The Holy Qur’an and Innate Cognition of God

27. – For more information, see: Nahj ul-Balāghah, sermon 186; Shaīkh Ṣadūq, At-Tawḥīd, vol. 2, chap. 2; and ‘Allāmah Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 3, pp. 61, 82, 130, 152.
28. – By naming this method intellectual, we do not mean that it is based only on the intellect; rather, we mean that logical premises and methods are implemented.
29. – This is not contradictory to the “generality” of the intellectual method; because by generality we mean relative generality as opposed to idiosyncrasy. In other words, this method is not specific to any single person; rather, numerous people can take advantage of it.
30. – This method is especially useful for those who are deprived of inner intuition and spiritual observation of Almighty God. According to Maūlānā:
چشم اگر داري كورانه ميا ور نداري چشم، دست آور عصا
آن عصاي حزم و استدلال را چون نداري ديد، مي كن پيشوا
If you have [spiritual] eyes, come not blind;
And if you have no eyes, lay hold to a cane.
The cane of wisdom and reasoning;
Whilst you have no sight, make your guide.
(Book III, pp. 275, 276)
31. – There are two main forms of this argument: the modal form and the temporal form. The form described in this text is the temporal kalām cosmological argument, which is based upon the fact that the universe has a beginning in time. [trans.]
32. – In more simple terms, a necessary being is a being that cannot possibly fail to exist. In contrast, a contingent being is a being that can fail to exist. In other words, we can imagine its inexistence. [trans.]
33. – Notice that there is no other possible case, because the only other assumption is that the existence of the object is impossible. This assumption is exempt from our discussion because an object whose existence is impossible can never become existent, while this discussion concerns existent objects. In other words, our categorization only covers extant objects.
34. – Of course, as it has been discussed in technical Islamic philosophy regarding necessity, the necessity of the existence of a necessary being is an “eternal necessity”, while the necessity of sweetness for sugar is an “inherent necessity”. According to this, there is a discrete difference between the example of sugar and sweetness and our discussion.
35. – Those who practice kalām are known as mutakallimūn.
36. – Here by cause, we mean a being that causes the existence of another being (i.e. the effect). In philosophical discussions, this cause is called “Efficient cause”.
37. – According to philosophers, in order for a sequence (regress) to be impossible it must meet these three conditions.
There must be an infinite number of elements in the sequence
The elements of the sequence must all exist simultaneously (temporal)
The existence of each element must be based upon the previous element. That is, each element must be caused by the previous element (causal).
Therefore, a finite sequence of causes and effects (for not meeting the first condition), an infinite sequence of numbers or an infinite sequence of events taken place from Creation until now (for not meeting the second condition), and an infinite set of objects that do not have a causal relationship such as an infinite line of people (for not meeting the third condition) are not [philosophically] impossible.
38. – This argument has been presented by Fārābī. By reflecting upon its content, it is clear that with minor alterations, it can be used as an argument proving the existence of a necessary being. Among Moslem philosophers, other arguments have also been presented proving the impossibility of an infinite regress, such as the argument of “Extremity and Centre” (Ṭaraf wa Wasaṭ) and the argument of “Conformation” (Taṭbīq). Complete accounts of these argumentations can be found in most books on Islamic Philosophy.
39. – It must be said that circularity is not limited to circular causes; rather, it is conceivable in other areas such as definition or reasoning. If definition “A” is defined using definition “B” and definition “B” is defined using definition “A”, we would have a “circular definition”. Similarly, if we use statement “A” to prove statement “B”, while statement “B” is proved using statement “A”, we would have a “circular argument”. Obviously, a circular definition of a term or a circular argument attempting to prove a statement would not be successful in attaining the purpose of the definition or reasoning.
40. – Of course it should be noted that the antecedence of a cause in respect to its effect is not “temporal” rather, it is “essential”. If we assume that the impact of a rock was the cause for shattering a window, there is no time interval between impact of the rock (cause) and the window shattering (effect); even so, we can say that impact of the rock antecedes the window breaking. Meaning that until the rock impacts upon the window, the window will not break. (However, the opposite is not true; in other words, it cannot be said that until the window breaks, the rock will not impact upon it.) This example somewhat elucidates the meaning of essential antecedence of a cause over its effect.
41. – This is because the relationship of “antecedence” possesses the attribute of “transitivity”. In explanation, a relationship is transitive if “A” and “B”, and “B” and “C” are related, then “A” and “C” are also similarly related. For example, if “A” is greater than “B” and “B” is greater than “C”, then “A” is greater than “C”. However, the relationship of “doubleness” is not transitive, because if “A” is double “B” and “B” is double “C”, “A” is not double “C”.
42. – Sūrah Fāṭir 35:15.
43. – Sūrah Ṭūr 52:35.

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