There is a close connection between mysticism and religion. However, the nature of their relation is debatable. Is mysticism a religious phenomenon? What is the relation between them? Can mysticism be found outside of religion? Is mysticism compatible with any worldview? The answer to these questions depends on our definition of mysticism. In my view, mysticism is a religious phenomenon. The heart of mysticism is experiential knowledge of God and love of Him, and its three essential elements are belief in God, life after death and a life according to the will of God.
Is it possible for us to know God immediately or directly? Our ordinary knowledge of God is knowledge by representation/correspondence (al ‘ilm al husuli). We have a concept of God; we don’t feel the real God. We know God through some concepts. These concepts provide us with abstract knowledge, mental knowledge. This is not immediate feeling of God. The mystic is looking to know God, not through these abstract concepts. In other words, a mystic is looking for knowing God directly or immediately. Continue reading “Islamic Mysticism”