This article may be an answer. After reading from the beginning, pay attention to the last paragraph.
Question: Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi said in his letter to Fakhr al-Din Razi: “To know God is different to knowing that He exists.” What does this mean and what did he intend by saying it?
Firstly: In the introduction to the Twenty-Second Word, which you read to him, the comparison and example showing the difference between the true affirmation of divine unity and its superficial affirmation point to what was intended. While the Second and Third Stopping-Places of the Thirty-Second Word and its Aims, elucidate it.
And secondly: Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi said that to Fakhr al-Din Razi, who was a leading authority on theology, because the explications of the tenets of belief and the existence of the Necessary Existent and divine unity offered by the authoritative scholars of the principles of religion and theology were insufficient in his view.
Yes, the knowledge of God gained through theology does not afford a complete knowledge and a complete sense of the divine presence. However, when gained through the method of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, it affords both complete knowledge and a total sense of the divine presence. God willing, all the parts of the Risale-i Nur perform the duty of an electric lamp on that light-filled highway of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition.
Furthermore, however deficient in Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi’s view the knowledge of God was that Fakhr al-Din Razi obtained by means of theology, the knowledge of God attained on the Sufi way is similarly deficient in relation to the knowledge obtained through the legacy of prophethood directly from the All-Wise Qur’an. For in order to attain a constant sense of the divine presence, the way of Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi said: “There is no existent save He,” going so far as to deny the existence of the universe. As for the others, again to gain a constant sense of the divine presence, they said: “There is none witnessed save He,” entering a strange state as though casting the universe into absolute oblivion.
However, the knowledge of God obtained from the All-Wise Qur’an affords a constant sense of the divine presence, but it neither condemns the universe to non-existence, nor imprisons it in absolute oblivion. It rather releases it from its purposelessness and employs it in Almighty God’sname. Everything becomes a mirror yielding knowledge of Him. As Sa‘di Shirazi said: “To the conscious gaze every leaf is a book yielding knowledge of the divine.”
In everything a window opens up onto knowledge of God.
In some of the Words we have illustrated with the following comparison the differences between the way of the scholars of theology and the true highway taken from the Qur’an: in order to have water, some is brought from a distant place by means of pipes, tunnelling through mountains. And some of it is obtained by digging wells everywhere. The first sort is fraught with difficulties; the pipes become blocked or broken. But those who know how to dig wells and extract water can find water everywhere with no trouble.Similarly, utilizing the impossibility of causation and causal sequences, the scholars of theology cut the chains of causes at the extremities of the world and then proved the existence of the Necessarily Existent One. They travelled a long road. However, the true highway of the Wise Qur’an finds water everywhere and extracts it. All its verses cause water to flow forth wherever they strike, like the Staff of Moses. Each makes everything recite the rule: “In everything is a sign indicating that He is One.”
Furthermore, faith (îmân) is not gained only through knowledge; many of the subtle faculties have their share of it. When food enters the stomach, it is distributed in various ways to various members. Similarly, after entering the stomach of the mind, the matters of faith that come through knowledge are absorbed by the spirit, heart, inner heart, soul, and other subtle faculties; each receives its share according to its degree. If they do not receive their share, faith is deficient. Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi was reminding Fakhr al-Din Razi of this point.