Living holy men wold seem to command the greatest respect by ordinary Muslims, possessing inherited or innate charisma. By the wisdom they show or the miraculous deeds they do, their unique qualities come to be acclaimed by those who know them.
Ordinary mortals also make up part of the world of tangible ‘being’, though a strong distinction made between believer and infidel. A difference in spiritual quality and aptitude made between the two sexes.
Animals included in this category of tangible or empirical ‘being’. Horses are a protected species by virtue of their association with the winged Buraq, who features in the story of Muhammad’s visit to Jerusalem and ascension into the heavens.
Certain natural products considered to have a life of their own – hence the view of nature differs considerably from the standard Western one.The respectful treatment given by ordinary Muslims to bread is significant and exemplary of this view of nature.
The souls of the recently dead seen as present or near at hand, both initially after death and then at certain recognized intervals, or on special festival days of the Islamic year. A well-known proverb asserts that the ancestor-spirits feast on the Quran just as the living feed on the meat set before them.
The concept of qarina, or a double of the human person, is another expression of ‘being’ in the trans-empirical realm. That double seen as responsible for a variety of occurrences in the life of a human being.
Named jinn, such as the Moroccan Aisha Qandisha or the Iranian Al, show another powerful form of ‘life’. Description of a man as being ‘married’ to a jinniya is not uncommon – in some rarer instances, women are held so that male jinn can captured them. Unnamed jinn make up another genus of ‘being’. All sorts of harm attributed to the activities of jinn, whose existence finds authentication in the Quran itself – many Muslims wear a protective device on their account.
Ancestor-spirits acknowledged as ‘beings’ who exert powerful ‘rights’ over specific places – prayed to as mediators and feared as ruling spirits who are themselves dependent for power on their place in a hierarchy.
A specialized species of trans-empirical ‘life’ is discovered in the zar spirits and their equivalents. They are a powerful species of ‘life’ in the world of ordinary Muslims.
Deceased saints offer another potent form of ‘being’ in the view of ordinary Muslims. The Muslim world, both urban and rural, is comprehensibly filled with saints’ shrines.
Prophets, apostles and messengers are also seen as strong personalities in the trans-empirical world of ‘being’. Veneration of Muhammad, including his relics and artifacts, is high on the agenda of religious devotion for multitudes of Muslims.
Led by Iblis, devils compromise a further class of ‘being’ and are always evil. This type of devil seen as a very strong personality among Egyptian Muslims and appeasing such devils, especially at times of vulnerability (particularly childbirth), is common practice in many communities.
Other concepts of ‘being’, also trans-empirical, make up the rest of the ordinary Muslim’s worldview. The ranks of angelic beings, dwelling in the heavens and closer to God, offer the ordinary Muslim the hope of benefactors, mediators, and intercessors with a remote Lord.
God Himself, of course, heads the list of Muslim concepts of ‘being’. None shares His divinity, though some have access to His dwelling-place.