Friday, December 8, 2006

18)Philosophy, Religion, Science and Poetry

From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the section on Ismaili Philosophy:

"The spiritual and material realms are not dichotomous, since in the Ismaili formulation, matter and spirit are united under a higher genus and each realm possesses its own hierarchy. Though they require linguistic and rational categories for definition, they represent elements of a whole, and a true understanding of God must also take account of His creation. Such a synthesis is crucial to how the human intellect eventually relates to creation and how it ultimately becomes the instrument for penetrating through history the mystery of the unknowable God implied in the formulation of tawhid".
"...........and a true understanding of God must also take account of His creation...."

Objects and events in the universe, including space and time, are an emanation of the Universal Soul in the cosmological doctrine of Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani from the 10th century rennaisance in Ismaili thinking. Universal Soul is one of the four wellsprings of knowledge, truth or wisdom in this cosmology(the other three being Asas, Natiq and Universal Intellect). These four wellsprings represent the structure of truth. The objects and events in the universe must, then, also be part of the structure of truth at a very basic level.

Our 48th Imam says that objects and events in the universe and the verses of the Quran are both referred by the same arabic word: 'ayats'.

Pir Nasir Khusraw puts it into poetic language when he says the following:

Time is eternity measured by the movements of the heavens, whose name is day, night, month, year. Eternity is Time not measured, having neither beginning nor end…The cause of Time is the Soul of the World….; it is not in time, for time is in the horizon of the soul as its instrument, as the duration of the living mortal who is "the shadow of the soul", while eternity is the duration of the living immortal - that is to say of the Intelligence and of the Soul.

"...Allah may create today or He may create tomorrow...." Aga Khan IV.

"...the creation according to Islam is a perpetual and constant event, not a unique one in a given time...." Aga Khan III.

From my readings in astronomy I found an excellent example to support the Islamic concept of creation and I thought you might be interested to know about it. We know from studies in astrophysics that, whereas the universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old, our own solar system is generally thought to be about 4.6 billion years old. As you know, our own solar system is located in the Milky Way galaxy, which is a spiral shaped galaxy. Recent investigations using the Hubble space telescope(around 2002-2003) showed a new solar system being formed in the Orion nebula, located in the Orion arm of our Milky Way galaxy. This is a brand new solar system, consisting of a sun and 2, possibly 3 planets being formed at this very moment as I am making this post. To me this is a clear example that shows that creation is a perpetual and constant event. It is like watching a movie rerun of the formation of our own solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

The interesting thing I learned about the moon is that it was formed by a glancing blow to the earth by a mars-sized object but since the moon has almost no iron or nickel in it, that glancing blow(a sideways swipe) must have occured after the earth had already differentiated into crust, mantle and core. Experiments show that the moon is made only of crustal earth material.


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3