“(Islam) profoundly implies there is always more than meets the eye.” ~ Amira El-Zein
Besides reading and reciting the Quran it is common practise in Islam to recite and write down the most beautiful names of God to be protected from wickedness and evil, including wicked Jinn. It also is a common belief that the drawing and repetation of the Ism allah al-a’azam (The Greatest Name of God) protects a person against misfortune and from the evil eye.
What exactly the Greatest Name of God is, is contested. A particular Iranian version of the Ism allah al-a’azam is drawn out in the logo of this blog. It can not be said, but is rather a complex combination of letters and symbols that derive power and meaning through initiatic knowledge (see also my post on The Greatest Name). The Ism allah al-a’azam is believed to be above all other names of God in power and perfection. However, as mentioned, there are different understandings about the Ism allah al-a’azam in the Islamic world. We were given our Ism allah al-a’azam as talisman by a elder Shaykh and we carry it in multiple forms.
“Each letter of the Arabic script has it’s particular power derived from being linked to the four elements, to the heavens and the lower worlds, to numbers and to either light or darkness.”
Magical Islam also uses individual Arabic letters to chase away evil and jinn. Arabic letters can be written disconnected on talismans and amulets, which is believed to increase their power, as every letter represents it’s own intrinsic force, and behaves as a unique and living field of enery. The famous Islamic magican Ahmad ibn’ Ali Al-Buni maintained Arabic letters have their own kingdoms, their own traditions and their own secrets. Each letter has it’s own servants and it’s own rulers and he deems them “a nation amongst nations”. He also maintains that one should not use them in magic if one does not know their meaning. Each letter of the Arabic script has it’s particular power derived from being linked to the four elements, to the heavens and the lower worlds, to numbers and to either light or darkness. The letters of light for example produce love and unity, while the letters of darkness generate hatred and war. Hence, each letter is used for a specific purpose, against specific diseases and for or against certain jinn. Muslim alchemists and magicans indicated for example that the letter Aleph ( ا ) is connected to the beginning of creation. It is supreme because it’s origin is in the Divine Name of Allah himself. All of this reminds us that “in the beginning was the word”.
“All letters in Arabic bear a deep and multi-faceted meaning and it is diffiuclt for outsiders to grasp the constant interchange between the manifest and the invisible and the concept of multiple worlds that is at the heart of the Muslim vision of existence.”
Muhyī d-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī went even further in his study of the letters and described them not only as nations but as the Imams (leaders) of words which points to their role in guiding humans to knowledge and spiritual awakening. He cateogorized them into four levels. The first level is the Divine sphere, composed of letters such as aleph and lam. The second level belongs to humans and to letters such as nun, sad and dad. The third level belongs to Jinn and to letters such as ayn, ghayn, sin, shin and quaf. Finally, the fourth level is that of angelic letters. Ibn Arabi also claimed that each letter has two meanings because it manifests both in the visible and in the invisible realm.
A particular story is relating to Al-Buni and his use of the letter quaf. He asks to do the following: Write the letter quaf and place it in a semi-circle. Sit in this semi-circle and no flying or diving jinn can ever harm you. It is often asserted that the letter quaf also belongs to the qalb (heart), to the holy Qu’ran and to the qalam (the pen). It is indeed so, that all letters in Arabic bear a deep and multi-faceted meaning and it is diffiuclt for outsiders to grasp the constant interchange between the manifest and the invisible and the concept of multiple worlds that is at the heart of the Muslim vision of existence. It profoundly implies there is always more than meets the eye.
I am expressing my gratitude to Amira El-Zein from whose wonderful book “Islam, Arabs and The Intelligent World of the Jinn” I am quoting in parts.