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Author Topic: Their Doctrine of Ar-Rūh (Spirit)  (Read 1048 times)
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« on: April 01, 2007, 01:29:46 »

Their Doctrine of Ar-Rūh (Spirit) in Islam

Al-Junayd said: “The spirit (rūh) is a thing the knowledge of which God has reserved to Himself, not suffering any of His creatures to understand it. Therefore, it can not be expressed in any other way than as being existent (mawjūd). God says, “Say: The spirit is of the bidding of my Lord.” [17:85] Abū Abdillāh Al-Nibājī said: “The spirit is a body which is too subtle to be perceived, and too great to be touched: it cannot be expressed in any other way than as being existent.” Ibn ‘Atā’ said: “God created the spirits before the bodies: for He says, ‘And we created you’, that is, the spirits, ‘then we formed you’, that is, the bodies.” Another Sūfī said: “the spirit is a subtle (essence) materializing in a dense (body), just as sight, which is a subtle essence, materializes in a dense (body).”

The majority agreed that the spirit is an object through which the body lives. One Sūfī said: “It is a light, fragrant breath (rūh) through which life subsists, while the soul (nafs) is a hot wind (rīh) through which the motions and desires exist.” Al-Qahtabī said: “It never entered under the humiliation of ‘Be’” – This is an answer to the question, what is the spirit? In his view, then, its only function is to produce life: and being alive, as well as producing life, is the attribute of Him who causes life, just as shaping and creating are an attribute of the Creator. This view he bases on the words of God: “Say: The spirit is of the command of my Lord.” They interpret “command” here as meaning God’s speech, and His speech is not created: but this is as much as to say that whatever possesses life only came to life through God saying “Be alive”, so that the spirit in that case is not a thing (existing) in the body at all.”

Note that Some manuscripts state Abu Bakr as saying, “This is not a sound view: the sound view is, that the spirit is something dwelling in the body, created like the body.”
[Taken from Kitāb At-Ta’arruf li madh-hab Ahl al-tasawwuf of Imām Abū Bakr Al-Kalābādhī]
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