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Balashour N, Fathizadeh M. Diversity of Religious Experiences According to Rumi. پژوهش های مابعدالطبیعی 2023; 4 (7) :131-158
URL: http://mi.khu.ac.ir/article-1-252-en.html
Kharazmi University
Abstract:   (253 Views)
A religious experience is a mental event that the experiencer occasionally and to some extent consciously experiences after encountering one of the spiritual elements, such as the feeling of the presence or involvement of a sacred and immaterial existence or power, the understanding of the ultimate supernatural reality, the feeling of achieving the highest human good, the feeling of elation, the feeling of liberation and salvation or the feeling of the true self, is experienced. Such an experience has an epistemological value and therefore plays a role in defending the rationality of religious action and religious belief, especially the belief in God. Mystical experience is also a kind of feeling of intuitive understanding of the ultimate and fundamental supernatural reality, a feeling of unity and oneness, a feeling of freedom from the limitations of time and place and individual self, and a feeling of elation and peace. Thus, it is undoubtedly a religious experience by nature. Because this experience occurs at different cognitive, educational, and moral levels of the experiencers and in different situations, conditions, and encounters, it has a remarkable diversity and has become the subject of various religious studies. Philosophers and epistemologists of contemporary religion have discussed the types of religious experience and their categories and characteristics.
The present essay seeks to investigate the similarity of religious experience in contemporary philosophy of religion and Islamic mysticism based on the perspective of Caroline Franks Davis, the author of the book The Evidential Force of Religious Experience, and Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi known as Rumi, Mawlawi, and Mullahye Rumi. He is an Iranian poet and mystic of the 7th lunar century. In the history of Sufism in Iran and in the history of Persian literature, he is considered unique and rare. His unparalleled skill in various narrative and intellectual sciences and familiarity with the Qur'an and traditions (hadiths) and his high position in mysticism and his poetic taste have made him a unique figure in Persian and mystical literature.  It is obvious that religious experience has occurred in traditions and among different people since long ago, but as one of the issues of the philosophy of religion, it does not have a long history. Therefore, we should not expect that Rumi has expressed this issue in an organized way and with well-established and specialized titles and concepts in today's philosophy of religion, but considering the deep mystical and religious knowledge in his works, we can find some similarities between these two views. For example, he considers religion in principle to be opening a window toward the supernatural. This transition from the world of nature and paying attention to the other world, especially God, is possible through religious experience. He did not use the term religious experience, but spoke of the revelation of the heart, which is the same as a religious experience and flows from God to the heart of a mystic and a believer who has removed the obstacles. He finds it difficult to describe these experiences and inspirations accurately, but never considers them unreal and purely subjective.
In his book, Davis places religious experiences in six categories: interpretive experiences, quasi-sensory experiences, revelatory experiences, revitalizing experiences, numinous experiences, and mystical experiences. Mawlawi has also paid attention to this difference in experiences in Masnavi (couplet poems) and his other works. For example, regarding interpretive experiences, he has repeatedly said that he sees God's hand in all apparently non-spiritual events. He considers God to be the real cause of all causes in the world. He sees the world as the manifestation of God.
Pseudo-sensory experiences, according to Davis, in which a sensory element is involved, such as spiritual dreams, feeling pain or hearing a special voice when receiving a religious experience, seeing angels or prophets, or experiences such as calls, smells, tastes, the feeling of being touched, warmth and coldness and the feeling of flying are a large part of religious experiences. When these quasi-sensory elements are combined with a non-sensory or more complex religious experience, it is a sign that the experience has a special meaning or originates from a spiritual realm. In Rumi's poems, there are also features that Davis mentions for pseudo-sensory experiences, such as hearing the voice and clearly seeing a sacred and otherworldly being that gives advice to the experience. In some cases, Mawlawi describes his religious experiences as "light of light" or "Sun of Sun". He also tells about the incident that happened in his childhood while playing with other children, when he saw green-clad beings who took him to the throne of the sky and showed him the wonders of the spiritual world.
Rumi has clearly said about revelatory experiences that they are the type of revelation of hearts, divine inspirations, and mystical observations.
Mawlawi has made many references to the revitalizing features of religious experience. Revitalizing experiences are the most common type for ordinary people, many people have gained their faith from such experiences. These experiences strengthen and revive the faith in the experiences. In this type of experience, a person feels that God has guided him and has received special favor and care. One of the positive results of this experience is that hope, emotion and a sense of security emerge in the person who has the experience. The experiences of new hope, strength, peace, security, and happiness that are obtained during a religious activity such as prayer, or are apparently created by a divine force, or are accompanied by a feeling of divine presence, are considered religious.
Regarding the characteristics of the numinous experience, Davis mentions some characteristics, one of which is the experience of the pull and awe of the sublime. This attraction has been described in various ways, and intense enthusiasm and devotion to that "other" is one of them, and it often led to the attraction and experience of a clear mystical union with the numinous. We see these themes in Rumi's poems and sayings.
One of the most important types of religious experiences is a mystical experience, which is associated with features such as the feeling of understanding an ultimate (fundamental) reality, the feeling of liberation from the limitations of time and space and the individual self, the feeling of "oneness" (unity) and elation or peace.
Mawlawi's works, especially his Masnavi, clearly speak of these characteristics. Rumi writes in Arabic in the introduction of the first book of Masnavi: "This is the book of al-Masnawi, and it is a principle, the principle of religion, in the discovery of the secrets of union and certainty." With this sentence, he wants to say that his book contains fundamental facts and tips about reaching God and the innermost aspects of religious matters that he himself experienced and now wants to tell to the audience.
In short, the review of Mawlawi's works shows that he has addressed various dimensions of religious experience, including its diversity, and presented valuable points and truths about it masterfully in literary formats, which are equal to today's readings.
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Type of Study: Original Article | Subject: Philosophy
Received: 2023/06/14 | Accepted: 2023/08/1 | Published: 2023/08/1

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