Second Matter: Muhyiddin Arabi states the following in his letter to Fakhruddin Razi: “To know Allah is different to knowing that He exists.” What does it mean?

Second Matter

Explanations of the three questions asked by the former hoja are to be found in various parts of the Risale-i Nur. For now we shall make brief allusion to them.

H i s F i r s t Q u e s t i o n : Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi said in his letter to Fakhr al-Din Razi: “To know Allah is different to knowing He exists.” What does this mean, and what was his aim in saying it?

Firstly: In the introduction to the Twenty-Second Word, which you read to him, the comparison and example showing the difference between the true affirmation of Divine Unity and superficial affirmation of Divine Unity point to this aim. While the Second and Third Stopping-Places of the Thirty-Second Word and it Aims, elucidate it.

And Secondly: Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi said that to Fakhr al-Din Razi, who was a leading authority on theology, because the authorities on the principles of religion and the expositions of the scholars of theology concerning the tenets of belief and the existence of the Necessary Existent and Divine Unity were insufficient in his view.

Yes, the knowledge of Allah gained by means of theology does not afford a complete knowledge and a complete sense of the Divine presence. However, when gained in accordance with the method of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, it affords both complete knowledge and gains a total sense of the Divine presence. God willing, all the parts of the Risale-i Nur perform the duty of an electric lamp on that light-filled highway of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition.

Furthermore, however deficient the knowledge of Allah Fakhr al-Din Razi obtained by means of theology appeared in Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi’s view, the knowledge of Allah attained by the Sufi way is deficient to the same degree in relation to the knowledge obtained through the meaning of the legacy of prophethood directly from the All-Wise Qur’an. For in order to attain a constant sense of the Divine presence, the way of Muhyi'l-din al-'Arabi says: "There is no existent save He," going so far as to deny the existence of the universe. As for the others, again to gain a constant sense of the Divine presence, they said: "There is none witnessed save He," entering a strange state as though casting the universe into absolute oblivion.

However, the knowledge of Allah obtained from the All-Wise Qur'an, in addition to affording a constant sense of the Divine presence, neither condemns the universe to non-existence, nor imprisons it in absolute oblivion. It rather releases it from its purposelessness and employs it in Almighty Allah's name. Everything becomes a mirror yielding knowledge of Allah. As Sa'di Shirazi said:

To the conscious gaze each leaf is a book telling of Divine knowledge.

In everything a window opens up onto knowledge of Allah.

In some of the Words we have illustrated the differences between the way of the scholars of theology and the true highway taken from the Qur'an with the following comparison: For example, in order to obtain water, some is brought from a distant place by means of pipes, digging down under mountains. Some of it is also obtained by digging wells everywhere. The first sort is fraught with difficulties; the pipes become blocked or broken. But for those who know how to dig wells and extract water, they can find water everywhere with no trouble.

In exactly the same way, the scholars of theology cut the chains of causes at the extremities of the world with the impossibility of causation and causal sequences, then with that they prove the existence of the Necessarily Existent One. They travel a long road. However, the true highway of the Wise Qur'an finds water everywhere and extracts it. Each of its verses causes water to flow forth wherever it strikes, like the Staff of Moses. It makes everything recite the rule: In everything are signs indicating that He is One.

Furthermore, belief is not obtained only through knowledge; many of the subtle faculties have their share in belief. Just as when food enters the stomach, it is distributed in various ways to various members, so after entering the stomach of the mind, the matters of belief which come through knowledge are absorbed by the spirit, heart, inner heart, soul, and other subtle faculties; each receives its share according to its degree. If they do not receive their share, it is deficient. Thus, Muhyi'l-Din al-'Arabi was informing Fakhr al-Din Razi of this point.

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