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Ali Asghar Mosleh

Kann die sufistische Tradition im Islam ein „Ort“ für die Genese des interkulturelle Denkens sein? | Can Sufism in Islam be a “Place” for Originating  The intercultural Thought?


Intellectual traditions are often referred to as "Place" ( ORT, Standort) for the thinkers and they try to show how a thinker's thought and orientation has taken a form on the basis of this intellectual tradition. Can an intellectual tradition (philosophical, mystical, theological)be accounted as the "position" and the origin of forming a thinker's thought and orientation? Does a tradition always become the origin of thought and behavior the same way?

It seems that inside every culture, a tradition can affect in a variety of ways. However, besides that, a tradition after exiting the main historical and cultural context  in which it has appeared, on entering into another cultural context or another era, it may have influences in other forms and perhaps emerge in other modes. In this essay, this very issue in the tradition of Islamic Mysticism, as a case study, would be examined.

The mystic having a specific treatment of the human and the world , particularly of the relation between  human and Being, sets out his conduct. The mystic sees Being and Human as possessing hierarchical degrees and beholds human capable of conduct from inferior ranks toward the highest levels. Human is "the most universal being" and can be the place of manifestation of the Names of the Truth. The man, who traversed through the ranks of the conduct and achieved the position of perfect man, can perceive the essence and reality of all the Names. In this position, he is the Wisdom.  His wisdom is the same wisdom of God. Hence, the mystic sees the whole beings and other humans from this Place or Position  ( Ort, Standdort). He conceives his knowledge, the same knowledge of the Truth. In some mystical texts, this position has been called the position of "Walayat" ("Saintdom or Authority"). Fuū al-ikam is among the books, as though, its author , Ibn al-ʿArabī, is perching on the roof of Being, beholding the whole sphere of Being. Assuming to stand on such an altitude, he expounds the divine theosophies revealed by prophets and explains how different peoples and nations (cultures) emerged.

In theosophical and theoretical terms, this "position" is the most important aspect which constitutes mystics' treatment of themselves and others. Does standing on such a position cause an identical behavior in all mystics? This question is of great importance both from a historical place and from a re-reading view upon this tradition. It seems that the theosophers and thinkers' interpretations in pre-modern traditions, in the period of the establishment and solidarity of their own cultures, were also effective in different forms. However, this issue has found a more diverse and complicated form in the modern and contemporary era. In this

due opportunity, we will discuss the way of the reflection of mystical "place" and position from the viewpoint of fundamental questions of insight and thought.

It seems that mysticism and the tradition of mystics, also in their own time, has  been the source of two kinds of attitude. One is that the mystic beholds the followers of the other religions and cultures with tolerance and endurance and standing on the position of a perfect man (authority), he leads to a gentle insight along with inter-cultural insight (and acceptance of symmetric proportion: polylog). The other attitude is that it causes a despotic notion, The mystic humiliates others, does not recognize the other's way and manner and "place" and discredits other traditions. Seeing oneself at the position of the Truth, may lead the mystic not to authenticate others unless they become similar to him and see as he sees, otherwise he might call them astray, heterodox and adversary.

"Place" and position of Mysticism and the treatment rising from it, can emerge in a different level; in the political and social domain. Mysticism at this level may lead to the acceptance of pluralism and diversity in the universal realm, or may not tolerate it; or perhaps accepts  pluralism and diversity and conceives it as the theosophy of the Truth, or considers himself as the designated by the Truth and takes a treatment against tolerance, rejects others and even allows contention against  the others.

In the essay, the great mystics' works will be referred to and the way of the expansion of these principles among the commentators will particularly be discussed.

However, in pursuit of our survey, the way of reading this tradition among the thinkers who have dealt with it outside the Islamic culture, will be discussed. People like orientalists, under the circumstances of a different history and cultural context, have made the tolerable mode of Mysticism more prominent, but the influence of the background and the period of the emergence of orientalism and the  stimulus of setting to intellectual and cultural traditions of eastern peoples should not be ignored. Traditions like Mysticism, after separation from the context in which they were generated, have found a different form, image and effect.  Mysticism in modern and contemporary conditions, as a position and foundation, has numerous capacities that in the status of dominance of modern intellect and enlightenment project, its aptitude has become prominent and has been put under attention, however, it should be noted that other capacities which are at  times opposing with the previous ones, lie in such traditions.


Aliasghar Mosleh, geb. 1962, Professor für Philosohie an der Uni. Allameh Tabatabai´/Teheran, Stipendiat von Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung an der Uni. Bonn(2004 u. 2006), einige Veröffentlichungen: Die Frage nach der Wahrheit des Menschen(2004, Persisch), Existenzphilosophie(2005, Persisch), Interkulturelle Philosophie und die Zeitgenössische Welt(Hrg.)(2013, Persisch u. Englisch), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel(2013, Persisch)

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