as a broad arena,” what you say is correct. But if you assert, “My room is as large as a broad arena,” you would be wrong, for you are confusing the World of Similitudes with the actual world.
Thus, having failed to weigh them on the balances of the Book and Sunna, the descriptions of the seven levels of the globe made by certain people of unveiling do not refer only to its physical state from the point of view of geography. For instance, they said that one of the earth’s levels is that inhabited by the jinns and demons, and that it has a breadth of thousands of years. But those strange levels are not found on our globe, which makes its circuit every one or two years. However, if we suppose the globe to be like a pine-seed in the World of Meaning, the World of Similitudes, the Intermediate Realm, and the World of Spirits, the similitude of the tree formed from it would be like a huge pine-tree in relation to the seed. Thus, in the course of their spiritual journeyings, some of the people of direct vision have observed that some of the earth’s levels in the World of Similitudes are extremely extensive and that they stretch over a distance of thousands of years. What they saw was right, but because superficially the World of Similitudes resembles the physical world, they saw the two worlds blended together, and interpreted them thus. When they returned to the world of sobriety, since they lacked balance, and since they wrote exactly what they witnessed, it has been thought to be contrary to reality.
Like the similitudes of a large palace and large garden may be found in a small mirror, so similitudes and non-material realities as extensive as thousands of years may be situated in a single year’s distance in the physical world.
Conclusion: It is understood from this matter that the degree of direct vision is far inferior to that of belief in the Unseen. That is to say, the uncomprehending disclosures of some of the saints relying only on direct vision do not attain to the statements about the truths of faith made by the purified and exact scholars, who are the people of the legacy of prophethood and who rely on the Qur’an and Revelation, not on direct vision – their statements that are about the Unseen but are lucid, comprehensive, and right. That is to say, the balance of all illuminations, mental states, visions, and unveilings are the Book and Sunna, and their touchstone are the sacred principles of the Book and Sunna, and the conjectural laws of the purified and exacting scholars.
SECOND IMPORTANT MATTER
Q u e s t i o n : The Unity of Existence is considered by many people to be the most elevated station, but there was no explicit sign of it among the Companions and foremost the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, who were at