Author Archives: bahlolmajnoon

The Mind and Body Relation

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.

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Akhlaq: The Forefront of Islam

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).

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