Sunday, 30 November 2014

Suhrawardī’s Oration of the Supreme Sanctification for each day

Below is our provisional translation (together with a basic transcription of the Arabic text) of Suhrawardī's Oration of the Supreme Sanctification for each day based on the Aya Sofia 2144 MS (folios 20a-21a) of his Book of the Spiritual Influxes and Sanctifications (al-wāridāt wa al-taqdīsāt), which has at least twice now been mentioned on this blog in the past. In the Arabic transcription, words unclear in the MS or ones which should be in the text have been placed inside angle brackets <>. In the English translation, words with more than one possible translation have been placed between a slash / while expanded readings have been placed inside square brackets [ ].
It should be underscored that both the translation and the transcription are provisional. It is hoped that in the near future a better reading will be made available especially in light of Jalaluddīn Muhammad Malakī’s forthcoming critical edition of these prayers (as the 10th volume of his projected fourteen volume critical edition of the complete works of Suhrawardī) based on an earlier parallel Arabic text and Persian translation of some of these prayers (which is not a complete collection) published as sitāyish va nīyāyish: panj risālih az shaykh-i-ishrāq (Tehran: 1389 solar). It should be noted that a PDF of Aya Sofia 2144  was supplied to Jalaluddīn Muhammad Malakī in early 2013 by us directly in email where he indicated the existence of MSS in Iran (beyond those already known about in Turkey and the others recently indicated by John Walbridge in his 2011 piece), which earlier in 2010 we had been told in email by Nasrollah and Reza Pourjavady (that other than within the margins of the lithograph edition of Mullā Sadrā’s glosses on Ḥikmat al-Ishrāq) did not, to their knowledge, exist in Iran. Based on this, and other more recent developments, it may appear that thus far uncatalogued MSS of Suhrawardī’s prayers may in fact exist in Iran after all.
As the title by the scribe indicates, this is among the daily Illuminationist prayers that, unlike the others in the collection, is meant to be recited daily. Its subject is the Light of lights, the God of gods, and is the second of the prayers in the collection addressed to the Supreme.  

The Oration of the Supreme Sanctification for each day
High art Thou, our Master! From Thee is the Peace and to Thee is the peace, O Necessary Existence in the totality of all intentions! There is no necessity in existence other than Thee, for Thou art the God of gods; and there is no other god alike in all the worlds equal unto Thee! Thou art unified within the Utmost Elevated Glory and the Most Mighty Scintillance of Light! O Father/Progenitor of the Most Great realm of divinity! The Most Victorious Light! The Supreme Majesty! The Most Complete Perfection! The All-Pervasive Being! The Most Incandescent and Free All-Expansive Simplicity! The Most Noble Splendor! The Most Perfect Tremendousness! The Most Manifest Radiance! The Utmost Potency of Greatness! The Most Beneficent Excellence! The Omnipresent Sovereign! The utmost Clarity of Beauty! The Most Magnificent Encounter! The Empyrean of Holiness and the Purified Kingdom!

Glorified art Thou, O Originator of all! The First of all firstness! The Initiator of all initiations! The Existentiater of the totality of all haecceties and the Manifester of all ipseities! The Cause of causes! The Activator of all wonders and whatsoever is more wondrous than any wonder! Adept at all subtleties and whatsoever is more subtile than any subtlety! O God of all active-intelligences, those quintessences abstracted from the material substances, the loci and the dimensions, who are the Victorial Lights of differentiation in the totality of the Perfect, Most Proximate directions! O God of the created intelligent souls which have descended into their places and impressions within managing bodies and connected forms, and tangential beneficiaries, within the intelligible world! From Thee is the initiation and to Thee is the termination! The God of the Supreme Glory! The Heaven of heavens! The culmination of all indications of form and the totality of all noble, magnificent, divine, planetary-celestial bodies! Impervious to the vicissitudes of corruption or its lofty, luminous radiations [of decay?]! God of the particularizations by their simplicities and their compositions!

Blessed art Thou, O God, O Living, O Peerless, O Glorified, O Holy, O Lord of the Most Resplendent Supreme Concourse! O Light of the light, Fashioner of Durationless Perpetuity and the Aeons! From Thee is Pre-Eternity and from Thee is Post-Eternity, as Thou art the existentiater of whatsoever is described by accidentality or substantiality or multiplicity or unity or causality or effectuality, for towards Thee is the utmost culmination of all yearning desire! The quintessences of holiness are submerged within the oceans of Thy lights and the holy essences subsist by the variegated, life-giving rays of Thy Essence, adsorbed by Thy encompassment, for Thou art elevated beyond the totality of all immutable proofs! Thy Light is that which is endless, nor can anything subdue Thee, nor can the separation among things veil the intensity of Thy manifestation! Nor can the perfection of Thy luminescence be diminished/equalized by the divine, abstracted Victorial Lights among the progenitors or the material substances, and neither by any opposite or any hinderer nor by anything ephemeral!

Nor can the articulated appraisals of humanity, whether by their praises or by their eulogies, within their stations of limitation, provide the least estimation to His Perfections, for how can praise and laudation be enumerated by one drowned in the lights of His Victory and obliterated by the resplendence of His Most Mighty station of Glory? The ascribers of attributes are paralysed in describing its least station; and whosoever has feigned to ascribe quality or quantity or place or situation or dimension or an accident among accidents or an attribute among the attributes has become an infidel unless it be for the [reasons of] requisite locutions of phrase or for the purposes of their own understanding!

Thou art beyond all excellences, all dignities and all perfections! Thou art God, who no other He is there except Him, the Light of lights, the One Praised via negation/apophasis! Here am I, O God, here am I! Towards Thee the pure quintessences are split asunder, the guardians of created existences are subjugated by Thy hands, whilst the untainted souls place their full trust in Thee! Thou art without end, and Thou speakest to me by the gnosis of Thy august secrets, and Thou aidest me by the Light and enliveneth me by the Light and gathereth me together by the Light! I beseech Thee the yearning desire of Thy encounter and the complete spiritual submersion via the reflective meditation of Thy Greatnesses! Make victorious, O God, the people of Light and the illumination, and bless them and sanctify them, and us also, towards the post-eternity and towards the durationaless perpetuity of eternal perpetuities! Amen!

 وارد تقديس الاعلى لكلّ يوم
تعاليت مولانا منك السّلام و اليك السّلام <يا> واجب الوجود مع جميع الوجوه لا واجب في الوجود إلّا غيرك و انت اله الالهة <و> لا اله للعالمين سوك توحّدت بالمجد الارفع و السنآء الاعظم <يا> والد اللاهوت الاكبر و النّور الاقهر و الجلال الاعلى و الاكمال الاتمّ و الجود الاعم و الاحرة الابسط و البهاء الاشرف و <العزّ> الاكمل و <الضياء> الاظهر و الكبرياء الاقوّى و الطول الافضل و الملك الاوسع و الجمال الابرئ و اللقاء الاكرم و الجبروت المقدس و الملكوت <المطهر> سبحانك مبدع الكلّ <و> اوّل الاوايل <و> مبداء المبادي <و> موجد جميع الماهيات و مُظهر كلّ الهويّات و مسبب الاسباب و ربّ الارباب و فعّال العجايب و ما هو اعجب من العجايب <و> متقن اللطايف و ما هو الطف من اللطايف <يا> اله العقول الفعالة الذّوات المجردة عن المواد و الامكنة و الجهات الّتي هي الانوار القاهرة المفارقة من جميع الوجوه الكاملون الاقربون  <يا> اله النفوس الناطقة البرية عن حلول المكان و الانطباع في الاجسام المدبرة <و> الاجرام بِالتصال و المماسة المستفيدة من العالم العقلي منك مبداها و اليك منتهاها و اله المجد الاعلى <و> سما السّماوات <و> منتهى الاشارات الجسمية و جميع الاجسام الشّريفة الكريمة الالهية الفلكية <و> ممتنعة الخرق الفساد و اضؤآها المنيرة الرفعية و اله <المتذريات> <ببساطها> و مركبتها تباركت اللهمّ يا حيّ يا قيّوم يا سبوح يا قدّوس يا ربّ الملاء الانور الاعلى يا نور النّورصانع السّرمد و الدّهور منك الازل و منك الابد و انت موجد كلّ ما اتصف بعرضية او جوهرية او كثرة او وحدة او علة او معلولية و اليك نهاية الرّغبات غرقت ذوات المقدسين في ابحر انوارك و اتك عيون القدس بشعاع ذاتك العاشى المفرق و مازتك باحاطة و انت متعالي بجميع الاثبات نورك الذي لا يتناهي و لا بقهرك شئ من الاشياء و ليس يفصل عند شئ احتجبت بشدّة ظهورك و كمال نورانيتك ليس لمعتدل الانوار القاهرين اللاهوتين المجرّدين عن الابوين و المواد و لا ضدّ و لا ممانع و لا زوال و لا يقدر البشر ان يحمدوا او يمدحوا اقلهم مرتبة على ما يلتق بكماله فكيف يحمد و يحصي ثناء من في نور قهره و انطمس ضياء مجده اعظم طبقة عجز الواصفون عن وصف اصقرها <و> كفرت من زعم ان لك كيفية او كميّة او ايناً او وضعاً او حجماً او عرضاً من الاعراض او وصفاً من الاوصاف الا لضرورة العبارة و التفهيم انت فوق الفضيلة و الشّرف و الكمال انت الله <الذي> لا هو الا هو نور الانوار المحمود بالسلب لبيك اللهمّ لبيك اشاقت الذّوات الطّاهرات اليك و خضعت ارقاب الموجودات بين يديك توكلت النّفوس الزّكيات عليك انت لا <نهائي> و تكلمني بمعرفة اسرارك الشّريفة و تايّدني بالنّور و تحييئني بالنّور و تحشرني بالنّور اسألك الشّوق الى لقايك و الانغماس في تأمل كبريايك انصر اللهّم اهل النّور و الاشراق و باركهم و قدّسهم و ايانا الى الابد و الى دهر الداهرين  آمين 

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Metaphysics of Light in Iranian Islamic sacred geometry

A Light Illuminating from the Dawn of Pre-Eternity and shedding its traces upon the Talismanic-Temples of Unicity!

~ Imām ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (a.s.), the ḥadīth kumayl/ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa (my trans.)

O God of all gods, come to the aid of the people of Light, give the victory to the people of Light, and guide the light unto the Light!

~ Shihābuddīn Yaḥyā Sohravardī (d. 1191 CE), the Book of Spiritual Influxes and Sanctifications (al-wāridāt wa al-taqdīsāt) (my trans.)

Iranian Islamic civilization, as a deeply pious, traditional civilization, is primarily theocentric in its intrinsic worldview and as such approaches all elements of high culture (such as art and architecture) from this pivoting perspective. Resonating with the most ancient pre-Islamic Iranian ontologies of the universe, the Qur’ān itself proclaims God to be “the light of the heavens and the earth” (24:35). Given this, it is in reference to light –- or more precisely, rather, the metaphysics of light -- as the initiating premise, as well as conclusion, that discussions of Iranian sacred geometry need to proceed. Within Iranian Islamic metaphysics, from Sohravardī to Mullā Sadrā Shīrāzī (d. 1640), light and existence (vojūd, hastī) are often juxtaposed as interchangeable concepts. It is only in their analytic definitions as to whether light constitutes a definable essence (ʿayn, māhīyat), or transcends such categorization, where these philosophers and their successors sharply differ amongst each other. But nevertheless all are agreed that light is existence and existence is light.
That stated, the entire spectrum of Iranian Islamic art and architecture, in all of its assorted periods and facets is, from first to last, firmly rooted in a gnosiology; that is, the esoteric, the mystical and theosophical approach to the religious life. Without an adequate grasp of this fundamental guiding axiom and approach, Iranian Islamic art and architecture would otherwise remain an opaque and hermetically sealed subject matter to any intelligent discussion. Light (Avestan uštra/raoša, Arabic nūr) –- being that primary reality, image, symbol and metaphor which is the most central and polar leitmotif informing the whole trajectory of Iranian spirituality from Zarathushtra to Sohravardī, Hāfez and beyond, and throughout posited as the divine substance itself –- becomes in the sacred geometry of Iranian Islamic art and architecture (whether immediately grasped or not) the central narrative (nay, the key) to its explanation: it is its tavīl, the inner hermeneutic revealing its ultimate source and origins. In other words, looked at another way, those dazzling patterns and absorbing geometric tapestries of sacred geometry constituting the formal ornamentation of Iranian Islamic art and architecture are to be taken as fractals of light, as it were descending (or, cascading, rather) from eternity, and instantiated into forms within the space-time continuum of material manifestation and recorded into those frames of iconic representation. If the actual structural composition of a given piece is to be taken as its proper form (ṣūrat), then its patterns of intricate geometric designs are to be seen as its meaning (maʿnā): the hallmark or imprint of its luminosity and radiance as such.
Now, the science of sacred geometry, as an initiatic scientia sacra (sacred science) par excellence, is intended to orient its subject towards the eternal and by so orienting this subject to rip off the veils of mundane reality and reveal and manifest thereby the already-always transcendent in the here-and-now. In this Iranian Islamic gnosiological worldview, such orientation is always towards the Orient of Light (mashriq-i-nūr), that dawning place of the divine illuminations, which in the Iranian Islamic metaphysical diction is designated as being the angelic world (malakūt), the realm of communication between the material and divine realms.  At base, these intricately beautiful patterns and designs seek to communicate deeply the dematerialization of matter and the perceptibility of the immaterial.
Simultaneously to such orientation towards the great beyond, this sacred geometry also then reveals the mathematical ratios and geometric harmonies imprinted by the atemporal within the temporal material realm of nature itself as those archetypal principles imminently animate within it; such that contemplation of such patterns, together with the verities behind them, now becomes the nexus and intersection (a situs) between the imminent and transcendent that then provides a veritable ladder to the soul’s elevation into eternity. Art and architecture, therefore, and sacred geometry specifically, are here both perceived and utilized as an amphibolous vehicle for the spiritual ascent into these realms beyond as well as simultaneously to garner information about the actual nature and inner mechanics of the universe itself, not to mention the harmonies and connections between these realms and worlds connected with each other. As such this sacred geometry is in all cases meant to illuminate and so to guide to its fundamental principle, which is light, whether in its material manifestation or in its principial transcendence.
An architectural structure from its top looking down appears completely organic, literally like a flower. From the bottom looking up to its dome, we are present to the expanses of the universe (or, multiverse, rather) in its ascending and expanding layers and hierarchies which finally converge into a single point in the dome’s center. From the top down we witness the worlds descending into being from this first principle, the Light of lights, while from the bottom we behold the return back to this principle. Such structures, from within and without, convey within architecture the entire emanationist metaphysical narrative and principles of the sophisticated Iranian Islamic gnostic mind. Here in such architecture the complexity and simplicity of the reality of light is captured in an eternal moment and etched into matter as a veritable contemplative device where sacred geometry becomes the locus revealing the ultimate.
To the positivist, linear and flat-land consciousness of contemporaries, architecture and sacred geometry functioning as the situs and locus for divine revelation and theophany is an absurd proposition, not because it is irrational but precisely because it is hyper-rational. But that is only so because such contemporary worldviews only straddle minds into certain circumscribed perspectives regarding the world, enclosing them into epistemic prisons of sorts, whereas the Iranian gnostic, by virtue of their perpetual orientation reinforced via such cultural artefacts, continues to perceive the theophanies of light “in the horizons and in themselves” (Qur’ān 41:53).


Saturday, 1 November 2014

A prayer for the 9th and 10th of Muḥarram

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful!

O God, blessings and salutations be upon Muḥammad and the Family of Muḥammad! In the Name of the Lord of Ḥusayn! O Ḥusayn! O Ḥusayn! O Ḥusayn! Glorified art Thou, O Beloved of the Worlds! O God! Glorified art Thou, O God my God, glorified art Thou, I verily beseech Thee by Thy Splendor at its Most Splendid, and by Thy Beauty at its Most Beautiful, and by Thy Majesty at its Most Majestic, and by Thy Might at its supreme Might, and by Thy Light at its utmost Resplendence, and by Thy Mercy at its vastness, and by Thy Words at their most complete, and by Thy Perfection at its absolute Perfection, and by Thy Names by virtue of their supreme Greatness, and by Thy Grandeur at its Most Grandiose, and by Thy Will at its most conclusive, and by Thy Power through the power of which Thou hast overshadowed all things, and by Thy Knowledge at its most acute, and by Thy Speech at its most delightful, and by Thy Concerns which are most beloved of Thee, and by Thy Honour at its Most Honourable, and by Thy Sovereignty at its most permanent, and by Thy Dominion at its most magnificent, and by Thy Sublimity at its Most Sublime, and by Thy Benevolence at its most immemorial, and by Thy Versical-Signs at their most distinguished, and by Thy Empyrean, Thy Divinity, Thy Unity and Thy Ipseity; that Ye shed Thy blessings upon Ḥusayn and upon the blood of Ḥusayn and upon the corpse of Ḥusayn and upon the spirit of Ḥusayn and upon the light of Ḥusayn and upon the reality of Ḥusayn and upon the progeny and family of Ḥusayn, and upon the companions and martyrs upon the pathway of Ḥusayn, and upon the lovers and devotees upon the straight path of Ḥusayn, and upon all the believers and prostrators upon the dust of Ḥusayn from before and after! And curse, O God, all of the combined enemies of Ḥusayn in every moment, before every moment and after every moment in the eternities of post-eternities, O Lord of the Worlds!

8 Muḥarram 1436 AH/1 November 2014 CE

بِسم الله الرّحمن الرّحيم
 اللهمّ صلّ و سلّم على محمّد و آل محمّد، بِاسم ربّ الحسين يا حسين يا حسين يا حسين سبحانك يا محبوب العالمين يا الله سبحانك يا الهي سبحانك اللهمّ انّي اسألك مِن بهائك بِابهائه و مِن جمالك بِاجمله و مِن جلالك بِاجلّه و مِن عظمتك بِاعظمها و مِن نورك بِانوره و مِن رحمتك بِاوسعها و مِن كلماتك بِاتمها و مِن كماك بِاكمله و مِن اسمائك بِاكبرها و مِن عزتك بِاعزها و مِن مشيئتك بِامضاها و مِن قدرتك بِالقدرة التي استطلتَ بِها على كلّ شئ و مِن علمك بِانفذه و مِن قولك بِارضاه و مِن مسائلك بِاحبها اليك و مِن شرفك بِاشرفه و مِن سلطانك بِادومه و مِن ملكك بِافخره و مِن علوّك بِاعلاه و مِن منّك بِاقدمه و مِن آياتك بِاكرمها و بِجبروتك و الوهيتك و وحدانيتك و هويتك  ان تصلى على الحسين و على دمّ الحسين و على جسد الحسين و على روح الحسين و على نور الحسين و على حقيقة الحسين و على أولاد و آل الحسين و على أصحاب و شهداء على طريق الحسين و على احباء و محبّين على صراط المستقيم الحسين و على كلّ مؤمنين و ساجدين على تربة الحسين من قبل و من بعد و العن اللهمّ على اعداء الحسين كلّهم اجمعين في كلّ حين و قبل حين و بعد حين في ابد الآبدين يا ربّ العالمين