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Janis Esots: Sadra on wujud

terça-feira 15 de maio de 2018


The Arabic word wujūd literary means ‘finding’ (which presupposes the presence of the ‘finder’ (wājid) and the ‘found  ’ (mawjūd)). If taken as a philosophical term, wujūd means ‘being/ existence’. The Peripatetic first philosophy or metaphysics   traditionally dealt with the mawjūd (‘existent’) in so far as it is considered as mawjūd (‘existent’), its reality, states and properties. The seventeenth century Iranian philosopher Sadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī, better known as Mullā Sadrā   (979-80/1571-2 - 1050/1640), however, put forward a thesis   that what exists primarily and in the actual fact, is the wujūd (‘existence’) itself. What else there exists apart from the existence, exists through the latter. Therefore, according to Sadrā, philosophy must deal primarily with the wujūd, not with the mawjūd.

On the other hand, if taken in its mystical sense  , the term wujūd refers to a certain intuition - that of “finding” the Real (i.e., the Absolute/ Nondelimited Reality) behind the veil of phenomena. Depending on the preparedness of the mystic, this intuition can be divided into different degrees. Even more importantly, the habit of finding - i.e., the mystical intuition - can be developed by a number of techniques. Thus, to a Sufi mystic, teaching about wujūd is a teaching about mystical intuition and its gradual development.

Is it possible to synthesize the philosophical and mystical understanding of wujūd? If yes, can equilibrium between the mystic and philosophical approaches be maintained or, by necessity, one of them is destined to gain the upper hand in such a synthesis  ? Sadrā apparently believed that his “transcendent wisdom” (al-hikma al-muta‘āliyya) represents such a harmonious synthesis. In my dissertation, I try to establish to what degree such a claim is justified.

I assert that Sadrā must be qualified as a thinker of the Platonic trend (more precisely, as a follower of Plotinus   and Suhrawardī), who attempted to integrate his pivotal principle - that of analogical gradation of existence (tashkīk al-wujūd) (which he borrowed from Suhrawardī) with certain Sufi teachings, in particular those of the self-disclosure and entification of the Real and the new creation of the world in every instant. The integration was achieved by Sadrā on the level of theoretical speculation, without attempting to penetrate to the heart of the metaphysical intuition that underlies the teachings of theoretical Sufi mysticism   as represented by Ibn ‘Arabī school (namely, that of the gradual self-disclosure of the Real). Despite his sympathy to the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabī and his followers, he remained an outsider in respect to the Sufi tradition  , who appropriated certain minor parts of the Akbarian doctrine for his own Ishrāqī agenda.