Sunday, 7 October 2012
An Understanding of Existence: The Sirr of "Allah"
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.).
Creation is a Manifestation from the Attributes of Allah (s.w.t.), Revealed in the beautiful Names of Allah (s.w.t.). The Names are comprised of the 29 letters of the Arabic alphabet, the alphabet of the Holy Qur’an. These letters have their own spheres and oceans which are interconnected with manifested existence. ‘Allah’ is the Name that encompasses all the Attributes and Names; all beautiful Names appear under the Name, ‘Allah.’ Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib (q.s.) described existence in this way: “Indeed, phenomenal beings are merely meanings set up by forms.”
‘Ilm al-Huruf is a unique science of letters. It was revealed through Jibril (a.s.). It is an ocean of realities contained in the mysterious alphabets, comprising the fundamental essence of natural existence. Perhaps in the eyes of the physicist, it is the basic building blocks of matter. Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.) said, “The letters are the a’immah of phrases. The tongues of those who have memorised the Qur’an will testify to that. The spheres revolve with them in His Malakut between the mute sleepers and those who are awake. The Names regard them from their hidden part. They appear; and the glances are strengthened by that. They say ‘Had it not been for the overflowing of His Generosity, the realities of phrases would not have appeared in speech.’”
When a thing exists, it has its name. The name or ‘word’ is created by the letters. The source of all the letters is Alif, the first alphabet. ‘Allah’ is spelled with four letters: Alif-Lam-Lam-Ha. Within these four are contained the four dimensions, Lahut, Jabarut, Malakut and Mulk. The first alphabet Alif, is also the first alphabet for all His Names. Alif has the property of Self-Subsistence, the Source and the unseen force which Manifests the forms. It is separated and it stands alone, independent.
The last alphabet, Ha, is related to the word ‘Hu’, in Arabic, meaning ‘He.’ It describes the Absent, Unseen, indescribable One, the First and the Last. When the Jews write ‘God,’ they would spell it out like this: G-D. This is because they understand that there is no description that may fit His Descriptions, not even in written form. He is simply the Indescribable.
When the rabbis asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) to describe Allah (s.w.t.), the Prophet (s.a.w.) waited for wahy because of his supreme adab towards Allah (s.w.t.). They misunderstood and thought he did not know the answer. Then Jibril (a.s.) appeared and said:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Say: He is Allah the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Surah al-Ikhlasw:1-4)
In referring to someone who is not present, we usually say ‘he’. Similarly, in Arabic, ‘Hu’ means ‘He’, in the absent form. ‘Allah’ is the Name of the Essence, which is expressed as ‘Hu’, which is spelled with ‘Ha’ and ‘Waw’.
‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) was also asked by the Jews, “What kind of a Lord is your Lord?”
He answered, “How does anyone describe the One Who Gave existence to the word ‘how’?”
‘Alif’ and ‘Ha’ are alphabets belonging to absolutely Hidden Attributes of Allah (s.w.t.). The two letters, ‘Lam-Lam’ between ‘Alif’ and ‘Ha’ are derived from the ’alam or realms. Here, both ‘Lam’ represent the two dimensions of His Creation, the two opposites, which reflect His will when He Said:
And of everything We have Created pairs: that ye may Receive Instruction. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:49)
The first ‘Lam’ represents ‘Alam al-Malakut, the heavenly realm of the angels. It is the realm of subtle high-energy particles, unseen forces and everything in between them that is invisible. The second ‘Lam’ represents ‘Alam al-Mulk, the earthly realm. It is the realm of mass and forms, of physical creation evident within the omniverse such as the celestial bodies and all that we see around us.
When the letter ‘Alif’ is removed from ‘Allah,’ we are left with ‘Lam-Lam-Ha.’ It is read as ’Lillahi,’ which means ‘for the sake of Allah’ or ‘belonging to Allah.’ In is the reality of Creation. Creation and the source of creation here, is then ‘Alif.’ All of His Creation contained within the two realms, invisible and visible is between the secret of the two letters ‘Alif’ and ‘Ha.’ This represents the Attributes of the Unseen Creator. Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) mentioned that Allah (s.w.t.) Revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) 12,000 oceans of knowledge on each letter in the Holy Qur’an.
Verily, when He Intends a thing, His Command is “Be” and it is! (Surah YaSin:82)
When we remove the first ‘Lam’ from ‘Lillah,’ we arrive at ‘Lahu,’ which is ‘His.’ This emphasises His Ownership of Creation. When we remove the next ‘Lam’ from ‘Lahu,’ we arrive at ‘Hu’ which is essentially ‘Huwa.’ Such is the Name, ‘Allah’ that even the removal of letters does not impinge on His Sovereignty of Oneness. This is the dzat of tawhid. In each instance, we refer only to Allah (s.w.t.) and none other. In truth, ‘Allah’ cannot be translated.
‘Alam al-Lahut is the realm of His Divinity and ‘Alam al-Jabarut is the realm of His Power. And they are found within the ‘Alif’ and the ‘Ha.’ ‘Alif’ as the first letter in ‘Allah,’ symbolises Ahad, His Oneness. It is the realm of His Divinity. ‘Ha’ is from Hidayah, Guidance. And that leads to the realm of His Power. With Guidance comes awareness and with awareness comes the knowing of His Overwhelming Will. They are two sides of the same coin. They represent His Jamal and Jalal, His Beauty and His Lordship.
For those who have arrived at that point of realisation, this can only mean that our existence is by virtue of His Will. He is the True, the Real and we are all merely shadows of the image of the Divine. All existence is an illusion. His Existence is Reality.