The development and consequences of self-knowledge is one of the important discussions in Islamic philosophy. One of the most noteworthy of these consequences, according to the hadith of “One who has self-knowledge verily knows God”, is to know the Creator. The explanat More
The development and consequences of self-knowledge is one of the important discussions in Islamic philosophy. One of the most noteworthy of these consequences, according to the hadith of “One who has self-knowledge verily knows God”, is to know the Creator. The explanation and interpretation of this hadith was not taken seriously in earlier schools of Islamic philosophy. In fact, it was not until the early periods of the Schools of Shiraz and Isfahan up to the period of the dominance of the Transcendent Philosophy among contemporary thinkers that great attention was devoted to clarifying and interpreting it. This paper is intended to discuss the background of these explanations and analyses in two of the early schools of Islamic philosophy, Peripatetic and Illuminationist philosophies, and even in those preceding them. The interpretation of the hadiths on self-knowledge in Islamic philosophy is united with psychology. That is why its background is traceable to Greek philosophy. In books on Islamic philosophy, some ideas and words have been attributed in this regard to Greek early philosophers, who are considered to mark the beginning of writing the history of this issue.
The narration of these hadiths and similar words began during the first periods of Islamic philosophy with Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity). They mainly focused on the importance of self-knowledge and the immateriality of the soul, which is more prominent in the Peripatetic philosophy considering the significance of psychology and self-knowledge in this school. Through relying on these hadiths, Ibn Sina demonstrated the most important problem of self-knowledge, that is, the immateriality of the soul, and uses it as a religious confirmation of this point versus the view of mutikallimun as to the corporeality of the soul. In Illuminationist philosophy, given the fundamental status of the dimension of the epistemology of the soul, a more basic approach to the relationship between self-knowledge and the knowledge of God is observed. This approach is introduced as an argument in order to demonstrate the existence of God and His attributes; it is an argument which is indeed superior to other arguments. What is clearly witnessed in this historical process is an interpretation referring to the possibility of self-knowledge and the possibility of the move from that knowledge to the knowledge of God, which is considered to be gradational in its most Illuminationist explanation.