Ali on Truth/Ultimate Reality

By Wahid Azal 

لا اله الا الله

In this age of widespread unbelief, skepticism and the nihilistic ‘death of God’, where irreligious agnosticism competes with crass, literalist fundamentalist religious discourses, few are those succinct yet profoundly deep and multifaceted definitions of Truth and Ultimate Reality offered by a major figure of the Abrahamic Tradition that can stir imaginations endlessly and resonate on so many different levels as the hadîth kumayl of . The only published European language article on the subject remains Dwight M. Donaldson’s ‘Al-Kumail: A Companion of the Secret’, The Moslem World, 28, 1938, pp. 249-257.

Here now we offer our translation of the hadîth kumayl’ followed by the Arabic text.


Kumayl: O Commander of the Faithful, what is Ultimate (or absolute) Reality [or Truth]?

‘Ali: What have you and Ultimate Reality to do with each other?

Kumayl: Is it not the case that I am already sharing your secrets as a companion?

Ali: Yes, indeed. But that which sprinkles unto you is billowing through me unto you!

Kumayl: So what is Ultimate Reality [or Truth]?

‘Ali: (1) The disclosure of the Majesties of Glorification without indication!

Kumayl: Please explain further.

‘Ali: (2) The [apophatic] negation of all speculation and the realization of that which can be realized!

Kumayl: Please tell me more.

‘Ali: (3) The nullificative annihilation of the secret by the victorious rending of the veil off the mystery of the secret!

Kumayl: Please explicate further.

‘Ali: (4) The attraction of the Divine Oneness by the attributive apprehension of Divine Unicity!

Kumayl: Please explain further.

‘Ali: (5) A Light Illuminating from the Morning-Dawn of Pre-Eternity and shedding its traces upon the tablets of the Talismanic-Temples of Unicity!

Kumayl: Please tell me more.

‘Ali: (6) So extinguish the lamp for the dawn hath indeed arisen! 

 علي مع الحق و الحق مع علي  

يا اميرالمؤمنين ما الحقيقة

فقال ما لك والحقيقة

فقال او لست صاحب سرّك  

قال بلى ولكن يرشح عليك ما يطفح منى

فقال ما الحقيقة

كشف سبحات الجلال من غير اشارة

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محو الموهوم و صحو المعلوم

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