On Some Disciplines Of Naming [Tasmiyah]

In At-Tawhīd, quoting Imām ar-Ridā ('a), it is stated that when he was asked to explain the bismillāh, he said: “When one says “bismillāh” (in the name of Allah), he means: I put on myself a simah (mark) of Allah's simahs, which is worship.” Asked: “What is simah?” He said: “It is the mark.”1

Do know may Allah make you and me of those who bear Allah's marks that to enter in the stage of tasmiyah (naming or marking) is not easy for the sālik before entering first the stage of ist'ādhah and completing the steps of this stage. As long as man is under the control of Satan and his authority, he is marked with satanic marks. If man's inside and outside were completely overcome by Satan, he would in all his stages be a sign or a mark of Satan.

If, in this instance, man uttered the tasmiyah, he would be uttering it by Satan's will, power and tongue, and from his tasmiyah and isti'ādhah there would be no result except confirming the Satanic authority. If, with Allah's help, he woke up from his negligence, and came to conscience, and understood the necessity of continuing the journey to Allah within the station [manzil] of wakefulness through the divine disposition and the lights of the Qur'anic teachings and the traditions of the guides along the road of tawhīd, and his heart recognized the obstacles on the road, there would appear in him a state [hāl] of isti'ādhah, and then, with the support of Allah, he would enter the station [manzil] of isti'ādhah.

When he got purified from the satanic filths, the divine lights would be manifested in the mirror of the sālik in proportion to the extent of his purifying his inside and outside. At first, the lights would be mixed with darkness, or the darkness would be overwhelming:

they have mingled a good deed and an evil one…2

As the sulūk gets steadier, the light overcomes the darkness, and the marks of the Lord appear in the sālik, and his tasmiyah appears somewhat real, and gradually the Satanic marks which, outwardly, contradict the Virtuous City [madīnat-i fādilah], and, inwardly, are conceit, arrogance and the like, and in the inmost part of the inward, are egotism, selfishness and the like leave the kingdom of the inside and the outside, and, in their place come the marks of Allah which, outwardly, observe the regime [nizām] of the Virtuous City, and inwardly, are servitude and humility of the soul, and in the inmost part of the inside, wanting Allah and regarding for Him.

Then when the kingdom becomes godly and gets rid of the Satans of jinn and ins, and the divine marks appear in it, the sālik gets to the state of ismiyyat (nameness, nomination, naming).

So, first, sālik's tasmiyah (naming) is to be distinguished by the divine marks and signs, then he is promoted and attains the state of ismiyah, which is a state in the beginnings of the proximity of the nāfilah (supererogation), and when this proximity of nāfilah takes place, he will enjoy full state of ismiyah, and there remains nothing of servant and servitude. The one who reaches this stage, his complete salāt will be uttered by Allah's tongue, a state that can happen only to a few of Allah's friends.

As regards the common people and the imperfect ones like us, the discipline is to brand our heart with the mark of servitude during uttering the tasmiyah, and to inform the heart about Allah's marks, signs and āyahs, not satisfying ourselves with unintentional wordings, haply we may be covered by the eternal favor and make up for the past, and there opens before our hearts a door of learning the Names and of attaining the objective.

It is further possible to say that in the said noble hadīth, by a simah of “the simahs of Allah,” it is meant the mark or sign of the mercy of the “Beneficent” and the mercy of the “Merciful.” These two noble Names are of the all-embracing ones, under whose blessing shadow the entire world of realization has reached, and does reach, the existence itself and its perfection, and the mercies of the Beneficence [rahmāniyyah] and Mercifulness [rahīmiyyah] cover the whole house of existence [dār-i wujūd].

Even the mercy of Mercifulness, of whose manifestations is the guidance of all guides on the road of tawhīd, covers all, except those who were diverted from the disposition of rectitude, and, owing to their own ill-selection, prevented themselves from being benefited by it, not that the Mercifulness did not cover them. Even in the Hereafter world, which is the day of harvesting the bad and good cultivations, those who have bad cultivations are inevitably short of being benefited by the mercy of the Merciful.

To be short, the sālik who wants his tasmiyah to be implemented, will have to convey Allah's mercies to his heart to have it believe in the favors of the Beneficent and the Merciful, which is marked out on the heart by his looking with kindness and leniency at the servants of Allah, desiring goodness and righteousness to all of them.

This look is that of the great prophets and the perfect holy men [awliyā'] ('a), although they had two looks: one for welfare and the happiness of the community, the system of the family and the regime of the Virtuous City, and the second for the happiness of the individual. They were very much concerned about the happiness of these two. The divine laws, which are established, disclosed, enforced and carried out by them, take complete care of the happiness of those two.

Even in carrying out penalties and punishments and the like, which seem to have been coined in conformity with the laws of the Virtuous City, the happiness of both are taken into consideration, because these affairs are mostly for educating the soul and bringing it to happiness. Even those who had no light of faith and happiness, and were killed by the fighters in jihād and the like, such as the Jews of Banū Qurayzah, this killing (being killed) was for their goodness and reformation.

It can be said that killing them was of the complete mercy of the Seal of the Prophets (s), because by their survival in this world they would prepare every day diverse punishments for themselves, while the whole life in this world cannot be compared with the tortures and the hardships of a single day in the Hereafter. This is quite obvious to those who have knowledge about the extent of the tortures and punishments in the Hereafter and their reasons and causes. So, the sword that was put to the necks of the Jews of Banū Qurayzah and their like was nearer to the horizon of mercy than to the horizon of anger and wrath.

The chapter of al-amru bi 'l-ma'rūfi wa 'n-nahyi 'an 'il-munkar (Bidding unto honor and forbidding dishonor) belongs to the mercy of the Merciful. So, the one who bids unto honor and forbids dishonor must make his heart taste the mercy of the Merciful and his aim of bidding and forbidding should not be showing off, ostentation, and imposition of the bidding and forbidding. Should one have such aims in his mind, the objective of bidding unto honor and forbidding dishonor which is the happiness of the people and the enacting of Allah's precepts in the land would not be implemented.

Sometimes it may happen that the result of an ignorant's bidding unto honor turns out to be contrary to what was intended, and many bad things happen because of a single ignorant bidding and forbidding, prompted by a selfish desire and Satanic conduct. But if the sense of mercy, pity and the right of manhood and brotherhood drive man to guide the ignorant and awaken the negligent, the quality of the explanation and guidance, which is the symptom of a kind heart, appears in such a way that its effect in the deserving materials will be quite obvious and will soften the hard-hearted and bring them down from their arrogance and denial.

It is much to be regretted that we do not learn from the Qur'an. We do not look with an eye of contemplation and learning at this Divine Book, and our benefit from this Wise Reminder is almost nothing. Contemplating the honored āyah:
Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has become insolent, and speak to him in a gentle speech, haply he may remember or fear,”3

Would open ways of knowledge and doors of hope and expectation to man's heart.

Pharaoh, whose insolence reached the extent of saying:

I am your Most High Lord,”4

And his haughtiness and corruption were so much that he began to

Slaughter their sons and let their women live”5

After his dream, which the soothsayers and the magicians interpreted to be about the appearance of Moses the son of 'Imrān ('a), he immediately separated the women from the men, ordered the innocent boys to be killed and did so much mischief [fasād].

Allah, the Beneficent, through His Mercifulness, cast His look at the entire earth and chose the humblest and most perfect person, i.e., the great prophet, the highly generous messenger, Moses the son of 'Imrān (peace be upon our Prophet and his progeny and upon him), and educated and taught him with his educating hand, as He says: “And when he attained his maturity and became full-grown, We granted him wisdom and knowledge; and thus do We reward the good-doers,”6 and backed him by his honorable brother, Aaron ('a).

These two honorable, who were the prime of humanity, had been chosen by Allah, as He said:

And I have chosen you”7

Or “… and that you might be formed (brought up) before my eye (in My sight),”8 or

… and I have brought you up for myself. Go you and your brother with my signs and do not slacken in remembering me,”9

and other noble āyahs which refer to this subject and we do not need to relate them, and the heart of the gnostic enjoys them in such a way that it cannot be talked about, especially the two honorable phrases: “and that you might be formed [brought up] before My eye” (in My sight) and “I have brought you up for Myself.” You, too, if you open the eye of your heart, you will hear such a nice spiritual melody that all the hearings of your heart and corners of your being will become full of the secret of tawhīd.

To be short, Allah, the Exalted, with a lot of ceremonies and preparations, educated Moses, His interlocutor, by spiritual education, as He says: “and we tried you with many trials.”10 He sent him to the old man, Shu'ayb [Jethro], to accompany for years that sage man of guidance and the elect of the world of humanity. He, the Exalted, says: “Then you stayed for years among the people of Madyan, then you came hither as ordained, O Moses.”11

Afterwards, for higher (heavier) trying and examining, He sent him into the desert on the road to ash-Shām (Syria), where He caused him to lose his way, put him under heavy rains in the deep darkness, and caused his wife to start having a hard labor. Thus, all the doors of nature were closed to him.

Then, as his noble heart ached of multiplicity, and, through the pure natural disposition, he submitted himself to Allah, and as his divine and spiritual journey in that boundless desert came to an end,

He perceived on the side of the mountain a fire… and when he came to it, he was called from the right side of the valley in the blessed field, from the tree: O Moses! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”12

After all those examinations and spiritual education, what for did Allah prepare him? It was in order to invite, guide, preach and save a single disobedient slave [Pharaoh] who used to shout: “I am your Most High Lord,” causing so much mischief in the land. Allah could have burned him down with the flash of a lightning of His anger, but the mercy of His Mercifulness sent him two great prophets and still advised them to talk to him with kindness and leniency, such that he might remember Allah and be afraid of his own deeds and their aftermath.

This is the instruction for how to conduct al-amru bi 'l-ma'rūfi wa 'n-nahyi 'an 'il-munkar. It is the way of how to guide someone like Pharaoh, the tāghūt (the tyrant). Now, as you, too, want to bid unto honor and forbid dishonor, and to guide the creatures of Allah, remember these noble and divine āyahs and learn from them, since they have been revealed for remembrance and learning. Face the servants of Allah with a heart full of affection and love, cherishing in the bottom of your heart their good.

Having found your heart beneficent and merciful, you may then bid unto honor and forbid dishonor, and guide the people, so that the hard hearts may become soft with the flash of your emotional heart, and the iron of the hearts turn supple with the admonitions warm with the fire of your love.

This valley, however, is other than the valley of Hate on Allah's behalf, and love on Allah's behalf,” which means that one should bear enmity for the enemies of the religion, as is stated in the noble hadīths and the Glorious Qur'an. That is true in its relevant place, and this is also true in its relevant place, for which there is no space to explain now.

  • 1. At-Tawhīd, ch. 31, hadīth 1, p. 229; Ma'āniy ul-Akhbār, p. 3.
  • 2. Sūrah at-Tawbah 9:102.
  • 3. Sūrah Tā-Hā 20: 43-44.
  • 4. Sūrah an-Nāzi'āt 79:24
  • 5. Sūrah al-Qasas 28:4
  • 6. Ibid.: 14.  
  • 7. Sūrah Tā-Hā 20:13.
  • 8. Ibid.: 39.
  • 9. Ibid.: 41-42.
  • 10. Ibid.: 40
  • 11. Ibid
  • 12. Sūrah al-Qasas 28:29-30.