The Levels of Human Knowledge by Presence from the viewpoint of Mulla Sadra

Kobra Abdollahi1

Seyedeh Fatemeh Esfahani2


Knowledge by presence (al-‘Ilm al-Huḍuri) is a special theory regarding 'Ilm (knowledge) that has been developed in Islamic philosophy and in particular in the Transcendent theosophy. Therefore, knowledge has been of givens in Islamic philosophy and, from the beginning, an interesting subject to ponder upon. Knowledge by presence cannot be proved without Primacy of Existence. According to Transcendental Philosophy, knowledge is the same as existence, not an accident and extra substance for that; since, different levels of existence has different levels of knowledge. In addition, man, besides his own existence, has knowledge by presence over his psychic faculties and understandings; hence, the knowledge by presence is the origin of human knowledge and after that conceptualization and acquired knowledge would be obtained. From the viewpoint of Mullah Sadra, basically, every knowledge is presentational knowledge; and although knowledge is considered as having two kinds of Presentational and Acquired, but deeply pondering we find no knowledge except knowledge by present, and this knowledge is the presence of something to another thing. In other words, it means presentational comprehension of known for the knower. Without man’s presentational knowledge to mental forms, no acquired knowledge could be obtained, and human beings would be incapable of knowing the world around them. Therefore, presentational knowledge is the cornerstone of all knowledge of the man. In this study, we are to clarify, through a Library method, the concept of knowledge by present as well as expounding the levels of that knowledge from the view point of Mullah Sadra.

Key words: Knowledge, Knowledge by presence, Mullah Sadra, Acquired knowledge.


  1. Ph.D. Student of Islamic Philosophy and Theology
  2. Ph.D. Student of Islamic Philosophy and Theology