The fass of a thing is its epitome and quintessence. The fass or “bezel” of a ring is that with which it is decorated and upon which the name of its owner is written. “Wisdom” is knowledge of the realities, attributes, and properties of things as they are in themselves and knowledge of words and of volitional acts in a manner that requires them to be appropriate to the circumstances (when they appear from the possessor of wisdom). “The Divinity” is the name of the ontological level which embraces all of the levels of the divine Names and Qualities. Therefore “the quintessence of the wisdom of (the name) God” consists of the epitome of all of the knowledge and religious sciences pertaining to the level of Divinity; or it is the place where that knowledge and those sciences are inscribed.
The quintessence of this knowledge and these sciences, or the locus which is receptive toward them, is actualized in the Logos of Adam. Know that the Most Beautiful Divine Names, which if considered in principle, but if considered individually and in detail are beyond reckoning, for the Names are the determinations of the Name “God” within the realities of the possible beings, and they are infinite because of the infinity of the possible beings, demand in themselves the existence of the world in order that it becomes a mirror for their concealed lights and the locus of manifestation of their hidden secrets God only taught the Perfect Man His Most Beautiful Names and placed them within him because the Perfect Man is the spirit of the world and the world is his body — as was mentioned — and because the spirit governs the body and exercises free disposal within it through its spiritual and corporeal faculties, just as the Names are like spiritual and corporeal faculties for the Perfect Man.
Just as the spirit governs the body and controls it through faculties, in the same way the Perfect Man governs the affairs of the world and controls them by means of the divine Names. Know that every one of the realities of the essence of the Perfect Man and of his ontological level is an isthmus in terms of its comprehensive unity, standing between one of the realities of the Sea of Necessity and a reality which is its locus of manifestation within the sea of possibility and which is its “throne”, upon which that Necessary reality is seated.
So when the perfect comprehensive theophany descends upon its locus of manifestation, the Perfect Man, he receives it through his perfect, comprehensive, and unified reality, and that theophany courses through all of the realities within his nature. Then the light of theophany flows out from him onto that which is in conformity with it within the world. Therefore, the bounties and blessings which descend upon the realities of the world through the theophany of the All-merciful only reach these realities after having become determined within the Perfect Man and colored by an added hue which did not exist before the determination of the theophany within him. Therefore the realities and archetypes of the world are his subjects, and he is the vicegerent over them. And the vicegerent must look after his subjects in the most fitting and best manner. It is here that some of the Perfect Men are superior to others. God manifests Himself to the heart of the Perfect Man, who is His vicegerent. And the reflection of the lights of His self-manifestation overflows into the world, which remains in existence by receiving this effusion.
As long as this man is in the world, he seeks from God the aid of the theophanies of the Essence and of the “Merciful” and “Compassionate” Mercy by means of the Names and Qualities of which the beings are the manifestations and the loci upon which they are “seated”. So the world is preserved by this seeking of aid and by the effusion of theophanies as long as the Perfect Man remains within it. Therefore no meaning passes from the Inward to the Outward except by his command. Therefore even if he does not know it because of the domination of his human qualities, he is the isthmus between the two seas — i.e. the two seas of the Outward and the Inward — and the partition between the two worlds. And to him is the reference in His words, “He let forth the two seas that meet together, between them an isthmus they do not overpass” (cf. Qur’an).
Therefore, or because the world is like the body and the Perfect Man is like the spirit, it is said that the world is a “great man” , for just as man consists of a body and a spirit which governs it, the world is made up of these two, although it is larger than a man in form; but this statement is only true on condition of the Perfect Man’s existence within it, or the world, for if he did not exist within it, it would be like a discarded body without a spirit.
And the Perfect Man is a book, the epitome, and summary of the Mother of the Book, which consists of the ontological plane of the comprehensive Unity of the Name “God”, which comprises the Necessary and active realities pertaining to the Names and the subtle essences of the Qualities pertaining to the level of Lordship, such that nothing escapes them, save inherent Necessity, for the contingent and possible being has no share in that, or else the realities of things would be reversed.
And therefore, i.e. because man is the epitome of the ontological plane of “God” and comprises what it contains of the realities of the Names and Qualities in a comprehensive unity, He singled him out for the divine Form, even if the world also is in accordance with the Form, for whatever is nearer to oneness is more deserving of being attributed to God. and the form of man is the form of His comprehensive Unity, while the form of the world is His particularized form. For He said through the mouth of the Holy Prophet, “Verily God created Adam in His” divine and perfect “form” and according to His own all-comprehensive qualities of Lordship. And since it is possible that the pronoun in “His form” refers to Adam, as some people have claimed, he followed this with his words, and in another version, “in the form of the All-Merciful”. It has been said that “form” means appearance, and so it can only apply to bodies. So what is meant by “form” in this hadith is “attribute”, i.e., “Adam was created according to the Attributes of God”, or, living, knowing, willing, powerful, hearing, seeing, and speaking.
Since Reality appears outwardly through form, the term has been applied figuratively to the Names and Qualities; for through them, God appears in external reality. This is the point of view of the exoteric authorities. But in the view of those who have attained the Truth, form is that without which the unseen and disengaged realities cannot be conceived or manifested. And the form of God is Being determined by the other determinations through which It is the source of all acts relating to perfection and all active properties.
One of the Sufis has said, “If a questioner asks how ‘form’ can be attributed to God, we will answer that according to the exoteric authorities it as a figurative attribution, not a real one, because for them to apply the word ‘form’ to sensory beings is true and correct, and to intelligible beings is figurative. But for us, since the world in all of its spiritual, corporeal, substantial, and accidental parts is the particularized form of the ontological plane of ‘God’, and the Perfect Man is His summary form, the attribution of form to God is true and correct, and to what is other than He is figurative; for in our eyes nothing other than He possesses existence.”
And He made him, or the Perfect Man, the sought-after goal and the desired end in the creation and maintenance of the world, like the rational soul, which is the goal in making perfect the body and harmonizing the natural and bodily constitution of the human individual. The universal goal and the primary intention in the creation of the world was the knowledge and vision of the sons of Adam. The lamp of the determinations of contemplation’s light and the mirror of the variegations of Being’s manifestation are his pure heart and penetrating understanding, and the focus of all of the kinds of knowledge and perception is the comprehensive unity of his knowledge and perception. When a man’s created attributes are transformed into uncreated ones and the eyes of his spiritual insight are anointed with the antimony of Oneness, by means of all of his faculties and sense organs he contemplates the beauty of God and perceives absolute Being in all of the loci of theophany and manifestation. The fruit of the tree of his creation is nothing other than this knowledge and vision.
Man is an eye, and the rest is a skin: true sight is seeing the Friend. When there is no sight of the Friend, the eye is better blind. Therefore, or because the goal of the creation and maintenance of the world is the Perfect Man, just as the goal of perfecting the body is the rational soul, the world is destroyed with his disappearance, i.e., the disappearance and transferral of the Perfect Man from it, just as the body decays and disappears when the rational soul leaves it; for verily God does not manifest Himself within the world without the intermediary of the Perfect Man. So with his withdrawal, the replenishment which brings about the subsistence of its existence and perfections is discontinued. Hence the world is transferred with his transferral and all of the meanings and perfections which were within it depart for the hereafter.
The true Perfect Man is the isthmus between Necessity and possibility and the mirror which embraces the attributes and laws of Eternity together with those of contingency. He is the intermediary between God and creation, and through him and from his ontological plane the divine effusion and grace, which are the reason for the subsistence of ‘other than God’, reach the world, all of it, both the celestial and the terrestrial. If it were not for his being the isthmus which is not opposed to either of the two sides, nothing in the world would receive the unique succor of God, because of the lack of affinity and relationship; the succor would not reach the world and therefore the world would cease to exist. “Verily the Perfect Man is the pillar of the Heavens and the earth. And because of this mystery, when he leaves the center of the Universe — that Universe which is the outward form of the divine All-comprehensiveness and of its Unity and the station of the vicegerency of the ontological plane of ‘God’ — and goes back to the Noble Pedestal and the Majestic Throne, which encompass the Heavens and the earth, the order of the Universe will be destroyed and the earth and the Heavens will be changed into other than themselves.
“Therefore the Prophet has said, ‘The hour (of the Resurrection) will not come as long as there is someone in the world who says “God, God”.’ And he emphasized by repetition that he means, ‘as long as there is someone in the world who truly says “God”,’ for if he meant ‘someone who says the word “God”,’ he would not have emphasized it by repetition. And there is no doubt that no one mentions ‘God’ with a true mention — and in particular with this greatest and all-embracing Name, which contains in itself all of the Names — except he who knows God with perfect gnosis. It is as if he said, The hour will not come as long as there is a Perfect Man in the world.’ It is he who is referred to as ‘the maintaining pillar’ or ‘he for whose sake (the world) is maintained.’ So when he is transferred (to the other world), the heaven will be split asunder, the sun will be darkened, the stars will be thrown down and scattered, the mountains will be set moving, the earth will be shaken and the Resurrection will come.
“Moreover, if it were not for his immutable permanence — in respect of his being a locus of manifestation — within Paradise, whose place is the Noble Pedestal and the Majestic Throne, the situation of these two would be like that of the earth and the heavens (they would also be destroyed.) And verily have qualified his immutable permanence with my words, ‘in respect of his being a locus of manifestation’, because of what God has informed me concerning the fact that Paradise does not encompass a Perfect Man. Of his reality, there will only be in Paradise what is compatible with that world and what that world necessitates from God in respect to what it contains man.
The Prophet refers to the Perfect Man with his words ‘the Foot of the All-compeller’ in the hadith, ‘Verily hell will not cease to say, “Are there any more?” until the All-compeller places His foot upon it. And when the All-compeller places His foot upon it, parts of it will withdraw into other parts, and it will say, “Enough! Enough!” ‘ It was told by God that the foot placed in hell is what is left over in this world from the forms of the Perfect Men and is that which does not accompany them in the paradisial state. And this remnant was alluded to as ‘the foot’ because of a subtle and sublime correspondence: the foot is the last part of man’s body; in the same way, his physical form itself is the last of the parts of the absolute human form, for the forms of the world, are all like bodily organs of the absolute and true human form. The physical state is the last form in which the human reality appears, and through the absolute and true human form all of the forms which said were like bodily organs are supported and maintained.”
And the edifice is transferred to the hereafter because of him, i.e., because of man, or by reason of his being transferred there. As long as the Perfect Man is in the world, the world is preserved and the divine treasuries protected. But when he is transferred from this world to the next and leaves the lower world to reside in the hereafter, and when no one remains among men who are qualified by the divine perfections and able to take his place, and when God makes him the treasurer of His own treasuries, then all of the perfections and meanings which exist in the treasuries of the world are removed along with that Perfect Man, the small amount which is in the world joins that which is waiting in the hereafter, and the work of keeping the treasury and being the vicegerent goes to the next world. Hence he, or the Perfect Man, is the first in intention and desire since God made him the intended aim and the final cause of the creation of the world. And it is in the nature of the final cause to be prior in knowledge and will, just as it is in its nature to be posterior in existence, the last, i.e., the Perfect Man is posterior to other than himself, in creation in the chain of existent beings, for the first thing He created in external existence was the Supreme Pen, then the Guarded Tablet, then the Mighty Throne, then the Noble Footstool, then the elements, then the seven heavens, then the productions, then man: for he is the end of these creatures and the locus of their integration. And man is the outward, or that which is perceived, in his elemental and corporeal form and the inward also, or that which is not perceived, in station or rank, for this is in respect of his spirituality. Or we can say that man is outward in the realm of concrete existence, through his comprehensive and unified form composed of body, soul, intellect, faculties and other things which can be called “created”; and he is also inward, but through his station, which is his vicegerency.
So in respect of his elemental and corporeal form or the form of his comprehensive unity, he is a servant of God (God), created to worship his Lord; and in respect of his meaning and spirit, or his station, a lord, whose lordship is actualized in relation to the individual beings of all the world. Man is two copies: an outward copy and an inward copy. His outward copy corresponds to the world in its totality, and his inward copy corresponds to the ontological level of the Divinity. Thus man is universal in reality and unconditionally, for he is the receptacle for all beings, whether eternal or contingent. But beings other than he is not the receptacle for all beings, for the particular beings of the world are not receptacles for Divinity, and God is not a receptacle for servanthood. Rather the whole world is a servant, and God — glory be to Him alone — is a unique and eternal God who cannot be qualified by that which contradicts the attributes of Divinity, just as the world cannot be qualified by that which contradicts the attributes of contingency and servanthood. So man is the owner of two complete relations: a relation through which he enters the ontological level of Divinity, and a relationship through which he enters the ontological level of the cosmos. So he is called a ‘servant’ in respect of his being addressed by revelation and since he was not, then he was, like the world. And he is called a ‘lord’ in respect of his vicegerency, his Form and his Fairest Stature (cf. Qur’an).”
For that reason, i.e., because man has an aspect of lordship through which he is in conformity with God, and an aspect of servanthood through which he is in conformity with creation, He made him a vicegerent and in the same way He made his perfect sons vicegerents in all of the world, and his sons who have not reached perfection vicegerents in that which pertains to them, like the governance of a kingdom by the king and the running of a family by its head. And the lowest form of governing is the governing of the body by the individual. But the Greatest Vicegerency belongs only to the Perfect Man. And therefore, i.e., because the meaning of Adam comprises the two aspects of Lordship and servanthood, none of the creatures of the world has claimed for himself lordship except man, because of what he possesses of power and mastery, by being qualified by the attributes of Lordship and the active Qualities of the Necessary Being. So when he observed them in himself, but God had not opened the eye of his spiritual insight, he did not understand that they are the attributes of God reflected in the mirror of his preparedness, and he imagined that they belonged to him personally.
Therefore he claimed lordship and divinity, like the pharaohs. And in the same way, no one in the world consolidated the station of servanthood in himself through falling down to its lowest levels except man, for when he observed those attributes and qualities in others and he imagined that they belonged to them personally, he acknowledged his servanthood to them, like those who worship idols. Therefore he worshipped stones and other minerals, which are the lowest and the most debased kind of being, for the ontological qualities in their receptive potency, such as life, knowledge, and their concomitants, have not become actualized. So there is nothing greater and of higher rank than a man in his lordship, or by reason of his being qualified by and manifesting the attributes of Lordship, for no rank is higher than this, and in the same way, nothing is more lowly than him in his servanthood, or by reason of his being qualified by the attributes of servanthood, for just as Lordship is the highest of ranks, its opposite, i.e., servanthood, is the lowest.
Man is a two-sided mirror. On one side the properties of Lordship and on the other the defects of servanthood are reflected. When you look at the properties of Lordship, he is greater than all beings; and when you count the defects of servanthood, he is lower and more insignificant than all creatures. When I find a trace of Thy Qualities in myself, God forbid that someone should be better than I! But when my glance falls to my own state, in the two worlds there is none worse than I. So if you have understood the preceding explanation, I have explained to you what is meant by “man”. Look at his grandeur, which he has attained through the Most Beautiful Names, or having become qualified by them, and the fact that they seek him to be their perfect locus of theophany and their all-embracing locus of manifestation. Through their seeking him and their requiring his existence, you will come to understand his majesty and nobility, for the grandeur and nobility of the sought is only to the extent of the grandeur and nobility of the seeker; and in the same way through his appearance through them, or through those Names, and his existence through them, although in his own essence he is nonexistent, you will understand his lowliness, for there is nothing more lowly than to be subject to the laws of nothingness and to stand in need of another for one’s existence. So understand!
From this, or from this station, according to which it has been understood that man is a lord in respect of his inward part and a servant in respect of his outward, it is understood that he, or man, is a copy of the two forms, and corresponds to them: the form of God, which is embraced by the state of his inward all-comprehensiveness and concentration and the form of the world, which is encompassed by the state of his outward differentiation and dispersion. And these two forms are the two hands of God with which He created man. What is man? An all-embracing isthmus, the form of creatures. He is a copy in synopsis whose content is the Essence of God and His ineffable Attributes. Connected to the subtleties of the World of Power, inclusive of the verities of the World of Dominion, His inward is drowned in the sea of Unity, his outward dry-lipped on the shore of separation. There is not one of the Attributes of God which is not manifest in his essence. He is knowing, hearing and seeing, speaking, willing, alive, and powerful.
In the same way, of the realities of the Universe, everything is incorporated within him: Take the Heavens or the elements, or take minerals, plants, and animals; The form of good and bad are written within him, the behavior of devil and beast are kneaded in him. If he was not the mirror of the Face of the Everlasting, why did the angels prostrate themselves to him? He is the reflection of the beauty of the Immaculate Presence; if Iblis cannot fathom this, so what?