University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;
St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg
Tasting, Drinking and Quenching Thirst: From Mystical Experience to Mystical Gnoseology
Abstract. The Sufi term “tasting” (dhawq) and its semantic cognates “drinking” (shirb / shurb) and “quenching of thirst” (riyy) appear frequently in the Sufi writings of the ninth — eleventh centuries AD to denote a mystical experience of the true reality of God and the divine creation. Originally referring primarily to the mystic's psychological or somatic state (hal), in later Sufi literature and oral teachings, especially in the writings of Ibn al‑‘Arabi (560—638 / 1165—1240), these concepts acquire metaphysical and cosmological connotations and are construed as being shared by both God and his elect servants, that is, Sufi “gnostics” (‘arifun bi‑Allah). Consequently, they become an important part of not just the Sufi cosmology, but also of Sufi gnoseology conceived by later Sufis as the only true knowledge about the Divine Absolute and its manifestation in the entities and phenomena of the material universe. This semantic shift reflects the wider process of Sufism's transformation from a mystical psychology to a mystical philosophy with its distinctive psychology, epistemology, cosmology and soteriology.
Keywords: Sufism, mystical psychology, mystical metaphysics, mystical epistemology, Ibn al‑‘Arabi
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Received by the Editorial Board: 21.02.2020