Photo: Barbecue in Samarkand by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii; early 20th century.
Before the creation God loved Himself in absolute unity and through love revealed Himself to Himself alone. Then, desiring to behold that love-in-aloneness, that love without otherness and duality, as an external object, He brought forth from non-existence an image of Himself, endowed with all His attributes and names. This Divine image is Adam, in and by whom God is made manifest—divinity objectified in humanity.
There is no origination of anything that is mortal, nor yet any end in baneful death: but only mixture and separation of what is mixed, but men call this ‘origination’.
The Greeks do not rightly use the terms ‘coming into being’ and ‘perishing’. For nothing comes into being nor yet does anything perish, but there is mixture and separation of things that are. So they would do right in calling the coming into being ‘mixture’, and the perishing ‘separation’.
The matter of this world is the materiality of the Kingdom of Heaven, brought down into a created state of grossness, death, and imprisonment, by occasion of the sin of those angels who first inhabited the place or extent of this material world. Now these heavenly properties which were brought into this created compaction lie in a continual desire to return to their first state of glory; and this is the groaning of the whole creation to be delivered from vanity which the Apostle speaks of.
The Creation of the World was a Vail cast upon the Face of God, with a figure of the Godhead wrought upon this Vail, and God Himself seen through it by a dim transparency; as the Sun in a morning, or Mist, is seen by a refracted Light through the thick medium of earthly Vapours.
'The Passion of Al-Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr of Islam'
By Louis Massignon (Author, Preface), Herbert W. Mason (Editor)
Abridged from the four-volume The Passion of al-Hallaj, one of the major works of Western orientalism, this book explores the life and teaching of a famous 10th-century Sufi mystic and martyr, describing not only his experience but also the whole milieu of early Islamic civilization. Halftone illustrations.