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Translated from the Turkish 'Sozler' by Sukran Vahide

2008 Edition

Copyright 1992, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008 by Sozler Publications A. S.

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Contents


THE FIRST WORD: On In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, showing what a strength and source of bounty it is and how it is constantly recited by all things through the tongues of their beings 15

The Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash: About six of the thousands of mysteries of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate 18

THE SECOND WORD: A comparison showing the believers' and unbelievers' views of the world, and how happiness and ease of mind lie in belief in God and in Islam

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THE THIRD WORD: A comparison illustrating how worship yields high profits and vice and dissipation result in serious loss 29

THE FOURTH WORD: A comparison illustrating the value and importance of the five daily prayers, and the ease they afford man's spirit, heart, and mind 32

THE FIFTH WORD: A comparison showing that man's true duty is worship of God and to avoid grievous sins 34

THE SIXTH WORD: A comparison describing five ways in which selling oneself and one's property to God is profitable trade, and five serious losses incurred when this is neglected 37

THE SEVENTH WORD: A comparison showing how belief in God and the hereafter are two talismans which both solve the riddle of creation and open the door of happiness for man 41

THE EIGHTH WORD: On the true nature of religion, this world, man, and belief in God, and a comparison between the way of the Qur'an and that of unbelief and their results for man's heart and spirit 45


THE NINTH WORD: On the wisdom in the specified times of the five daily prayers, in five 'Points' 51

THE TENTH WORD, On Resurrection and the Hereafter: A comparison in the form of twelve 'Aspects' containing proofs of the resurrection of the dead 59 An Introduction consisting of four 'Indications' explaining the comparison and demonstrating the existence and unity of God, the function of prophethood and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the importance of man, and the necessity of the Eternal Creator of this transitory world creating a permanent realm 70 Twelve 'Truths' consisting of detailed proofs of the resurrection of the dead and the hereafter based on a number of the Divine Names, and a Conclusion 74

First Addendum: An Introduction comprising two 'Points'; the First, how essential is belief in the hereafter for human social life in particular; the Second, how the other pillars of belief require the resurrection, and prove it 107

Second Addendum: How life looks to all six pillars of belief including the resurrection of the dead, and proves them indirectly 119

Third Addendum: Three 'Matters' explaining the instantaneous occurrence of the resurrection 125

Fourth Addendum: An explanation of a number of Qur'anic verses describing the resurrection of the dead and the end of the world 127

Fifth Addendum: The testimony to resurrection and the hereafter of the prophets, saints, the spring, and man's desire for eternity 131

THE ELEVENTH WORD: On the wisdom in and purposes of the world, the riddle of man's creation, and the mystery of the five daily prayers, including a comparison, and an explanation of the purpose of man's life, its true nature, and its duties 133

THE TWELFTH WORD: Four 'Principles', comprising concise comparisons illustrating the wisdom of the Qur'an and that of philosophy, the instruction they give to individual life, the principles they put forward for social life, and the superiority of the Qur'an over all other Divine revelation 143


THE THIRTEENTH WORD: A comparison between the degrees of knowledge of the All-Wise Qur'an and the philosophical sciences, how the Qur'an is infinitely superior to poetry, and an aspect of its miraculousness which scatters the darkness of unbelief 150

Second Station: How to save the life of the hereafter 155

Advice for some youths concerning the dangers facing them 158

Three letters addressing prisoners 161

An important matter imparted on the Night of Power 167

The Sixth Topic from the Fruits of Belief: "Teach us about our Creator." 169

The Air: A Window onto Divine Unity 173

THE FOURTEENTH WORD: Five 'Matters' which, comprising comparisons and similes, form steps by which to rise to certain truths of the Qur'an and Hadiths, and a Conclusion which is a warning lesson to the heedless 177

Addendum: Seven questions and answers demonstrating that earthquakes occur at the Divine command 185

THE FIFTEENTH WORD: Seven Steps rising to the heavens of the verse: We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and made them missiles to drive way the evil ones 191

Addendum: A Proof of the Qur'an Against Satan and His Party 198

A Second, Small Objection of Satan 206

THE SIXTEENTH WORD: Consists of four 'Rays': The First explaining Divine oneness and the universal Divine works; the Second demonstrating there is no incompatibility between Qur'anic verses showing things to come into existence instantaneously and those showing their existence to be gradual; the Third, an explanation of verses showing Almighty God to be infinitely close and those showing Him to be infinitely distant; and the Fourth Ray describing the comprehensive worship expressed by the phrase: God is Most Greatl 209

A Short Addendum: Just as the order in the universe, manifest through the Divine laws, demonstrates Divine power and wisdom, so too exceptions to the laws and differences and changes demonstrate Divine will and choice 217

THE SEVENTEENTH WORD: In the face of the manifestations of the Divine Names of Merciful and Giver of Life, which make this world like a festival, the Names of All-Compelling


and Dealer of Death appear. The First Station describes five 'Aspects' in which this apparent incongruity is in fact appropriate 219 Second Station: Pieces in free verse: Reliance on God in the face of tribulation; Answer to Those Smitten by the West; A Supplication in Persian; A Supplication inspired by the verse, I love not those that set; Two Tables, of Guidance and Misguidance; A Supplication in Arabic; A Fruit of the Uplands of Barla; The Utterance of the Stars 222

THE EIGHTEENTH WORD: Comprising three 'Points': the First, A Chastening Slap for My Evil-Commanding Soul; the Second explains one meaning of the verse, Who has created everything in the best way; and the Third shows how the beauty and art in the universe require the messengership of Muhammad (PBUH) 239

THE NINETEENTH WORD, On the Messengership of Muhammad (PBUH).

Fourteen 'Droplets' proving and describing the messengership of Muhammad (PBUH), the Fourteenth, on his greatest miracle, the Qur'an 243

THE TWENTIETH WORD: Consists of two 'Stations' 253

First Station: Three verses of the Qur'an, comprising three 'Points', in which the particular matters mentioned indicate general laws and universal principles 253

Second Station: On the Miracles of the Prophets, demonstrating that just as the Prophets were leaders of communities in regard to spiritual and moral progress, so were they masters in regard to some craft or industry, taught them by means of a miracle. In mentioning them, the Qur'an is urging man towards scientific and technological progress 260

THE TWENTY-FIRST WORD: Consists of two 'Stations' 276

First Station: Five 'Warnings' to the soul, which is dilatory in performing the five

daily prayers 276 Second Station: Five 'Aspects' comprising five cures for five of the many sorts of scruples with which people are afflicted 281

THE TWENTY-SECOND WORD: Consists of two 'Stations' 287

First Station: Twelve 'Proofs' demonstrating in allegorical form how the beings in

the world around us speak of their Maker and point to His unity 287

Second Station: Twelve 'Flashes' from the sun of belief in God


which, by pointing out the stamps and seals on all things denoting their Maker and His power and other attributes, demonstrate the true affirmation of Divine unity 299

THE TWENTY-THIRD WORD: Contains two Chapters 319

First Chapter: Five 'Points' describing the virtues and advantages of belief: how man acquires value through belief by manifesting the Divine Names; how belief illuminates both man, and the universe, and the past and future; how belief affords man strength; how belief makes man a true man, making his essential duty belief and supplication 319

Second Chapter: Five 'Remarks' explaining man's possible progress through infinite degrees, and possible decline. For he is a miracle of Divine power and art, the result of creation, who has been cast into the arena of trial and before whom two ways have been opened 328

THE TWENTY-FOURTH WORD: Consists of five 'Branches' from the luminous tree

of the verse, God, there is no god but He; His are the Most Beautiful Names

341 First Branch: The manifestations of the Divine Names in the various realms and

worlds of the universe, and their diversity 341

Second Branch: A comparison which in examining the three ways of approaching

reality, shows the reasons for the differences and even contradictions in the truths

experienced by the saints through illumination, and among scholars arrived at by

rational proofs, and why previous to the Qur'an, all the pillars of belief were not

taught in detail by the prophets 344

Third Branch: Twelve 'Principles' explaining certain figurative Hadiths that speak of

the signs of the end of time, and of the merits of certain acts, which have been

misunderstood 350 Fourth Branch: The four categories of workers in the palace of the universe: the

angels, the animals, plants and inanimate creatures, and man, and their diverse

duties of worship 36 1

Fifth Branch: Five 'Fruits': on love and fear; worship is not the introduction to

further reward, but the result of previous bounty; limitless acts pertaining to the

hereafter in a brief life; do not imitate the worldly; turning from multiplicity to

unity and from transience to permanence 367

THE TWENTY-FIFTH WORD: On the Miraculousness of the Qur'an. The verses discussed in this Word have been criticised by atheists or objected to in the name of science, but are


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proved according to scholarly principles to be flashes of miraculousness and

eloquence 375

Introduction: Definition of the Qur'an, in three parts 376 First Light: consists of three 'Rays' 378

First Ray: The eloquence of the Qur'an, which is at the degree of miraculousness,

in two 'Aspects' and five 'Points' 378

Second Ray: The Qur'an's extraordinary comprehensiveness, in five 'Flashes',

including five 'Glows' 402

Third Ray: The Qur'an's miraculousness pertaining to its giving news of the

Unseen, its preserving its youth throughout the ages, and its addressing all classes

of mankind appropriately, in three 'Radiances', including three 'Glistens', three

'Degrees', and four 'Principles' 416

Second Light: consists of three 'Beams' 426

First Beam: The fluency, proportionateness, and harmony of the Qur'an as a whole 426

Second Beam: Ten 'Points of Eloquence' 428

Third Beam: The Qur'an cannot be compared with other speech and writings 443 Third Light: Consists of three 'Gleams' 447

First Gleam: Through scattering the light of guidance and miraculousness, each of

the Qur'an's verses disperses the darkness of unbelief and heedlessness 447

Second Gleam: A comparison between how Qur'anic wisdom and human

philosophy see the world 450

Third Gleam: The degrees of wisdom before the wisdom of the Qur'an of the

purified scholars and saints and the Illuminist philosophers 453 Conclusion 457

First Addendum: From The Supreme Sign, The Observations of a Traveller

Questioning the Universe about his Creator, in six 'Points' 459 A Flower of Emirdag: A reply to objections about repetition in the Qur'an 465 Conclusion, in the form of two 'Additions' 474

THE TWENTY-SIXTH WORD: On Divine Determining, sometimes known as fate or destiny, and man's power of choice or faculty of will. In four 'Topics': the First, Divine Determining and the power of choice; the Second, a scholarly discussion of


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the same; the Third demonstrates by pointing out some of its certain proofs how powerful and extensive is the pillar of belief of Divine Determining; and the Fourth demonstrates that calamities and tribulations are not contrary to the fact that Divine Determining is good in all its aspects 477 Conclusion: Five 'Paragraphs' silencing the Old Said's soul 488 Addendum: A short way to Almighty God, consisting of four 'Steps' 491

THE TWENTY-SEVENTH WORD: On Independent Judgements of the Law

{Ijtihad). The door of ijtihad is open, but at the present time there are six

'Obstacles' to entering it 495

Conclusion: On the wisdom of the change in laws according to the ages, and of the

diversity of the schools of law 500 Addendum: On the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), in three 'Reasons' and

three 'Aspects', and four questions and answers 504

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH WORD: About Paradise. A discussion of several aspects of Paradise that have been either criticised or questioned 513

A Short Addendum: On Hell 520

THE TWENTY-NINTH WORD: On the Immortality of Man's Spirit, the Angels, and the Resurrection of the Dead, in an Introduction, and two 'Aims' 521

First Aim: Belief in and affirmation of the angels is a pillar of belief, in four 'Fundamental Points'. The First, on life, the light of existence; the Second, all the scholars of religion have agreed on the existence of the angels, while the various schools of philosophy, being unable to deny them, have merely misnamed them; the Third, the consensus of all religions, prophets, and saints concerning the angels; the Fourth, the functions of the angels 523

Second Aim: About the resurrection of the dead, the end of the world, and the life of the hereafter, in four 'Fundamental Points' and an Introduction. The First, man's spirit is definitely immortal, in an Introduction and four 'Sources'. The Second, ten 'Points' proving certain matters that necessitate eternal happiness. The Third, three 'Matters' pertaining to Divine power. The Fourth, four 'Matters' proving that the world possesses the potential for the resurrection of the dead 533


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THE THIRTIETH WORD: An explanation of the human T or ego, and minute particles, in two 'Aims' 557

First Aim: On the nature and results of the human T 557

Second Aim: On the transformations of minute particles, and their motion and duties, in an Introduction and three 'Points'. The First, indications to Divine unity in the motion of particles, and five instances of wisdom; the Second, the evidences of particles to the Divine existence and unity; the Third, a sixth instance of wisdom in the motion of particles 570

THE THIRTY-FIRST WORD: About the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in four 'Principles'. The First, why was the Ascension necessary? The Second, what was the reality of the Ascension? The Third, what was the wisdom and purpose of the Ascension? The Fourth, what are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension? 583

Addendum: About the Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon, in five 'Points' and a Conclusion 613

THE THIRTY-SECOND WORD: Three Stopping-Places 619

First Stopping-Place: A proof of Divine unity in the form of imaginary debates between the representative of misguidance and successive beings from a minute particle, then a red corpuscle, then a cell in the body, and so on. Each rejects his claims over them through the tongue of the true wisdom and order it displays 619

A Short Addendum: A description of the verse, Do they not look at the sky above them? 629

Second Stopping-Place: Three 'Important Questions', comprising three 'Aims', concerning Divine oneness and unity. The Second includes two comparisons, and a question and answer about the certainty afforded by analogies in the form of comparisons. The Third Question, concerning the Divine perfections, in two parts, answered in five 'Indications' and five 'Signs' 633

Third Stopping Place: Two 'Topics' and an 'Important Question'. The First Topic, the reality of the universe and all beings is based on the Divine Names. How the Names are manifested and how to 'read' them. The Second, a comparison between the way of wretchedness laid out by the representative of the people of misguidance and the path of happiness defined by the All- Wise Qur'an. The question, how we


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should love all the things it is natural to love, is answered in four 'Points', an

Introduction and nine 'Indications' 655 A Supplication 682

THE THIRTY-THIRD WORD: Thirty-three Windows making known the Creator. Concise explanations of how the microcosm and macrocosm, that is, man and the universe, point to the existence and unity of God, and His dominical attributes 683

GLEAMS: Pieces written in "semi-verse" during Ramadan 1337 (1921), which "form a sort of Mathnawi and collection on the subject of belief for the Risale-i Nur Students," and are "a sort of forerunner of the Risale-i Nur, giving the good tidings of its major parts." The work was later added by the Author to The Words Collection. 724

Reply to the Anglican Church 780


INDEXES Edit

Subject Index 782

Index of Heavenly Bodies 793

Index of Names and Places 793

Index of Plants, Animals, Minerals, and Elements 796

Index of Divine Names 798

About the Risale-i Nur, The Words, and their Author 803


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IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE

And from Him do we seek help.

All praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds,

and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad,

and on all his Family and Companions.


[Brother ! You wanted a few words of advice from me, so listen to a few truths included in eight short stories, which since you are a soldier, are in the form of comparisons of a military nature. I consider my own soul to need advice more than anyone, and at one time I addressed my soul at some length with Eight Words inspired by eight verses of the Qur'an from which I had benefited. Now I shall address my soul with these same Words, but briefly and in the language of ordinary people. Whoever wishes may listen together with me.]


The First Word


Bismillah, "In the Name of God," is the start of all things good. We too shall start with it. Know, O my soul! Just as this blessed phrase is a mark of Islam, so too it is constantly recited by all beings through their tongues of disposition. If you want to know what an inexhaustible strength, what an unending source of bounty is Bismillah, listen to the following story, which is in the form of a comparison. It goes like this:

Someone who makes a journey through the deserts of Arabia has to travel in the name of a tribal chief and enter under his protection, for in this way he may be saved from the assaults of bandits and secure his needs. On his own


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he will perish in the face of innumerable enemies and needs. And so, two men went on such a journey and entered the desert. One of them was modest and humble, the other proud and conceited. The humble man assumed the name of a tribal chief, while the proud man did not. The first travelled safely wherever he went. If he encountered bandits, he said: "I am travelling in the name of such-and-such tribal leader," and they did not molest him. If he came to some tents, he was treated respectfully due to the name. But the proud man suffered indescribable calamities throughout his journey. He both trembled before everything and begged from everything. He was abased and became an object of scorn.

My proud soul! You are the traveller, and this world is a desert. Your impotence and poverty have no limit, and your enemies and needs are endless. Since it is thus, take the name of the Pre-Eternal Ruler and Post-Eternal Lord of the desert and be saved from begging before the whole universe and trembling before every event.

Yes, this phrase is a treasury so blessed that your infinite impotence and poverty bind you to an infinite power and mercy; it makes your impotence and poverty a most acceptable intercessor at the Court of One Ail-Powerful and Compassionate. The person who acts saying, "In the Name of God," resembles someone who enrolls in the army. He acts in the name of the government; he has fear of no one; he speaks, performs every matter, and withstands everything in the name of the law and the name of the government.

At the beginning we said that all beings say "In the Name of God" through the tongue of disposition. Is that so?

Indeed, it is so. If you were to see that a single person had come and had driven all the inhabitants of a town to a place by force and compelled them to work, you would be certain that he had not acted in his own name and through his own power, but was a soldier, acting in the name of the government and relying on the power of the king.

In the same way, all things act in the name of Almighty God, for minute things like seeds and grains bear huge trees on their heads; they raise loads like mountains. That means all trees say: "In the Name of God," fill their hands from the treasury of mercy, and offer them to us. All gardens say: "In the Name of God," and become cauldrons from the kitchens of Divine power in which are cooked numerous varieties of different foods. All blessed animals like cows, camels, sheep, and goats, say: "In the Name of God," and produce springs of milk from the abundance of mercy, offering us a most delicate and pure food like the water of life in the name of the Provider. The roots and rootlets, soft as silk, of plants, trees, and grasses say: "In the Name of God," and pierce and pass through hard rock and earth.


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Mentioning the name of God, the name of the Most Merciful, everything becomes subjected to them.

The roots spreading through hard rock and earth and producing fruits as easily as the branches spread through the air and produce fruits, and the delicate green leaves retaining their moisture for months in the face of extreme heat, deal a slap in the mouths of Naturalists and jab a finger in their blind eyes, saying: "Even heat and hardness, in which you most trust, are under a command. For like the Staff of Moses, each of those silken rootlets conforms to the command of, And We said, O Moses, strike the rock with your staff, 1 and splits the rock. And the delicate leaves fine as cigarette paper recite the verse, O fire be coolness and peace against the heat of the fire, each like the members of Abraham (UWP).

Since all things say: "In the Name of God," and bearing God's bounties in God's name, give them to us, we too should say: "In the Name of God." We should give in the name of God, and take in the name of God. And we should not take from heedless people who neglect to give in God's name.

Question: We give a price to people, who are like tray-bearers. So what price does God want, Who is the true owner?

The Answer: Yes, the price the True Bestower of Bounties wants in return for those valuable bounties and goods is three things: one is remembrance, another is thanks, and the other is reflection. Saying, "In the Name of God" at the start is remembrance, and, "All praise be to God" at the end is thanks. And perceiving and thinking of those bounties, which are priceless wonders of art, being miracles of power of the Unique and Eternally Besought One and gifts of His mercy, is reflection. However foolish it is to kiss the foot of a lowly man who conveys to you the precious gift of a king and not to recognize the gift's owner, it is a thousand times more foolish to praise and love the apparent source of bounties and forget the True Bestower of Bounties.

O my soul! If you do not wish to be foolish in that way, give in God's name, take in God's name, begin in God's name, and act in God's name. And that's the matter in a nutshell!


1 Qur'an, 2:60.

2 Qur'an, 21:69.


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The Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash


This, which is included here because of its relevance, consists of six of the thousands of mysteries contained in "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate"

NOTE: A bright light from "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" concerning divine mercy appeared to my dull mind from afar. I wanted to record it for myself in the form of notes, to hunt it down and capture it, and circumscribe the light with twenty to thirty mysteries. But unfortunately I was not able to do this at the present time and the twenty or thirty mysteries were reduced to five or six.

When I say: "O man!", I mean myself. While this lesson is directed particularly to my own soul, I refer it as the Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash for the approval of my meticulous brothers in the hope that it may benefit those with whom I am connected spiritually and whose souls are more discerning than mine. This lesson looks to the heart more than the reason, and regards spiritual pleasure and perception rather than rational proofs.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

[The Queen] said: "Ye chiefs! Here is — delivered to me — a letter worthy of respect. It is from Solomon, and is [as follows]: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. "

A number of mysteries will be mentioned in this Station.

FIRST MYSTERY

I saw one manifestation of "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" as follows:

On the face of the universe, the face of the earth, and the face of man are three stamps of dominicality one within the other and each showing samples of the others.


1 Qur'an, 27:29-30.


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The First is the great stamp of Godhead, which is manifested through the mutual assistance, co-operation, and embracing and corresponding to one another of beings in the totality of the universe. This looks to "In the Name of God."

The Second is the great stamp of divine mercifulness, which is manifested through the mutual resemblance and proportion, order, harmony, favour and compassion in the disposal, raising, and administration of plants and animals on the face of the earth. This looks to "In the Name of God, the Merciful."

Then is the exalted stamp of divine compassionateness, which is manifested through the subtleties of divine beneficence, fine points of divine clemency, and rays of divine compassion on the face of man's comprehensive nature. This looks to "the Compassionate" in "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate ."

That is to say, "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" is the sacred title of three stamps of divine oneness, which form a luminous line on the page of the world, and a strong cord, and shining filament. That is, by being revealed from above, the tip of "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" rests on man, the fruit of the universe and miniature copy of the world; it binds the lower world to the Divine Throne; it is a way for man to ascend to the human throne [and receive that manifestation] .

SECOND MYSTERY

In order not to overwhelm minds by divine unity, which is apparent in the boundless multiplicity of creatures, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition constantly points out the manifestation of divine oneness within divine unity. For example, the sun encompasses numberless things with its light. A truly extensive conceptual ability and comprehensive view is necessary to behold the sun itself in the totality of its light. So, lest the sun be forgotten, it is displayed in every shining object by means of its reflection. And in accordance with their capacities, all lustrous objects reflect the sun's attributes, such as its light and heat and the seven colours in its light, together with the manifestation of its essence. So too, the sun's attributes encompass all the things facing it.

In exactly the same way, "And God's is the highest similitude" - but let there be no mistake in the comparison - just as divine oneness and eternal besoughtedness have a manifestation together with all the divine names in everything, in animate creatures in particular, and especially in man's mirror-like essence; so too through divine unity each of the divine names connected


2 Qur'an, 16:60.


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to beings encompasses all things. Thus, lest minds become overwhelmed by divine unity and hearts forget the Most Pure and Holy Essence, the Qur'an constantly draws attention to the stamp of divine oneness within divine unity. And that stamp, with its three salient points, is "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate."

THIRD MYSTERY

What makes this boundless universe rejoice is clearly divine mercy. What illuminates these dark beings is self- evidently divine mercy. What fosters and raises creatures struggling with their endless needs is self-evidently again divine mercy. What causes the whole universe to be turned towards man, like a tree together with all its parts is turned towards its fruit, and causes it to look to him and run to his assistance is clearly divine mercy. What fills and illuminates boundless space and the empty, vacant world and makes it rejoice is self-evidently divine mercy. And what designates ephemeral man for eternity and makes him the addressee and beloved of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal One is self-evidently divine mercy.

O man! Since divine mercy is such a powerful, inviting, sweet, assisting lovable truth, say: "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate ," adhere to this truth and be saved from absolute desolation and the pains of unending needs! Draw close to the throne of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Monarch, and availing yourself of the compassionate and rays of divine mercy, become His addressee, friend, and beloved.

All the realms of beings in the universe being purposively gathered around man, and being made to hasten to meet all his needs with the utmost order and wisdom clearly arises from one of two situations. Either each realm of beings knows man, obeys him, and runs to help him, which just as it is completely irrational is also impossible in many respects; or an absolutely impotent being like man has to possess the power of the mightiest absolute sovereign, or this assistance occurs through the knowledge of an Absolutely Powerful One behind the veil of the universe. That is to say, it is not that the different beings in the universe know man, but that they are the evidences of a Knowing, Compassionate One being acquainted with him and knowing him.

O man! Come to your senses! Is it at all possible that the All-Glorious One, Who causes all the varieties of creatures to turn towards you and stretch out their hands to assist you, and to say: "Here we are!" in the face of your needs - is it possible that He does not know you, is not acquainted with you, does not see you? Since He does know you, He informs you that He knows you through His mercy. So you should know Him too, and with respect let Him know that you know Him, and understand with


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certainty that what subjugates the vast universe to an absolutely weak, absolutely impotent, absolutely needy, ephemeral, insignificant creature like you, and despatches it to assist you, is the truth of divine mercy, which comprises wisdom, favour, knowledge, and power.

Most certainly, a mercy such as this requires universal and sincere thanks, and earnest and genuine respect. Therefore, say: "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" which is the interpreter and expression of such sincere thanks and genuine respect. Make it the means of attaining to the mercy, and an intercessor at the court of the All- Merciful One.

The existence and reality of divine mercy is as clear as the sun. For just as a woven tapestry centred on one point is formed by the order and situation of the threads of its warp and weft coming from all directions, so too the luminous threads extending from the manifestation of a thousand and one divine names in the vast sphere of the universe weave such a seal of compassionateness, tapestry of clemency, and seal of benevolence within a stamp of mercy that it demonstrates itself to minds more brilliantly than the sun.

The Beauteous All-Merciful One, Who orders the sun and moon, the elements and minerals, and plants and animals like the warp and weft of a vast woven tapestry through the rays of His thousand and one names, and causes them to serve life; and demonstrates His compassion through the exceedingly sweet and self-sacrificing compassion of mothers, plant and animal; and subjugates animate creatures to human life, and from this demonstrates man's importance and a most lovely large tapestry of divine dominicality, and manifests His brilliant mercy; - that Most Merciful One has, in the face of His own absolute lack of need, made His mercy an acceptable intercessor for animate creatures and man.

O man! If you are truly a human being, say: "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate ." Find that intercessor! For sure, it is clearly, self-evidently, divine mercy which, without forgetting or confusing any of them, raises, nurtures, and administers the innumerable plant and animal species on the earth at precisely the right time and with perfect order, wisdom, and beneficence, and stamps the seal of divine oneness on the face of the globe of the earth. The existence of divine mercy is as certain as the existence of the beings on the face of the earth, so do the beings offer evidences of its reality to their own number.

Just as there is this seal of mercy and stamp of divine oneness on the face of the earth, so on the face of man's nature is a stamp of divine mercy that is not inferior to the stamp of compassion and vast stamp of mercy on the face of the universe. Simply, man has so comprehensive a nature he is as though the point of focus of a thousand and one divine names.


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O man! Is it at all possible that the One Who gives you this face, and places such a stamp of mercy and seal of oneness on it would leave you to your own devices, attach no importance to you, pay no attention to your actions, make the whole universe, which is turned towards you, futile and pointless, and make the tree of creation rotten and insignificant with decayed fruit? Would He cause His mercy to be denied, although it is as obvious as the sun, as well as His wisdom, which is as clear as daylight, and neither of which can in any way be doubted, nor are in any way deficient? God forbid!

O man! Understand that there is a way to ascend to the throne of divine mercy, and that is, "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate ." If you want to understand the importance of this ascent, look at the beginning of the one hundred and fourteen suras of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, and at the beginnings of all estimable books, and at the start of all good works. A clear proof of the God-determined grandeur of "In the Name of God" is that Imam Shafi'i (May God be pleased with him), one of the very foremost Islamic scholars, said: "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate is only one verse, yet it was revealed one hundred and fourteen times in the Qur'an."

FOURTH MYSTERY

In the face of the manifestation of divine unity within boundless multiplicity, declaring: "You alone do we worship" is not sufficient for everyone; the mind wanders. One's heart would have to be as broad as the globe to observe the Single One behind the unity in the totality of beings, and to say: "You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help." In consequence, so that the seal of divine oneness should be apparent on all species and realms of beings just as it is shown clearly on individual objects, and that they should call to mind the Single One, it is shown within the stamp of divine mercy. Thus everyone at every level may turn to the Most Pure and Holy One, and saying: "You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help" address Him directly.

It is in order to express this mighty mystery and clearly point out the seal of divine oneness that the All-Wise Qur'an suddenly mentions the smallest sphere and most particular matter when describing the vastest sphere of the universe, for example, the creation of the heavens and the earth. That is, so that the mind does not wander, nor the heart drown, and the spirit may find its True Object of Worship directly, while mentioning the creation of the heavens and earth it opens a discussion of man's creation and voice, and the subtle details of the bounties and wisdom in his features, for example. This truth is demonstrated in miraculous fashion by the verse,


3 Qur'an, 1:5.


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"And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and in your colours."

Within innumerable creatures and infinite multiplicity, there are stamps of unity like concentric circles of many sorts and degrees from the greatest stamp to the smallest. But however clear the unity is, it is still unity within multiplicity; it does not truly address observers. It is because of this that there has to be the stamp of divine oneness behind unity, that unity does not call to mind multiplicity, and before the Most Pure and Holy One a way may be opened up to the heart directly.

Furthermore, a truly captivating design, shining light, agreeable sweetness, pleasing beauty, and powerful truth - which is the stamp of divine mercy and seal of divine compassion - has been placed on the stamp of divine oneness in order to direct gazes towards it and attract hearts. Yes, it is the strength of that mercy that attracts the gazes of conscious beings, draws them to it, and causes them to reach the seal of oneness and to observe the Single One, and from that to truly manifest the address of "You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help."

It is because "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" is the index of Sura al-Fatiha and a concise summary of the Qur'an that it is the sign and interpreter of this mighty mystery. The person who clasps it may travel through the levels of divine mercy. And the person who causes this interpreter to speak may learn about the mysteries of divine mercy and behold the lights of divine compassion and pity.

FIFTH MYSTERY

There is a Hadith which goes something like this:

"God created man in the form of the Most Merciful." 5

It has been interpreted by some Sufis in an extraordinary way, unfitting for the tenets of belief. Some of them who were ecstatics even considered man's spiritual nature to be in the form of the All-Merciful. Since ecstatics are mostly immersed in contemplation and confused, they are perhaps to be excused in holding views contrary to reality. But on consideration, people in their right senses cannot accept ideas of theirs that are contrary to the fundamentals of belief. If they do, they are in error.

Indeed, the Most Pure and Holy Deity, Who administers with order the


4 Qur'an, 30:22.

5 "Indeed, Allah created Adam in the form of the Most Merciful." Bukhari, Isti'dhan, 1; Muslim, Birr, 115; Musnad, Janna, ii, 22, 244, 251, 315, 323, 434, 463, 519.


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whole universe as though it were a palace or house, and spins the stars as though they were particles and causes them to travel through space with wisdom and ease, and employs minute particles as though they were orderly officials, has no partner, match, opposite, or equal. So too, according to the meaning of the verse:

"There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He hears and sees [all things]"

He has no form, like, or peer, and there is nothing resembling Him or similar to Him. However, according to the meaning of the following verse and its parabolic comparison,

"And His is the highest similitude in the heavens and the earth, and He is Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom"

His actions, attributes, and names may be considered. That is to say, allegory and comparison may be used in connection with His actions. One of the many things intended by the above-mentioned Hadith is: "Man is in a form that displays the divine name of All-Merciful in its entirety." Yes, as we explained before, the divine name of All- Merciful is manifested through the rays of a thousand and one names on the face of the universe, and is apparent through the innumerable manifestations of God's absolute dominicality on the face of the earth. Similarly, its complete manifestation is apparent in a small measure in man's comprehensive form, the same as on the face of the earth and the face of the universe.

The Hadith suggests also that the evidences of the Necessarily Existent One offered by such proofs, mirrors, and manifestations of the Most Merciful as animate creatures and man are so certain, clear, and obvious that just as it may be said of a shining mirror which reflects the image of the sun: "That mirror is the sun," indicating the clarity of its brilliance and evidence, so it has been said and may be said: "Man is in the form of the All-Merciful One," indicating the clarity of his evidence and completeness of his relation. It is in consequence of this mystery that the more moderate of those who believed in the Unity of Existence said: "There is no existent but He," as a way of expressing the clarity of this evidence and perfection of the relation.

O God! O Most Merciful One! Most Compassionate One! For the sake of "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate " have mercy on us as befits Your Compassionateness, and allow us to understand the mysteries of "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate " as befits Your Mercifulness. AMEN.


6


Qur' an, 42:11. 7 Qur'an, 30:27.


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SIXTH MYSTERY

O unhappy man afflicted by a boundless impotence and endless wants! See from the following how valuable and acceptable an intercessor is divine mercy. For it is a way to know the All-Glorious Sovereign in Whose army both the stars and minute particles serve together in perfect order and obedience - the Glorious Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, who is self-sufficient and utterly without need. He is rich without limit and in no way in need of the universe and its beings. The whole cosmos is under His command and direction, utterly obedient beneath His majesty and grandeur, submissive before His sublimity. That is divine mercy for you, O man! It raises you to the presence of the One who lacks all need, the Eternal Sovereign, and makes you His friend, addressee, and well-loved servant. But just as you cannot reach the sun and are far from it although it fills your mirror with its light, reflection, and manifestation, and you can in no way draw near to it; in the same way you are infinitely distant from the Most Pure and Holy One, the Sun of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, and cannot draw near to Him, but the light of His mercy brings Him nearer to us.

O man! Anyone who finds this mercy finds an eternally unfailing treasury of light. And the way to find it is by following the practices of the Most Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him), who was the most brilliant exemplar and representative of mercy, its most eloquent tongue and herald, and was described in the Qur'an as a "Mercy to All the Worlds."

The way to attain to this embodiment of mercy who is a mercy to all the worlds is to utter the prayer calling down God's blessings upon him. Indeed, the meaning of this prayer is mercy. As a prayer of mercy for that living embodiment of divine mercy, it is a means of reaching the Mercy to All the Worlds. So, make this prayer the means to the mercy to all the worlds for yourself, and at the same time make him the means of reaching the mercy of the Most Merciful One.

The whole Muslim community in all its vastness uttering this prayer which is synonymous with mercy for the Mercy to All the Worlds proves in brilliant fashion what a precious gift is divine mercy, and how broad is its sphere.

To Conclude: Just as the most precious jewel in the treasury of mercy is the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), its doorkeeper, so is its first key "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" and its most easy key the prayer for the Prophet.

O God! Through the truth of "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate " grant blessings


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and peace to the one whom You sent as a mercy to all the worlds as befits Your mercy, and in veneration of him, and to all his Family and Companions. And grant us mercy so as to make us free of want for the mercy of any other than You from among Your creatures. AMEN.

Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us. Indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.


8 Qur'an, 2:32.


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The Second Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Those who believe in the Unseen.

If you want to understand what great happiness and bounty, what great pleasure and ease are to be found in belief in God, listen to this story which is in the form of a comparison:

One time, two men went on a journey for both pleasure and business. One set off in a selfish, inauspicious direction, and the other on a godly, propitious way.

Since the selfish man was both conceited, self-centred, and pessimistic, he ended up in what seemed to him to be a most wicked country due to his pessimism. He looked around and everywhere saw the powerless and the unfortunate lamenting in the grasp of fearsome bullying tyrants, weeping at their destruction. He saw the same grievous, painful situation in all the places he travelled. The whole country took on the form of a house of mourning. Apart from becoming drunk, he could find no way of not noticing this grievous and sombre situation. For everyone seemed to him to be an enemy and foreign. And all around he saw horrible corpses and despairing, weeping orphans. His conscience was in a state of torment.

The other man was godly, devout, fair-minded, and with fine morals so that the country he came to was most excellent in his view. This good man saw universal rejoicing in the land he had entered. Everywhere was a joyful festival, a place for the remembrance of God overflowing with rapture and happiness; everyone seemed to him a friend and relation. Throughout the country he saw the festive celebrations of a general discharge from duties accompanied by cries of good wishes and thanks. He also heard the sound of a drum and band for the enlistment of soldiers with happy calls of "God is Most Great!" and "There is no god but God!" Rather than being grieved at the suffering of both himself and all the people like the first miserable man, this fortunate man was pleased and happy at both his own joy and that of all the inhabitants. Furthermore, he was able to do some profitable trade. He offered thanks to God.


1 Qur'an, 2:3.


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After some while he returned and came across the other man. He understood his condition, and said to him: "You were out of your mind. The ugliness within you must have been reflected on the outer world so that you imagined laughter to be weeping, and the discharge from duties to be sack and pillage. Come to your senses and purify your heart so that this calamitous veil is raised from your eyes and you can see the truth. For the country of an utterly just, compassionate, beneficent, powerful, order-loving, and kind king could not be as you imagined, nor could a country which demonstrated this number of clear signs of progress and achievement." The unhappy man later came to his senses and repented. He said, "Yes, I was crazy through drink. May God be pleased with you, you have saved me from a hellish state."

O my soul! Know that the first man represents an unbeliever, or someone depraved and heedless. In his view the world is a house of universal mourning. All living creature are orphans weeping at the blows of death and separation. Man and the animals are alone and without ties being ripped apart by the talons of the appointed hour. Mighty beings like the mountains and oceans are like horrendous, lifeless corpses. Many grievous, crashing, terrifying delusions like these arise from his unbelief and misguidance, and torment him.

As for the other man, he is a believer. He recognizes and affirms Almighty God. In his view this world is an abode where the Names of the All- Merciful One are constantly recited, a place of instruction for man and the animals, and a field of examination for man and jinn. All animal and human deaths are a demobilization. Those who have completed their duties of life depart from this transient world for another, happy and trouble-free, world so that place may be made for new officials to come and work. The birth of animals and humans marks their enlistment into the army, their being taken under arms, and the start of their duties. Each living being is a joyful regular soldier, an honest, contented official. And all voices are either glorification of God and the recitation of His Names at the outset of their duties, and the thanks and rejoicing at their ceasing work, or the songs arising from their joy at working. In the view of the believer, all beings are the friendly servants, amicable officials, and agreeable books of his Most Generous Lord and All-Compassionate Owner. Very many more subtle, exalted, pleasurable, and sweet truths like these become manifest and appear from his belief.

That is to say, belief in God bears the seed of what is in effect a Tuba-Tree of Paradise, while unbelief conceals the seed of a Zakkum-Tree of Hell.

That means that salvation and security are only to be found in Islam and belief. In which case, we should continually say, "Praise be to God for the religion of Islam and perfect belief."


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The Third Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O you people, worship...

If you want to understand what great profit and happiness lie in worship, and what great loss and ruin lie in vice and dissipation listen to and take heed of the following story which is in the form of a comparison:

One time, two soldiers received orders to proceed to a distant city. They set off and travelled together until the road forked. At the fork was a man who said to them, "The road on the right causes no loss at all, and nine out of ten of those who take it receive a high profit and experience great ease. While the road on the left provides no advantages, and nine out often of its travellers make a loss. But they are the same as regards distance. Only there is one difference: those who take the left-hand road, which has no rules and no one in authority, travel without baggage and arms. They feel an apparent lightness and deceptive ease. Whereas those travelling on the right-hand road, which is under military order, are compelled to carry a kit-bag full of nutritious rations four okkas or so in weight and a superb army rifle of about two kiyyes which will overpower and rout every enemy..."

After the two soldiers had listened to what this instructive man had to say, the fortunate one took the road to the right. He loaded the weight of one batman onto his back, but his heart and spirit were saved from thousands of batmans of fear and feeling obliged to others. As for the other, luckless, soldier, he left the army. He did not want to conform to the order, and he went off to the left. He was released from bearing a load of one batman, but his heart was constricted by thousands of batmans of indebtedness, and his spirit crushed by innumerable fears. He proceeded on his way both begging from everyone and trembling before every object and every event until he reached his destination. And there he was punished as a mutineer and a deserter.


1 Qur'an, 2:21.

2 1 okka = approx. 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 grams. Kiyye, another name for okka. 1 batman = 2-8 okkas or 5 - 30 lbs. [Tr.]


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As for the soldier who loved the order of the army, had guarded his kit-bag and rifle, and taken the right-hand road, he had gone on his way being obliged to no one, fearing no one, and with an easy heart and conscience until he reached the city he was seeking. There he received a reward worthy of an honourable soldier who had carried out his duty faithfully.

O rebellious soul, know that one of those two travellers represents those who submit to the Divine Law, while the other represents the rebellious and those who follow their own desires. The road is the road of life, which comes from the Spirit World, passes through the grave, and carries on to the hereafter. As for the kit-bag and rifle, they are worship and fear of God. There is an apparent burden in worship, but there is an ease and lightness in its meaning that defies description. For in the prescribed prayers the worshipper declares, "I bear witness that there is no god but God." That is to say, he finds the door of a treasury of mercy in everything because he is believing and saying, "There is no Creator and Provider other than Him. Harm and benefit are in His hand. He is both All- Wise; He does nothing in vain, and He is All-Compassionate; His bounty and mercy are abundant." And he knocks on the door with his supplication. Moreover, he sees that everything is subjugated to the command of his own Sustainer, so he takes refuge in Him. He places his trust in Him and relies on Him, and is fortified against every disaster; his belief gives him complete confidence.

Indeed, like with every true virtue, the source of courage is belief in God, and worship. And as with every iniquity, the source of cowardice is misguidance.

In fact, for a worshipper with a truly illuminated heart, it is possible that even if the globe of the earth became a bomb and exploded, it would not frighten him. He would watch it with pleasurable wonder as a marvel of the Eternally Besought One's power. But when a famous degenerate philosopher with a so-called enlightened mind but no heart saw a comet in the sky, he trembled on the ground, and exclaimed anxiously: "Isn't that comet going to hit the earth?" (On one occasion, America was quaking with fear at such a comet, and many people left their homes in the middle of the night.)

Yes, although man is in need of numberless things, his capital is as nothing, and although he is subject to endless calamities, his power too is as nothing. Simply, his capital and power extend only as far as his hand can reach. However, his hopes, desires, pains, and tribulations reach as far as the eye and the imagination can stretch. Anyone who is not totally blind can see and understand then what a great profit, happiness, and bounty for the human spirit, which is thus impotent and weak, and needy and wanting, are worship, affirmation of God's unity, and reliance on God and submission to Him.


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It is obvious that a safe way is preferable to a harmful way, even if the possibility of its safety is only one in ten. But on the way of worship, which our matter here, there is a nine out of ten possibility of it leading to the treasury of eternal happiness, as well as its being safe. While it is established by the testimony -which is at the degree of consensus- of innumerable experts and witnesses that besides being without benefit, and the dissolute even confess to this, the way of vice and dissipation ends in eternal misery. According to the reports of those who have uncovered the mysteries of creation this is absolutely certain.

In Short: Like that of the hereafter, happiness in this world lies in worship and being a soldier for Almighty God. In which case, we should constantly say: "Praise be to God for obedience to him and success," and we should thank Him that we are Muslims.


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The Fourth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The prescribed prayers are the pillar of religion.

If you want to understand with the certainty that two plus two equals four just how valuable and important are the prescribed prayers, and with what little expense they are gained, and how crazy and harmful is the person who neglects them, pay attention to the following story which is in the form of a comparison:

One time, a mighty ruler gave each of two of his servants twenty-four gold pieces and sent them to settle on one of his rich, royal farms two months' distance away. "Use this money for your tickets," he commanded them, "and buy whatever is necessary for your house there with it. There is a station one day's distance from the farm. And there is both road-transport, and a railway, and boats, and aeroplanes. They can be benefited from according to your capital."

The two servants set off after receiving these instructions. One of them was fortunate so that he spent a small amount of money on the way to the station. And included in that expense was some business so profitable and pleasing to his master that his capital increased a thousandfold. As for the other servant, since he was luckless and a layabout, he spent twenty-three pieces of gold on the way to the station, wasting it on gambling and amusements. A single gold piece remained. His friend said to him: "Spend this last gold piece on a ticket so that you will not have to walk the long journey and starve. Moreover, our master is generous; perhaps he will take pity on you and forgive you your faults, and put you on an aeroplane as well. Then we shall reach where we are going to live in one day. Otherwise you will be compelled to walk alone and hungry across a desert which takes two months to cross." The most unintelligent person can understand how foolish, harmful, and senseless he would be if out of obstinacy he did not spend that single remaining gold piece on a ticket, which is like the key to a treasury, and instead spent it on vice for passing pleasure. Is that not so?


Tirmidhi, Iman, 8; IbnMaja, Fitan, 12; Musnad, v, 231; al -Hakim, al-Mustadrak, ii, 76.


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O you who do not perform the prescribed prayers ! And O my own soul, which does not like to pray! The ruler in the comparison is our Sustainer, our Creator. Of the two travelling servants, one represents the devout who perform their prayers with fervour, and the other, the heedless who neglect their prayers. The twenty-four pieces of gold are life in every twenty-four-hour day. And the royal domain is Paradise. As for the station, it is the grave. And the journey is man's passage to the grave, and on to the resurrection and the hereafter. Men cover that long journey to different degrees according to their actions and the strength of their fear of God. Some of the truly devout have crossed a thousand- year distance in a day like lightning. And some have traversed a fifty-thousand-year distance in a day with the speed of imagination. The Qur'an of Mighty Stature alludes to this truth with two of its verses.

The ticket in the comparison represents the prescribed prayers. A single hour a day is sufficient for the five prayers together with taking the ablutions. So what a loss a person makes who spends twenty-three hours on this fleeting worldly life, and fails to spend one hour on the long life of the hereafter; how he wrongs his own self; how unreasonably he behaves. For would not anyone who considers himself to be reasonable understand how contrary to reason and wisdom such a person's conduct is, and how far from reason he has become, if, thinking it reasonable, he gives half of his property to a lottery in which one thousand people are participating and the possibility of winning is one in a thousand, and does not give one twenty-fourth of it to an eternal treasury where the possibility of winning has been verified at ninety-nine out of a hundred?

Moreover, the spirit, the heart, and the mind find great ease in prayer. And it is not trying for the body. Furthermore, with the right intention, all the other acts of someone who performs the prescribed prayers become like worship. He can make over the whole capital of his life to the hereafter in this way. He can make his transient life permanent in one respect.


2 See, "Said one of them: 'How long have we stayed there?' They said: 'We have stayed [perhaps] a day, or part of a day.'"(18:19), and, "So they stayed in their cave three hundred years, and [some] add nine [more] ."(18:25)


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The Fifth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Indeed, God is with those who fear Him and those who do good.

If you want to see what a truly human duty and what a natural, appropriate result of man's creation it is to perform the prescribed prayers and not to commit serious sins, listen to and take heed of the following comparison:

Once, at a time of general mobilization, two soldiers found themselves together in a regiment. One was well-trained and conscientious, the other, a raw recruit and self- centred. The conscientious soldier concentrated on training and the war, and did not give a thought to rations and provisions, for he knew that it was the state's duty to feed and equip him, treat him if he was ill, and even to put the food in his mouth if the need arose. He knew that his essential duty was to train and fight. But he would also attend to some of the rations and equipment as part of his work. He would boil up the saucepans, wash up the mess-tins, and bring them. If it was then asked him: "What are you doing?", he would reply: "I am doing fatigue duty for the state." He would not say: "I am working for my living."

The raw recruit, however, was fond of his stomach and paid no attention to training and the war. "That is the state's business. What is it to me?", he would say. He thought constantly of his livelihood, and pursuing it would leave the regiment and go to the market to do shopping. One day his well-trained friend said to him:

"Your basic duty is training and fighting, brother. You were brought here for that. Trust in the king; he will not let you go hungry. That is his duty. Anyway, you are powerless and wanting; you cannot feed yourself everywhere. And this is a time of mobilization and war; he will tell you that you are mutinous and will punish you. Yes, there are two duties which concern us. One is the king's duty: sometimes we do his fatigue duties and he feeds us for it. The other is our duty: that is training and fighting, and sometimes the king helps us with it."


Qur'an, 16:128.


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Of course you will understand in what danger the layabout soldier would be if he did not pay attention to the striving, well-trained one.

O my lazy soul! That turbulent place of war is this stormy worldly life, and the army divided into regiments, human society. The regiment in the comparison is the community of Islam in this century. One of the two soldiers is a devout Muslim who knows the obligations of his religion and performs them, and struggles with Satan and his own soul in order to give up serious misdoings and not to commit sins. While the other is a degenerate wrongdoer who is so immersed in the struggle for livelihood that he casts aspersions on the True Provider, abandons his religious obligations, and commits any sins that come his way as he makes his living. As for the training and instruction, it is foremost the prescribed prayers and worship. And the war is the struggle against the soul and its desires, and against the satans among jinn and men, to deliver them from sin and bad morals, and save the heart and spirit from eternal perdition. And the first of the two duties is to give life and sustain it, while the other is to worship and beseech the Giver and Sustainer of life. It is to trust in Him and rely on Him.

Indeed, whoever made and bestowed life, which is a most brilliant miracle of the Eternally Besought One's art and a wonder of dominical wisdom, is the one who maintains and perpetuates it through sustenance. It cannot be another. Do you want proof? The most impotent and stupid animals are the best nourished; like fish, and worms in fruit. And it is the most helpless and delicate creatures who have the choicest food; like infants and the young of all species.

For sure, it is enough to compare fish with foxes, newly born animals with wild beasts, and trees with animals in order to understand that licit food is obtained not through power and will, but through impotence and helplessness. That is to say, someone who gives up performing the prescribed prayers because of the struggle for livelihood resembles the soldier who abandoned his training and trench and went and begged in the market. But to seek ones rations from the kitchens of the All-Generous Provider's mercy after performing the prayers, and to go oneself so as not to be a burden on others is fine and manly. It too is a sort of worship.

Furthermore, man's nature and spiritual faculties show that he is created for worship. For in respect of the power and actions necessary for the life of this world, he cannot compete with the most inferior sparrow. While in respect of knowledge and need, and worship and supplication, which are necessary for spiritual life and the life of the hereafter, he is like the monarch and commander of the animals.

O my soul! If you make the life of this world the aim of your life and work constantly for that, you will become like the lowest sparrow. But if


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you make the life of the hereafter your aim and end, and make this life the means of it and its tillage, and strive in accordance with it, then you will be like a lofty commander of the animals, and a petted and suppliant servant of Almighty God, and His honoured and respected guest.

Those are the two ways open to you! You can choose whichever you wish... So ask for guidance and success from the Most Compassionate of the Compassionate.


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The Sixth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Verily God has purchased from the believers their persons and their property

that Paradise might be theirs.

If you wish to understand how profitable a trade it is, and how honour-able a rank, to sell one's person and property to God, to be His slave and His soldier, then listen to the following comparison.

Once a king entrusted each of two of his subjects with an estate, including all necessary workshops, machinery, horses, weapons and so forth. But since it was a tempestuous and war-ridden age, nothing enjoyed stability; it was destined either to disappear or to change. The king in his infinite mercy sent a most noble lieutenant to the two men and by means of a compassionate decree conveyed the following to them:

"Sell me the property you now hold in trust, so that I may keep it for you. Let it not be destroyed for no purpose. After the wars are over, I will return it to you in a better condition than before. I will regard the trust as your property and pay you a high price for it. As for the machinery and the tools in the workshop, they will be used in my name and at my workbench. But the price and the fee for their use shall be increased a thousandfold. You will receive all the profit that accrues. You are indigent and resourceless, and unable to provide the cost of these great tasks. So let me assume the provision of all expenses and equipment, and give you all the income and the profit. You shall keep it until the time of demobilization. So see the five ways in which you shall profit! Now if you do not sell me the property, you can see that no one is able to preserve what he possesses, and you too will lose what you now hold. It will go for nothing, and you will lose the high price I offer. The delicate and precious tools and scales, the precious metals waiting to be used, will also lose all value. You will have the trouble and concern of administering and preserving, but at the same time be punished for betraying your trust. So see the five ways in which you may lose! Moreover, if you sell the property to me, you become my soldier and act in my name. Instead of a common prisoner or irregular soldier, you will be the free lieutenant of an exalted monarch."


'Qur'an, 9:111.


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After they had listened to this gracious decree, the more intelligent of the two men said:

"By all means, I am proud and happy to sell. I offer thanks a thousandfold."

But the other was arrogant, selfish and dissipated; his soul had become as proud as the Pharaoh. As if he was to stay eternally on that estate, he ignored the earthquakes and tumults of this world. He said:

"No! Who is the king? I won't sell my property, nor spoil my enjoyment."

After a short time, the first man reached so high a rank that everyone envied his state. He received the favour of the king, and lived happily in the king's own palace. The other by contrast fell into such a state that everyone pitied him, but also said he deserved it. For as a result of his error, his happiness and property departed, and he suffered punishment and torment.

O soul full of caprices! Look at the face of truth through the telescope of this parable. As for the king, he is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, your Sustainer and Creator. The estates, machinery, tools and scales are your possessions while in life's fold; your body, spirit and heart within those possessions, and your outward and inward senses such as the eye and the tongue, intelligence and imagination. As for the most noble lieutenant, it is the Noble Messenger of God; and the most wise decree is the Wise Qur'an, which describes the trade we are discussing in this verse:

Verily God has purchased from the believers their persons and property that Paradise might be theirs.

The surging field of battle is the tempestuous surface of the world, which ceaselessly changes, dissolves and reforms and causes every man to think:

"Since everything will leave our hands, will perish and be lost, is there no way in which we can transform it into something eternal and preserve it?"

While engaged in these thoughts, he suddenly hears the heavenly voice of the Qur'an saying:

"Indeed there is, a beautiful and easy way which contains five profits within itself."

What is that way?

To sell the trust received back to its true owner. Such a sale yields profit fivefold.

The First Profit: Transient property becomes everlasting. For this waning life, when given to the Eternal and Self-Subsistent Lord of Glory and spent for His sake, will be transmuted into eternity. It will yield eternal fruits. The moments of one's life will apparently vanish and rot like kernels and seeds. But then the flowers of blessedness and auspiciousness will open and bloom in the realm of eternity, and each will also present a luminous and reassuring aspect in the Intermediate Realm.

The Second Profit: The high price of Paradise is given in exchange.


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The Third Profit: The value of each limb and each sense is increased a thousandfold. The intelligence is, for example, like a tool. If you do not sell it to God Almighty, but rather employ it for the sake of the soul, it will become an ill-omened, noxious and debilitating tool that will burden your weak person with all the sad sorrows of the past and the terrifying fears of the future; it will descend to the rank of an inauspicious and destructive tool. It is for this reason that a sinful man will frequently resort to drunkenness or frivolous pleasure in order to escape the vexations and injuries of his intelligence. But if you sell your intelligence to its True Owner and employ it on His behalf, then it will become like the key to a talisman, unlocking the infinite treasures of compassion and the vaults of wisdom that creation contains. It will thus rise to being a dominical guide preparing its owner for eternal bliss.

To take another example, the eye is one of the senses, a window through which the spirit looks out on this world. If you do not sell it to God Almighty, but rather employ it on behalf of the soul, by gazing upon a handful of transient, impermanent beauties and scenes, it will sink to the level of being a pander to lust and the concupiscent soul. But if you sell the eye to your All-Seeing Maker, and employ it on His behalf and within limits traced out by Him, then your eye will rise to the rank of a reader of the great book of being, a witness to the miracles of dominical art, a blessed bee sucking on the blossoms of mercy in the garden of this globe.

Yet another example is that of the tongue and the sense of taste. If you do not sell it to your Wise Creator, but employ it instead on behalf of the soul and for the sake of the stomach, it sinks and declines to the level of a gatekeeper at the stable of the stomach, a watchman at its factory. But if you sell it to the Generous Provider, the sense of taste contained in the tongue will rise to the rank of a skilled overseer of the treasuries of Divine compassion, a grateful inspector in the kitchens of God's eternal power.

So look well, O intelligence! See the difference between a tool of destruction and the key to all being! And look carefully, O eye! See the difference between an abominable pander and the learned overseer of the Divine library! And taste well, O tongue! See the difference between a stable doorkeeper or a factory watchman and the superintendent of the treasury of God's mercy!

Compare all other tools and limbs to these, and then you will understand that in truth the believer acquires a nature worthy of Paradise and the unbeliever a nature conforming to Hell. The reason for each of them attaining his respective value is that the believer, by virtue of his faith, uses the trust of his Creator on His behalf and within the limits traced out by Him, whereas the unbeliever betrays the trust and employs it for the sake of the instinctual soul.

The Fourth Profit: Man is helpless and exposed to numerous misfortunes. He is indigent, and his needs are numerous. He is weak, and the


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burden of life is most heavy. If he does not rely on the Omnipotent One of Glory, place his trust in Him and confidently submit to Him, his conscience will always be troubled. Fruitless torments, pains and regrets will suffocate him and intoxicate him, or turn him into a beast.

The Fifth Profit: Those who have experienced illumination and had unveiled to them the true nature of things, the elect who have witnessed the truth, are all agreed that the exalted reward for all the worship and glorification of God performed by your members and instruments will be given to you at the time of greatest need, in the form of the fruits of Paradise.

If you spurn this trade with its fivefold profit, in addition to being deprived of its profit, you will suffer fivefold loss.

The First Loss: The property and offspring to which you are so attached, the soul and its caprice that you worship, the youth and life with which you are infatuated, all will vanish and be lost; your hands will be empty. But they will leave behind them sin and pain, fastened on your neck like a yoke.

The Second Loss: You will suffer the penalty for betrayal of trust. For you will have wronged your own self by using the most precious tools on the most worthless objects.

The Third Loss: By casting down all the precious faculties of man to a level much inferior to the animals, you will have insulted and transgressed against God's wisdom.

The Fourth Loss: In your weakness and poverty, you will have placed the heavy burden of life on your weak shoulders, and will constantly groan and lament beneath the blows of transience and separation.

The Fifth Loss: You will have clothed in an ugly form, fit to open the gates of Hell in front of you, the fair gifts of the Compassionate One such as the intelligence, the heart, the eye and the tongue, given to you to make preparation for the foundations of everlasting life and eternal happiness in the hereafter.

Now is it so difficult to sell the trust? Is it so burdensome that many people shun the transaction? By no means! It is not in the least burdensome. For the limits of the permissible are broad, and are quite adequate for man's desire; there is no need to trespass on the forbidden. The duties imposed by God are light and few in number. To be the slave and soldier of God is an indescribably pleasurable honour. One's duty is simply to act and embark on all things in God's name, like a soldier; to take and to give on God's behalf; to move and be still in accordance with His permission and law. If one falls short, then one should seek His forgiveness, say:

"O Lord! Forgive our faults, and accept us as Your slaves. Make us sure holders of Your trust until the time comes when it is taken from us. Amen!", and make petition unto Him.


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The Seventh Word


If you want to understand what valuable, difficulty-resolving talismans are the two parts of the phrase "I believe in God and the Last Day," which solve both the enigmatical riddle of creation and open the door of happiness for the human spirit, and what beneficial and curative medicines are reliance on your Creator and taking refuge in Him through patience and entreaty, and supplicating your Provider through thanks, and what important, precious, shining tickets for the journey to eternity - and provisions for the hereafter and lights for the grave - are listening to the Qur'an, obeying its commands, performing the prescribed prayers, and giving up serious sins, then listen and pay attention to this comparison:

One time a soldier fell into a most grave situation in the field of battle and examination, and the round of profit and loss. It was as follows:

The soldier was wounded with two deep and terrible wounds on his right and left sides and behind him stood a huge lion as though waiting to attack him. Before him stood a gallows which was putting to death and annihilating all those he loved. It was awaiting him too. Besides this, he had a long journey before him: he was being exiled. As the unfortunate soldier pondered over his fearsome plight in despair, a kindly person shining with light like Khidr appeared. He said to him: "Do not despair. I shall give you two talismans and teach you them. If you use them properly, the lion will become a docile horse for you, and the gallows will turn into a swing for your pleasure and enjoyment. Also I shall give you two medicines. If you follow the instructions, those two suppurating wounds will be transformed into two sweet-scented flowers called the Rose of Muhammad (PBUH). Also, I shall give you a ticket; with it, you will be able to make a year's journey in a day as though flying. If you do not believe me, experiment a bit, so that you can see it is true." The soldier did experiment a bit, and affirmed that it was true. Yes, I, that is, this unfortunate Said, affirm it too. For I experimented and saw it was absolutely true.

Some time later he saw a sly, debauched-looking man, cunning as the Devil, coming from the left bringing with him much ornamented finery, decorated pictures and fantasies, and many intoxicants. He stopped before the soldier, and said:


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"Hey, come on, my friend! Let's go and drink and make merry. We can look at these pictures of beautiful girls, listen to the music, and eat this tasty food." Then he asked him: "What is it you are reciting under your breath?"

"A talisman," came the reply.

"Stop that incomprehensible nonsense! Let's not spoil our present fun!" And he asked a second question: "What is that you have in your hand?"

"Some medicine," the soldier replied.

"Throw it away! You are healthy, there is nothing wrong with you. It is the time of cheer." And he asked: "What is that piece of paper with five marks on it?"

"It is a ticket and a rations card."

"Oh, tear them up !", the man said. "What need do we have of a journey this beautiful spring?" He tried to persuade him with every sort of wile, and the poor soldier was even a bit persuaded. Yes, man can be deceived. I was deceived by just such cunning deceptions.

Suddenly from the right came a voice like thunder. "Beware!", it said. "Do not be deceived! Say to that trickster: 'If you have the means to kill the lion behind me, remove the gallows from before me, repulse the things wounding my right and my left, and prevent the journey in front of me, then come on and do so ! Show that you can and let us see it! Then say, come on, let's go and enjoy ourselves. Otherwise be silent!' Speak in the same way as that Khidr-like God-inspired man."

O my soul, which laughed in its youth and now weeps at its laughter! Know that the unfortunate soldier is you, and man. The lion is the appointed hour. As for the gallows, it is death, decline, and separation, through which, in the alternation of night and day, all friends bid farewell and are lost. Of the two wounds, one is man's infinite and troublesome impotence, while the other is his grievous and boundless poverty. The exile and journey is the long journey of examination which passes from the world of spirits through the womb and childhood to old age; through the world and the grave and the intermediate realm, to the resurrection and the Bridge of Sirat. As for the two talismans, they are belief in Almighty God and the hereafter.

Yes, through the second sacred talisman, death takes on the form of a mastered horse, a steed to take believing man from the prison of this world to the gardens of Paradise and the presence of the Most Merciful One. It is because of this that the wise who have seen death's reality have loved it. They have wanted it before it came. And through the talisman of belief in God, the passage of time, which is decline and separation, death and decease and the gallows, takes on the form of the means to observe and contemplate with perfect pleasure the miracles of the All-Glorious Maker's various, mul


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ticoloured, ever-renewed embroideries, the wonders of His power, and the manifestations of His mercy. Yes, when mirrors reflecting the colours of the sun's light are changed and renewed, and the images of the cinema changed, better, more beautiful scenes are formed.

As for the two medicines, one is trusting in God and patience, and the other is relying on the power of one's Creator and having confidence in His wisdom. Is that the case? Indeed it is. What fear can a man have, who, through the certificate of his impotence, relies on a Monarch of the World with the power to command: "Be!' and it is." 1 For in the face of the worst calamity, he says: "Verily, to God do we belong, and verily to Him is our return," and places his trust in his Most Compassionate Sustainer. A person with knowledge of God takes pleasure from impotence, from fear of God. Yes, there is pleasure in fear. If a twelve-month baby were sufficiently intelligent to be asked: "What is most pleasurable and sweetest for you?", he might well say: "To realize my powerlessness and helplessness, and fearing my mother's gentle smack to at the same time take refuge in her tender breast." But the compassion of all mothers is but a flash of the manifestation of Divine mercy. It is for this reason that the wise have found such pleasure in impotence and fear of God, vehemently declaring themselves to be free of any strength and power, and have taken refuge in God through their powerlessness. They have made powerlessness and fear an intercessor for themselves.

The second medicine is thanks and contentment, and entreaty and supplication, and relying on the mercy of the All-Compassionate Provider. Is that so? Yes, for how can poverty, want and need be painful and burdensome for a guest of an All-Generous and Munificent One Who makes the whole face of the earth a table of bounties and the spring a bunch of flowers, and Who places the flowers on the table and scatters them over it? Poverty and need take on the form of a pleasant appetite. The guest tries to increase his poverty in the same way he does his appetite. It is because of this that the wise have taken pride in want and poverty. But beware, do not misunderstand this ! It means to be aware of one's poverty before God and to beseech Him, not to parade poverty before the people and assume the air of a beggar.

As for the ticket and voucher, it is to perform the religious duties, and foremost the prescribed prayers, and to give up serious sins. Is that so? Yes, it is, for according to the consensus of those who observe and have knowledge of the Unseen and those who uncover the mysteries of creation, the provisions, light, and steed for the long, dark road to post-eternity may only be obtained through complying with the commands of the Qur'an and


1 Qur'an, 2:117, etc.

2 Qur'an, 2:156.


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avoiding what it prohibits. Science, philosophy, and art are worth nothing on that road. Their light reaches only as far as the door of the grave.

O my lazy soul! How little and light and easy it is to perform the five daily prayers and give up the seven deadly sins! If you have the faculty of reason and it is not corrupted, understand how important and extensive are their results, fruits, and benefits ! Say to the Devil and that man who were encouraging you to indulge in vice and dissipation: "If you have the means to kill death, and cause decline and transience to disappear from the world, and remove poverty and impotence from man, and close the door of the grave, then tell us and let us hear it! Otherwise, be silent! The Qur'an reads the universe in the vast mosque of creation. Let us listen to it. Let us be illuminated with that light. Let us act according to its guidance. And let us recite it constantly. Yes, the Qur'an is the word. That is what they say of it. It is the Qur'an which is the truth and comes from the Truth and says the truth and shows the truth and spreads luminous wisdom..."

O God! Illuminate our hearts with the light of belief and the Qur'an.

O God! Enrich us with the need of You and do not impoverish us with the lack of need of You. Make us free of our own strength and power, and cause us to take refuge in Your strength and power. Appoint us among those who place their trust in You, and do not entrust us to ourselves. Protect us with Your protection. Have mercy on us and have mercy on all believing men and women. And grant blessings and peace to our Master Muhammad, Your Servant and Prophet, Your Friend and Beloved, the Beauty of Your Dominion and the Sovereign of Your Art, the Essence of Your Favour and the Sun of Your Guidance, the Tongue of Your Proof and the Exemplar of Your Mercy, the Light of Your Creation and the Glory of Your Creatures, the Lamp of Your Unity in the Multiplicity of Your Creatures and the Discloser of the Talisman of Your Beings, the Herald of the Sovereignty of Your Dominicality and the Announcer of those things pleasing to You, the Proclaimer of the Treasuries of Your Names and the Instructor of Your Servants, the Interpreter of Your Signs and the Mirror of the Beauty of Your Dominicality, the Means of witnessing You and bearing witness to You, Your Beloved and Your Messenger whom You sent as a Mercy to All the Worlds, and to all his Family and Companions, and to his brothers among the prophets and messengers, and to Your angels and to the righteous among Your servants. AMEN.


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The Eighth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

God, there is no god but He, the Ever-Living, the Self -Sub sistent.

Verily, the religion before God is Islam.

If you want to understand this world, and man's spirit within the world, and the nature and value of religion for man, and how the world is a prison if there is no True Religion, and that without religion man becomes the most miserable of creatures, and that it is "O God!" and, "There is no god but God" that solve this world's talisman and deliver the human spirit from darkness, then listen to and consider this comparison:

Long ago, two brothers set off on a long journey. They continued on their way until the road forked. At the fork they saw a serious-looking man and asked him: "Which road is good?" He told them: "On the road to the right one is compelled to comply with the law and order, but within that hardship is security and happiness. However, on the left- hand road there is freedom and no restraint, but within its freedom lie danger and wretchedness. Now, the choice is yours!"

After listening to this, saying, "I place my trust in God," the brother with a good character took the right road and conformed to the order and regulations. The other brother, who was immoral and a layabout, chose the road to the left just for the lack of restrictions. With our imaginations, we shall follow this man in his situation, which was apparently easy but in reality burdensome.

Thus, this man went up hill and down dale until he found himself in a desolate wilderness. He suddenly heard a terrifying sound and saw that a great lion had come out of the forest and was about to attack him. He fled. He came across a waterless well sixty yards deep, and in his fear jumped into it. He fell half-way down it where his hands met a tree. He clung on to it. The tree, which was growing out of the walls of the well, had two roots.


1 Qur'an, 3:2; 2:255. 2 Qur'an, 3:19. 3 Qur'an, 11:56.


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Two rats, one white and one black, were attacking and gnawing through them. He looked up and saw that the lion was waiting at the top of the well like a sentry. He looked down and saw a ghastly dragon. It raised its head and drew it close to his foot thirty yards above. Its mouth was as big as the mouth of the well. Then he looked at the well's walls and saw that stinging, poisonous vermin had gathered round him. He looked up at the mouth of the well and saw a fig-tree. But it was not an ordinary tree; it bore the fruit of many different trees, from walnuts to pomegranates.

Thus, due to his lack of thought and foolishness, the man did not understand that this was not just some ordinary matter, these things were not here by chance, and that there were mysterious secrets concealed in these strange beings. And he did not grasp that there was someone very powerful directing them. Now, although his heart, spirit, and mind were secretly weeping and wailing at this grievous situation, his evil-commanding soul pretended that it was nothing; it closed its ears to the weeping of his heart and spirit, and deceiving itself, started to eat the tree's fruit as though it was in a garden. But some of the fruit were poisonous and harmful. Almighty God says in a Divine Hadith: "I am according to how my servants think of Me." 4

Thus, through his foolishness and lack of understanding, this unhappy man thought what he saw to be ordinary and the actual truth. So that is the way he was treated, and is treated, and will be treated. He neither dies so that he is saved from it, nor does he live - he is in such torment. Now we shall leave this ill-omened man in his torment and return, so that we may consider the situation of the other brother.

This fortunate and intelligent person went on his way, but he suffered no distress like his brother. For, due to his fine morals, he thought of good things and imagined good things. Everything was friendly and familiar to him. And he did not suffer any difficulty and hardship like his brother, for he knew the order and followed it. He found it easy. He went on his way freely and in peace and security. Then he came across a garden in which were both lovely flowers and fruits, and, since it was not looked after, rotting and filthy things. His brother had also entered such a garden, but he had noticed and occupied himself with the filthy things and they had turned his stomach, so he had left it and moved on without being able to rest himself. But this man acted according to the rule, 'look on the good side of everything,' and had paid no attention to the rotting things. He had benefited a lot from the good things, and taking a good rest, he had left and gone on his way.

Later, also like the first brother, he had entered a vast desert, and had suddenly heard the roar of a lion which was attacking him. He was frightened,


4 Bukhari, Tawhid, 15, 35; Muslim, Tawba, 1; Dhikr, 2, 19; Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 51; Da'wat, 131; IbnMaja, Adab, 58; Darimi, Riqaq, 33; Musnad, ii, 251, 315, 391, 412, 445, 482, 516.


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but not as much as his brother. For, because of his good thoughts and positive attitude, he thought to himself: "This desert has a ruler, and it is possible that this lion is a servant under the ruler's command," and found consolation. But he still fled until he came across an empty well sixty yards deep. He threw himself into it. Like his brother, his hand clasped a tree half-way down and he remained suspended in the air. He looked and saw two animals gnawing through the tree's two roots. He looked up and saw the lion, and looked down and saw the dragon. Just like his brother he was seeing a most strange situation. He was terrified like him, but his terror was a thousand times less than his brother's. For his good morals had given him good thoughts, and good thoughts show the good side of everything. So, because of this, he thought as follows:

"These strange happenings are connected to someone. Also it seems that they are acting in accordance with a command. In which case, these matters contain a talisman. Yes, everything is happening at the command of a hidden ruler. Therefore, I am not alone; the hidden ruler is watching me, he is testing me, he is impelling me somewhere for some purpose, and inviting me there. A curiosity arising from this pleasant fear and these agreeable thoughts prompt me to say: I wonder who it is that is testing me, wants to make himself known, and is impelling me for some purpose on this strange road."

Then, love for the owner of the talisman arose out of the desire to know him, and from that love arose the desire to solve the talisman. And from that desire arose the will to acquire good qualities which would please and gratify the talisman's owner. Then he looked at the tree and saw it was a fig-tree, but it was bearing the fruits of thousands of trees. So then all his fear left him, for he understood that for certain the fig-tree was a list, an index, an exhibition. The hidden ruler must have attached samples of the fruits in the garden to the tree through a miracle and with a talisman, and must have adorned the tree in a way that would point to each of the foods he had prepared for his guests. For there is no other way a single tree could produce the fruits of thousands of different trees. Then he began to entreat that he would be inspired with the key to the talisman. He called out:

"O ruler of this place! I have happened upon you and I take refuge with you. I am your servant and I want to please you. I am searching for you." After he had made this supplication, the walls of the well suddenly parted, and a door opened onto a wonderful, pleasant, quiet garden. Indeed, the dragon's mouth was transformed into the door, and both it and the lion took on the forms of two servants; they invited him to enter. The lion even became a docile horse for him.

O my lazy soul! And O my imaginary friend! Come! Let us compare the position of these two brothers so that we can see how good comes of good and evil comes of evil. Let us find out.


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Look, the unhappy traveller on the left road is all the time trembling with fear waiting to enter the dragon's mouth, while the fortunate one is invited into a blooming, splendid garden full of fruit. And the unfortunate one's heart is being pounded by an awful terror and grievous fear, while the fortunate one is gazing at and observing strange things as a delightful lesson, with a pleasant fear and loving knowledge. Also the miserable one is suffering torments in desolation, despair, and loneliness, while the fortunate one is enjoying himself, full of hope, longing, and a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the unfortunate one sees himself as a prisoner subject to the attacks of wild beasts, while the fortunate one is an honoured guest who is on friendly terms and enjoying himself with the strange servants of his generous host. Also the unhappy one is hastening his torments by indulging in fruits which are apparently delicious but in fact poisonous. For the fruits are samples; there is permission to taste them so as to seek the originals and become customers for them, but there is no permission to devour them like an animal. But the fortunate one tastes them and understands the matter; he postpones eating them and takes pleasure in waiting. Moreover, the unfortunate one is wronging himself. Through his lack of discernment, he is making a truth and a situation which are as clear and bright as daylight into a dark and oppressive fear, into a hellish delusion. He does not deserve pity, nor does he have the right to complain to anyone.

For example, if a person at a pleasant banquet in a beautiful garden in summer among his friends makes himself drunk through filthy intoxicants, then imagines himself hungry and naked in the middle of winter among wild animals and starts shouting out and crying, he does not deserve to be pitied; he is wronging himself, and he is insulting his friends by imagining them to be wild beasts. Thus, the unfortunate brother is like this. But the fortunate one sees the truth. And the truth is good. Through perceiving the beauty of the truth, the fortunate brother is being respectful towards the truth's owner. So he deserves his mercy. Thus, the meaning of the Qur'anic decree: "Know that evil is from yourself, and good is from God" 5 becomes clear. If you make a comparison of other differences in the same way, you will understand that the evil-commanding soul of the first brother has prepared a sort of hell for him, while the good intention, good will, good character, and good thoughts of the other have allowed him to receive abundant bounty, experience true happiness and prosperity, and display shining virtue.

O my soul! And O you who is listening to this story together with my soul! If you do not want to be the unfortunate brother and want to be the fortunate one, listen to the Qur'an, obey its decrees, adhere to them, and act according to them.


5 See, Qur'an, 4:79.


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If you have understood the truths in this comparison, you will be able to make them correspond to the truths of religion, the world, man, and belief in God. I shall say the important ones, then you deduce the finer points yourself.

So, look! Of the two brothers, one is a believing spirit and a righteous heart. The other is an unbelieving spirit and a depraved heart. Of the two roads, the one to the right is the way of the Qur'an and belief in God, while the left one is the road of rebellion and denial. The garden on the road is man's fleeting life in human society and civilization, where good and evil, and things good and bad and clean and dirty are found side by side. The sensible person is he who acts according to the rule: 'Take what is pleasant and clear, and leave what is distressing and turbid,' and goes on his way with tranquillity of heart. As for the desert, it is the earth and this world. And the lion is death and the appointed hour. The well is man's body and the time of his life, while its sixty-yard depth points to the normal life-span of sixty years. And the tree is the period of life and the substance of life. The two animals, one white and one black, are night and day. The dragon is the road to the Intermediate Realm and pavilion of the hereafter, whose mouth is the grave. But for the believer, that mouth is a door opening from a prison onto a garden. As for the poisonous vermin, they are the calamities of this world. But for the believer they are like gentle Divine warnings and favours of the Most Merciful One to prevent him slipping off into the sleep of heedlessness. The fruits on the tree are the bounties of this world which the Absolutely Generous One has made in the form of a list of the bounties of the hereafter, and both as examples of them, and warnings, and samples inviting customers to the fruits of Paradise. And the tree producing numerous different fruits despite being a single tree indicates the seal of the Eternally Besought One's power, the stamp of Divine dominicality, and the signet of the sovereignty of the Godhead. For 'to make everything from one thing,' that is, to make all plants and fruits from earth, and create all animals from a fluid, and to create all the limbs and organs of animals from a simple food, together with 'making everything one thing,' that is, arts like weaving a simple skin and making flesh particular to each animal from the great variety of foods that animals eat, is an inimitable stamp and seal peculiar to the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, Who is the Single, Eternally-Besought One. For sure, to make one thing everything, and everything one thing is a sign, a mark, peculiar to the Creator of all things, the One Powerful over all things.

As for the talisman, it is the mystery of the purpose of creation which is solved through the mystery of belief. And the key is "There is no god but God," and, "God, there is no god but He, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent." The dragon's mouth being transformed into the door into the garden is a sign that, although for the people of misguidance and rebellion the grave is a door opening, in desolation and oblivion, onto a grave distressing as a dungeon


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and narrow as a dragon's stomach, for the people of the Qur'an and belief, it is a door which opens from the prison of this world onto the fields of immortality, from the arena of examination onto the gardens of Paradise, and from the hardships of life onto the mercy of the All-Merciful One. The savage lion turning into a friendly servant and a docile mount is a sign that, although for the people of misguidance, death is a bitter, eternal parting from all their loved ones, and the expulsion from the deceptive paradise of this world and the entry in desolation and loneliness into the dungeon of the grave, for the people of guidance and the Qur'an it is the means of joining all their old friends and beloved ones who have already departed for the next world, and the means of entering their true homeland and abode of everlasting happiness. It is an invitation to the meadows of Paradise from the prison of this world, and a time to receive the wage bestowed out of the generosity of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One for services rendered to Him, and a discharge from the hardship of the duties of life, and a rest from the drill and instruction of worship and examination.

In Short: Whoever makes this fleeting life his purpose and aim is in fact in Hell even if apparently in Paradise. And whoever is turned in all seriousness towards eternal life receives the happiness of both worlds. However difficult and distressing this world is for him, since he sees it as the waiting-room for Paradise, he endures it and offers thanks in patience.

O God! Appoint us among the people of happiness, safety, the Qur'an, and belief. Amen. O God! Grant peace and blessings to our Master Muhammad, and to his Family and Companions, to the number of all the letters of the Qur 'an formed in all its words, represented with the permission of the Most Merciful One in the mirrors of the air waves on the recital of each of those words by all the Qur' an' s reciters from its first revelation to the end of time, and have mercy on us and on our parents, and have mercy on all believing men and women to the number of those words, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amen. And all praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds.


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The Ninth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

So glorify God when you reach evening and when you rise in the morning; for all praise is His in the heavens and on earth, and towards the end of the day and when you have reached noon.

Brother! You ask me concerning the wisdom in the specified times of the five daily prayers. I shall point out only one of the many instances of wisdom in the times.

Yes, like each of the times of prayer marks the start of an important revolution, so also is each a mirror to Divine disposal of power and to the universal Divine bounties within that disposal. Thus, more glorification and extolling of the Ail-Powerful One of Glory have been ordered at those times, and more praise and thanks for all the innumerable bounties accumulated between each of the times, which is the meaning of the prescribed prayers. In order to understand a little this subtle and profound meaning, you should listen together with my own soul to the following five 'Points'.

FIRST POINT

The meaning of the prayers is the offering of glorification, praise, and thanks to Almighty God. That is to say, uttering "Glory be to God" by word and action before God's glory and sublimity, it is to hallow and worship Him. And declaring "God is Most Great" through word and act before His sheer perfection, it is to exalt and magnify Him. And saying "All praise be to God" with the heart, tongue, and body, it is to offer thanks before His utter beauty. That is to say, glorification, exaltation, and praise are like the seeds of the prayers. That is why these three things are present in every part of the prayers, in all the actions and words. It is also why these blessed words are each repeated thirty-three times after the prayers, in order to strengthen and reiterate the prayers' meaning. The meaning of the prayers is confirmed through these concise summaries.


'Qur'an, 30:17-18.


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SECOND POINT

The meaning of worship is this, that the servant sees his own faults, impotence, and poverty, and in the Divine Court prostrates in love and wonderment before dominical perfection, Divine mercy, and the power of the Eternally Besought One. That is to say, just as the sovereignty of dominicality demands worship and obedience, so also does the holiness of dominicality require that the servant sees his faults through seeking forgiveness, and through his glorifications and declaring "Glory be to God" proclaims that his Sustainer is pure and free of all defects, and exalted above and far from the false ideas of the people of misguidance, and hallowed and exempt from all the faults in the universe.

Also, the perfect power of dominicality requires that through understanding his own weakness and the impotence of other creatures, the servant proclaims "God is Most Great" in admiration and wonder before the majesty of the works of the Eternally Besought One's power, and bowing in deep humility seeks refuge in Him and places his trust in Him.

Also, the infinite treasury of dominicality' s mercy requires that the servant makes known his own need and the needs and poverty of all creatures through the tongue of entreaty and supplication, and proclaims his Sustainer' s bounties and gifts through thanks and laudation and uttering "All praise be to God." That is to say, the words and actions of the prayers comprise these meanings, and have been laid down from the side of Divinity.

THIRD POINT

Just as man is an example in miniature of the greater world and Sura al-Fatiha a shining sample of the Qur'an of Mighty Stature, so are the prescribed prayers a comprehensive, luminous index of all varieties of worship, and a sacred map pointing to all the shades of worship of all the classes of creatures.

FOURTH POINT

The second-hand, minute-hand, hour-hand, and day-hand of a clock which tells the weeks look to one another, are examples of one another, and follow one another. Similarly, the alternations of day and night, which are like the seconds of this world -a vast clock of Almighty God- and the years which tell its minutes, and the stages of man's life-span which tell the hours, and the epochs of the world's life-span which tell the days look to one another, are examples of one another, resemble one another, and recall one another. For example:

The time of Fajr, the early morning: This time until sunrise resembles and calls to mind the early spring, the moment of conception in the mother's womb, and the first of the six days of the creation of the heavens and earth; it recalls the Divine acts present in them.


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The time of Zuhr, just past midday: This resembles and points to midsummer, and the prime of youth, and the period of man's creation in the lifetime of the world, and calls to mind the manifestations of mercy and the abundant bounties they contain.

The time of 'Asr, afternoon: This is like autumn, and old age, and the time of the Final Prophet (PBUH), known as the Era of Bliss, and recalls the Divine acts and favours of the All- Merciful One present in them.

The time of Maghrib, sunset: Through recalling the departure of many creatures at the end of autumn, and man's death, and the destruction of the world at the commencement of the resurrection, this time puts in mind the manifestations of Divine glory and sublimity, and rouses man from his slumbers of heedlessness.

The time of 'Isha, nightfall. As for this time, by calling to mind the world of darkness veiling all the objects of the daytime world with a black shroud, and winter hiding the face of the dead earth with its white cerement, and even the remaining works of departed men dying and passing beneath the veil of oblivion, and this world, the arena of examination, being shut up and closed down for ever, it proclaims the awesome and mighty disposals of the All-Glorious and Compelling Subduer.

As for the nighttime, through putting in mind both the winter, and the grave, and the Intermediate Realm, it reminds man how needy is the human spirit for the Most Merciful One's mercy. And the tahajjud prayer informs him what a necessary light it is for the night of the grave and darkness of the Intermediate Realm; it warns him of this, and through recalling the infinite bounties of the True Bestower, proclaims how deserving He is of praise and thanks.

And the second morning calls to mind the Morning of the Resurrection. For sure, however reasonable and necessary and certain the morning of this night is, the Morning of the Resurrection and the spring following the Intermediate Realm are certain to the same degree.

That is, just as each of these five times marks the start of an important revolution and recalls other great revolutions, so through the awesome daily disposals of the Eternally Besought One's power, each calls to mind the miracles of Divine power and gifts of Divine mercy of both every year, and every age, and every epoch. That is to say, the prescribed prayers, which are an innate duty and the basis of worship and an incontestable debt, are most appropriate and fitting for these times.


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FIFTH POINT

By nature man is extremely weak, yet everything touches him, and saddens and grieves him. Also he is utterly lacking in power, yet the calamities and enemies that afflict him are extremely numerous. Also he is extremely wanting, yet his needs are indeed many. Also he is lazy and incapable, yet life's responsibilities are most burdensome. Also his humanity has connected him to the rest of the universe, yet the decline and disappearance of the things he loves and with which he is familiar continually pains him. Also his reason shows him exalted aims and lasting fruits, yet his hand is short, his life brief, his power slight, and his patience little.

It can be clearly understood from this how essential it is for a spirit in this state at the time of Fajr in the early morning to have recourse to and present a petition to the Court of an All-Powerful One of Glory, an All-Compassionate All-Beauteous One through prayer and supplication, to seek success and help from Him, and what a necessary point of support it is so that he can face the things that will happen to him in the coming day and bear the duties that will be loaded on him.

The time of Zuhr just past midday is the time of the day's zenith and the start of its decline, the time when daily labours approach their achievement, the time of a short rest from the pressures of work, when the spirit needs a pause from the heedlessness and insensibility caused by toil, and a time Divine bounties are manifested. Anyone may understand then how fine and agreeable, how necessary and appropriate it is for the human spirit to perform the midday prayer, which means to be released from the pressure, shake off the heedlessness, and leave behind those meaningless, transient things, and clasping one's hands at the Court of the True Bestower of Bounties, the Eternally Self-Subsistent One, to offer praise and thanks for all His gifts, and seek help from Him, and through bowing to display one's impotence before His glory and tremendousness, and to prostrate and proclaim one's wonder, love, and humility. One who does not understand this is not a true human being.

As for the time of 'Asr in the afternoon, it calls to mind the melancholy season of autumn and the mournful state of old age and the sombre period at the end of time. It is also when the matters of the day reach their conclusion, and the time the Divine bounties which have been received that day like health, well-being, and beneficial duties have accumulated to form a great total, and the time that proclaims through the mighty sun hinting by starting to sink that man is a guest-official and that everything is transient and inconstant. Now, the human spirit desires eternity and was created for it; it worships benevolence, and is pained by separation. Thus, anyone who is truly a human being may understand what an exalted duty, what an appropriate


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service, what a fitting way to repay a debt of human nature, indeed, what an agreeable pleasure it is to perform the afternoon prayer. For by offering supplications at the Eternal Court of the Everlasting Pre-Eternal One, the Eternally Self-Subsistent One, it has the meaning of taking refuge in the grace of unending, infinite mercy, and by offering thanks and praise in the face of innumerable bounties, of humbly bowing before the mightiness of His dominicality, and by prostrating in utter humility before the everlastingness of His Godhead, of finding true consolation of heart and ease of spirit, and being girded ready for worship in the presence of His grandeur.

The time of Maghrib at sunset recalls the disappearance amid sad farewells of the delicate, lovely creatures of the worlds of summer and autumn at the start of winter. It calls to mind the time when through his death, man will leave all those he loves in sorrowful departure and enter the grave. It brings to mind when at the death of this world amid the convulsions of its death-agonies, all its inhabitants will migrate to other worlds and the lamp of this place of examination will be extinguished. It is a time which gives stern warning to those who worship transient, ephemeral beloveds.

Thus, at such a time, for the Maghrib prayer, man's spirit, which by its nature is a mirror desirous for an Eternal Beauty, turns its face towards the throne of mightiness of the Eternal Undying One, the Enduring Everlasting One, Who performs these mighty works and turns and transforms these huge worlds, and declaring "God is Most Great" over these transient beings, withdraws from them. Man clasps his hands in service of his Lord and rises in the presence of the Enduring Eternal One, and through saying: All praise be to God, he praises and extols His faultless perfection, His peerless beauty, His infinite mercy. Through declaring: "You alone do we worship and from You alone we seek help," he proclaims his worship for and seeks help from His unassisted dominicality, His unpartnered Godhead, His unshared sovereignty. Then he bows, and through declaring together with all the universe his weakness and impotence, his poverty and baseness before the infinite majesty, the limitless power, and utter mightiness of the Enduring Eternal One, he says: "All glory to My Mighty Sustainer," and glorifies his Sublime Sustainer. And prostrating before the undying Beauty of His Essence, His unchanging sacred attributes, His constant everlasting perfection, through abandoning all things other than Him, man proclaims his love and worship in wonder and self- abasement. He finds an All-Compassionate Eternal One. And through saying, "All glory to my Exalted Sustainer," he declares his Most High Sustainer to be free of decline and exalted above any fault.

Then, he testifies to God's unity and the prophethood of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). He sits, and on his own account offers as


2 Qur'an, 1:5.


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a gift to the Undying All-Beauteous One, the Enduring All-Glorious One the blessed salutations and benedictions of all creatures. And through greeting God's Most Noble Messenger, he renews his allegiance to him and proclaims his obedience to his commands. In order to renew and illuminate his faith, he observes the wise order in this palace of the universe and testifies to the unity of the All-Glorious Maker. And he testifies to the Messengership of Muhammad the Arabian (Peace and blessings be upon him), who is the herald of the sovereignty of God's dominicality, the proclaimer of those things pleasing to Him, and the interpreter of the signs and verses of the book of the universe. To perform the Maghrib prayer is this. So how can someone be considered a human being who does not understand what a fine and pure duty is the prayer at sunset, what an exalted and pleasurable act of service, what an agreeable and pleasing act of worship, what a serious matter, and what an unending conversation and permanent happiness it is in this transient guesthouse?

At the time of 'Isha at nightfall, the last traces of the day remaining on the horizon disappear, and the world of night enfolds the universe. As the All-Powerful and Glorious One, The Changer of Night and Day, turns the white page of day into the black page of night through the mighty disposals of His dominicality, it recalls the Divine activities of that All- Wise One of Perfection, The Subduer of the Sun and the Moon, turning the green-adorned page of summer into the frigid white page of winter. And with the remaining works of the departed being erased from this world with the passing of time, it recalls the Divine acts of The Creator and Life and Death in their passage to another, quite different world. It is a time that calls to mind the disposals of The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth's awesomeness and the manifestations of His beauty in the utter destruction of this narrow, fleeting, and lowly world, the terrible death-agonies of its decease, and in the unfolding of the broad, eternal, and majestic world of the hereafter. And the universe's Owner, its True Disposer, its True Beloved and Object of Worship can only be the One Who with ease turns night into day, winter into spring, and this world into the hereafter like the pages of a book; Who writes and erases them, and changes them.

Thus, at nightfall, man's spirit, which is infinitely impotent and weak, and infinitely poor and needy, and plunged into the infinite darkness of the future, and tossed around amid innumerable events, performs the 'Isha prayer, which has this meaning: like Abraham man says: "I love not those that set," and through the prayers seeks refuge at the Court of an Undying Object of Worship, an Eternal Beloved One, and in this transient world and fleeting life and dark world and black future he supplicates an Enduring,


3 Qur'an, 6:76.


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Everlasting One, and for a moment of unending conversation, a few seconds of immortal life, he asks to receive the favours of the All- Merciful and Compassionate One's mercy and the light of His guidance, which will strew light on his world and illuminate his future and bind up the wounds resulting from the departure and decline of all creatures and friends.

Temporarily man forgets the hidden world, which has forgotten him, and pours out his woes at the Court of Mercy with his weeping, and whatever happens, before sleeping -which resembles death- he performs his last duty of worship. And in order to close favourably the daily record of his actions, he rises to pray; that is to say, he rises to enter the presence of an Eternal Beloved and Worshipped One in place of all the mortal ones he loves, of an Ail-Powerful and Generous One in place of all the impotent creatures from which he begs, of an All-Compassionate Protector so as to be saved from the evil of the harmful beings before which he trembles.

He starts with the Sura al-Fatiha, that is, instead of praising and being obliged to defective, wanting creatures, for which they are not suited, he extols and offers praise to The Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is Absolutely Perfect and Utterly Self-Sufficient and Most Compassionate and All-Generous. Then he progresses to the address: "You alone do we worship." That is, despite his smallness, insignificance, and aloneness, through man's connection with The Owner of the Day of Judgement, Who is the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, he attains to a rank whereat he is an indulged guest in the universe and an important official. Through declaring: "You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help," he presents to Him in the name of all creatures the worship and calls for assistance of the mighty congregation and huge community of the universe. Then through saying: "Guide us to the Straight Path," he asks to be guided to the Straight Path, which leads to eternal happiness and is the luminous way.

And now, he thinks of the mightiness of the All-Glorious One, of Whom, like the sleeping plants and animals, the hidden suns and sober stars are all soldiers subjugated to His command, and lamps and servants in this guesthouse of the world, and uttering: "God is Most Great," he bows down. Then he thinks of the great prostration of all creatures. That is, when, at the command of "Be!," and it is, 4 all the varieties of creatures each year and each century - even the earth, and the universe - each like a well-ordered army or an obedient soldier, is discharged from its duty, that is, when each is sent to the World of the Unseen, through the prostration of its decease and death with complete orderliness, it declares: "God is Most Great," and bows down in prostration. Like they are raised to life, some in part and some the same, in the spring at an awakening and life-giving trumpet- blast from the command


4 Qur'an, 2:117, etc.


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of '"Be!" and it is,' and they rise up and are girded ready to serve their Lord, insignificant man too, following them, declares: "God is Most Great!" in the presence of the All- Merciful One of Perfection, the All-Compassionate One of Beauty in wonderstruck love and eternity-tinged humility and dignified self-effacement, and bows down in prostration; that is to say, he makes a sort of Ascension. For sure you will have understood now how agreeable and fine and pleasant and elevated, how high and pleasurable, how reasonable and appropriate a duty, service, and act of worship, and what a serious matter it is to perform the 'Isha prayer.

Thus, since each of these five times points to a mighty revolution, is a sign indicating the tremendous dominical activity, and a token of the universal Divine bounties, it is perfect wisdom that being a debt and an obligation, the prescribed prayers should be specified at those times.

Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one whom You sent as a teacher to Your servants to instruct them in knowledge of You and worship of You, and to make known the treasures of Your Names, and to translate the signs of the book of the universe and as a mirror to its worship of the beauty of Your dominicality, and to all his Family and Companions, and have mercy on us and on all believing men and women. Amen. Through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!


5


Qur'an, 2:32.


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The Tenth Word

Resurrection and the Hereafter

NOTE

[The reasons for my writing these treatises in the form of metaphors, comparisons and stories are to facilitate comprehension and to show how rational, appropriate, well-founded and coherent are the truths of Islam. The meaning of the stories is contained in the truths that conclude them; each story is like an allusion pointing to its concluding truth. Therefore, they are not mere fictitious tales, but veritable truths.]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Look, then, to the signs of God's mercy — how He restores life to the earth after

its death — verily He it is Who quickens the dead, for He is powerful over all

things.

Brother, if you wish for a discussion of resurrection and the hereafter in simple and common language, in a straightforward style, then listen to the following comparison, together with my own soul.

Once two men were travelling through a land as beautiful as Paradise (by that land, we intend the world). Looking around them, they saw that everyone had left open the door of his home and his shop and was not paying attention to guarding it. Money and property were readily accessible, without anyone to claim them. One of the two travellers grasped hold of all that he fancied, stealing it and usurping it. Following his inclinations, he committed every kind of injustice and abomination. None of the people of that land moved to stop him. But his friend said to him:

"What are you doing? You will be punished, and I will be dragged into misfortune along with you. All this property belongs to the state. The people


1 Qur'an, 30:50.


NOTE: The main part of this translation of the Tenth Word is by Hamid Algar, Prof, of Middle Eastern Studies in the Univ. of California, Berkeley, USA, and was first published in 1980. It has been slightly amended to fit the present work


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of this land, including even the children, are all soldiers or government servants. It is because they are at present civilians that they are not interfering with you. But the laws here are strict. The king has installed telephones everywhere and his agents are everywhere. Go quickly, and try to settle the matter."

But the empty-headed man said in his obstinacy: "No, it is not state property; it belongs instead to some endowment, and has no clear or obvious owner. Everyone can make use of it as he sees fit. I see no reason to deny myself the use of these fine things. I will not believe they belong to anyone unless I see him with my own eyes." He continued to speak in this way, with much philosophical sophistry, and an earnest discussion took place between them.

First the empty-headed man said: "Who is the king here? I can't see him," and then his friend replied:

"Every village must have its headman; every needle must have its manufacturer and craftsman. And, as you know, every letter must be written by someone. How, then, can it be that so extremely well-ordered a kingdom should have no ruler? And how can so much wealth have no owner, when every hour a train arrives filled with precious and artful gifts, as if coming from the realm of the unseen? And all the announcements and proclamations, all the seals and stamps, found on all those goods, all the coins and the flags waving in every corner of the kingdom — can they be without an owner? It seems you have studied foreign languages a little, and are unable to read this Islamic script. In addition, you refuse to ask those who are able to read it. Come now, let me read to you the king's supreme decree."

The empty-headed man then retorted: "Well, let us suppose there is a king; what harm can he suffer from the minute use I am making of all his wealth? Will his treasury decrease on account of it? In any event, I can see nothing here resembling prison or punishment."

His friend replied: "This land that you see is a manoeuvering ground. It is, in addition, an exhibition of his wonderful royal arts. Then again it may be regarded as a temporary hospice, one devoid of foundations. Do you not see that every day one caravan arrives as another departs and vanishes? It is being constantly emptied and filled. Soon the whole land will be changed; its inhabitants will depart for another and more lasting realm. There everyone will be either rewarded or punished in accordance with his services."

That treacherous empty-headed one retorted rebelliously: "I don't believe it. Is it at all possible that a whole land should perish, and be transferred to another realm?"


2 Indicates the cycle of a year. Indeed, every spring is a carload of provisions coming from the realm


of the unseen.


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His faithful friend then replied: "Since you are so obstinate and rebellious, come, let me demonstrate to you, with twelve out of the innumerable proofs available, that there is a Supreme Tribunal, a realm of reward and generosity and a realm of punishment and incarceration, and that just as this world is partially emptied every day, so too a day shall come when it will be totally emptied and destroyed.

• First Aspect: Is it at all possible that in any kingdom, and particularly so splendid a kingdom as this, there should be no reward for those who serve obediently and no punishment for those who rebel? Reward and punishment are virtually non-existent here; there must therefore be a Supreme Tribunal somewhere else.

• Second Aspect: Look at the organization and administration of this kingdom! See how everyone, including the poorest and the weakest, is provided with perfect and ornate sustenance. The best care is taken of the sick. Royal and delicious foods, dishes, jewel encrusted decorations, embroidered garments, splendid feasts — all are to be found here. See how everyone pays due attention to his duties, with the exception of empty-headed people such as yourself. No one transgresses his bounds by as much as an inch. The greatest of all men is engaged in modest and obedient service, with an attitude of fear and awe. The ruler of this kingdom must possess, then, great generosity and all-embracing compassion, as well as, at the same time, great dignity, exalted awesomeness and honour. Now generosity requires liberality; compassion cannot dispense with beneficence; and awesomeness and honour make it imperative that the discourteous be chastised. But not even a thousandth part of what that generosity and awesomeness require is to be seen in this realm. The oppressor retains his power, and the oppressed, his humiliation, as they both depart and migrate from this realm. Their affairs are, then, left to the same Supreme Tribunal of which we speak.

• Third Aspect: See with what lofty wisdom and ordering affairs are managed, and with what true justice and balance transactions are effected! Now a wise polity requires that those who seek refuge under the protecting wing of the state should receive favour, and justice demands that the rights of subjects be preserved, so that the splendour of the state should not suffer. But here in this land, not a thousandth part of the requirements of such wisdom and justice is fulfilled; for example, empty-headed people such as yourself usually leave this realm unpunished. So again we say, matters are postponed for the consideration of a Supreme Tribunal.

• Fourth Aspect: Look at these innumerable and peerless jewels that are displayed here, these unparalleled dishes laid out like a banquet! They demonstrate that the ruler of these lands is possessed of infinite generosity and an inexhaustible treasury. Now such generosity and such a treasury


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deserve and require a bounteous display that should be eternal and include all possible objects of desire. They further require that all who come as guests to partake of that display should be there eternally and not suffer the pain of death and separation. For just as the cessation of pain is pleasurable, so too is the cessation of pleasure painful! Look at these displays and the announcements concerning them! And listen to these heralds proclaiming the fine and delicate arts of a miracle-working monarch, and demonstrating his perfections ! They are declaring his peerless and invisible beauty, and speaking of the subtle manifestations of his hidden beauteousness; he must be possessed, then, of a great and astounding invisible beauty and perfection. This flawless hidden perfection requires one who will appreciate and admire it, who will gaze on it exclaiming, Ma 'shallah!, thus displaying it and making it known.

As for concealed and peerless beauty, it too requires to see and be seen, or rather to behold itself in two ways. The first consists of contemplating itself in different mirrors, and the second of contemplating itself by means of the contemplation of enraptured spectators and astounded admirers. Hidden beauty wishes, then, to see and be seen, to contemplate itself eternally and be contemplated without cease. It desires also permanent existence for those who gaze upon it in awe and rapture. For eternal beauty can never be content with a transient admirer; moreover, an admirer destined to perish without hope of return will find his love turning to enmity whenever he imagines his death, and his admiration and respect will yield to contempt. It is in man's nature to hate the unknown and the unaccustomed. Now everyone leaves the hospice of this realm very quickly and vanishes, having seen only a light or a shadow of the perfection and beauty for no more than a moment, without in any way being satiated. Hence, it is necessary that he should go towards an eternal realm where he will contemplate the Divine beauty and perfection.

• Fifth Aspect: See, it is evident from all these matters that that peerless Being is possessed of most great mercy. For he causes aid to be swiftly extended to every victim of misfortune, answers every question and petition; and mercifully fulfils even the lowliest need of his lowliest subject. If, for example, the foot of some herdsman's sheep should hurt, he either provides some medicine or sends a veterinarian.

Come now, let us go; there is a great meeting on that island. All the nobles of the land are assembled there. See, a most noble commander, bearing exalted decorations, is pronouncing a discourse, and requesting certain things from that compassionate monarch. All those present say: "Yes, we too desire the same," and affirm and assent to his words. Now listen to the words of that commander favoured by his monarch:

"O monarch that nurtures us with his bounty! Show us the source and origin of these examples and shadows you have shown us! Draw us nigh to


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your seat of rule; do not let us perish in these deserts! Take us into your presence and have mercy on us! Feed us there on the delicious bounty you have caused us to taste here! Do not torment us with desperation and banishment! Do not leave your yearning, thankful and obedient subjects to their own devices; do not cause them to be annihilated!" Do you not hear him thus supplicating? Is it at all possible that so merciful and powerful a monarch should not totally fulfil the finest and highest aim of his most beloved and noble commander?

Moreover, the purpose of that commander is the purpose of all men, and its fulfilment is required by the pleasure, the compassion and the justice of the king, and it is a matter of ease for him, not difficulty, causing him less difficulty than the transient places of enjoyment contained in the hospice of the world. Having spent so much effort on these places of witnessing that will last only five or six days, and on the foundation of this kingdom, in order to demonstrate instances of his power, he will, without doubt, display at his seat of rule true treasures, perfections and skills in such a manner, and open before us such spectacles, that our intellects will be astonished.

Those sent to this field of trial will not, then, be left to their own devices; palaces of bliss or dungeons await them.

• Sixth Aspect: Come now, look! All these imposing railways, planes, machines, warehouses, exhibitions show that behind the veil an imposing monarch exists and governs. 3


3 When a vast army in the present age receives the order, "take up your weapons and fix your bayonets," in accordance with the rules of war while on manoeuvre, it comes to resemble a forest of upright oaks. Similarly, when the soldiers of a garrison are commanded on festive days to don their parade uniforms and pin on their medals, it will resemble from one end to the other a colourful and ornate garden, where all the flowers have blossomed. Conversely, when on the parade-ground of the world, the various and infinite species of the soldiery of the Pre-Eternal Monarch — angels, jinn, men, animals and even unfeeling plants — receive the order of "Be!" And it is in the struggle for life's preservation and the command, "take up your weapons and equipment, and prepare to defend yourselves," when they fix the minute bayonets that are the spiked trees and plants found throughout the world, — then they resemble a magnificent army advancing with bayonets fixed.

Similarly, each day and each week of the spring is like a festival for each class of the vegetable kingdom, and each class presents itself to the witnessing gaze of the Pre-Eternal Monarch with the jewelled decorations He has given them, as if it were on parade in order to display the fine gifts He has bestowed on them. It is as if all the plants and trees were heeding a dominical command, don the bejewelled garments produced by God's artistry, put on the decorations made by His creative power — flowers and fruit. The face of the earth then comes to represent a parade-ground on a splendid festive day, a magnificent parade brilliant with the uniforms and jewelled decorations of the soldiers.

Such wise and well-ordered arrangement and ornament demonstrates of a certainty, to all who are not blind, that they derive from the command of a monarch infinite in power and unlimited in wisdom.


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Such a monarch requires subjects worthy of himself. But now you see all his subjects gathered in a hospice for wayfarers, a hospice that is filled and emptied each day. It can also be said that his subjects are now gathered in a testing-ground for the sake of manoeuvres, and this ground also changes each hour. Again, we may say that all his subjects stay in an exhibition-hall for a few minutes to behold specimens of the monarch's beneficence, valuable products of his miraculous art. But the exhibition itself changes each moment. Now this situation and circumstance conclusively shows that beyond the hospice, the testing-ground, the exhibition, there are permanent palaces, lasting abodes, and gardens and treasuries full of the pure and elevated originals of the samples and shapes we see in this world. It is for the sake of these that we exert ourselves here. Here we labour, and there we receive our reward. A form and degree of felicity suited to everyone's capacity awaits us there.

• Seventh Aspect: Come, let us walk a little, and see what is to be found among these civilized people. See, in every place, at every corner, photographers are sitting and taking pictures. Look, everywhere there are scribes sitting and writing things down. Everything is being recorded. They are registering the least significant of deeds, the most commonplace of events. Now look up at the tall mountain; there you see a supreme photographer installed, devoted to the service of the king; 4 he is taking pictures of all that happens in the area. The king must, then, have issued this order; "Record all the transactions made and deeds performed in the kingdom." In other words, that exalted personage is having all events registered and photographically recorded. The precise record he is keeping must without doubt be for the sake of one day calling his subjects to account.

Now is it at all possible that an All- Wise and All-Preserving Being, who does not neglect the most banal doings of the lowest of his subjects, should not record the most significant deeds of the greatest among his subjects, should not call them to account, should not reward and punish them? After all, it is those foremost among his subjects that perform deeds offensive to his glory, contrary to his pride and unacceptable to his compassion, and those deeds remain unpunished in this world. It must be, therefore, that their judgement is postponed to a Supreme Court.


4 Some of the truths indicated in this parable have been set forth in the Seventh Truth. However, let us point out here that the figure of the "supreme photographer devoted to the service of the king" is an indication of the Preserved Tablet. The reality and existence of the Preserved Tablet has been proved in the Twenty-Sixth Word as follows: a little portfolio suggests the existence of a great ledger; a little document points to the existence of a great register; and little drops point to the existence of a great water tank. So too the retentive faculties of men, the fruits of trees, the seeds and kernels of fruit, being each like a little portfolio, a Preserved Tablet in miniature or a drop proceeding from the pen that inscribes the great Preserved Tablet — they point to, indicate and prove the existence of a Supreme Retentive Faculty, a great register, an exalted Preserved Tablet. Indeed, they demonstrate this visibly to the perceptive intellect.


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• Eighth Aspect: Come, let me read to you the decrees issued by that monarch. See, he repeatedly makes the following promises and dire threats: "I will take you from your present abode and bring you to the seat of my rule. There I shall bestow happiness on the obedient and imprison the disobedient. Destroying that temporary abode, I shall found a different realm containing eternal palaces and dungeons."

He can easily fulfil the promises that he makes, of such importance for his subjects. It is, moreover, incompatible with his pride and his power that he should break his promise. So look, o confused one! You assent to the claims of your mendacious imagination, your distraught intellect, your deceptive soul, but deny the words of a being who cannot be compelled in any fashion to break his promise, whose high stature does not admit any such faithlessness, and to whose truthfulness all visible deeds bear witness. Certainly you deserve a great punishment. You resemble a traveller who closes his eyes to the light of the sun and looks instead upon his own imagination. His fancy wishes to illuminate his awesomely dark path with the light of his brain, although it is no more than a glow-worm. Once that monarch makes a promise, he will by all means fulfil it. Its fulfilment is most easy for him, and moreover most necessary for us and all things, as well as for him too and his kingdom.

There is therefore, a Supreme Court, and a lofty felicity.

• Ninth Aspect: Come now! Look at the heads of these offices and groups. 5 Each has a private telephone to speak personally with the king. Sometimes too they go directly to his presence. See what they say and unanimously report, that the monarch has prepared a most magnificent and awesome place for reward and punishment. His promises are emphatic and his threats are most stern. His pride and dignity are such that he would in no way stoop to the abjectness inherent in the breaking of a promise. The bearers of this report, who are so numerous as to be universally accepted, further report with the strong unanimity of consensus that "the seat and headquarters of the lofty monarchy, some of whose traces are visible here, is in another realm far distant from here. The buildings existing in this testing-ground are but temporary, and will later be exchanged for eternal palaces. These places will change. For this magnificent and unfading monarchy, the splendour of which is apparent from its works, can in no way be founded or based on so transient, impermanent, unstable, insignificant, changing,


5 The meanings indicated in this Aspect can be found in the Eighth Truth. For example, by heads of offices we mean the prophets and the saints. As for the telephone, it is a link and relation with God that goes forth from the heart and is the mirror of revelation and the receptacle of inspiration. The heart is like the earpiece of that telephone.


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defective and imperfect matters. It is based rather on matters worthy of it, eternal, stable, permanent and glorious."

There is, then, another realm, and of a certainty we shall go toward it.

• Tenth Aspect: Come, today is the vernal equinox. Certain changes will take place, and wondrous things will occur. On this fine spring day, let us go for a walk on the green plain adorned with beautiful flowers. See, other people are also coming toward it. There must be some magic at work, for buildings that were mere ruins have suddenly sprung up again here, and this once empty plain has become like a populous city. See, every hour it shows a different scene, just like a cinema screen, and takes on a different shape. But notice, too, that among these complex, swiftly changing and multifarious scenes perfect order exists, so that all things are put in their proper places. The imaginary scenes presented to us on the cinema screen cannot be as well-ordered as this, and millions of skilled magicians would be incapable of this artistry. This monarch whom we cannot see must, then, have performed even greater miracles.

O foolish one! You ask: "How can this vast kingdom be destroyed and re-established somewhere else?"

You see that every hour numerous changes and revolutions occur, just like that transfer from one realm to another that your mind will not accept. From this gathering in and scattering forth it can be deduced that a certain purpose is concealed within these visible and swift joinings and separations, these compoundings and dissolvings. Ten years of effort would not be devoted to a joining together destined to last no longer than an hour. So these circumstances we witness cannot be ends in themselves; they are a kind of parable of something beyond themselves, an imitation of it. That exalted being brings them about in miraculous fashion, so that they take shape and then merge, and the result is preserved and recorded, in just the same way that every aspect of a manoeuvre on the battleground is written down and recorded. This implies that proceedings at some great concourse and meeting will be based on what happens here. Further, the results of all that occurs here will be permanently displayed at some supreme exposition. All the transient and fluctuating phenomena we see here will yield the fruit of eternal and immutable form.


6 You will find what this Aspect alludes to in the Ninth Truth. The vernal equinox is equivalent to the beginning of spring. As for the green plain covered with flowers, this is the face of the earth in springtime. The changing scenes and spectacles are an allusion to the different groups of vernal beings, the classes of summer creation, and the sustenance for men and animals, that the Ail-Powerful and Glorious Maker, the All-Wise and Beauteous Creator, from the beginning of spring to the end of summer, brings forth in orderly succession, renews with the utmost compassion, and despatches uninterruptedly.


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All the variations we observe in this world are then, for the sake of a supreme happiness, a lofty tribunal, for the sake of exalted aims as yet unknown to us.

• Eleventh Aspect: Come, o obstinate friend! Let us embark on a plane or a train travelling east or west, that is, to the past or the future. Let us see what miraculous works that being has accomplished in other places. Look, there are marvels on every hand like the dwellings, open spaces and exhibitions we see. But they all differ with respect to art and to form. Note well, however, what order betokening manifest wisdom, what indications of evident compassion, what signs of lofty justice, and what fruits of comprehensive mercy, are to be seen in these transient dwellings, these impermanent open spaces, these fleeting exhibitions. Anyone not totally devoid of insight will understand a certainty that no wisdom can be imagined more perfect than his, no providence more beauteous than his, no compassion more comprehensive than his, and no justice more glorious than his.

If, for the sake of argument, as you imagine, no permanent abodes, lofty places, fixed stations, lasting residences, or resident and contented population existed in the sphere of his kingdom; and if the truths of his wisdom, compassion, mercy and justice had no realm in which to manifest themselves fully (for this impermanent kingdom is no place for their full manifestation) — then we would be obliged to deny the wisdom we see, to deny the compassion we observe, to deny the mercy that is in front of our eyes, and to deny the justice the signs of which are evident. This would be as idiotic as denying the sun, the light of which we clearly see at midday. We would also have to regard the one from whom proceed all these wise measures we see, all these generous acts, all these merciful gifts, as a vile gambler or treacherous tyrant (God forbid!). This would be to turn truth on its head. And turning a truth into its opposite is impossible, according to the unanimous testimony of all rational beings, excepting only the idiot sophists who deny everything.

There is, then, a realm apart from the present one. In it, there is a supreme tribunal, a lofty place of justice, an exalted place of reward, where all this compassion, wisdom, mercy and justice will be made fully manifest.

• Twelfth Aspect: Come, let us return now. We will speak with the chiefs and officers of these various groups, and looking at their equipment will inquire whether that equipment has been given them only for the sake of subsisting for a brief period in that realm, or whether it has been given for the sake of obtaining a long life of bliss in another realm. Let us see. We cannot look at everyone and his equipment. But by way of example, let us look at the identity card and register of this officer. On his card, his rank, salary, duty, supplies and instructions are recorded. See, this rank has not been awarded him for just a few days; it may be given for a prolonged


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period. It says on his card: "You will receive so much salary on such-and-such a day from the treasury." But the date in question will not arrive for a long time to come, after this realm has been vacated. Similarly, the duty mentioned on his card has not been given for this temporary realm, but rather for the sake of earning a permanent felicity in the proximity of the king. Then, too, the supplies awarded him cannot be merely for the sake of subsisting in this hospice of a few days' duration; they can only be for the sake of a long and happy life. The instructions make it quite clear that he is destined for a different place, that he is working for another realm.

Now look at these registers. They contain instructions for the use and disposition of weapons and equipment. If there were no realm other than this, one exalted and eternal, that register with its categorical instructions and that identity card with its clear information, would both be quite meaningless. Further, that respected officer, that noble commander, that honoured chief, would fall to a degree lower than that of all men; he would be more wretched, luckless, abased, afflicted, indigent and weak than everyone. Apply the same principle to everything. Whatever you look upon bears witness that after this transient world another and eternal world exists.

friend! This temporary world is like a field. It is a place of instruction, a market. Without doubt a supreme tribunal and ultimate happiness will succeed it. If you deny this, you will be obliged also to deny the identity cards of all the officers, their equipment and their orders; in fact, you will have to deny too all the order existing in the country, the existence of a government in it and all the measures that the government takes. Then you will no longer deserve the name of man or the appellation of conscious. You will be more of a fool than the sophists.

Beware, do not imagine that the proofs of the transfer of creation from one realm to another are restricted to these twelve. There are indications and proofs beyond counting and enumeration, all showing that this impermanent, changing kingdom will be transformed into a permanent and immutable realm. There are also innumerable signs and evidences that men will be taken from this temporary hospice and sent to the eternal seat of rule of all creation.

1 will show one proof in particular that is stronger than all the twelve aspects taken together.

Come now, look, in the midst of the great assembly visible in the distance the same noble commander whom we previously saw on the island, adorned with numerous decorations, is making an announcement. Let us go and listen. See, that luminous and most noble commander is conveying a supreme edict, beautifully inscribed. He says:

"Prepare yourselves; you will go to another and permanent realm, a realm


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such that this one will appear as a dungeon by comparison. You will go to the seat of rule of our king, and there receive his compassion and his bounty, if you heed this edict well and obey it. But if you rebel and disobey it, you will be cast into awesome dungeons." Such is the message that he conveys. If you look at the decree, you will see that it bears such a miraculous seal that it cannot in any way be imitated. Everyone apart from idiots such as yourself knows of a certainty that the decree is from the king. Moreover, the noble commander bears such bright decorations that everyone except those blind like yourself understands full well that he is the veracious conveyer of the king's orders.

Is it at all possible that the teaching of transfer from one realm to another, challengingly conveyed by that noble commander in the supreme edict he has received, should at all be open to objection? No, it is not possible, unless we deny all that we have seen.

Now, o friend, it is your turn to speak. Say what you have to say.

"What should I say? What can be said to contradict all of this? Who can speak against the sun at midday? I say only: Praise be to God. A hundred thousand thanks that I have been saved from the dominance of fancy and vain imagination, and delivered from an eternal dungeon and prison. I have come to believe that there is an abode of felicity in the proximity of the monarch, separate from this confused and impermanent hospice."

Our comparison indicating the truth of resurrection and the hereafter is now complete. Now with God's grace, we will pass on to the most exalted truth. We shall set forth twelve interrelated Truths, corresponding to the twelve Aspects discussed above, as well as an Introduction.


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Introduction

[By means of a few indications, we refer here to several matters explained elsewhere, that is, in the Twenty-Second, Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Words.]

• First Indication

The foolish man in the previous story and his trustworthy companion correspond to three other pairs:

• The instinctual soul and the heart;

• The students of philosophy and the pupils of the All- Wise Qur'an;

• The people of unbelief and the community of Islam.

The worst error and misguidance of the students of philosophy, the people of unbelief and the instinctual soul, lies in not recognizing God. Just as in the preceding story the trustworthy man said, "there can be no letter without a scribe, no law without a legislator," we too say the following:

A book, particularly one in each word of which a minute pen has inscribed another whole book, and in each letter of which a fine pen has traced a poem, cannot be without a writer; this would be entirely impossible. So too this cosmos cannot be without its inscriber; this is impossible to the utmost degree. For the cosmos is precisely such a book that each of its pages includes many other books, each of its words contains a book, and each of its letters contains a poem. The face of the earth is but a single page in the book of the cosmos. See how many books it contains. Every fruit is a letter, and every seed is a dot. In that dot is contained the index of the whole tree in its vastness. A book such as this can have been inscribed only by the mighty pen of a Possessor of Glory Who enjoys the attributes of splendour and beauty, and Who is the holder of infinite wisdom and power. Faith, then, follows inevitably on the observation of the world, unless one is drunk on misguidance.

Similarly, a house cannot arise without a builder, particularly a house adorned with miraculous works of art, wondrous designs, and amazing ornaments. As much art has been put into one of its stones as into a whole palace. No intelligence will accept that it could arise without a builder; definitely it needs a master architect. Moreover, within the building, veritable


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rooms take shape and change each hour with the utmost order and ease, just as if clothes were being changed, or as if scenes were passing across a cinema screen. We can say even that numerous little rooms are constantly being created in each of those scenes.

In like manner, the cosmos also requires an infinitely wise, all-knowing and all- powerful maker. For the magnificent cosmos is a palace that has the sun and the moon as its lamps and the stars as its candles; time is like a rope or ribbon hung within it, on to which the Glorious Creator each year threads a new world. And within the world that He thus threads on the string of time He places three hundred and sixty fresh and orderly forms. He changes them with the utmost orderliness and wisdom. He has made the face of the earth a bounteous spread that He adorns each spring with three hundred thousand species of creation, that He fills with innumerable kinds of generous gifts. This He does in such a fashion that they all stand apart from each other, quite separate and distinct, despite their being at the same time so close and intermingled. Is it possible to overlook the existence of the Maker of such a palace?

Again, to deny the existence of the sun, on a cloudless day at noon, when its traces are to be observed and its reflection is to be seen in every bubble on the surface of the ocean, in every shining object on dry land, and in every particle of snow — to make such a denial would be to rave like the deranged. For if one denied and refused to accept the existence of the single, unique sun, he would be compelled to accept the existence of a whole series of minor suns, each real and existent in its own right, as numerous as the drops and bubbles of the ocean, as countless as the particles of snow. It would be necessary to believe that each minute particle contains a huge sun, even though the particle is large enough only to contain itself. It would be an even greater sign of lunacy and misguidance to refuse one's assent to the attributes of perfection of the Glorious Creator, even while beholding the well-ordered cosmos that is constantly changing in wise and regular fashion, that is being ceaselessly renewed in disciplined manner. This, too, would be like the ravings of a lunatic, since it would then become necessary to believe and accept that absolute divinity is present in all things, even a particle. For every particle of air is somehow able to enter and work its effects upon every flower, fruit and leaf, and unless the particle be entrusted with this task by a Creator, it must know of itself the structure and form of all the objects it penetrates and affects. In other words, it must possess all-encompassing power and knowledge.

Every particle of soil is potentially capable of giving rise to all the different seeds that exist. If it is not acting under command, it must contain within itself equipment and instruments corresponding to all the various trees and plants in the world. Or, to put it differently, one must attribute to the particle


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such artistry and power that it is aware of the structure of each of them, knows the forms that each of them is caused to assume, and is capable of fashioning those forms. The same is true with respect to the particle and other realms of creation.

From this you can understand that in all things there are numerous and manifest proofs of God's Unity. To create all things from one thing, and to make all things into one thing, is a task possible only for the Creator of all things. Pay heed to the sublime declaration: "There is naught but proclaims His Glory with praise." For if one does not accept God, the One and Unique, one must accept gods as numerous as created beings.

• Second Indication

In our story, we made mention of a Most Noble Commander and said that whoever is not blind and sees his decorations and medals will understand that he acts in accordance with the commands of a monarch and is his favoured servant. Now that Most Noble Commander is the Most Noble Messenger of God, may peace and blessings be upon him. The sacred Creator of so ornamented a cosmos must of necessity have a Noble Messenger, just as the sun must of necessity have light. For the sun cannot exist without giving light, and Divinity cannot be without showing itself through the sending of prophets. Is it at all possible that a beauty of utter perfection should not desire to manifest itself by means of one who will demonstrate and display it?

Is it at all possible that a perfection of beauteous artistry should not desire to make itself known by means of a herald that will draw men's gazes upon it?

Is it at all possible that the universal monarchy of all-embracing dominicality should not desire to announce its unity and eternal besoughtedness throughout the different levels of multiplicity and particularity by means of an envoy possessing two aspects? By the two aspects, we mean that he is both the envoy of the realm of multiplicity to the Divine Court, by virtue of his universal worship, and also the messenger of the Divine Court to the realm of multiplicity, by virtue of his closeness to God and being entrusted with His message.

Is it at all possible that a possessor of infinite inherent beauty should not wish both to behold himself and to display to others, in numerous mirrors, the charms of his beauty and the allurements of his fairness? God's Messenger is His beloved, making himself beloved of Him by means of his worship and holding up a mirror to Him, and he is also the bearer of His message, making Him beloved of men and demonstrating to them the beauty of His Names.

Is it at all possible that the owner of treasuries full of wondrous miracles, rare and valuable items, should not wish and desire to display them to men's


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gaze by means of an expert jeweller, and eloquent describer, thereby revealing his hidden perfections?

Is it at all possible that the One Who manifests the perfection of all His Names in the cosmos by means of artful adornment for men to look upon, so that the cosmos comes to resemble a palace decorated with all kinds of wondrous and subtle art, should not also designate a teacher and a guide to the wonders of his creation?

Is it at all possible that the Lord of the cosmos should not solve, by means of a messenger, the complex talisman of the aim and purpose of all the changes that take place in the cosmos, and the riddle contained in the three difficult questions posed by all beings: "What is our origin? What is our destination? What is our purpose?"

Is it at all possible that the Glorious Maker Who makes Himself known to sentient beings by means of His fair creation, and Who makes himself loved by means of His precious bounties, should not also communicate to sentient beings, by means of a messenger, what His pleasure desires of them in exchange?

Is it at all possible that God should create mankind in a form predisposing it to suffer the consciousness of multiplicity but also containing the ability to engage in universal worship, without at the same time wishing to turn it away from multiplicity to unity, by means of a teacher and guide?

There are numerous other functions of prophethood, each of which is a decisive proof that Divinity necessarily implies messengership.

Did anyone ever appear in the world more worthy and more in possession of the abovementioned qualities and functions than Muhammad, the Arabian Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him? Has time ever shown us one more fitting and suited to the rank of messengerhood and the task of conveying God's message? No, by no means! He is the master of all messengers, the foremost of all prophets, the leader of all pure ones, the closest to God of all those who have drawn nigh unto Him, the most perfect of all creatures, the monarch of all guides to righteousness.

Quite apart from the countless indications of his prophethood deriving from more than a thousand miracles, such as the splitting of the moon and the flowing of water from his fingers, that all scholars unanimously confirm, the supreme miracle of the Glorious Qur'an — an ocean of truth and a book miraculous in forty different respects — is itself enough to demonstrate his prophethood as clearly as the sun. Since we discuss the forty different aspects of the Qur'an's miraculousness in other treatises, particularly the Twenty- Fifth Word, we curtail our discussion of the matter here.


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• Third Indication

Let it not be thought that petty man is too insignificant for this vast world to be brought to an end and another realm to be unfolded simply for the sake of his being brought to account. For apparently petty man bears great importance as the master of all creatures, by virtue of the comprehensiveness of his disposition, as the herald of God's monarchy, and the manifester of universal worship. Also let nobody ask: "How can one earn eternal torment in the course of a very brief life?" For unbelief seeks to drag creation, something as valuable and exalted as a letter written by God, down to the depths of meaninglessness and purposelessness. It is an insult to all being, since it denies and rejects the manifestations and impresses of God's Sacred Names that are visible in all being, and it seeks to negate all the infinite proofs that demonstrate the veracity and truthfulness of God Almighty. Hence, unbelief is a crime of infinite proportions, deserving of infinite punishment.

• Fourth Indication

In the story, we saw by means of twelve aspects that a king who had one realm resembling a transient hospice must of a necessity have another realm, one eternal and permanent, manifesting his splendour and the sublimity of his power. In the same way, it is not at all possible that the Eternal Creator of the transient world should not create also an eternal realm. It is not possible that the Everlasting Maker of this fine but unstable cosmos, should not create another cosmos, permanent and lasting. It is not possible that the Wise, Powerful and Merciful Creator of this world, which is like an exhibition, or a testing-ground, or a field, should not create also a hereafter in which the purposes of this world shall be made manifest. Entry is to be had to this truth by means of twelve gates, and the twelve gates are to be unlocked by means of twelve other truths. We will begin with the shortest and simplest of them:

FIRST TRUTH The Gate of Dominicality and Sovereignty, the Manifestation of the Name of Sustainer

Is it at all possible that the glory of God's dominicality and His Divine sovereignty should create a cosmos such as this, in order to display His perfections, with such lofty aims and elevated purposes, without establishing a reward for those believers who through faith and worship respond to these aims and purposes? Or that He should not punish those misguided ones who treat His purposes with rejection and scorn?


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SECOND TRUTH

The Gate of Generosity and Mercy,

the Manifestation of the Names of Generous and Merciful

Is it at all possible that the Lord of this world, Who in His works demonstrates infinite generosity, infinite mercy, infinite splendour and infinite glory, should not give reward in a manner befitting His generosity and mercy, and not punish in a manner befitting His splendour and glory? If one looks at the disposition of affairs in this world, one sees that all animate beings — from the weakest to the most powerful — are given some fitting form of sustenance. Indeed, the weakest and most powerless are given the best form of sustenance. This largesse and bounty is distributed with such lofty generosity that a hand of infinite generosity is manifestly at work.

For example, in the spring, all the trees are garbed in clothes as fine as silk, just like the houris in Paradise; they are encrusted with flowers and fruits, as if with jewels, and caused to offer us numerous varieties of the choicest fruits, on branches delicately outstretched like the hands of a servant. Similarly, we are given wholesome and sweet honey to eat, from the hand of the bee with its sting; we are clothed in the finest and softest of clothes by means of an insect that has no hands; and within a small seed a great treasure of mercy is preserved for us. It is self-evident that all of this is the effect of a most beauteous generosity, a most delicate sense of mercy.

Then, too, the fact that, with the exception of man and certain wild animals, all things, from the sun, the moon and earth to the smallest of creatures, perform their functions with the utmost exactitude, do not overstep their bounds by an inch, and observe a universal obedience in a spirit of great awe — this shows that they act by the command of a Possessor of great glory and dignity. It is also apparent that the fashion in which all mothers, in the vegetable, animal and human realms, succour their weak and powerless infants with the delicate nurture of milk, in tender compassion, is a manifestation of God's all-embracing mercy. 8


7 All licit nourishment is obtained not through the exercise of strength, but through the existence of need. The decisive proof of this is that powerless infants enjoy the finest of livelihoods, while strong wild beasts suffer from all kinds of deficiency, and that fish, for all their lack of intelligence, wax fat, while the cunning fox and monkey remain thin in their quest for livelihood. There is, therefore, an inverse relationship between sustenance on the one hand and strength and will power on the other. The more one relies on strength and will power the more difficult it will be to sustain one's livelihood.

8 The fact that a hungry lion will prefer its offspring to itself, and give to it a piece of meat it would otherwise have eaten; that the cowardly rabbit will attack a lion in order to protect its young; that the fig- tree contents itself with mud while giving pure milk to its offspring, the fruit — this shows to anyone not blind that they act in accordance with the commands of a Being infinitely merciful, generous and solicitous. Again, the fact that even unconscious plants and beasts function in the wisest and most conscious of fashions demonstrates irrefutably that One Utterly Knowing and All-Wise has set them to work, and that they are acting in His name.


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Since the master of this world has, then, such infinite generosity, mercy, splendour and glory, it follows that His infinite glory and splendour require the chastisement of the discourteous; that His infinite generosity requires infinite bounty, and His infinite mercy requires a bestowal of favour worthy of itself. Now in this transitory world and brief life, only a millionth part of all this, like one drop from the ocean, establishes and manifests itself. There must therefore be a realm of blessedness appropriate to that generosity and worthy of that mercy. One would otherwise have to deny the existence of the mercy that is visible to us, and this would be like denying the existence of the sun that fills every day with its light. For irrevocable death would transform compassion into disaster, love into affliction, blessing into vengeance, intellect into a tool of misery, and pleasure into pain, so that the very essence of God's mercy would vanish.

There must in addition be a realm of punishment appropriate to God's glory and dignity. For generally the oppressor leaves this world while still in possession of his might, and the oppressed while still subjected to humiliation. These matters are therefore deferred for the attention of a supreme tribunal; it is not that they are neglected. It sometimes happens too that punishment is enacted in this world. The torments suffered by disobedient and rebellious peoples in previous centuries show that man is not left to his own devices, and that he is always subject to the blows that God's splendour and majesty may choose to inflict on him.

Is it at all possible that man should have the most important duty in all of creation and be endowed with the most important capacities; that man's Sustainer should make Himself known to him with all His well-ordered works, and man should then fail to recognize Him in return by way of worship — or that God should make Himself beloved of men through the numerous adorned fruits of His mercy, and man should then fail to make himself beloved of God through worship — or that God should demonstrate His love and mercy to man through His variegated bounties and man should then fail to respect Him with thanks and with praise — is it at all possible that man should remain unpunished, left to his own devices, or that that powerful Possessor of splendour and glory should not make ready for him a realm of requital?

Is it at all possible, on the other hand, that He should not prepare a realm of reward and eternal bliss for those believers who respond to the Merciful and Compassionate One's making Himself known by recognizing Him in faith; to His making Himself beloved by loving Him in worship; and to His mercy by offering thanks and veneration?


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THIRD TRUTH

The Gate of Wisdom and Justice, the Manifestation of the Names of Wise and Just

Is it at all possible 9 that the Lord of Glory, Who demonstrates His dominical sovereignty in the wisdom and order, the justice and equilibrium that pervade all things, from the atom to the sun, should not bestow favour on those believers who seek refuge beneath the protective wing of His dominicality, who believe in His Wisdom and Justice, and whose acts are for the purpose of worshipping Him?

Again, is it possible that He should not chastise those rude and discourteous men who disbelieve in His wisdom and justice, and rebel against Him in insolence? Now not even a thousandth part of that wisdom and justice is exercised with respect to man, in this transient world; it is rather deferred. Most of the people of misguidance leave this world unpunished, and most of the people of guidance leave it unrewarded. All things are, then, postponed for a supreme tribunal, an ultimate bliss.

Yes, it is apparent that the Being Who controls this world does so in accordance with an infinite wisdom. Do you require a proof? It is the preservation of interest and benefit in all things. Do you not see that numerous wise benefits are intended in all the limbs, bones and veins of man, even in the cells of his brain and in every particle of his body? Do you not see that from certain limbs wise benefits are to be had as numerous as the fruits of a tree? All of this shows that matters are done in accordance with infinite wisdom. The existence of the utmost regularity in the making of all things is a proof of the same truth.

The compression of the exact programme of development of a beautiful flower into a minute seed, the inscription on a small seed by the pen of destiny of the scroll of deeds of a tree, its life-history and list of equipment, show that a pen of utmost wisdom is at work.

The existence of a high degree of fine artistry in all things proves that there exists also the impress of an infinitely Wise Maker. Further, the


9 The sentence "is it at all possible?" is indeed repeated many times, because it expresses a most

significant mystery. Misguidance and lack of belief generally spring from the habit of imagining things to

be impossible, far removed from the realm of reason, and therefore denying them. Now in this discussion

of resurrection it has been decisively demonstrated that true impossibility, absurdity and irrationality

pertain to the path of misbelief and the road of misguidance, whereas true possibility, facility and

rationality are characteristics of the path of faith and highway of Islam.

In short, the philosophers tend to unbelief on account of their regarding things as impossible, whereas

the Tenth Word (discussion of resurrection), by means of the repeated sentence, "is it at all possible?"

shows where impossibility lies, and thus deals them a blow in the mouth.


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inclusion within the minute body of man of an index of all being, of the keys to all the treasuries of mercy, and of the mirrors of all the Divine Names, demonstrates the existence of wisdom within that infinitely fine artistry. Now is it at all possible that the wisdom that thus permeates the workings of dominicality should not wish eternally to favour those who seek refuge beneath the wing of dominicality and who offer obedience in faith?

Do you wish for a proof that all things are done with justice and balance? The fact that all things are endowed with being, given shape and put in their appropriate place in accordance with precise equilibrium and in appropriate measure, shows that all matters are done in accordance with infinite justice and balance.

Similarly, the fact that all things are given their rights in accordance with their disposition, that they receive all the necessities of their being and all the requirements of life in the most fitting form — this too is the sign left by a hand of infinite justice.

Again, the fact that answer is always given to every petition and request made by the tongue of disposition, and of natural need or necessity, demonstrates the existence of infinite justice and wisdom.

Now is it at all possible that the justice and wisdom that hasten to relieve the pettiest need of the smallest of creation should fail to provide immortality, the greatest need of man, the greatest of creatures? That it should fail to respond to his greatest plea and cry for assistance? Or that it should not preserve the dignity of God's dominicality by preserving the rights of His servants? Man, whose life is so brief, cannot experience the true essence of justice in this transient world; it is for this reason that matters are postponed for a supreme tribunal. For true justice requires that man, this apparently petty creature, should be rewarded and punished, not in accordance with his pettiness, but in accordance with the magnitude of his crime, the importance of his nature and the greatness of his function. Since this passing and transient world is far from manifesting such wisdom and justice for man, who is created for eternity, of necessity there will be an eternal Hell and everlasting Paradise of that Just and Awesome Possessor of Beauty, that Wise and Beauteous Possessor of Awe.

FOURTH TRUTH

The Gate of Generosity and Beauty,

the Manifestation of the Names of Generous and Beautiful

Is it at all possible that infinite generosity and liberality, inexhaustible riches, unending treasures, peerless and eternal beauty, flawless and everlasting perfection, should not require the existence of grateful supplicants,


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yearning spectators and astounded onlookers, all destined to stay an eternity in an abode of bliss, a place of repose? Yes, adorning the face of the world with all these objects of beauty, creating the moon and the sun as its lamps, filling the surface of the earth with the finest varieties of sustenance and thus making it a banquet of bounty, making fruit-trees into so many dishes, and renewing them several times each season — all this shows the existence of infinite generosity and liberality. Such unending liberality and generosity, such inexhaustible treasures of mercy, require the existence of an abode of repose, a place of bliss, that shall be everlasting and contain all desirable objects within it. They also require that those who enjoy such bliss should remain in that abode of repose eternally, without suffering the pain of cessation and separation. For just as the cessation of pain is a form of pleasure, so too the cessation of pleasure is a form of pain, one that such infinite generosity is unwilling to countenance. It requires, then, the existence both of an eternal paradise and of supplicants to abide in it eternally.

Infinite generosity and liberality desire to bestow infinite bounty and infinite kindness. The bestowal of infinite bounty and infinite kindness require in turn infinite gratitude. This necessitates the perpetual existence of those who receive all the kindness so that they can demonstrate their thanks and gratitude for that perpetual bestowal and constant bounty. A petty enjoyment, made bitter by cessation, and lasting for only a brief time, is not compatible with the requirements of generosity and liberality.

Look too at the different regions of the world, each like an exhibition where God's crafts are displayed. Pay attention to the dominical proclamations in the hands of all the plants and animals on the face of the earth 10 and listen to the prophets and the saints, the heralds of the beauties of dominicality. They unanimously display the flawless perfections of the Glorious Maker by demonstrating His miraculous arts, and thus invite the gazes of men.

The Maker of this world has, then, most important, astounding and secret perfections. It is these He wishes to display by means of His miraculous arts. For secret, flawless perfection wishes to be manifested to those who will appreciate, admire and wonderingly gaze at it. Eternal perfection requires eternal manifestation. Such eternal manifestation in turn requires the perpetual existence of those who are to appreciate and admire it. The value of perfection will always sink in the view of its admirer if he is devoid of perpetual existence. 11 Again, the beauteous, artistic, brilliant and adorned creatures


10 The existence of a brightly designed and brilliantly adorned flower, a most artfully conceived and bejewelled fruit on a twig as thin as a wire, affixed to a dry, bonelike tree — this is without doubt a proclamation to all animate beings of the fine arts produced by a most skilled, wise and miraculous maker. This holds true not only of the vegetable kingdom, but also of the animal realm.

There is a proverbial occurrence pertaining to this point. A celebrated beauty once expelled from her presence a common man who had become infatuated with her. In order to console himself, he said, "how ugly she is!", thus denying her beauty.

Once a bear stood beneath a vine trellis, and wished to eat the grapes. But he was unable to reach out for the grapes, or to climb up the trellis. So he said to himself, by way of consolation, "the grapes must be sour," and growling went on his way.


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that cover the face of the globe, bear witness to the fairness of a peerless, transcendent beauty, and indicate the subtle charms of an unparalleled, hidden pulchritude, just as

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sunlight bears witness to the sun. Each manifestation of that sacred, transcendent beauty, indicates the existence of countless hidden treasures in each of God's Names. Now so exalted, peerless and hidden a beauty, just as it desires to view its own fairness in a mirror and to behold the degrees and measures of its beauty in an animate reflection, desires also to become manifest, in order to look on its own beauty through the eyes of others. That is, it wishes to look at its own beauty in two ways; firstly, by beholding itself in mirrors of variegated colour; secondly, through the gaze of yearning witnesses to itself, of bewildered admirers of its beauty.

In short, beauty and fairness desire to see and be seen. Both of these require the existence of yearning witnesses and bewildered admirers. And since beauty and fairness are eternal and everlasting, their witnesses and admirers must have perpetual life. An eternal beauty can never be satisfied with transient admirers. An admirer condemned to irreversible separation will find his love turning to enmity once he conceives of separation. His admiration will yield to ridicule, his respect to contempt. For just as obstinate man is an enemy to what is unknown to him, so too he is opposed to all that lies beyond his reach, and love that is not infinite will respond to a beauty that deserves unending admiration with implicit enmity, hatred and rejection. From this we understand the profound reason for the unbeliever's enmity to God.

So endless generosity and liberality, peerless fairness and beauty, flawless perfection — all these require the existence of eternally grateful and longing supplicants and admirers. But we see in this hospice of the world that everyone quickly leaves and vanishes, having had only a taste of that generosity, enough to whet his appetite but not to satiate him, and having seen only a dim light coming from the perfection, or rather a faint shadow of its light, without in any way being fully satisfied. It follows, then, that men are going toward a place of eternal joy where all will be bestowed on them in full measure.

In short, just as this world, with all its creatures, decisively demonstrates the existence of the Glorious Maker, so too do His sacred attributes and Names indicate, show and logically require, the existence of the hereafter.


12 Although all beings that act as mirrors for God's beauty constantly vanish and disappear, those that succeed them display and manifest in their forms and features the same beauty and fairness. This shows that the beauty in question does not belong to them; the visible instances of beauty are rather the signs and indications of a transcendent and sacred beauty.


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FIFTH TRUTH

The gate of Compassion and Muhammadan Worship,

the Manifestation of the Names of

Answerer of Prayer and Compassionate

Is it at all possible that a Lord possessing infinite compassion and mercy, Who most compassionately fulfils the smallest need of His lowliest creatures in the most unexpected fashion, Who heeds the muffled plea for help of His most obscure creature, and Who responds to all the petitions He hears, whether vocal or mute — is it at all possible that such a Lord should not pay heed to the greatest petition of the foremost among His servants, the most beloved among his creatures, that He should not hear and grant his most exalted prayer? The kindness and ease manifested in the feeding and nurturing of weak and young animals show that the Monarch of the cosmos exercises his dominicality with infinite mercy.

Is it at all possible that a compassion merciful to this degree in the exercise of dominicality should not accept the prayer of the most virtuous and beautiful of all

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creation? This truth is explained in the Nineteenth Word, but let us repeat our statement of the matter here:

O friend listening to these words together with my own soul! We said in the comparison that a meeting took place on a certain island, and a most noble commander delivered a speech there. In order to find out the truth indicated in the comparison, come, let us depart from this age, and in our mind and imagination travel to the Arabian Peninsula in the blessed age of the Prophet, in order to visit and watch him while he is performing his duties and engaging in worship. See, just as he is the means for the attainment of eternal bliss, by means of his messengerhood and guidance, so too he is the cause for the existence of that bliss and the means for the creation of Paradise, by means of his worship and prayer.

Now see! That being is praying for eternal bliss in such supreme supplication, with such sublime worship, that it is as if this island, or even the whole world, were praying and supplicating together with him. For the worship he performs contains within itself not only the worship of the community that


13 He whose kingdom has lasted one thousand three hundred and fifty years, who has generally had more than three hundred and fifty million subjects, to whom his subjects daily renew their pledge of allegiance and to whose perfections they continually bear witness, whose commands are obeyed in perfect submission, whose spiritual hue has coloured half of the globe and a fifth of mankind, who is the beloved of men's hearts and the educator of their spirits — such a being is without doubt the greatest servant of the Lord Who holds sway over the universe. Also, since most of the realms of beings applauded that being's function and duty through each bearing the fruit of his miracles, he is for sure the most beloved creature of the Fashioner of the cosmos. Similarly, the desire for perpetuity existing in all men by virtue of their very nature, a desire that lifts men from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, is the greatest of all desires and petitions, fit to be presented to the Provider of all Needs only by the greatest among His servants.


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follows him, but also that of all the other prophets, in its essential form, by virtue of the correspondence existing between him and them. Moreover, he performs his supreme prayer and offers his supplications in such a vast congregation that it is as if all luminous and perfect men, from the time of Adam down to the present, were following him in prayer and saying "amen" to his supplications! 14 He is praying for so universal a need — immortality — that not merely the people of this earth, but also the inhabitants of the heavens and the entirety of creation are participating in his supplications and silently proclaiming, "yes, o Lord! Grant his prayer; we too desire it." He petitions for everlasting bliss with such touching sadness, in so yearning, so longing, and so pleading a fashion, that he causes the whole of the cosmos to weep and thus to share in his prayer.

See, he desires and prays for bliss, for such a purpose and goal that he elevates man and all creatures from captivity in the abysmal state of utter annihilation, from worthlessness, uselessness, and purposelessness to the apex of preciousness, eternity, exalted function, and the rank of being a script penned by God.

See, he makes his petition with such elevated plea for succour, makes his supplication with so sweet a request for mercy, that it is as if he caused all beings, the heavens and God's throne itself to listen, and to echo his prayer ecstatically with cries of "amen, o Lord, amen!" 15


14 From the time that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) first made his supplication down to the present, all the invocations upon him of peace and blessings made by his community are a kind of eternal amen to his prayer, a form of universal participation in it. Every invocation of peace and blessings upon him by every member of the Muslim community in the course of his prayer, as well as the prayer for him uttered after the second call to prayer according to the Shafi'i school — this too is a powerful and universal amen to his supplication for eternal bliss. So the eternity and everlasting bliss desired by all men with all of their strength, in accordance with their primordial disposition, is requested in the name of humanity by the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), and the luminous segment of humanity says "amen" after him. Is it at all possible that such a prayer should not be accepted?

15 Indeed, it is not at all possible that the Master of this world, all of Whose doings are self-evidently inspired by consciousness, knowledge and wisdom, should be unaware and uninformed of the acts of the foremost among all of His creatures. Again, it is not at all possible that the All-Knowing Master should remain indifferent to the deeds and prayers of that foremost among His creatures, and deem them unimportant despite being aware of them. It is further impossible that the Powerful and Merciful Master of the World should not accept his prayers, having not remained indifferent to them. Yes, through the light of the Muhammadan Being the form of the world has changed. The true essence of men and all beings in the cosmos became apparent through that light; it became clear that they are each missives of the Eternally Besought One proclaiming the Divine Names, precious and profound beings with God-given functions and destined to manifest eternity. Were it not for that light, beings would be condemned to utter annihilation, they would be valueless, meaningless, useless, confused, the result of blind chance, sunk in the darkness of illusion. It is for this reason that just as men say "amen" to the prayer of the Prophet, so too all other beings, from the face of the earth up to God's throne, from the soil to the stars, all take pride in his light, and proclaim their connection with him. The very spirit of the worship of the Prophet is indeed none other than this prayer. Again, all the motions and workings of the cosmos are in their essence prayer. For example, the progress of a seed until it becomes a tree is a form of prayer to the Creator.


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See, he requests bliss and eternity from a Being, One so All-Hearing, Generous and Powerful, so All-Seeing, Merciful and Knowledgeable that He sees, hears, accepts and takes pity upon the most secret wish, the slightest desire of the most obscure of his creatures, this, in observable form. He answers all pleas even if they are silently proffered. He bestows all things and answers all pleas in so wise, percipient and merciful a fashion that no doubt remains that all that nurturing and regulating can derive only from One All-Hearing and All-Seeing, One Generous and Merciful.

Let us listen to what the Pride of All Being is requesting, that source of honour for all of mankind, that one unique in all of creation, who bears on his back the burden of all men, who standing on this earth lifts up his hands towards God's throne and offers up a prayer which in its reality contains the essence of the worship of all of mankind. See, he is asking for eternal bliss for himself and for his community. He is asking for eternity and Paradise. He is making his plea together with all the Divine Sacred Names that display their beauty in the mirrors of all created being. You can see, indeed, that he is seeking intercession from those Names.

If there were not countless reasons and causes for the existence of the hereafter, a single prayer of that exalted being would be enough for the creation of Paradise, a task as easy for the power of the Merciful Creator as the creation of spring. 16

Indeed, how could the creation of spring be difficult for the Possessor of Absolute Power Who each spring makes the face of the world into a plain of resurrection, and brings forth there a hundred thousand examples of resurrection? In just the same way that the messengerhood of the Prophet was the reason for the foundation of this realm of trial — the saying "were it not for thee, were it not for thee, I would not have created the

i n

spheres" being an indication of this — so too the worship he performed was the cause for the foundation of the abode of bliss.

Is it at all possible that the flawless perfection of artistry, the peerless beauty of dominicality expressed in the order of the world and the comprehensive mercy that reduce all to bewilderment, should not answer his prayer, and thus tolerate an extreme form of ugliness, cruelty and disorder? Is it possible that it would listen to the most petty and insignificant desires and grant them, but dismiss significant and important desires as worthless, and fail to


16 To display wondrous samples of art, and examples of resurrection on the face of the earth that, compared with the hereafter is like a narrow page, to inscribe and include on that single page, in perfect order, all the different species of creation, that resemble three hundred thousand separate books, is certainly more difficult than building and creating the delicate and symmetrical structure of Paradise in the broad realm of eternity. Indeed, it may be said that to whatever degree Paradise is more elevated than the spring, to that degree the creation of the gardens of spring is more difficult and wondrous than the creation of Paradise.

17 'Ali al-Qari, Shark al-Shifa, i, 16; al-'Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa, ii, 164.


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fulfil them? No, a thousand times no! Such beauty can never accept such ugliness and

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itself become ugly.

So just as the Prophet opened the gates of this world with his messengerhood, he opens the gates of the hereafter with his worship.

May the blessings of the Compassionate One be upon him, to the extent of all that this world and paradise contain. O God, grant blessings and peace to Your servant and Messenger, that Beloved One who is the Master of both Realms, the Pride of all the Worlds, the source of life in both spheres, the means for the attainment of happiness here and in the hereafter, he who flies on two wings, who is the messenger to both men and jinn — to him, and to his Family, and all of his Companions, as well as his brethren from among the prophets and messengers. Amen.

SIXTH TRUTH

The Gate of Splendour and Eternity, the Manifestation of the Names of Glorious and Eternal

Is it at all possible that the splendour of dominicality that subdues and commands all beings, from suns and trees down to particles, just like obedient soldiers, should concentrate its entire attention on the wretched and transient beings that pass a temporary life in the hospice of this world, and not create an eternal and everlasting sphere of splendour, an unending manifestation of dominicality? The display of Divine splendour in the changing of the seasons, the sublime motions of the planets in the heavens as if they were aeroplanes, the subjugation of all things and the creation of the earth as man's cradle and the sun as his lamp, vast transformations such as the reviving and adornment of the dead and dry globe — all of this shows that behind the veil a sublime dominicality exists, that a splendid monarchy is at work.

Now such a dominical kingdom requires subjects worthy of itself, as well as an appropriate mode of manifestation. But look at this hospice of the world, and you will see that the most significant class of its subjects, endowed with the most comprehensive of functions, are gathered together only temporarily and that, in the most wretched of states. The hospice fills and empties each day. All of the subjects stay only temporarily in this abode of trial for the sake


18 It is unanimously agreed the total reversal of truths is impossible. It is quite impossible that something should become the very opposite and reverse of itself, and impossible to the thousandth degree that something should retain its own nature, and yet at the same time become identical with its opposite. Thus infinite beauty cannot become ugliness, while yet remaining beauty, and, in our example, it is not possible that the beauty of dominicality, a beauty perceptible and manifest in its existence, should retain its quiddity as the beauty of dominicality, but become the very essence of ugliness. This would be the strangest of all impossible and false notions in the world.


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of being tested in service. The abode itself changes each hour. Again, all of the monarch's subjects stay only for a few brief minutes in order to behold the samples of the precious bounty of the Glorious Maker, to look on His miraculous works of art in the exhibition of the world with the eye of a buyer. Then they disappear. The exhibition itself changes every minute. Whoever leaves it, never returns, and whoever comes to it, will ultimately depart.

Now this state and circumstance definitively shows that behind and beyond this hospice, this testing-ground, this exhibition, there are permanent palaces and eternal abodes that fully manifest and support God's everlasting sovereignty; there are gardens and treasure houses full of the pure and exalted originals of the forms and copies we see in this world. If we strive here in this world, it is for the sake of what awaits us there. We work here, and are rewarded there. Bliss awaits everyone there, in accordance with his capacity, as long as he does not squander his share. Yes, it is impossible that such eternal kingship should concentrate exclusively on these wretched transient beings.

Consider this truth through the telescope of the following comparison. You are travelling along a road. You see a caravanserai ahead of you on the road, built by a great personage for people coming to visit him. Millions are spent on the decoration of the caravanserai so that guests should enjoy their one night's stay there, and for their instruction. But the guests see very little of those decorations, look at them for a very short time; briefly tasting the joys of what is offered them, they go on their way without being satiated. But each guest takes a photograph of the objects in the caravanserai by means of his special camera. Also, the servants of that great personage record with great care the conduct of all the guests and preserve the record. You see, too, that he destroys every day most of the valuable decorations, and replaces them with fresh decorations for the newly arriving guests. After seeing all this, will any doubt remain that the personage who has constructed this caravanserai on the road has permanent and exalted dwellings, inexhaustible and precious treasures, an uninterrupted flow of great generosity? By means of the generosity displayed in the caravanserai, he intends merely to whet the appetite of his guests for those things he keeps in his immediate presence; to awaken their desire for the gifts he has prepared for them. So too, if you look upon the state of the hospice of this world without falling into drunkenness, you will understand the following nine principles:

• First Principle: You will understand that this world does not exist for its own sake, any more than does the caravanserai. It is impossible that it should assume this shape by itself. Rather, it is a well-constructed hospice, wisely designed to receive the caravan of beings that constantly arrive to alight before departing again.


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• Second Principle: You will understand, too, that those living within this hospice are guests. They are invited by their Generous Sustainer to the Abode of Peace.

• Third Principle: You will understand, further, that the adornments of this world are not simply for the sake of enjoyment or admiration. For if they yield pleasure for a time, they cause pain for a longer time with their cessation. They give you a taste and whet your appetite, but never satiate you. For either the life of the pleasure is short, or your life is short, too brief for you to become satiated. These adornments of high value and brief duration must, then, be for the sake of instruction in wisdom, 19 for arousing gratitude, and for encouraging men to seek out the perpetual originals of which they are copies. They are, then, for other exalted goals beyond themselves.

• Fourth Principle: You will understand also that the adornments of this world are like samples and forms of the blessings stored up in Paradise by the mercy of the Compassionate One for the people of faith.


19 Now the lifespan of everything is short, although its value is high and the subtleties of its artistry are most exalted and beautiful. This implies that everything is only a sample, a form of something else, that it has the function of drawing the gaze of the customer to the authentic and original object. This being the case, it may be said that the variegated adornments of this world are the samples of the bounties of Paradise, prepared by the Compassionate and Merciful One for His beloved servants.

20

There are numerous purposes for the existence of everything, and numerous results flow from its being. These are not restricted to this world and to the souls of men, as the people of misguidance imagine, being thus lost in vanity and purposelessness. On the contrary, the purposes for the existence and the results of the lives of all things relate to the following three categories.

The first and the most exalted pertains to the Creator. It consists of presenting to the gaze of the Pre- Eternal Witness the bejewelled and miraculous wonders He has affixed to the object in question, as if in a military parade. To live for a fleeting second is enough to attain that glance. Indeed, the potentiality and intent for existence is enough, without ever emerging into life. This purpose is fully realized, for example, by delicate creatures that vanish swiftly and by seeds and kernels, each a work of art, that never come to life, that is, never bear fruit or flower. They all remain untouched by vanity and purposelessness. Thus the first purpose of all things is to proclaim, by means of their life and existence, the miracles of power and the traces of artistry of the Maker and display them to the gaze of the Glorious Monarch.

The second purpose of all existence and the result of all being pertains to conscious creation. Everything is like a truth-displaying missive, an artistic poem, or a wise word of the Glorious Maker, offered to the gaze of angels and jinn, of men and animals, and desiring to be read by them. It is an object for the contemplation and instruction of every conscious being that looks upon it.

The third purpose of all existence and result of all being pertains to the soul of the thing itself, and consists of such minor consequences as the experience of pleasure and joy, and living with some degree of permanence and comfort. If we consider the purpose of a servant employed as a steersman on some royal ship, we see that only one hundredth of that purpose relates to the steersman himself, the wage he receives; ninty-nine hundredths of the purpose relate to the king who owns the ship. A similar relation exists between the purpose of a thing related to its own self and its worldly existence, and its purpose related to its Maker. In the light of this multiplicity of purposes we can now explain the ultimate compatibility between divine wisdom and economy on the one hand, and divine liberality and generosity — in fact, infinite generosity — on the other hand, even though they appear to be opposites and contradictory. In the individual purposes of things, liberality and generosity predominate, and the Name of Most Generous is manifested. From the point of view of individual purpose, fruits and grains are indeed beyond computation, and they demonstrate infinite generosity. But in universal purposes, wisdom predominates, and the name of All-Wise is manifested. However many purposes a tree has, each of its fruits contains that many purposes, and these can be divided into the three categories we have established. Their universal purposes demonstrate an infinite wisdom and economy. Infinite wisdom and infinite generosity and liberality are thus combined, despite their apparent opposition. For example, one of the purposes for raising an army is the maintenance of order. Whatever troops are available for the purpose will suffice or be more than enough. But the whole army will be barely enough for other purposes such as protecting the national frontiers and repelling


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• Fifth Principle: You will understand, too, that all of these transient objects have not been created for the sake of annihilation, in order to appear briefly and then vanish. The purpose for their creation is rather briefly to be assembled in existence and acquire the desired form, so that these may be noted, their images preserved, their meanings known, and their results recorded. This is so that, for example, everlasting spectacles might be wrought for the people of eternity, and that they might serve other purposes in the realm of eternity. You will understand that things have been created for eternity, not for annihilation; and as for apparent annihilation, it has the sense of a completion of duty and a release from service, for every transient thing advances to annihilation with one aspect, but remains eternally with numerous other aspects.

Look, for example, at the flower, a word of God's power; for a short time it smiles and looks at us, and then hides behind the veil of annihilation. It departs just like a word leaving your mouth. But it does so entrusting thousands of its fellows to men's ears. It leaves behind meanings in men's minds as numerous as those minds. The flower, too, expressing its meaning and thus fulfilling its function, goes and departs. But it goes leaving its apparent form in the memory of everything that sees it, its inner essence in every seed. It is as if each memory and seed were a camera to record the adornment of the flower, or a means for its perpetuation. If such be the case with an object at the simplest level of life, it can be readily understood how closely tied to eternity is man, the highest form of life and the possessor of an eternal soul. Again, from the fact that the laws — each resembling a spirit — according to which large flowering and fruit bearing plants are formed and the representations of their forms are preserved and perpetuated in most regular fashion in tiny seeds throughout tempestuous changes — from this fact it can be easily understood how closely tied and related to


enemies; its size will be in perfect balance with utter wisdom. Thus the wisdom of the state will be joined to its splendour, and it can be said that there is no excess in the army.


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eternity is the spirit of man, which possesses an extremely exalted and comprehensive nature, and which although clothed in a body, is a conscious and luminous law issuing from the divine command.

• Sixth Principle: You will also understand that man has not been left to graze at will, with a halter loosely tied around his neck; on the contrary, the forms of all his deeds are recorded and registered, and the results of all his acts are preserved for the day when he shall be called to account.

• Seventh Principle: You will understand, further, that the destruction visited upon the beautiful creatures of summer and spring in the autumn is not for the sake of

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annihilation. Instead, it is a form of dismissal after the completion of service. It is also a form of emptying in order to clear a space for the new creation that is to come in the following spring, of preparing the ground and making ready for the beings that are to come and assume their functions. Finally, it is a form of Divine warning to conscious beings to awake from the neglect that causes them to forget their duties, from the drunken torpor that causes them to forget their obligation of offering thanks.

• Eighth Principle: You will understand this, too, that the eternal Maker of this transient world has another, everlasting world; it is to this that He urges and impels His servants.

• Ninth Principle: You will understand, also, that so Compassionate a Being will bestow upon His choice servants in that world such gifts as no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, nor has their image crossed the heart of any man. In this we believe.

SEVENTH TRUTH

The Gate of Protection and Preservation,

the Manifestation of the Names of Preserver and Guardian

Is it at all possible that God's attribute of Preserver, which protects all things with the utmost order and balance, — things in the heavens and on the earth, on dry land and in the ocean, dry and wet, large and small, commonplace and exalted — and as it were, sifts their results by way of accounting


21 Yes, it is fitting that the fruits, flowers and leaves on the tips and branches of a tree, proceeding from the treasuries of sustenance provided by Divine mercy, should depart when they become old and their duties are at an end. Otherwise the gate will remain closed to those that come after them, and a barrier will be erected against the expansion of God's mercy and the services to be performed by their brethren (i.e., other members of the species). Moreover, with the passing of youth, they will become wretched and distraught. Spring is like a fruit-bearing tree that in turn is an indication of the plain of resurrection. Similarly, the world of humanity in every age is like a tree inviting contemplation, and the world as a whole is like an amazing tree the fruits of which are despatched to the market of the hereafter.

22 Bukhari, Bad'u'l-Khalq, 8; Tafsir al-Sura xxxii, 1; Tawhid, 35; Muslim, Iman, 312.


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— is it at all possible that this attribute should permit the deeds and acts of man, man who has been given the lofty disposition of humanity, the rank of the supreme vicegerency, and the duty of bearing the Supreme Trust, not to be recorded, not to be passed through the sieve of accounting, not to be weighed in the balance of justice, not to be punished or rewarded fittingly, even though his acts and deeds closely pertain to God's universal dominicality? No, it is not in any way possible!

Yes, the Being that administers this cosmos preserves all things in order and balance. Order and balance are the manifestation of knowledge and wisdom, of will and power. For we see that the substance of every created object is fashioned in well-ordered and symmetrical fashion. Not only is each of the forms it changes throughout its life well- ordered, but the totality of these forms is also marked by the same orderliness. We see, too, that the Glorious Preserver preserves many forms of all things the life of which comes to an end when they have performed their function and which depart from the manifest world, in the memories of men, that are like a kind of preserved tablet, or in a form of archetypal mirror. He also writes and inscribes a brief history of their life in a seed, that is like the result and outcome of the whole. Thus He causes all things to be preserved in mirrors pertaining to both the outer and inner worlds. The memory of man, the fruit of the tree, the kernel of the fruit, the seed of the flower — all of these demonstrate the universality and comprehensiveness of the law of preservation.

Do you not see that all the flowers and fruits of the vast spring, the records of their deeds in appropriate form, the laws of their formation, and the images of their forms, are all inscribed into the finite space of a minute seed and are there preserved? The following spring, their record of deeds is set forth, in a form of accounting appropriate to them, and another vast world of spring is brought forth, with the utmost order and wisdom. This demonstrates with what powerful comprehensiveness God's attribute of Preserver exercises itself. Considering that the results of such transient, commonplace, impermanent and insignificant things are preserved, is it at all possible that men's deeds, that yield important fruit in the world of the unseen, the world of the hereafter, and the world of spirits, from the point of view of universal dominicality, is it at all possible that they should not be guarded and preserved, should not be recorded as a matter of importance? No, by no means !

Yes, from this manifestation of God's attribute of Preserver it can be deduced that the Master of all creation devotes great care to the orderliness of all things that come to pass in His realm. He pays great attention to the function of sovereignty, and lavishes extreme care on the dominicality of kingship. Thus He records, or causes to be recorded, the pettiest of happen


23 See, the footnote to the Seventh Aspect above.


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ings, the smallest of services, and preserves in numerous things the form of everything that happens in His realm. This attribute of Preserver indicates that an important register of deeds will be subjected to a precise examination and weighing: the records of men's deeds will stand revealed.

Now is it at all possible that man should be ennobled with the vicegerency and the Trust, that, as a witness to the universality of dominicality, he should proclaim God's unity in the realm of multiplicity, and thus act as a controller and witness by having some share in the glorification of God and worship of most beings — is it at all possible that he should do all of this and then go to his grave and sleep peacefully without ever being awakened? Without ever being asked concerning his deeds, small and great? That he should not go to the plain of resurrection and be tried at the Supreme Tribunal? No, by no means !

Or is it possible for man to flee and hide himself in annihilation, for him to enter the earth and conceal himself from that Powerful and Glorious One to Whose Power over all contingencies in the future, the occurrences of past time — each a miracle of His power — bear witness, and Who visibly creates winter and spring, that, taken together, resemble resurrection? Since


24

The entirety of the past, extending from the present back to the beginning of creation, consists of

occurrences. Every day, year and century that came into being is like a line, a page, a book, written by the

pen of destiny; the hand of God's power has inscribed His miraculous signs there with the utmost wisdom

and order.

Similarly, time from the present until resurrection, Paradise and eternity, consists entirely of contingencies. The past consists of occurrences, the future of contingencies. Now if these two chains of time be compared with each other, it will be seen to be true of a certainty that the Being That created yesterday and brought into being the creatures peculiar to it, is capable, too, of creating tomorrow together with its creatures. Again, there is no doubt that the beings and wonders of past time, that wondrous display, are the miraculous works of a Powerful and Glorious One. They bear decisive witness that that Powerful One is capable of creating all of the future and its contingencies, and manifesting all of its wonders.

The one who creates an apple must of a certainty be able to create all the apples in the world and to bring the vast spring into being. Conversely, the one who cannot create a spring cannot create a single apple either, for the apple is made at the same workbench. But the one who makes an apple can make the spring. Each apple is an example in miniature of a tree, even of a garden or a cosmos. The apple seed that carries within itself the life-story of the huge tree is, from the point of view of artistry, such a miracle that the one who creates it thus is incapable of nothing. So too, the one that creates today is able also to create the day of resurrection, and it is only the one capable of creating the spring that is able, too, to create resurrection. The one who affixes all the worlds of past time to the ribbon of time and displays them there in utmost wisdom and order, is without doubt capable of attaching other beings to the ribbon of the future and displaying them there. In several of the Words, particularly the Twenty-Second Word, we proved with utter certainty that: "the one who cannot create everything cannot create anything, and the one who can fashion one thing, can fashion everything. Also, if the creation of everything is entrusted to a single being, the creation of all things becomes as easy as the creation of a single thing; thus facility arises. If, on the contrary, it is entrusted to numerous causes, and ascribed to multiplicity, the creation of a single thing becomes as difficult as the creation of everything, and such difficulty arises as borders on impossibility."


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man is not called to account and judged in fitting fashion while in this world, it follows that he must proceed to a Supreme Tribunal and a final felicity.

EIGHTH TRUTH

The Gate of Promise and Threat,

the Manifestation of the Names of Beautiful and Glorious.

Is it at all possible that the Maker of this world, the Possessor of Absolute Knowledge and Absolute Power, should not fulfil the oft-repeated promise and threat that has been proclaimed unanimously by all the prophets and been witnessed in unison by all the veracious and the saints, and thus display weakness and ignorance? God forbid! All that is implied by His promise and threat is not at all difficult for His power to fulfil; it is extremely simple and easy. It is as easy for Him as bringing back next spring the countless beings of last spring, in part identically, 25 in part in simile. 26 It is our need, the need of everything, His own need and the need of His dominical sovereignty, that He should fulfil His promise. For Him to break His promise would be contrary to the dignity of His power, and it would contradict the comprehensiveness of His knowledge. For the breaking of a promise can arise only from ignorance or impotence.

O denier! Do you know how foolish a crime you are committing with your unbelief and denial? Paying heed to your own lying fancy, your delirious intellect, your deceptive soul, you reject as a liar One Who in no way can be compelled to the breaking of His promise, Whose glory and stature can in no way admit the breaking of His word, and Whose truthfulness and veracity are attested by all visible matters and objects! Despite your infinite pettiness, you are committing a crime of infinitely great proportions. Without doubt you deserve great and eternal punishment. According to certain narrations,

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the fact that the teeth of some of the people of Hell will be as big as a mountain will serve as an indication of the magnitude of their crime. O denier, you are like a traveller who closes his eyes to the sunlight and looks instead at the fantasy in his own mind. His imagination wishes to illumine the awesome path in front of him with the light proceeding from his mind's lamp that in reality is no stronger than a glow-worm. Whatever has been promised by God Almighty, Whose veracious words are these beings we see and Whose truthful, eloquent signs are the processes of nature, He will of a surety fulfil. He will establish a Supreme Tribunal, and bestow an ultimate bliss.


25 Like trees and the roots of grasses.


26 Like leaves and fruits.

27 Muslim, Janna, 44; Tirmidhi, Jahannam, 3; Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 38; Musnad, ii, 26, 328, 334.


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NINTH TRUTH

The Gate of God's bestowal of life and death,

the Manifestation of the Names of Eternally Living

and Self-Subsistent, and Giver of Life and Giver of Death.

Is it at all possible that the One Who gives life to this vast dead and dry earth; Who in so doing demonstrates His power by deploying more than three hundred thousand different forms of creation, each of them as remarkable as man; Who further demonstrates in this deployment His all-embracing knowledge by the infinite distinctions and differentiations He makes in the complex intermingling of all of those forms; Who directs the gaze of all His slaves to everlasting bliss by promising them resurrection in all of His heavenly decrees; Who demonstrates the splendour of His dominicality by causing all of His creation to collaborate with one another, to revolve within the circle of His command and His will, to aid one another and be submitted to Him; Who shows the importance He has given to man by creating him as the most comprehensive, the most precious and delicate, the most valued and valuable fruit on the tree of creation by addressing him without intermediary and subjugating all things to him; — is it at all possible that so Compassionate and Powerful a One, so Wise and All-Knowing a One, should not bring about resurrection; should not gather His creatures together or be unable to do so; should not restore man to life, or be unable to do so; should not be able to inaugurate His Supreme Court; should not be able to create Heaven and Hell? Nay, indeed, by no means is any of this possible.

Indeed, the Almighty Disposer of this world's affairs creates in every century, every year and every day, on the narrow and transient face of the globe, numerous signs, examples and indications of the Supreme Gathering and the Plain of Resurrection.

Thus in the gathering that takes place every spring we see that in the course of five or six days more than three hundred thousand different kinds of animal and plant are first gathered together and then dispersed. The roots of all the trees and plants, as well as some animals, are revived and restored exactly as they were. The other animals are recreated in a form so similar as to be almost identical. The seeds which appear, in their outward form, to be so close to each other, nonetheless, in the course of six days or six weeks, become distinct and differentiated from each other, and then with extreme speed, ease and facility, are brought to life in the utmost order and equilibrium. Is it at all possible that for the One Who does all of this anything should be difficult; that He should be unable to create the heavens and the earth in six days; that He should be unable to resurrect men with a single blast? No, by no means is it possible!


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Let us suppose there were to be some gifted writer who could write out in a single hour the confused and obliterated letters of three hundred thousand books on a single sheet without any error, omission or defect, complete and in the best form. If someone were then to say to you that that writer could write out again from memory a book written by him that had fallen into the water and become obliterated, would you then say that he is unable, and would you not believe in his ability? Or think of some talented king who, in order to demonstrate his power or for the sake of providing a warning example, removes whole mountains with a single command, turns his realm upside down, and transforms the sea into dry land. Then you see that a great rock rolls down into a valley, so that the path is blocked for guests travelling to attend the king's reception and they are unable to pass. If someone should say to you: "that exalted one will remove or dissolve the stone, however great it may be, with a single command; he will not leave his guests stranded," would you then say that he will not remove the stone, or be unable to do so? Or if someone one day should gather together a great army, and you are then informed that he will summon its battalions together with a blast of the trumpet after they had dispersed to rest, and the battalions will form up in disciplined shape, would you respond by saying, "I don't believe it?" Were you to say any of these things your behaviour would truly be madness.

If you have understood these three parables, now look further and see how the Pre- Eternal Designer turns over in front of our eyes the white page of winter and opens the green pages of spring and summer. Then He inscribes on the page of the earth's surface, with the pen of power and destiny, in the most beautiful form, more than three hundred thousand species of creation. Not one encroaches upon another. He writes them all together, but none blocks the path of another. In their formation and shape, each is kept separate from the other without any confusion. There is no error in the writing. That Wise and Preserving One, Who preserves and inserts the spirit of a great tree in the smallest seed, no bigger than a dot — is it permissible even to ask how He preserves the spirits of those who die? That Powerful One Who causes the globe to revolve like a pebble in a sling — is it permissible even to ask how He will remove this globe from the path of His guests who are travelling to meet Him in the Hereafter?

Again, the One of Glorious Essence Who from non-being recruits anew and inscribes into His battalions, with the command of "Be, and behold it is," and with utmost discipline, the troops of all living things, the very particles of all of their bodies, and thus creates highly disciplined armies — is it permissible even to ask how He can make bodies submit to His discipline like a battalion, how He can gather together their mutually acquainted fundamental particles, and their component members?


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You can, moreover, behold with your own eyes, the numerous designs made by God as signs, similes and indications of resurrection, designs placed by Him in every age and epoch of the world, in the alternation of day and night, even in the appearance and disappearance of clouds in the sky. If you imagine yourself to have been living a thousand years ago, and then compare with each other the two wings of time that are the past and the future, then you will behold similes of the gathering and indications of resurrection as numerous as the centuries and days. If, then, after witnessing so many similes and indications, you regard corporeal resurrection as improbable and rationally unacceptable, know your behaviour to be pure lunacy.

See what the Supreme Decree says concerning the truth we are discussing:

Look upon the signs of God's mercy, and see how He restores life to the earth after its death. Verily He it is Who shall bring to life the dead, and He is

no

powerful over all things.

In short: There is nothing that makes impossible the gathering of resurrection, and much that necessitates it. The glorious and eternal dominicality, the almighty and all embracing sovereignty of the One Who gives life and death to this vast and wondrous earth as if it were a mere animal; Who has made of this earth a pleasing cradle, a fine ship, for man and the animals; Who has made of the sun a lamp furnishing light and heat to the hostelry of the world; Who has made of the planets vehicles for the conveyance of His angels — the dominicality and sovereignty of such a One cannot rest upon and be restricted to the transitory, impermanent, unstable, insignificant, changeable, unlasting, deficient and imperfect affairs of this world. He must, therefore, have another realm, one worthy of Him, permanent, stable, immutable and glorious. Indeed, He does have another kingdom, and it is for the sake of this that He causes us to labour, and to this that He summons us. All those of illumined spirit who have penetrated from outer appearances to truth, and have been ennobled with proximity to the Divine Presence, all the spiritual poles endowed with luminous hearts, all the possessors of lucent intelligence, all bear witness that He will transfer us to that other kingdom. They inform us unanimously that He has prepared for us there reward and requital, and relate that He is repeatedly giving us firm promises and stern warnings.

As for the breaking of a promise, it is baseless and utter humiliation. It cannot in any way be reconciled with the glory of His sanctity. Similarly, failure to fulfil a threat arises either from forgiveness or powerlessness.


28 Qur'an, 30:50.


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Now unbelief is extreme crime, and cannot be forgiven. The Absolutely Omnipotent One is exempt of and exalted above all powerlessness. Those who bring us their testimony and report, despite all the differences in their methods, temperaments and paths, are totally unanimous and agreed on this basic matter. By their number, they have the authority of unanimity. By their quality, they have the authority of learned consensus. By their rank, each one is a guiding star of mankind, the cherished eye of a people, the object of a nation's veneration. By their importance, each one is an expert and an authority in the matter. In any art or science, two experts are preferred to thousands of non-experts, and two positive affirmers are preferred to thousands of negators in the transmission of a report. For example, the testimony of two men affirming the sighting of the crescent moon at the beginning of Ramadan totally nullifies the negation of thousands of denier s.

In short: In the whole world there is no truer report, no firmer claim, no more apparent truth than this. The world is without doubt a field, and the resurrection a threshing-floor, a harvest. Paradise and Hell are each storehouses for the grain.

TENTH TRUTH

The Gate of Wisdom, Grace, Mercy and Justice;

the Manifestation of the Names of All- Wise,

Generous, Just and Merciful.

Is it at all possible that the Glorious Possessor of all Dominion in this impermanent hospice of the world, in this transient place of testing, in this unstable showplace of the earth so manifest a wisdom, so evident a grace, so overwhelming a justice, so comprehensive a mercy, — is it at all possible that in His realm, in the worlds of the outer and inner dimensions of things, there should not exist permanent abodes with eternal inhabitants, everlasting stations with immortal residents, and that as a result all the truths of wisdom, grace, mercy and justice that we now see should decline into nothingness.


29 Unbelief denounces creation for alleged worthlessness and meaninglessness. It is an insult to all of creation, a denial of the manifestation of the Divine Names in the mirror of beings. It is disrespect to all the Divine Names, and rejection of the witness borne to the Divine Unity by all beings. It is a denial of all creation. It corrupts man's potentialities in such a way that they are incapable of reform and unreceptive to good. Unbelief is also an act of utter injustice, a transgression against all of creation and the rights of God's Names. The preservation of those rights, as well as the unredeemable nature of the unbeliever's soul, make it necessary that unbelief should be unpardonable. The words, "to assign partners to God is verily a great transgression," (Qur'an, 31:13) express this meaning.


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Again, is it at all possible that that All- Wise Being should choose man, among all His creation, to receive direct and universal address from Him, should make him a comprehensive mirror to Himself, should permit him to taste, weigh, and become acquainted with, all the contents of His treasuries of mercy, should make Himself known to him with all His Names, should love him and make Himself beloved of him — that He should do all this and then fail to despatch wretched man to that eternal realm, to invite him to that abode of permanent bliss and make him happy there?

Is it at all reasonable that He should impose on every being, even the seed, a task as heavy as a tree, mount in it instances of His wisdom as numerous as the flowers, and beneficial aspects as numerous as the fruits, but assign to that task, to those instances of His wisdom and those beneficial aspects, a purpose pertaining only to this world, one as small as a seed? That He should make that purpose nothing more than the life of this world, something less valuable than a grain of mustard- seed? That He should not make of beings seeds for the world of meaning and tillage for the realm of the hereafter, for them to yield there their true and worthy results? That He should permit such significant alternations to remain without purpose, to be empty and vain? That He should not turn their faces towards the world of meaning and the hereafter, so that they might there reveal their true purposes and fitting results?

Again, is it at all possible that by thus causing things to controvert their own nature He should present His own veracious Names, All- Wise, Generous, Just, Merciful, as being characterized by their opposites — God forbid! — that He should deny the true essences of all those beings that indicate His wisdom and generosity, His justice and mercy, that He should reject the testimony of all creatures, that He should negate the indications made by all things?

Can intelligence at all accept that God should impose on man and his senses duties as numerous as the hair on his head, but give him no more than an earthly reward, something no more valuable than a hair? That He should act meaninglessly, in a fashion contrary to His true justice and opposed to His true wisdom?

Again, is it at all possible that God Who proves and shows Himself to be a possessor of absolute wisdom, by attaching to every animate being, or even to every member like the tongue, indeed to every creature, instances of His wisdom and sources of benefit as numerous as the results and the fruits He has attached to a tree — is it at all possible that He should fail to bestow of Himself the greatest of all instances of His wisdom, the most significant of all sources of benefit, the most necessary of all results, that which makes His wisdom into wisdom, His blessings into blessings, His mercy into mercy, the


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source and aim of all of His wisdom, bounty, mercy and beneficence — eternity, the meeting with Him in the hereafter and everlasting bliss? Were He to abandon these, He would plunge all of His doings unto utter pointlessness and cause Himself to resemble a being who constructed a palace, each stone of which contained thousands of designs, in each corner of which thousands of adornments were to be found, and in each part of which thousands of precious household instruments and tools were provided, but failed to build a roof over it, so that everything rotted and was needlessly destroyed. No, by no means can this be true! From absolute goodness comes forth goodness, and from the Possessor of Absolute Beauty comes forth beauty. So too nothing devoid of purpose can emerge from the Possessor of Absolute Wisdom.

Whoever in his imagination embarks on the ship of history and sets sail for the past, will see dead stages, places, gatherings and worlds, as numerous as the years, and each like the stopping -place that is the world, the field of trial, the gathering of creation, that we now see. In form and quality they are different from each other, but they resemble each other with respect to their orderliness, their wondrousness and the fashion in which they display the power and wisdom of the Maker.

In those impermanent stopping -places, those transient fields, those fleeting gatherings, he will also see the orderly workings of so manifest a wisdom, the indications of so evident a beneficence, the signs of so imperious a justice, the fruits of so comprehensive a mercy, that he will know of a certainty — unless totally devoid of perception — that a more perfect wisdom that that which he beholds is inconceivable, that a beneficence more beauteous than that the signs of which he observes is impossible, that a justice more glorious than that the indications of which he sees cannot exist, and a mercy more comprehensive than that the fruits of which he sees is unimaginable.

If, to suppose the impossible, there were no permanent abodes, lofty mansions, everlasting stations and eternal abodes, with their eternal residents, God's joyous servants, in the realm of that Eternal Monarch Who disposes all affairs and Who constantly is changing the hospice and its inmates, then it would be necessary to reject the true essences of wisdom, justice, beneficence and compassion, those four powerful and universal spiritual elements that are like light, air, water and earth, and to deny their existence, even though they are as apparent as that of the external elements. For it is plain that this impermanent world and its contents cannot be a complete manifestation of their true essences. If there is no other place, somewhere else, where they can be manifested fully, it then becomes necessary, with a lunacy like that of the man who denies the existence of the sun even though


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he sees its light filling the day, to deny the wisdom that we can see in everything in front of our eyes; to deny the beneficence that we can observe in our own souls and in most other things; to deny the justice the signs of which appear so strongly; and to deny the compassion we see everywhere in operation. It follows in turn that we must regard as a foolish prankster, a treacherous tyrant, the one from whom proceed all the wise processes, the generous deeds and the merciful gifts we perceive in the universe. God forbid that this should be so; it is a totally impossible reversal of the truth. Even the foolish sophists, who denied the existence of everything and even that of their own selves, would not readily contemplate such a proposition.

In short: Considering the utter disparity between — on the one hand — this state of affairs which we see together with the universal fusions of life and the swift separations of death, the imposing gatherings and the rapid dispersions, the magnificent revolutions and the great manifestations, and — on the other hand — the petty fruits we see briefly attained in this transient world, the temporary and insignificant purposes of beings that pertain to this world, we conclude that the non-existence of the hereafter would mean attaching to a little stone wise purposes as great as a mountain, and to a great mountain, a purpose as petty as a small stone. No intelligence or wisdom can find this acceptable.

In other words, this lack of proportion between beings and these matters on the one hand, and their purposes pertaining to this world on the other, demonstrates with certainty that all beings have their faces turned to the world of meaning. It is there that they will yield their appropriate fruits, and their eyes are fixed on the Sacred Names. Their ultimate aims pertain to that world alone. While their substance is hidden beneath the soil of this world, their flowers will unfold in the World of Similitudes. Man sows and is sown in this world, in accordance with his capacity; the harvest is gathered in the hereafter. If you look at the aspect of things that is turned towards the Divine Names and the hereafter you will see that each seed, a miracle of


30 There are two varieties of justice, one affirmative, the other negative. The positive variety consists in giving the deserving his right. This form of justice exists throughout the world in the most obvious fashion, because, as proven in the Third Truth, it observably bestows, in accordance with special balances and particular criteria, all the objects of desire requested by everything from its Glorious Creator with the tongue of innate capacity, the language of natural need, the speech of necessity, and all the requirements of life and existence. This variety of justice is, then, as certain as life and existence itself. The other variety of justice, the negative, consists in chastising the unjust; it gives wrongdoers their due by way of requital and punishment. This type of justice is not fully manifest in this world, even though there are countless signs and indications that permit us to sense its true nature. For example, all the chastising blows and punitive lashes that have descended on all rebellious peoples, from the 'Ad and Thamud to those of the present age, show definitely that an exalted justice dominates the world.


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power, has an aim as vast as a tree. Each flower, which is like a word of Divine wisdom, has meanings as numerous as the flowers on a tree, and each fruit, a wonder of God's workmanship and a poem dictated by His mercy, has wise purposes as numerous as the fruits of a tree. As for the fruit serving us as sustenance, it is merely one out of those many thousand wise purposes; it fulfils its purpose, expresses its meanings, and dies, being buried in our stomach. Since these transient beings yield eternal fruits in another place, leave there permanent forms of themselves, and express there everlasting meanings; since they engage in ceaseless glorification of the Maker; and since man becomes man by perceiving these aspects of things that are oriented to the hereafter, thus finding his way to eternity by means of the transient — since all of this is true, there must be some other purpose for all these beings that are cast around between life and death, that are first gathered and then dispersed.

There is no error in this comparison: the above-mentioned state of affairs resembles circumstances formed and arranged by way of imitation and representation. Brief gatherings and dispersions are arranged at great expense merely for the sake of taking pictures that can thereafter be shown in the cinema. So too, one of the reasons for our passage through individual and social life in this life, for a brief time, is to enable pictures to be taken and images formed, to enable the result of our deeds to be registered and recorded, for display on a day of accounting, for being shown at a vast gathering, and to yield the fruit of supreme happiness. The noble saying of the Prophet (Peace and blessing be upon him) "This world is the tillage for the hereafter," indicates this meaning.

Since the world exists, and within this world wisdom, beneficence, compassion and justice also exist, with their numerous evidences, of a certainty the hereafter also exists, just as surely as does this world. Since one aspect of everything in this world is turned to that world and is proceeding toward it, to deny that world would be denying this world with all it contains. Just as the allotted hour and the grave await man, so too do Paradise and Hell, anxiously watching for his arrival.


31 If it be asked, "why do your parables consist chiefly of flowers, seeds and fruits," our answer is that they are the most wondrous, remarkable and delicate of the miracles of God's power. Moreover, since naturalists, philosophers and the people of misguidance have been unable to read the subtle script written upon them by the pen of destiny and power, they have choked on them, and fallen into the swamp of nature.

32 al-'Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa, i, 320.


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ELEVENTH TRUTH

The Gate of Humanity, and

the Manifestation of the Name of Truth

Is it at all possible that God Almighty, He Who is worshipped by right, should create man within creation as the most significant of all of His servants with respect to His absolute dominicality and with respect to His universal dominicality in all of His realms; that He should make him the most thoughtful recipient of His glorious address, the most comprehensive mirror to the manifestation of His Names; that He should create him as the most beautiful miracle of His power in the fairest of forms, in order to receive the manifestation of the Greatest Name, as well as that quality of the Greatest Name inherent in the other Names, in order for him to assess and perceive the contents of His treasuries of mercy; that He should make him an investigator of secrets equipped more than any other creature with balances and instruments; and He should make him the most needy of all creatures with respect to His infinite gifts, the one suffering most from annihilation and the one most desirous of immortality; that He should make him the most delicate, the poorest and neediest of animals, most wretched and subject to pain in his worldly life but most sublime in disposition, in the highest of forms and characters — is it possible that God Almighty should do all this with man and not send him to the Eternal Realm for which he is suited and fitted and for which he is longing? Is it possible that He should thus negate the whole essence of humanity, act in a manner totally contrary to His own veracity, and perform an act of injustice that the eye of truth must deem ugly?

Again, is it at all possible that He Who rules justly, Whose mercy is absolute, should bestow on man such a disposition that he took up the Supreme Trust, from which the heavens and mountains both shrank, in order to measure and know, with his slight and petty measures and crafts, the all encompassing attributes, the universal workings, and the infinite manifestations of the Creator; that He should create him as the most delicate, vulnerable, weak and powerless of beings, while yet entrusting him with the regulation of all the vegetal and animal life upon earth, and causing him to intervene in their modes of worship and glorification of God; that He should cause him to be a representation in miniature of His cosmic processes; that He should cause him to proclaim His glorious dominicality to all beings, in word and deed; that He should prefer him to the angels and give him the rank of vicegerent — is it at all possible that God should bestow all of this on man and not give him eternal bliss, the purpose, result and fruit of all of these duties? That He should cast him down to low degree, as the most wretched, ill-fortuned, humiliated and suffering of all His creatures; or that He should make of intelligence, a gift from His own wisdom and a most blessed and luminous tool for the attainment of happiness, an inauspicious and sombre tool of torment


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for that wretch, thus acting in total contradiction to His absolute wisdom and in opposition to His absolute mercy? No, it is by no means possible!

In short: Just as we saw by looking at the identity papers of an officer in our comparison that his rank, duty, wage, instructions and equipment prove that he exists not for the sake of some temporary battlefield, but rather that he is proceeding to some permanent kingdom, for the sake of which he is exerting himself — so too those to whom truth and certainty have been unveiled are unanimously agreed that the subtleties inscribed in the book of man's heart, the senses written down in the notebook of his intellect, the equipment contained in his essential character, are all turned towards Eternal Bliss; they have been given to man and fashioned in accordance with this ultimate goal.

For example, if one servant and illustrator of the intellect called "the imaginative power," is told that "you can have a million years of life and rule over the world, but in the end you shall become nothing," it will react with sorrow instead of pleasure, unless deceived by vain fancy and the interference of the soul. The greatest of transient things cannot, then, satisfy the smallest faculty of man.

It is, then, this disposition of man — his desires extending to eternity, his thoughts that embrace all of creation and his wishes that embrace the different varieties of eternal bliss — that demonstrates he has been created for eternity and will indeed proceed to eternity. This world is like a hospice for him, a waiting-room for the hereafter.

TWELFTH TRUTH

The Gate of Messengerhood and Revelation,

and the Manifestation of

"/n the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate"

Is it at all possible that errant doubts, no stronger than the wing of a fly, could close the path to the hereafter and the gate to Paradise that have been definitively opened by the Most Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him), with all of his might, relying upon the power of his thousand certified miracles as well as the thousands of decisive verses of the All- Wise Qur'an, a book miraculous in forty different ways — that Messenger whose words are affirmed by all of the other prophets, relying upon their own miracles, whose claim is affirmed by all of the saints, relying upon their visionary and charismatic experiences, and to whose veracity all of the purified scholars bear witness, relying upon their investigations of truth?

  • * *


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From the previous truths it has become apparent that resurrection is so firmly rooted a truth that not even a power capable of lifting up the globe, breaking it and casting it aside, could shake it. For God Almighty Himself affirms this truth in accordance with the meaning of all His Names and attributes; His Noble Messenger confirms it with all of his miracles and evidences; the All- Wise Qur'an establishes it with all of its truths and verses; and the cosmos itself bears witness to it with all the creational signs it contains and all the wise processes that take place within it. Is it at all possible that the Necessary Being should unite with all of His creation (excepting only the unbelievers) on this question of resurrection, and doubts feebler than a whisker and satanic insinuations should shake and uproot that exalted and firmly-rooted truth which resembles a mountain? No, by no means!

Beware, do not imagine that the proofs of resurrection are restricted to the Twelve Truths we have mentioned. The All- Wise Qur'an alone, that instructed us in these Twelve Truths, indicates thousands of other aspects of the matter as well, each aspect being a sign that our Creator will transfer us from this transient realm to an eternal one.

Again, do not imagine that the Divine Names which logically require the existence of resurrection are only those we have discussed — Wise, Generous, Merciful, Just, Preserver. On the contrary, all the Divine Names manifest in the ordering of the cosmos logically require the existence of resurrection, indeed make it imperative.

Do not imagine, either, that the creational signs indicating resurrection are confined to those we have mentioned above. On the contrary, in the majority of beings, there exist different aspects and qualities that are like curtains opening to the right and the left: one aspect bears witness to the Maker, and the other aspect indicates resurrection. For example, the beauty of man's being, fashioned as he is in the fairest of forms, demonstrates the existence of the Maker, while at the same time the fact that together with his comprehensive abilities, lodged in that fairest of forms, he soon declines and dies, demonstrates the existence of resurrection. Sometimes, if one looks at the same aspect in two different ways, one sees that it demonstrates the existence both of the Maker and of resurrection. For example, if one looks at the wise ordering, the just balance, the gracious adornment and the merciful favour inherent in most things, they are seen to demonstrate that they proceed from the powerful hand of a Wise, Generous, Just and Merciful Maker. So too, if one looks at the brief and insignificant life of the transient beings that are the manifestations of these qualities, despite their power and infinitude, the hereafter appears before one. In other words, all things silently recite and cause others to recite "I believe in God and the Last Day."


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Conclusion

The preceding Twelve Truths confirm, supplement and support each other. Coming together in union, they demonstrate the required result. Does it lie in the capacity of any doubt to penetrate those twelve firm walls, each like steel or diamonds, in order to shake the belief in resurrection housed within their closed citadel?

The verse, Your creation and resurrection is but like a single soul, ' indicates the following meaning: "The creation and resurrection of all men is as easy for God's power as the creation and resurrection of a single man." Yes indeed. In a treatise entitled Nokta (Point), I explained in detail the truth expressed by this verse. Here we will indicate only a summary by means of a few comparisons. If you want more detail, then refer to Nokta.

For example, And God's is the highest similitude, 34 and there is no error in the comparison, if the manifestation of the sun were in accordance with its own will, it could be said that the sun bestows its mystery of manifestation on numerous transparent objects with the same ease as on a single particle.

In accordance with the mystery of transparency, the little pupil of a transparent particle is equal to the vast face of the ocean in receiving the reflection of the sun.

In accordance with the mystery of order, it overturns a huge battleship with the same ease as a child turning over his toy boat with his finger.

In accordance with the mystery of obedience, it causes a vast army to move with the same word that a commander uses to make a single infantryman move.

In accordance with the mystery of equilibrium, let us imagine there to exist in space a balance so sensitive and at the same time so large that were two walnuts to be placed in its pans it would feel them, and be equally able to hold and to weigh two suns. If two suns of equal weight were placed in the pans of the scale; the same power, which causes one of the walnuts to be lifted up to the heavens and the other walnut to descend to the ground, will move these heavenly bodies with the same ease. Since in this lowly, deficient and transient world of contingency, the greatest and smallest things are


33 Qur'an, 31:28.

34 Qur'an, 16:60.


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equal, and numerous, infinite things appear equal to a single thing, through the mystery of luminosity, transparency, order, obedience and balance, then of a certainty little and much, small and great, will be equal in the sight of the possessor of absolute power, and He will be able to summon all men to resurrection with a single blast on the trumpet, just as if they were one man — this, by virtue of the mysteries of the luminous manifestations of the infinite and utterly perfect power of His essence, the transparency of the inner dimension of things, the order decreed by wisdom and destiny, the complete obedience of all things to His creational commands, and the equilibrium existing in contingent being, that consists of the equivalence of the being and non-being of the contingent.

Furthermore, the degrees of strength and weakness that a thing possesses are determined by the intervention in that thing of its opposite. For example, degrees of heat are determined by the intervention of cold; degrees of beauty, by the intervention of ugliness; stages of light, by the intervention of darkness. But if something exists of itself, and is not accidental, then its opposite cannot interfere with it, for then a union of opposites would logically have to occur, and that is impossible. In something that exists of itself, there can then be no gradation. Now the power of the Possessor of Absolute Power pertains to His essence; it enjoys absolute perfection and is not accidental like contingent being. It is therefore impossible that its opposite, impotence, should intervene in it. Hence it is as easy for the Lord of Glory to create a spring as it is to create a flower. But if creation were ascribed to causality, then the creation of a single flower would be as difficult as that of a whole spring. For God it is as easy to resurrect and gather all men as it is to resurrect and gather one man.

All that we have expounded so far with regard to resurrection, the comparisons indicating it and its truths, is derived from the effulgence of the All- Wise Qur'an. Its sole purpose has been bringing the soul to surrender and the heart to acceptance. It is to the Qur'an that the right to speak belongs. It is true speech, and all speech is subordinate to it. Let us listen, then, to the Qur'an:

Say: "With God is the argument that reaches home: if it had been His will, He could indeed have guided you all."

Look upon the signs of God's mercy, and see how He restores life to the earth after its death. Verily He it is Who shall bring to life the dead, and He is powerful over all things.

And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own [Origin and]


35 Qur'an, 6:149.

36 Qur'an, 30:50.


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Creation: he says, "Who can give life to [dry] bones and decomposed ones [at that]?" 37

O mankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour [of Judgement]

will be a thing terrible!

The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe,

and every pregnant female shall drop her load [unformed] : thou shalt see

mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of

God. 38

God! There is no god but He: of a surety He will gather you together against the Day of Judgement, about which there is no doubt. And whose word can be truer than God's?

As for the righteous, they will be in bliss; And the wicked — they will be in the fire.

When the Earth is shaken to her [utmost] convulsion,

And the Earth throws up her burdens [from within],

And man cries [distressed]: "What is the matter with her!" —

On that Day will she declare her tidings:

For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration.

On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds

that they [had done].

Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it.

And anyone who has done an atom 's weight of evil, shall see it.

The [Day] of Noise and Clamour:

What is the [Day] of Noise and Clamour?

And what will explain to thee what the [Day] of Noise and Clamour is?

[It is] a Day whereon men will be like moths scattered about,

And the mountains will be like carded wool.

Then, he whose balance [of good deeds] will be [found] heavy,

Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction.

But he whose balance [of good deeds] will be [found] light, —

Will have his home in a [bottomless] Pit.

And what will explain to thee what this is ?

[It is] a Fire blazing fiercely!

To God belongs the mystery of the heavens and the earth. And the


37 Qur'an, 36:78.

38 Qur' an, 22:1-2.

39 Qur'an, 4:87.

40 Qur'an, 82:13-14.

41 Qur' an, 99:1-8.

42 Qur'an, 101:1-11.


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decision of the Hour is as the twinkling of an eye or even quicker: for God has power over all things.

Listening to these and other clear verses of the Qur'an, let us say, "yes, we believe and give our assent."

/ believe in God, His angels, His books, His messengers and in the Last Day. I believe that both the good and evil of destiny are from God Almighty; that resurrection after death is a reality; that Paradise is a reality; that Hell-fire is a reality; that intercession is a reality; that Munkar and Nakir are reality; and that God will resurrect those who are in the tombs. I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

O God, grant blessings to the most delicate, the most noble, the most perfect, the most beautiful fruit of the Tuba of Your mercy, him whom You sent as a mercy to all the worlds, and as a means for our attaining unto the most beauteous, the fairest, purest and most exalted of the fruits of that Tuba, the branches of which are outspread over the hereafter and paradise; o God, protect us and our parents against the fire, and cause us and our parents to enter Paradise with the pious, for the sake of Thy chosen Prophet. Amen.

O brother studying this treatise with an open mind! Do not say, "why cannot I immediately understand this 'Tenth Word' in all its details?" and do not be saddened by your failure to understand it completely. For even a master of philosophy such as Ibn Sina said that "resurrection cannot be understood by rational criteria." His judgement was that we must believe in resurrection, but reason cannot aid our belief. Similarly, all the scholars of Islam unanimously have held that resurrection rests entirely on traditional proofs; it cannot be rationally examined. Naturally, so profound, and at the same time, so exalted a path cannot suddenly become a public highway for the exercise of the reason. But we would offer a thousand thanks that the Merciful Creator has bestowed upon us this much of the path, by means of the effulgence of the All- Wise Qur'an and His own mercy, in an age when belief by imitation is past and meek acceptance has disappeared. For the amount vouchsafed to each of us is enough for the salvation of our faith. Being content with the amount that we have been able to understand, we should reread the treatise and seek to increase our comprehension.

One of the reasons that it is impossible to approach a rational understanding of resurrection is that since the supreme gathering, resurrection, is


43 Qur'an, 16:77.


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through the manifestation of the Greatest Name, only through beholding and demonstrating the great deeds evident in the maximum manifestation of the Greatest Name of God as well as His other Names, is it possible to prove it as certain; and unshakeably believe that resurrection is as simple as the spring. Thus do matters appear and thus they are demonstrated in this 'Tenth Word' (Resurrection and the Hereafter), by means of the effulgence of the Qur'an. Were it not for this effulgence, and were our intelligence to be left to its own petty devices, it would be powerless, and condemned to believing in resurrection by way of imitation.


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The First Part of an Important Supplement and Addendum to the Tenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

So [give] glory to God, when you reach eventide and when you rise in the morning; Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline.

It is He Who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living, and Who Gives life to the earth after it is dead: and thus shall you be brought out [from the dead].

Among His Signs is this, that He created you from dust; and then, — behold, you are men scattered [far and wide]!

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.

And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know.

And among His Signs is the sleep that you take by night and by day, and the quest that you [make for livelihood] out of His Bounty: verily in that are Signs for those who hearken.

And among His Signs, He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope, and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead: verily in that are Signs for those who are wise.

And among His Signs is this, that heaven and earth stand by His Command: then when He calls you, by a single call, from the earth, behold, you [straightway] come forth.

To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth: all are devoutly obedient to Him.

It is He Who begins [the process of] creation; then repeats it; and for Him it is most easy. To Him belongs the loftiest similitude [we can think of] in the heavens and the earth: For He is Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom.


44


Qur'an, 30:17-27.


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In this Ninth Ray will be expounded a supreme point of these sublime heavenly verses, which demonstrate one of the 'poles' of belief; these mighty sacred proofs of the resurrection of the dead will be explained. It is a subtle instance of dominical grace that thirty years ago at the end of his work entitled Muhdkemat (Reasonings), which was an introduction to Qur'anic commentaries, the Old Said wrote: "Second Aim: Two Qur'anic verses alluding to the resurrection of the dead will be expounded and explained. In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate." There he stopped and could write no further. Now, praise and thanks to my Compassionate Creator to the number of signs and indications of the resurrection, that after thirty years He has given me success. Yes, nine or ten years ago, He bestowed the Tenth and Twenty-Ninth Words, two brilliant and powerful proofs expounding the Divine decree of:

So look to the signs of God's mercy, how He raises to life the earth after its

death; He it is who will raise the dead to life, for He is Powerful Over All

Things

which was the first of the two verses. They silenced the deniers of resurrection. Now,

nine or ten years after those two impregnable bastions of belief in the resurrection of the

dead, He bestowed with the present treatise a commentary on the second of the above two

sublime verses. This Ninth Ray, then, consists of Nine Elevated Stations, indicated by the

above-mentioned verses, and an important Introduction.


Introduction

[This consists of two Points comprising a concise explanation of one comprehensive result of the numerous spiritual benefits of belief in resurrection and of its vital consequences; a demonstration of how essential it is for human life and especially for the life of society; a summary of one universal proof out of numerous proofs of the tenet of belief in the resurrection; and a statement of how indubitable and self-evident is that tenet of belief.]

FIRST POINT

We shall indicate, as a measure, only four out of hundreds of proofs that belief in the hereafter is fundamental to the life of society and to man's personal life, and is the basis of his happiness, prosperity, and achievement.

The First: It is only with the thought of Paradise that children, who


45 Qur'an, 30:50.


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form almost a half of mankind, can endure all the deaths around them, which appear to them to be grievous and frightening, and strengthen the morale of their weak and delicate beings. Through Paradise they find hope in their vulnerable spirits, prone to weeping, and may live happily. For example, with the thought of Paradise, one may say: "My little brother or friend has died and become a bird in Paradise. He is flying around Paradise and living more happily than us." The frequent deaths before their unhappy eyes of other children like themselves or of grown-ups will otherwise destroy all their resistance and morale, making their subtle faculties like their spirits, hearts, and minds weep in addition to their eyes; they will either decline utterly or become crazy, wretched animals.

Second Proof: It is only through the life of the hereafter that the elderly, who form half of mankind, can endure the proximity of the grave, and be consoled at the thought that their lives, to which they are firmly attached, will soon be extinguished and their fine worlds come to an end. It is only at the hope of eternal life that they can respond to the grievous despair they feel in their emotional child-like spirits at the thought of death. Those worthy, anxious fathers and mothers, so deserving of compassion and in need of tranquillity and peace of mind, will otherwise feel a terrible spiritual turmoil and distress in their hearts, and this world will become a dark prison for them, and life even, grievous torment.

Third P r o o f : It is only the thought of Hell-fire that checks the turbulent emotions of youths, the most vigorous element in the life of society, and their violent excesses, restraining them from aggression, oppression, and destruction, and ensuring that the life of society continues tranquilly. If not for fear of Hell, in accordance with the rule 'might is right,' in pursuing their desires, those drunken youths would turn the worlds of the wretched weak and powerless into Hell, and elevated humanity into base animality.

Fourth Proof: The most comprehensive centre of man's worldly life, and its mainspring, and a paradise, refuge, and fortress of worldly happiness, is the life of the family. Everyone's home is a small world for him. And the life and happiness of his home and family are possible through genuine, earnest, and loyal respect and true, tender, and self-sacrificing compassion. This true respect and genuine kindness may be achieved with the idea of the members of the family having an everlasting companionship and friendship and togetherness, and their parental, filial, brotherly, and friendly relations continuing for all eternity in a limitless life, and their believing this. One says, for example: "My wife will be my constant companion in an everlasting world and eternal life. It does not matter if she is now old and ugly, for she will have an immortal beauty." He will tell himself that he will be as kind and devoted as he can for the sake of that permanent companionship, and treat his elderly wife lovingly and kindly as though she were a


Ill


beautiful houri. A companionship that was to end in eternal separation after an hour or two of brief, apparent friendship would otherwise afford only superficial, temporary, feigned, animal-like feelings, and false compassion and artificial respect. As with animals, self-interest and other overpowering emotions would prevail over the respect and compassion, transforming that worldly paradise into Hell.

Thus, one of the hundreds of results of belief in resurrection is connected with the life of society. If a comparison is made between the above four proofs out of the hundreds of aspects and benefits of this single consequence and the rest, it will be understood that the realization of the truth of resurrection, and its occurrence, are as certain as the elevated reality of humanity and its universal need. It is clearer even than the evidence for the existence of food offered by the existence of need in man's stomach, and tells of its existence even more clearly. And it proves that if the consequences of the truth of resurrection were to quit humanity, whose nature is extremely significant, lofty, and living, it would descend to being a corrupt corpse fed on by microbes.

The sociologists, politicians, and moralists, who govern mankind and are concerned with its social and moral questions should be aware of this! How do they propose to fill this vacuum? With what can they cure these deep wounds?

SECOND POINT

This explains in summary form a proof — one of many — proceeding from the testimony to the truth of resurrection of the other pillars of belief. It is as follows:

All the miracles indicating the Messengership of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and the evidences for his prophethood, and all the proofs of his veracity, together testify to the occurrence of the resurrection, and prove it. For after Divine unity, everything he claimed throughout his life was centred on the resurrection of the dead. Also, all his miracles and proofs affirming, and making affirmed, all the previous prophets attest to the same truth. Also, the testimony of the phrase "and in His Scriptures," which makes completely clear the testimony of the phrase "and in His Prophets," testifies to the same truth. Like this:

All the miracles, truths, and proofs proving foremost the veracity of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, testify to and prove the realization and occurrence of resurrection. For almost a third of the Qur'an is about resurrection, and at the beginning of most of its short suras are powerful verses about it. It expresses the same truth explicitly and implicitly with thousands of its verses, and proves and demonstrates it. For example:


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When the sun is folded up.

O men, fear your Sustainer; the trembling of the Hour

, 47

is an awesome event,

When the earth is convulsed;

When the heavens are torn asunder;

When the heavens are torn apart;

Concerning what they dispute;

Has the story reached you, of the overwhelming event?

Besides demonstrating with complete certainty at the beginning of thirty or forty suras that resurrection is the most important and necessary truth in the universe, it sets forth various persuasive evidences for that truth in others of its verses.

Is there any possibility that belief in the hereafter should be false, which emerges like the sun from the thousands of declarations and statements of a Book a single indication of one of the verses of which has yielded before our eyes the fruits of numerous learned and cosmic truths in the Islamic sciences? Is there any possibility of denying the sun, or the existence of the universe? Would it not be impossible and absurd? Is it at all possible that although an army may sometimes be plunged into battle so that a mere sign of the king should not be given the lie, to show as false the thousands of words, promises, and threats of that most serious, proud monarch? Is it possible that they should be false?

Although a single sign of that glorious spiritual monarch who for thirteen centuries without break has ruled over innumerable spirits, minds, hearts, and souls within the bounds of truth and reality, and trained and raised them, would be sufficient to prove the truth of resurrection, it has demonstrated it with thousands of explicit statements. Is the torment of Hell-fire not necessary then for the compounded idiot who does not recognize this fact? Is it not pure justice?

Moreover, by their definite acceptance of the truth of resurrection, which the Qur'an — prevailing over the future and all times — repeatedly proves in detail and elucidates, all the revealed scriptures and sacred books, each of which dominated a particular period, proved it according to their own times


46 Qur'an, 81

47 Qur'an, 22

48 Qur'an, 99

49 Qur'an, 82

50 Qur'an, 84

51 Qur'an, 78

52 Qur'an, 88


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and centuries, but in undetailed, veiled, and summary manner, confirming with a thousand signatures what the Qur'an teaches.

Included here since it is related to this discussion is the testimony at the end of the Third Ray of the other pillars of faith and particularly "the Prophets" and "Holy Scriptures" to "belief in the Last Day." It forms a convincing proof of resurrection, and is in the form of a powerful yet succinct supplication, which dispels all doubts. It says in the supplication:

"O My Compassionate Sustainer!

"I have understood from the instruction of Your Noble Messenger (PBUH) and the teaching of the Qur'an, that foremost the Qur'an and the Messenger, and all the sacred scriptures and prophets, have unanimously testified and pointed out that the manifestations of the Names related to Your beauty and glory, examples of which are to be seen in this world, will continue even more radiantly for all eternity, and that Your bounties, samples of which are to be observed in this transitory world, will continue in the abode of bliss in more glittering fashion, and that those who long for them in this world will accompany them for all eternity.

"Also, relying on hundreds of evident miracles and decisive signs, foremost Your Most Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) and the All- Wise Qur'an, and the prophets with their luminous spirits, and the saints, who are spiritual poles with their light-filled hearts, and the purified scholars with their enlightened intellects, relying on Your repeated threats and promises in all the sacred scriptures, and trusting in Your sacred attributes like power, mercy, favour, wisdom, glory, and beauty, and on Your functions, and the dignity of Your glory, and the sovereignty of Your dominicality, and in consequence of their illuminations and visions and beliefs at 'the knowledge of certainty,' give the glad tidings to men and jinn of eternal happiness and inform them of Hell for the people of misguidance; they firmly believe this and testify to it.

"O All- Powerful and Wise One! O Most Merciful and Compassionate! O Munificent One True to His Promise! O All-Compelling One of Glory, One of Dignity, Grandeur, and Wrath!

"You are utterly exempt from and exalted above giving the lie to so many loyal friends, and so many promises, and attributes and functions, and denying the certain demands of the sovereignty of Your dominicality and the endless prayers and supplications of Your innumerable acceptable servants, whom You love and who attract Your love by assenting to You and obeying You; and You are exempt from confirming the denial of resurrection by the people of misguidance and unbelief, who through their disbelief and rebellion and denial of Your promises, offend the magnificence of Your grandeur and affront Your dignity and glory and the


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honour of Your Godhead, and sadden the compassion of Your dominicality. We declare Your justice, beauty, and mercy to be exempt from such infinite tyranny, such ugliness. We believe with all our strength that the testimony of the prophets, purified scholars, and saints, who are those truthful envoys of Yours, those heralds of Your sovereignty, at the degrees of 'absolute certainty,' 'knowledge of certainty,' and 'the vision of certainty,' to the treasuries of Your mercy in the hereafter and the stores of Your bounties in the everlasting realm, and to the wondrously beautiful manifestations of Your Beautiful Names, which will be manifested totally in the abode of bliss, are absolutely true and veracious, and what they have indicated conforms absolutely with reality, and that what they have given glad tidings of is true and will occur. Believing that the supreme ray of Your Name of Truth, which is the source, sun, and protector of all realities, is this truth of the resurrection and Great Gathering, they teach it to Your servants.

"O God! For the sake of what they teach and in veneration of it, grant us and all students of the Risale-i Nur perfect belief and a happy death. And allow us to receive their intercession. Amen!"

Moreover, just as all the proofs demonstrating the veracity of the revealed scriptures, and all the miracles and evidences proving the prophethood of God's Beloved (PBUH) and of all the prophets, indirectly prove the reality of the hereafter, which is what they teach above all else; so most of the evidences for the existence and unity of the Necessary Existent testify indirectly to the existence and opening up of an eternal realm of bliss, which will be the supreme manifestation of dominicality and divinity. For as is explained and proved in the following paragraphs, both the existence of the Necessarily Existent One, and most of His attributes, functions and Names, like dominicality, Godhead, mercy, grace, wisdom, and justice, necessitate the hereafter with the utmost certainty, and demand an eternal realm and the resurrection of the dead and Last Judgement for the granting of reward and punishment.

Since there is a pre-eternal and post-eternal God, most certainly there is the hereafter, the everlasting means of the sovereignty of His Godhead.

And since there is in the universe and in living beings a most majestic, wise, and compassionate absolute dominicality, and it is apparent; there is certain to be an eternal realm of happiness which will save the majesty of that dominicality from abasement, its wisdom from purposelessness, and its compassion from cruelty; and that realm shall be entered.

And since the unlimited bestowals, bounties, favours, gifts, and instances of grace and mercy which are to be seen, show to minds that are not extinguished and hearts that are not dead that behind the veil of the Unseen is


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One All-Merciful and Compassionate; surely there is an immortal life in an eternal realm which will save the bestowal from mockery, the bounties from deception, the favours from enmity, the mercy from torment, the grace and gifts from treachery, and will make the bounties bounty and the bestowal bestowal.

And since in the springtime on the narrow page of the earth, a pen of power writes a hundred thousand books without error tirelessly before our eyes; and since the Holder of the pen has promised a hundred thousand times: "I am going to write a fine, immortal book in a broad realm, easier than this book of the spring, which is written in this narrow realm, confused and intermingled, and I shall allow you to read it;" He mentions the book in all his decrees; certainly, the main part of the book has been written, and with the resurrection and Last Judgement its footnotes shall be added, and all the notebooks of people's actions shall be recorded in it.

And since, with its multiplicity of creatures, and its being the dwelling, source, factory, exhibition, and gathering place of hundreds of thousands of constantly changing species of living beings and beings with spirits, and the heart, centre, summary, and result of the universe, and the reason for its creation, the earth has supreme importance, and is held equal to the mighty heavens despite its smallness; in the heavenly decrees, it is always said: Sustainer of the Heavens and Earth...

And since there is man, who rules over the earth, which is thus, has disposal over most creatures, and subjects most living beings gathering them around himself; and so orders, displays, and gathers each remarkable species together in one place like a list, adorning them, that he attracts not only the attention and admiration of men and jinn, but of the dwellers of the heavens and the universe, and the appreciative gaze of the universe's Owner, thus gaining great importance and high worth; and who shows through his sciences and arts that he is the purpose of the universe's creation, and its most important result, and most precious fruit, and the vicegerent of the earth; and who because with respect to this world, he has ordered and displayed excellently the miraculous arts of the world's Maker, is left in this world despite his rebellion and disbelief, and whose punishment is postponed, and because of this work of his, whose term is prolonged and is allowed success...

And since there is an extremely powerful, wise, and compassionate Disposer, Who makes the mighty globe into a treasury of every sort of metal and mineral that man needs in a way entirely beyond his strength and will — who despite being weak, impotent, and wanting by nature and creation, has innumerable needs and is subject to innumerable pains — and a store of every sort of food, and a shop stocking goods of every kind that pleases


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man, and looks to man in this way, and nurtures him, and gives him what he wants...

And since there is a Sustainer Who is thus, Who both loves man, and causes man to love Him, and Who is enduring, and has eternal worlds, and Who performs every work with justice, and carries out everything with wisdom; and since the splendour of that Pre- Eternal Sovereign's rule and His eternal rule cannot be contained in this brief worldly life, and in man's fleeting span, and in the temporary and transient earth; and since the excessive wrongdoing and rebellion that occur among men, which are contrary to and opposed to the universe's order, justice, balance, and beauty, and their denial, treachery, and disbelief towards their Benefactor, Who nurtures them tenderly, are not punished in this world, and the cruel oppressor passes his life in ease, while the unhappy oppressed live in hardship; and since the absolute justice whose traces are to be seen throughout the universe is entirely opposed to the cruel tyrant and despairing oppressed being equal in death, and would in no way permit it...

And since just as the universe's Owner has chosen the earth from the universe, and man from the earth, and bestowed on him a high rank and importance; so out of mankind He has chosen the prophets, saints, and purified ones, true human beings who conform to the aims of His dominicality and through their belief and submission make Him love them; He has taken them as friends and addressees, and bestowed miracles and success on them and punished their enemies with heavenly blows. And out of these worthy and lovable friends He has chosen their leader and source of pride, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), and for long centuries has illuminated with his Light half the globe and a fifth of humanity; as though the universe was created for him, all its purposes become apparent through him and his religion and the Qur'an. And although he deserved to live for an infinite time in recompense for his infinitely valuable service, for millions of years, he only lived a brief sixty-three years of great hardship and striving. Is there any possibility then that he should not be resurrected together with all his peers and friends? That they should not now be living in the spirit? That they should have been annihilated eternally? God forbid, a hundred thousand times! Yes, all the universe and the reality of the world demand that he should be resurrected and they beseech the universe's Owner that he should be living...

And since in the Seventh Ray, The Supreme Sign, each with the strength of a mountain, the thirty-three powerful consensuses have proved that the universe emerged from a single hand and is the property of a single being; and have demonstrated self- evidently His unity and oneness, the means of the Divine perfections; and through unity and oneness all beings become like soldiers under orders and subservient officials; and with the coming of


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the hereafter, perfections are saved from decline, absolute justice from mocking cruelty, universal wisdom from foolish absurdity, all-embracing mercy from jeering torment, and the dignity of power from abased impotence, and they are exonerated from this...

Certainly and without any doubt, as necessitated by the truths in these six 'sinces' — six out of hundreds of points of belief in God — the end of the world shall come and the resurrection of the dead occur. Abodes of reward and punishment shall be thrown open so that the above-mentioned importance of the earth, and its centrality, and man's importance and value shall be realized, and the above-mentioned justice, wisdom, mercy, and sovereignty of the All- Wise Disposer, Who is the Creator of the earth and of man, and their Sustainer, shall be established; and the true and yearning friends of that eternal Sustainer shall be saved from eternal annihilation; and the most eminent and worthy of those friends receive the recompense for his sacred services, which have made all beings pleased and indebted; and the perfections of the Eternal Sovereign should be exempted and exonerated from all fault and deficiency, and His power from impotence, and His wisdom from foolishness, and His justice from tyranny.

In Short: Since God exists, so does the hereafter certainly exist.

Moreover, just as with all the evidences that prove them, the above three pillars of belief testify to and indicate resurrection; so do the two pillars "and in the angels, and in Divine Determining, that both the good of it and the evil of it are from God Almighty," also necessitate resurrection and testify in powerful fashion to the eternal realm. It is like this:

All the evidences proving the existence of the angels and their duties of worship, and innumerable observations of them and conversations with them, prove indirectly the existence of the Spirit World, and the World of the Unseen, and the eternal realm and world of the hereafter, and the existence of an abode of happiness and Paradise and Hell, which in the future shall be populated with men and jinn. For with Divine permission, the angels can see these worlds and enter them. And all the high-ranking angels who meet with humans, like Gabriel, tell unanimously of the existence of these worlds and of their travelling round them. Just as we are certain, due to the information of those coming from there, that the continent of America exists, although we have not seen it, so due to information about the angels, which has the strength of a hundredfold consensus, we should believe in the existence of the world of eternity, the realm of the hereafter, and Paradise and Hell with the same certainty. And thus we do believe in it.

Furthermore, all the evidences proving the pillar of "belief in Divine Determining," included in the Treatise on Divine Determining, the Twenty-Sixth Word, prove indirectly the resurrection of the dead, the balancing of


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deeds on the supreme scales, and the publishing of the pages of deeds. For the recording before our eyes of the appointed courses of all things on the tablets of order and balance, and the inscribing of the life-stories of all living beings in their faculties of memory, and the transcribing of the notebooks of deeds of all beings with spirits, and especially men, on the Preserved Tablet, such a comprehensive determining and wise apportioning and precise recording and preserving inscription could surely only be the result of a general judgement in a supreme tribunal set up to mete out permanent reward and punishment. That comprehensive and precise recording and preservation would otherwise be completely meaningless and purposeless, and contrary to wisdom and reality.

Also, if there was no resurrection, all the certain meanings of the book of the universe, written with the pen of Divine Determining, would be nullified, which is completely impossible. It is as impossible as denying the universe's existence, indeed, is a delirium.

In Short: The five pillars of belief demand with all their evidences the occurrence of the resurrection and Last Judgement, and their existence, and the existence and opening up of the realm of the hereafter, and they testify to these and necessitate them.

Thus, it is because there are such vast and unshakeable supports and proofs of the resurrection, completely in conformity with its vastness, that almost one third of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is formed by resurrection and the hereafter, and it makes it the basis and foundation stone of all its truths, and constructs everything on it.

(The end of the Introduction)


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Second Part of the Addendum


The first of nine stations comprising the nine levels of proofs of resurrection miraculously indicated in the following verse:

Glory be to God in the evening and at daybreak, and praise is His in the heavens and earth, at nightfall and when the day begins to decline. It is He Who brings forth the living from the dead, and brings forth the dead from the living, and gives life to the earth after its death; thus, too, will you be brought forth.

The manifest proof and brilliant evidence of God's decree concerning resurrection contained in this verse will now be expounded and set forth, God willing. 54

In connection with the twenty-eighth property of life it was explained that life looks upon the six pillars of faith and proves them; it contains a series of indications of their truth.

Now the most important result, substance and reason for the creation of the cosmos is none other than life, and life, that exalted verity, can in no way be restricted to this transient, brief, defective and painful worldly life. Rather the purpose and result of the tree of life, the splendour of which can be deduced from its twenty-nine properties, the fruit of that tree worthy of its splendour, is the eternal life of the hereafter; it is life in the eternal realm where even stones, trees and the soil will be endowed with life. Otherwise, it will follow that the tree of life, so plentifully decked out with significant instruments, yields no fruit, benefit or truth for animate beings, especially man; and man who in his substance and faculties is twenty times superior to the sparrow and is indeed the most important and elevated of all creation, will fall to a degree twenty times lower than that of the sparrow; with respect to the felicity of his life, he will be the most unfortunate and humiliated of wretches.

Similarly, intelligence, the most precious of gifts for man, will wound his heart through constant reflection of the pains of the past and the fears of the


53 Qur'an, 30:17-19.

54 The whole station has not yet been written and has been included here because of the relevance of the topic of life to resurrection. In addition, it contains a subtle and profound allusion to the pillar of Divine Determining at the end of the topic of life.


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future; it will mix nine pains with every pleasure and thus become a disaster to man. Now this is false to the hundredth degree. The life of this world thus proves decisively the pillar of faith that is belief in the hereafter and displays to our eyes every spring more than three hundred thousand specimens of resurrection.

Is it at all possible that an All-Powerful Agent Who promptly supplies and provides, with wisdom, solicitude and mercy, all the instruments and tools needed for your life, in your body, your garden and your homeland, Who hears and answers the private and particular prayer made for sustenance by your stomach, for the sake of its life and survival, Who shows His acceptance of that prayer by means of numerous delicious foods — is it at all possible that such a Being should not be aware of you or hear you, that He should not provide you with the means of life eternal, the greatest purpose of the human species? Is it possible that He should not accept the greatest, most significant, most worthy and most universal prayer for eternity of the human species by establishing eternal life and creating paradise? Is it possible that He should not heed the universal and insistent prayer of the human species, the most important creature in the cosmos, the monarch of the earth, a prayer that resounds throughout heaven and earth, and not pay it the same attention, or grant it the same gratification, as a little stomach? Is it possible that He should thus cause His perfect wisdom and infinite mercy to be denied? No, a hundred thousand times no!

Again, is it at all possible that He should hear the most secret voice of the most minute of beings, remedy its pain and succour its plaint; that He should nourish it with the utmost care and consideration and cause creatures greater than itself to serve it — is it at all possible that He should do all of this and not hear the thunderous cry of life, the greatest, most precious, most eternal and most delicate form of life? That He should pay no heed to its powerful prayer and supplications for eternity? It would be like equipping a single soldier with the utmost care and totally ignoring a vast and obedient army! Like seeing a speck and overlooking the sun! Like hearing the buzz of a fly and not hearing the roar of the thunder! No, a hundred thousand times no!

Again, can the intelligence at all accept that an All-Powerful and All- Wise Being, Whose mercy, love and solicitude are infinite, Who loves His own artistry, Who causes Himself to be loved, and Who greatly loves those that love Him — can it accept that such a Being would annihilate through permanent death a life that loves Him greatly, that is itself lovable and that instinctively worships its Maker; and, the essence and jewel of that life, the spirit? That He would offend and insult His lover and beloved for all eternity, that He would injure his feelings and deny Himself, and cause others to deny, the mystery of His mercy and the light of His love? No, a hundred thousand times no! An absolute beauty that adorns creation with its


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manifestation and the absolute mercy that makes all creatures rejoice are without doubt exempt and purified from such infinite ugliness, such utter abomination and pitilessness.

The result, then, is that considering the existence of life, those men who understand the purpose of life and who do not misuse their lives will become manifestations of eternal life in the realm of eternity and eternal Paradise. In this we believe. So, too, the shining of brilliant objects found on the earth through the reflection of sunlight, the brief glinting on the surface of the ocean of little bubbles through flashes of light, and the coming in their place of further bubbles that like them hold up a mirror to a whole series of imaginary suns — this demonstrates tangibly that those flashes are the reflectory manifestation of the one supreme sun. With their manifold tongues, they make mention of that one sun and they point toward it with their luminous fingers.

So, too, the fashion in which, through the supreme manifestation of the Name 'Giver of Life' of the Living and Self-Subsistent Being, all the animate beings on the face of the earth and in the depths of the sea shine through God's power, and then disappear behind the veil of the unseen, saying, "O Eternally Living One!", in order to make room for those that follow them — this represents a series of testimonies to and indications of the life and necessary existence of the Living and Self-Subsistent Being.

Similarly, all the proofs that bear witness to the Divine knowledge the traces of which are visible in the ordering of all beings; all the evidences that establish the existence of a power working its will throughout creation; all the arguments that point to a volition and purposefulness dominating the ordering and administering of the cosmos; all the signs and miracles that attest the messengerhood of the prophets, the means of dominical speech and Divine revelation, and the indications bearing witness to the seven attributes of Divinity — all of them point to, testify to, and indicate unanimously the life of the Living and Self-Subsistent Being. For if the faculty of vision is present in a thing, there must also be life. If there is hearing, this too is a sign of life. If there is speech, this also points to the existence of life.

Similarly, attributes the existence of which is proven and self-evident by virtue of their traces throughout the cosmos, attributes such as Absolute power, all-embracing will, and comprehensive knowledge, bear witness with all of their proofs to the life and necessary existence of the Living and Self-Subsistent Being. They attest His everlasting life, one shadow of which is enough to illumine the whole of the cosmos, and one manifestation of which suffices to give life to the hereafter, together with all of its particles.

The Divine attribute of life is also connected with the pillar of belief in the angels, and proves it by way of indication. For the most important of all


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goals of the cosmos is life, and animate beings constitute the most widespread form of creation, with its specimens multiplied on account of their value; they constantly animate the hospice of this world with the coming and going of their caravans. Further, the globe, which is filled with so many species of animate beings, is being constantly emptied and refilled as these various species are renewed and multiplied, and animate beings are created in multiplicity even in the vilest and most corrupt substances, so that there is — as it were — a constant resurrection of microbes. Finally, consciousness and intellect, which are the distilled essence of life, and the spirit, which is its subtle and stable substance, are also created everywhere on the globe in the utmost multiplicity, so that it is as if the globe were animated and caused to rejoice by life, intellect, consciousness and spirit. If we take into consideration all of the foregoing, it is totally impossible that the heavenly bodies, which are subtler, more luminous, greater and more significant than the globe, should be dead, rigid, lifeless, and dumb.

There must, then, exist and be provided with the property of life, conscious and animate beings that animate the skies, the suns, and the stars, bestow upon them their vitality, manifest the result of the purpose for the creation of the heavens, and receive address from the Glorious Creator. These creatures, of a nature suited to the heavens, are none other than the angels.

Similarly, the innermost essence of life symbolically proves the pillar of belief in the prophets. For the cosmos was created for the sake of life, and life is in turn one of the supreme manifestations of the Living, Self-Subsistent and Eternal One. It is one of His most perfect designs, one of His most beauteous arts. Further, the eternal life of God shows itself only through the sending of messengers and the revelation of books. If there were no books or prophets, then eternal life would remain unknown. When a man speaks, he is recognized to be alive. Similarly, it is the prophets and revealed books that make manifest the words and decrees of the Being Who, from behind the world of the unseen that is veiled by the cosmos, speaks, talks, and emits His commands and prohibitions. Just as the life existent in the cosmos bears decisive witness to the necessary existence of the Living and Eternal One, so too does it point to and indirectly confirm the pillars of belief in the sending of messengers and the revelation of scriptures, for these are the rays, the manifestations, and the relations of that eternal life. And especially the messengership of Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — and the Qur'anic revelation, since they are like the very spirit and intellect of life, their veracity is as indisputable as the existence of this life.

Life is, then, the distilled essence of the cosmos; consciousness and feeling are the distilled essence of life; the intellect is the distilled essence of consciousness; and the spirit, finally, is the pure and unsullied substance, the


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stable and autonomous essence, that lies at the heart of life. So, too, the life of the Prophet Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — in both its outer and its inner aspects is the distilled quintessence of life and the spirit of the cosmos, and the messengership of Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — is the pure and distilled essence of the feeling, the consciousness and the intellect of the cosmos. Rather, the life of the Prophet Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — in its outer and inner aspects is, as the centuries have borne witness, the very essence of the life of the cosmos, and the prophethood of Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — is the very light and essence of the consciousness of the cosmos. The Qur'anic revelation is also the spirit of the life of the cosmos and the intellect of its consciousness.

If the light of the messengership of Muhammad — Peace and blessings be upon him — were to depart from the cosmos and vanish, the cosmos would die. If the Qur'an were to depart, the cosmos would lose its sanity, and the globe would lose its sense and its head. Its dizzy, uncomprehending head would collide with a planet, and the end of the world would result.

Life also looks to the pillar of belief in Divine Determining, and proves it indirectly. Because, since life is the light of the Manifest World, and it dominates it, and is the result and aim of existence, and since it is the most comprehensive mirror of the Creator of the universe and the most perfect sample and index of dominical activity, and — let there be no mistake in the comparison — is like a sort of programme, for sure, the mystery of life necessitates that the creatures in the World of the Unseen, that is, the past and the future, that is, that have been and will come, are predisposed to conform to order, regularity, being known and observed, specific individual existence, and the creative commands, which are their lives in one respect.

The original seed of a tree and its root, as well as the seeds contained in its fruit and final outcome, all manifest a sort of life, no less than the tree itself; indeed, they bear within themselves laws of life more subtle than those of the tree. Similarly, the seeds and roots left by last autumn, before the present spring, as well as the seeds and roots that will be left to subsequent springs after this spring has departed — they all bear the manifestations of life, just like this spring, and are subject to the laws of life. In just the same way, all the branches and twigs of the cosmic tree each have a past and a future. They have a chain consisting of past and future stages and circumstances. The multiple existences and stages of each species and each member of each species, existing in Divine knowledge, forms a chain of being in God's knowledge, and both its external existence, and its existence in God's knowledge, is a manifestation of universal life that draws all the aspects of its life from these meaningful and vital Tablets of Divine Determining.


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The fact that the World of Spirits — which is one form of the World of the Unseen — is full of the essence of life, the matter of life and the spirits, which are the substances and essence of life, demands and requires of a certainty that past and future — which are another form of the World of the Unseen and its second segment — should also receive the manifestation of life.

In addition, the perfect order, the meaningful circumstances and vital fruits and stages inherent in the existence of a thing within God's knowledge, also demonstrate the manifestation of a sort of life. Such a manifestation of life, which is the light emitted by the sun of eternal life, cannot be limited to this manifest world, this present time, this external existence. On the contrary, each world receives the manifestation of that light in accordance with its capacity, and the cosmos together with all its worlds is alive and illumined through it. Otherwise, as the misguided imagine, beneath a temporary and apparent life, each world would be a vast and terrible corpse, a dark ruin.

One broad aspect of the pillar of faith in Divine Determining and Decree is, then, understood through the mystery of life and is established by it. Just as the life and vitality of the Manifest World and existent, visible objects becomes apparent from their orderliness and the consequences of their existence, so too past and future creatures — regarded as belonging to the World of the Unseen — have an immaterial existence and sort of life, and a spiritual presence in God's knowledge. The trace of this life and presence is made manifest and known by means of the Tablet of Divine Determining and Decree and through all the stages and circumstances of their external lives and existences.


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Third Part of the Addendum

A question related to the resurrection of the dead:

The frequently repeated verse, It will be naught but a single cry, 55 and the verse, The command of the Hour will be like the glance of the eye, show that the resurrection of the dead and Great Gathering will occur instantaneously, in a flash. But man's narrow reason requires some tangible example so that it can conceive of this wondrous, extraordinary, and unparalleled event, and accept it.

The A n s w e r : At the resurrection there will be the return of spirits to their bodies, the revivification of the bodies, and the remaking of the bodies. It consists of three matters.

THE FIRST MATTER: An example for the return of spirits to their bodies is the mustering, at a loud bugle call, of the members of a well-disciplined army after they have dispersed to rest. Yes, the Sur of the Angel Israfil is no less powerful than an army bugle. The spirits, too, who, while in post-eternity, reply with "Yes, we accept" to the question "Am I not your Sustainer?", which comes from pre-eternity, are infinitely more subjugated, disciplined, and obedient than the soldiers of an army. The Thirtieth Word has demonstrated with decisive proofs that not only spirits, but all particles, form a Divine army and are its soldiers under command.

SECOND MATTER: An example for the revivification of bodies is the springing to life in an instant of the hundred thousand electric lights of a large city on a festival night, switched on from one centre. It would be possible to light up in the same way a hundred million lamps scattered over the face of the earth from one centre. Since through the training and instruction in regularity and order it has received from its Creator, a creature of Almighty God like electricity — a servant and candleholder in His guest-house — possesses this quality, surely the resurrection of the dead could occur in the twinkling of an eye within the bounds of the regular laws of Divine wisdom which thousands of luminous servants represent, like electricity.


55 Qur'an, 36:29, 49, 53; 38:15; 54:31.


56 Qur'an, 16:77. "Qur'an, 7:172.


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THIRD MATTER: An example for the remaking of bodies instantaneously is the perfect remaking within a few days of all the trees in the spring, which are far more numerous than all humanity, together with all their leaves, in exactly the same way as those of the previous spring; and the bringing into being, again like those of previous springs, all the blossoms, fruits and leaves of the trees with the speed of lightning; and the sudden awakening of the uncountable numbers of seeds, grains, and roots, which are the source of the spring, and their unfolding and being raised to life; and reflecting the meaning of "resurrection after death," the sudden raising to life at a command of the upright skeleton-like corpses of the trees; and the reanimation of the innumerable members of all species of small animals; and the revivification of all the sorts of flying insects, particularly those which, continually cleaning their faces, eyes, and wings, remind us of our ablutions and cleanliness, and caress our faces — the resurrection and remaking of all the members of this tribe within a few days every spring before our very eyes together with all the other species, despite being greater in number than all mankind since the time of Adam, provides not one example of the remaking of all human bodies at the resurrection, but thousands.

Yes, since this world is the realm of wisdom and the hereafter the realm of power, numerous Divine Names like All- Wise, Arranger, Disposer, and Nurturer, and dominical wisdom, require that the creation of things in this world is gradual and in the course of time. In the hereafter, however, power and mercy will be manifested more than wisdom, and there being no need for matter, time, and waiting, things will be made instantaneously. Alluding to the fact that things which are made here in a day or in a year will be made in the hereafter in an instant or a flash, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition states:

CO

The command of the Hour will be like the glance of the eye, or briefer.

If you want to be as certain about the occurrence of the resurrection of the dead as you are about the arrival of next spring, study the Tenth and Twenty-Ninth Words carefully, which are about this, and you will see! If you do not then believe that it will occur as you believe the coming of spring, come and stick your finger in my eye!

A FOURTH MATTER: The death of the world and Doomsday. The sudden collision with this globe, our guest-house, at a dominical command, of a planet or comet, could wipe out this dwelling-place of ours. Like the destruction in a minute of a palace the building of which had taken ten years.


58 Qur'an, 16:77.


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Fourth Part of the Addendum

He said: "Who shall give life to decaying bones?" Say: "He shall give them life who first gave them life, and He is All-Knowing concerning all creation."

As was illustrated in the third comparison in the Ninth Truth of the Tenth Word, some personage may one day summon together before your eyes a great army. If someone were then to say, "that personage is able to call together the troops in his army, who had dispersed to take rest, and assemble them again in battalions," and you were to say, "I don't believe it," you know well how lunatic would be your denial. So too, an All- Powerful and All- Knowing Being Who out of nothing recorded and put in place, with the command of, "Be! ", and it is, all the particles and subtle aspects of the bodies of all animals and other animate beings, as if they were an army with the utmost orderliness and wise equilibrium, and Who creates each century, or rather each spring, the hundreds of thousands of different species and groups of animate beings that populate the face of the earth, each like an army — such a Being can gather together, with one blow on the trump of Israfil, all the fundamental particles and original components that enjoy mutual acquaintance through joint submission to the order of the body that corresponds to a battalion. Were you to say, "how can this be?" or consider it unlikely, it would be idiotic lunacy.

It sometimes happens in the Qur'an that, in order to impress upon the heart the wondrous deeds He will perform in the hereafter and to prepare the mind for acceptance of them, God Almighty mentions the wondrous deeds He performs in this world as a kind of preparation. Alternatively, He may sometimes mention the wondrous deeds He will perform in the future and the hereafter in such a fashion that we are convinced of them by analogy with the similar deeds we observe in this world. One example is furnished by the verse,

Has not man seen that We created him from a drop of sperm? And then he becomes an open disputer.


59 Qur'an, 36:78.

60 Qur'an, 16:4.


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and the remaining verses of the same sura. The All- Wise Qur'an thus proves the question of resurrection in seven or eight different forms.

It first directs man's attention to his own origins. It says "you see how you advanced from a drop of sperm to a drop of blood, from a drop of blood to a formless lump of flesh, and from a formless lump of flesh to human form. How, then, can you deny your second creation? It is just the same as the first, or even easier of accomplishment for God." God Almighty also refers to the great bounties He has bestowed on man with phrases such as:

He Who made fire for you from the green tree

and says to man: "Will the Being Who thus bestowed bounty upon you leave you to your own devices, in such fashion that you enter the grave to sleep without rising again?" He also hints at the following: "You see how dead trees come to life and grow green again. Refusing to regard as a parallel the reanimation of your bones, that resemble dry wood, you dismiss the whole matter as improbable. Now is it at all possible that the One Who creates the heavens and earth should not be empowered over the life and death of man, the fruit of heaven and earth? Do you imagine that He would make fruitless and vain the tree of creation that He has moulded with wisdom in all its parts, by abandoning the supreme result of that tree?"

The Qur'an says further: "The Being That will restore you to life at resurrection is such that the whole cosmos is like an obedient soldier of His. It bows its head submissively whenever it hears the command,

"Be!", and it is.

To create a spring is easier for Him than the creation of a flower. To create the whole of the animal realm is as easy for His power as creating a fly. None may belittlingly challenge His power by saying to Him:

Who will give life to the bones?

Then, from the verse,

Glory be to Him in Whose hand lies the sovereignty of all things,

we see that the index of all things is in His hand, the key to all things is in His possession; He rotates night and day, winter and summer, with as much ease as if He were turning the pages of a book. He is an Ail-Powerful, Glorious Being Who closes the door on this world and opens it on the hereafter as if they were two stations. This being the case, as the result of the mentioned evidences,


61 Qur'an, 36:80.

62 Qur'an, 2:117.

63 Qur'an, 36:78.

64 Qur'an, 36:83.


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To Him you shall return,

that is, He will bring you back to life from your graves, take you to the plain of resurrection, and judge you in His majestic presence.

Now these verses prepare the mind and make ready the heart to accept the reality of resurrection, for they have demonstrated parallels to resurrection in worldly processes. Sometimes it also happens that He mentions the deeds He will perform in the hereafter in such a way as to draw attention to their worldly parallels, so that no room should be left for doubt and denial. Examples are the Suras introduced by these verses:

When the sun is rolled up,

When the heavens are torn asunder.

In these Suras, God Almighty mentions resurrection and the vast revolutions and dominical deeds that shall take place at that time, in such a fashion that man thinks of their worldly parallels that he has seen in autumn and spring, and then, with awe in his heart, easily accepts what the intellect would otherwise refuse. Even to indicate the general meaning of the three suras just mentioned would take very long. Let us, then, take simply one word as a specimen of the whole. With the words,

When the pages are spread out,

God Almighty expresses the following: "Upon resurrection, everyone's deeds will be revealed on a written page. This appears to be very strange, and totally beyond the reach of reason. But as the Sura indicates, just as the resurrection of the spring is a parallel to other matters, so too the 'spreading out of pages' has a very clear parallel. Every fruit- bearing tree, every flowering plant has its deeds, actions and functions. It performs a certain kind of worship, depending on the fashion in which it glorifies God through the manifestations of His Names. Now all of its deeds and the record of its life are inscribed in all the seeds that are to emerge next spring in another plot of soil. With the tongue of shape and form, the seeds make eloquent mention of the origins of those deeds, and spread out the page of deeds together with branch, twig, leaf, flower and fruit. He Who says: "When the pages are spread out" is the same Being That performs, before our eyes, these wise, preserving, nurturing and subtle acts.

Compare other matters with this by analogy, and deduce the truth if you have the capacity. Let us aid you with the following. The verse, When the sun is folded up, refers to a brilliant similitude and hints at its parallel:

First: God Almighty has cast aside the curtains of non-being, the ether


65 Qur'an, 10:56. 66 Qur'an, 81:1.

67 Qur'an, 82:1.

68 Qur'an, 81:10.


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and the heavens to bring forth from His treasury of mercy and show to the world a jewel- like lamp illumining the world — the sun. After closing the world, He will wrap that jewel again in His veils and remove it.

Second: The sun may be depicted as an official entrusted with the task of distributing the commodity of light over the globe, and causing it and darkness to succeed each other. Every evening the official is ordered to gather up the light. It may sometimes happen also that his trade may be slackened when he is hidden by the veil of a cloud. At other times it may be that the moon will also form a veil, and hinder his task. Now just as that official has his goods and ledgers gathered up for inspection, so too he will one day be relieved of his duties. Even if there be no cause for his dismissal, there are two dark spots on the sun — now small, but liable to grow — that one day will grow to the point that the sun will take back, by dominical command, the light it now wraps around the head of the earth, and wrap it around its own head. It will then be told: "Come, your task on earth is now complete. Go to Hell, and burn there those who have worshipped you and thus mocked with faithlessness an obedient servant like you." With its own dark and scarred face, it will read out the decree, "When the sun is rolled up."


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Fifth Part of the Addendum


The hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets, 9 who are according to explicit prophetic tradition the choice part of humanity, have unanimously and with one accord reported, partly on the basis of direct vision and partly on the basis of absolute certainty, that the hereafter exists and that all beings will be taken to the hereafter as the Creator has firmly promised.

Similarly, the one hundred and twenty-four million saints who confirm the reports of the prophets through unveiling and witnessing, give testimony to the existence of the hereafter in the form of certain knowledge, and also bear testimony to the existence of the hereafter. All the Names of the All- Wise Maker of the cosmos also necessitate the existence of an eternal realm through the manifestations they display in this world.

The existence of the hereafter is furthermore necessitated by the infinite eternal power, the unlimited and exact everlasting wisdom, that revives every spring the countless dead trees scattered all over the earth with the command of "Be!", and it is, thus making of them manifestations of "resurrection after death," and that resurrects three hundred thousand different species of the various groups of plant and nations of animals, as hundreds of thousands of specimens of the supreme resurrection.

The existence of the hereafter is also necessitated by an eternal mercy and permanent grace that sustains in wondrous and solicitous fashion all animate beings that stand in need of nurture, and that display each spring, in the briefest of periods, infinite different varieties of adornment and beauty. Finally, there is the self-evident proof and indication given by the intense, unshakeable, and permanent love of eternity, yearning for immortality and hope of permanence that are lodged in man, the most beloved creation of the Maker of the cosmos, and whose concern with all the beings in the cosmos is the greatest.


69 Musnad, v, 266; Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih, iii, 122; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi, Zad al-Ma 'ad (Tahqiq: al-Arnawut), i, 43-4.


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All of the foregoing so firmly prove that after this transient world there will be an eternal world, a hereafter, a realm of felicity, that we are compelled to accept the existence of a hereafter as indisputably as we accept the existence of this world.

One of the most important lessons taught us by the All- Wise Qur'an, is, then, belief in the hereafter. This belief is so firm and contains within itself so powerful a hope and a consolation that if a person be assailed by old age hundred thousandfold, the consolation derived from this belief will be fully enough. Saying, "Praise be to God for the perfection of belief," we old people should rejoice in old age.


70 It can be realized from this comparison how easy it is to make a positive affirmation and how difficult to make a denial and negation. If, for example, someone should say, "there exists somewhere on this earth a wondrous garden containing canned milk," and someone else should say, "there is not," the affirmer need only point to the place of that garden or show some of its fruits in order to prove his claim. The denier, by contrast, will have to inspect and display the whole world in order to justify his negation. So too the testimony of two veracious witnesses will be enough to establish the existence of Paradise, quite apart from the hundreds of thousands of traces, fruits and indications demonstrated by those who assert its existence. Those who deny it must examine, explore and sift the infinite cosmos and infinite time before they can prove their denial and demonstrate the non-existence of Paradise. So, o aged brothers of mine, understand how firm is belief in the hereafter.


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The Eleventh Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

By the sun and its glorious splendour; * By the moon as it follows it; * By the day as it shows [the sun's] glory; * By the night as it conceals it; * By the firmament and its wonderful structure; * By the earth and its wide expanse; * By the soul and the order and proportion given it.

Brother! If you want to understand a little about the talisman of the wisdom of the world and the riddle of man's creation and the mystery of the reality of the prescribed prayers, then consider this short comparison together with my own soul.

One time there was a king. As wealth he had numerous treasuries containing diamonds and emeralds and jewels of every kind. Besides these he had other, hidden, wondrous treasuries. By way of attainment he had consummate skill in strange arts, and encompassing knowledge of innumerable wondrous sciences, and great erudition in endless branches of abstruse learning. Now, like every possessor of beauty and perfection wants to see and display his own beauty and perfection, that glorious king wanted to open up an exhibition and set out displays within it in order to make manifest and display in the view of the people the majesty of his rule, his glittering wealth, the wonders of his art, and the marvels of his knowledge, and so that he could behold his beauty and perfection in two respects:

The First Respect: so that he himself could behold them with his own discerning eye.

The Other: so that he could look through the view of others.

With this purpose in mind, the king started to construct a vast and majestic palace. He divided it into magnificent apartments and dwellings, and decorated it with every sort of jewel from his treasuries, and with his own hand so full of art adorned it with the finest and most beautiful works. He ordered it with the subtlest of the arts of his wisdom, and decked it out with the miraculous works of his knowledge. Then after completing it, he set up in the palace broad tables containing the most delicious of every kind of food


'Qur' an, 91:1-7.


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and every sort of bounty. He specified an appropriate table for each group. He set out such a munificent and artful banquet that it was as though the boundless priceless bounties he spread out had come into existence through the works of a hundred subtle arts. Then he invited his people and subjects from all the regions of his lands to feast and behold the spectacle.

Later the king appointed a Supreme Commander (PBUH) as teacher, to make known the purposes of the palace and the meanings of its contents; to describe its Maker and its contents to the people, make known the secrets of the palace's embellishments, teach what the arts within it were pointing to, and to explain what the well-set jewels were, and the harmonious embroideries; and to explain to those who entered the palace the way in which they indicated the perfections and arts of the palace's owner, and to inform them of the correct conduct in beholding them, and to explain the official ceremonies as the king, who did not appear, wished them to be. The teacher and instructor had an assistant in each area of the palace, while he himself remained in the largest apartment among his students, making the following announcement to all the spectators. He told them:

"O people! By making this palace and displaying these things our lord, who is the king of the palace, wants to make himself known to you. You therefore should recognize Him and try to get to know Him. And with these adornments He wants to make Himself loved by you. Also, He shows His love for you through these bounties that you see, so you should love Him too by obeying Him. And through these bounties and gifts which are to be seen He shows His compassion and kindness for you, so you should show your respect for Him by offering thanks. And through these works of His perfection He wants to display His transcendent beauty to you, so you should show your eagerness to see Him and gain His regard. And through placing a particular stamp and special seal and an inimitable signet on every one of these adorned works of art that you see, He wants to show that everything is particular to Him, and is the work of His own hand, and that He is single and unique and independent and removed. You therefore should recognize that He is single and alone, and without peer or like or match, and accept that He is such." He spoke further fitting words to the spectators like these concerning the King and this station. Then the people who had entered the palace separated into two groups.

The First Group: Since these people had self-knowledge, were intelligent, and their hearts were in the right place, when they looked at the wonders inside the palace, they declared: "There are great matters afoot here!" They understood that it was not in vain or some trifling plaything. They were curious, and while wondering: "I wonder what the talisman to this is and what it contains," they suddenly heard the speech the Master and Instructor was giving, and they realized that the keys to all the mysteries were with


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him. So they approached him and said: "Peace be upon you, O Master! By rights, a truthful and exact instructor like you is necessary for a magnificent palace such as this. Please tell us what our Lord has made known to you!" First of all the Master repeated the speech to them. They listened carefully, and accepting it, profited greatly. They acted as the King wished. And because the King was pleased at their becoming conduct and manners, he invited them to another special, elevated, ineffable palace. And he bestowed it on them in a way worthy of such a munificent king, and fitting for such obedient subjects, and suitable for such well-mannered guests, and appropriate to such an elevated palace. He made them permanently happy.

As for the Second Group, because their minds were corrupted and their hearts extinguished, when they entered the palace, they were defeated by their evil-commanding souls and took notice of nothing apart from the delicious foods; they closed their eyes to all the virtues and stopped up their ears to the guidance of the Master (PBUH) and the warnings of his students. They stuffed themselves like animals then sank into sleep. They quaffed elixirs which had been prepared for certain other matters and were not to have been consumed. Then they became drunk and started shouting so much they greatly upset the other spectating guests. They were ill-mannered in the face of the Glorious Maker's rules. So the soldiers of the palace's owner arrested them, and cast them into a prison appropriate to such unmannerly people.

O friend who is listening to this story with me! Of course you have understood that the Glorious Creator built this palace for the above-mentioned aims. The achievement of these aims is dependent on two things:

The First: The existence of the Master (PBUH) whom we saw and whose speech we heard. Because if not for him, all the aims would have been futile. For an incomprehensible book with no author consists only of meaningless paper.

The Second is the people listening the Master's words and accepting them. That is to say, the Master's existence is the cause of the palace's existence, and the people's listening to him is the cause of the continuation of the palace's existence. In which case, it may be said that if it had not been for the Master (PBUH), the Glorious King would not have built the palace. And again it may be said that when the people do not heed the Master's (PBUH) instructions, the palace will of a certainty be transformed and changed.

Friend! The story ends here. If you have understood the meaning of the comparison, come and behold its reality.

The palace is this world. Its roof is the heavens illuminated with smiling stars, and its floor, the face of the earth adorned from east to west with multifarious flowers. As for the King, he is the Most Holy One, the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Monarch, Whom all things in the seven heavens and the


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earth glorify and extol, each with its particular tongue. He is a king so powerful He created the heavens and earth in six days, then abided on the Throne. One of Power and Majesty, Who, alternating night and day like two threads, one white and one black, writes His signs of the page of the universe; One to Whose command the sun, moon, and stars are subjugated. The apartments of the palace are the eighteen thousand worlds, each of which has been set in order and decorated in a fashion suitable to it. The strange arts you saw in the palace are the miracles of Divine power you see in this world, and the foods you saw there allude to the wonderful fruits of Divine mercy in this world, especially in summer, and above all in the gardens of Barla. The stove and kitchen there is the earth here, which has fire in its heart, and the face of the earth. While the jewels of the hidden treasuries you saw in the comparison are the similitudes of the manifestations of the sacred Divine Names. And the embroideries there, and the signs of the embroideries, are the well-ordered and finely worked beings and the harmonious impresses of the pen of power which adorn this world and point to the Names of the All- Powerful One of Glory.

As for the Master, he is our Master Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). His assistants are the prophets (Peace be upon them), and his students, the saints and purified scholars. The ruler's servants in the palace indicate the angels (Peace be upon them) in this world. And the guests invited to the banquet to spectate in the comparison are the jinn and mankind in this guest-house of the world, and the animals, who are the servants of mankind. As for the two groups, one of them here consists of the people of belief, who are the students of the All- Wise Qur'an, the interpreter of the verses and signs of the book of the universe. The other group consists of the people of unbelief and rebellion, who follow Satan and their evil-commanding souls; deaf and dumb, like animals, or even lower, they form the group of the misguided, who recognize the life of this world only.

FIRST GROUP: These are the felicitous and the good, who listened to the Master, 'the Possessor of Two Wings.' He is both the worshipping servant of God; in regard to worship he describes his Sustainer so that he is like the envoy of his community at the Court of Almighty God. He is also God's Messenger; with regard to Messengership he conveys his Sustainer's decrees to men and the jinn by means of the Qur'an.

This happy community heeded the Messenger and listened to the Qur'an. They saw themselves invested with the prescribed prayers, which are the index of all the varieties of worship, and numerous subtle duties within elevated stations. Indeed, they saw in detail the duties and stations which the prayers point to with their various formulas and actions. It was like this:

Firstly: Since they observed the Divine works, and in the form of a transaction in the absence of the person concerned, saw themselves in the station


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of observing the wonders of the sovereignty of dominicality, they performed the duty of extolling and glorifying God, declaring: "God is Most Great!"

Secondly: Through being seen in the station of herald of His brilliant and wonderful works, which are the manifestations of the sacred Divine Names, exclaiming: "Glory be to God! All Praise be to God!", they performed the duty of hallowing and praising God.

Thirdly: In the station of perceiving and understanding with their inner and outer senses the bounties stored up in the treasuries of Divine mercy, they started to carry out the duty of thanks and praise.

Fourthly: In the station of weighing up with the scales of their spiritual faculties the jewels in the treasuries of the Divine Names, they began the duty of praise and declaring God to be free of all fault.

Fifthly: In the station of studying the Sustainer's missives, written with the pen of power on the plan of Divine Determining, they began the duty of contemplation and appreciation.

Sixthly: With beholding the subtle, delicate, fine beauties in the creation of things and in the art in beings, in the station of declaring God to be free of all defect, they took up the duty of love and yearning for their All-Glorious Creator, their All-Beauteous Maker. That is to say, after looking at the universe and works and performing the duties in the above-mentioned stations through transactions in the object of worship's absence, they rose to the degree of also beholding the transactions and acts of the All-Wise Maker, whereby, in the form of a transaction in the presence of the person concerned, they responded with knowledge and wonder in the face of the All-Glorious Creator's making Himself known to conscious beings through the miracles of His art, and declared: "Glory be unto You! How can we truly know you? What makes You known are the miracles of the works of Your art!"

Then, they responded with love and passion to that Most Merciful One's making Himself loved through the beautiful fruits of His mercy. "You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help!", they declared.

Then they responded with thanks and praise to the True Bestower's showing His mercy and compassion through His sweet bounties, and exclaimed: "Glory be unto You! All praise is Yours! How can we thank You as is Your due? You are utterly worthy of thanks! For all Your bounties spread through all the universe hymn Your praises and thanks through the clear tongues of their beings. All Your bounties lined up in the market of the world and scattered over the face of the earth proclaim Your praises and extol You. Through testifying to Your munificence and generosity, all the well-ordered and well- proportioned fruits of Your mercy and bounty offer You thanks before the gazes of Your creatures."


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Then they responded, saying: "God is Most Great!" before the manifestation of Divine beauty, glory, perfection, and majesty in the mirrors of beings, ever changing on the face of the universe; they bowed reverently in their impotence, and prostrated in humility with love and wonder.

Then announcing their poverty and need, they responded with supplication and beseeching to the Possessor of Absolute Riches' displaying the abundance of His wealth and breadth of His mercy, and declared: "From You alone do we seek help!"

Then they responded appreciatively to the All-Glorious Maker's displaying the subtleties and wonders of His antique art in the exhibition of creatures, exclaiming: "What wonders God has willed!" Observing and applauding them, they declared, "How beautifully they have been made! What blessings God has bestowed!" Holding everyone witness, they said in wonder: "Come! Look at these! Hasten to the prayers and to prosperity!"

And they responded with submission and obedience to the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity's proclamation of the sovereignty of His dominicality in every corner of the universe and the manifestation of His unity. Declaring: "We hear and we obey!", they affirmed His unity.

Then, before the manifestation of the Godhead of that Sustainer of All the Worlds, they responded with worship and humble veneration, which consists of proclaiming their poverty within need, and with the prescribed prayers, which are the summary of worship. Thus, through performing their various duties of worship in the mighty mosque known as the abode of this world, they carried out the obligations and duties of their lives, and assumed 'the finest of forms.' They ascended to a rank above all creatures by which, through the auspiciousness of belief and assurance and 'the Trust,' they became trustworthy Vicegerents of God on the Earth. And after this field of trial and place of examination, their Munificent Sustainer invited them to eternal happiness in recompense for their belief, and to the Abode of Peace in reward for their adhering to His religion of Islam. There, He bestowed on them out of His mercy bounties so dazzling that no eye has seen them, nor ear heard them, nor have they occurred to the heart of man - and so He does bestow these on them, and He gave them eternity and everlasting life. For the desirous, mirror-bearing lovers of an eternal, abiding beauty who gaze upon it will certainly not perish, but will go to eternity. The final state of the Qur'an's students is thus. May Almighty God include us among them, Amen!

As for the other group, the sinners and the wicked, when they entered the palace of this world at the age of discretion, they responded with unbelief to


2 See page 88, footnote 22.


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all the evidences of Divine unity, and with ingratitude towards all the bounties, and by accusing all creatures of being valueless, insulted them in an unbelieving manner. And since they rejected and denied all the manifestations of the Divine Names, they committed a boundless crime in a short time and became deserving of endless punishment. For the capital of life and man's faculties were given him for the duties mentioned above.

O my senseless soul and foolish friend! Do you suppose your life's duty is restricted to following the good life according to the requisites of civilization, and, if you will excuse the expression, to gratifying the physical appetites? Do you suppose the sole aim of the delicate and subtle senses, the sensitive faculties and members, the well-ordered limbs and systems, the inquisitive feelings and senses included in the machine of your life is restricted to satisfying the low desires of the base soul in this fleeting life? God forbid! There are two main aims in their creation and inclusion in your essential being:

The First consists of making known to you all the varieties of the True Bestower's bounties, and causing you to offer Him thanks. You should be aware of this, and offer Him thanks and worship.

The Second is to make known to you by means of your faculties all the sorts of the manifestations of the sacred Divine Names manifested in the world and to cause you to experience them. And you, by recognizing them through experiencing them, should come to believe in them.

Thus, man develops and is perfected through the achievement of these two basic aims. Through them, man becomes a true human being.

Look through the meaning of the following comparison, and see that the human faculties were not given in order to gain worldly life like an animal.

For example, someone gave one of his servants twenty gold pieces, telling him to have a suit of clothes made out of a particular cloth. The servant went and got himself a fine suit out of the highest grade of the cloth, and put it on. Then he saw that his employer had given another of his servants a thousand gold pieces, and putting in the servant's pocket a piece of paper with some things written on it, had sent him to conclude some business. Now, anyone with any sense would know that the capital was not for getting a suit of clothes, for, since the first servant had bought a suit of the finest cloth with twenty gold pieces, the thousand gold pieces were certainly not to be spent on that. Since the second servant had not read the paper in his pocket, and looking at the first servant, had given all the money to a shopkeeper for a suit of clothes, and then received the very lowest grade of cloth and a suit fifty times worse that his friend's, his employer was bound to reprimand him severely for his utter stupidity, and punish him angrily.

O my soul and my friend! Come to your senses! Do not spend the capital


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and potentialities of your life on pleasures of the flesh and this fleeting life like an animal, or even lower. Otherwise, although you are fifty times superior with regard to capital than the highest animal, you will fall fifty times lower than the lowest.

O my heedless soul! If you want to understand to a degree both the aim of your life and its nature, and the form of your life, and the true meaning of your life, and its perfect happiness, then look! The summary of the aims of your life consists of nine matters:

The First is this: To weigh up on the scales of the senses put in your being the bounties stored up in the treasuries of Divine mercy, and to offer universal thanks.

The Second: To open with the keys of the faculties placed in your nature the hidden treasuries of the sacred Divine Names.

The Third: To consciously display and make known through your life in the view of the creatures in this exhibition of the world the wondrous arts and subtle manifestations which the Divine Names have attached to you.

The Fourth: To proclaim your worship to the Court of the Creator's dominicality verbally and through the tongue of your disposition.

The Fifth: Like on ceremonial occasions a soldier wears all the decorations he has received from his king, and through appearing before the him, displays the marks of his favour towards him, this is to consciously adorn yourself in the jewels of the subtle senses which the manifestations of the Divine Names have given you, and to appear in the observant view of the Pre-Eternal Witness.

The Sixth: To consciously observe the salutations of living beings to their Creator, known as the manifestations of life, and their glorifications of their Maker, known as the signs of life, and their worship of the Bestower of Life, known as the aims of life, and by reflecting on them to see them, and through testifying to them to display them.

The Seventh: Through taking as units of measurement the small samples of attributes like the partial knowledge, power, and will given to your life, it is to know through those measures the absolute attributes and sacred qualities of the All-Glorious Creator. For example, since, through your partial power, knowledge, and will, you have made your house in well-ordered fashion, you should know that the Maker of the palace of the world is its Disposer, and Powerful, Knowing, and Wise to the degree it is greater than your house.

The Eighth: To understand the words concerning the Creator's unity and Maker's dominicality uttered by each of the beings in the world in its particular tongue.


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The Ninth: To understand through your impotence and weakness, your poverty and need, the degrees of the Divine power and dominical riches. Just as the pleasure and degrees and varieties of food are understood through the degrees of hunger and the sorts of need, so you should understand the degrees of the infinite Divine power and riches through your infinite impotence and poverty. The aims of your life, then, briefly, are matters like these. Now consider the nature of your life; its summary is this:

It is an index of wonders pertaining to the Divine Names; a scale for measuring the Divine attributes; a balance of the worlds within the universe; a list of the mighty world; a map of the cosmos; a summary of the vast book of the universe; a bunch of keys with which to open the hidden treasuries of Divine power; and a most excellent pattern of the perfections scattered over beings and attached to time. The nature of your life consists of matters like these.

Now, the form of your life and the manner of its duty is this: your life is an inscribed word, a wisdom-displaying word written by the pen of power. Seen and heard, it points to the Divine Names. The form of your life consists of matters like these.

Now the true meaning of your life is this: its acting as a mirror to the manifestation of Divine oneness and the manifestation of the Eternally Besought One. That is to say, through a comprehensiveness as though being the point of focus for all the Divine Names manifested in the world, it is its being a mirror to the Single and Eternally Besought One.

Now, as for the perfection of your life, it is to perceive the lights of the Pre-Eternal Sun which are depicted in the mirror of your life, and to love them. It is to display ardour for Him as a conscious being. It is to pass beyond yourself with love of Him. It is to establish the reflection of His light in the centre of your heart. It is due to this mystery that the Hadith Qudsi was uttered, which is expressed by the following lines, and will raise you to the highest of the high:

The heavens and the earth contain me not;

Yet, how strange! I am contained in the hearts of believers.

And so, my soul! Since your life is turned towards such elevated aims and gathers together such priceless treasuries, is it at all worthy of reason and fairness that you should spend it on temporary gratification of the instinctual soul and fleeting worldly pleasures, and waste it? If you do not want to fritter away your life, ponder over the oaths in this Sura of the Qur'an, which allude to the above comparison and truths, and act accordingly:

By the sun and its [glorious] splendour; * By the moon as it


3 See, al-'Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa' , ii, 165; al-Ghazzali, Ihya' l-'Ulum al-Din, iii, 14.


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follows it; * By the day as it shows up [the sun's] glory; * By the night as it conceals it; * By the firmament and its [wonderful] structure; * By the earth and its [wide] expanse; * By the soul and the order and proportion given it; * And its enlightenment to its wrong and its right. * Truly he succeeds that purifies it, * And he fails that corrupts it.

O God, grant blessings and peace to the Sun of the Skies of Messenger ship, the Moon of the Constellation of Prophethood, and to his Family and Companions, the stars of guidance, and grant mercy to us and to all believing men and all believing women. Amen. Amen. Amen.


4 Qur'an, 91:1-10.


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The Twelfth Word


[This Word consists of a brief comparison between the sacred wisdom of the All- Wise Qur'an and the wisdom of philosophy and science, and a concise summary of the instruction and training which Qur'anic wisdom gives to man in his personal life and social life, and an indication of the Qur'an's superiority to other Divine words, and to all speech. There are Four Principles in this Word.]


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And he who has been given wisdom has been given great good.

FIRST PRINCIPLE

Look through the telescope of the following story which is in the form of a comparison, and see the differences between Qur'anic wisdom and that of philosophy and science:

One time, a renowned Ruler who was both religious and a fine craftsman wanted to write the All- Wise Qur'an in a script worthy of the sacredness in its meaning and the miraculousness in its words, so that its marvel-displaying stature would be arrayed in wondrous apparel. The artist-King therefore wrote the Qur'an in a truly wonderful fashion. He used all his precious jewels in its writing. In order to indicate the great variety of its truths, he wrote some of its embodied letters in diamonds and emeralds, and some in rubies and agate, and other sorts in brilliants and coral, while others he inscribed with silver and gold. He adorned and decorated it in such a way that everyone, those who knew how to read and those who did not, were full of admiration and astonishment when they beheld it. Especially in the view of the people of truth, since the outer beauty was an indication of the brilliant beauty and striking adornment in its meaning, it became a truly precious antique.


Qur'an, 2:269.


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Then the Ruler showed the artistically wrought and bejewelled Qur'an to a European philosopher and to a Muslim scholar. In order to test them and for reward, he commanded them: "Each of you write a work about the wisdom and purposes of this!" First the philosopher, then the scholar composed a book about it. However, the philosopher's book discussed only the decorations of the letters and their relationships and conditions, and the properties of the jewels, and described them. It did not touch on their meaning at all, for the European had no knowledge of the Arabic script. He did not even know that the embellished Qur'an was a book, a written piece, expressing a meaning. He rather looked on it as an ornamented antique. He did not know any Arabic, but he was a very good engineer, and he described things very aptly, and he was a skilful chemist, and an ingenious jeweller. So this man wrote his work according to those crafts.

As for the Muslim scholar, when he looked at the Qur'an, he understood that it was the Perspicuous Book, the All- Wise Qur'an. This truth-loving person neither attached importance to the external adornments, nor busied himself with the ornamented letters. He became preoccupied with something that was a million times higher, more elevated, more subtle, more noble, more beneficial, and more comprehensive than the matters with which the other man had busied himself. For discussing the sacred truths and lights of the mysteries beneath the veil of the decorations, he wrote a truly fine commentary. Then the two of them took their works and presented them to the Illustrious Ruler. The Ruler first took the philosopher's work. He looked at it and saw that the self-centred and nature- worshipping man had worked very hard, but had written nothing of true wisdom. He had understood nothing of its meaning. Indeed, he had confused it and been disrespectful towards it, and ill-mannered even. For supposing that source of truths, the Qur'an, to be meaningless decoration, he had insulted it as being valueless in regard to meaning. So the Wise Ruler hit him over the head with his work and expelled him from his presence.

Then he looked at the work of the other, the truth-loving, scrupulous scholar, and saw that it was an extremely fine and beneficial commentary, a most wise composition full of guidance. "Congratulations! May God bless you!", he said. Thus, wisdom is this and they call those who possess it knowledgeable and wise. As for the other man, he was a craftsman who had exceeded his mark. Then in reward for the scholar's work, he commanded that in return for each letter ten gold pieces should be given him from his inexhaustible treasury.

If you have understood the comparison, now look and see the reality:

The ornamented Qur'an is this artistically fashioned universe, and the Ruler is the Pre-Eternal All-Wise One. As for the two men, one -the European- represents philosophy and its philosophers, and the other, the Qur'an


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and its students. Yes, the All- Wise Qur'an is a most elevated expounder, a most eloquent translator of the Mighty Qur'an of the Universe. Yes, it is the Criterion which instructs man and the jinn concerning the signs of creation inscribed by the pen of power on the pages of the universe and on the leaves of time. It regards beings, each of which is a meaningful letter, as bearing the meaning of another, that is, it looks at them on account of their Maker. It says, "How beautifully they have been made! How exquisitely they point to their Maker's beauty!", thus showing the universe's true beauty. But the philosophy they call natural philosophy or science has plunged into the decorations of the letters of beings and into their relationships, and has become bewildered; it has confused the way of reality. While the letters of this mighty book should be looked at as bearing the meaning of another, that is, on account of God, they have not done this; they have looked at beings as signifying themselves. That is, they have looked at beings on account of beings, and have discussed them in that way. Instead of saying, "How beautifully they have been made," they say "How beautiful they are," and have made them ugly. In doing this they have insulted the universe, and made it complain about them. Indeed, philosophy without religion is a sophistry divorced from reality and an insult to the universe.

SECOND PRINCIPLE

A comparison between the moral training the wisdom of the All- Wise Qur'an gives to personal life and what philosophy and science teach:

The sincere student of philosophy is a pharaoh, but he is a contemptible pharaoh who worships the basest thing for the sake of benefit; he recognizes everything from which he can profit as his 'Lord'. And that irreligious student is obstinate and refractory, but he is wretched together with his obstinacy and accepts endless abasement for the sake of one pleasure. And he is abject together with his recalcitrance and shows his abasement by kissing the feet of satanic individuals for the sake of some base benefit. And that irreligious student is conceited and domineering, but since he can find no point of support in his heart, he is an utterly impotent blustering tyrant. And that student is a self-centered seeker of benefit whose aim and endeavour is to gratify his animal appetites; a crafty egotist who seeks his personal interests within certain nationalist interests.

However, the sincere student of Qur'anic wisdom is a servant, but he does not stoop to worship even the greatest of creatures; he is an esteemed slave who does not take a supreme benefit like Paradise as the aim of his worship. And its student is humble; he is righteous and mild, yet outside the limits of his Maker's leave, he would not voluntarily lower and abase himself before anything other than his Maker. And he is weak and in want, and he knows his weakness and poverty, but he is self-sufficient due to the


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wealth which his All-Generous Lord has stored up for him in the hereafter, and he is strong since he relies on his Master's infinite power. And he acts and strives only for God's sake, for God's pleasure, and for virtue.

Thus, the training the two give may be understood from the comparison of the two students.

THIRD PRINCIPLE

The training philosophy and science and Qur'anic wisdom give to human social life is this:

Philosophy accepts 'force' as its point of support in the life of society. It considers its aim to be 'benefits'. The principle of its life it recognizes to be 'conflict'. It holds the bond between communities to be 'racialism and negative nationalism'. Its fruits are 'gratifying the appetites of the soul and increasing human needs'. However, the mark of force is 'aggression'. The mark of benefit - since they are insufficient for every desire - is 'jostling and tussling'. While the mark of conflict is 'strife'. And the mark of racialism -since it is nourished by devouring others- is 'aggression'. It is for these reasons that it has negated the happiness of mankind.

As for the Qur'anic wisdom, its point of support is 'truth' instead of force. It takes 'virtue and God's pleasure' as its aims in place of benefits. It takes the principle of 'mutual assistance' as the principle of life in place of the principle of conflict. And it takes 'the ties of religion, class, and country' to be the ties bonding communities. Its aim is to form a barrier against the lusts of the soul, urge the spirit to sublime matters, satisfy the high emotions, and urging man to the human perfections, make him a true human being. And the mark of 'the truth' is accord. The mark of virtue is 'solidarity'. The mark of mutual assistance is 'hastening to assist one another'. The mark of religion is 'brotherhood' and 'attraction'. And the mark of reining in and tethering the soul and leaving the spirit free and urging it towards perfections is 'happiness in this world and the next'.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE

If you want to understand the Qur'an's superiority among all the Divine scriptures and its supremacy over all speech and writings, then consider the following two comparisons:

The First: A king has two forms of speech, two forms of address. One is to speak on his private telephone with a common subject concerning some minor matter, some private need. The other, under the title of sublime sovereignty, supreme vicegerent, and universal rulership, is to speak with an envoy or high official for the purpose of making known and promulgating his commands, to make an utterance through an elevated decree proclaiming his majesty.


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The Second: One man holds the mirror he is holding up to the sun. He receives light containing the seven colours according to the capacity of the mirror. He becomes connected to the sun through that relation and converses with it, and if he directs the light-filled mirror towards his dark house or his garden covered by a roof, he will benefit, not in relation to the sun's value, but in accordance with the capacity of the mirror. Another man, however, opens up broad windows out of his house or out of the roof over his garden. He opens up ways to the sun in the sky. He converses with the perpetual light of the actual sun and speaks with it, and says in gratitude through the tongue of his disposition: "O you beauty of the world who gilds the face of the earth with your light and makes the faces of the flowers smile! O beauty of the skies, fine sun! You have furnished my little house and garden with light and heat the same as you have them." Whereas the man with the mirror cannot say that. The reflection and works of the sun under that restriction are limited; they are in accordance with the restriction. Look at the Qur'an through the telescope of these two comparisons and see its miraculousness and understand its sacredness.

The Qur'an says: "If all the trees on the land were to become pens and all the seas ink, and if they were to write the words of Almighty God, they would never come to the end of them." Now, the reason the Qur'an has been given the highest rank among the infinite words of God is this: the Qur'an has come from the Greatest Divine Name and from the greatest level of every Name. It is God's Word in respect of His being Sustainer of All the Worlds; it is His decree through His title of God of All Beings; an address in regard to His being Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; a conversation in regard to absolute dominicality; a pre-eternal address on account of universal Divine sovereignty; a note-book of the favours of the Most Merciful One from the point of view of His all- embracing, comprehensive mercy; a collection of communications at the beginnings of which are sometimes ciphers related to the sublime majesty of the Godhead; a wisdom- scattering holy scripture which, descending from the reaches of the Greatest Name, looks to and inspects the all-comprehensive domain of the Supreme Throne. It is for these reasons that the title of Word of God has been given with complete worthiness to the Qur'an.

In respect to the other Divine Words, they are speech which has become evident through a particular regard, a minor title, through the partial manifestation of a particular Name; through a particular dominicality, special sovereignty, a private mercy. Their degrees vary in regard to particularity and universality. Most inspiration is of this sort, but its degrees vary greatly. For example, the most particular and simple is the inspiration of the animals. Then there is the inspiration of the ordinary people; then the inspiration of ordinary angels; then the inspiration of the saints, then the inspiration of the


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higher angels. Thus, it is for this reason that a saint who offers supplications directly without means by the telephone of the heart says: "My heart tells me news of my Sustainer." He does not say, "It tells me of the Sustainer of All the Worlds." And he says: "My heart is the mirror, the throne, of my Sustainer." He does not say, "It is the throne of the Sustainer of All the Worlds." For he can manifest the address to the extent of its capacity and to the degree nearly seventy thousand veils have been raised. Thus, however much higher and more elevated is the decree of a king promulgated in respect of his supreme sovereignty than the insignificant speech of a common man, and however much more abundantly the effulgence of the sun in the sky may be benefited from than the manifestation of its reflection in the mirror, and however greater is its superiority, to that degree the Qur'an of Mighty Stature is superior to all other speech and all other books.

After the Qur'an, at the second level, the Holy Books and Revealed Scriptures have superiority according to their degree. They have their share from the mystery of that superiority. If all the fine words of all men and jinn which do not issue from the Qur'an were to be gathered together, they still could not attain to the sacred rank of the Qur'an and imitate it. If you want to understand a little of how the Qur'an comes from the Greatest Name and from the greatest level of every Name, consider the universal, elevated statements of Ayat al-Kursi and the following verses:

And with Him are the keys of the Unseen.

O God! Lord of All Dominion.

He draws the night as a veil over day, each seeking the other in rapid succession; He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, [all] subject to His command.

O Earth, swallow up your water! And O Sky, withhold your rain!

The heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him.

The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all is but like that of a single soul.

We did indeed offer the Trust to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains.


2 Qur'an, 6:59.

3 Qur'an, 3:26.

4 Qur'an, 7:54.

5 Qur'an, 11:44.

6 Qur'an, 17:44.

7 Qur'an, 31:28.

8 Qur'an, 33:72.


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The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books [completed].

No just estimate have they made of God, such as is due to Him: on the Day of Judgement the whole of the earth will be but His handful.

Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, you would indeed have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of God.

And study the Suras which begin al-Hamdulillah, or Tusabbihu, and see the rays of this mighty mystery. Look too at the openings of the Alif Lam. Mim.'s, the Alif Lam. Ra.'s, and the Ha. Mzm.'s, and understand the Qur'an's importance in the sight of God.

If you have understood the valuable mystery of this Fourth Principle, you have understood that revelation mostly comes to the prophets by means of an angel, and inspiration is mostly without means. You will have also understood the reason why the greatest saint cannot attain to the level of a prophet. And you will have understood too the Qur'an's sublimity and its sacred grandeur and the mystery of its elevated miraculousness. So too you will have understood the mystery of the necessity of the Prophet Muhammad's Ascension, that is, that he went to the heavens, to the furthest Lote-tree, to the distance of two bow-lengths, offered supplications to the All-Glorious One, Who is closer to him than his jugular vein, and in the twinkling of an eye returned whence he came. Indeed, just as the Splitting of the Moon was a miracle of his messengership whereby he demonstrated his prophethood to the jinn and mankind, so the Ascension was a miracle of his worship and servitude to God whereby he demonstrated to the spirits and angels that he was God's Beloved.

O God, grant blessings and peace to him and to his Family as befits Your mercy, and in veneration of him. Amen.


"Qur'an, 21:104.

10 Qur'an, 39:67.

11 Qur'an, 59:21.


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The Thirteenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And We send down [stage by stage] in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe. * We have not instructed [the Prophet] in poetry, nor is it meet for him.

If you want to compare the results yielded by the wisdom of the All- Wise Qur'an and of the sciences of philosophy, and their instruction and teaching and the degrees in their knowledge, then listen carefully to the following words:

With its acute expositions, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition rends the veil of familiarity and the habitual cast over all the beings in the universe, which are known as ordinary things but are all extraordinary and miracles of Divine power, and reveals those astonishing wonders to conscious beings. It attracts their gazes and opens up before their minds an inexhaustible treasury of knowledge.

As for philosophy, it conceals within veils of the commonplace all the miracles of power, which are extraordinary, and passes over them in an ignorant and indifferent fashion. It only puts forward to be noted freaks, which have fallen from being extraordinary and deviated from the order of creation, and sheered away from the perfections of their true natures; it offers them to conscious beings as objects of wise instruction. For example, it says that man's creation is ordinary, despite its being a comprehensive miracle of power, and looks on it indifferently. But then with cries of astonishment, it points out as an object of instruction a person who has diverged from the perfection of creation, and has three legs or two heads.

And for example, it considers ordinary the regular sustenance of infants and young, bestowed from the treasury of mercy, which is a most delicate and general miracle of mercy, and draws a veil of ingratitude over it. Whereas, on spotting an insect under the sea which is an exception from the general order and is alone and isolated from its fellows, being fed with green sea-weed, it wants to make the fishermen weep for it, because of the Divine favour and munificence manifested on it.


1 Qur'an, 17:82.

2 Qur'an, 36:69.

3 Just such an event occurred in America.


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So see the wealth and riches of the Holy Qur'an in regard to knowledge, wisdom, and knowledge of God, and the poverty and bankruptcy of philosophy regarding learning, instruction, and knowledge of the Maker! See them, and take a lesson!

It is because of this, because the All- Wise Qur'an contains infinite brilliant, elevated truths, that it is free of the fancies of poetry. Another reason the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is not in verse, despite the perfection of its word-order and orderedness and its expounding with its well-ordered styles the order and art of the book of the universe, is that by not entering under the restrictions of metre, each star of its verses can be a sort of centre to the most of the other verses, and be a brother to them, and each can form a connecting line with the verses within the sphere encompassing it in order to be a bond in the relationships which exist between them. It is as if each independent verse has an eye which looks to most of the other verses, and a face turned towards them. Thousands of Qur'ans are present within the Qur'an, each of which it offers to followers of the different paths. As is described in the Twenty-Fifth Word, in Sura al-Ikhlas is a treasury of knowledge about Divine unity comprising thirty-six Sura al-Dchlas's, formed of a compound of six phrases, each winged. Indeed, like with the stars in the sky which are apparently without order, each is unrestricted and as a sort of centre extends a line of connection to all the stars in the area surrounding it, indicating a hidden relation between beings. It is as if, like the stars of verses, each single star has an eye which looks to all stars and a face which is turned to them. See then the perfect order within the apparent lack of order, and take a lesson! Understand one meaning of the verse,

We have not instructed [the Prophet] in poetry, nor is it meet for him!

Understand also from it that the mark of poetry is to adorn insignificant and dull facts with big and shining images and fancies, and make them attractive. Whereas the truths of the Qur'an are so great, elevated, shining and brilliant, that even the greatest and most brilliant imaginings are dull and insignificant in comparison with them. Innumerable truths like the following verses testify to this. For example:

The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books [completed] . * He draws the night as a veil over the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession. * It will be no more than a single blast, when lot they will

■7

all be brought up before Us ! If you want to see and appreciate how, like shining stars, each of the


4 Qur'an, 36:69.

5 Qur'an, 21:104

6 Qur'an, 7:54.

7 Qur'an, 36:53.


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Qur'an's verses scatters the darkness of unbelief by spreading the light of miraculousness and guidance, imagine yourself in the age of ignorance and desert of savagery where everything was enveloped in veils of lifelessness and nature amid the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness. Then suddenly from the elevated tongue of the Qur'an, you hear verses like:

Whatever is in the heavens and earth declares the praises and glory of God, the Sovereign, the Most Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise.

See how those dead or sleeping creatures of the world spring to life at the sound of declares the praises and glory in the minds of those listening, how they awake, spring up, and mention God's Names! And at the sound of,

The seven heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him,

the stars in those black skies, all lifeless pieces of fire, and the wretched creatures on the face of the earth, present the following view to those listening: the sky appears as a mouth and the stars each as wisdom-displaying words and truth-uttering lights. The earth appears as a head, the land and sea as tongues, and all animals and plants as words of glorification. Otherwise you will not appreciate the fine points and pleasure at looking from this time to that. For if when you consider its verses, you see them as having scattered their light since that time, and become like universally accepted knowledge with the passage of time, and as shining with the other lights of Islam, and taking their colour from the sun of the Qur'an, or if you look at them through a superficial and simple veil of familiarity, you will not truly see the darkness each verse scatters or how sweet is the recital of its miraculousness, and you will not appreciate this sort of miraculousness among its many varieties. If you want to understand one of the highest degrees of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition's miraculousness, listen to the following comparison:

Let us imagine an extremely strange and vast and spreading tree which is concealed beneath a veil of the unseen and hidden in a level of concealment. It is clear that there has to be a relationship, harmony, and balance between a tree and all its members like its branches, fruits, leaves, and blossom, the same as between man's members. Each of its parts takes on a form and is given a shape in accordance with the nature of the tree. So if someone appears and traces a picture on top of the veil corresponding to the members of the tree, which has never been seen, then delimits each member, and from the branches to the fruit, and the fruit to the leaves draws a form proportionately, and fills the space between its source and extremities, which are an


8 Qur'an, 62:1.

9 Qur'an, 17:44.


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infinite distance from one another, with drawings showing exactly the shape and form of its members, certainly no doubt will remain that the artist sees the concealed tree with an eye that penetrates and encompasses the unseen, then he depicts it.

In just the same way, the discriminating statements of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition concerning the reality of contingent beings (that is, concerning the reality of the tree of creation which stretches from the beginning of the world to the farthest limits of the hereafter, and spreads from the earth to the Divine Throne and from minute particles to the sun) have preserved the proportion between the members to such a degree and have given all the members and fruits a form so suitable that all investigative scholars have declared when they have concluded their researches into its depictions: "What wonders God has willed! How great are God's blessings!" They have said: "It is only you who solves and unravels the talisman of the universe and riddle of creation, O All- Wise Qur'an!"

"And God's is the highest similitude" 10 -and there is no error in the comparison- let us represent the Divine Names and attributes, and dominical acts and deeds as a Tuba- tree of light, the extent of whose grandeur stretches from pre-eternity to post-eternity, and the limits of whose vastness spread through infinite, endless space, and encompass it, and the compass of whose deeds extend from,

It is God Who splits the seed-grain and date-stone, and, Comes between man

17 1 ^

and his heart, and, It is He Who shapes you in the wombs as He wishes,

to,

Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and, And the heavens rolled up in His right hand, and, He has subjected the sun and the moon.

The All- Wise Qur'an has described that luminous reality, the truths of those Names and attributes, and acts and deeds, together with all their branches and twigs and aims and fruits in a way so harmonious, so fitting for one another, so appropriate for one another, without marring one another or spoiling the decree of one other, or their being remote from one another, that all those who have discerned the reality of things and penetrated the


10 Qur'an, 16:60.

11 Qur'an, 6:95.

12 Qur'an, 8:24.

13 Qur'an, 3:6.

14 Qur'an, 7:54, etc.

15 Qur'an, 39:67.

16 Qur'an, 13:2, etc.


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mysteries, and all the wise and the sage who have journeyed in the realm of the inner dimension of things, have declared: "Glory be to God!" in the face of that Discriminating Exposition, and have affirmed it, saying: "How right, how conformable with reality, how fine, how worthy!"

Take, for example, the six pillars of belief, which resemble a single branch of those two mighty trees which look to the entire sphere of contingency and sphere of necessity: it depicts all the branches and boughs of those pillars -even the farthest fruits and flowers- observing such a harmony and proportion between them, and describes them in a manner so balanced, and illustrates them a way so symmetrical that the human mind is powerless to perceive it and stands astonished at its beauty. And the proof that a beauty of proportion and perfect relation and complete balance have been preserved between the five pillars of Islam, which are like one twig of the branch of belief, down to the finest details, smallest point of conduct, furthest aims, most profound wisdom, and most insignificant fruits, is the perfect order and balance and beauty of proportion and soundness of the Greater Shari'a of Islam, which has emerged from the decisive statements, senses, indications, and allusions of the comprehensive Qur'an; they form an irrefutable and decisive proof and just witness that cannot be doubted. This means that the expositions of the Qur'an cannot be attributed to man's partial knowledge, and particularly to the knowledge of someone unlettered. They rest rather on a comprehensive knowledge and are the word of One able to see all things together and observe in one moment all truths between pre-eternity and post-eternity. The verse:

Praise be to God, Who has revealed to His servant the Book, and has allowed no crookedness therein.

concerns this fact.

O God! O Revealer of the Qur'an! For the sake of the Qur'an and for the sake of the one to whom You revealed the Qur'an, illuminate our hearts and our graves with the light of belief and the Qur'an. Amen. O One from Whom help is sought!


17


Qur'an, 18:1.


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The Second Station of the Thirteenth Word

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate .

[A conversation held with some young people who, though surrounded by temptation, had not yet lost their power of reason.]

Being assaulted by the deceptive, seductive amusements of the present time, a group of young people were asking: "How can we save our lives in the hereafter?", and they sought help from the Risale-i Nur. So I said the following to them in the name of the Risale-i Nur.

The grave is there and no one can deny it. Whether they want to or not, everyone must enter it. And apart from the following three 'Ways', there is no other way it can be approached:

First Way: For those who believe, the grave is the door to a world far better than this world.

Second Way: For those who believe in the hereafter, but who approach it on the path of dissipation and misguidance, it is the door to a prison of solitary confinement, an eternal dungeon, where they will be separated from all their loved ones.

Third Way: For the unbelievers and the misguided who do not believe in the hereafter, it is the door to eternal extinction. That is to say, it is the gallows on which both themselves and all those they love will be executed. Since they think it is thus, that is exactly how they shall experience it: as punishment.

These last two Ways are self-evident, they do not require proof, they are plain for all to see. Since the appointed hour is secret, and death may come any time and cut off his head, and it does not differentiate between young and old, perpetually having such an awesome and serious matter before him, unhappy man will surely search for the means to deliver himself from that eternal extinction, that infinite, endless solitary confinement; the means to transform the door of the grave into a door opening on to an everlasting world, eternal happiness, and a world of light. It will be a question for him that looms as large as the world.


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The certain fact of death, then, can only be approached in these three ways, and one hundred and twenty-four thousand veracious messengers -the prophets, in whose hands are miracles as signs of confirmation- have announced that the three ways are as described above. And, relying on their illuminations and visions, one hundred and twenty-four million saints have confirmed and set their signatures on the prophets' tidings. And innumerable exact scholars have proved it rationally with their categorical proofs at the level of 'certainty at the degree of knowledge.' 1 They have all unanimously declared it to be a ninety-nine per cent certain probability, saying: "The only way to be saved from extinction and eternal imprisonment, and be directed towards eternal happiness, is through belief in God and obedience to Him."

If a person considers but does not heed the word of a single messenger not to take a dangerous road on which there is a one per cent danger of perishing, and takes it, the anxiety at perishing he suffers will destroy even his appetite for food. Thus hundreds of thousands of veracious and verified messengers announced that there is a one hundred per cent probability that misguidance and vice lead to the gallows of the grave, ever before the eyes, and eternal solitary confinement, and that there is a one hundred per cent probability that belief and worship remove those gallows, close the solitary prison, and transform the ever-apparent grave into a door opening onto an everlasting treasury and palace of felicity; and they have pointed out signs and traces of these. Confronted as he is, then, with this strange, awesome, terrifying matter, if wretched man -especially if he is a Muslim- does not believe and worship, is he able to banish the grievous pain arising from the anxiety he suffers as he all the time awaits his turn to be summoned to those gallows, ever-present before his eyes, even if he is given rule over the whole world together with all its pleasures? I ask you.

Since old-age, illness, disaster, and on all sides death open up the frightful pain and are a reminder, even if the people of misguidance and vice enjoy a hundred thousand pleasures and delights, they most certainly experience a sort of hell in their hearts, but a profound stupor of heedlessness temporarily makes them insensible to it.

Since for the people of belief and worship the grave, ever before their eyes, is the door to an everlasting treasury and eternal happiness, and since, by reason of the 'belief coupon', a ticket from the pre-eternal lottery of Divine Determining for millions upon millions of poundsworth of gold and diamonds has come up for each of them, they all the time await the word, "Come and collect your ticket" with a truly profound pleasure and real spiritual delight. This pleasure is such that if it materialized and the seed became a tree, it would be like a private paradise. However, one who abandons the


One of these is the Risale-i Nur. And it is there for all to see.


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delight and great pleasure due to the drives of youth, and chooses in a dissolute and licentious manner temporary illicit pleasures, which resemble poisonous honey polluted with those innumerable pains, falls to a degree a hundred times lower than an animal.

Furthermore, such a person will not be like unbelieving Europeans, for if they deny the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), they may recognize the other prophets. And if they do not know God, they may possess some good qualities which are the means to certain perfections. But a Muslim knows both the prophets, and his Sustainer, and all perfection by means of Muhammad the Arabian (PBUH). If one of them abandons the Prophet's instruction and puts himself outside his fold, he will not recognize any other prophet, neither will he recognize God. Nor will he know any of the fundamentals within his spirit which will preserve his perfections. For, since Muhammad (PBUH) is the last and greatest of the prophets, and his religion and summons are for the whole of mankind, and since he is superior to all with regard to his miracles and religion, and acts as teacher to all mankind in all matters concerning reality, and has proved this in a brilliant manner for fourteen centuries, and is the cause of pride for mankind, a Muslim who abandons Muhammad (PBUH)'s essential training and the principles of his religion will most certainly be unable to find any light, or achieve any perfection. He will be condemned to absolute decline.

And so, you unfortunates who are addicted to the pleasures of the life of this world, and with anxiety at the future, struggle to secure it and your lives! If you want pleasure, delight, happiness, and ease in this world, make do with what is licit. That is sufficient for your enjoyment. You will surely have understood from other parts of the Risale-i Nur that in each pleasure which is outside this and is illicit, lies a thousand pains. If the events of the future -for example, of fifty years hence- were shown in the cinema in the same way that they show at the present time the events of the past, those who indulge in vice would weep filled with horror and disgust at those things which now amuse them.

Those who wish to be permanently, eternally happy in this world and the next should take as their guide the instruction of Muhammad (PBUH) within the bounds of belief.


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A Warning, Lesson and Reminder Given to a Number of Unhappy Youths

One day a number of bright youths came to me, seeking an effective deterrent in order to guard themselves against the dangers arising from life, youth, and the lusts of the soul. I said to these youths as I had to those who had previously sought help from the Risale-i Nur.

Your youth will definitely leave you, and if you do not remain within the bounds of the licit, it will be lost, and rather than its pleasures, it will bring you calamities and suffering in this world, in the grave, and in the hereafter. But if, through Islamic training, you spend the bounty of your youth as thanks honourably, in uprightness and obedience, it will in effect remain perpetually and will be the cause of gaining eternal youth.

As for life, if it is without belief, or because of rebelliousness belief is ineffective, it will produce pains, sorrows and grief far exceeding the superficial, fleeting enjoyment it brings. Because, since, contrary to the animals, man possesses a mind and he thinks, he is connected to both the present time, and to the past and the future. He can obtain both pain and pleasure from them. Whereas, since the animals do not think, the sorrows arising from the past and the fears and anxieties arising from the future do not spoil their pleasure of the present. Especially if the pleasure is illicit; then it is like an altogether poisonous honey.

That is to say, from the point of view of the pleasure of life, man falls to a level a hundred times lower than the animals. In fact, life for the people of misguidance and heedlessness, and indeed their existence, rather their world, is the day in which they find themselves. From the point of view of their misguidance, all the time and universes of the past are non-existent, are dead. So their intellects, which connect them to the past and the future, produce darkness, blackness for them. Due to their lack of belief, the future is also non-existent. Furthermore, because they think, the eternal separations resulting from this non-existence continuously produce darkness for their lives. But if belief gives life to life, through its light both the past and the future are illuminated and find existence. Like present time, it produces elevated, spiritual pleasures and lights of existence for the spirit and heart - in respect of belief. There is an explanation of this truth in the 'Seventh Hope' in The Treatise for the Elderly. You may refer to that.


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Life is thus. If you want the pleasure and enjoyment of life, give life to your life through belief, and adorn it with religious duties, and preserve it by abstaining from sins.

Concerning the fearsome reality of death, which is demonstrated by deaths every day, everywhere, at all times, I shall explain it to you with a comparison, in the same way that I told the other youths.

For example, a gallows has been erected here in front of your eyes. Beside it is a lottery office, but one which gives tickets for truly huge prizes. We people here are ten people, whether we like it or not, we shall be summoned there; there is no other alternative. They will call us, and since the time is secret, any minute they may say either: "Come and collect the ticket for your execution! Mount the gallows!" Or: "A ticket to win a prize of millions of dollars' worth of gold has come up for you. Come and collect it!" While waiting for them to say this, two people suddenly appear at the door. One of them is a scantily dressed woman, beautiful and deceiving. In her hand is some apparently extremely delicious, but in fact poisonous, candy, which she has brought wanting us to eat it. The other is an undeceiving and undeceivable serious person. He enters behind the woman, and says:

"I have brought you a talisman, a lesson. If you study it, and if you do not eat that candy, you will be saved from the gallows. With this talisman, you will receive your ticket for the matchless prize. Look, you see with your own eyes that those who eat the honey mount those gallows, and until that time they suffer dreadful stomach pains from the poison of the candy. And who it is that will receive the ticket for the large prize is not apparent; it seems that they too mount the gallows. But there are millions of witnesses who testify that they can enter the prize arena easily. So, look from the windows! The highest officials and the high-ranking persons concerned with this business proclaim with loud voices: 'Just as you see with the clear certainty of your own eyes those mounting the gallows, so be certain as daylight, with no doubt or misgiving, that those with the talisman receive the ticket for the prize.'"

Thus, like the comparison, since the dissolute pleasures of youth in the sphere of the illicit, which are like poisonous honey, lose belief, which is the ticket for an eternal treasury and the passport for everlasting happiness, a person who indulges in them descends to death, which is like the gallows, and to the tribulations of the grave, which is like the door to eternal darkness. And since the appointed hour is unknown, its executioner, not differentiating between young and old, may come at any time to cut off your head. If you give up illicit desires, which are like the poisonous honey, and acquire belief and perform the religious duties, which are the Qur'anic talisman, one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets (Peace be upon them) together


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with innumerable saints and people of truth have unanimously announced that you shall receive the ticket for the treasury of eternal happiness which comes up from the extraordinary lottery of human destiny. And they have pointed to traces of it.

In Short: Youth will go. And if it goes being squandered, it results in thousands of calamities and pains both in this world and in the next. If you want to understand how the majority of such youths end up in hospitals with imagined diseases arising from misspent youth and prodigality, and in prisons or hostels for the destitute through their excesses, and in bars due to the distress arising from their pain and suffering, then go and ask at the hospitals, prisons and graveyards.

For sure, just as you will hear from most of the hospitals the moans and groans of those ill from dissipation and debauchery resulting from the drives of youth, so will you hear from the prisons the regretful sighs of unhappy youths who are being punished for illicit deeds mostly resulting from the excesses of youth. And you will understand that most of the torments of the grave - that Intermediate Realm the doors of which continuously open and shut for those who enter it - are the result of misspent youth, as is testified to by those who have divined the life of the grave, and is affirmed by the people of reality.

Also, ask the elderly and the sick, who form the majority of mankind. Certainly, the great majority of them will say with sorrow and regret: "Alas! We wasted our youth on passion and fancy; indeed, harmfully. Be careful, do not do as we did!" Because, as a consequence of the illicit pleasures of five to ten years' youth, a person suffers years of grief and sorrow in this world, torment and harm in the Intermediate Realm, and the calamities of Hell in the hereafter. And although such a person is in a most pitiable situation, he in no way deserves pity. For those who freely consent to indulge in harmful actions may not be pitied. They are not worthy of it.

May Almighty God save us and you from the alluring temptations of this time, and preserve us from them. Amen.


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A Footnote to the Second Station of the Thirteenth Word

In His name, be He glorified!

Those in prison are in great need of the true consolation of the Risale-i Nur. Particularly those who having suffered the blows of youth, are passing their sweet, young lives in prison; they need the Risale-i Nur as much as they need bread.

Indeed, youth heeds the emotions rather than reason, and emotions and desires are blind; they do not consider the consequences. They prefer one ounce of immediate pleasure to tons of future pleasure. They kill for the one minute pleasure of revenge, then suffer for eighty thousand hours the pain of prison. And one hour's dissolute pleasure in questions of honour may result in life's enjoyment being utterly destroyed due to distress at the fear of both prison and enemies. There are many other examples, many pitfalls for the unfortunate young because of which they transform their sweet lives into the most bitter and pitiable lives.

Consider a vast state to the north; 1 it has gained possession of the passions of its young people and is shaking this century with its storms. For it has made lawful for its youths the pleasing daughters and wives of upright people, and these youths act only according to their feelings, which are blind to all consequences. By permitting men and women to go together to the public baths, they are even encouraging immorality. And they consider it lawful for vagabonds and the poor to plunder the property of the rich. All mankind trembles in the face of this calamity.

It is therefore most necessary in this century for all Muslim youths to act heroically, and to respond to this two -pronged attack with keen swords like the Fruits of Belief and the Guide For Youth from the Risale-i Nur. Otherwise those unfortunate youths will destroy utterly both their futures in this world, and their agreeable lives, and their happiness in the hereafter, and their eternal lives, and transform them into torment and suffering. And through their abuses and dissoluteness, they will end up in hospitals, and through their excesses in life, in prisons. In their old age, they will weep copiously with a thousand regrets.


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If, on the other hand, they protect themselves with Qur'anic training and with the truths of the Risale-i Nur, they will become truly heroic youths, perfect human beings, successful Muslims, and in some ways rulers over animate beings and the rest of the animal kingdom.

When a youth in prison spends one hour out of the twenty-four each day on the five obligatory prayers, and repents for the mistakes that were the cause of his disaster, and abstains from other harmful, painful sins, this will be of great benefit for both his life, and his future, and his country, and his nation, and his relatives, and he will also gain with his fleeting youth of ten to fifteen years an eternal, brilliant youth. Foremost the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, and all the revealed scriptures, have given this certain good news.

If such a youth demonstrates through moderation and obedience, his gratitude for the pleasing, delightful bounty of youth, it will both increase it, and make it eternal, and make it a pleasure. Otherwise it will be both calamitous, and become painful, grievous, and a nightmare, and then it will depart. It will cause him to become like a vagrant, harmful for both his relatives, and his country, and his nation.

If the prisoner has been sentenced unjustly, on condition he performs the obligatory prayers, each hour will be the equivalent of a day' s worship, and the prison will be like a recluse's cell. He will be counted among the pious hermits of olden times who retired to caves in order to devote themselves to worship. If he is poor, aged, and ill, and desirous of the truths of belief, on condition he performs the obligatory prayers and repents, each hour will become the equivalent of twenty hours' worship, and prison will become like a rest-house for him, and because of his friends there who regard him with affection, a place of love, training, and education. He will probably be happier staying in prison than being free, for outside he is confused and subject to the assaults of sins from all sides. He may receive a complete education from prison. On being released, it will not be as a murderer, or thirsting for revenge, but as someone penitent, proven by trial, well- behaved, and beneficial for his nation. In fact, the Denizli prisoners became so extraordinarily well-behaved after studying the Risale-i Nur for only a short time that some of those concerned said: "Studying the Risale-i Nur for fifteen weeks is more effective at reforming them than putting them in prison for fifteen years."

Since death does not die, and the appointed hour is unknown, it may come at any time; and since the grave cannot be closed, and troop after troop enter it and are lost; and since it has been shown through the truths of the Qur'an that for those who believe death is transformed into the discharge papers releasing them from eternal annihilation, while for the corrupt and the


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dissolute it is disappearing for ever into eternal annihilation, and is unending separation from their loved ones and all beings, most certainly and with no doubt at all, the most fortunate person is he who with patience and thanks fully benefits from his time in prison, and studying the Risale-i Nur works to serve the Qur'an and his belief on the straight path.

O man who is addicted to enjoyment and pleasure! I am seventy-five years old, and I know with utter certainty from thousands of experiences, proofs, and events that true enjoyment, pain-free pleasure, grief- free joy, and life's happiness are only to be found in belief and in the sphere of the truths of belief. While a single worldly pleasure yields numerous pains; as though dealing ten slaps for a single grape, it drives away all life's pleasure.

O you unfortunate people who are experiencing the misfortune of prison! Since your world is weeping and your life is bitter, strive so that your hereafter will not also weep, and your eternal life will smile and be sweet! Benefit from prison! Just as sometimes under severe conditions in the face of the enemy, an hour's watch may be equivalent to a year's worship, so in the severe conditions you are experiencing, the hardship of each hour spent as worship becomes the equivalent of many hours, it transforms that hardship into mercy.


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In His Name, be He glorified!

My dear and loyal brothers!

I shall explain in three 'Points' an effective solace for those who are experiencing the calamity of prison, and for those who kindly help them and faithfully supervise their food, which comes from outside.

First Point: Each day spent in prison may gain as much as ten days' worship, and, with regards to their fruits, may transform those transient hours into enduring hours, and through five or ten years' punishment may be the means of saving a person from millions of years of eternal imprisonment. For the believers, the condition for gaining this most significant and valuable advantage is to perform the obligatory prayers, repent for the sins that were the cause of their imprisonment, and offer thanks in patience. For sure, prison is an obstacle to many sins; it does not provide the opportunity for them.

Second Point: Just as the cessation of pleasure causes pain, so does the cessation of pain give pleasure. Yes, on thinking of past happy, enjoyable days, everyone feels a pang of regret and longing, and says: "Alas!", and recalling calamitous, unhappy days of the past, experiences a sort of


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pleasure since they are passed, and says: "Praise and thanks be to God, that calamity has left its reward and departed." He breathes a sigh of relief. That is to say, an hour's temporary pain and sorrow leave behind a sort of pleasure in the spirit, while a pleasurable hour leaves a pain.

Since the reality is thus; and since past calamitous hours together with their pains are no longer existent, and future distressing days are at the present time non-existent, and there is no pain from nothing, to continually eat bread and drink water today, for example, because of the possibility of being hungry and thirsty in several days' time, is most foolish. In just the same way, to think now of the past and future unhappy hours, which simply do not exist, and to display impatience, and ignoring one's faulty self, to moan as though complaining about God is also most foolish. So long as the power of patience is not scattered to left and right, that is, to the past and future, and is held firm in the face of the present of hour and day, it is sufficient. The distress is reduced from ten to one.

In fact, but let it not be complaining, Divine favour pointed out the above fact to me while, during a few days of material and spiritual affliction, illness and trial the like of which I had never before experienced in my life, I was being crushed in particular by the despair and distress of the heart and spirit which resulted from my being unable to serve the Qur'an and belief with the Risale-i Nur. I was then content with my distressing illness and imprisonment. For, saying: "It is great profit for an unfortunate like myself who waits at the door of the grave to make one hour which might be passed in heedlessness ten hours' worth of worship," I gave thanks.

Third Point: There is great gain in compassionately aiding and assisting prisoners, in giving them the sustenance they need, and in soothing their spiritual wounds with consolation. Giving them their food which comes from outside is like alms-giving which, exactly to the amount of the food, is written in the book of good deeds of those, outside and inside, who do this, together with the warders concerned. Especially if the unhappy prisoner is old, ill, poor, or a stranger, then the reward of this alms-giving increases many times over.

The condition of this high profit is to perform the obligatory prayers so that such service is for God's sake. Another condition is to hasten to their assistance with sincerity, compassion and joy, and in such a way as to not make them feel obliged.


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In His Name, be He glorified! And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.

My friends in prison and brothers in religion!

It occurred to me to explain a truth to you which will save you from both worldly torment and the torment of the hereafter. It is as follows:

For example, a person killed someone's brother or one of his relatives. A murder which yields one minute's pleasure of revenge causes millions of minutes of both distress for the heart and the anguish of prison. And the fear of revenge by the murdered man's relatives, and anxiety of finding himself face to face with his enemy drives away all his pleasure in life. He suffers the torment of both fear and anger. There is only one solution for this, and that is reconciliation, which the Qur'an commands, and truth, reality, benefit, humanity, and Islam require and encourage.

Certainly, what is required in reality is peace, because the appointed hour is set, it does not change. Since his appointed hour had come, in any event the murdered man would have stayed no longer. As for the murderer, he was the means of God's decree being carried out. So long as there is no reconciliation, both sides perpetually suffer the torments of fear and revenge. It is because of this that Islam commands that "one believer should not be vexed with another believer for more than three days." 1 If the murder was not the result of a vindictive grudge and enmity, and a two-faced trouble-maker instigated the discord, it is essential to make peace quickly. Otherwise, that minor disaster becomes a large one, and continues. If they make peace, and the murderer repents and prays continuously for the man he killed, then both sides will gain much and become like brothers. In place of one departed brother, he will gain several religious brothers. He will be resigned to Divine Decree and Determining and forgive his enemy. Especially since they heed the lessons of the Risale-i Nur, both individual and public peace and well- being, and the brotherhood that there is in the sphere of the Risale-i Nur, require that they put aside all the hard feelings that exist between them.

It was thus in Denizli Prison; all the prisoners who were enemies became brothers through the lessons of the Risale-i Nur. It was one reason for our acquittal, and caused even the irreligious and ungodly to say about those prisoners: "MashaTlah! Barakallah!" And it was an utter relief for those prisoners. I myself have seen here a hundred men suffer inconvenience on account of one man and not go out to take exercise together. It is oppression towards them. A manly believer of sound conscience will not cause hundreds of other


1 Muslim, Birr, 25.


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believers harm because of some insignificant and minor error or benefit. If he makes a mistake and does cause harm, he should repent immediately.


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In His Name, be He glorified!

My loyal new brothers and old prisoners!

I have formed the firm conclusion that, in respect of Divine favour, you are an important cause in our entering here. That is to say, with its consolation and the truths of belief, the Risale-i Nur is to save both you from the distress of this calamity of prison and from much worldly harm, and your life from passing profitlessly and in vain through grief and sorrow and being wasted on the winds of fancy, and your hereafter from weeping like your world is weeping now; it is to provide you with true solace.

Since the reality of the matter is this, of course you must be brothers to one another, like the Denizli prisoners and Students of the Risale-i Nur. You can see that they examine all your possessions, food, bread, and soup which come from outside so that a knife does not get in among you and you do not attack one another. The warders who faithfully serve you suffer much trouble. Also, you do not go out to exercise together, as though you were going to attack one another like wild beasts. And so, new friends, who are by nature bold and courageous, with great moral courage you should say to the group at this time:

"If not knives, but Mausers and revolvers were given us, and the order to fire as well, we would not hurt our friends who are unfortunate and suffering this calamity like ourselves. Through the guidance and at the command of the Qur'an, and belief, and Islamic brotherhood, and our interests, we have decided to forgive them and to try not to offend them, even if formerly there were a hundred reasons for our enmity and hostility." And so transform this prison into an auspicious place of study.


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AN IMPORTANT MATTER which occurred to my heart on the Night of Power

(The Addendum to the Second Station of the Thirteenth Word)

I shall allude briefly to a most extensive and lengthy truth which occurred to my heart on the Night of Power.

Because of the extreme tyranny and despotism of this last World War and its merciless destruction, and hundreds of innocents being scattered and ruined on account of a single enemy, and the awesome despair of the defeated, and the fearsome alarm of the victors and their ghastly pangs of conscience arising from the supremacy they are unable to maintain and the destruction they are unable to repair, and the utter transitoriness and ephemerality of the life of this world and the deceptive, opiate nature of the fantasies of civilization becoming apparent to all, and the exalted abilities lodged in human nature and the human essence being wounded in a universal and awesome manner, and man's innate love and desire for immortality being aroused and awakened, and heedlessness and misguidance and deaf, lifeless nature being smashed by the diamond sword of the Qur'an, and the exceedingly ugly, exceedingly cruel true face of world politics becoming apparent, which is the widest and most suffocating and deceptive cover for heedlessness and misguidance, most certainly and without any shadow of a doubt, since the life of this world -which is the metaphorical beloved of mankind- is thus ugly and transient, man's true nature will search with all its strength for eternal life, which it truly loves and yearns for, just as there are signs of this occurring in the North, the West, and in America.

Most certainly there is also no doubt that since the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, which each century for one thousand three hundred and sixty years has had three hundred and fifty million students, and sets the seal on each of its pronouncements and claims through the affirmation of millions of profound, veracious scholars, and each minute has been present with its sacredness in the hearts of millions of hafiz's and given instruction to mankind through their tongues, and which in a way unmatched by any other book conveys the good news of eternal life and everlasting happiness to mankind and heals all their wounds, -since the Qur'an has given this certain good news of eternal life and happiness with thousands of its insistent, powerful and repeated verses, and with its certain unshakeable proofs and innumerable indubitable arguments which invite and give news explicitly and implicitly tens of thousands of times, so long as human kind does not altogether lose its mind and a material or immaterial doomsday does not erupt over its head, the


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broad masses and great states in the world will search out the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, and having grasped its truths, will embrace it with all their lives and spirits, just as there are [now] famous preachers in Sweden, Norway, Finland and England working to have the Qur'an accepted, and the important community of America is searching for the true religion. Because in view of this fact, the Qur'an by no means has - nor can have - any equal. Absolutely nothing can take the place of this greatest miracle.

SECONDLY: Since the Risale-i Nur has performed the service of a diamond sword in the hand of this greatest miracle and compelled its stubborn enemies to submit, and acts as a herald to the treasures of the Qur'an in a fashion that illuminates and heals completely both the heart, and the spirit, and the emotions, and has no source or authority other than the Qur'an and is its miracle, it performs that duty perfectly.

Furthermore it has completely routed the obstinate atheists and their fearsome propaganda against it, and smashed to pieces with the treatise Nature: Cause or Effect nature, which is the most impregnable bastion of misguidance, and, with the Sixth Topic of the treatise Fruits of Belief together with the First, Second, Third and Eighth Proofs all of which are included in the book The Staff of Moses, has banished heedlessness in a most brilliant fashion in its most dense, suffocating and extensive form beneath the wide- reaching veils of science and has demonstrated the light of Divine unity.

For sure, since religious instruction is now officially permitted and permission has been given to open private places of study, it is necessary for us and essential for the nation that, as far as is possible, Students of the Risale-i Nur should open a small 'Risale- i Nur Study Centre' in every place. Although everyone would benefit to some extent, not everyone would understand every matter completely. But since these matters are explanations of the truths of belief, they are both learning, and knowledge of God, and lead to a sense of God's presence, and are worship.

God willing, these Risale-i Nur 'Medreses' will secure in five to ten weeks the results that the former medreses produced in five to ten years -and they have been so doing for twenty years.

Also, it is essential that the Government does not interfere with these flashes of the Qur'an, the Risale-i Nur, which is the Qur'an's herald and is beneficial in many ways for the worldly and political life of this nation and country, and for its life in the hereafter. Indeed, it should work for its total spread and acceptance, so that it may atone for the grievous sins of the past, and form a barrier to the severe trials and anarchy of the future.


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THE SIXTH TOPIC FROM THE FRUITS OF BELIEF

[This consists of a single, brief proof of the pillar of belief, 'Belief in God,' for which there are numerous decisive proofs and explanations in the Risale-i Nur.]

In Kastamonu a group of high-school students came to me, saying: "Tell us about our Creator, our teachers do not speak of God." I said to them: "All the sciences you study continuously speak of God and make known the Creator, each with its own particular tongue. Do not listen to your teachers; listen to them.

"For example, a well-equipped pharmacy with life-giving potions and cures in every jar weighed out in precise and wondrous measures doubtless shows an extremely skilful, practised, and wise pharmacist. In the same way, to the extent that it is bigger and more perfect and better stocked than the pharmacy in the market-place, the pharmacy of the globe of the earth with its living potions and medicaments in the jars which are the four hundred thousand species of plants and animals shows and makes known to eyes that are blind even - by means of the measure or scale of the science of medicine that you study - the All- Wise One of Glory, Who is the Pharmacist of the mighty pharmacy of the earth.

"To take another example; a wondrous factory which weaves thousands of sorts of cloth from a simple material doubtless makes known a manufacturer and skilful mechanic. In the same way, to whatever extent it is larger and more perfect than the human factory, this travelling dominical machine known as the globe of the earth with its hundreds of thousands of heads, in each of which are hundreds of thousands of factories, shows and makes known -by means of the measure or scale of the science of engineering which you study- its Manufacturer and Owner.

"And, for example, a depot, store, or shop in which has been brought together and stored up in regular and orderly fashion a thousand and one varieties of provisions undoubtedly makes known a wondrous owner, proprietor, and overseer of provisions and foodstuffs. In just the same way, to whatever degree it is vaster and more perfect than such a store or factory, this foodstore of the Most Merciful One known as the globe of the earth, this Divine ship, this dominical depot and shop holding goods, equipment, and


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conserved food, which in one year travels regularly an orbit of twenty-four thousand years, and carrying groups of beings requiring different foods and passing through the seasons on its journey and filling the spring with thousands of different provisions like a huge waggon, brings them to the wretched animate creatures whose sustenance has been exhausted in winter, - by means of the measure or scale of the science of economics which you study - this depot of the earth makes known and makes loved its Manager, Organizer, and Owner.

"And, for example, let us imagine an army which consists of four hundred thousand nations, and each nation requires different provisions, uses different weapons, wears different uniforms, undergoes different drill, and is discharged from its duties differently. If this army and camp has a miracle-working commander who on his own provides all those different nations with all their different provisions, weapons, uniforms, and equipment without forgetting or confusing any of them, then surely the army and camp show the commander and make him loved appreciatively. In just the same way, the spring camp of the face of the earth in which every spring a newly recruited Divine army of the four hundred thousand species of plants and animals are given their varying uniforms, rations, weapons, training, and demobilizations in utterly perfect and regular fashion by a single Commander-in-Chief Who forgets or confuses not one of them - to whatever extent the spring camp of the face of the earth is vaster and more perfect than that human army, - by means of the measure or scale of the military science that you study - it makes known to the attentive and sensible, its Ruler, Sustainer, Administrator, and Most Holy Commander, causing wonderment and acclaim, and makes Him loved and praised and glorified.

'Another example: millions of electric lights that move and travel through a wondrous city, their fuel and power source never being exhausted, self-evidently make known a wonder-working craftsman and extraordinarily talented electrician who manages the electricity, makes the moving lamps, sets up the power source, and brings the fuel; they cause others to congratulate and applaud him, and to love him. In just the same way, although some of the lamps of the stars in the roof of the palace of the world in the city of the universe -if they are considered in the way that astronomy says- are a thousand times larger than the earth and move seventy times faster than a cannon-ball, they do not spoil their order, nor collide with one another, nor become extinguished, nor is their fuel exhausted. According to astronomy, which you study, for our sun to continue burning, which is a million times larger than the earth and a million times older and is a lamp and stove in one guest-house of the Most Merciful One, as much oil as the seas of the earth and as much coal as its mountains or as many logs and much wood as ten earths are necessary for it not to be extinguished. And however much greater


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and more perfect than this example are the electric lamps of the palace of the world in the majestic city of the universe, which point with their fingers of light to an infinite power and sovereignty which illuminates the sun and other lofty stars like it without oil, wood, or coal, not allowing them to be extinguished or to collide with one another, though travelling together at speed, to that degree - by means of the measure of the science of electricity which you either study or will study - they testify to and make known the Monarch, Illuminator, Director, and Maker of the mighty exhibition of the universe; they make Him loved, glorified, and worshipped.

"And, for example, take a book in every line of which a whole book is finely written, and in every word of which a sura of the Qur'an is inscribed with a fine pen. Being most meaningful with all of its matters corroborating one another, and a wondrous collection showing its writer and author to be extraordinarily skilful and capable, it undoubtedly shows its writer and author together with all his perfections and arts as clearly as daylight, and makes him known. It makes him appreciated with phrases like, "What wonders God has willed!" and, "Blessed be God!" Just the same is the mighty book of the universe; we see with our eyes a pen at work which writes on the face of the earth, which is a single of its pages, and on the spring, which is a single folio, the three hundred thousand plant and animal species, which are like three hundred thousand different books, all together, one within the other, without fault or error, without mixing them up or confusing them, perfectly and with complete order, and sometimes writes an ode in a word like a tree, and the complete index of a book in a point like a seed. However much vaster and more perfect and meaningful than the book in the example mentioned above is this compendium of the universe and mighty embodied Qur'an of the world, which is infinitely full of meaning and in every word of which are numerous instances of wisdom, to that degree -in accordance with the extensive measure and far-seeing vision of the natural science that you study and the sciences of reading and writing that you have practised at school- it makes known the Inscriber and Author of the book of the universe together with His infinite perfections. Proclaiming 'God is Most Great!', it makes Him known. Uttering words like 'Glory be to God!', it describes Him. Uttering praises like 'All praise be to God!', it makes Him loved.

"Thus, hundreds of other sciences like these make known the Glorious Creator of the universe together with His Names, each through its broad measure or scale, its particular mirror, its far-seeing eyes, and searching gaze; they make known His attributes and perfections.

"It is in order to give instruction in this matter, which is a brilliant and magnificent proof of Divine unity, that the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition teaches us about our Creator most often with the verses, Sustainer of the


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i 7 • •

Heavens and the Earth, and, He created the Heavens and Earth." I said this to the schoolboys, and they accepted it completely, affirming it by saying: "Endless thanks be to God, for we have received an absolutely true and sacred lesson. May God be pleased with you!" And I said:

"Man is a living machine who is grieved with thousands of different sorrows and receives pleasure in thousands of different ways; and despite his utter impotence has innumerable enemies, physical and spiritual; and despite his infinite poverty, has countless needs, external and inner; and is a wretched creature continuously suffering the blows of death and separation. Yet, through belief and worship, he at once becomes connected to a Monarch so Glorious he finds a point of support against all his enemies and a source of help for all his needs, and like everyone takes pride at the honour and rank of the lord to whom he is attached, you can compare for yourselves how pleased and grateful and thankful and full of pride man becomes at being connected through belief to an infinitely Powerful and Compassionate Monarch, at entering His service through worship, and transforming for himself the announcement of the execution of the appointed hour into the papers releasing him from duty."

I repeat to the calamity- stricken prisoners what I said to the schoolboys: "One who recognizes Him and obeys Him is fortunate even if he is in prison. While one who forgets Him is wretched and a prisoner even if he resides in a palace." Even, one wronged but fortunate man said to the wretched tyrants who were executing him: "I am not being executed but being demobilized and departing for where I shall find happiness. But I see that you are being condemned to eternal execution and am therefore taking perfect revenge on you." And declaring: "There is no god but God!", he happily surrendered his spirit.

Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.


  • * *


'Qur'an, 6:1. 2 Qur'an, 13:16. 3 Qur'an, 2:32.


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THE AIR: A Window onto Divine Unity


In His Name, be He glorified! And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.

My very dear and loyal brothers!

My brothers, I observed in a subtle point concerning God's unity, which suddenly became clear while studying the page of the air on a journey of the imagination and mind, that is, in the word HE (HU) in the phrases THERE IS NO GOD BUT HE, and, SAY HE IS GOD, (and that was only in its material aspect) that the way of belief is infinitely easy, easy to the point of being necessary, and that the way of misguidance and associating partners with God is infinitely difficult, so difficult as to be impossible. I shall explain that long and extensive point with an extremely brief indication.

Yes, if soil, one handful of which can act as a flower-pot for hundreds of plants in turn, is attributed to nature or causes, it becomes necessary either for there to be present in such a handful hundreds of immaterial machines, indeed, machines and factories to the number of the plants, or for each particle of that small amount of soil to know how to make all those different plants together with their different characteristics and living organs; quite simply, each would have to possess infinite knowledge and limitless power like a god.

The same is true for the air, which is a place of maximum manifestation of the Divine will and command; either there would have to be present on a minute scale in each of its molecules, in each waft of wind, each breath, and in the tiny amount air expended with the word HE, the innumerable different exchanges, centres, receivers and transmitters of all the telephones, telegraphs and radios in the world so that each could perform those innumerable acts at the same time; or else, each particle of each molecule of air exhaled with HE, and indeed of the element air, would have to possess abilities and personalities to the number of all the different telephone users, telegraphers, and those who speak on the radio, and know all their different languages, and broadcast them to the other particles at the same time. For such a situation is actually apparent, and every bit of air possesses that ability. Thus, in


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the ways of the unbelievers, Naturalists, and Materialists not one impossibility, but impossibilities and difficulties are clearly apparent to the number of molecules of air.

If attributed to the All-Glorious Maker, however, the air together with all its particles becomes a soldier under His command. With its Creator's permission and through His power, and through being connected to its Creator and relying on Him, and through the manifestation of its Maker's Power, in an instant with the speed of lightning, and with the ease of uttering the word HE and the movement of the air in waves, its innumerable universal duties are performed as easily as an orderly, single duty of a single particle. That is to say, the air becomes a page for the endless, wonderful, and orderly writings of the pen of power, and its particles become the nibs of the pen, and their duties the points inscribed by it. The air functions as easily as the movement of a single particle.

Thus, while on my journey of contemplation prompted by the phrases THERE IS NO GOD BUT HE, and, SAY, HE IS GOD, and while observing the world of the air and studying the page of that element, I witnessed this brief truth with utter certainty and clarity, and in detail. And I understood with 'knowledge of certainty' that it was because there is in the word HE, in the air of its utterance, such a brilliant proof and flash of Divine unity, and also in its meaning and allusions such a luminous manifestation of Divine oneness and powerful proof of Divine unity, and in that proof an indication that since the pronoun HE is unconditional and indefinite, it suggests the question, "Who does it refer to?" that both the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition and those who constantly recite the Divine Names frequently repeat this sacred word in the station of unity.

If, for example, there is one point on a piece of white paper and two or three other points are jumbled around with it and then someone who already has numerous jobs tries to distinguish them, he will be confused; and if many burdens are loaded on a small creature, it will be crushed; and if numerous words issue from one tongue and enter one ear altogether at the same time, their order will be broken and they will be a muddle.

Despite this being the case, I saw with complete certainty that with the key and compass of HE, although thousands of different points, letters and words had been put in each molecule -and even in each particle- of the element air, through which I journeyed in my mind, neither did they become mixed up nor did they spoil their order; and although they performed a great many different duties, these were carried out without being confused in any way; and although very heavy loads were laid on each molecule and particle, they bore them in order without lagging or displaying any weakness at all. And I saw that thousands of different words of all different sorts enter and


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issue with perfect order from what is in effect those minute ears and tongues without being mixed up and spoilt in any way, they enter those minute ears and issue from those tiny tongues, and by performing these extraordinary duties, each particle and each molecule declares through the enraptured tongue of its being and its perfect freedom, and through the testimony and tongue of the above truth: THERE IS NO GOD BUT HE, and: SAY, HE IS GOD, THE ONE, and travels among air-clashing waves like storms and lightning and thunder without in any way spoiling their order or confusing their duties. One duty is not an obstacle to another duty. I observed this and was utterly certain.

That is to say, either every particle and piece of the air has to possess infinite wisdom, knowledge, will, and power, and the qualities for being absolutely dominant over all the other particles so that it can be the means of those functions being carried out, which is absurd and impossible to the number of particles, and no devil even could imagine it, or else, and it is self-evident to the degree of 'knowledge of certainty,' 'vision of certainty,' and 'absolute certainty' that the page of the air functions through the boundless, infinite knowledge and wisdom of the All-Glorious One, and is the changing page for the pen of Divine Power and Determining, and like a signboard for writing and erasing, known as a Tablet of Appearance and Dissolution, which has the function of the Preserved Tablet in the world of transformation and change.

Thus, just as the element of air demonstrates the above-mentioned wonders and manifestation of Divine unity in only the duty of transmitting sound and shows the impossibilities of misguidance, so does it perform other important duties with order and without confusing them, such as transmitting subtle forces and energy, like electricity, light, and the forces of attraction and repulsion. At the same time as conveying these, with perfect order, it carries out duties essential for the lives of plants and animals, such as respiration and pollination. It proves in decisive fashion that it is a place of maximum manifestation of the Divine will and command. I came to the firm conclusion that it proves that in no way is there any possibility of vagrant chance, blind force, deaf nature, confused and aimless causes, and powerless, lifeless, unknowing matter interfering in the writing and duties of the page of the air. And I understood that every particle and part of it says with the tongue of its being: SAY, HE IS GOD, THE ONE, and: THERE IS NO GOD BUT HE. Just as with the key of HE I saw these wonders in the material aspect of the air, so also, as a HE, did the element of air become a key to the World of Similitudes and the World of Meaning.

I saw that the World of Similitudes is all the time taking innumerable photographs without confusing them, and that each photograph contains innumerable events occurring in this world. I understood that it was a


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gigantic camera, and a vast cinema of the hereafter thousands of times larger than the world for showing in eternal theatres the fruits of the transitory and impermanent states and lives of ephemeral beings, for showing to those enjoying everlasting bliss in Paradise scenes from their old memories and adventures in this world. *

While the faculties of memory and imagination, which are two proofs, two small examples, and two points of both the Preserved Tablet and the World of Similitudes situated in man's head, are as tiny as lentils, within them are written in perfect order and without being mixed up as much information as may be contained in a large library. This proves decisively that large examples of those faculties are the World of Similitudes and the Preserved Tablet.

It is definite and certain with 'knowledge of certainty' that the elements of air and water, and the element air and water like seminal fluid in particular, are far superior to the element of earth, and are written with more wisdom and will, and with the pen of Divine Determining and Power, and that it is completely impossible for chance, blind force, deaf nature, and lifeless and aimless causes to interfere in them, and that they are a page of the pen of Power and the wisdom of the All- Wise One of Glory.


1 Since the time and place and conditions do not allow this to be proven with firm proofs and arguments like clear facts, it is cut short here.


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The Fourteenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Alif Lam. Ra. [This is] a Book with verses fundamental [of established meaning]. Further explained in detail, from One All-Wise and Well-Acquainted [with all things].

[In order to ascend to some of the elevated truths of the All-Wise Qur'an, and of Hadiths, which are the true expounder of the Qur'an, we shall point out a number of comparisons of those truths which are like steps to assist hearts deficient in submission and obedience, and shall explain in the Conclusion an object lesson and a mystery concerning Divine favour. Since from among those truths, comparisons of the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement have been mentioned in the Tenth Word, and its Ninth Truth in particular, there is no need to repeat them. Here we shall mention only five 'Matters' as examples of the other truths.]

THE FIRST: For example, in order to induce certainty about the verse,

He created the heavens and the earth in six days,

and the elevated truth it alludes to through the Qur'anic days, which consist of a long period of time like perhaps a thousand or fifty thousand years, that man's world and that of the animals will last six days, we draw attention to the travelling worlds, transient universes, and passing cosmoses which the Glorious Maker creates every day, every year, every century, each of which is like a day. It is as though these worlds are all guests like man. At the All-Glorious One's command, each season the world is filled and emptied.

THE SECOND: For example, the verses,

Nor anything fresh or dry but is [inscribed] in a Record Clear. * And


'Qur'an, 11:1.

2 Qur'an, 7:54.

3 Qur'an, 6:59.


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of all things have We taken account in a Clear Book. * From Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth; nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but it is in the Record Clear.

In order to be convinced of the elevated truth which these verses state, that, "All things together with all their states are recorded before they come into existence, when they come into existence, and after they have departed; and they are being recorded," we point out to be observed the All-Glorious Inscriber's including and preserving in immaterial fashion in the seeds and roots of the innumerable well-ordered creatures which He changes every season on the page of the earth, and particularly in the spring, the indexes of their beings, life-histories, and principles according to which they act; and when they die His inscribing in immaterial fashion with the same pen of Divine Determining those indexes, life-histories and principles in the simple seeds in their fruits; and every passing spring even His preserving them -whether fresh or dry- in perfect order in seeds like dry chips of wood and bones, limited and tiny. It is as if each spring is attached like a flower to the face of the earth in extremely orderly and balanced fashion by the hand of One All-Beautiful and All-Glorious, then plucked from it; each is placed on it, then removed. While the reality is this, one of the strangest forms of man's misguidance is that he calls this natural writing, this inscribing full of art, this passive pattern of wisdom which is an index of dominical art and only a reflection and manifestation of the Preserved Tablet, 'nature', and considers it to be the source and active and effective. Can there be any comparison between the ground and the Pleiades? Can there be any comparison between reality and the views of the heedless?

THE THIRD: For example, in order to ascend to the truth which the Bringer of Sure News described concerning the Bearers of the Throne, the angels appointed to the earth and the skies, and other sorts of angels, stating that they glorify God with forty thousand heads, and with the forty thousand tongues in each head, and in forty thousand ways with each tongue, consider the following carefully. Through verses like,

The seven heavens and the earth and all within them glorify and extol Him. * It was We Who made the hills declare in unison with him Our praises. * We did

Q

indeed offer the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, the All-Glorious One expresses clearly that even the greatest and most


4 Qur'an, 36:12.

5 Qur'an, 34:3.

6 Qur'an, 17:44.

7 Qur'an, 38:18.

8 Qur'an, 33:72.


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universal of beings demonstrate that they glorify Him in accordance with their universality and in a way appropriate to their vastness. And it appears to be thus. Just as the words of glorification of the heavens, which are an ocean glorifying God, are the suns, moons, and stars, so the words of praise of the earth, a flying thing praising and glorifying, are the animals, plants and trees. That is to say, just as the trees and stars all perform particular forms of glorification, so does the earth and every part of the earth, and all the mountains and valleys, and the land and the sea, and the spheres of the firmament and the constellations in the heavens all perform universal forms of glorification. The earth, which possesses these thousands of heads containing thousands of tongues, certainly has an angel appointed to it who translates and displays in the World of Similitudes the flowers of glorification and fruits of praise it performs with each, and who represents and proclaims them in the World of Spirits.

Indeed, if numerous things take on the form of a collectivity, a collective personality comes into being. If such a collectivity fuses and becomes a unity, it will have a collective personality and a sort of spirit which will represent it, and an appointed angel who will perform its duty of glorification. As an example, consider the plane-tree in front of my room here, a mighty word of the mouth of Barla and the tongue of this mountain: see how many hundreds of tongues of smaller branches there are on the three heads of the three main branches of its trunk. Study carefully how many hundreds of words of well- ordered and balanced fruits it has, and how many hundreds of letters of well-proportioned winged seeds; just as you hear and see how eloquently it praises and glorifies the All- Glorious Maker, the Owner of the command of "Be!" and it is, so too the angel appointed to it represents its glorification with numerous tongues in the World of Meaning. Wisdom necessitates that it is so.

THE FOURTH: For example, consider the elevated truth expressed by verses like:

Indeed, His command when He wills a thing, is, "Be!", and it is. * And the decision of the Hour is as the twinkling of an eye. * And We are closer to him than his jugular vein. * The angels ascend to Him in a day the measure of


which is fifty thousand years


12


which is that the Absolutely Powerful One creates things with such ease and speed, with such facility and lack of trouble, that it appears and is understood that He creates with a mere command. Also, although the All-


9 Qur'an, 36:82.

10 Qur'an, 16:77. "Qur'an, 50:16. 12 Qur'an, 70:4.


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Powerful Maker is infinitely close to beings, they are infinitely distant from him. Furthermore, despite His infinite might and glory, attaching importance to them, He also sets in order the most insignificant and lowly matters, and does not deny them the beauty of His art. Thus, the perfect order within absolute ease observed in beings testifies to the existence of this Qur'anic truth. The following comparison demonstrates its meaning and wisdom. For example, And God's is the highest similitude, the duties the sun displays through the dominical command and Divine subjugation, which is like a dense mirror to the Divine Name of Light among the All-Glorious Maker's Most Beautiful Names, brings this truth closer to the understanding. It is as follows:

Although through its elevatedness, the sun is infinitely close to all transparent and shining things, indeed, is closer to them than their own selves, and although it has an effect on them in numerous ways like through its manifestation, its image, and power of disposal, those transparent objects are thousands of years distant from it, they can in no way have an effect on it, they cannot claim to be close to it. Also, the sun's being as though present and seeing in all transparent particles, and wherever its light enters even, is understood through the sun's reflection and its image being apparent in accordance with the particles' capacities and colours. Furthermore, the sun's comprehensiveness and penetration increase to the vast extent of its luminosity. It is because of the greatness of its luminosity that the tiniest things cannot hide or escape from it. This means that through the mystery of luminosity its immense vastness does not exclude even insignificant and tiny things; on the contrary, it takes them within the sphere of its comprehension. Moreover, if to suppose the impossible we were to imagine the sun acted with will in the tasks and manifestations its displays, with Divine permission it would function with such ease and speed and breadth in everything from particles and droplets and the surface of the sea to the planets, that it would be supposed that it performed these mighty disposals through a mere command. A particle and a planet would be equal before its command. The effulgence it would bestow on the surface of the sea, it would bestow also with perfect order on a particle in accordance with the particle's capacity.

Thus, we see that the sun, which is a luminous bubble in the seas of the skies and a small and dense mirror to the manifestation of the Absolutely Powerful One's Name of Light, observedly displays examples of the three principles of this truth. So we surely believe with complete certainty as though witnessing it that the All-Glorious One, Who is the Light of Light, the Illuminator of Light, the Determiner of Light, and in comparison to Whose knowledge and power the sun's light and heat is like earth, is all-present and all-seeing and infinitely close to all things with His knowledge and power, and that things are utterly distant from Him, and that He does


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things with such ease and facility that it is understood He creates with the ease and speed of a mere command, and that nothing at all, great or small, particular or universal, can escape from the sphere of His power, and that His magnificence encompasses all things. And this has to be believed.

THE FIFTH: While the limits of the vastness of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity's dominicality and the tremendousness of His Godhead stretch from,

No just estimate have they made of God, such as is due to Him: on the Day of Judgement the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will


be rolled up in His right hand


to,


And know that God comes between man and his heart,


and from,


to,


God is the Creator of All Things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all

rr ■ 15

affairs,


[God] knows what they hide as well as what they disclose,


and from,

1 "7

[Who] created the heavens and the earth, to,

1 Q

God has created you and what you do, and from,

God has willed this! There is no power but with God, to,

But you will not, except as God wills,

what is the purpose of His stern complaints and severe and awesome threats in the Qur'an against the sons of Adam, so impotent and infinitely weak and utterly poor and endlessly needy, who possess only partial will and have no power to create? In what way is it conformable, and how is it appropriate? In order to be convinced of this profound and elevated truth, consider the following two comparisons:

First Comparison: For example, there was a royal garden in which innumerable fruit-bearing and flowering things were found. Many servants were


13 Qur'an, 39:67.

14 Qur'an, 8:24.

15 Qur'an, 39:62.

16 Qur'an, 2:77, etc.

17 Qur'an, 7:54, etc.

18 Qur'an, 37:96.

19 Qur'an, 18:39.

20 Qur'an, 76:30.


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appointed to attend to it. The duty of one of the servants was only to open the water canal so that the water could spread throughout the garden and be benefited from. But the servant was lazy and did not open the canal, so harm came to the growth of the garden, or else it dried up. All the other servants had the right to complain, not about the Creator's dominical art and the Sultan's royal supervision and the obedient service of the light, air, and earth, but about that foolish servant, for their duties were all made fruitless, or else harm came to them.

Second Comparison: For example, if, through abandoning his minor duty on a mighty royal ship, a common man causes harm to come to the results of the duties of all the others employed on the ship, and some of them even are made to come to nothing, the ship's owner will complain bitterly about him in the name of all the others. And the one at fault cannot say: "I'm just an ordinary person. I don't deserve this severity because of my unimportant omission." For a single instance of non-existence results in innumerable such instances, whereas existence yields results in accordance with itself. For although the existence of a thing is dependent on the existence of all the conditions and causes, its non-existence, its removal, occurs with the removal of a single condition and results from the non-existence of a single particular. It is because of this that 'destruction is much easier than repair' has become like a universally accepted principle. Since the bases of unbelief and misguidance, and rebellion and sin are denial and rejection, they are an abandoning and non-acceptance. However positive and possessing of existence they appear superficially, in reality they are removal and non-existence. In which case they are a contagious crime. Just as they cause harm to the results of the acts of other beings, so they draw a veil over the manifestation of the beauties of the Divine Names.

The Monarch of Beings, Whose right it is to make these innumerable complaints, therefore utters awesome complaints about rebellious man in the name of those beings. And to do so is perfect wisdom. Rebellious man is certainly deserving of His severe and awesome threats; without doubt he deserves them.


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Conclusion

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

9 1

And what are the goods of this world but the goods of deception!

[A slap for the heedless and a warning lesson]

O my wretched soul sunk in heedlessness, which sees this life as sweet, has forgotten the hereafter, and seeks only this world! Do you know what you resemble? An ostrich! It sees the hunter, but cannot fly, so sticks it head in the sand so the hunter will not see it. Its bulky body remains in the open, and the hunter sees it. Only, its eyes are closed in the sand and it cannot see him. O my soul, consider the following comparison, and see it!

Restricting one's view to this world transforms a great pleasure into a grievous pain. For example, there are two men in this village, that is, in Barla. Ninety-nine out of a hundred of the friends of one of them have gone to Istanbul, where they are living in fine fashion. Only one has remained here, and he too will go there. For this reason, the man longs for Istanbul and thinks of it; he wants to join his friends. When he is told to go there, he is overjoyed and goes happily. As for the second man, ninety-nine of his friends have departed from here. But some have perished, and some have been put in places where they neither see nor are seen. He imagines that they have departed and disappeared in utter misery. This wretched man becomes friendly with a single guest in place of all of them, and wants to find consolation. Through him he wants to forget his grievous pain of separation.

O my soul! Foremost God's Beloved, and all your friends, are beyond the grave. The one or two who remain will also depart for there. So do not be frightened of death, anxious at the grave, and avert your head. Look manfully at the grave, and listen to what it seeks. Laugh in death's face like a man, and see what it wants. Beware, do not be heedless and resemble the second man.

O my soul! Do not say, "The times have changed, this age is different, everyone is plunged into this world and worships this life. Everyone is drunk with the struggle for livelihood." For death does not change. Separation is not


21 Qur'an, 3:185.


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transformed into permanence and does not become different. Man's impotence and poverty do not change, they increase. Man' s journey is not cut, it becomes faster.

Also, do not say, "I am like everyone else." For everyone befriends you only as far as the grave, and the consolation of being together with everyone else in disaster has no meaning beyond the grave. And do not suppose yourself to be free and independent. For if you look at this guest-house of the world with the eye of wisdom, you will see that nothing at all is without order and without purpose. How can you remain outside the order and be without purpose? Events in the world like earthquakes are not the playthings of chance. For example, you see that the extremely well-ordered and finely embroidered shirts, one over the other and one within the other, which are clothed on the earth from the species of animals and plants, are adorned and decked out from top to bottom with purposes and instances of wisdom, and you know that the earth revolves and is turned like an ecstatic Mevlevi in perfect order within most exalted aims. How is it then, as an atheist published, they suppose the death-tainted events of the earth, like the earthquake, which resembles the earth' s shaking off itself the weight of certain forms of heedlessness of which it disapproves from mankind, and especially from the believers, to be without purpose and the result of chance? How is it that they show the grievous losses of all those stricken to be without recompense and to have gone for nothing, and cast them into a fearsome despair? They are both making a great error and perpetrating a great wrong. Indeed, such events occur at the command of One All-Wise and All- Compassionate, in order to transform the transient property of the believers into the equivalent of alms, and make it permanent. And they are atonement for their sins arising from ingratitude for bounties. Just as a day will come when this subjugated earth will see the works of man, which are the adornment of its face, to be tainted by the attributing of partners to God and not to be the cause of thanks, and it will find them ugly. At the Creator's command, it will wipe them off its entire face and cleanse it. At God's command, it will pour those who attribute partners to God into Hell, and say to those who offer thanks, "Come and enter Paradise!"


22 This was written in connection with the Izmir earthquake.


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The Addendum to the Fourteenth Word

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

When the earth is shaken to its [utmost] convulsion, * And the earth throws up its burdens [from within], * And man cries [distressed] "What is the matter with it?" * On that Day will it declare its tidings. * For that your Sustainer will have given it inspiration.

This Sura states definitely that in its movements and earthquakes the earth shakes at a command, on receiving revelation and inspiration. And sometimes it trembles.

[Prompted by an inspiration, the answers occurred to me to six or seven minor questions related to the current earthquakes, importantly from the point of view of their meaning. Although on several occasions I intended to write them in detail, permission was not given, so they have been written briefly and in short.]

First Question: More distressing than the material disaster of the present severe earthquake are its immaterial aspects; the fear and despair at further earthquakes is destroying the nightly rest of most of the people in most areas. What is the reason for this terrible torment?

The Answer, again in regard to its Meaning: It has been said that the drunken, licentious songs, some of which were performed by girls, being broadcast rapturously by means of the radio during the tarawih prayers of the month of Ramadan in every corner of this blessed centre of Islam resulted in the torment of this fear.

Second Question: Why aren't these heavenly blows dealt at the unbelievers in their countries? Why are they visited on the unhappy Muslims?

The Answer: Just as the requital for big mistakes and crimes is postponed and made in big centres, and the requital for small crimes is made quickly in small centres, as a consequence of an important instance of wisdom, the recompense of the greater part of the unbelievers' crimes is


23 Qur'an, 99:1-5.


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postponed to the Last Judgement, while the punishment for the believers' faults is in part given in this world.

Third Question: What is the reason for this disaster, which arises from the wrongdoing of a few individuals, occurring to a degree generally throughout the country?

The Answer: The general disaster results from the wrongdoing of the majority: most people in effect participate in the actions of those tyrannical individuals by supporting them either actively or morally or in some connection.

Fourth Question: Since this disaster of an earthquake results from wrongdoing and is atonement for sins, why are the innocent and those not at fault struck by it? How does Divine justice permit this?

The Answer, again in regard to its meaning: Since this matter concerns the mystery of Divine Determining, we refer you to the Risale-i Nur and here only say this:

And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular [only] those of you who do wrong.

That is, beware of the calamity or disaster which when it occurs is not restricted to wrongdoers but strikes the innocent as well.

The meaning of the above verse is as follows: this world is a field of trial and examination, and a place of striving where man is accountable for his actions. Accountability and examination require that reality remains veiled so that through competition and striving the Abu Bakr's may rise to the highest of the high and the Abu Jahl's may enter among the lowest of the low. If the innocent remained untouched by such disasters, the Abu Jahl's would submit just like the Abu Bakr's, and the door of spiritual and moral progress through striving would be closed and the mystery of accountability spoiled.

Since Divine wisdom requires that oppressed and oppressor are together afflicted by disaster, what then is the share of the wretched oppressed of Divine mercy and justice?

It was said in reply to this question: for them there is a manifestation of mercy within the wrath and anger in the disaster. For just as the transient pro

perty of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them


24 Furthermore, in abandoning an abrogated and corrupted religion, people like the Russians do not incur Divine wrath to the extent of those who betray a true and eternal religion which may not be abrogated. Thus, the earth leaves them at present, and displays its anger towards those here.

25 Qur'an, 8:25.


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which also gains for their transient lives a permanent life. The earthquake earns for them a huge, perpetual profit, so for them is an instance of Divine mercy within the wrath.

Fifth Question: Why does the One Who is All-Just and All-Compassionate, All- Powerful and All- Wise, not give particular punishments for particular wrongs, but inflicts a mighty element? How is this in keeping with the beauty of His mercy and His all- encompassing power?

The Answer: The All-Powerful One of Glory gives numerous duties to each element and through each duty causes them to produce numerous different results. If one result of one of an element's duties is ugly, evil, or calamitous, the other good results make this result good also. If the element, which is angry at man, is prevented from that duty so that the single ugly result will not occur, then instances of good to the number of the good results will be abandoned, and so since not doing a necessary good is evil, instances of evil will be perpetrated to the number of the instances of good. A single evil not occurring would be extremely ugly, contrary to wisdom, contrary to reality, and a fault. And power, wisdom and reality are free of fault. Since certain errors constitute rebellion comprehensive enough to make the earth and elements angry, and are insulting aggression against the rights of numerous creatures, for sure, in order to demonstrate the extraordinary ugliness of such a crime, the command being given to a mighty element to "reprimand them" among its other general duties, is perfect wisdom and justice, and for the oppressed, perfect mercy.

Sixth Question: The neglectful and heedless put it about that the earthquake resulted from a fault in the rock strata inside the earth, and look upon it as quite simply a chance event, natural, and without purpose. They do not see the non-material causes and results, so that they can come to their senses. Does 'matter', on which they base their views, have some reality?

The Answer: It has no reality other than misguidance for the following reason. Take the fly out of all the species on the earth, which each year is clothed in and changes more than fifty million finely embroidered well-ordered shirts: the intention, will, purpose, and wisdom manifested on the wing of a single fly, which is only one organ out of hundreds of one individual fly out of the countless numbers of all flies on the face of the earth, the fact that it is not neglected or left to its own devices, shows that the significant acts and states of the huge globe of the earth, which is the cradle, mother, place of recourse, and protector of innumerable conscious beings - no aspect of it whether particular or universal - can be outside the Divine will, choice, and purpose. However, as is required by His wisdom, the Possessor of absolute power makes apparent causes a veil to His disposals. When He wills an earthquake, and sometimes He does, He commands the


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movement of the strata and ignites them. Even if it results from this movement or a fault in the strata, it is still at the Divine command and in accordance with His wisdom; it cannot occur in any other way.

For example, one man shot another with a rifle. If the man who fired the shot is entirely disregarded, and only the gunpowder in the bullet igniting is taken into consideration, the rights of the wretched victim would be completely violated, and it would be the epitome of foolishness. In just the same way, to forget the dominical command concerning the earth, which is a docile official of the Ail-Powerful One of Glory, rather, a ship or an aeroplane of His: "Explode a bomb inside the earth prepared through wisdom and will in order to arouse the heedless and the rebellious;" to forget this and to deviate into 'nature', is the very peak of stupidity.

An Addition and Footnote to the Sixth Question: In order to defend their way and counter the awakening of the believers and hinder them, the people of misguidance and the atheists display an obduracy so strange and a stupidity so peculiar that it makes a person regret his humanity. For example, in order to make men give up their wicked and wrongful rebellion which recently has to a degree taken on a general form, and to arouse mankind and make it forego this awesome revolt and recognize the universe's Sovereign, Whom it does not want to recognize, the Creator of the heavens and the earth -not on account of a particular title but as Sustainer and Ruler of the whole universe and all the worlds and through a widespread and general manifestation throughout the universe in the universal sphere of His dominicality- has struck mankind in the face with awesome and widespread calamities like earthquakes, storms, and world wars through the universal elements coming to anger -through water, the air, and electricity, which are matchless and constant- and has demonstrated through them in most clear fashion His wisdom, power, justice, and self-subsistence. Although this is the case, certain brainless satans in human form respond to these universal dominical signs and divine reprimands with a foolish obstinacy, saying:

"It's nature. It's the explosion of some strata under the earth and just chance. It's the sun's heat clashing with electricity, which happened in America and brought all machinery to a standstill for five hours, and also caused the atmosphere in Kastamonu Province to turn red and take on the appearance of a conflagration." They utter meaningless nonsense like this. Due to a boundless ignorance resulting from misguidance and an ugly obduracy arising from aggressive atheism, they do not know that causes are only each a pretext and a veil. A small seed taking the place of a village full of factories and looms to weave and produce the members of a pine-tree as large as a mountain shows this. By saying, "The tree emerged from the seed," they in effect deny the thousand miracles displayed in the pine tree, and put forward a number of apparent causes. They reduce to nothing a


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huge dominical act worked through the Creator's will and wisdom. Sometimes they attach a scientific name to a most profound, unknowable, and important truth which has purposes in a thousand respects, as though through the name it has been understood. Whereas it is merely made commonplace, and without purpose, wisdom, or meaning.

So, come and see the innumerable degrees of stupidity and foolishness ! They attach a name to a truth so profound and broad and unknown it could be completely understood only if it and its purposes and instances of wisdom were described in a hundred pages. As though it were something obvious they say: "It is this." For example, "It is some substance in the sun clashing with electricity." Furthermore, they ascribe a particular and intentional dominical event to one of the natural laws, which are each the titles of universal and all-encompassing will and universal sovereignty, and are known as 'Divine laws.' And by doing this they sever its connection with Divine will and choice, then refer it to chance and nature. They display an ignorance more profound than Abu Jahl. It is a rebellious foolishness like attributing the victorious battle of an individual soldier or a battalion to military regulations and discipline, and cutting its connection with the commander, king, government, and purposeful action.

Similarly, if a wonder-working craftsman produces a hundred okkas 26 of various foodstuffs and a hundred yards of varying cloths from a chip of wood the size of fingernail, like the creation of a fruitbearing tree from a seed, and someone points to the chip of wood and declares that these things have come into being out of it 'naturally' and 'through chance,' reducing to nothing the craftsman's wondrous arts and skills, what utter lunacy it would be. It is exactly the same as that....

Seventh Question: What should be understood from this event of the earth's happening to the Muslim people of this country and being aimed at them? And why are the areas of Erzincan and Izmir affected most?

The Answer: As is indicated by many signs, like the event occurring during a hard winter in the dark of night in severely cold weather, and its restriction to a region where due respect is not paid to the month of Ramadan, and the earthquakes continuing mildly in order to arouse the neglectful -it suggests the earthquakes are aimed at and look to the believers and are shaking the earth in order to warn them to perform the prayers and their supplications, and the earth itself is shaking. There are two reasons for places like unfortunate Erzincan being shaken more than other places:

One: Since its faults are few, their purification has been expedited.

The Second: Since there is the opportunity in places like that of strong


26 1 okka = approx. 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 grams.


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and loyal defenders of the faith and protectors of Islam being defeated to a degree or entirely and atheists establishing an effective centre of activity, it is possible that punishment has been visited on them first. None knows the Unseen save God.

All Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught

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us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.


27 Qur'an, 2:32.


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The Fifteenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them

missiles to drive away the evil ones.

Oh, modern-educated Sir whose brain has shrunk through studying the soulless matters of astronomy, whose mind can see no further than the tip of his nose, and who cannot squeeze the mighty mystery of the above verse into his constricted brain! The heaven of the verse may be reached by a stairway of Seven Steps. Come, let us climb them together!

FIRST STEP: Truth and wisdom require that the heavens have inhabitants appropriate to them as the earth has. According to the Shari'a, those various beings are called angels and spirit beings. Reality requires it to be thus, for despite its small size and insignificance, the earth being filled with living and conscious beings, then emptied from time to time and once again repopulated suggests, indeed makes it clear, that the heavens too, in which are magnificent constellations and are like adorned palaces, should be filled with conscious and percipient creatures. Like men and jinn, those creatures are spectators of the palace of the universe, the observers of the book of creation, and the heralds of the sovereignty of dominicality. For the universe is arrayed and embellished with innumerable adornments, decorations, and ornaments, and self-evidently requires the thoughtful gazes of those who will appreciate it and wonder at it. Certainly, beauty requires a lover and sustenance is given to the hungry. However, man and jinn are able to perform only a millionth of this endless duty, this grand viewing, this extensive worship. That is to say, endless sorts of angels and spirit beings are necessary to perform these endless duties and diverse worship.

As is indicated by certain narrations and the wisdom in the order of the universe, some kinds of travelling bodies, from planets to drops of water, are the mounts of one kind of angel. It may be said that they mount them with


Qur'an, 67:5.


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God's permission and tour and gaze upon the manifest world. It also may be said that one type of animal bodies, from the birds of Paradise called 'The Green Birds' in a Hadith, to flies, are the aircraft for a sort of spirit being. They enter them at God's command, travel around the physical universe, observing the miracles of creation through the windows of the senses of the animals' bodies.

The Creator, Who continuously creates subtle life and luminous percipient beings from dense earth and turbid water, surely also creates conscious beings suitable for spirit and life, from those seas of light and even from the oceans of darkness. And He creates them in great abundance. The existence of angels and spirit beings has been proved with the certainty of two plus two equals four in my treatise entitled Nokta (Point), and in the Twenty-Ninth Word. If you wish, you may refer to them.

SECOND STEP: The earth and the heavens are connected to one another like two countries under a single government. There are important relations and transactions between them. Things necessary for the earth like light, heat, blessings, and mercy in the form of rain come from the sky, that is, they are sent. According to the consensus of the revealed religions, which are founded on revelation, and the agreement of all those who uncover the mysteries of the universe, relying on what they have witnessed, the angels and spirit beings descend to the earth from the skies. From this it may be understood through a surmise so certain it can almost be felt that for the inhabitants of the earth there is a way to ascend to the heavens.

Indeed, everyone's mind, imagination, and gaze perpetually rise to the skies. So too, having discarded all heaviness do the spirits of the prophets and saints rise there with God's permission, and having stripped off their bodies, the spirits of the dead. Since those who become light and subtle rise to the heavens, for sure, one sort of the inhabitants of the earth and the air who are clothed in what resembles a body and are light and subtle like spirits may rise there.

THIRD STEP: The silence and tranquillity of the heavens, and their order and regularity, and vastness and luminosity, show that their inhabitants are not like those of the earth; they are obedient, they do whatever they are commanded. Because the country is vast there is nothing to cause overcrowding and disputes. Their natures are pure, they are innocent, their stations are fixed.

On the earth, opposites come together, evils are mixed with good, and disputes start between them. For this reason, conflict and suffering are born. And from them examination and competition are set. And from them progress and retrogression occur. The wisdom in these facts is as follows:


2 Muslim, Imara, 121; Tirmidhi, Tafsir Sura iii:19; Ibn Maja, Jana'iz, 4; Jihad, 16; Darimi, Jihad, 18; Musnad, vi, 386


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Man is the fruit of the tree of creation, its furthest part. It is well-known that the fruit of something is its most distant, most comprehensive, most delicate, and most important part. Therefore, since man, who is the fruit of the universe, is a most comprehensive, most wonderful, most powerless, most weak, and most subtle miracle of power, the earth, which is his cradle and dwelling-place, is the heart and centre of the whole universe as regards meaning and art, despite being physically small and insignificant in relation to the heavens; it is the exposition and exhibition-place of all the miracles of art; and the display and point of focus of all the manifestations of the Divine Names; the place of assembly and reflection of unending dominical activity; the means and market of boundless Divine creativity, whose liberality is especially evident in the numerous small species of plants and animals; the place, in a small measure, of samples of the artefacts to be found in the truly vast worlds of the hereafter; the speedily operating workshop for eternal textiles; the fast-changing place of imitation of everlasting panoramas; the narrow, temporary field and tillage rapidly raising the seeds for never-ending gardens.

Thus, it is because of this immaterial greatness of the earth, and its importance in regard to art, that the All- Wise Qur'an puts it on a par with the heavens, although it is like a tiny fruit of a huge tree. It places it in one pan of a pair of scales and the whole of the rest of the universe in the other. It repeatedly says,

Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth.

Furthermore, the speedy, constant change and transformation of the earth, which arises from the instances of wisdom mentioned above, requires that its inhabitants undergo change in accordance with it. And, it is because this limited earth manifests unlimited miracles of power that according to their creation and unlike other animate beings, no natural limit or restriction has been


3 Despite its small size, the globe of the earth may be thought of as equal to the heavens, for it may be said that 'a constant spring is greater than a lake with no inlet.' And, although a pile of grain the size of a mountain apparently seems to be thousands of times larger than a measure, since it has all passed through the measure and been transferred to another place, the measure may be seen as in balance with the grain. It is exactly the same with the globe of the earth; God Almighty has created it as a place for exhibiting His art, a place where His creativity is concentrated, as a pivot of His wisdom, a place for the manifestation of His power, a garden of His mercy, a field for His Paradise, the measure for uncountable universes and worlds of creatures, and like a spring flowing into the seas of the past and the World of the Unseen. Think of all those renewed worlds whose shirts woven of beings are changed every year, layer upon layer, in hundreds of thousands of different forms, how they fill the earth many times and being emptied into the past are poured into the World of the Unseen; consider those numerous shirts of the earth. That is, suppose all the past to be present, and then compare it with the somewhat monotonous and plain heavens: you will see that even if the earth does not weigh more than the heavens, it does not weigh less, either. Thus, you may understand the meaning of, Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth.


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placed on the faculties and powers of man and jinn, who are its most important inhabitants. As a result of this they have manifested endless progress and endless retrogression. A great field of trial and examination has opened, from the prophets and the saints to the nimrods and the devils. Since this is so, of course, with their boundless evil, the pharaoh-like devils will throw stones at the heavens and its inhabitants.

FOURTH STEP: The All-Glorious One, Who is the Sustainer, Controller, and Creator of all the worlds, has numerous principles and rules, and very many appellations, titles, and most Beautiful Names, which are all different. Whichever Name and title necessitated sending angels to the ranks of the Prophet (PBUH)'s Companions in order to do battle against unbelievers also required that there should be battle between angels and devils, and contest between the good inhabitants of the heavens and the evil inhabitants of the earth. The Ail-Powerful One of Glory, Who holds within the grasp of His power the breathing-in and breathing-out of the unbelievers, does not wipe them out with a single command, a single trumpet-blast. With His title of universal Sustainer and Names of All- Wise and Controller, He inaugurates a field of examination and contest.

If the comparison is not mistaken, we see that a king has numerous different titles and names in respect of the different areas of his rule. For example, in the judicature he is known by the name of Wise Judge, in the army as Commander-in-Chief, in the office of the Shaykh al-Islam as Khalifa, and in the civil service as Sultan. His obedient subjects call him Gracious Sovereign, while the rebellious call him All-Compelling Ruler. You may think of further examples.

Thus, it sometimes happens that such an exalted king, whose subjects are all within his power, does not issue the command to execute an impotent and contemptible rebel; he sends him to court under his name of Wise Judge. Also, he knows a both capable and honest official who is worthy of being favoured, but he does not favour him with his particular knowledge by private telephone. Instead, under his titles relating to the majesty of sovereignty and expedients of government, he opens a field of competition in order to make public how deserving the official is of reward, and he gives the command to his minister and invites the people to watch. He has organized a welcoming ceremony, and, as a result of a grand, elevated trial and examination, favours him in a distinguished assembly; he proclaims his worthiness. You can think of further examples in the same way.

Thus, And God's is the highest similitude, the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post- Eternity has numerous Most Beautiful Names. Through the manifestations of His glory and appearances of His beauty, He has many attributes and titles. The Name, title, and attribute which necessitate the existence of light and darkness, summer and winter, and Paradise and Hell, require


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also numerous general laws like the law of generation, those of competition and mutual assistance, and the making general to a degree also of the law of contest. From the contest of inspirations and satanic whisperings around the heart to the contest between angels and devils on the bounds of the heavens, they require that law to be all-embracing.

FIFTH STEP: Since there is coming and going from the earth to the heavens, and there is descent and ascent from the heavens to the earth and important necessities for the earth are sent from there; and since good spirits rise to the heavens, for sure, imitating the good spirits, evil spirits will also attempt to ascend to the realm of the heavens. For they are light and subtle in regard to their beings. However, they will doubtless be repulsed and expelled, for by nature they are evil and inauspicious. Moreover, there will doubtless be a sign, an indication, in the Manifest World of this important exchange, this contest outside the realm of materiality. For the wisdom of the sovereignty of dominicality requires that it should place a sign and leave an indication of these significant disposals in the Unseen for man in particular, whose most important duty is observation, witnessing, supervision, and acting as a herald; in the same way that it has made rain an indication of the endless miracles of spring, and made apparent causes signs of the wonders of Divine art. It thus summons the people of the Manifest Realm to witness them; indeed, it attracts the attentive gazes of all the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth to that wondrous exhibition. That is, it shows the vast heavens to be a castle or city arrayed with towers on which sentries are posted, so that they may reflect on the majesty of dominicality.

Since wisdom requires that there should be an announcement for this elevated contest, there is surely an indication of it. But -other than shooting stars- no event appropriate to this announcement is apparent among the events of the atmosphere and heavens; there is nothing more appropriate than this. For it may be understood clearly how suitable for the repulsion of devils are these stellar events, which resemble missiles and signal rockets fired from the sturdy bastions of towering castles. And there is no other known purpose, wisdom, and aim, no other purpose appropriate to these occurrences other than these. Other occurrences are not like this. Furthermore, this purpose of them has been well-known since the time of Adam, and has been witnessed by the people of reality.

SIXTH STEP: Since man and jinn are capable of infinite evil and exertion, they are infinitely obdurate and rebellious. It is because of this that the Holy Qur'an restrains them from rebellion and insubordination with an eloquence so miraculous, styles so elevated and clear, comparisons and stories so exalted and evident that they cause the universe to tremble. For example,


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observe carefully the awesome warning, fearsome threat, and severe restraining in the verses:

O you assembly of jinn and men! If you can pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, pass beyond them! [But] you cannot pass beyond them, save by [God's] authority. * Then which of the favours of your Sustainer will you deny? * On you will be sent aflame of fire, and smoke; no succour will you have,

which has the meaning of 'O man and jinn! If you are not going to obey my commands, come on, pass beyond the bounds of My realms if you are able!' With miraculous eloquence, it smashes the excessively conceited obstinacy of man and jinn. It proclaims their impotence, and shows just how powerless and wretched they are in relation to the immense grandeur of the sovereignty of dominicality. It is as though it says with that verse, and the verse,

And We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones:

'O man and jinn, proud and obstinate within your baseness, and obdurate and refractory within your weakness and poverty! How are you so bold as to oppose with your rebellion the commands of a Monarch so Glorious that the stars, moons, and suns obey His commands like soldiers under orders? Through your defiance you contest an All- Wise One of Glory Who has obedient soldiers so awesome that, if to suppose the impossible your devils could withstand them, they would drive them off with cannon- balls the size of mountains. And with your ingratitude, you revolt in the realm of a Lord of Glory Who has servants and troops so fearsome, it is not insignificant impotent creatures like you, if you were each infidel enemies the size of mountains or the earth, they would be able to hurl stars, flaming projectiles, and molten metal the size of mountains or the earth at you, and rout you. And you break a law that is such that those bound by it could if necessary strike your earth in your face, and rain down on you stars like cannon-balls the size of your globe.'

Yes, in the Qur'an are certain important 'concentrations of forces' which arise not from the enemies' strength, but from reasons like the displaying of majesty and exhibiting the enemy's wickedness. Then sometimes it mobilizes against the littlest and weakest thing, the largest and most powerful causes, in order to show its perfect order, infinite justice, vast knowledge, and power of wisdom, and holds them above it; but does not make them fall upon it or aggress against it. For example, look at this verse,

But if you uphold each other against him, truly God is his Protector, and Gabriel, and all the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels, will back him up.


4 Qur'an, 55:33-5.

5 Qur'an, 67:5.

6 Qur'an, 66:4.


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How respectful it is concerning the Prophet (PBUH), and how compassionate towards the rights of his wives! This important concentration of forces is only to express compassionately its tremendous respect for the Prophet and the importance of the complaints of two weak beings and the observance of their rights.

SEVENTH STEP: As with angels and fish, there are numerous different varieties of stars. Some are extremely small, and some are extremely large. Everything that shines in the sky even is called a star. Thus, the stars of one sort that the Glorious Creator and Beauteous Maker created are like the embossed decorations on the face of the delicate heavens, and the shining fruits of that tree, and the praising and extolling fishes of its seas. Others He made the places of excursion and thousands of dwelling-places for the angels. And one sort of small star He made the means for driving off devils. Thus, these shooting stars fired to repulse satans may have three meanings:

The First: They are a sign and indication that the law of contest is also in force in the vastest sphere.

The Second: There are vigilant guards and obedient inhabitants in the heavens. The shooting stars are a proclamation and indication that there are Divine forces found there who are displeased at the rebellion of evil dwellers on the earth, and their eavesdropping on them.

The Third: It is the rejection and repulsion with shooting stars like missiles and signal rockets of spying satans, which are the execrable representatives of the filth of the earth, from the portals of the heavens, so that they do not soil the pure and clean and the dwelling-place of the pure, the skies; to prevent them spying on account of evil spirits, and to scare off mannerless spies.

And so, Astronomer Sir, who relies on the torch in his head like a fire-fly and shuts his eyes to the sun of the Qur'an! Open your eyes, put aside the torch in your head, and see within the light of miraculousness as bright as daylight the meaning of the verse at the beginning ! Take one star of truth from the heavens of that verse, cast it at the satan in your head, and drive away your own devil! And we must do the same. Together we should say,

O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with you from the suggestions of the Evil Ones. 7 And God's is the eloquent proof and the decisive wisdom.

All glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.


1 Qur'an, 23:97. 8 Qur'an, 2.32.


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The Addendum to the Fifteenth Word

[The First Topic of the Twenty-Sixth Letter]

In His Name be He Glorified. And there is nothing but glorifies Him with praise.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And if a suggestion from Satan assails your mind, seek refuge with God; for He

is All-Hearing and All-Knowing .

A Proof of the Qur'an against Satan and His Party

This First Topic defeats in argument the Devil, silences the rebellious, and strikes them dumb by refuting in the most clear manner a fearsome and cunning stratagem of the Devil, which is to be 'unbiased'. It concerns an event part of which I described in summary form ten years ago in my work entitled Leme'at. It is as follows:

Eleven years before this treatise was written in the month of Ramadan, I was listening to the Qur'an being recited in Beyazit Mosque in Istanbul. Suddenly, although I could not see anyone, I seemed to hear an unearthly voice which captured all my attention. I listened with my imagination, and realized that it was saying to me:

'You consider the Qur'an to be extremely elevated and brilliant. Be unbiased for a minute and consider it again. That is, suppose it to be man's word. I wonder whether you would still see the same qualities and beauty in it?'

In truth, I was deceived by the voice; I thought of the Qur'an as being written by man. And just as Beyazit Mosque is plunged into darkness when the electric switch is turned off, I observed that with that thought the brilliant lights of the Qur'an began to be extinguished. At that point I understood that it was the Devil who was speaking to me. He was drawing me towards the abyss.

I sought help from the Qur'an and a light was at once imparted to my heart giving me firm strength for the defence. I began to argue back at the Devil, saying:


9 Qur'an, 7:200.


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'O Satan! Unbiased thinking is to take a position between two sides. Whereas what both you and your disciples from among men call unbiased thinking is to take the part of the opposing side; it is not impartiality, it is temporary unbelief. Because, to consider the Qur'an to be man's word and to judge it as such is to take the part of the opposing side; it is to favour something baseless and invalid. It is not being unbiased, it is being biased towards falsehood.'

The Devil replied: 'Well, in that case, say it is neither God's Word nor man's word. Think of it as between the two.' To which I rejoined:

'That is not possible either. For if there is a disputed property for which there are two claimants, and the claimants are close both to one another and to the property, the property will then either be given to someone other than them, or will be put somewhere accessible so that whoever proves ownership can take it. If the two claimants are far apart with one in the East and one in the West, then according to the rule, it will remain with the one who has possession of it, as it is not possible for it to be left somewhere between them.

'Thus, the Qur'an is a valuable property, and however distant man's word is from God's, the two sides in question are that far apart; indeed, they are infinitely far from one another. It is not possible for the Qur'an to be left between the two sides, which are as far apart as the Pleiades and the ground. For they are oppo sites like existence and non- existence or the two magnetic poles; there can be no point between them. In which case, for the Qur'an, the one who possesses it is God's side. It will be accepted as being in His possession, and the proofs of ownership will be regarded in that way. Should the opposing side refute all the arguments proving it to be God's Word, it may claim ownership of it, otherwise it may not. God forbid! What hand can pull out the nails fastening that vast jewel to the Sublime Throne of God, riveted as it is with thousands of certain proofs, and break its supporting pillars, causing it to fall?'

'And so, inspite of you, O Satan!, the just and the fair-minded reason in this equitable and rightful manner. They increase their belief in the Qur'an through even the slightest evidences. While according to the way shown by you and your disciples, if just once it is supposed to be man's word and that mighty jewel fastened to the Divine Throne is cast to the ground, a proof with the strength of all the nails and the firmness of many proofs becomes necessary in order to raise it from the ground and fasten it once more to the Throne, and so be saved from the darkness of unbelief and reach the lights of belief. But because it is extremely difficult to do this, due to your wiles, many people are losing their faith at this time by imagining themselves to be making unbiased judgements.'

The Devil turned and said: 'The Qur'an resembles man's word. It is


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similar to the way men converse. That means it is man's word. If it was God's Word, it would be appropriate to Him and would be altogether out of the ordinary. Just as His art does not resemble man's art, so also should His Word not resemble man's word.'

I replied: 'It may be understood as follows: apart from his miracles and special attributes, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a human being in all his actions, conduct, and behaviour. He submitted to and complied with the Divine laws and commands manifested in creation. He too suffered from the cold, experienced pain, and so on. His deeds and attributes were not all made out of the ordinary so that he could be the leader of his community through his actions, its guide through his conduct, and instruct it through all his behaviour. If he had been out of the ordinary in all his conduct, he could not himself have been the leader in every respect, the total guide of everyone, the 'Mercy to All the Worlds' through all his attributes.

'In just the same way, the All- Wise Qur'an is the leader to the aware and the conscious, the guide of jinn and men, the teacher of those attaining to perfection, and instructor of those seeking reality. It is of necessity and of a certainty, therefore, in the same form as man's conversation and style. For men and jinn take their supplications from it and learn their prayers from it; they express their concerns in its language, and learn from it the rules of social behaviour, and so on. Everyone has recourse to it. If, therefore, it had been in the form of the Divine speech which the Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) heard on Mount Sinai, man could not have borne listening to it and hearing it, nor made it the point of reference and recourse. Moses (Peace be upon him), one of the five greatest prophets, could only endure to hear a few words. He said:

"Is Your speech thus?' God replied: 'I have the power of all tongues."

Next, the Devil said: 'Many people speak of matters similar to those in the Qur'an in the name of religion. Is it not possible, therefore, that a human being did such a thing and made up the Qur'an in the name of religion?'

Through the light of the Qur'an I replied as follows:

'Firstly: Out of love of religion, someone who is religious may say, 'The truth is thus, the reality of the matter is this. Almighty God commands that.' But he would not make God speak to suit himself. Trembling at the verse,

Who, then does more wrong than one who utters a lie concerning God?,

he would not overstep his mark to an infinite degree, imitate God, and speak on His behalf.

'Secondly: It is in no way possible for a human being to be successful in doing such a thing on his own, in fact, it is completely impossible. Individuals


10 Qur'an, 39:32.


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who resemble one another may imitate one another, those of the same kind may take on one another's forms, those who are close to one another in rank or status may imitate one another and temporarily deceive people, but they cannot do so for ever. For in any event, the falseness and artificiality in their behaviour will show up their imposture to the observant, and their deception will not last. If the one who is attempting to imitate another under false pretences is quite unlike them, for example, if an uneducated man wants to imitate in learning a genius like Ibn-i Sina, or a shepherd assume the position of a king, of course, they will not deceive anyone at all, they will only make fools of themselves. Everything they do will proclaim, 'This is an impostor.'

'Thus, to suppose - God forbid!, a hundred thousand times - the Qur'an to be man's word is utterly impossible, no rational being can accept it as possible, to do so is a delirium like imagining to be possible something that is self-evidently impossible like a fire-fly being seen by astronomers as a real star for a thousand years; or a fly appearing to observers in the true form of a peacock for a year; or a bogus common private posing as a famous lofty field marshal, taking over his position and remaining in it for a long period without giving away his deception; or like a slandering, unbelieving liar affecting the manner and position of the most truthful, trustworthy, upright believer throughout his life and being completely unruffled before even the most observant while concealing his fraud from them.

'In just the same way, if the Qur'an is supposed to be man's word, then it has to be supposed, God forbid, that that Perspicuous Book, which is considered to be clearly a most brilliant star, rather, a sun of perfections perpetually scattering the lights of truth in the heavens of the world of Islam, is like a fire-fly, a spurious sham made up by a counterfeiting human. And those who are closest to it and study it most carefully do not realize this, and consider it to be a perpetual, exalted star and source of truth. Together with this being impossible a hundred times over, even if you went a hundred times further in your diabolical machinations, O Satan, you could not make such an assertion, you could not deceive anyone of sound reason! Only sometimes you trick people by making them look from a great distance, thus making the star appear as small as a fire-fly.

'Thirdly: Also, if the Qur'an is imagined to be man's word, it necessitates that the hidden reality of a criterion of truth and falsehood, which is miraculous in its exposition, and through the testimony of its fruits, results, and effects, is gilded with the most spiritual and life-giving, the most truthful and happiness-bringing, the most comprehensive and exalted qualities in the world of mankind, is, God forbid, the fabrication of a single unaided and unlearned man's mind; and that the great geniuses and brilliant scholars who observed that being closely and studied him meticulously at no time


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saw any trace of counterfeit or pretence in him and always found him serious, genuine, and sincere.

'This is completely impossible, an idea so nonsensical as to shame the Devil himself, like dreaming up an utterly impossible situation. For it entails supposing one who throughout his life demonstrated and taught trust, belief, confidence, sincerity, seriousness, and integrity through all his conduct, words, and actions, and raised eminently truthful and sincere followers, and was accepted to possess the highest and most brilliant and elevated virtues to be the most untrustworthy, insincere, and unbelieving. For in this question there is no point between the two.

'If, to suppose the impossible, the Qur'an was not the Word of God, it would fall as though from the Divine Throne to the ground, it would not remain somewhere between. While being the meeting-point of truths, it would become the source of superstition and myth. And if, God forbid, the one who proclaimed that wonderful decree was not God's Messenger, it would necessitate his descending from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, and from the degree of being the source of accomplishments and perfections to the level of being a mine of trickery and intrigue; he could not remain between the two. For one who lies and fabricates in God's name falls to the very lowest of degrees.

'However impossible it is to permanently see a fly as a peacock, and to all the time see the peacocks' s attributes in the fly, this matter is that impossible. Only someone lacking all intelligence could imagine it to be possible.

'Fourthly: Also, if the Qur'an is imagined to be man's word, it necessitates fancying that the Qur'an, which is a sacred commander of the community of Muhammad, mankind's largest and most powerful army, is -God forbid- a powerless, valueless, baseless forgery. Whereas, self-evidently, through its powerful laws, sound principles, and penetrating commands, it has equipped that huge army both materially, and morally and spiritually, has given it an order and regularity and imposed a discipline on it that are such as to conquer both this world and the next, and has instructed the minds, trained the hearts, conquered the spirits, purified the consciences, and employed and utilized the limbs and members of individuals according to the degree of each. To imagine it to be a counterfeit necessitates accepting a hundredfold impossibility.

'This impossibility entails the further complete impossibility of supposing that one who, through his deliberate conduct throughout his life taught mankind Almighty God's laws, and through his honest behaviour instructed man in the principles of truth, and through his sincere and reasonable words showed and established the straight way of moderation and happiness, and as all his life testifies, felt great fear of Divine punishment and knew God


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better than anyone else and made Him known, and in splendid fashion has for one thousand three hundred and fifty years commanded a fifth of mankind and half the globe, and through his qualities of renown is in truth the means of pride of mankind, indeed, of the universe, God forbid a hundred thousand times, neither feared God, nor knew Him, nor held back from lying, nor had any self-respect. For in this matter there is no point between the two. For if, to suppose the impossible, the Qur'an is not the Word of God, if it falls from the Divine Throne to the ground, it cannot remain somewhere in between the two. Indeed, it then has to be accepted as the property of the very worst of liars. And as for this, O Satan, even if you were a hundred times more satanic, you could not deceive any mind that was not unsound, nor persuade any heart that was not corrupted.'

The Devil retorted: 'How should I not deceive them? I have deceived most of mankind and their foremost thinkers into denying the Qur'an and Muhammad.'

I replied: 'Firstly: When seen from a great distance, the greatest thing appears the same as the smallest. A star may even appear as a candle.

'Secondly: Also, when seen both as secondary and superficially, something which is completely impossible may appear to be possible.

'One time an old man was watching the sky in order to spot the new moon of Ramadan when a white hair fell on his eye. Imagining it to be the moon, he announced: T have seen the new moon.' Now, it is impossible that the white hair should have been the moon, but because his intention was to look for just the moon and the hair was by the way and secondary, he paid it no attention and thought that impossibility was possible.

'Thirdly: Also, non-acceptance is one thing and denial is something quite different. Non-acceptance is indifference, a closing of the eyes to something, an ignorant absence of judgement. Many completely impossible things may be concealed within it, and the mind does not concern itself with them. As for denial, it is not non-acceptance, but an acceptance of non-existence; it is a judgement. The mind is compelled to work. So a devil like you takes hold of the mind of a person, then leads it to denial. And, showing the false as truth and the impossible as possible through satanic wiles like heedlessness, misguidance, fallacious reasoning, obstinacy, false arguments, pride, deception, and habit, you make those unfortunate creatures in human form swallow unbelief and denial, although they comprise innumerable impossibilities.

'Fourthly: Also, if the Qur'an is supposed to be the word of man, it necessitates imagining to be its opposite a book which has self-evidently guided the purified, veracious saints and spiritual poles, who shine like stars in the heavens of the world of mankind, has continuously instructed every level of the people of perfection in truth and justice, veracity and fidelity,


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faith and trustworthiness, and has ensured the happiness of the two worlds through the truths of the pillars of belief and the principles of the pillars of Islam, and through the testimony of these achievements is of necessity veracious, and pure, genuine truth, and absolutely right, and most serious - it necessitates imagining, God forbid, that this Book comprises the opposites of these qualities, effects, and lights. And that, regarding it as a collection of fabrications and lies, is a frenzy of unbelief that would shame even the Sophists and the devils, and cause them to tremble.

'And this impossibility necessitates the further most ugly and abhorrent impossibility that One who, according to the testimony of the religion and Shari'a of Islam which he proclaimed, and the unanimous indications to the extraordinary fear of God and pure and sincere worship which he demonstrated throughout his life, and as necessitated by the good moral qualities unanimously witnessed in him, and according to the affirmation of the people of truth and perfection whom he reared, was the most believing, the most steadfast, the most trustworthy, and the most truthful, was - God forbid, and again, God forbid - without belief, that he was most untrustworthy, did not fear God, nor shrink from lying. To imagine this necessitates imagining the most loathsome form of impossibility and perpetrating the most iniquitous and vicious sort of misguidance.

'In Short: As is stated in the Eighteenth Sign of the Nineteenth Letter, the common people, whose understanding of the Qur'an is gained by listening to it, say, 'Were the Qur'an to be compared with all the books I have listened to and the other books in the world, it would not resemble any of them; it is not of the same sort as them nor or the same degree.' The Qur'an, then, is of a degree either above all of them or below all of them. To be below them is impossible, and no enemy nor the Devil even could accept it. In which case, the Qur'an is above all other books, and is therefore a miracle. In just the same way, we say according to the categorical proof called 'residue', taken from the sciences of method and logic:

'O Satan and O disciples of Satan! The Qur'an is either the Word of God come from the Supreme Throne of God and His Greatest Name, or, God forbid, and again, God forbid, it is a human forgery fabricated on earth by someone without belief who neither feared God nor knew Him. In the face of the above proofs, O Satan, you can neither say that, nor could you have said it, nor will you be able to say it in the future. Therefore, the Qur'an is the Word of the Creator of the universe. Because there is no point between the two; it is impossible and precluded that there should be. Just as we have proved in the most clear and decisive manner; and you have seen it and heard it.

'In the same way, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) is either God's Messenger and the highest of the prophets and the most superior


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of creatures, or, God forbid, he has to be imagined to be someone without belief having fallen to the lowest of the low because he lied concerning God, and did not know God, and did not believe in His punishment. 11 And as for this, O Devil, neither you nor the philosophers of Europe and hypocrites of Asia on whom you rely could say it, nor could you say it in the past, neither shall you be able to say it in the future, for there is no one in the world who would listen to it and accept it. It is because of this that the most corrupting of those philosophers and the most lacking in conscience of the hypocrites, even, admit that 'Muhammad the Arabian (PBUH) was very clever, and was most moral and upright.'

'Since this matter is restricted to these two sides, and the second one is impossible and no one at all claims it to be true, and since we have proved with decisive arguments that there is no point between them, for sure and of necessity, in spite of you and your party, Muhammad the Arabian (Peace and blessings be upon him) was God's Messenger, and the highest of the prophets and the best of all creatures.'

Upon him be blessings and peace to the number of angels and jinn and men.


11 Relying on the fact that the Qur'an mentions the blasphemies and obscenities of the unbelievers, in order to refute them, trembling, I too have been compelled to use these expressions in the form of impossibilities in order to demonstrate the total impossibility and complete worthlessness of the blasphemous ideas of the people of misguidance.


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A SECOND, SMALL OBJECTION OF SATAN

Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready [to note it]. * And the stupor of death will bring the truth [before his eyes]: 'This was the thing you were trying to escape!' * And the Trumpet shall be blown: that will be the Day whereof warning [had been given]. * And there will come forth every soul: with each will be [an angel] to drive, and [an angel] to bear witness. * 'You were heedless of this; now have We removed your veil. And sharp is your sight this Day!' * And his companion will say: 'Here is [his record] ready with me!' * 'Throw, throw into Hell every contumacious rejecter!'

One time while reading these verses from Sura Qaf, the Devil said to me: 'You consider the most important aspects of the Qur'an's eloquence to lie in its clarity and fluency of style. But in this verse it jumps from one subject to another. It jumps from death agonies to the resurrection of the dead, from the blowing of the trumpet to the Last ludgement, and from that to the entry into Hell of the unbelievers. What fluency of style remains with this extraordinary switching about? In most places in the Qur'an, it brings together subjects that bear little relation to each other like this. Where is its eloquence and smoothness with such discontinuity?'

I answered as follows:

'After its eloquence, one of the most important elements of the miraculousness of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is its conciseness. Conciseness is one of the strongest and most important elements of the Qur'an's miraculousness. Instances of this miraculous conciseness of the Qur'an are so numerous and beautiful that exacting scholars are left in wonder at it. For example:

Then the word went forth: 'O earth! swallow up your water, and O sky! withhold [your rain]!' And the water abated, and matter was ended. The ark rested on

1 -3

Mount Judi, and the word went forth: Away with those who do wrong!'


12 Qur'an, 50:18-24.

13 Qur'an, 11:44.


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'It describes the Great Flood and its consequences so concisely and miraculously in a few short sentences that it has caused many scholars of rhetoric to prostrate before its eloquence. And, for example:

The Thamud rejected [their prophet] through their inordinate wrongdoing. * Behold, the most wicked man among them was deputed [for impiety]. * But the apostle of God said to them: 'It is a she-camel of God. And [bar her not from] having her drink!' * Then they rejected him, and they hamstrung her. So their Lord, on account of their crime, obliterated their traces and made them equal [in destruction, high and low]! * And for Him is no fear of its consequences .

'In these few short sentences and with a miraculousness within the conciseness, fluency, and clarity, and in a way that does not spoil the understanding, the Qur'an relates the strange and momentous events concerning the Thamud people, together with the consequences and their calamitous end. And for example:

And remember Zun-Nun, when he departed in wrath: he imagined that We had no power over him. But he cried through the depths of darkness: 'There is no god but You; glory be unto You; I was indeed among the wrongdoers.'

'Here, many sentences have be 'rolled up' between the words 'that We had no power over him' and 'but he cried out in the depths of the darkness,' but these omitted sentences neither spoil the understanding, nor mar the fluency of the style. It mentions the most important elements in the story of Jonah (Peace be upon him), and refers the rest to the intelligence.

'And for example, in Sura Yusuf, the seven or eight sentences between the words 'Send me' and 'Joseph, O man of truth!' 16 have been skipped in conciseness. It neither impairs the understanding, nor mars the smoothness of the style. There are a great many instances of this sort of miraculous conciseness in the Qur'an, and they are very beautiful indeed.

'However, the conciseness of the verses from Sura Qaf are particularly wonderful and miraculous. For they each point out the truly dreadful future of the unbelievers when each endless day will last fifty thousand years, and the grievous, dire things that will happen to them in the awesome revolutions of the future. It conveys the mind over them like lightning, presenting that long, long period of time to the mind's eye as a single present page. Referring the events which are not mentioned to the imagination, it describes them with a most elevated fluency and smoothness of style.


14 Qur'an, 91:11-15.

15 Qur'an, 21:87.

16 Qur'an, 12:45-6.


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When the Qur'an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that

17

you may receive mercy.

'And now if you have anything to say, O Satan, say it!'

Satan replied: 'I cannot oppose what you say, nor defend myself. But there are many foolish people who listen to me; and many devils in human form who assist me; and many pharaohs among philosophers who learn things from me which flatter their egos, and prevent the publication of works like yours. Therefore I shall not lay down my arms before you.'


17 Qur'an, 7:204.


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The Sixteenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Indeed, His command when He wills a thing is, 'Be!', and it is. * So glory be unto Him in Whose hand is the dominion of all things, and to Him will you all be brought back. 1

[This Word was written to afford insight and understanding to my blind soul by pointing out four Rays from the light of the above verse - to dispel the darkness and afford me certainty.]

FIRST RAY

O my ignorant soul! You say, 'The Oneness of the Divine Essence together with the universality of the Divine acts, the Unity of Almighty God's person together with His unassisted comprehensive dominicality, His Singleness together with His unshared all- embracing disposal, His being beyond space and yet present everywhere, His infinite exaltedness together with being close to all things, and His being One and yet Himself holding all matters in His hand, are among the truths of the Qur'an. Yet the Qur'an is All- Wise, and that which is Wise does not impose on the reason things which are unreasonable. And the reason sees an apparent contradiction between these things. I would like an explanation of them which will impel the reason to submit.'

The Answer: Since that is the way it is and you want to be certain and reassured, relying on the effulgence of the Qur'an, we say: the Divine Name of Light has solved many of my difficulties. God willing, it will solve this one too. Choosing the way of comparison, which brings clarity to the mind and luminosity to the heart, like Imam-i Rabbani, we say:

/ am neither the night nor a lover of the night;

I am a servant of the Sun; it is of the Sun that I speak.

Since comparison is a most brilliant mirror to the Qur'an' s miraculousness, we too shall look at this mystery by means of a comparison. It is as follows:


1 Qur'an, 36:82-3.


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A single person may gain universality by means of various mirrors. While being a single individual, he becomes like a universal possessing general qualities. For example, while the sun is a single individual, by means of transparent objects, it becomes so universal it fills the face of the earth with its images and reflections. It even has as many manifestations as the number of droplets and shining motes. Although the sun's heat, light, and the seven colours in its light comprehend, encompass, and embrace all the things which confront them, all transparent things also hold in the pupils of their eyes the sun's heat, and its light and seven colours, together with its image. And they make a throne for them in their hearts. That is to say, with regard to Unity, the sun encompasses all the things which confront it, while with regard to Oneness, the sun is present together with many of its attributes in everything through a sort of manifestation of its essence. Since we have passed from the comparison to a discussion of representation, we shall indicate three of the many sorts of representation which will be a means to understanding this matter.

The First: This is the reflection of dense, physical objects. These reflections are both other than the thing reflected; they are not the same, and they are dead, without life. They possess no quality other than their apparent identity. For example, if you enter a store full of mirrors, one Said will become thousands of Said's, but the only living one is you, all the others are dead. They possess none of the characteristics of life.

The Second: This is the reflection of physical luminous objects. This reflection is not the same as the thing reflected, but neither is it other than it. It does not hold the luminous object's nature, but it possesses most of its characteristics, and may be considered as living. For example, the sun entered the world and displayed its reflection in all mirrors. Present in each of the reflections are light and the seven colours in light, which are like the sun's qualities. Let us suppose the sun possessed consciousness, and its heat was pure power; its light, pure knowledge; and its seven colours, the seven attributes: the single sun would be present in all mirrors at one moment, and would be able to make each a throne for itself and a sort of telephone. One mirror would not be an obstacle to another. It would be able to meet with all of us by means of our mirrors. While we are distant from it, it would be closer to us than ourselves.

The Third: This is the reflection of luminous spirits. This reflection is both living, and the same as the spirits. But since it appears in relation to the capacity of the mirrors, it does not hold completely the spirit's essence and nature. For example, at the moment the Angel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) is in the presence of the Prophet in the form of Dihya, he is prostrating with his magnificent wings in the Divine Presence before the Sublime Throne. And at the same moment he is present in innumerable places, and is relaying


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the Divine commands. One task is not an obstacle to another. Thus, it is through this mystery that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), whose essence is light and nature, luminous, in this world hears at the same time all the benedictions recited for him by all his community, and at the resurrection will meet with all the purified at the same time. One will not be an obstacle to another. In fact, some of the saints who have acquired a high degree of luminosity and are called 'substitutes' (abdal) have been observed in many places at the same time, and the same person has performed numerous different acts at the same time.

Indeed, just as things like glass and water act as mirrors to physical objects, so the air and ether, and certain beings of the World of Similitudes are like mirrors to spirit beings; they become like means of transport and conveyance of the speed of lightning and imagination. The spirit beings travel in those pure mirrors and subtle dwellings with speed of imagination. They enter thousands of places at the same time. Despite being restricted particulars, through the mystery of luminosity impotent and subjugated creatures like the sun and semi-luminous beings restricted by matter like spirit beings may be present in numerous places while being in one place, thus becoming like absolute universals, and with a limited power of choice being able to perform many matters simultaneously.

Thus, what thing may hide itself from address of Oneness which is within the manifestation of the attributes and acts of the Most Pure and Holy One through His universal will, absolute power, and all-encompassing knowledge? The Most Holy One, Who is far beyond and exalted above matter; free and exempt from any restriction or limitation and the darkness of density; of the sacred lights of Whose Names all these lights and luminous beings are but dense shadows; and of Whose beauty all existence and all life and the World of Spirits and the World of Similitudes are semi-transparent mirrors; Whose attributes are all-encompassing and Whose qualities, universal? What matter could be difficult for Him? What thing can be concealed from Him? What individual can be distant from Him? What person can draw close to Him without acquiring universality?

Although by means of its unrestricted light and immaterial reflection, the sun is closer to you than the pupil of your eye, since you are restricted, you are truly distant from it. In order to draw close to it, you have to transcend numerous restrictions and pass over many universal degrees. Simply, in effect you have to expand to the size of the earth and rise as far as the moon, then you may be able to approach directly to a degree the sun's essential level, and meet with it without veil. In just the same way, the Glorious One of Beauty and Beauteous One of Perfection is infinitely close to you, and you are infinitely distant from Him. If your heart has strength, and your mind, eminence, try to put the points in the comparison into practice.


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SECOND RAY

my senseless soul! You say that verses like,


and,


Indeed, His command when He wills a thing is, 'Be! ', and it is,


It will be no more than a single blast, when lo! they will all be brought up before

Us! 3


show that the existence of things is instantaneous and merely through a command, and that verses like,

[Such is] the artistry of God, Who disposes of all things in perfect order,

and,

Who has created everything in the best way

show that existence of things is gradual, through a vast power within knowledge, and a fine art within wisdom. What is the point of agreement between them?

The Answer: Relying on the effulgence of the Qur'an, we say:

Firstly: There is no contradiction. Some are like the former, like primary creation. And some are like the latter, like the repetition of creation...

Secondly: The infinite order and extreme skill, fine art, and perfect creation together with the ease, speed, multiplicity, and extensiveness which are observed in beings testify decisively to the existence of the truths of these two sorts of verses. Since this is so, proving it to be true outside this and making that the point of discussion, is unnecessary. It should rather be asked: 'What is the wisdom in them? What is their meaning and purpose?' Thus, we shall point to this wisdom with an analogy in the form of a comparison.

For example, a craftsman like a tailor creates something artistic with much difficulty and employing many skills, and makes a model for it. Then he can make others similar to it quickly and without difficulty. Sometimes, even, it becomes so easy they are as though made at a command, and they acquire a powerful order in that way; like a clock, they function and work as though at the touch of a command.

In just the same way, after making this palace of the world and all its contents originally, the All- Wise Maker and All-Knowing Inscriber gave everything, particular and universal, the whole and the parts, a specified measure


2 Qur'an, 36:82.

3 Qur'an, 36:53.

4 Qur'an, 27:88.

5 Qur'an, 32:7.


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and proportion through an ordering of Divine Determining, like a model. So, look! Making every century a model, the Pre-Eternal Inscriber clothes them with bejewelled new worlds through the miracles of His power. And making every year a scale, He sews skilfully fashioned new universes through the wonders of His mercy according to their stature. And making every day a line, He writes the decorated, constantly renewed beings in them through the subtleties of His wisdom.

Furthermore, just as that Absolutely Powerful One makes each century, each year, and each day a model, so He makes the face of the earth, and the mountains and plains, gardens and orchards, and trees each a model. He continuously sets up new universes on the earth and creates new worlds. He removes one world and replaces it with another, well-ordered world. Season after season He displays the miracles of His power and gifts of His mercy in all the gardens and orchards. He writes them all as wisdom-displaying books, establishes them as kitchens of His mercy, and clothes them in ever-renewed garments full of art. Every spring He arrays all trees in raiments of brocade and adorns them with fresh jewels like pearls. He fills their hands with the star-like gifts of His mercy.

Thus, the One Who performs these matters with infinitely fine art and perfect order and changes with infinite wisdom, bounty, and perfection of power and art the travelling worlds which follow on one after the other and are attached to the string of time, is certainly Ail-Powerful and All- Wise. He is All- Seeing and All- Knowing to an infinite degree. Chance cannot interfere in His works. He is the All-Glorious One Who decrees,

Indeed, His command when He wills a thing is, 'Be!', and it is,

and,

And the decision of the Hour is as the twinkling of an eye, or even closer,

and both proclaims the perfection of His power, and that in relation to His power the resurrection and Great Gathering are most easy and free of trouble. Since His creational command comprises power and will, and all things are entirely subjugated and obedient to His command, and He creates with no difficulty or hindrance, in order to express the absolute ease in His creating, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition decrees that He does this through a mere command.

To Conclude: Some verses proclaim the extremely fine art and infinite perfection of wisdom in beings, especially at the start of their creation. Others describe the extreme ease and speed and infinite obedience and lack of difficulty in the recreation and return of things in particular.


6 Qur'an, 36:82.

7 Qur'an, 16:77.


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THIRD RAY

O my soul full of doubts and evil suggestions and exceeding its bounds ! You say that verses like,


and,


and,


There is not a moving thing, but He has grasp of its forelock,


In Whose hand is the dominion of all things,


And We are closer to him than his jugular vein,


show that God is infinitely close to us. And yet, the verses,


And to Him shall you return.


11


and,


The angels ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand

12

years,

1 -3

and, the Hadith which says: 'God is beyond seventy thousand veils,' and truths like the Prophet's Ascension show that we are infinitely distant from Him. I would like an explanation which will bring this profound mystery closer to the understanding.

The Answer: Then listen to the following:

Firstly: At the end of the First Ray we said that although with regard to its unrestricted light and immaterial reflection, the sun is closer to you than the pupil of your eye, which is the window of your spirit and its mirror, since you are restricted and imprisoned in materiality, you are extremely distant from it. You can make contact with it only through some of its reflections and shadows, and meet with it through a sort of its minor and particular manifestations, and draw close to its colours, which are like a category of attribute, and to its rays and manifestations, which are like a class of its names. If you want to approach the sun's essential level and meet with the sun's essence directly in person, then you have to transcend very many restrictions and traverse very many levels of universality. Simply, after abstracting yourself from materiality, becoming enlarged to the extent of the earth, expanding in the spirit like the air, rising as far as the moon and resembling the full-moon, only then can you claim to meet with it in person without veil and to draw close to it to any degree.

In just the same way, the All-Glorious One of Perfection, the Peerless One of Beauty, the Necessarily Existent One, the Giver of Existence to All


8 Qur'an, 11:56.

9 Qur'an, 36:83.

10 Qur' an, 50:16.

11 Qur'an, 36:83.

12 Qur'an, 70:4.


13 al-Ghazzali, Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din, i, 101; Musnad, iv, 401, 405.


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Beings, the Eternal Sun, the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, is closer to you than yourself. Yet you are infinitely distant from Him. If you have the power, put the fine points in the comparison into practice...

Secondly: For example, And God's is the highest similitude, among many names, a king's name of 'Commander' appears in many spheres, one within the other. It has a manifestation and appearance in spheres extensive and narrow, universal and particular, from the universal sphere of Commander-in-Chief, to those of Field Marshal and General, then those of captain and corporal. Now, in his military duties, a private soldier holds as his authority the minor point of commandership manifest in the rank of corporal; he is in touch with and connected to the Commander-in-Chief through this minor manifestation of his name. If he wishes to get in touch with him through his essential name and meet with him through that title, he will have to rise from the corporalship to the universal rank of Commander-in-Chief. That is to say, the king is extremely close to the soldier through his name, decree, law and knowledge, his telephone and regulations, and if he is luminous like a saint who is an abdal, with his presence in person. Nothing at all can be an obstacle or obstruction for him. Whereas the soldier is extremely distant. Thousands of degrees form obstructions, and thousands of veils intervene. But sometimes the king is compassionate, and contrary to his practice, receives a soldier into his presence and favours him with his grace.

In just the same way, although the All-Glorious One, the Lord of the command of, 'Be!', and it is, for Whom the suns and stars are like His soldiers under orders, is closer to all things than they themselves, all things are infinitely distant from Him. If you want to enter the presence of His grandeur without veil, you have to pass through seventy thousands of veils of darkness and light, that is, material and physical veils and the veils of the Divine Names and attributes, rise through the thousands of particular and universal degrees of manifestation of each Name, pass on through the most elevated levels of His attributes, and ascend as far as the Sublime Throne, which manifests His Greatest Name, and if you are not the object of favour and attraction, work and journey spiritually for thousands of years. For example, if you want to draw close to Him through His Name of Creator, you have to have a relationship through the particularities of your own Creator, then in regard to the Creator of all mankind, then through the title of Creator of all living creatures, then through the Name of Creator of all beings. Otherwise you will remain in shadow and only find a minor manifestation.

A REMINDER: Because of his impotence, the king in the comparison put means like Field Marshal and General in the degrees of his names. But the Absolutely Powerful One, in Whose hand is the dominion of all things, has no need of intermediaries. Intermediaries are only apparent; a veil to His dignity and grandeur. They are heralds and observers of the sovereignty of His dominicality within worship, awe, impotence, and want. They are not His assistants, and cannot be partners in the sovereignty of His dominicality.


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FOURTH RAY

O my lazy soul! Like the soldier in the previous comparison was received into the royal presence as a pure favour, the reality of the five daily prayers, which are like a sort of Ascension, are a being received into the presence of the All-Glorious One of Beauty, the Beauteous One of Glory, Who is the True Object of Worship, as an instance of pure mercy. Declaring 'God is Most Great!', it is to traverse the two worlds either in fact, or in the imagination, or by intention, be divested of the restrictions of materiality, pass to a universal degree of worship or a shadow or form of universality, and being honoured with a sort of presence, it is to manifest the address of 'You alone do we worship!' (everyone according to his own capacity); it is a most elevated attainment. The repetition of 'God is Most Great! God is Most Great!' in the actions of the prayers indicates rising through the degrees of spiritual progress, and ascending from minor particulars to universal spheres, and is a concise title of the perfections of Divine sublimity which are beyond our knowledge. It is as if each 'God is Most Great!' indicates traversing a step in the Ascension. To attain to a shadow or a ray of this reality of the prayers either in fact, or by intention, or with the imagination, is a great happiness.

The frequent declaring of 'God is Most Great!' during the Hajj is for the above reason. For the blessed Hajj is worship at a universal level for everyone. Just as on a special day like a festival a soldier goes to the king's celebrations like a General in the sphere of General, and receives his favours, in the same way, a Hajji, no matter how lowly, is turned towards his Sustainer under the title Mighty Sustainer of every region of the earth, like a saint who has traversed all the degrees. He is honoured with universal worship. For sure, the universal degrees of dominicality opened with the key of the Hajj, and the horizons of the tremendousness of Godhead which are visible to his eye through its telescope, and the spheres of worship which gradually unfold to his heart and imagination through its observances, and the heat, wonder, awe, and dread of dominicality caused by the levels of sublimity and last stage of manifestation, can only be quietened by 'God is Most Great! God is Most Great!', and those observed or imagined unfolded degrees can only be proclaimed by it. After the Hajj, this meaning is found in various exalted and universal degrees in the Festival ( 'Eid) Prayers, the prayers for rain, and those recited at solar and lunar eclipses, and in prayers performed as a congregation. Thus, the importance of the marks and observances of Islam, also even if of the category of Sunna, lies in this reason.

Glory be unto the One Who has placed His treasuries between the Kaf and the Nun.


So glory be unto Him in Whose hand is the dominion


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of all things, and to Him will you all be brought back.

Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong! * O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us Mercy from Your presence, for You are the Granter of bounties without

17

measure.

And grant blessings and peace to Your Most Noble Messenger, the manif ester of Your Greatest Name, and to his Family, and Companions, and brothers, and followers. Amen. O Most Merciful of the Merciful!


  • * *


A Short Addendum

The All-Powerful and All-Knowing One, the All- Wise Maker, shows His power and His wisdom and that chance can in no way interfere in His works through the system and order His rules and practices in the universe demonstrate in the form of laws. So too, through exceptions to the laws, the wonders of His practices, superficial changes, differences in individual characteristics, and changes in the times of appearance and descent, He shows His volition, will, choice, that He is the Agent with choice, and that He is under no restrictions whatsoever. Thus, rending the veil of monotony, and proclaiming that everything is in need of Him every moment for everything in every way and is obedient to His dominicality, He dispels heedlessness, and turns the gazes of man and jinn from causes to the Producer of Causes. The statements of the Qur'an look to this principle.

For example, in most places some fruit-bearing trees produce fruit one year, that is, it is given to their hands from the treasury of mercy, and they


14 Qur'an, 36:83.

15 Qur'an, 2:32.

16 Qur'an, 2:286.

17 Qur'an, 3:8.


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offer it. Then the following year while all apparent causes are present, they do not take it and offer it; that is, they do not produce fruit. Also, for example, contrary to other necessities, the times rain falls are so changeable that it has been included among 'the

1 Q

Five Hidden Things.' For the most important position in existence is that of life and mercy. And rain is the source of life and pure mercy. Thus, the water of life and rain of mercy does not enter under a monotonous law, which is a veil and leads to heedlessness, rather, the All-Glorious One, Who is Most Merciful and All-Compassionate, and the Bestower of Bounties and Giver of Life, holds it in His hand directly, without veil, so that the doors of supplication and thanks will all the time be left open. And, for example, the giving of sustenance and determining of particular features are works of special favour, and their occurring in unexpected ways shows in excellent fashion the will and choice of the Sustainer. You may make further comparisons with other Divine acts, like the disposals of the air and weather and the subjugation of the clouds.


18 BukharL ii, 41; ix, 142; Ibn Hibban, i, 144.


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The Seventeenth Word


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

That which is on earth We have made as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them, as to which of them are best in conduct * Verily what is on earth We shall make but as dust and dry soil. * What is the life of this world but play and amusement?

[This Word consists of two elevated Stations, and one brilliant Addendum.]

The All-Compassionate Creator, the Munificent Provider, the All- Wise Maker made this world in the form of a festival and celebration for the World of Spirits and spirit beings. Adorning it with the wondrous embroideries of all His Names, He clothes each spirit, great or small, elevated or lowly, in a body decked out with senses, suitable to it and appropriate for benefiting from the innumerable, various good things and bounties in the festival; He gives each a corporeal being and sends it to the spectacle once. And He divides the festival, which is most extensive in regard to both time and space, into centuries, years, seasons, and even days and their parts, and makes them all exalted festivals in the form of parades for all the groups of His creatures with spirits and for His plant and vegetable artefacts. Especially the face of the earth in spring and summer, it is a series of festivals for the groups of small beings so glittering it draws the gazes of the spirit beings and angels and the dwellers of the heavens in the high levels of the world. For those who think and contemplate it is a place for reflection so wonderful, the mind is powerless to describe it. But in the face of the manifestations of the Divine Names of Most Merciful and Giver of Life in this Divine feast and dominical festival, the Names of Subduer and Dealer of Death appear with death and separation. And this is apparently unconformable with the all-embracing mercy of,

My Mercy encompasses all things.

However, in reality there are several ways in which it is conformable, and one of these is as follows:

After each group of beings has completed its turn in the parade and the


1 Qur'an, 18:7-8.

2 Qur'an, 6:32.

3 Qur'an, 7:156.


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desired results have been obtained from it, in a compassionate way the Most Generous Maker and Compassionate Creator makes most of them feel weariness and disgust with the world, and bestows on them a desire for rest and a longing to migrate to another world. And when they are to be discharged from their duties of life, He awakens in their spirits a compelling desire for their original home.

Moreover, it is not far from the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful that just as He bestows the rank of martyrdom on a soldier who perishes on account of his duty while fighting, and rewards a sheep slaughtered as a sacrifice by giving it an eternal corporeal existence in the hereafter and the rank of being a mount for its owner on the Bridge of Sirat 4 like Buraq, so too with other animals and beings with spirits who perish while performing the dominical duties peculiar to their natures and in obeying the Divine commands, and who suffer severe distress, - it is not unlikely that there should be for them in the inexhaustible treasuries of His mercy a sort of spiritual reward and kind of wage suitable to their capacities, and that they should not be unduly troubled at departing this world, indeed, that they should be pleased. None knows the Unseen save God.

However, although man, the noblest of beings with spirits and the one who benefits most from the festivals with regard to both quality and quantity, is captivated by the world and absorbed in it, as a work of mercy, the Most Merciful induces in him a state of mind whereby he feels disgust at the world and a longing to travel to the eternal realm. A person whose humanity is not plunged in misguidance profits from that state of mind, and departs with a tranquil heart. Now, by way of example, we shall explain five of the aspects which produce that state of mind.

The First: By showing with the season of old age the stamp of transience and decline on the beautiful and inviting things of this world, and their bitter meaning, it makes a person feel disgust at the world and causes him to seek a permanent beloved in place of the transient.

The Second: Since ninety-nine per cent of all the friends to whom a person is attached have departed this world and settled in another, impelled by his heart-felt love, it bestows on him a longing for the place they have gone to, and makes him meet death and the appointed hour with joy.

The Third: By means of certain things, it makes a person realize the infinite weakness and impotence in man, and understand how heavy are the burdens of life and responsibilities of living, and awakens in him a serious wish for rest and a sincere desire to go to another world.

The Fourth: Through the light of belief, it shows to the heart of a believer that death is not execution, but a change of abode; that the grave is not the mouth of a dark well, but the door to light-filled worlds; and that for


Ibn Hajar, Talkhis al-Khabir, iv, 138; Suyuti, Jam' al-Jawami', No: 3017.


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all its glitter, the world is like a prison in relation to the hereafter. To be released from the prison of this world and enter the gardens of Paradise, and pass from the troublesome turmoil of bodily life to the world of rest and the arena where spirits soar, and to slip free from the vexatious noise of creatures and go to the presence of the Most Merciful is a journey, indeed, a happiness, to be desired with a thousand lives.

The Fifth: By informing a person who heeds the Qur'an about the knowledge of reality it contains, and through the light of reality the world's true nature, it makes him realize that love for the world and attachment to it are quite meaningless. That is, it says the following to man, and proves it:

'The world is a book of the Eternally Besought One. Its letters and words point not to themselves but to the essence, attributes and Names of another. In which case, learn its meaning and grasp it, but ignore its decorations, then go !

'The world is also a tillage; sow and reap your crop, and preserve it. Throw away the chaff, and give it no importance!...

'The world is also a collection of mirrors which continuously pass on one after the other; so know the One Who is manifest in them, see His lights, understand the manifestations of the Names which appear in them and love the One they signify. Cease your attachment for the fragments of glass which are doomed to be broken and perish!...

'The world is also a travelling place of trade. So do your commerce and come; do not chase in vain the caravans which flee from you and pay you no attention. Do not weary yourself for nothing ! . . .

'The world is also a temporary exhibition. So look at it and take lessons. Pay attention, not to its apparent, ugly face, but to its hidden, beautiful face which looks to the Eternal All-Beauteous One. Go for a pleasant and beneficial promenade, then return, and do not weep like a silly child at the disappearance of scenes displaying fine views and showing beautiful things, and do not be anxious!...

'The world is also a guesthouse. So eat and drink within the limits permitted by the Generous Host Who made it, and offer thanks. Act and behave within the bounds of His law. Then leave it without looking behind you, and go. Do not interfere in it in a delirious or officious manner. Do not busy yourself for nothing with things which part from you and do not concern you. Do not attach yourself to passing things and drown!..'

This Fifth Aspect shows the secrets in the world's inner face through apparent truths like these, and greatly lightens the parting from it. Indeed, to those who are aware it makes parting desirable for them, and shows that there is a trace of mercy in everything and every aspect of it. The Qur'an indicates these Five Aspects, and its verses point to other particular aspects.

Woe to that person who has no share of these five Aspects!


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The Second Station of the Seventeenth Word 5

Cry not out at misfortune, O wretch, come, trust in God!

For know that crying out compounds the misfortune and is a great error.

  • * *

Find misfortune 's Sender, and know it is a gift within gift, and pleasure. So leave crying out and offer thanks; like the nightingale, smile through your

tears!

  • * *

If you find Him not, know the world is all pain within pain, transience and loss. So why lament at a small misfortune while upon you is a worldful of woe?

Come trust in God!

  • * *

Trust in God! Laugh in misfortune's face; it too will laugh.

As it laughs, it will diminish; it will be changed and transformed.

  • * *

Know, O arrogant one, happiness in this world is in abandoning it.

To know God is enough. Abandon the world; all things will be for you.

  • * *

To be arrogant is total loss; whatever you do, all things will be against you.

So both states demand abandoning the world here.

  • * *

Abandoning the world is to regard it as God's property, with His permission,

in His Name;

If you want to do trade, it lies in making this fleeting life eternal.

  • * *

If you seek yourself, it is both rotten and without foundation.

If you seek the world outside, the stamp of ephemerality is upon it.

  • * *

That means there is no value in taking it; the goods in this market are all rotten. So pass on; the sound goods are all lined up beyond it.


5 The pieces in this Second Station resemble poetry, but they are not poetry. They were not put into verse intentionally. They rather took on that form to a degree due to the perfect order of the truths they express.


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A FRUIT OF THE BLACK MULBERRY

[The Old Said spoke this with the tongue of the New Said under the blessed mulberry tree.]

The one I'm addressing isn't Ziya Pasha, it's those enamoured of Europe.

The one speaking isn't my soul, it's my heart in the name of the students of the Qur'an.

  • * *

The previous words are all truth; beware, don't lose course, don't exceed their bounds!

Don't heed the ideas of Europe and deviate, or they'll make you regret it!

  • * *

You see the most enlightened of them, in brilliance their standard-bearer,

Exclaim in bewilderment: Of whom, to whom can I complain?

  • * *

The Qur'an says, and I say too - 1 won't hold back:

I lodge my complaint with Him. I'm not confused, like you.

  • * *

I cry out to the True God; I don't slip away, like you.

I shout my cause from the ground to the skies; I don't flee, like you.

  • * *

For all the Qur'an's cause is light upon light; I don't renege, like you.

In the Qur'an is truth and wisdom; I'll prove it. I count as nothing hostile philosophy.

  • * *

In the Criterion are diamond truths; I take them to myself, not sell them, like you.

I journey from creation to Creator; I don't lose the way, like you.

  • * *

I pass over thorny paths, I don't tread on them, like you.

From the earth to the Throne, I offer thanks; I don't neglect it, like you.

  • * *


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I look on death and the appointed hour as a friend; I am not frightened, like you.

I'll enter the grave smiling, not trembling, like you.

  • * *

I don't see it as a monster's mouth, a beast's lair, descending to nothingness,

like you.

It joins me with my friends; I'm not vexed at the grave, like you.

  • * *

It's the door of Mercy, gate of Light, portal of Truth; I am not discomforted by it;

I won't retreat.

Saying: In the Name of God, I'll knock on it. 6 I'll not look behind me nor feel terror.

  • * *

Saying: All Praise be to God!, I'll lay down and find ease. I'll suffer no trouble

nor remain solitary. Saying, God is Most Great!, I'll hear the Call to the Resurrection and rise up,

I won't hang back from the Great Gathering, or the Mighty Mosque.

  • * *

I'll feel no distress, thanks to Divine favour, the Qur'an's light,

and the effulgence of belief;

Not stopping, I'll hasten, fly, to the shade of the Most Merciful' s Throne.

God willing, I won't go astray, like you.

  • * *


6 I won't exclaim: 'Alas!', and flee.


7 I'll hear the Call of Israfil on the dawn of the Resurrection, and declaring, 'God is Most Great!', shall rise up. I won't hold back from the Great Gathering and Congress of Prayers.


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A SUPPLICATION WHICH OCCURRED TO ME IN PERSIAN

[This supplication occurred to my heart in Persian, and was therefore written in that language. 8 It was first included in my published work, Hubab.]

my Sustainer! Heedlessly not trusting in You but in my own power and will, I cast an eye over 'the six aspects' searching for a cure for my ills. Alas, I could find no cure for them, and I understood it was being said to me: 'Are your ills not sufficient as cure for you?'

In heedlessness I looked to past time on my right to find solace, but I saw that yesterday appeared to be my father's grave and past time as the huge tomb of all my forbears. It filled me with horror rather than consolation.(*)

(*) Belief shows that horrific vast grave to be a familiar and enlightened meeting and a gathering of friends.

Then I looked to the future on the left, but again I could find no cure. For tomorrow appeared as my grave and the future as the vast tomb of my contemporaries and the forthcoming generations; it afforded not a feeling of familiarity, but one of fright. (*)

(*) Belief and the peace of belief shows that terrible huge grave to be a feast of the Most Merciful in delightful palaces of bliss.

Since no good appeared from the left either, I looked at the present day, and I saw that it resembled a bier; it was bearing my desperately struggling corpse.(*)

(*) Belief shows the bier to be a place of trade and a glittering guesthouse.

Thus, I could find no cure from this aspect either, so I raised my head and looked at the top of the tree of my life. But I saw that its single fruit was my corpse; it was looking down on me from the tree-top. (*)

(*) Belief shows the tree's fruit to be not the corpse, but the worn out home of my spirit, which will manifest eternal life and is destined for everlasting happiness, from which it has departed in order to travel among the stars.

Despairing of that aspect too, I lowered my head. I looked and saw that the dust of my bones underfoot had mixed with the dust of my first creation. It afforded no cure, but added further pain to my ills.(*)

(*) Belief shows the dust to be the door leading to mercy and a curtain before the halls of Paradise.


The Supplication is included in the original together with an enlarged Turkish rendering, which is the basis of the translation here. [Tr.]


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I turned away from that too and looked behind me, where I saw a transient world without foundation revolving and departing in the valleys of nothingness and the darkness of non-existence. It was no salve for my ills, it rather added the poison of horror and fright. (*)

(*) Belief shows the world revolving in darkness to consist of missives of the Eternally Besought One and pages of Divine inscriptions, which, having completed their duties and expressed their meanings, have left their results in existence in their place.

Since I could see no good in that either, I switched my gaze to before me. I saw that the door of the grave stood open at the end of my road. The highway leading to eternity beyond it, struck my gaze from afar.(*)

(*) Since belief shows the door of the grave to open onto the world of light and the road to lead to eternal happiness, it was both a salve for my ills, and a cure.

Thus, rather than receiving consolation and a feeling of familiarity, I felt only horror and fear at these six aspects. And apart from the faculty of will I had nothing in my hand with which to withstand them and act in the face of them.(*)

(*) Belief gives a document for relying on an infinite power in place of the power of choice, which is like the smallest indivisible particle; indeed, belief itself is a document.

But the human weapon called the faculty of will both lacks power and its range is short. And it is inaccurate. It cannot create, and apart from 'acquiring,' can do nothing. (*)

(*) Belief causes the faculty of will to be employed in God's name, and makes it sufficient before everything it may face. Like when a soldier employs his insignificant strength on account of the state, he can perform deeds thousands of times greater than his own strength...

It can neither penetrate the past nor discern the future, and in regard to my hopes and fears concerning these, was of no benefit. (*)

(*) Belief takes its reins from the hand of the animal body and hands them over to the heart and the spirit, and may therefore penetrate the past and the future. For the sphere of life of the heart and spirit is broad.

The arena of the faculty of will is brief present time and the passing present instant.

Thus, despite all my needs and weakness, want and poverty, and my wretched state induced by the horrors and terrors arising from the six aspects, clearly written on the page of my being by the pen of power, and included in my nature, were desires stretching to eternity and hopes spreading through eternity.

Indeed, whatever there is in the world, there are samples of it in my being. I am connected to everything. It is for them that I am caused to work.

The sphere of need stretches as far as the eye can see.

In fact, wherever the imagination goes, the sphere of need extends that far. There is need there too. Whatever man lacks, he is in need of. That


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which he does not have, he needs. And what he lacks is endless.

But then the extent of his power extends only as far as his short arm reaches. That means my want and needs are as great as the world. Whereas my capital is as infinitesimal as an indivisible particle.

So, of what use is the faculty of will, worth twopence in relation to my needs which encompass the world and can only be obtained for millions of liras? They cannot be bought with it, and cannot be gained by it. In which case, one has to search for another solution.

The solution is this: to forego one's own will and leave matters to the Divine will; to give up one's own power and strength, and seeking refuge in the power and strength of Almighty God, to adhere to true reliance on Him.

'O my Sustainer! Since the way to be saved is this, I forego my own will in Your way, and I give up my egotism. Then Your grace may take me by the hand out of compassion for my impotence and weakness, and Your mercy may take pity on my need and indigence and be a support for me, and open its door for me.'

Yes, whoever finds the boundless sea of mercy, surely does not rely on his own mirage-like will and choice; he does not abandon mercy and have recourse to his will.

Alas! We have been deceived. We supposed the life of this world to be constant, and so have lost everything. Yes, this passing life is but a sleep; it passes like a dream. This frail life flies like the wind, and departs.

Arrogant man, who relies on himself and supposes he will live for ever, is doomed to die. He passes swiftly. The world, too, man's house, tumbles into the darkness of non- existence. Hopes do not last, while pains endure in the spirit.

Since the reality is this, come, my wretched soul, which yearns for life, is enamoured of the world and afflicted with endless hopes and pains! Awake and come to your senses! As the fire-fly relies on its own miniscule light and remains in the boundless darkness of the night, and since it does not rely on itself, the honey-bee finds the sun of daytime, and gazes on its friends, the flowers, gilded with the sunlight; if you rely on yourself and your being and your ego, you will resemble the fire-fly. Whereas if you sacrifice your transient being in the way of the Creator Who gave it to you, you will find an unending light of existence. So sacrifice it! For your being is a trust given to you for safekeeping.

Moreover, it is His property, and it is He Who bestowed it. So do not scorn it, sacrifice it unhesitatingly. Sacrifice it so that it will be made permanent. For negation of a negation is an affirmation. That is, if non-being is not, there is being. If non-being is negated, existence comes into being.


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The All-Generous Creator buys His own property from you, and gives you the high price of Paradise in return. Also, He looks after that property well for you, and increases its value. And He will return it to you in both enduring and perfect form. O my soul! Do not delay! Do this trade which is profitable in five respects, and be saved from five losses; make a fivefold profit all at once!


  • * *


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. But when it set, he said: 7 love not those that set. '

It made me weep, the verse I love not those that set, which was uttered by Abraham (Peace be upon him), and announces the universe's passing and death.

The eyes of my heart wept at it, pouring out bitter tear-drops. Each tear-drop was sorely sad as the eyes of my heart wept. The verse causes others to weep, and as though weeps itself. The following lines in Persian are my tear-drops, they are a sort of commentary of some words present within the Divine Word of God's Wise One, the Prophet Muhammad.

A beloved who is hidden through setting is not beautiful, for those doomed to decline cannot be truly beautiful. They may not loved with the heart, which is created for eternal love and is the mirror of the Eternally Besought One, and should not be loved with it.

A desired one who is doomed to be lost on setting; such a one is not worthy of the heart's attachment, the mind's preoccupation. He may not be the object of desires. He is not worthy of being regretted with the sorrow and grief that follows. So why should the heart worship such a one and be bound to him?

One sought who is lost in ephemerality; I do not want such a one. For I am ephemeral, I do not want one who is thus. What should I do?

A worshipped one who is buried in death; I shall not call him, I shall not seek refuge with him. For I am infinitely needy and impotent. One who is impotent can find no cure for my boundless ills. He can spread no salve on my eternal wounds. How can one who cannot save himself from death be an object of worship?


9 Qur'an, 6:76.


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Indeed, the reason, which is obsessed with externals, cries out despairingly at seeing the deaths of the things it worships in the universe, and the spirit, which seeks for an eternal beloved, utters the cry: I love not those that set.

I do not want separation, I do not desire separation, I cannot abide separation...

Meetings followed immediately by separation are not worth sorrow and grief, they are not worthy of being longed for. For just as the passing of pleasure is pain, imagining the passing of pleasure is also a pain. The works of all the metaphorical lovers, that is, the works of poetry on love, are all cries at the pain arising from imagining this passing. If you were to constrain the spirit of all the works of poetry, from each would flow these grievous cries.

Thus, it is due to the pain and tribulations of those meetings stained with transitoriness, those sorrowful, metaphorical loves, that my heart weeps and cries through the weeping of, / love not those that set.

If you want permanence in this transitory world, permanence comes from transitoriness. Find transience with regard to your evil-commanding soul so that you may be enduring.

Divest yourself of bad morals, the basis of the worship of this world. Be transitory! Sacrifice your goods and property in the way of the True Beloved. See the ends of beings, which point to non-existence, for the way leading to permanence in this world starts from transitoriness.

The human mind, which plunges into causes, is bewildered at the upheavals of the passing of the world, and laments despairingly. While the conscience, which desires true existence, severs the connection with metaphorical beloveds and transient beings through crying like Abraham, I love not those that set, and it binds itself to the Truly Existent One, and Eternal Beloved.

O my ignorant soul! Know that the world and its beings are certainly ephemeral, but you may find a way leading to permanence in each ephemeral thing, and may see two flashes, two mysteries, of the manifestations of the Undying Beloved's Beauty.

Yes, it is within the bounty that the bestowal is to be seen and the favour of the Most Merciful perceived. If you pass from bounty to bestowal, you will find the Bestower. Also, each work of the Eternally Besought One makes known the All-Glorious Maker's Names like a missive. If you pass from the decoration to the meaning, you will find the One signified by way of His Names. Since you can find the kernel, the essence, of these ephemeral beings, obtain it. Then without pity you can throw away their meaningless shells and externals onto the flood of ephemerality.


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Among beings there is no work which is not a most meaningful embodied word and does not cause to be read numerous of the Glorious Maker's Names. Since beings are words, words of power, read their meanings and place them in your heart. Fearlessly cast words without meaning onto the winds of transience. Do not concern yourself looking behind them, needlessly occupying yourself.

Since the chain of thought of the worldly mind, which worships externals and whose capital consists of 'objective' knowledge, leads to nothingness and non-existence, it cries out despairingly in its bewilderment and frustration. It seeks a true path leading to reality. Since the spirit has withdrawn from 'those that set' and the ephemeral, and the heart has given up its metaphorical beloveds, and the conscience too has turned its face from transitory beings, you too, my wretched soul, attract the assistance of I love not those that set, like Abraham, and be saved.

See how well Mawlana Jami expressed it, whose nature was kneaded with love and who was intoxicated with the cup of love:

Yaki khwah(l) Yaki khwan(2) Yakiju(3) Yaki bin(4) Yaki dan(5) Yaki gu(6)

That is,

1. Want only One; the rest are not worth wanting.

2. Call One; the others will not come to your assistance.

3. Seek One; the rest are not worth it.

4. See One; the others are not seen all the time; they hide themselves behind the veil of ephemerality.

5. Know One; knowledge other than that which assists knowledge of Him is without benefit.

6. Say One; words not concerning Him may be considered meaningless.

Yes, Jami, you spoke the truth absolutely. The True Beloved, the True Sought One, the True Desired One, the True Object of Worship is He alone...

For, in a mighty circle for the mentioning of the Divine Names, this world together with all its beings and their different tongues and various songs declares, There is no god but God; together they testify to Divine unity. And binding the wound caused by / love not those that set, point to an Undying Beloved in place of all the metaphorical beloveds, attachment to whom has been severed.


  • * *


10 Only this line is Mawlana Jami's.


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[About twenty-five years ago on Yusa Tepesi (Mount Joshua) above the Istanbul Bosphorus, at a time I had decided to give up the world, a number of important friends came to me in order to call me back to the world and my former position. I told them to leave me till the following morning so that I could seek guidance. That morning the following two Tables were imparted to my heart. They resemble poetry, but they are not. I have not changed them for the sake of that blessed memory, and they have been kept as they occurred to me. They were added to the Twenty-Third Word, and now have been included here on account of their 'station'.]

THE FIRST TABLE

[The Table depicting the reality of the world of the heedless.]

Don 't call me to the world; — I came, and saw it was transitory.

Heedlessness was a veil; - / saw the light of truth was concealed.

All the beings in existence, — I saw were ephemeral, harmful.

If you say, being, I dressed in it; - Alas! It was non-being; I suffered much!

If you say, life, I tasted it; - / saw it was torment upon torment.

The mind became pure torture; — I saw permanence to be tribulation.

Life became pure whim; — I saw attainment to be pure loss.

Deeds became pure hypocrisy; - / saw hopes to be pure pain.

Union became parting itself; - / saw the cure to be the ill.

These lights became darkness; - / saw these friends to be orphans.

These voices became announcements

of death; — I saw the living to be dead.

Knowledge was transformed into fancy; - / saw in science a thousand

ailments.

Pleasure became pure pain; — I saw existence to be compounded

non-existence. If you say the Beloved, I found him; — Alas! On separation I suffered

grievous pain.


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THE SECOND TABLE

[The Table indicating the reality of the world of the people of guidance, those with easy hearts.]

Then the heedlessness passed, — And I saw the light of truth clearly.

Existence became the proof of God; — See, life is the mirror of God.

The mind became the key to treasuries. — See, transience is the door to permanence.

The spark of perfection died, — But, behold the Sun of Beauty!

Separation became true union; — See, pain is pure pleasure.

Life became pure action; — See, eternity is pure life.

Darkness became the container of light; — See, there is true life in death.

All things became familiar; — See, all sounds are the mentioning of God.

All the atoms in existence - — See, each recites God's praises

and extols Him. I found poverty to be a treasury of

wealth;— See, in impotence is perfect strength. If you find God, — See, all things are yours. If you are the slave of the Owner of

All Things, — See, His property is yours. If you are arrogant and claim to

own yourself, — See, it is trial and tribulation without end; Experience its boundless torment; — See, it is a calamity most crushing.

If you are a true slave of God, — See, it is a limitless pleasure and ease. Taste its uncountable rewards, — Experience its infinite happiness...


  • * *


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[Twenty-five years ago in Ramadan after the Afternoon Prayer, I read Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir Geylani's composition in verse about the Most Beautiful Names. I felt a desire to write a supplication with the Divine Names, and at that time only this much was written. I wanted to write a supplication similar to that of my holy master, but, alas! I have no ability to write poetry and it remained deficient. Nevertheless, the supplication was added to the Thirty-Third Letter of the Thirty-Third Word, known as the Thirty-Three Windows, then was included here on account of its 'station'.]

He is the Enduring One

The Wise Judge of affairs, we are under His decree;

He is the Just Arbiter; His are the heavens and the earth. The One Knowing of the secrets and hidden matters in His dominions;

He is the All-Powerful, Self-Subsistent; His is all from the Throne to the ground. The Perceiver of the fine points and embroideries in His art;

He is the Creator, the Loving One; His is the beauty and the splendour. The Glorious One Whose attributes are reflected in the mirrors in His creation;

He is the Lord, the Most Holy; His is the might and the grandeur. The Originator of creatures; we form the embroideries of His art;

He is the Constant, the Enduring One; His is the dominion and eternity. The Munificent Bestower of gifts; we are the caravan of His guests;

He is the Provider, the Sufficer; His is the praise and laudation. The Beauteous Granter of gifts; We are the weavings of His knowledge;

He is the Creator, the Faithful; His is the munificence, the giving. The Hearer of plaints and supplications in His creation;

He is the Merciful, the Healer; His are the thanks and the praise. The Pardoner of the faults and sins of His servants;

He is the Oft Forgiving, the Compassionate; His is forgiveness and acceptance.

my soul! Together with my heart, weep and cry, and say:

1 am ephemeral; I do not want one such as that. I am impotent; I do not want one such as that.

I have surrendered my spirit to the Most Merciful; I do not want another.

I want one, but I want an eternal friend.

I am a mere speck, but I want an eternal sun.

I am nothing, but nothing, yet I want these beings, all of them.


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A FRUIT OF THE PINE, CEDAR, JUNIPER, AND BLACK CYPRESS TREES IN THE UPLANDS OF BARLA

[While being a part of the Eleventh Letter, this has

One time during my captivity while gazing at the majestic and wonderful forms of the pine, cedar, and juniper trees on the mountain top, a gentle breeze was blowing. Transforming the scene into a magnificent, delightful, and clamorous display of dancing and a rapturous performance of praise and glorification, the enjoyment of watching it was transformed into instruction for my eyes and wisdom for my ears. I suddenly recalled the Kurdish lines of Ahmad al-Jizri, whose meaning is:

'Everyone has hastened to gaze at You and Your Beauty; they are acting coyly before Your Beauty.'

My heart wept as follows, expressing their instructive meanings. The meaning of the verses in Persian written at Tepelice in the mountains of Barla about the fruit of the pine, cedar, juniper, and black cypress trees is this:

Living creatures have appeared from everywhere on the face of the earth, Your art, to gaze on You.

From above and below they emerge like heralds, and call out.

The herald-like trees take pleasure at the beauty of Your embroideries, and they dance.

They are filled with joy at the perfection of Your art, and utter most beautiful sounds.

It is as if the sweetness of their own voices fills them with joy too, and makes them perform a delicate melody.

In response the trees have started dancing and are seeking ecstasy.

It is through these works of Divine mercy that all the living creatures receive instruction in the glorification and prayer particular to each.

After receiving instruction, on high rocks the trees raise their heads to the Divine Throne.


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Each, like Shahbaz Qalandar, 11 stretches out a hundred hands to the Court of God, and assumes an imposing position of worship.

They make their small tassel-like twigs and branches dance, so both they and those that watch them express their fine pleasure and elevated delight.

They give voice as though touching the most sensitive strings and veins of the veils of love: 'Ah! It is He!'

From it a meaning such as this comes to mind: they recall both the weeping caused by the pain of the fading of metaphorical loves, and a profoundly sorrowful moaning.

They make heard the melancholy songs of all lovers parted from their beloveds, like Sultan Mahmud.

They seem to have a duty of making the dead hear the pre-eternal songs and sorrowful voices, who no longer hear worldly voices and words.

The spirit understands from this that beings respond with glorification to the manifestation of the Glorious Maker's Names; they perform a graceful chant.

The heart reads the mystery of Divine unity from these trees, each like an embodied sign, from the elevated word-order of this miraculousness. That is, there is so wonderful an order, art, and wisdom in the manner of their creation, that if all the causes in existence had the power to act and choose, and they gathered together, they could not imitate them.

The soul, on seeing them, sees the whole earth as revolving in a clamorous tumult of separation, and seeks enduring pleasure. It receives the meaning: 'You will find it in abandoning worship of this world.'

The mind discovers from the chanting animals and trees and the vociferous plants and air, a most meaningful order of creation, embroidery of wisdom, and treasury of secrets.

The desirous soul receives such pleasure from the murmuring air and whispering leaves that it forgets all metaphorical pleasures, and through abandoning these, which endow it with life, wants to die in the pleasure of reality.

The imagination sees that appointed angels have entered these trees like bodies, from whose branches hang many flutes. It is as though an Eternal Monarch has clothed the angels in the trees for a splendid parade accompanied with the sounds of a thousand flutes. Thus the trees show themselves to be not lifeless, unconscious bodies, but highly conscious and meaningful.


1 ' Shahbaz Qalandar was a famous hero who through the guidance of Shaykh Geylani took refuge at the Divine Court and rose to the degree of sainthood.


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The flutes are pure and powerful as though issuing from a heavenly, exalted orchestra. The mind does not hear from them the sorrowful plaints of separation, that foremost Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi and all lovers hear, but dominical praise and laudation and grateful thanks offered to the Most Merciful One, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent.

Since the trees have all become bodies, their leaves have become tongues. At the touching of the breeze each recites over and over again: 'It is He! It is He!' With the benedictions of their lives they proclaim their Maker to be Ever-Living and Self- Subsistent.

With the tongue of disposition they continuously declare 'O God!', and seek the necessities of their lives from Him, from the treasury of mercy. And through the tongue of their manifesting life from top to bottom, they recite His Name of 'O Living One!'

O Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One! Through the Names of Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent, endow the heart of this wretched one with life, and bestow sound direction on his confused mind. Amen.


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[One time at night in a high spot on Camdagi (the Pine Mountain) near Barla I was looking at the face of the heavens when the following lines suddenly occurred to me. With the imagination I heard the speaking of the stars through the tongue of disposition, and that is how the lines were written. Since I do not know the rules of versification, they were not written accordingly, but as they occurred to me. The piece is taken from the Fourth Letter, and the last part of the First Stopping Place of the Thirty-Second Word.]


THE UTTERANCE OF THE STARS

Then listen to the stars, listen to their harmonious address! See what wisdom has emblazed on the decree of its light!

Altogether they start to speak with the tongue of truth,

They address the majesty of the All-Power ful One of Glory's sovereignty:

We are each of us light-scattering proofs of the existence of our Maker; We are witnesses both to His Unity and His Power;

We are subtle miracles gilding the face of the skies For the angels to make excursions on;

We are the innumerable attentive eyes of the heavens

i j

That watch the earth, that study Paradise;


12 That is, since innumerable miracles of power are exhibited on the face of the earth, which is the seedbed and tillage for Paradise, the angels in the world of the heavens gaze on those miracles, those marvels. And like the angels, the stars, which are like the eyes of the heavenly bodies, gaze on the finely fashioned creatures on the earth, and in so doing look at the world of Paradise. At the same time they look on both the earth and Paradise; they observe those fleeting wonders in an enduring form in Paradise. That is to say, there, there are prospects of both worlds.


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We are the innumerable exquisite fruits that the hand of wisdom of the Beauteous

One of Glory has fastened To the celestial portion of the tree of creation, to all the branches of the Milky Way;

For the inhabitants of the heavens, we are each of us a travelling mosque,

a spinning house, a lofty home, Each is an illumining lamp, a mighty ship, an aeroplane;

We are each of us a miracle of power of the All-Powerful One of Perfection, The All- Wise One of Glory;

Each a wonder of His creative art, a rarity of His wisdom, a marvel of His creation, a world of light;

We demonstrated to mankind innumerable proofs, we made them hear with these

innumerable tongues of ours; But their accursed unseeing, unbelieving eyes did not see our faces, they did not hear

our words; and we are signs that speak the truth;

Our stamp is one; our seal is one; we are mastered by our Sustainer; We glorify Him through our subjugation;

We recite His Names; we are each of us in ecstasy, a member of the mighty circle of the Milky Way.


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The Eighteenth Word

[This Word consists of two Stations, of which the Second has not yet been written. There are three Points in the First Station.]


FIRST POINT

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Think not that those who exult in what they have thus contrived, and who love to be praised for what they have not done - think not that they will escape suffering: for grievous suffering does await them.

A Chastening Slap for my Evil- Commanding Soul:

O my foolish soul, charmed at glory, enamoured of fame, addicted to praise, and without equal in egotism! If it is a just claim that the source of the fig and its thousands of fruits is its tiny seed, and that all the grapes in their hundred bunches hanging from a dry branch of the vine are produced through the skill of the branch, and that those who benefit from them should praise and esteem the branch and the seed, then perhaps you have the right to be proud and conceited about the bounties with which you are loaded. But in fact you deserve to be constantly chided, because you are not like the seed and the branch: since you have the faculty of will, you reduce the value of those bounties through your pride. Through your conceit, you destroy them; through your ingratitude, you nullify them; through claiming them as your own, you lay hands on them unlawfully. Your duty is not to glory in your deeds, but to offer thanks. What is fit for you is not fame, but humility. Your right is not praise, it is repentance and to seek forgiveness. Your perfection lies not in self-centredness, but in recognizing God.

Yes, you in my body resemble 'nature' in the world. Both of you were created to receive good and be the thing to which evil is referred. That is to say, you are not the agent and source, but the recipient and passive. You have only an effect, and that is being the cause of evil because you did not accept as you should have done a good arising from absolute good. Also you


'Qur'an, 3:188.


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were both created as veils, so that things that are apparently ugly, whose beauty is not obvious, would be attributed to you, and you would be means of the Most Holy Divine Essence being acknowledged free of defect. But you have taken on a form entirely contrary to the duty of your natures. Although out of your incapacity you have transformed good into evil, you as though act as partners to your Creator. That means one who worships himself and worships nature is extremely foolish and perpetrates a great wrong.

And do not say: 'I am a place of manifestation, and one who manifests beauty becomes beautiful.' For you have not assimilated it, so are not a place of manifestation but a place of passage.

And do not say: 'Among people I was chosen. These fruits, these fine works, are shown through me. That means I have some merit.' No! God forbid! Rather they were given to you first because you are more bankrupt, needy, and sad than everyone else! 2

SECOND POINT

This Point elucidates one meaning of the verse:

Who has created everything in the best way,

and is as follows:

In everything, even the things which appear to be the most ugly, there is an aspect of true beauty. Yes, everything in the universe, every event, is either in itself beautiful, which is called 'essential beauty,' or it is beautiful in regard to its results, which is called 'relative beauty.' There are certain events which are apparently ugly and confused, but beneath that apparent veil, there are most shining instances of beauty and order.

Beneath the veil of stormy rains and muddy soil in the season of spring are hidden the smiles of innumerable beautiful flowers and well-ordered plants. And behind the veils of the harsh destruction and mournful separations of autumn is the discharge from the duties of their lives of the amiable small animals, the friends of the coy flowers, so as to preserve them from the blows and torments of winter events, which are manifestations of Divine might and glory, and under the veil of which the way is paved for the new and beautiful spring.

Beneath the veil of events like storms, earthquakes, and plague, is the unfolding of numerous hidden immaterial flowers. The seeds of many potentialities which have not developed sprout and grow beautiful on account of events which are apparently ugly. As though general upheavals and universal


2 Truly, I was extremely pleased at the New Said silencing his soul to this extent in this dispute, and said, A thousand bravo' s!

3 Qur'an, 32:7.


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change are all immaterial rain. But because man is both enamoured of the apparent and is self-centered, he considers only the externals and pronounces them ugly. Since he is self- centred, he reasons according to the result which looks to himself and judges it to be ugly. Whereas, if, of their aims one looks to man, thousands look to their Maker's Names.

For example, man reckons to be harmful and meaningless thorned plants and trees, which are among the great miracles of the Creator's power. Whereas they are the well- equipped heroes of the grasses and trees. And for example, hawks harrying sparrows is apparently incompatible with mercy, but through this harrying, the sparrow's abilities unfold. And for example, he considers the snow to be very cold and uninviting, but under that chilly, unpleasing veil there are aims so warm and results so sweet they defy description. Also, since man is self-centred and worships the apparent and therefore judges everything according to the face that looks to him, he supposes to contrary to good manners many things that are perfectly polite and correct. For example, in man's view, the discussion of his sexual organ is shameful. But this veil of shame is in the face which looks to man. Whereas the faces that look to creation, art, and its aims and purposes are veils which if considered with the eye of wisdom, are perfectly correct. Shame does not touch them at all.

Thus, certain expressions of the All- Wise Qur'an, the source of politeness and right conduct, are in accordance with these faces and veils. Beneath the apparent faces of creatures and events which seem to us to be ugly, are extremely fine, wise art and beautiful faces looking to their creation, which look to their Maker; so too there are numerous beautiful veils which conceal their wisdom, and moreover, great numbers of apparent instances of disorder and confusion which are most regular sacred writing.

THIRD POINT

If you do love God, follow me; God will love you.

Since in the universe there is observedly beauty of art, and this is certain, it necessitates with a certainty as definite as actually witnessing it the Messengership of Muhammad (PBUH). For the beauty of art and finely ornamented forms of these beautiful creatures show that their Fashioner possesses a significant will to make beautiful and powerful desire to adorn. And this will and desire show that the Maker possesses an elevated love and sacred inclination towards the perfections of the art He displays in His creatures. And this love and inclination require to be turned towards and concentrated on man, the most enlightened and perfect individual among beings. And man is the conscious fruit of the tree of creation. And the fruit


4 Qur'an, 3:31.


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is the most comprehensive and furthest part, the part with the most general view and universal consciousness. And the one with the most comprehensive view and universal consciousness should be the most elevated and brilliant individual, who will meet with and be addressed by that Beauteous Maker; who will expend his universal consciousness and comprehensive view entirely on the worship of his Maker, the appreciation of His art, and offering thanks for His bounties.

Now, two signboards, two spheres appear. One is a magnificent, well-ordered sphere of dominicality and exquisitely fashioned, bejewelled signboard of art. The other is an enlightened and illumined sphere of worship and broad and comprehensive signboard of thought and reflection, admiration, thanks, and belief. This second sphere acts with all its strength in the name of the first sphere.

Thus, it will be clearly understood how closely connected with the Maker is the leader of the second sphere, which serves all the Maker's art-cherishing aims, and how beloved and acceptable he is in His eyes.

Is it at all reasonable to accept that the munificent Fashioner of these fine creatures, Who so loves His art and even takes into consideration all the tastes of the mouth, would remain indifferent towards His most beautiful creature, who, in a clamour of admiration and appreciation which makes the Throne and earth reverberate and in a litany of thanks and exaltation which brings to ecstasy the land and the sea, is worshipfully turned towards Him? Would He not speak with him and want to make him His Messenger and wish his commendable conduct to pass to others? It is possible that He would not speak with him and not make him His Messenger... By no means!


Verily, the religion before God is Islam. 5 Muhammad is the Messenger of God.


5 Qur'an, 3:19. 6 Qur'an, 48:29.


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The Nineteenth Word

[About the Messengership of Muhammad (PBUH)]

/ could not praise Muhammad with my words; rather, my words were made praiseworthy by Muhammad.

Yes, this Word is beautiful, but what makes it so is the most beautiful of all things, the attributes and qualities of Muhammad (PBUH).

Also being the Fourteenth Flash, this Word consists of fourteen 'Droplets.'

FIRST DROPLET

There are three great and universal things which make known to us our Sustainer. One is the book of the universe, a jot of whose testimony we have heard from the thirteen Flashes together with the thirteenth lesson from the Arabic Risale-i Nur. Another is the Seal of the Prophets (Peace and blessings be upon him), the supreme sign of the book of the universe. The other is the Qur'an of Mighty Stature. Now we must become acquainted with the Seal of the Prophets (PBUH), who is the second and articulate proof, and must listen to him.

Yes, consider the collective personality of this proof: the face of the earth has become his mosque, Mecca, his mihrab, and Medina, his pulpit. Our Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), this clear proof, is leader of all the believers, preacher to all mankind, the chief of all the prophets, lord of all the saints, the leader of a circle for the remembrance of God comprising all the prophets and saints. He is a luminous tree whose living roots are all the prophets, and fresh fruits are all the saints; whose claims all the prophets relying on their miracles and all the saints relying on their wonder-working confirm and corroborate. For he declares and claims: "There is no god but God!" And all on left and right, that is, those luminous reciters of God's Names lined up in the past and the future, repeat the same words, and through their consensus in effect declare: 'You speak the truth and what you say is right!" What false idea has the power to meddle in a claim which is thus affirmed and corroborated by thousands?


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SECOND DROPLET

Just as that luminous proof of Divine unity is affirmed by the unanimity and consensus of those two wings, so do hundreds of indications in the revealed scriptures, like the Torah and Bible, 1 and the thousands of signs that appeared before the beginning of his mission, and the well-known news given by the voices from the Unseen and the unanimous testimony of the soothsayers, the indications of the thousands of his miracles like the Splitting of the Moon, and the justice of Shari'a all confirm and corroborate him. So too, in his person, his laudable morals, which were at the summit of perfection; and in his duties, his complete confidence and elevated qualities, which were of the highest excellence, and his extraordinary fear of God, worship, seriousness, and fortitude, which demonstrated the strength of his belief, and his total certainty and his complete steadfastness, - these all show as clearly as the sun how utterly faithful he was to his cause.

THIRD DROPLET

If you wish, come! Let us go to Arabian Peninsula, to the Era of Bliss! In our imaginations we shall see him at his duties and visit him. Look! We see a person distinguished by his fine character and beautiful form. In his hand is a miraculous book and on his tongue, a truthful address; he is delivering a pre-eternal sermon to all mankind, indeed, to man, jinn, and the angels, and to all beings. He solves and expounds the strange riddle of the mystery of the world's creation; he discovers and solves the abstruse talisman which is the mystery of the universe; and he provides convincing and satisfying answers to the three awesome and difficult questions that are asked of all beings and have always bewildered and occupied minds: "Where do you come from? What are you doing here? What is your destination?"

FOURTH DROPLET

See! He spreads such a Light of truth that if you look at the universe as being outside the luminous sphere of his truth and guidance, you see it to be like a place of general mourning, and beings strangers to one another and hostile, and inanimate beings to be like ghastly corpses and living creatures like orphans weeping at the blows of death and separation. Now look! Through the Light he spreads, that place of universal mourning has been transformed into a place where God's Names and praises are recited in joy and ecstasy. The foreign, hostile beings have become friends and brothers. While the dumb, dead inanimate creatures have all become familiar officials and docile servants. And the weeping, complaining orphans are seen to be


1 In his Risale-i Hamidiye, Husayn Jisri extracted one hundred and fourteen indications from those scriptures. If this many have remained after the texts have become corrupted, there were surely many explicit mentions before.


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either reciting God's Names and praises or offering thanks at being released from their duties.

FIFTH DROPLET

Also, through his Light, the motion and movement of the universe, and its variations, changes and transformations cease being meaningless, futile, and the playthings of chance; they rise to being dominical missives, pages inscribed with the signs of creation, mirrors to the Divine Names, and the world itself becomes a book of the Eternally Besought One's wisdom. Man's boundless weakness and impotence make him inferior to all other animals and his intelligence, an instrument for conveying grief, sorrow, and sadness, makes him more wretched, yet when he is illumined with that Light, he rises above all animals and all creatures. Through entreaty, his illuminated impotence, poverty, and intelligence make him a petted monarch; due to his complaints, he becomes a spoiled vicegerent of the earth. That is to say, if it were not for his Light, the universe and man, and all things, would be nothing. Yes, certainly such a person is necessary in such a wondrous universe; otherwise the universe and firmaments would not be in existence.

SIXTH DROPLET

Thus, that Being brings and announces the good news of eternal happiness; he is the discoverer and proclaimer of an infinite mercy, the herald and observer of the beauties of the sovereignty of dominicality, and the discloser and displayer of the treasures of the Divine Names. If you regard him in that way, that is in regard to his being a worshipful servant of God, you will see him to be the model of love, the exemplar of mercy, the glory of mankind, and the most luminous fruit of the tree of creation. While if you look in this way, that is, in regard to his Messengership, you see him to be the proof of God, the lamp of truth, the sun of guidance, and the means to happiness. And look! His Light has lighted up from east to west like dazzling lightning, and half the earth and a fifth of mankind has accepted the gift of his guidance and preserved it like life itself. So how is it that our evil-commanding souls and satans do not accept with all its degrees, the basis of all such a Being claimed, that is, There is no god but Godl

SEVENTH DROPLET

Now, consider how, eradicating in no time at all their evil, savage customs and habits to which they were fanatically attached, he decked out the various wild, unyielding peoples of that broad peninsula with all the finest virtues, and made them teachers of all the world and masters to the civilized nations. See, it was not an outward domination, he conquered and subjugated their minds, spirits, hearts, and souls. He became the beloved of hearts, the teacher of minds, the trainer of souls, the ruler of spirits.


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EIGHTH DROPLET

You know that a small habit like cigarette smoking among a small nation can be removed permanently only by a powerful ruler with great effort. But look! This Being removed numerous ingrained habits from intractable, fanatical large nations with slight outward power and little effort in a short period of time, and in their place he so established exalted qualities that they became as firm as if they had mingled with their very blood. He achieved very many extraordinary feats like this. Thus, we present the Arabian Peninsula as a challenge to those who refuse to see the testimony of the blessed age of the Prophet. Let them each take a hundred philosophers, go there, and strive for a hundred years; would they be able to carry out in that time one hundredth of what he achieved in a year?

NINTH DROPLET

Also, you know that an insignificant man of small standing among a small community in a disputed matter of small importance cannot tell a small but shameful lie brazen-faced and without fear without displaying anxiety or disquiet enough to inform the enemies at his side of his deception. Now look at that Being; although he undertook a tremendous task which required an official of great authority and great standing and a situation of great security, can any contradiction at all be found in the words he uttered among a community of great size in the face of great hostility concerning a great cause and matters of great significance, with great ease and freedom, without fear, hesitation, diffidence, or anxiety, with pure sincerity, great seriousness, and in an intense, elevated manner that angered his enemies? Is it at all possible that any trickery should have been involved? God forbid! It is naught but Revelation inspired. The truth does not deceive, and one who perceives the truth is not deceived. His way, which is truth, is free of deception. How could a fancy appear to one who sees the truth to be the truth, and deceive him?

TENTH DROPLET

Now, look! What curiosity-arousing, attractive, necessary, and awesome truths he shows, what matters he proves!

You know that what impels man most is curiosity. Even, if it was to be said to you: "If you give half of your life and property, someone will come from the Moon and Jupiter and tell you all about them. He will also tell you the truth about your future and what will happen to you," you would be bound to give them if you have any curiosity at all. Whereas that Being tells of a Monarch Who is such that in His realm, the Moon flies round a moth like a fly, and the moth, the earth, flutters round a lamp, and the lamp, the sun, is merely one lamp among thousands in one guest-house out of thousands of that Monarch.


2 Qur'an, 53:4.


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Also, he speaks truly of a world so wondrous and a revolution so momentous that if the earth was a bomb and exploded, it would not be all that strange. Look! Listen to Suras like, When the sun is folded up; * When the sky is cleft asunder, * [The Day] of Noise and Clamour; 5 which he recites.

Also, he speaks truly about a future in comparison with which the future in this world is like a tiny mirage. And he tells most seriously of a happiness in comparison with which all worldly happiness is but a fleeting flash of lightning in relation to an eternal sun.

ELEVENTH DROPLET

For sure, wonders await us under the apparent veil of the universe which is thus strange and perplexing. So one thus wonderful and extraordinary, a displayer of marvels, is necessary to tell of its wonders. It is apparent from that Being's conduct that he has seen them, and sees them, and says that he has seen them. And he instructs us most soundly concerning what the God of the heavens and the earth, Who nurtures us with His bounties, wants and desires of us. Everyone should therefore leave everything and run to and heed this Being who teaches numerous other necessary and curiosity-arousing truths like these, so how is it that most people are deaf and blind, and mad even, so that they do not see this truth, and they do not listen to it and understand it?

TWELFTH DROPLET

Thus, just as this Being is an articulate proof and true evidence at the degree of the veracity of the unity of the Creator of beings, so is he a decisive proof and clear evidence for the resurrection of the dead and eternal happiness. Yes, with his guidance he is the reason for eternal happiness coming about and is the means of attaining it; so too through his prayers and supplications, he is the cause of its existence and reason for its creation. We repeat here this mystery, which is mentioned in the Tenth Word, due to its 'station'.

See! This Being prays with a prayer so supreme it is as if the Arabian Peninsula and the earth itself performs the prayers through his sublime prayer, and offers entreaties. See, he also entreats in a congregation so vast that it is as if all the luminous and perfected members of mankind from the time of Adam till our age and until the end of time, are following him and saying "Amen" to his supplications. And see! He is beseeching for a need so universal that not only the dwellers of the earth, but also those of the heavens, and all beings, join in his prayer, declaring: "Yes! O our Sustainer!


3 Qur'an, 81:1. 4 Qur'an, 82:1. 5 Qur'an, 101:1.


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Grant it to us! We too want it!" And he supplicates with such want, so sorrowfully, in such a loving, yearning, and beseeching fashion that he brings the whole cosmos to tears, leading them to join in his prayer.

And see! The purpose and aim of his prayer is such it raises man and the world, and all creatures, from the lowest of the low, from inferiority, worthlessness, and uselessness to the highest of the high; that is to having value, permanence, and exalted duties. And see! He seeks and pleads for help and mercy in a manner so elevated and sweet, it is as if he makes all beings and the heavens and the earth hear, and bringing them to ecstasy, to exclaim: "Amen, O our God! Amen!" And see! He seeks his needs from One so Powerful, Hearing, and Munificent, One so Knowing, Seeing, and Compassionate, that He sees and hears the most secret need of the most hidden living being and its entreaties, accepts them, and has mercy on it. For He gives what is asked for, if only through the tongue of disposition. And He gives it in so Wise, Seeing, and Compassionate a form that it leaves no doubt that that nurturing and regulation is particular to the All-Hearing and All-Seeing One, the Most Generous and Most Compassionate One.

THIRTEENTH DROPLET

What does he want, this pride of the human race, who taking behind him all the eminent of mankind, stands on top of the world, and raising up his hand, is praying? What is this unique being, who is truly the glory of the cosmos, seeking? Listen! He is seeking eternal happiness. He is asking for eternal life, and to meet with God. He wants Paradise. And he wants all the Sacred Divine Names, which display their beauty and decrees in the mirrors of beings. Even, if it were not for reasons for the fulfilment of those countless requests, like mercy, grace, wisdom, and justice, a single of that Being's prayers would have been sufficient for the construction of Paradise, the creation of which is as easy for Divine power as the creation of the spring. Yes, just as his Messengership was the reason for the opening of this place of examination and trial, so too his worship and servitude to God were the reason for the opening of the next world.

Would the perfect order observed in the universe, which has caused scholars and the intelligent to pronounce: "It is not possible for there to be anything better than what exists;" and the faultless beauty of art within mercy, the incomparable beauty of dominicality, - would these permit the ugliness, the cruelty, the lack of order of its hearing and responding to the least significant, the least important desires and voices, and its considering unimportant the most important, the most necessary wishes, and its not hearing them or understanding them, and not carrying them out? God forbid ! A hundred thousand times, God forbid! Such a beauty would not permit such an ugliness; it would not become ugly.


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And so, my imaginary friend! That is enough for now, we must return. For if we remain a hundred years in this age in the Arabian Peninsula, we still would only completely comprehend one hundredth of the marvels of that Being's duties and the wonders he carried out, and we would never tire of watching him.

Now, come! We shall look at the centuries, which will turn above us. See how each has opened like a flower through the effulgence it has received from that Sun of Guidance! They have produced millions of enlightened fruits like Abu Hanifa, Shafi'i, Abu Bayazid Bistami, Shah Geylani, Shah Naqshband, Imam Ghazzali, and Imam Rabbani. But postponing the details of our observations to another time, we must recite some benedictions for that disp layer of miracles and bringer of guidance, which mention a number of his certain miracles:

Endless peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad, to the number of the good deeds of his community, to whom was revealed the All -Wise Criterion of Truth and Falsehood, from One Most Merciful, Most Compassionate, from the Sublime Throne; whose Messengership was foretold by the Torah and Bible, and told of by wondrous signs, the voices of jinn, saints of man, and soothsayers; at whose indication the moon split; our master Muhammad! Peace and blessings be upon him thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the breaths of his community; at whose beckoning came the tree, on whose prayer rain swiftly fell; and whom the cloud shaded from the heat; who satisfied a hundred men with his food; from between whose fingers three times flowed water like the Spring of Kawthar; and to whom God made speak the lizard, the gazelle, the wolf, the torso, the arm, the camel, the mountain, the rock, and the clod; the one who made the Ascension and whose eye did not waver; our master and intercessor, Muhammad! Peace and blessings be upon him thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the letters of the Qur' an formed in the words, represented with the permission of the Most Merciful in the mirrors of the airwaves, at the reciting of all the Qur' an' s words by all reciters from when it was first revealed to the end of time. And grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us, O God, for each of those blessings. Amen.

[I have described the evidences for Muhammad's (PBUH) Prophethood which I have here indicated briefly in a Turkish treatise called Sua 'at-i Marifeti'n-Nebi and in the Nineteenth Letter {The Miracles of Muhammad). And there too aspects of the All-Wise Qur' an' s miraculousness have been mentioned briefly. Again, in a Turkish treatise called Lemeat (Gleams) and in the Twenty-Fifth Word {The Miraculousness of the Qur' an) I have explained concisely forty ways in which the Qur 'an is a miracle, and indicated forty aspects of its miraculousness. And of those


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forty aspects, only the eloquence in the word-order, I have written in forty pages in an Arabic commentary called Isharat al-I'jaz (Signs of Miraculousness). If you have the need, you may refer to those three works.]

FOURTEENTH DROPLET

The All- Wise Qur'an, the treasury of miracles and supreme miracle, proves the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) together with Divine unity so decisively that it leaves no need for further proof. And we shall give its definition and indicate one or two flashes of its miraculousness which have been the cause of criticism.

The All- Wise Qur'an, which makes known to us our Sustainer, is thus: it is the pre- eternal translator of the great book of the universe; the discloser of the treasures of the Divine Names concealed in the pages of the earth and the heavens; the key to the truths hidden beneath these lines of events; the treasury of the favours of the Most Merciful and pre-eternal addresses, which come forth from the World of the Unseen beyond the veil of this Manifest World; the sun, foundation, and plan of the spiritual world of Islam, and the map of the worlds of the hereafter; the distinct expounder, lucid exposition, articulate proof, and clear translator of the Divine Essence, attributes, and deeds; the instructor, true wisdom, guide, and leader of the world of humanity; it is both a book of wisdom and law, and a book of prayer and worship, and a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation and Divine knowledge - it is book for all spiritual needs; and it is a sacred library offering books appropriate to the ways of all the saints and veracious, the purified and the scholars, whose ways and paths are all different.

Consider the flashes of miraculousness in its repetitions, which are imagined to be a fault: since the Qur'an is both a book of invocation, and a book of prayer, and a book of summons, the repetition in it is desirable, indeed, it is essential and most eloquent. It is not as the faulty imagine. For the mark of invocation is illumination through repetition. The mark of prayer is strengthening through repetition. The mark of command and summons is confirmation through repetition. Moreover, everyone is not capable of always reading the whole Qur'an, but is mostly able to read one Sura. Therefore, since the most important purposes of the Qur'an are included in most of the longer Suras, each is like a small Qur'an. That is to say, so that no one should be deprived, certain of its aims like Divine unity, the resurrection of the dead, and the story of Moses, have been repeated. Also, like bodily needs, spiritual needs are various. Man is need of some of them every breath; like the body needs air, the spirit needs the word Hu (He). Some he is in need of every hour, like "In the Name of God." And so on. That means the repetition of verses arises from the repetition of need. It makes the


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repetition in order to point out the need and awaken and excite it, and to arouse desire and appetite.

Also, the Qur'an is a founder; it is the basis of the Clear Religion, and the foundation of the world of Islam. It changed human social life, and is the answer to the repeated questions of its various classes. Repetition is necessary for a founder in order to establish things. Repetition is necessary to corroborate them. Confirmation, verification and repetition are necessary to emphasize them.

Also, it speaks of such mighty matters and minute truths that numerous repetitions are necessary in different forms in order to establish them in everyone's hearts. Nevertheless, they are apparently repetitions, but in reality every verse has numerous meanings, numerous benefits, and many aspects and levels. In each place they are mentioned with a different meaning, for different benefits and purposes.

Also, the Qur'an' s being unspecific and concise in certain matters to do with cosmos is a flash of miraculousness for the purpose of guidance. It cannot be the target of criticism and is not a fault, like some atheists imagine.

If you ask: "Why does the All- Wise Qur'an not speak of beings in the same way as philosophy and science? It leaves some matters in brief form, and some it speaks of in a simple and superficial way that is easy in the general view, does not wound general feelings, and does not weary or tax the minds of ordinary people. Why is this?"

By way of an answer we say: Philosophy has strayed from the path of truth, that's why. Also, of course you have understood from past Words and what they teach that the All- Wise Qur'an speaks of the universe in order to make known the Divine Essence, attributes, and Names. That is, it explains the meanings of the book of the universe to make known its Creator. That means it looks at beings, not for themselves, but for their Creator. Also, it addresses everyone. But philosophy and science look at beings for themselves, and address scientists in particular. In which case, since the All- Wise Qur'an makes beings evidences and proofs, the evidence has to be superficial so that it will be quickly understood in the general view. And since the Qur'an of Guidance addresses all classes of men, the ordinary people, which form the most numerous class, want guidance which is concise with unnecessary things being vague, and which brings subtle things close with comparisons, and which does not change things which in their superficial view are obvious into an unnecessary or even harmful form, lest it causes them to fall into error.

For example, it says about the sun: "The sun is a revolving lamp or lantern." For it does not speak of the sun for itself and its nature, but because it is a sort of mainspring of an order and centre of a system, and order and system are mirrors of the Maker's skill. It says:


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The sun runs its course.

that is, the sun revolves. Through calling to mind the orderly disposals of Divine power in the revolutions of winter and summer, and day and night with the phrase, The sun revolves, it makes understood the Maker's tremendousness. Thus, whatever the reality of this revolving, it does not affect the order, which is woven and observed, and which is the purpose. It also says,

n

And set the sun as a lamp.

Through depicting through the word lamp the world in the form of a palace, and the things within it as decorations, necessities, and provisions prepared for man and living beings, and inferring that the sun is also a subjugated candleholder, it makes known the mercy and bestowal of the Creator. Now look and see what this foolish and prattling philosophy says:

"The sun is a vast burning liquid mass. It causes the planets which have been flung off from it to revolve around it. Its mass is such-and-such. It is this, it is that." It does not afford the spirit the satisfaction and fulfilment of true knowledge, just a terrible dread and fearful wonder. It does not speak of it as the Qur'an does. You may understand from this the value of the matters of philosophy, whose inside is hollow and outside, ostentatious. So do not be deceived by its glittering exterior and be disrespectful towards the most miraculous expositions of the Qur'an!

O God! Make the Qur'an healing for us, the writer of this and his peers, from all ills, and a companion to us and to them in our lives and after our deaths, and in this world, and in the grave, and at the Last Judgement an intercessor, and on the Bridge a light, and from the Fire a screen and shield, and in Paradise a friend, and in all good deeds a guide and leader, through Your grace and munificence and beneficence and mercy, O Most Munificent of the Munificent and Most Merciful of the Merciful! Amen.

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one to whom the All- Wise Qur'an, the Distinguisher between Truth and Falsehood, was re-vealed, and to all his Family and Companions. Amen. Amen.

[NOTE: The Six Drops of the Fourteenth Droplet in the Arabic Risale-i Nur, and especially the Six Points of the Fourth Drop, explain fifteen of the approximately forty sorts of the All-Wise Qur'an's miraculousness. Deeming those to be sufficient, we have limited the discussion here. If you wish, refer to them, and you will find a treasury of miracles...]


6 Qur'an, 36:38.

7 Qur'an, 71:16.


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The Twentieth Word

[This Word consists of Two Stations]

First Station

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And when We told the angels: Prostrate before Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis. * God commands that you sacrifice a cow. * And yet after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks or even harder.

One day while reading these verses, three points were imparted to me from the effulgence of the Qur'an against the promptings of Satan. His suggestions took this form:

He said: "You say the Qur'an is a miracle, and of infinite eloquence, and that it is guidance for everyone at all times. So what is the meaning in its persistently repeating in historical form certain minor events like the following: how is it appropriate to mention an insignificant event like the slaughtering of a cow as though it were something significant, and even naming that important Sura, The Cow? Also the event of 'prostrating before Adam;' it occurred in the realm of the Unseen and cannot be understood rationally. It may be submitted to and accepted with certainty only after a strong belief has been attained. Whereas the Qur'an instructs those who use their reasons; in many places it says: So will you not think?, and refers what it says to the reason. Also, how is it guidance to show certain natural conditions of rocks to be important which are the results of chance?"

The Points with which I was inspired took this form:

FIRST POINT: In the All- Wise Qur'an are numerous minor events behind which are concealed universal principles, and which are shown as the tips of general laws. For example,


He taught Adam the Names, all of them


4


1 Qur'an, 2:34.

2 Qur'an, 2:67.

3 Qur'an, 2:74.

4 Qur'an, 2:31.


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This is the 'teaching of the Names,' which was a miracle of Adam before the angels because of his ability to be vicegerent of the earth, and was a minor event. But it forms the tip of a universal principle which is as follows: it was the teaching, due to man's comprehensive disposition, of countless sciences, and numerous all-embracing branches of knowledge about the universe, and extensive learning about the Creator's attributes and qualities, which afforded man superiority over not only the angels but also the heavens and earth and mountains in the question of the bearing of the Supreme Trust. And like the Qur'an states that through his comprehensive disposition, man is a spiritual vicegerent of the earth, so the minor event in the Unseen of the angels prostrating before Adam and Satan not prostrating is the tip of a broad and universal observed principle; these hint at an extensive truth which is as follows:

By mentioning the angels' obedience and submission before the person of Adam, and Satan's pride and refusal, the Qur'an makes understood that most of the physical beings in the universe and their non-physical representatives and appointed beings are subjugated to man, and that man's senses are predisposed and amenable to benefiting from all of them. And pointing out what a fearsome enemy and serious obstacle in the path of man's progress are evil matter and its representatives and evil indwelling spirits, which corrupt man's nature and drive him down wrong paths, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, while speaking of a minor matter with Adam (Peace be upon him), converses in elevated fashion with the whole universe and all mankind.

SECOND POINT: Although the Land of Egypt is a part of the Greater Sahara Desert, through the blessing of the Nile, it has become like an extremely fertile arable field. Such a blessed heavenly place being found adjacent to the hellish Sahara has made its agriculture highly sought after by its people and has so fixed it in their characters that for them it has become sacred, and the cow and the bull, the means of agriculture, have also become sacred, and even objects of worship. The people of Egypt of that time considered the cow and bull to be so holy they worshipped them. Thus, it is understood from the question of 'the Calf that the Children of Israel of that time, who grew up in Egypt, had come to have a share of that custom.

Thus, the All- Wise Qur'an makes understood through the sacrifice of a cow that through his messengership, Moses excised and destroyed the concept of cow-worship, which had become a part of that nation's character and worked in their very natures.

Thus, through this minor incident, it expounds with an elevated miraculousness a universal principle which is essential instruction in wisdom for everyone at all times.

Making an analogy with this, you may understand that certain minor


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incidents in the Qur'an which are mentioned in the form of historical events, are the tips of universal principles. Even, in Lemeat, in the section on the Miraculousness of the Qur'an, taking the seven sentences of the Story of Moses, which is mentioned and repeated in many Suras, we have explained how each part of those particular sentences comprises an important universal principle. If you wish, you may refer to that treatise.

THIRD POINT:

And yet, after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder: for, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth; and, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues; and there are some that fall down for awe of God. And God is not unmindful of what you do.

While reading the above verse, the Whisperer said: "What meaning is there in discussing and explaining as though they were the most important and significant of matters, certain natural states of rocks which are commonplace and everyone knows about? How is it fitting, and what need is there?"

In the face of this suggestion, the following point was imparted to me from the effulgence of the Qur'an:

Yes, it is fitting and there is need for it. And it is so fitting and there is a meaning so significant and truth so enormous and necessary that only through the Qur'an's miraculous conciseness and guiding grace has it been simplified to a degree, and summarized. Yes, conciseness, one foundation of the Qur'an's miraculousness, and guiding grace and fitting instruction, which are one light of its guidance, require that in the face of ordinary people, who form the majority of those whom the Qur'an addresses, universal truths and profound and general principles are shown in familiar and particular forms, and that, due to their simple minds, only the tips of vast truths are shown, and in a simple form, and, moreover, that the Divine disposals, which are wondrous and extraordinary beneath the veil of the commonplace and under the earth, are shown briefly. Thus, it is due to this mystery that the All- Wise Qur'an says the following with the above verse:

O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What has happened to you that your hearts have become harder and more lifeless than stone? For do you not see that those extremely hard, lifeless, huge rocks formed in vast strata under the earth are so obedient and subjugated before the Divine commands and so soft and tractable under the dominical works that to whatever degree the Divine disposals occur without resistance in the formation of trees in the air, orderly water channels and veins, like the circulation of blood in veins, occur with the same ease and order and with perfect wisdom in those hard,


5 Qur'an, 2:74.


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deaf rocks under the earth. 6 And like the way the branches of trees and plants spread in the air with ease encountering no obstacles, the delicate veins of roots spread with the same ease in the rocks under the earth. The Qur'an indicates this and teaches an extensive truth with the verse, and thus by allusion says the following to the hard-hearted:

O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What sort of heart do you bear within your weakness and impotence so that with its hardness it resists the command of such a One? Whereas how perfectly and obediently the huge strata of hard rocks carry out their delicate duties in the darkness before His commands. They display no disobedience. Indeed, those rocks act as treasurers for the water of life and other means of life of all the living creatures above the earth, and are the means for their division and distribution. They do this with such wisdom and justice that they are soft like wax or air in the hand of power of the All- Wise One of Glory; offering no resistance, they prostrate before His mighty power. For just like well-ordered creatures and wise and gracious Divine disposals occur on top of the earth, which we observe, the same occur beneath it. Indeed, Divine wisdom and favour are manifest there in a more wondrous and strange way in regard to wisdom and order. See how like wax those hard, unfeeling mighty rocks display a softness towards the creational commands, and how they offer no resistance or hardness to the delicate waters, the fine roots, and silken veins, which are Divine officials. As though like a lover, the rock's heart melts at the touch of those delicate, beautiful things, and becomes earth in their path.

And, through,

And, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God,

the Qur'an shows the tip of a vast truth which is like this: like in the event of 'Moses asking for the vision of God' and the famous mountain crumbling at the Divine manifestation and the rocks being scattered, through the manifestations of Divine glory in the form of earthquakes and the mountains shaking, most of which are like great monoliths formed of solidified liquid, and certain other geological occurrences - through such awesome manifesta


Yes, it is only fitting that the Qur'an should explain the three important duties of the rock strata, the foundation stone of the majestic travelling palace known as the earth, which are entrusted to it by the All- Glorious Creator.

Their First Duty: Just as earth acts as a mother to plants and raises them through dominical power, so through Divine power, the rocks act as a nurse to the earth and raise it.

Their Second Duty: They serve the orderly circulation of waters in the body of the earth, like the circulation of the blood.

Their Third Duty: This is to act as treasurer to the rising and continuous flow with regular balance of the springs and rivers, sources and streams. Indeed, the evidences of Divine unity which the rocks make flow with all their strength in mouthfuls in the form of the water of life, they write and sprinkle over the face of the earth.


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tions of glory, the rocks fall from the high summits of the mountains and are broken up. Some of these crumble and being transformed into earth, become the source of plants. Others remain as rocks, and rolling down to the valleys and plains, are scattered. They serve many purposes in the works of the earth's inhabitants; by being utilized in their houses for example, and prostrating in submission before Divine wisdom and power for certain hidden instances of wisdom and benefits, they take on the form of being at the command of the principles of Divine wisdom. The evidence that their leaving their high places out of awe, choosing lower places in humble fashion, and being the means of those significant benefits, and that they are neither futile, nor acting of their own accord, nor are objects of chance, but that within the disorder, through the wise disposals of One All- Wise and Ail-Powerful they are within a wise order not apparent to the superficial eye - the evidence for this are the purposes and benefits attached to the rocks, and the perfect order and fine art of the shirts adorned and embossed with the jewels of fruits and flowers with which the bodies of the mountains down which they roll are clothed. These testify in a decisive fashion which cannot be doubted.

Thus, you have seen how valuable these three parts of the verse are from the point of view of wisdom. Now see the Qur'an's subtle manner of exposition and miraculous eloquence. See how it shows through the three famous and observed events in the three parts of the verse, the tips of the above-mentioned extensive and important truths, and through recalling three further events, which are a warning lesson, it offers subtle guidance; its restrains in a way that cannot be resisted.

For example, in the second part of the verse, it says:

And, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues;

By alluding through this sentence to the rock which split with perfect eagerness under the Staff of Moses (Peace be upon him) and poured forth twelve streams from twelve sources, it imparts the following meaning: O Children of Israel! Great rocks become soft and crumble before a single miracle of Moses (PUH). They shed tears in floods, pouring forth out of either awe or joy. How is it you are so unfair you are obstinate in the face of all Moses' miracles, and not weeping, your eyes are lifeless and your hearts, hard? And in the third part, it says:

And, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God.

Through calling to mind with this part the famous event of the huge mountain crumbling and being scattered out of awe at the manifestation of Divine glory, which occurred on Mount Sinai at the supplications of Moses (Peace be upon him), and the rocks rolling down all round out again in awe, it


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teaches this meaning: O people of Moses (PUH)! How is it you do not fear God when the mountains which are composed of rocks are crushed and scattered out of awe of Him? Although you know that Moses climbed Mount Sinai above you in order to receive the Covenant, and that on his seeking the vision of God, the mountain crumbled, and you saw it, how is it you are so bold you do not tremble out of fear of God, and you make your hearts hard and unfeeling?

And, in the first part, it says:

For, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth;

Through recalling with this part rivers like the blessed Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates, which gush up out of mountains, the Qur'an makes understood the miraculous fashion rocks receive the creational commands and are subjugated to them. It infers the following meaning to vigilant hearts: it is certainly not possible that the mountains could be the actual source of such mighty rivers. For let us suppose the water was cut completely and the mountains each became a conical reservoir, they would only persist a few months before losing the balance to the swift and abundant flow of those large rivers. And the rain, which penetrates only about a metre into the earth, would not be sufficient income for that high expenditure. This means that the springs of these rivers are not something ordinary and natural arising from chance, but that the All-Glorious Creator makes them flow forth from an unseen treasury in truly marvellous fashion.

Thus, alluding to this mystery and stating this meaning, it is narrated in a Hadith: "Each of those three rivers is a drop from Paradise which continuously issues forth from

■7

Paradise, as a result of which they are sources of abundance." And in another it is said: "The source of these three rivers is from Paradise." The truth of these narrations is this: since physical causes are not capable of producing their abundant flow, their sources must be in an unseen world and must arise from a treasury of mercy; the equilibrium between their incomings and outgoings is maintained in this way.

Thus, through inferring this meaning, the All- Wise Qur'an gives the following instruction: O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! With your hardness of heart, unfeelingness, and heedlessness you disobey and close your eyes to the commands and light of knowledge of the Pre-Eternal Sun, One so Glorious that He makes flow forth from the mouths of common, lifeless rocks mighty rivers like the blessed Nile, which transforms Egypt into a paradise and produces witnesses to His unity for the universe's heart and earth's mind as eloquent as the force, appearance, and abundant flow of those mighty rivers, and makes them flow to the hearts and minds of jinn and men.


1 Muslim, iv, No: 2839; Musnad, ii, 289, 440.


8 Muslim, Janna, 26; Bukhari, ii, 134; Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih, No: 5628.


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How is it that while some unfeeling, lifeless rocks manifest the miracles of His power in such wondrous fashion,9 9 showing the All-Glorious Creator as the sunlight shows the sun, you are blind before the light of His knowledge, and do not see it?

So see what eloquence has been clothed on these three truths, and note carefully the eloquent guidance. What hardness of heart can withstand without melting the heat of this eloquent guidance?

If you have understood this from the beginning to here, behold one flash of the All- Wise Qur'an's miraculous guidance, and offer thanks to Almighty God!

Glory be unto to You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O God! Grant us understanding of the mysteries of the Qur'an as You love and is pleasing to You, and grant us success in the service of it. Amen. Through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one to whom the All-Wise Qur'an was revealed, and to all his Family and Companions .


9 The blessed Nile rises in the Mountains of the Moon, the main stream of the River Tigris in a cave in the district of Miikiis in the province of Van, and the main branch of the Euphrates, in the foothills of a mountain in the region of Diyadin. It is established by science that the origins of mountains are rocks solidified from liquid matter. One of the Prophet (PBUH)'s glorifications, "Glory be to the One Who spread out the earth on solidified liquid" is decisive evidence that the original creation of the earth was as follows: some liquid matter solidified at the Divine command and became rock. With Divine leave, the rock became earth. The word Earth (arz) in the glorification, means earth (soil). That is to say, the liquid matter was too soft to support anything, and the rock was too hard to be benefited from. Therefore, the All- Wise and Compassionate One spread the earth over the rock and made it the place of habitation for living beings.

10 Qur'an, 2:32.


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The Second Station of the Twentieth Word

[A flash of the Qur'an's miraculousness that shines on the Miracles of the Prophets.]

Note carefully the two questions and answers at the end.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Nor anything fresh or dry, but is in a Record Clear.

Fourteen years ago (and now thirty years have passed) in my Qur'anic commentary called Isharat al-Vjaz (Signs of Miraculousness), I wrote a discussion in Arabic about one of the mysteries of this verse. Now two of my brothers whose wishes are important in my view have asked for an explanation of that discussion in Turkish. And so, relying on Almighty God's assistance, and on the effulgence of the Qur'an, I say this:

According to one interpretation, the Clear Book or Record consists of the Qur'an. The above verse states that everything, fresh or dry, is found within it, is that so? Yes, everything is found in it, but everyone cannot see this, for all the things it contains are found at different levels. Sometimes the seeds, sometimes the nuclei, sometimes the summaries, sometimes the principles, sometimes the signs, are found either explicitly, or implicitly, or allusively, or vaguely, or as a reminder. One of these is expressed according to need, in a manner suitable to the purposes of the Qur'an and in connection with the requirements of the position. For instance:

Things like the aeroplane, electricity, railways, and the telegraph have come into existence as wonders of science and technology as the result of man's progress in science and industry. Surely the All- Wise Qur'an, which addresses all mankind, does not neglect these. Indeed, it has not neglected them; it indicates them in two 'Ways'.

The First: In the form of the miracles of the Prophets...

The Second is this: it indicates them in the form of certain historical events. For instance:


11 Qur'an, 6:59.


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Woe to the makers of the pit [of fire] * Fire supplied [abundantly] with fuel * Behold! They sat over against [the fire] * And they witnessed [all] that they were doing against the believers * And they ill-treated them for no other reason

i <y

than that they believed in God, the Mighty, the One to Whom all Praise is due.

Likewise,

In the loaded ark * And We have created for them similar [vessels] on which they ride,

Just as verses like these point to the railway, so the following verse alludes to electricity, as well as pointing to numerous other lights and mysteries:

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a niche, and within it a lamp; the lamp enclosed in glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star. Lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though the fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! 15 God guides whom He wills to His Light.

Since numerous people have occupied themselves with this second sort, and they are in need of much care and elucidation, and since they are many, for now we shall content ourselves with these verses that allude to the railway and electricity, and shall not open that door.

As for The First Sort, it indicates them in the form of the Miracles of the Prophets. And we shall mention some of these by way of example.

INTRODUCTION: The All- Wise Qur'an sends the Prophets to man's communities as leaders and vanguards of spiritual and moral progress. Similarly it gives all of them a number of wonders and makes them the masters and foremen in regard to mankind's material progress, and commands men to follow them absolutely. Thus, just as by speaking of the spiritual and moral perfections of the Prophets, it is encouraging people to benefit from them, so too in discussing their miracles it is inferring encouragement to achieve similar things and to imitate them. It may even be said that like spiritual and moral attainments, material attainments and wonders were first given to mankind as a gift by the hand of miracles. Thus, what first gave man the gift of the ship, which was a miracle of Noah (Peace be upon him), and


12 Qur'an, 85:4-8.

13 Qur'an, 36:41-2.

14 This sentence indicates that the railway has taken the World of Islam prisoner. The unbelievers defeated Islam with it.

15 The sentence, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though the fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! illuminates that allusion.

16 Qur'an, 24:35.


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the clock, a miracle of Joseph (Peace be upon him), was the hand of miracles. It is a subtle indication to this truth that most craftsmen have a Prophet as the patron of their craft. For example, seamen have Noah (PUH), watchmakers have Joseph (PUH), tailors have Idris (PUH), and so on.

Indeed, investigative scholars and the science of rhetoric are in agreement that all the Qur'an's verses contain numerous aspects of guidance and instruction. The verses of the miracles of the Prophets, which are the most brilliant of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition's verses, are not therefore mere historical stories, but comprise numerous meanings and sorts of guidance. Yes, in mentioning the Prophets' miracles, it is tracing the final limit of man's science and industry. It is pointing the finger at his furthest aims. It is specifying his final goals. And by striking the hand of encouragement on man's back, it is urging him forward towards them. Just as the past is the store of the seeds of the future and mirror to its attributes, so the future is the arable field of the past and the mirror to its states. Now we shall explain only a few samples of that most extensive source as examples:

For example, the verse:

To Solomon [We made] the wind [obedient]: its early morning [stride] was a

1 "7

month's [journey], and its evening [stride] was a month's [journey],

which describes one of Solomon's (Peace be upon him) miracles, the subjugating of the air. This says: "Solomon traversed the distance of two months in one day by flying through the air." It is thus suggesting that the road is open for man to cover such a distance in the air. In which case, O man! since the road is open to you, reach this level! And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the tongue of this verse: "O man! I mounted one of my servants on the air because he gave up the desires of his soul. If you too give up laziness, which comes from the soul, and benefit thoroughly from certain of my laws in the cosmos, you too may mount it..." And the verse,

So We said: "Strike the rock with your staff. " Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs,

which explains a miracle of Moses (Peace be upon him). This verse indicates that the treasuries of mercy concealed under the earth may be profited from with simple tools. Even from places hard as rock, the water of life may be attracted with a staff. Thus, through this meaning the verse says to man: "You may find the subtlest effulgence of mercy, the water of life, with a staff. In which case, come on, work and find it!" And in meaning Almighty


17 Qur'an, 34:12.

18 Qur'an, 2:60.


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God says through the verse's allusive tongue: "O man! I put in the hand of one of my servants who trusted in Me a staff that draws the water of life from wherever he wishes, if you too rely on the laws of My mercy, you may obtain an implement resembling it or close to it. So, come on and do so!" And one of the most important contributions to man's progress was the creation of an implement that causes water to flow forth from most of the places it is struck. This verse traces farther goals and limits, and ends beyond that, just as the previous verse specified final points far ahead of today's aeroplanes. And for example,

/ shall heal the blind and the leper and I shall quicken the dead, by God's leave,

which concerns a miracle of Jesus (Peace be upon him). Just as the Qur'an explicitly urges man to follow Jesus' (Peace be upon him) high morals, so it allusively encourages him towards the elevated art and dominical medicine of which Jesus was the master. The verse indicates the following: "Remedies may be found for even the most chronic ills. In which case, O man!, O calamity-afflicted sons of Adam! Don't despair! Whatever the ill, its cure is possible. Search for it and you will find it. It is even possible to give a temporary tinge of life to death." And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the figurative tongue of this verse: "O man! I gave two gifts to one of My servants who abandoned the world for Me. One was the remedy for spiritual ills, and the other the cure for physical sicknesses. Moribund hearts were raised to life through the light of guidance, and sick people who were as though dead found health through his breath and cure. You too may find the cure for every ill in the pharmacy of My wisdom. Work to find it! If you seek, you will certainly find." Thus, this verse traces the limit which is far ahead of man's present progress in medicine. It hints at it, and urges him towards it. And for example, the verses:

7f)

And We made the iron soft for him * And We gave him wisdom and sound

7 1

judgement in speech and decision,

which are about David (Peace be upon him), and,

And We made a font of molten copper to flow for him,

which is about Solomon (Peace be upon him). These indicate that the softening of iron is one of the greatest of Divine bounties, through which is shown the virtue of one of the greatest Prophets. Indeed, softening iron, that is,


19 Qur'an, 3:49.

20 Qur'an, 34:10.

21 Qur'an, 38:20.

22 Qur'an, 34:12.


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making it soft like dough, and smelting copper, and finding minerals and extracting them is the origin and source, and basis and foundation of all man's material industries. Thus, this verse indicates: "A great bounty bestowed on a great Messenger and vicegerent of the earth in the form of a great miracle was the softening of iron. Making it as soft as dough and fine as a thread and smelting copper are the basis of most of the general industries." Since wisdom was given to the tongue of one who was both Messenger and vicegerent, that is, to one who was both a spiritual and material leader, and craft and industry were given to his hand. It is on the one hand explicitly urging men towards the wisdom on his tongue, and on the other is implicitly encouraging them towards the craft in his hand. Through the allusive tongue of this verse, in meaning Almighty God is saying:

"O Sons of Adam! I gave such wisdom to the tongue and heart of one of My servants who complied with my commands and obligations that he rendered judgement on everything with the finest distinction and made manifest the truth. And I gave him such art that he could mould iron into any shape in his hand as though it were wax. It was a significant means of power for his vicegerency and rule. Since it was possible, it was given. It is both important, and you are in much need of it in your social life. If you too obey my commands in creation, that wisdom and craft will be given you too. In the course of time you will reach it and draw close to it." Thus, it is through the softening of iron and smelting of copper that man achieves his greatest progress in industry, and his greatest power and strength. In the verse, the word qitr is used to describe copper. These verses direct mankind's sight towards this truth, and they sternly warned the people of former times who did not appreciate their importance, as well as the lazy in modern times...

And, for example, the verse,

Said one who had knowledge of the Book: "I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye!" Then when [Solomon] saw it placed firmly before him,

which points to the following wondrous event: in order to attract Bilkis' throne to him, one of Solomon's (Peace be upon him) ministers who was versed in the science of attraction said: "I'll have the throne here before you before you can blink your eyes." The verse suggests then that it is possible to bring either things themselves or their images to one instantaneously from far away, and it is a fact that Almighty God bestowed this ability on Solomon (PBH) in the form of a miracle, to establish his innocence and justice. For being honoured with rulership as well as his Messengership, Solomon could in this way himself be informed of events in all the regions of his extensive dominions, and see the condition of his subjects and hear of their ills. That


23 Qur'an, 27:40.


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means, if man relies on Almighty God, and asks it of Him with the tongue of his innate capacity, like Solomon (PBH) asked for it with the tongue of his chastity, and if he conforms to His laws of wisdom in the universe, the world may become like a town for him. That is to say, while Bilkis' throne was in Yemen, it was instantaneously present in Damascus, or its image was, and it was seen. The images of the men around the throne were also certainly conveyed there, and their voices heard. This therefore indicates splendidly the attraction of images and sounds from long distances, and in effect says:

"O Kings and Rulers! If you wish to act with pure justice, endeavour to see and understand the face of the earth in all its details, like Solomon. For, by rising to the level of being informed whenever he wishes about every part of his realm, a just ruler and king who cherishes his subjects will avoid inequity, and may rule with complete justice." And Almighty God in effect says through the allusive tongue of the verse:

"O Sons of Adam! I bestowed on one of My servants a broad realm, and so that he could act completely justly within it, I allowed him to know personally of all situations and events that occurred there. And since I have given all men the innate capacity to be vicegerent of the earth, I gave them also the ability to see, consider, and understand the whole face of the earth in accordance with that ability, for My wisdom requires this. If individuals do not reach that point, men may reach it as a race. And if they do not reach it physically, the saints may reach it in meaning. In which case, you may take advantage of this great bounty. Come on, let's see you do it! On condition you do not neglect your duties of worship, strive to transform the face of the earth into a garden every part of which you may see, and the sounds of every corner of which you may hear. Heed the decree of the Most Merciful:

It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes, but unto Him is the Resurrection.

The above-mentioned verse thus alludes to the farthest limit far in the future in the attraction of images and sounds, one of man's finest arts, and hints encouragement. And, for example, the verses,

And also others bound together in fetters * And of the evil ones were some who dived for him, and did other work besides,

state that Solomon (PBH) subjugated jinns, satans, and evil spirits, and preventing their evil, employed them usefully, and they say: the jinn, the most important intelligent inhabitants of the earth after man, may serve him.


24 Qur'an, 67:15.

25 Qur'an, 38:38.

26 Qur'an, 21:82.


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Contact may be made with them. Devils too may be compelled to give up their enmity and whether they want to or not made to serve. Thus, Almighty God subjected them to one of His servants who was obedient to His commands. Through the allusive tongue of the verses, in meaning Almighty God is saying: "O man! I made jinns, devils, and their evil obey one of My servants who obeyed Me. If you too are subjugated to my commands, numerous beings, and even jinns and devils, may be subjugated to you."

These verses trace the final limits of the calling-up of spirits, and conversing with jinns, like spiritualism, which have been filtered from a blend of art and science and have arisen from man's extraordinary physical and spiritual sensitivity. The verses specify the most beneficial form of these and open up the way to them. But it is not to be subjugated to jinns, devils, and evil spirits, who sometimes call themselves the spirits of the dead, and to become their playthings, and a laughing-stock, like nowadays, but to subjugate them through the talisman of the Qur'an, and be delivered from their evil.

Other verses about Solomon (Peace be upon him) which allude to spirits appearing in physical form, and his calling up demons and subjugating them, and other verses besides, such as,

Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as man in all respects,

indicate both the calling-up of spirits, and spirit beings assuming physical form. But the calling-up of good spirits alluded to here is not in the manner of 'the cultured,' to be disrespectful to spirits in that utterly serious world and attract them to their own places and games, but -like one group of the saints like Muhyiddin al-Arabi, who, most seriously and for a serious purpose, met with spirits when they wanted- to be attracted to them and to form a relation with them, and by going to their place and drawing close to their world to an extent, to benefit from their spirituality. It is this that the verses allude to, and within the allusion, make it understood that they are encouraging man to achieve it. They trace the furthest limit of occult arts and sciences of this sort, and point out their best form.

And, for example, the verses about David's (Peace be upon him) miracles:

It was We that made the hills declare in unison with him Our praises, at eventide, and at break of day. * O you mountains! Sing you back the Praises of God with him! and you birds! And We made the iron soft for him. * We have been taught the speech of birds.

These indicate that Almighty God gave to David's (PBH) praises and glorifi


27 Qur'an, 19:17.

28 Qur'an, 38:18.

29 Qur'an, 34:10.

30 Qur'an, 27:16.


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cations such strength and a sound so loud and agreeable they brought the mountains to ecstasy, which, each like a huge gramophone or a man, formed a circle on the horizon around the chief reciter, reciting also the glorifications. Is this possible, I wonder? Is it the truth?

Yes, it is the truth. Every mountain with caves can speak with man in man's language like a parrot. By means of an echo. You say: "All praise be to God!" to the mountain before you, and the mountain will declare: "All praise be to God!", exactly the same as you. Since Almighty God has given this ability to mountains, it can surely be made to develop, and that seed made to sprout.

Thus, since He gave to David (PBH) the vicegerency of the earth together with his Messengership in exceptional form, He so made the seed of that ability unfold - as a miracle - worthy of his extensive Messengership and magnificent rule that huge mountains followed him like soldiers, students, or followers, and at his command and in his tongue declared the praises and glorifications of the All-Glorious Creator. Whatever David (PBH) said, they repeated. Now at the present time, because the means of communication have multiplied and developed, a powerful commander could compel his large army dispersed in the mountains to declare: "God is Most Great!", and could make the mountains speak, bringing them to tumult. Since a commander of men can make the mountains speak metaphorically in the tongue of those present in the mountains, surely a magnificent commander of Almighty God could make them speak actually, and recite His praises. In addition, I have explained in previous Words that all mountains have a collective personality or corporate identity, and offer glorifications and worship in a way suitable to each. That is to say, just as through the mystery of echo all mountains recite glorifications in the tongue of men, so too they glorify the All-Glorious Creator in their own particular tongues.

Also, the verses,

-l i

And the birds gathered [in assemblies]; * We have been taught the speech of birds,

show that Almighty God bestowed on David and Solomon (Peace be upon them) knowledge of the tongues of the bird species, and of the tongues of their innate capacities; that is, of the things for which they would be useful. Yes, since it is the truth and since the face of the earth is a laden table set up by the Most Merciful in honour of man, most of the other animals and birds who benefit from it may be subjugated to man and serve him. Man employs some of the smallest of them, the honey-bee and silk- worm, and through Divine inspiration has opened up a beneficial highway, and by employing


31 Qur'an, 38:19.

32 Qur' an, 27:16.


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pigeons in various tasks and teaching birds like parrots to speak, he has added fine things to the virtues of human civilization. In the same way, if the tongues of innate capacities of other birds and animals were known, there are many species which could be employed in important tasks like their brothers, the domesticated animals. For example, against plagues of locusts: if the tongue of starlings was known, who eat and destroy locusts, and their movements could be regulated, what valuable services they could be employed in free of charge.

Thus, this verse traces the furthest limit in subjugating birds and benefiting from them in this way, and in making lifeless beings speak like a telephone or gramophone, and in profiting from birds. It specifies the most distant goal. It points a finger at it in majestic fashion and in a way urges man towards it. Through the allusive tongue of these verses, Almighty God is therefore saying in meaning:

"O men! In order to honour his prophethood and the complete justice of his rule, I subjugated to one of your fellow men who was totally submissive to me, the huge creatures in my dominions, causing them to speak, and I made most of my troops and animals his servants. In which case, since I have committed to each of you the Supreme Trust, from which the sky, earth, and mountains shrank, and I have given you the ability to be My vicegerent on earth, you should yield to Me, the One in Whose hand are the reins of these creatures, so that the creatures in My dominions may yield also to you, and you may obtain in the name of the One Who holds them, their reins, and rise to a position worthy of your abilities.

Since the truth is this, rather than listening to the gramophone, playing with pigeons and making them deliver letters, and teaching parrots to speak, you should strive to attain to the most agreeable and elevated amusement. Then the mountains may be huge gramophones for you like David's, and the harmonious recitations of Divine praises may reach your ears from the trees and plants at the touching of the breeze, and the mountains may show their true nature as wondrous creatures who recite the Divine praises in thousands of tongues, and most birds may be clothed in the form of intimate friends or obedient servants, like Solomon's Hoopoe. Then they may entertain you and drive you eagerly towards the perfections and attainments of which you are capable, and not make you fall from the position required by being a human being, like other amusements."

And, for example, in the verse,

IT

We said: "Ofire! Be cool and [a means of] safety for Abraham,


33 Qur'an, 21:69.


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which is about one of Abraham's (Peace be upon him) miracles, are three subtle indications:

The First: Like other natural causes, fire does not act according to its own wishes and nature, blindly, but performs a duty under a command. Thus it did not burn Abraham (Peace be upon him), because it was commanded not to burn him.

The Second: There is a degree of heat which burns through its coldness. That is, it has an effect like burning. Through the word, Be cooll, Almighty God is saying to the coldness: "Do not burn him with your coldness, the same as your heat!" That is to say, through its coldness, fire at that degree has an effect like burning. It is both fire and cold. In fact, in natural science there is a degree of fire, the state of 'white heat,' the heat of which does not spread to its surroundings. It attracts the heat around it to itself and with this cold, freezes surrounding liquids such as water, in effect burning them through its cold. Thus, intense cold is a category of fire which burns through its cold. In which case, this intense cold is surely a part of Hell, for it contains all the degrees and sorts of fire.

The Third: Just as there is an immaterial substance like belief which counters the effects of Hell-fire and affords protection against it, the armour of Islam, so there is a physical substance which protects against the effects of worldly fire. For as is required by the Name of All- Wise, this world is the abode of wisdom, and Almighty God carries out His works under the veil of causes. Therefore, the fire burnt neither Abraham's body, nor his garments; He imbued them with a state which resisted fire. Thus, by this allusion, the verse is in effect saying: "O nation of Abraham! Resemble Abraham, so that your garments may be your armour against fire, your greatest enemy both here and there. Clothe your spirit in belief in God, and it will be your armour against Hell-fire. Moreover, there are certain substances which Almighty God has hidden in the earth for you which will protect you from the evils of fire. Search for them, extract them, and clothe yourselves in them!" Thus, one of man's important discoveries and a step in his progress was his finding a substance which fire does not burn; and he clothed himself in garments resistant to fire. So see how elevated, subtle, and fine a garment this verse weaves on the loom of Hanifan Musliman, which will not be rent in all eternity.

And, for example, the verse,

And He taught Adam the Names, all of them,


34 One Qur'anic commentary states: If He had not said: Be cool!, it would have burnt him with its coldness. [See, for example, Ibn Hanbal, al-Zuhd, 101.- Tr.] 35 Qur'an, 2:31.


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which says: "Adam's (Peace be upon him) greatest miracle in the question of the supreme vicegerency was the teaching of the Names." Like the miracles of the other Prophets each allude to a particular human wonder, the miracle of Adam, who was the father of all the Prophets and the 'Inauguration of the Office of Prophethood,' points almost explicitly to the final points of all human attainment and progress, and humanity's final goals. Through the tongue of allusion, Almighty God (May His glory be exalted) is saying with this verse:

"O Sons of Adam! Since as a proof of their superiority over the angels in the question of the vicegerency, I taught your forefather all the Names, you too, since you are his sons and the inheritors of his abilities, should learn all the Names and in your position as holder of the Supreme Trust demonstrate before all creatures your worthiness. For the way is open to you to rise to exalted rank such as holding the highest positions over all beings in the universe, and for vast creatures like the earth to be subjected to you. Come on, step forward, adhere to all My Names, and rise! But your forefather was once deceived by Satan, and temporarily fell to the earth from a position like Paradise. Beware! In your progress, do not follow Satan and from the heavens of Divine wisdom thus fall into the misguidance of 'nature.' Continuously raising your head and studying carefully My Most Beautiful Names, make your sciences and your progress steps by which to ascend to those heavens. Then you may rise to My dominical Names, which are the realities and sources of your sciences and attainments, and you may look to your Sustainer with your hearts through the telescope of the Names."

A SIGNIFICANT POINT AND IMPORTANT MYSTERY

By describing under the title of 'the teaching of the Names' all the attainments of learning and scientific progress and wonders of technology which man manifests through his comprehensive disposition, this wondrous verse contains the following subtle and elevated allusion: all attainments and perfections, all learning, all progress, and all sciences, have an elevated reality which is based on one of the Divine Names. On being based on the Name, which is concealed under numerous veils and has various manifestations and different spheres, the sciences and arts and attainments find their perfection and become reality. They are not some incomplete and deficient shadow.

For example, engineering is a science; its reality and final point reaches to Almighty God's Names of All- Just and Determiner, and observes with all their majesty the wise manifestation of those Names in the mirror of engineering.

And, for example, medicine is a science, and also an art; its final point and reality are based on the Absolutely Wise One's Name of Healer, and through observing that Name's compassionate manifestations in the vast


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pharmacy of the earth, medicine finds its perfection and becomes reality.

And, for example, the natural sciences, which discuss the reality of beings; through seeing the regulating, nurturing supreme manifestations of Almighty God's (May His glory be exalted) Name of All- Wise in things, in their benefits and advantages, and through attaining to the Name, and being based on It, these sciences may contain true wisdom. Otherwise they are either transformed into superstition, or become nonsense, or open up the way to misguidance like Naturalist philosophy.

There, three examples for you! You may make analogies with these for the other sciences and attainments.

Thus, with this verse, the All- Wise Qur'an strikes the hand of encouragement on man's back, urging him to the highest peaks, the furthest limits, the final degrees, which he is far behind at the present degree of his progress. It points its fingers at those degrees, saying: "Forward march!" Contenting ourselves for now with these jewels from the sublime treasury of this verse, we close this door.

Also, for example, the All- Wise Qur'an, the supreme miracle of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), the Seal of the Office of Prophethood, in the face of whose claim to Divine Messengership the miracles of all the former Prophets were like a single confirmatory miracle; the leader of the Prophets and cause of pride of the universe; who manifested in detail with all their degrees all the Names which were taught in brief to Adam (PBH); who, in raising his finger, through the manifestation of Divine glory split the moon, and lowering it, through the manifestation of Divine beauty poured water from it like the Spring of Kawthar; and who was verified and corroborated by a thousand miracles. 36 Through numerous clear verses like,

Say: If all mankind and the Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof even if they backed up each

in

other with help and support,

which describes the purity of its exposition, the eloquence of its expression, the comprehensiveness of its meanings, and the elevatedness and sweetness of its styles concerning truth and reality, which are the most brilliant of the All- Wise Qur'an's aspects of miraculousness - through verses like these, it directs the gazes of men and jinn to the clearest and most brilliant aspects of this pre-eternal miracle. It provokes all men and jinn. Arousing the eagerness of its friends and obstinacy of its enemies, it urges them with intense encouragement to imitate and copy it, to resemble it with their words. It also places that miracle before the eyes of creatures in such a way that it is as if the only aim in man coming into this world is to take that miracle as his goal


36 Bayhaqi, Dala'il al-Nubuwwa, i, 10< Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, vi, 58, 583.

37 Qur'an, 17:88.


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and guiding principle, and studying it to understand the purpose of his creation, and to proceed towards it.

In Brief: The miracles of the other Prophets (Peace be upon them) all indicate a wonder of human art or craft, and Adam's (Peace be upon him) miracle indicates in concise form, besides the bases of those crafts, the index of the sciences and branches of knowledge, and of the wonders and perfections, and urges man towards them. As for the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, the supreme miracle of Muhammad (PBUH), since it shows in detail the reality of the teaching of the Names, it points clearly to the true goal of the sciences and branches of knowledge, which are truth and reality, as well as the perfections, attainments, and happiness of this world and the next. With truly powerful encouragement, it urges man towards them. It encourages and urges in a such way it says:

"O man! In the face of manifestations of dominicality, the elevated purpose of the universe is man's universal worship and submission to God, while his furthest aim is to attain to that worship by means of those sciences and perfections." In stating this, it hints:

"At the end of time, mankind will spill into science and learning. It will obtain all its strength from science. Power and rule will pass to the hand of science."

Also, since the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition repeatedly puts forward its eloquence and beauty of expression, by allusion it says: "At the end of time, eloquence and beauty of expression, the most brilliant of the sciences and branches of knowledge, will be most sought after in all their varieties. Even, in order to make one another accept their ideas and carry out their word, men will find their most effective weapon in eloquent expression, and their most irresistible force in fine oratory."

In Short: Most of the Qur'an' s verses are keys to a treasury of perfections and guides to a store of knowledge.

If you wish, you may reach up to the skies of the Qur'an and the stars of its verses by making the previous twenty Words a stairway of twenty steps. Through them you will see what a brilliant sun is the Qur'an! See how it sprinkles a pure light over the Divine truths and the truths of the contingent realm! See what a brilliant effulgence it spreads!

Conclusion: Since together with alluding to the wonders of present-day human progress, all the verses about the Prophets are also in a style which as though infers and traces their limits in the future; and since it is certain that all the verses point to numerous meanings, indeed, it is unanimously


38 Indeed, the thirty-three Words, thirty-three Letters, thirty-one Flashes, and thirteen Rays form a stairway of one hundred and twenty steps.


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agreed upon, and since there are categorical commands to follow and obey the Prophets, then together with the explicit meanings of the above verses, it may be said that they indicate in allusive fashion the important of man's arts and sciences, and urge him towards them.

TWO IMPORTANT ANSWERS TO TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

THE FIRST

If you say: "The Qur'an was revealed for man, so why does it not describe the wonders of civilization explicitly, for they have the greatest importance in his eyes? Why does it suffice with secret signs, concealed allusions, slight indications, and slender reminders?"

The Answer: Because the rights of the marvels of human civilization can only claim that much in the Qur'an's discussions. For the Qur'an's basic duty is to teach about the perfections and acts in the 'sphere of dominicality' and the duties and circumstances in the 'sphere of worship.' So the rights of human wonders in those two spheres diminish to being only a weak sign and slight indication. For if they were to demand their rights from the 'sphere of dominicality,' they would receive very few.

For example, if man's aeroplane were to say to the Qur'an: "Give me the right to speak and a place in your verses," the planets, earth, and moon, which are the aeroplanes of the 'sphere of dominicality,' would reply in the name of the Qur'an: "You take a place in relation to your size." And if man's submarines were to ask for a place from the Qur'an's verses, the submarines of that sphere, that is, the earth and stars which swim in the vast ocean of the atmosphere and the ether would say: "Your place beside us is so small as to be negligible." And if the brilliant, star-like electric lights were to demand the right to speak and ask to be included in its verses, the electric lights of that sphere, the shooting stars, lightning, and stars and lamps which adorn the face of the skies, would say: "You may enter its discussions and explanations in relation to your light." If the wonders of civilization were to demand their rights with a view to fineness of art and seek a place from its verses, then a single fly would bid them to be silent, saying: "Your rights are not equal to even one of my wings! For if all the fine arts and delicate instruments achieved through man's faculty of will were to be gathered together, they could not be as wondrous as the fine art of my delicate members and tiny body." The verse,


39 While writing this serious matter, involuntarily my pen adopted this subtle, though witty, style. So I left my pen free. I hope that the somewhat unserious style does not mar the seriousness of the subject.


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Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose.

bids you to fall silent!"

If the marvels of civilization were to go to the 'sphere of worship' and demand their rights, they would receive a reply like this: "Your relations with us are very few, and you may not easily enter our sphere. For our programme is this: the world is a guest-house, and as for man, he remains there only a short time. He is a guest with many duties and in a brief lifetime is charged with preparing all the necessities for eternal life. The most important and essential matters will be offered to you. But most of you see this fleeting world through a veil of heedlessness, as an eternal abode, coloured and shaped by worldly feelings. So your share of worship, the basis of which is love of the truth and thinking of the hereafter, is very small. However, if there are among you respected craftsmen and artists and inspired inventors, who, purely for the benefit of God's servants, serve the general interest and public well-being and betterment of social life, which is a valuable worship, these signs and indications of the Qur'an are surely sufficient for those sensitive people, who of course form a minority, in order to encourage their efforts and appreciate their art."

THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION

If you say: "None of my doubts remains now after these investigations, and I affirm that together with other wonders, in the Qur'an are allusions to and indications of the wonders of modern civilization, indeed, to further advancements. Everything necessary for man's happiness in this world and the next is found within it in relation to its worth. But why does the Qur'an not mention them explicitly so that obstinate unbelievers would be compelled to confirm it, and our hearts also would be easy?"

The Answer: Religion is an examination, a test, proposed by God so that in the arena of competition elevated spirits and base spirits may be distinguished from one another. Just as materials are plunged in the fire so that diamonds and coal, gold and earth, separate out from one another, so too religion is a trial concerning the obligations placed on man by God and a driving to competition, which is what this abode of examination consists of. In this way the elevated jewels in the mine of man's abilities become separated out from the dross. Since the Qur'an was revealed in this abode of examination for man to be perfected through trial in the arena of competition, it will surely only allude to the hidden events of the future pertaining to this world which everyone will see, and will only open the door to the reason to a degree that proves its argument. If it mentioned them explicitly, the


40 Qur'an, 22:73.


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mystery of man's accountability would be negated. Simply, it would be as self-evident as writing There is no god but God clearly in stars on the face of the skies. Then everyone would have to affirm it whether they wanted to or not. There would be no competition, and the examination too would go for nothing. A spirit like coal would remain on the same level of a spirit like diamonds.

In Short: The All- Wise Qur'an is wise. It affords everything a position in relation to its value. Thus, one thousand three hundred years ago, the Qur'an saw concealed in the darkness of the future, man's hidden fruits and progress, and showed them in a form better than we see and shall see. That means the Qur'an is the Word of One Who sees at the same instant all time and all within it.

Thus, one flash of the Qur'an's miraculousness which shines on the face of the miracles of the Prophets.

O God! Grant us understanding of the mysteries of the Qur'an and success in the service of it at every instant at all times.

Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O God! Grant blessings and peace and benedictions and honour to our master and lord Muhammad, Your servant and Prophet and Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, and to his Family and Companions and wives and descendants, and to all the Prophets and Messengers, and to the angels close to Your Throne, and the saints and the righteous; grant too the most excellent of blessings and the purest peace and the most abundant benedictions, to the number of the Suras of the Qur'an, and its verses, and words and letters, and its meanings and indications and signs and allusions, and grant us forgiveness, and have mercy on us, and be gracious to us, O God, Our Creator, to the number of those blessings, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful! And all praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds. Amen. Amen.


41 . Abu Jahl the Accursed and Abu Bakr the Truthful would appear to be equal, and the mystery of the examination set by God, lost.

42 Qur'an, 2:32.


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The Twenty-First Word

[This Word consists of Two Stations.]

First Station

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. For such Prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.

One time, a man great in age, physique, and rank said to me: "The prayers are fine, but to perform them every single day five times is excessive. Since they never end, it becomes wearying."

A long time after the man said these words, I listened to my soul and I heard it say exactly the same things. I looked at it and saw that with the ear of laziness, it was receiving the same lesson from Satan. Then I understood that those words were as though said in the name of all evil-commanding souls, or else they had been prompted. So I said: "Since my soul commands to evil, one who does not reform his own soul cannot reform others. In which case, I shall begin with my own soul."

I said: O soul! Listen to five 'Warnings' in response to those words which you uttered in compounded ignorance, on the couch of idleness, in the slumber of heedlessness.

FIRST WARNING

O my wretched soul! Is your life eternal, I wonder? Have you any incontrovertible document showing that you will live to next year, or even to tomorrow? What causes you boredom is that you fancy you shall live for ever. You complain as though you will remain in this world to enjoy yourself for ever. If you had understood that your life is brief and that it is departing fruitlessly, it surely would not cause you boredom, but excite a real eagerness and agreeable pleasure to spend one hour out of the twenty-four on a fine, agreeable, easy, and merciful act of service which is a means of gaining the true happiness of eternal life.


1 Qur' an, 4:103.


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SECOND WARNING

my stomach-worshipping soul! Every day you eat bread, drink water, and breathe air; do they cause you boredom? They do not, because since the need is repeated, it is not boredom that they cause, but pleasure. In which case, the five daily prayers should not cause you boredom, for they attract the needs of your companions in the house of my body, the sustenance of my heart, the water of life of my spirit, and the air of my subtle faculties. Yes, it is by knocking through supplication on the door of One All- Compassionate and Munificent that sustenance and strength may be obtained for a heart afflicted with infinite griefs and sorrows and captivated by infinite pleasures and hopes. And it is by turning towards the spring of mercy of an Eternal Beloved through the five daily prayers that the water of life may be imbibed by a spirit connected with most beings, which swiftly depart from this transitory world crying out at separation. And being most needy for air in the sorrowful, crushing, distressing, transient, dark, and suffocating conditions of this world, it is only through the window of the prayers that a conscious inner sense and luminous subtle faculty can breathe, which by its nature desires eternal life and was created for eternity and is a mirror of the Pre-Eternal and Post- Eternal One and is infinitely delicate and subtle.

THIRD WARNING

O my impatient soul! Is it at all sensible to think today of past hardships of worship, difficulties of the prayers, and troubles of misfortune, and be distressed, and to imagine the future duties of worship, service of the prayers, and sorrows of disaster, and display impatience? In being thus impatient you resemble a foolish commander, who, although the enemy's right flank joined his right flank and became fresh forces for him, sent a significant force to the right flank, and weakened the centre. Then, while there were no enemy soldiers on the left flank, he sent a large force there, and gave them the order to fire. No forces then remained in the centre, and the enemy understood this and attacked it and routed him.

Yes, you resemble this, for the troubles of yesterday have today been transformed into mercy; the pain has gone while the pleasure remains. The difficulty has been turned into blessings, and the hardship into reward. In which case, you should not feel wearied at it, but make a serious effort to continue with a new eagerness and fresh enthusiasm. As for future days, they have not yet arrived, and to think of them now and feel bored and wearied is a lunacy like thinking today of future hunger and thirst, and starting to shout and cry out. Since the truth is this, if you are reasonable, you will think of only today in connection with worship, and say: "I am spending one hour of it on an agreeable, pleasant, and elevated act of service, the reward for which is high and whose trouble is little." Then your bitter dispiritedness will be transformed into sweet endeavour.


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My impatient soul! You are charged with being patient in three respects. One is patience in worship. Another is patience in refraining from sin. And a third is patience in the face of disaster. If you are intelligent, take as your guide the truth apparent in the comparison in this Third Warning. Say in manly fashion: "O Most Patient One!", and shoulder the three sorts of patience. If you do not squander on the wrong way the forces of patience Almighty God has given you, they should be enough to withstand every difficulty and disaster. So hold out with those forces!

FOURTH WARNING

O my foolish soul! Is this duty of worship without result, and is its recompense little that it causes you weariness? Whereas if someone was to give you a little money, or to intimidate you, he could make you work till evening, and you would work without slacking. So is it that the prescribed prayers are without result, which in this guest-house of the world are sustenance and wealth for your impotent and weak heart, and in your grave, which will be a certain dwelling-place for you, sustenance and light, and at the Resurrection, when you will anyway be judged, a document and patent, and on the Bridge of Sirat, over which you are bound to pass, a light and a mount? Are their recompense little? Someone promises you a present worth a hundred liras, and makes you work for a hundred days. You trust the man who may go back on his word and work without slacking. So if One for Whom the breaking of a promise is impossible, promises you recompense like Paradise and a gift like eternal happiness, and employs you for a very short time in a very agreeable duty, if you do not perform that service, or you act accusingly towards His promise or slight His gift by performing it unwillingly like someone forced to work, or by being bored, or by working in half-hearted fashion, you will deserve a severe reprimand and awesome punishment. Have you not thought of this? Although you serve without flagging in the heaviest work in this world out of fear of imprisonment, does the fear of an eternal incarceration like Hell not fill you with enthusiasm for a truly light and agreeable act of service?

FIFTH WARNING

O my world-worshipping soul! Does your slackness in worship and remissness in the prescribed prayers arise from the multiplicity of your worldly occupations, or because you cannot find time due to the struggle for livelihood? Were you created only for this world that you spend all your time on it? You know that in regard to your abilities you are superior to all the animals, but in regard to procuring the necessities of worldly life you cannot compete with even a sparrow. So why can you not understand that your basic


2 Suyuti, al-Durar al-Muntathira, 46; Suyuti, al-Fath al-Kabir, ii, 200.


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duty is not to labour like an animal, but to strive for a true, perpetual life, like a true human being. In addition, the things you call worldly occupations mostly do not concern you, and are trivial matters which you meddle in officiously. You neglect the essential things and pass your time acquiring inessential information as though you were going to live for a thousand years. For example, you squander your precious time on worthless things like learning what the rings around Saturn are like or how many chickens there are in America. As though you were becoming an expert in astronomy or statistics.

If you say: "What keeps me from the prayers and worship and causes me to be lax is not unnecessary things like that, but essential matters like earning a livelihood," then my answer is this: if you work for a daily wage of one hundred kurush, and someone comes to you and says: "Come and dig here for ten minutes, and you will find a brilliant and an emerald worth a hundred liras." If you reply: "No, I won't come, because ten kurush will be cut from my wage and my subsistence will be less," of course you understand what a foolish pretext it would be. In just the same way, you work in this orchard for your livelihood. If you abandon the obligatory prayers, all the fruits of your effort will be restricted to only a worldly, unimportant, and unproductive livelihood. But if you spend your rest periods on the prayers, which allow your spirit to relax and heart to take a breather, you will discover two mines which are an important source, both for a productive worldly livelihood, and your livelihood and provisions of the hereafter.

First Mine: Through a sound intention, you will receive a share of the praises and glorifications offered by all the plants and trees, whether flowering or fruit-bearing, that you grow in the garden.

Second Mine: Whatever is eaten of the garden's produce, whether by animals or man, cattle or flies, buyers or thieves, it will become like almsgiving from you. 4 But on condition you work in the name of the True Provider and within the bounds of what He permits, and see yourself as a distribution official giving His property to His creatures.

So see what a great loss is made by one who abandons the prescribed prayers. What significant wealth he loses, and he is deprived of those two results and mines which would otherwise cause him to work eagerly and ensure his morale is strong; he becomes bankrupt. Even, as he grows old, he will grow weary of gardening and lose interest in it, saying, "What is it to me? I am anyway leaving this world, why should I put up with this much difficulty?" He will sink into idleness. But the first man says: "I shall work harder at both worship and licit activities in order to send even more abundant light to my grave and procure more provisions for my life in the hereafter."


3 This First Station was a lesson for someone in a garden, so it was explained in this way.

4 Bukhari, hi, 135; Muslim, h, 1189; Ibn Hibban, v, 152; Musnad, hi, 184, 191.


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In Short: O my soul! Know that yesterday has left you, and as for tomorrow, you have nothing to prove that it will be yours. In which case, know that your true life is the present day. So throw at least one of its hours into a mosque or prayer-mat, a coffer for the hereafter like a reserve fund, set up for the true future. Know too that for you and for everyone each new day is the door to a new world. If you do not perform the prayers, your world that day will depart dark and wretched, and will testify against you in the World of Similitudes. For everyone, every day, has a private world out of this world, and its nature is dependent on the person's heart and actions. Like a splendid palace reflected in a mirror takes on the colour of the mirror; if it is black, it appears black; if it is red, it appears red. Also it takes on the qualities of the mirror; if the mirror is smooth, it shows the palace to be beautiful, and if it is not, it shows it to be ugly. As it shows the most delicate things to be coarse, so you alter the shape of your own world with your heart, mind, actions, and wishes. You may make it testify either for you or against you. If you perform the five daily prayers, and through them you are turned towards that world's Glorious Maker, all of a sudden your world, which looks to you, is lit up. Quite simply as though the prayers are an electric lamp and your intention to perform them touches the switch, they disperse the world's darkness and show the changes and movements within the confused wretchedness of worldly chaos to be a wise and purposeful order and a meaningful writing of Divine power. They scatter one light of the light-filled verse,

God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth

over your heart, and your world on that day is illuminated through the light's reflection. It will cause it to testify in your favour through its luminosity.

Beware, do not say: "What are my prayers in comparison with the reality of the prayers?", because like the seed of a date-palm describes the full-grown tree, your prayers describe your tree. The difference is only in the summary and details; like the prayers of a great saint, the prayers of ordinary people like you or me, even if they are not aware of it, have a share of that light. There is a mystery in this truth, even if the conscious mind does not perceive it... but the unfolding and illumination differs according to the degrees of those performing them. However many stages and degrees there are from the seed of a date-palm to the mature tree, the degrees of the prayers and their stages are even more numerous. But the essence of that luminous truth is present in all the degrees.

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one who said: "The five daily prayers are the pillar of religion, " and to all his Family and Companions.


5 Qur'an, 24:35.

6 Tirmidhi, Iman, 8; IbnMaja, Fitan, 12; Musnad, v, 231, 237; al-Mustadrak, ii, 76.


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The Second Station of the Twenty-First Word

[This comprises five cures for five of the heart's wounds.]

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And say: "O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with You from the suggestions of the evil ones * And I seek refuge with you, O my Sustainer, lest they should come near me.

O one afflicted with the sickness of scruples! Do you know what your scruples resemble? A calamity! The more importance they are given, the more they grow. If you give them no importance, they die away. If you see them as big, they grow bigger. If you see them as small, they grow smaller. If you fear them, they swell and make you ill. If you do not fear them, they are light and remain hidden. If you do not know their true nature, they persist and become established. While if you do know them and recognize them, they disappear. And so, I shall explain only five 'Aspects' which, of the many sorts of these calamitous scruples, are those which most frequently occur. Perhaps it may be curative for you and for me, for these scruples are such that ignorance invites them and knowledge repulses them. If you do not recognize them they come, if you do recognize them they go.

FIRST ASPECT - FIRST WOUND

Satan first casts a doubt into the heart. If the heart does not accept it, it turns from a doubt into abuse. It depicts before the imagination some unclean memories and unmannerly, ugly states which resemble abuse, and causes the heart to declare: "Alas!", and fall into despair. The person suffering from scruples supposes that he has acted wrongfully before his Sustainer and feels a terrible agitation and anxiety. In order to be saved from it, he flees from the Divine presence and wants to plunge into heedlessness. The cure for this wound is this:

O wretched man suffering from scruples! Do not be alarmed! For what comes to your mind is not abuse, but something imaginary. And like to imagine unbelief is not unbelief, to imagine abuse is not abuse either. For


7 Qur'an, 23:97-8.


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according to logic, an imagining is not a judgement, and abuse is a judgement. Moreover, those ugly words are not the words of your heart, because your heart is saddened and sorry at them. Rather they come from the inner faculty situated near the heart which is a means of Satanic whisperings. The harm of scruples is imagining the harm. That is, it is to suffer harm in the heart through imagining them to be harmful. For it is imagining to be reality an imagining which is devoid of judgement. Also, it is to attribute to the heart Satan's works; to suppose his words to be from it. Such a person thinks it is harmful, so it becomes harmful. That is anyway what Satan wanted.

SECOND ASPECT

It is this: when meanings arise in the heart, they enter the imagination stripped of form; it is there that they are clothed in an image or form. The imagination, always affected by some cause, weaves images of a sort. It leaves on the way the images of the things to which it gives importance. Whatever meaning passes through it, it either clothes it, or wears it, or taints it, or veils it. If the meanings are pure and clean, and the images, dirty and base, there is no clothing, but there is contact. The man with scruples confuses the contact with being clothed. He exclaims: "Alas! How corrupted my heart has become. This lowness has made me despicable!" Satan takes advantage of this vein of his. The cure for such a wound is as follows:

Listen, O you unfortunate! Just as outward cleanliness, which is the means to the correct conduct of your prayers, is not affected by the uncleanness of the inside of your inner organs, and is not spoiled by it, so the sacred meanings being close to unclean forms does not harm them. For example, you are reflecting on some Divine signs when suddenly you feel ill, or an appetite, or a stimulation like a need to pass water. Of course your imagination will see whatever is necessary to cure the ill or answer the need, and will look at it, weave lowly forms appropriate to them, and the meanings that arise will pass between them. But there is no harm in their passing, nor soiling, nor error, nor injury. If there is any mistake, it is in paying them attention and imagining the harm.

THIRD ASPECT

It is this: there are certain hidden connections between things. There are even the threads of connections between things you least expected. They are either there in fact, or your imagination made them according to the art with which it was preoccupied, and tied them together. It is due to this mystery of connections that sometimes seeing a sacred thing calls to mind a dirty thing. As stated in the science of rhetoric, "Although opposition is the cause of distance in the outer world, it is the cause of proximity in the imagination." That is, an imaginary connection is the means of bringing together the


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images of two opposites. The recollection which arises from this connection is called the association of ideas.

For example, while performing the prayers or reciting supplications before the Ka'ba in the Divine Presence, this association of ideas takes hold of you and drives you to the furthest, lowest trivia, although you are reflecting on Qur'anic verses. If your head is afflicted with association of ideas in this way, beware, do not be alarmed. Rather, the moment you come to your senses, turn back. Do not say: "I've done a great wrong," and keep playing with the trigger, lest through your attention, that tenuous connection strengthens. For the more you feel regret, the more importance you give it and that faint memory of yours becomes ingrained. It becomes an imaginary sickness. Do not be frightened, it is not a sickness of the heart. This sort of recollection is mostly involuntary. Especially in sensitive, nervous people it is more common. Satan works the mine of this sort of scruple a great deal. The cure for this wound is as follows:

The association of ideas is mostly involuntary. One is not answerable for it. In association there is proximity; there is no touching or intermingling. Therefore the nature of the ideas do not pass to one another and do not harm one another. Just as Satan and the angel of inspiration being in proximity to one another around the heart, and sinners and the pious being close to one another in the same house cause no harm, so too, if at the prompting of the association of ideas, dirty imaginings come and enter among clean thoughts, they cause no harm. Unless it is intentional, or by imagining them to be harmful, one is over-occupied with them. And sometimes the heart becomes tired, and the mind occupies itself with anything it encounters in order to entertain itself. Then Satan finds an opportunity, and scatters dirty things before it, and eggs it on.

FOURTH ASPECT

This is a scruple arising from searching for the best form of an action. Supposing it to be fear of God, the more rigorous it becomes, the more severe the condition becomes for the person. It even reaches the point that while searching for even better forms of action, he deviates into what is unlawful. Sometimes searching for a Sunna makes him give up what is obligatory. He says: "I wonder if my act was sound?", and repeats it. This state continues, and he falls into terrible despair. Satan takes advantage of this state of his, and wounds him. There are two cures for such a wound.

The First Cure: Scruples like this are worthy of the Mu'tazilites, because they say: "Actions and things for which a person is responsible are either, of themselves and in regard to the hereafter, good, and because of this good they were commanded, or they are bad, and because they are bad they were prohibited. That means, from the point of view of reality and the


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hereafter, the good and bad in things is dependent on the things themselves, and the Divine command and prohibition follows this." According to this school of thought, the following scruple arises in every action which a person performs: "I wonder if my action was performed in the good way that in essence it is?" While the true school, the Sunni School, says: "Almighty God orders a thing, then it becomes good. He prohibits a thing, then it becomes bad." That is, goodness becomes existent through command, and badness through prohibition. They look to the awareness of the one who performs the action, and are established according to that. And this good and bad is not in the apparent face which looks to this world, but in the face that looks to the hereafter.

For example, you performed the prayers or took the ablutions and there was a cause that of itself would spoil them, but you were completely unaware of it. Your prayers and ablutions, therefore, are both sound and acceptable. However, the Mu'tazilites say: "In reality it was bad and unsound. But it may be accepted from you because you were ignorant and did not know, so you have an excuse." Therefore, according to the Sunni School, do not say about an action which is conformable with the externals of the Shari'a: "I wonder if it was sound?"; do not have scruples about it. Say: "Was it accepted?"; do not become proud and conceited!

The Second Cure: This is: "There is no difficulty in religion." Since the four schools of law are true; and since realizing a fault which leads to the seeking of forgiveness is preferable -for the person afflicted with scruples- to seeing actions as good, which leads to pride, that is, it is better if such a person sees his action as faulty and seeks forgiveness, rather than considering it to be good and falling into pride; since it is thus, throw away your scruples and say to Satan: "This state is a difficulty. It is difficult to be aware of the reality of things. It is contrary to the ease in religion expressed by: There is no difficulty in religion. It is contrary to the principle, Religion is facility. Certainly such an action is conformable with a true school of law. That is enough for me. And at least by admitting my inability to perform the worship in a way worthy of it, it is a means of taking refuge with Divine compassion through humbly beseeching forgiveness, and to meekly supplicating that my faulty actions be accepted.

FIFTH ASPECT

In matters of belief, what occurs to one in the form of doubts are scruples. The unhappy man suffering from scruples sometimes confuses conceptions in his mind with imaginings. That is, he imagines a doubt that has occurred to his imagination to be a doubt that has entered his mind, and supposes that


8 Bukhari, i, 16; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, i, 280; Kanz al-'Ummal, iii, 33, 36, 47; vi, 42, 47.


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his beliefs have been damaged. Sometimes he supposes a doubt he has imagined to have harmed his belief. Sometimes he supposes a doubt he has imagined to have been confirmed by his reason. Sometimes he supposes pondering over a matter related to unbelief to be unbelief. That is, he supposes to be contrary to belief his exercising his ability to reflect in the form of understanding the causes of misguidance, and his ability to study and reason in impartial fashion. Then, taking fright at these suppositions, which result from the whisperings of Satan, he exclaims: "Alas! My heart is corrupted and my beliefs spoiled." Since those states are mostly involuntary, and he cannot put them to rights through his faculty of will, he falls into despair. The cure for this wound is as follows:

Just as imagining unbelief is not unbelief, neither is fancying unbelief, unbelief. And just as imagining misguidance is not misguidance, so too reflecting on misguidance is not misguidance. For both imagining, and fancying, and supposing, and reflecting, are different from confirmation with the reason and submission of the heart, they are other than them; they are free to an extent; they do not listen to the faculty of will; they are not included among the obligations of religion. But affirmation and submission are not like that; they are dependent on a balance. And just as imagining, fancying, supposing, and reflecting are not affirmation or submission, so they cannot be said to be doubt or hesitation. But if they are repeated unnecessarily and become established, then a sort of real doubt may be born of them. Also, continually taking the part of the opposing side calling it unbiased reasoning or being fair reaches the point that the person involuntarily favours the opposing side. His taking the part of the truth, which is incumbent on him, is destroyed. He too falls into danger. A state of mind becomes fixed in his head whereby he becomes an officious representative of Satan or the enemy.

The most important of this sort of scruple is this: the person suffering from it confuses something that is actually possible with something which is reasonably possible. That is, if he sees something which is of itself possible, he imagines it to be reasonably possible and reasonably doubtful. Whereas one of the principles of theology (kalam) is that something which is of itself possible is not opposed to certain knowledge and does not contradict the demands of reason. For example, the Black Sea sinking into the earth at this moment is of itself possible, but we judge with certainty that the sea is in its place, and we know this without doubting it, and that possibility which is actually possible causes us no doubt and does not damage our certainty. And, for example, of itself it is possible that the sun will not set today or that it will not rise tomorrow. But this possibility in no way damages our certainty that it will rise and gives rise to no doubt. Similarly, unfounded suspicions arising from possibilities of this sort about, for example, the setting of


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the life of this world and rising of the life of the hereafter, which are among the truths of belief, cause no harm to the certainty of belief. Furthermore, the well-known rule, A possibility that does not arise from any proof or evidence is of no importance is one of the established principles of both the sciences of the principles of religion and the principles of jurisprudence ifiqh).

If you say: "What is the wisdom and purpose in scruples being visited on us, which are thus harmful and an affliction for believers?"

The Answer: On condition they do not lead to excess or overwhelm a person, essentially scruples are the cause of vigilance, lead to seeking the best way, and give rise to seriousness. They banish indifference and repulse carelessness. Therefore, in this realm of examination and arena of competition, the Absolutely Wise One put them in the hand of Satan as a whip of encouragement for us. He strikes it at our heads. If it hurts excessively, one must complain to the All- Wise and Compassionate One, and say: "I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed."


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The Twenty-Second Word

[This Word consists of Two Stations]

First Station

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

So God sets forth parables for men, so that they may bear [them] in mind. *

Such are the similitudes which we propound to men that they may reflect.


One time two men were washing in a pool. Under some extraordinary influence they lost their senses and when they opened their eyes, they saw that it had transported them to a strange land. It was such that with its perfect order it was like a country, or rather a town, or a palace. They looked around themselves in complete bewilderment: if it was looked at in one way, a vast world was apparent; if in another, a well-ordered country; and if in another, a fine town. And if it was looked at in still another way, it was a palace which comprised a truly magnificent world. Travelling around this strange world, they observed it and saw that creatures of one sort were speaking in a fashion, but they did not understand their language. Nevertheless, it was understood from their signs that they were performing important works and duties.

One of the two men said to his friend: "This strange world must have someone to regulate it, and this orderly country must have a lord, and this fine town, an owner, and this finely made palace, a master builder. We must try to know him, for it is understood that the one who brought us here was he. If we do not recognize him, who will help us? What can we await from these impotent creatures whose language we do not know and who do not heed us? Moreover, surely one who makes a vast world in the form of a country, town, and palace, and fills it from top to bottom with wonderful things, and embellishes it with every sort of adornment, and decks it out


1 Qur'an, 14:25. 2 Qur'an, 59:21.


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with instructive miracles wants something from us and from those that come here. We must get to know him and find out what he wants."

The other man said: "I do not believe it, that there is a person such as the one you speak of, and that he governs this whole world on his own."

His friend replied to him: "If we do not recognize him and remain indifferent towards him, there is no advantage in it at all, and if it is harmful, its harm will be immense. Whereas if we try to recognize him, there is little hardship involved, and if there is benefit, it will be great. Therefore, it is in no way sensible to remain indifferent towards him."

The foolish man said: "I consider all my ease and enjoyment to lie in not thinking of him. Also, I am not going to bother with things that make no sense to me. All these things are the confused objects of chance, they are happening by themselves. What is it to me?"

His intelligent friend replied: "This obstinacy of yours will push me, and a lot of others, into disaster. It sometimes happens that a whole country is laid waste because of one ill-mannered person."

So the foolish man turned to him and said: "Either prove to me decisively that this large country has a single lord and single maker, or leave me alone."

His friend replied: "Your obstinacy has reached the degree of lunacy, and you will be the cause of some disaster being visited on us. So I shall show you twelve proofs demonstrating that this world which is like a palace, and country which is like town, has a single maker and that it is only he who runs and administers everything. He is completely free of all deficiency. This maker, who does not appear to us, sees us and everything, and hears our words. All his works are miracles and marvels. All these creatures whom we see but whose tongues we do not understand are his officials."

FIRST PROOF

Come and look carefully at everything around you: a hidden hand is working within all these works. For something which has not even an ounce of strength, something as small as a seed, is raising a load of thousands of pounds. And something that does not have even a particle of consciousness 4 is performing extremely wise and purposeful works. That means they are not working by themselves, but that a hidden possessor of power is causing them to work. If they were independent, it would necessitate all the works which we see everywhere in this land being miracles and everything to be a wonder-working marvel. And that is nonsense.


3 This alludes to seeds, which bear trees on their heads.

4 This indicates delicate plants like the grapevine, which themselves cannot climb or bear the weight of fruits, so throwing their delicate arms around other plants or trees and winding themselves around them, they load themselves onto them.


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SECOND PROOF

Come, look carefully at the things which adorn all these plains, fields, and dwellings! There are marks on each telling of that hidden one. Simply, each gives news of Him like a seal or stamp. Look in front of your eyes: what does He make from one ounce of cotton? 5 See how many rolls of cloth, fine linen, and flowered material have come out of it. See how many sugared delights and round sweets are being made. If thousands of people like us were to clothe themselves in them and eat them, they would still be sufficient. And look! He has taken a handful of iron, water, earth, coal, copper, silver, and gold, and made some flesh 6 out of them. Look at that and see! O foolish one! These works are particular to such a one that all this land together with all its parts is under his miraculous power and is submissive to his every wish.

THIRD PROOF

Come, look at these mobile works of art! Each has been fashioned in such a way that it is simply a miniature sample of the huge palace. Whatever there is in the palace, it is found in these tiny mobile machines. Is it at all possible that someone other than the palace's maker could come and include the wondrous palace in a tiny machine? Also, is it at all possible that although he has included a whole world in a machine the size of a box, there could be anything in it that was purposeless or could be attributed to chance? That means that however many skilfully fashioned machines you can see, each is like a seal of that hidden one. Rather, each is like a herald or proclamation. Through their tongues of disposition they are saying: "We are the art of One Who can make this entire world of ours as easily and simply as He created us."

FOURTH PROOF

O my stubborn friend! Come, I shall show you something even stranger. Look! All these works and things in this land have changed and are changing. They do not stop in any one state. Note carefully that each of these lifeless bodies and unfeeling boxes has taken on the form of being absolutely dominant. Quite simply it is as though each rules all the others. Look at this


5 This indicates a seed. For example, a poppy seed like an atom, the kernel of an apricot stone, and a tiny melon seed, produce from the treasury of mercy woven leaves finer than broadcloth, flowers whiter than linen, and fruits sweeter than sugar and more delicate and delicious than sweets and conserves, and they offer them to us.

6 This indicates the creation of animal bodies from the elements, and living creatures from sperm.

7 This alludes to animals and humans. For since animals are tiny indexes of the world, and man is a miniature sample of the universe, whatever there is in the world, a sample of it is in man.


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machine next to us; it is as though issuing commands; all the necessities and substances necessary for its adornment and functioning come hastening to it from distant places. Look over there: that lifeless body 9 is as though beckoning; it makes the largest bodies serve it and work in its own workplace. Make further analogies in the same way.

Simply, everything subjugates to itself all the beings in this world. If you do not accept the existence of that hidden one, you have to attribute all his skills, arts, and perfections in the stones, earth, animals, and creatures resembling man everywhere in this land to the things themselves. In place of a single wonder-working being, which your mind deems unlikely, you have to accept millions like him, who are both opposed to one another, and similar, and one within the other, so they do not cause confusion everywhere and the order be spoiled. Whereas if two fingers meddle in a country, they cause confusion. For if there are two headmen in a village, or two governors in a town, or two kings in a country, the result is chaos. So what about an infinite, absolute ruler?

FIFTH PROOF

O my sceptical friend! Come, look carefully at the inscriptions of this vast palace, look at all the adornments of the town, see the ordering of this whole land, and reflect on all the works of art in this world! See! If these inscriptions are not worked by the pen of one hidden who possesses infinite miracles and skills, and are attributed to unconscious causes, to blind chance and deaf nature, then every stone and every plant in this land has to be an inscriber so wondrous it can write a thousand books in every letter and include millions of works of art in a single inscription. Because look at the inscription on these stones; 10 in each are the inscriptions of all the palace, and the laws ordering all the town, and the programmes for organizing the whole country. That means that it is as wonderful to make these inscriptions as to make the whole country. In which case, all the inscriptions, all the works of art, are proclamations of that hidden one, and seals of his.


8 The machine indicates fruit-bearing trees. For they bear on their slender branches hundreds of workbenches and factories, and weave, adorn, and cook wonderful leaves, flowers and fruits, and stretch them out to us. And majestic trees like the pine and the cedar, even, set up their workbenches on dry rock, and work.

9 This alludes to grains, seeds, and the eggs of flies. For example, a fly leaves its eggs on the leaves of the elm. Suddenly the huge tree turns its leaves into a mother's womb and a cradle for the eggs, and into a store full of a food like honey. Simply, in that way the tree, which is not fruit-producing, produces fruits bearing spirits.

10 This alludes to man, the fruit of the tree of creation, and to the fruit which bears its tree's programme and index. For whatever the pen of power has written in the great book of the universe, it has written its summary in man's nature. And whatever the pen of Divine Determining has written in a tree the size of a mountain, it has also included it in its fruit the size of a finger nail.


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Since a letter cannot exist without showing the one who wrote it, and an artistic inscription cannot exist without making known its inscriber, how is it that an inscriber who writes a huge book in a single letter and inscribes a thousand inscriptions in a single inscription, should not be known through his writing and through his inscribing?

SIXTH PROOF

Come, let us go out onto this broad plain. 11 On it is a high mountain whose summit we shall climb to so that we can see all the surrounding country. We shall take with us a good pair of binoculars which will bring everything close, for strange things are happening in this strange land. Every hour things are taking place that we could not imagine. Look! These mountains, plains, and towns are suddenly changing. And how? In such a way that millions of things are being changed in a most regulated and orderly fashion one within the other. Truly wondrous transformations are being wrought, just as though millions of various cloths are being woven one within the other. Look! These flowery things which we know and are familiar with are disappearing and others have come in their place in orderly fashion which resemble them in nature but are different in form. It is quite simply as though this plain and the mountains are each a page, and within them are being written hundreds of thousands of different books. And they are being written faultlessly and without defect.

It is impossible a hundred times over that these matters should have come about on their own. Yes, for these works which are skilfully and carefully fashioned to an infinite degree to have occurred on their own is impossible a thousand times, for rather than themselves, they show the artist who fashioned them. Moreover, the one who did this displays such miracles that nothing at all could be difficult for him. It is as easy for him to write a thousand books as to write one book. Look all around you; he both puts everything in its proper place with perfect wisdom, and he munificently showers the favours on everyone of which they are worthy, and he draws back and opens general veils and doors so bountifully that everyone's desires are satisfied. And he sets up tables so generously that a feast of bounties is given to all the people and animals of this land; each group and individual is given one particular and suitable for it, even. So, is there anything more impossible in the world than that there should be anything attributable to chance in these matters that we see, or that among these matters that we see there is anything


1 ' This indicates the face of the earth in the spring and summer. For the groups of hundreds of thousands of different creatures are created one within the other and written there. They are changed without fault or error and with perfect order. Thousands of tables of the Most Merciful One are laid out, then removed and replaced by fresh ones. All the trees as though bear trays, all the gardens are like cauldrons.


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purposeless or vain, or that many hands should be interfering in them, or that their maker should not be capable of everything, or that everything should not be subjugated to him? And so, my friend, find a pretext in the face of these if you can!

SEVENTH PROOF

Come, my friend! Now we shall leave these particular matters and turn our attention to the mutual positions of the parts of this wondrous world in the form of a palace. Look! Universal works are being carried out and general revolutions are occurring in this world with such order that all the rocks, earth, trees, everything in this palace, observe the universal systems of the world, and conform to them as if each was acting with will. Things which are distant hasten to assist one another. Now look, a strange caravan has appeared, coming from the Unseen. The mounts in it resemble trees, plants, and mountains. Each bears a tray of provisions on its head. And look, they are bringing the provisions for the various animals awaiting them on this side. And see, the mighty

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electric lamp in that dome both furnishes them with light, and cooks all their food so well that the foods to be cooked are each attached to a string 14 by an unseen hand and held up before it. And on this side, see these wretched, weak, powerless little animals; how before their heads are attached two small pumps 15 full of delicate sustenance, like two springs; it is enough for those powerless creatures to only press their mouths against them.

In Short: Just as all the things throughout the world look to one another, so they help one another. And just as they see one another, so they co-operate with one another. And just as they perfect each other's works, so too they support one another; standing shoulder to shoulder, they work together. Make analogies with this for everything; they are uncountable. Thus, all these things demonstrate as decisively as two plus two equals four that everything is subjugated to the maker of this wondrous palace, that is, to the owner of this strange world. Everything is like a soldier under his command. Everything turns through his strength. Everything acts through his command. Everything is set in order through his wisdom. Everything helps the others through his munificence. Everything hastens to the assistance of the others through his compassion, that is, they are made to hasten to it. Now, my friend, say something in the face of this if you can!


12 These are the caravans of plants and trees, which bear the sustenance of all the animals.

13 The mighty electric lamp indicates the sun.

14 And the string, and the food attached to it, are the slender branches of trees and their delicious fruits.

15 And the two small pumps allude to the breasts of mothers.


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EIGHTH PROOF

Come, my foolish friend who thinks himself reasonable like my soul! You do not want to recognize the owner of this magnificent palace! But everything shows him, points to him, testifies to him. How can you deny the testimony of all these things? You have therefore to deny the palace as well, and say: "There is no world, no country." Deny yourself, too, and disappear! Or else come to your senses and listen to me! Now, look, there are uniform elements and minerals inside the palace and encompassing the land. 16 Simply, everything appearing in the country is made of those elements. That means, whoever those things belong to, everything made of them is also his. Whoever the field belongs to, the crops are his too. And whoever the sea belongs to, the things within it are also his.

And look, these textiles, these decorated woven materials, are being made out of a single substance. It is self-evidently the same person who brings the substance, prepares it, and makes it into string. For such a work would not permit the participation of others. In which case, all the woven, skilfully made things are particular to him.

And look! Every sort of these woven, manufactured goods is found in every part of the country; they have spread with all their fellows, and are being made and woven together and one within the other, in the same way, at the same instant. That means they are the work of the same person and the same act through a single command, otherwise their correspondence and conformity at the same instant, in the same fashion, of the same sort, would be impossible. In which case, each of these skilfully fashioned things is like a proclamation of that hidden one which points to him. As if each sort of flowered material, each ingenious machine, each sweet mouthful, is a stamp of that miracle-displaying person; a stamp of his, a mark, a decoration; each says through the tongue of disposition: "Whose-ever work of art I am, the boxes and shops where I am found are also his property." Each inscription says: "Whoever wove me also wove the roll of cloth of which I am a part." Every sweet mouthful says: "Whoever makes me and cooks me, the cauldron in which I am is also his." And every machine says: "Whoever made me, also makes all those like me who have spread throughout the land, and the one who raises us in every part of it, is also he. That means he is also the country's owner. In which case, whoever the owner of all this country and palace is, he may be our owner too."

For example, in order to be the true owner of a single cartridge-belt or


16 As for the elements and minerals, these indicate the elements of air, water, light, and earth, which have numerous well-ordered duties; they hasten to the assistance of all needy beings with dominical leave, enter everywhere and bring help at the Divine command, and raise all the things necessary for life and suckle living creatures, and are the source of the weaving and inscribing of the Divine artefacts, and their progenitors and cradles.


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even a button belonging to the government, one also has to own all the factories in which they are made. If a bragging irregular soldier claims otherwise, he will be told: "They are government property." And they will be taken from him, and he will be punished.

In Short: Just as the elements in this country all surround and encompass it, and their owner can only be one who owns the whole country, in the same way, since the works of art that are spread throughout it resemble one another and display a single stamp, they show that they are the art of a single person who governs everything.

And so, my friend! There is a sign of oneness, a stamp of unity, in this country, that is, this magnificent palace. For while being the same, certain things are all-encompassing. And while being numerous, some display a unity or similarity, since they resemble one another and are found everywhere. As for unity, it shows One of Unity. That means that its maker, owner, lord, and fashioner has to be one and the same. In addition, look

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carefully at this: from behind the veil of the unseen a thickish string has appeared. Now look, thousands of strings have hung down from it. And see the tips of the strings: a diamond, a decoration, a favour, a gift has been attached to each. Suitable presents are being given to everyone. Do you know what a lunatic action it is not to recognize or thank the one who stretches out from behind the strange veil of the unseen such wondrous favours and gifts. Because if you do not recognize him, you will be compelled to say: "These strings are making the diamonds and other gifts on their tips themselves and offering them." Then you have to attribute to each string the meaning of a king. Whereas before our eyes an unseen hand is making the strings too, and attaching the gifts to them. That means, everything in this palace points to that miracle-displaying one rather than to themselves. If you do not recognize him, through denying them, you fall a hundred times lower than an animal.

NINTH PROOF

Come, my unreasoning friend! You do not recognize this palace's owner, and you do not want to recognize him because you deem his existence unlikely. You deviate into denial because you cannot comprehend with your narrow brain his wondrous arts and acts. Whereas the true unlikelihood, real difficulties, hardships, and awesome trouble lie in not recognizing him. For if we recognize him, this whole palace, this world, becomes as easy, as trouble-free as a single thing; it becomes the means to the abundance and plenty around us. If we do not recognize him and he does not exist, then everything becomes as difficult as this whole palace, because everything is as skilfully


17 The thickish string alludes to fruit-bearing trees, the thousands of strings, to their branch-es, and the diamonds, decorations, favours, and gifts, to the varieties of blossoms and fruits.


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made as the palace. Then neither the abundance nor the plenty would remain. Indeed, not one of these things which we see would pass to anyone's hand, let alone ours. Look at

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just the jar of conserve attached to this string. If it had not emerged from his hidden, miracle-displaying kitchen, we could not have bought it for a hundred liras, although we buy it now for forty para. 19

Yes, all unlikelihood, difficulty, trouble, arduousness, indeed, impossibility, lies in not recognizing him. For a tree is given life from one root, through one law, in one centre, and the formation of thousands of fruits is as easy as one fruit. But if the fruits were tied to different centres and roots, and different laws, each fruit would be as difficult to produce as the tree. And if the equipping of an entire army is in one centre, through one law, and from one factory, as regards quantity it is as easy as equipping a single soldier. While if each soldier is equipped from all different places, then to equip one soldier there would have to be as many factories as for the entire army.

Just like these two examples, if, in this well-ordered palace, this fine town, this advanced country, this magnificent world, the creation of all things is attributed to a single being, it becomes so easy, so light, it is the reason for the infinite abundance, availability, and munificence we see. Otherwise everything would become so expensive, so difficult, that if the whole world was given to someone, they could not obtain them.

TENTH PROOF

Come, my friend, who has come a little to his senses! We have been here fifteen days now. If we do not know the regulations of this world and do not recognize its king, we shall deserve punishment. We have no excuse, because for fifteen days, as though given a respite, they did not interfere with us. Of course we have not just been left to our own devices. We cannot wander around among these delicate, well-balanced, subtle, skilfully made and instructive creatures like an animal and spoil them; they would not permit us to harm them. The penalties of this country's august king are bound to be awesome. You can understand how powerful and majestic he is from the way he orders this huge world as though it was a palace, and makes it revolve like a machine. He administers this large country like a house, missing nothing. See, like filling a container and emptying it, he continuously fills this palace, this country, this town, with perfect order, and empties it with perfect wisdom. Like spreading out a table then clearing it away, varieties of foods are brought in turn and given to eat in the form of a great


18 The jar of conserve indicates the gifts of Divine mercy like melons, water melons, pomegranates, and coconuts, which are the conserves of Divine power, and like tins of milk.

19

20


19 1 Para = l/40th of a kurush: 100 kurush = 1 lira.


Fifteen days indicates the age of fifteen, the age of discretion. (See, Bukhari, iii, 232.)


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variety of tables being laid out by an unseen hand in every part of his vast country, and then being cleared away. The unseen hand clears away one, then brings another in its place. You see this too, and if you use your head, you will understand that within that awesome majesty is an infinitely munificent liberality.

And see, just as all these things testify to that unseen one's sovereignty and unity, so too these revolutions and changes which pass on in succession like caravans and are opened and closed from behind that true veil, testify to his continuance and permanence. For the causes of things disappear along with them. Whereas the things which we attribute to them, which follow on after them, are repeated. That means those works are not theirs, but the works of one who does not perish. It is understood from the the bubbles on the surface of a river disappearing and the bubbles which succeed them sparkling in the same way that what makes them sparkle is a constant and elevated possessor of light. Similarly, the speedy changing of things and the things that follow on after them assuming the same colours shows that they are the manifestations, inscriptions, mirrors, and works of art of one who is perpetual, undying, and single.

ELEVENTH PROOF

Come, my friend! Now I shall show you a decisive proof as powerful as the ten

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previous ones. We shall board a boat, and sail to a peninsula, far away. For the key to this riddle-filled world will be there. Moreover, everyone is looking to that peninsula and awaiting something from it; they are receiving orders from there. See, we are going there. Now we have arrived and have alighted on the peninsula. There is a vast gathering, a great concourse, as though all the important people of the country have gathered there. Look carefully, this great community has a leader. Come, we shall draw closer; we must become acquainted with him. Look! What brilliant decorations he has, more than a thousand of them. How powerfully he speaks! How pleasant is his conversation! In these two weeks I have learnt a little of what he says. You learn them from me. See, he is speaking of this country's miracle-displaying king. He is saying that the glorious king sent him to us.


21 The tables indicate the face of the earth in summer, during which hundreds of tables of the Most Merciful emerge fresh and different from the kitchens of mercy. Every garden is a cauldron, every tree, a tray-bearer.

22 The ship indicates history, and the peninsula, the Era of Bliss or Age of the Prophet (PBUH). Through casting off the dress of this low civilization on its dark shore, entering the seas of time, boarding the ship of history and alighting at the Arabian Peninsula and Era of Bliss, and visiting the Glory of the World (PBUH) at his duties, we know that he is a proof of Divine Unity so brilliant that he illuminates the entire globe and the two faces of the past and the future, and disperses the darkness of unbelief and misguidance.

23 The thousand decorations are the miracles of Muhammad (PBUH), which according to those who have investigated them, reach nearly a thousand. (Bayhaqi, Dala'il, i, 10.)


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And he is displaying such wonders that they leave no doubt that he is his special envoy. Look carefully, it is not only the creatures on this peninsula that are listening to what he says; he is making the whole country hear in wondrous fashion. For near and far everyone is trying to hear the speech here. It is not only humans that are listening, animals are listening too. Look, even the mountains are listening to the commands he brought so that they are stirring in their places, and the trees, too, move to the place that he indicates. He brings forth water from wherever he wishes. He even makes his fingers like a Spring of Kawthar, and gives to drink from them. Look, at his sign, an important

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lamp in the dome of this palace splits into two. That means this country together with all its beings recognizes that he is an official and envoy. They heed and obey him, as though knowing that he is the most eminent and true interpreter of an unseen displayer of miracles, and the herald of his dominicality, the discloser of his talisman, and a trustworthy envoy delivering his commands. All those with intelligence around him declare: "Yes, that is right!" about everything he says, and affirm it. Indeed, through submitting to his signs and commands, the mountains and trees in this country and the

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huge light that illuminates it, say: "Yes, yes, everything you say is true!"

My foolish friend! Could there be any contradiction or deception concerning the miracle-displaying king about whom this most luminous, magnificent, and serious being, who bears a thousand decorations particular to the king's own treasury, is speaking with all his strength, confirmed by all the country's notables, and concerning the king's attributes which he mentions, and the commands which he relays? If there is anything contrary to the truth in these things, it will be necessary to deny this palace, these lamps, this community, both their reality and their existence. If you can, raise any objections against these; but you will see that they will be smashed by the power of the proof, and flung back at you.

TWELFTH PROOF


Come, my brother, who has come to his senses a little! I shall show you a further }f of the strength of all the eleven preceding pre which descends from above and which everyone looks


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proof of the strength of all the eleven preceding proofs. See this luminous Decree,


24 The important lamp is the moon, which split into two halves at his indication. That is, as Mawlana Jami said: "With the pen of his finger, that unlettered one who knew no writing, wrote an alif on the page of the skies and made one forty, two fifties." That is, before it split, the moon resembled mUm, the value of which is forty; and after splitting it became two crescents, and resembled two nu\ns, the value of which is fifty.

25 The huge light is the sun; when it reappeared from the East on the earth's revolving backwards, Imam 'Ali (May God be pleased with him), who had been unable to perform the prayers since the Prophet (PBUH) was sleeping in his arms, due to this miracle, was able to perform the prayers on time. (See, Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa', i, 240; Suyuti, al-Khasa'is al-Kubra, ii, 342.)

26 The luminous Decree refers to the Qur'an, and the seal on it, to its miraculousness.


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on in rapt attention out of either wonder or veneration. The one with the thousand decorations has stopped by it and is explaining its meaning to everyone. The styles of the Decree so shine they attract everyone's appreciative gaze, and it speaks of matters so important and serious that everyone is compelled to give ear to them. For it describes all the qualities, acts, commands, and attributes of the one who governs this whole land, who made this palace, and exhibits these wonders. Just as there is a mighty stamp on the Decree as a whole, look! there is an inimitable seal on every line and every sentence, and, moreover, the meanings, truths, commands, and instances of wisdom it states are seen to be in a style particular to him, thus bearing the meaning of a stamp.

In Short: The Supreme Decree shows the Supreme Being as clearly as the sun, so that anyone who is not blind can see it.

My friend! If you have come to your senses, this is enough for now. If you have something to say, say it.

In reply, the obstinate man said: "I can only say this in the face of these proofs of yours: All praise be to God for I have come to believe. And I believe in a way bright as the sun and clear as daylight that this country has a single King of Perfection, this world, a Single Glorious Owner, this palace, a Single Beauteous Maker. May God be pleased with you, for you have saved me from my former obstinacy and foolishness. Each of the proofs you showed was sufficient to demonstrate the truth. But because with each successive proof, clearer, pleasanter, more agreeable, more luminous, finer levels of knowledge, veils in acquaintanceship, and windows of love were opened and revealed, I waited and listened."

The story in the form of a comparison indicating the mighty truth of Divine unity and belief in God has reached its conclusion. Through the grace of the Most Merciful, the effulgence of the Qur'an, and the light of belief, we shall now set out twelve 'Flashes' and an Introduction from the sun of true Divine unity corresponding to the twelve proofs in the story.


Success and Guidance are from God alone.


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The Second Station of the Twenty-Second Word

Introduction

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

God is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs. * To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. * So glory to Him in Whose hands is the sovereignty of all things, and to Him will you all be

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brought back. * And there is not a thing but its [sources and] treasures [inexhaustible] are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures. * There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily it is my Sustainer that is on a Straight Path.

In my treatise entitled Katre, which is about belief in God, the principal pole of the pillars of belief, I explained in brief the evidence to Almighty God's existence and unity given by all beings through fifty-five tongues. Also, in the treatise Nokta, I mentioned four universal proofs out of the evidences of Almighty God's existence and unity each of which has the strength of a thousand proofs. Moreover, since I have discussed in around twelve of my Arabic treatises hundreds of decisive proofs demonstrating Almighty God's necessary existence and unity, I shall be content with those and not now undertake any profound investigations. Only, I shall try to explain in this Twenty-Second Word, twelve 'Flashes' from the sun of belief in God which I have written briefly in other places in the Risale-i Nur.

FIRST FLASH

The affirmation of Divine unity is of two sorts. For example, if the goods of a rich man arrive in a market or a town, there are two ways in which one


27 Qur'an, 39:62.

28 Qur'an, 36:83.

29 Qur'an, 15:21.

30 Qur'an, 11:56.


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may know they are his. One is briefly and simply, as with ordinary people, which is: "No one apart from him is capable of owning this vast amount of goods." But when under the supervision of a common man such as that, much of it may be stolen. Many others may claim ownership of parts of it. The second sort is this: through reading his writing on every packet, recognizing his signature on every roll, and seeing his seal on every bill, the man declares: "Everything belongs to that person." Here, everything in effect shows the important man. Similarly, the affirmation of Divine unity is of two sorts:

One is the superficial and common affirmation of Divine unity which says: "Almighty God is One, He has no partner or like. This universe is His."

The Second is the true affirmation of Divine unity which, through seeing on everything the stamp of His power, the seal of His dominicality, and the inscriptions of His pen, is to open a window directly onto His light from everything and to confirm and believe with almost the certainty of seeing it that everything emerges from the hand of His power and that in no way has He any partner or assistant in His Godhead or in His dominicality or in His sovereignty, and thus to attain to a sort of perpetual awareness of the Divine presence. In this Word, we shall mention rays demonstrating this pure and elevated true affirmation of Divine unity.

A Reminder within the First Point: O heedless worshipper of causes ! Causes are a veil; for Divine dignity and grandeur require them to be thus. But that which acts and performs matters is the power of the Eternally Besought One; for Divine unity and glory require it to be thus, and necessitate their independence. The officials of the Pre-Eternal Monarch are not executives of the sovereignty of dominicality, they are the heralds of His sovereignty and the observers and superintendents of His dominicality. Their purpose is to make known the dignity of power and majesty of dominicality, so that power should not be seen to be associated with base and lowly matters. Not like a human king, tainted by impotence and indigence, who therefore takes officials as partners. That is to say, causes have been placed so that the dignity of power may be preserved in the superficial view of the mind. For like the two faces of a mirror, everything has an outer face that looks to this manifest world, which resembles the mirror's coloured face and may reflect various colours and states, and an inner face which looks to its Maker, which resembles the mirror's shining face. In the outer face which looks to the manifest world may be states incompatible with the dignity and perfection of the Eternally Besought One's power, so causes have been put to be both the source and the means of those states. But in the inner face, that of reality, which looks to their Creator, everything is transparent and beautiful; it is fitting that power should itself be associated with it. It is not


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incompatible with its dignity; therefore, causes are purely apparent and in the inner face of things and in reality have no true effect.

A further instance of wisdom in apparent causes is this: causes have been put so that unjust complaints and baseless objections should be directed at them and not at the Absolutely Just One. For the faults arise from them, from their incapacity and lack of ability. A comparison is narrated which is in the form of a subtle example illustrating this mystery:

The Angel Azra'il (Peace be upon him) said to Almighty God: "Your servants will complain about me while I am carrying out my duty of taking possession of the spirits of the dying; they will be resentful towards me." So Almighty God said to him through the tongue of wisdom: "I shall leave the veil of disasters and illnesses between you and my servants so that the complaints will be directed at them, and they will not be indignant at

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you." So see, illnesses are a veil; what are imagined to be the bad things at the appointed hour are attributed to them, and what are in reality the good things in the spirits of the dying being seized are attributed to Azra'il (PBH) and his duty. Azra'il is also a veil; he is a supervisor of that duty and a veil to Divine power so that certain conditions when spirits are seized which are apparently unkind and are inappropriate to the perfection of mercy be attributed to him.

Yes, dignity and grandeur demand that causes are a veil to the hand of power in the view of the mind, while Divine unity and glory demand that causes withdraw their hands and have no true effect.

SECOND FLASH

Look at this garden of the universe, this orchard of the earth; look carefully at the beautiful face of the heavens gilded with stars! You will see that on all the artefacts spread out and scattered over them are stamps particular to the Creator of All Things, and on all creatures are seals special to the Maker of All Things, and on the levels of being written on the pages of night and day, and summer and winter, all published by the pen of power, are inimitable, illustrious signatures of an All-Glorious Maker, an All-Beauteous Creator. We shall now mention a few of those stamps, seals, and signatures by way of example:

For example, of the innumerable stamps, consider this one out of many placed on life: "He makes everything out of one thing and makes one thing out of everything." For He makes the innumerable members and systems of animals out of a fluid and also out of simple water which is drunk. Thus, to make one thing everything is surely the work of One possessing Absolute Power. And One Who with perfect order transforms into a particular body numerous substances from the innumerable foods eaten, whether plant or animal, and weaves from them a particular skin, and makes from them


31 Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, v, 173-4.


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simple members, is surely One Powerful over All Things and One Knowing of All Things. Indeed, the Creator of Life and Death administers life through His wisdom in this workshop of the world through a law issuing from His command so miraculous that only one Who holds the whole universe in the grasp of His power could apply that law and enforce it.

Thus, if your mind is not extinguished and your heart not blind, you will understand that what makes one thing with perfect ease and order, and makes everything one thing skilfully with perfect balance and order, is a stamp particular to the Maker of everything and a seal special to the Creator of All Things. For example, if you see that together with weaving a hundred rolls of broadcloth and various other cloths like silk or cambric from a single ounce of cotton, a wonder-worker makes many foods from it like helva and pastries, then you see that he takes a handful of iron and stone, honey and butter, water and earth, and makes some fine gold, you would certainly pronounce him to possess unique art, for all the elements of the earth are subjugated to his command and all the substances of the earth subject to his word. Indeed, the manifestation of power and wisdom in life is a thousand times more wondrous than this example.

Thus, one stamp on life out of many.

THIRD FLASH

Look at the living creatures revolving in this flowing universe, in this flood of beings! You will see that on each are many seals placed by the Ever-Living and Self- Subsistent One. One of them is this: a living creature, for example a human being, is quite simply a miniature sample of the universe, a fruit of the tree of creation, and a seed of the world, for he comprises samples of most of the realms of beings in the world. It is as if the animate being is a drop filtered from the universe in an extremely fine measure. So to create it and be its Sustainer, one has to hold the whole universe in the grasp of one's power.

Thus, if your mind is not submerged in delusions you will understand that to make a word of power, for example, a honey-bee, a minute index of most things, and to write in one page, for example in man, most of the matters in this book of the universe, and to include in one point, for example in a tiny fig seed, the programme of the mighty fig-tree, and to display in a single letter, for example in the human heart, the works of all the Divine Names manifested in the pages of the macrocosm which encompass it, and to make written in the human faculty of memory, which is situated in a place the size of a lentil, writings enough to fill a library, and to include in that tiny faculty a detailed index of all events in the cosmos -to do all things is most certainly a stamp particular to the Creator of All Things, the Glorious Sustainer of the universe.


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Thus, if one seal out of many dominical seals on living beings displays its light and makes read its signs thus, if you were able to see and consider all those seals at once, would you not declare: "Glory be to Him Who is concealed in the intensity of His manifestation!"?

FOURTH FLASH

Look carefully at the multicoloured, multifarious beings swimming in the seas of the heavens and scattered over the face of the earth! You will see that on each are inimitable signatures of the Pre-Eternal Sun. Just as the stamps on life and seals on living beings are apparent and we saw one or two of them, so are there such signatures on the giving of life. Since comparisons bring profound meanings closer to the understanding, we shall demonstrate this truth with a comparison.

For example, from the planets to droplets of water, to fragments of glass and sparkling snow-flakes, a signature from the sun's image and reflection, a luminous work particular to the sun, is apparent. If you do not accept the tiny suns apparent in those innumerable things to be the manifestation of the sun's reflection, you have to accept the actual existence of a true, natural sun in every droplet and fragment of glass facing the light, and in every transparent speck before it, thus descending to the depths of lunacy.

In just the same way, there is such a signature on all living beings in regard to the giving of life from among the luminous manifestations of the Pre-Eternal Sun, that supposing all causes were gathered together and had the power to act and possessed will, they still could not imitate that signature. For living beings, all miracles of Divine power, are points of focus of the Divine Names, which are like the rays of the Pre-Eternal Sun. If that strange inscription of art, that wondrous ordering of wisdom, that manifestation of the mystery of Oneness on living beings is not ascribed to the Single and Eternally Besought One, it necessitates accepting that concealed within each living creature, and even in a fly or a flower, is an infinite creative power, a knowledge encompassing all things, an absolute will with which to govern the universe, and even the eternal attributes particular to the Necessarily Existent One, thus falling to the most ludicrous degree of misguidance and superstition. Quite simply, it necessitates attributing Divinity to each particle of the flower or fly. For a state has been given to those particles, especially if they are in seeds, whereby they look to the living being of which they are a part, and take up a position in accordance with its systems and ordering. The particle is even in a position to look to all members of the species to which its living being belongs, or to fly with wings in order to be planted in a place suitable to the continuation of its species and to plant the species' flag. In fact, it holds a position whereby that living being's transactions with all other beings may be continued, and its relations with them connected with sustenance. For it is in need of all of them.


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Thus, if that particle is not an official of a Possessor of Absolute Power, and if its relation with Him is severed, it has to be ascribed an eye which sees all things and a consciousness which encompasses all things.

In Short: If the miniature suns and various colours in droplets of water and fragments of glass are not attributed to the sun's reflection and the manifestation of its reflection, one has to accept the existence of innumerable suns in place of the one sun; it necessitates accepting an utterly impossible superstition. In exactly the same way, if everything is not attributed to the Absolutely Powerful One, it necessitates accepting infinite gods instead of the Single God; indeed, gods to the number of particles in existence, thus falling to the degree of accepting a hundredfold impossibility.

To Sum Up: From every particle three windows open up onto the light of unity and necessary existence of the Pre-Eternal Sun:

First Window: A soldier has a relation with each of the spheres of the military, that is, with his squad, his company, his battalion, his regiment, his division, and the army, and duties in accordance with those relations, and actions in accordance with the duties and army regulations. Particles have similar relations.

For example, a lifeless particle in the pupil of your eye has relations with your eye, your head, your body, your powers of reproduction, and attraction and repulsion, with your veins and arteries, and motor and sensory nerves, and with the rest of the human race, and it has duties in relation to each. This shows self-evidently to eyes that are not blind that it is the work of art and charged official of the Pre-Eternal Ail-Powerful One, and is under his regulation.

Second Window: All molecules of air may visit all flowers and fruits. They may also enter them and work within them. If they are not the subjugated officials of an Absolutely Powerful One Who sees and knows all things, those wandering molecules would have to know all the systems and structures of the fruits and flowers and their art, and the tailoring of the all-different forms which clothe them with its perfect and all- embracing art. Thus those particles all display as clearly as the sun the rays of a light of Divine unity. You may compare light with air, and earth with water.

In any event, the original sources of things are these four substances. According to modern science they are hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, the components of the former elements.

Third Window: You fill a flower-pot with some earth, which is composed of particles and is the means of growth of any flowering or fruit-bearing plant, then put some seeds in it. The same as the seed of animals does not differ, but is a fluid, the seeds of all the flowering and fruit-bearing plants in the world do not differ from one another. Being composed of


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carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen, they only differ by virtue of the programme of their progenitors, deposited in them through the immaterial writing of the pen of Divine Determining.

Thus, if we put these seeds in turn in the flower-pot, we believe as though it has occurred that each plant will appear together with its wonderful forms and shapes and parts. If those particles are not officials under the orders of one who knows all the states and conditions of everything, is capable of giving everything a being suitable to it and everything necessary for it, and to whose power everything is subjugated with utterly facility, every particle of the earth would then have to contain immaterial factories and printing-presses to the number of all the flowering and fruit-bearing plants, so that it could be the source of all those various and different beings whose parts, members, and forms are all distant and different from one another. It is otherwise necessary to attribute to all those beings comprehensive knowledge and a power capable of forming them, so that they could be the means of the above.

That is to say, if the connection with Almighty God is severed, it becomes necessary to accept gods to the number of particles of earth, and this is an impossible superstition compounded a thousand times over. However, when they are officials, it becomes extremely easy. Just as, in his king's name and through his power, a common soldier of a mighty king can make a whole country migrate, or join two seas, or take another king prisoner, so at the command of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, a fly did away with Nimrod, and an ant destroyed Pharaoh's palace, razing it to the ground, and a fig-seed bears the load of a fig-tree.

Moreover, in all particles are two further truthful witnesses to the Maker's necessary existence and unity. One is that together with their absolute impotence, they all perform most important and various duties. The other is that despite their lifelessness, they all conform to the universal order and systems, thus displaying a universal consciousness. That is to say, through the tongue of its impotence each particle testifies to the necessary existence of the Absolutely Powerful One, and through its conforming to the order in the world, each testifies to His unity.

Just as every particle testifies in two ways to His being the Necessarily Existent One of Unity, so too on every living being are two signs that He is the Single and Eternally Besought One.

Yes, on all living beings are a seal of Divine oneness and a stamp of 'eternal besoughtedness.' For each displays together in the mirror of its being most of the Divine Names, the manifestations of which are apparent in the universe. Quite simply, like a point of focus, each displays the manifestation of the Greatest Name of Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. Thus, since it


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shows a sort of shadow of the oneness of the Divine Essence under the veil of the Name of Giver of Life, it bears a stamp of Divine oneness. And since the living being is like a miniature sample of the universe and a fruit of the tree of creation, it shows a seal of Divine eternal besoughtedness, which conveys altogether with ease to the tiny sphere of its life its needs, which are as many as the universe. That is to say, this shows it has a Sustainer Whose regard and favour take the place of all things. Everything in existence cannot take the place of His regard.

Furthermore, this situation shows that its Sustainer is in need of nothing, nor does anything diminish His treasury, and nor is anything at all difficult for His power. This, then, is a sort of seal of 'eternal besoughtedness.'

Thus, on every living being are a seal of Divine oneness and stamp of eternal besoughtedness. Yes, through the tongue of its life, every living being recites:

Say, He is God, the One, * The Eternally Besought.

In addition to these two seals are several more important 'windows', but since they have been explained in detail in other places, our discussion here has been brief.

Seeing that each particle in existence at once opens up three windows and two openings onto the unity of the Necessarily Existent, and life too opens two doors, you can compare how all the levels of beings from particles to the sun spread the light of knowledge of the All-Glorious One.

Thus, you can understand from this the degrees of progress in knowledge of God, and the levels of awareness of His presence.

FIFTH FLASH

If a book is hand-written and in the form of a letter, a single pen is sufficient to write it, while if it is printed, pens, that is, pieces of print, are necessary to the number of the book's letters so that it can be printed and come into existence. If most of the book is written in an extremely fine script within some of its letters, like Sura Ya. Sin. being written within the letters Ya. Sin., then for it to be printed all the small pieces of print are necessary for those single letters.

Similarly, if you say the book of the universe is the writing of the pen of power of the Eternally Besought One and the missive of the Single and Unique One, you travel a reasonable road so easy as to be necessary. But if you attribute it to nature and causes, you travel a road so difficult as to be impossible, and so full of superstition and delusion as to be unacceptable. For then there would have to be present in every bit of earth and every drop


32 Qur'an, 112:1-2.


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of water and every piece of air millions of metal printing-presses and innumerable immaterial factories, which could fashion and form the countless numbers of flowering and fruit-bearing plants. Otherwise one has to accept that they possess all-encompassing knowledge and power over all things so that they could be the true source of those creatures. For every piece of earth, water, and air can be the source of most plants. However, plants, whether flowering or fruit-bearing, are formed in so well-ordered and balanced a fashion, and are so distinctive and different from one another, that a different immaterial factory or different printing-press would be necessary for each. That means, if nature ceases being a pattern and becomes the source, it necessitates that everything contains the machines to make everything else. Nature-worship is therefore based on an idea so superstitious that even those who subscribe to it are ashamed of it. See the infinitely delirious unreason of the misguided, who suppose themselves to be intelligent, and take a lesson!

In Short: All the letters of a book describe themselves to the extent of a letter and point to their own existence in one way, while they describe their writer with ten words and show him in many ways. For example: "The one who wrote me has fine hand- writing. His pen is red, and so on." In just the same way, all the letters of the mighty book of the universe point to themselves to the extent of their own size and physical beings, but describe the Names of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber like odes, and testify to the One they signify and point to His Names with fingers to the number of their attributes. That means that even if one denies both oneself and the universe like the foolish Sophists, one still should not deny the All-Glorious Maker.

SIXTH FLASH

Just as the All-Glorious Creator has placed on the heads of all His beings and on the foreheads of all His creatures the seals of His oneness, some of which you have seen in the previous Flashes, so in brilliant fashion has He placed many stamps of oneness on all species and numerous seals of unity on all universals, as well as the various stamps of unity on the world as a whole. Of those many seals and stamps, we shall point out one on the page of the face of the earth in the springtime. It is like this:

The Pre-Eternal Inscriber' s raising to life in the spring and summer at least three hundred thousand species of plants and animals with complete distinction and differentiation and total order and separation amid infinite intermingling and confusion, is a stamp of Divine unity as clear and brilliant as the spring itself. Yes, anyone with an iota of consciousness will understand that to create with perfect order while raising to life of the dead earth in the spring, three hundred thousand samples of the resurrection of the dead, and to write without fault, error, mistake or deficiency, in most well-balanced, well- proportioned, well-ordered, and perfect fashion the individual


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members of three hundred thousand different species one within the other on the face of the earth, is a seal particular to an All-Glorious One, an Ail-Powerful One of Perfection, an All- Wise One of Beauty, possessing infinite power, all-encompassing knowledge, and a will capable of governing the whole universe. The All- Wise Qur'an decrees:

So look to the signs of God's Mercy, how He raises to life the earth after its death; He it is Who will raise the dead to life, for He is Powerful over all things.

Yes, it is surely easy for the Creative Power which, within a few days, demonstrates examples of three hundred thousand resurrections in raising the earth to life, to raise men to life. For example, could it be said to a Disp layer of Miracles Who at a sign will remove the mountains of Gelincik and SYbhan: "Are you able to remove from this valley this huge rock which is blocking our path?" Similarly, can it be said in a way that infers doubt to an All- Wise and Powerful One, an All-Generous and Compassionate One, Who created the sky and the mountains and the earth in six days and continuously fills and empties them: "Can you remove from us this layer of earth which was prepared and laid out in eternity and is blocking our way to your banquet? Can you level the earth and let us pass on?"

You observed a seal of Divine unity on the face of the earth in the summertime. Now look! A stamp of unity is clearly obvious on the vast, wise and perspicacious disposals of the spring on the face of the earth. For that activity is on an absolutely vast scale, and the vastness is together with an absolute speed, and that speed is together with an absolute munificence, and together with these an absolute order and perfect beauty of art and exquisiteness of creation are apparent. These form a seal which could belong only to one possessing infinite knowledge and boundless power. Yes, we see that on the earth within an absolute extensiveness are a creation, disposal, and activity which are on an absolutely vast scale. And these are occurring within that vast scope with absolute speed. And together with that speed and vast scope an absolute munificence is apparent in the multiplication of individual beings. And together with that munificence, vast scope, and speed, an absolute ease is apparent. And to create the absolute order and exceptional beauty of art to be seen in all species and individuals, and the perfect differentiation within infinite intermingling, and the valuable works within extreme abundance, and the complete correspondence on an extensive scale, and the artistic marvels with the greatest ease, and to demonstrate a wondrous art and miraculous activity at one moment, everywhere, in the same fashion, in every individual - together with that munificence, ease, speed, and vast scope, is certainly and without doubt the stamp of One Who although He is


33 Qur'an, 30:50.


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nowhere is all-present and all-seeing everywhere. Nothing is hidden from Him, nor is anything difficult for him. Particles and stars are equal in relation to His power.

For example, in a garden of that All-Glorious and Compassionate One's munificence, I counted the bunches hanging from a grape-vine of the thickness of two fingers, which I saw to be like one little pip among the bunches of His miracles: there were one hundred and fifty-five. I counted the grapes in one bunch: there were around one hundred and twenty. I thought: if this vine was a tap from which flowed honeyed water and it produced water continuously, it would only just be enough for the bunches which, in the face of this heat, suckle those hundreds of little pumps of the sherbet of mercy. However, it only occasionally obtains a little moisture. The One Who does this, then, must surely be powerful over all things. Glory be to Him at Whose art minds are bewildered!

SEVENTH FLASH

Look! With little difficulty you can see the seals of the Single, Eternally Besought One on the page of the earth, so raise your head, open your eyes, and look too at the great book of the universe. You will see that on it as a whole a stamp of unity is read out which is as clear as it is big. For like the components of a factory or members of a palace or town, these beings support one another, stretch out their hands to assist one another, and answer the needs and requests of one another, saying: "Here I am, at your service!" Assisting one another, they work together in order. Joining efforts, they serve animate beings. Co-operating and turned a single goal, they obey an All-Wise Disposer. They conform to a rule of mutual assistance which is in force from the sun and moon, night and day, and winter and summer, to plants coming to the assistance of hungry and needy animals, and animals hastening to the assistance of weak, noble men, and even nutritious substances flying to assist delicate, weak infants and fruits, and particles of food passing to the assistance of the cells of the body. They show to anyone who is not altogether blind that they are acting through the strength of a single, most generous Nurturer, and at the command of a single most wise Disposer.

Thus, on the one hand this mutual support and assistance, this answering one another's needs, this mutual embracing, this subjugation, this order, testify decisively that beings are administered and organized by a single Disposer and are being impelled and directed by a single Nurturer. And on the other hand, this perfect grace within the universal wisdom to be seen plainly in the art of things; and the all-embracing mercy which shines within the providence; and the sustenance spread over that mercy and scattered so as to answer the needs of all living beings needy for sustenance; -these form a stamp of Divine unity so brilliant that anyone whose mind is not altogether


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extinguished will understand it and anyone who is not altogether blind will see it.

Yes, a veil of wisdom demonstrating intention, consciousness, and will, has covered the whole universe, and upon that veil of wisdom has been spread a veil of grace and favour exhibiting beneficence, adornment, embellishment, and benevolence; and over that adorned veil of favour a garment of mercy displaying flashes of making known and loved, of bestowal and the granting of gifts has enveloped the universe; and spread over that illuminated veil of universal mercy is a table of general provisions showing kindness and bestowal and benevolence and perfect compassion and fine nurturing and dominical favour.

Yes, all beings from particles to suns, whether individuals or species, or large or small, have been clothed in a magnificent shirt of wisdom embroidered with fruits and aims, benefits and purposes. And over the wisdom-displaying shirt, a garment of favour embroidered with flowers of grace and beneficence has been cut out in accordance with the stature of things; and over that ornamented garment of favour, a general table of sustenance has been set up, lit up with flashes of love, bestowal, affection, and the granting of gifts, to which the decorations of mercy have been attached, and which, together with bestowing those illuminated and jewel-encrusted decorations, is sufficient for all the groups of living beings on the face of the earth, and meets all their needs. Thus, this matter points to an All-Glorious Provider Who is All- Wise, All-Generous, and All- Compassionate, and shows Him as clearly as the sun.

Is that so? Is everything in need of sustenance?

Yes, like individual beings are in need of sustenance and all the necessities to continue their lives, we see that all the beings in the world, and especially living beings, whether universal or particular, wholes or parts, have many desires and needs, material and otherwise, for their existence, their lives, and the continuation of their lives. But their wants and needs are for such things that their hands cannot reach the least of them and their power is insufficient for the smallest of them. Yet, we see that all their wishes and material and immaterial sustenance is given to them "From where he could not imagine," 34 from unhoped for places, with perfect order, at the appropriate time, in a suitable fashion, with perfect wisdom. And so, does this want and need of creatures and this manner of unseen help and assistance not show an All- Wise and Glorious Nurturer, an All-Compassionate Beauteous Disposer?


34 Qur'an, 65:3.


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EIGHTH FLASH

Any sort of seed sown in a field shows that the field must be at the disposal of the seed's owner, and that the seed too is under the disposal of the one who has control of the field. Similarly, the arable field of beings known as the elements and their universality and comprehensiveness as well as their sameness and uncomplex nature, and the plants and animals -these fruits of mercy, miracles of power, and words of wisdom known as creatures- and their spreading to most places and settling everywhere as well as their being similar and resembling one another, show that they are under the disposal of a single Miracle-Displaying Maker, and in such a way that it is as if every flower, fruit, and animal is a seal, stamp, and signature of its Maker. Wherever they are found, each says through the tongue of disposition: "Whose-ever seal I am, the place I am found is also of his making. Whose-ever stamp I am, this place is a missive of His. Whose-ever signature I am, this land too is of his weaving." That means, to be Sustainer of the least creature is particular to the One Who holds all the elements in the grasp of His power. Anyone who is not blind can see that to regulate and govern the simplest animal is particular to the One Who has all beings in the grasp of His dominicality.

Indeed, through the tongue of similarity to other individuals, all individual beings say: "Only one who owns my species can be my owner. It cannot be otherwise." And through the tongue of spreading over the face of the earth together with other species, each species says: "Only one who owns the whole face of the earth can be our owner. It cannot be otherwise." And through the tongue of being bound to the sun and other planets and mutually supportive with the skies, the earth says: "Only one who is owner of the whole universe can be my owner. It cannot be otherwise." Yes, supposing someone were to say to a conscious apple: "You are my work of art." Through the tongue of disposition, the apple would reply: "Be silent! If you are capable of fashioning all the other apples on the earth; indeed, if you can have disposal over all my fellows, the other fruit-bearing trees, spread over the earth, and all the gifts of the Most Merciful proceeding from the treasury of mercy in boatloads, then you can claim to be my Sustainer." The apple would say that and aim a slap at that foolish person.

NINTH FLASH

We have pointed out some of the seals, stamps, and signatures on particulars and parts, universals and wholes, on the world as a whole, and on life, living beings, and raising to life. Now, we shall indicate one of the countless stamps on species.

Since the countless fruits of a fruit-bearing tree are administered from one centre, in accordance with one law and a single way of raising, the difficulty, hardship, and expense are transformed into ease. It is so easy the numerous


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fruits raised become equal to a single fruit. That means in regard to quantity, multiplicity and numerous centres necessitate the difficulty, expense, and equipment of the whole tree for a single fruit. The difference is only in regard to quality. Like all the factories required for the whole army are necessary to manufacture all the military equipment necessary for a single soldier. That is to say, if the matter passes from unity to multiplicity, in respect of quantity the difficulties increase to the number of individuals. Thus, the extraordinary ease to be seen clearly in all species is the result of the ease and facility arising from unity.

In Short: The conformity and similarity in basic members between all the individuals of a species, and all the species of a genus, prove that they are the works of a single Maker, because the unity of the pen and oneness of the seal requires this. Similarly, the observable absolute ease and lack of difficulty require -indeed, necessitate- that they are the works of One Maker. Otherwise difficulties rising to the degree of impossibility would doom the genus and the species to non-existence.

To Conclude: If all things are ascribed to Almighty God, they become an easy as a single thing, while if they are attributed to causes, they become as difficult as everything. Since it is thus, the extraordinary profusion observed in the universe and the boundless abundance before our eyes display a stamp of unity like the sun. If these fruits which we obtain in such plenty were not the property of the Single One of Unity, we would not have a single pomegranate to eat, even if we gave the whole world for it.

TENTH FLASH

Just as life, which displays a manifestation of Divine beauty, is a proof of Divine oneness, and a sort of manifestation of unity, death too, which displays the manifestation of Divine glory, is a proof of Divine unity.

For example, And God's is the highest similitude, by showing the sun's light and reflection, the bubbles on a wide flowing river which sparkle in the sun and transparent objects which glisten on the face of the earth testify to the sun. On those tribes of bubbles and transparent objects disappearing, the continued magnificent manifestation of the sun and the uninterrupted and constant display of its light on the successive groups and tribes of bubbles and transparent objects which follow on after them, testify decisively that the little images of the sun and the lights and flashes which appear and sparkle, flare up and die away, and are changed and renewed, are the manifestations of an enduring, perpetual, elevated, single Sun whose manifestation is undying. That is to say, just as through their appearance and becoming visible, the shining droplets demonstrate the sun's existence, so with their disappearance and extinction, they demonstrate its continuation, permanence, and unity.


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In exactly the same way, through their existence and lives these flowing beings testify to the necessary existence and oneness of the Necessarily Existent One, and with their deaths and disappearance, they testify to the His pre-eternity, everlastingness, and unity. Yes, the beautiful creatures and fine beings which are renewed and restored within the decline and disappearance that occur through the alternation of night and day, winter and summer, and the centuries and ages, surely point to the existence, continuance, and unity of an elevated, eternal possessor of continually manifested beauty. While the deaths and disappearance of those beings together with their apparent and lowly causes demonstrate that the causes are nothing but a mere veil. This situation proves decisively that these arts, these inscriptions, these manifestations, are the constantly renewed arts, the changing inscriptions, the moving mirrors of an All-Beauteous One of Glory, all of Whose Names are sacred and beautiful; that they are His seals which follow on one after the other, and His stamps that are changed with wisdom.

In Short: The mighty book of the universe both teaches us the creational signs concerning Divine existence and unity, and it testifies to all the attributes of perfection, beauty, and glory of that All-Glorious One. And they prove the perfection of the Divine Essence faultlessly and without defect. For it is obvious that perfection in a work points to the perfection of the act which is the source and origin of the work. And the perfection of the act points to the perfection of the name, and the perfection of the name, to the perfection of the attribute, and perfection of the attribute to the perfection of the essential qualities, and the perfection of the qualities point necessarily and self- evidently to the perfection of the essence possessing those qualities.

For example, the perfect inscriptions and adornments of a faultless palace indicate the perfection of a master builder's acts behind them. And the perfection of the acts shows the perfection of that active master's titles and names, which demonstrate his rank. And the perfection of the names and titles show the perfection of the other attributes qualifying the master builder's art. And the perfection of the art and attributes show the perfection of the abilities and essential capacity of that craftsman, which are called the essential qualities. And the perfection of those essential qualities and abilities show the perfection of the master's essential nature.

In exactly the same way, the faultless works observed in the world, which manifest the meaning of "Do you see any flaw?", this art in the well-ordered beings of the universe, point observedly to the perfect acts of an active possessor of power. And those perfect acts point clearly to the perfect Names of a Glorious Agent. And that perfection necessarily points to and testifies to the perfect attributes of the Beauteous One signified by the


35 Qur'an, 67:3.


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Names. And certainly those perfect attributes point and testify to the perfection of the Perfect One qualified by the attributes. And those perfect qualities point with such absolute certainty to the perfect Essence of the One possessing the qualities that they indicate that all the sorts of perfection to be seen in the whole universe are but signs of His perfections, hints of His Glory, and allusions to His beauty, and pale, weak shadows in relation to His perfection.

THE ELEVENTH FLASH,

WHICH HAS THE STRENGTH OF SUNS

As is defined in the Nineteenth Word, our master Muhammad the Trustworthy (Peace and blessings be upon him) is the supreme sign of the mighty Book of the Universe and the Greatest Name of that mighty Qur'an, the seed of the tree of the universe and its most luminous fruit, the sun of the palace of the world and the radiant moon of the world of Islam, the herald of the sovereignty of Divine dominicality, and the wise discloser of the talisman of the universe, who flies in the levels of reality with the wings of Messengership, which take under their shade all the prophets, and the wings of Islam, which take under their protection all the world of Islam; who took behind him all the prophets and messengers, all the saints and veracious ones, all the purified and the scholars, and demonstrated Divine unity with all his strength and opened up the way to Divine oneness; has any doubt or suspicion, then, the power to conceal or obscure the belief in God which he demonstrated, or the Divine unity which he proved? Since in the Nineteenth Word and Nineteenth Letter we have defined and described briefly and to a small degree in Fourteen Droplets and Nineteen Signs from the water of life of that Clear Proof's knowledge that miracle-displaying Being together with his various miracles, we shall here content ourselves with this indication, and conclude with a benediction for him:

O God! Grant blessings to the one who demonstrated Your necessary existence and unity, and testified to Your glory and beauty and perfection; the verified and veracious witness, the verifying articulate proof; the lord of the prophets and messengers, the bearer of the mystery of their consensus, affirmation, and miracles; the leader of the saints and veracious ones, the holder of the mystery of their accord, verifications, and wonder-working; the one with evident miracles, clear marvels, and decisive evidences which corroborated and affirmed him; who displayed exalted purity in his self, elevated morals in his duty, and lofty qualities in his Shari'a, perfect and free of all contradiction, to whom according to the consensus of the revealed and the Revealer and the one who revealed it to him, dominical reve


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lation descended; the traveller through the Worlds of the Unseen and of the Inner Dimensions of Things; the observer of spirits, who conversed with the angels; the sample of the perfections of the universe, in regard to both individuals, and species, and realms of beings; the most luminous of the fruits of the tree of creation; the lamp of truth; the proof of reality; the embodiment of mercy; the exemplification of love; the discloser of the talisman of the universe; the herald of the sovereignty of dominicality; the sign that the elevatedness of his collective personality was before the eyes of the world's Creator at the creation of the universe; the possessor of a Shari'a that indicates through the breadth of its principles and strength that it is the order of the Orderer of the World, drawn up by the Creator of the Universe.

Yes, the One Who ordered the universe with this perfect and total order is He Who ordered this religion with its fine and beautiful order, our master, we are the community of the sons of Adam, our guide to belief, we are the community of believers, Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abd al-Mutallib, Upon him be the most perfect blessings and most complete peace as long as the heavens and earth subsist, for he is the veracious and verified witness who summoned the leaders of witnesses and has instructed the branches of mankind throughout the centuries and all the regions of the world in elevated fashion with all his strength, with complete seriousness and utter steadfastness, and with the power of his certainty and perfect belief, testifying:

"I testify that there is no god but God, the One, He has no partner. "

THE TWELFTH FLASH,

WHICH HAS THE STRENGTH OF SUNS

This Twelfth Flash of the Twenty-Second Word is such an ocean of truths that all the previous twenty-two Words form only twenty-two drops of it, and it is a source of such lights that they form only twenty-two flashes of that Sun. Yes, all the previous twenty- two Words are flashes of the stars of the verses shining in the skies of the Qur'an; all are single droplets from the river of a verse flowing from that ocean of discernment distinguishing truth and falsehood; each is but one pearl from a single of its verses, all of which are chests of jewels in the sublime treasury of God's Book. Thus, the Word of God, which is in small part defined in the Fourteenth Droplet of the Nineteenth Word, has been revealed from the Greatest Name, the Sublime


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Throne, and the greatest manifestation of dominicality, and it repeatedly states with all its strength within a breadth and elevatedness that binds pre-eternity to post-eternity and ties the ground to the Divine Throne, and with the certainty of all its verses: There is no god but God!; it calls the whole universe to witness and makes it testify. Yes, altogether the world hymns: There is no god but God!

If you look at the Qur'an with the eyes of a sound heart, you will see that its six aspects are so brilliant and transparent that no darkness, no misguidance, no doubt or suspicion, no trickery could enter it or find a fissure through which to enter and violate its purity. For above it is the stamp of miraculousness; beneath it, proof and evidence; behind it, its point of support, pure dominical revelation; before it, the happiness of this world and the next; on its right, questioning the reason and ensuring its confirmation; on its left, calling on the conscience to witness and securing its submission; within it is self- evidently the pure guidance of the Most Merciful; its outside observedly consists of the lights of belief; and its fruits, with all certainty the purified and veracious scholars and saints, who are adorned with all the human perfections and attainments. If you fasten your ear to the breast of that tongue of the Unseen, you will hear from afar a most familiar and convincing, an infinitely serious and elevated heavenly voice equipped with proof which repeats "There is no god but God." It states this so certainly it is at the degree of 'absolute certainty', and illuminates you with a 'knowledge of certainty' resembling 'vision of certainty.'

In Short: Both God's Most Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) and the Most Decisive Criterion of Truth and Falsehood were suns. One, the tongue of the Manifest World, pointing with the fingers of Islam and Messengership and confirmed by all the prophets and purified ones supported by a thousand miracles, demonstrated this truth with all his strength.

And the other, like the tongue of the World of the Unseen, indicating with the fingers of right and guidance under the confirmation of all the creational signs in the universe within forty aspects of miraculousness, demonstrates the same truth with all seriousness. Is that truth then not clearer than the sun and more brilliant than sunlight?

Oh, obdurate little man sunk in misguidance! 36 How can you oppose these suns with the lamp of your head, dimmer than a fire-fly? How can you show disdain for them? Are you trying to extinguish them by puffing? Pooh to your denying mind! How can you deny the words and claims which those two tongues of the Manifest and Unseen Worlds speak in the


36 This is addressing someone who was trying to abolish the Qur'an.


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name of the Sustainer of all the worlds and Owner of the universe; which they speak on His behalf? Oh, you wretch, lower and more impotent than a fly! Who are you that you attempt to give the lie to the universe's Glorious Owner?


Conclusion

O friend, whose mind is alert and heart, attentive! If you have understood this Twenty-Second Word from the beginning up to here, take the twelve Flashes together in your hand, and finding a lamp of truth as powerful as a thousand electric lamps, adhere to the below-mentioned verses of the Qur'an. Mount the steed of Divine assistance, ascend to the heavens of truth, rise to the Throne of Divine knowledge. Declare:

IT

/ testify that there is no god but You, You are One, You have no partner \

And, saying,

/ testify that there is no god but God, He is One, He has no partner; His is the dominion and His is the praise; He gives life and gives death, and He is ever- living and dies not; in His hand is all good, and He is powerful over all things,

proclaim His unity over the heads of all the beings in the universe in this mighty mosque of the world.

Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us;

an

indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O our Sustainer! Do not call us to task if we forget or fall into error. * Our Sustainer! Lay not a burden on us like that which you laid on those before us; * Our Sustainer! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have the strength to bear. * Blot out our sins. And grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; help us against those who stand


37 Bukhari, i, 214; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, i, 272; iii, 136, 227, 229.

38 Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunna, v, 53, 75, 132; Ibn Hajar, Majma' al-Zawa'id, iv, 86-115; x, 85, 114.

39 Qur'an, 2:32.


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against faith. * Our Sustainer! Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your presence; for You are the Granter of bounties without measure. * Our Sustainer! You are He that will gather mankind together against a Day about which there is no doubt; for God never fails in His promise.

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one whom You sent as a Mercy to all the worlds, and to all his Family and Companions. And have mercy of us and have mercy on his community, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amen.

And the close of their prayer will be: Praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds !


40 Qur'an, 2:286.

41 Qur'an, 3:8-9.

42 Qur'an, 10:10.


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The Twenty-Third Word

[This Word contains Two Chapters]


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Indeed, We have created man on the most excellent of patterns, * Then sent him

down to the lowest of the low, * Except those who believe and do good deeds.


First Chapter


We shall explain in five 'Points' only five of the virtues of belief out of thousands. FIRST POINT

Through the light of belief, man rises to the highest of the high and acquires a value worthy of Paradise. And through the darkness of unbelief, he descends to the lowest of the low and falls to a position fit for Hell. For belief connects man to the All-Glorious Maker; it is a relation. Thus, man acquires value by virtue of the Divine art and inscriptions of the dominical Names which become apparent in him through belief. Unbelief severs the relation, and due to that severance the dominical art is concealed. His value then is only in respect to the matter of his physical being. And since this matter has only a transitory, passing, temporary animal life, its value is virtually nothing. We shall explain this mystery by means of a comparison:

For example: among man's arts, the value of the materials used and that of the art are entirely different. Sometimes they are equal, sometimes the material is more valuable, and sometimes it happens that five liras ' worth of art is to be found in material like iron worth five kurush. Sometimes, even, an antique work of art is worth a million while the material of which it is composed is not worth five kurush. If such a work of art is taken to the


1 Qur'an, 95:4-6.


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antiques market and ascribed to a brilliant and accomplished artist of former times, and announced mentioning the artist and that art, it may be sold for a million liras. Whereas if it is taken to the scrap-dealers, the only price received will be for the five kurush's worth of iron.

Thus, man is such an antique work of art of Almighty God. He is a most subtle and graceful miracle of His power whom He created to manifest all his Names and their inscriptions, in the form of a miniature specimen of the universe. If the light of belief enters his being, all the meaningful inscriptions on him may be read. As one who believes, he reads them consciously, and through that relation, causes others to read them. That is to say, the dominical art in man becomes apparent through meanings like, "I am the creature and artefact of the All-Glorious Maker. I manifest His mercy and munificence." That is, belief, which consists of being connected to the Maker, makes apparent all the works of art in man. Man's value is in accordance with that dominical art and by virtue of being a mirror to the Eternally Besought One. In this respect insignificant man becomes God's addressee and a guest of the Sustainer worthy of Paradise superior to all other creatures.

However, should unbelief, which consists of the severance of the relation, enter man's being, then all those meaningful inscriptions of the Divine Names are plunged into darkness and become illegible. For if the Maker is forgotten, the spiritual aspects which look to Him will not be comprehended, they will be as though reversed. The majority of those meaningful sublime arts and elevated inscriptions will be hidden. The remainder, those that may be seen with the eye, will be attributed to lowly causes, nature, and chance, and will become utterly devoid of value. While they are all brilliant diamonds, they become dull pieces of glass. His importance looks only to his animal, physical being. And as we said, the aim and fruit of his physical being is only to pass a brief and partial life as the most impotent, needy, and grieving of animals. Then it decays and departs. See how unbelief destroys human nature, and transforms it from diamonds into coal.

SECOND POINT

Just as belief is a light which illuminates man and makes legible all the missives of the Eternally Besought One inscribed upon him, so too it illuminates the universe, and delivers the past and the future from darkness. I shall explain this mystery with a comparison I saw during a vision, which concerns one meaning of the verse:

God is the Protector of those who believe; He leads them out of darkness into light.


2 See, page 295, footnote 19.


3 Qur'an, 2:257.


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It was like this:

I saw in a vision an awesome bridge built between two high mountains situated opposite one another. Beneath the bridge was a valley of great depth. I was on the bridge. A dense darkness had enveloped every part of the world. I looked to my right and saw a vast grave swathed in an unending dense gloom, that is, I imagined it. I looked to my left and as though saw violent storms and calamities gathering amid terrifying waves of blackness. I looked beneath the bridge and imagined I saw a profound abyss. I had a dim torch in the face of this terrifying darkness. I used it and could see a little with its light. A most horrific situation appeared to me. In fact, such awful dragons, lions, and monsters appeared around me and on the bridge in front of me that I exclaimed: "Oh! This torch brings me only trouble!", and I angrily cast it to the ground and broke it. Then on smashing it, the darkness suddenly dispersed as though I had turned on the switch for a huge electric lamp that lit up the whole world. Everywhere was filled with the lamp's light. It showed everything as it was in reality.

I saw that the bridge I had seen was a highway through a plain passing over even ground. The vast grave I had seen on my right I realized consisted from top to bottom of beautiful, verdant gardens and gatherings for worship, service, conversation, and the remembrance of God under the direction of luminous men. The precipices and peaks on my left which I had imagined to be tempestuous and stormy I now saw fleetingly to be a vast, lovely, and elevated place of feasting, recreation, and enjoyment behind mountains that were adorned and pleasant. And the creatures I had thought to be terrifying monsters and dragons, I saw were familiar domestic animals like camels, oxen, sheep, and goats. Declaring, "All praise be to God for the light of belief," I recited the verse,

God is the Protector of those who believe; He leads them out of darkness into light,

and I awoke from my vision.

Thus, the two mountains were the beginning and end of life; that is, this world and the Intermediate Realm. The bridge was the road of life. To the right was the past, and to the left, the future. As for the small torch, it was the human ego, which is egotistical, relies on what it knows, and does not heed the heavenly revelation. The things imagined to be the monsters were the events and strange creatures of the world.

Thus, one who relies on his ego, who falls into the darkness of heedlessness and is afflicted with the blackness of misguidance resembles my first state in the vision, which, like with the pocket-torch and due to deficient and misguided knowledge, saw the past in the form a huge grave amid darkness imbued with non-existence. It showed the future to be a stormy and desolate


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wasteland governed by coincidence, and events and beings, which are all submissive officials of One All- Wise and All-Compassionate to be monsters. Such a person as though manifests the verse,

And those who reject belief, their protectors are the evil ones; they lead them out of light into darkness.

But if such a man attains to Divine guidance and belief enters his heart, and if the tyranny of his soul is smashed and he heeds God's Book, he will resemble my second state in the vision. Then the universe will suddenly take on the colour of day and be filled with Divine light. The world will recite the verse,

God is the light of the heavens and the earth.

Then he will see with the eye of the heart that the past is not a vast grave, but where the groups of purified spirits who each century having performed their duties of worship under the leadership of a prophet or saint exclaim, "God is Most Great!" on completion of the duties of their lives, and fly to elevated abodes, moving on to the past. He will look to the left, and through the light of belief distinguish in the distance a feasting -place of the Most Merciful set up in palaces of bliss in the gardens of Paradise, beyond the mountainous revolutions of the Intermediate Realm and the hereafter. And he will realize that the storms and earthquakes and tempestuous events are all submissive officials, and understand that they are the means for instances of wisdom which though apparently harsh are in fact most gentle, like the storms and rains of spring. He will even see death to be the introduction to eternal life, and the grave, the door to everlasting happiness. You can deduce further aspects for yourself. Apply the reality to the comparison!

THIRD POINT

Belief is both light and strength. Yes, one who acquires true belief may challenge the whole universe and be saved from the pressure of events in accordance with the strength of his belief. Saying, "I place my trust in God," he travels through the mountainous waves of events in the ship of life in complete safety. He entrusts all his burdens to the hand of power of the Absolutely Powerful One, voyages through the world in ease, then takes his rest in the Intermediate Realm. Later he may fly up to Paradise in order to enter eternal happiness. Otherwise, if he does not rely on God, rather than flying, the burdens of the world will drag him down to the lowest of the low. That is to say, belief necessitates affirmation of Divine unity, affirmation of Divine unity necessitates submission to God, submission to God necessitates reliance on God, and reliance on God necessarily leads to happiness in this


4 Qur'an, 2:257.

5 Qur'an, 24:35.


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world and the next. But do not misunderstand this, reliance on God is not to reject causes altogether; it is rather to know that causes are a veil to the hand of power and have recourse to them. Knowing that attempting causes is a sort of active prayer, it is to seek the effects only from Almighty God, recognize that the results are from Him alone, and to be thankful to Him.

Those who place their trust in God and those who do not, resemble the two men in this story:

One time two men loaded heavy burdens onto both their backs and heads, and buying tickets, boarded a large ship. As soon as they boarded it, one of them left his load on the deck, and sitting on it guarded it. The other, however, since he was both stupid and arrogant, did not put down his load. When he was told: "Leave that heavy load on the deck and be comfortable," he replied: "No, I won't put it down, it might get lost. I am strong, I'll guard my property by carrying it on my head and back." He was told again: "This reliable royal ship which is carrying you and us is stronger, it can protect it better than you. You may get giddy and fall into the sea together with your load. Anyway you will gradually lose your strength, and by degrees those loads will get heavier and your bent back and brainless head will not have the power to bear them. And if the Captain sees you in this state, he will either say that you are crazy and expel you from the ship, or he will think you are ungrateful, accusing our ship and jeering at us, and he will order you to be put into prison. Also you are making a fool of yourself in front of everyone. For the perceptive see that you are displaying weakness through your conceit, impotence through your pride, and abasement and hypocrisy through your pretence, and have thus made yourself a laughing-stock in the eyes of the people. Everyone's laughing at you." Whereupon the unfortunate man came to his senses. He put down his load on the deck and sat on it. He said to the other: "Ah! May God be pleased with you. I've been saved from that difficulty, from prison, and from making a fool of myself."

O man who does not place his trust in God! You too come to your senses like that man and place your trust in Him, so that you may be delivered from begging before all the universe, trembling before every event, from pride, making a fool of yourself, misery in the hereafter, and the prison of the pressures of this world...

FOURTH POINT

Belief makes man into man, indeed, it makes him into a king. Since this is so, man's basic duty is belief and supplication. Unbelief makes him into an extremely impotent beast.

Out of thousands of proofs of this matter, the differences in the ways animals and man come into the world are a clear indication and decisive proof.


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Yes, these differences show that humanity becomes humanity through belief. For when animals come into the world, they come complete in all points in accordance with their abilities as though having been perfected in another world; that is, they are sent. They learn all the conditions of their lives, their relationships with the universe, and the laws of life in either two hours or two days or two months, and become proficient in them. Animals like sparrows and bees acquire in twenty days the power to survive and proficiency in their actions that man only acquires in twenty years; that is, they are inspired with them. This means that the animals' fundamental duty is not to be perfected through learning and progress by acquiring knowledge, nor to seek help and offer supplications through displaying their impotence, but in accordance with their abilities to work and act. Their duty is active worship.

As for man, he needs to learn everything when he comes into the world; he is ignorant, and cannot even learn completely the conditions of life in twenty years. Indeed, he needs to go on learning till the end of his life. Also he is sent to the world in a most weak and impotent form, and can only rise to his feet in one or two years. Only in fifteen years can he distinguish between harm and benefit, and with the help of mankind's experience attract things advantageous to him and avoid others that are harmful. This means that man's innate duty is to be perfected through learning and to proclaim his worship of God and servitude to Him through supplication. That is to say, it is to know the answers of the questions: "Through whose compassion is my life so wisely administered in this way? Through whose generosity am I so kindly raised? Through whose graciousness am I so delicately nurtured and ministered to?" It is to beseech and supplicate the Provider of Needs through the tongue of impotence and poverty; it is to seek from Him. It is to fly to the high station of worship and servitude to God on the wings of impotence and poverty.

This means that man came to this world to be perfected by means of knowledge and supplication. In regard to his nature and abilities everything is tied to knowledge. And the foundation, source, light, and spirit of all true knowledge is knowledge of God, and its essence and basis is belief in God.

Furthermore, since man is subject to endless tribulations and afflicted with innumerable enemies despite his boundless impotence, and suffers from endless needs and has innumerable desires despite his boundless poverty, after belief, his fundamental innate duty is supplication. As for supplication, it is the basis of worship of God and servitude to Him. In order to secure a desire or wish he cannot obtain, a child will either cry or ask for it, that is, he will supplicate through the tongue of his impotence either actively or verbally, and will be successful in securing it. In the same way, man is like a delicate, petted child in the world of living creatures. He has to either weep at the Court of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One through his


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weakness and impotence, or supplicate through his poverty and need, so that the things he wants may be made subject to him, or he may offer thanks for their being made so. Otherwise like a silly child who creates a fuss over a fly, saying: "With my own strength I subjugate things it is not possible to subjugate and things a thousand times more powerful, and I make them obey me through my own ideas and measures," he displays ingratitude for the bounties. And just as this is contrary to man's innate nature, so he makes himself deserving of severe punishment.

FIFTH POINT

Belief necessitates supplication as a certain means of securing needs, and both human nature has an intense desire for it, and Almighty God decrees,

Say: My Sustainer would not concern Himself with you but for your supplication,

which has the meaning of: What importance would you have if you did not offer Me supplications? He also commands:

■7

Call upon Me and I will answer you.

If you say: We frequently offer supplications, but they are not accepted. But the verse is general, it states that every supplication is answered.

The Answer: To answer is one thing, to accept is something quite different. Every supplication is answered, but its being accepted and exactly what was sought being given is dependent on Almighty God's wisdom. For example, if a sick child calls the doctor, saying: "Doctor! Doctor!", and he replies: "Here I am, what do you want?", and the child says: "Give me that medicine!", the doctor will either give him exactly what he asks for or something better and more beneficial for him. Or knowing that medicine is harmful for his illness, he will give him nothing.

Thus, since Almighty God is all-present and all- seeing, He responds to the supplications of His servants. Through His presence and response, He transforms the desolation of loneliness and solitude into familiarity. But He does this, not in accordance with man's capricious and importunate demands, but in accordance with the requirements of dominical wisdom; He gives either what is sought or what is better than it, or He gives nothing at all.

Also, supplication is a form of worship and recognition of man's servitude to God. The fruits of this pertain to the hereafter. The aims pertaining to this world are the times of a particular sort of supplication and worship. For example, the prayers and supplications for rain are a form of worship.


6 Qur'an, 25:77.

7 Qur'an, 40:60.


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Drought is the time for such worship. Worship and supplications of this sort are not in order to bring rain. If they are performed with that intention alone they are not worthy of acceptance, for they are not sincere worship. Sunset is the time of the evening prayers. And eclipses of the sun and moon are the times of two particular prayers known as salat al-kusuf and salat al-khusuf. That is to say, with the veiling of the two luminous signs of the night and day, God's tremendousness is proclaimed, so Almighty God calls his servants to a sort of worship at those times. The prayers are not so that the sun and moon will be revealed (whose appearance and how long the eclipses will continue have anyway been reckoned by astronomers).

In just the same way, drought is the time for the prayers for rain, and the visitation of calamities and infliction of harmful things the times of certain supplications when man realizes his impotence and through his supplication and entreaty seeks refuge at the Court of One Possessing Absolute Power. Even if the calamities are not lifted despite many supplications, it may not be said that they were not accepted. It should rather be said that the time for the supplication is not yet over. If through His graciousness and munificence Almighty God removes the calamity, light upon light, then the time for that supplication is over and done with. That is to say, supplication has the meaning of worship and man's acknowledging his servitude to God.

As for worship and servitude to God, it should be purely and sincerely for God's sake. Man should only proclaim his impotence and seek refuge with Him through supplication, he should not interfere in His dominicality. He should leave the taking of measures to Him and rely on His wisdom. He should not accuse His Mercy.

Indeed, what is in reality established by the Qur'an's clear verses is that just as all beings offer their own particular glorification and worship, so what rises to the Divine Court from all the universe is supplication. This is either through the tongue of innate ability like the supplication of plants and animals, through which they seek forms from the Absolute Bestower and to display and manifest His Names. Or it is through the tongue of innate need. These are the supplications for all their essential needs - beyond their power to obtain - offered by animate beings. Through this tongue, the animate beings seek certain things from the Absolutely Generous One for the continuance of their lives, like a sort of sustenance. Or it is supplication through the tongue of exigency, through which all beings with spirits who find themselves in some plight or predicament make supplication and seek urgent refuge with an unknown protector; indeed, they turn to the All-Compassionate Sustainer. If there is nothing to prevent it, these three sorts of supplication are always accepted.

The fourth sort of supplication is the most well-known; it is our supplication. This too is of two sorts: one is active and by disposition, and the other,


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verbal and with the heart. For example, having recourse to causes is an active prayer. To gather together causes is not in order to create the effect, but through the tongue of disposition to take up an acceptable position in order to seek the effect from Almighty God. To plough a field is to knock at the door of the treasury of mercy. Since this sort of active supplication is directed towards the Absolutely Generous One's Name and title, it is accepted in the great majority of cases.

The second sort is to offer supplication with the tongue and the heart. It is to seek certain wishes which the hand cannot reach. The most important aspect, the most beautiful aim, the sweetest fruit of this is this: "The one who offers the supplications knows that there is Someone Who hears the wishes of his heart, Whose hand can reach all things, Who can bring about each of his desires, Who takes pity on his impotence, and answers his poverty."

O impotent, needy man! Do not neglect a means like supplication, which is the key to the treasury of mercy and to an inexhaustible strength. Cling to it! Rise to the highest peaks of humanity! Include in your supplications those of all the universe, like a king!

Q

Say, "From You alone do we seek help" like a servant and deputy representing all the universe! Be on the Most Excellent Pattern of creation!


8 Qur'an, 1:4.


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Second Chapter


INCLUDING FIVE REMARKS WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S HAPPINESS AND MISERY

[Since man has been created on the most excellent of patterns and has been given most comprehensive abilities, he has been cast into an arena of trial and examination in which he may rise or fall to stations, ranks, and degrees from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, from the earth to the Divine Throne, and from minute particles to the sun. He has been sent to this world as a miracle of Divine Power, the result of creation, and a wonder of Divine art before whom have been opened two roads leading either to infinite ascent or infinite descent. We shall explain the mystery of this awesome progress and decline of man's in five 'Remarks'.]

FIRST REMARK

Man stands in need of most of the varieties of beings in the universe and is connected to them. His needs spread through every part of the world, and his desires extend to eternity. As he wants a flower, so he wants the spring. As he desires a garden, so does he also desire everlasting Paradise. As he longs to see a friend, so does he long to see the All-Beauteous One of Glory. Just as in order to visit one he loves who lives somewhere else, he is in need for his beloved's door to be opened to him, so too in order to visit the ninety-nine per cent of his friends who have travelled to the intermediate realm and so be saved from eternal separation, he needs to seek refuge at the court of an Absolutely Powerful One. For it is He Who will close the door of this huge world and open the door of the hereafter, which is an exhibition of wonders, remove this world and establish the hereafter in its place.

Thus for man in this position the only True Object of Worship will be One in Whose hand are the reins of all things, with Whom are the treasuries of all things, Who sees all things, and is present everywhere, Who is beyond space, exempt from impotence, free of fault, and far above all defect; an Ail-Powerful One of Glory, an All-Compassionate One of Beauty, an All- Wise One of Perfection.


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O man, if you are the slave of Him alone, you will earn a place superior to all creatures. But if you hold back from this servitude to Him, you will become an abased slave to impotent creatures. If you rely on your ego and own power and abandoning reliance on God and supplication, deviate into pride and boasting, then you will fall lower than an ant or bee in regard to goodness and creation, and become weaker than a spider or a fly. You will become heavier than a mountain in regard to evil and destruction, and more harmful than a pestilence.

Yes, O man! You have two aspects: one is that of creation, good, acts, and positivity. The other is the aspect of destruction, non-existence, evil, negativity, and passivity. In regard to the first aspect, you are lower than a bee or sparrow, and weaker than a spider or fly. Whereas in regard to the second aspect, you surpass the mountains, earth, and skies; you take on a burden before which they expressed their impotence and from which they shrank, and you assume a sphere more extensive and vaster than them. For when you create and do good, you are able to do so only to the extent of your own power and strength and to the degree your hand can reach. But when you commit evil and destruction, then your evil overwhelms and your destruction spreads.

For example, unbelief is an evil, a destruction, an absence of affirmation. But that single evil comprises insulting the whole universe, belittling all the Divine Names, and abusing all humanity. For these beings have elevated positions and important duties; they are dominical missives, Divine mirrors, and Divine officials. But unbelief dismisses them from their rank of being mirrors, officials charged with duties, and bearing meanings, and reduces them to the level of futility and being the playthings of chance. And through the destruction of death and separation, it lowers them to the degree of being swiftly decaying ephemeral matter lacking all importance and value, to being nothing. So too through denial it insults the Divine Names, the inscriptions, manifestations, and beauties of which are to be seen throughout the universe and in the mirrors of beings. And it casts down to a position more abased and weaker, more powerless and needy than the lowliest transient animal the one who holds the rank of vicegerent of the earth, known as man. For man is a well-composed ode of wisdom proclaiming the manifestations of the Sacred Divine Names, and a seed-like self-evident miracle of Divine power containing all the members of an eternal tree, and who, with assuming the 'Supreme Trust,' rose to being higher than the earth, sky and mountains and gained superiority over the angels. It reduces him to the level of being a common sign-board lacking all meaning, confused, and swiftly decaying.

In Short: In regard to destruction and evil, the evil- commanding soul may commit infinite crimes, but concerning creativity and good, its power is


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extremely little and partial. Yes, he may destroy a house in one day, while it cannot be built in a hundred. However, if the soul gives up egoism and seeks good and existence from Divine assistance, and if it foregoes evil and destruction and relying on the soul, and seeking forgiveness becomes a true slave of God's, then it will manifest the meaning of the verse,

God will change their evil into good.

Its infinite capacity for evil will be transformed into an infinite capacity for good. It will acquire the value of the Most Excellent of Patterns and ascend to the highest of the high.

O heedless man! See Almighty God's munificence and generosity! Although it would be justice to record one evil as a thousand and a single good deed as one or not at all, He records a single evil as one, and a single good deed as ten, and sometimes as seventy or seven hundred, or even sometimes as seven thousand. You will also understand from this Remark that to be sent to Hell, which is so dreadful, is retribution for the deed and pure justice, while to be sent to Paradise is pure generosity.

SECOND REMARK

Man has two faces: one, concerning his ego, looks to the life of this world. The other, concerning worship and servitude to God, looks to eternal life. In respect to the first face he is a wretched creature whose capital consists only of the following: of will he has only a partial power of choice like a hair; of power, a weak ability to acquire; of life, a fast dying flame; of a life-span, a fleeting brief spell; and of being, a swiftly decaying small body. Together with this, he is one delicate, weak individual out of the innumerable individuals of the numberless varieties of beings dispersed through the levels of the universe.

In respect of the second face and especially his impotence and poverty, which are turned towards worship, man has truly great breadth and vast importance. For the All- Wise Creator has included in man's nature an infinitely vast impotence and boundlessly huge poverty, so that he can be an extensive mirror containing the innumerable manifestations of an Ail-Powerful and Compassionate One Whose power is infinite, an All-Generous All-Rich One Whose wealth is boundless.

Indeed, man resembles a seed. This seed has been given significant immaterial members by Divine power and a subtle, valuable programme by Divine Determining, so that it may work beneath the ground, and emerging from that narrow world, enter the broad world of the air, and asking its Creator with the tongue of its disposition to be a tree, find a perfection worthy of


9 Qur'an, 25:70.


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it. If, due to bad temperament, the seed uses the immaterial members given it in attracting certain harmful substances under the ground, in a short time it will rot and decay in that narrow place without benefit. But if the seed conforms to the creational command of,

God is the Splitter of the seed-grain and date-stone

and employs well those immaterial members, it will emerge from that narrow world, and through becoming a large fruit-bearing tree, its tiny particular reality and its spirit will take on the form of an extensive universal reality.

Similarly, significant members and valuable programmes have been deposited in man's nature by Divine power and determining. If man uses those immaterial members on the desires of his soul and on minor pleasures under the soil of worldly life in the narrow confines of this earthly world, he will decay and decompose in the midst of difficulties in a brief life in a constricted place like the rotted seed, and load the responsibility on his unfortunate spirit, then depart from this world.

If, however, he nurtures the seed of his abilities with the water of Islam and light of belief under the soil of worship and servitude to God, conforms to the commands of the Qur'an, and turns his faculties towards their true aims, they will produce branches and buds in the World of Similitudes and the Intermediate Realm; he will be a seed of great value and a shining machine containing the members of an everlasting tree and permanent truth which will be the means to innumerable perfections and bounties in Paradise. And he will be a blessed and luminous fruit of the tree of the universe.

Yes, true progress is to turn the faces of the heart, spirit, intellect, and even the imagination and other subtle faculties given to man towards eternal life and for each to be occupied with the particular duty of worship worthy of it. Progress is not as the people of misguidance imagine, to plunge into the life of this world in all its minute details and in order to taste every sort of pleasure, even the basest, make subject to the evil- commanding soul all the subtle faculties and the heart and intellect, and make them assist it; to do this is not progress, it is decline. I saw this fact in a vision which is described in the following comparison:

I was entering a large town when I looked and saw it was full of large palaces. At the doors of some of these palaces was merry-making like a brilliant theatre; it captured and held everyone's attention and was entertaining them. I looked carefully and saw that the lord of such a palace had come to the door; he was playing with a dog and assisting the merry-making. The ladies were indulging in sweet conversation with ill-mannered youths. Grown-up girls were organizing the children's games. And the doorkeeper


10 Qur'an, 6:95.


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had taken the role of directing the others. I then realized that the inside of the huge palace was completely empty. Its refined duties all remained undone. The morals of its inhabitants had declined so that they had taken on these roles at the door.

I passed on until I came to another large palace. I saw that there was a faithful dog stretched out at the door and a stern and taciturn doorkeeper; it had an undistinguished appearance. I was curious: why was the other the way it was and this palace like this? I went inside. Then I saw that the inside was very merry. Apartment over apartment, the people of the palace were busy with their different refined duties. The men in the first apartment were overseeing the administration and running of the palace. In the apartment over that, girls were teaching the children. Above that the ladies were occupied with fine arts and beautiful embroideries. And on the top floor, the lord was exchanging news with the king, and was busy with his own elevated duties in order to maintain the peoples' tranquillity and his own attainments and progress. They did not stop me since I was not visible to them, and I was able to wander around. Then I came out and looked around: everywhere in the town were these two sorts of palaces. I asked about this and they told me: "The palaces where there is merry-making at the door and whose insides are empty belong to the foremost of the unbelievers and people of misguidance. The others belong to honourable Muslim notables." Then in one corner I came across a palace on which was written my name, SAID. I was curious. I looked more closely and I as though saw my image on it. Calling out in utter bewilderment, I came to my senses and awoke.

And now I shall interpret this vision for you. May God cause good to come of it.

The town was human social life and the city of man's civilization. Each of the palaces was a human being. The people of the palaces were the subtle faculties in man like the eyes, ears, heart, inner heart, spirit, intellect, and things like the soul and caprice, and powers of lust and anger. Each of man's faculties has a different duty of worship, and different pleasures and pains. The soul and caprice and powers of lust and anger are like the doorkeeper and the dog. Thus, to make the elevated subtle faculties subject to the soul and caprice and make them forget their fundamental duties is certainly decline and not progress. You can interpret the rest for yourself.

THIRD REMARK

In regard to his acts and deeds and his labour man is a weak animal, an impotent creature. The extent of his power of disposal and ownership in this respect is so narrow that it is no greater than as far as his hand can reach. Domestic animals, even, the reins of which have been given to man, have each taken a share of his weakness, impotence, and laziness, so that if they


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are compared with their wild counterparts, a great difference is apparent. (Like domestic goats and cattle, and wild goats and cattle). But in regard to passivity, acceptance, supplication, and entreaty, man is an honoured traveller in this hostel of the world. He is the guest of One so generous that infinite treasuries of mercy have been opened to him and innumerable unique beings and servants subjugated to him. And a sphere so large has been prepared for this guest's recreation, amusement, and benefit that half its diameter is as long and broad as the imagination can stretch.

Thus, if man relies on his ego, and making worldly life his goal, attempts to taste temporary pleasures while struggling to make his living, he becomes submerged within an extremely constricted sphere, then departs. All the members, systems, and faculties given him will testify against him at the resurrection and will bring a suit against him. Whereas if he knows himself to be a guest and spends the capital of his life within the sphere of permission of the Generous One of Whom he is the guest, he will strive for a long, eternal life within a broad sphere, then take his rest and ease. And later, he may rise to the highest of the high.

Moreover, all the members and systems given to man will be happy with him and testify in favour of him in the hereafter. For sure, all the wonderful faculties given to men were not for this insignificant worldly life, but for an everlasting life of great significance. For if we compare man with the animals, we see that man is very rich in regard to faculties and members, a hundred times more so than the animals. But in the pleasures of worldly life and in animal life he falls a hundred times lower. For in each pleasure he receives is the trace of thousands of pains. The pains of the past and fears of the future and the pain at each pleasure's passing spoil the enjoyment to had from them, and leave a trace in the pleasure. But animals are not like that. They receive pleasure with no pains. They take enjoyment with no sorrow. Neither the sorrows of the past cause them suffering, nor the fears of the future distress them. They live peacefully, and offer thanks to their Creator.

This means that if man, who is created on the most excellent of patterns, restricts his thought to the life of this world, he falls a hundred times lower than a creature like a sparrow, although he is higher than the animals. I explained this fact in another place by means of a comparison. It is related to this, so I shall repeat it here. It was like this:

A man gave one of his servants ten pieces of gold and told him to have a suit of clothes made in a particular cloth. Then to a second one, he gave a thousand pieces of gold, and putting in the servant's pocket a note on which certain things were written, sent him to a market. The first servant bought an excellent suit of the finest cloth with the ten pieces of gold. While the second servant did not use his head, and looking at the first servant and not reading the account-note in his pocket, he gave the thousand pieces of gold to a shop


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keeper and asked for a suit of clothes. The dishonest shopkeeper gave him a suit of the very worst-quality cloth. Then the wretched servant returned to his lord and received a severe reprimand and a terrible punishment.

Thus, even the most unintelligent will understand that the thousand pieces of gold given the second servant were not to buy a suit of clothes, but for some important trade.

In just the same way, each of the immaterial members and subtle faculties in man have expanded to a degree a hundred times greater than that of the animals. For example, consider faculties and members like man's eyes, which can discern all the degrees of beauty, and his sense of taste, which can distinguish all the varieties of the particular tastes of foods, and his mind, which can penetrate to all the subtlest points of reality, and his heart, which yearns for every sort of perfection, and then consider the extremely simple members of the animals which have developed only one or two degrees. There is just this difference, that in animals a member particular to some function and special to a particular species develops more. But this development is particular.

The reason for man's wealth in regard to faculties is this: by reason of the mind and thought, man's senses and feelings have greatly developed and expanded. And numerous emotions have come into being because of the multiplicity of his needs. And his senses have become extremely diverse. And because of the comprehensiveness of his nature, desires have appeared turned towards numerous aims. And because he has numerous duties due to his nature, his members and faculties have expanded greatly. And since he has been created with a nature capable of performing every sort of worship, he has been given abilities which embrace the seeds of all perfections.

Thus, this great wealth in faculties and abundant capital was certainly not given for procuring this temporary worldly life. Rather, man's fundamental duty is to perform his duties, which look to innumerable aims; and proclaim his impotence, poverty, and faults in the form of worship; and observing the glorifications of beings with a universal eye, to bear witness to them; and seeing the instances of the assistance of the Most Merciful One, to offer thanks; and gazing on the miracles of dominical power in beings, to contemplate on them as objects from which lessons may be drawn.

man who worships this world, is the lover of worldly life, and is heedless of the meaning of 'the most excellent of patterns'! The Old Said saw the reality of worldly life in a vision. It transformed him into the New Said. You too listen to it in the form of a comparison:

1 saw that I was a traveller and was going on a long journey; that is to say, I was being sent. The one who was my lord gradually gave me some of the money from the sixty gold pieces he had allotted me. I spent them, and came


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to a hostel where there were amusements of all kinds. In one night in that hostel I spent ten pieces of gold on gambling, amusements, and the enjoyment of fame. In the morning I had no money left. Moreover I had done no trade nor bought any goods for the place I was going. All that remained to me from the money were sins and pains, and from the amusements, wounds and sorrow. While in that sorry state, a man suddenly appeared. He said to me:

"You have wasted all your capital and deserve punishment. You are going to your destination bankrupt and with your hands empty. But if you have any sense, the door of repentance is open. When you receive the fifteen pieces of gold that remain to you, keep half of them in reserve. That is, obtain the things necessary for you in the place where you are going."

I looked, my soul did not agree to this.

So he said: "A third, then."

My soul still did not obey him.

Then he said: "A quarter."

My soul could not give up the habits to which it was addicted, so the man angrily turned his back on me and left.

Suddenly, the scene changed. I was in a train in a tunnel, which was travelling fast as though downwards vertically. I took fright. But what could I do, there was no escape anywhere. Strangely, attractive flowers and enticing fruits appeared on both sides of the train. And I, like the foolish and inexperienced, looked at them and stretching out my hand, tried to pick them. But they were covered in thorns and tore at my hands when I touched them making them bleed. With the movement of the train, my hands were lacerated at being parted from them. They cost me much. Suddenly a porter on the train said:

"Give me five kurush and I shall give you as much of the flowers and fruits as you want. You are caused the loss of a hundred kurush with your hands being torn, rather than five kurush. Also there is a penalty; you cannot pick them without permission."

In distress I put my head out of the window and looked ahead to see when the tunnel would end. I saw that in place of the tunnel's entrance were numerous holes. People were being thrown into them from the long train. I saw a hole opposite me. On either side of it was a gravestone. I looked in amazement. I saw that written on one of the gravestones was the name SAID. In my bewilderment and anxiety I exclaimed: "Alas!" Then suddenly I heard the voice of the man who had given me advice at the door of the hostel. He asked:

"Have you come to your senses?"


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I replied: "Yes, but it is too late now."

So he said: "Repent and place your trust in God."

I replied that I would. Then I awoke and saw myself as the New Said; the Old Said had disappeared.

So, that was the vision. May God cause good to come of it! I shall interpret one or two parts of it, then you can interpret the rest for yourself.

The journey was the journey which passes from the World of Spirits, through the mother's womb, youth, old age, the grave, the Intermediate Realm, the resurrection, and the Bridge of Sirat towards eternity. The sixty pieces of gold were the sixty years of life. I reckoned I saw the vision when I was forty-five years old. I had nothing to guarantee it, but a sincere student of the All- Wise Qur'an advised me to spend half of the fifteen that remained to me on the hereafter. The hostel for me was Istanbul. The train was time, and each year a carriage. As for the tunnel, it was the life of this world. The thorny flowers and fruits were illicit pleasures and forbidden amusements which cause pain while indulging in them on thinking of their passing, and on separation lacerate the heart, making it bleed. They also cause a punishment to be inflicted. The porter on the train told me to give him five kurush so that he would give me as many as I wanted.

The meaning of this is as follows: the pleasures and enjoyment man receives through licit striving within the sphere of what is lawful are sufficient for him. No need remains to enter the unlawful. You may interpret the rest for yourself.

FOURTH REMARK

Man resembles a delicate and petted child in the universe. There is a great strength in his weakness and great power in his impotence. For it is through the strength of his weakness and power of his impotence that beings have been subjected to him. If man understands his weakness and offers supplications verbally and by state and conduct, and recognizes his impotence and seeks help, since he has offered thanks by exhibiting them, he achieves his aims and his desires are subjugated to him in a way far exceeding what he could achieve with his own power. Only, he sometimes wrongly attributes to his own power the attainment of a wish that has been obtained for him through the supplications offered by the tongue of his disposition. For example, the strength in the weakness of a chick causes the mother hen to attack a lion. And its newly-born lion cub subjugates to itself the savage and hungry lioness, leaving the mother hungry and the cub full. See this strength in weakness and manifestation of Divine mercy, which are worthy of notice!

Just as through crying or asking or looking unhappy, a child subjugates the strong to himself, and is so successful in getting what he wants that he


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could not obtain one thousandth of it with a thousand times his own strength. That is to say, since weakness and impotence excite compassion and a sense of protection towards him, the child can subjugate heroes to himself with his tiny finger. Now, should such a child with foolish conceit deny the compassion and accuse the protection saying: "I subjugate these with my own strength", of course he will receive a slap. In the same way, if, like Qarun, man says:

/ have been given it on account of the knowledge I have,

that is, "I gained this through my own knowledge and my own power" in a way that demonstrates ingratitude and denies his Creator's mercy and accuses His wisdom, he will of course deserve a punishing blow. This means that man's domination and human advances and the attainments of civilization, which are to be observed, have been made subject to him not through his attracting them or conquering them or through combat, but due to his weakness. He has been assisted because of his impotence. They have been bestowed on him due to his indigence. He has been inspired with them due to his ignorance. They have been given him due to his need. And the reason for his domination is not strength and the power of knowledge, but the compassion and clemency of the Sustainer and Divine mercy and wisdom: they have subjugated things to him. Yes, what clothes man, who is defeated by vermin like eyeless scorpions and legless snakes, in silk from a tiny worm and feeds him honey from a poisonous insect is not his own power, but the subjugation of the Sustainer and the bestowal of the Most Merciful, which are the fruits of his weakness.

O man! Since the reality of the matter is thus, give up egotism and arrogance. With the tongue of seeking help proclaim your impotence and weakness at the Divine Court, and with the tongue of entreaty and supplication, your poverty and need. Show that you are His slave. Say:

God is enough for us, for He is the Best Disposer of Affairs,

and rise in degree.

Also, do not say: "I am nothing. What importance do I have that the universe should purposefully be made subject to me by an Absolutely All- Wise One, and universal thanks required of me?" Because for sure you are as though nothing with respect to your soul and form, but from the point of view of duty and rank, you are an observant spectator of this majestic universe, an eloquent, articulate tongue of these beings so full of wisdom, a discerning reader of this book of the universe, a supervisor of these creatures


11 Qur'an, 28:78.

12 Qur'an, 3:173.


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full of wonder at their glorifications, and like a foreman of these beings full of respect for their worship.

Yes, O man! In regard to your vegetable physical being and animal soul, you are a deaf particle, a contemptible atom, a needy creature, a weak animal, who, tossed on the awesome waves of the flood of beings, is departing. But being perfected through the light of belief, which comprises the radiance of Divine love, and through the training of Islam, which is enlightened, in regard to humanity and servitude to God, you are a king, and a universal within particularity, and within your insignificance, a world, and within your contemptibility, a supervisor of such high rank and extensive sphere that you can say: "My Compassionate Sustainer has made the world a house for me, the sun and moon lamps for it, and the spring, a bunch of flowers for me, and summer, a table of bounties, and the animals, He has made my servants. And He has made plants the decorated furnishings of my house."

To conclude: If you heed Satan and your soul, you will fall to the lowest of the low. But if you heed Truth and the Qur'an, you will rise to the highest of the high and become the Most Excellent Pattern of the universe.

FIFTH REMARK

Man has been sent to this world as an official and guest, and has been given abilities of great significance. And he has been entrusted with important duties in accordance with those abilities. In order to employ man in fulfilling those aims and duties, powerful encouragement and severe threats have been made. We shall here summarize the fundamentals of worship and of man's duties, which we have explained at length elsewhere, so that the mystery of 'the Most Excellent of Patterns' may be understood.

On coming into the universe man has two aspects of worship and being a slave of God's. One is worship and contemplation in the absence of the Object of Worship. The other is worship and supplication in His presence and addressing Him directly.

First Aspect: It is to affirm submissively the sovereignty of dominicality apparent in the universe and to observe its perfections and virtues in wonder.

Then it is to proclaim and herald the unique arts which consist of the inscriptions of the Sacred Divine Names and to display them to others.

Then it is to weigh on the scales of perception the jewels of the dominical Names, which are all like hidden treasures; it is to appreciatively affirm their value with the discerning heart.

Then it is to study and ponder over in wonder the pages of beings and leaves of the earth and sky, which are like missives of the pen of power.

Then through beholding admiringly the adornment and subtle arts in beings, it is to feel love for knowledge of their All-Beauteous Creator, and to


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yearn to ascend to the presence of their All-Perfect Maker and to receive His favours.

Second Aspect: This is the station of presence and address wherein man passes from the work to the producer of the work and he sees that an All-Beauteous Maker wants to make himself known and acquainted through the miracles of His art, and he responds with knowledge and belief.

Then he sees that an All-Compassionate Sustainer wants to make himself loved through the fine fruits of His mercy. So confining his love and worship to Him, he makes himself love Him.

Then he sees that an All-Generous Bestower is nurturing him with the delights of bounties material and immaterial, and in return he offers Him thanks and praise with his actions, conduct, words, and as far as he can, with all his senses and faculties.

Then he sees that an All-Beauteous and Glorious One is announcing His tremendousness and perfections, and glory and beauty in the mirrors of these beings, and is drawing attentive gazes to them. So in response he declares: "God is Most Great! Glory be to God!", and in humility prostrates in love and wonder.

Then he sees that a Possessor of Absolute Riches is displaying His boundless wealth and treasuries amid an absolute munificence. So in response, exalting and praising Him, he entreats and asks for them, expressing his utter need.

Then he sees that the All-Glorious Creator has made the face of the earth like an exhibition and displayed on it all His antique works of art. So in response he exclaims in appreciation: "What wonders God has willed!", and in admiration: "What blessings God has bestowed!", and in wonder: "Glory be to God!", and in astonishment: "God is Most Great!"

Then he sees that in His palace of the universe a Single One of Unity has struck seals of unity on all beings with His inimitable signature, and with His stamps, signets, and cyphers particular to Him; that He inscribes the signs of His unity; and planting the banner of unity in every region of the world, He proclaims His dominicality. And he responds with assent, belief, submission, worship, and affirmation of His unity.

Thus, through worship and contemplation of this kind he becomes a true man. He shows that he is on the Most Excellent of Patterns. Through the auspiciousness of belief he becomes a reliable vicegerent of the earth worthy of bearing the Trust.

O heedless man created on the Most Excellent of Patterns, who, through the misuse of his will is descending to the lowest of the low! Listen to me! In the heedlessness induced by the intoxication of youth I, like you, thought the world was fine and lovely. Then the moment I awoke in the morning of


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old age, I saw how ugly was the world's face that was not turned towards the hereafter, which I had previously imagined to be beautiful. To see this and how beautiful was its true face, which looks to the hereafter, you may refer to the two 'Signboards' in the Second Station of the Seventeenth Word, and see for yourself.

The First Signboard depicts the reality of the world of the people of neglect, which long ago, like the people of misguidance, I saw through the veil of heedlessness, but without being intoxicated.

The Second Signboard indicates the reality of the worlds of the people of guidance. I left it in the form it was written long ago. It resembles poetry, but it is not truly that...

Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us;

1 -3

indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

O My Sustainer! Expand for me my breast * Make easy for me my affair * And loosen the knot on my tongue * That they may understand my words.

O God! Grant blessings to the subtle unitary Muhammadan essence, the Sun in the skies of mysteries and manifestation of lights, the centre of the orbit of glory and the pole of the sphere of beauty. O God! By his mystery in Your presence and by his journeying to You, succour my fear, and right my stumbling, and dispel my grief and my greed, and be mine, and take me from myself to Yourself, and bestow on me annihilation from myself, and do not make me captivated by my soul and veiled by my senses, and reveal to me all hidden secrets, O Ever- Living and Self-Subsistent One! O Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One! O Ever- Living and Self-Subsistent One! And grant mercy to me and to my companions and to the people of belief and the Qur'an. Amen. O Most Merciful of the Merciful and Most Generous of the Generous!

And the close of their prayer will be: All Praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds.


13 Qur'an, 2:32.

14 Qur'an, 20:25-8.


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The Twenty-Fourth Word


[This Word consists of five 'Branches'. Study the Fourth Branch carefully. And hold on to the Fifth Branch and climb it, then pluck its fruits !]


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

God, there is no god but He; His are the Most Beautiful Names.

We shall indicate five branches of one of the many truths from the luminous tree of this glorious verse.

FIRST BRANCH

A sultan has different titles in the spheres of his government, and different styles and attributes among the classes of his subjects, and different names and signs in the levels of his rule, for example, Just Judge in the judiciary, Sultan in the civil service, Commander- in-Chief in the army, and Caliph in the learned establishment. If, making an analogy with these, you know the rest of his names and titles, you will understand that a single sultan may possess a thousand names and titles in the spheres of his rule and levels of government. It is as if, through his corporate personality and telephone, the ruler is present and knowing in every sphere; and through his laws and regulations and representatives, sees and is seen; and behind the veil in every degree, disposes and sees, governs and observes through his decree, knowledge, and power.

It is exactly the same for the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is the Ruler of Pre- Eternity and Post-Eternity; in the degrees of His dominicality He has attributes and designations which are all different but which look to each other; and in the spheres of His Godhead He has names and marks which are all different but which are one within the other; and in His magnificent activities He has representations and appellations which are all different but which resemble each other; and in the disposals of His power He


1 Qur'an, 20:8.


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has titles which are all different but which hint of one another; and in the manifestations of His attributes He has sacred appearances which are all different but which show one another; and in the displays of His acts He has wise disposals which are of numerous sorts but which complete one another; and in His multicoloured art and varieties of creatures, He has splendid aspects of dominicality which are all different but which look to one another. And together with this, in every world, in every realm of beings, the title of one of the Most Beautiful Names is manifested. In each sphere one Name is dominant and the other Names are subordinate to it, rather, they are there on account of it.

Furthermore, in every level of beings, many or few, great or small, particular or general, He has an appearance through a particular manifestation, a particular dominicality, a particular Name. That is to say, although the Name in question is general and encompasses everything, it is turned towards a thing with such intention and importance that it is as if it is special to that thing alone. Moreover, although the All- Glorious Creator is close to everything, there are almost seventy thousand luminous veils obscuring Him. You can compare how many veils there are from the particular degree of creativity of the Name of Creator which is manifested on you to the greatest degree and supreme title which is Creator of all the universe. That means, on condition you leave the whole universe behind you, from the door of creativity you may reach the limits of the Name of Creator and draw close to the sphere of attributes.

The veils have windows which look to one another, and the Names appear one within the other, and the acts look to one another, and the similitudes enter one within the other, and the titles hint of one another, and the manifestations resemble each other, and the disposals assist and complete one another, and the various dispositions of dominicality help and assist one another. It surely therefore necessitates not denying the other titles, acts, and degrees of dominicality when Almighty God is known through one of His Names, titles, or degrees of dominicality. Indeed, it is harmful if a transition is not made from the manifestation of any one Name to the others. For example, if the works of the Names of Ail-Powerful and Creator are seen, and not the Name of All-Knowing, a person may fall into heedlessness and the misguidance of nature. He should always keep in view and recite: "He!" and: "He is God!" He should listen, and hear from everything: "Say, He is God, the One!" His tongue should utter and proclaim: "All the world declares: There is no god but He!" Thus, through the decree of God, There is no god but He; His are the Most Beautiful Names, the Qur'an points to these truths we have mentioned.

If you want to observe these elevated truths from close to, go and ask a stormy sea or the quaking earth: "What are you saying?" You will hear that


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they are saying: "O Glorious One! O Glorious One! O One of Might, All-Compelling!" Then ask the small animals and their young being raised with kindness and compassion in the sea and on the land: "What are you saying?" They will surely reply: "O Beauteous One! O Beauteous One! O Most Compassionate and Merciful One!" Then listen to the skies; they say: "O Glorious One of Beauty!" And give your ear to the earth; it says: "O Beauteous One of Glory!" Listen carefully to the animals; they are saying: "O Most Merciful One! O Provider!" And ask the spring; you will hear many Names like: "O Gentle One! O Most Merciful One! O Most Compassionate One! O Most Generous One! O Gracious One! O Benevolent One! O Giver of Forms! O Giver of Light! O Bestower! O Adorner!" Then ask a human being who is a true human, and see how he recites all the Most Beautiful Names and how they are written on his forehead. If you look carefully, you too may read them. It is as if the universe is a huge orchestra celebrating the Divine Names. Mixing the faintest song with the most powerful refrains, it produces a sublime and subtle harmony. You may make further analogies in the same way.

For sure, man is the place of manifestation of all the Names, but the Names being various has resulted in the universe's variety and the differences in the angels' worship, and has also caused a degree of variety among men. The different laws of the prophets, the different ways of the saints, and the different paths of the purified scholars has arisen from this mystery. For example, together with the other Names, the Name of All- Powerful was predominant in Jesus (Peace be upon him). And in those who follow the path of


2

Even, one day I looked at the cats; all they were doing was eating, playing, and sleeping. I wondered: how is it these little monsters which perform no duties are known as blessed. Later, I lay down to sleep for the night. I looked; one of the cats had come. It lay against my pillow and put its mouth against my ear, and murmuring: "O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!" in the most clear manner, as though refuted in the name of its species the objection and insult which had occurred to me, throwing it in my face. Then this occurred to me: I wonder if this recitation is particular to this cat, or is it general among cats? And is it only an unfair objector like me who hears it, or if anyone listens carefully, can they hear it?

The next morning I listened to the other cats; it was not so clearly, but to varying degrees they were repeating the same invocation. At first, "O Most Compassionate!" was discernible following their purring. Then gradually their purrings and meaowings became the same "O Most Merciful!" It became an unarticulated, eloquent and sorrowful recitation. They would close their mouths and utter a fine "O Most Compassionate!"

I related the story to the brothers who visited me, and they listened carefully as well, and said that they heard it to an extent. Later I wondered what this Name's special feature was, and why they recite it in the way of men and not in animal tongue. Then it imparted to my heart that since these animals are very delicate and petted like children and are a friend of man, they are in much need of kindness and compassion. When they are stroked and paid attention to in the way they like, as praise and thanks for the bounty, and unlike dogs, they proclaim the mercy of their All-Compassionate Creator in their own worlds. They warn men in the sleep of heedlessness, and through their cry of "O Most Compassionate!", they remind those who worship causes Who it is that help comes from and from Whom mercy may be awaited.


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love, the Name of Loving One prevails, and in those who follow the path of contemplation and reflection, the Name of All- Wise.

Thus, if someone is both a teacher, and a policeman, and a clerk of the court, and an inspector in the civil service, in each office he has both relations, and duties, and obligations, and salaries, and responsibilities, and promotion, and enemies and rivals who are the cause of his failures. He appears before the king with many titles, and he sees the king. He seeks help from him with many tongues. He has recourse to many of the ruler's titles, and seeks his help in many forms in order to be saved from the evil of his enemies.

In just the same way, man, who manifests many Names and is charged with many duties and afflicted with many enemies, invokes many of the Names in his prayers and supplications. Like Muhammad the Arabian (Peace and blessings be upon him), the cause of pride of mankind and truly the most perfect man, supplicated with a thousand and one Names in his prayer, Jawshan al-Kabir. It is due to this mystery that the Sura,

Say, I seek refuge with the Sustainer and Cherisher of men, * The Sovereign of men, * The God of men, * From the evil of the whispering, elusive tempter

commands that we take refuge with God through three titles, and,

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

shows the seeking of help through three Names.

SECOND BRANCH

This explains two mysteries which comprise the keys to many further mysteries.

FIRST MYSTERY: "Why do the saints differ greatly in their visions and illuminations although they are unanimous on the principles of belief? Why are their illuminations, which are at the degree of witnessing, sometimes opposed to reality and contrary to the truth? And why in their ideas which they consider to be the the truth, establishing them through decisive proofs, do thinkers and scholars see and show reality in a way that contradicts one another? Why does one truth take on numerous colours?"

SECOND MYSTERY: "Why did the early prophets leave some of the pillars of belief like bodily resurrection in brief form and not explain them in detail like the Qur'an, so that in the future some of their communities went as far as denying some of those concise pillars? Also, why did some of the saints only advance in the affirmation of Divine unity, and although they


3 Qur'an, 114:1-4.


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even progressed as far as the degree of 'absolute certainty' in Divine unity, some of the pillars of belief appear in their paths very little and in summary form? And as a result, those who followed them in the future did not give the necessary importance to the pillars of belief, and some of them even fell into error? Since true perfection is found through the unfolding of all the pillars of belief, why did some of the mystics advance significantly in them, while some remained very backward, whereas God's Most Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him), who manifested all the Divine Names at their maximum degree and was the chief of the prophets, and the All- Wise Qur'an, which is the luminous chief of all the sacred scriptures, described in detail all the pillars of belief, clearly, and in a most serious manner and deliberate way?"

Because in reality the most true and complete perfection is thus. Yes, the wisdom in these mysteries is this: for sure man is the place of manifestation of all the Names, but since his power is slight, his will partial, his abilities various, and desires different, he searches for reality among thousands of veils and barriers. So, in uncovering reality and witnessing the truth, barriers intervene. Some people cannot by-pass the barriers. Their abilities are all different. The abilities of some cannot support the unfolding of some of the truths of belief. Moreover, the colours of the Name's manifestations vary according to the place they are manifested; they become all different. Some people who manifest them cannot be the means to the complete manifestation of a Name. Also, the manifestation of the Names takes on different forms in respect of universality, particularity, shadow, or originality. Some capacities cannot transcend particularity. And some cannot emerge from the shadow. In some capacities, sometimes one Name is predominant, and it carries out its word and rules in that capacity. Now we shall make a few indications to this profound mystery and this extensive wisdom with an enigmatical, comprehensive, true, but somewhat complex, comparison.

For example, let us suppose an adorned flower, a living droplet enamoured of the Moon, and a translucent atom which looks to the Sun. Each of these possesses consciousness and some perfection, and each has a yearning for that perfection. Together with indicating many truths, these three things also allude to the spiritual voyaging of the soul, the mind, and the heart. They also correspond to three levels of those who investigate reality. 4

The First indicates those who follow the path of intellectual thought; those who follow the path of sainthood; and those who follow the path of prophethood.

The Second corresponds to those who approach reality by striving for


4 There are also three groups in each level. The three things given as examples in the comparison look to these three groups which are in each level. Indeed, they look to those nine groups, not the three levels.


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perfection through the bodily systems; and those who approach it by striving with the mind and refining the soul; and those who approach it through belief, submission, and purifying the heart.

The Third is the comparison of those who do not give up egotism, are plunged in works, and approach reality through deduction and reasoning only; and of those who search for reality through knowledge and science, reason and learning; and those who approach reality swiftly through belief and the Qur'an, poverty and worship. These comparisons point to the wisdom in the differences between the three groups, whose capacities are also different.

Thus, under the titles of Flower, Droplet, and Atom, we shall show by means of a comparison, the mystery and extensive wisdom in the progress of the three groups. For example, through its Creator's permission and at His command, the Sun has three sorts of manifestation, reflection and radiance: one is its reflection on flowers, one its reflection on the Moon and the planets, and one its reflection on shining objects like glass and water.

The First is in three ways:

One is a universal and general manifestation and reflection whereby its radiance encompasses all flowers at once.

Another is a special manifestation whereby it has a special reflection for each species.

Another is a particular manifestation whereby its effulgence is in accordance with the individuality of each flower. This comparison of ours is in conformity with this statement, that the adorned colours of flowers arises from the changing reflections of the seven colours in the Sun's light. According to this, flowers too are sorts of mirrors to the Sun.

The Second is the light and effulgence which, with the All- Wise Creator's permission, the Sun gives to the Moon and planets. Having received this extensive, universal light and effulgence, the Moon, whose light is like a shadow of that light, profits from the Sun in a universal fashion. Then its radiance and effulgence shines in a particular way on the seas and air and shining earth, and partially on the bubbles on the sea and translucent particles of the earth and the molecules of the air.

The Third is, through the Divine command, a reflection of the Sun which, making the air and the surface of the seas into mirrors, is pure, universal, and without shadow. Then the Sun gives to each of the bubbles on the sea, the droplets of water, molecules of air, and snow-flakes, a particular reflection and tiny image of itself.

Thus, in the three forms mentioned above, the Sun bestows an effulgence and favour on every flower, the Moon, and all droplets and atoms. And these in turn are each in two ways:


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The First Way is direct, and without barrier or veil. This way represents the way of prophethood.

The Second Way: In this, barriers intervene. The capacities of the mirrors and places of manifestation add colour to the Sun's manifestations. This way represents the way of sainthood.

Thus, on the First Way, 'Flower', 'Droplet', and 'Atom' can each say: "I am a mirror to the Sun of all the world." But on the Second Way they cannot say that; they can rather say: "I am the mirror to my own Sun, or the mirror to the Sun which is manifested in my species." For that is the manner in which they know the Sun. They cannot see a Sun which looks to the whole world; the Sun of that individual or species or genus appears to it within narrow confines and under limiting restrictions. And it cannot ascribe to that restricted Sun the works of the unrestricted, unconfined, absolute Sun. For within those narrow restrictions and limited confines it cannot attribute to the Sun with the certain witnessing of the heart its majestic works like furnishing the whole face of the earth with light and heat, stirring all plants and animals into life, and making the planets revolve around it. Indeed, even if those three things, which we suppose to have consciousness, ascribe those wondrous works to the Sun which they see under those restrictions, they can only do so with the mind and through belief, and through submitting to the fact that that restricted thing is absolute. Whereas these judgements of 'Flower', 'Droplet', and 'Atom', which we suppose to possess reason like a human being, that is, their ascribing those mighty works to the Sun, is through the mind and reason, it is not through illumination. Indeed, sometimes their judgements concerning belief clash with their illuminations about the cosmos. They can only believe them with great difficulty.

Now the three of us must enter into this comparison, which is narrow for reality, but in some of the corners of which the members of reality are to be seen and which is mixed with reality. The three of us shall suppose ourselves to be 'Flower', 'Droplet', and 'Atom'. For the consciousness which we suppose them to have insufficient. We must add our reasons to theirs. That is to say, just as they receive effulgence from their physical Sun, we too shall receive effulgence from our immaterial Sun, and must understand it.

And so, my friend, who has not forgotten the world, is preoccupied with materiality, and whose soul is dense! You be 'Flower'. 'Flower' takes on a colour dissolved from the Sun's light, and it mixes the Sun's image in with that colour and clothes itself in an adorned form. For your capacity resembles it as well. Then let this philosopher who has studied secular science and is plunged in causes like the Old Said be 'Droplet', which is enamoured of the Moon. For the Moon affords him the shadow of light it has received from the Sun, and it gives a light to the pupil of his eye. 'Droplet' too shines


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with the light, but he can only see the Moon with it, he cannot see the Sun. Rather, he can only see it through his belief. Then, let this poor man be 'Atom', who knows everything to be directly from Almighty God and considers causes to be a veil. He is such an 'Atom' that knows himself to be poor in his own self. He has nothing on which to depend so as to rely on himself like 'Flower'. He possesses no colour that he should appear through it. And he does not recognize other things that he should turn towards them. He has a sheer purity by which he holds the Sun's image directly in the pupil of his eye. Now, since we have taken the place of these three things, we must consider ourselves. What do we have? What must we do?

Thus, we look and see that through his favours a Most Munificent One is adorning, illuminating, and nurturing us. And man worships one who bestows favours on him. He wants to be close to one worthy of being worshipped, and desires to see him. In which case, in accordance with our capacities, each of us journeys through the attraction of that love. You who is like 'Flower', you are going, but go as a flower. See, you have gone. You have advanced and advanced till you have reached a universal degree, as though you have become like all flowers. But 'Flower' is a dense mirror; it dissolves and refracts the seven colours in light; it conceals the Sun's reflection. You will not be successful in seeing the face of the Sun which you love, for the colours and characteristics, which are restricted, disperse it, draw a veil over it and obscure it. In this situation, you cannot be saved from the separation which occurs with the interposing of barriers. However, you can be saved on one condition, which is that you raise your head, which is sunk in love of your own soul, and withdraw your gaze, which glories and takes pleasure in its own merits, and cast it at the face of the Sun in the sky. But on condition you turn your face looking down to the earth to gain your livelihood, up to the Sun. For you are its mirror. Your duty is to act as a mirror to it. Whether you know it or not, your sustenance will anyway come from the earth, the door to the treasury of mercy. Yes, a flower is a miniscule mirror of the Sun, and the Sun too is merely a drop-like flash manifesting in the seas of the skies the Name of Light of the Pre-Eternal Sun.

O heart of man! Understand from this, of what sort of a Sun you are the mirror. After fulfilling this condition, you will find your perfection. But just as in actual reality you cannot see the Sun in that way, so you cannot understand this truth naked; the colours of your attributes give it a colour and your cloudy telescope imposes a form on it, and your limited capacity restricts it.

Now, wise philosopher who has entered into 'Droplet' ! You have advanced as far as the Moon with the telescope of your droplet of thought and by the stairway of philosophy. You have entered the Moon. Look, of itself the Moon is dense and dark; it has neither light nor life. Your


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endeavour has all been in vain and your knowledge has proved to be profitless. You can only be saved from the darkness of despair, the desolation of loneliness, the pestering of evil spirits, and the horrors of that bleakness through these conditions: that you give up the night of nature and turn to the Sun of reality, and you believe with complete certainty that the light of this night are the shadows of the lights of the daytime Sun. After fulfilling these conditions, you will find your perfection. You will find the majestic Sun in place of the poor and darksome Moon. But like your previous friend, you will not be able to see the Sun clearly; you will see it beyond the veils with which your reason and your philosophy are familiar and conversant, and behind the screens woven by science and learning, and within a colour conferred by your capacity.

And now our Atom-like third friend, who is both poor and colourless. He swiftly evaporates in the Sun's heat, abandons his egotism, mounts the steam, and rises into the air. The dense matter within him takes fire with the flame of love and is transformed into light and radiance. He adheres to a ray proceeding from the manifestations of that light, and draws close to it. O you who resembles 'Atom' ! Since you act as a direct mirror to the Sun, at whatever degree you are, you will find an opening, a window, looking purely at the Sun itself in a fashion that affords absolute certainty. And you will experience no difficulty in attributing to the Sun its wondrous works. Without hesitation you will be able to ascribe to it the majestic attributes of which it is worthy. Nothing will be able to take you by the hand and make you forego ascribing to it the awesome works of its essential sovereignty. Neither the constriction of barriers, nor the limitations of your capacity, nor the smallness of mirrors will confuse you, nor impel you contrary to the truth. Because, since you look at it purely, sincerely, and directly, you have understood that what appears in the places of manifestation and is observed in the mirrors, is not the Sun, but manifestations of it of a sort, and coloured reflections of it of a sort. For sure those reflections are its titles, but they do not display all the works of its splendour.

Thus, in this comparison, which is mixed with reality, perfection is reached by means of three ways which are all different, and which differ concerning the virtues of those perfections and the details of the degrees of witnessing. But in conclusion and in submitting to the Truth and confirming the reality, they are in agreement. Just as a man of the night who has never seen the Sun and has only seen its shadow in the mirror of the Moon, cannot squeeze into his mind the resplendent light and awesome gravity particular to the Sun, but submits to those who have seen it and imitates them; similarly, one who cannot attain to the maximum degrees of Names like Ail-Powerful and Giver of Life through the legacy of Muhammad (PBUH), accepts the resurrection of the dead and Great Gathering imitatively, and declares it is not a


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matter that can be understood through the reason. For the reality of the resurrection and Last Judgement is the manifestation of the Greatest Name and of the supreme degree of certain other Names. Those whose gaze cannot rise there are compelled to believe it by way of imitation. While those whose minds can enter there, see the resurrection and Last Judgement as easily as day and night, and spring and winter, and accept it with an easy mind.

Thus, it is due to this mystery that the Qur'an speaks of the resurrection and Great Gathering at the highest level and in the most perfect detailed manner, and our Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), who manifested the Greatest Name, taught it thus. And as required by the wisdom of guidance, the former prophets did not teach their communities, which were at a somewhat simple and primitive level, about the resurrection of the dead at the highest level and with the most extensive details. It is also due to this mystery that some of those who followed the path of sainthood did not see or could not demonstrate some of the truths of belief at the greatest degree. It is also due to this mystery that there are pronounced differences in the degrees of those who have knowledge of God. Numerous other mysteries like these unfold from this truth. Now, since both this comparison hints at the truth a little, and the truth is extremely extensive and profound, we also shall content ourselves with the comparison, and not attempt mysteries which are beyond our limit and capacity.

THIRD BRANCH

Since the Hadiths that speak of the signs of the end of time, the events at the end of time, and the merits and rewards of certain actions have not been well understood, some scholars who rely on their reason have pronounced some of them to be either weak or false. While some of the scholars whose belief was weak but whose egotism was strong have gone as far as denying them. For now we shall not attempt any detailed discussion, but shall only explain twelve 'Principles'.

FIRST PRINCIPLE: This is a matter which we have explained in the question and answer at the end of the Twentieth Word. Its summary is this: Religion is an examination, a test, which distinguishes elevated spirits from base ones. It therefore speaks of matters that everyone shall see with their eyes in the future in such a way that they remain neither altogether unknown, nor self-evident so that everyone would be compelled to confirm them. They open the door to the reason but do not take the will from the hand. Because if a sign of the Last Day appeared completely self-evidently and everyone was compelled to affirm it, then a disposition like coal would remain equal to one like diamonds. The mystery of man's accountability and results of examination would go for nothing. It is because of this that there has been much dispute over many matters like that of the Mahdi and Sufyan.


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Also, the narrations differ greatly; they have become pronouncements which contradict one another.

SECOND PRINCIPLE: There are various levels in the matters of Islam. If one requires certain proof, for another the prevailing opinion is sufficient. Others require merely assent and acceptance and not to be rejected. In which case, secondary matters or particular events in time which are not among the bases of belief do not require certain compliance and definite proof, just not to be rejected and to be submitted to, and not to be interfered with.

THIRD PRINCIPLE: In the time of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) most of the Jewish and Christian scholars entered Islam, and their former knowledge became Muslim along with them. Some of their former knowledge which was contrary to the truth was imagined to be a part of Islam.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE: Some of the words of the narrators of Hadith or the meanings they deduced were considered to be part of the texts of the Hadiths themselves. However, since man cannot be free of fault, some of their deductions or words which were contrary to the truth were supposed to be Hadiths and were pronounced to be weak.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE: According to the meaning of: "Among my community are transmitters of Hadiths," that is, meaning, "who are inspired," 5 some of the meanings which were obtained through the inspirations of scholars of related Hadiths who followed the path of illumination and sainthood were supposed to be Hadiths. Whereas, due to certain obstructions, the inspiration of saints may be in error. Thus, some that are contrary to the truth may arise from this.

SIXTH PRINCIPLE: There are certain stories which, having become universally known, have become like proverbs. Their true meanings are not borne in mind. For whatever purpose they were spread, that is what is considered. Thus, some stories and fables which have become well-known among people in this way, God's Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) told in the form of comparisons and metaphors for the purpose of guidance. If there is any error in the true meanings of this sort of matters, it pertains to the customs and traditions of the people, and the way they have been passed among them.

SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: There are many similes and parables that with the passage of time or with passing from the hand of learning to the hand of ignorance have been supposed to be physical fact, and have become mistaken. For example, two angels of God in the World of Similitudes called 'The Ox' and 'The Fish', 6 who are among the supervisors of the animals of


5 Bukhari, iii, 211; v, 15; Muslim, iv, 184; al-Hakim; al-Mustadrak, iii, 86; Ibn Hibban, ix, 21.

6 Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, vi, 249; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iii, 588; iv, 120, 203.


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the land and the sea and are represented as an ox and fish, were imagined to be huge ox and a physical fish, and the Hadith was wrongly interpreted. And for example, one time in the presence of the Prophet a deep rumbling was heard. God's Messenger (PBUH) decreed: "That is the sound of a rock that has been rolling downhill for seventy years and only now has hit the bottom of Hell." Thus, someone hearing this Hadith who does not know the truth may deviate into denial. But then, twenty minutes after the Hadith was spoken it was definitely established, for someone came and told God's Messenger (PBUH): "The famous dissembler died twenty minutes ago." God's Messenger (PBUH) had described most eloquently how the dissembler's seventy year lifetime of unbelief had been a continuous descent to the lowest of the low as a stone of Hell. Almighty God had made that rumbling heard at the moment of his death and given him a sign.

EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: In this arena of trial and realm of examination, Almighty God, the Absolutely Wise One, conceals most important things in the midst of numerous others, and this is tied to many purposes, benefits, and instances of wisdom. For example, He has hidden the Night of Power in the whole of Ramadan, and the hour when prayers are answered in the whole of Friday, and well-accepted saints among the people generally, and the appointed hour in a person's life-time, and the time of Doomsday in the life of the world. For if the time of man's death had been specified, the first half of his life would be passed in absolute heedlessness and the second, in terror, like going step by step to the gallows. Whereas for the balance between this world and the next to be preserved, and to remain perpetually between hope and fear, living and dying have to be possible every moment. In which case, twenty years of uncertain life are preferable to a thousand years of life that are specified.

Thus, the Last Day is the appointed hour of the world, the macro anthropos. If the time had been specified, all the early and middle ages would have been plunged into absolute heedlessness, and the latter centuries, into terror. Just as in his personal life man is concerned with the continued existence of his home and village, so in his social life and as a member of mankind he is concerned with the continued existence of the earth and the world. The Qur'an says,

The Hour has drawn nigh.

That is, Doomsday is near. It still not having come after a thousand or this many years does not negate its closeness. Because Doomsday is the appointed hour of the world, and in relation to the life of the world one or


1 Muslim, iv, 3184, No: 2844; 2145, No: 2782; Musnad, ii, 271; iii, 341, 346, 360.

8 Ibn Hajar, Munabihhat, 25.

9 Qur'an, 54:1.


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two thousand years are like one or two minutes in relation to a year. The Hour of Doomsday is not only the appointed hour of mankind that it should be related to it and seen as distant. It is because of this that the Absolutely Wise One conceals Doomsday in His knowledge among the 'Five Hidden Things.' It is due to the mystery of this vagueness that every age including the Age of the Bliss, the Age of the Prophet, people have been frightened of the end of the world. Some of them even said that the conditions had all but appeared. 10

Thus, unfair people who do not know this truth say: "Why did the Companions of the Prophet with their vigilant hearts and keen sight, who had been taught all the details of the hereafter, suppose a fact that would occur one thousand four hundred years later to be close to their century, as though their ideas had deviated a thousand years from the truth?"

The Answer: Because, through the effulgence of the Prophet's conversation, the Companions thought of the hereafter more than anyone, and knowing the transience of the world and understanding the Divine wisdom in the hour of Doomsday being vague, they assumed a position of always awaiting the world's appointed hour and worked seriously for the hereafter. God's Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) repeating: "Expect Doomsday. Wait for it" 11 was prophetic guidance arising from this wisdom, it was not a pronouncement of revelation concerning the specific time of its occurrence and far from the truth. The cause is one thing and the wisdom is another. Thus, sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) of this sort arise from the wisdom in certain things being indefinite.

It is also due to this mystery that they expected the individuals who will come at the end of time like the Mahdi and Sufyan long beforehand, and even in the time of the generation succeeding the Prophet, and hoped to live long enough to see them. Some of the saints, even, said that they had passed. Like the end of the world, Divine wisdom requires that the times of these individuals are not specified either. Because every age is in need of the Mahdi' s meaning, for he strengthens morale and saves the people from despair. Every century has to have a share of this meaning. In order that people should not heedlessly follow evil and the reins of the soul should not be left free in indifference, every century the fearsome individuals who come to lead strife must be shrunk from and feared. If they had been specified, the benefits of general guidance would have been lost.

Now, the difference in the narrations about individuals like the Mahdi, and their meaning, is this: those who expounded Hadiths applied the text of the Hadiths to their own interpretations and commentaries. For example, since


10 al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv, 545, 549; Musnad, ii, 298, 299.

11 Tirmidhi, Fitan, 39.


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the centre of power at that time was Damascus or Medina, they imagined the events connected with the Mahdi and Sufyan in places like Basra, Kufa, and Syria, which were in the region of those centres, and expounded them accordingly. Moreover, they imagined the mighty works belonging to the collective identity or community which those individuals represent to be in their persons and expounded them in that way, so that they ascribed a form to them whereby when those extraordinary individuals appear, everyone will recognize them. However, as we said, this world is the arena of trial. The door is opened to the reason, but the will is not taken from the hand. So, when those individuals, and even the terrible Dajjal, appear, many people and himself even will not know to start with that he is the Dajjal. Those individuals of the end of time will be known through the insight and the light of belief.

It is narrated in a Hadith about the Dajjal, who is one of the signs of the end of time: "His first day is like a year, his second day like a month, his third day like a week, and his fourth day like other days. When he appears the world will hear. He will travel the

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world in forty days." Some unfair people have said about this narration that it is impossible, God forbid, and have gone as far as denying and declaring it null. Whereas, And the knowledge of it is with God, the reality of it must be this:

It indicates the appearance of an individual from the North who will come to lead a great current issuing forth from the godless ideas of Naturalism, in the North, where the world of unbelief is at its densest, and who will be atheist. There is an instance of wisdom in this, for in the latitudes close to the North Pole the whole year is one day and one night; there are six months of night and six months of day. "One day of the Dajjal is a year" alludes to his appearance close to those latitudes. What is meant from "His second day is a month" is that passing in this direction from the North, it sometimes happens that for a month in the summer the sun does not set. This suggests that the Dajjal will emerge in the North and invade southwards towards the civilized world. By attributing the day to the Dajjal, it points to this. He comes further in this direction, and the sun does not set for a week, and so it continues until there are three hours between its rising and setting. While being held as a prisoner-of-war in Russia, I was in such a place. Close to us was a place where the sun did not set for a week. They used to go there to watch it. As for the part, "When the Dajjal appears, all the world will hear of it," the telegraph and radio have solved this. As for his travelling the world in forty days, the railway and aeroplane, which are his mounts, have solved. Deniers who formerly considered these two statements to be impossible, now see them as commonplace!

Since in another treatise I have written in some detail about Gog and


12 Muslim, iv, 252, No: 110; Musnad, iii, 367; vi, 181; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, vi, 530.


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Magog and the Barrier, which are among the signs of the end of the world, I refer readers to those, and here only say this: there are narrations stating that the tribes known as the Manchurians and Mongols, who threw human society into chaos and were the cause of the building of the Great Wall of China, will again overturn human civilization close to Doomsday with an idea like anarchy.

Some atheists say: "Where are the tribes that perform these extraordinary acts and that will perform them?"

The Answer: A calamity like locusts appears in one season in enormous numbers, then on the change of the seasons, those numerous tribes which disrupt the country consign their reality to a few limited individuals. Then, when the time comes, at the Divine command, great numbers appear from those limited individuals and embark on the same corruption. As though the reality of their national identity is fined down, but not destroyed, and when the time arrives, it reemerges. In just the same way, those same tribes which overturned the world at one time will when the time comes again overturn human civilization with Divine permission. But what impels them will be in a different form. None knows the Unseen save God.

NINTH PRINCIPLE: The results of some of the questions of belief look to this restricted and narrow world, while others look to the world of the hereafter, which is broad and absolute. In order to give the appropriate effect of either encouraging or restraining, some Hadiths about the merits and rewards of actions are in an eloquent style, and some unthinking people have supposed them to be exaggerated. However, since they are all pure truth and reality, there is no exaggeration or overstatement in them.

For instance, there is this Hadith which has worried the heads of the unfair more than any. Its meaning is: "If the world had as much value as a fly's wing for Almighty God,

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the unbelievers would not have had so much as a mouthful of water from it." The reality of it is this: the phrase for Almighty God refers to the eternal realm. Yes, since a light from the eternal realm to the extent of a fly's wing is everlasting, it is greater than a temporary light that fills the face of the earth. That means it is not to say that the huge world is equal to a fly's wing, but that everyone's private world which is situated within their short lives, is not equal to an everlasting Divine effulgence and bounty to the extent of a fly's wing from the eternal realm.

Furthermore, the world has two faces, indeed, three faces. One is the mirror to Almighty God's Names, another looks to the hereafter and is its arable field, and the third looks to transience and non-existence. This is the world of the people of misguidance which is not in accordance with the things that please God that we know. That is to say, it infers not that the vast world


13 Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 13; IbnMaja, Zuhd, 3; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv, 306.


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which is the mirror to the Most Beautiful Names, and consists of missives of the Eternally Besought One, and is the tillage of the hereafter, but that the world of those who worship the world, which is opposed to the hereafter and is the source of all wrongs and spring of calamities, is not worth one everlasting particle which will be given to the believers in the hereafter. Thus, how can the way it is understood by the unfair atheists be compared with this most true and serious truth? What has the meaning which those atheists supposed to be the most exaggerated and overstated to do with this?

And, for example, others which the unfair atheists supposed to be exaggeration and even impossible overstatement are narrations about the rewards for actions and merits of some of the Qur'an's Suras. For example, there are narrations that, "The merit of Sura al- Fatiha is equal to that of the Qur'an." 14 And, "Sura al-Ikhlas equals a third of the Qur'an," 15 "Sura al-Zilzal, a quarter," 16 "Sura al-Kafirun, a quarter," 17 "Sura Ya. Sin., ten

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times the Qur'an." Unjust and unthinking people have said that these are impossible because Sura Ya. Sin. and the other meritorious Suras are within the Qur'an, which makes it meaningless.

The Answer: The reality is this: for each of the All- Wise Qur'an's letters is a merit. Each is a good deed. Out of Divine grace the merits of those letters sprout and yield sometimes ten, sometimes seventy, and sometimes seven hundred, merits, like the letters of Ay at al-Kursi. Sometimes they yield one thousand five hundred, like the letters of Sura al-Ikhlas, and sometimes ten thousand, like verses recited on Layla al-Bara'a and those that coincide with other acceptable times. And sometimes they yield thirty thousand, like verses recited on the Night of Power, which are like poppy seeds in their multiplicity. The indication that that night is the equivalent to a thousand months makes it understood that on that night one letter has thirty thousand merits. For example, let us suppose there is a field planted with maize, one thousand plants of it. If some seeds produce seven shoots, and from each shoot a hundred grains, then a single seed becomes the equivalent of two thirds of the whole field. For example, if one seed produces ten shoots, and each yields two hundred grains, then a single seed is the equivalent of twice the original field. You can make further analogies in the same way.

Now, let us imagine the All- Wise Qur'an to be a luminous, sacred, heavenly field. Each of its letters together with its original merit is like a seed. Their shoots will not be taken into consideration. They may be compared with the Suras and verses about which are narrations concerning their merits,


14 Bukhari, Tafsir Sura, I; xv, 3; Fada'il al-Qur'an, 9; Tirmidhi, Thawab al-Qur'an, 1.

15 Tirmidhi, Thawab al-Qur'an, 10, 11; IbnMaja, Adab, 52.

16 Tirmidhi, Thawab al-Qur'an, 9; Musnad, hi, 147, 221.

17 Tirmidhi, Thawab al-Qur'an, 9; Musnad, hi, 147, 221.

18 Tirmidhi, Thawab al-Qur'an, 7; Darimi, Fada'il al-Qur'an, 21.


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like Ya. Sin., Ikhlas, Fatiha, Kafirun, Zilzal. For example, the Qur'an has three hundred thousand six hundred and twenty letters, and Sura al-Ikhlas together with Bismillah, sixty-nine. Three times sixty nine is two hundred and seven letters. Thus, if Sura Ya. Sin.'s letters are reckoned and compared with all the letters of the All- Wise Qur'an, and then multiplied ten times, it produces the following result: each letter of Sura Ya. Sin. has close on five hundred merits. That is, that many good deeds may be reckoned. And so, if you apply the others to this, you will understand what a subtle, fine, true, and unexaggerated truth it is.

TENTH PRINCIPLE: Like with most of the other sorts of creatures, among mankind are certain individuals who are extraordinary by virtue of their acts and deeds. If those individuals have advanced in good deeds, they have been the cause of pride of mankind. Otherwise, they have been the cause of their shame. Also, they are hidden. It is as though each becomes a collective identity, an imaginary goal. Other individuals try to emulate them, and it is possible. That means, being absolute and indefinite, it is possible for such a perfect, extraordinary person to be present everywhere. In regard to this indefiniteness, according to logic, his universality may be posited in the form of a possible proposition. That is, it is possible for all acts to produce the following result: for example, "Whoever performs two rak'ats of prayers at such and such a time has performed the equivalent of the Ffajj." 19 It is thus the truth that at certain times two rak'ats of prayers may be the equivalent of a Ffajj. Due to its universality, this meaning may apply to all prayers of two rak'ats. That means what narrations of this sort refer to is not in fact continuous and universal, because since there are conditions of acceptance, it disallows it being continuous and universal. It is either in fact temporary and absolute or possible and universal. That is to say, the universality in this sort of Hadith is in regard to possibility. For example, "Backbiting is like murder." This means, someone who indulges in backbiting is more harmful than deadly poison, like a killer. And for example,

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"A good word is a deed so good it is like freeing a slave."

Here, in order to encourage and restrain, it points out the possibility of that indefinite perfect individual being present everywhere in absolute form as though it is actually the case, thus arousing eagerness for good and disgust for evil. Furthermore, the things of the eternal world cannot be measured on the scale of this world. The greatest thing here is not equal to the least thing there. Because the merits of actions look to that world, our worldly view is narrow for them. We cannot fit them into our minds. For example, "Whoever reads this is given the reward of Moses and Aaron." That is to say:


19 Kanz al-'Ummal, vii, 808; Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-Kabir, 7740.

20 Musnad al-Firdaws, iii, 116, 117.

21 al-Manzari, al-Targhib wa'l-Tarhib, iii, 421, 434; Kanz al-'Ummal, iii, 589.


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All praise be to God, Sustainer of the heavens and Sustainer of the earth * Sustainer of all the worlds, His is the might in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. * All praise be to God, Sustainer of the heavens and Sustainer of the earths, * Sustainer of all the worlds, and His is the sublimity in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. * And His is the dominion, Sustainer of the heavens, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

What has most attracted the attention of the unfair and the unthinking is narrations like these. The reality of the matter is this:

With our narrow mind and short views in this world, we know how much we imagine the the rewards of Moses and Aaron (Peace be upon them) to be. The reward the Absolutely Compassionate One will give to one of His infinitely needy servants in the world of eternity and everlasting happiness, in return for a single invocation may be equal to the reward of those two, but equal to the rewards as we conceive of them and surmise them to be.

For example, there is a primitive, uncouth man who has never seen the king and does not know the majesty of his rule. He imagines a lord in a village, and with his limited ideas thinks of the king as a more exalted version of the lord. Long ago with us even, there was a simple-minded tribe who used to say: "Our lord knows what the Sultan does as he cooks his bulgur soup on his stove in a saucepan." That is to say, they imagined the Sultan in such a narrow situation and so common a form that he cooked his own wheat soup; they supposed him to have the majesty of a captain. Now, if someone was to say to one of that tribe: "If you do this work for me today, I'll give you as much majesty as you think the Sultan has, and give you a rank as high as a captain." To say that is right, because, of the majesty of kingship, what enters the narrow bounds of his ideas is only the majesty of a captain.

Thus, with our worldly views and narrow minds, we cannot think as much as that primitive man of the true rewards which look to the hereafter. It is not the equivalent of the true rewards of Moses and Aaron (Peace be upon them), for according to the rule of similes and comparisons, the unknown is compared to the known; the true reward, which is unknown, for an invocation of one of God's believing servants is compared with the rewards that we know and surmise. Moreover, the surface of the sea and the heart of a droplet are equal when it comes to holding the complete reflection of the sun. The difference is only in quality. The nature of the reward reflected in the mirrors of the ocean-like spirits of Moses and Aaron (Peace be upon them) is exactly the same in nature as the reward that a believing servant, who is like a droplet, receives from a Qur'anic verse. They are the same in nature and quantity, while their quality is dependent on capacity.

Also, it sometimes happens that a single word, a single glorification, opens


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a treasury of happiness that was not opened with sixty years of service. That is to say, it sometimes happens that a single verse may be as beneficial as the Qur'an. Also, the Divine effulgence which God's Noble Messenger (PBUH), who manifested the Greatest Name, received from a single verse, may have been as much as all the effulgence one of the other prophets received. And it would not be contrary to the truth if it is said that a believer who through 'the legacy of prophethood' manifests the shadow of the Greatest Name, receives, in accordance with his own capacity and in regard to quantity, a reward as great as a prophet's effulgence. Furthermore, reward and merit are from the world of light, and one world from that world may be contained in a speck. Just as the heavens and all its stars may appear in a tiny fragment of glass, so luminous reward and merit like the heavens may be situated in an invocation or verse which acquires transparency through pure intention.

Conclusion: O unfair, unthinking, self-centred, cavilling man whose belief is weak and philosophy, strong! Consider these Ten Principles, then do not make the pretext a narration you thought was contrary to the truth and definitely opposed to reality, and point the finger of objection at Hadiths thus casting aspersions on the Noble Messenger's (PBUH) sinlessness! Because, firstly, these Ten Principles and what they entail will make you forego denial; they say: "If there is any real fault, it is ours," it may not be referred to the Hadiths. They say too: "If the fault is not real, it springs from your misunderstanding." In short; if one embarks on denial and rejection, one first has to deny these Ten Principles and show them to be false. Now, if you are fair, after pondering over these Ten Principles with due attention, do not attempt to deny a Hadith your reason considers contrary to the truth! Say, "There is either an explanation, or an interpretation, or an exegesis of this," and do not criticize it.

ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Just as the Qur'an has obscure verses which are in need of interpretation or else require absolute submission, Hadiths also contain difficulties like the obscurities of the Qur'an. They are sometimes in need of extremely careful expounding and interpretation. The above examples may be sufficient for you.

Yes, someone who is awake interprets the dream of another who is sleeping, and sometimes one who is sleeping hears the words spoken by those near him who are awake, but gives them a meaning and interprets them in a way that applies to his own world of sleep. O man stupified by the sleep of heedlessness and philosophy! Do not deny in your dream what One saw, who manifested the meaning of, "His eye never wavered nor did it swerve," 22 and "My eye sleeps, but my heart sleeps not," 23 and who was truly awake and


22 Qur'an, 53:17.

23 Bukhari, Tahajjud, 16; Tarawih, 1; Manaqib, 24; Tirmidhi, Adab, 86; Musnad, i, 274.


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aware, interpret it. Yes, if a mosquito bites someone who is asleep, he sometimes dreams that he has received terrible wounds in war and this has a reality in sleep. If he was to be questioned, he would say: "Truly I have been wounded. Guns and rifles were fired at me." Those sitting by him laugh at his anguish in sleep. Thus, the sleep-stained view of heedlessness and philosophical thought certainly cannot be the criterion for the truths of prophethood.

TWELFTH PRINCIPLE: Since prophethood, the affirmation of Divine unity, and belief all look to unity, the hereafter, and Divinity, they see truth and reality in accordance with those. While philosophers and scientists look to multiplicity, causes, and nature, and see in accordance with them. Their points of view are extremely distant from one another. The greatest aim of the people of philosophy is so small and insignificant as to be imperceptible among the aims of the scholars of religion and theology.

It is because of this that scientists have advanced greatly in detailed explanation of the nature of beings and their minutest states, but they are so far behind the exalted Divine sciences and sciences concerned with the hereafter, which are true wisdom and knowledge, that they are more backward than a simple believer. Those who do not understand this mystery suppose the investigative scholars of Islam to be relatively backward to the philosophers. But how can those whose minds see no further than their eyes and are submerged in multiplicity reach those who follow elevated sacred aims through 'the legacy of prophethood'?

Furthermore, when something is considered from two points of view, it shows two different truths, and both of them may be the truth. No certain fact of science can touch the sacred truths of the Qur'an. The short hand of science cannot reach up to its pure sublimity. We shall mention an example to illustrate this:

For example, if the globe of the earth is considered from the point of view of the people of science, its reality is this: as a middle-sized planet, it revolves around the sun amid countless stars; it is a small creature in relation to the stars. But as is explained in the Fifteenth Word, if it is considered from the point of view of the people of the Qur'an, its reality is this: since man, the fruit of the world, is a most comprehensive, most wondrous, most impotent, most weak, and most subtle miracle of Divine power, the earth, his cradle and dwelling-place, is in regard to meaning and art, the universe's heart and centre; despite its smallness and lowliness in relation to the heavens, it is the display and exhibition of all the miracles of Divine art; the place of reflection and point of focus of the manifestations of all the Divine Names; the place of display and reflection of infinite dominical activity; the means and market of boundless Divine creativity and especially the munificent creation of the numerous species of plants and small animals; and the


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place in small measure of samples of the creatures of the broad worlds of the hereafter; it is a rapidly working loom weaving everlasting textiles; the swiftly changing place producing views for eternal panoramas; and the narrow and temporary arable field and seed-bed producing at speed the seeds for everlasting gardens.

It is because of this vastness of meaning and importance of art of the earth that the All- Wise Qur'an holds it -like a tiny fruit of the vast tree of the heavens- equal to all the heavens, like holding a tiny heart equivalent to a huge body. It places it in one pan of a scales and places all the heavens in the other, and repeatedly says: "Sustainer of the heavens and the earth." Compare other matters with this and understand that the soulless, dim truths of philosophy cannot clash with the brilliant, living truths of the Qur'an. Since the point of view is different, they appear differently.

FOURTH BRANCH

Are you not aware that before God prostrate themselves all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth - the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are such as are fit for punishment; and such as God shall disgrace, none can raise to honour; for, verily, God does what He wills.

We shall point out only a single jewel from the treasure of this extensive and sublime verse. It is as follows:

The All- Wise Qur'an states clearly that everything, from the heavens to the earth, from the stars to flies, from angels to fishes, and from planets to particles, prostrates, worships, praises and glorifies Almighty God. But their worship varies according to their capacities and the Divine Names that they manifest; it is all different. We shall explain one of the varieties of their worship with a comparison.

For example, And God's is the highest similitude, when a mighty lord of all dominion builds a city or splendid palace, he employs four categories of workers.

THE FIRST CATEGORY are his slaves and bondsmen. This sort receive no wage or remuneration, but for each item of work that they carry out through their lord's command, they experience a subtle pleasure and pleasant eagerness. Whatever they utter by way of praise and description of their lord increases their pleasure and eagerness. Knowing their connection with their holy lord to be a great honour, they content themselves with that. Also they find pleasure from looking to their work with the view of their lord, and


24 Qur'an, 22:18.


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for his sake and in his name. They are not in need of any wage, rank, or remuneration.

THE SECOND CATEGORY are ordinary servants. They do not know why they are working or that they are being employed by the glorious lord. He causes them to work through his own ideas and knowledge and gives them an appropriately small wage. These servants are unaware of what various and comprehensive aims and exalted matters result as a consequence of their work. Some of them even imagine that their work concerns themselves alone and has no aim besides their wage.

THE THIRD CATEGORY: The lord of all dominion has some animals which he employs in various jobs in the construction of the city and palace. He only gives them fodder, but their working at tasks suitable for their abilities gives them pleasure. For, if a potentiality or ability is realized in action and work, there is a breathing in and expansion and this results in pleasure. The pleasure to be had from all activity stems from this. The wage and remuneration of this sort of servant, then, is only fodder and that pleasure.

THE FOURTH CATEGORY are workers who know what they are doing, and why and for whom they are working, and why the other workers are working, and what the purpose of the lord of all dominion is, and why he is causing them to work. Workers of this category are therefore bosses and supervisors over the other workers. They receive remuneration that is graded according to their rank and degree.

In exactly the same way, the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is the All-Glorious Lord of the heavens and the earth and the All-Beauteous Builder of this world and the hereafter, employs both angels, and animals, and inanimate beings and plants, and human beings in the palace of this world, in this realm of causality. He employs them not out of need, for the Creator of everything is He, but for certain instances of wisdom, like the functioning of His might, sublimity, and dominicality. He causes them to worship and has charged these four categories with different duties of worship.

The First Category is the angels, who are represented in the comparison by the slaves. For the angels there is no endeavour and progress; they all have their fixed station and determined rank, and receive a particular pleasure from the work itself and an emanation from their worship. That is to say, the reward of these servants is found within their duties. Just as man is nourished by air, water, light, and food, and receives pleasure from them, so are the angels nourished by the varieties of remembrance, glorification, praise, worship, knowledge, and love of God, and take pleasure in them. For, since they are created out of light, light is sufficient for their sustenance. Fragrant scents, even, which are close to light, are a sort of nourishment for them which they enjoy. Indeed, good spirits take pleasure in sweet smells.


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Furthermore, there is in the tasks that the angels perform at the command of the One Whom they worship, in the work they accomplish for His sake, in the service they discharge in His name, in the supervision they execute through His favour, in the honour they gain through their connection with Him, in the immaculateness they attain through studying His dominion in both its outer face and its face which looks to Him, and in the ease they find through beholding the manifestations of His beauty and glory, such sublime bliss that the human mind cannot comprehend it, and one who is not an angel cannot perceive it.

One sort of the angels are worshippers, and the worship of another sort is in work. Of the angels of the earth, the sort that are workers have a kind of human occupation. If one may say so, one type are like shepherds and another like farmers. That is to say, the face of the earth is like a general farm and an appointed angel supervises all the species of animals within it through the command of the All-Glorious Creator, and with His permission, for His sake and through His power and strength. And for each species of animal there is a lesser angel who is is appointed to act as a special shepherd.

The face of the earth is also a place of cultivation; the plants are all sown in it. There is an angel charged with supervising them in the name of God Almighty and through His power, and there are angels who are lesser than him and who worship and glorify God by supervising particular species. The Archangel Michael (Peace be upon him), who is one of the bearers of the throne of sustenance, is the most important overseer of these.

The angels who are in the position of shepherd and farmer do not bear any resemblance to human beings, for their supervision is purely for the sake of Almighty God, and in His name and through His power and command. Their supervision of animals consists only of beholding the manifestations of dominicality in the species where they are employed; studying the manifestations of power and mercy in it; making known to that species the Divine commands by way of a sort of inspiration; and in some way ordering the voluntary actions of the species.

Their supervision of the plants in the field of the earth in particular consists of representing the plants' glorification in the angelic tongue; proclaiming in the angelic tongue the salutations the plants offer to the All-Glorious Creator through their lives; and employing the faculties given to plants correctly and directing them towards certain aims and ordering them to some extent. These duties of the angels are meritorious actions of a sort by reason of the angels' faculty of will. Indeed, they are a kind of worship and adoration. But the angels have no real power of disposal, for on everything is a stamp peculiar to the Creator of all things. Another's hand cannot interfere in creation. That is to say, this sort of work of the angels forms their worship. It is not a custom like with human beings.


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The Second Category of workers in this palace of the universe are animals. Since animals also have an appetitive soul and faculty of will, their work is not 'purely for the sake of God;' to some extent, they take a share for their souls. Therefore, since the Glorious and Munificent Lord of All Dominion is all-generous, He bestows a wage on them during their work so that their souls receive a share. For example, the All-Wise Creator employs the famous nightingale, renowned for his love of the rose, for five aims.

First Aim: It is the official employed to proclaim in the name of the animal species the intense relationship that exists between them and the plant species.

Second Aim: It is a dominical orator from among the animals, who are like guests of the All- Merciful One needy for sustenance, employed to acclaim the gifts sent by the All- Generous Provider, and to announce their joy.

Third Aim: It is to announce to everyone the welcome offered to plants, which are sent for the assistance of his fellow animals.

Fourth Aim: It is to announce, over the blessed heads and to the beautiful faces of plants, the intense need of the animal species for them, which reaches the degree of love and passion.

Fifth Aim: It is to present with acute yearning at the Court of Mercy of the All- Glorious and Beauteous and Munificent Lord of All Dominion a most graceful glorification inspired by the truly delicate face of the rose.

There are further meanings similar to these five aims, and they are the purpose of the deeds the nightingale performs for the sake of Truth (All glory be unto Him and may He be exalted). The nightingale speaks in his own tongue, but we understand these meanings from his plaintive words. If he himself does not altogether know the meaning of his own song like the angels do, it does not impair our understanding. The saying, "One who listens understands better than the one who speaks" is well-known. Also, the nightingale does not show that he does not know these aims in detail, but this does not mean that they do not exist. At least he informs you of them like a clock informs you of the time. What difference does it make if he does not know? It does not prevent you from knowing.

However, the nightingale's small wage is the delight he experiences from gazing on the smiling, beautiful roses, and the pleasure he receives from conversing with them and pouring out his woes. That is to say, his sorrowful song is not a complaint arising from animal grief, it is thanks in return for the gifts of the Most Merciful. Compare the bee, the spider, the ant, creeping insects, the male animals that are the means of reproduction, and the nightingales of all small creatures, with the nightingale: the deeds of all of them


25 Since the nightingale speaks poetically, our discussion also becomes poetic for a bit. But it is not imaginary, it is the truth.


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have numerous aims. For them, too, a particular pleasure, like a small wage, has been included in their duties. Through that pleasure, they serve the important aims contained in dominical art. Just as an ordinary seaman acts as helmsman on an imperial ship and receives a small wage, so do the animals employed in duties of glorification each receive a small wage.

An Addendum to the Discussion on the Nightingale: However, do not suppose this proclaiming and heralding and these songs of glorification are peculiar to the nightingale. In most species there is a class similar to the nightingale that consists of a fine individual or individuals which represent the finest feelings of that species with the finest glorification and finest poetry. The nightingales of flies and insects, in particular, are both numerous and various. Through their humming poetry they make all animals with ears, from the largest to the smallest, hear their glorifications, and give them pleasure.

Some of them are nocturnal. These poetry-declaiming friends of all small animals are their sweet-voiced orators when all beings are plunged into the silence and tranquillity of the night. Each is the centre of a circle of silent recollection, an assembly in solitude, to which all the others listen, and, in a fashion, recollect and extol the All-Glorious Creator in their own hearts.

Another sort are diurnal. By day, in spring and summer, they proclaim the mercy of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One to all animate beings from the pulpits of the trees with their ringing voices, subtle songs, and poetic glorifications. It is as if, like the leader of a gathering for the recitation of God's Names induces the ecstasy of those participating, all the creatures listening start to praise the All-Glorious Creator each in its own special tongue and with a particular chant.

That is to say, every sort of being, and even the stars, have a chief -reciter and light- scattering nightingale. But the most excellent, the most noble, the most luminous, the most dazzling, the greatest and the most honourable nightingale, whose voice was the most ringing, whose attributes the most brilliant, whose recitation the most complete, whose thanks the most universal, whose essence was the most perfect, and whose form the most beautiful, who brought all the beings of the heavens and the earth in the garden of the universe to ecstasy and rapture through his subtle poetry, his sweet song, his exalted glorification, was the glorious nightingale of human kind, the nightingale of the Qur'an: Muhammad the Arabian, Upon whom and upon whose Family and those who resemble him be the best of blessings and peace.

To Conclude: The animals, who serve in the palace of the universe, conform with complete obedience to the creational commands and display perfectly in the name of Almighty God the aims included in their natures. The glorification and worship they perform by carrying out the duties related to


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their lives in this wonderful fashion through the power of God Almighty, are gifts and salutations which they present to the Court of the All-Glorious Creator, the Bestower of Life.

The Third Category of Workers are plants and inanimate creatures. Since they have no faculty of will, they receive no wage. Their work is 'purely for the sake of God,' and in His name, on His account, and through His will, power and strength. However, it may be perceived from their growth and development that they receive a sort of pleasure from their duties of pollination and producing seeds and fruits. But they experience no pain at all. Due to their will, animals experience pain as well as pleasure. Since will does not enter into the work of plants and inanimate beings, their work is more perfect than that of animals, who have will. Among those who possess will, the work of creatures like the bee which are enlightened by revelation and inspiration is more perfect than the work of those animals which rely on their faculty of will.

All the species of plants in the field of the face of the earth pray and ask of the All- Wise Creator through their tongues of disposition and potentiality: "O our Sustainer! Give us strength so that by raising the flag of our species in every part of the earth, we may proclaim the splendour of Your dominicality; and grant us prosperity so that we may worship You in every corner of the mosque of the earth; and bestow on us the power to spread and travel in order to exhibit through our particular tongue the embroideries of Your Most Beautiful Names and Your wonderful, antique arts."

The All- Wise Creator answers their silent prayer and bestows on the seeds of one species tiny wings made of hair: they fly away spreading everywhere. They cause the Divine Names to be read in the name of their species. (Like the seeds of most thorned plants and some yellow flowers.) He gives to some species beautiful flesh that is either necessary or pleasant for human beings; He causes man to serve them and plant them everywhere. To some He gives, covering a hard and indigestible bone, flesh that animals eat so that they disperse the seeds over a wide area. On some He bestows small claws that grip onto all who touch them; moving on to other places, they raise the flag of the species and exhibit the antique art of the All-Glorious Maker. And to some species, like to the bitter melon, He gives the force of a buckshot rifle so that, when the time is ripe, the small melons which are its fruits, fall and fire out their seeds like shot to a distance of several metres, and sow them. They work so that numerous tongues will glorify the All- Glorious Creator and recite His Beautiful Names. You may think of other examples in the same way.

The All-Wise Creator, Who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing, has created everything beautifully and with perfect order. He has fitted them out beautifully, turned their faces towards beautiful aims, employed them in


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beautiful duties, caused them to utter beautiful glorifications and to worship beautifully. O man! If indeed you are a human being, do not confuse nature, chance, futility, and misguidance with these beautiful matters. Do not make them ugly. Do not act in an ugly fashion. Do not be ugly!

The Fourth Category are human beings. Human beings, who are servants of a sort in the palace of the universe, resemble both angels and animals. They resemble angels in universality of worship, extensiveness of supervision, comprehensiveness of knowledge, and in being heralds of Divine dominicality. However, man is more comprehensive in his worship, but since he has an appetitive soul that is disposed towards evil, contrary to the angels, he is subject to progress and decline, which is of great importance. Also, since in his work man seeks pleasure for his soul and a share for himself, he resembles an animal. Since this is so, man receives two wages: the first is insignificant, animal, and immediate; the second, angelic, universal, and postponed.

Now, man's duty and his wages, and his progress and decline, have been discussed in part in all thirty-three of the Words, and have been explained in greater detail in the Eleventh and Twenty-Third Words in particular. We shall therefore cut short the discussion here and close the door. And beseeching the Most Merciful to open to us the gates of His mercy, and seeking forgiveness for our faults and errors, we conclude it here.

FIFTH BRANCH

The Fifth Branch has five 'Fruits'.

FIRST FRUIT

O my self- worshipping soul! O my world- worshipping friend! Love is the cause of the universe's existence, and what binds it; and it is both the light of the universe and its life. Since man is the most comprehensive fruit of the universe, a love that will conquer the universe has been included in his heart, the seed of that fruit. Thus, only one possessing infinite perfection may be worthy of such an infinite love.

O soul and O friend! Two faculties, through which one may experience fear and love, have been included in man's nature. This love and fear are bound to be turned towards either creatures or Creator. However, fear of creatures is a grievous affliction, while love for them is a calamitous tribulation. For you will fear people who will neither pity you nor accept your pleas for mercy. So fear is a grievous calamity. As for love, the one you love will either not recognize you or will depart without bidding you farewell. Like your youth and property. Or else he will despise you because of your love. Have you not noticed that in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases of metaphorical love, the lover complains about the beloved. For to love and idol


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ize worldly beloveds with the inner heart, which is the mirror of the Eternally Besought One, oppresses the beloved, and he finds it disagreeable and rejects it. Because man's nature rejects and casts away things that are contrary to it and unworthy of it. (Physical loves are outside our discussion.)

That is to say, the things you love either will not recognize you, or they will scorn you, or they will not accompany you. They will part from you in spite of you. Since this is so, direct your fear and love to the One by Whom your fear will become pleasurable abasement, and your love, shadowless happiness. Yes, to fear the Glorious Creator means finding a way to His compassionate mercy, and taking refuge in it. Fear is a whip; it drives you into the embrace of His mercy. It is well-known that a mother gently scares her infant, for example, and draws it to her breast. The fear is most pleasurable for the child, because it drives him to her tender embrace. Whereas the tenderness of all mothers is but a flash of Divine mercy. That means there is a supreme pleasure in fear of God. If there is such pleasure in fear of God, it is clear what infinite pleasure there is to be found in love of God. Moreover, one who fears God is saved from the calamitous and distressing fear of others. Also, because it is for God's sake, the love he has for creatures is not tinged with sorrow and separation.

Indeed, man loves firstly himself, then his relations, then his nation, then living creatures, then the universe, and the world. He is connected with all these spheres. He may receive pleasure at their pleasure and pain at their pain. However, since nothing is stable in this world of upheavals and revolutions swift as the wind, man's wretched heart is constantly wounded. The things his hands cling onto tear at them as they depart, even severing them. He remains in perpetual distress, or else plunges into heedless drunkenness. Since it is thus, my soul, if you have sense, gather together all those loves and give them to their true owner; be saved from those calamities. These infinite loves are particular to One possessing infinite perfection and beauty. When you give it to its true owner, you will be able to love everything without distress in His name and as His mirrors. That means this love should not be spent directly on the universe. Otherwise, while being a delicious bounty, it becomes a grievous affliction.

There is another aspect besides, O soul! and it is the most important. You spend all your love on yourself. You make your own soul your object of worship and beloved. You sacrifice everything for your soul. Simply, you ascribe to it a sort of dominicality. Whereas the cause of love is either perfection, because perfection is loved for itself, or it is benefit, or it is pleasure, or it is goodness, or causes like these. Now, O soul! In several of the Words we have proved decisively that your essential nature is kneaded out of fault, deficiency, poverty, and impotence, and like the relative degree of darkness and obscurity shows the brightness of light, with regard to opposites, you act


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as a mirror through them to the perfection, beauty, power, and mercy of the Beauteous Creator. That means O soul, that it is not love you should have for your soul, but enmity, or you should pity it, or after it is at peace, have compassion on it. If you love your soul because it is the source of pleasure and benefit and you are captivated by their delights, do not prefer the pleasure and benefit of the soul, which is a mere jot, to infinite pleasure and benefits. Do not resemble a fire-fly. For it drowns all your friends and the things you love in the darkness of desolation and suffices with a tiny glimmer in itself. You should love a Pre-Eternal Beloved on Whose gracious favours are dependent all the pleasures and benefits of your soul together with all the benefits and bounties and creatures of the universe with which you are connected and from which you profit and through whose happiness you are happy, so then you may take pleasure at both your own and their happiness, and receive an infinite pleasure from the love of the Absolutely Perfect One.

Anyway, your intense love for yourself and your soul is love for the Divine Essence which you misuse and spend on your own self. In which case, rend the egotism in your soul and show Him. All your loves dispersed through the universe are love given to you to spend on His Names and attributes. You have used it wrongly and you are suffering the penalty. For the penalty for an illicit, mis-spent love is merciless torment. For sure, one particle of the love of a Pre-Eternal Beloved Who, through the Names of Most Merciful and Compassionate, has prepared a dwelling like Paradise adorned with houris for you in which all your bodily desires will be gratified, and through others of His Names has readied for you in that Paradise everlasting favours that will satisfy all the longings of your spirit, heart, mind, and other subtle inner faculties, and in all of Whose Names are contained many treasuries of grace and munificence - one particle of His love may take the place of the whole universe. But the universe cannot take the place of even a particular manifestation of His love. In which case, heed this Pre-Eternal Decree which that Pre-Eternal Beloved caused His own Beloved to announce, and follow it:

If you love God, follow me, and God will love you. SECOND FRUIT

O soul! Worship is not the introduction to additional rewards, but the result of previous bounties. Yes, we have received our wage, and are accordingly charged with the duties of service and worship. Because, O soul!, since the All-Glorious Creator, Who clothed you in existence which is pure good, has given you a stomach and appetite, through His Name of Provider, He has placed before you all foods on a table of bounties. Then, since He has given you a life decked out with senses, life too requires sustenance like a


26 Qur'an, 3:31.


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stomach; all your senses like eyes and ears are like hands before which He has placed a table of bounties as broad as the earth. Then, because He has given you humanity, which requires many immaterial foods and bounties, He has laid out before that stomach of humanity, in so far as the hand of the mind can reach, an extensive table of bounties as broad as the worlds of both the inner and outer dimensions of things. Then, since He has given you Islam and belief, which require infinite bounties and are nourished through countless fruits of mercy and are supreme humanity, He has opened up before you a table of bounties, pleasure, and happiness which includes the sphere of contingency together with the sphere of His sacred Names and attributes. Then, through giving you love, which is a light of belief, He has bestowed on you an endless table of bounties, happiness, and pleasure. That is to say, with regard to your corporeality you are an insignificant, weak, impotent, lowly, restricted, limited particular, but through His favour, you have as though risen from being an insignificant particular to being a universal, luminous whole. For by giving you life, He has raised you from particularity to a sort of universality; and by giving you humanity, to true universality; and by bestowing Islam on you, to an exalted, luminous universality; and by giving you knowledge and love of Him, He has elevated you to an all-encompassing light.

O soul! You have received this wage, and you are charged with the pleasurable, bountiful, easy, and light duty of worship. But you are lazy in this too. If you perform it half-heartedly, it is as though the former wages are insufficient for you and you are overbearingly wanting greater things. Also, you are complaining: "Why was my prayer not accepted?" But your right is not complaint, it is supplication. Through His pure grace and munificence, Almighty God bestows Paradise and eternal happiness. So seek refuge in His mercy and munificence constantly. Trust in Him and heed this decree:

Say: "In the bounty of God, and His mercy -in that let them rejoice; " that is better than the [wealth] they hoard.

If you say: "How can I respond to these countless, universal bounties with my limited and partial thanks?"

The Answer: With a universal intention and boundless belief... For example, a man enters a king's presence with a gift worth five kurush, and he sees that other gifts worth millions have arrived from acceptable people, and have been lined up there. It occurs to him: "My present is nothing. What shall I do?" Then he says suddenly: "My Lord! I offer you all these valuable gifts in my name. For you are worthy of them. If I had the power, I would have given you gifts equal to them." Thus, the king, who has need of


27 Qur'an, 10:58.


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nothing and accepts his subjects' gifts as a sign of their loyalty and respect, accepts that wretched man's universal intention and wish, and the worthiness of his elevated belief as though it was the greatest gift.

In exactly the same way, while performing the five daily prayers an impotent servant of Almighty God declares: "Salutations be to God!" That is, "I offer You on my own account all the gifts of worship all creatures offer you through their lives. If I had been able, I would have offered You as many salutations as them, for You are worthy of them, and worthy of more besides." Such an intention and belief comprise extensive universal thanks. The seeds and grains of plants are their intentions.

And for example, the melon utters a thousand intentions in its heart in the form of the nuclei of its seeds: "O my Creator! I want to proclaim the embroideries of Your Most Beautiful Names in many places on the earth." Since Almighty God knows how future things will come about, He accepts their intention as actual worship. The rule, "A believer's intention is better than his actions" alludes to this mystery. The wisdom in offering glorifications in also infinite numbers is understood from this mystery. For instance:

Glory and praise be unto You to the number of Your creatures, that may be as pleasing to You as the extent of Your Throne and the ink of Your words, and we

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glorify You with all the glorifications of Your prophets and saints and angels.

Just as an officer presents all the duties of his soldiers to the king in his own name, so man, who acts as officer to other creatures, commands the animals and plants, has the capacity to be vicegerent over the beings of the earth, and in his own world considers himself to represent everyone, declares:

You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help ;

He offers the worship and seeking of help of all creation to the All-Glorious True Object of Worship in his own name. He also says:

O God! Grant blessings to Muhammad to the number of the particles in existence and all their compounds !

He offers benedictions for the Prophet (PBUH) in the name of everything. Because everything is connected with the Muhammadan Light. Thus, you may understand the wisdom in the countless numbers mentioned in the glorifications and benedictions for the Prophet (PBUH).


28 al-Manawi, al-Fayd al-Qadr, vi, 291, No: 9295.

29 Muslim, Dhikr, 79; Tirmidhi, Da'wat, 103; Nasa'i, Sahw, 94; Musnad, i, 258, 353. 30 Qur'an, 1:4.


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THIRD FRUIT

O soul! If, in a brief life, you want to do something that will profit you infinitely in the hereafter, and you want every moment of your life to be as beneficial as a life-time, and if you want to transform your habitual actions into worship and your heedlessness into awareness of the Divine presence, follow the Illustrious Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). For when you apply your actions to the rulings of the Shari'a, it affords a sort of awareness of God's presence; it becomes worship of a sort and yields many fruits for the hereafter. For example, you bought something. The moment you applied what is acceptable and required by the Shari'a, that ordinary act of shopping acquired the value of worship. Recalling the injunctions of the Shari'a calls to mind Revelation. And by thinking of the Lawgiver, you are turned towards God. And that makes you aware of His presence. That means, in applying the Illustrious Sunna to your actions, are advantages like making this fleeting life the means of gaining an everlasting life which produces eternal fruits. Heed the decree:

So believe in God and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in

-2 1

God and His Word: follow him that you may be guided.

Try to reflect comprehensively the effulgence and manifestation of all of the Most Beautiful Names, whose manifestations are diffused within the ordinances of the Shari'a and Illustrious Sunna...

FOURTH FRUIT

O soul! Do not look at the worldly, and especially the dissipated and the unbelievers, and be deceived by their superficial glitter and illicit pleasures; do not imitate them. For even if you do imitate them, you will not be like them; you will decline immeasurably. You cannot be an animal even. For the intellect in your head becomes an inauspicious tool which constantly beats you over the head. For example, there is a palace and in one of its large apartments is a powerful electric lamp. Small electric lights which branch out from it and are attached to it have been divided among its small apartments. Now, someone touches the switch of the big light and turns it off; all the apartments are plunged into deep darkness and desolation. Another palace has small electric lights in all its apartments which are not connected to the large light. If the owner of the latter palace presses the switch of the large electric light and turns it off, there may still be lights on in the other apartments by which he can carry out his work, and which will not allow thieves to profit from the darkness.

O soul! The first palace is a Muslim and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) is the large electric light in his heart. If he


31 Qur'an, 7:158.


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forgets him, or (I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed) he expels him from his heart, he will accept none of the other prophets, indeed, no place will remain in his spirit for any perfection. He will not even recognize His Sustainer. All the apartments and subtle faculties in his nature will be plunged into darkness, and there will be a terrible destruction and desolation in his heart. How will he profit in the face of this destruction and desolation, where will he find familiarity? What benefit will he secure which will repair the damage? However, Europeans resemble the second palace; even if they cast out from their hearts the light of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), lights of a sort may remain, or they suppose they remain. They may continue to have a sort of belief in their Creator and in Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them), which will allow them to attain good morals and character.

O my evil-commanding soul! If you say: "I am not a European and I want to be an animal," how many times have I told you: "You cannot be an animal. For there is intelligence in your head, and it strikes your face, eyes, and head with the pains of the past and fears of the future, and beats you. It adds a thousand pains to one pleasure. Whereas animals receive pleasure without pain. So first pluck out your intelligence and throw it away, then be an animal! You will also receive the chastening slap of 'Like cattle, nay, they are further astray.'"

FIFTH FRUIT

O my soul! As we have stated repeatedly, since man is the fruit of the tree of creation, he is a creature which, like a fruit, is the furthest and most comprehensive and looks to everything, and bears the seed of a heart which holds within it the aspects of unity of everything, and whose face looks to multiplicity, transience, and the world. As for worship, it is a line of union which turns his face from transience to permanence, from creation to Creator, from multiplicity to unity, and from the extremity to the source, or it is a point of union between the source and the extremity. If a valuable, conscious fruit which will form a seed looks to the living creatures beneath the tree, and relying on its beauty throws itself into their hands; if being heedless, it falls; it will fall to their hands and be smashed, and will go for nothing like a common fruit. But if the fruit finds its point of support, and it is able to think that by the seed within it holding the aspects of unity of the whole tree, it will be the means of tree's continuance and the continued existence of the tree's reality, then a single seed within that single fruit will manifest a perpetual universal truth within an everlasting life.

In the same way, if man plunges into multiplicity, is drowned in the


32 Qur'an, 7:179.


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universe and intoxicated by love of the world, is deceived by the smiles of ephemeral beings and casts himself into their arms, he certainly falls into infinite loss. He falls into both transitoriness, and ephemerality, and non-existence. In effect he sentences himself to death. But if he listens with the ear of his heart to the lessons in belief from the tongue of the Qur'an and raises his head and turns towards unity, he may rise through the ascension of worship to the throne of perfections. He may become an eternal man.

O my soul! Since the reality is thus, and since you are a member of the nation of Abraham (Peace be upon him), like Abraham, say: "I love not those that set." ~ Turn your face to the Eternal Beloved and weep the following lines like me. The Persian verses to be included here have been included in the Second Station of the Seventeenth Word, and have not been repeated here.


33 Qur'an, 6:76.


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The Twenty-Fifth Word

The Miraculousness of the Qur'an

While there is a perpetual miracle like the Qur'an, searching for further

proof appears to my mind as superfluous; While there is a proof of reality like the Qur'an, would silencing those who

deny it weigh heavily on my heart?

A REMINDER

[At the start, our intention was to write this Word in the form of five 'Lights', but at the end of the First Light, we were compelled to write extremely fast in order to print it in the old [Ottoman] script. 1 On some days even we wrote twenty to thirty pages in two or three hours. Therefore, writing three Lights in a brief and concise manner, we have for now abandoned the last two. I hope that my brothers will look fairly and with tolerance at any faults and defects, difficulties and mistakes, which may be attributed to me.]

Most of the verses in this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur'an have either been the cause of criticism by atheists, or have been objected to by scientists, or have been the subject of doubt and misgiving by satans among jinn and men. Thus, this Twenty-Fifth Word has explained the truths and fine points of those verses in such a way that the very points which the atheists and scientists imagined to be faults have been proved according to scholarly principles to be flashes of miraculousness and the sources of the perfections of the Qur' an' s eloquence. In order not to cause aversion, decisive answers have been given without mentioning their doubts. Only, in the first Station of the Twentieth Word their doubts have been stated concerning three or four verses, like, And the mountains [its] pegs, and, And the sun runs its course.


1 According to a law passed in November 1928, the Arabic (Ottoman) alphabet was banned from the end of that year, and the Latin alphabet officially adopted. [Tr.]

2 Qur'an, 78:7.

3 Qur'an, 36:38.


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Also, although this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur'an was written very concisely and with great speed, with regard to the science of rhetoric and sciences of Arabic, it is explained in a way so learned and profound and powerful that it has caused wonder to scholars. Although everyone who studies it will not understand all the matters discussed, there is a significant share for everyone in this garden. In spite of the defects in the phraseology and manner of expression due to its being written very fast and under confused conditions, it explains the truth and reality of most important matters.

Said Nursi

The Miraculousness of the Qur'an

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Say: If all mankind and all jinn were to come together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to help and support each other.

[Of the innumerable aspects of the miraculousness of the All- Wise Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, the treasury of miracles and greatest miracle of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), I have pointed out close on forty in my Arabic treatises, in the Arabic Risale-i Nur, in my Qur'anic commentary called Isharat al-I'jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), and in the preceding twenty-four Words. Now I shall explain to a degree only five of those aspects and include within them briefly the other aspects, and in an Introduction give a definition of the Qur'an and indicate its nature.]

INTRODUCTION

The Introduction consists of three parts.

FIRST PART: WHAT IS THE QUR'AN? How is it defined?

Answer: As is explained in the Nineteenth Word and proved in other Words, THE QUR'AN is the pre-eternal translator of the mighty Book of the Universe; the post-eternal interpreter of the various tongues reciting the verses of creation; the commentator of the book of the Worlds of the Seen and the Unseen; the revealer of the treasuries of the Divine Names hidden in


4 Qur'an, 17::


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the heavens and on the earth; the key to the truths concealed beneath the lines of events; the tongue of the Unseen World in the Manifest World; the treasury of the post-eternal favours of the Most Merciful and of the pre-eternal addresses of the Most Holy, which come from the World of the Unseen beyond the veil of this Manifest World; it is the sun, foundation, and plan of the spiritual world of Islam; the sacred map of the worlds of the hereafter; the expounding word, lucid exposition, decisive proof, and clear interpreter of the Divine Essence, attributes, Names, and functions; it is the instructor of the world of humanity; the light and water of Islam, the macroanthropos; the true wisdom of mankind; and the true guide and leader urging humanity to prosperity and happiness; it is a both a book of law, and a book of prayer, and a book of wisdom, and a book of worship, and a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation, and a book of thought, and a unique, comprehensive sacred book comprising many books to which recourse may be had for all the needs of all mankind; it is a revealed scripture resembling a sacred library which offers treatises suitable for all the various ways and different paths of the all the saints and the veracious ones and the wise and the learned, which is appropriate for the illuminations of each way and enlightens it, and is suitable for the course of each path and depicts it.

SECOND PART and complement to the definition:

As is explained and proved in the Twelfth Word, since THE QUR'AN has come from the Sublime Throne and the Greatest Name, and from the highest degree of each Name, it is God's Word in regard to His being Sustainer of All The Worlds; it is a Divine decree through His title of God of All Beings; it is an address in the name of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; it is a conversation in respect of absolute dominicality; it is a pre-eternal discourse on acco