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 Arabic Abjad numerals/hisab al-jummal (gematria)

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Brad Watson, Miami

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PostSubject: Arabic Abjad numerals/hisab al-jummal (gematria)   5/9/2013, 02:39

What is the meaning of abjad letters, especially in relation to Imam Ali?..


Concise answer

The abjad letters are the alphabet (الف ب ت...), which have been systemized based on a specific order, meaning: abjad, hūz, ḥatī, kalamn, sa'afṣ, qarasht, thakhdh, ḍaẓgh. A number has been assigned for every one of these letters, in following order:

الف 1 ب 2 ج 3 د 4 ه 5 و 6 ز 7 ح 8 ط 9 ى 10 ک 20 ل 30 م 40 ن 50 س 60 ع 70 ف 80 ص 90 ق 100 ر 200 ش 300 ت 400 ث 500 خ 600 ف 700 ض 800 ظ 900 غ 1000.

By using abjad numerals we can calculating the right number of every word, for example, 'Ali (ع ل ی) is calculated through the abjad table as so:

ع70+ ل30+ ی10 = 110.


Detailed Answer

Abjad Letters

The Abjad letters are the same letters in the alphabet(الف ب ت...), which have been systemized based on a specific order: abjad, hūz, ḥatī, kalamn, sa'afṣ, qarasht, thakhdh, ḍaẓgh.[1]

The History of Abjad Letters

Based on the latest findings (in Ra's Shamrah, north of Syria), the Urgarty manuscripts contained the oldest alphabet known to mankind. The handwriting of these inscriptions, that are similar to the cuneiform writings, stretch back to mid-second millennium before Christ. This alphabet is composed of consonants and has twenty-two letters. The first six groups of letters are the abjad letters. These letters reached Arabic through the Aramaic languages.[2]

This Aramaic order of letters is quite similar to the alphabetic order we see in the English: ابجدabcdکلمن KLMN قرشت QRST.

Abjad Letters in Hadith

In some hadith the abjad letters have been recognized as the preface of writing:

1. It has been narrated from Imam Reza (A.S.): The first thing God created for mankind to learn writing were the m'ujam letters.[3]

2. The prophet of God was once asked about the abjad letters and he said: Learn the science of interpreting abjad letters for it is sheer amazement.[4]

Abjad Numerals

A number has been assigned for every one of these letters, in following order:

الف 1 ب 2 ج 3 د 4 ه 5 و 6 ز 7 ح 8 ط 9 ى 10 ک 20 ل 30 م 40 ن 50 س 60 ع 70 ف 80 ص 90 ق 100 ر 200 ش 300 ت 400 ث 500 خ 600 ف 700 ض 800 ظ 900 غ 1000.

The abjad system of calculation is also named the calculation of sentences.[5]

By using abjad numeral we can calculating the right number of every word, for example, 'Ali (ع ل ی) is calculated through the abjad table as so:

ع70+ ل30+ ی10 = 110.

Application of Abjad Letters in Occult Sciences

During the past, the science of letters and numbers were greatly blended together, which is why spells, astronomic systems, calendars and astronomic astrology that deducted by the Babylonians and Egyptians were written in abjad form and astrolabe used the abjad order.[6]

From the perspective of many primitive sages, every letter possessed specific features and properties, which were divided according to the four elements of life and seven planets and would say that the letter is as the body and the number is as the soul.[7] This means that a certain link and connection is believed to exist between two words with the same abjad numeric value. In addition, we can combine words by calculating and converting their numeric form, in fact, this is what most of the occult sciences of letters and numbers is based on.

Science of Letters in Mysticism

Science of letters possesses a unique position in Islamic Mysticism and most mystics have written different books in this field, such as, Muḥyiddīn 'Arabī who has written several books on the science of letters, some of which are as follows:

1. Al-Durr al-Maknūnfī 'Ilm al-Ḥurūf(Treatise), 2. Miftāḥ al-Asrār (Treatise on the Science of Jafr and Letters), 3.I'nshā' al-Dawāi'r.[8]

In the treatise Al-Durr al-Maknūnfī 'Ilm al-Ḥurūf, he remarks on this science:

"God has taught Adam the I'sm A'ẓam that the whole universe complies by. Then he (Adam) taught his son, Seth, the science of letters, which was later inherited by Idris (A.S.). Idris was a messenger that had received thirty books (scriptures) from God and was given the administrator of science of letters, mysteries of wisdom, numbers and heavens and it has been said that he was the first to write a pen. He wrote a book named "Ganje Asrār (The Treasure of Secrets)" that King Tanklū and Thābit bin Qorat Ḥarrānī have written an exposition on it. And when I met him (prophet Idrīs, in a vision)I asked of these two expositions and he answered: these two expositions only cover the external layer of the book while the rest is hidden and sealed within. Then he revealed a number of unknown secrets that the no other than great mystics are aware of. The science of letters was afterwards inherited by the Harāmisah of Egypt who were forty people".[9]

In another section of the book he writes: "Imam 'Ali was the inheritor of the science of letters from God's messenger, subsequently, Imam Hussein, then Imam Zayn al-Abidin, then Imam Baqir, then Imam Sadeq. And Imam Sadeq was the one who dived within the oceans of this science and revealed its secrets and the one who spoke of the science of jafr and letters and discretely write about it and said: Our knowledge is a hidden book on a patulous sheet…that is in the possession of us, Jafr Abyaḍ, Jafr Aḥmar, Jafr Akbar and Jafr Asghar who will all accompany Imam Muḥammad Mahdi at the end of time and the Imam is the only one who knows it (science of letters) complete."[10]





[1] Sajjadi, Sayyid Ja'far, Farhange Ma'arife Islami, vol. 1, p. 27, Tehran University Press.

[2] Da'irat al-Ma'aarife Bozorge Islami, vol. 2, under the letter 'alif', Abjad, Tebyan Online Library.

[3] "عن أبی الحسن علی بن موسى الرضا (ع) قال: إن أول ما حلق الله عزّ وجلّ لیعرف به خلقه الکتابة حروف المعجم", Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p. 31, Al-Wafaa' Institute, Beirut, 1404 AH.

[4] "قال امیر المؤمنین (ع) سأل رسول الله صلى الله علیه وآله وسلم: ما تفسیر ابجد؟ فقال: تعلموا تفسیر أبجد فإن فیه الاعاجیب کلها، ویل لعالم جهل تفسیره", Ibid, vol. 2, p. 317.

[5] Farhange Ma'aarife Islami, vol. 1, p. 27.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Al-Tehrani, Mirza Abi al-Fadl, Shifaa' al-Sudur fi Sharh Ziyarat al-Ashur, p. 116, website: http://shiaonlinelibrary.com.

[8] A group of writers, Second Commemorative of Allamah Tabatabai, p. 45, The Cultural Research and Studies Institute.

[9] HasanZadeh Amoli, Hasan, Duruse Hey'at, vol. 2, p. 688, Bustan Kitab, Qum, 1378 (solar).

[10] HasanZadeh Amoli, Hasan, Uyun Masa'il al-Nafs wa Sarh al-Uyun fi Sharh al-Uyun, p. 778, Amir Kabir, Tehran, 1385 (solar).
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Arabic Abjad numerals/hisab al-jummal (gematria)

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