Photo: Shaykh Ibrahim Niass
When I go back into the ground, into the depths, into the well-spring of the Godhead, no one will ask me whence I came and whether I went.
He (the Pre-existent Being) is not an Attribute of Being, but Being is an Attribute of Him; He is not contained in Being, but Being is contained in Him; He doth not possess Being, But Being possesses Him; He is the Eternity, the Beginning, and the Measure of Existence, being anterior to Essence and essential Existence and Eternity, because He is the Creative Beginning, Middle and End of all things...He is not This without being That; nor doth He possess this mode of being without that. On the contrary He is all things as being the Cause of them all, and as holding together and anticipating in Himself all the beginnings and all the fulfilments of all things; and He is above them all in that He, anterior to their existence, super-essentially transcends them all. Hence all attributes may be affirmed at once of Him, and yet He is no Thing. He possesses all shape and form, and yet is formless and shapeless, containing beforehand incomprehensibly and transcendently the beginning, middle, and end of all things, and shedding upon them a pure radiance of that once and undifferenced causality whence all their fairness comes.
The Essence (Dhat) denotes Absolute Being stripped of all modes, relations, and aspects. Not that they are outside Absolute Being; on the contrary, they belong to it, but they are in it neither as themselves nor as aspects of it: no, they are identical with the being of the Absolute. The Absolute is simple essence in which no name or quality or relation is manifested. When any of these appear in it, that idea is referred to that which appears in the Essence, not to the pure Essence, inasmuch as the Essence, by the law of its nature, comprehends universals, particulars, and relations, not as they are judged to exist, but as they are judged to be naughted under the might of the transcendental oneness of the Essence.
Ultimate, unheard, unreached, unthought, unbowed, unseen, indiscriminated and unsooken, albeit listener, thinker, seer, speaker, discriminator and foreknower; of that Interior Person of all beings one should know that 'He is my Self'.
(Aitareya Aranyaka, III, ii. 4)
By Abd-al-Karim al-Jili (Author), Titus Burckhardt (Translator), Angela Culme- Seymour (Translator)
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. This is far from being merely a theoretical matter.