The concept of spiritualism or mysticism has existed in the world for thousands of years. It has many schools of thought, which must be dealt here, albeit briefly, in order that the Islamic concept of spiritualism can come out clearly vis-à-vis other schools of spiritualism.
Three basic concepts are worth mentioning here. According to the first concept, spiritualism means to establish contact with one’s own inner personality. To them man’s inner existence is akin to a mysterious ocean, which remains, under normal circumstances, undiscovered for man. Like the iceberg in the oceans, a tiny part of his existence comes under the grip of his consciousness, while the greater part remains hidden under the subconscious. Now the goal of spiritualism is for man to be able to relate his conscious part to the unconscious. By accomplishing which man achieves the stage of mental or spiritual development. He perfects/completes his mental existence at the conscious level.
There is partial truth in this concept/theory. It is true that the potential of man’s own existence are far more than that which comes under the perception of conscious in normal circumstances. However this is not the answer to man’s actual quest. Taking both the conscious and the unconscious, man is no doubt a limited existence/creature, and discovering something limited in nature can never be the answer man seeks to find.
Man’s quest, from the respect of actual reality is a quest of his own consummation/completion, rather than simply one concerning his own discovery. Man by his very nature cannot remain content with limitations. Man from every respect is a limited being. Now he wants to find the limitless in order to compensate for his limitations.According to the above concept what is possible is only that the limited succeeds in finding the limited. This can never be the answer to man’s actual quest, that is why such an answer leaves him unsatisfied as before.
This issue/matter is in principle a matter concerning the perception of reality, rather than simply a matter of discovering one’s own self. If man were a perfect being he would never have the psychology of quest embedded within him. The psychology of quest is part of man’s subconscious, so, if the subconscious is a perfect existence why should it always suffer from the psychology of quest. Such a psychology is indicative of imperfectness on the part of seeker.
It is a fact that had man been a perfect existence he would never have been born with the natural urge of quest. All human beings being born with this nature provide an internal proof that man in his nature is no perfect existence. This fact is enough to prove that the target of the spiritual quest of man can never be his own being.
The other concept of spiritualism is basically produced under the influence of the philosophy of monism. According to the concept of monism, leaving the details aside, all forms of existence are in actual fact manifestations of the same source. Man and everything besides man is one and the same thing in essence. The existing world is a manifestation of one and the same reality rather than of maniness of reality. A philosopher has explained this concept of oneness of reality in these words:
‘The knower and the known are one. God and I, we are one in knowledge, and there is no distinction between us (12/787).
According to this concept of spiritualism, to put it in simple words, it is for the part to realize its whole in order that it may join it by discovering it.
This second concept of spiritualism is, academically, a baseless concept, yet in both, the philosophic and religious circles, this concept has remained popular. But no person or school of thought has provided sound/real argument in favor of this concept.
Calling this quest of spiritualism the quest of the part for the whole is not worth consideration in present circumstances. What has to be proved first of all in this connection is the fact that man is really in his nature a part of the whole. As long as this first premise is not proved, how can a philosophic interpretation based on this concept be true.
All the points made in favor of oneness of reality are only a set of words/an exercise in words. All the arguments forwarded in this connection are symbolic in nature. For instance, it is said that, "all the things of this world are varied (in different forms) manifestations of one absolute reality." This is only a statement and no such set of words can be a substitute for an argument.
Another symbolic argument forwarded is that if one drop is taken away from the ocean, that drop in its nature/essence will be a tiny ocean. Man is likewise a tiny drop of the vast sea of reality. This too is a simile and simile never proves a reality. A simile may be employed to explain a reality already established. But offering similes towards proving a reality is entirely unacademic and illogical.
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