Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mary of the Soul and Jesus of the Heart

(Excerpts are from the Pickthall Translation of the Quran and Tafsir Al-Kashani translated by Feras Hamza)

3:33 Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures.

3:34 They were descendants one of another. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

The seed of one another, in terms of religion and in reality, since generation by birth are of two types, formal and spiritual. Every prophet is a successor to another prophet in terms of the affirmation of Oneness, gnosis and what relates to the esoteric principles of religion and is as such that [other] prophet’s son, similar to the [case of] sons of [Sufi] shaykhs in our times. As they say, you have three fathers, a father that has given birth to you, a father that has nurtured you and a father that has given you knowledge. So just as the existence of the body in the formal birth is generated within the womb of the çmother from the seminal infusion of the father, so the existence of the heart in the true birth becomes manifest within the womb of the preparedness of the soul [generated] by the [spiritual] infusion of the shaykh or teacher; it is to this [latter] birth that Jesus, peace be upon him, alluded in his saying: ‘He who has not been born again shall not enter the kingdom of heaven’ [cf. John 3:3] ...

3:35 (Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower!

Lo! It is You Who are the Hearer, the Knower. Know that the intentions and configurations of the soul have an effect on the soul of the child, just as foods have an effect on its body. Thus the one whose food is licit and wholesome and the configurations of whose soul are luminous, and whose intentions are sincere and directed towards the Truth, his child will be a believer, a truthful one, a saint or a prophet. The one whose food is forbidden and the configurations of whose soul are dark and vile, whose intentions are corrupt and despicable, his child will be corrupt or a  vile disbeliever, since the semen from which the child issues is generated by that food, nurtured in that soul and thus corresponds to it. That is why the Messenger of God said, ‘A child is the innermost secret of its father, and so the truthfulness of Mary and the prophethood of Jesus were the blessing of the truthfulness of her father.

3:36 And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast.

3:37 And her Lord accepted her with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food) ? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.

[Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary, where she was,] he found her with provisions: it is possible that what is meant by this is spiritual provision in the way of gnoses, [spiritual] realities, knowledge and wisdoms that were being effused upon her from that which is with God. Since to be designated specifically by [divine] withness (ʿindiyya) is proof that these [provisions] were provisions directly from God (laduniyya).

3:38 Then Zachariah prayed unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Bestow upon me of Thy bounty goodly offspring. Lo! Thou art the Hearer of Prayer.

Then Zachariah prayed to his Lord: Zachariah was an extremely old man and a leader and guardian of the people. He requested from his Lord a true child who would take his place in nurturing and guiding people, as alluded to in sūra Kāf-hāʾ-yāʾ-ʿayn-ṣād. He then bestows upon him the gift of John (Yaḥyā) from his own loins through his own ability after he had been commanded to cleave in spiritual retreat for three days. At this point you might seek the interpretation [of this] by seeking a correspondence [with this story] to your own states and the details of your existence as you have come to know. That is to say, the corporeal nature, that is, the corporeal faculty is [represented by] the wife of ʿImrān the spirit, who vowed as an offering what was in her faculty of the reassured soul to God, exalted be He, by complying with the command of the Truth and by her obedience to it and so she gave birth to the female of the soul. God thereupon placed the Zachariah of reflection in charge of her after He accepted her [offering] on account of her being pure and holy. Whenever the Zachariah of reflection entered into the sanctuary of the brain, where she was, he found her with provisions of intuitive meanings which had been unveiled to her [simply] as a result of her purity without any distinction of reflective capacity on her part. Then the Zachariah of reflection called upon the compositions of those meanings and sought from God as a bestowal a wholesome child sanctified from the pollutants of nature. God heard his call, that is, He responded. Thereupon the angels of the spiritual faculties called to him as he stood fulfilling His command putting together the components of knowledge, communing with his Lord, seeking that the lights descend upon him and approaching Him by orienting himself towards the world of holiness in the sanctuary of the brain;

3:39 And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous.

That ‘God gives you good tidings of John, of the intellect in act, confirming, Jesus of the heart, believing in him, as he is Word from God, sanctified as he is above the world of bodies and material generation, a lord, to all kinds of faculties, and one chaste, preventing his soul from engaging [his] corporeal nature or clothing himself in the natures of the corporeal faculties, and a prophet, informing [as he will] of forms of gnosis and universal truths and teaching virtuous character traits and correct manners of governance by the command of the Truth; of the righteous’, of the dispersions and disengagement that by virtue of their acts merit being among those brought near to the divine presence after the reflection [sc. Zachariah] had attained the old age of the limit of its [creational] stage but had not reached the ability to perceive the holy truths and the universal gnoses; while his wife, who constituted the nature of the egocentric spirit being the locus for the disposal of reflection, barren by [pure] disengaged light. The indication of that, namely, the indication of the actualisation of the disengaged light and its becoming manifested by the pure soul is the abstention [by Zachariah] from communing with the corporeal faculties as these seek to actualise their demands and desires as well as [abstaining from] mixing with them with regard to the surpluses of their pleasures and lusts for three days, each day constituting a full decade of the [various] stages of his life, ten years [in all], except for gesturing to them by some subtle token, commanding them to [perform] the glorification specific to each one of them — without drawing near to any of them with regard to their goals — and occupying himself for three days, the duration of which is thirty years starting from the age of discernment which is [after] the first ten [years], with the remembrance of his Lord in the sanctuary of the brain and [with] the glorification specific to that always. Likewise the angels of the spiritual faculties said to Mary of the pure wholesome soul:

3:40 He said: My Lord! How can I have a son when age hath overtaken me already and my wife is barren? (The angel) answered: So (it will be). Allah doeth what He will.

3:41 He said: My Lord! Appoint a token for me. (The angel) said: The token unto thee (shall be) that thou shalt not speak unto mankind three days except by signs. Remember thy Lord much, and praise (Him) in the early hours of night and morning.

3:42 And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation.

God has elected you, because of your being above lust, and made you pure, from the vices of reprehensible character traits and attributes, and He has chosen you above the women, of the concupiscent souls variegated by despicable acts and vile natures.

3:43 O Mary! Be obedient to thy Lord, prostrate thyself and bow with those who bow (in worship).

O Mary: be obedient to your Lord by [the fulfillment of] the duties of acts of obedience and worship, and prostrate, at the station of brokenness, humility, poverty, incapacity and pardon-seeking, and bow, at the station of submissiveness and heartfelt humility with those who submit.

3:44 This is of the tidings of things hidden. We reveal it unto thee (Muhammad). Thou wast not present with them when they threw their pens (to know) which of them should be the guardian of Mary, nor wast thou present with them when they quarreled (thereupon).

That is of the tidings of the Unseen, that is, the states of the unseen aspects of your existence. We reveal it to you, O prophet of the spirit, for you were not with them, [you were not] with the spiritual and ego-centric faculties, that is, at their rank or station, when they were casting their quills, which of them should have charge of Mary: that is, [when] they were vying against one another with their arrows and hurrying with their shares, which of them should govern Mary the soul and take charge of it in accordance with his opinion and what his nature entails, to preside over it and command it to what he sees as beneficial to his affair; nor were you with them, at the station of the breasts, which is the locus for the conflict between the spiritual faculties and the ego-centric ones, the locus of the their conflict being the breast, when they were disputing, in conflict back and forth seeking to be in charge when this [possibility] became manifest, before [engaging in] spiritual discipline, when the angels of the spiritual faculties were victorious with the success granted by the Truth after spiritual discipline and said to Mary the soul:

3:45 (And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).

‘God gives you good tidings of a Word, the heart, bestowed, from Him, whose name is the Anointed one, because he shall anoint you with light, honoured shall he be in this world, because of his perception of particulars and his determining of the means of livelihood in the best, purest and most correct way, such that the human beings of the outer faculties and the jinn of the inner faculties obey, revere and exalt him, and, in, the Hereafter, because of his perception of universal meanings and holy gnoses and his management of the final return and his guiding to the Truth such that We shall grant him the kingdom of the heaven of the spirit and honour him, being among those brought near to the presence of the Truth, accepting of His self-disclosures and unveilings.

3:46 He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous.

He shall speak to mankind in the cradle, of the body, and in his manhood, as one having attained the stage of the shaykh of the spirit overtaken by the brightness of his  light, and he is of those who are good, for the station of gnosis’.

3:47 She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me ? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.

She said, ‘Lord, how shall I have a child when no mortal has touched me?’: the soul marvels at its bearing child and giving birth without having been touched by a mortal, that is, without having been nurtured by a shaykh or taught by a mortal teacher, this being the significance of her virginity. He said, ‘It is such. God creates what He will, that is, He elects whom He will through divine attraction and unveiling, endowing that person with the station of the heart without nurture or pedagogy, as is the state with [God’s] beloved and some of the loving ones.

3:48 And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel,

And He will teach him, by Lordly pedagogy the Book of intellectual knowledge and the wisdoms of the divine laws and the gnoses of the divine scriptures such as the Torah and the Gospels, in other words, the exoteric and the esoteric gnoses.

3:49 And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers.

To be a messenger, to the spiritual ones who are prepared from among the children of Jacob the spirit: ‘I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that proves that I have come from His part; I will create for you, through [my] nurture and acts of purification and practical wisdom, out of the clay of the souls of the deficiently prepared ones, like the shape of a bird, the one that flies off to the Holy Side by the intensity of its yearning; then I will breathe into it, of the breath of divine knowledge and an infusion of the true life by the effects of [divine] company and nurture, and it will be a bird, that is, a living soul, flying away with the wings of yearning and aspiration towards the Side of the Truth. I will also heal the blind, the one veiled from the light of the Truth whose insight has never opened up [to the truth] and the sun of whose face has never seen the Truth or His light and has never known His folk adorned as they are by the light of guidance; and [heal] the leper, whose soul is disfigured by the sickness of vices and corrupt beliefs and the love of this world and the pollutants of lusts, with the medicine of the souls; and I bring to life, the dead of ignorance by means of the life of knowledge, by the leave of God. And I will inform you too of what things you eat, [of what things] you partake in your pursuit of lusts and pleasures, and what you treasure up in your houses, that is, in the houses of your unseens in the way of motives and intentions. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.

3:50 And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me.

Likewise, confirming that which was before me of the Torah, that is, of the Torah of exoteric knowledge, and to make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden to you, of the inner lights; I have come to you with a sign, a proof, from your Lord, namely, the proclamation of Oneness concerning which no prophet has ever disagreed with me. So fear God, if you oppose me, for I am upon the truth, and obey me, when I call you to the proclamation of Oneness.

3:51 Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.

3:52 But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah ? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him).

And when Jesus, the heart, sensed, on the part of the ego-centric faculties, disbelief, veiling, denial and opposition, he said, ‘Who will be my helpers unto God?’, that is, he demanded from the spiritual faculty what he required to assist him against them in his orientation towards God. The disciples said, that is, the purest and best aspects of the mentioned spiritual elements [said]: ‘We will be helpers of God; we believe in God, through proofs and by being illumined with the light of the spirit; witness that we have submitted, [that] we are obedient and compliant.

3:53 Our Lord! We believe in that which Thou hast revealed and we follow him whom Thou hast sent. Enrol us among those who witness (to the truth).

Lord, we believe in what You have revealed, of the knowledge of Oneness and the effusion of [Your] light, and we follow the Messenger; inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness’, those who are present before You, observing Your command, or of those who bear witness to Your Oneness.

3:54 And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.

And they schemed, that is, the estimations and imaginations [schemed] to seize the heart and destroy it through all sorts of tempting insinuations, and God schemed, by making rational arguments and definitive proofs prevail over their imaginations and doubts, raising Jesus the heart to the heaven of the spirit and casting his likeness upon the soul so that their attempt to slay [it] collapses; and God is the best of schemers, for His scheming prevailed; and He said to Jesus:

3:55 (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ.

‘I shall gather you, that is, I shall seize you unto Me from among them, and raise you to Me, that is, to the heaven of the spirit alongside Me, and I shall cleanse you of, the impurity of being alongside, those who disbelieved, from among the vile faculties and their scheming and [from] the vileness of their company; and I shall set those who follow you, of the spiritual ones, above those who disbelieved, of the ego-centric ones until the Day of the Greater Resurrection and the arrival at the station of the Unity. Then, on that Day, to Me shall be your return, and I will decide between you, in truth, as to what you were at variance about, before unity, in terms of the contention and conflict that resulted from [those] faculties. I shall then establish each one in its rightful abode there and shall grant it what is appropriate for it from that which is with Me, whereafter disagreement and conflict shall be removed.

3:56 As for those who disbelieve I shall chastise them with a heavy chastisement in the world and the Hereafter; and they will have no helpers.

As for the disbelievers, I will chastise them with a terrible chastisement, by depriving them of the station of the heart and veiling them in the guises of their deeds.

3:57 And as for those who believe and do good works, He will pay them their wages in full. Allah loveth not wrong-doers.

But as for the believers, from among the spiritual ones, who do deeds of righteousness, of all sorts of acts of [spiritual] augmentation, adornment and purification in order to assist the heart against the soul and remaining closely behind it as it orients itself towards the Truth; He will pay them in full their wages, by way of the holy lights and spiritual illuminations that radiate upon them; God loves not the evildoers, who stint what is due by right of wages. As for the intepretation [of this verse] without [effecting] correspondences, it is that they schemed to send someone to slay Jesus, peace be upon him. But a corporeal form was presented to them as a likeness, which was the manifestation of Jesus, the spirit of God, peace be upon him, in the real form of Jesus such that they supposed it to be Jesus and so slew it and crucified it, when God had raised Jesus, peace be upon him, to the fourth heaven as his spirit, peace be upon him, was an effusion of the spiritual aspect of the sun. But in their ignorance they did not know that the spirit of God could not be slain. When he was certain of his state before  being raised, he [Jesus] said to his companions: ‘I am departing to my father, your heavenly father’, that is, I am seeking purification from the world of impurity and connecting to the holy spirit, bestower of forms, effuser of spirits and perfections, nurturer of men by means of infusing [their] spirit with the breath. I shall reinforce you with that effusion. At that time his call was not heeded and his example was not  followed and so he commanded the disciples to disperse after him across the land and to call [people] to the Truth. They said, ‘How are we to do this if you shall not be amongst us and now when you are our call is not heeded’. He said [to them]: ‘The sign of my reinforcement of you is that people will accept your call after me’. After he was raised, his companions would not leave anyone until he heeded their call. Acceptance of their call appeared amongst people, their word prevailed, and their religion spread in all corners of the world. But since he [Jesus] did not reach the seventh heaven to which Muḥammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, ascended, the one referred to as the Lote-tree of the Ultimate Boundary [Q. 53:14], by which I mean, [that Jesus did not reach] the ultimate station of perfection and did not attain the degree of [divine] love [which Muḥammad attained], it was inevitable that he would have to come down again in a corporeal form to follow the Muḥammadan religious community by which he would attain that degree [of divine love], and God knows best the realities of things.

3:58 This (which) We recite unto thee is a revelation and a wise reminder.

3:59 Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.

Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in other words, his attribute in God’s sight, his being created by [divine] power without a father, is as Adam’s likeness, in having been created without parents. Know that the marvels of [divine] power are endless and there can be no analogy in this respect to the effect that there is an analogue from the world of wisdom for the creation of a human being without parents, since there are many deficient animal beings of unusual nature that are generated from the point of creation in a short period of time then reproduce and propagate [further] … As for His saying: ‘Be’, and he was, this is an allusion to the infusion of the spirit, which derives from the world of the command and as such is not preceded by any substrata or [time] duration, as in the case of the creation of human bodies. Adam thus corresponds to Jesus as mentioned in that both share in the breaking of the [creational] habit and in that both of their bodies were created from the dust of the elements, both preceded by substrata and a duration, and that their spirit is originated [without precedent] from the world of the command which [spirit] is not preceded by substrata or duration.

3:60 (This is) the truth from thy Lord (O Muhammad), so be not thou of those who waver.

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