Note sur cette transcription

Voici une traduction anglaise du Lawa’ih de Jami (-1492) .

Elle révèle la profondeur mystique du texte du dernier grand mystique en terres d’Islam appartenant à la filiation Naqsbandie. Préférable à la traduction de Richard (Paris ; Les Deux Océans, 1982).

L’ouvrage de Sachiko Murata d’où est extrait cette belle traduction de William C. Chittick est du plus grand intérêt pour celui qui recherche une compatibilité entre religions du livre et confucianisme.


Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light

Wang Tai-yü's Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm

Sachiko Murata

Foreword by Tu Weiming

With a New Translation of Jámi's Lawiib from the Persian by William C. Chittick

Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light investigates, for the first time in a Western language, the manner in which the Muslim scholars of China adapted the Chinese tradition to their own needs during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book surveys the 1400-year history of Islam in China and explores why the four books translated from Islamic languages into Chinese before the twentieth century were all Persian Sufi texts. The author also looks carefully at the two most important Muslim authors of books in the Chinese language, Wang Tai-yu and Liu Chih. Murata shows how they assimilated Confucian social teachings and Neo-Confucian metaphysics, as well as Buddhism and Taoism, into Islamic thought. She presents full translations of Wang's Great Learning of the Pure and Real—a text on the principles of Islam—and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm, which in turn is a translation from Persian of Lawä i, a famous Sufi text by Jámi. A new translation of Jámi's Lawá'iü from the Persian by William C. Chittick is juxtaposed with Liu Chih's work, revealing the latter's techniques in adapting the text to the Chinese language and Chinese thought.

"This is a remarkable book, painstakingly set in its historical and intellectual context. There is a brilliance reflected in both the introduction and the translation. We are indebted to Sachiko Murata for her fine work!"

Mary Evelyn Tucker, author of Moral and Spiritual Cultivation in Japanese Neo-Confucianism:

The Life and Thought of Kaibara Ekken (1630-1714)

"Murata's book goes a long way toward filling a huge gap in our knowledge of Islam in China." —Alan Godlas, cotranslator of Javad Nurbakhsh's Divani Nurbakhsh: Sufi Poeny

"This work is highly original, shows an astonishing range of linguistic and philosophical competencies, and brings to life an extremely interesting and little-known Muslim intellectual tradition." —Juan R. I. Cole, translator of Kahlil Gibran's The Vision: Reflections on the Way of the Soul

Sachiko Murata is Associate Professor of Comparative Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and author of The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought, also published by SUNY Press.


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With a New Translation of Jámi's Lawîr'ih from

the Persian by William C. Chittick



Wang Tai-yü's Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the

Real Realm

With a New Translation of Jámi's Lawá'ih from the Persian by William C. Chittick

Sachiko Murata

With a Foreword by Tu Weiming

State University of New York Press

Published by State University of New York Press, Albany

C 2000 State University of New York

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

For information, address the State University of New York Press,

State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246

Production by Marilyn P Semerad

Marketing by Anne M. Valentine

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Murata, Sachiko, (date)

Chinese gleams of sufi light : Wang Tai-yü's Great learning of the pure and real and Liu Chih's Displaying the concealment of the real realm ; with a new translation of Jámi's Lawâ'ih from the Persian by William C. Chittick / by Sachiko Murata ; with a foreword by Tu Weiming

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-7914-4637-9 (alk. paper) — ISBN 0-7914-4638-7 (pbk. : alk. paper)

1. Sufism—doctrine. 2. Islam—China. 3. Wang Tai-yü. Ch'ing-chen ta-hsüeh. 4. Liu, Chih, ca. 1662-1730. Chen ching chao wei. I. Chittick, William C. H. Jámi,1414-1492. Lawá'ih. English. III. Wang Tai-yü. Ch'ing-chen ta-hsüeh. English. IV. Liu, Chih, ca. 1662-1730. Chen-ching chao-wei. English. V. Title.


Table des matières

Note sur cette transcription 3

Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light 4

Table 5

Table d’origine 6

Foreword 7

Gleams 8

Introduction 8

Whispered Prayer 8

Preface 9





































Postscript 29

Notes to pp. 109-125 30

Fin 33

Table d’origine

Foreword vii


Introduction 1

1. Chinese-Language Islam 13

The Essentials of Islam 14

The Chinese Language 17

Wang Tai-yü 19

Liu Chih 24

The Arabic Translation of Liu Chih's Philosophy 28

Translations into Chinese 31

The Neo-Confucian Background 35

2. The Works of Wang Tai-yü 43

The True Answers 44 69

The Real Commentary on the True Teaching 48

Adam and Eve: From Chapter Two of the Real Commentary 60

The Real Solicitude 64

3. Wang Tai-yü's Great Learning

The Chinese Background 70

The Islamic Concepts 74

The Text 78

4. The Great Learning of the Pure and Real 81

Preface 81

Introduction 82

Synopsis: Comprehensive Statement 84

The Real One 89

The Numerical One 93

The Embodied One 96

General Discussion 101

5. Liu Chih's Translation of Lawá'ih 113

The Oneness of Existence 116

Liu Chih's Appropriation of Lawá'ih 121

The Translations 126

6. Gleams 128

7. Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm 129


Glossary of Chinese Words


Index of Chinese Names and Terms

Index of Persian and Arabic Names and Terms

General Index


When the Prophet Muhammad instructed, "Seek knowledge, even unto China," the rhetorical significance of China was perhaps its remoteness, an unlikely place for Muslims to travel for economic, political, or social reasons. Therefore Islam's arrival in China in the Tang dynasty (618907), probably within the first generation of Muhammad's disciples, is quite remarkable. The Muslims in Tang China were mainly traders who, protected by extraterritorial rights and confined to specifically designated port cities, preserved their Arabic names, native tongues (primarily Persian), and original dress. Although they led a separate religious and social life of their own, they built mosques in more than a dozen cities, notably Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Hangzhou, and Chang'an. With the expansion of maritime trade in Song China (960-1279), the number of Muslims increased and their presence in the mainstream of Chinese society was reflected in art, architecture, and literature. Those who settled permanently in the Middle Kingdom married Chinese women or adopted Chinese children, especially in times of famine.

The Mongol conquest of China (1278-1368) provided an unusual opportunity for Central Asian peoples to serve as advisors and officials in the Chinese court. As a result, several Muslims became ministers. One of the most prominent was Sayyid Ajall, whose legacy as the governor of Yunnan province is ingrained in the collective memory of the local culture and an integral part of its ethico-religious identity.' By the time of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), according to Donald Leslie and others, Muslims in China had been thoroughly transformed into "Chinese Muslims" and the Hui Hui (as Sinicized or, at least, Chinese-speaking Muslims, called themselves and were designated in public discourse) were a conspicuous presence on the Chinese religious landscape.3

Nevertheless, an intellectual effervescence among a coterie of theologically sophisticated Muslim scholars did not begin until the seventeenth century, specifically in the transition between late Ming and early Qing (1644 1912). For the first time in the history of Islam in China, the ulama significantly enriched the intellectual life of the Chinese Muslim community by producing highly sophisticated theological works. Why the late seventeenth and early eighteenth-century Muslim teachers felt the need to articulate a pattern of fruitful interaction between their faith


page 128



"I do not number Thy laudations—how indeed! Every laudation returns to Thee. The precinct of Thy holiness is too majestic for my laudation. Thou art as Thou hast lauded Thyself."/1 [notes mise à la fin de cette traduction]

O God, I do not bring Your thanksgiving to my tongue, nor do I count out Your praises. Everything in the pages of the engendered things is of the same kind as laudation and praise, and all return to the precinct of Your magnificence and greatness. What comes from our hands and tongues worthy of Your thanksgiving and praise? You are as You have said Yourself—the pearl of Your laudation is what You Yourself have pierced.

There in the perfection of Your magnificence,

the world is a dewdrop from Your ocean of gifts.

However much we praise and laud You,

only Your praise and laudation are worthy of You.

In the place where he who voiced "I am the most eloquent"/2 threw down the pennant of eloquence and recognized himself as incapable of pronouncing Your laudation—how can just any stuttering talker let loose his tongue, how can just any confused surmiser adorn his speech? Or rather, making manifest here the admission of incapacity and inadequacy

129 [l’adaptation chinoise mise en face à face avec la traduction de Chittick, omise!]


is itself inadequacy, and seeking to share in this meaning with that leader of the religion and this world is far from beautiful courtesy.

Who am I? Numbered as who? What person,

that I might wish to vie with his dogs?

I know that I won't reach his caravan—

enough to hear from afar the sound of its bells.

O God, bless Muhammad, who set up the Banner of Praise and owns the Praiseworthy Station /3; and his household and companions, those who made every effort to attain the goal, and give them plentiful peace!

131 [page omise de l’adaptation chinoise comme le seront dorénavant toutes les pages paires]


Whispered Prayer

"My God, my God, deliver us from occupation with follies, and show us the realities of things as they are!"/4 Lift the covering of heedlessness from our insight's eye and show us each thing as it is! Disclose not to us nonbeing in being's form, and place no curtain of nonbeing on being's beauty! Make these imaginal forms into the mirror of Your beauty's self-disclosures, not the cause of veiling and distance! Turn these imaginary imprints into the capital of our knowing and seeing, not the instrument of our ignorance and blindness! Our deprivation and rejection come from ourselves—turn us not over to ourselves! Bestow upon us freedom from ourselves, and confer upon us familiarity with Yourself!

O Lord, give me a pure heart, an aware spirit!

Give me sighs at night and tears at dawn!

In Your self's path, first take my self away from self,

then show me the way, selfless of self, to Yourself!

O Lord, make all creatures turn against me!

Put me to the side of all the worldlings!

Turn my heart's face from every direction,

give my love one direction and one face!

O Lord, free me from deprivation—why not?

Give me a road to the lane of gnosis—why not?

Your munificence has turned many a disbeliever into a Muslim.

Turn one more disbeliever into a Muslim—why not?

O Lord, free me from need for both worlds,

lift my head high with poverty's harness! /5

Make me a confidant in the path of the secret,

turn me aside from every path not to You!



To continue: This is a treatise named The Gleams on the explanation of the gnostic sciences and the meanings. It has gleamed forth from the tablets of the secret hearts and spirits of the lords of gnosis and the masters of tasting and finding in appropriate expressions and lustrous allu-sions.6 It is hoped that none will see in the midst him who has embarked on this explication or sit on the carpet of avoidance and the mat of protest, since the author has no share save the post of translator, and no portion but the trade of speaker.

I am nothing, and much less than nothing—

no work comes from nothing and less than nothing.

Whatever secret of Reality I speak,

no share have I but the speaking.

In the world of poverty, signlessness is best,

in the story of love, tonguelessness is best.

From him who has not tasted the secrets,

speaking by way of translation is best.

Like the clear in intellect, I've pierced a few pearls

to translate the sayings of the high in rank.

Might it be that from know-nothing me,

the trusty will convey this gift to Hamadan s king?/7



"God has not assigned to any man two hearts in his breast" [Koran 33:4]. The Howless Presence, who has given you the blessing of being, has placed within you only one heart, that you may be one-faced and one-hearted in love, turning away from other than Him and turning toward Him—not that you should make one heart into a hundred pieces, each piece wandering after a goal.

O you who've turned to the qibla of faithfulness,

why make the shell into the kernel's veil?

It's not good for your heart to run after this and that—

with one heart, one friend is enough for you.


"Dispersion" is that you scatter the heart by means of attachment to numerous things. "Gathering" is that you turn away from everything by witnessing the One. A group supposed that gatheredness lies in gathering the causes, and they stayed in endless dispersion. A band knew for certain that gathering the causes is among the causes of dispersion, and they emptied their hands of all. /8.

O you whose heart has a thousand troubles from all!

Your heart will have trouble finding ease from all.

Since the heart gains nothing but dispersion from each,

give your heart to the One and cut yourself off from them all!

As long as you dwell in dispersion and doubt,

the Folk of Gathering see you as the worst of men.

No, by God, no—you're not a man, you're a monkey,

but out of ignorance, you don't see your own monkeyness.


O traveler, speak not on every topic!

Run only the road of reaching the Lord of lords.

The cause of dispersion is the world's causes—

don't try to gather the heart by gathering causes!

O heart, how long searching for perfection in school?

How long perfecting the rules of philosophy and geometry?

Any thought other than God's remembrance is evil suggestion.

Have shame before God! How long this evil suggestion?


The Real—glory be to Him and high indeed is Het—is present everywhere, gazing in each state at the manifest and nonmanifest of all. What a loss—that you have lifted your eyes from His countenance and look at others! You have left the path of contentment with Him and pursue another road.

She came at dawn—that heart-taker of fevered lovers.

She said, "O heavy load on my thoughts!

"Shame on you! I look in your direction,

but you've turned your eyes toward the others!"

We've run in love's path all our life,

we've tried hard for union all our life.

A glimpse of Your image is better for the gaze

than the beauty of all the beauties all our life.



Everything other than the Real—exalted and high is He!—is exposed to disappearance and annihilation. Its reality is a nonexistent object of knowledge, its form an illusory existent./9. Yesterday it had no being and no appearance, and today it has an appearance without being. It is obvious what will open up from it tomorrow.

Why do you give the reins of acquiescence into the hands of wishes and hopes? Why do you lean back on these varnishings that undergo annihilation? Pull your heart out from everything and bind it to God! Cut off from everything and join with God! It is He who has always been and always will be. No thorn of any newly arrived thing scratches the face of His subsistence.

Every heart-tugging form that shows its face to you

will soon be stolen from your eyes by the spheres.

Go, give your heart to someone who, in the stages of existence,

has always been with you and always will be.

Gone—that I should turn my face to the qibla of the fair,

inscribing the words of their heartache on the tablet of my heart.

I aim for the eternal beauty—

I've had my fill of all loveliness not eternal.

Anything that does not let you turn to subsistence

will at last make you the target of annihilation's arrow.

If you will be parting from a thing when you die,

better to part from it now while you're still alive.

O great man, let it be property or offspring,

it is clear how long it will subsist.

Happy is he whose heart is tied to that Heart-taker

to whom are joined, heart and soul, the Folk of Heart.



The absolutely beautiful is the Presence of the Possessor of Majesty and Bounteous Giving. Every beauty and perfection manifest in all the levels is the shining ray of His beauty and perfection, and by it have the owners of the levels gained the features of beauty and the attributes of perfection. Whenever you know someone to be a knower, that is the trace of His knowerness. Wherever you see someone to be a seer, that is the fruit of His seerness. In short, all are His attributes, descended from the pinnacle of universality and unboundedness, and disclosed in the depths of particularity and binding./10

Thus, you should take the path from the part to the whole and turn your face from binding to unboundedness. You should not consider the part as distinct from the whole, lest the bound hold you back from the unbounded.

I went to look at the roses, but that candle of Tiráz

saw me in the rosebeds and sweetly said,

"I'm the root, the meadow's roses are My branch—

why be held back from the root by the branches?"

What will you do with that elegant stature and lovely cheek?

What will do with those chains of curling locks?

From every side, the unbounded beauty is shining—

O unaware, what will you do with bounded loveliness?


Although the child of Adam, because of corporeality, has extreme density, in terms of spirituality he has the utmost subtlety. He takes on the property of everything toward which he turns, and he receives the color of everything to which he attends. This is why the philosophers have said, "When the rational soul discloses itself in forms that coincide with the realities and when it realizes their true properties, it becomes as if it were all of existence."/11.


Moreover, the generality of creatures, because of their intense conjunction with this corporeal form and their perfect preoccupation with this material figure, have become such that they do not know themselves apart from it and cannot make the distinction. [Rûmi writes] in the Mathnawi,

You are this very thought, brother,

the rest of you is bones and fiber.

If your thought is a rose, you're a rosegarden,

but if it's a thorn, you're firewood./12

So, you must strive to conceal yourself from your own gaze. You must turn toward that Essence and occupy yourself with that Reality whose beauty's loci of disclosure are the degrees of the existents and whose perfection's mirrors are the levels of the engendered things.

You must persevere in this relation/13 such that it thoroughly mixes with your soul and such that your own being disappears from your gaze. If you turn toward self, you will have turned toward Him, and when you express self, you will have expressed Him. The bounded becomes the Unbounded, and "I am the Real" turns into "He is the Real."/14

If a rose passes into your heart, you're a rose,

if a restless nightingale, you're a nightingale.

You're a part, and the Real is the whole. If for a time

you take up thought of the whole, you'll be the whole.

From the mixture of soul and body, you are my goal.

In dying and living, you are my goal.

Long may you live, for I am leaving the midst!

If I say "I" about me, you are my goal.

When will it be, when?—torn the dress of being,

blazing the beauty of the unbounded Face,/15

consumed the heart by the assaults of His light,

drowned the soul by the attacks of yearning!


You must exercise this eminent relation such that in every moment and in every state you will never be empty of this relation—whether in coming or going, eating or sleeping, hearing or speaking. In short, in all movement and rest you must be present with the moment, lest it pass in vain; or rather, you must be aware of the breath, lest it come out in heedlessness.

From year to year though You don't show Your face,

there's no worry my love for You will vanish.

In every place, with every person, in every state, I have

hope in my heart and Your image in my eye./16


Just as it is necessary to extend the mentioned relation to comprise all the moments and all the times, so also the most important goal is to increase its quality by denuding oneself of the garments of the engendered things and ridding oneself of observing the forms of possible existence. This can only be done through intense effort and complete exertion to negate thoughts and illusions. The more thoughts are negated and evil suggestions hidden, the stronger that relation will be.

You must strive so that dispersed thoughts strike their tents outside the breast's courtyard and the light of the Real Being's manifestation—glory be to Him!—casts its rays on your nonmanifest realm. It will take you away from you and free you from the jostling of the others. No consciousness of yourself will remain, nor any consciousness of the self's lack of consciousness. Rather, nothing will subsist but God, the One, the Unitary.

O Lord, help—so that I may escape from my own animality,

so that I may cut myself off from the bad and escape from my own evil!

Take my self away from myself in Your own Being

so that I may escape my selfhood and selflessness.


When someone's custom is annihilation and his rule poverty,

he has no unveiling, no certainty, no gnosis, no religion.

He has left the midst, God alone remains, God

This is the meaning of "When poverty is complete, he is God."/17


« Annihilation » is that the Real Being's manifestation overmasters the nonmanifest realm such that no consciousness of other than He remains. « Annihilation of the annihilation » is that no consciousness of this unconsciousness remains./18

It should be clear that "annihilation of annihilation" is included in annihilation. If the companion of annihilation is conscious of his own annihilation, he is not a companion of annihilation, for both the attribute of annihilation and the one described by it pertain to other than the Real. So, being conscious of it negates annihilation.

When you want your self to subsist like this,

how can you subtract a barleycorn from being's crop?

If you are conscious of the tip of a hair

and speak of annihilation's road, you've left the road.



"Asserting unity" [tawhid] is to make the heart one. In other words, it is to deliver and disengage it from attachment to what is other than the Real, both from the side of seeking and desire, and from the direction of knowledge and gnosis. In other words, seeking and desire are to be cut off from all objects of seeking and desire, and all objects of knowledge and intellect are to be eliminated from its insight's gaze. It turns its attentiveness away from every face, and no consciousness or awareness of other than the Real remains.

O man of the journey, "asserting unity" in the Sufi's terms

is to deliver the heart from attending to others.

This intimation of the birds' final stations

have I voiced for you, if you understand the "language of the birds" [27:16]./19


As long as Adam's child is caught in the trap of caprice and fancy, his constancy in this relation will be difficult. But when the traces of the attractions of Gentleness become manifest within him and preoccupation with the objects of sensation and intellect goes far from his non-manifest realm, taking pleasure in this relation will dominate over the corporeal pleasures and spiritual comforts. The toil of struggle will disappear from the midst, and the pleasure of witnessing will cling to his soul. His mind will turn away from the jostling of the others, and the tongue of his state will begin to hum this tune:

O nightingale of the soul, I'm drunk from remembering you,

O footfall of heartache, I'm low from remembering you.

All the world's pleasures are trampled under foot

by the taste that comes to hand from remembering you.



When the truthful seeker finds the precursor of attraction's relation—that is, taking pleasure from remembering the Real in himself/20—then he must appoint his complete aspiration to nurturing and strengthening this relation and he must hold himself back from everything that negates it. He should know that, for example, if he were to spend everlasting life on this relation, he would have done nothing and would not have performed what it rightly demands.

Love strummed a tune on my heart's lute

turning me into love from head to foot.

In truth, for ages I will never emerge

from paying what's due for a moment of love.


The Reality of the Real—glory be to Him!—is nothing but Being, and His Being has no decline or lowness. It is hallowed beyond the brand of change and alteration, and rid of the blemish of plurality and multiplicity. Without the sign of any sign, It does not fit into knowledge or plain-viewing. All the how-manys and hows appear from It, but It has no how-many or how. Everything is perceived through It, but It is outside the compass of perception. The head's eye is dazzled in witnessing Its beauty, and the secret-heart's sight is darkened without observing Its perfection.

O You to whose love I gave my spirit,

You are above and below, not above nor below.

Everything's essence is apart from existence and endures through existence,

but Your Essence is plain Existence and utter Being.

That heart-desired Friend is so colorless, O heart!

Don't be content all at once with color, O heart!

The root of all color is that colorlessness—

"Who colors better than God" [2:1381, O heart?



The word "existence" is sometimes used to mean realization and obtainment,/21 which are verbal meanings and respective concepts. In this respect, it is among the "secondary intelligibles," over and against which there is nothing in the external world. Rather, "existence" occurs to the quiddities in intellection. Thus have the verifying philosophers and theologians verified.

Sometimes the word "existence" is said, but what is meant is a Reality that has being through Its own Essence, while the rest of the existents have being through It. In reality, there is no existent other than It in the external world. The other existents occur to It and endure through It. Thus has given witness the tasting of the great and perfect gnostics and the lofty folk of certainty.

The application of this word to the Presence of the Real—glory be to Him and high indeed is He!—is in the second meaning, not the first.

The folk of the bindings judge by reason that being

occurs only to the entities and realities.

The lords of witnessing see in unveiling that entities

all occur, and existence is the locus of their occurrence.



'Attributes" are other than the "Essence" in regard to what rational faculties understand, but they are identical with the Essence in regard to realization and obtainment./22

For example, the Essence is the "Knower" in respect of the attribute of knowledge, the "Powerful" in respect of power, the "Desiring" in respect of desire. There is no doubt that, just as these are different from one another in terms of concept, they are also different from the Essence. However, in terms of realization and being, they are the same as the Essence, in the sense that there is no plurality of existences. Rather, there is one existence, while the names and attributes are its relations and respects.

O You whose Essence is pure of any stain in every task,

concerning You neither "how" can be asked nor "where."

In intellection, all attributes are other than Your Essence,

but in realization, all are the same.



The Essence as such is denuded of all names and attributes and rid of every relation and attribution. It is qualified by these affairs in respect of Its attentiveness toward the world of manifestation in the First Self-Disclosure, which is that It discloses Itself by Itself to Itself. Then the relations of knowledge, light, existence, and witnessing are realized.

The relation of knowledge entails knowerness and knownness. Light requires manifestness and making manifest. Existence and witnessing issue forth in finding-existence and being-found-in-existence, witnesser-ness and witnessedness.

In the same way, manifestation, which is a requirement of light, is preceded by nonmanifestation, and nonmanifestation has an essential priority and firstness in relation to manifestation. Thus the names First and Last, Manifest and Nonmanifest are designated.

So also, in the Second Self-Disclosure, and the Third—as far as God wills--the relations and attributions are multiplied. The more the multiplication of the relations and names, the more His manifestation, or rather, His hiddenness. "So glory be to Him who veiled Himself through the loci of His light's manifestation and became manifest by letting down His curtains!"/23

His hiddenness is in respect of the unmixedness and unboundedness of the Essence, and His manifestation in respect of the loci of manifestation and the entifications.

I said to my rose-cheeked lovely, "O you with bud-like mouth,

why keep hiding your face like flirting girls?"

She laughed and said, "Unlike the beauties of your world,

in the curtain I'm seen, but without it I'm hidden."

Your cheek can't be seen without mask,

your eyes can't be seen without veil.

As long as the sun's fully shining,

its fountain will never be seen.

When the sun strikes its banner of light on the sphere,

it dazzles the eyes from afar with its rays.

When it shines from behind a curtain of clouds,

the gazer can see it without falling short.


The First Entification is an unmixed oneness and a sheer receptivity that comprises all receptivities, whether the receptivity for disengagement from all attributes and respects, or the receptivity for being qualified by all.

In respect of disengagement from all respects—even from the receptivity for this disengagement—it is the level of Unity, and to it belong nonmanifestation, firstness, and beginninglessness. In respect of its qualification by all attributes and respects, it is the level of One-and-allness,/24 and to it belong manifestation, lastness,/25 and endlessness.

Some of the respects of the level of One-and-allness are such that the Essence is qualified by them in respect of the level of gathering,/26 whether their precondition be the realization and existence of some of the engendered realities, as with creatorness, providerness, and so on; or not, as with life, knowledge, desire, and so on. These are the "names and attributes" of the Divinity and Lordship. The form of the Essence's knownness while It is clothed in these names and attributes is "the divine realities." The fact that the Manifest of Existence becomes clothed in them does not necessitate the plurality of existence.

Other [respects] are such that the Essence is clothed by them in respect of the engendered levels, like the differentiae, the specificities, and the entifications,/27 which are the features that distinguish the external entities from each other. The forms of the Essence's knownness as clothed in these respects are "the engendered realities."/28 When the Manifest of Existence becomes clothed with their properties and traces, this necessitates the plurality of existence.

Some of these engendered realities—when Existence pervades them through the unity of the gathering of Its tasks and when their traces and properties become manifest through It—have the preparedness to manifest all the divine attributes, with the exception of essential necessity,/29 according to the diversity of the levels of manifestation and in terms of strength and weakness, dominatingness and being dominated over. Such, for example, are the perfect human individuals/30 among the prophets and friends of God. Others have the preparedness to manifest some [attributes] without others, according to the mentioned diversity, and such are the other existents.


Through the unity of the gathering of Its divine and engendered tasks, the Presence of the Essence pervades and discloses Itself beginninglessly and endlessly in all these realities, which are the differentiations of the level of the One-and-allness—whether in the world of spirits, the world of images, or the world of sensation and the witnessed; whether in this world or the last world./31

The goal of all this is the realization and manifestation of the "Name-derived Perfection," which is the perfection of disclosure and seeing disclosure. "The perfection of disclosure" means His manifestation in terms of these respects. "The perfection of seeing disclosure" means His witnessing Himself in terms of these same respects./32 These are a manifestation and a witnessing that are plainly viewed and in entity, like the manifestation and witnessing of the undifferentiated within the differentiated.

In contrast, the "Essential Perfection" is the Essence's manifestation to Its own Self within Its own Self for the sake of Its own Self without respect to other and otherness. It is a manifestation that is knowledged and absent, like the manifestation of the differentiated within the undifferentiated.

"Unbounded wealth" is required by the Essential Perfection. The meaning of unbounded wealth is that the tasks, states, and respects of the Essence as well as their properties and requirements—all of which appear in the levels of the divine and engendered realities--are witnessed by and fixed for the Essence in a universal, undifferentiated mode within Its own nonmanifestation by the inclusion of all within Its oneness, along with all their forms and properties as they have become manifest and will become manifest, fixed, and witnessed in the levels./33 In this regard, the Essence is wealthy beyond all the existent things, just as God has said: "Surely God is wealthy beyond the worlds" [29:6].

The skirt of Love's wealth is pure, pure,

of the stain of need for a handful of dust.

Disclosers and gazers are all Itself—

if we not be in the midst, what harm will be done?

Every task and attribute of the Real Being

is known and realized in Himself.

In the midst of the bounded things in need of themselves,

His wealth is unbounded by seeing them.

The Necessary is wealthy beyond the existence of good and evil,

the One is wealthy beyond the levels of the numbers.

Since He sees them all within Himself eternally,

He is wealthy beyond seeing them outside of Himself.


When you eliminate the individuations and entifications of the individuals of all species included under animal, the individuals of each species are gathered under the "species." When you eliminate the distinguishing features of those species—that is, the differentiae and the specificities—all are gathered under the reality of "animal." When you eliminate the distinguishing features of animal and everything included along with it under growing body, all are gathered in "growing body."

When you eliminate the distinguishing features of the growing body and everything included along with it under body, then all are gathered in the reality of "body." When you eliminate the distinguishing features of body and everything included along with it—I mean intellects and souls—under substance, all are gathered under the reality of "substance." When you eliminate that through which substance and accident become distinguished, all are gathered under the reality of "possible thing."


When you eliminate that through which the Necessary and the possible become distinguished, both are gathered under the reality of the Unbounded Existent. This is the same as the Reality of Existence. It exists through Its own Essence, not through an existence added to Its own Essence. "Necessity" is the attribute of Its manifest, and "possibility" is the attribute of Its nonmanifest. [By possibility] I mean the "fixed entities" that are obtained when He discloses Himself to Himself clothed in His own tasks. These distinguishing features—whether the differentiae and specificities or the entifications and individuations—are all "divine tasks" that are included and contained in the Oneness of the Essence. First, at the level of knowledge, these features come forth in the form of the fixed entities, and second, at the level of the eye,34 they take on the form of the external entities by being clothed in the [fixed entities] properties and traces through the Manifest of Existence, which is the locus of disclosure and the mirror for the Nonmanifest of Existence.

Hence there is nothing in the external domain except One Reality which, by means of becoming clothed in the tasks and the attributes, appears multiple and plural to those who are imprisoned in the confines of the levels and bound by their properties and traces.

For my lesson I took all of engendered existence

and reviewed it page after page.

In truth, I saw nothing there and read nothing

but the Real's Essence and the Real's essential tasks.

How long this talk of bodies, dimensions, directions?

Until when this discussion of minerals, animals, plants?

Only one Essence is realized—not "essences."

This illusory manyness comes from the tasks and the attributes.



What is meant by the "inclusion of the manyness of the tasks in the oneness of the Essence" is not the inclusion of the part in the whole, nor the inclusion of the contained in the container. Rather, what is meant is the inclusion of the descriptions and the requirements in the described thing and the requirer, like the inclusion of one-halfness, one-thirdness, one-fourthness, one-fifthness, ad infinitum, in the essence of the numerical one. After all, these relations are included within it and have no manifestation whatsoever so long as it does not become part of two, three, four, and five through repetition of manifestation in the levels./35

From this it is known that the Real's encompassment of all existents is like the requirer's encompassment of the requirements, not like the whole's encompassment of the part, nor the container's of the contained. High indeed is God beyond what is not appropriate for the precinct of His holiness!

The task's inclusion in the Real's Essence is well-known.

The task is like a description, and the Real's Essence is described.

Learn this rule, for where God is

there is neither part nor whole, container nor contained.



The manifestation and hiddenness of the tasks and respects is because they do or do not become clothed in the Manifest of Existence, but this does not necessitate the alteration of the Reality of Existence and Its true attributes. Rather, the relations and attributions are built on change, but this does not entail change in the Essence. If Amr should stand up on Zayd's right hand and sit down at his left hand, Zayd's relation with him becomes different, but his essence and true attributes are still established.

In the same way, the Reality of Existence does not increase in perfection by becoming clothed in eminent affairs, nor does It accept deficiency by becoming manifest in base loci of manifestation. Although sunlight shines on the pure and the filthy, no alteration finds the way to the simplicity of its luminosity—it gains no fragrance from musk, no color from roses, no shame from thorns, and no blame from stones./36

When the sun adorns the world with its radiance,

well does it shine on pure and on filthy.

No filth leaves a stain on its light,

and nothing pure increases its purity.



The Unbounded is never without the bounded, and the bounded does not take form without the Unbounded. However, the bounded has need for the Unbounded, and the Unbounded is independent of the bounded. Hence requiring is from both sides, but need is from one side. This is like the movement of a hand and the movement of a key in the hand.

O You in whose holy sanctum none has any place,

the world appears from You, but You do not appear.

We and You will never be separate,

but we need You, and You don't need us.

Moreover, the Unbounded requires any of the bounded things by way of substitution. It does not require a specific bounded thing. But since the Unbounded has no substitute, the qibla of every bounded thing's need is He, none other.

Nearness to You can't be found through causes and occasions,

it can't be found without the beginningless bounty.

Whoever it may be, a substitute can be taken.

You have no substitute, so Your substitute can't be found.

O You whose elevated Essence is neither substance nor accident,

whose bounty and generosity are not motivated by purpose.

No matter who may not be there, You can replace him,

but if someone does not have You, none can replace You.


The Unbounded's lack of need for the bounded is in respect of the Essence. Otherwise, it is impossible for there to be the manifestation of the names of Divinity and the realization of the relations of Lordship without the bounded.

O You whose beauty has incited my yearning and seeking,

Your soughtness is a branch of my seeking!

If not for the mirror of my loverness,

the beauty of Your Belovedness would not have appeared.

No, rather the lover is the Real and the beloved He, the seeker is the Real and the sought He. He is the Sought and the Beloved in the station of Unity's gathering, and the seeker and the lover in the level of differentiation and manyness.

O You toward whom no one journeys but You,

neither mosque nor monastery is empty of You!

I saw all the seekers and everything sought—

all are You, with no one else in the midst.



The "reality" of each thing is the entification of Existence within the Presence of Knowledge in respect of the task of which the thing is the locus of manifestation; or, it is Existence Itself, entified by that task in that Presence.

The "existent things" consist of the entifications of Existence in respect of the coloration of the Manifest of Existence by the traces and properties of the things' realities; or, [they are] Existence Itself entified by these very respects such that the realities remain always hidden in the Non-manifest of Existence, while their properties and traces are apparent in the Manifest of Existence. After all, the vanishment of the knowledged forms from the Nonmanifest of Existence is absurd, or else ignorance would be required—high indeed is God beyond that/37

We are the modes and respects of Existence

and occur for the Essence of Existence outside and inside knowledge.

We are curtained by the veil of nonbeing's darkness,

our reflections manifest in the mirror of Existence.

So, in terms of reality and existence, each thing is either entified Existence; or it is the entification that has occurred for Existence, and the entification is the entified thing's attribute. Although in respect of the concept, "attribute" is other than "object to which it is attributed," in respect of existence, they are the same. A disparity in terms of concept and a unification in terms of existence necessitate the soundness of the predication./38

Neighbor, companion, fellow voyager—all are He.

In beggar's rags, in king's satin—all are He.

In the banquet of dispersion and the private hall of gathering,

all are He, by God—by God, all are He!/39



Although the reality of Existence is asserted and predicated for all mental and external existents, it has disparate levels, some above others. In each level it has specific names, attributes, relations, and respects that are not in the other levels, such as the level of Divinity and Lordship, or the level of servanthood and creatureliness.

So, for example, ascribing the names of the Divine Level—such as Allah, All-Merciful, and so on—to the engendered level is the same as unbelief and nothing but heresy. In the same way, ascribing to the Divine Level names that are specific to the engendered level is extreme misguidance and utmost abandonment.

O you who suppose you're a realized master,

a man truthful in sincerity and certainty!

Each level of existence has a property—

if you don't preserve the levels, you're a heretic.



The True Existent is not more than one. It is the same as Real Existence and Unbounded Being. However, It has many levels./40

First is the level of nonentification, nonconfinement, and unboundedness by any binding or respect. In this regard, It is incomparable with the attribution of descriptions and attributes and hallowed beyond the denotation of words and phrases. Tradition has no tongue to express Its majesty, and intellect has no possibility of alluding to Its inmost perfection. The lords of unveiling are veiled from perceiving Its reality, and the masters of knowledge are agitated at the impossibility of knowing It. The extreme limit of Its sign is signlessness, and the utmost end of Its gnosis is bewilderment.

O You in whom explication and plain viewing are nothing,

the fancy of all certainties and suppositions nothing!

No sign whatsoever can be given of Your Essence—

there where You are, all signs are nothing.

The gnostic's soul may well be aware,

but how does he enter Your holy sanctum?

The hands of unveiling's folk and witnessing's lords

fall short of the skirt of perceiving You.

That Love which is our inseparable part—

far be it from It to be perceived by intellect!

Happy the moment when certainty dawns from Its light,

freeing us from darkness and all of our doubt!

The second level is His entification by an entification that comprehends all the active, necessary, divine entifications and all the passive, possible, engendered entifications. This level is named the "First Entification" because it is the first of the entifications of Existence's Reality. Above it is the level of Nonentification, nothing else.

The third level is the unity of the gathering of all the active, trace-inducing entifications. This is the level of Divinity.


The fourth level is the differentiation of the level of Divinity. This is the level of the names and their Presences.

The respect of these two levels is in regard to the Manifest of Existence, whose specific description is Necessity./41

The fifth level is the unity of the gathering of all the passive entifi-cations, whose task is accepting traces and being passive. This is the engendered, possible level.

The sixth level is the engendered level's differentiation, which is the level of the cosmos.

The occurrence of these two levels is in respect of the Manifest of Knowledge, one of whose requirements is possibility. It is His disclosure of Himself to Himself in the forms of the realities and entities of the possible things.

So, in reality, Existence is not more than one. It pervades all these levels and all the realities ordered within them. Within these levels and realities, It is the same as these levels and realities. So also, within It, these levels and realities were the same as It, since "God was, and nothing was with Him."/42

Being manifests Itself in everything,

and if you want to keep track of Its state in each,

Go, look at the bubbles on top of the wine, how

the wine is they in them, and they are wine in the wine.

On the tablet of nonexistence, the gleams of Eternity's light

gleamed forth, but of the confidants of this secret, none is like Adam.

Don't count the Real as apart from the world, for

the world is in the Real, and in the world the Real is none but the world.



The "Reality of Realities," which is the Divine Essence—high indeed is Its task!—is the reality of all things. Within the limit of Its own Essence, It is a One to which number has no path. However, in respect of the multiple self-disclosures and plural entifications in the levels, now It is the substantial, subordinating realities, and now the accidental, subordinate realities.

So, One Essence is shown as multiple substances and accidents by means of the plural attributes. In regard to the Reality, It is a one that is not plural or multiple in any way.

O you who have not scratched out the letters of this and that,

fancying twoness is proof of His distance and anger.

Without remiss and error, know that in all engendered things,

there is One Entity alone—only One Essence.

In regard to disengagement from and unboundedness by the mentioned entifications and bindings, this One Entity is the Real. In regard to the plurality and multiplicity that appear because of Its being clothed in the entifications, It is the creatures and the cosmos. So, the cosmos is the manifest of the Real, and the Real is the nonmanifest of the cosmos./43 Before manifestation, the cosmos was the same as the Real, and after manifestation, the Real is the same as the cosmos. It is one Reality, and manifestation and nonmanifestation, firstness and lastness, are its relations and respects. "He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Nonmanifest" [57:3].

The lovers' bandit in the shape of the fair is the Real.

No—plainly viewed on all horizons is the Real.

That which is the world in regard to binding,

in unboundedness, by God, that itself is the Real.

When the Real becomes plain through the differentiations of the tasks,

the world comes to be witnessed, full of gain and loss.

If the world and the worldlings go back to undifferentiation,

then the Real will come into the midst.



In the Bezel of Shu'ayb [chapter twelve of the Fusús al-hikam] the Shaykh [Ibn al-Arabi] says that the cosmos consists of accidents gathered together in the One Entity, which is the reality of Being. It undergoes change and renewal at every breath and every instant. At every instant a world goes to nonexistence and its likeness comes into existence, but most of the world's folk are heedless of this meaning, just as God has said: "No indeed, but they are uncertain of a new creation" [50:15].

Among the lords of theory, no one became informed of this meaning except the Ash'arites in regard to those parts of the cosmos that are the accidents, for they said, "The accident does not subsist for two moments;" and the Husbanids, who are known as the "Sophists," concerning all the parts of cosmos, whether substances or accidents. But each group was mistaken in a certain mode."/44

As for the Ash'arites, [they were mistaken] because they affirmed plural substances apart from the reality of Existence and held that the changing, renewing accidents endured through them. They did not know that the cosmos in all its parts is nothing but accidents undergoing renewal and change at every breath and gathered together in the One Entity. At each instant, they disappear from this Entity, and their likenesses are clothed by It. Hence, the one who gazes falls into error by means of the succession of the likenesses. He fancies that the affair is one and continuous. Thus the Ash'arites say that the likenesses succeed one another in the accident's locus, without any instant being empty of an individual accident similar to the first individual. So the gazer supposes that it is one continuous affair.

An ocean, not decreasing, not increasing,

waves going, waves coming—

Since the world is made up of waves,

it never lasts for two moments, or rather, two instants.

The world—if you can take a lesson—

is an appearance that flows in overtaking stages.

Within all the stages of the flowing appearance

is a mystery—the pervading Reality of Realities.

As for the error of the Sophists, it is that, despite their saying that constant alteration fills the whole cosmos, they did not become alert to the fact that the One Reality is clothed in the forms and accidents of the


cosmos and comes to appear as entified and plural existents. It has no manifestation in the engendered levels save through these forms and accidents, just as these have no existence in the external world without It.

The Sophists, who know nothing of intelligence,

say that the world is a passing image.

Yes, the world is all image, but

within it a Reality discloses Itself eternally.

As for the lords of unveiling and witnessing, they see that the Presence of the Real discloses Itself at each breath with another self-disclosure and that there is no repetition at all in Its self-disclosure. In other words, It does not disclose Itself at two instants through one entification and one task. Rather, at each breath It becomes manifest through another entification, and at each instant It discloses Itself in another task.

Being, which is not seen plainly in one task for two instants,

at every instant discloses Itself in another task.

Search for this point in "Each day [He is] upon some task" [55:29]

if you need proof from the Speech of the Real.

The secret in this is that the Presence of the Real has contrary names, some of gentleness and some of subjugation./45 All are perpetually at work, and ineffectuality is not permitted for any of them./46 Hence, when one of the possible realities is prepared for existence because of the obtainment of the preconditions and the elimination of the impediments, the all-merciful mercy/47 grasps it and effuses existence upon it. Then the Manifest of Existence, by mean of becoming clothed in this reality's traces and properties, entifies Itself in a specific entification and discloses Itself in terms of this entification. After that It is stripped of the entification because of the subjugation of True Unity, which entails the dissolution of the entifications and traces of the formal manyness./48 At the very instant of stripping, because of what is entailed by the all-merciful mercy, It becomes entified with another specific entification that is similar to the previous entification. At the second instant It is dissolved by Unity's subjugation, and another entification is obtained through the all-merciful mercy. So it continues, as long as God wills. Hence, in no two instants does self-disclosure occur through one entification.

At each instant a world goes to nonexistence and another like it comes to exist. However, those who are veiled, because of the succession of likenesses and the mutual correspondence of the states, fancy that the


world's existence stays in one state and, over consecutive times, has one manner.

Glory be to God! What a marvelous loving God,

embracing bounty, generosity, mercy, and munificence!

At every breath He takes a world to nonexistence,

and in that very moment He brings another like it.

God it is who gives every sort of gift,

but each of His names gives a gift apart.

To the world's reality at every instant

one name gives annihilation, another subsistence.

The proof that the cosmos is the totality of accidents gathered together in the One Entity, which is the Reality of Existence, is that, as much as the realities of the existents are defined, nothing becomes manifest in their definitions but accidents. For example, it is said, "The human is a rationally-speaking animal." 'Animal" is a growing, sensate body, moving by volition. "Body" is a substance receptive to the three dimensions. "Substance" is an existent that is not in a substrate. "Existent" is an essence that has been realized and obtained.

Everything mentioned in these definitions pertains to accidents, except for the indeterminate essence that is regarded in these concepts.

Thus the meaning of "rationally-speaking" is an essence that has rational speech, the meaning of "growing" is an essence that has growth, and so on with the rest. This indeterminate essence is identical with the


Real Existence and True Being that endures by Itself and makes these accidents endure.

The lords of theory say that concepts like this are not differentiae. Rather, they are requirements of differentiae that are given expression as "differentiae" because the differentiae's realities cannot be expressed as distinct from others except through these requirements, or through requirements that would be even more hidden. But this is a prohibited premise and an unacceptable speech. Supposing we grant it, then, when something is essential for substance, it would be accidental in relation to the One Entity. Although it would be within the reality of substance, it would be outside the One Entity while enduring by It.

The claim that there is here a substantial something beyond the One Entity is in the furthest limit of nullity, especially when the lords of the Reality's unveiling—which is lit from the candle-niche of prophecy—bear witness in contradiction, and the opponent is unable to offer any proof. "And God speaks the truth, and He guides on the path" [33:4).

Don't seek to realize the meanings from the expressions,

don't seek without lifting the bindings and respects.

If you want to find Healing from the disease of ignorance,

don't seek The Canon of Deliverance from The Allusions./49

You are content with stopping at The Stopping Places—

aiming for The Goals has kept you from the goal.

If you don't remove the veils, you will never find

the lights of Reality rising from The Rising Places./50

Strive to lift the veils, not to gather books—

if you gather books, you'll never lift the veils.

How can love appear from the folds of your books?

Fold them up, turn to God, and repent!


The greatest veil and the densest mask over the beauty of the true Oneness is the essential bindings and plurality that occur in the Manifest of Existence by means of Its becoming clothed in the properties and traces of the entities fixed in the Presence of Knowledge, which is the Nonmani-fest of Existence.

It appears to those who are veiled that the entities have become existent in the external world. In fact, no aroma of external existence has reached their nostrils; they have always been and will always be in their root nonexistence.52 What is existent and witnessed is the Reality of Existence, but in respect of being clothed in the properties and traces of the entities, not in regard to being disengaged from them, because in this regard, nonmanifestation and hiddenness are Its requirements. Thus, in reality, the Reality of Existence remains in Its true Oneness as It was without beginning and as It will be without end. However, because of being veiled by the form of manyness's properties and traces, It comes forth in the view of the "others" as bound and entified and appears as plural and multiple.

Existence is an ocean, its waves eternal—

of it the world's folk have seen only waves.

Look at the waves coming from the inside of the ocean

to the outside, the ocean hidden within.

Gaze on the world, the divine secret hidden—

like the water of life, hidden in darkness.

Swarms of fish appear from the sea,

the ocean hidden by the swarming fish.


Whenever something appears within something else, the manifest is other than the locus of manifestation. In other words, the manifest is one thing, and the locus of manifestation is another. Moreover, what appears from the manifest in the locus of manifestation is the semblance and form, not the essence and reality. This is not so, however, for the Real Existence and Unbounded Being. Wherever It is manifest, It is identical with the loci of manifestation, and in all the loci of manifestation, It is manifest through Its Essence.

They say that the mirror-like heart is wonderful.

See within it the faces of your beloveds—wonderful!

No one wonders at the beloved's face in mirrors.

To be oneself both beloved and mirror—that is wonderful!

O You whose form has given mirrors all their luster,

without Your form no mirror has ever been seen.

No, no—all the mirrors show Your Self

in Its subtlety, not Your form.


The Reality of Being, along with all the tasks, attributes, relations, and respects that are the realities of all the existents, pervades the reality of each existent. This is why it has been said, "Everything is in everything." The author of the Gulshan-i raz says,

Split the heart of a single drop—

out will come a hundred pure oceans./53

Being is the Essence of the Exalted God—

all things are in It, It too within all things.

This is the explanation of the gnostic's saying, "Everything is included in everything."



Every power and act that emerges in the manifest from the loci of manifestation is in reality manifest from the Real manifest within those loci of manifestation, not from the loci themselves. In "The Wisdom of the High," the Shaykh says, "The entity has no act. Rather, the act belongs to its Lord within it. So the entity is at peace from the attribution of any act to it."/54

Hence, power and act are attributed to the servants from the direction of the Real's manifestation in their form, not from the direction of their souls. Read "And God created you and what you do" [37:96], and know that your existence, power, and act come from the Presence of the Howless.

From us are sought only incapacity and nonbeing—

being and its subordinates are all held back.

It is He who appears in our form—

that is why power and act are ascribed to us.

Since your essence is negated, O man of understanding,

keep silence in ascribing acts to yourself.

Listen to a sweet proverb, don't show a sour face—

"First put up the roof, then paint."

How long this praise of self to spite the envier?

How long promoting goods that no one buys?

You are nonexistent, and imagining your being

is perverse. How long this perverse imagining?



The attributes, states, and acts that are manifest in the loci of manifestation are, in reality, ascribed to the Real that is manifest in these loci of manifestation. So, if from time to time an evil or a deficiency occurs in some of them, this may be from the direction of the nonexistence of something else, because existence qua existence is sheer good. Whenever an evil is imagined from an affair of existence, this is because some other affair of existence does not exist, not because of that affair of existence qua affair of existence.

Every description pertaining to good and perfection

is a description of the pure and transcendent Essence.

Every attribute counted as evil and bane

goes back to the inadequacy of the receptivities.


The philosophers have claimed it to be self-evident that existence is sheer good. To clarify this, they have brought various examples. They say, for example, that hail brings about fruit's corruption and that it is evil in relation to fruit. Its evilness is not in regard to the fact that it is one of the qualities, because, in this regard, it is one of the perfections. Rather, it is in regard to the fact that it has caused the fruit not to arrive at its appropriate perfections.

In the same way, for example, killing is evil. Its evilness is not in regard to the killer's power to kill, or the weapon's cuttingness, or the receptivity of the bodily member to cutting. Rather, it is in regard to life's disappearance, and this is an affair of nonexistence. And so on with other examples.

Wherever existence journeys, O heart,

know for certain that it is Sheer Good, O heart.

Every evil comes from nonexistence, not from existence,

so all evil is entailed by the "other," O heart.


In the book al-Nusús, Shaykh Sadr al-Din Qunawi—may God hallow his secret heart!—says,

Knowledge is subordinate to existence in the sense that, whenever any of the realities has existence, there is knowledge. The disparity of the knowledge is in terms of the disparity of the realities in receiving existence, perfectly or deficiently. Hence, what is receptive to existence more completely and perfectly is receptive to knowledge in the same mode, and what is receptive to existence more deficiently is qualified by knowledge in the same mode./55

The springhead of this disparity is that the properties of necessity and possibility dominate and are dominated over. In any reality where the properties of necessity are more dominant, existence and knowledge are more perfect. In any reality where the properties of possibility are more dominant, existence and knowledge are more deficient. Most likely, the judgment that occurs in the words of the Shaykh—that knowledge specifically is subordinate to existence—is by way of providing an example. Otherwise, all the perfections subordinate to existence, such as life, power, desire, and so on, have the same state.

One of them—God hallow their secret hearts!—has said that no individual existent is naked of the attribute of knowledge, but knowledge has two modes. One is called "knowledge" in keeping with common usage, and the other is not called "knowledge" in common usage. However, the lords of the reality hold that both sorts pertain to the category of knowledge, for they witness the fact that the Real's essential knowledge pervades all existents.

Pertaining to the second sort is water, which is not considered a "knower" in common usage. However, we see that it distinguishes between highness and lowness. It turns away from highness and flows to the side of lowness. In the same way, it enters into a porous body and it wets the surface of a solid body and passes by; and so on. Hence, it is because of the specificity of knowledge that water flows according to what is entailed by the receptivity of the receptacle and the lack of opposition to it. However, at this level knowledge has become manifest in the form of nature.


So also should be judged knowledge's pervading all the other exis-tents—or rather, the pervasion of every single existent by every perfection that is subordinate to existence.

Through the attributes hidden within It

Being pervades all the entities of the world.

In the entity receptive to It, every description

is plainly seen in the measure of the entity's receptivity.


From the direction of the unmixedness of Its own unboundedness, the reality of Being pervades the essences of all existents such that, within these essences, It is the same as these essences. So also Its perfect attributes, because of their universality and unboundedness, pervade all the attributes of the existents such that, in the midst of the existents' attributes, these perfect attributes are the same as those attributes, just as those attributes were the same as these in the perfect attributes themselves.

For example, in the midst of the world's knowledge of the particulars, the attribute of knowledge is the same as knowledge of the particulars; in the midst of the world's knowledge of the universals, it is the same as knowledge of universals; in the midst of active and passive knowledge, it is the same as active and passive knowledge; and in the midst of knowledge through tasting and finding, it is the same as knowledge through tasting and finding. This reaches the point that, in the midst of the knowledge of those existents that are not held to be knowing in terms of common usage, it is the same as the knowledge that is appropriate to their state. So also should be judged all the other attributes and perfections.

O You whose Essence pervades the entities' essences,

whose descriptions lurk behind their attributes,

Like Your Essence, Your descriptions are unbounded

but not naked of binding in the loci of manifestation.


The reality of Being is the "Essence" of the Presence of the Real—glory be to Him, and high indeed is He! The Essence's tasks, relations, and respects are His "attributes." His making Himself manifest as clothed in these relations and respects is His "act" and "trace-inducing." The manifest entifications that are put in order by this making manifest are His "traces."

To Himself through His essential tasks, He who sits behind the curtain

began displaying within manifestation's loci, which are this world and religion.

O seeker of certainty, see in this subtle point of mine

what are "Essence," "attribute," "act," and "trace."


In some places in the Fusús, the Shaykh's words indicate that the existence of the entities of the possible things and of the perfections subordinate to existence are attributed to the Presence of the Real (glory be to Him and high indeed is He!); in other places, that everything attributed to the Presence of the Real is this very effusion of existence, nothing else, and that existence's subordinates are among the things entailed by the entities.

These two statements are reconciled by the fact that the Presence of the Real has two self-disclosures. One is the absent, knowledged self-disclosure, which the Sufis have called "the most holy effusion."56 It is the Real's manifestation to Himself from eternity without beginning in the Presence of Knowledge within the entities' forms, receptivities, and preparednesses.


The second is the witnessed, existential self-disclosure, which is called the "holy effusion." It consists of the manifestation of the Existence of the Real colored by the properties and traces of the entities. This second self-disclosure is put in order by the first self-disclosure. It is the locus of manifestation for the perfections that came to be included through the first self-disclosure in the receptivities and preparednesses of the entities.

One munificence of Yours paints a hundred sorts of beggar,

one munificence gives to each its separate share.

The first munificence has no beginning, and it puts

the second munificence into order without end.

Hence, the attribution of existence and its subordinate perfections to the Real—glory be to Him and high indeed is He!—is in respect of the totality of the two self-disclosures. The attribution of existence to the Real along with the attribution of its subordinates to the entities is in respect of the second self-disclosure. After all, nothing is put in order by the second self-disclosure except effusing existence on the entities and making manifest what had come to be included within them by what was entailed by the first self-disclosure.

Listen to a difficult word and an abstruse mystery

about the acts and attributes appended to the entities.

From one direction, all are attributed to us,

in another mode, all are attributed to the Real.



What was intended by these expressions and sought by these allusions was alerting to the essential encompassment by the Presence of the Real—glory be to Him and high indeed is He!—and to the pervasion of all levels of existence by His light. Then the aware travelers and alert seekers will not be neglectful of witnessing the beauty of His Essence while witnessing any essence, nor will they become heedless of examining the perfection of His attributes in the manifestation of any attribute.

What was mentioned was sufficient to accomplish what was intended and adequate to clarify what was sought. Therefore, it was confined to this measure and is cut short with these few quatrains:

Jam!, enough! How long weaving words?

How long casting spells and telling tales?

Manifesting realities in words is illusion—

O simple man, how long playing with illusions?

In the rags of poverty, covering defects is better,

on the subtle points of love, sharpness of wit is better.

Since words are a mask on the face of the goal,

silence is better than talking and listening.

Until when will you cry and shout like a bell?

For a moment, keep silent from this empty talk.

You will not become a treasure for realities's pearls

as long as you do not become all ear like an oyster.

O you whose nature has taken on the disquiet of words,

if you're of the folk of knowledge, watch your words.

Don't loose your tongue in unveiling the secrets of Being—

that pearl can't be pierced with the diamond of words.

Scratch one line through defects, another through virtue,

then pull back the veil from the Absent Beauty.

That beauty's disclosure is not outside of you,

so pull feet under skirt and head under hood.

O you whose shroud has been rent by heartache for Him,

don't stain your pure consciousness with speech.

Since you can stay dumb about it, if you open

your lips after this—may dirt fill your mouth./57


Notes to pp. 109-125

[…] [à corriger!]

1. This is a hadith that is found in most of the authoritative collections.

2. Al-Ghazali cites this as a hadith (Ihyä' (ulam al-din 2.10.4). A similar hadith tells us, "I am the most articulate of the Arabs" (ana acrab al-carab), which is explained as meaning the "most eloquent" (afsah). See Suyúti, al-Jàmi al-saghir 3:38.

3. The "banner of praise" and the "praiseworthy station" are both mentioned in the hadith literature as belonging to Muhammad on the day of resurrection (cf. Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 239-40).

4. There is an allusion in this Arabic prayer to a hadith often cited in Sufi texts, "O God, show us things as they are."

5. Poverty (faqr) is a common designation for Sufism. For a good collection of classical Sufi sayings about it, see Nurbakhsh, Spiritual Poverty in Sufism, pp. 1-38.

6. Gnosis (cirfán), tasting (dhawq), and finding (wijdan) are all standard designations for the suprarational knowledge that is most commonly called "unveiling" (kashf). See Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 148-49, 168-70.

7. There is word-play here, since hamadán can also be understood to mean "know-everything." It is not completely clear who this figure is, but, despite the fact that the probable date of the composition of the work is 870, Whinfield and Richard both think it was Shah Manùchihr, whom Jami met on the way to Mecca in 877 (Whinfield, Lawá'ih, p. 4; Richard, Jaillissements, pp. 27-28).

8. The discussion of gathering (jam() and dispersion (tafriga, also farq) goes back to the early Sufi manuals (for a good collection of Sufi texts illustrating how the terms are contrasted, see Nurbakhsh, Sufism, pp. 41-64). "Causes" translates asbáb (plural of sabab), which suggests secondary, apparent causes rather than primary, real causes. In Sufi terminology, all the things in the universe are "causes" in this sense. To immerse oneself in the causes in a search for ultimate truth is to remain in dispersion and separation. In the Sufi view, this is the handicap of all the rational sciences. The Sufi path is rather to empty oneself of all causes, to "polish the heart" by cleansing it of the rust of things, and to find God's light in the heart.

9. As already noted the "realities" of things are the same as the "fixed entities" (acyàn thabita). They are "nonexistent" because they have no existence of their own.

10. "Unboundedness" and "binding" translate itláq and tagyrd. This is a stan dard pair of Arabic terms used to contrast the Real Existence of God with the. existence of things (on this pairing in Ibn al-Arabi, see Chittick, Sufi Path -e, Knowledge, index under "delimitation"; and idem, Self-Disclosure, index under "unbounded"). In a philosophical context, mutlaq is usually translated as "absolute," but this is often inadequate in Sufi texts, especially if we translate mugayyad as "relative" (as does Whinfield in this passage; Richard uses absolu and determination, and, for the adjectival form, inconditionné and conditionne). "Unboundedness" and "binding" give a better sense of the concrete meaning implied by the terms. For his part, Liu Chih translates the two terms rather consistently throughout the text as "penetrating" and "obstructed" (see especially Gleam 21). The Chinese pairing suggests the concrete meaning of the Arabic words, but this is lost when we have recourse to abstract terms like "absolute" and "relative."

It was noted earlier that penetration and obstruction are commonly contrasted in Neo-Confucian thought. We saw that Chu Hsi explains the difference between human beings and animals in terms of their possession of a principle that penetrates the obstructions of impurity (p. 41). Discussions of the two terms often apply them to the issue of achieving perfection by actualizing the heart's oneness with Principle or by realizing the fullness of jen. Thus Chu Hsi was asked, "How can the heart by means of Tao penetrate all things without limit?" He replied, "The heart is not like a side door which can be enlarged by force. We must eliminate the obstructions of selfish desires, and then it will be pure and clear and able to know all" (Chan, Source Book, p. 630). In Islamic terms, this penetration of all things is a characteristic of the Real Being, which is unbounded and infinite, whereas each specific thing represents a binding and blocking of its infinite light. As Rümi put it, "If you pour the ocean into a jug, how much will it hold? One day's store" (Mathnawï 1 20).

11. For "philosophers" Jâmi uses the term hukamá', plural of hakim, meaning "wise" or "sage," but he means the term in the sense of faläsifa, the "philosophers," as is commonly the case in both Persian and Arabic. This is manifestly clear in his usage of the same word in the full title of his Precious Pearl. Avicenna offers an example of the teaching Jámi has in mind:

The soul continues on like this until she fully achieves in herself the guise of all of existence. She turns into an intelligible world, parallel with all the existent cosmos. She witnesses what is absolute comeliness, absolute good, and real, absolute beauty while she is unified with it, imprinted with its likeness and guise, strung upon its thread, and coming to be of its substance. (Ibn Sinä, al-Shifá', pp. 425-26. Cf. Ibn Siná, al-Naját, p. 293.)

12. Mathnawi II 277-78.

13. As already explained, "relation" (nisbat) in this passage and in Gleams 7, 8,11, and 12 is a Naqshbandi technical term. It refers to a subtle connection that is established between the disciple and the master through picturing the image of the master's face and concentrating on the name of God. Jami provides a detailed explanation of the term in Sharh-i rubáciyydt (edited by Afshár, pp. 8889). He begins with two quatrains, both of which play on the name of the founder of the order, Naqshband, which means literally "picture-binder" and can be taken as a reference to this specific practice. I quote the quatrains and the beginning of his explanation:

When you see a king on the throne of poverty,/ one aware with certainty of the mysteries of reality,/ If you picture his form on the tablet of the heart,/ You will find a road from that picture to the Picture-binder.

Those in pain know the mystery of love's heartache,/ but the pleasant-living and the self-satisfied do not know./ One can go from the picture to the pictureless—/The picture-binders know this wondrous picture.

In attentiveness [tawajjuh] and nurturing the nonmanifest relation [parwarish-i nisbat-i bätin], the path [tariga] of the Master [Bahá' al-Din Naqshband] and his vicegerents is as follows: Whenever they want to occupy themselves with the relation, first they bring into imagination the form of the individual from whom they have received it, until the warmth and their accustomed quality appears. Then, while clinging to that quality along with that form and image, which is the mirror of the unbounded Spirit, they turn the attentiveness toward the heart, which is the all-gathering reality [hagigat-i jámi'a] of the human being and of which the totality of the engendered universe, both high and low, is the differentiation. Although the heart is incomparable with dwelling in bodies, there is a relation between it and this pine-cone shaped lump of flesh. Hence, one must turn the attentiveness toward the pine-cone shaped flesh. One must assign to it eyes, reflection, imagination, and all faculties and be present with it, and one must sit at the heart's door. We have no doubt that in this state, the quality of selflessness [bii-kitwudi] and absence [ghaybat] will show its face. One must assume that this quality is a road and follow it. Whenever a thought comes that is turned toward the reality of one's heart, one must negate it. One must not occupy oneself with that particular thing, and one must flee into undifferentiation to the Universal so that it may be negated. The time of the quality and the selflessness must be extended and not interrupted. (pp. 88-89)

For a discussion of this practice in the Naqshbandi order, see Chodkiewicz, "Quelques aspects des techniques spirituelles dans la tariqa naqshbandiyya."

14. "I am the Real" is of course Hallàj's famous declaration.

15. The "unbounded Face" (wajh-i mutlaq) is the face of God seen in all things but not limited and defined by any of them. It is referred to in the Koranic verse, "Wherever you turn, there is the face of God" (2:115). For Ibn al-`Arabi on this face, see Chittick, Self-Disclosure, chapters 3 and 4.

16. This quatrain is reminiscent of another quatrain that Jámi explains both in his Sharh-i rubáciyyát and in a short, independent treatise, which goes by several names, on the Naqshbandi method. In both cases, Jami is explaining the nature of the already mentioned relation. The quatrain reads, "Bring to hand the thread of good fortune, brother/ and pass not this precious life in loss: / Constantly, everywhere, with everyone, in every work, / keep the eye of the heart on the Companion in secret!" Jámi s explanation of this quatrain (pp. 91-92) seems to be an earlier version of the Seventh Gleam:

One must exercise this relation such that one is never empty of this relation. If one is heedless of it for a moment, one must return to the work in the manner that was said. One must be present constantly. In the house and the bazaar, in buying and selling, in eating and drinking, and in all states one must keep the corner of the heart's eye on one's own all-gathering reality. One must place it before one's eyes and keep it present. One must not become heedless of it through particular forms. Rather, one must know that all things endure through it, and one must try to witness it in all existents, whether they are considered beautiful or not beautiful, until one sees oneself in all. One must know that all things are the mirror of one's own perfect beauty. Or rather, one must see that all are parts of oneself.... One must know that this all-gathering reality is the locus of manifestation for the totality of God's Essence and attributes, not that God dwells within it—high is God beyond that! Rather this is like the manifestation of a form in a mirror.

17. As noted, "poverty" is a common designation for the Sufi path. For the text on poverty from which Jámi may have taken this specific saying, see Chittick and Wilson, Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes, pp. 111-13.

18. Jami has in view here standard Sufi discussions of annihilation. For a good collection of these, see Nurbakhsh, Sufism, pp. 85-115. However, "annihilation of annihilation" is not a common expression, so he may be looking at specific Naqshbandi teachings. In Nafahát al-uns (p. 395) he quotes a saying from cAlá' al-Din cAttár (d. 802/1400), a major disciple of Bahá' al-Din Naqshband: "When the Kingdom and the Sovereignty [i.e., both worlds] come to be hidden from the seeker and are forgotten, this is 'annihilation.' When the being of the wayfarer comes to be hidden from the wayfarer himself, this is 'annihilation of annihilation."

19. The Sufis take "the language of the birds" as a Koranic allusion to the mysteries of the path to God. It is of course the title of Farid al-Din (Attár's famous poem, whose title is usually mistranslated in English. See cAttár, The Conference of the Birds.

20. Whinfield's translation here is more or less correct but it loses the technical nature of the discussion, whereas Richard misses the point entirely, as shown by his punctuation. The text should read yádkard-i hagq, not yád kard, hagq. Yádkard is a relatively unusual word, since, as already pointed out, it is a technical term pertaining specifically to Naqshbandi teachings. Jam! says that it is a technical term (istiláh) in his Sharh-i rubáciyyát (p. 99). He defines it as "remembrance [dhikr] of the Real by the tongue or the heart." He has taken most of his discussion of the term from Bahá' al-Din Naqshband's Qudsiyya, p. 36.

21. The word translated as "obtainment" is husùl, whose basic meaning is to come to hand, as gold from a mine or harvest from a planting. Dictionaries give English equivalents such as setting in, occurrence, happening, attainment, achievement. Whinfield and Kazvini render the whole phrase rather loosely as "the state of being or existing," and Richard translates husùl into French as acquisition.

22. The Ash'arites resolved the theological issue here in the Kullabite formula, "They [the attributes] are neither He nor other than He," a statement that Ibn al-Arabi sometimes rejects. He often formulates the issue in terms of what he Notes to pp. 156-160 229

calls the "two denotations" of the Essence. See Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 36-37; Chodkiewicz et al., Les Illuminations de La Mecque/The Mecca Revelations, p. 114 (Futúhát IV 197.22).

23. This Arabic prayer is probably Jámi's own composition. The pattern goes back to a famous prayer uttered by Abu Bakr, the first caliph: "Glory be to Him who assigned the creatures no path to His knowledge save the incapacity to know Him!"

24. "One-and-allness" translates wahidiyya, a term that began to be contrasted with "Unity" (ahadiyya) with the writings of Qunawi and Farghani. As explained on p. 75, these two terms are derived from two Koranic names of God, ahad and wáhid, both of which mean "one." According to many commentators, God is ahad inasmuch as he is uniquely one, incomparable, and transcendent, and he is wáhid inasmuch as his one reality gives rise to all things. Hence "unity" can be said to designate a transcendent oneness that is contrasted with the manyness of the things, whereas "One-and-allness" can designate the immanent oneness that is implied by the plurality of divine names and attributes, a oneness that entails all multiplicity. Whinfield translates the two terms as "unity" and "singleness." Richard, following Henry Corbin, translates them as unitude divine and unité seconde. Liu Chih's translation of the two as "Only-One" (chih-i) and "First-One" (ti-i) nicely catches their contrasting meanings.

25. "Lastness" (ákhiriyya), which is derived from the divine name Last (ákhir), means also "latterness." The word ákhir is both a comparative and a superlative adjective, so if one thing comes after another—in this case wáhid after ahad—the second is the "latter" and hence deserves this attribute.

26. "Gathering" (jam') is God's attribute inasmuch as all attributes and possibilities are prefigured within Him. The term is derived from the word jámi', which is both a Koranic divine name ("All-gathering" or "All-comprehensive") and a basic description of the name Allah, which is called the "all-gathering name" (al-ism al jamic), because all the other divine names come under its compass. In Ibn al-Arabi's vocabulary, the attribute of gathering is closely associated with the perfect human being, who is the "all-gathering engendered thing" (al-kawn al jámic), mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter of the Fusús (see also Chittick, Self-Disclosure, pp. 171, 178-81). In Gleam 2, gathering was discussed in much the same manner as it is discussed in the classic Sufi manuals, where it designates the collectedness and concentration achieved by one-pointed focus on the One. The present context reminds us that for Ibn al-Arabi s school of thought, the theoretical elaboration of the classic concepts of gathering and dispersion demands attention to the true nature of human beings as "all-gathering engendered things," created in the image of the One who embraces all of reality.

27. The first two terms, differentia (fall) and specificity (khássa), are philosophical designations for the characteristics that set things apart from each other, whereas "entification" (tacayyun) came to be used among Ibn al-Arabi's followers to designate all things inasmuch as they are distinct entities having specific characteristics.

28. As this passage illustrates, "divine" (iláhi) and "engendered" (kawni) are contrasting terms. The first designates what pertains specifically to God considered as the Divinity (ulúhiyya), the second to everything that derives from the


engendering act of God, which is his saying to a thing "Be!" (kun). "Realities.. are the things as known to God, or, the things as present within the Reality of Realities (Gleam 25). The engendered realities may be considered in their non_ existence, in which case they are identical with the fixed entities, or they ma be considered as existent in the world, in which case they may be called the "existent entities" and, as in the next paragraph, the "external entities." On the entities, see Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 83-88. Richard translates the term <ayn ("entity") as "individual essence," which is misleading and loses sight of the context of the discussion. On why "essence" is inappropriate for `ayn, see Chittick, Self-Disclosure, p. 389n9.

29. Essential necessity (wujúb-i dhätí) is the fact that the Being of the Essence is necessary, which is to say that the Essence cannot not be. Every other divine attribute can become manifest generally in creation and specifically in perfect human beings. Created things always remain "possible things" (mutt/kin), which is to say that their existence can never belong to them by essence, only by borrowing from the Necessary in Being. They can have necessity, but only "through the other" (bi'l-ghayr), not through their own essences.

30. "Individuals" translates afrad, which seems to have no specifically Sufi meaning here. It is used in the same sense at the beginning of the next Gleam, when Jámi mentions the "individuals of the species." In Ibn al-<Arabi's vocabulary, it can better be translated as "solitaries" and designates those perfect human beings who are outside the scope of the Pole (qutb). See Chittick, Self-Disclosure,

p. 142 (and index for other references).

31. These are two standard divisions of the worlds. Vertically, there are three worlds: the world of bodies, of images, and of spirits. Horizontally, there are two: the world in which we now dwell and the world of the resurrection and beyond. See Murata and Chittick, Vision, p. 224.

32. This pairing of terms—"disclosure" (jalä') and "seeing disclosure" (istijlä')—seems to have been made current by Qúnawi. For an explanation of some of what it implies, see the discussion of "distinct-manifestation" and "distinct-vision" in Chittick and Wilson, Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes, pp. 21 ff. For some of Fargháni's explications, see Muntaha'l-madärik, vol. 1, pp. 45-46, 72. Liu Chih seems to consider this discussion too technical, since he drops the passage.

33. Jam' has taken this complex sentence almost verbatim from Fargháni, Mashäriq al-darärf, p. 17. The basic meaning of the Koranic term ghina is wealth and riches, though it can also be translated as "independence" or "lack of need." Here Liu Chih chooses to look at the primary sense of the word, and we follow his lead. Ibn al-Arabi frequently discusses this divine attribute to assert the transcendence of the divine Essence (see Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge and Self-Disclosure, indexes under "independence"), and Fargháni's passage summarizes the basic point: The Essence is utterly transcendent because it has no need of anything whatsoever outside itself, given that everything is already present within it by virtue of its infinite knowledge. After the phrase, "by the inclusion of all within Its oneness," Fargháni's original sentence has, "like the inclusion of all the numbers and their levels in one [wähid], and unit [ahad]." Compare the even more complex Arabic version of this sentence in Fargháni, Muntaha'1-madärik, vol. 1, pp. 13-14.

34. "Eye" here translates (ayn, which elsewhere in this passage is translated as "entity." In this specific context, however, it is contrasted with `ilm or "knowledge," which means the stage of the fixed entities in their nonmanifestation. Hence cayn refers to the stage in which the entities fixed in knowledge become manifest to the eye as existent entities. Whinfield has caught the implication of the term by translating it freely as "sensible world."

35. This passage is probably derived from a much more complicated version of the discussion found in Fargháni, Muntaha'l-madärik, vol. 1, p. 7.

36. Jami is answering here one of the attacks made by opponents of Ibn al-'Arabi's school such as Ibn Taymiyya and <Ala' al-Dawla Simnáni. As Knysh tells us in his review of Ibn Taymiyya's polemic, "According to the Hanbali scholar, Ibn <Arabi makes no distinction between the existence of God and that of'jinn, devils, unbelievers, sinners, dogs, swine."' Ibn <Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition, p. 100.

37. The "knowledged forms" (suwar-i <ilmiyya) are God's "objects of knowledge" (ma<lümät) and, as the Koran tells us, "Not a leaf falls, but He knows it" (6:59). It would be absurd to suggest that God does not know the leaf, or else he would be touched by ignorance. And since God is outside of time, he knows all things for all eternity. Ibn al-Arabi calls this divine omniscience God's "conclusive argument" against the creatures. See Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 297-301.

38. "Predication" (haml) is to ascribe a "predicate" (mahmül), that is, an attribute or characteristic, to a "subject" (mawdfi<), that is, whatever is described by the attribute. The point is the same that was made more briefly in Gleam 15—that the attributes are identical with the Essence in respect of existence and different in terms of denotation.

39. On the expression "All are He" (hama fist) and its connection to the debate in later Sufism over the term wandat al-wujild ("the oneness of existence"), see Chittick, "Wandat al-shuhad and wandat al-wudjúd," Encyclopaedia of Islam.

40. A good portion of this description of the six levels seems to be taken from Jandi, Sharh Fusas al-hikam, p. 613.

41. The Manifest of Existence (zdhir-i wujiüd) is often contrasted with the Nonmanifest of Existence (bâtin-i wujad), as we saw in Gleams 18 and 22. Here, however, it is contrasted with the Manifest of Knowledge (zähir-i (ilm), which will be mentioned shortly. The contrast is discussed in detail by Fargháni (and the sentences relevant to these two terms in the present passage are not found in Jandí s version). Fargháni explains that at the level of Divinity—the level that Ibn al-Arabi sometimes calls the "One/Many"—there is both the oneness of the Real Existence and the manyness of the divine knowledge. In other words, God is truly one through his Being, but he embraces the principles of all multiplicity through his knowledge of all realities. This true oneness is called the "Manifest of Existence," and the manyness is called the "Manifest of Knowledge." The Manifest of Existence is the form of Unity (ahadiyya) and has the attribute of necessity; it has a real oneness and a relative manyness. The Manifest of Knowledge is the form of One-and-allness (wähidiyya) and has the attribute of possibility. In other words, the objects of God's knowledge are the "possible things" (mumkinät), to which God may give external existence. The Manifest of


Knowledge has a real manyness and a relative oneness (Masháriq al-darari, p 22, cf. Muntaha'l- madarik, vol. 1, p. 15). As for the "Nonmanifest of Existence" an the "Nonmanifest of Knowledge," these two pertain to the Essence and its tas d

42. A saying of the Prophet, made famous in this version by Ibn al-Arab

See Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, p. 393n13. ''

43. Compare Ibn al-Arabi, "So the nonmanifest of the Real is the manifest of creation, and the nonmanifest of creation is the manifest of the Real" (Chittick, Self-Disclosure, p. 370). For many other passages in which Ibn al-Arabi describes God and the world in terms of manifest and nonmanifest, see ibid., pp. 205-23.

44. For an analysis of this argument in the Fusús, see Izutsu, Sufism and Taoism, pp. 212-15. For passages from the Futtihat covering the same ground, See Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, pp. 97 ff.; idem, Self-Disclosure, pp. 19,248-49.

45. Ibn al-Arabi frequently discuss the two categories of contrary (mutagabil) names, some associated with mercy, majesty, and gentleness (lutf), some with wrath, beauty, and subjugation (qahr). See indexes, under "contrariety," of Chittick, Sufi Path of Knowledge, and idem, Self-Disclosure.

46. "Ineffectuality" renders which is a technical term in Kalam for the

heretical position of declaring that God is not actively at work in the cosmos. The mucattila, or "those who believe in ineffectuality," are commonly criticized in theological texts.

47. The "all-merciful mercy" (rahmat-i rahmaniyya) is contrasted with the "compassionate mercy" (rahmat-i rahimiyya). The first pertains to the Breath of the All-merciful that gives existence to the cosmos, and the second to mercy that gives rise to paradise, as contrasted with the wrath that gives rise to hell.

48. The term subjugation is derived from the divine name qahhar, the "All-subjugating," which is paired with the divine name one (wahid) in all six of its Koranic occurrences. The verse most often cited to show its relevance to the present discussion-that is, the fact that it negates all "otherness"-refers to the Last Day, that is, the day when true relationships become clear to everyone. "The day they sally forth, and naught of theirs is hidden from God. 'Whose is the kingdom's today?' 'God's, the One, the All-subjugating " (40:16).

49. These are the four most famous books of Avicenna, the greatest of the Muslim philosophers: al-Ship), al-Qanún, al-Najat, and al-Isharat wa'l-tanbihat.

50. These are the names of books by three famous scholars: al-Mawàgif in Kalam by (Adud al-Din iji (d. 756/1355), al-Magasid in Kalam by Sacd al-Din Taftázáni (d. 793/1390), and al-Matalic in logic by Siráj al-Din Urmawi (d. 682/ 1283).

51. This Gleam is probably inspired by the last nass of Qúnawi's Nusús, p. 88.

52. This sentence refers to a passage from the fourth chapter of the Fusús al-hikam that was quoted earlier (p. 119).

53. Mahmùd Shabistari, Gulshan-i raz, in Láhiji, Mafatih al-i'jàz, verse no. 145 (with slight textual discrepancies).

54. Fusús al-hikam, p. 91.

55. Jämi's Persian translation of the Arabic passage is accurate, but not exact. The text is found toward the beginning of al-Nusús, p. 13.

56. The source of this expression is towards the beginning of the first chapter of the Fusús al-hikam, where Ibn al-Arabi writes, "Among the characteristics Notes to pp. 206-210, 131-133 233

of the divine ruling is that He never proportions a locus that does not receive a divine spirit, which He has called 'blowing into it.' ... The receptacle derives only from His most holy effusion" (p. 49). Jámi says "Sufis" not because he does not know that Ibn al-Arabi coined the expression, but because the complementary expression, "holy effusion," is not found in his writings (see Hakim, al-MuWjam al-súfi, pp. 888-92). Its source may be the writings of Sadr al-Din Qiinawi, specifically toward the beginning of his Mir iit al-carifin ("The mirror of the gnostics"), where he writes, "Glory be to Him who entified the entities through the most ancient, most holy effusion; who engendered the engendered things through the precedent, holy effusion; and who made eternity manifest through temporality, and temporality through eternity" (text in S. H. Askari, Reflection of the Awakened, p. 3). Despite the fact that Ibn al-Arabi does not explicitly formulate this pair of terms, his commentators and followers frequently discuss it, typically ascribe ít to him, and draw the explication of what the terminology means from his writings. For example, he makes the same distinction in the second chapter of the Fusús in terms of "essential gifts" and "name-derived gifts" and in the twelfth chapter in terms that are also being discussed here, that is, the two self-disclosures that are the "absent" and the "witnessed."

57. The common expression "May dirt fill your mouth!" can have an imprecatory sense and can also mean, "Keep your mouth shut!" or "Be ashamed of what you have said." Richard offers a mystical interpretation that is farfetched.

7. Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm

1. Compare this verse from the Zen Platform Scripture: "The heart is the tree of perfect wisdom. /The body is the stand of a bright mirror! The bright mirror is originally clear and pure! Where has it been defiled by any dust?" (Chan, Source Book, p. 432).

2. There is a reference here to a Neo-Confucian discussion based on a passage from the ancient Book of Documents (2.2.15): "The human heart is in danger, the Tao heart is concealed; be refined, be one! Hold fast to the center!" For Chu Hsi's explanation of the two hearts from his introduction to the Doctrine of the Mean, see !Calton, To Become a Sage, p. 167.

3. This refers back to the sentence, "In talk of endeavor, righteousness is there, and in talk of righteousness, endeavor is lodged within." The second half will be explained shortly.

4. The allusion here is to a passage in Mencius (2A.2): "Let the heart not forget, but let there be no helping by force." Mencius illustrates what he means about "not helping" with a story:

There was a man from Sung who pulled at his rice plants because he was worried about their failure to grow.... 'I am worn out today,' he said to his family, 'I have been assisting the rice plants to grow.' His son rushed out to take a look and there the plants were, all shrivelled up. There are few in the world who can resist the urge to help their rice plants grow. (Translated by Lau, Mencius, p. 78)