mansions strike his eye, new and interspersed among wide squares and avenues, but due to the absence of the conditions to support life he believes this abode to be devoid of inhabitants.
A person who does believe in the angels is like someone who when he sees the small house which is full of beings with spirits and notes the well laid-out city, is absolutely certain that the decorated mansions also have inhabitants, appropriate to them and with their own particular conditions of life. Their being invisible, due to either the distance or the loftiness of the mansions, does not prove that they do not exist. Thus, by means a primary analogy based on a ‘hidden’ syllogism and based too on the regular order, it may be concluded from the earth being full of animate beings that endless space with its constellations, stars, and heavens is full of beings with spirits. And these beings, which are of various sorts, the Shari‘a calls the angels. Now, reflect on this!
The Second Station
You know, as has been discussed, that life is the discloser of beings; indeed, it is its result. So how could endless space be devoid of inhabitants and the heavens lack their populace? All the intelligent have in effect agreed on the concept of the angels and their reality, even if their interpretations have differed. In fact, the Peripatetic philosophers called them “the disembodied spiritual essences of species;” and the Illuminists called them “the [ten] intellects and masters (arbāb) of the species;” and the followers of the religions have called the Mountain Angel, the Sea Angel, and the Rain Angel, for example. For the Materialists even, who believe only what they see, it has not been easy to deny the concept of the angels and they have associated them with the pervasive forces or power (al-qūwāt al-sāriyya) in the laws of creation.
• If you were to ask: Aren’t the laws and principles in force in creation sufficient to hold the universe together and [sustain] its vitality?
You would be told: Those laws and principles are only theoretical or subjective (i‘tibāriyya) or imaginary even; they can be accorded specific existence and identity only through that which represents and reflects them and holds their reins. And this is nothing other than the angels.
Furthermore, the philosophers (al-ḥukamā’), reason, and the transmitted religious texts are united in [their belief that] existence is not restricted to the visible Manifest World, which is lifeless and unsuitable for the formation (tashakkul) of spirits. The World of the Unseen however comprises numerous worlds which are appropriate for spirits, like water is for fishes, and is full of them and it imparts (muẓhir) life to the Manifest World.