Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ibn Idris on Kalam

The people of this persuasion [the philosophers] believe in God according to what they understand, while the people of God are people who believe in God inasmuch as He makes Himself known to them. And what a great difference between the two persuasions, because he who believes inasmuch as God makes Himself known to him places his intellect behind his belief, so that he believes whether his intellect accepts it or not. And he who has this kind of belief, God informs him of what he did not know before by means of revelation, not through the intellect. He who only believes in what he understands, he goes no further than "The letters." This is the reason why they have contrived the science of kalaam for which there is no guidance from the Book of God and the Sunna and no companion who has ever followed it.

Thus, they have written works enumerating the attributes (of God). God is greatly exalted above this. Indeed, this is a matter from which God Most High Himself refrained, as in His statement, "Glory be to thy Lord, the Lord of Glory, above what they describe (37:180)". Indeed, they describe God in a way such as God had not described Himself. This is of the utmost danger and ruination. They think they are good craftsmen and think that what they are doing is a science and consider that the practicioners of this "science" are those described by the Tradition, "The ulama are the heirs of the prophets". But they are in greater danger than those who sin and know and confess their sin. One of the pious people saw the Messenger of God, may God bless and grant him peace, and asked him about Ibn Sina and al Fakhr al-Razi. The Prophet said to him, "As for Ibn Sina, he wanted to approach us through a door other than ours, but we rejected him; as for al-Fakhr al-Razi, he was reproached for it." Although al-Fakhr al-Razi later left this path and repented of it, saying,

The result of using the intellect is a hobbling rope;
The result of the endeavors of the ulama is error;
The fruit of all the learning of our life is "He said" and "He replied".

- Ahmad ibn Idris, al-iqd al-nafis, 172-3.

from Enigmatic Saint, pg 74-75.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Like the pupil of thine eye

Great shame it is to deem of high degree Thyself, or over others recon thee: Strive to be like the pupil of thine eye— To see all else, but not thyself to see.

- Shaykh al-Islam Abdullah Ansari of Herat

Source: Edward Browne. (1964) A Literary History of Persia. Vol. 2. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 270.