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As to the stages of the soul, its conditions and degrees, the cause of its abasement and exaltation, and its origin - know thou: Spirit has illimitable stations and innumerable conditions or degrees. It the world of existence, however, they are generally limited and enumerated as: the cohesive mineral, the growing vegetable, the sensible animal,1. the mortal human,
As to the cohesive mineral soul, this refers to elemental matter. It is characterized by the perfections, beauty and effects which it produces. Consider precious stones and how they develop in mines until they attain perfection and beauty.
As to the vegetable soul, this is the spirit through which plant life grows and produces leaves, branches and stems. It is this faculty of growth which absorbs the life matter from the earth and confers it upon the trees and plants so that they constantly grow and develop and put forth shoots and produce fruits, flowers and foliage.
As to the animal soul, this refers to that spirit which is manifected in the physical senses and by whick they perceive physical matter.
By the human mortal soul is meant that spirit which is characterized by the power of speech. That is to say, the spirit which sustains human powers, physical and mental faculties, perfections, divine knowledge, science, arts, and mystic wisdom. It is likewise subject to the influence of dark passions and earthly imperfections. How great is God for this astonishing miracle and this great point, this perfect world in the book of existence!
Thus it is evedent that the spirit manifests different aspects and traverses various endless and contrasting grades and stations. It has capacity to become a mirror for the reflection of the manitestaion of divinity and a point for reflecting heavenly attributes. There are also grades of abasement for it in this world of existence. It can be veiled by the impore veils produced by the limitations which prevent its attainment to its source and point of origin, and shut it out from the sighs of its Creator which have been deposited within it through the bounty of its Maker. And due to its progression in the realms of nearness and proximity, and because of its abasement in the wilderness of remoteness and perversity, it is clothed in each grade with a different appearance. Therefore in each stage it is described by a certain term.
For instance, when it is in the depths of degradation and the lowest grades of animal passions and takes pleasure in evil and ephemeral diversions, becomes hardened by the coldness of this world of existence and dull and neglectful of the warmth and love of its Creator, the Merciful, the Bountiful, then on account of its degradation in the wasteland of death and perversity and its occupation with evil and rebellious pursuits, it is characterized as the concupiscent soul. As God says, 'the soul leads one to evil unless God have pity upon it.'
Then from this dark and dreary basemen the soul progresses to a point where it occasionally receives an indication of its abasement in the abyss of error, of the path it is treading, of the ignorance veiling it from its Creator, and of its forgetfulness in the remembrance of God, From time to time the breeze of awareness passes over it and stirs it to monetary wakefulness. Upon observing its immersion in the depths of ignorance and negligence, it accuses itself, and seeing itself lost in the desert of evil, it reproaches itself. Because of its lowliness and basemen, for having fallen to such depths of passion and abasement, for being hindered by accumulated veils from attaining to higher spiritual degrees and by satanic imaginings from remembering God, it will be overcome with remorse. And because of this remorse and reproachfulness and for blaming itself, it is called the irascible soul. As God days, 'I will not swear by the self-accusing spirit".
When the soul rises from this lowly and bestial condition and ascends to a more dignifies and nearer station and degree and is assisted by divine confirmation and receives signs of inspiration and is inspired by the meaning of the Book, as it is said, 'Read thy book; it is sufficient unto thee this day' (17:15); when the reality of day and night becomes apparent to it, and it is invited to the shores of the ocean of knowledge, nourished by divine food from the heavenly paradise, fed from the fruits of the tree of bounty, given to drink from the steams of generosity, sustained by eternal delicacies, tastes the sweetness of choice morsels, it befittingly realizes its elevation and degradation, its rise and fall, judges its affairs with insight, resolves its own difficulties, inclines itself away from the ephemeral to the eternal, withdraws its sight from all crated things, sets itself towards the Presence of the Almighty, receives calls from the Concourse on High, attends to that which causes its advancement until it attains to the summit of assurance and the throne of gratitude, becoming a focal center of inspiration among men and gains from its efforts those fruits which will lead it to the goal of its desire - it thus is referred to as the inspired soul which distinguishes its evil doings from its noble deeds. As God says, 'So God inspired him with his evil doings and his good deeds.'
Through its awakening to the remembrance of its Lord and the call of its Creator, its arising from the couch of false imaginings, its remembrace of God, the Most High, its ascent to the degrees of love and assureance, its immersion in the ocean of certitude, its recognition of the signs of God in the Dawning-place of the world of existence, the Horizon of the world of Being and the Manifestation of the sigh of Unity from the Dawning -point of heaven, its entrance into the heart of paradise, its bibration through the warmth of God's love, its progress towards God, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, its sitting upon the throne of peasce and constancey and its proffering from the cups of steadfastness at all times - it is referred to as the assured soul.
As it was assured in its faith, ended its wavering, assuaged its difficulties, cooled its heat, refined and removed its veils, changed its darkness into light, set aside its vain pursuits, replaced its imperfections with perfections, tore asunder its veils, uncovered its mysteries, revolutionized the soil of its being and cast off its burdens so that God could inspire it - how great is its God, its Guide, its Savior, its Light-Giver and its Maker, and how exalted is He above the sayings of the ignorant - it will reach the stage of submission and contentment and will leave its desires behind, deliver its affairs into the hands of God, the Most Great King, place its trust in Him, and recline upon the cushion of His grace and generosity. And it shall not chooseth most great comfort in place of the most great suffering, but will be content with what has been decreed for it by God - so much so as to be happy and joyful in the time of suffering and grateful and thankful when the ocean of pain and catastrophe is agitated. And if the arrows of hardships reach it from the clouds of divine decree and the rain of suffering descend upon it you will see it honey-tongued, giving thanks to God, the Help in Peril, and eloquently praising and remembering its Lord, the Most Gracious. This is a station that if thou attainest it thou shalt acquire such joy that sorrows cannot reach thee and such happiness as cannot be affected by any unpleasantness, such ease and comfort as will not be changed into hardship and distress and a tranquillity that will not be followed by agitation or difficulties, because the reins of affairs are in the mighty grasp of thy Lord, and the whole earth is in His grip in the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens are rolled up on His right hand - high and exalted is He above the partners thy assign to Him! And this is so to such an extent that not a leaf will move upon a tree and no fruit will drop except by the Will of thy Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate. He who wilds upon this exalted place has no will, no rest, no movement, destiny nor decree save that which God ordaineth. He becometh entirely selfless in his essence, his attributes and his very being, through the effulgence of the signs of unity, just as the shadows vanish before the shining forth of the Ancient Day Star. When his will hath vanished and disappeared in the Will of God, his will becometh God's Will. His satisfaction will be God's satisfaction. Then the veils shall be removed and duality shall pass from the reality of the heart. Then the sigh of contentment appeareth in the soul and because of this satisfaction with the decree of its Creator and its submission to the command of its Maker, it is referred to as the contented soul.
Through the outpourings of such bounties and being surround with luxuries and delicacies, clothed in the robe of generosity and favor, dressed in the raiment of submission and contentment, the soul will be addressed by the Supreme Concourse: 'Blessed art thou for having traverseth whole way and pursued the path until thou arrived at the stream of faithfulness and drank from the pure waters of dedication and contentment, left behind thy desires, submitted to the decree of thy Lord, offered up all thou didst possess and sacrificed thy heart, thy spirit and thy being in the path of thy Lord. And this is the light of thine eye! Thus thou didst attain to this most exalted and glorious station and will inter acceptable in the presence of the Lord, thy God, resting in the shade of His grace, happy, joyful and exhilarated though His gracious bounty, inasmuch as His favor towards his devoted servants is great!' Then due to its elevation to this realm of contentment which is highly pleasing to God and because of its being accepted at the threshold of its Creator- it is referred to as approved soul.
After taking flight on the wings of holiness unto the celestial realm of this paradise and having tasted the sweetness of its degrees of intimacy in the garden of paradise having acquired therein these high and noble attributes and ascended unto this lofty spiritual condition, and when from its reality have streamed forth fountains of divine wisdom and its hath become the recipient and dawning-place for the effulgence of this light, and attained assurance through the remembrance of God, the Almighty, and become contented with His decrees and approved or accepted at the threshold of His door - it is referred to and known as the perfect soul.
Through the acquisition of such divine perfections it thus becomes worthy and prepared to enter into the Kingdom of God (Malakut) which is the paradise of the righteous and the dwelling place of the just, those whose faces are illumined through the glad tidings of God, and whose countenances shine with the sighs of God. To this degree of attainment God refers, saying, 'Oh thou assured soul! Return to thy God, contented and accepted. Pass in among My servants and thus enter My Palace.'
This is the abiding-place and lofty garden, the Kingdom of God whose doors have been thrown open, whose land is spread out, whose lights are bright, whose trees are fruitful, whose flowers are in bloom, whose streams are flowing, whose seas are surging, whose fountains are gushing, whose breeze is softly blowing, whose leaves are murmuring, whose mouths are wreathed in smiles, whose dawns are breaking, whose lights are being diffused, whose torches are shining, whose birds are warbling, whose palaces are adorned, whose are rejoicing. At this moment rise up by the power of thy Lord and exclaim: 'Oh ye eager ones! Hasten forth to the dawning -place of this ancient, this resplendent Day-Star and face this lofty and mighty Shelter!'
And when the soul entereth this supreme paradise and eternal garden, and turneth towards the dawn of this bright Day, and cometh into this refined station, acquireth perfection, attracteth lights from the essences of names, qualities and attributes, drinketh from this crystal glass, moveth within these regions, diveth into the depths of this ocean and is led towards this fire which burneth in the Paran of love - it will be worthy to be considered as a word of unity and will be confirmed in its essence as a sigh of oneness and attain to everlasting life and happiness, taste of the delicacies of whose equal no eye hath beheld and whose description no ear hath heard, drink from the pure fountains that flow from the right hand of the Throne of Reality, savor the fruits of the trees of the center of paradise, become revived by the breezes blowing from the direction of that Beauteous One through which the hearts of the devoted ones are attracted and the leaves of the branches are exhilarated, attain to the presence of its Lord, the Most High, so that therein not the slightest traces of mortality will reach it, nor the distraction of darkness encompass it. As God saith, 'All shall vanish except the Face of thy Lord, the Most Glorious'.
When the soul openeth the wings of its spirit and is attracted by the divine influences and soareth to the loftiest horizon and turneth to the Abhá Kingdom, it will ascend unto the station of the divine and exalted Dominion (Jabarut) and will be confirmed by the supreme and manifest power and the great and ancient mystery and will become informed of the mysteries of the unseen and hidden realities by reason of which the hearts of the knowing ones are consumed in longing, and will reflect the rays from the Sun of Reality, and in all aspects and conditions will disclose its revelations and lights, and will ascend to a station which hath been sanctified from the perception of he perceiving ones.
Since this station hath been created from the essence of power and might, of grandeur and sovereignty, and of majesty and independence, it is freed from that which hath limitations and duality. It is the essence of unity, oneness and uniqueness. It is light upon light, mystery upon mystery, the furthermost tree, the supreme degree, the all-highest center, the furthermost point of worship (the Majidu'l-Aqsa of the Night Journey), the most sublime aspiration in the world of creation. Its perfections have neither beginning, end, nor limitations. Happy the one who attains unto this lofty and holy station!8