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In the Name of God بسم الله

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Salamun A'laykum

One of the scholars who is deeply into Erfan told me the following in a conversation. It didn't make sense to me at all after I thought about it and I produced a few questions which could potentially dismantle the arguments brought by the scholar. Even though he is somewhat famous in the English speaking population, I will refrain from mentioning his name to be safe from any fitnah. Here it is: (note: I am paraphrasing what he said; it could be the case that I misunderstood something or forgot to add a few things to clarify his arguments):

{Allah's attributes are not limited to this world, meaning that His attributes are universal and everlasting. However, in order to have a title of something, one must prove to deserve it. Otherwise, that person does not truly deserve the title, or is not literally elligible to hold that title. For example, if someone is considered a teacher, they must literally be teaching. As long as that person teaches, he/she remains a teacher. But, if they do not teach, they are no longer teacher (literally). That means that even if you consider someome to be your teacher, they are not (by essence) teachers because it is impossible for them to be teaching 24 hours 7 days a week. Hence, there is no such a thing as a true teacher since no one can teach 24/7.

When dealing with Allah's attributes, it is imposible that His titles or attributes be sometimes true to him; meaning that He truly deserves to have the attributes. He is ALWAYS merciful; he is ALWAYS the judge; he is ALWAYS the wise... Likewise, he is ALWAYS a creator. Otherwise, those attributes are not true to Him. Having said this, it is logical to say that because His attributes are ALWAYS in Him, and that He is ALWAYS the creator, he needs to ALWAYS have a creation. If he doesn't, he is no longer a true creator. To make it simple, Allah always needs to have a creation since he is a true creator. With that said, we can conclude that God's creation is everlasting (since he always has a creation).

[I was confused about the following... It may not make any sense since I can't remember exactly his point] If you take a step forward, you can say that His creation is the manifestation of His attributes. Why? Because the creation of Allah (swt) is mumkinal wujud, not wajibul wujud. If a creation is everlasting, how can that be munkinul wujud? Therefore, we must believe in wahdatul wujud.}

Here are the 5 questions I had. If you support partial or all of the arguments above which leads to the conclusion that the creation of Allah is everlasting, please answer my questions. If not, please state why you don't support it.

1. Do Allah's attributes HAVE to be 'universal' or everlasting? This premise needs proof (backed up with reliable ahadith). If it cannot, then the rest of the premises and conclusions are invalid. Assuming this premise IS true, we can move on to the next question... Otherwise there is no need to waste time on this matter.

2. Why is it that in order for someone to have attributes or title, they must ALWAYS posses it? A teacher can be a teacher even if they don't always teach... and a kind person can be mean at times. This is a little confusing to me.

3. Allah is not bound by time. I think the scholar doesnt make any sense because he is assuming there is nothing if there is no creation. We cannot think outside of time and therefore our limited minds trick us to believe that there is such a thing as nothing... Can there be nothing if we think outside of time?

4. A friend of mine came up with this question during the discussion: If something is everlasting, can it be created? The answer is obviously No. Therefore does it make any sense to say that we are Allah's creation and believe that His creation is everlasting at a same time? The words 'everlasting creation' itself is an oxymoron.

5. I don't see how the last paragrph proves wahdatul wujud... Using that logic, one has to either accept wahdatul wujud or mumkinal wujud. I am not even sure what he was trying to say. Can you figure it out?

Sorry for any writing mistakes. I am too lazy to proofread :wacko:

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I have to respectfully disagree with the Shaykh....but of course he is worthy of utmost respect....

I think what he said about the creation having to exist, otherwise Allah (swt) would not be the true creator is wrong. I think it limits Allah (swt) to having to have a creation. And it basically says the Allah (swt) depends on his creation..which can never be true.

He hears but with no ears,

He speaks but with no mouth,

He sees but with no eyes.....

So why can he not create but with no creation?

People could not understand Ali (as),now they are trying to understand Allah!!!

So I must, very respectfully, disagree.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

Do Allah's attributes HAVE to be 'universal' or everlasting?

No. What the Shaykh has done is fallacious by conflating two types of attribute: attributes of essence and attributes of action.

Here is an example: Allah is the giver of life to my grandfather. Indeed, He is. But He is also the taker of life from my grandfather. This, too, He is. Yet He cannot be eternally both, since the two cannot be combined. My grandfather can be not-alive and then be given life, or he can be alive and then have his life taken, but he cannot both be given life and have his life taken simultaneously. Therefore, there is a temporal gap between the two and so these two attributes are not eternal.

The same applies to Creator. There was a stage where there was no creation, and then a stage in which He willed there to be a creation.

(wasalam)

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But, Jebreil, doesn't this fall under the perspective of the timeless eternity of God? There is no time for Him, and so no, "before" and "and then." All the moments of time are just an everlasting "now" for Him. He is prior to the universe, but in terms of dependence, and the originator, but not in time. So from His timeless perspective, it would seem natural that His attributes would be eternally expressed in that timeless now.

No?

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(bismillah)

(salam)

No. What the Shaykh has done is fallacious by conflating two types of attribute: attributes of essence and attributes of action.

Here is an example: Allah is the giver of life to my grandfather. Indeed, He is. But He is also the taker of life from my grandfather. This, too, He is. Yet He cannot be eternally both, since the two cannot be combined. My grandfather can be not-alive and then be given life, or he can be alive and then have his life taken, but he cannot both be given life and have his life taken simultaneously. Therefore, there is a temporal gap between the two and so these two attributes are not eternal.

The same applies to Creator. There was a stage where there was no creation, and then a stage in which He willed there to be a creation.

(wasalam)

He created time, thus cannot be bound by it.....It is a concept to intense for us to understand.....we cannot comprehend the stages of Allah (swt) thus we cannot conclude that there was a time (time does not exist in his realm) where there was no creation....

You gave an example of you grandfather, remember....he was bound by time. We are talking about someone who created time and cannot be bound by it.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

kadhim

Even in God's eternal knowledge, the temporal sequence of things are eternally known. The question of eternity or temporality of creation is not about God's perspective of creation, but of creation itself. In God's eternal perspective, if you like, today's events and tomorrow's events are also eternally known, but there is no question that tomorrow's events are temporally posterior to today's.

haydar

I don't know whether you are objecting or just expanding/commenting on what I wrote. If it is the former, please indicate the section which you believe to be problematic.

(wasalam)

Edited by Jebreil
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OK, that would be true Jebreil. Not only are all the places and all the moments simultaneously present eternally to God, but also the relationships of causality and temporality that exist between entities and moments. But still, it seems to me that it is all eternally one simulataneous reality in His perspective, and so from that ultimate reality's perspective, He is eternally manifesting all His attributes. Simulataneously and eternally He is bringing into the world, sustaining in the world throughout his life, and removing from the world your grandfather, you, me, and everyone.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

kadhim

God knowing in eternity that the events of today and tomorrow are materialised in their temporary sequence does not entail that the two happen simultaneously. If anything, their non-simultaneity is the basic fact which cannot be interpreted away.

(wasalam)

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To Him though. As an atemporal Being, is time not just another dimension from His perspective? Does He not see a sequence of moments in time all at once at a glance the way we perceive the points on a line or on a surface or in an object all at once as a unity?

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Perhaps I can take the liberty of offering a few thoughts from Indian philosophy which may help looking at the issues from a different perspective.

1. Do Allah's attributes HAVE to be 'universal' or everlasting? This premise needs proof (backed up with reliable ahadith). If it cannot, then the rest of the premises and conclusions are invalid. Assuming this premise IS true, we can move on to the next question... Otherwise there is no need to waste time on this matter.

In Hindu philosophy, time has an infinite past. The universe has always been existing. Then what is Brahman's (Hindu conception of God) role in creation? "Creation" in Hinduism means manifesting what is unmanifest. An analogy may be that Brahman is like a light in a dark room. When the light is turned off, there is "nothing". But when the light is on, the pre-existing objects in the room are made manifest.

From an Islamic POV, there are arguments that intend to establish that time can not have an infinite past. There are threads regarding this in this subfolder itself. You can read through threads made by Jebriel to hear both sides of the issue.

2. Why is it that in order for someone to have attributes or title, they must ALWAYS posses it? A teacher can be a teacher even if they don't always teach... and a kind person can be mean at times. This is a little confusing to me.

There are two ways in which possession of attributes can be looked at. One is "kutastha nithyatha" - everlasting sameness. An example of this would be a rock that just remains as it is always. The 2nd is "pravaharupa nithyatha" - cyclical pattern that repeats. An example of this would be a flowing river. The inherent components of the river always continue to "flow" but the river is unchanging in the sense that this "flow" never changes.

Likewise, Brahman is a manifester-preserver-destroyer and this cycle of manifestation-preservation-unmanifestation has been going on forever in the infinite past.

4. A friend of mine came up with this question during the discussion: If something is everlasting, can it be created? The answer is obviously No. Therefore does it make any sense to say that we are Allah's creation and believe that His creation is everlasting at a same time? The words 'everlasting creation' itself is an oxymoron.

It depends on what you call "creation". In Hinduism, Brahman is a creator in the sense that he makes the unmanifest manifest. The selves/universe always were co-eternal along with Brahman either in unmanifest form or in manifest form. So, there was no point in time when only Brahman was without either the selves/universe in one form (manifest form) or another (unmanifest form).

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

I wouldn't draw the analogy with how we see points on a line, etc, but I take your point.

This does not contradict the belief that this "timeline" has a beginning in nothing where there was no creation.

In other words, from the notion that God knows in eternity the happening of things, it does not follow that these things happen eternally and simultaneously.

(wasalam)

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

In the same way you say "He knows tomorrow's events happen" which means "after today". Or "yesterday's events" which means "before today". His knowledge of them is eternal, but they themselves have temporality.

(wasalam)

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

Would you be willing to hazard a summary?

I will not do it any justice because there are introductions [muqadimaat] that must be explained and I must admit my incompetence and struggle to understand them, nevermind explaining them to others.

I will give you a very brief summary and Insha'Allah when I study it further I will explicate more.

The emanation from Allah (swt) is perpetual (ÏæÇã ÇáÝíÖ) and His Mercy and givings are also eternal. To dispute this raises too many issues. Secondly those receiving emanation are not eternal because there is a constant state of renewal and things die out to be replaced by another thing. So there is always something receiving emanation but no one thing is eternal in of itself. Secondly, time itself which is created would also have to be preceded by time itself and this is absurd.

Secondly the world as a whole is dictated by its parts and seeing as every part is not eternal as is preceded by nonexistence the world is also preceded by non existence. There is no one part that has is eternal with Allah (swt)

Remember it is far more detailed and my explanation is not that great but I hope it helped slightly.

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God can be envisaged in two respects.

1) God with respect to Himself (The Essence).

2) God with respect to Creation (The Divinity).

These should not be conflated. There are not two Gods or two realities, just two ways in which God can be considered. Two sides of the same Reality (if you will).

1) The Essence of God (Completely unfathomable) = God in Himself (without any relationship with creation). The Essence of God is God beyond all conceivable attributes. In the Essence the attributes are all identical with each other and are therefore beyond our comprehension. These attributes are not distinct from one another and therefore be said to be non-existent. When Imam Ali (as) says in his first sermon that the perfection of tawhid is to deny attributes to God he says that with respect to God in Himself (His Essence). Therefore with respect to God's Essence we say that God is beyond being Knowledgeable, beyond being Alive, beyond being Powerful, beyond being Rich, beyond being Merciful. When The Essence of God is envisaged then nothing but God exists. In fact the creation never existed, and never will exist. There is simply God (not even any Act)

2) The Divinity of God (what is usually meant by the word "God" by most people since it is God inasmuch as He is understood) = God inasmuch as He has a relationship with the world (creation). The Divinity of God is God conceived with respect to all of His attributes and therefore His qualities. God is Powerful (Power), Desiring (Desire)), Loving (Love) , Knowledgeable (Knowledge), All-Merciful (Mercy) etc etc.. Now the Divinity of God is by definition God conceived with respect to His relationship with creation. and God relates with creation through His qualities. So God's quality of knowledge relates a knowing creature with the All-Knowing (this is why the quality is the same in both . God's quality of love relates a loving mother with the Infinite Love of God. God's quality of mercy relates a merciful person with the all-Merciful. All the qualities we see dispersed in the world around us is in fact nothing but a relationship between the the world and God. We know God as All-Beautiful, because we see a beautiful flower. We know God as All-Encompassing because we see the encompassing nature of the ocean. So the knowledge of God we get from the world is knowledge of God with respect to His Divinity (not His Essence).

What the Sheikh was telling you about was with regards to the Divinity of God. He was not talking about God with respect to God Himself (The Essence).

1. Do Allah's attributes HAVE to be 'universal' or everlasting? This premise needs proof (backed up with reliable ahadith). If it cannot, then the rest of the premises and conclusions are invalid. Assuming this premise IS true, we can move on to the next question... Otherwise there is no need to waste time on this matter.

One does not need a hadith to figure a metaphysical and axiomatic and self-evident truth. Attributes (by virtue of their qualities) are eternal and universal by definition. The places however through which the qualities (of the attributes) are manifested in are not eternal! So, a flower (the place of manifestation) manifests the quality of beauty (quality of the attribute Beautiful) the quality of life (quality of the attribute Alive). The flower (the place of manifestation) may wilt, and become ugly and die, but the quality of beauty and the quality of life remain because beauty is always beautiful and is never ugly, and life is always alive and never dies! To perceive these qualities is to perceive what is eternal and constant and always. And to perceive what is constant and eternal and everlasting is to perceive God (his Divinity). And it is only through these places of manifestation (i.e. the creation like the flower) that qualities can be perceived! The Imams have said that God's attributes are not distinct from God Himself. This means that the qualities of God are God himself. God is Himself Power, and not merely Powerful. God is Himself Life, and not merely Alive. This implies that the qualities of Life, Power, Knowledge etc which are found in God's attributes) are eternal and everlasting.

2. Why is it that in order for someone to have attributes or title, they must ALWAYS posses it? A teacher can be a teacher even if they don't always teach... and a kind person can be mean at times. This is a little confusing to me.

This is true with respect to the Divinity of God. Which is God inasmuch as He is known to us! By that very fact, God can only be God in relation to other than God (creation). God can be known as our teacher inasmuch as He teaches us! God can be known as Alive inasmuch as He is the life of all living things! God can be known as Powerful inasmuch as He is the power in all powerful things. God Can be seen as All-knowing inasmuch as all knowledge of people belong to God. God is known by us as the creator inasmuch as the creation is His act of creation.

3. Allah is not bound by time. I think the scholar doesnt make any sense because he is assuming there is nothing if there is no creation. We cannot think outside of time and therefore our limited minds trick us to believe that there is such a thing as nothing... Can there be nothing if we think outside of time?

God in His Essence is beyond time. The scholar is simply talking about the Divinity of God which is God inasmuch as He is known to us. And God is known to us via His time-bound-creation! He is not saying that God wouldn't be God in Himself if there isn't creation. He is simply saying God would not be a known God (by us) if there was no creation! :)

4. friend of mine came up with this question during the discussion: If something is everlasting, can it be created? The answer is obviously No. Therefore does it make any sense to say that we are Allah's creation and believe that His creation is everlasting at a same time? The words 'everlasting creation' itself is an oxymoron.

What is means by "there is always creation" is that the creation is always being created anew. The flower is replaced by another flower. so in this sense there are always flowers! the creation is always replaced with another creation in this sense there is always a creation! In fact at a deeper level, we can say that every moment the creation is being created. Because every moment is a new moment. And creation is bound by such moments. So the creation is new every moment. This is why the creation is not separate from God's activity of creating. God's creation IS His very act of creating. No sooner He creates the creation it is destroyed by its very finitude and its very limiit. and so the Creation is constantly being created to the extent that we cannot even legitimately say there is any creation in itself since every time it is created it self-destructs. So the creation can only be the creation inasmuch as it is simply --nothing but-- God's Perpetual Activity of Creating!

5. I don't see how the last paragrph proves wahdatul wujud... Using that logic, one has to either accept wahdatul wujud or mumkinal wujud. I am not even sure what he was trying to say. Can you figure it out?

Wahdatul Wujud is simply saying that God exists and the creation inasmuch as it is a positive reality is nothing but God's Act. So everything is ultimately God. either it is God in Himself or it is God's Act. nothing else. So there is only One Existence and that existence is God's. There isn't something which is separate or acted upon by God's Act or God's Activity. There is simply God's Activity and this Activity is the creation inasmuch as it is positive or real.

.................................................

Less philosophical and in order to use a different conceptual approach:

If you don't understand what the scholar said then just be satisfied with the following. ^ If you agree with the following you probably agree with what the scholar said (I am SURE).

Just think of God in three respect:

God's Essence (eternal) : What God is NOT. Beyond this and Beyond that (Beyond anything we understand positively)

God's Attributes (eternal): What God IS. Everything positive (Infinitely). God is All-Living, All-Powerful, All-Merciful, All-Loving, All-Knowing

God's Act (over and over, temporal, comes and goes, renewed): Creation (creatures): God is Giver of Life, God is Giver of Sustenance, God is Provider, God shows Mercy to people. God forgives Sins.

Edited by eThErEaL
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(bismillah)

(salam)

haydar

I don't know whether you are objecting or just expanding/commenting on what I wrote. If it is the former, please indicate the section which you believe to be problematic.

(wasalam)

(salam)

You gave the example of your grandfather, and how there must have been a temporal state in which he h

Ad to be lave to be dead, and not living to be created...

You then stated that the same applies to the creator....thus indirectly stating that there was a time when the creator still willed creation.

I am saying this cannot be true because the creator is not bound by time, because he is the creator of time.

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It depends on what you call "creation". In Hinduism, Brahman is a creator in the sense that he makes the unmanifest manifest. The selves/universe always were co-eternal along with Brahman either in unmanifest form or in manifest form. So, there was no point in time when only Brahman was without either the selves/universe in one form (manifest form) or another (unmanifest form).

But we can say that this difference between the manifestation and unmanifestation of forms is only from the creatures point of view. From the point of view of Brahman Himself this distinction between manifest and unmanifest is irrelevant since for Him all forms are always manifest to Brahman eternally. The creation is identical to Brahman from Brahma;s point of view.

would you say?

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But we can say that this difference between the manifestation and unmanifestation of forms is only from the creatures point of view. From the point of view of Brahman Himself this distinction between manifest and unmanifest is irrelevant since for Him all forms are always manifest to Brahman eternally. The creation is identical to Brahman from Brahma;s point of view.

would you say?

Indeed. At a transcendental level, where there is only perfection in infinite amounts, lasting infinite duration, existing in all of space, there is no creation/preservation/dissolution. There is just, for lack of better words, existence and being - no becoming. The cause alone is real. The effect transient and "unreal" from the POV of the cause. That one (Tad ekam) admits of no "other" and nothing different from itself - for that would lead to duality and this is less than perfection.

I should read up on gnostic Christianity and Ibn Arabi. I would not be surprised if I find a lot of similarity between their philosophy and Advaita. :) Any suggestions/books on getting to know Ibn Arabi's works?

I am reminded of our conversation some time ago here.

Edited by wundermonk
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Indeed. At a transcendental level, where there is only perfection in infinite amounts, lasting infinite duration, existing in all of space, there is no creation/preservation/dissolution. There is just, for lack of better words, existence and being - no becoming. The cause alone is real. The effect transient and "unreal" from the POV of the cause. That one (Tad ekam) admits of no "other" and nothing different from itself - for that would lead to duality and this is less than perfection.

I should read up on gnostic Christianity and Ibn Arabi. I would not be surprised if I find a lot of similarity between their philosophy and Advaita. :) Any suggestions/books on getting to know Ibn Arabi's works?

I am reminded of our conversation some time ago here.

We are on the same page as I expected!

Yes, with regards to Ibn Arabi read anything you get by William Chittick. He has

You might want to start of reading in this order:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ibn-arabi/

"Ibn Arabi, Makers of the Muslim World, Heir to the Prophets" -- Good overview of Ibn Arabi's metaphysics

"Imaginal Worlds and the Problem of Religious Diversity" --it's good overview but also tackles the problem of religious diversity using Ibn Arabi's metaphysics of Imagination.

And the last two if you are ever serious. But the above will suffice in your case I think.

"The Sufi Path of Knowledge"

And

"The Self-Disclosure of God"

....................

Can you recommend me some material for Hindu Metaphysics (Advaita Vedanta). Also I would like to know more about Hindu Mythology in general. Any advice would be much appreciated

Thank you

Ethereal

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"{Allah's attributes are not limited to this world, meaning that His attributes are universal and everlasting. However, in order to have a title of something, one must prove to deserve it. Otherwise, that person does not truly deserve the title, or is not literally elligible to hold that title. For example, if someone is considered a teacher, they must literally be teaching. As long as that person teaches, he/she remains a teacher. But, if they do not teach, they are no longer teacher (literally). That means that even if you consider someome to be your teacher, they are not (by essence) teachers because it is impossible for them to be teaching 24 hours 7 days a week. Hence, there is no such a thing as a true teacher since no one can teach 24/7."

I'll deal with the more earthly first menaing the teacher. If you Identify a person by what he daoes and not what he is isn't a teacher always a teacher and not only when he is in the classroom. Isn't he a teacher as long as he is alive and students are still leanrning and using what he has taught, even after he is dead he will be charactrized as a teacher in obits won't he or she.. We do not refer to a teacher as a non teacher when he grocery shopping do we?

I don't know the term attributes applies to God although I hear it often at this web site. All of the attributes I can think of are subjective terms and another is required to compare to and who should we compare God to to decide "he is most merciful", I can think of nothing that would help me make that distinction can anyone else? We can not compare God to mankind and if you believe like me there is no other God so what God is is is and all of that being and manifestation is divine. Can I say "God is beautiful", yes I can because to me God's manifestation is beautiful and here is where I split hairs because it is not an attribute but a state of being.

Wundermonk said:

"In Hindu philosophy, time has an infinite past. The universe has always been existing. Then what is Brahman's (Hindu conception of God) role in creation? "Creation" in Hinduism means manifesting what is unmanifest. An analogy may be that Brahman is like a light in a dark room. When the light is turned off, there is "nothing". But when the light is on, the pre-existing objects in the room are made manifest."

I agree but Hindu scripture also says there have been uncountable universes. There is a story about Indra forever building onto his palace and his architect getting very tired of it so much so that he went to I think Siva's consort Parvati to get relief. Anyway one day a bare chested old man knocked on Indra's door. When he opened the door he greeted the old man with a large bald spot on his chest and an umbrella. As they talked the visitor slowly revealed himself and used the missing hairs on his chest and a countless formation of ants walking by to illustrate how many Indras there were before him in the life of the universe with his missing chest hair and the ants accounted for the number of universes that preceded him and of course the old man was Krishna. Indra saw how insignificant he was which put his palace into perspective and he told his architect that was enough.

So the question how has the universe always existed? It is my understanding that God emanates the universe absorbs the universe and repeats over and over without end but the universe is eternal because God is the universe and of course God is without beginning or end.

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Hello ethereal,

Thanks for the links on Ibn Arabi. I have a lot to read now. :)

Regarding Advaita Vedanta, the canonical theological-cum-philosophical work would be Shankara's Brahmasutras. The above is a polemical work and Shankara tries to refute competing Indian philosophies at that time to erect the edifice of Advaita. Following Shankara there emerged many other philosophers who developed on Shankara's works. An introduction to Advaita is here. There are also more recent purely analytical pieces of work such as this one. A more poetic version of Advaita can be seen in works like the Ashtavakra Gita, A Duet of One and the Yoga Vasishta.

On Hindu mythology, a good text seems to be Hindu Mythology.

Regards.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

haydar

That certain attributes are not eternally predicated Him, but temporally predicated Him, because they are attributes of action, not attributes of His eternal essence.

(wasalam)

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

(salam) Jebreil have a read of this http://www.mullasadr...yani.htm#_edn20 and specifically the section titled

I. The Continuity of Effusion and the Renewing Origination of the Effused (mustafid) and let me know your thoughts.

This issue has been on my mind for a while now as it keeps appearing everywhere aha!

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Endless

I read most of it. I suppose you want to know my views on Sadra's philosophical view of temporal v eternal creation in terms of effusion. I don't accept the eternity of creation through any account. If effusion means God's benevolence, then I think this is eternal, but if it means God's benevolent act, then this is undoubtedly temporal.

(wasalam)

By temporal, I mean temporally originated; not merely that it is sequential.

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How refreshing to see an intelligent discussion thread on SC for a change!

Brother eThErEaL,

You clarified almost everything for me! It is amazing how you 'sound' exactly like the scholar. Thank you very much, and thank you all for your input.

I second this...I had come across this issue on the eternity of the universe before in Ibn Rushd's Tahafut al-Tahafut but had a difficult time grasping some of the finer points of the debate. Bro. ethereal's explanation distilled the essential points very nicely as did Bro. EndlessEndeavor's summary of Mulla Sadra's thoughts.

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