The power of words
DOI link for The power of words
The power of words book
Al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī’s mystical linguistics and his ‘science of the Holy Men’ (ʿilm al-awliyāʾ) are intertwined. Wilāya is bound up with the inner ‘seeing’ of words and names. By means of ‘seeing’, the walī gains knowledge to the essences of all existing ‘things’ and this knowledge empowers the words that he pronounces. For the walī, ‘knowing’ is contingent on his state of being: he is, therefore, he knows; the higher he is, the clearer and purer his knowledge becomes. Equally, the purer his knowledge, the more potent the words he employs. For al-Tirmidhī, language is part of the divine order by which human cognition is enabled. Words are not human constructs, but God-given. The ‘word’ that names a thing is inherently linked to its ‘essence’; hence, to know the ‘name’ of a thing is to know the thing itself. The process, or ritual, by which words become empowered involves the coordination of bodily, psychic, mental and spiritual faculties. Sounds and letters are containers of subtle, super-sensory ‘lights’. Inner ‘seeing’ of these lights empowers language: when a word is ‘seen’, its inner ‘lights’ become empowered: it ‘ascends’ to God to be pronounced in front of God’s Throne. Empowered language attracts God’s response, blessing and healing.