Sacred Web Journals – Article by Khalil Andani: The Metaphysics of the Common Word: A Dialogue of Eckhartian and Isma’ili Gnosis

Sacred Web Journals - Article by Khalil AndaniThe Metaphysics of the Common Word:
A Dialogue of Eckhartian and Isma’ili Gnosis
Part One: Essential and Ontological Reality

by Khalil Andani

This essay—the first of two parts—presents a comparative dialogue between the Trinitarian metaphysics of Christianity as taught by Meister Eckhart and the metaphysics of Islam as elucidated in Shi’a Isma’ili theosophy. This important study, which we believe to be the first of its kind, compares the three Persons of the Christian Trinity with the three highest hypostases of Isma’ili gnosis. In this first installment, the author puts forth the premises for a metaphysical dialogue and outlines the correspondence between the degrees of Beyond-Being and Being as described by Meister Eckhart and the Isma’ili theosophers. This is followed by a detailed comparison of the Eckhartian notion of the Godhead (Gottheit) and the Isma’ili concept of the Divine Essence or the Originator (al-Mubdi) as well as their respective apophatic discourses on the nature of the Ultimate Reality. The first part concludes with a comparison of Eckhart’s concept of the Father and the Isma’ili concept of the Divine Command (Amr) in light of the concept of Pure Being. The second installment, which will continue the metaphysical and hypostatic comparisons, is to be published in volume 27 of Sacred Web.


Khalil Andani - khalilandani.comKhalil Andani – is Ph.D candidate (ABD) and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow (2014-2019) at Harvard University studying Muslim intellectual history with a focus on Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism. His dissertation in progress focuses on how Muslims understand the nature and revelation of the Qur’an, with special attention to the concepts of scripture (kitab), revelatory inspiration (wahy), and hermeneutics in the Qur’an, classical Sunni exegesis (tafsir), classical Sunni kalam theology, and Shi’i Ismaili thought. His focus area in Ismaili thought is the theology and philosophy of Nasir-i Khusraw (d. ca. 1088).

His publications include articles in the Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies, Religion Compass, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy, forthcoming chapters in A Guide to Sufi Literature and Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion, and two articles in Sacred Web. He has also taught several courses in Islamic studies and religious studies as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. His recent conference papers and academic talks are featured on his Research Blog.

Khalil holds a Master of Theological Studies degree (2014), specializing in Islamic philosophy and Ismaili thought, from Harvard University. He is Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and articled with KPMG Canada and also completed Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) and Master of Accounting degrees at the University of Waterloo (2008).

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Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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