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Jili, Abd al-Karim - Al-Kahf wa al-raqim - 045 Section 3



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

(31) The Alif itself derives from al-Ulfa - actually it is al-Ulfa that derives from the Alif. (You have seen) the noisy controversy and the disagreement over whether the verbal noun derives from the verb or vice-versa.

For this reason the Alif was joined to the Ba’, because the Ba’ had the decency of keeping its place under [the Alif]. So it was reduced to nothing, [as] nothing is the shadow under the figure. Thus the Alif, out of its own natural generosity, provided it with its own place, because the state of the Alif is to take the form of every letter. In fact the Ba’ is a stretched Alif, the Jim [_] is an Alif with the two ends bent, the Dal and the Ra’ are Alif bent in the middle, the Shin is indeed made of four Alif: each one of its teeth is an Alif and the stem is an Alif bent and stretched. This [can] be applied by analogy to the remaining [letters].

This is as far as the form is concerned. As for the conceptual significance, it is necessary to find the Alif in every letter as it is pronounced when you do its spelling. Don’t you see in the Ba’ if you spell it you will have to mention the Alif? And with the Jim, if you spell it you say Jim, Ya’ [_] and Mim. But in the Ya’ with two dots underneath, the Alif is present. Thus, the Alif is in every letter both formally and conceptually. Because it descends into the dot, from the invisible world into the visible world.

(32) That one is this one and this one is that one: there it is!

That is a part of that that is part.
That is the noble Gabriel.
He spread out and conceals.

(33) Says [the Prophet] - may God bless him and grant him salvation: “No thorn will enter the leg of any of you without me feeling its pain”. This is confirmation of his unity with the whole world, its individuals and its parts, so much so that he feels in himself the condition of each individual, and conversely that individual finds him in the world.

Question: what is the reason why the Alif was deleted in the Basmala and was not deleted in the 'Read in the Name of Your Lord?' Answer: because the I afa of the name in the former refers to God the All-encompassing Who cannot be restricted to a single attribute. While in the latter the I              afa of the name refers to the Lord, and it is necessary that the Lord should have a servant to lord upon. So it is preposterous that the Ba’ should be united to [the Lord] in this context, because if servitude is lost, also the lordship is immediately lost. But where divinity is concerned, if servitude is lost, [divinity] will not be lost, because it is a name of a rank [encompassing] all ranks. The disappearance of the servant is tantamount to his non-existence, but it is understood that the Lord does not disappear, [remaining] a degree among all the degrees of divinity. So it does not disappear in any way. And when the inclusion of the Alif in this context took place and it was united to the Ba’, it was dropped in pronunciation and writing. Thus, [the formula] In the Name of God the All Compassionate and Most Merciful is pure reality, while [the verse] Read in the Name of Your Lord is pure law. Don’t you see that it recites Read! which is a command, and the command is devoted exclusively to laws? [The formula] In the Name of God the All Compassionate and Most Merciful, instead, is not confined to a command or to anything else. Let [the reader] ponder.

The source of the experience

Jili, Abd al-Karim

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