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).