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A Critique on Empiricism

A Critique on Empiricism

S: Many Empiricists, especially partisans of the perception theory, argue that because the results of intellectual acumen and deduction are faulty and misgiving (it does not distingush right from wrong), the only sure method of finding truth is through s ense perception; for the sensses have a direct relationship with the external world based on experience.

A: 1. This argument makes use of a thoughtful premise and rational judgment via intellectual acumen and deduction. According to this (critique), if this argument is correct it would necessitate the invalidity of the (Empiricists) argument. 2. Errors made through sense perception is not less than those made by rational inference. If a particular domain of knowledge is invalid on the account that it is prone to fallacy, then the sense perception faculty is more fallacious than rational acume n. 3. Although distingushing right from wrong is a necessary process for every type of preception (rational or sense), sense preception is based on repetitive experimentation, which will yield a rational premise. For example, through expiments we come to kn ow that a particular element always or in most cases have a define quality; this finding is then associated with a major premise stating: If this quality occurs in another element in the same fashion, then it is proven to be (related to the first). Hence , the later argument is rational not sensous. 4. Assuming that experimentation supports every tangible science, it is clear that this theory can not be proven by means of another experiment, on the account that this would result in a vicious cycle or an infinte succession of experiments. Therefore, reliance upon the senses and experimentation, in reality, is confirmation of essential rational sciences (to proove the validity of experimental sciences). 5. The senses only perceive minor qualities, which are unfixed and constantly changing; and by compiling a thousand minor qualities a universal or general conclusion can not be made. However, knowledge is concerned with universal conception and general p remisses; and only rational cognition provides this aspect. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 (A Commentary on Qur'an) Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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The Creation of Evil

S: In the Holy Qur'an it is written that God has created everything - God is the Creator of everything (39:62) - and it is also stated that He has created everything in favorable - He Who made best everything which He hath created... (32:7). In this mann er there a relation has been made between creation and goodness - meaning that everything that is created and existing is good. However, by contrast, reasoning and also some Qur'anic verses clearly state that some actions are evil and ugly

A: In general, ill manners (evilness) and natural disasters (evils) - earthquakes, floods, etc... - are voids; and from this aspect they do not have fundamental existence (inasmuch as they are evil) to be counted among that which is good. In other words, sickness is void of health, blindness is void of site, opression is void of justice, and ugliness is void of beauty. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 101 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Seeking Guidance in Prayer

Q: Muslims have found guidance (in Islam), so why do they ask for guidance in their prayers?

A: This solicitation for guidance in reality is a request for perfection and (inner) completion, not basic and fundamental guidance. This is because gudiance has many levels and degrees. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 (A Commentary on Qur'an) Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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The Glorifcation of Inanimate Beings

Q: According to the 44th verse of the 17th chapter (Bani Israel or Asra') of the Holy Qur'an - "and there is not any thing but it glorifeth Him" - everything glorifies Allah. Does this also encompass evil and sinful actions - these actions glorify Allah?

A: 1. Everything that exist, in regards to its existence is neither evil nor foul, because the orgin of its being is Allah who is absolute good. 2. Evil and foulness are relative entites which do not posses absolute reality. 3. There are two types of glorification: (a) innate and (b) legislative. Every existent, without exception, glorifies Allah and is submissive to that which Allah has set forth for it. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 (A Commentary on Qur'an) Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Qur'anic Guidance, Meandering of the Infidel

Q: In the 6th verse of the chapter of The Cow (Al-Baqarah) it is stated that it is not possible to guide those who disbelieve. Aknowledging this, the Qur'an has been sent to guide which group of people has ?

A: First of all, the meaning of "those who disbelieve," in this verse are those who are firm and set in their infidelity to the extent that they heedless to any warning - alike is it for them, thou warneth them, or warneth them not (2:6). To support this thought, the Qur'an also states that the doors of guidance are open, therefore if it is impossible to guide every disbeliever, then this would mean that the doors of guidance are closed (for them). Secondly, it is not an outlandish exposition to say tha t what is meant by `disbelievers,' in this verse, is the elders of Mecca, whom opposed Islam up until their death. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Intercession in The Qur'an

Q: Some verses of the Qur'an negate the act of intercession, while others affirm intercession; how can these verses be brought togather (in agreement)?

A: Verses such as (...The day wherein there is no bargaining, nor, friendship, nor intercession...(2:254)), (The day when a friend shall avail not (his) friend aught, nor shall they be helped(44:41)), and (Now we have no intercessors, Nor any loving frie nd (26:100-101)) discards the concept of intercession. And on the other hand, some verses regard intercession as an action particular to God - (...for you there is none besides Him of a guardian, nor any intercessor; What! will ye not then reflect? (32:4 )), (...there shall not be for them, besides Him, any guardian or an intercessor...(6:51)), and (Say thou: God's (alone) is intercession altogather...(39:44)). Other verses of the Qur'an state that persons that have the permission of God will intercede f or others - (...Who is he that can intercede with Him but with His permission...(2:255)), (...No intercessor can there be save after His leave...(10:3)), and (...and they can not intercede but for him whom He aproveth...(21:28)). In conclusion, what is understood from gathered verses is that intercession is an action particular to God, and if He wills, then His righteous servants can have the ability to intercede; and what is refuted is intercession without the permission of God. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 155 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Set Principles In A Changing Society, Eternal Islam

S: Socialologist, law makers, and economist all believe that laws and regulations must change and evolve in accordance with the social changes of each society. However, by contrast, the Qur'an and its' principles are associated with a particular society, which existed fourteen centries ago in the Arabian Peninsula; thus it is not suitable for todays' society.

A: First and foremost, this argument claims that mankind and his legislation is similar to God and His legislation, while it is evident that the limited intellect of human beings along side other limitations is the cause of his ever-changing laws. On the other hand, God the Exalted, who has eternal knowledge, is aware of every detail of the mortal world; hence, with ease, He is able - in one compilation (the Holy Qur'an) - to set forth laws that are need by mankind til the Day of Judgment. Secondly, the basis of legislation in the Qur'an is the innate (awarness of) monotheism and (endeavor for) moral excellence of human beings, which does not change with the changing of time or place. The Qur'anic view on legislation is that laws must be m ade based on man's intrinsic aptitude, which is unchanging. However, by contrast, those who are of the opinion that laws change and evolve with social evolution believe that spirituallity and morality have no place (in legislation). book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 63 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Knowledge Immaterialis

S: Without doubt thinking and perception are particular to the mind. This particular quality is corporeal, on the account that it is dependant upon material and compound bodies (it is the cognation of corporal entities). Aknowledging that it has been sci entifically proven that every inch of the physical universe is altering - becoming more perfect - it must be said that, likewise, knowledge is altering and in the state of change; thus knowledge is not uniform.

A: This argument is developed on the basis that knowledge is corporal, while in fact knowledge is incorporeal on the account that knowledge, in essence does not posses corporal qualities - division, time and space, and motion and change. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 51 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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The Miraculous Eloquence of The Qur'an

Q: If the literary fluency and eloquence of the Qur'an is beyond explanation in terms of ordinary reality, that is so only for Arab speaking people (non-Arabs are far removed from the language). Why do Muslims claim that the Qur'an is a miracle for all o f mankind?

A: The miraculous semblance of the Qur'an is not limited to its literary fluency and eloquence, rather the Qur'an is miraculous from every aspect. The following are some illustrations of the Qur'an's supernatural traits: 1. The Qur'an incompasses many sciences such as ethics, divine & judicial law, news of the unseen, and other detailed information, which are so deep-rooted that no man has the ability to compile such a work. 2. The carrier of the Qur'an was untaught; and just as it has been mentioned, this divine book, which contains every axiom needed for worldly and spiritual sucess - written in an unparalleled manner - can benefit the most intellectual of people. Accumu lating such knowledge and truth is beyond the competence of ordinary mortal ability, especially for someone who is untaught - And thou didst not recite any book before it (the Qur'an) and thou didst not transcribe one with that right hand of thine, for t hen would have doubted those who utter falsehood (29:48). 3. The Qur'an is harmonious and without contradiction. The Holy Qur'an is a book that over a period of twenty-three years, full of ups and downs and constantly changing times, it was revealed without its' miraculous harmony being effected - Do they no t think about the Qur'an? And if it had been from any other than God, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy (4:82). 4. The Qur'an displays literary fluency and eloquence. Fundamentally, (Allah's) divine wisdom necessitates that the miracle of each prophet coincides with the most prevalent skills and sciences of his time, in order that their miraculous contributions t o humanity could be clearly observed by the masses (just as Imam Haadi (AS) indicated in his reply to Ibn Sakeet). For everyone the esthetic and spiritual melody of the Qur'an is evident, however its' eloquent methodology is exclusively for those who are familiar with the Arabic language. Interperting the supernatural eloquence of the Qur'an can only be done by some one who has mastery over the various techniques of literary and poetic eloquence. The most renowned critics of their time (when the Qur'an was being revealed) - Waleed bin Mugayarah Makhzumi, U'tba bin Rabia', and Tufail bin Amr - testified that the Qu r'an was more eloquent and superior than all other works. One century later (after the Qur'an was revealed), unsucessfully, personalities like Ibn Abi Al-Au'jaai, Ibn Maqfa', Abu Shakir Desani, and Abdul Malik Basari tried (for a whole year) to refute an d oppose the Qur'an (its' eloquence). Sufficent proof of the Qur'an's eloquence has been written in the Qur'an itself - Say thou, `if men and the jinn united that they bring the like of this Qur'an, they would bring not the like of it, even though they m ay help each other' (17:88) - and history supports this notion. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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S: Insofar as a word denotes a meaning - it is a verbal indication coined by man - it is impossible that a word signifies an meaning that is beyond mortal comprehension. In other words, human beings due to social needs - because of social interaction - c oined words to convey the meaning of things and ideas that they have in their minds. Therefore, competence in disclosing the meaning of things is relevant to the word coined by humans; thus the eloquence of the Qur'an can not be beyond the ability of man kind to compose the likes of it (the Qur'an).
A: It is correct that words are coined to indicate upon the meaning of things and that the coiner is mankind. However, this disposition is correct only for individual words, not for the composition of the various types of sentences, which have their own particular style and beauty. Assembling individual words to create various compound sentences that convey different meanings depends upon one's knowledge of literary eloquence and fluency. Scholars of literary eloquence clearly state that the amount of knowledge and information about the affairs, psychological states, and emotions of human beings have a great affect upon (eloquent) expression; insofar as the more one knows about these things, the more eloquent his expression will be. In conclusion, it is clear that attributing the coinage of words to mankind is no proof for the absence of a text that is beyond ordinary human comprehension. Such an argument (previously stated), is like saying that the inventor if chess must be the mos t skillful player and the inventor of the tambourine must be the best at playing it. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 69 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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S: Basically, the proof that mankind cannot or until now has not been able to bring the likes of the Qur'an, is that Allah - whose eternal will governs the will of human beings - does not allow the notion of such a thought (to bring the likes of the Qur' an) to come to mankind; and if someone thinks of such a thing then Allah prevents him from fulfilling this thought. Thereupon, the reason for the Qur'an being a miracle is not because of its eloquence.
A: This disposition, by contrast, opposes the strict tone of the Qur'an in the 13th and 14th verses of the chapter Hud - Say, `Bring ye then ten chapters like unto it forged, and call ye (to your aid) whomsoever ye can besides God, if ye be truthful; The n if they answer ye not, then know ye that this (Qur'an) is revealed (only) by God's knowledge...' (11:13-14). As it is apparent that the last sentence of this verse clearly indicates that the strict tone is based on the fact that the Qur'an was revealed by and with Allah's divine knowledge; and it is not the words of the Prophet (PBUH). On the account that man's knowledge is very limited he is not able to bring the likes of Qur'an. Another testiment on behalf of this disposition is the 82nd verse of th e chapter The Women (An-Nisa) - Do they not think (carefully) in Qur'an? And if it had been from any other than Allah, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy (4:82) - that indicates that the reason for mankind's inability to bring the likes of Qur'an is the absence of verbal and lexical contradiction in its' text; and mankind is not able to compose a work (like it) without contradicting themselves. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 70 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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Denial of Miracles

S: Every tangible entity has a particular cause, which can be known by means of experiment. According to this (general rule), every supernatural entity can be accepted as a (tangible) entity in which its cause is unknown. At most, it can be said that as long as the causes of such supernatural entities are unknown that entity is considered a miracle.

A: The notion of the cause and effect relationship states that every contingent being needs a cause (to bring it into existence or to make it a nonexistent entity). As for the assumption that every cause must necessarily be subject to (human) comperhensi on by means of experiment, it is incorrect and there is no proof to confirm this assumption. This is because, the results of expriments are limited to physical aspects (of physical entities) and at no point can experimentation proof the metaphysical aspe cts (being or nobeing) of an entity. As for the explanation that a miracle is the awareness of an event in which its cause is unknown,it is incorrect. This is because, if this awarness (of a supernatural event) is obtained by knowing the cause (of such an event), then this would mean that t here is no difference between miracles and ordinary events; thus superhuman events could not be considered as miracles. On the other hand, if this awareness (of a superhuman event) was obtained through unordinary means - and the event was preformed with divine permission to prove the prophesy of a prophet -, then it is considered to be one type of miracle. However, miracles are not limited only to this type (to prove prophesy). book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 75-81 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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The Difference Between A Miracle and Supernatural Events

Q: What is the difference between supernatural occurances that are preformed by those who practice yoga (a Hindu discipline to reach perfect spiritual insight) and miracles (preformed by prophets)?

A: Miraculous events that - by divine authorization - are preformed by prophets and holy saints (Awliyah) have two qualities that distinguish them from Supernatural events preformed by those who practice yoga: 1. Miracles can cot be learned or taught (to others), this is because the causes of such events are beyond the conperhension of mankind. 2. Miracles (of prophets & saints) can not be surmounted by other superhuman occurances. book :Tafsir Al-Mizan Vol. 1 pg. 82 Author :Tba'tabai, Muhammad Husayn
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