Sacred Texts  Islam  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Studies in Islamic Mysticism, by Reynold A. Nicholson, [1921], at

p. 149



I have already referred to the work of Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí, bearing a title which may be rendered "The Bezels of Divine Wisdom," and have pointed out that its subject-matter coincides, to a large extent, with that of the Insánu ’l-Kámil, while both writers are not only inspired by the same mystical philosophy but use similar methods in order to develop their ideas 2. The following notes, inadequate as they are, will at least show the magnitude of Jílí's debt to his predecessor, besides making clearer some fundamental principles which in the Insánu ’l-Kámil are assumed rather than expounded. The Fuṣúṣ purports to be a treatise on the nature of God as manifested through prophecy, each of its 27 chapters being attached to the logos (kalima) of a prophet typifying a particular Divine attribute. Since God does not reveal Himself completely except in Man, the first chapter treats of Adam as the microcosm, the Perfect Man, the absolute mirror of Divinity. Often Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí takes a text of the Koran and elicits his doctrine from it in a fashion well known to students of Philo and Origen. The theories set forth in the Fuṣúṣ are difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain. Many years ago I translated the greater part of the work, with the commentary by ‘Abdu ’l-Razzáq al-Káshání, for my own use, but the author's language is so technical, figurative, and involved that a literal reproduction would convey very little. On the other hand, if we reject his terminology, we shall find it impossible to form any precise notion of his ideas. By collecting and arranging illustrative passages and by availing myself of the commentator's aid I may, perhaps, throw some light on a peculiarly recondite phase of mystical scholasticism.

p. 150

The Divine Essence, which is all that exists, may be regarded from two aspects: (a) as a pure, simple, attributeless essence; (b) as an essence endowed with attributes. God, considered absolutely, is beyond relation and therefore beyond knowledge—the Neoplatonic One, inconceivable and ineffable. From this point of view God, in a sense, is not God. "Some philosophers and Abú Ḥámid (al-Ghazálí) have asserted that God is known without reference to the universe, but they are mistaken. An eternal Essence is known, but it is not known to be a god, i.e., an object of worship (iláh), until the ma’lúh (the logical complement of iláh) is known 1." Here we are introduced to a dialectic which dominates the Fuṣúṣ. While God is independent of created beings in respect of His essence, He requires them in respect of His divinity 2. His existence is absolute, theirs is relative, i.e., it is Real Being limited and individualised by appearing as a relation of Reality. Hence all things are attributes of God. As such, they are ultimately identical with God, apart from whom they are nothing 3. Regarded externally, they depend on the universals of which they are the particulars. Thus, a "living" person is not judged to be "living " unless he have in him the universal " life " which, though as a universal it exists only in the mind, has an external existence in so far as it is attached to phenomena. Universals, being mental concepts, imply a subject and an object. As the universal, knowledge, necessarily predicates of any one endowed with it that he is "knowing," so the person endowed therewith necessarily predicates of the knowledge that it is originated in relation to himself, eternal

p. 151

in relation to God 1. The Divine Essence, in knowing itself, knows all things in itself and distinguishes them from itself as objects of its knowledge. The difference, of course, does not impair the essential unity of knowledge, knower, and known, but is none the less inherent in the nature of things, i.e., in Reality as manifested to us. "Triplicity (tathlíth) is the foundation of becoming 2." God is single (fard), but according to Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí the first single (odd) number is 3, not I. "One" is the object of numeration, whence all numbers from 2 upwards are derived. Creation depends on knowledge and therefore involves tathlíth. That which is brought into existence is a correlate 3, which already exists ideally and contains in itself the potentiality of existing objectively, inasmuch as it must correspond with the knowledge and will of God concerning it; otherwise, it would not exist either potentially or actually 4. The essences (a‘yán) of things are eternally known to God and "give" His knowledge to Him in virtue of their being that which He knows of them. His creative Word (Kun, "Be!") actualises their existence, but properly they bring themselves into existence, because He only wills what they have it in them to become. From the proposition that "knowledge is a relation depending on the object known (al-‘ilm nisbatun tábi‘atun li ’l-ma‘lúm), and the object known is thou and all appertaining to thee 5," Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí infers that human actions are logically self-determined 6. The fate of every individual is his ‘ayn thábita or essential character as it exists from eternity in the Divine knowledge. Men receive of good and evil just what the necessity of their natures demands. The verse, "Had God willed, He would have guided you all aright" (Koran, 6, 150), means that God could not will the impossible. His wisdom requires that the infinite diversity of His attributes should be matched by infinitely diverse capacities in the objects wherein these attributes are displayed 7.

p. 152

Mystics see that God is One and All, and One in All.

Sublimity (‘uluww) belongs to God alone. The essences (a‘yán) of things are in themselves non-existent, deriving what existence they possess from God, who is the real substance (‘ayn) of all that exists. Plurality consists of relations (nisab), which are nonexistent things. There is really nothing except the Essence, and this is sublime (transcendent) for itself, not in relation to anything, but we predicate of the One Substance a relative sublimity (transcendence) in respect of the modes of being attributed to it: hence we say that God is (huwa) and is not (lá huwa). Kharráz 1, who is a mode of God and one of His tongues, declared that God is not known save by His uniting all opposites in the attribution of them to him (Kharráz) 2: He is the First, the Last, the Outward, the Inward; He is the substance of what is manifested and the substance of what remains latent at the time of manifestation; none sees Him but Himself, and none is hidden from Him, since He is manifested to Himself and hidden from Himself; and He is the person named Abú Sa‘íd al-Kharráz and all the other names of originated things. The inward says "No" when the outward says "I," and the outward says "No " when the inward says "I," and so in the case of every contrary, but the speaker is One, and He is substantially identical with the hearer.…The Substance is One, although its modes are different. None can be ignorant of this, for every man knows it of himself 3, and Man is the image of God.

Thus things became confused and numbers appeared, by means of the One, in certain degrees 4. The One brought number into being, and number analysed the One, and the relation of number was produced by the object of numeration.…He that knows this knows that the Creator who is declared to be incomparable (munazzah) is the creatures which are compared (mushabbah) with Him—by reason of His manifesting Himself in their forms—albeit the creatures have been distinguished from the Creator. The

p. 153

[paragraph continues] Creator is the creature, and the creature is the Creator: all this proceeds from One Essence; nay, He is the One Essence and the many (individualised) essences.…Who is Nature and Who is all that is manifested from her 1? We did not see her diminished by that which was manifested from her, or increased by the not-being of aught manifested that was other than she. That which was manifested is not other than she, and she is not identical with what was manifested, because the forms differ in respect of the predication concerning them: this is cold and dry, and this is hot and dry: they are united by dryness but separated by cold and heat. Nay, the Essence is (in reality) Nature. The world of Nature is many forms in One Mirror; nay, One Form in diverse mirrors 2. Bewilderment arises from the difference of view, but those who perceive the truth of what I have stated are not bewildered 3.

We do not find in the Fuṣúṣ any systematic scheme of Plotinian emanation or process of self-propulsive thought such as Jílí ascribes to the Absolute 4. Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí indicates the relation of the One to the Many by means of metaphors, e.g., tajallí (self-unveiling), fayḍ (overflowing), takhallul (permeation) 5, and ta’thír (producing an effect or impression) 6. Contingent Being resembles a shadow cast by a figure (Real Being), falling on a place (the forms of phenomena), and made visible by a light (the Divine Name al-Ẓáhir, "the Outward"). The universe is imaginary if we deem it external to God and self-subsistent; it is real only as an aspect of the Real 7. It is "the breath of the Merciful" (nafasu ’l-Raḥmán). God exhales, as it were, the essences and forms of things which are contained potentially in His nature, and unites the active and passive elements in one medium of self-expression, just as words and letters are united in the breath of man 8.

p. 154

[paragraph continues] Phenomena are perpetually changing and being created anew 1, while God remains as He ever was, is, and shall be. The whole infinite series of individualisations is in fact one eternal and everlasting tajallí which never repeats itself. Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí observes that his doctrine agrees superficially with that of the Ash‘arite atomists, who held the universe to be homogeneous in substance but dissimilar in quality. On the other hand, he points out that instead of identifying the substance with God, and the sum of those forms and relations which they call "accidents," with the universe, the Ash‘arites postulate certain monads: these, although by definition they are composed of accidents, are regarded (he says) as having an independent existence, as a reality (ḥaqq) but not essentially the Reality (al-Ḥaqq2. To our minds the atoms, which have extension neither in space nor in time, seem insubstantial enough. But Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí will brook no secundum quid, not even one that only endures for a moment. God is both the spirit and the form of the universe. We must not say that the universe is a form of which He is the spirit 3.

What has been said in the foregoing essay regarding the nature and function of Man was first put forth by Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí. A few quotations will make this clear.

When God willed in respect of His Beautiful Names (attributes), which are beyond enumeration, that their essences (a‘yán)—or if you wish, you may say " His essence (‘aynuhu)"—should be seen, He caused them to be seen in a microcosmic being (kawn jámi‘) which, inasmuch as it is endowed with existence 4, contains the whole object of vision, and through which the inmost consciousness (sirr) of God becomes manifested to Him. This He did, because the vision that consists in a thing's seeing itself by means of itself is not like its vision of itself in something else that serves as a

p. 155

mirror for it: therefore God appears to Himself in a form given by the place in which He is seen (i.e., the mirror), and He would not appear thus (objectively) without the existence of this place and His epiphany to Himself therein. God had already brought the universe into being with an existence resembling that of a fashioned soulless body, and it was like an unpolished mirror 1. Now, it belongs to the Divine decree (of creation) that He did not fashion any place but such as must of necessity receive a Divine soul, which God has described as having been breathed into it; and this denotes the acquisition by that fashioned form of capacity to receive the emanation (fayḍ), i.e., the perpetual self-manifestation (tajallí) which has never ceased and never shall. It remains to speak of the recipient (of the emanation). The recipient proceeds from naught but His most holy emanation, for the whole affair (of existence) begins and ends with Him: to Him it shall return, even as from Him it began 2.

The Divine will (to display His attributes) entailed the polishing of the mirror of the universe. Adam (the human essence) was the very polishing of that mirror and the soul of that form, and the angels are some of the faculties of that form, viz., the form of the universe which the Ṣúfís in their technical language describe as the Great Man, for the angels in relation to it are as the spiritual and corporeal faculties in the human organism 3.…The aforesaid microcosmic being is named a Man (insán) and a Vicegerent (khalífa). He is named a Man on account of the universality of his

p. 156

organism and because he comprises all realities 1. Moreover, he stands to God as the pupil (insán), which is the instrument of vision, to the eye; and for this reason he is named a Man. By means of him God beheld His creatures and had mercy on them 2. He is Man, the originated (in his body), the eternal (in his spirit); the organism everlasting (in his essence), the Word that divides and unites. The universe was completed by his existence, for he is to the universe what the bezel is to the seal—the bezel whereon is graven the signature that the King seals on his treasuries 3. Therefore He named him a Vicegerent, because he guards the creatures (of God) just as the King guards his treasuries by sealing them; and so long as the King's seal remains on them, none dares to open them save by his leave. God made him His Vicegerent in the guardianship of the universe, and it continues to be guarded whilst this Perfect Man is there. Dost not thou see that when he shall depart (to the next world) and his seal shall be removed from the treasury of this world, there shall no more remain in it that which God stored therein, but the treasure shall go forth, and every type shall return to its (ideal) antitype, and all existence shall be transferred to the next world and sealed on the treasury of the next world for ever and ever 4?

This was the knowledge of Seth, and it is his knowledge that replenishes every spirit that discourses on such a theme except the spirit of the Seal (the Perfect Man), to whom replenishment comes from God alone, not from any spirit; nay, his spirit replenishes all other spirits. And though he does not apprehend that of himself during the time of his manifestation in the body, yet in respect of his real nature and rank he knows it all essentially, just as he is ignorant thereof in respect of his being compounded of elements. He is the knowing one and the ignorant, for as the Origin (God) is capable of endowment with contrary attributes—the Majestical, the Beautiful, the Inward, the Outward, the First, the Last—so is he capable thereof, since he is identical (‘ayn) with God, not other

p. 157

than He 1. Therefore he knows and knows not, perceives and perceives not, beholds and beholds not 2.

Mohammed is the Logos who unites the Essence, the Attributes, and the Names in his single nature (fardiyya3.

His wisdom is singular (fardiyya), because he is the most perfect being in the human species: therefore existence was begun and ended with him, for he was a prophet whilst Adam was water and clay 4.

We have seen whither these principles lead when applied in the sphere of positive religion 5. ibnu ’l-‘Arabí's doctrine that knowledge is sequent to the object known 6 enables him formally to assert men's individual responsibility for their actions.

Fate (Qaḍá)," he says, "is the decree of God concerning things, which is conditioned by His knowledge of them; and His knowledge of them depends on what they give Him of their essential nature. Determination (Qadar) is the temporal limitation of a thing's essential nature. Whatsoever Fate decrees concerning a thing is decreed (not by an external agent, but) by means of the thing itself. This is the essence of the mystery of Determination (sirru ’l-Qadar7."

In other words, God's knowledge of His essence is His knowledge of all individual souls: the soul as a mode of Divine being determines its own destiny. Every one's portion in this world is that which God knows he will receive, and which is all that he is capable of receiving. God Himself cannot alter it 8. The true believer here and now was a true believer when his soul existed only as an idea in God, the infidel of to-day has been an infidel from eternity. Hence God says in the Koran (50, 28): "I am not unjust to My servants," i.e., "I did not ordain the unbelief which dooms them to misery and

p. 158

then demand of them what lay not in their power to perform. …If there be injustice, they are the unjust 1." "Therefore do not praise any one but yourself or blame any one but yourself. All that remains to God is praise for having given you existence, for that (existence) is His, not yours 2."

Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí makes the same distinction as Ḥalláj 3 between the Divine uncreated will (mashí’a), which decrees nothing that does not come to pass, and the mediate command (amr), which is the religious law (shar‘) and is often disobeyed. God decrees the establishment of the law, but not the practice of what is enjoined by the law. "Sin" is disobedience to the law: it cannot be disobedience to the Divine will.

In reality the Divine will decrees only the coming into existence of the act itself and is not directed towards the agent in whom the act is manifested. That the act should not occur is impossible, but in the individual who is its locus (i.e., the particular agent) it is sometimes named "obedience to the Divine command" and sometimes "disobedience to the Divine command," and is followed by praise or blame accordingly 4.

[paragraph continues] Thus, although the sinner violates God's law, the act named "sin" by us is necessitated by the Divine nature, which reveals itself in acts of various quality corresponding with the variety of its attributes. Reward and punishment in the future life may be regarded as effects of obedience or disobedience, i.e., Divine manifestations determined by the state of the individual soul, but it is a more profound view that God Himself feels the pleasure and the pain 5.

p. 159

The finite God of religion is contrasted with the infinite God of mysticism in many passages, e.g.:

The believer praises the God who is in his form of belief and with whom he has connected himself. He praises none but himself, for his God is made by himself, and to praise the work is to praise the maker of it: its excellence or imperfection belongs to its maker. For this reason he blames the beliefs of others, which he would not do, if he were just. Beyond doubt, the worshipper of this particular God shows ignorance when he criticises others on account of their beliefs. If he understood the saying of Junayd, "The colour of the water is the colour of the vessel containing it 1," he would not interfere with the beliefs of others, but would perceive God in every form and in every belief. He has opinion, not knowledge: therefore God said, "I am in My servant's opinion of Me," i.e., "I do not manifest Myself to him save in the form of his belief." God is absolute or restricted, as He pleases; and the God of religious belief is subject to limitations, for He is the God who is contained in the heart of His servant. But the absolute God is not contained by any thing, for He is the being of all things and the being of Himself, and a thing is not said either to contain itself or not to contain itself 2.

It may be noted that while Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí admits the immutability of the Koranic revelation, he claims for Moslem saints the right to modify by abrogation or addition the religious code that is based on ijtihád, i.e., on non-Prophetic authority, and to put aside any ḥadíth in which their inner light detects a flaw 3.

Like Jílí, he is confident that all souls will be saved at last, and argues it in his own scholastic way:

Every one whom Mercy remembers is blessed, and there is

p. 160

nothing that Mercy has not remembered. Mercy's remembrance (dhikr) of things is identical with her bringing them into existence 1: therefore every existent thing is an object of mercy. Do not let thy perception of what I say be hindered by the doctrine of everlasting punishment. Know, first, that Mercy's bringing into existence comprises all, so that the pains of Hell were brought into existence by Mercy. Then, secondly, Mercy has an effect in two ways: (1) an essential effect, which is her bringing into existence every ‘ayn (individual idea) without regard to purpose or absence of purpose, or to what is congruous or incongruous, for she was beholding every ‘ayn as it existed in the knowledge of God before its actual existence, and therefore she saw the reality (ḥaqq), created in men's beliefs, as a potentially existent ‘ayn, and showed mercy to it by bringing it into existence (in their beliefs). Accordingly, we have said that the reality created in men's beliefs was the first object of mercy, after mercy was shown by bringing into existence the individual believers. (2) An effect produced by asking (su’ál): those who are veiled from the truth ask God 2 to have mercy upon them in their belief, but the mystics ask God that Mercy may subsist in them 3, and they ask for mercy in God's name, saying, "O God, have mercy upon us!" That which has mercy upon them is the subsistence of Mercy in them 4.

The remainder of this passage, though one can readily see its drift, is too abstruse and technical to bear translation. Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí agrees with Jílí that the damned, even if they remain in Hell-fire, ultimately cease to suffer pain 5. Religious intolerance appeals as little to the pantheist who says "All is God" as to the freethinking pessimist who cries out that all is vanity; but here Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí feels more deeply and pleads more earnestly than Ma‘arrí. What God created in His own

p. 161

image let none take upon himself to destroy except by God's command. Men are not blameworthy in their real nature: their actions are praised or blamed, but all action belongs to God. As regards those who legally deserve death—infidels and idolaters—God rebuked David for slaying them, and when he said, "For Thy sake, O Lord," God answered and said, "Yea, but are not they My servants?" It is right to be indignant on God's behalf, yet "compassion towards His servants has the greater claim 1." Love is the highest form in which God is worshipped 2. Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí anticipates Wordsworth 3 in a reasoned tribute to the heavenly influence of children.

The child affects the father's disposition, so that he descends from his authority and plays with him and prattles to him and brings his mind down to the child's, for unconsciously he is under his sway; then he becomes engrossed with educating and protecting his child and with seeking what is good for him and amusing him, that he may not be unhappy. All this is the work of the child upon the father and is owing to the power of his state, for the child was with God a short while ago (ḥadíthu ‘ahdin bi-rabbihi) since he is newly come into the world, whereas the father is further away; and one that is further from God is subject to one that is nearer to Him 4.


149:1 The edition used is that published at Cairo in a.h. 1321.

149:2 See p. 88.

150:1 Fuṣúṣ, 74.

150:2 This mode of thought leads Ibnu ’l-‘Arabí to indulge in daring paradoxes, e.g., "He praises me (by manifesting my perfections and creating me in His form), and I praise Him (by manifesting His perfections and obeying Him). How can He be independent when I help and aid Him? (because the Divine attributes derive the possibility of manifestation from their correlates). For that cause God brought me into existence, and I know Him and bring Him into existence (in my knowledge and contemplation of Him)." Fuṣúṣ, 78.

150:3 God is the ‘ayn (identity) of the attributes, in the sense that they are not superadded to His Essence but are relations of the Essence as subject to itself as object (Fuṣúṣ, 226). The universe is the objectified sum of these relations.

151:1 Fuṣúṣ, 16 fol.

151:2 Ibid. 142.

151:3 Mújad (the thing brought into existence) implies mújid (one who brings it into existence).

151:4 Fuṣúṣ, 139 foll.

151:5 Ibid. 76.

151:6 Ibid. 77. The determining "self" is really an individualisation (ḥaqíqa) of God.

151:7 Ibid. 75-6.

152:1 Abú Sa‘íd al-Kharráz (ob. a.d. 890) was a well-known Ṣúfí of Baghdád. See Kashf al-Maḥjúb, translation, p. 241 foll.

152:2 The mystic cannot know God unless he is illuminated by all the Divine attributes, so that he becomes a ḥaqq. See p. 128.

152:3 Every individual is conscious of having different faculties and qualities.

152:4 One in the first degree is one, in the second ten, in the third a hundred, in the fourth a thousand, and each of these degrees comprises simple and complex numbers, just as species comprise individuals and genera species.

153:1 Real Being, when limited by a universal individualisation, is Nature, from which are manifested secondary and tertiary individualisations, viz., natural bodies of various kinds.

153:2 Nature may be regarded either as all the particular forms in which Reality reveals itself or as the universal form of Reality revealing itself in all particular forms.

153:3 Fuṣúṣ, 63 foll.

153:4 See p. 94.

153:5 Fuṣúṣ, 72 fol.

153:6 Ibid. 230 fol.

153:7 Ibid. 113 foll.

153:8 Ibid. 182.

154:1 But there is no moment of not-being between the successive acts of creation (Fuṣúṣ, 196 fol.). The author compares this with the Ash‘arite tajdídu ’l-a‘ráḍ

154:2 Fuṣúṣ, 553 foll., 239. Cf. Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, p. 201 foll.

154:3 Fuṣúṣ, 46, 132. The attributes are really latent in the Essence and identical with it. Cf. p. 90 supra.

154:4 I.e., relative existence, wherein Absolute Being is reflected.

155:1 The world of things was brought into existence before the creation of Man, in so far as every Divine attribute (universal) logically implies the existence of its corresponding particular, which is the Essence individualised by that relation, whereas Man alone is the Essence individualised by all relations together. Since the universe could not manifest the unity of Being until Man appeared in it, it was like an unpolished mirror or a body without a soul.

155:2 The "most holy emanation" (al fayḍu ’l-aqdas) is the eternal manifestation of the Essence to itself. This emanation is received by the essences of things (al-a‘yánu ’l-thábita) in the plane of unity-in-plurality (wáḥidiyya), i.e., in the Divine knowledge where no distinctions exist. From one point of view, God is never revealed except to Himself; from another, He is revealed to "recipient" modes of Himself, to each in accordance with its "capacity."

155:3 I have omitted a few lines here, to the effect that Man unites all aspects of God—the oneness of the Essence, the plurality of the Divine attributes, and the world of Nature. This truth, the author adds, cannot be apprehended save by mystical perception.

156:1 I.e., the etymological explanation of the name insán is that Man yu’nis or yu’ánis (knows or is familiar with) all things: the three Arabic words are derived from the same root.

156:2 By bringing them into existence. Cf. p. 98 supra.

156:3 Man's heart (qalb) bears the impression of the Greatest Name of God (i.e., the Essence) together with all the other Divine Names.

156:4 Fuṣúṣ, 8 foll.

157:1 Man is Absolute Being limited by individualisation (ta‘ayyun). This limitation, however, is negative and unreal: it consists in failure to receive all individualisations, to be endowed with all attributes, to be named with all names. In so far as Man is a reality (ḥaqq) he is not a human creature (khalq).

157:2 Fuṣúṣ, 39 fol.

157:3 "Single" is equivalent to "threefold." Cf. p. 151 supra.

157:4 Fuṣúṣ, 267.

157:5 P. 130 foll.

157:6 See p. 151 supra.

157:7 Fuṣúṣ, 161.

157:8 Jílí denies this. See p. 102.

158:1 Fuṣúṣ, 159.

158:2 Ibid. 77.

158:3 See p. 54, note 5.

158:4 Fuṣúṣ, 206 fol. Cf. 108-9.

158:5 Ibid. 105-6. Job's prayer that God might relieve his pain is justified on the ground that in praying God to remove it he really removed it from God, inasmuch as man is the outward form of God. Such prayer does not evince a want of submission to the Divine decree (qaḍá), but dissatisfaction with the thing decreed (al-maqdí bihi), which—as explained above—is decreed by means of the individual soul, i.e., a particular mode of God, not the absolute God (ibid. 218-9). All particular modes, together with the effects attached to them, are (as such) relations devoid of reality. "Effect (athar) belongs to the non-existent" (ibid. 224). This distinction appears in p. 159 a verse by Jalálu’ddin Rúmi, which has puzzled Mr Whinfield: "I said to him, 'Infidelity is the thing decreed, not the decree'" (Masnavi-i Ma‘naví, tr. and abridged by E. H. Whinfield, 2nd ed., p. 125).

159:1 I.e., God is revealed in different forms of belief according to the capacity of the believer. The mystic alone sees that He is One in all forms, for the mystic's heart (qalb) is all-receptive: it assumes whatever form God reveals Himself in, as wax takes the impression of the seal (Fuṣúṣ, 145).

159:2 Fuṣúṣ, 282. Cf. 135.

159:3 Ibid. 205.

160:1 Cf. p. 98 fol.

160:2 I.e., the finite Lord (rabb) who stands in a special and different relation to every object of lordship (marbúb). Cf. Fuṣúṣ, 95.

160:3 I.e., the true mystic prays that he may be "illumined" with the Divine attribute of Mercy so as to become a ráḥim (ἐλεῶν), which necessarily involves a marḥúm (ἐλεούμενος), and to know himself as a mode of the absolute God who is in reality both the ráḥim and the marḥúm.

160:4 Fuṣúṣ, 225.

160:5 Ibid. 212. Cf. 100. They may experience a positive pleasure like that of the inhabitants of Paradise (ibid. 137).

161:1 Ibid. 209 fol.

161:2 Ibid. 245. Elsewhere (272) he remarks that God is never seen immaterially and that the vision of Him in women is the most perfect of all.

161:3 "Heaven lies about us in our infancy."

161:4 Fuṣúṣ, 250.

Next: Introduction