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al-Ṭarīqa al-Wāḥidāt - with Allah in Arabic on left
Subhead
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Prolegomenon

O thou who art in search after poverty and contentment!

To am Yisra'el [Hebrew for people of Israel, i.e., Jews], shalom aleichem. Once more, to ha-Haverîm [Hebrew, plural of ha-Haver for the friends] amongst ahl al-Islām [Arabic for people of the surrender, i.e., Muslims], as-salāmu 'ālaykum [Hebrew, shalom, for peace, related to the Arabic, salām and Islām, and the Hebrew, aleichem, for upon you, as a cognate of the Arabic, 'ālaikum, i.e., peace be upon you].

fervent greetings from al-Ṭarīqa al-Wāḥidāt™ [Arabic, arīqa for path or method, and al-wāḥidāt as the plural of al-wāḥid for Unity; in Hebrew, ha-Dereh ha-ʾĒḥûhîm, with dereh as way and ʾēḥûdîm as the plural of ʾēḥûd, i.e., the Way of the Unities]. This weak one, Mōšeh Ahărōn ben Hʿeršʿel, standeth in the maqām [Arabic for station] of that order’s guide.

This risāla [Arabic for treatise] is only summary of the concepts of Taawwuf [Arabic for Ṣūfī], as taught by this lowly and insignificant `abdullāh [Arabic, servant of G-d], in kabbalistic language. Its leqat [Hebrew, doctrine], includes an elementary bayān [Arabic for exposition] and ta'wīl [Arabic for “analogue” or mystical interpretation] of three types of al-Wāḥid [Arabic for unity] or, in the clear tongue of the Hebrews, ha-ʾēḥûd [Hebrew for unity]. Each of the below explanations is merely an introduction.

  1. These midrašîm [Hebrew, plural of midraš for investigations, i.e., homiletic hermeneutics] wilt first inquire into the attributes [al-Ṣifāt] of unities [al-wāḥidāt].
  2. This weak one’s tafāsīr [Arabic, plural of tafsīr for interpretation, i.e., commentary or “exegesis”] then turneth to a brief consideration of such sodim [Hebrew, plural of sod for secrets] as explain the names or kingdoms of existence.
  3. The concluding section shalt examine the names of the human soul as a path to ascending ha-shamayim [Hebrew, plural of ha-shama for the heavens].
A Tutelage on the [Ten] Propositions

Buruch ha-Shem [Hebrew for blessed be the Name]!

O, akhī [Arabic for brother]! Shouldst thou be a nefesh [Hebrew term for self or soul which approximates its Arabic cognate, nafs] of devoted to the Five Pillars of ṣalāt [daily supplications or prayers], ṣawn [fasting during Ramaḍān], shahādah [bearing witness to Islām], zakāt [alms], and hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca], one desirous of perfecting as a bochur [Yiddish designation for a student or, literally, a bachelor] at the madrasa [Arabic, school], graduating as a scholar in Ibn al-Wāḥidāt™ [Arabic for, in order, son and the names, i.e., son of the names], and occupying the exalted maqām of ha-atzilut [Hebrew for the becoming], thou art humbly requested, to contemplate the grammar of our teachings. Verily, lettered in that grammar art the basics of al-arīqa [the path].

This weak one was, for save a few moments in time, immersed between al-wadat al-wujūd [Arabic for the unity of being] of Shaykh 'ibn Arabī’s al-Akbarī [Arabic for of the great elder] school and al-ālam al-mithal [Arabic for the imaginal world or spiritual planes] of Shihābuddīn Yahyā Suhrawardī’s al-Ḥikmat al-'Ishrāq [Arabic for the theosophy or, literally, wisdom of illumination]. He later served as pīr [Persian for elder and, literally, a synonym for the Arabic, shaykh] and al-murshid [Arabic for the guide] to al-Ṭarīqa al-Wujūd dar Kathrat [Arabic for the Path of Unity within Many]. In Taawwūf, all al-urqāt [Arabic, plural of all al-arīqa for the paths] depend entirely upon the Will of Allāh al-Ālīm [Arabic for G-d the Omniscient] alone.

Sanā'ī, Rūmī, and `Aār
Words weaved of silk
By a ḥūrī from afar

[The Persian, ḥūrī (usually spelled as houri), is from the Arabic, ḥūrīya, and may be translated as a black-in-white-eyed maiden.]

While travelling the multiple planes of Abraham [Islams, Christianities, and Judaisms], this wayfarer didst arrange the statements of this sūrah [Arabic for a an “apologia” or defense] in a pleasing organization. On account of his faithfulness to the religion of the sages [wise ones], he hadst, whilst recognizing these planes as merely the attributes of enfolded unities.

Subhan'Allāh [G-d is devoid of impurity]! This process of leaning hath had two major elements:

  1. Concerning the differences between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, this pilgrim hadst recognized an attachment to words as mere imagination. He has therefore, rejected the orthodoxies of fanatics in favor of a tolerance of differences in doctrines.
  2. Afterwards, this inquiring one didst, with respect to ha-mesorot ha-avrahami'im [Hebrew, plural of ha-mesorah for the traditions and Hebrew for the Abrahamic, i.e., the Abrahamic traditions], accept a flexible orthopraxy [right action].

As for the assumptions of this framework, in the Gematria [Hebrew from Greek, geometry, referring to a system of numerology) Kabbalah [Hebrew for a receiving], [Hebrew, the letter yod], the first character of the Tetragrammaton [Greek for four letters, viz., Hebrew, הוה or YHVH, and, in English, self-subsistent], doth signify the Hand [of G-d?] and referreth to a specific value [10]. Therefore, the number of propositions, represented by the Roman numeral X, remaineth fixed.

Now, more to the subject under consideration: The Propositions of al-Wāḥidāt™ hast been explained within al-arīqa in detail. However, as an expression of kindness to the sincere reader, they are penned upon this scroll, in their most basic aspects, with the crimson [a red and purple color] ink of ha-buttul ha-yesh [Hebrew, ha-buttul for the extinction and ha-yesh for the self, and approximating the Arabic, al-fanā al-nafs al-ammāra for extinction of the willful self]:

  1. The Essence of Allāh-ʾĔlōhîm manifests a Pantheon or Collective or Unified Group. In that Pantheon are all of the Prophets and Messengers, from ʾĀdām to Muḥammad and Those unknown, peace and blessings be upon Them All. Acceptance of this proposition can be the doorway to the harmony of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Nay, even by itself, the proposition will promote peace and happiness amongst all men. It is the most important proposition of them all.
  2. Even whilst “particulars,” including individuals, exist and can, through their middot [Hebrew, plural of middah for attributes] or, in the Arabic tongue, ṣifāt [plural of ṣifā for attributes], be observed, ha-etzemīm [Hebrew for the essences] or unities or universals between them each remaineth unknowable.
  3. Categories or names may be assigned by ha-Shem or as the fruitions of human reasoning. Astract terms, kabbalistic systems, art, names, ethics, methods of logic, et cetera have no independent existence or shared etzem [Hebrew for essence].
  4. Through the sovereign and unrestricted ha-ratzon ha-Shem [Hebrew for, first, the, and, second, Name, an reference G-d, i.e., al-insh'allāh in Arabic and the divine Will in English] or ha-brit [Hebrew for the covenant of G-d or, in Arabic, al-ahd], ever subject to change or transformation, particular things art created and destroyed.
  5. Revealed attributes of essences art entirely dependent upon the direction of G-d’s Will.
  6. As ha-Shem gave Adam, the expression of humanity, the authority to name, so people can, together, by their ha-ratzonot ha-enosh'im [Hebrew, plurals of ha-razon, the wills, and ha-enosh, the humans, i.e., human wills] or ha-matzpunim [Hebrew, plural of ha-matzpun for the consciences], name and rename social reality.
  7. The numerous unifying essences are, unlike human names, everlasting.
  8. Learn the uba [Arabic for association, i.e., conversational lessons in al-arīqa]. All bochurim [Yiddish, plural of bochur] must accept the value, for his time, of each and every set of mitzvot [Hebrew, plural of mitzvah for commandments] in its own time. Britot [Hebrew, plural of brit for covenants] are made for ha-yom [Hebrew for the day but used here to reference an age] in which they are revealed. Examples include ha-brit Noach [Hebrew for the Noachide Covenant], ha-brit Moshe [Hebrew for the Mosaic Covenant], ha-brit Yeshua [Hebrew for the Covenant of Jesus], and, in the present yom, ha-brit Muḥammad [Hebrew for the Covenant of Muḥammad], may the ever-abiding peace of Allāh-ʾĔlōhîm rest upon Them All.
  9. All bochurim should humbly acknowledge that they may be wrong on any issue. Never should theyr presume their superiority. Study al-Qur'ān and ha-Torah [Hebrew for the instruction or teaching, a cognate of the Arabic al-Tawrāt, and apparently used here broadly to identify, not only the Pentateuch, but the entire Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Gemara, the Kabbalah, and more] regularly. Thou art also advised to reject the idols of doctrinal rigidity.
  10. Additionally, all bochurim, as defenders of the poor and sickly, in ha-mussar [Hebrew for the ethics or the morality] of tikkun ha-olam [Hebrew for repairing the world], value inclusiveness and reject those philosophies which oppress those without a voice.
The Pruned Tree of Life™

This lowly one, in searching for a philosopher’s stone [magical substance], an elixir [curer of all ills] of alchemy [transformation], hadst reworked the kabbalistic system of Eitz Chayim [Hebrew for tree of life]. It hath, as a sign of the protection of ha-Shem, been recently explained, within the lands of ha-Sephardim [Hebrew, plural of ha-Sephardi and referring, literally, to the Spaniards but used for all Mediteranean European Jewry], in the Zohar [Hebrew for Splendor, a kabbalistic work], It hath, in previous times, be recorded in the Sefer Yetzirah [Hebrew for Book of Creation], and in other sacred scriptures.

Furthermore, this poor one regardeth ha-arba'ah ha-olamot [Hebrew, ha-araba'ah for the four and the plural of ha-olam for the worlds, i.e., the four worlds] of ha-eitz [Hebrew for the tree] as merely ha-shemot [names], or imprecise representations, of reality, not as exact descriptions of the planes of Sephiroth [Hebrew plural of Sephirah for enumerations and adapted from the ancient philosophy of Neoplatonism]. Furthermore, ד [Hebrew, the letter dalet for four], in the Gematria, may be seen as a door or gateway In this minor essay, it indicateth an entry point to heavenly hokhma [Hebrew for wisdom and a cognate of the Arabic, ḥikmat].

shā Allāh [Arabic for G-d has willed it]! One of the deepest oceans of inspiration upon the outlook of this Muslim Chasid [Hebrew for pietist], raised within Jewry, dost come forth from Christendom. After dialoguing with a Christian priest on the subject of the Holy Trinity, he developed a version of the plurality of ha-Shem,

O 'Azīz [Arabic for beloved or dear one]! That which followeth is but a summary of this seeker’s thoughts on the names, attributes, and essences of existence:

Ayn Sof Aur [Hebrew for limitless light] is the Essence of ha-Shem, which is the Unity of ha-navi'im [Hebrew plural of ha-navi for the Prophets or, literally, proclaimers and a cognate of the Arabic al-nabī or, plural, al-anbiyā] This divine Pantheon is the Source of ha-arba'ah ha-olamot which immediately follow. Its absence is impossible.
Ha'olam ha-atziluth [Hebrew for the world of nearness] is the realm of the nearest Ones, ha-navi'im [the Prophets] of ha-Shem, as individual Beings. Without it, the three lower worlds could not even be discussed.
Ha'olam ha-beri'ah [Hebrew for the world of creation] refereth to our true spiritual homes. It is al-'ālam al-arwāḥ [Arabic for the world of spirit], both in ha-olam haze [Hebrew for this world] and Ha'olam haba [Hebrew for the world to come]. Its absence leadeth to human imperfection and religious fanaticism.
Ha'olam ha-yetzirah [Hebrew for the world of formation] pertaineth to the development of thoughts and concepts or al-aql [Arabic for the intellect]. This plane incorporateth tafakkur [Arabic for thought], rational understanding, though, memory, and a perception of time. Its absence leadeth to human imperfection.
Ha'olam ha-asiyah' [Hebrew for the world of action] indicateth the al-'ālam al-ajsām [Arabic for the world of matter]. It includeth the conditions of animal senses, vegetable growth, and mineral cohesion. Its absence will result in motionlessness and death.
The Three Quṭūb of the Age

What followeth is an introduction to the three quṭūb [Arabic for axes or poles, i.e., Great Masters] of the age. This unworthy one, may ha-Shem assist him, wilt, whilst naming each quṭb [Arabic singular of quṭūb], using little ink, make mention of his most important contribution to al-ʿilm [Arabic for the knowledge] of the present age. Only the second of the three hath been known to this favored one.

  1. The dear Muḥammad, upon Him rest the peace of all the worlds of ha-Shem, is the great Seal of the Prophets (Arabic, al-Hātim an-Nabiyīn) and the Lord of the present Age.
  2. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib was the cousin and the son-in-law of the Prophet, upon both of these special individuals rest the greatest peace and love. The beautiful ʿAlī was the first Imām in our Šīʿah [Shiah] tradition.
  3. Fāṭimah, may she be blessed eternally in Paradise, was the daughter of Muḥammad and the wife of ʿAlī, peace be upon them. She is the manifestation of the divine feminine for this Age.
Bay'ah and Tazkiah

O friend! If thou dost desire to give bay'ah [Arabic for vowing, or “selling” one’s hand in allegiance] to this murshid, and to become a salik [Arabic for initiate] and murīd [Arabic for devotee] within al-Ṭarīqa al-Wāḥidāt, thou shalt begin each passing morning with waḍū [Arabic for ablutions]. Recite, then, to the number of fifty-four by nineteen [1,026], the following spiritually charged words: Yā al-malik al-wāḥidāt [Arabic for O King of the Unities]. While doing so, focus upon al-qalb [the heart, which refers here to the spiritual heart center on the left side of the chest].

O divine lover! Thy ta'ammul [Arabic for meditation] must become so beloved that, throughout thy days, thou shalt find thyself continuing in this dhikr [Arabic for remembrance, i.e., the "mantra"] without thought. Then, and only then, will your nafs [Arabic for soul] reach tazkiah [Arabic for, literally, pruning the plant, indicating a spiritual transformation]

O ye fellow traveler on the passageway to Allāh-ʾĔlōhîm! Perhaps, by the grace of ha-Shem, thou mayest live in the world of al-malakūt [Arabic for the kingdom or “heaven”] even whilst thou remaineth within Allāh’s material worlds of al-mulk [Arabic for the dominion].

Salutations be upon thee!

Mōšeh Ahărōn ben Hʿeršʿel

Menorah Divider
al-Ṭarīqa al-Wāḥidāt;™ is an allegorization of Unities of All Things™.
This persona is a fictionalized representation of Dr. Mark A. Foster.
Copyright © 1997- by Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.
Not an official publication of The Society for Creative Anachronism.
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