The Seals of Wisdom
by Shaykh al Akbar Muhi-d-Din Ibn al-'Arabi
Index of Chapters:
1. The Seal of Divine Wisdom in the Word of Adam
2. The Seal of Wisdom of the Breath of Angelic Inspiration
in the Word of Seth
3. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Breath of Divine Inspiration in the Word of Noah
Seal of the Wisdom of Purity in the Word of Idris
5. The Seal of the Wisdom of Being Lost in Love in the Wisdom of
6. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Real in the Word of Issac
7. The Seal of the Wisdom of Elevation in
the Word of Ishmael
8. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Spirit in the Word of Jacob
9. The Seal of the Wisdom of
Light in the Word of Joseph
10. The Seal of the Wisdom of Divine Unity in the Word of Hud
11. The Seal of
the Wisdom of Revelation in the Word of Salih
12. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Heart in the Word of Jethro
The Seal of the Wisdom of Power in the Word of Lot
14. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Decree in the Word of Ezra
The Seal of the Wisdom of Prophethood in the Word of Jesus
16. The Seal of the Wisdom of Mercy in the Word of Solomon
17. The Seal of the Wisdom of Existence (Wujud) in the Word of David
18. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Breath
(Nafas) in the Word of Jonah
19. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Unseen in the Word of Job
20. The Seal of the
Wisdom of Majesty in the Word of John the Baptist
21. The Seal of the Wisdom of Possession in the Word of Zachariah
The Seal of the Wisdom of Intimacy in the Word of Elijah
23. The Seal of the Wisdom of Ihsan in the Word of Luqman
24. The Seal of the Wisdom of the Imam in the Word of Aaron
25. The Seal of the Wisdom of Sublimity in the
Word of Moses
26. The Seal of the Wisdom of What One Turns to in the Word of Khalid
27. The Seal of the Unique
Wisdom in the Word of Muhammad
1) The Seal of Divine Wisdom
in the Word of Adam
When Allah - glory be to Him! - willed that the source of His most Beautiful Names - which are beyond enumeration
- be seen (or you can equally say that He willed His source to be seen), He willed that they be seen in a microcosmic being
which contained the entire matter, (1) endowed with existence, and through which His secret was manifested to Him. For how
a thing sees itself through itself is not the same as how it sees itself in something else which acts as a mirror for it.
So He manifests Himself to Himself in a form which is provided by the place in which He is seen. He would not appear thus
without the existence of this place and His manifestation (tajalli) to Himself in it.
Allah brought the entire universe
into existence through the existence of a form fashioned without a spirit (rûh), like an unpolished mirror. Part of the divine
decree is that He does not fashion a locus without it receiving a divine spirit, which is described as being "blown" (2) into
it. This is nothing other than the result of the predisposition of that fashioned form to receive the overflowing perpetual
tajalli which has never ceased and which will never cease. Then we must speak of the container (qâbil). The container comes
from nothing other than His most sacredly pure Overflowing. So the whole affair has its beginning from Him, and its end is
to Him, and "the whole affair will be returned to Him" (11:123) as it began from Him. Thus the command decreed the polishing
of the mirror of the universe. Adam was the very polishing of that mirror and the spirit of that form.
The angels are
some of the faculties of that form which is the form of the universe, which the Sufis designate in their technical vocabulary
as the Great Man (al-Insân al-Kabîr), for the angels are to it as the spiritual (rûhânî) and sensory faculties are to the
human organism. Each of these faculties is veiled by itself, and it sees nothing which is superior to its own essence, for
there is something in it which considers itself to be worthy of high rank and an elevated degree with Allah. It is like this
because it has an aspect of the divine synthesis (jam'îya). In it is something which derives from the divine side and something
which derives from the side of the reality of the realities. This organism carries these attributes as determined by the universal
nature which encompasses the containers of the universe from the most exalted to the basest. However, the intellect cannot
perceive this fact by means of logical investigation for this sort of perception only exists through divine unveiling
by which one recognises the basis of the forms of the universe which receive the spirits.
This being was called both
a human being (insân) and khalif. As for his humanness, it comes from the universality of his organism and his ability to
embrace all of the realities. He is in relation to Allah as the pupil, (3) being the instrument of vision, is to the eye.
This is why he is called "insân". It is by him that Allah beholds His creatures and has mercy on them. So he is a human being,
both in-time [in his body] and before-time [in his spirit], an eternal and after-time organism. He is the word which distinguishes
and unifies. The universe was completed by his existence. He is to the universe what the face of the seal is to the seal -
for that is the locus of the seal and thus the token with which the King places the seal on his treasures.
him khalif for this reason, since man guards His creation as treasure is guarded with the seal. As long as the seal of the
King is on the treasure, no one dares to open it without his permission. He made him a khalif in respect of safeguarding the
universe, and it continues to be guarded as long as this Perfect Man is in it. Do you not see then, that when he disappears
and is removed from the treasury of this world, nothing that Allah stored in it will remain? Everything that was in it will
leave it, and all the parts will become confused, and everything will be transferred to the Next World. Then Man will be the
seal on the treasury of the Next World for endless time and after-time. All the Divine Names contained in in the divine form
(4) appear in this human organism. Thus it possesses the rank of containing and integrating this existence. It was by this
that Allah set up the proof against the angels, (5) so remember that! Allah admonishes you through others. Look at where that
originates and where it ends up. The angels did not realise what was implied by the organism of the khalif, nor did they realise
what the presence of the Truth demanded as 'ibâda (6) (worship). Each one only knows from Allah what his essence accords him.
The angels do not possess the universality of Adam, and they did not understand the Divine Names with which he has been favoured,
and by which he praises Allah and proclaims His purity. They only knew that Allah had names whose knowledge had not reached
them, so they could not praise Him nor proclaim His purity through them. What we mentioned overcame them and this state overpowered
them. They said about this organism, "Why put on it one who will cause corruption on it?" (2:30) This is only the argument
which they were voicing.
What they said regarding Adam is exactly the state they were with regard to Allah. Had it
not been that their nature was in accord with it, they would not have said what they said in respect of Adam, "and yet they
were not aware." If they had had true recognition of themselves, they would have had knowledge, and had they been in possession
of knowledge, they would have been protected and would not have resisted by belittling Adam and thus exceeding their claim
of what they possessed of His praise and glorification. Adam was in possession of Divine Names which the angels did not have,
so that their praise and glorification of Him was not the same as Adam's praise and glorification of Him. Allah describes
this to us so that we may ponder it and learn adab (7) with Allah, and so that we will not lay claim to what we have not realised
or possessed by pinning down. How can we allege something which is beyond us and of which we have no knowledge? We will only
be exposed. This divine instruction is part of Allah's discipline of those of His slaves who are well-mannered, trusting and
Let us return to the wisdom under discussion. Know that universal matters which have no existence in themselves
are without a doubt intelligible and known in the mind. They are hidden and continue in their invisible existence. These universal
matters have jurisdiction and effect on everything which has an individual existence. Indeed, they are the same thing and
nothing else, i.e. the sources of existent individual things, and they continue to be intelligible in themselves. They are
manifest in respect of the sources of existent things just as they are hidden in respect of their intelligibility. Each individual
existent thing depends on these universal matters which cannot be dislodged from the intellect, nor would their existence
be possible in the source once they ceased to be intelligible, whether that individual existent is in-time or out-of-time.
The relationship of that which is in-time or out-of-time to this universal intelligible matter is the same. This universal
matter only has jurisdiction in individual existent things according to what the realities of these individual existent things
demand of it. It is like the relationship of knowledge to the knower, and life to the living. Life is an intelligible reality;
knowledge is an intelligible reality. Knowledge is as distinct from life as life is distinct from knowledge. So we say that
Allah has knowledge and life, and that He is the Living, the Knowing. We also say that the angel has life and knowledge, and
is living and knowing. We say that man has life and knowledge, and is living and knowing. The reality of knowledge is one
thing and the reality of life is another, and their relationship to the knowing and the living is the same relationship. We
say that the knowledge of Allah is in non-time and the knowledge of man is in-time. So look at the evaluation that this relationship
has brought about in this intelligible reality!
Examine this connection between individual intelligibles and stence
is necessary, rather, it is necessary by another, not by itself. As knowledge determines the one who participates in it
as he is called knowing so the one who is described by it can determine the knowledge. It is in-time in relation to
the one in-time and non-time in relation to the one in non-time. Each of the two is determining and determined. It is known
that these universal matters, even if they are intelligible, lack a source although they still have an authority. When they
are determined, since they are ascribed to an individual existent thing, they accept the principle in the existent sources
and do not accept distinction or fragmenting, for that is impossible for them. They themselves are in everything described
by them, as humanity is in every person of this particular species, without distinction or the numbering which affects individuals;
and it continues to be intelligible.
Now, as there is a connection between that which has an individual existence and
that which does not have one and it is a non-existent relationship so the connection of existents to each other
is easier to conceive because, in any case, there is a common factor between them which is individual existence. In the other,
there is no common factor, yet there is a connection despite the lack of a common factor. So it is stronger and more real
when there is a common factor. Without a doubt, the in-time establishes itself as being put into time and it needs something
in time to put it into time. It has no place in itself so it exists from something other-than-it, and it is linked to That
by the dependence of need. This dependence must be on That whose existence is necessary, which is independent in Its existence
by Itself without need. It is That which, by Its own essence, gives existence to the in-time which depends on It. Since the
existence of Its essence is necessary and what appears from It depends on It for its essence, it nevertheless depends on its
form for everything which is from a name or attribute, except for the essential necessity. That is not the property of it
in-time, even if its existence is neceesary, rather, it is necessary by another, not by itself.
Since the matter is
based on what we said about its manifestation in its form, Allah communicates to us knowledge of Himself through contemplation
of the in-time. He tells us that He shows us His signs in the in-time, (8) so we draw conclusions about Him through ourselves.
We do not describe Him with any quality without also possessing that quality, with the exception of that essential autonomy.
Since we know Him by ourselves and from ourselves, we attribute to Him all that we attribute to ourselves. For that reason,
divine communications came down on the tongues of our interpreters, (9) and so He described Himself to us through ourselves.
When we witness, He witnesses Himself. We are certainly numerous as individuals and species, yet we are based on a single
reality which unites us. So we certainly know that there are distinctions between individuals. If there were not, there would
be no multiplicity in the One.
Similarly we are described in all aspects by that by which He describes Himself, but
there must be a disinction and it is none other than our need of Him in our existence. Our existence depends on Him by virtue
of our possibility and He is independent of that which makes us dependent on Him. Because of this, one can apply before-timeness
and timelessness to Him which negates that firstness which is the opening to existence from non-existence. Although He is
the First, firstness is not ascribed to Him, and for this reason, He is called the Last. Had His firstness been the firstness
of the existence of determination, it would not have been valid for Him to be the Last of the determined because the possible
has no last - for possibilities are endless. So they have no last. Rather, He is the Last because "the whole affair will be
returned to Him" (11:123) after its attribution to us. So He is the Last in the source of His firstness and the First in the
source of His lastness.
Then know that Allah has described Himself as the Outawrdly Manifest and the Inwardly Hidden;
(10) He brought the universe into existence as a Visible world and an Unseen world so that we might know the Hidden by the
Unseen and the Manifest by the Visible. He described Himself with pleasure and wrath, and so He brought the world into existence
as a place of fear and hope so we fear His wrath and hope for His pleasure. He described Himself with majesty and beauty,
so He brought the universe into existence with awe and intimacy. It is the same for all that is connected with Him, may He
be exalted, and by which He calls Himself. He designates these pairs of attributes by the two hands (11) which He held out
in the creation of the Perfect Man. Man sums up all the realities of the universe and its individuals. So the universe is
seen and the Khalif is unseen. It is with this meaning that the Sultan veils himself, even as Allah is mentioned and described
as having with veils (12) of darkness, which are natural bodies, and luminous veils which are subtle spirits (arwâh). The
universe is composed of both the gross and the subtle.
The universe is its own veil on itself and cannot perceive the
Truth since it perceives itself. It is continuously in a veil which is not removed, since it knows that it is distinct from
its Creator by its need of Him. It has no portion of that essential necessity which belongs to the existence of Allah, so
it can never perceive Him. In this respect, Allah is never fully known by the knowledge of tasting and witnessing because
the in-time has no hold on that.
Allah only applied "between His two hands" to Adam as a mark of honour, and so He
said to Iblis, "What prevented you prostrating to what I created with My two Hands?" (38:76) That is none other than the union
in Adam of the two forms - the form of the universe and the form of the Real: (13) and they are the two hands of Allah. Iblis
is only a fragment of the universe and does not possess this comprehensive quality. It is because of this quality that Adam
was a khalif. Had he not had the form of the One who appointed him khalif, he would not have been khalif. If there were not
in him all that is in the world, and what his flocks, over whom he is khalif, demand of him because of their dependence on
him (and he must undertake all they need from him) he would not have been khalîf over them.
is only valid for the Perfect Man, whose exterior form comes from the realities of the universe and its forms, and whose inner
form is based on His form, may He be exalted! For that reason, Allah has said of him, "I am his hearing and his sight." (14)
He did not say, "his eye and his ear." So He differentiated between the two forms. It is the same for every existent in the
universe which appears according to what the reality of that existent demands of it. Nonetheless no one totally comprehends
what the khalif has. One only surpasses others by this comprehensiveness. If it were not for the diffusion of Allah into the
existents by the form, the universe would not have any existence. Similarly, were it not for these universal intelligible
realities, no principle would have appeared in individual existent things. From this reality the universe depends on Allah
for its existence. So all is in need, and nothing is independent.
This is the truth
and we have not spoken metaphorically.
If I speak of a something independent
without any need, you will know Who I mean by it.
The whole is tied to the
and cannot be separated from it, so understand what I have said!
Now, you have learnt of the formation of
the body of Adam his outer form and the formation of his spirit, his inner form, so he is the Real and a created
being. Now you have learnt of the formation of his rank which is the comprehensiveness by virtue of which he is worthy of
the khalifate. Adam is the unique self from which the perfect human species was created according to His words, "O mankind,
be fearful of your Lord who created you from a single self, and created its mate from it, and disseminated many men and women
from the two of them." (4:1)
His words, "Be fearful of your Lord," mean to make of what has appeared from you a safeguard
for your Lord and make what is concealed of you, which is your Lord, a safeguard for yourselves. The matter consists of blame
and praise, so be His safeguard in the blame and your safeguard in the praise, so that you will be among those of knowledge
and adab. Then He showed him what He had placed in him, and He put that in His two hands - one handful contained the universe
and the other handful contained Adam and his descendants - and He showed them their ranks in Adam.
Then Allah informed
me in my inner heart (sirr) of what He placed in this Imam, the great progenitor. I have put in this book some of what was
allotted to me but not all of what I realised. A book could not contain that and not even the present existent universe could
contain it. I have put some of what I have witnessed in this book, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, defined it. It was the divine wisdom in the word of Adam, that is, this chapter.
Then there is the wisdom
of the breath of angelic inspiration in the word of Shith (Seth), the wisdom of divine inspiration in the word of Nuh (Noah),
the wisdom of purity in the word of Idris, the wisdom of being lost in love in the word of Ibrahim (Abraham), the wisdom of
truth in the word of Ishaq (Isaac), the wisdom of the elevation of the word in the name of Isma'il (Ishmael), the wisdom of
the spirit in the word of Yusuf (Joseph), the wisdom of unity in the word of Hud, the wisdom of revelation in the word of
Salih, the wisdom of the heart in the word of Shu'ayb, the wisdom of the power of the word of Lut (Lot), the wisdom of the
decree in the word of 'Uzayr (Ezra), the wisdom of prophethood in the word of 'Isa (Jesus), the wisdom of mercy in the word
of Sulayman (Solomon), the wisdom of existence in the word of Da'ud (David), the wisdom of the soul in the word of Yunus (Jonah),
the wisdom of the unseen in the word of Ayyub (Job), the wisdom of majesty in the word of Yahya (John the Baptist), the wisdom
of possession in the word of Zakariya (Zachariah), the wisdom of intimacy in the word of Ilyas (Elias), the wisdom of benevolence
in the word of Luqman, the wisdom of the Imam in the word of Harun (Aaron), the wisdom of sublimity in the word of Musa (Moses),
the wisdom of what one turns to in the word of Khalid, and the wisdom of uniqueness in the seal of Muhammad.
is a seal for each wisdom. So I have condensed these wisdoms according to what is established in the Mother of the Book, and
I complied with what was written out for me, and stopped at what was set as a limit for me. Even if I had desired to do more
than that, I would not have been able to do so. Indeed, the Presence forbids that, and Allah is the One who grants success.
There is no Lord but Him.
Notes to Chapter 1:
1. al-Insân al-Kâmil, the Perfect Man.
2. Nafkh, Qur'an 32:9, etc.
Insan, as well as meaning human being, also means the pupil of the eye.
4. The form chosen by Allah for the human being.
5. Qur'an 2:30-33.
6. 'Ibada: All the acts of worship: giving, praying, fasting, etc..
7. Adab: Manners. Here
meaning the much deeper quality of spiritual manners, that is a courtesy engendered in the ritual acts of worship, the prostrations
of the prayer, the fast, and giving gifts to the needy. Such a quality is imbued with awareness that you are the dependent,
and the Real is the independent. You are poor, He is rich.
8. Qur'an 41:53, "We will show them Our signs on the horizons
and in themselves..."
9. i.e. the Prophets.
10. Qur'an: 57:3.
11. Qur'an 38:75, "What I created with My two hands."
12. Hadith: "Allah has 70,000 veils of light and darkness. If they were to be removed, the splendour of His face would
13. Hadith: "Allah created Adam on His form."
14. ref. to hadith qudsî via Abu Hurayra, "My slave does not
draw near Me with anything I love more than what I have made obligatory for him. My slave continues to draw near me with superogatory
actions until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand with which
he strikes, and his foot with which he walks." (Sahih al-Bukhari, 81:38:2)
2) The Seal of Wisdom of the Breath of Angelic Inspiration
the Word of Shith (Seth)
Know that the gifts and favours which appear in phenomenal being through human
beings or without them fall into two categories: the gifts of the Essence and the gifts of the Divine Names. These two categories
are distinct among the people of tasting according to whether as they come from a specific request for a specific thing, from
a general request, or without any request. This applies whether they are gifts of the Essence or gifts of the Divine Names.
They are specific when someone says, "O Lord, give me such-and-such a thing," and specifies something which occurs to him.
They are general when someone says, "Give me what You know is good for all my parts, subtle and gross," without specifying
The askers fall into two groups - one group makes the request from a natural impulse to hasten its attainment,
"for man is impetuous;" (17:11) and the other group asks because they know that there are matters with Allah which, in the
foreknowledge of Allah, are only obtained after a request. They say, "Perhaps what I ask of Him is something of that sort."
Their request takes into consideration this possibility. They do not know what is in the knowledge of Allah, nor what their
capacity to receive will grant them. This is because it is one of the most difficult things to know capacity at any moment,
for it refers to the capacity of the individual at that time. Furthermore, had he not been disposed by his capacity to make
the request, he would not have made that particular request.
The goal of the people of presence, (2) who do not possess
such a knowledge, is to know it in the moment in which they find themselves. They know by their state of presence what Allah
has given them in that moment. and they only receive it by their predisposition for it. They are of two sorts: one group knows
their predisposition from what they have already received, and the other group knows what they are going to receive based
on their predisposition. This latter group has the most perfect recognition of predisposition.
Among this group are
those who make a request, neither to hasten it nor for the possibilities of favour, but rather to comply with the command
of Allah when He says, "Call on Me and I will answer you." (40:60) This sort of person is the pure slave and when he asks,
his aspiration (himma) is not attached to what he asks for, be it specific or not, rather his aspiration is merely in or not,
rather his aspiration is merely in obedience to his Lord's command. When his state requires, he asks for slavehood, and when
it requires entrustment [to Allah] and silence, he is silent. So Ayyub and others were tried, and they did not ask Allah to
remove their affliction from them. Then at another moment, their state required that they ask that it be removed, and Allah
removed it from them.
The immediate granting of a request, or its deferment, depends on the decree which has been determined
for it by Allah. If the request coincides with the moment, the answer comes quickly, and if the moment is deferred - either
in this world or the next, the answer is also deferred except for the answer from Allah which is, "At your service" (3) -
so understand this well!
As for the second category, it is received without making a request, and by "without request"
we mean verbal expression of it. In actuality, there must always be a request - be it articulated, or by a state, or from
a predisposition. Similarly, unrestricted praise only takes place through verbal expression. The state determines the meaning,
for that which induces you to praise Allah is determined for you by a Name of Action (4) or a Name of Disconnection. (5) In
the case of the predisposition of the slave, its possessor is not conscious of it, but he is aware of his state because he
knows both what his motive is and the state itself. Predisposition is the most hidden form of making requests.
which prevents some people from asking is their knowledge that Allah has predetermined their destiny, so they have prepared
themselves to receive whatever comes from Him, and they have withdrawn from their selves and their desires.
people are those who know that the knowledge which Allah has of them in all their states is their basic constitution in the
state of their permanent source-form from before existence. They know that Allah will only give them what their source allows
them according to Allah's knowledge of it when they were in their permanent source-forms. Thus these people know that Allah
knows the way they will obtain anything.
There is no higher, nor more unveiled group among the People of Allah than
this group, who understand on the secret of the Decree. They, in turn, fall into two sorts: those who know it in general and
those who know it in particular. Those who know it in particular are higher and nearer perfection than those who know it in
general. Such a person knows what is in the knowledge of Allah for him - be it by Allah informing him of the knowledge his
own source has accorded to Him, or be it by direct unveiling to him from his permanent source-form whose unfolding states
are endless. So he, in his knowledge of himself, is in the position of having Allah's knowledge of him, because it is derived
from the same source. In respect of the slave, concern from Allah is predestined for him, and it is constituted by the sum
of the states of his source which the possessor of this unveiling perceives when Allah allows him to perceive it, i.e. the
states of his source. When Allah informs him of the states of his permanent source-form upon which the form of his existence
depends, it is not in the capacity of the creature in this state to perceive what Allah perceives of his permanent source-form
upon which the form of his existence depends, it is not in the capacity of the creature in this state to perceive what Allah
perceives of these permanent sources in the state of their non-existence, since they are but essential relations without any
form. In this respect, we say that divine concern precedes the slave's need because of this equivalence in the communication
In this way Allah speaks so that we will know, and it is an expression which is completely specific -
not as is imagined by those who do not drink from this source. The goal of disconnection is to make that in-timeness in knowledge
belong to Knowledge. It is the highest aspect of this question which the mutakallim (6) can comprehend with his intellect
- unless he considers knowledge to be distinct from the Essence. If he does this, he ascribes relativity to knowledge, and
not to the Essence, and because of this, he sets himself apart from the realised ones among the People of Allah, who are endowed
with unveiling and real existence.
Let us return to those gifts which are either the gifts proceding from the Essence
or the Names. As for the favours, gifts and graces of the Essence, they only come by means of divine tajalli. (7) Tajalli
only comes from the Essence by means of the form of the predisposition of the one to whom the tajalli is made. It never occurs
otherwise. The one who receives the tajalli will only see his own form in the mirror of the Real. He will not see see the
Real, for it is not possible to see Him. At the same time, he knows that he sees only his own form. It is the same as a mirror
in the Visible world inasmuch as you see forms in it or your own form but do not see the mirror. At the same time, however,
you know that you see the forms, or your own form, only by virtue of the mirror. Allah manifests that as a model (8) appropriate
to the tajalli of His Essence, so that the one receiving the tajalli knows that he does not see Him. There is no model nearer
or more appropriate to vision and tajalli than this. When you see a form in a mirror, try to see the body of the mirror as
well - you will never see it. It is true that some people who perceive this say that the reflected form is imposed between
the vision of the seer and the mirror. This is the most that it is possible to say, and the matter is as we have mentioned.
We have clarified this in the The Makkan Revelations.
If you wish to taste this, then experience the limit beyond which
there is no higher limit possible in respect of the creature. Neither aspire to, nor tire yourself out in trying to go beyond
this degree, for in principle, there is only pure non-existence after it.
Thus Allah is your mirror in which you see
yourself, and you are His mirror in which He sees His Names. His Names are not other than Himself, as you know. The matter
is confusing. One of us implied ignorance of the matter as part of knowledge and said, "The incapacity to achieve perception
is perception." (9) Some of us know but do not express it in this way, even though it is the highest of words. Knowledge does
not give incapacity to know as the first one said, but rather knowledge gives him the same silence which incapacity gives.
This is the highest level of those who have knowledge of Allah.
This knowledge only belongs to the Seal of the Messengers
and the Seal of the Awliyâ'. The Messengers and Prophets only see it from the niche of the Messenger who is the Seal. The
awliyâ' only see it from the niche of the walî who is the Seal. Even the Messengers only see it to the extent that they see
it from the niche of the Seal of the Awliya', for Message and Prophethood - by which I mean the Prophethood of bringing the
Sharî'a and its message - ceases, but wilâya never ceases. Thus the Messengers, imuch as they are awliya', see what we have
mentioned only from the niche of the Seal of the Awliya'. How could it be different for other awliyâ'? Although the Seal of
the Awliyâ' is subject to the judgement which the Seal of the Messengers brought through the Sharî;a, that does not diminish
his station nor does it detract from what we have said, for something which is lower from one point of view can be higher
from another. Confirmation of this occurred in the history of our Sharî'a in the excellence of the judgement of 'Umar regarding
the prisoners of Badr (10) and their treatment, and in the story of fertilization of the date-palms. (11) It is not necessary
that the perfect have precedence in everything and in every rank. The Rijâl (12) regard precedence as being in the degrees
of knowledge of Allah. Here is their goal. As for the things which are in-time, they do not attach their thoughts to them,
so realise what we have mentioned!
Al-Khidr said to Musa, "I have knowledge which Allah has taught me, and which you
do not know, and you have knowledge which Allah has taught you and which I do not know." (13)
It is like the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in relation to a brick wall which was complete except for one brick, (14) and the
Prophet was that one brick although he himself only saw the place for the single brick. The Seal of the Awliyâ' must also
have this sort of vision. He sees the same as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw, but he
sees a place for two bricks in the wall, and that the bricks are made of gold and silver. He sees that there are two bricks
missing in the wall, and he sees that they are a silver brick and a gold brick. He must see himself as being disposed by nature
to fill the place of these two bricks. The Seal of the Awliyâ' is these two bricks by which the wall is completed. The necessary
reason for which he sees himself as two bricks is that he follows the Shari'a of the Seal of the Messengers outwardly - which
is the place of the silver brick. This means the outward Sharî'a with all that pertains to it of ordinances which are taken
from Allah by the secret, according to the outward form which conforms to the secret because he sees the matter for what it
really is. He must see the matter in this manner, for it is the place of the golden brick in the inwardly hidden. It is taken
from the source from which the angel brought it, the same angel who brought the revelation to the Mesengers. If you have understood
what I have alluded to, then you have indeed acquired useful knowledge!
All the Prophets, from Adam to the last of
the Prophets, take their light from the niche of the Seal of the Prophets, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Even though
the existence of his clay was deferred, the last Prophet was nevertheless present in his reality, according to his statement,
"I was a Prophet when Adam was between water and clay." (15) Every other Prophet only became a Prophet by being described
by divine qualities inasmuch as Allah is described as the Praiseworthy Wali.(16)
The Seal of the Messengers, in respect
to his wilâya, is connected to the Seal of the Awliyâ' in the same way in which Prophets and Messengers are connected to it.
He is a walî, Messenger, and Prophet. The Seal of the Awliyâ' is a walî and the heir who takes directly from the source, contemplating
the ranks. He is the most beautiful of the beauties of the Seal of the Messengers, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, the overseer of the community, and the master of the sons of Adam by reason of opening the door of intercession.
He specified a particular state which is not universal. (17) In this special state, he has precedence over the Divine Names.
So the All-Merciful only mediates with the Avenger for the people of affliction through the intercession of the mediators.
Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, obtained mastery in this special station. Whoever understands the ranks
and the stations does not find this discourse difficult.
As for the gifts of the Names, know that Allah bestows mercy
on His creation which is wholly from the names. Either it is a pure mercy, like the excellence of the provision which they
have in this world or on the Day of Rising which is bestowed by that name, the Merciful, and so is a gift of mercy, or it
is a mixed mercy like the taking of a disagreeable remedy which is followed by relief - it is still a divine gift. Divine
gifts can only possibly be given through the intermediary of the guardians of the Names. Sometimes Allah gives it to the slave
by means of the All-Merciful, and so the gift is pure from any adulteration which would be contrary to the nature of the moment,
otherwise he would not receive the object and what would resemble it. Sometimes He gives by means of the the Boundless, so
it is general - or by the Wise, so He looks at what is fitter at the moment, or by the Giving, who gives what is good without
those who receive it having to compensate for it by gratitude or deed. He gives by the Compeller, and so He looks at the environment
and what is necessary to it. He gives by the Forgiving and so He looks to the environment and what is happening to the individual.
If he is in a state which merits punishment, He veils him from it, and if he is in a state which does not merit punishment,
He protects him from a state which would merit it. He is "protected from wrong action", "safeguarded", and other descriptions
of that sort. The Giver is Allah in the sense that He is the Treasurer of all that is in His treasury, and Allah only brings
forth from it according to a predestined decree through the intermediary of a name particular to that matter. So He gives
everything its created form (18) according to the name, the Just, and its brothers.
The Names of Allah are endless
because they are known by what comes from them, and what comes from them is endless, even though they can be traced back to
the limited roots which are the matrices of the Names or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but one of the Names
or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but One Reality which assumes all these relations and aspects which are
designated by the Divine Names. The Reality grants that each of the Names, which manifest themselves without end, has a reality
by which it is distinguished from another Name. It is that reality by which it is distinguished which is the Name itself -
not that which it shares.
It is the same with the gifts - every gift is distinct from another by personal nature, although
they come from a single source. It is evident that this one is not that one. That is because the Names are distinct. Because
of its boundlessness, in the Divine Presence there is nothing at all which repeats itself. This is the truth which is determined.
was the knowledge of Shith, peace be upon him, and its spirit aids every spirit which discusses the like of this, except for
the spirit of the Seal who receives replenishing knowledge directly from Allah, not from any spirit. No, rather it is from
his spirit that his substance flows to all spirits, although he may not perceive that of himself at the time when his elemental
body existed. However, in respect to his reality and his rank, he knows all of that essentially, just as he is ignorant of
the composition of the elements (of his body). So he has knowledge and is ignorant, and he is capable of being described by
contrary attributes even as the Origin admits of description with opposites such as the Majestic and the Beautiful, the Outward
and the Inward, the Last and the First - and they are the same, and not other than Him. Therefore, he knows and does not know,
and he perceives and does not perceive, and he sees and does not see. It is by this knowledge that Shith received his name
because it means "the gift". In His hand is the key to the gifts in their various types and relationships So Allah gave him
to Adam, and he was the first gift, and He only gave it from Himself.
This was the knowledge of Shith, peace be upon
him, and its spirit aids every spirit which discusses the like of this, except for the spirit of the Seal who receives replenishing
knowledge directly from Allah, not from any spirit. No, rather it is from his spirit that his substance flows to all spirits,
although he may not perceive that of himself at the time when his elemental body existed. However, in respect to his reality
and his rank, he knows all of that essentially, just as he is ignorant of the composition of the elements (of his body). So
he has knowledge and is ignorant, and he is capable of being described by contrary attributes even as the Origin admits of
description with opposites such as the Majestic and the Beautiful, the Outer and the Inner, the Last and the First - and they
are the same, and not other than Him. Therefore, he knows and does not know, and he perceives and does not perceive, and he
sees and does not see. It is by this knowledge that Shith received his name because it means "the gift". In His hand is the
key to the gifts in their various types and relationships So Allah gave him to Adam, and he was the first gift, and He only
gave it from Himself.
All gifts in phenomenal being are manifested in this fashion - so no one receives anything from
Allah and no-one receives anything which does not come from himself. Not everyone recognises this. Only a few of the people
of Allah know it. When you see one who recognises that, rely on him, for that one is the source of the purest purity and the
elite of the elite of the Men of Allah. Whenever a person of unveiling sees a form which communicates to him gnosis which
he did not have and which he had not been able to grasp before, that form is from his own source, no other. From the tree
of himself he gathers the fruits of his cultivation, as his outer form opposite the reflected body is nothing other than himself,
even though the place of the presence in which he sees the form of himself presents him with an aspect of the reality of that
presence through transformation. The large appears small in the small mirror and tall in the tall, and the moving as movement.
It can reverse its form from a special presence, and it can reflect things exactly as they appear, so the right side of the
viewer is his right side, while the right side can be on the left. This is generally the normal state in mirrors, and it is
a break in the norm when the right side is seen as the right and inversion occurs. All this is from the gifts of the reality
of the Presence in which it is manifested and which we have compared to the mirror.
Whoever recognises his predisposition,
recognises what he will receive. Not everyone who knows what he will receive, knows his predisposition, unless he knows it
after receiving it, and this one knows it in a general way. Some people who are weak of intellect think that since it confirmed
with them that Allah does what He wills, they deem it admissible that He could contradict wisdom and what the matter is in
itself. (19) Because of this, some of them go so far as to deny the possibility and affirm that which is necessary by essence
and by other. The man who has achieved realisation, however, admits the possibility and knows its presence and knows what
is possible and how it is possible, since in its source it is necessarily existent because of something other-than-it. From
where is the name of other, which determines its necessity, valid for it? No one knows this distinction except those with
particular knowledge of Allah.
It is in the footsteps of Shith that the last of this human species will be born, and
he will carry his secrets. There will none of this species born after him, so he will be the Seal of the Begotten. A sister
will be born with him, and she will emerge before him, and he will follow her with his head at her feet. He will be born in
China, and he will speak the language of his country. Sterility will spread in men and women, so there will be much cohabitation
without conception. He will call people to Allah, but will not be answered. When Allah takes him and the believers of his
time, those who remain will be like beasts, not knowing what is lawful (halâl) from what is unlawful (harâm). They will act
according to their natural instincts with lust, devoid of reason and law. Upon them the Last Hour will occur.
Notes to to Chapter 2:
1. Nafth, to puff, blow
or spit, hence inspiration. Hadith, "He (Jibril) inspired or put (nafatha) into my heart..." Hence poetry is called the nafth
2. The people of the presence are those who see everything as coming to them from Allah and everything as
effected by Allah.
4. Like the Giving, the Provider.
5. Tanzih, making Allah free of any connection
to His creation. Names like the Absolutely Pure (al-Quddûs).
6. The people of words - theologians and philosophers. They
are unable to enter the realm of reflection and meditation that is the Sufic domain, and thus some of them oppose the Sufic
teaching - mistaking the doctrine's meanings since they cannot intellectually identify them with a specific set of physical
practices and direct inner experience.
7. A manifestation by which something is made clear and unobscured, as the bride
is displayed to the husband or the rust removed from a sword or mirror so that it shines. The tajalli is the unveiling of
a spiritual reality in the realm of vision. It is a direct-seeing into the nature of existence, a showing forth of the secrets
of the One in the celestial and terrestial realms.
8. Mithâl, a Qur'anic term which indicates learning not by logical
but by analogical method. It is simply the ACCESS to the parable and not the parable or any idea that the "metaphor" equals
its interpretation. It has no specificity. Mithal is grasped "on the wing" so to speak. It cannot be explored or analysed
or extended. That is to say it must not be approached rationally but emphathetically with direct and clear seeing-into.
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.
10. After Badr, Abu Bakr asked the Prophet to either forgive or allow the prisoners to be ransomed.
'Umar said that they should be killed. Eventually, the Muslims reached a consensus that the captives should be ransomed and
they were. Later the verse was revealed, "It is not for a Prophet to take captives..." (8:67)
11. When the Prophet had
been asked about whether palm-trees should be pollinated and then later said, "You have the best knowledge of these things
of your world."
12. Rijal (sing. rajul): The men. Meaning the men of gnosis and illumination. Those who know - that is
- who know how-it-is, and not the veiled fantasy experience of so-called ordinary sensory perception which is, as we now know,
in direct contradiction to the physical reality of matter according to high-energy physics.
13. cf. Qur'an 18:65.
Hadith in al-Bukhari (2815) and Muslim.
15. Hadith in at-Tirmidhi and Musnad Ibn Hanbal.
16. Qur'an 42:28, "It is
He who sends down abundant rain after they have lost all hope, and He unfolds His mercy; He is the Praiseworthy, the Wali."
17. He only can open the door of intercession because it is a a special gift to him alone.
18. Qur'an 20:50: "Our
Lord is He who gives each thing its created form and then guides it."
19. i.e. they permit that He do the impossible,
like making existence non-existence or non-existence existence.
3) The Seal of the Wisdom of the Breath of Divine Inspiration
In the Word of Nuh (Noah)
Know that disconnection (tanzîh) among
the people of realities in respect to Allah is the same as limitation and qualification, so the one who disconnects is either
ignorant or ill-mannered if he only applies disconnection to Him and believes that about Him. (2) When the believer who follows
the Sharî'a disconnects and stops at that, and does not see anything else, he displays ill manners and slanders Allah and
the Messengers - may the blessings of Allah be upon them! - although he is not aware of it. He imagines that he has reached
the target and yet he has missed it, so he is like the one who believes in part and rejects part. (3)
knows that when the language of the various Sharî'as speaks about Allah as they do, they speak to the common people in the
first sense, and to the elite in every sense which can be understood from the various aspects of that expression in any language
in the usage of that language.
Allah manifests Himself in a special way in every creature. He is the Outwardly Manifest
in every graspable sense, and He is the Inwardly Hidden from every understanding except the understanding of the one who says
that the universe is His form (4) and His He-ness (huwiyya), and it is the name, the Outwardly Manifest. Since He is, by meaning,
the spirit of whatever is outwardly manifest, He is also the Inwardly Hidden. His relation to whatever is manifested of the
forms of the world is the relation of the governing spirit to the form. The definition of man, for example, includes both
his inward and outward; and it is the same with every definable thing. Allah is defined in every definition, yet the forms
of the universe are not held back and He is not contained by them. One only knows the limits of each of their forms according
to what is attained by each knower of his form. For that reason, one cannot know the definition of Allah, for one would only
know His definition by knowing the definition of every form. This is impossible to attain, so the definition of Allah is impossible.
Similarly, whoever connects without disconnection has given limits to Allah and does not know Him. Whoever combines connection
and disconnection in his gnosis, and describes Allah with both aspects in general - because it is impossible to conceive in
detail because we lack the ability to encompass all the forms which the universe contains - has known Him in general and not
in particular, as he knows himself generally and not in particular. For that reason, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, linked knowledge (ma'rifa) of Allah to knowledge of oneself and said, "Whoever knows himself knows his Lord."
Allah says, "We will show them Our signs on the horizons (what is outside of you) and in themselves (what is your source)
until it is clear to them (the contemplators) that it is the Truth," (41:53) inasmuch as you are His form and He is your spirit.
You are to Him as your body-form is to you, and He is to you as the spirit which governs the body.
The definition contains
your inwardness and outwardness, for the form remains when the spirit which governs it departs, and it is no longer man, but
one can speak of it as resembling the form of man. There is no difference between it and the form made of wood or stone, upon
which the name of man is only applied by metaphor and not by reality. Allah cannot vanish from the forms of the universe,
as His definition of His divinity is by reality, not metaphor, as the definition of man applies only so long as he is alive.
As the exterior of the form of man praises both his spirit, and the self governed by it, with his tongue, similarly Allah
made the forms of the universe which glorify His praise, but we do not understand their glorifying. (5) We do not embrace
all forms in the universe. All are tongues of Allah uttering the praise of Allah and for that reason He said, "Praise be to
Allah, the Lord of all the worlds," (1:1) i.e. all types of praise refer to Him. He is the Praiser and the One praised.
you speak of disconnection, you limit Him,
and if you speak of connection, you define Him.
If you speak of the two
then you are free of error
and you are an Imam and a master in knowledges of gnosis.
He who affirms
duality, falls into shirk, and whoever speaks of uniqueness is a unifier. (6) Take care lest you be a dualist by connection,
and take care lest you be a isolator by disconnection.
You are not Him, rather you are Him
and you see Him in the
source of thing,
absolute and limited at the same time.
Allah says, "There is nothing like Him," and so He disconnects,
"and He is the Hearing, the Seeing," (42:11) so He connects. Allah says, "There is nothing like Him," so He connects and doubles
it, (7) and "He is the Hearing, the Seeing." Then He uses disconnection and makes Himself Unique.
If Nuh had combined
these two calls for his people, they would have answered him. He called them openly (71:8), and he called them secretly (71:9).
Then he said to them, "Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Endlessly Forgiving." (71:10) He said, "I have called my
people night and in the day, but my calling has only made them more evasive" (71:5-6) because they knew what they had to do
in answering his call.
So the knowledge of those who know Allah is what Nuh indicated in respect to his people by praising
them through blame. He knew that they would not answer his call because of the furqân (8) it contained. The command is the
Qur'an, not the Furqân. Whoever is established in the Qur'an does not incline to the Furqân. Even if the Furqân is in the
Qur'an, the Qur'an contains the Furqân but the Furqân does not contain the Qur'an. For this reason, no one was favoured by
the QurÕan except Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and this community which is the "best community ever
to be produced before mankind." (3:110)
So "there is nothing like Him" unified several matters in one single matter.
If Nuh had articulated something like of this âyat, his people would have responded to him, because it contains connection
and disconnection in a single âyat, rather in half an âyat.
Nuh, peace be upon him, peace be upon him, called on his
people at night in respect to their intellects and spirituality (rûhânîyya), which are unseen; and by day he called on them
in respect to their outer forms and arrival. In his call, he did not unify with anything, like "there is nothing like Him."
So their inward had a distaste for this separation, and it increased them in evasion. Then he said of himself that he called
upon them that He might forgive them, not that He be unveiled to them. They understood that from him. That is why "they put
their fingers in their ears and wrapped themselves in their clothes," (71:7) and this is the form of veiling to which he called
them. So they answered his call by action, not by saying, "At your service."
There is both the confirmation of likeness
and its negation in "There is nothing like Him." For this reason, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said
of himself, "I have been given all the words." (9) Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not call on his people by night and day,
but rather he called upon them by night in the day and by day in the night. Nuh said in his wisdom to his people, "He will
send heaven down on you in abundant rain," (71:11) which is intellectual gnosis in meanings and metaphorical speculation,
and "He will reinforce you with wealth," i.e. by what comes to you from Him.
Thus it is your wealth in which you have
seen your form. So whoever among you imagines that he has seen Him, does not have gnosis, and whoever of you knows that he
has seen himself, he is the gnostic. For this reason people are divided into those who know Allah and those who do not know.
"And sons" is what results from their logical speculation while the knowledge of the business (to which Nuh called them) is
based upon contemplation which is far from the results of thought. Their trade did not profit them, (10) so what they had
in their hands, which they only imagined they possessed, vanished from them.
The kingdom belongs to the people of Muhammad,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for Allah says "Give of that to which He has made you successors." (11) (57:7) For
the people of Nuh it is, "Do not take anyone besides Me as a guardian." (17:2) The kingdom was confirmed for the people of
Muhammad, and the guardianship in it belongs to Allah. The people of Muhammad are the khalîfs in it. The kingdom belongs to
Allah and He is their guardian, and that is the kingdom of being appointed khalif. For this reason, Allah is the "King of
the kingdom" (12) as at-Tirmidhi says. "They have hatched a mighty plotting," (71:22) because calling to Allah is the plotting
of the the One called; since He does not lack the beginning, He is called to the end, so they call to Allah. This is the source
of devising according to inner sight. Nuh said, "The affair belongs entirely to Him," so they answered Him with plotting as
He called them.
The people of Muhammad came and knew what the call to Allah was in respect of its He-ness, rather what
it is in respect to His Names. Allah says, "The day those who are godfearing are gathered to the All-Merciful." (13) So He
used the "particle of the end" (ilâ - to) and joined it to that Name, and we recognise that the universe is under the care
of a Divine Name which requires them to be among the "godfearing". The reality of taqwâ (14) is that man avoids ascribing
blessings, perfections and praiseworthy attributes to himself or to others, except for Allah. He fears Allah through His acts
and attributes. These things are evils from the spring of possibilities. They said in their plotting, "Do not abandon your
gods. Do not abandon Wadd or Suwa' or Yaghuth or Ya'uq or Nasr." (71:22) Then they abandoned them ignorant of the Truth according
to what they left of the idols. Allah has an aspect in every worshipped thing. Whoever recognises it, recognises, and whoever
is ignorant of it is ignorant among the people of Muhammad. Your Lord decreed that you should worship only Him that
is the judgement of your Lord.
The one who possesses knowledge knows who the slave is and in what form he is manifested
as far as he is a slave. Separation and multiplicity are like the limbs of the sensory form and like faculties of meaning
(15) of the spiritual form. He only worships Allah in every worshipped object. The lowest one is the one who imagines that
godness is contained in it. Were it not for this illusion, stones and other things would not have been worshipped. This is
why He said, "Say: Name them!" (13:33) If they had named them, they would have named stone, tree, or star. If they had been
asked, "Who do you worship?" they would have replied, "God". They would not say "Allah" or "the god".
The highest knower
does not use this imagination, (16) but rather he says that this is a divine tajalli which one must exalt, and he does not
restrict himself. The lowest one is the one possessed of fantasy: "We only worship them so that they bring us neared to Allah."
(39:3) The highest knower says, "Your god is One God, so submit to Him," (22:34) wherever He is manifest, "and give good news
to the humble-hearted" who humble the fire of their nature. They spoke to it (the fire), and did not say "nature". "They have
misguided many people," (71:24) i.e. they perplexed many in the multiplicity of the One by aspects and relations. "Do not
increase not the wrongdoers" because their selves are from the totality of the chosen ones who inherited the Book and they
are the first of the three, (17) which precedes the ambivalent and the outdoer, "in anything but misguidance", except in the
perplexity of the man of Muhammad who says, "Increase me in perplexity." (18) "Every time it shines on them, they walk in
it. When the darkness comes over them, they stop." (2:20) So the perplexed one turns about, and the circular movement is about
the axis which he does not leave.
The one who has a stretched-out path is inclined to leave the goal, seeking what
the possessor of imagination has in it, and his end is that imagination. He has "from" and "to" and what is between them.
The one who has a circular movement has no beginning, "from", which clings to him, and no end, "to", is judged of him. Thus
he has the most perfect existence. He "is given all the words" (19) and wisdoms. "And because of their errors" which is that
which is recorded for them, "they were drowned" in the seas of the knowledge of Allah which is perplexity among the men of
Muhammad. When the seas were heated up, (20) "they were put into a fire" in the source of water, "and they found no one to
help them besides Allah." (71:25) Allah is the source of their helpers, and so they were destroyed in it for time without
end. If He had brought them out to the shore, the shore of nature, He would have brought them down from this high degree.
All belongs to Allah and is by Allah, rather it is Allah.
Nuh said, "My Lord!" and he did not say, "My God," for the
Lord has immutability, and "God" differs according to the Names. So "every day He is engaged in some affair." (55:29) By Lord,
he meant something with an immutable quality. "Do not leave upon the earth" and he called on them to go into its Muhammadan
interior. "If you let down a rope, it would fall on Allah," (21) "to Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the
earth." When you are buried in it, you are in it and it is your container, and "We will return you into it and We will bring
you forth from it again," (20:55) by the difference of existence. "...of the unbelievers" who wrap themselves in their garments
and put their fingers in their ears, seeking veiling because he called on them that He might forgive them. Forgiveness is
the veiling of wrong actions, "not even one" so that the benefit will become universal like the call. "If You leave any,"
i.e. if You call them and then leave them, "they will misguide Your slaves," i.e. confuse them and so bring them out of their
service to what they have of the secrets of lordship. They will think themselves lords after they were slaves in themselves.
Thus they are slaves and lords. "They will spawn nothing" i.e. they will not have any result or manifest anything except their
being shameless that is, the manifestation of what veils the unbelievers is that they were veiled from what appeared
after their manifestation. They manifested that which veils, so they were veiled after their appearance.
is confused and does not recognise the goal of the shameless in shamelessness, (22) or the unbeliever in his disbelief, yet
the person is but one. "My Lord, forgive me," i.e. veil me and that which concerns me so that my rank and station are unknown,
as the rank of Allah are unknown in His statement, "They do measure Allah with His true measure"; (23) "and my parents" of
whom I am a result, and they are the intellect and nature; "and all who enter my house," i.e. my heart, "as believers" believing
in what it contains of divine reports, and it is what their selves occasioned, "And all the believers, men (the intellects)
and women (the selves)."
"Do not increase the wrongdoers (dhâlimîn)" who are from the darkness (dhulumât), the people
of the unseen, hiding behind the veils of darkness, "except in ruin" i.e. in destruction. Thus, they do not recognise themselves
because they see the Face of Allah outside of them. Among the men of Muhammad, "All things are passing except His Face." (28:88)
Ruin is destruction. Whoever wishes to understand the secrets of Nuh must rise into the sphere of Nuh. (24) It is in our book,
Notes to to Chapter 3:
1. Subbûh, name applied to Allah, the All-Perfect, disconnected
2. If he does not go on to include tashbih, connection.
3. cf. Qur'an 4:149: "Those who reject
Allah and His Messengers and desire to make division between Allah and His Messengers, saying, 'We believe in some and reject
4. By manifesting His attributes and Essence since everything is a proof and indication of Him.
5. Ref. to
Qur'an 17:44, "There is nothing which does not glorify Him with praise, but you do not understand their glorification."
In this case, ignorant of the multiplicity of His Names and Attributes.
7. "Like Him" = "ka-mithlihi", the word "like"
occurs twice: "ka" and "mithl", so like negates like, like a double negative.
8. Furqan: One of the names of the Qur'an,
meaning a "discrimination" that which separates or distiguishes. Here presented as an opposite in a dyad: Qur'an/furqan, that
9. Hadith in al-Bukhari and Muslim.
10. Reference to Qur'an, 2:16, "Those are the people
who have sold guidance for misguidance. Their trade has brought no profit. They are not guided."
Since He answers His slave who is the "kingdom". Technical term used by al-Hakim at-Tirmidhi and Abu Madyan, discussed by
Ibn al-'Arabi in the Futuhat al-Makkiyya, Chapter 24, vol. I, p. 182.
13. ref. Qur'an 19:85.
14. Fearfulness of Allah
which is reflected in one's behaviour.
15. Meaning. Meaning does not carry the ordinary connotative significance that
it has in the science of semantics. In the Sufic science meaning is not allied, but inseparable from the experience of the
recognition of meaning. In other words, it is not a "thing" which can be apprehended with the qualities of thingness. It is
a mode of experiencing which takes places in a zone of awareness that is in itself a realm of the inward reality cognised
in the waking state. Meaning/sensory, ma'na/hiss.
16. Khayal: An important term. Khayal means imagination, but in the
special technical language of Ibn al-'Arabi the khayal contains an outer and inner meaning. Its outer (not inner) meaning
is imagining in the ordinary sense of a "tangible reality" which is experienced mentally yet remans unreal, that is, untouchable
and non-physical. Its inner meaning, however, is that faculty by
which we solidify the objects - which are according to
unveiling basically "not-there" - spatiality itself. There is much resistance to this in "rational" and programmed intellects
as there is of the hand to the rock in "common sense" experience. The rock is there, it does not budge. There is, it must
not be forgotten, a threshold situation where this is not so, for if the subject were brain-damaged, subjected to a hallucinogen,
or hypnotic trance, then the object would experientially melt away. That is still not the same as seeing in which things are
seen as-they-as in one unified field without differentiation, while altert within that condition of experiencing. And this
state brings with it wisdom beyond the recognition of how-it-is at that moment - in other words a new understanding is established
by the experience.
17. Ref to Qur'an 35:32, "...but some of them wrong themselves, some are ambivalent, and some outdo
each other in good."
18. Hayra: Bewilderment. A Key term. Hayra is not a negative situation - it is the condition in which
the seeker finds every intellectual channel blocked, every pathway of reason clashing against the other in contradiction so
that it induces in the seeker a state of intensity. This intensity by virtue of its inner tension creates a condition we call
hayra. It is a collapse of separation - a kind of "white hole" - which results in gatheredness. That is, the hayra creates
a new condition which is its result and that result is a breakthrough into an illumination of the Real.
19. Meaning the
Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who was given all the words.
20. By the oven (from which the
water gushed out of the earth in the Flood.)
22. The manifestation of lordship.
23. 6:91, 22:84, 39:67.
24. The Sphere of the Sun.
4: The Seal of the Wisdom of Sanctification (Quddûs)
in the Word of Idris
Elevation has two references - one of place and one of rank. Elevation of place is "We raised him up to
a high place," (19:57) and the highest of places is that upon which the mill of the world of the spheres revolves. It is the
sphere of the sun and in it is the station of the spirituality of Idris, peace be upon him! There are seven heavens under
it and seven heavens above it, and it is the fifteenth. That which is above it is the red heaven, i.e. Mars, the heaven of
Jupiter, Saturn, the heaven of fixed stars, the Starless Heaven and the heaven of the constellations, the heaven of the Kursi
and the heaven of the 'Arsh. That which is below it is the heaven of Venus, Mercury, the Moon, the circle of ether, the circle
of air, the circle of water, and the circle of earth. It is is the axis of the heavens, and it is a "high place".
for the elevation of rank, it is for us, the people of Muhammad. Allah said, "When you are uppermost and Allah is with you"
(47:35) in this height. He exalts Himself above place, not above rank. When the selves of those among us who do deeds are
afraid, He follows the mention of "being with" with His words, "He would not cheat you of your deeds." The deed demands place
and knowledge demands rank. So He joined the two heights for us - elevation of place by deed and elevation of rank by knowledge.
Then to disconnect the association of being with, He said, "Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High," (87:1) above this
association in meaning.
It is one of the most wondrous of matters that man is the highest of existent things - I mean
the Perfect Man, and elevation is only attributed to him by subordination either to place or rank which is a degree. So he
is not high by his essence, he is high by the height of place and the height of rank, for these possess height. Height of
place is like the All-Merciful settling on the throne, (1) and it is the highest of places. Height of rank is "All things
are passing except His Face," (28:88) and "the whole affair will be returned to Him," (11:123) and nothing has existence along
When Allah said, "We raised him up to a high place," He made high an adjective for place. Since your Lord
said to the angels, "I am putting a khalif in the earth," (2:30) this is height of rank. He said about the angels, "Were you
overcome by arrogance, or are you one of the exalted?" (38:75) so He gave elevation to the angels. If the angels had possessed
that elevation by simple virtue of the fact that they are angels, then all the angels would have been included in this elevation.
It was not common to them in the definition of angel. We recognise that this is elevation of rank with Allah. It is the same
for the khalifs of the people. If their elevation with the khalifate had been an elevation by essence, every man would have
it. It is not general and so we know that that elevation is by rank.
One of His names is the High. Over whom, when there
is nothing except Him? So He is the High by His Essence. Is He is High over that which is particular, when there is no He
except Him? His elevation is by virtue of Himself, and He, in respect to existence, is the source of existents. Those in-time
things which He calls high in themselves are not other than Him. He was the High when there was no height of relativity because
the source-forms in non-existence had not smelt the scent of existence. They remain in their state in spite of the multiplicity
of forms in existents, but the source is the same from the whole in the whole. The existence of multiplicity lies in the names
which are the relationships, and they are non-existent matters. There is only the source which is the Essence. He is High
through Himself, not by any ascription to another. From this standpoint, there is no height of relative relation in the universe,
but the aspects of existence which are distinct. The height of relativity exists in the one Source in respect of the many
aspects. For that reason, you say of Him, Him and not Him, and you and not you.
Al-Kharraz, (2) may Allah have mercy
on him, who is one of the aspects of Allah and one of His tongues with which He speaks of Himself, said that one only has
gnosis by joining opposites together in respect of Him. "He is the First and the Last, the Outwardly Manifest and the Inwardly
Hidden." (57:3) He is the source of what appears and the source of what is hidden in the state of its manifestation. There
is none who sees Him other than Him and there is none who is hidden from Him. So He is manifest to Himself and hidden from
Himself. He is called Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz and other than that from the names of things in-time.
The Hidden says "No"
while the Manifest says, "Me," and the Manifest says, "No" while the Hidden says, "Me". This is found in every opposite, yet
the speaker is one, and he is the same as the hearer in the statement of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
about what their selves say, (3) for they speak and hear what they say, and know what their selves say. The source is but
one, even if the judgements are different. There is no way that anyone can be ignorant of this sort of thing. Every man knows
from himself, and it is the form of the Real.
So things are mixed and numbers appear by the one in the known ranks.
Thus "one" brought number into existence, and number divides the One. The principle of number only appeared through the numbered.
Part of the numbered is non-existent, and part is existent. The thing is non-existent in relation to the senses while it is
existent in relation to the intellect. There must be number and numbered. That must grow from one and it grows because of
it. Every rank of the numbers has one reality like 9, for example, and 10 and down to 2, and upwards without end, and its
reality is not a sum.
A name is not perceived by the addition of ones. 2 is one reality, and 3 is one reality, and
so on until the end of these ranks. Even though the source [of numbers] is one, the source of one of them is not the source
of the others. Addition encompasses them all, and it speaks of them from them and judges them by them. Twenty ranks (4) appeared
in this statement, so composition entered into them. You will continue to affirm the source of what you deny in itself. Whoever
recognises what we have related of the numbers, and that negation is the same as their affirmation, knows that the Real, who
is disconnected by disconnection, is creature by connection, even though the creature is distinct from the Creator. The matter
is the creature/Creator and it is the Creator/creature. That is from one source, rather is is the One source and it is many
sources. Look at what you see!
Ibrahim¹s son told him, "My father, do what you are ordered." (37:102) The child is
the same as his father, so he only saw himself sacrificing himself, "and He ransomed him with an immense sacrifice." (5) That
which was manifested as a ram was manifested in the form of a human, and manifested in the form of a son. Rather, it is by
the principle of the son being the same as the father. "He created from (one self) his mate." (4:1) He (6) married his own
self, and from him are both his companion and his child. The matter is one in number. It is the same for nature and what is
manifested from it. We do not see it diminishing by what appears from it nor increasing by the lack of what other than it
manifests. That which is manifested is not other than it, nor is it the same as what is manifested according to the variety
of forms in principle. This one is cold and dry, and that one is hot and dry. They are joined by dryness, and distinct by
another quality. The common source is nature, and the world of nature is composed of forms in one mirror. Rather, it is one
form in different mirrors.
There is only bewilderment (hayra) by the dispersal of perspectives. Whoever knows what
we have said is not bewildered. If he increases in knowledge, it is only from the principle of place, and place is the same
as the source-form in which the Real varies in the locus of His tajalli. Conditions vary, so He assumes every condition. There
is no condition except for the source in which He make tajalli of Himself, and there is nothing except this.
aspect, Allah is creature, so interpret!
And by this aspect, He is not creature, so remember!
The inner sight of whoever
what I have said is not confused, and only
the one who perceives it possesses sight.
The source of
joining and separating is the same,
and it is multiplicity which never remains or departs.
The One who is High
in Himself is the One who possesses the perfection in which all matters of existence are absorbed, as are all non-existent
relations, inasmuch as it is not possible that any of these attributes be lacking from Him, be they praiseworthy by custom,
logic, or law, or blameworthy by custom, logic or law. That belongs only to the One named Allah. As for what is named other-than-Allah,
it is either a locus of His tajalli or a form which is in it. If it is the locus of His tajalli, it contains distinction.
Be-cause of that, there must be distinction between the One who makes tajalli and the place of tajalli; if it is a form in
it, that form is the source of the essential perfection because it is the same as what is manifested in it. That which belongs
to Allah belongs to that form. However, it is not said that it is Him nor that it is other-than-Him.
Qasi (7) indicated this in his book, The Removal of the Sandals, and he said, "Each Divine Name is qualified by all the Divine
Names, and described by their description." It is so. Each Name indicates the Essence and the meaning which is set out for
it and which demonstrates it. In respect to its indication of the Essence, it possesses all the names, and in respect to its
indication of the meaning which is singular to it, it is distinct from others, such as the Lord, the Creator, the Fashioner,
etc. The Name is the same as the Named in respect to the Essence, and the Name is other than the Named in respect to the meaning
which is particular to it.
If you have understood that the "high" is as we have mentioned, you know that it is neither
place nor height of rank, for height of rank is particular to the administration of authority, like the Sultan and the judge,
wazirs and qadis, and all who have rank, be they worthy of that rank or not. Height is by attributes which are not like that.
The most knowledgeable of people can be ruled by the person with the position of power, even if that person is the most ignorant
of people. This is the height of rank according to the principle of what he has over me in himself. When he retires, his high
rank vanishes. The one with knowledge is not like that.
Notes to Chapter 4:
1. Qur'an 7:54, "...then He
settled Himself firmly on the Throne."
2. Abu Sa'id Ahmad ibn 'Isa al-Kharraz, died in Cairo 286/899. He said, "I only
knew Allah by joining the opposites," and then recited, "He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward."
Hadith, "Allah forgives my people what their selves say to then as long as they do not act upon that."
4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 1000.
5. "And We ransomed him with an immense sacrifice." Qur'an:
7. Sufi leader of rebellion against the Murabitun in the Algarve.
5: The Seal of the Wisdom of Being Lost in Love (1)
in the Wisdom of Ibrahim (Abraham)
Ibrahim is called the intimate friend, and he was an intimate
friend (khalîl), because he was penetrated (takhallal) and gathered all the qualities of the Divine Essence. The poet says:
pervaded the course of my spirit,
and that is why the intimate friend is called the intimate friend.
It is like
the colour which permeates the coloured, so it is a non-essential matter ('arad) in respect to its essential substance (jawhar),
and it is not like the place and that which it occupies. Or it means the penetration of the Real into the existence of the
form of Ibrahim. Each of these two principles is true as was mentioned, for each points to an aspect which appears without
Do you not see that the Real is manifest in the qualities of beings in-time and He gives news of that
from Himself, and He is even manifest in the attributes of imperfection and the attributes of blame? Do you not see that the
creature is manifest with the qualities of the Real from first to last, and all of them belong to him as the attributes of
in-time things belong to the Real? "Praise belongs to Allah," so the results of praise from every praiser and one praised
go back to Him, and "the whole affair will be returned to Him," (11:132) It includes what is blameworthy and praiseworthy,
and there is only one or the other.
Know that when something is penetrated by something the first is contained by the
second, so the penetrating is the name of the actor veiled by the penetrated, which is the name of the one acted upon, and
it is the Outwardly Manifest. The name of the actor is the Veiled, the Inwardly Hidden. It is its food, as water permeates
wool and so makes it expand. If the Real is the Outwardly Manifest, then the creature is veiled within Him, and creation is
all theNames of the Real, His hearing and seeing, and all His ascriptions and discernments. If the creature is outwardly manifest,
then the Real is veiled and hidden in him, and so the Real is the hearing of the creature, and his seeing, hand and foot,
and all his faculties as it related in sound hadith. (2)
If the Essence were exempt from these relations, it would
not be divinity. These relations are made by our sources, so we make Him god by our dependence on His godness. He is not recognised
until we are recognised. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Whoever knows himself knows his Lord." Such a person is the
creature with the most knowledge of Allah. Some sages, especially Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, claim that one can have gnosis of
Allah through disregarding the world. This is false. Indeed, the non-time pre-time is not recognised as god until that which
depends on its being God is known. Thus it is a proof of Him. Then after this, in the second state, (3) unveiling accords
you that the Real Himself is the source of the proof of Himself and His godness. The universe is but His tajalli in the forms
of their source-forms whose existence is impossible without Him. He assumes various forms and modes according to the realities
of these sources and their states, and this is after our knowledge of Him that He is our God.
Then the last unveiling
comes, so our forms appear to you in Him, and some of us appear to others in the Real, and then some of us recognise each
other and some of us are distinct from one another. Among us are those who recognise that our recognition of ourselves occurs
in the Real, and some of us are unaware of the presence in which this recognition of ourselves takes place. "I seek refuge
with Allah from being one of the ignorant." (2:67)
By the two unveilings together, He only judges us by ourselves,
rather we judge ourselves by ourselves, but through Him. That is why He says, "Allah's is the conclusive argument," (6:149)
meaning against those who are veiled when they say to the Real, in conformity with their desires, "Why did you do this or
that to us?", thinking that it was not in conformity with their desires. "On the Day when the legs are bared," (68:42) means
the matter which the gnostics unveil here. They see that the Real did not do to them what they allege that He did, but that
it was from themselves. For He only lets them know what they are in themselves. From this their argument will dissolve, and
the decisive proof of Allah will remain.
If you say, what is the benefit of His words, "If He had willed, He could
have guided every one of you," (6:149; 16:9) we say in If He willed "if (law)" is a particle of impossibility showing impossibility.
He only willed the matter as it is. But the source of possibility accepts the thing and its opposite in the principle of logical
proof, and it is the same with any two logical principles. That which occurs is that which the possibility implies in the
state of its immutability. The meaning of "If We had guided you" is, had He shown you the Truth. Allah does not open the inner
eye of every possibility in the universe to the perception of the matter as it is. There are those who know and those who
are ignorant. Allah did not so will, so He did not guide all of them, and He will not will it, and it is the same as if He
had willed it. How would He will this which is not? His volition is unified in its connections. It is a relationship dependent
on the known, and the known is you and your states. Knowledge does not have an effect on the known, rather the known has an
effect on knowledge, and so it accords from itself what it is in its source.
Divine discourse relates according to
what agrees with the ones addressed and what logical reflection accords it. It does not come according to what unveiling gives.
For that reason, there are many believers, but the gnostics who possess unveiling are few. "There is not one of us who does
not have a known station," (37:164) and it is what you are in your state of immutability which you manifest in your existence.
This is if it is confirmed that you have existence. If existence is confirmed to the Real and not to you, the judgement is
yours without a doubt in the existence of the Real. If it is confirmed that you are existent, then the judgement is yours
without a doubt, even if the judge is the Real. It is only the overflowing of existence on you.
You only praise yourself
and you only blame yourself, and praise is only due to Allah for the overflowing of existence, for that is His, not yours.
You are His nourishment by conditions, and He is your nourishment by existence. He is specified by what specifies you. The
command comes from Him to you, and from you to Him, even though you are called obligated, a passive name (mukallaf), and He
is not called obligated since there is no imposition upon Him.
He praises me, and I praise Him.
He serves me and
I serve Him.
In one state I draw near to Him,
and in sources I deny Him.
So He knows me and I do not know Him,
and I know Him and I witness Him.
Where is independence
when I help Him and assist Him?
That is why the Real
brought me into existence.
Then I knew Him and manifested His existence.
Hadith (4) brought us that,
and in me
He achieved His goal.
Then the intimate friend, Ibrahim, peace be upon him!, possessed this rank by virtue of which
he was called the intimate friend. For that reason, he made hospitality to guests a sunna. Ibn Masarra (5) associates him
with the angel Mika'il in respect to provisions. Provision is that which nourishes those provided for: when provision permeates
the essence of the one provided for until nothing remains in it except permeation and nourishment flows in all the parts of
the one nourished. There are no parts in divinity, so all the divine stations are penetrated which are designated by the Names,
and by which His Essence is manifested.
We are His as our proofs confirm,
and we are ours.
Only my being belongs
and we are His as we are ours.
I have two aspects: Him and me,
but He does not have "me" through me.
His place of manifestation is in me,
so we are His - like me.
"Allah speaks the truth, and He guides to the Way."
Notes to Chapter 5:
1. Huyûm is the intense love and passion which causes bewilderment and distraction.
2. ref. to hadith qudsî via Abu Hurayra, "My slave does not draw near Me with anything I love more than what I have made
obligatory for him. My slave continues to draw near me with superogatory actions until I love him. When I love him, I am his
hearing with he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks." (Sahih
3. The first unveiling was annihilation (fanâ') and the second is going-on (baqâ').
4. "I created
existence so that I might be known."
5. Muhammad ibn Masarra al-Jabali, Andalusian Sufi and thinker, born in Granada 269
/883 and died near there in 319/931.
6: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Real
in the Word of Ishaq (Isaac)
ransom of a Prophet by an animal's sacrifice
as an offering!
How can the bleating of a ram be equal
to the voice
of a man?
Allah Almighty magnified the ram out of concern for us or for it,
but I do not see by what measure.
is no doubt that the bodies
of cows and camels are larger,
but they relinquished the rank of sacrifice
offering of the ram.
Would that I knew how a ram
replaced the khalif of the All-Merciful with its small body!
you not see that the command to sacrifice
implies correspondence and promises gain and diminishes loss?
There is no
creature higher than the mineral,
and after it comes the plant according to its ranks and measures.
The animal comes
after the plant,
and each one had gnosis of its Creator by unveiling and evident proof.
As for the one named Adam,
he is limited
by intellect, thinking, and the conventions of belief.
It is that which Sahl (at-Tustari) (1) and the
said as we do (2) - because we and they are in the degree of Ihsan.
Whoever witnesses the matter I have witnessed
will say what I have said, both secretly and openly.
Do not pay any attention to words
which contradict our words
and do not sow grain in the land of the blind!
They are the "deaf and dumb" in the text of the Qur'an
which the one
protected from wrong action brought for our ears.
Know, may Allah support us an you! that Ibrahim, the intimate friend,
peace be upon him, told his son, "I saw in a dream that I must sacrifice you." (37:102) He did not interpret it although the
dream is the presence of the imagination (khayâl). It was a ram which appeared in the form of Ibrahim's son, and Ibrahim confirmed
the vision. So his Lord ransomed his son from Ibrahim's illusion with the "mighty sacrifice", which was the interpretation
of the vision with Allah, but Ibrahim was not aware of it.
The tajalli of form in the presence of the imagination requires
another knowledge by which one can perceive what Allah means by that form. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, said to Abu Bakr when he interpreted a dream, "You have guessed part of it rightly, and you have missed part
of it it." Abu Bakr asked him to inform him of what was right in it and what was wrong, but the Prophet did not do so.
said to Ibrahim when He called him, "Ibrahim, you have discharged your vision." (37:105) He did not say to him, "You have
confirmed the vision that it is your son" because he did not interpret it. He took what he dreamt literally, whereas dreams
require interpretation. That is why the 'Aziz, the ruler of Egypt, said, "...if you can interpret dreams." (12:43) The meaning
of interpretation is the transposition from the form of what one dreamt to another form. The cattle represented the hard years
and the fertile years. If Ibrahim had been faithful to the dream, he would have sacrificed his son, since he believed in the
dream that it really was his son, whereas with Allah it meant the "mighty sacrifice" in the form of his son. He ransomed him
by what occurred in Ibrahim's mind, but it was not ransomed in actuality with Allah.
There is a common form to the
sensory form of the sacrifice and the imaginary form of Ibrahim's son. If he had seen a ram in his imagination, he would have
interpreted it as his son or something else. Then Allah said, "This was a most manifest trial," (37:106) i.e. his clear test,
meaning his experience in knowledge - whether or not he knew what the perspective of the dream required in the way of interpretation.
He knew that the place of the imagination required interpretation, but he neglected it and the condition inherent in it, and
for this reason he believed in the vision.
Taqi ibn Mukhallad, the transmitter of traditions, did so too, having heard
in a tradition he was sure of, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever sees me in a dream,
sees me when awake, for Shaytan cannot assume my form." (3) So Taqi ibn Mukhallad saw the Prophet in a dream in which the
Prophet gave him milk to drink. Taqi ibn Mukhallad believed his dream, but he made himself vomit and threw up the milk. If
he had interpreted the dream, he would have known that milk means knowledge, equal to the quantity that he drank. Do you not
see that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, received a goblet of milk in a dream and he said,
"I drank it until satiety came out of my nails, and then I gave the surplus to 'Umar." It was said, "Messenger of Allah, what
do you interpret it as?" He replied, "Knowledge." (4) He did not leave it as milk in its dream form since he had knowledge
of the state of dreams and how they must be interpreted. It is known that the form of the Prophet, peace be upon him, which
the senses see, is buried in Madina, and that the form of his spirit and his subtle form have never been seen by anyone nor
by himself. For this reason, the spirit of the Prophet takes on material existence in the form of his body as he died, and
nothing is missing from it. So it is Muhammad, peace be upon him, who appears in dreams through his spirit in a bodily form
which resembles his buried body, for Shaytan cannot assume the form of his body, (5) may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
and Allah protects the one who sees him. For this reason, whoever sees this form takes from it all that it orders or prohibits
or gives good news of, even as he takes judgements from him in the life of this world - according to what they indicate from
text, immediate or implicit. If he gives him something, that thing is subject to interpretation, unless it is manifest in
the senses as it is in the imagination, and so does not require interpretation. It is based on this aspect that Ibrahim, the
intimate friend, relied, even as Taqi ibn Mukhallad did. The vision has these two aspects. (6)
Allah taught us adab
in what He did with Ibrahim and what He said to him when He gave him the station of prophethood. We know that when we see
Allah in a form which logical reason rejects, we must interpret that form according to the Sharî'a, whether it is in the state
of the one who sees Him, or in the place in which He is seen, or the two together. If logical reason does not refute it, then
we take it as we saw it, just as when we see Allah in the Next World.
So the One, the All-Merciful,
has forms in
every place from what is hidden and what is manifest.
If you said, "This is the Real!" you spoke truly;
and if you
said, "It is something else," you interpreted.
His principle is not in one place rather than another,
but it brings
the Real to the creatures.
When He manifests Himself to the eyes,
the intellects deny him by insistent proofs.
is accepted in the tajalli to the intellects,
and in that which is called the imagination (khayâl).
That which is
sound is the seeing.
Abu Yazid, (7) may Allah be pleased with him, says of this station, (8) "Had the Throne, and
all it contains a hundred million times over, been in one of the corners of the heart of the gnostic, he would not have felt
it." This is the magnitude of Abu Yazid in the world of bodies, but I say, "If the limitlessness of that which exists could
be conceived of as being limited, and had it been contained as an existent source in one of the corners of the heart of the
gnostic, he would not have been aware of it in his knowledge." For it is confirmed that the heart contains Allah, although
it is not described by satiety. Had it been filled, it would have saturated.
Abu Yazid also said, "We have pointed
to this station, saying:
O Creator of things in Yourself,
You encompass all You have created!
You create that
whose being has no end in You,
for You are narrow and vast!
Had that which Allah created shone in my heart,
shining dawn would not have shone.
But that which contains Allah
does not exclude creation.
How is that, O Hearing?
Anyone can create by illusion in his imagination that which has no existence save in the imagination. This is a common
matter. By aspiration (himma), the gnostic creates that which has an outside existence in his aspiration. However, it continues
only as long as the aspiration continues to preserve it without being tired by preserving what it created. (9)
it happens that the gnostic neglects to preserve what he created by concentration, that creature ceases to exist, unless the
gnostic has mastered all the presences and does not neglect anything. Rather, he must witness at least one of these presences.
If the gnostic creates something by his aspiration and possesses this encompassment, that creature's form will appear in every
presence, and the form will preserve itself. If the gnostic neglects a presence or many presences while seeing one of the
presences, and while preserving the form of what he created in the presence he is in, all the forms will be preserved by the
preservation of that form in the presence which he does not neglect. For neglect is never universal, either among the common
or the elite. I have exposed a secret here which the People of Allah have guarded jealously, for it contains a refutation
of their allegation of being the Real. For the Real is never unconscious of anything, and the slave must be unconscious of
something in favour of something else. Inasmuch as he preserves that which he has created, he says, "I am the Real," (10)
but he does not maintain it the way the Real maintains it that is the difference. Inasmuch as he is unconscious of any
form and its presence, the slave is distinguished from the Real. He must be distinct, although all the forms are maintained
by his preservation of a single one of these in the presence of which he is conscious. This is preservation by inclusion,
and the preservation of the Real of what He created is not like that. Rather, His preservation is of each form in particular.
This matter which I have just communicated has never been written about by anyone - neither by me nor by any others - except
in this book. It is unique in time. Take care lest you forget it!
The presence which you remain conscious of, with
the form which resembles it, is like the Book about which Allah said, "We have not omitted anything from the Book." (6:38)
It therefore integrates the tangible and the intangible. None will recognise what we have said except the one who is himself
a Qur'an. (11) The one who fears Allah will have a furqân, (12) which is, as we mentioned, this matter in which the slave
is distinct from the Lord. This furqân is the highest furqân.
At one moment, the slave is the Lord without a doubt,
and at another the slave is most certainly the slave.
If he is the slave, he is vast by Allah,
and if he is the
Lord, he is in a restricted life.
Insofar as he is the slave,
he sees the source of himself,
and without a doubt
his hopes expand from him.
Inasmuch as he is a lord, he sees all of creation,
from the presence of angels and
the kingdom, demanding from him,
And he is unable to answer their demands by his essence.
For this reason, some of
the gnostics weep.
Be the slave of a Lord, and do not be the lord of His slave,
so you will not be suspended and tested
in the fire.
Notes to Chapter 6:
1. Famous Sufi who studied under Sufyan ath-Thawri. d. 282/896. Wrote a
short commentary on the Qur'an.
2. That the inanimate has more greater gnosis of Allah and obeys Him more than other creatures.
3. Al-Bukhari (6592); Muslim 42:10.
4. In Abu Dawud and Ibn Hanbal.
5. As in the hadith of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
6. Either it remains on its dream form or it is subject to interpretation.
7. Al-Bistami, d. 261/874. Famous Sufi
known for his ecstatic expressions.
8. The station of the vastness of the heart.
9. Language derived from Qur'an 2:255,
"...their preservation does not tire him."
11. i.e. The Perfect Man.
12. Qur'an 8:29, "O you who
believe! If you have fear of Allah, He will give you a furqan..."
7: The Seal of the Wisdom of Elevation
in the Word
of Isma'il (Ishmael)
Know that the one called Allah is Unique (Ahad) by Essence and by all His names, and
every existent thing is only attached to Allah by its own lord exclusively, for it is impossible for an an existent to possess
the whole. As for Divine Unity (ahadiyya), no existent possesses any of it because one cannot have one part of it while another
has another part. Unity does not admit of divisibility. His Unity integrates all of Him by potentiality.
one is the one is the one "who was pleasing to his Lord." (19:55) There is no one who is not pleasing to his Lord because
it is by him that lordship (rububiyyah) (1) is sustained. He is pleasing to Him, and so he is happy. This is why Sahl at-Tustari
said, "Lordship has a secret, and this secret is you." He was addressing every source. "Had the secret been disclosed, lordship
would have been invalidated." He used the word "law" (2) which is the particle of impossibility - so it is never manifested,
and lordship is never invalidated - for the source has no existence except by its Lord. The source is always existent, therefore
lordship is never invalidated.
He who is pleasing is beloved, and all that the beloved does is beloved, so everything
is pleasing, because the source could not act unless the act belonged to its Lord. The source is made tranquil by having an
act attributed to it, but it is content with what appears in it and from it of the acts of its Lord, and is pleased with these
acts, because every doer and producer is pleased with his act and product. He completes his act and product according to its
basis. "He gives each thing its created form and then guides it," (20:50) that is, He revealed to it that He gave everything
its creation, so it does not admit of decrease.
Isma'il, peace be upon him, by his discovery of what we mentioned "was
pleasing to his Lord." In the same way, every existent thing who is pleasing to its Lord is also pleasing to the Lord of another,
because lordship is only obtained from each of the names, not from the One of Unity. What is specific to it from the whole
is only what is attributed to it. So He is its Lord. None is attached to Him in respect of His Unity. For this reason, the
people of Allah are forbidden tajalli in the Unity. If you look at Him by Him, He is the One who is looking at Himself, and
He continues to be Himself looking at Himself by Himself. If you look at Him by yourself, unity vanishes because of you. If
you look at Him both through Him and through you, Unity also vanishes because the pronoun of the second person implies that
there is something else besides that which is regarded. There must be some relationship which necessitates the duality of
the regarder and regarded, and so Unity vanishes, even though there only exists the One who sees Himself by Himself. It is
known that in this description, He is the Regarder and the Regarded.
It is not possible that the one who is pleasing
be totally pleasing, unless all that he manifests comes from the act of the One who is pleased with him. Isma'il was distinguished
from other individuals by how Allah described him, namely, that "he was pleasing to his Lord."
It is the same for every
"self at peace" to which it is said, "Return to your Lord." He only commanded it to return to its Lord who called it, and
so it recognised Him among the totality, "well-pleasing and well-pleased. Enter among My slaves!" (89:28) to the degree that
they have this station. The slaves mentioned here refer to every slave who has gnosis of his Lord, who is content with Him,
and does not turn to the Lord of another while preserving the unity of the source which is necessary. "Enter My Garden," which
is My veil, (3) and My Garden is not other than you, so you veil Me by your essence. There is only gnosis of Me by you and
you only exist by Me, so whoever has gnosis of you has gnosis of Me, and there is no gnosis of Me, for there is no gnosis
of you. If you enter into the Garden, you enter into yourself, so you will know yourself by a gnosis other than the gnosis
by which you had knowledge when you knew your Lord. You will have two sorts of gnosis: gnosis of Him in respect of yourself,
and gnosis of yourself and Him in respect of Him, not in respect of you.
You are a slave and you are a lord
whomever you are a slave in respect of.
And you are a lord and you are a slave
to whoever possesses the covenant in
Every knot has a person over it who unravels it
by one who has another knot.
Allah is pleased with
His slaves, and "they are well-pleasing and well-pleased with Him." He is pleasing, so the two presences confront each other
and accept likes, and the likes are opposites because the two likes are a single reality which does not unify them since they
would not then be distinct. There is only the distinct, so there is no like. There is no like in existence, and so there is
no opposite in existence. Existence is one reality, and the thing is not opposite to itself.
Only the Real remains,
no phenomenal being remains.
There is nothing connected, nothing distinct.
For that reason, the proof of the eye-witness
so I only see His source with my eye when I see!
That is for "the one who fears his Lord" lest He makes
distinction by his knowledge. By that distinction, we indicated the ignorance of sources in existence according to what the
knower brought, so distinction occurs among the slaves, and distinction occurs among the lords. If distinction had not occurred,
one divine name would have been interpreted in all its aspects by that by which another name is interpreted. The explanation
of the Exalter is not that of the Abaser, and so on, but from the aspect of unity, as we said, every name indicates the Essence
and its reality in respect to what it is. The One Named is but One. The Exalter is the Abaser in respect to the Named. It
is not the Abaser in respect to itself and its reality. That which is understood differs in the understanding in respect to
each of them.
Do not look at the Real.
Free Him from creation.
Do not look at creation,
and garb it in
other than the Real.
Disconnect Him and connect Him,
and stand in a seat of honour. (4)
Stay in the state of gatheredness
(jam') if you wish,
and, if you wish, in the forms in separateness (farq).
You will win all,
even if all set out
to carry the day.
You will not be annihilated
and you will not have going-on
and the forms will not be annihilated
and will not have going-on.
Revelation will not be given to you
in respect to another, and you will not receive
Praise is by the truth of the promise, not the truth of the threat. The Divine Presence demands praise which is
praiseworthy in itself. So one extols the Divine Presence by the truth of the promise, not the truth of the threat, for one
goes beyond it, "and do not imagine that Allah break His promise to His Messengers." (14:47) He did not say, "and his threat",
rather He said that He will pass over their wrong actions even though he threatens not to. He praised Isma'il because "he
was true to his promise." (19:54) Possibility vanishes in respect to the Real, since in it is that which demands the probable.
remains except the One
who is true to His promise alone,
and an eye does not remain
seeing the threat of the Real.
If they enter the abode of misery,
in it they are in possession of delight, and a different bliss.
Than the bliss
of the gardens of endless-time, but the matter is the same.
The difference between them occurs in the tajalli.
is called punishment ('adhab) from the sweetness ('udhuba) of its food,
that is like the husk of it, and the husk protects
Notes to Chapter 7:
1. Rububiyyah: Lordship, the quality of being a lord. A term derived from the Qur'anic
descriptions of Allah's lordship over creation. One might say the ecology of natural existence. It is an essential element
in Sufic cosmology and is a most sophisticated concept which surpasses the crude specificity and mechanistic views of evolutionist
biology. It is an energy system of relationships in constant change and altering dynamics. It functions through the different
realms, the atomic, the mineral, the plant, and so on. It relates the levels ofliving organisms from the uni-cellular up to
man, and the interpenetrations of organism and environment. It re-defines "event" from crude historicity to a picture of organism/event
in a unified field. It is the underlying concept which allows us to abandon the dead mind/body split of the dying culture.
It permits us to utilise and develop the energy concepts of Islamic/Chinese medicine - which hold a common energy concept
at base. Rububiyya permits us to observe ONE PROCESS at work throughout every level of the creational realities.
"Law" (if, but probably not) expresses an unlikely condition, while "in" (if, but probably yes) expresses a probable condition.
Garden, Janna, also carries the connotation of veiling, concealing.
4.Qur'an 54:53-55, "The fearfully aware will be
amid Gardens and Rivers on seats of honour in the presence of an All-Powerful King."
8: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Spirit (Rûh)
Word of Ya'qub (Jacob)
The Din (1) is two Dins: the Din with Allah and with the one whom the Real knows,
and who has recognition of the fact that the Real knows him; and the Din with creation; and Allah takes account of it since
its goal is conformity with what Allah has willed of the Shari'a set down with Him. Allah said, "Ibrahim directed his sons
to this, as did also Ya'qub, 'My sons! Allah has chosen this Din for you, so do not die except as Muslims'" (2:132) that is
obeying Him. The Din brought the alif and the lam (2) of definition and acquaintance. It is the recognised Din. It is His
words, "The Din with Allah is Islam," (3:19) and it is submission. So the Din is an expression of your obedience. That which
is from Allah is the road which leads you to Him. Din is submission and the law (namus) is the road which Allah has set down.
who is described by submission to what Allah has prescribed for him is the one who has based himself on the Din, and it raises
him up and establishes him as does the prayer. The slave is the product of the Din. Allah sets down judgements, and thus submission
is the source of your action, and so Din is from your action. You will only achieve happiness by what comes from you. As happiness
is established for you by your actions, so the Divine Names are only established by His actions, which are you and which are
in-time. As He is called god by His effects, so you are called happy by your effects.
Allah bestowed His rank upon
you since you established the Din and obeyed what He prescribed for you. I will enlarge on that, if Allah wills, in a useful
manner, after we have clarified the Din which creation has which Allah takes account of when He says, "The Din is Allah's
alone," (8:39) and all of it is from you, and not from Him except in respect to origin. Allah says, "They invented monasticism,"
(57:27) and monasticism consists of arbitrary esoteric rules (an-nawâmis al-hikmiya) which the known Messenger did not bring
to the people from Allah by the traditional Prophetic method. When wisdom and clear benefit corresponded to these rules regarding
the divine decision about the goal of the Shari'a of Allah, (3) Allah took it into account according to what He Himself prescribed.
Allah did not prescribe it for them. Then Allah opened between Himself and their hearts the door of divine concern and mercy
while they were not aware of it, and in their hearts He made them esteem their rules by which they seek "the pleasure of Allah"
beyond the Prophetic method known by Divine definition. Allah says, "They did not observe it" those people who devised
these rules and what was prescribed for them "as it should have been observed" - "unless it was purely out of the desire
to gain the good pleasure of Allah." That was what they believed about it.
"To those of them who believed We gave their
reward, but many of them are deviators." (57:27) "Many of them," i.e. those who have this worship prescribed for them, "are
deviators," that is, do not submit to it and observe it properly. Allah does not accord to the one who does not obey it, a
law which pleases Him, but the command requires submission. Its proof is that the one who is obligated either obeys with agreement
or opposes it. The one who agrees and is obedient has no need of any discourse on it to prove it. The one who opposes it is
seeking one of two matters from Allah to be judged regarding him: either overlooking of wrong actions and forgiveness, or
being taken to task for that. One of the two is necessary because the command is true in itself. In any state, it is true
that Allah guides His slave by his actions whatever state he is in, and so the state is the influencing factor.
the Din is a reward, that is, the exchange for what is easy and for what for is not easy. "Allah is pleased with them, and
they are pleased with Him" (97:8, 58:22) is the easy reward, and "As for any one of you who has done wrong, We will make him
suffer great punishment" (25:19) is the reward of what is not easy. He passes over their wrong actions and this is their reward.
It is proven that the Din is the reward. As the Din is Islam, and Islam is the same as being led, it leads to what is easy
(the reward) and what is not easy (the punishment), and so it is the repayment. This is the language of the people of outwardness.
for its secret and inwardness, it manifests itself in the mirror of the existence of Allah, so it does not refer to possibilities
from Allah other than what their essences in their states accord. They have a form in every state, and their forms differ
according to the difference of their states. The tajalli differs according to the difference of the state. The effect occurs
in the slave according to what he is. None gives him good except himself, and none gives him the opposite of good except himself.
Thus he gives bliss to his essence, and he also punishes it. He only blames himself and only praises himself. "Allah's is
the conclusive argument" (6:149) in His knowledge of them since knowledge depends on the known.
The secret which is
above this in this sort of question is that possibilities are based on their origin from non-existence. Tthe existence of
the created reality is only by the forms of the states on which the possibilities are based in themselves and their sources.
Thus you know who has pleasure and who has pain, and from each of these states you know what follows ('aqaba); and since it
follows, you derive punishment ('uquba) and penalty ('iqab) from it. It permits good and evil as two opposites which custom
calls the good reward, and the evil punishment.
For this reason, He designates and elucidates the Din by custom because
He relates to it what is necessary and what his state demands. Din is custom or habit, and the poet said, "Like your habit
(Din) with the mother of little Harith...," that is, like your custom. What is understood by custom or habit is that the matter
itself recurs. This is not the case in Din. Custom is repetition, but custom is only one intelligible thing while resemblance
in forms exists. We know that Zayd is the same as 'Amr in respect to humanness, but humanness does not recur since, had it
done so, it would have multiplied. It is but one reality, and the one does not multiply itself. We know that Zayd is not the
same as 'Amr in respect to personality. The person of Zayd is not the person of 'Amr in spite of the realisation that personality
is common to both. In the sensory, we say that humanness recurs because of this resemblance, and we say in sound judgement
that it does not. From one aspect, there is no habit in reward, and from another aspect, there is habit even as there is reward
by one aspect and no reward by another aspect. Thus reward is also a state in the possible. This is a question about which
those who know this matter are unaware, and it is part of the secret of the Decree which governs creatures. Know that it is
as if it were said of the doctor that he is the servant of nature - in the same way, it is said of the Messengers and heirs
4 that they are the servants of the Divine Command among people. In the heart of the matter, they serve the states of possible
things, and their service derives from the sum of their own states on which they are based in the state of the immutability
of their sources. See how wondrous this is!
Is not the the desired servant here the one who performs what is commanded
by the one who is served, either by state or by word? So it is valid that the doctor be called the servant of nature if he
acts according to the principle of assisting it. Nature produces in the body of the one who is ill a special state of being
by which he is called "ill". If the doctor were to assist nature by service, he would also increase the magnitude of the illness
by it when he wants to repel the illness, seeking health. Health is also a part of nature by the growth of another state of
being which differs from this state of being. Then the doctor is not the servant of nature, and yet he serves it inasmuch
as he only heals the body of the one who is ill and changes that aspect, not the general one, for generalities are not valid
in this sort of question. Thus the doctor is both a servant and is not a servant of nature.
In the same way, the Messengers
and their heirs are in the service of the Real, and the Real has two aspects of judgement in respect to the states of the
obligated. The matter proceeds from the slave according to what the will of Allah demands of it, and the will of Allah is
attached to it according to what the knowledge of Allah demands of it. The knowledge of Allah is attached to it according
to what the known accords it of its essence. The known only appears in its form. The Messenger and the heir serve the divine
command by will, and yet they do not serve the will. The Messenger answered it seeking the happiness of the one who is under
obligation. Had he served the Divine Will, he would not have given counsel, and yet he only gave counsel by it, i.e. the will.
The Messenger and the heir are the doctors of the selves for Next life, obedient to the command of Allah when He commands
them. So he looks at Allah's command, and sees that He has commanded him to do that which opposes His will. The command is
only what He wills, and for this reason, it is the command.
He wills the command and it occurs, and He did not will
the occurrence of what He commanded the commanded one to do, and so it did not occur from the commanded one therefore
it is called opposition and rebellion. The Messenger conveys the news, and this is why he said, "The Sura of Hud (and its
like) made me white-haired," when they came to him from His words, "Go straight as you have been commanded." (11:112) He did
not know whether he was commanded to what complies with the will, so that it occurs, or to what does not comply with the will,
so that it does not occur.
No one recognises the judgement of the will except after what is willed takes place, unless
he is one whose inner eye has been unveiled by Allah. If he is, he will perceive the source-forms of the possibilities in
their fixed state for what they really are. Then he judges according to what he sees. This belongs to certain people at certain
moments, but they do not have it all the time. The Messenger said, "I do not know what He will do with me or with you." (5)
So he made the veil clear, and he only meant that it emerges in a particular command, and no more.
Notes to Chapter
1. Din: The life transaction, literally the debt or exchange situation between two parties, in this usage the Creator
and the created, or as some say between the conditioned and the unconditioned, the limited and the limitless, or the many
and the One.
2. The definite article.
3. Which is the achievement of human perfection through knowledge and
4. Hadith, "The people of knowledge are the heirs of the Prophets."
5. Hadith in al-Bukhari.
9: The Seal of the Wisdom of Light
in the Word of
This luminous wisdom spreads its light on the presence of the imagination (khayal), and it
is the first of the beginnings of divine revelation in the people of divine concern. 'A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her,
said, "The first of what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had of revelation was the true dream.
Then he only saw dreams which came like the breaking of dawn, and there was nothing hidden in it," (1) and her knowledge only
extended to this. This lasted for six months, and then the angel came to him. She did not know that the Messenger of Allah,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had said, "People are asleep, and when they die, they waken up." Everything seen
in the state of wakefulness is of that sort, although states differ. She spoke of six months, but all his life in this world
was like that, as a dream in a dream.
Everything reported of this nature is called the world of the imagination (khayal),
and for this reason, there must be interpretation: the matter which has a form in itself appears in a form other than it.
The interpreter passes from these forms which the sleeper sees to the form upon which the matter is based. If he is correct,
as in knowledge appearing in the form of milk, then he interprets the source of the form of knowledge from the form of milk,
He discovers the source and says, "This form of milk refers to the form of knowledge."
When the Prophet, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, received revelation, he was taken from the ordinary sensory world. He was covered and withdrew
from those who were present with him. When that left him, he returned, and he only received revelation in the "presence of
the imagination", although it could not be said of him that he had been asleep.
It was the same when the angel appeared
to him as a man. That was also from the presence of the imagination, for it was not a man, but rather an angel who had entered
into the form of a man. The gnostic onlooker interpreted it until he reached its form in reality. Then he said, "This is Jibril
who came to teach you your deen." (2) He told them, "Answer the greeting of the man," so he called him a man in respect to
the form in which he appeared to them. Then he said, "This is Jibril," and he looked at the form to which this imaginary man
would return. He spoke the truth both times, with the truth of the vision of the physical eye, and the truth in that this
was Jibril without a doubt.
Yusuf, peace be upon him, said, "I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon prostrate
themselves in front of me." (12:4) He saw his brothers in the form of the stars and his father and mother in the form of the
sun and moon. This is from the point of view of Yusuf. Had it been from the point of view of what was seen, the appearance
of his brothers in the form of stars and the appearance of his father and mother in the form of the sun and moon would have
been from their volition. Since they had no knowledge of what he saw, that which Yusuf perceived was in the repository of
Ya'qub knew that when he related it to him, so he said, "O my son, do not tell your vision to your
brothers in case they should devisse some scheme to injure you." (12:5) Then he absolved his sons of deceit and ascribed it
to Shaytan, who is the source of deceit. He said, "In truth, Shaytan is a clear-cut enemy to man," i.e. he manifests enmity.
Then Yusuf said at the end of the affair, "This is now the interpretation of the dream that I had. My Lord has made it all
come true," (12:100) that is, that He manifested it in the world of senses after it was in the form of the imagination.
Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said about it, "People are asleep". Yusuf spoke of what his Lord
had rendered true in the status of one who dreams that he has awakened from his dream and interprets it, and does not know
that he is still asleep. Then later when he wakes up, he says, "I dreamt such-and-such a thing, and then I dreamt that I woke
up and interpreted in such-and-such a way." This is similar to that. Look at how great the difference of perception is between
Muhammad, peace be upon him, and Yusuf, peace be upon him, at the end of the affair when Yusuf said, "This is the interpretation
of my dream of long ago which my Lord has rendered true," that is, made sensory or sensed. It was aways sensed, since the
imagination only gives out sensed things, and it has nothing other than that. See how noble is the knowledge of the heirs
of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace!
I would say more on this presence on the Muhammadan tongue of
Yusuf, as you will soon understand, if Allah wills. Know that that which is referred to as other-than-Allah, or the universe,
is related to Allah as the shadow is related to the person. The universe is the shadow of Allah. It is the same as the relation
of existence to the universe, since the shadow exists in the senses without a doubt. But there must be something by which
that shadow appears. If one were to remove that by which the shadow appears, the shadow would be intelligible but would not
exist in the senses. Rather, it would be a potential in the essence of the person on whom it depends. The locus of the manifestation
of this divine shadow called the "universe" is the sources of the possibilities by which this shadow extends itself. This
shadow is perceived according to what it projects itself on from the existence of this essence, but perception occurs through
His name, the Light. This shadow is projected on the sources of possibilities in the form of the unknown unseen.
you not see that shadows incline to the darkness, indicating the hiddenness they contain because of the distance of the relationship
between them and the persons who project them? Even if the person is white, his shadow is like this. Do you not see that when
mountains are distant from the eye of the onlooker, they appear black? In their actual sources they are other than the colour
the senses perceive. This is only due to the effect of distance. It is like the blue of the sky. This is the effect distance
has on the senses with non-luminous bodies. It is the same for the sources of possibilities which are non-luminous because
they are non-existent. Even if they are described as unchanging, they are not described by existence since existence is light.
Distance makes luminous bodies appear small in the senses, so this is another effect of distance. The senses perceive them
as small in size, whereas in their sources they are large according to that degree and greater in magnitude. One knows by
proof that the sun is larger than the earth, but it appears to be the size of a shield. That is also an effect of distance.
only know the universe according to the amount you know the shadows, and you are ignorant of the Real according to what you
do not know of the person on which that shadow depends. Inasmuch as He has a shadow, He is known, and inasmuch as one is ignorant
of what is in the essence of the shadow of the form which projects the shadow, he is ignorant of Allah. For that reason, we
say that Allah is known to us from one aspect and not known to us from another aspect. "Do you not see how your Lord stretches
out shadows? If He had wished, He could have made them stationary," (25:45) i.e. it still would be a potential in Himself.
It is as He said, that Allah would not give a tajalli of Himself to possibilities until He manifests the shadow. The shadow
is as if it remains outside of the possibilities which do not have a source manifested for them in existence.
We appoint the sun to be a pointer to them," that is to His name, the Light of which we spoke, and the senses witness it,
for shadows have no source in the absence of light. "Then We draw them back to Ourselves, in gradual steps," so Allah draws
it back to Himself because it is His shadow which appeared from Him, and it is not other-than-Him. All that you perceive is
the existence of Allah in the sources of possibilities. Inasmuch as the He-ness of Allah is He, it is His existence. Inasmuch
as forms differ in it, it is the sources of possibilities. As the name of the shadow does not leave it by the difference of
forms, in the same way the name of the universe or the name other-than-Allah does not leave it by the difference of forms.
In regard to the Divine Unity of His being, the shadow is Allah, because He is the One, the Unique; and in respect to the
multiplicity of forms, it is the world, so understand and realise what I have explained to you! Since the matter is as I mentioned,
the universe is illusory, and it does not have a real existence. This is the meaning of the imagination, that is, you imagine
that the universe is an autonomous extra thing outside of Allah. It is not like that in itself. Do you not see that in the
senses, the shadow is connected to the person who projects it, and it is impossible that it be detached from that connection
since it is impossible for something to be detached from its own essence? Recognise your source ('ayn), and who you are, what
is your he-ness and what your relation to Allah is, and by what You are the Truth and by what you are the universe, "other",
and whatever resembles these expressions. In this, those that know vie in excellence, so there is the one who knows and the
one who is more knowing.
The Real is, in relation to a particular shadow, small or large, pure or more pure, as light
is in relation to what veils it from the onlooker through coloured glass which tints it. At the same time, it has no colour,
and so you see it as making a mirror-image of your reality to your Lord. If you say that the light is green by the greenness
of the glass, you will have spoken the truth as your sensory vision testifies. If you say that it is not green and has no
colour as evidence accords you, you will have spoken the truth as sound logical consideration testifies. This is light projected
across the shadow, and it is the same as the glass which is a luminous shadow because of its purity. It is the same for one
of us who has realised the Real. His form manifests itself in him more than it manifests itself in another. Among us there
is the one for whom Allah is his hearing, seeing, and all his faculties and limbs, (3) according to the signs which the Shari'a
gives in a transmission from Allah. In spite of this, the source of the shadow exists, so the pronoun of "his hearing" refers
to him. Other slaves are not like this. The relation of this slave is nearer to the existence of Allah than the relation of
Then the matter is as we have confirmed. So know that you are imagination and that which you perceive
and of which you say, "It is not me" is also imagination. All of existence is imagination within imagination. True existence
is Allah, the Real, in particular in respect to essence and source, not in respect to His Names, because the Names have two
meanings. One meaning is His source which is the same as the "Named", and the other meaning is what it indicates and that
by which the Name is separate from this other Name, and so distinct. The Ever-Forgiving is separate from the Manifest and
the Hidden, and the First is distinct from the Last. Thus it is clear to you that each Name is the same as the other Name,
and yet it is not the other Name. Inasmuch as the Name is the same, it is the Real, and inasmuch as it is not it, it is the
imaginary Real which we discussed.
Glory be to the One who is only proven by Himself and Whose being is only confirmed
by His source! The Hidden is pure non-existence, so whoever holds to multiplicity, holds to the universe and the Divine Names
and the names of the world. Whoever holds to Divine Unity holds to Allah in respect to His Essence which is independent of
the universe, not in respect to its divinity and form. If the Essence is independent of the universe, then He is the source
of its independence from the ascriptions of the Names, because it has the Names, and they indicated it as they indicate other
named things in which their effect is realised. "Say: He is Allah, Absolute Oneness" (112:1) in respect of his source, "Allah,
the Everlasting Sustainer of all" in respect to our dependence on Him. "He has not given birth" in respect to His He-ness
and us, "and was born born" the same way, "and no one is comparable to Him" in the same way.
This is His description
so He singled out His Essence in His statement, "Allah is Unique (Ahad)". Multiplicity appears by His attributes which are
known with us. We beget and are begotten, we depend on Him, and we are equals to one another. This is the One who is pure
above these attributes. He is independent of them as He is independent of us. There is no description of Allah except for
this sura, the Sura al-Ikhlas (112), and it was revealed in that. The Divine Unity (ahadiyya) of Allah is in respect to the
Divine Names which demand the unity of multiplicity on our part, and the Divine Unity of Allah, in respect to His independence
from us and from the names, is the Divine Unity of the source. Both of them are included in the name, the Unique One (al-Ahad).
that Allah has not manifested the shadows and made them prostrate themselves, casting themselves to the left and the right,
(4) except as indications for you of yourself and Him. In this way you are able to recognise who you are and what your relationship
to Him is, and what His relationship to you is, until you know from where and by which divine reality that which is other-than-Allah
is described, through its complete poverty to Him as well as the relative poverty of some to others. In this way also, you
are able to know from where and by what reality it is that Allah is described by independence from people and the universe,
and the universe is described by independence, i.e. the independence of some from others in an aspect which is the source
of its need of some. For the universe is in need of causes without a doubt by essential need. The greatest of its causes is
the causality of Allah, and there is no causality of Allah by which the universe is in need except for the Divine Names. The
universe is in need of each of the Divine Names, whether from the universe like it or, from Allah Himself. Thus it is Allah,
and not other-than-Him.
This is why Allah said, "Mankind! you are the poor in need of Allah whereas Allah is the Rich
Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy." (35:15) It is known that we depend on each other. Our names are the Names of Allah since everything
is, without a doubt, in need of Him. At the same time, our sources are His shadow, and not other-than-Him. So He is our he-ness,
and He is not our he-ness. We have prepared the way for you, so look!
Notes to Chapter 9:
1. In al-Bukhari
2. In Muslim, also an-Nawawi's Forty Hadith.
3. Hadith, see. p.11.
4. Ref. Qur'an 16:48,
"Do they not see the things that Allah has created, casting their shadows to the right and to the left, prostrating themselves
before Allah incomplete humility."
10: The Seal of the Wisdom of Divine Unity (Ahadiyya)
in the Word of Hud
has the straight path which is manifest
and unhidden among the common people.
Its source exists in great and small,
in those who are ignorant of matters
and those who know.
For this reason, 'His mercy encompasses everything,'
(1) great and small. "There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path." (11:56) So all
that walks on the Straight Path of the Lord, and is not of those "against whom Allah is wrathful" from this aspect, nor is
he "astray". (2) As being astray is a non-essential quality, so divine wrath is also a non-essential quality. The source to
which they return is the "mercy which extends to all things", and which preceded wrath. Everything which is other-than-Allah
is a creature which crawls and which has a spirit. There is nothing which crawls by itself, rather it crawls by other than
it. It crawls by the principle of following the One who is on a Straight Path. It is only a path by virtue of the fact that
it is walked on.
If creation draws near you, Allah draws near you.
If Allah draws near you, creation does not follow.
So realise what we say on it,
and everything I have said to you is true.
There is no existent thing in phenomenal
that you see which does not have articulation.
The eye only sees of creation
that its source is Allah.
He is stored in it,
and for this reason, its forms are true.
Know that divine knowledges of taste (dhawq) which
are acquired by the people of Allah differ according to the different faculties acquired from them, even though they derive
from a single source. Allah said, "I am his hearing by which he hears and his sight by which he sees and his hand by which
he strikes and his foot by which he walks." (3) So He mentioned that His He-ness is the source of the limbs which are the
same as the slave. Thus He-ness is one, but the limbs are different, and every limb has one of the knowledges of taste which
are specified from a single source, and differ according to the different limbs. It is like water which is but a single reality,
yet differs in taste according to the different locations. The water of the Euphrates is sweet, and brackish water is salty,
yet it is water in all its states and its reality does not change, even though the taste differs.
This wisdom is from
the wisdom of the feet. It is the words of Allah, that whoever establishes His Books will eat "from beneath their feet" (5:66).
The path which is the Straight Path is travelling on it, and walking and running on it. It is only by the feet. So this witnessing
of the taking by the forelock by the hand of the One who is one the Straight Path only results in this special art from the
knowledges of taste. "We will drive the evildoers" (19:86), (4) who are those who deserve the station to which they are sent,
and destroy them by the west wind. (5) The wind takes them by the forelocks and carries them on, and it is the source of the
passions which take them to Jahannam. It is the distance (6) which they imagined. When it carried them to that abode, they
reached the source of nearness, and so distance vanished. What is called Jahannam vanished in respect to them. They win the
bliss of nearness in respect to merit since they were wrong-doers.
This pleasurable station of taste was not given
to them as a favour. They received it by what they realities merited from the acts which they were doing. They were running
with their actions on the Straight Path of the Lord because their forelocks were in the hand of the One who has this attribute.
They did not walk by themselves, but by the principle of compulsion to reach the source of nearness. "We are nearer to him
than you, but you cannot see." (56:85) Rather it is seen, and so the covering is stripped away, and "his sight is sharp."
(7) What is specified as dead is from the dead, i.e. what distinguishes the happy from the wretched in usage. "We are nearer
to him than his jugular vein." (50:16) What is specified as man is from man, so divine nearness is from distance as is not
hidden in divine transmissions. There is no nearness nearer than that His He-ness be the source of the limbs of the slave
and his faculties. The slave is not other than these limbs and faculties, so he is Allah witnessed in illusory creation. Creation
is intelligible and Allah is felt and witnessed with the believers and the people of unveiling. Allah is intelligible with
other classes, and creation is witnessed. So they are in the station of the salty, brackish water. The first group is the
station of the sweet water which is pleasant to drink.
People are of two classes those who walk on the path recognising
it and its end, for it is a straight path in respect to him; and those who walk on the path being ignorant of it and not knowing
its end. It is the same path which the other class knows. The gnostic calls to Allah by inner sight, and the non-gnostic calls
to Allah by limitation and ignorance. This is a special knowledge which comes from the lowest of the low (8) because the feet
are the lower part of the person, and what is lower than them is none other than the path. Whoever recognises that Allah is
the same as the Path, recognises the matter for what it is. Then Allah is travelling on it since there is no known except
Him, and He is the source of the wayfarer and the traveller. There is no knower except Him. He is you, so know your reality
and your Path (tariqa). The matter has been made clear to you on the tongue of the interpreter, (9) if you but understand.
It is the true tongue, so the only one who will understand is the one whose understanding is Real.
Allah has many ascriptions
and their existence varies. See how 'Ad, the people of Hud, said, "This is a storm cloud which will give us rain." (46:24)
They thought good of Allah, and He is with the opinion of His slave. (10) Allah turned this word away from them. He informed
them of what was more perfect and higher in nearness. When it rained upon them, that was the earth's portion and the seed
was watered. He told them, "No, rather it is what you desired to hasten a wind containing painful punishment." He made
the wind (rîh) an indication of what rest (râha) it contained for them. By this wind, He gladdens their spirits (arwah), delivering
them from dark forms, difficult paths and black veils. There is punishment ('adhab) in this wind, i.e. a matter which they
find sweet (ista'dhaba) when they taste it. It only pains them by the separation from familiar things. Thus punishment gives
them good news. And the command is nearer to them than they imagine.
"Destroying everything at its Lord's command !
When morning came you could see nothing but their dwellings." (46:25) That is, their corpses, in which their true spirits
lived, so the trueness of this special relation vanished from them; and a special life in their forms remains to them from
Allah of which their skins, hands, and feet speak, (11) so does the punishment of the blows and thighs. (12) All that is related
in a divine text.
Allah described himself by jealousy (ghayra). Out of jealousy He forbade actions unrestrained by
limits (fawahish). The unrestrained act is only what is evident. As for the unrestrained which is hidden, it belongs to the
one who manifests it. When He made the unrestrained haram, that it, forbade that the reality of what we mentioned be known,
and that is the source of things, He hid it by other (ghayr). So other says: hearing is Zayd's hearing. The gnostic says that
hearing is Allah. Thus nothing remains of the faculties and limbs. Therefore not everyone recognises Allah. People vie in
excellence and ranks are differentiated, and the exceeding and exceeded are clear.
Know that Allah revealed to me and
caused me to witness in a vision, which I received in Cordoba in 586, the sources of His Messengers and all His Prophets,
from Adam to Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. None of this group spoke to me except for Hud, peace be upon
him. He told me why they were gathered together. I saw that he was a very large man of good appearance, subtle in reply, gnostic
in matters of unveiling. My proof of his unveiling is His words, "There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My
Lord is on a Straight Path." (11:56) What gift to creatures is greater than this? Then it is from the bestowal of favours
on us by Allah that this speech reached us from Him in the Qur'an.
Then Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant us
peace, completed its gathering for everyone by what he was told by Allah, for He is the source of "hearing, sight, the hand,
the foot and tongue the source of the senses. The spiritual faculties are nearer than the senses. He is content with
the defined and distant more than with the defined unknown which is nearer. Allah translated the speech of Hud to his people
to inform us, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, translated the speech of Allah in turn
to give us good news. Knowledge is perfected in the breasts of those who are given knowledge, "and none denies Our signs but
the unbelievers," (29:47) for they cover up the signs when they recognise them through envy, meanness and injustice. We only
see from Allah in respect of Himself disconnection (tanzih) or non-disconnection by definition in any ayat which He has sent
down or in transmissions which have reached us from Him. Otherwise He has the Great Mist (al-'Ama') (13) which has no air
above it and no air beneath it. Allah was in it before He created creation. Then He mentioned that He "established Himself
firmly on the Throne." (57:4) This is also definition. Then He mentioned that "He descends to the nearest heaven." (14) This
is also definition. Then He said that "He is in the heaven and in the earth," (15) and "He is with us whever we are." (16)
and He tells us that He is our source. We are limited, so He only describes Himself by limitation.
His statement, "There
is nothing like Him," (42:11) is also limitation if we take the kaf ("like") as an appendage to other than the attribute.
Whoever is distinct from the defined is defined by his phenomenal being which is not the source of what is defined. Freedom
from limitation is limitation, and the absolute is limited by absoluteness for whoever has understanding, If we attach the
kaf of ka-mithli (like) to the attribute, we define it. If we take "There is nothing like Him" as the negation of "like (mithl)",
we realise the given and the sound transmissions that He is the source of things, and that things are defined. If their definitions
differ, He is defined by the definition of everything with a definition. Nothing is defined unless it is a definition of Allah's.
He moves in the designation of creatures and creation. Had the matter not been like that, existence would not have been valid,
for He is the source of existence. He preserves everything by His Essence, and the preserving of something does not oppress
Him. (17) His preserving of all things is His preserving of His form in that the thing is other than His form. Only this is
valid. He is the witness in the witness and the witnessed in the witnessed. (18) He is the spirit of the universe which is
managed by Him, and it is the Macrocosmic or Great man (al-insan al-kabir).
He is all phenomenal being
and He is
the One (al-Wahid)
who establishes my phenomenal being by His being,
For that reason, I said that He is nourished.
So my existence is His food, and we imitate Him in Him from Him,
if you look by the aspect of my taking refuge.
his sorrow breathed, so the breath is related to the All-Merciful because He is Merciful by it. Divine ascriptions demand
it from the bringing into existence of the form of the universe which we have said is what is manifest by Allah since He is
the Manifest. It is His inward since He is the Hidden; and He is the First since He was when they were not. He is the Last
since their source is in their manifestation. The Last is the source of the Manifest, and the Hidden is the source of the
First. He has knowledge of all things since he knows Himself. When He brought forms into existence in the Breath, and the
power of the ascriptions designated by the names appeared, the divine ascriptions then became valid for the universe. They
depend on Allah. He said, "Today, I set down your ascriptions and raise up My ascriptions," i.e. I take from you your dependence
on yourselves and return to you your dependence on Me. Where are those who are fearful of Allah? (19) they those who
take Allah as a safeguard. Allah is their manifest part, i.e. the source of their manifest forms. They are the greatest of
people, the most pure and the strongest among all. The one who has taqwa is the one who makes himself a safeguard for Allah
by His form since the He-ness of Allah is the faculties of the slave. The one called the slave makes a safeguard for the One
called Allah based on witnessing, so that the knower is distinct from the one who does not know. "Say: 'Are they the same
those who know and those who do not know?' It is only people of intelligence who pay heed," (39:9) and they see into
the core of the thing (20) which is sought from that thing. The negligent one does not precede the diligent, and similarly
the hireling does not resemble the slave, Since Allah is a safeguard for the slave by one aspect, the slave is a safeguard
for Allah by another aspect. Say what you like about phenomenal being. If you like, say that it is creation. If you like,
say that is the Real. If you like, say that it is both the Real and creation. If you like, say that it is not Real from every
point of view and not creation from every point of view. If you wish, say it is bewilderment in that. The goals are made clear
by your specification of ranks. If it had not been for definition, the Messengers would not have reported the changing of
the Real in forms, nor would they have described Him by the dropping of forms from Himself.
The eye only looks to Him,
and authority only rests with Him.
We are His, and by Him, in His hand, in every state, so we are with Him. For
that reason, He is denied and recognised, disconnected and described. The one who sees Allah from Him in Him by His eye is
a gnostic. The one who sees Allah from Him in Him by his own eye is not a gnostic. The one who does not see Allah from Him
nor in Him, and waits to see Him by his own eye is veiled and ignorant.
On the whole, each person must have some doctrine
of his Lord by which he refers to Him and in which he seeks Him. So when Allah manifests Himself to him in it, he knows Him
and goes near Him. If He manifests Himself to him in other than it, he denies Him and takes refuge from Him and has bad adab
in that matter while claiming he shows adab with Him. (21) He only believes in a divinity according to the [subjective] form
he gives that in himself. The divinity of creeds is based on subjective positing. People only see themselves and what they
formulate in themselves.
Look at the ranks of people in knowledge of Allah. That is the source of their ranks in vision
on the Day of Rising; and I have taught you the necessary cause of it. Take care lest you be limited by a particular creed
and deny what is other than it, so that a great blessing may pass you by. Indeed, knowledge of what the matter is based on
may pass you by.
Make yourself a vessel for all the forms of belief. Surely Allah is vaster and greater than being
contained by one creed rather than another. So Allah says, "Wherever you turn, the face of Allah is there." (2:115) He did
not mention one "where" less than another. He said there is the face of Allah. The face of the thing is its reality. By this
He spoke to the hearts of the gnostics, that they might not occupy themselves with non-essentials in this life through seeking
the like of this. The slave does not know in which breath he will be taken. He may be taken at the time of his negligence,
and then he will not be equal to the one taken in a state of presence.
Then the slave who is perfect knows that this
is linked to exterior form and to the state limited by turning the prayer toward the Masjid al-Haram. He believes that Allah
is in his qibla when he prays. Those are some of the ranks of Allah from "Wherever you turn, the face of Allah is there."
The direction of the Masjid al-Haram is one of them. In it is the face of Allah, but do not say "He is here", rather stop
with what you perceive and cling to adab in turning towards the Masjid al-Haram, and cling to adab in the non-encompassment
of the face in this particular whereness. Rather whereness is part of the sum of directions to which one turns. So Allah makes
it clear to you that He is in the "where-ness" of every direction.
There are only creeds, so all directions are correct.
Every correct thing has a reward. Every rewarded thing is happy. Every happy one is approved. If he is wretched at one time
in the Next Abode, the people of preservation experience illness and pain in this life in spite of our knowledge that they
are happy and the people of Allah. Among the slaves of Allah are those who are overtaken by these pains in the other life
in an abode called Jahannam. Even so, none of the people of knowledge to whom the matter is unveiled for what it is declares
that they do not possess a bliss particular to them in this abode. As for the loss of pain, they denied it, and so it was
lifted from them. Their bliss is their rest from feeling that pain, or else bliss is particular and extra as is the bliss
of the people if the Garden in the Garden. Allah knows best.
Notes to Chapter 10:
1. ref. Qur'an 7:156,
"My mercy extends to all things."
2. ref. Qur'an 1:7.
3. Hadith qudsi.
4. "We will drive the evildoers
5. The worst of winds which does not fertilise trees or raise clouds. It is said that it was a west wind
which destroyed 'Ad. It blows in the hot season and is very thirsty.
6. Jahannam comes from a root which means "deep",
as in a deep well.
7. See Qur'an 50:22.
8. Ref. Qur'an 95:5, "We reduced him to the lowest of the low."
The Messenger of Allah in the hadith, "..I am his hearing, his sight, etc."
10. Hadith qudsi, "I am according to My
slave's opinion of Me..."
11. Ref. Qur'an 41:21, "...that your hearing, eyes, and skin should not testify against you."
In the grave according to hadith.
13. "He was in the Great Mist with air neither above nor below it. "Hadith in Ibn
Majah, Ibn Hanbal and at-Tirmidhi.
14. Hadith qudsi from Abu Hurayra in al-Bukhari and Muslim: "Our Lord who is blessed
and exalted descends every night to the lowest heavens when two-thirds of the night has passed and says, 'Who supplicates
to me so that I may answer him? .....'"
15. Qur'an 6:3, "He is Allah in the heavens and the earth."
17. Qur'an: 2:255.
18. cf. Qur'an 85:3.
19. i.e. have taqwa.
20. Lubb means both
the core of a thing and or understanding.
21. Hadith in Muslim (Belief, 302) about the Day of Rising.
11: The Seal of the Wisdom of Revelation (Futuh) (1)
in the Word of Salih
Among the signs are the signs of the mounts. (2)
due to the difference in destinations.
Among those with mounts are those
who make their mounts stand by the command
and among them are those who cross
the deserts with their mounts.
As for those who stand,
the people of the source, (3)
and those who cross the deserts are the aliens.
Each of these has the revelation (futuh)
of the Unseen worlds
brought to him from Allah on every side.
Know, may Allah grant you success, that the business
(of bringing into existence) is based on uniqueness (fardiyya), and uniqueness has triplicity which is from three and upwards.
Three is the first singular. The universe exists from this Divine Presence. Allah, may He be exalted!, says, "Our Word to
a thing when We desire it is just to say to it, 'Be' and it is." (16:40) This is an essence which has volition and speech.
(4) Had it not been for this essence and its volition, which is connecting attention to something particular in order to bring
anything into being (and when He turns to that thing, He says, "Be"), that thing would not have been. Then tripartite uniqueness
also appeared in that thing, and it is by this uniqueness in respect to the thing that it is valid that it take and that it
be described by existence. Its triplicity is its thingness, its hearing, and obeying the command of the One who gives it form
by bringing it into existence. It accepted three by the threeness of its fixed essence when it was in the state of its non-existence
in counterbalance to the essence of the One who brought it into existence. Its hearing is in counterbalance to the volition
of the One who brought it into existence. Its agreeing to comply with the command to take form is in counterbalance to His
word "'Be!' and it is." Taking form is thus related to the thing. If it not had the capacity to take form from within itself
when this is said, it would not have been. Allah only brought the thing into existence after it was not in the command of
taking form, by the thing itself.
Allah confirmed that taking-form (takwin) belongs to the thing itself, not to Allah;
and that that which belongs to Allah is His command. Similarly, He told us about Himself when He said, "Our Word to a thing
when We desire it is just to say to it, "Be!" and it is." He ascribed taking-form to the thing itself from the command of
Allah. Allah speaks the truth, so this is understood in the command itself. Someone who is feared and not disobeyed commands
His slave: "Stand!" and the slave stands in obedience to his master's command. When this slave stands, the master only has
the command to the slave to stand. Standing is the slave's action, not the master's action.
Thus taking-form is based
on triplicity, i.e. from three, on both sides the side of Allah and the side of creation. That applies to bringing meanings
into existence by proofs. The proof must be compounded of three in a special structure and special condition. There must be
a result from it. The result is that the thinker constructs his proof from two propositions. Each one proposition contains
two singulars, and so it four. One of the four is repeated in the two propositions in order to link one to the other as is
marriage. It is three and no more because of one is repeated in both of them. That is how it is the goal exists. Then
this compound occurs in a special aspect which is that the two propositions are connected to each other by the repetition
of that one singular, by which triplicity, and the special condition that the principle be more general by cause or equal
to it, is valid. Then the principle is true. If it is not like that, then it will give a result which is not true. This existent
thing in the universe is like the ascription of actions to the slave, removed from their ascription to Allah, or the ascribing
of taking form, the object of our discussion, to Allah absolutely. But Allah only ascribed it to the thing which was told,
"Be!" A representation of that is if we wish to prove that the universe exists from a cause, (5) we say that every thing which
is in-time has a cause. (6) Thus we have the the in-time and the cause. Then in the other proposition we say that the universe
is in time. The "in-time" is repeated in the two propositions. The third singular is "the universe". From this it follows
that the universe has a cause and the conclusion appears in what was mentioned in the first proposition - that is the cause.
special aspect is the repetition of the "in-time", and the special condition is the generality of the cause ('illa) because
the cause is what effects the existence of the in-time. The principle is general in the in-timeness of the universe in relation
We therefore make the judgement that every being which is "in-time" has a cause, i.e. in the greater proposition,
unless that cause is equal to the principle or the principle is more general than the cause. So the universe would thus fall
under the principle of the cause [in both cases]. The result is true.
The principle of triplicity also appears in bringing
meanings into existence, which makes use of proofs. The root of phenomenal being is triplicity. For this reason, the wisdom
of Salih, peace be upon him, is what Allah manifested in the delay of three days when He promised to punish the people of
Salih, and the promise was kept. The truth was the result, and it was the Cry by which Allah destroyed them, and "morning
found them lying flattemed in their homes." (11:67) On the first of the three days, the faces of the people became yellow,
and on the second day red, and on the third day black. When the three days had passed, their predisposition was proved and
corruption appeared in them. That manifestation was called "destruction".
The yellowing of the faces of the wretched
is in counterbalance to the shining of the faces of the happy in the words of Allah, "Some faces on that day will be radiant
(musfira)" (80:38) which comes from sufur, when the dawn becomes white. This is a manifestation as the yellowing of the faces
on the first day was the manifestation of the sign of the wretchedness of Salih's people. Then came the counterbalance offered
to His word about the happy, "laughing".(80:39) Laughter is one of the causes which produces redness in the face. Among the
happy, it is the cheeks which are red.
Then He made the complexion of the wretched turn black as a counterbalance to
His word, "joyous (mustabshira)". (7) That is the effect that joy has on their skins as black effected the skins of the wretched.
For this reason, He spoke of the two groups with good news (bushra). He spoke a word to them which affected their skin (bashara)
which turned a colour by which skin had not been described before this event. Allah said in regarding the happy, "Their Lord
gives them the good news of His mercy and good pleasure," (9:21) and He said about the wretched, "Give them the news of a
painful punishment." (9:34) There was an effect on the skin of each group because of the effect of the discourse on them.
It only appeared in them outwardly by virtue of the understanding which was fixed inside them. So it is them who have that
effect on themselves just as taking form only comes from them. "Allah's is the conclusive argument." (6:149) Whoever understands
this wisdom and confirms it in himself and witnesses it, gives his self rest from connection to other. He knows that good
and evil only come from him. By good, I mean what agrees with his goal and suits his nature and temperament. By evil, I mean
what does not agree with his goal or suit his nature and temperament. The one who possesses this witnessing makes out excuses
for all existent beings, even if they do not make excuses. He knows that all he has for himself is from himself, as we mentioned
at the beginning, since knowledge follows the known. When something which does not agree with his goal comes to him, he tells
himself , "Clench your fists and puff out your cheeks!" "Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Way." (33:4)
to Chapter 11:
1. Opening. Salih has this in view of the fact that the mountain split open to reveal the she-camel,
he opened belief to those who believed in him. The camel is a mount.
2. Mounts which are miracles proving the truthfulness
of the Prophets - like the Buraq of Muhammad and the she-camel of Salih.
4. i.e. a triplicity:
Essence, volition, and speech (qawl).
5. Here he uses sabab, something by which something is brought about, rather
than 'illa, which is something which alters or effects something, as in cause and effect. 'Illa is the reason behind judicial
6. First proposition.
7. Comes from a root meaning skin (bashara), the root of bashshara, to give
good news, is to announce something which produces a change in the complexion.
12: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Heart
in the Word
of Shu'ayb (Jethro)
Know that the heart of the gnostic of Allah is from the mercy of Allah, and it is vaster
than mercy. The heart encompasses Allah, but His Mercy does not encompass Him. (1) This is the language of the general public
from the door of indication (ishara). Allah is merciful (rahim) and is not the one to whom mercy is shown (marhum). Mercy
has no power over Him. As for the indication from the tongue of the elite, Allah describes Himself by the breath which is
from breathing. The Divine Names are the same as the Named, and the breath is none other than Him. They require what they
give the breath of realities, so the realities which the Names demand are not other than the universe. Thus divinity (ulûhîya)
demands the object of worship (ma'luh) and sovereignty (rubûbiya) demands the object of lordship (marbub). (2) They have no
source except by the universe in existence and determination (taqdir). Allah, in respect to His essence, is independent of
the universe, but sovereignty does not possess this principle. The matter remains between what the sovereignty demands and
what the essence deserves of independence from the universe. Sovereignty is based on reality and the description is only the
same as this essence.
Then the matter changes according to the relationships. It is reported that Allah only describes
Himself with compassion for His slaves. The first of what was breathed from sovereignty by Himself is related to the Merciful
by His bringing into being the universe, which sovereignty demands by its reality and all the Divine Names. By this aspect
it is confirmed that "His mercy encompasses everything." (3) It encompasses Allah. It is wider than the heart or equal to
it in capacity.
Know that Allah, as it is confirmed in sound tradition, changes in the forms of the tajalli. When the
heart contains Allah, it does not contain other-than-Him of creatures along with Him. It is as if He filled it, and the meaning
of this is, that when it looks to Allah in His tajalli to it, it is not possible to look at another with Him.
of the gnostic in respect to vastness is as Abu Yazid al-Bistami said, "If the Throne and what surrounds it a million times
over were in one of the corners of the heart of the gnostic, he still would not feel it." Al-Junayd said about this meaning,
"If the in-time were compared to the out-of-time, not a trace of it would remain." The heart encompasses the out-of-time,
so how can it sense the in-time as existent? If Allah varies His tajalli in forms, then by necessity, the heart is expanded
and contracted according to the form in which the divine tajalli occurs. There is nothing left in the heart apart from the
form in which the tajalli occurs. So in relation to the seal, the heart of the gnostic or the Perfect Man, is at the stage
of the place that is the face of the seal. It does not exceed it, rather it is its size and shape in respect to roundness.
The face is round, square, hexagonal, octagonal, etc. in form. If the face is square, hexagonal, octagonal or whatever form,
its place in relation to the seal is like it and it is not like other than it.
This is the opposite of what one group
alluded to, saying that Allah gives a tajalli according to the predisposition of the slave. This is not how it is. The slave
is manifest to Allah according to the form in which Allah gives him a tajalli of Himself.
The exact clarification of
this question is that Allah has two tajalli: an unseen tajalli and a visible tajalli. From the unseen tajalli He accords the
predisposition on which the heart is based, and it is the tajalli of the Essence of which the Unseen is the reality. It is
the He-ness which merits it by His word from Himself: "He". His He-ness is always He. If this predisposition comes to the
heart, then the visible tajalli is manifested to it in the Visible world, so the heart sees it. He is manifest by the form
of whatever tajalli he has, as we mentioned. Allah gives it the predisposition by His word, "He gave everything its creation,
then guided it." (20:50) Then He lifted the veil between Him and His slave, so He sees Him in the form of his belief in Allah.
Allah, who is in the belief, is He whose form the heart contains. He is the One who gives it a tajalli, and so it knows Him.
The eye only sees by belief, not hidden in the varieties of belief.
Whoever limits Allah, denies Allah in other than
what he limits Allah to, and confirms Allah in what he limits Him by, when Allah gives him a tajalli. Whoever frees Allah
from limitation does not deny Allah, and so confirms Allah in every form in which Him changes. He is given from himself according
to the form in which the tajalli infinitely occurs. The forms of the tajalli are without end. Similarly knowledge of Allah
has no limit in the gnostic who understands the forms. Rather, he is a gnostic at every moment, seeking increase of knowledge
by "Lord, increase me in knowledge! Lord, increase me in knowledge! Lord, increase me in knowledge!" (4)
is endless from both sides. This is as if you said: Allah and creation. If you looked at His words, "I am his foot by which
he runs, and his hand with which he strikes and his tongue by which he speaks," and so on of the faculties whose location
are the limbs which are not separate, then you said that the matter is all Allah or the matter is all creation. It is creation
by one ascription and it is Allah by another ascription, yet the source is one. The source of the form is what gives the tajalli
of the source of the form which did not exist before the tajalli. It is the one giving the tajalli and the one receiving it.
See how wondrous is the command of Allah in respect to His He-ness and in respect to His relationship to the universe in the
realities of His most Beautiful Names!
Who is He and what is He and what is His source?
He is He!
of His commonality is of His elite,
and whoever is of His elite is of His commonality.
There is no source except source,
so the light of His source is His darkness.
Whoever is ignorant of this
experiences grief in himself
recognises what we have said
except for the slave who has aspiration (himma).
He said, "There is a reminder in
that for anyone who has a heart," (50:37) because the heart (qalb) is transformed (taqallaba) in the various forms and attributes.
He did not say, "to him who has an intellect" because the intellect limits. (5) It confines the matter to a single description,
but reality refuses to be contained. It is also a reminder for those who have intellect, and they are those who have creeds
by which some deny others, and some curse others, and they do not have helpers. (6) The god of the one with a creed does not
have jurisdiction over the god of someone with another creed. The one who has a creed defends it; he defends the matter which
he believes of his god, and supports it. He does not support that which is not in his creed. For this reason, he has no effect
on the creeds of his dissenters, and similarly his dissenters have no help from the god who is in his creed; so they have
no helpers. Allah excluded help from the divinity of creed based on the isolation of one creed to the exclusion of others.
The helped is gathered and the helper is gathered.
For the gnostic, Allah is the Recognised Who is not denied. The people of recognition
in this world are the people of recognition in the Next World. This is why Allah said, "anyone who has a heart (qalb)" (50:37)
since he knows the transformation (taqlib) of Allah in forms by the transformation in shape. He recognises himself from himself.
His self is not other than the He-ness of Allah. There is nothing in phenomenal being from what is, or what will be, which
is other than the He-ness of Allah. Rather, He is the source of He-ness. So He is the gnostic and the knower and the acknowledger
in this form. He is the one who is neither gnostic nor knower. He is also the one who denies Him in the other form. This is
the portion of the one who knows Allah from the tajalli and the witnessing in the source of gatheredness (jam'). It is His
word, "anyone who has a heart" which transforms the shapes by His transforming.
As for the people of belief (iman), they are the ones who imitate those who imitated
the Prophets and Messengers in what they transmitted from Allah. They are not those who imitate the people of concepts and
those who interpret the transmissions received by basing them on their logical proofs. These are the ones who imitate the
Messengers, may Allah bless them and grant them peace. They are the ones who are meant by His words, "or listens well" (50:37)
to what divine transmissions relate of the sunna of the Prophets. He means this is the one who "will listen well, having seen
the evidence" (50:37) with awareness of the presence of the imagination and its use.
That is what the Prophet said about ihsan, "Worship Allah as if you saw Him," (7
and "Allah is in the qibla of the one who prays." (8) For that reason, he is a witness. Anyone who imitates the people of
logical speculation and is limited by them is not the one who will listen well. The one who will listen well must witness
what we have mentioned. When he does not witness what we have mentioned, he is not the one meant by this ayat. These are those
of whom Allah has said, "When those who were followed disown those who followed them." (2:166) The Messengers do not disown
their followers who follow them.
Realise, my friend, what I have mentioned to you in this wisdom of the heart. As
for its specification with Shu'ayb, there is some branching off (tash'ib). Its branches are not numbered because every creed
has a branch, and so they are all branches or creeds. If the covering is removed, it is removed for everyone in accordance
with his creed. The covering might be removed in a manner contrary to his creed in principle. It is His words, "What confronts
them from Allah will be something they did not reckon with." (39:47) Most of them in principle are like the Mu'tazilites,
believing that Allah will execute the threat on the rebel should he die without repentance. If he dies and is given mercy
from Allah, then concern preceded it, for He did not punish him. Thus he found Allah Ever-Forgiving, All-Merciful, and there
appeared to him from Allah something he did not reckoned with.
As for He-ness (huwiya), some people are firm in their
belief that Allah is such-and-such. When the covering is removed, they see the form of their belief, and it is true. They
believe in it. Then the knot is unravelled and the creed vanishes and becomes knowledge through contemplation (mushahada).
After vision is sharpened, weak vision does not return. It appeared to some people by the variety of the tajalli in forms
through vision, since the tajalli is not repeated. He verifies it in he-ness; and there appeared to them from Allah in Allah's
He-ness what they never reckoned with before the covering was removed. (9)
We mentioned the form of the ascent in
divine recognitions after death in our Book of the Tajalliyat, in which we mentioned what we gathered from the group regarding
unveiling, and the benefits we derived from them in the question that they did not know about. One of the most wondrous of
matters is that man is always in ascent, but is not aware of that due to the fineness of the veil and its delicateness. It
is like His words, "They were only given a simulation of it." (2:25)
He, the One, is not the same as the Last. Therefore
the two semblances with the gnostic are similar dissimilars. The one possessed of realisation sees multiplicity in One, as
he knows what the Divine Names indicate. Although their realities differ and are numerous, it is yet One Source. It is an
intelligible multiplicity in the source of One. In the tajalli, it is multiplicity witnessed in the one source even as it
matter which you obtain in the definition of each form. It and the multiplicity of forms and their variety derive, in fact,
from one substance (jawhar). It is its own matter (hayula). Whoever recognises himself with this recognition recognises his
Lord. Allah is in His creation due to His form, rather He is the source of its he-ness and its reality.
For this reason,
the only ones among the 'ulama' who tumble on the recognition of the self (nafs) and its reality are the divinely inspired
messengers and the great among the Sufis. As for the philosophers and masters of thought among the ancients and the mutakallimun
in their discourse on the self and its whatness, none of them stumbled on its reality, and logical speculation can never provide
it. (10) He who seeks knowledge of it by means of logical speculation, swells himself up and boasts without vigour or substance.
"They are those whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided while they suppose that they are doing good." (18:104)
He who seeks the matter by other than its path will not achieve its realization.
How excellent is what Allah said
about the universe - He changes it with the breaths into a new creation in one source. He said in respect to some, rather
to most of the world, "Yet they are dubious about the new creation." (50:15) This means that they do not know the renewal
of the command in breaths. However, the Ash'arites stumbled on it in some existent things, and these are non-essentials (a'râd).
The Hisbaniya (11) stumbled on it regarding the entire universe. The logical philosophers consider them ignorant of it. However,
the two groups erred. As for the error of the Hisbaniya, in spite of what they said regarding change in the entire universe,
they did not stumble on the oneness of the source of the intelligible substance (jawhar) which underlies the form. The universe
only exists by the oneness, as the oneness is only intelligible by the universe. If they had said that, they would have obtained
the degree of realisation in the matter.
As for the Ash'arites, they do not know that the entire universe consists
of a collection of non-essentials (a'râd). It changes in every moment since accidents do not last for two moments. That appears
in their definition of things. So when they defined the thing, its phenomenal being is clear in the definition of non-essential
matters. These non-essentials mentioned in its definition are actually the source of this independent substance and its reality.
Inasmuch as it is a non-essential, it is not independent, but by the sum of what is not independent, comes what is independent.
It is like occupation of space in the definition of the independent essential substance, and its acceptance is non-essential
in its essential definition. There is no doubt that that the containing-of-form is an accident since it is only in the container,
and that is not independent it is in the essential nature of the substance. Occupation of space is a non-essential,
and it only occurs in the thing occupying space, and so it is not independent. Occupation of space and containing-of-form
are not based on the source of the defined substance by an extra matter, since essential
definitions are the source of
the defined and its he-ness.
That which does not last two moments becomes that which lasted two moments or indeed
several moments! What was not independent became independent in their view! They do not understand the basis of this, and
these people "are dubious about the new creation."
As for the people of unveiling, they see Allah in a tajalli of Himself
in every breath, and there is no repetition of the tajalli. They also see by witnessing that every tajalli grants a new creation
and takes away a creation. Thus its departure is annihilation in the presence of the tajalli, and it is going-on by what the
other tajalli grants. So understand!
Notes to Chapter 12:
1. Hadith qudsi, "Neither My earth nor My heaven
contain Me, but the heart of My believing slave contains Me."
2. lit. "god-ed" and "Lord-ed".
3. cf. Qur'an
4. Ref Qur'an 20:114: "Say, 'My Lord, increase me in knowledge!'"
5. The root meaning from which intellect
('aql) comes means to hobble a camel.
6. ref to Qur'an 29:25, "You have adopted idols apart from Allah as tokens of
mutual affection in this world. But then on the Day of Rising you will reject one other and curse one another. The Fire will
be your shelter. You will have no helpers."
7. Hadith in Muslim and al-Bukhari.
8. Hadith in al-Bukhari.
Ref.Qur'an 39:47, "If those who did wrong were to possess all that If those who did wrong owned everything on earth, and the
same again with it, they would offer it as a ransom to save themselves from the evil of the punishment on the Day of Rising.
What confronts them from Allah will be something they did not reckon with.them from Allah that they never reckoned with."
10. Being veiled by limitation.
11. The Hisbaniya were sophists, a group known in the history of philosophy
for doubts, scepticism and sophism who held that the universe changes at every moment since there is no objective Reality.
All is subjective.
13: The Seal of the Wisdom of Power (Malk)
Word of Lut (Lot)
Malk is power and force, and the strong man with power says, "I have power over the kneading,
since I am forceful in kneading it." When the poet, Qays ibn al-Hatim, described his attack with a spear in verse, he said:
have power over it
and so I made its rupture wide,
and you see standing under it what was behind it.
is to say that he used enough force in the thrust. It was what Allah said regarding Lut, peace be upon him, "If only I had
the power to combat you, or could take refuge in some powerful support!" (11:80) The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, said, "Allah showed mercy to my brother Lut, and he took refuge in a powerful support." So the Prophet said that
Lut was with Allah who is strong. It was Allah whom Lut, peace be upon him, meant by the strong pillar, and resistance when
he said, "If only I had the power". Here it is aspiration (himma) in relation to man in particular.
The Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "From that time, the time in which Lut, peace be upon him, said, 'or
could take refuge in some powerful support,' after that, Prophets have only been sent with some power from their people."
His tribe protected him as Abu Talib protected the Messenger of Allah. His words, "If only I had the power to combat you"
is because he heard Allah say, "It is Allah who created you from a weak beginning," (30:54) by origin, "and then after weakness,
gave you strength." Strength is by appointing, and it is non-essential strength. "Then after strength ordained weakness and
grey hair." Appointing is connected to grey hair. As for weakness, it returns to the basis of its creation as He said, "He
created you from a weak beginning." Allah returns him to that from which He created him, as He says, "then some of you revert
to the lowest form of life that, so after having knowledge, they may know nothing at all." (16:70) Allah mentions that he
returns to the first weakness. The old man is judged to be as weak as the child is. A Prophet is only sent after he has reached
the age of forty. It is the time which is the beginning of decrease and weakness. For this reason, Lut said, "If only I had
the power to combat you," although that demands effective aspiration (himma). If you were to ask: "What prevents him from
using effective aspiration while it is present in the wayfarers (sâlikûn) among the followers when the Messengers are more
entitled to that?" you spoke the truth. However, you lack another knowledge, which is that gnosis does not leave the aspiration
freedom of action. Whenever gnosis is great, then its freedom of action with the aspiration is weak. That has two reasons
one is his realisation of the station of slavedom and his regarding the root of his natural creation; (1) and the other
reason is the oneness of the actor and the acted upon. The aspiration of a Messenger does not appear, since the latter aspect
In this witnessing, he sees that his opponent does not turn from the reality on which he is based in the
state of his source-form and the state of his non-existence. He only appears in existence through what he had in the state
of non-existence by his source-form. He does not overstep his reality nor does he abandon his path. That is called dissent;
yet it is a non-essential matter manifested by the veil which is over the eyes of the people, as Allah says, "but most people
do not know." They know what is manifest and outward of the life of this world, but they are ignorant of the Next life. It
is the other way round, so it is from their words, "our hearts are veiled," (2) that is, in coverings. It is a covering which
veils them from perceiving the matter for what it is. This and its like prevent the gnostic from acting freely in the world.
Abu 'Abdullah ibn al-Qa'id said to Shaykh Abu's-Su'ud ibn ash-Shibli, "Why do you not act freely?" Abu's-Su'ud replied, "I
have left Allah to act for me as He wishes." He meant the command of Allah, "so take Him as your Guardian." (73:9) The Guardian
is the one with freedom of action, especially as He heard Allah saying, "Give of that to which He has made you successors
(khalifs)." (57:7) Abu's-Su'ud knew, and the gnostics know that the command which he has is not his, and he is only a successor
to it. Allah told him, "this command is the deen to which I have you successors and over which I have given you power, so
take Me for a guardian in it," Abu's-Su'ud obeyed the command of Allah and took Him for a Guardian.
How can there remain
any aspiration for the one who witnesses the like of this command? Aspiration (himma) only acts by the property of concentration
that which its possessor does not have, and acts on other than his concentration. This gnosis separates him from that property
of concentration. The complete gnosis manifests gnosis at the end of incapacity and weakness. One of the Abdal (3) said to
Shaykh 'Abdu'r-Razzaq, (4) "After you greet Shaykh Abu Madyan, (5) tell him, 'O Abu Madyan! Why is nothing difficult for us,
yet things are difficult for you, and we long for your station and you do not long for ours?" Similarly, although Abu Madyan
had that station as well as the other, we are more complete than him in the station of weakness and incapacity. His badl said
this to him; he did not say it.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that this station is from
the command of Allah to him: "I do not know what He will do to me or you. I only follow what is revealed to me." The Messenger
acts according to what is revealed to him. He does not have anything else. If He reveals to him that he should act by ordinance,
he acts. If he is prevented from acting, he does not act. The best part of choice is to abandon freedom of action unless the
person is deficient in gnosis.
Abu's-Su'ud ash-Shibli said to his believing companions, "Allah gave us freedom of action
fifteen years ago, and we abandoned it through politeness." This is the language of conceit. As for us, we did not abandon
it through politeness, for abandoning would imply preference. Rather, we abandoned it by the perfection of gnosis. Gnosis
does not oblige it on the strength of choice. When the gnostic acts by aspiration in the world, it is from divine command
and compulsion, not by choice.
There is no doubt that the station of the Messenger demands freedom of action for the
acceptance of the Message which he brings. Allah informs him of what will be accepted in his community and among his people
in order to manifest the deen of Allah. The wali is not like that. Nevertheless, the Messenger does not seek Him in the manifest,
because the Messenger has compassion for his people. He does not want them to exceed by having the proof appear against them
because that would entail their destruction. He spares them.
The Messenger also knew that when something inimitable
(6) is manifested to the community, some of them believe in it, and some recognise it but deny it out of injustice, arrogance
or envy. Some of them attribute it to magic and deception. The Messenger sees that, and he also sees that no one will believe
unless Allah illuminates his heart by the light of belief. When the person does not look by that light called belief, the
inimitatable miracle has no benefit for him. Their aspiration does not seek initimable matters, since the effect is not uniform
among those who see it, nor is it in their hearts as He said in respect to the most perfect of Messengers and the most knowing
of creation and the most truthful in state, "You cannot guide those you would like to but Allah guides those He wills." (28:56)
aspiration did have an effect, no one would be more perfect than the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him
peace, nor have a higher nor stronger aspiration than him, yet even so his aspiration did not bring about Abu Talib, his uncle,
becoming Muslim, and it was to the Prophet that the ayat which we mentioned was revealed. Similarly, Allah said of the Messenger,
"It is only his to deliver the message." (7) And He said, "You are not responsible for their guidance, but Allah guides whoever
He wills," (2:272) and He added in Surat al-Qasas, "He has best knowledge of the guided," (28:56) those to whom knowledge
of their guidance was given in the state of their non-existence in their source-forms. It is established that knowledge follows
the known. Whoever is a believer in his source-form and in the state of his non-existence, appears in that form in the state
of his existence. Allah knew that of him, so that is what he is like. For that reason, Allah said, "He has best knowledge
of the guided."
When Allah said the like of that, He also said, "My Word, once given, is not subject to change," (50:29)
because My Word is based on My knowledge of My creation. "and I do not wrong My slaves," that is, I do not decree that disbelief
(kufr) on them which makes them wretched and then I demand of them what is not in their capacity to do. Rather, We only deal
with them according to what We gave them knowledge of, and We only gave them knowledge of what they gave Us from themselves
by that on which they are based. So if they do wrong, they are the ones who are unjust. For this reason, He said, "but they
wronged themselves. Allah did not wronged them." (8) Finally, We only said to them what Our essence accorded that We say to
them. Our Essence is known to Us by what it is based on; so, if We say this, and do not say that, then We only spoke by what
We knew to say. We spoke the word from Us, and obedience or lack of obedience is up to those who hear.
So all is from
Us and from them, (9)
and acceptance is from Us and from them.
If they are not from Us,
We, without a doubt, are
So,. my friend, realise this wisdom of power in the word of Lut. It is a gate which belongs to gnosis.
The secret (10) has been made clear for you, and the command is clear. It is included in the even which is called the odd.
to Chapter 13:
1. Which is weakness, and the slave obeying the command of the Master, as in Qur'an 30:54, "It is Allah
who created you from a weak beginning."
2. Two places: 2:88; 4:155.
3. Abdal, plural of badl, a substitute.
Shaykh al-Akbar says, "They are seven. Whoever travels from one place and leaves his body in its from so that no one recognises
that he has gone, that one is only a badl. He is modelled on the heart of Ibrahim, peace be upon him."
4. A jurist
and one of Abu Madyan's disciples.
5. Abu Madyan: Shu'ayb ibn al-Husayn al-Andalusi, great Maghribi Sufi, born ca.
520/1126 near Seville and died near Tlemcen in 594/1197.
6. Mu'jiza, a miracle performed by a Prophet to prove his
truthfulness and which others are unable to do.
7. Ref. Qur'an 5:99 and several other places.
8. 2:57, 9:70,
etc. in many places in the Qur'an.
9. The apparent sources. The Word is from him and obedience from them.
The secret of the Decree.
14: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Decree (Qadar)
in the Word of 'Uzayr (Ezra)
that fate (qada') is the judgement of Allah on things, and Allah's judgement on things is according to His knowledge in them
and of them. The knowledge of Allah in things is based on that which known things accord Him of what they are in themselves.
The decree (qadar) is the timing of how things are in their source without increase. (1) Fate is only decreed for things by
themselves. This is the source of the secret of the Decree for the one who has a heart or gives ear. He is a witness "Allah's
is the conclusive argument." (6:149)
Properly speaking, the judge (hâkim) studies the source of the question which
he judges according to what its essence demands. The one sentenced to what is due him is, in fact, a judge over the judge
when he sentences him to that. Every "judge" is sentenced to what he sentences, and in it he is the judge, whoever he is.
Grasp this question! The decree is only unknown by the force of its appearance. It is not recognised, so there is much seeking
and earnest request in it.
Know that the Messengers, may Allah bless them and grant them peace, inasmuch as they are
Messengers not inasmuch as they are awliya' and gnostics are in ranks according to that on which their communities
are based. They only have the knowledge with which they were sent, according to what the community of that Messenger needs,
no more and no less. Communities differ, some have more need than others, so Messengers differ in the knowledge of the message
just as their communities differ. It is what Allah said: "Those Messengers: We favoured some of them over others." (2:253)
the same way, they also differ in what springs from their essences, peace be upon them, in the varieties of knowledges and
judgements they have according to their predispositions. This is what Allah said: "We have preferred some of the Prophets
over others." (17:55) And Allah said in respect of creation, "Allah has favoured some of you over others in provision." (16:71)
Provision from Allah can be spiritual like knowledges and sensory like food. Allah "only sent it down in
a known measure." (15:21) It is the due which creation seeks. Allah "gives everything its created form." (20:50) He sends
down according to what He wills. (2) He only wills what He knows, and so He commands it. What He knows is as we have stated.
It is only by what the known accords.
Timing basically belongs to the known. Fate, knowledge, will and volition follow
the Decree. So Allah only gives the understanding of the secret of the decree in respect to knowledges to the one who has
been given complete gnosis. Knowledge gives complete rest to the knower, and it gives painful punishment to the knower as
well. It gives two opposites. By knowledge, Allah describes Himself with both wrath and pleasure, and by knowledge the Divine
Names are opposite one another. A reality (3) governs the absolute existent and the limited existent. It is not possible that
there be something more complete than it or stronger or greater than it, because of the universality of its jurisdiction,
both limited and unlimited.
The Prophets, may Allah bless them and grant them peace, only take their own knowledges
from a particular divine revelation. Their hearts are free of logical speculation because they know the limitations of the
intellect in respect to its cognitive perception. The intellect is unable to perceive matters for what they really are. Simple
communication is also unable to perceive that which is only accorded by taste (dhawq). Perfect knowledge remains only in the
divine tajalli and in what Allah removes of veils from the springs of the inner sight and the eyes. They perceive matters
- their non-time and in-time, their non-existence and existence, their impossibility, necessity and possibility - for what
they truly are in their realities and sources.
Since the request of 'Uzayr, peace be upon him, occurred on the elite
path, censure fell on him as is related in tradition. (4) Had he sought the unveiling which we mentioned, perhaps censure
in that would not have fallen on him. The proof of the simplicity of his heart is in his statement, "How can Allah restore
this to life when it has died?" (2:259) His form, peace be upon him, is in this statement of his, as the form of Ibrahim is
in His words, "Show me how You bring the dead to life." (2:260) That necessitates the response by the action which Allah manifested
when He said, "Allah caused him to die a hundred years, then He brought him back to life," and He said, "Look at the bones
how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh." So he saw how bodies grow with the witnessing of realisation. He showed
him how it was. He asked about the decree which is only perceived by unveiling to things in the state of their permanence
in their non-existence. That was not granted. That is one of the properties of divine cognisance, so it is impossible that
any except Allah know it. They are the keys of the First (5) the keys of the unseen which only He knows. Allah informs
only those slaves whom He wills on such matters.
Know that they are only called keys in the state of opening. (6) The
state of opening is the state of connecting taking-form to things, or rather the state of connecting the decree to the decreed.
None has any taste in that except Allah. Neither tajalli nor unveiling occur in it since only Allah has power and action in
view of the fact that He has absolute existence which is unlimited.
When we saw that Allah censured 'Uzayr, peace be
upon him, when he asked about the Decree, we knew that 'Uzayr was seeking this cognisance. Thus he was seeking to possess
the power (qudra) which is connected to the decreed (maqdur). That is only claimed by the One Who has absolute existence.
Thus he sought the impossible. How-things-are is only perceived by taste.
As for what we relate of what Allah revealed
to him, "If you do not desist, I will efface your name from the register of prophethood," it means I will remove the path
of transmission from you and give you matters based on tajalli. Tajalli only occurs according to what you have of the predisposition
by which the perception of taste occurs. You know that you only perceive according to your predisposition. You look at this
matter which you are seeking. If you do not see it, you know that you do not have the predisposition which it requires. That
is one of the properties of the Divine Essence. You have learned that Allah "gives everything its created form." (20:50) So
if He did not give you this particular predisposition, then it is not your creation. If it had been your creation, then Allah,
who informed you that "He gives everything its created for," would have given it to you. It is you who desist from this sort
of question in yourself. There is no need for any other prohibition. This is a mark of concern Allah showed to 'Uzayr, peace
be upon him. He knew that from his own knowledge and was ignorant of that from his own ignorance.
Know that wilaya
(7) is the universal encompassing sphere. This why it is not intersected, and so it is informed about things. As for the prophethood
of law-giving and the Message, it is intersected, and it was cut off in Muhammad, peace be upon him. There will be no Prophet
after him, either giving law or bound by law. There is no Messenger after him, and he is the lawgiver. This hadith (8) is
a fragment of the manifestation of the awliya' of Allah, because it contains the cutting off of the taste of complete perfect
slavedom, so the name of slavedom, which is particular to it, was not used. The slave does not want to share with his Lord,
who is Allah, in the same name. Allah is not called "prophet" or "messenger." However, He is called Wali and is described
by that name. (9) Allah says, "Allah is the Wali of those who believe," (2:257) and He says, "He is the Wali, the Praiseworthy."
(42:28) This name, "wali", continues to be applied to the slaves of Allah both in this world and the Next. A name which is
particular to the slave and not to Allah no longer remains since prophethood and the message have been cut off.
is gentle to His slaves," (42:19) so they still have the general prophethood in which there is no law (shari'a), and they
still have the law in striving in the confirmed ordinances. They still have heirs in the laws. The Prophet said, "The 'ulama'
(men of knowledge) are the heirs of the Prophets." (10) The only inheritance here is that they strive with the ordinances,
and so they legislate them.
If you see a Prophet speaking a language outside the simple ordinances of the Shari'a,
that is due to the fact that he is a wali and a gnostic. For this reason, his station in respect to his being a man of knowledge
and a wali is more perfect and complete than it is due to the fact that he is a Messenger or someone who legislates and has
a Shari'a. If you hear one of the People of Allah speaking, or it is related to you that he said, "Wilaya is higher than prophethood,"
that speaker only means what we mentioned. Or if he says that the wali is above the Prophet or the Messenger, he means in
the same person. He is the Messenger, and inasmuch as he is a wali, he is more complete than he is by simply being a Prophet.
It does not mean that the wali who follows him is higher than him. The follower never overtakes the followed in that in which
he follows him. If he had overtaken him, then he would not be his follower. So understand that!
The starting point
of the Messenger or Prophet who brings a Shari'a is wilaya and knowledge. Do you not see that Allah commanded him to seek
increase of knowledge, not increase of anything other than it? Allah commanded him, "Say: 'Lord, increase me in knowledge!'"
((20:114) This means: you know that the Shari'a consists of making certain deeds obligatory and prohibiting certain actions.
These actions take place in this world, so they come to an end. Wilaya is not like that. If it had been cut off, it would
have been cut off in respect to itself just as the message is cut off in respect to itself. If it had been cut off, it would
not still have a name. Wali is a name which Allah will continue to have. (11) This belongs to the slaves by following a model,
realisation and attachment. (12)
He told 'Uzayr, "If you do not desist from asking about how the decree is, I will
efface your name from the register of prophethood. The business will come to through unveiling by tajalli and the name "prophet"
and "messenger" will vanish from you." Allah will still have his wilaya. The context of the state indicated that this speech
came as a threat. Whoever has this state when he is addressed in this fashion, knows that he is threatened with the cutting
off of some of the special ranks of wilaya in this abode, since prophethood and the message are a special rank in wilaya based
on some of the ranks which wilaya contains. He knows that he is higher than the wali who has neither law-giving prophethood
nor the message.
If someone has another state which necessitates that the rank of prophethood be confirmed for him,
that then is the promise and not the threat. 'Uzayr's question was accepted because the Prophet is the elite wali. Because
of the context, he knows that since the prophet has this prerogative in wilaya, he cannot engage in what he knows that Allah
will dislike him doing. He cannot engage in what he knows it is impossible for him to attain. When these circumstances exist
for the one who has them and they are affirmed, then this divine statement, "I will efface your name for the register of prophethood"
becomes a promise. Thus it becomes a transmission indicating a lasting rank. It is a lasting rank for the Prophets and Messengers
in the Next Abode, which is not a place where a Shari'a is prescribed for any of Allah's creatures after they have entered
the Garden or the Fire.
We define that as an entry into the two abodes of the Garden and the Fire. When the Day of
Rising begins for the people who lived in the times of the gaps between the Prophets, (13) young children, and madmen, all
of them will be gathered on one plain for the establishment of justice, recompense for wrong actions and the rewards for works
which are due to the people of the Garden. Then they will be gathered separate from other people on one plain, (14) and a
Prophet from the best of them will be sent among them. The Fire will be shown to them. This Messenger sent to these people
will bring it, and he will say to them, "I am the Messenger of Allah to you." Some will affirm him and others will deny him.
Then he will say to them, "Plunge into this fire. Whoever obeys me will be saved and will enter the Garden. Whoever disobeys
me and opposes my command will be destroyed and he will be one of the people of the Fire." Whoever obeys his command and casts
himself into this fire will be happy and receive his reward. He will find this fire to be "coolness and peace".(15) Whoever
disobeys him deserves the punishment and will enter the Fire and descend into it because of his deed of opposition so that
that justice from Allah might be set up among His slaves.
That is like the words of Allah, "Upon the day when legs
are bared," (68:42) (16) i.e. for one of the immense matters of the Next World, "and they are called on to prostrate." This
is obligation and Shari'a. Some will be able to prostrate and some will not be able to do so. (17) These are the one about
whom Allah says, "They are called on to prostrate, but they will not be able to do so," just as some of the slaves cannot
obey the command of Allah in this world like Abu Jahl (18) and others. This is according to what remains of the Shari'a
in the Next Abode on the Day of Rising before people enter the Garden and the Fire. This is why we have written it down, and
praise belongs to Allah, the Wali.
Notes to Chapter 14:
1. Qadar has a specific time and qada' does not.
So qadar refers to the particular instances of qada'.
2. Ref. Qur¹an, "Were Allah to expand the provision of His slaves,
they would act as tyrants on the earth. But He sends downwhatever He wills in a measured way." (42:27)
3. The secret
of the decree.
4. Qur'an 2:259 "Or the one who passed by a town which had fallen into ruin. He asked, 'How can Allah
restore this to life when it has died?' Allah caused him to die a hundred years then brought him back to life. Then He asked,
'How long have you been here?' He replied, 'I have been here a day or part of a day.' He said, 'Not so! You have been here
a hundred years. Look at your food and drink it has not gone bad and look at your donkey so We can make you a
Sign for all mankind. Look at the bones how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh.'" According to 'Ali, Ibn Jarir,
Ibn 'Abbas, al-Hasan and Qatada, that is 'Uzayr.
5. The realities of sources.
6. Miftah, key, comes from the
root, fath, opening.
7. According to the commentator, wilaya is annihilation in Allah, and Allah encompassed all, and
"All things are passing except His face." (28:88).
8. "I am the Seal of the Messengers."
9. Wali means the friend
of Allah, and refers to the gnostic. It is also one of the Divine Names which means the Guardian or the One who manages people's
11. As Yusuf said about Allah, "...You are my Wali in this world and the Next." (12:101).
According to al-Qashani, it is acquires and realised through annihilation in the Divine Attributes and Essence and attached
by the going-on (baqa') after annihilation in the station of drawing near.
13. i.e. those who did not have a Prophet
14. According to the commentator, al-Qashani, the plain on which they are gathered may be as-Sahira, as
in the Qur'an (79:14), "But it shall be but a single scare, and behold they are at as-Sahira!" As-Sahira which, according
to some, is the earth Allah will create anew on the Day of Rising.
15. As was the case with Ibrahim, Qur'an 21:69.
The expression means to get ready for something difficult.
17. This is also reflected in a hadith in al-Bukhari in
which the Prophet said, "Our Lord will unveil what is hidden, and every believer, man and woman, will prostrate to Him. Those
who prostrated out of eyeservice and reputation in this world will go to prostrate and find their backs rigid."
The Prophet's uncle who was a violent opponent of Islam.
15: The Seal of the Wisdom of Prophethood
Word of 'Isa (Jesus)
He was manifested from the water of Maryam
and the breath of Jibril in the form
of man existing from clay.
The spirit was in an essence purified of nature
which it called prison.
For that reason,
the spirit stayed in it
for more a thousand years in the designation of time. (1)
A spirit from Allah, no other.
that reason, he revived the dead and formed the bird from clay.
Since his relation with his Lord is proven,
he has effective action in both the higher and lower worlds.
Allah purified his body, and made his spirit pure,
He made him a model of taking-form.
Know that among the special qualities of the spirits (arwah) is whenever they
touch anything life flows into it. This is why the Samiri (2) seized a handful of dust from the track of the messenger, who
was Jibril, and he is the Spirit. The Samiri had knowledge of this matter. When he recognised that it was Jibril, he knew
that life would flow into whatever he had walked on, so he took a handful of dust (3) from the track of the messenger or he
filled his hand or the ends of his fingers, (4) and threw it into the Calf. The Calf made a noise like the sound of a cow
mooing. If it had been in another form, the name of that form's sound would have been ascribed to it - as grumbling to the
camel, baa-ing to rams, bleating to sheep, and voice or articulation and speech to man. That power from the life
which flows in things is called lâhût. The nâsût is the locus on which the spirit is based. The nâsût may be called a spirit
by what is based on it.
When the Trusty Ruh, who is Jibril, presented himself to Maryam, peace be upon her, in the
form of a "handsome, well-built man", (5) she imagined that he was a man wishing to have intercourse with her. She took refuge
with Allah from him with all her being, with the whole of her existence, that Allah might save her from him since she knew
that that was among the things which are not permitted. She was given a complete presence with Allah, and it is the meaning-without-form
spirit. If Jibril had breathed into her at that moment in this state, 'Isa would have been born in such a manner that no one
could tolerate him due to the harshness of his nature which was the state of his mother.
When he said to her, "I am
only your Lord's messenger of your Lord so that He can give you a pure boy," she relaxed from that contraction (qabd) and
her breast expanded. It was at that time that Jibril breathed 'Isa into her. Jibril conveyed the word of Allah to Maryam as
the Messenger coveyed the word of Allah to his community. 'Isa was "His word that He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him."
(6) Then appetite filled Maryam. The body of 'Isa was created from the actual water of Maryam and from the imaginary water
of Jibril which was infused in the moisture of that breath, since the breath of the living is moist because of the water content
in it. So the body of 'Isa is from imaginary water and real water. He emerged in the form of a man in respect to his mother
and inasmuch as Jibril had appeared in the form of a man, since taking-form only occurs in the human species according to
the normal principle.
'Isa brought the dead to life because he is the Divine Spirit, and bringing to life belongs to
Allah. The breath which 'Isa has is like the breath which Jibril has. The word belongs to Allah. The bringing the dead to
life by 'Isa is an actual revival inasmuch as it was manifested from his breath as he was manifested from the form of his
mother. His bringing to life is also imagined to be from him, but it actually belongs to Allah. He joined the two by the reality
on which he is based even as we said that he is created from imaginary water and actual water. Bringing-to-life is ascribed
to him by means of actualisation in one aspect, and by imagination in another aspect. In respect to actualisation, it is said
of him that he brings the dead to life. In respect to imagination (tawahhum), it is said that he breathes into it and it becomes
a bird by the leave of Allah. (7) The agent is in the prepositional phrase "by Allah's permission", even though He did not
breathe into it. It is also possible that the agent is the one who breathes into it. It became a bird as regards physical
form. In the same way, 'Isa healed the blind and the lepers.
All was ascribed to 'Isa as being "by Allah's permission."
(8) "Permission" (idhn) is an indirect expression, as in His words, "By My permission" (9) and "by the permission of Allah".
If the prepositional phrase is connected to breathing, the breather has leave in the breathing, and so it is a bird by the
leave of Allah. If the breather breathed not by leave, then the taking form of the bird as a bird is not by the leave of Allah.
The agent in that is then the verb "it becomes (yakûn)." If there had not been something real and something imaginary in the
matter, then these forms would not have accepted these two aspects. Rather, it has these two aspects because the constitution
of 'Isa accords that. 'Isa showed humility to the extent that he prescribed that his community "pay the jizya (10) tax with
their their hands in a state of willing submission," (11) and that if one of them were slapped on the cheek, he should offer
the other cheek to the one who slapped him, and not rise up against him nor seek revenge. This came from his from his mother's
side. Since the woman is lower, she has humility because she is subject to the man legally and physically. The power to bring
to life and heal that he had came to him the side of the breath of Jibril in the form of a man. 'Isa brought the dead to life
by the form of man. If Jibril had not come in the form of man, but in another of the elemental forms of phenomenal beings
from the animals, plants or minerals, 'Isa would not have been able to bring the dead to life without taking on that form
for that moment and appearing in it. If Jibril had come in a luminous form beyond the elements and natural humours, since
luminosity is part of his nature, 'Isa would not have been able to bring the dead to life unless he appeared in that form
of non-elemental light, while still maintaining the human form in respect of his mother.
When he brought the dead to
life, it was said that it was him and not him. The onlookers fell into bewilderment (hayra) just as the man of intellect becomes
bewildered in his logical reflection when he sees an individual human being bringing the dead to life, as that is one of the
divine qualities - bringing to life with speech, not mere bringing with animation. (12) The beholder is bewildered because
he sees the form of a man who possesses a divine effect. That led some of them to speak of that as "incarnation" and say that
'Isa was Allah since it was by Him that 'Isa brought the dead to life. Thus they are charged with disbelief (kufr) which is
the veil because they veil Allah, who brings the dead to life, by the human form of 'Isa. Allah said, "They are unbelievers
who say, 'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Maryam.'" (13) They fell into both error and disbelief at the end of all they said,
not because they say that he is Allah nor by calling him the son of Maryam. But they made the attribution that Allah, insofar
as He brought the dead to life, was contained in the human form of the nasut which is called the son of Maryam. There is no
doubt that 'Isa was the son of Maryam. The hearer imagines that they have attributed divinity to the form, and so they make
divinity the same as the form. That is not what they do. Rather, they make divine He-ness the subject in the human form which
is the son of Maryam. They should differentiate between the form of 'Isa and the divine principle because they have made the
form the same as the principle. Jibril was in the form of man who did not breathe and then he breathed. One differentiates
between the form and the breath, and the breath from the form. The form existed without the breath - thus the breath is not
part of its essential definition. For that reason, differences occurred among the people of different [Christian] parties
regarding 'Isa and what he was. Whoever looks at him in respect to his mortal human form, says that he is the son of Maryam.
Whoever looks at him in respect to his mortal representational form relates him to Jibril. Whoever looks at him in respect
to what was manifested from him of bringing the dead to life, relates him to Allah by the quality of the spirit, and says
that he is the Spirit of Allah, (14) that is, by Him life was manifested in whomever received his breath. Sometimes Allah
is imagined to be the passive principle in 'Isa, and sometimes the angel is imagined in him, and sometimes mortal humanity
is imagined in him. So the conception of everyone is based on what predominates that person. 'Isa is the Word of Allah, (15)
the Spirit of Allah, (16) and the slave of Allah. (17) That is something which no one else has in the sensory form. Indeed,
each person is attached to his father of form, not to the One who breathed his spirit into the human form. When Allah fashioned
the human body as He said, "When I have shaped him," (15:29;38:72) then He breathed into Him, that was from His spirit. Thus
in its being and source, the spirit is ascribed to Allah. That is not the case with 'Isa. The shaping of his body and mortal
form is implied in the breath of the spirit. Others, as we mentioned, are not like that.
All existent things are the
words of Allah which are inexhaustible (18) because they are from "kun" and "kun" is the word of Allah. Is the word ascribed
to Him according to what He really is? His what-ness is not known. Or is it that Allah descends to the form of the one who
says, "kun", and so the word "kun" is the reality of that form to which he descended or in which He is manifest? Some of the
gnostics take one side and some take the other side, and some of them are bewildered in the business and do not know. This
is a question which can only be recognised by taste (dhawq), as was the case with Abu Yazid al-Bistami when he breathed into
the ant which he had killed and it returned to life. He knew in that action by Whom he had breathed, and that was an 'Isawian
witnessing. As for the revival of meaning by knowledge, that is the divine life, essential, eternal, sublime, and luminous,
about which Allah said, "Is someone who was dead and whom We brought to life, supplying him with a light by which to walk
among the people..." (6:123) Whoever gives life to a dead soul by the life of knowledge in a particular problem connected
to knowledge of Allah, has brought him to life by it, and it is "a light for him by which he walks among the people, i.e.
among his likes in form.
Were it not for Him and not for us,
that which is would not have been.
I worship Him
and Allah is our Master.
I am his source so know!
If you said, "man,"
Then do not be veiled by "man".
He has given you a proof.
So be Allah and be creation,
and you will be merciful by Allah.
Feed His creation
and you will be spirit and sweet scent.
We give Him what appeared by Him in us,
and He gave to us.
The command is apportioned between Him and us.
My heart was given life by the One who knew it
when He gave us
At that time (before time),
we were beings, sources and times in Him.
That did not endure in us,
but that gave us life.
Part of what proves what we mentioned concerning the breath (nafkh) of the spirit with the
elemental form is that Allah has described Himself by the "breath of the All-Merciful". Everyone described by an attribute
must follow the attribute and all that attribute demands of him. You realise that breath is necessary for the one who breathes.
For that reason, the divine breath accepts the forms of the universe. It is like the primordial substance, (19) which is not
other than the source of nature.
The elements are one of the forms of nature, and what is above the elements and what
issues from them are also part of the forms of nature. They are sublime spirits going right up to the seven heavens. As for
the spirits of the seven heavens and their sources, they are elemental, so they issue from the vapour of the elements. The
angels from every heaven are from the elements, so they are made from the elements, and there are no beings of nature above
them. For this reason, Allah described them with dispute, (20) i.e. the Highest Assembly, because nature has polarisation.
Polarisation is that which is in the Divine Names, and they are ascriptions given by the "breath of the All-Merciful." Do
you not see how the Essence is not subject to this principle, and that it is independent of the worlds? This is why the world
appeared in the form of the One who brought it into being, and it is not other than the divine breath.
The divine breath
ascends by what it has of heat, and descends by what it has of humidity and cold, and fixes itself and solidifies by what
it has of dryness. Thus precipitation comes from cold and humidity. Do you not see that when the doctor wants to give someone
a remedy, he looks at his water (urine) in a long-necked bottle? If he sees precipitation, he knows that the digestion is
complete. He gives the remedy to speed progress. The precipitation is produced by his natural coldness and humidity.
Allah kneaded the clay of this human person with "His two hands." These are opposite to each other. Even though each of these
two hands may be a right hand, the distinction between them is not hidden. They are only two in themselves - two hands because
He only causes effects in nature according to what is in conformity with it. Nature consists of opposites, so He said "two
hands". Then He brought man into existence with two hands, and called him man (bashar). (21) This refers to the direct contact
(mubashara) of the two hands as befits the the Divine Presence. That arises from His concern for this human species. Then
Allah said to the one who refused to prostrate himself before Adam, "What prevented you prostrating to what I created with
My Own Hands? Were you overcome with arrogance (towards the one who is your like, made of the elements) or are you one of
the exalted?" (38:75) meaning those who are above the elements. "You are not like that."
By the exalted, (22) He means
those who, by their essence, are above being elemental by their luminous constitution, even though they are part of nature.
Man is only better than the other species by virtue of his being made of clay (bashar). He is the best species of all that
was created from the elements by direct contact with the two hands. So in rank, man is above the terrestial and celestial
angels, although the lofty angels are better than the human species according to a divine text. (23)
If anyone wishes
to recognise the divine breath (nafas), let him recognise the universe, because "whoever knows himself knows his Lord" (24)
who is manifest in him. The universe was manifested in the breath of the Merciful which Allah breathed from the Divine Names.
They brought the manifestation of their effects into existence from the non-manifestation of their effects. He was generous
to Himself by what He brought into existence in Himself. The first effect of the breath took place in that Presence. Then
the command continued to descend (25) by breathing out from the universal to the last of what Allah brought into existence.
is contained in the source of the breath,
like light is contained in the essence of darkness
at the end of the night
Knowledge comes by proof at the end of the day
for the one who is sleepy.
He sees what I have
said as a dream which indicates the breath,
And it gives him relief from every grief.
In the recitation of the Qur'an,
it is, "He frowned." (26)
He has given a tajalli of Himself
to the one who came to fetch a firebrand. (27)
Musa saw Him as a fire, while He is a light
for kings and seekers.
If you have recognise what I said,
that you are in a state of grief. (28)
If Musa had sought something else
(other than the brand),
he still would
have seen Him in that,
and not the opposite.
When Allah establishes this 'Isawian word in the Station (29) so
that we would know and he would be known, 'Isa will be asked about what was ascribed to him and whether or not it was true,
even though Allah already knew whether or not that matter had taken place. Allah will say to him, "Did you say to people:
'Take me and my mother as gods, besides Allah'?" (30)
Adab demands a response to the one asking the question because
when He gave him a tajalli in this station and form, wisdom necessitated the response in separation by the source of gatheredness.
So he put disconnection first and said, "Glory be to You!" using the kaf (pronoun of the second person singular) which defines
who is indicated by encounter and speech. "It is not mine," inasmuch as I belong to myself rather than You, (31) "to say what
I have no right to," that is, what my he-ness rather than my essence necessitates. "If indeed I said it, You know it," because
You are the Speaker, and whoever says something knows what he has said. You are the tongue by which I speak, as the Messenger
of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reported to us in a divine transmission in which Allah said, "I am his
tongue by which he speaks." He made His He-ness the same as the tongue of the speaker, but ascribed the speech to His slave.
the man of right action completed his response by saying, "You know what is in my self," and the speaker is Allah, "and I
do not know what is in it," so this is in knowledge of the he-ness of 'Isa in respect of His He-ness, not in respect of the
fact that 'Isa speaks and has an effect. "It is You", so He brought distinction and support to confirm the proof and dependence
on Him, since Allah only knows the Unseen. So He separated and gathered, unified and made many, made wide and narrow.
end his reply, 'Isa said, "I said to them nothing but what You ordered me to say." He negated to begin with, (32) alluding
to the fact the he has no existence. The statement required adab with the questioner. If he had not acted thus, he would have
been described as lacking knowledge of the realities, but he certainly was not like that! Thus he said, "only what You ordered
me," and it is You are the One who speaks on my tongue, and You are my tongue. Observe this divine polarity of the spirit!
What is finer and more subtle than this!
'Isa said that he said, "Worship Allah." So he used the name of Allah because
slaves differ in forms of worship and Shari'a. So he did not specify one name rather than another name. Instead he used the
name which joins all of them. Then he went on, "my Lord and your Lord." It is known that His relationship to one existent
being by lordship (rubûbiya) is not the same as His relationship with another existent being. That is why he made a distinction
when he said, "my Lord and your Lord," by two references one to the speaker and one to the one addressed. He said, "nothing
but what You ordered me," and thus he affirmed that he is one who is commanded. The quality of being commanded is not other
than slavedom, since one is only commanded when obedience is expected of one, even if one does not comply.
command descends according to ranks, all that appears in a certain rank is coloured with what the reality of that rank gives
it. The rank of the one commanded has a principle which appears in everyone who is commanded. The rank of the commander has
a principle which appears in every command. Allah said, "Establish the prayer." He is the commander and the one who is subject
to the obligation is the commanded. The slave says, "Forgive me!" so he commands and Allah is the commanded. What Allah demands
of His slave by His command is the same as what the slave demands of Allah by his command. This is why every supplication
is answered, and it must be answered, even if the answer is delayed, just as some who are under obligation delay the prayer.
Whoever who is obligated to perform the prayer and does not pray it at its proper time, delays obedience and prays it at another
time when he is able to perform it. There must be an answer, if only by intention.
Then he said, "I was a witness against
them (and he did not say over himself with them as when he said, 'my Lord and your Lord') as long as I remained among them"
because the Prophets are witnesses over their communities as long as they are in them. "But when You took me (i.e. raised
me) back to You," and You veiled them from me and me from them, "You were the One Watching over them," no longer in my substance,
but in their substance, since You are their eye which necessitates observation.
He wanted to make a distinction between
him and his Lord so that it would be known that he was a slave and that Allah is Allah and He is his Lord. He referred to
himself as a witness (shahid) and he referred to Allah as the Watcher (raqib). He mentioned "them" before himself when he
said, "I was a witness against them as long as I remained among them," (33) preferring them in priority and with adab. He
put "them" after Allah in relationship to Him when he said, "You were the One Watching over them" because of what the Lord
merits in priority of rank.
Then know that Allah has the name the Watcher (Raqib) which 'Isa applied to Him, and He
is the Witness in His words, "a witness against them," and "You are Witness of all things." (5:117) He referred to all things
and "thing" is the most indefinite of things. He used the name, "The Witness," and Allah is the Witness over every witnessed
thing according to what the reality of that witnessed things demands. He indicated that Allah was the Witness over the people
of 'Isa when he said, "I was a witness against them as long as I remained among them." This is the witnessing of Allah in
the substance of 'Isa, as it is confirmed that Allah is his tongue, hearing and sight.
Then he said something which
is both 'Isawian and Muhammadan. As for its being 'Isawian, that is the speech of 'Isa by the transmission of Allah from him
in His Book. As for its being Muhammadan, it happened that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood in one
place for an entire night reciting it without turning to anything else until dawn broke. It is, "If You punish them, they
are Your slaves. If You forgive them, You are the Almighty, the All-Wise." (34) "They" is the pronoun of those who are absent
as "he" is the pronoun of someone who is absent. as He said, "they are those who disbelieve," with the pronoun of those who
are not present. Absence is their veil to what is meant by the witnessed one who is present. He said, "If you punish them,"
with the pronoun of the absent, and that absence is the source of the veil which hides them from the Real.
mentioned them to Allah before the time when they are present (35) so that when the actual time came when they were present,
the leaven would already have acted on the dough, and the dough might have had time to become equal to the leaven. (36)
by "they are Your slaves," he singled out the unity (tawhid) on which they are based. There is no submissiveness greater than
the submissiveness of slaves because they have no freedom of action with themselves. They act according to what their master
wishes of them when he has no partner in them. He said, "Your slaves," and singled out what was meant of the punishment which
is their humiliation. There are none more lowly than them since they are slaves. Thus their essence necessitates that they
be lowly, so You do not degrade them, for You do not degrade them with anything more lowly than the fact that they are slaves.
You forgive them," if You veil them from the punishment which they deserve because of their opposition if You put forgiveness
on them, You veil them from the punishment and protect them from it, "You are the Almighty," the Protector, the Guardian.
When Allah gives this name ('aziz) to one of His slaves, then Allah is called the Exalter (Mu'izz). This name is given to
him by the 'Aziz, so he has strong protection from the revenge and punishment which the Avenger and Punisher desire for him.
He also used distinction and dependence to confirm the proof, and so the ayat is the same sort of His words, "You are the
Knower of the Unseen Worlds," and "You are the Watcher over them," and "You are the Almighty, the All-Wise." (37)
question from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his supplication to his Lord in which he repeated
the phrase for the entire night until dawn was a request for the answer. If he had heard the answer in the first questioning,
he would not have repeated it. Allah showed him the judgements in detail by which they deserved punishment. As each instance
was presented to him and specified, the Prophet said to Him, "If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive
them, You are the Almighty, the All-Wise." If he had seen in what was presented to him anything which would make it necessary
that Allah had already decided and that His presence must be preferred, he would have invoked Allah against them rather than
for them. So what they deserved is changed by what this ayat accords of submission to Allah and exposing themselves to His
The Prophet related that when Allah loves the voice of His slave when he makes supplication to Him, He delays
the answer to his supplication so that the slave will repeat the supplication. This comes from His love for the slave, not
because He has turned away from him. For that reason, the Prophet mentioned the name of the Wise, and the Wise is the one
who puts everything in its proper place, and who does not turn away from the qualities which their realities necessitate and
demand; so the Wise is the One who knows the order of things. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, kept
repeating this ayat, he was in possession of a great knowledge from Allah. If anyone recites it, let him recite it in that
manner. (38) Otherwise, it is better that he remain silent. When Allah lets the slave articulate any request, He does so when
He wants to answer it and grant his need. Let no one be slow in whatever has been guaranteed to him, but let him persevere
as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, perserved with this ayat in all his states, so that he
either hears with His ear, or with hearing, whichever you like. How else will Allah make you hear the answer? If He permits
the question on your tongue, He will let you hear the answer with your ear. If He permits the meaning to you, He will let
you hear the answer by your hearing.
Notes to Chapter 15:
1. As he was born more than five centuries before
the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and is still alive, waiting to descend.
2. The story
is found is the Qur'an 20:75-95, where as-Samiri convinces the tribe of Israel to cast their ornaments into the fire out of
which he brought the figure of a Calf which lowed, and which they worshipped. He told Musa, "I beheld what they did not behold,
and I seized a handful of dust from the messenger's track and cast it into the thing."
3. With dad, qabda.
With sad, qabsa.
5. Qur'an 19:17.
6. Qur'an 4:171, "The Messiah, 'Isa son of Maryam, was only the Messenger
of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him."
7. Qur'an 3:49; 5:110.
10. The tax paid by the People of the Book to the Muslim State.
12. i.e. the dead
person can speak and answer him. This not simply causing the dead limbs to move of their own accord.
13. Qur'an 5:17,
14. Ruh Allah.
15. See Qur'an 3:45, 4:171.
16. Qur'an 14:171.
17. Qur'an 19:30.
See Qur'an 18:109, "Say: 'If all the sea was ink to write down the Words of my Lord, it would run out long before the Words
of my Lord ran out,' even if We were to bring the same amount of ink again."
19. Al-jawhar al-hayulani.
Qur'an 38:69, "I had no knowledge of the Highest Assembly when they disputed." It can also mean mutual rivalry.
Qur'an 15:28, "I am creating a mortal (bashar)."
22. "The exalted" are the angels who wander in love and those who
are near, like Jibril and the angels of the Throne.
23. "Or are you one of the exalted?" 38:75.
24. As the Prophet
25. See Qur'an 65:12, "It is Allah who created the seven heavens and of earth their like, the Command descending
down through all of them."
26. Sura 80.
27. Musa in Qur'an 20:10; 27:7. Refers to empirical knowledge, but he
found unveiling in the form of the Burning Bush.
28. By standing behind the veil or seeking other-than-Him.
On the Last Day.
30. Qur'an 5:116.
31. To slaveness rather than lordship.
32. (ma qulta = I did not say).
Literally in the Arabic, "I was against them a witness."
34. This is the end of what 'Isa said in this verse.
On the Day of Gathering.
36. According to the commentator, the leaven is the predisposition for the arrival in the
presence of Allah. The dough is the clay of his substance.
37. All used in this verse.
38. i.e. with knowledge,
weeping, and maintaining adab.
16: The Seal of the Wisdom of Mercy
in the Word of
Bilqis said, (1) "It (the letter) is from Sulayman and it says 'In the Name of Allah,
the All-Merciful, Most Merciful.'" Some people criticise the fact that the name of Sulayman comes before the name of Allah.
That is not the case, and in saying this they say something that does not befit the gnosis which Sulayman, peace be upon him,
had of his Lord. How could what they say be connected to him when Bilqis said of it, "a noble letter had been delivered to
me," that is, a letter which honoured her. In this they were influenced by the story of how Chosroes tore up the letter of
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. (2) He did not tear it up until he had read all of it and
knew what it contained. It was the same with Bilqis. Had she not accepted what was established, respect for its author would
not have prevented her from tearing up the letter, whether his name, peace be upon him, had been mentioned before or after
the name of Allah.
Sulayman mentioned the two mercies: the mercy of graciousness and the mercy of obligation, and they
are ar-Rahman ar-Rahim. So Allah freely dispenses His bounty by the Rahman, and it is incumbent on Him by the Rahim. This
obligation comes from graciousness, so Rahim is contained in Rahman. Allah "has prescribed mercy for Himself," glory be to
Him! in order that the slave might have what Allah spoke about of the deeds which this slave brings, expecting his due from
Allah who has required Himself to have this mercy for them, the mercy of obligation. When one of the slaves is like this,
he knows that He is the author of the deed.
The deed is divided according to the eight organs of man. Allah informed
us that He is the He-ness of each organ. So the author of the action is none other than Allah while the form is that of the
slave. He-ness is embodied in him, i.e. only in his name because Allah is the source of what is manifested and which is called
"creation". Because of this, the names of the Manifest and the Last belong to the slave since he was not and then was. By
the fact that his manifestation depends on Him and action issues from Him, there is the name the Hidden and the First. Thus,
when you see creation, you see the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden.
This recognition was not hidden
from Sulayman, peace be upon him. Indeed, it is a part of a kingdom which "belonged to no one after him," (3) in terms of
its manifestation in the visible world. Muhammad, peace be upon him, was given what Sulayman was given, but he did not manifest
it. Allah gave him the power to vanquish the 'ifrit (4) who came in the night to attack him. (5) When the Prophet wanted to
take the 'ifrit and tie him to the one of the columns of the mosque until morning so that the children of Madina could play
with him, he remembered the prayer of Sulayman, and so Allah made him drive the 'ifrit off in disgrace. The Prophet did not
manifest his power as Sulayman had done. He spoke of "a kingdom" which is not universal, and we know that he meant a particular
kingdom. We see that the Prophet shared in every part of the Kingdom which Allah had given him and so we know by this that
he is privileged with the whole kingdom. In the story of the 'ifrit, he was only given the manifestation while Sulayman might
have been given the whole and the manifestation. If the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had not said in
the story of the 'ifrit, "and Allah gave me power over him," we would have said that when he wanted to seize the 'ifrit, Allah
reminded him of Sulayman's prayer so that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would know that
Allah had not given him power to seize him. He then made him send off the 'ifrit off in disgrace.
When he said, "Allah
gave me power over him," we knew that Allah had given him freedom of action in that. Then Allah reminded him and he remembered
Sulayman's prayer and showed adab towards him. We know from this that that no creature after Sulayman had the general manifestation
of that kingdom.
Our goal in this question is only discussion and instruction about the two mercies which Sulayman
mentioned in the two names which are expressed in Arabic as ar-Rahman ar-Rahim. (6) Allah stipulated the mercy of obligation
(7) and made the application of the mercy of graciousness universal when He said, "My mercy extends to all things," (7:156)
even the Divine Names, which are the realities of ascriptions. He was gracious to us in them. We are the result of the mercy
of graciousness by the Divine Names and divine ascriptions of lordship. Then He prescribed mercy for Himself by our own manifestation.
He informed us that He is our He-ness, that we might know that He obliged mercy on Himself only for Himself. Mercy never departs
from Him. Who could be gracious to you when there is only Him?
There must be a principle for clarifying differences
in merit this is in relation to what is manifested of the differences in merit that creatures have in knowledge, so
that it might be said that this person knows more than that person, even though the source is but one. This means the shortcoming
connected to the will (irada), apart from the connection of knowledge. This difference in merit exists in the divine attributes.
(8) The connection and merit of will and its increase is connected to power. In the same way, hearing, sight and all the divine
names are arranged in ranks, some having more merit than others. Similarly what is manifested in creation differs in ranks
of merit, so that it can be said that this person knows more than that person even though the source is the same.
each Divine Name which I have set forth is implied by all the Names and described by them, similarly that which creation manifests
accepts all of that which is subject to differences of merit. Each part of the universe is from all the universe, i.e. it
is a vessel for all the separate realities of the universe. Our statement that Zayd is inferior to 'Amr in knowledge does
not contradict the fact that the He-ness of Allah is the source of both Zayd and 'Amr, but it is more perfect and knowing
in 'Amr than in Zayd, even as the Names differ in merit. They are not other-than-Allah. Allah, inasmuch as He is Knowing,
has a more encompassing connection than Allah as the Transformer, the All-Powerful. But He is still He and not other-than-Him.
my friend! do not then know Him in one aspect and be ignorant of Him in another! Do not negate Him here and affirm Him there,
unless You affirm Him by an aspect through which He affirms Himself and negate Him by an aspect through which He negates Himself,
as in the ayat which combines affirmation and negation in respect to Him when He said, "Nothing is like Him," negating, "and
He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing," (42:11) and so He affirmed an attribute which is general to every hearing and seeing
living being. Nothing exists but that it is alive, although this is hidden in the world from the perception of some people.
It will appear to all people in the Next World, for it is the Abode of the Living (ad-Dar al-Hayawan). Similarly, the life
of this world is only veiled from some of the slaves so that election and difference of merit might be manifested among the
slaves of Allah according to what they perceive of Him from the realities of the universe.
In one whose attainment
is more comprehensive, Allah is in principle more manifest in him than in someone who does not have this comprehensiveness.
So do not be veiled by the difference in merit and say that it is not correct to say that creation is the He-ness of Allah
after we have shown you the different in merit in the Divine Names. You have no doubt about them being Allah, and what is
designated by them is not other than Allah.
How then could Sulayman place his name before the name of Allah as they
allege? He is part of the whole which the mercy of graciousness brought into existence. The name, ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, must
come first for the dependence of the one receiving this mercy to be valid. Advancing the one who should come afterwards and
delaying the one who should come before in the place he merits is contrary to the realities.
Part of the wisdom of
Bilqis and the sublimity of her knowledge lies in the fact that she did not mention who cast the letter to her. She only did
that so that her companions would know that she had communications on matters whose means they did not know. This is part
of divine management in ruling because when the means of communication reaching the ruler are unknown, the people of the government
fear for themselves in their actions. Therefore they only act with prudence in a matter because that will reach their ruler,
and they are guarding themselves from the potential danger of that action. If they knew precisely by whom information reached
their ruler, they would have tried to flatter him and bribe him so that they could do whatever they wanted without their ruler
hearing about it. Therefore the Queen said, "a noble letter has been delivered to me," without naming the one who cast it.
That was an act of policy on her part would would insure respect for her among the people of her kingdom and the nobles under
her rule. By this, she merited her superiority over them.
As regards the superiority of the human man of knowledge
over the man of knowledge of the jinn in the secrets of the disposal of things and the special properties of thing, that is
known by the amount of time, for the movement of the eye in perceiving what it perceives is quicker than the movement of the
body when it moves. (9) The moment in which the eye moves is the same moment which it connects to the object, in spite of
the distance between the viewer and the object. The moment that the eyes open is the moment in which they are connected to
the heaven of the fixed stars. The moment when its glance returns is the same moment that its perception is absent.
from one's place is not like that. It does not possess this speed. Asaf ibn Barkhiya (10) was more perfect in the deed than
the jinn was. What Asaf ibn Barkhiya said is the same as the action in the same moment. Sulayman, peace be upon him, at the
same moment saw Bilqis' throne "settled before him" so one must not imagine that he perceived it while it was in its original
place without being moved. We do not think that the displacement takes place in one and the same moment, but that it involves
going into non-existence and returning to existence inasmuch as the only one who is aware of that is the one who has recognition
of it. This is what Allah said, "Yet they are dubious about the new creation." (50:15) Not a moment passes them but that they
see what they saw. Since it is like this, the time of its non-existence (the absence of the throne from its place) is the
same as the time of its existence with Sulayman because of the renewal of creation with the "breaths". No one knows this power,
or rather, man is not aware with regard to himself that he ceases to exist in each breath and then is again.
think that "this" (thumma) implies a delay. That is not true. However, it demands a high rank of knowledge in Arabic, as when
the poet says:
As he brandished the straight Rudayni, (11) it quivered.
There is no doubt that the moment of
brandishing the spear is without a doubt the same as the moment of quivering of the thing which is brandished. It happened
without delay. It is the same with the renewal of creation with breaths. The time of non-existence coincides with the time
of the existence of its like. It is similar to the renewal of accidents in the theory of the Ash'arites [tajrîd al-a'râd].
question involving the moving of Bilqis' throne is one of the most difficult problems, except for someone who has recognition
of what we have mentioned in its story. Asaf did not have any merit except for acquiring renewal in the assembly of Sulayman,
peace be upon him. The throne was not moved across place nor did it rise above the earth nor break the laws of space for the
one who understands what we mentioned. That was done by one of the companions of Sulayman in order to elevate Sulayman's honour
in the selves of those who were present with Bilqis and her suite. The reason for that was that Sulayman was Allah's gift
to Da'ud as He said, "We gave Sulayman to Da'ud," (38:30) so the gift is the giving of the donor by providing a blessing,
not by means of fitting recompense or merit. So he is the abundant blessing, the decisive word and the cutting sword.
for the knowledge of Sulayman, Allah said of him, "We gave Sulayman understanding of it (in spite of his opposite judgement
to that of Da'ud), and Allah "gave each of them judgement and knowledge." (21:79) Da'ud's knowledge was knowledge given by
Allah, and Sulayman's knowledge was the knowledge of Allah in the matter inasmuch as He is the Judge without intermediary.
So Sulayman is the interpreter of Allah in the seat of sincerity.(12) It is like the man who is striving to hit on the judgement
of Allah by which Allah would judge the question. If he were to find it by himself or by what was revealed to His Messenger,
then he would have two rewards. The one who errs in this particular judgement has one reward as well as its being knowledge
and judgement. The community of Muhammad was given the rank of Sulayman in judgement (13) and the rank of Da'ud in wisdom,
(14) so there is no better community than it.
When Bilqis saw her throne, and she knew how great the distance was and
the impossibility of moving it in that space of time, she said, "It seems the same." (28:42, lit. "it is as if it were.")
She spoke the truth according to what we mentioned regarding the renewal of creation by similarity. It was it. The matter
is true, as you are the same at the time of renewal as you were in past time. Part of the perfection of Sulayman's knowledge
was in the instruction he gave regarding the pavilion when he told Bilqis, "Enter the courtyard." (15) The courtyard was very
smooth without any curvature in its glass. When Bilqis saw it, she thought that it was water and had depth, so she bared her
legs so as not to let the water dampen her clothes. By that, Sulayman informed her that the throne which she saw was of this
sort. This is the utmost fairness. He informed her that she had hit the mark when she said, "It seems the same." At that point,
she said, "My Lord, I have wronged myself but I have submitted with Sulayman to the Lord of all the worlds."
did not submit to Sulayman, but to the Lord of the worlds, and Sulayman was part of the worlds. She did not restrict her submission
as the Messengers do not restrict their belief in Allah, contrary to Pharoah who said, "to the Lord of Musa and Harun." (26:48)
Although this submission is related to Bilqis' submission in a certain respect, it does not have the same force. She had more
discernment than Pharaoh in submission to Allah. Furthermore, Pharaoh was governed by the principle of the moment when he
said, "I believe in the One in whom the Children of Israel believe." (10:90) He specified, but he also specified when the
saw the sorcerers articulate their belief in the "Lord of Musa and Harun." The Islam of Bilqis was the Islam of Sulayman since
she said, "with Sulayman." She followed him in all that he adhered to in the way of beliefs.
This is how we are on
the straight path which the Lord is on, for our forelocks are in His hand, (16) and it is impossible for us to separate from
Him. We are with Him implicitly, and He is with us by open declaration. Allah said, "He is with you wherever you are," (57:4)
and we are with Him as He takes us by our forelocks. He. may He be exalted! is with Himself wherever He goes with us on His
path. So everyone in the world is on a straight path, and it is the path of the Lord. It is this that Bilqis learned from
Sulayman, so she said, "To Allah, the Lord of all the worlds," without referring to a particular world.
As for the
subjection which was the privilege of Sulayman, peace be upon him, and by which he was distinguished fom others, and the kingdom
which Allah gave him which none after him would have, it is from his command when He said, "We gave him the fiercely blowing
wind, speeding at his command." (21:81) It was not subjection in itself, for Allah said in respect of each of us without exception,
"He has made everything in the heavens and everything on the earth subservient to you." (45:13) He also mentioned the subjection
of the winds, stars and other things, (17) but that is not by our command. It is from the command of Allah. If you reflect
with your intellect, Sulayman was privileged by this command neither by mental concentration nor by aspiration (himma)
rather, it was by nothing more than the command itself. We said that because we recognise that the physical bodies of the
world can be affected by the himma of the self when someone is in the station of concentration. We have seen such things happen
in this Path. Sulayman only had to articulate the command in whatever he wished to subject without either concentration or
Know, may Allah support us and you by a spirit from Him, that when any slave receives a gift like this, that
does not detract from his portion of the kingdom of the Next World, nor is he called to account for it. That was true of Sulayman.
Although he sought it from his Lord, the tasting (dhawq) of the Path (18) demands that it was advanced to him from what was
stored up for others, and He will call him to account for it when he wants it in the Next World. Allah told him. "This is
Our gift (and He did not say "to you: or to anyone else); bestow or withhold without reckoning." (38:39) We knew by the tasting
of the Path that his request was from the command of his Lord. Thus the request was from the divine command, and the one who
requested it received full recompense for his request.
If the Creator wishes, He grants his need in what he seeks from
Him, and if He wishes, He withholds it. The slave has fulfilled what Allah demanded of him to obey His command
in what he asked of his Lord. If he had asked that from himself without his Lord commanding him to do that, then he would
be held to account for it.
That is true in all that Allah is asked for, as He said to His Prophet Muhammad, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, "Say: 'O Lord, increase me in knowledge!'" He obeyed his Lord's command and sought increase
in knowledge to such an extent that each time he was given milk, he interpreted it to be knowledge even as he interpreted
it as knowledge in a dream in which he received a glass of milk. In the dream, he drank the milk, and gave the rest of it
to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. The people asked, "What is its interpretation?" He replied, "Knowledge." Similarly, when Allah took
him on his Night Journey, the angel gave him a vessel which contained milk and a vessel which contained wine. The Prophet
drank the milk, and the angel said, "You have chosen the true nature (fitra). Allah has bestowed you on your community!" When
milk appeared, it was the form of knowledge. Therefore it is knowledge taking on the form as milk, just as Jibril came to
Maryam in the form of "a handsome, well-built man." (19:16)
When the Prophet said, "People are asleep and when they
die, they wake up," he meant that everything that man sees in the life of this world is in the rank of the dreams of someone
who is asleep, so it must be interpreted. Phenomenal being is imagination (khayal), but it is Allah in reality. (19) Whoever
understands this has received the secrets of the Path. When the Prophet was offered milk, he would say, "O Allah, bless us
in it and increase us in it" because he saw it as the form of knowledge, and he had been commanded to seek increase in knowledge.
When he was offered something other than milk, he would say, "O Allah, bless us in it and give us better than it."
Allah gives something to someone, and He gives it to him by a request which arises from a divine command, He does not take
him to account for it in the Next Abode. When Allah gives something to someone, and He gives it by a request which is not
by a divine command, the business in it is up to Allah. If He wishes, He will take him to account for it, and if He wishes,
He will not take him to account for it. I hope for knowledge from Allah in particular for which He will not call one to account,
for He commanded the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to seek increase of knowledge, and it is the same command
which is addressed to the Prophet¹s community. Allah said, "You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah," (33:21)
and what greater model is there than this model who is a source of solace (20) to the one who possesses understanding from
Had we discussed the station of Sulayman in its entirety, you would have seen a matter whose revelation would
have struck you with terror. Most of the men of knowledge of this Path have no knowledge of the state and rank of Sulayman.
The business is not as they claim. (21)
Notes to Chapter 16:
1. In Qur'an 27:30. The story in found in Sura
27. When Sulayman hears of the kingdom of Queen Bilqis in Sheba', he sends the hoopoe to take a letter to her.
the Prophet sent Chosroes or Khosrau a letter inviting him to Islam, he tore it up after it was read to him.
Qur'an 38:35, where Sulayman says, "My Lord, forgive me, and give me a kingdom the like of which will never be granted to
anyone after me."
4. Type of malicious jinn.
5. Hadith. "Yesterday Shaytan rushed up suddenly to stop my prayer.
Allah gave me power over him and I seized him. I wanted to tie him to one of the pillars of the mosque so that all of you
could look at him, but then I remembered the supplication of my brother Sulayman, 'O Lord, forgive me and give me a kingdom
the like of which will never be granted to anyone after me.' (38:35) Allah turned him away in humiliation." via Abu Hurayra
in al-Bukhari and Muslim.
6. The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.
7. When He said, "I will write (mercy) for
those who are godfearing...." (Qur'an 7:156)
8. i.e. Knowledge is more perfect than will.
9. Sulayman asked
his council, "'O Council, who among you will bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?' An 'ifrit of the jinn
said, 'I will bring it to you before you get up from your seat...' He who possessed knowledge of the Book said, 'I will bring
it to you before your glance returns to you.'" (27:38-40)
10. The name of the man of knowledge in Sulayman's council.
Rudayna was a woman who was famous for straightening spear shafts which were tested by shaking.
12. See Qur'an 54:55.
i.e. by the Qur'an and hadith.
14. By ijtihad.
15. This is in the same sura (27), ayat 44.
Ref. 11:56, "I have believed in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord
is on a straight path."
17. Various places in the Qur'an: 14:32, 16:12, 22:65, 31:20.
18. One variant has "reality"
instead of Path (Tariq).
19. Inasmuch as phenomenal being is a divine shadow.
20. Uswa is model, or a person
to be imitated and through whose emulation one gains consolation. The source of solace is the verbal noun from Form V of this
verb, ta'assa, which means to become consoled by the example of another who had suffered in a similar fashion and been patient
21. His kingdom does not decrease what he has in the Next world.
17: The Seal of the Wisdom of Existence (Wujud)
the Word of Da'ud (David)
"We subjected the mountains to glorify with him in the evening and sunrise, and
also the birds, flocking together, all of them turned to him." Then Allah combined the kingdom and speech and prophethood
in Da'ud when He says, "We made his kingdom strong, and gave him wisdom and decisive speech." (1) Allah clearly and openly
appointed Da'ud Khalif. This was Da'ud, peace be upon him. His freedom of action in the kingdom with this subjection was by
a mighty command which was not completed in him alone. Allah also gave it to Sulayman who shared in it as He says, "And We
gave knowledge to Da'ud and Sulayman who said, 'Praise be to Allah who has favoured us.'" (27:15) He says, "We gave Sulayman
understanding of it. We gave each of them judgement and knowledge."(21:79)
Know that since prophethood and the message
are a divine privilege, and cannot be accquired. This is the prophethood which lays down a Shari'a. It is Allah's gift to
them. Gifts of this sort are not recompense, nor is recompense demanded from them for these gifts. Allah bestows it on them
as pure blessing and favour. So He says, "We gave him (i.e. Ibrahim) Ishaq and Ya'qub." (2) He says of Ayyub, "We gave him
his family, and the same again with them." (38:43) He says of Musa, "We endowed him with Our mercy, making his brother Harun
a Prophet," (19:53). There are more instances like that.What they received first of all is what they will receive at the last
in the totality of their states, or most of them. It is only His name, the Giver.
Allah says in respect of Da'ud, "We
gave Da'ud great favour from Us." (34:10) He did not accompany that with a demand for recompense from Da'ud, nor did He say
that He gave him what He mentioned as a reward. When He demanded gratitude for that by action, He demanded it of the people
of Da'ud, and did not mention Da'ud himself, asking Da'ud's people to thank Him for the blessing which He gave to Da'ud. For
Da'ud himself, it is a gift of pure blessing and favour. It is not like that for his people, but rather like the demands of
barter. So Allah said, "Work, family of Da'ud, in thankfulness! But very few of My slaves are thankful." (3)
Prophets, peace be upon him, thanked Allah for what He had bestowed on them and given to them, that was not from the command
of Allah. They undertook that freely from themselves, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
stood thanking Allah until his feet were swollen, when Allah had forgiven Him his wrong actions, past and present. When people
commented what he did, he said, "Am I not a thankful slave?" Allah said that Nuh was a thankful slave. (4) So the thankful
among the slaves are few.
The first blessing which Allah bestowed on Da'ud was that He gave him a name which does not
have any connected letters in it:
D W D
By this, He cut him off from the world and He told us this by the name
itself which is dâl, alif, and wâw. Allah named Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with both connected and
So in this Allah both joined him and separated him from the world. He combined the two states for
him in his name as He combined the two states for Da'ud through meaning (ma'na) (5) although He did not put that in his name.
That was a privilege which Muhammad had above Da'ud, i.e. calling him by this name. The matter was thus completed for Muhammad
in all its aspects. It is the same in his name Ahmad.
That is from the wisdom of Allah.
spoke about the blessing He gave Da'ud in the mountains' echoing of glorification with him. (6) So they glorified with his
glorification that the deed might be his. It was the same with the birds. He gave him power and described him by it, (7) and
He gave him wisdom and decisive speech.(8)
Then the greatest blessing and nearest rank which Allah appointed for him
was that his khalifate was mentioned in the divine text. He did not do that with any of his kind, and there were khalifs among
them. Allah said, "Da'ud, We have made you a khalif on the earth, so judge between people with truth and do follow your own
desires," i.e. whatever comes to your mind in judgement without revelation from Me, "letting them misguide you from the Way
of Allah," (38:26) from the path which I revealed to My Messengers. Then Allah showed adab with him and said, "Those who are
misguided from the Way of Allah will receive a harsh punishment since they forgot the Day of Reckoning." He did not say to
him, "If you go astray from My Path, there is a terrible punishment for you." If you said that Adam is mentioned as the Khalif
in divine text, we will say that it is not the same as in the text regarding Da'ud, for Allah said to the angels, "I am putting
a khalif on the earth." (2:30) He did not say, "I am making Adam a khalif." Even if He had said that, it still would not be
the same as His words, "We have made you a khalif," in respect of Da'ud. One is implied and the other is explicit. Mentioning
Adam in the story after that did not indicate that he is the same as the khalif of whom Allah spoke. Occupy your mind with
the transmissions of Allah on His slaves when He transmits them. It is the same in respect to Ibrahim the friend, "I will
make you an Imam for the people." (2:124) He did not say "a khalif". We know that the imamate here means the khalifate, but
it is not the same because He did not mention it by the most specific of its names which is the khalifate.
of bestowing the khalifate on Da'ud is that He made him a khalif of judgement. That is only from Allah. He told him, "Judge
between people with the truth." (5:42) The khalifate of Adam was not of this rank. Da'ud's khalifate was that he follow what
was in it previously, not that he delegated with the divine judgement of Allah in His creation. If that had been the case,
it would have occurred. However, our discourse is only regarding the khalifs on the earth from Allah, and they are Messengers.
As for the khalifate today, it is from the Messengers, not from Allah, so they only judge by what the Messengers prescribed
for them. They do not go beyond that except when there is a small point which is only known by those like us. That is in taking
what they judge by, from what is in the Shari'a of the Messenger, peace be upon him.
The khalifate is from the Messenger.
He takes the judgement from him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by transmission or by ijtihad, whose basis is also
transmitted from him. Some of us think that the one who takes the judgement takes it from Allah, for he is a khalif from Allah
by the source of that judgement. The substance is his inasmuch as it was the Messenger's - the source of his judgement is
that of the Messenger's. Outwardly he follows, not disputing his judgement, as will be the case with 'Isa when he descends
and judges. It is the same when the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Those are the ones whom
Allah has guided, so be guided by their guidance." (9) This relates to what he recognises as one who is singled out and one
who conforms. It is in him by the degree of what the Prophet established of the Shari'a which from the previous Messengers
since he confirmed it. We follow him in relation to its confirmation, not because it is a Shari'a of someone else before him.
In the same way, the Khalif takes from Allah the same thing that he takes from the Messenger.
In the language of unveiling,
we call him "the khalif of Allah", and with outward knowledge, we say "the khalif of the Messenger of Allah". For this reason,
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died and did not transmit the khalifate from himself to anyone
else for he knew that among the slaves of Allah are those who will take the khalifate from their Lord. Thus the khalif from
Allah is in conformity with the judgements of the Shari'a. Since the Prophet knew that, he did not hinder the matter. Allah
has khalifs in His creation who take from the mine of the Messenger and the Messengers that which the Messengers took. They
recognise the virtue of their predecessor there because the Messenger is a vessel for increase. The khalif is not a container
for the increase which, had he been the Messenger, he would have received. He only gives knowledge and judgement in what he
legislates through the specific legislation of the Messenger. Outwardly he follows the Messenger without opposition.
you not see that in the case of 'Isa, peace be upon him, when the Jews imagined that he did not add to Musa, as is the case
with what we said about the Khalifate today with the Messenger, they accepted him and confirmed him? When he added judgement
and abrogated judgement, Musa confirmed it, for 'Isa was a Messenger. They did not accept that because he differed from their
creed, and the Jews did not know the matter for what it was - this is why they sought to kill him. His story is what Allah
relates to us about them and him in His Mighty Book. He was a Messenger before increase. As for decrease of the judgement
or its increase, it is confirmed since decrease is increase of judgement without a doubt.
The khalifate today does
not have this rank, but it decreases or increases based on the Shari'a which is confirmed by itjihad, not on the Shari'a which
Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, articulated. The khalif might do something which is counter to a hadith
in a certain judgement, and so he imagines that that comes from ijtihad. That is not the case, but rather this Imam has not
confirmed that the transmission with respect to unveiling is from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. If
it had been confirmed, he would have judged by it. If the path in it is fairness in justice, he is not protected from illusion.
It is not by transmission in meaning.
Something like this occurs in the khalif today. Similarly, it also applies to
'Isa for, when he descends, he will remove much of the Shari'a established by itjihad. By removing that, he will clarify the
form of the legislated truth which he had, especially when the judgements of the Imams differ in the same event. We know absolutely
that when revelation descended, it descended in a certain way. That is the divine judgement and none other! Allah confirmed
it and it is the Shari'a of confirmation by the removal of interdiction from this community and the vastness of its judgements
As for the statement of the Prophet, "If there are two khalifs, then slay one of them," this is the outward
khalifate which has the sword. If they are in agreement, then one of them must be killed by the conflict of the khalifate
of meaning. There is no actual killing in it, but killing comes with the outward khalifate. If the khalif does not possess
this station, being the khalif of the Messenger of Allah - it is just being from the principle of the basis by which the existence
of two gods could be imagined: "If there had been any gods besides Allah in heaven or earth, they would both be ruined," (21:22)
even if they are in agreement. We know that if they differ implicitly, the judgement of one of the two will be valid. The
one with the operative judgement is the god properly speaking. The one whose judgement is not operative is not god.
this, we know that every valid judgement in the world today is the judgement of Allah even if it differs from the established
judgement in its outward manifestation called the Shari'a. The only judgement which is valid belongs to Allah in the heart
of the matter, because the matter which occurs in the world is based on the judgement of the Divine Will, not on the judgement
of the established Shari'a, (10) whose establishment itself comes from the Will. For that reason, He put His determination
into effect. Therefore, Will only has determination in the matter, not in the act which it brings.
The power of the
Will (mashi'a) is immense. (11) This is why Abu Talib (12) considered it to be the Throne of the Essence, since the will itself
necessitates judgement. Nothing occurs in existence nor disappears from it without the Will. When there is opposition to the
divine command here, it is called "rebellion". It is only commanding the means, not the command which brings things into being.
None opposes Allah at all in what He does in respect to the command of the Will. Opposition only occurs in respect of the
command of means. So understand that!
Properly speaking, the command of the Will is directed to bringing the action
itself into existence, not to the one at whose hands the action manifests itself. It is impossible that the action should
not be. However it takes place in a particular locus, and so, at one moment, it is called opposition to the command of Allah,
and at another moment it is called agreement and obedience to the command of Allah. The language of praise and blame follow
the action accordingly.
Since the matter itself is based on what we have stated about it, creation of all sorts therefore
hopes for happiness. He designated this station as "mercy which encompasses everything." (13) It preceded divine wrath, and
the predecessor comes before as is its right. That which the latter judges is what the former judged. Mercy obtained it since
nothing preceded it, so this is one meaning of "His mercy preceded His wrath" that mercy judges the one who reaches
it. It stands at the end. Therefore the end must be reached, and thus mercy and parting from wrath must be reached. It has
jurisdiction over everything which reaches it according to what is given to it by the state of the one who arrives.
witnesses what we have said.
If they do not understand,
they should take it from us.
is only what we mentioned in this matter,
so rely on it and be in it now as we were.
What we recited to you came from
it to us,
and from us to you is what we gave you from us.
As for the softening of iron, (14) hard hearts are softened
by reprimand and threat as fire softens iron. The hardness of hearts is a stronger hardness than that of stone. Fire breaks
stone, calcifies it and does not soften it. Iron was only softened for him so that protective coats of mail could be fashioned.
This is an instruction from Allah that the thing is only protected by itself.1 Mail protects against the spearhead, the sword,
the knife and the arrowhead - protection against iron is by iron. The Muhammadan Shari'a brings, "I take refuge with You from
You." Understand this! This is the spirit of the softening of iron. He is the Avenger, the Merciful, and Allah grants success.
to Chapter 17:
1. Qur'an 38:18-20.
2. 6:84;19:49; 21:72; 29:29.
3. Qur'an 34:13.
4. Qur'an 17:3.
As he had prophethood, the message, the khalifate, the kingdom, knowledge, wisdom, and discrimination.
6. Qur'an 34:10,
"O mountains and births! echo with him in his praise!"
7. Qur'an 38:17, "Remember Our slave Da'ud,who possessed true
8. Qur'an 38:20, "We made his kingdom strong, and gave him wisdom and decisive speech."
10. See the Qur'an 74:54-56, "It is truly a reminder to which anyone who wills may pay heed. But they will only
pay heed if Allah wills."
11. The reality of the will necessitates judgement because it is the same as making a demand.
13. Qur'an 7:156, also 40:7.
14. Qur'an 34:10, "We softened iron for him: 'Fashion wide coats of mail
and measure well the links.'"
18: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Breath (Nafas)
in the Word of Yunus (Jonah)
that this human organism in its perfection consists of spirit (ruh), body and self (nafs). Allah created it in His form. The
disintegration of its structure is only undertaken by the One who created it either by His hand - and it is only that - or
by His command. Whoever undertakes to do that without the command of Allah has wronged himself and exceeded the limits of
Allah in it and rushed to the ruin of the one whom Allah has commanded to thrive. Know that compassion to the slaves of Allah
is more proper through preservation than jealousy in Allah.
Da'ud, peace be upon him, wanted to build the Bayt al-Muqaddas,
(1) and built it many times. Whenever he finished it, it was destroyed. He complained about that to Allah. Allah revealed
to him, "This House of Mine will not be built by the hands of one who has shed blood." Da'ud said, "O Lord, was that not for
Your sake?" Allah said, "Yes, but are they not My slaves?" Da'ud said, "O Lord, let it be built at the hands of someone who
is from me!" Allah revealed to him, "Your son Sulayman will build it."
What is meant in this story is that the preservation
and maintenance of this human organism is better than its destruction. Do you not see that Allah has prescribed jizya (2)
and research of peace with those who had opposed the Din in order to spare them. He said, "If they incline to peace, you too
incline to it, and put your trust in Allah." (8:61)
Do you not see that for the one who has responsibility for retaliation,
accepting blood-money or pardoning is prescribed for the next-of-kin who is the responsible guardian? If he refuses to acept
either, then the killer can be slain in retaliation. Do you not see how when the next-of-kin consists of a group of people,
and one of them accepts the blood-money or pardons the person while the rest of the group want him killed, Allah observes
the one who pardoned and prefers him to the one who did not pardon. Do you not see that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said,
"Whoever is in a position to retaliate and slays the person is like him"? Allah says, "The repayment of a bad action is one
equivalent to it," (42:40) so He made retaliation an evil deed, i.e. that deed is evil even though it is part of the Shari'a.
Whoever pardons and makes amends has a reward due from Allah because he is based on His form. Whoever pardons and does not
slay, his reward is due to the One on whose form he is based, because the One who fashioned is more entitled to it, and his
existence only appeared by the name the Manifest.
Whoever preserves the person, preserves Allah. Man is not blameable
by his source, but by his action, and his action is not the same as him. We are discussing his action, and action belongs
only to Allah, even though some actions are blamed and some are praised. The language of blame in respect to purpose which
is reprehensible with Allah, and the only thing reprehensible is what is made to be so by the Shari'a. The Shari'a makes something
reprehensible because of what Allah made known or which He made known through someone He has instructed. So Allah prescribed
retaliation by necessity for the preservation of the human race and to prevent people exceeding the limits of Allah. Allah
says, "There is life for you in retaliation, O you who possess intelligence (lit. cores)!" (3) (2:179) They are the people
of the core who stumble onto the secret of divine laws and wisdoms.
Since you know that Allah preserves this organism
and preserves its continuance, you should also preserve it since you have that happiness. While man is still alive, he hopes
that he will obtain the attribute of perfection for which he was created. Whoever strives to destroy it, strives to prevent
the acquisition of that for which he was created. How excellent is what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, said, "Shall I tell you what is better and more excellent for you when you meet your enemies, smite their necks
and they smite yours? Remembering Allah."
That is because the only one who know the value of this human organism is
the one who remembers Allah with the invocation (dhikr) demanded of him. (4) Allah sits with the one who remembers Him, (5)
and the sitter is witnessed by the one doing the invocation. When the one doing the invocation does not witness Allah who
sits with him, then he is not doing invocation. When Allah is mentioned, He flows in all parts of the slave, not just in his
invocation with the tongue. Allah, at that moment, is only the Companion of the tongue in particular. The tongue sees Him,
inasmuch as the man, (6) in respect of his sight does not see Him. (7)
Understand this secret in the invocation of
those who are heedless! The heedless person who does invocation is present without a doubt, and the One mentioned sits with
him and so he witnesses Him. In respect of his heedlessness, this person does not do invocation and Allah does not sit with
the heedless. Man is many but with a single source. Allah is one source but has many Divine Names, just as man has many parts.
What is required of the invocation of one part is not the invocation of another part. Allah sits with the part which is invoking
Him, and the other part is described as heedless. There must be some part of man doing invocation, so Allah sits with that
part, and He preserves the rest of the parts by His concern.
When Allah undertakes the destruction of this organism
by what is called "death", that is not negation (i'dam) , but rather separation. He takes man to Him, and what is meant is
only Allah's taking man to Him, "and to Him the whole affair will be returned." (11:123) When He takes him to Him, He fashions
him a different composition than this composition. The new composition is from the genus of the abode to which he has moved,
that is, the Abode of Going-on, because equilibrium exists. The creature thus will never die, i.e. his parts will never be
As for the people of the Fire, they will return to bliss, but it will be in the Fire since after the end
of the duration of punishment, it must become cold and peace according to the mercy which preceded it. This is their bliss.
The bliss of the people of the Fire, after claims are settled, is the bliss of the friend of Allah, Ibrahim, when he was thrown
into the Fire.8 He was punished by the sight of it since his knowledge told him that it is a form which causes pain to any
living being which is near it. He did not know what Allah intended by it and from it in respect to him.
So after the
existence of these pains, he will find cold and peace in spite of the fact that he still witnesses the phenomenal form which
is fire in the eyes of the people. The single thing has various modes in the eyes of the onlookers. The divine tajalli is
also like that. If you wish, you could say that the tajalli of Allah resembles this, and if you wish, you could say that the
world is in the eye of the beholder which contains the parable of Allah in the tajalli, and so it takes on various modes in
the eye of the onlooker according to the onlooker's disposition. The onlooker¹s disposition varies with the modalities of
the tajalli. All of this is permissible in the realities.
Had a slain person or one who had died not returned to Allah
when he died or was slain, Allah would not have decreed their deaths nor prescribed their slaying. All is in His hand, and
there is no loss in respect to Him. He prescribes slaying and decrees death by His knowledge that His slave will not pass
from Him, for he returns to Him as Allah says, "and to Him the whole affair will be returned." So freedom of action occurs
in it, and He is the One with freedom of action. Nothing is outside of Him of which He is not the source. Rather, His He-ness
is the source of that thing, and He is the One who gives it its unveiling when He says, "and to Him the whole affair will
Notes to Chapter 17:
1. The Temple (Beth ha-Mikdash) in Jerusalem. The chapter is an evident
proof against the lies circulated by the occupier of al-Aqsa, Mr. 'Ikrimah Sabri, after the Ahlu-s-Sunnah were expelled from
2. Poll tax paid by non-Muslims.
3. Lubb: In Arabic there is no word for mind. However, in the Qur'an the
word that designates a central locus of awareness in the human being is lubb, which means core. It is the heart viewed as
an organ of gnosis and not merely as a valave which pumps blood to the head. Ibn al-'Arabi says that it is that part of knowledge
which is protected from the hearts which are attached to phenomenal being.
4. Which is to remember Allah on the tongues
while banishing passing thoughts and the chatter of the nafs while you watch Allah with the heart.
5. Hadith qudsi,
"The people of My dhikr are the people I sit with..." in Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Majah, etc.
6. Insan - also the pupil of the
7. "Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight. He is the All-Penetrating, the All-Aware." (Qur'an
8. See Qur'an 21:69.
18: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Breath (Nafas)
the Word of Yunus (Jonah)
Know that this human organism in its perfection consists of spirit (ruh), body
and self (nafs). Allah created it in His form. The disintegration of its structure is only undertaken by the One who created
it either by His hand - and it is only that - or by His command. Whoever undertakes to do that without the command of Allah
has wronged himself and exceeded the limits of Allah in it and rushed to the ruin of the one whom Allah has commanded to thrive.
Know that compassion to the slaves of Allah is more proper through preservation than jealousy in Allah.
be upon him, wanted to build the Bayt al-Muqaddas, (1) and built it many times. Whenever he finished it, it was destroyed.
He complained about that to Allah. Allah revealed to him, "This House of Mine will not be built by the hands of one who has
shed blood." Da'ud said, "O Lord, was that not for Your sake?" Allah said, "Yes, but are they not My slaves?" Da'ud said,
"O Lord, let it be built at the hands of someone who is from me!" Allah revealed to him, "Your son Sulayman will build it."
is meant in this story is that the preservation and maintenance of this human organism is better than its destruction. Do
you not see that Allah has prescribed jizya (2) and research of peace with those who had opposed the Din in order to spare
them. He said, "If they incline to peace, you too incline to it, and put your trust in Allah." (8:61)
Do you not see
that for the one who has responsibility for retaliation, accepting blood-money or pardoning is prescribed for the next-of-kin
who is the responsible guardian? If he refuses to acept either, then the killer can be slain in retaliation. Do you not see
how when the next-of-kin consists of a group of people, and one of them accepts the blood-money or pardons the person while
the rest of the group want him killed, Allah observes the one who pardoned and prefers him to the one who did not pardon.
Do you not see that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Whoever is in a position to retaliate and slays the person is like
him"? Allah says, "The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it," (42:40) so He made retaliation an evil deed, i.e.
that deed is evil even though it is part of the Shari'a. Whoever pardons and makes amends has a reward due from Allah because
he is based on His form. Whoever pardons and does not slay, his reward is due to the One on whose form he is based, because
the One who fashioned is more entitled to it, and his existence only appeared by the name the Manifest.
the person, preserves Allah. Man is not blameable by his source, but by his action, and his action is not the same as him.
We are discussing his action, and action belongs only to Allah, even though some actions are blamed and some are praised.
The language of blame in respect to purpose which is reprehensible with Allah, and the only thing reprehensible is what is
made to be so by the Shari'a. The Shari'a makes something reprehensible because of what Allah made known or which He made
known through someone He has instructed. So Allah prescribed retaliation by necessity for the preservation of the human race
and to prevent people exceeding the limits of Allah. Allah says, "There is life for you in retaliation, O you who possess
intelligence (lit. cores)!" (3) (2:179) They are the people of the core who stumble onto the secret of divine laws and wisdoms.
you know that Allah preserves this organism and preserves its continuance, you should also preserve it since you have that
happiness. While man is still alive, he hopes that he will obtain the attribute of perfection for which he was created. Whoever
strives to destroy it, strives to prevent the acquisition of that for which he was created. How excellent is what the Messenger
of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Shall I tell you what is better and more excellent for you when
you meet your enemies, smite their necks and they smite yours? Remembering Allah."
That is because the only one who
know the value of this human organism is the one who remembers Allah with the invocation (dhikr) demanded of him. (4) Allah
sits with the one who remembers Him, (5) and the sitter is witnessed by the one doing the invocation. When the one doing the
invocation does not witness Allah who sits with him, then he is not doing invocation. When Allah is mentioned, He flows in
all parts of the slave, not just in his invocation with the tongue. Allah, at that moment, is only the Companion of the tongue
in particular. The tongue sees Him, inasmuch as the man, (6) in respect of his sight does not see Him. (7)
this secret in the invocation of those who are heedless! The heedless person who does invocation is present without a doubt,
and the One mentioned sits with him and so he witnesses Him. In respect of his heedlessness, this person does not do invocation
and Allah does not sit with the heedless. Man is many but with a single source. Allah is one source but has many Divine Names,
just as man has many parts. What is required of the invocation of one part is not the invocation of another part. Allah sits
with the part which is invoking Him, and the other part is described as heedless. There must be some part of man doing invocation,
so Allah sits with that part, and He preserves the rest of the parts by His concern.
When Allah undertakes the destruction
of this organism by what is called "death", that is not negation (i'dam) , but rather separation. He takes man to Him, and
what is meant is only Allah's taking man to Him, "and to Him the whole affair will be returned." (11:123) When He takes him
to Him, He fashions him a different composition than this composition. The new composition is from the genus of the abode
to which he has moved, that is, the Abode of Going-on, because equilibrium exists. The creature thus will never die, i.e.
his parts will never be separated.
As for the people of the Fire, they will return to bliss, but it will be in the
Fire since after the end of the duration of punishment, it must become cold and peace according to the mercy which preceded
it. This is their bliss. The bliss of the people of the Fire, after claims are settled, is the bliss of the friend of Allah,
Ibrahim, when he was thrown into the Fire.8 He was punished by the sight of it since his knowledge told him that it is a form
which causes pain to any living being which is near it. He did not know what Allah intended by it and from it in respect to
So after the existence of these pains, he will find cold and peace in spite of the fact that he still witnesses
the phenomenal form which is fire in the eyes of the people. The single thing has various modes in the eyes of the onlookers.
The divine tajalli is also like that. If you wish, you could say that the tajalli of Allah resembles this, and if you wish,
you could say that the world is in the eye of the beholder which contains the parable of Allah in the tajalli, and so it takes
on various modes in the eye of the onlooker according to the onlooker's disposition. The onlooker¹s disposition varies with
the modalities of the tajalli. All of this is permissible in the realities.
Had a slain person or one who had died
not returned to Allah when he died or was slain, Allah would not have decreed their deaths nor prescribed their slaying. All
is in His hand, and there is no loss in respect to Him. He prescribes slaying and decrees death by His knowledge that His
slave will not pass from Him, for he returns to Him as Allah says, "and to Him the whole affair will be returned." So freedom
of action occurs in it, and He is the One with freedom of action. Nothing is outside of Him of which He is not the source.
Rather, His He-ness is the source of that thing, and He is the One who gives it its unveiling when He says, "and to Him the
whole affair will be returned."
Notes to Chapter 18:
1. The Temple (Beth ha-Mikdash) in Jerusalem. The chapter
is an evident proof against the lies circulated by the occupier of al-Aqsa, Mr. 'Ikrimah Sabri, after the Ahlu-s-Sunnah were
expelled from it.
2. Poll tax paid by non-Muslims.
3. Lubb: In Arabic there is no word for mind. However, in
the Qur'an the word that designates a central locus of awareness in the human being is lubb, which means core. It is the heart
viewed as an organ of gnosis and not merely as a valave which pumps blood to the head. Ibn al-'Arabi says that it is that
part of knowledge which is protected from the hearts which are attached to phenomenal being.
4. Which is to remember
Allah on the tongues while banishing passing thoughts and the chatter of the nafs while you watch Allah with the heart.
Hadith qudsi, "The people of My dhikr are the people I sit with..." in Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Majah, etc.
6. Insan - also
the pupil of the eye.
7. "Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight. He is the All-Penetrating, the All-Aware."
8. See Qur'an 21:69.
19: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Unseen
in the Word
of Ayyub (Job)
Know that the secret of life flows in water, for it is the basis of the components and the
basic elements. For this reason, Allah made every living thing of water. (1) There is nothing is which is not alive, so there
is nothing which does not proclaim His praise, but their extolling is only understood by divine unveiling. (2) Nothing extols
unless it is alive. So the basis of everything is water. Do you not see how the Throne is on the water because it was formed
from it? (3) It oppresses the water while the water underneath it maintains it. In the same way, Allah created man a slave.
Then he was haughty towards his Lord and put himself above Him. In spite of this, Allah preserves him from underneath in respect
of the height of this slave who is ignorant of himself. This is what the Prophet said, "If you let a rope fall, it would fall
on Allah." So he indicated that "below" is related to Him as "above" is related to Him when He said, "They fear their Lord
above them," (16:50) and "He is the Absolute Master over His slaves." (6:18; 6:61) So He has "above" and "below" For this
reason, the six directions only appeared in respect of man, who is on the form of the All-Merciful.
There is no nourisher
except Allah. He said of one group, "If they had implemented the Torah and the Gospel," using the indefinite and being general,
"and what was sent down to them from their Lord," and this includes every judgement sent down on the tongue of a Messenger
or someone inspired, "they would have been fed from above their heads," and He is the Nourisher in respect of the aboveness
which is ascribed to Him, "and beneath their feet," (5:66) as He is the Nourisher in respect of the belowness which He ascribes
to Himself on the tongue of His Messenger, who translates from Him. If the Throne had not been on the water, its existence
would not have been maintained. The existence of the living sustains life. Do you not see that when the living dies the customary
death, the parts of his structure disintegrate and his faculties are eliminated from that particular structure? Allah said
to Ayyub, "Stamp your foot! Here is a cool bath," (38:42) meaning that since he had an excess of the heat of pain, He would
alleviate it by the coolness of the water. For this reason, the medicine was decrease from excess and excess in decreasing.
What is the meant is the demand of balance, and the only way to it is by approaching it.
However, we said that there
is no way achieve equilibrium because realities and witnessing constantly accord taking-form with every single breath. (4)
Taking-form (takwin) only comes from an inclination which is called deviation or decomposition in nature. In Allah it is the
will, and it is inclination to one particular goal rather than another. Equilibrium denotes sameness in all, but this does
not occur. For this reason, we are deprived of the principle of equilibrium. Allah's description with pleasure and anger and
the attributes is related in prophetic divine knowledge. Pleasure obliterates anger, and anger obliterates pleasure from the
pleasing. Perfect equilibrium would mean that anger and pleasure are the same. The Wrathful would not be wrathful towards
the one he is angry with, but would be pleased with him. He is described by one of the two principles in respect to him
that is, inclination. And Allah would not pleased with the one He is pleased with and would be angry with him, and so He is
described by one of the two principles in respect to him - that is, inclination.
We said this, however, in respect
of the one who thinks that Allah's wrath will continue against the people of the Fire forever, as he claims. So they do not
have the principle of pleasure from Allah. What is meant is true. It is as we have said, so the hopes of the people of the
Fire lies in the removal of pains. Even if they still dwell in the Fire, that is pleasure, so wrath is removed when the pains
are removed since the source of pain is the source of wrath if you understand! Whoever is wrathful has suffered hurt. He only
strives to avenge the object of his wrath by causing him suffering so that the wrathful might find relief by that. He transfers
the pain which he has to the object of his wrath. If you separate Allah from the universe, then High indeed is He exalted
above this attribute! If Allah is the He-ness of the universe, then all principles appear only in Him and from Him. It is
His word, "to Him the entire affair will be returned" in reality and unveiling, "so worship Him and put your trust in Him"
(11:123) in veil and covering. There is nothing in the realm of possibility more original than this universe because it is
based on the form of the Merciful which Allah brought into existence - He manifested His existence by the existence of the
universe as man manifests the existence of the natural form. We are His manifest form, and His He-ness is the spirit of this
form which governs it. There is no management except in Him as it is only from Him. He is the First by meaning and the Last
by form, and the Manifest by the changing of judgements and states, and the Inner by management. "He has knowledge of all
things." "He witnesses everything" (5) so He knows by direct witnessing, not by thought. It is the same with the knowledge
of tasting (dhawq) which does not derive from thought. Tasting is sound knowledge. Other things are only conjecture and surmise,
and that is not knowledge at all.
Then Ayyub had that water to drink to remove the pain of thirst which was from the
weariness and punishment with which shaytan (6) had touched him, (7) that is, distance from the realities which he perceived
for what they were. Ayyub perceived them for what they were, and by his perception, he was in the place of nearness. Every
witnessed one is close to the eye ('ayn=source), even if it is far away by the interval of distance. Vision reaches it, since
it is witnessing. If it had not been for that, he would not witness it, nor would what is witnessed be reached by vision,
however you want to put it. The witnessed is near between the sight and the seer. This is why Ayyub alluded to touch and ascribed
it to Shaytan in spite of the nearness of touch. He said, "The one distant from me is near because of his power over me."
know that distance and nearness are two relative matters, for they are two ascriptions. They have no existence in the source
in spite of the fact that there judgements are established in the far and near. Know that the secret of Allah in Ayyub (whom
He made an example for us in a written existing book which this Muhammadan community reads in order to learn what is in it,
and they attach honor to the one who possesses it), is that Allah praised him for his patience in his supplication to remove
affliction from him. We know that when the slave calls on Allah to remove affliction from him without that lessening his patience,
then he is patient and the best of the slaves, as Allah said, "What an excellent slave! He truly turned to his Lord." (8)
(38:44) This means he goes back to Allah, not back to the cause.
Allah affects by the cause because the slave depends
on it since the causes which will remove any one matter are many, but the Causer is but one. It is more fitting that the slave
return to the One Source in order to remove that pain by the cause of that than to the particular cause. It may be that it
will not conform to Allah's knowledge in it, and then some will say, "Allah did not answer me." Yet he did not call on him,
but he inclined to a particular cause which neither the time nor the moment requires. Ayyub acted by the wisdom of Allah since
he was a Prophet. He knew that with one group, patience is what holds the self back from complaint. That is not our definition
of patience (sabr). Its definition is to hold the self back from complaint to other-than-Allah, not to Allah. The first group
is veiled in their view that the complainer is lessened in contentment (rida) with the decree by complaint. That is not the
Contentment with the decree is not lessened by complaint to Allah or to others, but contentment with the decreed
is lessened. We are not speaking about contentment with the decreed. Affliction is what is decreed and not the same as the
Decree. Ayyub knew that holding the self back from complaint to Allah for the removal of affliction is to oppose divine force.
It is ignorance if, when Allah afflicts someone by what gives him pain, he does not call on Allah to remove that painful matter
from him. The one who has realization must supplicate and ask Allah to remove that from him. For that gnostic who possesses
unveiling, that removal comes from the presence of Allah. Allah describes Himself as "hurt", so He said, "those who hurt Allah
and His Messenger." (33:57) What hurt is greater than that Allah test you with affliction in your heedlessness of Him or a
divine station which you do not know so that you return to Him with your complaint so that He can remove is from you? Thus
the need which is your reality will be proven. The hurt is removed from Allah by your asking Him to repel it from you, since
you are His manifest form.
One of the gnostics was hungry and wept. Someone who had no tasting (dhawq) in that area
censured him for that. The gnostic said, "But Allah makes me hungry so that I might weep. He tests me by affliction so that
I might ask Him to remove it from me. This does not lessen my being patient." We know that patience is holding the self back
from complaint to other-than-Allah.
By "other" I mean a particular aspect of Allah. Allah specified a particular one
of Allah's aspects, and it is called the aspect of He-ness, so he calls on Him from that aspect to remove affliction from
him, not from the other aspects called causes. They are only Him in respect to elaboration of the matter in itself. The gnostic's
request does not veil him from the He-ness of Allah in removing affliction from him and the fact that all the causes are Him
from a particular point of view. This path is only obliged on the people of adab among the slaves of Allah who are entrusted
with the secrets of Allah. Allah has guardians whom only Allah recognizes, and some of them recognize each other. We have
counselled you, so strive, and ask of Allah!
Notes to Chapter 19:
1. Qur'an See 21:30.
2. See Qur'an
3. See 11:7. As for the connection between Water (al-ma') and the Throne (al-'arsh), see the hadith narrated
by Imam al-Bukhari, "Allah existed and there was nothing with Him, then His Throne was on the water, and then He created the
heavens and the earth."
4. Tajdid al-khalq, instantaneous renewal of creation.
5. See Qur'an 5:117; 22:17, etc.
The root of the name Shaytan is shaytana, meaning "to be remote from".
7. Qur'an 38:41.
8. Awwab, which means
one who frequently turns to Allah.
20: The Seal of the Wisdom of Majesty
in the Word
of Yahya (John the Baptist)
This is the wisdom of firstness in the names. Allah called him Yahya, i.e. the
dhikr of Zakariyya was Yahya brought to life by him, and "a name We have given to no one else before." (19:7) He joined the
attainment of the attribute, which is in the one who has passed on but left a son to revive his memory and his name through
him. He called him "Yahya". His name Yahya is like knowledge by tasting. The memory of Adam, peace be upon him, was revived
by Shith and that of Nuh by Sam. It is the same with the Prophets, peace be upon them; but Allah did not combine the name
of knowledge from Him and the attribute for anyone before Yahya. It was an act of concern for Zakariyya from Allah, since
Zakariyya said, "Give me an heir from You." (19:5) He mentioned Allah before the mention he mentioned his son, as Asiya (1)
mentioned the neighbor before the abode when she said, "Build a house in the Garden.for me in Your presence." (66:11) Allah
was generous to Zakariyya, for He granted his need and named him by His attribute. Yahya's name was a remembrance for what
His Prophet Zakariyya asked of Him; because he preferred the going-on of dhikr-Ullah after his death, since the son is the
secret of his father.
He said, "to be my inheritor and the inheritor of the family of Ya'qub." (19:6) Nothing is inherited
in respect of these except for the station of dhikr-Ullah and calling to Him. Then Allah gave him the good news of what He
appointed for him from His words, "Peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he is raised up
again alive." (19:15) He brought the attribute of life, which is his name, and He informed him of His peace upon him. His
words are true. He completed it, even if it is the word of the spirit, "Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die,
and the day I am raised up again alive," (19:33) and this is more sublime and more perfect in oneness and belief in the interpretation.
That in which the order of nature (2) was broken in respect to 'Isa was articulation. His intellect was given mastery and
perfected at that time when Allah made him speak. In any case, mastery of articulation is not necessary.
the truth in what he articulated but this is different than the one who was testified to, as in the case of Yahya. (3) Allah's
greeting on Yahya was higher than the greeting of 'Isa on himself in this way since the ambiguity occurring in divine concern
was removed. The immediate circumstances indicate his proximity to Allah in that and his sincerity, since he spoke in the
cradle the form which indicated the innocence of his mother. He was one of the two witnesses. The other witness was the shaking
of the dried trunk of the palm tree. (4) Fresh, ripe dates came tumbling down without the male palm tree or pollination. In
the same way, Maryam bore 'Isa without a man, that is, without normal and customary intercourse. If a Prophet had said, "My
sign and my miracle is that this wall will speak," and then the wall speaks and says, "You have lied, you are not the Messenger
of Allah," then the sign is proven and it is confirmed by it that he is the Messenger of Allah. One does not pay any attention
to what the wall said.
He introduces this probability into the words of 'Isa when his mother pointed to him while he
was in the cradle. Allah's greeting on Yahya is higher than this element. The passage which indicates that he is the slave
of Allah is in respect of the claim made about him that he was the son of Allah. The indication is completed by sheer articulation.
He is the slave of Allah according to another group who speak of Prophethood. It increases the principle of probability in
logical thought until his truthfulness appeared in the future regarding all that he spoke about when he was in the cradle.
So understand our allusion!
Notes to Chapter 20:
1. The wife of Pharaoh who was one of the perfect women.
Kharq al-'adat, miracle, literally, the breaking of the normal pattern of things.
3. 'Isa was a witness, not one who
is the object of witness, since he testified on behalf of his mother.
4. See Qur'an 19:29.
21: The Seal of the Wisdom of Sovereignty
in the Word of Zakariyya (Zachariah)
Know that the mercy of Allah encompasses
everything in existence and judgement, and the existence of wrath comes from the mercy of Allah by wrath. His mercy preceded
His wrath, that is, the ascription of mercy to Him preceded the ascription of wrath. Then every source has an existence which
demands that Allah's mercy encompass every source. For that reason, we say that the mercy of Allah encompasses all things
in existence and principle.
The Divine Names are "things", but they derive from a single Source. The first thing that
His mercy encompassed before time was its thingness, that source which gives existence to mercy by mercy. Thus the first thing
that His mercy encompassed was itself, then the thingness indicated, then the thingness of every existent existing without
end in this world and the Next, non-essential ('arad) and substance (jawhar), composite and simple. Neither the acquisition
of a goal nor harmony of nature is taken into account rather, harmonious and inharmonious things are all encompassed
by divine mercy in existence. We mentioned in The Makkan Revelations that effect only belongs to the non-existent, not the
existent. If the existent had it, it is by the principle of the non-existent. It is a strange knowledge and a rare question.
Only those who posess illusions (awhâm) know its realisation, and that is by their tasting (dhawq). (2)
The mercy of
Allah pervades phenomenal beings, and circulates in essences and sources. The most ideal position of mercy is when it is known
from witnessing with sublime thoughts. Everyone mercy designates is happy. There is only what mercy designates, and the mention
of the mercy of things is the source of its bringing them into existence. Every existent thing has been shown mercy. O friend!
Do not be veiled from the perception of what we have said by what you see of the troubles people experience and what you believe
about the pains of the Next Abode which will not depart from the one whom they afflict.
First of all, know that mercy
is in bringing-into-existence in general. In mercy by pains, only pains come into existence. So mercy has an effect in two
ways - the first effect is by the essence, which is its bringing every existent source into existence. It does not regard
desire or lack of it, suitability or lack of suitability. It looks at the source of every existent before its existence, or
rather, it looks at its source-form. For this reason, it saw Allah-as-creature in creeds as a single source-form among the
source-forms. Its mercy to itself is by bringing-into-existence. This is why we said that Allah-as-creature in creeds is the
first thing shown mercy after its mercy to itself in its connection of bringing those shown mercy into existence.
has another effect by request. Those who are veiled ask Allah to have mercy on them in their beliefs, and the people of unveiling
ask for the mercy of Allah to settle on them. They ask for it by the name of Allah, and so they say, "O Allah! Have mercy
on us!" and He only has mercy on them by carrying out mercy through them. It has authority because authority in reality belongs
to the meaning based on place.
He is the Merciful in reality, so Allah is only merciful to His slaves, attentive to
them by mercy. When mercy settles on them, they experience its authority through taste (dhawq). The one designated by mercy
has had mercy known to him. The active participle is the Merciful (Rahîm) and the Mercy-Giver (Râhim), and this principle
does not describe creatures because it is a matter of directing meanings to their essences.
States are neither existent
nor non-existent they have no source in existence because they are relationships. They are not non-existent in principle
because what knowledge establishes is called the "knower", and it is a state. The knower is an essence described by knowledge,
but it is not the same as the essence nor is it the same as knowledge. There is only knowledge and the essence on which this
knowledge is established. The being of the knower is a state of this essence when it is described by this meaning. The relationship
of knowledge occurred to him, so he is called knowing. Mercy, properly speaking, is a relationship from the Mercy-giver, and
it is necessarily part of the principle, so it is merciful. The One who brought it into existence in the one shown mercy did
not bring it into existence in order to be shown mercy by it; He brought it into existence to show mercy to the one on whom
Allah is not in a place by events, so He is not in a place by bringing mercy into existence. He is the
Mercy-Giver, and the Mercy-Giver is only Mercy-Giver by the establishment of mercy. He confirmed that He is the source of
mercy. Whoever has not tasted this matter and has no part in it, does not dare to say that He is the source of mercy or the
source of the attribute. Such a person says, "He is not the same as the attribute nor other than it." In his view, the attributes
of Allah with Him are not Him, nor are they other-than-Him because he cannot deny them nor can he make them the same as Him.
Thus he (3) moves to this interpretation, and it is a good interpretation. Yet there is another interpretation more appropriate
to the matter than this one, and more likely to remove ambiguity. It is to deny the sources of the attributes any existence
based on the essence of the one described. Rather, they are relationships and relative ascriptions between the one described
by them and their intelligible sources. Although mercy is common to all of them, it is different in relationship to each Divine
For this reason, Allah is asked to show mercy by each Divine Name, so the mercy of Allah and its indirect
reference, which is that which encompasses everything, has many branches according to the number of the Divine Names. It is
not general in relation to that particular divine name in the statement of the one who asks, "O Lord, have mercy!" and other
Divine Names, even the Avenger. So he says, "O Avenger, have mercy on me!" That is because these Names indicate the designated
Essence and, by their realities, indicate different meanings. They call on Him by these Names in mercy with respect to their
indication of the Essence called by that Name and no other not by what is indicated by that Name, separating it from
another and distinguishing it. The Name is not distinguished from another, and with him it is the indication of the Essence.
It is distinguished in itself from other-than-it by its essence, as it is generally agreed that, by any expression, this Name
is a reality distinct in its essence from other-than-it.
The whole is set forth to indicate one designated source.
There is no disagreement that each name has an authority which another does not have. That also must be taken into account,
as one takes into account their indications of the named essence.
For this reason, Abu'l-Qasim ibn Qasi said regarding
the Divine Names that each Name is, in its isolation, designated by all of the Divine Names since they preceded in mentioning
its description by all the Names, that is, by their indication of one source. Although the Names based on it are many and
their realities differ, i.e. the realities of these Names, the mercy is obtained by two means. The first is the path of obligation,
and it is His word, "I shall prescribe it for those who are godfearing and pay zakat," (7:156) and He binds them by it through
the attributes of knowledge and action. The other path by which mercy is obtained is the path of divine graciousness which
is not connected to action. It is His words, "My mercy embraces all things." Of this, it is said, "So that Allah may forgive
you your earlier errors and any later ones." (48:2) And of this, there are His words, "Do what you want, I have already forgiven
you." (5) So know that!
Notes to Chapter 21:
1. Al-Mâlikiyya. His state was dominated by the name al-Mâlik,
the Sovereign, who prevails in His orders. This strength was shown in his himma whose fruit was Yahya.
2. Because they
connect the imagination (wahm) to things and bring them into existence and thus have experiential knowledge of this. As for
the one on whom illusion has no effect, he is far from this question.
3. The Imam of Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jama'ah, Shaykh
4. There is a specific mercy of Allah, of al-Rahman, of ar-Rahim, of al-Malik, etc.
This refers to an incident involving Hatib ibn Abi Balta'a. When the Muslim army prepared to set out to conquer Makka, Hatib
sent a letter to warn the Quraysh which was intercepted. 'Umar wanted kill him for intelligence with the nemy in war, but
the Prophet said, "O 'Umar, perhaps Allah has looked with favor on those who already fought at Badr and said, 'Do whatever
you want. I have already forgiven you.'"
22: The Seal of the Wisdom of Intimacy
in the Word
of Ilyas (Elijah)
Ilyas (Elijah) is none but Idris (Enoch), peace be upon him. He was a Prophet before Nuh,
and Allah raised him to a high place. (1) He dwells in the heart of the spheres, the sphere of the sun. Then he was sent to
the town of Baalbek (Ba'labakk). Baal is the name of an idol and "bakk" is the power of the village. The idol was called Baal
and was singled out with domination. It was Ilyas who was Idris, who was given the example of the splitting of the mountain
called "Lubnan (Lebanon)" which comes from lubana (desire, goal). What he needed was a horse of fire with all its trappings
of fire. When he saw it, he rode it and appetite fell from him, and so there was intellect without appetite. There remained
for him no connection with that which is connected to the desire of the self. For him, Allah was pure without connection.
He had only half of gnosis of Allah. When the intellect is free of the self in respect to gathering knowledges by its discernment,
its gnosis of Allah is based on disconnection (tanzih) not connection (tashbih).
When Allah gives gnosis by tajalli,
then gnosis of Allah is perfected.
Disconnection is used in one place and connection in another place.
sees the diffusion of Allah by existence in natural and elemental forms. There is no form but that he sees the source of Allah
in its source. This is the complete perfect gnosis which is brought the roads (shara'i) revealed from Allah. By this recognition,
all illusions (awham) have authority. For this reason, illusion has a stronger power in this human organism than the intellect,
because the man of intellect even if his intellect reaches maturity is not free of the power which illusion has
over him and over the formation of what he reasons. Illusion is the greatest power in this perfect human organism. The revealed
roads brought it, and so you use both connection and disconnection. You use connection in disconnection by illusion, and disconnection
in connection by the intellect. So the whole is connected to the whole. It is not possible that disconnection be free of connection
nor connection from disconnection. Allah said, "Nothing is like Him," so He used connection and disconnection. "He is the
All-Hearing, the All-Seeing," (2) and He used connection, and yet it is the greatest of ayat revealed on disconnection. Even
so, it is not free of connection because of the Kayf (like).
So He has the most knowledge of Himself of those who know.
He only designated Himself by what we mentioned. Then He said, "Glory be to your Lord, the Lord of Might, beyond anything
they describe," (37:180) and they only describe according to what these realities accord them. He exalted Himself above their
disconnection since they limit Him by that disconnection. That is due to the inability of the intellect to perceive the like
Then all the roads (Shara'i) brought what the illusions dominate. They do not free Allah of an attribute in
which He is manifest as they said. They brought that, and so communities acted on it. Allah granted them the tajalli. The
heirs followed the Messengers closely, and said what the Messengers of Allah said. Allah knows best where He puts His message,
and so Allah knows best who turns his face to Him in a particular aspect by transmission to the Messenger of Allah. One aspect
of His begins with "He knows best where to place His message." (6:124) There is a reality in each of the two aspects
for that reason, we speak of connection and disconnection, and disconnection and connection. After this (3) is established,
we will lower the screens and drop the veils on the eye of the critic (4) and the one who simply follows a creed. Both of
them are among the forms in which Allah gives tajalli, but He has commanded the veil for us in order that different levels
of excellence of the predisposition of forms might appear. One is given a tajalli in a form according to the predisposition
of that form. What its reality and exigencies accord him is ascribed to him. That must be. The example of the one who sees
Allah when he is asleep and does not deny it is this. Without a doubt, it is Allah Himself. He attaches to it the exigencies
of that form and its realities in which He gives the tajalli in sleep. Then after that, he interprets, i.e. he transfers it
to another matter which disconnection logically demands. If the one who interprets it has unveiling and belief (iman), then
he does not transfer it to disconnection at all. Rather, he gives it the disconnection that is due it and what is due to that
which is manifest in it, i.e. its connection/resemblance. Properly speaking, "Allah" is an expression for the one who understands
the indication (ishara). (5)
The spirit of this wisdom and its seal is that the command is divided into the effector
and the one effected. These are two expressions. The effector in every aspect and in every state and in every presence is
Allah. The effected by every aspect and in every state and in every presence is the universe, even if it is Allah who comes.
(6) Allah is everything at its foundation which corresponds. That which appears is forever and ever a branch from the root;
divine love is a branch from the supererogatory acts of the slave. So this is an effect between the effector and the effected.
Allah is the hearing of the slave and his sight and faculties from this love. (7) This is an established effect which, if
you believe, you cannot deny because it is confirmed by the Shari'a.
As for the person of sound intellect, he is either
in possession of a divine tajalli in a natural locus of tajalli, (8) so he recognizes what we have said, or else he is a believing
Muslim who believes in what was reported in sound tradition. The power of illusion must govern the man of intellect investigating
what has been brought to him in this form because he believes in that form. As for the one who is not a believer, he judges
illusion by illusion; and so he imagines by his logical discernment that he assigns to Allah what the tajalli gives him in
dream. Illusion in that does not depart from him inasmuch as he is not aware because of his disregard for himself. From that
is what Allah says, "Call on Me and I will answer You." (40:60) Allah also says, "If My slaves ask you concerning Me, I am
near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me," (2:186) since He only answers when there is someone who calls
to Him. The source of the caller is the source of the answerer, but there is no disagreement about the difference of forms.
They are two forms without a doubt.
All these forms are like Zayd's limbs. It is known that Zayd is one reality in
personality, yet his hand is not the form of his foot nor his head nor his eye nor his eyebrow. He is one multiple - multiple
by forms, one by source. That is like man who is one by source without a doubt. There is no doubt that 'Umar is not Zayd nor
Khalid nor Ja'far, and that the individual persons of this one source are endless in existence. Even if man is one by source,
he is many by forms and persons. If you are a believer, you know absolutely that Allah Himself will appear in a tajalli in
a form on the Day of Rising. He will be recognized and then He will change form and be denied. (9) Then He will change from
it again into another form and will not be recognized. He is the One giving tajalli and it is not other than Him in each form,
even though it is known that this form is not that other form.
It is one source which has the same function as the
mirror. When the viewer looks in it at the form of his belief in Allah, he recognizes Him, and so draws near Him. When it
happens that he sees in it the belief of someone else, he denies Him since he sees his form and the form of someone else in
the mirror. The mirror is but a single source while the forms are many in the eye of the viewer. There is no form in the mirror
which comprises them all at once. Although the phenomenal being of the mirror has an effect on the forms from one aspect,
it does not have an effect on the forms from another aspect. The effect which it has makes the form change shape in smallness,
largeness, length, and width, so it has an effect in quantities. This is attributable to it, but this changing of it is by
the difference of the size of the mirrors. In the example, look at one of these mirrors, and do not look at all of them. It
is your perception in respect to His being essence, and so He is independent of the universe, and in respect to the divine
names. In that moment He is like the mirrors. Whatever Divine Name in which you look at yourself or simply look at. He manifests
the reality of that Name in whoever looks. The matter is thus. If you understand, do not be anxious, and do not fear. Allah
loves bravery, even to the extent of killing a snake. The snake is not other than your self, and the snake is alive through
its self in form and reality. The thing is not killed by itself, even if the form is destroyed in the senses, The definition
determines it, and imagination does not make it depart.
Since the matter is based on this, this is the safeguard of
the essences and might and invincibility. You cannot destroy the definition. What might is greater than this might? You imagine
by illusion that you have killed. By intellect and illusion, the form does not vanish from existence in the definition. The
proof of that is, "You did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw." (8:17) The eye only perceived the form of Muhammad
which had the throwing confirmed to it in the senses. It is what Allah denied the throwing to at first, and then confirmed
in the middle, only to return to the perception that Allah was the One who threw in the form of Muhammad. One must believe
this. So look at this effector when Allah descended into a Muhammadan form. Allah Himself informs His slaves of that, and
none of us said that of Him, rather He said it of Himself. His report is true, and it is obligatory to believe it whether
or not you perceive the knowledge of what He said, being a knower or believing Muslim.
Part of what shows you the weakness
of the intellect's discernment in respect to its thought, since the intellect passes judgement on cause ('illa), is that cause
is not an effect of the one who is the cause. This is the judgement of the intellect which is evident. There is only this
in the knowledge of tajalli, and it is that the cause is an effect to whoever is the cause. That which the intellect governs
is sound when discernment is clarified. Its goal in that is that, when it sees the matter differently than what logical proof
would accord it, it says that the source after it is confirmed that it is one in this multiple, and inasmuch as it is
cause in one of these forms belonging to any effect is not an effect of its effect, so that its effect would become
a cause to it. This is his goal when he sees the matter for what it was, although he does not continue in his logical discernment.
the command in causality is of this sort, your opinion by the scope of logical discernment is not in other than this narrow
limit. None are more reasonable than the Messengers, may the blessings of Allah be upon them, and they brought what they brought
in transmission from the Divine Presence. They confirmed what the intellect confirmed. Then they gave more in what the intellect
alone does not possess by its perception and what the intellect does not imagine directly, but one draws near to it in the
divine tajalli. When he is alone with himself after the tajalli, he is confused about what he saw. If he is the slave of a
Lord, his intellect returns to him, and if he is the slave of reasoning, Allah gives him back judgement. This is only as long
as he is veiled in the dimension of this world from his dimension in the Next World.
The gnostics appear here as if
they possessed the form of this world by virtue of the fact that its principles operate on them. However, Allah has transformed
them inwardly to the dimension of the Next World. That must be the case. They are unknown by form except to whomever has had
his inner eye unveiled by Allah so that he perceives. (10) There is no gnostic of Allah in respect of divine tajalli who is
not based on the dimension of the Next World. He has been gathered in this lower world of his and has been called from his
grave. He sees what they do not see, and he witnesses what they do not witness - as a mark of concern from Allah to some of
His slaves in that respect.
Whoever wishes to find this wisdom of Ilyas-Idris to whom Allah gave two formations, so
that he was a Prophet before Nuh, and then he raised him up and brought him down after that as a Messenger and so Allah joined
for him the two degrees, let him descend from the authority of his intellect to his appetite and be an absolute animal so
that he will be shown what every creature that crawls is shown except for the jinn and men. Then he will know that he has
realized his animality, and it has two tokens. One is this unveiling so he sees who is punished in his grave and who
has bliss. He sees the dead alive and the silent speaking and the sitting walking. The second token is muteness since, had
he wanted to utter what he had seen, he would be unable to do so. Thus he has realized his animality. We had a pupil who acquired
this unveiling although dumbness did not take hold of him, and so he did not fully realize his animality. When Allah established
me in this station, I realized my animality with a complete realization. So I was seeing and wishing to utter what I was witnessing
but I could not. So there was no difference between me and the mute who cannot speak.
When he realizes what we have
mentioned, he will move to being pure intellect in natural matter. He will witness matters which are the roots of what is
manifested in natural forms. He will know from where this principle is manifest in the natural form with the knowledge of
tasting. Had it been unveiled that nature is the source of the breath of the All-Merciful, he would have been given much good.
If he is restricted in what we have mentioned, this power from the gnosis which governs his intellect will be enough for him.
He keeps company with gnostics, and by that he knows tasting. "You did not kill them, it was Allah who killed them," (8:17)
yet only iron, the blow and that which is behind this form killed them. In the whole, killing and throwing took place. So
he witnesses matters by their roots and by their forms, and he is complete. When he witnesses the breath, he is completely
perfect. The breath of the All-Merciful is the source of the overflowing of existence and life on all, rather the source of
Allah's descent to all forms.
Notes to Chapter 22:
1. A place from which, according to Sidi Muhiddin, Idris
(Enoch) descended in order to become Ilyas (Elijah). See Qur'an 19:57, "Mention Idris in the Book. He was a true man and a
Prophet. We raised him up to a high place."
2. Qur'an 42:11.
3. The rule of joining tanzih and tashbih.
The one who uses logical proof.
5. i.e. what he recognises from the word "Allah" extends only so far as his predisposition
6. In the wârid.
7. "When I love him, I am his hearing with he hears, his sight by which
he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks".
8. i.e. the human form.
in Muslim: 1: 299, 302.
10. See Qur'an 50:22, "We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp."
23: The Seal of the Wisdom of Ihsan
in the Word of
If Allah wishes, He wills provision for Him,
so all of phenomenal being is His food.
wishes, He wills provision for us,
so He is our food as He wishes.
His volition is His will, so say that He wished
So it is wished.
He wills increase and decrease.
So what He wishes is wished.
This is the distinction
between them, (1)
From a certain point of view,
their source is the same.
Allah says, "We
gave Luqman wisdom," (31:12) and He says, "Whoever has been given wisdom has been given much good." (2:269) By the divine
text, Luqman had much good as Allah has testified. The example of what Luqman said to his son is, "My son, even if something
weighs as little as a mustard-seed, and it is inside a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or earth, Allah will bring it
out." (31:16) This is a wisdom which is articulated, and that wisdom is his setting out that Allah is the One who brings forth.
Allah confirmed that in His Book and did not refute what the speaker said.
As for the silent wisdom in it, and you
know it by the circumstances, he is silent about the one to whom that grain is given. He did not mention him nor did he say
to his son, "Allah will bring it to you or to other than you." He used bringing in general terms and denoted the thing brought
in the heavens or in the earth as an instruction that the looker might regard His words, "He is Allah in the heavens and in
the earth." (6:3) Luqman gave instruction by what he said and by what he remained silent on, so Allah is the source of every
knowing thing because the known is more universal than the thing, so it denies unknown things.
Then he completed the
wisdom and brought it to its full value in order that the structure might be complete in it. He said, "Allah is Latif (Subtle,
Kind)." (31:16) Part of His subtleness (latâfa) and His kindness (lutf) is that He is in the thing named by such-and-such
a definition in such-and-such a source of that thing, so it is only what its name indicates by convention and usage. It is
said that these are names: heaven, earth, rock, tree, animal, angel, provision and food, and yet the source of everything
is One. Thus the Ash'arites say about this that the entire universe is homogeneous in substance (jawhar), so it is one single
It is the same as our statement that the source is One. They said that it varies by non-essentials. Thus
our statement that it varies and becomes many through forms and relationships so as to provide distinction. It is said, "This
is not that in respect to its form or its non-essential or natural disposition (mizâj)." Say whatever you like, but this is
the same as that in respect to its substance. For this reason, the source of the substance is put in the definition of every
form and disposition. However, we say that it is not other-than-Allah. The mutakallim thinks that it is called substance.
Even though it is true, it is not the source of Allah of which the people of unveiling and tajalli speak. This is the wisdom
of the "Latîf".
Then He is described when He says "the All-Aware (Khabir)," the One who knows by experience. It is
His words, "We will test you until We know." (47:31) This is the knowledge of tastes. Allah put Himself with His knowledge
of what the matter is in (our) profitable knowledge. No one can deny what Allah has written about Himself. Allah differentiated
the knowledge of tasting and absolute knowledge. The knowledge of tasting is limited by the faculties. He said of Himself
that He is the source of the faculties of His slave when He said, "I am his hearing," which is one of the faculties of the
slave, "and his sight," which is one of the faculties of the slave, "and his tongue," which is one of the faculties of the
slave, "and his foot and his hand." He did not restrict Himself to specifying the faculties, but He mentioned the members.
The slave is not other than his members and faculties. The source called the slave is the Real, but the source of the slave
is not the Compassionate Master.
Relationships are distinct by their essence. The one brought into relationship is
not distinct. (2) Then He equalized His source in all relationships, for it is but one source with various ascriptions, relationships
and attributes. Part of the completeness of Luqman's wisdom in instructing his son is what has come in the ayat of these two
Divine Names, Latif and Khabir - Allah is called by them. If He had put that in phenomenal being (kawn) which is existence,
and said, "He was (kana)," it would have been more complete in wisdom and more eloquent in admonition. Allah related the words
of Luqman in meaning as he said it and did not add anything to it. His statement that Allah is the Latif, the Aware, is from
the statement of Allah. Then Allah knew of Luqman that, had he said it (kana), it would have been utterly perfected by this.
for his words, "If it should be but the weight of one grain of mustard-seed," it is for the one who has it as food. It is
only the atom mentioned in His words, "Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom's weight
of evil will see it." (99:7-8) A mustard-seed is the smallest thing consumed. If there had been anything smaller, Allah would
have used it as He said, "He is not ashamed to make an example of a gnat." (2:26) Then since He knew that there is anything
smaller than the gnat, He said "or of an even smaller thing," i.e. in smallness. This is the word of Allah, and that which
is in the Sura of the Earthquake (az-Zalzal, 99) is also the word of Allah. So know that! That which is smaller than the gnat
is the atom, and then there is another subtlety (latîfa). That is that the atom, in spite of its smallness, is also lighter
in weight because it is alive, since the living is lighter than the dead. So the meaning is that when the deed is the weight
of an atom in smallness and lightness, the recompense must be seen. We know that Allah did not restrict Himself to the weight
of the atom, and there is nothing smaller than it. He used it by way of intensification, and Allah knows best.
Luqman used the diminutive for his son, (3) it was the diminutive of mercy and thereby he gave him a legacy which contains
his happiness if he acts according to it. The wisdom of Luqman's legacy lies in his prohibition to his son, "Do not associate
anything with Allah. Associating others with Him is a terrible wrong." (31:13) The one wronged establishes apportioning in
respect to His description even though it is the same source. So he is only associating His source with Him, and this is the
very greatest ignorance.
The reason for this is that the person who has no recognition of the matter nor of the reality
of the thing, does not know that diversity is actually contained in a single source although forms vary in that single source.
So such a person puts the form shared by another in that station, and so he makes every form a part of that station. It is
known of the associate that the matter which indicates him through what occurs in him of partnership is not the source of
the other with whom he is associated, since it is the other. In reality, there is no associate. Everyone is based on his portion
whenever it is said about him that there is a partnership between the two in it. The reason for that joint association, if
it is joint, is that the action of one of them eliminates the collective aspect. "Say: Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful."
(17:110) This is the very heart of the question.
Notes to Chapter 23:
1. The difference between volition
(mashi'a) and will (irada).
2. In respect of its reality, the Essence is not distinguishable.
24: The Seal of the Wisdom of the Imam
in the Word
of Harun (Aaron)
Know that the existence of Harun, peace be upon him, was from the presence of mercy
(rahamut) by His words, "We endowed him with Our mercy, making his brother Harun a Prophet." (19:53) So his Prophethood was
from the presence of the Rahamut. He was older than Musa, and Musa was greater than him in Prophethood. The Prophethood of
Harun is from the presence of mercy (rahma) and, for that reason, he said to his brother Musa, peace be upon him, "O son of
my mother!" (7:150) So he called to him by his mother, not by his father, since, in principle, mercy belongs in greater abundance
to the mother than the father. Were it not for that mercy, the mother would not have the patience necessary for upbringing.
Then he said, "do not seize me by the beard or by the hair," (20:94) and do not let my enemies gloat over me. All this is
one of the breaths of mercy. The reason for that is the lack of ascertainment in looking at the tablets which had been given
into his hands. If he had looked at them with ascertainment, he would have found guidance and mercy in them.
have found guidance, which is an elucidation of what happened in the matter which made him angry and of which Harun was innocent,
and mercy towards his brother. He did not take him by the beard because of that state in which he saw his people because of
his age, for Harun was older than him. That was compassion for Musa from Harun because the Prophethood of Harun is from the
mercy of Allah. Only the like of that issued from him.
Then Harun said to Musa, "I was afraid that you would say: 'You
have caused division in the Tribe of Israel'," (20:94) and you would make me the cause of their division since the worship
of the Calf divided them. There were some of them who worshipped it following and imitating the Samiri, and there were some
of them who refused to worship it until Musa returned to them so that they might question him regarding it. Harun was afraid
that he would have that division between them attributed to him.
Musa knew the matter better than Harun because by
his knowledge he knew the One the people of the Calf worshipped since Allah decreed that only He would be worshipped. When
Allah decrees something, it must occur. Musa chided his brother Harun since the business consisted of disavowal and inadequacy.
The gnostic is the one who sees Allah in everything, rather he sees Him as the source of everything. Musa was teaching Harun
with the instruction of knowledge even though Musa was younger than him in age.
For that reason, when Harun said what
he said, he turned to the Samiri and said to him, "What did you think you were doing, O Samiri," i.e. what were you doing
in turning aside to the form of the Calf, and in your making this shape from the jewelry of the people so that you captured
their hearts for the sake of their wealth? 'Isa used to say to the Tribe of Israel, "O Tribe of Israel! Every man turns to
where his wealth is, so put your wealth in heaven, and then your hearts will be in heaven." Wealth is only called that (mâl)
because by essence it inclines (yumîl) the hearts to worship. It is the greatest and most exalted goal in the hearts since
they need it. Forms have no going-on, so the form of the Calf must vanish. If Musa had not hastened to burn it, jealousy would
have overcome him. So he burned it and then scattered the ashes of that form in the sea. He told the Samiri, "Behold your
god." He called it a god to alert him in order to teach him that he did know some of the places of divine tajalli, "I will
surely burn it!"
The animality (hawayâniyya) of man has freedom of action over the animality of animals since Allah
has subjected animals to man, especially in view of the fact that man's origin is not animal. Man has greater subjugation
because that which is not-animal does not possess will. In fact, the non-animal is under the jurisdiction of whoever administers
it without any recalcitrance whatsoever. The animal, on the other hand, has both will and instinct. Recalcitrance appears
in some of its actions. If it has the power to manifest that, reluctance and resistance to what man wants appears from it.
If it does not have that power or if what the man wants agrees with what the animal itself wants, then the animal obediently
follows what is wanted of it.
Even so, man's "like" follows a command in whatever Allah has called him to in respect
of the wealth which he hopes for from Him, which is designated in some states by "the other World" as when Allah says, "We
have raised some of them above others in rank so that some of them are subservient to others." (43:32) His like is only subjugated
to him by his animality, not by his humanness. The two likes are two opposites. The higher is degree subjugates the lower
in degree by wealth or by rank with his humanness, and that other was subjected to him either by fear or greed from his animality,
not from his humanness, so his like is not subjected to him.
Do you not see that what is among the beasts in the way
of jostling against one another is because they are likes? Two likes are two opposites. That is why He said, "and He raised
some of them above others in rank," so he is not with him in rank, and so subjugation occurs in respect of rank. Subjection
is of two kinds. First, there is subjection intended by the subjector like the active conqueror when he subjects this subjected
person - like the subjugation by the master of his slave although he is his like in humanness, and like the subjugation of
the Sultan of his subjects who are his like in humanness, He subjugated them by rank.
The second sort is subjugation
by the subjects of the king establishing their command that he drive harm away from them, protect them, do battle against
those who attack them, and preserve their property and lives. All this is subjection through state by the subjects who subjugate
their king in this act. In reality, it is called the subjection of rank. Rank has jurisdiction over him by this act. There
are kings who work just for themselves, and there are those who recognize the matter and know that their subjects¹' subjugation
of them is by rank. He knows their power and rights. Allah rewards him for that with the reward of those who know. The reward
of the like of this is up to Allah, in Allah¹s being involved in the affairs of His slaves, for all the universe is subjected
by state. Who is there who cannot be referred to as being "subjected"? Allah said, "Every day He is engaged in some affair."
Lack of power was in fact the armour of Harun which saved him from the people of the Calf by mastery over the
Calf as Musa had mastery over it. This is a wisdom from Allah which is manifest in existence that He should be worshipped
in every form. When the form departed after that, it only departed after it had been clad with divinity by its worshipper.
For this reason, there is no species but that it is worshipped, either by the worship of making divine or by the worship of
subjugation. That must be so for the one who has intellect.
Nothing is worshipped in the universe except after it is
clad in elevation for the worshipper and its rank is manifest in his heart. For that reason, Allah called Himself for us,
"the Exalter of ranks," and He did not say the "Exalter of rank," for ranks are many in the same source. He decreed that we
worship only Him in many ranks. Each rank accords a divine locus of tajalli which is worshipped in it, and the greatest locus
of tajalli in which He is worshipped and the highest, is passion (hawa). As He said, "Have you seen him who takes his passion
to be his god?" (45:23) It is the greatest idol. Nothing is worshipped except by it, and it is only worshipped by itself.
Of it I say:
The truth of passion is
that passion is the cause of passion.
If there had not been passion in
passion would not have been worshipped.
Do you not see how perfect Allah's knowledge of things is?
How it is completed it in respect of the one who worships his passion and takes it as a god? He said, "he who Allah has misguided
knowingly." (45:23) Being astray is bewilderment (hayra). That is when this worshipper sees that what he worships is only
his passion, by following it in obedience to Him in what He commanded him of worship of whichever person worships Him, until
his worship is for Allah the Great. That too is from passion because if passion had not occurred in him in that pure presence
and it is the will to love he would neither have worshipped Allah nor preferred Him to others. In the same way,
everyone worships a certain form among the forms of the universe, and takes it as a god, and he only takes it by passion.
The worshipper is under the power of his passion. Then he sees that idols take on various forms among the worshippers. Each
worshipper, for some reason, denies the one who worships another. What he has is a nearer perception which is confused by
the unity (ittihâd) of passion, rather by the oneness (ahadiyya) of passion as He mentioned. It is the same source in every
worshipper. Allah led him astray, i.e. confused him in respect to a knowledge that every worshipper only worships his own
passion, and only seeks to worship his passion whether or not it agrees with the command of the Shari'a.
gnostic is the one who sees that every idol is a locus of Allah's tajalli in which He is worshipped. For that reason, they
are all called "god" in spite of having a particular name of a stone, tree, animal, man, star, or angel. This is the nature
of the personality in it. Divinity is a rank which the worshipper imagines it to have, and it is the rank of his idol. In
reality, it is a locus for the tajalli of Allah belonging to the sight of this particular worshipper devoted to this idol
in this particular locus of tajalli.
This is why some of those who did not recognize an ignorant statement said, "We
only worship them so that they may bring us nearer to Allah" (39:3) although they called them "god", as they said, "Has he
turned all the gods into One God? That is truly astonishing." (38:5) They do not deny Him, rather they are amazed. They stop
at the multiplicity of possible forms and the ascription of divinity to them. That is why the Messenger came and called them
to one God who is recognized and not witnessed by their witnessing. They confuse Him with them and believe in Him when they
say, "We only worship them so that they may bring us nearer to Allah" by their knowledge of those forms in stones. This is
why the proof went against them when He said, "Say: Name them!" and they only named them by what they know those names to
have in reality.
As for those who recognize the matter for what it is, they manifest the form of denying what is worshipped
in the way of forms because their rank is in knowledge, and their rank is in accord with their being based on the principle
of the moment, since they know that the moment is one of the mighty places of the tajalli of Allah in which He gives tajalli
at each moment by some of His attributes. This is why time (ad-Dahr) is one of Allah¹s Names. The Prophet, peace be upon him,
said, "Do not curse time, for time is Allah!" At every moment, people are overcome by the principle of the quality in which
He gives tajalli at that particular moment. The Messenger who is sent in that moment is the greatest manifestation of the
perfection of that quality. He calls creation to Allah, manifested by tajalli in him, by obedience to him, which is obedience
to Allah, as Allah says, "Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah." (4:80) This is why is obligatory to trust in him
and obey him.
However, the gnostics know that they do not worship the forms themselves. Rather, they worship Allah
in them according to the power of the tajalli which they know of these forms. The one who denies and has no knowledge of what
Allah has manifested in tajalli is ignorant of this. The complete gnostic veils himself from the Prophet and Messenger and
their heirs. He commands himself to leave that form which the Messenger of the moment left in order to follow the Messenger
desiring Allah's love for them by His words, "Say: if you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you." (3:31) He called
on a God to whom one has recourse and Who is known in respect to the whole and is not witnessed, "nor do the eyes perceive
Him, but He perceives the eyes" (6:103) by His lutf and His diffusion in the source of things. The eyes do not perceive Him
as they do not perceive their spirits which govern their shapes and outward forms. "...He is the Latif, the All- Aware."
is tasting, and tasting is tajalli. Tajalli occurs in forms. They must be and it must be, and the one who sees Him by his
passion must worship Him, if you only knew! Allah possesses the goal of the path.
25: The Seal of the Wisdom of Sublimity
in the Word
of Musa (Moses)
The wisdom of the killing of the male children in respect to Musa was in order to give him
the support of the life of each of those killed for his sake because each of them was killed for being Musa. There is no ignorance,
so the life of the one killed for his sake had to return to Musa. It is pure life in the natural state (fitra). The desires
of the self have not soiled it; rather, it is in its natural state of "Yes (bala)." (1) Musa was the sum of the lives of those
killed for being him. All that was prepared for the murdered ones in the way of the predisposition of their spirits was in
Musa, peace be upon him. This is a divine favour to Musa which no one before him had.
The wisdoms of Musa are numerous.
If Allah wills, I will enumerate them in this chapter according to what the divine command puts into my mind. This is the
first about which I shall speak in this chapter.
Musa was only born being a synthesis of many spirits. He was a concentration
of effective forces since the young have an effect on the old. Do you not see how the child has an effect on the older person
by the special quality the child has? The older person descends from his leading position to play with the child and rock
him in his arms and to show himself at the child's level of intellect he descends to the level of the child's intellect.
He is under subjugation even though he is not aware of it. He occupies himself with instructing and protecting the child,
seeing to his needs and consoling him so that the child is not distressed.
All this is part of the effect of the young
on the old. That is due to the strength of his station. The young has a new covenant with his Lord because he has newly come
into being. The old person is further from Him. Whoever is nearer to Allah subjects whoever is further away from Him, just
as the elite of the near angels subject the further ones. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
used to expose himself to the rain when it came down and to uncover his head so that it would fall on him. He said that it
has a new covenant with Allah. Look at this recognition of Allah on the part of this Prophet! What is more glorious, more
sublime and clearer than this? The rain subjected the best of men due to its proximity to its Lord. That is a likeness of
the Messenger on whom the revelation descends. The rain called him by its own state, (2) and so he exposed himself to the
rain in order to receive from it what it brought from his Lord. If he had not received this divine benefit from it by the
rain, he would not have exposed himself to it. This is the message of water from which Allah has fashioned every living thing
(3) - so understand! As for the wisdom of Musa being put into the ark and then cast into the river, the ark (tâbût) is his
human nature (nâsût). The river is what he received of knowledge through his body by what the power of discernment and the
sensory imaginative faculties accorded him. Only by the existence of this elemental body does the human self have these faculties
or their like. When the self comes to this body and is commanded to freely dispose of it and manage it, Allah gives it these
faculties as instruments by which it obtains what Allah wills that it obtain in the management of this ark which contains
the sakina (4) of the Lord. Musa was cast into the river in order to receive various knowledges by these faculties. Thus Allah
taught him that the spirit which manages him is the ruler. He is only managed by it. It gives him the command of these faculties
of phenomenal being which are in this nâsût that is designated by the ark in the field of indications and wisdoms.
manages the universe in the same way, and it is only managed by it or by its form. It is only managed by Him inasmuch as the
arrival of the one begotten depends upon its being brought into existence by the begetter. Caused things depend on their causes,
proven things depend on their proofs, and true things depend on their realities. All of this is part of the universe, and
it is Allah's management of it, and he only manages by it.
As for our statement, "or by its form," I mean the form
of the universe, and by it I mean the Most Beautiful Names and sublime attributes by which Allah is named and described. Nothing
of a name by which He is called has reached us but that we found the meaning and spirit of that name in the universe. The
universe is also only managed by the form of the universe.
For that reason, the Prophet said in respect of the creation
of Adam who is the blueprint which gathers all the attributes of the Divine Presence which is the essence, the attributes
and the actions: "Allah created Adam in His form." His form is only the Divine Presence. In this noble epitome, which is the
Perfect Man, He brought into existence all the Divine Names and the realities of that which is outside of him in the Macrocosm
separate from him. He made Adam a spirit (rûh) for the universe, and so He subjected to him the high and the low through the
perfection of his form. As there is nothing in the universe that "does not glorify Allah's praise," (5) in the same way, there
is nothing in the world which is not subject to this man according to what the reality of his form accords him. Allah says,
"He has made everything that is in the heavens and the earth subservient to you. It is all from Him." (22:65) All that is
in the universe is subject to man. He who knows that from his knowledge is the Perfect Man. He who is ignorant of that is
the Animal Man.
The form of casting Musa into the ark and then casting the ark into the river is outwardly a form of
destruction. Inwardly, it was his rescue from being killed. He was brought to life as the self is brought to life by knowledge
from the death of ignorance as Allah says, "Is someone who was dead (i.e. by ignorance) and whom We brought to life (with
knowledge) and supplied with a light by which to walk among the people (which is guidance) the same as someone who is in utter
darkness (in being astray) unable to emerge from it (i.e. will never be guided)?" (6) In itself the matter has no end at which
Guidance is that man is guided to bewilderment (hayra). He knows that the business is bewilderment. Bewilderment
is being unsettled and movement. Movement is life. There is no non-movement nor death. There is existence and not non-existence.
It is the same with the water which gives life to the earth. Its movement is His word, "so it quivers" and conceives, "and
swells" with pregnancy, "and sprouts plants in beautiful pairs." (7) It only gives birth to what resembles it, i.e. has a
nature like it. It has being linked in pairs (zawjiya) which is the state of being doubled by what is born from it and what
appears from it.
Similarly, the existence of Allah has multiplicity and the many Names. It is this or that according
to what appears from it of the universe which demands the realities of the Divine Names by its development. They are doubled
by it and stand in opposition to the unity of multiplicity. It is one by source in respect to its essence, as the primal substance
(hayûla) is a single source in respect to its essence, while it has many forms which it supports by its essence. It is the
same with Allah through the forms of tajalli which are manifested from Him. So the locii of the tajalli are the forms of the
universe, in spite of the intelligible unity (ahadiyya). Look at the excellence of this divine instruction which Allah gives
by granting its recognition to whoever He wishes among His slaves.
When the family of Pharaoh found him in the river
by the tree, Pharaoh called him Musa. Mu is water in Coptic and sha is tree. He named him by where he found him, for the ark
stopped by the tree in the river. Pharaoh wanted to kill him. His wife, speaking by divine articulation in what she said to
Pharaoh about Musa since Allah had created her for perfection as Allah said about her when He testified that she and
Maryam, daughter of 'Imran, have the perfection which men have (8) - said, "he may be a source of delight for me and for you."
(28:9) She would be consoled by him with the perfection which she received as we have said.
The consolation of Pharaoh
was with the belief Allah gave him when he was drowning. So Allah took him pure and purified. There was no impurity in him
since He took him in his belief before he had acquired any wrong actions. Islam effaces what was before it. He made him a
sign of His concern so that none might despair of the mercy of Allah, for "no one despairs of solace from Allah except for
the unbelievers." (12:87) If Pharaoh been of those who despair, he would not have embarked on belief. Musa, peace be upon
him, was, as the wife of Pharaoh said, "a source of delight for me and for you. Do not kill him. It may well be that he will
be of use to us." That is what happened. Allah gave them use of Musa, although they were not aware that he was a prophet who
would destroy the kingdom of Pharaoh and his family.
When Allah protected him from Pharaoh, his mother's heart was
freed of the anxiety which had befallen her. Then Allah forbade him to be suckled until he had received his mother's breast,
so she suckled him that Allah might complete her joy. The knowledge of the roads (sharâ'i) is like that. It is as Allah said,
"to each We have made a road," (5:48) i.e. a path (tariq), "and a direction (minhaj)" from that path. This statement is an
indication of the root from which he came (minhuja). It is his food as the tree has branches and yet is only nourished by
its root. What is haram in one Shari'a can be halal in another Shari'a - I mean in a certain form it can be halal, while in
the heart of the matter it is not really the same as what passed because the matter is new creation, not repetition. This
is what we instruct you! It is referred to in connection with Musa when the wet-nurses were made haram.
the one who suckled him, not the one who bore him, is his mother. The mother of birth carried him in regard to the trust.
He is formed within her and fed by her menstrual blood without any volition on her part in that, so that does not come from
her benevolence towards him. He is only fed by what would destroy her or make her ill had he not been nourished on it, or
had that blood not gone out of her. The embryo is a gift to its mother since it feeds on what would cause her harm had that
blood remained with her and not gone out of her, or had not the embryo been nourished on it.
Suckling is not the same.
By her suckling, she intends to give him life and to sustain him. Allah gave that to Musa in the mother who bore him. No woman
outside of his mother by birth had any right over him that she also might find consolation in bringing him up and watching
him grow in her room, and so she was not sad.
Allah saved him from the grief of the ark, so he pierced natural darkness
by what Allah gave him of divine knowledge, while he did not depart from nature. He tested him with many trials (9) and gave
him experience in many places so that he might realize patience in himself in the trials Allah gave him.
of Allah's trials was the killing of the Copt which Allah inspired him to do and gave him success in his secret yet
he did not know this. However, Musa did not feel any anxiety over killing him, although he was unsure until the command of
his Lord told him, since the Prophet is inwardly protected without being aware of it until he is informed, until transmission
comes to him. For this reason, al-Khidr showed him the killing of the boy, (10) so Musa criticized the killing but did not
remember how he had killed the Copt. Al-Khidr told him, "I did not do it of my own volition," (18:82) and he informed him
of his rank before he told him that his movement was protected in reality, but he was not aware of it.
showed him the piercing of the ship. Outwardly it was destruction, but inwardly it was rescue from the hand of the tyrant.
He made that an analogy of the ark which was in the river its outward aspect was destruction, while inwardly it was rescue,
for his mother did it fearing the hand of the tyrant, who was Pharaoh, that he might not kill Musa in captivity. She looked
at him with the revelation Allah had inspired in her while she was not aware of it. She felt in herself that she would suckle
him. When she feared for him, she cast him into the river because, as the proverb says, "What the eye does not see does not
afflict the heart." She did not fear for him with the fear of the witnessing of the eye, and she was not sad with the sorrow
of seeing him. It came over her thoughts that perhaps Allah would return him to her, for she had a good opinion of Him. She
lived by this thought in herself and by the hope which was opposite fear and despair. When she was inspired to do this, she
said, "Perhaps he is the Messenger who will destroy Pharaoh and the Copts." She lived and took joy in this, which was illusion
and thought in respect of herself, but, in the heart of the matter, it is knowledge.
When they searched for Musa (after
he had killed the Copt), he left in flight, fearful outwardly and in the meaning, it was love of deliverance for movement
is always by love, but the onlooker is veiled from it by other causes, which are not the movement. This is because the root
is the movement of the universe from non-existence which was immobile in existence. That is why it is said that the matter
is movement from immobility. The movement which is the existence of the universe is the movement of love. The Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, quoting Allah, "I was a hidden treasure, therefore I wanted (lit. loved)
to be known." (11)
If it had not been for this love, the universe would not have appeared in its source. Its movement
from non-existence to existence is the movement of the love of the One who brings into existence for this purpose. The universe
also loves to witness itself in existence as it was witnessed in immutability. Thus by every aspect, the movement from immutable
non-existence to the existence of the sources is a movement of love, both in respect of Allah and in respect to itself.
is loved for itself. Allah's knowledge of Himself is His, since He is independent of the worlds. It belongs only to Him. The
perfection of the rank of knowledge only remains by the in-time knowledge which comes from these sources. When the sources
of the universe exist, then the forms of perfection appear with timeless and in-time knowledge. Thus the rank of knowledge
is perfected by two aspects.
In the same way, the ranks of existence are perfected. Existence from it is before-time
and not before-time, which is in-time. Pre-temporal (azali) time is the existence of Allah by Himself, and non-pre-temporal-time
is the existence of Allah by the forms of the immutable universe. It is called in-time because it manifests some parts to
others. He is manifest to Himself by the forms of the universe, and so existence is perfected.
The movement of the
universe is by love of perfection, so understand! Do you not see how what the Divine Names bring into existence is breathed
from the absence of the manifestation of their effects in a entity called the universe? It loves rest (12) which is only reached
by the existence of form, high and low. Thus it is confirmed that movement occurs by love. The only movement in the entire
cosmos is by love.
Among the 'ulama' are those who know that and those who are veiled by the nearer cause because it
rules their state (hâl) and overpowers them. Musa was aware of his fear by what occurred through his killing the Copt. That
fear implied love of deliverance from killing. So he fled by fear. In the meaning, he fled when he loved deliverance from
Pharaoh and his deeds. He mentioned the nearest cause which he was aware of at that moment, which is like the form of the
body of man, and love of deliverance is contained in it as the body contains the spirit which manages it.
had the language of the outward with which they addressed people in general and on which they relied to make the one who listened
understand what was said. The Messengers make allowances for people in general by their knowledge of the rank of the people
of understanding. It is as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said about gifts, "I give to this man, while another man is more
beloved to me than him for I fear that Allah might throw him down into the Fire." He made allowances for those whose intellect
and discernment are weak and who are overcome by greed and nature.
Similarly, what they brought of knowledges, they
brought wearing a robe (13) which nearer to the understanding, so that the one who has no "diving" might stop at the robe
and say, "How excellent this robe is!" and he will see it as the limit of rank. Because of what this robe from the king demands,
the one with subtle understanding, the one who dives for the pearls of wisdom, looks at the quality of the robe and its type
of material. By it, he knows the degree of the one it covers, and so he stumbles onto a knowledge which no one else has obtained
from those without knowledge of such matters.
Then the Prophets and Messengers and heirs knew that in this world and
in their communities, there are those who, in this manner, express themselves in the outward language which the elite and
common share. The one who is elite understands of it what the common understand, and more, inasmuch as it is valid that he
be called elite. He is distinguished from the blind. Those who have obtained knowledges are content with this. This is the
wisdom of his words, "I fled from you when I was in fear of you," (14) but he did not say, "I fled from you by love of safety
Musa came to Madyan and found two women and got water for them without being paid for it. Then he
turned away to the divine shade and said, "O my Lord, I am truly in need of any good You have in store for me." (28:24) He
made the source of his getting water the same as the good which Allah sent down to him, and he described himself as being
in need of Allah in the good which he had. Al-Khidr showed him the setting-up of the wall without wage, but Musa chided him
for it. So al-Khidr reminded him of his drawing water without wage, and other things which were not mentioned. The Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wished that Musa had remained silent and had not left him so that Allah would have
related more about them.
Al-Khidr alerted Musa to the fact that what had come to him and would come to him was by the
command of Allah and His will which it is impossible to contradict. Knowledge of that is one of the prerogatives of wilaya.
As for the Messenger, He might not acquaint him with it, for it is the secret of the decree.(15) If He had acquainted him
with that, it might have been a reason for his lassitude in conveying what he was commanded to convey. Allah withholds the
knowledge of this from some of the Messengers as a mercy to them from Him. He did not withhold it from our Prophet, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, because of the strength of his state. This is why our Prophet said, "I call on Allah by inner
By this he knew what Musa had succeeded in had been without knowledge on his part. If it had been from
knowledge, Musa would not have criticized what al-Khidr did, since Allah had testified before Musa as to al-Khidr's purity
and justice. In spite of this, Musa was heedless of the fact that Allah had made him pure, and of the conditions set down
for following him. This was a mercy for us if we forget the command of Allah. If Musa had known that, al-Khidr would not have
said to him, "What you have never encompassed in your knowledge," meaning I have a knowledge which you have not received by
tasting as you have a knowledge which I do not know. He was just.
As for the wisdom of his parting from him, it is
because Allah said of the Messenger, "Take what the Messenger brings you, and avoid what he prohibits you." (59:7) The 'ulama'
of Allah who recognize this quality of the Message and the Messenger stop at this statement. Al-Khidr knew that Musa was the
Messenger of Allah. He regarded what came from him to preserve the adab which is due to the Messengers. Musa said to him,
"If I ask you about anything after this, then you should no longer keep me company." So he forbade al-Khidr to keep his company.
When that occurred for the third time, al-Khidr therefore said, "This is where you and I part company," Musa did not tell
him, "Do not do it," nor did he seek to keep him company for he knew the level of the rank he was in when he spoke of the
prohibition against keeping him company. Musa was silent, and the parting took place.
Look at the perfection of these
two men in knowledge and the completion of divine adab as right, and the justice of al-Khidr, peace be upon him, in what he
acknowledged to Musa when he said, "I have a knowledge which Allah has taught me which you do not know, and you have a knowledge
which Allah has taught me which you do not know." This information which al-Khidr imparted to Musa was a remedy for the wound
inflicted on him in his words, "How indeed could you bear with patience something you have not encompassed in your knowledge?"
(18:68) although he knew the sublimity of his rank with the message, and al-Khidr did not have this rank.
in the community of Muhammad in the hadith regarding the fertilization of the date tree. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told
his Companions, "You know more about the matters of your daily life."16 There is no doubt that the knowledge of the thing
is better than ignorance of it. Allah praises Himself, saying,"He has knowledge of all things." The Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, acknowledged to his Companions that they knew more about the exigencies of this world than him because
he had no experience of them. It is knowledge of tasting (dhawq) and experience, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, had not
occupied himself with this sort of knowledge. Rather, he was occupied with what was more important. I have informed you about
a great adab by which will benefit you if you occupy yourself with it.
Musa's statement, "My Lord gave me right judgement,"
(26:21) means the khilafah, "and made me one of the Messengers," means the message. Not every Messenger is a Khalif. The Khalif
has a sword, duties and governance. The Messenger is not the same rather, he transmits what he has been sent to transmit.
If he does battle and defends with the sword, then he is both Khalif and Messenger.
As for the wisdom of Pharaoh's
question regarding divine whatness (mâhiya) when he said, "What is the Lord of the worlds?" (26:23) that question did not
arise from ignorance, but it was posed in order to test Musa and to see what answer he would give when he claimed that he
had a message from his Lord. Pharaoh knew the rank of the Messengers in knowledge of Allah and he wanted to test Musa's answer
to ascertain the validity of his claim. In order to inform those present, he invited an answer which would have been misleading
as far as they were concerned since they did not know what Pharaoh himself knew about the question. Musa answered him with
the answer of those who have knowledge of the matter. Then Pharaoh, in order to preserve his position, asserted that Musa
had not answered his question. So because of the inadequacy of their understanding, it seemed clear to those who were present
that Pharaoh knew more than Musa. For this reason, when Musa answered him with what was not appropriate and outwardly
it is not an answer to what he was asked about and Pharaoh knew that he would only give that answer, Pharaoh then said
to his companions, "Your Messenger" who was sent to you "is mad" since the knowledge of what I question him about is veiled
from him (17) since it is inconceivable that it be known at all.
The question is valid. The question of the what-ness
is a question about the reality of what is asked about - it must be real in itself. As for those who make definitions which
consist of category and genus, these are matters shared by various things. Whoever has no category must have a reality in
Himself which belongs to no other. The question is invalid in the school of the People of Allah, sound knowledge and sound
intellect. The only answer to it is the answer Musa gave.
Here is a great secret! He mentioned the "act" in giving
the answer to the one who asked for a definition of essence. He made the essential definition the source of the attribution
to what appeared of Him in the forms of the universe, or what appeared in Him of the forms of the universe. In answer to,
"What is the Lord of the worlds?" he said that He is the One in whom the forms of the universe are manifest on high
which is the heaven - and below - which is the earth, "if you but have certainty," (18) or He who is manifest by them.
Pharaoh told his companions that Musa was mad, (majnûn) in the sense that he was possessed, Musa added to the elucidation
in order to inform Pharaoh of his rank in divine knowledge because he knew that Pharaoh already knew that. Musa said, "The
Lord of the East and the West," bringing what was manifest and what was hidden, in the outward and the inward, "and what between
them is" which is Allah's words, "He has knowledge of everything," "if you have intellect," (19) i.e. if you possess qualification
since this comes from intellect.
The first answer is for those who are certain, and they are the people of unveiling
and existence. Musa said, "If you have certainty," i.e. if you are the people of unveiling and existence. I have given you
knowledge of what you are already certain about in your witnessing and existence. If you are not of this category, I have
answered you in the second answer: if you are among the people of intellect and qualification, and you limit Allah according
to what the proofs of your intellects accord.
Thus Musa manifested both aspects in order to inform Pharaoh about his
question and his veracity. Musa knew that Pharaoh knew that because he asked about the what-ness of Allah. He knew that his
question was not couched in the language the ancients used in their questioning by means of what. That is why he answered
him. If he had known anything else from him, he would have been mistaken in the question. Musa treated that about which he
was asked as the source of the universe, and Pharaoh addressed him by this language (20) although the people present were
not aware of that.
Pharaoh said to him, "If you take any god other than me, I will certainly make you one of the imprisoned."
(26:29) The letter sin in prison (sijn) is one of the letters of increase, (21) meaning I will veil you, for you answered
by what supported me so that I might say the same to you. If you say to me, "O Pharaoh! I do not I do not recognize your threat
to me while the source is but one, so how can you separate?" Then Pharaoh replied, "The ranks are separate, but the source
is not separate and it is not divided in its existence. My rank right now is power over you by actual fact, O Musa! I am you
by the source and other than you by rank!"
When Musa understood that from him, he gave him his due in respect to himself
and told him, "You will not be able to do that." Pharaoh's rank gave him power and influence over Musa because Allah is in
the rank of Pharaoh in respect of the outward form which has authority over the rank in which Musa appeared in that assembly.
Musa told him that Allah had manifested a barrier to his hostility against Musa. He said, "Even if I were to bring you something
undeniable?" Pharaoh could only reply, " Produce it then, if you are someone telling the truth" so that Pharaoh would not
appear to be unjust among those of his nation who were weak-minded. They had doubts about him, and they were the group Pharaoh
made unsteady. However, they obeyed Pharaoh because they were a corrupt people; (22) that is, lacking sound intellects' rejection
of taking Pharaoh's claims literally. The intellect stops at a certain limit, and only those of unveiling and certainty can
cross that limit. This is why in his answer, Musa first addressed those of certainty and then address those of the intellect.
he drew down his staff ('asa)" (26:32) which is the form with which Pharaoh defied (23) ('asa) Musa when he refused to answer
his call. "And there it was, unmistakably a snake," i.e. an evident snake. Thus rebellion, which is evil, changed into obedience,
which is good, as Allah says, "Allah will transform their evil deeds into good deeds," (25:70) meaning in judgement. Here
the judgement manifested a differentiated source in a single substance (jawhar) so it is a staff, a snake, and a manifest
serpent. It devoured its likes among the snakes in the form of a snake, and the staffs in the form of a staff. The proof of
Musa overcame the proofs of Pharaoh in the form of staffs, snakes and ropes. The sorcerers had ropes, but Musa did not have
a rope. The "rope" is the small hill; (24) that is, their powers in relation to the power of Musa is as the hills are to the
When the sorcerers saw that, they recognized Musa's rank in knowledge and they saw that he possessed
a power which was not mortal. If it had been within the power of a mortal, it would only belong to someone who could distinguish
sure knowledge from imagination and illusion. So they believed in "the Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Musa and Harun" - that
is, the Lord to whom Musa and Harun summoned them because they knew that the people understood that they were not being called
to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was in the position of authority, and he was the master of the moment since he was the Khalif with the
sword, even though he broke the customary divine laws when he said, "I am your Lord most high" - i.e. since all are lords,
(25) I am the highest of them through the power which you have outwardly given me over you. The sorcerers knew that he spoke
the truth in what he said, and they did not deny it. They affirmed that to Pharaoh, and said, "You only judge in this passing
life, so judge as you like, for the kingdom is yours." So the statement of Pharaoh, "I am your Lord most high," was valid.
Although the source is from Allah, the form is Pharaoh's. He cut off the hands and feet, and crucified through a real source
in false form in order to attain the ranks which are only attained by that act.
There is no way to neutralize causes
because the source-forms necessitate them. They only appear in existence by the form on which they are based at the source
since "there is no changing the words of Allah." (10:64) The words of Allah are not other than the sources of existent things.
Timelessness is ascribed to Him in respect to their permanence, and in-time ness is ascribed to them in respect of their existence
and appearance. Thus we say, a certain man or guest happened (26) to be with us today." That does not mean that he did not
have any existence before this event. For that reason, Allah says about His Mighty Word which is timeless, "No reminder (dhikr)
from their Lord comes to them lately renewed (27) without their listening to it as if it were a game," (21:2) and "but no
fresh (28) reminder reaches them from the All- Merciful, without their turning away from it." (26:5) The Merciful only brings
mercy, and whoever turns away from mercy advances the punishment which is the absence of mercy.
As for the words of
Allah, "but their belief when they saw Our violent force was of no use to them. That is the pattern Allah has always followed
with His slaves," (29) (40:85) that did not mean that it did not profit them in the Next World through His exception, "except
for the people of Yunus." He meant that that did not prevent them being punished in this world. For that reason, Pharaoh was
seized in spite of the existence of his belief even though his affair was that of someone who is certain that his death is
approaching. The circumstances accord that he was not certain that he was going to die because he saw the believers walking
on the dry path which had appeared when Musa struck the sea with his staff. Pharaoh was not certain that he would perish since
he believed that he would not die until the moment actually reached him. He believed in the One in whom the Tribe of Israel
believed, in certainty of his deliverance.
It was indeed certain, but it was in a form other than the one he wanted.
He was saved from the punishment of the Next World in himself and his body was saved as Allah says, "Today We will save your
body that you might be a sign for those after you," (10:92) because, if his form had vanished, his people might have said
that he had gone into occultation. His known form appeared as a corpse that it might be known that it was really him. Deliverance
was encompassed both in the senses and in the meaning.
The one who has the word of the punishment in the Other World
realized for him (30) will not believe, even if every ayat had been brought to him, "so that they might see the painful punishment,"
that is, taste the punishment of the Next World. Pharaoh left this class of people. This is the literal meaning of what the
text of the Qur'an brought us. We say, and the matter belongs to Allah, that the fixed idea which the common people have regarding
the wretchedness of Pharaoh is not based on anything in the divine text. As for his family, that is another judgement. This
is not the place to mention it.
Know that Allah only takes someone while he believes that is, affirms what divine
transmissions bring, and I mean those who are consciousness at death. This is why dislikes sudden death and being killed while
unaware is disliked. The definition of sudden death is that the incoming breath goes out and the outcoming breath does not
come in. This is sudden death and when that happens, one is not conscious of death.
It is the same if a man is killed
unawares by a blow from behind on the back of the neck. He is then taken with whatever belief or disbelief he possesses at
that moment. For that reason, the Prophet said, "One will be gathered in the state in which one dies," as one is taken in
whatever one is doing at the time. The one who is conscious of death is only the one who sees it coming. He believes what
he sees. He is only taken in what he is doing because that is an existent expression connected to time by the circumstances.
We distinguish between the unbeliever who is conscious at death and the unbeliever either killed while unaware or who dies
suddenly as we have said in the definition of sudden death.
As for the wisdom of tajalli and the discourse on the form
of the fire, this was because it was the object of Musa's desire. Allah gave him a tajalli in what he was searching for so
that Musa would turn to Him and not turn away. If Allah had given the tajalli in other than the form which he was seeking,
Musa would have turned away because his interest was concentrated on a particular goal. If he had turned away, his action
would have rebounded on him, and Allah would have turned away from him. Musa was the chosen one and the one brought near.
When Allah brings someone near to Him, He gives him a tajalli in the object he desires, without him knowing it.
the Fire of Musa
which he saw as what he needed.
It was Allah,
but he did not perceive it.
1. "Yes, we testify." Qur'an 7:172. Before the selves were created, Allah asked them, "Am I not your Lord?"
They replied. "Yes, we testify."
2. In the form of knowledge and life descending from Allah.
3. See Qur'an 21:30.
Divine Presence which causes calmness and tranquillity in the hearts of the Believers. It is also related to the Ark of the
Covenant and to Bayt al-Maqdis, when the invisible Sakina/Shechina descends from above. See 2:249: "The sign of his kinship
is that the Ark will come to you, containing a Sakina from your Lord, and certain relics left by the families of Musa and
Harun left. It will be borne by angels."
5. Qur'an 17:44.
6. Qur'an 6:122.
7. Qur'an 22:5.
Qur'an 66:11: "Allah has make an example for the believers - the wife of Pharaoh when she said, 'My Lord, build a house in
the Garden for me in Your Presence, and rescue me from Pharaoh and his deeds."
Also the hadith in al-Bukhari and Muslim
from Abu Musa, "Many men have been perfect, but among women only Maryam, daughter of 'Imran, and Asiya, wife of Pharaoh, were
9. See Qur'an 20:40, "We rescued you from trouble and tested you with many trials."
10. See the story
in the Qur'an 18:65-82.
11. Hadith qudsi.
12. i.e reaching the perfection of love. This is called or love or
yearning after the parting.
13. khil'a, a robe of honor.
14. Qur'an 26:21.
15. Sirr al-Qadar.
Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.
17. Madness "junun" is related to veils.
18. "The Lord of the heavens and the
earth and what is between them is you have certainty." Qur'an 26:24.
19. Qur'an 26:28.
20. of unveiling.
Zawa'id, the augmentative letters, i.e. the ten letters which are added to the radical letters in Arabic words sin, hamza,
alif, lam, ta', mim, waw, nun, ya' and ha'. If you take away the sin from sijn (prison), you get "jinn" meaning veil.
See Qur'an 43:54, "In that way he swayed his people and they succumbed to him. They were a people of deviators."
'Asâ as a noun means "staff", and 'Asâ as a verb means "to rebel against , oppose."
24. Habl meaning "rope" also means
mound or small hill.
25. Lord being a relative name, demanding a subject, also because it means owner, so one says
the lord of the house, the "lord" of a herd, etc. Also one who looks after, the "lord" of a child.
26. Huduth means
coming into existence for the first time. It also means an event or occurrence.
It like is in Qur'an 10:98, where the punishment is removed from the people of Yunus after they believed.
30. See Qur'an
26: The Seal of the Wisdom of What One Turns to (as-Samad)
the Word of Khalid
As for the wisdom of Khalid ibn Sinan, (1) by his call he manifested the Prophethood
of the interspace. He claimed that he would tell them about what happens after death. He commanded that he should be disinterred
and questioned in order that he might report that the judgement in the Interspace occurs in the form of the life of this world.
Thus it would be known that all the Messengers spoke the truth in what they related in this life regarding what happens after
death. Khalid's goal was that all the world would believe in what the Messengers brought so that there would be mercy for
all. He was honored by his Prophethood being near the time of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
He knew that Allah had sent Muhammad as a mercy to the worlds, but Khalid was not a Messenger. He wanted to receive a generous
share of this mercy contained in the message of Muhammad. He was not commanded to convey the message, but he wanted to have
that share in the Interspace so that there would be stronger knowledge about the creation, and for this reason his people
The Messenger of Allah described them as having squandered their Prophet because they did not do what
he wanted them to do. Did Allah give him the reward for what he wanted? There is no doubt and no disagreement that he had
the reward of what he wished, but there is doubt and disagreement about the reward of the goal. Is wishing for it the same
in the Next World as its occurrence even though it did not occur or not? In the Shari'a, equality is not supported in many
places such as in the case of the one who performs the prayer in the group. (2) The one who prays it in the group has
a reward from the presence of the group. He is like the person who, in spite of poverty, desires to be able to give charity
as the people of wealth and property do. He has the like of their rewards, but the like of their rewards can be in their intentions
or their deeds. The people had both the intention and the action. The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not prescribe both of
them, nor one of them, and outwardly they are not the same. For that reason, Khalid ibn Sinan sought the proclamation to confirm
for him the station of joining both matters so that he would receive two rewards. Allah knows best.
Notes to Chapter
1. Al-Qashani, the commentator, says that Khalid lived in Aden, and was a man of great himma who was overcome in
the contemplation of divine unity. One day a great fire appeared from a cave among his people. It destroyed the crops and
the livestock, and the people called on him to protect them from it. He struck the fire with his staff, saying, "Away! Away!"
until it became cold and retreated to the cave. Then he told his people that he would enter the cave in order to extinguish
the fire, and he told them to call him after three full days had passed. Should he call him before that, he would come out
and die. If they were patient, he would emerge in good health.
They waited two days, and then Shaytan made them restless,
and doubts came to them and they were afraid that he might have been destroyed. They shouted to him. He emerged from the cave
with his hand on his head from the pain their shouting had caused him. He told them, "You have killed me and squandered my
word and my covenant." He then told them of his death and commanded them to bury him and then watch for forty days. Then,
he said, a flock of sheep led by a donkey with slit ears and its tail cut off would come to them. When it stood opposite his
grave, they were to disinter him and he would rise and tell them of the true state of things after death from witnessing and
vision so that all creation would receive certainty as to what the Messenger related. Then he died and they buried him.
waited until the forty days had passed. The flock of sheep came led by a donkey with slit ears. It stopped opposite his grave,
so they understood that they should disinter Khalid as he had commanded them so that he might inform them as to the truth
of the Prophets. Some of his older sons were adverse to that and said that it would shame them among the Arabs and that they
would be called, "the sons of the disinterred one." There was the vehemence of the Jahiliya in that. They squandered their
legacy and destroyed him. After the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent, a daughter of Khalid
came to him, and he said to her, "Greetings to you, O daughter of a Prophet whose people squandered him!"
2. His Prophethood
did not appear in this world.
27: The Seal of the Unique Wisdom
in the Word of
Muhammad's wisdom is uniqueness (fardiya) because he is the most perfect existent creature of this
human species. For this reason, the command began with him and was sealed with him. He was a Prophet while Adam was between
water and clay, (1) and his elemental structure is the Seal of the Prophets. The first singular is three, and what is more
than this firstness of individuals comes from three. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is the surest proof
of his Lord, so he was given all the words, (2) which are everything that is named by the names of Adam. (3) He resembles
the proof in its threefoldness, and the proof is a proof of itself. Then his reality grants the first uniqueness which is
threefold in structure. For that reason, speaking about the domain of love which is the root of existence, he said, "I was
made to love three things in your world," (4) because of what this world has of threefoldness. Then he mentioned women, and
perfume, and that the coolness of his eye was in the prayer.
The Prophet began by mentioning women and ended with the
prayer. That is because woman is part of man in the root of the manifestation of her source, and because man's recognition
of himself preceded his recognition of his Lord. That is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Whoever knows himself
knows his Lord." If you wish, you can say that this tradition is the forbidding of gnosis and stating the inability to attain
to Him - and that is a permissible statement; and, if you wish, you can say that it is the affirmation of gnosis. The first
is that if you do not know yourself, so you will not know your Lord. The second is that you recognize yourself, so you do
recognize your Lord. Muhammad was the clearest proof of his Lord. Every part of the world indicates its root which is its
Lord, so understand!
The Prophet was made to love women, so he yearned for them because as the whole yearns for what
is part of it. The matter is self-evident through what Allah says regarding this elemental human constitution, "and I breathed
My Ruh into him." (15:29; 38:72) Then He described Himself with intensity of yearning to meet those who yearn for Him. He
said, "O Dawud! I have intense yearning for them," i.e. those who yearn for Him, and it is a particular encounter. The Prophet
said in a hadith about the Dajjal, "None of you will see his Lord until after he dies." (5) Allah must yearn for those near
ones - because even though He sees them and wants them to see Him, that encounter is still prevented by man's station. That
is like His words "until We know" although He is Knowing. He yearns for this particular attribute which only is achieved existence
By this, He tests their yearning for Him as He said in the hadith of hesitation which concerns this
matter, "I do not hesitate in anything I do, but I hesitate to take the breath of My believing slave because he hates death,
and I hate to make him die. But He must meet Me." He gave him good news and did not say to him, "he must die" because He did
not want to distress him by mentioning death. Man only meets Allah after death as the Prophet says, "None of you will see
his Lord until he dies." That is why Allah says, "He must meet Me," for Allah desires the existence of this relationship.
He made it clear that He breathed into him some of His spirit (rûh) so He only yearns for him. Do you not see that He created
him on His form because he is from His Spirit?
Man's constitution is based on these four elements which are called
the "humors" in his body. The combustion of the moisture found in the body occurs from his breath. The spirit of man is fire
as regards his constitution. For this reason, Allah only spoke to Musa in the form of fire, (6) and put his need in it. If
his constitution had been from nature, (7) then his spirit would have been light. Allah alluded to it with the blowing (nafkh)
which indicates that it is from the breath (nafas) of the All-Merciful. It is by this breath, which is the blowing-out that
he manifested from Him, and by the predisposition of the one blown into, that combustion is fire and not light. The breath
of Allah is hidden in that by which man is man.
From man, He derived a person in his form called "woman". She appeared
in his form, and he yearned for her with the longing of that thing has for itself, and she yearned for him with the longing
of that thing has for its home. Allah made him love women. Allah loves the one whom He created in His form, and He made the
luminous angels, in spite of the power of their might and their station and the sublimity of their natural constitution, prostrate
to him. (8) From this comes the affinity which occurs in the form which man and woman share, which is like that between Allah
and man. The form has the greatest affinity, as well as the most glorious and perfect. It makes a pair that is, doubles
the existent belonging to Allah, as the woman, by her existence, doubles man, and makes him one of a pair. So three appeared:
Allah, man and woman. Man yearns for his Lord who is the origin as woman yearns for man.
His Lord made him love women
as Allah loves the one who is in His form. Love only occurred by the One by whom he is formed. His love was for the One he
was formed by, and He is Allah. This is why the Prophet said, "He made me love...," and he did not say, "I loved" as coming
from himself because his love is connected to his Lord in Whose form he is. In his love for his wife, he loves her by Allah's
love for him as a divine nature. (9)
When a man loves a woman, he desires union, that is, the goal of union which exists
in love. In the elemental form, there is no greater union than marriage. (10) By this appetite encompasses all parts. For
that reason, complete ritual washing is prescribed after intercourse. Purification envelops him as annihilation in the woman
was complete in the obtainment of appetite. Allah is very jealous of His slave if He believes that he finds pleasure in other
than Him. So man purifies himself by ritual washing in order to return to Him in whom he was annihilated, since that is all
When man witnesses Allah in women, his witnessing is in the passive; when he witnesses Him in himself, regarding
the appearance of woman from Him, he witnesses Him in the active. When he witnesses Him from himself without the presence
of any form from him, his witnessing is in the passive directly from Allah without any intermediary. So his witnessing of
Allah in the woman is the most complete and perfect because he witnesses Allah inasmuch as He is both active and passive.
Regarding himself, He is passive in particular. For this reason, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, loved
women because of the perfection of the witnessing of Allah in them since one does not ever witness Allah free of matter. Allah
by His essence in independent of the worlds. So from this aspect, the business is impossible, yet witnessing only occurs in
matter. The witnessing of Allah in women is the greatest and most perfect witnessing. The greatest union is marriage.
is like the projection of His will on the one He created in His form in order to create him. He sees His form in him, rather,
He sees Himself. He fashioned him and balanced him and breathed into him of His spirit (rûh) which is His breath. Outwardly
he is creation, and inwardly he is Allah. For this reason, Allah describes Himself with having management of this frame. He
"directs the whole affair from the heaven," which is the height of the earth, "to earth," (32:5) which is the lowest of the
low, because it is the lowest of all the elements.
He called them women (an-nisâ') which is a plural which does not
have a singular form. For that reason, he said, "He made me love three things in your world: women..." and he did not say,
"woman". He took note of the fact that they came after him in existence. The word an-nisa' also means postponement. Allah
says, "The month postponed is an increase in disbelief," (9:37) and the sale of "nasi'a" is said to be by postponement, that
is, by credit. That is why he said an-nisa'. He loved them only by rank, and they are the place of the passive. They are to
him as nature is to Allah in which Allah opened the forms of the world by the projection of the will and the divine command
which is marriage in the world of elemental forms, and aspiration (himma) in the world of luminous spirits, as in the order
of premises and their meanings through deduction. All of that is the marriage of the first uniqueness in each of these aspects.
Whoever loves women in this measure, loves with a divine love. Whoever loves them in respect to natural appetite in particular,
deprives himself of the knowledge of this appetite. For him it is a form without a spirit (rûh). That form in the heart of
the matter is the essence of a spirit, but it is not witnessed by the one who comes to his wife or any woman by
pure gratification, and he does not perceive the one it is for even so, he has no knowledge of himself, as others have
no knowledge of him, since he has not been verbally named so that he could be known.
One of them said:
It is confirmed
that I am a passionate lover,
although they do not know
the object of my passion.
It is the
same with the one who loves gratification - he loves the place in which it occurs, being the woman, but the spirit of the
question is obscure to him. If he had known it, he would have known by whom he has pleasure and who it is that has pleasure.
He would have been perfect.
Similarly, the woman has a lower degree than the man by the words of Allah, "As for men,
they have a degree over them." (2:228) The one created on the form is lower in degree than the one who is fashioned in His
form, (11) even though he is in His form. This is the degree by which He is distinguished from the form. So Allah is independent
of the universe, and He is the first Doer. The form is the second doer, and does not have the firstness which Allah has. Sources
are distinguished by ranks. "He gives each thing its creation," (12) as every gnostic gives each thing with a right its due.
love that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had for women came from divine love. "Allah gives everything
its creation," and that is the source of its truth. He only gave creation to it by merit, so it merits what He called it
that is, by the essence of the created thing.
He put women first because they are the place of the passive as nature
precedes that which exists from it by means of form. Nature in reality is only the breath of the Merciful. The forms of the
universe, high and low, are introduced into it by the diffusion of the breath (nafkha) in the primal substance (jawhar hayulânî),
particularly in the world of bodies. As for its diffusion by the existence of the luminous spirits and non-essentials (a'râd),
that is another kind of diffusion.
In this tradition, the Prophet put the feminine before the masculine because he
meant to attach importance to women. He said, "Three (thalath, the feminine form of the number) and he did not say thalatha
(the masculine) with the ha' which is by the number of the masculine since scent (tîb) is one of the three, and it is masculine.
The custom among the Arabs is that the masculine takes precedence over the feminine. When they say, "The Fatimas and Zayd
went out," they saw kharajû (mas. pl) and do not say kharajna (fem. pl). The masculine, even if it is only one, take precedence
over the feminine, even if they are a group. The Prophet was Arab, so he respected the meaning which was intended by showing
love for what did not happen through his own love. Then Allah informed him of what he did not know, and Allah's bounty to
him was great. (13) The feminine took precedence over the masculine by his word, thalath without ha'. Who knew the realities
better than him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace? Who had greater care to observe rights and dues?
placed the seal with what was like the first since it is also feminine (salat, prayer, is feminine), and he placed the masculine
between them, as in existence. He began with "women" and ended with "prayer", both of which are feminine while perfume is
masculine. The man is between the essence from which he appeared and then the woman appeared from him. So man is between two
feminines, the form of the Essence (14) from which he appeared, and a real feminine, woman, who appeared from him. Similarly,
women is a real feminine, and the prayer is not a real feminine. Scent is the masculine between the two, as Adam is between
the essence from which he has existence and Hawwa' (Eve), who existed from him. If you wish, you can say "attribute (sifa)"
which is also feminine. If you wish, you can say, "power (qudra)" and it is feminine. Be of whatever school you wish. You
will always find that the feminine takes precedence, even among the people of cause ('illa) who make Allah a cause in the
existence of the form, and cause is also feminine.
As for the wisdom of the perfume which he mentioned after women,
because women have fragrance in their form, the most fragrant of perfumes is the embrace of the lover as they say in the common
example. When the Prophet was created a slave, by the nobility of his origin, he did not lift his head at all to mastery
rather, he continued to prostrate himself in humility and to remain passive in spite of who he was until Allah formed from
Him what He had intended. He gave him the rank of action in the world of breaths, and the breaths are fragrant scents. So
Allah made him love perfume. For that reason, he put perfume after women.
He observed the ranks which belong to Allah
in His words, "Raiser of ranks is He, Possessor of the throne" (40:15) by His sitting on it by the name of the All-Merciful.
There is none among those that the Throne encompasses but that divine mercy touches him. That is the words of Allah, "My mercy
embraces all things," (7:156) and the Throne encompasses everything, and the One who sits on it is the Merciful. By its reality,
mercy is diffused through the universe as we explained in another part in this book and in The Makkan Revelations.
put perfume in this marital connection in the innocence of 'A'isha, (15) may Allah be pleased with her! He said, "Corrupt
(16) men are for corrupt men, and corrupt men are for corrupt women; and good (17) women are for good men, and good men are
for good women. The latter are innocent of what they say." (24:26) He made their scent fragrant because the word is breath,
and it is the source of the scent. It goes out with fragrance and putrefaction according to what appears in the form of speech.
As it is divine by the nobility of its origin, it is all good, and so it is good. As for what is not praised and is censured,
it is good and bad. The Prophet said in respect to the badness of garlic, "It is a plant whose scent I dislike." He did not
say, "I dislike it." The source is not disliked, but he disliked what appeared from it. Dislike for that is either by custom
or unsuitability of nature, by something in the Shari'a, or a lack of perfection or something other than what we have mentioned.
the command is divided into corrupt and good as we confirmed, he was made to love perfume rather than repulsive odours. He
described the angels as being offended by unpleasant odours. He described the angels as being offended by unpleasant odours.
Since there is putrefaction in this elemental structure as it is created of "dry clay from mud moulded (or fetid)," (18) so
the angels dislike it by essence. The nature of the dung-beetle is offended by the scent of the rose which is one of the pleasant
scents. For the dung-beetle, the scent of the rose is not a pleasant scent. If someone has the same sort of nature (as the
dung beetle) in meaning and form, the truth offends him when he hears it, and he is gladdened by the false. It is what Allah
said, "those who believe in falsehood and reject Allah." (29:52) He described them with loss, and said, "those, they are the
losers" who have lost themselves. Whoever does not distinguish goodness from corruption, has no perception.
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, love only the good (the perfume) of everything, and there
is only that. Can it be conceived that there is a disposition in the universe which only finds good in everything but does
not recognize the bad? We say that there is not. We find it in the very root from which the universe appeared which
is Allah; we find that He hates and loves. The corrupt is only that which He hates, and the good is only that which He loves.
The universe is the form of Allah, and man is in both forms. There is no nature which only perceives one matter in everything
- rather, the nature distinguishes the good from the corrupt in spite of the fact that it knows that it is corrupt by tasting
and good without tasting. The perception of the good in it diverts him from the sensation of its corruptness. This can happen.
As for the removal of the corrupt from the universe that is, from phenomenal being it is not admissible. The mercy
of Allah extends to both the corrupt and the good. The corrupt considers itself good, but the good in itself is corrupt. There
is nothing but good but that an aspect of its disposition is bad, and vice versa.
As for the third by which uniqueness
(fardiyya) is completed, it is the prayer. The Prophet said, "and the coolness of the eye (19) is in the prayer" because it
is contemplation. That is because it is intimate discourse between Allah and His slave as Allah says, "Remember Me, and I
will remember you." (2:152) It is worship ('ibâda) which is divided in two parts between Allah and His slave one part
belongs to Allah and one part to His slave, as has come in sound transmission from Allah in which He says, "I divided the
prayer into two parts between Me and My slave. One part is Mine and one part is My slave's, and My slave will receive what
he asks for. The slave says, 'In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,' and Allah says, 'My slave has mentioned
Me.' Then the slave says, 'Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,' and Allah says, 'My slave has praised Me.' The
slave says, 'The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,' and Allah says, 'My slave has glorified Me. My slave has given Me authorisation.'"
(20) All this part belongs purely to Allah.
"Then the slave says, 'You alone we worship. You alone we ask for help,'
and Allah says, 'This is between Me and My slave, and My slave has what he asks for.'" Sharing occurs in this ayat. "The slave
then says, 'Guide us in the straight path, the path of those You have blessed, not of those with anger on them nor of the
misguided,' and Allah says, 'This is for My slave, and My slave has what he asks for.'" This is purely for His slave as the
first part is purely for Allah. The knowledge of this makes the recitation of the Fatiha obligatory. Whoever does not recite
it has not prayed the prayer establish between Allah and His slave.
The prayer is then a secret conversation (munajat).
It is remembrance/invocation (dhikr). When someone mentions Allah, he sits with Allah and Allah sits with him. It is a sound
divine transmission that Allah said, "I sit with the one who mentions Me." (21) Whoever sits with the One he mentions and
has sight, sees the One with whom he sits. This is contemplation (mushahada) and vision. If he does not have sight, he does
not see Him. Thus the one who prays knows his rank, and whether or not he sees Allah with this vision in the prayer. If he
does not see Him, then let him worship Him by belief (iman) as if he saw Him, imagining Him to be in the qibla of his conversation,
and let him listen for Allah's reply.
Without a doubt, everyone who prays is an Imam, so the angels pray behind the
slave when he prays alone, as is related in tradition. If he is the Imam for his particular world and the angels pray with
him, then he has attained the rank of the Messenger in his prayer which is deputyship from Allah. When he says, "Allah hears
whoever praises Him," (22) he informs himself and whoever is behind him that Allah has heard him. The angels and those present
say, "Our Lord, praise belongs to You."
Allah says on the tongue of the slave, "Allah hears whoever praises Him." Look
at the sublimity of the rank of the prayer and where it takes the one who has it! Whoever does not achieve the rank of vision
in the prayer has not reached the goal nor does he have the coolness of the eye in it because he does not see the One he addresses.
If he does not hear the answer of Allah, he is not one of those who listen. Whoever is not present in the prayer with his
Lord, and does not hear nor see Him, is not one who prays at all, and he is not along those "who listen well, having seen
the evidence." (30:37)
The prayer is the only form of 'ibada during which one is forbidden to perform any other action.
The mention of Allah in it is greater than the words and actions it contains. We mentioned the attribute of the perfect man
in the prayer in The Makkan Revelations and his nature, because Allah says that "the prayer precludes indecency and wrongdoing"
(29:45) since it is set down in the Shari'a that the one performing the prayer cannot act in anything except this 'ibâda as
long as he is in it, and he is called the one the prays (musalli). "The remembrance of Allah is greater still" (29:45) in
it that is, the mention which is from Allah to His slave when He answers him in his request, and his praise of Him is
greater than the mention of the slave of his Lord in it, because greatness belongs to Allah. (23) This is why He says, "Allah
knows what you do," and He says, "He who listen well, having seen the evidence" he gives ear to what Allah mentions
in the prayer.
Therefore, since existence is from an intelligible movement which transported the universe from non-existence
to existence, the prayer encompasses all movements. There are three movements: vertical, which is the state of standing in
the prayer, the horizontal, which is the state of bowing, and the downward movement, which is the state of prostration. The
movement of man is vertical, the movement of the animal is horizontal, and the movement of plants in downward. The inanimate
does not have a movement from its essence. If a rock moves, it moves by other means than itself.
As for the words of
the Prophet, "The coolness of my eye is in the prayer," he did not ascribe the action of putting it there to himself, so Allah
gives the one who prays a tajalli which stems from Him, not from the one who prays. If he had not mentioned this attribute
from himself, he would have commanded the prayer without tajalli from Him to him. Since that is from Him by means of graciousness,
the contemplation is also through graciousness. He said, "the coolness of my eye is in the prayer," and it is only contemplation
of the Beloved by which the eye of the lover is delighted by continuance. The eye remains seeing Allah. It does not look with
Him to other than Him in anything, and for that reason, it is forbidden to turn away in the prayer. The glance is something
which Shaytan steals from the prayer of the slave in order to forbid him the contemplation of the Beloved. (24) If Allah had
truly been the Beloved of the one who turns aside, he would not have turned aside in his prayer to another qibla. Man knows
his state in himself, whether he is like that in this particular act of worship or not. "Man will be clear proof against himself
in spite of any excuses he might offer." (75:14) He recognizes his lie apart from his truth in himself, because man is not
ignorant of his state, his state has tasting (dhawq) for him.
The prayer has another portion. Allah commanded us to
pray to Him, and He told us that He prays for us. The prayer is from us and from Him. When He prays, He prays by His name,
the Last, for it comes after the existence of the slave, and it is the source of Allah which the slave created in his qibla
by logical discernment or by imitation. He is the God of the one who has a creed. It varies according to what the place of
the tajalli has and according to the established predisposition as al-Junayd said when he was asked about recognition of Allah
and the gnostic. He said, "The color of water is the color of its vessel." It is a masterly answer giving information about
the matter for what it is. This is Allah who prays for us. If we pray, we have the name, the Last, so we are in it, as we
mentioned, in the state of the One who has this name we are with Him according to our state. He only regards us by the
form which we bring to Him.
The one who prays is behind the one who precedes him in the place. It is His words, "Each
one knows its prayer and its glorification " (24:41) that is, its rank in being behind the worship of its Lord and the
extolling which his predisposition accords him of disconnection (tanzih). "There is nothing which does not glorify Him with
praise" of its Lord, the Forbearing, the Forgiving. For that, we do not understand the extolling of the universe distinctly,
(25) creature by creature.
Then a rank refers the pronoun to the extolling slave in His words, "There is nothing which
does not glorify Him with praise," that is, the praise of that thing. The pronoun which is in His word, "His praise (bi-hamdihi)"
refers to the thing - that is, with the praise that is from it.
As we said of the one who has a creed other than Islam,
he praises the God who is in his creed and attaches himself to Him. What is from his work returns to him, so he only praises
himself. It is from the praise of fabrication the artisan is praised without a doubt, and so the excellence of what
he creates or its lack of excellence returns to the artisan. The god of a creed is the product of the one who looks at it,
and it is his fabrication; his praise for what he believes is his praise for himself. For this reason, he condemns the creed
of another if he had been fair, he would not have done that. Indeed, the possessor of this particular object of worship
is certainly ignorant in his rejection of other than what he believes about Allah, since had he recognized what al-Junayd
said, "The color of water is the color of its vessel," he would have conceded to everyone who has a creed what he believed
in, and he would have recognized Allah in every form of worship of every person with a creed, He has opinion but does not
know it. For that reason, Allah says, "I am in My slave's opinion of Me," (26) that is, I only appear to him in the form of
his creed. If he wishes, he generalizes, and if he wishes, he limits. The god of creeds is taken from definition, so He is
the God which the heart of His slave encompasses. (27)
The Absolute Divinity is not encompassed by anything because
He is the source of things and the source of Himself. It is not said of the thing that it encompasses itself, not that it
does not encompass itself, so understand! "Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Way." (33:4)
Notes to Chapter
1. Hadith, "I was a Prophet when Adam was still between water and clay."
2. Hadith, "I was given all the
3. Qur'an 2:31, "And He taught Adam the names of all things..."
4. Hadith in an-Nasa'i and Ibn Hanbal:
"I was made to love three things in your world: women, perfume, and the coolness of my eye in the prayer."
in Muslim (fitan:95) and at-Tirmidhi.
6. The Burning Bush.
7. i.e. from the nature of the world of Purity.
9. Since his nature (khuluq) was immense or mighty ('adhim) as Allah said, "You are truly immense in character,"
(68:4) and as 'A'isha said of the Prophet, "His nature was the Qur'an."
10. Nikah, or marriage, actually means lawful
11. See Qur'an 6:98.
12. See Qur'an 20:50.
13. Qur'an 4:113, "Allah's favour to you is indeed
14. Dhat, essence, is feminine.
15. The following verse was revealed about 'A'isha in the affair of
the Lie and declared her innocence in the affair.
16. Khabith, also meaning with a repulsive odor.
means good, wholesome, fragrant, from the same root as perfume, tîb.
18. See Qur'an 15:26.
19. i.e. that which
20. Muslim 4:38, 41, etc.
21. Hadith qudsi in Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban.
22. When he comes
up from ruku' in the prayer.
23. See Qur¹an: 45:37.
24. Hadith in al-Bukhari and Muslim. "(Looking aside in
the prayer) is something which Shaytan snatches from a slave's prayer."
Also the hadith in Ibn Hanbal and elsewhere:
"Allah continues to turn favorably towards a slave while he is engaged in the prayer as long as he does not look to the side.
But if he does so He departs from him."
25. See Qur'an 17:44, "The seven heavens and the earth and everyone in them
glorify Him. There is nothing which does not glorify Him with praise; but you do not understand their glorification. He is
the All-Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving."
26. Hadith in Muslim and al-Bukhari, "I am in My slave's opinion and I am with
him when he remembers Me..."
27. Hadith qudsi, "Neither My heaven nor My earth contains Me, but the heart of My believing
slave contains Me."