First Branch: The manifestation of different names of Allah on various creatures and levels of living beings.


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 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 Allah 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 All-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 Allah!” He should listen, and hear from everything: “Say, He is Allah, the One!” His tongue should utter and proclaim: “All the world declares: There is no god but He!” Thus, through the decree of Allah, 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 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!” (1) 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 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 Allah of men, * From the evil of the whispering, elusive tempter (Qur’an, 114:1-4.)

commands that we take refuge with Allah through three titles, and,

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

shows the seeking of help through three Names.

(1) 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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Second Branch: The degrees of manifestation of divine names: The all- encompassing manifestation which is universal; the manifestation for species; the manifestation for individuals.

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