Ahmad Ahsai, Shaykh - Kitab Sharh al-Ziyara - Zayd
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa’i – Kitab Sharh al-Ziyara [translated by Henry Corbin and Nancy Pearson]
Do you not see how it may happen to Zayd, for instance, to be consumed by disease; he wastes away to the point where one cannot believe there is one ratl of flesh left on him. Yet he is certainly Zayd; he retains his identity. Spontaneously and without doubt you recognise him as still Zayd the rebel; not one particle of his rebellion has disappeared. If what disappeared as the result of his wasting away had been capable of producing the disappearance of his rebellion, then the latter would have almost entirely disappeared, because in that case it would have lost both its support and its source.
The same could be said about Zayd the faithful. Not one particle of his fidelity will have disappeared, since his fidelity has no connection whatever with that part of him which has disappeared, neither the connection of an effect with its cause, nor that of a derivative with its source – no interdependence exists of any kind whatsoever. If that which the sickness has caused to disappear in Zayd had really been part of him, its disappearance would have been accompanied by the disappearance of the good and evil proper to Zayd’s person.
Inversely, if he puts on weight, Zayd remains the same Zayd; just as in the previous case when there was no decrease, so here there is no increase, so far as his essence and qualities are concerned, nor any increase of fidelity or rebellion.
In short, this jasad, this body of flesh consisting of terrestrial elements is not part of Zayd............
What seems most likely to me is that originally, or as time went on, the word jasad in the Arabic language was taken to mean the body of the living being insofar as the ruh [spirit] is absent from it. But elsewhere, the term is used for something different… even to designate that which is animated by the pneuma, the ruh, the spirit, as when speaking of the body of Zayd…. The word would then apply precisely to that which is different from the spirit and not to the spirit nor to the composite as such