Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tawasin of Pre-Eternity and Obscurity

The Curious High Master Abu’l Magith (may Allah be merciful to him) said: There was calling more fit for anyone than Iblis & Ahmed (peace be unto him), but Iblis fell from the Source, & Ahmed was shown the source of the Source.

Iblis was told “Bow” & Ahmed was told “Look;” the one didn’t bow & the other didn’t look, nor did he turn left or right; “his eye didn’t swerve or stray.”

As for Iblis -- he called out, but he never returned to his state. Ahmed announced himself, & refrained from his state by saying “for you, I transform & for you, I leap,” & “O beater of hearts,” & “I can’t amass enough praise for you.” There was no monotheist among the kin of Heaven like Iblis. When the Source altered before Iblis, &, he was separated from glances on his way; when he worshipped the Worshipped in isolation, & was damned upon reaching solitariness; when he was interrogated for asking for the utmost -- Allah said  “Bow (before Adam)" & he said “to no other.” Allah asked  “even if my damnation be upon you?” He said “to no other.”

My denial, in you, is a hallowing;
my reason, in you, is a folly.

What is Adam, before you?
& who is, furthermore, Iblis?

Why would I follow anyone but You,
when, for your love, I’m already lowly?

Allah said: “You were proud.” Iblis said: “If I had a glance at you, pride and tyranny would suit me; I’m him who knew you since pre-eternity -- the ‘best of them,’ with a share in your service. There’s no one in existence more familiar with you than me. In you, there’s a desire for me, just as there’s a desire for You in me. Your desire preceded Adam. Whether I bowed to any else or didn’t bow, I’d still return to my origin: you created me from fire, which returns to fire. The estimation & the choice are yours.

There was no distance, for me, after yours, after
I learned that distance and nearness are one.

If I separated from you, separation was my friend;
how true it seems that love and separation are one.

Glory be to you, in your purity and genuineness
for the pious slave, who didn’t bow to any other One.

Musa met Iblis on the side of Mount Sinai & said: “O Iblis, what kept you from bowing?” Iblis replied: “It was my declaration for a singular Worshipped. If I bowed, I'd be like you; you were told to ‘look at the mountain’ only once & you looked. I was told to bow a thousand times, but I didn’t, because of my substance's calling. Musa said: “didn't you neglect a command?” Iblis answered: “It was a trial, not a command.” Musa asked: "didn’t the sin alter your image?” Iblis replied: “O Musa, that image is a garb; the true state isn't bound by it, for it's unchanging. Gnosis remains right as it always was, & doesn’t change even if the gnostic does.”

His memory is mine & my memory is his;
what else are these two memories but mutual?

My service now is purer; my time is freer; my memory is clearer. I served him for my sake, before eternity; now I serve Him for His. We lifted greed from prevention, repellent, impairment, and usefulness. He isolated me; he found me; he baffled me; he banished me.

He prevented me from altering, because of my change. He altered me because of my bafflement. He baffled me because of my exile. He made me forbidden because of my companionship. He made me repulsive because of my praise. He consecrated me because of my separation. He separated me because of my exposure. He exposed me because of my arrival. He made me arrive because of my obstacle. He blocked me to prevent my strength.

He corrected what I mistook in notion. I didn’t refuse his estimation; I gave no thought to my image's change. Through all of this, I maintained the estimation. If He punished me with eternal fire, I wouldn’t bow to any else; I wouldn’t humble myself to any man or anybody; I wouldn’t know opposition, because my calling wouldn’t be sincere. Through love, I'm one of the sincerest.

There are several reports regarding the states of Azazyl [Iblis before the fall]. One relates how he was called to Heaven & Earth: in Heaven he addressed the angels, showing them Goodness; on Earth, he addressed men & jinn, showing them Repulsiveness, since things are known by their opposites -- behold, the delicate garment is woven behind black wool. Thus angels display goodness & say to one who’s good: “Do it, & be rewarded.” But he who didn’t know repulsiveness, wouldn’t know goodness.

I debated with Iblis & Pharoah about nobleness. Iblis said: “If I bowed, my noble name would have fallen.” Pharoah said: “ If I believed in His messenger, I would have fallen from my noble name.” I said: “If I refrained from my calling & my speech, I would have fallen from my noble rank.”

Iblis said: “I’m better than him,” when he didn’t see any but himself altered. Pharoah said: “I know no other god for you all but myself,” when he didn’t know his people could distinguish between True & False. I said: “If you don’t know him, then know His signs. I'm that sign, & the True; I stay true forever with the True.”

Iblis & Pharoah are my companions & my masters. Iblis was ruined by fire, but he didn’t deny his calling. Pharaoh drowned in the sea & didn’t deny his calling – after determining there was no mediator. He said “I believed in no god but He, in whom the tribe of Israel believed.” Don’t you see that Allah in his glory resisted Jibril? He said “why did you fill his mouth with sand?”

I would be killed or crucified, or I would lose my hands & legs, if I denied my calling.

The name Iblis is derived from his other name. He changed the “ayn” for the attachment of his intention; and “zay,” for the growth of his excess in his excess; “alif,” for his increase in affection; the second “zay,” for his renunciation of rank; “ya,” for his search for the knowledge of his precedence; & “lam” for his quarrel during (in) his trial. Allah told him: “Bow, O vile one.” He said: “I’m a lover, & all lovers must be vile, since you call me such. I read all of this in a Revealed Book. O Powerful and Firm, how could I lower myself to Adam? You had ‘created me from fire & created him from earth.’ Those opposites don’t reconcile. I served you longer; I was greater in favor; I was wiser in wisdom (‘ilm); I was riper in age.

The True told him: “The choice is mine, not yours.” He replied: “All choices, including mine, are yours. You chose this for me, O creator.  If you prevented me from bowing to him, you were the preventer. If my tongue errs, you don’t abandon me, for you’re All Hearing. If you willed me to bow, I’d be obedient; there’s no one among the gnostics more knowledgeable than me.

Don’t blame me, for blame is far
from me; reward me, Lord, for I’m but one.

If, in promise, your promise is truly true,
in beginning, the beginning of my call is firm.

To whoso wishes to record my speech:
read & know that I’m a martyr.

O brother, he was named Azazyl because he was removed (‘azl) & was remote in his sovereignty. He didn’t return from his beginning to an end, because he never left his end. His exit was cast back in the steadiness of his kindling. He was set ablaze by the fire of his marriage & the light of his title. His ailment was thirst & dubiousness. His wreck was sick & sparkling.

O brother, if you understand, you’ve picturingly pictured the Picture. & deludingly deluded the Delusion. You’ve returned afflicted & been annihilated anxiously.

The most eloquent of the people, before His door, went mute. His gnostics grew too enfeebled for what they learned. Only Iblis was more familiar with bowing than them, & closer to existence than them, & most generous in effort than them, & more loyal to the Entrusted than them & more closely drawn to the Worshipped than them. The others bowed to Adam for help. Iblis denied bowing, for a long period of observation. His command got confused & his thoughts grew dark, so he said “I’m better than him,” & he stayed in the veil & he rolled in the dust, & made himself forever damned forever.

- al Hallaj