You are on page 1of 52

SUBUDTHE SUFI BACKGROUND

J .G .Be nne

Subud The Sufi Background


The Estate of J.G. Bennett 2014

Contents

Foreword
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Foreword
This pamphlet was written in 1961 and published after the author had resigned as a Subud helper
after three years of intensive service. The term latihan is frequently used in the text and refers to
the central practice of Subud. It is not explained here

as it is assumed that readers will already have direct experience, for which no words can substitute.
Anyone wishing to know more about Subud is advised to contact their local group.
Ben Bennett

Part 1
Any study of Subud must start with the obvious but too much neglected fact that Subud is a product of
Islam. Pak Subuh is himself a devout and well instructed Moslem; and his whole teaching, its content
as well as its mode of expression, derives from Islamic sources. But this is not always easy to
recognize in the West where Moslem, and especially Sufi, doctrines and practices are unfamiliar. We
tend to confuse Subud with the source from which it derives and to believe that Pak Subuh is
expressing a personal doctrinea characteristically Subud point of viewwhen in fact he is simply
behaving as a good Moslem or a good Sufi. Two examples, of no particular importance in themselves,
will serve to illustrate this point.
In one of the later chapters of Concerning Subud [2nd Ed. p.169] there is an account of a German
woman, apparently suffering from senile dementia, who applied to Pak Subuh for relief from
distracting noises in the head. He opened her and sent her home with instructions to continue the
latihan by reciting the Lord's Prayer every evening. At first sight it might seem surprising and
commendably broad-minded that a Moslem should give such advice. But I think there is little doubt
that what Pak Subuh really had in mind was not the Lord's Prayer as we know it, but the Moslem
adaptation of the Lord's Prayer, which is traditionally used as a charm in case of sickness:If any man suffers, or a brother of his suffers, let him say: "Our Lord God, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; Thy peace is in heaven and on earth; as Thy mercy is in heaven, so
practise Thy mercy on earth; forgive us our faults and our sins, Thou art the Lord of the good
men; send down mercy from Thy mercy, and healing from Thy healing, on this pain, that it may
be healed again."
[Studies in Muslim Ethics, Donaldson, p.82.]
The second example is perhaps less obvious. Among the questions, which the Benedictines of St.
[1]
Wandrille put to Pak Subuh was one relating to the possibility of a conflict between inward
guidance received in the latihan and the injunctions of Scripture as interpreted by the Church. They
received the following reply:"With regard to the Scriptures, Pak Subuh said that their content was perfect and complete: it
was revelation. But man also contributed his share in respect of their outward form. A scribe
might have thought that to alter this or that passage would make it more edifying. Hence one
ought not to accept each word as wholly inspired. Scripture is only perfect as a Whole, since it
[2]
is the Whole that comes from God.
Here Pak Subuh was reflecting, though with great delicacy, the traditional Moslem view of the
Gospels. On the one hand, Jesus is recognized as belonging to the line of Prophets, which began with
[3]
Abraham and ended with Mohammed; and it is said of him in the Koran (V:50): "And we brought
him the Gospel in which is guidance and light; and (he was) verifying what was before him with
respect to the Pentateuch, and was a guidance and warning to the God-fearing". On the other hand, the

Koran also indicates (IV:156) that the story of the Crucifixion is a misunderstanding or an
interpolation; and the same is held to be true of other passages. From this comes the rather
paradoxical situation described in Pak Subuh's answer. Whereas an appeal to the authority of the
Gospels in general or as a whole is valid, an appeal to the authority of any particular passage is not
necessarily so. It is only the whole or the content which is inspired: the parts may be the product of
human error.
Neither of these examples has been cited in a spirit of criticism. On the contrary, Pak Subuh's advice
to the German woman was clearly excellent, irrespective of the precise form of prayer intended.
Similarly, his reply to the Benedictines was such as most Christian exegetes would accept without
[4]
hesitation. My only point is that in both cases there is a background of Moslem tradition, which
many Western readers would miss. To recognize its existence does not invalidate what Pak Subuh
says, though it may sometimes modify the significance we attach to it. In the two examples so far
given the degree of modification is slight; in other cases it may be considerable. I shall hope to show
in the course of this paper that Pak Subuh's teaching, seen in its Moslem setting, often takes on an
unexpected colour; but for the moment one further example must suffice.
We are constantly assured that Subud has no doctrine and requires nothing but sincerity in the practice
of the latihan. So far so good; but it may sometimes occur to us to wonder precisely what is meant by
sincerity in this context. A man who approaches the latihan as a kind of therapy, which he hopes will
rid him of some physical or nervous defect, may well be sincere. Indeed, since his aim is clear-cut,
he may even be more sincere (on one understanding of the term) than a man who comes with some
doubtful and hesitant idea of worship, which he could scarcely define even to himself. Or again, what
of the man who genuinely believes that worship consists in having visions and other unusual
experiences? Or the helperand there are many of thesewho regards himself as divinely
commissioned to guide and instruct others? Both are undoubtedly sincere in the accepted meaning of
the termthat is what is wrong with them. But we may also feel that they are lacking in the precise
quality, whatever that may be, which Pak Subuh meant to indicate. If we then turn to the Sufi writers
in search of a definition, we receive a clear answer, though not perhaps in the terms that we had
expected. Let me quote the tenth century mystic Abu Sa'id Fadlu'llah of Mayhana in Khurasan. He was
once asked "What is sincerity?" and replied as follows:"The Prophet has said that sincerity (ikhlas) is a divine consciousness (sirr) in man's heart and
soul, which sirr is the object of His pure contemplation and is replenished by God's pure
contemplation thereof. Whosoever declares God to be One, his belief in the divine Unity
depends on that sirr. That sirr is a substance of God's grace (latifa)for He is gracious (latif)
unto His servants (Koran. XLII:18)and it is produced by the bounty and mercy of God, not by
the acquisition and action of man. At first, He produces a need and longing and sorrow in man's
heart; then He contemplates that need and sorrow, and in His bounty and mercy deposits in that
heart a spiritual substance (latifa) which is hidden from the knowledge of angel and prophet.
That substance is called sirr Allah, and that is ikhlas ... It is immortal and does not become
naught, since it subsists in God's contemplation of it. It belongs to the Creator: the creatures
have no part therein, and in the body it is a loan. Whoever possesses it is living' (hayy) and
whoever lacks it is 'animal' (hayawan). There is a great difference between the living' and the

'animal'.
[Studies in Islamic Mysticism. R.A.Nicholson, p.50.]
Most Subud members, I think, will gladly accept this passage as a true expression of what Pak Subuh
means when he speaks of 'sincerity'. It is clear that some such belief as this must lie at the heart of
Subud and that without it the practice of the Iatihan would be meaningless. Nor is there anything here
to disturb a Christian. On the contrary, he will find in Abu Sa'id's sirr Allah something closely
analogous to the spark, the synteresis or the divine ground of the soul, of which Christian mystics are
accustomed to speak. But one further consequence follows. If we accept this belief, we must abandon
the first part of the statement with which we startednamely, that Subud has no doctrine. By adopting
Abu Sa'ids definition we have in fact committed ourselves to a doctrinea formal statement of
beliefof far-reaching importance. Some of its implications will be examined below.

Part 2
With this preamble we can turn to a more detailed examination of the sources of Pak Subuh's teaching.
It will be convenient to start with the ascending scheme of material, vegetable, animal and finally
human souls, or essences, which provides the basis of the Subud symbol. This system, which in one
aspect might be called a working psychology rather than a doctrine, is not, as some people suppose, a
product of Pak Subuh's own intuition or inward experience. It is a commonplace of Islamic thought,
which constantly appears in one form or another in both Sunni and Sufi religious writings.
As one authority puts it:"What is spoken of as the evolutionary philosophy of nature in Islam, which amounts to a
recognition of different stages of developmentfrom the stage of minerals to that of plants,
from the stage of plants to that of animals, and from the stage of animals to that of manis used
as a background for the presentation of the struggle that man must make for moral progress.
Only by proving himself in some way superior to the stage of the animals can man attain to that
high type of existence for which he has potential capacity or aptitude.
[Donaldson, op.cit, p.129]
It might be thought from this passage that the upward progress of mankind from the material to the
human was normally understood in a metaphorical sense only. But this is not so. As Sir Mohammed
[5]
Iqbal remarks in one of his books the Islamic view of destiny has a biological as well as an ethical
basis. As an example of this I quote the following Sufi account of the formation of the human embryo,
which is based on a thirteenth century Persian treatise:"The embryo partakes of all four elements, earth, water, air and fire; now these in the Greater
World produce a triple offspring, mineral, vegetable and animal. A similar division is therefore
made in the human body. The members and limbs which are first formed partake of the four
elements in different proportions, and the combined result corresponds to the mineral Kingdom.
The powers of attraction, absorption, digestion, rejection, growth and formation are next
developed in the members and limbs, which then require nourishment. This they receive, in the
shape of blood, introduced through the placenta; the chyme contained in this becoming matured
is developed into the vegetative spirit, corresponding to the second division of the three
Kingdoms. When the digestive and other internal organs have become fully developed, the heart
attracts to itself the essence of this vegetative spirit, and having further matured it, forms the
life; the essence of this again is attracted to the brain, where, after being matured, it is
developed into the soul, and the remainder dispersed through the nerves into the limbs, where it
becomes the source of sense and motion. This corresponds to the animal Kingdom of the
Greater World. Each of these developments occupies one month, embryo, mineral, vegetative
and' animal."
[Oriental Mysticism. R.H.Palmer, p.63]

The same writer goes on to say that the elixir, so to call it, distilled by the brain is the Instinctive
Spirit; that is to say, the natural essence or central principle of a man. But this quality is one which he
shares with all animals; and though it may be regarded, in a sense, as a "true guide and lantern for his
feet", yet it gives out "but a flickering and cloudy light" until it has been strengthened and purified by
the true Spirit of Humanity. "When man has attained to this he necessarily becomes free from all that
is evil, and is adorned instead with every good and noble quality". [Palmer, op.cit, p.63] It will be
seen that the term Spirit of Humanity, used in this sense, bears a certain resemblance to Abu Sa'id's
sirr Allah; but a discussion of the exact relationship between the two will have to be left to a later
section.
The same problem is also approached from an ethical or philosophical point of view. Here the
starting-point is Aristotle's division of the soul into the vegetable the animal, and the rational, which
Moslem philosophers have generally accepted, and which they have combined with the Koranic
description of the three inner faculties or tendencies of the soul. The result is to produce a scheme of
thought which corresponds very closely, though on a different level, with the quasi-biological scheme
given above. On this point I may quote the opinions of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, the great thinker of the
twelfth century, who occupies a position in Islam comparable with St. Augustine in the Christian
Church:
"The expression employed in the Qur'an, al-nafs al-mutma 'inna (the tranquil soul)
(XXXIX:27), is explained by al-Ghazali as indicating the state of soul when reason succeeds in
resisting and controlling the evil passions, when it has subdued and harmonised the animal
forces, and has learned to make use of them as sources of constructive energy. "Thus if the soul
seeks to help the intellect and establishes anger and indignation over desire, at the same time
not permitting anger and indignation to become headstrong, and even making use of desire to
keep them under restraint, thus making use of one against the other as the occasion demands,
then its powers will remain justly balanced and its qualities become virtuous."
This rational self, which is designated in the Qur'an as al-nafs al-mutma 'inna, is able to
experience a range of freedom, for it comes to appreciate that in attaining to this stage, and in
managing to continue in it, reason bas been frequently called upon to exercise the power of
choice, and to this extent al-Ghazali believed that experience suggests that man is free. This
freedom of rational choice, it will be observed, approximates what was meant by some writers
as the function of the faculty of appropriation (al-'aql mukhtasab). In this way the soul would
attain a unity and mastery within itself, which might be described as a harmony of the inner self,
or as individual moral integrity.
It is equally possible, however, and indeed more frequent in occurrence, for anger and desire to
[6]
be so instigated by the Satanic forces, al-shaitaniya, that they gain ascendancy over the soul.
Reason then loses its proper mastery and becomes a slave. The soul, overwhelmed by evil and
making that which the passions suggest look pleasing (Qur'an XVI:63), will then act as the
instigating soul (al-nafs al-ammara). Nevertheless, al-Ghazali insists that, even when evil
comes to be most frequently suggested, there is in conformity with the Qur'an (LXXV:2) a
divine element that keeps struggling against the evil tendencies and that is seldom completely

subdued. This divine element expresses itself through the upbraiding soul (al-nafs allawwama), which appears to function in much the same way as a conscience."
[Donaldson, op.cit, pp.148-9]
I should add that when al-Ghazali speaks of 'reason' in this context, he does not mean simply the
power of logical thought, but rather an inborn faculty of discriminationa quality of true
humanitywhich in its highest manifestation is "a perfect gift of the superhuman 'aql fa'al, the
Dispenser of Forms in the universe." In this sense his line of thought is much closer to that of Pak
Subuh (or of Abu Sa'id) than might at first appear.
There is also a third approach, implicit in the Persian account of the formation of the human embryo
already given, which may be called the mystical or theosophical. Moslem thought considers man as a
true microcosm of the universe or Greater World; and it follows that be must incorporate in his own
being both the four elements of which the universe is composed and the three stages of
developmentthe material, the vegetable and the animalwhich can be marked in the visible world.
It also follows that he must reflect, inversely as it were, the seven spheres of the invisible or spiritual
world, which surround the universe in an ascending series. One can, therefore, use the same
termsas indeed Pak Subuh doesto indicate either the stages of man's development or the rising
spheres of the heavens; one must necessarily be a true reflection of the other. By a further extension of
the same thought it is natural to regard each major prophet, of the line which culminated in
Mohammed, as presiding over one of these stages or heavens, thus marking the progressive character
of God's revelation to man. Each of these three elements has its place in Pak Subuh's system. It is
scarcely necessary to give examples of the first twothe quasi-biological idea of a gradation of
natures or essences; or the more philosophic idea of an inner harmony to be obtained when each of
these forces fulfils but does not exceed its allotted rle. All this is to be found, implicit or explicit, in
any description of Subud. The third, or theosophic, element is fully expressed in the elaborate account
[7]
of the stages in the Subud path given by Husein Rof summarized as follows:Rewani or Shaitani; the Material or Satanic. It is associated with the element earth and the
colour yellow; it has no presiding prophet. The appropriate Islamic term for this stage is
Tariqat i.e. the acceptance of a discipline or rule of life.
Nabati; the Vegetable. This is associated with the element water and the colour white. The
presiding prophet is Abraham and the appropriate term Hikmat i.e. Wisdom, but here used, I
think, in the sense of an understanding of the mysteries of nature.
Haiwani; the Animal. This is associated with the element fire and the colour red. The presiding
prophet is Moses and the appropriate Marifat. This is usually translated gnosis but here
means, I think, esoteric knowledge rather than direct illumination.
Jasmani and lnsani; the Human in its physical and spiritual aspects respectively. It is
associated with the element air and the colour black. The presiding prophet is Jesus and the
appropriate term is Haqiqat i.e. the state of being or expressing the Reality; illumination.

Ruhani; the Angelic. The presiding prophet is Mohammed. (No colour is mentioned, though no
doubt green would be appropriate.) The term is Shariat. This derives from Shari'a the Law,
and implies, I take it, the condition of apostleship (in the Moslem sense) i.e. of being a divinely
inspired law-giver.
Rahmani )
Rabbani ) These two superior states have no attributes or descriptions; but it is worth
remarking that their names derive from the two cardinal names of Allah: al-Rahman, the
Merciful and al-Rab, the Lord. We shall see the significance of this later.
The ascription of characteristic colours to the various stages or spheres is very common in Sufi
writings, though there does not seem to be any general agreement about which colour applies to
which. Of the various schemes of this sort that I have seena minute fraction of the totalonly one
resembles Pak Subuh's at all closely. This is the curious description of the five psychic organs given
by a latter-day Sufi, Shaikh Muhammad Amin, who died in 1914. Professor Arberry cites it more as a
curiosity than anything else; but it may fittingly conclude this section. The organs in question are:
"The qalb (heart) is two fingers' breadth below the left nipple towards the side; it is shaped
like a pine-cone. It is under the foot (i.e. religious control) of Adam; its light is yellow.
The ruh (spirit) is two fingers' breadth below the right nipple towards the breast. It is under the
foot of Noah and Abraham; its light is red.
The sirr (inmost conscience) is two fingers' breadth above the left nipple towards the breast. It
is under the foot of Moses. Its light is white.
The khafi (hidden depth) is two fingers' breadth above the right nipple towards the breast. It is
beneath the foot of Jesus. Its light is black.
The akhfa (most hidden depth) is in the middle of the breast. It is under the foot of Muhammad;
its light green."
[Sufism. pp.131-2]
It will be noticed that, apart from a reversal (perhaps accidental) of the colours of Abraham and
Moses, this sequence follows Pak Subuh exactly. Yet the correspondence is more superficial than
real. If we were to try to combine the two schemes, we should find ourselves associating the qalb
usually regarded as the seat of the vegetable, if not the animal, essence with the material level, the
sirr usually regarded as purely spiritual, with the animal level, and so on. This is a fair example,
though a minor one, of the complexities which await any student of Sufism, a flexible system all the
exponents of which claim, as Pak Subuh also does, to be speaking from their own direct experience.

Part 3
I must now try to deal with the other aspect of the Subud symbol; that is to say, its invisible
component. "The emblem is completed by the addition of two further essences that cannot be shown
by points or lines or circles or any other geometrical symbol, for they are omnipresent, pervading all
[8]
that exists." These are the two Great Life Forces, to which Pak Subuh gives the names Roh Illofi
and Roh Kudus. Before we can form any conception of what he means by these terms, it is necessary
[9]
to turn back and consider, however briefly, some aspects of the early history of Sufism.
Sufism first made its appearance as a recognizable movement in the eighth century A.D., that is to say,
the second century of the Moslem era. At this stage it was primarily, if not wholly, an ascetic
movement; a protest against the luxury and corruption which had inevitably followed the early
conquests of Islam. Much of its inspiration came from contact with the Christian solitaries and monks
of Syria; and it is probable that they also provided, though indirectly, the name of the movement. Most
scholars derive 'Sufi' from the Arabic word for wool (suf) and find the origin of the name in the
woolen cloaks which the ascetics wore, perhaps in imitation of monastic habits. But it is likely that
some Buddhist influence also made itself felt even at this early stage. One of the most active Sufi
areas in the second and third Moslem centuries was the Persian province of Khurasan, which had
previously been a flourishing Buddhist centre.
The two basic ideas or key-words of early Sufism were zuhd, abstinence or the turning away from the
world, and its positive converse tawakkul or trust in God. Both were interpreted in their most
extreme and primitive form. On the former it is only necessary to quote the opinion of the early
theologian, al-Hasan al-Basri, which was typical of the ascetics of this period:''For this world has neither worth nor weight with God; so slight it is. it weighs not with God so
much as a pebble or a single clod of earth; as I am told, God has created nothing more hateful to
Him than this world, and from the day He created it He has not looked upon it, so much He
hates it."
[Arberry, op.cit. p.34]
The opposite concept of tawakkul was also apt to lead to certain extravagances:"The command to trust in God some of them carried out so thoroughly that they would not act on
their own initiative at all, refusing, for example, to seek food or take medicine; and they
scarcely exaggerate when they describe their attitude as that of a corpse in the hands of the
[10]
washer who prepares it for burial.
This kind of devotion might sink into lip-service and
hypocrisy; still, for many of them, it was no matter of rule: it was as intensely real as the terrors
which inspired it. Hasan of Basra, hearing mention of a man who shall only be saved after
having passed a thousand years in Hell-fire, burst into tears and exclaimed: "Oh, would that I
were like that man!""

[The Idea of Personality in Sufism, R.A.Nicholson p8]


But this bleak creed of denial contained within itself the elements of a true devotion. Its characteristic
mode of expression was the dhikr. This word means literally 'remembrance' and is used in precisely
the same sense as the Christian 'recollection' or the 'practice of the presence of God'. This method of
devotion, in which it is not difficult to see the origin of the latihan, has always been the central
feature of Sufi worship. It can take an almost infinite variety of forms, ranging from a private act of
silent recollectiona state comparable with that of the Prayer of Quietto an elaborate and noisy
ritual, accompanied by singing and dancingand sometimes disfigured by the use of drugswhich
[11]
has as its object the production of an artificial ecstasy.
In this connection it is interesting to note
that belief in the purifying effects of physical movement is very early in date. Thus when Abu Said
was reproved for allowing his young men to take part in the sema (ritual dance)it being held,
apparently, that such exercises were only for staid and well-established initiates, he replied:"The souls of young men are not yet purged of lust: indeed, it may be the prevailing element;
and lust takes possession of all the limbs. Now if a young dervish claps his bands, the lust of
his hands will be dissipated; and if he tosses his feet, the lust of his feet will be lessened ... it is
better that the fire of their lust should be dissipated in the sema than in something else",
[Donaldson. op.cit. p.216]
By the early part of the ninth century Sufism was beginning to undergo its first important
transformation; it was developing from an ascetic movement into a cult of mystical devotion:"It was not after all a difficult transition to make from saying that all else but God is nothing
(which is the logical outcome of the extreme ascetic teaching that the world is worthless and
only God's service is a proper preoccupation of the believer's heart), to claiming that when self
as well as the world has been cast aside the mystic has passed away into God,"
[Arberry. op.cit p.55]
We may take as typical of this new development a saying of the famous woman mystic Rabi'a of
Basra, who is generally credited with having introduced into Sufism the doctrine of mahabbat or
divine love. When asked for her hand in marriage, she replied:"The contract of marriage is for those who have a phenomenal existence. But in my case there is
no such existence, for l have ceased to exist and have passed out of self. I exist for God and am
altogether His. I live in the shadow of His command. The marriage-contract must he asked for
from Him not from me."
[Arberry, op.cit p.42]
This brief extract will serve to indicate how much the original Sufi conceptions of zahd and tawakkul
had been modified. They were now giving placethough the actual terms do not seem to have been in

general use until laterto two new conceptions, fana and baqa, which were to become the keywords
of later Sufi doctrine. Fana, like all Sufi terms, is a word of many meanings. Its literal sense is
'passing away': the fading of the egotistical in the light of the divine. It can therefore be used in the
sense of 'abandon', much as de Caussade uses that terms or in the more active sense of the
'annihilation of the will' as understood by Benet de Canfield and his followers. But it also has a more
extreme application, which later became a source of deep controversy, both among Sufis and between
them and orthodox Moslems. Fana can mean 'annihilation'; either the complete absorption of self in
the contemplation of God as in the state of unionwhich we may suppose to be what Rabia was
speaking of; or by a further extension the total absorption of the individual soul into a pantheistic
Onein which ease the term becomes the equivalent of the Buddhist nirvana.
The complementary term baqa has an equally wide application, since it represents the positive aspect
of fana. It means literally 'subsistence' and can be used simply to indicate the displacement of one
quality or psychological state by anotherespecially the displacement of a negative quality by a
positive one. Thus the 'passing away' of ignorance implies the 'subsistence' of knowledge, and so on.
But behind this lies the idea of the Reality of God as opposed to the unreality (or comparative
unreality) of the phenomenal world. In its last extension, therefore, baqa comes to mean the state of
'living in God', which is the corollary of a total fana or 'dying to self'. But it will be noticed that this
concept is opposed to that of fananirvana, since it implies a continued (though totally changed) life
[12]
as an individual entity.
Here we come to the heart of the matter. For the first century or so of its existence Sufism had been no
more than an ascetic or devotional movement within lslam. It had developed certain characteristic
practices such as the dhikr, but there had been no need to develop a specialized doctrine in the
theological sense. But now that the movement had adopted a mystical standpoint, properly so-called,
and had begun to make use of such terms as fana and baqa the need for a new doctrine had become
acute. The rigid framework of orthodox Moslem theology leaves no room for terms and conceptions
such as these, its whole emphasis is on the absolute transcendence, the complete 'otherness' of Allah.
The whole universe is sustained from moment to moment by His will alone. He is the only real agent
in existence, who creates us and all that we do immediately and directly without any secondary cause.
His relation to man is that of master and slave: "He misguides whom He pleases and leads aright
whom He pleases" (Koran XVI:95). The same idea is expressed still more forcibly in the Traditions
(hadith), where it is recorded that when Allah created Adam, he drew forth his posterity from his
loins in two handfuls, one white as silver, the other black as coal, saying: "These are in Paradise and
I care not; and those are in Hell and I care not." On this particular tradition one authority comments,
not without reason:"This is the end of the whole matter, and to this must return the vision of the Muslim mystic and
the ecstasy of the Muslim saint; the dreams of a lover and beloved, the groanings and
travailings of creation. Whenever the devout life, with its spiritual aspirations and fervent
longings, touches the scheme of Muslim theology, it must thus bend and break. For it, within
Islam itself, there is no place."
[The Religious Attitude and Life in Islam. D.B.Macdonald. p.301]

This is no doubt an extreme view, which only the most rigidly orthodox would fully endorse. But it
illustrates very clearly the central dilemma in which the Sufis were caught. It would be outside the
scope of this paper, even if I were capable, to attempt a full discussion of the various methods by
which they tried to resolve it and to accommodate the reality of their own religious experience within
the framework of orthodox theology. The present purpose will be served by comparing two such
attemptsone failure and one doubtful successwhich between them exercised a decisive influence
on the whole subsequent development of Sufi thought.

Part 4
The failure, so to call it, was that of Husayn Ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, to a Christian the most sympathetic
of all Moslem saints. He was martyred at the beginning of the fourth century of the Moslem era, and
thus belongs to the transitional period of which we have been speaking. It does not appear that he set
out consciously to construct a mystical theology; but in the course of trying to describe and explain his
own experience, he did in fact evolve such a system. Its nature is indicated in the following passage
[13]
from his Kitabal-Tawasin:"God looked into eternity, prior to everything, contemplated the essence of His splendour, and
then desired to project outside Himself His supreme joy and Jove with the object of speaking to
them. He also created an image of Himself with all His attributes and names. This image was
Adamthe Huwa Huwa (He, He), whom God glorified and exalted. Glory to God who
manifested His Nasut (humanity) wherein lay the brilliant light of His Lahut (divinity); then
appeared to His creatures in the form of him that eats and drinks."
[Quoted by Affifi. op.cit. p. 79]
It will be seen that al-Hallajs system is a dualism, which evidently owed much to Christian teaching.
It depends upon the existence of two natures, a divine and a human, which were conjoined in the
original, perfect man (He, He)that is to say, Adam before the fall. The path of the mystic is to seek
this union again in his own being:I am He whom I love, and He whom I love is I,
We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me, thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him, thou seest us both.
[The Mystics of Islam, R.A.Nicholson. p.151]
In describing this final goal, al-Hallaj expressly used the word hulul (union), which is associated in
Moslem minds with the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. Moreover, though he acknowledged the
pre-eminence of Mohammed as the light from which all prophecy proceeds, it was in Jesus that he
found the perfect type of the transfigured and essentialized man, who reveals from within himself alHaqq, the Reality. Indeed the phrase 'him that eats and drinks' in the passage quoted above, is
commonly held to refer to Jesus. Such a doctrine could evidently find no place in Islam and died with
[14]
al-Hallaj. Nevertheless, his teaching had left its mark
and we shall soon see the reflection of
many of his ideas, though in a much altered form, in the work of the second figure with whom we have
to deal, Muhyi al-Din Ibn 'Arabi, who was born more than two hundred years later. Professor Arberry
marks the transition from one to the other as follows:"Theosophy had seemed a dangerous game to play in Islam since al-Hallaj paid for his
indiscreet enthusiasms with his life. Since the preaching of Union with God was liable to

misunderstanding and open to the charge of forbidden 'incarnationism' (hulul), it was necessary
to discover some substitute doctrine which while coming to much the same port, sailed nearer
the wind of orthodoxy. We have seen how al-Hallaj surprisingly took Jesus as his example of a
holy man in whom God was incarnated. Sufi theory had only to substitute Muhammad for Jesus,
and to moderate the extravagance of al-Hallajs language, to invent a system of speculative
theosophy which would beguile all but the wariest critics."
[Arberry, op.cit, p.93]
This is certainly true: and it is with this aspect of Ibn 'Arabi's thoughthis development of what may
be called a Moslem logos doctrinethat we shall be mainly concerned, since it provides a basis for
Pak Subuh's theory of Life-Forces. But this was not the whole story. The substitution of Muhammad
for Jesus as the exemplar of his doctrine might have saved al-Hallaj but the doctrine itself would still
have been unacceptable in Islam because of its essential dualism. On this point I may quote Professor
Nicholson. Speaking of the Sufi attitude towards the central Moslem doctrine of the unity of God, he
says
Sufis, however, regard the Unity of God not as anything that can be apprehended by the
intellect, but as a mystery that is revealed only to those whom God permits to realize it in their
religious experience. We have seen that in order to love and know God the Sufi must lose
himself in the love and knowledge of God. Similarly the muwahhid or unifier of God cannot
fully realize that God is one except by losing himself in the Oneness of God. Unification
(Tawhid) is defined as "the absoluteness of the Divine nature realized in the passing-away of
the human nature", so that "the man's last state reverts to his first state and he becomes even as
he was before he existed." That a doctrine of utter transcendence should lead straight to
mystical union of the human personality with the divine, was inevitable as soon as that doctrine
stood opposed to a religion in which God is worshipped as the object of knowledge and love.
The infinite distance between God and man God alone can annihilate; man has no power to
bridge the chasm, therefore it is overleaped by a tour de force of the omnipotent Will. That idea
lies behind the whole theory and practice of religious ecstasy on which the Sufis throw so much
stress. How should the mystic's conscious self not be obliterated and swept away by the
transcendent glory of Him who in a sudden gleam reveals himself as ineffably near? Must not
the distinction of subject and object vanish altogether? For here God is all, and there is naught
beside Him."
[Idea of Personality in Sufism, Nicholson p.13]
The two internal quotations in this passage come from the teachings of al-Junaid, an older
contemporary of al-Hallaj, who is said to have been one of his Sufi masters. But it is in Ibn 'Arabi
that we find the extreme doctrinal expression of this concept of the unity of God. This extraordinary
man seems to have made it his object to form a grand synthesis of all the theories current in the Islam
of his day. He drew both on orthodox and Sufi theology and equally on that of the various heretical
sects, such as the Hu'tusilites, Carmathians and Isma'ilis, to say nothing of the Gnostic and Neoplatonist treatises, which were then (the twelfth century A.D.) circulating widely in the Moslem
world. The result was an intellectual structure of baffling complexity, expressed in a style of extreme

and probably deliberate obscurity. Nevertheless, the main outline of his thought can be discerned
clearly enough. lbn 'Arabi's system is a complete and uncompromising monism. All Being is one of
which God (or what is commonly called God) and the phenomenal world are no more than two
different aspects.
"The Haqq (Reality) of whom transcendence is asserted is the same as the Khalq (Creation) of
whom immanence is asserted, although (logically) the creator is distinguished from the
created."
[Fusus al-Hikam of Ibn 'Arabi.]
But even the terms 'creation' and 'created' are, in fact misnomers. The processwhich has no
beginning and no endis rather to be regarded as the self-revelation of Reality to Itself by the calling
into concrete existence from the state of latency, in which they eternally are, of the infinite potential
aspects of Reality. But these aspects are not created; they may be said in effect to create or to realize
themselves:''Ibn ul 'Arabi puts it all very boldly in an interesting passage in the Fusus, in which he says that
God does not create anything; creation (tekwin) (which, according to him, means the coming
into concrete manifestation of an already existing substance)belongs to the thing itself. "It
comes to being" means that it manifests itself of its own accord. The only thing that God does in
the matter is to will a thing to be (concretely manifested), and God wills nothing and commands
nothing the existence of which is not made necessary by the very nature and laws of things
themselves. God according to him is another name for such laws. "Were it not in the nature of a
thing to be at the moment of God's command, it would never be. So, nothing brings a thing into
existence. i.e. makes its existence manifest, except itself.""
[Affifi, op.cit, p.31]
In these dizzy conceptions the dualism of al-Hallaj is totally submerged. His Lahut and Nasutfor
Ibn 'Arabi continued to use these termsbecome simply 'essence' and 'form': a single essence
manifesting itself in a multiplicity of forms. Indeed, Ibn 'Arabi seems to go even further than this and
to regard the forms themselves as mere appearances, dependent for their (apparent) existence on the
standpoint of the beholder:"The self-revelations of the One (the tajalliyat) thus understood are as follows. When we
conceive the One as apart from all possible relations and individualizations, we may say that
God has revealed Himself in the State of Unity (al ahadiyyah) or is in the blindness (al ama),
the state of the Essence. When we regard it in relation to the potential existence of the
Phenomenal World, we say that God has revealed Himself in the 'state of the Godhead' (al
[15]
martabah al ilahiyyah).
This is also the state of what Ibn ul 'Arabi calls the ayan al
[16]
thabita and the state of the Divine Names.
And when we regard it in relation to the actual
manifestations of the Phenomenal World, we say that God has revealed Himself in the state of
lordship (al rububiyyah). If regarded as a universal consciousness containing all intelligible

forms of actual and potential existents, we say that Reality has revealed itself in the First
Intellect, and God revealed Himself in the inward or the unseen, and we call the state haqiqatul haqa'iq (Reality of Realities). But if regarded as actually manifested in the Phenomenal World
we say that God has manifested Himself in forms of the external world, and we identify Him
with the universal Body (al jiam al kulli). When we think of Him as the universal substance
which receives all forms, we say that God revealed Himself in Prime Matter, al hayula and
so on and so on. In this way Ibn ul 'Arabi goes through the whole of Plotinus' emanations,
adding to them the Four Roots of Empedocles and many other spheres wherein God is
manifested. The mass of descriptions (largely borrowed from Moslem sources) which he piles
on each of them is amazing. But in spite of these details, which are rather misleading, the
outline of his doctrine is clear. Reality is a unitywe multiply it through the way we
understand it."
[Affifi, op.cit, pp.63-4]
It is against this background of thought that we must understand lbn 'Arabi's logos-doctrine, the first to
be introduced into Islam and also the last, since subsequent writers have done no more than copy lbn
'Arabi with minor variations. But what is this logos? In the first place, it is identified with
Muhammed; not, of course, with the 'form' of Muhammed, the actual historical personagethat would
be impossible on Ibn 'Arabi's systembut rather with the pre-existent Spirit or Reality of
Muhammed, the haqiqat al-Muhammadiya. This in turn is identified with the First Intellect or Reality
of Realities mentioned abovei.e. a universal consciousness containing all intelligible forms.' It is
also the Prime Matter, the universal substance which receives all forms, and even al-arsh (the
Throne), a term which Ibn 'Arabi normally uses as a synonym for the Phenomenal World. Or
againand here lbn 'Arabi follows al Hallaj very closelyit is Adam, the Perfect Man, conceived
as a true microcosm of the universe. In short, it is the active determining principle of everything that
exists:"It starts as near as possible to Matter (something like the spiritual Matter of Plotinus). It
multiplies with the multiplication of existents but does not divide (except in thought). One could
say it is God or the universe, but one could also say that it is neither. From it the universe
[17]
proceeds as a 'particular' proceeds from a universal.
It contains the realities (ideas being
identified with realities haqaiq) of diverse objects, yet in itself it remains homogeneous. It
stands in the closest relationship to God's knowledge. It is known to God through itself, i.e. it is
the consciousness of God. It is not the divine Knowledge itself, but rather the content and
substance of such knowledge. In it the Knower, the Known and Knowledge itself are one.
Through it the universe is brought into manifestation. It is the 'store' of intelligible and
archetypal ideas of the world of 'becoming'. The 'Reality of Realities' thus described is no more
other than God than a potentiality, which under certain conditions becomes an actuality, can be
called other than this actuality. It is God conceived as the self-revealing Principle of the
universe: God as manifesting Himself in a form of universal consciousness, at no particular
time or place, but as the Reality which underlies all realities and as a being whose
consciousness is identical with His Essence,"

[Affifi op.cit pp.68-9]


Within such a system there is, of course, no room for any form of mystical union in the accepted sense
of that term. The most that can be said is that the mystic may recognize, or realize within himself, the
central fact that he is one with God, that his essence is an aspect of Reality. But in one sense this is
true of everythingof a stone equally with a man. The difference is that man, as a microcosm of the
universe, is potentially capable of realizing or reflecting all the aspects of reality. He can also
become aware that this is soindeed the two processes are the same. But this awareness or
gnosiswhich Ibn 'Arabi regards as the essence of wilaya (sainthood)does not come to him from
without by inspiration. It is an inward realization of his 'ayn (self or essence); and its nature and
extent varies with each individual. That which you were in your latency is what you are in your
existence. [Fusus al-Hikam.] Hence even the class of gnostics or illuminati whom Ibn 'Arabi calls
Perfect Men, are not perfect in an absolute sense. Their perfection consists in having 'positive being'
i.e. having fully realized certain aspects of reality; but this may well include ethical or other
imperfections. Indeed it must do so, for Reality has infinite aspects and its full manifestation requires
[18]
what we (from our limited point of view) call imperfection, as well as what we call perfection.
When I referred above to Ibn 'Arabi's system as 'a dubious success', I meant that it was far from
providing a complete solution to the problem of reconciling Sufi devotion with orthodox theology. Ibn
'Arabi was vehemently attacked in his own day as a heretic, and pantheist, and these attacks have
continued. One modern authority goes so far as to say roundly that his system cannot be reconciled
with Islam at any price. It is not easy to dissent from these opinions. On the other hand, every
authority bears witness to the extent of Ibn Arabis influence on subsequent thought down to the
present day.
However much disagreement and alarm his writings may provoke, they have had their effect: nothing
has ever been quite the same since. I think it is fair to say that Ibn 'Arabi marked the second great
transformation of Sufism. After his day it ceased to be a devotional movement or a particular cult and
became, in effect, a new religion, connected with the old Islam by the ties of a common origin, by the
fact that it shared the same sacred books, and by the observance (in which some Sufis were not
always very diligent) of certain outward forms. Of the essential nature of this religion Dr. Affifi has
provided what seems to me an honest summary:"For a materialistic pantheist, the multiplicity of phenomena is all that mattersall that exists
and all that is real. Ibn ul 'Arabi, on the other hand, worships and glorifies (in his own way)
that which lies beyond the phenomena, the Reality which underlies and controls allthat which
reflects, as in a mirror, its being and perfections in the Phenomenal World. It is for this reason
that Ibn ul 'Arabi lays emphasis on both aspects of Realityimmanence and transcendence,
although the degree of emphasis on the one or the other varies with his mood. His emphasis on
the immanent aspect is at times so strong that it gives his system the appearance of materialistic
pantheism, as when he identifies God with the Ash'arites' Primal Substance and all phenomena
with its states and accidents. But at other times, i.e. when the religious feeling speaks within
him, he lays more stress on the transcendent aspect. "For He, glory to Him" Ibn ul 'Arabi says,
"has no resemblance whatever to His creation. His Essence cannot be apprehended by us, so

we cannot compare it with tangible objects, neither are His actions like ours.""
[Affifi, op.cit. pp.58-9]

Part 5
After this long detour we can return to Pak Subuh's theory of Life Forces. It will already be clear that
this derives from Ibn 'Arabi's logos-doctrine. But the derivation is not direct. To find Pak Subuh's
theory in its complete form we must move forward another two hundred years and consider the work
of 'Abd al-Karim al-Jili, who developed and formalized one aspect of Ibn Arabi's doctrine in his
famous treatise, al-Insan al-Kamil (The Perfect Man). This book is said to have been particularly
influential in the development of Sufism in the Far Eastthat is to say, in Malaya and Indonesia. It is
also worth noticing that al-Jili was a descendent and follower of 'Abd al-Qadir b.'Abd Allah al-Jili
[19]
(or Jilani), the founder of the Qadirite order of dervishes, from whom, according to Rof
Pak
Subuh traces his spiritual descent. I shall not try, nor am l competent, to analyse the differences
between Ibn 'Arabi's doctrine and al-Jili's. It is enough to say here that the latter adopted the former's
general system entirely but gave it a more regular form and, I think one may say, a slightly more
orthodox colouring. Of al-Jili's views on the particular subject under discussion, Nicholson has this
to say:"In the second part of his work the author treats of the Perfect Man as the Spirit whence all
things have their origin. Accordingly he devotes successive chapters to the organs and faculties
which make up the psychological and intellectual constitution of the Perfect Manspirit, heart,
intelligence, reflection, etc., with the corresponding celestial beings which are said to be
'created' from them. The highest hypostases of his psychology are the Holy Spirit (Ruhu lQuds) and the Spirit (al-Ruh); the latter is also described as 'the angel named al-Ruh' and, in
the technical language of the Sufis, as 'the haqq by means of which the world is created' (alhaqqu l-makhluq bihi) and 'the Idea of Mohammed' (al-Haqiqatu l-Muhammadiyya). How
these two Spirits are related to each other is indicated in the following passage:"You must know that every sensible object has a created spirit which constitutes its form, and
the spirit is to the form as the meaning to the word. The created spirit as a Divine spirit which
constitutes it, and that Divine spirit is the Ruhu l-Quds. Those who regard the Ruhu l-Quds in
man deem it created, because two eternal substances cannot exist eternity belongs to God alone,
whose names and attributes inhere in His essence because of the impossibility of their being
detached; all else is created and originated. Man, for example, has a body, which is his form,
and a spirit, which is his meaning, and a consciousness (sirr), which is al-Ruh, and an essential
aspect ( wajh), which is denoted by the terms Ruhu l-Quds (the Holy Spirit), al-sirru l-ilahi
(the Divine Consciousness) and al-wujudu l-sari (the all-pervading Being)."
The Ruhu l-Quds and the Ruh are one Spirit viewed as eternal in relation to God and non-eternal in relation to Man; as the inmost essence of things or as their form of existence. The
uncreated Spirit of God, sanctified above all phenomenal imperfections, is referred to in the
verse. "I breathed of My Spirit into Adam" (Kor.XV:29; XXXVIII:72), and in the verse.
Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face (wajh) of Allah" (Kor.II:109), i.e., the Ruhu l-Quds
exists 'individualized by its perfection' in every object of sense or thought. Al-Jili adds that
inasmuch as the spirit of a thing is its self (nafs) existence is constituted by the 'self of God;
and His 'self is His essence. Union with the Ruhu l-Quds comes only as the crown and

consummation of the mystical life to the holy one (qudsi) who unceasingly contemplates the
Divine Consciousness (sirr) which is his origin, so that its laws are made manifest to him and
God becomes his ear, eye, hand and tongue; he touches the sick and they are healed, he bids a
thing to be and it is, for he has been strengthened with the Holy Spirit even as Jesus was (Kor.
II:81). It will now be seen that al-Jili considers the created Ruh or the archetypal Spirit of
Mohammed as a mode of the uncreated Holy Divine Spirit and as a medium through which God
becomes conscious of Himself in creation."
[Studies in Islamic Mysticism. pp.108-10]
We are now in a position to recognize that Pak Subuh's Roh Illofi and Roh Kudus are identical with
al-Jili's al-Ruh and Ruhu l-Quds. But before we take this matter any further, certain comments must
be made on the foregoing passage in the light of what has been said before. Although his use of terms
such as 'spirit' and 'angel' may sometimes suggest the contrary, al-Jili was as uncompromising a
monist as Ibn 'Arabi. We must not, therefore, think of al-Ruh and the Ruhu l-Quds as distinct beings,
entities or even emanations; they are no more than modes or aspects of the one Reality, to which they
stand in the same relation as do the bands of colour produced by a prism to the original source of
light. From our point of view they may appear to be separate and distinct; from another point of view
they can be seen to be the sameand so with everything else. We must also remember that al-Jili uses
the words 'created and 'creation' in the same peculiar sense as Ibn 'Arabi. Some such terms as 'selfmanifested' and 'self-manifestation' would express his thought more clearly. On this point I may quote
Nicholson again:"Pure Being, as such has neither name nor attribute; only when it gradually descends from its
absoluteness and enters the realm of manifestation, do names and attributes appear imprinted on
it. The sum of these attributes is the universe, which is 'phenomenal' only in the sense that it
shows reality under the form of externality. Although, from this standpoint, the distinction of
essence and attribute must be admitted, the two are ultimately one, like water and ice. The socalled phenomenal worldthe world of attributesis no illusion: it really exists as the selfrevelation or other self of the Absolute. In denying any real difference between essence and
attribute, al-Jili makes Being identical with Thought. The world expresses God's idea of
Himself, or as Ibn ul-Arabi puts it, "we ourselves are the attributes by which we describe
God; our existence is merely an objectification of His existence, God is necessary to us in
order that we may exist, while we are necessary to Him in order that He may be manifested to
Himself.'"'
[Nicholson, op.cit. p.83]
It is an inevitable consequence of these opinions that al-Jili, like Ibn 'Arabi before him, should be a
thorough-going determinist. When he speaks of the Perfect Man as "the cosmic Thought assuming
flesh and connecting Absolute Being with the world of Nature", he is referring to the ideal man
symbolized by Adam. He does not mean that it is open, even in theory, to any individual man to
achieve such a position. The most that an individual can do is to realize his own essential nature; that
is to say, to manifest, according to his inborn and predetermined capacity, the particular aspect of
Reality which is, to use Ibn 'Arabi's expression, his 'latency'. Those that do so can properly be called

Perfect Men, though only in this lesser and relative sense: they are logoi but not the logos. Such men
are the gnostics or saints (awlaya); but this term does not imply piety or holiness, though these
characteristics may be present, as it were accidentally. The essence of the condition is
knowledgean inward experience in which the individual realizes in what relationship he stands to
[20]
the one Reality.
But here al-Jili becomes conscious of a difficulty and in meeting it goes, I think, rather further than Ibn
'Arabi. As we have seen, the functionof one may use such a termof al-Ruh is to make all things
what they are, or rather what they should be. Its action in a man must therefore be to make him truly
human; it is the medium through which he realizes his latency'; and we can understand why, in a
[21]
passage quoted much earlier, al-Ruh was equated with the Spirit of Humanity.
But what of those
exceptional beingsthe major prophets and saints, the great mysticswho can truly be said to have
displayed superhuman qualities? Here al-Jili falls back on a doctrine of substitution. He recognizes
[22]
three ascending stages
in the mystical path:i.

The Illumination of the Divine Actions, in which the mystic realizes that he can do nothing of
himself, since all action belongs to God;
ii.
The Illumination of the Divine Names, in which he is wholly absorbed in contemplation of
one of the attributes of God, as it is revealed in the phenomenal world;
iii.
The Illumination of the Divine Attributes, in which he actually becomes one with the
attribute itselflife, knowledge, power, will or whatever it may be.
Of the stages (ii) and (iii) al-Jili has this to say:"When God desires to reveal Himself to a man by means of any Name or Attribute, He causes
the man to pass away (fana) and makes him naught and deprives him of his (individual)
existence; and when the human light is extinguished and the creaturely spirit passes away, God
puts in the man's body without incarnation (hulul) a spiritual substance, which is of God's
essence and is neither separate from God nor joined to the man, in exchange for what He
deprived him of; which substance is named the Holy Spirit (ruhu l-quds). And when God puts
instead of the man a spirit of His own essence, the revelation is made to that spirit. God is
never revealed except to Himself, but we call that Divine spirit 'a man' in respect of its being
instead of the man. In reality there is neither 'slave' nor Lord, since these are correlated terms.
When the 'slave' is annulled, the 'Lord' is necessarily annulled, and nothing remains but God
alone."
(Nicholson, op.cit, p.128.)
It will be noticed that at this point al-Jili's thought comes very close to that of Abu Sa'id in the
passage on sincerity, which l quoted in the first section. Indeed they use almost identical terms; where
Abu Sa'id speaks of the sirr Allah, al-Jili, as we have seen, speaks of the sirr l-ilahi or Divine
consciousness.

But there is this difference between their two systems or their two approaches. By introducing al Ruh,
the Created Spirit, which is also the idea of Mohammed and the Spirit of Humanity, al-Jili brings in,
as it were, another level. We thereby have both the sirr or consciousness, which is the domain of alRuh, and the sirru l-ilahithe essence of the essencewhich is the domain of the Ruhu l quds. A
complete awareness of the former will bring a man to the condition described in an earlier quotation
as that of the Spirit of Humanity, the condition in which "he is adorned with every good and noble
quality". But this must be understood in a strictly relative sense, since no one can realize more of
these good qualities than his innate capacity allows. To this state, if I have understood al-Jili
correctly, all men may aspire; but beyond it now lies another realm, that of the true gnostics, whom
God chooses to enlighten further. They achieve, or are granted, awareness of the sirru l-ilahi and in
doing so become the passive subjects of a substitution of the divine for the human essence, to which
al-Jili refers in the passage just quoted above.
But though we may speak of the difference of leveland as we shall see, it is of cardinal importance
in the study of Subudthe distinction, as always in al-Jili's system, is one of appearance only. It must
be repeated that al-Ruh and the Ruhu l-quds are the same spirit seen under two different aspects: in
the first case as temporal in relation to Man, in the second as eternal in relation to God. The apparent
difference of level is thus purely subjective: that is why Nicholson speaks of these two spirits as the
hypostases of al-Jili's psychology. So long as a man regards himself as a separate and discrete
individual, however mindful he may be of his divine origin, as expressed in or through his sirr, he
cannot escape from his temporal limitations. The divine light is only accessible to him under its
'created' form of al-Ruh, the idea of Mohammed, the Spirit of Humanity, etc. But the illuminated
mystic sees the position otherwise. He realizes that he is not a discrete individual but an aspect of
Reality: that he is (as he has always been) one with God. This illumination or gnosis enables him to
perceive his own divine essence, al-sirru 'l-ilahi, and thus to receive the divine light directly in its
form of the Ruhu l-quds. But such illumination does not come by searching. No Moslem could say:
"Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." All gnosis is an action of the arbitrary
Will of God, descending how it will upon whom it will.

Part 6
Whether Pak Subuh accepts the doctrine, which I have tried to outline above, in all its details, I
[23]
cannot say. We have Rof's word for it that he is "acquainted with the concept of the lnsn Kmil'
and this is indeed obvious. But the general tendency in Indonesia, so far as I can discover, has been to
[24]
interpret Ibn Arabi and al-Jili in as orthodox a sense as possible.
This can be done by
emphasizing those passages in which they appear to be speaking in conventional dualistic term of
Creator and created, flesh and spirit, etc, and passing more lightly over other passages in which the
pantheistic or monistic basis of their thought is more clearly revealed. But the modifications thus
introduced are more of form and presentation than of content. In fact, as I hope to have shown, Ibn
'Arabi's and al-Jili's system, however complex and obscure it may be, is an intellectual unity, in
which the parts cannot be separated from the whole. By glossing it in this way or that one can make it
took (from the Moslem point of view) more or less orthodox, but one cannot alter its essential nature.
Nor, I think, would any Sufi wish to do so, for this is the only metaphysical system so far evolved,
which offers, with even the appearance of success, to explain the nature of mystical experience in
Islamic terms.
We must therefore, I think, accept this doctrine as providing the basis of Pak Subuh's thought. He may
well admit certain modifications on this or that particular point; but that will not affect his central
position. If we wish to understand what Pak Subuh says, we must familiarize ourselves with the
concepts described above, and must be content for the moment to think in these terms instead of in
those which we should normally use. The alternative is to rely on a superficial and misleading system
of translation, which seeks to render the technical terms of one theology by approximate verbal
equivalents drawn from another terminology. But this can only lead to confusion. To translate Roh
Ilofi as 'Holy Spirit', for example, has no linguistic justification and conveys a meaning, if the term is
understood in its normal Christian sense, which is very different from what Pak Subuh intends. If we
[25]
choose some neutral English term, such as 'Angelic Power' for Roh Kudus
we are little better off.
No precise meaning is conveyed; but there are inevitably certain overtones, which are themselves
misleading. It is better to keep to the original terms and to try to understand them within their own
intellectual and doctrinal framework.
[26]
I do not think that anyone who has read Pak Subuh's second address in Oslo
or the explanations
[27]
given in Concerning Subud
will doubt that his two Great Life Forces, which open the way for all
other forces, are al-Jilis Ruh and Ruh l-Quds. But it is with the formerthat is to say, the spirit in
its created or temporal aspectthat we are primarily concerned, for this is the active principle of the
latihan. "As a matter of fact" says Pak Subuh "the force Illofi is what you receive and feel whenever
you do the latihan." The spiritual process involved, in other words, is one which takes place on the
first of the two levels mentioned above; it is confined within the temporal order. This is a cardinal
point in Pak Suhuh's teaching and one on which he is entirely consistent. It will be noticed, for
example, that the whole of his poem Susila Budhi Dharma is concerned with the gradual ascent of
man to a state which we can now describe as that of the Spirit of Humanity. Unlike the other Sufi
treatises, which we have been considering, it makes no reference at all to the higher states, properly

called mystical. This is not, as we shall see, because Pak Subuh denies the existence of such states,
but because they are irrelevant to the practice of the latihan. The spirit of the latihan is Roh Illofi or
al-Ruh; and the spirit in this aspect manifests itself only within the temporal order.
There is also a second point of great importance. As we have seen already, al-Ruh is regarded as the
active determining principle of everything. It is therefore present (in accordance with their respective
capacities) in the material, vegetable and animal worlds, or levels of existence, no less than in the
human. Now man, as a microcosm of the universe, shares in these lower natures; he has, in Pak
Subuh's terminology, a material, vegetable and animal soul as well as a human one. Hence it is
possibleat least in theorythat he should have direct and immediate access to, or awareness of,
al-Ruh, no matter how debased or disorganized his nature. The only question is at what point or level
this contact can be made. That is what Pak Subuh meant in his reply to another question put by the
French Benedictines: Where within man does the contact take place?

"The point of contact depends on the quality of the soul experiencing it. The soul is like a series
of vessels. If the higher vessel (in Indonesian, Kalbu) is open, the point of contact will be there.
If only the lower part of the soul is capable of experiencing it, the point of contact will be in the
[28]
physical body.
Generally speaking, the point of contact is in the highest part of the soul that
is capable of receiving it. If it begins by being in a lower part, it will not necessarily remain
there; but the practice of the latihan will open the upper parts of the soul and the point of
contact will constantly move higher.
[Op.cit, Question V/I]
This is the only basis on which the Subud claim to be able to 'open' anyone, regardless of his state
and without preparation, can conceivably make sense. If we abandon the conception of multiple souls
or essences; if we do not accord to al-Ruh the status of a universal rational or directive principle; or
if we suppose the spirit of the latihan to be something other than al-Ruh; [i.e. with other
characteristics.] then the claim is nonsense. Suppose, for example, that we adopt the apparently much
simpler system implied in Abu Sa'id's passage on sincerity, which was quoted above. We shall then
be obliged to say that, although a divine principle is active in the human soul, no direct access to it or
awareness of it, is conceivable to unregenerate man without a prolonged and arduous preparation, an
ascesis. That, broadly speaking, is the position taken by Christian mystics; but if we attempt to apply
it directly to Subud, we shall end in sad confusion. We shall find ourselves either denying the
universal validity of the contact or saying that anyone merely by being 'opened', can leap straight into
the mystical way. In the former case we shall be at odds with Pak Subuh; in the latter, we shall be
making the same error in a different form as the devotees of mescalin and LSD-25.
[29]
The recent pamphlet Christian Mysticism and Subud
falls into just this trap of failing to render
Pak Subuh in his own terms. Its thesis is that the spiritual experience of the latihan is identical with
mystical prayer as that was understood by, let us say, St. John of the Cross. But this is to
misunderstand the whole position. In its opening phase the latihan is by definition a surrenderan
abandon in de Caussade's senseof the lower parts of the soul (the material, vegetable and animal

essences) to al-Ruh, the principle inherent in their nature. It is not mystical prayer, as that is normally
understood but a particular path of ascesis, to which we may perhaps give the name of bodily
prayer'. When this process is complete - when these lower essences, in Pak Subuh's terminology,
have been 'purified' - we reach the fourth stage, that of the truly human. A complete awareness of the
soul has been achieved, so that we may now speak, for the first time, of a surrender or abandon by the
man himself, as distinct from any part or parts of his nature. But it is still within the temporal order; it
is a surrender to al-Ruh, the inherent principle of man's nature, to that which makes him a man as it
makes a stone a stone. We must therefore still speak in so far as any valid comparison is possible
with Christian practicein terms of ascesis and the purgative way; we must say that man, by
becoming truly human, fits himself for communion with God to the extent that the limitations of his
nature allow.
We now reach the ultimate aim or goal of the latihan: the fifth stage, to which Pak Subuh gives the
name Rohaniah; the angelic state. This is the point at which al-Ruh modulatesif I may use such a
terminto al-Ruhu l-quds; it is the first point of true gnosis, the uncovering, as it were, of the sirr
ul-ilahi within the sirr. Pak Subuh therefore speaks of it as the state of a Perfect Being, using that term
in the same sense as Ibn Arabi or al-Jili i.e. to mean one who 'manifests 'positive being', not one
[30]
who is perfect in any absolute sense.
He also uses the term sempurna (fullness or plenitude),
which recalls, and no doubt derives from, the purna of the Upanishads. This implies a state of
undifferentiated' being and may be appropriately used here because the spirit, manifesting itself as
the Ruhu l-quds, is itself undifferentiated. It is the uncreated Spirit of God, sanctified above all
phenomenal imperfections.'
Pak Subuh does not mean by this, of course, anything approaching the state of union, even supposing
that his theology were to admit of such a conception. We can say, I think, that his state of Rohaniah
stands somewhere on the borderline between al-Jili's Illumination of the Divine Actions and his
Illumination of the Divine Names. Continued contemplation of the attributes of God, as they are
manifested in the phenomenal world, has procured some glimpse of the true nature of Reality. It is no
more than a glimpse; but that is the mostperhaps even rather more than the mostto which an
ordinary man can aspire. For the very few, other states may lie beyondbut that is as God wills. On
these further states no comment can be made, though it may be worthwhile to mention here another
peculiarity of lbn 'Arabi's vocabulary. When he speaks of al-Rahman (the Merciful), he is not
thinking in the same terms as, for example, a Buddhist who calls Gautama 'The Compassionate One'.
To Ibn 'Arabi the primary and essential act of God's mercy is His self-manifestation; and he therefore
uses the word 'merciful' almost as a synonym for 'creative'. l think it is probable that Pak Subuh
follows him in this and that, when he speaks of the state Rahmaniah, what he has in mind is the power
of creationor rather of 'calling into manifestation'which lbn 'Arabi ascribes to true gnostics. The
example cited in one of his treatises is that of the clay pigeons which Jesus (in the apocryphal story)
[31]
was able to endow with life.
To conclude this brief summary two further points remain to be noticed. The first concerns 'testing'.
Though I agree with Rof that this practice has attracted to itself certain extraneous geomantic
elements, I have no doubt that it is finally based on an aspect of al-Jili's teaching. One of his (and lbn
'Arabi's) names for al-Ruh is the First Intellect; that is to say, the spirit considered as the rational

principle of the universe. One of the modes of the First Intellect is what al-Jili calls Universal
Reason; and from this the individual intelligences of men proceed, as particulars proceed from a
universal. Individual intelligences are, of course, limited and fallible, being in any case but the
reflection of a reflection. But from time to time man has direct access to Universal Reason by means
of his intuition. [Al-Jili distinguishes much more sharply than Ibn 'Arabi between intuition and
gnosis.] He cannot learn anything in this way about the nature of God, since Universal Reason itself
belongs to the temporal order; but what he does learni.e. about events in the phenomenal worldis
[32]
infallible.
Here we have the whole basis of 'testing'. It is closely associated with the
latihannaturally so, since Universal Reason is a mode of the First Intellect, which is al-Ruh; it is
applicable, indeed solely applicable, to the ordinary affairs of life; and, though infallible, it should
not be regarded in the light of Divine guidance.
The second point concerns Pak Subuh's attitude towards other religions, which is, I think, liable to
some misunderstanding. I cannot do better than end this section with two quotations from Dr. Affifi,
which describe Ibn 'Arabi's views on this subject. Such evidence as we have seems to me to suggest
that Pak Subuh's views are not dissimilar:
"To worship a star or a tree is to worship a god, who is but a partial manifestation of the Real
God, but to worship him in all forms is to worship Allah who is the only true object of
worship. All other gods are 'intelligible objects of belief. We create them in our minds (ilah
bil jal). Everyone is right in his beliefno matter how partial it is, but wrong in asserting that
the object of his belief is (when it is not) Allah. Gnostics alone worship the true God, whose
name (Allah) is the most universal of all the divine Names. They are called 'the worshippers of
time' (ubbadu l-waqf) because they worship God at every 'moment' of time in a fresh
manifestation. Their position is a peculiar one: they combine the belief of the philosopher, who
asserts pure transcendence of God, with that of the polytheist who asserts pure immanence, for
neither transcendence alone nor immanence alone explains the full nature of Reality. Immanence
alone leads to a form of polytheism which Ibn ul 'Arabi rejects. The only religion left for him is
the universal religion which includes all religions and which, peculiarly enough, he identifies
with Islam not the monotheistic Islam of Mohammed but the idealistic monism or pantheism
he calls Islam."
But Ibn 'Arabi did not wish to seek converts; on the contrary, he was convinced that any attempt to
proselytise was futile:''According to Ibn ul 'Arabi we are born into the world with already fixed and predetermined
beliefs, which, like everything else in Ibn ul 'Arabi's universe, obey their necessary and
unchangeable laws. Beliefs are eternal potentialities which some actualities in this world. They
are determined by, and vary according to the nature (isti'dad: capacity) of the individual, which
is itself fixed and predetermined. The monotheist and the pantheist, the gnostic and the agnostic,
the theist and the atheist, the believer and the free-thinker, are so from eternity and their beliefs
are determined by their own nature. This, Ibn ul 'Arabi says, is what Junayd meant by saying
"the colour of water is the colour of the vessel which contains it." The part that God plays in the
matter is that of an Omniscient Being who knows from eternity what every individual belief is

going to be, but even His Knowledge is determined by the nature of the beliefs and that of the
people to whom they belong."
[Affifi, op.cit p.150-2.]
Pak Subuh would add, however, that everyone can practise the latihan and thus take the first
stepseven if it is no more than thattowards realizing his own essential nature and giving full and
complete expression to whatever form of belief is inherent in it.

Part 7
I think it will now be clear that the statement "Subud has no doctrine" is almost meaningless in a
Western context. It is as if a Chinese scholar were to say: "There is no need for translation; the whole
document is in Mandarin already." So it might be; but the average European would still have to learn
a new language before he could understand it. Much the same is true of Subud. If we are to understand
Pak Subuh's simplest statements about the nature and effect of the latihan, we must learn the
metaphysical language in which he is speaking. In doing so, we cannot avoid absorbing, even if we
do not accept, an entirely new doctrine, and one which is both complex and highly 'intellectual' in the
pejorative sense in which that term is often used in Subud circles.
Some Subud members will, I think, dispute this proposition. They will maintain that we can continue
to practise the latihan, to accept Pak Subuh's explanations, and to interpret our progress or our
difficulties in these terms, without attempting to understand the doctrinal basis on which they rest. But
I do not think that this position is tenable. It might be valid, if Subud were in fact no more than a
therapy. We could then say that it was unnecessary to understand it, in the same way that it is
unnecessary to understand the mechanism of an ultraviolet lamp in order to benefit from it. But Subud,
if it is anything, is more than a therapy. It is an aspect of the spiritual life or even a way of life in
itself. Its nature, as anyone knows who has practised it for a certain time, is to bring us face to face
with the fundamental problems of belief. It cannot be otherwise, when our declared aim is to make an
act of total submission to God. But submission under what aspect? That of a slave to his arbitrary
Lord? That of an aspect of Reality to its source? Or that of a son to his Father? We can scarcely hope
to evade such questions indefinitely.
For those who enter Subud without any religious beliefs the path is straightforward. They will slip
into Sufism by a gradual and almost unconscious process. They may even persuade themselvesI
think that many willthat in doing so they are avoiding the doctrinal and 'intellectual' content, which
they deplore so much in other religions. But for Christians the position is otherwise. They cannot
continue, beyond a very early point, to accept Pak Subuh's explanations without considering how far
theyor the doctrines on which they restare compatible with their own beliefs. That does not
mean, of course, that they will necessarily reject his explanations, in so far as these bear directly on
the practice of the latihan. That would be absurd, if only because no one else is in a position to offer
any explanations at all. But it does mean, first, that they will wish to understand, as clearly and
accurately as possible, what are the implications of Pak Subuh's various statements; and secondly,
that they will not be able to receive the whole of his teaching uncritically or without some measure of
reinterpretation.
It is not within the scope of this paper to attempt a critical comparison between Christian doctrine and
the metaphysical system described above. That there are points of close resemblance, as well as
fundamental differences, will already be obvious. Indeed, one of the most curious and strongly
marked features of Sufi thought is its ambivalent attitude towards Christianity. In particular, for
reasons too obvious to discuss, the doctrine of the Incarnation has exercised a fascination over Sufi
thinkers. They have been constantly drawn towards it as al-Hallaj was, by the nature of their own
religious experience, and as constantly pulled away by the rigid intellectual requirements of Islam.

We can see this double process at work in Ibn 'Arabi. When he contrasts the 'philosophers' who assert
the transcendence of God with the 'polytheists' who assert His immanence, he is stating a purely
Moslem dilemma. It is not too much to say that the root of his whole elaborate system is an attempt to
resolve this problem, which lay at the centre of his experience, while continuing to deny the validity
of Christian doctrine. A similar comment might be made about al-Jili. As Nicholson says:
No one who reads the Insanu i-Kamil can fail to discern that its author was profoundly
influenced by Christian ideas." But it was as impossible for him as for Ibn 'Arabi to receive
these ideas in their original form; Moslem dogma obliged him to classify Christians among the
'polytheists'. He held, in this following the Koran, that they worshipped a Trinity composed of
[33]
the Father, the Mother (i.e. The Blessed Virgin) and the Son.
Such a doctrine, besides being
polytheistic, was evidently tinged with anthropomorphism (tajsim) and represented an error
which God would certainly punish. Nevertheless, added al-Jili, it could be said of Christians
that they recognized the two complementary aspects of true belief: namely that from one point of
view (tanzih) God is above all likeness, while from another (tashbih) He reveals Himself in
the forms of His creatures. In respect of this and of their inward sincerity, they would certainly
be pardoned at the last. Indeed, al- Jili's references to Christianity were in general so mild and
apologetic as to lead his Moslem editor to suppose that they must have been the work of some
heretical interpolator.
[Studies in Islamic Mysticism, pp. 138-41]
We can notice a similar ambivalence in the Sufi attitude towards the person of Jesus. We have seen
already how al-Hallaj selected Jesus rather than Mohammed as his type of the deified man. Many
other, less extreme examples could be cited, though they are more apt to refer to the legendary Jesus
of the apocryphal stories rather than the Jesus known to us from the Gospels. Perhaps the most curious
of all is that of lbn 'Arabi. In one of his treatises he discusses the 'Seal of the Saints'. The whole
argument is an example of that passion for symmetry which seems to exercise such a strong influence
upon Moslem thought. Since there is a Seal of the Prophets, who is Mohammed, the bearer of the final
revelation; and since logically the state of a saint or gnostic is different from that of a Prophet, it
follows that there must also be a Seal of the Saints, the vehicle of the final illumination. But who is
he? Here Ibn 'Arabi distinguishes. There are, he says, two such seals. The first is the Seal of the
Hashimite tradition or of the Wilayatu l Muhammediyyah, the Moslem saintship. This is Ibn 'Arabi
himself. The second is the Seal of the Wilayatu l ammah, the general or absolute saintship. This is,
or rather will be, Jesus. Following a popular Moslem tradition, Ibn 'Arabi holds that Jesus will return
to earth and will embrace Islam, restoring it to its original form and revealing its true laws. In that
[34]
capacity he will be the Seal of the Saints, the last of the line that began with Adam.
It is difficult not to detect in such passages a certain unconscious longing for the person of Christ. It is
as if the Sufis had recognized the keystone of their arch at the very moment of rejecting it. But here, I
think, another comment must be made. This rejection is fundamental to the whole Moslem position; it
is not simply a product of loyalty to the Prophet, which obliges his followers to allot him a higher
place than Jesus; it goes deeper than that. Sufi mystics may allow their minds to play round the
doctrine of the Incarnation; but there is no room in their system, any more than in orthodox Moslem

theology, for the central fact of the Atonement. Mohammed, while accepting the Gospels as an
inspired scripture, denied the story of the crucifixion, because such consummation was inconceivable
to him; and so it has remained to all his followers. In the last analysis, therefore, we are faced with a
conflict between two entirely different conceptions of the nature of divine love.
One can, of course, find many parallel passages in the writings of Christian and Sufi mystics. It will
always remain a matter of dispute among scholars how far these should be attributed to a spontaneous
sympathy of thought and how far to the direct or indirect influence of one system upon the other. That
there was some interaction between them seems certain; and it is equally certain that whatever
influence was exerted was not in one direction only. Thus Arberry notes, though he does not explore,
the impact of certain of Ibn 'Arabi's theories on Christian mystical thought in the Middle Ages; and
another scholar has examined, I do not know with what success, the extent of his influence on Dante.
[35]
In the same way, one can trace a distinct parallelism, if it is not more than that, between al-Jili's
speculations about the nature of the Godhead and those of Jacob Boehme. If is likely that further
research in the future will extend this list considerably. But these points of resemblance seem to me to
lie mainly on the intellectual level; they concern what may be called 'devices of explanation'. As such
they have a certain value, since man is (among other things) an intellectual being. But when this field
has been thoroughly explored, when everything has been said that can be said, there still remains a
difference of inward spirit. It is the same difference on which St Augustine commented after reading
"certain books of the Platonists translated out of Greek into Latin":"And therein I read, not indeed the express words, but the same thing in substance, and
supported by many reasons of several kinds, that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God, and this same was in the beginning with God. All things
were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing of all that was made. In Him is Life,
and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not
comprehend it." Further, that the soul of man, though it gave testimony to the light, is not yet the
light, but the Word, God Himself, is the true light "which illuminateth every man coming into
this world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." But that "He came
into His own, and His own received Him not, and that to whomsoever received Him, He gave
power to be the sons of God, believing in His name", this is not there...
Again, that the only begotten Son, co-eternal with Thee, doth remain unchangeable beyond all
times, and that from this His fulness all souls do receive that they may be blessed, and that by
participation of his wisdom, remaining in men, they are renewed that they may be wise, this is
there. But that "in the fulness of time, He died for wicked men" and that Thou "didst not spare
Thy only Son but deliveredst Him up for us all", this is not there."
[Confessions, Bk VII, Chapter IX.]

[1]

Questions put to Pak Subuh on his visit to Paris in November 1959 No VII/2 by monks at the Abbeye de St. Wandrille, Caudebec-en-

Caux, Normandy, France.


[2]
Note by JGB: I am not sure of having rendered Pak Subuh's exact meaning here. For example 'whole' might have been better
translated as 'content'.
[3]
[sic. Presumably Bennett meant to write Adam. Ed.]
[4]
But Pak Subuh would not have applied the same argument to the Koran, which is held to be textually inspired throughout.
[5]
Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.129.
[6]
It should be remembered that for Pak Subuh the satanic and the material are, in effect, synonymous.
He uses the two words interchangeably.
[7]
cf. Reflections on Subud. Husein Rof, pp.56-68. I have followed Rof's use of these terms; but it should be understood that they
are used by Sufi writers in widely different senses. There seems to be no fixed terminology.
[8]
Concerning Subud, J.G. Bennett 2nd Ed. p.120.
[9]
In the account that follows I have drawn heavily upon Professor Arberry's short history Sufism, from which one quotation has
already been given. He has brought the whole story into focus in a way that I cannot hope to emulate; and I must refer interested
readers to the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of his book. All I have attempted here is to pick out certain elements which seem
particularly relevant to a study of Subud. But inevitably much has been left out, including much that is important and even necessary to a
full understanding of the subject.
[10]
Pak Subuh also uses this phrase in connection with the latihan. See Rof's The Path of Subud, p.65.
[11]
See Arberry, op.cit. pp.90-92 and 120-135 for a description of the dhikr as practised in Egypt in the last century and for the
elaborate instructions for another form of dhikr given by a modem Sufi.
[12]
see Muhyid Din-Ibnul 'Arabi. A.E.Affifi, pp.137-47 for a full discussion of the various meanings given to these two words.
[13]
The authority on al-Hallajs doctrine is Louis Massignon, editor and translator of the Kitab alTawasin; but a full account is given
by Nicholson in The Idea of Personality in Sufism, Lecture II.
[14]
It may be remarked in parenthesis that, when Pat Subuh addressed an audience in Newcastle on the significance of the Cross,
which be described as a symbol of the junction of spirit and matter" he was in fact reflecting al-Hallajs doctrine. That he should not be
able to see any further significance in the C1'0&8 is, of course, inevitable in view of the ambivalent Moslem attitude towards the Gospels,
to which I have referred above. See Subud Om>nicle. April 1960.
[15]
He also calls this state 'Allah' i.e. the aspect of Reality which is the object of Worship.
[16]
i.e. the 'fixed prototypes'the essences of things in their state of latency.
[17]
In the scholastic sense, Ibn 'Arabi was a 'realist'.
[18]
It is not difficult to see why Muhammed Iqbal, when he tried to combine the teachings of Nietzsche with those of Sufism, drew
largely on Ibn 'Arabi.
[19]
Reflections on Subud, Husein Rof p. 42
[20]
In the simplified and approximate account of al-Jilis position, given in this and following paragraphs, I have relied on both Nicholson
and Affifi
[21]
See Section II above. Aziz Ibn Muhammad Nasafi, on whose treatise this passage was based, was a minor member of Ibn Arabis
school.
[22]
There is also a fourth stage, The Illumination of the Divine Essence, in which every attribute has vanished, and the Absolute has
returned into itself. But al-Jili, following Ibn Arabi, held that this complete fanaone might say, this nirvanawas not to be attained in
this life.
[23]
Rof, op.cit. p. 57.
[24]
This is certainly true of the only Malayan text that I have seen, edited and translated by A. Johns in the Journal of the Royal
Asiatic Society for 1955.

[25]
[26]

Both these translations will be found in the report of Pak Subuhs second address in Oslo.

Printed in the Subud Chronicle for December 1960.


[27] nd
2 edition, especially those on pp. 120-124, 1st edition pp. 122 and 127.
[28]
Ibn Arabi asserts that the animal and vegetable souls are the body itself. See Affifi, op.cit. p. 121.
[29]
Christian Mysticism and Subud, J.G. Bennett, Coombe Springs Press, 1961
[30]
This is not consistent with the sense that I gave to the term Shari'at in II above. But the following quotation from Ibn 'Arabi may
suggest an alternative interpretation:- "In mystic language we call him (i.e. the mystic to whom knowledge of the shar of Islam is
revealed from the same source as that of Mohammed) a Khalifah (viceregent) of God; but in common parlance, he is called a follower
of the Prophet." Fususu 'I-Hikam, cited by Affifi, p.96.
[31]
see Affifi, op.cit,p.33 footnote and pp.135-6.
[32]
Nicholson, Idea of Personality in Sufism, p. 11.
[33]
Nicolson maintains that this was not a grotesque error but the actual doctrine of an heretical Christian sect, from whom it is
supposed that Mohammed derived it.
[34]
See Affifi, op.cit, p.100.
[35]
Asin y Palacios in La escatologia musulman en la divina commedia.