Author: Muhyiddin Ibn al Arabi; Aisha Abd al Rahman at Tarjumana Bewley (translator)
Publisher: Madinah Press (2005)
Pages: 207 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Excerpt from the Book:
1) The Seal of Divine Wisdom
in the Word of Adam
When Allah - glory be to Him! - willed that the source of His most Beautiful Names - which are beyond enumeration - be seen (or you can equally say that He willed His source to be seen), He willed that they be seen in a microcosmic being which contained the entire matter, (1) endowed with existence, and through which His secret was manifested to Him. For how a thing sees itself through itself is not the same as how it sees itself in something else which acts as a mirror for it. So He manifests Himself to Himself in a form which is provided by the place in which He is seen. He would not appear thus without the existence of this place and His manifestation (tajalli) to Himself in it.
Allah brought the entire universe into existence through the existence of a form fashioned without a spirit (rūh), like an unpolished mirror. Part of the divine decree is that He does not fashion a locus without it receiving a divine spirit, which is described as being "blown" (2) into it. This is nothing other than the result of the predisposition of that fashioned form to receive the overflowing perpetual tajalli which has never ceased and which will never cease. Then we must speak of the container (qābil). The container comes from nothing other than His most sacredly pure Overflowing. So the whole affair has its beginning from Him, and its end is to Him, and "the whole affair will be returned to Him" (11:123) as it began from Him. Thus the command decreed the polishing of the mirror of the universe. Adam was the very polishing of that mirror and the spirit of that form.
The angels are some of the faculties of that form which is the form of the universe, which the Sufis designate in their technical vocabulary as the Great Man (al-Insān al-Kabīr), for the angels are to it as the spiritual (rūhānī) and sensory faculties are to the human organism. Each of these faculties is veiled by itself, and it sees nothing which is superior to its own essence, for there is something in it which considers itself to be worthy of high rank and an elevated degree with Allah. It is like this because it has an aspect of the divine synthesis (jam'īya). In it is something which derives from the divine side and something which derives from the side of the reality of the realities. This organism carries these attributes as determined by the universal nature which encompasses the containers of the universe from the most exalted to the basest. However, the intellect cannot perceive this fact by means of logical investigation for this sort of perception only exists through divine unveiling by which one recognizes the basis of the forms of the universe which receive the spirits.
This being was called both a human being (insān) and khalif. As for his humanness, it comes from the universality of his organism and his ability to embrace all of the realities. He is in relation to Allah as the pupil, (3) being the instrument of vision, is to the eye. This is why he is called "insān". It is by him that Allah beholds His creatures and has mercy on them. So he is a human being, both in-time [in his body] and before-time [in his spirit], an eternal and after-time organism. He is the word which distinguishes and unifies. The universe was completed by his existence. He is to the universe what the face of the seal is to the seal - for that is the locus of the seal and thus the token with which the King places the seal on his treasures.