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The Ismaili Version of the 'Fall'

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  • The Ismaili Version of the 'Fall'

    Quotes drawn from a posting on an Ismaili yahoo group,

    "Notice particularly that the universe proper begins
    with the First Emanation (Second Intelligence); this
    is important for the Ismaili doctrine of the Fall,
    discussed below.

    Each level is a world of its own, peopled by Forms of
    light (or archangels). The universe is thus conceived
    of as a hierarchy of spiritual planes, each with its
    appropriate denizens
    . (There is nothing as yet in this
    scheme about our physical world. To account for the
    existence of this the Ismailis, as we shall see in a
    moment, invoked the doctrine of the Fall.)

    For each level of the hierarchy, the one above
    represents a boundary which it would be impious to
    attempt to cross.
    Divinity lies always on a higher
    plane, and longing for union with the Divine tends to
    draw beings always upwards, towards the Source....

    The Ismaili version of the Fall

    The Ismaili version of the Fall is quite different
    from that which most Christians are familiar with (and
    which derives ultimately from St Augustine). Before
    time began, the Ismailis say, the First Intelligence
    issued a Proclamation or Summons to all the Forms of
    Light that occupied the various levels of the
    hierarchy. The word used for this Summons (davat) is
    important, because it is also applied to the Ismaili
    preaching on earth, which is thus regarded as a
    reflection or copy of the archetypal Summons in
    heaven. (The word is still in common use in modern
    Persian to mean simply “invitation.”) The Universal
    Soul - the First Emanation - obeyed the Divine
    Invitation, but the Chief Archangel of the Second
    Level (the Third Intelligence) became confused in some
    way and refused. The exact reason for his refusal is
    unclear, but according to H. Corbin it was a failure
    to recognize the “boundary” constituted by the
    Universal Soul above him; this failure led him to try
    to reach God directly,
    which amounted to thinking that
    he himself was divine. His “sin” seems in fact to have
    been an error in theology. As a result of his mistake
    he was relegated from the second rank to the lowest of
    all, the tenth, while all the others moved one step
    up. (Notice that the interval from the Third
    Intelligence to the Tenth Intelligence is seven, the
    Ismaili mystic number.)

    The erring archangel did not fall alone. With him at
    the second rank had been a number of other beings, and
    they fell into the same trap as he, misled by his bad
    example, so they had to accompany him to the tenth
    level. Realizing his mistake too late, the fallen
    archangel told his companions that the only way they
    could regain their former station was by following his
    orders and obeying the Intelligences whom they now
    found above them
    . Perhaps not unreasonably, most of
    them refused to listen to him, and the most
    recalcitrant of all went so far as to incite
    rebellion. This was the future Satan. “The archangel,”
    he said, “has brought all this trouble on us; we
    merely did what he did himself. Now that he has landed
    us in this mess he wants to drag us into something
    even worse.” Most of the other Beings agreed with him,
    but some rejected his arguments and others were
    uncertain what to do. The brilliance of those who
    rejected the archangel’s authority became darkened and
    they were plunged into ignorance.

    Realizing that if they remained as purely spiritual
    beings they would never be able to extricate
    themselves from their confusion
    , the archangel
    determined on a plan to liberate them. He made himself
    the Demiurge (a kind of minor creating deity) and
    created the material world to serve as the means by
    which these beings could regain their former status
    and enlightenment. It seems that the inertia of the
    material world is in some way necessary for
    redemption, rather as the presence of the atmosphere
    is necessary for the flight of a bird or an aircraft
    even though it is also a source of resistance that has
    to be overcome.

    Were it not for the Fall, then, the material world
    would not exist. We could almost say that the material
    world is a collective illusion produced by our
    distorted vision. Rashid al-Din Sinan, the great
    Nizari chief in Syria during the period of the
    Resurrection, is quoted as saying: “Were it not for
    our passionate attachment to material things, there
    would exist God and nothing but God.” This doesn’t
    merely mean that we fail to see God because we are
    attached to the pleasures of this world. Sinan’s point
    is more radical: the very existence of the world is
    due to our ignorance of our own true nature, which is

    The former archangel of the second level, now become
    the Demiurge of our world, is the Celestial Adam, of
    whom the various Terrestrial Adams (for there are many
    such in the Ismaili scheme) are copies or reflections.

    The Celestial Adam’s companions were overcome by panic
    when they found themselves being overtaken by the
    darkness of the material world that Adam had created.
    They felt themselves to be drowning in matter, and
    from the struggles they made to resist being
    overwhelmed came the three dimensions of space. The
    densest material occupied the centre, while the
    substances of lesser density took up their relative
    positions as the various spheres of the Ptolemaic
    universe, which thus consists of eleven concentric
    layers. The earth is at the centre, and is surrounded
    by a shell of air; together these make up the lower,
    sublunary, world, which also contains the infernal
    regions. This is the realm of change and decay.
    Outside the earth come the nine celestial spheres: the
    seven “planets” (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars,
    Jupiter, Saturn), the sphere of the fixed stars (the
    Zodiac), and finally the outer enclosing sphere. Each
    of the celestial spheres is under the tutelage of one
    of the Emanations.

    Within this great concept of the universe as the means
    by which the cosmic return is to be effected, human
    life finds its meaning and purpose. We, indeed, are at
    the heart of the process of return, for we are the
    fallen Adam’s companions.
    Moreover, every creature,
    indeed every created thing, is part of this process,
    and the world will endure until everything has
    returned to the Source. There is an interesting
    similarity here to the Mahayana Buddhist idea that all
    sentient creatures must eventually gain enlightenment,
    but the Ismaili position is even more radical, for
    even the mineral kingdom seems to be included. Thus we
    find the great Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, who may
    have been influenced by Ismaili ideas, saying that he
    has died and been reborn successively as a mineral, a
    vegetable, an animal, and a man; why, then, should he
    fear to die again, since he will be reborn at a still
    higher level?

    Human beings are midway between the material and the
    celestial worlds, and our nature partakes of both of
    these. Our animal nature draws us downwards, towards
    hell, while our souls incline upwards, towards heaven.
    This is why animals walk on all fours, with bent
    backs, while plants - even worse - have roots that
    actually penetrate the earth. Man, on the other hand,
    walks upright. (Birds, presumably, should be even more
    enlightened than men, but the Ismailis don’t seem to
    have drawn this inference.)

    Man’s relationship to the other inhabitants of the
    earth is a reflection of the relationship of the
    Universal Soul to the rest of creation: that is, man
    (the microcosm) is the universe (the macrocosm) writ
    small. The Universal Soul governs the universe; Man,
    likewise, commands the creatures of the material
    world. By the same token he is responsible for their
    welfare and enlightenment. For the Ismailis,
    everything interlocks, and every level reflects the
    others. Ismailism thus accords well with modern
    notions of the ecological significance of human

    The Ismailis had a detailed explanation of the way in
    which the cosmic return is even now being
    accomplished. This process came about, they believed,
    in a cyclical manner, through the agency of prophets
    and their helpers. The first prophet was the first
    Terrestrial Adam, who was generated by cosmic forces.
    As the earth developed, it was acted upon by the
    various celestial spheres which enclosed it. Each
    sphere exerted its influence for a thousand years,
    until at the beginning of the seventh cycle the Moon
    brought into existence the first human being and his
    companions. (This is a good example of the Ismaili
    principle of esoteric interpretation, here applied to
    the seven days of creation specified in Genesis.)

    The first Terrestrial Adam appeared in Ceylon, and he
    had twenty-seven companions, who were the
    manifestations on the material level of those Forms of
    Light who received the Celestial Adam’s preaching

    The first Terrestrial Adam had many of the qualities
    of his celestial counterpart: he was sinless and
    perfect, and he transmitted these qualities to all the
    later Imams.
    During his rule men lived in Paradise and
    saw spiritual truths directly, not through the wall of
    symbolism as at present. He sent twelve of his
    companions to the various parts of the world, and
    inaugurated the series of historical cycles which has
    continued ever since.

    When he appointed his successor, the first Terrestrial
    Adam went to the Tenth Level to replace the original
    Celestial Adam, who now moved on level up. (It is not
    clear what happened to the occupants of the Third
    Level; there seems to be nowhere for them to go.) This
    celestial game of Musical Chairs will continue until
    the whole cosmic situation is restored to its original

    The first Terrestrial Adam was, as I have said, merely
    the first of many subsequent Adams.

    I hope this is provocative enough. I though it might be interesting to draw parallels between the Ismaili narrative and the revelations of Dr. Dahesh. My guess is that the Druze and the Alawites (Nusayris) share huge swaths of this narrative as well since their origins are the Ismaili Shi'a.
    "Call me late, just don't call me late for dinner."-Checker Flag Bubba

  • #2
    I did a search for "Archangel" on Daheshville

    (I only edited one word — Sayyal — and replaced it with "Spiritual Fluid")

    Adam and Eve
    What we know about them is totally Revealed. But it is not yet published in Arabic. The following is an outline:

    A host of angels and supreme beings led by the Archangel attempted to trespass a forbidden Heavenly Realm. God, immediately, punished them by aggregating them into one Being that fell down from the Worlds of Paradise onto Earth, i.e., the threshold of Hell. That was Adam. He incarnated on Earth like a Personality, but God made him subjected to the natural laws of Earth, to which a Personality of Dr. Dahesh or Jesus Christ is not. Adam was not born. However God’s Mercy put him in a look-alike paradise on the First Level. Adam, who would be the first in the new Genesis, passed one thousand years lonely. A Spiritual Fluid kept the Garden of Eden out of sight of humans and humanoids who were living in that time.

    After that, Eve was created. She incarnated likewise. She was not born from a woman. Her Spiritual Fluids (force of life and consciousness) were part of Adam. In God’s plan, they had to overcome a temptation (an intercourse between them, not between Eve and other creature), after which they would return to their Worlds of Paradise. However, they failed. Having known of their Second Fall before its happening, a Sayyal of Christ that was in the 150th Level of the Worlds of Paradise decided to redeem them.

    Then we have this summary I put together based on a document in my possession (a photocopy of 8 hand-written pages from a manuscript by Doctor Dahesh. )

    Given the importance of this story (after all, it is THE story of our existence) I probably should transcribe it (in Arabic) and translate it. With the DTE issue temporarily on hold on account of our causing his web sites to be taken off the air, this might be as good a time as any to undergo this project — now that "whale season" is on hold. That or weave baskets...
    Last edited by Daheshville; 08-30-2022, 01:16 PM.
    "Fail, to succeed."