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Concepts Of Pre-Existence In Islam
Leto posted a topic in Christianity/Judaism DialogueDear friends, Just a question about some concepts I've come across in my modest, and no doubt inadequate, study of islamic doctrine and philosophy. I hope there are some people he that can enlighten me with the backgrounds I need. There is the concept of "pre-existence". The notion which I almost automatically associate with a neo-platonist philosophical outlook; the concept of immaterial perfect ideas that exist before the creation of material being and that somehow manifest themselves in material creation because they mediate all perfect forms that manifest themselves in created material beings. These categories obviously had a great influence on the development on Christian theology, to the extend that some doctrines have been developed which Muslims now deem to be going too far and indeed to be a lapse in idolatry. But let's leave that aside for the moment. But the core as I perceive it is; the idea of pre-existence has become quite a guiding principle in some regards. In the Gospel of John this can be seen with the concept of the Word (Logos) that became flesh; he was before all times and came into the world to be rejected by the Jews who were not able to recognize him. The Church Fathers clearly saw the Logos as the model of creation itself; it was through the Logos that God created men, the rejection of the Logos was as such a rejection of the essential core of what it means to be human, to be created in the image God and called to worship Him in love and obedience. As it were: the Logos represents an immaterial perfect idea of what it essence of human ontology. All human existence is as it were mediated through the pre-existent Word. The crux is of course whether you define the Logos as created or uncreated; this is where the whole discussion about the Trinity starts but again I hope we can leave that aside for this moment. My question is how do Muslim scholars look at this concept of the pre-existence? Are there any sayings by the Imams that could shed light on this? I think I've came across some notion of the Qur'an as having a certain pre-existent statute and in some (analogical/philosophical?) form even Imam Ali? How can I understand this better? And how to see the concept of 'Aql? Like the Greek concepts of Logos and Sophia? Or is altogether different? How can enlighten me in this? I am keen to learn more. God bless, Leto
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