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Imam Ali: About the greatness and the attributes of Allah

Imam Ali: About the greatness and the attributes of Allah

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Photo: Man doing dhikr near Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta, by Glenn Hensley; 1944
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Praise be to Allah Who is proof of His existence through His creation, of His being external through the newness of His creation and through their mutual similarities of the fact that nothing is similar to Him. Senses cannot touch Him and curtains cannot veil Him because of the difference between the maker and the made, the Limiter and the limited and the Sustainer and the sustained.

 

He is One but not by the first in counting, is Creator but not through activity or labor, is Hearer but not by means of any physical organ, is Looker but not by a stretching of eyelids, is Witness but not by nearness, is Distinct but not by measurement of distances, is Manifest but not by seeing and is Hidden but not by subtlety (of body). He is Distinct from things because He overpowers them and exercises might over them, while things are distinct from Him because of their subjugation to Him and their turning towards Him.

   

He who describes Him limits Him. He who limits Him numbers Him. He who numbers Him rejects His eternity. He who asks “How?” seeks a description for Him. He who asks “Where?” limits Him. He is the One Who knows everything. He is the Sustainer even though there be nothing to be sustained. He is the Powerful One even though there is nothing to be overpowered.

 

(Imam Ali)
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Recommended Reading:
 
Sufism: An Introduction to the Mystical Tradition of Islam
by Carl W. Ernst
 
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Description:
 
The Sufis are as diverse as the countries in which they've flourished--from Morocco to India to China--and as varied as their distinctive forms of art, music, poetry, and dance. They are said to represent the mystical heart of Islam, yet the term Sufism is notoriously difficult to define, as it means different things to different people both within and outside the tradition. With that fact in mind, Carl Ernst explores the broadest range of Sufi philosophies and practices to provide one of the most complete and comprehensive introductions to Sufism available in English. He traces the history of the movement from the earliest days of Islam to the present day, along the way examining its relationship to the larger world of Islam and its encounters with both fundamentalism and secularism in the modern world.
 
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