Mother of Books [p. 663 >umm >al-kibab]

[translated into German by Heinz Halm; from the German by Heather TerJung]

dramatis personae



665, fn. 2

Jabir = >ibn Yazid >al-Ju<fi

Baqir (‘Opener’) = Muh.ammand the 5th imam

{Strong’s 1239 /baqar/ ‘inquire, search, seek’;

Strong’s 1242 /boqer/ ‘morning, morrow’} .

685, fn. 73

>ibn <abdullah >al->ans.ayri





description of supreme deity


description of Heavens




Salman [Salsal] the Greater


Salman [Salsal] the Lesser




Fat.ima & women


salvation & knowledge

pp. 665-6 essential mystery

p. 665

Overhead he made a sea of a thousand colors

{cf. 1000-petaled waterlily-blossom (Sahasra-ara) over one’s head}

and below another sea named godliness.

Between the two seas the king placed seven and twelve deathless

p. 666

uncreated lights, ...

their pearls and coral

are the Naqib and Najib angels.”

p. 666 the 7 & the 12 as our body

So the brain is the white sea

{cf. Naasenian description of the brain},

and the spirit of speech is the high king

found in the medulla. ...

The brain is the white earth over seven skies

as the white sea lies over seven realms

of a heavenly palace.”

p. 669 the 7 & the 12 as family-relations

the seven appear in the white sea.

The other twelve are twelve lights of the people

of his house lined in a row”.

pp. 670 the 7 & the 12 as raiment is the twelve Naqib

of the white sea, and their raiment conceals

twenty-eight Najib and four familiar angels. ...

The most remote realm is the high king’s canopy

over the white sea, and the twelve Naqib,

special beings before the high king, carry

the white sea.”

pp. 673-675 God’s form & attributes

p. 673

Here is god’s form. His right hand is retention

that comprehends and is the color of sun.

His left hand is the spirit of thought. From it

comes the full propagation of all light. ...

His right eye is a huge spirit, the color

of white crystal. His left eye is the spirit

p. 674

of the intellect, color of red yellow fire. ...

The lord’s nostrils are the spirit of knowledge,

one the color of red carnelian, exuding everywhere

a floating holy perfume. The other nostril

is the spirit of the almighty, green

from god’s breath and radiance. His tongue

is the voice of the holy spirit, the color of red rubies ... . ...

The heart of the lord is the spirit of faith, ...

who is the color of the sphere of the moon. ...

p. 675

On the day of resurrection the lord

will place his foot across hell and freeze it. ...

The lord’s throne is this goodly seat, the brain.

The right half of the brain is the spirit

of wisdom, and the left is the spirit of abundance.”

p. 676 the 4 witnesses

Praise and honor ... as-Salsal

and Abu al-H^at.t.ab.”

pp. 677-678 the 5 creatures (derived from 5 lights) sitting in the 5 trees of Paradise

p. 677

First comes the curtain of eternity

on the white sea and ...

p. 678

five angels’ lights

join the white sea like trees of paradise.

Five creatures sit in the five trees in the first, white sphere :

The lion, Boraq, the white falcon, the royal phoenix,

and Duldul, ...

sit on top of five trees ... .

[fn. 51 : Boraq is winged horse; Duldul is white mule] ...

Boraq beams light across this holy sea

for the seven angels. The lion and falcon

spread a hundred thousand feathers of light ... .

The royal phoenix spreads his shadow over

the heads of Naqib and Najib angels”.

pp. 678-682 layers of heaven, in descending sequence



its accompaniments


white dome

ruby curtain

five creatures appear in five Tuba trees.”

curtain of fire

Five figures ... show on this cloth” :

Jibra-il, Mikal, Israf-il, Azra-il, Sura-il


carnelian curtain

five lights of five angels appear ... .

Their names are mind, soul, victory, happiness, and imagination.”

emerald sphaire

bright peacocks stand majestically”.

violet dome [violet sphaire]

One hundred thousand luminous

[p. 681] rivers ..., as well as castles

of paradise ... where the four rivers

of wine, milk, honey, and pure water flow.

They are called the water of life. Five great

lights of this sphere, who are known as the houris,

float over these castles. ...

The river of wine is practical knowledge,

the river of milk their esoteric knowledge,

the river of honey their inspired knowledge.”


sun-colored curtain

Five other lights are ...

commanders ..., ‘holding a lamp

surrounded by a glass ... .’

This sphere is a great sea

intrinsic with holy light.”


moon-colored curtain

rainbow lights

hang in garlands ... . ... Rezwan,

angel of paradise, has five lights,

and the five colors of the angel soar”.

lapis-lazuli sphaire

spirits that are constellations shining

with stars ... .

From the blue curtain ... luminaries

... joined the hearts of prophets and the saints”.

{the domes (sphaires) are the skies, as viewed from the land below each}

pp. 683-684 divine shadow {cf. the sacred shadow of Hawai>ian royalty’s bodies; and the shadows in the Platonic Myth of the Cave}; chains of light

p. 683

god is light joined to ... hearts,

extending ... from the brain of the blue dome to the spirit

of speech. From the brain it has sent a shadow

over the dark heart. ...

the earth is the heart, and god is liht

joined with the heart. The spirit of speech

... comes from this light.

... five lights join the spirit

of speech, of god who has radiated shadow

over the earth that is called heart.

{[Maya] “Ah Kin Xooc went to its center, the sacred place from which the Earth’s own heartbeat originated” (EC, p. 66).} ...

Then all the seven palaces and heavenly

far spheres are joined – clear down to the heart –

by chains of light as by a rope or cable. ...

p. 684

There is a blue curtain

comprising the believers’ spirit of speech,

so that all these parts join right up to god.

... This sign of life comes from

the brain casting a shadow on the heart.

God on the thrones, his shadow fell to earth,

and the five special beings cast their shade,

spanning from realm to realm on tested spirit.”

EC = Angel Vigil : The Eagle on the Cactus: traditional stories from Mexico. 2000.'s+beating+heart%22&source=bl&ots=a7n5XJvRez&sig=OJ1E7eceXsWONxKaxKIcC2cQ4aU&hl=en&ei=YBS6TNHOL4O8lQfN-9zKDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=myth%20%22earth's%20beating%20heart%22&f=false

p. 686 the 1st shout : that (having echoes) by the High King

Then the high king’s cries echoed left and right.

The two cries then converted into beams,

and these two beams were pure uncounted spirits.

Each spirit was made of seven colors, each

... like the rubies from Badahsan, carnelian, coral,

turquoise, emerald, and pearls. ...

They were in six circles,

and each group had a leader and an elder.”

pp. 686-687 the 2nd shout : that by <azazi->il {cf. the panic-arousing shout by the god Pan?}

p. 686

<azazi->il “shouted

his creation of place, aeon, and spirit into being”

p. 687

<azazi->il said to the High King, “What I’ve made is more

than yours; yes, I’ve made ten times more than you. ...”

{The “ten times” may indicate a use of the 10 Spiro^t in this creating.}

p. 687 foreclosure of loan of the 2nd shout

The high king captured [<azazi>il]’s light,

saying, ‘... I withdraw the gift I loaned you ....’ ... He took

... the light he’d loaned and the creatures

that had been made with it, and from it

he made a dome of a white sea a thousand times

larger than the blue dome of the earthly sky.

He made 124,000 lamps,

flickering candles, and brightly burning lights

appear, and ... on the riverbanks

the tuba tree. ...

On the branches he created the wood pigeon,

turtledove and nightingale”.

p. 688 the 3rd shout & its echoes

The high king wanted to create more beings

and showed this, shouting his echo ahead

and behind, and when it reached the horizons

of the holy realm, everything rebounded

the echo of the two shouts, and from them

arose six tiers of spirits a thousand times

more delicate and pure. They were embellished

with pearls, corals, and rubies. A light shone

from every joint, a sun ... .

A clear moon sparkled out of its navel.”

pp. 693-694 descending of angels to below the levels of the heavenly curtains

p. 693

Then the high king commanded ...

these beings out of the fire-colored sea,

and ... the carnelian light ... . ...

He took the carnelian light ... .

He spread it under them

like earth. He made a dome of colored fire

their heaven ... .

And for another thousand years they lived

between these curtains. ...

p. 694

Then the high king said ..., ‘Remove

the covering of emerald green,

... make it earth, and then transform

the carnelian realm, now earth, into their sky ... .’ ”

p. 696 the colored seas & their names

Then the high king ... ordered

the beings out of the green sea.

He removed their violet mantle and spread

it out below them, making it the earth

under their feet. He made the violet sea

from it, decking it with a million lights

and spirits and mountains made of crystal

..., and called it paradise.

This is the fourth paradise. Three realms above

is” :

a sea colored __

a paradise named __


palace of glory

of fire

palace of dominion


palace of aeternity


palace of dominion {again!}


paradise of gardens of refuge


garden of [<adin] <eden

p. 700 Salsal the Lesser

A spirit

left Salman, they called him the lesser Salman.”

pp. 701-702 deniers in the various world-ages


in the era of __

the denier was __









Nuh. & Da>ud







the tempter”

p. 703 the Earth & mountains as orders of angels

The earth is angels

of Naqib, one step below the seven angels.

The mountains are the Najib”.

pp. 703-704 countries & islands as orders of angels

p. 703

The other six ranks ... refused

the holy gift. So he made them appear

shaped as mountains and rocks, and he transformed

them into animals ... . ...

p. 704

Then he

commanded the Naqib, ‘Make of them twelve

countries of the dark earth.’ He ordered the Najib,

Make twenty-eight islands out of your body.’ ”

pp. 704-705 clashing; origin of the sea and of clay; countries made out of the ranks of those who denied

p. 704

Suddenly the huge Salman [the Lesser] terrified them,

howled at them. And they screamed back like

a hundred thousand basins and gold bowls

clashing together. All light and spirit fled,

and from t he spread out the blue curtain.

p. 705

... The terror

of Salman turned each being into water,

and water into sea. Small particles

were clay, and seven angels made the seven

parts of the earth from their own matter.”


made __

out of __ rank


east Africa





Abu Zarr









Abu H.orayra






pp. 705-706 substances created by Salsal [the Lesser]

From matter

he made oil, sulfur, tar pitch, zak, salt,

and limestone.”

pp. 706-707 substances whereinto Salsal [the Lesser] transformed categories of the faithless


those who __ the High King

He transformed into __



fine clay

turned against


practiced soothsaying


called a traitor

mountains & rocks


called a magician

deserts of the world

called ignorant


hurled insults at


called a sorcerer




wondered who was




treated with violence




called a trickster


were boorish to


did not hold in awe the word of


called arrogant


uttered hateful things

small creatures

used stinging sarcasm

wolves & hyainas

were cruel to

swine & bears

turned the evil done to the high king

into sweet presents for themselves”


pp. 707-708 deserts; the world is rendered colorless

p. 707

God made ...

expansive deserts ... .

p. 708

Then he took away the color

of the world. Prolonged time passed without day

or darkness, when there was no time or name

or any soul across the dry cracked earth.”

p. 708 origination of vegetation; restoration of colors

vegetation and plants

were fashioned from the substance of ...

the shout of [<azazi->il].

... And then the high king chose

to regenerate the seven colors taken

from [<azazi->il].: red, black, blue, violet,

indigo blue, yellow, and white. He called

them clouds {cf. Taoist 5-colored clouds} and returned water to the streams

and rivers ... . ... And steam {Chinese c^>i (qi)}

in the spirit’s world became the angel whom

the high king consigned to the clouds.. ... .

... even now Ahriman comes with clouds

and thunder”.

p. 709 clouds from >azaz->il : clouds of the macrocosm

Each particle

of holy light sent through this cloud down to

the path of breathing is consonant

with the highest command. The cloud itself

consists of substance of [<azazi->il].

... The glow of faith’s spirit and the intelligible sun

are also hidden ... .

Clouds of the macrocosm are combined

with the light of the high king as a nude body

combines with the spirit. And the other cloud,

highest in the command, is spirit’s speech,

color of cloud, the thunder and lightning

and the moon’s rain {the moon’s rain consisting of souls, coming from the moon in order to be redincarnated in our world (according to the} are knowledge of the light.”

pp. 710-711 vegetative power within animals; waverers

p. 710

The being ... seized the vegetative power,

implanted it in hearts of animals ... . It was

eaten by the spirit of the senses. ...

The waverers were in the blue curtain ... .

... The waverers

in the seven curtains and some who testified

in each curtain were still ... . ...

p. 711

There were four thousand of them, and in rank

they made their home below the Najib angels.”

pp. 711-713 transformed into air; 999 spirits

p. 711


transformed them into air and held them firmly up in the air. {“prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Epistle to the Ephesians 2:2). This allusion is likely to be of Persian provenience; just as mention of the “whole armour of God” (5:13) is typically Bon.}

They formed pairs, two and two,

and reproduced ... . ...

p. 712

Nine hundred ninety-nine spirits stepped forward

and testified to the high god ... . ...

The spirits, sons of spirits,

he created from the lowness of believers,

the demons from the lowness of the tested. ...

p. 713

And they received the name

the tested,’ and he kept them below

the confessors of the one and only.”

Ephesians 2:2 =

p. 713 the 313 screamed; 70,000 angels

Immediately 313 of them screamed

as someone screams when thrown into a prison. .

... He made seventy thousand

angels from them, and now these waverers,

as pure, received the name of messengers”.

pp. 713-714 >iblis & his Low Ones

p. 713

Among the low ones who were called angel

... Iblis appeared. He belonged to the low ones ... .

p. 714

... Iblis

and all ... the low ones ...

all plunged into seas, and some of them

became sea creatures. They were whales, [sea-]snakes, fish,

... some Gog

and Magog”.

p. 715 knowledge by the Waverers

The angels could not comprehend, but waverers

explained the knowledge of the earth and heavens,

the names of plants and growing things, mountains

and all on earth.”

pp. 715-716 the folk of Iblis, and also the Waverers, are transformed

p. 715

The high king ... said to them,

The covering will fall off all of you –

and this is hell --- ... but you’ll linger in those tight

and black body-hugging darkest forms.’ ...

p. 716

Then the high king transformed Iblis’ people

into a form of shades, a hell of shadows

where they were fixed. But waverers he turned

into phantoms.”

pp. 716-717 Paradise & Hell; the places Waverers and for >adam

p. 716

Now, paradise is in the form of phantoms,

but hell takes on the form of those in shadow.

p. 717

... So if the body had no heart, the wavering spirit couldn’t find

existence in this form; if in the heart

there were no chambers for his blood, there would

be no place for rebuked Adam to exist.”

{“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Yremyah 17:9).}

p. 717 [male] phantoms are not to touch the bodies of female shadows

You’ll stay in paradise as phantoms,

but ... those formed of shadow ...,

beautiful women, do not touch their bodies.”

p. 718 Fat.ima & her accoutrements


is of the highest majesty that lives

in paradise.”

her __

is / are __




H.asan & Hu.sayn



Her throne is the ... seat

on which the high king ... sits

in splendor.”

p. 718 sexual reproduction in the 2nd & 3rd Heavens

After nine months, out of them

emerged another being. The snake and peacock

lived in the second and third paradise”.

p. 719 [male] spirits are sexually seduced by a goddess


appear with deep vaginas and with breasts.

The vacillators fell under the cover

of shadows, and ...

a stunning woman ... seduced them”.

pp. 719-720 the 4 conditions for humans to be close to the High King

p. 719

The first is that ... you ... testify in all the tongues [languages] ... . ...

p. 720

The second is

you recognize ... holy

and enlightened ones who know ... . ...

Third is that all of you must ... give up possessions, wealth ... . ...

The fourth is that you must not live by profit”.

pp. 721-722 spirit in the brain; the contents of Paradise; dam; word of God

p. 721

A spirit

of conviction ... is witness

to divinity ... and goes

into the brain, if it was witnessed clearly.”

Paradise is the __

of __



site of bowing


prayer-saying site

the 7 angels


the Naqib


the Najib





priestly robes








30-legged footstool





H.asan & H.usayn




the Krubin


Being of Light

direction of prayer

spiritual beings

p. 722

Everywhere you must ...

build a dam to hold back death ...,

grave sickness

and all the world’s catastrophes. ...

Believe in these words and believe in light

of the high king’s regent, Salman, who is

the word of god. For everything in heaven

and on earth also is the word of god”.

pp. 723-725 descents of divine spirits, from heavenly realms, into the human student

p. 723

The speaking spirit

of life is all alone. Then”

the spirit of __

descendeth from the __

lightning color

blue dome


moon-colored curtain

p. 723-4

retention in memory

sun-colored curtain

p. 724


violet-colored curtain

the almighty”

emerald green

the will of one who knows”

agate-colored realm


fire-colored realm

p. 725

great universal

white dome

Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer : The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala, Boston, 2003. pp. 665-725 = chapter 44 : “The Mother of Books”.

>umm >al-Kitab ‘Mother of Books” is a scripture of the H^at.t.abi sect, “belonging to the circle of ... Abu>l Khat.t.ab” which is located mainly in Tajikistan “in the Pamir and Karakorum regions”. “Closely akin to the cosmogony of the Umm al-kitab is that of another apocalypse belonging to the same tradition, the ‘Book of Shadows’ (Kitab al-az.illa). This book, in turn, forms the basis of the cosmogonical myth of the Syrian sect of the Nus.ayris or <Alawis” (MIH&Th, p. 82 ).

MIH&Th = Farhad Daftary : Mediaeval Isma<ili History and Thought. Cambridge U Pr, 1996.

Kitab al-az.illa ‘Book of Shadows’ containeth revelations from Ja<far al-S.adiq to his disciple (Sh, p. 155).

Present-day Nus.ayris ... transmit ... the Kufan ‘Book of Shadows’ ... and they appeal expressly to ... Abu ’l-Khat.t.ab.” (Sh, p. 157)

Sh = Heinz Halm : Shi<ism. 2nd edn. Edinburgh U Pr, 2004.