Similarly, those who forbid talking about the Spirit are like this Bektashi. Without knowing the source and reason or who this verse actually addresses they distort its meaning. Some even display further ignorance by accusing the scholars who have made the correct explanation.

This is the story in short: Three Jewish scholars make an agreement among each other to test Muhammad (saw). They prepare three questions for him, one of them about the spirit. They tell each other, “Nobody has given any knowledge about the spirit to date, if he does, we’ll know he’s a liar.”

Then they ask Muhammad (saw) their questions. The next day as an answer to their question regarding the spirit this verse is revealed to Muhammad (saw), 

And they (the Jews) ask you, (O Muhammad) about the spirit. Say, “The spirit is from the command (amr; the manifestation of the Names) of my Rabb. And you (the Jews)have been given little of this knowledge.[3]

In other words the addressee of this verse are the Jews, as it is them to whom very little knowledge about the spirit has been given. Many saints and scholars like Imam Ghazali have provided many explanations about the spirit. 

I also want to clear up a possible misunderstanding regarding what I mentioned in the previous chapter about those on a spiritual high… When one begins to question his essence and the reality of existence he exhibits a thought system based on his ego-identity-self. This initial station, to which Sufism refers as “The Inciting Self” (Nafs-i Ammarah), is where one thinks his existence is comprised only of his physical body and wants to attain everything for the sake of his ego-self. He wants to eat the best, look the best, possess all he can, including spirituality and spiritual stations, i.e. he wants to be the closest to god, the one with the highest level of consciousness, the most devout, etc. all for the sake of his ego-self.

As he engages in the necessary spiritual practices and applies the knowledge he acquires he slowly begins to realize his ego-self is actually and completely in the possession and at the disposition of the One. It is the One who is administering his existence – and that of everything else - at every instance!

When he comes to this awareness he begins criticizing himself for still assuming his existence to be separate from the One. He engages in self-attack and self-condemnation, the station Sufism calls “The Self-Accusing Self” (Nafs-i Lawwama). He questions why even though he knows everything in the universe is at the administration of the One and is the manifestation of the One he so easily becomes veiled of this reality, especially when dealing with others. This leads him to fall into the trap of hidden duality (shirq al-hafi). The more he falls into this duality the more he accuses and condemns himself. He ponders on the reality from time to time but he’s easily dragged back into the veiled state by the events and situations he encounters…

Many think this station is about self-accusation in regards to improper or inadequate application of the necessary spiritual practices, but this is only a very small part of the truth, it is more about being veiled from the reality that it is only the One who is administering existence at all times, no matter how seemingly absurd or frustrating certain situations may be…

This station also entails the two states of observing called the “Sayr al-Afaqi” (Objective, external observation of the universal realities) and “Sayr al-Anfusi” (The recognition of the individual realities or the path of the inward journey). Some experience the former first while some experience the latter first, depending on one’s journey.

[3]Quran 17:85

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