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ibn arabi

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    HOME   quranic   hadith   iqh Q   nasîha   nawâfil   asawwu   dhikr    pdf_files_  _    exts_GFH   Q&A   references   invitation   english   rançais   deutsch   svenska   español   italiano   other lang.   contact   opics   Of the Divine Wisdom   (al-hikmat al-'ilahiyah)   in the Word of Adam   Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi , from the Fusus Al-Hikam, the chapter of Adam    Allah  ( al-haqq ) wanted to see the essences ( al-a'yan )1 of His most perfect Names ( al-asmâ al-husnâ ) whose number is infinite - and if you like you can equally well say: Allah wanted to see His own Essence (' ayn )2 in one global object ( kawn ) which having been blessed with existence ( al-wujûd  )3 summarized the Divine Order ( al-amr  )4 so that there He could manifest His mystery ( sirr  ) to Himself .5  For the vision ( ru'ya ')6 that a being7 has of himself in himself is not the same as that which another reality procures for him, and which he uses for himself as a mirror: in this he manifests himself to his self in the form which results from the 'place' of the vision; this would not exist without the 'plane of reflection' and the ray which is reflected therein. Allah first created the entire world as something amorphous8 and without grace,9 comparable to a mirror not yet polished10 but it is a rule in the Divine activity to prepare no 'place' without it receiving a Divine spirit as is explained (in the Quran) by the blowing of the Divine spirit into Adam11 and this is none other (from a complementary point of view to the former), than the actualization of the aptitude ( al-isti'dâd  ) which such a form possesses, having already the predisposition for it, to receive the inexhaustible effusion ( al-fayd  )12 of the essential revelation ( at-tajallî  ).13  There is not then (apart from the Divine Reality) other than one pure receptacle ( qâbil  ) 14 but this receptacle itself comes from the Holy Effusion ( al-fayd al-aqdas ) (that is to say from the principial manifestation, meta-cosmic, where the 'immutable Essences' are Divinely 'conceived' before their apparent projection in the relative existence).15  For, the entire reality ( al-amr  )16 from its beginning to its end comes from Allah alone, and it is to Him that it returns.17 So, then, the Divine Order required the clarification of the mirror of the world; and Adam became the light itself of this mirror and the spirit of this form.18  As for the Angels (of whom there is some mention in the Quran's account of Adam's creation),19 they represent certain faculties of this 'form'20 of  the world which the Sufis call the Great Man ( al-insân al-kabir  ) so that the angels are to it just as the spiritual and physical faculties are to the human organism.21 Each of these (cosmic) faculties finds itself as if veiled by its own nature; it conceives nothing which is superior to its own (relative) essence; for there is in it something which considers itself to be worthy of high rank and in the state nearest to Allah. It is thus because it participates (in a certain manner) in the Divine Synthesis ( al-jam'iyat al-ilâhiyah )22 which governs that which appertains, be it to the Divine side ( al-janâb al-ilâhî  ),23 be it to the side of the Reality of Realities ( haqîqat al-haqâiq ),24 be it again - and by this organism, support of all the faculties, - to the Universal Nature ( tabî'at al-kull) 25 ; this encompasses all the receptacles (qawabil) of the world, from its peak to its foundation.26 But this, logical reasoning will not understand, for this sort of knowledge is solely dependent on Divine intuition ( al-kashf al-ilâhi  ); it is by that alone that one will know the roots of the forms of the world, in so far as they are receptive towards their ruling spirit.27  Thus, this being (Adamic) was called Man ( insân ) and Allah's Representative ( khalifah ). As for his quality as a man it designates his synthesised nature (containing virtually all other natures created) and his aptitude to embrace the essential Truths. Man is to Allah ( al-haqq ) that which the pupil is to the eye (the pupil in Arabic is called 'man within the eye'), the pupil being that by which seeing is effected; for through him (that is to say the Universal Man) Allah contemplates His creation and dispenses His mercy. Thus is man at once ephemeral and eternal, a being created perpetual and immortal, a Verb discriminating (by his distinctive knowledge) and unifying (by his divine essence).28 By his existence the world was completed. He is to the world that which the setting is to the ring; the setting carries the seal which the King applies to his treasure chests; and it is for this that (Universal) Man is called the Representative of Allah, Whose creation he safeguards, as one safeguards the treasures by a seal; as long as the King's seal is to be found on the treasure chests, nobody dares open them without his permission; thus man finds himself entrusted with the Divine safe-keeping of the world, and the world will not cease to be safeguarded as long as this Universal Man ( al-insân al-kâmil  ) lives in it. Dost thou not see, then, that when he disappears and is taken away from the treasure chests of this lower world, nothing of which Allah kept in them will remain and all that they contained will go, each part  joining its own (corresponding) part; everything will be transported into the other world, and (Universal Man) will be the seal on the coffers in the other world perpetually. All that the Divine Form implies, that is to say the total of the names (or Universal Qualities) is manifested in this human constitution, which, by this means, distinguishes itself (from all other creatures) by the (symbolic) integration of all existence. From there comes the Divine argument condemning the Angels (who did not see the raison d'etre nor  the intrinsic superiority of Adam); remember that, for Allah exhorts thee by the example of others and see from whence the judgement strikes that whom it strikes. The Angels did not realize what is implied by the constitution of this representative (of Allah on earth), and neither did they realize what is implied by the essential adoration ( dhâtiyah ) of Allah; for each does not know of Allah except that which he infers from himself. But, the Angels do not have the integral nature of Adam; so they did not comprehend the Divine Names, the knowledge of which is the privilege of this nature and by which this 'praises' Him (affirming His aspects of Beauty and Goodness) and 'proclaims' Him 'Holy' (attesting His essential Transcendence); they did not know that Allah possesses Names that were withdrawn from their knowledge and by which therefore they could not 'praise' Him nor 'proclaim' Him 'Holy'. They were victims of their own limitations when they said, with regard to the creation (of Adam on earth); 'Wouldst Thou, then, create therein a being that sows corruption?'. Now, this corruption, what is it if not precisely the revolt that they themselves were manifesting? That which they were saying about Adam applies to their own attitude towards Allah. Moreover, if such a possibility (of revolt) was not in their nature, they would not have unconsciously affirmed it with regard to Adam; if they had had the knowledge of themselves they would have been exempt, by this very knowledge, from the limits to which they were submitted; they would not have insisted (in their accusation of Adam) so far as to draw vanity from their own 'praise' of Allah and from that by which they 'proclaimed' Him 'Holy', where as Adam realised Names of which the Angels were ignorant, so that neither their 'praise' ( tasbîh ) nor their 'proclamation of Divine Holiness' ( taqdîs ) were the same as those of Adam. This, Allah describes to us so that we should be on our guard, and that we should learn the right attitude towards Him - may He be exalted! - free from pretentiousness on matters which we have realised or embraced by our individual knowledge; moreover, how could we think we possess something which surpasses us (in its universal reality) and which we do not really know (essentially)? So pay attention to this Divine instruction on the way Allah punishes the most obedient and faithful of His servants, His closest representatives (according to the general hierarchy of beings). But let us return now to the (Divine) Wisdom (in Adam). We can say of it that the Universal Ideas ( al-umur al-kulliyah ),29 which evidently have no individual existence as such, are none the less present, intelligibly and distinctly, in the mental state; they always remain interior with respect to individual existence, yet determine everything that pertains to this. Much more, that which exists individually is no more or less than (the expression of) these Universal Ideas without these latter ceasing, for all that, to be in themselves purely intelligible. They are, then, external in so  far as determinations implied in the individual existence and, on the other hand, interior in so far as they are intelligible realities! Everything which exists individually emanates from these Ideas, which remain, however, inseparably united to the intellect and could not individually be manifested in such a way as to be removed from the purely intelligible existence, whether it is a question of individual manifestation in time or out of time30 for the relation between the individual being and the Universal Idea is always the same, whether or not this being be subject to temporal condition. Only, the Universal Idea assumes in its turn certain conditions pertaining to individual existences following the realities ( haqâiq ) which define these same existences. Thus for example is the relationship which unites the knowledge and he who knows, or life and he who lives; knowledge and life are intelligible realities, distinct from one another; so, we affirm of Allah that He knows and lives and we affirm equally of the Angel that he knows and lives, and we say as much of man; in all these cases, the intelligible reality of knowledge or that of life remain the same, and its relationship to he who knows and to he who lives is identical each time; and yet one says of Divine Knowledge that it is eternal, and of man's knowledge that it is ephemeral; there is then, something in this intelligible reality which is ephemeral by its dependence with regard to a (limiting) condition. Now, consider the reciprocal dependence of ideal realities and individual realities:31 in the same way that knowledge determines he who participates in it - for one calls him knowledgeable - so he who is qualified by knowledge determines in his turn the knowledge, so that it is ephemeral in connection with the ephemeral, and eternal in connection with the eternal; and each of these two sides is, in relation to the other, at once determining and determined. It is certain that these Universal Ideas, in spite of their intelligibility, have not, as such, (their own) existence but only a principial existence; likewise, when they apply themselves to individuals they accept the condition ( hukm ) without however assuming thereby distinction or divisibility; they are integrally present in everything qualified by them, like humanity (the quality of man), for example, is present integrally in each particular being of this species without undergoing the distinction nor the number which affects individuals, and without ceasing to be in itself a purely intellectual reality. Now, as there is a mutual dependence between that which has an individual (or substantial) existence, and that which has not and is, to tell the truth, but a non-existent relationship32 as such, it is easy to conceive that beings are bound between themselves; for in this case there is always a common denominator, meaning existence as such, while in the former case the mutual relationship exists in spite of the absence of a common denominator. Without doubt, the ephemeral is not conceivable as such, that is in its ephemeral and relative nature, except in relation to a principle from which
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