The possible impossible exception of interior escape

The fine line: sexuality derived from the co-garmenting that belies Creation's unfolding.

But what is the Feminine, exactly? Shekhina/Sakina? But what is that? A feminine tranquility sent down to us? But what is it, exactly? A transcendence? A means of transcending a masculine symbology? Or alternatively, the creative embodiment of that symbolic existence?

I have restated my formulation repeatedly here, though after different fashions, lovingly enumerated. You think the people would have had enough of silly love songs. But I look around me and I see it isn’t so. And here I go again: the relationship between the Feminine, the Hijab and the Masculine now, mythopoetically first and then mathematically and then in co-garmenting of enumerations (the signs of my mathematics becoming mythopoeic distillation).

And at the same time, I can now reveal to you the meaning of exterior and interior in Sufism. Because, as we have said, there is no exterior/interior dialectic within the Shariah nor within Prophetic vision: Prophecy is to live within Symbolic space alone, to live the signs in absolute metonymy of illuminated intimation, not in metaphoric suggestion of an Imaginary external meaning. So to say, for example, that the verses regarding hijab have an internal, esoteric meaning and an external, pragmatically physical meaning is to play into a dialectic that is essentially sinful, in the sense of its distance from Prophetic sunnah.

Nevertheless, there is an exterior and and interior in Sufism, corresponding exactly to the masculine and the feminine’s co-garmenting:

… they (wives) are a garment for you and you are a garment to them … (Qur’an 2:187]

It is in fact the interplay of interiority/exteriority inherent in the creation of the universe that gives rise to sexuality in the first place. The universe is a text populated by signs: divine communication acts that are functions whose field of application is the rest of the universe in totality. Ultimately, every sign of the Text is constructed from the breath of God. At the same time, every sign is a symbolic function that predicates over (applies to) the totality of all other signs within the text (including itself and all subjects’ individual acts of reading the signs).
In a literal sense then, every sign of the text can be considered as a vessel or orb, whose outer, exterior structure is formed of breath. Its property of totalizing applicability over other signs is enabled by this orb structure, whose shell is not only formed from breath, but now is able to contain (internally) the breath within its shell. Connections of application/predication between signs? Each orb has a greater base that channels the internal breath downwards so as to envelop that to which it applies. Applicability/predication occurs in such a fashion as to release the interior breath and make it exterior in application over the other. The interior is feminine and the exterior is masculine. Thus in application to another sign, the interior breath is released to form the masculine, exterior coat of that sign’s orb, which then houses another interior breath. And so on, ad infinitum, and back again. In this way, the Truth of Creation — the Text of Life — is interlinked and formed (lost to us, its reconstruction is the goal of our sunnah).

Co-garmenting, breath wrapped by breath thus gives rise to the masculine and feminine..

Let’s put it another, less mythopoeic way, to situate the masculine and feminine in relation to the Text of the universe.

It is incorrect to say that the Text of the universe, is a masculine Symbolic (or a feminine symbolic) order. And likewise a shirk far from the truth to claim a feminine (primeval mother Goddess) that transcends our textuality. Instead, we can define both masculine and feminine, as a necessary byproduct of our efforts to read, identify the fallacies of situation in relation to the Text.

For the falacy/sin that is most central to defining the masculine is his fantasy of an exception to the symbolic order, an ineffable beyond, an eternal feminine or (in modern Kristevian feminist discourse) a presymbolic feminine discourse (so yes, much of postmodern feminism is a form of philosophical pornography). It is his shirk par excllence. And this necessary falacy derives its dialectic (not as the Freudian-Lacanian school has it, via the phallic function) but from the symbolic function for the Text itself: that is, of what can be called the hijabic function, the sign of speech/language/textuality/perception, the veil that communicates the veiling of our universe of signs (including its own veil-nature).

But we can paraphrase Lacan’s treatment of sexuality and logical apparatus. The fine line of the logical schema depicted above.

The masculine is defined by a logical form “all life is subject to the hijabic function, but there is an exceptional fantasy that is not subject to hijab”. (The false Eve of the Shadows in the Gnostic scripture the Reality of the Rulers).

This sin of the conceptual fantasy of exception follows from hijabic function itself, from the fact that, for Adam/man to be formed from the Names, all must be Text and therefore all is subject to the hijabic function. The masculine then necessarily conceives of his feminine interior as an exception, as an “escape”.

And therein lies the danger of the masculine: to conceive of a transcendence through acquiring/possessing that ineffable impossible feminine “beyond”.
This transcendence/real world dialectic can lead to idolatry and fascism in various forms and is the reason why Jesus says “if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (Matthew 18:9) The danger of our two eyes.

But therein also lies the sublimity of the masculine desire, expressed most obviously by the words of poets like Rumi and Donne. The temper of these men of perception was of the contradictory secret of expression, of encounter through poetry with the sublime romance. To understand at least that there is an interior and some form of “escape”, but one found through courting the possible impossibility of exception.

To remain exterior, subject to the hijabic function, and yet to grasp the contradiction that, through situating the self as an external, masculine position subject to the function, the impossible exception to Text becomes a fact (“there is an exception”) interior to Text, a fact of exception that remains utterly subject to hijab. And as such must be characterised as the Feminine lover.

The Feminine herself: her interior nature is characterised by complete and utter subjugation to the hijab. Full garmenting: a different view of the same masculine situation. All is subject to the hijabic function. All is Text. But, paradoxically, as she is indeed the exception/interiority garmented by the Masculine, her exceptionality to hijab is itself subject to the hijabic function. Her exception to veiling is itself, by her nature, veiling. She becomes our veil now (and so the tables are turned, and the sexuality is subverted, now she is our garment).

Then there is no feminine fantasy: there does not exist an exception to the hijabic principle (women never engage in pornography in a sincere, authentic fashion).

In its place, there is the sublime slogan:

The unveiling is within the veiling.

Finally, let us relate the creation-myth of the sign-orbs with the our sexualogical understanding of hijab, predication and exception:

Predicates and orbs, feminine creativity.

In the right hand schema, signs/predicates/functions P and P’ have an interior (feminine) and exterior (masculine), both formed from the passage of light/breath. P’s internal flows through the base of P in application/garmenting over the entirety of all signs/predicates/functions P’. The act of application is generative, the interior of the predicate forming the exterior of the predicated.

The interior nature of P is self-reflexive in this creative, generative application. This is vital. It applies to itself to situate itself in the schema co-inductively (P= P(P)).

This chain of production-as-predication would appear endless and devoid of Divinity (as it is indeed devoid of transcendence or real escape). Indeed, it has done for various 20th century philosophical schools. It would be too, but for the fact that the interiority is a Feminine sign. The Feminine sign that, as we have said, is predicated upon by the hijab (whose application is self-reflexively established by the very schema of predication we are defining now!) without exception. The Feminine is the sign of impossible exception to hijab (something hidden, private parts that are to be guarded) that is rendered possible to us by being, without exception, subject to the shariah of hijab. Thus, precisely by virtue of lacking an exception to this schema of generative production through co-inductive predication, the Feminine impossibility becomes a possible, hijabbed “not all are subject to hijab”, and provides the Tranquility that signs Divine communication through its very totalized capture.

This is the metaphysics of the Presence of Sakina physically “felt” in those rare Muhammedean moments when we comprehend the sparks of light kept within the handful of signs our journey.

Sexuality derives from the interiority/exteriority inherent in the creation of the universe-as-signage. And, in particular, the interior dwelling of Sakina (the feminine archetype itself) that envelops and is enveloped provides the stable, safety-zone, the interior of the tent and hijab of Divine comfort: that we understand God love us, communicates to us directly, through the miraculous communication acts of everyday life.

Among His signs is that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in Sakina with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you; In that are signs for people who reflect. (Qur’an 30:21]

This verse is addressed to men: it is gender biased. Gender biased, because the feminine spouse is ultimately the impossible, exceptional, contradictory not-all subject to the hijabic function: not a transcendent exception, nor a hidden meaning, but a true interiority of the Symbolic order, subject completely to that order and therefore providing, paradoxically, the means to achieve Gnosis through reading, the means by which the interior light may then veil us in the dwelling of Sakina, returning us now to the garden within speech.


5 thoughts on “The possible impossible exception of interior escape

  1. Gosh, Musa, have you created this discipline of Islamic Semiotics yourself, or are there others out there as well? (I’m most impressed! 😉

    I do think, though, that you would benefit enormously were you to increase your familiarity with the Fusus, since the Shaykh remains a step ahead of you with much of this (and God alone knows what might be possible if you were to close that distance a little).

    Commenting on the hadith ‘Three things have been made beloved to me in this world: women, perfume and the coolness of the eyes that comes from prayer’ (Nasa’iXXXVI:1), he says:

    “He places women first because they are the repository of passivity, just as the Universal Nature, by its form, comes before those things that derive their being from her. In reality, Nature is the Breath of the Merciful in which are unfolded the forms of the higher and lower Cosmos, because of the pervasion of the expressed Breath in the primordial Substance, particularly in the realm of the celestial bodies, its flow being different in respect of the existence of the luminous spirits and accidents.

    “Then the Apostle goes on to give precedence to the feminine over the masculine, intending to convey thereby a special concern with and experience of women. Thus he says thalath [three] and not thalathah, which is used for numbering masculine nouns. This is remarkable, in that he also mentions perfume, which is a masculine noun, and the Arabs usuall make the masculine gender prevail. Thus one would say, “The Fatimahs and Zaid went out [using the third person masculine plural],” and not the third person feminine plural. In this way they give precedence to the masculine noun, even if there is only one such noun together with several feminine nouns. Now, although the Apostle was an Arab, he is here giving special attention to the significance of the love enjoined on him, seeing that he himself did not choose that love. It was God Who taught him what he knew not. and God’s bounty on him was abundant. He therefore gave precedence to the feminine over the masculine by saying thalath. How knowledgeable was the Apostle concerning [spiritual] realities and how great was his concern for proper precedence.

    “Furthermore, he makes the final term [prayer] correspond to the first [women] in its femininity, placing the masculine term [perfume] between them. He begins with “women” and ends with “prayer”, both of which are feminine nouns, [the masculine noun] perfume coming in between them, as is the case with its existential being, since man is placed between the Essence [a feminine noun] from which he is manifested, and woman who is manifested from him. Thus he is between two feminine entities, the one substantively feminine, the other feminine in reality, women being feminine in reality, while prayer is not. Perfume is placed between them as Adam is situated between the Essence, which is the source of all existence, and Eve, whose existence stems from him. [Other terms] such as sifah [attribute] and qudrah [capability] are feminine. Indeed, whatever school of thought you adhere to, you will find feminine terms prominent. Even the Causalists say that God is the “Cause” [‘illah] of the Cosmos, and ‘illah is feminine. As or the wisdom of perfume and his putting it after “women”, it is because of the aromas of generation in women, the most delightful of perfumes being [experienced] within the embrace of the beloved, as they say in the well-known saying.”

  2. Peace James,

    Thanks again for your careful reading, and for bringing the Fusus into this. Islamic Semiotics … I hadn’t thought of it this way, exactly: more like my entry for the rarified Parisian catwalks. In terms of the Andalusian precursor, we have a rather ambivalent relationship that is a necessary precondition for my tailoring. Something like the Britpop bands of the 90s had with the Beatles, I am aiming for Blur or Pulp rather than Oasis. My goal in life is to be a strong poet, in the Bloomian sense. But, continuing with Bloom, this of course follows from a tension of predication through the interior of Great Sheikh, then externalized as an apparently (and historically/temporally) alterior Masculine garment for the orb of my fashion 😀

    Departing from that self-indulgent note, yes, the two Feminines are very important to my ontology, and so I was very happy to recover them from the surah of co-garmenting.

    I have claimed elsewhere that self-referential predication is very much key to reading the Quran and narrations (and life itself). The article itself then attempts to determine exactly what this predication is, in relation to the Breath of God, and ends up determining how the Masculine and Feminine are entailed and wrapped up in the whole business of signification.

    And here I am now saying — that this special form of predication — this totalizing idea — takes the form of this kind of co-garmenting … The Masculine/Feminine distinction above is a necessary byproduct of signs’ prediction, with the Feminine’s role here being central to our non-transcendental “escape”, to Divine communion within our own skins, so to speak.

    I am attempting to state (self-referentially, by means of my own semiotic hijab) that the two Feminines are here the interiority and the exteriority of garmenting in relation to the Masculine predicate and predicated upon.

    Then, surely, the Fusus quote might be garmented in turn by my peculiar hijab: prayer and women are exactly this interior and exterior, with perfume as the masculine in-between.

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