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Oriental Mysticism, by E.H. Palmer, [1867], at



EVERY animal possesses a vegetative spirit, a livingThe Spirit of Humanity. spirit, and an instinctive spirit; but man has an additional inheritance, namely the Spirit of Humanity. Now this was breathed by God into man directly from Himself, and is therefore of the same character as the Primal Element: "And when I have fashioned him and breathed My spirit into him." (Cor. cap. 15, v. 29). The Sufis do not interpret this of the Life, but of the Spirit of Humanity, and say that it is frequently not attained until a late period of life, thirty or even eighty years. Before man can how acquired. receive this Spirit of Humanity he must be furnished with capacity, which is only to be acquired by purifying oneself from all evil and immoral qualities and dispositions, and adorning oneself with the opposite ones. Sheikh Muhíy-uddín ibn ul ’Arabí 1, in his "Investigations" ( ), says that the words "and when I have fashioned him," refer to this preparation, and the rest of the sentence, "and breathed My spirit into him," refers to the accession of the Spirit of Humanity.

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Two conditions are therefore imposed upon the Traveller, first, to attain Humanity, second, to acquire capacity.

There are three developments of character that must be suppressed before man can attain to Humanity; the animal, the brutal, and the fiendish. He who only eats and sleeps, and gives way to lust, is mere animal; if besides these he gives way to anger and cruelty, he is brutal; and if in addition to 'all these he is crafty, lying, and deceitful, he is fiendish.

If the Traveller is moderate in his food, rest, and desires, and strives to attain a knowledge of himself and of God, then is the time for acquiring capacity by freeing himself from all that is evil and base, and adorning himself with the opposite qualities; after that by prayer he may obtain the Spirit of Humanity. constitutes real immortality. Some one has truly said that there is none of the perfection, essence, or immortality of man, save only among such as are "created with a godly disposition." When the Traveller has once been revivified by the Spirit of Humanity he becomes immortal, and inherits everlasting life. This is why it has been said that "man has a beginning but no end."

The Divine Light.If when he has attained this Spirit of Humanity, he is earnest, and does not waste his life in trifling, he soon arrives at the Divine Light itself. For "God guideth whom He pleaseth unto His Light." The attainment of this light is the completion of Man's upward progress, but no one can attain to it but those who are pure in spirit and in their lives.

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[paragraph continues] Mohammed asserted that he himself had attained it, "To the light have I reached, and in the light I live;" now this light is the Nature of God; wherefore he said " who seeth me seeth God."

The germ that contains the Primal Element of The Origin and Return of Man. Man is the lowest of the low, and the Divine Light is the highest of the high; it is between these extremes that the stages of man's upward or downward progress lie. "We have created man in the fairest of proportions, and then have thrown him back to be the lowest of the low, save only such as believe and act with righteousness; and verily these shall have their reward." (Cor. cap. 95, v. 4). This reward is said by the Sufis to be defined by the word ajrat, "reward," itself. This word contains three radical letters and ; stands for "return," for "paradise" and for , that is "those who have handed down the faith." Their acting righteously is their return to the Nature of God, for when they have finished their upward progress, and reached this they are in Paradise, and in the presence of their God. He therefore is a man, in the true sense of the word, who being sent down upon earth strives upward towards Heaven. These aspirations are indispensable to man; he might by the Almighty Power of God exist without all beside, even had the Heavens and the elements themselves never been; but these things are the aim and want of all.

It has been said that the Primal Element or The Spirit of Humanity identical with the Primal Element. constructive spirit as well as the Spirit of Humanity

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proceed direct from God. They are therefore identical, and are both included by the Sufis in the one term Concomitant Spirit. Now this Spirit, although distinct and individual, comprehends and governs the entire Universe. The Simple Natures are its administrators and exponents; of these the Seven Sires beget, and the Four Mothers conceive from the incarnation of this spirit in them, and their offspring is the triple kingdom, Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal. And so it is with the Lesser World of Man.

Now this Spirit hath two functions, external and internal; the external is revealed in the material generation just alluded to, the internal abides in the heart of man. Whosoever purifies his heart from worldly impressions and desires reveals this internal function of the Spirit within him, and illumines and revivifies his soul.

Thus the Spirit at once comprehends the Universe and dwells in the heart of man.


55:1 Fusús el Hikam, Metaphysical Investigations by Muhíy-uddín Mohammed ben ’Alí el Hátimí el Táyí ibn el Arabí.

Next: Chapter IV. Of the Upward Progress or Ascent of Man