Questions and Answers: Part 4 , Theurgy (final)

Your recent interview on the Glitch Bottle podcast was really a pleasure to hear. I was interested to hear your thoughts on theurgy. I am utterly new to this angle on spiritual development, having myself been exclusively a contemplative. Do you see living a Bayani life as inherently theurgistic, or is magical practice merely harmonious to that life? Does the average workaday Bayani do banishings and invoke spirits? I've only recently dipped my toes into such practices, and I really lack the orientation and context to truly clue me in to what is what.

I’ll keep my comments very general in this final section because it is a huge topic with many byways and countless detours of discussion better left for another occasion.
Now, prayer and dhikr (mantra) are all forms of practical theurgy; or, to put it in a better way, prayer and dhikr (mantra) are theurgy in practice without which there is no theurgical process whatsoever. This is why I believe that any form of esoteric spirituality which does not involve a deep and consistent daily prayer/mantra regimen (nay, any praxis not foundationally established and rooted in prayer/mantra) is nothing more than empty sophistry, intellectual mind (or Wittgensteinian language) games, identity politics by other means and so ultimately a vacuous costume party -- which in our times (especially in the West, and particularly among many North American, western European and Australasian bourgeois New Age hipster cultures and also among countless self-professed contemporary Guénonian-Evolian-Schuonian neo-Traditionalists as well) is quite prevalent -- and nothing more.[1]
The Islamic ṣalāt/namāz -- from its precise sequence of movements to the formula of the words uttered -- is a form of theurgy. The dūʿā of the Infallibles (ع) is both theurgy while simultaneously conveying an esoteric doctrine through its means. In his commentary on Mullā Ṣadrā’s Wisdom of the Throne (شرح العرشية), Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsāʾī says, “Practicing is the cause of the rule-based light called practical (ʿamalī) potential; knowing is the cause of the cosmic light called cognitive or theoretical (ʿilmī) potential. And through practicing (ʿamal) the depths of knowing (ʿilm) are fathomed; through knowing the depths of practicing are fathomed.”[2] In other words, it is via the practice of ṣalāt/namāz, dhikr and dūʿā together whereby, to put it in another specific context in which Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsāʾī puts it, the alchemical body of ascension (i.e. the palingenetic body of resurrection) is created by the adept and by which the station of the fuʾād (فؤاد) (i.e. the subtilised heart-flux/blaze-flux/heart-blaze)[3] –- which is existence/being (وجود) itself and which the Bāb glosses as being the cipher for “the Dawn” (الصّبح) in his commentary on the  Ḥadīth Kumayl/Ḥadīth al-Ḥaqīqa –- is attained. Another way to convey this principle is how Jibrāʿīl Khurramābādī (7th century AH), the author of the Gift of the Faqīr (تحفة الفقير), specifically conveys it when he says, “And the [Sufi] masters -- may the good favours of God be upon them all -- have declared that the dhikr [i.e. mantra] is an extension of the Providential Guidance (wilāya, i.e. spiritual authority and proximity to God). Whosoever has been bestowed the bounty of [possessing] the dhikr has been granted the Providential Guidance (wilāya) itself, and whosoever has been made bereft of [or ‘forbidden from’] it has been demoted from the Providential Guidance (wilāya)…” (my trans.)[4]
The Bayānī devotional writings in the grade of prayer (as well as in its other grades) are, by and large, augmented doxological novelizations deriving from the sacred wellsprings of the Qurʿān, the Imāmī ḥadīth and the dūʿā of the Infallibles (ع). In fact, and as the Bayānī doctrine itself holds about itself, the entire sacred corpus of the writings of the Bāb and Ṣubḥ-i-Azal are the very continuations of them. While the contemporary fundamentalisms (together with the modernist process of the institutional routinization of charisma) have largely obscured this point that was taken as axiomatic in another period and in a different time among Muslims, this is not a controversial idea in the world of esoteric Islam at all. In fact the Sūfīs and the Ismāʿīlīs have taken the writings and utterances of their own guides, masters and imāms in an identical light as well. The only controversy is in this, that the Bayān openly and brazenly states what others have largely conveyed and contextualized via allusions, subtle indications and through the discipline of the arcane (taqīya); and that is, that even though Muḥammad is indeed the Seal of the Prophets (ص), the actual Revelation of Tawḥīd and the theophanic self-disclosures of the All-High can never ever actually cease unless, that is, the world itself ceases to exist. As such, whether acknowledged or not, there must always exist in the world a Living Proof (حجّة الحيّ) who is the Talismanic-Temple (هيكال) of this eternal Revelation of Tawḥīd, the Mirror (مرآت) for these ceaseless theophanic-disclosures, who maintains within themselves the eidaic-archetypal principle of Peerless Self-Subsistence (قيّومية) and so via this eidaic-archetype they become an embodification of the eternal Qāʾim (the One Who Arises) Who is already-always ‘arising’ or ‘dawning’ as the Primal Will, the Eternal Imām: the Eternal Imām Who is necessarily hidden (ghayb) to the non-initiates, the spiritually blind and the unripe but present and always manifest (ẓāhir) to those who have realized “the Dawn” (الصّبح) of their own existence/being, that is, the blaze-heart/blaze-flux/subtilised heart-flux or fuʾād (فؤاد), the Imām-of-ones-being, i.e. the ʿaql (Hiero-Intelligence/Nexal Consciousness). The Bayānī writings (especially the prayers and dhikrs) offer just such a path of spiritual self-realization, palingenesis and theosis, to anyone who sincerely and earnestly engages with them in the correct and proper manner, and this is its theurgy.
Now, whether consciously or unconsciously performed, one of the dual functions of high magic or theurgy is to invoke and to banish. Often this process also occurs in a sort of phenomenological synergy where what is invoked –- say, one of the names of God or even an angelic presence –- automatically banishes by its very invocation. Of course, the efficacy therein is always dependent on the intention (نية) and the sincerity (صدق), not to mention the state (حال) and the station (مقام), of the invoker; and there is always also the timing factor. Be that as it may, in effective theurgy, whenever the Light banishes the darkness through invocation it does so either by absorbing it or by erasing its presence. Whensoever it does not do so, even in the hands of a seasoned and experienced theurgist, inner or outer, this is because the presence of such darkness (whatever it may be) subsists within the scales of a larger ontological equilibrium of necessity determined by the wisdom of providence itself, as it were, whereby this darkness (whatever its nature) occurs within the greater nexus of a larger metaphysical ecology of things. Nevertheless, whatever it may be, inner or outer, the Light already-always subdues the darkness, for the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (NT, John 1:5).
Finally, beyond the Bayānī writings and the profoundly dense esoteric, spiritual doctrine that issues therefrom, what also ties everything together is the calligram of the Greatest Name of God  (اسم الله الاعظم), the Seal of Solomon, or the Seven Seals (my commentary upon which I have already referred to).[5] This is the key to everything stated above; a symbol that must be continually visualized and contemplated; and it is the celestial vehicle as well as the sword and the weapon, the shield and armour, the ladder and the steed of this particular path. The Greatest Name of God also literally chooses its own.

و السّلام و النّور على من اتبع العلامات و الاشارات ِمن اشراقات الهدى و الحمدلله نور العالمين


[1] The Duginists do not even believe in the concept of prayer/mantra even though many of them pretend to Eastern Orthodox Christianity whose hesychasm is quite a profound theurgical tradition in its own right, which should tell you what these people are really all about and how fake, inverted and tragicomical their entire notion of ‘Traditionalism’ together with their professions of conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity ultimately really is.
[2] Shaykh Aḥmad Zayn al-Dīn al-Aḥsāʾī Sharḥ al-Ḥikma al-ʿArshiyya (Commentary on the Wisdom of the Throne of Mullā Ṣadrā), JK2 (jawāmiʾ al-kalim, 2nd edition), Vol. 4, p. 633, Trans. Idris Samawi Hamid
[3] Which can also be glossed with the Mazdaean ‘Xvarnah’ (the Light of Glory).
[4] In (ed.) Najīb Māyil Harawī dar shabestān-i-ʿirfān (Tehran: nashr-i-goftār, 1369 solar/1990 CE), 124.

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