Volume 14, Issue 4 (2023)                   LRR 2023, 14(4): 303-342 | Back to browse issues page

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Parvini K, hossaini S H. Comparative study of language from Derrida's and Mulla Sadra's point of view; A platform for explaining the possibility or impossibility of deconstructive reading of the Quranic text. LRR 2023; 14 (4) :303-342
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-68974-en.html
1- Tarbiat Modares University
2- Tarbiat Modares University , seyed.hosseini@modares.ac.ir
Abstract:   (2075 Views)
"Language" and its related issues are one of the most challenging aspects of philosophy and new critical approaches in reading religious texts. This is highly important in postmodern critical approaches and especially the Derridian reading of texts, which is one of the tools of some neo-Mu'tzalites in reading the Quranic text due to the authenticity of the language in these approaches. This has caused serious challenges due to its distinctive view on language. In this regard, the present research aims to "explain" two different views from the perspective of Derrida and Mulla Sadra in order to provide the conditions for the visibility of two approaches to being and knowledge through the window of language and the extent of the possibility of such readings with an analytical-comparative method. The findings of the research illustrate Mulla Sadra's view of existence, knowledge, and language, and his belief in the system of formation and education, which is derived from three sources of knowledge, the intellect, the heart, and revelation, and the divine language which has three creative stages. Considering the formative and legislative as well as the sub-territorial features of human language, Derrida's view on the third linguistic level can be examined from this point of view, and due to Derrida's failure to proceed from the intellectual-philosophical method, it was argued that he could not go beyond the "verbal" stage (in the epistemic system of creation.

1. Introduction
Contemporary reading of Holy Quran through critical and linguistic approaches based on the philosophical and post-modern criticism by some neo-Mu'tzalites has creates serious challenges for the Islamic communities. For example, Nasr Hamed Abuzayd mentions in his book On the Meaning of Text that although language is one of the most important tools of social communication and culture, one cannot consider any text out of culture and the actual reality of that text. Without any distinction between the language of divinity and material dialectics, he considers the language of Quran as a cultural construct. Considering the importance and status of language, truth, meaning, and elements of different readings, this study focuses on two Islamic and western thinkers’ thoughts on the relationship between truth and being. In other words, the study analyzes the ideas of Mulla Sadra – considered by some as the representation of post-modern Islamic civilization – and Derrida – as a Jew thinker familiar with mysticism – to compare their approaches regarding language. It compares and contrasts their ideas on language to investigate language as a whole, and the principles and meta-structures in detail. Therefore, this analytic-comparative study happens within comparative philosophy and explanatory framework to compare a phenomenon with its samples to realize the two approaches regarding knowledge and being from the linguistic point of view. It is evident that the comparative approach toward this topic can shed light on the differences regarding the theories and ideas of these two thinkers, and show the similarities in their views on language. The aim is to answer the following research questions:
1. What is the role of language regarding being and knowledge in Quranic-based approaches of Mulla Sadra and Derrida?
2. How far Mulla Sadra’s reading of Quran’s language can leave space for Derridian reading of this text?
Accordingly, the following hypotheses were put forth:
1. It seems that the approaches of these two thinkers regarding language is very similar and both prioritize language to being and knowledge.
2. Considering the hypothesis on the similarity between the two approaches on language, one can claim that Mulla Sadra’s approach and his philosophical view on Quran affirms the Derridian approach to the same text.

2. Findings
Mulla Sadra relies on three sources of intellect, heart, and revelation, and three schemes of originality of being, suspicion of existence and intrinsic movement which refer to independence of being, meaning that the divine and being in the hierarchical system is based on cause and effect. The first cause is the divine force which is the speaker, and the speech is the actual potential. The God’s speech is the final outcome of its perfectionism which appears in two forms of non-verbal and verbal which is realized through manifestation and representation of the world, and the other one is verbal which occurs through the writing of Quran for understanding the world. God manifested in its speech and is the actual being. The world happens through the divine speech. The divine speech is on its own (the world) and it is prior to knowing. This priority of language to being is the commonality between Derrida and Mulla Sadra which confirms the first hypothesis of the research, the difference being that Derrida is human’s speech unlike the divine word, and it is not based on a perfect being borrowed from language. It also does not go beyond the reliance on others from Mulla Sadra’s perspective. Based on Mulla Sadra, Quran is God’s speech and a reference. However, Derrida only believes in the written and even departs it from the status of a book.
Based on Mulla Sadra, to understand the divine language, one needs a learned science and divine one, but Derrida only relies on the learned science since he does not go beyond the intellectual-philosophical level.
Based on Mulla Sadra’s approach and his theory of integrity of being, the invented speech and the religious one are based on a holistic and hierarchical being, not a plural and diverse meaning, but a deep-seated one. The level of understanding depends on the reader which is different from that of Derrida’s which is based on plurality of meaning. In Mulla Sadra’s approach, the speaker in the Quranic text is an infinite being, an actual presence. Understanding this presence is based on the feature of comprehension, the lack of which is the lack of comprehension. Therefore, the language of Quran is a technical language.
The divine speech is an actual action and the meaning of speech is actual speech. In religious words, the purpose is non-verbal, however, in both cases, presence and purpose are unchangeable. Therefore, based on Mulla Sadra’s approach, Quranic text does not welcome Derridian reading. Accordingly, the second hypothesis is rejected and some Mu'tzalites’ reading of Quran which are based on Derrida’s theory needs revision.
According to Mulla Sadra’s ideas on human’s speech, as human is a representation and sample of the divine, and a lower version, he can reach the actual divine speech if perfection happens for him as well, which can on its own account bring along the divine names for him, and all three aspects of divine speech in invention, interpretation, and realization manifest within the person. Nevertheless, when human stands in lower position where the actual knowledge is not within his reach, using language at the lowest possible level of asking for things through language, the meaning of speech is anything but speech, which merely means words and verbal speech. Human should dwell on a lowering curving path through manifestation and understanding in order to reach knowing, after which the rising path leads to development. Therefore, knowing is prior to language, and language is representation.
Derrida’s approach is based on the lowest level of language. Based on his own assumptions and philosophical mentality, Derrida does not try to achieve perfect truth and divine knowledge, since this divine world is denied in his western metaphysics, centering human on its conception, which is surprisingly rejected by the post-modernists. Although one cannot ignore postmodernism's spirituality, even as some consider some type of postmodernism as a return to religion, this return is thoroughly individual spirituality which does not rely on any truth. However, the religious spirituality is absolutely perfectionist and divine. Nonetheless, Derrida’s reading is the lowest possible level of human language which occurs in material world, though one can claim based on Mulla Sadra’s approach that this level of reading is not actually possible as words are merely resources through which the level of some underlying absolute meaning are accessible, not a source of plural meaning.
Although Derrida relates the world as God’s writing due to his Jewish background, and like Mulla Sadra, considers the word as the cause of being, he traps God within the language. Mulla Sadra, however, posing the theory of being, considers God the cause of all causes, which has been caused before anything, and language, compared to the perfect being, is the occurred and secondary feature. If both of these figures consider the world as a part of God’s written, Mulla Sadra believes in the world as the actual and descriptive representation of the higher perfect speech and being, while Derrida distinguishes the writing from the book and looks for plural meaning and evolution of the world based on the holy book. It should also be mentioned that writing and speech is fundamentally different from the perspective of these two thinkers

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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Philosophy of language
Published: 2023/10/2

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