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October 31, 2020

The Mirror

The Mirror The most beautiful thing, mirror of the true Being, The splendor of the creation, the light of the sun, The reflection of the moon, the word that unites, That which reveals and that which hides; “The believer is the mirror of the believer,” The infinite Names shining forever, The actualization of all possibilities, In Adam become manifest;

All praise due to He, out of His love came to be, “I was a hidden treasure, and I wanted to be known,” Out of this desire was created the thrown, From Noor-e-Muhammadi, rahmatul lil a’lamin; “I was a prophet, while Adam was between earth and water, I am the first and I am the last, Imam al-anbiya, the Intercessor,” Mercy to mankind, the father of all, wasila of Adam after his fall, Allah and the angels send peace and blessing, “sallu alayhi wa sallimu taslima” Bismillahir-rahmanir-rahim

Among the ancient Greeks Protagoras is said to hold on to the view that ‘man is the measure of all things’, while Ibn ‘Arabi that man is the ‘polished mirror’ which reflects the whole universe and more – at least when it is polished! Man is the microcosm that reflects the macrocosm; the word that unites and divides; the jewel in the crown; the light of the eye! When God created Adam as His khalifa and explained to the angels about his nature the angles complained saying, “why have you created a being you can cause mischief and shed blood on the earth, while there are countless numbers of us?” Allah replied, “you do not know what I know.” Then Allah asked them about some names, which the angels replied saying,

“You are Pure, we do not know except what you have taught us, You are all-knowing, Wise.” Allah then asked Adam (alaihi wa sallam) about these names, and Adam (AS) could explain them to the angels; by doing this Allah demonstrated to the angels that His khalifa Adam (AS) was superior to them and thus worthy of being the vicegerent on His Kingdom. That is because the angels are limited in their states and knowledge compared to Adam. It is reported that during the course of history two angels, Harut and Marut, complained about people’s sexual infidelity thinking that they would do better in the same circumstances so Allah sent them down to earth in the human form to test them. When they started feeling the attraction of the opposite sex they could not resist and became guilty of what they had accused the people of.

Angels do not feel what the animals feel of heat and cold, hunger and thirst, sleep and tiredness, strength and weaknesses; they do as they are commanded and never flinch from it fro the blink of an eye! And of course, they do not need to neither are they tempted to! So, they do not have much knowledge about these states. They are beings of light and with light darkness, disobedience, fatigue, lethargy and weight cannot be associated. Therefore they have been saved from these troubles. They are always at the service of the Lord, executing His command promptly and with precision, with them there is no room for error. According Sahl al-Tustari (rahmatullahi alayhi) the prime elements are four: light, fire, ruh (spirit) and earth.

The whole universe and its creatures are composed of these root elements in different proportions. We can assume that angels do not have any earth in their composition, while say animals according to their species have varying levels and different types of spirit in them. It can be speculated that the levels of beings start from inanimate objects and minerals, precious metals, life sustaining earth, water and air. In short the world of matter – of hydrocarbons, of atoms. This leads to the life of plants and vegetables – it has the spirit of growth and procreation but not movement.

The next level of life is that of the animals, consisting of the four root elements in varying degrees according to the needs of the species and also individual temperament. Here we can see the greater impact of intelligence (ruh), desires, and fire for the first time – fire showing itself in the qualities of leadership, pride, competitiveness, hatred, jealousy, and arrogance among others. From a point of view these characteristics may be deemed destructive but from another view these qualities are essential part for the survival of the species!

However, these characteristics are founded upon the motherly loving nature of the root element earth. In a well functioning society a balance has to be achieved and justice has to be dispensed for the collective good of the society. We do see that even in animal societies there is the sense of justice, loyalty and alliances; pride, leadership and domination, as well as kindness compassion and caring.

The creatures that have more of the element of fire in their composition – they are the jinns – are naturally more haughty, proud and lordly, cannot forgive easily and hence therefore destructive. Humility and gentleness, forgiving and kindness are the praiseworthy qualities that have been endorsed by the people over history; this can be seen in the teachings of all religions, although justice and power are also required for the purpose of a deterrent.

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