the seed of one another, in terms of religion and in reality, since generation by birth [read: wilādaḍ] are of two types, formal and spiritual. Every prophet is a successor to another prophet in terms of the affirmation of Oneness, gnosis and what relates to the esoteric principles of religion and is as such that [other] prophet's son, similar to the [case of] sons of [Sufi] shaykhs in our times. As they say, you have three fathers, a father that has given birth to you, a father that has nurtured you and a father that has given you knowledge. So just as the existence of the body in the formal birth is generated within the womb of the mother from the seminal infusion of the father, so the existence of the heart in the true birth becomes manifest within the womb of the preparedness of the soul [generated] by the [spiritual] infusion of the shaykh or teacher; it is to this [latter] birth that Jesus, peace be upon him, alluded in his saying: 'He who has not been born again shall not enter the kingdom of heaven' [cf. John 3:3]. Know then that spiritual birth mostly ensues from the formal one by procreation, which is why outwardly prophets were also the progeny and the fruit of a single tree: ʿImrān son of Yaṣhur, father of Moses and Aaron, was a descendant of Levi son of Jacob son of Isaac son of Abraham; and ʿImrān son of Māthān, father of Mary mother of Jesus, was a descendant of Judah son of Jacob. It is also well known that Muḥammad, blessings and peace be upon him, was a descendant of Ishmael son of Abraham, and that Abraham was [a descendant] of Noah, peace be upon him. The reason for [all of that] is that in terms of purity and impurity the spirit corresponds to the constitution in terms of equitability or lack of it at the moment of engenderment. For every spirit there is a corresponding constitution that is specific to it, since the [divine] effusion arrives in proportion to the correspondence and the varying quality of spirits from pre-eternity according to their kinds and levels in terms of proximity or distance [from the divine]. Hence constitutions vary accordingly in sempiternity so that they are connected to these [spirits].