Superman Returns (2006), Bullet Scene.
The following article will be met by certain predictable responses. Those with a materialistic outlook will fail to come to terms with it, and will tend to dismiss it as incredible. Those who believe in God will perhaps give it the benefit of the doubt, saying that with God, all things are possible. Others, who already possess the equipment to deal with such matters, will accept it wholeheartedly. They will be the lucky ones—the ones who benefit.


It is known that certain utterances or formulaic expressions have the power of the presence of God within them. This is especially true of the Name of Majesty or Master Name (also called the All-comprehensive Name”) of God (that is, Allah), as well as the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names and the innumerable other Names of God.
The divine Names are “hidden treasures”—the inner reality of things, the noumena behind phenomena. William Chittick has stated that “the divine names [are] the archetypes of every possibility of existence” (p. 2). According to the great Sufi Ibn Arabi, God’s Names weave this observable universe; the world is a web of their concrete manifestations. In his view, words we use to describe the Sacred—such as the Living, the All-knowing, and so on, in Arabic or any other languageare not the Names themselves, but the names we give to the Names. (Prof. Chittick has also stated that “we can compare the divine names to the Platonic ideas” (p. 10). This can be done, with two reservations: one, the Platonic ideas are not well understood by everyone, either. And two, matters having to do with God’s transfinity can hardly be measured in terms of finite concepts.)
Here’s a Sufic way to think about this: in the beginning of the process of Creation, the stage of Nondetermination or Nondelimitation (lâ ta’ayyun), God is in a nondifferentiated or unconditioned state. According to the Tradition of the Prophet, He is in an infinite cloud (amâ) without top or bottom. There is only an infinite-dimensional superspace, within which shines the Light of God (see 24:35). (Buddhists capture something of this with the expression: “the Clear Light of the Void.”) This is also called Nonspace (lâ maqân) or “space of spaces,” because it includes and transcends all other spaces.
At the highest stage, the Name and the Named are one (al-ism huwa ayn al-musamma). God and his Name are one. This is true particularly of the Master Name and the Names that describe God's Essential Attributes (the qualities belonging to His Essence, such as infinity, eternity, etc.).
At the level of the First Delimitation or Determination (ta’ayyun al-awwal), the Master Name differentiates or “branches” into a myriad other Names. At this stage, however, each Name is still identified with and indistinguishable from every other.
At the level of the Second Delimitation or Determination (ta’ayyun al-thâni), the Names become distinct from each other, each occupying an n-dimensional space. I should stress that this process is not temporal but ontological, so that it’s not at a distance” of 14 billion years but right next door, so to speak. This is still prephysical, and there are a few more stages until the level of physical reality is reached.

When a Name is Invoked (dhikr), its effect is precipitated in the physical locale where it is uttered. Mentioning any Name attracts the Named. A short-circuit is formed, as it were, that bypasses other intermediate levels and connects physical space to the space of the corresponding Name at the second level of Determination. Thus, the effect of the Name manifests itself within phenomenal reality.

Since each Name expresses a different Quality or Attribute, the result is the appearance in physical reality of whatever quality is called upon by that Name.

What is true of the Names also holds for formulaic expressions of greater complexity. Their efficacy stands irrespective of the mouth that invokes them, although this is also a factor to be considered. (Not all mouths and not all human beings are the same.)

Now, one such expression is the famous Throne Verse in the Koran (Verse 2:255).

The Throne Verse

Let us first take a look at the Throne Verse:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

There is no god but He,
the Living, the Everlasting.
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep;
To Him belongs
All that is in the heavens and the earth.
Who is there that shall intercede with Him
Save by His leave?
He knows what lies before them
And what is after them,
and they comprehend nothing of His knowledge
except what He wills.
His Throne comprises the heavens and the earth;
The preserving of them oppresses Him not;
He is the All-high, the All-glorious.
Just as every prayer has its own field of application, the Throne Verse is renowned for its protective power. Eyewitness accounts leave little room for doubt regarding its efficacy.

A Separate Reality
Let me relate some anecdotes. (All these examples are from Turkey.)
  • I’m Mustafa, I’m a shopkeeper from [the city of] Samsun. My daughter, Sevgi, was crippled from birth. For ten years, we tried to find a remedy for her defect. I spent [tens of thousands of dollars] for this cause. But what can you do, my daughter didn’t improve. I was consumed by the pain of her inability to walk, which was her dearest hope. I was distraught because I couldn’t realize her wish.
    The doctors spoke of an operation, but its risk of failure was 98 percent. That is, the probability was very high that my daughter would not survive the operation.
    As we were living on in this state of dejection, my daughter came up to me one day and said: “Daddy, I’m going to get well. A grandpa appeared to me in my dream and told me I would be healed.”
    I was surprised at my daughter’s words. That night, I woke up when an old man told me in my dream: “Sevgi is going to be OK. With God’s permission, the prayer of the Throne Verse is going to be her cure.”
    As soon as I woke up, I began to repeat the Throne Verse. Somehow, I also recited the following Names of God many times: O Holy (Ya Quddoos), O Beautiful (Ya Jameel), O Affectionate (Ya Wadood). [The first and last are among God’s Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names. Note that the Throne Verse already includes four of the 99 Names, two at the beginning and two at the end.]
    A little later, the door opened and Sevgi came in. I was dumbfounded by what I saw. Sevgi came to my side and said: “Daddy, that old man told me to recite the prayer of the Throne Verse. He also told me to repeat ‘O Holy, O Beautiful, O Affectionate.’ See, I’m healed now. Daddy, how wonderful it is to be able to walk!”

  • [In 2009,] I became involved in a very distasteful legal case. I was very sad and didn’t know what to do. I cried and lamented, all to no avail. Finally, a criminal record was thrust upon me. [After that] I had trouble finding a job. This case pursued me wherever I went. I was terribly depressed.
    Then, a wonderful job opportunity came up. But they were inquiring about criminal records. Despite everything, I applied for the job and obtained a list of the necessary paperwork. One of the required documents was the criminal record. I was distraught.
    Then, surfing the Internet, I came upon the miracles of the Throne Verse. Early one Friday morning, I sat down and recited the Throne Verse 313 times. Later that morning, when I went to obtain my criminal record, the document said No Criminal Record. But all the earlier documents had stated that I did have one.
    Thinking there was a mistake, I made a second request for the document. Again, it came out clean. Upon this, I called a lawyer and requested an inquiry into my court case. He took my first and last names. He called two days later and said there had been no such lawsuit.
    I also overcame a pestilential disease with the Throne Verse.
    The other day [this is being written on January 27, 2013,] our manager was calling everybody in and chewing them out. I knew my turn would come soon, because I too had mistakes and shortcomings. I began to recite the Throne Verse. Then the manager summoned me. It was like the cat had got his tongue. Finally he said: “Are you happy with us? With your job? Is there anything we can do for you? Is anyone in the workplace mistreating you?”
    I almost had a fit of laughter. Because that manager was most unforgiving, and had scolded me a lot in the past.

To these first-person testimonies, let me add a case I myself know about. A friend of mine, Kerim (pronounced “Kareem”) used to live in an apartment. On the inside of the entrance there was a Throne Verse, inscribed in Arabic, hanging on the door. He was not a religious person, but saw no harm in keeping it there.

One day, there was a fire. Everything in the apartment was burnt to a cinder—with the sole exception of the door and, of course, the paper on which the Throne Verse was written. The sight of that made him think twice, and set him on a different course in his journey through life.

The bullets did not penetrate him

Finally, let me tell you about Nuri (pronounced “Noory”), one of the brethren who frequented the Master. I knew this man; he was of an older generation, and is now deceased. One day, he related the following to a mutual friend.

Decades ago, before his military sevice was due, he had a brief meeting with a sage. The sage taught him the following prayer:
My God, You are One
By God, You are Light
Let five thousand Throne Verses
Stand on my four sides
—that is, front, back, right and left. He didn’t think much of this, and pretty soon went off to serve in the military. As a civilian he had been a driver, and as a soldier, he continued in this line of work.

A while later, the Korean War broke out. (This is 1950.) A call was issued for volunteers to participate in the war. Nuri said to himself: “Other people have mothers, fathers, children. I have none of these. If someone is going to die, let it be me.”

With this thought in mind, he volunteered and was shipped off to Korea on short notice. There, too, he became a driver.

As the war was going on, he had a dream one night in which the Prophet visited him in their soldiers’ tent.
The next day, he was driving soldiers from his company back from the war zone, when he realized they had left a soldier behind. He disobeyed the express orders of his commander and left the vehicle, deciding to go back to the battlefield in search of the man.

He went back alone. The enemy opened fire. The prayer above, which he had long forgotten, issued involuntarily from his lips. (Divine intervention is quite obvious at this point.) He found his fellow soldier and dragged him to safety. They took refuge in a cranny. There they remained until nightfall, and finally fell asleep.

The next morning, when he woke up and looked down at his uniform, he saw at least five or six blackened bullet holes across his chest and abdomen. Yet he did not feel any pain. He quickly examined his bare chest—there was not the slightest sign of damage.

He realized then what had happened.

The machine guns had sprayed him with bullets. Yet he had not even felt a thing. The bullets had not penetrated him. Somehow, they had vaporized after they tore through his uniform, which of course was not bulletproof, but before they touched his skin. He had been protected throughout the entire ordeal. In short, he had been invulnerable.

To paraphrase from the Tao Te Ching (Lin Yutang’s translation):
Heaven arms with “the Throne Verse”
Those it would not see destroyed.

Supergirl S03E05, Final Scene.


The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The abolition of all weapons of mass destruction was a prospect very dear to the heart of Master Ahmet Kayhan. The following invitation to peace was one of the products of his concern. It was prepared on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 1995. Though it is a bit dated in some respects, its backbone is still extremely pertinent.
Humanity has recoiled before the enormity of the disaster that is nuclear war by willfully choosing to forget how terrible it is. We are afflicted with a collective nuclear amnesia. As a result, with the showdown between North Korea and the United States, we are paradoxically even closer to nuclear war today than we were during the cold war. But we cannot afford towe must not—forget.
Hence, in the spirit of solidarity with both the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and its recipient(s), the original document is being reposted below. (It was earlier published as Appendix E in The Secret of Islam, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2003. It is also available as an appendix here. Master Kayhan’s earlier missive of 1987, “An Invitation to Peace,” can be found here. And see also this.) Illustrations, which were absent from the original, have been added for this posting.

Among his multifaceted activities in the service of humanity, Master Ahmet Kayhan has also been active in the field of peace. Up to now, he and his friends have drafted three invitations to world peace in opposition to weapons of mass destruction, of which the last is reprinted below. The second, titled “Invitation to Peace” (1987), was sent to major heads of state and influential people and was accompanied by wide acclaim. Respondents in favor of the message included Pope John Paul II, the President of France, and the President and Prime Minister of Israel.
It is the Master’s firm conviction that if mankind is to have a future, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons must be abolished. Their existence poses an ongoing threat, and unless this is done, Doomsday will sooner or later be brought about through mankind’s own hands.


(This message has been drafted in collaboration with a select group of retired professors who share the concern expressed hereunder and who, taking pity on the human race, have seen it fit to issue this declaration. We of the Republic of Turkey, out of compassion for all humanity, and all creatures vegetable and animal—having seen clearly that this material and spiritual hellfire, the atom, will incinerate the whole world and reduce it to ashes—have issued this plea for peace as against nuclear warfare, to be delivered to the United Nations and all governments aspiring to human rights. This is not to say that we ignore, or condone, the use of other toxic weapons, the perils of the peaceful atom (such as the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl), or indeed any toxic releases into the environment of whatever amount or kind. The atom has already killed people without any bomb being thrown: did human beings come into this world to destroy each other?
This message is an admonition to and an onus on all human beings. We leave the final decision to the United Nations, beginning with the United States of America.
Fittingly, the message was prepared between July 16 and August 6, 1995.)

August 6, 1995.

That date is the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima. It is the semicentennial of the first use against human beings of the weapons that are going to destroy mankind. It is the anniversary of the first rehearsal of doomsday.
With the delivery of that bomb, a new age opened in human history. In this age, human beings constantly live under the shadow of a disaster that will strike suddenly and without warning. In spite of important steps taken in recent years in the direction of peace, we are not yet free from the shadow of that threat.
Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire, we have entered a relatively more peaceful and relaxed environment. It is also true that some significant advances have been made in the direction of nuclear disarmament. But in spite of this, we are still very far from where we ought to be.
Forgetfulness is an affliction of human memory. How soon have we forgotten that we had been living on the brink of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (aptly shortened to MAD) until just yesterday? Have nuclear weapons, perchance, all gone off to another planet? Or have we shown the effort necessary for their eradication, and been successful therein?
The truth is that none of these have happened. What has happened is that we have all become immersed in a deep complacency and heedlessness. Some among us have even prophesied “the End of History”. We all seem to think that the danger of a Third World War is gone forever.
But we are deeply mistaken. Even in these carefree days, aren’t wars being fought and genocide practiced in Bosnia, in Rwanda? Do we seriously think that mankind, which has failed to make war in only 300 of the last 5600 years, has given up its penchant for war forever? On the contrary, it is much more probable that we will continue to spend 95% of the following years in warfare.
Global annual arms expenditures have passed the $ 1 trillion mark and are continuing to increase, in spite of the fact that the cold war is over. How many children could not be fed with those $ 1 trillion, how many sick people could not be cured, how many countries not developed?
No one can guarantee that two small countries will not confront each other tomorrow. Nor can anyone guarantee that larger ones will not be sucked into the conflict. When that day comes, the weapons of mass destruction, now sleeping silently by the thousands in their silos and by the tens of thousands in submarines, on airplanes, military vehicles or in their protective igloos, will be waiting for us—or our children—just around the corner. By then, it will be too late for remorse over the fact that we failed to get rid of them while we still had the chance.
Do not imagine that the horrifying nature of these weapons will prevent them from being used forever. When he invented dynamite, Alfred Nobel was elated because he thought that he had found a weapon terrible enough to dissuade people from waging war. But people went right on fighting, this time using dynamite. You probably know that the Nobel prizes stem from the disillusionment and guilt of the man who instituted them. As for the First World War, in which dynamite was used more than ever before, its perpetrators called it “the war to end all wars”. The exact opposite happened.
Yet, now is just the right time. A golden opportunity is at hand. While a more or less peaceful atmosphere prevails, while time is plenty and circumstances favorable, we must act quickly to do away with weapons of mass destruction before they do away with us. Individuals, organizations and societies should do everything within their power to achieve this end. (If you can’t do anything else, tell a friend who’s uninformed.) If we miss this golden opportunity, we may not get a second chance.
But you may be saying: “What’s all the fuss about?” In these days when we are living through a springtime of peace, perhaps the winter of war, even a “nuclear winter”, seems very remote to you. But if we do not make preparations during the spring and summer, our chances of surviving that winter are nil. And the first and most important thing to be done is to destroy—without exception—all weapons of mass destruction.
What will happen otherwise? Then you haven’t heard, or perhaps you have forgotten. In that case, if you wish, let’s crack open the gates of Hell and take a look inside.

The Beginning

Although Hiroshima was the first example of the use of atomic weapons against human beings, it wasn’t the first atomic bomb to be exploded. The world’s first atomic bomb, with a destructive force of 20 kilotons (equivalent to 20 thousand tons of TNT) and code named “Trinity”, was detonated three weeks before, on July 16, 1945, at Alamogordo in the United States of America. “Trinity” here does not refer to the Christian Trinity, but rather to the triad of bombs comprised by this bomb in addition to those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is deep symbolic significance in the fact that this first bomb was exploded near the village of Oscuro (“dark”) at the vicinity called Jornada del Muerto (“death journey”).
A distinguished group of visitors were present that day to witness the explosion from a distance of 16 kilometers. Their first impressions are important to any understanding of the dimensions of the phenomenon.
Among the visitors were military and government officials, as well as scientists who had worked on the manufacture of the bomb. These were not religious people. In fact, most were devoid of any religious inclination whatsoever. And yet, it is striking that all, in relating their impressions later on, felt the need to use expressions taken from the domain of religion. One of the generals present, for example, said: “The whole country was lighted by a searing light with an intensity many times that of the midday sun... Thirty seconds after the explosion came, first, the air blast pressing hard against the people and things, to be followed almost immediately by the strong, sustained, awesome roar which warned of doomsday and made us feel that we puny things were blasphemous to dare tamper with the forces hitherto reserved to the Almighty. Words are inadequate tools for the job of acquainting those not present with the physical, mental and psychological effects. It had to be witnessed to be realized.”
Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as “the Father of the Atomic Bomb”, was reminded of verses from the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred book of the Hindus: “I am become Death, shatterer of the worlds.”
These are the words of eyewitnesses watching the event from a distance of 16 km. Let us now take a look at those who experienced the Bomb at closer range— the survivors of Hiroshima.
“The details and the scenes were just like hell.”
“And when we looked back it was a sea of bright red flame.”
“I saw fire reservoirs filled to the brim with dead people who looked as though they had been boiled alive.”
“They looked like boiled octopuses.”
 As the internal organs of those at a distance of 1 kilometer boiled away, they were seared to smoking black char in the fraction of a second. The skins of those further away were blistered by the thermal pulse, the shock wave tore their skins off their bodies; with their skins hanging off them like threads they threw themselves into the rivers, hoping to cool off. Little did they know that the rivers themselves had been heated to the boiling point. As people evaporated, the blinding light bleached everywhere on the walls behind them except where their shadows had been. Go see for yourself, those shadows are on those walls to this very day. Birds ignited in mid-air. “Doctor,” a patient was saying a few days later, “a human being who has been roasted becomes quite small, doesn’t he?”
70 thousand men, women and children, the great majority of whom were civilians, died in the very first instant of the explosion. 130 thousand more died of radiation poisoning and burns within the next few months. Another 220 thousand had died within five years. More than half the population of Hiroshima perished, and two-thirds of the city was razed to the ground. Almost nothing above knee-level was left.
Now consider the fact that the bombs thrown on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mere firecrackers compared to those of our day. The hydrogen bomb, discovered in the succeeding years, is a hundred to a thousand times more powerful than an atomic bomb. During the arms race they entered in the years of the cold war, America and Russia produced tens of thousands of these weapons. They now sleep silently in their silos, several mounted on each missile, waiting for the day when they will strike you, your children or your grandchildren. That day those missiles will fulfill the purpose for which they were designed, hurtle thousands of miles in 15-20 minutes, and rain universal death everywhere.

The Effects of a Nuclear Bomb

There is no end to the list of the destructive effects of nuclear (and thermonuclear) weapons, which have no purpose of existence other than to wipe out humanity and human civilization. Yet at first count, these can be summarized under four major headings. They are: 1. the initial nuclear radiation, 2. the heat pulse, 3. the blast wave, and 4. radioactive fallout. Other more insidious effects, such as the electromagnetic pulse, the destruction of the protective ozone layer of the earth, and the “nuclear winter” effect, were only discovered decades afterwards.
Sober scientists have investigated these effects in great detail and have amassed data that fill many volumes. Space does not permit us to summarize all of these here. Still, we intend to describe the effects of a nuclear explosion, if only in outline. A 1-megaton device, equivalent to the destructive force of 1 million tons of TNT, is a medium-size weapon in today’s nuclear arsenals. We shall take this value—equal to 80 Hiroshima bombs—as a yardstick.
At the instant of detonation, an incredibly hot, bright fireball is formed. The temperature of this fireball is millions of degrees centigrade, and its pressure is millions of times greater than ordinary atmospheric pressure. All unprotected humans are killed and everything is destroyed within a circle of 15 square kilometers, with “Ground Zero”, the point directly below the explosion, as its center. This is the initial nuclear radiation.
The second effect is the heat pulse. This is a wave of searing light and intense heat. If the fireball is close to the ground, and touches it, it instantly vaporizes or incinerates everything within it. The heat pulse lasts ten seconds and inflicts second-degree burns on persons at a distance of 15 km. Its sphere of influence is greater than 700 square kilometers.
As the fireball expands, it creates a blast wave expanding in all directions. This is the third effect of a nuclear bomb. This shock front is a wall of compressed air which moves away from the center at supersonic speeds, dragging winds that move at 300 km per hour behind it. It flattens almost all buildings within a radius of 7 km and an area of 100 square km, and severely damages all buildings in an area of 320 square km and a radius of 13 km. The blast wave lasts for a few seconds and destroys buildings by surrounding them in all directions. 3 km from Ground Zero, wind speeds reach 650 km per hour and at 6 km from Ground Zero, they reach 300 km per hour. At a distance of 16 km, they hurl broken glass and sharp objects at lethal velocities.
As the fireball burns, it rockets skyward and reaches a height of 10 km. For ten seconds it cooks the city beneath it. People at a distance of 15 km now receive third-degree burns and most probably die on the spot. Those closer catch fire and perish instantly. In a circle of 15 km radius and 700 square km area, flammable materials such as paper and dry leaves are ignited, giving rise to mass fires.
As the fireball rises, a mushroom cloud is produced due to the condensation of water vapor in the air. If the explosion has occurred near the ground, a great crater is formed and the bomb throws tons of debris and earth into the air. This mixture later rains down in the form of a fine ash. This phenomenon, called radioactive fallout, is the fourth effect of a nuclear bomb, and comprises about 300 different kinds of radioactive isotopes. This fallout lethally contaminates an area of 2500 square km, “lethal contamination” being pedantically defined, in the present context, as the amount necessary to kill off half the able-bodied young adult population.
Let us now suppose that a 1-megaton bomb is detonated 2.5 km above the city you live in or a city close by, and that you are standing at a point about 3 km distant from Ground Zero. Your physical body could not survive, of course, so we assume you are present “in spirit”. What would you see?

First, the blinding white light of the fireball lasts about 30 seconds. Simultaneously, searing heat melts windows, automobiles, lampposts and everything made of glass and metal as though they were made of butter. People in the street are instantly ignited and, within a very short time, transformed into puddles of tar. Five seconds after the light, the blast wave hits. Some skyscrapers are crushed as if squeezed by a giant fist, while others are torn off their foundations and hurled through the air like matchsticks. Meanwhile, the fireball has been burning in the sky for ten seconds. A little later, everything is engulfed in thick clouds of smoke and dust. The mushroom cloud, which happens to have a diameter of 20 km, cuts off the sunlight, and day turns into night. Within a few minutes, the heat pulse ignites broken gas mains, as well as gas and oil tanks. Fires begin spreading in the dark. A radioactive rain may fall in the meantime, as a result of the extraordinary weather conditions produced. Before long, all the individual fires combine to produce one gigantic fire. In such a mass fire the temperature reaches one thousand degrees centigrade, melting glass and metal and burning ordinarily fireproof materials. Depending on the condition of the winds, either a conflagration or a “firestorm” occurs. In the first case, the whole city is simply burned to the ground. Otherwise, winds being sucked into the center create a huge firestorm, forming a single fire of great heat. Because both kinds of fire consume the oxygen in the air and produce noxious fumes, people in the shelters are choked to death at the same time that the heat pulse is turning the shelters into pressure cookers. In this vast theater of events, all the agony and death scenes of Hiroshima are relived, with the difference that the death count now reaches millions instead of merely hundreds of thousands.

The Present Situation

During the long winter years of the cold war, America and Russia held the world on the brink of a precipice. There were only two good things about this “Balance of Terror”: One, by the undeserved grace of God we were spared a nuclear war, and two, the parties kept their nuclear weapons and materials under stringent control.
In time, England, France and China also became members of the “Nuclear Club”, but they too were able to keep their materials under control.
But things didn’t end there. Israel developed nuclear weapons, too. So did India. And because of India, so did Pakistan. Iraq, which tried to develop the Bomb because Israel had it, was stopped for the time being. Other, lesser nations began to stand in line.
It is obvious that there is no end to this process of proliferation. Anyone who does not possess nuclear weapons feels insecure toward those who do, and attempts to arm himself in the same way. The greatest obstacle in the way of success lies not in the difficulty of building a nuclear weapon, but in the difficulty of procuring uranium and plutonium, the materials necessary to make a bomb. But in time, as nuclear reactors are used, not with peaceful purposes for generating electricity, but for plutonium production, this obstacle too will be bypassed.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, serious gaps appeared in Russia’s control over its nuclear weapons. Even if it has not happened yet, the possibility of nuclear material and bombs being smuggled in order to be sold to countries that crave them is a subject for serious concern. Another possibility is that these should fall into the hands of terrorist organizations. As evidenced in the recent example of Japan, a sufficiently fanatical terrorist group will not shrink from using weapons of mass destruction against innocent human beings. Considering how widespread terrorism is in today’s world, it is not difficult to realize what this means.
(When speaking of weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical weapons are also included in addition to nuclear arms. Space does not permit detailed analysis of these weapons, in spite of their equally disastrous effects, but the present treatment is intended to cover them as well.)
As if the two generations of nuclear weapons—atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs—were not enough, the superpowers were trying to spawn third and later generations of these weapons toward the end of the cold war. Here, the purpose is to selectively enhance one or more of the destructive effects of the atom. Indeed, the nuclear tests conducted by the great powers have only one purpose: to build a more advanced, i.e. worse, nuclear weapon.
In fact, the progress in high-energy physics will only be put to the misuse of building even more terrible weapons in the end, difficult as this may be to conceive. With atomic fission and fusion, physicists had unleashed the energy that powers the sun. Not content with this, they now aim to achieve the energy levels present at the creation of the universe. When that happens, it will be possible to disintegrate not merely the atom, but the fundamental particles of existence, and the way will be open to the manufacture of weapons powerful enough to melt down the entire land mass of the planet.
The superpowers recognized long ago that the destructive force accumulated in their hands would be sufficient to destroy the world many times over. It was then that they initiated the exploration of space. The actual, though unstated, purpose behind this exploration was (and still is) to ensure that the one or two persons who would propagate the human race after the world had been annihilated would be “one of our boys”. This is the truth that lies behind all the space stations and the attempts to colonize Mars. And thus we are faced with a phenomenon, the like of which has been encountered only twice before in the entire history of mankind: The Third Adam.

The Third Adam

Adam was the ancestor, the progenitor of the human race. When humankind was wiped out in a Deluge of water, Noah became the second Adam. And now, unless we take the necessary measures, humanity will be destroyed this time by a deluge of fire, and the human race will start anew with a third Adam.
During the days he gave the order to bomb Hiroshima, President Truman wrote in his diary: “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied... after Noah and his famous Ark.” This Biblical prophecy [2 Peter 3:10] is referred to as “Judgment Day” and “Doomsday” in the Koran. Unless we beware, we shall have fulfilled the forewarnings of the sacred books of the world by our very failure to take precautions. For it has been stated in a Holy Tradition: “We will not destroy men; rather, they will destroy themselves by their very own hands.”
You who are reading or hearing this, do you find any solace in the knowledge that your race will continue from a third Adam? Does the notion of a third Adam comfort you in the face of the fact that you, your children, or your grandchildren will be vaporized in unspeakable agony, the entire biosphere of the earth will be annihilated, the oceans will evaporate and the very crust of the earth will be melted?

What Should Be Done?

Today, a Godsent opportunity is at hand. In today’s atmosphere of relative peace, while the Soviet Union is safely out of the way, let us dismantle the Doomsday Machine, let us abolish all weapons of mass destruction. Let us block all the means that would lead to their manufacture. Perhaps we cannot put an end to war. But we can prevent the destruction of humanity as a result of war. Tomorrow, when hostilities resume between nations, it will be too late and cooperation, impossible.
The only solution is that no weapons of mass destruction—including, preferably, missiles and delivery systems—should be left in the hands of any nation whatsoever. Because if even only one country has them, the rest will want to possess them as well.
The START agreement on arms reduction is a step in the right direction, but only a very small one. Because it still leaves enough weapons to annihilate each other ten times over in the hands of both sides. This is all or nothing. And it is now or never.
The permanent members of the United Nations must first bring all weapons of mass destruction under strict international control. The continuing experience of the United States, and of the USSR before its demise, proves that such controls and verification can be effective. Later, the present process of disabling and “scuttling” mass destruction weapons should be continued universally.

An Appeal to Everyone

If you are religious, we say to you: the heart of all religions is love. Hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases by love. If you are not, we leave the word to Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell, two of the most eminent scientists and philosophers of our time: “Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.” What true religion ever ordered the murder of innocent human beings? And what loyalty, ideology or hate is great enough to justify the annihilation of all men, women and children, of all the winged and four-footed animals of the earth, of all its plants, its fishes, its unicellular organisms? Have you no pity for even your own children, your own grandchildren?
The time to act is here and now. If we do not do now what we have to do, Behold: the final curtain of human history. See if you care to shoulder the responsibility.


The time is an unspecified date in the future. The place is a planet called Earth. All except the smallest countries of the world possess nuclear and other mass destruction weapons. Men have turned their backs on the call of true religions and become progressively more ruthless. God has removed from them the capacity for compassion. They are therefore able to do even less than we are in a position to today.
The end will begin near sunset. First, one nation will deliver a bomb on another. Suppose, for example, that America bombs England. England will retaliate. Then America will bomb China. China will bomb France. After these first four bombs, the whole international community will go berserk, everybody bombing everybody else in a thermonuclear free-for-all.
We said earlier that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were firecrackers compared to the bombs of our day. In comparison with an all-out attack of tens of thousands of bombs, the detonation of one nuclear device will, in turn, seem like a firefly. Tens of thousands of suns, each many times brighter than the sun itself, will light all the continents of the earth. In the areas first targeted, the great majority of people will be radiated, crushed or burnt to death. Hundreds of millions will simply be vaporized. Tens of thousands of blast waves will sweep away the physical existence of the countries of the world like dust in the wind. Buildings, habitations, factories, installations already on fire will be shattered, blasted or pulverized out of existence. Then, as the mushroom clouds bloom, day will turn to night. All the forests of the world will be set on fire. Because the whole world is burning, there will be nowhere to escape. As bombs that have not yet been invented but soon will be enter the scene, mountains will melt and be tossed like cotton. Both living and unliving things will be burnt to ashes. The oceans, while evaporating on one hand, will attack the melting land mass of the earth on the other. Everything will be reduced to a uniform sludge. This sludge will redistribute under the influence of the centrifugal forces of the planet, and, when it cools, will solidify like lava into a surface almost, though not quite, as smooth as glass. And then... And then, America, Russia and Europe will all be as flat as a table. Only the natural curvature of the earth will prevent an egg stood on one end from being seen from afar (if an egg and a human being to see it could have survived).
While all this is happening, anyone with access to a spaceship will head for outer space. Some of their rockets will burst on the ground before they can escape. Others able to make it will, deprived of the natural life support systems and supplies of the earth, be able to survive in space for at most only five more years.
By the grace of God, only a single man will survive. He is the one who will be called “the third Adam”.
All this will happen, have no doubt. Unless we take preventive steps now. Do not imagine that you, your children or your grandchildren will be exempt from this fate.

And that is why...

As we sow, so shall we reap. Come, let us sow peace, not war. Let us douse fire with water. We are the stewards, the custodians of this planet. God has entrusted the Earth to us. Come, let us purge the world of this danger of betrayal, and hand it over to the generations who will succeed us. What needs to be done must be done now. Our children and grandchildren have the right to live at least as much as we do.

Lover of all creatures, down to the smallest ant;
Possessor of sound judgment;

Ahmet Kayhan

 (This draws a pretty bleak picture, but here, too, the Master has offered a solution. “Of the nearly 200 nations now extant,” he said, “one person who is wisest, most cultured, and who loves his country and nation should be chosen from each. Those chosen should love humanity and other nations as much as their own. From among these, the most intelligent 7 should again be selected by examination, plus 20 or 30 members. These should compose the United Nations. Next, all weapons and all kinds of war should be prohibited. When war erupts anywhere, the representatives of the parties concerned should first try to resolve differences between themselves. If they prove unsuccessful, the rest should intervene to stop it.
“Next, hunger. After war, hunger too should be abolished. Whatever it takes should be done to achieve this. Without weapons and hunger, humanity will be able to maintain peace for a while. In time, smaller countries would join bigger nations [in regional alliances, somewhat in the manner of the European Community]. Small states would give way to large states, and in the absence of weapons the latter would live in peace. This means not just toxic weapons (nuclear etc.), but all weapons. This is the only solution. There is no other way.”
This plan may be difficult to achieve. Yet it is elating to know that a way out is possible—if it can only be realized.)


Inside each of us there is a caged animal, struggling to break out. In Sufism, it is called the Base Self (nafs al-ammara). Nor is it as harmless as a cat. Yet even a cat, if left unattended, will devour your pigeons—symbolically speaking, the better angels of our nature, and hence our inner and outer peace. As a poster byline to the movie Colossal (2016) explains, “There’s a monster in all of us." Another movie poster, that of The Transfiguration (2017), depicts the Base Self as a murderous shadow. Interestingly, the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s corresponding term for the Base Self was also “the shadow." For both illustrations, see below. (Photo above inspired by René Magritte’s painting, The Therapist (1937).)

I’ve been intending to do an update on Gurdjieff. He may not be as renowned today as he once was, but he used to be considered a very important spiritual teacher. Some years ago, I wrote the following: 

Sufism and Gurdjieff

A great deal of information about Sufism has reached the West at
various times, some along quite unexpected avenues. George I. Gurdjieff
was one of those who acted as a long-unrecognized conveyor of such
information, but he was reluctant to reveal his sources.
John G. Bennett devoted most of his life to tracking down the sources
of Gurdjieff’s wisdom. By the time he wrote Gurdjieff: Making a New
World (1973), he had identified these as the Masters of Wisdom of Central
Asia, the Khwajagan Order that initiated the Naqshbandi branch of
the Sufis. Based on information gleaned from the Sufi Master Hasan
Shushud of Istanbul, Bennett wrote his last book, The Masters of Wisdom
(1977). In this book, published posthumously (he died in 1974),
he definitively identified the Sufis as Gurdjieff’s source—or at least, the
source of the essential core of Gurdjieff’s multifaceted teachings. To support
Bennett’s case would require a separate study in itself, so I shall be
content to indicate just one of the dead giveaways which demonstrate
Gurdjieff’s debt to Sufism.
Some time around 1915, Gurdjieff identified three “ways to immortality,”
these he described as the way of the fakir, the way of the monk,
and the way of the yogi. To summarize, the fakir worked on the physical
body, the monk chose the path of religious faith and love, and the yogi
worked with the mind and knowledge (Gurdjieff must have had the
Raja and Jnana modes of Yoga in mind). All three, Gurdjieff added,
required retirement from the world and renunciation of worldly life.
This requirement would leave the ordinary person in a hopeless situation
in terms of spiritual development, were it not for the fact that a “fourth
way” existed. This way, he added, did not require seclusion, but could be
practiced under the usual conditions of life, work, and social involvement,
without having to go into the hills or the desert.151 Mysteriously,
he described the essence of this way as follows: “what substances he needs
for his aims...can be introduced into the organism from without if it is
known how to do it.152
What could this cryptic method be? Gurdjieff leaves few clues as to its
nature. We are left in the dark, until we learn from Annemarie Schimmel
of the Sufic technique of rabita, wherein a “tie” or “connection” is established
between master and disciple,153 enabling the transfer—or download—
of spiritual power or baraka into the disciple’s heart. Establishing
“contact” is mentioned as rabitu in the Koran (3:200), but almost never
interpreted—due to lack of knowledge—in the sense described here.
UPDATE: According to the famous Turkish commentator on the Koran, Ahmet Hamdi Yazir of Elmali, rabita occurs once therein in the form of rabitu and twice in the form of rabatna. Rabitu (3:200): “Be in (the state of) bonding.” Rabatna alâ qulubihim (18:14): “We gave bonding to their hearts.” Rabatna alâ qalbiha (28:10): “We gave bonding to her heart.” (It should be noted that most translators of the Koran into English render the word as “strengthened.”) Rabita has also been described as a technique of fixing in the imagination the visual form of one’s master, which then operates as a channel for the transmission of divine energy or effulgence (fayz). (Dina Le Gall, A Culture of Sufism (2005), p. 114.)  According to Bennett: “Gurdjieff was, more than anything else, a Sufi… The true way transmits a spiritual power, baraka or hanbledzoin, which enables the seeker to do what is quite beyond his unaided strength… This transmission of a higher energy that can be assimilated to the energy of the pupil is a vital part of the whole process, and in this sense it certainly can be said that Gurdjieff, at all times, was a teacher.” (Quoted in http://www.studiesincomparativereligion.com/Public/articles/Gurdjieff_in_the_Light_of_Tradition_Part_1-by_Whitall_Perry.aspx)
(Schimmel also gives an alternate technical term, tawajjuh, i.e., concentration
of the disciple upon the master and/or vice versa.) This is a trademark
of the Sufi tradition and something very specific154 —not to be
confused with the ordinary teacher/student tie, which, of course, occurs
in many traditions. As we have seen, Sufism does not counsel becoming
a recluse; it advises us to be in the world but not of the world, to remain
aloof from the ebb and flow of daily life.
This single example should suffice to show that Gurdjieff was deeply
indebted to the Sufis for his information, but he was so reticent in divulging
his sources that it took John Bennett most of his life to track
down and identify the roots.
(Henry Bayman, The Secret of Islam, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2003, pp. 208-9.)

Further Considerations
Michael S. Pittman has published an important study about our topic with the unlikely title, Classical Spirituality in Contemporary America (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012). Only the subtitle reveals the nature of its contents: The Confluence and Contribution of G.I. Gurdjieff and Sufism.

Pittman repeatedly refers to two points that bring Gurdjieff into the orbit of Sufism: “conscious labor and intentional suffering.” The first is known as “struggle” in Sufism, leading to the motto: “without struggle (mujahada), there can be no observation (mushahada) [of the divine].” But struggle against the Base Self is no easy thing. It means fasting and other deprivations, and will at times be painful. Here another, more general motto: “No pain, no gain” is applicable. So conscious labor really cannot be divorced from intentional suffering.

Like the Sufis, Gurdjieff would deprive his followers of their most prized habit or possession. Here is Gurdjieff in his own words: 
There are two different things under different laws: 1) the organic body; 2) the psychic body. The organic body [that is, the Base Self] obeys its laws. It only wishes to satisfy its needs - eating, sleeping, sex. It knows nothing else. It wishes nothing else. It is a real animal. One must feel it as an animal. One must feel it as a stranger. One must subdue it, train it and make it obey, instead of obeying it.

The psychic body [meaning the spirit, more or less] knows something other than the organic body. It has other needs, other aspirations, other desires. It belongs to a different world. It is of a different nature. There is a conflict between these two bodies - one wishes, the other does not. It is a struggle which one must reinforce voluntarily. By our work; by our will. It is this fight which exists naturally, which is the specific state of man, which we must use to create a third thing, a third state different from the other two, which is the Master, which is united with something else.

The task is therefore something precise which reinforces this struggle, because by struggle and ONLY by struggle can a new possibility of being be born. For instance, my organism is in the habit of smoking. That is its need. I do not wish to smoke - I eliminate this habit. The need is always there but I refuse to satisfy it. There is a struggle, a conscious voluntary struggle...

Substitute the insertions in brackets as replacements, and this could almost be lifted in its entirety from a classic manual of Sufism.

Of course, Gurdjieff did not know about the two critical deprivations that really matter. According to Master Ahmet Kayhan, these are abstention from: 1. Illicit Gain and 2. Illicit Sex. No other deprivation, no matter how rigorous, will succeed in taming the Base Self. And for these one needs: 1. a job where you earn an honest living, and 2. a spouse of the opposite sex, to whom you are legally married. Only after these two things are abandoned can any spiritual growth take place and one become a saint. Only then will religious observances such as Formal Prayer (salat, namaz) be productive. Otherwise, you’ll be taking on more water than you’re bailing out.

There are other indications of Gurdjieff’s debt to the Sufis in constructing his teachings. For example, his “Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man,” established at the Prieuré (near Paris), was closely modeled on the dervish brotherhoods and lodges (takka, khanqah). His seven “stages of Man” seem to have been borrowed (with modifications) from the seven levels of selfhood in Sufism. Again, Gurdjieff’s assertion that ordinary consciousness is a form of sleep is almost directly a quote from the Prophet: “Human beings are asleep, they wake up when they die.” Other similarities would not be hard to find.
Incidentally, Gurdjieff refers to the Prophet as “Saint Mohammed,” thus highlighting his saintly aspect (walâya) over his prophetic aspect (nubuwwa). This is all too often neglected in discussions about the Prophet, for he was a saint as well as a prophet. A single Tradition“Your worst enemy is your (Base) Self between your two flanks”—is enough to prove the point. (Ghazali, Ihyâ, 3/4; Ajluni, Kashf al-Hafâ, 1/143.)  Phrased a bit differently, the Prophet is saying that you are your own worst enemy.

In concluding, I should perhaps reemphasize that Sufism constitutes only part of Gurdjieff’s syncretistic teachings. But that’s the part that really matters.

PS. I cannot pass without taking note of a remark by Whitall Perry: “It is not known that Gurdjieff, despite his years in Islamic countries, had any Muslims for disciples; and other considerations apart, the stress in Islam on intelligence, beauty, and purity would make it unthinkable for a Muslim still conscious of his heritage to be drawn into Gurdjieff’s world.(http://www.studiesincomparativereligion.com/public/articles/Gurdjieff_in_the_Light_of_Tradition_Part_3-by_Whitall_Perry.aspx)  All indications are that his ethics, too, left a lot to be desired.

151 Peter D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, New York: Harcourt,
Brace & World, 1949, pp. 44-49.
152 Ibid., p. 50; italics in the original.
153 Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1975, p. 237.
154 See the chapter “The Spiritual Journey of the Sufi,” Method 3: Spiritual
Connection with the Master. [In The Secret of Islam, p. 262.]



July 18, 2017
How to Respect the Prophet
Nâbi (pronounced “Nobby”) was an Ottoman poet who flourished in the 17th century. Master Ahmet Kayhan once related the following about him:
The poet Nâbi goes to Medina with the sultan [Mehmed IV, or perhaps with an envoy of the sultan]. The sultan lies down with his feet extended. Nâbi says:
Beware of breaching courtesy,
  this is the land of God’s Beloved
It’s the place where the Divine looks,
   the station of the Chosen One. (1)
[This is the first couplet of a longer eulogy. Note on the meanings of the Prophet’s names: Mohammed: “highly praised,” Mustapha: “chosen.” Medina is his final resting place.]
The sultan says, “If you said this out of spite, I know how you’ll be punished. If it was with divine inspiration, I know how you’ll be rewarded.”
At the Morning Prayer-call, exactly this same praise is recited from all the minarets of Medina. Nâbi runs to a Prayer-caller: “Where did you learn this?”
“In my dream the Prophet of God came, he taught me. He said, ‘One who loves me has recited this.’ His name is supposed to be Nâbi.”
He makes him repeat it three times, on the fourth the Prayer-caller exclaims, “Enough, man! What do you want?” He replies, “If you’d said it one more time, I would’ve given up my soul. I’m Nâbi.”
This anecdote draws attention to the high esteem in which Moslems hold their Prophet.
God’s Praise for the Prophet
In the Koran, God clarifies the value of His Prophet in no uncertain terms. Here are just a few instances of God’s acclaim for the Prophet:
  • “The Prophet is dearer to believers than their own selves” (33:6).
  • “God and His angels pronounce blessings upon the Prophet. Believers, you too pronounce blessings and peace upon him, with a mature surrender” (33:56).
  • In 15:72, God swears an oath on the Prophet’s life: “By your life” or “For the sake of your life…” In the Koran, God swears such oaths only upon events or entities of immense importance. One interpretation of this phrase has been expressed as: “(My Beloved,) I swear by your eternal sweet memory…” (H.B. Çantay.) The value of the Prophet can be inferred from this verse alone.  
These are not the only examples of this sort to be found in the Koran, but they are enough to prove the point. If God Himself praises the Prophet so highly, who are we, as mere mortals, to disagree?
The Living Koran
Despite all the mud and dross of the world, some people are, with great effort, able to overcome its obstacles and display a Godly morality in the face of all adversities. And God loves them for that. The Prophet was the one to achieve this to the highest degree. The following sentence can be considered a summary of his life: His moral conduct never wavered, even as he overcame incredible odds stacked up against his success. Which is why God called him His “Beloved” and raised him to the Station of Praise (maqam al-mahmud).
One day, some people visited the Prophet’s wife, Aisha, and asked her to tell them about the Prophet’s character traits/morality (khulq, plural akhlaq). Aisha replied: “Haven’t you read the Koran? The Prophet’s morality was that of the Koran.” Or, equivalently, “His character traits were those of the Koran.” (Muslim, Salât al-Musafirîn, 139.) God Himself praises the Prophet in the Koran: “You are indeed upon a mighty morality” (68:4).
This means that the Prophet was the living embodiment of the Koran, which has prompted some to call him “the living Koran.” Since the Koran is the Word of God, it would not be inappropriate to call the Prophet “the Word of God made flesh.” The Koran (as holy book) has also been called “the silent Koran” (qur’an al-sâmid) and the Prophet “the speaking Koran” (qur’an al-nâtiq).
The Prophet told his Companions: “I leave you two things. The 
 Koran, and my Way.” Indeed, there are many things that a written book cannot deal with, or can cover only implicitly. These are made explicit by the Prophet’s exemplar as a living, breathing human being, by his words and deeds (sunnah).
Of course, Moslems stop short of deifying their Prophet, but clearly they otherwise hold him in the highest regard. They accept him as the best of men, as the best Moslem, and therefore as their role model. And this is as it should be: to reduce the Messenger of God to the status of a postman, who came, delivered God’s message, and left, is to radically misunderstand the office of prophethood. A person chosen by God for this task, though human, can be no ordinary man. A prophet represents humanity to God and God to humanity. Just think of Moses, and it will become clear how difficult this is.
Christians love and revere Jesus. Buddhists love and revere the Buddha. Certainly Moslems are entitled to love and revere Mohammed.
This also implies that Traditions attributed to the Prophet that exhibit less-than-exemplary ethics are of dubious truthfulness, even if they may appear in canonical collections of Traditions (the “Six Books”). The Koran is the only book for which God vouchsafes divine protection. The Prophet himself advised us to consult our hearts, and to reject any Tradition that leaves us with a queasy feeling. I have said this before and I will say it again: Any report—no matter how authentic or reliable it may be deemed—that represents the Prophet as having less than perfect ethics, is automatically suspect. Over the centuries until the Traditions were compiled, spurious Traditions seem to have crept in, despite the compilers’ best efforts. These, however, are in a tiny minority, so that in practice, the collections are by and large reliable. 
Sufis regard the Prophet as
the zenith of human perfection.
I have said this before and I will say it again: Any report—no matter how authentic or reliable it may be deemed—that represents the Prophet as having less than perfect ethics, is automatically suspect.

The Prophet in Sufism
Sufism is the deeper understanding of the Koran and the Traditions. The purpose of Sufism is to take human beings and make them better, to improve them and, ideally, to perfect them, to make them “Perfect Humans” (insan al-kâmil). For Sufis also, the Prophet is the archetype of the Perfect Human, the example to be imitated and emulated.
Master Ahmet Kayhan will someday come to be recognized as the Saint of the Age. Based on long years of close association, I and many others can testify to the fact that he was free of flaws. If one who was the most accomplished follower of the Prophet in our times had no personality blemishes, it stands to reason that the one who was followed must have been even more impeccable.
Every religion has had its role model for the improvement of human beings. The historical/biographical circumstances of a particular human being rarely disclose much regarding the wisdom s/he possesses. Only as one delves into the details do certain indications become apparent. The broad outlines of the life of the Prophet, or indeed of any prophet, may conceal more than they reveal.
In a purported Holy Tradition, God tells the Prophet: “If not for you, I would not have created the heavens.” (2) In the Koran, God also says: “We have not sent you, except as a mercy to the worlds” (21:107).
The following Turkish Sufi couplets highlight the importance of the Prophet for Sufism: 
This universe is a mirror,
  everything stands with God
From the mirror of Mohammed
  God always is seen.
Mohammed was the outcome of love
Without Mohammed, what outcome has love?
In the words of Maximo Lameiro,
… the Prophet Muhammad was “a living Koran.” But to say that is the same, in the strict sense, as saying that the Prophet was a Perfect Human. For it is not only that the Prophet was a man consistent with the Revelation he received, since he practiced its precepts and lived according to its values, but that his own nature was that of the Koran. And just as Revelation transcends the empirical limitations within which ordinary consciousness perceives it, so the reality of the Prophet transcends the historical individual who lived in the Arabian peninsula during the seventh century. … the reality of the Prophet is inexhaustible because it is the image of God. (3)
The potential for spiritual excellence resides in us all.
Following the Tradition(s): “The first thing God created was my light/spirit/intellect, and all else He created from that,” “the Reality of Mohammed” is regarded by Sufis as the originator of the entire universe. (4) According to Abdulqader Jilani (Geylani), one of the very topmost Sufi saints:
God Most High first created, from the divine light of His own Beauty, the light of Muhammad. He declares this in a Holy Tradition related from Him by the Prophet:
“I have created the soul of Muhammad from the light of my Manifestation (wajh).”
This is declared by the Messenger of God in his words, ‘God first created my soul. He first created it as a divine light;’ ‘God first created the Pen;’ ‘God first created the Intellect.’ What is meant by all that … is the creation of the truth of Muhammad, the hidden reality of Muhammad. He is also [like his Lord] called by many beautiful names. He is called Nûr, the Divine Light, because he was purified of [all] darkness … God Most High says in the Koran:
“There has come to you from God a Light and a perspicuous Book” (5:15).
He is called the Total Intellect (aql al-kull) because he saw and understood everything. He is called the Pen (al-qalam) because he spread wisdom and knowledge, and he poured knowledge into the realm of letters.
The soul of Muhammad is the essence of all beings, the beginning and the reality of the universe. He indicates this with the words, ‘I am from God and the believers are from me’. God Most High created all souls from his soul in the realm of the first created beings, in the best of forms. ‘Muhammad’ is the name of all humanity in the realm of souls (âlam al-arwâh). He is the source, the home of each and every thing. (5)
Hence, all human beings belong to Mohammed: they are his constituents, whether they realize it or not. And because of this they participate, at least potentially, in much that was bestowed on Mohammedwith the exception, of course, of his Prophethood. The potential for spiritual excellence resides in us all. (Since the Prophet was a True Human, it is a mistake to diminish human beings by using bestial names for them, despite the obvious fact that they share many traits with the animal kingdom.)
In an early work, the Sufi Grand Master Ibn Arabi defines the place of man within the cosmic symphony as follows: 
When the Holy Spirit was breathed into man, he bound himself to the Absolute Existent [mawjud mutlaq, namely God] with a sanctified, principial attachment. Such is his participation in the Divine Activity. That is why we acknowledge man as having two dimensions, one external, the other internal.
His external dimension corresponds to the world in its totality, conforming to the categories we have identified.
His internal dimension corresponds to the Divine Presence [hadra ilahiyya].
Man is the Universal (kulli) par excellence, since he is capable of receiving all of the categories together, be they eternal or temporal, while other existents do not possess this property.” (6)
When a human being becomes endowed with the whole range of innumerable Divine Names/Attributes, s/he becomes a Universal Human. This will not produce a change in appearance, because it is a matter of inner transformation. But it will become subtly—sometimes massively—apparent in one’s conduct. And the Prophet Mohammed possessed these inner qualities to the highest degree. This is why the Sufis uphold the Prophet as a role model, and why they regard him as the zenith of human perfection.

(1) Ali Fuat Bilkan (ed.), Nâbi Divanı (Turkish), Ankara: Akçağ Y., 2011 [2000], vol. 2, p. 952.
(2) Although the authenticity of this Tradition has been disputed because of chain-of-transmission problems, several other Traditions support its meaning, and famous scholars and saints alike have agreed that its meaning, if not its wording, is authentic. See this discussion: http://www.sunnah.org/msaec/articles/hadith_of_lawlaak.htm
(3) Maximo Lameiro, “The Perfect Human in Buddhism and Islamic Gnosis” (Spanish), March 2016. Rough translation by Google, polished by yours truly. http://laescalera-sophia.info/teosofia/Hombre_perfecto_budismo_tasawwuf.pdf, p. 6.
(4) Similar concepts also exist in other religions. As Maria Reis Habito has pointed out, there is a parallel here with “Buddha-nature” in Mahayana Buddhism. Originally, this was conceived of as the “Buddha-seed” (tathagatagarbha), meaning that every human being possessed the potential for Enlightenment, the ability to become “Awakened” (a buddha). This, of course, is the same thing as the potential within every human being to become a Perfect Human in Sufism. Later, Dogen claimed that Buddha-nature (Chn. Fo xing) resides within all beings, in a manner quite similar to the way in which the Reality of Mohammed is within all beings as their primordial Essence. (See Maria Reis Habito, “The Notion of Buddha-Nature: An Approach to Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue,” in The Muslim World, April/July 2010, Vol. 100, Issue 2-3: Special Issue on Islam and Buddhism, pp. 233–246. http://traditionalhikma.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Muslim-World-100-no.-2-3-2010-Special-Issue-on-Islam-and-Buddhism.pdf.)
Again, the concept of the Perfect Human in Sufism has its exact equivalent in the Taoist/Daoist concept of “Real Man” or “True Man” (shen-jen/zhen-ren). In Chinese Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhism, Lin Chi (Linji, known in Japan as Rinzai) took this and rephrased it as “True human of no rank” (zhen ren wu wei). Compare this with the great Sufi mystic/poet Rumi: “My rank is no-rank (bî-nishân)” (has also been translated as “My trace is the traceless.”). And as another great Sufi poet, Niyazi Misri, observed: “The People of Truth possess no signs/rank.” This is also what Ibn Arabi calls “the Station of No Station” (maqam lâ-maqam).
The understanding of such concepts has reached its culmination in Sufism.
(5) Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani, The Secret of Secrets (interpr. Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi), Cambridge, UK: Islamic Texts Society, 2014 [1992], pp. 5-6. Edited for clarity.
(6) Ibn Arabi, “The Book of the Description of the Encompassing Circles” (Kitab insha ad-dawa’ir al-ihatiyya), translated in Stephen Hirtenstein and Michael Tiernan (eds.), Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi: A Commemorative Volume, Shaftesbury, UK: Element Books, 1993, p. 29. (Slightly edited.)