SA-Isfahan

An Epistle of Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī

in reply to some of the Ikhwān (Brethren) of Isfahan.

رسالة فى جواب بعض الاخوان من اصفهان

 من مصنفات الشيخ الاجل الاوحد

 الشيخ احمد بن زين الدين الاحسا'ى

 اعلى الله مقامه  

Stephen N. Lambden.

UC Merced 2014 - In progress July 2003 and 14-10-2014.

Last updated 02-04-2015,

 

Translated from the text published in Jawāmi` al-kalim and in Majmu`a al-Rasā'il  30: 193-215, Risāla fī jawāb ba`ḍi al-ikhwān min Iṣfahān (Epistle in Reply to some of the Brethren from Isfahan), contained in Majmū`at al-Rasā'il.. vol. 30  (Kirmān: Maṭba`at al-Sa`āda, nd) pp.193-215. I should say here that I am sometimes, here and there, uncertain as to the veracity of this printed text... 

                بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم               

 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Praised be to God, the Lord of  all the worlds

And peace be upon Muhammad and his purified family.

Thus says the musk-laden servant  Aḥmad ibn Zayn al-Dīn al-Aḥsā'ī

The issue concerns a sound tradition relayed by `Aṣām ibn Ḥamīd  from Abī `Abd-Allāh [= Imam Ja`far al-Şādiq]. He said:

`I recollect what Abā `Abd-Allāh [the 6th Imam Ja`far al-Şādiq] (upon him be peace) in this respect relayed regarding the [luminous] vision (al-ruyā') when he said,

"The Sun (al-shams) is a portion  (juz')  among  70 portions of Light from the divine Pedestal (Chair, Throne, al-kursī). And the divine Pedestal (Chair, al-kursī) is a portion  (juz')  among  70 portions of Light from the divine Throne (al-`arsh). And the divine Throne  (al-`arsh) is a portion  (juz')  among  70 portions of the Light from the divine Veil  (al-ḥijāb). And the divine Veil  (al-ḥijāb) is a portion  (juz')  among  70 portions of the Light from the divine Covering [Shield] (al-sitr). These realities are indeed  things firmly established (ṣādiqīn) such that [if experienced in vision] they might utterly bedazzle [confound] the eyes by virtue of the [light of the] Sun. There is not aside from this [dazzling luminosity] any [veiling] cloud (saḥāb)."'

Now I (Shaykh Aḥmad) say [by way of commentary] that the standpoint (al-maqām) [which I shall adopt] in exposition of this noble tradition is necessarily on a threefold level. Firstly, What are these Lights? Secondly, Why are they fivefold? Thirdly, why are certain of these Lights seventy fold [brighter] than others.

[I]

On then, the first level [of exposition].  Know  that God, exalted be He, is supremely  aware of your [limited] capacity [and thus merely] explains that the intention of al-Kursī  (the divine Pedestal / Chair) is the Logos-Self of the Celestial Sphere of the Zodiac (nafs falak [fulk] al-burūj). It is that outward gnosis (al-`ilm al-ẓāhir)  which encompasses everything. God has said, exalted be He, "The expanse of His divine Pedestal (Chair, (al-kursī) is [the length of ] of heavens and the earth".

And the intention of the divine Throne (al-`arsh) is the Logos-Self (nafs) which is the Celestial Sphere (falak [fulk]) of Muhammad, which is  determinative of direction. It is expressive of the hidden gnosis (al-`ilm al-bāṭin) and is the gnosis of   how things are (?`ilm al-kayfūfa), of the causes of things (`ilal al-ashyā') and of the basis of origination (maṣdar al-badā').

And the significance of the divine Veil (al-ḥijāb) is the  way-station of the Cherubim (manāzil al-karūbiyyīn)  who are the embodiments of the divine Unity (hayākil al-tawḥīd) which  were alluded to by Amīr al-Muminīn (the Commander of the Faithful = Imam `Alī, d. 40/661) [when discoursing about al-ḥaqīqa] before Kumayl ibn Ziyād [al-Nahā'ī, d. c. 81/701] and likewise alluded to by [the 6th Imam] Ja`far al-Şādiq (upon him be peace) for such was  transmitted by  al-Ṣaffār [al-Qummī = Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Farrukh al-'Ash'ari al-Qummi (d. 290/903]. in al-Baṣā'ir [Baṣā'ir al-darajāt] through an isnād  (chain of transmitters] relayed from him [Imam Şādiq]. [It was thus recorded that] He asked about the Cherubim (al-karūbiyyīn) and was told that, "They are a people of our [Shi`i] party among the primordial creation (al-awwal al-khalq)". God placed them beyond the divine Throne (al-`arsh). If but a portion of the Light one of them should come upon the earth, this would assuredly more than suffice them all [that are on the earth]. Thus, when it transpired that Moses asked [God] what he asked [to vision Him, see Q. 7:143] He merely commanded a person among  the Cherubim  (rijalan min al-karūbiyyīn) and it divulged its divine Glory  before the Mountain [Sinai] (tajalli li'l-jabal)  whereupon the mountain was crushed to dust!

Now the secret significance of the Covering Shield (al-sitr)  is the Light of the Divine Grandeur  and Beauty (nūr al-`azimat wa'l-jamāl)  which is the first level (maqām)  of determined existence (al-wujūd al-muqayyid). This is that of which God, exalted be He, made mention of when He said, "Until there was [only] a distance of two arcs [bows] (fa-kāna qāba qawsayni)" (Q. 53:9a). And in the supplication (al-du`a) [it says] : "I beseech Thee by Thy Name through which Thou did ennoble  the heavens and the earth".

[II]

Now as for the second level [of exposition]. Know that he, when he [Imam Ja`far al-Şādiq] (upon him be peace)  mentioned the five [luminaries or modes of Light  = (1) al-shams ("the Sun"), (2) al-kursī ("the Pedestal/Chair"), (3) al-`arsh ("the Throne"), (4) al-ḥijāb (the Veil), (5) al-sitr (the Covering Sheild)], this since the lowest  of the luminaries  is that which one is incapable being of gazing upon, namely [1] the Sun. Then the most elevated of them [the luminaries] which cannot be speedily grasped by the intellect in view of its bewildering nature is  [5] al-sitr (the Covering Shield). The significance of this latter [luminary] is the unicity of all of the mutually interacting luminaries (al-anwār al-mutanāsiba) relative to what is higher to a seventy-fold extent.   ADD

[III]

Now regarding the third level [of exposition].  Know that the figure seventy in the [above mentioned] tradition (hadith) ...      betokens an outward Logos-Command (amr  ẓāhirī)  and a Logos-Command expressive of Reality (amr  ḥaqīqī). As as for the  outward one, know that it, verily, 

[p. 199]

The Commander of the Faithful [Imam `Alī] said:

"God, exalted and glorified be He, is the bearer of the [Divine] Throne (ḥāmil al-`arsh) and the heavens and the earth and what lies within and between them. Thus [this accords with] the saying of God [in the Qur'ān], "God holds in position the heavens and the earth lest they should deviate; and should they deviate there would be none to hold them in place aside from Him. He hath ever been the One Clement and Forgiving" (Q. 35:41).

He [the Armenian Catholic?], quoting the Qur'ān!] said,

`Then inform me about His saying, "and eight of them [angels] shall bear aloft the Throne of thy Lord (`arsh rabbika) above them" (Q. 69:17b). How can this be when you [Imam `Alī] have said [citing the Qur'an] that He bears the Throne and the heavens and the earth? He [Imam `Alī] said:

`The [celestial divine] Throne (al-`arsh) was created by God -- blessed and exalted be He -- from four Lights (anwār): a Crimson Light (nūr aḥmar) by means of which redness (al-ḥumrā) was reddened; the Green Light (nūr al-akhḍar) by means of which greeness (al-khuḍra) was made green; the Yellow Light (al-nūr al-aṣfar) by means of which yellowness (al-ṣufra) was yellowed and the [Snow-] White Light (al-nūr al-abayḍ) through which [snow-] whiteness (al-bayāḍ) is [whitened] realized. This [the Light of the Throne?] is the knowledge (huwa al-`ilm) which God, the Bearer (al-ḥamla?) has borne aloft [upheld]".**  [between ** = cited Shaykh Aḥmad , ibid p.199).

And that Light (al-nūr) is of the Light of His Grandeur (min nūr `aẓimatihi) and of His Power (qudratihi). It is thus through His Grandeur and His Light that the hearts of the believers are made perceptive... So all that hath been born aloft (maḥmūl) hath been born aloft by God by virtue of His Light, His Grandeur and His Power [see al-Kulayni, al-Kāfī 1:129-130 ; Majlisī, Biḥār, 58:9-10].

Interpreting these four "Lights" (al-anwār) Shaykh Ahmad has it that "the confluence of these four Lights constitutes the "Throne" (al-`arsh) in its totality." He states that:

"The [Snow-] White Light (al-nūr al-abyāḍ) is the most elevated [transcendent] (al-a`lā) [reality] and is at the right-hand side of the Throne (yamīn al-`arsh); that is to say, its right-hand Pillar [Support] (rukn).

The Yellow Light (al-nūr al-aṣfar) lies beneath it while the Green Light (al-nūr al-akhḍar) is at the left-hand side of the Throne (yasār al-`arsh) and is its left-hand Pillar [Support] (rukn).

The Crimson Light (al-nūr al-aḥmar) lies beneath it such that the Yellow Light (al-nūr al-aṣfar) is the right-hand Pillar [Support] (rukn) beneath the White (al-abyāḍ). The Crimson Light (al-nūr al-aḥmar) is the left-hand Pillar [Support] (rukn) beneath the Green (al-abyāḍ).

 These four Lights are subḥān Allāh ("Glorified be God") which is the "White" [Light-Pillar] (al-abyāḍ), al-ḥamdu lilāh ("Praised be God") is the Yellow [Light-Pillar] (al-aṣfar) while lā ilāha ilā Allāh ("There is none other god but God") is the Green [Light-Pillar] (al-akhḍar) and Allāh al-akbar ("God is Greatest") is the crimson [Light-Pillar] (al-aḥmar).

These Four PiIlars (al-arkān) consitiute the totality of established existence (jamī` al-wujūd al-muqayyad) whose beginning is the First Intellect (al-`aql al-awwal) and whose end is the [dusty] earth (al-thurā). He [God] -- glorified be He -- set up an Angel (malak) for every Pillar so as to bear it. They are [1] Gabriel [Jibrīl], [2] Michael [Mīkā'īl], [3] Isrā'fīl and [4] `Azrā'īl.

The meaning of [`Alī's saying] "He [God] bore it aloft" is that His gravitas was focused into this [Arch-] Angel. And for every [Arch-] Angel there are [subsiduary] hosts of angels (junūd min malā'ika) the number of which none can estimate except God...

TO BE CONTINUED...

A portion of this tradition is cited and commented upon in some detail by Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsa'i in one of his epistles.1 Interpreting these four "Lights" (al-anwār) Shaykh Ahmad has it that "the confluence of these four Lights constitutes the "Throne" (al-`arsh) in its totality."  He states that:

ADD HERE

[--] 200ff

THE WHITE LIGHT

As for the [Snow-] White Light (al-nūr al-abyāḍ). It is the [Divine] Pen (al-qalam) and  it is the Name of God (ism Allāh) through which the heavens and the earths are ennobled. And it is an Arch-Angel (malak) to whom is apportioned heads to the number of created things within [the world of] creation (al-khalkā'iq min al-khulq) and from such as He will not see fit to create until the Day of Resurrection (yawm al-qiyamat). Now for every leading figure [apex, head, extremity] (al-ra`s) there is a countenance [face, particular direction] (wajh) and for every Adamite [human] (adamiyy) there is a chief among the leaders relating [especially] to the [Divine] Intellect (ra's al-ru'us al-`aql). And the name of that one is al-insan ("Humanity"/`The Perfect Man') who is [way] beyond the nature of that leading figure (`ala wajh dhalik al-ra'a) as is recorded (al-maktub) [ in sacred writ].

And upon every countenance (wajh) is a veil [covering] (al-sitr) which is a place of encounter [meeting, intersection, junction] (sitr malqa an). This [particular] veil [covering] (al-sitr) is not uncovered until  there is conceived a [specific] birth event (al-mawlud) whereupon there is attained the parameters of mankind [maleness] (radd al-rijal)  or [alternatively] the parameters of womankind [femaleness] (radd al-nisa'). Thus, when the unveiling of that veil (al-sitr) comes to pass there is deposited in the heart of a specific person among humankind (qalb hidha al-insan) a Light (nur) ...

[--]

THE YELLOW LIGHT

Now as for the Yellow Light (al-nūr al-aṣfar), it is the Spirit (al-ruh). He [Muhammad] saith -PBUH- "The first thing that God created was my Spirit (ruhi)". Such is the Lower Right-Hand Pillar [Support] (al-rukn al-ayman al-asfal) of the Divine Throne (al-`arsh)  as has been mentioned. It is the Universal Spirit (al-ruh al-kuliyya). God, exalted be He, saith :

  قَالُوا ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُبَيِّنْ لَنَا مَا لَوْنُهَا قَالَ اِنَّهُ ] يَقُولُ اِنَّهَا بَقَرَةٌ صَفْرَاءُ فَاقِعٌ لَوْنُهَا تَسُرُّ النَّظِرِينَ

["They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us what is her [the golden calf's] color."] "He says, 'It is indeed a golden [yellow] cow [calf] (baqrat safra'), [blindingly] bright in color, pleasing to the onlookers'" (al-nazirin)" (Q. 2:69).

In the [expository] hadith (tradition) the meaning is not [?] al-Buraq ["the Lightening Flash], the wings of which [would] bedazzle [the onlooker]! So 

THE GREEN LIGHT

As for the Green Light (al-nūr al-akhḍar). It is the "By The Mount! (وَالطُّورِ, Q. 52:2f) the Outstretched Book (وَكِتَابٍ مَّسْطُورٍ Q. 52:2 kitab al-mastur) in the Parchment Unrolled (Q. 52: 3, raqq mansur = فِي رَقٍّ مَّنشُورٍ ). It is an Archangel (malak). Sufyan [ibn Sa`id] al-Thawri (b. Kufa c. XXX/716-d.161/778) transmitted from [the 6th Imam] Ja`far al-Sadiq (d. c.  148/785) that it is the "Preserved Tablet" (al-lawh al-mahfuz, see Q. 85:21-2). And it is the Spirit (al-ruh) which is above [upon] the angels of the [heavenly] Veil (mala'ikat al-hijab) just as is mentioned by [the 4th Imam] `Ali ibn Husayn [Imam Zayn al-Abidin, d. c. 95/713] in his supplication (du`a) pertaining to the beatitude [blessing] (salwat) over the Bearer[s] of the Divine Throne (hamlat al-`arsh). It is also the  Universal Soul (al-nafs al-kulliyya), the third of created things (al-makhluq) at the beginning of creation. It is the  forms (suwar) that are abstracted [differentiated] from matter  and  XXX  . It is the Blessed Tree (shajarat tuba) [Q.13:29] and the Lote-Tree of the Extremity (sidrat al-muntaha) [Q. 53:14 etc.] as well as the Paradise [Garden] of  Repose (jannat al-māwā)" [Q. 53:15]                     ...

THE CRIMSON [RED]  LIGHT

As for the Crimson [Red] Light (al-nūr al-aḥmar). It is an Archangel (malak) composed of the Snow-White Light (al-nur al-abyad) and the Yellow [Golden] Light (al-nur al-asfar). Some have said that its redness (al-hamrat) is generated from these two [aforementioned Lights] and  have concluded that  such is on account of the redness of cinnabar (bi-hamrat al-zunjufr) which derives from mercury and yellow sulphur (al-zaibaq wa'l-kibrit al-asfar). This expresses a particular viewpopint. According to another perspective such is generated from the white [light] (al-abyad) and the green [light] (al-akhdar). This such that the white [color/light] (al-abyad) is a [predominant] [p.203] singularity (wahid) and the green [colour/light] (al-akhdar) which is evident within the letters [constituents]  of Beingness (al-huruf al-kuniyya) is a second thing [expressive of twofoldness] (ithnan).

Some have thus stated that the [letter] "A" (al-alif) [= abjad 1]  is expressive of the [letter] "B" (al-ba') [= abjad 2] . From these two [letters] there came into being the letter "J" (al-jim) [= abjad 3] which is the letter of the Crimson Light (harf al-nur al-ahmar). Thus do we [also] have the form [shape of the Arabic letter] = "J [D]" (al-jim-al-dal)  [= abjad 4] which is  a form of the "J" (al- jim). It is the Left-Hand, Lowest Pillar [Support] (rukn) of the aforementioned Divine Throne (al-`arsh). It was the fourth created thing in the primordial  era of creation (rabi` makhluq  bi-awwal khalq). It,  furthermore, is [expressive of] the primordial fragmentation (al-kasr al-awwal) relative to all realms of existence (al-mawjudat) subsequent, that is, to the perfection of the primordial formation (kamal al-saugh al-awwal) within the [realm of] the Green [Verdent] Light (al-nur al-akhdar). That was subsequent to  آنْ   that (an) [sic.? or إِنَّ inna = truly...] for He [God], exalted be He, said  [after this particle إِنَّ inna = indeed, truly]: "[Truly] for the obedient [sub- missive] (li'l-muti`iyyin) [or ? such as fear God] (li'l-mutaqiyyin)] shall indeed shall be the Garden [of Paradise] (li'l-jannat)" (cf. Q. 68:34). One cannot deny this (la ubali)! And He [God] also says :"Truly for the  rebellous (li'l-`asiyyin) shall indeed be hellfire (li'l-nar)!" (cf. Q. 72:23; 33:36; 4:14). One cannot deny this [either]!

Now the Pillars of Existence (arkan al-wujud) are, in this [above indicated] respect, diverse. The four Archangels (mala'ikat) bear up their modalities [effects, natures, potencies] (athar). Thus Gabriel (Jibril) beareth up the effects (athar) of the Pillar of Creation (rukn al-khalq) while Michael (mi'ka'il) beareth up the effects (athar) of the Pillar of the Divine Providence (rukn al-rizq). Israfil beareth up the effects (athar) of the Pillar of Life [Living things] (rukn al-haywan) while `Azra'il  beareth up the effects (athar) of the Pillar of  Death (rukn al-mawt) for his attribution [modality] (nisbah) derives from al-dahr ("Eternity", "Fate", "Destiny") even as the nature (nisbah) of the firmament which descends (falak al-manazil) is especially associated with the [continuum] of time (al-zaman). Alternatively, in fact, it is like unto the nature (nisbah) of the [celestial] al-Kursi (Pedestal, Chair) relative to its singular [self-generating] motion.

Every one of the four Archangels (mala'ikat) previously mentioned beareth a fourth (`arba`at) [measure] of the [four] Pillars of the four Lights (al-anwar] of every single Pillar [constituting the celestial Throne]. Thus Gabriel (Jibril) beareth up the potencies [effects] (athar) of the Pillars of Creation (arkan al-khalq) including the [1] Snow-White (al-abyad), [2] the Yellow [Golden] (al-asfar), [3] the Green (al-akhdar) and [4] the Crimson [Red] (al-ahmar).  Michael (mi'ka'il) beareth up the potencies [effects] (athar) of the Pillars of the Divine Providence (arkan al-rizq) including the [1] Snow-White (al-abyad), [2] the Yellow [Golden] (al-asfar), [3] the Green (al-akhdar) and [4] the Crimson [Red] (al-ahmar).  Israfil beareth up the potencies [effects] (athar) of the Pillars of Life [Living things] (arkan al-haywan) including the [1] Snow-White (al-abyad), [2] the Yellow [Golden] (al-asfar), [3] the Green (al-akhdar) and [4] the Crimson [Red] (al-ahmar).  `Azra'il  beareth up the potencies [effects] (athar) of the Pillars of  Death (arkan al-mawt) including the [1] Snow-White (al-abyad), [2] the Yellow [Golden] (al-asfar), [3] the Green (al-akhdar) and [4] the Crimson [Red] (al-ahmar). Wherefore do they operate within the domain of eternity-fate-destiny (`alam al-dahr) and within the world of time (`alam al-zaman), as well as what lieth betwixt these two [realms]. And beneath every one of these [four] Archangels (mala'ikat) is what can in no wise be ennumerated by any except God Himself, exalted be He! He saith, exalted be He "Wherefore do they act as accords with His command (bi-amrihi)" (Q. 21:27b).

Thus is compiled that about which you have heard which pertains to the [celestial] Throne (al-`arsh). And his [Imam `Ali's] saying, "through it [Him] is redness reddened (ahmarrat al-hamra)". Its meaning is that this [crimson] Light (dhalik al-nur) is [that which is] manifested above the four Archangels (mala'ikat) for they channel] its potencies (athar) unto their [angelic] hosts (junud), a recompence [small measure] (juz'iyyat) from the Archangels (mala'ikat). 

Then know that the sphere [orbit] of the sun (falak al-shams) is a creation which is the first of the seven spheres [orbits, firmaments]. It is a manifestation of the second level of existence (mazhar al-wujud al-thani). It is derived from the Logos-Personna of Universal Nature (nafs al-tab`iat  al-kuliyya) and dispenses its bounty [is emanated] by virtue of the [planet] Mars (al-mirrikh). It is derived from its [the essential] nature (sifat) [of Mars] and [thus]  dispenses [emanates]  its bounty upon the [planet] Venus (al-zuhara). It thus circumambulates  [spins around] the spheres [firmaments] (al-aflak) and casts light upon the stars (al-kawakib). Its specialized radiance effects  the [planet] Mars (al-mirrikh) and the [planet] Venus (al-zuhara) by means of the [angelic?] hosts  [p.204] which  are specialized for the [act of effecting the] clouds (al-sahab) which [consequently] fall [rain] down upon the earth [below].       

...

APPENDIX 1 

The Ḥadīth of the Angelic Throne of Lights.

(Kulaynī, Kāfī  1:129-130; Majlisī, Biḥār, 58:9-10).

ADD ARABIC TEXT

There exists an Islamic tradition recording a dialogue between Imam `Alī (d. 40 / 662; the son-in -law and an Armenian (?) Catholic Christian. The nature of God’s enthronement is discussed (see al-Kāfī  I:129-130; Biḥār 2 58:9-10). The Catholic questioned the Imam about the nature of God and his possible holding up, His bearing of the divine Throne (al-`arsh). In the course of the dialogue the Imam came to express the view that the divine Throne (al-`arsh) is supported or constituted of four celestial lights with the following kinds, [1] red light (nūr ḥamrā’); [2] green light (nūr akhḍar); [3] yellow light (al-nūr aṣfar) and [4] white light (nūr bayāḍ) .

The Commander of the Faithful [Imam `Alī] said:... "God, exalted and glorified be He, is the bearer of the Throne (ḥāmil al-`arsh) and the heavens and the earth and what lieth within and between them. Thus [this accords with] the saying of God [in the Qur'an], "God holds in position the heavens and the earth lest they should deviate; and should they deviate there would be none to hold them in place aside from Him. He hath ever been the One Clement and Forgiving" (Q. 35:41). He [the Catholic] said, `Then inform me about His [qur'anic] saying, "..and eight of them [angels] shall bear aloft the Throne of thy Lord (`arsh rabbika) above them.." (Q. 69:17). How can this be when you have said [citing the Qur'an] that He beareth the Throne and the heavens and the earth?

He [Imam `Alī] said: `The [celestial divine] Throne (al-`arsh) was created by God -- blessed and exalted be He -- from four Lights (anwār): [1] a Crimson [Red] Light (núr aḥmar) by means of which redness (al-ḥumra) was reddened; [2] the Green Light (núr al-akhḍar) by means of which greeness (al-khuḍra) was made green; [3] the Yellow Light (al-núr al-aṣfar) by means of which yellowness (al-ṣufra) was yellowed and [4] the [Snow-] White Light (al-núr al-abayḍ) through which whiteness (al-bayāḍ) is [whitened] realized. This [the Light of the Throne?] is the knowledge (huwa al-`ilm) which God, the Bearer (al-ḥamla?) [imparts to?] such as are empowered to uphold it (hammalihi?]. And that Light (al-núr) [= knowledge] is of the Light of His Grandeur (min nūr `aẓima³ihi) and of His Power (qudratihi).

It is thus through His Grandeur and His Light (`aẓimatihi wa nūrihi) that the hearts of the believers (qulūb muminīn) hath been made perceptive. And it was on account of His Light and His Grandeur that the ignorant were caused to draw back. [Additionally] it is in view of His Grandeur and His Light (`aẓimatihi wa nūrihi) that such of His creatures as are the denizens of the heavens and of the earth seek after [desire] (B-GH-Y. VII) His good pleasure through diverse [good] deeds and through [the practice of multifarious] affiliated religions (al-adyān al-mushtashabih).

Wherefore hath all that hath been born aloft (maḥmūl ) been born aloft by God (yaḥam[m]alahu Allāh?) by virtue of His Light, His Grandeur and His Power (bi-nurihi wa `aẓimatihi wa qudratihi). Of their own selves (li-nafsihi) [these realities] have no power to [actualize either ] misfortune [injury, damage] (dhurr an) or benefit [good] (naf`); neither do they have the power of [bestowing] life (ḥayāt) or resurrection [from the dead] (nushūr an). Hence everything is upheld [born aloft, actualized by God]. God, exalted and glorified be He is the One Who supports [ holds fast] these twain [the heavens and the earth, lest they dislodge] and the One Who encompasses (al-muḥī³) them both and everything [besides]. He is the Life [giver] of everything (hayāt kulli shay’) and the Light of all things (al-nūr kulli shay); "So praised and exalted be He above that which they assert." (Q.17:43)

"He (the Catholic) [then] asked him [`Alī]: 'Inform me about God -- exalted and glorified be He! Where is He? The Commander of the Faithful (`Alī) replied, 'He (God) is here and there, above, beneath, within and with us (CORRECT huwa hahunā wa hahun ā wa fawq wa taḥt wa muḥīṭ bi-nā wa ma`nā) as accords with His [qur’ānic] utterance: "Three men conspire not secretly together, but He is fourth of them, neither five men, but He is the sixth of them, neither fewer than that, neither more, but He is with them, wherever [<-323] they may be.." [Arb] (Q.58:7a). Thus the [Throne] Seat (al-kursī) is that which surrounds the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between the two of them and what is beneath the dusty [lowly] earth (al-thurā); "..Be thou loud in thy speech, yet surely He knows the secret and that yet more hidden" [Arb.] (Q. 20:7). [The significance of] such is [indicated] in His saying, "His Throne [Seat] (kursī) comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All-glorious..." [Arb.] (Q. 2:255b).

Those who bear the Throne (al-`arsh) are the learned (al-`ulamā’) whom God gave the capacity to bear His knowledge. There is naught that emerges from these four things (the [1] Throne, [2] the Chair, [3] the Heavens and [4] the Earth [?]) which God has created in His Kingdom, save that which God intended for His chosen ones (al-aṣfiyā’) and which He showed unto His friend (Abraham) as He says (in the Qur’ān), "So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith" (Q. 6:75). How can it be possible that the bearer[s] of the Throne (ḥamlat al-`arsh) bear God [Himself] through Whose Life is the [very] life of their [own] hearts and through Whose Light (nūrihi) they are guided unto the gnosis [knowledge] of Him [God] (ma`rifatihi)" (Kulaynī, Kāfī  I:129-130; Majlisī, Biḥār, 58:9-10).

3 Fn.

NOTE

The impications of this tradition also seem to have contributed to a sometimes tetradic Bābī-Bahā’ī mystico-cosmological colour schemata and probably lies at the root of the frequency and symbolism of aḥmar / ḥamra (= "red" or "crimson" as SE*  frequently translated it) in Bābī- Bahā’ī texts. This latter word was certainly important for the Bāb and Bahā’- Allāh. The former, for example, even used the four isolated letters (ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭā`āt) Ḥ-M-R-A (= "red" when conjoined and vowelled) before three sūras of his first major book the Qayyūm al-asmā’ (see QA sūras ) and reckoned the ahl al-bahā’ ("people of beauty-glory") to be inmates of an eschsatological "Crimson Ark" (safinat al-ḥamrā ’ (See QA XXX). The latter were regarded by Bahā’- Allāh as his followers (Bahā’īs) who subscribed to a covenant known as the "Crimson Book" .