among the ordinary people, and to show off and justify oneself like a lawyer, and to rely on egotism to support ones arguments rather than on truth and right. The question being broached and argued about is having an adverse effect on the minds of the poor ordinary people. They cannot comprehend obscure allegorical Hadiths like these, and if they deny them, it opens the terrifying door to their also denying definite, unambiguous Hadiths that they cannot understand with their limited intelligences. If they take the Hadith on face value and accept the literal meaning and they spread it around, it paves the way for the people of misguidance to object to it and call it superstition. Since attention has been attracted to this allegorical Hadith unnecessarily and harmfully, and there are many Hadiths of this sort, it is essential to offer an explanation that will remove their doubts. Whether or not the Hadith is certain, the following fact should be mentioned.
We may deem sufficient the detailed explanations in the treatises we have written; that is, the twelve principles in the Third Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word, and in the Fourth Branch; and in one of the principles in the Introduction in the Nineteenth Letter about the sorts of revelation; and here indicate only briefly that truth. It is as follows:
The angels are not restricted to a having single form like human beings; although they are individual beings, they are also universals. Azra’il (Upon whom be peace) is the supervisor of the angels who are charged with taking possession of the spirits of the dying.
Q u e s t i o n : “Does Azra’il (UWP) himself take possession of them, or do his helpers do this?”
There are three “ways” in this matter:
The First Way: Azra’il (Upon whom be peace) takes possession of every dying person’s spirit. Nothing is an obstacle to another, for he is luminous. Something luminous can be present in innumerable places by means innumerable mirrors and appear in them. The similitudes of luminous beings possess their characteristics; they may be deemed the same as them and not other than them. The sun’s image in mirrors displays it’s light and heat. Similarly, the images of such spirit beings as the angels in the various mirrors of the World of Similitudes are the same as them; they display their characteristics. But they are represented in accordance with the capacities of the mirrors. The same instant Gabriel (Upon whom be peace) appeared before the Companions in the form of Dihya, he appeared in different forms in thousands of places and was prostrating with his magnificent wings, which stretch from east to west, before the divine throne. His similitude was everywhere in accordance with the place’s capacity; at the same instant he was present in thousands of places.