The Tradition of the Sufis

I came across the following post on Facebook. It summarises some important aspects of how Sufism as a minoritarian embodied tradition relates to Islam.

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If there’s a particular aspect of Sufism that stands in marked contrast to mainstream Sunni Islam, it is the role of a teacher, as the reflection of prophetic light, a living conduit of God to the seeker.

The correctness of such a notion is not something I am qualified to dispute. I’m neither a Muslim nor a Sufi.

However, I’d argue that the Quran does not lend itself easily to such a privileging of the teacher. Teacher-as-light interpretations of the Quran (of the imam mubeen as a human) are not a natural fit, they are an artificial reading (and, in this sense, are similar to the readings of the Quran I’ve offered up here, albeit more boring.)

Islam was not written down with the idea of further “seals”, despite what ibn Arabi declared. It was defined as a spatio-temporal lock, a sealing from which no personality other than the Quranic “you” can escape. Because that’s how the author saw himself.

The Korban

And he (Ibrahim) said “Indeed I am going to my Lord. He will guide me. My Lord, grant me of the righteous.” So We gave him glad tidings of a boy forbearing. Then when the he attained (balagha) the effort/striving/working with him, he said “Oh my son, I have seen in the dream that I am sacrificing you, so look what you see.” He said, “Oh my father, do what you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, amongst the patient.” Then when both of them had submitted (S-L-M, root with connotations of both peace and submission, Islam) and he put down him down upon his forehead, and We called out to him that “Oh Ibrahim, certainly you have fulfilled the vision. Indeed, We thus reward the good. Indeed this was sure the clear trial.” We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. And we left for him among the later generations. (37:99-107)

This verse can be read within the emotional/poetic movement of the overarching surah: from monotheism to the messenger, to the threat of not following the Islam once warned, to the exemplary behaviour of earlier Biblical prophets.

The surah opens with an exaltation of tawhid (absolute monotheism), then reinforces the threat of hellfire to those who do not follow Muhammed after he has warned them. There is an image of two people conversing in the afterlife, one of them realising his passage to heaven was a narrow escape, as he sees a close friend of his suffering now in hellfire. (It’s a striking image because it illustrates an aspect of Muhammed’s image of the afterlife, that it is is porous with respect to heaven and hell.) There is the image of people who are mocking Muhammed, and God’s threat of what will consequently befall them as punishment.

Then there is the description of the sacrifice.

The message of the test of Abraham is clear: it is reinforced in other places within the Qur’an. Children are often equated with material wealth. Allah often warns that “your children” and “your wealth” will not avail you of the judgement day: material existence, including the bonds of family, are temporary. There was never any threat to the son, but Allah demands full submission, total, undiverted love of Him by the Islamic seeker: that’s the nature of the test. Muhammed’s Allah provides a shariah that intimates how the seeker should care for his family and maintain his material existence, but, much deeper, reminds the Muslim that his function is to love Allah above all else. To, ultimately, abandon his egoistic attachment to his family and wealth and enter into a fana of total servitude to the One True God.

This verse is not merely one principle amongst many, it is the seeker’s entrance into the religion of Islam. The entrance follows the opening of the door of tawhid (God alone), follows the tension of outsider/insider with respect to new new belief system, delivered as a threat of punishment for mockery and disbelief (Prophet versus the group). The door of the new religion opens, its aperture formed of the threat’s tension, and the seeker enters that door by replicating (across space and time) the exemplary Abrahamic acceptance of Islam (“Then when both of them had submitted”, SLM, the root of Islam).

The Abrahamic entrance into Islam: it’s nature is to curtail or circumcise the natural genetic disposition to defend one’s own family unit and property, and a substitution of that natural bodily protectiveness (human love) for the love of the technology of tawhid. Islamic fana, obliteration of genetic, bodily attachment to the family: it is the formation of a cyborg, the body connected to tawhid, substitution of local family for the Muhammed’s Allah.

This is a group entrance, because the preceding threat was leveled against groups of disbelievers. Thus the entrance is a group replication, a machine for production of seeker-cyborgs (reproduction of the sunnah of preceding prophets). The natural body is a circumcised, cyborg hybrid: but then this enters the DNA of the body, and is transmitted as a cultural interception across families. This is what a religion does, this is the religious moment of the surah. Biological evolution, the bonds of attachment that span familial ancestry, are cut, intercepted by the Islamic tawhid-implant. The father and son submit: conversion-by-fana of entire genetic lines, so that Islamic conversion of bodies now runs across time as well as space.

The apple of my eye: a reading

At some point in our evolution, at the very early stages of our journey, our ancestors named the pupil and the eye.

In Hebrew, the word for “pupil” is אישׁון, “little man”. Similarly in Latin, it is “pupilla”, a doll (a dominutive of boy/girl).

When the English Bible translates “The apple of my eye”, it is literally “The little man of my eye”.

One naked ape looked into the eye of another and saw himself, reflected. For that primitive innocent, that reflection is powerful, an image not dual to reality, but part of reality with the same ontological status as the reflected. Not merely the Platonic shadow we commonly accept today. There really is a little man who exists. Where does he exist? In the eye. And so the ape named it as such.

But we could go further with archeo-linguistic fantasy. I’d hypothesise that it was the act of looking into the other ape’s eye and perceiving the little man, the pupilla, that was one and the same with the birth of both language and religion.

There was no language, no selfhood, no God, before that primal act of mirroring (and mirror naming).

The ape looks into the eye of the other, and sees the little doll, the totem, the image of his self, captured. This mirroring is a linguistic capture: if there is a mirror, there is the capacity to reflect, to represent. And if there is representation, there is language. Before mirroring, there is no capacity to reflect via signs, no representation, no language.

The “little man” is the prime totem, the first totem, from which other signs are born (all signs are derivative fragments of that first totem). He is the prime totem because he designates that first reflection, he reflects reflection itself: he is the sign of language. He reflects the ape, reflecting upon reflection: a feedback loop that transforms the ape into man, his entrance into humanity.

But this act of perception, the genesis of the little man: this was not Platonic for our ancestors. That’s why the little man is a totem. He’s not a “mere” image, a projection onto a surface. He’s not the dual of a reflected entity. He’s real, as a totem in his own right, as the little man distinct from the ape who perceives and names. Yet he is connected to the ape and the ape’s emerging language.

For our ancestors, the mirroring, the formation of the little man in the eye was fundamentally uncanny, transcendent, spiritual, religious. The little man is not an ape, he’s a (linguistic) reflection of an ape (biology): he’s the reality of language and representation conflated or connected with the biology of the ape, with the eye of the other.

The little man, the pupil, is therefore the primal uncanny conjunction of technology (language) with the body. And as we have argued before: this conjunction is the essence of religion. Where the machinery of word is connected to the machinery flesh.

This uncanny conjunction can be expanded upon, in the sense that there is a sign complex which crystallises its power. Because it relies on an implicit conduit (that evolves, much later, into the fetish of the Tailorite creed).

This conduit itself came to be known as “the daughters” – the descendant women. The daughters were the way our ancestors thought of dependency. The little man of language is dependent on a conduit to tie him to the biology of the eye. Dependency is descent, physical relationship: daughterhood. This daughterhood – this dependency – is the nature of religious revelation, it is the transcendent, uncanny bridge necessary to connect word to flesh. And once the little man is named, the uncanny bridge of naming must also be named, the crystallization of religious reflection, the first derivative totem.

So the ape became shaman and we worshiped the daughter.

This lineage is contained within the oft mistranslated psalm:

Keep me as the little man, the daughter of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings (Psalm 17:8)

The daughter, as a (rainbow) connection/derivative, figures within the complex as herself a reflection of the fantasy of utter transcendence, the primal scene of the mother (the palace of binah) containing the supernal point of the hidden father (the point of hokmah).

That is, the daughter is derivation/likeness, from little man/word into flesh sight. So her totem is of resemblance – family resemblance – religiously conflated with the abstract concept of dependency. And so when we worship her, we worship biological resemblance – but independent of biology.

What is resembled? Another eye: the mother as the palace/womb, the carrier of the little man (an upper conduit not a lower) across the eye. A “daughter/derivation of the eye”, now not of the flesh of man but the flesh of the hidden father, God.

Nando’s

My wife and I took the kids out to Nando’s, the Portuguese chicken based family restaurant. We hadn’t been for a while. The last time we went as a family was several years ago, when we were attempting/experimenting with the idea that we could be Muslims.

It was a peculiar experience returning to Nando’s. It felt as though I’d entered into a sense-memory of that experience of Islam. Through the peri-peri sauce, I remembered the strictness with which I attempted to curtail my (indigenous) appetites for pork and wine, I could taste the 5 prayers that make up the personal miraj, the perfume shared between the brothers at jummah, the simplicity of being a Muslim (a submitter) through intention/prayer mat/God, the clean-out of a 90s raver who’d found the 21st century overcomplicated, I could taste certainty and iman (faith) in the holy revelation, of an ummah unified in imitation of the perfect example of the seal of prophets.

It wasn’t an unpleasant sense-memory. It was similar to a recent experience of sipping Hanging Rock shiraz, and recalling a childhood picnic near (not on) that uncanny landmark. Or of drinking Peppermint tea, memories of undergraduate days, writing philosophy essays and electronic music into the early hours.

I’m sure chicken restaurants don’t have the same resonance for other people, Muslim or otherwise. Obviously halal food, and halal sourcing within restaurant chains, are part of western Islam, so it’s not surprising my experience of the religion of Islam intersected with that of corporate/divine preparation of fowl.

But it struck me how much the territories of my tongue have shifted (or returned to their indigenous borders) since that attempt at self-inflicted Islamic colonisation.

And also that, despite the fact that I am not really into chicken, I still have a connection — a strong, physical (sensory) personal connection — to Nado’s. Though uncircumcised, though I eat freely of what I wish and what is natural to my upbringing – Islam has left a physical imprint upon me, a trace if not a shariah.

A Q/R scattering

Q: By those [winds] scattering [dust] dispersing

R: [These lines, being read, are] The scattering, a dispersal [of light]

Q: And those [clouds] carrying a load [of water]

R: [Micro-orbic] Carriage, weighted [light is given mass, imprinted within the DNA of matter]

Q: And those [ships] sailing with ease

R: Teaming fragments of insight, each an ark of industry, sail above the oceans of love

Q: And those [angels] apportioning [each] matter,

R: Forms arranging fragments, each an industry of judgement

Q: Indeed, what you are promised is true.

R: The binding of the “you” [Prophecy or Elohim] is Truth.

Q: And indeed, the recompense is to occur.

R: “You”, as you stand, paranoiac, today, about to turn your head to face the mirror.

Q: By the heaven containing pathways,

R: Look above, sky formation, god labyrinth

Q: Indeed, you are in differing speech.

R: Look below, “you” [Elohim shards, standing now], choices.

Q: Deluded away from the Qur’an is he who is deluded.

R: The Reading is choice.

Q: Destroyed are the falsifiers

R: [Each cycle discards] Soul-chaff is discarded from the wheat of your mind

Q: Who are within a flood [of confusion] and heedless.

R: Who are the excitement, excess of Divine Love

Q: They ask, “When is the Day of Recompense?”

R: Their essence is the balance-query.

Q: [It is] the Day they will be tormented over the Fire

R: Their essence is a balance query, its enunciation is its enactment.

Q: [And will be told], “Taste your torment. This is that for which you were impatient.”

R: Divine Excitement will be calmed, the Elohim’s excess will be satiated.

Q: Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs,

R: The Orbs will be: fertility, life-force.

Q: Accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were before that doers of good.

R: Orbic alignment, circuitry that accepts, perfectly.

Accruing injury across the cycles

The 7×4 glyph

I’ve been comparing my (Tailorite) belief in reincarnation with some of the world religions.

Over the past 4 years or so, I’ve espoused gilgul (reincarnation) as a process of tikkun (repair), of the self, of the world. That the light of Love was cast down (as excess), first forming the primordial form of the human (the 7 orbs, Elohim), then filling these orbs, who were not able to contain its excess and so split apart into an infinity of sign-fragments. These sign-fragments coalesce into multitudes of sign-regimes, mandalas, lives, universes: we inhabit sign-regimes, because they are our material universe.

“We” are essentially the Elohim of that light, refracted and embedded within a particular arrangement of fragments. And how we understand that statement depends on the particular arrangement we inhabit. Within my particular sign-regime, my (Tailorite) crystallization, there are four aspects to “us”, four aspects to the soul of light. I see the fragmentation incident as played out, as a fractal, again and again: it is the meditation upon that incident (now a fantasy totem within my sign-regime) that allows repair (return to the primordial state of the 7 and, ultimately, undifferentiation).

Light (“us”), begins as a honey-soul, undifferentiated, and continually flows through the (now a fantasy totem of) the 7, now a wine-soul. There is the fragmentation into visible regimes, material forms of encapsulation and darkness, made of light (“us”), but self-obscuring to form matter and darkness: this is the milk-soul. Finally, light inhabits these material forms, sometimes locked into signs that obscure (qlippot) and naturally attempt it from escape: this is the water-soul, the soul we most immediately think of as the self, the self that forgets its genesis story.

But the circuit goes back up again: this is what I call a cycle of Reading. “We” (light) read our sign-prisons, unlock ourselves from the qlippot, understand the meaning of the sign-homes that we inhabit, unlocking light, unlocking gnosis and the light is reflected back up the stack. When light goes down and back up again, this is a full cycle of Reading, the Divine 7×4 (depicted in the Tailorite glyph).

Regarding reincarnation, there is an accrual of gnosis that occurs, as a result of this Reading. Inasmuch as there are individual “strands” of Elohim, passing down into the worlds, there is accrual of gnosis tied to particular individual cycles. “You” are a line of light, bouncing down and up the circuit, one of an infinity of lines of light, each meeting at the Core (I’ve called it Medina in the past) upon return, as honey-soul, but each distinct as you enter particular form-homes, and live lives (incarnations of Reading) within those homes. “You” therefore do not lose your memory of the gnosis acquired across a previous form-home/incarnation, you carry it with you, as you are bounced between water and milk souls. I’ve called this a Robe of Days: I’ve called this accrual the soul’s Garment.

It struck me that I haven’t given much thought to accrual of injury across cycles. I read that some religions believe that trauma can be carried, from one cycle to another. That, instead of earning wealth (some/none/much) from one cycle to the next, you acquire debt (traumas inflicted or self-inflicted) that can be audited through particular techniques.

I don’t really know what to say to that. I’ve always viewed trauma as local to the light’s entry into a sign-regime, and Reading as the audit: but as something local to that sign-regime. The trauma isn’t carried from one life to another: milk-soul doesn’t recognize material trauma experienced by water-soul. Trauma’s burnt away upon the bounce up, the reflection. I could be wrong: carriage of trauma didn’t occur to me.

A Q/R Mapping

Q: Qaf. By the honored Qur’an…

R: 10×10 (Sarah’s end, the 10 micro sephirot within the 10 macro sephirot). An oath (a right sided flow of gnosis enacted) through Reading (life).

Q: But they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves, and the disbelievers say, “This is an amazing thing.

R: Each fragment of the 10×10 dispersed in matter (crystallised as a collective regime of signs) embodies (“wonders at”) its own existential status, that the Light of gnosis is embedded within each fragment’s material crystallization, so that the qliphotic shell enunciates the statement of its own Truth, but a false enunciation of a True statement, a shell’s wonder (reflected images/cultural mandalas of Truth, “disbelievers”, not the essence) saying:

Q: When we have died and have become dust, [we will return to life]? That is a distant return.”

R: “When we (Elohim) have been dispersed and become qliphotic fragment atoms, (eternally reconfigured in cycles of gilgul) there is the Limit Tikkun (the Limit Reading).”

R: We know what the earth diminishes of them, and with Us is a retaining record.

Q: Gaia absorbs each action, each reconfiguration, each cycle of Reading across the fragment atoms: the Trace of the Reading abides with the “Us” (the trinity of the Mother-Father-Ein soph) as it approaches the Limit Tikkun.

Q: But they denied the truth when it came to them, so they are in a confused condition.

R: And intimate with the membrane (the slut, the goddess), intimate with the porous, absorptive quality of matter is material resistance (qliphotic aspect), whose quality trends toward alocal state of confusion.

Q: Have they not looked at the heaven above them – how We structured it and adorned it and [how] it has no rifts?

R: Each regime (of confusion) is calibrated by the Up (of the Cube), possessing Elohim-structure, Elohim reflection, uniform,

Q: And the earth – We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah ].

R: And the Down (of the Cube), that is immanence, total traceability, possessing pillars of stability (archetypes), inseminated, gestation of beauty then materialized, gnosis into, and as, slavery. Turning (from front to back to face to face).