Studies in Islamic Mysticism

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Studies in Islamic Mysticism

By Reynold A. Nicholson

The Heavenly Man

Like Jacob Böhme 2, Jílí sets out from the principle that "in order that the truth may he manifested as a Something, there must be a contrary therein." He finds the ground of existence in a Being which, though essentially One, is of threefold nature, since it knows itself as the Creator (al-?aqq) and the creatures (al-khalq).

"The Essence," he says, "is ‘Thou’ and ‘I’—‘Thou’ in respect of thy deepest self (huwiyya, He-ness), not in respect of the human attributes which the notion Thou' admits; and I' in respect of my individual self, not in respect of the Divine attributes which the notion ‘I’ admits. That is what is signified by the Essence (al-Dhát). ‘I,’ in respect of my ’l-ness’ (aniyya), viewed in relation to the judgments which the notion ‘I’ is capable of, is God; and ‘Thou,’ in the creaturely aspect, is Man. Therefore consider your essence, if you will, as ‘I,’ or if you will, as ‘Thou,’ for there is nothing besides the universal reality.…

If you say, that it (the Essence) is One, you are right; or if you say that it is Two, it is in fact Two.
Or if you say, No, it is Three,' you are right, for that is the real nature of Man.
Regard the Oneness (a?adiyya) which is his essence: say, 'He is One relatively (wá?id), One absolutely (a?ad), unique in glory.'
But if the two essences are considered, you will say that he is Two, because he is a slave (‘abd) and a Lord (rabb).
And if you examine his real nature and what is united therein, namely, two things deemed to be contrary,
You will contemplate him with amazement: his lowness is such that you will not call him lofty, and his loftiness is such that you will not call him low.
Nay, name that (Man) a Third, because of a reality having two attributes inherent in the realities of its essence 1.
It (that reality) is he named A?mad as being that (Man), and Mohammed as being the true idea (?aqíqa) of all things that exist 2."
As an introduction to the Logos doctrine foreshadowed here, which is interwoven with a mystical scheme of cosmology, I will translate part of the 60th chapter, "Of the Perfect Man: showing that he is our Lord Mohammed, and that he stands over against the Creator (al-?aqq) and the creatures (al-khalq) 3."

The Perfect Man is the Qu?b (axis) on which the spheres of existence revolve from first to last, and since things came into being he is one (wá?id) for ever and ever. He hath various guises and appears in diverse bodily tabernacles (kaná’is): in respect of some of these his name is given to him, while in respect of others it is not given to him. His own original name is Mohammed, his name of honour Abú ’l-Qásim, his description ‘Abdullah 1, and his title Shamsu’ddín 2. In every age he bears a name suitable to his guise (libás) in that age. I once met him in the form of my Shaykh, Sharafu’ddín Ismá‘íl al-Jabartí, but I did not know that he (the Shaykh) was the Prophet, although I knew that he (the Prophet) was the Shaykh. This was one of the visions in which I beheld him at Zabíd in a.h. 796. The real meaning of this matter is that the Prophet has the power of assuming every form. When the adept (adíb) sees him in the form of Mohammed which he wore during his life, he names him by that name, but when he sees him in another form and knows him to be Mohammed, he names him by the name of the form in which he appears. The name Mohammed is not applied except to the Idea of Mohammed (al-?aqíqatu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya). Thus, when he appeared in the form of Shiblí 3, Shiblí said to his disciple, "Bear witness that I am the Apostle of God"; and the disciple, being one of the illuminated, recognised the Prophet and said, "I bear witness that thou art the Apostle of God." No objection can be taken to this: it is like what happens when a dreamer sees some one in the form of another; but there is a difference between dreaming and mystical revelation, viz., that the name of the form in which Mohammed appears to the dreamer is not bestowed in hours of waking upon the ?aqíqatu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya, because interpretation is applicable to the World of Similitudes: accordingly, when the dreamer wakes he interprets the ?aqíqa of Mohammed as being the ?aqíqa of the dream-form. In mystical revelation it is otherwise, for if you perceive mystically that the ?aqíqa of Mohammed is displayed in any human form, you must bestow upon the ?aqíqa of Mohammed the name of that form and regard its owner with no less reverence than you would show to our Lord Mohammed, and after having seen him therein you may not behave towards it in the same manner as before. Do not imagine that my words contain any tincture of the doctrine of metempsychosis. God forbid! I mean that the Prophet is able to assume whatever form he wishes, and the Sunna declares that in every age he assumes the form of the most perfect men, in order to exalt their dignity and correct their deviation (from the truth): they are his vicegerents outwardly, and he is their spiritual essence (?aqíqa) inwardly.

The Perfect Man in himself stands over against all the individualisations of existence. With his spirituality he stands over against the higher individualisations, with his corporeality over against the lower. His heart stands over against the Throne of God (al-‘Arsh), his mind over against the Pen (al-Qalam), his soul over against the Guarded Tablet (al-Law?u ’l-ma?fú?), his nature over against the elements, his capability (of receiving forms) over against matter (hayúlá).…He stands over against the angels with his good thoughts, over against the genies and devils with the doubts which beset him, over against the beasts with his animality. …To every type of existence he furnishes from himself an anti-type. We have already explained that every one of the Cherubim is created from an analogous faculty of the Perfect Man. It only remains to speak of his correspondence with the Divine names and attributes.

You must know that the Perfect Man is a copy (nuskha) of God, according to the saying of the Prophet, "God created Adam in the image of the Merciful," and in another ?adíth, "God created Adam in His own image." That is so, because God is Living, Knowing, Mighty, Willing, Hearing, Seeing, and Speaking, and Man too is all these. Then he confronts the Divine huwiyya with his huwiyya, the Divine aniyya with his aniyya, and the Divine dhát (essence) with his dhát—he is the whole against the whole, the universal against the universal, the particular against the particular.… Further, you must know that the Essential names and the Divine attributes belong to the Perfect Man by fundamental and sovereign right in virtue of a necessity inherent in his essence, for it is he whose "truth" (?aqíqa) is signified by those expressions and whose spirituality (la?ífa) is indicated by those symbols: they have no subject in existence (whereto they should be attached) except the Perfect Man. As a mirror in which a person sees the form of himself and cannot see it without the mirror, such is the relation of God to the Perfect Man, who cannot possibly see his own form but in the mirror of the name Allah; and he is also a mirror to God, for God laid upon Himself the necessity that His names and attributes should not be seen save in the Perfect Man. This obligation to display the Divine attributes is the "trust" (amána) which God offered to the heavens and the earth: they were afraid to accept it, "but Man accepted it; verily he is unjust and ignorant" (Kor. 33, 72), i.e., unjust to his own soul in letting it suffer degradation (from the things of this world) and ignorant of his real worth, because he is unaware of that with which he has been entrusted.…Beyond the plane of the Names and Attributes, which are ranged on the right and left of him according to their kind, the Perfect Man feels through his whole being " a pervasive delight, which is named the delight of the Godhead" (ladhdhatu ’l-iláhiyya).…Here he is independent of his modes, i.e., the Names and Attributes, and regards them not at all. He knows nothing in existence save his own nature (huwiyya), contemplates the emanation (?udúr) from himself of all that exists, and beholds the Many in his essence, even as ordinary men are conscious of their own thoughts and qualities; but the Perfect Man is able to keep every thought, great or small, far from himself: his power over things does not proceed from any secondary cause but is exercised freely, like other men's power of speaking, eating, and drinking.

These extracts bring out the germinal idea which is developed by Jílí into a psychological and cosmological system. The Perfect Man, as the copy of God and the archetype of Nature, unites the creative and creaturely aspects of the Essence and manifests the oneness of Thought with things. "He is the heaven and the earth and the length and the breadth 1."

Mine is the kingdom in both worlds: I saw therein none but myself, that I should hope for his favour or fear him.
Before me is no "before," that I should follow its condition, and after me is no " after," that I should precede its notion. p. 108
I have made all kinds of perfection mine own, and lo, I am the beauty of the majesty of the Whole: I am naught but It.
Whatsoever thou seest of minerals and plants and animals, together with Man and his qualities,
And whatsoever thou seest of elements and nature and original atoms (haba’) whereof the substance is (ethereal as) a perfume,
And whatsoever thou seest of seas and deserts and trees and high-topped mountains,
And whatsoever thou seest of spiritual forms and of things visible whose countenance is goodly to behold,
And whatsoever thou seest of thought and imagination and intelligence and soul, and heart with its inwards,
And whatsoever thou seest of angelic aspect, or of phenomena whereof Satan is the spirit,
           *      *      *      *      *      *
Lo, I am that whole, and that whole is my theatre: ’tis I, not it, that is displayed in its reality.
Verily, I am a Providence and Prince to mankind: the entire creation is a name, and my essence is the object named.
The sensible world is mine and the angel-world is of my weaving and fashioning; the unseen world is mine and the world of omnipotence springs from me.
And mark! In all that I have mentioned I am a slave returning from the Essence to his Lord—
Poor, despised, lowly, self-abasing, sin's captive, in the bonds of his trespasses 1.
The concluding verses only say what Jílí repeats in many places, that while at supreme moments a man may lose himself in God, he can never be identified with God absolutely.

In the second part of his work the author treats of the Perfect Man as the Spirit whence all things have their origin. Accordingly he devotes successive chapters to the organs and faculties which make up the psychological and intellectual constitution of the Perfect Man—spirit, heart, intelligence, reflection, etc., with the corresponding celestial beings which are said to be "created" from them 2e. The highest hypostases of his psychology are the Holy Spirit (Rú?u ’l-Quds) and the Spirit (al-Rú?); the latter is also described as "the angel named al-Rú?" and, in the technical language of the ?úfís, as "the ?aqq by means of which the world is created" (al-?aqqu ’l-makhlúq bihi) and "the Idea of Mohammed" (al-?aqíqatu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya). How these two Spirits are related to each other is indicated in the following passage:

You must know that every sensible object has a created spirit which constitutes its form, and the spirit is to the form as the meaning to the word. The created spirit has a Divine spirit which constitutes it, and that Divine spirit is the Rú?u ’l-Quds. Those who regard the Rú?u ’l-Quds in man deem it created, because two eternal substances cannot exist: eternity belongs to God alone, whose names and attributes inhere in His essence because of the impossibility of their being detached; all else is created and originated. Man, for example, has a body, which is his form, and a spirit, which is his meaning, and a consciousness (sirr), which is al-Rú?, and an essential aspect (wajh), which is denoted by the terms Rú?u ’l-Quds (the Holy Spirit), al-sirru ’l-iláhí (the Divine consciousness) and al-wujúdu ’l-sárí (the all-pervading Being) 1.

The Rú?u ’l-Quds and the Rú? are one Spirit viewed as eternal in relation to God and non-eternal in relation to Man; as the inmost essence of things or as their form of existence 2. The uncreated Spirit of God, sanctified above all phenomenal imperfections, is referred to in the verse, "I breathed of My Spirit into Adam" (Kor. 15, 29; 38, 72), and in the verse, "Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face (wajh) of Allah" (Kor. 2, 109), i.e., the Rú?u ’l-Quds exists, "individualised by its perfection," in every object of sense or thought. Jílí adds that inasmuch as the spirit of a thing is its self (nafs), existence is constituted by the "self" of God; and His "self " is His essence 3. Union with the Rú?u ’l-Quds comes only as the crown and consummation of the mystical life to "the holy one" (qudsí) 4 who unceasingly contemplates the Divine consciousness (sirr) which is his origin, so that its laws are made manifest in him and God becomes his ear, eye, hand and tongue: he touches the sick and they are healed, he bids a thing be and it is, for he has been strengthened with the Holy Spirit, even as Jesus was (Kor. 2, 81) 1.

It will now be seen that Jílí considers the created Rú? or the archetypal Spirit of Mohammed as a mode of the uncreated Holy Divine Spirit and as the medium through which God becomes conscious of Himself in creation 2.

God created the angel named Rú? from His own light, and from him He created the world and made him His organ of vision in the world. One of his names is the Word of Allah (Amr Allah) 3. He is the noblest and most exalted of existent beings: there is no angel above him, and he is the chief of the Cherubim. God caused the mill-stone of existent beings to turn on him, and made him the axis (qu?b) of the sphere of created things. Towards every thing that God created he has a special aspect (wajh), in virtue of which he regards it and preserves it in its appointed place in the order of existence. He has eight forms, which are the bearers of the Divine Throne (al-‘Arsh) 4. From him were created all the angels, both the sublime and the elemental. The angels stand to him in the relation of drops of water to the sea, and the eight bearers of the ‘Arsh stand in the same relation to him as the eight faculties which constitute human existence to the spirit of man. These faculties are intelligence (‘aql), judgment (wahm), reflection (fikr), phantasy (khayál), imagination (al-mu?awwira), memory (al-?áfi?a), perception (al-mudrika), and the soul (nafs). The Rú? exercises a Divine guardianship, created in him by God, over the whole universe. He manifests himself in his perfection in the ?aqíqatu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya: therefore the Prophet is the most excellent of mankind. While God manifests Himself in His attributes to all other created beings, He manifests Himself in His essence to this angel alone. Accordingly the Rú? is the Qu?b of the present world and of the world to come. He does not make himself known to any creature of God but to the Perfect Man. When the saint (walí) knows him and truly understands the things which the Rú? teaches him, he becomes a pole (qu?b) on which the entire universe revolves; but the Poleship (Qu?biyya) belongs fundamentally to the Rú?, and if others hold it, they are only his delegates 1. He is the first to receive the Divine command, which he then delivers to the angels; and whenever a command is to be executed in the universe, God creates from him an angel suitable to that command, and the Rú? sends him to carry it out. All the Cherubim are created from him, e.g., Seraphiel, Gabriel, Michael, and Azrael, and those above them, such as the angel named al-Nún 2, who is stationed beneath the Guarded Tablet, and the angel named the Pen (al-Qalam), and the angel named al-Mudabbir, whose station is beneath the Kursí 3, and the angel named al-Mufa??il, who stands beneath the Imámu ’l-Mubín 1: these are the Sublime Angels, who were not commanded to worship Adam. God in His wisdom did not command them, for had they been commanded to worship, every one of Adam's descendants would have known them. Consider how, inasmuch as the angels were commanded to worship Adam, they appear to men in the forms of the Divine similitudes whereby God reveals Himself to the dreamer. All those forms are angels, who descend in diverse shapes by command of the angel entrusted with the making of similitudes. For this reason a man dreams that lifeless things speak to him: unless they were really spirits assuming the form of lifelessness, they would not have spoken. The Prophet said that a true dream is an inspiration from God—because an angel brings it—and also that a true dream is one of the forty-six parts of prophecy. Since Iblís, though he did not worship Adam, was amongst those commanded to worship, the devils who are his offspring were commanded to appear to the dreamer in the same forms as the angels: hence false dreams. According to this argument, the Sublime Angels are unknowable except by "the divine men" (al-iláhiyyún), on whom God bestows such knowledge as a gift after their release from the limitations of humanity.

The Rú? has many names according to the number of his aspects. He is named "The Most Exalted Pen" and "The Spirit of Mohammed" and "The First Intelligence" and "The Divine Spirit," on the principle of naming the original by the derivative, but in the presence of God he has only one name, which is "The Spirit" (al-Rú?).

Jílí gives a long account of a vision in which the Rú? conversed with him and spoke darkly concerning the mystery of his nature, saying, "I am the child whose father is his son and the wine whose vine is its jar.…I met the mothers who bore me, and I asked them in marriage, and they let me marry them 1." In the course of this colloquy the Idea of Mohammed (al-?aqíqatu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya) says:

God created Adam in His own image—this is not doubted or disputed—and Adam was one of the theatres (ma?áhir) in which I displayed myself: he was appointed as a vicegerent (khalífa) over my externality. I knew that God made me the object and goal of all His creatures, and lo, I heard the most gracious allocution from the Most Great Presence: "Thou art the Qu?b whereon the spheres of beauty revolve, and thou art the Sun by whose radiance the full-moon of perfection is replenished; thou art he for whom We set up the pattern 2 and for whose sake We made fast the door-ring 3; thou art the reality symbolised by Hind and Salmá, and ‘Azza and Asmá 4. O thou who art endued with lofty attributes and pure qualities, Beauty doth not dumbfound thee nor Majesty cause thee to quake, nor dost thou deem Perfection unattainable: thou art the centre and these the circumference, thou art the clothed and these the splendid garments 5."

In some aspects the spiritual organ which ?úfís call "the heart" (qalb) is hardly distinguished from the spirit (rú?): indeed Jílí says that when the Koran mentions the Divine spirit breathed into Adam, it is the heart that is signified. He describes it as "the eternal light and the sublime consciousness (sirr) revealed in the quintessence (‘ayn) of created beings (Mohammed), that God may behold Man thereby 1"; as "the Throne of God (al-‘Arsh) and His Temple in Man…the centre of Divine consciousness and the circumference of the circle of all that exists actually or ideally 2." It reflects all the Divine names and attributes at once, yet quickly changes under the influence of particular names. Like a mirror, it has a face and a back. The face is always turned towards a light called the attention (al-hamm), which is the eye of the heart, so that whenever a name becomes opposite to, or as we should say, strikes the attention, the heart sees it and receives the impression of it; then this name disappears and is succeeded by others. The "back" of the heart is the place from which the attention is absent 3. Jílí illustrates his meaning by the diagram reproduced here:

The Divine names and attributes are the heart's true nature, in which it was created. Some men are so blessed that they have little trouble to keep it pure, but most of us must needs undergo painful self-mortifications in order to wash out the stains of the flesh 1. Recompense for good works depends on the merit imputed by God to His creatures according to the original individualisations in which He created them: it is a necessary right, not an arbitrary gift 2. The heart reflects the world of attributes, or rather, as Jílí holds, is itself reflected by the universe. "Earth and heaven do not contain Me, but the heart of My believing servant containeth Me": if the universe were primary and the heart secondary, i.e., if the heart were only a mirror, then the power of containing and comprehending would have been ascribed to the universe, not to the heart; but in fact, it is the heart alone that comprehends God—by knowledge, by contemplation, and finally by transubstantiation 3.

When God created the whole world from the Light of Mohammed, He created from the heart of Mohammed the angel Isráfíl (Seraphiel), the mightiest of the angels and the nearest to God 4.

The faculty of Reason has three modes, viz., the First Intelligence (al-‘aqlu ’l-awwal), Universal Reason (al-‘aqlu ’l-kullí), and ordinary reason (‘aqlu ’l-ma‘ásh) 5. Jílí identifies the First Intelligence, as the faithful treasurer of Divine Knowledge, with Gabriel, "the trusted Spirit" (al-Rú?u ’l-amín) 1, and as a locus for the form of Divine Knowledge in existence—the first objective analysis of the Divine synthesis—with the Pen (al-Qalam) which transmits the particulars contained as a whole in God's consciousness to the Guarded Tablet (al-Law?u ’l-ma?fú?) 2. Universal Reason is "the percipient luminous medium whereby the forms of knowledge deposited in the First Intelligence are made manifest 3"; not the sum of individual intelligences, for in this case Reason would be plural, while in reality it is a single substance, the common element, so to speak, of human, angelic, and demonic spirits. Ordinary reason is " the light (of Universal Reason) measured by the rule of reflection (fikr), and does not apprehend save by means of reflection": therefore it cannot reach the unconditioned First Intelligence, often misses its mark, and fails to perceive many things. Universal Reason, on the other hand, is infallible, since it weighs all with the twin scales of Wisdom and Power 4, but it never penetrates beyond the sphere of creation. Neither universal (intuitive) nor ordinary (discursive) reason can attain to knowledge of God. The contrary doctrine has only a demonstrative and controversial value. True gnosis (ma‘rifa) is given by faith, which does not depend on proofs and effects (áthár) but on the Divine attributes themselves 5.

The judgment (wahm) of Mohammed was created from the light of the Divine Name al-Kámil (the Perfect), and God created from the light of Mohammed's judgment Azrael, the Angel of Death 6. Wahm is the strongest of the human faculties: it overpowers the understanding, the reflection, and the imagination 7…nothing in the world apprehends more quickly; it is what enables men to walk on the water and fly in the air; it is the light of certainty (yaqín) and the basis of dominion; he that has it at his command exercises sway over all things high and low, while he that is ruled by its might becomes stupefied and bewildered 1. The spirit, on entering the body 2, either acquires angelic dispositions and ascends to Paradise, or assumes bestial dispositions and sinks to Hell: it ascends when it judges the limitations of its human form, e.g., grossness and weakness, to be merely negative and capable of being thrown off, since the spirit always retains its original qualities potentially. At death Azrael appears to the spirit in a form determined by its beliefs, actions, and dispositions during life 3. Or, again, he appears disembodied and invisible, so that a man may "die of a rose in aromatic pain" or of a stench 4. When the spirit sees Azrael, it becomes enamoured of him, and its gaze is entirely withdrawn from the body 5, whereupon the body dies. The spirit does not quit its bodily form at once but abides in it for a while, like one who sleeps without seeing any vision 6. After this dreamless sleep, which is its death (mawtu ’l-arwá?), the spirit passes into the intermediate state (al-barzakh).

Meditation (himma) is the noblest of the spiritual lights (faculties), for it has no object but God 1. Yet one must beware of resting in it in order to enjoy its fruits: the master-mystic will leave it before it has yielded all its secrets to him, lest it become a barrier to his further advance 2. Michael, the angel created from it, is charged with the duty of dispensing the portions of fate allotted by eternal necessity to each recipient 3.

From the reflection (fikr) of Mohammed God created the spirits of the celestial and terrestrial angels, and appointed them to guard the higher and lower spheres of existence until the Last Day, when they shall be translated to the intelligible world 4. One of the keys to that world is reflection, leading to true knowledge of the nature of Man, which is set with all its aspects over against the aspects of the Merciful (al-Ra?mán). But the pure region of filer lies open to mystics alone: the path of speculative philosophy ends in a mirage 5.

As we have already seen 6, thought (khayál), i.e., the faculty that retains what the fancy perceives of the forms of sensible objects after their substance has disappeared 7, is declared by Jílí to be the stuff of the universe. In Hegelian language " the things that we know about are appropriately described when we say that their being is established not on themselves, but on the Divine Idea." Nothing exists otherwise than as a dream in the perception of the dreamer, and the cosmos is "a thought within a thought within a thought" (khayálun fí khayálin fí khayál) 8. It must be added, however, that while every thing, i.e., every thought, expresses some reality, the Perfect Man (though he is not Reality itself) is the complete self-expression of Reality 9.

Imagination, memory, and perception, which the author enumerated amongst the eight spiritual faculties 1, find no place in this discussion.

After a preliminary chapter on the Form of Mohammed (al ?úratu ’l-Mu?ammadiyya), which I will omit for the present, he concludes his psychology with an account of the nature of the soul.

Ascetic and devotional ?úfism, in agreement with orthodox Islam, distinguishes sharply between the spirit (rú?) and the soul (nafs) 2. The latter term may, indeed, be used to denote a man's spiritual "self"—"he that knows himself (nafsahu) knows his Lord"—but as a rule when ?úfís refer to the nafs they mean the appetitive soul, the sensual "self" which, from their point of view, is wholly evil and can never become one with God 3. Jílí makes short work of this dualistic doctrine. The heading of his 59th chapter promises to show that the nafs is the origin of Iblís and all the devils, and he begins as follows:

The nafs is the consciousness (sirr) of the Lord, and the essence (of God): through that Essence it hath in its essence manifold delights. It is created from the light of the attribute of Lordship: many, therefore, are its lordly qualities.… God created the nafs of Mohammed from His own nafs (and the nafs of a thing is its essence); then He created the nafs of Adam as a copy of the nafs of Mohammed 4.

With great boldness Jílí argues that the Fall of Man is the necessary consequence of his Divine nature. Adam ate the forbidden fruit because his soul manifests a certain aspect of Deity, viz., Lordship (rubúbiyya); for it is not in the nature of Lordship to submit to a prohibition. The soul knew that, if it ate the fruit 5, it would inevitably descend into the material world and would suffer misery, but on the other hand it was aware of the blessedness of its inherent sovereignty. Thus it became perplexed, and its perplexity (iltibás) brought about its fall. The choice of the soul is at once determined and free: determined, because in the last resort its act proceeds from a fundamental difference in the nature of God; free, because the soul acts in accordance with its knowledge of itself and, had it not been blinded by pride, would have perceived that its true nature requires obedience to the Divine command, inasmuch as disobedience renders the spirit miserable, and misery is inconsistent with Lordship.

When God created the soul of Mohammed from His own Essence, which comprises all contraries, He created from the soul of Mohammed (1) the Sublime Angels in respect of His attributes of Beauty, Light, and Leading, and (2) Iblís and his followers in respect of His attributes of Majesty, Darkness, and Misleading 1. Now, the name of Iblís was ‘Azázíl: he had worshipped God for thousands of years before the creation of the world, and God had forbidden him to worship aught else. Therefore, when God created Adam and commanded the angels to bow down before him, Iblís refused, for he did not know that to worship by God's command is equivalent to worshipping God 2. Instead of justifying his disobedience or repenting of it and asking God to forgive him, he silently acknowledged that God wills and acts in conformity with the eternal and unchangeable principles of His nature. Iblís was banished from the Divine presence and a curse was laid upon him "until the Day of Judgment" (Kor. 15, 35), i.e., for a finite period 3. After the Day of Judgment the creatureliness which hinders the spirit from knowing God as He really is will be counted amongst its perfection 1, and Iblís will then be restored to his place beside God 2.

Jílí mentions five phases of the soul, or ascending grades of spiritual life: (1) the animal soul, i.e., the spirit regarded as governing the body; (2) the commanding (evil-prompting) soul 3, i.e., the spirit regarded as subject to the passions; (3) the inspired soul, i.e., the spirit which God inspires to do good; (4) the self-reproaching soul, i.e., the spirit regarded as turning penitently towards God; (5) the tranquil soul, i.e., the spirit regarded as at rest with God 4.

103:2 Böhme's three principles, viz., the Godhead, Divine Wrath, and Divine Love, are represented in Jílí's system by the Essence with its complementary and harmonious attributes of majesty (jalál) and beauty (jamál). The German mystic unites Wrath and Love in a form which he calls "Fire": it is "the centrum naturae, the point between the kingdom of light and that of darkness, between love and anger, between good and evil" (Professor Deussen's introd. to Böhme's Three Principles of the Divine Essence tr. by John Sparrow, p. lvi foll.). This exactly answers to the perfection (kamál) of the Perfect Man.

104:1 The Perfect Man is neither Absolute Being nor Contingent Being, but a third metaphysical category, i.e., the Logos. See Nyberg, Kleinere Schriften des Ibn al-‘Arabi, Introd., p. 32 foll., 50.

104:2 K I. 10, 12 foll. In the Koran (61, 6) Mohammed is named A?mad and identified with the Paraclete foretold by Christ.

104:3 K II. 58, 22.

105:1 The servant of God.

105:2 The Sun of the Religion.

105:3 A famous ?úfí of Baghdád. He died in a.d. 945-6.

107:1 K I. 26, 3 fr. foot. "The length and the breadth" (al-?úl wa ’l-‘ar?) is a formula invented by ?alláj, which corresponds with láhút (Divinity) and násút (Humanity) and expresses his dualistic conception of the spiritual and material universe. Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí and Jílí interpret the "two dimensions" in a monistic sense. See Massignon, Kitáb al-?awásín, p. 141 foll.

108:1 K I. 26, last line and foll.

108:2 K II. 10 foll.

109:1 K II. 11, 4 foll.

109:2 Cf. M, 4 a, 7 b.

109:3 K II. 10, 6 fr. foot and foll.

109:4 In M, 6 b, Jílí distinguishes the qudsí (holy one), who is illuminated by the Divine attributes, from the aqdasí (most holy one), who is united with the Essence.

110:1 K II. 11, 7 fr. foot and foll.

110:2 K II. 12, 6 foll.

110:3 For the use of amr (which is radically connected with the Jewish memra) in the sense of Logos, see H. Hirschfeld, New researches into the composition and exegesis of the Qoran, p. 15. Cf. Kor. 17, 87.

110:4 See Kor. 69, 17, and cf. Nyberg, Kleinere Schriften des Ibn al-‘Arabi, Introd., p. 146. The ‘Arsh is the Universal Body ( ) or the frame of the Cosmos ( ), K II. 5-6.

111:1 Jílí's identification of the Rú? with the Qu?b, taken in conjunction with the fact that the Rú? is essentially God regarded as the Holy Spirit or as the First Intelligence (see pp. 109 and 112), suggests an explanation of the mysterious doctrine broached by Ghazálí in the Mishkátu ’l-Anwár, where he asserts that in very truth the Mover of all is not Allah but a Being, described as "the Obeyed One" (al-mu?á‘), "whose nature is left obscure, since our only information about him is that he is not the Real Being. Allah's relation to this Vicegerent, the supreme controller of the Universe, is compared to the relation of the impalpable light-essence to the sun, or of the elemental fire to a glowing coal" (W. H. T. Gairdner, Al-Ghazali's Mishkat al-Anwar and the Ghazali-problem in Der Islam, 1914, p. 121 foll.). I agree with Canon Gairdner that Ghazálí would not have accepted the ordinary hierarchical Qu?b doctrine current amongst the ?úfís of the 5th century a?., if not earlier. But an hypostatised Qu?b is another matter. The Perfect Man, though not himself the Absolute, in no way impairs the absolute Divine unity which he objectifies. It looks to me as if Ghazálí's esoteric teaching, which he keeps back from his readers because they "cannot bear it," was not different in substance from the Logos doctrine of the Insánu ’l-kámil. His allusions to ineffable arcana, centring in the tradition that Adam was created in the image of God, are extremely significant. [Cf. now Tor Andrae, Die person Muhammeds, p. 335 and Nyberg, op. cit., Introd., p. 106 foll.]

111:2 See Koran, 68, 1. Al-Nún symbolises the Divine knowledge (K II. 22, 3).

111:3 The Footstool under the Divine Throne (‘Arsh). Those who are not familiar with these and other details of Mohammedan cosmogony may consult E. J. W. Gibb's History of Ottoman Poetry, vol. I. p. 34 foll. According to Jílí, the creatures (al-khalq) are first individualised occultly and without differentiation in the Divine knowledge, then brought into existence, p. 112 synthetically and virtually, in the ‘Arsh (cf. K II. 5, 12 foll.), then manifested analytically in the Kursí (cf. K II. 6, II foll.). All these individualisations are "unseen" (ghayb), i.e., in God, so to speak. The first objective individualisation takes place in the Pen (al-Qalam), which distinguishes the creatures from the Creator and imprints their forms of existence on the Guarded Tablet (al-Law? al-ma?fú?), as the mind imprints ideas on the soul. Hence it is said in the Prophetic Tradition that the Pen or the Intelligence (al-‘aql) was the first thing that God created (K II. 6, last line and foll.).

112:1 The Imámu ’l-Mubín is identified with the First Intelligence (K II. 22, I), and with the human spirit (M 7 b).

113:1 K II. 14, 23 foll. The commentator explains that the Rú? is the object of Divine knowledge whose father (Divine knowledge) is produced by the object of knowledge and is therefore its son. Cf. the verse of Badru’ddín al-Shahíd:

My mother bore her father—lo, that is a wondrous thing—
And my father is a little child in the bosom of those who suckle it.
[paragraph continues]The mother is Nature. Adam, her son in one sense, is her father in another, because he (as the microcosm) is the origin of all created things, like the date-kernel which is both the seed of the palm and its fruit (Comm. K 17 b).

113:2 I.e., the First Intelligence, the archetype of created things, which in relation to the Perfect Man is named the Spirit of Mohammed (cf. K II. 6, penult. and foll.).

113:3 I.e., the Perfect Man is the door-keeper of the temple of the Godhead, and he alone can reveal its mysteries. The text has  , but according to Comm. K (foll. 16 b) the correct reading is  =  , i.e., the ring into which a chain was inserted, so that it served as a padlock. Cf. Vullers' Persian lexicon under  .

113:4 These names are typical of the women whose charms are celebrated by Arabian poets.

113:5 K II. 15, 10 foll.

114:1 K II. 18, 2.

114:2 K II. 16, 25 foll.

114:3 The position of the hamm varies in different men. It may face upward or downward or to the right or to the left, i.e., in the direction of the nafs (appetitive soul), which is located in the left rib. The hearts of profound mystics have no hamm and no back (qáfá): these men face with their whole being the whole of the Divine names and attributes and are with God essentially (K II. 18, penult. and foll.).

115:1 K II. 19, 15 foll.

115:2 Therefore the illuminations (tajalliyát) of the Essence are not named "a gift" (II. 20, 10). Jílí quotes a verse of "our Shaykh, Shaykh ‘Abdu l-Qádir al-Jílání":

I ceased not pasturing in the fields of quietism until I reached a dignity which is not bestowed by favour.
115:3 K II. 20, 23 foll. This agrees with Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí's doctrine in the Fu?ú?, 145 foll. The three kinds of comprehension are denoted by the terms wus‘u ’l-‘ilm (‘ilm in this connexion is synonymous with ma‘rifa), wus‘u ’l-musháhada, and wus‘u ’l-khiláfa. In the last stage Man is essentialised and becomes the khalífa or vicegerent of God. Jílí, however, maintains a distinction even here. The Perfect Man knows the perfection of the Divine nature as manifested in him, not the perfection of the Divine nature in itself, which is infinite and (since the Essence cannot be comprehended by one of its attributes) ultimately unknowable. We can only say that God knows Himself according to the necessity of His knowledge (?aqqu ’l-ma‘rifa).

115:4 K II. 21, 16 foll.

115:5 K II. 22, 4.

116:1 K II. 24, 5 foll. Gabriel was created from the First Intelligence regarded as the rational principle of Mohammed, who is therefore "the father of Gabriel."

116:2 I.e., Universal Soul (see K II. 7, 15 foll.).

116:3 Universal Reason is a mode of Universal Soul (K II. 7, 3 fr. foot and foll.); it perceives the forms of existence imprinted on Universal Soul by the First Intelligence.

116:4 Jílí likens the First Intelligence to the sun, Universal Reason to water irradiated by sunbeams, and ordinary reason to the light reflected from the water upon a wall (K II. 22, 4 fr. foot and foll.).

116:5 K II. 23, 9 foll.

116:6 K II. 24, 21 foll.

116:7 Cf. Fu?ú?, 229.

117:1 K II. 27, 54 foll. Wahm is generally defined as the "bodily" faculty which perceives the qualities of a sensible object and forms a judgment concerning it, e.g., that the sheep runs away from the wolf. Jílí regards it as the faculty whereby things are judged intuitively to be what they really are: he says that by means of wahm God made His creatures worship Him as their Lord (ta‘abbada ’l-‘álam).

117:2 I.e., on becoming conscious of itself as the essence (huwiyya) of the body. "Spirits dwell in the place towards which they look, without being separated from their original centre" (K II. 25, 9 foll.).

117:3 Sometimes in the form of the Prophet, which the Cherubim, having been created from his spiritual faculties, are able to assume, unlike Iblís and the devils who were created from his fleshly nature (K II. 26, 2 foll.).

117:4 K II. 26, 22 foll.

117:5 Jílí objects to the expression "goes forth from the body" on the ground that it implies ?ulúl.

117:6 Against the opinion that no sleep is visionless, though some dreams are not remembered on waking, Jílí sets the fact, revealed to him (as he says) by Divine illumination, that it is possible to sleep dreamlessly for a period of two days or more, which seems to pass in the twinkling of an eye. Conversely, God may so extend a single moment of time that within it an individual lives many lives and marries and has children (K II. 27, 1 foll.).

118:1 K II. 28, 14. Himma denotes the utmost concentration of the heart (qalb) upon God. Cf. Jurjání's Ta‘rífát, p. 278.

118:2 K II. 30, 7 foll.

118:3 K II. 30, 13 foll.

118:4 K II. 32, 15 foll.

118:5 K II. 31, 8 foll. Jílí confesses that he was once in danger of being engulfed in this "deadly science" and was only saved by the blessing of God and the watchful care of his Shaykh, Sharafu’ddín ibn Ismá‘íl al-Jabartí (K II. 32, 4 foll.).

118:6 P. 91 supra.

118:7 Jurjání, Ta‘rífát, p. 507.

118:8 K II. 34, 16.

118:9 The term al-insánu ’l-kámil signifies "the manifestation of the Divine essence, attributes, and names" (K I. 80, 14).

119:1 P. 110 supra.

119:2 Cf. Prof. D. B. Macdonald, The religious attitude and life in Islam, p. 224 foll.

119:3 How far Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí, Ibnu ’l-Fári?, and Jílí have advanced beyond the old ?úfism appears from the way in which they speak of the body. Although on account of its grossness it is an imperfect medium and therefore relatively a cause of evil, its faculties are necessary for the attainment of spiritual perfection. A man born blind could know nothing, either here or hereafter, of the Divine wisdom that is communicated through the eye (M41). Cf. the Tá’iyya, vv. 677-9, and note ad loc.

119:4 K II. 48, 2 foll.

119:5 The forbidden fruit symbolises the darkness of Nature which is the p. 120 cause of disobedience, just as the light of Spirit is the cause of obedience; but Nature and Spirit, like their opposite effects, only differ correlatively.

120:1 K II. 50, 7 foll.

120:2 Jílí derives the name Iblís from the doubt and confusion (talbís) which was produced in the mind of ‘Azázíl by the command to worship Adam.

120:3 The Days of God (ayyám Allah) are the epiphanies by which He reveals His perfections (K I. 89, 25 foll.). The Day of Judgment signifies "an omnipotent epiphany before which all existent beings abase themselves" (K I. 111, 15), or in other words, the return of created things to God (K II. 50, last line).

121:1 Because the spirit, having regained its absoluteness, will be one with the Essence which is both Creator and creature.

121:2 The view that Iblís suffered damnation rather than compromise the doctrine of the Divine unity (taw?íd) is derived from ?alláj. See Massignon, Kitáb al-?awásín, p. 5 and 41 foll.

121:3 In so far as the soul does what its creaturely nature requires, it may be described as ammára (bi ’l-sú’), i.e., "commanding itself (to do evil)."

121:4 K II. 58, 3 foll.



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