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Man: the Microcosm

The position of man in the universe is most important. Man is the microcosm, that is, a miniature universe. As such, he comprises in his outward or physical aspect all the elements found in the universe. In his inner aspect, he contains the potential qualities of all creation from the lowest to the highest, that is, animal, satanic and angelic. He shares the qualities of lust and selfishness with the pigs; the qualities of jealousy and anger with the dogs; his cunning and deceit with Satan; his power and his spiritual light with the angels.

But, what is more important, through love and devotion to God he can rise even higher than the angels, for he is the mystery of God before whom the angels were commanded to fall in prostration. He was given command over the whole universe.

About the image: Angels paying homage to Adam watched by Iblis (Satan). A miniature painting from a sixteenth century manuscript of Majalis al-'ushshaq ('The Assemblies of the Lovers'). Author: Kamal al-Din Husayn Gazurgahi, Shiraz, Iran, c.1560. From,
British Library Online Image.

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