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Sufism and Tariqat
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Sufi cosmology (Arabic: الكوزمولوجية الصوفية) is a general term for cosmological doctrines associated with the mysticism of Sufism. These may differ from place to place, order to order and time to time, but overall show the influence of several different cosmographies:
- The Quran's testament concerning God and immaterial beings, the soul and the afterlife, the beginning and end of things, the seven heavens etc.
- The Neoplatonic views cherished by Islamic philosophers like Ibn Sina / Avicenna and Ibn Arabi.
- The Hermetic-Ptolemaic spherical geocentric world.
- The Ishraqi visionary universe as expounded by Suhrawardi Maqtul.
The following cosmological plan, explaining a creation by successive emanation of worlds, as taught by Plotinus, is typical: In Islamic Sufi terminology, these are also known as "Tanzalat-e-Satta" (7 steps). After Husayn ibn Ali, Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi was the one who discussed these levels in his Arabic book called Tohfa Mursala.
- Alam-i-Hahut (Realm of He-ness) The Realm of pre-existence, the condition of the universe before its formation, equated with the unknowable essence of God. Alam-e-Hahut has similarities to the Christian concept of Deus absconditus, the Hindu notion of Nirguna Brahman and the Kabbalist idea of the En-Sof.
|Planes of existence
Gross and subtle bodies
|Body of light | Thelemic mysticism|
|Hermeticism | Cosmogony|
|Surat Shabda Yoga|
|Talas/Lokas - Tattvas, Kosas, Upadhis|
|Atziluth -> Beri'ah -> Yetzirah -> Assiah
- Alam-i-Lahut (Realm of Divinity) That region where incalculable unseen tiny dots emerge and expand to such large circles that they engulf the entire universe. This Realm is also known as Tajalliat (The Beatific Vision, or the Circle of the Beatific Vision). These countless circles are the bases of all the root causes of the universe. This whole circle is known as the Ghaib-ul-ghaib (Unseen of the Unseen). Alam-e-Lahoot has similarities to the Christian concept of Deus revelatus, the Hindu notion of Saguna Brahman and the Kabbalist idea of Kether. The final boundary of the human knowledge and understanding is called Hijab-e-Mehmood (The Extolled Veil), which is the extreme height of the Arsh (Supreme Empyrean). Nehr-e-tasweed (The Channel of Black Draught/Darkness) whose last limit is in the Realm of Divinity, is the basis of the Unseen & feeds Rooh-e-Azam (The Great Soul).
- Alam-i-Jabarut (Realm of Power) The stage when the universe is constituted into features. Hijab-e-Kibria (The Grand Veil) is the last limit of this realm. Nehr-e-tajreed (Channel of Abstraction), whose last limit is The Realm of Omnipotency, feeds the Human Soul with its information.
- Alam-i-Malakut (Angelic Realm) The stage when the characteristics of the species and their individuals descend from the Realm of Omnipotency, separate consciousnesses comes into being. Its last limit is called Hijab-e-Azmat (The Great Veil). Nehr-e-Tasheed (Channel of Evidence) whose last limit is Angelic Realm, feeds the subtleties of the human heart.
- Alam-i-Nasut (Realm of Humans) The stage when foundations of the tangible world of matter are laid, (parallel to the Tree of Life's sephiroth of Malkuth). It includes the material realm and all the normally visible cosmos. Nehr-e-Tazheer (Channel of Manifestation) whose last limit is Alam-e-Nasut, feeds The subtleties of ego.
The Human Realm is supervised by:
- One Kitab-al-Mubeen, controlling:
- 300 million Loh-e-Mehfooz (Superclusters), each one controlling
- 80 thousand Hazeere (galaxies), each one containing
- 13 billion star systems, out of which
- 1 billion star systems have life on one of their planets.
- Each star has 9, 12 or 13 planets around it.
On every planet with life on it, life exists in three different planes of existence, the Plane of Angels, the Plane of Jinns and the Plane of Humans. On the other hand, it is surrounded by another realm known as Alam-e-Araf or Barzakh (Astral plane), where humans stay after they die (when the soul disconnects from the physical body). Humans can also visit the astral realm during sleep (while dreaming) or during meditation.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2007)|
In cosmology, in contrast to ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle who believed that the universe had an infinite past with no beginning, Medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning (temporal finitism). This view was inspired by the creation myth shared by the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, presented the first such argument against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past. His arguments were adopted by many, most notably; early Muslim philosopher, Al-Kindi (Alkindus); the Jewish philosopher, Saadia Gaon (Saadia ben Joseph); and finally the Sufi thinker Al-Ghazali. Philoponus proposed two logical arguments against an infinite past, the first being the "argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite", which states:
- "An actual infinite cannot exist."
- "An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite."
- "∴ An infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist."
His second argument, the "argument from the impossibility of completing an actual infinite by successive addition", states:
- "An actual infinite cannot be completed by successive addition."
- "The temporal series of past events has been completed by successive addition."
- "∴ The temporal series of past events cannot be an actual infinite."
Both arguments were adopted by later Christian philosophers and theologians, and the second argument in particular became more famous after it was adopted by Immanuel Kant in his thesis of the first antimony concerning time.
- Astronomy in medieval Islam
- Bahá'í cosmology
- Esoteric Christianity
- Plane (esotericism)
- Sufi metaphysics
- Sufi philosophy