Eternity of the Cosmos

The Imams (as) are reported to have stated : “kanallah walam yakun ma’ahu shay : wal’aan kama kaan”, meaning ” There was God and nothing was with Him : and even now it is the same [meaning even now nothing is with Him]”.
It is extremely difficult to comprehend the sayings of the Imams (as) and penetrate their depth as the Imams (as) have stated themselves “our affair is difficult to comprehend and can only be grasped by a messenger-prophet [nabi-e-mursal], an arch-angel [malik-e-muqarrab] or a believer whose heart has been tested” and the above utterance is a perfect example of the depth of insight and knowledge needed to understand the philosophical and metaphysical sayings of the Imams (as).
Now if by the first part of the above statement the Imam (as) means that in the beginning there was only God and nothing else , so this interpretation is negated by the second half of the utterance wherein the Imam (as) states ” and even now it is the same [meaning even now nothing is with Him]” ,because we know through our presentational [ilm-e-huzuri] and acquired knowledge [ilm-e-husuli] that we exist and the cosmos also exists , so how is God alone even now? therefore this clearly proves that the hadith does not imply the non-existence of anything besides God , and has been beautifully reconciled by Mulla Sadra and the other Shia Philosophers according to whom every existent has its own specific level of existence [martab-e-wujud] which is in accordance or commensurate with the existential intensity [shiddat] or weakness [zauf] of that existent as per the Theory of Gradation of Being [tashkik-al-wujud] and God or the Necessary Being exists at the highest , the sublimest and most perfect stage and this stage is known as the Level or Stage of Divinity [maqam-al-rububiyah] : at this stage God is alone and nothing else exists along with Him so that it could be a partner in His divinity, however it does not imply the non-existence of contingent beings or the non-existence of the universe at its own level of existence.
So the above saying simply means that God existed and nothing else existed along with Him at the existential level of Divinity [maqam-e-rububiyah] , although the other beings did exist at their own existential level [maqam-e-wujud] , and that is why the Imam (as) states “walaa’n kama kan” , meaning “and even now it is the same ” because even now creation [makhluq] exists at its own level of existence which is far inferior to the level of Divinity. 


Absolute Independence of the Divine

The Reason why the Necessary Being is absolutely independent and needless of reliance upon another is that dependence is a concomitant [lazima] of imperfection [nuqs] meaning that a dependent being [mawjud-e-faqir] will be that being which is Imperfect [naqis] in some manner, hence an absolutely perfect being , which is Perfection itself [kamal-e-matlaq] can never be tarnished or touched by need or dependence.

Something unknown cannot manifest another unknown

Now just as something non-existent cannot be brought into existence by another non-existent, and just as something non-existent cannot cause its own existence, similarly an unknown thing cannot be made known by another unknown nor can an unknown thing be made known by itself, for example in defining ‘x’ it would be absurd to say that ‘x’ is ‘x’, and it would be equally absurd to define ‘x’ through ‘y’ assuming that ‘y’ is even more hidden and obscure than ‘x’.

A definition consists of two parts namely a subject and a predicate such that the subject is the unknown part that needs to be defined , and the predicate is the known part that makes known the unknown-subject, for instance in the definition of Man as a rational-animal , Man is the unknown-subject and ‘rational-animal’ is the predicate which clarifies or makes known the unknown-subject ‘Man’ : but if in defining ‘man’ one were to say that ‘Man is man’ so that would be absurd, because a true definition consists of an unknown subject and a known predicate and hence a definition both parts of which are unknown is not a true definition.

Nothing composite can be Essentially-Necessary

Nothing composite can be essentially-necessary because if a composite is asserted to be essentially-necessary so either all its parts would be essentially-necessary or some of them would be necessary and the others contingent, now if all are necessary so that which is necessary must be necessary in all aspects including causality otherwise it would have to be contingent in the aspect in which it is not necessary, therefore the part that is claimed to be necessary must have to be necessary from the aspect of causality as well, in other words it will have to be a necessary cause, and a necessary cause is that which has the ability to existentiate its effect meaning the composite whole, without any co-operation or assistance from other parts, because if it needs the assistance of other parts then it is no longer a necessary and a perfect cause but an imperfect and contingent one, consequently a necessary part would be able to constitute the existence of the whole on its own, but we know that this is evidently not the case because the cosmos is a composite existent and this composition is in itself sufficient proof that none of its parts is essentially-necessary because had any part been essentially-necessary so it would have rendered the existence of the other parts non-necessary.

On Divine Unity

The Numeric Unity is subject to division, addition, multiplication and subtraction whereas divine unity is not subject to division, addition or subtraction because that which increases or decreases cannot be perfect because if it was perfect, then why the increase, and if it was perfect prior to a decrease so it will no longer remain perfect after it. Increase and decrease by virtue of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division only occurs in the material world among material beings and therefore to assert a numeric unity for God would be equivalent to affirming the doctrine of assimilation [tashbih] whereby God will belong to a certain genus and hence be a member of a species just as the number “ONE” belongs to the genus of numbers and is a member of the Odd numbers species , and this is associationism [shirk].
The Necessary Being [wajib-al-wujud] is an ontological unity such that it is The Simplest Reality [Basit-al-haqiqa] devoid of all kinds of duality and multiplicity [kathrat] including the duality of existence [wujud] and essence[mahiyat], whole [kul]and part [ju’z], essence[zat] and attributes [sifat], because that which is a composite [murakkab] of existence and essence or essence and attributes can never be a True Unity[wahdat-al-haqqa]. God has no essence that is distinct and separate from His Existence , in fact His Essence is identical to His Existence. Similarly in Him there is no duality of essence and attributes , in fact His attributes are identical to His essence , such that the attributes are the essence.
Every existent apart from God is essentially-contingent [mumkin-bil-zat] and every contingent being [mumkin-ul-wujud] is a composite [murakkab] of existence [wujud] and an essence [mahiyat], but since the Necessary Being [wajib-al-wujud] has no essence that is distinct and separate from His Existence therefore He is nothing but Pure Existence [wujud-e-mehaz] , and a denial of His being Pure Existence can only lead to two possibilities namely either the acceptance of His being a duality of existence and an essence, or in affirming His Non-being , both of which are inadmissible. This therefore establishes beyond doubt the fact that God is nothing but Pure Existence.

Body, Soul & Spirit

Body [jism], Soul [nafs] and the spirit [rooh] are all simply three different aspects of the same reality, such that at the beginning of its origination the soul is corporeal [jsmaniyat-al-hudoos] or it can be said that at the beginning the body is the soul, meaning the soul at the commencement of its existence in this material world is absolutely material [maddi] : now through substantial motion [harkat-al-jawhariya] the soul traverses different paths and stages in its existential journey towards perfection [kamal] such as the plant soul [nafs al nabatiya], the animal soul [nafs al haywaniya] and the human rational soul [nafs al natiqa al insaniya] such that every succeeding stage is existentially more intense and perfect than the preceding on. This substantial motion of the soul towards perfection involves the gradual actualization[bil fil] of all its hidden potential [quwa] and it is due to this motion and the gradual actualization of potencies that the soul incrementally becomes immaterial and experiences detachment from its material body, such that when all such potentialities have been actualized so the soul becomes perfect and absolutely independent in relation to its body and no longer needs the body for its support. This is the moment when the soul becomes a spirit [rooh]. Therefore a spirit is nothing but a perfected or an actualized soul [bil fa’il nafs] and the soul is nothing but a spirit in potential [bil quwa rooh]. The individual human spirit [rooh-e-fardi] is not eternal meaning it was not created before the body, and hence arises from out of the material reality or in other words is an offspring of the material world [mawlud-e-tabiyat] , however the Immutable Source Form of all individual human spirits which is the source form [masdar] for all the particular spirits [rooh-e-juzyi] also known as the First Spirit [Rooh-e-Awwal] was definitely created before the material world in the sense of having an existential priority[sabqat-e-wujudi]] over the material world.

Existential & Ethical Perfection

Existential Perfection is prior to and primary in comparison to ethical perfection , because it is only when the soul [nafs] exists that it may aspire towards becoming ethically perfect and without existence there can be no ethical perfection. Similarly it is not just the existence [wujud] of the soul which is a pre-requisite to ethical perfection but also the subsequent perfection of its existence to a certain level which equips it with the intellectual or rational ability to discern and recognize truth from falsehood. Secondly ontological perfection which is acquired by means of substantial motion [harkat al jawhariya] is an involuntary and necessary movement towards perfection experienced by all souls that experience corporeal origination [huduth-e-jisamni] and the individual experiencing it has no say in the matter, and this motion which is compulsive in character may be witnessed by certain changes brought about in the accidents of the thing experiencing motion, such as the alteration of its sensible qualities such as its size, colour, appearance etc. and according to Mulla Sadra the change or motion in the accidents [awaridh] is evidence of motion in the very substance [jawhar] of the thing itself because accidents are dependent upon the substance in which they inhere for their existence, therefore motion in accidents is also dependent upon and subordinate to motion in substance.

The Existence of Evil

The Epicurus Paradox begins by positing the existence of Evil, but I am questioning the accuracy of this premise itself because every existent is either Necessary and hence without the need for a cause, or Contingent and hence in need of a cause to exist, therefore if evil exists as assumed in the first premise so it would be either Necessary and not require a cause, or it would be Contingent and hence in need of a cause to exist, now if evil is a Necessary Being so what is the rational or logical proof of its Necessity? secondly if evil is a contingent being so like all things contingent it must necessarily have a cause, and the cause of evil will also be evil or not evil. Now if the cause of evil is also evil so this would either lead to an infinite regress which is impossible or it would lead to some evil that is Necessary in Itself , in which case the question would be ” what is the rational or logical proof of its Necessity?” : now if the cause of evil is itself not evil then it must be Good because the opposite of evil is good,but then the question would be “How can something evil emanate from something Good, meaning how can good be the existential-cause of evil , considering they are opposites ? Therefore the Paradox lacks logical or rational coherence since the foundational premise itself is inaccurate.

Is God a thing [shay]

The term “thing” [shay] can be applied to God in the sense of affirming His existence [wujud] because to negate his “thingness” would be equivalent to affirming His non-existence which is inadmissible, therefore the term “thing” may be used for both God and the contingent beings in a univocal sense[ishtarak-al-ma’nawi] , meaning He exists and is a Reality [haqiqat] just as the contingent things exist and are a reality : because to assert that the term thing applies to God in a equivocal manner [isthtarak-al-lafzi] would mean that the meaning in which we use this term for the contingent realities which is to denote their entified and external reality would be different from the meaning in which we this term for the Necessary Being, and that would mean that we would be employing the term “thing” to mean something that has no entified and external reality in existence and is hence non-existent. However the reality [haqiqat] of His thingness [shayiyat] is altogether distinct from the reality of the thingness of contingent beings , meaning that even though existence is a univocal reality amongst all things that exist which includes the Necessary being and the contingent beings , and this means that it is applied to both in the same sense which is to denote or affirm their reality and to dispel and negate the opposite of this reality meaning non-existence [adum] , and hence we state that God exists just as the other realities exist, however the reality of God’s existence is altogether distinct and different from the reality of the existences of all the other things, similarly the reality of the thingness of God is altogether different from the reality of the thingness of all the other things. He is unlike other things because contingent things are subject to both conceptual[tarkib-e-zehni] as well as actual [tarkib-e-khariji] compositions such as existence [wujud] and essence [mahiyat] which is a mental composition and whole [kul] and part [juz], matter [madda] and form [surat] which are instances of actual compositions, whereas the Necessary being [wajib bil zat] is devoid of all such compositions because the composing parts [ajza] act as internal causes for the product of the composition and hence are temporally prior [taqaddum-e-zamani] in relation to the material product of the composition and every posterior [muta’khir] is an effect [malul] in need of a cause[illat] by virtue of its essential contingency [imkan-e-zatti] and hence a contingent being [mumkin bil zat].

Acquired & Presentational Knowledge

According to the Shia Philosophers Knowledge may be broadly classified as either acquired [ilm-e-husuli] or presentational [ilm-e-huzuri] where acquired knowledge is that which is realized by the knower by means of a mental concept [mafhum-e-zehni] or a form [surat] that acts as an intermediary between the knower [alim] and the known [malum] and hence provides an indirect disclosure of the external reality which is the known : presentational knowledge on the other hand is not realized in the knower by means or the mediation of a mental concept or form , but is a direct disclosure of reality in which the knower [alim], the known [malum] and the knowledge [ilm] all are united or identical, this is in accordance with Mulla Sadra’s theory of the unification between the knower and the known [ittehad bain al alim wa malum]. An example of presentational knowledge is one’s knowledge of his own emotional and psychological states such as fear, anxiety, joy, grief etc, and one’s knowledge concerning the existence of His Self which is self-evident [badidhi]. God’s knowledge cannot be acquired [husuli] as that would render Him dependent upon a concept or form , nor is it originated or temporal [hadith] : nor is it distinct and additional to His Essence but is eternal [qadim] and identical to His Essence [ain-e-zat]. Therefore His knowledge is presentational in nature such that by eternally knowing His Self He knows all things.