodus; Chapter Five) Just as it can be seen Bani-Israel have doubted the Prophethood of Prophet Moses and it was not that they have denied God and in order to prove that God has conversed with Moses (Jehovah), God gives Moses the miracle of the rod.

In the book of ‘Prophet Ezekiel’ it has come that: “And his sons (Bani-Israel) are adamant and hardhearted and I am sending you to them to say that the God (Jehovah) has said as such and whether they listen or (not for they are seditious people) they will realize that a Prophet is among them.” (Same source: hook of Prophet Ezekiel chapter two)

“Surely if I had sent you to other than Bani-Israel they would have listened to you. However the family of Israel do not wish to listen to you for they do not wish to listen to me for the entire family of Israel are adamant and hardhearted.” (Same source, chapter three)

Just as it can be seen in the above verses the reason that the family of Israel did not accept God and His Prophet was that they were hardhearted, adamant and seditious and not that they were not having any reasons for proving God. Similarly it has come in the above verses that Bani-Israel will realize that a Prophet is among them i.e. as soon as listening to the talks of Prophet and verses of God they will understand that these talks are the verses of God and its speaker is a Prophet. This is because the talks of a Prophet is the reply to the innate call of human beings and causes man to pay attention to his heartily Ma’aref (gnosis). However, it is only the pure heart, which is ready by tongue and action to accept the existence of God and not the hard and cruel heart.

2) Religion of Christianity

In the Gospel of Barnabas it has come that: When Isa (Yasou) reached the age of thirty, Gabrael descended upon him and delivered God’s message to him and Isa (Jesus) realized that he is one Prophet sent towards the Israelites. So after bidding farewell to Mary, he came down from the mountain and traveled towards Jerusalem. On the way, he came across a person who suffered from leprosy and he cured him. When people came to know of this affair, they proceeded towards Isa (A.S.) and surrounded him in order to be informed of the realities.

We continue the talk from the sayings of Barnabas: “The soothsayers went back and forth towards Yasou and said: This tribe wishes to see you and hear from you, so climb over this stand and when God presents you a word converse with Him in the name of God. Thus Yasou climbed on top, the place where the speakers were habituated in speaking over there and when he signaled with his hand, a signal for observing silence, he opened his mouth and said: Blessed is the name of God who wills by His Beneficence and Mercy. Then He created His creatures so that they praise Him. Blessed is the pure name of God who created the light of all His Prophets before anything else in order to send them for the deliverance of the world…”

Thereafter, he spoke something about the creation of angels and man and about the history of man and the previous Prophets. Then he referred to the Day of Judgement and advised the people and rebuked the soothsayers for being negligent in the way of God and for being greedy. Similarly he rebuked the scholars because of their corrupt teachings and concealment of the Divine Laws.

Barnabas says: “The words of Yasou had its effect on the tribe such that all began to cry from the small to their big ones. They implored his mercy and lamented before him in order that he prays for them. But the words had no effect among their priests and chiefs who did not conceal on that day their enmity with Yasou since he had spoken such words, which were against the priests, the scholars and their writings. So they decided to kill him…” (Gospel of Barnabas)

Just as it can be seen, after the speech of Prophet Isa (A.S.), which did not contain any philosophical proofs in proving God or Prophethood, the people were impressed and moved. While paying attention to God they recognized Isa (A.S.) by his speech and reckoned him to be the Prophet of God, except for the priests and chiefs among them. As Prophet Isa had spoken against them and raised the curtain from their ugly deeds, they bore enmity with him and were determined in killing him.

Therefore in the invitation of Isa, there was no logical reasoning and the people too were moved and accepted his call except the unjust and the evil-doers who denied him due to their obstinacy.

Perhaps some may say that Bani-Israel. By means of guidance of the preceding Prophets through philosophical reasoning were all believing in God and so Isa did not produce any logical reasoning for them.

In reply, let us assume upon the truthfulness of this saying that all the people before the appointment of Prophet Isa were believers: Firstly, with regard to the previous Prophets too like Prophet Moses nothing like proof of God through philosophical reasoning can be seen in the Old Testament. Rather testimonies can be found contrary to this matter which we pointed some of them in the section of Judaism.

Secondly, recognizing God is the most fundamental matter in the guidance of man and if the Ma’refat (gnosis) of God is achieved through logical reasoning then an “Ulul-Azm” (Arch-Prophet) like Isa should at least speak about that on some occasions and remind the people about it. But in the heavenly books, which are at hand this matter cannot be seen at all.

Thirdly, understanding the philosophical reasoning requires a very sharp mind and one has to go through many stages while the majority of the people are helpless in this regard. Therefore if the Ma’refat of God was stalled upon such reasoning then at the least some of the Bani-Israelites should not have recognized God. Thus it was necessary upon Isa to refer to these reasoning and explain them in his first invitation or in the later ones while we do not see any of this kind. The Christian philosophers of the middle century too, under the influence of the Holy Book, reckoned man to be carrying a divine image which this image is the presence of God in our existence. That is to say, God is constantly present in us by means of this image. This matter is sometimes propounded as divine intuition.

They reckoned the Ma’refat (gnosis) of God to be a potential Ma’refat and thought the reasoning for proof of existence of God to be only a factor for actualization of the potential Ma’refat.

“Bunawantura” believed that the existence of God is a reality, which exists in the depths of our hearts and the best and the most reliable way for achieving the Ma’refat of God is the innermost part and the journey of the self and not journey of the horizons. This is because the Ma’refat of God exists in a person potentially and by way of natural disposition and man should, by deliberation and reflection with regard to this innate Ma’refat put it into effect.

The journey of the horizon too is derived from the journey of the soul and with the journey of the horizons man should ponder over the realities of the external world and the divine manifested signs so that his innate Ma’refat is manifested more. These divine signs, because of being a sign and a symbol are one kind of reminder and remembrance of God.

“Gariguri Nisa” believed that the best way of knowing God is knowing ones own self because if man recognizes himself as a divine image he has in reality recognized God.[5]

3) Religion of Islam

In numerous verses Holy Quran calls itself the book of guidance. (Refer to Holy Quran: Baqarah: 2 and 185) And the most fundamental matter in the guidance of man is the matter of knowing God. Therefore one should see how Quran interprets the matter of knowing God. Moreover, since the traditions of the Infallible too are considered to be the interpretations of Quran we shall make use of the traditions too along with the verses of Quran.

The verses of Quran have spoken in various forms, innateness of Ma’refat (gnosis) of God and the heedlessness of proof of God. Over here we divide the verses of Quran and traditions into ten parts and in every part a few Ayats and traditions will be referred to as examples. 1-In many verses of Quran it has come about the divine Prophets saying that there is no doubt and hesitation in the existence of God and if it is asked from the people as to who is their creator they will reply God.

(*)

“Their Apostles said: Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth?” (Holy Quran: Ibrahim: 10)

(*)

“And if you should ask them who created them, they would certainly say: Allah” (Holy Quran: Zukhruf: 87)

(*)

“And it you ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say: Allah” (Holy Quran: Luqman: 25 and zumur: 38)

(*)

“And if you ask them who is it that sends down water from the clouds, then gives life to the earth with it after its death, they will certainly say, Allah” (Holy Quran: Ankabut: 63)

(*)

Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “Every child is born in accordance with his innate disposition (Fitrat) and by “Fitrat” is meant “Ma’refat” (gnosis) and recognition of God being the Creator and this verse “If you ask who is the creator of the heavens and the land they will say: ‘God”, gives indication to this same matter. (Shaikh Kulaini – Usul-e-Kafi. Tasheeh ali-Akbar Ghaffari, Darul Kutub al Islamiyah, Tehran, 5th Edition vol. 2. Pg.

13)

(*)

It is narrated from Imam Sadeq (A.S.) about the verse of covenant that: In the covenant, the people witnessed God with certainty. Then God made the people to forget this test but kept protected in their hearts their confession towards God. And if this test and confession was not there, nobody would have recognized his Creator and Sustainer and this verse gives indication to this very matter: “If you ask them who has created them, they will say ‘God’.” (Allama Majlisi – Behar al-Anwar Darul Kutub Islamia, Tehran 4th edition vol. 5 Pg. 223)

2-It has come in the verse of covenant that God took confession from the sons of Adam about His lordship and this confession was taken in order that the unbelievers and the polytheists do not say on the Day of Judgement that they were heedless of God or that because their forefathers were polytheists they too became polytheists.

This verse and numerous traditions, which have come under this verse shows that all the human beings have witnessed God by test in a world before this world. If in case this Ma’refat (gnosis) was not there, then recognition of God, His name and attributes would have become impossible for man. Thus God has taken from the human beings their confession in His Lordship so that the argument is finished upon all of them and they do not put forward any excuse that they were heedless of God or attribute their disbelief to their social environment or the society contaminated with polytheism.

This verse shows that this innate Ma’refat is the actual argumentation upon all the human-beings and it should be such that it should have the possibility of manifesting and appearing in every person in this world so that God can argue against their excuse of heedlessness. Similarly, this Ma’refat should be so clear and powerful that the environmental and family conditions do not affect and overcome him. That is to say, even in a society contaminated with polytheism, it (i.e. Ma’refat) should not get destroyed.

Now we mention a Holy verse along with some traditions.

(*)

“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! We bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this or you should say: Only our fathers associated others (with Allah) before, and we were an offspring after them. Wilt Thou then destroy us for what the vain doers did?” (Holy Quran: A’raf: 172-173)

(*)

With regard to the verse of covenant, Imam Baqir (A.S.) said: “God takes out the sons of Adam from the rear of Adam till the Day of Judgement. They were minute particles when God made them recognize Him and if this event had not occurred then no one would have been able to recognize Him.” (Usu1-e-Kafi; vol. 2; Pg. 13)

(*)

About the verse of “Fitrat” (innate disposition) it was asked from Imam Sadeq (A.S.) as to what is “Fitrat”. Imam replied: “It means Islam. At the time of covenant God natured the people upon “Tauheed” (monotheism) and said: “Am I not your Lord?” In this event, both the believers and unbelievers were present.” (Usu1-e-Kafi; vol. 2; Pg. 13)

(*)

It was asked from Imam Sadeq (A.S.) about the verse of covenant and he said: “The recognition of God remained firm in the hearts of the people. They have forgotten the place of covenant but a day shall come when they will remember it. If such an affair was not there, then nobody could know who is his Creator and Sustainer.” (Behar al-Anwar; vol. 3; Pg. 280)

(*) (Same source; vol. 5; Pg. 223)

(*) (Same source; vol. 5; Pg. 237)

(*) (Same source; vol. 5; Pg. 280)[6]

3-In the verse of “Fitrat”, the verse first calls (the people towards religion and then interprets the religion as “Fitrat” of God which man has been natured and molded upon that (fitrat). In the end, verse says that such ‘Fitrat’ is not worthy of change and alteration and the everlasting and steadfast religion too is the same innate and natural religion. Therefore the religion which is not based on “Fitrat” cannot be steadfast and permanent.

(*)

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state – the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no alterating of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know” (Holy Quran: Rum: 30)

The traditions which have come in the books of tradition about the mater of Ma’refat (gnosis) of God being innate and natural are many. For example in the book of “Esbaatul-Huda” there is a chapter in the beginning of the book named as: “Annal Ma’refatul Ejmaliyatun Zarooriyatun Mauhebatun Fitriyatun Laa-Kasbiyeh” and 65 traditions have been narrated and the author adds that he has brought only some of these traditions.

Similarly in the book of “Tauheed-e-Sadooq” in the 53rd chapter under the title “Bab Fitratullah azza Wa jallal khalqo alal tauheed”, ten traditions have been mentioned with regard to Ma’refat (gnosis) of God being innate.” Moreover, in the book of Usul-e-Kafi, five traditions have been narrated under “Babo Fitratul Khalqe alal tauheed”. Over here, we narrate as an example, few traditions from the book of Behar al-Anwar:

(*)

About verse of Fitrat, Imam Sadeq (A.S.) said: God has natured the people upon Tauheed (Monotheism). (Behar al-Anwar; vol.3; Pg. 277)

(*) (Same source)

(*) (Same source)

(*) (Same source; Pg. 278)

Imam Baqer (A.S.) with regard to verse of Fitrat said: At the time of covenant, God made the people recognize His Lordship and natured Tauheed (monotheism) upon them. The narrator asked Imam (A.S.): Did God address them? Imam shook his head in the affirmative and said: If such an address was not there, then people would not have recognized their Lord and Sustainer.

(*) (Same source; Pg. 279)

4-Verses of Quran reckon religion to be “Hanif.” (Upright) and just as it was seen in the verse of Fitrat, Quran has interpreted “Hanif” as Fitrat (innate disposition) and in other aspects of verses too, the traditions have interpreted “Hanifiyeh” as Fitrat.

(*)

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state – the nature made by Allah in which He has made men.” (Holy Quran: Rum: 30)

(*)

“Being upright for Allah, not associating aught with Him” (Holy Quran: Haj: 31)

(*) (Behar al-Anwar; vol.3; Pg. 276)

(*) (Same source: Pg. 279)

About the meaning of “Hanifiyeh” Imam Baqer (A.S.) said as such: It means the Fitrat (Innate disposition) which God has created everyone in accordance to that and there is no alteration in the creation of God. He has created everyone based on His Ma’refat and recognition.

(*) (Same source: Pg. 279)

(*) (Same source: Pg. 281)

5-those verses, which consider guidance to be the Action of God – These verses, from the viewpoint of number, are the most and from the viewpoint of reasoning are the best in serving the purpose of our discussion.

To elaborate, in many verses God has mentioned guidance to be an act exclusive for Himself having no one as partner in that act. These verses consider real guidance to be that guidance, which is only from God i.e. its doer, is God.

In the traditions too which have come with regard to this matter in various books, the action of definition of God is explicitly considered as the creative power of God where no one has any role in it. Therefore if God had not introduced Himself none could have had the ability of knowing Him because there is no human channel for knowing God which would have been just a human imagination.

As examples we mention some verses and traditions:

(*)

“Surely ours is it to show the way” (Holy Quran: Lail: 12)

(*)

“Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He please.” (Holy Quran: Qasas: 56)

(*)

“To make them walk in the right way is not incumbent on you, but Allah guides aright whom He pleases.” (Holy Quran: Raqarah: 272)

(*)

“Surely Allah’s guidance, that is the (true) guidance.” (Holy Quran: An’am: 71 and Baqarah: 120)

(*)

“Surely the (true) guidance is the guidance of Allah” (Holy Quran: Ale Imran: 73)

(*)

Narrator says: I asked Imam Sadeq (A.S.) that Ma’refat and making (the people) to recognize God the work of whom? Imam (A.S.) said: It is the work of God and not His servants. (Usul-Kafi; vol.1; Pg.163)

(*) (Same source Pg. 164)

Recognition of God is not the responsibility of human beings. It is upon God to introduce Himself and it is upon the people to accept Him after introduction.

(*)

It was asked from Imam Reza (A.S.) whether the people had any role in the Ma’refat (gnosis) of God to which Imam (A.S.) replied in the negative. (Behar al-Anwar; vol. 5; Pg. 221)
(*)

Imam Sadeq (A.S.) said: God has not made responsible the human beings for His Ma’refat and has also not set up any way in them for Ma’refat. (Same source: Pg. 222)

It was asked from Amir al Mu’meneen Ali (A.S.) as to how he has recognized his Lord. He replied: I have recognized Him by His own introduction.

(*) (Usul-e-Kafi; vol.1; Pg. 86)

(*) (Same source Pg.162)

(*) (Same source Pg.164)

(*) (Same source Pg. 163)

(*) (Tauheed-e-Sadooq; chapter 64; Pg. 416)

(*) (Usul-e-Kafi; vol. 1; Pg. 85)

(*) (Behar al-anwar; vol. 3; Pg. 270)

(*) (Dua-e-Abu-Hamza Somali)

(*) (Dua-e-Saba.)[7]

6-Verses of Quran reckon the responsibility of Prophets and the heavenly books to be that of “reminding”. Just as we had seen in the previous verses, recognition of God takes place through God himself.

Therefore, it can be said that the roles of Prophets in the section of ‘Knowing God’ is not to prove God which is unknown. Rather their role is to remind the Ma’refat of God since, the people, by getting involved in this material life become heedless from paying attention to the Ma’refat of God. Thus the role of Prophets is to remind this Ma’refat. This reminder in Arabic is the same “Tazakkur” With regard to proving some unknown affair or teaching some matter the word of “Tazakkur” is not used in Arabic language. Rather “Tazakkur” is used in the case of reminding something which was previously existing.

(*) (Faiyumi: Al-Mesbah Ul Munir; Pg. 209)
(*) (Jauhari: As-Sahih; vol. 2; Pg. 665)
(*) (Fars bin zakaria – Muajam Maqayes ul Lughat; vol. 2; Pg. 358)[8])
Now we mention here some verses and traditions about ‘Tazakkur’.

(*)

“Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder” (Holy Quran: Ghashia: 21)

(*)

“Therefore do remind, surely reminding does profit” (Holy Quran: A’ala: 9 & 10)

(*)

“We have not revealed the Quran to you that you may be unsuccessful. Nay, it is a reminder to him who fears.” (Holy Quran: Taha: 2 & 3)

(*)

“It is nothing but a reminder and a plain Quran” (Holy Quran: Yasin: 69)

(*)

“It is nothing but a reminder to the nations.” (Holy Quran: Saad: 87)

(*)

“…And this is naught but a reminder to the morals.” (Holy Quran: Muddasir: 31)
With regard to the duties of a Prophet, Ali (A.S.) says:
(*) (Nahjul Balagha 1st sermon)

Then God appointed Prophets and Messengers one after the other in order to take back the covenant of Fitrat from the people and make them heedful of this forgotten bounty.

Just as it can be seen the duty of the Prophets is to remind about the divine Fitrat regarding which in the previous world a pledge and covenant had been taken. This Fitrat is the very great bounty, which is forgotten and neglected by most of the people. The renowned historian, Masoodi too in the beginning of his book ‘Murooj uz Zahab’ has narrated a very magnificent and meaningful sermon from Ali (A.S.). In this sermon, while explaining the greatness of Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.), Ali (A.S.) mentions the fact that Holy Prophet use to warn the people of the pledge and covenant of ‘Alam-e-Zar’ (World of pre-existence):

(*) (Murooj az-Zahab. Daarul Ma’refat; vol. 1; Pg. 33)

7-Many verses after mentioning some points like the manner of creation and regularity of the Universe, set forth the matter of ‘Tazkereh’ (reminder) and with phrases like ‘La’allakum Tazakkaroon’ (so that you may be mindful) or ‘Afalaa Tazakkaroon’ (will you not then mind?) They explain that the ofersaid matter is because of reminding the human-beings and play the role of admonishers and not proving a vague and unknown matter, as was described by Ayats in point No. 6.

(*)

“Say: Whose is the earth, and whoever is therein, if you know? They will say: Allah, Say: Will you not then mind?” (Holy Quran: Mo’menoon: 84-85)

(*)

“And He it is who made the night and the day to follow each other for him who desires to be mindful.” (Holy Quran: Furqaan: 62)

(*)

“…And makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful.” (Holy Quran: Baqarah: 221)

(*)

“And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely we are the makers of things ample. And the earth, We have made it a wide extent; how well have we then spread (it) out. And of everything we have created pairs that you may be mindful.” (Holy Quran: Zaariyaat: 47-49) It has come in Nahjul Balaghah that:

(*) (Nahjul Balaghah – Subhi Saleh Sermon; No. 108; Pg. 155)

All praise is to God who through His creatures has become manifested upon them.

(*) (Same source, sermon 186; Pg. 273)

(*) (Same source, sermon 185; Pg. 269)

(*) (Same source, sermon 213; Pg. 329)

8-Verses, which say that man pays attention towards God and seeks, help from his Creator in certain situations of life like at the time of tribulation, adversity and fear and helplessness. Basically, the world is neglectful of God. Therefore at moments of danger when man loses hopes from all the worldly manifestations, the material obstacles and curtains over the Fitrat (innate disposition) are removed from his eyes and the light of innate Ma’refat starts setting in and this takes place all by itself without man having any authority over it.

This setting of light is the same bestowing of God’s Ma’refat through God Himself just as the word ‘Aataynaahum’ (We have given them) has been used in some of the verses. However after the setting of light and coming out from the condition of helplessness, man becomes free once more to either continue his heedfulness and submission to God or start disbelieving in Him which usually he selects the second one.

(*)

“Then when evil afflicts you, to Him do you cry for aid. Yet when He removes the evil from you, lo! A party of you associates others with their lord. So that they may be ungrateful for what We have given them; then enjoy yourselves; for soon will you know.” (Holy Quran: Nahl: 53-55)

(*)

“So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safe to the land, lo! They associate others (with Him).” (Holy Quran: Ankabut: 65)

(*) (Holy Quran: An’am: 40-41)

(*) (Holy Quran: Bani Isreal: 67)

(*) (Holy Quran: Zumar: 8)

(*) (Holy Quran: Naml: 62)

(*) (Tauheed of Sadooq; Pg. 231)[9]

“Allah is He who all the creatures at the time of need, hardship and hopelessness from all other things, cry and lament before Him and seek shelter in Him.” A person told Imam Sadiq (A.S.): “O son of Messenger of Allah, you guide me towards Allah for many controversies have perplexed me.” Imam (A.S.) said: “O’ the slave of Allah have you ever traveled by ship?” He replied: “Yes.” Imam said: Has it happened that your ship was broken and there was no other ship to save you and you were also not knowing swimming to help you save your life? He replied: “Yes.” Imam (A.S.) continued and said: “At that moment, didn’t you perceive by heart that there is someone who can save you from this dangerous situation?” He replied: “Yes.” Imam (A.S.) said: “That someone is God who is powerful enough to save when others cannot do so.”

9- Verses which reckon the duty of man to be only accepting and submitting before the innate Ma’refat (gnosis). Just as we had seen in the ofer-mentioned verses, guidance and introduction of God has been fulfilled through God Himself and the role of the Prophets in this regard is reminding and making (the people) to remember the same Ma’refat.

Over here a question may arise that what is then the role of man with regard to guidance and recognition of God? Quran reckons the duty of man to be submission before the divine guidance i.e. after the ‘Hujjat’ (argument) is completed for man through reminding it is now obligatory upon him to submit himself before God. Thus the religion of God is Islam and Islam means submission before God.

(*)

“Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam” (Holy Quran: Ale-Imran: 19)

(*) (Behar al-Anwar; vol. 68; Pg. 309; Traditions l, 2, 3, & 4)

Of course man in this position is free i.e. in return for the gift and bounty of guidance he can either be grateful or ungrateful and so man has a role in the matter of being guided. To elaborate more, just as it was mentioned before man has no role in the original guidance and recognition of God. However in the matter of ‘being guided’ and putting one’s self on the path of guidance, man plays a decisive role. In reality, guidance is related to both the sides – One is the guidance of God and the other is the submission of man.

(*)

“We have shown (man) the path, either he be grateful or ungrateful” (Holy Quran: Insaan: 3)

(*)

“Surely the guidance of Allah, that is the (true) guidance, and we are commanded that we should submit to the Lord of the worlds.” (Holy Quran: An’aam: 71)

“So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of the message.” (Holy Quran: Ale-Imran: 20)

(*)

“Nay! It is surely an admonition. So whoever pleases may mind it.” (Holy Quran: Muddasir: 54, 55)

(*) (Usul-e-Kafi; vol. 1; Pg. 164)

(*) (Behar al-Anwar; vol. 5; Pg. 196)

Imam Sadiq (A.S.) with regard to verse No. 3 of Chapter Insaan of Holy Quran has said: “We have introduced ourselves to mankind and they, either accepts this ‘Ma’refat’ or forsakes it.”

10-Verses of Quran reckon the cause of not acquiring guidance to be the free will of man and wicked morals like injustice and abomination. Just as we had seen in the verses in point No. 9 man is free in front of innate ‘Ma’refat’ to either submit himself or reject it. Here we narrate verses, which say that unjust people refrain from accepting the truth and from submitting themselves before God and those people who have ethical vies have faith in God. In none of these and other verses have come that because of not having any reason for proof of God and or for not understanding the philosophical proofs a person has become an unbeliever and no where it is mentioned that a person with a good mind who has the power of perceiving philosophical proofs has turned towards religion and Islam.

(*)

“And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressor.” (Holy Quran: Baqarah: 99)

(*)

“…And none deny Our communications except the unjust.” (Holy Quran: Ankabut: 49)

(*)

“Evil is that for which they have sold their soul that they should deny what Allah has reveal.” (Holy Quran: Baqarah: 90)

(*)

“And Allah does not guide the transgressing people.” (Holy Quran: Saf: 5)

(*)

“And Allah does not guide the unjust people” (Holy Quran: Saf: 7)

(*)

“Say: Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the mighty dominion?

They will say: (This is) Allah’s. Say will you not then guard (against evil)?

Say: Who is it In Whole hand is the kingdom of all things and who gives succor, but against Him succor is not given, If you do but know? They will say: (This is) Allah’s. Say: From thence are you then deceived?

Nay! We have brought to them the truth, and most surely they are liars.” (Holy Quran: Mu’menoon: 86-90)

(*)

”And (as for) those who believe in Allah and His apostles, these it is that are the truthful and the faithful ones in the sight of their Lord: they shall have their reward and their light.” (Holy Quran: Hadid: 19)

(*)

“We have not revealed the Quran to you that you may be successful. Nay, it is a reminder to him who fears.” (Holy Quran: Taha: 2,3) (*) (Behar al-Anwar: vol. 5; Pg. 196)

Just as it can be seen, the common point between these ten set of verses and traditions is that the manifestation of religion from God, contrary to the Greek philosophy is not one unknown and uncertain affair which can be proved by means of philosophical proofs. Rather making (the people) to recognize God is fulfilled by God Himself and the ‘Ma’refat’ of God is one innate (Fitrat) Ma’refat.

By paying attention to these verses one can in short present the mechanism of guidance as such: The guidance of man passes through the three channels of definition (of God), reminding and submission and finally man is guided on the straight path. And in none of these three channels any matter by the name of proof of God and establishment of logical reasoning for existence of God is propounded.

In the end it is necessary to mention that explaining the mechanism of guidance, describing the three afore-said channels and mentioning the various ways for reminding (the people) and the difference between argumentation and reminding are all outside the scope of this section and God-willing, we shall explain them in the future sections.

Over here, suffice it was to bring only a few points to show that in the method of religion and Prophets, for introducing God and having faith in Him there exists nothing such as proof of an unknown affair and abstractional reasoning like the method of formal logic of Aristotle.

Notes:

[5] 5-The matter which was mentioned from “Bunawantura” and “Gariguri Nisa” was taken from the treatise of Dr. Aawani in the middle century.

[6] 6-Hujjatul Islam Mesbah Yazdi under this holy verse says: It seems that such verbal conversation cannot he achieved except with intuitive knowledge and heartly vision and its proof is the numerous traditions, which speak of interpretation of dream and the matter of examination. Several traditions, which from the viewpoint of its contents are similar and from the viewpoint of reference too are reliable, have been narrated in authentic hooks like Usul-e-Kafi. Tafseer of Ali ibn Ibrahim, Tafseer-e-Burhan, Tafseer-e-Noor-e-Thaqalain and other hooks. Perhaps the purpose of most of the verses of Quran it to make (the people) heedful of this tame innat “Ma’refat” and acquaint the heart with God to the greatest possible extent. (Ma’ad of Quran: Pg. 39, 46).

[7] 7-Similarly refer to chapter 64 of the book of Tauheed of Sadooq under the title “Bab ut ta’reef wal Bayan wal hujjato wal Hedayah” Where 17 traditions have been narrated and also chapter 9 of Behar al Anwar vol.5 from the chapter of Adl under the title of “Innal Ma’refatu Menhu Ta’ala” where 13 traditions have been narrated.

[8] 8-Ayatullah Javadi Aamali says: If the general principles of religion were unprecedented for mankind then neither its teaching would have something by the name of ‘Tazkerah’ (reminder) nor their rejection would have found something by the name of ‘Nesyaan’ (forgetfulness). That its affirmative matter is in the name of ‘zekr’ and its negative matter in the name of ‘Nesyaan’ it shows that that general principle was having a previous recognition and man was aware of them. It was known to him in one special place and was and rather is specifically inclined towards it but is neglected and forgotten. (Origin of Ma’ad Pg. 75

[9] 9-In this regard refer to the traditions which have come under the tafseer of ‘Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-Rahim’ in the various Tafseers (traditional) books like tafseer of Burhan under Sura Hamd tradition No. 8 and 12.

Source: alhassanain.com

 


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