Origins of Personal Pronouns

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Sheikh said that there are four Divine Muzhir (Conduit within/through which objects made manifest) Names:

1.    Allah: Any and all Dhāt (Essences) become innate through this Divine Name (Allah is the Divine Signifier for the searchlessly hidden essence of a singleton deity, had this signifier not being available, in our psyche and in every particle of existence, nothing could possibly have an essence of any form! And furthermore no mind could even envision any sort of an essence unless through the Divine Name Allah.)
2.    Rahmān: Any and all Attributes become apparent through this Divine Name (Rahmān means merciful & beneficent in both worlds, Rahmān is a gift-giver and no matter what attribute of any object we may enjoy e.g. beauty or being a beneficiary of e.g. justice or truth, all made patent/endowed through Rahmān.)
3.    Rahim: Any and all actions occurs through this Divine Name (Rahim means mercifulness exclusive in Azal (Sempiternity) and indeed the mercy of a commanding King holding court in ITs own Realm and no action takes place unless by ITs merciful edict.)
4.    Rabb: Any and all Tajalli (Lucent Manifestation) occurs through this Divine Name. (Rabb means the Lord who administrates and manages all affairs; especially in Tajalli form the manifested object becomes observable by senses or sensors e.g. there is hunger and the Rabb administrates the facilities of botanical and animal growth and processes the raw material into digestible food and all these manifestations can be observed. Therefore both hunger and the processes/acts of feeding are made manifest/Tajalli through this Divine Name. Each process of photosynthesis was made manifest through this Divine Name and each acquisition of food again was made manifest through this Divine Name and each enzyme for digestion was manifested through this Divine Name.)

Even amongst the Personal Pronouns there are four pronouns associated with the above said Divine Names [1]:

1.    Howa/Hu (IT, He) is the placeholder for Rabb
2.    Anta (You) is the placeholder for Rahmān
3.    Nahnu (We) is the placeholder for Rahim
4.    Ana (I) is the placeholder for Allah

Sometimes the Dhākir (Rememberer) reaches the Hāla (Momentary State of the heart) feeling the Howa/Hu (IT, He) i.e. feels the Divine Presence in third person from a distance and some other times feels the Anta (You) i.e. feels the Divine Presence in second person face-to-face and close, and often may become too conscious of his own Self i.e. feeling the Ana (I) whereat exiting the state of the Dhikr (Remembrance) therefore he may busily embark upon the Dhikr “Lā Ilāha Il-lal Lāh” (There is no deity except for Allah)—disavowing his I-ness which is really befitting for Allah only—and the latter Dhikr is the key for unlocking all treasures of happiness [2].



Thanks to our formal education, we mistakenly comprehend some important facts in reverse:

1.    That human being is merciful therefore God is (must be) infinitely most merciful
2.    Personal pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘IT/He’ are borrowed from human language to avoid the repetitions in holy scriptures

However in reality the situation is in reverse:

1.    God is merciful and this Divine Attribute (Sifat) has been issued, to an infinitely lesser degree, to man so he could also enjoy being merciful!
2.    Personal pronouns are originally exclusive to the Divine Realm, again they were ‘lent’ to man to sense/describe the consciousness of ‘I’ vs. ‘you’ or ‘he’. Had this Divine gift not bestowed upon the man i.e. the personal pronouns, for sure no human being could have been able to feel his own I-ness let alone uttering the word ‘I’.

Divine Names e.g. Rahmān (Beneficent) are not there for poetic renditions, rather they are there as conduits for manifestation through certain faculties of human cognition and spirituality. These Divine Names are identifiers signified, in part, in form of human spiritual and cognitive faculties. There, within human being, the words Allah or Rahmān are written as Names by the ink of human spiritual faculties identifying i.e. guiding towards Divine Attributes and Beingness. You may say that these Divine Names are written by a Divine Pen into the tablet/faculties of human psyche.

Divine Presence may manifest ITself in pronoun forms:

1.    Ana (I) where there is Allah and no one else, feeling of Oneness in form of exclusive authority is felt, no one is allowed to participate in this Divine Presence. The feeling of this Divine Pronoun is through the prohibition of human presence, in of itself a profound experience where man is given a feel for Allah referring to Allah exclusively without any other presence. Here there is no concept of distance between the creation and the Creator, IT is by ITself. That is why Sheikh Semnani feels Ana (I) as the placeholder for the searchless Dhāt (Divine Essence).
2.    Anta (You) where Allah is face-to-face with the human being, exclusively one-on-one and there is no one else except Allah and the slave. Here there is a feeling of distance, a close one indeed. That is why Sheikh Semnani feels Anta (You) as a face-to-face presence of a lover in front of his beloved i.e. Rahmān who is merciful on a close one-on-one relationship. Rahmān created man, taught man speech, spoke to man and offered many infinitely many gifts—a close intimate relationship.
3.    Nahnu (We) where the Divine Presence is felt as if a powerful king holding court and the human being is a merely a subject and at that an overwhelmed subject by the grandeur of the King’s Presence. That is why Sheikh Semnani feels Nahnu (We) is a presence of a lover and his beloved king i.e. Rahim who is holding court in Azal (Sempiternity) and the nature of relation is felt in a regal form.
4.    Howa/Hu (IT, He) where Allah’s presence is felt as a third-person, here the feeling of a long distance is felt by the slave. This is why Sheikh Semnani feels Howa/Hu (IT, He) like someone who is pointing towards a third person at a distance, a third person who is responsible for administrating and management of affairs, though the third-person cannot be seen the presence of the third-person is felt vis-à-vis the superb management and administration of all affairs i.e. Rabb, ‘That’ Divine Administrator.

These pronoun-experiences are originally exclusive to the Divine Presence, but Allah’s mercy has bestow the pronouns upon the human psyche in order for the man to have the benefit of (his or others’) presence in pronoun forms since Man is the Khalifa (Divine Deputy) representing Allah on this earth.

Each pronoun etched in human psyche, each pronoun asymmetrically corresponds to a Different Divine Name through which Divine Attributes are manifested and sensed/cognized within the human being.

Cognition of these pronoun-experiences given the proper sensation of the appropriate pronoun can empower the Murid (Seeker) to feel the Divine Presence properly and moreover comprehend the correct interpretation of the Divine Words.

[1] While the usage of the pronoun is symmetric in Human usage i.e. we can refer to Dara as ‘she’ or ‘you’ depending on the situation and yet the same entity Dara is addressed. However in case of Allah, the usage of the pronoun is asymmetric i.e. each usage of pronoun corresponds to a different Divine Name. Furthermore each Divine Pronoun corresponds to a very different feel of Divine Presence.

The Dhikr “Lā Ilāha Il-lal Lāh” (There is no deity except for Allah) is the sure way Sufis have saved themselves from Anāniah (I-ness), indeed THE sure way they have freed themselves from the worship of the tyrannical Nafs (Self, Psyche). Every Murid (Seeker) has a sure bet to gain much beatitude and that is through this Dhikr.  

© 2005-2002,  Dara O. Shayda