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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word a'lam (pl. a'lamun) means world or realm. In the technical language of the philosophers and the mystics, it is often connected with various nouns and adjectives to distinguish between the visible and the invisible world. From the point of view of the phenomenal determination, the cosmos is described by Ibn Arabi in several different cosmological and ontological schems, in each of which diverse existential aspects of cosmic quantities are depicted. Ibn Arabi thus divided the cosmos into two main realms: one unseen, and the other sensory. The sufis refer the following main a'lam:

A'lam an-Nasut : (the world of humanity) It is perceived through the physical senses; the material phenomenal world.

A'lam al-Malkut : (the world of sovereigty) It is the world of sovereignty, is invisible, spiritual, angelic world; which is perceived through insight and the spiritual faculties.

A'lam al-Jabrut : (the world of power) It is the celestial world, which is perceived through entering into and partaking of the divine nature. It is also the world of the divine names and qualities.

A'lam al-Lahut : (the world of Godhead) It is the world of the Godhead, not perceived, since now the phenomenal is absorbed into timeless unicity.

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