On Metaphysics, SH Nasr

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Edited by OmarKN

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1. Your God Is One God, worship none but Him!

Here follow a few quotes from SH Nasr's exposition on Metaphysics.1

Allah says:

spaceSura 17-23
{Thy Lord decrees that you worship none but Him…}

2. Metaphysics - What It Is

Metaphysics is the science of the Real. It is the traditional doctrine of the nature of the One.2

Rather, metaphysics is the science of Ultimate Reality, attainable through the intellect and not reason3, of an essentially superhuman character and including in its fullness the whole of man's being.

It is a sacred science or scientia sacra, a wisdom which liberates and which requires not only certain mental capacities but also moral and spiritual qualifications.

It is the gnosis in the original non-sectarian meaning of the term, the sophia of the ancient sages and the sapientia of the medieval ones.4 (In Islam it is) al-maˋrifah or al-ḥikmah.

It is light and presence and issues from the seat of the intelligence which is the heart while its elaboration is carried out by the mind.

(The) conceptual understanding (of Metaphysics), (is) however, although of great importance … one thing and its realisation quite another. 

In short metaphysics is of a sacred5 character and therefore accessible in its fullness only within a traditional cadre6 which provides the appropriate means for the transmission of this knowledge much of which has in fact been kept in an oral form7 to this day.

( It is true that) metaphysics is inseparable from tradition, from traditional transmission, from spiritual realization. It lies at the heart of (every authentic, heavenly) religion and also at the heart of man himself where it is the Divine intellect. Being of a sacred character, it requires of man all that he is.8

3. Knowledge Of The Absolute

Man's intelligence was made to know the Absolute and it is only the Absolute that man can know absolutely. Metaphysics, which is none other than this knowledge of the Absolute, resides in the very substance of the intelligence. Its fountainhead is to be found at the center of man's being himself.9

Metaphysics does not begin with Being but with that Ultimate Reality which is at once the Absolute, the Infinite and the Perfect Good and which contains all the possibilities of manifestation.

Beyond being in Itself, It is the Principle of Pure Being which is the first determination of the Beyond-Being in the direction of manifestation and creation. Inasmuch as it is infinite, the Ultimate Reality must possess all possibilities including the possibility of the negation of Itself which is the world of manifestation.10


Related texts

- What Is Metaphysics? R. Guénon
- Oriental Metaphysics, Explanations … , Réne Guénon
- If Intelligence Becomes Limited To Reason, R. Guénon
- On the Supreme Principle & That Metaphysics May Not Be Limited, R. Guénon
- Metaphysics - Why Is It Necessary Today? OmarKN
- Metaphysical Foundations Charles Upton
- Insights Into The Nature of Existence …, W. C. Chittick

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Disclaimer: First of all it is Islam that reigns (see Sura 5:3). Traditional Islam does not accept the notion that the world-religions (and even less so any man-made belief system) would be equally valid paths to God, these are perennialist interpretations. Even so, they (their laws) still reflect some sacred truth, so they did not turn into falsehood by being abrogated. These two points need to be kept in mind.

• In the words of Muhyiddīn Ibn `Arabi: ”The religious laws are all lights, and the law of Muhammad ﷺ among these lights is as the sun's light among the light of the stars…”

”So all paths return to look to the Prophet's path ﷺ : if the prophetic messengers had been alive in his time, they would have followed him just as their religious laws have followed his law.…” [further reading]

  1. EFS27

  2. ”Metaphysics is not a branch of philosophy concerned with what lies beyond physics. (It is also not) a purely human knowledge bound by the context and categories of the human mind.

  3. ”Rather, philosophy when it was still of a traditional character, corresponded to the theoretical and conceptual aspect of metaphysical knowledge as distinct from the operative methods for the realization of this principle knowledge. [ Philosophy as understood today is even more divorced from practice - so today even greater dicotomy than in traditional civilisations.] more: [If Intelligence Becomes Limited To Reason]

  4. ”It is the jnana of the Hindus and the al-maˋrifah or al-ḥikmah of the Muslims.”

  5. sacred does not necessarily mean secret

  6. cadre: gathering, or 'a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession.' Apple Dict.

  7. oral form: if this knowledge is now being written in books (and not earlier so,) ”it is only because the modern world is in every way an anomaly when compared (to) the millennial civilizations which have guided mankind over the ages and one anomaly deserves another.

  8. ”This is why in traditional worlds it is taught only after a long period of moral and intellectual preparation of those qualified to receive such knowledge.

  9. ”But this spring will not gush forth and the inner Logos will not be attained save with the help of that objective manifestation of the Logos which is revelation.

    Logos: ”it is the illuminator of souls or the light which makes intellectual vision possible.” KS18, also this [link]

    Logos: has also been called 'consciousness.' See also: In The Beginning Was Consciousness, SH Nasr

  10. ”There is therefore a projection towards nothingness which constitutes the cosmogonic act and brings all things into existence. The Beyond-Being generates Pure Being, Pure Being generates Universal Existence and Universal Existence actualizes and externalizes the latent possibilities in the world of existence is usually understood.”