Dualism is a concept that suggests that everything has two parts and principles. It regards to the philosophy of the relationship between the mind/soul and body. This concept was supported by the substance dualist; Descartes who had a distinct approach on dualism compared to Aristotelian traditions which suggested that the body had three distinct souls. A soul of pain, pleasure and desire. The modern version of Dualism is present in Descartes, “Meditations”. Descartes suggests that the nature of the mind (non extended thinking) is completely different from that of the body (non thinking thing). He also conceives that the soul is a thinking substance and has intelligence but not space (Descartes, A discourse on Methods, Meditations and Principles, trans. John Veitch pg.87). Many philosophers attempted to disregard Descartes theory but only one intellectual individual accomplished this goal. Sadr ad Din Muhammad Shirazi, commonly known as Mullah Sadra was a 17th century Islamic philosopher who had a distinct point of view on the topic of the mind and body relation. The soul (rooh) and mind (aql) according to Mullah Sadra is a simple noetic existence which is one of the forms in the knowledge of God. He suggests that all things are externally distinct however internally everything is interconnected in existence. Things in this dunya (world) may be distinct when it pertains to physicality however in the metaphysical realm everything must be interconnected in order for the cosmos to function. Subsequently, existence has three different levels, the intellectual level, imaginative level and the natural level. All three levels are interconnected and are reflected in a human being. The mind and soul has an existence (kaynunat) within the world of intellect, nature and sense. “The soul needs the body (jasad) not of its aspect of the absolute intelligible reality, but for the existence of its individual entity and the creation of its soul-hood ipseity (Ibid, Volume 8 Page 382)”. Mullah Sadra emphasizes that the body and soul pertain to selfhood and can be an aspect of recognition once they are recognized as being together.
Before the topic of the article commences, I would like to say that this is a humble attempt of mine regarding such a deep topic. The analysis and reasoning present in this article are by great scholars such as Imam Khomeini, Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi, Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani and several others. If there are any flaws present, please note it is due to my negligence and the respected ulema and the religion of Islam contains no such. At the bottom of the article, the sources will be listed and in-text references will be given.
I begin in the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful.
“If Allah is all knowing and nothing is hidden from him, then why is it necessary for him to subject people to tests?”
Imam Ja’ffer (as) has said to his companion al-Hussain ibn Mukhtar:
“One amongst you says “I am the ghareeb”, yet the true ghareeb (stranger) is one who is present in the lands of shirk.”
When analyzing this dictum, experts have put great emphasis on the word ghareeb, and what it means in this context. The term “ghareeb” is defined as: to be an alien amongst others, be it in regards to being a foreigner, or in this case an individual who does not belong amongst the people. From this definition, a few questions may arise upon contemplation.
Recently, I was reading an interesting article concerning God’s Divine justice (link here) by the late scholar Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari. The article has been translated by Dr. Hamid Algar, a notable professor, and thus captured my interest as I was familiar with his translations. Among other issues, the article deals with the issue of why God must be just and raises quite a few interesting premises to provide evidence for this claim. This post however, concerns itself not with God’s justice, rather, with man’s own justice unto himself. There is one particular passage within the article that details the reason as to why God is just. This same passage can be inferred from to derive meaning pertinent to man’s own justice unto himself and is quoted below.
“…Justice is the basis of God’s acts, both in the ordering of the universe and in the establishing of laws. Just as human acts can be weighed according to the criteria of good and bad, the acts of the Creator are also subject to the same criteria. Since the logic of reason determines that justice is inherently praiseworthy and injustice inherently reprehensible, an object of worship whose characteristics include infinite intelligence and spirit, will never undertake an act that reason regards as impermissible.”
The theory of knowledge, epistemology, has had philosophers debating since the ancient Greek era of Socrates. The term epistemology is derived from the two Greek words episteme and logos, translating to knowledge and study of, respectively. In order to define knowledge, this discussion will be based on conceptual analysis, which means to give certain conditions, such that satisfying them will give us knowledge. These conditions branch off into two main categories: necessary and sufficient. The basic formula for necessary conditions is – Q is necessary for P; P cannot hold true without Q. The necessary condition in order for John to be a man, is that he be a mammal; a mandatory requirement. On the other hand, the basic formula for sufficient conditions is – Q is sufficient for P; P to be true is adequate ground for Q to be true. Now applying this condition into the same example, John being a man is sufficient to know that he is a mammal.
Akhlaq is the Arabic term which refers to the practice of morality, ethics, virtue and manners. It is the plural of “khulq” which relates to disposition (malakah). Furthermore, it is a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character. Manners are of two types; Husn al Khulq (good manners) and Su al Khulq (bad manners). Good manners ultimately signify the completion of one’s faith and closeness to Allah. On the other hand, partaking in Su al Khulq will negatively affect a person in this world and the hereafter. Imam Ali (as) has said, “O Believer! This knowledge and good manners are the value of your soul so strive to learn them, for however much your knowledge and good manners increase, so will your value and worth accordingly” (Mishkat al-Anwar, p 135).