What are the means of achieving knowledge of certainty through experience?
The third source of knowledge is certainty through experience, that is to say, all the hardships and calamities and sufferings that are experienced by the Prophets and the righteous at the hands of their opponents, or that are imposed upon them by Divine decree. Through these hardships and sufferings all the commandments of the law and its directions that were comprehended by the human mind intellectually, appear in practical shape and become experience, and by being developed by practical exercise arrive at their climax, and the person concerned himself becomes a perfect code of Divine guidance. All the moral qualities like forbearance, retribution, endurance, mercy etc. which hitherto pervaded the mind and heart theoretically, become part of the personality through practical experience and make their impress upon the total personality of the sufferer, as God the Glorious has said: We shall surely true you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and of the fruits of your labour, that is to say you will suffer all this at the hands of your enemies, or by virtue of Divine decree. Then give glad tidings to the steadfast, who, when misfortune overtakes them, do not lose heart but say: Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. It is these on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy, and it is these who are rightly and perfectly guided (2:156-158). These verses indicate that there is no virtue in the knowledge that is confined to the mind and heart. True knowledge is that which emerges from the mind and regulates and trains all the limbs, and manifests in practice all the store of memory. Thus knowledge is strengthened and fostered through its impress being imposed on all the limbs by practical experience.
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