In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Blessings upon our master, Muhammad, and upon his family and companions. . . . From my insufficiency to my perfection, and from my deviation to my equilibrium From my sublimity to my beauty, and from my splendor to my majesty From my scattering to my gathering, and from my rejection to my communion From my baseness to my preciousness, and from my stones to my pearls From my rising to my setting, and from my days to my nights From my luminosity to my darkness, and from my guidance to my straying From my perigee to my apogee, and from the base of my lance to its tip From my waxing to my waning, and from the void of my moon to its crescent From my pursuit to my flight, and from my steed to my gazelle From my breeze to my boughs, and from my boughs to my shade From my shade to my delight, and from my delight to my torment From my torment to my likeness, and from my likeness to my impossibility From my impossibility to my validity, and from my validity to my deficiency. I am no one in existence but myself, so- Whom do I treat as foe and whom do I treat as friend? Whom do I call to aid my heart, pierced by a penetrating arrow, When the one who shot the arrow is my eyelid, striking my heart without an archer? Why defend my station? It matters little to me, what do I care? For I am in love with none other than myself, and my very separation is my union. Do not blame me for my passion. I am inconsolable over Him who has fled me.
In this epistle I never cease addressing myself and returning to myself from my very self.
From my heaven to my earth, from my exemplary practice to my religious duty, From my pact to my perjury, from my length to my breadth. From my sense to my intellect and from my intellect to my sense, -From whence derive two strange sciences, without doubt or confusion. From my soul to my spirit and from my spirit to my soul, -By means of dissolution and coagulation, like the corpse in the tomb. From my intuition to my knowledge and from my knowledge to my intuition, -Continuous is the light of knowledge; ephemeral the light of intuition. From my sanctity to my impurity and from my impurity to my sanctity, -Sanctity is in my instant and impurity is in yesterday. From my human-nature to my jinn-nature, and from my jinn-nature to my human-nature, -For my jinn-nature seeks to disquiet me and my human-nature seeks to set me at ease. From the narrowness of my body to the vastness of my soul, And from the vastness of my soul to the prison of my body, -For my soul denies my intellect and my intellect my soul. From my entity to my nonentity, and my nonentity to my entity, -Where I rejoice to find my composure and lament to find my dispersion. From my likeness to my opposite and from my opposite to my likeness, -Were it not for Bâqil no light of excellence would shine in Quss. From my sun to my full moon and from my full moon to my sun, -So that I might bring to light what lies hidden in night’s core. From Persian to Arab and from Arab to Persian, -To explain the mysteries’ roots and express the realities’ enigmas. From my principle to my consequence and from my consequence to my principle, -For the sake of a life that was buried in death, animate or inanimate. Pay no heed, my soul, to the words of that jealous spite-monger, Or to the remarks of that ignorant presumer, O myrtle of my soul! How many ignoramuses have slandered us spiritual beings! While my revelation descends from the Spirit of inspiration and sanctity, He is like a man possessed by a demon whose touch makes him tremble. On the matter of spiritual realization mankind does not cease to err, For God’s secret is poised between the shout and the whisper.
I have called this treatise “Cosmic Unification in the presence of essential witnessing, having been brought into the presence of the Tree of Humanity and the Four Spiritual Birds.” I have dedicated it to Abu al-Fawâris Sakhr ibn Sinân, master of the reins of generosity and eloquence. I seek help from God. He is my support and my assistance, glory be to Him!
To the third and the second-the master of the triads and dyads-to whom one alludes in these dyadic words of praise: the evanescent conqueror who restrains his mount, the one who turns toward his shadow and bows his head in humility; the generous one whose generosity never runs dry, the perfect being whose existence is not known, the one who is sent from the two divine presences and the envoy of the two powers; he whose foundations are certain, whose possibility is discounted, and whose place is known; channel of subtle graces, reality of time, goal of faith, seat of Mercy, subtlety of the moment, sultan of men and jinn, son of jinn, pupil of man’s eye, beneficent giver, Abu al-Fawâris Sakhr b. Sinân, master of the reins of generosity and eloquence. I ask God to give him the most perfect and elevated of ranks.
May he receive the scent of the most perfect and the most pure of greetings, as well as the mercy and benedictions of God, the most Exalted.
I praise God who has “fashioned” me and “balanced” me, and made me enter upon “the most beautiful of constitutions.” For He made me know myself through myself and caused me to appear to myself, so that I became enamored of only myself. Between my distance and my proximity I have become mad with love for myself, and I address myself alone. . . . Were I to see myself when I in my Essence, came to myself, secretly or openly, And said, “Greetings” and answered, “At your service,” And if my turning were from me to me, my very “Here I am!” would annihilate me, My enemies and my trusty friends, my threat of punishment and my surplus grace, My paradise of delights and my promised recompense, my witnessing and my testimony. What wonderful favor would be mine through myself! Oh I! Return me by me to me until I see my stability. He returned me by me to me from me, and only my qualities subsisted in me. My palm grasped my stick, my staff smote my rock; The river of constellations flowed from it: Twelve heralds! I said to myself: Oh I! Add constancy to my constancy! These are the sciences of life, scattering light from all that grows upon my being. Where in me does that subtle secret reside that God has placed within my essences? I was filled with what I sought from myself, but my desire for death remained. I took to complaining to myself of my passion so that my signs would appear To my eyelids from the essence of my creation. Then He lavished gathering on my scattering. My essence conjoined passionately with my Essence, for my essence, my whole life long. I did not hold my harshness against me, Or the length of my abandonment or my misdeeds- I am my beloved and my lover; I am my knight and my maiden.
This book came to me from the city situated on the equator, assigned to the temperate clime, fortified by spiritual powers: Mount Sinai, the Trustworthy City, fashioned of water and clay, uniting the “most beautiful of constitutions” with the “lowest of degrees.” This treatise informed me of what passed between myself and myself and what my being contemplated of my existence.
When the signs of witnessing were lifted from me and the suffering of spiritual combat was removed, and harmony and succor began to flow through me, I mounted the Burâq of my spiritual aspiration and departed from the cycle of this grief. I fell into the sea of matter, and beheld the next world and the present one. I said: “May he perish, whoever denies the gardens and the abode of life, the sporting boys and embracing houris, and the union of bodies with bodies! He who sees the Preserver affirms the existence of the Speaker, for the line of equilibrium does not waver.” I understood here that those who deny the resurrection of the body will continue to waver and will never be rid of the noose of the four and the two.
Then I shouted: “Oh alas!” and “Alas, my burning heart. I fled from the universe and here I am in it. Where is what I seek?”
I heard a voice coming from me-but neither inside me nor outside me-say: “Why do you demand a high station when you are on the road? Where were you when the Throne was set up? Where were you when the celestial couches and sublime litters were put in place? Where were you in front of the supreme horizon? Where were you before the screens of splendor? Where were you at the radiant curtain? Where were you before the Cloud? Where were you before the impenetrable mighty screen? Where were you in the company of the absolute ipseities? Where were you alongside the confirmed realities? Where were you in the presence of the allusions? Where were you during the conversations? Where were you during the nightly confidences? Where were you before the sublime Tree? Where were you before the branches of the world? Where were you beside the strange Anqâ? Where were you beside the Ring Dove? Where were you beside the Jet-black Crow? Where were you beside the Royal Eagle? O you who are veiled, how can you ask ‘where?’ about the essence, when you are in a station that does not admit lies!”
I answered: “Oh you who obstruct me, your words have wounded me. Do you not know that you speak from your own station? You are in the presence of the essential being, divested of time and place, while I am in this dark sea, in this thick gloom and this fearful calamity, in this mine of lies and doubt, this place of faults and vices. Does not the one who is prisoner of quantity and quality and precepts of wisdom cry out: Woe!? If you extract me from the crashing waves and deliver me from the horror of this gloomy night I will never more pronounce the adverb or the preposition of place.”
Through his irresistible power he attracted me to himself and said to me: “You are vanquished, so seek help!”
I said: “I will save myself by your right hand, for both your hands are right hands.” For He is the powerful, the trustworthy, the faithful, and the true one who never lies.
He said: “How can one mock me whose hope abides in me?”
I said: “Just like one who praises you accepts your gift.”
When he attracted me to himself I saw myself in another form than my previous one and I established myself there, firmly and steadily.
I said: “Oh I!”
He said: “I, welcome!”
I said: “No welcome, no greetings, no make yourself at ease!”
He said: “Oh eye-balm, what is the doubt that assails you? Oh prisoner of creation, what is afflicting you?”
I answered: “You do not cease from veiling me from myself. Unveil me to myself so that I can know myself!”
After having implored him thus, I continued: “This revelation is prolonged, my banner is raised, my knowledge is delimited, my station is praised, my secret is witnessed, my heart is found, my goal is lost, and I, in my world, am adored. I am called the word of existence. If these entities were to disappear, if these creatures were to vanish, and if I were to retreat from the axis of mercy and the lordly name, I would be able to enjoy the divine regard and not be harmed by this favor.”
He said: “The pens have disappeared, the signs have gone away, the names have departed, the axis has been veiled, the tablets have been driven off, and the hearts and spirits have been lost. But these are necessary: the dark gloom of the Garden, the circle of water, the supreme pen, the first step, the hidden letter nûn, and the guarded right hand.”
When I heard that there was still a trace of createdness before me, I feared that it would cut me off from my cognizance. So I rose from that gloomy darkness, leaving the Burâq of my aspiration in it. I was transported to the thrones of subtle grace and the cushions of the celestial couches, until I reached the station of rejoicing where I set myself to oscillate like a hanging lamp. I said: “What do I have to do with the state of audition?”
Someone said: “It is the beauty of the rhythm that has set you in motion.”
I said: “I didn’t feel it.”
Someone said to me: “Be careful! For you are in yourself and not in him!”
I said: “Reality is beyond the rhythms of song. What it demands is extinction within extinction.”
No sooner had I pronounced these words than a veil was lowered between my essence and his essence and a condition was set between him and me.
Then he said to me: “Where are you, from the world or from me?”
I said: “Between lassitude and hope. My goal is the blinding Cloud while I find myself in the water. My spirit is in the heavens while my throne is in the primordial dust. My family is in Sabâ while my kingdom derives from the Throne and my authority from the two feet of the Footstool. My constellation travels in the celestial sphere, my veil is the angel, my obscurity is prime matter, and my trial is in this world. My beginning is the original condition while my goal is the next world. My intimacy is from the Intimate friend Abraham; my conversations are from Moses, who spoke with God; my caliphate is from Aaron, the sage; my elevation is from Idris; my form is from Joseph; my knowledge in its diversity and multiplicity is from Jesus; my body is from Adam, the father of mankind; my heart is from Abraham, the greatest of masters; and my physical constitution is from the four elements.”
He said: “That is your portion from my creation, but where is your portion from my essence?”
I said: “Oh you, who speak by allusion! Relationship takes place through what is contrary and what is similar, and the similar that is inseparable is so essentially and necessarily.”
The speaker by allusion said: “I mean the relationship of the similar.”
I said: “My trace is yours and my quality is yours. The synthetic is better than the analytic in this manner, for the sake of the Wayfarers.”
He said: “You’ve spoken correctly. But where does one find the relation of the being with its contrary, according to reality, not according to equivocation?”
I said: “In my nonexistence is your existence and in my avarice is your generosity; in my muteness is your speech and in my whisper is your discourse. In my impossibility is your eternity and in my beginning is your precedence.”
He said: “I know now that you know. How excellent is your judgment!”
Then the Universal Tree of the garden, described as the Likeness, was unveiled to me. I observed a tree “whose root is firm and whose branches are in the heavens.” Its fruit is in the hand of the Deity, established on the Throne. Among its branches sat the Crow and the strange Anqâ, and in the shelter of its boughs perched the Eagle and the Ring Dove. I greeted the Tree and it answered, greeting me even more finely. It said: “Listen, O wayfarer, O king.”
Discourse of the Universal Tree, described as the Likeness
I am the universal tree of synthesis and likeness. My roots are deep, my branches are lofty. The One planted me in the garden of eternity, protected from the vicissitudes of time. I am spirit and body. My fruit is gathered with no hand touching it. These fruits contain more sciences and knowledge than sound intellects and subtle secrets can bear. My leaves are “elevated books,” my fruits are not “collected or forbidden.” My center is the desired goal. My branches perpetually lower and raise themselves. Some lower themselves to provide benefit and aid, while some approach gradually to bestow favor. My constitution is like the celestial sphere in roundness and my branches are homes to the winged spirits. My flowers are like the stars whose course engenders the minerals, flowing in their bodies.
I am the Tree of light, speech, and the eye-balm of Moses, upon whom be peace. Of directions mine is the most excellent right-handed one, of places mine is the sanctified valley. Of times mine is the moment. Of dwelling places, mine is the equator and the temperate climes. I have perpetuity, everlastingness, and felicity without misery. The fruits of my two gardens hang low and my bough sways loftily as if intoxicated. It bestows grace and tenderness on all living creatures. My branches always offer repose to the spirits of the Guarded Tablet, and my foliage is a protection for them against the diurnal rays. My shade extends over those whom God envelops in His solicitude and my wing covers the people of sainthood. The spirits blow on me from all directions. They disarrange the order of my branches. In striking against one another they make one hear such melodious sounds that they enrapture the supreme intellects in the utmost heights, and set them circling in accordance with what is inscribed in their scroll. I am the music of wisdom that removes care through the beauty of its melodious rhythm. I am the luminous light. Mine is the green carpet and the resplendent full face. Assisted by the powers and ennobled by the One who is seated on the Throne, I have become like prime matter receiving all forms in the afterworld and the present one. There is nothing I do not carry in me. I am at once shade and light. A light shines in me and my shade covers all who seek refuge in me. I am the shade that extends endlessly, the rank of the banners, the sought-for meaning, the word of existence, the most noble of originated beings, the most transcendent of limited beings. My power is unsurpassable, my place most holy, my lamp most elevated. I am the source from which issue the lights, the synthesis of the divine words, the mine of secrets and wisdoms.
Mine are the vast earth and the heavens. In my center is balance and straightness. Mine are the firmly-rooted majesty, the splendor, The secrets of the worlds, and the exaltation. When thoughts betake themselves to my essence The distance and the blinding Cloud bewilder them. No one in the universe knows my existence Save he whose praise does not bind him. He has free disposal and judgments with respect to us. He is free to choose-he does what he wills.
Discourse of the Ring Dove
When the Ring Dove heard the Universal Tree’s discourse and the eternal knowledge it brought forth, she uttered a cry in the garden of sanctity. She said: When God wished to bring my creation into existence, He made me contemplate my own essence; He encircled my neck with the ring of splendor and He gave me the “Lote Tree of the Limit” as a dwelling. He called to the Eagle, assuring him that he would be preserved from punishment. The Eagle, who was in the courtyard in front of his door, answered obediently: “Your call is heard.” He told him: Now that you are in a strange land, be assured of My proximity. You are not of My species as you must seek solitude. But in you is eye-balm. I will make the essence appear in it. Enjoy her vicinity and be cheered by her conversation, because familiarity with Me is impossible, for I am formidable.”
The Eagle asked: “How can something be manifested from me when my station is weakness and my power and might have no authority?”
He answered him: “Continue to call plaintively and that very one will appear before you, face to face. You will regain harmony and close union.”
The Eagle obeyed. He doubled his plaint and I appeared, responding quickly to the divine call. The Eagle, however, had not understood what was happening, since he was preoccupied with finding out what offering to give, and because he didn’t know that I was to come out of his back. When he heard me respond to the divine call, he asked: “What is this that has appeared?”
As soon as he had seen me, he fell in love with me. The beauty God had adorned me with made him mad with love. Passion soon made him cry with pain: “I’m burning! I’m drowning!” He warbled the nightingale’s plaint, trying to heal himself, but the burning only became more extensive and solace more impossible. His cure was to lie close to me and embrace me, but I would not permit him to kiss me. The veils of doubt were raised, and from behind the hidden pavilions someone called: “What is wrong with you that you don’t regard her lineaments and the performance of her song? Why do you not regard her qualities and the excellence of her wisdom?”
He called me to him. “Here I am!” I responded. He commanded me to sit before him. He said: “I was so inflamed with ardor at your form that I overlooked the knowledge of your spiritual qualities. The divine order has come that you make yourself known to me and that a ray of your sunlight shine for me.”
I said: “God has brought me into existence from you, face to face. And he has made me manifest from your back, following our reciprocal inclination. I emanate from your power and am manifested through your form. God has entrusted me with two realities and has given me two subtle threads: one reality by which I know and one reality by which I bring into existence what I wish by means of its cause. One thread ties me to you and makes me descend when I want and draws me to you. The second links me to Him and raises me to Him when He calls.”
Hearing that a subtle thread extended from me to him, and having verified the realities of love, the Eagle descended toward me along this thread. My essence mingled with his, my qualities disappeared into his, and we were absorbed in the pleasures of union, transported by the enthusiasm of harmony. The spiritual wedding took place. The two waters flowed together in the womb of the moment, which received them in virtue of that divine wisdom that bestows grace to some and accords misery to others. The lover recovered from his malady and found rest in a desire to answer the divine call. Wavering between two desires, he set in the two wests and rose in the two easts.
When he had recovered from his suffering and had immigrated to his abode, I found in myself a fullness that I had never before known. The paths and roads to him were blocked. The spiritual threads moved and I said: “Oh, my God. What is this that has happened to me?”
He said: “Exhale when you mention Me so that the word of My command may manifest from you.”
So I exhaled like one oppressed. And there was the Anqâ, who filled my refuge with life. Ask the Anqâ about what God has deposited in her of His subtle graces and what He has given to her of knowledge.
I am the Dove of praises. My dwelling is in the Garden of spiritual meanings. I am an essence in the entities. I have nothing but dualities. They call me “O second!”-but I am not second. My existence is the limit of everything that is in creation. I follow the one whose essence transcends the entities. My character derives from what is far and what is near. Nothing resembles me save one whose nature is similar to mine. Reproach me if you wish. What my tongue does not bring forth! The beauty of the realities descends along the spiritual threads Toward the hearts that turn from the flowering of the gardens In search of the One who transcends the vicissitudes of time. He is the singular, the exalted. There is not another with His authority. He is the One who has elected me. He has placed me in equilibrium “between pot and jar.” I banish every distant one and draw each near one closer. I befriend every friend and I afflict all the wretched. In my fall, my spirit is diffused, and in my rising, bodies dissolve. It is I who confer sense and leave the inhabited places deserted.
Discourse of the Royal Eagle
When the Eagle heard what the Ring Dove had mentioned and what she had related about the certain sciences, he said: “What she has affirmed is true. She has disclosed to you all the sciences she encompasses.”
I said to him: “Fly through the air of your eloquence and tell us clearly about your nature.” The throne of the Eagle shook. He flapped his wings joyfully and said:
I am the Eagle. To me belong the most elevated station, beauty, and the most brilliant shining light. I carry out everything according to its determined rank On this world’s shores, but my power is more inaccessible. I am His sublime emanation, the light of His creation. I am he who summons existence and it obeys. I am he who never ceases to be the “handful” of my Creator, The instrument of His openhandedness. The realities hurry toward me to seek their portion. I give to and withhold from whomever I wish. If I approach, the beauty of His existence dazzles me. If I retreat, the magnificence of His splendor summons me. Approach confers upon me a pleasing wisdom But it rends the heart of the elevated spirits. Distance invests me with an apportioned command Whose light illuminates their expanses. When I am distant I am the Commander- My misery is in my command and my felicity when it is removed. The most pleasing of my moments is when I see the essences of the new moons arising.
I was still nonexistent as an entity in one of the degrees of creation when the divine solicitude came and made my existence the Beginning. Having manifested Himself to Himself, my existence was prolonged in self-contemplation. I received the supreme rank through the Form, and the most secret part of my being became His Throne. The divine all-encompassing Name established Himself upon me. His two viziers, He-who-gives and He-who-withholds, and His two chamberlains, He-who-confers-harm and He-who-confers-good, stood at His two stirrups. When the establishment was accomplished and what was other-than-Him appeared, and the Names “Almighty” and “Sublime” were given to me, the courtyard became filled. Permanence and evanescence appeared, just allotment and effusive plenty followed one another in alternating course, and expansiveness and contraction were firmly established. Through the kingdom the King was confirmed, through the message the angel became manifest, and through the stars the sphere was set in motion. Then He called to me and taught me these words of wisdom: “Look into your essence to reunite your pairs.” When I began to look and could distinguish between those who required precedence and those who required contemplation, I traced the different paths and divided the lights between merits and graces. I said to those enraptured spirits whom I surveyed: “Adhere to the presence of rapture!” And I said to the submissive spirits whom I surveyed: “Adhere to the stations of submission!” And I said to the directing spirits whom I surveyed: “Adhere to the direction of the bodies!” Each of these departed to seek its abode in order to there contemplate the One who had caused them to descend. I had already perceived the Ring Dove, pregnant with the strange Anqâ, but in dividing up the abodes I had neglected the one who had caused the descent.
I am the knowledge of creation concealed in the cloak of the divine inviolability. A band of philosophers invented lies about me and a league of noblemen tried to capture me. They spread out the fowlers net of their thoughts to hunt me and used against me the very means that I myself had provided them with in order to try to discover me. And when their spiritual aspirations were sufficient to grasp me in their fowlers net of thought, there fell into it an eagle with my form from the country of illusion. They said, “This is the clear truth!” Would that they knew that the truth is not apparent to them and will never be. Knowledge of me and my existence depends upon what is granted as a gift or recompensed for merit. Satan plunged them into doubt and they imagined that they had alighted at the summit when their abode was the plain. They mistook priority for eternity, declaring me eternal and that my existence did not stem from nonexistence. I abandoned them to their confusion “like meat on the butcher’s block.” This is what one must do with those who commit an injustice to the divine command! Innocent of what they attribute to me, I disavow their claims. For God, may His glory be magnified, was from all eternity while I was under the decree of nonexistence. Then He brought me into existence from nonexistence through a pre-eternal decision, and my essence became manifest. He illuminated my existence with His knowledge and joined to me poverty and weakness, turning me away from might and glory. I am the humble one who has no glory and the powerful one who does not cease to be weak.
Discourse of the Strange Anqâ
When the Eagle had finished speaking and explaining his station, the Anqâ told about her existence and spoke strangely about the high rank of her limit. She said: I am the strange Anqâ. My dwelling is still in the west, in the middle station, on the banks of the surrounding sea. Glory embraces me on two sides without my ever being manifested in a determined form.
I am the one who has no existent entity, the one who lacks no qualification, Strange Anqâ, they’ve come to call me Although the door of my existence is sealed. The Merciful has not made my mention in vain But it belongs to a meaning whose secret must be sought- It is that I am the one who bestows gnosis to their innermost beings. Our straight path stretches on and the wayfarers are according to their light: The greatest one is he whose light is sheer detachment.
Limits are from me and upon me existence depends. One hears mention of me but I am invisible, and the report of me is not one that can be declared a lie. I am the strange Anqâ. My mother is the Ring Dove and my father the Royal Eagle. My son is the Jet-black Crow. I am the element of light and darkness, the place of faith and suspicion. I do not receive the unqualified light, for it is my contrary. I am unacquainted with knowledge, for I cannot examine or disclose. Everyone who praises me is far from understanding me, subdued by the sultan of imagination. I have no might in which to seek protection. The bodies of superior and inferior creation depend on me. I am the reality in accord with all, because I embrace all. I clothe all according to their state, either with happiness or misery. I am capable of bearing any form. I have no rank in any known form. But I have received the gift of transmitting the sciences even though I am not a knower, and to bestow determinations even though I am not a judge. Nothing can be manifested, grasped, or perceived in its entirety that I am not in. I am of very great value in the eyes of those who realize the truth. I am at home in the gathering of those with bowed heads. Thus I have informed you about my state and have made manifest what is true and what is impossible about myself.
The Discourse of the Jet-black Crow
The Crow arose and said: I am the body of lights and the support of the place of secrets, the place of quality and quantity and the cause of joy and sorrow. I am the leader and the led. Sense and sensible are mine and through me appear the traces. From me arises the world of material bodies. I am the source of figures, and likenesses are struck to correspond to the levels of my form. I am the lamp and the winds. I am the chain against the rock and the wing. I am the sea whose waves constantly strike one another. I am, of the countable, the singular and the paired. My breadth is the abode of the charismatic gifts of His friends and my depth is the abode of abuse to His enemies. My height has not ceased to be face to face with His essence, through eternity without beginning and end, ever since I was brought into existence. I am the storehouse of wisdom, the music of song, and the one who brings together the realities of the divine words. In directing oneself toward me, one obtains the limits, and those beings who are endowed with intelligence rely upon me. I am the most precious of gifts, the final goal that has no end. For my sake some are accepted and others rejected. I am those who are rolled and held in His right hand, and I am enclosed in the grasp of the evident truth. The Truth summoned me into His presence and I came. He called me to His knowledge and I readily responded. I am the form of the celestial sphere and the place of royalty. Upon me He established the Throne and I was given the name “place where it was established.” I am the subsequent who is not followed just as the Eagle is the precedent who is not preceded. He is the first and I am the last. His is the esoteric and mine the exoteric. Existence has been divided between myself and him. I manifest his might and his createdness, while his judgment depends on me. My knowledge flows in him and his knowledge flows in me. He has given it to me to make use of, and when I make use of it he thanks me for receiving even more.
Some claiming to be endowed with unshakable reason allowed themselves in their confusion to make judgments. They showered me with unseemly derision and divested me of the clothing of seemly praise. But their actions will turn against them and their mocking will encompass them. From the depths of hell they will call for help and be answered: “Begone therein and speak not unto me,” while in the breadth of paradise those who praised me well and truthfully will make merry with their spouses “in a garden made joyful.” The Law had already praised me so what do I care? The received text has made clear my rank, so why say more?
I am, with respect to my Lord, a wisdom for one who sees me, For I am the secret whose nature was fashioned without fingertips. My Creator ordered everything within Himself when He constructed me, For I am a rock, and from me the spiritual meanings flash. I, with the superior beings, am like a contesting racehorse, Yet I am the one who conceals himself modestly from view, I am the one who answered my Lord obediently when He summoned me. He who because of time’s vicissitudes sees my existence Is like the heart of Moses’ mother, empty of spiritual meanings, Completely divested of the verities of explanation. I am the source of singers and the foundation of songs. I am the secret of an Imam, a noble one, high in place, Whose knowledge is the most perfect knowledge And whose nature is the greatest nature. He fell in love with me when he saw me in the enclosures of the gardens. I do not name him for I fear punishment. But he who understands my riddle is Sakhr ibn Sinân- The one who possesses the most generous hand And the one who is steadfast in combat. I, and Mother and Grandmother, and Grandfather: The spiritual meanings of our existence derive from God, timelessly, Like what becomes visible to the eye in the air brightened with lightning.
Oh, Sakhr ibn Sinân, I have explained to you some of the stations of the sources of the creatures: the universal man, the first intellect, the unique soul, prime matter, and universal body. Investigate them like an intelligent man who seeks the salvation of his soul.
Peace be upon its author and upon us!