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The Fifth Chapter, on the Necessity of the Natiq, Asas and Imam.

The recognition of the Natiqs, Asases, and Imams is as necessary as the recognition of the Kalima, Aql and Nafs. It should be conscious, and not merely resting on the authority of others (bi-taqlid). This is because in the creation of the skies and the earths, and of what lies between them, we see many wise arrangements (hikmat-ha): the straightness or curvedness of the skies and the earths, the rotation of the sun which sometimes stand (high) in the sky, sometimes in the middle of it, and sometimes (low) at one side of it. Warmth and cold [49] either enter the world, due to this, or leave it. The earth rests in winter, and brings fruit in the summer. Otherwise arrangements (hikmat-ha) whose working (athar) we observe in this world prove that, before this universe was created, there was a Creator who brought it into existence. It was the Creator who placed all these wise arrangements (hikmat-ha) in the world.

In man, the crowning product of the world, we find proofs of the activities of the Nafs and of Aql. From this we may infer that the world was produced by the (az san'at-i) Nafs, supported (ta'yid) by the Aql. When the Lords of the Truth (Khudawandan-i haqq), - peace be upon them, - had revealed all this to us, our reason understood it, knowing that it was really so. This is because in this world, the Aql-i Kull is the true Imam (Imam-i haqq), which the faithful believers (mu'minan) are in possession of individual (human) reasons (aql-ha-y-i juzwi). As (individual) reason receives force (athar) from the Aql-i Kull, it is capable of understanding this. If it had no such force, it would be unable to comprehend it. It comprehends the true parts (juzw-ha-y-i rasti?) of the objects in its genus (az kull-i Khwish). This is why God says (iv, 84): "Do they not meditate on the Coran? If it were not from God, then would they find in it many a discrepancy". [50] The ta'wil of this verse shows that the Coran, as it is known to us, contains only the symbols or parables (amthal). Reason cannot understand their implications and is bewildered by their contradictions, if their true implications are not revealed by the true Imam (Imam-i haqq).

As we see such wise arrangements (hikmat-ha) in the world, and are powerless to understand them, unless someone explains them to us, God deemed it wise to send someone (yak tan) from amongst human beings who would explain to people the story of the creation, and would call them to follow the right way. Such a person would occupy in this world the same position as the Aql occupies in the higher world. He is the Natiq, peace be upon him! He has the power to comprehend by his knowledge (ilm) all the powers of the Nafs-i Kull, thus becoming an intermediary (miyanaji) between the two worlds and deriving his knowledge, through his clear mind (dil- rawshan-i khwish), from the spiritual (latif) world in eloquent (fasih) language, as God says (xxvi, 193-195): "The Faithful Spirit (ar-Ruhu'l Amin) came down with it upon thy heart in order that thou shouldst be of those who warn in plain Arabic language". Therefore the Natiq [51] in the material (jismani) world is the ultimate limit (ghayat-i hama'i ghayat-ha) in knoweldge, and no material being (hadd-i jismani) can be superior to him. His learning of the knowledge of the higher world (alam-i ulwi) was done through his luminous soul (nafs-i rawshan), and not through his physical ears in the manner in which we hear.

From the Nafs-i Kull, which is beyond time, today is just the same as it was at the beginning of being (awwal-i hasti-ha). In the material world, however, it gradually reveals in time that potentiality (quwwat) which it had received from the Aql-i Kull. The Apostle of God, in a similar way, entrusted those powers (quwwat- ha) which he received by his enlightened soul from the higher world (alam-i ulwi), to one person (yak tan). That person was worthy to keep the deposit (wadi'at) of Divine Signs and still unrevealed mysteries (ramz-ha-y-i pushida). These were revealed to him in their entirety, without explanation or comment (bi shar wa bi tafsil). That person (yak tan) was the Asas of the Prophet who had to deliver all this to humanity in the course of time, with necessary explanations; as God says (xvii, 170): "And the coran which We have divided, that thou mayest read it to mankind liesurely, and We have sent it down", i.e., in order that thy descendants, the Imams, by the command of God, at their own time should [52] explain thy Book to people, bringing its meaning from the form (of the letter) of the Divine Revelation (tanzil) into that of the revelation of its inner sense (ta'wil) and spreading it in time amongst humanity. He, the Prophet, at the end of his life left the command to his descendants, who are the true Imams, Imaman-i haqq, that they should convey to people its inner meaning; as God says (xiii, 8): "Thou art only a warner, and every people has its guide".

As this world is the product of the Nafs-i Kull, supported (ta'yid) by the Aql-i Kull, so the world of religion (alam-i din) is the creation of the Asas, acting with the powers (quwwat) received from the Natiq, - peace be upon him! All of the principles of the spiritual world (hudud-i alam-i latif) the first is the Aql which is superior to everything in the higher world. Below it there art three: jidd, fath and khayal, in the hierarchy of the creation (ba tartib). These (three) are the principles of the higher world, whence they are manifested in the lower world (alam-i sufli). Here the Natiq corresponds to the Aql (of the higher world), being the highest and finest point in humanity. He occupies, in comparison with other men, the position of the sky which nothing on the earth can reach. Below him there is the Asas, corresponding to the Nafs-i Kull. He is the Lord of the Tawil and the creator (bar-khuday - i.e., bari- khuday?) Of the explanation of the law (shari'at), just as the Nafs-i Kull [53] is the master of the composition (kudawand-i tarkib) of the lowerr world (alam-i sufli). Below it corresponding to the jidd, is the Imam, and corresponding to the khayal is the hujjat. These lower five principles correspond to those five higher principles: as the Apostle of God said: "I took it from the five, and handed it to the five." For this reason it is said that the ta'yid (divine support) does not descend beyond the rank of hujjat. These five ranks (hadd) have Divine support (ta'yid), by the help of which they deliver to people the knowledge of the (basic) truths (haqa'iq), by the order of the Lords of their time (khudawandan-i dawr-ikhwish) and the Natiq of their time, in order that the world of religion (alam-i din) should be kept strong. Just in the same way those five principles of the higher wolrd convey Divine help (ta'yid) from the Word (Kalima) to the lower world, so that it may be strong.

For this reason we say that the human soul which is joined to the human body cannot become separated from the earth which id the ultimate resort of the bodies (ghayat-i kalbad-ha). Similarly, earth cannot be separated from water which is the ultimate resort, or from the humidity (tari) of which it has been created (faraham awurda). In the same way water is the ultimate resort of air,and air of fire, being derived from it (az u girifta). All these as a whole become [54] the lower world in which all these things are inseparable from one other. (Even) that greatest circle (i.e., the outer celestial sphere) is connected with every tiny particle (buqta) in the body (markaz) of the earth. The Nafs-i Kull is their guardian and guide (nighaban wa parwardgar), receiving assistance, (ta'yid) from the Aql. In a similar way in the world of religion the mustajib is in the position of mankind in the material world, his upper limit being the ma'dhun, just at the ultimate limit of the human body is the earth. The ma'dhun's highest limit (nihayat) is the da'i, and the da'i's the hujjat, just as the ultimate limit of water is air. The limit of the hujjat s the bab, just as that of air is fire, and the limit of the bab is the Imam, just as the highest limit of fire is the firmament (falak). All these, in their entirelty, are interconnected with each other. In the same way as (in) the world of absolute truth (;alam-i haqiqat) everything is connected, from the Imam of the Truth (Imam-i haqq) down to that weak mustajib who is like (one of) the smallest particles of earth (kamtar nuqta-i zamin), so that nothing is left out of the system. The Asas is the guardian and guide (nighaban wa parwardgar) of all these ranks (hudud), by the power of the Divine help (ta'yid) which he receives without any intermediary, just as the guardianship of the Nafs-i Kull of the Aql. Every rank mentioned above occupies the position of the Imam in relation to those ranks which are below him, in the order mentioned. And God [55] says (xvii, 73): "The day when We will call all men through their leaders (Imam)". i.e. the mustajib through his madhun, the latter through his da'i, the latter through his hujjat, and so forth, up to the Asas and Natiq. Similarly, the Apostle of God says: "We are from the Light of God, and our associates (shi'atu-na) are like a blessed tree which has roots, fruits and leaves, just as every tree has."

By the sense of this hadith every mu'min who swears allegiance to the Imam of the time becomes one of the descendants of Mustafa (peace be upon him!), thus being the Divine Light. His return therefore will be to that place to which the whole tree shall return, because he has become one of its leaves. When the mu'min becomes associated with the true holy family (khandan-i haqq), and accepts the true doctrine (haqq), [56] obeying it explicitly and implicitly (ba-zahir wa batin), he, although weak in the world, will come into the circle (da'ira) of the Imam of his time, and will attain a great position, on his own merits, as God says (ii, 24): "Verily, God is not ashamed to set forth a parable of a gnat for anything above it". The ta'wil of this is that the gnat, small as it is, has the likeness of an elephant which is the largest animal. Thus it is potentially not so weak as to be able to have that likeness in form. this symbolizes the weak mustajib who spiritually is as small as a gnat. When he swears allegiance to the Lord of his time and obeys him as much as he can, he, with his weakness, receives a share in the position of his Lord, just as the gnat has the form of an elephant by creation despite its small size.

Therefore when man who is the crown of creation obeys the ranks of the lower world (hudud-i sufli), [57] he will return to the Creator who is the Aql, and through it he will reach the higher world. He will then, just as the Aql-i Kull, offer God the worship of the thanksgiving, having no other form of worship to offer. When the souls of the obedient slaves of God reach the higher world, they have no other form of worship than offering thanks to the Creator, as God says in the story of those who enjoy rest in Paradise (x, 10-11): "And their salutation therein shall be salam (peace). And the last of their invocations will be: praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!"

Thus we have outlined the principles (maratib) of religion, the higher and the lower, all that every mu'min is required to know.

The seven high principles (hadd-i ulwi) which are called huruf-i ulwi. Or "high letters", and which are regarded as symbols of predestination (qadar), are seven letters. Briefly, the story [58] is this: you must know that a letter (harf) is a token (lit. "edge", kanara) of things. The Prophets were standing between these two worlds. By their spiritual (latif) selves they formed the "edge" (kanara) of the spiritual world, while by their bodies they formed the "edge" of this material world. Every Prophet that came (to humanity) occupied a position of the "edge" of that world, possesing the power to derive advantage (fa'ida = knowledge) from that world, and deliver it to this world. The Qa'im, -may his prayers be upon us!- being the ultimate highest point (ghayatu'l-ghayat) of the creation, for whose sake the Nafs-i Kull has produced this world, has the most perfect share in that (higher) world. It may even be said that the perfection (tamami) of the Nafs-i Kull depends on him (ba-d-u'st).

One must know that the Adam had the "edge" (of the higher world) which is denoted by the letter n' (nun). The "edge" of Moses is denoted by y' (ya), while that of the Qa'im will be denoted by r' (ra). This position (maqam) has become the last. First they invoke Muhammad, and after him the Qa'im. Muhammad's "edge" is denoted by d' (dal). Every one of these letter has an explanation, but we have agreed in this treatise, as was mentioned in the beginning, to follow in it the principle of brevity.

Thus, when the mu'min recognizes the meaning of each of these letters, and acquires firm faith in the greatness of each [59] as denoting the position of the Apostle of God, he will be satisfied. This is because however much we may try to explain (all this), human speech will never be able to convey a complete idea of the (real) properties of spiritual principles (sifat-i hudud-i ruhani). Speech is material (jism), being composed of letters (and sounds produced by the) palate or tongue and air. But by material things one cannot explain anything except for the material. The intelligent student who reads this chapter will understand that what we have said here is true. And the (supreme) truth is that we are bound to obey as humble slaves the Lord of the time, the prayers of God be upon his slaves, the mu'mins! May God help and assist us!