levels. The majority of scholars said that it does not include the everlasting realm, while others suggested that those realms too will perish for just an instant, a brief interval of time, but so briefly that their being annihilated and restored will be imperceptible. However, the absolute annihilation stated by some of those who uncover the realities whose ideas are extreme, is not right. For since the Most Pure and Holy Divine Essence is eternal and everlasting, His attributes and names are also surely eternal and everlasting. And since His attributes and names are everlasting and eternal, the immortal beings in the realm of eternity, which are the mirrors, manifestations, impresses, and places of reflection of His attributes and names, of necessity will not vanish into absolute non-existence.
A couple of points have occurred to me from the effulgence of the Qur’an, and I shall write them here in summary:
The First: Almighty God is the possessor of such absolute power that He can bring existence into being and despatch it to non-existence most easily, as though they were two houses in relation to His power and will. If He wishes He can do this in a day or in an instant. Anyway there is no absolute non-existence, for His knowledge is all-embracing; there is nothing outside the sphere of divine knowledge so that something can be cast there. The non-existence within the sphere of His knowledge is external non-existence and a title for something concealed but existent in divine knowledge. Some scholars have called the beings existent in divine knowledge “latent realities.” In which case, to go to extinction is to be temporarily divested of external dress and to enter upon existence in divine knowledge, existence in meaning. That is to say, transitory, ephemeral beings leave external existence and their essences are clothed in what has the meaning of existence; they pass from the sphere of divine power to that of divine knowledge.
The Second: As we have explained in many of the Words, in regard to their faces which look to themselves, all things are nothing. They do not possess existences that are of themselves independent or constant, and they do not possess realities that subsist of themselves. But in regard to their aspects that look to Almighty God, that is, that signify a meaning other than themselves, they are not nothing. For in that aspect are to be seen the manifestations of eternal names. That aspect is not doomed for non-existence, for it bears the shadow of an eternal existent. It has a reality, it is constant, and it is elevated. For it is a sort of constant shadow of the eternal name which it manifests.
Furthermore, “Everything will perish save His countenance” is a sword to cut man’s attachment to things other than God. It looks to the transitory