On the reason for the increase and decrease of knowledges and the
words of Allah, "Say: 'Lord, increase me in knowledge!" and the words
of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Allah does not restrict knowledge, plucking from the breasts of the scholars,
but He removes it by removing the scholars."
tajalli of the existence of the Truly Real in the sphere of the self
is evidence of decrease in knowledges.
is unconscious of that tajalli by his self,
can he then perceive Him through investigation and inquiry?
multiplicity of knowledge appears in the self,
realised veiling is confirmed by the text.
except the disk of the sun of existence appeared
and its light fell on the world of spirits.
Source is only perceived when there is manifestation,
even if man is destroyed by the intensity of greed.
is no doubt in the statement which I unfolded;
and it is not misrepresenting lie or conjecture.
(Knowledges: its ranks and stages)
Know that every living thing and everyone described by perception, is in a new knowledge in every breath in respect to that perception. However, it may be that the perceiving individual is not one of those who is mindful of that knowledge. In fact, it is knowledge, so knowledges can be described as being in decrease in respect of the one with knowledge. It results from the fact that there would be perception had not a barrier intervened between him and many things which he perceives, as is the case with someone who happens to be blind or deaf or the like.
Therefore knowledges rise and descend according to what is known. That is why when aspirations (himma) are connected to sublime noble knowledges by which man is described, his nafs (self) is purified and his rank exalted. The highest rank in knowledge is knowledge of Allah. The highest of the paths to the knowledge of Allah is the knowledge of tajalliyat. Below it is the knowledge of intellectual examination (nadhar). There is no divine knowledge below examination. There are creeds for the general people, not knowledges.
These knowledges are those in which Allah commanded His Prophet to seek increase. Allah said, "and do not rush ahead with the Qur'an before its revelation to you is complete and say, 'O Lord, increase me in knowledge!'" (20:114) i.e. increase me with Your words that You want me to know. Here increase in knowledge is knowledge of the nobility of slowness in the revelation, out of adab with the teacher who brings it to him from his Lord. For this reason, He put this verse after His word, "and faces will be humbled unto the Living, the All-Sustaining," (20:111) i.e. humbled. He meant the knowledges of tajalli. Tajalli is the noblest path for obtaining knowledges - they are the knowledges of immediate tasting.
(Knowledge: its increase and decrease)
We will mention increase and increase of knowledge in another chapter, Allah willing. That is that Allah gave everything - and the self (nafs) of man is one of these things - an outward and inward. The self of man outwardly perceives matters by the eye, and inwardly perceives matters by knowledge. Allah is the Outward, the Inward. It is by Him that perception occurs. It is not in the power of whatever is other than Allah to perceive anything by itself. He perceives by what Allah puts in him and the tajalli of Allah. Whoever has a tajalli from any world, be it the Visible or Unseen world, is from the Name, the Outward. As for the name, the Inward, part of the reality of this relationship is that there is no tajalli ever in it, not in this world or the Next since tajalli designates Allah's manifestation to the one who receives that manifestation. That belongs to the name, the Outward. The intelligibility of relationships does not change, even if they do not have any source by which they exist. However, they do have logical existence, so they are intelligible.
When Allah grants a tajalli, either as a free gift or as answer to a request, he gives the tajalli to the outward of the self, and perception by the senses occurs in the form and that takes place the interspace of making likenesses. So the one who receives the manifestation has an increased knowledge of judgements if he is one of the scholars of the Shari'a, increased knowledge of the criteria of meanings if he is a dialectician, and increased knowledge of the measure of speech if he is a grammarian. It is the for with the master of each of the knowledges of beings and non-beings. He has increase in himself in the knowledge with which he is occupied.
The people of this path know that this increase is comes from the Divine tajalli to those classes, so they cannot deny what has been unveiled to them. Non-gnostics sense increase and ascribe that to their thoughts. Others than these two experience increase but do not know that they are being increased in anything. In likeness "their likeness is that of a donkey loaded with weighty tomes. How evil is the likeness of those who deny Allah's Signs!" (62:5). The signs are this increase and the source of the increase. Astonishment is expressed about those who ascribe that to their own thoughts! They do not know that their thought, reflection and investigation in any question is part of the increase of knowledges in themselves which comes from that tajalli which we mentioned. The thinker is preoccupied with the connection of his thought and the end of his quest. He is veiled to knowledge of the true state. His knowledge is increasing, but he is not aware of it.
When tajalli occurs, it is by the name the Outward to the inward part of the self. Perception occurs the insight into the world of realities and meanings divested of physical matter. These are designated as "texts" since Divine texts do not have any ambiguity or probability by a certain aspect. That only takes place in the meanings. So the one with meanings has rest from the labour of thought, and in the tajalli he is increased in divine knowledges, the knowledges of the secrets and knowledges of the inward, and what is connected to the Next World. This is particular to the people of our Path - it is the path of our knowledge.
(Knowledge: its decrease)
Knowledge decreases for two reasons, either by evil nature in the basis of the organism or an incidental imperfection in the faculty connected to that. This evil nature in the basis of the organism cannot be mended, as al-Khidr said about the boy, "his nature was an unbeliever." (18:80) This is in the basis of the organism. As for the incidental imperfection, it can vanish - if it is in the faculty - by medicine. If it is in the self, as when love of leadership and following appetites distract him from acquiring knowledges which contain his honour and happiness, this can also be removed when the Truth calls from his heart and he returns to sound reflection, and he knows that this world is one of the stages of the traveller and a bridge to be crossed, and that if man does not furnish himself with knowledges, noble character and the attributes of the Higher Assembly here in the form of purification and freedom from natural appetites which distract him from sound reflection, he will have no way to achieve eternal happiness. Therefore he sets out on that. This imperfection is also a reason for the decrease of knowledges.
I do not mean that when s decrease it is a fault in man - except in the case of Divine knowledges. The reality accords that there is no decrease at all and that man is always and constantly in increase of knowledge and in respect to what his senses give him, the fluctuations of states and passing thoughts in himself. He his knowledge is increasing, but there is no benefit in it. Opinion, doubt, speculation, ignorance, heedlessness and forgetfulness: all of this and things like them are not accompanied by knowledge of what you are in in respect of opinion, doubt, speculation, ignorance, heedlessness or forgetfulness.
(The knowledges of tajalli: their increase and decrease)
As for decrease and increase in the knowledges of tajalli, man is in either one of two states: how the Prophets bring them forth by transmission, or the awliya' by the principle of being the heirs of the Prophets. This is like what was said to Abu Yazid al-Bistami when the robe of of delegation was placed on him, "Go out to My creation by My attribute. Whoever sees you has seen Me!" He could do nothing but obey his Lord's command. He took a step towards himself from his Lord and swooned. There was a cry, "Return My lover to Me! He cannot endure being apart form Me!" He was absorbed in the Real, like Abu 'Iqal al-Maghribi, so the spirits entrusted with him and who supported him when he was commanded to go out returned him to the station of absorption (istihlak) in Him. He was returned to Allah and the robes of humility, poverty, and abasement were placed on him. Life was pleasing and he saw his Lord and was increased in intimacy and had rest from the "lent trust (amana)" (33:72) which had to be taken from him.
(The Ascent of Man on the Ladder of Gnosis)
From the moment man starts up the ladder of ascent, he has a divine tajalli according to the ladder of his ascent. Each person among the people of Allah has a ladder particular to him by which no one else ascends. If someone could ascend by the ladder of someone else, then prophethood would be acquirable. By its essence, every ladder gives a rank particular to the one who ascends in it. If it would otherwise, the scholars would climb the ladder of the Prophets and obtain prophethood by doing so. The business is not like that. 'Divine capacity' would vanish if the matter would repeated. In our view, it is confirmed that there is no repetition in that presence.
However, all the steps of the meanings - for Prophets, awliya', believers, and messengers - are the same. One ladder does not have more steps than another ladder. The first step is Islam. It is submission. The last step is in annihilation in the ascent and going-on in the going-out. What remains is between the two of them. It is belief (iman), ihsan (excellence), knowledge, pure oneness (taqdis), disconnection (tanzih), wealth, poverty, abasement, might, change (talwin), establishment in change, annihilation if you go out and going-on if you enter. Every step in which you leave it decreases the knowledges of tajalli in your inward commensurate with what is increased in your outward until you reach the last step.
If you go out and reach the last step, then He is manifested by His essence in your outward in accordance with your worth and you manifest Him in His creation. In your inward there is nothing left at all and the tajalliyat of the inward leave you totally. When you are called to enter, this call is the first step to be manifested to you by tajalli in your inward according to what is decreased of that tajalli in your outward, until you reach the last step. Then He is manifested to your inward by His essence and no tajalli at all remains in your outward. The reason for that is that the slave and the Lord continue to be together, each one with perfect existence for himself: the slave is still the slave and the Lord is still the Lord, in spite of this increase and decrease.
This is the reason for the increase and decrease of the knowledges of tajalliyat in the outward and the inward. The reason for that is constitution. This is why all that Allah created and brought into existence in its source is composite - it has an outward and an inward. That which we refer to as the simple elements (basa'it) are intelligible matters which have no existence in their sources. Every existent thing, other than Allah, is composite. We learned this by sound unveiling with no doubt in it. It obliges a corresponding need of Him, since it is an essential description of Him.
If you understand, we have clarified the way for you and set up the ascent for you. So travel! And rise! You will see and witness what we have made clear to you. We have specified the steps of the ascent for you which we retained for you in the good advice when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace commanded us to give [in sound hadith]. If we had described the fruits and results to you without specifying the path to it for you, we would have made you yearn for an immense business which you would not know how to reach. By the One who has my self in His hand, it is the Ascent (Mi'raj). "Allah speaks the truth and guides to the Path."
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