Charles Reed Peers.

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Jabriil is a god of a kind similar to human nature, and
called in Persian Wakhshur, ^^ prophet,'^ and Serdsh pajdm
sipdr, ^* Serosh, the message-bringer.^* In the opinion of
the philosophers, the crystalline heaven is the ninth heaven,
and the heaven of the fixed stars the throne of God.

The exalted rational spirit is without an habitation, and,
without being in the body, is connected with it, in a man-
ner similar to that of a lover with his mistress. This doc-
trine is very ancient with the Orientals, as has been stated
in the account about the Azar Hoshanglan, but with the first
master among the learned, Aristotle and his followers, it is a
tradition. According to general consent, the soul is eternal.

* Believe not that those who were killed in the way of God are
dead; on the contrary, they are living and nourished at the side of
their Lord.>*


To unite the soul with the body is as much as to drive
Adam from heaven ; too long for the body is to bear the
commands of Eva ; and to perform bad actions is to eat of
the forbidden tree ; anger is the serpent ; lust is the pea-
cock. They hold that Iblis represents the pow^er of imag-
ination which guides us, and the sensual influence which
denies the knowledge of words and things consentient with
reason, and contends with the power of reason ; that what
is stated in the law, that all angels prostrated themselves
before Adam, except Iblis, signifies that all bodily powers,
which are the angels of the earth, are obedient to the soul
of Adam, except the power of imagination, that is Iblis,
which is rebellious, and sometimes gets the better of judg-
ment. Reason says, that a corpse is to be accounted a
mineral, and nowise to be feared ; but imagination says :
" this is true ; nevertheless w^e must fear ^* ; and when one
finds himself in a house alone with a dead man, it may
happen that his mind experiences an agitation of terror.
The Sufis too agree with this, as we find it expressed by
the venerable Shaikh Mahmtid Shosteri in a chapter of the
Merdt ul Mohakakin, ^* the mirror of the investigators of
truth.** It is stated in the Akhvdn lis afd, ** the compan-
ions of purity,** of MullS. Ali, that there were intelligences
and spirits which were not ordered to adore Adam, as be-
ing of a higher rank, as it is written in the Koran, that
God, the All-just, addressed this speech to Iblis: —


And this was the occasion on which the angels of the
earth were ordered to adore Adam.

The Future Life

The Orientals maintain that when the soul realizes, as it
ought to do, the conditions of its primitive origin, it ob-
tains emancipation from the bodily bonds, and joins the
intelligences and spirits: this exalted dignity is Para-


"O peaceful soul, return to thj lord willingly and readily; and who-
ever desires to meet his lord, let him perform good works. >>

In this high state it is possible to behold the face of
God. There is another sect which asserts, that the All-
just is visible; they say right; because the rational soul sees
with interior eyes : another sect which denies the seeing of
God is also right ; because he cannot be seen with bodily

«The eyes attain him, and attain him not.»

But the soul which has left the narrow prison of the
body, but has not attained the field of its beatifying resi-
dence, unites, for taking a seat, with the body of any one
of the celestial spheres with which it has some relation ; it
finds rest in the higher or lower heavens, according to
order and distinction; it is engaged in the contemplation of
beauteous forms, and the noble endowments of one who
praises God in the delight of that sphere, which, with
some, means the fancy of a particular kind, and is blessed
by the enjoyment of delightful imaginations and representa-
tions. What is stated in the code of law, that the souls of
the vulgar among the believers are in the first heaven ; this
is founded upon the words of the prophet.

**His acquisition is but a known place. >^

The meaning of this relates to the different degrees of

By ** Paradise '' is understood one of the heavens, eight
of which are counted, and these are beneath the ninth,
which is the roof of the Paradise, as it is stated in the
traditions. But, when the souls not yet come forth from
the pit of the natural darkness of bodily matter, are never-
theless in a state of increasing improvement, then, in an
ascending w^ay, they migrate from body to body, each purer
than the former one, until the time of climbing up to the steps
of the wished-for perfection of mankind, yet according
to possibility, after which, purified of the defilement of the
body, they join the world of sanctity: and this final mi-
gration (death) is called nasikh, " obliteration.*^

Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 35 of 37)