Philosophy and ÝIrfÁn between acceptance and rejection
IJ: You mentioned several disciplines which some people consider strange or even un-Islamic, such as logic, philosophy and ÝirfÁn or Sufism.
KH: I believe that these sciences constitute a fundamental component of our religious sciences.
For example: In the study of the principles of jurisprudence, we deal with tens of logical and philosophical discussions in order to understand legal matters. And those familiar with the discussions of uÒÙl al-fiqh will know that many of these are philosophical in nature and indeed have been borrowed from philosophical or theological discussions – why do we need such discussions? They say it is because our understanding of what the Infallible has said depends upon our understanding of these preliminaries!
To give you a clearer image of this: The QurÞÁn was revealed in clear Arabic; can anyone understand the QurÞÁn without understanding Arabic? But when have the Imams ever needed to say: ‘Learn Arabic so that you may understand the QurÞÁn’? Because it is obvious! The QurÞÁn was revealed in clear Arabic and therefore we must study the Arabic language. In fact, we must not only study the Arabic language, no, we must study the Arabic language and its rules; its morphology, syntax and rhetoric.
This is at the level of words. But the same is true at the level of meaning; there are many meanings for which, in order to understand them, we need rules as those laid down in the principles of jurisprudence, doctrines, philosophy, logic and ÝirfÁn. This is the system of knowledge that whoever wants to give an opinion in religion must learn.