Although modern science has been in existence for only a few hundred years, there is scarcely a single aspect of daily life that has not been affected by it. The practical importance of science was first recognized in connection with war. Later, the application of science in developing machine production and accustoming the population to the use of technology had important political effects. The triumph of science is due to its practical results. Science as technique conferred on man a sense of power. It was as an instrument to control and dominate nature. Eventually, the scope of the power impulse encompassed all fields. The so-called theoretical knowledge itself is conceived in terms of the will to dominate what exists, human and non-human alike.
It was argued that just as natural sciences have been applied to master the ‘forces of nature,’ social sciences should also be developed and applied to control and manipulate the society. Natural science was thought to possess the unquestionable methodology of ‘truth .’ Since it had been successfully applied in physical nature, it could be extended to the realm of human relations. Thus the development of social science has been wholly dominated by the successful model of the natural sciences.
The practical results of the empirical sciences are characterized by the fact that they use inductive methods. It was therefore asserted that the social sciences adopt and follow those methods, procedures, and criteria for testing hypothesis and theories that proved successful in the natural sciences. The assumption has been that the social sciences differ in the degree and not in the kind from the natural sciences and that ideally, the methods and standards appropriate to the natural sciences can be extended by analogy to the social sciences. The prevailing attitude among social scientists was that their discipline was on the way of becoming an objective science of individuals in society. In order to remain objective, the social scientist illegitimately reduced the moral and spiritual dimensions of social reality to its material effect or carrier.Hence, social sciences paid their price of admission to the objective sciences by a tacit agreement to ban both the moral and spiritual components from their explanatory concepts. From the positivist perspective values are subjective, and the subjective is virtually synonymous with the private, idiosyncratic, and arbitrary. Thus it is important for social disciplines, if they are to be genuine sciences and not only pseudo-sciences, to establish the laws governing social reality. The use of the inductive method in the field of social phenomena is independent of how the observer considers the realization of the phenomena he is observing. The observer’s personal biases are irrelevant to his predictions in the sphere of social life. There is no need for personal interpretations to make deductions from data; it is sufficient to allow the facts to speak for themselves.
Eventually, it has been realized that this presumed objectivity was in fact an illusion. Data of human behaviour are alive, they are not impervious to the prejudices and biases of the observer. In the perception of values, the senses of the observer are active.
“Value-perception is itself value-determination i.e., it takes place only when value is apprehended in actual experience... The perception of value is impossible unless the human behaviour is able to move the observer.”
The basic problem that is at the centre of this dispute concerns the meaning of understanding and its universality. The issues concern not only a philosophic understanding of the social sciences but also the practice of these disciplines, i.e., the type of questions addressed, and the ways of interpreting and understanding social phenomena e.g., “alien societies.” The vital issue is the question of what is involved in understanding, interpreting, and explaining social phenomena. How is it possible to understand and interpret something alien (activities, beliefs, practices, institutions, etc.) without falsifying or distorting it?These questions caused increasing doubts about the methodological self-understanding of the social disciplines that had been shaped by logical positivism and empiricism. Finally, many social scientists began to question the intellectually imperialistic claims made in the name of inductive logic and the scientism that purported that it is the natural sciences alone that provide the model and standards for what is to count as genuine knowledge.
In contemporary re-examinations of the social disciplines the hermeneutical dimension, with its emphasis on understanding and interpretation, has been recovered. Science’s description of the world is indeed an interpretation of the world. It reflects the scientist’s vision of reality.
Modern science is necessarily positivistic. Hence, it is useless as a model for the Muslim scientist. In this position the Muslim scientist’s duty is to develop his own science. To achieve this aim, he has to clearly define the Islamic vision of the world then, to elaborate an Islamic methodology of interpretation and understanding. We believe that Said Nursi’s works provide the basis for this project.
Nursi’s critique of science is radical in the sense of ‘getting at the roots.’ The basis of his critique is ‘ontological;’ he contends that modern science is based on a misunderstanding of being. In other words, science’s vision of reality is wrong. (W, pp. 143-145; RNK, pp. 49-50) This is true for both social and natural science. Natural science is no more objective than social science; its data are not dead but well and truly alive.
There is in the writings of Nursi a clear exposition of the hermeneutical phenomenon. He reminds us that the universe and the things in it are signs (ayat) pointing to their Maker and making Him known. They are constantly changing and through that unceasing activity, reciting God’s Beautiful Names and glorifying Him. For Nursi, “The activity of Divine Power in the universe and the constant flood of beings is so meaningful that through it the All-Wise Maker causes all the realms of beings in the universe to speak. It is as if the beings of the earth and the skies and their actions are words and their motion is their speech. That is, the motion and decline arising from activity is speech glorifying God. And the activity in the universe, too, is the silent speech of the universe and of the varieties of its beings. They are being made to speak.” (L, pp. 339-340; RNK, p.481)
When science claims to explain the world, it claims to understand beings and the language they speak. On the other hand, materialist science asserts that nature knows nothing of man and is alien to him, and that man is alien even to himself.The problem is if the things we confront are so alien and strange i.e., if they have nothing in common with us, no affinity, how then, is it intelligible to speak of understanding? As H.G. Gadamer notes, “In modern science... the way in which the knowing subject is adequate to the object of knowledge is without justification.” How can science understand and do justice to something that is alien? Nursi notes that alienness is the corollary of the materialistic worldview. The universal affinity between beings and events can only be established through their relation with God. Thus, the problem is structurally similar, whether the subject is physics or anthropology: How is it possible to understand alien phenomena without imposing blind and distortive prejudices on them?
According to Nursi, there are two visions; the true (haqq) vision taught by the prophets, and the false (batil) vision. Man’s vision of reality is concomitant to his perception of his own self.
The ‘I’, Nursi tells us, has two faces. In the first face, the ‘I’ knows its real nature; it knows that it is owned. In the second face, the ‘I’ assumes that it owns itself. The real nature of the ‘I’ is indicative (harfi) i.e., it shows the meaning of things other than itself. It is a sort of scale, like a thermometer that indicates the degrees and amounts of things; it is a measure that makes known the absolute, all-encompassing and limitless Attributes and Names of God Almighty.To seek true tawhid one has to surrender to the reality that the ‘I’ is like a mirror, it has an indicative (harfi) meaning only, it should give up claiming ownership of one’s own self. When the ‘I’ knows it does not own itself, it hands over everything else to the Owner of all things. Understanding of the world is thus clearly the direct projection of self-perception.
In this face, the ‘I’ knows itself to be a bondsman of God. It knows that its existence is dependent on another. That is, it knows that the continuance of its existence is due solely to the creativity of that other. Its ownership is illusory; it is aware that it is only with the permission of its owner that it has an apparent and temporary ownership. (W, pp. 557-559; RNK, pp. 241-242)
But if the ‘I’ forgets the wisdom of its creation, it views itself in the light of its nominal (ismi) and apparent meaning and falsely believes that its meaning is in itself only. While in this position, the ‘I’ falsely assumes its existence as being essential and independent. That is, it supposes that it exists in itself and of itself. It pretends that it owns its own life and claims to be the real master in its sphere of disposal.
When in this position, using itself as a yardstick, the ‘I’ compares everyone, everything with itself; it divides God’s sovereignty between them. For the one who claims “I own myself” must believe and say “Everything owns itself.” It falls into ascribing partners to God on a vast scale, (W, pp. 560-561; RNK, p. 242) indicating the meaning of “To assign partners to God is verily a great transgression.” (91:10)
From this outline of Nursi’s explanation of the ‘I’, it is clear that understanding and interpretation are directly influenced or rather shaped by one’s vision, which itself is the projection of one’s self-perception. It follows that hermeneutics is not only universal, in the sense that it underlies all human activities, but also “ontological.” It is ontological in the sense that ultimately the perception and understanding of things reflects the basic position of the ‘I’ i.e., one’s perception and understanding of one’s own self, and thus of being.
The ‘I’ that knows it has only a harfi (indicative) meaning knows that all beings too have a harfi meaning, they bear the meaning of another. So it looks at them on account of their Maker. It realizes that beings are signs (ayat); they are like mirrors. Just as darkness is the mirror to light, and however intense the darkness is, to that degree it will display the brilliance of the light, so too these beings act as mirrors in many respects by reason of the contrast of opposite. For example, beings mirror the Maker’s power through their intrinsic impotence; they reflect His riches through their inherent poverty, and His everlastingness (baqa) through their ephemerality (fana). All proclaim the Divine Names and Attributes through their impotence, poverty and deficiency. (L, pp. 286-287; RNK, p. 458)The one who does not want to see the ‘I’ for what it really is, appropriates the qualities and potentialities (fitrah) given to him. Consequently, he attributes the properties seen on things to the things themselves. He thinks of the world and all things in it, including himself, as possessing an intrinsic nature, an essence in itself. As though things have, together with contingent properties, a fixed core persisting in time independently of its Sustainer. Because he perceives everything independently of its Creator, he imagines that the properties and functions of a thing proceed from the thing itself. As though the thing were subject to its properties and functions, and as though it were distinct from all its properties. But in fact, if the properties were taken away there would remain nothing left. Therefore, the claim that things have essences and attributes which determine the special functions of each thing, boils down to claiming that things determine themselves. For there is no “thing” apart from its essence and attributes.
The properties and functions of a thing are modes of being of that thing. The expression “things” and its properties is merely a convenient way to express ourselves. In reality, they are created together; they cannot be separated. All are contingent; there is no part of the thing which is more ‘persistent’ or ‘stable’ than its properties or what happens to it. What appears as ‘essential’ or accidental properties is, in fact, all created. The reality of everything, may it be considered essential or accidental, is based on the Divine Names. As Nursi says, “the Divine Names constitute the true reality of things, while the essences of things are only manifestations of that reality.”(W, p. 655; RNK, p. 286)
Beings in themselves i.e., in respect of their apparent, ismi meanings, are transitory and accidental. They do not possess in themselves anything that can perpetuate and sustain their existence. If the Self-Subsistent One (Qayyum) did not ssustain them for a moment, they would cease to exist. But in respect of their harfi meaning, beings are signs of God; they are charged with various duties. Each being is a witness (shahid) to its Maker and it is existent in virtue of its connection to the Giver of Existence (Mujid). (W, p. 493; RNK, p. 211)
In respect to the harfi meaning, everything, whether part or whole, gains universality through its connection with its Maker. With the severance of that connection, however, all things become particulars. Each will be like an orphan, alien to all the rest of beings. For things are not horizontally related to each other. The relations between things are vertical. Each being is vertically connected to its Maker and through that connection it is connected to all the rest of beings.If things were horizontally related i.e., if they were causally related, then the so-called causal relation between a cause and an effect would have been necessary. It would have been possible to deduce the effect from the cause independently of experience. That is to say, it would have been possible to derive the effect from the cause through a purely rational process i.e., without referring to past observation. But this is obviously impossible, for the mind can never find the effect or any hint to it in the supposed cause by the most accurate scrutiny or examination. Causation is therefore a groundless opinion. It is no more than a prejudiced belief corollary to the ismi vision.
It is important to be clear, from the outset, on what is meant by causation. It is not just that every contingent thing must have a cause, but also that its existence is necessitated by that cause. Everyone sees the world in his own mirror; whoever claims to be the creator of his deeds, will inevitably interpret the simultaneity of causes and effects as causation. He will be bound to attribute effects to causes and thus to claim that causes are efficient: they produce the effect and sustain it in existence.
The consequence of this model of the world is that empirical knowledge is necessarily connected to the causal relations between objects and events. According to this view, the logic of scientific discovery is inductive. In other words, it infers universal statements (laws, theories) from particular statements, such as accounts of the results of experiments and observations. These inductive universal statements, it is claimed, constitute knowledge par excellence.Now it is far from obvious, from a logical point of view, that universal statements can be inferred from particular ones, no matter how numerous. Inductive inferences can only be justified if the causal relation between cause and effect is necessary i.e., a purely logical truth. However, the relation between cause and effect is empirical and can only be established a posteriori. We observe constant simultaneity, but this is not the same as causal connection. We cannot validly move from post hoc to propter hoc. Temporal succession is no evidence of causal relations. The logic of induction proceeds as follows. First, it conjectures, without justification, that induction is valid, then concludes that causation is true. Whereas, from the point of view of logic, it is just the other way round, induction can be justified only by proving that causation is true i.e., that the relation between cause and effect is necessary.
Induction is therefore not a justified method to attain to universality. As Popper observes, scientific induction is “logically inadmissible,” scientific “theories are, therefore, never empirically verifiable.” Logically, this means that scientific statements have no cognitive value; they do not constitute knowledge. In addition, according to the positivist dogma of meaning, scientific statements and theories should be rejected as meaningless because they cannot be logically or ‘empirically’ legitimated. Hence, scientific knowledge is illegitimate.
As Nursi’sees it, universality is only possible through direct connection with the Creator. Each particular thing or event is connected to all other things and events in space and time through its connection to its Creator. Thus in view of the harfi vision, each particular is universal.
The so-called laws of nature, Nursi’says, cannot be defined as existent; they are mental, imaginary constructs. And imaginary constructs cannot sustain external reality. (W, p. 528 ; RNK, p. 228)
This conception of the world does by no means deny the uniformity of the world. Order is itself a proof of unity; each relation between cause and effect is itself a sign pointing to the Maker and ascribing all the rest of creation to Him. The crucial point is that these relations are vertical and directly connected to the Maker. The remarkable ordering of the universe proceeds from God’s Wisdom. The rules and ordinances of the Shari‘a of Creation proceeds from the Divine Attributes. The “laws of nature” are horizontal; they denote the relationship that is imagined to exist between individual things themselves and that is why they are fictitious. Nursi, clearly establishes that the uniformity of sequence of cause and effect does in no way constitute justification for believing in a causal nexus; to the contrary the uniformity of the sequence of cause and effect is an evident sign (aya) pointing to God and making Him known with His Names and Attributes. (F, p. 243; RNK, p. 682)
Inductive logic is the logic of the ismî vision. It claims to explain the world by ascribing it to causes and multiplicity. However, Nursi demonstrates in details how the unity and interrelatedness of beings in the universe reject such a claim. Indeed, beings display such qualities that supposing all causes gathered together and each had the power to act and possessed will, they still could not produce them.O men! Here is a parable set forth! Listen to it! Those on whom, besides GGod you call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition! (22:73).
Beings, which are miracles of Divine Power, are each in the form of a focus of the Divine Names. If each quality manifested on each being is not directly ascribed to the Creator, it necessitates superstitions like accepting that concealed within each being, even in a fly, there is an infinite creative power, and a knowledge encompassing all things, and even an absolute will with which to govern and control the universe, indeed, the absolute attributes of God. That means, if every single thing is not attributed to the Omnipotent One and if the connection of things with Him is severed, then it is necessary to attribute divinity to each cause. Simply, it necessitates to accept beside God, gods to the number of beings in existence, which is utter nonsense. (W, p. 303; RNK, p. 123)
Nursi’shows with definite proofs backed up with evidences from the universe that causation is a dogma of the ismî vision. He demonstrates in different contexts and from many different perspectives that there are insurmountable difficulties in accepting causation and associating partners with God.
Moreover, Nursi observes that in each thing, each particle even, there are two witnesses (shahid) to the Maker’s Necessary Existence and Unity. One is that together with its absolute impotence, each particle performs most vital and various duties. The other is that together with its lifelessness, each conforms to the universal order, thus displaying a universal consciousness. That is to say, through its inherent impotence, each particle testifies to the Necessary Existence of the Absolutely Powerful One, and through its conforming to the order within the world, each testifies to His unity. (W, p. 305; RNK, p.124)
Thus, every particle is a sign of Divine Oneness. With the mode of its being, it recites the Creator s Names. It performs well-ordered, universal duties of glorification and worship. Each particle, each being opens up windows onto knowledge of God. (W, p. 306; RNK, p.124)
To conclude, each object, each event is directly, vertically connected to its Creator. It is related to all the rest of beings, in space and time, through that vertical necessary connection. Each particular is like a universal through its connection to the Creator. Universality exists only in relation to the Creator. If causation is assumed, and beings and events are not directly attributed to a single Maker, then from the point of view of logic universals are reduced to particulars. Logically, universal statements, which constitute knowledge, are unjustifiable. In other words, it is logically impossible to claim knowledge while accepting causation. If the purpose of science is the search for universals, then there is only one reasonable alternative: give up the ismi ‘logic’, which as we have seen is illogical and unreasonable and adopt the universal harfi logic.
This conclusion is of paramount importance. Following the harfi logic, which iis based on the fact that beings and events are essentially signs of God as it is repeatedly and emphatically expressed in the Qur’an, Nursi demonstrates that causation is a dogma, a false conjecture (zann). In doing so, he also shows that causes, effects and their relations all point to the existence of the Necessary Being and His Unity, and make Him known with His Names and Attributes. That is to say, the refutation of causation opens the way to knowledge: the knowledge of God, which is one of the basic aims in the creation of man. Indeed, according to the meaning of I created not jinn and men except that they may [know and] worship Me.(51:56), the purpose for the sending of man to this world and the wisdom implicit in it, consists of knowing the Creator of all beings, believing in Him and worshipping Him.
It is important to realize that to refute causation does not mean that the investigation of the world should be abandonned. To the contrary, the world is an evidence that must be used to confirm iman (belief). The harfi method urges us to search for causes, for they are the signs of God and the means to bring home knowledge of God.
[Diagram. Not included here]
In previous centuries Muslim theologians proved the unity of the Necessarily Existent One and expounded knowledge of Him through asserting the impossibility of causation. They showed that knowledge of God cannot be gained while claiming a necessary connection between cause and effect.
In Nursi’s view, the knowledge of God gained by means of theology (kalam) is incomplete. That is, it is not sufficient. It does not afford complete knowledge and a complete sense of Divine Presence. However, the knowledge of God obtained from the Qur’an affords a constant sense of the Divine Presence, without condemning the universe to non-existence, or casting it into absolute oblivion. It rather releases the universe from purposelessness, and employs it in God’s name. Every “thing” becomes a sign (aya), and like a window opening onto knowledge of God. (L, pp. 388-389; rnk, p. 503)
Nursi demonstrates an argument of God’s Oneness and Unity, not only in the totality of the world but in every single thing. He shows how each thing is a sign, a pointer that makes known the Necessarily Existent One through His Attributes and Names. Furthermore, he demonstrates with the same argument, not only the Necessary Existence of the universe’s Maker and His Unity, but also His all-encompassing knowledge, limitless power, infinite will and mercy and His other attributes.The method Nursi formulated is fundamentally different from the method of scholastic kalam. The theologians rightly argued that the model of beings coming about through the causal efficacy of their originating causes, only ending with the First Cause could not be reconciled with the notion of a freely creating deity. Their argument is that God is an omnipotent agent and so he must be responsible for the creation of everything in the world. They asserted that the thesis that things possess causal power which is a necessary consequence of the thing’s nature or essence is therefore incompatible with the Qur’anic concept of God. This method is adequate to test for consistency with tawhid but it does not provide us with a logic of knowledge. It is persuasive only if one has already accepted to translate causal language into language referring to God’s actions. The harfi vision, however, supplies the method required to justify this translation.
The starting point of the harfi method is the universe. It employs the universe (alam-i shahada) as witness to tawhid and demonstrates how beings are signs witnessing to the unity of their Maker and making Him known with all His Names and Attributes. This method is ‘ontological:’ it is concerned with establishing the nature of beings as signs. Its ontology is tawhidi; it may be expressed as “There is no god.” All beings are each a witness to the Qur’anic truth of “There is no god.” The tawhidi epistemology “but God” is a necessary result of this ontology. Logically, if “There is no god” is right so must “but God” be. The truth of “There is no God” can be observed (mushahada) in the universe; it can be confirmed and witnessed. As for the truth of “but God” it cannot be witnessed directly, but it is deducible from “There is no god.” Moreover, if “There is no god but God” is true then “Muhammad is His messenger” also must be right, for the truth of the Prophet’s (SAAS) message is itself an evidence to the truthfulness of his prophethood, As a result, the creed of Islam “There is no god but God” and “Muhammad is His messenger,” which summarizes the message of Islam, is confirmed (tasdiq) with all the senses. That is, although the Muslim believes in the Unseen (iman b’il-ghayb), his belief is based on ‘ontological’ confirmation; it is found on firm proofs as numerous as existing beings. Thus, belief in the truth of Revelation supported by the testimony of all the cosmos is knowledge.
The harfi method shows how each effect is a sign of God and dismisses all the causes from the ability to create. It is not only concerned to refute causation but to show that every event, every cause-effect relation is a sign glorifying the Maker with all His Names. It proceeds under the guidance of numerous verses, which provide the required scriptural basis for a Qur’anic methodology.
It is God Who has created you, and then has provided you with sustenance, and then will cause you to die, and then bring you to life again. Can any of your [God] - partners do any of these things? Limitless is He in His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity! (30:40)Now those whom they invoke beside God cannot create anything, since they themselves are but created. (16; 20-21)
Will they, then, ascribe divinity, side by side with Him, unto that which does not create anything since they themselves are created. (7:191)
He [it is Who] has created the skies without any supports that you could see, and has placed firm mountains upon the earth, lest it sway with you, and has caused all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon. And We send down water from the skies, and thus We cause every noble kind [of life] to grow thereon. [All] this is God’s creation: show me, then, what others than He have created! (31:10-11).
And yet, some choose to worship, instead of Him, [imaginary] deities that cannot create anything but are themselves created, and have it not within themselves to avert harm from, or bring benefit to, themselves, and have no power over death, nor over life, nor over resurrection! (25:3)
Or do they [really] believe that there are, side by side with God, partners that have created the like of what He creates, so that this act of creation appears to them to be similar to His? (13:16)
It is important to understand and appreciate that the harfi method does not ddeny the existence of causes and effects, nor does it deny that there are relations between events. The point is rather, that these so-called ‘causal’ relations are not horizontal but vertical; the uniformity and order we observe in the world is wrongly attributed to causation. The confusion is to mistake causality for causation. Causation is the production of the effect by causes. Causality is the principle that nothing can happen without being caused. Causality is a universal, a priori principle in the sense of being fitri (i.e., every act must have an agent), whereas causation is not. It is clearly obvious that a well-ordered act necessarily points to a proficient agent, a skilful master but it is not evident at all how lifeless, conflicting, deaf and blind causes can be the agents of wonderful effects. Whichever effect you consider, it contains such meaningful art that let alone its common, simple cause, if all causes were to gather, they would declare their impotence before it.
As we have previously demonstrated, there is nothing in beings to suggest that they have any role in creation, no sign. For the creation of a single thing necessitates perfect, infinite power, knowledge and will. And since an infinite number of absolute gods is illogical, the creator of one thing must be the creator of all things. He must possess infinite qualities. Hence, there is no reason why He should be in need of partners (W, p. 434; RNK, pp. 190-191). Since the existence of such partners is illogical and precluded, to claim otherwise is purely arbitrary. That is, since there is no indication that could induce the truth of causation empirically or logically, it is meaningless (W, p. 635; RNK, p.276; F, p. 383; RNK, p. 763).
In addition, the wonderful art and adornment in effects dismiss causes, and indicating the Causer of causes in accordance with the verse, And to Him goes back every affair (11:23) hand over matters to Him. In the same way, the results, purposes, and benefits attached to effects dismiss causes from the ability to create and demonstrate self-evidently that they are the works of a Generous Sustainer, a Wise and Compassionate One, beyond the veil of causes. For to will wise and purposeful aims and results is of necessity the work of One Who is most Knowing and Wise. Causes however, are unconscious and without intelligence. They cannot think of some aim and work for it.
Nursi’stresses the fact that although causes are apparently adjacent to their effects, in reality there is a great distance between them: The greatest of causes has no actual power with which to bring about the most insignificant of effects. Effects have been tied to causes so that great numbers of the Divine Names may be manifested. Indeed, when it is realized that the horizontal relation between cause and effect is only an illusion of the ismi vision, it becomes clear that “there is a vast distance from causes to the creation of effects,” (W, p. 435; RNK, p.191) as Nursi puts it. It is in this distance that the Divine Names may be witnessed. As we see, the harfi method is not in favour of abandoning the search for causes. On the contrary, the relations between causes and effects must be determined in order to witness the Divine Names, obtain knowledge of God and enter His Presence. For belief in God is a confirmation of His existence in every event, in every cause and effect we observe; not only where we cannot see the cause.
Nursi extracts the harfi method for knowledge from the very logic and structure of Qur’anic verses. For example,O mankind! Worship your Sustainer, Who has created you and those who lived before you, so that you might remain conscious of Him;Who has made the earth a resting-place for you and the sky a canopy, and has sent down water from the sky and thereby brought forth fruits for your sustenance: do not, then, give God any compeers. (2:21-22)
This verse ties causes (rainwater) to effects (fruits) and points to an aim at its conclusion with the words, for your sustenance. This aim and the benefits of sustenance discharge ignorant and lifeless causes and hand them over to an All-Wise Maker. The Qur’an repeatedly stresses the fact that causes are themselves are created, they cannot produce anything.
Now those whom they invoke instead of God cannot create anything, since they are themselves but created. (16: 20-21) Have they, perchance, feet on which they could walk? Or have they hands with which they could grasp? Or have they eyes with which they could see? Or have they ears with which they could hear? (7:195)
Also, the adornment and skill on the face of effects (F, p. 384; RNK, p. 764) indicate a Wise Maker who wants to make His power known to conscious beings and desires to make Himself loved and worshipped as mentioned at the beginning of the verse, O mankind! worship your Sustainer. It is obvious how distant the causes that apparently result in rain are from thinking of living beings, having pity and compassion on them, and considering the production of their food. Indeed the Qur’an invites us to ask questions to uncover the veil of causes and to investigate the reality behind it.
Who is it that has created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water from the skies? For it is by this means that We cause gardens of shining beauty to grow- [Whereas] it is not in your power to cause [even one’single of] its trees to grow! Could there be any divine power besides God? Nay, they [who think so] are people who swerve [from the path of reason]!
Who is it that has made the earth a fitting abode [for living things] and has caused running waters [to flow] in its midst, and has set upon it mountains firm, and has placed a barrier between the two seas? Could there be any divine power besides God? Nay, most of those [who think so] do not know [what they are saying]!Who is it that responds to the distressed when he calls out to Him, and who removes the ill [that caused the distress], and has made you inherit the earth? (27: 60-62).
Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth, or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists? (10:31)
That means rain is sent to the assistance of living beings through the wisdom of a Compassionate Creator Who creates beings and guarantees their sustenance.He is it Who has caused water to come down from the sky; and by this means have We brought forth all living growth, and out of this have We brought forth verdure. Out of this do We bring forth close-growing grain; and out of the spathe of the palm tree, dates in thick clusters; and gardens of vine, and the olive tree, and the pomegranate: [all] so alike, and yet so different! Behold their fruit when it comes to fruition and ripens! Verily, in all this there are messages indeed for people who believe! (6:99)
Are you not aware that it is God Who causes the clouds to move onward, then joins them together, then piles them up in masses until you can see rain come forth from their midst? (24:42)
Hence, in the distance between cause and effect the Divine Names, like Compassionate, Sustainer (Razzaq), Giver of Life, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Disposer (Mudabbir), Wise etc may be witnessed. (W, pp. 435-437; RNK, pp. 191-192)
The last phrase, do not, then, give God any compeers concludes that God Al-mighty is in no need of partners and reminds us that all things, great or small issue directly from the hand of God’s absolute power. All things are created, they are being constantly renewed, and like the effect the apparent cause of each thing is also created.
Thanks and worship, therefore, are due to Him alone. He directly creates the cause and the effect together. He demonstrates His wisdom and makes Himself known through the manifestations of His Divine Names, by establishing an apparent causal relationship and connection through order and sequence.
The Qur’an speaks of the universe in order to make known God with His Attributes and Names. It explains the meanings of the book of the universe to make known its Creator. It instructs man concerning the signs of creation, and teaches him how to look at beings and events, each a meaningful word, as bearing the meaning of another; that is to look at them on account of their Maker. In other words, the Qur’an and its students speak of the universe for the sake of God: that is the gist of the harfi vision.
The principle of causation presents the Absolutely Self-Sufficient and Omnipotent Creator as being in need of impotent intermediaries, and give all causes a sort of partnership in His dominicality. It attributes to the Glorious Creator the title of “Prime Mover” or “Prime Cause,” which in fact reduces God to the status of a cause. Moreover, causation arbitrarily allots the rest of God’s sovereignty to causes, and thus opens the way to associating partners with Him on a most comprehensive scale; a claim which is contrary to reason.
The world is not neutral so that it would be possible to make it speak and interpret it arbitrarily as the relativists suggest. The world speaks. But it does not speak, as the objectivists claim, a “man-made” language; it speaks neither Aristotelian, nor Galilean, nor Newtonian, nor Einsteinian. The relativists have rightly criticized the so-called “correspondence theory of truth.” Indeed, objectivists have distorted the concept of “truth” by claiming that human reason was the source of it. They have mistaken the fact that human reason is able to understand the truth for its being the source of the truth.
As philosophers themselves assert, human reason is contingent and limited. It is not sufficient to discover the reality of beings. Only He Who fashions, and adorns the universe may inform man of the reality and purposes of creation.
Say: None in the heavens or on earth knows the reality [of anything that exists: none knows it] save God. (27:65)
God does not abandon Himself, His existence, and unity, to the testimony of His creation alone. Just as He speaks and makes Himself known through His creation, He will also speak and make Himself known and loved through word and speech. Since the Wise Maker, Who fills the cosmos with His miraculous creations, has endowed all beings with “tongues” speaking of His perfections; surely He will speak with man through Revelation. He will inform Him of His purposes and of the meaning of His creation. (W, p. 593; RNK, p.257)
The world speaks; it is meaningful. It speaks the language of the Creator’s Names and Attributes. And only Revelation may interpret its speech and translate it in accordance with men’s intellects and understanding in a form of divine descent (tanazzulat-i ilahiyya). Man needs both Revelation and the intellect in order to understand the Truth. But although both are indispensable means to obtain knowledge, their quiddities are fundamentally different. While Revelation is the source of truth and knowledge, the intellect is only a tool that serves to understand Revelation and thus Truth. As Nursi says, the intellect commands that Revelation be followed, because everything that Revelation says is reasonable. But again the intellect on its own cannot reach the truth. (W, p. 397; RNK, p. 171)
In the search for truth, somehow, we begin with our present experiences. But we need a basis, a criterion according to which we can interpret those experiences. For our minds don’t operate like cameras; our experience of reality is not immediate. All judgements about facts concerning the things in the world reflect the subject’s worldview; they are moral. Understanding itself is a kind of moral judgement. The process of understanding involves, together with facts, general principles of inference. These a priori principles constitute one’s logic. Basically there are two logics: the harfi logic, which is in conformity with reality, and the ismi logic, which is the erroneous logic of the ‘I’ that pretends to be independent of its Creator. Therefore, Revelation is indispensable for attaining to reality.
From the vantage point that the harfi logic provides, the source of the problems of the theory of knowledge of the ismi vision appears to be the dogma of experience. By erroneously dividing the world into physics and metaphysics, science reduces the reality of things to their material value. It claims that the reality of empirical facts consists in its description of them. But how does the scientist know that his perception of the facts corresponds to the reality of the facts? Who interprets experience and according to what?
The world is out there, but our interpretations of the world are not. An interpretation is true if it conforms to the reality of the world. And only the Maker of the world knows its reality. Only He can impart to man the knowledge of that reality and teach him the language beings speak. The scientist’s description of the world is his belief of what the facts are. It is not the reality of the facts. This belief is true if it corresponds to the reality of the facts. Now, if the truth of this belief is a correspondence of the mind with something outside the mind, how can the mind ever know it has attained the reality of the facts out there?
Science asserts that a belief is true when it corresponds to a certain associated external fact, and false when it does not. This criterion is deficient because a belief is an interpretation of the corresponding fact; it is not a neutral, objective statement. It is either harfi or ismi. Given that there is a fact corresponding to a certain description, how do we know this fact conforms to the reality of the fact?
Let us take an example. We will assume for the sake of definiteness, that the objects of a belief are two terms and a relation. Let “water” and “plant” be our object-terms and growing our object-relation for instance. We water the plant and it grows. There are two interpretations corresponding to this same fact.1. The ismi interpretation: “Water causes plants to grow. ”
1. The harfi interpretation: “It is God Who causes plants to grow with water,” as the Qur’an teaches us. The “scientific” definition of truth and falsehood is clearly deficient. Both descriptions correspond to the same associated fact: both conform to the criterion of correspondence. However, both cannot be true at the same time because they are logically incompatible: either water causes the ggrowth of plants or God does. To decide about the truth of these two statements, a criterion of reality is needed. We cannot dispense with such criterion.
We cannot possibly ignore the reality of beings, because our statements are not value-free. Our statements are inescapably value-laden. They either conform to the reality or not. There is no third alternative. This is why we cannot escape from our responsibity to find out reality and learn about it.
The harfi method provides the required criterion of reality. Let us analyze the two factual statements considered above: What we observe is that water enters the plant and later that the plant grows. These two events are contiguous but distinct. They follow each other in time but, as philosophers of science admit, we do not actually see that water makes the plant grow. We only see two consecutive events. Let us consider the following statement, “water causes the plant to grow.”1. Verification: To verify this statement it is necessary that we should be able to perceive water in action. If water is the agent, it should be demonstrated empirically. However, we can never see water making the plant grow. We conclude that this statement is not empirically verifiable because there is no external object-relation (growing) corresponding to the horizontal causal relation between “water” and “plants.”
As for the second statement, “It is God Who causes plants to grow with water,” in opposition to the ismi interpretation, it is elicited by experience and justifiable. Indeed, we deduce from experience that the agent is transcendental and thus by definition not observable.
2. Justification: Let us consider the test of justification. The first argument is that of succession. However, as we have seen, no number of cases of “growing” following “watering” can establish that “water causes the growth of plants.” To justify a proposition “A causes B” it is necessary to show that the relation between A and B is an a priori, necessary relation. Logically, however, there is no reason why an event should be ascribed to its antecedent in time; this is the same as attributing it to its neighbours in space because space and time are fully equivalent. They are unified into a four-dimensional continuum in which “here” and “there,” “before” and “after” are relative. In this four-dimensional space the temporal sequence is converted into a simultaneous co-existence, the side by side existence of all things.
The second argument is the claim that plants do not grow in the absence of water. From this fact it is logically impossible to deduce that water causes plants tto grow. In addition, plants do not grow in the absence of sunlight, soil, air, the world, the solar system, etc. Then according to this argument, all causes, the whole cosmos is needed to make a plant grow. As we have demonstrated, this is only possible if they are all attributed to One Omnipotent, Omniscient and All-Merciful Being.
The ismi interpretation is therefore completely arbitrary, in the sense that it does not describe reality correctly and thus does not have any cognitive value. It is not empirically verifiable whereas it should be; because the agent is claimed to be observable. Neither is it logically justifiable. Therefore, the ismi interpretation cannot legitimately appropriate experience because experience itself invalidates the ismi interpretation. The harfi interpretation however, is logically justifiable and it is elicited by experience.
3. Falsifiability: Falsification is therefore a meaningless criterion. A falsification of the statement “Water causes plants to grow,” would be to show that plants can grow in the absence of water. However, no one claims that he does not get his physics from experience. The problem is not that we should have a starting point other than experience. The problem is in the interpretation of experience and therefore in the logic underlying it, because interpretation is always based on a logic, either ismi or harfi. Ismi logic is circular. It accepts causation as a dogma prior to observation, then bases its interpretation on this dogma. In the above example, for instance, ismi logic takes it for granted that water is responsible for the growth of the plant, not because of any empirical or logical rreason, but because it defines water as “effective cause.” In the harfi logic, however, there is no dogma; nothing is taken for granted as created. Harfi logic observes that water -or any other cause- possesses none of the qualities needed to cause a plant to grow. It proceeds to find out what is responsible for the plant to grow with water.Indeed, it is impossible to derive anything about the plant by merely examining water had we never seen a plant before. We conclude that there is no empirical sign, no logical reason whatsoever to claim that it is water that causes plants to grow.
The harfi interpretation is a logical interpretation of the observed facts i.e., water and the growing of the plant. It is logically justifiable that the responsible for the growth of the plant can only be the one who possesses the qualities necessary to make the plant grow, and thus the qualities needed to make the whole cosmos. For a plant cannot exist on its own, independently from the whole cosmos; they exist together. So whoever is responsible for the plant must be responsible for the cosmos. The harfi method demonstrates that both water and plants, and indeed all causes and all effects are signs making their Creator known. The whole universe is full of signs leading to knowledge of God and witnessing to the truth of Revelation. [All] this is God’s creation: show Me, then, what others than He may have created! (31:11)
Indeed, if one does not accept the harfi interpretation, he has to refute it; he has to show what causes the plant to grow, for instance, and to prove the truthfulness of his claim. As the Qur’an says,
Who is it that creates [all life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew? And who is it that provides you with sustenance out of the heaven and earth? Could there be any deities besides God? Say: [If you think so,] produce your evidence - if you are truthful. (27:64).
Understanding is directly related to one’s vision and therefore to one’s self-perception. If one views himself in the light of the ismi vision, he will not study the universe under the guidance of revelation. He will understand the functioning of the universe but he will not realize that it is full of signs indicating the Maker and making Him known; he will not see its reality.
How many a sign is there in the heavens and on earth which they pass by [unthinkingly], and on which they turn their backs! (12:105)If, on the other hand, one views himself in the light of the harfi vision, he will understand that the intellect is a valuable tool that His Maker has given to him to make Himself known. He will employ that tool, not on behalf of the soul (nefs), but on behalf of the heart (qalb), in order to know and worship his Creator. Heeding Revelation, the intellect becomes in the hand of the heart (reasoning heart) like a key unlocking the infinite treasures of mercy and wisdom contained in creation.
The intellect is a tool (W, p. 39; RNK, p. 9) which is employed either on behalf of the heart or on behalf of the nefs. The nefs is active; it continuously casts doubts and false claims into the heart. This is its fitri duty. The creation of the nefs is essentially good: If it is known for what it is, it may be employed like a thrust that helps the heart to progress in the path of reality. The nefs makes the heart feel the need to repulse its false claims with the help of the intellect by witnessing to the truth of “There is no god.” Through the same process the nefs is purified.
The heart is like a universal mirror of the Besought One (Samad) and a scale for measuring the Divine Attributes and Names (W, pp. 140-141; RNK, pp. 47-48) The heart innately knows its Lord (Rabb). It is inclined towards the harfi aspect of the world, i.e., the aspect which looks to the hereafter and to the Divine Names. But the nefs is inclined towards obstructing the way of the heart. On account of its innate disposition it loves itself and the ismi, transitory aspect of the world. It urges man to attach himself and worship things other than God. But the world and its beings are ephemeral, they cannot answer man’s needs. Moreover, man feels sorrow and grief on their separation. These sorrowful metaphorical loves make his heart weep and cry I love not those that set (6:76). Thus he is impelled to seek for his true object of love and worship. This way, the process of purification of the nefs gets started. The innately contradictory dispositions of the nefs and of the heart provide the thrust needed to start the search for truth and confirm it. This way, both the heart and the nefs fulfil their duties of worship. (W, pp. 508-509 ; RNK, pp. 218-219)
The duty of the intellect lies in actually executing the search for truth under the guidance of Revelation. Using the harfi method, the intellect proves the truth of “There is no god” and silences the nefs. It shows that the cosmos is full of signs witnessing to God. Then the heart confirms the truth and says “but God” it withdraws from the ephemeral and gives up all metaphorical beloveds. Man becomes the vicegerent of God (khalifa) on earth. He understands that the world with all its beings each in its own tongue, glorify God with all His Beautiful Names; all declare “There is no god but God;” and he joins in this mighty circle (halqa) with his own dhikr. He severs the connection with metaphorical beloveds and the transient ismi aspects of things and binds himself to the Truly Existent One, the Eternal Beloved. (W, pp. 228-230; RNK, pp.82-84)
[Diagram: not included here]
The intellect which reasons on behalf of the heart (the reasoning heart) according to the harfi logic proceeds under the guidance of Revelation. It does not pretend it can discover on its own the universal method, the criterion of reality needed for grounding knowledge. Indeed, absolute reality cannot be comprehended by restricted views. A universal view like the Qur’an -the Word of God- is necessary in order to comprehend it. Particular minds cannot grasp universal reality. Hence truth and method are fused. We validate the truth of tawhid through proofs and method. But we do not prove the truth, we confirm it with the heart. Nursi tells us that proof is only an opening through which the heart sees the truth of tawhid. Proof is like a broom that serves to sweep the illusions of the nefs that may land on the mirror of the heart and prevent it from reflecting the truth. Proof itself cannot support universal truth, only iman does. The intellect uses the harfi method to repulse the claims of ownership of the nefs by proving their falsity with “There is no god.” Thus it validates the truth of tawhid. The heart, which knows its Lord innately, then confirms the truth of Revelation, “There is no god but God.” It follows that the circle of interpretations that proceed under the guidance of Revelation is essentially open. “There is no god but God” serves as the touchstone for determining which descriptions or interpretations conform to reality, and which do not.
[Diagram: not included here]
The other type of hermeneutical practice is the ismî method. If we don’t look at beings as Revelation teaches us, we will look at them through our own understanding. We will project our understanding unto beings. We won’t understand their reality but our own understanding of them. The circularity of such a hermeneutical understanding is vicious. In the words of Gadamer, “understanding understands itself.”
[Diagram: not included here]
Although Gadamer seems to suggest that philosophical hermeneutics is a type of knowledge completely different from Method, the difference is not so fundamental. Method, too, is hermeneutical. Since understanding is universal, since it underlies all human inquiry and knowledge, and nothing is in principle beyond understanding, then the scientific method is also a form of hermeneutical understanding.
Moreover, both method and philosophical hermeneutics are based on the ismi vision. Both are activities of a subject who seeks to understand and interpret external facts without having recourse to any source other than his own understanding. Their appeal to the external world (experience or thing-in-itself) to validate their claims begs the question. The problem is: According to what do they interpret external, alien facts?
Any intepretation that is not carried out under the guidance of Revelation is essentially vicious. A clarification of the situation requires us to ask, how is interpretation i.e., understanding of things possible? What is the relation between the interpreter and what he seeks to understand? As we have already demonstrated, the ismi vision cannot justify the relation between the subject and its oobject, nor indeed the relation between things in general. It cannot provide the link which mediates the particular and the universal, because if there are no necessary horizontal relations between things there can be no universality. All things are deemed to be alien to each other. This point is fundamental for the scientific method a well as for philosophical hermeneutics; indeed for any claim to undertanding.
For the reasons mentioned above, science can neither justify its claim to knowledge, nor can it possibly ground its logic of knowledge. For all truths involve universals, and all knowledge of truths involve acquaintance with universals. As regards the hermeneutical dimension of science, it is clearly unintelligible to speak of understanding something which is essentially alien and strange, and has nothing in common with the interpreter. In the context of the ismi vision, all “understanding” is then an arbitrary and distortive activity.
Interpretation and understanding in the context of the ismi vision is speculative and, indeed, dogmatic. As Gadamer admits, “hermeneutics has to see through the dogmatism of a meaning-in-itself in just the same way as critical philosophy has seen through the dogma of experience.” We can conclude from Nursi’s understanding of the ‘I’ that the dogma of a “meaning-in-itself” i.e., ismi meaning underlies all ismi understandings.Beyond Hermeneutics
As it is expounded by Nursi, the hermeneutical phenomenon puts an end to any aspiration to a value-free understanding. All sciences, whether social or natural, are moral sciences. They are a projection of the scientist’s vision of himself. Understanding is ultimately a mode of being (hal). How we perceive ourselves makes the basis of our conception of knowledge. Science is not an impartial activity as it has been assumed. It is a reading of the world and hence an interpretation of it. It is either harfi or ismi; it is never neutral. The criteria of all the judgements of man, in science and in the rest of life, are the same whether it has to do with aesthetics, ethics, or physics. All judgements are mor
|1.||al-Faruqi, I. R., “Islamizing the Social Sciences,” in Social and Natural Sciences, ed. I.R. al-Faruqi and A.O. Naseef (Jedddah: Hodder and Stoughton, 1981) 9-10.|
|2.||Gadamer, H. G., Truth and Method (London: Sheed and Ward, 1988) 5.|
|3.||al-Faruqi, Social and Natural Sciences, 11.|
|5.||Gadamer, Truth and Method, 245.|
|7.||al-Nursi, Badi’u’z-Zaman Sa’id, al-Mathnawi al-‘Arabi al-Nuri (Ankara: Nur Matbaası, 1958) 107, in Arabic.|
|8.||Nursi tells us that he derived the term“harfi” from “harf” (letter) and the term “ismi” from “ism” (word). A harf, he explains, is a tool that serves to express the meaning of another, it has no meaning in itself, Whereas, an ism has a meaning in itself. See Nursi, al-Mathnawi al-‘Arabi al-Nuri, 270. See also Nursi, The Flashes, 155-156.|
|10.||Russell, B., History of Western Philosophy (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1948) 224.|
|11.||Averroes, Incoherence of the Incoherence-Tahafut al-Tahafut, trans. S. Van Den Bergh (London: Luzac and Co, 1978) 318-319.|
|12.||Verily, it is God (alone) who upholds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease [to exist]; and if they should fail, no one can sustain them thereafter. (See, Qur an, 35:41).|
|13.||Nursi, al-Mathnawi al-‘Arabi al-Nuri, 107, 271.|
|14.||Hume, D., An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 29.|
|15.||Averroes, Incoherence of the Incoherence-Tahafut al-Tahafut, 319.|
|16.||Popper, K. R., The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London: Hutchinson ‘ Co. Ltd. 1959) 40.|
|18.||Had there been in heaven or on earth any deities other than God, both [those realms] would surely have fallen into ruin! (See, Qur’an, 21:22). See also, 17:42.|
|19.||For, most of them follow nothing but conjecture: [and] behold, conjecture can never be a substitute for truth (See, Qur’an, 10:36). See also 2:78; 4:157; 45:24; 53:23; 53:28.|
|20.||Ibn \'Abbas interpreted liya\'budun as liya\'rifun. See al-Attas, S. M. N., Islam and Secularism (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1993) 146.|
|21.||Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, “Ayetü’l-Kübrâ” in Risale-i Nur Külliyatı (İstanbul: Nesil Basım Yayın, 1996) 895.|
|22.||“The vahdat al-vujud school of Sufis, in order to truly affirm divine unity and enter God’s presence in the highest degree said: ‘There is no existent but Him.’ They relegated the universe to the level of imagination and cast it into non-existence, and only then fully entered the divine presence. The vahdat al-shuhud school of Sufis, in order to experience God’s presence and affirm His unity fully, said: ‘Nothing is observed but Him.’ They thus forgot the universe and drew the veil of oblivion over it, and only then fully experienced the divine presence.” (L. p. 392).|
|23.||Leaman, O., An Introduction to Medieval Islamic Philosophy (Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1985) 74-86.|
|24.||Further relevant verses include: 16:17-22; 16:73; 34:27; 35:13; 35:40; 56: 58-59; 56:63-64; 56:68-69.|
|25.||Nor did the theologians; see al-Ghazali, Mi‘yar al-‘Ilm (The Criterion of Knowledge), ed. S. Dunya (Cairo, 1961) 58.|
|26.||See, Qur’an, 7:10; 14: 32-34; 16: 14; 16: 66-69; 22: 63-65; 24: 43-45; 31:10; 31:31; 35:3; 35:12; 40: 79-81; 80:24-32, etc.|
|27.||See Qur’an, 7: 194; 13:14; etc.|
|28.||See Qur’an, 13: 4; 35: 27 ; etc.|
|29.||The Qur’an directs our attention to the benefits attached to things. It shows us the mercy sent to us through causes. Then it reminds us to be thankful for it, e.g., 5:6; 5:89; 7:10; 8:26; 16:14; 16:78; 22:32; 23:78; 30:46; 32:9; 35:12; 36:72-73; 67:23; etc.|
|30.||See Qur’an, 6:56; 13:16; 24:43; 26:75; 28:71; 29:63; 31:29-31; 35:3; 35:40; 36:80; 39:21; etc.|
|31.||See Qur’an, 22:63-66; 29:63; 30:48; 46:102; etc.|
|32.||See Qur’an, 39:2; 29:11; 40:14; 40:65; 98:5; etc.|
|33.||The concept of \'Prime Cause\' goes back to Greek philosophy. See Russell, History of Western Philosophy, 190.|
|34.||See my \"Materialist Science: The Negative Science,\" The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 12, No. 2 (1995): 257.|
|35.||Rorty, R., Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge Universıty Press, 1989), 6.|
|36.||Gadamer, Truth and Method, 241-245.|
|37.||See Qur’an, 25:59; 67:14.|
|38.||He it is Who sends down waters from the sky: and by this means We bring forth various kinds of plants. (20:53) See, Qur’an, 2:22; 2:164; 6:99; 14:32; 16:10; 16:65; 22:63; 30:24; 31:10; 32:27; 35:27; 41:39; 43:11; 80:24-32; etc.|
|39.||Kant tried to escape this situation by claiming that noumena are not objects of possible experience, that the reality of things cannot be known, and science is the study of phenomena only. This claim however, requires that the ismi vision be universal and this is what Kant assumed. He took the principle of induction (which he formulated as the “principle of universal causation” ) to be “a priori valid.” However, he failed to justify this attempt, which has eventually been criticized. See Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 29; B. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), 46-51|
|40.||Russell writes: “Such propositions as ‘A causes B’ are never to be accepted, and our inclinations to accept them is to be explained by the laws of habit and association... it is rash to suppose that we perceive causal relations when we think we do... there is nothing in cause except invariable succession.” History of Western Philosophy, 695.|
|41.||See my \"Materialist Science: The Negative Science,\"AJISS 12:2 (1995), 261.|
|42.||For a detailed discussion of the impossibilities that the alternative thesis entails see my “Induction, Science and Causation,” Islamic Studies 35:3 (1996): 257-258.|
|43.||See Qur’an, 21:24.|
|44.||See Qur’an, 22:46.|
|45.||Have you ever considered [the man] who makes his own desires his deity? (25:43) See also, Qur’an, 45:23.|
|46.||Nursi likens the intellect to a broom that sweeps the claims of the nefs away from the heart, a “guardian” of iman and a “mujahid” protecting iman under the commandership of the heart. Nursi, Risale-i Nur Külliyatı, 336.|
|47.||In his Truth and Method, Gadamer is emphasizing not the conjunction but the disjunction between Truth and Method; he is playing off Truth against Method.|
|48.||Nursi, al-Mathnawi al-‘Arabi al-Nuri, 246.|
|49.||In the case of Muslims, for instance, they may switch from one circle to the other according to their intention and their dua. But here we are concerned with methodology and not with certain thinkers. It is not our intention to judge people. Men may be models of piety, what matters to us is the outlook suggested by their works. A scientist may believe that the world exists to declare the glory of God, we don’t know. How much does this belief intervene in his scientific explanations, that is the point. Not to confuse these two facts (personal belief and methodology) we should distinguish between Muslim and Islamic. The fact that we are Muslims does not necessitate that all we do be Islamic. (See Nursi, Risale-i Nur Külliyatı, 1944). So while paying full respect to Muslim thinkers we should be able to evaluate and criticize their thoughts and methods. If the scientific method of the Muslim philosophers is hardly distinguishable from the modern scientific method [See O. Bakar, Tawhid and Science (Kuala Lumpur: Science University of Malaysia, 1991) 16], it means that something is wrong with this method. If we think that all the methods of the Muslims are definitely Islamic and defend them as such, we won’t find the way to the truth. This reasoning is clearly erroneous; we must be eclectic in our criticism.|
|50.||Gadamer, Truth and Method, 235.|
|51.||Gadamer, H. G., “The Problem of Historical Consciousness” in Interpretative Social Science: A Reader, e.d., P. Rabinow and W.M. Sullivan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), 113.|
|52.||Russell, Problems of Philosophy, 53.|
|53.||Gadamer, Truth and Method, 430. |
||The Hermeneutical Dimension Of Science A Critical Analysis Based On The Risale-i Nur
||Islam From Within
||(FOURTH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON BEDIUZZAMAN SAID NURSI: “A Contemporary Approach Towards Understanding The Qur'an: The Example Risale-i Nur,” 20-22 September, 1998 Istanbul)
Dr. Yamina Mermer was born in Oran in Algeria in 1958, and graduated from the Dept of Theoretical Physics in the University of Algeria. She received her Master’s degree from Durham University U.K. in 1982, and in 1985 her Doctorate in particle physics from the same university. She has co-written two books and has published several articles.
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