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Alam al Mithal and the Ideational Realm

Subject: Alam al Mithal and the Ideational Realm
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 04:43:02 -0800

As-salaamu alaikum,

What is the relation of the alam-al-mithal, as we use the term to mean the
realm of inagination, or imaginal perception, to the ideational realm?  The
realm I refer to is described by Shaykh Hasan Shushud in this way:

"The seeker's first step in annihilation is to leave the corporeal world
and reach the realm of knowledge. This is the hardest and longest phase of
all.  Those who pass through it successfully, achieving realization at the
first degree of conscious death, then gain admittance to the spiritual
realm. The 'objects of knowledge ' are directly perceived at this stage...

"' Objects of Knowledge '  and  'occult substances ' are called 'Eternal
Ideas' (a'yan thabita), for they are 'the realities of potentialities,
fixed in the Divine Consciousness'."  (Master of Wisdom of Central Asia,
Sh. Hasan Shushud, Tr. Mutar Holland, Coombe Springs Press, 1983 - highly

In "Journey to the Lord of Power" Shaykh-ul-Akbar Ibn al-Arabi mentions (in
a passage immediately following the one cited by Shaykh Siraj recently)

"And there descend upon you (in spiritual retreat) abstract intelligible
ideas in sensory forms. This descent is difficult, since no one knows what
is meant by these forms except a prophet, or whomever God wills among the
righteous.So do not concern yourself with this...occupy yourself with dikhr
until the world of imagination is lifted from you and the world of abstract
meanings free of matter is revealed to you."

This suggests that the two realms are distinct from each other, with the
ideational realm senior to it. Clearly the ideational realm corresponds to
the world of Platonic forms and is an "outer" layer where there is still
differentiation, as with the Names, which are a deeper layer yet.

Forgive me for harping on the subject, as I've mentioned it a half dozen
times here, but there seems to be a spectrum with differentiation and
concreteness on one end and abstraction and Unity at the other, leading me
to believe that abstraction is an actual dimension, like length and breadth
and hight and time, showing a kind of distance between our situations here
and the Truth.



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