Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tanazzulat: (The Descent of Divine Grace) – A’lam-e-Arwah (The Dominion of Angels)


Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed


The Dominion of the Angels (A’lam e Arwah, A’lam e Anwar)

The angels fall into two categories:

  1. “Karrubiyan” (They have no part in the material world. They are always immersed in divine praise)
  2. “Ruhaniyan” (They are actively engaged in the material world)

Sub-categories of the Karrubiyan

  • Aql e Awwal (The First Intellect)  Nafs e Kul (The Universal Soul)Aqlam (They transmit the divine writ)Alwah(They carry out the divine writ)       Jibrael, Mikael, Israfil, Ezrael (The exalted angels)Malaek e Tabiya (The angels who follow)

Subcategories of the “Ruhaniyan”

  • Ahl e Malakut e A’la (family of the higher angels)Ahl e Malakut e Asfal (family of the lower angels)Ruh e Insani (The human spirit)Ruh e Haiwani(The animalistic spirit)

Meethaq e Risalat is the covenant that all the Arwah made with the Ruh of the Prophet (sas) to obey him and follow him. This happened after Meethaq e Rububiyet (The Covenant with the Creator).

KNOW THAT the third descent of divine Grace (or the third fixity) is the manifestation of the Spirit. The Spirit is the essence of bodies and is free of defects. It does not have a shape or form.

The world of the Angels (Alam e Arwah) is also called A’lam e Af’ali (the world of action), Alam e Anwar (the world of Light), Alam e Mujarridat, (the immaterial world), Alam e Mufariq (the separated world), Alam e Malakut (the world of angels), Alam e U’lwi (the angelic world), Alam e Ghaib (the hidden world), Alam e Amr (the world of command), Alam e Ghair Mahsoos (the imperceptible world), Alam e Rabbani (the world of the Suistainer), Alam e Lateef (the subtle world), Alam e Berang (the colorless world).

The angels in the world of Alam e Arwah (the angelic world) are of two categories:

  1. The first category is one which has no part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angles in this category are called Karrubiyan.
  2. The second category is one which takes part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angels in this category are called Ruhaniyan.

The Karrubiyan are, in turn, divided into two sub-categories:

  • The angels in the first sub-category are heedless of themselves and of the created world. They are steeped in the majesty and beauty of the Creator ever since they were created. These are called Malaek e Maheemeen.  Allah created them in the first ‘ama (non-space) In the Sharia we call them Mala e A’la or Malaek e A’lia.

Then, He created another angel with the same attributes and bestowed upon that angel the knowledge of all things from the beginning till the end. This angel is called ‘Aql e Kul (the universal Intellect), ‘Aql e Awwal (the first Intellect), and Qalm e A’la (the exalted Pen).

Then, Allah created another angel so that the Exalted Pen may teach him all the detailed knowledge. It is called Nafs e kul (the Universal Soul) and Luh e Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet). Whatever is in it cannot be changed.

There are other angels to whom some knowledge has been given. These angels are ”in between”. They are scribes or Aqlam(“Pens”); they take information from the higher angels and transmit it to the angels below them.

The angels in the lower realm are called Alwah. They are responsible for construction and destruction. The Aqlam keep writing to these Alwah all the time. The sounds of the Pens that the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard during M’eraj ware the sounds of these pens. The Exalted Pen had already finished writing.

  • The angels in the second sub-category of the Karrubiyan are there as a favor from Rububiyet (a favor from the Sustainer). These are called Hujjabil Wahiyet.

In the ‘Ama (spaceless domain), all the angels are lined up and are engaged in their tasks. They cannot leave or exceed their stations. Next to the Universal Reason and the Universal Soul, the Exalted Angels such as Hazrath Jibreel and Hazrath Mikael are waiting in the Exalted Row for Allah’s commands. They cannot be disobedient since they are created that way and are incapable of wrongdoing.

Next are the Malaek e Tab’iya who are responsible for delegated tasks. Some of them are tasked with the production of species, some for provision of sustenance, some for support for physical bodies and some in the documentation of deeds. They are from the categories of the Aqlam and the Alwah. These Alwah are the station of construction and destruction. The wrongdoings that are documented by them are erased by the Grace of the Creator.

Every angel praises Allah with the attribute that it witnesses and this remembrance is performed with the exalted and pure Divine Names.

The Ruhaniyan can also be divided into two sub-categories:

  • In the first sub-category are the angels that are preoccupied with the heavens. They are called Ahl e Malakut e A’la (Family of the Exalted Angels).
  • The second sub-category are the angels who are preoccupied with the earth. They are called Ahl e Malakut e Asfal (Family of Angels of the lower rank).

Millions of angels oversee humankind and many more oversee the material world and the animal kingdom. Every drop of rain has an angel associated with it. Sufis of Kashf (unveiling) maintain that even a leaf cannot fall unless it is with an angel. There is a mention in the Ahidith of some of the angels: Malik al Jibal (the angels of the mountains), Malik ur Reeh (the angels of the winds), Malik ur Re’ad (the angels of thunder), Malik ul Barq (the angels of lightning) and Malik us Sihab (the angels of clouds).

Attributes of the Human Spirit (Ruh e Insani) and the Animalistic Spirit (Ruh e Haiwani)

The human spirit is from the Ruhaniyan.  It is attached without materiality and is a subtlety from the subtleties of the Creator. It is the equivalent of Luh and Qalam (the Tablet and the Pen) and includes them both because the human spirit is the integrated manifestation of all the material entities in creation and of the divine Names. It knows every entity through its interactions with other entities. It acquires whatever knowledge it seeks from the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul without hindrance even though these two occupy higher stations.

The human spirit is one but it it is fixed in many fixities and it is manifested in many faces. These faces are called Arwah e Haiwani (the animal spirits).  Every human has an animal spirit. Ruh e Haiwani is a subtle entity that acts as a bridge between the spiritual world and the material world. It transforms and appears in every part of the body so that every aspect of it is ingrained in every part of the body. You do not even feel that the animal spirit is something separate from the body.

From every ray of the Universal Intellect (A’ql e Kul) is derived an animal spirit, which is a power in the collection of powers bestowed upon an individual.  It is this power that provides a distinction between good and evil and benefit and loss.

There is another power that emerges from a ray of the Universal Intellect which is the individual soul. It supplies the higher virtues to a perfect body (a person of higher attainment). At the same time, it holds on to the spirit to stay alive and meet the demands of the animalistic tendencies in the body.

One of the powers of the animalistic spirit (Ruh e Haiwani) is Ruh e Shaitani (The satanic spirit) which nudges the nafs towards what is forbidden and satisfy bodily pleasures. There is another power of Ruh e Haiwani (animalistic spirit) which is Quwwat e Malaki (the angelic power). It demands good deeds for the hereafter, commands such deeds and is serves the spirit.

The relationship of the animalistic spirit to the human spirit is like imprisonment to freedom or the simple to the comprehensive.  The animalistic spirit is the body of the human spirit and it is intermingled with it. Ruh e Haiwani) is with all entities. By itself it is bereft of sorrow and pleasure. However, when it is in a body, it loses it acquires the characteristics of sorrow and pleasure.

Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is also a subtle treasure and it is eternal. It is not annihilated with death. When it is separated from the body, it is said that the body is dead. When the Ruh is separated from the body, it becomes a bridge. In other words, it acquires an appearance from a host of similar appearances and does not maintain a connection with a worldly body. In the grave, it is the animal spirit that is interrogated along with Jism e Barzaqi (the body that is in transition) because it (the Ruh e Haiwani) is indestructible and is “eternal” (timeless).

When the body is asleep, the Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) travels around. When it returns, it re-enters into every organ of the body. Even though Ruh e Haiwani is with the body, it is so subtle that it can also be with the Arwah (spirits). Shaikh Syed Meeran Warangee has said that even though Ruh e Haiwani is present is large numbers, its appearance and disappearance from individuals is apparent to the A’rifeen (people of inner knowledge), whereas the common folks are unaware of it and become doubtful about it. Some have called the Ruh e Haiwani, “Shakhs e Insani” (the individual human). It is through this individuality that some humans acquire a higher position than others.

Once it comes into existence, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is never annihilated. In this world it takes on “Jism e ‘anseri” (the individual material body), in Barzaq (between death and resurrection) it takes on “Jism e Barzaqi: (the body of barzaq or the bridge) and in the Akhira (hereafter) it takes on “Jism e Mahshoor” (the body of the Judgment Day).

Ruh e Haiwani is the companion of Ruh e Insani. The perfect human (Insan e Kamil) protects the Ruh from the pleasures of the Nafs and destroys the Ruh e Haiwani under the gaze of Ruh e Insani and witnesses the freedom of Ruh e Insani .

There are differences in the rank of the Awliya in accordance with their ma’rifat (inner knowledge) of the Ruh. The secret is this: There is one Ruh but in terms of its fixity it is many. Every fixity pridyces its own attributes, specific as well as general. Therefore, some of the fixities get caught up in ignorance and fall into the lowest of the low whereas others befriend ‘Irfan (inner knowledge) and reach the level of ‘Aliyun (an allusion from the Qur’an, meaning, highest of the high). The differences in Ma’rifat arise from the capabilities of these fixities.

Summarily, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is both complete and incomplete, capable of enjoyment as well as suffering in accordance with the conditionality of its fixity. Qalm e Ala and Luh e Mahfuz (The Exalted Pen and the Preserved Tablet) are inherent in Ruh e Insani (the human spirit).

Meethaq e Risalat (The Covenant of the Arwah with the Prophet)

The exalted Ruh of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is the sublime Ruh which is always with the attributes of knowledge and perfection. He was the prophet in the Alam e Arwah. All the entities in that domain, whether they were perfect or imperfect, have believed in him and all the Arwah (angels) have made a promise that even when his Ruh comes into its worldly existence, they will obey and follow him.  This covenant with the Prophet (Meethaq e Risalat) took place after the covenant with the Sustainer (Meethaq e Rububiyet).

Sadaq Allahu Azeem wa Sadaqa Rasoolehil Kareem. Wa astaghfirullahu Rabbi.