On Naming and Defining the Self

About the Article

The abmuhammad23ility to ‘name’ is the primary function of Adam and constitutes his and his progeny’s distinction and autonomy from the rest of creational realities. If you named yourself, then you defined yourself and established the demarcation of the diameter of your identity, which in turn presaged the circumference of what you will be. The gnostic Shaykh Abd’l-Kareem al-Qushayri explained this function in man in his concise Nahw’l-Quluub where he said:

“Praise to Allah, who entrusted wisdom to those worthy, who taught Adam all the names, and gave him knowledge of the circle of existence to the point that he unraveled its mysteries. Then He made the letters of the ‘circle’ explicit to his children, the sign
of their name (ism) and the trace of their action (fi’il).”

Thus, the ability to define oneself and creation is the primary function of mankind after gnosis and worship of the Absolute Being. This function is what gives humankind their distinction spiritually, politically, socially, and individually. Your ability to name/define yourself and your environment is what gives you power. This alone gives new insight into the meaning of: ‘Knowledge is power’.

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