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Mujaddid On The World Of The Images And The World Of The Bodies

Mujaddid On The World Of The Images And The World Of The Bodies

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Published by Talib Ghaffari
by Irshad Alam
by Irshad Alam

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Published by: Talib Ghaffari on Feb 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mujadddid on the World of the Images andthe World of the Bodies
Original: The Great Mujaddid Ahmad SirhindiTranslation and Notes: Irshad AlamJune 27, 2009
The Great Mujaddid Ahmad Sirhindi i.e. Imam al-Rabbani, describes hisideas on the ”world of the images” (‘
alam-i mithal 
) in this epistle or mak-tub written to his disciple Mulla Badruddin in
Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani 
,volume 3, maktub 31. And he compares and contrasts it with the ”world of the bodies” (
‘alam-i ajsad 
). The knowledge about the world of the imagesthat the Mujaddid expounds here is his experiential knowledge. However,the Mujaddid studied the writings of both Shihabuddin Suhrawardi and IbnArabi and the idea of world of the images is found there as well. Suhrawardiexperienced a world of unstable images (
suwar-i mu‘allaqa 
) which he namedthe ”world of the images” (
‘alam-i mithal 
). He declared that the bliss andthe punishment of the last world will take place in this world of the images.Ibn Arabi adapted this idea probably from Suhrawardi. And from there thisidea became commomplace in sufism. This writing has been translated fromthe original text
Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani 
, volume 3, edited by Nur Ah-mad Amritsari (Quetta: Maktaba-i al-Quds, 1999), pp.76-78 that refers tomaktub 31.
The Maktub
The Mujaddid starts his maktub by invoking God.[Amritsari, p. 76]
All praise is for Allah and peace towards His chosen servants(Alhamdu li-’Llahi wa ’l- salamu ‘ala ‘ibadihi ’llazina ’stafa)! 
Many sufis had the idea that the punishment in the grave would be inthe world of the images and the pain that punishment would be like the painthat one feels in a dream. The Mujaddid is asked for his comments on thisidea by his disciple Mulla Badruddin and his reply is as follows.You [the Mujaddid’s disciple Mulla Badruddin] have written thatbefore attaching itself (
) to the body (
), the spirit(
) used to be in the ”world of the images” (
‘alam-i mithal 
).And after separating from the body, it [the spirit] will go there,[the world of the images, again.] Therefore, the ”punishmentin the grave” (
adhab-i qabr 
) will be in the world of the images.
2And the pain [from that punishment would be like the pain] thatone feels in dreams [which also take place] in the world of theimages. You have also written that this idea has many corollaries(
). If you accept this, then [it can be presumed that] themany corollaries of this idea will branch out further into manymore sub-corollaries.The Mujaddid answers that that idea is unlikely to be true.You should know that it is very unlikely that this sort of idea isat all true. Do not let this [false idea of yours] misguide you awayfrom the established path. So despite it being a daunting task,I’ve written a few words on the verification of this idea, as it’scritical.
The Exalted Allah is the guide towards the straight path (Wa ’Llahu subhanuhu ’l-hadi ila sabil al-rashad)! 
The Mujaddid discusses on what the sufi masters have understood aboutthe world of the images.Brother! They [the sufi masters] have divided the contingent(
) domain into three sub-domains1. The world of the spirits (
‘alam-i arwah 
)2. The world of the images (
‘alam-i mithal 
)3. The world of the bodies (
‘alam-i ajsad 
)They [the sufi masters] have said that1. The world of the images is the
or the intermediarydomain between the world of the spirits and the world of theimages2. The world of the images is like the mirror [onto which ap-pears] the meanings (
) and the essences or realities(
) of both of these two worlds.It means that1. The meanings and the realities of the world of the spirits andthe world of the bodies appears in the world of the images inthe subtle form as there are many forms and figures (hi’at)appropriate (
) for all the forms and the realities.

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