A comparison

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Can you compare the lines of prophets and corrupted philosophy with respect to their fruits?

The fruits that it has presented to mankind on the branch of animal desires and appetites are idols and goddesses. Because, according to the principles of philosophy, power is approved. ‘Might is right’ is the norm. Its maxims are: ‘All power to the strongest’; ‘Winner takes all’, and ‘In power there is right’. It has given moral support to tyranny, encouraged dictators, and urged oppressors to claim divinity. Also, by appropriating the beauty in works of art and ornamentation, that is, by attributing it to the works themselves, not by relating it to the pure, sacred Beauty of the Maker and Fashioner, it says, ‘How beautiful it is!’, instead of ‘How beautifully made it is!’ and thus it considers each as an idol worthy of adoration.

Besides, because it adulates a cheap, self-conceited, ostentatious, superficial, transient, physical beauty that may be ‘sold’ to anyone, it has led people to pretension and caused those it has idolized to display hypocritical reverence before their admirers. On the branch of empowered anger and passion, it has nurtured the fruits of greater and lesser Nimrods, Pharaohs and Shaddads to tyrannize over unfortunate mankind. It has yielded on the branch of empowered reason such fruits as atheism, materialism and naturalism, embedded them in the minds of mankind, and thrown them into confusion.

A comparison between the lines of Prophethood and corrupted philosophy

and Now, to clarify this truth, we shall mention a few examples and compare the results that originate from the sound foundations of the line of Prophethood with those that arise from the rot-ten foundations of the way of philosophy.

Seeking distinction through Divine values or claiming Lordship?

First example: According to the rule ‘Be molded by Divine values’, which is one of the principles of the line of Prophethood concerning individual life, there is the instruction: ‘Seek distinction through Divine values and turn towards the All-Mighty with humility, recognizing your impotence and insufficiency, and therefore be a slave in His presence.’ Whereas, the line of philosophy, by the self-oriented principle of seeking the perfection of man, instructs: ‘Try to imitate the Necessarily Existent Being.’ That is obviously impossible because, while the Necessarily Existent Being is infinitely powerful, omnipotent, self-sufficient and without need, the essence of mankind has been mixed with infinite impotence, weakness, poverty and need.

Does life consist in conflict or mutual assistance among all parts of creation?

Second example: Among the principles of the line of Prophethood concerning the fundamental conditions of social life are mutual assistance, magnanimity and generosity. These are functioning in the reciprocal co-operation of all things—from the sun and the moon down to even particles—plants help animals, for example, and animals help human beings, and particles of food help the cells of the body. By contrast, philosophy names conflict as the fundamental condition of social life. In fact, conflict springs from the misuse of their innate dispositions by a number of tyrants, brutish men and savage beasts. Indeed, this principle of conflict is so fundamental and general to the philosophers' line of reasoning that they have absurdly claimed: ‘Life consists in nothing but conflict.’

Is God the only creator and director of creation or are there intermediaries?

Third example: One of the sublime results and exalted principles of the line of Prophethood concerning Divine Unity is: ‘Something that has unity can proceed from only one.’ That is to say, ‘Since each thing in itself has unity and so have all things severally, each must be the creation of a unitary being’. Whereas, the ancient philosophy had it that ‘From one, only one proceeds.’ That is, from one person, only one single thing can proceed, everything else proceeds from him by means of intermediaries. This misleading principle of philosophy which is stained with associating partners with God opened the way to a most grievous polytheism by presenting the Omnipotent and Absolutely Self-Sufficient as being in need of impotent intermediaries, thereby giving all causes and intermediaries a kind of partnership in His Godhood and allotting to the Exalted Creator only the creation of what they called ‘the First Intellect’. If the Illuminists (Ishraqiyyun), who were among the foremost philosophers, exerted themselves for such nonsense, you can imagine how much more absurd must be what inferior philosophers, like the materialists and naturalists, say.

What are the purposes for creation?

Fourth example: According to one of the wise principles of Prophethood,

There is not a thing but hymns His limitless glory and praise,

the purpose and wisdom in the creation, particularly of living creatures, may have an aspect looking to the creature itself, but many aspects looking to the Creator. Each individual thing, a single fruit, for example, has as much wisdom and as many purposes involved in its creation as all the fruits of a tree. This principle, which is pure truth, results from the Divine Wisdom, whereas, ac-cording to the nonsensical principles of philosophy which lack true wisdom, ëthe purpose of every living creature looks to itself or is connected with benefits for mankind'. That in effect means that the creation is so senseless that the purpose of a mountain-like tree is only to yield a tiny fruit. It is one of the disastrous results of philosophy that geniuses from amongst the Muslim philosophers like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and al-Farabi, having become infatuated by its apparent glamour and deceived into following this way, attained only the rank of ordinary believers; Hujjat al-Islam al-Ghazzali did not accord them even that rank.

Deviations of philosophers

Also, the leaders of the Mu'tazili school, who were among the most learned scholars of Islamic theology, attracted by the glitter of philosophy and becoming closely involved with it, regarded reason as a self-sufficient and sound measure for determining the truth, so that they were unable to rise above the rank of heretical or novitiate belief. Furthermore, since they took pleasure in the line of philosopy’s flattery of their evil commanding souls, such famous literary figures in Islamic history as Abu l-A‘la al-Ma‘arri, who was notorious for his pessimism, and ‘Umar Khayyam, who was known for his pitiful weeping, basked in the applause of philosophy but earned contempt and condemnation, and restraining reproofs, from the men of truth and perfection, who told them: ‘You are being impertinent. You are approaching heresy and leading others to heresy.’

Another consequence of the rotten basis of the philosophers’ position is that although ego is, in reality, insubstantial, the philosophers’ making it self-regarding and self-dependent has caused it to change from a ‘light vapor’ into ‘viscous liquid’. Thereafter, as a result of man's indifference to the miraculous truths of creation because of his too much familiarity with them, and of his pre-occupation with the affairs of the ‘material’ world and natural sciences, that liquid hardens. Next, ego ‘freezes’ through neglect and denial; through ingrained rebelliousness it further loses its refinement and becomes opaque, gradually becoming more and more dense and enveloping the per-son. Then, it expands with the fancies of mankind. Finally, supposing all of mankind, and even causes, to be like itself—although they do not accept this and deny it—it gives to each of them the status of a Pharaoh. At this point it contests the commands of the Exalted Creator, and says: Who could give life to these bones when they have rotted away into dust? and, in defiance, accuses the Absolutely Omnipotent of impotence. Ego even goes so far as to debase the Attributes of the Exalted Creator. It either rejects or deforms the Attributes it deems unsuited to its interest or disagreeable to its Pharaoh-like evil-commanding soul.

Is God bound by His own decree or does He have an absolute will?

A group of philosophers, by calling the All-Almighty ‘self-bound’ (i.e. constrained by His own decree), denied Him choice. They rejected the endless testimony of all creation, which proves that He has choice. Glory be to Him! Although all the creatures in the universe, from the smallest particles to the sun, show that the Creator has choice, each with its own appointed individuality, order, wisdom and measure, this blind philosophy refuses to see it. Another group of philosophers said, ‘Divine Knowledge does not contain the particulars’, thus denying the Attribute of All-Encompassing Knowledge and refusing to accept the true witnessing of the whole creation.

Do nature and natural causes have any part in creation?

Furthermore, philosophy has attributed to nature the power to create, thus attributing a creative effect to causes. Since philosophy does not see the evident stamp upon everything signifying the Creator of all things, it assumes nature to be the originator, when nature is, in fact, impotent, inanimate, unconscious and blind, and its supposed power comes from ‘chance’ and ‘necessity’, which are also blind. It attributes to nature some part in creation, every element of which is in fact like a missive from God, the Eternally Besought-of-all, that tells of thousands of instances of exalted wisdom.

Ego and nature as two deities in the views of philosophers

Moreover, the philosophers did not find the door to the Resurrection and the Hereafter, which the All-Mighty with all of His Names, the universe with all of its truths, the line of Prophethood with all of its verifications, and the revealed books with all of their verses, demonstrate, and they therefore denied the bodily resurrection and ascribed pre-eternity to souls. Their superstitions in this respect give an idea of what their views on other matters would be. Indeed, the powers of evil have flattered the reason of the atheistic philosophers, throwing them, in their self-conceit and arrogance, into the abyss of deviation. Thus, in the microcosm, ego is idolized or falsely deified, while in the macrocosm nature becomes the object of worship .

Hence, whoever rejects false deities and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: God is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.

 

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