Forty Questions

Q.6. What is the ta’wīl of the blessed Olive Tree and its oil?

ANS: It has many ta’wīls which have the same aim and intent. One of them, which is easier to understand, is that it stands for the personality of the Imām of the time, and by its blessings are meant the benefits which, not only the mu’mins, but the entire mankind receive from the Imām [in the form of His esoteric knowledge]. By the oil is meant his holy spirit, which transforms into the flame of his Universal Intellect. The tree of this subtle personality belongs neither to the east nor to the west. That is to say, it (i.e. Imāmat) has neither a beginning nor an end, but it continues from eternity.