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The Supreme is then the im mutable entity of an existent thing, or the thing as it is known by God.

The properties of the existent thing arc determincd by its own reality or immutable entity. We have
seen that the divine names are rcfc-rred to as "realities" and that they are the archetypes of all created things. The "reality" of human knowledge is the divine name Knower, rhe reality of cosmic: life is the divine name Alive, and so OIl. If we consider the ninety-nine names of Goel as the universal realities of the cosmos, then each immutable entity can be called a particular reality, way of defining "reality" is to the nonmanifcst dimension of something that is manifest. The reality of all existent thing is not what we sec of it, but its immutable entity which is seen only by God and certain of His friends. And in considering the term reality (haqlqa), one must always keep in mind that it is sOO1erimes employed synonymously with "real," a word from the

Barzakh
answer that their reality is the Divine

icy of a thing"

Essence Itself (al-dhiit), which is dhdt alasmii', "possessor of the names." 13m strictly speaking, the Essence is beyond
knowledge or conceptualization, so this answer, though it may be true, docs not provide us with any new way of looking at things. In fact, says Ibn al-' Arabi, the "Reality of Realities" (lJaqiqat al/:!aqa'iq)-also known as the "Universal Reality" (al-~aq;qat aL-kuIliyya) -can be discussed and conceptualized. This doctrine Ibn al-IArab! claims as belonging exclusively to the Sufis, though he docs recognize that the Mu'tazilitcs had understood something similar.'" Another question: Where are the realities of things? We ha ve scc n that the first thing about which "whereness" call be posited is the Cloud, which was named in answer to the question, "Where was our Lord before He created the creatures?" And the name "Lord" demands the term "vassal." It can be employed as a description of any divine name that calls for the existence of an entity. Thus the Knower is the Lord, and the known thing is its vassal, the Creator is the Lord and the created thing is its vassal, the Powerful is the Lord and the object of power is its vassal. A "reality" by defi.nition is a nonrnanifcst root which has a manifest branch, just as the Creator is a llonmanifest root and the created thing is a manifest branch. Hence ill this sense of the term, a reality is a Lord, while the thing that manifests the reality in the cosmos is the vassal. According to this perspective. the question asked from the Prophet can be rephrased as follows: "When: were the realities before the vassals were brought into existence?" The answer is known: in the Cloud. Hence the Cloud is the Reality of Realities, whereas the Divine Essence or Heness Itself. which cannot be conceived as the Lord of an ything, is beyond the Cloud. Lordship is the rclarionship (Ili.<ba) of the He-ness to an entity. but the He-ness in Itself docs not require: any relationship;

One call it

same

root.

The RCOII is named the: Manifest and the Nonmnnifest. . "Reality" i~ the manifestation of the attribute of the Real from behind a veil, which is the attribute of the servant. Once the veil of igm)rancc is lifted from the eye of insight, people see that the attribute of the servant is identical to the attribute of the Real. But ill our view. the attribute of the servant is the Real itself, not the: attribute of the Real, since the Manifest is a creature and the Non manifest is Ileal, and the Nonrnunifest is the source (mallsita') of the Manifest. [In the same way] the limbs [of a person] follow and obcy what the soul wants from them. The soul is nonmanifest in entity but manifest in property, while the limb is manifest in property but has no nonrnuuifest [dimension of its own], since it has no property [of its own]. (II. 56.3.19)

[f the realities of the existent things of the cosmos arc the immutable entities and the divine names, what is the reality of the divine names? In one sense, we can

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