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Jili, Abd al-Karim - Al-Kahf wa al-raqim - 030 Section 2



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

ABD AL-KARIM AL-JILI: Tawid, Transcendence and Immanence – Dr Nicholas Lo Polito [University of Birmingham] - The Cave and the Inscription


(16) The dot of the Ba’ is alone in its transcendental world. It has no division in itself although it appears as two in the Ta’ with two dots, and as three in the three-dotted letter. Indicating, as a deterrent and a warning against those who claim [that God has as His] partner one who is second of two, or third of three, that although it may seem to be multiple, in its essence the dot is one.
(17) (Don’t you see that) He is one - may He be praised and exalted. That [only] by the imagination of the polytheist He has a partner. That the partnership in which the polytheist in his imagination believes is indeed a creature of God. That the true [God] is in every creature in all His fullness. So the polytheist is created, and the partner in whose partnership he believes is also created. And the believed partnership is created and the belief itself is created. Because God - may He be exalted and praised - is present in His fullness in all these things. His Being cannot be divided nor multiplied nor qualified. He is one and there is no second other. 

As a consequence if you wanted to associate [a partner with God] and if you wanted to separate Him, then the partner would be God - may He be exalted - and the polytheist would be God, and the partnership would be God. He is everlasting, except in your individuality.
(18) (Don’t you see that) the dot because it is a dot and not part of a mass cannot be multiplied and cannot be divided? Likewise none from among God’s people can take one of His parts. In this He is highly exalted. And you find that the dot, in virtue of its oneness, belongs in essence to the number of indivisible [items].

 (19) (Know) that the dot in reality cannot be captured by the eye, because everything that you bring out in the physical world can be divided. Instead the dot that we now see is expression of its reality and of the boundary of its reality: a single atom that cannot be divided. As for what is invisible [and belongs to the realm] of imagination, and with [your] writing you have made manifest to the visible world, you add to its essence a property that is not essentially intrinsic to it, that is to say “divisibility.” Because in the realm of beings there is hardly any singular atom - in fact there is none at all - of all that fall under the perception of the senses that cannot be divided. So when this atom appeared under this letter [Ba’] it was distributed, even though it cannot be divided.

(20) This is the place of the anthropomorphization of God, as [for example] in the expressions “[God’s] two hands” and “two feet” and “the face [of God]”. And in the Hadith [called] The Wings, “I saw my Lord in the form of a beardless youth wearing golden sandals”.

This reference to His perfection is [about] immanence (Tashbih) contained within transcendence (Tanzih). Indeed, by definition God is the Infallible One Who has no equal.

The One Who hears and sees [everything]. He regards it as permissible to impose anthropomorphism on Him, and that alone. Since His immanence is contained in His transcendence and vice versa - in virtue of the opinion provided by the phraseology of the [Sacred] Book and the Sunna - the invisible world will appear to you in the visible world, and the visible world will conceal itself from you within the invisible world. In the same way since the dot is indeed in all the letters, all the letters are forced into it. What I mean by forced is that the permanence of the letters in [the dot] is sensible but their presence cannot be perceived before they [are made to] emerge from it in your composition.

The source of the experience

Jili, Abd al-Karim

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image