See this wisdom suited to Idris because he was a prophet who went to the greatest lengths in purifying his soul through arduous ascetic practices and in sanctifying himself from the attributes of animality until his spiritual nature gained complete sway over his animal nature and he totally cast off his body and made a journey to the Heavens, where he spoke to the angels and the disengaged Intellects. And it is said that for sixteen years he neither ate nor slept until only a transcendent intellect remained. And since it is mentioned in the Qur’an concerning Idris that “We raised him up to a high place” (cf. Qur’an), and since “elevation” is of two kinds, alludes to these with words: One of them is an elevation of place, which is attributed to God according to various texts, like His words, “The All-Merciful sat upon the Throne” (cf. Qur’an), and like the cloud mentioned in the words of the Prophet, “He was in a cloud, above which there was no air, and below which there was no air”, in his answer to the bedouin who asked, “Where was our Lord before He created His creation?”, and like the heaven mentioned in His words, “And it is He who in heaven is God” (cf. Qur’an); and the second is an elevation of position or rank, which must be attributed to God according to verses like: “All things perish, except His Face” (cf. Qur’an).

And mankind is described by the two elevations, for they are moving about between knowledge of God and works for him. So some of them rise in the levels of the knowledge of God, like the gnostics; and others become ranked in the degrees of works, like the worshippers and ascetics; and some of them combine the two, like those who have reached perfection. So works pertain to place, i.e., they result in the elevation of place, like Paradise and its various degrees, and knowledge pertains to position, for it results in elevation within the degrees of nearness to God. This is because position pertains to the Spirit, just as place pertains to the body. So each of them necessitates what resembles and is similar to itself. Hence elevation of position belongs to him who knows, and elevation of place to him who performs works. And whoso combines the two perfections possesses both elevations. But as for the elevation of relative superiority, i.e. the elevation in which certain of the elevated is superior in relation to others, that is His words, or must be attributed to God according to His words, “And you are the uppermost, and God is with you” (cf. Qur’an) where He affirms that those whom He is addressing possess a higher elevation and that He is with them in this elevation.

Hence higher elevation must also be attributed to Him. So this, i.e., the elevation of relative superiority, refers to His theophany in His loci of self-manifestation, which are multiple and graded in ranks. It does not refer to the Unity of His Essence. For in one theophany He is higher in elevation than in another theophany, like His words in the Qur’an, “Nothing is like Him” (Qur’an) and like “Surely I am with you, I hear and I see” (cf. Qur’an) and like His words in the hadith, “I was hungry and you fed me not”. So it becomes obvious that His elevation of relative superiority is from the point of view of the multiplicity of theophanies and aspects, not in respect to the Unity of the Essence, for verily at the level of Unity there is only real and intrinsic elevation, not relative elevation.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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