Sufi planetary magic


I present here a selection of Sufi magical lore and rites, translated by myself from the Spanish edition of the Shamsu l-Ma'arif, arguably the most important Islamic magical text ever written. I have not experimented with these techniques, and have little familiarity with Sufism generally, but my curiosity impelled me to translate some of the text's methods of planetary theurgy. Despite not practicing this tradition, I can attest to the tremendous power inherent in long, continuous recitation of Names, which is a recurrent method in Sufism, and which I apply to the traditions I practice.

The Shamsu l-Ma'arif has its own rich collection of planetary magic squares, which differ from the more common Qameas we use in the west. The selections I have published here involve the use of particular titles of God in conjunction with different planets for various uses, as well as specific letter & number squares to be used as talismans to produce the intended effects - in some instances, two different squares are given instead of one. These sections include a commentary on the numerical derivations & values of the names, and their relations to the squares, a Sufi equivalent of Gematria; some of these are obscure. 

The first section below is a small summary of the virtues & correspondences of the 7 planets, followed by selected techniques covering all of them, and finally a list of angels and beneficent Djinn who rule the planets. The page numbers refer to the ones in the Spanish translation, so the reader can verify it for comparison.

J. P. F.

On the qualities of the planets (p. 65)

Know that the Moon is feminine, cold and phlegmatic in nature, though she partakes of an accidental heat, seeing as her light derives from the Sun. She governs the spleen and lung, and is a minor benefic.

Mercury is masculine and feminine, sometimes fortunate and other times malefic, and within its nature are heat and cold equilibrated. Its domain is over speech and writing.

Venus is mingled feminine, auspicious in nature, cold and moist, and her natural humour is phlegm. She governs the sexual organs and joints. Unto her belong passion, the tresses of the (bride’s) crown, the harmony of melodies, song, merriment and laughter.

The Sun is masculine, warm, dry and has yellow bile. He is benefic in aspect, malefic in opposition. His metal is gold, his rulership is over the heart and he exudes nobility, greatness, jubilation, joy and power.

Mars is feminine, warm, dry and malefic, having yellow bile; his metal is iron and his taste is bitter. His rulership is over the head and stomach, he (brings forth) deadly illness, death, and enfeebles women during pregnancy.

Jupiter is masculine, temperate, spiritual (ruhâni) aerial, auspicious, and partakes of blood [as his natural humour]. His metal is tin, his taste is pleasant and his colour is white. His dominion is over the pneuma that dwells in the heart. Unto him belong offerings, devotion, greatness and dominion.

And Saturn is masculine, cold, dry, malefic, has black bile and his metal is lead. His taste is bitter and his colour black. He governs the testicles and to him belong valour, isolation, oneness, subjection and predestination.

Names and operations of the Seven planets

Bâ‘ith (باعث), ‘the one who resurrects’, a name used with Saturn (p. 353)

Whoever engraves this name on a leaden plate on the first hour of Saturday, then utters it 4100 times, whilst gazing intently upon its written form, and then says ‘O Saturn, I command thee to perform such and such’ shall see it accomplished quickly, through the grace of God, blessed be he!

This is its magic square

It contains the number 573, wherein the letters ‘ayin and thâ’ remain static, while the bâ’ of the cause (as-sabab) is received by alif, which is the origin of causes, so that jim arises, symbolizing the union (al-jam‘) and unification between the causer and the caused. It is an odd and imperfect number when its components are added up, 195, a number equivalent to his name ‘Sincere’ (ṣâdiq) and ‘Lord of Lords’ (Mawlâ al-mawâli)

Quddûs, ‘holy’, a name of Jupiter (307)

This Name is of great value. Whoever recites it continuously, such that they reach a spiritual state thereby (i.e. a trance), shall be freed by God from any reprehensible desire. It is to be harmoniously arranged  into a numeric ternary magic square, which shall be inserted in a quaternary magic letter square, to be written when Jupiter is exalted; thus will God transmute whatever degenerate conduct its wearer may have into a praiseworthy one, he shall be loved and honoured by creatures, and God will ascribe praise unto him in (various) tongues.

Its recitation is beneficial for whomever is named ‘Abd al-Quddûs (‘Servant of Quddus’), as well as for those named Iṣḥâq.

Its pronounced value is 174, while its written letters are 170. It is a recondite secret, and one of the most excellent names in all aspects.

Concerning the number [174] of its pronunciation, it is an even number of an odd one (?), elongated, concentric and abundant, (constituted) by adding its dividers as 176 (186 is the actual value of the dividers), which is equivalent to His Name ‘Immense’ (Mawsi ').

As for the number [170] of its written value, it is also an abundant one as its dividers add up to  1912, equivalent to His Name of 'Benefactor' (Mannán). The names of their letters total 3493, and this relates to two noble Names, 'Deity' (Ilah) and 'Vigilant' (Raqīb). Its magic square is as follows. Be careful of it, for it is a recondite secret:

‘Azîz (عزيز‎), a name of Mars.  p. 311

This is a name of great value, having a magic square of 4 x 4, wherein nevertheless it is possible to apply the secret of the harmonious insertion (?) since the letter Zây is repeated in it. Whoever engraves it whilst Mars is exalted acquires power over the enemies of God, exalted be He, by uttering it ceaselessly.

Whoever fears to beseech aid from any princes, or to abase himself before them to ask for aught of need, let him recite it continuously, for thus does God ease his desires, without the need to subject himself before anyone. To the one who continually utters His Name Al-‘Azīz, God fortifies him after he humbles himself, and grants him solace from his fear.

Its utterance is beneficial for whomever is called ‘Abd al-‘Azîz. And to those who know its secret, God beautifies them inwardly with might. Do you not see that this Name alludes to His Name Yâ Jamīl, including the letter of the vocative? And it contains the number 94, which is an even number of an odd one, elongated and defective by adding its dividers to 50, which alludes to the letter nūn, which is the centre of all occult science and visible gifts, whereby all humble themselves and ask for what is of need. And because of the Almighty’s dominion over what is visible and hidden, its number is double that of the value of 'the Governor' (al-Waliy), for governance (wilâya) firstly appertains unto the hidden, and secondly to what is visible. The names of their letters add up to 178, a number that alludes to two glorious Names: ‘King’ (Malik) and ‘Wise’ (akîm). And this is its magic square:

Jabbâr (‘almighty’), a name of Mars.  p. 312

Whoever employs his splendorous Name shall gain the respect of everyone on whom he lays his eyes, even making them unable to withstand his gaze. It has a magic square of 4 x 4 that is composed through the secret of the  harmonious insertion (?) when Mars is exalted. Its bearer shall be respected by all people, and everyone who comes upon him shall submit, his will becoming their own. Its utterance is indicated for whomever bears the name of  ‘Abd al-Jabbâr and also Mûsa.

It has the number 208 as its pronounced value, and 206 is that of its written letters. The first of the numbers is even of the even (?), whose odd number results from multiplying an irrational number - 13 by 16, which is the quadruple of four. [208] is an abundant number whose dividers total 226, alluding to His Name of 'the Truthful One' (as-Sâdiq), including the definite article, because of conformity with the best of the two hypotheses which resides in the Good (?). (...)

Know - may God aid us in obedience! -  that whoever undertakes its utterance until reaching a spiritual (trance) state thereby, then engraves it on a copper plate and takes it to the home of an evildoer, it shall be destroyed. Keep in mind that it is particularly useful for kings, who, by reciting it continuously, shall be feared by all who would seek to rival them.

And whoever writes His Name ‘the Almighty’ (al-Jabbār) and 'Lord of majesty and  magnanimity' (Dhū-l-jalāl wa-l-ikrām) on a leaf whenever they please, and being ritually pure, placing it under his head [i.e. underneath one’s headdress] when he sits among people, God will magnify him in the eyes of others. Its magic square is as follows:

The names of its letters total 368, which is the sum of two glorious Names: 'Victorious' (Qāhir) and 'Hidden (Bâṭin).

Nûr (‘light’), a solar name.  p. 393

Whoever continuously recites this eminent name of God, exalted be He, will enlighten his heart. Its square is of great value; it must be composed when the Sun is at its height, for it bestows eternal power.

The one who harmonizes His Names ‘Efficacious’ (Nāfi' - نافع) and ‘Light’ (Nûr), into a square shall behold wondrous things related to the mystery of the nurturing of inner Life and external Sovereignty.

It contains the number 256, and it is one of the noble Names whose letters are consolidated in the numerical degrees of the total number to which it is equal. It is an even of an even number, cubic (4x4x4x4= 256) and defective with respect to its foundation by a single digit. It is equivalent to the name of Jabrā'īl (Gabriel), peace be upon him, and to His Name of 'Eternal' (Dā'im) 'Benefactor' (Mun'im). And the names of their letters are equivalent to His Name of ‘the Creator’ (al-Fāṭir).

Abū 'Abd Allāh al-Tarā'ifī, may God bear him in His glory, said: if one finds himself perplexed by a certain matter, such that he is unable to discern what is correct from what is not, or if he is lost, and recites the Name the number of times of the numerical value of its letters with sincere intention, God, exalted be He, will show him the way and guide him towards what is right.

Zayn ad-Dīn al-Kāfī, may God bear him in His glory, said: To whomever recites it continuously, God will make him shine inwardly and illuminate him without; and if he is endowed with a sincere spiritual condition, God will enkindle the Light in his heart, for in its utterance are to be found secrets for the masters of the first spiritual degrees, and (also) in its utterance are found lights proper to those who possess higher spiritual degrees.

And whoever recites it in a darkened dwelling, eyes closed, until they are seized by a spiritual (trance) state, they shall experience wondrous lights filling their heart. It is a noble Name whose utterance is indicated for the masters of visionary revelations (i.e. magicians who engage in astral or visionary work). It has a square of magnificent power known to the pure of heart, which is the following:

And if His name of ‘Innovative’ (al-Badī‘; البديع), is added to it, and the person recites them while fasting and in a state of inner purity until attaining a spiritual (trance) state, they can forgo the need for the light of a lamp. And it is an utterance recommended for the masters of mystic intuition. God is wise.

A Venusian spell with the name Raḥīm (‘merciful one’).  p. 79

If you engrave the blessed Name ar-Raḥīm on seven almonds with a brass needle, on Friday in the hour of Venus, which is the first one at sunrise, and after engraving it with its numerical value (289) on those almonds you give them to eat to whomever you desire, that person shall love you more than any other.

A Venusian protective spell. P 122

Whoever writes His Name of ‘the Living One’ (al-Ḥayy - الحى), exalted be it, 120 times on the door of a house, with Venus being exalted, whoever lives in it shall be protected from unfortunate accidents, God willing, exalted be He.

The Venusian Name al-Ḥasîb, ‘the reckoner’ (حسيب), and its uses. P 341

Whoever continuously recites this eminent name shall ever benefit from sustenance, his problems shall be resolved, his supplications attended to, and all that he beseeches of God shall be granted, for therein is an allusion to God’s Supreme Name. And if an accountant recites it ceaselessly, he shall never err in his results, and his calculations shall be exact. And whoever fears the verdict of the ‘evaluation’ (i.e. the judgment of one’s deeds by God), if he recites it continuously, God will free him from that chastisement that he fears, by virtue of the blessing of this exalted Name and of this recondite secret.

Shaikh Zayn ad-Din said:
God be merciful unto him, for whoever places this noble Name in a square of 4 x 4 by the secret of the harmonious insertion - Venus being in her exaltation, or in the first hour of Friday - on an agate stone, then sets the stone in a ring and recites the Name twenty times daily over it, whenever a person sees him, they shall love him, God will compel them to obey him and cause their heart to be well disposed towards him, for within this Name there dwells an extraordinary secret for acquiring magnificence, respect, tact and solemnity. This is its image:

It has the number 80, being one of the Simple Names, ‘simple’ referring to those Names whose numerical value equals that of a single letter, such as this Name which equals the letter , for the foundation of the one who calculates is union or addition and inclusion, and it it entails the exact enumeration of the scattered parts of a set through its absolute perception (?). And it only equals the for the calculation (al-ḥasb) is the extreme that separates the exact ones from those which differ, since the calculation excludes the disagreement in the estimate. And this Name also partakes of the meaning of 'Who is Sufficient (al-Kāfī) two, for sufficiency is the extreme that separates the one who is satisfied from whoever is self-sufficient.

The Mercurial name Khabîr (‘all-aware; sagacious’) خبير. P 332

This lofty Name and resplendent secret is exceedingly useful for those who desire to know the concealed facet of any subject, this being revealed in their dreams or during their vigil (?). And whoever harmonizes it within a magical square while Mercury is exalted, will uncover magnificent subjects.

Know that whoever undertakes its recitation for seven days, shall attain contact with a spiritual force that will reveal unto them all they desire, such as what took place in that year, the news that relates to the king, or those hidden things which no one knows.

It has the number 812, which is an even number of an odd one, and it is abundant when its dividers are added up, 868, a number equivalent to two glorious Names: 'Creator' (Khāliq) and ‘Immense one’ (Wāsi‘), for no one knows the veritable reality of things, save God, Who covers them all in knowledge and Who created them, lest they be ignorant of Who created them and that is the Subtle, and the Sagacious one. The names of its letters total 820, a number that alludes to His Names ‘Last one’ (Ākhir) and ‘Unique one’ (Wāḥid). As to its magic square, this is its likeness as you can see:

The Lunar Name Ḥalîm, ‘the forbearing one’ (حليم), and its uses. P 333

Whoever utters this sublimely essential Name before a powerful person who is wroth, it will abate their anger, as any other irate person.

And whosoever composes it in a square when the Moon is exalted, and carries it, their character shall become benevolent, their soul ennobled, people will desire their friendship, and they shall be safe from evils and worry in hard times.

This is one of the Names whose value only the wise ones can fathom. And whoever undertakes its constant recitation shall obtain whatever they desire through persuasion. It contains the number 88, which is an even of an even one, and of an even of an odd one (?), and is one of the abundant numbers by adding their dividers, 92, a number that equals His Name of ‘safety’ (al-Amān). That is one of the Names to which Muhammad ascribed special importance, and that is why he is the source of safety (amâna) of his companions in this life and the next. And it is furthermore the source of peace for his people in this life, therefore his plea unto God was: “My God, guide my people, for they do not know”. And that is the reason why the name of the prophet is equivalent, in the value of its written letters, to His Name Amān.

The names of the letters of His Name Ḥalîm are equivalent to two numbers depending on the value ascribed thereto: [counting the hamza] they total 183, which is equivalent to His Name ‘Who perpetuates’ (al-mubqî) including the definite article. According to the second criterion, they add up to 181, which is equivalent to His Name ‘the Knower’ (al-‘Alīm) with the definite article, as well as to His Name ‘Uniter’ (Mu’allif) without it.
And it has a magic square of great power (lit. ‘great heat’), whose arrangement is thus:

The planetary angels & Djinn. Page 201

Sunday belongs to the Sun, his servant angel is Rūqiyā'īl and over the terrestrial ones (perhaps the sublunar spirits) King Mudhib. Monday belongs to the Moon, its servient angel is Jabrā'īl and that of the terrestrial ones is king Al-Abyaḍ. Tuesday belongs to Mars, its angelic servant is Samsamā'īl and of the terrestrial ones it is King al-Amar. Wednesday belongs to Mercury, its heavenly servant is Mīkā'īl and that of the terrestrial ones is Burqān. Thursday is Jupiter, whose servant is Ṣarfiyā'īl, and of the terrestrial ones it is the angel Šamhûraš. Friday belongs to  Venus, its heavenly servant is Ayniyā'īl, and of the terrestrial ones it is the angel Zūb'ah. And Saturday belongs to Mīmūn, meaning Saturn; its servant is Kasfiyā'īl and that of the terrestrial kings is Abāfūkh.  

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