arif marifah - alim ilm

Discussion in 'Language Notes' started by Aqdas, Aug 31, 2017.

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  1. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Bump as today is arafah
  2. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    yawm e 'arafah is so known because it was the day on which ibrahim 'alaihis salam realised that Allah wanted him to sacrifice his son, ismayil 'alaihis salam.
  3. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    jazakumullah khair ! may allah azza wa jall bless and increase you for your effort and time !
  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    therefore it is said about generosity that is [not extravagance]: márūf, because it is a praiseworthy act as estimated by intellect as well as divine law; as it is said:
    wa man kāna faqīran fa’l ya-akul bi’l márūf [an-nisā’a, 5:6]
    and the needy [amongst them] can partake from it reasonably and justly.

    illā man amara bi şadaqatin aw márūf [an-nisā’a, 4:114]
    except those who enjoin charity or righteous deeds

    wa li’l muţallaqāti matā-ún bi’l má-rūf [al-baqarah, 2:241]
    and for the divorced women, a reasonable alimony should be paid
    that is, to give them a reasonable provision and with kindness.

    fa amsikūhunna bi márūf aw fāriqūhunna bi-márūf [at-ţalāq, 65:2]
    keep them with kindness or part with them with goodness.

    qawlun márūf wa maghfiratun khayrun min şadaqah [al-baqarah, 2:263]
    kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity that is followed by injury
    úrf means that which is known to be good and righteous.
    wa-mur bi’l úrf [al-aárāf, :199]
    and enjoin that which is righteous.
    úrf is also used to mean of comb of the cockerel and the mane of the horse. [úrf ad-dīk: comb; úrf al-faras: mane] when it is said jā’a al-qaţā úrfan: sandgrouses have come one after another. [qaţa: sandgrouse and their known habit is to arrive in flocks for feeding or drinking at water holes. úrf here means ‘coming one after another’, mutatābiátan]. as the verse says:
    wa’l mursalāti úrfā [al-mursalat, 77:1]
    by those, that are sent forth one after another. [mursalāt according to some are the angels; others have said that it is wind]
    al-árrāf is a fortune-teller, a soothsayer. he is similar to a kāhin/ diviner, except that an árrāf is a person who [claims to] predict the future. and the kāhin claims knowledge of past events.

    al-árīf [áreef]: an introducer; one who knows people and introduces them as a poet has said:
    ba-áthū ilayya árīfahum yatawassamu
    they sent an introducer to me so he can learn [about us]
    árufa: if a person specifically learns soothsaying, augury [írāfatan]. or it can be a person who specializes in learning about people [árāfatan].

    al-árīf [áreef] is the leader of the community or their head; or a well-known leader as the poet has said:
    bal kullu qawmin wa in ázzū wa in kathurū
    árīfuhum bi athāfi’sh sharri marjūmu

    rather in every community whether small or large
    the leader will be pelted with numerous problems

    the day of árafah is the day when people congregate and stay in the plains of árafat.

    and the verse:
    wa álā al-a-árāfi rijālun [al-aárāf 7:46]
    and on the heights are [certain] men.
    aárāf is a well between paradise and hell.

    al-iýtirāf: to acknowledge and accept. its origin is: to confess and acknowledge sin and this is the opposite of obstinacy [juĥūd]. as the verses say:
    fa-átarafū bi dhanbihim [al-mulk 67:11]
    and they have confessed their sin

    fa-átarafnā bi dhunūbinā [Ghāfir 40:11]
    and we acknowledge our sins
    end of entry in mufradāt
  5. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    jazak allah khair my dear brother ! i already have three of my four intended follow up questions answered through your excellent post. alhamdulillah !

    please delete my(this) post if needed to maintain the flow.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  6. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    corrections pending, beta version: from Mufradat of Imam Raghib.

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmān ar-Raĥīm.


    al-márifah, írfān
    : recognition or knowledge by meditation, reflection, contemplation, thinking about it or reasoning about something by its influence or its effects.

    This is more specific than [and a subset of] ílm (translated as science or knowledge or understanding) and the opposite of írfān is inkār meaning rejection, denial, repudiation.

    [Thus,] it is said that ‘a person knows [about] Allāh’ but never: ‘he has the knowledge of Allah’ [wa yuqāl fulānun yárif Allāh wa lā yuqāl yálam Allāh] {which being transitive verb requires an object}

    Because the knowledge of a human about Allāh táālā is by reasoning and contemplation on His signs, without the ability to comprehend His Self [márifatu’l bashar li’llāhi táālā hiya bi tadabburi āthārihi dūna idrāki dhātih].

    It is said, ‘Allāh has the knowledge of such and such a thing’ but not: ‘Allah recognizes such and such a thing’ [wa yuqāl Allāhu yálamu kadhā wa lā yuqāl yárifu kadhā] because márifah or cognition is used to describe a form of knowledge that is imperfect, which is attained by contemplation or reasoning.

    The origin of this word is from áraftu, that is: ‘aşabtu árfah’ meaning: I can sense its fragrance; árf meaning scent, perfume.

    Or it is from [another] ‘aşabtu árfah’ meaning: I can feel the cheek or furrow [khadd]; such a person who can ‘feel’ or ‘sense’ is an ‘áārif’, the knower, the gnostic, the scientist. Allāh táāla says:
    fa lammā jā’ahum mā árafū [al-baqarah, 2:89]
    and when it [the scripture] comes, that which they recognize…

    fa árafahum wa hum lahu munkirūn [yāsuf, 12:58]
    he recognized them, but they did not recognize him

    fa la áraftahum bi sīmāhum [muĥammad, 47:30]
    and you would have recognized them by their marks

    yárifūnahu kamā yárifūna abnā’ahum [al-baqarah, 2:146]
    they recognize him as they recognize their own sons
    The antonym of márifah is inkār [recognition / denial], just as the antonym of knowledge is ignorance [ílm / jahl]. Allāh táāla has said:
    yárifūna niýmatullāh thumma yunkirūnahā [an-naĥl, 16:83]
    they recognize the bounties of Allāh, yet they deny them
    and áārif in the terminology of the community [of muslims or şūfīs] is a special person, a gnostic, a person who has recognized [the greatness of] Allāh and [the vastness of] His Dominion and the [expanse of the] Benevolence and Mercy of the Lord Almighty.

    It is said árrafa: ‘he has recognized such and such a thing’ [árrafahu kadha] as the Almighty has said:
    árrafa bá-đahu wa a-árađa án bá’đ [at-taĥrīm, 66:3]
    he recognized part of his and repudiated part thereof.
    And táārafū: ‘mutual recognition’
    li táārafū [al-ĥujurāt, 49:13]
    so that ye may recognize [each other]

    yata-áārafūna baynahum [yūnus, 10:45]
    and they shall recognize each other
    And árfah: that is, made it perfumed; a whiff of fragrance, as it is said about paradise:
    árrafahā lahum [muĥammad, 47:6]
    that is ‘made it charming and bedecked for them
    it is also said that it means, ‘He has made it known to them because He has described it and thus made them yearn for it and thereafter guided them towards it.

    And the verse:
    fa idhā afađ-tum min árafāt [al-baqarah, 2:198]
    when you return from arafat
    árafāt is the name of a specific area [in makkah where muslims assemble for the major pilgrimage, the ĥajj]; it is said that this place was named because ādam recognized eve in this place [after having been descended to earth] {li wuquýi’l márifati fīhā bayna ādam wa ĥawwā’a}.

    it is also said that: rather, it is named árafāt because the bondsmen of Allāh recognize their Lord and acknowledge their own slavehood by worshipping Him and praying to Him in this place. [li táaruf al-íbād ilā Allāh táālā bi’l íbādāt wa’l adýiyyah].

    Al-Márūf: is the described as that action which is known to be good and acceptable by either intellect or by the Divine Law [ism li kulli fiýlin yúrafu bi’l áqli aw ash-sharýi husnuh]

    Therefore Al-Munkar is that which intellect or Divine law rejects as being sound or acceptable.
    ya-murūna bi’l má-rūfi wa yanhawna án al-munkar [āl-ímrān, 3:104]
    they who enjoin the rightful and forbid from evil

    wa-mur bi’l márūfi wa’nha áni’l munkar [luqmān, 31:17]
    and enjoin the righteous, forbid from evil

    wa qulna qawlan márūfā [al-aĥzāb, 33:32]
    and utter speech that is just and righteous
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  7. Ubaid

    Ubaid Active Member

    both terms ilm and marifah are synonyms. generally understood as knowledge. In Quran, ilm is used as masdar and its variations but marifah is not used as masdar but its root letter a-r-f is used to mean knowing of people etc.(if my memory serves me right!)

    so the basic common meaning of the two is to know. Having said that, there are many different definitions of these two terms according to the group defining them. Hence context is essential in order to define these terms. Over time words have been reduced in meaning or have attached new meanings.
    Jurists, Historians, Philosophers, Theologians and Sufis would use the words according to their own disciplines. As far as I know, ilm is common to all but marifah is a typical sufi word. I think, it is a kind of recognition of esoteric dimensions.
    In my flawed understanding, the relation between these two terms is such that ilm can be used for knowledge of both exoteric and esoteric aspects, whereas, marifah is only for esoteric subject matter. so every marifah is ilm but every ilm is not marifah. there is a relation of umum khusus min wajh, according to medieval Islamic logic.

    ilm= zahiri and batini knowledge.
    marifah= batini knowledge only.
  8. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    good question.

    my taking is that an 'arif must be an 'alim to an extent but one can be an 'alim without 'irfan.
  9. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    as salām àlaykum

    can some one please shed some light on the qurànic and classical difference of the term ìlm vs ìrfān ; or point me to a source where there is discussion on the topic, similarly for the one who possess it respectively i.e the àlim and the àrif.

    was salam
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008

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