Lesson 13
Beloved cloaked Itself with seventy thousand Hijabs (veil) made from light and darkness [1]. So that the lover is trained [2], accustomed to seeking It beyond the shroud of objects. Until the lover’s vision gets used to this [3] and love rattles the chains of desire. By the assistance of love and by the power of love, desire drops the curtains one after another [4]. And in that precise moment the august splendor of Allah’s countenance shall set ablaze all ambiguities caused by human mind and imagination [5], and It shall reside where It (the Creator) belongs and collectively all shall fall in love (with the Creator and each other):
Whatsoever was fetched, from It to It passed along
Whatsoever was let go, to It from It proffered 
Hasn’t the Messenger of Allah PBUH hinted towards this, “One prayer excluding one’s self is better than seventy prayers in presence of the self” i.e. one prayer without you, better than seventy prayers with your self [6]. Because when you are with your self, (has to be) blocked by seventy thousand veils but when you lose your self, then what/whom is left to be veiled against by these seventy thousand Hijabs (cloak)? And therefore this secret revealed:
“If you are not present, you can behold! (The Creator)”
Therefore it is the fact that if you are not in existence anymore, then you can see It (The Creator) truly! (Along the same lines) People have claimed:
The Hijab (veil) of human attributes is either luminous, if he has knowledge, deep conviction, paragon demeanor worthy of praise and admiration. Or darkened, if mixed with ignorance, doubt, customs and habits:
The curtains of light and darkness in desperation [7] 
In doubt and conviction have been hung to veil
However there is a point here, this veiling is necessary attribute of “being human” in order to protect him from burning, since:
“If (the Creator) unveiled the majesty of Its Face shall set ablaze all Its creation since Its vision is boundless” [8] 
Meaning if the creation and even the descriptions (software, books) could comprehend the splendor of Its majesty, then they are going to burn away. And since we can see and we are not burnt, it means that we are blocked and protected by a perpetual cloak. Therefore Its Hijabs are Its names and attributes:

  1. Luminous Hijab (veil): Manifestation (Zohoor), benevolence (Lotf) and beauty (Jamaal)
  2. Darkened Hijab (veil): Secrecy (Botoon), omnipotence (Qahar) and banishment (Jalal)
It is impossible that this Hijab(veil) can be pulled away, since if the Hijab(veil) of names and attributes [9] are pulled away, One-ness of Allah’s essence shall shine through the curtain of rare and precious greatness [10], all objects shall shatter completely [10.5], since the ability of an object to exist, is by means of names and attributes. Moreover the existence of all objects is emanated through the essence (Zhaat) [11] of Allah, but this emanation does induce its effects beyond the curtains of names and attributes. Therefore Its veil are the names and attributes, as been narrated by the “Owner of power for all hearts” [12]:
“Hijab (veil) of the essence (Zhaat) of Allah is via the attributes and the Hijab of attributes via the actions”
And if in reality you look closer you see that It is Its own Hijab as well, the intensity of Its manifestation veils and concealed by tempest (blinding) light. [13]
We look around but not understanding what we view, beyond doubt we declare:
Hijab of Your face is, at all times, Your own face
Concealed You are from the world, since overly manifest
Looking upon everyone I see only Your face
In this midst, all in my eyes are only Your presence
Defeated the one attempting to know You, each moment
Your beauty adorned by a different gown over and over [14]
It is impossible to find a Hijab (veil) other than Itself, because any other Hijab has limits but It observes no bounds. Whatever you see in the universe shapes, designs [15] and meanings they are indeed It, and It needs/(bound to) no shapes, designs or meanings. If It is not in any object then that object is void, and if It is in some object then that object is again void (because of Its Tawheed or One-ness):
You are the universe when You become manifest [16] 
You are all life when You become veiled
You are obvious because always a secret hidden
You are concealed because always present to test
Yet manifest, yet concealed, both together
Yet not this, yet not that, both this and that  [17] 

[1] This is a Hadith (narration) from Prophet PBUH however I have not been able to find the Arabic text by Allah’s Grace will do so soon.
[2] Man cannot simply look upon or talk to or listen to or touch the Creator. Its vastness and majesty is beyond any mental or physical utility we possess. Just like a toddler needs to learn and be trained how to walk, a man must be trained and learn how to love and interface Allah. This learning comes from long exposure to trials of life and sensitivity of heart and mistakes of mind. Mankind is been made aware by Araqi, that he or she must learn how to interface their Lord via these veils.
[3] It is a shocking, trembling affair to come close to the Creator, we can not even directly look upon the sun!? Those who show relaxed TV poses of tranquility claiming in congruence with the Lord indeed are actors. The real deal is quite tumultuous and emotional. ‘Love’ is something in and of itself, independent of Mankind and the universe all-together. It is the power of Love that moves the human heart to desire people and things and eventually the Lord.
[4] These veils that cloak the Creator are there for wondrous many purposes, Araqi discovered several reasons as you will read later on. Araqi teaches, “The only way to remove these veils whether light or dark, is via love”. Prophet Mohammad PBUH told us that once a man climbed down a well to fill his shoe with water to avoid certain death from thirst, and when he came out of the well he saw a dog suffering from thirst and offered the water to it first. And then climbed down again to drink himself. Than man was placed in Paradise by Allah. If the love for a wandering dog can drop all these veils, imagine love for mankind, love for your woman, love for your family, love for your neighbors. And yes! Someday true love for your Creator. 
[5] Most of what we call or write or imagine as God, is nothing but our own imaginations, often lies and frequently hallucinations. Nothing on the surface of our words or actions or thoughts is God or related to God. As the poet indicated, there is a fine moment that the flashes of light emanating from the Creator burns and chars all the said ambiguities and settles once and for all who is the Creator and what is the Creator within our inner most, often hidden abilities to be cognizant of Allah. That capricious moment comes to man by Allah’s grace not by any doing of man himself be it worship, charitable acts or deep meditation. If you think that such acts bring you closer to the Creator then you are wallowing in ambiguities Araqi talks about. If you possess a heart-felt sensitivity, the moment comes to you exclusively and suddenly beyond any reasoning or recompense from the Creator, then you were exposed to burning divine flash of light as said in the prose. As Araqi teaching us, that moment is signified by the absolute and unconditional love for the Creator and consequently for all Mankind, the universe. That moment is when all hate has left you, you forgave the very one who betrayed you and enemies evaporate and pain becomes just a long shadow for love… that moment you get the poem Araqi wrote:
Whatsoever was fetched, from It to It passed along
Whatsoever was let go, to It from It proffered 
That moment you are entangled between Allah and Allah, and you forsake the people and the universe, now all things are done/taken/given by Allah to/from/to Allah. It was not you who gave money to charity, It was Allah who gave/offered the funds and It was Allah who accepted the funds and you were in the middle an instrument. It was not you who worshiped and praised the Lord, It was Allah who put the words of praise on your tongue and It was Allah who accepted/heard these praises and you were in the middle only a conduit.
[6] The word ‘hint’ which was ‘Eshaarat’ in the original manuscript means a bit more than hinting. It means metaphorical hinting towards someone or something in order to make things clear by means of a paradigm or example. Obviously no man can pray without himself, but metaphorically this means when you forget about your self and all other concerns. Original Arabic text can be read, alternatively, as prayer with brushed teeth better than the prayer without… I am not sure what the Prophet meant but Araqi uses this a metaphor to make a point. The reason there are seventy thousand curtains between the man and the Creator is because, Allah has chosen to be by Itself serene and away from any object or partner. Therefore Mankind is cloaked away to guarantee this One-ness and this uniqueness. Once you do away with your self, these veils are no longer necessary because you no longer exist so all is left is only Allah. Here is the Arabic text:



[7] Araqi uses the Arabic word ‘Ajez’ which I translated into ‘desperation’. Again it being a poem there is an ambiguity. Does he talk about desperation meaning desperate to understand the nature of light and dark veils? Or desperation due to impossibility to unveil/surpass/penetrate these curtains?
[8] I am including the Arabic text:


I will make sure my translation is checked by experts and if mistakes then surely revise and repost INSHALLAH.
[9] ‘Names’ and ‘attributes’ are phrases that are in need of deeper definition in English. At this point of time I translated the ‘Asmaa’ to ‘names’ that loosely means knowledge either given or by means of mental deduction or experimental observation. Personally I dislike the ‘names’ in English and I think at later day by Allah’s Grace to give a better definition for the English readers. This word comes from Koran with reference to the first human, Prophet Adam PBUH. Arabic word ‘Sifat’ was translated by others into ‘attributes’ which is a pretty good word. Example of an attribute is Ar-Rahim, which means “The Merciful”. Araqi claims that these Hijabs(veils) are made from either knowledge/existence e.g. we cannot escape the time-space therefore physical laws are a barrier between us and the Creator or feeding a poor person brings us closer to Allah so this is a knowledge that shows a barrier and how to lift it…  or attributes like The Merciful i.e. Allah does not destroy us at a simple sin or just out of a whim Allah is The Merciful therefore this attribute is a cloak between us and the Almighty’s power to destroy all things.  
[10] Arabic word ‘Ezzah’ was used which in English means rare precious as well as powerful respected and cherished. Perhaps lofty and dignified is a nice phrase. So the curtain of ‘Ezzah’ is for the most part is an attribute of the rare, precious and dignified Creator that separates It from commonly duplicated, worthless and lowly humans and objects.
[10.5] This shattering comes from the story of Moses and the mountain (Koran [7:143]:
"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: "O my Lord! show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee." Allah said: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe."
[11] Arabic word ‘Zhaat’ comes from the root ‘Zhu’ which is a tremendous word to mean, based on context, different concepts. In particular in English in the context of Sufism commonly used to render the concept of essence, ego and perhaps embodying, possessor. Some examples might aid the future researchers:
1.      “Zu-l Jalal Wal Ikram” meaning “The possessor of Majesty and Honor” (Koran [55:27]).
2.      “Zhaat Alwah-in Wa Dosor” meaning “On (a vessel) built with planks and oakum” (referring to Noah’s Ark Koran [54:13], Essence of something being certain way or composed certain way.
3.      “Zhaat Assodur” meaning “The very inner most thoughts and feelings of your breast” (Koran [3:148]), Ego or again essence of an ego.
[12] I do not know who is referred to by ‘Quwwatol Qulub” meaning the power of all hearts.
[13] Sufis believe that one reason we cannot see Allah is because It is every place commanding everything, similar concept to “trees don’t let me see the forest”. This over exposure is mentioned later on in his poem down the page. The other reason they cite is that Its light invades the universe with such intensity that blinds all things i.e. no one can see the Creator. Both the “over exposure” as well as the “blinding light” are considered by Araqi Hijabs (veils) cloaking the Creator.
[14] Since Allah is boundless and infinite, so is Its beauty. From moment to moment Its beauty never stales, rather varies infinitely from one fantastic beauty to other unbound beauty anew, afresh. If you walk around the universe and feel bored, nothing looks interesting, and then you are not seeing the ever-blasting beauty of the Creator i.e. you are afar. If you look upon a rose and lose your self and admire and adore the beauty, then you look upon a cloud refreshed with its splendor, you journeyed from one moment of beauty of Allah to another seamlessly. Although this happens to us in brief occasions, Sufis like Araqi were able to maintain that perception and all such feelings for years and years. 
[15] The Arabic word “Soorah” (in Farsi Soorat) was used which means to shape or form. This is used in the physical form (Koran [82:8]):
“In whatever Form He wills, does He put thee together.”

[16] This is the craft of Araqi. No one can verse poems like this. Like an inventor Allah is made manifest through a Wow-Effect when we look at Its handiwork and inventions e.g. DNA strands, deep space celestial structures. But when it comes to human affair or life, Allah hides Itself to examine us against each other.
[17] The ambiguity between being manifest yet so secretively hidden is the ambiguity that rules the universe as was described in Araqi’s Lesson 10. Try not to understand ‘why’ attempt to enjoy the beauty of ‘what’! Ask no questions because you are the answer.

Background: A new material called Aerogel the lightest solid in the world and a super insulator is seen deflecting heat from a blow torch. Developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California. 2003 © Peter Menzel Photography. I added this artwork to indicate that this almost transparent weightless insulator is an example to stretch our mind to imagine the seventy thousand Hijabs (veils) teenage Araqi was wondering about 700 years ago.

© 2003-2002,  Dara Shayda