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The First Chapter, on the Recognition of the Oneness of God.

We say, by the generosity of the Lord of the time and the ties between him and humanity, the Imam Musatnsir bi'l-lah, - prayers of God be upon Him! - that eternal bliss (baqa) may be attained by the human soul (only) through the recognition of the oneness of God (tawhid). This is the knowledge of God, equally removed both from anthropomorphism (tashbih) and also from agnosticism (ta'til), which divests Him of His true attributes. Such faith (ithbat), free from both these errors, is the knowledge of God [5] being one. Though shouldst not say that God is unique by His being perfect either in might or wisdom, while all that is below Him possess only imperfect might (or wisdom). If thou sayest so, then it is implied that might or wisdom is the source of His oneness. (This is wrong because) everything which depends (for its existence) on any cause (illat) is thus the result of the working of that cause. But God is above being caused by anything, and is Himself the origin of all causes. Therefore it is necessary to know that God's oneness is not defined or limited by anything. It would be better to believe and recognize that oneness belongs to Him not on account of His happening to be unique (of His kind), and this is why we know of His being one. (This is because) everything that has another thing to match (juft) it must be of the same kind (shakl = pattern) as that thing, so that they would be two, in number and form, a pair of things of one and the same kind (shakl). But God neither has a genus (shakl), nor is He one of a pair (juft) with any one else to match Him. No, thou must realize tha t He is one in the sense that He is the One who brought ibto existence all the creations (afarida-ha) both spiritual and material (latif wa kathif), which are subject to counting under the First (Nukhust) which is the Akl-i Kull. The latter is (the principle) which God brought into existence not from nothing (na az nist ba-hast awurd). God puts its cause (illat, i.e. the cause of its existence) into itself (andar u paywasta kard), making it independent of any intermediary cause (miyanaji). [6] Thus between the first cause (of the world), i.e. the Aql-i Kull, which itself had a cause of its existence (ma'lilbud). . . Thou must recognize that the first cause as the cause of all causes. God Himself, in His oneness (fardaniyyat), is free from being either a cause or the result of causation. Know that God has brought into existence that first cause, not from nothing (na az nist ba-hast awurd). In His oneness He cannot receive any increment (afzuni). Even if all beings (hast-ha) disappear, He will not suffer any loss (nuqsan) in His oneness, because it is the ipseity (huwiyyat) of God which has brought them into being. The categories of cause and caused, property and being in possession of property, limit and being limited, cannot be either attributed to Him, or denied to Him, or have any likeness to Him. In fact, these categories never possessed such likeness, that He might become greater with the addition of them, or suffer a loss without them. He is beyond being or not-being. And thou must realize that everything to which thou mayest attribute existence, may also be predicated with non-existence as an opposite (dadd) state. But if something has no existence (generally), one cannot attribute to it non-existence (i.e. existence or non-existence cannot be attributed something which does not exist as an idea). This is because existence and non-existence are the opposite of each other. And nothing which has an opposite number (dadd) can be a god. Also know that everything that may be thought in association with something else, and cannot be imagined without such association, is called mudaf ilay-hi, i.e. associated, related to. Such a thing, however, must be a creation (makhluq). God [7] cannot depend on association with anything else (idafat bar na-girad), except this is attributed to Him allegorically, or is logically postulated (az rah-i majaz wa darurat) . For this reason we say that the world and its creator must both be under the "first caused" (ma'lul-i awwal), i.e. Aql, because the Nafs-i Kulli, which is the builder of the material world (taqdir-kunanda'i alam-i jismani), has a position below that of an Aql. The Nafsis in fact the creator of the world, and the world is its creation (makhluq-i u'st). If the world had no relation (dar-khurd) to the Nafs, it would be unable to receive its properties from the latter. This connection (dar-khurd) of the world with the Nafsis embodied in the idea of gawhar, substance. The world is a material substance (gawhar-i kathif), while the Nafs is a spiritual (latif) substance. The gawhar, the substance of the world, has received its form (surat) from the Nafs. God, however, is beyond the idea of a (perceptible) substance, gawhar. He, it is who made the gawhar what it is. This is why nothing (hich chiz) can be related to Him (in the material world), except in an allegorical sense, or logical construction (az rah-i darurat), or owing to the difficulty of expressing thought when speaking on oneness of God, tawhid.

An illustration of this, - in order to make it clearer and also to prove its truth, - would be the case of a man who were to grasp a handful of dates or straw, and later on were to throw these away. He would be still the same man whether holding them, or having thrown them away. No one would say that when he held the handful dates or straw he was bigger, [8] or that now, he no longer holds it, he is smaller. This is because that date or straw is not similar to him. Similarity (manandagi) is only possible between (e.g.) human beings, and dissimilarity (e.g.) between man and beast. As dates or straw have no similarity or dissimilarity with man, no one would say he was bigger when holding these, or smaller without them, - although, however, man has in common with dates and straw the substance of the vegetative nafs (nafs-i namiya).

For this reason it is impossible to attribute to God being either a cause or the result of causation because both these categories have been produced by Him ( paydaawurda'i u'st), he is the All-High, above both these categories, and neither does an advantage accrue to His oneness from any cause or causation, nor, if these are taken away, does it suffer any loss. We are saying all this metaphorically, not discussing the reality (haqiqat), because human speech (or reason) cannot deal with the matters concerned with tawhid, dealing with them directly (ba-tariq-i haqiqat) . (Human) speech and speaker are both dependent on what has been created (zir-i ma'lul) by Him. Speech (or reason, Nutq) is powerless, unable to penetrate the true realities and understanding (haqa'iq wa basa'ir) of His ipseity (huwiyyat). This is because, as we have already said, speech and the speaker are both below the Aql, and therefore they cannot perceive (lit. define) anything except what is (also) under it.

To sum us, [9] concerning the oneness of God, (tawhid), thou must realize that whatever spiritual or material entities have come into existence, it is He who has brought them into being, not for nothing (na az nist) because (his) own being (wujud), in His ipseity (ba huwiyyat-i khwish), is above existence or non-existence.

Thou must also realize that whatever may be existent (hasti darad) may also, contrary to this, be non-existent, while what does not generally exist cannot be (regarded as temporarily?) Non-existent.

These states mutually exclude each other. And that which has something to be its opposite number (dadd), cannot be God. God is He who has brought from not- being (nist) into being (hast) the initial being (hast-i nukhust), so that existence (hast) and non-existence (nist) should both (juft) be created by Him, and should stand side by side (of each other), by His command. This is because both the quality (sifat) and what is qualified by it (sifat-padhir) are under His power (andarmulkh-i u), while He Himself, in His ipseity (huwiyyat), is above everything, and nothing can have a relation to Him (ba-d-u paywastagi nist), just as He said (Coran, cxii,1): "Say, God is one".

These four letters (with the help of which the word Allah is written) He intended as symbols for four principles (hadd), - two spiritual (ruhani) and two material (jismani), [10] by which the oneness (wahdaniyyat) of God can be proved. One of them is an alif (letter A) which is a straight line, to which all letters can be joined, while it does not join any letter. All letters have developed (?) From it (az u tarbiyat yafta and), because all letters that exist from curved (junbanida) lines. The alif symbolizes the Aql-i Kull from which all the spiritual and material entities have received existence, and all are connected (paywasta) with it, while it itself in its power depends on nothing, being above everything.

The next is the letter lam (L) which consists of a line the lower part of which is drawn forward. (Thus it) possesses length and width, like a surface (sath). It resembles alif but all letters are joined to it, and it itself joins various letters. The lamsymbolizes the Nafs-i Kull with which on all sides both the spiritual and material entities are connected, and which resembles the Aql just as the lam resembles the alif.

The third letter is (also) a lam, similar to that preceding one. It is, however, equal to only half of the degree (importance) of the alif. It symbolizes the Natiq who all sides is connected with the Nafs-i Kull [11] and receives support (ta'yid) from it in his organization (ta'lif) of the system (or world) of religion, which is the "third world" (suwwum alam).

The first world is the world of spiritual (latif) entities, the second is the material (kathif) world, and the third is the world of religion. The Natiq occupies in the last one the position of the Aql, just as the second lam (in the word Allah) resembles the alif.

The fourth letter in it (i.e. in Allah) is ha (H) which symbolizes the material world, possessing length, width and breadth. It occupies the fourth place (daraja) from the alif, and is a circle in which (one) end (of the line) is brought down to meet the other end. It symbolizes the Asas whi is connected with the Natiq, receiving from the latter spiritual support (ta'yid) by the power of the Nafs-i Kull in his (task of) the explanation of [12] the shari'at. This is just like the world which has length, width and height and reveals (sharh-i chiz-ha hami birin arad) various matters such as minerals, plants, animals and foodstuffs for the bodies of men. The Asas brings back the souls of the faithful (mu'minan) to the recognition of the oneness of God (shinakht-i tawhid) and the interpretation of the shari'at (in its relation to) the higher world (alam-i ulwi), so that ultimately creation may re-join its source (awwal), like (the line in the) letter ha, which is a circle, whose ends are joined together.

Then know, brother, what God the All-High says in the verse which we have mentioned above: these four spiritual (ruhani) principles, and four material (jismani) principles (hudud) are His creations (ba-hast awurda'i u). After this He says: "Allah is the Lord". By this He means that these four hadds, principles, are the creations of God. To them belong superiority (fadl) over everything spiritual and corporeal. This is because all corporeal beings (jismaniyan) are under the Natiq and Asas and all the spiritual (ruhaniyan) are under the Aql and Nafs. And both corporeal and spiritual beings acquire superiority (fadl) through these principles (hudud) which are above them.

Thereafter He said: "He (God) does not give birth to any one and is not born". This means [13] that all that are below these two spiritual (an du ruhani i.e. Aql and Nafs) possess similarity to them, and have come into existence through them, just as everything is born from something. Similarly, every one who is under the Natiq and Asas in the corporeal world (jismaniyat) spiritually (ba-zadan-i nafsani) is born from them through the (religious) knowledge (ilm).

Whatever is born, will become one day like its parent, while nothing, either corporeal or spiritual, will ever be associated with Him (i.e. God).

Then He said: "and He has no partner". This means that whatever things exist, spiritual or corporeal, match one other (dar-khud-i yak-idigar and), and this their property forms a proof that God has created them in such a way as to be like one other, while uniqueness (yakanagi), and therefore causelessness, belongs to Him.

Here ends this chapter, intended for the instruction of the mustajib (i.e. the newly initiated adept) who may (with its help) believe ( in the correct way), through the recognition of God's oneness (shinakht-i tawhid) avoiding falling either into anthropomorphic theories, or agnosticism (tasbih wa ta'til), by the generosity of the Lord of the time, peace be upon him!