The regeneration of an essential part of humanity, according to the Sufis, is the goal of mankind. The separation of man from his essence is the cause of his disharmony and unfulfillment. His quest is the purification of the dross and the activation of the gold. The means of achieving this is found within man-it is the Philosopher’s Stone. The Arabic word for stone is associated with the word for “hidden, forbidden.” Hence the stone symbol was adopted in accordance with the normal rule of assonance in use among Sufis.
The stone, the hidden thing, so powerful, is also called the Azoth in the West. Azoth is traced by Orientalists to one of two words-
el-dhat (or ez-zat), meaning essence or inner reality; or else to zibaq, mercury. The stone, according to the Sufis, is the dhat, the essence, which is so powerful that it can transform whatever comes into contact with it. It is the essence of man, which partakes of what people call the divine. It is “sunshine,” capable of uplifting humanity to a next stage.
Idries Shah -Los Sufis

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