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Amana

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Registration date : 2007-03-07

PostSubject: existence   Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:36 am

Existence, by Mujahid Khalfan
With the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful


Some important terms-

Necessary Being: A being that cannot be assumed not to exist in anyway whatsoever without contradicting your self. (The following is an example of a Necessary proposition. “The number two is even”. I cannot assume in anyway whatsoever that the number two can be other than even. For if I assume otherwise I will contradict myself.) This is of course not an example of a necessary being but it is to help you get acquainted with what it means to be Necessary. And that is, you cannot assume it to be otherwise.

Possible Being: A being that can be assumed not to exist and exist without contradiction. For example: a unicorn. If you assume a unicorn to exist, you will not contradict yourself. Thus a unicorn is a possible being.

Impossible Being: something that you cannot assume its existence for it will entail a contradiction. For example: a circular square. The existence of a circular square cannot be assumed to exist for these two shapes run contrary to each other.

[112:1] Say: He, Allah, is One (non numeric sense).[112:2] Allah is He on Whom all depend (Allah is independent).[112:3] He begets not, nor is He begotten.[112:4] And none is like Him.


The Three Fundamental Reasoning’s

The existence of Allah is self-evident. But why is it we find people doubting His existence? There are three reasons.

One is because such a person thinks of Allah to be an idol of some sort. Such a person has a wrong conception of Allah. And if this is the case then it is no surprise that he will not be able to find this fake idol!

The second reason is because such a person is unaware of his own awareness of Allah Almighty. There are many things that are self-evident that we can be unaware of. All we have to do is just bring our attention to it. All we have to do is make ourselves aware of our awareness of Allah! For example, let us take a look at the following self-evident proposition: “the part is lesser than the whole”. Throughout the day we were not paying attention to this basic fact until someone brought it to our attention and said “the part is lesser than the whole”! This is an example of us being unaware of our awareness of a self-evident truth.

The third reason is because such a person thinks God can be assumed not to exist. God who is a necessary Being cannot be assumed not to exist because assuming His non-existence will entail a severe contradiction.


Self Questioning.

How does one know if he has the right conception of Allah? He knows that he has the right conception of Allah when he truly believes that Allah is extremely self-evident. It is when he believes that Allah is the first thing a person knows! If we think Allah is not self evident and not the first thing that everybody knows, then we for sure have a wrong conception of Him.


The Solution!

What do we do if we have a wrong conception of Allah and if we want to know who Allah is? The solution is very simple. Since Allah is the first thing a person knows; since He is the most self-evident, then all we now have to do is ask ourselves “what is the most evident thing we know?” And this is non-other than Existence itself, or Reality. This concept is the simplest concept known to man. And it is for this reason that Existence or Reality cannot be defined properly. If something is the simplest concept (Existence) known to man, what other simpler concept can be used to define this concept of existence or reality? Existence is thus something self evident and everyone is aware of it. Existence or Reality can never be doubted, for they cannot be assumed not to exist. If anyone tries to assume its non existence, they will contradict themselves. No one can say Existence does not exist because he would be assuming some sort of existence in order to even say what he is saying. No one can say “Reality does not exist” because what this person means to say is: “Reality really does not exist”. He would be assuming a reality. This is precisely what the characteristic of a Necessary Being is i.e. “can absolutely not be assumed not to exist”. And we must pay close attention to what “absolutely” means. This means that any attempt to negate reality whatsoever will actually be affirming it. To put it more clearly, “the negation of Reality is its own affirmation”.


What isn’t Existence or Reality!

Now if we thought that reality is the sum of all the things that we see around us, then we are indeed mistaken. Because whatever these things are, we can assume their non existence without contradiction. If I assume the universe’s non existence, will I contradict myself? No! So Reality is not this universe because Reality is absolutely eternally necessary and this universe is but a possible entity. Can Reality/Existence be numbered? Can we say Reality is one or can we say there are two realities? No we cannot, because anything that can be numbered can be contained in the mind and thus can be assumed not to exist without contradiction. Anything that can be numbered is thus a possible being, not a necessary being. So Reality we should say is One with a capital “O” meaning One in the non numeric sense.


Why is even an eternal possible thing dependant?

Can a possible being be Independent? Let us say that this possible universe is eternal. Let us say there are some ghosts like creatures that have always existed! Can these possible ghosts like creatures or this possible eternal universe be Independent of anything else? Is this a possibility? In other words, is it possible for an eternal possible being to be Independent? The answer is no! Because we can ask the following question: “Why does this possible being exist?” When someone asks why this? Or why that, it is assumed that this or that thing has a cause for it to exist. And the Cause is that thing which the effect depends on.

Of course someone may say “I can ask Why Reality exists and this would make Reality in need of a cause.” But this is because he doesn’t know that you can only ask “why” to possible things. For example, you cannot ask why a triangle has three sides, because it is necessary for a triangle, if it exists, to have three sides. You can ask why it is sunny today because it is not necessary for it to be sunny. A sunny day, a rainy day, a cloudy day, is possible and thus you can question them.

In other words it is a self-evident fact that all possible beings must depend on their cause. But does this mean that it is impossible for a possible being to be eternal because of its need for a cause? Absolutely not! The criterion for a things need for a cause is not that it should not be eternal but simply because it is a possible being.

In other words if there is at least one possible being that has existence then obviously it must depend or get its existence from Existence itself. If I see a possible being, the only reason I see necessity in their existence is obviously because it is getting their necessity from non other than the Necessary Being. If I see a possible Being that is real then obviously it must depend on Reality. So as long as there is one possible being, you can conclude deductively that there is a necessary Being.

In fact this is the Reason why only Existence or Reality exists! Nothing else exists! How can anything but Existence exist? The possible beings are just a mirage, an illusion, just shadows. Why? Because whatever perfection that possible being has (which must be its existence) that existence belongs to Existence.

A teacher once said that Existence is like a light that you use to see other things. Let us turn our attention to this verse from the Holy Quran:

[24:35] Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; a likeness of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not-- light upon light-- Allah guides to His light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is Cognizant of all things.

And finally we conclude with a quote from an Islamic Philosopher (Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli):

“God’s invisibility is due to the severity of His manifestation; and His remoteness is because of His extreme proximity. If an entity’s manifestation were to be more evident than knowledge, notion, and knower, and it were to be so near that even nearer than a thing is to itself, such a keen manifestation necessarily creates invisibility, and such extreme proximity causes distance. This invisibility and distance is, however prevalent with respect to the eyes which are veiled; because someone who sees himself, he cannot see God. However by resisting the temptations of the ego and liberation from inequities of conceit, man’s inability can be reversed, and then in proportion to his ontological capacity he may view God. And by admitting “We know Thee not, the knowing Thou deserve”, he may refine His gnosis to perfection.”



afro --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11 comments:
Revolutionary said...

salam alaykum bro,

thanks so much for sharing this article, its a fascinating topic.

so to question a thing without that question resulting in a contradiction is a possible being.

to question a thing with the question resulting in a contradiction is a impossible being
(ie. a circular square)

now the difference between an impossible being and a necessary being is that the impossible being must be imagined whereas the necessary being is self evident (ie. there is existence)

is my understanding right there?

also, could you explain further the connection between the One Necessary Being and the possible beings.

btw i loved ur inclusion of Amuli's quote, really brilliant.


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Anonymous said...

W.S

alhamdulillah, Thank you..

Well, in my opinion i do not think that questioning has anything to do with regarding what is a Necessary , possible, or impossible being. Rather is is what you get after an assumption is made about something. for example if i assume a circular square to exist, i will get a contradiction. and this implies that circular square, although it exists as a concept (which doesnt mean it can be imagined)it is an impossible being. Can i assume a pink unicorn to exist without contradiction? Yes i can assume it to exist. in other words i should allow for that possibility. Existence and Reality on the other hand cannot be assumed NOT to exist. because "the negation of reality is its own affirmation".
so Reality or Existence exists Necessarily.

The difference between the Impossible and the Necessary is that first of all the impossible doesnt exist right now and the necessary does. and secondly the impossible cannot be assumed to exist, it is just not feasible while as the necessary cannot be assumed NOT to exist because its just not feasible for it not to exist. And the NEcessary Being just happened to be self evident. but in the article we were not looking for what is self evident becuause God was necessary. we were looking for something self evident because we must agree that Allah is self evident.

All you need is one possible being that has *existence* to conclude deductively that it depends on Existence. because the possible being DIDNT HAVE to have existence. but it does! so, its like you are questioning the possible being "HEY YOUUU, WHERE DID YOU GET EXISTENCE FROM?" and if it is said that it is silly to question the possible being's existence then that means that existence is part of the possible being's essence. which is of course not true.

the possible being does not exist for itself. the possible being exists for Allah. every atom of all the possible beings dont exist for themselves. they exist entirely for Allah. and only Allah exists for Himself. and the only thing that can exist for itself is Existence. because only Existence exists because of its very Essence!
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