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Gott ist schon


und Er liebt die Schonheit

God is beautiful and He loves beauty

Festschrift fur Annemarie Schimmel zum 7. April 1992

:iargebracht von Schulern, Freunden und Kollegen

Festschrift in honour of Annemarie Schimmel presented by students, friends and colleagues on April 7, 1992

Herausgegeben von Edited by

Alma Giese and J. Christoph Burgel

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.666, I~q¥


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Gott ist schon und er liebt die Schonheit : Festschrift fur Annemarie Schimmel ZUID 7. April 1992, dargebracht von Schulern, Freunden und Kollegen = God is beautiful and he loves beauty / hrsg. von Alma Giese and J. Christoph Burgel, - Bern; Berlin; Frankfurt/M. ; New York; Paris; Wien : Lang, 1994

ISBN 3-906750-90-6

NE: Giese, Alma [Hrsg.]; Schimmel, Annernarie: Festschrift; God is beautiful and ne loves beauty


Laudatio auf Annemarie Schimmel 7


Die Liebe Gottes als theologisches Problem 25


A Testimony of Love

The Gil Tradition of the Nizari Ismailis 39


70 Ostliche Rosen.

Unveroffentlichte Hafis-Ubertragungen Ruckerts 53


Ibn al-Arabi's Concept of Time 71

J. CHRISTOPH BDRGEL Ash-Shi'ru shai'un hasanun

Arabische Gedichte aus sechs Jahrhunderten

in deutscher Ubertragung 93


"If you are Merciful, 0 Bounteous One, full of Compassion, why make Hell, punishment, and the

need to account for each action?" . . . . . . . . . . . . ... 111 WILLIAM C. CHITTICK

© Peter Lang AG, Europaischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Bern 199<

Kh -' Kh d' "L' h f 0 "

waja ur s 19 t 0 neness .


Le grincement de la porte du paradis

La double structure du phenomene musical

dans la culture islamique .




Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Das Werk einschliesslich aller seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschutzt. jede Verwertung ausserhalb der engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung des Verlages unzulassig und strafbar, Das gilt insbesondere fur vervielfaltigung, Uberserzungen, Mikroverfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen.

Druck: Lang Druck AG, Liebefeld/Bern

Ruzbihan Baqli on Love as 'Essential Desire' ALMA GIESE

Zur Erlosungsfunktion des Traumes

bei den Ihwan as-Safa' .




Das Schriftprinzip in vergleichender Sicht .. . . . . . .. 209


Nimm es einfach liebreich bin, wenn einmal Liebchen schilt, Weil es bald mit doppelter Liebkosung dir vergilt.


Ibn al-'ArabI's Concept of Time


Vom Kloster geht zur Schenke Hafis, mir scheint er sei Gekommen zur Besinnung Vom Rausch der GleiBnerei.


Ob aus Stolz kein Wortchen er zur Stunde Mir noch hat gegeben,

Dem schweigsam geschloBnen Knospenmund Opfer' ich mein Leben.

1) Ibn al- 'Arabi and his writings on time.


Mein Gliickstern scheint nun unterwegs, weil ich heut abends fand, DaB mit dem Mond im Gegenschein des Liebchens Wange stand.

In many of her broad-ranging works on Sufism, Annemarie Schimmel returns to the concept of time that permeates the poetry of Jalal ad-DIn ar-Riimi (d. 672/1273) and other Persian mystics.' One principal image of time that catches her eye is portrayed by the various renderings of a non-canoncial tradition, the hadit nabawi, "I have a time (waqt) with God," in which Persian mystic poets perceive Muhammad's privilege of intimate communion with the Eternal.' While Riimi was inspired by this

67 B1. 66a. - R I, S. 614 (Dal 120, Z. 3-4). - Z. 1 einfach: +. - einrnal

Liebchen: + einmal die Geliebte +. - Z. 2 es: + sie +. - dir: + fur + e3 + . 68 B1. 66a. - R I, S. 616 (DaI121, Z. 17-18). - Z. 2 mir: +es+.

69 B1. 66a. - R I, S. 620 (Dal 123, Z. 11-12).

70 B1. 66b. - R I, S. 622 (Dal 124, Z. 13-14).

1 A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill 1975, p. 220; The Triumphal Sun, London 1978, pp. 285-286; And Muhammad is His Messenger, Chapel Hill 1985, p. 169. In this century Iqbal (d. 1938) took up the theme forcefully in his poetry and prose, see A. Schimmel, Gabriel's Wing, Leiden 1963 and G. Bowering, "Iqbal - Poet between India and Europe," Islam and the Modem Age, 9 (1978), pp. 57-70.

2 Badi' az-Zarnan Fun1zanfar,A~amf-i matnavi, Tehran 13345, p.39 (nr. 100).

The hadit is not cited in the canonical Hadit literature and thus absent from Wensinck's Concordance, but it is frequently quoted in Sufi literature in its early form, "I have a moment with God (£i maca Allah waqt) in which no angel drawn near (malak-i muqarrab) or prophet sent (nabT-yi mursal) rivals me." The earliest references in Persian Sufi literature are found in the commentary on Kalabagi's Ta'arruf by MustamIT (d. 434/1042), Isrna'Il b. Muhammad, Niir al-muridin wa-fadihat al-mudda'in, ed. M. Rawsan, Tehran 1368S, pp. 613, 767, 777, 87C:, 827, 902, 906, 1329, 1423; then also in Gullabl, Abu'l-Hasan 'All b. 'Ulman al-Hugwiri (d. 465/1072 - 469/1077), Kas] almahgiib, ed. V. Zukowsky, photo-reprint Tehran 1399/1979, p. 480; RA. Nicholson, Tile Kashf al-mahjdb, reprint London 1976, p. 368; Harnadani, 'Ayn al-Qudat (d. 525/1131), Tamhiddt, ed. 'A. 'Usayran, Tehran 1341S/ 1962, pp. 79; 123; 131,203,317. Maybudi (d. 530/1135), RaSid ud-din Abu'l FadlvSa'ld,KaSf al-asrdr wa 'iddat al-abrdr, ed. M.G. San'at, 10 vols., Tehran 1363S, I, pp. 269,683; II, p. 328; III, p. 187; VI, p. 460; VII, pp. 172-173; IX, p. 238; X, p. 432; Maybudi also records another significant variant, I, p. 614.



tradition focusing on the Prophet's waqt, Ibn al-'Arabi (d. 638/ 1240), a roughly contemporary mystic and an important philosopher writing in Arabic, was captivated by the canonical tradition of a hadit qudsi, "I am time (dahr)," a majestic utterance of the Eternal calling Himself dahr. Whith this tradition and its variant, "God is time (dahr),"3 as the starting point, Ibn al'Arabi developed a vision of time that is unique in medieval Islam.

Ibn al-Arabi spent the years of his youth, education and early work in Spain and the Magrib, the Muslim lands of the sunset. From his birth at Murcia in 560/1165 until his second travel to Tunis in 598/1201, his life was shaped decisively in such cities as Seville and Fez, both cradles of Muslim culture in the West. Permanently abandoning his native region to travel against the course of the sun towards the Masriq, where the sun rises, he journeyed to Muslim centers of learning in the East. His travels led him via Tunis and Cairo to Mecca and then, in 601/1204, via Mosul to Konya. After crisscrossing and zigzagging through Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia and Iraq, he first found a home at Malatya in Anatolia in 631/1216 before finally settling at Damascus in Syria from 620/1233 until his death."

If Ibn Sina's (d. 428/1037) Mi'riigniima is authentic, then its quotation of the hadit would be the earliest found in mi'riig literature, see Ibn Sina, Abu 'Ali al-Husayn b. 'Abdallah, Mi'riigniima, ed. N.M. Hirawi, Tehran 1365S, p. 92.

3 For anii d-dahr, see A.J. Wensinck, Concordance et indices de la tradition musulmane, 8 vols., Leiden 1936-1988, I, pp. 50, 101; II, p. 155 (Bu!}arl, TafsTr, 45:1, Tawhid, p. 35; Muslim, SahTh,A1fiiz, pp. 2,3; Dariml,Adab, p. 169; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, II, pp: 238, 272). This tradition is very old and exemplifies the merger of the Our'anic with- the giihiliyya world-view in hadit, cf. Hurnaydi (d. 219/834), Abu Bakr 'Abdallah b. az-Zubayr, alMusnad, ed. Habib ar- Rahman al-A'zarni, Beirut 1409/1988, nr. 1096; see also RA. Nicholson, Studies in Islamic Poetry, Cambridge 1921, p. 155.

For fa-inna lliiha huwa d-dahr, see Wensinck, Concordance, II, pp. 92, 155 (Buhari, SaJ_lT~, Adab, p. 101; Muslim, Sahih, Alfiiz; p. 4; Malik b. Anas, Muwatta', Kaldm, p. 3; Ahmad b. J:lanbal, Musnad, II, pp. 259, 272, 275, 318, 934); Bagawi:, Abu Muhammad al-Husayn b. Mas'Iid, Misbiih as-sunna, 4 vols., Beirut 1407/1987, III, p. 305 (nr. 37(0); J. Robson, Mishkiit alMasiibih, Lahore 1975, p. 996; the variant, "time itself is God" (fa-inna ddahra huwa lliih) is also quoted by Tawhidi, Abu Hayyan, al-Basii'ir wa-aq-

4_alJii'ir, ed. W. Qadi, Beirut 1408/1988: V, p. 14( .

t:. For a detailed biography of Ibn at-Arabi see, C. Addas, Ibn Arabi, au: la

Ibn al-'Arabi lived in turbulent times when populations were dispersed over vast territories and the world of Islam locked horns in war with Christianity. During his lifetime the Fatimid caliphate of Cairo came to an end, the Almohads ascended to power in the West, the Castillian reconquista took Cordova, and the Mongols made their incursions into Iran. Jerusalem was captured by Saladin in 583/1187 and returned to Frankish control in 626/1229 during the sixth Crusade. Major figures of the medieval world of learning and religion met their deaths:

Averroes in 595/1199, Maimonides in 601/1204 and Francis of Assisi in 623/1226.

With such upheaval in the world around him, Ibn al-'Arabi set out for his journey to the East. It was a rihla, a journey from the periphery to the central lands of Islam in search of knowledge, a higra, an emigration from his native land to which he was never to return, and a f?,agg, a pilgrimage to the holy places in and around Mecca. The seats of learning he visited on his actual itinerary were transformed in his consciousness into theaters of mystical visions that marked the map of his own religious geography. These visions set the cornerstone of his spiritual identity, providing him with insight and understanding that decisively shaped his life and teaching.' In his age, the apocalyptic awareness of the mahdi, the restorer of religion at the end of time, became a vivid expectation through the appearance of Ibn Tiimart (d. 524/1130) in North Africa and the activities of the Sufis, Ibn Barragan (d. 536/1141) and Ibn Qasi (d. 546/ 1151), in Spain."

In the innermost recesses of Ibn al-Arabi's soul this expectation was transformed by the idea of the seal of the saints (lJatm al-awliyii') who brings the prophetic wisdom of divine revelation

quete du Soufre Rouge, Paris 1989; a succinct study of Ibn al-Arabi's life and thought is found in: R.W.J. Austin, Ibn al-tArabi: The Bezels of Wisdom, New York 1980.

5 Some of these aspects of Ibn al-Arabi's life and teaching are examined in the Ph.D. dissertation that is presently being prepared by Gerald Elmore:

"The Fabulous Gryphon: Ibn al-Arabi's 'Anqd' mughnb" (Yale University).

6 See P. Nwyia, "Note sur quelques fragments inedits," Hesperis 43 (1956), pp. 217-221; Ibn Qasi, J. Dreher, Das Imamat des Ibn Qasi, Bonn 1985.



to its manifest conclusion? Inspired by Jesus, understood as the prototypical universal seal of the saints, and spiritually invested by ljidr with the Sufi mantle (l:Jirqa), he found his religious fulfillment in mystical Islam and came to see himself, then and there, as the seal of the saints and heir to the prophets," Likening himself to a religious reformer at the climax of time, Ibn al-Arabi strove to emulate, in his influential "Meccan Revelations" ial-Futiihdt al-Makkiyya), Muhammad al-Gazzali's (d. 505/1111) work of revival. This profound work took a lifetime to complete."

Ibn al-Arabi was an original thinker who broke with the tradition of scholarship current in medieval Islam, a tradition that valued commentary over creativity. Formulating his insights on the nature of being, he taught that all existence is one and that the existence of created things is nothing but a reflection of the Creator's existence. God and creation are two aspects of one reality, reflecting each other and depending on each other. In His eternal loneliness, the Absolute longed for manifestation and brought forth the universe by emanation of His very being that crystallized, through the medium of archetypes, to form the manifold world of creation. All things emanate from God, in whose mind they are preexistent as ideas, and evolve in stages to form the world of multiplicity. From this world of multiplicity the human souls ascend to God, are reunited with the divine world and then are again sent forth to the lower world with

7 M. Chodkiewicz, Le sceau des saint's: prophetie et saintete dans lc. doctrine d'Ibn Arabi, Paris 1986 offers a different perspective on this theme.

8 Ibn al-'ArabI sees himself as heir to a line of prophets beginning with Adam and ending with Halid b. Sinan (see, e. Pellat, EL new edition, IV, p. 928) and Muhammad; cf. the order of the prophets in Ibn al-Arabi's Fusiis al-

hikam, ed, A. 'Afifi, Beirut 1946 and FM III, p. 199. . .

9 Ibn al-Arabi, al-Futiihiit al-makkiyya, 4 vols., Biilaq 1293/1876; I use the reprint published by Dar Sadir, Beirut 1968, abbreviated in the notes as FM; "OY" refers to 'Ulman Yahya's ongoing critical edition of the work (with paragraphs in square brackets), Cairo 1972-. An excellent English anthology of the work is W.e. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge, New York 1987. For a detailed study of Ibn al-'ArabI's vocabulary, s~e S. Hakim, al-Mu'gam as-siifi, Beirut 1401/1981. For the comparison with Gazzali see, F. Rosental, "Ibn 'Arabi between philosophy and mysticism," Oriens 31 (1988), p. 35.


newly obtained divine knowledge. God and world are two opposing mirror images beholding each other.

The light of Muhammad, a type of logos, is the point where the two opposites touch each other to form the universal man. This ontological figure is represented by the perfect man on earth, himself an outward manifestation of the image of man conceived in the divine mind. Ibn al-Arabi's theory transformed the early Sufis' psychological experience of mystical union into an ontological speculation on the unity of being, propelling the idea of tawhid to a dynamic conclusion. In this vital monism Ibn al-Arabi's vision of time appears as a strand of thought that binds God and man together and provides a key to Ibn al'Arabi's apocalyptic self-image."

The beginnings of Ibn al-Arabi's systematic reflections on time go back to the days that preceded his final departure from the Magrib when he wrote a work entitled "The Book of Time" (Kitab az-zamanvl" Although no longer extant it was in part incorporated into the "Meccan Revelations", where it is cited by title." In unconnected sections of this monumental "Meccan Revelations.?" Ibn al-'Arabi created a vision of time that links

10 F. Rosenthal, "The Time of Muslim Historians and Muslim Mystics," in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, forthcoming. I would like to thank Professor Rosenthal for lending me his typescript to read as I prepared this article.

11 O. Yahya, Histoire et classification de I'oeuvre d'Ibn Arabi, Damascus 1-2, 1964, pp. 530-531 [nr. 838), cf. also pp. 76 and 103.

12 FM I, p. 141 = OY II, p. 320 [497); FM I, p. 490 = OY VII, 261 [332). 13 Chapter 11: FM I, pp. 140-141 = OY II, pp. 317-321 [493-498); chapter 59:

FM I, 290-292 = OY IV, pp. 330-340 [452-468); chapter 72: FM I, p. 677 = OY X, pp. 129-132 [106-109); chapter 238: FM II, pp. 538-540; chapter 291:

FM II, pp. 652-655; chapter 348: FM III, pp. 197-206; and chapter 390: FM III, pp. 546-549. The major chapters on time are each introduced by a few lines of Ibn al-'ArabI's poetry, cf. FM I, p. 291; II, p. 538; II, 652; III, p. 546. As is well known, the author uses poetry as a preferred method of exposition. He captures the gist of his thought in the beauty of poetic form frequently for the pedagogic purpose of memorization. I translate the poetry as follows:

FM, I p. 291 (meter: al-basTt): "If you have fully understood the fruits of

. time,

time is clearly recognized, known to be the child of imagination.

Similar to the natural world, its power lies in its effect;


~i!;:~j L~,....._. _ ----------- -...... -- --_.__..~ ---- _- ~

-- --~-~--------- -


three principal notions which had been current in Islam for centuries: dahr, zamdn and waqt" His method of exposition is highly deductive. The examples he uses illustrate apriori rea so-

ning; they are not the basis for aposteriori inferences. Nev irtheless, his thought is original in the way it combines an atomistic notion of time as waqt and a theological vision of time as dahr with a partly cosmological, partly relative understanding of time as zamiin. The following analysis follows the current order of the major chapters on time in the "Meccan Revelations", supplemented, where appropriate, by other passages of the work.

in itself, however, time, just as nature, is a non-entity.

All things receive their particularity through time

although it itself has not being ('ayn) through which to rule.

Human intelligence cannot grasp its form, wherefore we say, time (dahr) is imaginary.

Had it not honored His transcendence, God would not have called His existence by time's name; thus in man's heart it is glorified.

Strictly speaking, time takes its origin from eternity (azal), even while ruled over, its own rule is eternal.

Like the depths of space it is a limitless extension,

possessed of no physical shape; imagination alone gives it body."

FM II, p. 538 (meter: al-basitv: "You are always qualified by the 'moment

always witnessed by the rule of the moment. in time' ~waql),

It is God who makes my moment the place to witness Him,

for included in the moment are good and evil deeds.

Each moment is infused with significance by the Merciful One,

who rules us through law, faith and the experience of divine oneness."

FM II, 652 (meter: al-basit]: "I took an oath by time (dahr) that time has no

nevertheless it is grasped by intelligence. being of its own,

Had I sworn by time, I would have sworn by non-existence,

doing it unwittingly, nay perjury- is plundering (God).

Know, one acknowledged by neither mother nor father resembles the one cut off from the divine decrees.

Only one in whom the divine gifts of knowledge mount up, is accepted by God and belongs to Him.

He is like one lost in an ocean without a beacon, in waves of whim and fancy he is tossed.

Without wealth you are handed over to poverty, only to be guided by the guide of the mind."

FM III, p. 546 (meter: aI-wiiftr): "If we were to say that quality is itself an

then where is the one who is qualified by it? entity,

The true divine summons was addressed to us,

we took it because it was issued by Him;

For God has neither partner nor simile,

and no substance does reveal Him.

If you realize the secrets of your roots in Him, then gain and save knowledge because of Him!

Whenever you say, I did not come to be without Him, then the reversal of this word and fact is His too.

When you understood my words, my friend, you are certain, therefore you would not ask, Who are you? and, Who is He?"

14 Cf. G. Bowering, "Ideas of Time in Persian Mysticism," Iran 30 (1992), pp.77-89.

2) The cosmology of time.

In chapter 11 of the "Meccan Revelations'r'" Ibn al-Arabi combines a rudimentary understanding of the Ptolemaic framework of the universe with a myth of cosmological origins. He links these two ideas with a notion of time (zaman) inspired by the Qur'anic depiction of God's six-day work of creation: "It is God who created the heavens and the earth, [and what is between them,] in six days" (7:54; 10:3; 11:7; 57:4; cf. 25:59; 32:4; 50:38). Having begun His work of creation with the divine command, "Be!" (kun), God set creation into motion with the revolution of the spheres, bringing the days (ayyiim) into being in the first sphere of the mansions of the zodiac, and giving them visible existence in the second sphere of the fixed stars. Then God created the four elements, earth, water, air and fire; fashioned the seven storeys of heaven and earth, each with seven celestial and terrestrial layers; and placed one of the five planets, the moon and the sun in one heaven each. Through the creation of the sun, what we call "day" (yawm), the 24-hour period of an alternating night (layl) and day (nahiir), defined from sunset to sunrise and again to sunset, came into being. The days in general were created with the revolution of the first sphere. As a

15 FM I, pp. 138-143 = OY II, pp. 308-329 [477-513].



sequence of night and day, however, they came into being only with the creation of the sun."

Within this cosmological perspective a succinct definition of time is offered: "Time is the day" (az-zamiin huwa l-yawm). In the yawm, both night and day exist and join in the embrace of generative union, inspired by the Qur'anic verses, "He makes the night to enter (yiilij) into the day and He makes the day to enter into the night" (22:61; 31:29; 35:13; 57:6), or, "He covers the day with night" (7:54; 13:3), or, in reference to Adam and Eve, "when he covered her, she bore a light burden" (7: 189). Night is the father and day the mother. Both male and female can be neither active nor passive in this union. When day is covered by night, the individual things generated during daytime are the father's progeny (i.e. male offspring?). When night is overcome by day, the individual things born during nighttime are the mother's children (i.e. female offspring?). In this way human beings of either sex come into being." In another image of procreation inspired by the Qur'anic verse, "a sign for them is the night; We strip the day from it" (36:37), night is the mother from which day is born like a child from the mother's womb or a snake shedding its skin. This day just born is father to the offspring of the next night giving birth to its progeny in a new world. Day and night are thus fathers in one sense and mothers in another. In either case - night and day representing male and female in the embrance of union, or day born of the womb night - whatever God brings forth as their progeny in the world of the four elements is the offspring of night and day."

Ibn al-Arabi returns to the idea oftime as the days (a;yiim), consisting of night and daytime, in chapter 390.19 God, in His divine foreknowledge, made night enter, cover, or envelop day. We humans are the children of night and day's procreative union. Offspring that come into being in daytime have day as mother and night as father, while those born during night have

night as mother and day as father. This process continues in this world as long as night and day follow upon each other. While the night and day from which we were born have already vanished, the progeny of the next day and night, though similar to us, are not our siblings because they are the fruit of a new day and night (gadldiin). In the world to come, however, the full day (yawm) is divided into the totally separate darkness of night and the light of day, night belonging to hell and day to paradise. Thus the generation that comes about in hell and paradise, respectively, is not due to a marriage union (nikiih zamiinii of night and day but resembles the generation of Eve from Adam or Jesus from the Virgin Mary."

3) The atomism of time.

Having explained the cosmogonic origins of time, Ibn al-Arabi examines in chapter 238 the atomistic aspect of time understood as "moment" (waqt).21 In his view, waqt is "the time of the present state (zamdn al-lJiil) that is neither tied to the past nor linked to the future."n This "moment in time" is a thought moment between two moments that are non-existent, the preceding one that has ceased to be and the one following which has not yet come. In apparently contradictory wording, waqt is "a non-existent thing that has no being" (amrun 'adamiyyun Iii wugiida lahu )23 or, "a thing between two non-existent things that has being" (amrun wugiidiyyun bayna 'adamayn'[" Succinctly, waqt is "that in which you are" (mii anta bihi),25 "that in

16 PM I, pp. 140-141 = OY II, pp. 317-319 [493-495~ 17 PM I, pp. 141 = OY II, pp. 319-320 [496-497].

18 PM I, pp. 141 = OY II, p. 320 [497].

19 PM III, pp. 546-549.

20 PM III, p. 548.

21 PM II, p. 538-540.

22 Ibn al-Arabi, al-Istiliihiit, Beirut 1969, p. 285, quoted by S. Hakim, al-

Mu'gam, p. 1226. .. .

23 PM I, p. 490 = OY VII, p. 261 [332]. 24 PM II, p. 538.

25 PM II, p. 539.


which and upon which you are" (mii anta bihi wa- 'alayhi)26 or, "that in which you are without respect to past and future.'?"

This momentary condition in which one happens to be, is described in another passage as the instant that "rules you" (alhdkim 'alayka) or "takes charge of you" tal-qd'im bika) and the moment in which you are witnessed (maShUduka) by God. Seen from God's vantage point, waqt is the very entity of the divine name ('ayn al-ism al-iliihi) in which a human being subsists in the present moment; but it holds no sway over the preceding or the following moment." In this precise waqt "the divine law summons you to moral action in the present condition" ('ayn md lJiitabaka bihi as-sur' bi'I-IJiiI).29 Ibn al-'Arabi's understanding of waqt is based on Sufi definitions quoted anonymously: "The moment is a file that abrades you without erasing you;,,30 "the moment comprises the gifts of God's providence which humans meet unexpectedly and without any choice of their own;" "the moment is what God exacts from you and effects in you;" and, "the moment is everything that holds sway over you and in so doing is the pivot of everything.'?'

Ibn al-Arabi is most inspired, however, by the Our'anic phrase "every day He is upon some task" (kulla yawmin huwa fi sa'nin, 55:29) which he renders as, every moment God is engaged in some important task. By substituting waqt for the Qur'anic day (yawm), Ibn al-Arabi shifts into his ontology and advances an atomistic theory of time. Waqt has its root (a~l) in divine nature (iliihiyya) and its branches (jar') in the manifest existence (wugiid) of the created world (kawn). The tasks (su'iin) God is concerned with at every moment become manifest in the poten-

26 FM II, p. 538. 27 FM II, p. 133. 28 FM II, p. 486. 29 FM II, p. 539.

30 A definition cited on the authority of Abu 'Ali ad-Daqqaq (d. 405/1015), cf.

Ousayri, Abu l-Oasim 'Abd al-Karirn b. Hawazin, ar-Risiila al-qusayriyya, eds, 'Abd al-Halim Mahmiid and Mahmud b. as-Sarif, 1-2, Cairo 1385/1966, p. 190; tr. R. Gramlich, Das Sendschreiben al-Qusayris iiber das Sufitum, Wiesbaden 1989, p. 108.

31 FM II, p. 539.



tialities of the possible beings (a'yiin al-mumkiniit) that are thought contents of the divine mind, while the moment, defined as "that in which you are" (rna anta bihi), can be said to denote the preparedness (isti'diid) of the human being to actualize them.

The possible beings pass from the realm of potentiality to the world of actual existence through the act of divine foreordination, yet only those possibilities are actualized for which the human being possesses the dispositio. Thus the existence of the created world includes the actual existence of a person's preparedness, i.e. the coming to pass of the "moment". In this sense, it may be said that "the origin of waqt derives from the created world and not from God" (asl al-waqt min al-kawn Iii min al-haqqy and that "the author of the moment is the created world" (fa-sahib al-waqt huwa l-kawn).32 And the most perfect human being, the pole (qutb) and mirror of God (mir'dt al-haqqy; may be defined as "the possessor of the/moment (~iil'fib al-waqt), the eye of time ('ayn az-zamany and the mystery of destiny (sirr al-qadary=" In Ibn al-'Arabi's view there is an infinite cluster of moments, conceived as time atoms without duration, but they are mere instances of preparedness in which are actualized those possibilities that God has ordained to be effected in a human being. A man of mystic insight realizes that he is the son of his moment (ibn waqtihii, as expressed in the old Sufi saying.

4) The dynamic nature of God's time.

Ibn al-Arabi reflects on the time (dahr) possessed by God in the short chapter 72 that deals with the times of prayer tmiqdt azzamiin) observed during the Muslim pilgrimage (f!agg).34 Time may be understood as merely denoting the relation between the subject (jii'il) and object (maf'iil) in the moment of the action

32 FM II, p. 53S. 33 FM II, p. 573.

34 FM I, p. 677 = OY X, pp. 129-132 [106-109].


(fi'/). The action itself, namely the act of creation - the Creator creating the created world - neither unites nor separates subject and object; it simply denotes the fact of their reciprocal relatedness. God has two relations to all things, time and space. Time denotes the relation in answer to the question, "when?", while space denotes the relation in answer to the question, "where?".

This relation "time" corresponds in God to the divine name dahr meaning "time". It can be understood in two ways, above nature (fawqa ~-~abl'a) and below nature (tahta ~-~abl'a). Time below is a reflection (ma~har) of time above. Time below becomes distinct and discernible with the revolution of the spheres. The temporal course one supposes them to follow is an imaginary one because time is an unreal, imaginary expanse (imtidiid mutawahham) like empty space that has neither extension nor volume. In this sense, time is non-existence ('adam) possessed of no being (Iii wugiid). Time that is above nature, however, becomes distinct and discernible through the present states (ahwiil) occuring in a thing possessing existence (amr wugudi) which the name, dahr, calls forth in the mind."

In a long passage of chapter 291 purporting to deal with the origin of time (sadr az-zamiin),36 Ibn al-Arabi envisions the universe as having been fashioned in the image of the human being, the crown of creation. Everything has its origin (sadr]. Time, too, has its precise point of beginning. With dahr the origin lies at the divide between eternity a parte ante and a parte post, while zamdn originates in the moment when primordial matter receives form, just as the beginning of night is the extinction of the last evening glow and the beginning of day is the first ray of the rising sun." Making a fast switch from the cosmic realm to personal experience, Ibn al-Arabi anchors the origin of motion and rest in day and night. Night is the time of rest (zamiin as-sukiin) which one likes to spend in conversation (musiimara) with a trusted friend, for night is the source of love

35 .kM I, p. 677 = OY X, pp. 129-132 [106-109].

36 FM II, 652-655; in fact, only a small portion of the chapter treats time. 37 FM II, 652.

and mercy contrary to the day, the locus of motion and activity (maha/l ai-haraka'[/"

. .

In chapter 348, Ibn al-Arabi further develops his dynamic understanding of God as time (dahr) by comparing the nature of dahr with that of the human heart (qalb). In a familiar Arabic pun, the heart is so called because God makes it fluctuate from one mood to another (taqub), i.e., the heart changes. The nature of time (dahr) also includes change; its inherent quality is transition itahawwulv and alteration (qalb). God is time. He undergoes transition in fashioning the forms (suwarv of creation and "every day (yawm) He is upon some task" as stated in the Qur'an (55:29). The day is the measure of the divine life-breath (nafas) that ensouls all living beings by virtue of this particular divine name, dahr. Observing his heart, man perceives that its moods do not remain steady and unchanged and concludes that there would be no basis for this constant change of the heart, were the divine root, in which it has its origin, immutable rather than capable of change. This can be illustrated by the image of man's heart held between two fingers of the Creator. It is the Merciful iar-rahmdns who infuses life into the soul, turning the heart in His hand as He pleases. This insight into the presence of changing time in God, moreover, is rooted in the old Sufi maxim, "he who knows his own self, knows his Lord (man 'arafa nafsahii 'arafa rabbahii)."39 It may also be confirmed by another line of argument: God's time (dahr) knows no cessation because "there is no leisure for the rule of this time" (Iii fariiga li-hukmi hiidfi d-dahr) in either the upper or lower world."

In the same chapter," Ibn al-Arabi's description of God as time moves to a definition of dahr as a single day (yawm wiilJid) without night or daytime. This beginningless and endless day is divided into many days, the "Days of God," by the properties of

38 FM II, 652. 39 FM II, 199. 40 FM II, 199.

41 FM III, pp. 197-202.


the divine names and attributes." In a crucial passage he argues:

God apprised us that He is time (dahr) and possesses days. These are the days of God (ll}Ytlm Allah) which receive their particular being in the world as properties of the divine names. Each name has days, which are the time (zaman) of the ruling property of that name. But all are God's days and all are the differentiations of time (dahr) in the world by virtue of the ruling property. These days penetrate, enter and cover each other. This is the diversity of properties that is seen in the world at a single time (zamiin wahid). It derives from the commingling, covering, resumption and repetition of the days. Each of these divine days has a night and a daytime.43

The night of these divine days is the "unseen," the upper world that is invisible, while their daytime is the visible lower world, from the bodies down to their elements. In other words, each divine name, whether known to us or not, has a "day in time" (yawm fi d-dahr) and thus all things are really divine days. All human beings take their ultimate origin from God in a cosmic descent from the level of the divine names, passing through the day of the First Intellect (yawm al- 'aql al-awwal) to the level of the universal soul (an-nafs al-kulliyya) where they divide into night and daytime, i.e. the invisible and visible worlds. The pattern of a corresponding night and day marks all following levels of cosmic descent, from the sphere of the constellations and the sphere of the fixed stars down to the corporeal world, as explained in a lengthy repetitive section."

5) The relative nature of time.

The theological implications of Ibn al-'Arabi's concept of time (zaman) are crystalized squarely in chapter 59.45 He interprets

42 FM III, pp. 202.

43 FM III, pp. 201; for a somewhat different translation of this passage see Chittick, Sufi Path, p. 395.

44 FM III, pp. 202-203.

45 FM I, pp. 290-292 = OY IV, pp. 330-340 [452-458].


the Qur'anic passage, "Say: He is God, One, God the Everlasting, who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone" (112: 1-4) as meaning that God is the First, prior to whom there was nothing, and the One, with or next to whom there is no other thing (amr zii'id). God is the necessary being (wagib al-wugud) who is self-subsistent in His essence, absolutely independent of everything else. The existence of the world (wugud al- 'alam) can only be explained with respect to God, and it is necessary that He has a relation to the created world, a nisba, designated by such terms as the divine will (iriida, maIl'a), knowledge ('Um), power (qudra) or others. These attributes are eternal and inseparably one with God. They denote, however, nothing but God's relation to the world, also called time (zaman). Though a mere relation, time in this sense is real, having neither beginning nor end. But "real" time has no separate existence from which anything that possesses being could originate, for such time is a mere relation, not being.

In its other sense, understood in the temporal world here and now, time (zaman) is an imaginary notion that has no existence per se, as explained in a crucial passage:

Know that the relationship of eternity (azal) to God is the same as the relationship of time (zaman) to us. The relationship of eternity is a negative quality (na't salbl) that has no entity ('ayn), and thus no existence can derive from this reality. In the case of the possible thing, however, time is a nonexistent relationship of imaginary existence (nisbatun mutawahhamatu 1- wugud). This is why we can meet each thing we posit with the appropriate question 'when?' (mati i) - 'when?' being the question that relates to time. It necessarily follows that time is an imaginary thing (amr mutawahham) that is not possessed of existence.f

Then Ibn al-'Arabi turns to God's "time" and states,

The reason why God predicated time of Himself is stated in the Qur'an which says, 'and God has knowledge of everything' (48:26) and, 'to God belongs the command before and after' (30:4). The Sunna confirms the same point in answer to thequestion, 'where was your Lord before He created the world?' If time were a thing possessing existence in itself, God's trans-

46 FM I, p. 291 = OY IV, p. 335 [461].


---------, ~- -

cendence (taniih aJ-~aqq) above contingency (taqyTd) would not hold, since the rule of time (hukm az-zamiiny would put limits on Him, and since, as we have realized already, the forms of contingency and what follows from them are a thing possessing existence.47

of cosmic nature (tabi'a, which is prior to its infusion with the life of the Universal Soul and above the 'dust' of prime matter) that mirror the four divine properties (a1!kiim) of life, knowledge, power and will. The year is divided into four seasons

. '

sprmg, summer, autumn and winter, indicated by the passage of

the sun through its heavenly mansions (buriig). The four elements, fire, air, water and earth, and the four humors of the body, gall, blood, phlegm and bile, are rooted in the four quarters of a mansion. Most humans calculate lesser time by the solar year according to months, weeks and days, on the basis of the sun's passage through its twelve mansions. The Arabs, however, follow the divine division of the year according to the moon's passage through its mansions in months of 28 days each. The day in lesser time, measured from sunrise to sunrise for instance, reflects a complete revolution of the outer sphere as we perceiv~ it. In fact, however, there is only one limitless, infinite revolution of the outer sphere. We humans impose upon it the periodic breaks of beginning, end, resumption and repetition, and thus calculate our lesser time on the basis of days."

. Using examples from Scripture, science and mystical experI~nce,. Ibn al-Arabi illustrates the limitations of the way in which time IS cOI?monly measured. First, the divine measure of days follows a different order, for the Qur'an holds, "surely a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of your counting" (22:47) and, "a day whe;eof the measure is fifty thousand years" (70:4). Furthermore, in the days of the Antichrist, one day may be like a year, a month or a week while others are like normal' days. Second, astronomical calculations are based on the revolution of the outer sphere and the position of the fixed stars in comparison with the lower sphere of Atlas that has no asterism but is measured by 360 degrees, each degree accounting for 100 years. According to historical works, however, the pyramids of Egypt were built when the star "Vulture" (oosr) stood in Leo; today, it stands in Capricorn! Third, Ibn al-Arabi describes walking around the Ka'ba in mystical trance and meeting a man who

Following this crucial passage, Ibn al-Arabi quotes definitions of time then currenct in Muslim thought. The philosophers define it, he notes, as "an imaginary duration (mudda) measured by the motions of the spheres," while the theologians describe it as "the continuum that links one event to the other (muqdrana hddit /i- 1!iidit) answering to the question 'when?'" The definition' Ibn al'Arabi finds best links his theology of time with his cosmology is the traditional Arab understanding of night and daytime constituting the full day (yawm) as measured from sunset to sunset."

Now night and day originate in the well-established constancy of the great motion (al-haraka al-kubrii), the revolution of all the spheres, including the sun. All things that exist, however, belong to existence that is subject to motion. Since time pertains to motion itself, time cannot be possessed of existence, and thus the argument concludes that time is an imaginary thing (amr mutawahham). While in common experience this imaginary time is measured by days, weeks, months, years and eras, in the future age of the Antichrist (daggiil), Islamic tradition states that individual days may have the length of a year, a month or a week. Such differences in the measure of time, when predicated upon our present temporal world and the future days of the Antichrist, again proves the imaginary nature of time."

As he systematically reflects on temporal measurement in yet another passage." Ibn al-Arabi distinguishes "great time" (azzamdn al-kabiri of the upper world from "lesser time" (az-zamiin as-sagtri of the lower world. Great time has a fourfold measure, into years, months, weeks and days. It reflects the four seasons

47 FM I, p. 291 = OY IV, p. 335 [461].

48 FM I, p. 291 = OY IV, pp. 335-336 [462].

49 FM I, p. 292 = OY IV, pp. 336-338 [462-466]. 50 FM III, p. 548-549.

51 FM III, p. 548.





claimed to be his ancestor of some 40,000 years ago, a time span which would place the ancestor before Adam. Confronted with this antinomy, the man replies, "Which Adam are you talking about, the one closest to you or another?" Recalling a tradition of the Prophet that God had created a 100,000 Adams, Ibn al'Arabi awoke and realized that time is both relative and limitless."

For Ibn al-Arabi the measurement of time can also be taken as an argument for its infinite nature, because measured time (az-zaman al-fard) can be divided into ever smaller segments, such as hours, minutes, seconds, and so on ad infinitum. Time, like number is therefore infinite. While what is counted in measuring time is finite, and hence possessed of individual existence, the process of measuring time is an infinite series of atoms (al-gawhar al-fard) just as space is.53 In this sense it can be said, as stated in another passage, that time (zaman) is one of the original irreducible elements of existence (ummahiit alwugud), along with substance, accident and space."

6) The reciprocal nature of time

tions of time notwithstanding, it is a mere relation originating whenever "when?" is asked. All the various particles of grammar denoting temporality are attributes of time, but the object "time" is itself a nonentity. Time is an imaginary continuum that has no limit at either end. Humans call it past when something has gone by, future when something is expected to happen, and present when something occurs here and now. The sense humans possess of time can be illustrated in Ibn al-Arabi's view by mental experiments, such as the relative nature of the answer, "at sunrise!", to the question, "when did Zayd come?", or the limit (lJadd) of time marked by a point on the circumference of a circle that can be imagined either as the end of time passed or the beginning of time to come."

Since the beginning can be the end and the end the beginning, the very non-existence of either terminus of time ('adam tarafay az-zamdn'i is equal to "pre-eternity" (azal) and "posteternity" (abad). The only permanence is the time of the present state izamiin al-lJiil) of the "now" (aI-an) which, when posited, affirms the reciprocal nature of time between God and the world. In the "now," neither God's eternity nor man's moment cease to be. On the contrary, they both exist. We seek to contain the cluster of "nows," imagined in a continuum from past to future, in a vessel (~arf) that imagination alone conceives as an infinite receptacle.

Finally, in chapter 390Ss Ibn al-Arabi focuses on the reciprocal nature of time (zaman). "I", man, and "You", God, do not have time separately on our own; rather "You are my time and I am YourS."S6 This equation is rooted in the Prophet's tradition that "God is time (Alliih huwa d-dahr), "repeating the term found in the Qur'an, "and nothing but time (dahr) destroys us" (45:24). Dahr's destructiveness, in Ibn al-Arabi's understanding, is actually God's since God has always known that time (zaman) is a relation having no being per se. The manifold human depic-

The insight you gained through the power of imagination - an insight that is neither perceived by intellect nor sense perception - is that of the true existence (al·wugiid al-haqq) to which we are related in our existence; and so, this relation is called time, dahr. ~t alone rules everything that may be imagined to be under the sway of time (zaman) for there is no ruler but God alone.58

Such is the paradox that ultimately captures the relativity of time with regard to Creator and creature: "The time (zaman) of the Lords is the one who is 'lorded over' (marbiib) while the time of

52 FM III, pp. 548-49.

53 FM I, p. 292 = OY IV, p. 338 [467]. 54 FM IV, p. 404.

55 FM III, pp. 546-549. 56 FM III, p. 546.

57 FM III, p. 546. 58 FM III, p. 547.

the one 'lorded over' is the Lord (rabb )."59 God and world are relative in time to each other as illustrated by Ibn al-Arabi's examples such as Zayd's fatherhood of 'Amr implying 'Amr's sonhood of Zayd, the reciprocal relationship of king and kingdom or owner and property, and the subject-object relation of the act of knowledge or will." God alone, everlasting existence, is time, dahr, ruling everything, not some imaginary flux of time, zamdn, though imagination captures a trace of that dahr in the time of the present moment.

7) Conclusion.

The imaginary zamdn can be understood through two principal models: that of cosmology and that of relativity. The cosmological model is based on an image of the universe that is largely derived from the Ptolemaic system of the spheres and the myth of creation known from Scripture. Its central notion is the idea of the complete day, yawm, a sequence of night and day that complement each other like male and female or like activity and passivity. Night and day come into being with the revolution of the spheres setting the universe in motion, but become discernible only through the creation of the sun and its course. Through the subsequent generative union of night and day, representing reciprocally matter and form, human beings of either sex come into being.

In the model of relativity, however, God and the world are seen as the two terms of a relation between the Creator and the creatures. Time viewed from the side of God, above nature as it were, is real but has no existence apart from Him. Perceived from the vantage of humans, i.e. "below" and within nature, time is imaginary and lacks any existence of its own. Whether conceived from the human or the divine side, time is a mere relation. Yet this mere relation is infinite just like empty space. It can be divided into ever smaller or larger time segments in a duration that has neither beginning nor end. Such limitless duration of past and future is a creature of our imagination, devoid of real existence. There is, however, an implicit link between our imaginary time and real time which can be aptly described by an image Ibn al-Arabi resorts to: The point along a circle may be seen as the separating point (lJadd) between past and future. While having no extension whatsoever, this point of the "now" is still part of the actual extent of the circular line. In other words, although a product of our imagination, time is, in each moment, the virtual and actual object of interaction with eternity. Eternity belongs to God alone, but God's creature has the present moment.

What conclusions can be drawn from the foregoing analysis of the concept of time in the "Meccan Revelations," a work with which Ibn al-Arabi tinkered for thirty years? It is known on the basis of the Prophet's tradition, argues Ibn al-Arabi, that God is time, (dahr). His time is everlasting, it is eternity, beginningless and endless (azal and abad). Man, too, may be understood as being, not having, time (waqt) for he is called in Sufi language the son of his moment (ibn waqtihis. Man's time is momentary. It is the present state (l}iil) , a moment as real as God's everlasting time. This moment is the reflection (rnazharv of God's eternity, here and now, in man's mere receptivity or preparedness for God's action to occur at each and every instant of human life. Seen in this way, there are two levels of time: that of God and that of man. Yet both levels transcend what we ordinarily call time because God's time stretches out to eternity while man's time shrinks to the mere instant, a dot without duration. Caught between these two modes, the divine everlastingness and the human momentariness, we humans entertain a notion of time, zamdn, that is imaginary and subjective, though inspired by the real and objective time of dahr and waqt.

59 FM III, p. 547.

60 FM III, pp. 547-548.




Ash-Shi'ru shai'un hasanun

Arabische Gedichte aus sechs lahrhunderten in deutscher Ubertragung

Arabische Dichtung in gereimte deutsche Verse zu iibertragen, ist mir immer als ein besonders schwieriges Unterfangen erschienen. Ich habe daher bei meinen zahlreichen (noch unpublizierten) Versuchen zwar eine rhythmisierte Sprache benutzt, aber auf Reime, oft auch auf ein bestimmtes Metrum verzichtet. 1m Folgenden werden der Jubilarin die wenigen arabischen Gedichte, die ich in gereimte Verse, z.T. sogar in Ghaselform, iibertrug und fiir den vorliegenden Zweck mit Titeln erganzte, unterbreitet. Sie reichen chronologisch von der Friihzeit (Djamil, 'Umar ibn abi Rabi'a) bis ins 13. Jahrhundert (Shushtari), inhaltlich von Liebesgedichten, darunter das reizvolle Zwiegesprach des Waddah al- Yaman, und Weingedichten, darunter zwei prachtige Tavernenszenen des groBen Abu Nuwas, bis zu autobiographischen Skizzen, darunter vor allem das hintergriindige, auf den nahen Untergangvorausweisende Gedicht des Eintagskalifen Ibn al-Mu'tazz, vom scharfziingigen Spott des skeptischen Abu l-Ala' al-Ma'arri iiber einen unfahigen Astrologen bis zum Lob auf die Dichtung und - das wird Frau Schimmel besonders goutieren! - auf einen treuen Kater im Hause des groBen Abu l-Faradj alIsfahani, dem Lob auf einen Weinkelch und, in reizvollen kleinen Dinggedichten, "ekphrastischen Epigrammen" des Abu Talib al-Ma'miini, auf einen Krug, einen Palmfaserkorb, eine Urinflasche und ein Badehaus, vom Machtrausch eines Kalifen bis zum Lob der Geniigsamkeit, des Reichtums der Armut, aus dem Munde eines Mystikers, formal vom Ghasel bis zum Strophengedicht, Muwashshah und Zadjal. Mage die verehrte Jubilarin, deren reicher Born poetischer Ubertragungen aus sieben verschiedenen orientalischen Sprachen sich jungst in dem pracht igen Buch Nimm eine Rose und nenne sie Lieder! niederschlug, dieses schmale arabische Rinnsal huldreich entgegennehmen.



Khwaja Khurd's "Light of Oneness"

Annemarie Schimmel has been a pioneer in bringing to the attention of Western scholarship some of the treasures of Indian Sufism, but it will take many years before all the leads she has provided in her works are followed up. Among the many Indian authors who remain practically unknown is 'Abdallah ibn Muhammad Baqi Billah. Baqi Billah, a shaykh who was instrumental in establishing the Naqshbandi order in India, died at the age of forty in 1012/1603, when his son 'Abdallah, who came to be known as Khwaja Khurd, was two years old. Baqi Billah is most famous as the master of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1034/ 1624), who proposed the idea of wahdat al-shuhiid as a corrective to wahdat al-wujiid, the supposed position of Ibn al-'Arabi Khwaja Khurd, like many of his contemporary Sufis, does not seem to have had too much sympathy with Shaykh Ahmad's claims.'

Khwaja Khurd's major work seems to be the Arabic alFawd'ih (The fragrances), whose title is more likely inspired by the Lawd'ili of 'Abd al-Rahman Jami than the Fawd'ih al-jamiil of Najm al-Din Kubra, given the Naqshbandi lineage of both Jarni and Khwaja Khurd and the Fawd'ih'» similarities in both form and subject matter with the Lawd'ih, The author explains that he called the work Fawii'ih "because its gnostic sciences spread their fragrance from the gardens of holiness upon the sense of smell of the hearts of the possessors of intimacy." The reference to intimacy (uns) recalls Jarni's Nafahdt al-uns.

About half the work, which fills forty-seven folios of fifteen lines, deals in short sections with basic metaphysical teachings of

1 Cf. Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent (Leiden-Cologne: Brill, 1980), p. 91.


Ibn al-'ArabI's school. Khwaja Khurd also devotes four folios to his father's disciples from whom he took spiritual benefit and to his silsila, and finally he turns to explaining the eight principles of N aqshbandi practice (principles that Jami discusses at the end of his Sharh-i rubii'iyyiit). Many of the details of the last section are derived from his father's teachings, though he mentions others as well, including Ibn al-'ArabI.

The tone of the main body of the Fawd'ih. follows that established in the first few sections:

Fragrance: The heart is a reality that collects together all realities, which are like the shadows and effects of its allcollecting reality. Your I-ness is the spirit of the cosmos. If you are delivered from delimitation and the outward boundaries of Adam's manifestation, then you will reach non delimitation.

Fragrance: Collectedness [jam 1 is permanent awareness of the Essence, or witnessing the Essence in the many things. The former pertains to the beginning [of the path], and the latter to the end. As for witnessing only manyness, even if oneness is intelligible within it, or witnessing manyness and oneness together without witnessing the relationship between them, both are dispersion [tafriqa].

Fragrance: A group has supposed that tawhid is in shuhiid, not wujud, but they have not reached the reality of the station. Another group has verified that wujiid is the same as shuhiid and that the shuhiid that opposes wujiid is of no account. So free yourself from the vision of duality at the outset.

had no ambition.' The clear distinction that Khwaja Khurd draws between Shaykh Husam aI-DIn and Shaykh Ahmad suggests that he also was not impressed by SirhindI's claims:

Among this elevated group is the great and established shaykh, the Pole, our master and shaykh, Shaykh Husam aI-DIn Ahmad. He is the true successor [khallfa] of the greatest shaykh and imam [i.e., of Baqi Billah], He is the most perfect of his companions and, after him, undertook to train his children and his companions. He aided the right religion and strengthened the elect path. In secret and in hiding, he resided in the highest level and the most perfect degree. He ascended to the Divinity [al-Iahut] in the year 1043 and was buried behind and facing our shaykh ... From the beginning of my life to the end of his life I was looked upon by his solicitude, and I became the object of divine solicitude through his aspiration [himma]. He is my spiritual guide, my kibla, and my shaykh in reality.

Among them was the knowing, gnostic, pious shaykh, the possessor of stations and states, the propagator of the Shariah and the Tariqah, our shaykh and master Ahmad ibn 'Abd al-Ahad al-Faniqi. I reached a number of levels through his presence. He imparted the Tariqah and the invocation [dhikr] to me and gave me permission to teach them. He died in the year 1034 and was buried in Sirhind.

This third fii'iFfa rejects the position of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi rather explicitly. In case there is any doubt that this is what is at issue, the second section of the work provides more evidence. There Khwaja Khurd first praises his father's spiritual rank, then mentions a long list of his disciples. He begins by mentioning the person whom he considered his own shaykh, Husam aI-DIn Ahmad. Rizvi tells us that this well-known shaykh showed little interest in Sirhindi's wahdat al-shuhiid, but that he got along well with Sirhindi nevertheless, since, in contrast to the former, he

Khwaja Khurd wrote a number of short Persian works.' Two of them, Partaw-i 'ishq (The radiance of love) and Niir-i wahdat (The light of oneness), were published together in Delhi a hundred years ago." Partaw-i 'ishq deals with the mysteries of the divine and human lover and beloved, while Niir-i wahdat guides the seeker in establishing oneness. The Persian of both is simple and poetical, though the author cites practically no poetry. His often ecstatic style and his love for paradoxes are sometimes reminiscent of works slightly peripheral to Ibn al'Arabi's school such as Ahmad Balyani's Risdlat al-ahadiyya. But, in contrast to Balyani, Khwaja Khurd combines a vigorous

2 SAA. Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1978-1983), vol. 2, p. 195.

3 For the shortest, see W. Chittick, "Risala-yi 'arif-i Khwaja Khurd," Sufi 4 (1368 [1989]), pp. 22-25; translated by idem as "Khwaja Khurd's Treatise on the Gnostic," Sufi 5 (1990), pp. 11-12.

4 Rasd'il-i sitta-yi dariiriyya (Delhi: Matba'a'-yi Mujtaba'i, 1308/1891), pp. 79- 100.



Praise belongs to God! Praise belongs to God, for my soul's beloved and my companion in the two worlds is related to me through unity. He sees none but Himself in me and does not consider me anything other than Himself. Now that this vision and knowledge have reached perfection, He wants to speak within the curtain of me. He reports on the states of loverness and belovedness. He prepares a treatise explaining the mysteries that are both hidden and open. The hidden mysteries are the mysteries of belovedness, while the open mysteries are the mysteries of loverness. Before finishing, He calls this treatise "The Radiance of Love."

The first words that the lover says to his beloved and the slave says to his companion are these: "0 true and metaphorical lover, 0 companion of religion and this world, the business I have with you cannot be put in order through writing, nor can it be finished through speaking. Now you must write and speak."

o Sayyid! I am not I, nor are you you. For I am you and you are I.

When in eternity without beginning you wanted to disclose yourself through loverness and companionship, you became manifest within the curtain of me through loverness and slavehood so that your belovedness and companionship might become manifest. In this manner, I am your beloved, since your

belovedness appears through me. And you are my lover, since my lovemess comes to be through your love. How could you be the beloved? 1 am bewildered. Are you beloved or am I? Am I lover or are you? Beware, beware! What kind of words are these? I am nothing. Whatever exists is you. Both lover and beloved are you ...

o Sayyid! I remember the time when the relationship of unity [itti~ad) dominated over the relationship of love. The relationship of love had no manifestation whatsoever; it was contained and concealed within the relationship of my unity. Suddenly a dividing line appeared within the circle of unity. I became I, and you you. When this state appeared, my glance fell upon you, and yours upon me. Until you desired, this glance remained behind the curtain. But when the time arrived for the return of the shadow to its root and the arrival of the lover at the beloved, the relationship of love came to dominate and the relationship of unity was concealed. A situation arose that cannot be expressed in words. So much agony and pain appeared that it spread from the lover to the beloved and made the beloved appear in the form of lovemess. Little by little the business reached a place where the previous unity became manifest, and the dividing line began to move off to the side. If there is pain, it is this: This state cannot be permanent, since it has been established that the self-disclosure of the Essence passes like a flash of lightning and does not remain. Oh, the infinite pain, the endless agony!

o Sayyid! Let no one suppose that these words derive from the world of reality. On the contrary, they come from the world of metaphor [majaz), which is free of reality. And let no one suppose that these words derive from the world of metaphor. On the contrary, they come from reality and have been disclosed within the curtain of metaphor.

o Sayyid! Reality is identical with metaphor, and metaphor is identical with reality.

o Sayyid! One of your names is reality, and your other name is metaphor. Whatever name you call me by, you also call yourself by it.

assertion of the oneness of all things with an equally vigorous assertion of the necessity of observing all the details of the Shariah, the Tariqah, and ethical behavior in general.

Khwaja Khurd begins each short section of both treatises with the words "0 Sayyid." In Partaw-i 'ishq, he seems to be addressing God as beloved. But in Niir-i wahdat he has in mind the reader, who should dedicate his or her life to achieving oneness and actualizing the true state of being a sayyid or "master" of the human situation. Thus he writes in Niir-i wahdat: "0 Sayyid! If you want mastery [siyada], become one and be one."

The printed edition of Partaw-i 'ishq has too many mistakes to allow for anything but a tentative translation. However, I have been able to establish a good text for Niir-i wahdat with the help of two complete and one partial manuscript copies.' Hence I translate it in what follows. First I quote the first few paragraphs of Partaw-i 'ishq to suggest the flavor of the text:


In the name of God, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate

[On the blessed Friday night of the 'urs of Baha' al-Din Naqshband, the third of Rabi' al-Awwal in the year 1053 (12 May 1643), the manifestation of these mysteries began.]"

5 Published in Iriin-niima, vol. 11, no. 1, 1371/1993, pp. 101-120. The manuscripts are Institute of Islamic Studies (New Delhi) 3175; Andhra Pradesh State Oriental Manuscripts Library (Hyderabad) 906; partial handwritten copy of Kashmir University 2601.

6 This introductory paragraph is found only in the Rasii'il-i sitta edition.



Praise belongs to God! Praise belongs to God, for the Reality is brighter than the sun, and in every state the beauty of Oneness is seen in the mirror of manyness.

o Sayyid! This is a message to you from your own reality. I know that if you study it with the eye of aspiration, you will reach the reality from the form, and then the illusion of distance will disappear.

o Sayyid! One person gives news of distance, and that has a reason; another brings signs of nearness, and that also has a cause. Your reality, which speaks to you with the tongue of this message, informs of Oneness, where there is neither distance nor nearness. When Oneness dawns, distance and nearness are the same as Oneness.

o Sayyid! Each sect quarrels and debates with the other sects, except for the People of Oneness, for they are one with everyone, even though no one is one with them.

o Sayyid! From the conflicting and diverse paths and the contradictory and disparate schools the People of Oneness have extracted a sweet, subtle, spiritual school and a broad, allinclusive, sapiential path. Other than this specific path and special school, they also have a school that can be discussed. Hence it is said that the theologians say this, the philosophers say that, and the Sufis say such and such.

o Sayyid! Oneness is the inner dimension of manyness, while manyness is the outer dimension of Oneness. The reality of both is one.

o Sayyid! The Existent [mawjud] is one and appears in the form of illusory manyness.

o Sayyid! You have been brought from Oneness to manyness and shown the way from Unity to duality for the sake of a wisdom that He knows - glory be to Him! And His special servants also know it through His giving them knowledge. You have been made such that you have no news of the precedent Oneness - no trace of that state is found in you. Or rather, the Real has brought the whole cosmos from Oneness into manyness. After that, He acquainted a few of His servants with Himself without intermediary. He took them from manyness to Oneness, taught them the path of reaching Oneness from manyness, and

sent them to manyness, such that they saw Oneness in manyness. He told them to teach others this path. They obeyed His command and made the path known. Everyone who acted according to that road and followed that group reached Oneness from manyness and Unity from duality. Those great men are the prophets, and that road of arrival is the Shariah and the Tariqah.

o Sayyid! The Shariah consists of a few acts to perform and a few to be avoided, as explained in the books on jurisprudence. The Tariqah consists of the refinement of character traits, that is, transforming blameworthy attributes into praiseworthy attributes. It is also called "traveling in the homeland" and "wayfaring. ,,7 It has been mentioned in detail in the books of the shaykhs, especially those of Imam Muhammad Ghazali, Some of the rules of conduct [adab] and occupations [ashghal] that the shaykhs have devised are included in the Tariqah.

o Sayyid! The Shariite rulings, which are based on duality, bring about the arrival at Oneness through their specific characteristics. Their mystery is known only to God and His elect. The fact that practices related to manyness bring about the arrival at Oneness provides an allusion to the fact that manyness is identical with Oneness. Understand!

o Sayyid! The ritual prayer, fasting, alms-giving, hajj, and their like bring about the arrival at Oneness through their specific characteristics. They cause the arrival at Oneness on condition that they be performed sincerely for God, as the authorities have explained. In this connection the meaning of "for God" does not enter into everyone's understanding, and something different will occur to each person's mind. However, it is necessary for the seeker of Oneness to think as follows: "I make the intention to pray or fast," for example, "for the sake of my own reality and its wujiid, that is, finding [yaft] my own reality, since I have lost it; through this act of worship, my desire is that Oneness - which is identical with God - should become manifest."

o Sayyid! The worshiper is He and the worshiped is He. He

7 "Traveling in the homeland" (safar dar watan) is one of the eight Naqshband! principles, while "wayfaring" (suliik) -is a term employed universally"



8 The Kashmir University manuscript adds here the following sentence in explanation: "that is, Oneness is the same as manyness, and manyness is the same as Oneness."

9 Here the printed edition adds two sentences that seem to be interpolations:

"Hence Oneness is the same as manyness, and manyness is the same as Oneness. In other words, in his essence and attributes the worshiper, who dwells in manyness, is identical with Oneness in acts and effects."

must be lifted through imagination. Night and day you must dwell in imagining Oneness.

o Sayyid! If you want mastery [siyada], become one and be one. "To become one" is that you come out of the illusion of duality, and "to be one" is that you always remain upon oneness and in oneness. Dispersion of thoughts, heartache, and grief all derive from duality. When duality leaves the gaze, ease and stability become possible. Then you will never be afflicted with heartache and will acquire ease in the two worlds, since ease lies in nonexistence.

o Sayyid! When you reach the reality of tawhid and when oneness becomes your attribute, you will know that your relationship to the Real after wayfaring has not increased in any way. It is the same relationship that you had before wayfaring. Or rather, your relationship before existence and after coming into existence also the same. Indeed, you have found a knowledge and acquired a certainty that will never be erased by water or fire. From eternity without beginning to eternity without end the Real exists and none other. Never did any other come into existence. No credit can be given to an unreal illusion.

Zayd became ill by thinking that he was 'Amr and hearing about the attributes of Zayd from the people. He set out searching for Zayd. When his illness was eliminated through good cures, 'Amr was nowhere to be found; there was only Zayd.

Thirty birds [sl murgh] set out looking for the Simurgh. When they reached the waystation, they saw that they were the Sirnurgh.

The Real knew Himself through His own attributes. These are the realities of the things. Then He showed Himself to Himself through those attributes. This is the cosmos. Where is the other? How should the other have come into existence?

o Sayyid! When you have recognized the reality of the affair as being like this, you will have come to know that nearness, distance, and equidistance all derive from illusion. When was there distance that nearness should come into being? When was there separation that connection should be achieved? If you meditate upon the world for a thousand years, you will never find anything other than Nondelimited Reality, which is identical

is the worshiper at the level of delimitation and the worshiped at the level of Nondelimitation. The levels as well as the distinctions within the levels are intelligible affairs. Nothing is found [mawjUd] but one Reality, which is pure Being [hasn-yi ~il:f]' Understand!

o Sayyid! When you look carefully, you will see that blameworthy character traits, which must be eliminated through the Tariqah, are all based upon and impart awareness of alienation [blganagl] and duality, while praiseworthy character traits, which must be acquired, all provide news and knowledge of acquaintance and Unity. Hence the seeker of Oneness cannot escape from the Shariah and the Tariqah, even if he does not know at the outset the secret of how they bring about arrival. But provided he has the affinity and thinks carefully, he will usually come to understand in the manner that I have indicated."

o Sayyid! All these occupations, invocations, meditations, acts of turning the attention, and paths of wayfaring that have been devised by the shaykhs are meant to eliminate illusory duality. Hence you should know that what separates Oneness - the Real - from manyness - creation - is nothing but illusion and imagination. In reality, it is Oneness that appears in the form of manyness and the One that enters vision as the many. In the same way, a cross-eyed person sees one as two, a spinning point is seen in the form of a circle, and drops of falling rain enter vision in the shape of lines."

o Sayyid! A gnostic of high degree used to say, "Being a dervish is to correct the imagination." In other words, nothing other than the Real should remain in the heart. In truth, he spoke well.

o Sayyid! Since the veil is nothing but imagination, the veil



with Oneness. Or rather, no essence, no attribute, no genus, and no direction, whether external, mental, or illusory, will be found that is other than He. All is He and He is all.

o Sayyid! Whatever enters perception is He, and whatever does not enter perception is also He. That which is called "existence" is His manifestation, and that which is called "nonexistence" is His nonmanifestation. The First is He, the Last is He, the Nonmanifest is He, the Manifest is He, the nondelimited is He, the delimited is He, the universal is He, the particular is He, the incomparable is He, the similar is He.

o Sayyid! Though He is all, He is pure of all. This nondelimitation of His has another relationship, different from the nondelimitation in respect to which He is identical with all. No unveiling, rational perception, or understanding attains to this nondelimitation. This is the meaning of "God warns you of Himself' [Koran 3:28].

o Sayyid! Witnessing Him takes place in the levels of manifestation. Sometimes it takes place outside the levels of manifestation, and this witnessing is like a flash of lightning. It cannot last. Both reaching it and its not lasting are requirements of human all-comprehensiveness, which is the most complete locus of manifestation.

o Sayyid! The gnostic has no higher station than this. In this station there is universal annihilation and sheer nonexistence. This is one of the universal kinds of resurrection.

o Sayyid! These gnostic sciences in this station have been written in approximation. What the wayfarer must have is the thought of Oneness that we mentioned. He must strive in it night and day in order that the illusory manyness, which enters the gaze as otherness, be eliminated from his gaze and become the mirror of Oneness. Then the wayfarer will see none but One, know none but One, and call upon none but One.

o Sayyid! The path of invocation [dhikr] is as follows: "No god," that is, all things that are witnessed are not, in the sense that they are lost in the Oneness of the Essence and absorbed within Him. "But God," that is, the Oneness of the Essence is manifest in the form of these things and witnessed by the gaze. Hence the things are nonmanifest in Him and He is manifest in

the things. So He is both the manifest dimension of the things and their nonmanifest dimension. In the things, there is nothing but the manifest and the nonmanifest. Hence the things are not the things; rather, they are the Real. The names of things given to the things depend upon the viewpoint, and that also is identical with the Real.

o Sayyid! The path of meditation [muraqaba] can be understood from the preceding discussion in diverse ways. Meditation is the observation of the meaning of Oneness in any way that this can be done. If contemplating and imagining words becomes the means for the intellection of meanings, this is called "invocation", whatever the words may be, whether "No god but God" or the word "Allah" alone. If the intellection of meanings takes place without imagining words, this is "meditation" or "turning the attention" [tawajjuh]. The modes of this latter are many, as can be learned from the books of the great masters. The goal is for the meaning of Oneness to become established in the heart.

The invocation of the word "Allah" is as follows: the person turns his attention toward the heart reality [lJaqiqat-i qalbiyya] through the visualization [t~awwur] of the lump of flesh inasmuch as this heart reality is the locus of manifestation for the Real; he imagines the word Allah and applies it to the heart reality.

o Sayyid! If you turn your attention toward yourself and are able to put this attention in right order, then this business will easily be taken care of.

o Sayyid! Your body is the form and locus of manifestation for your spirit and is not other than it. Your spirit is the locus of manifestation and form of the Real and is not other than He. Both of these forms - the corporeal and the spiritual - are illusory. When you say the word Allah in your imagination, turn your attention toward the reality that is manifest in the form of these two illusions and know that "I am exactly that." Then there is hope that you will be able to witness Oneness in manyness.

You have to know that whatever enters your gaze has a form, a spirit, and a reality. Its form is its "kingdom" [mulk] and "human domain" [nasat], its spirit is its "dominion" [malakat], and its reality is its "invincibility" (jabarnt] and "divine domain"



[lahut], which consists of the Essence and attributes of the Real, that is, the "specific face" [wajh-i k~~] of that thing, which is identical with non delimited Reality.

o Sayyid! The "invincibility" is the attributes, and the "divine domain" is the Essence. The attributes are not other than the Essence. Of course, in unveiling and witnessing, the viewpoint of difference appears. This takes place in the station of actualizing the self-disclosures of both the attributes and the Essence. But until now we have viewed the Essence and the attributes as a single level because of the identity.

o Sayyid! The cosmos is the Real's knowledge. It has become manifest through the self-disclosure of the Essence, which is alluded to as alij. And knowledge is identical with the Essence.

o Sayyid! Nondelimited Reality has infinite manifestations, but its universal categories [kulli}Yat] are five: The first manifestation is that of undifferentiated knowledge. The second manifestation is that of differentiated knowledge. The third manifestation is that of spiritual forms. The fourth manifestation is that of imaginal forms. The fifth manifestation is that of corporeal forms. If you take the manifestation of the human being separately, the universal manifestations are six. These manifestations are called the five or six "descents" or "presences."

o Sayyid! The human being comprehends all manifestations, and this all-comprehensiveness can be explained in many ways.

o Sayyid! You should know that the human reality has a manifestation within all levels in a form appropriate to the levels. All realities are the forms of the human reality, and this reality is prior in level to all realities, even if its manifestation takes place after all levels.

[0 Sayyid! In the sura of the Opening, the beginning of the majestic Koran, is found "Praise belongs to God." Its meaning is that being the praiser and being the praised belong exclusively to Him. In other words, He is the praiser and He is the praised. In every state, in every attribute, in every place, and in every form, there is no praiser or praised other than He.]lO

10 This paragraph is found only in the Rasa'il edition.



o Sayyid! At the beginning of the sura of the Cow is found "Ali], Lam, Mim," Alif alludes to ahadiyya [Unity], the first letter of which is alif. Lam alludes to 'ilm [knowledge], the middle letter of which is ldm, Mim alludes to 'dlam [cosmos], the last letter of which is mim. In other words, Unity took the form of knowledge, and knowledge the form of the cosmos.

o Sayyid! What is necessary for you is the intellection of the meaning of Oneness, continual meditation upon it, and reaching the differentiated details of these gnostic sciences. At the beginning, nothing will be of any use. When, through the divine solicitude, the meaning of Oneness sits in the heart and the image of duality is lifted, a limpid purity will come to you such that all knowledges and realities will be unveiled to you, and nothing will remain hidden. As long as manyness has not left your gaze and the illusion of duality remains, correct knowledges will appear only with difficulty.

o Sayyid! You have to put yourself through a few days of discipline [riyaqa]. You must spend your breaths in this thought: that the image of the unreal should depart from the midst and the image of the Real sit in its place.

o Sayyid! Until this image has been established within you and has overtaken your outward and inward dimensions, you must not turn your attention toward anything. Once this image has been established and dispersion and duality are eliminated, nothing will be able to trouble you, since unreal illusion does not trouble the Real Existent.

o Sayyid! The relationship of the Real to the cosmos is like the relationship of water to snow, or rather, it must be considered even closer than that. Or, it is like the relationship of gold to the ornaments that are made from it, or like the relationship of clay to the vessels that are made from it. All of these are one.

o Sayyid! The relationship between the cosmos and the Real appears:

In the word "from", since the cosmos is configured and appears from Him.

In the word "to," since the cosmos returns to Him. This issuing forth and returning take place in eternity without beginning,


eternity without end, and in all temporal moments, since at each moment the cosmos goes back to the Reality and comes out from the Reality, like the waves of the ocean.

In the word "in," since the cosmos is in the Real and the Real is in the cosmos. In one respect one of them is the locus of manifestation, and in another respect the other.

In the word "with," since without doubt the withness of the Essence, the attributes, and the acts is actualized.

In the word "is identical," since the cosmos is identical with the Real and the Real is identical with the cosmos.

In the word "is not," since in one respect the cosmos is the cosmos and the Real is the Real; the cosmos is not the Real, and the Real is not the cosmos.

o Sayyid! In one respect, He is incomparable with all interrelationships, and between the cosmos and the Real there is no interrelationship. This viewpoint is called "nonentification" [la ta 'ayyun ].

o Sayyid! First the traveler must turn his attention toward the mime Manifest. He must know with certainty that it is He who appears in all forms and meanings and that there is no form and no meaning that is other than He. I have written this repeatedly, for emphasis, and I will write it again. The point is this: You must keep the thought of Oneness with yourself, and you must lose yourself in that thought. Once you have become drowned in that thought, you will also take a share from the name Nonmanifest.

o Sayyid! If you busy yourself for years with worship, obedience, and invocations and remain heedless of Oneness, you will be deprived of union [was!], even if wondrous states and qualities show themselves and' lights and visionary events are disclosed.

o Sayyid! A state that you imagine to be union and whose fruit is not the science of Oneness is not union in reality. That which has manifested itself is one of the levels of manifestation, not the true goal. For the goal has no delimitations; it is manifest in all and identical with all. When something becomes manifest that is different in any respect from another thing, it is not the station and goal.


o Sayyid! Since the reality of the situation is like this, you must from the first meditate upon the Nondelimited, so that no distance will remain.

o Sayyid! Dispersion and duality will stay so long as you do not see all as one and know all as one. When you see all as one and know all as one, you will be delivered from dispersion and duality, and naked union will be achieved.

o Sayyid! When you see all as one, all will no longer remain.

On the contrary, one will remain, nothing else.

o Sayyid! Between you and the goal there is no road. The road that appears is simply that you consider Him as separate from yourself and other than yourself. When you come to know that you are not, then there is He, nothing else. No road remains. The collectedness of the heart, freedom, knowledge of self, knowledge of the Real, annihilation, union, and the perfection of nearness are here achieved, and the work is done.

o Sayyid! When you reach the station where you do not see yourself and you see Him, you can rest. In respect to you, this world and the next world will be one. Annihilation and subsistence, good and evil, existence and nonexistence, unbelief and Islam, dea th and life, obedience and disobedience, all remain behind. The carpet of time and space is rolled up.

o Sayyid! When you no longer remain, nothing remains, since everything is tied to you and your thoughts.

o Sayyid! Know that everything is in you, and everything outside of you has no existence. When you empty yourself of all things, nothing remains.

o Sayyid! You have no existence save in the Real, while all things exist in you. When you take yourself to the Real and you throw yourself into that shoreless ocean, this means that you have gained awareness of this attribute. All things become lost with you in that ocean.

o Sayyid! If you look carefully, you will know that the I-ness that appears from you does not derive from you and that you are not this body and spirit. In the whole universe, there is only one who says "I." His I-ness is disclosed everywhere.

o Sayyid! The sign of reaching Nondelimited Reality is that the I-ness that appears from you can be applied to all things


without effort, and that you can say "I" for all things. Here it is known that the veil is nothing but the entification of I-ness.

o Sayyid! There is One Essence and the whole cosmos is His attribute and stands through Him. That Essence is manifest and found through this attribute.

o Sayyid! It is that Essence Itself which became the essences, and it is that Essence Itself which first became Its own knowledge and then assumed the form of the knowledges of the world. It is that Essence Itself which is Its own power and all powers. It is that Essence Itself which is Its own desire and all desires. It is that Essence Itself which is Its own hearing and all hearings, Its own seeing and all seeings, Its own life and all lives, Its own act and all acts, Its own speech and all speech, and so on. It is that Essence Itself which is its own Being and all beings.

o Sayyid! Whatever has come into the world of manifestation was hidden in the Essence. Then the Essence disclosed Itself in its form, first in Its knowledge, then in Its entified existence. The Essence took on its color, and it took on the color of the Essence. That which was hidden in the Essence was certainly identical with the Essence, since other than a thing cannot be in a thing. So that Essence Itself dealt with Itself. It exercised loverness, brought servanthood and Godhood into the midst, and set up the workshops of eternity without beginning and eternity without end.

o Sayyid! Imagine that you are still there where you were in eternity without beginning, so that you may become free and never again see the face of dispersion, grief, and affliction.

o Sayyid! Your spirit is He, for you live through Him. Your heart is He, for you know through Him. Your sight is He, for you see through Him. Your hearing is He, for you hear through Him. Your hand is He, for you grasp through Him. Your foot is He, for you walk through HimY

11 Here of course there is an allusion to the famous hadith. qudsi in which God says, "When I love him, I am his hearing through which he hears ... ".


o Sayyid! Every one of your outward and inward parts and organs is He, since the work of that part and organ is performed by Him. The totality of your organs and parts is He, since you are you through Him.

o Sayyid! He-ness, you-ness, and l-ness are all His attributes.

There is no one else.

o Sayyid! Tawhid is the attribute of the One, not of the I or the you. As long as I and you remain, there is association, not tawhid.

o Sayyid! When you go, that is "annihilation" [{anal When He comes, that is "subsistence" [baqal

o Sayyid! "Wayfaring" is your effort and the elimination of duality. "Attraction" is your going to Oneness.

o Sayyid! Through wayfaring and attraction, annihilation and subsistence, the name of "friendship with God" [waliiya] is realized.

o Sayyid! Display need for all things, for they are identical with the object of your search. Show friendship to your enemy, since he is also your goal.

o Sayyid! Look upon yourself with the gaze of love, for you are identical with the Beloved.

o Sayyid! All these are necessary in wayfaring.

o Sayyid! Throw good and bad into the ocean of Oneness so that you may become acquainted with Reality.

o Sayyid! If I say "Oneness" much, it is little, and ifI say it little, it is much. The beginning of this knowledge is contained in the end, and the end is included in the beginning. It has neither beginning nor end. How long should I speak? How long should I write? I do not speak, nor do I write. Reality Itself is conversing with Itself.

o Sayyid! When you go to sleep, make this intention: "I am going to the world of nonmanifestation and returning to my own reality." When you wake up, know this: "I have returned to the world of manifestation and have descended from nonmanifestation to manifestation." You must arise before dawn and ask forgiveness. Say, "0 my Reality, pull me to Thyself, conceal me from myself, and bring me out of duality." Perform the prayer of tahajjud and, if you have memorized the Sura Yasin, recite it in


your prayer. For this is the choice of the Khwajagan'i' of this world and the next. Then busy yourself with thinking about Oneness, until it is time for the morning prayer. When you finish the prayer, you must sit, whether you want to or not, facing the kibla meditating upon Oneness, except in unavoidable circumstances. When the sun rises, perform four rak'as to greet it, reciting Sura Yasin once. If you can recite it in all four rak'as, that is better. In the same way, recite Sura Yasin once after each ritual prayer, since it has many benefits. When you recite the ritual prayer and the Koran, you must not lose the thought of Oneness. You should know that He Himself worships Himself and He Himself recites His own speech.

o Sayyid! It is necessary for the wayfarer to observe all the Tariqah's rules of conduct. There is no room for the details of these rules in this treatise, since brevity is desired. That which can be written for the seeker is as follows: He must sleep less. When sleep becomes necessary and overcomes him, he must sleep in the thought that I wrote. Food and drink must be little - once in a night and day. But if he fasts, that is better. He must avoid eating unlawful food," since this is one of the causes of duality, alienation, and false imaginings. Everything forbidden by the Shariah and considered bad by the Tariqah is the same. Learn this principle well, since it is absolutely necessary.

o Sayyid! You must speak less and go alone to meditate upon and contemplate Oneness in retreats and deserts.

o Sayyid! Speaking brings the heart into motion, gives rise to dispersion, and makes you heedless of achieving Oneness and Unity. Do not speak except when necessary, and when you say something, speak briefly. Do not separate Oneness from your thoughts for an instant. When you sit in gatherings, be even more strict. Beware of letting heedlessness overcome you. Try to make that manyness the mirror and strengthener of Oneness.

o Sayyid! At the beginning you must try to the extent pos-

12 I.e., the shaykhs of the Naqshbandi Order.

13 Luqma-patishiini, apparently the opposHe of tuqma-parhizi, which the dictionaries define as taking care to be sure that one's food follows the rules of lawful (haliil) and unlawful (hariim).


sible to conceal these thoughts of yours. You must not show these words to everyone, only your special friends.

o Sayyid! You must make maids and servants, acquaintances and strangers, enemies and friends acquainted with Oneness. You must look upon everyone with the gaze of sincerity and the eye that sees Reality.

o Sayyid! Eliminate dispute and quarrels completely and place denial totally off to the side, so that Oneness may manifest itself. You must try hard not to allow anger and wrath to appear - how could there be any room for you to strike or beat? You must consider everyone excused, whether inside the house or outside the house. With children, relatives, and strangers you must be like the water of life. If someone should do bad to you, beware! Do not let your heart turn bad toward him or become upset. Keep him happy and content with you. Reward evil with good, for this is a universal principle in the Tariqah.

o Sayyid! Being alone and sitting alone greatly benefit collectedness.

o Sayyid! The seeker has one of two states: Either he has outward attachments or he does not. If he does not, his business will be easy. He must cut himself off from everyone, sit in retreat or in the desert, and turn his attention toward his own reality until the Reality discloses Itself and the illusion of duality disappears. Then whatever he does is fine.

If he has outward attachments and Shariite obligations, he must take care of them to the extent necessary. However, he must be extremely careful to do everything in accordance with the Shariah and the Tariqah and to avoid becoming heedless of contemplating Oneness, which is the Reality. He must strive hard in this work at night and busy himself with meditating upon Oneness. In daytime also he must set aside several hours for this business. He must increase it day by day until this meaning overcomes him and he is freed from all things.

o Sayyid! When the meaning of Oneness dominates and the divine gentleness manifests itself, all your obligations will be performed by you and you will have nothing to do with anyone or anything. God will be your representative and will take your place, while you will not be found in the midst.



o Sayyid! The companionship of this world and of the people of this world is harmful in the path of wayfaring. But if someone is entangled and is not able to cut himself off, then he must exercise extreme caution so that nothing will take place involving war with the Shariah, the Tariqah, and the Haqiqah. If he should fall short, he must return and make up for it.

o Sayyid! Never move around in the clothing of artificial formality [takalluj], and always keep something of the clothing of poverty.

o Sayyid! Always have presence of heart. Think not of the past or the future, and never let go of the observation of Oneness.

o Sayyid! Know that no death is worse than the death of not heeding Oneness, and no chastisement more difficult than the chastisement of distance from your own reality. Fear neither this death nor this chastisement, but turn your attention toward Oneness. Know for certain that all is one and that other than One does not exist. To the extent that this thought dominates, it brings felicity. When duality leaves a person's imagination, the resurrection takes place for him and he witnesses the Garden. He will be at ease for all eternity.

o Sayyid! Since such good fortune can be achieved in this world, why do you not try for it? Why are you heedless?

o Sayyid! A resurrection is coming for everyone and everything, and that is the return of all to Oneness. After the manifestation of the Whole takes place, all will have come forth to their own Root, but the joy that is appropriate will not appear to everyone, only to those people for whom the resurrection has taken place here. Hence you must strive so that the meaning that is promised to you will appear for you here. Then you will attain ease, and the joy that is appropriate will appear.

o Sayyid! The goal is simply that the illusion of duality disappear and that you not remain, that He remain, and no one else. All the prophets and the friends of God have agreed on this. In the divine scriptures, the prophetic hadiths, and the writings of the friends, there are many proofs of this. The great ones of each sect have upheld Oneness and all have said with one tongue that none exists but the Real. The cosmos is His form

and His manifestation, nothing else. I have in mind to write the evidence for these matters in another book, bringing also a few of the arguments that sound reason has deduced, God willing.

o Sayyid! Today is the end of time and soon the sun of Reality will rise from the west of createdness. Before the rising of the sun, its lights and effects will become manifest; the mysteries of tawhid will appear on the tongues of the elect and the common people, by their choice and without it, understood and not understood. So the seeker must collect himself and conceal himself from himself. The reality of Oneness must disclose itself to him as is proper. He must not be satisfied with words spoken by the tongue.

o Sayyid! God is the Nondelimitedand Muhammad has

brought the truth. .




Witnessing the Rose:

Ya'qub Sarfi on the Vision of God in Women

Ya'qub Gana'i Sarfi (1529-94) was an eminent scholar and Sufi from Kashmir. He memorized the Koran at seven and is said to have composed his first Persian poetry at eight, the age when he became a student of Mulla Muhammad AnI of Khuttalan, a disciple of the famous Sufi poet 'Abd al- Rahman Jami, With his tutelage he became skilled in the art of riddles (mu'ammii), an art in which Jami composed four treatises. According to Sarfi's own account, AnI gave him the pen-name Sarfi and guided him on the Sufi path while he was still young (bi sinn-i saghiram nakard na:;ar mara dar tasawwuf shuda rahbar).l According to some sources, AnI called him the "Second Jami.'? The name "Sarfi" may not refer to his skill in grammar (a field in which Jami was a master), but rather to his aspiration to spend (~arj) his life and the two worlds for God's sake. That at least is what he implies in some of his poems.'

It is said that the patron saint of Kashmir, Sayyid 'All Hamadani, instructed Sarfi in a dream to receive initiation at the hand of the Kubrawi shaykh Kamal aI-DIn Husayn Khwarazmi (d. 958/1551), by whom he was received in Samarqand at the age of nineteen." Sarfi became a shaykh in his own turn, establishing the Kubrawl lineage in Kashmir.' He numbered

1 Muhammad Sadiq Niyazrnand, "Mawlana Sarff Kashmiri wa shi'r-i ii," Diinisb [Kashmir University] 7 (1984-85), p. :21.

2 G.L. Tikku, Persian Poetry in Kashmir (Los Angeles: University of California

Press, 1971), pp. 52-53.

3 Niyazrnand, "Mawlana Sarff," p. 22.

4 Tikku, Persian Poetry, pp. 52-53.

5 D. DeWeese, "The Eclipse of the Kubraviyah in Central Asia," Iranian Studies 21 (1988), pp. 74-75.


among his disciples the famous Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, who traces through him one of his two links to Najm al-Din Kubra." He was a good friend of Shaykh Salim Chishti and accompanied him on a pilgrimage to Mecca in the year 964/1557, remaining abroad for some years.' It was probably during this trip that he met Shah Tahmasp the Safavid in Qazvin." Sarfi impressed Humayiin and became attached to Akbar's court during the early years of his reign. According to Rizvi, Akbar sent him as his envoy to the court of the rulers in Kashmir in 1582.9 He led a delegation of Sunni nobles from Kashmir to Akbar to protest against the intolerance of the Shi'ite ruler of Kashmir, Ya'qiib Shah. Akbar responded by annexing Kashmir in 996/1588.10

Shaykh Ya'qiib is said to have written twenty-four books

il '

mostly in prose. Among these are an incomplete Koran com-

mentary and a commentary on Bukhari's Sahih. U Most of his works seem to be on Sufism, and certainly' the' verses cited by G.L. Tikku in Persian Poetry in Kashmir fit into this category.

Perhaps Shaykh Ya'qiib's most important prose work is Rawd'ih, written in imitation of Jami's well-known Lawd'ih. Jami's influence is clear both in style and content. If we can take Shaykh Ya'qiib's Rawd'ih as typical of his accomplishments, it is easy to think that Mulla Muhammad had Sarfi's devotion to Jami in mind when he called him the "second Jarni." Certainly one has to agree with Annemarie Schimmel that Shaykh Ya'qiib was "a poet of mediocre quality.':" His prose likewise, though fluent and pleasant enough, lacks Jami's mastery and depth.

The topics that Sarfi discusses in Rawii'ih include the usual discussions of the Di~ine Essence, the Five Di~ine Presences, the

6 Ibid., p. 75.

7 S.AA. Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1978-1983) II, p. 280; Niyazmand, "Mawlana ~arfi," p. 24.

8 Niyazrnand, "Mawlana Sarff," p. 25.

9 SAA. Rizvi, Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's

Reign (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1975), pp. 189-90. 10 Encyclopedia of Islam (new edition), vol. 4, p. 7::J8a.

11 Tikku, Persian Poetry, pp. 54-55.

12 Ibid., p. 55; Niyazmand, "Mawlaria Sarff," pp. 39-40.

13 Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent (Leiden: Brill, 1980), p. 47.


immutable entities (a'yiin-i thiibita), the various worlds, and so on. Like Jarni in Lawii'ili Sarfi intersperses the prose sections with his own quatrains. In the final two verses of the work, Sarfi gives us through abjad the date of composition (976/1568-69) and boasts in the traditional poetical style of his own accomplishment:

Rawd'ib is not less in meaning than Lawii'ih,

no indeed, Rawd'ih is more. .

When I looked for its 'date, reason said, "Rawd'ih is much more than Lawd'ih"

Though much of Rawii'ih's content would be familiar to those who have read Jarni's prose works, Sarfi investigates one topic that is not often discussed outside the commentaries on Ibn al'Arabi's F~~ al-hikam: the manner in which the Sufi shaykhs - the gnostics - experience the most complete unveiling of God's reality through women. The Fusiis passage is well-known and has often been quoted."

Though Sarfi quotes only two lines from the Fusiis and two short passages from the Futiihdt, he provides a relatively detailed and systematic explanation of some of Ibn al-'Arabi's ideas. What he has to say is not very profound as a commentary on Ibn al-'Arabi, but it is highly interesting as a reflection of the way in which Ibn al-'Arabi's thinking was being received and interpreted in the far-flung areas of the Islamic world. In what follows, I translate the passage from Rawd'ih in its entirety:"


14 Cf. Schimm~l, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1975), p. 431. I provide a full analysis with reference both to Ibn al-'Arabi'sFutiihiit and the commentaries on theFusUs al-hikam

in The Tao of Islam (Albany: SUNY Presss, 1992), chapter 6." .

15 The text here is based on two late but rather carefully copied manuscripts from the Kashmir University library in Srinagar: 6579 and 47175. Rawd'ib is

said to have been printed, but I have not seen a copy. .


The sweetest of formal enjoyments and the most pleasurable of outward delights is found in sexual intercourse with women. Through this act the people of caprice (ahl-i hawii) aim to give the soul's appetite (shahwa) its full due. But for the gnostics, the lights of certain mysteries become manifest in this affair that the people of exoteric knowledge are incapable of grasping. The reason for this is that when God made women lovable and honorable to his beloved prophet (God bless him and give him peace!) - as he said, "Three things of this world of yours were made lovable to me," etc. - this was not for the sake of giving appetitive gratifications their full due. God forbid! Never! On the contrary, this was for the sake of certain witnessings (mushiihadiit) and [divine] self-disclosures (tajalliyyiit) that appear. For the Prophet was loved by God, and God is jealous, or rather, more jealous, as the Prophet said: "I am jealous, but God is more jealous than I." The lover's jealousy (ghayra) refuses to let his beloved love another (ghayr), so how could the lover make another lovable to his beloved?

I am jealous of everyone who passes by your lane and takes a glance at your beauty.

I desire that none should incline toward you and that you incline toward no one.

TJlUs the law of jealousy requires that the Prophet's love of women through God's making them lovable to him should be identical with love for God, not love for the other. For the Prophet used to witness God in a perfect manner; necessarily, he followed the path of being a lover of them outwardly. The author of the Fusiis says, "This is why the Prophet loved women - because of the perfection of witnessing the Real within them.''"

o you whom my heart desires

and toward whom it looks from every side -

A nightingale, I incline toward witnessing the rose, since she has the sign of your color and fragrance.

16 Fusiis al-hikam, edited by A. 'Afifi (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Arabi, 1946), p. 217; cf. Murata, Tao, p. 193.


Ranking in the degree of witnessing depends upon the different levels of love. Both in respect of the quality of being a lover and that of being a beloved, love is at root an attribute of the Divine Presence (mighty and exalted are His attributes!). God gives news of this with His words, "He loves them and they love Him" [Koran 5:54]. In keeping with the fact that Nondelimited Being - which is identical with the Essence of the Real - permeates the possible things, the attribute of love also permeates the existent things. Hence, no existent thing is empty of love.

Your love is the salt on being's table

throwing everyone - human or angel - into tumult.

No atom is empty of your loving kindness -

both the seven earths and the seven heavens are full.

In heartache the tulips stay in mountain and desert - you have to say that they are lovesick and mad.

Within their breasts, tom into a hundred bloody pieces, your love has stamped the black brand of love.

In longing for you the nightingale laments and clamors, in love for you the rose tears its shirt to shreds, My heart weeps in yearning for you, and I also - neither whole nor part is empty of your love.

Since the divine attribute of love permeates women in a perfect manner, the witnessing of the Real in this group will have the same quality. Thus he says in the F~i4, "The witnessing of the Real in women is the greatest and most perfect witnessing.t''"

The proof that the perfection of the attribute of love is found in women is that the woman brings together the levels of being both the lover and the beloved. Just as the man wants the woman, so also the woman seeks the man. Without doubt, when both levels of love disclose themselves together in a single place, its manifestation there will be in the perfect manner. Or rather, it is the Real's attribute of loverness and belovedness that becomes evident and apparent there. The reason is what I mentioned: Love with its two sides - loverness and belovedness - is an attribute of the Real at root, and it has permeated the

17 Fusiis, p. 217; Murata, Tao, p. 193.


existent entities in keeping with their permeation by existence. Just as, in reality, there is no existence but God, so also there is neither lover nor beloved other than He.

o seeker of Joseph in the clothing of Jacob!

In the form of Joseph, you are sought by Jacob.

Since neither Joseph nor Jacob is other than you, by God, you are both lover and beloved!

The fountainhead of love between a couple is that the woman is derived from the man and the relationship of wholeness and partness and the intimacy of rootness and branchness are established between them. Necessarily, each one of whole and part and each one of root and branch has the innate disposition of loving the other.

Far from you, my heart lost restraint and rest -

in the affliction of separation, it weeps and sobs, You are the root and I the branch whose soul inclines helplessly toward the branch's root.

Especially since the woman was derived from the left side of the man - which is the place of the heart - the heart inclines helplessly toward her.

When that rose-bodied cypress showed her face,

she robbed my awareness and reason with one look, Since her palm-tree stature rose from my heart's garden, my heart cannot help but incline toward her.

Know that in both the man and the woman there is the perfection of witnessing in respect ofloverness and belovedness, as was indicated earlier; and both of them are the unity that comprehends polar attributes, as will be explained. Hence this witnessing takes place in the most complete, perfect, and fullest manner through their coming together and the annihilation of each of them in the other. And praise belongs to God - mighty and high is He.

It should not be hidden that [1] one of the self-disclosures that occur during intercourse with women is the self-disclosure that results in the unveiling of the mystery of, "I am his hearing and his sight." The fact that God is hearing and sight is born


from love, as was explained earlier: "When I love him I am his hearing and his sight.''" Hence loverness and belovedness - which are indicated by the expression "I love him" - are similar to the couple, love is like the marriage act, and His being the hearing and sight is like the child.

If you find a place in the sanctuary of union in truth God will come to love you.

The result of love is that God becomes

your hearing, sight, and all your faculties.

It seems that their words, "the marriage act that pervades all atoms.t''? consists of this love that pervades every existent thing in respect of the all-pervasiveness of existence.

[2] Another self-disclosure [that occurs during intercourse] is one that results in the unveiling of the mystery of the entering of the nighttime into the daytime and of the daytime into the nighttime. Thus God says, "Thou makest the nighttime to enter into the daytime and Thou makest the daytime to enter into the nighttime" [3:27]. The events that become manifest as a result of this entering in take the place of children. The Shaykh says in the Futiihdt, "Nighttime and daytime are two fathers in one respect and two mothers in another respect. The productions that God brings forth from them in the world of the elements when they are turned around are called the children of daytime and nighttime.'?"

What at last will be opened up from day and night?

I will see.

What will come from their turning 'round?

I will see.

The two of them are parents.

Thus the master said,

"The night is pregnant, what will she bear?

I will see."

18 Here there is reference to a famous hadith qudsi.

19 This is the name of a lost book by Ibn al-Arabi, and he sometimes employs the expression in his writing (Murata, Tao, p. 147).

20 Cf the similar passage quoted from the Futiihdt in Murata, Tao, pp. 146-47.


[3] Also among them is a self-disclosure that results in the unveiling of the mystery of the marriage of the high fathers, which are the spheres, with the low mothers, which are the four natures; from these are born the three children [i.e., the three kingdoms]. These four natures take the place of the four legitimative wives in our shariah. The joining of the luminous rays of the stars to these wives is like the marriage act, and the movements of the spheres and the planets are like the movements of the male in intercourse.

When men reach their desire in women

an effusion arrives from the disclosure of God's light.

A mystery that the stars have through the natures in truth appears through that self-disclosure.

[4] Also among them is the self-disclosure that results in the unveiling of the mystery of the Tablet and the Pen, or rather, the mystery of each thing that exercises an effect and each that receives an effect. These two, in respect of activity and receptivity, are like the couple, while the effectivity is like the intercourse, and what is produced from the effect is like the child. This rule is common to all crafts (~anii'i').21 Hence, through this self-disclosure the mysteries of all crafts are unveiled, and the scope of these mysteries leaves out nothing in the world of secondary causes and the causes of the world.

Whenever from union with the beauties of the world the lovers find the desire of heart and soul, They will see a self-disclosure and know from it

the mysteries of the world and its inhabitants.

[5] Also among them is the self-disclosure that results in the unveiling of the mysteries of the theoretical sciences that are born from the two premises, i.e., the minor and the major, which are like the parents. The middle term is like marriage, and putting the premises in order is like intercourse. That is why a syllogism that has no result is called "barren."

21 In the Futiihdt Ibn al-Arabi cites the example of carpentry (Murata, Tao,

p. 146). .


Whenever gazing upon the moon-faced beloved illumines the eye of your heart and soul,

A self-disclosure will come to you

that solves the mysteries of the theoretical sciences.

[6J Also among them is the self-disclosure that results in the unveiling of the mystery of God's attention toward bringing the creatures into existence, especially His attention toward bringing into existence the one whom He created in His own form. He proportioned him and blew into him of His own spirit in order to make him the vicegerent in the earth and witness His own Entity within him, as required by the perfection of distinct manifestation and distinct vision.22

o you from whom the uncreated light appeared

and in whom the eternal beauty became manifest.

God has created you in His own form

so He can gaze upon His own form in you.

In the F~~ the Shaykh has mentioned in detail how he who takes in marriage turns his attention toward the child and how He who gives existence turns His attention toward bringing the creatures into existence. You can study it there."

[7] Also among them is the self-disclosure of the transcendent Essence in respect of the fact that It is the unity of polar attributes, such as activity and receptivity. This is the level of the Pole (qu~b), a level that at root pertains exclusively to the Seal of prophecy, but, by virtue of deputyship, is shared by his perfect followers, as I have mentioned in detail more than once. Since intercourse with women gives rise to such a self-disclosure, the Prophet said, "Marriage is my Sunnah; he who turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me," that is, he does not have a Muhammadan locus of witnessing,"

12 This is one of Sadr al-Din Ounawi's technical terms (cf. Chittick and Wilson, Fakhruddin 'Iraqi: Divine Flashes [New York: Paulist Press, 1982), p. 21). 23 This point is not made explicitly in the F~~, but the commentators bring it out; cf. Murata, Tao, p. 193 and, for related passages from the Futiihdt,

pp. 147-53. .

LA The "Muhammadan" friends of God are the most perfect of those who


It should not remain hidden that the receptivity of the woman is completely obvious, and the activity of the man is also clear. But each of them can be both active and receptive such that the transcendent Essence, which is the Unity that brings together the polar attributes, discloses itself within each of them.

The man brings together activity and receptivity since he is active while the woman who is receptive is a part of him. Hence it is as if he himself is receptive. As for the fact that the woman brings together the two, that is because she herself is receptive, but because of being a part she has a share in the activity of the whole. Hence it is as if she herself is also active.

In addition, since each one of a couple attracts the spouse to him/herself, in one respect the first is active and the second receptive, and in another respect the second is active and the first receptive.

In any case, on the level of the unity of bringing together activity and receptivity occur the most perfect witnessing and the greatest self-disclosure. And God knows better the hidden things.

If that cypress with tulip cheeks and budlike mouth comes back to you displaying herself,

Then Sarfi, you should wash with your tears

the place where that flowing cypress makes her home.

inherit from the prophets. Cf. W. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), pp. 37~~ 79.

My dear friend, although you have learned rare wisdom, you should know - may God fix you on the clear Shariah - that the manifestation of these tremendous witnessings and self-disclosures in this affair takes place for the elect, not the common people. The elect reach this because of their perfection in following the best of all creatures - God bless him and give him peace! Following the Prophet on the outward level is to observe the rulings of the Shariah and on the inward level it is to pass over the stations of the Tariqah. However, the Tariqah cannot be separate from the Shariah, and the gates of the Tariqah cannot be opened without the key of the Shariah. On the contrary, traveling on the Tariqah without observing the Shariah is the path of the heretics of pagan persuasion. Thus [Suhrawardi] says in the 'Awdri], "Every reality rejected by the Shariah is heresy and paganism."

Since the felicity-necessitating Shariah rules that all Muslims, both the elect and the common people, must perform the major ablution after sexual activity, everyone must follow this ruling; they should leave the wisdom in it to God and the Prophet, like the wisdom in the number of cycles of the ritual prayer and other such things. Like the common people, the elect must tie themselves with the bond of obeying the Shariite ruling. A gnostic may advance to high stations and elevated levels and come to be described by the perfections of the gnostic sciences and be known for the degrees of the realities. But as long as his reason has not been taken away and his awareness has not been lost, he has no excuse for failing to observe the Shariite rulings. This is so even if, for example, a perfect gnostic should constantly, without break, at all times and in all states, witness and whisper secretly with the Presence of Majesty and Bounty. As for the practice of the ritual prayer, that is the place of secret whispering, as the Prophet said, "The person who performs the prayer is Whispering secretly with his Lord;" it is also the time of witnessing, as he said: "You worship God as if you see Him."

If you have a place in the sancturay of sincerity and purity the Essence's bringing together will appear from you.

Hence the light of witnessing that you will see from it is the greatest and most perfect witnessing.

As for the wisdom of the major ablution for the gnostics, that is as follows: Since their spirit is drowned in witnessings and selfdisclosures during intercourse, its attention to the body as it is will not remain. A body toward which the spirit has no attention has the property of a corpse. Hence, after the intercourse, when the spirit returns from drowning, it must exert effort to cleanse and purify the body so that it will be worthy of receiving the descent and rest of such a pure spirit, especially in such a moment, when the pure spirit has been illumined and adorned with lights that it did not possess before.



It is impossible for the gnostic to cease performing the prayer; or rather, abandoning it without an excuse is utter error and misguidance.

o you have reached perfection in the Tariqah

so that your heart overflows with the light of Reality!

With all this, placing your foot outside the Shariah,

by God, is misguidance, misguidance, misguidance!

disclosures, not to mention others that are known only through tasting and finding. How then could occupation with this affair, or with other enjoyments in which the appetite of the soul is less, bring about decrease and feebleness in their presence and witnessing?

Hence if the seeker who has not yet reached the degree of perfection and has not yet smelt the blossoms of mysteries or the tulips of realities attempts in matters like this to imitate those perfected and perfect human beings who have reached the goal, this will result in distance and deprivation and give rise to banishment and rebellion. He has no choice but to persevere in drinking down the bitter medicine of struggle and putting up with the heavy burden of discipline. Then, in keeping with the property of "Those who struggle in Us, surely We shall guide them on Our paths" [Koran 29:69], the door to the perfections of stability (tamkin) will be opened for him. Then, after the opening of the door, the likes of those formal enjoyments and mortal gratifications will neither upset nor harm him.

It should not be hidden that because of the perfection of selfmanifestation of the Real and the fact that His self-disclosure encompasses all things, He also discloses Himself to the gnostic in attributes of majesty through things forbidden by the Shariah. However, since these things are not approved by God, he strives to abolish them through the self-disclosure of beauty. In other words, he flees from the names and attributes that exercise their ruling authority over the loci of manifestation of severity and he clings to the names and attributes that exercise their ruling authority over the loci of manifestation of gentleness.

You may object that at that moment he is governed by that self-disclosure, so how can he try to abolish it? I reply: If he is like a person who has been so overcome and vanquished that his reason and awareness have been taken away, then he has an excuse. But if he is not like this outwardly, then the power of the self-disclosure will not have complete sway and mastery. Hence, with the help of the names of beauty he can attempt to repel it. Thus the Prophet said, "I seek refuge in Thy good pleasure from Thy anger."

Sarfi did not himself say that without toil and pain

no one becomes a jeweler from the treasury of gnosis.

Long before you and me religion's greats had said, "Without pain no treasure comes to hand."

Sarfi, why do you fan the fire of His severity?

Hold back from everything that stirs up His wrath.

Go from severity's locus to that of gentleness - flee from His severity to His gentleness.

My purpose in writing these matters concerning intercourse with women and my goal in speaking about these mysteries and gnostic sciences is as follows: The appetite of the soul is greater in the matter of sexual intercourse than in any other appetitive enjoyment. Nevertheless, in this affair there appears to the people of perfection the above-mentioned witnessings and self-