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The doctrine of mukhâlafa--that the divine essence and characteristics wholly and entirely "differ from" the human-appears to be

[1. Tah., p. 60. Quoted in the writer's article in Der Islâm, see pp. 134-6, 151, 152, where parts of the subject are gone into in greater detail.]

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assorted, as this treatise's last word, in its most extreme and intransigent form. For the conclusion of the whole matter, the end of the quest for truth for those who "Arrive", is "an Existent who transcends ALL that is comprehensible by human Insight . . . transcendent of and separate from every characterization that in the foregoing we have made."[1]

Nevertheless, the Mishkât itself seems to be one long attempt to modify or even negate this its own bankrupt conclusion. Indeed, it goes unusual lengths in asserting a certain ineffable likeness between Allâh and man. It is true that the usual anthropomorphic expressions--the Hand, the Sessions on the Throne, the Descent to the Lowest Sphere, etc., those

[1. In Ghazzâlî the most extreme Agnosticism and the most extreme Gnosticism meet, and meet at this point; for, as he says (p [25]), things that go beyond one extreme pass over to the extreme opposite." For him "Creed because Incredible" becomes "Gnosis because Agnoston". What saved the Universe for him from his nihilistic theologizing was his ontology (see below, pp. 108 seqq.). What saved God for him from his obliterating agnosticism was the experience of the mystic leap, his own personal mi`râj. This may have been non-rational, but it was to him experience. Even those who regard the sensational experience of Sûfism as having been pure self-hypnotism cannot condemn them and the sense of reality they brought, in relation to the man who had thought his way out of both atheism and pantheism, and yet would nave been left at the end of the quest, by his thinking alone, with an Unknown and Unknowable Absolute.]

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perennial sources for Mohammedan theologizing-are used and are discounted in the usual way. But they are, in reality, only discounted by being replaced by a Sûfî system of theomorphism. This has three main aspects--

(1) a quasi-Platonic doctrine of terrestrial type and celestial antitype;

(2) the relation of the divine and human h (spirit);

(3) the relation of the divine and human sûra ("image," "form").

(1) The whole of the first two parts of the treatise are practically an exposition of an Islamico-Platonic typology. It is not explicitly said that earthly things are more or less faint copies of "the patterns of things in the heavens," though this is probably implicit in what is said, namely, that the heavenly realities (haqâ'iq), (ma`ânî), all have their symbols on earth. These symbols or types, as their Arabic term itself suggests (amthâl), do possess a "resemblance" to their celestial antitypes, for, as al Ghazzâlî remarks, "the thing compared (al-mushabbah, the antitype) is in some sort parallel, and bears resemblance, to the thing compared therewith (al-mushabbah bihi, the type

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or symbol), whether that resemblance be remote or near; a matter again which is unfathomably deep."[1] Ghazzâlî. can hardly be allowed to elude the application of this true principle to Allâh Himself, considering that this very Koran-verse which it is the object of the entire treatise to expound begins with a simile. "Light" is the chosen, or rather the God-given symbol, wherewith Allah is "compared", and which therefore He must "in some sort resemble". This analogy of light floods the whole book. Now Allah is the Sun: now the Light of lights: and at the end, in the same breath in which Abu Hâmid, with the incorrigible inconsistency which so angered Averroes, denied the validity of the similitude, description, relation, or even predication in regard to Allâh, we are told that He stands in relation to His Vicegerent (or "wakeel" in a parallel passage) as the pure Light-essence to the sun, or as the Elemental Fire to a glowing coal. Theomorphism has "in some sort" been admitted.

(2) In the Ihyâ' al `Ulûm Ghazzâlî speaks of the human h as amr rabbâni "a divine

[1. M., p. [14].]

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affair" (amr must surely bear here its other meaning); and he is there very anxious, not to say agitated, over the esoteric character of the doctrine; it must be kept a dead secret from the Many! it must not be set forth in a book![1] "The specific characteristic which differentiates humanity [from the lower creation] is something which it is not lawful to indite in a book."[2] The thing that agitates him is the relation of this human h to the Spirit of God, h Allâh, and its relation to Allâh. The matter is esoteric--it is to be "grudged" to the "commons"--because it is dangerous ground. It is dangerous ground because one has to talk warily in order to avoid a violation of the uniqueness of Allâh, which would involve confusing Creator with created, and so passing gradually to ishrâk, which is the worst "infidelity."

This particular anxiety is not reflected in the present treatise; it is strange that the mystery of h does not figure in the list (see above, p. 5) over which the author's favete linquis! is

[1. See Mizân, p. 214, quoted above.

2. Ih, iv, p. 294, quoted in a letter to the writer from Professor R. Nicholson.]

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inscribed.[1] He is mainly occupied with working out what the New Testament calls the "operations", rather than the nature of the spirit. In so doing the singular "spirit" becomes plural "spirits", arwâh, which, as already observed, happens also in the Book of the Revelation. Ghazzâlî works out the theory of the several "spirits" of the human psychology; then the graded "spirits" of the heavenly hosts; and then the Neoplatonic or theosophic idea of the gradation of all these (in maqâmât), and the way in which they are "lit" (muqtabasa) from each other in order: we must not say "derived", for that would involve him in the emanationism be was ever anathematizing yet, for ever incurring the suspicion of.[2] In all this his tone is open, easy, confident. The special mystery of The Spirit had been already discounted in the Koran, so that was harmless. As for the identification of h Mutâ`, if our theory is correct, that was a grand secret. But that secret he never intended even to hint at, and it would really seem as if we had surprised and betrayed a sirr maknûn!

[1. The human 'aql does figure on that list, pp. [6, 7].

2. See the writer's op. cit. in Der Islâm, pp. 138-141.]

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(3) It was the sûra tradition,[1] "ALLAH CREATED ADAM AFTER HIS IMAGE," that above all else led Moslem thinkers into temptation--the temptation of trenching on the uniqueness of Allâh. Its very riskiness seems, however, to have fascinated them supremely from the very outset. Not one of them could let it alone. In this very treatise Ghazzâlî returns to it again and again. Perhaps it would accord with inner truth to say rather that both he and others returned to that tradition not so much as moths fascinated by a dangerous glare, but as those who are feeling cold return for warmth and cheer to even an alien fire. The aphorism, sacred as a Koran text, was the assertion and pledge that man somehow is, or may become, "like God." The word sûra became the symbol and the guarantee of theomorphism.

In the first allusion in the Mishkât to this tradition (p. [9]), the point of the similarity is the human intelligence (`aql). In virtue of his intelligence, Ghazzâlî hints, man is "after the image of Allâh." The `aql is "Allâh's balance-scale

[1. Gen. i. 27, though Islâm ignores the parentage.]

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upon earth."[1] In its own sphere it is infallible.[2] From the `aql, as from a firm "taking-off" place, souls make their mystic Ascension to the heavenlies.[3] It is because it is thus the specifically human faculty that it is a determinative element in the human sûra.[4]

The second allusion (M., p. [23]) carries us very much further--even to that verge from which Moslem mystics so often looked dizzily down, but from which they so seldom fell, into the pantheistic abyss. Behold a human soul in completest Union (jam`) with Deity, sitting on The Throne, and administering all things in heaven and earth! "Well might one," says our author, "in looking upon such an one," get a new view of this tradition. Is not such a uniate, indeed, "after the image of Allâh"? But, he continues[5], "after contemplating that word more deeply one becomes aware that it has an interpretation like [al-Hallâj's] 'I am the One Real.'"[5] Unfortunately he has omitted to

[1. M., p. [29].

2. Ib., p. [10].

3. Ib., p. [24]

4. Ib., [40].

5. How {to} translate this "Ana-l-Haqq"? Not by Jesus, "I am the Truth", tempting though this is. "I am the Absolute" would be a parallel rendering in modern philosophic parlance. Professor Nicholson's "I am God" is startling, but illuminating because perfectly justifiable: for al-Haqq and Allâh are mutually and exclusively convertible.]

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indicate what precisely that interpretation is. We have a tantalizing author to deal with.

What was that interpretation?

Probably we do not find it in the third passage (pp. [34, 35]), though it is deeply influenced by Hallâjian thought. There is in the celestial world something which "developpe, modalise, et concerte entre elles les creations divines ... une certaine structure interne particuliere a l'acte createur".' This living order, this organised "Presence" (hadar), is symbolized by the word Image, or Form. And this macrocosmic hadra has its earthly counterpart in an analogous human form, or sûra, which has the same "structure interne particuliere" (it is alluded to on p. [22, l. 1], and p. [34, 1. 3], and described in detail on pp. [39-41]). Therefore, man, formed in this Form, is "after the Form, the Image, of this Merciful One (al Rahmân)". Ghazzâlî's explanation of his preference for this variation of the tradition, to which, however, he by no means always adheres, is difficult to follow.

[1. Massignon, op. cit., p, 519, describing Hallâj's doctrine of the divine h, and exactly hitting off Ghazzâlî's difficult thought on p. [24, ll. 2, 3], (cf. p, [22, l. 2]). But from this point of view h and sûra merge into each other, as a careful comparison of the two Mishkât passages just cited shows.]

{p. 59} But the general idea clearly is that "but for this 'mercy' [i.e. of these two correlative and coincident Forms] every son of Adam would have been powerless to know his Lord, for 'only he who knows himself knows his Lord". The wheel has, indeed, brought us round a strange circle! Through the eternal grace of theomorphism we win back to a higher anthropomorphism, so that the proper study of God is--man! And this from the writer whose last word is that Allah must not have so much as an attribute predicated of Him, or the divine uniqueness will be violated! Truly, thus the whirligig of thought brings in his revenges.

We have already seen many indications that before he wrote this treatise Ghazzâlî must have been deep in the study of al-Hallâj; and the passage we have just been considering may be added to these indications. Yet there is no overt trace in it, or elsewhere in the Mishkât, of al-Hallâj's profoundest thought on this matter of the Divine-Adamic; no trace of that strange Figure--that Epiphany of humanized Deity, or Apotheosis of ideal-Humanity--which was presented by Allah to the angels for worship

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or ever the first man was created, and in which He Himself, on behalf of the human race, swore unto Himself the Covenant (mîthâq) of allegiance. For this conception, which has the closest interrelations with all the moments of the above discussion--h, amr, sûra, nûr-Muhammadî--the reader must be referred to the grand work which has brought to light so many hidden things, A Louis Massignon's La Passion d' Al Hosayn-ibn-Mansour al-Hallaj.[l] Ghazzâlî's silence on this so remarkable development of the Sûra tradition would suggest that it was precisely here that he felt it dangerous to follow al-Hallâj. What was possible for the seer might send the theologian over the line where Islam ends and pantheism begins. On the other hand, is it possible that here we have the explanation of our author's embarrassed words on p. [55] "on account of a Mystery which it is not in the competence of this book to reveal"? His inmost

[1. Pages 485, 599-602. In a note Massignon hazards the tentative suggestion that this epiphanized God (called by al-Hallâj al-Nâsût) in contra-distinction from the unknowable al-Lâhût) is analogical to, or suggestive of Ghazzâlî's Vicegerent (p. 601, n. 5). The suggestion is thrilling, as we see. It must be repeated that there is no overt trace of the doctrine in M.]

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thought may have been, "Perhaps al-Hallâj has penetrated here to something of what the Koran itself [in the Spirit-Verse] left obscure. I neither assert, nor deny. Allâhu a`lam!"

Thus we come to the ultimate question--the ultimate question with every Sûfî writer and book--does he and it escape pantheism? What light comes from this "Niche for Lights" upon this obscure question?

Next: X. Pantheism And Al-Ghazzali, In Al-Mishkat