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{ سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلاثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْماً بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ فَلاَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَآءً ظَاهِراً وَلاَ تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِمْ مِّنْهُمْ أَحَداً }

They will say, namely, the exotericists from among the People of the Book and the Muslims, those who have no [real] knowledge of [such] truths - and His saying 'guessing at random' (rajman bi'l-ghayb) means: throwing random guesses at what is unseen to them, in other words, out of speculation completely devoid of certainty, after where they say 'Three; their dog the fourth of them', and 'Five; their dog the sixth of them': the interpositioning of the wāw ('and') that indicates that the adjectival qualification combines inseparably with the qualified [noun] and that there is no [possible] number beyond between His words, And they will say, 'Seven, and their dog the eighth of them', and His words and none knows them except a few' afterwards is proof that the true [number] was seven and nothing else. The 'few' are the verifiers whose opinion is that [they were seven]. If we were to interpret them as representing the spiritual faculties, then they will be the following: 1) The twin faculty of reason, the considerative and the cognitive; 2) reflection; 3) estimation; 4) imagination; 5) memory; 6) the sensus communis, called 'fantasia'; and 7) the dog representing the soul and the spirit in both interpretations. That explains what has been related from the Commander of the Believers [ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib], peace be upon him, where he said, 'They were seven, three [seated] to the right of the king and three [seated] to his left, with the seventh being the shepherd, the very owner of the dog'. If this report is sound, then that King was Decius, representing the [evil-] commanding soul; the three [seated] to his right with whom he would consult were the two rational faculties in addition to [the faculty of] reflection; the three [seated] to his left to whom he would delegate affairs (istawzara) were the imagination, estimation and memory; the shepherd was 'fantasia' the owner of the sheep of the senses. As for those who said that they [the sleepers] had been three, they intended the heart and the two rational faculties. As for those who said that they had been five, added to these [three] the faculties of reflection and estimation and left out the [faculty that is the] perceiver of forms and that of memory on account of their lack of [the power of] free disposal (taṣarruf) and each of the two functioning as a storage place.