Islam

"Travel beyond the confines of this life and see the vastness of His kingdom beyond space. Let your ear listen to what it has not heard before, and your eye see what it has not seen, until it leads you to where you see the One of the world and all the worlds. Express your passion for the One from your heart and soul until you see the Reality with the eye of certainty. There is only One and nothing but Him, He is Alone and there is no God but Him." (Imam Muhammad Ibn 'Ali AL-Baqir 11th century)

"You fancy this world is permanent of itself and endures because of it's own nature, but really it is a ray of light from the Truth, and within it the Truth is concealed." (Sa'd Al-Din Mahmud Shabistari 1250 - 1320)

"The ocean is the same ocean as it has always been of old; the events of today are it's waves and it's rivers." (Sayyid Haydar Amuli - 14th century)

In the begnning was Allah, and beside Him there was nothing - and He remains as He was. (Hadith)

Divine unity (tawhid) is the return of man to his origin, so that he will become as he was before he came into being. (Imam Abu'l-Qasim Al-Junayd 910 AD)

I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the Creation so that I may be known. (Hadith Qudsi)

In the death of the self lies the life of the heart. (Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq - 8th century)

Work for this life as though you are going to live forever. Work for the Next life as though you will die tommorrow. (Ali Ibn Talib 600 - 661)

I was sent from myself as a messenger to myself. And my essence testified to myself by my signs. (Ibn Ali-Farid 1181 - 1235)

When I Allah love my servant.... I become the hearing with which he hears, the seeing with which he sees, the hand with which he grasps, the feet with which he walks, the tongue with which he speaks. (Hadith Qudsi)

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop. (Kabir 1450 - 1518)

Asceticism is not that you should not own anything, but that nothing should own you. (Ali Abu Talib 600 - 661)

The Sufi sees his own existence as particles of dust made visible by a ray of sunlight: neither real nor unreal. (Abu'l-Hasan Ash-Shadhili 1175 - 1258)

Your soul attains to perfection when it returns to it's original sublime state, according to the individual capacity of each person. Thus the soul divests itself of all illusion and refines itself with the subtlety it's own secret by means of spiritual exercises aime at purification of the outer and inner from all obscurity and impurity. (Sayyid Haydar Amuli 14th century)

Allah possesses a drink which is reserved for his intimate friends (awliya): when they drink they become intoxicated, when they become intoxicated they become joyful, when they become joyful they become sweet, when they become sweet they begin to melt, when they begin to melt they become free, when they become free they seek, when they seek they find, when they find they arrive, when they arrive they join, and when they join there is no difference between them and their Beloved. (Ali Ibn Talib 600 - 661)

... None grasps Him save He Himself. None knows Him but He Himself... He knows Himself by Himself... Other-than-He cannot grasp Him. His impenetrable veil is His own Oneness. Other-than-He does not cloak Him. His veil is His very existence. He is veiled by His Oneness in a manner that cannot be explained. Other-than-He does not see Him; whether prophet, envoy, or prefected saint or angel near unto Him. His prophet is He Himself. His envoy is He. His message is He. His word is He. He has sent word of His ipseity by Himself, from Himself to Himself, without intermediary or causality other than Himself...Other-than-He has no existence and so cannot bring itself to naught... (From Introduction to Sufism - Muhyi-d-Din ibn 'Arabi in his Epistle on Unity, the Risalat al Ahadiyah)

(Paraphrased: According to the fundamental formula of Islam, the 'testimony' known in Arabic as the shahadah:)

There is no divinity if it be not The Divinity
(la ilaha ill-Allah)

which, so to say, 'defines' the Divine Unity. This formula should be translated as here indicated and not, as usually the case, 'there is no god but Allah', for it is proper to retain in it the appearance of ... paradox.

Its first part, 'the negation'..., denies in a general manner the same idea of divinity which the second part, the 'affirmation'... affirms by isolation; in other words the formula as a whole postulates an idea -- that of divinity -- which at the same time it denies as a genus. This is the exact opposite of a 'definition', for to define something means first to determine its 'specific difference' and then to bring it to the 'nearest genus,' i.e. to general concepts. Now as the shahadah indicates, Divinity is 'defined' precisely by the fact that Its reality eludes ever category...

According to this 'testimony; God is distinct from all things and nothing can be compared to Him... Now perfect incomparability requires that nothing can be set face to face with the incomparable and have any relationship whatever with it; this amounts to saying that nothing exists in face of the Divine Reality so that, in It, all things are annihilated. 'God was and nothing with Him and He is now such as He was' (hadith qudsi).

Thus extreme 'remoteness' must imply its opposite. Since nothing can be opposed to God -- for it would then be another 'divinity' -- every reality can only be a reflection of the Divine Reality. Moreover, every positive meaning one might give to the expression ilah (divinity) will be transposed in divinis: 'there is no reality if it be not The Reality', 'there is no force if it be not The Force', 'there is no truth if it is not The Truth.' We must not seek to conceive of God by bringing Him down to the level of things; on the contrary, things are reabsorbed into God so soon as one recognizes the essential qualities of which they are constituted. (From Introduction to Sufism - Muhyi-d-Din ibn 'Arabi in his Epistle on Unity, the Risalat al Ahadiyah)

The absolutely Non-Manifested cannot be designated by any expresssion which could limit It, Separate It, or include It. In spite of this, every allusion alludes only to Him, every designation designates Him, and He is at the same time the Non-Manifested and the Manifested. (Amir 'Abd al-Kader)

Allah is in Himself the non-being and the being, the inexistent and the existent. He is at the same time that which we designate by absolute non-being and by absolute being; or by relative non-being and relative being... All these designation come back to God alone, for there is nothing which we can perceive, know, write or say which is not Him. (Amir 'Abd al-Kader)

Paraphrased: Allah is neither this nor that. (Amir 'Abd al-Kader)

Know however that God, in order to manifest Himself by His essence to His essence, has no need of creatures since, with relation to Essence, he is absolutely independent with respect to worlds and even with respect to His own names... On the other hand, when He manifests Himself with His names and His attributes -- which implies the manifestation of the effects -- He needs (huwa muftaqir) the creatures...

This relation is ... necessary in order that the divine Names, which are only distinguished by their effects, can be distinguished from one another. At the same time, the divine Names, by the one of their "faces" which is turned toward the Essence, are themselves totally autonomous with respect to worlds. In this respect, they are nothing other than the Essence itself and that is why each of them can be qualified and designated by all of the other Names in the same way as the Essence. (Amir 'Abd al-Kader)


Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz said: I have never known Allah -- May He be exalted! -- except through the coincidence in Him of the opposites. "He is the First and the Last, the Apparent and the Hidden." (Qur'an 57:3)
(Mawqif 193, p. 111)

God created suffering and heartache so that joyful-heartedness might appear through its opposite. Hence hidden things become manifest through opposites. But since God has no opposite, He remains hidden... God's light has no opposite within existence, that through its opposite it might be made manifest. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

That Oneness is on the other side of descriptions and states. Nothing but duality enters speech's playing field. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Thy Attributes cannot be understood by the vulgar without analogy, yet analogy increases the mistaken idea of Thy similarity with the creatures. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

The beauty of the Unseen Form is beyond description -- borrow a thousand illuminated eyes, borrow! (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Love makes forms in separation. But at the time of meeting, the Formless shows His head ands says, "I am the root of the root of sobriety and intoxication; the beauty you see in forms is My reflection. Now I have removed the veils, I have displayed Beauty without intermediary. Since you have become so interwoven with My reflection, you have found the strength to view the Essence alone." (Jalaluddin Rumi)

We and our existences are nonexistences. Thou art Absolute Existence showing Thyself as perishable things. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Source material: The Key to Salvation: A Sufi Manual of Invocation

Your Saying "God is Most Great" does not mean that He is greater than something else, since there is nothing else alongside of Him, so that it could be said that He is greater than it... Rather, the meaning of Allahu Akbar is that He is much too great to be perceived by the senses or for the depths of His Majesty to be reached by reason and logic, and indeed, that He is much too great to be known by an other-than-Him for truly, no one knows God but God. (p. 119)

... the gnosis of God is intermediate between immoderation, which is ascribing human characteristics to God, and negligence, which is denying any attributes to God... The Truth lies in the balance between the two extremes. (p. 162)

He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward and He is the Knower of all things. (p. 182)

(Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn `Arabi)

... in Ibn `Arabi's own terminology Al-Lah is the Name which designates the divine Essence qualified and invested with the sum of His attributes, whereas al-Rabb, the Lord, is the personified and particularized Divine in one of its attributes (hence the divine Names designated as so many "lords", arbab). (p. 122)

... Ibn `Arabi distinguishes between Allah as God in general and Rabb as the particular Lord, personalized in an individualized and undivided relation with his vassal of love. This individualized relationship on both sides is the foundation of the mystic and chivalric ethic of the fedel d'amore in the service of the personal Lord whose divinity depends on the adoration of his faithful vassal... {It is the passion that the fedele d'amore feels for his Lord which reveals the Lord to Himself.} And this always individually, in an "alone to alone," which is something very different from universal logic or from a collective participation, because only the knowledge which the fedele has of his Lord is the knowledge which this personal Lord has of him. (p. 94)

All {the divine Names} refer to one and the same Named One. But each one of them refers to an essential determination, different from all the rest; it is by this individualization that each Name refers to the God who reveals himself to and by the theophanic imagination. (p. 192)

... the Divine Being is not fragmented, but wholly present in each instance, individualized in each theophany of His Names, and it is invested in each instance with one of these Names that He appears as Lord. (p. 121)

Paraphrased: The devotee who is faithful to the divine Name that is His Lord recognizes his Beloved in every Beloved and in every divine Name the totality of Names, because among the divine Names there is a sympathetic union. (p. 134)

The Names... have existed from all eternity: these Names are designated as "Lords" (Arbab), who often have all the appearance of hypostases though they cannot strictly be defined as such. We know them only by our knowledge of ourselves (that is the basic maxim). God describes Himself to us through ourselves. Which means that the divine Names are essentially relative to the beings who name them, since these beings discover and experience them in their own mode of being... Thus the divine Names have meaing and full reality only through and for beings... in which they are manifested. Likewise from all eternity, these forms, substrate of the divine Names, have existed in the divine Essence (A `yan thabita). And it is these latent individualities who from all eternity have aspired to concrete being in actu. Their aspiration is itself nothing other than the nostalgia of the divine Names yearning to be revealed. And this nostalgia of the divine Names is nothing other than the sadness of the unrevealed God, the anguish He experiences in His unknownness and occultation. (p. 114-115)

The "God created in the faith" manifests Himself no longer in order to impose Himself on the faithful, but in order to express His limits, for these limits are the condition which makes possible one among the many divine epiphanies. The gnostic does not receive a ready-made Image of his Lord, but understands Him in the light of the Image which in the course of his manajat, his intimate dialogue, appears in the mirror of his heart as subtile organ. (p. 270)

The image of the God whom the faithful creates is the Image of the God whom his own being reveals... Thus it is psychologically true to say that "the God created in the faiths" is the symbol of the Self. The God to whom we pray can be only the God who reveals Himself to us, by us, and for us, but it is praying to Him that we cause the "God created in the faiths" to be himself eveloped in the Divine Compassion, that is, existentiated, manifested by it. The theophanies of the "Gods" manifested to the heart or to the faiths are all theophanies of the real One God (Haqq Haqiqi). When we are the musalli, this must be borne in mind; he who knows this is the gnostic who has untied the knot of closed, limited dogmans, because for him they have become theophanic symbols. (p. 266-267)



Questioner:

How do you know God?

Abu Asa`id al-Kharraz:

By the fact that He is the coincidentia oppositorum.

Corbin's commentary:

... the entire universe of worlds is at once He and not-He (huwa la huwa). The God manifested in forms is at once Himself and other than Himself, for since He is manifested, He is the limited which has no limit, the visible which cannot be seen. This manifestation is neither perceptible nor verifiable by the sensory faculties; discursive reason rejects it. It is perceptible only by the Active Imagination (Hadrat al-Khayal...) at times when it dominates man's sense perceptions, in dreams or better still in the waking state (in the state characteristic of the gnostic when he departs from the consciousness of sensuous things).

In short, a mystic perception (dhawq) is required. To perceive all forms as epiphanic forms (mazahir), that is, to perceive through the figures which they manifest and which are the eternal hexeities, that they are other than the Creator and nevertheless that they are He, is precisely to effect the encounter, the coincidence, between God's descent toward the creature and the creature's ascent toward the Creator. The "place" of this encounter is not outside the Creator-Creature totality, but is the area within it which corresponds specifically to the Active Imagination, in the manner of a bridge joining the two banks of a river. The crossing itself is essentially a hermeneutics of symbols ..., a method of understanding which transmutes senosory data and rational concepts into symbols (mazahir) by making them effect this crossing. (p. 188-189)

Behold what shows to thee His Omnipotence, (may he be exalted): It is that He hides Himself from thee by what has no existence apart from Him. (Ibn 'Ata'illah al-Iskandari, in his Hikam)

...The world is essentially the manifestation of God to Himself. Thus it is expressed in the sacred saying (hadith qudsi) which brings back the idea of creation to the idea of Knowledge: 'I was a hidden treasure; I wished to be known (or to know) and I created the world.' In the same sense Sufis compare the Universe to a combination of mirrors in which the Infinite Essence contemplates Itself in a multiplicity of forms, or which reflect in differing degrees the irradiaiton (at-tajalli) of the One Being. (Ibn 'Ata'illah al-Iskandari, in his Hikam)


In truth all possibilities are principially reducible to non-existence('udum) and there is no Being (or, Existence) other than the being of God, may He be exalted, (revealing Himself) in the "forms" ... which result from possibilities as they are in themselves... (Muhyi-d-Din ibn 'Arabi, in his Fusus al-Hikam in the Chapter on Jacob)


And He is with you wherever you are ... (Qur'an 57:4)

Commentary: ... The companionship expressed by "with" is that of the Being and the non-being, for there is no Being other than Allah...

If Allah -- May He be exalted! -- was not, by His very Essence, which is the Being of all that is, "with" the creatures, we could not attribute being to any of these createres and they could not be perceived either by the senses, by the imagination, or by the intellect. It is their 'being with' which assures to creatres a relation with Being. Better yet, it is their being itself. This 'being with' embraces all things, whether they are sublime or lowly, great or small. It is through it that they subsist. He is the pure Being by which 'that which is' is. The 'being with' of Allah consists therefore in the fact that He is with us through His essence; that is, through that which we call the divine Self (huwiyya), universally present ... (Amir 'Abd al-Kader)

Indications of this divine 'being with' are contained in the following verses:

•And He is witness of all things (Qur'an 34:47) •And Allah, behind them, encompasses them (Qur'an 85:20) •Wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah (Qur'an 2:116)

There's a strange frenzy in my head, of birds flying, each particle circulating on its own. Is the one I love everywhere? (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God, God is in the look of your eyes, in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self, or things that have happened to you. There's no need to go outside. Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

What do we mean by saying that God is not in heaven? We do not mean that He is not in heaven, but that heaven cannot encompass Him. He encompasses heaven. He has an ineffable connection with heaven just as He has an ineffable connection with you. Everything is in His omnipotent hands; everything is a manifestation of Him and subject to His control. So, He is not outside the heavens and the universe but is not totally inside them either, that is, they do not encompass Him but He encompasses them totally. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Someone asked where God was before the earth, skies, and Divine Throne existed. We said that the question was invalid from the outset because God is by definition that which has no place. {He is non-spacial} (Jalaluddin Rumi)

All creatures, day and night, make manifestation of God. Some of them know what they are doing and are aware of their manifesting, while others are unaware. However it may be, God's manifestation is confirmed. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

Every image that appears on the slate of existence is a picture of the one who drew the image. (Fakhruddin Iraqu - Footnote 18, p. xviii)


Hadith qudsi - Moses said: O Lord, are you close enough for me to whisper in your ear or so distant that I should shout?

And God said: I am behind you, before you, at your right and your left. O Moses, I am sitting next to my servant whenever he remembers me, and I am with him when he calls me. (Footnote 209, p. 193)

All pictured forms are reflections in the water of the stream; when you rub your eyes, indeed, all are He. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

The unique God has manifested His sign in the six directions to those with illuminated eyes.
Whatever animal or plant they behold, they contemplate the gardens of divine Beauty.
That is why He said to them, Wheresoever you turn, there is His Face (Koran II 115).

All of these are symbols -- I mean that the other world keeps coming into this world.
Like cream hidden in the soul of milk, No-place keeps coming into place.
Like intellect concealed in blood and skin, the Traceless keeps entering into traces.

And from beyond the intellect, beautiful Love comes dragging its skirts, a cup of wine in its hand.
And from beyond Love, that indescribable One who can only be called "That" keeps coming. (Jalaluddin Rumi)

The earth has the external shape of dust, but inside are the luminous Attributes of God.
It's outward has fallen into war with its inward; its inward is like a pearl and its outward a stone.
Its outward says, "I am this and no more." Its inward says, "Look well, before and behind!"
Its outward denies, saying, "The inward is nothing." The inward says, "We will show you. Wait!" (Jalaluddin Rumi)


Qur'an: Wheresoever you turn, there is the face of Allah.

I am nearer to you than yourself to yourself. (Rumi)

... persist in that invocation until the unity of the world is subsumed for you in a single sphere, so that with the eye of your heart you will see naught in the two worlds save the One. (Rumi)

... in everything there is a sign that points to the Oneness of Him. (Rumi)


... the "Sigh of Compassion" flows through the things of the world like the waters of a river and is unceasingly renewed. (Ibn `Arabi)

His creation springs, not from nothingness, from something other than Himself, from a not-Him, but from His fundamental being, from the potencies and virtualities latent in His own unrevealed being. (Ibn `Arabi)

Everything we call other than God, everything we call the universe, is realted to the Divine Being as the shadow to the person. The world is God's shadow... The shadow is at once God and something other than God. Everything we perceive is the Divine Being in the eternal hexeities of the possibles. (Ibn `Arabi)