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Shari`at, Tariqat and Haqiqat (Islamic law, Spiritual path and Truth)

Another important cause of disagreement between the gnostics and others especially the jurists, is the special view that the gnostics hold about shari'at, tariqat and Haqiqat.

The gnostics and the jurists agree that the rules of Islamic law are based on truth and good reason implying definite advantages. Generally the jurists interpret the good reasons as those things that ensure man's maximum material and spiritual well-being. But the gnostics believe that all paths go to Allah and all truths and good reasons pave the way for reaching Him.

The jurists say that all rules of Islamic law have certain implicit advantages which may be considered their rationale or spirit. These advantages can be gained only by acting according to these rules. The gnostics, on the other hand, say that these good reasons are a sort of stages which lead man to the station of proximity to Allah and guide him to having access to the Truth.

The gnostics believe that the inner side of the Islamic law is that spiritual path which is called tariqat and the end of this path is Truth, that is unity of Allah in the special sense we mentioned earlier. According to them, this position can be attained only by annihilating "self". The gnostic believes in three things: shariat, tariqat and haqiqat. The shari`at is a means of reaching the tariqat and the tariqat is a means of reaching the haqiqat. Thus the shari`at is the husk in comparison with the tariqat and the tariqat is the kernal. Similarly the tariqat is the husk in comparison with the haqiqat and the haqiqat is the kernel.

From the view point of the jurists (Fuqaha) the Islamic teachings are divided into three parts. The first part consists of the fundamentals (`Aqa'id) which are dealt with in scholastic theology. As far as the questions relating to the fundamentals are concerned, one must have a firm belief in all Islamic fundamentals and basic tenets at least intellectually.

Another part of Islamic teachings concerns with morals (Akhlaq). This part deals with good morals and bad morals which are discussed in ethics.

The third part of Islamic teachings deals with the rules of law which are mentioned in Islamic jurisprudence.

All these parts of Islamic teachings are independent of each other. The fundamentals are related to reason and thinking; the morals are related to the habits and leanings; and the rules of law are related to the limbs and organs. (Articles of Acts)

As far as the fundamentals are concerned, the gnostics do not consider the mere intellectual belief to be enough. They saythat it is necessary to ponder over the truths in which a man believes and also to do something to remove the curtain existing between him and these truths. Similarly the gnostics do not consider the limited range of good moral, enough. Instead of abiding by philosophical and scientific morals they suggest the undertaking of spiritual journey which has its own special characteristics.

As far as the rules of law are concerned, the gnostics are not opposed to them. There are only a few questions about which their opinions may be considered to be contrary to the accepted principles of Islamic law.

The gnostics call the above-mentioned three components of the Islamic teachings shari'at, tariqat and haqiqat.

They maintain that just as man is composed of three parts, body, soul and intellect, which cannot be separated from each other and in spite of each part having a separate entity, all the three parts form a unified whole, the same is the case with shari'at, tariqat and haqiqat. The relation existing between them is that of inside and outside. The shari'at is outside; the tariqat is inside and the haqiqat is inside of the inside. The gnostics also believe that the human existence has many stages and grades and that some of these grades are beyond human comprehension. We shall return to this question later and explain it further.

Adaptd from: "Light Within Me" by: "Allamah Mutahhari, Allamah Tabataba'i and Imam Khumayni"

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