Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Eye of Certainty | from Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din

And when We said unto the angels: 'Make prostration before Adam', they prostrated themselves all save Iblis... And We said, 'O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in the Paradise...' - Qur'an, II:34,35.

IN ALL parts of the world, but with many differences among different people as regards details, tradition tells us of an age when man lived in a Paradise on earth. But although it is said that there were then no signs of corruption upon the face of earth, it may be supposed, in view of the Fall which followed, that during this age the perfect human nature had become the basis for gradually less and less spiritual exaltation. This is inferred by some Sufi Shaykhs from the story of Adam and Eve, whose successive creations are said to be a sign or a presage, from the very beginning, of two different phases through which mankind in general was destined to pass through the Edenic age.

The creation of Adam and his adoration by the Angels (Devas) is taken to refer to a period when man would be born in possession of the Eye of Certainty only, that is, in the state of merely human perfection: in the beginning Eve was contained in Adam as the human nature is contained in the Divine, and her separate existence foreshadows the apparently separate existence of the perfect human nature as an entity in itself. Finally, the loss of this perfection corresponds to the loss of the Garden of Eden, which marks the end of the Primordial Age. This interpretation of the story of Adam and Even make it relevant to quote a saying attributed by some to the Prophet:

'Before the Adam known to us, God created a hundred thousand Adams.'

Between the first Adam, to whom the Angels prostrated themselves and the 'Adam known to us', that is the Adam who fell, lay the whole Edenic period. In fact the changes which are said to have taken place in 'Adam' could not have taken place in a single being, for the Truth of Certainty is, by definition, That which cannot be lost; it is as we have already seen, for him who is veritably extinguished in It, Eternity after extinction.

In the Truth of Certainty - the Eye of Certainty is nothing at all; and yet for earthly darkness it is said to be a light so splendid and satisfying that at first it might scarcely leave room for the conception of any brighter lights. This may be understood from the Qur'anic narrative of how God raised Abraham from one degree of certainty to another until he reached the Truth... quoting about the Eye of Certainty:

And when he saw the moon uprising he said: 'This is my Lord.' - Qur'an, VI:77

He alone whose Heart is lit with this Moon may be called the true man, for not only is it normal for man to possess the Eye of Certainty but it may be said that this third Eye is his most characteristic feature whereby he is best to be distinguished from all other earthly creatures. If the earth be likened to a windowless house, then man is a watch-tower in the house, and the Eye of the Heart is as a single window in that watch-tower to which all the dwellers in the house look up for their light.


This term, 'Eye of the Heart' which is here the equivalent of the Eye of Certainty, always denotes direct spiritual vision, but its meaning varies in respect of the intensity of that vision; for in the Supreme Paradise the Heart, that is, the center of being, is no longer the Moon nor yet the Sun. These are 'worn' by the Beloved as ornaments of silver and gold; their spiritual possibilities are also represented by the green silk robes and by the 'immortal youths' which go round about them, whereas the Heart is the Essence Itself. It was evidently according to the highest sense that the Sufi Al-Hallaj said:

I saw my Lord with the Eye of the Heart.
I said: 'Who art Thou?' He answered: 'Thou'.

Without this Eye man ceases to fulfill his essential function, having fallen from his true nature; but with this Eye he is the sole earthly receptacle of the spiritual light of which he is the dispenser among his fellow creatures, so that if he is not actually lord of the Universe, he is at least lord of his state of existence, and though he does not possess the Heavens, yet the Heavens of themselves lean down to touch the earth in him its highest point.

His nature is thus made so majestic and holy that the titles of Vicegerent (khalifah) and Saint (wali, literally 'close friend of God') are given to him as well as to those above him. He also, like them, is a spiritual Master who may guide others to his state of human perfection; and for himself to rise from this state and to pass through the Heavens to extinction in the Truth he has no need of any outward Master, for with the Eye of Certainty he sees the path lying open before him along the ray of light which connects the Moon of his Heart with the Sun of the Spirit.


- from The Book of Certainty: The Sufi Doctrine of Faith, Vision and Gnosis by Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din


# Related:
* Theophanies and Lights in the Thought of Ibn 'Arabi
* Yaqeen entery on Wikipedia
* Nine level of Yaqin mindmap

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