Abstracs/ Abdur Rauf Afzali

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Islamic mysticism; essentials and limitations

Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi

The present paper is the outcome of an address made by Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi at a gathering of professors and students in the research center of the encyclopedia of Islamic rational sciences. Pointing out the history, objectives and necessity of research and educational activities in Imam Khumaini research and education center, he regarded mystical investigations as difficult but necessary. He considered lack of experienced manpower in the area as an underlying problem.

Distinguishing between mysticism and philosophy, he pointed out that there had been, from long time ago, two opinions on mysticism: some were accepting whatever any mystic uttered while others were refusing it as infidelity. However, he said, we must reconstruct the method used by Allama Tabatabai in philosophy, in mysticism, that is we must investigate mystical questions impartially and away from prejudices. Assuming the complexity of mystical terminologies compared with philosophical terminologies, such investigations, he added, require more precision and sensitivity.

Keywords: Islamic mysticism, Islamic philosophy, mystical terminologies, philosophical terminologies.

The relation between religion, mysticism and philosophy

Yadullah Yazdanpanah

The present writing is the outcome of a discussion with Hujatul-Islam wal Muslimim, professor Yazdanpanah on the relation between religion, mysticism and philosophy. Central points in this discussion are: inseparability of religion, mysticism and philosophy [from one another] and its denotations; the meaning of religion, mysticism and philosophy and their relation with each other, domain, differences and commonalities of these three fields and their mutual support to and agreement with each other (particularly from the view point of Sadrul Mutaalliheen) and the effects of this harmony; the cause of the dismissal of reason by some mystics; the characteristics of philosophical, mystical and revealed knowledge from the perspective of their correspondence with reality and the degree they show the reality.


Islamic mysticism, Qura’n, religious studies, Islamic philosophy, proof, theoretical mysticism, practical mysticism, intuition, religious mysticism, ontology.

Criteria of Islamic mysticism

Ali Amini Nejad

Although knowledge in itself is truth revealing, cognitive impairments have caused the thinkers to find criteria to show that certain scientific statements are corresponding with reality, a thing that improves their reliability and supports their truth revealing aspect. Such attempts result in sciences like logic.

Considering the depth of mystical theories and the dangers surrounding the course of mystical conducts, researchers in mystical sciences have, from long time ago, launched investigations to find essential criteria for distinguishing between truth and falsity, accuracy and inaccuracy of statements available in theoretical and practical mysticism. After studying some relevant preliminary issues, the paper introduces and studies eight items as the criteria of Islamic mysticism. They are: experience and intuition, tawatur (knowledge obtained through successive narrators), mystical discussions, master, wayfarer’s moods, correspondence of revelation with factuality, reason and tradition.

Keywords: criteria of Islamic mysticism, intuition, tawatur, reason and tradition.

Mysticism and new epistemological approach

Sayyid Ata Anzali

Following the intellectual paradigms dominating the philosophical climate of the western world in the last few centuries, western religious philosophers and scholars of religion have, in the past few decades, focused much of their efforts on investigating the epistemological conditions of mystical experience.

Among such efforts is the pompous theory of structuralism or contextualism with Steven Katz as its most famous advocate. The present article is an attempt to explain this theory well and to criticize it impartially and logically. Though the theory, according to the paper, helps us advance a step further in understanding the conditions of mystical experience and its essence, it has to be substituted, on account of its various limitations (pointed out in the paper) and the evidences existing contrary to its claim, by another more comprehensive theory satisfying at the same time, the epistemological conditions of [mystical] experience and the multifarious evidences of mystical traditions.


structuralism, contextualism, structuralists, mystical experience, Steven Katz, basic epistemological assumption, phenomenology, Sophia perennis

The need for holding Islamic mystical courses

(Together with a report on a model implemented in the research center of the encyclopedia of Islamic rational sciences)

Ahmad Aboturabi

The [different] stages of reason, the existential extensiveness and the different innate and acquired abilities of men, no doubt, require different sciences be given to them. The different levels of meaning, which the Qura’n and tradition (particularly the infallible Imams’ prayers which many fail to understand) indicate, signify this reality.

Promoting man’s level of faith and thought to understand higher facts of the existing world is a part of the general guidance and sympathy with other fellowmen, for obtaining of which the prophets and saints leaved no stone unturned. The elite of a society should follow their footsteps.

As an Islamic science, Islamic mysticism is supposed to carry out this duty but to do so it is faced with numerous problems, impairments and limitations, which (if not taken into account) go to threaten its very entity. In addition to mentioning the existing impairments and limitations hindering the presentation of real Islamic mysticism, this paper introduces a model to solve this problem.

The curriculum used in the research center of the encyclopedia of Islamic rational sciences, for training proficient researchers in the field of Islamic mysticism, is a practical model, introduced in this article so as to benefit from the viewpoints of the specialists.

Keywords: stages of reason, teaching Islamic mysticism, theoretical mysticism, practical mysticism, literary mysticism, mystical pathology.

A glance at the encyclopedia of the Holy Qur’an

Ali Khurasani

In1996, the idea to write an encyclopedia of the Holy Qur’an was proposed by “the institute of Qur’anic studies and culture”, affiliated to Islamic Propagation Office of Qom Seminary and in 1997 the first steps were taken towards its preparation.

Defining encyclopedia writing and touching its background, the present article introduces Qur’anic encyclopedias, criticizing them, at the same time schematically and enumerating the objectives, privileges and the thematic range of the Encyclopedia of the Holy Qur’an. Presenting the structure of the Encyclopedia of the Holy Qur’an (which consists of its form and content) the paper similarly treats of the components (entry, earmark, body, sources and signature) of the articles. In the end, by drawing a graph, the author explains the process of article writing and depicts the organizational structure of the Encyclopedia of the Holy Qur’an and its guide to writing articles.

Keywords: encyclopedia, encyclopedia writing, the Holy Qur’an, dictionary, entry, earmark.

A glance at "Encyclopedia of the Terminologies of Islamic Mysticism"

Akbar Rashidiniya

"Encyclopedia of the Terminologies of Islamic Mysticism" is one of the dictionaries explaining mystical terminologies by referring to mystical texts. In addition to expounding mystical terminologies, it is useful in terms of giving information on mystical references based on their terminologies. Although its methods are defensible and informative, it has not been able to find a place in scientific circles, a thing that is due to its shortcomings.

In addition to briefly introducing it, the paper mentions some of its shortcomings which are: referring to unreliable sources, using non-terminologies in place of terminologies, using synonymous terminologies, refraining from distinguishing common words, lack of essential terminologies, unproperly repetition of texts etc.

Keywords: informative, mystical terminologies, terminology finding, documentation, indexation.