al-Khidr, the Green Man

Idris and al-Khiḍr

Al-Khadir (right) and companion Zul-Qarnain (al-Sikandar) marvel at the sight of a salted fish that comes back to life when touched by the Water of Life
The prophets Elias and Khadir at the fountain of life, late 15th century. Folio from a khamsa (quintet) by Nizami (d. 1209); Timurid period. Opaque watercolor and silver on paper. Herat, Afghanistan, now at The Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution

The Biblical Idris is Enoch (Genesis V/23) who lived for 365 years on earth, a healer, teacher, one well versed in sciences and the arts and one whom God took unto himself. The consonants of the word Enoch, mean 'initiated'. Hebrew Hanoch means initiator or opener of the inner eye.

The Koranic Idris is al-Khiḍr who appears in Sura 18/66 (Al Kalf, The Cave), where Moses and his attendant go on a long journey to a point where two rivers met, a point to be seen even though the march would take them ages. According to revelation received by Prophet Mohammad, they meet a personage who is "one of our slaves, unto whom we had taught knowledge peculiar to us" (wa 'allalnnahu min ladunna ilmy). This phrase alone categorically asserts the transmission of theosophia or divine wisdom down the ages, through Divine Guides or Teachers as the word rusted implies in the question Moses asks him: May I follow you on the understanding that you, a rusted teach me, what you have been taught?"

What were the hallmarks of the teachings of the hanifs or illuminati?

  1. Laws of involutionary and evolutionary cycles.
  2. Laws of emanation and manifestation.
  3. Science of the heart-mind (qalb)
  4. Science of Light (hikmat al-ilraq)
  5. The spiritual communion with the hierarchial Beings.

The periodical manifestation of Light called Logos, Christ or Word in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism. Teerthamkara in Jainism, is termed qutb in Islam. Ali al Hujwiri in Khashf al Mahajab writes of such a hierarchy; "Besides the Qutb or Axis of the Universe, are three called Ifuqaba, four Awtad, seven Abrar". Ibn al-Arabi too refers to seven Abdal.

It is significant that over and over again, the Quran uses the words We, Our, Us. The sense of preservers of the cosmic order can be attributed to these words. Sura xxxvii/l64 As-Saffat, Those Who Set the Ranks, reads:

There is not one of Us but hath his known position
Lo! We, even We are They who set the ranks."

The Greeks call al-Khadir, Hormux (Hermes) the adept and Initiator into the Temple Mysteries of the Great Pyramid. Isaiah 19/2 of the old Testament refers to this Pyramid Temple as the "altar to the Lord in the middle of Egypt". Hermes, known to the Arabs as Idris, was called Enoch by the Hebrews.

The Spanish Arab historian Said of Toledo (d. 1069) said:

"Sages affirm that all antediluvian sciences originate with the first Hermes who lived in Said in upper Egypt."

Idris, Enoch, al Khiḍr and Hermes all seem to be one person. This guide al-Khiḍr initiates Moses into deeply esoteric lore. The ijnaj Ilhami, in Hadith traditions, consider al-Khadir as a holy being, mysterious and immortal whom all spiritual initiatory orders revere as the Master of the Path (Tariqa). Al-Khiḍr is often mentioned as the Green Angel Guide in Islamic writings. In fact, in Egyptian frescoes he is some times painted green with the head of an ibis.

Al-Khiḍr can most certainly be connected as the head of the ancient school of the Prophets, el-Khadoras on Mt Carmel (modern Haifa). This sacred mount in mentioned as having been handed back with endowment by Thutmose III in the 1449 B.C. documents which recorded his conquest of the region. He was a great initiate himself. Iamblichus, the Syrian philosopher, calls it the most holy of all mountains, forbidden of access to the profane. The Phophets Elijah, Elisha and Samuel are all recorded to have visited the schools for disciples at Naioth, Bethel and Jericho.

A very valuable text was among others withdrawn by the official circles of the Church from public use. It was the Apocalypse of Elias - a very sacred text of the mystic order of Nazarenes or Essenes, to which order Joseph, Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus himself belonged. Fortunately in 1893 Maspero discovered a Coptic translation of it in the monastic archives of the Brotherhood in Upper Egypt. It gave many details of the school of prophets where the ancient wisdom was imparted at Al Khador.

From Theosophy and Islam, by Theja Gunawardhana