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Independent Being and Relational Being

According to what was said earlier, the difference among beings is the difference in levels and degrees of existence starting with the self-necessary being and ending with the potential being. Reflection on the reality of "being" leads to the conclusion that apart from self-necessary being which itself is "the reality of being" and the peak of the hierarchy of being, other levels of being have no reality other than belonging and relation to self-necessary being. Any thing apart from the divine essence is nothing other than relation and belonging to Him.

Therefore, the universe of being consists in an independent and self-necessary being; other levels of being are His manifestation and belongings. Manifestations and belonging of necessary being or levels of dependent beings have no being without relation to the necessary being. If someone thinks that in addition to the source of the being which is the self-necessary there are or may be other beings that have reality more than belonging and relation to self-necessary being he has made a mistake and has not understood the reality of being and asalat al-wujud.

The being which essentially and by itself deserves existence is the self-necessary being which is the reality of being itself. From this necessary being, another being emerges which is His amr (command) and is nothing other than relation to and dependence on him. This relational (dependent) and command-based being is just one, since it is originated by the Absolute One ("and our command is not but single"-the Qur’an) and since Divine grace is infinite and all are simply relation and belonging to the One Necessary being. Mulla Sadra says:

“O you who are seeking for the truth! The truth has appeared from this account that you have heard: the reality of being because of its simplicity and having no nature, no constituent and no limiting part is the necessary being itself that deserves ultimate and infinite perfection, since every other level of being lower that than level in intensity is not absolute reality of being”1.

Elsewhere he says: “Therefore, the effect by itself, since it is effect, has no reality other than reliance and dependence and has no meaning other than being effect and subordinate, without having an essence subject to these meanings, as the absolutely originating cause has no essence and reality other than being the principle and source of everything and all relations and dependence go back to him.

So if it is proved that the chain of beings -including both causes and effects- originates from an essence which is a simple luminous primary existential reality free from multiplicity, deficiency, contingency, short coming and unclarity, free from anything accidental or additional to Him, internally or externally and it is also proved that He is gracious by Himself and luminous by His reality and illuminating heavens and earth by His entity and the source of the origin of the universe of creation and command by His existence, the conclusion is that all beings have the same origin and are of the same kind which is the reality and the rest is His affairs. He is the essence and the rest is His names and attributes. He is the principle and the rest is His states and affairs. He is the being and the rest is His aspects and features”.2


    1. Mulla Sadra, Al-Asfar al-Aqliyyah al-Arbi‘ah, vol. 6, pp. 23,24.
    2. Mulla Sadra, Al-Asfar al-Aqliyyah al-Arbi‘ah, vol. 2, p. 300.

Adapted from: "Casuality and Freedom" by: "Ayatullah Mohsen Araki"