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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The Arabic word waswasah (pl. wasawis) means the jingle of an ornament, to speak softly, to speak nonesense, and evil suggestion occurring in heart. In Arabic, the tempting sound is also called waswas.

It must be known that Jibrail (B) brought God's (A) message to the Prophet (C), and this communication is called the wahy. If (A) happens to be not God but Shaitan (devil, demon), then the communication is not called wahy, but waswasah (whispering), vide Koran, 7:19 and 114:5-6.

Waswasah is contained as a small sector within the larger field of wahy. This is shown by the fact that the Koran uses sometimes the verb awha (wahy) exactly in the particular sense of waswasah: "Likewise We have appointed to each one of the Prophets an enemy (demon), whether of humankind or jinn, who inspire (yuhi) in one another words adorned with false embellishments, beguiling one another" (6:112), and "Verily, the demons are inspiring (yuhuna) their companions to dispute with you" (6:121)

In the Koranic conception, the human soul itself plays sometimes the role of shaitan: "We created man, and We know what his soul whispers (tuwaswisu from waswasah" (50:15).

Usually in cases like this, the word connotes something mysterious, said in a low, whispering tone, which deranges and agitates the mind and puts into it an alluring temptation.

It is to be noted that the heart is a subtle reality that is interjacent to the realms of mulk and malakut, the realms of the world and the hereafter. One of its aspects faces the realm of mulk (the mundane) world and it is with this aspect that it pursues the corporeal aspect of life. The other aspect faces the realm of hereafter, malakut, and with that it pursues its spiritual life. Hence the heart is like two-faced mirror. The mundane forms find their reflection in the outward senses and some of the inner cognitive faculties, such as khayal and wahm. The hereafterly forms find their reflection in the inward intellect and the inner core of the heart. Should the worldly aspect of the heart preponderate and its attention be wholly absorbed by the pursuit of the mundane, becoming its sole concern, the hidden side of khiyal becomes attuned to the realm of lower malakut (malakut-e-sufla), which is the dark reflected image of the world of mulk and corporeal nature (in the realm of malakut)

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