In Rasaa’il Ikhwaan al-Safaa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity), the 9th Imam Moulana Imam Ahmed al-Mastoor SA writes:
The Divine Sciences are five. First amongst them is [the Science of] Comprehending the Creator, the One whose glory is great and benevolence is widespread. This science establishes his Oneness and explains how He is the cause of all that has come into being. He is the Creator of all that has been created, the Bestower of munificence, the Granter of existence, the Source of virtue and good. He is the Guardian of order, the Sustainer of perpetuity and the One who has planned and calculated each and every thing. He knows all that is concealed and all that is visible; not even [something as minute as] the weight of an atom escapes him, on earth or in the heavens. He is the first of all things when considering beginnings, and is the ultimate of all things when considering conclusions. He is the most apparent of all things by virtue of His power and the most hidden of them all when it comes to comprehending His being. He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing, [He is] benevolent, aware and merciful towards all mankind. He is All-Powerful, [He is] of exalted grandeur and praise. There is no Allah but Him, He is far greater than what the oppressors say [about him].
The second Divine Science is Spiritualism. It entails an understanding of the essences who are modest, yet intellectual, of profound knowledge and unrelenting in their actions: Allah’s firishta, the sincerest of His beings. These firishta are entities devoid of primordial matter; they exercise authority over bodies and objects that are formed from such matter. The actions of these firishta are for [the betterment of] such bodies and objects and are revealed through them. This science uncovers how these entities connect with each other and how divine grace flows from one to another. They are the spiritual orbits which encompass the physical ones.
The third Divine Science is Psychology. It focuses on comprehending the souls and spirits that traverse astronomical and physical bodies, starting from Falak Muheet (The All-Encompassing Orbit) to the Earth’s core. This science reveals how these entities actuate the orbits, and set the stars and planets in motion. It explains the role of these entities in the cultivation of plants and the development of animals, how they descend inside the bodies of animals and how they ascend following their demise.
The fourth Divine Science is Governance and Politics. This field is further divided into five realms.
- Prophetic Governance and Politics
- Sovereign Governance and Politics
- General Governance and Politics
- Special Governance and Politics
- Personal Governance and Politics
Prophetic Governance and Politics pertains to how agreeable moral laws and pure practices were laid down through eloquent words. It shows how souls which had taken ill due to corrupt beliefs, feeble suppositions, base habits and oppressive deeds are treated. It leads to an understanding of how to move these souls away from such beliefs and habits, and how to eradicate such suppositions from their conscience by highlighting their flaws and explaining their falseness. These souls are to be treated and cured from the illness of such suppositions and habits through a diet which prevents them from embracing them once more. This is to be done by praising agreeable perspectives, beneficial habits, pure deeds and good characteristics and encouraging them to seek the divine rewards such traits and acts will bring about on the Day of Qiyaamat.
This realm affords an understanding on how to deal with the very most evil of souls that have become so by failing to proceed along the path of guidance and have instead treaded upon the rugged terrain of transgression, excessiveness and impenitence. These souls are to be bridled and checked through reprimand, warnings, censure and intimidation so that they may return to the path of salvation and express a desire to reap the abundance of divine rewards.
This realm also helps one comprehend how to admonish negligent souls and spirits that have become inattentive due to prolonged recumbence and by forgetting the Hereafter. This is done by helping them recall the covenant of the Day of Meethaq, so that they do not claim ‘no Messenger or Book came to us’. This realm of governance and politics is the sphere of Prophets and Messengers, may Allah’s salutations be upon them.
The second realm of Sovereign Governance and Politics helps one understand the means by which sharia is enforced upon the people and how the Sunnah is preserved amongst the community:
- by directing towards good and prohibiting the bad,
- by defining limits and administering punishment for crimes,
- by enforcing the commands issued by the one who has brought forth the sharia,
- by doing away with oppression, eradicating enemies, and restraining the evil, and
- by aiding the good.
This is the realm of inheritors of the Prophets, may Allah’s salawaat be upon them, and of the rightly guided Imams, those who adjudicate and serve justice according to Haq (what is true and right).
The realm of General Governance and Politics relates to leadership over communities in the way governors rule over towns and cities, chiefs over villages and generals over armies. It entails an understanding of the social stratification of those living under their rule, their conditions, genealogy, skills, beliefs and characteristics. It is also concerned with ordaining them in their appropriate places, attending to their needs, inspecting their means of subsistence, maintaining their union, treating them justly, gathering their dispersed, employing each and every one of them in matters that befit them, and utilising them in fields familiar to them, and for deeds that are appropriate for them.
The realm of Special Governance and Politics leads to each individual understanding how to run one’s home, manage their life and attend to the needs of one’s helpers, servants, children, kin, companions and neighbours. It concerns one’s friendship and loyalty to their fellow brethren, the fulfilment of their obligations, paying attention to their means of subsistence and contemplating over their betterment in temporal and spiritual matters.
The realm of Personal Governance and Politics is concerned with each individual comprehending his soul and his characteristics. It requires him to assess and evaluate his deeds and words in the face of temptation, anger and happiness. It requires him to contemplate all aspects of his life.
The fifth Divine Science is the Knowledge of the Hereafter. This science explores the essence of the afterlife. It explains how souls ascend from the darkness of bodies. It focuses on awakening souls from their prolonged sleep of negligence, their resurrection on the Day of Qiyaamat, their standing upon al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem and their resurrection for Judgement, on the Day of Judgement. It affords an understanding of how those who have done good are rewarded, and how those who have sinned are punished.
For each of these Divine Sciences we have composed an epistle in which we have mentioned select meanings, and we have concluded these epistles with [Risaalah] al-Jaame´ah, in order to arouse the negligent, guide the followers, encourage the seekers and show the way for the learners. My brother, with this become fortunate. Show this epistle to your brethren and companions. Encourage them to seek knowledge, ensure that they abstain from worldly pleasures, guide them towards the path to the Hereafter. For by doing so you will attain closeness to Allah Ta´ala, become worthy of His happiness, secure the triumph of good fortune in the Hereafter and through such deeds you will achieve a lofty rank, as indicated by the words of the Nabi SA: The one who guides towards good is like the one who does good.
Know my brother, this is the path which the Prophets adhered to, and they were followed upon it by the virtuous and preeminent scholars and wise men. Persevere, so that you too may be resurrected amongst them, for Allah Ta´ala has promised: ‘They are with those upon whom Allah has showered His blessings: the Prophets, the Truthful, the Shohadaa’ and the Pure, they are the best of companions.’ ‘Those who persevere and expend themselves for our cause, we will surely guide them towards our path. And, verily Allah is with those who do good.
O brother, may Allah inspire you, and us, towards rightness. And lead us and you towards the path of guidance.