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Fakhr al-Dn al-Rz on God's Knowledge of the Particulars Author(s): Binyamin Abrahamov Source: Oriens, Vol. 33 (1992), pp.

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Introduction Orthodox Islam teaches that God knows every existent in the temporal world, be it an event or an entity, and that this knowledgeappliesto past,
present and future times. This idea is well attested in the Qur'an,1 according to which God even knows thoughts.2 Thus, nothing escapes His knowledge. As in other theological issues, the Muslim theologians did not content themselves with Qur'an verses and tried to prove God's knowledge, especially His knowledge of the particulars in a logical way. Logical proofs were needed, since the philosophers denied God's knowledge of the particulars on the ground that, e.g., His essential unity and simplicity contradict a knowledge which supposedly divides His essence. The theologians learned God's knowledge of the particulars through several arguments. They inferred it from the notion that God creates everything through His free will; God must know the objects He willed.3 They also gathered this knowledge from the perfection observed in things; only whoever knows the particulars can create such perfect, well designed and purposeful things.4 According to al-Ghazali, God's will and His knowledge of this will entail His being living, and every living being is conscious of things other than its own self, hence God knows Himself and other things.5 Al-Hilli and al-Iji deduced God's knowledge of the particulars from His power.6

into sira 34, v. 2: "He knowswhatpenetrates the earth,and whatcomesforth fromit, what the comesdownfromheaven,andwhatgoes up to it; He is theAll-compassionate, All-forgiving." Oxford1983.Cf. suira v. 11,sura6, v. 59, sOra Trans.A.J. Arberry, Koran The 35, 4, Interpreted, v. 166. 2 sura 50, v. 16. Leaman,p. 108. 3 Bello, p. 111. MatQlib, III, p. 117. vol. 4 Matalib,vol. III, p. 164. Mawaqif,vol. VIII, p. 65. Muhammad al-Hasanal-Tasi, alibn Beirut1986, p. 54f. Schmidtke,p. 231. bi IqtiSdftlm yata Cllaqu l-ictiqad, 5 Bello, p. 117. 6 Mawdqif,vol. VIII, p. 66, 1. 1 from the end - p. 67. Schmidtke, ibid.


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The philosophers, on the other hand, had different views. They were divided, as reported by al-Amidi, on this issue, into three groups: a. Those who absolutely denied God of knowledge, whether it is knowledge of Himself or of other things. b. Those who affirmed only God's knowledge of Himself. c. Those who affirmed God's knowledge of things other than Himself, but limited this knowledge to the universals.7 In al-Ghazali the first group are the Neoplatonic philosophers who held that the world necessarily emanates from God. This emanation implies depriving God of the attributes of will and knowledge, and hence of life. And whoever is not living cannot know himself. However, the Neoplatonic philosophers themselves thought that God knows Himself.8 The second view is that of the Aristotelians.9 Most of the Muslim philosophers belonged to the third group. They argued that in order to know the particulars one must have senses10and imagination which are inadmissible with regard to God."l Furthermore, on account of God's unity of essence, they assumed that God's knowledge is one12and immutable. Now, knowledge of particulars involves knowledge of changes in the particulars, and if one knows changes one's knowledge changes,13 for knowledge follows its objects. Or to put it in other words, that which is eternal, namely God, cannot be subject to change.14 Moreover, the multiplicity of the objects of knowledge causes the multiplicity of knowledge, and this is impossible where God is concerned.15 These considerations led the philosophers to the denial of God's
7 Al-Amidi, p. 76. 8 Bello, p. 111.

is changein knowledge the eclipse of the sun. "We shallexplainthisthroughan example,namelythat the sun, for example,suffers an eclipse,after not havingbeeneclipsed,and afterwards recoversits light. Thereare therefore in an eclipsethreemoments: momentwhentherewasnot yet an eclipsebut the eclipsewasexthe pectedin the future, the time when the eclipsewas actuallythere-its being-and thirdly,the momentthe eclipsehad ceasedbut had been. Now we have in regardto these threeconditionsa threefoldknowledge: know first that there is not yet an eclipse,but that therewill be one; we secondlythat it is now there;and thirdly,that it has beenpresentbut is no longerpresent.This threefoldknowledge numerically is and and distinguishable differentiated, its sequence impliesa essence of changein theknowing essence,for if thisknowing thoughtafterthecessation theeclipse that the eclipsewas presentas before, this wouldbe ignorance,not kowledge,and if it thought its that and cannot during presence it wasabsent,thisagainwouldbe ignorance, theone knowledge take the placeof the other." Al-Ghazali,Tahafut,vol. I, p. 275 (455f.) 14 The notionof God's immutability be tracedbackat least to Plato. See e.g., Republic, can II, 379-382.Againstthose who adhereto God's immutableknowledge,al-Ghazaliarguesthat whoever in God. Al-Ghazali, acceptschangesin the eternalworldmustacceptchanges the eternal Tahafut,vol. I, p. 281 (464).
15 Marmura, p. 301.

12 Marmura, p. 301. 13 Al-Shahrastani, 222. The most famousexampleof the p.

9 Metaphysics, 9, 1074a. XI, 10Al-Ghazali,Tahafut,vol. I, p. 276 (457). Marmura, 301. p. 1 Leaman,pp. 108f., 112f.

Fakhr al-Dfn al-Razi on God's knowledge of the particulars


and knowledgeof the particulars to the conclusionthat since the knowledge in of generaand speciesdoes not implychangenor plurality God's knowledge, Ibn God knowsthe universals.16 Sina, however,went fartherand developeda in to Ibn theoryaccording whichGod knowsthe particulars a universal way.17 Rushd had a different solution to the problem. He differentiatedbetween man's originatedknowledge and God's eternal knowledge. The former is In causedby the existenceof beings, while the latteris the cause of beings.18 betweenthese settingforththisnotion, IbnRushdseemsto stressthe difference two kindsof knowledge,but to dodgethe question:a. He does not explainthe differencebetweenGod's knowledgebefore the things are createdand after theircreation;b. In his systemeternalknowledgemay implyan eternalobject of knowledgewhich cannot be explainedin a world of originationand destruction.19 Fromthe point of view of religion,the theoryof the philosophers irreliis gious, for accordingto it, God cannotknow whethera man obeys or disobeys Him, or whethera man becomesa hereticor a true believer.That is because Godcan knowonly the obedienceor the disobedience, beliefor the unbelief the in general,not as a particular behaviourof a certainman.20 Fakhral-Din al-Razi's(d. 1209)21 chapteron God's knowledgeof the particulars is presentedhere in an annotated translation. I have preferredto choosethischapterin Matflib rather thanthe chapterin Mabahith introduce to to the readeral-Razi'sview on this question,becausethe formerdeals more of fullywiththe Kalamarguments our issuethanthe latter.However,parallels betweenthe two workswill be pointedout in the notes. I would now like to give a short descriptionof this chapter,its framework The of and arguments.22 structure the chaptercan be introduced throughthe following outlines: 1. The philosophers'stand that God knows neitherthe to thingsnorthe corporealones andtheirfirstargument provethis changeable 2. The Mutakallimun's answerto the philosophers'argument: The a. stand; of remainsas it was;and arguments thosewho holdthat God's firstknowledge
16 Ibid. 17 This theorywas thoroughly explainedby Marmura.

18 Ibn Rushd,Damima,p. 74. Bello, p. 118.Cf. Maimonides, Guideof thePerplexed, The III, ch. 21. 19 Cf. Marmura, 302f. p. 20 Al-Ghazali,Tahafut,vol. I, pp. 277 (457), 222f. (376). 21 G.C. Anawati,EI2,vol. II, pp. 751-55.S.H. Nasr, "Fakhral-Dinal-Rzi", in A Historyof MuslimPhilosophy,ed. M.M. Sharif,Wiesbaden1963,pp. 642-656. 22 For the purposeof creating of continuityin the description the chapter,I do not bringthe in in arguments the order of their appearance the chapter;for example,al-Razi'sarguments after this notion, againstthe notion of the durationof God's knowledgecomes immediately whereasin the text it comeslater.


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b. The arguments of those who hold that God's knowledge changes; 3. AlR&zi's rejoinder to 2a; 4. The reaction of some later Mutakallimun to 2b; 5. The philosophers' second argument; 6. The philosophers' third argument; 7. Al-Razi's own arguments which prove God's knowledge of the particulars. According to al-Razi, the philosophers, whose hidden spokesman here is Ibn Sina, state that God does not know the particulars because of their changeability nor does he know the corporeal things. To prove their view they bring forward as an example a simple event, namely Zayd's changing his position from sitting to standing. The continuation of God's knowledge of Zayd's sitting when he is standing means God's ignorance of Zayd's standing, which is inconceivable. On the other hand, the discontinuation of this knowledge implies change in God's knowledge, which is also inconceivable with regard to God. Some Mutakallimun accept the possibility of the continuation of God's knowledge of the particulars, on the following grounds: a. Just as plurality of the objects of knowledge does not cause plurality of knowledge23, so the change of the objects of knowledge does not cause change in knowledge. God knows everything through one knowledge. Al-Razi absolutely rejects this notion, for according to him, knowledge does multiply due to the multiplicity of the objects of knowledge, whether knowledge is perceived as a form which corresponds to its objects or as a special relationship between the knower and the object of knowledge. Al-Razi's second objection to the theory of the continuation of knowledge consists in a defect occurring in the analogy which compares multiplicity of objects to multiplicity of changes: the analogy has no common principle. The view of the duration of knowledge is also based on the argument that knowledge is a quality through which the objects of knowledge are disclosed. Knowledge resembles a mirror in which forms are seen. Just as the forms change and the mirror does not, so objects of knowledge change and knowledge itself does not.24 Admitting that knowledge is a disclosure, al-Razi, however, says that this disclosure means a special relationship between the knower and the object of knowledge. The disclosure is a cause of this knowledge. Thus, when the cause disappears the effect too disappears.25
23 The premisewhich lies behindthis argument that one piece of knowledge can perceive is manyobjects.
24 See note 43 below.
25 In a chapter and of (Matalib,vol. III, dealingwiththe realmeaning knowledge perception of pp. 103ff.), al-Razibringsforwardfour possibilities definingknowledge: a. Knowledgeindicates only a special relationshipbetween the knower and the object of is by knowledge.This view of knowledge preferred al-Rzl. b. The notion of most of the philosophers that knowledgeis a real quality,which meansthat in is of knowledge the occurrence the form of the objectof knowledge the knower.This idea is totallyrejectedby al-Razi.

Fakhral-Din al-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


The third argument, or rather assertion, which advocates the continuation of knowledge, assumes that the knowledge of a future event continues until the event occurs. This is easily refuted by al-Razi on the ground that objects of knowledge are accidents which come into being successively. Hence, the knowledge which follows its object cannot endure; one cannot know through one piece of knowledge what will occur in the next moment. Moreover, the contention that knowledge continues ignores the element of time, which is an integral part of the knowledge of every occurrence in the corporeal world. The last argument, which is put forth in defense of the duration of knowledge, considers knowledge a real quality of the knower's essence. The quality's connection to the object of knowledge is a relationship between the knowledge and its object.26 The change of the object of knowledge causes a change of relationship between the knowledge and its objects, but the essence of knowledge does not change. The relationship is thus external; it does not influence the essence of knowledge.27 Pointing at the previous arguments, in which he demonstrates that knowledge does change, al-Razi does not refute this argument directly. Four arguments are adduced in support of the view, shared by Jahm ibn Safwan, Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Abu al-Husayn al-Ba$rl, that following the change of the objects of knowledge, knowledge changes: a. There is a knowledge that something will happen tomorrow. If a man does not know that tomorrow will come, he will not know the occurrence of this event. Events are connected with time, hence ignorance of time prevents one from knowing the occurrence of an event. This proves that the knowledge that an event will occur is not the same as the knowledge of its occurrence when it occurs. b. Essences do not change. Since knowledge is an essence, it does not change. The knowledge that a thing will exist is an essence opposite to the knowledge of the thing's present existence. c. The knowledge that a thing is existent now is conditioned on its actual existence, whereas the knowledge of its future existence is not conditioned on its actual existence. Thus these two pieces of knowledge are different from each
is to c. The viewof mostof the Mutakallimun the effect that knowledge a realqualityexistingin to Thisrealquality the knower's essenceandhavinga specialrelationship theobjectof knowledge. is not a form identicalwith the essenceof the object of knowledge. to d. Knowledge a realand specificqualitywhichpertains negation.Two groupsaresubsumed is who meansabsence underthis definition:1. A groupof earlyMutakallimun, saidthat knowledge to of 2. who of (ornegation) ignorance. Philosophers adhere theviewthatthemeaning theintellect of (= that whichperceives things)is somethingwhichis deprived matter. 26 See the preceding note. 27 Cf. al-Ghazali,Tahafut,vol. II, p. 153.


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other; furthermore, they are contraries, because they cannot coexist. d. This argument is based on the definition of knowledge as a form which accords with its object. Now, since objects of knowledge are contraries, those things which accord with them must be contraries. This is a slightly different formulation of the previous argument. The later Mutakallimun do not accept the view that God's knowledge changes. First they say that the coming of a knowledge into being entails its having someone who brings it into being who in turn must know the act he does. Thus the bringing of a knowledge into being is dependent upon another knowledge. Such an endless chain of pieces of knowledge is inconceivable. AlRazi points out that this argument is based on the premise that the knowledge is brought into being by a person who has ability and choice. However, if knowledge is perceived as obliged by the knower's essence on the condition that the object of knowledge exists the case is different. The second argument refutes the notion of the change of knowledge through examining the substrate of its taking place. This argument scans three possibilities of the place in which knowledge occurs, namely, in God's essence, in another essence and in no substrate. All three possibilities are cancelled; hence it is proved that knowledge does not come into being. The third argument is also based on a triparitite division of which the Mutakallimun were fond. God's essence is sufficient either for the causation of knowledge (knowledge being perceived here as a quality to which reason points), or for its nullification28, or neither for one nor for the other. The first two possibilities mean continuation of knowledge and its privation respectively. In both cases change is prevented. The third possibility, according to which God's essence is sufficient neither for causation nor for rejection, implies that the causation or rejection of this quality is dependent upon something other than this essence. And that which is dependent on another thing is possible by virtue of itself, whereas God's essence is necessary by virtue of itself. The fourth argument shows a contradiction in God's knowledge of the world in case His previous knowledge of the non-existence of the world continues after the creation of the world, which entails a knowledge of its existence. This contradiction enjoins the author to examine another possibility, that is, the disappearance of the previous knowledge, which is assumed to be either eternal or temporal. Both possibilities are inconceivable. The two famous proponents of the change in God's knowledge, Jahm ibn Safwan and Hisham ibn
28 Al-Raziuses heretwo words bedaf andsalb, but salb seemsto me the moreappropriate, cause dafC (rejection)refersto somethingwhich exists and will exist-which is not the casewhereas salb (nullification negation)meansto preventsomethingfrombeingexistent-which or is the contrary causation. of

Fakhral-Din al-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


al-Hakam, rejoin by distinguishing between two kinds of knowledge: a. knowledge of the essences of things; and b. knowledge of the actual things. The first knowledge is eternal, while the second is temporal. To recapitulate the course of our description until now, al-Razi begins his discussion with setting forth the philosophers' first argument, which proves that God cannot know the changeable and corporeal things. He adds to this the arguments of those Mutakallimun who advocate the continuation of God's knowledge, the arguments of those who advocate change in God's knowledge and the contra-arguments to these two kind of arguments. Now al-Razi comes to deal with the philosophers' second and third arguments. The second argument is based on a sketch of a square winged by two other squares. In the first phase the philosophers prove that the distinction between the two squares occurs in the mental existence. In the second phase it is demonstrated that the two squares have two substrates, not one. These two substrates differ from each other in state and place. Since the two squares have bodily qualities (state and place), their perceiver must be a body29, and God is not a body so that he can have the squares inhere in Him. This proof, al-Razi responds, is based on the notion, which was already refuted,30that the perception of a thing is conditioned on the presence of the object of knowledge in the knower's mind. The third argument of the philosophers can be summarized as follows: a. Knowledge is the effect of the existence of its object; b. God's essence is based on His knowledge; c. Consequently, God's essence is based on the object of knowledge, which means that His essence needs a possible thing for its existence, and hence God's essence is possible; d. Thus, the Necessary Existent by virtue of Himself must be a possible existent by virtue of itself, which is absurd. The present argument denies God's knowledge of the particulars. However, God knows the essence of things, for this knowledge takes place whether the things exist or not; it is not dependent upon their actual existence. This argument incurs al-Razi's rejoinder. He deduces from the philosophers' argument that God cannot produce an effect on another thing, for this production needs another thing. Thus, the conclusion implied is that just as this notion is inconceivable so too is the notion that God cannot know the particulars. The last part of the chapter consists of arguments adduced by al-Razi in the name of those who adhere to the view that God knows the particulars. Al-Razi has already proved God's knowledge of His acts through the perfection observed in them. Now, perfection is seen only in the particulars, therefore God knows them. Second, he shows that the element of individualization is either
29 In orderfor a thing to be a body it needsa state and a place. 30 See note 25 above, the secondnotion.


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an integral part of the essence of a thing, or a possible essence (mahiyya mumkina). Since God, according to the philosophers, knows the essences, he must know the particulars. Al-Razi also uses the philosophers' idea that the knowledge of the cause entails the knowledge of its effect in order to show that God's knowledge of His essence implies His knowledge of the individual things which are the effect of His knowledge. The premise of the third argument is that knowledge of things is a quality of praise and perfection. God is the greatest among all existents, therefore he is necessarily more entitled to be qualified by qualities of perfection. In the last argument al-Razi has recourse to man's deeds, which, in his opinion, show man's predisposition (fitra), whose evidence is more appropriate than the divisions of the Mutakallimun to be accepted as true. That people beseech God for mercy in time of distress even if they deny His knowledge of the particulars serves as proof for His knowledge of the particulars. The use of such an argument in the context of philosophical arguments seems odd even though we may regard the predisposition as a necessary knowledge. However, it is not the first time that an argument like this occurs in Kalam texts. In a chapter which treats "God's sitting Himself upon the Throne", al-AshCari, after interpreting some Qur'an verses in favor of the idea that God is on the Throne, brings as proof of God's existence in the heaven the fact that when praying all Muslims raise their hands towards the heaven.31 The contents of the arguments put forth in defense of God's knowledge of the particulars deviate from the topics dealt with in the Mutakallimun's arguments which al-Razi introduces in this chapter. Due to al-Razi's criticism of the arguments which try to prove either the changeability of God's knowledge or its continuation, he seems to regard them as inconclusive.32 Notwithstanding, most of al-Razi's own arguments do not seem definitive; they can easily be refuted. The notion that a perfect act entails knowledge of the particulars can be rejected on the ground that in nature we observe perfect acts of animals to which we cannot ascribe knowledge.33 Referring to the third argument one

31 Al-AshCari, Cairon.d., p. 32. Cf. al-Ibana'an usal al-diyana,Dar al-Tiba'aal-Muniriyya, ibn ed. Ibn Taymiyya,Bayan talbTs fi al-kaldmiyya, Muhammad al-Jahmiyya ta'sis bidacihim also ibn CAbd al-Rahman Qasim,n.p., 1396H.,p. 446f. Al-AshCari uses man'sfeelingin distinmovement(harakat movement(harakat iktisab)and involuntary guishingbetweenappropriated betweenthesetwo kindsof movement knowsthe difference Man throughhis iq(tirar). necessarily movements he consciousness; knowsthat he cannotpreventinvoluntary (shakingfrom palsyor movements whiletheoppositeis truewithappropriated fromfever)fromoccurring, (goshivering of B. and withdrawing). Abrahamov,"A Re-examination aling and coming, approaching JRAS (1989),p. 211. to Ashcari's Theoryof Kasbaccording Kitabal-lumac", 32 The only exceptionis the third argumentwhich refutes the notion of change in God's excellent. Al-Raziconsidersthis argument knowledge. 33 Matalib,vol. III, pp. 109ff.

Fakhral-Dinal-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


can ask: Does God's quality of praise necessitate knowledge of the particulars if it contradicts another quality of praise which is assigned to God, namely, incorporeality? In the second argument, al-Razi tries to prove that individualization forms a part of the essence or that it is the essence itself. Here al-Razi ignores the definition of an essence and the conditions of individualization, namely, accidents, which cannot be a part of the essence or the essence itself. In sum, these three proofs which advocate the notion that God knows the particulars appear questionable. This may explain why al-Rizi prefers at the end of the chapter to bring forth an argument rooted in man's predisposition and not in his speculative ability. This argument cannot be refuted on speculative grounds. A Discussion of God's Knowledge of the Particulars (Matalib, vol. III) (p. 151) There are some people who, on the authority of the philosophers, relate the following statement: God does not know the particulars (juz'iyyat). This statement needs consideration. That is because God's peculiar essence and He knows (dhatuhu al-makhsusa) is a fixed essence (dhat muCayyana)34 this fixed essence.35 The particular has no meaning but this36, so that God can know it. Furthermore, God's essence is the cause of the First Intellect.37What clearly arises from their method is that they admit that God knows the First Intellect inasmuch as it is the First Intellect.38 Moreover, it is right to say that they deny His knowledge of the changeable things (mutaghayyirat) inasmuch as they are changeable and His knowledge of the corporeal things according to their specific and fixed measures. They (the philosophers) adduced some arguments to prove their method: a. They said: Let us assume God's knowledge that Zayd is sitting in this place, then if Zayd rises from this place His knowledge of Zayd's sitting, if it remains [as it is], will be ignorance, which is inconceivable (muhal) concerning God, and if it does not remain it will be a change, and a change regarding
I.e. it does not change. 35 Cf. Nihayat,p. 215, 1. 8. Introduction 134. p. 36 Al-Raziascribes the the to henceGod philosophers notionthatGod's essenceis a particular; In knowsit andnot otherparticulars. hisMabdhith the (vol. II, p. 475f.)al-Razidivides particulars into four classes:a. particulars whichneitherchangenor are composedof formand matter,e.g. God and the intellects; particulars b. whichdo not changebut whicharecomposedof form and mattersuchas the celestialspheres;c. particulars whichchangebut whichare not composedof formandmatter,e.g., the accidents whichcomeinto being,formsin the sublunary worldandthe rationalhumansouls;d. particulars whichchangeand whichare composedof formand matter, such as the bodieswhich are generated corrupted.Marmura, 305. and p. 37 Very probablythis refersto the theoryof Ibn Sina accordingto whichGod's act of selfthe knowledgenecessitates FirstIntellect.Marmura, 305. Netton, p. 163. Bello, p. 121. p. 38 Cf. Mabahith,vol. II, p. 476, 11.5-6.


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God is inconceivable. This is the wording38a on which the philosophers depend.39 Know that the Mutakallimun were divided into two parties concerning this doubtful opinion (shubha).40 Some of them said: (p. 152) The first knowledge remains.41Some others adhered to [the notion of] change, and said: The first knowledge does not remain. As for the first party, they said: The knowledge that a thing will come into being (sa-yahduthu) is the same knowledge of its coming into being (hudath) when it comes into being, for the knowledge remains and the change takes place in the thing known (maclim). They adduced some arguments to prove the soundness of their opinion: a. God knows through one knowledge all the known things. Since the multiplicity of the objects of knowledge does not result in the multiplicity of knowledge, it is necessary that the change of the objects of knowledge will not result in the change of knowledge.42 b. Knowledge is a quality (sifa) through which the objects of knowledge are revealed as they are. For this meaning we shall cite a parable: If we assume a mirror fixed on a wall, the form of everyone who passes in front of the mirror is revealed in it. When people pass in front of this mirror, forms have not ceased to be revealed, but the mirror does not change. The change, however, occurs in the people who pass in front of it.43 If you know this, we shall say: Knowledge is a quality ready for the perception of what is present in front of it. This quality remains in its state, and the change occurs in the. objects of knowledge. c. If we assume that a person thought that Zayd would enter the house tomorrow and if we assume this thought [to remain] until he entered the city, then [through] the fixation of this thought, he thinks the entrance of Zayd to the city now; thus it is proved, through what we have mentioned, that the knowledge that a thing will exist is the same as the knowledge of its existence when it exists.44
38a The text has harf (lit. letter). 39 Cf. Mabfhith, vol. II, p. 476. 40 For the translation of this term see van Ess, ifi, index. The Mutakallimun used to indicate by this term the arguments of their adversaries. Peters, pp. 75, 364, renders this term "sophism". 41 According to al-Shahrastani this is the Muctazila's stand. Nihayat, p. 221. Al-Iji adds that most of the Ash'arites agree with it. Mawaqif, vol. VIII, p. 75, 11.4-9. Cf. Nihayat, pp. 218, 219, 1. 19. Al-Iji explains that this view is taken from the philosophers who hold that God's knowledge

doesnot takeplacein timeandhasno connection time.Mawaqif,ibid., p. 75,1. 10- p. 76,1. 15. to 42 Cf. MabQhith, II, p. 477, 11.6-7. vol. 43 Thecomparison betweenGod's knowledge a mirror and throughwhichthingsarerevealed seemsunconvincing, a mirrordoes not retainthe form whichpassedin front of it, whereas for God's knowledge does not lose the objectof knowledge. 44 Cf. Nihayat,p. 219, 11.12-18.Mawaqif,ibid., p. 75,1. 5. The basisof this argument the is is with time. Ibid., 11.10-11.Al-Ghazali,Tahafut, premisethat God's knowledge not connected p. 278 (459). Note 41 above.

Fakhral-Din al-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


d. Knowledge a real qualityexistingin the knower'sessence,and the conis nection(taealluq) knowledgeto its objectmeansa (p. 153)relationship of (nisba) betweenthe knowledgeand its object. If the objectof knowledge changes, the relationship this knowledgeto its object will changebut the essenceof of the knowledgewill not. Do you not understand that if a person(a) sits in his own placeand anotherperson(b) comesand sits beside(a), (a) is on (b)'s right side; then, if (b) rises and moves from this side to the other side, (a) is on his left side after sittingon his right side. Here a changein this relationship (betweenthe knowledge its object)occurswhileclear[perception senseand and of] reasonprovesthat no changetook placein the knowledgealtogether,and that it remainsas it was.44a This is the sum of the argumentsheld by whomeversays that the first knowledgeremainsas it was. As for those who say that it is necessaryfor knowledgeto changewith the to changeof its object, they adducesome arguments prove the soundnessof their opinion: a. If we assumethata manthoughtthatZaydwouldenterthe citytomorrow, then we supposethat this man was seatedin a darkhousewithoutdistinguishas ing betweennight and day and that his thoughtremained it had been until dawn came [and]Zayd enteredthe city, but this sittingpersondid not know that dawn had come. The thought that Zayd would enter the city tomorrow the wouldnot causethis manto knowthatZaydwasentering city now. [Now], if the knowledgethat a thing will exist wereidenticalto the knowledgeof the existenceof the thing when it exists, this last knowledgewould occur in the and same form as the former,45 since it does not,46we know that the knowledgethat a thingwill exist is not identicalto the knowledgeof the existenceof the thing whenit exists. Indeed,if he has a piece of knowledgethat Zaydwill enterthe citytomorrowthenhe hasa secondpieceof knowledge tomorrow that had come;from thesetwo piecesof knowledgea thirdpieceof knowledgewill deriveto the effect that Zaydis enteringthe city now. This (thethird)is a new ones and it does not pieceof knowledgewhichderivesfrom the two preceding on the first piece of knowledge.47 infringe (p. 154) b. The second argumentwith regardto the explanationthat the
44aBello, p. 119 at the bottom. Al-Ghazali,Tahafut,p. 277f. (458). Ibn Rushd,.)amima, is of betweenthe knowledge p. 74. The counter-argument the philosophers that the relationship and its object enters the knower'sessence. Al-Ghazali, Tahafut,p. 278 (459). (This scheme bl describes root of the argument: [a] b2). the 45 I.e. it would be the same knowledge. 46 Sincethe knowledge what will happenis not identicalto the knowledge what really of of happened.Cf. Ibn Rushd,JpamTma, 73. p. 47 Cf. Nihayat,p. 217, 1. 18 - p. 218, 1. 2. Mawaqif,vol. VIII, p. 74. The examplegivenat the headof the paragraph broughtforwardby al-Ijias Abu al-Husayn is al-Basri's saying.Ibid., p. 77, 11.7-8.


Abrahamov Binyamin

knowledgethat a thing will exist is not identicalto the knowledgeof its exisclearthat the tence when it exists is this: It is intuitively(fi badihatal-caql)48 do of things (haqa'iq al-ashy7')49 not change; blacknessdoes not essences does not changeinto its opposite.If you changeinto whitenessand knowledge know this, we shall say: The knowledgethat a thing will exist is an essence50 that the thingexistsnow. The proof oppositeto the essence[of the knowledge] of this is that it is impossiblefor one of them to replaceanother,for if one thoughtthat a thinghad existedbefore its existenceit wouldbe ignorance[on his part],and if one thought,whenthe thingexists, that the thinghad not existed and would exist it would [also] be ignorance[on his part]. Thus it is provedthat the essenceof each of these two piecesof knowledgeis opposite to the essenceof the other. If this is proved,we shall say: We have explained that the essences(al-mahiyyat As are wa'l-haqa'iq) unchangeable. a result,it is necessarily that one of the two pieces of knowledgeshould beimpossible comeidentical the other,andthusit is provedthatthe knowledge a thing to that will exist cannot be the same as the knowledgeof its existencewhen it exists. c. The thirdargument to say that it is intuitivelyclearthat a thing which is is conditionedby a condition(mashratbi-shart)differs from a thingwhichis not conditionedby this condition.Moreover,a thingwhichexistsnow differs from a thing which does not exist now but will exist after that. If you know this, we shall say: The knowledgethat a thing will exist is not conditionedby the existenceof the thing now, but its condition [if it exists] opposes this knowledge.As for the knowledgethat the thing exists now, it is conditioned by the existenceof this thingnow. Therefore,one necessarily judgesthat each of the two pieces of knowledgediffers from one another. Furthermore, the that a thingwill existoccursnow andwillnot remainwhenthe thing knowledge does exist. And the knowledgethat a thing does not exist does not occurnow and will exist whenthe thing does [not] exist. These two pieces of knowledge are like two opposingcontraries(al-mutanafiyayni hence al-mutaddadayni); that one of themis the sameas the other(p. 155)is like the statethe statement mentthat each of two contraries the same as the other. This is an absurdity is whichreasondoes not accept. d. Knowledge a formwhichaccordswith its object. Now, it is necessarily is knownthat the essenceof our statement"it will happen"(sa-yahduthu) opposesthe essenceof our statement"it is now happening" (hadith,hasil). Since
48 Al-Jurjani, al-tacrifat, 44, 11. 16-20. K. p. 49 Ibid., p. 95, 11. 1-4. 50 The two terms which occur here, mahiyya and haqiqa, indicate that through which a thing is what it is (ma bihi al-shay' huwa huwa). Each of the two terms refers to a different aspect. Haqiqa refers to that through which a thing is what it is considering its actuality, and mahiyya refers to it without considering its actuality. Ibid., pp. 95, 205.

Fakhral-Din al-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


these two essences oppose each other, the forms which accord with them necessarily oppose each other, because that which accords with the opposing thing must be opposing. And if one form of the two opposes the other it is impossible to state that one of them is the same as the other. These are clear nearly intuitive arguments considering the explanation that it is impossible for the knowledge that a thing will exist to be identical to the knowledge of its existence when it exists. Now we come to answer the arguments to which they adhered for the purpose of elucidation of their opinion.51 The answer to the first argument, which states that since knowledge does not multiply on account of the multiplicity of its objects, it does not necessarily change on account of the change of its objects, is based on two arguments: a. We do not admit that knowledge does not multiply with the multiplicity of its objects. The proof of this [runs as follows]: Knowledge is either a form which accords with its object or a specific relationship between the knower and the object of knowledge.52 The first [possibility] necessitates the multiplicity of the pieces of knowledge when the objects of knowledge multiply, since things which accord with different essences must be different. The second [possibility] necessitates the same [conclusion], for we have explained that a relationship [of one thing] to "a" (lit. to a thing ila 'I-shay') is different form [its] relationship to "b" (lit. to another). The proof of this is that it is admissible to conceive that one of these two relationships overlooks the existence of the other.53 b. let us suppose that we admit that knowledge does not necessarily multiply when its objects multiply; why then did you say that it must not change when its objects change? For this is an analogy without a common principle.54The forcible proof which we have mentioned demonstrates that knowledge necessarily changes with the change of its objects. The answer to the second wrong argument, which states that knowledge is a peculiar quality (p. 156) through which the essences of knowledge are revealed,55 is to say that we have mentioned in the book of knowledge (kitab alcilm) that there is no meaning to knowledge except for this revelation and
See p. 152, 1. 5ff. of the Arabictext, p. 136 of the translation. 52 Cf. Mab.hith, vol. I, p. 331. Note 25 of the introduction. 53 I.e. the two relationships differentfromeachotherandtherefore therearetwo piecesof are whichsometimeshave no connectionwith each other. knowledge 54 Qiyasminghayr whichcorresponds to jdmi meansan analogywithouta commonprinciple majortermin syllogism.Horten,p. 145. For majortermsee Maimonides, Maqolafti indat almantiq,ed. and trans.into Frenchby M. Ventura,Paris 1935,ch. 6. Al-Razimeansto say that and so thereis no commonprinciple betweenchangein piecesof knowledge theirmultiplicity that one can drawan analogy. 55 See p. 152, 1. 8ff. of the Arabictext, p. 136 of the introduction.


Binyamin Abrahamov

except for this peculiar exposition.56 As for the affirmation of a quality beyond this peculiar relationship and apart from this peculiar ascription, we have mentioned in Kitdb al-Cilmthat there is no proof which demonstrates its affirmation. If this is affirmed, we shall say: Since it is proved that this peculiar relationship (i.e. the relationship between the knowledge and its object) changed, this adjudicates that the knowledge had changed. Then we say: We admit that the knowledge is something different from this peculiar relationship, but we ask (lit. say) whether this peculiar knowledge (lit. thing) necessitates a peculiar relationship to the peculiar object of knowledge or not? If it necessitates (this relationship), then it is not knowledge, for knowledge means revelation (inkishdf, tajallT),and there is no doubt that revelation is a state of relationship between the knowledge and its object. If we assume a quality which is not this very revelation and which does not necessitate this revelation, it will not be knowledge. However, if we say that this peculiar quality necessitates this peculiar relationship and this peculiar ascription, then when this peculiar relationship disappears the result (ldzima)57 of this knowledge disappears. The disappearance of the result proves the disappearance of its cause (malzum). Here we must also definitely state that this knowledge disappears. The answer to the third wrong argument58,which states that if we suppose that the thought that Zayd will enter the city tomorrow continues until he enters then the knowledge (that he will enter) is the same as the knowledge of the occurrence of this entrance, is as follows: Most of the Mutakallimun say: The continuation of the object of knowledge is impossible (al-baqdl Caldalmaclum mumtanic), since it is59 an accident which takes place successively.60 If this continuation is impossible how do they know that if this impossible thing occurred the case would be such and such. Who is the one who informs them that the matter is as they say? Then (p. 157) we say: We have already explained that if this thought continued but the thinker did not know that the day had come, then he would not know, on account of this thought that someone was now entering the city. Therefore it is proved that the form which they have mentioned is the best proof of the soundness of our statement. The answer to the fourth wrong argument,61which states that knowledge is a quality which has a peculiar relationship [to its object] and that what changes

56 Al-Razi may refer here to the chapter on 'ilm in Mablhith, vol. I, p. 319. Cf. note 25 of the introduction. 57 Ldzima seems to be an equivalent to lazim which means a result, a consequence. Van Ess, Iji, index. 58 See p. 152, 1. 15ff. of the Arabic text, p. 137 of the translation. 59 The text has bal innahu. 60 Hence there are pieces of knowledge which follow the objects of knowledge. 61 See p. 152, the last line of the Arabic text, p. 137 of the translation.

Fakhral-Din al-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


is the relationship, not the quality, is the previous discussion, which exposes the problems involved in this view. And God knows best. The second party of the Mutakallimun adhered to the notion that change occurs in the knowledge, and said: When the object of knowledge disappears, the knowledge of it disappears, and another knowledge comes into being. The explanation of this statement is as follows: This peculiar essence (al-dhat almakh!f4a)62 necessitates the knowledge of the object on the condition that this object takes place; if this object takes place according to this aspect, then a necessary condition occurs and the knowledge of this thing necessarily occurs in this peculiar essence. If this object disappears, the necessary condition disappears and a condition of another knowledge occurs. Thus the first knowledge certainly disappears and another knowledge occurs. This is the opinion of Abu al-Husayn al-Basri63,who is counted among the Muctazilite scholars, and of Jahm ibn Safwan64 and Hisham ibn al-Hakam65, who are counted among the ancient scholars. As for the later Mutakallimun, they proved the unsoundness of this view through several arguments: a. Since this knowledge comes into being after its nonexistence, it must have something which brings it into existence and makes it, and the bringer into existence and the maker of this knowledge must know it, because we have explained that the coming of a perfect action out of the maker is conditioned by the latter's being a knower. Hence, the bringing of this knowledge into existence is conditioned on the occurrence of another knowledge preceding the former. And the statement with regard to that previous knowledge is like the statement concerning this knowledge. This necessitates an endless chain (tasalsul) [of pieces of knowledge], which is absurd. [However], one has a right to say: This argument is weak, for you arrange your statement so that knowledge (p. 158) comes into being only because the choosing free maker (al-facil al-mukhtar) brings this knowledge into existence through ability and choice. We do not adhere to this opinion, but we say that

'Abd al-Jabbar 1025).Ibn al-Murta<la, ed. (d. al-Muctazila, Tabaqat S. Diwald-Wilzer, Beirut 1961, pp. 105-107.For his view see Mawaqif, vol. VIII, p. 77f. Cf. Schmidtke, 239, note 131. p. 64 See on himW.M. Watt,El2, vol. II, p. 388. For his Neoplatonic see teachings R.M. Frank, "The Neoplatonism 6ahm ibn $afwan", Le Museon,78 (1965),pp. 395-424. of 65 See on him W. Madelung,El2, vol. III, pp. 496-498.The Shiciteal-Shaykhal-Mufid(d. accusation 1022),who statesthat God knowsall futureandpossibleevents,deniesthe Muctazilite levelledagainstHishIm for holdinga contrarynotion with regardto God's knowledge.M.J. McDermott,The Theologyof al-Shaikhal-Mufid,Beirut1978,p. 143. He may have vindicated Hishamin orderto createa Shicite continuityof thoughtfromthe time of Hishamuntilhis own time.

62 I.e. man. 63 One of the masters of


Abrahamov Binyamin

this peculiar essence necessitates the knowledge of the thing on the condition that this object [of knowledge] takes place according to this aspect.66 If the thing takes place according to the special aspect, the necessary condition occurs, and the peculiar essence necessitates this peculiar knowledge, and if this object disappears, then the necessary condition disappears and this knowledge [also] disappears. According to this assumption this argument is false and refuted. b. If this knowledge came into being [there would be three possibilities]: it would come into being either in God's essence (fi dhat allah), or in another essence, or not in a substrate (mahall). The tripartite division is false; hence the opinion concerning the coming of the knowledge into being is [also] false. We say that it is impossible that the knowledge should come into being in God's essence only because this forces God's essence to be a substrate of things which come into being, and this is false. We say that the two remaining possibilities (lit. parts) are [also] false only on account of the [notion] that the knowledge of such and such a thing by a [certain] essence is a quality of this essence,67 and the occurrence of the quality of essence not in this essence68 is inconceivable. However, one has a right to say: Why it is not conceivable to say that these pieces of knowledge comes into being in God's essence? [Concerning] his saying: "This forces God's essence to be a substrate of things which come into being", we say: If you mean by his being a substrate of things which come into being the coming into being of these pieces of knowledge in His essence, this means forcing the conclusion to be a proof (lit. forcing the thing on itself ilzam IPl-shay"cala nafsihi),69 and this is false. c. [There exist three possibilities concerning] every quality which reason points at: God's essence is sufficient for its causation (istilzrm), or is sufficient for its rejection, or is sufficient neither for its causation nor for its rejection. of If the first [possibility] exists, the continuation (dawarm) this quality is necessary due to the continuation of this essence. This prevents change in God's essence. If the second [possibility] exists, the continuation of the negation of this quality is necessary due to the continuation of this essence. And this also
66 This aspect means that the peculiaressencenecessitates the knowledgeas is mentioned above. 67 It is not a qualityof God. For the whole argument Nihayat,p. 216, 11.1-4. cf. 68 I.e. neither anothersubstrate in and nor in any substrate. 69 The opponentof the viewthat God's knowledge changes(= comesinto being)says that it shouldcomeinto beingin God's essence,becausein this case is impossible sucha knowledge that of God's essenceshouldbe a substrate thingswhichcome into being. However,if God's beinga substrate thingswhichcomeinto beingis identicalto the comingof thesepiecesof knowledge of desired proof as uses intobeingin His essence,thereis no proofhere,for thearguer theconclusion whichmeansthat he forces(alzama)the conclusionto be a proof.

Fakhral-Dinal-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


exists, whereby preventsa changein [God'sessence].If the third [possibility] this essenceis sufficientneitherfor the affirmationof this qualitynor for its negation,thenit follows that the affirmationof this qualityas well as its negation are based on a thing differentfrom this essence.(p. 159)But it is known that this essencehas not ceasedto affirm this qualityand to negateit. And if it is provedthat the affirmation(of this quality)and its negationare basedon and everythingwhich is based on a a thing different (from this essence),70 differentthing is possible by virtue of itself (mumkinbi-dhatihi).It follows that that whichis necessaryby virtueof itself (wajibbi-dhatihi)7oa possible is Hereendsthe discusby virtueof itself. This is a wrongand false [statement]. sion concerningthe explanationof this argument.And it is excellent. d. Let us supposethat God has knownfrom eternitythat the worldis now nonexistent(macdtim 'l-hal)71,then he broughtit into existenceand knew ft thatit is now existent,didthe firstknowledge or disappear not and wasthe second cancelled?[If the first knowledgedid not disappear] thereis knowledge thatthe worldis both nonexistent existentnow, andthis necessitates and ignorof anceand combination two contradictory opinions-which is inconceivable. As for the first possibility,namely,the disappearance the first knowledge, of we say:Thisknowledge saidto havebeeneternalor temporal.The firstpossiis bility is false, for the Mutakallimun agree that it is impossiblethat what is as eternalshouldbe nonexistent,andtherearealso manyproofs which proved speaks in favor of this [notion]. Concerningthe second possibility,namely, that this knowledge temporal,we ask whetherthis knowledgeis preceded is by anotherknowledge not? If it is preceded anotherknowledge reference or the by to this precedingknowledgeis as the referenceto this knowledge,and this causes each temporal knowledge to be preceded by another temporal the whichhaveno beginning knowledge.Thisnecessitates notion of temporals this (hawadithla awwalalaha). Accordingto the Mutakallimun view is false. If we say that these pieces of knowledgeend in temporalknowledgewhichis not preceded anotherknowledge, willattribute this to by ignorance God, which
is inconceivable.72

Jahmibn Safwanand Hishamibn al-Hakamresponded this contention, to

70 Cf. Mab.hith, vol. II, sentenceof the text whichis p. 478. Whatfollowsis a parenthetical omittedin one of the manuscripts whichis not neededfor understanding passage.It apand the pearsafternote70: "Whilethatwhichis basedon a thingwhichis in turnbasedon a thingis based on a differentthing, it follows that this peculiarqualityis based on a differentthing." 70a I.e. God.

71 Lit. at once, immediately.

72 That is because God has not always known that the world is not existent in a certain moment.For the notion of tasalsulsee Nihoyat,p. 220.


Binyamin Abrahamov

saying: The knowledge which occurs in eternity is knowledge of essences and (mahiyyat, haqadiq)73 of conceptions (tasawwurat).74Then when God has not ceased to bring things into existence, judgements (tavdiqat) have taken place. Tasdiq means the judgement that a certain thing exists and that a certain thing does not exist.75 According to this assumption the difficulty disappears. Know that we have mentioned in the beginning of this argument their saying76that if God knew that (p. 160) Zayd was sitting in that place and when Zayd stood up, if this knowledge still remained, it would have been ignorance (on the part of God), and if it did not remain it would have been change. Then we have mentioned the methods of the people with regard to each of these two parts. Here ends the discussion on this argument. And God knows best. The second argument of the philosophers in this chapter: If we supposed a square winged by two equal squares according to this sketch:

and if we assumed God's knowledge of it (the square), there would be no doubt that each of these two squares, which are placed on these two sides, is distinguished from the other. This is known. If this is proved we shall say: The distinction of each of these two squares from the other is conditioned on their being existent, for the occurrence of distinction and difference regarding shape, measure and form with their being absolutely nonexistent is inconceivable. Thus one must assert that this distinction does not occur unless these [two squares] are existent. Now, we say: This existence is either external or intellectual. The first possibility is false, for we can imagine a form like this with right imagination in case of its actual nonexistence. Moreover, the knowledge [of these two squares] is temporal, since the whole form is temporal, and its bringer into existence (muhdith) is God. Whoever does not know it cannot bring it into existence. Hence it is proved that the knowledge of forms and shapes like these precedes their existence and it is also proved that this distinc73 See note 50 above. 74 Ta,awwur means the consideration of a thing inasmuch as it is without referring to its exis-

tence or nonexistence. Al-Razi, Muhagal, p. 16. Al-Amidi, al-Mubin, p. 69. 75 Cf. Ibid. 76 P. 141f. above.

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tion occurs in the intellectual existence. (p. 161) We say: The substrate of these two squares, which are placed in the two sides, is either one thing or two differThe ent things according to space (hayyiz) and state (wa<%).77 first possibility is false, for these two squares are equal with regardto perfection of essence and to all their properties (lawazim); hence they are equal concerning receptivity (qabiliyya) of all qualities and states (ahwdl). If we assumed that they inhere in one substrate, then it would be impossible for one of them to be different from the other through essence or through one of the properties of the essence. The occurrence of difference through one of the accidents of essence would also be impossible, for each matter assumed to be an accident of one of them will be received by the other, and the relationship of this accident to one of them would be the same as its relationship to the second on account of our assumption that they inhere in one substrate. If such is the case, it is inconceivable for one of them to be qualified through this accident and the other not, but each of them will be qualified through it, and this accident will be shared by both of them. And that which is shared by [both of them] does not convey difference. Thus it is proved that if these two squares inhered in one substrate, difference would not continue to exist altogether. However, difference occurs indubitably, for they both inhere in two substrates, each of them differing from the other through state and space. Hence it is proved that the perceiver of this form and its likes should be a body (jism) or corporeal being (jismani), but it is proved that the Necessary Existent (wajib al-wujQd) is not a body and is not corporeal, consequently it is impossible that He should perceive them.78 Here ends the discussion concerning the explanation of this wrong argument. One has a right to make this statement (see above) on the grounds that the perception of a thing is conditioned on the presence of the object of knowledge in the knower's mind. This [notion] has been made false through some arguments79which one does not doubt altogether. The third argument of the philosophers (lit. the people) concerning the impossibility of His being knowing of the particulars reads as follows: The knowledge that a certain thing is existent and that another thing is nonexistent follows the object [of knowledge]. If this thing is existent, the knowledge refers to its being existent, and if this thing is nonexistent, the knowledge refers to its being nonexistent. It is inadmissible to say that this thing exists only because

77 Waf is a stateof the bodywhichis caused the relationship its partsto one another of and by K. by its relationship to external things. Al-Amidi, al-MubYn,p. 113. Al-Jurjamn, al-tacrrfat,p. 273. 78 Differences of substrates can be found only in corporeal being; an incorporeal being cannot have but one undifferentiated substrate. 79 Cf. Magflib, vol. III, p. 104.


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the knowledge refers to its existence and that it does not exist only because the knowledge refers to its nonexistence. That is since (p. 162) the knowledge of a thing is a form which fits this thing in itself.80 The fact that this form fits it (the object) depends on the essential actuality of the thing (tahaqquqihifinafsihi). It is impossible to say that its essential actuality depends on the fitness of this form to it (to the object). If we prove this principle we shall say: If it were necessary to qualify God's essence through these pieces of knowledge (culum), while we have already proved that the occurrence of these pieces of knowledge is based on the occurrence of these objects of knowledge themselves according to these peculiar aspects, then His peculiar essence would need the occurrence of these pieces of knowledge. You know that that which is based (God's essence) on a thing (God's knowledge) which is based on a thing (the object of knowledge) must be based on the latter thing. Hence it follows necessarily that the actuality (tahaqquq) of God's essence is based on the actuality of these possible things (mumkinat) and that that which needs the existence of the possible things is more entitled to being possible (awla bi'l-imkan). Consequently, that which is a Necessary Existent by virtue of Himself must be a possible existent by virtue of Himself, which is inconceivable.81 This is contrary to His knowledge of the essences (al-mahiyyat wa'lhaqa)iq).82 For this knowledge occurs no matter whether these essences occur or not. In such a case His peculiar essence is sufficient for the establishment of these pieces of knowledge in Him, and His essence must not be based on the occurrence of something else. As for the knowledge that Zayd is sitting in this place, for it is impossible for such knowledge to occur but when Zayd is sitting in this place, God's peculiar essence is not sufficient for the occurrence of these pieces of knowledge. Moreover, one must consider the occurrence of these objects of knowledge according to these peculiar aspects [without God's knowledge]. If God's essence is not sufficient for the occurrence of these pieces of knowledge, then the difficulty mentioned above is not necessary.83 (p. 163) One has a right to say: This statement prevents Him from producing an effect on another thing (mu'aththir fi 'l-ghayr), for the production of an effect on another thing is a peculiar relationship between Him and another thing, which is not established but through another thing. If He produced an

Note 25 above. Cf. Mabahith, vol. II, p. 478. 82 Cf. note 50 above. 83 If we say that God's knowledge then His essenceis not does not perceivethe particulars, the on The dependent them (seethe last paragraph). word"not" mustbe placedhere,otherwise sentencedoes not makesense.

80 81

Fakhral-Dinal-Razion God's knowledgeof the particulars


effect on anotherthing, He would necessarily needanotherthing.83a is posIt sibleto point out the differencebetweenboth of them(i.e. the producerof an effect and anotherthing). And God knowsbest. Hereends the accountof the view of those who deniedthe knowledgeof the particulars. As for those who adheredto the view that God knowsthe particulars, they adducedsome proofs of this view: a. Theysaid:We haveprovedthat God makesperfectactions, and we have explainedthat whoevermakes such actions must know them, thereforeGod knows the actions He makes.84 is also knownthat perfectionis It necessarily seen only in the particulars (al-ashkhasal-juz'iyya)which were broughtinto existence.Hence it is demonstrated whatprovesHis being knowingitself that provesHis being knowingof the particulars.85 b. Theindividual particular and thing(al-shay'al-shakhv! al-juz'l)has an essence and [an elementof] individualization distinction.86 and This elementis eitheran integralpart (cayn)of this essenceor somethingaddedto it. If this elementis an cayn,the knowledgeof the essenceis the knowledgeof the cayn. This [elementof] individualization, fromthe point of view of its beingthis inof tegralpart, will be known, even if the individualization this individualis differentfromthis essence,sincethis individualization also an essenceof the is possibleessences.87 Thephilosophers admitted the knowledge the cause(cilla) that of necessitates the knowledgeof the effect (maclul).(p. 164) Thus God's knowledgeof His peculiaressencenecessitatesHis knowledgeof the things throughwhich this individualization and this distinction (tacayyun)take place. ThereforeHe inasmuchas it is individualization. necessarilyknows this individualization Thus it is provedthat theirview that the knowledgeof the cause necessitates the knowledgeof the effect obliges them to admit that God knows the individual things inasmuchas they are these individualand distinctthings.88 c. The thirdargument His concerning beingknowingof the distinctparticulars is: The knowledgeof thingsis a qualityof praiseand perfectionand the of ignorance themis a qualityof imperfection. Now, sinceGod is the mostperfect and the most sublimeof all the existents,He is necessarily more entitled to be qualifiedby qualitiesof perfectionand sublimitythanto be qualifiedby qualitiesof imperfection.89
The philosophers wouldanswerthat God reallydoes not producean effect on anything. Cf. Mabdhith,vol. II, p. 479f. 85 Cf. Muhassal,p. 165f. Mawdqif,p. 69f. 86 I.e. it has it it somethingwhichparticularizes and distinguishes from others. 87 God knowsthe essences. is Now, if individualization an essenceGodknowsit andhencethe particulars. 88 Cf. Mabahith,vol. II, p. 484. 89 Cf. ibid., p. 485.
84 83a


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d. We observe that if the people of this world, the righteous and the wicked (zindiq), the Muslim and the unbeliever (mulhid), are afflicted by suffering, they beseech God for mercy and ask Him to save them from this suffering even if they are the most extreme deniers of His being knowing of the particulars. If this happens to someone he will necessarily set about praying, beseeching mercy from God and submitting to Him. This proves that the basic disposition (al-fitra al-asliyya)90attests that the Lord of the world (ilah al-calam)has power over the things (lit. objects of His power) and knows the secret and the hidden things. It is known that the testimony of the fitra is more acceptable than these hidden disjunctions (taqsimat khafiyya) and obscure proofs, which are to be sought;91therefore one must definitely assert that the Lord of the world knows the particulars and is capable of supplying [man's] needs. I think that Ibrahim said to his father: "O my father, why do you worship that which neither hears nor sees, nor benefits you in anything?"92 only because his father belonged to the religion of the philosophers and denied God's power and knowledge of the particulars.93 Certainly Ibrahim said to his father these words [on account of his father's religion]. This is my opinion on this subject. And God knows best. Abbreviations
al-Amidi,al-Mubin Bello wa Sayfal-Dinal-Amidi,al-Mubin alfazal-hukama' fSharh macant Cairo 1983. l-mutakallimTn,
I.A. Bello, The Medieval Islamic Controversy Between Philosophy

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