The Mystery of Islam
In the Name of AllaH, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
All praise is due to AllaH, the Cherisher, the Lord of All Worlds,
Most Gracious, Most merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Show us the Straight Way,
The Way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed thy Grace, those whose portion is not wrath, and who go not astray...(Sura 1).
In these Seven verses of the opening Sura of the Holy Qur'an can the entire meaning of the Mystery of Islam be realized. It is understood (and can only be understood), in the fullest meaning of all that has gone before it...
For it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee...(Exodus 34:10).
...and in the light of all that is unfolding and coming to pass here at the end of the age, and particularly here at the Western ends of the earth:
When the heaven is rent asunder
And hearkens to (the Command of) its Lord and it must.
And when the earth is stretched out (from East to West),
And casts forth what is in it and becomes empty (of its mysteries),
And hearkens to (the Command of) its Lord and it must; (then will come home the full reality)...(Sura 84.1-5).
THIS DAY have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion...(Sura 5.3; John 16:12,13).
Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab...(Isaiah 16:7. Isa. Chapter 21...KJV).
"The great Andalusian Sufi, Muhyi 'd-Din Ibn Arabi, used to pray a prayer which begins: 'Enter me, O Lord, into the Deep of the Ocean of Thine Infinite Oneness,' and in the treatises of the Sufis this Ocean is mentioned again and again, likewise by way of symbolic reference to the END towards which their path is directed. Let us therefore begin by saying, on the basis of this symbol, in answer to 'What is Sufism?' From time to time a Revelation 'flows' like a great tidal wave from the Ocean of Infinitude to the shores of our finite world; and Sufism is the vocation and the discipline and the science of plunging into the ebb of one of these waves and being drawn with it to its Eternal and Infinite source.
Sufism is a way and a means of striking a root through the Narrow Gate in the depths of the Soul out into the domain of the pure and unimprisonable Spirit which itself opens out on to the Divinity.
To follow the Path of the Mystics is to acquire as it were an extra dimension, for this path is nothing other than the dimension of Depth.
The same compatibility is shown by the symbolism of the Circle with its Centre, its Radii, and its Circumference...If the truth were not Radiant there could be no such thing as a radius, not even a geometric one, let alone a spiritual path which is the highest example...It then proceeds to what might be described as an exploitation of this fact, the Radius being a Ray of Divine Mercy which emanates from the Supreme Center and leads back to it." Martin Lings, What Is Sufism?
A Conversation With Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Hugh Hewitt: You've written that Sufism as understood in the United States, is sometimes not the traditional understanding of Sufism in the Islamic world. Can you explain that?
Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Yes. It's really very unfortunate, because Sufism is the inner dimension of the Islamic revelation. It is not something that is extra, or that is out side of Islam, or which could be practiced seriously without paying attention to, or without practicing the Islam religion itself. But there are many people here in this country who are looking for a rapid way of realizing spiritual truths, or having a spiritual life, and who want to circumvent the usual disciplines that have been connected with a spiritual path. And therefore they try to approach Sufism without any interest in Islam.
Hewitt: Are there no shortcuts, then?
Nasr: No. There are no shortcuts UNLESS GOD WILLS IT...
In the ongoing conversation Hugh Hewitt asked: "So, different souls have different growth cycles (in other words, different rates of intellectual and emotional maturity)?" And Nasr replied: "That's right." "And they have to be respected?" "Oh yes. Definitely. Definetly."
Hewitt: Let us return to Islam before we get back to Sufism. In the West, and particularly in the United States, the understanding of Islam is often thimble-sized. What are the biggest misunderstandings about Islam that you run into in the United States?
Nasr: There are several which, unfortunately, are accentuated--not by accident, but by ill will, which is very, very sad. The first is that Islam is a religion that is spread by the sword, AND THEREFORE THERE IS AN ASSOCIATION OF ISLAM WITH WAR. Now this, of course, is not true. BUT it has a certain element that has to be studied; that is, THE FIRST SPREAD OF ISLAM OUTSIDE OF ARABIA WAS THROUGH THE ARAB ARMIES. Christianity, on the other hand, spread within the Roman Empire and caused a crumbling from within itself, you might say. But once Christianity became the religion of the West, it certainly fought as many wars as Islam or Hinduism or any other religion. And the Crusades were not begun by Muslims; they were begun by the Cluny monks, in France. But nevertheless, the idea that Christianity is the religion of peace and Islam is the religion of war has remained in the minds of many Westerners.
(The point to consider here, and it is essential to understanding the nature of Islam and Christianity, is that the Christian revelation does indeed have its roots in the doctrine of absolute pacifism, and only after apostasizing did it become a religion of war; while Islam began as a religion of the Sword and Muslims must search deep, and look beyond their own literal traditions, to discover the doctrine of strict pacifism that is hidden in the Qur-an. It is only there for those who search for it. So what, we may ask, was God's purpose in all of this? Why was God saying one thing to the early Christians and hiding the same from the early Muslims? What is the nature of the Islamic religion? We only have to look into the world to see it. The Tree is known by its own fruits. It is indeed a terrible thing that God has done with us. When Nasr speaks of Christianity here, he is referring, not to what it was at the beginning or to what it shall return to in the end, but to what the religion became in the third century after it abandoned its own doctrines, and after its unholy marriage to the emperors and kings of the Western world...Ezekiel 16; Revelation 17. KJV).
Nasr: At one time in its history the West did fear Islam because Islam had taken over the Mediterranean Sea...And so Christianity felt physically threatened. The second time Christianity felt threatened was after the seventeenth century, when the Ottomans took over Eastern Europe.
Hewitt: Up to the gates of Vienna...(It was here that Like repelled Like).
Nasr: Nevertheless, you point out something very important, (when you state that military power is not always the key to expansion). A threat comes not only from military or economic power, but also from spiritual power. Now, the West is innately afraid of the Islamic world--not because, let's say, it feels Egypt is going to send an army to capture Italy. (The question of the Middle East notwithstanding). The West is afraid of something very profound. I don't mean everybody in the West is afraid, because Christianity is still a living element in the West. But secular Western society, which has come to the fore, wants to live in secularism and not be challenged by any power. Separation of church and state in America is only a very minor aspect of this secularism. The fact is that religion has been marginalized in human society; it's for Sunday morning, but the laws on Wall Street have nothing to do with Christ. The few moral laws that remain from the founders of the American Revolution have been challenged during the last decade...
So in the West the sacred has been evicted or destroyed. And into this vacuum might flow the spiritual values of Islam, where the sacred has not been evicted and destroyed...
Nasr: I think Islam's role in the world is precisely to uphold the primacy of the sacred. And it will do so until the end of history itself. Islam is not going to follow the same trajectory of the West: from a Christian Middle Ages to a somewhat-less-Christian Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment to the rise of secularism and finally to evolutionism and twentieth-century out-and-out secularism. This is not going to happen in the Islamic world...What you are going to have in the future is not the West versus the Islamic world, which everybody is talking about today. (Yes, the secularly religious West and the fundamentalists, or literalists of the East will come against each other. One, in fact, is ordained against the other). It will really be the secularized West against its own Christian and Jewish elements and the Islamic world. (Yes also, but in such a way as Nasr can not yet realize)...
Nasr: Islamic eschatology is very similar to the Christian--not in details, but in the grand design As far as micro-eschatology is concerned, Muslims like Christians believe that it's Christ who comes back at the end of history, not the Prophet of Islam. We believe in the same coming of Christ. Many Christians do not know that. In fact, we believe that the descent of Christ upon the Mount of Olives (whose Feet will descend at the place of True Peace) will mark the end of human history. After that, terrestrial reality will be leveled, and everyone will be resurrected and judged by the Supreme Judge...These macro-elements of Islamic eschatology are very similar to the Christian...
Hewitt: As we come to the conclusion, I want to ask you about the essay that I found the most interesting for me. It's on spiritual chivalry. What is that?
Nasr: This is called 'fatuwa.' It is very difficult to translate, really, but I've translated it as spiritual chivalry. It is an attitude of the soul and character which is giving of itself, is generous, is noble. A soul that is hard with itself, but generous with others. That is willing to forego its own comforts for others. And which acts, sort of, as God's K-n-i-g-h-t. I don't mean night, in that other sense. God's 'chevalier,' and therefore the word 'chivalry.'
And this chivalry is very important to Sufism. It is also very important in Islamic spirituality in general. Ali was the personification of it in Islamic tradition and is, to this day, for both Sunnis and Shi'ites. And perhaps through contact with Islamic sources, the Order of the Knights appeared in the Christian form in the Middle Ages, but without any precedence. Spiritual chivalry has nothing whatsoever to do with the Roman Empire. It is something which the modern world has lost." Searching For God in America, by Hugh Hewitt, pp.77-96.
The Middle Ages have passed, and this age is coming swiftly to its own conclusion. A new day is dawning upon the earth. And here in America, there is in our own time a shortcut to Islamic awareness. For the path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto a perfect day. God has brought all of us to this great moment in history in which those who have been prepared for it may leap freely, as it were, from world to world...
Those who overcome will I give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God...(Revelation 2:7).
...They may leap from an Eastern to a Western state of consciousness, and back again--from the Islamic world to the Christian world to the Jewish world to the Vedic world, indeed, back to the very root of this ancient mystery of the Tree of Life--the world that the indigenous peoples of these Western continents have been guarding all these millenia. They may leap from the lower world to the higher worlds, and from the outer world to the inner--from outer, literal forms to the deep, inner principles that guide the Universe--the very principles that both restrain and inform the mind of Islam at the same time....
ISMA'ILISM is an extreme branch of the Shi'a. It split off from the main branch after the death of the sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, over a DISPUTE about the succession (This succession proceeded from Muhammad to Ali, from Ali's sons to the Seventh in line from Ali himself). The Isma'ilis are called SEVENERS because they believe Isma'il, Jafar's eldest son, to be his fathers true successor and THE SEVENTH AND LAST IMAM WHO IS NOW IN OCCULTATION (IN HIDING, UNSEEN) BUT WHO WILL ONE DAY RETURN TO EARTH AS THE MADHI (MESSIAH) TO USHER IN A GOLDEN AGE.
But in the days of the voice of the Seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets...(Revelation 10:7).
The Shi'a majority, THE TWELVERS, who are found mainly in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, accepted Ja'far's second son Musa as the next Imam. He was followed up by five Imams up to the Twelfth who disappeared and who is expected to return as the Madhi on the last day. Another Shi'a group, the Zaydis of northern Yemen, are called FIVERS because they accept only the first four common Imams. Their fifth Imam is Zayd, considered by them to be the Madhi.
Isma'ilism was based on four key elements: 1. A secret mystical (esoteric) teaching, which under the outward form of Islam contained a syncretistic mix of metaphysical traditions from many sources. 2. A compact organization as a secret society effectively ruled by a hierarchy. 3. An effective propaganda (missionary) machine. 4. A ruthless political programme. It greatly influenced other extreme Shi'a groups such as the Druze, Alawis, Yezidis and Ali-Ilahis and had a great influence on Sufism and on the Twelver Shi'a doctrine.
The Isma'ilis integrated into their belief system ideas taken from Jewish and Christian mysticism, Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Neo-Platonism, Hinduism and Buddhiism. They have survived centuries of intensive persecution. They have always been highly organized and loyal to their spiritual leaders and active in propagating their faith to others.
SECRET, ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE - GNOSIS, MA'RIFAH, BATIN
Isma'ili doctrine is founded in the distinction between the literal teaching of the Qur'an and the esoteric (mystical, secret) truth hidden behind it. Every verse in the Qur'an has a literal (Zahir) and a hidden (Batin) meaning. A SPIRITUAL WORLD IS CONCEALED BEHIND EVERY WORD OF SCRIPTURE, WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED BY THOSE WHO ARE TRAINED TO USE THE KEYS OF ALLEGORY, SYMBOLISM AND NUMERICAL COMBINATIONS...The Isma'ili disciple thus gained the emotional satisfaction of discovering the "divine secrets" of the universe. He was also bound by oath and ceremony to the spiritual hierarchy of the sect, headed by the Imam. The secret wisdom which had been transmitted over centuries, was accessible only through the Isma'ili leaders and missionaries who spread the faith and initiated new believers into the sect.
Muhammad was seen merely as the revealer of the literal word and its outward, legalistic, meaning. The Isma'ili Imams were the interpreters of the much more important hidden spiritual truths, and were thus potentially greater than the Prophet himself.
THE ISMA'ILI CONCEPT OF GOD - AIN SOF AND THE TEN SEFIROT
True worship means Tawhid--declaring the Unity of God. The is includes the negation of all attributes which humans would give to God, the Ultimate One, who is totally different and transcendent. He is the unknowable mystery of mysteries, undefinable, unattainable and incomprehensible. God as the "supreme void" is beyond concept, beyond existence and beyond good and evil.
Since God is beyond human comprehension, there must be intermediaries between him and our material world. This was solved by placing a whole hierarchy of emanations (lesser Gods who separated from the same divine essence) between the One Ultimate One and our world. The first emanation from the Divine Essence was the Divine Will, also called the First Intellect or the Universal Mind (The Word). From the Universal Mind emanated the Universal Soul which in turn created the next emanation AND SO ON DOWN TO THE TENTH...
The process of creation was thus accompanied by a cosmic struggle and fall in which fragments of divine light were trapped in the matter of this world...Isma'ilism also accepts the existence of a whole hierarchy of angels and other spiritual beings. An important teaching is that all the emanations and some of the spiritual hierarchy are always manifested in (human form) throughout the ages (Romans 8:38; Colossians 1:16)...
Isma'ilis viewed history as a succession of Seven Cycles of Revelation...The sixth cycle is the age of Islam in which the Speaker Prophet, Muhammad, appeared to begin the cycle...The Seven Speakers were Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad...But when the Seventh appears, he will abrogate organized religion all together. He will abrogate their laws and will institute a new era with a universal religion. www.angelfire.com/az/rescon/mgcismai.html
...They may leap out of the past into the future. Muslims must make that leap. It is obvious in the purely kabbalistic doctrines of the Isma'ilis that Islam has already anticipated it. And in the process they must also offer a true atonement for themselves (actually others will make it for them). They must experience their own form of Glasnost (if we may use the word), and awaken, first to the realization that despite what many Islamicists believe and teach, there is much that God hid from the worldly eyes of Islam itself, and then to those realities themselves.
One young woman in a recent documentary on Islam, speaking to her very loving and tolerant father, said to him in her own deeply respectful way, that there were many aspects of Islam that we Muslims do not want to come to grips with realities that we do not want to face about our own religion. This reluctance, of course, results...from zeal to be sure, but also from a lack of real substantive faith. A lack of submission? no, but lack of faith? yes. It comes from an undeveloped and unperfected imagination. It comes in the historical sense from a collective lack of personal experience--a Western experience. (No Magdalines need apply). This happens when individuals--great masses of them to be exact--are still unconsciously and immaturely unsure of the meanings of their own religion (ignorant of its complexities and of the process of human perfection itself), and when these try to expiate those uncertainties by insisting that there are no shortcomings or discrepencies, nor even anomalies in their own system of beliefs whatsoever--that there is no Mystery of Islam. And then such ideas are institutionalized when certain powerful individuals arise who not only attempt to enforce the dictates of such beliefs upon themselves, but upon others as well (shades of old St. Augustine), as if the truth itself had not the power to do so on its own. God has exploited these aspects of the Islamic mind in a great historic way. In fact the exploitation is built into the fabric the Holy Qur'an itself. It was all very intentional. How else could God judge the world? How else could God have finally created Man in Their own Universal image? possessing, as God does, a full understanding of the nature of both Light and Darkness, of the only ways in which the world could learn the difference, and the only ways in which Their own sons and daughters could ultimately learn to see these things in themselves? After all, could not God have the entire human race falling down on its knees five times a day in absolute submission to Divine Will?
Thus, O Adam, has this Night decieved thee. It is not to last forever; but it is only of Twelve hours; when it is over daylight will return...
Strengthen thy heart, and be not afraid. This Darkness is not a punishment...
For I knew thou shouldst sin and transgress, and come out into this land. Yet would I not force thee (as you now know that I can)...nor doom thee through thy fall; nor through thy coming out from Light (see John 1:1-14) into Darkness; nor yet through thy coming from the garden into this land.
For I made thee of Light; and I willed to bring out children of Light from thee and like unto thee.
But thou didst not keep one day My commandment (the commandment I gave to Abel, and afterward to the children of Light through Seth); until I had finished the creation and blessed everything in it...
But little of Darkness now remains, O Adam; and Daylight will soon appear...(I Adam and Eve, chapter XI. The Forgotten Books of Eden).
How else could God have brought us all full-circle back to the words which say: And God said, Let there be Light? (Genesis 1:3), and to those that say: Now stand upon thy Feet. The great spiritual fact is that there is only One true religion in the world, the religion of LOVE. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Some are coming to it as Muslims, some as Christians, some as Jews, some as Hindus, others are already there. And there is also only ONE reality. Open the window, turn on the television, look out into the world and see it. See the terrible thing that God has done with the sons of Adam, with Hindus and Jews, and with Christians and Muslims alike. See what God has hidden from them all. See Creation unfolding. See the mind of Man being created in the process. The world is aflame, burning up as it is, all shortcomings, discrepencies and anomolies. Didn't you sow good seed in the field? the disciples asked.
Nasr says that Ali was the personification of the perfect spirit of chivalry in Islam. This may have been so for the time, but the Darkness is passing and I personally would not want to be subject to any of the present-day followers of Ali, to the mullahs and the scholars of Iran or Iraq, nor to the Sunnah of the other Middle Eastern nations. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The sainted Ali was an Islamic warrior, a slayer of other men in the name of Allah, a contender for power and authority, and Nasr sees no anomaly in this. Of course there is none (so long as our conversation is confined to the past, and even to the present, for Islam is still performing the perfect will of Allah). It is, indeed, a terrible thing that God has done with men. And when we reason that Ali was motivated in all of these things by the teachings of Islam, then we must reason that it is a terrible thing that God has done with men throught the precepts of the Holy Qur'an.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is Life and Peace...(Romans 8:1-14).
In a work entitled The Holy Grail, Norma Lorre Goodrich explores this phenomenon--the knight's quest for purity of thought, excellence of spirit, as well as mastery of the ways of sacred warfare--among Christians in Europe. We reason, however, that the impetus toward knighthood stirred the spiritual imagination much earlier than Seyyed Hossein Nasr might allow, as the oral traditions concerning The Fellowship of the Mystery (and its relationship to the hidden Feminine principle) and the epic confrontation that would unfold at last between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness in the world, began to slowly filter throughout that ancient world after the time of Christ. (Please consider Ephesians 3:9; Eph. 6:10-17 and 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 in this light, and begin to compare these precepts with what we are learning of the oral traditions of the Torah and the Book of Joshua, and then with the texts entitled The Triumph Of God, Descriptions of the Final Age; The War Of The Sons of Light And The Sons Of Darkness; The Route of Belial and Weal And Woe: An Exhortation in Theodor Gaster's edition of The Dead Sea Scriptures, or in any comparable edition of these texts). The whole of it will provide our basis of understanding, and our means of comparing as well as contrasting Christianity in the West and Islam in the East, and for discovering the spirit of Light and the spirit of Darkness that drives and energizes both. We will not, however, simply compare and contrast them, but we will see how both Christianity and Islam--not in their separate literal traditions which constantly divide them, or in the literal tenor of the Qur'an which has been given not only to enflame the spirit of Darkness in Islam but to ultimately facilitate the judgment of God upon Islam itself, but in their common esoteric tradition--are one and the same. To be a true Christian is to be a true Muslim, and to be either one is to be a true Jew.
Islam and Christianity are both traveling together through time as it is, and both shall be fulfilled in the most excellent way in the lives of those who ultimately receive the Book in their Right Hands here in these last days. (Sura 84.7). These are those who shall come to perfection in the Mystery of Christ, and who shall realize at last the Power and the meaning invested in the Divine number Five, thus in the Name (YHVH), Yod HEY Vaw HEY (10-5-6-5), and how this most Ineffible of Names translates kabbalistically, not only into the name YHShWH (Jehoshua), but into the Name ALLaH and into the piercing cry of DIN, as it is also written: My righteousness is near; my Salvation is gone forth, AND MINE ARMS SHALL JUDGE THE PEOPLE...(Isaiah 51:5).
EL = AL, ALLaH
One of the Arms of the Angel of Divine Presence extends from the center of the Oracle (Central Europe) into Russia, and thus upwards into all the other regions of Asia, including China. The other extends into all of the regions of Islam in the Middle East, and thus into the affairs of Islam everywhere else throughout the Asian continent.
But when Isa (Jesus) perceived unbelief on their part, he said: Who will be my helpers in Allah's way? The disciples said: We are helpers (in the way) of Allah: We believe in Allah and bear witness that we are submitting ones...
And when Allah said: O Isa, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so I will decide between you concerning that in which ye differed...(Sura 3.52, 55).
To interpret this text in the Qur'an one must be versed in the mysteries of Christianity, in the doctrines of Paul and in the subsequent hidden teachings of the Gospels. One must be fully aware that all of these things have been perfecting themselves Westward:
And a party of the followers of the Book say (to you): Avow belief in that which has been revealed...in the first part of the day, and then (they themselves) disbelieve at the end of it, perhaps they go back on their religion...(Sura 3.69-72).
Who are the disbelievers? They are chiefly the religious and political leaders of our time, the leaders of those Indo-Judeao-Christian-Islamic nations who have, as the Qumran Scriptures related, Payed no attention to the hidden meaning of what is actually taking place. And then they are all who follow them, and who partake with them in the ringing clash of nations and in the Unfruitful Works of Darkness, despite all the commandments in the Scriptures not to do so. Thus the Mystery of Iniquity is being fulfilled in the great belligerences and antagonisms that both Islam and Christianity pose, not only to themselves and each other, but to the world at large. For just as each tradition in itself is capable of elevating the souls of the children of Light, bringing them forth to the Greater Light, each is also capable (as all the world can plainly see) of keeping the minds of the children of Darkness in total Darkness, and bringing them instead to the day of war and destruction:
The day wherein there is no doubt...(Sura 3.9).
The day when eyes shall stare...(Sura 14.42).
The day of regret...(Sura 19.39).
The day of the earthquake...(Sura 22.1).
The day of reckoning...(Sura 38.16).
The day of the encounter...(Sura 40.15).
The day of the gathering...(Sura 42.7).
The day of terror...(Sura 56.1).
The day of the indubitable...(Sura 69.1).
The day they shall not speak...(Sura 77.35).
The day when hidden things will be manifest...(Sura 86.9).
We have been with the structure of the Tree of Life long enough now in these studies to understand how what the New Testament refers to as the Great House (2 Timothy 2:20), and what the Qur'an cryptically refers to as the Sacred Mosque (Sura 17.1; Sura 2.191), the Grail Legends refer to as the Grail Castle. Goodrich also speaks of those who see in the Grail Castle an image of Solomon's Temple. Indeed, because they are one and the same, built out of the same "building blocks of enlightenment" as the Buddhist teachers call them. It is into this same structure that God framed the mystery and the mind of Islam. The Grail Castle had three names she says: Eden, Joy, and Souls. "In other words, it was once called Paradise. Then it was called 'Joy' when Lancelot and Elaine resided there and she bore Galahad. But when it was Christianized, or re-Christianized by Perceval, it was renamed Castle of Souls." (p.65).
The Grail stories, which began to assume their present literary form(s) around the 10th century, shaped as they were by the social, political, and religious conditions of those times, are the eventual result of those oral traditions that accompanied the Gospels (back up) into Europe during and after the first century of this age. The fabled Fisher King whose castle it is, with whom we will also associate the figure of Arthur, is a composite figure of the Christ-Mystery. Sadly enough the King (the collective Higher mind of the people) is wounded and ill, and can only be healed by one such as Perceval--who one Grail historian, Goodrich notes, likens to such another unwitting one as Paul.
No one, of course, sets out on such a quest on their own, but must be prepared by the Spirit, without one's knowledge of it. (To realize as a youth that one is even on this path would interfere with life's necessary lessons and the emotional qualifications one must develop along the way). It progresses to a vision, a flash of illumination, a Bath Kol (a Heavenly Voice), which admits the unsuspecting soul into the Castle itself. Proclaim! (or Read! or Recite! or Rehearse!), came the first word to Muhammad:
Read (or Rehearse) in the name of your Lord Who created.
He created man from a clot.
Read (or Proclaim) and your Lord is Most Bountiful,
He who taught (the use of) the Pen,
Taught man that which he knew not...(Sura 96.1-5).
Nun. By the Pen and by the (Record) which angels (men) write,
By the grace of your Lord you are not mad...(Sura 68.1-2).
"Iqraa!--which being interpreted may mean 'Read!' or 'Proclaim!' or 'Recite!' The unlettered Apostle was puzzled; He could not read. The angel seemed to press him to his breast in a close embrace, And the cry rang clear 'Iqraa!'
And so it happened Three times; until the first overpowering sensation yielded to a collected grasp of the words which made clear his Mission; its Author, God the Creator; its subject, Man, God's wondrous handiwork, capable by Grace of rising to heights sublime; And the Instrument of that Mission, the sanctified Pen, And the sanctified Book, the Gift of God, which men might read, or write, or study, or treasure in their souls.
The veil was lifted from the Chosen One's eyes, and his soul for a moment was filled with divine Ecstasy...When this passed, and he returned to the world of Time and Circumstances and this world of Sense, he felt like one who eyes had seen a light of dazzling Beauty, and felt dazed on his return to common sights.
The darkness now seemed Tenfold Dark; the solitude Tenfold empty; The mount of Hiraa, henceforth known as the Mountain of Light, the mere shell of an intense memory. Was it a dream? Terror seized his limbs and he straightaway sought her who shared his inmost life, and told her of his sense of exaltation, and the aweful void when the curtain closed." Commentaries 30 and 31, in Yusuf Ali's The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an.
The initiations continue, however, and intensify (through prayer and study), but now on an evolving conscious plane. (As a result all the implications of Heisenburg's dictum begin to apply, and every subsequent communication between the prophet and the Higher World will be colored, or marred, or even brought to perfection as it is, by the spiritual perfections, but also by the spiritual imperfections of the prophet himself, or rather of those who memorized and recorded the words). Many orthodox Muslims, being the "manly" religion that it is, and zealous for their own private interpretations of these things, will not entertain the criticisms that attend this period of Islamic history (and many in the Muslim world have payed dearly, even with their lives, for doing so). Many of these insist that Islam has no imperfections and that Muhammad was fully cognizent of the meanings of the revelations he was channeling from above (and also borrowing from the other religious traditions as some say), and that Islam as a religion is set squarely on a foundation of Spiritual Knowledge and a full Understanding of Things Divine. It is true: The Qur'an definetly knows...
Seyyed Hossein Nasr: "The Koran is a central, sacred reality of Islam. It is for Muslims, the verbatim word of God and it corresponds to Christ. It is sacred in the same way that Christ in Christianity is sacred. Everything about Him is sacred--His body, even His robe, His voice, His word, and His Spirit. In that way everything about the Koran is sacred for Muslims. There is the physical Koran that they carry. The calligraphy which writes the word. Of course the sonorous aspect is significant--the chanting of the Koran--because the Koran was first revealed through sound. The Prophet heard it. And then, of course, the content and the ideas and the teachings..."
...even if Islam does not. Muhammad's, however, as the world can presently and clearly attest, was a Night Vision. What he understood, he understood. What he did not understand, he did not understand. And we must reason that he was chosen by the Spirit for his role in history, and as a conveyer of the words of the Sacred Qur'an, precisely for this reason: because of his extraordinary receptivity and obedience to the word, but also because of his very earthly and human inclinations that caused and allowed him to go back and forth across the line that separated the Higher and Lower worlds. Muhammad was indeed a prophet, but of a very natural sort. Like the whole of Judaiasm and Christianity before him, he was a perfect vessel, a bearer in his own person of the sublime elements of Darkness and the unseen elements of Pure Light. Remember: Allah has a plan, and Islam had a mission:
His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the Horns of Unicorns (a symbol of Allah--One): with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh...(Deuteronomy 33:17).
Thus this equation (this relationship as it is), between the Light of Day and the Darkness of Night passed from the person of the Prophet into the life of Islam to this very day:
Surely We revealed it on the Grand Night.
And what will make you comprehend what the Grand Night is?
The Grand Night is better than a Thousand months.
The angels and Gibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair,
Peace! it is till the break of the morning...(Sura 97.1-5).
I swear by the Mountain (the Higher Sinai),
And the Book written in an outstretched fine parchment.
And the House (the Ka'aba) that is visited.
And the Elevated Canopy and the Swollen Sea...(Sura 52.1-6).
A Night Journey to the Farthest Mosque
Glory to God who did take His servant for a Journey by Night from the Sacred Mosque (from Harim al Sharif in Jerusalem) to the Farthest Mosque;
Whose precincts We did bless--in order that we might show him some of our Signs: For He (Allah) is the One who Heareth and Seeth all.
We gave Moses the Book and made it a guide to the Children of Israel (Commanding them): Take not other than me as a Disposer of your affairs.
O you who are sprung from those whom We carried in the Ark with Noah! He was a devotee most grateful.
And We gave clear warning to the Children of Israel in the Book, that Twice would they do mischief in the earth and be elated with mighty arrogance (and Twice they would be punished), (See Isaiah 40:1,2)...(Sura 17.1-4).
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn,
From the mischief of created things;
From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads...(Sura 113.1-3).
And obey God and the Apostle that ye may obtain mercy. Be quick in the race for forgiveness, And for a Garden whose width is that of (the whole of) the heavens and the earth prepared for the righteous...(Sura 3.132-133).
As we trace the path of Islam full circle, as we have with all the other religious traditions, from Eden back to Eden again, and as we continue to piece the entire World Mystery together in our minds (as we have been doing throughout these chapters) we will see how all of the rituals of the East are a reflection of the realities of the West. And we will want to see how all of us together, everyone who has arrived on these Western shores, have come at last to the words: And to those that overcome will I give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7; 22:14). Having been brought out of the historic conflicts and judgments of the East--God keeping His promise by bringing a remnant out of every race of humankind, and out of every religious tradition, across the Sea, to America--we have the direction now to finally come together across these divisions, to overcome at last the most subtle form of Darkness that exists on earth: that form of Darkness that seems to the unwary, and to the fearful, to be the vanguard of "freedom" in the world; thus that form of Darkness which appears, not as an evil force in their lives, or a threat to their own religious well-being, but as their own Angel of Light. (Please understand the words in Isaiah 14 and 2 Corinthians 11)...Thus the words, Light upon light:
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. (John 1:1-14).
The Parable of His Light is as there were a Niche,
And within it a Lamp...
The Lamp enclosed in a Glass,
The glass as it were a Brilliant Star,
Lit from a Blessed Tree,
An Olive, neither of the East nor of the West,
Whose oil is well-nigh luminous,
Though Fire touched it not.
Light upon Light!
God doth guide whom He will to His Light:
God doth set forth parables for men; and God doth know all things...(Sura 24.35).
Or like the depths of Darkness in a vast deep ocean,
Overwhelmed with billow, topped by billow,
Topped by (dark) Clouds:
Depths of Darkness, one above another:
If a man stretches out his hand he can hardly see it.
For any to whom God giveth not Light, there is no Light...(Sura 24.40).
Hebrews 12:1-29 (KJV).
By the Sky, (displaying) The Zodiacal Signs;
By the Promised Day (of Judgment)...
Those who persecute (or draw into temptation) the Believers, men and women,
And do not turn in repentence, will have the penalty of Hell: They will have the penalty of the Burning Fire.
For those who believe and do righteous deeds, will be gardens, beneath which rivers flow: That is the Great Salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires)...(Sura 85.1-2, 10-11).
"The Castle also resembles the human body where the rooms one comes to know are called self-knowledge. What else is meditation but a slow reasoning with the self? Thus the Castle interior is open and close at hand. Our own interior is the Castle of our souls, and similarly another celestial building. (Ephesians 2:17-22; 1 Peter 2:6-8). Each room (mansion) requires us to know our hearts. Humility is no excuse. Apology is no excuse. Why? Humility may be defined as as a refusal to know oneself, or as a total lack of self-knowledge." The Holy Grail, p.120.
Jesus said, Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the all...(Gospel of Thomas 2).
The heavens and the earth will be roled up in your presence. And the one who lives from the Living One will not see death. Does not Jesus say, Whoever finds himself is superior to the world?...(Gospel of Thomas 111).
Among those things hidden from the imperfect state of mind, in addition to the meaning of the Grail itself, is the realization that the Grail has been in the custody of the Divine Mother (Holy Wisdom Herself) all these centuries, and the Feminine Principle of Reality that attends Her. Thus the Grail knight's particular idealization and service to the divine, the magic, the beauty, and the power of womankind (Femalekind). He seeks not to suppress her, however, or to rule over her, but to find Her and to liberate her from her captors. (And in our times this means from the fundamentalists and literalists who do not know the difference between the Female gender and the term Woman as it is used by Wisdom Herself everywhere throughout the sacred Scriptures.
Actually the Companions fell directly into the little trap that Wisdom Herself had set. Having transcribed the words of the Holy Qur'an as they were channeled from the mouth of the Prophet, or as they later remembered them, they then enacted and followed these words after the dictates of their own purely Bedouine-masculine hearts, without giving a great deal of thought to the meaning of the words themselves, and all of this to the ruin of many. Many true Muslims, along with many "non-religious" over the centuries who have tried to transcend such literal meanings and to release the Divine Feminine from her lower status, and from her house of prison, have payed dearly for their attempts. (Please see chapter 5). Without Her, however, the true knight is helpless, he has virtually no raison d'etre. Without him, of course, she is helpless. There is no balance, and no final liberation. The two are intricately and tantrically (and might we add, erotically) bound to each other, and are much more than equal to each other in the mysteries of the Tree of Life. She who guards and protects is priestess (or Queen). He who gains entrance is priest (or King). Together they are Urim and Thummim--Lights and Perfection.
She, the keeper of the Grail and the Sword, Excalibur, confers upon her Champion the title of Knight of the Round Table, and a place in The Fellowship of the Mystery...He fills the space that is empty in her soul....(Ephesians 3:9; 6:10-17). He, the true knight, the true Mystic Warrior, pursuing the Divine, arrives at last at the Castle of True Love and completes the Circle.
The Mysteries of the Divine Mother (hidden in the figures of the Three Marys--representing the Past, the Present, and the Future, as well as in the Three divisions of the Holy City) were committed to the Christian mysteries from the cross: Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy Mother! and from that hour the disciple took Her into his home. (John 19:25-27). At that time all of the manifestations of the Ancient Mother (which includes the obscure figure of Allatah, the Feminine personality of Allah, of which Islam is very aware), were subsumed in the figure of Mary (or Mariam), and carried away from there to the Western ends of the earth...
"The word 'Shekinah' (an historic manifestation of the Feminine Principle of the Godhead) derives from 'dwelling place'...Islamic tradition also recognizes The "Sakina,' or the Spirit of Allah as resident both within the human soul and the Tent of the Ka'aba." Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, by Caitlin Matthews, p.115.
Mary--the name, Mare, which means "the Sea,"--reveals the physical and true-mythical relationship between the amniotic fluids (the Waters of Life) that surround and safeguard each developing child in the process of birth, and the Great Sea across which the people have come in their mystical journey to this end of the earth, and to the Birth of the Coming Age. The mystics of Islam know of Her Presence, and know that She would not leave Her daughters subject to the male-principle-out-of-balance for ever, and therefore the full import of the words:
And to Samood (We sent) their brother Salih. He said: O my people! serve Allah, you have no other God but Him; clear proof indeed has come to you from your Lord; this is (as) Allah's She-camel for you--a sign, therefore leave Her alone to pasture of Allah's earth, and do not touch Her with any harm, otherwise painful chastisement will overtake you...
So they slew the She-camel and revolted against their Lord's commandment, and they said: O Salih! bring us what you threatened us with, if you are one of the apostles...(Sura 7.73, 77).
I swear by the Sun and its brilliance.
And the Moon when it follows the Sun,
And the Day when it shows it...
So Allah's apostle said to them: (Leave alone) Allah's She-camel, and (give) her (to) drink.
But they called him a liar and slaughtered Her, therefore their Lord crushed them for their sin and levelled them (with the ground).
And he fears not its consequence...(Sura 91).
The following excerpts are from a book entitled: Princess. A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, by Jean Sasson:
"So it was that in 1901, twenty-five year old Abdul Aziz returned to out land...and soundly defeated his enemies, the Rasheeds. In the years to follow, to ensure the loyalty of the desert tribes, Abdul Aziz married more than three hundred women, who in time produced more than fifty sons and eighty daughters. The sons of his favorite wives held the honour of favored status. These sons, now grown, are at the very center of power in our land. (p.18).
"My father (one of these sons) was a merciless man; as a predicted result, my mother was a melancholy woman. Their tragic union eventually produced eighteen children of whom eleven survived...Today, the ten females live their lives controlled by the men to whom they are married. Their only surviving son, a prominent Saudi prince and business man, with four wives and many mistresses, leads a life of great promise and pleasure. (p.19).
"The men of the country feel they are what they have had to become. In Saudi Arabia, the pride of man's honour evolves from his women, so he must enforce his authority and supervise over the sexuality of his women or face public disgrace.
Convinced that women have no control over their own sexual desires, it then becomes essential that the dominant male carefully guard the sexuality of his female. This absolute control over the female has nothing to do with love, only with fear of the male's tarnished honour.
The authority of the Saudi male is unlimited: his wife and children survive only if he desires. In our homes he is the state. This complex situation begins with the rearing of our young boys. From an early age, the male child is taught that women are of little value. They exist only for his comfort and convenience. The child witnesses the disdain shown his mother and sisters by his father; this open contempt leads to his scorn of all females, and makes it impossible for him to enjoy friendship with anyone of the opposite sex. Taught only the role of master to slave, it is little wonder that by the time he is old enough to take a mate, he considers her chattel, not his partner. (p.22).
"The history of our women is buried beneath the black veil of secresy...We yearn for our personal freedom. (p.23).
"Sara (Sultana's sister, a young woman forced without her consent to marry a sixty-two year old man), in Father's view, was doing what women were born to do, serve and pleasure the male, and produce his children...
I wept with the fury of one who questions the wisdom of a God who allows evil to conquer the innocent...Sara's new husband was sadistic. He had subjected my sister to sickening sexual brutality until she felt her only escape was death.
Father stood, unblinking. He probably realized that in all likelihood, Sara would be forced by the men of religion to return to her husband (after her suicide attempt). If the past were any precedent, they would advise the husband to deal with his wife in the manner spelled out in the Koran. And then they would turn their backs (on Sara's despicable situation)...Had Sara been forced to file for separation, many difficulties would have arisen. For the religious authorities might have ruled: You might dislike a thing which Allah has meant for your own good. (p.58).
"In Father's mind Sara had obviously provoked her husband into criminal behavior. It is never the fault of the man in the Middle East. Even if he murders his wife, the man will state "valid" reasons for his actions, which will be accepted by other men without question. In my country I have seen articles that honour a man for executing his wife or daughter for the crime of "indecent behavior." The mere suspicion of sexual misconduct, such as kissing, can bring death to a young girl. In addition public congratulations are given from the men of religion for the father's "notable" act of upholding the commands of the Prophet. (pp.61,62).
"To those who would listen, Hadi (the religious friend of Sultana's brother, Ali), loudly exclaimed his viewpoint that all women should be confined to the home; and that women were the cause of evil on earth...(On a visit to Cairo, however): He devoured the dancers with his eyes, and made crude remarks about their body parts, yet he swore to Ali that they were nothing but whores, and that if he had his way, they would be stoned...
(That night in the hotel): The door was unlocked...and we suddenly realized what was happening before our eyes. Hadi was raping a young girl, no more than eight years old, and Ali was holding her. Blood was everywhere. The two were laughing...
(In Rome): Hadi and Ali spent their time buying women...I saw Ali as I always had, a selfish young man, concerned only with his own pleasure. But Hadi, I knew was far more evil, for he bought the women yet condemned them for their role in the act. He desired them, yet hated them and the system that left them free to do as they would. His hypocrisy was to me the essence of the evil nature of men. (p.80)...
"Within a month (of my Mother's death) we learned from Ali that Father was preparing to wed again, for four wives were common among the Bedouin men...Father's new bride was fifteen. (p.86)...
"Father seemed pleased with his new possession...Ali cracked jokes about Father's sexual prowess. I asked my brother what he thought about the young girl's feelings in the matter--to be wed to one so much older, one she did not know or love? Ali's vacant expression told me all too clearly not only that the thought had never entered his head but that such a consideration would not find fertile ground in his narrow realm of understanding. He well reminded me that nothing would ever penetrate that dark sea of egotistical matter that constitutes the mind of a Saudi man." (pp.89.90).
Amin Dawidar writes in his "Pictures From the Life of the Prophet," (Cairo, 1968), that Umar bil Al-Khattab, the future Khalif of Muslims, tortured Lubina, a Female Slave. And whenever he paused he said, "I have not stopped beating you out of pity, but only because I am exhausted." Abu Bakr bought her and set her free. Zunayra was another slave who proclaimed her allegience to Islam. She was also tortured by Umar and Abu Jahl.
Let our fundamentalist and orthodox brethren pay particular attention here and accept the indictment. How did the Prophet put it? "Death," it is reported in the Hadith, "is the only preacher you need." What is with you is perishing and what is Allah's is enduring...(Sura 16.96), ...Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life; then you shall be brought back to him. (Sura 2.28). Let them die to their old nature, and to their old way of understanding and interpreting the Sacred Scriptures:
He granteth Wisdom to whom He pleaseth, and to whom Wisdom is granted receiveth indeed a benefit overflowing. But none will grasp the meaning but men of understanding...(Sura 2.269).
The ABROGATION...Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?...(Sura 2.106).
Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them.
Allah originates the creation (in Eden), then reproduces it, then to Him you shall be brought back...(Sura 30.10-11).
Be aware, The Khalif...Not Male, not Female, but Both...(Ephesians 4:11-14; Genesis 5:1,2).
And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a Khalif (Adam), they said: What! wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know...
And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers.
And We said: O Adam! (interpret correctly here now), dwell you and Your Wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust...(Sura 2.30, 34-35).
If he is Adam, and she is Adam, who is "the wife?" Thus the Apostle says, when alluding to Adam and Eve: This is a Great Mystery: but I speak concerning Christ (Adam) and the Church. (Ephesians 5:31-33). The term "woman" in the Sacred Scriptures does not refer to the Female gender, but it refers in its historical, spiritual and allegorical sense to all those to whom the figurative couple named Adam went in those times, and into whose hearts and minds they attempted to sow the seeds of higher consciousness. Those who received them and their teachings became their "church," "Eve." And as we know, this "woman," or rather the hierarchy of these churches (synagogues and mosques) in our time, is comprised almost entirely of males. The implications, not only for the correct allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures (and therefore for the spiritual liberation of at least half of us, no, for all of us), but also in terms of understanding the whole spiritual import of our own times, are momentous...
WELL? Do you get it yet? They don't.
Not only will the Anointed Ones of our time be revealed as the New Adam (a Male and Female joined together as One, as the first Adam was), but it is the "church," the "woman," religion in her collective Indo-Judeao-Christian-Islamic personification, who shall be called the Mother of All Living as a result. And this, because she has given birth to many sons and daughters who understand these things, even if "She" herself does not; and who, despite their love for her (for the religious institutions that have given birth to them), have grown up and removed her breasts (her literal teachings and her fundamentalist doctrines) from their mouths (Understand 1 Peter 2:2; and then Isaiah 28:9 and Hebrews 5:12-14...KJV). (And then understand 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in this same light). These sons and daughters will stand up before the world at last, on their own Two Feet. Of course, it is the spirit of Iblis in men--those who refuse to yield to right interpretation, who refuse to Break every yoke, who refuse to yield to Adam--who shall feel the judgment of the Word of God upon themselves as a result:
And when the graves are laid open,
Every soul shall know what it has put forward and held back.
O man! what has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious One,
Who created you, then made you complete, then made you symmetrical?
Into whatever form He pleased He constituted you...
The day on which no soul shall control anything for (another) soul; and the command on that day shall be entirely Allah's...(Sura 82.4-8, 19).
It was the very natural and brutish inclinations of medeival men (and we would like to imagine Mid-Eastern men in particular, but that is not true; the West had its Chrysostoms, its Ambroses and Augustines before Islam had its Companions), that caused and allowed them to misinterpret the Scriptures and the spoken words of the Oracles that were handed on to them, thus institutionalizing into the religious system itself what everyone else outside that system clearly sees as massive injustices, oppressions and crimes against womankind (that is, against Female-kind). But this has been the work of Divine Wisdom Herself, so that the evil in men's hearts could be manifest. And despite the very present fact that the oppressors themselves seem to be in charge of the Qur'an, and of all the interpretations and enactments that flow from it, Fiqh and Sharia, the Qur'an knows what they do not. There is that part of Allah that does not act without the loving approval of His own Beloved. (They are ONE). But She is appearing in the West now, just as She appeared in the East two thousand years ago. She has the very idea of the inferiority of the female firmly under Her feet. (Revelation 12:1...KJV). These realities will have to find their way back into the East after the judgments of the West are complete.
The fact is that every enactment, and every judgment pronounced in the Name of Allah against (or as it is said, in the interest of ) "women" (in the interest that is of preserving the traditional and archaic dictates of the past, and the authority of the male gender over the female, without any higher understanding of what these things mean), is a judgment against those who make the enactments and pass down the judgments. For they, proving they can not interpret Sacred Writ, and unable to discern the difference between the Female gender and the term "woman," become in our minds as the very women the Scriptures are referring to (the ones from which we are commanded to abstain...Revelation 14:4 for instance), and still deeply in need of coition themselves in every matter of Things Divine. Of course the Prophet, it might be reasoned, is innocent of all this. He merely channeled the words, and tried to obey them himself. Others wrote down what they thought they heard, in the only way that they themselves could hear it--through the channels of their own imperfect male-oriented minds.
I swear by the Night when it draws a veil,
And the Day when it shines in brightness,
And the creating of Male and Female,
Your striving is most surely (directed to) various (ends).
Then as for him who gives away and guards (against evil),
And accepts the best (interpretation),
We will facilitate for him an easy end...(Sura 92.1-7).
The lance dripping with "three drops" of blood also seen during the rituals at the Grail Castle are the same which pierced the side of Christ during the crucifixion. It is still dripping because Christ's blood is still being shed throughout the earth, and because the crucifixion (the Mystery of the Cross) is not complete yet. The sons and daughters of Light (the Truest of all Muslims) have still to shed their own blood in the age-ending events of these times. (Revelation 6:9-11; 11:13). Thus the Grail, among the many other descriptions of it, is the Cup of the Last Supper (the Third Meal) which these same sons and daughters will partake of, and drink down to the full. They are those to whom the Grail itself is revealed, and who have completed in their own individual lifetimes all of the stations, or internal rituals of spiritual purification. They are those who have Completed the Hajj. They have come Seven Times around--Seven Times across the pages of history to the place of Perfection here in the West. The Pilgrimage to Mecca, which is enjoined upon every Muslim at least once in their lifetime, is a great ritual reflection-below of those things that have been coming to pass in the most sublime and transcedent ways above:
Seven Times around. As Above, so Below. As in the East, so in the West.
And accomplish the pilgrimage (the Hajj or umra) in the service of Allah. BUT IF YOU ARE PREVENTED (FROM COMPLETING IT), SEND AN OFFERING FOR SACRIFICE, such as ye are able, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination...But if he cannot afford it, He should fast Three Days during the Hajj. And Seven Days on his return, making Ten Days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah. And know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil)...(Sura 2.196).
As a woman with child in her ninth month bringeth forth her child, within two or three hours of her birth great pains encompass her womb, which pains, when the child cometh, they slack not a moment.
Even so shall the plagues not be slack to come upon the earth, and the earth shall mourn, and sorrows shall come upon it on every side.
My people, hear my words; make ye ready to the battle, and in those evils be as pilgrims upon the earth...(2 Esdras 16:35-40).
Because the Torah and the Book of Joshua, and therefore the Mystery of Christ, has been expressed in military terms and metaphors it has (intentionally) given rise to two orders of warriors in the world, those who take those words literally, and who fight in the ways of the lower, fallen world (and quite religiously so), and those who take those words metaphorically, and who fight in the ways of the Spirit. Both are ordained by God, and therein lies the mystique of Islam. Like Judaism and Christianity before it, there are two pathways running directly through the mind of Islam, both of them originating in the Garden of Eden when the spirits of both Cain and Abel appeared in the earth. Only one of them, however, can inherit the age to come and the world to come, as it is also written: Cast out the bondwoman and her son...(Galatians 4:21-31; Genesis 21:1-10). Both Cain and Abel (Ishmael and Isaac, along with Esau and Jacob), were cut out of the same piece of allegorical fabric. Each is a set in the same long sequence of archetypes found in the Scriptures--brothers, one Dark, one Light--representing not only the mixture of Darkness and Light that dwells in the heart and soul of every single individual, but the actual division that finally exists everywhere throughout the Adamic world between the children of Darkness and the children of Light in our time. Each has followed the (pre-ordained) path that is strongest in them:
Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold, they each represented a sacrifice to God. It was accepted from one but not the other. Said the latter: Be sure we will slay thee. Surely, said the former, God doth accept the sacrifice of those who are righteous.
If thou dost stretch forth thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch forth my hand against thee: For I do fear God, the Cherisher of the worlds.
For I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine...(Sura 5.30-31).
Of course this text literally abrogates any other command, or direction the Muslim soul believes it has received in matters of human warfare and self defense, and the taking of human life; for the entire epic, the entire story of the struggle between the children of Light and the children of Darkness in the world, begins in the story of Cain and Abel. If the self-professing child of Adam--whether they be Hindu or Jew, Christian or Muslim--behaves in the ways of Cain (a taker of human life--even though there is permission in the sacred texts to do so), and not in the ways of Abel, it is because God (having also given men commandments appropriate to their own violent natures) for His own creative purposes has willed it:
Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths (my higher meanings), and their eyes were after their father's idols (their father's ways).
Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;
And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the Fire (of human warfare) all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord...(Ezekiel 20:24-26).
Among the commandments that God gave Islam which are not good (good for the world in the most paradoxical and ironic ways, but not for the individuals who are so led), is permission to wage human warfare, to fight in the Lesser Holy Wars against other nations and other armies (as opposed to the Greater Holy Wars that are fought only, and purely against the Self). But how else could God judge the world? And again, the Prophet was only, and most "obediently," channeling the words of the angel of the East, Gabriel, as he was receiving them. How did he receive them:
The next question is about the nature of the revelation itself. When Harith, the son of Hisham, once inquired of the Prophet how revelation came to him, he replied: "It comes to me sometimes as the ringing of a bell and this is hardest on me, then he (the angel) leaves me and I remember from him what he says; and sometimes the angel comes in the shape of a man and he talks to me and I remember what he says." (Bu.1.1). These are the only two forms in which the Quranic revelation came to the Prophet. In both cases, the angel came to him and was seen by him; in both cases a certain message was delivered in words which he at once committed to memory...The only difference between the two cases was that in one case the angel appeared in the shape of a human being and uttered the words in a soft tone as a man talks to another; in the other case, it is not stated in what form he came, but we are told that the words were uttered like the ringing of a bell, that is to say, in a harsh, hard tone, which made it a heavier task for the Prophet to receive them....In both cases the Prophet was transported, as it were, to another world, and this transportation caused him to go through a severe experience...which was harder still when the message did not appear in human shape. The Religion of Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p.21.
At the same time the Prophet was yielding to the conditions that were unfolding around him. These included, of course, the internal conditions of his own heart, but also the rising and overwhelming clamor for divine vengeance that was ringing from the hearts of those who followed him:
"For individual Muslims, abandoning Mecca and people, city and family, in the 'Hijrah' meant a crisis of personal independence. Those who threw in their lot with Muhammad were crossing their own Rubicon as well as his. Emigration meant an end to ambiguity of allegiance...In the definitive first year of the 'Hijrah', Muslim-Quraishi tensions opened into military conflict...Medina was never merely a refuge, but always in intention a base and a structure of power. Adherence, on either side, sharpened, therefore into a political and military either/or. Muslims graduated, so to speak, by the 'Hijrah,' from a group into an army, from a community of faith to an order of authority. A long and patient endurance of minority status was transformed into...political determination...Establishment in the new city could only ensue on such a basis. The 'Hijrah' was thus, in concept and by prelude, a decision for active military measures against Quraishi recalcitrance and, in that form, a definitive conclusion to a long and strenuous 'open question' of prophetic vocation... The migration was an end of passive suffering and enduring patience (please compare Matthew 24:5-13): It was the beginning of vigorous self-assertion and political activism." The Event of the Qur'an, Islam In Its Scripture, by Kenneth Cragg, pp.128,129.
Freely or otherwise, the denizens of the heavens and of the earth submit to Him...(Sura 3.83).
Of The Two Spirits in Man
"All that ever was and is comes from God. Before things came into existence He determined the plan of them; and they fill their appointed roles. It is in accordance with His glorious design that they discharge their functions. Nothing can be changed. In His hand lies the government of all things. God it is that sustains them in their needs.
Now, this God created man to rule the world, and appointed for him Two Spirits after whose direction he was to walk until the final inquisition. They are the spirits of Truth and Perversity.
The origin of Truth lies in the Fountain of Light (in the Higher Spiritual state of mind), and that of Perversity in the Wellspring of Darkness (the Natural Impulse). All who practice righteousness are under the dominion of the prince of Lights, and walk in the ways of Light; whereas all who practice perversity are under the dominion of the Angel of Darkness. Through the Angel of Darkness, however, even those who practice righteousness are made liable to error. All their sins and iniquities, all their guilt and their deeds of transgression are the result of his dominion. And this, by God's inscrutible design, will continue until the time appointed by Him. Moreover, all men's afflictions and all their moments of tribulation are due to this being's malevolent sway. All the spirits that attend upon him are bent on causing the children of Light to stumble. Howbeit, the God of Israel and the Angel of His Truth are always there to help them.
It is God who created these spirits of Light and Darkness (see Genesis 1:16), and made them the basis of every act, the instigators of every deed, and the directors of every thought...
This is why these spirits operate in the world. The enlightenment of man's heart, the making straight before him all the ways of righteousness and truth, the implanting in his heart of fear for the judgment of God, of a spirit of humility, of patience, of abundant compassion, of perpetual goodness, of insight, of perception, of that sense of the Divine Power that is based at once on an apprehension of God's works, and a reliance on His plentious Mercy, of a spirit of knowledge informing every plan of action, of a zeal for righteous government, of a hallowed mind in a controlled nature, of an abounding love for all who follow the truth, of a self-respecting purity which abhors the taint of filth (in one's self), these are the things in the world that come to those in the world who are in communion with the Spirit of Truth. And the guerdon of all that walk in its ways are health and abundant well-being (abundant life, not abundant wealth), with long life and fruition of seed along with eternal blessings and everlasting joy in the life everlasting, and a Crown of Glory and a Robe of Honour, amid Light perpetual." The Manual of Discipline, The Dead Sea Scriptures.
Islam was God's means of both revealing and confronting this perversity in others, in the other Western religions, but it was also God's means of revealing and correcting the very same natural impulse that dwells in the very heart of Islam itself. And even though God, in this sense, raised up Islam in the East as a mirror image of Christianity in the West (which is why these two religions are presently at war with each other), the religion of Islam was also God's means of securing these blessing for all who walk in the pathways of Light, and in the statutes of the Angel of Light--even though they dwell on that other, seemingly forsaken side of the world, at the Eastern precincts of the Sacred Mosque:
As to the righteous (no matter where they live), they shall drink a cup (of wine) mixed with (camphor) (symbolizing that which is cool and refreshiing).
A Fountain where the devotees of God do drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance. (John 7:37,38).
They perform their vows, and they fear a day whose evil flies far and wide.
And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive...
God will deliver them from the evil of that day, and will shed over them a Light of Beauty and (blissful) joy.
And because they were Patient and Constant, He will reward them with a Garden and (garments) of silk. (Please see Revelation 13:9,10).
And the shades of the Garden will come low over them, And the bunches (of Fruit) there, will hang low over them in humility (Please understand Isaiah 4:1,2). (These are those who learn the mysteries and accept them)...
It is He who has sent down the Qur'an to thee in stages.
Therefore be constant with constancy to the Command of thy Lord, and hearken not to the sinner or the ingrate among them.
And celebrate the Name of thy Lord Morning and Evening...And glorify Him a long Night through....(Sura 76).
Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, But say, O my Lord advance me in knowledge...(Sura 20.114).
RAMADAN...EASTWARD TO WESTWARD...FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET
When the scrolls are laid open, When the world on high is revealed. When the Blazing Fire is kindled to fierce heat (1 Peter 4:12-19)...
And when the Garden is brought near, Then shall each soul know what it has put forth...
So verily I call to witness the Planets that receed, go straight or hide, and the Night when it dissipates, And the Dawn as it breaks away the Darkness...
Verily this is the word of the messenger...(Sura 81.10-22).
"The two joys of fasting that, according to the Prophet, a person who is fasting is blessed with--(Iftar) breaking of the fast, and the vision of the New Moon of Id after the Fast of Ramadan--refer to two other joys: The joy of seeing (Jannah) (Paradise) after death, and the joy of having the vision of God after Resurrection." Islamic Spirituality, by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, p.119.
All of these things have been ordained--the Light, the Darkness, the Festivals and Observances, the rituals and reality of Death and Resurrection--so that the Great Cosmic Circle of Divine Revelation might be completed, that it might come to its conclusion and that it might begin again on the next higher plane of human consciousness. All of these things have been instituted in the interest of continuity, so that the beginning of the creation process did not get disconnected from its effects, so that the mind of Light (Life) might be manifest and at last delivered from the mind of Darkness (Death) in the last day. (Genesis 1:14-18). But principally, so that God (Him and Herself, in consort with Creation itself), might be revealed in the Whole. (For that is the whole duty of each soul born into the Light, to know God). They are not only ONE with each other (we cannot comprehend the ONE without also comprehending TWO), but together They are both the Destroyers of worlds and the Creator of worlds. AllaH destroys, in the very interest of Creation Herself. The Lord brings to oblivion all that is unjust and grown out of balance--thus everything that is not conformed to Their own Image in the Universe. They had, of course, to let every thing come to fruition as it has, the Darkness out of which Light emerges (the chaos out of which order emerges), for very essential cosmic and psychological reasons, while, in Their Wisdom and Mercy, providing every means of deliverance from the destructions themselves. These means are awakening, repentance, and transformation.
(Awaken to what? And why, it might be asked, must humanity repent? especially for things that are completely God's own doing, and for which He, and not us, must be held completely accountable? One recent study has suggested that God actually suffers from severe bi-polar disorder. Anthony DeLuca, in his Freud and Future Religious Experience, comes to a somewhat different, wholly materialistic, humanistic conclusion when he refers to "the God man has made." "As the person matures," he says, "our sense of the wholly other matures"...
"For Freud religion was an infantile manifestation because religious people showed the same longings, fears, and desires which the child displays toward his father. (p.3).
IMPLICIT TELEOLOGY...Moving Toward an End: "There is something intrinsic to man by which he moves to an end. The mind seems to have within itself a dynamism by which it stretches out to grasp more of reality...Man grows in consciousness...The endeavor to grasp reality ever more fully we regard as teleological. Religious experience thus bears witness to a person's ability to see ever more fully reality as it reveals itself." (pp.7, 8).
Thus DeLuca suggests that as the human mind matures it will slowly dispense with the idea of God altogether...while Carl Jung, in his Answer to Job, wrestles with God Himself, and also with the question of God's state of mind. In the pages of his book we actually find the solution to the question before the indictment itself is complete:
"My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me." Here his human nature attains divinity: at that moment God experiences what it is like to be a mortal man and drinks to the dregs what he made his faithful servant Job to suffer. Here is given the answer to Job, and clearly this sublime moment is as divine as it is human, as 'eschatological' as it is 'psychological.' And at this moment too, where one can feel the human being so absolutely, the divine myth is present in full force." (p.46).
"We can take it for certain that the author of the Epistles of John made every effort to practice what he preached to his fellow Christians. For this purpose he had to shut out all negative feelings, and, thanks to a helpful lack of self-reflection, he was able to forget them. But though they disappeared from the conscious level they continued to rankle beneath the surface, and in the course of time spun an elaborate web of resentments and vengeful thoughts which then burst upon consciousness in the form of a revelation. From this there grew up a terrifying picture that blatantly contradicts all ideas of Christian humility, tolerance, love of your neighbor and your enemies, and makes nonsense of a loving father in heaven and rescuer of mankind. A veritable orgy of hatred, wrath, vindictiveness, and blind destructive fury that revels in fantastic images of terror breaks out, and with blood and fire overwhelms a world which Christ had just endeavored to restore to the original state of innocence and loving communion with God. (p.76).
Of course, God will have to be forgiven for creating humankind as He has, in His own invisible and purely psychological image. We do, however, have a full understanding of who God is now, and insight, not only into the very depths and heights of Divine Consciousness but into the depths and heights of our human minds. God could have left us in the natural state, as innocent members of the animal kingdom, but then there would be no reason for Creation in the first place. We must forgive God, just as we must forgive our own parents for being who they were. We must see the Lotus of Human Creation unfolding. Follow the pathways of the Great Mandala. As Einstein discovered the paradox of Time and Space and simply accepted it, thus revealing an entire new dimension of reality, we must accept the paradox of God's existence and reach for the Highest and most transformative meaning of it all. Or, as the Qur'an so sternly warns, or else).
During the Dark Ages neither the perspective, nor the potential for a collective human awakening existed (history was still in process). But still yet, when the Crusaders assembled out of Europe on their way to liberate what was held by all to be the "Holy Land," the children of Light (surely by the Grace of God most of them were peasants and lowly craftsmen at the time), did not join them. The children of Darkness, led on by the religious and political powers of that age, did. The Crusaders--bewildered peasant, pope and king alike--as well as all the warriors of Islam, unable to distinguish metaphor and allegory, thus myth and legend, thus true reality from the images of it in the lower world, marched off to their own (may we add, still unfolding and still-impending) destructions...
"Even the Knights Templars (who were eventually massacred along with the Cathars, and driven almost out of existence by the Inquisitions of the Roman Church) forgot their order had been constituted as priestly warriors for the defense of routes to and from Jerusalem, and defense of the Holy Sepulchre (the location of this tomb, of course, was the product of Queen Helena's religious imagination)...Even the Templars, who were as an order sworn to celibacy and poverty, became bankers and treasurers before they lost Jerusalem again...
This Grail Quester Lancelot might be taken as a Knight Templar, so many similarities are there between him and his quest, them and their's...There is the question of a lost and unimaginably precious treasure in both cases. The Grail itself puzzles us today and breaks our hearts, so great immeasurably is this lost treasure. (See Deuteronomy 32:34). The vast treasure and fleet of the Knight's Templar similarly have not been traced or recovered...
THE THIRD CRUSADE (1189-90)....King Richard I of England, King Phillip I of France, and the Emperor Fredrick I of Germany, set out magnificently appareled, superbly attended for the Holy Land. Their reason compelled them to hasten, for the brilliant SalaDIN had in 1187 reconquered Jerusalem.
Pope Gregory VIII therefore urgently and personally preached the Third Crusade upon which all Christendom depended. Now it was chiefs against chief, the best against the very best. The Western world hung upon Richard Coeur de Lion. He had all of Europe at his feet. Richard occasionally performed great deeds of personal heroism (while at the same time) ordering acts of utter cruelty and unbelievable barbarity...At that point in his life he was considered by Western Europe the greatest hero of the century, a Lancelot, a nonpereil flower of chivalry. (Had one been present at the parade in New York City celebrating the American triumph in the Persian Gulf they would have seen exactly how it was, and how Richard would have been hailed beyond comparison in our time)...
THE FOURTH CRUSADE (1202-04)...This time the Crusaders unfortunately turned their war machine against an ally, the city of Constantinople. Unbelievably they sacked the city of their own co-religionists. The results of this UTTER INSANITY rang with devastating results throughout the world. It seemed a prelude to the real bouts of mass insanity that were to occur in the fifteenth century (not to mention its continued effects in the 20th century, in the ongoing American crusade against an 'unbelieving' world), then masses of people went totally insane...
THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE (1208-71)...This crusade was called by the Pope in 1208 against the so-called heritics of southern France, including those in the northern cities. They (the truest of believers among them) were hunted, trapped down, interrogated, and burned at the stake. This crusade was launched against heritics, defined as people whose beliefs and practices differed from orthodoxy. Several million people were accused, tried, and burned at the stake while the rest of France looked on. (And this is not to mention the millions of women who were arrested over the centuries, tortured in many various ways, and executed as witches by these same 'christian' authorities and their attending powers)...Those who accepted to go on raids or to serve under the leaders were promised forgiveness for all sins, and a certain paradise thereafter." The Holy Grail, pp.166-180.
Of course we can see now what the Divine Mother was hiding from all of them throughout these times--the very whereabouts of the Holy City itself: My Secret Place as the prophet said (Ezekiel 7:22), and the very same which all ungodly men have been treading under foot all these centuries. (Revelation 11:2). Thus as history would have it, Christianity and Islam were eventually made to meet each other right there at the center of the mystery, at the Gates of Vienna. Not only did they repel one another there but they layed the structure between them, and the political framework for those conditions that eventually erupted in the World Wars of the 20th century):
THE SIEGE OF VIENNA, JULY 14 - SEPTEMBER 11, 1683
Ever since Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 they became the relentless terror of Christendom. For centuries the nations of Europe fought the Turks on land and at sea. There were great battles and victories and temporary peace treaties...The struggle between Islam and Christendom continued and the initiative remained with the Turks so that, by 1683, they controlled most of Hungary with only the upper portion remaining part of the Holy Roman Empire, synonymous with the House of Hapsburg and Austria...
Sultan Mehmed (in an attempt to secure his stronghold against the Hapsburg emperor, Leopold I), sent his Grand Vizier, the swarthy Kara Mustafa, to aid his Hungarian subjects. Mustafa marched straight for Vienna...From the towers of St. Stephens, the people beheld a sea of thousands of multicolored Turkish tents drawn up in crescent moon formation southwest of the city. They included Mustafa's opulent pavilion with his hundreds of concubines and slaves and exotic animals...If Vienna's walls could not hold till help arrived, its streets would run red with Christian blood...
The reinforcements came...And the attack opened with a terrific barrage of musketry, demoralizing and thinning the Turkish defense...With the cry of "Jezus Maria ratuj" (Jesus Maria help) the whole Polish line rode down upon the Turks. Encased in glittering steel that covered head to thighs, with their tiger and leopard pelts fluttering in the wind and eagles' wings affixed to their backs, the leading units of hussars presented an almost unearthly spectacle...At around 10 PM, the battle came to an end. In the Turkish camp, Christian infants and children cringed among hundreds of butchered captives. Starhemberg's garrison took revenge by burning 3,000 abandoned Ottoman sick and wounded alive...
While the allied victory had strained, rather than cemented, the ties between the Holy Roman Empire and Poland, the rest of Christendom celebrated. In the streets of Vienna and in the cities of Austria and all throughout Europe there was a feeling of euphoria...A Turkish victory would not have meant the end of free Christendom, because France would have presented a bulwark to further Ottoman expansion. However, Austria was saved and, more importantly, the initiative passed to the Holy Roman Empire. After hundreds of years of warfare the Christians had turned the tide against the Sword of Islam. Military Heritage, October, 2002.
"Thus, we have already seen...that Lancelot was not so much a military hero as he was a religious hero. For that reason he was himself so shrouded in the very ancient envelopes of mythology.
Thus Lancelot and Perceval, who thus far we assume are our premier Grail heroes and Grail Initiates, emerge from their trappings only momentarily... White doves, chalices, white samite, candles, and broken swords await their entrance into Grail Castles. These Grail heroes have now led us inescapably to the Crusades, during which our Grail texts were written, and in fear and trembling on our part, to the most awful massacres of the Middle Ages. (The mass destruction of Muslims in the East and of 'heritics' in Europe).
Christianity, observed Sismondi, suffered a severe loss. It became...a military religion....
Every serious student of history knows that the loss occurred when (the dark side of) Christianity joined itself to the emperor and empire in the time of Constantine (during the time when the legends of the Grail and the Round Table were still in their formative stages). The gates (the lower limbs) of Christianity were thrown wide open to the world, and every wordling, prince and prelate alike, came into her. (Please read How Christians Made Peace With War, by John Driver). Those who would not come into her were forced to. By now, however, the true mystics of the Church had all gone underground, Buried and hid with Christ as it was.
"Christian virtues most sought (after that) were bravery, constancy and prowess. Christian knights were encouraged to make larger and larger blood sacrifices of Muslims called 'infidels' and 'unbelievers'....
Please see now that Christianity and Islam had each become a reflection of the other, and a judgment on the other (as they still are today). What each saw in the other, the Mind of Light could see in both.
These descriptions should be providing everyone with a window through which they may see into their own souls. The powers of Darkness, church and state together (of which the powers of Islam were a direct reflection), were abroad in the land, wreaking havoc and vengeance, and counter-vengeance, in the Name of God--just as they are today. Anyone who follows these institutions and their leaders (or even worse, their very own heart) into battle, or consents to their excitations, and their executions, or anyone who willingly gives their sons and daughters to them, be they Christian, Jew or Muslim, is in the grip of Darkness. And it is this realm of Darkness itself, this massive state of ignorance of things Divine, that The Lord of All Things is preparing to rise up and destroy. God accomplishes it by bringing the Darkness together against itself. (It has already begun in the Middle East). In the midst of all this historic carnage, however, the blood of the Righteous was being continuously spilled out upon the earth, fertilizing the soil (the soul, that is, of humankind), bringing us to our present state of affairs in the world, and to the meaning of the words:
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words...(Exodus 24:8).
For the Life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul...(Leviticus 17:8-14).
Though their own lives may be required of them the children of Light are not permitted to shed the blood of others in the earth, no, not for any single reason whatsoever. The Holy Qur'an, like the Law and the Prophets, is very clear about it. (It is clear to the mind of Light that is). There is, however, as we have already discovered in the previous chapters, an order of spiritual warriors in the earth, an angelic order, that IS called to execute the judgments of God in the earth. These powers (the powers of the Supernal order...look into the East and understand Romans 13), fierce and terrible as they are, have a direct commandment from above to assist the children of Light, and to liberate them in their darkest hour, as it was written long ago: And to divide the Light from the Darkness. (Genesis 1:18). They are sent forth from the Right Hand of the Lord, not only to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14), but for the destruction of them who despise the Light, and who, in the name of the Risen Lord, obey not the Gospel of the Risen Lord. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
For upon the day when they see the angels, there shall be no joy on that day for the guilty...
And on the day when the heaven shall burst asunder with the clouds, and the angels shall be sent down descending in ranks (John 1:51).
The kingdom on that day shall rightly belong to the Beneficent God, and a hard day shall it be for the unbelievers...(Sura 25.21-26).
"The Bearers of the Throne mentioned in Sura 40.7, these are the Four Angels in the form of an Eagle (Scorpion), a Bull, a Lion, and a Man; They are called 'Those brought nigh.' (Sura 4.172). According to Ibn Abbas God will add four more to their number on the Day of Resurrection; hence the Qur'an says, 'On that day the terror shall come to pass and heaven shall be split asunder. (John 1:51). The angels shall stand upon its borders, and on that day Eight (those situated in the last day around the sefirot named Majesty) shall carry above them the Throne of thy Lord. (Sura 69.15-17)." Islamic Spirituality, pp.327, 333.
"Israfil (the Metatron...the Angel of the Lord's Presence who overshadows and fills up the whole of human affairs). He delivers commands, places spirits within bodies, and will blow the trumpet on the last day. With one of his Four Wings he fills the West, with the second he fills the East, with the third he descends from heaven to earth, and with the fourth he keeps himself veiled. His two feet are below the Seventh earth, and his Head reaches the pillars of the Throne. When God wants something to happen in creation, He causes the pen to write upon the tablet (see Habakkuk 2:1-3), which is situated between Israfil's eyes, and then Israfil relays the commands to Michael." p.327.
"The spiritual-intellectual nature of angels...'Nothing can be known without the intervention of angels. The sage attains to supreme knowledge by purifying themself of the dark clouds of the lower world and establishing a contact with the Active Intellect at the center of one's own being...The whole creation is angelic." p.329.
"Men are forms manifesting the properties of the totality of the human-divine reality in respect to that reality's outward manifestation (elsewhere called the Perfect Man--Adam Kadmon). The angels with all their various degrees are forms that manifest the properties of its inward states and faculties. Thus the supreme angels and the Bearers of the Throne are (all) related (to the image of the Perfect Being on the Tree of Life) as the major organs are related to the faculties deposited in each of the limbs of the human body." Islamic Spirituality, p.333.
Though these two, the powers of the West and the powers of the East, shall meet on the same fields of battle, and wield the same kinds of weapons against each other, and though they have been up till now equally vulnerable to the presence of the other (the West seeming to have triumphed), they are as different from each other in the great heavenly order of things as the Stars above are from the Planets below. The Children of Light in the world transcend in their conversation, indeed, in their evolved state of mind and in their approach to life itself, the entire material order in which these other spirits function, as it is written: To which of the angels (the powers of the East) said He at any time, Sit on my Right Hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Hebrews 1:13).They are the children, actually the grown daughters and sons now, of the Great King who is The ALL and who inhabits ALL, both above and below.
WHO NOW IS ZUL-QARNAIN?
They ask thee concerning Zul-qarnain, say, I will rehearse to you something of his story. Verily We established his Power on earth, And We gave him the ways and the means to all ends.
One such a way he followed: Until, when he reached the Setting of the Sun (in the West), he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a people.
We said: O Zul-qarnain! Thou hast authority either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness. He said, Whoever doeth wrong, him shall We punish; Then shall he be sent back to his Lord; And He will punish him with a punishment unheard of before. But whoever believes and works righteousness, he shall have a good reward, And easy will be his task as We order it by our command.
Then he followed another way: Until he came to the Rising of the Sun (in the East). He found it rising on a people for whom We provided no covering protection from the Sun. He left them as they were: We completely understood what was before him.
Then he followed another way: Until he reached a tract between Two Mountains (between the East and the West--Europe). He found beneath them a people who scarcely understood a word (a great mass of unlearned souls). They said, O Zul-qarnain! The Gog and Magog people do great mischief in the earth. Shall we render thee tribute in order that thou mightest erect a Barrier between us and them?
He said: The Power in which the Lord established me is better than tribute. Help me therefore with strength and labour: I will erect a strong Barrier between you and them.
Bring me blocks of Iron. At length, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain sides (between the West and the East), He said: Blow with your bellows. Then when he made it Red with Fire he said, Bring me that I may pour over it molten lead.
Thus they were made powerless to scale it or dig through it. He said, This is a Mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord come to pass, He will make it into dust. The promises of the Lord are true.
On that day We shall leave them to surge like waves on one another: The Trumpet will be blown, and We shall collect all of them together. And we shall present Hell that day for unbelievers to see, all spread out...(Sura 18.83-100).
"Zul-qarnain, literally 'the Two-Horned one,' the king with the Two Horns, or the Lord of the Two epochs. Who is he? In what age did he live? 'Qarn' may mean: (1) a horn in the literal sense, as in the case of a Ram or a Bull; (2) or a horn in a metaphorical sense, as in...the horns of a kingdom or territory, two portions at opposite ends...
If we accept the popular identification of Zul-qarnain with Alexander the Great, all the designations would be applicable to him, as he was lord of the West and the East...(And) the generality of the world of Islam have accepted Alexander as the one meant by the epithet...but some of our Uluma have raised doubts about it and made other suggestions. One that it was not Alexander, but an earlier pre-historic king contemporary with Abraham, because they say Zul-qarnain was a man of faith, while Alexander was a pagan and believed in Grecian gods...
Another suggestion made is Zul-qarnain was an ancient king of Persia. A king of Persia is referred to as a Ram with Two Horns in the Book of Daniel (8:3). But in the same book, the Ram with Two Horns was smitten, cast to the ground, and stamped upon by the He-goat with One Horn. (8:7,8).
The question of Gog and Magog and the Iron Barrier to keep them out is of some interest. It is practically agreed that they were the wild tribes of Central Asia which have made inroads on settled kingdoms and empires at various stages of world history, (and which found their way Westward over time to create the American Empire)...The Persian empire suffered from them at various times and at various points. Their incursions into Europe in large hordes caused migrations and displacements of populations on an enormous scale, and eventually broke up the Roman empire. These tribes are known vaguely to the Greeks and Romans as Scythians. (Please see chapter 11).
If we could locate the Iron Barrier or Iron Gates referred to, we should have a closer idea of the tribes the barrier was meant to keep out." From Yusuf Ali's Commentaries in The Meaning of The Glorious Qur'an.
Yusuf Ali makes his case for Alexander. And we mostly disagree with him (but not entirely), especially when he tries to attribute a measure of true faith to this great son of Darkness. Alexander was a marauder and a murderer, a pillager and a thief, one of the Seven archetypal antichrists in the earth. But we agree with him in the sense of the words: For there is no Power but of God: the Powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1). Thus we will elevate our eyes to behold--in a single sweeping glance--the whole plan of God, and the whole history of Western man. God's timeless Presence is continuous from epoch to epoch. So in this sense God's possessing Spirit was indeed in Alexander, just as it was in all the other Nimrods who have fulfilled God's historic will in the earth, bringing the age to its present fruitful conclusion. (His Strange Act...Isaiah 28:21). The text in Daniel that has been applied to Alexander...
And he said, Behold, I will make thee to know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be.
The Ram which thou sawest having Two Horns are the kings of Media and Persia (the Powers of the East).
And the Rough Goat is the king of Grecia: and the Great Horn that is between his eyes is the First King...
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up...(Daniel 8:19-22).
...is fulfilled at last in the kings, or rather the presidents of the United States of America. George Washington was the great Khalif of the Masonic/Knights Templars/Islamic mysteries. Thomas Woodrow Wilson, however, is this First King. This antichrist stood up to make the world "Safe for Democracy" (not to mention the capitalist "free-market" global order that is presently running rough-shod over the planet), a philosophy devised chiefly by the Greeks. Democracy, however, is a mere earth-born image of the highest philosophy (one that transcends Democracy altogether). It is a violent and self-destructive image at that, for it gives space to man's most craven instincts and aspirations (modern economic theory), and allows the most violent of men to ascend among the people, so long, of course, as they clothe themselves in the garments of religious worship and proper civil discourse. True religion (and the economic and political frame of mind that flows from it) transcends the modern notion of democracy because its roots are nurtured in the emotional wellsprings of love, cosmic love, and in such a sense of connectedness to all things that it is by nature the direct antithesis of material self-interest and social competativeness. It exists to reflect the magnitude of the Divine Presence to an evolving human consciousness, and can only come to fruition itself in an atmosphere of true liberation. Liberated to do what? To think as a servant--to both the human family and the planet--and to act as one. Free from what? From the authoritive and oppressive exercise of self-will. (1 Corinthians 13:4-10). The Democracies, on the other hand, must remain ever vigilant, and always on either the defense or offense against God. And this because, using their "liberty" as a cloak of maliciousness, they are ever (un)mindful of the judgments that God has promised to bring upon them because of their unholy and self-serving deeds.
Thus in Wilson, who stood in violation of every highest precept of his own Master, and in the most recent American presidents, the "king of Grecia" did indeed smite the Ram. The Ram being the symbol of the Might and Power of the Father God, and of all the forces of the East that God has reserved for Himself against the Day of battle and war. Thus it says: And the Two Horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. (Daniel 8:3). (At this very moment, as these words are being typed, the shofar is being sounded from every synagogue in New York City, and there about. It is Erev Rosh Hashanah, 2002. The day of the Great Trumpet is drawing nearer).
"According to the traditions of the rabbis one horn of this Ram became the Shofar God blew on Mount Sinai to introduce the giving of the Ten Commandments (understand Exodus 19, and 20), and the other horn will be used to announce the coming of Messiah."
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind him (in the East) a Ram caught in the thicket by his Horns...
And Abraham called the name of the place YHVH Jirah, as it is said to this day, In the Mount of the Lord (not in the land of Palestine but in the Mount of Divine Revelation) it shall be seen...(Genesis 22:13-19).
The "thicket" symbolizes the lower, phenomenal world, with its host of social, economic, political and international concerns. Zul-qarnain, the Two-Horned One, is the Angel of God who is divinely Present in all of these affairs--both East and West. He is the Krishna of the East and the (H)esus of the West. (He is the Pantakrator who overshadows the whole of Russia and all of Asia. He is the Ineffible YHVH, and He is AllaH). The Americas is the land of the people of the Setting Sun, where both the Light and Darkness are coming to their mutual states of perfection. (See Ecclesiastes 3:14-22). Islam is the people of the Sun Rising who have no covering (the nearly barran landscape being an earthly metaphor). This because the Light--the Great Sun of Righteousness--has taken its journey up out of the East and away from that land toward the most fruitful places in the West. (Malachi.chapter 4)...
(It has been an epic, psychological journey, out of the past toward the future, out of an Eastern state of spiritual servitude to a Western state of spiritual liberation. Hear and Obey, is Allah's commandment in the East; Read and understand, is God's commandment in the West. Prostrate before me, Five times a day, is Allah's commandment in the East; Stand upon thy feet, and Use not your liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, is God's commandment in the West. Complete the Hajj).
...And the tract between the two is Europe. The Gog-Magog people are the ancient Scythian alliance who attacked Europe in the 6th century B.C., and finally the Western alliance (with America as their head) that attacked it again according to all the words of the prophets in the 20th century... If one were to travel up the Danube, into Central Europe, they would have to pass through a narrow gorge in the river that separates Rumania from the former Yugoslavia called the Iron Gate--but this passage only brings us closer to the meaning of the Iron Barrier. Where the Book of Daniel mentions the Four empires that succeeded each other, starting with the Babylonian, the Medio-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, it likens them to the Four metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron. (Daniel 2:31-40). Thus iron (which is the core element of the planet Earth itself, and therefore another symbol of that place named Tifereth in the center of the Tree of Life) is associated with the Roman empire, whose boundries extended to the Center of Europe in the time of Christ, and to that obscure and forsaken city (the City of David) that lay hidden at the center of the World Mystery, near the Gates of Vienna. It is the land wherein Moses not only said that Israel may dig iron (Deut.8:9), but against which the prophet was also directed:
Thou also, son of man take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalem:
And lay seige against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it, and set battering rams against it round about.
Moreover take unto thee an Iron pan, and set it for a wall of Iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shaly lay siege against it. This shall be a sign unto the House of Israel...(Ezekiel 4:1-3).
The seige against Central Europe and the Holy City began in ancient times and has continued unabated into our own time. The Iron Curtain descended in the 20th century across the breadth of the entire continent. This barrier not only divided the East from the West, but more importantly the mind of European civilization from spiritual reality itself. (Isaiah 27 to 29).
Lord of the East and Lord of the West.
Which then of the bounties of the Lord will you deny?
He has made Two Seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together.
Between them is a Barrier (a Barzakh) which they cannot pass.
Which then of the bounties of the Lord will ye deny?...(Sura 55.75-81).
"The Barzakh (Barrier) is an intermediate reality that both separates and comprehends what lies on either side. It is a name given to the 'world of imagination,' (Ibn Arabi), the intermediate ontological realm that separates the Ocean of the spirits from that of the corporeal bodies: 'He let forth the Two Seas that meet together, between them a "Barzakh" they do not overpass.'
The 'Barzakh' is the junction of the Two Seas; the Sea of spiritual meanings and the Sea of sensory objects...The World of Imagination, which we have called "The Junction of the Two Seas,' gives meaning corporeal shape and makes sensory objects into subtle realities. (Ibn Arabi).
'The Soul is the Junction of the Two Seas.' (Mulla Sadra)." Islamic Spirituality, pp.389-91.
And God made the Firmament, and divided the waters which were under the Firmament from the waters which were above the Firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day...(Genesis 1:6-8; Proverbs 8:22-36).
And when Musa (Moses) said to his servant: I will not cease until I reach the junction of the Two Seas, or I wll go on for years.
But when they reached the Junction, they forgot (about) their Fish, which took its course through the Sea (straight) as in a tunnel.
When they had passed on (some distance), Musa said to his attendant: Bring us our early meal: truly we have suffered much fatigue at this (stage of) our journey.
He replied: Sawest thou (what happened) when we betook to the Rock? I did indeed forget (about) the Fish: none but Satan made me forget to tell (you) about it: It took its course through the Sea in a marvellous way...(Sura 18.60-63).
ZUL-QARNAIN, LORD OF THE WEST, LORD OF THE EAST
THE JESUS ( ) OF THE WEST, CRISHNA (VISHNU) OF THE EAST
and ALLAH OF ISLAM
The following is from the text of Sura 68, entiltled The Pen, or the letter Nun, with interspersed commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
Nun. By the Pen, and by the (Record) which (men) write...
"This is a very early Meccan revelation. The general Muslim opinion is that a great part of it was second in order of revelation, the first being Sura 96.
Nun may mean 'Fish,' or an 'ink holder'...The reference to ink would be an appropriate link with the mystic Pen in verse 1. The (forthcoming) reference to the Fish would be appropriate with reference to the story of Jonah in verses 48-50. Jonah's title is 'the Companion of the Fish' (Zul-Nun. Sura 21.87), as he was, in the story, swallowed by a Fish."
Verily it is thy Lord that knowest best, which among men hath strayed from His path; and He knoweth best those who receive true guidance.
So hearken not to those who deny the Truth...
When to him are rehearsed Our Signs, Tales of the Ancients, he cries...
But when they saw the Garden, they said, We have surely lost our way...
"Their fond dreams were dispelled when they found that the Garden had been changed out of all recognition. It was as if they had come to some place other than their own smiling garden. Where they had expected to reap a rich harvest, there was only a howling wilderness...Their first thought was of their own personal loss, the loss of their labour and the loss of their capital. They had plotted to keep out others from the fruits: now as it happened, the loss was their own."
The day that the Shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration, but they shall not be able...
"That is, when all mystery shall vanish. The "Shin' is a symbol for the most hidden mystery, as it is double-covered, first by the skin, and secondly by clothing. When it is laid bare, men will be summoned to adoration, not necessarily in words, but by logic of facts, when the reality will be fully manifest: the Glory of God will be too dazzling for unbelievers, whose past deliberate refusal, when they had freedom to choose, and yet rejected, will stand in the way."
So wait with patience for the Command of thy Lord, and be not like The Companion of the Fish when he cried out in agony.
Had not Grace from his Lord reached him, he would have indeed been cast off on the naked shore, in disgrace.
Thus did his Lord choose him and make him of the company of the righteous.
And unbelievers would almost trip thee up with their eyes, But it is nothing less than a message to all worlds...(Sura 68).
He that giveth his mind to the Law of the Most High, and is occupied in the meditation thereof, will seek out the widom of all the ancients and be occupied in prophecies. He will keep the sayings of the renowned, and where subtle parables are, he will be there also. He will seek out the secrets of grave sentences and be conversant in dark parables.
He will give his heart early to resort to the Lord that made him, and will pray before the Most High, and will open his mouth in prayer and make supplications for his sins...(Ecclesiasticus 39:1-5).
The Babylonian historian, Berosus (cited by Josephus), has preseved an apocryphal account of one Oannes, from whom the name John (or Jochannan, as well as Jonah) is derived. (Luke 1:59-63). We relate it here from Zenaide A. Ragozin's The Story of Chaldea, From the Earliest Times to the Rise of Assyria:
"When the priestly historian of Babylon, Berosus, calls the older population 'men of a foreign race,' it is because he belonged himself to that second race...who introduced their own superior culture, and asserted their supremacy to the end of Babylon. The national legends have preserved the memory of this important event, which they represent as a direct divine revelation. Ea, the all-wise himself, it was believed, had appeared to men and taught them things human and divine. Berosus faithfully reports the legend, but seems to have given God's name 'Ea-Han' (Ea the Fish) under the corrupt form of Oannes. This is the narrative:
There was originally at Babylon a multitude of men of foreign race who had colonized Chaldea, and they lived without order, like animals. But in the first year (of the new order of things--the new dispensation) there appeared, from out of the Erythrean Sea (the ancient Greek name for the Persian Gulf...a tale which takes us back up the Euphrates River to its source in the Garden of Eden), where it borders upon Babylonia, an animal endowed with reason called Oannes.
The whole body of this animal was that of a Fish, but under the Fish's head he had another (human) head, and also feet below, growing out of his Fish's tail, similar to those of a man; also human speech, and his image is preserved to this day. Being used to spending the Whole Day amidst men, without taking any food, he gave them an insight into letters, and sciences, and every kind of art: he taught them how to found cities, to construct temples, to introduce laws and to measure land; he showed them how to sow seeds and gather crops. In short he instructed them in everything that softens manners and makes up civilization...
Then WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN, the monstrous Oannes used to plunge back into the sea and spend the night in the midst of the boundless waves, for he was amphibious."
The elements of this legend, the symbol of the Fish, the Going Down of the Sun, pertinant to the connection that exists between the world view of John the Baptist and the prophet Muhammad, is also pertinant, as is plainly seen, to the story of Jonah. Oannes is clothed in the body of a Fish because the legend, as does the story of Jonah, anticipates the Mystery of Christ and the Sea-ward journey of the Nation-Church. But also because the Fish is a creature who can see both above and below the water, thus a symbol of the soul who is spiritually amphibious, who can comprehend things both human and divine; and of those who descend into the darkness of their own souls as well, to search out the depths of every matter. The Fish is also the correlated symbol of the Hebrew letter 'Nun,' whose numerical value is 50, the number of the Great Jubilee.
"Basic Meanings of the Characters...Nun, the Fish...Fins and scales (exterior forms of the fish) are expressions of balance, thus making them edible flesh (Leviticus 11:9). The fins indicate direction (justice) unto knowledge. The scales indicate a covering (mercy) and sanctifying of the Spirit. Via these two principles in proper balance we attain to our fullest potential." Bet HaShem Midrash, Sh'muel ben Aharon.
Comparing Spiritual with Spiritual
Norma Goodrich makes what seems to be a good case for an historical Arthur, finding in this figure from myth and legend shadows of some last great chieftan and defender of the Celtic realm in Britain; and perhaps the last Roman emperor, seeing, as she says, that this Arthur is actually descended from the Celtic Queen Helena and her son Constantine. If this is so, if we can place the tales of Arthur in a literal, historical context, then we must see in this historical Arthur another figure of the spirit of Antichrist in the world, seeing how he surrounded himself in all the garments of the Mystery of Light while he went forth majestically, as all the other Nimrods in the earth, to perform the terrible works of Darkness. And as such we have a story with no higher meaning, or spiritual conclusion. We have a land still wasted with destruction and spoiled with blood, and an order of fighting men (brave knights one and all), with no commandment from the higher worlds to Put up the Sword, for those who live by the Sword shall perish by the Sword. (Matthew 26:52, 53). "I am the land that is poisoned and broken. I am the Tree that is pulped to provide trivia. I am the soul of man that is swamped with filth and degradation..." quote Caitlin and John Matthews in their article entitled The Grail-less Lands:
"Humankind may have the governing and ordering of the created world (or he may imagine that he does), but it is also subject to the promptings of the inner worlds and their inhabitants. These worlds and beings vary according to traditional cosmologies, but they include the discarnate, the superhuman, the higher octave of the created Four levels, (P.R.D.S.). This interpenetration of the microcosm by the macrocosm is clearly visible on the Grail Quest in the hermits, totemistic helping beasts, semi-divine kings, and otherworldly maidens who assist in the Grail quest.
Until the Grail can be brought to the forefront of esoteric consciousness and magical work, it will remain a pretty, medieval story, its transformative and healing powers locked up. Those who have taken up the task of finding the Grail in order to heal the Wasteland find that this is harder to manifest than it first appears. To enter the Grail mysteries is to recognize that we are wounded ourselves...It means to recognize that we have become separated, out of alignment, barren in spirit. This Grail quest is about our relationship with this 'therapeutic illness' and the most skillful means of establishing our wholeness/holiness...
Examination of the earliest legends reveals the cause of the Wasteland is almost entirely due to a disregard for the sacred spirit of the land: in Celtic terms, a rupture of the mystical marriage between the King and the Goddess of the Land, Sovereignty; in medieval terms, the failure of the king to maintain a balanced kingdom." Caitlin and John Matthews, Gnosis Magazine.
Goodrich, nevertheless, allows for another Arthur, one more connected to the higher spiritual realities, and unconsciously supports it in the extent of her own research into the esoteric elements of the Arthurian cycle of stories. Had she access to the full dimension of the Christ Mystery, and how it fills the very heavens and earth with itself--Westward, she would agree with those scholars who she says have stressed a mythological rather than a historical and geographically located king Arthur. (I have stressed the word "mythological" because in the heavenly scheme of things, the so-called Myth is the Reality):
"Sir James Frazer laid down a general law of mythology, that illustrious names are always tabood...The injunction extended with especial severity to the names of royal dead, for which reason the name Arthur lay dormant for so many centuries, known but seldom used, and not pronounced...This explains perhaps the widespread appearance of this king in the early twelfth century, until which time he (or rather his name) had remained unutterably holy...
In order to avoid the taboo of names, people called their kings by some tribal totem, such as 'bear,' 'lion,'...At Delphi and Thebes, as in Britain, the king was called 'dragon,' hence Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon. We err probably in presuming that great kings ever disappeared from memory or imagination. The reason is that their rites were transmuted first into mythology, and then stored as pageants, stories, and tales...The Arthurians also survived in the form of planetary deities, as astral mythology." The Holy Grail, p.317.
"The British king Arthur stirs the hearts in our century as he has done for fifteen centuries. To us he stands symbolically for the Alpha, the beginning, the Great A that recurs in so many other proper names associated with the Holy Grail. It stood not only for Avalon, the (mystical) Isle where Arthur housed his Grail, but also for Albania, which he ruled as Ri Alban.
King Arthur's northern origin again brings to mind the Grizzly Bear, which figures as his totem on earth as in the heavens. There the Great Bear becomes our Great Dipper circling the North Star. Merlin (a priestly figure that stands directly between the ancient Judeao-Druid tradition and the Judeao-Christian tradition) would have known it as he climbed nightly into his observatory.
With the Bear to personify King Arthur and the dragon (Leviathan) to grace Arthur's penant, which Merlin caused to streak down the sky over dark Scotland like a flaming torch, King Arthur stands and is remembered...and has his favorite places, at least a hundred such named for him inside Great Britain alone." (p.310).
"The derivation of the name Arthur may very well be the ancient word 'father,' for in the cases of Gothic and Gaelic the initial consonant had already been dropped in those languages. Thus the word 'father' in Gothic was 'atta,' and in Irish 'aithair' and 'athir.' The lengthening of the initial vowel 'a' before the sound of 'th' causes a lowering influence, which might easily insert the low dental 'r' into the first syllable, thus 'Arthur.' Then the Gaelic compounds 'all' + 'athair'...Thus Arthur may have been also called Teutates, Father of His People, a name that has survived on altars and tombstones...
Mourned over the centuries, revered as the noblest of rulers, loved as the dearest of fathers, King Arthur still wields a magic that will not be dimmed. How could he have been less than altogether some king of heaven, some god of war, a ruler of the seas, a god of light, a giver of vision, and a lord of the zodiac? (pp.319, 320).
The real Arthur is another cosmic figure, as is the combined figures of Hesus and Krishna (Jesus Christ), and as the Germanic Wodin and the northern Thor, one that touches both heaven and earth, the light as well as the darkness; and one that sought to express in the thought-forms of the ancient Gaelic language, the same unfolding elements of the Divine Mystery that were otherwise being expressed in the Kabbalistic and priestly language of the Hebrew scriptures (including, of course, the Gospels). For such adepts in the mysteries there was easy commerce between the Gaelic language and the Hebrew, seeing how they both derived from the same root, and from the same world-view. Islam expressed the same, (according to God's master plan), and according to its own cultural lights, but also in the uniquely stylized and perhaps even more highly expressive and imaginative qualities of both the Arabic script and tongue. This hardly suggested to Islam that it was once, or perhaps even twice removed from the central Mystery, but rather that it was the greater heir and the focus of it all. Thus:
"According to the Prophet, God created man 'upon His own form' or 'upon the form of the All-Merciful.'...
The Divine Names mentioned in the Qur'an are the archetypes of all creatures: the heaven and the earth and all they contain, often referred to in the Qur'an as the 'Signs of God.' In their multiplicity the individual creatures of the cosmos reflect the multiple Names of God, and the cosmos as a whole reflects the 'All-comprehensive' name ALLAH, or its near synonym the 'All-Merciful' (Al-Rahman). 'Call upon Allah, or call upon the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, to Him belong belong the Names Most Beautiful.' (Sura 17.110).
At the same time each human being, made upon God's form, also reflects the name ALLAH: microcosm and macrocosm are mirror images, and each in turn reflects God. Man's uniqueness lies in the fact that he brings together all the realities of the universe in a summerized and all-comprehensive unity." Islamic Spirituality, p.384.
"The reward of Questers is...an 'open sight' of God...Lancelot failed because he was able to summon only dreams of the Grail, which constitute a low level of mystical experience. Both Perceval and Galahad...wore red to symbolize the fires of baptism (Matthew 3:11), those flames always seen by witnesses and participants after the full Grail Procession...Theologically speaking, God's secrets, like the Grail, are only accessible to mankind through Grace.
Now, the Grail Quest was surely a search for God's secrets...thus key words in all Grail texts are (not simply 'Hear and Obey' but) search, ask, look, understand, be shown openly, see openly." (p.334).
"This heritage from King Arthur's candidature at the Grail Castle implied answering obvious contradictions apparent to all persons on earth. Why was man, who was created by God, often wretched, homeless, and prostrate? How to reconcile the majesty of the Deity with the misery of mankind? How to synchronize dogma and life? Do we not need an aristocracy of the spirit? Do we not long for an end to vulgarity, and, in exchange, a nobler vision than that of war?" The Holy Grail, p.335.
There were Four degrees of initiation, which involved ascending approaches to holiness. Goodrich cites Roy who lists baptism at a spring or sacred fountain, exile, seeking instruction, and participating in certain Gnostic rites of inner awareness among them. We would point out that there are Four because the pathway to Paradise, P.R.D.S., Phst, Rmz, Drsh and Sud, is a Four-staged journey as well.
"All this was passed on before memories faded by our authors of the precious, best grail manuscripts painfully copied from abbeys and the earliest universities. Authors understood the Church Father Origen's early instruction, that great literature may be read on (what he perceived as) three levels, each corresponding to the reader's maturity: (1) literally according to physical maturity, (2) allegorically according to the soul's development, and (3) mystically as the spirit apprehends the world more clearly...The ten or so major texts concerning the Holy Grail have long set a record of continuous popularity at home and abroad for over one thousand years now. Their origin, however, stretches back to the lifetime of Christ, and then backward again...
Say: We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Ibrihim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and what was given to Musa and Isa and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit...(Sura 3.84).
The Holy Grail has become by itself a mystique of history...Both Lancelot and Guinevere metaphorically tried to ascend the (Sacred) Mountain of their Dark Age, (the Mount of Salvation), Celestial Jerusalem. Both sought the mystery of the "Word" from John the Beloved Disciple, and the Catharists after them, and the Knights Templar also, and the Rosicrucians. They thus linked their Christianities to Hebrew teachings before them, and to others even before them. Their Wasteland was another Promised Land. What was their Grail Quest if not mankind waiting for Godot as the modern Irish poet Samuel Beckett saw it? Was it not Everyman;s journey, every prodigal son in exile far from home, in search of God?" The Holy Grail, pp.336, 337.
"Muhammad b.Fadl Al-Balkhi says: 'Knowledge is of three kinds--from God, with God, and of God. Knowledge of God is the science of Gnosis, whereby He is known to all His prophets and saints. It cannot be acquired by ordinary means, but is the result of divine guidance and information. Knowledge from God is the science of the Sacred Law which He commanded and made obligatory on us. Knowledge with God is the science of The Stations and the Path and the Degrees of the saints. Knowledge is unsound without the acceptance of the Law, and the Law is not practiced rightly unless the Stations are manifested...
Knowledge is the life of the heart, which delivers it from the death of ignorance. It is the light of the eye of faith, which saves it from the darkness of infidelity.'" Muhammad and The Course of Islam, p.282.
It is only in the context of all that preceded the rise of Islam in the 7th century, that the rise of Islam itself can be understood, and only in that context can it be interpreted for our time. By the Qur'an's own instruction this "Mother of Books" is the true Criterion--and is based squarely upon the revelation of the true meanings of the Law and the Prophets, and the Gospels...
He has revealed to you the Book with the truth, confirming the Scriptures which preceded it; For he has already revealed the Torah and the Gospel for the guidance of men, and the distinction between right and wrong...(Sura 3.3).
In the past we granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion for judgment, and a light and a message for those who would do right. Those who fear the Lord in their most secret thoughts, and who hold the hour of judgment in awe...(Sura 21.45-50).
In it are verses basic and fundamental of established meanings, They are the foundation of the Book.
Others are allegorical (figurative, metaphoric), but those in whose heart is perversity follow the part that is allegorical (doing away with the commandments) seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings but God.
And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, We believe in the Book, The whole of it is from the Lord, and no one will grasp the meaning but those of understanding...(Sura 3.7).
Thus the dictates of Islam can only be interpreted in light of God's own previous enactments on behalf of the Light against the Darkness, and in light of all the things that are still coming to pass in the world. All the comandments in the Torah, for instance, directing the children of Israel to follow a course of total warfare against their enemies, are purely allegorical. Only the children of Darkness take them for literal commands and for justification or permission to actually take up arms against the lives of other human beings. The very same is true in the Qur'an, but only the sons and daughters of Light in Islam can see it. And this is Allah's will. Thus where the Spirit cites the famous confrontation between David and Goliath as an example of gallantry in battle and obedience to duty...
When they advanced to meet Goliath and his forces, They prayed: Our Lord! Pour out constancy on us and make our steps firm: Help us against those that reject faith.
By Allah's will, they routed them; And David slew Goliath; And Allah gave him Power and Wisdom and taught him whatever (else) He willed. And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, the earth indeed would be full of mischief; But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.
These are the Signs of Allah: we rehearse them to thee in truth: verily thou art one of the messengers...(Sura 2.250-252).
AllaH (or rather Gabriel at AllaH's direction, the one is a manifestation of the other), has employed imagry from the realm of pure myth--an account of a battle that never took place on the physical plane at all--clearly in the interest of the mind of Light. The tale of David and Goliath is an allegory that speaks of the eternal struggle between the precepts of Balance and Harmony and the unbalanced forces of monolithic, power-driven (Male-dominated) authority that has held sway in the earth since ancient times. It is a prophecy foretelling the ultimate victory of the one over the other in these last times; indeed, of the victory of the people over the Giant political and religious institutions that have grown to such enormous power in our time that only D.V.D could vanquish.
Isa called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant;
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his (own) life as a ransom for many...(Matthew 20:25-28).
Anyone who has ever came to authority in the Western world, in the name of Christ, has been in direct violation of this teaching of Christ, and therefore must be considered to be antichrists. (1 John 2:18,19). Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Mu'awiya...Ministers of AllaH? Of course. Beware, however, lest that light in thee be Darkness, then how great the Darkness...(Matthew 6:22,23; Luke 11:33-36). Each became a reflection in the East of the great and notable men who were rising to power in the Western world, and more particularly, who have come to power in our own time here at the Western ends of the earth. How is it written: The ways of Peace know they not. (Isaiah 59).
Those who are learning to see how God is saying one thing, and has reserved one Way to the children of Light, and is saying another thing, and reserving another Way to the children of Darkness, will be able to look into the Oracles and see how the Left Hand of the Universal Mystery of (AllaH) extends from the Center of the Oracle into the East, and into the realm of Islam, and how the Feet of the Mystery extend to the Western ends of the earth and into the events of our times. As the Books are opened they will be able to interpret the words:
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified, or their Hands and their Feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned (exiled from the land); this shall be a disgrace for them in the world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grevious chastisement...(Sura 5.33).
Those who have subscribed to the harsh terminology of the Qur'an, for instance, and who have found satisfaction (and even perverse delight) in seeing its literal judgments enacted against others, will find in the end, when all the Books are opened, that these things are in reality a judgment against themselves. Woe to the judges of the earth. For Allah knows the hearts of men, both East and West, and will hold them in full account who have not fled from the literal word as a man flees from Fire. To literally take it upon one'self to execute another human being, in any way, or for any reason, or to literally cut off another's hand or foot, is to literally cut one'self off from the highest, and innermost meanings of the Mystery of God itself. And to literally wage war in the ways of men, without contemplating the commandment or the meanings, and the implications of the act of warfare itself, is not only to fail to perceive the Universal Presence of Allah in all others (which is the sin of Dualism), but it is to condemn one'self to another whole lifetime on earth in order to atone for the things one has failed to realize in their own given lifetime.
When the Word appeared--the One, that is, within the heart of those who utter it--a great disturbance took place among the jars because some had been emptied, some filled...Some had been purified, still other broken up. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed because they had no order of stability. Error was upset, not knowing what to do; it grieved in mourning, afflicting itself because it knew nothing when Knowledge drew near...This is the downfall of error and all its emanations. Error is empty, having nothing inside.
Truth appeared; all its emanations knew it. They greeted the Father in truth with a perfect power that joins them with the Father...His tongue is the Holy Spirit...(The Gospel of Truth, The Nag Hammadi Library).
But can we then count all who have followed the course of Islam into these times, among the lawless and rebellious, and among those who have resisted the Voice of Allah? No! Rather count them among the absolutely obedient ones, among the slaves of God, submissive in every way. These were not given permission to question, and so they did not. They did not see themselves as sons and daughters of God, only as servants. The commandments to Follow peace with ALL men, and To come out from among them (from among the nations of the earth, and away from the crass political and commercial interests of men), and therefore To have no fellowship with the Unfruitful works of Darknes, but rather reprove them, are among the precepts that have come down to us in the West. They are the teachings of Christ to a people that counts Freedom among its spiritual attributes. And therefore to those whom much has been committed-- the precepts of liberty as opposed to the precepts of submission--much is required.
"Thus the Quran reflects the pragmatics of political and civil administaration; its authority as prescriptive text reaches into every corner of public and private life, secular and devotional alike. Jesus gazed at the coin with Caesar's head thereon and acknowledged a dichotomy between earthly and spiritual power, but Muhammad's kingdom was very much of this world--although he had God's word to guide him in patterning it after heavenly models.
To appreciate the breadth of the Quran's jurisdiction, imagine for a moment a different ending to the biography of Christ as recorded in Scripture: Jesus fleeing from the Garden of Gethsemane and losing his pursuers in the olive groves; a 'hijrah' north back to Galilee, where he become a recognized community leader and defeats Roman legionary detachments sent against him; then a return in triumph eight years later as the head of an armed force, with which he expels the Romans from Jerusalem and restores Judaism to an earlier purity, one predating the corrupting influence of Hellenistic paganism. Simon Peter would have rejoiced to be allowed finally to use his sword in defence of Christ; and then the Gospels would then have recorded the administrative decisions made by Jesus as he faced the problems of governance and warfare in the Near East...
But to return from speculation to history: the Muslim successors of Muhammad as rulers of the growing Islamic empire were expected to follow his example of administering society in accordance with Quranic revelation. The sacred text naturally formed the basis of the religious legislation that structured Islamic society." The Shiites, Ta'wil: The Esoteric Dimension of Quranic Scripture, by David Pinault, pp.28,29.
"Though Yathrib, when it became Medina, by the 'Hijrah,' had its vital role in the external evolution of the Prophet's mission, Mecca remained the essential mould of his mind and affections. His birthplace was the constant haunt of his thoughts. Its genius for trade and high finance dominates the imagery of the Scripture. The physical emigration of AD 622 made no difference to the undisputed sway of the Meccan scene over the imagination and language by which Islamic theology was nourished...
(It came) overwhelmingly, from the market and the counting house, from the investments and mercantile instincts of Mecca and the Quraish. Though, strangely, the word 'tajir' (merchant) does not figure in the Qur'an, and 'tijarah' (merchandise) only on nine occasions, commerce is the central them in the life that it mirrors and in the vocabulary by which it speaks. Everywhere, in simile, allusion and assumption, the merchant and his merchandise bestrides the stage...
This structure of the Mecca economy leaves its traces on almost every page of the Qur'an...The themes of destiny and faith are dominated by the thought of profit and loss, gain and bankruptcy, and human and divine computing. Accordantly with those unerring records of the business house, the world and every personal existence in it are meticulously ledgered. Each soul has its tally. The days and the years, in the most literal sense, have their toll. 'Verily with Us is the accounting of them,' says Sura 88.26. The word here is 'hisab,' the common term for reckoning, which occurs in one of the titles of the Day of Judgment (Yaum al-Hisab) in 14.22...
This divine reckoning underlies the idea of the 'Kitab' of every man...the dossier, or file almost, of the individual's existence, where his balance-sheet of good and ill is set down. The fact of this single word as a term both for revelation and reckoning has gone far to shape and confuse Muslim popular theology...This is Our Book, runs 45.28, 'which utters truth against you. We have made a complete register of your transactions.' The 'hisab' of every client is individually recorded and the 'book' is handed to him in the Judgment, into his right hand or the left hand, according to whether the contents are worthy or unworthy. (69.19-26)." The Event of the Qur'an, Islam in Its Scripture, by Kenneth Cragg, pp.98-102.
Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked? and the scant measure that is abominable?
Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with a bag of deceitful weights?
For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouths...(Micah 6:10-12).
And he said, This is wickedness...Then lifted I up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out Two Women (Bondage and Apostasy), and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven...(Zechariah, chapter 5, KJV)
We shall set up Scales of Justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be no more than the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it to (account): And enough are we to take account.
In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Critereon (for judgment), and a Light and a Message for those who would do right--
Those who fear the Lord in their most secret thoughts, and who hold the hour of judgment in awe.
And this is the Blessed Message which We have sent down: will ye then reject it?...(Sura 21.47-50).
For all things will be laid bare in the weighing scales, and in the books on the great Judgment Day...(Secrets of Enoch LII).
Thou shalt not have in the bag diverse weights, a great and a small.
Thou shalt not have in thy house diverse measures, great and small...(Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Leviticus 19:35-37; Proverbs 11:1-6; 16:11,12; 20:10; Ecclesiastes 5:8-13; Matthew 22:37-40).
Then what meaneth this bleating of the sheep, in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?...(1 Samuel 15:14).
The Master said to his servant, Go outside to the streets and bring back those whom you happen to meet, so that they may dine. Businessmen and merchants will not enter the places of my Father...(Gospel of Thomas 64).
Truly Allah loves those who fight in His cause (in the Way of Allah), in ranks (in battle array), as if they were a firm and compact wall.
And remember, Moses said to his people: O my people! Why do ye vex and insult me, though ye know that I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you? Then when they went wrong, Allah let there hearts go wrong. For Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors.
And when Isa son of Marium said: O children of Israel! surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Taurat (Torah) and giving the good news of an Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad (Paracletos, Comforter...Isaiah 40:1; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7...of which the name Muhammad, the Praised One, Periclytos, is both a type and a precursor); but when he came to them with clear arguments they said: This is clear magic...(Sura 61.4-6).
The question then follows: How does one wage holy war in the way of Isa? Thus in the way of the Torah? It is clear:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Allah to the pulling down of strongholds);
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your disobedience is fulfilled...(2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (against those who would compel you to literally take up a weapon, and to literally take the life of another human being).
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
And above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God...(Ephesians 6:10-17).
AND THERE WAS WAR IN HEAVEN
And fight in the Way of Allah with those who fight with you, AND DO NOT EXCEED LIMITS, surely Allah does not love those who exceed limits.
And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, (compare Deuteronomy 7:1-16), and persecution is severer than slaughter, AND DO NOT FIGHT THEM AT THE SACRED MOSQUE until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them: such is the recompense of the unbelievers...
And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility against the oppressors
THE PROHIBITED MONTH, THE PROHIBITED MONTH.
And complete the Hajj (the Pilgrimage)...(Sura 2.190-193).
What are the Limits of Islam but the Qur'an.
What are the Limits of Judaeo-Christianity but the Book.
What are the Limits of those who have completed the Hajj, and who have overcome the world in themselves, but the hidden meanings in the Qur'an and the Book.
What is the Sacred Mosque but the whole world.
What are the weapons of our warfare but the Word of God.
What is the Prohibited Month but the Month of Pilgrimage, from one New Moon to the next. It follows Ramadan throughout the Year, and across the times.
What is the Hajj but a journey to the right spiritual state of mind.
"The Greater Holy War and the Lesser Holy War. Only the Sufi (mystic) can wage the greater. What is the Greater Holy War? The war against the soul...
In fact the Prophet said that every verse in the Qur'an has 'an outside and an inside.' As to the outside verses, the exoteric 'straight path' is the path of not deviating from the law of Islam, whereas the movement of 'return' in its outermost sense is the passage throug a pious life toward death...But the majority, apart from the fact that they are not in general mentally disposed to take in more than one meaning for one set of words, would have difficulty in understanding what the Sufis mean by ''travel,' that is, the inward deepening or ebbing of the finite self in the direction of the Divine Principle.
On one occasion when returning from a battle against the infidels, the Prophet said, 'We have come back from the Lesser Holy War to the Greater Holy War.' His Companions asked, 'What is the Greater Holy War?' And he answered: 'The war against the soul.' Here lies the key to the inner meaning of all those verses in the Qur'an which refer to Holy War and to the infidels...Most Muslims would claim to have had experience of fighting against the inward infidels, that is, against the rebellious non-muslim elements of the soul. But to resist temptation from time to time is one thing and to wage war is another...
The Qur'an says: Wage war on the idolaters totally, and elsewhere, Fight them until there is no longer any sedition, and religion is only for God. Only the mystic is capable of realizing this inwardly, and only he (and she) knows what it is to keep up a methodic opposition to his own lower possibilities and to carry the war into the enemy's territory so that the whole soul may be 'for God.'
The Qur'an itself is a crystallisation of this choice, for it insists without respite on the immense disparity between the lower world and the transcendent world of the Spirit, (implying that one is one, and one is the other), while on the other hand it continually inveighs against the folly of those who choose the lower in place of the higher, the worse in place of the better." What Is Sufism, by Martin Lings, p.29.
O ye who believe!
If any among you turn back from his faith, (from the Higher meaning when you hear it),
Soon God will produce a people whom He will love, as they will love God--
Lowly with Believers, Mighty against the rejecters,
Fighting in the Way of God.
And never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault.
That is the Grace of God, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth.
And God encompasses all, and knoweth all...(Sura 5.57).
Many of these will be the Evening Sacrifice, and will connect the words together which say: No greater love than this, that one lay down their lives for their friends (John 15:13), and then, Herein is our love perfected, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment. (1 John 4:17). These sons and daughters of God, true Muslims everyone, will sort through the spiritual complexities of these times and engage the Darkness--just as they did in the first century--only now they will engage the Darkness in its most powerful, and most subtle form: the American (and therefore the mainline Christian, Jewish and Muslim) state of mind itself. The Word of God, which was held captive for centuries by the churchmen and monarchs of Europe is now being held captive in America, and is being made to serve the lofty imaginations of the religious and political leaders of the American empire. This Remnant will not participate in physical, mortal combat because this sort of warfare--this vengeance of God to the actual death, as opposed to the spiritual death--is the realm and the domain of God alone, and of those forces that God has reserved for Himself against the day of battle and war.
We in the 20th century are living in the very midst of the Divine Theophany. The whole world is filled with the Terrible Majesty and the Glory of God. Those engaged in the Higher Holy War are able to lift up their eyes to this reality, and to the universal meaning of the words: There is (absolutely) no Power but of God, the Powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the Power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and those who resist (those who make war in return, or support war in the physical sense against any of the other powers of the earth), shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1-5).
How else could God reveal His and Her own Invisible Presence to the world? and the nature of man to man himsef? or show us the difference between good from evil? except by revealing it--not only to us, but in us? The whole creative process had to come to the very conclusion that it has, before They (They are ONE) could release the human spirit into the age-to-come and the world-to-come. This, so that we would not carry all of our natural, fallen ways in there with us. From the blazing Light of Creation, and in the corresponding descent of God into Nature, and over time into Human form, there came forth a form of Darkness that shrouded man's natural eyes (his three-dimensional eyes), disenabling him from beholding the Invisible Face of God. (Man's own physical eyes were created one dimension short of the Beatific Vision). Yet from this same state of Darkness came the words" And let there be Light. Thus those who are coming to spiritual perfection in our time can see into this hidden dimension, and stand in awe of the Terrible Majesty of God as it is making itself known in all of the events of the 20th century. They are all those who have come, at last, to the foot of the Mountain of Revelation here in the West, as it is written: Be ready against the Third Day. (Exodus 19:3-25; Hebrews 12:13-29). The Prophet, a man of his own times, and of his own place, not having arrived at it himself, nevertheless directs our attention to it:
And remember We took your covenant,
And we raised above you (the Towering Height) of Mount Sinai.
(Saying): Hold firmly to what We have given you.
And bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein:
Perhaps ye may fear God...(Sura2.63).
That Mount Sinai over there (wherever you might want to locate it there in the East, for there is vast disagreement), which rises above the barren landscape between Egypt and Palestine, (whose surroundings bear absolutely no trace of the wanderings of the children of Israel), is but another geo-allegorical reflection of the Higher Reality that towers over the consciousness of the 20th century, and which truly separates the mind of Darkness (Egypt) from the mind of Light. The apostle Paul called the place Arabia as a further reference to those things that are being fulfilled above, and here in the West, (Galatians 4:21-28)...
Arab/Oreb...derived from a primitive root word also identical with the idea of covering with a texture; to grow dusky at Sundown...to be darkened toward Evening...the West.
The vision of the Mount itself (Exodus 19) was a vision of the 20th century and the Great Wars of our time. It is plain to every discerning eye that these wars are not completed yet. With every temptation, however, God has made a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13), as it is also written: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10). What temptations are the Scriptures referring to? The temptation to lose one's soul in these age-ending affairs, and to give ourselves as willing victims to the western powers as they rise up to wage their final efforts against God--as God in turn rises up in the sum of all these events to liberate the elect Nation from its own captivity in the lower world.
Or hath God assayed to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by Temptations, by Signs, and by wonders, and by War, and by a Mighty Hand, and by a Stretched Out Arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes...
Unto thee was it shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord He is God. There is none beside Him...(Deuteronomy 4:33-35).
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished...(2 Peter 2:9).
The way of escape in Islam lies in the esoteric tradition, which has its own roots in the time, and in the activities, of the Prophet himself. Being among those who first hear the words of the Qur'an falling off the tounge of the Companions of the Prophet, it was the earliest of these mostly anonymous Sufi mystics who received these words with the most insight. Studying the ways of this new faith--Read! Study! Rehearse! was the first comandment--but from a certain spiritual distance from the others, and surely with knowledge of the esoteric tradition that preceded Islam (or at least, of the fact that such a tradition existed), they were prepared to arrive at another, inner meaning, not only to the words of the Qur'an but of the extra canonical sayings and activities of the Prophet as well. These adepts arrived at such meanings, even where the Prophet and his Companions were too occupied to arrive at them themselves:
"Hitherto he had relied on argument and pursuasion to make proselytes, enjoining the same on his disciples. His exortations to them to bear with patience and long-suffering the violence of their enemies...emulated the meek precept of the Saviour, 'If they smite thee on one cheek, turn to them the other also,'...But then he arrived at a point where he completely divirged from the celestial spirit of the Christian doctrines, and stamped his religion with the alloy of fallible mortality...
Thirteen years of meek endurance had been rewarded by nothing but insult and injury...All these he might have continued to bear with involuntary meekness, had not the means of retaliation unexpectedly sprung to his reach. He had come to Medina, a fugitive seeking asylum and craving merely a quiet home. In a little while, and probably to his own surprise, he found an army at his command: for among the many converts daily made in Medina...were men of resolute spirit, skilled in the use of arms, and fond of partisan warfare. (Allah gives men the desires of their hearts). Human passions and mortal resentments were awakened by this sudden accession to power. They mingled with that zeal for religious reform which was still his predominant motive. In the exaltations of his enthusiastic spirit he endeavored to pursuade himself...that the power thus placed within his reach was intended as a means of effecting his great purpose, and that he was called upon by divine command to use it, (which he was...Isaiah 51:5)...
'Different prophets,' said he, 'have been sent by God to illustrate his different attributes...None of these attributes, however, have been sufficient to enforce conviction, and even the miracles of Moses and Jesus have been treated with unbelief. I, therefore, the last of the prophets, am sent with the sword! Let those who promulgate my faith enter into no argument or discussion, but slay all who refuse obedience to the law. Whoever fights for the true faith, whether he fall or conquer, will assuredly receive a glorious reward.'" The Life of Muhammad.
Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and surely Allah is well able to assist them;
Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah. And had there not been Allah's repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah's name is much remembered; and surely Allah will help him who helps His cause, most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty...(Sura 22.39,40).
It is now plain to see that Allah purposefully directed the Prophet and the Companions, and therefore the greater number of Muslims throughout the centuries, along the lesser Path (and for reasons that we can now begin to understand--as a eventual judgment against Islam itself, and in the meantime as a judgment against the rest of the Adamic world). Seeing where the Double-Path in Islam has lead, the true adepts in our time (and all others who have parted from the purely literal path), can, fittingly, trace their origins to those words which say:
Had We sent down this Quran on a Mountain, you would certainly have seen it falling down, splitting asunder because of the fear of Allah, and We set forth these parables to men that they may reflect (Understand Hebrews 12:18-29)...(Sura 59.1).
"In the light of this verse it was indeed to be expected, with regard to the Revelation on which Islam is based, that such an overwhelming approach from God to man should have awakened, in the opposite direction, a response from man to God which infinitely transcended the mediocrity of exoterism. 'Without doubt. But when?' is perhaps an obvious comment. There is no reason to suppose that the revelation of the Torah was any less overwhelming, and in that case the esoterism seems to have taken some time to develop, though it would be difficult to be certain at this point. However that may be, the Quran is the herald of 'the Hour,' and one of Islam's most striking features is precipitance (lack of deliberation, rashness). The answer to 'when' is likely to be 'now,' and this urgency is implicit in the following verse, which occurs in two of the very early suras: 'Surely this (the Revelation) is a Reminder; so let him who will, take unto his Lord a way' (73.19; 76.29). Islam is spoken of in general throughout the Quran as 'the Way to God,' that is, the path ordained by God, which may be said to include both esoterism and exoterism. But 'the Way to God,' mentioned only in these two suras, is clearly the esoteric path, and the causality here is strengthened by the word 'Reminder'--that which produces remembrance (dhikr), which is itself the essence of Sufism." The Nature and Origin of Sufism, Abu Bakr Siraj ed-Din, Islamic Spirituality, p.223.
By the Fig and the Olive,
And the Mount of Sinai,
And this City of Security,
We have indeed created man in the best of molds...
Then what can after this, contradict thee,
As to the judgment to come?
Is not God the wisest of Judges...(Sura 95.1-8).
Just as true love fulfills the Law, so the Stations of Law, faithfully observed, lead to an abrogation of (the outer dimensions of) the law itself. They lead, stage by stage, realization by realization, from the outer illusions to the inner realities, and then outward again into the broad spiritual expanse of all that is truely magical and Divine. They lead from the wasteland of our present state of mind into the Promise of the next.
Do you not see that Allah makes the night enter into the day, and he makes the day to enter into the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each pursues its course till an appointed time; and that Allah is aware of what you do...
Do you not see that the ships run on in the Sea by Allah's favor, that He may show you of His signs? Most surely there are signs in this for every patient endurer, grateful one...(Sura 31.29, 31).
Chapter 17, The Allegory of Holy Warfare
The Double Eclipse in Ramadan
Chapter 18 continued