Much excellent Sufi milage has been had from this surah and we won’t repeat it all. For example, it has been pointed out to us that
- According to ibn Arabi, the “false blood” placed on the garment of Yusuf by his brothers to deceive his father is the same “false” menstrual blood of the verses concerning the forbidding of the husband’s approach to the wife during her menses — and this distance being the “adha” (hurt) that is often mentioned in relation to disbelief. We make a further inference then that Yusuf’s journey is one of a cycle of reading (the Qur’an itself) that, during his time in slavery, is a distancing, but when he gains regency, one of marriage or approach. And that his journey proceeds through two such cycles (regency over the smaller house and then over all of Egypt) before reaching absolute regency.
- He begins his journey with dreams (1/46th of prophecy) but, once he learns to interpret dreams, he is completed as Prophecy.
- al Aziz and then the Pharoah himself are aspects of the commanding self, the house being our psyche.
- The 12 brothers are transmissive aspects of the human body, with Yusuf as the crown that admits the Light of above through. There is a natural tension within these aspects with the primary conduit: hence the division of the body against itself in this surah. When Jacob tells his sons “to enter through different gates” but it does not avail them except satisfy a desire in their father’s heart — he is invoking a cosmology of his sons, invoking the representation of the sons themselves as signs within the Qur’an where they are placed — but it is ultimately the Mercy that intervenes and assists in realisation of bodily resolution.
But the surah is infinite in its depths and rewards. What follows is a number of lesser, more obscure observations that came to us this Ramadan.
Note 2: The women of the banquet
And women in the city said: “The wife of Al-’Aziz is seeking to seduce her young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily we see her in plain error.” So when she heard of their scheming, she sent for them and prepared for them a banquet and gave each one of them a knife and said, “Come out before them.” And when they saw him, they greatly admired him and cut their hands and said, “Perfect is Allah ! This is not a man; this is none but a noble angel.” (12:30-31)
The wife of the first owner, al Aziz, who seeks to seduce him (12:23) is Lilith, the first wife of Adam and consort of Shaitan. Her tearing his garment at the back is the nature of the relationship between her sign of the feminine-as-deceit and his sign of masculine-as-prophecy: a disconnected position of a back to her front.
There are medieval Sufi romances in which she eventually becomes a Muslim and marries him as a wife: such fancies would follow in the sense that the feminine space of receptivity/difference is either a promiscuity of signification or a channeled, righteously reflective mirroring of the Nur. The adulteress here is the flipside potential of all human perception (human perception is feminine) — and the job of polishing the mirror is one of transforming her into the wife of Prophecy. Regardless of whether we accept that happy ending in the narrative unfolding, there is, nevertheless a marriage (regency) granted to Yusuf at the end of the story, so the transformation from adultery into the kingdom of the bride is complete.
She is impassioned with love for him — real love — and when she brings the women of the city to the banquet, their hands are cut. Why a multiple number of women? Why does her seduction as a single Lilith suddenly multiply into this buffet selection?
Because there are a multiplicity of feminines — in fact, there are an uncountable infinity of women of the city at the banquet, looking at that Prophecy — they are each plateaus of immanence, but rendered potentially promiscuous. Each is a possible means of interfacing with that Prophecy, of relating to that Light transmitted. Some in a promiscuous way, unguided, corrupt. Others in a correct way — a noble female/speech/perception that corrects as it reads. Each woman is a reading, a materialisation/capture of Yusuf’s Light.
And to gaze upon him directly causes them to cut their hands with a knives. The hands (as we have noted earlier) are metamodel fragmentation/dislocation, the arm of emanation manifest in the space of forms. So the hands of the women are the actions they might commit between languages, between each other, they are transformative “jumps” between the infinities of women seated at the table.
The Arabic for “knife” is sikkin, having the same root S-K-N as tranquility (Sakina, the immanent Grace of God), poverty, dwelling and resting place. It is a knife that cuts, that circumcises, that renders sanctified a space, transforms a feminine plateau into a dwelling of Grace. The infinite array of women, of plateaus, of language games, of regimes of signs, of sex in the city: their potential for higher order promiscuity, for jumps, for transformative jihadic action, sign-formation, higher-order speech … They are each a type of wine. And their danger is absolute drunkenness. This danger is rendered circumcised immediately by the cutting of their hands, and the cutting of their hands is the reception of Yusuf into their room, of beauty into their banquet.
But the story doesn’t end there. While he has won a victory over the meta-forms of all structures, over all forms of community, he doesn’t marry each of them. Their hands are cut, but the circumcision is at the higher-order of the ruhanic metamodel transformation, rather than the lower order of the nafs. Thus kingdom — the lower order control over the heart within the nafs — is not yet granted to him. That is, the victory granted at the upper level must now emanate downwards from the totality of form systems into the visible structure of the language being employed right now to describe the process — the space of all-forms now circumcised — it remains for light to visibly gain control and hold of lived nafsic dimension (and this is essential because it is through light married to the nafsic dimension that we can correct the cosmos through reading). (We note briefly that the move, the descent itself from the ruhanic banquet — at level 2 — must follow according to two descents from the ruhanic plane, 7 years to the level 3/qalbic and 7 years again to the level 4/nafsic, the two groups of seven that Yusuf will have control over in his Prophecy to Pharoah).
She said, “That is the one about whom you blamed me. And I certainly sought to seduce him from his nafs, but he firmly refused; and if he will not do what I order him, he will surely be imprisoned and will be of those who are subdued.” (12:32)
She sought to seduce him from his nafs, to render his signification wayward and adulterous to the path of God.
He said, “My Lord, prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. And if You do not avert from me their plan, I might incline toward them and be of the ignorant.” (12:33)
If he has conquered them by circumcision, what is the problem? It is that they have called him an Angel. And so he is, in a sense, at this point, because his control has not fully extended downwards into the nafs, his control is only between Angelic domains, between metamodels. And this is a danger, because there will be no active correction to the world then. It takes a man, not an Angel, to do the correcting — and correcting is done through a man’s recitation. Recitation within a system, within a prison of specific forms.
So his slavery must now become intensified — rendered dense and ultra-local. The Light of Prophecy now “zooms in” on a specific systematization, on a specific model, on a specific sentence, on a specific miniscule sign, and occupies it completely, evacuating all other visible domains, utterly concentrated. At the same time, the whole nature of the Light (everything we have said, for instance about the upper realms) comes from such a concentration at this lowest realm. This is misprison. To use the misprison of speech to (ironically) escape the prison, to locate the dwelling, the kingdom within the prison.
And Yusuf does this through grasping the meaning behind dreams, when before he only dreampt.
Note 3: Forgotten dreams
And there entered the prison with him two young men. One of them said, “Indeed, I have seen myself pressing wine.” The other said, “Indeed, I have seen myself carrying upon my head bread, from which the birds were eating. Inform us of its interpretation; indeed, we see you to be of those who do good.” (12:36)
Yusuf replies with a speech about his lineage and his Islam, beginning with the following verse
He said, “You will not receive food that is provided to you except that I will inform you of its interpretation before it comes to you. That is from what my Lord has taught me. Indeed, I have left the religion of a people who do not believe in Allah , and they, in the Hereafter, are disbelievers. (12:37)
Mastery of dreams is a mastery of the metonymic signification, of measuring, comprehending, the nature of chains of signs related to each other in a horizontal fashion. It is not, as is commonly thought, a metaphoric signification, in which the analyst understands that such-and-such a sign refers to some other sign. Instead, it is the active control of signs, in chains of signification, to come True, for 1/46th of dreams to become the full Prophecy (a much older model of a dream interpreter as a prognosticator). Dreams are sentences, and sentences are dreams. When the Light runs through them in recitation, they come True in the Future, because their Truth is unlocked.
All relationship to the cosmos is one of feeding (data, nourishment, etc): and so we are fed by signs. But Yusuf’s beauty is one that corrects this feeding through its interpretation, through passing his light through the chains of signification.
O two companions of prison, as for one of you, he will give drink to his master of wine; but as for the other, he will be crucified, and the birds will eat from his head. The matter has been decreed about which you both inquire. (12:41)
The birds are higher aspects of the soul, consuming the bread of the prisoner’s head or “face” — the bread being a residue of understanding that derives from the prisoner’s corrective use of the misprison of his own speech. That is, Yusuf’s own corrective prophecy generates bread. When the birds consume, a record of good deeds is being increased, of light is unlocked and released. On the other hand, the wine is served to the master of the house by the servant: this is a relationship of ruhanic spirit becoming disseminated throughout the master’s house, throughout the nafsic commanding self by means of slavery.
Note 4: The entrance of Yusuf’s parents
Then, when they entered upon Yusuf, he took his parents to himself and said: “Enter Egypt, inshallah, Amina (secure).” (12:99)
Recall that Amina (the Mohammedan mother) is a state of belief, trust, security, certainty. Yusuf’s parents are his function of resonance that he was distant from and now close to again. This movement of distance and rejoining is a movement of resonance and thus constitute his parents. For that parental function to enter Egypt is for Amina to be realised within the Egyptian sign regime, for that Kingdom to be filled with Amina by means of the parental function that constitutes the very essence (or resonance) of Yusuf’s journey, the resonance of his journey, of distance and closeness.
And he raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before Him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you out of the bedouin-life, after Shaitan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He will. Truly He! Only He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. (12:100)
He raises his parents — as a resonance of the Mother-Father principle, of contraction-bestowal — up to the level of the Throne of the Kingdom and they fall down prostrate (to that Light which passes through Yusuf, not to Yusuf the man). They are raised and then fall: his parents, his resonance with the Mother-Father principle (a resonance that grounds his entire journey) is the salat, it is salat that rises to the level of the Throne and descends down to the ground. A resonance of His Breathing Love that constitutes the throne itself but is, ultimately, utterly submissive to His Unity.
We note that Joseph’s mother was Rachel, who died before this event. What does it mean to speak of his parents then? Jacob has a wife: or rather, a wife complex, consisting of the upper and lower daughter and their two maidservants. By this stage, the upper daughter has disappeared from the transmission, because we now consider the predicates of Jacob-Wife to stand in a purely generative relationship to the son, and so there is only an external (lower) aspect of Leah as Mother here, the inner (upper) aspect of Rachel — the Feminine closest to Prophecy, the top side of the Feminine orb — now invisible or unspoken side to the Mother principle here to the prophecy of Joseph.
This is the way in which the ultimate resonance of the Mother-Father runs through signification, runs through life: a process of marriage, a garment of masculine light running into an inner dwelling of receptive femininity that then transforms into a generative external feminine shell, a feminine garment, that gives birth to further (inner, child-potential) light transmitted, ad infinitum. This process of the feminine moving from inner to outer is a “vertical death” or dispersal of Rachel. (The Torah’s story of the mistake of Jacob being a point regarding the dangers of the menstrual cycle — a momentary “horizontal death” of Rachel — the distancing function of the Wife during the Camel’s journey, due to the momentary “lie” of the cycle … But when transmuted into Mother, she is channeled into Yusuf and Binyamin so that only her external aspect of Leah is part of the complex here.)
Note 5: News of the Unseen
This is of the news of the Ghaib (unseen) which We reveal by Inspiration to you. You were not with them when they arranged their plan together and they were plotting. (12:102)
It is important to understand that, while this is the news of the Ghaib, it is not “old” news: it is a report from the realm of the unseen that is active and current right now, in all reading, including the reading of this tafsir and, most importantly, the reading of the report itself. Yusuf (and the other Prophets) are “real” people, but their news is from the Ghaib — Yusuf’s journey is news from the Ghaib, as opposed to the visible realm that is understood only by means of the Ghaib. And recall that a belief in — an understanding or active relationship with — the Ghaib is a necessary prerequisite for comprehending and relating to the Qur’an (the Qur’an makes this clear at the beginning of Al Baqarah, where it defines its audience as “those who believe in al Ghaib”).
Note 6: Thunder
First it is worth remembering that the sense of du’a is as a call as well as a supplication or invocation and prayer. So the verse is saying that to Allah is the call of Truth. A call is a recitation. It appears the problem is one of perspective. The waters of Love contain all that we adore, veiled forms of Love that can transform into closed idolatry that is disbelief. The waters of Love themselves — the ultimate meaning behind all adoration — does not reach our lips, does not reach our mouth that recites, that calls. This is because we are in a state of stasis, of taking the forms of Love as something within our control, that our hands can even bring to our mouth. When in fact what is required is a recitation, a call, that is beyond this control, beyond the action of stretching: by simply calling in Truth, the water reaches our lips (because it is being uttered rather than reached for).
And this form of perfect, correct recitation of Truth — is Allah Loving to be known — and is called “intercession”. It is what we pray for — or, more correctly, it is the call to Truth itself.
Note 7: The effects of rain
He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam. And from that which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allah presents truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah present examples. (13:17)
The geography of the psyche — the planes of pure surface, differentiation, of earth — has upon its surface (it is nothing but surface) localities, forms. In particular, the descent of rain causes valleys to form. Valleys are local feminine modes of immanence, always demarcated by local stabilizers (mountains). But through these valleys there is a capacity to contain the water of Love, valleys of corrective perception, correction or unlocking of meaning. This process results in a residue foam above the torrents of Love that flow through and between immanent comprehension. The process is the same as (or co-variant with) fiery tool construction, because the valleys, are after all, the space of tool manufacture but where the extraction of adornment, the process of deriving meaning, involves fire, judgement, signification — producing the same kind of residue side-effect. A falsity for the Truth. “Allah presents truth and falsehood”. But falsity is a residue that is always temporary, always cast off, while Truth is eternal because it is ultimately the speech of the one Truth in Love.
A book that we have revealed to you that you may bring forth/drive out (K-R-J) mankind from the darkness into the light by the permission of their Lord, to the path of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy. (14:1)
Who is driving out who here? You consist of a mankind, a spectrum of selves, software versions, incarnated into flesh hardware over uncountable aeons. Each version bigger, better, more well defined than the previous. What drives these versions forward toward Omega point? The Muhammedean agent, accompanied by the immanence virus, also known as the Wife, Norea, known as the Kitab, known as Quran.
These are facts.
We get caught up, however, we find ourselves fixating, locked in and looped on what might be called an emotional response, also known in anthropological theology as a mode of embodied comportment toward Allah . Bodily habit: when the body is comprehended as a mankind running over space (as opposed to time), as an temporarily interlinked social ummah, we refer to this social modality as habitus.
Habitus is the Demiurge’s stick and carrot routine, the master-slave inflexion. The boss is angered with your job performance, the boss is pleased with your work: fear and pleasure drives the slave forward. (The Imaginary) Allah is angered with your Ramadan, fear Allah. Allah is pleased with your Ramadan, fast in the hope of his pleasure. It’s a routine as old as civilization itself, as old as the false diety himself.
The Muhammedean agent, accompanied by the immanence virus, operates to unlock, break the loop of the emotional response, to expose the vacant robotics of that routine, to lead us from darkness (darkness being a loop) into light (light being a vector).
Fundamentally, the problem addressed by the agent is one of need in relation to primordial trauma. We respond to life (and via life, to the Real Allah) emotionally because of our fundamental need to be Loved.
In terms of the (mythpoetic? let’s say factual) history of mankind, there was an event, very close to inception, where a series of religious images and routines were imprinted upon the fabric of our garment-being, emotional conditions were written into our software, by the will of the Demiurge and his fallen angels. These images included a range of iconography and rites from all world religions. How did the Demiurge manage this? Each of these icons and rites becomes an inhabited (habitus) of need.
When you feel emotionally effected by any system (social, political, religious), it is actually the primordial imprint, your mankind’s collective trauma forcing you to live (re-live, again and again) an infernal loop of misprison to your habitus, your corporeality of material habit.
By means of the Kitab, the Wife, and the agent: you can free yourself from this trauma, rid yourself of that cycle of karma and progress to your next flesh deployment, bigger, better, Mightier, more Praiseworthy. This means the deletion of aspects of your self, of your mankind, that are aligned to the False Allah of Matter: “Those who love the life of this world (matter) and hinder the Path of Allah” (14:3).
He can remake you. She can remake you. By deletion: you need to face this trauma, deny the hunger for your collective imprint/habitus — open upon, deactivate the religion of your current hardware loop. Deny Ramadan by realising Ramadan.
Note 9: With the language of his people …
We did not send a messenger except with his people’s language that he might make clear to them. (14:4)
A messenger is always accompanied with his people’s language, a locally immanent Wife of clarification. Her immanence is local not to his people’s hypothetical spatiality, but to his people’s karmic spectrum.
It is important to remember that the “messenger” of a group (social, spatial arrangement) is a Demiurgic imprint, a trauma. When we conceive of a messenger to a society or tribe, we are thinking of a politician, and politics (as such conceived) derives its meaning purely as an echo of that primordial event of trauma. If we really reflect on what such a messenger means, according to a past life regression therapy, we will find a darkness there: a trauma of need causing you to project outwards onto the need-iconography of the “messenger”.
In contrast, the true messenger isn’t an icon, but an agency of clarification: a virtual garbage collector, running his linguistic cleanup process/recitation across your individual mankind-spectrum.
Across “your” private language. Your operating system.
And this messaging tailor made to suit each mankind, to suit each “you” in the tree of monadic individuation.
Note 10: Musa …
And certainly we sent Musa our signs that bring out your people from the darkness to the light and remind them of the days of Allah. Indeed in that are signs for the patient and thankful. (14:4)
This is repetition of the karmic process identified in (14:1), prefixed by the Musaic operator instead of the “you”. Who is Musa here? He is a messaging agent that situates the “you” by providing the symbolic function, the productive Meta-Musa, containing “in that” a trillion Musas, one for each mankind’s language, one for each of the days of Allah. Musa was sent the signs = Musa contains the signs, constitutes the sign-factory that drives forth. He is the immanentized messenger, the immanentized agent, the feminized masculine. Locally, a messaging/reciting agent to each mankind’s language.
Locally immanentized messaging, the Musa sent the signs: the precise definition of the “you” who recites, the precise nature of who Muhammed is in relation to your mankind. Not the Demiurgic trope of control, the iconography of trauma — but “the eternal that is not”. The reason why Qur’an cannot speak of the Goddess, the reason why we cannot speak of Universal Truth across culture.