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Ontology

takes place: the creation of the levels and entities of the cosmos. (II 391.33) The Cloud i~ identical with the Breath of the All-merciful. It is a breathing (HaJkh) in the Being of the Real, so through it creation takes shape (rashakklil) within the Real. Hence it is the Real through whom takes place the creation of the forms of the cosmos which become. manifest within it and the diversification of the divine self-disclosure which appears within it. (II 313.24) The Cloud is the Real thr oug h whom takes place the creation of everything. It is called the "Heal" since it is identical with the Breath, and ihc Breath is hidden within the Breathcr--for this is what one understands from "breath." Hence the Breath has the property uf the NOIlmanifest, but when it becomes manifest it has the property of the Manifest. So it is the first in the: Nonrnanifest and the Last in the: Manifest, "and it has knowledge of everything" (Koran 57:3), II for within it becomes manifest every named thing. This includes both the nonexistent thing, the existence of whose entity is possible, and the nonexistent thing whose entity has been given existence. (II 310.25) (rutbat al-makiina), and the name of locus (nra~all). There arc none of the names ot God between the world of the earth and the Cloud except the names of acts. (II
283.9)

In the following passage, Ibn alArabi summarizes the manifestation of the cosmos "through the Real" in a corn mentary on the particular type of tawhid or declaration of God's Unity that is expressed in a Koranic verse where the
r

divine

name

Real

is mentioned:

"Then

high exalted be God, the King, the Real' There is no god but He, the Lord of the noble Throne" (23:116).
This is the rawl.lld of the Real, which is the tawhid of the He-ness. God says, "We created not the heavens and the earth and all that between them is, in play" (21:116, 44:38). This is the same in meaning as His words, "What, do you think that We created you unly for sport?" (23:115) . Hence, "There is no god hut He" [in the above Koranic passage] is a description of the Heal. That within which the existence of the cosmos has become manifest is the Real; it becomes manifest only within the Breath of the All-merciful, which is the Cloud. So it is the Real, the Lord of the Throne, who gave the Throne its all-encompassing shape. since it encompasses all things. Helice the root within which the forms of the cosmos became manifest encompasses everything in the world of corporeal bodies. This is nothing other than the Real Through Whom Creation Takes Place. Through this receptivity, It is like a container within which comes out into the open (bJ.lrUz) the existence of everything it includes, layer upon layer, entity after entity, in a w isc hierarchy (altarrib al-~ikami). So It brings out into the open that which had been unseen within It in order to witness it. (II 415.18)

III the next passage,


again explaining that the

Ibn al-' Arabi is


Barzakh is an

intermediate reality where the "i rnpossible" takes place, since meanings, which have no forms, assume forms within it.
The atcd Cloud is the seat of the name

"Lord" [who was "in it" before He ereis the

134

the creatures]. just as the Throne scat of the All-merciful (Koran 20:5)." The Cloud is the first thing [in the ontological hierarchy I concerning which the question "Whtre?" call be posed. From it become manifest placeoccupying receptacles and levels. From it become manifest loci which receive corporeal meanings in sensory and imaginal form. It is a noble existent, whose meaning is the Real. It is the Real through whom takes place the creation of every existent other than the Real. It is the meaning within which an: immutably established and fixed the entities of the possible things. It receives the reality of "where," rhe containership of place (;rllljll'yat al-makiil1), the level of rank

'1'he Universal

Reality

The term "reality" (~aqlqa) is often used as a synonym for entity. The "real-