Shaikh Ṣadr-ud-dīn Qūniavī (may God sanctify his secret) says in the book Nuṣūṣ:* “Knowledge is one of the qualities pertaining to Being; that is to say, that every existing substance is endued with knowledge; and the difference in the degrees of knowledge results from the differences of these substances in their reception, whether perfect or imperfect, of Being. Thus a substance capable of receiving Being in a most complete and perfect way is capable of receiving knowledge in the same way; and that which is only capable of receiving Being imperfectly is endued with knowledge in the same degree. This difference originates in the stronger or weaker influence of ‘necessity’* or ‘contingency’ over each substance. In every substance in which the influence of ‘necessity’ is the stronger, Being and knowledge are most perfect; in the remainder, in which the influence of ‘contingency’ is more prevalent, Being and knowledge are more imperfect.”

It would seem that what the Shaikh states as to know­ledge specially being a quality appertaining to Being is meant to convey one example only, because all the other perfections which are likewise qualities pertaining to Being, such as life, power, will, etc., are in the same position as knowledge.

Certain other [Ṣūfīs] have said: “No single existent thing is without the quality of knowledge”; but know­ledge is of two kinds, one ordinarily called knowledge and the other not so called. Both kinds, according to the men of truth, belong to the category of knowledge, because they recognize the immanence of the essential knowledge of the “Truth” most glorious and most exalted in all things whatsoever. It is in the second class that we must place “water”, for example, which is not ordinarily considered as possessed of knowledge. But we see that it distinguishes between up and down hill; it avoids the rise and runs downwards; again, it sinks into porous bodies, whilst it only wets the surface of dense bodies and passes over them, etc. Therefore, it is by virtue of the quality of knowledge that it runs, according to the capacity of one object to admit it, and the absence of opposing properties in such objects. But, in this degree, knowledge is manifested only under the form of nature.* In this manner knowledge is immanent in all other existing things; or, rather, all perfections pertaining to Being are immanent in all things without exception.

Being, with all its latent qualities,
Doth permeate all mundane entities,
Which, when they can receive them, show them forth
In the degrees of their capacities.