are the source of those rules, also differ. And since just as in man there are immaterial faculties apart from his body, like the mind, heart, spirit, imagination, and memory, certainly in the world, which is the macroanthropos, and in the universe, which is the tree of which man is the fruit, there are other worlds apart from the corporeal world. Moreover, there are heavens to each world, from the world of the earth to the world of Paradise.
As far as the angels are concerned, we say this: on the globe of the earth, which is medium-sized among the planets and insignificant and dense among the stars, animate and conscious beings, the most valuable and luminous among beings, are found in countless numbers. So surely the stars, which are like embellished castles and fine palaces compared to the earth, which is like a dark house, and the skies, which are like the seas of the stars, will be the dwelling-places of angels and spirit beings, which are conscious, animate, extremely numerous, and of various sorts.
In my commentary on the Holy Qur’an called Isharat al-I’jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), both the existence and plurality of the heavens have been proved conclusively in the section on the verse,
Then He applied His design to the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens,1
and in the Twenty-Ninth Word we have proved the existence of angels with the finality of two plus two equals four, so considering those to be sufficient we cut short the discussion here.
In Short: It is required by wisdom and by reason that the heavens are formed of ether, that they are the source of subtle energies like electricity, light, heat, and gravity, and that, in accordance with the Hadith, “The heavens are waves held back,”2 they are favourable for the motion of stars and planets. It is further required that from majarrat al-sama’3 (the Milky Way) to the closest planet they should consist of seven levels in different states and formations, and that each level, each world, from the world of the earth to the Intermediate Realm and World of Similitudes, to the World of the Hereafter, should have a heaven, like a roof.
And the following comes to mind: O atheist! You say: “Man is only able to ascend to a height of one or two kilometres with a thousand difficulties by means of the aeroplane.4 How then could someone come and go bodily within a few minutes covering a distance that would normally take thousands of years?”
Tirmidhi, Tafsir Sura al-Hadid, 1; Musnad, ii, 370.
Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, xx, 123; Ibn Hajar, Majma’ al-Zawa’id, viii, 135.
This treatise was written in 1928 or ‘29. [Tr.]