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Observations placeholder

Jili, Abd al-Karim - Al-Kahf wa al-raqim - 140 Section 13



Type of Spiritual Experience


No explanation, provided for completeness

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


(67) The origin of the name Allah is al-Ilah. But the middle Alif was dropped and the Lam was joined to the one that follows. Thus the word became Allah. However originally it had seven letters: six countable and the seventh is the presumed Waw following the Ha’,as one can see: _ _ _ _ _ _ . They are the essence (_Ayn) of the seven attributes representing the conceptual significance of “divinity.”

(68) So the first Alif is the essence of the name of the living [God]. Don’t you see the diffusion of God’s life in all that exists? And we have indeed explained to you the diffusion of the Alif in all the letters.

(69) The second [letter] is the first Lam: it represents “will”, which was the first consideration that the Truth had for the appearance of the world, as indicated in the Hadith with the words, “I was an unknown treasure and I longed184 to be known.” And the [word] “love” is only [another word for] “will”.

(70) The third [letter] is the second Alif. It represents “power” at work in every existing thing; indeed in all existing things under the dominion of power.

(71) The fourth [letter] is the second Lam, representing “knowledge”, the beauty of God - may He be exalted - pertaining to His being and to His creation. In fact the pillar of the Lam is the seat of His knowledge of His [own] being, while the root of the Lam is the seat of His knowledge of His creation. Thus the same letter is the essence of the universal knowledge.

(72) The fifth [letter] is the third Alif, representing the hearing of [the One Who] hears: “there is not a thing that will not celebrate his praise.”

(73) The sixth [letter] is the Ha’, representing the sight of God. The circle of the Ha’ reminds a person of the pupil through which [God] looks at the whole world. And the world is the white found in the eye of the circle of the Ha’. All this points to the notion that the universe has no existence outside God’s view of it. Indeed if He lifted His sight from the world all would come to an end. Just like if the circle of the Ha’ did not surround the white dot, this would not exist at all. But in spite of its existence [the white dot] remains, in relation to [the Ha’], in a state of non-existence. Because the whiteness that was present before the encircling of the Ha’ is present after it. Just like the world in relation to God is in the condition it was before God created it - praise Him! May you understand [this], ponder this remarkable mystery and compare what I mentioned from outside of you with what is inside yourself. And the goal here is nothing more than your happiness and the discovery of your being.

(74) The seventh [letter] is the raised Waw - whose number is part of the sixth degree [of existence] - representing the concept (Ma_na) indicative of God’s speech – may He be exalted. Don’t you see, about [this number] six, how the parts whose ultimate limit is the perfection of the Throne of the All Compassionate - Who is in relation to all the parts - come in attendance of “Be!”? And just as the word of God - may He be exalted - has no limit, in the same way creation, which comes under the provident care of the Throne, is possible. And there is no limit to what is possible. Observe the lack of limit in the “Necessary Being” (Al-wajib al-wujud), how in the “possible conceivable being” (Al-mumkin al-ja’iz al-wujud) - as well as in its absence - He has manifested Himself in His essence (_Ayn).

Therefore these seven letters express the real concept of God (Allah) and His image nominally and in essence. Nothing is what it is except Him.

(75) People differ [in opinion] on this name. Some say it derives from [the verb] alaha - ya’lahu - ilhan,  meaning to worship, therefore treating the verbal noun as a noun [indicating] the object of worship. Thus saying ilah but adding to it the determinative Alif and its Lam to say Allah. Others say [it derives from] alih, understood as passionate love, thus making of the deity the source of love. Still others say it is a defective underived noun, whose origin is not [in the root word] alh but as it is it designates the “Necessary Being” Who originates the world, and that is nothing else but these five letters:

_  " " . And this is [also] our opinion, and proof for it is that God called Himself with this name before He created the universe. Because [the name] God does not need the universe, unlike [the other name] All Compassionate which points to the manifestation, in the one who receives mercy, of an act of mercy. From this it derives that God – may He be praised and exalted – is either manifest in [all] that exists or hidden in the knowledge of what is visible [only] to Him. May you understand [this]. The same [applies] to Lord, Creator and the rest of the relational (Ra_maniyya) names [of God] such as Provider, Giver, Avenger, Benefactor. By relational names I mean words that require a causal agent  (Mu’aththir) whose effect (Athar) is shown in them. Such as Omniscient - which indeed requires a known [object] – and the One Who Hears and the One Who Sees (All), the All- Powerful, the [Well-] Wisher, the Speaker. Likewise the word Be! requires a creator. So this and others are relational names.

As by the aforementioned notion, the All Compassionate is God on the basis of what the [divine] throne deserves and contains.194 Unlike His [other] name Allah – may He be exalted – which indeed is perception on the part of the being, and is essence (Huwiyya) of all essence, existence (Anniyya) of all that exists and supreme individuality. His sight is not limited [but] He is not limited by sight. He is the container of [every]thing and its opposite. That is why some say that He is the source of existence and of non-existence.

This expression “source of existence” is a clear [concept]. But “source of non-existence” is a deep mystery. Of the people of God only those who are perfect can grasp it, according to their [spiritual] status. Or the one to whom a crack in the door has been opened before reaching this state. It is necessary to say on this subject [already] begun that this is an aspect of existence that is right here to call “non-existence” because of its perfection – may He be praised and exalted because He is worthy of great exaltation.

(76) You [should] know that Allah is a noun that if you understand it will give you a name that contains [all] the degrees of divinity. You can envisage that this concept is more than you can understand and of a different nature (Dhat) from yours. This conceptual  “non-existence” does not exist. Indeed what is intended [here] is your being. Hence, there is no creator except God. Hence none except you ? [No], rather none except God.

(77) You [should] know that when we say “Truth”, “Creation”, “Lord” and “Slave” this is a gnomic sequence appropriate to one nature. The meaning of it all does not suffice, and if you stop there [at this level of meaning] with this periodic sequence, it is in fact a waste of time. Unless you are one who [can] smell musk when it is still in the gland [of the animal]. Therefore all of this is [as if] you have eaten meat with the hand of someone else and have given yourself the value appropriate to your condition and what is appropriate to your state. Whatever you found in this is the essence (_Ayn) of truth and whatever you found [given] by God to you as a form of contact and unity is the essence of straying from the truth and is heresy.

What we are saying is only appreciated by a Persian Arab whose language is different from the language of the people [of the Arab nation] and whose place [of origin] is different from theirs. [Or by one] who is giving away money which does not diminish.

[Or by one] who is [directing] his abilities as if throwing a javelin towards the target -[representing] his goals – with a particular aim [and] with a strong straight arm, so that he won’t miss his goal, nor have a broken javelin, nor lose his javelin, and his aiming eye will remain focused.

 God’s divinity is beyond fading and His unity is undivided.

The source of the experience

Jili, Abd al-Karim

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