Edited and Slides by Omar K Neusser
29b Seeing With Both Eyes – Intellect and Illumined Imagination
Chapter 167 provides a long account of a philosopher and a follower of the Prophet who set out together to climb the ladder of the cosmos to God. Just as the celestial spheres represent the descending stages of manifestation and devolution, so also they represent the ascending steps of re-absorption and evolution, steps that one must take if one is to achieve perfection. The route followed by the two companions goes up through the seven spheres toward the Divine Presence.
When the two reach the sphere of the moon, the philosopher is granted an understanding of the moon’s real nature by the moon’s own ‘spirituality’ (rūhāniyya), that is, the intelligible, living, spiritual reality that the visible moon represents. In contrast, the follower is introduced to Adam, the prophet whom Muhammad met in the sphere of the moon during his ascent.
Thus the philosopher comes to understand the function of the moon in relation to the entire cosmos, but the follower achieves realization of the diverse forms of knowledge actualized by Adam when he was taught the names of all things. The philosopher, in other words, sees the first heaven in terms of the eye of intellect, and the follower sees the first heaven in terms of both eyes – intellect and illumined imagination.
Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi; Presentation of Some 29 Texts