The Metaphysics of Sufism
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The Metaphysics of Sufism book
Sufism not only offers something other than a philosophy but has also expressed a most lively criticism of philosophy, to the extent that it identifies philosophy with a limiting rationalism. In spite of this, Sufism involves a whole system of metaphysics, a fact which proves how little philosophy and metaphysics can be identified with each other. As we said in our general survey, what is meant here by 'Stifi metaphysics' corresponds to what is generally understood as 'speculative mysticism'. As Meister Eckhart could not be left out of a history of German philosophy, no more can Ibn al-'Arabi be excluded from a history of Islamic philosophy. The difference between this metaphysics and the metaphysics of the thinkers who preceded it is, to put it briefly, the distance already indicated between the technical terms 'iJm al-yaqin~ meaning the certainty derived from theoretical knowledge, such as knowledge of the properties of fire, and .Qaqq al-yaqin, meaning the certainty which proceeds from a personally realized truth, being oneself the fire. In the writings of the Stifi metaphysicians we find extremely complex schemas of the universe (for example, the speculations on the Throne, which connect with the speculations of the Jewish Cabbalists), but it is never a question of theoretical knowledge, isolated from the inner spiritual life. Seen from this point of view, metaphysics and mystical anthropology are inseparable, as are the modi essendi and the modi intelligendi. A speculative mysticism can also be a mysticism of love, just as a mysticism of love can involve a whole metaphysical system.