Rafed English

Risalah Al- Wilayah, Vicegerency

Risalah Al- Wilayah, Vicegerency by : Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabataba'i Chapter One In the outward dimension of this religion there is an inward dimension, and there are realities within the true form of this religion Chapter Two If the system of creation is not mentally posited, how could its reality be? Chapter Three Connecting to the metaphysical realm and the secrets of the unseen is not restricted to the prophets, but is possible to all. Chapter Four What is the way towards perfection after knowing that it is possible? Chapter Five What will you achieve through perfection?

Praise be to Allah Lord of the worlds and praise and peace be upon His close vicegerents, in particular our Master Muhammad and His Pure Progeny.Praise be to Allah Lord of the worlds and praise and peace be upon His close vicegerents, in particular our Master Muhammad and His Pure Progeny.

This is a treatise on vicegerency which is the ultimate real perfection for mankind. It is the ultimate goal in the legislating of the true divine shariah, as is understood from prolific arguments, and explicit religious statements also give evidence to this. This discussion has been organized into five chapters and Allah Almighty is the Helper.
We say: Existents [mawjudat – things that exist] from one aspect can be divided into two kinds. Any meaning which we intellectualize has either a correspondent in the external world existing in itself, such as external substances like minerals, plants, animals and so on, whether there is an agent of intellection [aqil] or not.

Or that its correspondent exists only in terms of how we intellectualize it and does not exist without this process, such as ownership.

Concerning the matter of ownership, one does not find anything in the external world called ‘ownership’ beyond the actual substance of the thing owned, such as land, and the substance of the ‘owner’, which is the human being, and it is this relationship that is called ‘ownership’.

Therefore, the meaning of ownership is rooted in the process of intellection and thus had the process of intellection not existed, the concept of ‘ownership’, ‘owner’ and ‘the owned’ would not have existed and there would have only been a man and a piece of land.

The first kind of existent is called ‘real’ [haqiqi] and the second kind is called a ‘mental construct’ [itibari]

We have proven in our book al-I’tibarat that every mental construct is subsistent [mutaqawwim] of a reality behind it.

If we were to investigate and contemplate, we would find that all the notions determined by human beings and the relationships that exist between these very notions, like ownership and other specialties, leadership, relationships and issues related to them, etc., are all mental constructs and imaginary ideas which, through their subjective import, compel men to consider them as his primary requirements for social life and civilization in order to secure what is good and beneficial, and to ward off evil and harm.

Just as a plant has a natural system operating within the cycle of its existence from organized natural properties that are extrinsic to it which protects its substance through nourishment, growth and reproduction, so too does the human being.

For example, the human being also has a natural system of properties that protects its substance, with the difference that this human system is mentally constructed system behind which is the natural system. The human being outwardly lives according to a mentally constructed system and inwardly lives according to a natural system. Understand this.

In generally: This mentally constructed system is existent within the context of society and civilization to the extent that if there was no society, there would have been no such mental constructs. This is an obverted contra positive of what has been mentioned above.[2]

Moreover, sincere reflection can prove that religion has presented and explained all the teachings related to the Origin and thee laws, and also the teachings regarding the world hereafter in a mentally constructed way.

Since socializing and co-operating cannot be considered outside the context of law they would have to be expressed in a mentally constructed way also. There are the other realities that are elucidated by this form of expression, as well as the levels of law.

In other words: In matters that precede this social life in worlds prior to the existence of social man and worlds succeeding this social realm that man faces after death where there is no civil society in it, these mentally constructed meanings do not exist.

Therefore, the teachings that are explained in religion which are related to these worlds speak about other realities, but are expressed through mental constructs, just as they do on the level of religious law. This is because the divine religion considers existent things that come after this life as consequential to the stage of laws and actions, and are also related and connected to them in reality.

The existence of a connection between two things is real, and it necessitates their unity with respect to the type of existence and origin, as we have proven in its proper place in other writings.

As these existents are real and external, there is a relationship or connection between them and the reality behind these mentally constructed things, and not between the things themselves. It has now therefore been proven that for the outward aspect of religion there is an inner aspect to it, and this is the desired conclusion.
Addendum: Evidence from the Holy Quran and Traditions regarding the aforementioned
We Say: It is indisputable among all who refer to both the Book and the Sunnah that there are teachings, secrets and hidden sciences that are concealed from us that no one knows except Allah, may His name be exalted, and those whom he wills and accepts. The divine Book has many examples of this, and it suffices to only mention His saying:

“The life of the world is just a play and diversion.” Quran 47:36

“But the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life, had they known.” Quran 29:64

Meaning, it is only the life hereafter that is the real and true life, by virtue of the fact that He Almighty mentioned this worldly life as a life of ‘play and diversion’. He has done this by confining life only to the life of the hereafter and negating anything that might be considered similar to it or it being similar to anything. His words bear witness to this:

“They know just an outward aspect of the life of this world, but they are oblivious of the hereafter.” Quran 30:7

This verse indicates that the life of the world has something else besides its outward characteristics and this is the life of the hereafter because of the usage of the word ‘oblivious’. It is similar to what a friend understands when you tell him: “You have grasped the outer meaning of what I said but you are unaware of something else”. This saying of yours demonstrates that the friend was unaware of the hidden and intended part of your words which was something else.

The divine saying of Allah also proves this:

“So avoid those who turn away from Our remembrance and desire nothing but the life of the world. This is the ultimate reach of their knowledge. Indeed your Lord knows best those who stray from His way, and He knows best those who are [rightly] guided.” Quran 53:29-30

It is understood from this verse that remembrance of Allah the Almighty is the path towards Him, and to turn away and avoid Him is to stray from His path. Remembrance of Allah Almighty can only be achieved by turning away from the life of the world, and those who turn away from His remembrance will only attain the knowledge of this world.

Furthermore, knowledge of this world cannot transcend and go beyond anything further in comparison to that which can be achieved only through remembrance. Therefore, there is something other than this worldly life that is vertical to it, and one could acquire knowledge of it or one could remain in this life of this world.

For more explanation, refer to what is written towards the end of this book, by the will of Allah the Glorious.

Among the traditions mentioned in this regard is a narration in Bihar al-Anwar, from al-Mahasin, narrating from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who said:

“We are the kinsfolk of the Prophets; we speak to people according to the capacity of their intellect.” Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1, p.106, h.4.

I say: This expression can only be correct if people were not able to understand what they were listening to and this is evident. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: ‘We speak…’ and He did not say ‘we say’, ‘we explain’, ‘we mention’ and words like this. This confirms that the teachings given by the prophets (a.s) have been presented according to the capacity of the intellects of their people, changing these teachings from being hard to being easy.

However, this does not mean that a great amount of knowledge has been restricted out of leniency towards the [weak] intellects and limiting its accessibility to some and not to rest of the society.

In other words: The expression is dealing with quality and not quantity, and this shows that the realities these teachings have are beyond these intellects that follow teachings by demonstrative arguments (burhan), dialectics (jadal), and rhetoric (khitabat). The prophets (as) have perfectly explained their statements in every intellectual manner, from demonstrative arguments to debating and preaching, covering every possible way of teaching the people.

From what has been elucidated above, it can be understood that their sayings are on a level beyond the level of literal statements, and if they were to descend to the level of statements the common intellect would reject them, either because they are contrary to necessity in the view of people or because they would conflict with the statements that have been presented to the people which their intellects have accepted.

It also becomes clear that the manner of perceiving these teachings in their real form is different from the intellect’s method of perception, which is through ‘thought perception’ [al-idrak al-firi]. So, understand this!

Here is another well-known, abundantly-mentioned tradition:

“Truly our speech is hard and difficult. No one can bear it except a near-stationed angel, a sent prophet or a believer whose heart has been tested by Allah for faith.” Bihar al-anwar, vol 2, p.189-192, h. 21-35.

This following tradition is more explicit than the previous tradition. It is narrated in al-Basa’ir from Abu al-Samit who said he heard Abu Abdillah al-Sadiq (a.s.) say:

“Truly amongst our uttering’s are things that cannot be endured by a near-stationed angel, a sent prophet, or a believing servant.”

I asked: “Then who can endure it?”

He said: “We endure it.”

I say: There are numerous traditions mentioned in this regard, some of which say: “And who can endure it, may I be sacrificed for you?” and He (a.s.) says: “Those who we want to”.

It has also been stated in al-Basa’ir, narrating from al-Mufadil who said: “Abu Jafar al-Baqir (a.s.) said:

“Our speech is hard and difficult, incendiary and unembellished; a near-stationed angel cannot endure it, or a sent prophet, or a believing servant whose heart has been tested by Allah for faith. As for the hard, it is something that has not yet been ridden. The difficult is that which one would flee from it if it is seen. The incendiary is the flaring up of the believers.

The unembellished is that to which nothing is attached, not in front of it or behind it. It is as Allah says: “Allah has sent down the best of discourses.” So, the best of discourses is our discourses. It cannot be endured by any intelligent being in its completeness without that person limiting it. And the person limiting it must be greater than it [the limited]. And praise is to Allah for success and denial is disbelief.”

His saying from ‘cannot endure’ until ‘without that person limiting it’ and what is mentioned earlier on in the (previous) tradition about not being able to endure indicates that the sayings of the Imams (a.s.) have different level, some of which can be endured by limiting them.

The expression ‘from our sayings…’ in the tradition of Abu al-Samit proves what we have just mentioned, and therefore the purpose of these traditions and the first tradition that states, ‘No one can endure it other…’, all imply the same thing, that these sayings each have different levels of graduated intensity. In this vein one can also include the earlier Prophetic (s.a.w.) tradition, which says:

“We are the kinsfolk of the Prophets; we speak to people according to the capacity of their intellect.”

The reason behind the limiting of their sayings (a.s.) by every individual of creation is because the capacity of every person in bearing something is limited in its own essence, thus making that which is borne to also being limited.

This is the reason for the impossibility of enduring their sayings in their most complete form, because their sayings are unlimited and therefore outside the limitations of possibility. This is their status given to them by Allah Almighty in which there is no limit restricting it, and this is the ‘Absolute Wilayah’. This will be discussed more elaborately in the later chapters, by the will of Allah.

There are other traditions that support the aforementioned. It is stated in al-Basa’ir, narrating from Marazim that Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“Our affair is the truth, the truth of the truth. It is the manifest, the inner of the manifest, and the inner of the inner. It is the secret, the secret of the secret, the hidden inner secret and the secret veiled by a secret.”

Another traditions says:

“The Quran has an outward and an inward, as for its inward there is an inward until (it reaches) seven inwards.”


“Its outward is a rule, and its inward is knowledge.”

It is mentioned in some traditions on predestination and freewill, as is quoted in al-Tawhid, narrated from Mahzam who says while having a discourse with Imam Sadiq (a.s.): I asked him:

“So what is it? May Allah make you more virtuous.”

He turned about his hand twice or thrice, and then said: “If I was to answer you, you will become a disbeliever!”

It is ascribed to Imam Sajjad (a.s.) as having said in a poem:

“And if I reveal some of the substance of knowledge;

It will be said to me: You are of those who worship the idols!”

There are also the traditions concerning the appearance of the Awaited Savior Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten His reappearance) that after He appears he will disseminate the secrets of the shariah and the Quran will verify what He says.

It is stated in al-Basa’ir, quoting Mas’adah ibn Sadaqah who narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) who narrated from His Father Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) who said:

“One day I mentioned dissimulation (taqiyyah) to Ali ibn al-Hasan (a.s.) and he said: “By Allah if Abu Zarr knew what was in the heart of Salman, he would kill him, even though the Prophet (s.a.w.) had made them brothers.”

In a tradition it states that Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) uttered some words to Jabir, and then said to him:

“If you make public my statements then upon you will be the curse of Allah, His Angels and all humankind.”

There is another tradition in al-Basa’ir narrated by al-Mufadal from Jabir, and the summary of it as follows:

“He (Jabir) complained to Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) of distress in his self in enduring and concealing the sayings after Abu Jafar al-Baqir (a.s.). So the Imam ordered him to dig a hole, lower his head into it, speak what he endured, and then cover the hole again for the earth would conceal it for him.”

I Say: The Traditions mentioned on this subject are extremely numerous. Some of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Imams (a.s.) were considered to be among the Bearers of Secrets, like Salman al-Farsi, Uwais al-Qarani, Kumail ibn Ziyad, al-Nakhai, Meesam al-Tammar al-Kufi, Rashid al-Hijri, and Jabir al-Jufi, may Allah Almighty be pleased with them all.
In other words: Of what kind are these hidden secrets that are concealed in the shariah?

We Say: Intellectual arguments unanimously agree that causality and effect are like perfection and deficiency, and diffusion is like the diffusion of a shadow from the object that casts it.

They also agree that deficiencies are among the exigencies of the level of effect, and that this world has other worlds prior to it in a cause and effect manner, until it arrives at the First Almighty Truth.

What can be concluded from this discussion in general is that all perfections that exist in this world exist in what is above it in a higher and nobler form and the deficiencies in this world are specific to this world, do not exist in the levels above it, and of course are not transferred to them.

This is a short explanation, and to explain and comment on this subject to its full capacity and afford it the credibility it deserves is very difficult, or impossible.

An example: The perfections of this world, like delicious food, quenching drinks, beautiful pictures, and the like are some of the greatest things one enjoy in this realm. The first thing about them is that they do not exist permanently; they appear only for a limited time and are beset by myriads of natural afflictions and external defects or possible deformities which, if one of them is experienced the beauty of these perfections would disappear.

The pleasure sought in these things, and indeed the pleasure itself and the subject of pleasure are all posited between thousands and thousands of negating factors which if [any of these three] incline towards them, the pleasure will become nullified and be ruined.

Moreover, if we contemplate enough we will find that all of these deficiencies and negative factors like physical and delusional deficiencies, go back to matter, whether from the beginning or through the mediation of something else. Accordingly, if there was no matter then there would have been no deficiency to go back to.

Therefore, these pleasures are restricted to this world only, and the world that is above this one is devoid of these deficiencies and free of these defects. For indeed without argument, they are forms without matter and are imaginal pleasures.

What we mean by matter is non-sensual that is disposed towards passivity and not corporeality which is a non-material form, so understand this.

Furthermore, if we contemplate again we will find that the limits of the imaginal are deficient in their very selves, and the limited in itself has a rank that is free from limitation, as it is external to its essence. This has been demonstrated in its proper place.

Therefore, there is another world in which these same pleasures and perfections exist in pure form, meaning free from limitations. For example, the pleasure of eating, drinking, sex, hearing and seeing in the realm of the imaginal all have levels that they do not go beyond. For example, you will not find the pleasure of sex in hearing or in eating; or the perfection of eating in drinking; o what one individual desires in food and what is desired in it by another individual. One can compare the other pleasures in the same way.

The reason for this is because of existential limitations where the capacity of existence is concerned. The world that is above the world of the imaginal is a realm in which limitations disappear and all these perfections and pleasures are found in a unitary, integrated, universal and unlimited form.

All of these matters are truths that are the ramifications of principles that have been intellectually demonstrated in their proper places and are agreed upon by the specialists.

All of this is related to that which exists before this material world. As for its relationship to what is after the world, it involves the same argument as has already been explained, with the difference that from our existential standpoint, the imaginal realm in its return comes before the intellectual and immaterial realm, whereas from the standpoint of the beginning and the origin, the intellectual realm comes before the imaginal.

Indeed, there is another difference between the origin and the return, and that is that the ground of imaginal forms is the soul (nafs) in which these forms are brought about for it, by the will of its Lord. The imaginal forms exist in the material realm for a period of time and are attached to it, and this is also the realm of the illusory and the mentally posited where it acquires ingrained habits and states that may or may not be in conformity with its previous realm.

Therefore, this realm is both immersed in and veils what exist beyond it. The ingrained habits that were acquired in this world might become entrenched and become veils when the heart becomes focused on this world and neglects the truth.

These aptitudes could also be the opposite, for example, in abandoning the adornments of this world, renouncing this vile world and cutting the attachments to it –as the necessity of attachment to the material world demands-, and turning towards what exist beyond the material world and becoming intimately acquainted with it.

Therefore, this soul, after detaching itself from materiality, spiritually surveys the forms in the world of the imaginal and spiritual lights that are in harmony with its essence.

This soul had been familiar with these forms in the past and so it has become cognizant of “ease, abundance and a garden of bliss,” Quran 56:89, and the forms of perfection of the soul and its spiritual pleasures will multiply and increase in relation to the descending imaginal world that is prior to the material world.

The completely immaterial realm is also similar to this by necessity with respect to the increase of acquired knowledge in the material realm. Accordingly, it witnesses lights, secrets, imaginal angels, spirits whose forms are of the intermediate world and in the most desirable way possible, all kinds of pleasures that the soul had witnessed while being attached to materiality in its realm, like eating, drinking, clothes, sex, hearing, seeing and other things.

All these pleasures in this realm will be acquired through representative forms higher than them in capacity and in the same manner as the levels below it.

In the immaterial world there is no suffering, whether material or imagined nor is there any pain or sickness, for all of these [deficiencies] do not exist in the imaginal world.

If the self (nafs) has certain aptitudes that are not veiled from the universals, it will in certain times oversee the lights of the immaterial world and its existence, and it will acquire radiance, sublimity, beauty and perfection in a way that cannot be compared by forms or cannot be measured with imaginal measurements. This overseeing of the self-repeats itself until the self completely masters itself and takes it as its station (maqam), elevating it level by level until it then oversees the realm of the Names (al-Asma’), which is the realm of the pure nature (mahd) of all meanings and the sheer form of all radiance and sublimity.

It will witness everything sheer and pure; like pure knowledge, pure power, pure life, existence and consistency, radiance and sublimity, beauty and majesty, perfection and felicity, dignity, happiness and delight. This pure witnessing will continue until the self-connects with the Names and Attributes and then it will merge in the Transcendent Essence, and will vanish in its vanishing, annihilate in the annihilation of its self and will stay with the subsistence of Allah, may Thee be Exalted from any deficiency:

“And that the terminus is toward your Lord.” Quran 53:42

“Indeed to your Lord is the return.” Quran 96:8

The achievement of this status is possible if the aptitudes of the self are holy and compatible with the realm of the Holy (alam al-quds).

However, if the self is more complementary with the material realm, and not complementary with the realm of the Holy, then it will be the opposite. Whatever the self-experiences, it will endure pain and punishment in its various forms, and whenever it seeks to escape from this sorrowful situation, trying to use the impure habits it has, it will always return to that same state and it will be said to it:

“Taste the punishment of the burning.” Quran 3:181

It is not, as the common people might claim, that the heavens of the felicitous is nothing but a garden and the hell of the wretched is only a hole of fire. Rather, it is a complete and vast realm, vaster than this world to such an extent that it cannot be described.

It has become clear from what we have presented that from two aspects, there is a difference between the beginning and the return [of the self]:

The first: The return is vaster than the beginning in that the self is vaster in its acquisition of knowledge in the material realm.

The second: The self in returning [ascending] is different to the beginning [descending], in that it is given two paths: the felicitous and the wretched, pleasure and pain, heaven and hell contrary to the beginning.

This of course does not conflict with the matter of the precedence of the wretchedness of the wretched and that there is no interference from Divine Providence.

Know that in the meanings of these things, some are self-evident and do not require validation, and some can be proven through arguments which have been accomplished where it is necessary.

From what has been explained above, the relation between the acts and exercises according to the shariah and that which has been promised and pledged by Allah Almighty through the teachings of the sent prophets become clear, and this will soon be explained in detail.
Addendum: References from the Holy Quran and Traditions regarding the aforementioned
We Say: If we contemplate upon the particulars of the shariah of Islam, or rather all the divine religions, we will find that the ultimate goal they have is to steer humankind towards the world beyond this natural realm. This is their method, which is to call to Allah with insight, thus this is the absolute objective of religion in all its perspectives and which encompasses this criterion in any way possible.

People, according to their level of devotion to Allah and their abandonment of this material realm, are divided into three levels:

The first level: Those that are completely prepared, who are able to detach their hearts from this world with complete certainty in the essentials of the divine teachings and with submission to the Almighty Truth. This enables them to witness what is beyond this material realm and, like the prophets (a.s) they become able to oversee the divine lights. This is the level of ‘Those brought near’ (al-muqarrabin).

The second level: Those with complete certainty but not with complete detachment from the material world. They are still under the influence of mental states and despairing thoughts that make them lose hope in yielding to the possibility of submitting to what is beyond this material realm while being in it.

This group worships Allah as if they see Him. They worship with truth and without amusement, but behind a veil believing in the unseen, and they are benevolent in their actions.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) was asked about benevolence (ihsan) and He said:

“It is to worship Allah as if you see Him and if you do not see Him, He sees you.”

The difference between this level and the previous one is like the difference between the word ‘verily’ and ‘almost’.

The third level: Those who belong to neither of the two former levels and who comprise the remainder and majority of people. This group, with the exception of obstinate and stubborn deniers, is a group that has the capacity to believe in true doctrines related to the Beginning and the Hereafter and act according to it, but in an overall general form, and not in the particulars.

This is because of their attachment to this earth, their submission to desires and to their personal love of this world. Love of this world and its adornments will inevitably make one become excessively occupied with it and hence makes one obsessed with it and take it as the goal in all his movements and actions.

This necessitates the self-becoming devoted to this world and limits it to being concerned about the world alone. It [the self] will become inattentive to the world of the hereafter and to the states and deeds that come about from true beliefs. This will necessitate the slackening of the self and it becomes inactive in becoming acquainted with true beliefs in their proper forms.

It is not affected by them nor does it become active in this regard. Physical activity and exercises will be stagnant in their outer forms and appearance without transmitting their outward states, effects and actual conditions to the heart. What is mentioned here is evidently clear and sufficient.

An example: If we were to be in the presence of a king we would find that our inner state would change and this change in our [internal] state will appear in our outward physical actions. But complete focus, humility and submissiveness are things that we would certainly not find in our prayers although we are in the presence of the Lord of kings.

If a king was to oversee what we were doing, our souls would be in an unusual state, one that we would not have been in before, yet we believe that Allah Almighty sees and hears and that He is closer to us than our jugular veins.

We rely on normal causes that are sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect in such a way that we won’t find Him in our hearts, yet we believe that all affairs are in the hands of Allah; He does according to what He wishes and rules what He wants.

We would place great reliance upon people’s promises or certain actions of theirs, yet we would not rely on one part in a thousand of the promises of Allah Almighty concerning life after death and the resurrection.

Examples of this contradiction in our beliefs and actions are infinite, and all of this is because of our reliance on this world. This is because the total devotion of the self to worldly ways will result in the self-achieving the power of assuming worldly forms upon itself which would make worldliness dominate it. The world both excludes forms from being assumed by the self and creates forms and continues to do so repeatedly.

This will force the forms of these true fundamentals and teachings to weaken, which in turn would weaken the souls acquisition of the prerequisites of these fundamentals and teachings:

“Love of this world is the origin of all sins”.

This third group is not able to acquire any absolute attachment to Allah Almighty more than having true beliefs in the general sense, and performing certain physical actions which do bring, to a certain extent, a kind of general attentiveness and direction to the Origin Almighty in acts of worship.

Moreover, if we were to contemplate the state of these three levels, we would find that they converge on certain things and diverge regarding others, thus there are types of attentiveness and devotion that exist on the third level and which can exist on the second and first, but the opposite is not the case. Likewise, what exists in the second also exist in the first, but again not the opposite.

It therefore becomes clear that: The disciplining of these three levels share convergent and divergent things. It is for this reason we find that the sacred Islamic shariah stipulates general theoretical and practical laws, and none of these levels can neglect any of them, for they comprise obligatory or forbidden acts.

Then, as is appropriate to the taste of the third level, the Islamic shariah then establishes all the acts outside those two according to the particulars and universals of things, as recommended (mustahab), disliked (makruh), and neutral (mubah).

These rules are strengthened in their essence by the promises and threats of heaven and hell, and this, in turn is protected by the practice of the enjoining of good and the forbiddance of the wrong, as repetition is the best arguments among the common people.

These laws and methods are applied to the second group the same way as that of the third group, with particular additions of moral laws and other dimensions. As you now, the main difference between the two groups is in the strength and weakness of knowledge and its effects.

This rule applies to the first group in a more precise way than the second and the third. An act might be neutral, recommended or disliked for the second and the third, and might be an obligatory or prohibited act for the first group, because [the Prophet (s.a.w.) said] ‘the good deeds of the righteous are the sins of those who are near’, so this station is for those of the first group and not of any other.

There are other issues and laws that are particularly exclusive to this group which do not exist in the second and third, and these other levels would not understand anything concerning these specialties and will not be guided to the path of learning them.

All the differences this group has with the others are due to the fact that its foundation is based on the Divine Love they possess and not on love of the self. The difference between this group and the other two groups is in the form of knowledge and perception they have, and not in the strength and weakness of knowledge and its effects and non-effects.

If you would like to comprehend in general any of this then you must deeply contemplate the states of unification (ittihad).

Relationships have laws, and so do friendship, amity, and such subjects like love, passion, ecstasy, enthrallment and what is called annihilation, each of which has its own laws. Each law is special for the level it is designated for and does not ever go beyond its level into another.

In summary, the Divine shariah, and in particular the shariah of Islam in all its general and particular dimensions aim towards this goal, which is directing people towards Allah and having them turn only to Him Almighty.

This goal is achieved by acquiring the appropriate aptitudes and states through the appeal to true beliefs and the performance of deeds that produce pure inner states that will make one attain sacred aptitudes.

This will be manifested in its most complete way to those who follow the contents of the Quran and Traditions, and it is clearly understood from this that the criterion is obedience and defiance, and nearness and remoteness in relation to the Exalted Truth with differences in the kind of laws and duties.

Moreover, what Allah Almighty has promised them in His Book and through the tongue of His Messenger (s.a.w.) is clearly stated in the shariah concerning stations (maqam), miracles (karamat) and other qualities, in accordance to their different states and aptitudes.

These stations being related to aptitudes means that the soul attains stations and miracles through these states and habits, and these stations and miracles have been explained by the sacred Islamic shariah within the teachings on the Origin and End.

It has been explained in the addendum of the end of the first chapter that it is these teachings that have realities and inner secrets that are above the level of explanation and that they are beyond the endurance of common people whose mind cannot tolerate, which has also been explained.
There is no doubt among the followers of Divine religions that the prophets (a.s.) have connections with the supernatural realm and knowledge of hidden matters in accordance to their different levels.

However, is this status theirs alone and exclusive to them as a Divine gift? Or it is not restricted to them and it is possible for others to have it as well?

In other words: Is this matter something specifically for them and cannot be found with anyone else in this world until after death, or is it something that can be acquired?

It is the second point that is correct.

We say: This is because the relation between this realm and the realm beyond it is a relationship of cause and effect and perfection and deficiency, and this is what we call the relation of the outward (al-zahir) and the inward (al-batin). As the outward is witnessed by necessity and witnessing the outward cannot be without witnessing the inward because its existence [the outward] is one dimension of the existence of the inward and is medium in relation to it.

Therefore the inward is also actually witnessed when witnessing the outward. Moreover, as the outward is the limit of the inward and its entification (the action of giving objective existence to something), then if a human was to disregard the limit by forgetting it through the performance of acts and spiritual exercises, he will certainly witness the inner, and this is the point we have desired to establish.

Explanation: The attachment of the soul (nafs) to the body and its uniting with it is what leads the self to concede that it is the very body itself. What the body witnesses through the senses it considers as separate in existence from its soul. This is because it sees what it is seeing as separate from the body (and thus separate from itself since it identifies with the body).

Being fixated on the level of the body necessarily results in the soul’s forgetfulness of its own level which is higher than the level of the body. This level of the soul is the imaginal level and other levels higher than that.

With the self forgetting each level, it forgets all its special qualities and the existents in its realm, but even so, it still witnesses its own piety (inayah), which is what is expressed as the ‘I’ which is a necessary witnessing inseparable from the soul itself.

Moreover, the detachment of the soul from the body means that no veil or obstacle will remain for it [the soul]. Therefore, if a person was to return to his soul and his piety through acquiring beneficial knowledge and performing righteous deeds, he would certainly witness the reality of his soul, its level, the entities inhabiting its world and the inner secrets of the existents of that world.

It has become clear that it is possible for a human in this material world to become acquainted with the concealed hidden realities that he will generally encounter after his death.
There are numerous Quranic verses and traditions that support this view which we will narrate by the will of Allah Almighty.

However, the main argument most of the deniers have against this bliss is directed at the witnessing of the Almighty Truth. They claim that it is impossible and their evidence for this is that the existence of the Almighty Truth is an existence free of accidents, dimensions and locations, and it is therefore impossible for Him to be physically seen because it will necessitate Him having a body, characterized by qualities, modality and a particular positioning.

Their advocates hold on to traditions that negate the possibility of vision and they interpret all the verses and traditions that affirm the possibility as being metaphorical, and so on.

You surely know that their evidence is specifically focused on negating the possibility of physically seeing Allah which no one has claimed other than a few sunni theologians and the literalists among them, according to what has been attributed to them. These negating traditions refute them, as it would be clear for whoever refers to the debates and arguments of the infallibles (a.s.)

Those who maintain that Allah can be seen and witnessed want to prove something else, which is that a possible existent that is needy and totally dependent is able to witness the existence of its absolutely self-sufficient Originator with all its possible existence, not with actual sight or by acquired mental thinking.

This is something that indisputable rational arguments prove, along with evidence from the literal meanings of the book [Quran] and the Traditions. Moreover, the general conclusion of these rational demonstrations is that it is impossible to separate possible existence from such witnessing, and that which is sought after is knowledge by witnessing, which is inner-knowledge (marifat), and not the necessary witnessing of itself, which is knowledge by presence.

In summary, as their refutations of witnessing is mainly founded on this [idea of vision], we have limited ourselves only to mention some of its arguments and the rest will be presented later, by the will of Allah Almighty.

Allah Almighty said:

“Some faces will be fresh on that day, looking at their Lord.” Quran 75:22-23.

“And that the terminus is towards your Lord.” Quran 53:42.

“And to Him you will be returned.” Quran 29:21.

“Indeed we shall return to Our Lord.” Quran 43:14.

“And toward Him is the destination.” Quran 5:18, 42:15, 64:3.

“Verily! To Allah do all matters return.” Quran 42:53

“And to Him you shall be brought back.” Quran 2:245, 41:21, 43:85.

“Certainly We gave Moses the Book, [declaring], ‘Do be not be in doubt about the encounter with Him.” Quran 32:23.

“Whoever expects to encounter Allah [should know that] Allah’s [appointment] time will indeed come.” Quran 29:5.

I say: These two words, meeting (liqa) and returning (ruju) have been constantly used in the Quran and in traditions.

“Soon We will show them Our Signs in the horizons, and in their own souls, until it becomes clear to them that He is the Real. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness to all things? Verily! They are indeed in doubt about the meeting with their Lord! Verily! He indeed comprehends all things!” Quran 41:53-54.

The context of the first verse, which is: “We will show them Our Signs in the universe” up to “until it become manifest” shows that the meaning of a witness is the witnessed and not the witnesser.

Similarly, His saying: “Verily! They are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord?” This is like an objection, and its answer is: “Verily! He indeed comprehends all things!”

The context of the last verse, which is: “Verily! They are…” contradicts those who say that the meeting (liqa) is metaphorically used to mean death or the resurrection. The reason for this contradiction is because of the emergence of His signs and the manifestation of His Almighty Truth that will occur on that day in such a way that without doubt He will be seen and witnessed.

He the Exalted has refuted their doubts about meeting Him by His encompassment of everything and this encompassment is the same whether it be in this world, at the time of death or on Judgement day. Therefore, there is no reason why they should interpret ‘meeting’ as meaning His encompassment of death or Resurrection.

This verse is therefore not related to the previous verse, but rather the meaning of the verse – and Allah knows best – is that it suffices that in Hid reality and immutability Allah the Almighty is witnessed over everything, but He shows them His signs in the universe and in their selves because of the doubts they have in witnessing and meeting Him.

Such a doubt is not permissible, for how can they have doubt and suspicion when He encompasses everything? He is he First, the Last, the Manifest, the Hidden in all things, and whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah. There is no secret conversation among three, but He is their fourth [companion], nor among five but He is their sixth, and He is with you wherever you may be.

One who has such a position can never be doubted with regard to being witnessed or met. However, it is permissible to have doubt that His signs will manifest in an undoubted manifestation, so understand.

What we mention here does not contradict what is narrated in al-Tawhid in a tradition from Imam Ali (a.s.), stating that the meaning of the term encountering/meeting in the Quran means Resurrection.

What we are saying here falls within the operational concept in the verse as, for example, when we look at the literal import of a word and not its referent. It thus becomes clear that Resurrection is one of the denotations of ‘meeting’, as some of the verse and traditions to follow will show such, as the literal meaning of His words:

“...and warning you of the encounter of this Day?” Quran 6:130


“When we have been lost in the dust, shall we indeed be created anew? Rather they disbelieve in the encounter with their Lord!” Quran 32:10

There are many denotations in the traditions, such as what has been narrated from Imam Ali (a.s.) as the Path (sirat), the Way (sabil), the Trustworthy (al-sadiq), the Credible (al-musadaq) and the believer in the Quran.

Among these traditions it is narrated in al-Mahasin, narrating from Zurarah from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) concerning Allah’s saying:

“When your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants and made them bear witness over themselves.” Quran 7:172

The Imam said:

It was seeing Allah, and He made them forget what they saw. He established acknowledgement in their breasts and without this no one would have been able to know their Creator and Provider, which is Allah’s saying:

“If you ask them, ‘Who created them?’ they will surely say, ‘Allah’.” Quran 43:87.

Another tradition is stated in Tafsir al Qummi, narrating from Ibn Muskan, from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) in relation to Allah’s saying:

“When your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins... ‘Yes indeed!”

He asked the Imam: “Was this seeing?”

The Imam said: “Yes. Knowledge was retained and they forgot the position, but they will remember it and if this was not the case no one would have known who their Creator and Provider was. Some of them had only acknowledged Him with their tongues in the realm of the Atom (al-zaar) and did not believe with their hearts, thus Allah said:

“...but they would not believe something they had denied before.” Quran 10:74

Another tradition is stated in Tafsir al-Ayyashi, narrating from Zurarah who said:

“I asked Abu Jafar [al-Baqir] (a.s.) about Allah’s saying: When your Lord took from the children of Adam...,until, themselves.”

He said: “Allah had taken from the loin of Adam his offspring until the Day of Judgement, and they came out like tiny particles, so He introduced and showed Himself to them, and had it not been the for this no one would have known his Lord, as He Almighty says:

“And if you ask them, ‘Who created the heavens and the earth?’ they will surely say, ‘Allah’.” Quran 31:25.

In al-Tawhid, narrating from Abu Basir, who narrates the following from Abu Abdullah [al-Sadiq] (a.s.):

I asked: “Tell me about Allah Almighty, will the believers see Him on Judgement Day?”

The Imam replied: “Yes, and they have seen Him before Judgement Day.”

I asked: “When?”

He said: “When He asked them, “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes indeed.”

He kept quiet for a while and then said: “The believers see Him in this world before Judgement Day. Do you not see Him right now?”

Abu Basir then said: “So I said to Him: “May I be sacrificed for you, may I speak to others of what you have said?”

The Imam then said: “No, for if you narrate it a denier who does not know what you mean would deny it and presume what you say to be anthropomorphism (tashbih) and disbelief (kufr). Seeing with the heart is not like seeing with the eyes. Far be Allah from what the anthropomorphist and heretics describe Him to be.”

It says in al-Tawhid, narrating from Hisham in a tradition about an atheist who asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) regarding what he said about the descending of Allah to the heaven of this world, and the Imam said that it is not like the descent of a material body or from a material body to another material body, until He said: “Rather, He descends to the heaven of this world without sufferance or motion.

He is the same way in the Seventh Heaven on the Throne as He is in the heavens of this world. He will only manifest His Magnitude and will show Himself however He wills to His vicegerents (awliya). He will display His Power as He wills, and seeing Him from close up or from far away would be the same.”

It is also stated in al-Tawhid in a tradition narrating the following saying from the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.):

“With the praise of Almighty flowing on His tongue Moses (a.s.) asked: “My Lord, show [Yourself] to me, that I may look at you.” His request was something incredible, and he asked for something physical, so he was punished. Allah Almighty said to him: “You will not see Me in this world until you die, but you will see Me in the hereafter.”

There are numerous traditions concerning heaven that Allah Almighty manifesting to His vicegerents in Heaven and will say to him: “And on every Friday you will be visited.”

In a tradition narrated in Jami al-jawami, it says:

“You will see your Lord like you see the full moon.”

There are other traditions concerning the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) and the Imams (a.s.) that also speak in such tones, thus in al-Tawhid it is narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Fudayl who had said:

“I asked Abu al-Hasan [al-Reza] (a.s.): “Did the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) ever see his Almighty Lord?”

He (a.s.) said: “Yes, he say Him with his heart. Have you not heard Allah Almighty say: “The heart did not deny what it saw” He did not see Him with His eyes, but rather He saw Him with his heart.

It is also narrated in al-Tawhid that Imam Reza (a.s.) has said in a tradition:

“When he [the Messenger of Allah] (s.a.w.s.) looked to his Lord with his heart, he would put it in a light like the light of veils until whatever was behind the veil became clear.”

In Ibn Qulawayh’s Kamil al-Ziyarat there is a narration from Ibn Abu Yafur who narrates from Abu Abdullah [al-Sadiq] (a.s.) as saying:

“While the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was in the house of Fatima (s.a.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) was on His lap, He (s.a.w.s.) began to weep and fell prostrating to the ground and said: “O Fatima (s.a.), O Daughter of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), The High most Exalted showed Himself to me in your house here, in this hour, in the best of forms and best of states and said to me: “O Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), do you love Husain (a.s.)?

I said: “Yes, He is the delight of my eye, my sweet basil, the fruit of my heart and the skin between my eyes.”

Allah said to me: “O Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and he [Muhammad] put His hand on the head of Husain (a.s.) when Allah continued and said: “Blessed be the newborn who has My blessings, prayers, mercy, and satisfaction.”

The Commander of faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) has said in an oft-narrated tradition:

“I have not worshipped a Lord I have not seen.”

He also said:

“I have never seen something without seeing Allah before it.”

In general, there are numerous traditions that refer to this meaning, reaching the stage of mustafid and mutawatir.

What is meant in the traditions regarding sight is not the power of discursive knowledge, for this is reflective knowledge [and not intuitive knowledge].

The many other traditions refute this seeing as being knowledge by reality let alone it being a sight and an intuitive witnessing. As a result, what has been sought for is affirmed, and praise is to Allah.
We say: The relation of the realities to what exists in this material realm and the physical self is the relation of the outward (zahir) to the inward (batin).

Every existing characteristic connected with the outward is in reality attached to its inward and to the outward itself by its accident and in conformity with it. Thus, the self-evident perception of the self in relation to itself is primarily and in reality related to its inward aspects, and then by accident and concordance (agreement) related to its self.

The reality which is the inward aspect of the self is more immediately perceived by the self than the actual self and is more self-evident than it, and that which is inward to this inwardness is even more prior and evident than this inwardness, and this continues until it reaches a reality to which all realities culminate.

This reality is the precedent of all things known and the most evident of all self-evident things.

Considering that existence in it is sheer and undifferentiated, a second for it or another kind of it cannot be conceptualized, therefore, regarding the perception of this existence, there is no place for a refuter to refute or a denier to deny. This argument is of course complete and flawless.

We then say: Every existing reality necessitates that it be complete in its self, both in its essence and accidents, and this is a necessary self-evident premise, but it is in need of complete conceptualization (tasawwur).

So, if we were to suppose a reality, A, which has accidents B, C, and D, then this reality necessitates, in its essence, that A should not be lacking in A, for if A is deficient in A it would no longer be A, given that we have supposed it to be A.

Moreover, it also necessitates that accidents B, C and D, be their very selves, which, if they were lacking in B, C and D, given that we have already supposed them to be B, C and D and nothing more, as is apparent.

This is what every reality necessitates in its essence and accidents, and this is what we call perfection (kamal) and happiness (saadah)

The reality of every perfection is that which is not qualified in its essence by a qualification of non-existence, for this would be a deficiency (naqs). This is because every perfection in its essence has its essence. Thus there is nothing missing from its existence other than from the aspect of a qualification of non-existence (i.e. the quiddity that circumscribes that existent and distinguishes it from other) that accompanies it of necessity.

Therefore, the reality of A, for example, has that which would be assumed for A. Thus the separation in existence of this individual instance of A, from that instance of A could only be because of the existence of qualifications of non-existence in each of the two individuals. A deficiency in the reality of A in both of them would require a deficiency of something from their essences and not from their accidents.

This would be impossible as it will necessitate a reversion (inquilab) or be self-contradictory (khulf) with reference to the essence of A which we have taken as given in its essence. Thus the factor that is lacking (i.e. the qualification of non-existence) for the particularity of this individual instance of A is the particularity of that individual instance of A.

Therefore, the reality of A has two levels: One level is its essence where it lacks nothing concerning that essence. The other level is the level of the individual, which with respect to the other individual, something of its perfection will become deficient.

Of course, this does not mean that this is a result of gradation in any way, because if we were to suppose one of the levels of A for the individual, it would also be A, and this would turn to being impossible. Rather when a reality is supposed for an individual, it will become this particular individual, and when we do not suppose that reality there would be nothing.

So, nothing will stay with it other than the non-existence qualification. This reality is itself with the individual and nothing less than that, and there is nothing in the individual other than reality, while the individual is something non-existent, imaginary and nominal.

This meaning is what we term as manifestation (zuhur), so understand.

From here it becomes evident that the reality of al perfection is that which is absolute, unqualified and permanent. The closeness of every perfection to its reality is according to the degree of the manifestation of its reality in it, meaning its connection to qualifications and limits since the more qualifications there are , the weaker the manifestation will be, and vice versa.

It also becomes clear that the Almighty Truth is the ultimate reality for all perfection, as He has the sheerness (sirf) of every perfection and beauty (jamal), and the proximity of any existent to Him depends upon the extent of its qualifications of non-existence and limits.

It is concluded from this that the attainment of every existent to its real perfection necessitates its annihilation (faana), since this necessitates the annihilation of the qualifications and limits in its essence or in its accidents alone. The opposite is also true, where the annihilation of every existent necessitates the subsistence of its reality only in its self. Allah the Almighty said:

“Everyone on it is ephemeral; yet lasting is the Face of your Lord, Majestic and Munificent.” Quran 55:26-27.

The real perfection for every possible existent is that which will perish within its self. So, the real perfection for the human being is what becomes absolute and free from any restrictions, and hence the human being will be annihilated and have nothing of perfection other than this.

It has already been mentioned in the previous argument that the human being witnessing his own very essence is in fact his essence witnessing all its realities and its ultimate reality, and while being annihilated in that station he will also be witnessing his own annihilation.

In other words: The reality of the human essence is the witnessing of its self while the human being is being annihilated.

Real human perfection is its achievements of its real perfection in its essence and its accidents, meaning its achievement of its ultimate perfection in its essence, attributes, and actions, which is its annihilation in essence, attributes and actions in the Almighty Truth.

This is the meaning of monotheism (Tawhid) of the essence, of attributes and of actions, which is the ability to intuitively witness that there is absolutely no essence, no attribute and no action other than Allah the Almighty, according to what is befitting the sanctity of His Eminence, may His Greatness be magnified. Of course, this is without it becoming incarnated or undergoing divine unification, may He be exalted from such.

This argument is one of the endowments of Allah the Almighty, mentioned specifically only in this treatise, and thanks is to Allah.

The conclusion from the argument mentioned in the beginning of this chapter is that the witnessing of these realities and knowing them is embodied in the witnessing of the self and knowing it.

The closest way there is for mankind is that of knowledge of the self, and it has already been mentioned that this can be accomplished by abandoning anything other than Allah and turning towards Him the Almighty.
If we were to observe the Quran and traditions and deeply contemplate them, we will discover that the criterion of reward and punishment is obedience and submission, and rebellion and obstinacy.

What is indisputably understood from the Quran and Traditions is that the commission of sins, even major sins, does not necessitate punishment if it is performed by someone who does not realize that he is committing it, or any case similar to this. Obedient acts do not necessitate reward if they are performed without the intention of sincerity or submission to Allah, unless the deed is something that cannot be separated from submission, like certain noble and moral acts.

Furthermore, the commission of sin by someone who is not conscious of it being a sin, if done with the intention of an obedient act, will be considered a good deed; and also doing something obedient with the intention of being rebellious or being vain will be considered wrong. The levels of obedience and sin also differ according to the difference between submission and rebellion, which exists on both sides.

It is said in a tradition:

“The best of deeds is the hardest of them.”

This has been narrated in many traditions on different aspects of the subject of obedience and sins, the different levels of virtue and vileness, and the reward and punishment for them, which the sound intellect also confirms. Most Quranic verses direct people to what the intellect prescribes them to do, and the scale and criterion according to the intellect is obedience to the truth or rebellion against it and nothing else. These are by necessity two different things according to their levels.

In addition, as happiness and wretchedness are related t

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