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الذات

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08:36 Feb 24, 2006
This question was closed without grading. Reason: Other

Arabic to English translations [PRO]
Religion / دراسات في التصوف
Arabic term or phrase: الذات
هو نص صوفي يتطرق لبعض معاني شهادة أن لا إلاه إلا الله.

من جملة تلك المعاني: المعرفة الحقيقية بذات الله سبحانه وبصفاته وبأفعاله وبحكمه.

مشكلتي هي إيجاد ترجمة "ذات" بدون أن يكون للكلمة المترجمة دلالة إنسانية بل إلاهية...

وذلك من أجل التنزيه كما لا يخفى

والسلام عليكم
Ouadoud
Local time: 18:42
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Summary of answers provided
1 +4essenceIren Rad
3 +2divine nature
Colin Smith
4Notes -- not for gradingFuad Yahya
5 -1Divine Deity/Self/EntityAhmed Al-Rouby
5 -1Eidos
Ala Rabie
3 +1Divine Entity
Iman Khaireddine
3 -1nature (of God)Abu Arman


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +4
essence


Explanation:
essence

Iren Rad
Local time: 20:12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sam Berner
38 mins
  -> Thank you.

agree  Fuad Yahya: or being
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Alexander Yeltsov
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

disagree  Ala Rabie: roughly works. this is the term for 'جوهر', not 'ذات'.
4 hrs
  -> Thank you. Eidos is a Greek word meaning "image". It is used in philosophy to mean "idea" or "form".

agree  Abu Arman: good retour; Khayyam might have commented as follows:
9 hrs
  -> Thank you. you are very informed than me.

agree  Bright Bridge
18 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Divine Entity


Explanation:
Divine Entity

Iman Khaireddine
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in category: 32

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ahmed Al-Rouby: that's right Imane ... الذات الإلهية is Divine Entity - This translation is derived from a specialized dictionary :)
33 mins

disagree  Ala Rabie: roughly works. this is the term for 'كينونة/وجود', not 'ذات', i.e. 'الكيان الإلهي'. you may even check Almawred.
4 hrs
  -> I checked Al-Mawred, but I thought it was not a "dig-up-from-dictionary" question!

agree  esewidan
4 days
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Eidos


Explanation:
In philosophy, we use the term 'form' to represent that without which a thing would not be the kind of thing it is.

It is the only decent equivalent to 'ذات' I ever came across; unlike 'entity'/'being' = 'كينونة/كيان', 'essence' = 'جوهر' (which is different from 'ذات' in philosophy.)

For divinity, 'eidos' (=form) would be appropriate.

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Note added at 4 hrs (2006-02-24 13:21:51 GMT)
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Using the original greek equivalents bestow excellence on the depicted. Like 'the word of God' and 'Logos'.

You may as well capitalize the first letter to distinguish it for its divinity.

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Note added at 5 hrs (2006-02-24 13:47:44 GMT)
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Fellow translators, please note that this question is not a dig-up-from-dictionary one. It has a philosophical context, and the answers should be based upon knowledge in the same field.

If you are not familiar with philosophy, theology, the question of being (notably in the text of Heidegger), or even existentialism, would you mind terribly, please, refraining from confusing the asker?

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Note added at 6 hrs (2006-02-24 15:05:11 GMT)
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Ouadoud, how about annotating the word?

Ala Rabie
Egypt
Local time: 17:42
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Colin Smith: Eidos is Greek. Asker wants English....
28 mins
  -> Eidos is used in philosophy. You may refer to any translated text in English for the works of Derrida, Heidegger, Kant, and even Plato. Eidos is used as a distinguished noun of 'form'. Asker wants philosophical context, not a direct-from-dictionary thing.

neutral  Iman Khaireddine: Confusing the asker?? this is what YOU're exactly doing by disagreeing to all the other answers!! You can post your answer and let the asker choose..
2 hrs
  -> my kind lady, i did not disagree with the other answer arbitrarily. i provided philosophical and/or semiological explanation to back up my opinions.

neutral  Hazem Hamdy: I do not wish to participate in the discussion about this term. However, my friendly advice is that it is always nice to avoid disagreeing, especially if you have proposed an answer yourself. That way, we maintain the friendly atmosphere we're used to.
5 hrs
  -> nothing personal, hazem! our mission here is to provide the most proper answers achievable. i believe i had decent theories to back up my opinions. this is not a war of politically-correctness, it's a place for helping people with our knowledge :)
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Divine Deity/Self/Entity


Explanation:
And the curve goes higher for "Divine Entity" as I mentioned before in my agreement with Imane's translation.
Check the site of وزارة الشؤون الإسلامية والدعوة والإرشاد for evidence. And check the internet search engines which back my theory.
This translation is based on a specialized dictionary.

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Note added at 6 hrs (2006-02-24 15:30:04 GMT)
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besides, I made it clear that this translation is from a certified source.

Ahmed Al-Rouby
Local time: 17:42
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Ala Rabie: "Divine Deity"is unspecific,refers but to'امعبود المقدس'."Self"means"same"='نفس',also unspecific.'Entity'means'كينونة/وجود'.None of them refers to'ذات'.Note that we need 3 more words for God's particulars in the text thereaft
1 hr
  -> Sir, remember that you cannot by any means find EXACT equivalents to words which occur within the perimeter of different cultures, as is the case here. When a lang. tries to communicate non-existent ideas in its culture, it tries to come as close as poss.
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
divine nature


Explanation:
If my understanding of Sufism is correct, this may refer to 'knowledge of the divine nature of God' in the sense of personal experience of God's nature, 'connaitre' as opposed to 'savoir' (knowing that God exists as an entity).

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Note added at 3 hrs (2006-02-24 12:14:44 GMT)
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...but then if you want to be 'deanthropomorphic' (التنزيه) that may not do!

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Note added at 5 hrs (2006-02-24 13:55:56 GMT)
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following Enshrine's philosophical tangent (which may turn out to be useful) I believe we may be trying to establish whether in الذات we are talking about what German philosophers describe as either 'Essen' or 'Sein'...the problem is that in English we do not distinguish between these, having only one word for 'being', covering both the 'existence' and 'nature' of something.

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Note added at 7 hrs (2006-02-24 15:47:53 GMT)
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As Ouadoud has pointed out to all, the application of Greek (and Teutonic) philosophical terminology to the translation of a document on Sufism is simply inappropriate. The term would perhaps be better translated with reference to the gnostic (with a small 'g') traditions of Judeo-Christianity and Islam (i.e. Sufism). "Hos 8:2 إِلَيَّ يَصْرُخُونَ: يَا إِلَهِي نَعْرِفُكَ نَحْنُ إِسْرَائِيلَ."

Colin Smith
France
Local time: 17:42
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Ala Rabie: same as the previous one, "nature (of God)" :)
1 hr

agree  Abu Arman: last note is helpful; but I'd rather go for real nature now since Ouadoud likes to avoid essential nature as it containes elements from the latin root esse...
5 hrs

agree  Fuad Yahya
1 day8 hrs

agree  Hassan Al-Haifi (wordforword): Divine Being or Nature
2 days38 mins
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): -1
nature (of God)


Explanation:
(God's nature) Your text is pertaining to a very common theol. and phil. concept of the nature, attributes (characteristics) and acts of God which is typical for all monotheistic beliefs;
for verification pls. google the different combinations,
that will provide you with better insight in the different aspects of terminology according to every single religion than specifying one particular internet source

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Note added at 9 hrs (2006-02-24 17:58:41 GMT)
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For Enshrine and other colleagues with highest levels of confidence in theological questions accompanying them on their high flights of reason:
As we are already digging very deeply pls. think about the connotations and above all the ethymology of the Arabic word "Dhat"; Many Gods of the Arabs before Islam contained "predecessors" of that word like Dhu-ghaibah and others.
Very often it describes despite your disapproval a nature or character...
In the context of Ouadoud's example sentence "Dhat" comes together with "sifat" and "af'al"; this context brings it again nearest to nature which is by the way per definition the essential character ("dhat"?) of a being...
Pls. consider in this context the Sufi tendency to syncretize which sometimes even contradicts strict philosophical coherence.

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Note added at 9 hrs (2006-02-24 18:23:31 GMT)
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Another practical solution is found on the following website:
www.islamonline.net
As it states:
ولا ينبغي التفكر في ذات الله لأن التفكر في ذات الله قد يقود الإنسان إلى الشك وهذا ..

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Note added at 12 hrs (2006-02-24 20:51:52 GMT)
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مثال آخر: Mizanu'l Haqq - But as our Reason has its limits, it is unreasonable to expect that it should be able fully to comprehend the infinite Nature (ذات) of God Most High. ...
answering-islam.org.uk


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Note added at 12 hrs (2006-02-24 21:27:47 GMT)
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So far I see real nature as the best option.
We should consider that Aristotle contradicted Plato on this matter.
In the given context we should give him more weight than Derrida, Heidegger, Kant, or even Plato...

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Note added at 12 hrs (2006-02-24 21:28:53 GMT)
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Can't stop encouraging you to google all the combinations over and over

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Note added at 14 hrs (2006-02-24 23:08:05 GMT)
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You'll find many muslim writers including university professors of philosophy who choose to describe God's "dhat" with the English term "essence"

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Note added at 14 hrs (2006-02-24 23:19:26 GMT)
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Ouadoud,
with the solution proposed by Iren Rad you stay at least within the main stream of sources...
Philosophically denying its existance in Arabic is not reasonable
Arabic is still a language with a history, a development and a certain functionality

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Note added at 14 hrs (2006-02-24 23:20:30 GMT)
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Interesting question...
Thank you!
Going home...


    Reference: http://google.com
Abu Arman
Local time: 17:42
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Ala Rabie: In philosophy, this term, 'طبيعة', stands for the 'particulars', which CONTRASTS the notion of 'ذات'.
1 hr
  -> disagree: nature is not necessarily طبيعة; here it is the real nature (4th phil. definition) or essential (inner) nature; however although you favour avoiding the root "esse" muslim philosophers nowdays describe "dhat" with the English term "essence"
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1 day12 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Notes -- not for grading


Explanation:
I have already supported Iren Rad's excellent answer, "essence," adding that one could also used "being," although I think that his choice is more accurate than mine (and it also seems to have received the highest approval rating). I also support Colin Smith's suggestion, "Divine Nature," although I lean closer to "essence." So I have nothing to add to these excellent suggestions. I just wanted to comment on a few miscellaneous points -- here, rather than in the forum topic that you opened, because my comments pertain directly to the question as asked (not to the broader topics associated with it).

My understanding of the genesis of your question is that although ذات is not so daunting to translate, you just wanted to avoid using a word from the human sphere.

That is an admirable objective. I just want to point out that all the words asssociate with God in the Arabic phrase that you cited are commonly used in the human sphere:
الذات، الصفات، الأفعال، الحكم

The way careful religious writers justify using such words in reference to God is to remind everyone that such words have a natural meaning when associated with creatures, but a supernatural meaning, which cannot be fully grasped by the human mind, when used in reference to God. So, for instance, the words
إرادة، رحمة، عظمة، علم، الخ

Are words that derive their basic meanings from usage in the human sphere, but we use them (not another set of words) when referring to God, reminding ourselves that what they signify in that context infinitely exceeds their basic meaning.

The same principle applies no matter what language we use. The English word "essence" has been used both in philosophical discourse and in general discourse in reference to creaturely reality for as long as the English language existed, and has always been used in reference to God without any hesitation, but with the caveat that I pointed out above.

The second point I want to address is that etymology and usage are two different things. The fact that "essence" comes from "esse" does not in any way alter its meaning or make it unsuitable. If it were so, it would cease to be of any value, and the derivation of new words from older ones would have to be frozen.

The third point is that the verb "esse," which means "to be" is not only commonly used in Arabic (including Arabic philosophical writings), but represents one of the most basic and central notions in all of Arabic writing, including philosophical writing. Of course, "esse" is only tangentially related to the discussion, since it only came about by reference to "essence," but the notion that it is not used in Arabic is a startling notion.

The last point I want to address is that the wording of the phase under discussion itself is very common in all discussions of God, whether under the rubric of traditional theology or the fancier, more Hellenized discourses of sufis, mutakallimeen, and philosphers. The whole point is that in creaturely beings, we distinguish their essence, on the one hand, and their attributes, on the other. In God, essence and attributes are ONE. This is one of the principle of Tawheed. Hence, the wording بذات الله سبحانه وبصفاته وبأفعاله وبحكمه

That is all the commentary I have.

Fuad Yahya
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 199
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Feb 24, 2006 - Changes made by Nesrin:
Language pairEnglish to Arabic » Arabic to English


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