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SUFI SYMBOLS
(page 2)

Zaa :: Ayn :: Ghain :: Faa :: Qaaf :: Kaaf :: Laam :: Mim :: Nun :: Haa :: Waaw :: Yaa :: Laam-alif ::

Eng / RU

 

Zaa = z

‘Zaa’ is the seventeenth letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number nine hundred and belongs to the element of water, though in North Africa it is considered to belong to the element of air.

It symbolizes the epiphany or manifestation of God.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘zaa’ corresponds to the suppression of satanic suggestions, which is a part of the Adamic state.

^^


‘Ayn = ‘

The ‘ayn is the eighteenth letter of the Arab alphabet.

In the science of the secrets of letters it represents number seventy and belongs to the element of earth.

It symbolizes the source of intellect.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘ayn’ corresponds to forgiveness, which is a part of prophecy.

^^


Ghain = gh

The ‘ghain’ is the nineteenth letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number one hundred and belongs to the element of earth, while in North Africa it is believed to belong to the element of water.

It symbolizes total mystery.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘ghayn’ corresponds to the perfection of the apparent image, which is a part of the Adamic state.

^^


Faa = f

It is the twentieth letter of the Arab alphabet. The ‘faa’ represents number eighty and belongs to the element of fire.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘faa’ corresponds to the door of knowledge, which is a part of science.

^^


Qaaf = q

The ‘qaaf’ is the twenty-first letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents the number one hundred and belongs to the element of water.

‘Qaaf’ is also the name of a legendary mountain. It is a special letter, since it is the title of the fiftieth verse of the Qur’an, whose opening verse reads as follows:

“Qaaf. By the majestic Qur’an!”.

In this respect we note that there are twenty-nine suras that begin with abbreviations composed of either just one letter or groups of from two to five letters. A total of fourteen letters are used or half the Arab alphabet. Sometimes the Prophet invoked God by uttering these two phrases: “Oh kaa, haa, yaa, ’ain, saad!” or “Oh ha, mim, ‘ain, sin, qaaf!” Some of these letters grouped together give the word alrhmn (= al-Rahmaan, the Merciful). Commentators have sought many explanations. Possibly they are initials, abbreviations, clarifying expressions, unknown names or attributed of God, symbols of the Ineffable Names or names of the Qur’an. Or maybe they are oaths, formulas of praise or names of the suras. Some exegetes believe that they might be the initials of the Prophet’s scribes, who collected the suras. Since the Qur’an is recited by singing it psalm-like, some see in these letters the rules of psalmody or kind of psalmody reading key. Finally it is said: “Every book has its mystery and the mystery of the Qur’an is in its initials.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘qaaf’ corresponds to interior vision,
which is a part of the spirit.

^^


Kaaf = k

‘Kaaf’ is the twenty-second letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number twenty and belongs to the element of water.

It symbolizes the verb of creation, i.e. kun (= be!).

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘kaaf’ corresponds to knowledge of God, the Elevated, which is a part of prophecy.

^^


Laam = l

‘Laam’ is the twenty-third letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number thirty and belongs to the element of earth.

It symbolizes perfect understanding. As this is the Ramadan alphabet it should be mentioned that the ‘night of power’ starts in Arabic with the ‘laam’. This is a night in which the seeker is favoured with a special state of illumination, in which he learns his true potential and rank in relation to the Beloved. It is the time when the seeker begins to arrive at the Source of Union and the stage of those who are matured in deep wisdom.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘laam’ corresponds to perfect science, which is a part of the message.

^^


Mim = m

The ‘mim’ is the twenty-fourth letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number forty and belongs to the element of fire.

The ‘mim’ starts and ends with a ‘m’, which points out that we’ll return to the One we came from, the One without beginning nor end. As the first and second ‘m’ are different, we may be reminded of the fact that He never repeats the same manifestation twice. For some the ‘mim’ symbolizes the duality 1. power of matter / 2. power of God.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘mim’ corresponds to virility,
which is a part of the Adamic state.

^^


Nun = n

The ‘nun’ is the twenty-fifth letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number twenty-five and belongs to the element of air.

‘Nun’ is the abbreviation of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi gives quite some attention to the ‘nun’ in his ‘Fotuhat al-Makkiya’ and in a booklet dealing with the ‘mim’, the ‘waaw’ and the ‘nun’. The shape of this letter is like half a circle. He tells that the primordial constitution of the world is a sphere. Half of this sphere is the sensible world and the other half is the hidden world. He tells similar things about the celestial sphere. In the creative word ‘kun’ (= be!) there is an apparent ‘nun’, which proceeds from the world of sensible realities. The word ‘kun’ is thus the intermediary between the principle and its manifestation. The letters ‘kaaf’ and ‘nun’ are written in the Arab word (in fact you only write ‘kn’) and are thus corresponding to the manifested side. The inverted ‘nun’ – when looking at the shape of this letter – is transcendent and it exercises authority on the first ‘nun’ and it proceeds from the world of spiritual realities.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘nun’ corresponds to complete joy,
which is a part of expansion.

^^


Haa = h

‘Haa’ is the twenty-sixth letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number five, just as in the Syriac and Canaanite alphabets. It belongs to the element of fire.

It is the symbol of orientation to God. According to shaykh al-Qashani: “This letter denotes the Essence in terms of appearance, presence and existence”.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘haa’ corresponds to the detesting of what is opposite, which is a part of contraction.

^^


Waaw = w

The ‘waaw’ is the twenty-seventh letter of the Arab alphabet. It represents number six and belongs to the element of air.

For the Sufi masters this letter symbolizes the mystical promise of the total assent to God. Shaykh al-Qashani remarks that this letter denotes the universal aspect of the whole.

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi gives quite some attention to the ‘waaw’ in his ‘Fotuhat al-Makkiya’ and in a booklet dealing with the ‘mim’, the ‘waaw’ and the ‘nun’. The ‘waaw’ has in common with the two last mentioned letters that its beginning and its ending are similar, which points out that we’ll return to the One we came from, the One without beginning nor end. As the first and second ‘waaw’ are different, we may be reminded of the fact that He never repeats the same manifestation twice. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi tells that the ‘waaw’ is the first perfect number, as the number six symbolizes the perfect human being. Its divisions are similar to itself, because its half is three; its third is two and its sixth is one and the addition of its sixth, third and half is equal to six. The letter ‘waaw’ is the product of two eminent letters, the ‘baa’ (=2) and the ‘jim’ (=3). The product of these two letters is again 6, the number of the letter ‘waaw’, so this ‘waaw’ also has the qualities of the two other letters. As we have seen that 5 is the number of the letter ‘haa’, it is also 2+3. This explains in part why the ‘waaw’ has been realized by the ‘haa’. The shaykh also deals with the similarities in shape between the ‘waaw’ and the ‘haa’. All of it is an indication of the connecting force, which unites the spiritual being with its most elevated (the shaykh uses the term ‘ali = 111, perhaps symbolizing with the supreme pole) side. He finishes by writing that ‘the one who obtains the knowledge of the secrets of the ‘waaw’ thus acquires the revelation of the supreme sciences according to the most pure modality.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘waaw’ corresponds to the quality
of dying when you still are alive, which is a part of the message.

^^


Yaa = y

‘Yaa’ is the twenty-eight letter of the Arabic alphabet. It represents number ten and belongs to the element of air.

It symbolizes God’s help.
Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘yaa’ corresponds to the perfect fear of God, which is a part of prophecy.

:::

^^


Laam-alif = la

The ‘laam-alif’ is not part of the traditional alphabet sequence, but it is included because of a hadith, though its authenticity is not very credible according to to pre-eminent collector of such sayings, the Turkish Bokhari. Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn as-Saykh (1441) reported the saying as follows: “Abu Dharr al-Ghifari asked the Prophet:

‘How many letters are there?’
The Prophet replied: ‘Twenty-nine’.

His companion wondered, then counted them one by one and triumphantly exclaimed:

‘There are twenty-eight’.
But the Prophet retorted: ‘No there are twenty-nine, there is also the ‘laam-alif’.’

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh informs us that the ‘laam-alif’ corresponds to the absence of inattention, which is a part of the spirit.

This concludes the commentary on the meaning of the letters of the Arab alphabet.

^^

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