First Ray: The omnipresence of Allah and His closeness to everything more than anything; Divine Unity and Oneness.
O my ignorant soul! You say, ‘The Oneness of the Divine Essence together with the universality of the Divine acts, the Unity of Almighty God’s person together with His unassisted comprehensive dominicality, His Singleness together with His unshared all-embracing disposal, His being beyond space and yet present everywhere, His infinite exaltedness together with being close to all things, and His being One and yet Himself holding all matters in His hand, are among the truths of the Qur’an. Yet the Qur’an is All-Wise, and that which is Wise does not impose on the reason things which are unreasonable. And the reason sees an apparent contradiction between these things. I would like an explanation of them which will impel the reason to submit.’
The Answer: Since that is the way it is and you want to be certain and reassured, relying on the effulgence of the Qur’an, we say: the Divine Name of Light has solved many of my difficulties. God willing, it will solve this one too. Choosing the way of comparison, which brings clarity to the mind and luminosity to the heart, like Imam-i Rabbani, we say:
I am neither the night nor a lover of the night;
I am a servant of the Sun; it is of the Sun that I speak.
Since comparison is a most brilliant mirror to the Qur’an’s miraculousness, we too shall look at this mystery by means of a comparison. It is as follows:
A single person may gain universality by means of various mirrors. While being a single individual, he becomes like a universal possessing general qualities. For example, while the sun is a single individual, by means of transparent objects, it becomes so universal it fills the face of the earth with its images and reflections. It even has as many manifestations as the number of droplets and shining motes. Although the sun’s heat, light, and the seven colours in its light comprehend, encompass, and embrace all the things which confront them, all transparent things also hold in the pupils of their eyes the sun’s heat, and its light and seven colours, together with its image. And they make a throne for them in their hearts. That is to say, with regard to Unity, the sun encompasses all the things which confront it, while with regard to Oneness, the sun is present together with many of its attributes in everything through a sort of manifestation of its essence. Since we have passed from the comparison to a discussion of representation, we shall indicate three of the many sorts of representation which will be a means to understanding this matter.
The First: This is the reflection of dense, physical objects. These reflections are both other than the thing reflected; they are not the same, and they are dead, without life. They possess no quality other than their apparent identity. For example, if you enter a store full of mirrors, one Said will become thousands of Said’s, but the only living one is you, all the others are dead. They possess none of the characteristics of life.
The Second: This is the reflection of physical luminous objects. This reflection is not the same as the thing reflected, but neither is it other than it. It does not hold the luminous object’s nature, but it possesses most of its characteristics, and may be considered as living. For example, the sun entered the world and displayed its reflection in all mirrors. Present in each of the reflections are light and the seven colours in light, which are like the sun’s qualities. Let us suppose the sun possessed consciousness, and its heat was pure power; its light, pure knowledge; and its seven colours, the seven attributes: the single sun would be present in all mirrors at one moment, and would be able to make each a throne for itself and a sort of telephone. One mirror would not be an obstacle to another. It would be able to meet with all of us by means of our mirrors. While we are distant from it, it would be closer to us than ourselves.
The Third: This is the reflection of luminous spirits. This reflection is both living, and the same as the spirits. But since it appears in relation to the capacity of the mirrors, it does not hold completely the spirit’s essence and nature. For example, at the moment the Angel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) is in the presence of the Prophet in the form of Dihya, he is prostrating with his magnificent wings in the Divine Presence before the Sublime Throne. And at the same moment he is present in innumerable places, and is relaying the Divine commands. One task is not an obstacle to another. Thus, it is through this mystery that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), whose essence is light and nature, luminous, in this world hears at the same time all the benedictions recited for him by all his community, and at the resurrection will meet with all the purified at the same time. One will not be an obstacle to another. In fact, some of the saints who have acquired a high degree of luminosity and are called ‘substitutes’ (abdal) have been observed in many places at the same time, and the same person has performed numerous different acts at the same time.
Indeed, just as things like glass and water act as mirrors to physical objects, so the air and ether, and certain beings of the World of Similitudes are like mirrors to spirit beings; they become like means of transport and conveyance of the speed of lightning and imagination. The spirit beings travel in those pure mirrors and subtle dwellings with speed of imagination. They enter thousands of places at the same time. Despite being restricted particulars, through the mystery of luminosity impotent and subjugated creatures like the sun and semi-luminous beings restricted by matter like spirit beings may be present in numerous places while being in one place, thus becoming like absolute universals, and with a limited power of choice being able to perform many matters simultaneously.
Thus, what thing may hide itself from address of Oneness which is within the manifestation of the attributes and acts of the Most Pure and Holy One through His universal will, absolute power, and all-encompassing knowledge? The Most Holy One, Who is far beyond and exalted above matter; free and exempt from any restriction or limitation and the darkness of density; of the sacred lights of Whose Names all these lights and luminous beings are but dense shadows; and of Whose beauty all existence and all life and the World of Spirits and the World of Similitudes are semi-transparent mirrors; Whose attributes are all-encompassing and Whose qualities, universal? What matter could be difficult for Him? What thing can be concealed from Him? What individual can be distant from Him? What person can draw close to Him without acquiring universality?
Although by means of its unrestricted light and immaterial reflection, the sun is closer to you than the pupil of your eye, since you are restricted, you are truly distant from it. In order to draw close to it, you have to transcend numerous restrictions and pass over many universal degrees. Simply, in effect you have to expand to the size of the earth and rise as far as the moon, then you may be able to approach directly to a degree the sun’s essential level, and meet with it without veil. In just the same way, the Glorious One of Beauty and Beauteous One of Perfection is infinitely close to you, and you are infinitely distant from Him. If your heart has strength, and your mind, eminence, try to put the points in the comparison into practice.
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- Third Ray: While everything is infinitely distant from Allah, Allah is infinitely close to everything.
- First Principle: The reason for the Ascension’s necessity.
- The Second Aim: How can a single individual do innumerable things at the same time? Conclusion and the answers to two questions.
- Can Allah’s luminosity be understood by examples? Will you give information about luminosity, angels, which are luminous beings, and the incident of Miraj (Ascension), whose essence is light
- Second Branch: The degrees of manifestation of divine names: The all- encompassing manifestation which is universal; the manifestation for species; the manifestation for individuals.
- How can Allah, Who is Absolute One, know and do everything at the same time?
- How can Allah, Who is Absolute One, know and do everything at the same time?
- Second Mystery: It explains the manifestation of Divine Oneness within Divine Unity.
- The Fourteenth Word: Some verses and Hadiths which are difficult to understand: The creation of heavens and the earth in six days.
- Is it possible for angels to appear at different places at a time?