Monday 4th of March 2024
نفر 0

Concerning the Identity of God's Attributes with His Essence:

It should be known that there is a reference in this noble tradition to God's Sacred Essence being identical to His true Attributes of perfection, like Knowledge, Power, Hearing and Sight. This is one of the important topics (of philosophy andkalam) whose elaborate treatment is, however, outside the scope of this treatise. Here we will refer to the true position in this regard in accordance with firm metaphysical proofs' of the philosophers (hukama') and the way of the people of gnosis (ahl-e ma'ri fat).

It should -be known that it has been clearly established in its appropriate place that that which belongs to the categories of perfection and beauty derives from the mainspring of existence and the root of the reality of being, and that in the realm of existence there is no more than one noble principle, which is the mainspring of all perfections and the source of all goodness, and that is the Reality of Being (haqiqat-e wujud). And were the totality of perfections not the same as the Reality of Being, and were there some kind of duality in the context of concrete reality; of whatever form, or separation from It, that, would 'imply that there are two principles in the domain of Being, which in turn implies many inadmissible conclusions. Hence whatever that is perfection, is not such on the basis of meaning and essence, but by virtue of its actualization and realization in the context of concrete reality, and that which is real in the context of concrete reality is one principle, which is existence. Hence all perfection derives from one principle, which is the reality of existence.

It has also been clearly established that the reality of existence is sheer simplicity in all aspects, and composition is absolutely precluded from its sacred precincts, as long as it retains its essential and original sheerness and purity of its own reality. However, when it descends from its original reality, it assumes composition in an accidental manner, at the plane of the intellect a s well as external reality, in accordance with its planes and stations (mashahid wa manazil). But in respect of its essence (dhat), it remains single, and composition is something alien to it and accidental.

Two sublime principles are inferred from these explanations:

' First, That which is simple in all aspects is the totality of perfections in one and a single aspect. And in the same aspect that It is existent, It is also Knowing, Powerful, Living, and Willing and all the other names and Attributes of beauty and glory. are true of It. He is Knower in the [same] aspect that He is Powerful, and Powerful in the [same] aspect that He is Knower, without there being any difference of consideration (i`tibar) even on the plane of the intellect. And as to the difference of the concepts of the Names and the words that are used to represent them, which are unconditioned (la bi shart) intellectual concepts, it does not correspond to a difference in concrete reality, and it has been clearly established that numerous concepts of perfection are abstracted from one thing. Rather, that which is implied by the foregoing explanation is that all the concepts of perfection are abstracted from a single aspect (haythiyyat-e wahidah). And if the concepts of perfection were to be abstracted from different aspects, as in the case of some contingents, this is accidental, and that is due to the descent (tanazzul) of the reality of existence and its accidental mingling with non-existences.

The second principle is that that which is perfect in all aspects and is absolute perfection and goodness must be simple in all aspects. And from these two, another principle is inferred, that that which is composite, in whatever manner, is not perfect in all aspects and is subject to deficiency and nonexistence as well, and that which is deficient is not absolutely simple.

Therefore, as God, the Exalted, is completely simple, and composition, which implies contingency,-poverty, and dependence on another, does not affect Him absolutely, He is perfect in all aspects and possesses all the Names and Attributes, and He is the very ground of reality and the essence of being, without His existence bearing any taint of non-existence, and without His perfections bearing any taint of. imperfection. Hence-He is sheer being, for were non-existence to find way into Him; the evil of composite things, which consists of the composition of existence and non-existence, would find way into Him. Thus He is the sheerness of Knowledge, the sheerness of Life, the sheerness of Power, the sheerness 'of Sight,' of Hearing and all other perfections. This explains the statement of Imam Sadiq, may peace be upon him, that

And Knowledge is His Essence, and so are Power, Hearing, and Sight His Essence.

The Statements of the Philosophers on the Division of Divine Attributes:

It should be known that the divine philosophers have divided the Attributes of God, the Exalted, into three kinds:

First, the true Attributes (sifat haqiqiyyah), and these have been divided into two kinds: the absolute true Attributes (sifat haqiqiyyah mahdah), such as Life, Subsistence, eternity and the like, and the relational true Attributes (sifat haqiqiyyah dhat al-idafah), like Knowledge, Power, and Will, which involve a relation to the objects of Knowledge, Power and Will (ma'lum, maqdur,and murad). These two kinds of Attributes are considered by them to be the same as the Essence (dhat),

Second, the absolutely relative Attributes (sifat idafiyyah mahdah), such as [the Attributes of] being the Originator, Provider, Merciful, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and the like.

Third, the absolutely negative Attributes (sifat salbiyyah mahdah), such as Unlikeness [to creatures] (quddusiyyah), Oneness(fardiyyah), Transcendence (subbuhiyyah), and the like.

These two [latter] kinds of Attributes are considered by them to be additional to the Sacred Essence, and all the negations are considered to derive from a single negation, which is the negation of contingency (salb-e imkan). Similarly, all the relations are referred to a single relation, which is the relation of Creatorhood (muwajjidiyyah), and the source of relations is referred to the illuminative and emanative relation (idafah-ye ishraqiyyah wa idafah-ye i fadiyyah). [2]

This author does not consider as valid these divisions, along with the identification of the `true Attributes' [with the Essence] and the consideration of the relative and negative Attributes as additional, as mentioned by them with their proofs, and he considers them neither in conformity with the firm metaphysical proofs nor with the correct(accurate) conceptions of gnosis. That is because none of the Attributes are to be considered as being identical with the Essence-when dealing with the concepts of the Names and the Attributes from the viewpoint of conceptual multiplicity. And should we regard the Essence as being identical with the relative or the negative Attributes, that would imply that God; the Exalted, is pure relation and identical with the negative aspect.

Similarly, if He is regarded as being identical with the true Attributes, that implies that God, the Exalted, is the same as derivative conceptions (mafahim i'tibariyyah) and rational ideas (ma'ani' 'aqliyyah), and He is exalted above' that. And should we consider the realities of the Attributes and the concrete instances of the Names and the Attributes, then all the Names and the relative as well as the true Attributes are found to be the same as the Sacred Essence, and the difference between 'knowledgeability' ('alimiyyah) and knower ('alim), and `powerfulness' (qadiriyyah) and powerful (qadir) is only that of conceptual consideration, and all the relational Attributes derive from His Essential Mercifulness (rahimiyyah) and Beneficence(rahmaniyyah), even the Attributes of being the Provider (raziqiyyah) and Creator (khaliqiyyah), and the rest.

Also, with respect to their reducing all the negations to the negation of contingency and all the relations to a single relation, and their abstaining from reducing the true Attributes to anything, it may be remarked that should we consider the matter from a conceptual viewpoint, none of them derives from another, neither the negations, nor the relations, nor the true Attributes. But if the realities are taken into view, all the true Attributes also refer to the One Necessary Reality.

On the Identity of the Attributes with the Sacred Essence:

The true position concerning the Attributes, in the idiom of theoretical philosophy (hikmat-e nazari), is that the true and relative Attributes are absolutely different from a conceptual viewpoint, and none of them is the same as the Sacred Essence. From the viewpoint of reality, all of them are the same as the Sacred Essence. However, there are two planes of the Attributes: one is the plane of the Essence and Attributes of the Essence (awsaf dhatiyyah) from which we can abstract Knowledge and Knowledgeability, Power and Powerfulness. The other one is the station of the Attributes of Act (awsaf fi'liyyah), from which, too, one can abstract the concepts of Knowledge and, Knowledgeability, Power and Powerfulness. As to the negative Attributes, such as His Unlikeness to creation (quddasiyyah) and His Transcendence (subbuhiyyat) and the Names of tanzih (negation of the finite characteristics of the creatures with respect to God), they are implied by the Sacred Essence, and the Sacred Essence is an accidental instance (misdaq bi al-`arad) in relation to them. Because God, the Exalted, is absolute perfection and the essential instance of absolute perfection. That is because He is the principle of reality and negation of deficiency is among its implications, and perfection is the accidental instance of the negation of deficiency. The gnostics and the people of the heart consider the station of manifestation (maqam-e tajalli) at the plane of the most sacred emanation (fayd-e aqdas) as the source(mabda') of the Names of Essence, and the station of manifestation at the plane of the sacred emanation (fayd-e muqaddas) as the source of the Attributes of Act. [3] They do not consider the manifestation at the plane of the sacred emanation as `other' [than the Essence], in the same way that they do not consider it to be the same (ayn) [as the Essence] either. A discussion around this topic will lead up to a discussion of the Names and the Attributes in accordance with their way, and that will take us beyond our present purpose.

And some have referred Divine Attributes to privative matters, considering `Knowledge' as the non-existence of ignorance and `Power' as the non-existence of inability. And among the people of ma'rifah, someone whom I have seen insisting on this matter was the august gnostic marhum Qadi Said Qummi, [4] who, in the course of a discourse mentioned in Sharh al Tawhid[5] has apparently followed his teacher, the marhum Mulla Rajab 'Ali. Aforetime we had given a reply, based on metaphysical reasoning, to his argument, replying as well to his recourses to the literal meanings of some traditions.

Section: On the Priority of Knowledge to Creation:

Among the noble issues referred to in this sacred tradition is that knowledge with its knowables precedes creation in pre-eternity, a matter which itself as well as its character-as to whether it is detailed or non-detailed-are subjects of a great controversy. There is also a controversy as to whether it is additional to the Essence (dhat) or the same, whether it precedes creation or accompanies it, with all the related details which are in their books? We will confine ourselves to establishing the truth of the matter and refrain from criticism or refutation of other opinions.

It should be known that that which stands established with the people of metaphysical reasoning and the companions of gnosis is that which has been indicated in this noble tradition, that the knowledge of the known things precedes creation in pre-eternity (azal), and that it is the same as the Essence. That His Knowledge is detailed is indicated by the statement that He was the Seer when there was nothing visible, and Hearer when there was nothing audible, because sight and hearing entail the observation of visibles and audibles in a detailed manner, as is clear enough. Also, it refers to His detailed knowledge, where it says:

So when He brought the things into being and the known came into existence, His knowledge pertained (corresponded) to the known.

That is because His knowledge did not obtain a new subsistence after creation, but pertained to the known after its acquiring subsistence. Now we shall explain the meaning of the Knowledge pertaining to the known.

The explanation of this noble faith-related theme, on the basis of the approach of the authorities among the philosophers, is that, as known from the preceding section, God, the Exalted, is absolute existence and absolute perfection. Absolute existence, with its complete simplicity and unity, encompasses all perfections and all existents, to utmost perfection. That which is outside the realm of its existence is non-being, deficiency, and inadequacy, and, in a word nothingness (la shay'iyyah).The relation of other planes of existence to that Sacred Essence is that of deficiency to perfection. The knowledge of absolute perfection is the knowledge of perfection in its absoluteness, without deficiency or inadequacy, and this is the very universal, simple, and detailed disclosure, as not even an iota of existence, from pre-eternity to eternity, is beyond the realm of His knowledge and there can be no trace of plurality and composition in it. [8]

According to the approach of the gnostics, God, the Exalted, encompasses all the Names and the Attributes at the plane(hadrat) of wahiddiyyah and the station of nominal inclusiveness (jam' asma'i). The fixed archetypes (a'yan thabitah) of all existents are implied in the Divine Names at the plane of inclusiveness prior to creation in pre-eternity, and the absolute manifestation of the Essence (tajalli-ye mullaq-e dhat) from the plane of ahadiyyah and the ghayb of ipseity is the disclosure of all the Names and Attributes and all their implications, which are the fixed archetypes of all the existents, with a single manifestation and disclosure that is absolutely simple (kashf-e basil-e mutlaq). Hence with the epistemic disclosure (kashf-e'ilmi) at the plane of the manifestation of the most sacred emanation (fayd aqdas) takes place the disclosure of the Essence, the Names, the Attributes and the archetypes without there being any multiplicity or compositeness. [9]

These two approaches possess utmost firmness and sublimity, but as they are extremely subtle and based on multiple principles, until these preliminaries are not learnt and as long as there is complete and consummate intimacy and thorough immersion, as well as perfect good will towards those who possess Divine gnosis ('ulama' billah), one can not derive anything from philosophy and the terminology of the men of God and the people of the heart and from these discourses, which pile bewilderment on bewilderment. Accordingly, it is preferable to give a simpler explanation that is closer to the understanding of the common people. And so we say that the causality and creativity of the Necessary Being, the Exalted, is not like the causality of natural agents which combine or dissociate the existing matters, such as the carpenter who brings about changes in an existing material by arranging and separating, or like the mason who combines the existing materials. Rather, God, the Exalted, is the Divine Agent Who brings things into being, without, any prior existence, by His very will, and `His will and' knowledge' by themselves constitute the cause for the appearance and existence of things. Hence the realm of reality is within the purview of His Knowledge and they appear from the hidden realms of Divine Ipseity (ghayb-e huwiyyat) by His making them manifest:

And with Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He. (6:59)

It is said that the realm of concrete existents in relation to the Sacred Essence of God, the Glorious, is like the relation of the mind to the human soul, which brings into being [thoughts, ideas and images] by mere willing and manifests that which lies in the hidden realms of ipsiety (ghayb-e- huwiyyat). Hence the entire realm of reality is within His knowledge, from which they appear and to which they return: ,

Verily, We belong to God and to Him do we return. (2:156)

To offer a clearer explanation, the knowledge of the complete cause of a thing implies the knowledge of that thing. For example, the astronomer's knowledge of the timings of solar and lunar eclipses is due to his knowledge of their causes. By recording the movements of the sun, moon, and the earth, he calculates the time when the earth will be positioned between the sun and the moon, or the moon between the earth and the sun. And should his records be correct his forecast will not fail by a single second. And since the entire chain of causes and effects terminates in the Sacred Essence, the Source of all sources, and since God, the Exalted, has the knowledge of His own Essence, which is the cause of all existents, being the cause He has also the knowledge of the effects.

From among the above-mentioned explanations everyone adopts one which corresponds to his plane, and some of them are firmer and more adequate in meeting the purpose than others.


Section: On the Meaning of Hearing and Sight in Relation to God:

One of the topics discussed by major philosophers in relation to the Names and Attributes of God, the Glorious and the Exalted, is the affirmation of Hearing and Sight' in relation to Him. The majority of the metaphysicians and theologians reduce Hearing and Sight to Knowledge, and the august Shaykh al-Ishraq has reduced(shrank) Knowledge to Sight and Hearing. [10]Each of them has offered an explanation in this regard whose mention will take us beyond the requirements' of brevity: We will explain the predominant view and approach with an explanation that Will clarify the truth in regard to the Names and the Attributes in general.

It should be known that most of the philosophers and major thinkers, in order to disregard some `aspects, have reduced(diminished) some of the Names and Attributes to some others. As it is well known and established among them, the Will of God; the-Exalted, consists of His Knowledge of what is 'appropriate (salah) and of the perfect 'order, like the controversy in relation to Hearing, Sight and Knowledge(technology) and reducing each of them to the other, as mentioned: This matter is contrary to the truth and amounts to disregarding these aspects. Because, if what is meant by reducing Will to the Knowledge of what is appropriate, or by reducing Knowledge to Hearing, or Hearing to Knowledge, is that God, the Exalted, does not possess a will or that He does not possess hearing or sight and that Knowledge is considered by them to include Will, Hearing and Sight, it is an invalid position and an unseemly statement. That is because it implies that God, the Exalted, is the Source of existence without possessing a will or the power of choice. Moreover, the criterion in regard to ascription of the Attributes of perfection to God is that the attribute should be an attribute of perfection for existent qua existent, and that it should be an attribute of the very reality of existence and from among the perfections of the very essence What) of existence. And there is no doubt that will is one of the attributes of perfection of the absolute reality of being. Accordingly, the plentiful existence descends to the lower planes, the weaker it is in respect of will, until it reaches the point where it become totally devoid of it whereat it is consider by all to lack will, like the natures, such as minerals and plants. And the more it rises towards perfection and the higher horizon, will becomes more manifest in it and stronger. Accordingly, we observe that in the chain of natural existents, when they cross the stages of prime matter, body,-element, mineral, and plant, will and knowledge become manifest in them, and the higher they rise the more this noble faculty becomes perfect, so that the Perfect Man possesses such a perfect will that by his mere will he transforms one element into another and the world of nature is subject to his will. Thus we find that will is an attribute of perfection of existence qua existence, and this meaning is affirmed concerning God's Sacred Essence without being referred to another meaning. Similarly, Hearing and Sight are, in accordance with confirmed truth, among the perfections of the absolute existent, and the reality of hearing and sight is not one dependent on physical organs and they do not constitute modes of cognition limited to organs and instrumental means. Rather, the need for organs is for manifestation of the soul's hearing and sight in the realm of nature and the mulk of the body, even as it also needs the pia mater for knowledge to be manifested in the realm of physical nature. And this deficiency pertains to the world of nature and mulk, not to knowledge, hearing and sight as such, which observe the realities of the world of the Unseen (ghayb) andhear the malakuti speech of the angels and the higher spirits, as in the case of Moses, the Kalimullah (God's interlocutor), who would hear the speech of God in his intimate supplications (munajat), and the Noble Ultimate Prophet; who spoke with the- angels and would see Gabriel in his malakuti form when no other ear would hear what he heard nor any eye see what he saw, though they would be in the same gathering with the Messenger at the time of the descent of the revelations (wahy).

Moreover, hearing and sight are among modes of cognition which are additional to the principle of knowledge and are other than the' reality of knowledge, and they are among the perfections of absolute existence. Hence their affirmation in relation to God, the Exalted, Who is the very reality of existence and the mainspring of the perfection of being, is necessary.

And should the purpose of those who reduce Will, Hearing, and Sight to Knowledge, or Knowledge to them, be that Knowledge and Will are posited of God in a single aspect (haythiyyat-e wahidah) and that Hearing, Sight, and Knowledge do not have different aspects in the Sacred Divine Essence, this is true and in accordance with metaphysical proof. However, there is no reason to limit the matter to these Attributes, for all Attributes reduce to the reality of sheer existence, and this matter is not contrary to positing different multiple Attributes for the Divine Essence, or rather it corroborates it. That is because, as has been clearly established, the nearer an existent is to unity and farther it is from the horizon of multiplicity and freer, it is more inclusive in relation to the names and attributes, so that That which is pure existence, the simple, necessary Reality, glorious is His majesty and majestic is His power, is ultimate unity and simplicity and inclusive of all perfections and possessing all Names and Attributes, and to Him literally apply all concepts of perfection, glory, and beauty, and their applicability to the Sacred Divine is worthier and prior, with all the degrees of worthiness and priority.

To sum up, the stronger and more complete is the unity (wahdah) [of an existent], the applicability of the concepts of perfection to it is greater, and the greater is the number of [its] names and attributes. Conversely, the closer an existent is to the horizon of multiplicity, the lesser is the applicability of the concepts of perfection to it, and this applicability also becomes weaker and closer and similar to metaphor (majaz). And this is because unity (wahdah) is concomitant (musawiq) with existence and is a perfection of being qua being. The meaning of concomitance here is that although unity and existence are conceptually different, but in external reality the reality of existence is the same as the reality of unity. Wherever there is multiplicity, there is also to be found deficiency, nonbeing, evil, weakness and disability, and this is for the reason that the lower that existence descends through the planes of deficiency, multiplicity is greater than at all the other planes of existence. The station of the Lord and the Sacred Divine Being, Glorious and Exalted, which is sheer existence, is absolute unity and simplicity, and there is no way that multiplicity and compositeness should find way into Him.

We have pointed out earlier that existence is the principal reality of perfection and the mainspring of glory and beauty. Hence sheer existence is sheer unity and sheer perfection, and, therefore, sheer unity is sheer perfection. Thus all the Names, Attributes and perfections are true of That which stands at the highest' plane of unity, and the applicability of each of them to It is more justified and prior. Conversely, that which is closer to multiplicity has more of deficiency in it, and the applicability of the concepts of perfection and the names and attributes is deficient in its case and the quality of their applicability is also weak. Hence, God, the Exalted and the Glorious, possesses all the perfections and encompasses all the Names and Attributes without any of them being reducible to another. Rather, each of them is true of His Sacred Essence in the literal sense, His Hearing, Sight, Will, and Knowledge, all are in their true literal sense without implying multiplicity in the Sacred Essence in any respect whatsoever.

To Him belong all the Beautiful Names and the highest metaphors, and all majesty and bounties.


Section: Character of the Relation of God's Knowledge to the Knowables:

One should know, as pointed out earlier, that all existents, qua existents, with their aspects of ontological perfection, quaaspects of perfection, are known and disclosed to the Sacred Essence of God, the Exalted, with His simple essential knowledge(`ilm-e basil-e dhati) and a single pre-eternal disclosure (kashf-e wahid-e azali). This disclosure, with its very simplicity and complete unity, is detailed so that not an iota of the heavens of spirits nor a particle of the earths of corporeality is outside the realm of His knowledge from pre-eternity to eternity (azalan wa abadan). This knowledge and disclosure is in pre-eternity and the same as the Sacred Essence, and the knowables with their conditionings and limits (ta'ayyunat wa hududat), which derive from nonbeing and deficiency, find an accidental occurrence (tahaqquq bi'l-`arad) posterior to creation and relate to Knowledge accidentally, and this accidental relation is posterior to creation. And to this reference is made in the noble tradition where it is stated:

And when He brought the things into being, and the known came into being, His knowledge pertained to the known.

It is probable that this statement refers to active knowledge (`ilm-e fi'li) which is obtained by manifestation (tajalli) through the sacred emanation (fayd muqaddas), and that which is meant by the `knowables' are the knowables-by-essence (ma'lumat bi'l-dhat), which are existential entities (huwiyyat wujudiyyah) which are existential entities (huwiyyat wujudiyyah) related to the sacred emanation and the light of manifestation.

Hence in accordance with the first probability the meaning of the first statement would be as follows:

When He manifested Himself through His sacred emanation and the accidental being appeared, the knowledge pertained to the known; that is, the emanation appeared in the mirror of the receiver-by-accident of the emanation.

In accordance with the second probability, it would mean:

When He manifested Himself through His sacred emanation and the existence of the existents-by-essence became manifest-that is without the limiting aspect-the emanation pertained to the receiver-by-essence of the emanation.

On the basis of both the interpretations, this manifestation through the sacred emanation is not subject to temporal events and changes, and the creation of God, the Exalted; is free from and above any trace of temporality and change, or, rather, from all conditioning and limitation. And since the essential Knowledge (`ilm-e dhati) is simple in all aspects and encompasses all aspects, active Knowledge (ilm-e fi`li), which is the real sign of God and the manifestation of the essential Knowledge and its mirror, is completely primitive and absolutely one, encompassing the entire circle of existence without there being any conditioning, change, or composition in it. At the most it is sustained in its essence (mutaqawwam bi al-dhat) by the Sacred Divine Essence and is the very sheerness of dependence, and, in this respect, is annihilated (fani) in Divine Majesty and is the very presence before the Lord of Glory, and therefore it is considered God's knowledge, in the same way that the very creation by the rational soul of intelligible realities in the realm of the intellect and of the imaginary images in the tablet of imagination, are the active knowledge (`ilm-e fi'li) of the soul and annihilated (fani) in its essence (dhat).

The metaphysicians have said that the relation of the tablet of reality to God is like the relation of the forms of knowables to the soul. Due to this encompassment, simplicity, and influence they have said that God, the Exalted, knows the particulars with His universal knowledge (`ilm-e kulli); that is, the particularly, limitation, and being contained of the known does not cause limitation in [Divine] knowledge. Hence [Divine] knowledge is encompassing, pre-eternal (qadim wa azali) and unchanging, while the known is contained, limited, temporal, and changing. Those who are unfamiliar with the manner of their speech have been led to imagine that they have- negated God's knowledge of the particulars, taking (kulliyyah) and particularly (juz'iyyah)in the sense current in the jargon of logicians and lexicographers, ignorant of the fact that these terms have another meaning in the terminology of the people of gnosis (ma'rifah) and at times speculative philosophers (ahl-e nazar) have followed them in this regard. Rather, this conception pertaining to the topic of the knowledge of the Necessary Being, glorious is His Name and exalted is His station, has been borrowed by the metaphysicians from the gnostics.

Section: The Criterion Relating to Positive and Negative Attributes:

The criterion relating to the positive and negative Attributes of the Sacred Essence of the Necessary Being, glorious is His Name, is that every attribute pertaining to the attributes of perfection and excellences of beauty that applies to the Principle of the reality of being and the absolute essence of existence, without any dress of conditioning or change from one realm to another, and refers to the actual haecceity and luminous essence of being, is among the Attributes that are necessarily subsistent and necessarily realized for the Sacred Essence, exalted is Its station. That is because should it not subsist, it would imply either that the Sacred Essence is not sheer existence and absolute being, or that sheer existence is not sheer perfection and absolute beauty. Both of these are false conclusions from the viewpoint of the path of gnosis as well as the way of metaphysical reasoning, as stands established in its own place.

And no attribute and excellence is established for an existent except after its decent to one of the stages of conditioning and its assumption of one of the forms of limitations and its embracing one of the planes of deficiency with its accompanying limits of finitude and feebleness, and, in brief, that which does not pertain to the essence (dhat) of being and derives from limits and essences (mahiyyat) is from attributes whose negation is necessary and whose realization is impossible in respect of the absolutely perfect Essence. That is because in the same way as the absolutely perfect Essence and Absolute Being is the instance of sheer perfection, it is also the instance of the negation of deficiency, limits, non-existences and essences (mahiyyat).

And that which is well-known among the authorities, that the negative Attributes reduce, to a single negation, which is the negation of contingency, does not appear to be correct to this author. Rather, in the same way that the Sacred Essence is the essential instance (misdaq dhati) of all attributes of perfection, and none of them reduce to another; as clarified, above, so also it is the accidental instance of the negation of each of the deficiencies. And one cannot say that non-existences 'and defects make' a single aspect and that there is no distinction between, non-existences (la mayza fi al a'dam); because if one were to consider the matter in the context of actual reality; in the same way that absolute non-existence is a single 'aspect while representing all non-existences, so also absolute existence has a single aspect and is possessor of all perfections. Hence, from this viewpoint, which is the consideration of ahadiyyah and of the Unseen of the Unseen (ghayb al ghuyub), one cannot posit any attribute, neither the real positive(approving), attributes, nor the negative Divine attribute. But from another viewpoint, which is the consideration of the station of wahidiyyah and the inclusion of the Names and Attributes, as there is a multiplicity of positive attributes of perfection, every attribute of perfection implies a negation of the deficiency opposed to it. And in the same aspect that the Sacred Essence is the essential instance of Knower. It is the accidental instance of 'not ignorant,' and as It is 'Powerful,' it is 'not powerless. And as it is established in the science of the Names that among the Names and the positive Attributes there is a relationship by virtue of which some of them encompass and dominate others, which are encompassed and overlooked by them by implication these concepts also apply to the negative Names and Attributes.

Now that we know the criterion of the positive and negative Attributes, we can understand that motion-.which subsists through potentiality and prime matter, and temporality and renewal are in its very essence-does not apply to the Sacred Divine Essence, the Glorious and the Exalted

And 'speech' (takallum) in the ordinary sense, about which the narrator poses the question, is an attribute that is time-bound and subject to renewal and so does not apply to the Essence of God, the Exalted. But this does not preclude the positing of 'essential speech' (takallum dhati) for God, the Exalted, on the plane of the Essence, in a sense that is free from temporality and renewal (huduth).

To put this noble topic briefly, the reality of speech does not depend on the vocalization of speech from certain organs. This limitation, pertaining to ordinary language and general usage, derives from habit and familiarity as well as thoughts and ideas. Otherwise there is no limitation or conditioning in the meaning [of speech] itself. 'Knowledge' comprises of sheer cognition and the manifesting of a thing to the knower and it is not confined to being cognized through some material means such as the brain, or through such non-material means as the common sense (hiss-e mushtarak) or the tablet of imagination, for instance. If, supposedly, one were to the knowledge of something through his hand or foot, or see or hear something, it would still be knowledge; hearing, and sight. Similarly, when someone sees, hears and speaks in the world of dreams, all these concepts apply to that [that which is, heard, seen or spoken in dreams] without any trace of metaphor, although none of the specific sense organs is employed. Hence, the criterion of cognition as such depends on the applicability of these meanings and concepts. The reality of speech is the expression of that which is in one's mind and consciousness with or without the mediation of any special organ. Even if, supposedly, it should be metaphorical in accordance with language and usage, these limitations do not exist in the concepts and meanings themselves and are applicable in accordance with reason. We do not have any philological discussion on the topic of the Names and Attributes, and the purpose here is affirmation of the meanings themselves, though language and usage should not be helpful to their affirmation.

Accordingly, we say that the reality of speech is the expression of one's intent whether or not it occurs through sensible means, and regardless of whether it belongs to the category of sound, words, or aspiration. 'Speech' in this sense is among the attributes of perfection of existence, for [self]manifestation and expression belong to the reality of existence and subsist through the reality of existence, and the more existence ascends towards perfection and strength, its [self-]manifestation and expression become greater, until it reaches the highest horizon and the exalted station of Necessity, which is the Light of lights, and light upon light, and manifestation upon manifestation, expressing that which lies in the Unseen (ghayb) of the station of wahidiyyah (Unity, i.e. at the plane of the sacred emanation), through the unconditioned sacred emanation (fayd-e muqaddas-e itlaqi) and the existential word 'Be!, and expressing, through the most sacred emanation and the essential ahadimanifestation, the absolute ghayb and the stationless station of ahadiyyah (Unity, i.e. at the plane of the most sacred emanation). And in this ahadi manifestation, the speaker is the ahadi Sacred Essence, and the speech is the most sacred emanation and the manifestation of Essence (tajalli dhati), and the listener the Names and the Attributes. By that very manifestation, the conditioned expressions (ta'ayyunat) of the Names and the Attributes comply and obtain occurrence in Knowledge (tahaqquq-e `ilmi). In the wahidi manifestation, through the sacred emanation (fayd muqaddas), the speaker is thewahidi Sacred Essence, inclusive of all the Names and the Attributes, and speech is the manifestation itself, and the listener and the compliant one on the [plane of] realization are the cognitive archetypes (a'yan 'ilmiyyah) implied in the Names and-the Attributes, which obtain concrete realization by the command `Be!'

So when He says 'Be! to every archetypes that He wills to create, it complies with the Divine command, and it as and actualized.

And there are many traditions, which we have not mentioned, that may be cited as evidence on this topic. And all Praise belongs to God firstly and lastly.

[1] Usul al-Kafi, i,107, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab sifat al-dhat" hadith 1

[2] Al-Asfar al-arba'ah, vi,118, safar 3, mawqif 2 on the discussion of the Sifat. See also Sabzawaris gloss at this place.

[3]. Misbah al-uns, 130-131; Naqd al-Nusus, fasal 2, p 38.39.

[4]. Muhammad Sa'id ibn Muhammad Mufid Qummi, known as Qadi Said, was an eminent Shi'i Scholar well versed in hadith, philosophy, and literature and strongly inclined towards 'irfan. A pupil of Mulla Muhsin Fayd Kashani Mulla 'Abd al-Razzaq Lahiji and Mulla Rajab 'Ali Tabrizi, he held the office of judgeship in Qum and so came to be known as 'Qadi'. He died in 1103/1691-2 at Qum. Among his works are, al-Arba'un hadith, Asrar al-salat, Hashiyah Uthululjiya, a hashiyah on al-Isharat, Haqiqat al-salat, asharh of al-Tawhid by al-Shaykh al-Sad'uq (r), al-Bawariq al-malakutiyyah, and Kelid-e behesht.

[5]. Sharh al-Tawhid iii, 54; MS. in Ayatullah Mar'ashi Public Library, Qum.

[6]. Mulla Rajab 'Ali Tabrizi (d 1080/1669-70) was a pupil of Mir Fendereski He was an Aristotelian and taught the works of Ibn Sina. Among his disciples were Qadi Sa'id and Muhammad Tunekabuni. Among his works is Kelid-e behesht, a treatise in Persian on the proof of the existence of the Necessary Being.

[7]. Al-Afsar al-arba'ah, vi,176-284, safar 3, mawqif 3; Sharh al-Isharat, namat 7, fasl 15.

[8]. Al-Afsar al-arb'ah, vi, 263-277, safar 3, mawqif 3, fasl 12.,

[9]. Ibid., 280-290.

[10]. Sharh Hikmat al-ishraq, 358-366; al-Asfar, vi, 423, safar 3, mawqif 6.

[11] Al-Asfar, vi, 118, safar 3, nawqif 2.

[With a continuous chain of authorities reaching up to Muhammad ibn Ya'qub (al-Kulayni), from 'Ali ibn Muhammad, from someone who reported it, from Ahmad ibn Mubammad ibn `Isa, from Muhammad ibn Humran, from al-Fadl ibn al-Sakn, from Abu 'Abd Allah, may peace be upon him, who said, "The Commander of the Faithful, may peace be upon him, said, 'Know God through God, the Messenger through the Messengerhood, and the wali al-amr by his commanding to what is right (amr bil-ma'ruf), his justice and kindness."' [1]


There is an evident difference between the terms 'irfan and 'ilm, recognition and knowledge. It is said that 'ilm (knowledge) in its original sense specifically relates to the universals, and ma'rifah (recognition, gnosis) is specific for that which relates to particulars and persons. They say that an 'arif billah (a gnostic of God) is someone who knows God through direct witnessing (mushahadah huduriyyah) and an 'alim billah is someone who attains the knowledge of God through philosophical proofs. Some say that 'ilm and 'irfan differ in two respects; first, in respect of the related object (of cognition), as mentioned above, and secondly, a prior state of forgetfulness is assumed in ma'rifah. Hence when something becomes the object of cognition for the first time, one is said to its `ilm, and when something was known and forgotten to be known for a second time, one is said to obtain its ma'rifah. And the `ari f is called `arif because of his recollection of his existence and stages of life preceding his natural and mulki existence, and some of the people of the path of wayfaring claim to have remembered the world of dharr.[2] They say that if the veil of physical nature, which causes forgetfulness and negligence, were to be removed from the wayfarer's eyes, he would recall the previous worlds through which he has passed. And someone from among the people of spirituality (dhawq) would say that the reality of the spiritual ascent (mi`raj) is the recollection of the past days. When one tries to go back into the past to recall one's earlier states, each of us, in accordance with the difference among individuals, can recollect things when he was seven, five, or three years old. It is rare to find someone who has recollections from earlier years. It is said of the Shaykh al-Ra'is (Ibn Sina) that he claimed to have memories from the first moments of his birth. he would say that it was possible for one to have recollections which go back to earlier times, for instance, when one has been in one's mother's womb or in one's father's loins, and remember all the developments that one has undergone in the realm of mulk, going back to the previous realms until the higher malakut, the realm of the jabarut, the higher jabarut, culminating in the recollection of his state in Divine knowledge, and this recollection is the reality of mi'raj and the ultimate height of spiritual ascent. (Here end his words).

Although this matter may be true in itself, but interpreting the reality of mi'raj as the regressive return into the past does not fit with. the exquisite teaching of gnosis and the creed of the people of the heart. Rather, the reality of spiritual ascent is the curvilinear spiritual movement with which is completed the circle of existence, culminating in the return to the reality of theghayb of all that which is in the chain of shuhud. This takes place in the form of a curvilinear movement along all ascending arc, whereas this regressive returning movement is contrary to the Divine law (sunnah) active in the realm of being, especially in respect of the prophets, particularly their Seal, may God's blessings be upon him and his Household and upon all the prophets. This kind of coursing is like the absorption in the love of the Essence of the Glorious One of one kind of angels, who are bewildered(stunned) and absorbed, and totally oblivious of multiplicity, not knowing that any man or world has been created. The perfect gnostic Shaykh Shahabadi, may my spirit be his ransom, would say that the spiritual state of Hadrat Adam, play peace be upon him, was such that he was oblivious of his own physical nature (mulk) and was totally absorbed in the world of ghayb and the realm of the Divine, and this movement of Adam, may peace be upon him, negated his humanity (adamiyyat). Then God, the Exalted, gave Satan power over him in order to turn him towards the tree of nature, to deflect him from the gravity of the malakut towards the realm of mulk.

As to the phrase, (justice and kindness), apparently these two are in conjunction with (commanding to what is right) meaning:. Or it is probably a conjuct of the phrase meaning:


Section: Concerning the Meaning of the Phrase `Know God by God':

It should he known that eminent scholars have given different explanations in expounding the phrase in the noble tradition, each in accordance with the character of his scholarship and philosophical approach. Here we will briefly mention some of their views for the sake of benefiting from the barzakah of the speech of the great ones.

First is that which has been stated by the Thiqat al-Islam Kulayni, may God's pleasure be with him, which, to put it briefly, is that God, the Exalted. has created the bodies, the spirits, and the lights, and He is their sole creator, without anyone sharing their creation with Him, nor is He is like any of them. Hence whoever likens God to any of them, does not know God; but should he negate God's similarity to them he would he knowing God by God (Here end his words). [3] It is strange that Hadrat Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may God sanctify his spirit, has imagined these words (of Kulayni) to he part of the tradition and offered elaborate interpretations of it in accordance with his own philosophical approach . [4]

Second is the statement of Shaykh Saduq, may God's pleasure be with him, whose gist is that knowing God through God means that should we know God with our intellects, God, the Exalted, is the one who has bestowed there; and should we know Him through the prophets and God's Proof (hujaj), may peace be upon them, then God has raised them and made. them His Proofs; and should we know Him through our souls, God is their creator. [5]

Third is that which has been indicated(signaled) by Sadr al-Muta'allihin, according to which the way to the ma'rifah of God is of two kinds. One of them is through epiphany and direct gnosis, and the second is through negation of His likeness to anything (tanzih) and assertion of Ibis transcendence (taqdis). As the first way is not possible except for the prophets and the perfect ones, the second path has been mentioned in the tradition (here ends his statement) [6]. This interpretation of his is based on his taking the statements of Shaykh Kulayni as part of the noble tradition and as the exposition of the words of Hadrat Amir al-Mu'minin by Hadrat Sadiq, may peace he upon them.

Fourth is the interpretation of the muhaqqiq Fayd, may God's mercy he upon him. The gist of it is that every being has an essence (mahiyyah) and an existence (wujud). The essences of things consist of their own particular delimitations and their essential aspect, whereas their existence consists of their Godward aspect, by virtue of which their entities subsist and their effects, potency, and efficiency become manifest. Hence if one were to take the essences of things into view and their delimitations, and try to know God through their aspect of contingency and their dependence on God, he would be knowing God by things not by God. Moreover, this knowledge and gnosis is innate and not d. But if one were to know God through the existential aspect of things, which is their Godward aspect, he would be knowing God by God, and it is this Godward aspect of things which is referred to in these noble verses:

He is with you where you may be, (57:4)

Everything is fated to perish save His Face. (28:88)

Fifth is the probability that has occurred to the mind of this author, and that will be understood after an introduction relating to the science of the Names and Attributes, which is as follows. There are several considerations for the Sacred Essence of God, Almighty and Exalted, each of which has been designated by a term.

One of them is the Essence when considered as such. In accordance with this consideration, the Divine Essence is absolutely unknowable, beyond any name or description, and beyond the reach of the aspirations of the gnostics and the yearnings of the people of the heart and the awliya'. At times it is expressed as the `inaccessible phoenix' ('anqa-e mughrib) in the idiom of the gnostics: [7]


and at times referred to as 'ama' or `amd:

It has been narrated that the Prophet, may God bless him and his Household, was asked, "Where was your Lord before He created the creation!" He replied, "In an `ama' (cloud)." [8]

And at times it is referred to as the 'Occult of the Occult' (ghayb al-ghuyub) or the Absolute Occult (ghayb-e mutlaq) as well as with other terms, although all such terms fail to express it. In accordance with the gnostic approach and according to a kind of metaphysical proof, the terms 'anqa, 'ama' and other terms do not apply to this station.

Another consideration is that of the Essence at the plane of occult conditioning (ta'ayyun ghaybi) and the non-existence of absolute manifestation ('adam-e zuhur-e mutlaq), which is called the station of ahadiyyah (unity at the plane of unity), and it is with this station that most of those [aforementioned] terms are consistent. At this station, the Names of Essence, in accordance with the terminology of the adept in the Science of the Names, are considered, such as the Absolute Inward (Batin-e mutlaq), the Absolute First (Awwal-e mutlaq), the Most Exalted (al-`Ali), and the Greatest (al-`Azim), as can be inferred from the tradition of al-Kafi that the first Names that God assumed for Himself were al-'Ali and al-'Azim. [9]

Another of the considerations of the Essence is in accordance with the station of wahidiyyah (unity at the plane of multiplicity) and the inclusion of the Names and the Attributes. This station is referred to by such terms as 'the station of wahidiyyah,' 'the all-inclusive station of ahadiyyah of the Names' (ahadiyyat-e jam'-e asma) and 'the inclusive inclusiveness' (jam' al- jam'), and so on. This station, in consideration of the inclusive ahadiyyah (ahadiyyat-e jam') is called the station of the Greatest Name (ism-e a'zam) and the station of Allah, the All-inclusive Divine Name (ism-e jami' Allah).

Another consideration is that of the Essence at the plane of the Sacred Emanation (fayd-e muqaddas) and the station of the manifestation of the Names and the Attributes in the mirror of the Archetypes (a'yan), as the station of wahidiyyah is through manifestation of the Most Sacred Emanation (fayd-e aqdas). This station of manifestation of Names is also called 'the station of absolute manifestation' (zuhur itlaqi) and 'the station of divinity' (maqam-e uluhiyyah) and 'the station of Allah' in accordance with the considerations relating to the Names and the Attributes, as explained by this author in Misbah al-hidayah. [10]

It should be known that these considerations, which exist in the terminology of the gnostics and the people of the heart, are indicative of the (hierarchic) scheme of manifestation (tajalliyat) of the Truth as reflected in their clear hearts, and thosetajalliyat, in accordance with the stations and ranks of the wayfaring of the awliya' and the stages and phases of the journey of Godward wayfarers, begin at the plane of the manifestation (zuhur) of Names and Attributes, which, as said, is also called the station of divinity or 'the station of Allah', and the verse:

And Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth, (24:35)

is considered by them to refer to it. And they terminate at the plane of the ghayb of altadiyyah and end at the plane of the Names of the Essence (asma' dhatiyyah) and the Exclusive Name (ism musta'thar), which is the ultimate goal and end of wayfaring. And it may be said that the aforementioned plane is the one referred to in these words of God, the Exalted:

A bow's length away or nearer. (53:9)

Now, after this introduction, we say that as long as man seeks the Truth and journeys towards God with the feet of thought and philosophical argumentation, his wayfaring is rational and epistemic (`aqli `ilmi), and he is not one of the people of ma'rifahand gnosis. Rather, his vision is obstructed by the greatest and the biggest of veils, whether he seeks the Truth through viewing the essences (mahiyyat) of things, which constitute the curtains of darkness, or he seeks It through their existences, which constitute the curtains of light, as indicated in the statements of marhum Fayd.

The first condition for the realization of wayfaring towards God is to abandon(desert) the dark abode of the self and self-seeking. In the same way as, in external and sensible journeying(traveling), as long as one remains in one's house and dwelling, one's journey is not actualized no matter however one may imagine oneself to be travelling and regard oneself as a traveller, in the Shari'ah, too, one is not considered a traveller without forsaking one's home and hometown and traversing a distance from where the traces of one's town become invisible. Similarly, the gnostic journey towards God and the spiritual migration does not take place without leaving the dark house of the self and the disappearance, of its traces. So long as the walls of particularity are visible and the inviting call (adhan) of multiplicity can be heard, one is not a traveller, though one may imagine oneself to be in journey and claim to be wayfaring. God, the Exalted, has said:

Whoever leaves his home as an emigrant towards God and His Messenger, then depth overtakes him, his reward has indeed fallen on God. (4:100)

After that the Godward wayfarer leaves his house with the feet of spiritual exercise (riyadah) and complete Godwariness (taqwa),without taking along with him the burden of attachments and particularity, and the Godward journey is realized, the first manifestation (tajalli) of the Exalted Truth that appears in his sacred heart is the manifestation at the plane of Divinity and the plane of manifestation (zuhur) of the Names and Attributes. This tajalli is also in a graded order, from the partial to the inclusive Names, in accordance with the strength and weakness of the wayfarer's heart and his wayfaring-whose details cannot be contained in this brief discourse.-until it culminates in the detachment from all finite expressions (ta'yyunat) of the world of existence, whether pertaining to himself or others, which in the subsequent stages and phases also derive from the self. And after absolute detachment, there occurs the tajalli at the station of Divinity and the station of Allah, which is the station ofahadiyyah of inclusion of all manifesting Names, and here the wayfarer attains to the preliminary and lower degree of [gnosis represented by the phrase] (Know God by God').

At the outset of the gnostic's attainment to this station and stage, he becomes annihilated (fani) in that tajalli, and if eternal grace were to embrace(hug) him, he obtains a recovery (uns) and the toil and forlornness of the journey is cast away. He returns to himself, and not being content with this station starts on the journey with the feet of love. In this journey, the love of the Truth is the origin and end of wayfaring, as well as the journey itself. He walks in the lights of the tajalliyat and hears the call of `Come on!' (taqaddam),[11] until, at the station of wahidiyyah, the Names and Attributes shine on his heart in a graded order until there manifests the station of inclusive ahadiyyah and the station of the Greatest Name, which is the Name 'Allah' and at this stage the words are fulfilled at an exalted plane. And after this there is another station which is now beyond our present purpose.

In accordance with what has been mentioned, the station of the knowledge of the Messenger by Messengerhood and of [the knowledge of] the Uli al-amr by amr bil-maruf, `adl and ihsan, has a subtle gnostic explanation which requires an elaborate discussion of the stations of Messengerhood (risalah) and sainthood (wilayah), though it is outside the scope of these pages, having been treated in the aforementioned treatise (Misbah al-hidayah).

Traditions dealing with the Higher Teachings should not be interpreted in a Plebeian Sense:

It should not be imagined that these expositions of ours of the noble tradition on the basis of the approach of the gnostics are meant to confine the meaning of the tradition to them, or that they are conjectures about the realm of the occult or interpretation based on subjective opinion. 'The purpose, rather, is to dispel the notion that the meanings of traditions relating to the ma'arif (the higher teachings) are limited to common plebeian meanings. Those who are familiar with the style of speech of the Imams, may peace be upon them, know that the traditions relating to the ma'arif and sacred doctrine do not correspond to ordinary plebeian understanding of these teachings and that they contain the most subtle of philosophical conceptions and the most profound teachings of gnosis. Anyone who refers to the Usul al-Kafi or the Tawhid of Shaykh Saduq, may God's mercy be upon him, will confirm this matter. And this does not preclude the point that these Imams of the gnostics and knowers of God should have made their noble statements in such a comprehensive manner that every bunch profits from them in accordance with it own creed and approach, and none of then has a right to confine their meanings to what they have understood from them. For instance, this noble tradition can be given a common-sense interpretation in accordance with ordinary language and literal meanings. For example the statement can be said to mean that one should know God through the effects of His craftsmanship and their perfect design( illustration), which are the works of the Divine. Similarly, it may be said, the Messenger is to be known through his Messengerhood and the consummate effects of his call. The Uli al-amr is to be known by the quality of his actions, such as commanding to what is right and his implementing justice. Hence each of them is to be known through his effects. This does not preclude that the tradition should have a subtler meaning which may be said to be its inward sense (batn), and beyond this meaning there might be another subtler layer of meaning which may be referred to as the inward of the inward (batn-e batn). In fine, one should not liken the speech of the awliya' to the likes of oneself, in the same way as it is wrong and improper to compare oneself to them, and we cannot elaborate here this point which has been stated concisely here.

An amazing thing is what certain persons say by the way of objection and challenge, that the statements of the Imams of guidance, may peace be upon them, were made for the guidance of the people and that they should be in accordance with the understanding of the common people, and beyond that nothing that has any profound philosophical or gnostic meaning should emerge from them. This is an atrocious and a most ugly slander whose cause, in addition(totaling) to some other matters, is a lack of reflection on the traditions of the Prophetic Household, may peace be upon them, and neglect of their close study.

Strange! If the prophets and the awliya' do not teach the people the subtleties of tawhid and the higher teachings, then who is to do that? Is it the case that there are no subtleties involved in tawhid and the other teachings and that all people are equal in respect of their understanding of the ma'arif? Is the understanding of the Commander of the Faithful, may peace be upon him, the is same as ours and that it consists of the ordinary plebeian notions? Or is it the case that it is different, but it is not necessary, or even desirable, to teach them to others? Or is it that it is neither necessary nor desirable, and that the Imams, may peace be upon them, did not give them any importance? Did they, who did not ignore or omit even the details of the etiquette and manners of sleeping, dining, and going to the toilet, have neglected the Divine teachings, which are the ultimate aspiration of the awliya'?!

What is more amazing(astonishing) is that some of these same people who deny this matter resort to such hairsplitting(snaping) discussions on traditions relating to fiqh tradition wherein common usage and understanding are definitely the criterion of meaning and interpretation-that even Reason itself is incapable of understanding them, to say nothing of commonsense, and yet they subscribe to the spontaneity of normal usage! Whoever has any doubt in this regard should refer to the discussions [mentioned in the works of fiqh] relating to the topic of `ala al-yad and similar general juristic rules, especially those which pertain to transactions (mu'amalat)? [12]

This was a digression from the topic and an act of defiance of the pen. And God, the Blessed and Exalted, is witness that this author has in view no purpose by this discourse other than to familiarize his brothers-in-faith with the Divine teachings.

I beseech God's forgiveness from lapses and front lethargy and laziness, and all praise is God's, firstly and lastly.

[1]. Usul al-Kafi, i, 4, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab annahu la yu'arafu illa bih," hadith 1.

[2]. This is referred to in the following Qur'anic verse:

And when thy Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their backs, their .seed (dhurriyyah), and made them testify touching themselves, 'Am I not your Lord?' They said, 'Yes, we testify-[this], lest you .should say on the Day of Resurrection, 'As for us, we were unaware of this.' (7:172)

[3]. Ibid., i, 85, "kitab al-tawhid;" "bab annalhu la yurafu illa bih," under hadith 1.

[4]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, pp. 233-234.

[5]. Tawhid, p. 290 bab 41.

[6] .Sharh Usul al-Kafi, pp. 233-234.

[7]. A reference to the following couplet of Hafiz:

Withdraw your snares, none can the Phoenix trap, Wind is all, there, that the nets do capture!

[8]. 'Awali al-li'ali, i, 54; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, iv, 12, with a small difference of wording.

[9]. This is a reference to the following tradition of Usul al-Kafi, i, 113, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab huduth al-asma'," hadith 2.

It is narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sinan that he said, "I asked Abu al-Hasan al-Rida (A), 'Did God, Almighty and Exalted, know Himself before He created the creation?' 'Yes,' he replied. I said, 'Did He see it and hear it?' He said, "He had no need for that, for He neither required anything of it nor sought from it. He was His Self and His Self was He. His power was all-pervasive, so He had no need to name Himself. But He chose for Himself Names for others to call Him by their means, for if He were not called by His Name He would not have been known. So the first that He chose for Himself was: 'The Most Exalted, the Greatest' (al-Ali al 'Azim), for He is exalted above all things. Its meaning is Allah and His name is al-'Ali al-'Azim.It is the first of His names, exalted is He above everything.'"

[10]. Misbah al-hidayah ila al-khilafah wa al-wilayah, pp. 33-38.

[11]. "Taqaddam," said by, God to the Prophet during his cosmic journey, the mi'raj.

[12]. This is a reference to a well-known fiqhi rule which states:

which means that one who takes something is liable for its return or payment. For details see Mulla Ahmad Naraqi, 'Awa'id al-ayyam. 'a'idah 33; Ayatullah Bujnordi, al-Qawa'id al-fiqhiyyah, iv, 47-99.                 

With my chain of authorities reaching up to the august shaykh, the Pillar of Islam, Muhammad ibn Ya`qub al-Kulayni, may God's pleasure be with him, from a group of our Companions, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid, from his father, from `Abd Allah ibn Bahr, from Abu Ayyub al-Khazzaz, from Muhammad ibn Muslim, who said, "I asked Abu Ja'far, may peace be upon him, concerning that which is narrated, that God created Adam, may peace be upon him, in His form (surah literally, form, image). He replied, 'It is a form that was originated and created. He elected it and chose it over all the other different forms and attributed it to Himself, in the same way that He has attributed the Ka'bah and the Spirit (ruh) to Himself, saying,"My House" (2:125, 22:26) and "I breathed into Him of My Spirit" (15:29, 38:72) ' " [1]


The tradition mentioned in the first part of this noble tradition was one which has been well-known all along since the times of the Imams, may peace be upon them, to our own times, and its has been continually cited in the books of the Shi'ah and the Ahl al-Sunnah. Hadrat Baqir, may peace be upon him, has confirmed the authenticity of its origin while explaining its meaning. However, there is a tradition reported by Shaykh Saduq in 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida with his chain of authorities from the Eighth of the Imams, may peace be upon them, whose meaning is as follows:

Husayn ibn Khalid says: "I said to Hadrat Rida (A), 'O Son of the Messenger of God, the people narrate that the Messenger of God, may God bless him and his Household, said, "God created Adam in His own image." ' The Imam said, 'God damn them! They have omitted the first part of the tradition. The Messenger of God (S) passed by two men who were abusing each other. The Prophet heard one of them say to his companion, "May God disfigure your face and of everyone who looks like you!" Thereat the Messenger of God, may God bless him and his Household, said, "O servant of God! Don't say that to your brother, for God, Almighty and Glorious, created Adam in his (His) image."' [2]

On this basis, marhum Majlisi has ascribed the tradition of Imam Baqir, may peace be upon him, to taqiyyah (dissemblance), and he has also suggested the probability that this statement of the Imam might be based on the presumption of acceptance [of the authenticity or the apparent import of the tradition] [3] Such a probability is very remote. That which is probable is that the tradition of Hadrat Rida (a) refers to the first tradition, where the meaning of "Adam" in the last part of the tradition where it states:

Verily, God created Adam in His image,

may be that of the human species and the pronoun in refers to God, the Exalted. And Hadrat Rida, may peace be upon him, considering that the narrator was incapable of understanding the meaning of the hadith, related the opening part of the tradition so that that person may imagine that 'Adam'- means the father of the human race, with the pronoun in referring to that man; so take note.

And perhaps both the traditions are genuine in their origin and import, and the Messenger of God,. may God bless him and his Household, might have stated the noble tradition without any previous background-and that is the tradition whose explanation is given by Hadrat Baqir, may peace be upon him-and, on another occasion, he might have made the statement with that background and Imam Rida, may peace be upon him, diverted the discussion to the other hadith with a background due to the incapacity of the narrator in understanding its meaning. An evidence that supports this suggestion is that in some traditions there occur the word: (in the image of the All-beneficent) [4] instead of and This is not consistent with the tradition of the `Uyun.

Moreover, even if it be assumed that this noble tradition is not authentic (in its import), its meaning is implicit in the noble traditions, as will be explained, God willing. Now we shall turn to explaining the meanings of the words of the noble tradition.

As to the word `Adam,' the Sihah states, "Originally it is with two hamzah's, for it pertains to the form af'al, and the secondhamzah has been altered into an alif, and when it is to be given a vowel sound it is changed into waw, whereat its plural isawadim." The reason that Adam, the father of the human race (abu al-bashar) wag given this name is perhaps because he was had a brown complexion (asmar al-lawn), as according to the lexicons al-adama min al-nas means someone who is brownish (al-asmar). And according to some traditions Adam was named so because he came from the adim of the earth [5] adim being in the sense of `face' and adim-e ard means the surface of the earth.

As to the expression `ala Suratih, Surah in the lexicon is in the sense of picture and form, and it may be said that it has a general meaning common to different notions in which the commonality consists of the thingness of a thing and its actuality (fi'liyyat). However, everything has an actuality in respect of which it is said to possess a form (dhu al-Surah) and that actuality is called form (Surah). The application of the term `form' in the terminology of the philosophers to matters that are inclusive of a thing's actuality and thingness is not contrary to its lexical meaning, and is not a technical or special term. Shaykh Abu 'Ali Sina, the chief of the Islamic philosophers, in the part on metaphysics of his book al-Shifa', says: "At times Surah is applied to any configuration and act that is in a single or composite recipient so that its movements and accidents are called surah. Surah(form) is also applied to something by virtue of which matter is sustained in actuality; hence the intellectual substances (jawahir `aqliyyah) and accidents cannot be called suwar (forms). And surah is applied to something by means of which matter becomes perfect, though it should not be sustained by it in actuality, such as health and that towards which a thing moves by its own nature (tab'). Also surah is applied to the species (naw'), genus, and differentia of a thing, or to all of them. And the universality of the universal in the particulars is also surah."

Reflection on all the instances of the usage of surah shows that in all of them the criterion is actuality and it is used univocally in all the cases of its use, to the extent that even God, the Exalted, is called surat al-suwar (the actuality of all actualities).

As to the word istafaha, safwah means something pure and purged from impurity (kudurat) and istifa' has the sense of taking that which is clear and pure (safi) and is implied in its meaning. However, Jawhari and others have considered it to meanikhtiyar (choosing), and so they have also considered ikhtiyar to mean isitifa' in the lexicons. This is, however, an explanation in terms of that which is implied, as ikhtiyar also means taking that which is good (khayr) and meritorious, and in this respect coincides with istifa' in external reality, though it is not synonymous with it.

As to the word al-Ka'bah, it is the name of the House of the God. Some have said that it has been called Ka'bah due to its resemblance to a cube (muka'ab) or due to its square shape, [6] and muka'ab in the terminology of mathematicians is a body with six equal planes perpendicular to one another.

As to the word al-ruh, in the terminology of men of traditional medicine ruh (spirit) is described as "a subtle vapour formed in an animal's heart due to the heat of the blood." They state that "the heart has two sides. One of them is on the right, wherein blood is drawn from the lever and there it releases a vapour due to the heart's heat: Those vapours flow through the left side of the heart becoming refined there due to the actions of the heart, and from it the animal spirit(ghost) is constituted." Then it flows(gush) through the blood vessels due to the expansion and contraction of the heart, in the manner mentioned in the related works. Thus the source of this animal spirit is the heart and its channels are the blood vessels. At times the term spirit (ruh) is applied to the blood centred in the lever, and its channels are the jugular veins, and that is called the 'natural spirit' (ruh-e tabi'i). So also, in the terminology of the philosophers 'spirit' is often applied to the psychic spirit (ruh-e nafsani), which originates in the brain and its channel are the nerves, and that is a manifestation and lower form of the immaterial spirit pertaining to [the realm of Divine] command (amr), which is a Divine mystery (sir-e subhani) and the 'spirit of God' (ruhullah),referred to in His words:

And I breathed into him (i.e. Adam) of My spirit. (15:29, 38:72)

Hereafter, God willing, we will explain that this spirit is the one breathed by the Divine breath and that it is that which is the chosen and elect (mustafa wa mukhtar) of the Real, Glorious and Exalted.

Section: Explanation that Adam is the Complete Manifestation of God and the Greatest Name of God, Glorious and Exalted:

It should be known that the people of gnosis (ma'rifah) and the companions of the heart say that for each of the Divine Names there is a Form (farah) at the plane of wahidiyyah, which is subject to the tajalli (revelation) pertaining to the Most Sacred Effusion (al-fayd al-aqdas) at the plane of Divine knowledge (hadrat-e 'ilmiyyah), by virtue of the Divine Self-love and seeking the Keys of the Hidden, which no one knows except Him. [7] And that Form is called the preexisting essence ('ayn-e thabit) in the terminology of the People of God (ahl Allah). And with this tajalli, by virtue of the Most Sacred Effusion are realized, first, the ta'ayyunat (determinations) of the Names, and, by virtue of this very ta'yyun of the Names are realized the Forms of the Names, which are the essences (a'yan-e thabitah). The first Name manifested with the tajaili of ahadiyyah and the Most Sacred Effusion at the epistemic plane of wahidiyyah (hadrat-e 'ilmiyyah-ye wahidiyyah) and which becomes the mirror of that tajalli, isthe Greatest All-inclusive Divine Name (ism-e a'zam-e jami'-e ilahi) and the station of the named of 'Allah,' which, from the aspect of the Hidden, is the very tajalli through the Most Sacred Effusion, and in the tajalli of manifestation of perfect clarity and luminosity is the same as the all-inclusive station of wahidiyyah from one viewpoint, and the plurality of Names from another viewpoint. The ta'ayyun of the all-inclusive Name and its Form consists of the essence of the Perfect Man and the Muhammadan Reality (haqiqat-e Muhammadiyyah), may God bless him and his Household. Hence the Sacred Effusion is the manifestation of the objectifying tajalli of the Most Sacred Effusion, and the station of Divinity is the manifestation of the tajalliof the station of wahidiyyah, and the Greatest Spirit (ruh-e azam) is the manifestation of the tajalli of the ideal essence of the Perfect Man, and all other existents pertaining to the Names, Knowledge and objective reality are the universal and particular manifestations of these realities and subtleties, in accordance with an exquisite explanation that cannot be contained in this brief(concise) discourse and whose details we have mentioned in the treatise Misbah al-hidayah. [8]


From here it is known that the Perfect Man is the manifestation of the all-inclusive Name and the mirror of tajalli of the Greatest Name, and to this matter these are many references in the Qur'an and Sunnah. God, Exalted, has said:

And He taught Adam the Names, all of them. (2:31)

This Divine instruction took place in respect to the inmost being of Adam through his Hidden, all-inclusive fashioning with the Hands of Beauty and Majesty (jamal wa jalal) at the plane of wahidiyyah. Similarly, the fashioning of his form and appearance in the visible(tangible) world ('alam-e shahadat) took place through the manifestation of the Hands of Majesty and Beauty in the mirror of physical nature (tabi'at). And God, the Exalted, has said:

Verily, We presented Our trust to the heavens and the earth. (33:72)

and the 'Trust' (amanah) in the creed of the gnostics is the absolute wilayah, of which no being except man is worthy. This absolute wilayah is the same as the station of Sacred Effusion to which reference is made in the Noble Scripture in His statement:

Every thing is fated to perish save His Face. (28:11)

And in a tradition of the noble al-Kafi, Imam Muhammad Baqir, may peace be upon him, is cited as having said:

We are the Face of God. [9]

And it is mentioned is the Du'a-e nudbah:

Where is the Face of God towards which the friends of God turn?

Where is the link that connects the Earth's people with the Heaven? [10]

And in the Ziyarat-e jami'ah they are referred to as the, (the highest similitude, or metaphor)." This similitude and the attribute of being the Face is the same as the image (surah) mentioned in this Noble tradition:

Indeed, God created Adam in His image. [11]

That is, Adam is the highest similitude (al-mathal al-a'la) of God, His greatest sign, and the most complete manifestation and mirror of the tajalliyat of the Names and the Attributes, the Face of God (wajh Allah), the Eye of God ('ayn Allah), the Hand of God (yad Allah) and the side or proximity of God (janb Allah).

He hears, sees, and holds by God, and God sees, hears and holds by him. [12]

This wajh Allah is the same `Light' mentioned in the noble verse:

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth! (24:36),

And Imam Baqir, may peace be upon him, said to Abu Khalid Kabuli in a tradition of the noble Kafi:They (i.e. the Imams) are, by God, the Light that He has sent down (64:8; 61:8; 39:69), and they, by God, are the Light of God in the heavens and the earth (24:36). [13]

And the noble Kafi-narrates a tradition of Imam Baqir, may my soul be sacrificed for the dust of his feet, that while expounding the noble verse:

Of what do they question? Of the great tiding? (78:1-2)

he said,

It refers to the Commander of the Faithful (`Ali). And the Commander of the Faithful, may peace be upon him, used to say: "There isn't a greater sign of God than me, and there isn't a greater tiding of God than me! [14]

Hence, the Perfect Man, one of whose instances is Adam, the father of Men, is the greatest sign, manifestation, Name and Attribute of the Real, and he is the metaphor and sign of God, the Exalted. God, the Blessed and the Exalted, is above having a like (mithl) and a peer, but one should not negate the existence of a metaphor for His sacred Essence, as

And to Him belongs the highest metaphor (mathal). (30:27)

All the particles of the realm of being are the signs and mirrors of the revelations (tajalliyat) of the Beauty of the Beautiful One, Almighty and Exalted, though each one of them is such only to the extent of it existential capacity. But none of them is the sign of the greatest all-inclusive Name, that is, `Allah,' except the all-inclusive being (kawn-e jami') and the sacred station of the greatest mediation (maqam-e muqaddas-e barzakhiyyat-e kubra), glorious is his greatness with the Greatness of his Maker ( )

Hence, God, the Exalted, created the Perfect Man and the First Man in His all-inclusive Image, and He made him the mirror of His Names and Attributes. The Great Shaykh (Muhyi al-Din Ibn 'Arabi) has said: "Hence all that which was in the Divine Form of the Names was manifested in this human existent, and so it d the station of all-inclusiveness (al-ihatah wa al-jam') with this existence and with it was established God's argument against the angels:'

From this discussion is known the reason for God's choosing and electing the all-inclusive human form from among the various forms of other entities, and the secret of God's giving precedence to Adam, may peace be upon him, over the angels and His giving him a dignity over all other existents and His attributing his spirit to Himself, in the Noble verse:


And I breathed into Him of My spirit. (15:29)

As our intent in these pages is observance of brevity, we shall refrain from explaining the reality of the Divine breath and its character in Adam, and His singling him out for it from among all the existents. And all Praise belongs to God, firstly and lastly

[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi i, 134 "kitab al-tawhid," "bab al-ruh," hadith 4.

[2]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, i, 119, bab 11, hadith 12. The text of the tradition is as follows:

[3]. Al-Majlisi, Mirat al-'uqul, ii, 84, "kitab al-tawhid," bab al-ruh, hadith 4.

[4]. Sadr al-Muta'allihin, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim, ii, 235; Ibn 'Arabi, Futuhat al-Makkiyyah, ed.'Uthman Yahya, i, 78.

[5]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, 'Ilal al-sharayi', i, 26. The text of the tradition is as follows:


[6]. Al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan, exegesis of 5:97; Qamus al-lughah, under k-'-b, Ka'bah.

[7]. A reference to verse 6:59.,

[8]. Imam Khumayni, Misbah al-hidayah ila al-khilafah wa al-wilayah, pp. 28-42, 54-56.

[9]. Usul al-Kafi, i, 145, "kitab al-tawhid," bab al-nawadir, hadith 7.

[10]. Zad al-ma'ad, bab 11, p. 399; Mafatih al-janan, 537.

[11]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, ii, 370, "bab al-ziyarat al-jami'ah;" 'Uyun akhbar al Rida, bab 68, hadith 1.

[12]. Usul al-Kafi, "kitab al-iman wa al-kufr," "bab man adha al-muslimin," hadith 7.

[13]. Ibid., i, 194, "kitab al-hujjah," "bab anna al-a'immah nur Allah," hadith 1.

[14]. Ibid., i, 207, "kitab al-hujjah," "bab anna al-ayat al-lati dhakaraha Allahu fi kitabih . . .," hadith 3

With my chain of authorities reaching up to the august shaykh, the Pillar of Islam, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, may God be pleased with him, from several of our Companions, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid, from Ibn Mahbub and Ali ibn al-Hakam, from Mu'awiyah ibn Wahb, who said, "I heard Abu `Abd Allah, may peace be upon him, say: `Verily, among that which God had revealed to Moses, may peace be upon him, and sent it down to him in the Torah was [this passage] "Verily I am Allah, and there is no god except I. I originated the creation, and I created everything that is good, bringing it about by the hands of those that I love. So happy is he by whose hands I cause it to happen. And I am Allah, there is no god except I. I created the creation and I created everything that is evil, and I bring it about by the hands of those that I will, so woe to him by whose hand I cause it to happen. "' " [1]


As to the word ilah, [whose related derivatives are] alaha (with fathah on the hamzah and lam, meaning `he worshiped') andilahatan, it is in the sense of 'abada, 'ibadatan, and ilah, vowelized as fi'al, is in the sense of the object (maf'ul [that is, the object of worship]), like imam, which mean someone who is followed (man yu'tammu bih). ilah is the original root of `Allah,' and after the addition of alif and lam [i.e. al-making it al-ilah), the hamzah has been deleted for the sake of ease of pronunciation, and some have opined that the alif and lam substitute for the hamzah. Each of these two opinions has grammatical justifications [2]whose mention is not necessary In the terminology of the Divine sages (ahl Allah, i.e. the 'urafa'), ilahiyyat and uluhiyyat are mostly applied to the station of tajalli at the plane of Act and the station of the Sacred Effusion (fayd-e muqaddas). 'Allah' is the Name of the Glorious One, applied mostly(mainly)   to the station of the Essence as encompassing all the Attributes. At other times the usage is reversed. In this noble tradition, it is probable that it is used in its common lexical sense-meaning, `I am the Worshipped One, and there is no object of worship except Me.' And if this should be what is meant, the limitation of worship either implies that no other being is worthy of worship [besides God], though it should be worshipped mistakenly as a result of the error of men, or that-on the basis of the belief of the people of heart and the 'urafa - worship of every manifestation is the worship of the Absolutely Perfect Being and that man is a seeker of absolute beauty in accordance with his God-given fitrat (innate nature):

The creation of God on which He created mankind (30:30)

And this remains true despite man's alienation from this fitrah and his imagining himself to be attached to finitude and things finite. Or, perhaps, the meaning intended for ilah is the station of Divinity itself, in accordance with the last part of the tradition wherein He attributes good and evil to Himself. On this basis this would be a reference to Divine Unity at the plane of Act (tawhid-e af'ali), which has been expressed on the tongue of the great sages by their saying:

Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of being.

Further reference to this matter will be made later on, God willing. As to al-khayr, the authority of the traditionists, Majlisi, may God have mercy upon him, states in his commentary under this tradition:

Good and evil are applied to obedience and disobedience and to their causes and motives, and applied as well to the gainful creatures, such as grains and fruits and the edible animals, and to the harmful creatures, such as poisons, serpents and scorpions, and to blessings and scourges. The Ash'arites say that all of these are the works of God. The Mu'tazilah and the Imamiyyah contradict them in relation to the works of men and they have reinterpreted the texts which state that God, the Exalted, is the Creator of good and evil as applying to things other than the deeds of the people."

After that he says:

As to the philosophers, most of then say "Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of being (), and that the will of the creatures is the preparatory cause for God, the Exalted, to create the deeds at their hands." This is in accordance with the creed of the philosophers and the Ash'arites. And these traditions can also be ascribed possibly to taqiyyah. [3] (Here end his comments, may God elevate his station.)

Concerning the Reality of Good and Evil:.

The attributes `good' and `evil' are applied, in all instances, to perfection and deficiency [respectively] in the essence or attributes of things or to their existence and perfections of existence. All that is essentially good derives from the Reality of Being, and when ascribed to other thugs(outlaw) it is in consideration of their mode of existence. Also, that which is essentially evil (sharr bi al-dhat), derives from non-being ('adam-e wujud) or from the absence of the perfection of existence. Its application to other thugs(crooks), such as harmful animals and troublesome insects, is accidental. This, on consideration of all the sides, should be considered as self-evident, though there are also strong arguments in its favour.

Let us rake up the statement [of MajlisiJ that the position of the Imamiyyah and the Mu'tazilah concerning the creation of the deeds of people being opposed to that of the Ash'arites, and his explaining away the verses and traditions that attribute good and evil to God. As to the said opposition(rivalry) to the Ash'arite viewpoint-who subscribe to a creed based on jabr(compulsion), which is contrary to reason, philosophical proofs and intuition-that is correct. But the verses and traditions do not affirm the creed of the Mu'tazilites, who believe in tafwid (delegation) and their creed is more invalid, disgraceful, and scandalous than the creed of the Ash'arites.

As to the Imamiyyah, may God be pleased with them, they have adopted the true creed in the light of the guidance of the great Imams of the Prophet's family and with the blessings of the Household of Revelation and infallibility, may God's peace be upon their. It is also in agreement with the noble verses and sound metaphysical proofs, in addition to being in consonance with the creed of the illustrious 'urafa-' and the gnosis of the people of the heart. Hence they have no need to dota'wil of the many traditions and verses which cannot be interpreted in the sense understood by the said traditionist, may God leave mercy upon him. In fact, the Imamiyyah and their Imams do not consider the will of God to be inoperative in any of the deeds of the creatures and they do not consider the matter of any thing as having been delegated (mufawwad) to the creatures.

As to his statement in the latter part of his remarks, that most philosophers believe that "Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of being". ( ) and that this belief is in consonance with their own creed as well as that of the Ash'arites, [that is partly true and partly false]. As to the statement that the words "Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of' being" constitute the creed of most of the philosophers and the people of gnosis, that is true. In fact, they say that should any philosopher fail to affirm this matter, it means that the light of wisdom has not entered his Heart and gnosis has not touched his inner being. But it does not imply that the creature's will is a preparatory cause for the creation of God, as is clear to those who are in the know of the matter. That this statement is consonant with the creed of the Ash`arites is also invalid, and what is more amazing is his putting the Ash'arite creed in the same basket as that of the philosophers! This, despite the great distance that exists between them, and there has rarely been a genuine philosopher who has not opposed the creed of the Ash'arites and considered it as invalid.

As to his statement that these traditions might possibly be ascribed to taqiyyah, firstly there is no justifications for such an ascription, because the literal import of these traditions is in consonance with the true creed and in agreement with metaphysical proof. Secondly, these traditions are in agreement with many of the verses of the noble scripture. Therefore, there is no sense in ascribing taqiyyah to the verses and likewise to the traditions that are in consonance with them. Thirdly, these traditions are not contradicted by others so that one might be led by the contradiction to ascribe them to taqiyyah, which is one of the grounds for preferring one group of traditions to another, and they can be reconciled with those which indicate that man is the doer of good and evil. Fourthly; according to his own statements, these traditions agree with the creed of the Ash'arites which, apparently, was not the prevailing creed in that period, and in such a circumstance there are no grounds for ascribing then to taqiyyah. Fifthly, this topic and the like of it relate to issues of doctrine, which are not subject to the rules of preference applicable to contradictory traditions (in the area of ahkam), as is evident.

As to the word tuba, Jawllari says: "Tuba, vowelized as fu'la, is derived froin tayyib and its ya has been changed to waw due to the dammah on the previous letter (i.e. ta)." According to the Majma', "tuba lahum" means `there is good (tayyib) life for them.' And it has been said that tuba means summum bonum and the ultimate [object of] desire; and some have said that tuba is the name of a tree in Paradise. It has also been said that tuba also means `paradise' in the language of the Indians. And tuba laka and tubaka are used as phrases involving genitive construction (idafah). It is mentioned in a tradition of the Noblest Messenger, may God bless him and his family; that "Tuba is a tree in Paradise. Its trunk (asl) is in my house and its branch is the house of `Ali." [4]

As to the expression "waylun," Jawhari says, "Wayh is an expression of mercy and `'wayl'' expresses disapproval, and Yazidi states that they have the same meaning. Waylun li zaydin wa wayhun li zaydin can be pronounced with raf on the assumption that wayl and wayh form subjects of a nominative sentence, and also with nasb, on the supposition of an elliptical verb, assuming the underlying form: Alzamahu Allahu al-wayl. And some say that wayl is a valley in hell [so intensely hot] that if a mountain(highland) (raised ground)  were cast into it will melt due to the intensity of its heat. [5] And some say that it is the name of a pit in hell. [6]

Section: Explanation of the Relation of Good and Evil to Creation and the Occurrence of Evil in the Divine Ordainments(Qada):

It should be known that it has clearly been established in the higher sciences that the order of being possesses the highest degree of perfection and goodness and the ultimate degree of beauty This is demonstrable, summarily, in accordance with one kind of argument that infers the effect from the cause as well in accordance with a detailed exposition, although the knowledge of its detail is exclusive to the Being of its Originator, hallowed be His Names, or available through revelation and Divine teaching. That which is appropriate for these pages at this stage, as mentioned earlier, is that all that which belongs to the categories of perfection, beauty and goodness does not derive except from the Reality of Existence, because there is nothing that has reality except It and, obviously; that which stands in opposition to the Reality of Existence is either note-existence or essence (mahiyyah), which are in themselves nothing and have no value, being sheer vacuity or pure fancy, and basically they have no subsistence until they are illumined with the light of Being or are manifested through its manifestation, neither a subsistence in respect of essence (dhat) nor in respect of attributes and effects. Each of them (i.e. essences) come to possess manifestation, properties and effects only in the shadow of existence and only when they are touched by the hand of expansive mercy Hence all perfections are rays of the beauty of Absolute Beauty and reflections of the sacred light of the Absolutely Perfect(model) One. Other existents are nothing in themselves, being steer poverty and absolute nothingness. Hence all perfections derive from Min and belong to Him. [7]

Also, it is established in its own place that that which emanates from that Sacred Being is the real substance of being and the sheer content of existence without its being limited by limits pertaining to non-being and essence, because non-being and essence do not derive from the Source of Being and limitation in grace (fayd) derives from the limitations of the receiver of grace. Anyone who understands the character of the effusion and grace as explained the people of gnosis will affirm that no kind of limitation or restriction is conceivable in the Divine effusion of grace. Hence in the same way that the Sacred Divine Essence (dhat) is to be considered free from deficiency, contingency; and limitation, so also His Sacred Effusion (fayd-e muqaddas) must be considered to be devoid and free from all limits of contingency; as well as contingent aspects that derive from essence and the limitations that derive from finitude and deficiency. Hence the effusion of His grace, which is the reflection of the Absolutely Beautiful One, is absolute and complete beauty and perfection. Hence He is Beautiful ill His Essence (dhat), Attributes, and Acts, and nothing except that which is sheer being pertains to His making and creation. [8]

Also it is established ii its own place that all the evils, catastrophes, death, disease and destructive events and troublesome creatures and other such things which are in this world of nature and this narrow pit of darkness arise from the interferences and conflicts between existents, not from the aspects pertaining to Being but on account of the deficiency of their ambiance and the narrowness of their abode. And these derive from limitations and deficiencies which are totally outside the ambit of the light of creation and are in reality below making (ja'l). The true reality is the Light which is quit of all evil, defect and deficiency However, these defects and evils and harmful and troublesome things, in respect of their defectiveness and harmfulness, are not essential objects of creation, but they arc accidental objects of creation in accordance with the metaphysical viewpoint. Because, if the world of nature itself were not to exist and were it not to possess the existential aspects relating to creation [its defects and evils would have been nonexistent] and similarly its benefit and good would not have been realized in it, because they do not belong to the category of absolute non-existence but are relative non-existences which have an accidental existence sub-ordinate to the dispositions [of things]. The proposition that is derived therefrom is a modified proposition (qadiyyah ma'dulah) or an affirmative proposition with a negative predicate (mujibah salibat al-mahmul), not a negative existential proposition (salibah muhasslah). [9]

In conclusion, that which principally derives from creation and the Divine making is good and excellence, and the presence of evil, harm, and other things in relation to Divine providence leas the position of something that is subordinate and a by-product. To the first position refers God's statement in the noble verse:

Whatever good may touch you is from God, and whatever evil that may strike you is from your own self. (4:72)

And the second position is referred to in the noble verse:

Say everything (good and evil) is from God. (4:78)

And to these two considerations there are many references in the traditions of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (A) including the sacred tradition cited here which states that good and evil both derive from God's creation.

Section: Concerning God's Carrying Out Good and Evil Acts at the Hands of the Servants:

Reflection on the points mentioned leads one to understand the character of God's carrying out good and evil acts at the hands of creatures without its leading to the dangers of compulsion (jabr). To investigate this matter in such a way as to make it clear and to remove the doubts requires a detailed study of various theological creeds with its multifarious preliminaries whose mention is not possible in these pages. However, a brief reference, to the extent appropriate for this discussion, is unavoidable.

It should be known that it is not possible for any existent to be independent in any of its actions, unless the agent or the cause can block all the ways to non-existence facing an effect, so that if there were a hundred conditions for an existent to come into being and the cause blocks ninety-nine ways to non-existence facing the effect and one of the conditions remains un fulfilled, it is not possible for the cause to be independent in bringing about its effect. Hence independence in causality depends on the ability of the cause to block all the possible ways to non-being facing the effect so that it may reach the frontiers of necessity and brought into existence.

It is known, on the basis of logical necessity that all beings of the contingent realms, from the beings of the highest jabarutand the highest malakut to the inmates of the world of nature and mulk, with all their outer and inner powers, lack such a station. For the very first non-being facing an effect is the non-being arising from the absence of the efficient cause, and there is no existent in the realm of being which can overcome the non-being facing the effect in this respect, for that would imply a transformation of that which is contingent by essence into that which is necessary by essence and the departure of the contingent from the limits of the realm of contingency and this is impossible on the basis of rational self-evidence. Hence it is known that independence in causality requires independence in existence and this is absent among contingents. This explanation reveals that the delegation of creation to any existence in any of the respects pertaining to existence is impossible. This is not limited to those who are religiously responsible for their actions (mukallaf) and their deeds, though such a limitation may be suggested by the usual statements of the theologians (mutakallimim). However the generality of the issue at debate can be understood from a variety of topics. But due to the importance of the discussion concerning the acts of themukallafs the debate is confined to this context in the discussions of the theologians. In any case, the debates of the theologians are of no concern to us and our purpose is to seek and establish the truth, and the impossibility of tafwid to and, of the creatures in any matter whatsoever is obvious and known.

On the Refutation of Compulsion (jabr):

The invalidity, of the creed of jabr becomes also known on study. It consists of the belief that none of the ontological intermediaries have a role in the creation of existents although one imagines them to possess such a role. [It means], for instance, that fire has no role in producing heat and it has been a habit of God to create heat following the creation of the form of fire without the form of fire possessing any role in producing heat. Had the habit of God been to create cold following the creation of fire it would not have had a form different from the present one in which it occurs.

In summary, [they claim that] the Sacred Essence is the direct agent of the acts of all mukallafs without the intervention of any intermediate means. [10] In their own fancy they have adopted this creed for the sake of Hallowing God by negating limitations in respect to Him and so as not to consider His hands as tied. 'Tied be their hands' (5:70) and cursed be they for this kind of hallowing, which implies deficiency and resemblance to creatures (tashbih) from the viewpoint of metaphysics and the creed of gnosis. As indicated(gestured) in the preceding section, God, the Exalted, is absolute perfection and sheer existence, and limits and deficiency arc inconceivable in His Essence and Attributes. That which derives from Divine creation and making is absolute being and the absoluteness of the Sacred Effusion, and it is not possible that a deficient and limited existent should emanate from that Sacred Essence. There is no kind of deficiency whatsoever in creation, as imagined by the theologians, and all limitations and deficiencies derive from the deficiency of the receiver of Divine effusion and the effect, and this stands proved in its own place. [11] Hence that which relates directly to the Sacred Essence of God, the Exalted, is absolute being and sheer existence, and that is either the Sacred Effusion according to the way of the gnostics, or the First Immaterial Intellect and the First Noble Light, according to the creed of the metaphysicians.

To explain this in other words, there is no doubt that the existents are different in their receptivity to existence. There are some existents which receive existence directly and independently; such as substances, for example, and some existents do not receive existence without the existence of something else and without subordination to another existent, such as accidents and things possessing a weak existence. For instance, the speech of Zayd is something which in order to exist does not receive existence except in subordination [to the existence of Zayd], and accidents and attributes can have no existence without the existence of substances and the objects of which they are attributes, and they cannot exist without them. This deficiency is essential to these existents and their existential inadequacy; it is not due to deficiency in the agency and creativity of God, Exalted is His station. Hence it is known that jabr and negation of existential intermediaries in the realm of being are impossible.

Among firm arguments pertaining to this topic is that the essences (mahiyyat) are in themselves devoid of the capacity to produce or receive efficiency, and creation does nor relate to them by essence (bil-dhat), as it is the Reality of Being which is the source of efficiency by essence and the negation of efficiency in relation to It implies that a thing should not be what it is. Hence the creation of the planes of existence devoid of efficiency and effect is absolutely impossible and implies the negation of a thing's identity with itself.

In conclusion, it is known that both tafwid and jabr are invalid and impossible on the basis of metaphysical reasoning and rational criteria. `The creed of the middle position' (amr bayn al-amrayn) is one which is affirmed by the way of the people of gnosis as well as by transcendental philosophy. However, there is a great divergence of opinion among the 'ulama', may God be pleased with them, concerning its meaning.

That which is the soundest of views and most secure from controversy and more in consonance with the religion of tawhid is the creed of the illustrious gnostics and the people of the heart. However, this creed, on every topic pertaining to the Divine teachings, stands in the category of `simple and impossible' (sahl wa mumtani) whose understanding is not possible through metaphysical argument and study and is unattainable without complete piety of the heart as well as Divine succour. Accordingly, we shall leave it for those who are worthy of it, that is, the awliya' of God, and enter this valley through the road of the pursuers of rational thought. And that is to reject both tafwid-which means the independence of existents in efficiency-andjabr-which is the negation of their efficiency-and to affirm the middle position (manzilah bayn al-manzilatyn), which consists of affirming their efficiency and negating their independence and asserting that the position of the creation is like Being and the attributes of Being. In the same way that the existents exist, without being independent in their existence, and have attributes, which are posited of them without their being independent, they have actions. and effects which are posited of them and which emanate from them but they are not independent in their existence and they arc agents and creative causes that are non-independent in their efficiency and creativity

And it should be known-as reflection on points mentioned in the preceding section will revealed-that good and evil are attributable both to God and the creatures and that both these attributions are correct, and it is for the same reason that it has been stated in this tradition that it is God who brigs about good and evil through the hands of His servants. Nevertheless, all that is good is relates to Good essentially (bi al-dhat) while its relation to the servants and the creatures is accidental (bi al-'arad). The evils, on the contrary; arc related to other existents essentially and their relation to God, the Exalted, is accidental. And to this matter refers the hadith qudsi which declares.

O son of Adam! I am more worthy of your virtues than yourself and you are more worthy of your vices than [12]

Reference was made to this tradition earlier and here we will refrain from repeating that which has already been mentioned.

And Praise belongs to God at beginning and end.

[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, i. 154, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab al-khayr wa al-sharr," hadith 1.

[2]. For the first opinion sec al-Majlisi, Biha'r al-anwar, iv, 187, "abwab asma'ihi ta'ala wa haqa'iqiha wa sifatiha wa m'aniha," bab 3. For the second one see al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan , commentary on bismillah al-rahman ar-rahim

from the Surat al-Hamd

[3]. Al-Majlisi, Mir'at al-Uqul, ii, 171-172, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab al-khayr wa al-sharr," hadith 1.

[4]. Majma al-bayan, commentary on verse 29 of the Sura al-Ra'd. The text of the tradition is as follows:

(Al-Hakim Abu al-Qasim al-Haskani reports with his isnad from Musa ibn Ja`far (A), from his father, from his ancestors (A),saying: "The Messenger of Allah was questioned concerning Tuba. He said, `It is a tree, whose trunk is in my house and its branches are over the people of Paradise.' On another occasion when asked about it he said, "(It is a tree) in Ali's house."')

[5]. See Majma al-bahrayn and Lisan al-Arab, wide w.y.h.

[6]. The Qamus al-muhit cites this Prophetic tradition under w.y.l

(It (i.e. Wayl) is a valley in hell through which the infidel's fall will take forty years before he reaches its bottom.)

[7]. Al-asfar al-arba'ah, ii, 292ff-.see also ibid., i, the discussion on the fundamentality of existence (asalat al-wujud).

[8]. Ibid., ii, 292, fasl 25-29.

[9]. Ibid., vii, 58-62, safar 3, muqif 8, fasl 2.

[10]. Kashfal-murad, 239-240; Fi 'ilm al-kalam, ii, 62, 78, 79.

[11]. Al-Asfar al-arba'ah, ii, 127ff., safar 2, maqalah 6, the discussion on cause and effect ('illat wa ma'lul), fasl 2, 13, 14, 25, 26, 26, 29. See also ibid., vi, 320 ff, safar 3, muqif 4, fasl 3.

[12]. Al-Jawahir al-saniyyah, p. 279. The text of the tradition is as follows:

[From al-Rida (A) . . . He said, "God said: `O son of Adam! I am more worthy of your virtues than yourself and you are more worthy of your vices than I"']

[With my chain of authorities reaching up to the foremost shaykh and the greatest pillar, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, may God be pleased with him, from Muhammad ibn Tahya, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad, from al-Husayn ibn Said, from al-Nadr ibn Suwayd, from `Asim ibn Humayd. He said, "He said, "Ali ibn al-Husayn, may peace be upon him, was asked concerning tawhid. He replied: `Verily, God Almighty and Glorious, knew that in the ultimate era there would be people of profound thinking, and so God, the Exalted, sent down, Qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, 'He is Allah, the One. . . ') and the verses ofSurat al-Hadid until His words, ". . . and He knows well that which is in the breasts." Hence someone who seeks to go beyond that will perish.' " [1]


Hadrat Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may his spirit be sanctified, says, " `Asim ibn Humayd was not a contemporary of Imam Sajjad and therefore the tradition is a marfu' one." [2] The repetition of the word qala (he said) is perhaps due to a fragmentation in the hadith, or perhaps it is an error of the copyists, or the subject (fa'il) was mentioned but was omitted due to a lapse of the pen. Or the fail has been omitted, the case being one where such omission is permissible. Or the first fail is the pronoun referring to al-Nadr ibn Suwayd, and this possibility is very remote.

As to al-tawhid, tawhid pertains to the form tafil, and that is either due to repetition signified by the verb, in the sense of extreme emphasis on unity and simplicity, or it is in the sense of qualification of the object (maful) on the basis of the verb, such as in takfir and tafsiq. One of the scholars has held that the form tafil is not used in the sense of qualification of the object (maful) and that it is also wrong to impart such a sense to takfir and tafsiq, because they rather mean calling someone to fisq and kufr, and that [in the sense of qualifying the object] ikfar should be used instead of takfir. Hence the Qamus, too, under the entry on k.f.r, does not mention takfir in the sense of attribution of kufr. This author says: Although I too have not seen in the Qamus that takfir means attribution of kufr, and even Jawhari, the most erudite of the lexicographers, has not mentioned this sense for takfir and, in consonance with the statement of the above-mentioned scholar, has considered ikfar to be the proper word for this sense, but the books on grammar have considered one of the meanings of the form taf'il as qualification of the object (maful) with the quality implied in the verb, and they have cited tafsiq as an example. In any case, the meaning of tawhid is attribution of unity (wahdaniyyah).

As to the word mut'ammiqun, 'amq and 'umq (with fathah or dammah on the 'ayn) means the bottom of a well and a pit. For the same reason mathematicians use the term 'umq (height) in the sense of the third dimension of bodies which begins at its top surface and ends at the bottom surface, in the same way that they use length as the first dimension and breadth as the second. Also for the same reason a person possessing a piercing vision is called muta'ammiq and a perspicacious vision is called 'amiq (deep) and a vision that does not have depth is called superficial (sathi). It is as if matters pertaining to knowledge have a depth and a bottom and the muta'ammiq person is one who goes to their depth ('umq) from where he draws out the truths, and someone with a superficial vision remains at the surface and fails to fathom the depth of any matter.

As to the expression, fa man rama-rama and yarumu are in the sense of seeking, and maram is that which is sought.

As to the expression wara'a dhalika, wara' is in the sense of `behind' (khlaf), and at times it is used in the sense of `in front of (quddam). Hence it has contrary meanings and its use in the first sense is appropriate to cases such as the present one.

Section: A Hint Concerning the Exegesis of Surat al-Tawhid:

It should be known that tasfsir (exegesis) of this blessed Sarah and that of the beginning verses of Surat al-Hadid is beyond the capacity of the likes of us, and, in fact, outside the scope of the present discourse. To be just, how could it be permissible for the likes of me to embark upon the exegesis of something which God, the Exalted, has sent down for persons of profound thinking and for the veritable 'ulama? And Hadrat Baqir al-`Ulum, may peace be upon him, (as mentioned in al-Tafsir al-burhan)after divulging some of the secrets relating to the letters of the blessed word `al-samad,' said, "Had I found anyone who could bear the knowledge that God has bestowed upon me, I would have propagated tawhid, islam, iman, din and sharayi ` throughal-samad." [3]

The great philosopher Sadr al-Muta'allihin says concerning the verses of Surat al-Tawhid, "You should know that each of these six verses referred to in the hadith constitutes a great door to the knowledge of tawhid and Divinity, and comprises a well-established matter from among the principles of samadiyyat and rububiyyat (lordship). And were time to provide opportunity and assistance to a divine gnostic or sage that has d his knowledge from the niche of Muhammadan prophethood, may the best of salutations and peace be upon him and his Household, and who has derived his wisdom from the traditions of the Household of Infallibility and Purity, may peace be upon them, truly, it would befit him, and these verses, to fill a big volume, or several of them, with exegesis of each of them." [4] In any case, the likes of this authors are not champions of this field, but as it is not reasonable to abandon what is feasible for the infeasible, we shall briefly mention some hints(implications) out of what we have learned from our great teachers, from the books of the people of gnosis, and from the radiant niche of guidance of the Household of Infallibility, and all guidance comes from God.

A Hint Concerning Bismillah:

It should be known that in accordance with the view(surrounding) of the people of gnosis, the bismillah (`in Name of Allah') in every surah pertains to that surah itself and not to "I seek help" or anything of the kind, because ismullah (Name of

Allah) is the totality of the mashiyyah (Divine will) at the plane of manifestation (maqdam-e zuhuri), the station of the Most Sacred Effusion (fayd-e aqdas) at the plane of revelation (tajalli) of ahadiyyah, the station of inclusiveness of Divine Names (jam'-e ahadi ye asma') at the plane of wahidiyyah, and the entire cosmos (kawn) at the plane of inclusive unity (ahadiyyat-a jam'), which is the inclusive cosmic object (kawn-e jami) and the levels of existence in the vertical ascending and descending order and each of the objective entities (huwiyyat-e 'ayniyyah) at the horizontal plane. The meaning of `Allah' differs in accordance with each of these considerations, for it is the referent of those Names, and the meaning of bismillah varies in accordance with each surah of the Noble Qur'an with which the bismillah is associated in respect of text and which is manifestation of it in respect of meaning. Rather, the meaning of bismillah varies in accordance with every action that is begun with bismillah and it relates to that very action. One who has gnosis of the manifestations of Divine Names observes that all works and actions and all objects and accidents are manifested and realized by virtue of the sacred Greatest Name (ism-e azam) and the station of absolute will (mashiyyat-e mutlaqah). Hence while performing that action and bringing it into existence he recalls this matter in his heart and extends it to the plane of the natural realm and mulk pertaining to himself and says,"Bismillah!" That means, I eat or I drink, or I write and I do such and such a thing by the station of the absolute will of the Possessor of the station of All-encompassing beneficence (rahmaniyyat), which is the expanse of existence, and the station of All-mercifulness (rahimiyyat), which is the expanse of the station of perfection of existence, or the Possessor of the station of All-encompassing beneficence, which is the station of revelation (tajalli) through exoteric manifestation (tajalli bi zuhur) and expansion of existence (bast-e wujud), and the station of All-mercifulness, which is the station of revelation through esoteric manifestation (tajalli bi batiniyyat) and contraction of existence (qabd-e wujud).

Hence, from one viewpoint, the Godward wayfarer and the gnostic of God sees all actions and existents as manifestations of the absolute will and as annihilated in it. The aspect of unity predominates in this view and he considers bismillah in all thesurahs of the Qur'an and in all actions and works to possess a single sense. And from another viewpoint which is turned towards the world of separation and differentiation he sees a different meaning in bismillah at the head of every surah and at the beginning of every action.

At this stage where we presently are, which is that of exegesis of the noble surah of Tawhid, we may take its bismillah as relating to the noble word `qul' (Say!), in which case the meaning of bismillah in the garb of singularity (tajrid) and under the predominance of tawhid will be the station of absolute will, and in the garb of multiplicity and at the station of attention to pluralities it will be its determinations (ta'ayyunat). And at the station of the togetherness of the two stations, which is the station of greatest barzakh (maqam-e barzakhiyyat-e kubra), it will mean the will at the station of unity alongside plurality and the exoteric aspect (zuhur) alongside the esoteric one (butun), and rahmaniyyat and rahimiyyat in the second sense. And as in the noble verse Qul huwa 'llahu ahad, in which ahadiyyat-e ghaybiyyah (the transcendent unity) and uluhiyyat-e asma'iyyah (Divinity at the, plane of the Names) merge together, that which is meant is the Name Allah in accordance with the third station, that is, the station of barzakhiyyat. Hence from the transcendent (ghaybi) station of ahadiyyat the address goes forth to the pious and immaculate, the ahadi and ahmadi heart of Muhammad that, "Say in accordance with this realm of the greatest barzakh through manifestation of the Name Allah, which is the station of absolute will and the possessor of the manifestation and determination of rahmaniyyat along with rahimiyyat, and expansion along with ion."

The noble word huwa refers to the station of absolute Divine ipseity (huwiyyat-e mutlaqah) as such, without its being determined by Attributes and without revelation through Names, even the Names of Essence which are considered at the plane of ahadiyyat.And this reference is not possible except by the possessor of that heart and station, and had he not been assigned to divulge this relation to Haqq he would not have ever uttered this noble word. However, it was an irresistible Divine ordainment that the Seal of Prophesy, may God bless him and his Household, should disclose this reference:

And as he did not remain in the embrace of absoluteness and possessed the station of barzakhiyyat, he said, "Allahu ahad."And Allah is the greatest all-inclusive Name and the absolute and ultimate Lord, and from the barzakhi viewpoint of multiplicity of Names manifested at the plane of wahidiyyah, it is the same as the transcendent and ghaybi revelation (tajalli) at the station of ahadiyyat. Neither the aspect of ahadiyyat is predominant over the aspect of wahidiyyat in the heart of such a wayfarer norwahidiyyat over ahadiyyat. The occurrence of Allah before ahad-despite that the Names of Essence have precedence in respect of conception-is perhaps a reference to the station of revelation to the wayfarer's heart, for the revelations of Essence in the hearts of the awliya' are first through revelation of- attributive Names (asma' sifatiyyah) at the plane of wahidiyyah and later on through ahadi Names of Essence.

And the mention of Allah and singling it out from among the Names-despite that in accordance with the character of wayfaring and the order of revelation, the revelation first occurs, in accordance with the state of the wayfarer's heart, through the manifestations of the Name Allah, which comprises the other Names, and only then, at the conclusion(deduction)  of wayfaring in the attributive Names, does occur(materialize) the revelation through the Name Allah-that is for one of two reasons: either it indicates that revelation through any Name is revelation through the Name Allah, in accordance with the unity of manifestations and that which they manifest, especially at the plane of Divinity, or it indicates the destination of wahidiwayfaring, and unless it is realized the wayfarer does not set out on ahadi wayfaring.

Also, on the basis of this exposition, huwa (He) refers to the station which transcends all reference and lies beyond the aspirations of gnostics, and beyond all names and descriptions and above revelation and manifestation. Ahad refers to revelation through esoteric Hidden Names (asma'-e batiniyyah-ye ghaybiyyah) and Allah refers to revelation through exoteric Names, and through these three all the primary(elementary) conceptions of Lordship are obtained. The other four Names, which are included in samadiyyat, are, in accordance with some traditions [5] negative Names of tanzih (negation of similarity to creatures) which are conceived in subordination to the positive Names of Divine beauty (asma'-e thubutiyyah ye jamaliyyah) as was pointed out earlier under one of the traditions. [6]

That which has been said until this point applies in case bismillah is taken to relate to the noble word qul, and yet it may be related to each of the parts of this noble surah. In accordance with each of these possibilities the exegesis of the surah and itsbismillah will be different, and as their discussion will cause prolixity we will abstain from it.

Our shaykh, the perfect gnostic Shahabadi, may my soul be his ransom, would say, "Huwa refers to six other Names and perfections which are mentioned in the blessed surah of Tawhid after this blessed word, because as the sacred Essence is the absolute huwa, which refers to sheer existence, it encompasses all the perfections of the Names (kamalat asma'iyyah); hence It is Allah. And since sheer existence with its simple reality possesses all Attributes and Names and this plurality of Names does not compromise the unity of the sacred Essence, It is ahad. And as sheer existence has no essence (mahiyyah) It is samad. And since sheerness is without deficiency, and is not derived from any other, and as repetition is impossible for it, it is neither begetter (walid) nor begotten (mawlud) and has no match (kufu)."

It should be known that in the sacred traditions there are mentioned many meanings and subtle points concerning samadwhose discussion is beyond the scope of these pages and requires a separate treatise. Here we will mention only one point which is that if samad should refer to essence itself, in accordance with some considerations, the meaning of Allah in Allah us-samad will pertain to the station of wahidiyyat and the station of inclusive unity of Names (ahadiyyat-e jami' asma'). And should it refer to a relative attribute, as inferred from certain traditions, it would refer to the inclusive unity of Names at the plane of revelation through the sacred effusion and its meaning would be consonant with "Allah is the Light of the heavens."


Section: A Brief Hint concerning the Exegesis of the Noble Verses of Surat al-Hadid until the words `alimun bi dhatis-sudur:

As to the first verse, [7] it implies the tasbih of all existents, even plants and `inanimate' objects (jamadat). Its limitation to intelligent beings [as suggested by some scholars] is due to the veiled intellects of the intelligent. And should this noble verse be capable of reinterpretation (ta'wil), other noble verses cannot be decoded in this manner, such as the statement of God, the Exalted.

Hast thou not seen how to God bow all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth, the sun and the moon, the stars and the mountains, the trees and the beasts, and many of mankind? (22:18)

Also the interpretation of the tasbih as something innate (fitri) and inbuilt (takwini) is an inane one, not consonant with the traditions and Qur'anic verses besides being contrary to firm metaphysical proof and the gnostic approach. That which is strange(curious)   is that the great philosopher and scholar Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may God sanctify his spirit, does not considertasbih in these creatures to constitute speech. He considers the "speech" of some `inanimate' objects such as the pebbles to be sounds created in them, in accordance with their states, by the holy spirit of the wali. He has considered the statements of some gnostics who consider all existents as possessing linguistic life (hayat nutqi) as being contrary to metaphysical reasoning and as implying suspension of their nature (ta'til) and perpetuation of compulsion (dawam-e qasr), [8] although such a position is contrary to his own principles. However, this position, which is borne out by explicit Qur'anic verses and is the essence of gnosis, does not lead to any inconsistency at all, and were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have elaborated on this matter along with its necessary preliminaries. However, here we shall confine ourselves to a passing hint.

It was indicted earlier also that the reality of existence is identical with consciousness, knowledge, will, power, life and other aspects of life, so much so that if any thing were not to possess knowledge and life, it would not have existence. And anyone who apprehends, with a gnostic understanding, the meaning of the fundamentality of existence and its being univocal, will, on the basis of gnosis or knowledge, affirm the life that pervades all existents along with all the other aspects of life such as consciousness, will, speech, etc. Were one to possess the station of vision of reality, d through spiritual austerities, one would directly witness the chorus of the tasbih and taqdis of all existents. Now the stupor caused by nature has dimmed our sight, dulled our hearing, and all other senses, not allowing us to be aware of the realities of existence and objective entities, in the same way that there are curtains of darkness and light that separate us from God, and curtains that conceal other existents from us, and even our own souls, concealing their life, consciousness and other aspects from our sight. But the most impenetrable of all curtains is the curtain of denial arising from confined thoughts which keep man from attaining to anything. The best thing for the likes of us, who are kept from vision by surrounding veils, is to submit to and to affirm the signs and traditions of God's awliya' and to refrain from interpretations based on subjective opinion and from efforts to reconcile them with judgements of feeble(flimsy) intellects.

If supposedly it were possible to interpret the verses pertaining to the tasbih of existents as something inbuilt or innate, what are we to do with the noble verse:

An Ant said, "O ants, enter your dwellings, lest Solomon and his troops should trample upon you without knowing? (27:18)

And what are we to do with the traditions that have been narrated on various topics from the Household of Purity and Infallibility which are by no means amenable to such interpretations?

Accordingly, the pervasion of all things with life and tasbih based on consciousness and knowledge must be regarded as one of the necessary principles of higher philosophy and as one of definite principles of the teachers of religion and gnosis. However, the character of the tasbih of every existent and the particular dhikr pertaining to it, and that man is the possessor of all-inclusive tasbih and that other existents have dhikr consonant with their own mode of existence-an overall view of that is based on a scientific and gnostic criterion relating to the science of the Names, and its details pertain to the sciences deriving from direct witness of reality that are exclusive to the perfect awliya'.

As mentioned in the previous section, the bismillah of every surah relates to that very surah and here too it relates to sabbaha lillah. From it one may infer the creed of the orthodox sect concerning the problem of jabr and tafwid, for it refers, in a subtle manner, as is ultimately revealed by the mystical experience of the gnostics, to each of the two relations, that is, the relation to ismullah (Name of Allah), which is the station of the Divine will pertaining to Act (mashiyyah fi'liyyah), along with the relation to things existent in the heavens and the earth. The Divine will has been given precedence [to the reference to creation] in order to underline the sustaining role of God and to give precedence to the Godward aspect over the aspect relating to the creation. And were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have described the reality of the tasbih and its implication of tahmid,and that every tasbih and tahmid by everyone refers to God, and we would have also explained the meaning of tasbih andtahmid for ismullah and by ismullah, the reason for the special mention of the two blessed Names al-'aziz (Almighty) and al-hakim (All-wise) and their relation to `Allah,' the difference between the `Allah' mentioned in the bismillah and the `Allah'mentioned in the noble verse sabbaha lillah, and given the explanation of `heavens' and `earth' and that which is in the heavens and the earth, in accordance with different viewpoints of the gnostics and the philosophers, as well as discussed thehuwa in this blessed verse and the difference between it and the huwa in the noble verse Qul huwa 'llahu ahad in accordance with the sweet approach of 'irfan. However, in these pages we have to confine ourselves to, a passing hint.

As to the second noble verse, [9] it refers to the ownership of God, the Glorious, in relation to the kingdoms of the heavens and the earth. Subordinate to this ownership (malikiyyat), all-inclusive sovereignty, power and control take place the giving of life and causing of death, manifestation and return, expansion and ion. In this view, all regulations(neatness) and plans are annihilated in the regulation and planning of God, which is ultimate tawhid on the plane of Act (tawhid-e fi'li), and therefore the giving of life and making to die-which are either one of the major manifestation of malakuti dispositions or refer to the totality of expansion and ion-have been related to the ownership of the sacred Essence itself. Although the giving of life is one of the aspects of rahmaniyyat and making to die one of the aspects of ownership, both of them have been related to Divine ownership, and this may be on the basis of a major gnostic principle according to which every Name includes all the Names in their ahadi and ghaybi aspect, and this point cannot be elaborated here. The beginning and the following parts of the verse may be a reference to unity in plurality and plurality in unity at the station of revelation (tajalli) through the sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas), as is clear for those who are familiar with these principles.

The pronoun in lahu (to him belong), apparently, may refer to Allah and it may as well refer to `aziz and hakim, and the meaning of the noble verse will be different in each case, as reflection will show to those who are familiar with these principles.

Issues such as the explanation of the character of Divine ownership, the reason for the imperfect tense of the verbs yuhit(gives life) and yumitu (causes to die), which indicates continuity and repetition, the referent of the pronoun huwa, and the different meanings that follow as a result of the different referents, explanation of whether muhyi, mumit and qadir are Names of Essence or those of Attributes or Acts-these issues have to be consigned to their proper occasion and place, like the explanation of the character of giving life and causing death, the reality of the trumpet of Israfil and the two soundings pertaining to bringing to life and causing death, the functions of Hadrat Israil and Hadrat Azra'il and their stations and the character of their causing life and death, each of which has quite elaborate gnostic descriptions and metaphysical proofs.

As to the third noble verse- it is as follows:

He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He has knowledge of all things. (57:3)

One who has knowledge of the true teachings the people of ma`rifah and conviction and is a wayfarer of the way of the people of the heart and wayfaring knows that the ultimate goal of the wayfaring of wayfarers and the ultimate aspiration of the gnostics is understanding of this clear noble verse. By the Life of the Beloved! there is no better statement of the reality oftawhid of the Essence and the Names than this verse, and it would be fitting for all the gnostics to fall to the ground and to bow down before this consummate gnosis of Muhammad, may God bless him and his Household, this inclusive comprehension of Ahmad, and this firm Divine sign. By the reality of gnosis and love! when the gnostic lost in Divine splendour and the lover lost in the beauty of die Beloved hears this noble verse, he is overcome by such a celestial ecstasy and a Divine delight that is inexpressible in any language and unbearable by any creature.

So glory be to God, how lofty is His station, how splendid is His sovereignty, how great is His worth, how inacessible His majesty and how lofty His threshold!

Those who find fault with the statements of the august 'urafa and the knowers of God and the awliya' of the All-Beneficent would do well to see if any Divine gnostic and wayfarer has said anything more than that which is contained in this noble verse or if anyone has introduced any new ware into the marketplace of Divine teachings. Here is this noble Divine verse and there are the books of the 'urafa' brimming with 'irfan to see and judge. Although the blessed Surat al-Hadid and especially its first noble verses contain teachings which are beyond the reach of aspirers, but it is the belief of this author that there is a special quality in this noble verse that is absent in other verses. The priority (awwaliyyat) and posteriority (akhiriyyat) of al-Haqq and His zahiriyyat and batiniyyat are things which are beyond speech and writing. So let us pass on and leave them for the hearts of the lovers and the awliya'.

As for the fourth noble verse, [10] it refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the istiwa (lit. sitting) on the Throne ('arsh). The intellects are bewildered(astonished) in the exegesis of this noble verse and everyone has interpreted it in accordance with his approach in the sciences and gnosis. The literalists among scholars state that that which is meant by creation in six days is that the period of creation if measured would equal six [ordinary] days. The great philosopher Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may his spirit be sanctified, has considered them as implying the Divine days, each of which equals a thousand years, thus making the six days correspond to the period from the descent of Adam until the rise of the Muhammadan sun, may God bless him and his Household, which is six thousand years. He considers the beginning of the daybreak of Friday (yawm al jumu'ah) and the day of gathering (yawm al jam), as the seventh day and the beginning of the day of Resurrection and the beginning of the istawa of the All-Beneficent on the Throne. He has mentioned it briefly in Sharh Usul al-Kafi and elaborately in his exegesis. [11] Some gnostics have interpreted(decoded )the six days as stages in the journey of the light of the sun of existence in the mirror of descent and ascent.

According to the creed of gnosis, the descending levels of existence until the lowest point-which is the plane of concealment of the sun of existence by curtains of finitude and differentiation (ta'ayyunat)--constitute the reality of the night of ordainment (laylat al-qadr) and the beginning of the day of resurrection is from the first stage of return of mulk to malakut and removal of the curtains of ta'ayyunat to the ultimate levels of manifestation and return, which is the complete appearance of the greatest resurrection (qiyamat-e kubra). The six days in which the creation of the heavens and the earth was completed, culminating in the Throne of God, the Throne of the all-Beneficent, which is the ultimate end of Divine istawa, power, and dominance, are the sixfold ascending planes in the greater cosmos ('alam-e kabir); and the Throne of God, which is the manifestation of the perfect dominance and ownership, is the plane of will and the all-beneficent sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas-e rahmani), which is its complete manifestation after elimination of the ta'ayyunat and completion of the creation of the heavens and the earths. And until the existence of the heavens and the earth endures, their creation is not finished from the viewpoint of the people of gnosis, in accordance with the words "Everyday He is engaged in some work" (55:29) and as implied by the absence of repetition in revelation (tajalli). In the Greater Man (insan-e kabir) and the greater cosmos the sixfold planes and their seventh subtlety (latifah) is the Throne of the All-Beneficent, which is the plane of the real heart, and were it not for the fear of prolixity, we would have explained thoroughly the greater plausibility of this interpretation in comparison to other interpretations, although the knowledge of the Divine scripture is with God, the Exalted, and those who are its special addressees. We speak on the basis of probabilities and plausibilities following the infeasibility of the literal sense.

At this place there is another probability which is not contrary to this mystical description, and that is in accordance with present-day astronomy which has replaced ptolemic astronomy Apart from our solar system there are other innumerable planetary systems in accordance with the details given by books on contemporary astronomy That which is meant by heavens and earth may be the present solar system along with its planets and their orbits and the description of its duration as six days may be in accordance with another planetary system. This probability is closer to the literal sense than others, while it does not contradict the gnostic interpretation, because it is in accordance with one of the esoteric meanings of the Qur'an.

The following part of the noble verse, in His words, "He knows what penetrates into the earth, (and what comes forth from it, what comes down from heaven, and what goes up unto it.)" refers to God's knowledge of the particular details of the planes of existence through the hierarchies of the Hidden and the manifest (ghayb wa shuhud), the ascent and the descent. And in His words, "He is with you (wherever you are; and God sees the things you do), there is a reference to the sustaining contiguity of God (ma'iyyat-e qayyumiyyah ye haqq) and the character of God's knowledge of particulars through existential encompassment and universal sustainment. None except the elect from among the awliya' of God can perceive the reality of this Divine sustainment.

As to the fifth noble verse, [12] it refers to the ownership of God and the return of the entire realm of existence to God and indicates that this is related to the Name malik (Owner, Master), as mentioned in the phrase of the blessed Surat al-Hamd: the Master of the Day of Judgement (maliki yawmi'd-din), and the exegesis and elaboration of each of these matters should be left to another occasion and place.

As to the sixth verse, [13] it refers to the alternation of day and night and that each of them waxes as the other vanes and vice versa. In this alternation there are many benefits whose mention is beyond the scope of our discussion and there is another gnostic interpretation for the noble verse which we shall refrain from mentioning.


That which is stated in the closing part of the noble tradition, that "whoever seeks to go beyond that will perish," it indicates that the teachings which have been mentioned in these noble verses and the blessed Surat al-Tawhid constitute the limits of human knowledge and the ultimate frontier of gnosis, and should someone imagine that there is anything beyond that he is in error. And as these verses impart the highest teachings to mankind, their negligence also leads to destruction and perdition and ignorance of the station of the Lord.

Of course, this noble tradition is meant to encourage and inspire profound thought on these noble verses. But every science is for its people and every field has its own champions. One should not imagine that one can understand the verses of tawhid-whether those of the blessed Surat al-Tawhid or the present noble verses or other verses of the Qur'an and similarly the noble traditions, sermons, supplications and prayers of the Imams, may peace be upon them, all of which are replete with higher teachings-with the aid of one's ideas and on the basis of common-place literal meanings. That is an immature notion and a satanic insinuation and a trap set by that highwayman of the road of humanity to stop man from attaining to the higher teachings and to bar him from the doors of wisdom and ma'rifah and to cast him into the valley of error and confusion. God is witness-and His witness is sufficient [14]-that I do not intend to promote(advertise) the market of formal philosophy or formal'irfan; rather, my purpose is that my brethren in faith, especially the learned amongst them, should pay some attention to the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them, and those of the Qur'an and not neglect them, for the main purpose of the missions of the apostles and the revelation of the scriptures has been the noble goal of gnosis of God, in the shadow of which all felicities of the world and the Hereafter are realized. But alas! So long as man is in this world and besieged by all kinds of veils he cannot identify the path of his own felicity. No matter how much the prophets, the saints and the scholars may exhort him, he does not awake from the slumber of neglect and does not remove the stoppers of neglect from his ears. He awakes from the sleep of neglect when he has lost the very means of acquiring felicity and when there remains(debris) nothing for him except regret and shame.

Prayer and Epilogue:

O God, Who have illuminated the hearts of the awliya' with the light of love and cleared the tongues of the lovers of Thy beauty from the taints of egoism, and have placed Thy majesty beyond the reach of self-seeking wretches! Awaken us from the intoxication of worldly delusion and deliver us from the heavy slumber of nature, and remove with 'My gesture the thick curtains and obstructing veils of egotism and self-seeking. Let us into the assembly of the holy ones of Thy threshold and into the holy company of the sincere God-seekers. Remove from us these devilish, ugly, and coarse(unplanted) qualities of ours and our pretensions and waywardness. Inform with sincerity and love our movements and pauses, our actions and works, our beginning and end, and our outward and inward being.

O God! Your blessings are given without prior deservedness (Worthiness is not a condition for the Lord's gifts) [15] and Your gifts are unlimited. The door of Your mercy and favour is wide(broad) open and the table of Your boundless bounties is spread out. Give us a fervent heart and an arduous passion, a woeful heart and a tearful eye, a restless and impassioned mind and a breathless and fiery breast. Let the end of our live be in a state of sincere devotion to You and with the love of the elect of Your threshold, that is, those who represent the prologue of the book of being and the epilogue of the scrolls of the manifest and the Hidden, Muhammad and his immaculate kindred and progeny, may God's blessings be upon all of them

And to God belongs all Praise, firstly and lastly, outwardly and inwardly

Concluded by the mortal hand of this indigent writer on Friday afternoon of the fourth of the month of Muharram al-Haram of the year 1358 H. [1939], and in God is my reliance and trust, at every commencement and conclusion.


[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, i, 93, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[2]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 246, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[3]. See al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 526. The Arabic text of the tradition is as follows:

[4]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248.

[5]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab al-tawhid, p. 91, bab 4, hadith 3; al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 525, from Imam Baqir (A):

[6]. See Usul al-Kafi, i, 124, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab ta'wil al-samad" hadith 2, from Imam Baqir (A):


Any that which is in the heavens and the earth does the tasbih of God, and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. (57: 1)

[8]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.


To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and makes to die and He is powerful over all things.


He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days then sat on the throne. He knows that which penetrates into the earth and that which emerges from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends into it, and He is with you wherever you may be, and God sees what you do. (57:4)

[11]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 249-250; Sadr al-Muta'allihin, Tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 6, pp. 160-164, exegesis of Surat al- Hadid.


To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and to God return all affairs. (57:5)


He makes the night enter the day and He makes the day enter the night and He knows that which is in the breasts. (57:6)

[14]. A reference to 4:79.

[15]. This is a reference to the following couplet from Rumi's Mathnawi (daftar 5, bayt 1537):

source : Forty Hadith by Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
0% (نفر 0)
نظر شما در مورد این مطلب ؟
امتیاز شما به این مطلب ؟
اشتراک گذاری در شبکه های اجتماعی:

latest article

Height of Tawheed
Aversion for Death
Perfecting Man's Faith and Conviction
Creator is naturally aware of all things
Politics as indispensable for the realization of Islam
The Linguistic Meaning of Mawla
Meaning of the world
Is There any Deity Besides Allah?

user comment