Ruling on using metaphysics to understand creed in Islam
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
I heard someone say that we cannot use metaphysics to understand aqeedah (creed). What is metaphysics, and is it allowed to be used in Islam?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad peace be upon him is His slave and Messenger.
The Knowledge Encyclopedia reads:
“Metaphysics is a science of what is beyond nature (Greek: μετα (beyond) and φυσική (physics), which is one of the branches of philosophy concerned with the study of the first principles and existence (ontology).
Practically, all the issues that cannot be classified within the normal framework – realistic, physical, material – are classified within the framework of metaphysics. This is what makes studying metaphysics deal with spiritual and psychological phenomena, and it includes discussing strange phenomena, such as jinn, ghosts, and telepathy.
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy related to the fundamental nature of reality, it is also called supernatural science. It aims to provide a systematic description of the world and the principles that govern it.
Unlike the natural sciences that study specific aspects of the world, metaphysics is considered an investigative science that is more extensive in the basic aspects of the essence of things.
The metaphysics scientists rely on the analytical patterns, which in turn rely on pure logic, rather than the empirical approach which the naturalist scientists follow. Prediction related to what is beyond nature has always focused on the basic concepts such as space and time, causality, identity and change, probability and necessity, singularities and generalities, the mind, and the body.” [End of quote]
We have clarified in several Fatāwá that sciences that are related to metaphysics mostly revolve around forbidden meanings, such as predicting the future, trying to know the unseen, fortune-telling, and magic, and influencing at a distance in material things.
Therefore, these sciences often contain void and Islamically reprehensible matters. In principle, learning them is forbidden, except for the one who has knowledge about its prohibitions with the purpose of deducting the correct aspects that do not violate the sharee’ah from those sciences – if any – in order to benefit from them.
Dr. Wahbah Zuhayli was asked:
“Is the science of metaphysics forbidden? Are supernatural sciences lawful or unlawful?”
He replied, “These are illusionary means, even if they sometimes lead to some correct results, and it is forbidden to rely on it or to practice it, whether in fiction or by action, because the source of metaphysical knowledge (the Unseen) is Allah alone.
If a person relies on these superstitions, then he disbelieves in Allah and in the revelation, as proven in authentic ahaadeeth about fortune-tellers, magicians, and the like.”
Allah knows best.