Sufi Philosophy

Epistemological Grounding of Mystical Experience: Sufi Philosophy

To understand Al-Ghazali, we must consider his theory of knowledge and his conception of existence. Knowledge is various. It may be divided into two main divisions: that which depends ultimately on revelation and that which depends on reason. It is not necessary for the purpose we have at present in hand to consider the divisions and subdivisions of the former; but it is to be noted that, even in the matter of revelation, reason comes into play. For some of the truths of this department of knowledge are inferences or deductions from the fundamental truths which have been received by divine revelation, that is, from the verbal statements of the Qur’an; while others are the outcome of analogical reasoning based on similarly established beliefs and convictions.

Under the second division (reasons) we find: 1) Mathematics, Astronomy, Logic, etc., 2) Natural Sciences, and 3) Speculative Knowledge. One of the sub-divisions of this last division is Speculative Theology.

Now the knowledge of the Sufis is not solely either revelation or reason, but is a compound knowledge, for it depends on revealed truth and partly on speculation. (35/1)