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Abd al Karim al Jili: Universal Man

Abd al Karim al Jili: Universal Man

Photo: Portrait of Bisharin boy,  Egypt; 1900-1920.


The creature has being only by contingent attribution,
In reality it is nothing.
When the Divine Lights appear,
They efface this attribution,
So that the creatures were not, nor ceased to be.
God extinguished them, but in their essences, they have never existed,
And in their extinction they subsist…
When they are annihilated, the Being returns to God;
He is then such as He was before they became;
The servant becomes as if he had never existed,
And God is as if nothing had ever ceased.
However, when the Divine figurations appear,
The creature is invested from the Light of God and becomes one with Him.
He extinguishes him, then He substitutes Himself for him;
He lives in the place of the creatures, and yet they have never occupied anything.
Like waves, of which the principle unity is the unity of the sea,
And which, in their multitude, are united by it;
When it is in movement, it is the waves which are it in their totality,
And when it is calm, there are neither waves nor multiplicity.

(Abd al-Karim al-Jili)


Recommended Reading:

'Universal Man: Selections'
By Abd-al-Karim al-Jili (Author), Titus Burkhardt (Editor)

Purchase Book:



Universal Man is an exposition of the appearances of Absolute Being as Essence, Names, Qualities and Divinity, and of the corresponding contemplative states in the path of Union.
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