Corbin and Massignon on the “Imam-of-one;s-own-being” by Corvus

September 2, 2006 at 12:59 pm (Uncategorized)

There is circulating among the qiyamati faction the legend of the Imam of one’s own being, a saying which comes most
directly from Peter Lamborn Wilson and his post-modern Islamic guerrilla
ontology. The Imam of one’s own being may be traced back to the work of Henry Corbin and his tawil on Imamat,
particularly in the compilation of essays entitled “Temple and Contemplation” (London, 1986) published under the aegis of the Institute for Ismaili Studies, to wit:

“To whom then does the present tawil lead us? To the Imam within, the
secret personal guide of each of us, to the rabb or lord of whom each
faithful vassal is
the knight According to our shaykh, there is an Imam Husayn within each
man: his intellect, whose divine splendour is a light that derives from
the Imam. But
this inner Imam is surrounded by enemies, and these are all the powers
of the carnal soul that issue from from the shadow of the Imam’s
enemies.” (pp.

This is not a verifiably Ismaili teaching, the author, Corbin, cites a
work by KarimKhan Kirmani, a later exponent of Shaykhithought of the
19th century.

It is msitaken to presume that Corbin relates his ideas on Imamat from a
perspective of Ismaili “doctrne”.

Corbin’s views are heterodox culling from ghulat as well as 12er and
Ismaili shiism, zoroastrianism, manichaeanism, mithraism, mandaean and other sources. Not the least of which wasCorbin’s own gnosis, and indeed
he was an arif whose understanding of Imam was sublime.

This is where the conflict between the arif and the orthodox comes in:

revisit Hallaj and the orthodoxy of Basra.

Which brings me to another topic:

Apologists assert that Hallaj spoke from a state of ecstatic loss of

In reading Massignon there is nothing t support that claim by orthodoxy.

Hallaj statements about Al Haqq were thought out deliberate and
premeditated, he spoke with a position of authority regarding the nature
of thr Divine and on more than a few occasions.

His ecstasies were the result of his sober realization of Ana ul Haqq,
his statements “ana-ul haqq” are not the result of ecstatic loss of
control and “fana” as orthodox among sufis have tried to maintain.

It is also known that Hallaj traveled extensively in India and Central
Asia and his views may also represent a synthesis of late Manichaean
thought, and Islam. This does not make them less valid since we are
admonished to “seek knowledge even in China”.

But I urge anyone who hasn’t tackled Massignon’s opus on the subject to
do so. I hope to discuss more on this topic.


1 Comment

  1. payman said,

    I agree. Hallaj was the Salman of his Ahe (Time).

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