Mysticism in the Light of Phenomenology-A Novel Approach by Hassan Hanafi
Keywords:Mysticism, Phenomenology, Method, Mullā Ṣadrā, Hermeneutics,Vigorous Sciences, Spirit of the age, Edmund Husserl.
Renowned Egyptian Philosopher Hassan Hanafi (b.1935) spent his entire life reinterpreting the Islamic Texts to bring them at par with the demands of the contemporary era. He is one of the great upholders of Phenomenological tradition in the Muslim World. He is of the view that the Phenomenological interpretation may convert the Islamic disciplines into” rigorous Sciences” with strong and vigorous methods and terminologies of their own. Hanafi identifies four such rational disciplines for the application of his Phenomenological method, that is,a-Philosophy (Ḥikmat ),b- ‘Ilm Uṣūl al-fiqh (Foundations of the Religion),c- ‘Ilm Uṣūl al-fiqh ( Foundations of the Jurisprudence) and d-Mysticism (taṣawwuf). He, however, chose the third and fourth in the above mentioned to apply his method.
This paper intends to study in-depth the application of the Phenomenological Method in the understanding and interpretation of Mysticism by Hanafi. His case study for the same is al-Ḥikma al-muta‘āliya fī al-asfār al-‘aqlīya al-arba‘a by the legendary Muslim scholar Ṣadr Ad-dīn Ash-shīrāzī, better known as Mullā Ṣadrā[i] . The paper will discuss, Hanafi's method, its scope, application, legitimacy, and subsequent results. Phenomenology and its method will be explained during the course of the discussion in the most comprehensible and simple way for the convenience of the readers.
Hanafi has concluded that the theoretical and practical dimensions of the Self are communicative, interchangeable, and transferable from a person to another and a generation to another to bridge the solitude and generation gap for the sake of mutual and inter-generational response and responsibility. The paper would show either the claims of Hanafi are justified or not.
[i] Al-Ḥikma al-Muta‘āliya fī al-asfār al-‘aqlīya al-arba‘a, which means Transcendental Wisdom of the Four Journeys of the Reason/Intellect. This work is popularly known as Asfār al-Arba‘a (Four Journeys).