Download The Straight Balance

Down­load the pamph­let, The Straight Bal­ance: Islam­ic Alchemy and Moor­ish Sci­ence, by Theo­phrastus al-Razi El, ori­gin­ally pub­lished by the Aurora Con­ser­gens Lodge of the Moor­ish Ortho­dox Church, Albion 2020.


The author would like to thank a num­ber of people who have assisted in bring­ing this MOC pamph­let into being; Broth­er Ishraq El of Lodge Al Bur­aq, who provided import­ant source mater­i­al and, most import­antly, feed­back and encour­age­ment, Broth­er El-Imran Arif of Lodge Aurora Con­sur­gens, who read an earli­er draft of this doc­u­ment and sug­ges­ted a num­ber of key improve­ments, and Broth­er Mustafa Al Lay­lah Bey, who deemed this worthy of pub­lish­ing as a Moor­ish Ortho­dox Church pamph­let, and who worked on the lay­out and graph­ics. Broth­er Andy Wilson also stepped in for post-pro­duc­tion / re-edit­ing duties.

An earli­er ver­sion of this paper was delivered as part of the MOC-UK online sem­in­ar series. I’d like to thank the attendees for their incis­ive ques­tions and com­ments. Any errors and short­com­ings in what fol­lows are of course entirely my own.

Prologue: Alchemy as Moorish Science

We are told that alchemy arrived in ‘Lat­in Europe’ on Fri­day, the 11th Feb­ru­ary 1144, when Robert of Chester com­pleted his trans­la­tion of De Com­posi­tione Alchemi­ae. This manu­script allegedly con­sists of the teach­ings of the monk ‘Morienus’, as giv­en to the Umayy­id Prince Khal­id ibn Yazid. Accord­ing to legend, this shad­owy fig­ure assists Khal­id in deci­pher­ing a cryptic manu­script describ­ing the mak­ing of the philosopher’s stone, and then dis­ap­pears into the desert.1

As the inhab­it­ants of West­ern Christen­dom came into con­tact with Islam­ic civil­isa­tion from the C 10th CE, they found lib­rar­ies full of works by Ptolemy, Galen and Aris­totle, as well as manu­scripts describ­ing entirely new sci­ences – includ­ing alchemy. Schol­ars trav­elled to Sicily and Jer­u­s­alem in search of new know­ledge, and manu­scripts to trans­late. But most of all, as in the case of Robert of Chester and his col­league Her­man the Dal­ma­tian, they trav­elled to the Moor­ish King­dom of Al Andalus.2 Accord­ing to Sharif Anaël-Bey, the Caliphate of Cor­doba was estab­lished in the C 8th by Moors from Maur­it­ania, who ‘were the recip­i­ents and cus­todi­ans of the ancient… mys­ter­ies of Egypt.’3

The Holy Moor­ish Kor­an, ‘divinely edited’ by Proph­et Noble Drew Ali, declares that Moor­ish Amer­ic­ans were enslaved for for­sak­ing their true nation­al­ity and must return to Islam, the reli­gion of their fore­fath­ers. The text also con­tains a num­ber of expli­cit alchem­ic­al ref­er­ences, to trans­mu­ta­tion, sub­lim­a­tion and alchem­ic­al Sul­phur (the ‘seed’ rep­res­ent­ing the human spir­it). How­ever, whilst the Caliphs of Cor­doba may have been the inher­it­ors of the mys­ter­ies of Egypt, Drew Ali derived most of the alchem­ic­al por­tions of the Holy Moor­ish Kor­an from the Aquar­i­an Gos­pel, a New-Age Chris­ti­an text from the turn of the C 20th.4 The Gos­pel’s author may have been inspired by Vic­tori­an occult­ist writers, them­selves draw­ing on Paracelsus or Agrippa. By the late Renais­sance, any influ­ence on European alchemy from Islam­ic Spain had been thor­oughly ‘occul­ted’.5 So there is no dir­ect chain of trans­mis­sion from Al-Andalus to Moor­ish Sci­ence, at least if we stick with the realm of his­tor­ic­al evid­ence, rather than that of myth­o­logy and ‘poet­ic facts’.

What fol­lows is there­fore not an attempt to uncov­er non-exist­ent his­tor­ic­al evid­ence, but rather a search for res­on­ances and par­al­lels between Moor­ish Teach­ing and Islam­ic alchemy. This is a mod­est attempt at ‘return­ing’ Moor­ish Sci­ence to its ori­gin­al sources of inspir­a­tion, how­ever broken and frag­men­ted the actu­al lines of his­tor­ic­al trans­mis­sion. The Arab­ic root mean­ing ‘return’, gives us the terms for both ‘repent­ance’ (tawba) and ‘her­men­eut­ics’ (ta’wil). Per­haps what fol­lows is a very mod­est ven­ture in her­men­eut­ic­al inter­pret­a­tion in the guise of repent­ance for the appro­pri­ation of alchem­ic­al know­ledge by the Fallen Europeans, from its ori­gin­al Moor­ish, Islam­ic, and ulti­mately Egyp­tian sources.

The Wise Balance: Islamic Alchemy and Hermeneutics

Ibn ‘Arabi defines alchemy as ‘the sci­ence hav­ing as its object the meas­ures and pro­por­tions bestowed upon phys­ic­al bod­ies and meta­phys­ic­al con­cepts in the sens­ible and intel­li­gible worlds.’6 The emphas­is on meas­ure shows the influ­ence of the mys­ter­i­ous Jâbir ibn Hayyân and their ‘Sci­ence of the Bal­ance’ (‘ilm al-miz­an). Jâbir may have been born in Kufa (mod­ern Iraq) in 721 CE, may have moved in early proto-Ismaïli circles, may have been a dis­ciple of Imam Ja’far al-Sâdiq before sub­sequently being forced into exile, or may nev­er have exis­ted at all, serving as a nom-de-plume or ‘col­lect­ive iden­tity’ for circles of Shi’a alchem­ists a cen­tury or so later.7 Who­ever Jâbir may or may not have been, we owe to them the beau­ti­ful meta­phys­ic­al concept of a series of ‘bal­ances’, oscil­lat­ing between motion and rest, gov­ern­ing the whole of the cre­ated world.

In Jâbir’s cos­mo­logy, there is a tri­ad of hypo­stases or Divine eman­a­tions – First Cause, Intel­li­gence and World Soul – lying above the Supreme Sphere, from which all sub­stance ori­gin­ates, and which lies at the bound­ary of the intel­li­gible world and the world of the senses. It is in this Sphere that the World Soul imparts geo­met­ric form to sub­stance, and attaches to it the four fun­da­ment­al natures – akin to the Aris­totelean ‘qual­it­ies’ of hot, cold, wet and dry. So ‘at the root of the gen­er­a­tion of the cor­por­eal world lay the desire of the Soul.’8

Below the Supreme Sphere, the move­ment of the sev­en heav­ens and sev­en plan­ets fol­lows a strict math­em­at­ic­al ratio, which pro­duces the ‘music of the spheres.’ This har­mo­ni­ous celes­ti­al motion affects all phys­ic­al growth and devel­op­ment in the ‘sub­lun­ar’ realm, where all cre­ated things are gov­erned by one over­arch­ing ratio, or pro­por­tion – 1 : 3 : 5 : 8.9 This ratio adds up to 17, which in ‘Jabiri­an’ alchemy serves as a fun­da­ment­al num­ber, per­form­ing a func­tion sim­il­ar to Planck’s con­stant in mod­ern sub­atom­ic phys­ics.10

This num­ber gov­erns the form taken by phys­ic­al bod­ies and their equi­lib­ri­um – bod­ies which do not con­form to this ratio will simply dis­solve or explode. There are many poten­tial explan­a­tions for the ori­gin of this par­tic­u­lar num­ber. In the encyc­lo­pae­dia of the Ismaïli ‘Brethren of Pur­ity’ (10th CE), there are 17 ‘epistles’ devoted to Phys­ics – cor­res­pond­ing to sev­en­teen adepts who are to be resur­rec­ted at the return of the Mahdi at the End of Time, each of whom will be giv­en a let­ter of the Supreme Name of God.11 How­ever, the most likely explan­a­tion relates to the ‘magic square’ of 15, which con­tains the num­bers 1, 3, 5 and 8 (see fig. 1 below). Jâbir actu­ally makes an ellipt­ic­al ref­er­ence to this square in his Book of the Bal­ance, in the con­text of magic­al talis­mans for assist­ing child­birth. This an example of Jâbir’s (in) fam­ous tech­nique of the ‘dis­pers­al of know­ledge’ – the pieces of the puzzle are care­fully scattered across many texts, and have to be pieced togeth­er by the would-be adept.12

In the Holy Moor­ish Kor­an we also find a Bal­ance gov­ern­ing God’s rela­tion­ship to cre­ation. This fol­lows the pro­por­tion 1 : 3 : 7. Noble Drew Ali teaches that God is ‘one yet more than one’; an indi­vis­ible Unity mani­fest­ing as three etern­al prin­ciples of Wis­dom, Will and Love, and as sev­en cre­at­ive spir­its, or ‘eyes of Allah’.13 So God is One, yet Three, yet Seven.

‘One’ could be inter­preted as the Prima Mater­ia or ‘one thing’ which alchem­ists sought as the start­ing mater­i­al for the trans­mu­ta­tion pro­cess – depend­ing on the texts, this could be anim­al, veget­able, min­er­al or a purely ideal con­struct (pure ‘sub­stance’). The ‘Three’ could be inter­preted as the three alchem­ic­al ‘states’ or prin­ciples; Sul­phur (mas­cu­line, asso­ci­ated with fire and the Sun), Mer­cury (fem­in­ine, asso­ci­ated with water / the moon), and Salt (the neut­ral prin­ciple, asso­ci­ated with earth). The Sev­en could then be asso­ci­ated with the trans­form­at­ive oper­a­tions car­ried out by the alchem­ist on the Prima Mater­ia, by which they sep­ar­ated out and recom­bined the three ‘states’ which were under­stood as lat­ent with­in it.14

In Moor­ish Sci­ence, cre­ation unfolds on three suc­cess­ive planes – Spir­it, or the Divine Mind, Soul, or the world of Arche­types, and Mani­fest (the phys­ic­al plane).15 Accord­ingly, we can say that God is One in essence, Three in the realm of Ideas, and Sev­en in the mater­i­al world. So, as the unit­ary Divine Prin­ciple des­cends toward the cre­ated world, it unfolds accord­ing to the pro­por­tion 1 : 3 : 7. This recalls the Noble Qur’an; ‘We hold the store of every bless­ing and send it down in appro­pri­ate meas­ure’ (15: 21).

For Jâbir, the most per­fect bal­ance of all was the bal­ance of the let­ters (al ‘ilm al-huruf). The first use of let­ter-num­ber cor­res­pond­ences to uncov­er lay­ers of mean­ing with­in the Holy Qu’ran is asso­ci­ated with Jâbir’s alleged spir­itu­al mas­ter, Imam Ja’far al-Sâdiq, to whom is attrib­uted the exeget­ic­al sys­tem known as Jafr. Accord­ing to the Imam, ‘[t]he angels are peri­pher­al, know­ing only some of God’s names, while man is cent­ral, know­ing all His names.’16 Jâbir con­structs a logic­al argu­ment to demon­strate that, because speech is part of the essen­tial nature of human creatures, human lan­guage is there­fore an ‘inten­tion of the soul.’ Because all acts of the soul are sub­stan­tial, so lan­guage is sub­stance. This implies that mor­pho­logy, which stud­ies the struc­ture of words, res­on­ates with phys­ics, which stud­ies the struc­ture of things. Thus let­ter-num­ber cor­res­pond­ences can reveal ‘an under­stand­ing of the real char­ac­ter­ist­ics of nat­ur­al objects.’17 Just as there are 28 let­ters in the Arab­ic alpha­bet, so the four alchem­ic­al ‘natures’ (or qual­it­ies) can be divided into sev­en grades of intens­ity; degrees, grades, minutes, seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths. So each let­ter of the alpha­bet refers to an alchem­ic­al ‘nature’ at a spe­cif­ic level of intens­ity; for example alif is a ‘degree’ of hot, whilst sīn is a ‘second’ of dry. The grades in Jâbir’s sys­tem, and the way they are linked via a sex­tuages­im­al pro­gres­sion (each unit is worth sixty units of the pre­ced­ing one) are both derived from ancient astro­nomy. Jâbir wishes to give alchemy the infal­lib­il­ity of an exact sci­ence.18 How­ever, we have seen above that it is the desire of the Soul which imparts form and nature to sub­stance, lead­ing to the cre­ation of the cor­por­eal, sens­ible world. So in attach­ing num­bers to let­ters and natures, which are both ‘inten­tions of the soul’, the pur­pose of the Sci­ence of the Bal­ance is to meas­ure the desire of the World Soul as it is incor­por­ated into each sub­stance.19

Jâbir lays out the math­em­at­ic­al cor­res­pond­ences between the let­ters and the alchem­ic­al natures in his ‘Table of the Hid­den Pearl’ in The Book of the Bal­ance. He tells us ‘if you wish to know what nature a thing con­tains… you refer to the name which the con­junc­tion of stars bestowed to it on the day of its birth… you will then know what heat, cold, dry­ness and humid­ity this thing con­tains.’20 The name is broken down into its root let­ters which are then assigned the appro­pri­ate numer­ic­al val­ues – each grade of a nature is assigned a spe­cif­ic weight. How­ever, the let­ter / num­ber table only reveals the mani­fest (zahîr) nature of a sub­stance, but not its hid­den (batîn) inner nature. Every met­al ‘con­tains with­in itself anoth­er met­al of oppos­ite con­sti­tu­tion.’21 So lead (cold and dry) con­tains gold (hot and moist). The ‘Table of the Hid­den Pearl’ shows the alchem­ist how much of each ‘nature’ must be added or removed from a met­al to yield its (hid­den) oppos­ite. Thus the task of the alchem­ist is to make mani­fest what is lat­ent – this is the essence of alchem­ic­al trans­mu­ta­tion. As such, alchemy is akin to Qur’anic her­men­eut­ics or ta’wil, which shares its Arab­ic root with tawba or repent­ance – both sig­ni­fy return­ing to an ori­gin­al mean­ing or nature. There­fore, the bal­ance not only gov­erns the pro­por­tions of sub­stances with­in bod­ies, but also reveals the rela­tion­ships between vis­ible and invis­ible worlds. A cent­ral prin­ciple of Ismaïli gnos­is is that, ‘the vis­ible aspect of a being pre­sup­poses its equi­lib­ra­tion by an invis­ible and celes­ti­al coun­ter­part.’22

God is One in essence, Three in the realm of Ideas, and Sev­en in the mater­i­al world

This con­nec­tion between alchemy and her­men­eut­ics explains why it is the proph­et Joseph who watches over the bal­ances gov­ern­ing the four ele­ments (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) which, along with the four natures, are the key­stone of the Great Work. Joseph is the Proph­et most closely asso­ci­ated with act­ive ima­gin­a­tion, as he is ‘past mas­ter in the art of inter­pret­ing dreams.’ Through oner­ic vis­ions, as related in Gen­es­is, Joseph has revealed to him the bal­ance between inner mean­ings and out­ward appear­ances; ‘years [of fam­ine and of plenty] under the appear­ance of cattle’ (Gen­es­is 41: 23). Ibn ‘Arabi assigns Joseph to the ruler­ship of the Third Heav­en, asso­ci­ated with the plan­et Venus.23

Per­haps coin­cid­ent­ally, the ‘Third Heav­en’ also refers to the Adept Cham­ber of the Moor­ish Sci­ence Temple of Amer­ica, which is alone entrus­ted with the name of the First Phys­ic­al Man.24 In Moor­ish Sci­ence, ta’wil can be related to the concept of ‘ever­last­ing Gos­pel.’ This refers to under­ly­ing cos­mic pat­terns or arche­types, which reveal them­selves through his­tor­ic­al events – such as the Egyp­tian Fam­ine – related in holy texts such as the Torah or Qu’ran. These arche­types con­nect ‘the farthest reaches of the cos­mos and the deep­est and most prim­or­di­al levels of human con­scious­ness’, meet­ing in real-time exper­i­ence. As cos­mic pat­terns can be rep­res­en­ted by num­ber, so let­ter-num­ber sys­tems can allow us to see words as ‘cos­mic / psych­ic ener­get­ic process[es]’ and let­ters as com­pon­ents of those pro­cesses.25

The Sister of Prophecy

The 13th Ira­ni­an alchem­ist Aydamor Jaldakî reports the reply of the First Imam, ‘Alî ibn ‘Abî Tâlib, when he was asked wheth­er alchemy really exis­ted or was mere con­jec­ture. ‘Alî is said to have closed his eyes and lowered his head for a moment, and then replied; ‘you are in fact ask­ing me about the sis­ter of proph­ecy, and that which accounts for the whole of human nobil­ity… there is no tree, nor clump of earth, nor any oth­er thing that does not ori­gin­ate [from Alchemy].’26 The Imam’s reply is remin­is­cent of Paracelsus many cen­tur­ies later, for whom the form­a­tion of plants and min­er­als and the cycle of rain through air, land and sea, were inher­ently ‘chym­ic­al’ pro­cesses’.27 Jâldakî traces the root of the term ‘proph­ecy’ (nobowwa) to the terms for ‘announ­cing’ (al-naba’) and ‘inform­ing’ (al-inbâ’). He cites God instruct­ing Adam; O announce to them [the Angels] the names [of these beings]’ (Qur’an 2: 31). This sug­gests not simply a nam­ing, but a bring­ing into being – in Henry Corbin’s words, a pas­sage from the ‘interi­or logos’ (poten­ti­al­ity) to the ‘exter­i­or logos’ (actu­al­ity).28 Both alchemy and proph­ecy are forms of thau­mat­urgy (‘mir­acle work­ing’) involving ‘Signs, and things which break the [ordin­ary] course of events.’29

For Jâbir ibn Hayy­an, alchemy is Divine wis­dom trans­mit­ted to the proph­ets by dir­ect con­tact with the intel­li­gible world. Lost by the chil­dren of Adam, the ‘Divine Sci­ence’ was redis­covered by Moses and Abra­ham, to whom Jâbir attrib­utes the ellipt­ic­al phrase ‘the Work is con­tained in an Egg which is not an Egg.’ This is a ref­er­ence to the ‘Philosopher’s Egg’ or alchem­ic­al ves­sel, which Jung under­stood as a sym­bol for the anima mundi, as trans­par­ent glass rep­res­ents solid­i­fied air, syn­onym­ous with spir­it.30 In Imam ‘Âlî’s repor­ted remarks on alchemy, he speaks of an ‘unmov­ing’ air like­wise asso­ci­ated with rûh (spir­it) and nafs (soul).31

Jâldakî describes alchemy as Prophecy’s ‘com­pan­ion’, in the same way that burn­ing embers accom­pany a lit flame – this is a ref­er­ence to the Qur’an; ‘God is the light of the Heav­ens and the Earth! His light can be com­pared to a niche in which is found a lamp’ (24: 35).32 This verse is usu­ally taken to refer to the Proph­et Muhammad, and to his ‘spir­it’ or ‘logos’ (rûh muham­madî) from which all his­tor­ic­al proph­ets drew inspir­a­tion – as his spir­it exis­ted from before cre­ation, when Adam was ‘between water and clay.’ For Jâbir, the inher­it­ors of the ‘lighted niche’ include a num­ber of (real or sup­posed) Ancient alchem­ists, includ­ing Zosi­mos, Pythagoras and Socrates. Bestow­ing the rank of proph­et on these Hel­len­ic and Egyp­tian ancest­ors serves ‘to ensure the spir­itu­al and scrip­tur­al legit­im­acy of ancient alchemy and to make it into a fully Islam­ic sci­ence.’33 In his com­ment­ary on The Book of Sev­en Statues, Jaldakî rein­forces this sense of con­tinu­ity by refer­ring to its author, Apol­loni­us of Tyana, as the râwî of the ‘Proph­et Socrates.’ This is a term used to refer to named indi­vidu­als who act as ‘links’ in a chain of trans­mis­sion (isnad) which cer­ti­fies the authen­ti­city of a hadith of the proph­et Muhammad.34 The proph­ets trans­mit Her­met­ic Wis­dom through a chain of ini­ti­ates, con­sist­ing of  ‘Gates’ (abwâb) ‘Proofs’ (hujaj) and ‘Sci­ent­ists’ (‘ulamâ). For a would-be alchem­ist, obtain­ing know­ledge of the Great Work requires not only pray­er, ritu­al puri­fic­a­tion, fast­ing and retreats into the desert. It also requires ini­ti­ation from an authen­t­ic mas­ter who has received instruc­tion from the tra­di­tion of the Imams. How­ever, through a dream or vis­ion, the appren­tice may also seek ini­ti­ation dir­ectly from the Imam of the Time in per­son. In this lat­ter case, the alchemist’s earthly teach­er simply serves as a guide, lead­ing the adept towards ‘one of those ini­ti­at­ory exper­i­ences in the “space” of the mundus ima­ginal­is of which the his­tory of Islam­ic theo­sophy… gives us many examples.’35

Hay­dar Amoli (13201385) a stu­dent of Ibn ‘Arabi,36 places the sev­en great proph­ets of Islam­ic tra­di­tion – from Abra­ham to Muhammad – at the centre of a great cos­mic ‘bal­ance’ of astro­nom­ic­al, theo­soph­ic­al and psy­cho­geo­graph­ic cor­res­pond­ences. Each cycle of proph­ecy begins with a proph­et and their rev­el­a­tion – a Book – the eso­ter­ic sense of which is then revealed by the prophet’s ‘spir­itu­al heir’ or Imam; ‘the Book is a silent Imam, the Imam is the Book speak­ing, because he pro­claims its ta’wil, its her­men­eut­ic.’37 Twelve Imams then suc­ceed each oth­er before the com­ing of the next proph­et. In the final cycle, inaug­ur­ated by Muhammad, these cor­res­pond to the twelve Imams of ‘ortho­dox’ Shi’ism, cul­min­at­ing in the hid­den Imam, who went into occulta­tion in AH 329 / 941 CE. The proph­ets and Imams can be seen as the ‘invis­ible pil­lars’ of the spir­itu­al uni­verse, as the cos­mic Anthro­pos is the ‘pil­lar’ of the phys­ic­al uni­verse.38

The sev­en his­tor­ic­al proph­ets are related to the sev­en ‘wan­der­ing stars’ (the plan­ets) and the Imams are related to the twelve ‘castles’ of the ninth celes­ti­al sphere – the signs of the Zodi­ac. As the signs of the Zodi­ac ‘house’ the plan­ets; ‘[so] each proph­et had his twelve Imams, spir­itu­al dwell­ing of the reli­gion revealed by him.’39 The Imams of each his­tor­ic­al proph­et mark the ‘stages’ of unfold­ing, of inter­pret­a­tion, of the revealed reli­gion – of the Book the proph­et has brought.

It is import­ant to under­stand that the sev­en Epochs of proph­ecy are not con­nec­ted in a lin­ear his­tor­ic­al sequence – the proph­ets and Imams of one cycle are not the ‘causes’ of those in the later cycles. Rather the fig­ures in each cycle are ‘homo­logues’ of those in the oth­er cycles, instan­ti­ations or per­son­i­fic­a­tions of the same cos­mic arche­types. Thus what appears as a tem­por­al suc­ces­sion is in fact spa­tial sim­ul­tan­eity – each epoch is a circle, cycle or ‘cupola’; a term which Amoli derives from the hadith, ‘my friends are beneath my tab­er­nacles.40

Amoli illus­trates his com­ment­ary of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Bezels of Wis­dom with a series of dia­grams in which the Imams and proph­ets of each epoch are rep­res­en­ted with­in con­cent­ric circles, demon­strat­ing their cor­res­pond­ences with each oth­er, with the plan­ets, the Zodi­ac and the intel­li­gible and archetyp­al worlds (Jabarut and Malak­ut). These ‘hiero­glyphs’, inso­far as they reveal hid­den cor­res­pond­ences cut­ting across his­tor­ic­al time, ‘illus­trate an applic­a­tion of the Sci­ence of the Bal­ance to sac­red his­tory.’41 The earli­er cycles of proph­ecy can be seen as the ‘occul­ted’ (batîn) coun­ter­parts of the last cycle, in which the Muhammadan spir­it imman­ent in all of them is made mani­fest (zahîr).

For Amoli, as for his teach­er Ibn ‘Arabi, the sev­en great proph­ets can be seen as the forms of mani­fest­a­tion of the ‘sev­en angels ecstat­ic with love’, who are the theo­phan­ic forms of the divine names. This Angel­ic Heptad is crowned by the Angel Nun, who dic­tates the Divine Know­ledge to the Angel hold­ing the Divine Quill (Kalam), who inscribes it on a celes­ti­al table pat­terned after the 360-degree course of the heav­ens. The angels and proph­ets can then be asso­ci­ated with a series of oth­er ‘heptads’ – the sev­en plan­ets, but also the sev­en cli­mates, the sev­en earths, the sev­en degrees of hell, and the sev­en days of the week.42

The asso­ci­ation of the sev­en proph­ets and sev­en angels with the sev­en ‘lead­ing names’ of God, sug­gests an evoc­at­ive par­al­lel with Moor­ish Sci­ence. In Moor­ish tra­di­tion, the sev­en names have been asso­ci­ated with the sev­en Elo­him or ‘Sev­en Eyes of Allah’, who are the source of all mani­fest cre­ation.43 As each of the Elo­him is related to the cre­ation of a dif­fer­ent eth­er­ic plane, so are they each asso­ci­ated with a dif­fer­ent sound and col­our related to that plane’s spe­cif­ic level of vibra­tion. And as with Amoli’s proph­ets and angels, each of the Elo­him is asso­ci­ated with a spe­cif­ic planet.

In the hun­dred and sixty-sev­enth chapter of his ‘Mec­can Rev­el­a­tions’ (Kitâb al-Fotûhât al-Makkiyâ), Ibn ‘Arabi also assigns sev­en proph­ets to the sev­en celes­ti­al heav­ens, although his attri­bu­tions are slightly dif­fer­ent from those giv­en by Amoli (see fig. 2 above). In Ibn ‘Arabi’s account, the sev­en plan­ets and the proph­ets asso­ci­ated with each of them mark the stages of a mys­tic­al ascent through the heav­ens. At each level, the proph­ets guide the inner ‘alchem­ic­al’ trans­form­a­tion of the adept as, in Moor­ish tra­di­tion, the Elo­him can be under­stood as guides in the spir­itu­al ascent towards the high­er planes of exist­ence.44 The Shaikh’s account of the jour­ney of two ‘pil­grims’ through the Sev­en Heav­ens evokes the ‘Night Jour­ney’ of the Proph­et Muhammad when he ascen­ded from Jer­u­s­alem borne by the Divine winged mule Bur­aq. This jour­ney is alluded to by the verse; ‘Glory be to Him who made His ser­vant go by night from the Sac­red Temple to the farther Temple… that we might show him some of our signs’ (Qur’an 16: 1).

The Straight Balance and the Resurrection Body

The ulti­mate inspir­a­tion for the entire Sci­ence of the Bal­ance is the Qu’ranic verse ‘we will estab­lish the bal­ances on the Day of the Resur­rec­tion’ (21: 47). Under­ly­ing the cor­res­pond­ences between mani­fest and lat­ent, vis­ible and invis­ible, form and essence, is the bal­ance of light and dark­ness – in oth­er words, of Good and Evil – to be reckoned and weighed on the Last Day.45 It is writ­ten, ‘weigh with even scales and do not cheat oth­ers of what is rightly theirs, nor cor­rupt the land with evil’ (Qur’an 17: 1812). For the Ismaïli Brethren of Pur­ity, this was the ‘Straight Bal­ance’ asso­ci­ated with Divine Justice – the work of the Imam of the Resur­rec­tion (Qaïm) for whom they were faith­fully wait­ing.46

Jaldakî says that alchem­ic­al gnos­is con­tains both the secret of the ‘return’ – in the sense of the Day of Judge­ment – and the secret of the ‘return of spir­its to bod­ies. This is a ref­er­ence to the pro­cess of sub­lim­a­tion and coagu­la­tion, whereby the ‘spir­it’ and ‘body’ of a met­al are sep­ar­ated and then reunited at a high­er level – cre­at­ing a ‘spir­itu­al­ised body.’47 Jâbir observes in the Book of Mercy that this pro­cess pro­duces a sub­stance inter­me­di­ate between body and spir­it, with the fix­ity, ‘etern­al dur­a­tion’ and res­ist­ance to fire of the former, but the sub­tlety, light­ness and abil­ity to pen­et­rate phys­ic­al sub­stances of the lat­ter. This spir­itu­al­ised body truly com­bines the spir­itu­al and mater­i­al, rather than simply jux­ta­pos­ing them – there­fore it is indi­vis­ible and can­not be des­troyed. As such, the spir­itu­al body can be com­pared to the dead, who God will resus­cit­ate on the day of the last judge­ment.’48 As the body which has under­gone sub­lim­a­tion is inter­me­di­ate between mat­ter and spir­it, so Ahmad Ahsa’i – C 18th founder of the Sheikhi School – attrib­utes the ‘resur­rec­tion body’ to the ‘world of Hūr­qalyā’ which is inter­me­di­ate between this world and the world of the Angels (Malak­ut). This pur­i­fied phys­ic­al body will clothe the ‘I‑spirit’ on the Day of Judge­ment, and is the form in which human souls will enter either Hell or Paradise.

In a sense, this ‘essen­tial’ body is lat­ent with­in the coars­er, ‘ele­ment­al’ body which serves as our ‘gar­ment’ in the every­day phys­ic­al world, in the same way that dia­mond can be said to be lat­ent with­in glass. In anoth­er sense, just like dia­monds com­pared to non-pre­cious stones, it is of anoth­er order of being entirely. The phys­ic­al body dis­ap­pears upon death, and the ‘I‑spirit’ first enters the after­life in a tem­por­ary ‘astral body.’ On the first sound­ing of the Trum­pet by the Angel Ser­aph­iel on the Last Day, the astral body dis­ap­pears, and the Spir­it is dis­solved into its com­pon­ent parts – prima mater­ia, soul, per­fect nature, pneuma (breath) and intel­lect. After a peri­od of ‘four hun­dred years’, a second blast of the Trum­pet – the Breath of the Great Awaken­ing – ‘pro­pels’ the parts of the I‑spirit back togeth­er with the essen­tial body which arises from its ‘tomb’ in the world of Hūr­qlyā ‘like a mush­room from its humus.’49

Impli­cit in the writ­ings of Jâbir ibn Hayyân is the idea that the adept need not await either death or the Last Judge­ment to inhab­it a ‘spir­itu­al body’ with which to jour­ney to the ‘land of Hūr­qalyā.’ In a num­ber of places in his work, he makes ref­er­ence to the sci­ence of the arti­fi­cial gen­er­a­tion of human beings.50 This could be inter­preted as a ref­er­ence to ‘spir­itu­al death’ or ‘second birth’ – the use of the ‘Supreme Elixir’ as a means of cre­at­ing the per­fect bal­ance between the soul and its ‘subtle body.’ The soul then becomes inde­pend­ent of the phys­ic­al, ‘gross’ body, and acquires ‘a super­nat­ur­al capa­city for per­cep­tion at all levels.’51 In the Holy Moor­ish Kor­an, Jesus teaches that ‘man is not the body, not the soul, he is spir­it and part of Allah.’ Sharif Anaël Bey inter­prets this to mean that we are beings of light not bound by time and space. This echoes Shaikh Ahsa’i’s fam­ous obser­va­tion that spir­its and bod­ies are simply dif­fer­ent states of ‘light-being’, and the dif­fer­ence between them is the same as the dif­fer­ence between ‘water and snow’.52 If mat­ter and energy are simply dif­fer­ent phases of the same pro­cess, Anaël-Bey con­tin­ues, then it is pos­sible to trans­form the phys­ic­al sub­stance of the body, cre­at­ing an ener­get­ic, ‘noble’ body, which can sur­vive out­side it and explore oth­er ‘realms’ of con­scious­ness. This ‘body of light’ can then con­tin­ue its exist­ence after phys­ic­al death.

Depend­ing on the level of ‘ener­get­ic charge’ cre­ated through this trans­form­a­tion, the adept might be able to choose their next phys­ic­al incarn­a­tion ‘or leave the cycle of incarn­a­tion alto­geth­er.’53

Jâbir’s ‘extrem­ist’ Shi’a cos­mo­logy also makes ref­er­ence to a cycle of rein­carn­a­tion, neces­sary to puri­fy human souls from the cor­rup­tion of the phys­ic­al world – the world of ‘mix­ture’. As mat­ter in the alchemist’s labor­at­ory must go through repeated cal­cin­a­tion and dis­til­la­tion, so the soul must go through life death and rebirth; in some alchem­ic­al manu­scripts, the terms ‘rein­carn­a­tion’ and ‘dis­til­la­tion’ are in fact syn­onym­ous. Even­tu­ally the soul will recov­er its pure, ‘pre­lapsari­an’ form – from this point it is spared the need for fur­ther phys­ic­al rein­carn­a­tion, and no longer risks ‘des­cend­ing’ into plants or anim­als. How­ever, the soul has then only begun its jour­ney, as it must go through fur­ther mul­tiple trans­form­a­tions, before it can acquire a rank cor­res­pond­ing to the low­est level of the spir­itu­al hier­archy of Shi’a Islam.54

As mat­ter in the alchemist’s labor­at­ory must go through repeated cal­cin­a­tion and dis­til­la­tion, so the soul must go through life death and rebirth

Deliv­er­ance from the phys­ic­al world requires encoun­ter­ing the Imam, con­tem­plat­ing him and fol­low­ing his com­mands. This encounter is ima­gin­al – tak­ing place in the ‘world of Hūr­qalyā’ rather than the mater­i­al realm. In the Book of Roy­alty, Jâbir dir­ectly equates the alchem­ic­al elixir, which is ‘eas­ily fus­ible’ and ‘pen­et­rates all bod­ies’, with the per­son of the Imam.55 The Elixir is a per­fectly bal­anced sub­stance, whose ele­ments are ‘spir­itu­al­ised’, it is not only incor­rupt­ible, but cap­able of heal­ing ‘cor­rupt’ metals, and trans­form­ing them into gold and sil­ver – ‘as is the Imam amongst men.’56 Thus the Imam can affect the adept’s ‘trans­mu­ta­tion’, bring­ing about the ‘second birth’ into a new ‘spir­itu­al­ised body’.

Jâbir sees the essence of both the Imam and the alchem­ic­al Elixir as lying in the com­bin­a­tion of ‘cold and humid’ with ‘hot and dry’ natures – that is, of water with fire.57 Fire and water sym­bol­ic­ally func­tion as medi­at­ors between the phys­ic­al and spir­itu­al worlds – in the same way, the Imam takes human form but can­not be con­sidered to be an ordin­ary human being.58 This is borne out by Jâbir’s Imamo­logy, where the salvif­ic func­tion of the Imam is in fact under­taken col­lect­ively by a ‘pler­oma’ of fifty-five ‘celes­ti­al per­sons’ or ashkhâs. This num­ber cor­res­ponds to the total num­ber of celes­ti­al spheres in ancient Greek astro­nomy.59 As we have seen, astro­nom­ic­al meas­ure­ment also inspired Jâbir’s grad­ing of the intens­ity of the four qual­it­ies, or ‘natures’. As the ashkhâs are ‘subtle entit­ies’, so each ‘per­son’ in the hier­archy can take on a mul­ti­pli­city of forms across time and space, each rank or ‘sta­tion’ can be assumed by mul­tiple indi­vidu­als at the same time, or all fifty-five ashkhâs can form one ‘per­son’.60

Once an adept has broken the cycle of rein­carn­a­tion, then they can begin to ascend the fifty-five ‘sta­tions’ of the pler­oma – although this occurs after death, how far the adept ascends depends on their spir­itu­al pro­gress whilst they were still in the mater­i­al world.61 In the sens­ible world, the fifty-five ‘per­sons’ guide human souls out of the cycle of rein­carn­a­tion and towards the ‘degree of entry’ to the pler­oma. They also guide those in ‘sta­tions’ beneath them in the celes­ti­al hier­archy so that they can arise to high­er grades.62

All of the per­sons in dif­fer­ent ‘sta­tions’ in the pler­oma ‘point towards’ the Imam of the Resur­rec­tion (Qaïm) in the sense that they aspire to the con­di­tion of Per­fect Human Being. In Ismaïli eschat­o­logy, the Qaïm closes sev­en cycles of proph­ecy, each with sev­en Imams – these are inten­ded to enact the ‘return’ of the Cos­mic Adam’ to the rank of Third Intel­li­gence, after his ‘fall’ to the tenth rank of eman­a­tion, in an epic cos­mic drama which the whole of human his­tory serves to ‘cor­rect’ or redeem.63 We have seen above the poten­tial con­nec­tions between the sev­en Proph­ets, sev­en Divine Names, and the ‘Sev­en Eyes of Allah’ of Moor­ish Sci­ence. Here, the suc­ces­sion of cycles pat­terned by the num­ber sev­en sug­gests the ‘Circle Sev­en’ which adorns the Holy Moor­ish Kor­an, and which is evoked at the open­ing and clos­ing of all Temple meet­ings, accord­ing to the Divine Con­sti­tu­tion and By-Laws.64

As to the iden­tity of the Qaïm or ‘Resur­rect­or’, who closes the sev­en cycles of sev­en, Jâbir gives us no dir­ect indic­a­tion. He was aim­ing at a fun­da­ment­al trans­form­a­tion of human­ity in which the dis­putes over dyn­ast­ic suc­ces­sion which had divided the dif­fer­ent branches of Shi’a Islam played only a sec­ond­ary role. So the Qaïm may not be a spe­cif­ic indi­vidu­al in one of the lines of hered­it­ary des­cent from ‘Ali.65 And as we have seen, the pler­oma con­sists of ‘subtle entit­ies’ who, under cer­tain con­di­tions, can take on the form of one single per­son. This sug­gests that, at the end of a long pro­cess of cos­mic evol­u­tion, when all the souls cap­able of mak­ing the ascent have assumed their sta­tions in the pler­oma, they will col­lect­ively form the Imam of the Resur­rec­tion, in the form of ‘Uni­ver­sal man, and Omega Point of all cre­ation.’66

Epilogue: The Orphan, the Glorious One and the Uplifting of Fallen Humanity

Jâbir’s hier­archy of fifty-five ashkhâs includes the rank of Orphan (Yatîm).67 This mys­ter­i­ous fig­ure has no lead­er­ship role, and no pub­lic func­tion; Jâbir states that s /he is ‘veiled, out of the sight of every­one except the Imam.’ The Orphan is lis­ted as occupy­ing the twen­ti­eth ‘sta­tion’ in the pler­oma – how­ever, this appar­ently low rank may be a mat­ter of ‘appear­ance’, rather than ‘essence’. The Orphan would appear to be the same ‘per­son’ as Jâbir’s ‘Glor­i­ous One’ (Majid), who he asso­ci­ates with Salmân the Per­sian, one of the com­pan­ions of the Proph­et Muhammad.

Salmân is, accord­ing to tra­di­tion, the son of a Per­sian Knight, who wanders from town to town in search of a spir­itu­al guide, before encoun­ter­ing the Proph­et Muhammad at Mecca and con­vert­ing to Islam. As Salmân, with roots in both Zoroastri­an­ism and Chris­tian­ity, helped show the Proph­et the scrip­tur­al ante­cedents of his rev­el­a­tions, so he is closely asso­ci­ated with spir­itu­al her­men­eut­ics (ta’wil). How­ever, whilst Salmân is a fig­ure of ‘spir­itu­al exile’, he non­ethe­less has a phys­ic­al, his­tor­ic­al con­nec­tion to the Prophet’s House.

In con­trast, the Glor­i­ous One is a self-ini­ti­ate, a ‘spir­itu­al adop­tee’ whose con­nec­tion with the Imam is bey­ond the phys­ic­al plane, tak­ing place in the ‘ima­gin­al space’ of the Pler­oma and the land of Hūr­qalyā. Thus, Henry Corb­in asso­ci­ates the fig­ure of the Majid with a ‘per­son­al spir­itu­al her­men­eut­ic’ (ta’wil shakh­sî). The fig­ure of the Glor­i­ous sym­bol­ises all those who wish to under­take Salmân’s spir­itu­al jour­ney, yet live it in their own way, as ‘an Event which… is every time some­thing more.’68 To estab­lish the sym­bol­ic import­ance of the Glor­i­ous One, Jâbir under­takes a com­plex ana­lys­is of the name Majid, by means of the ‘bal­ance of the let­ters.’ As the Arab­ic let­ters of the name give equal weight to dry­ness (the let­ter Jīm) and mois­ture (the let­ter Dāl), so the Glor­i­ous One thus rep­res­ents the alchem­ic­al ‘co-incid­ence of oppos­ites’; ‘dark­ness and light, humid­ity and dry­ness, aqua and ignis.’69 The Orphan is a medi­at­ing ‘fourth term’, com­plet­ing the tri­ad of archetyp­al fig­ures of mys­tic­al Shi’a Islam; ‘Ali, Muhammad and Salmân. Such a ‘qua­tern­ity’ might have a num­ber of sym­bol­ic asso­ci­ations, includ­ing the four alchem­ic­al elements.

The Orphan / Glor­i­ous is not only a sym­bol of self-enlight­en­ment, but also a teach­er, a ‘sub­sti­tute’ (na’ib) who has reached ‘such a degree in gnos­is’ that they can teach in the place of the Imam.70 The crit­ic­al role of the Orphan’s teach­ing lies in the fact that, for Jâbir, free­ing all the souls cap­able of ini­ti­ation from the cycle of rein­carn­a­tion requires a ‘res­tor­a­tion and dif­fu­sion of the sci­ences’, a goal shared by the writers of the Rosicru­cian Mani­festoes nearly six-hun­dred years later.71 This under­lines the import­ance of Jâbir’s own Cor­pus of writ­ings, which he often presents as a form of ‘mir­acle’, which is ‘itself pos­sessed of a proph­et­ic char­ac­ter.’72 Whilst Jâbir does not expli­citly hold up his per­son­al role in the ‘dif­fu­sion of the sci­ences’ as proof that he him­self is the Orphan, it is not hard to draw such a con­clu­sion. This is espe­cially true if we accept tra­di­tion­al accounts of his life, in which he is forced into a clandes­tine under­ground exist­ence, due to reli­gious and polit­ic­al persecution.

How­ever, Jâbir does expli­citly insist that if the read­er of his fam­ously impen­et­rable writ­ings can piece togeth­er the alchem­ic­al secrets delib­er­ately ‘dis­persed’ through hun­dreds of sep­ar­ate manu­scripts; ‘then you would be as Jâbir ‘ibn Hayyân him­self.73 This might ‘solve’ the mys­tery of the iden­tity of Jâbir ibn Hayyân, by sug­gest­ing there is no mys­tery to be solved. Wheth­er there was a his­tor­ic­al ‘per­son’ named Jâbir is unim­port­ant. Rather, the fig­ure of Jâbir /Orphan/Glor­i­ous One is an arche­type to be rein­ven­ted and re-enacted by a suc­ces­sion of adepts work­ing out their per­son­al gnos­is. Corb­in com­ments; ‘there may have been a Col­lege, or a suc­ces­sion of authors, as many as one wishes; the list may not even be closed.’74

Some­time between 1912 and 1913, the Proph­et Noble Drew Ali is said to have had a dream in which he was ordered to found a reli­gion for the ‘uplift­ing of fallen human­ity.’ In Chapter 1 of the Holy Moor­ish Kor­an, this ‘uplift­ing’ is equated with the human spir­it, or ‘seed’, over­com­ing its body of flesh and the tempta­tions of the mater­i­al world, to ascend through the soul plane and finally ‘attain unto the blessed­ness of per­fect­ness and be at one with Allah.’75

Accord­ing to tra­di­tion, Noble Drew Ali was born on the 8th Janu­ary 1886, a ‘child of ex-slaves, among the Cher­o­kee Indi­ans – who are said to have adop­ted him.’76 He is said to have worked as a mer­chant sea­man, as a magi­cian in a trav­el­ling cir­cus, and as a rail­way express­man, before jour­ney­ing to the Ori­ent – pos­sibly the land of Hūr­qalyā? Here he was ini­ti­ated in the Pyr­am­id of Cheops, before encoun­ter­ing Sul­tan Abdelaziz in Mecca – holy site of the Ka’ba, whose Black Stone is, on some accounts, the alchem­ic­al Red Sul­phur, tar­nished from its sojourn in the mater­i­al world.77

In this short, pos­sibly legendary, bio­graphy, the attent­ive read­er will recog­nise the ‘tell-tale signs’; adop­tion as a sym­bol of spir­itu­al elec­tion, the jour­ney (pos­sibly between worlds) in search of gnos­is, and the mis­sion to free souls from the mater­i­al plane, bestowed in a dream. Is the story of Noble Drew Ali, that ‘Event which is every time some­thing more’, the reappear­ance of the Orphan arche­type on the earthly plane? And if so, is it to be the last, or is ‘the list not yet closed’? Jâbir stressed that his writ­ings had emerged in a time of dec­ad­ence, when the ancient alchem­ic­al wis­dom was no longer clearly under­stood. This was not just a ‘dif­fi­cult peri­od’, but rather ‘one of those moments of cos­mic dis­order pre­ced­ing a mil­len­ari­an shift.’78 Could the same be said about our cur­rent epoch of glob­al pan­dem­ics, cli­mate emer­gency and rising author­it­ari­an­ism? What does it mean, in these times, to embody the arche­types of the Orphan and Glor­i­ous One – seek­ing to uplift fallen human­ity and to ‘mend the broken wires and… con­nect them with the high­er powers’?79

Br Theo­phrastus al-Razi El

17th May 6733


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Anaël-Bey, Sharif (2013), Al Iksir-Sagala: Port­able Illu­min­a­tion for the Moor­ish Amer­ic­an, New Jer­sey: Ali’s Men Publications.

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Corb­in, Henry (1986a), His­toire de la Philo­soph­ie Islamique, Par­is: Gallimard.

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  1. Eber­ley (2004: 10).
  2. Prin­cipe (2013:  512)
  3. Anaël-Bey (2013:  52)
  4. Wilson (1993: 19)
  5. Prin­cipe (2013 : 75)
  6. Ibn ‘Arabi (2017: 31)
  7. See Haq (1994: 332) for an exten­ded dis­cus­sion of the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Jâbir. See also Pierre Lory’s Intro­duc­tion to Corb­in (2003: 922)
  8. Haq (1994: 58), my emphasis.
  9. Jâbir actu­ally sees the 1 : 3 : 5 : 8 ‘bal­ance’ as a dis­tor­ted form of a more per­fect ratio gov­ern­ing the celes­ti­al world, 6:8:9:12, the cal­cu­la­tion of which was derived from Plato’s Tim­aeus. See Lory (2003 : 144).
  10. Prin­cipe (2013 : 42)
  11. Corb­in (1986a: 195)
  12. For Jâbir’s dis­cus­sion of the magic square see Ber­th­el­ot (1893: 150). For the ancient Chinese ante­cedents of the magic square design, see Haq (1994 : 205).
  13. Najee-Ullah El (2014: 24–7)
  14. Carl Jung gives an account of the alchem­ic­al oper­a­tions in Jung (1968a: 228232).
  15. Najee-Ullah El (2014 : 4–5)
  16. Eber­ley (2004 : 14)
  17. Haq (1994 : 81)
  18. Haq (1994 : 67)
  19. Corb­in (2003 : 180)
  20. Ber­th­el­ot (1893 : 159)
  21. Haq (1994 : 96)
  22. Corb­in, Henry (1986: 56)
  23. Ibn ‘Arabi (2017 : 43)
  24. ‘Kor­an Ques­tions for Moor­ish-Amer­ic­ans’ (Ques­tions: 5556) in Najee Ullah-El (2014 : 143)
  25. Anaël-Bey, Sharif (2013 : 1112)
  26. Corb­in (2003 : 31)
  27. Prin­cipe (2013 : 128)
  28. Corb­in (2003: 57, n.12)
  29. Corb­in (2003 : 37)
  30. For Alchem­ic­al phrases attrib­uted to Abra­ham and Jesus, see Lory (2003 : 54). For the alchem­ic­al ves­sel as sym­bol­ising the World Soul, see Jung (1968b: 197–8)
  31. Corb­in (2003 : 46)
  32. Corb­in (2003 : 57)
  33. Lory (2003 : 59)
  34. Corb­in (2003 : 88)
  35. Lory (2003 : 80)
  36. Again in an ima­gin­al sense, as the Sheikh ul-Akh­bar died in 1240 CE.
  37. Corb­in (1986 : 73)
  38. Corb­in (1986 : 86)
  39. Corb­in, (1986 : 55116)
  40. Corb­in (1986 : 61)
  41. Corb­in (1986 : 59)
  42. Corb­in (1986 : 69)
  43. Anaël Bey (2013 : 18)
  44. Anaël Bey (2013 : 30)
  45. Corb­in (1986 : 78)
  46. Corb­in (1986a:196)
  47. Corb­in (2003 : 58)
  48. Ber­th­el­ot (1893 : 183)
  49. Ahsa’i (1977: 218)
  50. Haq (1994 : 68)
  51. Lory (2003 : 162)
  52. Anaël-Bey (2013 : 19); Ahsa’i (1977 : 203)
  53. Anaël-Bey (2013 : 21)
  54. Lory (2003 : 69)
  55. Ber­th­el­ot (1893 : 127)
  56. Lory (2003 : 84)
  57. Ber­th­el­ot (1893 : 137)
  58. Lory (2003 : 67)
  59. Lory (2003 : 73)
  60. ibid
  61. Lory (2003 : 80)
  62. Lory (2003 : 81)
  63. Corb­in (1986a: 1326)
  64. Najee-Ullah El (2014 : 154). For an extens­ive dis­cus­sion of the sym­bol­ism of ‘Circle Sev­en’ in Moor­ish Sci­ence, see Anaël-Bey (2013 : 324)
  65. Lory (2003 : 87)
  66. Lory (2003 : 120)
  67. The ref­er­ence to orphans may be inten­ded to evoke the Qur’anic verse; ‘Did he not find you [O Muhammad] an orphan and gave you shel­ter…’ (93 : 6). How­ever, for Jâbir, ‘Âli actu­ally has pre­ced­ence over the Proph­et, as he rep­res­ents the inner, eso­ter­ic mean­ing of the Law which Muhammad enun­ci­ates (Lory, 2003 : 93)
  68. Corb­in (2003 : 201)
  69. Corb­in (2003 : 182)
  70. Lory (2003 : 88)
  71. Lory (2003 : 106)
  72. Lory (2003 : 111)
  73. Corb­in (2003 : 184)
  74. Corb­in (2003 : 207), my emphasis.
  75. Najee Ullah El (2014 : 6)
  76. Wilson, (1993 : 15)
  77. For Noble Drew Ali’s itin­er­ary, see Wilson (1993 : 16). For tra­di­tion­al accounts of the Black Stone of the Ka’ba as the Red Sul­phur, see Eber­ley (2004 : 5455).
  78. Lory (2003 : 114)
  79. Najee Ullah El (2014 : 197)