Reviewing Hermeneutics: Relativity of Truth, Knowledge & Texts – Part 1

 The post below is continuation of  introduction to Hermeneutics where the author will elaborate more on each concept within Hermeneutics. The article below will be the first post of several posts to come elaborating on this concept. 

Part 1 (Primary Definitions of Relativity)

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

(Based on the thoughts and theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murteza Al-Shirazi)


Preliminary Intellectual – Critical Approach in (Relativity) & its indications and perceptions:

Relativity differs according to the definition and interpretation desired out of it, nevertheless, the interpretations affiliated with this concept has been identified as fifteen different ones. However, we will mention some of these interpretations and definitions, and we will review the others throughout the research as necessary. Therefore, relativity is defined as:

  1. All of our knowledge, apprehension and sciences are presumptive and conjectural. It does not repeal the verification and certainty of any level of foreign apprehension, which is presumption. According to one opinion, presumption is a psychological condition and some have states, it is extradited from re-action. In addition, some believe presumption is derived from addition and preferential in the concept of intellective existence. Regardless, whether it is conditional, emotional (re-action) or additive, it has an absolute nature. However, if we claim relativity that is defined as above is absolute, the notion of relativity is dismantled, and it no longer holds the usual presumed bearing it contains. Nevertheless, if we assume relativity is presumptive and conjectural, the notion of relativity remains but it contradicts its interpretation.
  2. If relativity is defined as, effectuality of clannish cognition and psychological backgrounds on intellect, it will be placed in the column of (action). However, if relativity is defined as, affection of a human in the state of apprehending realities according to backgrounds and preconceived, it will be placed in the column of (re-action). Nonetheless, in both cases relativity faces the previous problem of contradiction in definition. Therefore, the notion of effectuality and affection is considered an information, and information is type of intellect, so in case of an assumption that an author or a sponsor of this information is affected by his clannish and background experiences, this notion would contradict itself and can’t be reliant as a cognitive base for exploring the inclusive equation of all sciences and cognitions.

In addition, relativity is a knowledge, information, apprehension, interpretation or a presumptive definition and therefore, it is subjected to psychological backgrounds and previous intellect. This results in definition to be formed and labeled in the mind of each scholar different than another one, so if he/she considers this notion as relativity the interpretation developed would be achieved before the real interpretation of the text.

This notion will result in a state of denial and rejection, due to the fact that each scholar is basing his/her definition on the presumptions and conclusions, which are not tarnish free. Therefore, an academic research about definition of relativity and relativity of knowledge would lose its credibility, as comprehending other acquisitions would be unreachable as far as all sides are convinced and satisfied with their findings and presumptions. Therefore, if the authority and dominion of presumptions and backgrounds was not absolute, we would witness tolerance and acceptance of reality, if it was presented and clarified with the proper tools and evidences.

  • However, if relativity is referred to addition the definition would be verbatim, and according to its primary subjective interpretation in addition to its other definitions a term would be defined as its own. For instance, (IN) would be circumstantial if used in a text. Nevertheless, a verbatim is considered a nominal definition, due to the fact that what’s included within this definition is visualizing rather than being visualized. Nonetheless, if the interpretations derived from all verbatim definitions and relativity are dissected, the notion of relativity would be annulled and therefore, non-relative and non-additive, when considering the indications and the evidence.

To simplify this notion, let’s consider the presumed partner of the almighty, is not a partner according to the dominant artificial presumption and the tangible existence, and the two extremes are unbendable and will not meet. In addition, considering the notion of existence they are not contradictory (extremes) as their bendability is not possible if they were. Therefore, if the interpretation identifies them as contradictory and extremes according to the authenticity of the statement made and presumed, the interpretation is illustrative, and this notion would be identified as non-illustrative when presumption about the (non-Existing) is made. This notion would annul relativity and itself, since a statement or a presumption about the (non-Existing) was made, which means the (non-Existing) is actually present in the world of intellect (MIND), and this neglects the nature of non-existence according to this definition of relativity. In other term, relativity in its primary subjective interpretation can’t be anything but itself, as depriving matters from their own existence if impossible, which means relativity shall have the possibility of being absolute according to some of its definitions, or relative according to other definitions, although possible refutations might be presented.

Reviewing Hermeneutics: Relativity of Truth, Knowledge & Texts

Introduction – Foundations & Concepts

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
(Based on the thoughts and theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murteza Al-Shirazi)

Hermeneutics is a philosophical branch of methodology, which focuses on the issue of interpretation and cognition for the methodology process of understanding the Holy Scriptures and texts and making them accessible to random individuals. This methodology is implemented by dissecting the linguistic roots and symmetrical terminology in the holy texts for the purpose of finding implications in everyday life of humans, and ultimately achieving the knowledge of dissection, interpretation of numerous types of texts and in different sciences, whether applied sciences or academic.

The ancient Greek meaning of the term Hermeneutics means expression, which includes dialogue, text and interpretation. However, the definition of interpretation in this field can mean, clarification through simplification of vocabulary or presenting alternatives. The ancient Greeks viewed interpretation as defined above a method of dissection and simplifying text as a whole.

Hermeneutics focuses on the notion of what humans say and think, and the relation affiliated to a conduct derived from a phenomenologist point of view that has an interpretational nature, as obvious and clear texts and notions don’t need clarification.

Enigma within the Research:

The clear understanding of hermeneutics is not to affirm the existence of different interpretations, but it is rather to assure the inevitability of this plurality, through relativity and hermeneutics. Nonetheless, there are hermeneutical philosophical roots that have founded the bases for relativity of knowledge, which has opened the door before all kinds of sciences and knowledge that places them all in the circle of relativity. This notion even applies on the knowledge derived from the indications within the text itself, and specifically the religious texts, due to a conviction that assumes limitations of knowledge is not limited and can’t be limited since knowledge can be acquired through daily experiences throughout history, according to hermeneutics.

The notion of relativity has been implemented more broadly in the current era, specifically in the fields of epistemology and knowledge, which are linked to the philosophy of knowledge and its evolution. This notion has been labeled as Relativity of Knowledge, and this relativity has been spread and used to classify and tabulate ethical and postural notions. Relativity theories represent the existence of serious obstacles in the face of proposing and presenting any cognitive foundation based on the possibility to achieve truth, actuality and certainty. In addition, relativity alters any foundation for a constructive cognition derived from a religious text. For example, since assimilating the Holy Quran does not leave the sphere of human comprehension that is bound to transformations and constant conversion. Therefore, the possibility of submission to any enduring understanding and notion is not available.

Objective & Goals:

The necessity to dissect and study the indications and the interpretations of the above concepts is imperative, due to the importance and wide circulation of this notion in the knowledge spheres, specifically in the fields of religions and sects and metaphysical issues. Unfortunately, many philosopher, thinkers and scholars, including some of the modern neo-Islamists have used the concept of relativity as a pretence to constrict and demolish any gap between an authentic cognition and comprehension and anything that is not. The feasibility of this notion is to diminish all the borders between the truth or the right path and all other understandings and interpretations. Therefore, one of the main interpretations of this concept is, all passages and paths are rights and sufficient, or all religions are right and take us (humans) to the right final destination. Nonetheless, if they are not right, all of them are hypothetical and presumptive, and therefore, empty of any notion of knowledge.

Expanse of the Research:

The necessity to scrutinize and examine hermeneutics and all of its emanations and theories and specifically the ones affiliated with phenomenalism of Kant and the concept of impossibility of congruence of matters with their essence, exterior or truth. In addition, the research will focus on dissecting the numerous interpretations and definitions of relativity and assessing them for the purpose of refuting the abstentious and forbearing ones, and affirming what is acceptable to logic and wisdom. The research will identify reality due to its accordance with matters or comprehension of an information, therefore, the relativity of truth, knowledge and language (text) has been categorized to four parts that address the source of knowledge in this world.

  • Visual
  • Intellectual
  • Linguistic
  • Textual

The research will not discuss the historical evolution of these concepts applications that are linked to what hermeneutics and relativity states. Neither will the research indicate the right & wrong within the founding philosophy of these concepts, as what this research will aim for in its series is judging the philosophical, intellectual and cognitive, and linguistic affirmations, which this concepts employ. Specifically, the interpretations that effect the religious texts of Muslims. Generally relativity of knowledge, and more so hermeneutical philosophy leads to a more narrow relativity, which is evident amid Islamic ideology, especially among the Islamic scholars that have been effected by western philosophy, as they have been marching these presenting these concepts, which makes them think, they are offering a modern understanding of Islamic concepts.

This research will not pursue a linguistic and terminology review of the roots and the interpretation of terms, although such a necessity might mandate itself throughout the research. The methodology and goal of the research will pursue an inductive, critical and logical method, and dissection of the concepts will be compatible with all scientific and intellectual literature of present era. The methods of dissecting will be the following:

  • Logical Method: this method will be both inductive and logical.
  • Analogical Method: to conclude what logic sees as necessary, as this method will include the arguments of a devoted ideology, and a non-devoted ideology.
  • Primitive & sentimental Method: this method presents the subjective outlets of the research.
  • Traditional textual method: this method will focus on the narrations extracted from the holy book and the Sunnah of prophet and the twelve Imams.



The research is based on reliable and solemn sources, which include many Islamic texts and many modern literatures that have discussed philosophical concepts related to the topic.

Categorization of the Research:

The research has been categorized to five main chapters, and subcategorized to subsections as necessary.

  • Chapter one: preliminary and critical approach to relativity concepts and its affiliates and hermeneutics.
  • Chapter two: critical inquisition about different types of texts, and the bases of knowledge, truth and author’s intention in them.
  • Chapter Three: Interpretations and descriptions of relativity, and evaluation of them.
  • Chapter four: pivotal hermeneutical theories and a conclusion, which includes the Holy Quran, the prophets, the Imams and absolute cognitive evidences.
  • Chapter five: pivots of Kant’s philosophical theory, due to its relevance and importance to the concepts discussed in the research, which represent the most important outlet in the research, and the arguments of chapter four.

The Future of Education

The shape of education is dramatically changing in the western societies and in the world. Universities and educational institutions are taking a full advantage of the web and the digital technology to take classrooms to student’s rooms.

There are many online universities and educational institutions offering online education many offer accredited degrees and certificates. You can now earn a Bachelors, Masters,  even Doctorate and postDoctorate degrees online. Even the most prestigious schools such as Harvard and Yale are offering online degrees or certificates.

America, is the leader in this digital transformation of educational  hence this trend is boosting that portion of US economy (the education sector). This is due to the fact that people are finding it much easier to continue their education hence more people are applying and investing in  these programs.

More Reliable, More Convenient  
Most students find the modern online education not only be more convenient but also to be more effective Muslim students work in a computer lab at Thailand's Yala Islamic College in Srong, in the southern province of Pattani, September 24, 2006.especially when it comes to subjects like math and science. Using online educational platforms students have the ability to pause and rewind if they don’t understand a concept or if they fall behind while taking notes. In fact, they don’t even need to take notes if they don’t like because in most cases they will have the option to download the instructors notes or the whole video.

Khan Academy
Among all these online institutions and universities, one non-profit organization is standing out. That institution is Khan Academy that provides free premium online education with simple goal of “changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere“.

Khan Academy gives opportunity for millions to learn math, science, economics and other subjects for free. All they need a computer or mobile device and connection to the internet. They can create an account for for free and login and learn a variety of lessons such as math, science, economics, and etc completely for free. This is what making Khan Academy to stand out unlike the other online education institutions that can be expensive at times.

Khan Academy uses an advanced online educational blackboard software they  developed in-house that is  like a digital blackboard, with voice over.  At the end of each lecture, there are practice questions and quizzes given to students to test their knowledge and see if they learned the lesson well or if you need to go back.

Khan Academy was started by Sal Khan, a Bangladeshi-American educator who holds multiple MastersSal Khan and Phd degrees from Harvard and MIT. After learning that his 7 year old cousin was struggling with math and Algebra, Sal decide to tutor her online. She lived far from Sal so he decided to upload tutoring videos to Youtube. He then saw that many people started viewing his videos and using them. This is where he realized he had something good going so he quite his full time job as a hedge fund analyst, and started the Khan Academy. Today Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that provides free education for all. The Academy runs based on donations including large donations from Gates Foundation and Google.

Below is a sample course at Khan Academy offers students so they can learn about Human DNA

The Future of Education
The future of education and educators is looking bright with such leaders and institutions in the education sector. There will still be need for teachers and instructors but it looks like that they may  take more role of guides and tutors, allowing students to learn at their own pace. As online technology advances and also as more online courses  translate into a various languages,  more people around the globe will have an opportunity to learn and advance their knowledge and improve their lives. Even the most impoverished people in third world countries now have a chance to change their lives because there are such opportunities that never existed before.

Inspiration & Conclusion

Prophet Muhammad(SAWS), said “Go in quest of knowledge even unto China” meaning that one needs to go seek knowledge unto chinaout of his or her way and far to learn knowledge.  The holy prophet also said”Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave” meaning that learning should not stop at a certain age. It is duty of all Muslims to learn knowledge wether it is gnostic knowledge or worldly sciences.  There are also a variety of other narrations from the holy prophet and his holy progeny, peace and blessing of God be upon them up,  that emphasize on learning all sort of knowledge in order to increase wisdom and help the community.

As Muslims and as followers of Ahlulbayt, first we are grateful to God almighty to live in a digital era to have so much opportunity of learning. Also we need to understand that now we have responsibility to continue learning and expanding our knowledge since it is made so easy and accessible for us.  Learning is among fundamental of our faith and as technology advances, learning becomes easier hence we will have more obligations to learn whenever we can where and whenever we can in order to improve our lives and lives of others!