According to al-Dabbagh, there are many veils which separate God from His lover. The idea of veils is well known in Islamic mystical literature and is corroborated by a tradition which states that seventy veils of light and darkness separate man from God.1s9 So long as a man does not reach the station of unity, says al-Dabbagh, the veils between him and his beloved (God) are not removed. Some veils are more subtle and luminary than the others. Whenever a veil is penetrated by the lover, he strives to penetrate another, until he attains the stage of unity. The author says nothing about the character of these veils except for indicating their being luminous and stating that the last veil is the lover's seeing his own essence when contemplating his beloved. 160 In other words, the lover's awareness of himself separates him from God. Passing away from seeing his essence and passing away from this passing away ({ana' 'an al-{ana') will cause him to contemplate his beloved as he really is. Fana' 'an al-{ana' means that the lover is so absorbed in his love that he is not aware of the process of passing away from his essence. If {ana' 'an al-{ana' does not take place, the lover will contemplate his beloved in the measure which fits his perception, meaning that he will not

see the latter's perfection. There is nothing more pleasant than the perfect contemplation of the beloved. In this world it is almost impossible to attain such a stage, but if it is attained, the longing which causes worry is calmed down and man's sorrow disappears. The lover reaches a station al-Dabbagh calls ishtiyaq. Contrary to shawq, ishtiyaq brings about pure pleasure in which there is no sorrow, because the soul reaches the true contemplation of the beloved.161 The view that (ana' <an al-(ana' makes the lover 'contemplate his beloved as he really is' seems to contradict al-Dabbagh's previously mentioned view that God's perfection is infinite and hence one can never know Him. (AI-Ghazali does not express the first view.) I assume that al-Dabbagh makes a distinction between 'the contemplation of God as he really is' which applies to God as the only real entity and God's perfection which applies to His infinite attributes and acts. In Mashariq, p. 68, l. 15, al-Dabbagh points out that only God perceives His perfection.