similitude of the house that is particular to itself. Now, two men enter the house. One of them looks at one of the mirrors and says: “Everything is within it.” When he hears of the other mirrors and the images in them, he applies what he hears to a tiny corner of the one mirror whose contents are shadows twice over, and whose reality has shrunk and has changed. He also says: “I see it thus, in which case reality is thus.” The other man says to him, “Yes, you see it like that and what you see is true. But in actuality and reality the true form of reality is not like that. There are other mirrors besides the one you looked at; they are not the shadow of shadows and as tiny as you saw.”
Thus, each of the divine names requires a different mirror. And, since Merciful and Provider, for example, are real and fundamental, they require beings worthy of them who are needy for sustenance and compassion. Just as All-Merciful requires real beings with spirits needy for sustenance in a real world, so too, All-Compassionate requires a paradise which is thus real. To maintain that only the names of Existent, Necessarily Existent, and Single One of Unity are real and that the other names are mere shadows within them, is a sort of injustice towards those other names.
It is due to this mystery that the great highway is surely the highway of the Companions, the Purified Ones, the Imams of the Prophet’s Family, and the great interpreters of the law and founders of the four schools of law, who possessed greater sainthood and were directly the first class of the Qur’an’s students.
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.(2:32)
O our Sustainer! Do not cause our hearts to swerve now that You have guided us, and bestow mercy on us from You; for You are the Bestower of Gifts.(3:8)
O God! Grant blessings to the one whom You sent as a Mercy to all the worlds, and to all his Family and Companions.
An Addendum to the Second Matter
Q u e s t i o n : Muhyi’l-Din al-‘Arabi considered the Unity of Existence to be of the highest level. Likewise, some of the great saints who took the path of love followed him. However, you say that this matter is not of the highest level, and is not real; that it is rather the way, to a degree, of those who become intoxicated and immersed in the divine, and of the people of love and ecstasy. So what, briefly, is the high level of the affir