The ontology of the self in classical Islamic mysticism

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Coates, Bruce A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of Religious Studies
This essay examines the ontological status and nature of the self as understood and taught in classical Islamic mysticism on the basis of teachings from two major Islamic mystical philosophers: Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 1240) and al-Ghazali (d. 1111). Following a short overview of mysticism in general, the arguments of these two figures are examined alongside the Islamic creed known as the Shahada, which defines the tradition’s monotheistic principle tawhid. It is determined during this examination that, according to classical Islamic mystics, the self as an independent entity is illusory and therefore has a negative ontological status. The nuances of this metaphysical position are carefully considered and explored, including by means of a comparative analysis with David Hume (d. 1776) at the end.
Mysticism -- Islam , Self -- Religious aspects -- Islam , Sufism , Muslim philosophers , Profession of faith (Islam) , Ontology , nature of the self , classic Islamic mysticism , Shahada , tawhid , Ibn al-'Arabi, 1165-1240 -- Criticism and interpretation , Ghazzali, 1058-1111 -- Criticism and interpretation , Hume, David, 1711-1776 -- Criticism and interpretation , ontology of the self , Dissertations, Academic