The Seal of Wisdom of the Breath of Angelic Inspiration1 in the Word of Shith (Seth)
Know that the gifts and favours which appear in phenomenal being through human beings or without them fall into two categories: the gifts of the Essence and the gifts of the Divine Names. These two categories are distinct among the people of tasting according to whether as they come from a specific request for a specific thing, from a general request, or without any request. This applies whether they are gifts of the Essence or gifts of the Divine Names. They are specific when someone says, "O Lord, give me such-and-such a thing," and specifies something which occurs to him. They are general when someone says, "Give me what You know is good for all my parts, subtle and gross," without specifying it.
The askers fall into two groups - one group makes the request from a natural impulse to hasten its attainment, "for man is impetuous;" (17:11) and the other group asks because they know that there are matters with Allah which, in the foreknowledge of Allah, are only obtained after a request. They say, "Perhaps what I ask of Him is something of that sort." Their request takes into consideration this possibility. They do not know what is in the knowledge of Allah, nor what their capacity to receive will grant them. This is because it is one of the most difficult things to know capacity at any moment, for it refers to the capacity of the individual at that time. Furthermore, had he not been disposed by his capacity to make the request, he would not have made that particular request.
The goal of the people of presence,2 who do not possess such a knowledge, is to know it in the moment in which they find themselves. They know by their state of presence what Allah has given them in that moment. and they only receive it by their predisposition for it. They are of two sorts: one group knows their predisposition from what they have already received, and the other group knows what they are going to receive based on their predisposition. This latter group has the most perfect recognition of predisposition.
Among this group are those who make a request, neither to hasten it nor for the possibilities of favour, but rather to comply with the command of Allah when He says, "Call on Me and I will answer you." (40:60) This sort of person is the pure slave and when he asks, his aspiration (himma) is not attached to what he asks for, be it specific or not, rather his aspiration is merely in or not, rather his aspiration is merely in obedience to his Lord's command. When his state requires, he asks for slavehood, and when it requires entrustment [to Allah] and silence, he is silent. So Ayyub and others were tried, and they did not ask Allah to remove their affliction from them. Then at another moment, their state required that they ask that it be removed, and Allah removed it from them.
The immediate granting of a request, or its deferment, depends on the decree which has been determined for it by Allah. If the request coincides with the moment, the answer comes quickly, and if the moment is deferred - either in this world or the next, the answer is also deferred except for the answer from Allah which is, "At your service"3 - so understand this well!
As for the second category, it is received without making a request, and by "without request" we mean verbal expression of it. In actuality, there must always be a request - be it articulated, or by a state, or from a predisposition. Similarly, unrestricted praise only takes place through verbal expression. The state determines the meaning, for that which induces you to praise Allah is determined for you by a Name of Action4 or a Name of Disconnection.5 In the case of the predisposition of the slave, its possessor is not conscious of it, but he is aware of his state because he knows both what his motive is and the state itself. Predisposition is the most hidden form of making requests.
That which prevents some people from asking is their knowledge that Allah has predetermined their destiny, so they have prepared themselves to receive whatever comes from Him, and they have withdrawn from their selves and their desires.
Among these people are those who know that the knowledge which Allah has of them in all their states is their basic constitution in the state of their permanent source-form from before existence. They know that Allah will only give them what their source allows them according to Allah's knowledge of it when they were in their permanent source-forms. Thus these people know that Allah knows the way they will obtain anything.
There is no higher, nor more unveiled group among the People of Allah than this group, who understand on the secret of the Decree. They, in turn, fall into two sorts: those who know it in general and those who know it in particular. Those who know it in particular are higher and nearer perfection than those who know it in general. Such a person knows what is in the knowledge of Allah for him - be it by Allah informing him of the knowledge his own source has accorded to Him, or be it by direct unveiling to him from his permanent source-form whose unfolding states are endless. So he, in his knowledge of himself, is in the position of having Allah's knowledge of him, because it is derived from the same source. In respect of the slave, concern from Allah is predestined for him, and it is constituted by the sum of the states of his source which the possessor of this unveiling perceives when Allah allows him to perceive it, i.e. the states of his source. When Allah informs him of the states of his permanent source-form upon which the form of his existence depends, it is not in the capacity of the creature in this state to perceive what Allah perceives of his permanent source-form upon which the form of his existence depends, it is not in the capacity of the creature in this state to perceive what Allah perceives of these permanent sources in the state of their non-existence, since they are but essential relations without any form. In this respect, we say that divine concern precedes the slave's need because of this equivalence in the communication of knowledge.
In this way Allah speaks so that we will know, and it is an expression which is completely specific - not as is imagined by those who do not drink from this source. The goal of disconnection is to make that in-timeness in knowledge belong to Knowledge. It is the highest aspect of this question which the mutakallim6 can comprehend with his intellect - unless he considers knowledge to be distinct from the Essence. If he does this, he ascribes relativity to knowledge, and not to the Essence, and because of this, he sets himself apart from the realised ones among the People of Allah, who are endowed with unveiling and real existence.
Let us return to those gifts which are either the gifts proceding from the Essence or the Names. As for the favours, gifts and graces of the Essence, they only come by means of divine tajalli.7 Tajalli only comes from the Essence by means of the form of the predisposition of the one to whom the tajalli is made. It never occurs otherwise. The one who receives the tajalli will only see his own form in the mirror of the Real. He will not see see the Real, for it is not possible to see Him. At the same time, he knows that he sees only his own form. It is the same as a mirror in the Visible world inasmuch as you see forms in it or your own form but do not see the mirror. At the same time, however, you know that you see the forms, or your own form, only by virtue of the mirror. Allah manifests that as a model8 appropriate to the tajalli of His Essence, so that the one receiving the tajalli knows that he does not see Him. There is no model nearer or more appropriate to vision and tajalli than this. When you see a form in a mirror, try to see the body of the mirror as well - you will never see it. It is true that some people who perceive this say that the reflected form is imposed between the vision of the seer and the mirror. This is the most that it is possible to say, and the matter is as we have mentioned. We have clarified this in the The Makkan Revelations.
If you wish to taste this, then experience the limit beyond which there is no higher limit possible in respect of the creature. Neither aspire to, nor tire yourself out in trying to go beyond this degree, for in principle, there is only pure non-existence after it.
Thus Allah is your mirror in which you see yourself, and you are His mirror in which He sees His Names. His Names are not other than Himself, as you know. The matter is confusing. One of us implied ignorance of the matter as part of knowledge and said, "The incapacity to achieve perception is perception."9
Some of us know but do not express it in this way, even though it is the highest of words. Knowledge does not give incapacity to know as the first one said, but rather knowledge gives him the same silence which incapacity gives. This is the highest level of those who have knowledge of Allah.
This knowledge only belongs to the Seal of the Messengers and the Seal of the Awliyâ'. The Messengers and Prophets only see it from the niche of the Messenger who is the Seal. The awliyâ' only see it from the niche of the walî who is the Seal. Even the Messengers only see it to the extent that they see it from the niche of the Seal of the Awliya', for Message and Prophethood - by which I mean the Prophethood of bringing the Sharî'a and its message - ceases, but wilâya never ceases. Thus the Messengers, imuch as they are awliya', see what we have mentioned only from the niche of the Seal of the Awliya'. How could it be different for other awliyâ'? Although the Seal of the Awliyâ' is subject to the judgement which the Seal of the Messengers brought through the Sharî;a, that does not diminish his station nor does it detract from what we have said, for something which is lower from one point of view can be higher from another.
Confirmation of this occurred in the history of our Sharî'a in the excellence of the judgement of 'Umar regarding the prisoners of Badr 10 and their treatment, and in the story of fertilization of the date-palms.11 It is not necessary that the perfect have precedence in everything and in every rank. The Rijâl 12 regard precedence as being in the degrees of knowledge of Allah. Here is their goal. As for the things which are in-time, they do not attach their thoughts to them, so realise what we have mentioned!
Al-Khidr said to Musa, "I have knowledge which Allah has taught me, and which you do not know, and you have knowledge which Allah has taught you and which I do not know."13
It is like the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in relation to a brick wall which was complete except for one brick,14 and the Prophet was that one brick although he himself only saw the place for the single brick.
The Seal of the Awliyâ' must also have this sort of vision. He sees the same as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw, but he sees a place for two bricks in the wall, and that the bricks are made of gold and silver. He sees that there are two bricks missing in the wall, and he sees that they are a silver brick and a gold brick. He must see himself as being disposed by nature to fill the place of these two bricks. The Seal of the Awliyâ' is these two bricks by which the wall is completed. The necessary reason for which he sees himself as two bricks is that he follows the Shari'a of the Seal of the Messengers outwardly - which is the place of the silver brick. This means the outward Sharî'a with all that pertains to it of ordinances which are taken from Allah by the secret, according to the outward form which conforms to the secret because he sees the matter for what it really is. He must see the matter in this manner, for it is the place of the golden brick in the inwardly hidden. It is taken from the source from which the angel brought it, the same angel who brought the revelation to the Mesengers. If you have understood what I have alluded to, then you have indeed acquired useful knowledge!
All the Prophets, from Adam to the last of the Prophets, take their light from the niche of the Seal of the Prophets, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Even though the existence of his clay was deferred, the last Prophet was nevertheless present in his reality, according to his statement, "I was a Prophet when Adam was between water and clay." 15 Every other Prophet only became a Prophet by being described by divine qualities inasmuch as Allah is described as the Praiseworthy Wali.16
The Seal of the Messengers, in respect to his wilâya, is connected to the Seal of the Awliyâ' in the same way in which Prophets and Messengers are connected to it. He is a walî, Messenger, and Prophet. The Seal of the Awliyâ' is a walî and the heir who takes directly from the source, contemplating the ranks. He is the most beautiful of the beauties of the Seal of the Messengers, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the overseer of the community, and the master of the sons of Adam by reason of opening the door of intercession. He specified a particular state which is not universal.17 In this special state, he has precedence over the Divine Names. So the All-Merciful only mediates with the Avenger for the people of affliction through the intercession of the mediators. Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, obtained mastery in this special station. Whoever understands the ranks and the stations does not find this discourse difficult.
As for the gifts of the Names, know that Allah bestows mercy on His creation which is wholly from the names. Either it is a pure mercy, like the excellence of the provision which they have in this world or on the Day of Rising which is bestowed by that name, the Merciful, and so is a gift of mercy, or it is a mixed mercy like the taking of a disagreeable remedy which is followed by relief - it is still a divine gift. Divine gifts can only possibly be given through the intermediary of the guardians of the Names. Sometimes Allah gives it to the slave by means of the All-Merciful, and so the gift is pure from any adulteration which would be contrary to the nature of the moment, otherwise he would not receive the object and what would resemble it. Sometimes He gives by means of the the Boundless, so it is general - or by the Wise, so He looks at what is fitter at the moment, or by the Giving, who gives what is good without those who receive it having to compensate for it by gratitude or deed. He gives by the Compeller, and so He looks at the environment and what is necessary to it. He gives by the Forgiving and so He looks to the environment and what is happening to the individual. If he is in a state which merits punishment, He veils him from it, and if he is in a state which does not merit punishment, He protects him from a state which would merit it. He is "protected from wrong action", "safeguarded", and other descriptions of that sort. The Giver is Allah in the sense that He is the Treasurer of all that is in His treasury, and Allah only brings forth from it according to a predestined decree through the intermediary of a name particular to that matter. So He gives everything its created form 18 according to the name, the Just, and its brothers.
The Names of Allah are endless because they are known by what comes from them, and what comes from them is endless, even though they can be traced back to the limited roots which are the matrices of the Names or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but one of the Names or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but One Reality which assumes all these relations and aspects which are designated by the Divine Names. The Reality grants that each of the Names, which manifest themselves without end, has a reality by which it is distinguished from another Name. It is that reality by which it is distinguished which is the Name itself - not that which it shares.
It is the same with the gifts - every gift is distinct from another by personal nature, although they come from a single source. It is evident that this one is not that one. That is because the Names are distinct. Because of its boundlessness, in the Divine Presence there is nothing at all which repeats itself. This is the truth which is determined.
This was the knowledge of Shith, peace be upon him, and its spirit aids every spirit which discusses the like of this, except for the spirit of the Seal who receives replenishing knowledge directly from Allah, not from any spirit. No, rather it is from his spirit that his substance flows to all spirits, although he may not perceive that of himself at the time when his elemental body existed. However, in respect to his reality and his rank, he knows all of that essentially, just as he is ignorant of the composition of the elements (of his body). So he has knowledge and is ignorant, and he is capable of being described by contrary attributes even as the Origin admits of description with opposites such as the Majestic and the Beautiful, the Outward and the Inward, the Last and the First - and they are the same, and not other than Him. Therefore, he knows and does not know, and he perceives and does not perceive, and he sees and does not see. It is by this knowledge that Shith received his name because it means "the gift". In His hand is the key to the gifts in their various types and relationships So Allah gave him to Adam, and he was the first gift, and He only gave it from Himself.
This was the knowledge of Shith, peace be upon him, and its spirit aids every spirit which discusses the like of this, except for the spirit of the Seal who receives replenishing knowledge directly from Allah, not from any spirit. No, rather it is from his spirit that his substance flows to all spirits, although he may not perceive that of himself at the time when his elemental body existed. However, in respect to his reality and his rank, he knows all of that essentially, just as he is ignorant of the composition of the elements (of his body). So he has knowledge and is ignorant, and he is capable of being described by contrary attributes even as the Origin admits of description with opposites such as the Majestic and the Beautiful, the Outer and the Inner, the Last and the First - and they are the same, and not other than Him. Therefore, he knows and does not know, and he perceives and does not perceive, and he sees and does not see. It is by this knowledge that Shith received his name because it means "the gift". In His hand is the key to the gifts in their various types and relationships So Allah gave him to Adam, and he was the first gift, and He only gave it from Himself.
All gifts in phenomenal being are manifested in this fashion - so no one receives anything from Allah and no-one receives anything which does not come from himself. Not everyone recognises this. Only a few of the people of Allah know it. When you see one who recognises that, rely on him, for that one is the source of the purest purity and the elite of the elite of the Men of Allah.
Whenever a person of unveiling sees a form which communicates to him gnosis which he did not have and which he had not been able to grasp before, that form is from his own source, no other. From the tree of himself he gathers the fruits of his cultivation, as his outer form opposite the reflected body is nothing other than himself, even though the place of the presence in which he sees the form of himself presents him with an aspect of the reality of that presence through transformation. The large appears small in the small mirror and tall in the tall, and the moving as movement. It can reverse its form from a special presence, and it can reflect things exactly as they appear, so the right side of the viewer is his right side, while the right side can be on the left. This is generally the normal state in mirrors, and it is a break in the norm when the right side is seen as the right and inversion occurs. All this is from the gifts of the reality of the Presence in which it is manifested and which we have compared to the mirror.
Whoever recognises his predisposition, recognises what he will receive. Not everyone who knows what he will receive, knows his predisposition, unless he knows it after receiving it, and this one knows it in a general way. Some people who are weak of intellect think that since it confirmed with them that Allah does what He wills, they deem it admissible that He could contradict wisdom and what the matter is in itself.19 Because of this, some of them go so far as to deny the possibility and affirm that which is necessary by essence and by other. The man who has achieved realisation, however, admits the possibility and knows its presence and knows what is possible and how it is possible, since in its source it is necessarily existent because of something other-than-it. From where is the name of other, which determines its necessity, valid for it? No one knows this distinction except those with particular knowledge of Allah.
It is in the footsteps of Shith that the last of this human species will be born, and he will carry his secrets. There will none of this species born after him, so he will be the Seal of the Begotten. A sister will be born with him, and she will emerge before him, and he will follow her with his head at her feet. He will be born in China, and he will speak the language of his country. Sterility will spread in men and women, so there will be much cohabitation without conception. He will call people to Allah, but will not be answered. When Allah takes him and the believers of his time, those who remain will be like beasts, not knowing what is lawful (halâl) from what is unlawful (harâm). They will act according to their natural instincts with lust, devoid of reason and law. Upon them the Last Hour will occur.
1. Nafth, to puff, blow or spit, hence inspiration. Hadith, "He (Jibril) inspired or put (nafatha) into my heart..." Hence poetry is called the nafth of Shaytan.
2. The people of the presence are those who see everything as coming to them from Allah and everything as effected by Allah.
4. Like the Giving, the Provider.
5. Tanzih, making Allah free of any connection to His creation. Names like the Absolutely Pure (al-Quddûs).
6. The people of words - theologians and philosophers. They are unable to enter the realm of reflection and meditation that is the Sufic domain, and thus oppose the Sufic teaching - mistaking the doctrine's meanings since they cannot intellectually identify them with a specific set of physical practices and direct inner experience.
7. A manifestation by which something is made clear and unobscured, as the bride is displayed to the husband or the rust removed from a sword or mirror so that it shines. The tajalli is the unveiling of a spiritual reality in the realm of vision. It is a direct-seeing into the nature of existence, a showing forth of the secrets of the One in the celestial and terrestial realms.
8. Mithâl, a Qur'anic term which indicates learning not by logical but by analogical method. It is simply the ACCESS to the parable and not the parable or any idea that the "metaphor" equals its interpretation. It has no specificity. Mithal is grasped "on the wing" so to speak. It cannot be explored or analysed or extended. That is to say it must not be approached rationally but emphathetically with direct and clear seeing-into.
9. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.
10. After Badr, Abu Bakr asked the Prophet to either forgive or allow the prisoners to be ransomed. 'Umar said that they should be killed. Eventually, the Muslims reached a consensus that the captives should be ransomed and they were. Later the verse was revealed, "It is not for a Prophet to take captives..." (8:67)
11. When the Prophet had been asked about whether palm-trees should be pollinated and then later said, "You have the best knowledge of these things of your world."
12. Rijal (sing. rajul): The men. Meaning the men of gnosis and illumination. Those who know - that is - who know how-it-is, and not the veiled fantasy experience of so-called ordinary sensory perception which is, as we now know, in direct contradiction to the physical reality of matter according to high-energy physics.
13. cf. Qur'an 18:65.
14. Hadith in al-Bukhari (2815) and Muslim.
15. Hadith in at-Tirmidhi and Musnad Ibn Hanbal.
16. Qur'an 42:28, "It is He who sends down abundant rain after they have lost all hope, and He unfolds His mercy; He is the Praiseworthy, the Wali."
17. He only can open the door of intercession because it is a a special gift to him alone.
18. Qur'an 20:50: "Our Lord is He who gives each thing its created form and then guides it."
19. i.e. they permit that He do the impossible, like making existence non-existence or non-existence existence.
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