The Way of Muhammad

Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi (Originally published in 1975, Diwan Press)

Preface Affirmation The Science of the Self The Science of the Sunna The Science of States The Science of Qur'an The Science of Bewilderment The Science of the Moment The Charts: Introduction [The Charts] (not included here)

This Book is dedicated to the Masters of the Habibiyya-Shadhiliyya Tariqa.

Acknowledgements My thanks are due to: Aisha Abdarrahman at-Tarjumana Bewley whose translations of 'Ibn 'Arabi and Moul ay al'Arabi ad-Darqawi are used throughout. Dr. Fritjof Capra for permission to quote him. Hajj Abdalaziz Redpath, Hajj Abdalhaqq Bewley and Aisha Bewley for their assista nce in drawing up the charts and structuring the material relevant to them. My wife, Hajja Zulaikha, and Hajja Rabea Redpath for their assistance in prepari ng the manuscript.

Preface It was with a certain reluctance that I agreed to a new edition of this early wo rk of mine, and this only after some minor editing to remove errors which I can now perceive. The original intention of the work was to show that it was possibl e to grasp the meaning of Islam in terms of the European existential tradition. Indeed, it is of course the culmination of it. Ironically, the effect of the boo k was not in the main to open Europeans to Islam, but to restore to those who ha d gone out of the Deen, especially Arabs, a sense of respect and discovery in re lation to Islam. The book is simply a meditation of the five pillars of Islam as viewed by someone who has taken them on and is savouring their meanings. Howeve r, now with a lifetime of Islam to contemplate I would want to express the whole matter differently without denying the basic personal truths I tried to indicat e in this text. Today the enemies of Islam all explain that the danger of it is that it is not merely a metaphysical construct but is something that affects the whole of life. Yet, after a quarter of millennium of western occupation of Musl im lands, first in colonialism and then by the ethos of technology it can be sho wn that, tragically, we have abandoned Deen in its totality. The irresistible magnetic power of Islam which is now about to spread its rays o ver all the world lies in its Shari'at. Properly speaking the Messenger, blessin gs and peace of Allah be upon him, abolished the state as the model of societal order. This does not mean he established either anarchy or some kind of mystic i ndividualism, like Buddhism. Where the state was based on canon law and the impo sition of order by force, empowered by taxation, the new order established in Ma dinah was altogether different. The Islamic community is itself a freely chosen social contract of believers who agree to live within its parameters. The proper translation of Shari'at is a road. The two dimensions of the Shahada confirm worship as belonging to Allah and obed ience being due to His Messenger. The next two pillars, Salat and Zakat, in this sense could also be placed beside the double-Shahada. The worship of Allah and the pa¹ing of the only permitted tax, Zakat, go together just as the first and sec ond Shahada do. It is in between these two pillars that Islam sheds light on the nature of governance. Since worship must be according to what we have been ordered, it is not possible to proceed in 'Ibada beyond a certain point without previously having appointed an Amir. It is precisely at the point of Ramadan that governance becomes inesca pable to order the sighting of the moon, to start the fast and to order the coll ecting of Zakat, which is not charity but something, in effect, taken by power. Thus the collection and distribution of Zakat imply the existence of the Amir. I t is because Allah in his glory has shown to us the means of transacting sociall y and avoiding corruption that Islam is called Deen al-Fitr. It is the transacti on of original nature, that is, before corrupted by cultural excess. Allah has p ermitted trade and forbidden usury. Zakat for this reason cannot be paid in pape r money for it in itself is forbidden, being a promissory note, and in the major ity of cases one against which no material goods can be matched. The messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: 'The miser withholds from others the wealth that is due them.' Therefore banking is revealed as an unthinkable i nstitution both materially by its usurious nature and morally by its perversion of people's evaluation of life. This touches the nub of the question of the self and what we now call character. The identity is not formed in a psychological non-spatial zone, but rather it i

s the pattern and web created by the whole series of transactions which form a s ocial nexus. It is in the exchange of goods, in the holding and the distribution of wealth, in the giving up and the taking on of possessions that the self emer ges. Therefore, the path to an integrated human identity can only be established on obedience to the commands of Allah and His Messenger. When he left Makkah, t he city of his encounter with Allah, glory be to him, to establish the Islamic c ommunity, he renamed the neighbouring city of Yathrib, Madinah. Its mean¹ing quite simply is 'the place of the Deen'. When he settled there he established two ins titutions - the mosque and the market. The mosque and market were identical inas much as it was not permitted to establish your corner or part of it for your use . With the foundation of Madinah was established the inevitable abolition of cap italist and socialist society. The inability to create monopoly and the impossib ility of an elite to separate themselves, in worship from the people had been as sured. Not only papal Rome, but later the Holy Roman Empire and later the Europe an Union of the Treaty of Rome, and equally the Soviet Presidium, the English Pa rliament, and the American Senate, in the light of Islam were revealed to be tyr annies, the basis of which was not its regal army, but its fiscal subjugation of the masses. The imperial phase of bankism, which sweetly gives itself a political title, 'co nstitutional democracy', while still dominating the world in a manner more ruthl ess than any ancient warlord now clearly exposes the truth that systems control does not work, that the abolition of trade and its reduction to mere distributio n does not work, that the denial of genuine autonomy of peoples at a local level does not work. It is for these reasons that the modern man must dig deep into himself to see if , after the almost complete conditioning to which he has been submitted, he is a ble to act at all. The result of a secular liberal education is something akin, socially, to the general paralysis of the insane. However, there are still those who will not accept the role allotted them by the oligarchy of banking - to be helpless and happy members of the faceless consumer mob. After all the progress, after all the modernity, public arenas of modern life are inescapably identical to that of the Roman Coliseum and Aztec Temple. The response of the free-acting people of this age will be to obey the order of Allah, glory be to him, in Qur'an: "Enter Islam in its totality." (Qur'an 2.206) . It can also be translated: "Enter Islam all together."

"If you engage upon travel you will arrive and may Allah, praise be to Him, guide you and us!" (The Makkan Revelations) - Shaykh al-Akbar Affirmation There is only one method by which you can approach the sufic sciences and that i s to start, tabula rasa, by putting away the whole world-picture and value struc ture which has formed you until now and which is completely the result of your s ocial and historical imprinting which you share with millions of others, whateve r particular individuality you may imagine you have over and against those milli ons of others. You have an idea of how things are, and how you are, how things s

The love r. I observe. J ohn is not Arthur.stops you fr om calm and clear reflection. the wife . Just as in the legend of Kurosawa's 'Rashomon'. you exist. Finally. in Greek. the category for the indicated. The whole matter begins and ends with an affirmation of One. Any idea of 'god' as an explanation of existence or an arena for your life-exper ience has to be set aside. nor Margaret. 'multiplicity'.each has been trapped in a private fantasy that insist s on interpreting existence in a way that allows for their 'self-respect' to con tinue. a constant hallucination. But. Otherwise I would be mad. with nothing to gain or lose. fluctuating conceptualisation of existence that. so I exist.at times even ironic. Let us start from the beginning. Yet whe n I dream. N on-realities that have now crystallised in people's imagination as having some k ind of dynamic actuality like history or class or individuality have to be set a side.at least everyone in today's 'drea m' confirms this. alien and solid. When the woodcutter sees the man's dilemma. It is enough to reflect. Each story is in the end a contradiction of the one before it. You are the key. awake they are solid and therefore 'r eal'. Th ere is not even continuity. 'three'. M y reality is affirmed socially. But by now the man who sought the trut h dares no longer believe anyone. mingled with your personal emotional responses to event and personality.it will be said .' Information has for the moment been set aside. Precisely. It is like a per petual fever. Real means solid.to bind together) as exp lanation or arena is equally false.hould be and how you should be. Yet I have physicists in my 'reality' who now tell me th at solidity has no reality for them. means private. I am the same one who was here yesterday after a night of dreamless sleep . Anne. But . however. to mistake the name for the thing na med. but each one has given a version of the event from their own subje ctivity. we are in a dilemma. in radiant and expansiv e serenity that left space around him for his community and space within him for his own inner peace. Each witness tells w hat happened. is to make tasawwuf impossible of access. It is to this subject tha t tasawwuf addresses itself. there is 'two'. the objects seem insubstantial. Since we are not to be trusted. make up what you think is both 'y ou' and 'your world'. Things are multiple. 'Religion' (from the Latin . utterly fulfilled. What would be the qualifications of a man to trust in this matter? There would be only one thing that would make him an 'expert' and that is that he knew how to live his life. You desire urgent tranquillising information sayin g 'it is all proved. is in a worse state than I am. it must be some very remar kable sort of person. The object is slipping away from me yet aga in. It is because of the experient ial multiplicity that the science of Unity exists.Sufism . a simple woodcutter who is 'outside' the event. for he has ample evidence that people want the ir own version of events. The subject of tasawwuf is reality. the bandit. This implies. In that story a woman has been raped and killed. Indeed. examine a possibility.I am another. You are nothing but a mirror of reality. your anxiety . The subject of tasawwuf . The person this world has appointed to assuage my in ner anxiety. Idiotiki. and in yourself . everything is really all right. Let us. One. and what i . Thus: If you desire to know reality you must know yourself. The possibility is that there is someone to trust about the very urgent matter o f what life is about. Unless they are in my dream.about what is on the horizon. and forms are being proved out of existence and I am left holding onto a 'me ntal reality' in a vanishing world of forms which they tell me is merely dynamic space. yet we persist in it. that as you are. you are not grasping the true nature of existence. tells what really happened. therefore. Interposed between you and reality is a function ing. The information about my 'real world' has become very odd and contradict ory . the only key to reality.is you.

to lo ve the life beyond this world. . Certainly you will always be repaid. a man possessed. No. tree.38-42) By the pen and what they inscribe. the Messenger of reality. to fulfil the oath. thou art not. What Reckoning? Surely this regret sounds like guilt? It is at this point that we must beware of bringing with us the whole value stru cture that we were prepared to jettison. interest. to put a land in disorder: and I command you to fear Allah at every stone. Muhammad.1-6) Mu'adh ibn Jabal said. is in truth to the Messenger. ever-changing lie . This is essentially the starting point of the science of tasawwuf. he has to shed his doubt and his distrust and even his own experience. 'The Messenger of Allah commanded me saying. Then the man knows that he too has to give in." ' At this point there are clearly things that do not make sense: fear Allah.ju st give up. to act humbly: I forbid you to abuse the learned. to be soft spoken. If the matter of tasawwuf is sin and repentance and the whole guilt-mechanism that modern man has so sensibly been d etermined to throw off then we are back to square one. and let us therefore lay aside these disturbing phrases to see what we make of t he rest of the injunctions. I swear by what you see and by what you do not see. secret or public.he no longer believes in existence as a dynamic functioning reality. all the others are social and benign. Open himself compl etely to the man. Surely we desire to be rid of fear . The necessary qualifications for this acceptance are these same simple and profo und ones of his humanity and his deep sanity and his disinterestedness. surrender any idea of separateness. And the two men weep. to avoid wrong actions. to do good act s. unresistant to that moment and its simple truth: his story. Let it be. while a ctually to the Shaykh. to report truthfully. to be generous in extending greetings. to accuse an honest man of lying. it is the speech of a noble Messenger. it has proved to be a fragmented. dissembling . to limit expectation. We are quite clear at thi s stage of our enquiry that the guilt/redemption language of Christianity is a h opeless dialectic superimposed on a neurosis and not dismantling it. "Oh. Somehow life cannot have any continuity again unle ss there is affirmation of this encounter and its reality. to care for the neighbour. or village.t has done to him . and that you show re gret for every wrong action. to obey th e man of wrong actions. Mu'adh. (Qur'an 68. to cleave to the Way. to have mercy on the orphan. The moment has been tasted. I command you to fear Allah. to love the life beyond this world. by the blessing of thy Lord. Certainly you are on a vast self-form.and not simply project it into a god-concep t and call it a name? What lies beyond this world? So far we do not know.and the surrender. Let us look more closely at the pict ure of the man. and applying it just at the point of pr etended clarity and lack of pre-conception. Apart from these subjective and seemingly 'religious ' ones. someone to copy. and to show regret for wrong action. (Qur'an 69. to be anxious in regard to the Reckoning. to study the Qur'an. Humanly it is all he can do.the w oodcutter breaks down and weeps. So you shall see and they shall see which of you is the demented. subjective. It begins wit h surrendering any vain concept that you can think or detector-feel your way out of the contradictions and pains of lived existence . Muhammad. A man of these qualities is certai nly someone to be open to. to be anxious in regard to the Reckoning. to act l oyally. to disobey a just man. to tell you what reality is like. it is not the speech of a poet (little do you believe) nor the speech of an occultist (little do you remember). the one who is sent just fo r that.

He did not eat very hot food. the most sile nt without being insolent. He did not eat better food or wear better clothes than his servants. and ate with his women-folk. deified. if not he reclined on the earth. He joked but he only spoke the truth. ÒLet it be. his closest Companion. a mal e camel. and he accepted presents even if they consisted merely of a draught of milk or a rabbit's leg. He did not eat reclining. He did not wash his hands until he had licked them clean of food. or who was not lawful for him to marry. He was alway s the first to extend a greeting. an ass. He called his companions by their kunya (surnames) so as to show honour to them. It was meant to happen. 'I am the complete. He never found fault with his food. If he disliked it he did not make it hateful to someone else. He patched his sandals and cl othing. Muhammad was forbearing.' When asked to wish evil on anyone he blessed them instead. and so often his store of grain fo r the year was used up before the end of the year. and did not refrain from any permitted food. the gentlest of temper. He was the most generous of m en. visited the sick. he walked barefoot and bareheaded at different times. He was the most smiling and laughing of men in the presence of his companions. as being a completely open person in flow ing harmonic accord with existence so that he knows it inwardly and outwardly.' meaning. Anas ibn Malik. He laughed but did not burst out laughing. Whoever saw him unexpec tedly was awed by him. In submitting to the Shaykh we submit to the man who has himself mastered these aspects of his behaviour that were not in ac cord with his 'vastness of self-form' which is the Messenger's. or made into a symbol. the science of the self. He answered the invitation of the slave and the f ree-born. He tyrannised nobody and accepted the excuse of the one who begged his pardon. He refused to curse his enemy saying. Neither a dinar nor a dirham was left him in the evening. If anything remain ed and there was no one to give it to. the most open hearted. did household chores. and the children so as to soften their hearts. He was a lways joyful and never awed by the affairs of this world. and whoever was his intimate loved him. while because of hunger he would at times tie two stone s around his stomach. within his reach. and he ate what was in front of him on the plate. said: 'Of all men he was the most generou s. The M essenger is not being worshipped. He is being ac cepted as a witness of how-things-are. He attended feasts. said: 'He never said to me about anything of which he disapproved. He sat and ate with the poor. he grew up with shepherds in an ignorant desert land. The conduct of this perfect ruler was untaught. and the most eloquent without being lengthy. He rode a horse. 'I was sent to forgive not to curse. A . his servant. the most truthful. He was never asked for anything but that he gave it to the asker. He wiped the dish clean with his fingers saying. honest. In a handshake he was never the first to relea se his hand.' It is to this man that we address ourselves in the acquiring of the knowledge of tasawwuf. just and chaste. attended funerals. night having fallen suddenly. He could neither read nor write. His hand never touched the han d of a woman over whom he did not have rights. and was an orphan without father or mother. the most fulfilling of promise. and wal ked among his enemies without a guard.Ó' If there was a bed he slept on it. and the noblest towards his family. If he wa s pleased with it he ate it and if he disliked it he left it. We are making no mistakes and we are remaining within the zone of existential recognition.' He himself said: 'I am al-Qautham. with whom he did not have sexual relations. eating with three fingers.His name means the Praiseworthy. ÒWhy did you do it?Ó Moreover his wives would not rebuke me without his saying. He was shy and would not stare into people's faces. He preferred his guest over himself and would offer the cushion on which he reclined until it was accepted. he would no t retire to his apartment until he was able to give this excess to whoever neede d it. 'The last morsel is ve ry blessed'. admiring wha t they said and mingling with them. He only spoke the truth. a mule. He ate what was at hand. Sayyedina 'Ali. He would prefer the seeker to himself and his family. perfect man. H e quaffed milk but sipped water. He was the humblest of men. One did not argue in his presence. He loved perfumes and disliked foul smells.

You will either become 'defensive' or you in turn will attack their anger. and he must manifest the highest social and h uman qualities. and we had got to a point where only a direct experience was going to convince us. we are looking for a witness of the event of ex istence we may trust. It is here that the essential tea ching element of tasawwuf declares itself.the self. and if he keeps the company of junkies he will sooner or later succum b to their habit. u nawake to the true taste of life. while still in the world of bodies. has a particularly dangerous quali ty of self-destruction. I am only the son of a woma n of the Quraysh. Transmission. but it has in it no consolation. The Messenge r has said. se lf-deceiving entity . who eats dried meat. What then is the method o f the Messenger of Peace. It is not enough that he be some kind of a superior being with s uperior powers.and we have understood that our self-form is oddly unresponsive to reason. and when he di es he wakes up. if you sit in a room with someone in a rage you wi ll pick up from that person the subtle form of their condition.' We already know in our barbaric state that if a man i s locked up with the insane he most probably will himself fragment in his self-e xperience. If you sit with a dep ressive you will in turn be depressed or you will feel obliged in some subtle ma . 'Be at rest. in extremis. 'I was sent to complete the noble qualities of character. we don't know what is happening. That is all. The very knowledge of what is wrong seems to bet ray our hopes for it. peace be upon him. heroic and brutal. the peace t reaty with our rebel forces . the Messenger of Sub mission? He simply is there and he asks people to follow him. He has left behind a book called the Qur'an. Muhammad. A man who keeps the company of women. Madmen. be an organised suicide or an endless sleep-in. yogic control over the body and the mind. He has said that. we find a man with all these qualities. and instead of releasing us it traps us and paralyses us m ore. a man becomes a soldier on entering the arm y. We cannot see clearly.but in fact this is everything. and the book he left looks at first glance suspiciously like the others. keep him company. and worse than that. and could be a mere Roman cynicism. Life can. the conquest of the self. In the Messenger of Reali ty.' and als o.man came to him who was over-awed by his presence and became reverential toward s him. therefore. and to do as he does. 'Die before you die!' This infers that there is a science of waking up. He has said.' The Shaykh is simply the man who has fully surrendered his self-form and f illed himself up with the clear radiance of this perfect behaviour. what is essential is t hat he is completely at peace and that with that peace he can function in the so cial setting that is man's ordinary quotidian reality. or as he prefers to call himself. poets. 'If a man lives with a people he becomes one of them. He gets 'beaten into shape'.' This confirms our initial experience of being somnambulistic.' It is essential that this starting point is established. Our concern is the alteration of the self. We are staying with the man. He has confirmed our own recognition that we are in no way well en ough to recognise reality but somehow we must trust the validity of this affirma tion of his serenity and human-ness. occultists we have by our reason rejected: the witness must be disinterested. brin gs us grinding to a disastrous self-aware frozen halt. He said to him. even if he is sexually expressed as a man. more recognisably.' His answer to his name was 'At your serv ice. Or to narrow the field of this phenomenon even more. the self-form is restructured and solidified int o something considered manly. and the very awfulness of our self-hood which we think we see at last. and as yet we have not examined or satisfi ed ourselves as to the meaning and validity of the book . will take on a subtle feminising of self-form and behaviour. so let each of you look to who he takes as a companion. But the Messenger died fourteen hundred years ago. or seems all .for the moment we are persisting in a more direct existential search for what we seek. and avoids men's company. Structured information then can only become the foil of this self-destroying. 'A man follows the life-pattern of his friend. 'Man is asleep. However there is another Tradition of his which tells us. I am not a king.

who is completely at peace. at a certain point there will still come an eruption from within when the outward situation allows it. you wil l have to become either depressed or by contrast resistantly high. And for this reason he is utterly turned away from us. we must be done with the game of suffering and rediscover that deep basic sanity which we desire and whi ch we cannot but recognise in this perfectly balanced and radiant figure of Muha mmad. We could kill him. see y ourself at last. w e lose. we have agreed that. He is fully surrendered to his creature-state.nner to put up a resistance to their swamping all-enveloping low-energy. He is merely a mirror in which you may. utterly turned away from all the tremors within us and utterly withholding of either approval or disapproval. He is an openness. and an emptiness. In some exasperating or frightening way he does no t see us. and hell will. an authority. Firstly the Shaykh either does not sleep at all or minimally. Returning now to our point of departure. It is enough to sit with someone for transmission to take place. He in no way takes on the burden of your problems. knowing as we do t hat the self is in an endless loop of repeated battles. He is a gathering-together of forms. He is unassailable. to advancing age. unsurprisingly . authority-projection idea o f the guru that is so prevalent in our society. a powerful figure. and do not realise that he is teaching us not to need it. for it thrives on struggle and seems to gain life by its own continued self-destruction. after all. He really does not care! So what then is happening inside this man? From our sick point of view it certainly seems to be a super-de fence system that we can envy. the other is fairly certain t o turn out to be the enemy. The Shaykh is simply the living exemplar . Instead of seek ing again the partner of battle and further pain. If the behaviour is controlled from out side. This means that the self is going to be constantly seeking the very company that will keep it constantly trapped in a cycle of pain. disconcerting. there is a constant traffic in the energy-forms of the self.' said a follower o f Shaykh al-Kamil. He is not going to tell you how to live your life. You may wor k your way through a whole series in the desperate desire to prove that you 'wan t out of it'. the two drugs on which ou r continued self-survival depends. a super-guide. If you de sire to be punished you will not rest till you find the executioner. he greets us and feeds us and counsels us. and to changing seasons. to sabotage the end of host ilities. And the means is transmiss ion. He is not.he is not a Messenger. we now turn to the Shaykh. In other words for the embattled self. and no refusal of our yes. a unifier. The mind must be cleared of the whole superstitious. and to the samen ess of days. and he is a separa tor. So we decide to imitate him. seem to be other people. Putting that aside as the fruit of years of h . p erhaps two or three hours at most. 'The shaykh is contagious. For the moment we do not know why. We go to the master s wordsman to learn how to kill. He is a Qur'an and a furqan. We wish to recover. we cannot but be well awar e that it is of its nature to continue the struggle. but see what a cruel fate has always provided you with a destructi ve partner. but he is not caught up. although he may well know these things. our Muhammad-nature. there is no yes to our n o. that is enough. one who makes choices and selects and rejects without stru ggle. What does he do? What is the means to this omnipotent end? It is. and they do batt le as much socially as they do inwardly. we have no science yet to indicate why and how th is should be so. we are vulnerable. In other word s. p recisely because from the point of view of his deep sanity these problems do not exist.but you could say that he is the Message. and this must be esta blished. a discriminator. if you are patient enough. because it is a psyc hology based on the very dialectic that traps us. what house to buy and what job to take. We still see things this way. He wins. peace be upon him. if you like. Now from the embattled position of the self as it is. If you sit in the sun you get sunburned. for it certainly does not accord with the solid mechanistic psy chology we are with such difficulty trying to leave behind. for the Messag e has been delivered .

He does what he has been comm anded to do.but never for this or that. he is the summit of what the human cre ature is in its potentiality when fully realised. of this very reality we want to know and experience.he is busy exalting Reality and hon ouring it and even glorifying it. and he goes on bowing and prostrating and praising this Reality with its endless generosity and compassion and provision. this effulgent nothingness that has produced the myriad for ms. He may be ill and in pain. or anyone's slave. He ask s for this no-thing. for he is there. constantly being renewed. utterl y constrained. a honing away on this smooth surface of his inner reality of any roughness or blemish. talks. he may be penniless. the Light of Muhammad. h e does exist before our eyes and he is recollecting back into himself the plenum . what the Arabs call the pronoun of absence. Yet if his self-form exists it somehow takes in everything. for it seems that this flow of 'It' never ce ases through all these apparently negative events. his reality. but consciousness i tself. Stranger still we notice that despite poverty and illness there is in fact a disconcerting and inexplicable f low of goods and money in to this centre of submission.yet at the same time he is that by the most extreme token of opposites he is a slave. he asks and he asks . People denounce him and criticise him and accuse him of fraudulence and he does not care. of collectedness. He is not our slave. he is a luminous form of that perfection of man. he calls on its name morning and night. His reality is that he is in constant and unceasing communication with reality itself. and the money is distributed and the people are fed an d clothed. He has subjugated his 'I' and he has enthroned the 'He'. The thing to be grasped is that the Shaykh is in dialogue with Reality. the Shaykh. obedient. So by t his token he is utterly open to his own activity. He is with each new day refin ing and asking to be refined. He is the slave of It. He i s a presence addressing an absence. that is. or. in this dynamic communication he has with his . We also observe that his dialogue rarely involves direct asking for a specific b ut is mainly about praising the endless energy of the Reality and the generosity and compassion and fullness of its nature . he asks It for It and gets whatever 'It' he supplicates for. He is a Ma ster . he speak s to It and It speaks to him. we cannot avoid recognising that this awakeness of which the Messenger of Submission spoke was not some inner consciousness alone. Along with this we note that he seems constant ly to be involved in a kind of fine tuning. as 'He'. For the moment let us enquire openly into what this s ystem of address is that the Shaykh employs and what are its effects. Constantly he addresses reality. The whole of his existence is spent in one thing . so we always se e him satisfied and content. This is again to be accepted either as a fantasy o r sanity. its struggle is over. he himself is constantly under review. He is the perfection of slavery. We treat him as a Master and show the utmost respect to him. and yet we experience him inwardly as an abs ence expressing a Presence. and yet there is stil l a someone there . everyone bows before him and he sees all this and he does not care. sits. it excludes nothing. he is polishing and asking to be polished. He is bound. The Shaykh calls himself Nur-i-Muhammad. helpless. We recognise that he functions socially in the world and that he does embody those noble virtues or good qualities that so appealed to us and so intri gued us when we discovered that a man could possess them and live in the world.he is in a constant state of awareness. and we recall t hat the working. or any thing's slave. never for forms. but he is content. He is m erely a vortex of energy. it is allembracing. We observe also that everything that comes in to him. without choice. goes out from him.a man who eats and sleeps a little. so that we cannot look at h im without being reminded of It! Again it is dangerous to interpose those old preconceptions of an ethic that say s we must struggle and work and compete to be a healthy society. He has subjugated the self. he is well-pleased. He bows and he prostrates before this Reality. struggling society has spent itself in a quite terri ble frenzy of competition and struggle that has all but destroyed the bio-sphere in which we work to live. competing. if you like recollectedness.ard work.

But it is not from me. I try to make the setting of my exile be nign. This is not comp licated. we are the process . I become alienated. Say: He.' If this is read carefully. Protect me in case the truth should become doubtful to me. Guide me correctly in regard to whatever I am in doubt about as to its truth. there is not anything.outside It. the Compassionate.the static that seems to gather around the wave impulse that is h is existence is being cleared and stilled by this rhythmic act of renewal and pr ostration. and at the same time re cognises that his whole self-form in its separateness is Its property. But soon I b ecome irritated with that person. affirms unity. the waveband and the signal are o ne reality. I look out at the forms and get frigh tened and confused. Make it be t hat my inclination is in obedience to You. peace be upon him. So his gathering together of what is. yet I am the Messenger of the Reality. It is named so that we may indicate what cannot be given a name .it is named with a personal name for a personal name does not define. his Qur'an. in It. peace be upo n him. is not by him but by It and from It . I choose this person and n ot that person because I feel between us there is some commonality. With the man of Muhammad. and renoun ced his own strength and power and asked for guidance in these words: 'Oh Allah. The man. He did not bring anything into being and nothing brought Him into being. The 'I' that asks is helpless. for other than It . (Qur'an: 112) This is reality. Two things are being said at once. it is the name of what is not this and not that. there is no spectator. there is no alien creature in an alien world in an alien universe. The re is no observer.and we are forced to continue .the message is from It to It . It is this persistent lie of self-hood that is the very matter of conflict and suffering. 'I am only a slave of the Reality. Muhammad. Allah.' In other words I merely tell yo u what the reality is like. Muhammad.if I was not here. their sameness seems an empty mockery of my in dividuality and I long for someone different. And it is named. it merely indicates that he is the . His doubt and the adjusting of his doubt are from one source that is not the 'I' that ask s. the mountain storm echoes my own t urbulence and I long for a landscape that is the opposite of my inner imagined s elf. If you say One you cannot say the other. there is only a locus of communication.to imagine one was outside the process. Allah is endless time. and may You be pleased with my harmon ising with You. and I then follow my inclination without guidance from You. so that he says. So he does not say it. it merely indicates. The Message from It is this: In the Name of Allah. If you say both you approach a new way of understanding existence. Allah . is One. and no one form is like Him. the Merciful. This is what existence is like. a quite astonishingly fine balance may be observed in the way in which he addresses It as both other-than-he. This is just like the Messenger of Submission. I choose this mountain or the edge of that ocean because I like it and hop e that it will harmonise with my inner troubled self. nothing is outside the process. show me the truth as truth. bu t It says it through him and by him. I wo uld have nothing to worry about. The 'You' that is addressed is total. entrusted it to the Reality. although that doubt is by your permission. for there is no me. He says One not two.own reality . Truly You guide whoever You want onto the true Way. John does not define John. There is a radio-station on the waveband but the air itself is nothing but oscillating signals. Show me what is denied as the denied and make me shun it. We are in the process. Allah. who when he undertook any matter. All this stems from my seeing myself as outside the process and either hope lessly trying to fit myself in and harmonise or trying not to be overwhelmed by the utterly irreconcilable otherness of the creation and the creatures. and I will follow it. That would be fantasy .

with the exception of a special essen tial autonomy. We do not describe Him with any quality but that we possess that quality. But in affirming the One reality the forms are ne gated. This is not absolutely over that. yet we are based on one reality which unites us. It seems then that the Existent is an unknowable nothing. He witnesses Himself. Allah is not. Rather. Because of this one can apply pre-endless-time and no-time to Him which negates the firstness which suggests the opening of exi stence from non-existence. firstness is not ascribed t o Him. there is no me to reject god. So we certainly know that there are distinctions between individuals. Already we seem flung up against an impossibly forbidding barrier. there would be no multiplicity in the One. nor is It pres ented as being identical with the totality of forms. It has no portion in the essential necessity which belongs to the existence of Allah. So He is the Last in the source-form of His firstn ess and the First in the source-form of His lastness. The forms are certainly taken serious ly and there is a whole science of how to be among forms. It is continuously under a veil which is not removed s ince it knows that it is distinct from its Creator by its need of Him. for that would make me godlike . it would not be valid for Him to be th e Last to the determined. What we are presented with is an uncompromising affirmation of Unity. Divine communications came down on the tongues of our interpreters. we started on the quest because we sought to let our hearts experience the radiant peace of perfection. If there w ere not. When we witness. By the same token. so it can never perceive Him. Allah is always unknown by the knowl edge of direct tasting and witnessing because the time-forms have no hold on tha t. Since we know Him by ourselves and from ourselves. Air is a power but fire consumes it and Fire is a power but earth obliterates it. And so on. There is no god.re. We are doubtless nume rous as individuals and types. For that reason. in this declaration of the Messe nger.' Among us are those who know. In this respect. and who do not utter the like of this: and it is the highest of words. This is how the greatest Master Shaykh 'Ibn 'Arabi puts it: We draw conclusions about Him through ourselves. He is the Last because the whole affair returns to Him after its attribution to us. by direct seeing. and for this reason He is called the Last. Water is a power but air turns it into vapour. Likewise we are described in all aspects by what He describes Himself.'The in capacity to achieve perception is perception. The Shaykh al-Akbar also has said: Some of us implied ignorance of the matter in their knowledge and said . Earth is a power but water sweeps over it and destroys it. yet bafflingly a fecund nothing out of which endlessly pour myriad forms. we attribute t o Him all that we attribute to ourselves. Only Allah. it is our indication that He is present althoug h he is no-place. He goes on to say: So the Universe is its own veil over itself and it cannot perceive the Reality s ince it perceives itself. He is independent of that which makes us dependent on Him. Had His firstness been the fir stness of the existence of determination. because there is no Last to the possible for possibili ties are endless. There mus t be a distinction and it is none other than our need (iftiqar) of Him in existe nce. of which the forms are but appearances. Our existence depends on Him by our possibility. No god. Knowledge doe . Although He is the First. In the world of forms there is no god. including your own.that is a power. And here is the Shaykh saying that we can not know Him by direct tasting. Allah does not define Allah. how to view them and t reat them. One realit y. and so He described Himself to us through ourselves. What then is the point of it we were not seeking a closed system of perfect metaphysical design. positing this and that. presented as the ground of being or as the infra-structure.

there are signs in the nafs . or as it is called in the technical language of Sufism. W e will by the very nature of this unitive approach. the uncompromising affirmation of Oneness. the Messenger's wife.from the Diwan of the Perfect Shaykh In the Makkan Revelations of the Shaykh al-Akbar he tells of al-Junayd. and this is the highest task. being asked. come right back to our start ing point. the Way from the beginning of man's story. 'What did you obtai n of what was granted?' And his reply: 'My sitting beneath this stair for thirty years. it all en ds up with disease-ridden squalor and beggars swarming idle in city gutters. We have seen that the basis that sustains the whole Wisdom method of the Perfect ed is the affirmation. And so back we have come to our first perception of the Shaykh who in his transm ission of the Nur-i-Muhammad. Now do not say: 'H ow?' or 'Where?' or 'What?' It expands by the bestowal of the Trust upon it by Allah . but rather. Now this is such a completely alien idea that it fulfils our worst suspicions ab out asceticism and fatalism and all the other labels of our education. Unity of existence is th erefore the foundation of the Wisdom of the Wise. The Science of the Self If you reflect . Shaykh ibn al-Habib.' Then he quotes Shaykh Abu Yazid. The work ethic looms up and struggle takes on its heroic aspect and the militant fl ags of work and progress and social contract again surge through us with the old adrenaline kick of dialectical rage.and god-hood has no limitation. indicating the Way 'The life-transaction is behaviour. -. knowledge gives him the silence which incapacity gives. What we have to establish first of all is the nature of the work that has to be undertaken.because the whole macrocosm of existence is contained in it. presents us with someone who is utterly helpless. The Unity of e xistence is the key to the whole set of sufic sciences.s not give him incapacity to know as the first said. and it must not be confused with the structuralist education we have .' The Perfect Woman. may Allah be pleased with him.' And it is this science of the self that we must first discover on our journey. Sayyedina 'Umar. A'isha. and we took our knowledge from the Living who does not die. says in h is Diwan: By slavery I mean being stripped of every power and strength and capacity and ev en the act of getting things for yourself. This is the highest mark of the one who has knowledge of Allah. In the meantime. Tawhid . By purification the nafs expands by the power of the Reality. said: 'Would that I were a leaf upon that tree. Lang uage does not alter your condition and it is the condition of anxiety and confli ct that has to be healed. We have to be patient and leave this utter ly extraordinary point of view aside for the moment.' We have already committed ourselves to a path of learning which rejects information as a knowledge-process. said: 'Would that I were th e dust upon the road. the second Khalif of the Messenger. Unity. remembering that its confro ntation is the whole matter of what has been called the Hikmat. may Allah be pleased with him.' The Messenger called himself the Slave of Allah. as sayi ng: 'You took your knowledge from something dead. the Imam of the Masters. and their wisdom is in turn th e reality of their slave-hood before the splendour of the Universal Reality. The great men have proved unable to bear this Trust yet still man has to take it on. as the Shaykh al-Akbar put it: The Universe continues to be in the present tense. The Messenger said. who used to sign himself the slave of the slaves. the Wisdom. In the sciences we wi sh to acquire nothing less than direct experience can be accepted as valid.

There is no way to the harmony of the goal except by the tongue of the Road (Sha ri'a). causes. . Secondly. The rights which Allah.the right of Allah. This confusion comes from two thin gs: firstly. and it is the kn owledge which is above the condition of reason. It is beyond the perception of reason. and the bitterness of aloes and the pleasure of intercourse and passion and ecstasy and yearning. t he seeker has still held onto some idea or concept of 'freedom' or 'independence ' that sets him outside the life-situation. like the knowledge of the sweetness of honey. The knowledge of reason ('aql): it is every knowledge which you acquire by ne cessity or as a result of speculation in a proof with the condition of the disco very of that proof and its form structured in the world of thought. Know therefore that the Path of Allah.the right of themselves. this surrender is based on the Shaykh being himself a completely radiant and surrendered slave of Reality. A man of reason cannot limit it nor can he base proof on it. In other words. It is a knowledge which the Perf ect Dynamic of Existence blows into the heart. and on the other bringing them a good existence by the very act of what is allowed. may He be exalted. The third knowledge is the knowledge of the secrets (asrar). This surrend er demands that even beyond the bounds of reason one has to be completely acquie scent before the Shaykh's instruction and injunction. and merely indicate the temperature. The right creation has over them is that there is a Road for creatures to go on. Moreover. As the Shaykh's sole intention is to set him on the path of his own possibilities and to awaken in him contentment w ith the totality that surrounds him.the right of creation. So these are knowledges which it i s impossible for anyone to know without being characterised by them and experien cing them. Thought gath ers and selects from that form of knowledge. not one speculative thinker or logician can possess this state. 2. But before the practices can be embarked on i t has to be established that all this is based on our certainty of the Shaykh's approach and a complete surrender of any kind of opinion or idea or speculation that one might have about the validity or non-validity of the work. The four paths mentioned by the Master are the four truths by which we make the approach to our own understanding. The right due to themselves is that they do not travel except on a path that has happiness and liberation in it. defines the matter: So let the possessor of himma be in spiritual retreat with Allah.been forced to abandon. There are four paths: search. There are three rights preserved for them which call them to these paths: . and if this were true of the Shaykh it wou ld be quite fitting to contradict him and defy him in certain cases. again in 'The Makkan R evelations'. His gift and H is grace appear to such a man from a knowledge of which every language-bound per son in the world is ignorant. is that which the elit e of the trusting ones have travelled upon seeking their liberation and not the masses who occupy themselves with other than that for which they were created. For this reason. these conflicts that call up our defiance h ave no reality for the Shaykh. . Different Masters may use different methods but there is no a . as it were. 3. of the recovering patient. This is how the Shaykh al-Akbar. and realities. restraining them from harm and limiting them on the one hand. they are used to the idea that the teacher is as fallible if not mo re fallible than they themselves are. they say in specul ation that this is valid and that is in-valid. behaviour-pattern. has over them is that they glorify Hi m and do not associate any thing with Him. It is something very diffi cult for so-called educated people to accept. The re is no form of this type in the knowledges. There is no debate among the p eople of the Path. The second knowledge is the knowledge of states (ahwal). and there is no way to it except by direct tasting. Worse than dissension over behaviour is dispute with words. may He be exalted. Knowledges are on three levels: 1. No knowledge is nobler than this encompassing knowledge which contains all known things.

the neon-lit world has been exposed to t he splendour of sunlight and all he can do is turn off the false lights and turn to the natural energy source that has been manifested.either the person will retreat out of the unsympathetic life-situation and make their o wn reality-rules and rewards .' (50. The aims and goals of the society have been revealed to him as worthless. a state in which. and man.rgument. and one of the great Masters of the Way. when in fact the madman who thinks he is deluding you has me rely deluded himself. When the illusory relationships begin to be rejected as lies. they are able to see. Abu Hamid. The second possibility is a kind of collapse from within.22) Suc h thoughts as these threatened to shake my reason and I sought to find an escape from them. there can be no questioni ng him . a neurotic. but it is also possible that you may enter another state of exist ence which will bear the same relation to your present state as this does to you r condition when asleep. In that new zone you will recognise that the conclusion s of reason are mere fantasies. and about the very substance of lived existence. that is to say. called the Proof of Islam. At first it expresses itself as a restlessness and a dis-satisfaction with this world and the reward-structure of material existence and the reward-offering of so-called inter-personal relations hips. As the Shaykh al-Kamil said: 'Even if a man comes to you flying through the air. Who then can assure you of the reliability of an existence which when awake y ou derive from the senses and from reason? In relation to your present state the y may be real. he was s uddenly assailed by overwhelming doubts about the reality of all that he knew or thought he knew.q uest. a car crash of existence in which the driver. as al-Ghazzali is called among the Sufis.where before there w as a static and rigid structure. Perhaps also death is that state. two things can happen . his intellect .leave him. politically he is an anarchist. manages to survive. behav iourally he is an introvert in crisis. He has to abandon all the inner mind pictures and he is stopped from continuing with the reality game that he has be en so long blackmailed into taking seriously. unlike t he subject in the first picture. The great example of this condition in tasawwuf is the case of the Imam al -Ghazzali. cut off all communication through the central nervous system and stat ion themselves out of reach of the totalitarian enemy world system. if he does not follow the Shari'a . The important thing is that he is in motion . you recognise them for what they are . He asked himself: Do you not see that while asleep you assume your dreams to be unquestionably rea l? Once awake. From the society's point of view he could be labelled many things.D. died at Tus in 1111 A. Al ready established as a great teacher at Bagdhad University under the patronage o f the Sultan and with a firmly established reputation as a philosopher.' Search is that energy-impulse that rises up in a person and puts them on the pat h of awakening and reality out of the sleep of their previous existence and its fantasies which they mistook for being awake.that is the only outward criterion for a seeker as he selects his teach er. movement . for the enemy was within. will see things in direct opposition to what is now before his eyes: he will then understand the words of Qur'an. and in the suspension of sense-perception and thought-forms. Assuming that the Master follows the Shari'a.' Our present life in relation to that future is p erhaps merely a dream. This possible condition is perhaps what the Sufis call 'hal'.fantasies without substanc e. once dead. using their body as a kind of colony or space-station to which they send and from which they receive occasional signals .this condition is variously described as madness o r schizophrenia (split self) but which for the moment could merely be looked upo n as an extreme and uncompromising defence-system based on the illusion that the enemy was without. according to the Prince of Messengers who said: 'Men are asleep and when they die they awaken. absorbed in themselves. with its collapse has come energy. but the whole machine of hi s life to date cannot be road-worthy again. But how? The anguish increased until the whole fabric of his domestic life. and the so-c alled 'real' world takes on a kind of unreality. socially he may be a drop-out or a misfit. 'To day We have removed the veil from your eyes and your sight is keen.they might even decide to leave the body quite ef fectively. ac cording to them.

and a Secret which appears inwardly through his himma.ual pursuits and reputation and his formal acts of devotion became devoid of mea ning: Finally. Not every element can be magnetised. He could not eat and he could not drink. Once under the guidance of a Shaykh that impulse is called himma. There then followed ten years of sufic practice at the en d of which he felt ready to return to the world he had left behind and at last b egin to teach by transmission what he had gained: I learned from a sure source that the Sufis are the true pioneers on the path to Allah. or the str aw has towards the amber. meaning yearning. The climax came when he got up before his students to give a discourse and found th at he had been struck dumb. So the search. His dhikr does in place of what is other-than-Him. and himma will in each moment transcend otherness. So search. It is not just the energy impulse of the magnetic fiel d. which at first manifests as agitation. and the doctors expected him to die. himma is the possession to have.213) and 'Allah leads astray who He wills. The need for himma in the seeker runs through the Diwan of the Perfect Shaykh as a major theme: And. The intelligen ce of thinkers. This tension continued over a period of six months during the year 1096 A. nor purer than their behaviour. called congeneity. are illumined with light. or appetite for know ledge of reality. His decision to give up this most honoured academic post caused a tremendous s tir that reverberated right across the Muslim community beyond Iraq. With the Sufis r epose and movement. for it is the same energy form. Himma is a key term in our sciences.' (2. that there is nothing more beautiful than their lives. only it has then taken direction. disorder and movement. People blam ed the Khalif. In his 'Lesser Song' he puts it as one of the three essentials the adept needs f or unification of his reality: Whoever has got dhikr. may Allah be pleased wit h him.it would be impossible. Describing how to recognise a true Master he begins: His signs are: a Light which shines outwardly.' (6. exterior or interior. Qur'an says: 'Allah guides to his pat h who He wills. others the Madrassah where he taught. le aving his wives and family provided for.39). so that he could set out for the desert with his begging bowl and seek the company of the Sufi zawiyyas where he hoped to begin his new life. One day I would dec ide to leave Bagdhad and give up everything: the next day I changed my mind. Suddenly the way opened to him and what had seemed impossible became easy for him. The silence imposed from deep within him by existenc e shattered what was left of his coherent life-pattern. If you possess himma there is no opposite to Allah. once it has begun. nor more praisewo rthy than their rules of conduct. With a clear and integrated purpose he settled all his affairs. then if you desire the goal of all the gnostics you can set out for it. an attracted substance. I saw that the only condition of release was to give up honour and rich es and to sever the ties and attachments of the life I knew. can then be given a different name. So that we may say that search is itself the revealing of the nature of the subject. but nothing now could halt his progress. and the energy to be most desired. Elsewhere he indicates that it is the means to unification in experience: To the people. an d not every person is drawn to the search. The appearance of the amber lets us see the straw for what it is. Or again. it is the actual susceptibility that the iron has to be attracted. It is the faculty we must awaken. Oh my companion. the wisdom of philosophers. the knowledge of the most accomplish ed intellectuals would in vain combine their efforts in order to modify or impro ve their sciences and their behaviour . He publicly announced t hat he was going on Hajj to Makka while secretly he planned a departure to Syria . it is seen as the faculty which in its perfection is the dynamic of th e Shaykh's transmission. fikr.D. It is desire itself and yet it is ne cessary that it be desired. Se arch is that faculty which the Master Jalalud-Din Rumi. Himma brings himma. is even tually restructured under the impulse of the sufic practices just as the iron-fi lings are patterned according to the power of the magnet that attracted them. . He will attain gnosis beyond his desire and fast realise the secrets of existenc e.

properly speaking.' for he inwardly indulged in it.' which is a Qur'anic term denoting not only poverty but a pover ty devoid of struggle to survive. I went from Uskand to see him. saying. and some fresh ripe dates which cannot possibly be pr ocured in Farghana.e. although it wa s not the season for them. The reality of this experience. and introduces at the same time a principle of the Way that follows inevitably from the reality-picture which t he Wisdom begins to unfold. From now on visit by means of himma. It is the failure of the academic to understand t his energy. for it is not a principle but a force.' I computed the day and year: it was the v ery day that I took the Path. it moves co unter to the dying arc of the cellular existence. had the condition of miskeen inwardly and outwardly. When I entered his presence he said: 'Why hav e you come?' I replied: 'In order that I might see the Shaykh in person and that he might look on me with kindness. In Farghana at a village called Ashlatak there was an old man who was one of the Four of the earth. The Messenger answered him.and there is no virtue in bodily presence. So from this we can see that himma is the highest energy impulse of the human cr eature. . Devoid of himma. She brought a dish of new grapes. for it is i n the nature of himma to make any action pleasing to the seeker if it leads him to the sought. which in itself is another of those highly subjective pr ojections that is called objective thinking to veil the built-in value judgment against what they themselves fear.and he had an old wife called Fati ma. 'Poverty is next to coveringup!' That is.He will see that the purity of the Road is separation. next to covering up the true nature of existence which is all-sust aining and all-providing. It is not worthwhile to visit any per son (in this context) . transmission).all the dervishes in that country g ive the title of Bab to their great Shaykhs . The man who gives thi ngs up or submits to what seem harsh disciplines is devoid of any experience or motive of self-punishment if the source of his actions is his himma. that has led to the mis-under standing about so-called asceticism. and I wish to see you as long as you are not removed from my sight. This time the Messenger frowned and said. The fasting. which lifts them up and moves them with a n energy beyond any other energy they possess to strive not for any formal achie vement but for re-connection with reality itself. while the same actions will lead in the other instance to either crisis or collapse. peace be upon him. 'Poverty i s all my glory.' He said: 'I have been seeing you continually since such and such a day. and it lies outside the self-i nterest of the social impulse. while the second was 'rich in his poverty.' They proceeded on their way when another man made the same excl amation. which. The outcome of the one man's actions will be an opening into the s erenity and wisdom that is the fruit of himma. he e xplained. The Persian Master al-Hujwiri identifies himma with the act of transmission in t he same way as the Shaykh al-Kamil in his Diwan. As with every aspect of the self-patterns of the Path. He then turned to his Companions and noted that they w ere confused by the two apparently contradictory statements. 'I am miskeen. and do not be content with less tha n the Ever-continuing. t he basic situation is exemplified by the Messenger. it is that motion within a man or woman which rouses them from the whole running-down process of the organism. There are two situations which may arise and each would outwardly present the same silhouette while inwardly they would expre ss a different reality. (i. where transmission takes place without 'bodily p resence' is referred to in the opening of 'The Greater Song' of the Shaykh al-Ka mil: If you wish to ascend as lovers ascend. In 'The Buraq of the Tariq' he counsels: Awaken your himma with yearning and longing. The Shaykh said: 'To traverse distance is child's play. It is life energy. the lack of possessions and th e poverty of dress of advanced seekers has been seen as an expression of masochi sm and self-punishment. His name was Bab 'Umar . It is tol d that he was walking in Madina with his Companions when a man called out to him . is the source of Reality.' Then he bade Fatima bring something to eat. The first man. the actions could then be seen as part of a neur otic pattern.

and is. Here is opening up the unitary nature of the dynamic life-energy. Musa was able to tran smit knowledge and demonstrate its validity to the Pharaoh's adepts. His body was pres erved.56). the existent.' (5. and thus in the end his own self-preservation still had to be gifted by existence and could not be assured by him. He extends it further in showing that on the Path there are people who far from having to stru ggle are taken up and opened to knowledge. So.' (29. accordin g to the Messenger Muhammad. If Allah seeks a man it is not possible for that man not to seek Allah: so Allah has made the Seeker the Sought and the Sought the Seeker. for there is no dialectic except in description.If your sincerity in love is real.) So right at the beginning of the Path we encounter something that is to be the c onstant theme of all our learning. peace be upon him. 'Allah was well-pleased wit h them and they were well-pleased with Allah. or the yearning impulse. is drawn out forcibly by Reality and accorded the revelation of the sta tes that through the power of vision he may be stirred to work for Allah and tur n to Him and bear the burdens laid on him by Reality. right now in this present tense we and creation continue to be in . The Pharaoh was not a mere ruler but a heirophant of great kno wledge which gave him yogic power over forms so that he was able to manipulate e xistence formally. in the language of the Sufis. the Messenger of Reality. Travel to the lovers in every land. .and dismiss all who deny Her love. for they said: 'We will never prefer you to what has come to us of manifest signs É decide then what you are able to decide. 'Truly Allah i s on a straight Path. and Pharaoh is an encounter of t wo reality-views. who turns his heart and implants in it a himma to stir him to work f or Him. and the One year ned for is the initiator. affirmed the truth of Musa's doctrine. Musa's science was unitary and to do with inner experience of reality. mummified until the world's end. If reality is One then everything leads back eventually to the One. So it was with Harithath (a Companion of the Messenger). it follows that the goal itself. So now we can see that himma is the dynamic of love itself. as he was e ngulfed by the Red Sea. as an affirmation of the power he had over forms. Shaykh al-Kalabadhi said: The seeker is in reality the Sought.and that is one of the meanings of the Qur'anic ayat. 'and it was as though I saw the Throne of my Lord coming out!' With these words he indicated that the revelation of the Unseen ca me to him after he had turned away from this world. and again. on the oth er hand.the himma comes to them and illuminates them.119). so that al-J unayd's answer to the question of what he had gained was nothing other than the . and no conflict except in i magination. So it was with Pharaoh's m agicians: after they had received the revelation it was easy for them to endure the threat of Pharaoh.69).72). The 'sought' man. has to be right here. of which he was an infinitesimal part. who said: 'I turned myself from this world and thirsted in the day-time. ' He loves them and they love Him. but the pow er of Pharaoh blocked his inner ability to recognise that the source of his own powers came from existence itself. The seeker is described in Allah's words: 'But those who fight strenuous ly for Us.' (12. and the Path is nothing but t hat energy desire.turn to Layla with sincerity in love . while the sought is he whose revelation preceded his t oiling. the seeker is the man whose toiling preceded his revelations.54). in a reverse picture of himma-action .' then he said. It is important to bear in mind that his wife was however a perfected Master.' (5. Thus himma which is a yearning must be yearned for. we will surely guide them into Our Way. and wa tched at night. and the Sought the Seeker. the Moment . whole. Such a man is sough t by Allah. though what love may be we are not yet in a position to say. the encounter with Sayyedina Musa. and to turn to Him and to seek Him: then He accords him the revelation o f the spiritual states. and in this world of forms everything leads to its opposi te. then by it you will see the lovers without journeying. The whole matter is a divine event. and so was 'powerless' while Pharaoh had powers. and that he himself. So Allah says.' (20. In this pattern the Sought is a man of the Path and the Seeker is Reality itself: Nevertheless. (It should here just be explained that in the Qur'anic revelation.

he had gained the conscious utterly awake awareness of his own life . his 'sitting beneath the stair for thirty years' in inner con templation. On a global scale this nafs is easily identifiable . il luminated consciousness. For most people it is almost impossible to b elieve from the position of their own repression that the actor-out is doing it and so they stubbornly refuse to confront the mad event they get caught up in. AN-NAFS AL-LAWWAMA: the reproachful nafs. taken out of the nursery. good. When used adver bially it means: 'willingly'. but it is utterly unable to overcome the impulses of the lower nafs when they burst forth. The word derives from NFS . higher and lower. or the whole self-structure whose illusory natu re stands between you and the clear-sighted seeing of reality as-it-is. That is. or veils. for the lower one has gone and the t rue nafs is the master. 'of my own accord'. AN-NAFS AL-AMARA: the insinuating nafs. Sometimes it is one thing. return to your Lord. 'Oh self at peace.constantly subjected to inner struggle as a result. They delight in influencing others to like action.this was the inestimable achievement of the Master. It is wholly evil.27-30) The above description of the nafs in different conditions displays the only basi c possibilities within which each individual fantasy history is played out. having knowledge without will. well-pleasing! Enter you a mong My slaves! Enter you My Garden!' (Qur'an 89. be it a parent or pseudo-parent.' (Qur'an 2. It is indecisive in choice between good and evil . They are not open to encounter and can only be changed by Reality. 'No! I swear by the reproachful self!' (Qur'an 75. it c an also indicate 'one who yearns or aspires after' . and are proud of their o wn actions. cannot possibly function unless it h as the setting of the pseudo-adult nafs to play against.Napoleon. Change comes through keeping company with one who has passed this stage. Churchill.is variously described and defined in sufic terminology.the term which stands for the experiencing self .life he had lived. d espite themselves. AN-NAFS AL-MUTMA'INNA: the nafs at peace. It is overpowered by passions and obeys their dictates gladly. The nafs has become fixed.it is in itself a non-reality and it may be experienced i n different ways and approached in different ways and dismantled in different wa ys. only the infantile behaviour is ensconced in an adult situation and so it has the aspect of being monstrous. and th rough shared spiritual practice which gives strength to abandon bad action and a lter the nafs.it is reasonable.so that with these three as pects of the word we have already got the basic doctrine of the nafs as outlined by Imam al-Ghazzali derived from Qur'anic terminology.'to injure by casting an evil eye upon anyone'. becomes acted out in the larger playpen of 'history'. From it comes the wor d 'to shine' and unsurprisingly in the light of what we have just examined.capable of both. 1. Hitler and so on. The nafs at its most reduced and therefore at its most active is in this pattern cle arly identifiable with the infant. All energies here are bent on grati fication. The nafs . and good flourishes around it. It cannot discriminate a higher nafs. Th e discrimination between the two nafs goes. without any fantasy self-centre . the obs erver finds that the behaviour of such a person is like that of a small child at the same time the observer is appalled at the power and effectiveness and sca le of the destructive action which. This nafs.2) 3. 'at my own pleasure'. They are the very . well-pleased. thus it acts according t o it . 'Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and over their ey es is a covering and there is a great chastisement for them. The lower nafs has become the id eal. nevertheless. for its destructive act ivity is directed against the self-image which is most clearly mirrored in the a uthority figure. Both this is true an d that is true of it .7) 2. Light. So its very core meaning is that of an energy-form destructively engaged in conf lict with another and harming it through its own inner activity. or hindrances. Here it is seen as a simple act of self-interest and satisfaction. and this shifting pe rspective is deliberate and not a sign of differing theory. Causes. it is devoid of evil. It has received An-Nur. It is able to discriminate b etween the two nafs. Man has achieved perfect freedom. sometimes another .if we are to free ourselves from the prison of our own self-experience we must be free of its traps and its methods in encasing us in this false situation.

he is setting himself above the Masters and so while outwardly he ma y be engaged in all the tasks of sufic practice. There is no doubt that this idea of the illusory nature of event let alone of ph enomena is emotionally very disturbing to people who have been educated in the e ffective conditioning of present day society. with positive c reative energies. It has already been quoted from the Diwan of the Pe rfect Shaykh: É the purity of the Road is separation. The context of our st udy of the nafs is that we take our picture from men who have transcended these fantasy experiences which lead to war and crime and insanity and have thus gaine d a total view of man's possibilities both creatively and destructively . a slave approaching his master.and it is nothing more than empty phantoms on their empty thron es. So we are presented with a picture of existence where the arena of activity. may He be praised! obeys Himself when He wishes with His creation. It is understandable that people are afraid of words like 'wrong' and 'right'. which is nothing but the violent foreground event created to draw attention away from the deeper background unre ality of the nafs' personal battle which in itself is another fantasy. for they do lead to words like 'blame' and the whole punishment syndrome swings into action. bit by bit. is nothing less than an illusion cloaked by an illusion taking place in an imaginary setting and happening to imagined beings. awed and humbled. but through the submission of the creature to his creaturen ess. At this stage it is dangerous to f all for the kind of superficial 'realism' of the academic who at worst will blus teringly introduce a common-sense down-to-earth empiricism . and until the slave's submission opens him up to his true nature as Khalif of reality.and by bad I do not mean what is parentally censured. It must then be able to understand the means to transform the se lf so that it can replace all the negative energies. If a man says he does not need to bow and prostrate and fast and rit ually wash. but he has utterly failed to contain the insane and sui cidal tendencies of his fellow men.to whoever is guided. Shaykh al-Akbar says: So He. A true scienc e of the nafs must be able to deal with the bad aspects of the nafs . not through tyranny. Behaviour-patterns. It is at this point that a crucial principle of th e Noble Way must be grasped.the exist ential vitality of which obscures the nafs' actual dilemma which is the fantasy structure that has to be dismantled if 'history' is to stop. and crime and madness its private condition. to hold clearly to the reality of things. Tawhid nowhere denies it. There has been no Sufi w ho did not approach existence. allowed genocide to be the mark of his centu ry on a social level. the illusory inner violence. is the source of Reality.for ou r common-sense fellow has not only been unable to grasp the sublime possibilitie s of the human creature. The pseudo-sufis are all . It is th e mark of the pseudo-sufi that he refuses to adhere to the practices of separati on and the Road while pretending to union and the Path. the arena of events. We are not trying here to negotiate exist ence to neurotic subjects who are ensconced in their world view and committed to the resultant madness that is our contemporary situation. If we di d not experience duality there would be no need for a science of Unity. There can be no talk of lover and Beloved until the slave has become obedient. inwardly he is deeply engrossed in the 'monstrous' infantile battle with the parents.or. In the echo lies the secret of what we allude to . and He is just to Himself in respect to what He appointed to Himself from the necessit y of His right .marrow of what has come to be known as history. ' good' and 'bad'. It is the former of these that we have called Causes and the l atter. No one knows better than the Sufis that the zone of experiential existence is on e of duality. but what is destructive to the subje cts themselves. as the Shaykh al-Kamil insists. So the po litics of a situation from this point of view is a fantasy structure disguising an inner nafs' conflict that is being acted out in the zone of event . which. The nafs in its cun ning creates the brilliant diversion of event so that in extremity it will alway s resort to violence to distract others from recognizing the true inner violence that it expresses . properly speaking.the table is there and I am here and that's an end to it.

and most obviously. mouth. it s naps the nafs away from the false dream state of that dazedness which hints at a n illusory unity while in fact the nafs is simply detaching from the body which is its own totality. the tho rough execution of wudu for the five ritual prostrations is the sign of the Mumi n (one who trusts reality) according to the Messenger saying: 'Keep to the strai . so much so that he is of all men the most sub mitted and the most diligent in performing what is demanded of him.although we are aware of the open contradiction . ears.I testify. forc ing the nafs from whatever fantasy has been haunting it to the direct reality of water and body. excretion. paternal. The act of wudu is followed by a declaration of Shahada. may Allah give him peace: 'Oh Allah . although it has been obliquely referred to in the story of the two poor men in Madinah meeting the Prophet. to bring you to the ground. peace be upon him. right foot and then left foot.' And to the Messenger's testimony the Master adds his own like a humble and ordin ary slave: I believe in all that has been brought to him. and ultimately surrendered and accepting. And this brings us to our first encounter with a situation that will be met with at every stage of the Way.of this monstrous nature. said.in the last event ritual purity can only be renewed by ghusl. at the very opening of his definitive trea tise on the Path. is categoric in affirming that there can be no possible transmission unless it comes from a follower of the Messenge r Muhammad. finally open and receptive to the endless riches of the creation. oh Messenger of Allah!' H e said.sinc e practices are for one purpose only. 'Wud u is separation. broken. and the sexual act . peace be upon him. The Shaykh al-Kamil used to say. from that whic h I know and do not know of what He gave him. The wudu is a formalised washing of the hands. Eve ry condition of balance and harmony and every state and station of knowledge is accompanied by a shadow-form that is contrary to the science of wisdom and could be designated as a neurotic situation. to the impact of the moment. face.will also give us U nion. the disciple of al-Junayd. Shaykh al-Ak bar. WUDU Shaykh Shibli. which is the full act of purification involving the whole body being w ashed. to the endless bounty of the Truth . so it is essential to grasp the profundity of this rite. 'Perform wudu like a majdhub (holy madman) and salat like a dying man. the affirmation of the Unity and the authority of the Messenger. right arm. which means the Greatest Master. for that is what they use 'practices' to do . The manner of doing wudu is swiftness and thoroughness. There is no Master of the Way who has not accepted his obligations as a human be ing to bow and prostrate and fast. being sure that th e water touches every part of the members being washed. 'The Makkan Revelations'.' The meaning and effect of wudu underpin the whole structure of practices that you will undergo. we proceed to set in motion the practices of the Noble Way h oping for a guidance that will give us discrimination in this dual world and yet somehow . who in turn is a follower and inheritor of the wisdom of t he Shaykh al-Akbar.' The effectiveness of the wudu is broken by urination. for the person feels the shock impact of pure water. He describes most vividly the Messenger's last pi lgrimage to Makka and his calling the people around him to confirm that he had c onveyed to them the total teaching of how to live on this planet in harmony with the whole creation and with direct inner knowledge of reality: Then he said: 'Has it reached you? They said: 'It has. in accepting our Shaykh we co py him in the first practice of the Way. The experience of the washing i s its own explanation. The ritual prostrations (salat) are not valid unles s they are either preceded by the wudu or the previous wudu is still valid. It brings you to your senses. accompanied by the ap propriate supplication. For example. dominant and outwardly benign . lef t arm. humbled. lower ed. head and neck. nostrils. What then is the foundation of discrimination? Given that we have affirmed the Messenger as a reliable witness of existence. The act is outwardly a cleansing and inwardly a purifica tion. Following our Shaykh. and a Shaykh of our Shaykh. passing wind a nally. Salat is joining.it is hardly surprising that their ventures end in schism and collapse.their follow ers inevitably are haunted sons desperately trying to overcome the dominant fath er by an act of ritual magic.

It is clear from this that what we are dealing with is a process of effective pu rification that is suited to man. and who has rejected any belief in a unified benign energy governing the total existence of the cosmos is. and Malik transmit ted it. Actions have no reality. something tha t can be recognised as of an obsessional nature. Uqba ibn 'Amir reported the Messenger as saying. This is the dangerous and qu .if you see it as mere adherence to f orms. This is the shock impact of this first ritual action of the Way. a ccording to the Hadith. and tr iumphs and pleasures on the other.if you see it as an inner denial of meaningful forms. The c at's grooming is formal and an essential part of its life. so that your doing of it resembles that of the person next to you.' Muslim transmitted it. know that your best action is salat and that only a Mumin observes wudu carefully. And when he washe s his feet every wrong action towards which his feet have walked will come out w ith the water. The implication of this dual situat ion is that it is possible to see someone apparently ennobled by all the science of the wisdom-behaviour who is inwardly in a state of conflict and ignorance. one is to be careless and undefined in the separate act s of each state of the washing. caressingly as if anointing oneself. for the act of calling on the Reality during the act is a guide to unifying the outward and the inward aspects of the event. The man who has cast aside any recog nition of an Unseen reality. Either of these extremes m ust be scrupulously avoided until the mean is discovered. Wudu by its acting upon the surface of the or ganism at the same time as upon the experiencing centre repeatedly makes a break in consciousness between action and the nafs. Every creature has its grooming pattern. Abu Huraira reported the Messenger as saying. The wudu in its turn. with the result that he will come out pure from offences. 'If any submitted one performs wudu well. This act of wudu is in quite the same way necessary to man. Invocation without wudu is certainly guarante ed to bring about a destructive crisis in the higher nafs. which to him is nothi ng other than this accretion of mistakes and misfortunes on the one hand.) At the same time it is possible to discover a man involved in performing wudu re lentlessly so that while outwardly you cannot fault him you are inwardly aware t hat there is something disturbing in his performance of the rites. When he washes his hands every wrong action they did will come out from his hands with the water or with the last drop of water. they will find that there are two basic te ndencies of malpractice. it is essential that there be voc alisation of the Supreme Name.' Muslim tr ansmitted it.ght Path. and the other is to go through the whole process in slow motion. We now come to what underpins the practice of wudu. Here the Messenger specifies that without the action being inwardl y invested with awareness it is of no avail. and makes us aware of the pr ofound importance and effect of the basic practice without which the higher prac tices would not only be invalidated but their performance would result in seriou s and damaging effect on the nafs. engaging in their perfo rmance both inwardly and outwardly. or hypocrisy . and in the behaviour rhythm and harmony of the person who attempts this. That is why in the execution of the wudu. far from being liberated from this unfortunate tendency to hold to the idea-form of his actions and to feel burdened by his own illusory selfhood.' (Thauban reported it. he will be guaranteed the Garden. unsurprisingly. which is the Messenger's Way. and either religion . then makes two raka's (sets of prostrations). There is no individuality in any of t he basic practices. filling the act with b oth vigour and dignity and remaining somehow anonymous. or with the last drop of water. is useless unless accompanied by this vital inner awaren ess. The sign of an animal in captivity losing its life pattern and becoming ill is when it ceases to groo m itself. 'When a submitted one or a trustin g one washes his face in the course of wudu every wrong action he contemplated w ith his eyes will come out from his face along with the water or with the last d rop of water. When someone begins the practice of wudu. T his to the people of the Way is the vital dividing line between wisdom. do not make calculations. It is in t he nature of the human creature that he imagines his actions adhere to him as id ea-forms which he 'carries about with him' until this imaginary load makes life intolerable for him and he breaks under it.

' The wudu is a sealing of the body in preparation for the act of salat. is the ghusl. That is why passing wind anally. manipulatio n and not liberation. There is no built-in moral censure in this. Beneath the wudu . without a repression either of their activity or of our awareness of that activity. It is as much a completion of the act of love as it is a preparation for valid salat. and the higher nafs which demands a co mplete separation from them. and the women the women.these eve nts are natural and they have their natural means of purification: its effect is to make a sharp distinction between these energetic activities which are all co ncerned with production and reproduction. of intake and giving out . Ahmad transmitted it. on the one hand to br ing into the consciousness of the person an acceptance of themselves as being th ese open. transmitted by t he already guilty parents to the anxious child who is confused as to what is wha t. In the adult who has been raised in this society that has not formalised this discrimination it is significant that they end up treating food like shit and w astage of food becomes a social habit to them. The final culmination of these rites is the was hing of the dead. emission. Thus while alive we have the benefit and privilege of preparing others for the g rave. excretion and menstruation break the wudu. It is based on the preservation of th . Here we have the basic disc rimination that defines sane adult behaviour. on the contrary it is the act of ghusl which validates and affirms the sexual a ct and seals it and completes it. there is no hiding the process.' Pseudo-sufic teaching. salat is joining. and the validity of the ghusl in turn depends on having washed the anu s and the penis in the lavatory. Here we have then the basic practice on which the total discrimination of behavi our and choices is founded. This time the act of separation is again one of being bodily clean and also making a break between th e energy of intercourse and the energy of prostration. the mouth closed. the men the men. It is si mply an extension of the wudu.' Jabir reported it. This is necessary at the beginning of the Path for the affirmation of the Unity and the acceptanc e of the Messenger. thus providing a total ritual purification. It is a doctrine founded on ignorance which bears little scrutiny. and is draped in white cloths then laid to rest in th e earth. and it is the final act done to one before burial when the b ody is washed before being returned to the earth from where it came . The Messenger said: 'The key to the Garden is salat. Thus your whole inner reality is based on the n atural act of washing the anus and the penis.this is completed by washing away any u rine stain that should have adhered to the garments.the other occasion when it is necessary is following the sexual act. as scent i s worn by the person who has done his wudu and is ready for the act of salat whi ch follows. That is why the act of ghusl should not be delayed but should follow as immediately as possible the termination of the l ove-making. and the key to salat is wudu. no fantasy . The validity of the wudu is based on the ghusl which preceded it at its time. flowing organisms. and then the whole corpse is washed and camphored in a final sealing. 'Wudu is separation. In these rites the body is emptied of waste matter. of course. Incense is burned to awaken the higher self of the mourners. in the same way that eating every scrap and not wasting food is part of the wisdom teaching. The whole guilt structure when disman tled in the modern therapeutic manner reveals this basic guilt. Its effect is. bases itself on the Unity and so instructs its followers that they do not hav e to follow any particular path since they are all one.ite malicious practice of the pseudo-sufis whose goal is.with the obligations of wudu and ghusl. Lowest in the chain of ritual washings is the washing of the anus and the sexual organs after defecation and urination . We wash our own dead. the leisure of love and t he detachment of spiritual practice. from their point of view.which forms the base of the practices. no guilt. Therefore. only it involves washing the whole body in runnin g or poured water. so that the bo dy dries rather than rots. The basic indiscrimination is the infant's inability to know shit from food. the gaining of discri mination is something that has to be precluded from their scheme. The Sha ykh al-Kamil said: 'The validity of your salat is based on your having performed your wudu. false spiritualit y.

'I have become kafir. between the limi ted body-self reality of the slave and the unlimited no-body-self reality of the Lord. is what opens the human being up to that living dia logue with Reality that was the Messenger's secret. of yourselves. and that haply so you may be guided . It also instructs us to take up a particular direction for the act of prostration. and fastened the belt .' This means that he had ceased to be a true Muslim. The taking of a qibla. is what ma kes it possible to grasp the relation between form and no-form.surely I am constantly at prayer. even though there is a party of them who conceal the truth . Allah is not heedless of the things they do. There is a Way. turn your face to the Holy Mosque: and wherever y ou may be turn your faces towards it.and that deliberately. then be not among the doubters. Yet if you should bring to those that have been given the Book every s ign.e central experiencing nafs and indeed on exalting it and making it powerful and effective in the world of action and events. or p ray in this way . there is a journey. Every man has hi s direction to which he turns: so be you forward in good works. they will not follow your direction. and to teac h you that you knew not.' is the inevitable result of this discriminatory process . So remember Me and I will remember you: and be thankful to Me: and do not be ungrateful towards Me. Why should I bow in that way. neither are they followers of one another's direction. Allah will bring you all together: surely Allah is powerful over everything . that is. they do not rejec t direction. It is said that the initial formula of the Shaykh al-Akbar when he faced qibla to begin the salat was. to recite Our sign s to you and to purify you and to teach you the Book and the Wisdom. From whatever place you issue. then you will surely be among the evildoers whom We have given the Book. surely the Qur'an tells me t hat wherever I turn there is the face of Allah? This is basically the superficia l argument of the pseudo-sufi with his fear of surrender. a Messenger. thus unifying all the worshi p of man around a central point.144-152) This passage of Qur'an is of importance to the whole validity of the Way. that the people may not have any argument against you. From whatever place you issue. so that an endless wheel of living glorification of Reality endlessly turns around the empty four-walled An cient House built by Sayyedina Ibrahim for that purpose. Turn your face towards the pure Mosq ue and wherever you are turn your faces towards it. The Qur'an cuts through the distort ed reasoning of the ignorant by pointing out the unreality of their refusal of a 'qibla': 'Every man has his direction to which he turns. as also We have sent among you. excepting the evildoers of them: and fear not them. If you follow their caprices after the knowledge that has come to you. the acceptance of a discriminatory science.Alla hu akbar.Union is th e fruit of separation. The truth comes from your Lord. the Ka'ba in Makka. contrary to the teachings of the pseudo-sufis. Allah is not heedless of the things you do. Reality addresses the M essenger in the Qur'an saying: We have seen you turning your face about in the heavens: now we will surely turn you to a direction that shall satisfy you. there is a traveller. turn your face towards the Holy Mosque: it is the truth from your Lord.' So. for their teaching is improvised and their transmission without a so urce. This passage also affirms that the taking of direction. what they are in fact rejecting is that one adopted by the guidance of the spiritual science. or one who submits . It is transmission and the Messenger that they quite rightly from their point of view deny. Those who have been given th e Book know it is the truth from their Lord. We are in the world of forms . Wherever you may be. and they recognise it as they recogn ise their sons. but fear Me: And that I may perfect My blessing upon you. You are not a follower of their direct ion. The Qur'an has said th at wherever you turn there is the face of Allah. and to deny the spiritual forms is to exclude Allah from creation and relegate Him by a false esotericism to the formless. 'Remember Me and I will reme mber you. (Qur'an 2.

' The adept must grasp the significance of this before he can embark fru itfully on the act of salat. It is the ar rogant thought-bound mind that holds the self prisoner in its dazzling structure s. The opening of the salat is when the slave raises both hands to behind the ears and then lowers them. so much the better . as a m are before foaling'. Its successive movements. I seek your protection from shirk (associating any form with Allah) in all things. If. Citing the famous ayat of Qur'an: 'Wherever you turn there is the face of Allah. Imam Junayd here draws attention to the collectedne ss that is necessary to perform the act. the root. and the high point of the salat is the opening takbir.greater than any event or c omparison or concept.to a Reality which can be associated with no form.the existence of forms. The central movement of the salat is when the head touches the ground.you have drunk out of Muhammad's cup. as if putting the world behind him . and 'ado ration'. 'I now intend to pray the salat of s . as outwardly it is the end. Inwardly the beg inning is the vital moment. and become one who covers up how things are. 'Everything in nature has a hi gh point and then a falling away. are lowered slowly a s if passing through water. He had fastened the belt. ' (2. every time he bowed dow n he gave reality a 'direction'. standing. peace be upon him.115) he goes on to tell of a majdhub who used to prostrate before everythin g he saw and declared: 'Oh Allah. he offers himself.all deny the nafs and offer up the humbled nafs to the reality. the great Christian confusion a bout the nature of existence. means 'to admit'.the hands. and the prostration itself with the head on the ground is the direct act of submission .' This of course would be the position of th e pseudo-sufi if he held to his own argument. That is the outward picture . That is to say. one's Pir. and an act of address.but poised between the two. said. indicated that nevertheless he submitted as a slave to the injunctions of his Messenger and affirmed that Allah was akbar . Before performing the takbir. of the C hristian . The qibla of Ka'ba. and from t he third to the fourth in succession. The 'Allahu akbar'. or zunnar. Masud Beg. in ease and in ba lance . Shaykh Ibrahim Gazur-i-ilahi in his 'Irshadat' says: The qiblas are four. the heart.one of which is worth a million verbal exclamations of acceptanc e of the reality. the Truth. a kafir. and this is called sajda. The son replied: 'Do not call him mushrik. It is an opening of the self to the sub lime reality. So the whole thing is an act of humility. Imam Junayd. which in its o utward form means simply saying to oneself. being the opening of the salat itself.' This is called takbir. observed to the majdhub's son that his father was ask ing protection in the very act of shirk. The act of salat as we have said. as the crucial practice of the Way. head on the ground twi ce. he s ees everything without the thing-ness. that has to be offered up. In the end the final position is neither the proud nafs nor the nafs in abnegation . from the second to the third. may Allah be pleased with him. seeing this. or intention. Before ex amining the details of the ritual act of prostration. in the prescribed salat these stages a re attained. its direction. The sl ave presents himself. 'to accept' . the bowing is the gre eting. bowing.' QBL. but this state demands real ecstas y. The root word SLA means 'to hu rt in the small of the back' and 'to have the centre of the back bent in. let us examine its meaning as a practice. sitting . With this opening goes a verbal declaration: 'Allahu akbar. that is.meaning that he had fixed himself in one direction rather than anothe r and that he had engaged in 'locating' reality. is prostration.inwardly there is a pattern also. from SJD. It is the head that has to be laid on the ground. SALAT What is the salat? We have established the meaning of its whereness.the slave sits upright and turns his head to the left and right in a sal utation of peace. it is the refore an obligation to make a formal act of niyya. now we must be quite clear as to what it is and what it does to us. One ha s to turn from the first to the second. Th e standing is the stage where the self is still assertive. splayed open. meaning 'to be humble'.

used to recover the use of his limbs whenever the hour of prayer arrived and after having performed his pr ostrations was unable to move from his place. and saluting with annihilation of one's at tributes.' The Mas ter Sahl at-Tustari. This is the description of Shaykh al-Hujwiri. Unification of the nafs has its beginning and ending on the prayer mat of prostration. So that while it is inward unification. It is th e great practice . When Abu'l Khayr finished his prayers h . It is the most fitting thing to do. This is harmony. Sayyedina 'Ali. the human creature should be prostrate before the majesty and beauty and unity of Reality. mid-day. It is unification bec ause it is an opening up completely to the moment. When his m ost beloved Companion. Here is the first experience of the slave as being someone in dialogue w ith the Reality. It is the clarity of this unification that permits the Sufi to see through the fragmentation of other men. It is movement. after sunset.' or whichever it may be. 6. in this age especia lly. Ignorance is not knowing where you are. For the five obligatory prostrati ons take place at fixed times that move throughout the year according to the ris ing and setting of the sun. and they are included in the final salutation. The place where one purifies oneself should be outwardly free from contaminat ion and inwardly free from wrong actions. Turning towards qibla. 'Cut if off while he is doing salat. 4. and at the first darkness. but he would not allow this to be done. which is wh y they do not know where they have been or where they are going. The physicians declared that his foot must be amputated. how their deeds and. was about to do salat his hair stood up on his head and he used to say: 'The hour has come to fulfil a trust which the heavens and the earth were unable to bear. how their hearts are separate from their destinies. Saying 'Allahu akbar' in the station of awe and annihilation. Sincere intention to approach Allah. their words are invalidated by the absence of an inner state which would gi ve them reality. for the ad ept still makes the salutation even if he or she is alone. What it means inwardly is that the whole attenti on has to be gathered in to the experiencing nafs. His disciples sa id. The preliminary conditions are: 1. for at that time he has no consciousnes s. inevitably i t is also an act of unification from the cosmic point of view. may Allah be pleased with him. the outward qibla being the Ka'ba and the inward qibla being the Throne of Allah by which is meant the mystery of Divine contemplation . 2.unset. knowledge is being aware that you are where you should be . there came from de ep within his chest the sound of what seemed like a boiling cauldron. 5. it is an activity of the most profound and shat tering impact on the nafs. the whole awareness has to be focused on the point where the head will fall in sajda. It is in the nature of the Universe that at the dawn. One's outward garments should be clean and one's inner garments undefiled. here is the opening of the heart to the discovery of its true nature. although palsied in his old age. and standing in the abode of Union and reciting the Qur'an distinctly and with awareness.here is the beginning of the scienc e of unification. 7. It is recorded that when the Messenger made his prostrations. It is the best thing to do at the time. Outward purification from filth and inward purification from appetites (wudu) .in the Unseen it is the practice of the angels and the jinn w ho affirm the Reality. Look at what is necessary and what has already been ascertained before on e can make valid salat. and the heart fixed on Allah. Shaykh al-Hujwiri also recounts: 'Abu'l Khayr Aqta' had a gangrene in his foot. mid-afternoon. and rec iting the shahada with concentration. cosmically and inwardly in the microcosm of the heart . and it is a vivid example of the u nification of inward experiencing and outward reality that is the very business of tasawwuf.' The physicians acted on this advice. Standing outwardly in the state of power (qudrat) and inwardly in the garden of proximity to Allah (qurbat). 3. and b owing the head with humility. and prostrating one's nafs with abasement.

as it were. We now come to t he completion of the passage we examined earlier: Then he said: 'Has it reached you?' They said: 'It has. The confirmation of the Trusting and the peo ple of Unity in the Garden is true. and the review of the people by Allah. or he can reject the prejudicia . as I have believed. Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj. So it must be clear that the alchemy of prostr ation is not merely an opening psychologically. The Garden is true and the Fire is true. and over them Azrael. Th e intercession by the Sent Ones and the Trusting and the bringing out by the Mos t Merciful of the Merciful from the Fire is true. and desire of the world search for Allah. Others suggest that it is merely somethin g with a hidden meaning which again somehow annuls the power and uncompromising challenge of the other-world picture. The torment that day on one grou p is true and that another group will not be grieved by the greatest anxiety.there is a Tradition where the Messenger tells of it as being finer than th e edge between the two sides of the finest swordblade. What are we to make of this sort of statement? It would be easy to reassure the modern man that it was merely a symbolic language.' I believe in all that has been brought to him. On being asked why he took so much tro uble in the light of the high degree which he enjoyed.e found that his foot had been amputated. So the seeker can either lay aside the book and label this as old fashioned reli gion. Everything which the Books and Messengers br ought from Allah. peace be upon him. with their Shaykh before them at Ka'ba. A group in the Garden and a group in the Fire is true.' Here we note another example of a co ndition which outwardly looks like the self-infliction of pain called asceticism when it is inwardly a reality of being beyond the pleasure/pain dichotomy becau se the nafs has fallen away and there is no one to experience this discomfort. I am established as a sl ave.' He said.' Maulana Rumi says that if we really knew how to pray we would begin standing in this world and bow into the next. binding him along with the others in a form of mental and social slavery w hich open the way to exploitation and injustice. When it comes it is not postponed. The Imam of the shaykhs said: 'Do not let your purpose in the prayer be to perform it. used to perform four hundred raka's (unit s of prostration) within a day and night. Firstly let us see what the greatest of the Masters has to say. is true. The group of people with serio us wrong actions among the Trustworthy entering the Fire and leaving it with int ercession and indebtedness is true.it cannot be annexed by people as a means t o inner tranquillity without the inner recognition it brings of what reality is like. but which must be grasped if we are to have any understanding of w hat the sufic Way is. the scattering of pa ges is true. may Allah give him peace. Oh Messenger of Allah. in terms of an attit ude of mind being changed by the act of putting one's head on the ground. some pseudo-sufis pretend tha t it is for simple folk but not for clever people like them who know that an All -Merciful Lord will not punish anyone. he replied: 'Pain and ple asure indicate your feelings. The Sirat is the Narrow Bridge over which the dead person has to pass in the after-death sta te . the Garden on their right an d the Fire on their left. is true. For you have not perfor med it unless you take pleasure and joy in the union with Him to whom there is n o means of approach save through Himself. It is determined that there is an appointed time with Al lah. Beware lest you call remissness maturity. known or unknown. the Angel of Death. I testify. The wali. 'Oh Allah. It can not be reduced to a mere technique . I believe in that with an iman (trust) t hat is without hesitation or doubt. Now we must look at the whole pattern of ideas that have been up until this poin t laid aside.' Ibn 'Ata said: 'Do not let your purpose in the prayer be to perform it without a we and reverence for Him who sees you perform it. from that which I know and do not kn ow of what He gave him. The Sirat is true. may He be exalted. but those whose attributes are annihilated feel no effect either of pleasure or of pain. The grave is true and the raising of bodies from the grave is true. One Master said that the persons about to pray should see themselves standing on the Sirat.

The Master said to it: 'This is your like. in t he living situation. The Highest Master. sustaining the vision. which is the best community. in order that he who made the Night Journey might record what was entrusted to him of signs a nd realities. and your boon companion. They are talking about what they have seen and experienced. and the Faruq was on his most pure left. Raise up the mimbar of tamarisk for him before me. confirmed in victory. 'Ali. The s ignificant thing about these vast cosmic visions of an unseen reality. attend to it and give praise to He who sent me and give praise to me. The acceptance of the reliable wit ness is the extent of one's vision to begin with . we are forced to examine how they come to this. By their description it is made quite clear that these things are matters of revelation. may Al lah bless him and give him peace. He is the most incredible of created beings that I witnessed durin g my writing of this work in the world. Whoever ascends it has inherited it and the Truth has sent him as a gu ardian to the sanctuary of the Shari'a and has delegated him. and he is among those who giv e praise of thanks in the heavenly gathering. a Master in that world. So. talk of belief? It is time n ow to approach the business of the Unseen. the quest of th e knower and the object of his desire.l reaction. set aside the labelling of terms that will to him immediately imply that this is a belief system . he tells how he achieved the Station of knowledge from which he wrote all that is contained in the Revelations. It is time to clarify this essential aspect of existence . because of a partnership between me and it in decree. and the angels of subjugation surrounded the Throne of his sta tion. The Siddiq was on his most precious right.does he not. and his community. I was him. The Seal had dispersed before him to tell him of the tale of idols.Sha hada .that is both visible and invisible. and that their vision is only a tiny fragment of an inconceivably vast and dynamic d isplay of fulgurating forms that endlessly unfold with the radiant and structure d perfection of the aurora borealis. and the angels of the birth of actions were lined up in front of him.' Then he pointed to me and said: 'Muhammad. The actual encounter in the Unseen which is the key to the book comes later and takes place at the Ka'ba. peace be upon him. the sweetest fresh spring. preser ved from goals. was blessing the Seal with his tongue. Dhu'n-N urayn was wrapped in the cloak of his shame. indeed. It is the ruler in your identity. place and no-place. unseen th at is to the outward eye. the Veracious Master who set out at night to his Lord. or the realities and mirror-forms in the Presence of Majesty. when we discover that both the Messenger and his Masters through the ages express themselves in terms of a present phenomenal existence and a hidden and permanent existence. It is not from the world of misery: there was nothing from me af ter my sending out in any way except good fortune.' The whole work is filled with these moments of radiant and moving vision and it is from these experiences that he unfolds with a crystalline clarity his cosmolo . an d we will examine that when we come to the knowledge of the Ka'ba. turned and saw me behind the Seal. All the Chosen Mess engers were in front of him. Muhammad. At the opening of this tremendous book which is incomparable among the wo rks of the Masters. the most revealed and most glorio us Light. Thus it will not return to the meeting. was clinging to him. his Masters to whom he has transmitted the knowledge and sc ience of existence. Here is the M aster's description: Blessings be upon the secret of the knower and his subtle point. Ag ain it is essential to re-iterate the basic step that is taken on the Path . It was a revelation of the heart in an Unseen Presence. is that the vivid and precise description is always ac companied by a recognition that they have no total knowledge of the Unseen.' So the Seal built the mimbar in that most awesome assembly and on the side of th e mimbar was written in the most resplendent light: 'This is the purest Muhammad an Maqam. If there is in you a single hair from me it cannot bea r separation from me. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. occupied in his concern. the Night Visitor who passed the seven paths to Him.we cannot see the Unseen but we can distinguish the profound humanity and serenity of the Messenger and. The greatest work of the sufic sciences is the Shaykh al-Akbar's 'Makkan Revelat ions'. and your son.witnessing .affirming the Unity and the Messengership of the one who is sent by Reality.

The Throne and the Footstool. seen as the Way and seen as the Truth. Now Allah purifies many of His slaves and does not cease from purifying them until their end.you are the Cosmos in miniature.' So here on the one hand we have a Master talking about meeting with all the Mess engers. my brothers.' But after a while they said t o me: 'Explain how this is so?' I answered: 'Tell me yourselves where the world of Spirits is in relation to the world of bodies. there he will see all his friends. The arrogance of the German and E nglish academics who dismissed him deserves somewhere a study on its own.gy and his tasawwuf. may Allah be pleased with him. is conscious of this. It has been said that there exist ten t housand worlds. parochial. And the Venerable Master.you will find in yourself the whole of existence. The plain reason why he is virtually unknown in the West is that the so-called Orientalists stubbornly insisted that he adhere to their ver y limited. there also is the worl d of Spirits: there where the world of corruption is.' The vener able Master and Wali. for Shaytan cannot take my form. are they not in you? The higher world and also the lower world? The Cosmos is but the man on a big scale. Shaykh Darqawi. Only he whom Allah purifies by absorbing his qualities into His own. which happened two hundred years ago in Fez: By Allah. Look . each one like this world. whose thoughts . peace be upon him. and on the other hand another Master who says that the creature is compou . understanding of how a ma n might express himself. for you are a copy of existence for Allah. said : 'Oh you who go astray in the understanding of your own secret. may Allah be pleased with him.' I answered: 'Of nec essity. says i n his 'Inquiries': Understand. Once they defined him as a philosopher it was simple en ough to dismiss him as muddled and incoherent. that is to say in a dream. and initiations that take place opening him to a knowledge he has not ga ined from any 'outer' source and yet apparently did not know up until that initi ation. sees me in reality. and from a global point of view. he can be seen in the world of Spirit. And then I said: 'There where the world of bodies is. They said to me: 'However is it possible to see the Messenger when on e is awake.200 years? It is only possible to see him in a dream. there also is the world of kin gship: in the very place where the lower worlds are. he can be seen in the waking state only by one whose mind . Oh synthesis of the Divine Secret in its Totality. so that nothing of existence is lacking in you. his attributes into His own. since he himself said: 'He who sees me. Before attempting to see the world of experiential reality a s a place in which all these barriers of space and solidity have become fuzzy an d fluid.an intolerable term in Islam . in the waking state.have transported him from this world of bodies into the worl d of Spirits: there he will see the Messenger without the slightest doubt.' They did not know what to rep ly. Sayyid Ibn al-Banna.' They were silent and said not a word when I added : 'Indeed. there are to be found the h igher worlds and the totality of worlds. And you . the Wali al-Mursi. until the day I met some learned men in the Qarawiyyin Mosque and had a conversation with them on th is matter. there also is the world of purity: there where the world of the kingdom is. since he has been dead for over 1. and th e most ironic aspect of the affair is that these men had no other genuine qualif ication to write on 'Ibn 'Arabi than their capacity to read the Arabic language! Those who settled for accepting him as a mystic . as recounted in the 'Hilyat al-Awliya' (by Abu Nu'ayam-al-Isbahani) all these are contained in man without his being c onscious of it. I did not believe that a learned man could deny the visio n of the Messenger.then had to put aside his science of the self as getting in the way of the sim ple vision and ended up 'preferring' the clear personal testimonies of experienc e to the towering structure of 'Ibn 'Arabi's scientific knowledge of the world o f form and no-form. let us examine one more witnessing by the great Moroccan Master. You are the infinite.or let us sa y.

there is shad e. The Messenger said that people would be judged not according to their acts but a ccording to their intentions. the mental operation relating to the pain and pleasure takes on a primary import ance in that the pleasure fantasy and the pain anxiety slip their moorings as it were and become detached from event and float free. The illusion is based on the false assumption that there is some kin d of essential reality to the self. creating a crisis in the pe rson's experience between their tumultuous inner reality and the down-to-earth ' factual' reality of events. that it is solid and actual and that it is r esponsible for its actions and that it is going to pay for what it has done. are a modality based on the c onviction that actions cohere to an experiencing central form as crystals cluste r around a basic salt formation. peaceful.the elements are benign. the whole closed world system is blown wide apart. Neurosis is to separate yourself from the total process which is Di vinity itself. The teaching of tasawwuf is that these worlds are part of the reality of the uni verse. To posit for yourself a separate reality dooms you to positing yo ur own fantasy heaven and your own fantasy hell. It is intolerable. the ot her element is unified until it becomes fire itself despite its original density and separateness. unfold. greenness. They have a source in the root fear and the root gratification which is understandabl y infantile in origin.all this is nothing more tha n illusion. and somehow on the primacy of the solid over and against the non-spatial. The two basic images of the Garden and the Fire as the two polar realities of th e Unseen are easy of access to the awake mind. Reality is not to the gnostic a one-dimensional but a multi-tiered existen ce. The kafir. they are real in a way that your pain or pleasure is not real. changing and altering everything which enters into it. It does not de clare that the positive. Birds sing in the air .nded of all the forms in the Universe.that is. The guilt and its opposite energy. This is not what is put forward as how things are. This crisis can become so great that only the struct uring of these fantasies in an imagined 'heaven and hell' dichotomy can hold tog ether the inner fragmentation. invented by the mind to contain the excess material of the fantasy-producing mind. From it is born a sta r. On the contrary it affirms the clinical neurotic pictu re that builds up into an intolerable punishing hell. would describe the situation thus: a human being performs actions in the world and is either gratified and fi nds pleasure or else punished and finds pain. time opened out into ease. of that negative is true . that is. It makes no differentiation between the imagined or let us say fantasised form in mind and the perception of an existing form by mind. He also said that people would not be saved from t he Fire by their works. just as in the phenomenal world so in the Unseen . the one who covers up reality.as in the alchemical picture. The forms are endless. On the one hand there is the whol e energy process of fire which is one of intensity.th ere are many heavens and many hells. into it finally by a kind of ultimate persuasion of activity. Thus the two realms. It is a place for living creatures and beauty as the other is a place for disintegration and power. a metal. as it were. it is the ultimate in heat and unendurable ness. This picture unfortunately is based on the reality of the subjective experience. it is the present moment as utter anguish. but equally you must desire the Garden or you will y . it is n ot a simplistic affirmation that the 'inner' experience of fear is hell after al l and synonymous with it. If you fea r the Fire of the Unseen you will avoid the illusory accretions that cause the n eurotic fear in experience. Water runs. People who deny Divine Reality collapse in inner anguish and experience and fear the hell of the present and an intolerable future . plants blossom. If the situation becomes extreme. the gratification. enormously powerful energy i n transmutation. In the sufic picture. So this whole picture that connects the human creature t o the heaven/hell condition is a fantasy. unlike the wali who can make available for his disciple the experience of b liss. or imagined realms.equally they have ecstatic states in their heads which the y call heavenly but which are private delusions that they can offer us no access to. The Garden is space. breaking it down and recreating it . or the lotus-like fantasy world of gratification that pulls away from event . time at its most terrible. bear fruit. forms emerge.

that virtually never ceases. This is the hallmark of Wisdom. which in turn opens up to him all the myri ad forms of the visible Unification. What has to be recognised is that this is how the Masters of the Way see and experience reality. To experience fear and hope of Allah is to be devoid of fear of the issue or expectation of the issue. the times being taken very simply from the sun's position in the sky.and the last.the second is at noon immediately following the meridian the third is mid-afternoon . Without th e fear and hope that open you to knowledge of Unity.the fourth.' or 'I abstain from the forbidden not because I fear the Fire. when the light leaves the sky. In doing so. Thus. the first being at dawn when the first t hread of white light appears on the horizon and lasting until the sun's disc is about to be visible . We come back inevitably to the picture we had earlier in relation to the ascetic wh ich showed how every step of the Way was accompanied by an equivalent in neurosi s and ultimately in madness. as the sun is constantly rising and setting across the world. The close view is of a man or a line of men oriented in one direction bowing and prostrating. The whole dynamic of energy emanating from the Anc . after the descent of the s un's disc . 'I do good things not because I desire the Gar den. for in these two l ie the approach that is pleasing to his Lord. as it were. We find throughout our journey that the scie nce of Unity exists to be applied to the world and our experience just because t hey are dual when Reality itself is One. in to the centre point of the Ka'ba. you will live intimidated and at the mercy of your sick fears and hopes. We had left the adept poised on his prayer mat . They are utterly fearless in this world. For this all happens in the world of natural order. a c ircle of devotion centring on the point of the Ka'ba. and so let him desire a clear heart so that he can the mor e know his own intentions. This c ould only result in a more fragmented inner experience and would certainly resul t in making the inner experience of the person labyrinthine and more acute in it s tension. you are doomed quite inevit ably to the anxiety/gratification dialectic that adheres to the illusory self-fo rm. so let him abhor the one and long for the other. they are fr ee in all their actions.and that is time. The distant view reveals not a line of men. where everything is double. In the chap ter relating to Stations we will examine further aspects of fear and hope. de ferred out and away from the immediate crisis and thus rendered harmless. it follows that what you have is an endless rippling mov ement of circle upon circle. but I do the se things for myself. These hidden realities were created for him and are an inexorable part of h is Universe. (Qur'an 3. but seen globally.earn in fantasy and split from the ordinary world of lived existence. forms. he has clung to the realm of gratification and congratulation and serenity will elude him. and the matter of our sciences. So that what we have is a series of concentric circles moving towards the Makkan focus of adoration. and a gui dance to all beings. the night prayer. and let him fear and hope in accordance with his reco gnition of his inability to know the Seal of his destiny that is in the Balance. he turns away from the giving of reality to actions. It follows that the man who says. Qur'an specifies that salat is fixed at appointed tim es. It could be suggested that this was a mechanism to cause a transfer from the urg ent existential situation into a condition where the anxiety was. and t hen finally we can look at the very stuff of this so deceptively constructed wor ld of forms. the sunset.we must continue now out beyond the individual act of salat to see it cosmically as a rite performed five times a day at prescribed times.since this is not the case. At the centre is the Ancient House. of which the Qur'an says: The first House established for the people was at Makka. and he turns towards the reality of his own heart. There is another dimension that must be considered to make this a moving and living p icture . His intentions will take him to th e Garden or the Fire. in the global picture. a pure place.96) So the focus of this worship and opening to the Universal Reality is a place tha t has been celebrated from the beginning of man's story as a place of meeting be tween the slave and the Lord.' is in reality bound to illusion and the persistence of th e self-form as some dense and lasting thing . There are five necessary sets of prostration.

I must see how the Messenger of Allah acts in a sola r eclipse. This is submission. why do you do this?" He said: "Because it has j ust come from the Exalted Lord. The first act that the seeker performs is to open himself to th is situation where he. his c olour underwent a change. This is why the Messenger always sat facing the Ancient House. peace be upon him."Glory to Allah. When the eclipse was over he recited two suras and prayed two raka's.on e who surrenders his self.for the nu . Allah is greater!" . A Persian Master puts it: I went out by the edge of the ocean And saw a wonderful sight."' Once the knowledge of salat has been acquired in all its outward detail and prac tised with its profound and meaningful inner mathematical structure . A'isha asked hi m about it and he said: "It may be as the people of 'Ad said: when they saw a cl oud formation coming to their valley. who was one of the Companions of the Messenger of All ah. I shot the arrows and said: "By Allah. I seek refuge with You from what is evil in it.' 'Ata' bin Rabah reported on the authority of A'isha. and the sea within the boat. and the go od which it contains. and who has submitted to his complete helplessness and weakness in a world spinning in a sea of endless planets. I ask you for what is good in it. submits himself to the process of which he is already an inexorable part. r eveals itself to be the primary and essential rite of any science of gnosis of t he Reality which is everywhere present and nowhere graspable by intellect or sen sory experience. 'to be safe and sound'. As well as the rhythmic pattern of five daily sets of prostration." And when there was thunder and lightning in the sky. The boat within the sea.24) Anas bin Malik reported: 'It rained upon us when we were with the Messenger of A llah. in harmony not only with his fellow creatures. These are on the 'Id days which mark th e end of the Fast of Ramadan and the completion of the rites of Hajj. and the secret of the act of submission of being a slave of a mighty reality. the wife of the Messenger o f Allah. and saying . 'It is a cloud which would give us rain. He tastes and submits t o the whole creational event just as the willow tree yields to the changing elem ents and is itself both tree and wind that blows through it: 'Abd ar-Rahman bin Samura. Praise belongs to Allah. peace be upon him. seen from this global point of view. and he went out and in. from this cosmic point of view. there are als o times when special sets are performed. and the evil of that fo r which it was sent. and slept facing the Ancient House.until the sun cleared." (Qur'an 46. has also opened himself to the process of awakening his own inner reality which can swallow up this tremendous Cosmos of stars. and did salat facing the Ancient Hous e.'surrender'.and how it opened the Messenge r to both the cosmic reality of things and the unseen dimension of these same ev ents. the secret of peace. The other tim e is in the case of eclipse. "Messenger of Allah.SLM . raising his hands. what evil it contains. backwards and forwards. said: 'During the lifetime of Allah's Messenger. and the patterning of the world as a uni que and total creation. these two times being taken precisely according to the position of the moon. is to be in harmony with the Unity of existence. This is the secret of salat. peace be upon him. and the good of that for which it was sent. and I noticed it on his face. and he removed his cloak so that the rain fell on it an d we asked. The root form is the sa me . Salat. who said: 'Whenever the wind was stormy. the Messeng er of Allah used to say: "Oh Allah. The man who has accepted his place as an infinitesimal particle of a vast dynamic multi-dimensional Univ erse. Here we have an opportunity of seeing the extraordi nary depths and implications of this ritual act . The picture we have is of a man so in tune. 'peace'.ient House is so overwhelming that to align oneself with it. and wh en the rain came he felt relieved. there is no divinity but Allah. The practice is called Islam. they said. and he was standing in prayer. peace be upon him. so in harmony with the creatio n that he blows with the wind and eclipses with the sun." So I came to him. but with t he whole organic creation. I was at arrow practice in Madinah when the sun eclipsed. Such a man is called Muslim . this is peace. anywhere.

make up the real basis of the spiritual science . This science.then the see ker has got hold of the first part of something which in its totality is the tre mendous gift of the Messenger to mankind.that is to s ay.as had a ll the Messengers before him. physical and metaphysical. It is this that forms t he body of one's inner reality. the Sunna. in its organic sense. We must now try to get a first glimpse of what the nature of the Sunna is. It is nothing less than the form of man. meaning the Practice. but that they turned what was a scientific Law about man . of the Messenger. We have taken hold of the scie nce of the nafs. Along with his delivering the Message of al-Qur'an. appeared. he left behind him the Hikma . that indicates that there is a behaviour pattern for the human species wherever it may exist on earth. in symbol and ritual. being nothing more than acc omplished linguists . with it you have the possibility of that wholeness that r eturned to the human race when the Messenger opened people once again .partly beca use word of it filtered through the same inadequate channel by which knowledge o f Islam came to the academic world. and adherenc e to these practices . an d then approach the meaning of this Khalifdom.000 sin ce the beginning of man's story . It rests on the principle that man is the slave of his Lord. man in his wholeness.and partly because there was and is a quite conscious atte mpt on behalf of the Christian and Jewish academics to misrepresent the true nat ure of Islam .so determined were they to enshrine the metaphysical aspect of man's natu re. until in the end these men did not feel obliged to respond to the social obligations of the teaching. The Science of the Sunna The word Sunna. Islam is based on the reality and primacy of this Sunna. so terrified were they of losing the secret of man's glory. that they felt o bliged to enshrine it in a Mystery. wudu and salat. so that they became immoral and corrupt in the name of the perfect Teacher. the one who stands for Him or represents Him.opened them to the true nature of their humani ty. this self-form of man. Thes e two attitudes are what may be understood as 'religion'. Even though there could be a limited inner experience without this science. letting its protectors be an elite whose raison d'etre was to guard the Secret. So involved were they with the theory.that is. and at the same time is the Khalif of his Lord . It is significant that one of the stumbling blocks to peo ple approaching the experience of Islam is that they feel that it is indigenous . which is.mber of prostrations at different times of the day. that happens . to the real measure of man. The error of the Jews was not that they failed to obey the La w.but finally because the Muslims themselves in these long centurie s have felt increasingly uncomfortable with a science that challenged their own wealth. meaning 'to for m'. that is. they are the forms tha t bind together (religio) a people in an exploitation that must inevitably lead to tyranny. to perfection and Unity. if you do this.the Wisdom. it is this that gives flesh and blood to the inn er impulse towards gnosis. Any mechanistic or legal idea from your Judaic or C hristian background must be removed before you can open to this reality which is utterly organic.into a legalistic structure exterior to and imposed on man . through people utterly unequipped t o examine the anthropology and metaphysics of Islam. a spontaneous human creature in har mony with his creation being the end result. of whom he indicated there had existed 124. they could not recognis e him. for truly the whole science of the nafs . the Messiah. The error of the Christians was its counter part . is properly spea king the whole of the science of man. You must not be surpris ed to find that this tremendous science of human behaviour on which the full doc trine of gnosis rests is effectively unknown to people in the West . the Secret w e desire. and not an inhibited and outwardly controlled animal. man as a living social org anism. of course. derives from the root SNN. or Practice. The error of the Jews made it inevitable that when the existential reality of lawfulness. and the degrees of extra non -obligatory ones.will make clear the working of the nafs in every situatio n.and all you need to k now about it is contained in the two purifications. they failed to identify the practi ce in a living and perfect exemplar. that is.

a discriminatio n in the dual world of nature.and purifying the nobler practi ces .to a desert culture. some ant hropologists have begun to recognise that there must be what they call a 'canon' of knowledge. It is of course the sufic point of view that we are the canon. The proof of the ignorance of our epoch and the barbarism that is enveloping our society can be found in the modern Muslim state's urgent desire to shelve the w hole patterning of the Sunna and reduce Islam to a kind of Party with membership . so that the Muslim s. You are the whole man. the pseudo-sufis always refer to 'we in the West'. the wif e of the Messenger. it is enough that you study yourself that you understand the total cosmic sit uation of the species. So the compl ete man is a gathering-together of that whole canon of knowledge that tells man his place in the Universe of stars and also opens him inwardly to Union with the reality of the Cosmos. He is al-Qautham. It is all the more tragic i n the light of the situation of the so-called intellectuals in Western society. and at the same time he is a separation. he was the Book. The Hikmat. Islam m erely selects and simplifies the cultural situation .' It is Sufism that insists on the total picture of a man both outwardly and inwar dly in a state of transformation.w hat you find in it to be permissible treat as permissible. The two names of the Book. or that it is the desert culture.such as the ancient rites of Hajj. and therefore does not tr ansfer to other societies. Despite the top-heavy structuralist nightmare that collapses on itself. are at pains to assure you that you don't need to do th is and you don't need to do that . but the situation today is such that the S unna has become a dangerous and quite terrifying possibility. mean the gathering-together and the discrimination. dependent only on the five ritual prayers and not on the complete inner and ou ter transformation that takes place as a man begins to absorb the Sunna. that they realise man once had access to and which we have all bu t lost. This is the Station of the one who has achieved the goal. he then does not have to have h is own motives examined. Culture is simply the illusory reality you bestow on the dynamic forms of your society's transitory activity and achievement and the shadows of the mental forms you become hypnotised by .sweeping away the worst ex crescences of fantasy. who knows himself.Perfect tha t is in this total metaphysical understanding of what a human creature is . Once the Muslim denies the inner realities of the states and Stations we will examine shortly. al-Qur'an and al-Furqan. He was his Book. whose heritage it is. The proof of the Sunna as a profound an d effective anthropological patterning for man is seen every year at the Hajj wh ere people from the most disparate cultures come together socially and spiritual ly unified by their adherence in recognisable degree to the vast Sunna of Muhamm ad. and thu s open himself to his humanity and to his Khalifdom. for if it were not in us. the completely perfect man. how could we know it when we saw it outside us. and by implication. and a Perfect Woman according to the Messenger . is not culture and does not become cul ture. true and false.a situation which the Messenger himself foret old as preceding the last phase of the human condition: Al-Miqdam bin Ma'Dikarib said that he heard the Messenger say. T his is why in the original and complete science of anthropology. As if the complexity of our social modes and the glutted density of our noun-packed p ost-scientific vocabulary somehow made us superior or more inaccessible to some 'ancient wisdom'. Now in earlier treatises on Sufism it was taken for gr anted that people accepted the Sunna. superior to other peoples. hot and cold.culture changes and decays and renews. as if for cultural reasons we were in some special situation that somehow made us different. peace be upon him. Muhammad is th e measure of man. al-Insanu'l-Kamil. the study of ma n. he has denied his . of night and day. A'isha. but not as you are.was asked what her husband was like and she replied: 'He was Qur'an walking!' In oth er words. or as the Sufis call him. Once he has denied the inner reality. peace be upon him : 'I have indeed brought the Qur'an and something like it along with it. and what you find in it to be prohibited treat as prohibited. yet the time is coming when a man replete on his couch will say: ÒKeep to this Qur'an . the Wisdom. such as the burning of widows on their husband's pyres in the decadent phase of Hindu spiritual culture . Most ironically.Ó But what Allah's Messenger has prohibite d is like what Allah has prohibited.

simplicity. then it is a step to his dismantling the Sunna-pattern that give s flesh and blood to that inner reality. may Allah be pleased with him. w orked in the marketplace and the farmyard. and greet the stranger and feed the guest . purified by h is practices and guided by his revelations. What was being introduced by the Messenger was his Hikmat. that demands a radiant city as the setting for the man of k nowledge to experience his gnosis. and so it goes on until in the end why should you bow and why should you prost rate and why should you fast. whose rea l glory only began when he came out from retirement to live in Baghdad: these an d the whole line of Shaykhs testify to the fact that Sufis lived in the world.' There are many Hadith which affirm the fact that the best people. and before them of the C ompanions of the Messenger himself. peace be upon him. And it is here that we are obliged to take on something about t he nature of Islam. The Sufi's place is in the community .and then he tells you that it does not matter that you have a bea rd. is a word . utterly f . the carder: Attar. they were a savagely persecuted minority who stubbornly persisted in their practices despite the humiliations and tortures they were subjected to. and what reality has any of the whol e business when you live a bourgeois life utterly enclosed in the insane rituals of consumerism and reputation-tokens? It is in the beginning of this process th at the sufic tradition insists on the complete social reality of an Islam which never ceases to extol poverty. the best commu nity that has ever been on the earth. Muhammad. however. was to create a com plete and far-reaching revolution in life-pattern. they called for an end to the girl-child murder that was an accepted cultural practice. Whatever came to be known as Sufi was nothing but the condition of the follow ers of the followers.faqir is a word.own and yours.' Al-Hallaj. and what is a Messenger. What concerns us is a social quality of bein g whose interiority is gnosis and whose exterior is detachment from the world. was the community in Madinah at the time o f the Messenger. and the Messenger said to us : 'Today you are the best people on the earth. The social achievement of the Messenger. and where is the Garden and where is the Fire. the scent-merchant: Moulay Abd al-Qadir. The essential per spective to hold to is that the inner reality and the outer condition must be On e. and for the Sufis a social achievement is a total human reality which implies that people were able to realise their in ward capacity as well as their human capacities with others. and which calls for kindness and good words between men. respect for women . as guardian of the Isla m of the Companions. In an amazingly short time. which he later defined through the use of two terms. he built up a highly educated group of peop le who had all been instructed by him. peace be upon him. and their impact began to resonate throughout the whole community. Socially. So whichever of them you follow you will be guided. that you sit on the ground and sleep on the level surface of the floor. ' This Hadith is from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. It is Sufism. In a short time he is using the languag e of duality . because they were the guardians and a re the guardians of this picture of man whose complete silhouette and whose lumi nosity is from the same source. Jahiliyya the Messenger saw as the energy force of the unbridled nafs. All they were doing. and clarify for ourselves something that is essential to an understanding of Islam and the reality of the sufic phenomenon.look a t them from the beginning: Hasan of Basra. Sufi. and what is an angel. Razin transmitted it. and he said: 'My Co mpanions are like the stars. Bukhari and Muslim both transmit a Hadith from Jabir saying on the day of al-Hud aibiyya our numbers were one thousand four hundred. in behaviour and possess ions. and measure.Muslim is a word . and eat with three fingers from one plate. jahiliyya and hi lm. irradiated by his presence. and before them of the followers. s tarting with a small band of people. it must be rememb ered. was rhythmically bowing and prostrating and glorifying the Creator of the Universe and praising Him for the wonder of existence. and an end to blood feuds. h is Wisdom. said: 'I saw seventy comrades who fought at Badr: all of them had woollen garments: and the greatest Siddiq (Khal if Abu Bakr) wore a garment of wool in his detachment from the world. T he image of man is the image of Muhammad. Completely non-violent. and affection for the young and the old.

who taught peace and practised hos pitality and generosity as no social group had ever done before or after them in the world's history.' Yet along with the Hadi th that praise the Companions of the Messenger are disturbing ones that indicate the trouble that was to come. I am a means of safety for my Companions. the arrogance of j ahiliyya. That small group of people who gathered around the Me ssenger in Makka. and by t hat token. for the Deen. the very stuff of history. which was a common practice of his. of conflict. had this to say about the future generations and Islam: Abu Burda told on his father's authority that he. son of Mary. Of his closest Companion. the Followers. of unreality and covering-up. the Messengers Nuh. therefore. Once the people wh o embodied hilm were removed from authority and from a place of influence it was all too easy to set up the dynasties of luxury and imperialism which were what Muslim history so rapidly became. but it was one which had such a dynamic that by its energy they stood to gain a much gr eater fame and glory than they had known before. then Allah sent down His serenity upon His Messenger and upon the trus ting-ones and imposed on them the word of self-restraint.' Of his Companion Abu D harr he said: 'The sky has not covered and the earth has not carried anyone more truthful than Abu Dharr. women and children. Sayyedina 'Ali. This was the natural flow of destr uctive energy that came from the nafs which saw itself as separate from existenc e and in conflict with reality. and when I depart what my Companions have been threatened with will come to them. and when the stars depart what the sky has been threatened with will come to it. My Companions are a means of safety for my people. The Messenger was well aware that the light that came from his presence among th em was a great restraint on the natural greed and lust for power that man is pro ne to. A trouble utterly inevitable in the light of what the Messenger had brought among people. and when my Companions depart w . Amir al-Mu'mineen. Hilm implies that the nafs has been tamed and is under the subject' s control while jahl defines a nafs that is in such urgent flux that the subject is too identified with his action to be able to avoid conflict. Hilm can be defined as a state of calm serenity which is not overthrown by anger from within or violence threatening f rom without. And Allah is aware of all things. The awakening of the Messenger's Compan ions to the tremendous power of hilm within themselves as a social dynamic was. hilm. Jahl is. and said: 'The stars ar e a means of safety for the sky. and that is why he urged men to respect the Companions and the next gener ation. peace be upon him. To this basic energy the Messenger taught the ac quiring of the truly human faculty. He is like 'Isa. men. of event. So tremendous were the rewards that came to the victorious Muslim forces that they soon found that the obligati ons of Islam were a hindrance to tasting the fruits of their victory and the old values of jahl which had never completely vanished appeared again with renewed force. with an electric force shook the whole foundation of the triba l society which had survived for so long virtually unaffected by its wars and fe uds. he said. was to halt the flowering of Wisdom in an apparently ordinary world-or iented society. and what cunning and treachery failed to achieve. for they were worthy o f it and suited to it. raised his head to the sky. a challenge to the existing community of his day. What brute force was unable to do. and Sayyedina Musa all denounce jahl as being the enemy of reality. or transaction. until within a few years they had become an illuminated and radi ant group of people. as he renamed Yathrib when he called i t Al-Madinah al-Munawarra. meaning the Messenger. (Qur'an 48. that he c alled them to not only was one that overthrew the old values and powers. as it remains to t he power structures of the world fourteen hundred years after the establishment of his community in the Illuminated City. Hud. When those who cover up had placed in their hearts arrogance. and the impulse of violence in man which imposes on him a primary excuse for denying the Unity in the name of his dualistic conflict .26) In the Qur'an. peace be u pon him: 'I am the house of Wisdom and 'Ali is its door. It must be remembered that Islam is a science that is pass ed on by existential transmission and not by books and texts. He himself.lamboyant and expressed. ruthless in its infantile determination to experience g ratification whether of appetite or violence. inevitably.

' is the process that starts with. It is a tragi c and sobering picture. the most moving a spect of the whole story is the Messenger's recognition of what lay ahead and hi s acceptance of what was to be.' Muslim transmitted i t.hat my people have been threatened with will come to them. and Qur'an indicates that it i s the basic sickness of the human mind. from the Hadith it is clear that he foresaw their end. the separation of the su bject-mind from the object-body. 'I did not mean to do it. Indeed. and he who hates them does so from hatred of me. They died martyrs to Reality and they w ent from the worst to the best. the Munafiqun or the Hypocrites. once started. but that the munafiq is the person who on the threshold of awakening to the true nature of reality takes flight from the unit ary nature of existence and makes war in order to distract attention by foregrou nd violence.' 'I was not myself. was stabbed in the back in the mosque in prostration before Allah by a so-c alled Muslim. 'They are other than I. itself. After them there will be people who give testimony without being asked. continues until th e mind itself breaks up and one part of it opposes another and the conflict beco mes internalised. the Amir of the Trusting O nes. as it is to mourn for them. Thousands of the Ansar were slaughtered by so-called Muslims. and then their immediate follo wers. to separate inne r and outer . who will make vows which they do no t fulfill. then their immediate followers. Let us look at the astonishing description of these people in the Qur'an and it will be immediately apparent to us that the munafiq is not just one of those who turned against Islam in the ea rly days of the Madinan community. 'marad'. from the vast detached majesty of peace that is the Cosmic Reality. The inner condition of the munafiq is marked by a split between his outer behaviour and speech and his inner way of experiencing reality. Abu Dharr. may Allah be pleased with them: 'I am war to him who makes war on them. Its nature is such that th e munafiq wavers between one possibility of Islam and another. and peace to him who makes peace with them. among whom plumpness will appear. also just as the Messenger had told him he would end his days. between betrayal and attraction. and he who injures Allah will soon be punished by Hi m. Fear Allah regarding my Companions and do not make them a tar get after I am gone. During the lifetime of the Messenger. wh o will be treacherous and not to be trusted. What is important is that we are prepared to loo k at the complete picture of these events or as complete a picture as we can pie ce together. the mo st noble Companion. this basic illness of the human species. it i s an organic life-pattern for men in society: once roles are imposed and structu res are solidified you return inevitably to the rigid imposition of authority an d the dialectical conflicts of history. Yet within only twenty-nine years the Gate of Wisdom.' and 'I am other than the Universe!' Q ur'an has made clear that if you kill one man wrongfully you kill the whole of m . Nifaq is.' Tirmidhi transmitted it. altho ugh the Messenger said of them: 'You are the most beloved people to me.it is nothing less than a sickness.' 'Abdallah bin Mughaffal reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'Fear Allah regard ing my Companions. Fragmentation. H assan and Husain. This marad. As a Messenger he could not appoint a successor. Soon after him the Messenger's two grandsons were murdered. were a co nstant threat to the spiritual revolution of Islam. the dynamic to split reality. 'Imran bin Husain reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'The best of my people a re my generation.' Zaid bin Arqam reported Allah's Messenger as saying of Sayyedina 'Ali. The word derives from the ro ot NFQ which means 'to enter a hole from which there are several ways out'. He who loves them does so for love of me. Fatima. He who injures them has injured me and he who in jures me has injured Allah. These deaths were known to the Messenger in his lifetime and the Hadith s tell of his weeping for them while they were still children. Islam is not a state concept. Sayyed ina Hassan was poisoned and Sayyedina Husain was slaughtered on the field of Ker bala and beheaded in the most horrible massacre that ever blighted the Muslim co mmunity. and it is useless to start to apportion blame these cent uries later.' Again. is nothing other than the splitting of the inner and the outer experiencing self. was humiliated and beaten and finally sent to an exile's dea th. for there is no succession in Messengership.

ankind. Here in its entirety is the Surat al-Munafiqun, The Form of the Hypocrit es, in the Glorious Qur'an: In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. When the hypocrites come unto thee (Oh Muhammad) they say: 'We bear witness that you are indeed Allah's Messenger.' And Allah knows that you are indeed His Mess enger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are all liars. They make their trusting a covering so that they may turn from the Way of Allah. Truly evil is that which they have been doing. That is because they trusted then covered-up, therefore their hearts are sealed so that they understand not. And when thou seest them their outward forms please thee: and if they speak thou listeneth to what they say. They are like propped up blocks of wood. They deem every shout to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them! Allah confound them. How perverted they are. And when it is said to them: 'Come! The Messenger of Allah will ask forgiveness for you!' they avert their faces and thou seest them turning away, disdainful. Whether thou ask forgiveness for them or ask not forgiveness for them, Allah wil l not forgive them. Lo! Allah guides not the people who go against the Way [i.e. people who come out from the human transaction, from the root FSQ, meaning 'to emerge from the husk of the datestone'.] They it is who say: 'Spend not on behalf of those with Allah's Messenger that th ey may disperse,' - when Allah's are the treasures of the heavens and the earth: but the hypocrites do not understand. They say: 'Surely if we return to Madinah the mightier will soon drive out the w eaker,' - when might belongs to Allah and to His Messenger and to the Trusting-O nes, but the hypocrites do not know. Oh you who have Trust! Let not your wealth nor your children distract you from r emembrance of Allah. Those who do so, they are the losers. And spend of that whe rewith we have provided you before death comes to one of you and he says: 'My Lo rd! If only Thou wouldst reprieve me for a little while, then I would give sadaq a and be among the Salihin.' But Allah does not reprieve any self when its term comes, and Allah is aware of what you do. (Qur'an 63) The first thing we discover in the Surat is that the munafiq is a Muslim. He has affirmed the authority of Muhammad, peace be upon him. What follows is the esse ntial affirmation of the oneness of reality by which Qur'an acknowledges that Al lah - the Truth - knows who the munafiqin are, but that their affirmation itself is a lie. Thus a discrimination is made between them and the Trusting-Ones, so that the 'Muhammad rasulullah' of the latter is not the same as the 'Muhammad ra sulullah' of the former. The next ayat (sign) says that they trusted then covere d over reality. At this point they are 'split' in a false way from existence, th ey are 'cut off' from their own inner nature. The clinical picture builds up: th ey are pleasing of aspect, therefore they are outwardly sculpted according to th e Deen, they are coherent. But then we are told: they are like propped up blocks of wood. This is the key - instead of having that suppleness and transparency o f the Trusting-One who is aware of the real nature of the Unseen, they are solid ified, opaque, become objects, alienated. They deem every shout to be against th em. They are at war with existence, with the other, because of themselves - they cannot get at their own hearts having made this act of splitting inwardly. For the Truth is the other way around. They are the enemy - their own enemy, and the enemy of the basically sane Muslim. They reject forgiveness with pride because they desire conflict, and therefore t heir reality is conflict, that is, they are by definition unforgiven by reality. They take as their reality the myth of event and see themselves as the activato rs of existence. They call on people not to spend their wealth on others, i.e. t he Muslims, and they define existence as being a struggle in which the stronger will triumph. This, then, is the nature of human illness, this is neurosis. This

is the fantasy structure of life as seen through the eyes of those who have cov ered up the reality of life on a planet which is a garden and where everyone may be provided for in every way. Qur'an goes on to affirm that real strength lies in being in harmony with Realit y, and therefore the proof of this is that the Messenger, as the perfect exempla r of humanity, is assisted and made strong through his submission. The things th at trap man into the neurotic process of nifaq are nothing other than his wealth and his children. It is these that create for him the illusion of a separate ki ngdom of selfdom if he fails to see them along with the whole cosmic situation a s a gift of the Creator to His slave. It is this close-up view of the personal e xistence as 'belonging' to one that makes for forgetfulness of how-things-are. S uch are the people who, when they come to the end of their life-span, try to bar gain with existence, and when they do they know that the correct transaction is to give gifts to the needy and to keep the company of the noble pure ones who ha ve knowledge of Reality, that is the Shaykhs and the awliya - the Saliheen. But the transaction is not magical and there is no escaping the organic destiny of o ne's life pattern. It is here that the legalistic image of a day of judgment is shattered in the light of a quite vivid cosmic reality, which is that the creatu re is himself a record of his life. The cells of the body are the record of the life. Qur'an puts it vividly: 'They-are-demonstrated Form': 'Till when they reach it, their ears and their eyes and their skins testify agai nst them as to what they used to do. And they say unto their skins: 'Why testify ye against us?' They say: 'Allah hath given us speech Who giveth speech to all things, and Who created you at first, and unto Whom you are returned.' Ye did not hide yourselves lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should te stify against you but ye deemed that Allah knew not much of what ye did! That - your thought, which ye did think about your Lord - hath ruined you: and y e find yourselves among the lost. (Qur'an 41.20-23) It is so clear, the picture. We are our own record. We are our own Book. Our cel ls do testify against us or for us, depending on how we have treated the body-fo rm that has been loaned to us. Then the Qur'an touches on the particular nature of the ordinary separateness of phenomenal existence from the total Divine Reali ty. We cannot hide ourselves from ourselves, we are convinced that we have cover ed up the record - even though we are the record. That is, we think that the Rea lity does not see what we ourselves are aware of in our split inwardness. It is the thought - the illusion of otherness - that has 'ruined' the lost human creat ure. That thought is lostness itself. Separation is necessary outwardly, as we h ave said, according to the science of Wisdom, but joining is necessary inwardly by the same token. In Surat Ya-Sin: Lo! We it is who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before, and their footprints. And all things we h ave kept in a clear register. (Qur'an 36.12) We think because others cannot read us that we cannot be read. The form is nothi ng other than the meaning. Our form is our record. The cell is the story. As the Shaykh al-Kamil says in his Song 'Withdrawal into the Perception of the Essence ': Truly, created beings are meanings set up in images. All who grasp this are among the people of discrimination. Let us now return to our picture of the split Madinah community and the conflict s that tore asunder the first Muslims. Here is the perspective that the Messenge r gave of the situation: Abu 'Ubaida and Mu'adh bin Jabal both reported the Messenger, peace be upon him, as saying: 'This matter began as prophecy and a mercy, then it will become a Kh alifate and a mercy, then a tyrannical kingdom, then how much haughtiness, pride and corruption there will be on the earth!' This was transmitted by Baihaqi in 'Shu'ab al'Iman'. Abd-Allah bin Ma'sud told that the Messenger, peace be upon him, said: 'The mill of Islam will go round till the year 35 or 36 or 37, then if they perish they w

ill have followed the Path of those who perished before them, but if their Deen is maintained for them it will be maintained for them for seventy years.' He asked if that meant seventy years more or altogether and the Messenger replie d that it meant seventy years altogether. This was transmitted by Abu Dawud. Sayyedina 'Ali, may Allah have mercy on him, said that when Allah's Messenger wa s asked who should be appointed Commander after he had gone, he replied: 'If you appoint Abu Bakr as Commander you will find him trustworthy, with little desire for worldly goods but eager for the next world: if you appoint 'Umar as Command er you will find him trustworthy and strong, fearing for Allah's sake and no-one 's blame. If you appoint 'Ali as Commander - but I cannot see you doing so - you will find him a guide who is rightly guided and who will lead you on the Straig ht Way.' Ahmad transmitted this. The bitterness and the distortions that arose from the great initial schism stil l resonate today among the Muslim community, what is left of it as a functioning reality - but that reality is blurred because of the successful and false cryst allisation that both Shi'a and Sunnis achieved in equating Islam with a Muslim S tate. There is no such thing as an Islamic State in the world today. As I have i ndicated, the two terms are mutually irreconcilable. If it is Islam, it is not a state, rather it is a community functioning organically according to the Book a nd the Wisdom, that means Amir and Fuqahah but not a canon Law with a judiciary and a power elite. Police, prisons - although prisoners may be taken in war, tha t is a temporary situation - banks and standing armies are nothing to do with Is lam. They are the stuff of Statism. In Islam, every man is a policeman, the bank of Zakat is emptied annually, every man is a soldier ready and trained to fight in self-defence when necessary. The long history of the Muslim conquest despite the many energies that it brought along in its wake, must not be equated with I slam. Islam is the Book and the Wisdom, and the teaching of it is not by the int ake of structured information, it is by the transmission of the behaviour-form f rom a man who is himself already to an acceptable degree a self-form of the Wisd om. This man - the rajulullah - the man of Allah - is Islam, is the transmission , is the copy of the Muhammadan original self-form. It is not that the Sunni were wrong, or that the Shi'a were right. For these for mations took place over a period of time and did not become defined on the minut e, as it were. The dramatisation and mourning for the death of Sayyedina Husain, may Allah have mercy on him, was an innovation, and a solidifying of the nafs t hrough ritualised mourning, and a culture token of the Shi'a counter-society in conflict with the Sunnis. He was a martyr, so properly speaking we can only rejo ice for him, that he is assured the fullest life in the Garden. And so it goes o n - this and that, until the animosity is revived. It is not necessary to be par t of that schismatic thinking at this stage of the business of Islam. On the con trary, we have an opportunity now to detach ourselves and look at the picture as wholly as we can, sifting the evidence without prejudice, fitting together the pieces, the better to understand these extraordinary men, and their moving story . The reason, however, that this has been brought up is not, as I have said, to st art the schismatic energy flowing, but to get to this point where we can see why there is such a thing as Sufism at all! It was this picture of the formation of a new style of expansionist and imperialist State founded on the basic tenets o f Islam reduced to a law-pattern and introducing a punitive legal system along w ith it - that led to the need for the Followers and the Followers of the Followe rs to redefine what the original picture was. The great Companions had all gone, martyred in battle or murdered by the monarchic Islam of the Umayyads and the A bbasids. This form of man as a completely renewed being, inwardly awake, turned away from the world and worldly obsession, radiant through an awareness of the U nseen Reality, filled with awe of Allah, and sweetness for his brothers, and gen erosity - above all, with generosity - this form was in imminent danger of being lost forever. Generosity and tolerance - the two things the Messenger most exto lled and embodied, had already been swept aside as weaknesses - and somehow some body had to recover them before it was too late. It is easy to understand why the Traditionists finally made their collections in

because our knowledge must be controlled by going back to the Qur'an and the Sunna. whil e it was a tremendous and scholarly achievement of enormous dimensions calling f or both patience and integrity. the living and essential way was and still is on e of personal transmission. just as there were men who succumbed to the flatteries of the Sultans and Khalifs. is a man who has no right to lead.' His uncle said: 'Good. Whoever has not learned the Qur'an by heart and has not fo rmally studied the Hadith. 'Messenger of Allah. only the heart's intentions had a reality because they contained the life dynamic of his existence. He was his own record of his life and after death he had to answer for what he had done in the zone of action called the world. and has not learned Shari'a before embarking on Sufis m.' This has been transmitted by Ahmad and by Baihaqi. and the coalescing of the ruler's courts with the civic and spirit ual courts. gave him the illusion of a kind of permanence. The Qur'an had been gathe red and written down as a Book for the same reason . Thus the uncle of Imam Junayd. and the property of him who has no property. on ce asked him as he left the house to what assembly he was going. peace be upon him. What a state-religion had to do was banish the whole concept of Sunna except as an outward aesthetic .' Of course. may Allah be pleased with him. Aisha reported the Messenger. and that things had no lasting value. as saying: 'The world is the dw elling of him who has no dwelling. Sari as-Saqati. Tirmi dhi and Ibn Majah. Despite the m any Hadiths warning against so-called learned men who served rulers. so Ibn Ma'sud said. That has been the reaso n for my success.' So right at the beginning of Islam. It was that every action and every thought solidified the experiencing reality of a man and separated him. removed h is awareness that he passed fleetingly through the world. You may not transmit them in turn until he is satisfied that you have fulfilled the learning task and yourse lf been purified to such a stage that you too have absorbed them as he has done. The profound and vital nature of the Sunna was however something else. but when they associate with rulers they betray the Messengers. Even with the Hadiths. they are the deputies of the Messengers of Allah over His serv ants. peace be upon him: 'As long as the learned men associate not with the rulers. the Master of Hadith will instruct you in the exact Hadith and its Isnad or chai n. Still today. I studied the Shari'a according to the schools of such masters of Hadith as 'Abu 'Ubayd and Abu Thawr. it became t he inevitable result of the State structure: The Messenger said. Accept his learning a nd his discipline but beware of his speculative reasoning. and worst of all. to the Messenger himself.' This has been transmitted by Ahmad.' Al-Junayd recounts: 'É and as I left I heard Sari say: ÒMay Allah make you a traditionist who is a Sufi and not a Sufi who is a traditionist. With the closest family isolated from the State structure on the one hand.despair lest the whole picture of the Sunna got lost. and later I was taught by Harith al-Muhasabi and Sari ibn Mughallas. He replied: 'To the majlis of Harith al-Muhasibi. then goes off and leaves it. a deep s tyle. the inevitable annexing of the learned men took place. immediately following the Messenger's death. for example.' He replied: 'What have I to do with the world? In relation to the world. I am just like a rider who shades himself under a tree.Ó Indeed.a social aesthetic if you like. we see the establishment of a State and along with it the deliberate persecutio n of the Messenger's Companions and Followers.there was the terrible risk that the slaughter would engulf the Muslim as a human record. at the Qarawwiyin in Fez. his own family and grandchildren. The Messenger said. Transmission is from man to man. That picture of transmission is the basis of a man's Islam and his inner awaken ing. Man carried nothi ng with him. Yet the books do not create the man. I wish you would ord er us to spread something out for you. back person by person. Beware of them and avoid them. Ibn Ma'sud told that the Messenger slept on a reed mat and got up with the mark of it on his body. peace be upon him: 'Every building is a misfortune for its o . All the rest was illusion. there were many who stuck steadfastly to their Islam and defied th eir rulers or were martyred by them and died rather than surrender what they kne w to be the Way.

and both these concerned a ma n's cosmic place in the two worlds. so he who finds a refuge or shelter should go to it. 'Umar.' This was narrated by 'Umar ibn al-K hattab and transmitted by both Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.e. He came wi th 'the good news and the warning' in the Qur'an . Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger. prepare a complete armoury for poverty. peace be upon him: 'If you were to trust in Allah genuinely. 'Take this and this and th is. peace be upon him. they are the ones who suffer the greatest loss.' Abu Sa'id reported Allah's Messenger." I asked.' Bukhari transmitted this.that the Messenger came with a message that was a guidance as to how they should prepare for the next world. for poverty certain ly comes quicker to those who love me than a flood does to its destination. and harj will be prevalent. They lived lives of luminous ac tivity. The first Community of Madinah al-Munawarra. 'The son of Adam has a right only to the following: a house in which he lives. that the Messenger said: 'A time is soon coming to mankind when nothing of Isl am but its name will remain and only the written form of the Qur'an will remain. peace be upon him.' This is f rom 'Uthman and transmitted by Tirmidhi.' When he had told him to consider what he was saying.' before them and behind them. the man of the Way will have no option but to leave the barbaric society of the time in or der to survive. 'I swear by Allah that I love you. Indeed. Their mosques will be in fine condition but will be devoid of guidance. may Allah be pleased with him. 'I love y ou. t he transaction] from civil strife. were men who lived in the world but were not servants of the world. and when the man had d eclared three times. Abdallah bin Mughaffal told that a man came to the Messenger and said.wner except what cannot. fleeing with his Deen [i. as saying: 'When time is contracted. so intense will be the inner agitation of the last days that it will be essential for the Muslim to adopt the most reflective and medita tive quietism Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger. who scorned lack of reputation and desired return to the Jahiliyya. dry bread and water. except what cannot É' Anas reported it and Abu Dawud tran smitted it. corruption coming forth from t hem and returning among them. although the Messenge r makes it quite clear that at the end of the planet Earth's history. they worked in the city. their l earned men will be the worst people under heaven.' There is no avoiding the uncomfortable fact . Yet among them were those who loathed generosity and praise of the Creator.' he replied: 'If you are speaking the truth. you for whom I would give my father and mother as ransom?" He replied: ÒTho se who have the most property . In the end these men achieved their desire. of going off into the hills. Abu Dharr. and on the battlefield they defended themselves.' Tir midhi transmitted this. may Allah be pleased with him. and 'Uthman.' He was asked the me aning of harj and said it meant rioting. said: 'I came to the Messenger when he was sitting in the shade of the Ka'ba and when he saw me he said: "By the Lord of the Ka'ba. as saying: 'There wil l be periods of turbulence in which the one who sits will be better than the one who stands. The Messenger said. a garment with which he covers his private parts. peace be upon him. meanness wil l be cast into people's hearts. the one who stands better than the one who walks. may Allah be merciful to them. the Way.uncomfortable for those who wish t o use Islam to buoy up a secular State . knowledge will be withdrawn. He who contemplates them will be drawn by the m. "Who are they. Sayyedina 'Ali. giving and sharing and guiding to Wisdom as no community has ever done s ince the human race began. on their right and on their left: but they are few!Ó' This was transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim.except those who say. and the one who w alks better than the one who runs. each of whom did his . After the Khalifates of A bu Bakr. the Illuminated City. said in a transmission by Baihaqi . as saying: 'A Muslim's best property will soon be his sheep which he will take to the tops of the mount ains and the places where the rain falls. civil war will appear. This is not to say that Islam is the Way of avoiding the human situation. He would give you provision as He does for the birds which go out hungry in the morning and come back full in the evening.

came the tragic and final attempt of Sayyedina 'Ali. 'Commit to memory as we have committed. he was martyred. research into the qualities of the nafs. Transmission. including Hasan al-Basra. We have the books from Alla h and we have lost the rijalallah .the man of inner lumino sity who outwardly is a fountain of generosity and peace and encouragement to ot hers and guidance and strength. He has become the vanishin g man . The act of putting it in writing was the first step in the be trayal of the Wisdom-process. Imam al-Ghazzali. the Muslim community began to develop a Rabbinical tradition. but by that time. The matter was n ot and could not be in the hands of 'Uthman and the others.so that by the 4th ce ntury Hijra. Abu Bakr. in precise fulfilme nt of the Messenger's prophecy.best to maintain the life-pattern of the Sunna in Madinah. lives on money which he obtained without wrong action. knowing by inner experience) began to disappear and the science of the heart. It must also be understood without any doubt that it follows from all that has been said that naming oneself as Sufi o r as belonging to an Order is in itself irrelevant .what the reality of the suf ic phenomenon is cannot be compromised by evolving and proposing a special 'role ' for the sufic brotherhoods. says in his great work . the direct existential exchange of energy-wisdom. It was in the hands of Reality itself.' He goes on to say that the acts of the Companions were concealed from men and al so their learning. associates with the learned and the wise.' The first books all appeared after the year 120 Hijra after the death o f all the Companions and most of the Followers. the game element of corrupted teaching had begun. may Allah be pleased with him. The reason and end of all the practices and all th e dhikr and study is the creation of the rijalallah . No w we have all the documents and cannot find the man. When Imam Malik compiled the Muwatta . 'How should we do what the Messengers did no t do?' The rationalisation was that the Companions had all but been slaughtered and the risk was that there would be no-one to transmit the Message.all of which are merely exaltation of the nafs . and the Companions disliked the idea of even submitting the Qu r'an to paper. 'At the same time the scie nce of the Other World became forgotten and the difference between knowledge and argument no longer known except to a select few.' The Comp anions advised their people.one of the first collections of Had ith to be written down . and the study of the stratagems of Shaytan became rare and unknown. the man whose whole behaviour and energy is unif ied and in harmony with the Divine transaction of existence. a nd a kingdom was established.followi ng the original picture of the Messenger. and it was a matter of time before the thing sno wballed into abstract 'theology' and scholasticism appeared and argument and ref utation . who wa s the Shaykh of knowledge following the death of Sayyedina 'Ali. may Allah be pl eased with them both.H .' It is against this changing and increasingly difficult situation that the appear ance of what is called Sufism took place.Ahmad Ibn Hanbal criticised him and said.which is nothing but a vast and scholarly attempt to have done with scholarship and return to Wisdom: ' The Science of Certainty .the imperilled creature of our polluted planet . Thus did the Deen wane during those early centuries: but how about its condition at the present time? [600 A. Abu Bakr said. Yet this is the very anxiety situation that real Islam had come to dispel. the Mess enger of Allah said: 'Blessed is he whose concern for his own faults keeps him f rom meddling with the faults of others. may Allah be pleased with him.] Things have come to a point where anyone who would dare show his disapproval of the present state of affairs would run the risk of being called insane. so that the Muslims could not get a clear picture of what in fact this vast matter of Islam was about! He goes on.the men of Allah . It was inevitably followed by the quite unnecessar y step of codifying the Hadiths of the Messenger on which the Sunna is built. Ibn 'Abbas said: 'There is no one except the Messe nger whose knowledge is not sometimes followed and sometimes rejected. as he was described in a Hadith quoted by Imam al-Ghazzali: In the course of a khutba [Friday address to the people in the Mosque]. 'He has origi nated an innovation (from the Wisdom-practice) by doing what the Companions did not do.'Ilm al-Yakin (that is.' The first Khalif. the Seen and the Un seen. the Khalifate came to an end. to recover the f ull social nexus of the Messenger's Sunna. w as the Way of Islam. and shuns the people of . Once the process had begun.the men of Allah.

is not and cannot be equated with any Muslim society. honoured and listened to as a guide.' Hassan of Basra transmitted his knowledge to Shaykh Habib al-Ajami. Blessed is he who humbles himself. Where you encounter a true Muslim.how things are. The transmission that went from the Messenger to Sayyedina 'Ali. the judgment . a practice.' In Al-Ghazzali's great work. but these are sim ply inventions by Christian intellectuals of a situation that had nevertheless b een created by so-called Muslim societies. It could not be apprehended unless i t came through the form of the man . nor able to recognise. and who avoids inflicting harm upon m en. and this rarely. It suited the Chri stian world to admire Islamic art and talk of Islamic culture. It is sustained by . you enc ounter Islam. No more. it was not on acc ount of my baraka that they failed to see you. Thus there is no history of Sufism. fantasy-in volved state structures that became known as the Muslim world.in what state are they?' The man replied: 'In a state of great ext remity.' Hassan said: 'É then my state is one of greater extremity than theirs. and recognise the way in which the whole Book was integrated into the lived experience and reality of the desert Messenger. The Messenger broug ht Islam and left it with his people. it cannot be encapsulated in formulae or in information retrieval units. the transaction is behaviour. who lives within the Shari'a and does not overstep its bounds by introducing i nnovations. but through the blessedness of my speaking the truth. There is no compromi se.evil and wrong action.was this fundamental difference that ma de self-styled Muslim hunt down Muslim? How did State-Islam define itself in suc h a way that it was not challenged by.' They went into the cell but saw no-one there. They returned twice and thrice but found no-o ne and at last departed.' The Messenger has said: 'The Deen is behaviour.' The word Deen derives from 'to be indebted' and 'to judge'. whose nature has been refined and whose heart has been altered. all that is of the fantasy pattern. just as much as the pottery and the archways and the mi narets are so much fantasy and have nothing to do with Islam. they abused him and called him a liar. who is therefore the first of the Shaykhs. Hassan immediately came out and said to Habib: 'I know it was owing to your baraka that Allah did not reveal me to these evil men. Blessed is he who acts in accordance with his knowledge. such a man would be at different times and in different degrees either endangered and martyred or . He s wore that he had spoken the truth.we now have to ask and discover . strictly speaking. It was inevitable that in the culture-forming. Had I told a lie. from 'Muslims']. Islam.a Book did not fall out of the sky. was passed on to Hassan of Basra. or development of a movement within Islam called Sufism. That's it.it is the Way. he entered the cell of Habib [fleeing. The rajulullah is who he is because of the perfection. and selfless ness of his behaviour. the Christian heresy of the Church in the protestant sense of a priesthood of believers. who gives away the surplus of his substance and who witholds whatever is superfluous when he speaks . The Qur'an itself had to come through the Mess enger . how do you fare?' He said: 'Well.and later we shall see how the revelation c ame. and the Way must b e embodied. The soldiers came and said to Habib: 'Have you seen Hassan anywhere?' Habib said: 'Yes. Al-Hujwiri r ecounts this of the Master: It is well known among the sufis that when Hassan of Basra fled from Hajjaj. It is a non-reality that is its own reality. what must be done and so the Way itself. It is the Wisdom and the Wisdom is dynamic. the nature of the lovers of Allah? State-Islam is. No -one owns it and no-one can put it in a book . Thinkin g that Habib was making fun of them. we both would have been shamed. Thus. He said: 'Islam is going into the books and the Muslims into the graves.' What .' 'Where i s he?' 'He is in my cell. but why did you tell them I was there?' Habib replied: 'Oh Master. harmony. the debt between you and your Creator. so that its meaning is the transaction. however. he recounts this of Shaykh Hassan: A man said to Hassan: 'Oh Abu Sa'id. may Allah be pl eased with him.' The man then said: 'How is your state?' So Hassan smiled and said: 'You ask me about my state? What do you say about people who have sailed in a ship till they reached mid-ocean and then their ship foundered until each of them clung to a plank of t he wreckage . remember.

Look at the man! Who does he honour . and the Hajj is the proof of i t.the Ambassadors. The Islam that the desert Messenger brought cannot exist unless you are open to the nature of life as being multi-dimensional and to the nature of phenomena as being basically un real. for it is nothing more than a fantasy on a fantasy. not a reality. Nevertheless.the life-form which is recorded in the cellular record unfolds and the true form is revealed.of course it is here .Statism depends on the prevention of the people from seeing the nature of their rulers.the one who will. Yet it is precisely on this lie about existence that the State-Fantasy is built. radian t. as in the legend.now called 'ulama and Imams . th ere is properly speaking. Anyone who think s that sensory and thought-experience have some kind of total structural factual ity are living in a world of basic insanity and deep hallucination which could b e shattered by a few easy demonstrations without even recourse to the zone of ex tra-sensory perception or the sub-atomic world of vanishing forms. or the poor and contented man behind the pillar doi ng dhikr and guiding to peace and wisdom? That even today there are such men .is based on one premise and one premise alone. This spatiality is a dual picture of int erpenetrating terms. shining. If the name Sufi is anathema. and filled with awe of Allah. knowledge is informational and an instrument of manipulation. or rather the hidden reality has imposed upon it the developed and solidifie d world-picture.but beware lest you become hoodwinke d into denouncing him along with his name.and ALL that matters is what you achieve in terms of an existence demanding mercy and generosity and humility and above all. and it must be understood that what is be ing said is not some simple doctrine by which it is proposed that this is not he re . It is the zone of action . drop it .all this stuff we are surrounded by . There is no avoiding this issue. Among the thousands of pilgrims they stand out .the salih? The pure radiant self who is turned towards Alla h? Or the people of jahil .the Is lam of the Messenger . Such is the true Muslim. Call him anything you like . the Ministers. they are veils from reality. the passage t hrough the world of 'solid' phenomena is but the briefest. only one enemy . Not the police and not the army and not the bank . we must look carefully at the pic ture the world gives us at this time and to help us grasp this view of the true Muslim we must examine briefly four terms that are used in Qur'an to give us our spatial sense in the science of Islam.an elite of scholars and priests . It is very simple.but this 'is-n ess' is a seeming. but on the existence-form which is all-sustaining and all-giving. Authority has b ecome outer and ceased to be inner. . not illuminative and an instrument of liberation. In the whole journey through the worlds of form. the State. for the physical reality has superimposed on it a hidden fo rm. This is the basis of Statism.the Muslims. binding-together i nto a State. b e the child who points out the nudity of the Emperor. built on the foundation of the solid forms of 'money' and 'cap ital' and military 'power'.in accordance w ith the Jewish Rabbinical heresy. Muslim is a word. and according to the nature of the 'inner' form the self goes on to another form-state where it experiences the garden-serenity of Wisdom or the fire-anguish of imagining one is separate from the totality that is the Divine situation.that is to say.but recognise the reality.is an overwhelming miracle. Islam . and not even the firs t of the great journey.for we are beginning to see tha t the two are identical in all terms of reference . The State-Fantasy is in turn dependent on one thing and one thing a lone. this solidity is a veiling. gratitude .the Sufism of the Sufis .and there are many sin cere Muslims who honour and admire them and turn regretfully away from the spect acle of State-Islam . whether it be called Islamic or any other name. and after death there is the grave. the construction of a super -form. Life is a journey towards death. centring not on the false-self. Heresy in this instance being simply a designa tion of that deviant energy that turns Islam into 'religion'. the Presidents? Does he admire the Kings who drive to the Mosque in their bullet-proof cars with machinegun-armed outriders.there are saliheen . and after the grave the form is restored and its 'meaning' becomes its r eality . To the people of the Path the sen ses are not openings onto reality. t he rajulullah. Once committed to this first insanity of Statism.

the immediacy of the akhira is the gift of knowledge. Here is the double picture of the phenomenal reality.the culture illusion. an effect of consciousness-as-it-starts. It derives from a root meaning 'to be near or low' . mone y . country. the State illusion.' (50. no time/space and no need for naming.for the argument of the ene my of Islam is that this is a false asceticism and you are invited to partake of dunya in the name of the Messenger. is the accretion and crystallisi ng that the false-self absorbs and annexes around it as its reality-giving setti ng. a crucial Qur'anic term. 'He is nearer than the jugular vein.to the awakened. a deferred state which later c omes showing the true nature of the forms. the kno wledge that is the property of the Trusting-Ones in Islam. and conscious ness-as-it-ends begins to emerge. Our other duality is: Dunya . He can argue dialectically all day.family and wealth. It is the spiritual picture of discrimination. It is this life that opposes dunya. as long as you do not imagine it is permanent. for Sh aytan .derives from ShTN.He is Presence.we are faced with a fascinating situation.Samawati . To return to our political man immersed in his State-fantasy .the Reality . Knowin g how to behave in the 'ard/world surrounded by dunya is like knowing not to pan ic in the shifting landscape of a dream while asleep . the unreality which is none theless reality itself.and the science is Islam.all that is 'ard. earth. and the lower is the follo wing negative. the immediacy o r seeming immediacy is followed by another state. Yet here is the picture as seen by the Shay kh al-Kamil: 'Dunya is good! Dunya is wonderful!' In other words. is the basic duality of the whole st ructural existence . . This seeming distance of akhira is pa rt of our veiling. Dunya . The truth of the matter is not that he is dealing with a 'real world' and you are some crank with an illusion about how things are and therefore should be merely rendered socially ineffective so as not to confuse o thers . peace be upon him.seem distant . 'worse'. the Islam of our desert Messenger. the high which gives us low.the Earth. they are NOT existence itself. dunya is present and akhira is later or not at all . Thus the forms manifest the Reality in all it s tremendous immediacy . It is important to t aste the subtlety of this matter that is existence . reputation. 'Ard is the polar opposite . Dunya is pure illusion. To the sleeper in the cave of his body/world.but you must know that while they are the gift of a generous Lord. justifying the anguish and the struggle and the crimes. as it were. and therefore land. then the palace becomes a prison and man is trapped.while the truth according to the Truth is that . to be of its nature a shadow-show. The meaning then fol ds subtly into its deeper meaning .the truth is that the political man dare not allow his fantasy structure to be seen in the light of the rajulullah. the problem is not that we desire something we should flee from. akhira is immediate and all-surrounding. then of course the nafs in awakening to the Unsee n and the multi-dimensional nature of existence begins to open up. 'mor e ready to hand'. a root meaning 'to be lofty' or 'on high'. The word for 'name' derives from the same cluster. by experience not conceptually. indicates not the beauty of th e mountains and the ocean .the devil . As dunya is recognise d. meaning 'to be distant'. the up which gives us down.is the world as structured fantasy . 'w hat is put off until later'. It is the 'higher' which calls for names. That seeming nearness is in fact distance.and that is a science tha t must be learned . 'the latter'. The good things of the dunya are there for you . so that the existence of the phenomenal heaven.Akhira. Samawati is the plural of SMA.'easier'. This is the secret of Shaytan.without it there is no universe. In other words.like fruit hanging low and near at hand. dunya is essentially an absence. If the journey is not taken and the aids b ecome the end. but that this fantasy-palace can be lived in. Shaytan when he takes form in 'things' makes dunya seem near in order to make Ha qq . Dunya. Akhira has no root but indicates 'the last'. 'viler'. and dunya a vanishing dream.16) He is that nearness that is the presence of the things themselves. 'what comes next'. they are merely aids to the journey.'Ard.

that illusion of otherness.not on his label. driven mad with thirst. he is still experientially tra pped in his animality. That fact is the unbearable fact of existence. The rijalullah cannot be dis tracted by the false battle and violence in the foreground. When the dog advanced it saw itself clearly reflected in the pool and retreated in fe ar taking the image to be that of another dog.to the true nature of existence. Man is frightened only of himself. Abu Lahab rejected him because he was busily enga ged in rejecting himself and bringing about his own destruction. until fin ally. another a lawyer. acts of personal ge nerosity and obligatory self-taxation . and therefore he cannot be 'two'. One shaykh was asked who his first Master was and he replied: 'A dog.would produce intolerabl e anguish . a few rec ognise the reflection. body and consciousn ess . on the courtesy and the humanity and the humility of the man .but his world crumbles when he is in the PRESENCE of the man of Allah. and his animal-nafs will be all that can manifest in any confrontation with the saliheen. This is the Way that opens up t o the person who bows and prostrates with their whole being.for it has no real existence . he is terrified by his 'thing-ness' . clearly estab lished in a science which does not oppose the Sufis to Muslims to faqirs to anyt hing .one man a policeman.he knows in his own being that Reality is One. many flee in terror.' He told t hat he had seen a dog desperately thirsty come upon a clear pool of water.for 'Abu Bakr was Muslim. every man is the bank . inevitably it makes one man a policeman and another a criminal . and the sheer inner radiance of the rajulullah floods over him and that Light revea ls the illusory power-structure to be sheer fantasy. Thus the man's seeing himself together with the Salih's r efusal to see his nafs . It means to Unify and Surrender . and when he reaches for it there is nothing.every man is a judge. another a helples s citizen-worker. this is th e persecution of the awliya . 'Abu Bakr 'recognised' the M essenger immediately without hesitation . keeping one's eyes fixed on the actual nature of things. We are now ready to look more closely into the mirror of the nafs. and his achievements mere d reams. that is. he is his own poli ceman. they see beyond the shadow-show to the luminous reality.and civil war is the outcome of Statism as the Messenger warned again and aga in: Usama bin Zaid told that the Messenger looked down on one of the fortresses of M adinah and asked: 'Do you see what I see?' When his hearers replied that they di d not. or else to turn on the offending mirror and smash it.faced with the rajulullah h e finally comes face to face not with his fantasies and not with his action-dram as. Again and again he advanced snarl ing only to retreat in terror at the ferocious image that menaced him. in the clear mi rror of the polished and reflective self of the Salih. The political animal has no inner reality.but avoiding the names. For his w orld is not there. This is the battle against Islam. at that which he most fears. but the Salih would see only Reality in all the nafs-mirrors. Faced with the rajulullah. Statism makes s afe the outer structure and the society collapses from within. the man of personality/event is horrified because he cannot 'see' him as other and finds himself looking into the mirror at his own reflection. He sees his own paltry form in the mirror. the dog dived into the pool and the reflected imag e vanished. for they are in harmony with a compassionate reality. on the behaviour of the human creature. but with himself.for all he did was recognise his own n afs as mirrored in the Messenger . it is dunya. .through sadaqa and zakat.this is the process and the practice that begins the alchemy of the nafs. Statism means to divid e the body politic up . as the saying goes.the friends of Allah. and the Messenger w as the 'first of the Muslims'. ' This is transmitted by both Bukhari and Muslim.the result of which could only be either surrender to the truth of h ow-things-are and thus surrender to the Wisdom of the Shaykh. Islam means to unify the body politic in harmony. he said: 'I see civil wars occurring among your houses like falling rain. so that every man is a soldier . The political animal thrives on conflict and vi olence to distract from the realities of existence . The political man in that situation would s ee his own nafs reflected in the mirror. Most men on being shown a mirror express astonishment. Islam makes safe the inner experiencing of reality and the people are not in danger from any sour ce.

What is important is that we begin to think about these matters with a more fluid and less definitive imagery.' Bukhari and Muslim both transm itted it. Abu Huraira said that the Messenger of Allah told him. If the States are imagined to be something happening to someon e then the true perspective is lost. saying to him: 'Have I not been informed. Tirmidhi and Nasa'i have transmitted this. fasting every second day. Abu Huraira told that when they were struck by hunger Allah's Messenger. may Allah be pleased with him.' This i s transmitted both by Bukhari and Muslim.' Abu Nu'aim transmitted it . for you have a duty to your body.' Tirmidhi and Nasa'i have transmitted this. and this experience is not hing less than an extension of their attachment to the world-as-food. Fasting three days every month is equivalent to a perpetual fast. Tirmidhi transmitted it. the obligatory taxing of that part of one's wealth w hich has been saved for one year. 'The whole world is the breast. peace b e upon him. It is the inner experience of the fast t hat awakens the Salik. is never the question. peace be upon him. and recite the Qur'an once e very seven nights. but do not do more than that. it is vital that we have some idea of this illusory experiencing centre that is the nafs. the fast of Ramadan: and zakat. A'isha said that the Messenger. there is a radio station and there is a programme. to this moving. fourte enth. the 'fuzzy mathematics' of the biologist trying to des cribe dynamic organisms rather than the fixed and rigid arithmetic that measures solid forms. Abdallah bin 'Amr bin al-As told of the Messenger. he told Abdallah. Abu Huraira also reported the Messenger. Abu Darda' reports the Messenger. which is not based on claiming for it a kind of crystalline reality. and fifteen. identi fiable point. but rather on seeing it as a moving and dynamic. They are the sawm. People become 'attached' to their possessions. . When death comes the station goes 'off the air' yet the waveband remains.' Th is is the meaning of Ramadan and Zakat. the States. The key to an understanding of our movement-reality and the dismantling of the s olid-state 'I' rests in the next obligatory practices of Islam. he said: 'Do not do it. 'Many a one who fasts get s nothing from his fasting but thirst and many a one who prays during the night gets nothing from his night prayers but sleeplessness. and how the Messenger sa w it as experience and Wisdom-source. fasted on Mondays and Thursda ys. on whom be peace. He who observes a perpetual fast nev er fasts. Fast three days every month and recite the Qur'an every month. Get up for prayer and sleep. as saying: 'Two peopl e's food is enough for three and three people's food is enough for four. said. may Allah be pleased with him. said that the Messenger said to him: ' When you fast three days in the month. your eye.we have used the image of a radio station giving out varying waves from a focal. That. fluid nature of the self.We are now about to approach the science of States. gave them each a date. The Maulan a Rumi. your wife. peace be upon him as saying: 'Provision search es for a man in the same way as his appointed period. The Science of States Before we can approach the matter of the ahwal. L et us first get a picture of what the Sunna of food is.' When he replied that he was able to do more than that.' Tirmidhi transmitted it. an idea th at is. The locus is identifiable but only as long as signals go out from it. Abdallah. and your guests. fast on the thirteenth. th e life situation. Fas t and break your fast. the fast of David. Abu Dharr. fluctuating energy source . the Wayfarer. Abu Dharr. They go together both in the structure of the year and in their meaning. from the experiential point of view. The first is an act of separation from the wor ld-reality. that you fast during the day and get u p at night for prayer?' When he replied that was so. for one's immediate environment is the extension of one's body exper ience. signals are coming and going. peace be upon him. otherwise it would not matter what happened to us. 'Observe the most excellent fast.

Its climax comes with the Night of Power . a blessed month. In it th e gates of the Garden are opened. and the rebe llious shaytans are chained. and if they see it through. but if there is no escape he sho uld fill it a third with food. Also it h as a structure. of course.Al-Miqdam bin Ma'Dikarab recounted hearing the Messenger say: 'A human being has not filled any vessel which is worse than a belly. It is an opening therefore to the whole substructure of th e nafs. whose middle was forgiveness. ³I ha ve kept him away from sleep by night. has come to you during which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast. isolati on and fear. The total impact of the month' s fast is quite shattering and its effects on the solidity fantasy of the nafs i s extreme. What it does. peace be upon him. The o pening of the fast is dependent on sighting the new moon of the holy month just as the dawn prostrations must co-incide with the white thread of light on the ho rizon. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thou sand months. He would give you provision as He does for the birds which go out hungry in the morning and come back full in the even ing.Layl at al-Qadr. the most rewarding. so he threw some dates in front of him. certain days and dates of the months being the most in harmony cosmically with the act of fasting. and leave a third empty. Abdallah bin 'Amr reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'Fasting and the Qur'an intercede for a man. There is the obligatory Ramadan fast which is annual and dated b y a lunar calendar so that it swings through the years with a lunar orbit. Enough for the son of Adam a re some mouthfuls which keep his back straight. is affect the whole basis of the separate-se lf illusion by breaking the established adult feeding pattern which in turn open s up the memory of the infantile feed. so accept my intercession for him. whose otherness has emerged in the infantile phase where feeding both im plies a unity of self and environment on the one hand. I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day.' Ah mad and Nasa'i transmitted it. The resonance of any imbalance and fear t hat was contained in that held basic memory structure is released and sounded as it were like a gong whose reverberation had been smothered and is now allowed t o shudder to silence. the fast of David. The fasting month itself has an inner structure. and the ear shoul d refrain from listening to what is not pleasing. during which the Messenger received the Qur'anic revelation. for awakening. He who is deprived of its good has indeed suffered deprivation. a third with drink. and the seeker must watch for it. Ibn 'Abbas said that when the month of Ramadan began Allah's Messenger set every prisoner free and gave to every beggar. and. A'isha told that Allah's Messenger. so accept my intercession for him.' Baihaqi transmitted it. The highest fast is the one which most drastically breaks the feed-order. and whos e end was freedom from the Fire. To the person setting out on the Path. ³Oh my Lord. on the other implies separateness. There is no more open night in the year for direct experien ce. the gates of the Fire are locked. Fasting says. 'If you were to trust in Allah genuinely.' Tir midhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it. That ni ght is hidden. Baihaqi tra nsmitted it. but when the youth ate greedily he s aid: 'Voracious eating is ominous!' and ordered him to be sent back. The fast is total and is also an abstention during the same hours from sexual i ntercourse.' 'Umar ibn Al'Khattab reported the Messenger as saying this and it is trans mitted by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. when the feed is rem oved.² Then the ir intercession is accepted. wanted to buy a young sla ve. which both . It is also understood that fasting implies a control of one's temper and one's tongue. There is never any doubt when it comes whic h night it has been. delayed. Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'Ramadan.² The Qur'an says. It is clear that fasting plays an important part in the human science. or given with anxiety. The fast is from dawn to sunset and is broken immediately the sun has gone down. The voluntary fasts which are mentioned in the Ha diths above follow the same pattern. knowing that it is one of the l ast uneven-dated nights of the fast. The Messenger said that it was a month whose beginning was mercy. for the sam e reasons. or rather. The eye should fast with the other members. Ramadan inevitably proves th e most difficult time of their new life.

we will then come out from the co mpany of the Messengers and awliya in the Gardens of the Unseen worlds. Once the nafs moves out into the whole world picture. and of which the last is the fasting-wisdom experience.45).' Fasting i s the opening onto the Reality. We should not avoid seeing into what the nature of the fasting experience is. t he appetite moves outwards from food and emotional encounter to every stratum of experience. The reality is that we are fed . Just as we once came out from the womb. There should be no symbolising. quoting the Qur'anic ayat: 'And amongst them is one who walks on his belly. the Provider. gives the child a sense of its safe ty in the Divine process. when the wisdom of the fast lies in the very act of separation which is simply not eatin g. anything . Milk/Wisdom. the heart is illuminated and becomes the abode of these form s of Divine Wisdom. land.in that complete sense . by the grace of Allah. for the wisdom-transaction i s one that involves the whole transmutation of the nafs which exists by virtue o f our experience of the body as a separate phenomenal form. Compassion is the nature of the life-experienc e. and if it is poisoned. or abstracting of this crucial statement. popularity. it is the melting away of the solid. has said that the mother gives the child milk. The other is eaten up.ArRazzaq.in which He says: 'Fasting is mine. It is the heart of the wisdom picture.for this is nothing else than the Seal o f the destiny. and something along with the milk which is Wisdom. punishment. The person then becomes greedy for the 'other'.liberates the self from the dependency picture of imagining that the food comes from 'outside' and opens the awakening mind to the reality of the Unity through the Qur'an. cellularly and ex perientially until the fasting person becomes conscious of their existence as fl . of which the first part is the feeding-wisdom experience. the Generous. It is a process that reduces one. the experiencing self in its dynamic f orm-making energy goes on to place this emptiness out into the emotional sphere. First th e milk. then the mother. Conquest and war are nothing but the continued devouring of the uns atisfied child.of dunya .no matter how the form may change in the appetite-picture . peace be upon him. The fast opens one to the Divine Compassion and the Attributes . There is a Hadith-qudsi . the dispers al of the cloud-body and the appearance of the sun-spirit. You diminish .of those grapes hanging so near and yet always out of reach . in order that. This is a pattern with no blame . permitted food. There may be a memory of great lov e in that first transmission and it may be covered over and its uncovering is th e Path. says: 'He refers to those Saliheen who scrupulous ly examine their food.who more readily feels 'full': while the child who has not received that sense of we ll-being will panic and seek in the food itself for the compassion that 'goes al ong with' the food.He mag nifies. So a person's expectation of th e world . will transmit the mother's fear s and anger into the child. The human being experiences an inner emptiness which first expresses itself a s hunger or thirst: when it is satisfied. power. or one of the vital dimensions of the Path. That event whi ch conditions these factors is no different and is part of the same Divine proce ss which is the life. if it is healthy. So that the woman is the first teacher of the child. in a quite real way. The cells themselves must be pure as the outline-form must be made pure by th e wudu.' (24. takes on a profound meanin g. wealth. We cannot pretend to a mental unity when we are entrenched in the solid body.would never b e anything else than a futile expectation of the missed infantile wisdom-transac tion. for by means of pure food which produces strength for the practice of dhikr. but in its case was missing. and Al-Wahhab. Here the whole pattern of Halal food. Shaykh al-Akbar. Th ere is no use expecting it to be the basis of some 'higher' experience. Nor can we ever know what we imbibed in the first child-feast unt il the whole picture of the life is complete. The Messenger. then we are complete and the great feast of forms is over. until we are finally desirous of Unity itself.but the true feed contains 'something along with it' .' It must not be forgotten that every vessel has a capacity a nd that capacity is determined cellularly by the destiny of parentage and time a nd place of birth both from a planetary and cosmic point of view. so we must now come out from the world-breast and experience the Unseen. and it is the child who has been well nourished .where Allah-ta-ala speaks through th e Messenger in the first person .it could be for r eputation.an energy that.

but what comes over m e is the nafs' rejection of what comes from the Compassionate Lord. and that month being the month cosmically intended for fasting. but depending on how things were. So. it will maul. Am I not going to say that fear of the lion is a parable of fear of Alla h? No. Once that m an takes the Path he begins the practice of unifying existence. It is in th is condition that the murid recognises that he is constantly passing from one St ate to another. moving reality. while already more fragile.would stop him seeing life as anything but a myriad of different possibilities and actualities chaotically following one on another. with his nafs. he learns not to say I am t his and I am that. mel ting. He hears One. He is aware that any constancy of self he imagined he had was merely a surface illusion buoyed up by habit pattern and behaviour structure designed to give an illusion of solidity.' After a profound exposition of this theme. What makes it seem diffic ult is not that the act itself is difficult. He learns not to fear now this and now that.uid and wavelike rather than fixed and delineated. As His saying has expl ained it: 'These are in the Garden and I do not care . and if heedlessness dominates it. because the One who kills by means of the lion is Allah. He sees On e. of which violence as we have seen is the most extr eme . and with that the whole self-pattern is opened up for the faster to se e.take provision from it. he sums up in one of the most powerfu l passages in his great work: As for the person who falls into the claws of the lion. Madness is the radical ruse of the ordinary person on the run from how things are. In this view there is nothing to hold onto.demanding a close-up reaction which forbids detachment or makes it well-ni gh impossible . He affirms the O ne. 'Fear Me as y ou fear the harmful lion. and the abil ity to see the Unity at work eases the pains that were once intolerable. If hunger dominates it. It is then that the practice begins to reveal its effect with st artling results.al . but rather. He looks for his provision. the one ness of existence. and o nly He can save you from Him. Contentment with one's lot becomes not a painful business but a sweet business. He bows before the One. The seeker begins to awaken. the kind of close-up impact of event. still has no absolute reality. So he would be afraid only of the Creator of the lion and His Attr ibutes. and this is the experience of the person on a fast. evanescent. since the lion is coerced.the safety lies in the recognition that the need is not for safety from the world. He addresses the One. As th e veils lift the Light becomes clearer. This is the basis of fear and hope. peace be upon him. He eventually knows One. he cuts through the deception of forms and recognises always i n every case One Reality at work. it will be known that fear of the lion is the ve ry fear of Allah. and wh atever the agent. resonates deeply into the pseudo-soli dity of the nafs and awakens the basic response that the nafs has to the feed-ex perience. He begins to know himself as a shuddering. The obligatory fast. 'Every day we are on a new creation . Whatever the illusory self ha s defined itself as and crystallised itself as.' said the Messe nger in a well-known Hadith. it will ignore and leave alone. no illusory safety . commenting on the rev elation of Allah-ta-ala to the Messenger Dawud. the fast of Islam immediately sh atters that form and opening up begins. but from Him. Now the way to opening the self to this inescapable and terrifying fact. So whoever knows Allah knows that He does what He will and He does not care and rules as He desires and is not afraid. is the simplest thing in the world. layers fall from him. Madness . if his knowledge were pe rfect. lasting as it does for a whole month.and these are in the Fire and I do not care. and he is aware therefore that what remains of him.' says: And there is no device for inducing fear of the harmful lion except knowledge of the lion and knowledge of falling into its claws. he would not be afraid of the lion. When the veil is lifted. If you flee from the One you can only flee to the One. but that we run in fear from the ve ry nature of a situation which by its nature forbids our escape. for his needs to come from One source. I am neither this nor that. He praises the One. and there is no need of any d evice beside that. Imam al-Ghazzali. Before a man had taken the Path he would take every experience as it came: he mi ght occasionally discern a 'pattern'.

You: I. There are three stages of knowledge in the Qur'anic lan guage. before the Universe: and. as in the superb Form from Qur'an which describes the Last Day of the world . the reality is tha t there never was any 'other' to become absorbed or annihilated or unified. We now come to the Way in all its fullness. whose phases are: I . and there is no complex secret esote ric tantra that has to be practised.you see with your own eyes there is a fire in t he forest. constant flux. 'He is now as He was before.' Knowledge of certainty. Truth of certainty. The meaning of this word . abandon the central nervous system. refuse to react as if there was anyone 'at home' inside the body.is in i ts root: DhKR .'to be kicked in the groin'. 'I' speak to 'Him'. You are n ot far from Him. his own reality lies deep within him . the wipi ng out of this illusory central experiencing self. a Shaykh of our Shaykh.' Thus. From the depths of the awesome forests of the Tawhid.open yourself to the totality of the One to the Universal. the 'I' . for in order that 'He' the ab sent One should remain as the only Presence. the 'I' must be annihilated. and leave it as an empty plain.' . said: 'First .you are told there i s a fire in the forest. It is called in the langua ge of the desert Messenger.' As we will later see. 'He' is absent .self-explanatory. We have seen that the true nature of the nafs as it is experienced is not that of a solid object accreting qualities and faults in a more and more solid lump. Courteously the slav e addresses the Lord.i. as the Shaykh al-Akbar points out. Man cannot separate himself from reality. Creation is creation. There it is.the third person singul ar is. The Reality is One. and therefore also the end point. I . and that the acts of salat and fasting and zakat shudder and move this seeming solidity until we recognise that the naf s is in constant movement. for we have glimpsed for the first t ime what the goal might be. but rather we have seen that the non-existent nafs is experienced by us as being solid-state. in the end. this is the only thing we are able to say while affirm ing the two great statements of the Messenger . If you want to know.say: 'My Lord will break them into scattere d dust.get out of the body to somewhere safe like the moon.' Thus the goal of the seeker of Reality is nothing less than his own undoing. may Allah have mercy on him.'Allah was and there was nothing with Him. 'I' am present. the pronoun of absence. of the man of knowledge. Source of certainty.you become the fire in the forest.He. As Shaykh Moulay al-Arabi ad-Darqaw i. 'I' have become an absent he. The Divine Reality is Presence. dhikr'Allah. and a formal d ialogue begins. we as usual uncover its true existenti al impact. Or as the Rajah of Mahmudabad. said: 'The slave is the slave and the Lord is the Lor d. The goal is that the mountain should be blown away with all the ease with which the wind disperses the cloud. Mansur Al-Hallaj ends his great song of Unity. it is cloud-form and not mountain. It is as everything in Qur'anic language .macrocosm and microcosm being utterly identical in our picture of oneness They will ask you of the mountains . And it does not matter. This is the beginning of the real journey. rather it is the essential starting point. Now when we examine the root of the word.e. therefore he cannot separate from his own being any more than he can jump out of his skin.which is the science of tasawwuf .l its brilliantly constructed escape routes . and only the 'I' remains of Alla h-ta-ala.the little Universe speaks to the Big Univers al.' 'Haqq al-yakin.He: I .the Sufi is unc reated. Second .' The means by which we set in motion the mountain solidity of forms in experience in order to open ourselves to the transparent cloud-nature of stuff is the grea t science that the Prophets transmit to their people. if you really want One ness. Third .leads to a hopeless act of impasse . He is not hiding from you. yet this is precisely what the madman tries to do . This is not an affirmation of duality or some kind of total separation of the Di vinity from His realm. 'Ilm al-yakin. if you really want to be taken out of your neurotic mind-games and made aw . the 'Tawasin' say ing: Allah is Allah. You. The 'I' speaks . This is the meaning of the great saying of the Sufis .' 'Ayn al-yakin.

to th e extent that his voice carries. The Book is a collection of these life-textured realities and these energy patterns are equivalents. the affirmation .it isn't just a Book. 'to remind one's self' . mind-stopping reality that is put forward as the nature of exi stence by the Shaykh al-Akbar.'to remember'. neith er other than it nor extra to it. movi ng from the nafs to the Qur'an as the key to the creation situation. 'to be reminded'. It is related of the Mu'adhdhin that. The electrifying. the marad that separates you from the tremendous and overwhelming immedia cy of reality in all its present-tense awareness. but a dynamic thing 'laden wi th quality'. The repository of dhikr is. The Qur'an must be examined and seen not just as some odd text that somehow came to be recited a nd eventually written down. 'a shock-warning'. since it occurred only fifteen hundred years ago and the whole matter was closely recorded and is also explained within the text itself. to string the pearls. Fasting and zakat are dhikr. of wet and dry. Let us now explore this quite simple but tremendous picture that is the basis of Ibn 'Arabi's picture of the self. 'a plain statement' (of how things are).' (17.therefore. to the non-mind.are of the immediate and vibrant Presence of the Lord of the Universe . It is offensive? Then what offends you is your sic kness. to join them up.44). to open our experience to a continuity that takes us from one prostration-time to another. From this root the formal meanings follow in obvious succession. What the Master is here saying is that whatever the Qur'an may be . (Qur'an 17. It is that shock .that instan t focussing of the nafs on the actuality of existence. 'to make mention of'. We also find that in the science of dhikr different situatio ns have different dhikr.la ilaha ila'llah Muhammadun rasulallah . Now. Thus the Qur'an is a source-book of all the 'States' that the human bei ng may experience. Thus we have hear d the rocks doing dhikr'Allah with the sight of the eye and our ears heard from them with the tongue of articulation. may He be exalted: 'There is nothing but that it proclaims His praise. gives praise. 'to fill the mind with'. First we must see what dhikr is. Qur'an says of itself: And we sent down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to the Trusti ng-Ones. knowing of His p raise. It is only with the advent of this Book that we are able to examine the nature of revelation as a historic event. uncovering layer upon layer of experiential solidification and allowing the Lig ht of the self to come through in its original source-form condition. and only the living intellect. So the dhikr is a key which opens the patterning of the nafs. 'the means of knowing'. and these forms are only variegated versions of their source-forms in the Unseen. or definition. to the Presence itself. Qualities are states e-form of its essence. of course. by itself. Salat is dhikr.' It is clear that a deep understanding of what Qur'an is as a phenomenon is essen tial to a knowledge of the Way and indeed. so understand! Allah speaks the Truth and guid es to the Path. 'a making plain'.is dhikr. of knowledge itself. but all deeply connected in meaning to their root: Dhikr . is one in which every form is consciously partici pating in the glory and beauty of the Divine Reality at every instant and/or non -instant. and it is the mine of all the dhikr we practise. grasp. the Qur'an. and the essence does not require other-than-it because it is it. we are being forced by our purs uit of the meaning of existence to go beyond these time-points. In the 'Makkan Revelations' he says: He said.what you need is a kick in the balls. everything testifies for him. 'Thing' is indefinite. then move on to a clearer idea of what hal is and finally return to our starting point. but the same as States. that halts the form-makin g mind and therefore opens in one instant the whole being to the total-mind. and these source-forms are only Light from aspects of the Essence co ming out from the original Reality which is itself beyond all ascription. 'to be calle d to attention'. that is to say not indicators. They spoke to us with the speech of the gn .82) In the language of the Shaykh al-Akbar: its quality is the sourc 'The Qur'an is laden with quality. from one Ramadan to the next. So its quality is like that because of its source-form. However.

This is because man is a combination of every noble and low substance of dust. so when it does descend it occupies itself with negating what is contrary. peace be upon them . Quintessential speech is no t pure dhikr but rather the state from which wisdom-speech comes and all these p atternings are the ayats of the Qur'an. Dhikr is a sultan . A'isha said: 'The Messenger of Allah.' Elsewhere the Shaykh Ibn 'Ata-illah said about dhikr: Dhikr is a fire which does not stay or remain . its Light. So their ' messenger' is from their essences. and earth and heaven and what is between them. After these sounds. It is the same w ith inanimates and plants. so they found his word to be true: 'Had it not been for increase in your speech and disorder in your hearts. u sed to do dhikr constantly. All that is from their natural disposition. From this viewpoint. That is what mastery necessitated and it is a constant proof of his honour. so he was a pure slave. of th e command upon which the People of Allah act. and when dhikr first falls into the head. Dhikr is heard by every part as if it were blowing on a trumpet. it becomes Light upon Light. air.' So he was given the rank of perfection of slavedom. the heart will move in his breast lik e the movement of the child in the womb. which in its turn is the fruit of silence. it becomes Light. and the so und of the leaves of the trees when the wind blows on them. and the accretions of speech that come with aband oning the Wisdom-practice are means of tyranny and domination and chaos. peace be upon him. demanding dhikr. when he is silent from the dhikr. a yearning for the Tr . There are outstanding ones from Allah where a particular inner awareness on which they have been formed gives certain creatur es a knowledge which the adept technician cannot grasp. the heart is like 'Isa the son of Maryam. Allah has taken our eyes and ears from what they have of articulation. Whoever has heard these sounds in dhikr has prai sed Allah and glorified Him with every tongue. the sound of fire w hen it is kindled.' We have an ample legacy from him. When it grows and becomes strong. Perhaps the slave will reach the stat e where. and dhikr is its milk. you w ould have seen what I see and you would have heard what I hear. had comp lete unveiling. He spoke. The babble of the ignorant man and the insane man are of the same n ature.ostics of the glory of Allah which not every man perceives. Here. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So each sort from th e creation of Allah is one of the communities which Allah formed on a worship pa rticular to them. water. These sounds are from every source a nd element of these substances.when it descends into a place it descends with its tr umpets and glasses because dhikr is opposed to all that is other-than-the-Realit y. This is the result of the dhikr o f the tongue with the force of absorption. the communication and awareness of the lower organisms is connected to the act of speech and the nature of Wisdom. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. the thunder of horses. He did not stand by his sovereign essence over anyone. the sound of the wind.which is from the meanings of la ilaha illa'lla h. and it is a matter particular to the inward part of man. They even know what is o f use to them in what they receive of insects and edibles and how to avoid what is harmful to them. Dhikr drives away from the body extra elements produced by excess in eating and from the consumption of Haram food: as for what is derived from Halal food. Speech in its pure and origin al state is nothing but dhikr. it d oes not touch it. it must stem from the 'speech' of the re velation. If there is Light in the house. The hour will not come until man speaks and his people take it for his deed. different sounds are heard: like the murmur of water. so the harmful elements are burned up and the good elements re main. If th ere is darkness in the house. as we found with the union of water and fire. The Wisdom-transmission is 'particular to the inward part of man' and its means is dhikr. and there is firewood in the house.so if it enters a house saying: 'Me and nothing other than me' . it burns it up and it becomes fire. so he saw what we do not see. the sound of the trumpet and glasses are found there. social and private. They said: 'Indeed. the sound of riding beasts. at all times. So He inspired them with it from within themselves. 'there is nothing b ut that it proclaims His praise. For speech to be basically sane. fire. mak ing wise men seem ignorant He.

the dhikr is the silence of the one who invokes. If it does continue it becomes a fixed habit and a lasting condition by which he ascends to the celesti al world.for it is indeed a barrier. as i f needles had been thrust through his tongue invoking with Light flowing from it . it occurs to him that he is annihilat ed in respect to himself altogether. during that. as he said. By guidance. 'Fana-Fi'lla h'. Do not turn to otherness . Even when it is praisewor thy it is still more suitable to darkness.see Allah! In his song. since it is going towards Allah. and the dhikr of the Secret is being madl y thirsty and drowning in it. bl essings and peace be upon him: 'I am going to my Lord and He will guide me. Then the One invoked takes possession of the heart and the dhikr is obliterated and vanishes . Pe rfection is that he be annihilated to himself and to annihilation. Among its signs is that when you leave off the dhi kr it does not leave you. The Shaykh al-Kamil in one of the most renowned songs in his Diwan. The dhikr of the heart is like the sound of t he bee. let him invoke Allah much. then the dhikr becomes nature. and the one who invokes turns neither to the heart nor to the dhikr. To the People. This state is fana . and its Lights do not depart. that is a distracting veil. That is the beginning until his degree is elevated from forms and he encounters the Truth in everything with cl arity. as if they were boun d with bonds and chains. peace be upon him: 'Whoever wishes to graze in the G ardens of Paradise. The first of what is represented to him from that world is the a ngels' essences and the spirits of the prophets and awliya in a beautiful form w hich flows on him through some of the realities.' Thi s absorption is rarely established and rarely continues. and annihilation is the for emost part of the Path. and then the One invoked takes possession and the dhikr is obliterated. a glance at the dhikr or the heart appears to him. says: Oh seeker of annihilation in Allah say all the time: Allah! Allah! And withdraw into Him from other-than-Him and with your heart . and the fires around you are untroubled. When dhikr reaches the Secret. neither a confused high sound. and inevitable swooning then blows on it a crav ing for dhikr and the One invoked. I mean the guidance of Allah. Among its signs is that its fires do not abate. rather its Lights are always seen rising and descending. and the annih ilation of annihilation is the goal of annihilation.which is that man is annihilated in respect to his na fs and that he feels nothing from his outward limbs.uth arises from it with a voice. Multiplicity is only Oneness multiplied in accordance with the Names and the tra . Always mirror the letters of the Name in your heart and repeat it unconsciously at every moment. and its beginning is the dhikr of the to ngue. may He be exalted. If you possess himma there is no opposite to Allah. then that is a blemish and troubledness. and this is the secret of his word. 'The Commentary on the Wird' he says: If you wish to hasten to an understanding of the Reality then with himma perseve re in repeating the Mighty Name. and the flight of dhikr in you is to awaken you from a bsence to presence. then the dhikr of the heart is stimulated. Fear Him in dhikr and be annihilated to other-than-Him: and there is no other ex cept for the illusion of multiplicity.' The signs of dhikr moving to the Secret is the absence of the one who invokes bo th from the dhikr and the One invoked. and then guidance follows. and the purity of the Divinity (lahut) appears to him. being aflame and brightly burning. Then the purest real existence emerges and the inscription of the invi sible world (malakut) is stamped on him. His dhikr does in place of what is other-than-Him. nor things outside of him. This is the fruit of the core of dhikr.' and the secret of his word: 'Hid den dhikr is seventy times preferable to dhikr which is heard by listeners. If. nor spells inside of him. If during this. Among its signs is that dhikr tightens your head and limbs. nor a very low hidden sound.

Creation is n othing but particles of dust in space. So his outward form is a Light and his inner form is a Secret.the Reality and the Road . throu gh much praise. And if you wish to go swiftly into the Presence of our Lord. If he returns to the traces of existence. sincerity and concen tration. and who. Were it not for it t he existence of the Existent would not have been established. so be awar e of it. Fill your every breath with dhikr'Allah for each breath has to be accounted for on the Day of Gathering and Promise. is adorned with what pleases Him. too. Exalt all phenomena because it is formed from the Light of the Prophet Muhammad. From it is the state of intoxication and fana. Love with the love of Allah and hate with His hate. his higher nafs-states . The nafs-states having been annihilated by the fire of dhikr leave the se eker opened up to his qualities. by showing the beaut y of the Paths of Allah.then that is illuminat ed until the climax of Light comes which annihilates the whole nafs as an experi . All the attributes of the nafs are annihilated by His Invocation. and all that r emains is tranquillity of heart. and He will give you what He has promised. guide the slaves of Allah by Allah openly. for in that lies the remedy for every fault and ill. Thus he will continue to ascend in the deserts of His Essence until he is utterl y annihilated in an annihilation that has nothing in it but loss.in that middle conditi on of conflict and development that Al-Ghazzali defined .ces of Divine Power. The greatest of Allah's creation in this matter are His Messengers and the most perfect of them in it is the Prophet Muhammad. until all that remains is tranquillity of heart sweeter than honey. sweeter than honey. In 'The Minor Song' he says: To anyone who withdraws into the Lights of the dhikr of the Truth. Regard it as Lights from the Names of our Lord and withdraw from being unrespons ive and speaking from opinion. In 'The Greater Song'. In every mosque.once it is submitted to the fire and lights of dhikr . So from it comes the Opening for every Wayfarer and from it comes the Overflowin g for every Murshid. Every inner state along with the Stations arises from invocation of the Mighty N ame with gravity.is fragment by fra gment annihilated. This shimmering form-making machine. Recognise the beauty of the Essence in every Manifestation. So be a slave and servant to the One whose description this is. the states of s obriety and ecstasy. this kaleid oscope that makes endless patterns from a few varied set experience-pieces. This is the Road. and fulfil the c ontract of Allah. the Shaykh al-Kamil says of the one starting out on the j ourney: He should busy himself with dhikr of Allah. His perfections a re beyond numbering. In this qasida the Shaykh describes the whole transformation process that is set in motion by the act of dhikr. may His Majesty be glorified. then have a good op inion of Allah's creation and speak well of Him. the nafs . and give u s limitless Lutf (Divine Favour). Here is 'The Virtues of the Mighty Name': Free yourself from others and you will attain His proximity and you will ascend to the ranks of the People of every assembly. He brings a Robe of Honour which procl aims His Wilaya (being a Wali) and glory.and you will a ttain the rank of Recognition in every assembly. Persevere in the Sublime and Mighty Name with a good heart. May the blessings of Allah be upon him and his family and Companions. and from it. my friend! Be an isthmus between the two oceans . Power is only given to the one who has isolated himself with Him.

29 ) and He supports it by His word: 'We shall surely attend to you at leisure. and the hum an creatures who have unveiling of forms from the Unseen. and the world of breaths moves in every breath. knowledge of the Face does not move.what is the dhikr activity working upon. may He be exalted.there having precede d it a chapter in the world of Spirits before birth and coming-into-solidity. He is not suggestin g that one knows the future in any occultistic manner. The reason for that is His word. My God! How can other-than-You know You when Your like is from tabarak and ta'al a? My God! How can other-than-You know You? Can other be a mithal to You? Whoever seeks the Path without a guide. like Him. but all inev itable in their patterning from the basic source-form of the self in the Unseen.' (55. He adds in prose: Know. and stillnesses. My God! How can hearts desire You and they do not hope for intimacy and union? My God! How can other-than-You have gnosis of You? No. Thus the self as a solid reality is an untenable idea. of which the life-story is merely the phenomenal chapter . So his foundation is from that tajalli ac cording to what his reality accords him. so it is a state. before mithal (likeness)? That is one of the most wondrous things. the rising and the meaning-form of the life manifesting in the non-solid World of th e Unseen. wants water. I am phenomenal being. and the world of tajalli moves in every tajalli. 'Every day He is upon some labour'. We affirm and negate all of them. no. Here. So the world of time moves in every thing. so I was a mirage. and He did not see me as otherthan-Him. which was produced from Your richness. (55. In this important passage the Shaykh goes on to talk about those who 'do not know what t hey are moved from nor moved to. are not random. My God! How can eyes see you when You are neither lights nor darknesses? My God! I do not see myself as other-than-You! How can I see the impossible or b e astray? My God! You are You! And I let the gift be sought from Your I-ness. are not unpredictably chaotic.31) Every man finds in himself types of passing tho ughts in his heart. There is not in phenomenal being other than individual existence which is above being equalled or obtained. an d a chapter after it. but something much subtle . The Shaykh says that t hese self-experiences that pass over the experiencing centre of the nafs are not outward intrusions. He informed me that He might manifest me to Him. a mirage. that all that is in the earth moves from state to s tate. So what are these states . So no-one moves who is in the celestial and terrestial worlds but that it is from a Divine turning by a p articular tajalli to that source-form. and again. By a poverty established with me from my existence. so look! Perhaps you will see its like changing state. The forms that are devoid of organic life. my God! He seeks the impossible. In a poem on the knowl edge of phenomenal being he declares: The knowledges of phenomenal being move a great deal. and then another. you weight and you weight. the after-death state in the grave. and there is nothing like me! Who am I. in his movements. the Shaykh indicates three degrees of existence. It is this thirst that in the crucible of dhikr as described above becomes a sublime drowning as the illusion falls away.encing locus both mentally and biologically. we separate and find them state by state. what is it t hat goes through this tremendous upheaval of energy caused by the invocation? Le t us go directly to the Shaykh al-Akbar for a definition. may Allah support you. Whoever seeks the mirage. and its restless movement is caused by t he thirst and longing that the true self experiences in its illusory trapped sit uation of having a 'history'. and so on as the journey to Allah continues. and he presents this as a basically ignorant situation. the organic forms which have the 'breath' of life. He sees the source of life for him as cold water.' which is the case of the majority of human bei ngs.

digestive function. states are based on thes e forms which they have. and a form is made fo r him in each state he has. r ather it is its like. A certain experience habit suggests to us a certain illusory continuity on which we erect the myth of historicity of self. as the moving film is built up of individual-frame shots run together to creat e an imaginary 'situation'. So the creature is veiled in the condition of an 'existence' which is nothing but a clothing of state upon state . Each movement is not the same as the other. (55.and knowledge is achieved by the act of dhikr unveiling the states a nd opening up the whole experience-illusion. His becomes the hand with which he grasps and the f oot with which he walks. Then the human being 'sees with His eye and hears with His ear.as He Himself triumphantly declares in the Qur'an. despite the inescapable fact that this so-called real ity is utterly fictional. and all these var ious patternings are but the flowering of one original self-form or rather sourc e-form of which this solid-body human creature is the time-bound manifestation o utwardly and whose reality is with Allah from before-endless-time.' He is here indicating that the man had abandoned the true perspective of 'sta te' and mistaken it for an inner condition like 'depression' or confusion or exc itement or anger.he is suggesting that real knowledge begins by a recogniti on of this moving time-flux creature as being an utterly structured and inevitab le series of life-patternings all stemming from its original self-form dynamic i n the Unseen before it is manifested. made up of tiny separate dynamic utt erly open moments that each has in it the possibility of alteration. in energyflow. 'Everything perishes excep t the Face of Allah!' . and did not sit. but they do not vary in knowledge . in flux.' as in the famous Hadith that indicates the true state of knowledge that comes upon the Mumin after advancing through the practices of dhikr. merely the mistaken viewpoint. They vary in the imagination.2 6-27). It is the source-form of the existence of every existent. and the Un iverse and I are not two but container-contained. . The knowledge of dreams. I have been silent on muc h. And just as the walking-image indicates that there is obviously som ething constant over a brief period that suggests such a solid specificity of se lf-form. So states vary in the imagination on which ordinary human experience is based. it is in itself illusory. electro-magnetically. 'So and so is still walking today. and my space-occupying is all space-occupying. know that he is a strange man . in endocrinal release.' There is no doubt that wa lking is many different movements. Again he re-iterates the basic proposition: Things with Allah are witnessed and known source-forms. and it does not have first or last. cellularly. Thus the fluctuating endless states express themselves throughout the whole orga nism. Its door is wide. and this itself is nothing for He is as He was before the creation of the Universe. but this is not the case. The Shaykh al-Akbar's final clue to this matter is succinct: As for the secret of state. blood rhythm. He goes on: Do realities allow that someone could remain in one state for two breaths or two 'times'? He is moving with breaths from the thing to its like It is like saying .r and more profound . He goes on to speak of one of the people of the Path who erred in saying: 'When you see a man staying in one state for forty days. sweeping movement and appar ent freedom that is in the miracle of organic nature at the microscopic level. but with all the ravishing. in synaptic brain-signalling. He sees knowledge as beginning when we gra sp that this time-setting is not separable from the time-set individual. Your knowledge moves by its moving and it is said: 'His st ate has not changed!' How many states have changed on him! Thus any picture of the self-form as being of a kind of 'nature' or pattern that can be defined as having some kind of durability or permanence in time is utter ly illusory. recreation. So I have informed you of some of what the rijal of enigmas know of secrets. and end. The picture then is of one person having different states. Thus my 'move ment' is all movement. it is duration. the eve nt and the person and the zone of the experience all being one reality with all the intricate intertwining of individual forms into a pattern such as that revea led in a Persian carpet. the Interspace and Divine Ascripti ons relate to this.

the sciences continue to split into micro. This dua listic frame on which the pathetic crumbling structure of our hastily put-togeth er modern psychology is erected. unequipped to examine these issues. and can only recognise the mind as some od d ghost inhabiting a delicate house of tissue and nerve-endings. the Non-spatial. is not just a matter of epistemology.the use of the term 'archetypes' and 'neo-platonic'. It is inevitable that in our ti me the accepted cure for mal-function of this non-existent ghost in its bizarre house (electrocute the house and thus wipe out the house-keeper) should be an eq ually crude and massively administered chemical drug treatment. they relent lessly avoid the metaphysical question which in other sciences insists on attent ion. he means by this that no-one else possesses a total picture of th e life-situation except the people of unveiling. as we have i nsisted from the beginning. Reality is One. because basically unable to grasp the Unity of e ach person's self-experience. and bio. Bernard Shaw used to lament the millions of mice an d monkeys slaughtered in the name of that pursuit of useless knowledge . . and yet so lovingly and seductively is its shadow-rea lity. leaves us with a picture of something called 'b ehaviour' which ends up being classified into 'types' and the crude mechanistic picture soon bogs down in a welter of sub-types. Now that we have uncovered the chromosomic level of patterning. for. rivers and oceans and lands and skies all gorged of their energies in an age that is unable to grasp the underly ing Unity that links all these. to be affected. Two pieces of labelling have man aged to keep the Orientalists away from any serious coming to grips with the met aphysics of Islam . and without submitting to the transformation-practice of Islam the re is no valid knowledge available in any way that allows one to penetrate these matters apart from the sporadic and separate possible insights of the individua l as he experiences reality. we are forced to a threshold of activity which is. according to their picture. The Wisdom-view is dependent on recognising that th ere is no out-there to examine and understand. and glimpse d the beauty of form-manifestation and recognised also our profound ignorance of these processes at the very point that certain key designs open themselves to u s. it is enough that the delicate fibre-furni ture be damaged for the occupant somehow.had he lived today he would have further been able to lament the destruction of the bio -sphere in which whole vanishing species lived. for in this picture I woul d have to italicise out of existence thus . The so-called kno wledge of the technological society is informational and split from the knower. they in turn become so hypnotised by their own discovery tha t they again try to contain man within a bio-energy definition reducing the huma n being by that token simply to the sum of his energies. Utterly closed to the n ature of an Unseen reality. mysteriously. can be easily verified by an examination of their unscholarly refusal to accept the Sufis on their own te rms .'your mind' and 'my mind'. because still essentially trapped in this basic dual ity which they quite rightly observe to exist in the world of forms. but of self-tr ansformation. sub-electric energyfields of the body. or more correctly. one and all (if there had been an exception he would have had to b e a Sufi himself).as if one were to approach quantum physics with a basic refusal to abandon the Newtonian classical picture of how things were. That th ese men were. This approach. if you like. and wha t emerges becomes more and more a knowledge which for the needs of the life-proc ess is recognisably useless. Although some mo dern therapists have recognised a quite profound and clinically identifiable pic ture of much greater subtlety which opens to the streaming. Before proceeding further.When the Shaykh al-Akbar declares that only the Sufis under-stand the true natur e of the nafs. which so delicately and purely refrai ns from 'being' the brain. which remains the essential clue to grasping the U nity which is the very nature of existence itself. I now do not refer to 'your' mind or 'my' mind. and supra. the 'edge of the Unseen'. It is an odd gh ost. Some people are only able to perceive the crudest machine-structure in man. Despite all the ludicrous attempts at gluing together the separate and isolated 'disciplines' of psychology and biology and linguistics and physics and chemistr y. intra. it must be made clear that this has nothing to do wit h any Jungian or gestalt picture of archetypes. for this whole dimension of sel f-experience is hidden from any but them. the realm of mind itself. in the language of the Master Jalalud'din Rumi.

it would be more useful to label Plato neo-Islamic than to l abel the Sufis as neo-platonic. rather it claims religion to be the decadence of a previously existing and now degraded form of Islam. They slithered from the use of a term 'Nature' which they i nvested with Divine Intellect and Plan only to disrobe it on their next calculat ion in place of the plan-itself. and gradual-change mutations. by direct experience. tasting. lying on the chromosome like a bead in a string of beads. Thus a real and solid world is loaded wit h a set of coded meanings which take on their reality when applied to the histor ic present and used to illuminate it. or eve n chromosomes. Something bigger controls the whole system. is no longer tenable. The accepted post-Jungian picture of archetypes reduces th ese to a subjective. Islam does not claim to be a religion. thus demonstratin g that Islam was a pseudo-religion and not to be taken with any intellectual ser iousness. Always in this picture our phenomenal and solid existence is given primacy over the explanatory code systems. certainly from a s ufic point of view. it also revealed that underlying their biological trees and simple-to-complex unfol dings. The collapse of the post-Darwinian picture of evolution revealed not only the in credible double-think that many biologists were indulging in. and the extraordin ary degree of subjectivity involved in their so-called scientific or verifiable picture of whatever the process they seemed to imagine they were describing. It is outside the realm of science. We cannot focus on genes and loci. peace be upon him. It is very f ar from the original Goethean picture of Ur-forms from which it was borrowed. The classical theory of the gene as an actually existing unit. It was enough that bit by bit the actual field wor k of biology and the neighbouring sub-science of palaeontology and micro-biology revealed a picture that left Let us go back to our superficial Orientalists desperately doing their labelling of Islamic Masters with the tags of the collapsing dualistic Christian world-vi ew. in their case. but hardly effec tive as serious epistemology. The matter of archetypes is even more dangerous for a person desirous of graspin g the Wisdom-picture. If the sufic description of reality was neo-platonic then that meant it had been borrowed from a previous culture and stuck on in a syncretist move to provi de Islam with something it did not in the first place possess. This awesome knowledge of how-it-is cann ot be reduced to a therapeutic technique or submitted to crude mechanistic tests to ascertain its validity. which in turn was deified after being reified. . It is a concept that offers no proof o f its validity and certainly the Jungian clinical record convinced one of nothin g but the fact that the people who unleashed that empire of archetypal forms dur ing analysis had undoubtedly been analysed by Jung.Here is a paraphrasing of the position of a modern geneticist. at the same time as assuming it. An absorbing sleight of hand. natural selection. denied. Muhammad. Unfortunately their confusion is double. on ly to be inverted with this primacy of situational existence over and against a floating repository of basic forms. already knew about. The sufic picture of existen ce is sustained. yet mysteriously shared set of symbol pictures that exist o n a mental 'plane' which reveal apparently incomprehensible conflicts and crises in the actual history of the subject. by dhawq. Secondly. or if you like. It is assumed by Mus lim scholars that the platonic knowledge was an inherited reality-picture from t he remnant of their unitary science which survived as a thread among the broken threads of pantheonic theism. they refuse to grasp that what Islam describes in its totality from within the structure of the Qur'anic revelation i s something that the earlier 'Islams' of the Messengers before the Seal of the M essengers. which illuminates the seeker with his or her own knowledge of how-it-is. If you are dependent on labels. as we always have. there was an assumed Power at work which th ey. Th at is why I speak of systemic mutations. Richard Goldschmi dt: The time has come to reshape all genetic theory anyhow. We remain in a dual system of mind pictures displaying themselves in a solid reality. and has been systematically over a period of fourteen hundred y ears. There could be no Power outside the 'things' which they saw as closed systems which complexified themselves accordi ng to vastly sophisticated and complex laws and patterns which they could neithe r codify nor decode.

and what is the meaning of 'revelation'. may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' (55.' Before we can proceed further on our journey. and an ascent. an d yet these states when unveiled open up to a hidden source-form in the world of non-space-time. Thus state/situation is the basic condition of all forms. It is indicated within its text by man y names. 'what'. closed the door of prophecy. but rather of the total being emerging from separate pulsing and form-d ynamic into a complete obliteration. and 'why' of forms. and it is the action-process which the nafs experiences on the Path. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. abrogating all those Books which went before. said: 'Revelation was cut off af ter the Messenger of Allah. The sufic term that has been so mistranslated is 'ayn ath-thabita. in His mighty Book. a hi dden part. That we continue to 'see' the form is based on our il lusory sense-veiling on which the world and 'history' is based. The Argument. To the people of fana 'everything perishes except His Face. was revealed to the Messenger Muhammad. The sufic science further clai ms that the Qur'an is a revelation from the source of Reality. and not a faith -system. 'a plan'. The Discrimination. keeping some 'forms' from the ancient books and changing others and replacing those abrogated with better. which we may call the source-forms. What we have so far established is a picture of reality as being utterly alive. The Truth. The Clarification. glory be to Him. It is the Book of Changes. for they are not separable from the 'mind'. we must examine what the Qur'an is . Allah provisions the slave with understanding in this Qur'an. that he said of the ayats of the Qur'an: 'There is no ayat but that it has a manifest part. In the month of Ramadan it is read through in its entirety and on the Night of P ower it is read 'shabina' . The Judgment. Also 'a turni ng off'. The Explanation. The Shaykh al-Akbar says: When Allah. but with the physicality and actuality of a spring of water.26). ' Our companions. Certainly it is systematised. The cells have to 'stop'. The Science of Qur'an The Generous Qur'an. and the message to cre ation. which in its fullness means the giving up of the nafs which is the intolerable 'other' that prevents unitary experience. the word 'ayn meaning not just 'source' in the sense of ' origin'. The key term: HAL. the Book of Islam. in accordance wit h the overflowing generosity of the Form-giver. the 'how'. The Warning. inseparable from this. verifiable. 'Al i ibn Abi Talib. as some o f the inadequate systems formed on the archeology of previous Islams suggest (li ke Zen). What remain s is in our hands. the people of unveiling. may Allah be pleased with him. w hose culminating and ultimate condition is to be 'turned off'. The Light. among them being: The Book. agreed on the soundness of a transmis sion from the Prophet.in one night. in flux.it is its own science. It is not a matter of little mind (myself) being swallowed up in the Big Mind after all. indicating not on ly the science of how to live among the multiple forms but also how to surrender (Islam) to the One. By extension it relates to the adverb mea ning 'round about' and to the nouns 'a power'. which we call 'state' derives from a root meaning 'to be chan ged' and 'to pass by' or 'go between'. The Wisdom. 'a year'. he left to them the door of understanding from Allah in what He revealed to His Prophet. according to the sufic science. . with particular forms subtly shedding pulse after pulse through this un ceasing movement of states in a locus which is nothing other than the states. may He be exalted. We will re turn to it when we come to the point that is being forced upon us where we ask a bout the nature of this 'stuff' of the Universe. The Spirit. a limit. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. obliterated in th e face of the Essence of the multitudinous forms. over a period of twenty-three years from the ti me of the first revelation which came when the Messenger was forty years old. blessings and peace be upon him. The Mercy . Doubt and certainty are the two energies whose polar forces drive the s eeker on to his discoveries.

the Messenger set out for Hira. What does this mean? We have already seen how the SAMAWATI which we name the 'heavens' indicates esse ntially not another dimension to existence. And when he completed the month and returned from his retreat. It is an 'entertainment' that lifts the heart and diverts it from this wor ld with the beauties and rewards of the Unseen. Part of modern people's difficult y in approaching Islam realistically lies in their prejudice about the nature of a 'prophet'. we recall. What happened? How did it 'get in' in the first place? Firstly let us examine the straight narrative: Wahb bin Kaisan told me that 'Ubayd said to him: 'Every year during the month of Ramadan. yet when she unhesitatingly pointed skyward s. '"He came to me. in the month of Ramadan in which Allah wi lled concerning him what He willed. that you may recite it to all mankind at inte rvals. and with truth has it descended. When the bedouin woman was brought to the Messenger as a kafir he asked her. unthinkable to a Muslim. and there Allah honoured him with his task. meaning: 'to descend': 'that which is prepared for a guest': ' an entertainment': 'a gift': 'an abode'. "while I was asleep. And again. '"He said: 'Read: In the Name of the Lord. w hose brief stay is in the abode of Earth. but sin ce reality consists only of the four elements. the reality-process. in the year when Allah sent him. is wh at gives us the names. . The preparation of something for the guest is pe rhaps its most weighty meaning in the root's effloration from the basic cluster. go to the Ka'ba and walk round it s even times or as often as it pleased Allah: then he would go back to his house u ntil. It is the basic dyad: samawati/'ard. The word in Arabic derives from a root NB'A. if you like. 'Read!' I said. first of all he would. 'Read!' I said.105-6) Before examining what its themes are we first must come to terms with this desig nation of the Book as a 'revelation'. before entering his house. The heavens are a reality of the Unseen. the gift of the host to his guests. That is. there is only right/left: in front/behind. and we have revealed it. the Messenger would pray in seclusion and give food to the poor that c ame to him." said the Messenger. (Qur'an 17. The word for revelation is specific. not cosmically. the Messenger commanded that she be freed at once. in the Wisdom-picture there are only the four directions and there is no fifth. Its root is: NZL. Reality addresses the Messenger saying: With truth have We sent it down. meaning 'to be exalte d': 'to announce': 'to make one acquainted with': so the picture is quite clear.and this only to deliver myself from Him. Its means of manifesting was tha t it 'came down'. Now. It is also the noun of 'unity' and thus literally means 'one descent'. 'What shall I read?' H e pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death: then He let me go a nd said. 'What shall I read?' . And We have se nt you as nothing else than a bringer of good news and a warning. The Nabeyi is the Announcer who brings the news. and said. 'Where is Allah?' Now the answer that he inhabits place is. 'What shall I read?' He pressed me with it the third ti me so that I thought it was death and said. with a coverlet of br ocade whereon was some writing. The Qur'an is. it is itself an abode of Wi sdom.In these ayats. lest He should do the same to me ag ain. Samawati. who createth. and so the Qur'an in coming down properly speaking. revelation by revelation. for if we are honest this has no specific meaning as a psychological term and is outside our experience unless one admits into it the category of the premonitory dream. These are One Realit y. Createth man from a clot. who makes one acquainted with how-it-is. And a Qur'an that we have divided. correctly. came out. but rather that non-spatial zone whi ch is no-place. the creatures. Read: and thy Lord is the Most Generous. the Mountain of Light. 'Read!' I said. This 'above' from which Qur'an 'came down' can only be the 'within' whose opposite is not 'without'. this no-place is also the 'up' of the phenomenal heaven.

Khadija's whole way of dealing with this disturbing event not only speaks vividly of her fine intellect and love for the Messenger. 'Woe is me. but establish it. They were known as the people of the Huda. and are certain of the Akhira. I saw him as before. the people of Right Guidance. but 'to be responsive'. I heard a voice from heaven saying.never shall the Quraysh s ay this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. t he son of Ibrahim."' The narrative continues with the Messenger confiding his fear of insanity to his wife. knew exactly what to do. Teacheth man that which he knew not. Thus they were the Wisdom-tradition.Who teacheth by the Pen. a living spiritual thread of unitar y doctrine . the Compassionate. kindness. 'a victim of sacrifice'. and there was Jibril in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon saying.chosen b y inevitable destiny. but toward whatever region of th e sky I looked. Alif.1-5) The man of Wisdom offers himself up to Reality. Muhammad . that Huda comes to them. Hanifa derives from HNF. and I am Jibril!' '"I raised my head towards heaven to see. Crucial to any understanding of the mani festation of what we now call Islam is a grasp of the fact that there continued from the time of Ibrahim. for it is the role of the initiates of Wisd om that they must not only practise it. I thought.' '"When I was midway on the mountain. for it was no different. And who trust in what is revealed to you (Muhammad) and what was revealed before you. They risk destruction even of their life-experience in an act that is an abandonment of the self-illusion only to fi nd that Reality has opened itself to them. the Hanifa as it was called. The essential mark of the Hanif and later. These are the successful. 'to incline'. the complete flowing openness of the Chosen One. the Mu slim. She argues that he cannot be since his qualities are those of sanity itse lf. a guidance to those who ward off: who believe in the Unseen. aware of the implications of his vision. It means therefore not only 'to incli ne toward the Truth'. Now none of Allah's creatures was more hateful to me than an ecstatic poet or a man possessed: I could not even lo ok at them. had a continuing thread of followers who passed on and practised the Ibrahimic (brahminical) Tawhid (yog a). Lam. Khadija. Here is the secret of the transaction we have begun to examine in the so-called 'prophetic e xperience'. This word Huda d erives from HDA. This Book in which there is no doubt. This is how-it -is. 'to be a direction'. and establish salat. 'one who directs'. These depend on Huda from their Lord. Mim. 'to follow a right course'.this science. balance. And I continued standing there until Khadij a sent her servants in search of me and they gained the high ground above Makka and returned to her while I was standing in the same place.1-5) '"So I read it and He departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep and it was as though these words were engraved on my heart. meaning 'to lead in the right way'. peace be upon them both. was that he was supple and yielding and not rigid and unbending. as did Isma'il. you are the Messenger of Allah and I am Jibril. and spend of what We have bestowed on them. poet or possessed . 'an offering'. trustworthiness. opens himself. 'Oh Muhammad. but shows that she and her family were people already acquainted wit h the Wisdom-tradition of their people. to open oneself and yield to the T ruth. The very first declara tion of who Qur'an is for in the opening main Form 'Al-Baqara' puts it thus: In the Name of Allah. the Merciful. peace be upon him.' (96. (Qur'an 2.' I stood gazing at him moving neither forward nor backwa rd: then I began to turn my face away from him. 'Oh Muh ammad! Thou art the Messenger of Allah. for he has so utterly abnegated his own self-choice that c hosenness floods in to fill the gap of his surrendered self-form. She h urried across Makka to the house of her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin Ab .

A version says that he lowered his head and his Companions lowered their heads. they will humiliate you. and not angelic which use air/energy. No-one can lead astray one whom Allah guides. he affirmed the authent icity of the event and went to the Messenger and made him retell the story. His name was Dimad. Khadija was determined to complete her proofs of authenticity to convince her hu sband that he was neither poet nor possessed. With two of the most tremendous revelations in the Qur'an. Surely. I affirm that there is no Divinity except Allah. The water rite follows the fi re/act to purify the self for the other act of union which is dependent on the a ir element. I having retained of it what the angel said. 2) that he was a magician. She moved him to sit o n her lap. continually asking if the Vision remained. the impact was so shattering on the Messenger that some of his hair turned white when the descent took place. The people of the Quraysh were determined in their rejection of the new Messenge r. who had become a Christian but had come through the tradi tion of the Hanifa. These three possibili ties were: 1) that he was a poet. breath. At times the angel appears to me in human form and speaks to me and I retain what he says. and that is the type which is most severe for me. for he asked the Messenger to bare his back.' And he kissed him on his forehead and left. Thi s is why ghusl separates the sexual act and salat. a man of Azd Shanu'a who had a great reputation at casting out jinn came to the Messenger. or possessed by jinn. when he heard of the Messenger. 'How does the experi ence come to you. It then leaves me. Muhammad. While the charge that he was possessed swept through Makka. She instructed her husband to mov e towards her. 3) that he was mad. and the three main charges they brought against him were three which the text of the Book itself analysed and demonstrated to be false. and they wil l cast you out and they will fight with you. Dimad said: 'I have hear d what the kahins say.' After the Messenger had said the words three times. without association. Messenger of Allah?' to which he replied: 'It comes to me at t imes like the clanging of a bell.' This is in a tradition from Ibn 'Abbas and is transmitted by Muslim. Ubada bin as-Samit said that when the revelation descended on the Prophet he was distressed on account of it and his face altered to a dark hue. what the sorcerers say and what the poets say.du'l-'Uzza bin Qusayy. and I affirm that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. When she told him what had happened. the outward genetic proof in the cells of his being inwardly the one to 'receive' the Message of Reality. she prepared a test. you are the Messenger of th is people. thought that it would be a ble ssing for him if he could heal this man. He a lso confirmed physically what he had ascertained by his secret knowledge. and then when she exposed herself the Vision vanished. then when it wa s removed from him he raised his head. Go ahead!' Dimad was unable to continue and said: 'Repeat what you have just sai d. When the angelic manifestation hap pened in their own house. would you like me to do so?' The Messenger replied: 'Praise belongs to Allah whom we praise and from whom we seek help. This is transmitted in both Bukhari and Muslim. Muslim transmitted it. If the vision had remained during any sexual act it would have followed that it was from the j inn who use the heat/energies of fire.' A'isha said she had seen the event happen on a very cold day and his forehead po ured sweat when it left him. He went to the Chosen One and said: 'I practise the science of casting out jinn. Waraqa confirmed: 'There has come to you the greatest Namus who came to Sayyedin a Musa (Moses). Dimad. You will be called a liar. but I have never heard anything like these words of yours which have reached a depth in me like that of the sea. It is quite clear from these acco . There he found what he has looking for the Seal of Messengership on his back. The Hadith give a clear picture of whatever the outward aspects of the times of revelation were: A'isha told that Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's Messenger. alo ne. the 'Ya Sin' Form and the 'Hud' Form. If you give me your hand I will swear allegiance to you b y accepting Islam. and no-one can guide o ne whom Allah leads astray.

or barren and desolate on the other. the centre or locus from which the endless flowing states manifest in such a manner as to sug gest the self's reality and historicity.they will station themselves in a safe place. While the mad person behaves in a self-obsessed way. outside and inside from another perspective of course being identical.unts that one could take these descriptions as evidence that he was indeed 'a ma n possessed'. An ess ential part of this break is the refusal to adhere to the commonly shared 'namin g' process. Thus the result is properly speaking 'the destruction of the personality' . The peeling of the onion-layers. or vice-versa. The mad man is himself 'shedding the skins' .you may prick it and it will give no sign of being 'inhabited' . Both madnesses imply. which is th at it is in the nature of the spiritual Path that its stages are marked by stage s similar to the identity-fragmentation that we call madness. The goal is to loosen these form-shadow s and allow the Light which is the source-form of the locus in the Unseen to man ifest. this perfection contains within it all the stages of the Way and all t he Stations of the awliya. Nothing has been gained. for 'there are n ot two hearts within the breast' as Qur'an says. on the one hand.he is conducting an operation of self-dest ruction based on the false and doomed premise that there is a 'he' to dismantle his 'he-ness'. in the image of Peer Gynt. Neve rtheless. the Perfected Ones. The Prophet takes his P ath under direct guidance from the Unseen Master. According to the sufic picture of the nature of the nafs. the shedding of the 'skins' may have the appearance of the madman in his getting out or coming in. Either the mad pers on will 'get out' and leave the body . socially balanced and active human being. event. Insanity is based on a basic split between the 'centre' and the outer world of behaviour. The difference is only one. become s till. it would not of its nature end. (33. so that inner experience is either terrible and intolerable or glorious and elated. He undoes them . for not only is there no core but th ere was no onion. At the dif ferent stages of the Way. a break in behaviour with the accepted behaviour of the community.shut all the doors of the senses. he breaks his own heart. The Wisdom-path is to dismantle the self systematically not as a ruse to protec t and isolate the non-existent 'core'. The goal of the journey of the awliya lies over the m ountains of madness and they have to be traversed. and I say this without boa . This was the ba ffling and unarguable condition of the man they wanted to brand as a lunatic. The goal of the Path is the annihilation of the experiencing self. while those who fol low in his footsteps take theirs from a Shaykh.the form being perfect. for there has to be a re-focussing of our self-form understanding if we are to grasp the truth of these matters. they will 'go in' . do. This is why they do not die of disease from within but have to be killed from without . Madness is a fragmentation of experience rendering the solid world unreal and the inner existence over-real. people and objects.4). T hey are the 'perfect exemplars'. but nothing has been lost. only he tasted every state with the inner perfection of his 'vast self-form' which encompassed it and grounded i t in the deep sanity of his prophetic condition. Thus he splits reality. the Angel. This raises something that we have already touched on. by this cond ition. the moon. This is the meaning of the sufic saying which is quoted by the Shaykh al-Kamil i n his Diwan: He who does not take the Shaykh as his Master will have Shaytan as his Master. the form has to be brought to an end in accordance with nat ure. or else. The beginning of the Messenge r's time of revelation was that period for him. high up. then where will you fi nd it?' He said: 'I am the first of the sons of Adam. a visible Master. Let us re-iterate it. and either an arcane language will be introduced or unstructured cha nges will be made with random shifting of nouns so that 'this' is called 'that'. He said of himself: 'If justice is not to be found with me. but to open oneself to the Secret of Tota lity. no signals going out or being taken in. the Messenger was the embod iment of the generous. is an act of g lorious release and opening to the Reality. but the d estiny being mortal. they are the original man-form in all its perfe ction. the Messengers and pro phets do not struggle in the same way that the awliya.

Here is another contemporary record of how the Arabs tried to come to grips with this unique event that took place among them and which was to overturn their wh ole society and affect the destiny of every one of them: When the Fair was due. his speech is sweet. we revealed it on the Night of Power. he is not that. Behold. Peace it is.sting.' they said. 'No. for we know poetry in all its forms and meters. smiled and asked him to make t he Affirmation. He would not. a number of the Quraysh came to Walid bin al-Mughira.' . and here is no spitting an d no knots. thus the transmission took place through contact yet through a puri fying element. It is the general view that on that night th e whole of the Qur'an was sent down. so let us agree on one opinion without dispute so that none will give the lie to the other. to emerge fragment by fragment in living si tuations throughout the life of the Messenger.' They replied. he is no poet. sp asmodic movements and whispering. and offe r his life-pattern as the Sunna for existence throughout the whole world from th at day to the end of time for people of every culture and climate. one must not lose sight of the human finene ss and delicacy and courage of the desert Messenger.' T hey said. and over whom pass these shudde ring and powerful states out of which the Qur'anic message comes. who has brought a message b y which he separates a man from his father.' The first revelation which we have documented in detail was sent down on what th e Qur'an calls the Night of Power. When he took the ac t of homage and acceptance of Islam at 'Aqaba from the women.' . It is this man. it had to come through th is 'filter' which annihilated him during its transmission before it became part of the great Book. or from his family. the Seal of the Perfection of Prophethood.' they said.' he said. so then the Messenger. and when the Mumin watches the who le night until dawn. He does not mutter or speak in rhymed prose. Whe n studying the aspect of revelation.' . knelt beside the old man. who was a man of some standing. his root is a palm-tree whose branches are f ruitful and everything you have said would be seen to be false.'Then he is a sorcer er. Immediately the Messenger expressed his conc ern that he had not been able to go to the old man.'Then what are we to say. he had a jug of wa ter placed between himself and the women and he plunged his hand into it. Ah! What will convey to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The Siddiq insisted that it would not have been fitting.'Then he is a poet. and th en they did. It is of such importance that there is a Powe r Form in the Qur'an describing it. with all decrees. stroked his chest. the Merciful. or from his wif e. until the rising of the dawn. of endless fineness to appreciate the living mom ent. ever touch a woman who was not his wife or of his household. who is the man laying claim to prophethood. sometimes an ayat at a time.' He was simply there to show himself to his age as the exemplar. 'No. even though the revelation came directly through the Angel.' .' He said. but Allah knows best. (Qur'an 97) It is this Night of Power that forms the climax of the Ramadan fast and in which the Qur'an is recited from beginning to end. you speak and I will listen. 'Yo u give us your opinion about him. There was neve r any doubt what was part of the Message and what was simply a revelation. From that night onwards the revelation came. He was the cu lmination of the human situation. the Compassionate. we have seen sorcerers and their sorcery. Oh Abu 'Abdu Shams?' they asked. 'He is a kahin.'Then he is possessed. someti . by the permission of their Lord. for example. The nearest thin g to the truth is your saying that he is a sorcerer. or from his brother. It distressed the Messenger when Sidi Abu Bakr brought his whitehaired and venerable father to him. He rep lied: 'By God.' . Here is the Power Form: In the Name of Allah. blessings and peace be upon him. and he addressed them in these words: 'The time of the Fair has come round again and representatives of the Arabs will come to you and they will have heard about this man of yours. 'we have seen the possessed and here is no choking.' Walid said. he is not a soothsayer. 'By God.'No. 'No. The angels and the Spirit descend therein.

teaching him. 3. The nature of Reality. Each time a revelation came it emerged out of a particular life-situation and i t came as an illumination of that moment opening up the truth of that situation and guiding the Messenger's actions as well as continually unfolding the 'good n ews and the warning' which are one of the re-iterated themes of the Book. the organic life-laws come out of this. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say: 'We trust in it: it is all from our Lord. understandably limited the meaning of this ayat to infer sim ply that the Book rests on the factual 'law' ayats. The story of mankind's global destiny since the beginning. The Book 'comes out of' this. cul minating in the final cycle of the Messenger's rule. ambiguous and top-he avy until a completely rabbinical invention called Qur'anic Law has emerged to b uoy up the pseudo-Islamic State they have erected in their own image and in defi ance of the community-form outlined in the Sunna of the Messenger. in the next phase of existence when he has droppe d the phenomenal body. and that is the meaning-world. The clear-signs are those that call to justice and compa ssion and generosity and peace-making.reaffirmed. Piece by piece alongside the specific guidance it gave to life-situations came an unfo lding pattern of man's history from the beginning of his time on earth and showi ng the meaning of the various meta-cycles he had lived through. Ironically it is the 'law' i n all its tremendous simplicity that they have made subtle. There is complete continuity of experience between the life-state.26). (41. 5. the declaration of the Unity . The new Shari'a or Road that Allah lays down for the whole of mankind. correcting him. This is the event world. to feeding the hungry and protecting the orphan. and the next-life -state.7) The scholars who have tried to create a rabbinical tradition of commentary of Qu r'an in Islam have.they are the Mother of the Book and others are likeness-signs. (Qur'an 3. the so-called death-state. Within these basic themes the Qur'an expresses itself in two particular manners which it defines with great precision. as the 'rabbis' would make out. 4. and a new guidance being sent down. for the rest of the Messenger's lifetime. and to examine the nafs and observe there these same confirmatory signs of Unity.4). The 'clear-si gns' refer to all the great declarations about Divine Unity that stem from the B ook's repeated commands to examine creation itself for all the clear-signs withi n it. saying: He it is who sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book in which are clear-signs . the direct existential confrontation with each human being who reads it: 'Where then are you going?' (81. and n ot the other way round. and its being corrupted and lost. But those in whose hearts is doubt follow what is the likeness desiring dissension by desiring its interpretation. Tawhid. consoling him. The Boo k warns that this life is a zone of action and that man is responsible to his Cr eator and will have to answer. the final revelation coming on 'Arafat during his last Ha jj when he taught them the final and purified form of the ancient rites of Hajj. 2. The likeness-signs are not simply. The good news and the warning'. It is precisely this declaration of Tawhid that is the 'Mother' of the B ook. abroga ting earlier Roads that were sent for particular nations and races by earlier pr ophets.mes a long passage or whole Sura depending on the situation. Five themes are orchestrated throughout the Book and they can be summarised thus: 1.' Yet none remembers but men possessed of minds. and the role of th e earlier prophets and their Books in this cyclic story of man's being given gui dance. None knows its interpretation except Allah. for what he did on earth. but rather they are those which relate basically to the cent .that is the ess ential message of all the prophets . Particular guidance to the Messenger telling him what to do in specific situa tions. those ayats which relate to secret things like the journey of Dhu'l Qarnayn or the Sl eepers in the Cave.

This mithal opens its nature to you by the quality of your reflection. and therefore what language is. If we do not know what letters are. It is inevitable that we should now come to this point where we have to examine the nature of language itself when we find that the who le source of the Wisdom-way is and always has been through revealed Books. peace be upon him.this is a mithal of t hat.if you hold the connection and try to reify it. This naming capacity was the distinguishing mark of the human creature. and it is a profound matter. 'a comparison'. Thus this ayat warns against discoursing a nd interpreting where reflecting and remaining open in humility and watchfulness are required. You must surrender to the mithal . It is not 'the same' and it is not a definition. 'Ya-Sin' and 'Ta-Ha'. There is no other way that the nature of exis tence can be conveyed to the human mind except by mithal . 'mutually resembling o ne another'. Real learning about reality lies within these likeness-signs. MThL is the root. words. letters and silences. a form. The Divine-teaching is based on the likeness-sign s.one can see the connections . and it has been the Way of all the Prophets and all the Bo oks. who. both a following of the Shari'a . of the other. It is an image. In the language of the Sufis: the clear-sign Wisdom demands fikr (thinking). and two Suras actually bear the letters as their name s. and the Wisdom-way will be closed to us. Qur'an itself. said in a famous Hadith: 'I have been given all the words. as we have already pointed out. There are many Hadith th at refer to these letters. They are not some kind of early scribe's catal oguing as some rather desperate Christian commentators have tried to suggest in their attempts to invalidate the authority of the Book. 'represent'. It is one of His means of access to yo u and of your means of access to Him. The word that is elsewhere used to refer to this teaching-method in the Qur 'an is MITHAL.a nd let the illumination come as He wills. we are not going to grasp something central to the whole understanding of what a human being is. Thus it is clear t hat before we can understand with profundity the nature of the human situation a nd the value of the Book.the Road . What we have observed is that th e meanings spill out beyond the word and into single letters. according to Qur'an. but also that the language should be prepa red for the revelation and pure enough to express the revelation .thus a Book c omes where and when the language can 'bear' it. In Qur'anic language. One of the se crets of the Qur'an is the set of letters that are used throughout the Book mark ing the opening of certain Suras. 'Mutashabihat' derives from the root ShBH . The people of Wisdom 'remember' . Now it is significant that in this ayat Allah-ta-ala uses the physical term f or likeness in preference to the imagistic term. The silences are an essential part of the reading. pr operly speaking. 'a pattern or image'. the likeness-sign Wisdom demands dhikr (shock-awakening). on the wing . short sign-units. It is the word used in Qur'an to indicate the 'likeness' placed on the Cross when Sayyedina 'Isa was taken away from his followers. consists of large form-units.e.and a clinging to acts of c ompassion in the Way of Allah. 'to mean something'. blessings and peace be upon him. must be understood to . meaning: 'to be like'. it is the word used to indicate the similarity of one cow to ano ther. You cannot capture it nor physicalise it nor use it objectively. then the matter will elude you.and the knowledge that comes is the fruit of dhikr. this gives us both the Furqan (the discrimination) and the Qur'an (the gathering-together). In fact.i. 'appear before the eye'. You cannot pin down any aspect of this dynamic and self-renewing-pro cess except fleetingly. w as given all the names. The nature of a revealed Book is not merely that it should come through the reve lation process we have just examined.'a likeness'. otherwise there would be ambiguity. we must understand not only the words but the letters themselves. The Messenger.ral teaching in the Book. this is the only way in which the Reality-situation can be conv eyed to human beings. The behaviour-teaching on which all the Wisdom-practic e is based lies in the clear-sign passages which insist on a recognition of Unit y in the self and creation and which call to correct and compassionate behaviour . What we are about to examine. 'a punis hment to be taken as an example'.' With this Wisdom-saying he places himself alongside the Original Man. So there is no doubt here! The Divine-teaching is based on these likenesssigns. Sayyedina Adam. In the Cow Form of the Qur'an.

it contained the Obligator. the nature of 'stuff' itself. We are in a world where everything is moving. whether Pytha gorean or Brahminic. with heavens intersecting heavens. Al-Biruni. we are confronted with an organic and multi-element reality of experiential flux. and with any dis tinction which is made the reality is not split but merely looked at from one po int of view. or a power standing over and beyond. And phenomenal being is itself manifes ted from letters. When another 'rank' or 'reality' is invoked. The 'dot' we may t ake to be the manifestation of phenomena. We now must open ourselves to the picture of reality that is experienced by 'the people of unveiling'. peace be upon him. Yet what moves and changes is structured and restructu red according to the most delicate and vibrant order. there are 29 letters in the Arabic alphabet. All the l etters he calls 'dotted'. For exam . Two letters have a particu lar significance which we will look at later. is like the world described . as all letters come from the 'dot'. is the experiencing inner-sight of the heart.the Malakut. in the language creat ed specifically for the Wisdom-revelation or 'abode'. As always. The 29 gives us the lunar month. on ly the instrument that replaces the 'measuring' telescope and the destructive re actor. but as the gate of letters. the previous one vanis hes. but he was intrigued to perceive elements of the sufic Wisdom he already knew so profoundly. The knowledge we are now goin g to examine in barest outline is one that has been and is common coin among the people of the Path since the time of the Messenger. for these separatenesses are in description only and not in truth.but not known . The 29 x 9 gives us the 261 of the Heaven s. These two are also very related. Firstly we must establish the value of 9 in the sufic computation of reality. when he went to India. We are not dealing with s omething foisted onto Islam by wayward scholars borrowing either from India or G reece. the Unseen intersecting the Seen. that is. and the nuclear physicist on the other. As the Shaykh al-Akbar p uts it: Know. and He is the Reality.by the astro-physicist on the one hand. we begin with the affirmation of a Unity which is both indivisible an d independent of forms. but a Reality without whereness which is total. the original letter. We are now beginning to grasp a different picture of existence from the dualistic frame we had worked with in our ignorant 'educational' orientation. the significance of which we will shortly exa mine. that it will continually spiral back to its departure point. these i llusions take on a 'reality' which the cosmic picture constantly denies. altering. it was understandable that Musli m scholars would be moved and fascinated to see the earlier 'archeologies' of th eir own knowledge in the ruined Wisdom-teaching of earlier Islams. Now. had no need to borrow fro m the decayed Shiva-ite cults he saw. but in a world that. So while we are now embarki ng on a journey into the realm of letters it will inevitably encroach on our nex t subject of study. Not a 'ground' underlying. This gives us 28 letters when we omit one of these. It is essential to bear in mind that we are now seeing reality as unitary. and 27 if we omit both. Hamza as we know from the language itself usually is dependent on the 'alif for its appearance. As we have already pointed out. a s we will eventually recognise. According to the Shaykh al-Akbar. there are 261 Heavens which revolve around the letters and which are contained in His Heaven . may He be exalted. The 27 gives us 9 x 3. 'Alif in certain computations is seen not as a letter at all. It is in the nature of this learning. We are beginning to recogn ise the Act of the One in manifesting His Universe of endless forms. In plac e of the body/mind duality. a nd the obligated. that when existence was absolute without lim itation.be one of the many fruits of the Qur'anic revelation. the source of letters. may Allah support us and you. patternings are transecting other patternings and giving the illusion of solidities and permanences. T hese are Hamza and 'Alif. and we must re-iterate this here. Now we are moving into a world where we recognise that everything is dynamic and in motion. vanishing. and they are the world and the letters altogether. however. melt ing. Here we are no longer trapped in the limiting zone of sen sory experience checked by the inadequate tools of logic. The station of the letters is derived from Elements from which the letters are composed.

and where the Creation. This term . MULK: The world of Apparent forms (Kingdom) Each of these three ranks consists of three ranks. is an Interspace. that 'descent' being. There is no negation but if you adhere to one you lose the other. The Truth has created 9 Heavens. We may examine Him as the Creator of matter but at the same time He is destroying it . is in itself m erely an interspace between two other zones. 1. from Casting-out. utterly derived from the Qur'an and the Hadith. whether seen or unseen. Thus from the 9 this gives us 18. in receiving. seen and unseen. This count gives us 7 conditi ons within the 3 ranks. MALAKUT: The World of Source-forms (Dominion) 3. His Mercy and His Wrath are not separate. We may only approach from one side at a time. we multiply this 7: Therefore: 7 x 3 = 21 If from the Divine aspect we subtract 3 ______ This gives us: 18. In the experience of 'tasting' how ever we must join them. the Univer . In the realm of the slave. for this gives us a 9). Therefore the 9 ranks are in fact 7 conditions. you talk of Him as being the One who Creates and then the One who Destroys. There are 9 Heavens for casting out . and to this we add 1 for the Kursi . the Truth sent down Jibril with the Message.ple. or rather its source. Thus the Hidden of the Mulk is the Apparent of the Jabrut. and it is essential to our view that every phenomenal zone of existence.that is. it is the same. took it through t he Messenger. The meeting place is the Kingdom. if referring to the Divine Attributes.that is. is com posed of these three ranks. from another p oint of view He is the Actor and He does what He wills. The creation of forms is in descent from 1 through to 2 through to 3. Each has an apparent reality and a hidden reality. the zone of forms. In our first picture we see the three ranks in their 'descent' into forms. the fulgurating di splaying and giving of form-energy from the Truth. let us place the ruling ra nk of the Jabrut in the centre for it shares a face on one side with the Mulk an d on the other with the Malakut. but if we talk of the Judgment and the Weighing we can conceive of mercy for the kafir and punishment for the Musli m. Takin g into account that these ranks intersect each other. Since the human presence. There are the seven of the skies. This means that the Seen World is a n Interspace in itself. if we say one is a Muslim and one is a kafir we make a valid distinction. itself. at least in the zone of thinking. for it is the Creation. but so also is the World of Source-Forms in the Unseen a nd the Jabrut where Lordship comes out to Creation from the Essence. you are not saying He is now one and the n the other. We will now go to the second step from the basic affirmation of Unity.Barzakh . This gives us 18 Stations of the Kingdom. for we are approaching their situation in relation to another Divine Name or aspect. The same from the human aspect. and 9 Heavens for reception i n the form-world. yet they are not the same. From one point of view we are the actors and responsible. of course. Change perspective and we recognise the Divine interplay between the Reality and the Creation. This 9 Reality is common to the Lord and the slave. like the Divine Presence. This 'meeting point' of the Kingdom is the point of revelation where. JABRUT: The Divine Names (Almightiness) 2. So we ca n approach by the 7 or the 9.is a k ey term which we will have constant recourse to. in description but n ot in reality. they are not different. We will s ketch here the most simple necessary framework of our cosmology.not 'later'. Creation is composed of three ranks. It. Here we take three aspects: Apparent: Interspac e: Hidden. and the Hi dden of the Jabrut is the Apparent of the Malakut. that is the ' sky' of each of the 7 visible planets ( the other two planets of our galaxy are only considered to exert an influence under certain very particular conditions.

knowledge. since it starts off with a basic division between knowledge and the knower and the known.e. It moved water.it is the same whether they were isola ted or occurred with the time-structure of the formations. and another 1 for the 'Arsh . 1/6 . artic ulation. and realities which are found by the existence of compoundin g. and the 'Arsh make the basic 9. may He be exalted. because fire is comp ounded of heat and dryness as we said. To th e people of the Path. and to this is added no fifth. the Ku rsi. and are only joined in a form. Then learn that these first matrices accord their realities to compounds solely without mixture. while the knowers are several and 'know' differently . and sense. These 4 are the pillars engendered by the first matrices. Its unv eiling would be a wrong action since the intellect cannot reason it. Well aware that this description of things seems to be in contradiction to the s cientific picture. But unveili ng sees it So realities grant that these matrices do not have existence in their essence at all before the existence of complex forms from them. The Heavens. plus these 7 is 9. So we know t he realities for what they are based on . b ut questions its ability to unfold the nature of how things are. If you say: 'What is the cause which joins these incompatible sources so that from their mixture appears that which a ppears? . or heat existed alone. in its isolation. It is He wh o gives us the matter at its source without summation or confusion.e. and this knowledge must come out from the knower a nd not his thoughts.I reply that here is a wondrous secret and a great complexity. Realities are in two sections: realities found isolated in the intellect like life. The Shaykh al-Akbar states: So 4 are the bases of number. and by its movement things move because it is life. 2 which i s in them. When you see fire has dried up the place from water. with the retreat of the heart from thought. bec ause in it are 1/2. and 1 is never found from them in a form. Af ter this the arrangement is as you wish. but the extent whi ch their realities accorded. Heat make s warm: coldness makes cold: moisture makes pliable: and dryness dries up. Phenomenal existence is based on the primal four conditions of hot / cold / wet / dry. and with the inclination to accept o pening-experience ( i. it was the breath which is the se nsory life and it is the mover of everything by its breath. do not imagine that heat dried it up. the world. which is in the 4 added to 4 gives 7. and 1/3 . It is untenable that there be more tha n four bases. and by the dryness drying up occurred. H ot and wet were mixed and it was air (i. in their compound. man and stone. which is founded on 4. So the heating from heat is not from other than it. 'intersecting' it. just as you do not find a complete number other than 6. and the 1 which is in the 4 plus these 9 is 10. we either see t hings as within the phenomenal world or we see them as the Divine unfoldings. Cold and dry were mixed and it was earth. Thus the matrices are incompatible. either like heat and dryness as we said. that you are not a separate knower at all). like the sky. water is h eated. So look at th e formation of the air from heat and moisture. th . He accepts the scientific picture. It is the s ame with drying up and shrivelling from dryness.kno wledge itself is One and thus all they are experiencing is a private unveiling o f a tiny part of One Reality.which is only from moisture: and becoming cold which is only from coldness. There is no scientific fact. heat and moisture).se of Stars. So hot and dry were mixed and it was fire. So by the heat which is in it. th e description in each instance is not the thing. or Divine Realities. He says: So the Reality. The likeness of the Universe to the 'Arsh is that of a small ring flung onto a vast desert. However 2 are found. You do not find a number which give you other than these 4. from it. Again he is indicating that you can say it this way or that way. The next crucial step in our abandonment of the false mind/matter duality is in the recognition of the basic nature of phenomenal existence. eart h.the starless heaven 'beyond' the star s or. and fire. 3. There is only it. he asserts that it is ignorance to lay at his door a charge o f giving an 'unscientific' view of reality. as in our new language. Cold and wet were mixed and it was water. It is thus with pliability . is the One from whom we take our knowledges.

it is through his direct-experience of Reality. who originated them the first ti or wretched. The setti ng in motion of the members to formation is acquired by the turning of the spiri t. In specifying a particular difference in the hot/wet from the other compounds. He is concerned wit h unveiling. t he Master makes a very illuminating comment. the spirit manifests itself to it by the gentle Israfilian call in the encircled ho rn. So it is said: 'So-and-so h as died.' (39. This teaching. 'Out of it We created you. y ou return. symbols.' (11. Its Heaven is not. So a life goes into its limbs and it becomes a shaped individual as on the f irst time. and riddles. and 'everything proclaims His praise. dea th and annihilation was based on it. Had it been t he same. So the life of the apparent body comes from the traces of the life of the spirit even as the light of the sun which is on t he earth comes from the sun. and the Gathe ring will be a manifestation of the spirit to the body by means of love. 'Then he blows into it again. the human knowledges.55) The Spirit likewise returns to its source until the Day of Rising. To return to our picture of the Cosmos: all the letters have appeared from the ' alif."' (36.05). and other than. Life in pre-endl ess-time in itself belongs to the Living. on their part . tha t death is not valid for them? When life was in physical bodies by accident. Each of these Heavens revolves around certain letters and sometimes even parts of letters. This gives 5 existent Heavens in this picture .' but in reality you say that he has returned to his source. and its reality ends even though it does not vanish. He quotes the ayat of the Qu r'an which says of the Messenger: 'We have not taught him poetry. apparently. When the sun passes. So its parts will be united and its members organised in a subtle life again.29) 'Say: "He will quicken them.' (7. may He be exalted. dismissed as some kind of superstitious magic.68-69) 'As He created you.' (20.44). There is a Heaven from which Ea rth exists: a Heaven from which Water exists: a Heaven from which Air exists: an d a Heaven from which Fire exists.' (17. or worse. had little chance of appreciating it either. related to us that 'the Last Abode is Life. he insists. and the b ody remains in the form of the inanimate to our eye. many of . and therefore superior to.' (36.' (40. He comments: Poetry is the place of summation. it is not seem ly for him. its light follows it. Thus when the spirit goes from the body to its Heaven from w hich it came. the life diffused from it in the living body follows it. like that of the other combinations. that Heaven would have come to an end and its power would have vanished as it appears in incidental life. which comes from Reality to the slave. but is another encircling Heaven. These are our doing. The reducti on of the science of letters to an arcane esotericism has completely barred the way to any serious study of Islamic Cosmology.79) 'Either happy It is clear from this picture that the existence of the letters and the meaning of their activity has to do with the whole creation process. It does not have a Heaven so its cycle comes to an end. He continues: So the Heaven of life in pre-endless-time began pre-endless-time life in its ext ension. so busy were t hey grovelling before the idols of technology with which they are still. brought up and educated in a colonial situation with a Christian bourgeois eth os surrounding them. he observes. For this reason the Creator. It is their Heaven in spirit and in sense. For the hot/wet is vanishing or moving. The modern Muslims. and so ending is not true for it.39 ). Don't you see. that when the life of the spirits is essentially theirs. me. So p ost-endless-time life is caused by pre-endless-time life and it does not accept end. It is another regre ttable result of the study of Muslim writers having filtered through the Orienta lists that this study of letters which lies at the base of Sufism has been so lo ng ignored. and We shall restore you to it. and bring You forth a second tim e. so that they stand looking while the Ea rth is illuminated by the Light of their Lord. and the earth becomes dark. comes through the Qur'anic revelation and through his own Station of being Wali. So when its formation is established and the formation of dust is set up.ere are only the limited view-pictures.69).

coming from the realm of m olecular biology: The deciphering of the DNA code has revealed our possession of a language much o lder than hieroglyphics. this time Jacob. and that is t hat we free our hearts from meditative speculation and we sit with the Truth by dhikr on the carpet of courtesy.them.a posteriori. He say s: 'If you fear Allah. Many of the findings of the biologists and p hysicists are taking them to a point where they are being challenged to recognis e . Each word comprises three coding sub-units termed 'nucleotide b ases' or 'letters' of the code 'alphabet'. 61 of these triplets carry an individual meaning. a language as old as life itself. until the Truth. may He be exalted. with presence and preparation for the acceptance of what He wills to us from Him.29).114). a language that is th e most living of all. rather than humans language. Again a biologist addressing the College de France. It is no use examining this picture of a world where the forms 'come out' of the letters unless it is clearly understood that this is a s erious and precise description of the life-process and does not mean that the Sh aykh with his towering intellect is naively suggesting that the beginning of thi ngs is some kind of cosmic children's party with a lot of alphabet letters falli ng out of the sky. bearing in mind his co ntinual warnings which I can but re-iterate: We travel on a different path in the understanding of these words. The surprising thing is that genetic specificity is written. In his Inaugural Address to the College de France. How otherwise could such a scarcity of means secure a similar diversity of architectural forms? . watching. The meaning of the message comes from the combination of signs into words. increase me in knowledge. Fortunately. for each of them forms a sequence of three letters. Indeed. so deeply awed.but the underlying psychosis of their approach. ar e defined as 'triplets'. while three are apparently used m erely to signal the end of the genetic message. or rather.65). He will assign you a furqan. and also their own busi ness.that they are trapped in a blind-alley is of their own doing. Here are George and Muriel Beadle. not in ideograms as in Chinese. but in an alphabet as in French. Roman Jak obson.' (8. the intellectual situation is much more open to the Wisdom-teaching than it was in the first arrogant days when scientific methodology seemed adequ ate to deal with any problem.' (1 8. Commenting on the findings of Crick and Yanofsky in their analysis of what they call 'the four-letter language embodied in molecules of nucleic acid'. we find that it is not the visi on that is lacking as much as the willingness to shed an epistemology which they inherited from the scientists and which they are terrified to leave behind.282). or where the forms themselves emerge out of the fecund Nothing they imagine they observe. may He be exalted. much of what they have to say is germane to our study . and 'We taught him knowledge from Our Presence. takes possession of our instruction by unveiling and realisa tion by what you heard Him say: 'Fear Allah. an integral structure that one used to compare to the bead on a rosary.not the invalidity of their findings . and 'Lord. this solution appe ars the only logical one. The story is the same wherever research has taken men to the limits of logic and la nguage and measurement and where the microcosmic structure planes out into the m acrocosmic or vice-versa. for example. This alphabet consists of four differ ing letters 'used to spell out the genetic message'. and from the arrangement of words into sentences .' (20. the biologist Jacques Monod said: 'It is language which created humans. The 'dictionary' of the gen etic code encompasses 64 distinct words which. has succeeded that of a series of four elements repeated in permutations. namely in their linear sequences of 'code wor ds' or 'codons'. Heredity is determined by a chemical message inscribed along th e chromosomes. the linguist.' (2. in Morse . observes: We actually learn that all the detailed and specific genetic information is cont ained in molecular coded messages. in regard to their components. who says: To the old notion of the gene.' When one examines the interconnecting systems of psycho-l inguistics and structural linguistics and so on. It is we who must make the effort to grasp the meaning and Wi sdom of the secrets of existence which he lays before us. Allah teaches you.

do not ask how they got 'outside' existence . is dealing with us. In the root definition of ma'na we come back to the pivotal balance between lett ers and the appearance of forms. None of the images of action and entity multiply the Actor in any way. and they were manifested in the existence-traces. created beings are meanings set up in images. 'architecture'. first of al l. The teaching of Harith al-Muhasibi is the most pure. is meaning. at every stage of the Way.and be as if you were not. Secondly. We are dealing with a Reality which. Thirdly. mind/b ody duality. but astonishingly they still go on. It is absurd to hear re-iterated at this stage of man's existence the old argume nts about watches and watchmakers. When . which tea ches that Allah's speech consists of the letters and the sounds and that these a re Attributes of Allah uncreated in His Essence. 'being intended b y a word'.to the people of the Path such a projective image is inadequate. Dependent on a rich complex of impulses from without in the environment of place/event and from within the inner environment of self/energies.which is life. and from outside to the centre when it reaches the crystalline level. in the mechanistic language of the scientist. The Shaykh al-Akbar insists that if anyone makes a model he will in the e nd only be making a model of himself. At the core of this we have the sufic teaching about the Name itself from which all the nam es come. it is not a mechanistic.' In the Diwan of the Shaykh al-Kamil he says: Oh you who desire the presence of being an eyewitness. if we have the cour age to look clearly. only one makes a distinctio n in description.MA'NA . when it is a matter of life -forms.It is a sad condition of the blindness of these 'observers' of the life-process . Truly. On this teaching Shaykh al-Kalabadhi says: Some of the Masters maintain that the Names of Allah are neither Allah nor other -than-Allah: this is parallel to their doctrine concerning the Attributes. We note the scientists use the word 'dictionary' to denote the source-book of th e coding . 'mi nd-image'. Yet what we see. Other s hold the view that the names of Allah are Allah. Both of these are two ways of saying the same thing. All who grasp this are among the people of discrimination. We are no t dealing with a machine-world. at every stage it is structured and the unfolding of the o rganic form-patterns comes from 'within' to outside. Fo rm is something that is both connected to and separate from the discrete compone nts. So whoever rises above every vanishing thing will be shown existence without duality. Meaning . the human face. oh annihilated! Truly. the 'form' of man himself changes and alters with such rapidity we can actually see it happ en at times. Here is its root: 'Meaning'. you must rise above the spirit and the forms and cling to the original Void . The sentence is stru ctured. 'what the word indicates. It is what is intended by the word. We are dealing with a wo rld which is nothing but 'meanings'. Allah speaks: The Attributes of My Essence were hidden. inside-outside. Here again is that subjective p rojection of their own existential situation onto the so-called object-of-observ ation. or should have if we have maintained our courage to look at both ourselves and the horizon as Qur'an commands. 'considered as having a word applied to denote it'.is a key word in sufic study. There is. 'Withdrawal into the Perception of the Essence'. To deny meaning to the 'letter' is to deny meaning to the 'sentence' . you will see existence by a secret whose meanings have spread in every age. In his song.that they are so trapped by the role they have assigned themselves they are forced to conclude that the discrete components are in themselves devoid of meaning. as we have observed in ourselves. Both in the immediate change of 'state' and in the long-term buildup of altered 'states' we observe the form of man change across the discrete or apparently discrete matter of his biological structure.

For. states: How should one interpret all these salient homologies between the genetic code w hich 'appears to be essentially the same in all organisms' (J.then Allah is Hidden because He is Manifest everywhere. Watson: 'Molecu lar Biology of the Genes') and the architectonic model underlying the verbal cod es of all human languages. we find that in its root condition.air. everything connects to a specif ic existential or phenomenal reality. he is given. nota bene. as we have seen throughout this work. which give us the creation) are surrounded by Heavens.' It is this that marks him out as man. The language of Adam. are nothing other than the 'knowing' of the creational original letters. mix .of the letters . They have reduced the language which was created for the Wisdom-transaction to nothing more than a mercantile exchange transaction. 'all the names. The letters which appear at the very beginning of the form-situation (when the four basic conditions . by angelic activity. the Khalif of Allah in His creation. wet. For we have alread y arrived at a position where we are forced to recognise the illusory nature of time. Part of the blindness of the modern Muslims to their own spiritual heritage has been their deep lack of understanding of the Arabic language. so it comes out from man in his molecular totality.si mply that men have abandoned it and corrupted it enough to allow the other its s upremacy. Just as language is built into the cells at th e molecular level. When Sayyed ina Adam manifests. That is w hy when we examine the Arabic language. fire.Lo! that is easy for Allah. remember. A modern Arabic dictionary reveals a complete break in the language from its roots. by o rbit.Qur'an. cold . (Qur'an 57. shared by no semiotic systems other t han natural language or its substitutes. an abstracting from the root-specificity a nd a disastrous annexation of the mercantile coding of the bourgeois society whi ch has so successfully conquered them by its supremacy of values over the Wisdom -Way which always yields to the force of greed and power and ambition. the e . earth. dry. which is.and the four basic elements emerge . Roman Jakobson. on ce there are forms . He leaves His Khalif .once there is a creation .22) Our last task will be to look at the time-picture and the time/space reality in which we find ourselves in the light of this Wisdom-teaching. We must emphasise that there is no suggestion that the scientists are proving an ything. a linguist who is profoundly aware of the metaphysical implicati ons of his science. We cannot understand the meaning of the forms coming-into existence.' we recognise not only the record of the de stiny which is written in the cells. Our picture of language . states that everything is written in a manifest Bo ok. When it says that 'everyone has their Book.is that they are the very creation pr ocess . water. but the record of the cells which was writt en in the destiny before it took place. we recognise that the record is the Reality itself in its unfolding. This creation-picture of reality as a Book which unfolds its meanings and story is emerging in a profounder light than the original idea that we entertained of it being merely some primitive myth. Qur'an says: Nought of disaster befalls in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book bef ore We bring it into being .but from our point of view it is the scientist who h as to come to terms with the basic problems underlying his position of fantasy-o bjectivity and dualistic language with all its pitfalls of teleology and so on w hich only have meaning while the whole thing remains 'a problem' that they arrog antly imagine they are 'solving'. The questions of these isomorphic featu res become particularly instructive when we realise that they find no analogue i n any system of animal communication. It is not that the Christian bourgeois society is superior to the Wisdom-transaction . Once He is Hidden. in the Qur'anic expression. therefore movement and activity. the Book of the Books that we have.hot.for the Khalif is the one who stands in during the absence of the King.the appearance of the phenomenal forms. and. the oldest of the se mitic group.D. Within the creation the letters unfold th eir messages of form until man himself emerges in the 'solid' world. but one can valuably assimilate their observations when they are made wi th such clarity of vision . which is in turn merely the manifes t version of the Hidden Book. and the languages of the adamic peoples.

'The letters. it is itself com pounded of the stuff of existence.as well as containing the discrimination-practice about such existential matters as mar riage. whose numerical value is 1. nutrition and sense are combined then the reality of 'an imal' appears. The Master explains further: Know.ncoding of the organism. once read or recited. and the vowels of the letters are 6. the simple and complex of the worlds. hidden reality at the genetic level that sustains the being in its existence of duration/state. Thus the world of words and phrases grows from the world of letters. their inter-relatedness. So then: There is another growth called a word. the source of all letters. Chart 5 : The Heavens of the Four Elements. active and effective . and they are body. The appended charts will give you a first outline of the letters and their Heave ns. i s Hamza. They ent er into the letters after their shaping. So when the Realised say that it is a lett er. The Conf ormable-in-all-its-parts. or word-to-sign. but it is the Source-Book of Forms. When body. fire and air belo ng to the setting up of the growth of bodies. the Qur'an is not merely the Book of Changes. that the letters are one of the communi ties. It is not the body alone. is the 'Alif. It is they which act in the bringing into existence from the Names the myriad forms of creation. Chart 3 : The Creation as a 7 / 9 unfolding: manifesting the elements. Chart 4 : The Creation showing the zones of the letters. but the common folk call it a letter. There are Messengers in them from themselves. al-Mutashabih. it is dynamic. and their elemental nature. Chart 2 : The Movement of the Heavens which create the four matrices which give the four elements. He explains its particular function thus: The Hamza intersects time and unites whatever it is near to. It is time (dahr) and its power is great.' says the Shaykh al-Akbar. as the bringing-together in a person make s man. Of it he says: The 'Alif is not from the letters with whoever smells a scent of the realities. The Interspace between the letters and the Names. By extension. are neither in it nor out of it. With the zone of word-to-phrase. and they have names in respect to them. Another letter that moves about in its significance. After the letters come the vowels. it is itself a living and activating energy-process which. So the reality of 'animal' only exists with the authorship of vocable intelligible realities in their essence. They have divisions in practice They have a Shari'a which they worship by. nor the nutrition alone. it is not merely the Book of Forms. from separation. In this picture of existence. Chart 1 : The Four Matrices of hot / dry / cold / wet. and they have both subtleties and densities. for that is the nature of the great cosmic reality of the Universe. death and continuation (pages 171-2) and you are opening to a totally new vision of how-it-is. unless we grasp the constancy of the creation-situation . may Allah give us and you success. t akes on an alchemical power which transmutes the situation into which it manifes ts its letters and sounds into the air and into the hearts of the listeners in t he Seen and the Unseen realities. and the unitary teaching about the Truth. earth. nutritio n and sense. It is beyond being contained in the st riking of a mithal. So t he letters belong to the words in affection like water. These realities which are from organisation exist by its existence and vanish wi th its non-existence. 'are the Imams of preservation. it is their underlyi ng. Realities arise due to this organisation of letter units.' It is they which 'uphold' the space/time reality of the organism. divorce and weaning and war. The dot of the circle encomp assment. speaking and obligated. Look again at the description that the Shaykh al-Akbar gives of the human bein g's life. This is followed by individual charts of each of the 29 letters of the alphabet. Only the people of unveiling from our Path k now this. they say that by way of metaphor in expression. and thus makes for a differ ence in calculation depending on its specific role in that particular picture. nor the sense . if we stick to the Qur'anic la nguage we enter a further complexification of the different patterns of existenc e.

A further aspect of language comes when we go from the separate words to the phr ases. The Qur'an.man/pupil of the eye. hizabr. like 'ayn . We have to examine how the exalted Lord and the slave are 'c onnected'. This third connecting term we will examine in full in the next stage of our sear ch. key. given that we can connect nothing t o Him. He call s these: the Wealthy Independent Essence . the same three . the n you say 'plant'. It is enough for the moment to observe the unifying principle of the teachin g as it follows the structuring of language and relates it to the complexificati on of existence itself. So we now find ourselves with language which is here to tell us about the realit y of our existence. So we then define language as be ing contained also in three realities.asad. the cosmic reality in all its vastness and complexity crowned by this self-aware creation. heat. The Shaykh al-Akbar outlines three vital aspects that make up existence. We have reached a point where we must ask questions about the nature of knowledg e. 3) Homonyms: phrases of one form with differences of meaning. and the nature of the creational realities. scissors.we read of His hand. sarim: wine . dryness.alone. like coldness. ghadanfar: sword . Man. 2) Understood phrases: which have an accepted designation of type: like man and woman. we find the Book full of phrases which seem in blatant contr adiction to this . sahba'. . These are: 1) Clear phrases: nouns. and the nature of the connection.sayf. the signs. He links these three aspects of Lord: slave: sour ce-form: to the very nature of language itself. 4) Synonyms: words with different forms which indicate one meaning: lion . One tells us that no form or concept may describe or circumscribe the Reality. At first glance they are utterly contradictory.eye/so urce: mushtari . Here phrases are seen to be on four divisions which are the mat rices.khamr. and recognise him as both Khalif of the Divine Reality and slave. This gives us: Noun / Essence Verb / Occurrence Preposition / Connection. husam. On the other hand. when we examine it.seller/buyer: insan . rahiq. and that He settled on the Throne.essence: occurrence: con nection. kha ndaris. in order to understand the meanin g of the Tawhid. the Unity itself. instructs us in two means of approach to the Rea lity. a reality which is not the first one. and s o on. and wetness in the elements. intransitives like ocean. We now have to extend this picture we have of existence in its intricate i nter-relatedness.the Sufficiency: a poor essence that is dependent upon the former: a third essence that is the connecting essence by which the second is dependent. If the reality of feeling falls away while body and nutrition remain. that is beyond association.

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