Posted by on Nov 25, 2017 in Blog, Reflections | 1 comment

The truth of the adorer (waliyy) of Allah always lies ahead: : This fact applies to the future life, the immediate dunyā, as well as the journey of the wayfarer to the True. Allah SWT says in a ḥadith qudsī:

كُلَّمَا وَضَعْتُ لَهُمْ عِلْمًا رَفَعْتُ لَهُمْ حِلْماً وَ لَيْسَ لِمَحَبَّتِي غَايَةٌ وَ لَا نِهَايَةٌ

Every time I place them [My adorers (awliyāʾ)] in a higher station of knowledge, I raise them in forbearance. For [on the road] of My Love there is no final goal and no end.

Consistent with this is one of the most important applications of Shaykh Aḥmad’s dialectical method to the traditional problem of existence and essence in Islamaic philosophy. The concept and fact of existence or being qua for-other-than-itself is always relative to a specific category. Essence or becoming qua for-itself is always relative to a specific category. In a higher category, a moment of being qua for-other-than-itself will constitute becoming qua for-itself. In a lower category becoming qua for-itself will constitute being qua for-other-than-itself. In the Shaykh’s cosmological hierarchy of universes, essence and existence are always correlational and form a coterminous (musāwiq) pair of contrary opposites constituting a dialectical process of development towards the True:

Know furthermore that the accidentality (ʿaraḍiyya) of each thing we have mentioned is the aspect (jiha) of its need for its contrary (ḍidd). So the accidentality of existence is the aspect of its need, with respect to its appearance (ẓuhūr), of essence. The accidentality of essence is the aspect of its need, with respect to its realization (taḥaqquq), of existence. Due to this the accidentality of each one follows the entityness (dhātiyya) of the other.1


  1. The gerund ‘taḥaqquq’, translated here by ‘realization’, more precisely means “becoming true”, where ‘true’ is being used in a sense expressing something like “aletheia” in Plato’s sense or “wahrheit” in Hegel’s sense. However, ‘truth’ in this sense does not express “energeia” (“actuality”) in Aristotle’s sense. In contradistinction to Aristotle and his followers (such as Plotinus and the Islamaic Illuminationists), according to Shaykh Aḥmad the dialectical process (towards the True) of appearance and realization, of truth-manifesting-in-appearance and of appearance-becoming-truth, is everlasting: “[On the road] to My Love there is no final goal and no end”; see Jawāmiʿu ãl-Kalim, 2nd edition, Vol.1, pp. 498–499.