Third Stopping-Place: The point of views of the people of misguidance and the people of guidance on the worldly life.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.1
According to the meaning of And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise, everything has numerous aspects that give onto Allah Almighty like windows.
The reality of the universe and of all beings is based on the Divine Names. The reality of every being is based on one Name or on many. All sciences and arts are also based on and rely upon a Name. The true science of philosophy is based on the Name of All-Wise, true medicine on the Name of Healer, and geometry on the Name of Determiner, and so on. And in the same way that all the sciences are based on and come to an end in a Name, the realities of all arts and sciences, and of all human attainments, are based on the Divine Names. Indeed, one group of the most learned of the saints stated that the Divine Names constitute the true reality of things, while the essences of things are only shadows of that reality. They said too that even only apparently as many as twenty manifestations of the impresses of the Divine Names may be seen on a single living creature. We shall try to make this subtle yet vast truth easier to understand by means of a comparison, and shall analyze it by passing it through a sieve two or three times as it were. However long our discussion, it would still be short, but one should not become bored.
When a very skilful portraitist or sculptor wishes to paint a picture of a beautiful flower or to sculpt a great beauty belonging to mankind’s fair sex, firstly he determines the general shapes of those two objects with a few lines. He determines these by ordering and adjusting them, by estimating and measuring them. And this he does according to rules and limits defined by geometry.
It is clear that this ordering and measuring is carried out with knowledge and wisdom or purpose. That is to say, the acts of ordering and limiting turn on the compasses of knowledge and wisdom. In which case, the meanings of knowledge and wisdom govern behind the ordering and limiting. The compasses of knowledge and wisdom, then, point to themselves and they demonstrate that, within those limits, they have begun the portrayal of small particulars like the eyes, ears, nose, leaves, and stamens.
Now we see that the members determined by the motion of those inner compasses are taking shape artistically and carefully. Since this is so, the one who turns these knowledge and wisdom compasses possesses meanings of craftsmanship and care; it is they who command and then display themselves.
Thus, it may be understood from this that they point to inherent qualities of beauty and adornment. Since this is so, what makes the craftsmanship and care function is the will to beautify and the intention to decorate. In which case, it is at their command that the artist begins to adorn and illuminate. He gives a smiling and living form to the statue and flower. And what makes this meaning of beautifying and illuminating function is surely the meaning of favouring and munificence.
Yes, these two meanings govern him to such a degree that, quite simply, the flower is an embodied favour, and the statue, embodied munificence. So now it is the meanings of making loved and known that impel the meanings of favouring and munificence and make them work. That is, behind the latter two meanings, the meanings of making himself known through his art and making people love him govern.
This making loved and known, without a doubt arise from an inclination toward being merciful and the will to bestow bounties. So, since mercy and the will to bestow bounties are governing behind them, he will adorn the statue with all sorts of bounties and also bestow the form of the flower as a present. Thus, he fills the statue’s hands and pockets with precious bounties and bestows the form of the flower as jewels. That is to say, what makes his mercy and will to bestow function is a feeling of gentleness and pity. That is, the meaning of pity and gentleness impels the mercy and bounty.
Furthermore, what impels and makes manifest the meaning of pity and gentleness within that person, who is self-sufficient and needs no one, are the meanings of beauty and perfection. These desire to be manifested. And as for love and mercy, which are the sweetest and most delightful parts of that beauty, they desire to be seen in the mirror of art and to see themselves through the eyes of yearning admirers.
That is to say, since beauty and perfection are loved for themselves, they love themselves above everything. They are also both loveliness and love. The union of beauty and love stems from this point. Since beauty loves itself, it desires to see itself in mirrors. Thus all the lovable bounties and beautiful fruits which were set on the statue and on the picture bear the flashes, each according to its capacity, of that meaning of beauty. They display those flashes both to the owner of the beauty and to others.
In exactly the same way, the All-Wise Maker delimits, orders and gives determined proportions and shapes to all things, particular and universal, through the manifestation of His Names; to Paradise and this world, the heavens and the earth, plants and animals, men and jinn, angels and spirit beings. By doing this, He causes them to recite His Names of Determiner, Orderer, and Giver of Form.
He determines the limits of their general shapes in such a manner that He displays His Names of All-Knowing and All-Wise. Then, through the definition of knowledge and wisdom, He begins to form them within those limits. He does this in such a way that He displays the meanings of craftsmanship and care and His Names of Maker and Munificent.
Next, with the miraculous hand of art and the brush of munificence He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to the members of that form, whether a single human being or a single flower, like the eyes, ears, leaves, and stamens. If it is the earth, He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to its minerals, plants and animals. If it is Paradise, He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to its gardens, palaces, and houris. And so on. You can make analogies for the rest, too.
Furthermore, He adorns and illuminates in such a fashion that the meanings of favouring and munificence are predominant in those objects. They govern to a degree where those adorned beings, those illuminated artefacts, become like embodied favours and incarnate munificence. They mention the Names of Gracious and Munificent.
Next, what impels the favouring and munificence to manifest are clearly the actions of making loved and known. That is, the qualities of making Himself loved by animate creatures and known by conscious ones. They cause animate and conscious beings to recite the Names of Loving and Known One behind the Names of Gracious and Munificent, and for this recitation, which is performed by the very mode of their beings, to be heard.
Then, embellishing those adorned and beautiful creatures with delicious fruits and lovable results, He turns from adorning to bestowing bounties, from graciousness to compassionateness. He causes them to recite the Names of Bestower and Compassionate and displays the manifestation of those two Names behind the outer veils.
Next, what impels that One, Who is absolutely without need, to manifest these Names of Compassionate and Munificent are the qualities of mercy and gentleness, which display the Names of Gentle and Merciful and cause them to be recited.
And what impels the meanings of mercifulness and gentleness to manifest are doubtless, an essential beauty and perfection which desire to become evident; they cause the Name of Beautiful, and the Names of Loving and Compassionate, which are within the Name of Beautiful, to be recited. For beauty is loved for itself. Beauty and one possessing beauty love themselves. Moreover, it is both loveliness and love.
Perfection, also, is loved for itself; no other cause is necessary. It is both lover and beloved. Since a beauty that is at the utmost degree of perfection and a perfection that is at the utmost degree of beauty are loved and are worthy of love to the utmost degree, most certainly will they desire to see and to exhibit themselves through displaying their flashes and manifestations in mirrors, in accordance with the capacity of the mirrors.
That is to say, the beauty and perfection essential to the All-Glorious Maker, the All-Wise One of Beauty, the All-Powerful One of Perfection, require the qualities of mercy and gentleness, and impel the Names of Merciful and Gentle to be manifested.
As for mercy and gentleness, through displaying compassion and bounty, they impel the manifestation of the Names of Compassionate and Bestower.
And compassionateness and bestowal require the qualities of making known and loved and impel the Names of Loving and Known One to be manifested.
Making known and loved impel the meanings of favouring and munificence and display them on some of the facets of those artefacts; they cause the Names of Gracious and Munificent to be recited amongst them.
As for the qualities of graciousness and munificence, they impel the acts of adorning and illuminating. They cause the Names of Adorner and Illuminer to be recited by the tongues of the artefacts’ beauty and luminosity.
And the qualities of adorning and beautifying require the meanings of craftsmanship and care. They cause the Names of Maker and Bountiful to be recited by the beautiful features of the artefacts.
As for craftsmanship and care, they require knowledge and wisdom, and they cause the Names of All-Wise and All-Knowing to be recited by their well-ordered, wise, and purposeful members.
And knowledge and wisdom require the acts of ordering, forming, and shaping. They display the Names of Determiner and Giver of Form, causing them to be recited by the artefact in its entirety, through its form.
Thus, the All-Glorious Maker has made all His creatures or artefacts in such a way that He causes most of them, and especially animate beings, to recite numerous Divine Names. It is as if He has dressed each creature in twenty different shirts, one on top of another or has enfolded them in twenty veils, and on each shirt or veil He has inscribed different Names.
For example, as was demonstrated in the comparison, there are many pages in what is only apparent in the creation of a beautiful member of mankind’s fair sex or of a beautiful flower. From these two small and particular examples you can draw analogies with other large and universal creatures.
The First Page: It is the state which demonstrates the general shape and proportion. It mentions the Names of O Giver of Form! O Determiner! O Orderer!
The Second Page: This is the plain and unadorned state of the human being and flower in the comparison, which occurs with the disclosure of the forms of all the different members of those two creatures. Many Names, like All-Knowing and All-Wise, for example, are written on this page.
The Third Page: Through bestowing a different beauty and adornment on all the different members of those two creatures, many Names like Maker and Designer, for example, are written on this page.
The Fourth Page: Such a beauty and adornment are given to those two artefacts it is as though they have become embodied favours and munificence. This page mentions and recites numerous Names, like for example, O Gracious One! O Munificent One!
The Fifth Page: Through attaching delicious fruits to the flower and lovable children and a fine character to the beautiful woman, this page recites Names like O Loving One! O Compassionate One! O Bestower of Bounties!
The Sixth Page: On this page of bestowal and bounties, Names like O Merciful One! O Gentle One! are recited.
The Seventh Page: Flashes of such beauty are apparent in these bounties and results that they are worthy of a sincere gratitude and pure love which have been kneaded with true desire and compassion. On this page, the Names of O Beauteous One of Perfection! O Perfect One of Beauty! are inscribed and recited.
Thus, if the beautiful flower and human being display this number of Names, and that only in material and apparent form, you can conclude what exalted and universal Names all flowers and animate creatures, as well as vast, universal beings, cause to be recited.
You can also conclude how many luminous, sacred Names, like Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, and Giver of Life, man recites and causes to be recited by reason of his spirit, heart, mind, and through the pages of life and other subtle qualities.
Thus, Paradise is a flower. The company of houris is also a flower. The face of the earth is a flower. The spring is a flower. The heavens are a flower, while the stars are their gilded embroideries. And the sun is a flower, while the seven colours in its light are the flower’s embroidered colours.
The universe is a beautiful and huge human being, in the same way that each human being is a miniature universe. The company of houris, the assembly of spirit beings, the realm of angels, the congregation of jinn, and human kind, have all been formed, ordered, and created as if they were beautiful individuals. Just as they all display the Beauteous Maker’s Names through their universality, as does each individual singly, so are they all different mirrors to His beauty and perfection, mercy and love. All are truthful witnesses to His infinite beauty and perfection, mercy and love. All are signs and tokens of that beauty and perfection, mercy and love.
Thus, this infinite number of different sorts of perfections occurs within the sphere of Divine unity and oneness. That is to say, what are imagined to be perfections outside that sphere are not perfections at all.
Understand therefore that the reality of beings is based on and relies on the Divine Names; rather, that their true realities are the manifestations of those Names; and that everything mentions and glorifies its Maker with numerous tongues in numerous ways.
And understand one meaning of the verse:
And there is not a single thing but extols His glory and praise.2
Say, “Glory be to Him Who is hidden in the intensity of His manifestation.” And understand one reason why phrases like the following are repeatedly mentioned at the end of the Qur’an’s verses:
And He is the Mighty, the Wise.3* And He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.4* And He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.5
If you are unable to read the Names in a flower and cannot see them clearly, look at Paradise, study the spring, watch the face of the earth. You will be able to read clearly the Names written there, for they are the huge flowers of mercy. You will be able to see and understand their impresses and manifestations.
The Second Point of the Second Topic
When the representative of the people of misguidance could find no support or basis on which to build his misguidance and was thus defeated in argument, he said the following:
“I consider happiness in this world and life’s pleasures, and the progress of civilization and perfection of arts as all lying in refusal to think of the hereafter and to know Allah, in love of this world, in absolute freedom and licence and in relying exclusively on myself. And in so doing I have drawn most men onto this path, through the assistance of Satan, and continue to do so.”
The Answer: We say, in the name of the Qur’an: O wretched man! Come to your senses! Do not listen to the representative of the people of misguidance. If you do listen to him, your loss will be so great that your intelligence, spirit, and heart will shudder even to imagine it. There are two paths in front of you.
The First: The path of wretchedness laid out in front of you by the representative of the people of misguidance.
The Second: The path of happiness defined for you by the All-Wise Qur’an.
You will have noted and understood numerous comparisons between these two paths in the Words, particularly the Short Words. So, note and understand now one of those thousands of comparisons which is suitable to this discussion.
The path of assigning partners to Allah, misguidance, dissipation and vice causes man to fall to the lowest degree. Afflicted with infinite pains, he is forced to bear an infinitely heavy load on his weak and powerless shoulders. For if man does not recognize Allah and place his trust in Him, he becomes extremely weak and impotent, needy and impoverished, a suffering, grieving and ephemeral animal, exposed to endless misfortunes. Suffering continuously the pain of separation from all the objects of love and attachment, he will ultimately abandon all of his loved ones and go alone to the darkness of the grave.
Throughout his life, he struggles vainly, with an extremely limited will, slight power, a short lifespan and dull mind, against infinite pains and hopes. To no avail, he strives to attain innumerable desires and goals.
Even though he is unable to bear the burden of his own being, he takes the load of the vast world onto his wretched shoulders and mind. He suffers the torment of Hell before even arriving there.
Indeed, in order to avoid feeling this grievous pain, this awesome spiritual torment, the people of misguidance have recourse to a drunkenness that is like a form of stupor and thus are temporarily able to avoid feeling their pain. But when they do feel it, they suddenly feel the proximity of the grave. For whoever is not a true bondsman of Allah Almighty will imagine that he owns himself. But with his partial and limited will and his petty power and strength, he is unable to administer and control his being in this tempestuous world. He sees thousands of different sorts of enemy attacking his life, from harmful microbes to earthquakes. In an awesome state of painful fear he looks towards the door of the grave, that at all times appears dreadful to him.
While in this state, man will also be troubled by the state of the world and of mankind, for as a human being he is attached to both. But, he does not imagine them to be in the control of One All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Merciful and Generous, and has attributed them instead to chance and to nature. And so, together with his own pains, he suffers also the pains of the world and of mankind. Earthquakes, plagues, storms, famine and scarcity, separation and decease; all of this torments him in the most painful and sombre fashion.
But such a man is not worthy of pity and sympathy, for he himself is responsible for it.
In the Eighth Word is a comparison between two brothers who entered a well. One was not content with a refreshing, sweet, reputable, pleasant and licit drink at a splendid feast with pleasant friends in a beautiful garden and so drank some ugly and unclean wine in order to obtain illicit and impure pleasure. He became drunk and then imagined himself to be in some foul place in the middle of winter surrounded by wild beasts, and trembling cried out.
But such a man is not worthy of pity, for he imagined his honourable and blessed companions to be monsters, and thus insulted them. He also imagined the delicious foods and clean dishes at the feast to be impure and filthy stones and began smashing them. And the respected books and profound writings there to be meaningless and banal designs, and so ripped them up and trod on them.
Such a person is not merely unworthy of sympathy, rather, he deserves a good beating.
In exactly the same way, a person who, through incorrect choice and the lunacy of misguidance, is intoxicated with unbelief, imagines this hospice of the world, which belongs to the All-Wise Maker, to be the plaything of chance and natural forces. He fancies the passage of creatures into the World of the Unseen, that is in fact renewing the manifestation of the Divine Names, to be execution and annihilation. He supposes the echoes of those creatures’ glorification of Allah, who are accomplishing their duties with the passing of time, to be the lamentations of death and eternal separation. He deems the pages of created beings, which are inscriptions of the Eternally Besought One, to be meaningless and confused. He imagines the door of the grave, which opens onto the world of mercy, to be the entrance to the darkness of non-existence. And he deems the appointed hour, which is in reality an invitation to join his true friends, to be the onset of separation from all of them.
Such a person both brings upon himself grievous and ghastly torments, and denies, denigrates and insults all beings and Allah’s Names and His inscriptions. He is, therefore, not only unworthy of compassion and sympathy but also deserving of severe punishment. He is not in any way worthy of pity.
And so, O wretched people of misguidance and dissipation! What accomplishment of yours, what art, what perfection, what civilization, what progress, can confront this awesome silence of the grave, this crushing despair? Where can you find that true consolation that is the most urgent need of the human spirit?
What nature, what causality, what partner ascribed by you to Allah, what discovery, what nationality, what false object of worship, in each of which you place so much trust and to which you attribute Allah’s works and His sustaining bounties, which of them can deliver you from the darkness of death that you imagine to be eternal annihilation? Which of them can enable you to cross the frontiers of the grave, the boundaries of the intermediate realm, the marches of the plain of resurrection, the Bridge of Sirat? Or can bring about your eternal happiness?
But know that most definitely you will travel on this path for you cannot close the door of the grave. And a traveller on such a path ought to rely on one whose control and command embraces all this vast sphere and its extensive boundaries.
O wretched people of misguidance and neglect! In accordance with the principles that ‘the consequence of an illicit love is suffering a merciless torment,’ you are suffering a fully justified punishment, for you are unlawfully employing your innate capacity for love, knowledge, thanks and worship that relate properly to the essence, attributes and Names of Allah Almighty, on your own soul and the life of this world.
You have lavished the love that belongs to Allah Almighty on yourself. Your own soul has become your beloved and will cause you endless suffering: you are not giving true peace to that beloved. You are suffering constantly because you do not hand it over to the Possessor of Absolute Power Who is the only true beloved and you do not trust wholly in Him.
You suffer further misfortunes because you give to the world the love that belongs to Allah Almighty’s Names and attributes and divide up the works of His art among causes in the world. One group of those innumerable beloveds of yours will turn their backs on you and leave you without even saying good-bye. Another group will not even recognize you, or if they do, they will not love you. Or if they love you, their love will be of no use. You will constantly suffer from innumerable separations and farewells without hope of return.
This, then, is the essence and true nature of what the people of misguidance call life’s happiness, human perfection, the advantages of civilization and the pleasure of freedom. And dissipation and intoxication are but a veil; they temporarily block all feeling. So, say, “I spit on the intelligence of those who follow such a path.”
But as for the luminous highway of the Qur’an, it cures with the truths of faith all the wounds of the people of misguidance. It disperses all the gloom and darkness of that first path. It closes the door on all misguidance and perdition.
It cures man’s weakness, powerlessness, poverty and need with trust in One All-Powerful and Compassionate. For, handing over the burden of his life and being to His power and mercy instead of loading it on himself, man finds ease and comfort as if he were riding on his own life and soul. The Qur’an states that he is not a ‘rational animal’, but rather a true man and a well-accepted guest of the All-Merciful One.
It gently cures man of the wounds inflicted on him by the transience of the world, the ephemeral nature of things and the love of them, and delivers him from the darkness of delusion and fancy. It does this by showing the world to be a guest-house of the All-Merciful One, and the beings in it to be mirrors to the Divine Names and ever-fresh inscriptions of the Eternally Besought One.
It shows death and the appointed hour to be the bridge to the intermediate realm and the prelude to joining and meeting beloved ones already in the world of eternity. It thus cures the wounds inflicted by the notion of death as eternal separation, as held by the people of misguidance. It demonstrates that separation is in fact the truest form of meeting.
Further, by establishing that the grave is a door opening onto the world of mercy, an abode of happiness, a garden of Paradise, the luminous realm of the All-Merciful One, it dispels man’s most terrifying fear and shows that the apparently painful, troublesome and unpleasant journey to the intermediate realm is in fact the most pleasurable, enjoyable and joyous of journeys. With the grave, it shows that the grave is not a dragon’s mouth but is, rather, a door opening onto the garden of mercy.
The Qur’an also says to the believer, “Since you have only partial and restricted choice, hand over your affairs to your Owner’s universal will. Since your power is slight, rely on that of the Possessor of Absolute Power. Since your life is brief, think of eternal life. Do not fret! There is an unending life. If your mind is dull, let the sun of the Qur’an shine on you. Look with the light of belief, and instead of the fire-fly of your own mind, each verse of the Qur’an will illumine you like a star.
“Since you have innumerable hopes and pains, know that infinite reward and limitless mercy await you. Since you have innumerable desires and aims, do not think of them and become disturbed. This world cannot contain them; the proper place for them is another realm, and the one who will grant them is one other than yourself.”
The Qur’an also says, “O man! You do not own yourself. Rather, you are totally owned by One Whose power is infinite, an All-Compassionate One of Glory Whose mercy is infinite. Therefore, do not trouble yourself by shouldering the burden of your life, for it is He Who grants you life and administers it.
“Also, the world is not without an owner. So do not be anxious thinking of the state of it and load that burden onto your mind, for the world’s Owner is All-Wise and All-Knowing. You are a guest so do not be officious and meddlesome.
“Furthermore, creatures such as men and animals have not been left to their own devices, rather, they are all officials with specific duties. They are watched over by an All-Wise and Compassionate One. Do not distress your spirit thinking of their pains and afflictions. Do not try to be more sympathetic and kind-hearted than their All-Compassionate Creator.
“Also, the reins of all those things that are hostile to you, from microbes to plagues, storms, famine and earthquakes, are in the hands of that All-Compassionate All-Wise One. Being All-Wise, He does nothing in vain. Being All-Compassionate, His mercy is superabundant. There is a form of grace and favour contained in everything He does.”
The Qur’an also says, “This world is indeed ephemeral, nevertheless, it produces the necessities for an everlasting world. It is transient and fleeting, but it yields eternal fruits, and displays the manifestations of an Eternal Being’s eternal Names. Its pleasures are indeed few and its pains many, but the favours of the All-Merciful and Compassionate One are everlasting and true pleasures. And as for the pains of this world, they too yield a sort of pleasure by reason of the reward to be had for enduring them.
“Since the sphere of the licit is sufficient for all the pleasures, delights and joys of the spirit, heart and soul, do not approach the sphere of the illicit. For one pleasure within that sphere sometimes leads to a thousand pains. It will also cause the loss of the All-Merciful One’s favours, which are true and lasting pleasures.
“Furthermore, as described above, illicit pleasure on the path of misguidance causes man to fall to the lowest of the low. Then no civilization, no philosophy can provide a remedy for him, and no human progress and scientific advances can deliver him from that deep, dark pit. Whereas, the All-Wise Qur’an elevates man, through belief and good deeds, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, and demonstrates that it does this with clear proofs. And it fills in that deep pit with rungs of inner development and spiritual progress.
“Moreover, it facilitates man’s long, stormy and troublesome journey towards eternity. It shows him the means for traversing a distance of a thousand years, or rather of fifty thousand years, in a single day.
“Also, through making known the All-Glorious One, Who is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, it confers on man the position of a bondsman, guest and official entrusted with specific duties. And it ensures that he travels with the greatest ease both in the guest-house of this world and in the stages and stopping-places of the intermediate realm and the hereafter.
“A loyal official will travel in his monarch’s kingdom and pass through the frontiers of each province with ease, journeying by the fastest means, such as by aeroplane, ship or train. So too one who forms a relation with the Pre-Eternal Monarch through belief and obeys Him through good works will pass with the speed of lightning or of Buraq through the stages of this guest-house of the world, the spheres of the intermediate realm and the world of resurrection and the extensive frontiers of all the realms that are beyond the grave, until he attains eternal happiness.” The Qur’an proves this truth decisively and points it out to those who are purified and to the saints.
The truth of the Qur’an also says, “O believer! Do not give your infinite capacity for love to your ugly, defective, evil, and for you, harmful instinctual soul. Do not take it as your object of love and its whims as your object of worship. Take rather the One Who has bestowed on you that infinite capacity for love. He will also make you infinitely happy in the future, and, through His bounties, all those to whom you are attached and whose happiness makes you happy.
“Take for your object of love and worship One Who possesses infinite perfection and a beauty that is infinitely sacred, exalted, transcendent, faultless, flawless and unfading. The beauty of His mercy and the mercy of His beauty are demonstrated by all the beauties and bounties of Paradise. All of His Names are infinitely beautiful and in each of them are abundant lights of fairness and beauty. His beauty and perfection are indicated and pointed to by all the fairness, beauty, virtue and perfection of all lovable and loved objects in the cosmos.”
The Qur’an also says, “O man! Do not squander your infinite capacity to love, which properly belongs to His Names and attributes, on other transient creatures. For the works and creatures of Allah are ephemeral, but the Beautiful Names, whose impress and manifestation may be seen on them, are eternal and permanent. And in each of His Names and attributes there are thousands of degrees of bounty and beauty, perfection and love. Look only at the Name of All-Merciful: Paradise is a manifestation of it, eternal happiness, a flash of it, and all the sustenance and bounty in the world, a mere drop of it.”
Consider carefully, then, this verse which indicates the true nature of the people of misguidance and that of the people of belief, with regard to their lives and duties:
Verily We have created man in the fairest of forms, then sent him down to the lowest of the low, except for those who believe and do good deeds.6
And this verse that indicates their final result and outcome:
The heavens and the earth wept not over them.7
How sublimely and miraculously they express the comparison we have made. Since the truth expressed miraculously and concisely in the first verse is explained in detail in the Eleventh Word, we refer our readers to that part of the Risale-i Nur for a discussion of it.
As for the second verse, we shall show, through a brief indication, how sublime a truth it expresses. It is as follows.
The explicit meaning of the verse is that the heavens and the earth do not weep when the people of misguidance die. The implied meaning is that the heavens and the earth do weep when the people of belief depart this world. For the people of misguidance, through their denial of the duties and functions of the heavens and earth, their ignorance of their meaning, their rejection of their value, their refusal to recognize their Maker, are in fact acting insultingly and with hostility toward them. So, of course, the heavens and earth will not weep over them, but in fact curse them and rejoice at their death.
As for the implied meaning, that the heavens and earth weep over the death of the people of belief, this is because they know the duties and functions of the heavens and earth, assent to their true realities, and understand, through belief, the meanings they express. They say, “How beautifully they have been made, how finely they are carrying out their duties.” They respect them and assign them their true worth. They love them and the Names they mirror for the sake of Allah Almighty. And so it is for this reason that the heavens and earth grieve over the death of the people of belief as if weeping.
An Important Question
You say, “Love is not voluntary. And, as a consequence of innate need, I love delicious foods and fruits. I love my father, mother and children, my wife, and my friends and companions. I love the prophets and the saints. And I love my life and my youth, the spring, beautiful things and the world. How may I not love these things? So how should I rather give all this love to Allah Almighty’s essence, attributes and Names? What does this mean?
The Answer: Listen to four ‘Points’.
Indeed, love is not voluntary, but by means of the will love’s face may turn from one object of love to another. For example, when a beloved displays some ugliness or shows that he is a veil or mirror to another beloved, who is truly worthy of love, then love’s face may be turned from the metaphorical to the true beloved.
We do not tell you not to love the things you enumerated, but rather to love them for Allah Almighty’s sake and in the name of His love. For example, to love delicious foods and luscious fruits as being the bounty of Allah Almighty, the All-Merciful and Compassionate One, is to love His Names of All-Merciful and Bestower of Bounties, and, moreover, takes on the meaning of thanks. This love is to seek gain contentedly within the sphere of the licit, which shows that it is not only for the sake of the instinctual soul but is in the name of the All-Merciful One. It is to eat thoughtfully and with gratitude.
Furthermore, love and respect for parents, when for the sake of the wisdom and mercy that compassionately fitted you out and caused them to bring you up with tender care, pertain to Allah Almighty’s love. The sign that this love, respect and compassion are for Allah’s sake is that when they are old and are of no more use to you and bring you only trouble and difficulty, you are even more loving, kind and compassionate towards them. The verse,
Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in your care, never say to them a word of contempt,8
summons children to respect and be kind to their parents in five degrees, and demonstrates how important are the rights of parents in the eyes of the Qur’an, and how ugly ingratitude towards them.
A father desires only his son, and no one else, to be much better than himself, however, the son cannot claim any rights over his father in return for this. That is to say, there is no inherent cause for dispute between parents and child. This is because dispute arises from envy and jealousy and there is nothing of this in the father towards his son. Or it arises from abuse of rights and the son has no rights that he can claim against his father. If he considers his father to be unjust, he may not rebel against him. That is to say, one who does rebel against his father and cause him pain is a monster, a corrupted human being.
And, to love and protect children with perfect compassion and tenderness because they are gifts of the All-Compassionate and Generous One once again pertains to Allah. The sign indicating that that love is for Almighty Allah’s sake is patience and thankfulness should they die, rather than crying out in despair. It is to say, “He was a lovable little being created and owned by my Creator, Who entrusted him to my supervision. Now that His wisdom requires it to be thus, He has taken him from me, taken him to a better place. If I had one apparent share in that little creature, a thousand true shares belonged to his Creator.” It is to submit saying, “All authority is with Allah.”
As for friends and acquaintances, if they are friends of Allah Almighty by reason of their belief and good works, according to the meaning of ‘love for Allah’s sake,’ that love, too, pertains to Allah.
Furthermore, love and cherish your wife as a companionable and gracious gift of divine mercy. But do not fasten your love to her physical beauty, which swiftly fades. Rather, woman’s most attractive and agreeable beauty is the fineness of character that accompanies the delicacy and refinement peculiar to her. As for her most precious and sweet beauty, it is her earnest, sincere, sublime and luminous compassion. This beautiful tenderness and fineness of character continues and increases until the end of her days. Moreover, that weak and delicate creature’s rights of respect will be protected by that love. Otherwise, when her superficial beauty fades the poor woman will lose her rights, even when she most needs them.
And to love the prophets and saints as Allah Almighty’s most esteemed bondsmen is to do so for the sake and in the name of Allah Almighty, and from that point of view it pertains to Him.
And to love and preserve life as most precious wealth and capital that will gain eternal life, and a comprehensive treasury yielding eternal perfections which Almighty Allah has given to you and to all humanity, and to employ it in His service, is, once again, in one respect, love that pertains to the True Object of Worship.
Also, to admire, love and put to proper use the grace and beauty of youth as being a fine, sweet and beautiful bounty of Almighty Allah is a sort of licit and thankful love.
And to love the spring thoughtfully as being the page of the subtlest and most beautiful inscriptions of Almighty Allah’s luminous Names and the most finely adorned and glittering exhibition of the All-Wise Maker’s antique art is to love His Names.
And to love this world as being the tillage for the hereafter, as a mirror of the Divine Names and a missive of Allah Almighty, and as a temporary guest-house, on condition that the evil-commanding soul does not interfere, is to do so for Allah Almighty’s sake.
In short: Love this world and the creatures in it as pointing to a meaning beyond themselves, like a word. Do not love them just for themselves. Say, “How beautifully they have been made.” Do not say, “How beautiful they are.” Do not give any opportunity to other loves to enter into your inner heart because the inner heart is the mirror of the Eternally Besought One and pertains only to Him. Say, “O Allah, grant us love for You, and love for that which will draw us closer to You.”9
Thus, if in this form, all the loves that you have enumerated will give a pain-free pleasure, and, in one respect, an unending union. Moreover, they will increase love of Allah. They are licit loves. And are, furthermore a sort of gratitude which is pure pleasure, and thought, which is pure love.
For example, if a mighty king10 were to bestow an apple on you, there would be two loves for that apple and two pleasures in it. The first of these is that the apple would be loved because it is an apple, and there would be a pleasure peculiar to and to the extent of the apple. This love does not concern the king. On the contrary, the man who puts the apple to his mouth and eats it in the king’s presence loves the apple itself and his own soul rather than the king. It sometimes happens that the king is not pleased with that love which nourishes the instinctual soul; in fact, he detests it. Moreover, the pleasure that the apple gives is very limited and passes quickly. After the apple is eaten it is gone, only regret remains.
As for the second love, it is for the royal favour that is demonstrated by means of the apple. One who holds the apple precious as if it were the sample and embodiment of a royal favour shows that he loves his king. Moreover, the pleasure in that fruit, which is a sort of container for the favour, is such that it is far greater than the pleasure obtained from a thousand apples. This pleasure, then, is the essence of thankfulness. This love is a respectful love for the king.
In exactly the same way, if all bounties and fruits are loved for themselves, if they are thoughtlessly delighted in only for the material pleasures that they yield, that love is merely love of self. Also, those pleasures are transient and bring pain. But, if they are loved as favours proceeding from Almighty Allah’s mercy and as fruits of His munificence, and if pleasure is obtained from them with good appetite by appreciating the degree of kindness in that munificence and favour, then it has both the meaning of gratitude and is a pain-free pleasure.
There are levels in the love for Allah Almighty’s Names. As we explained above, sometimes the Names are loved with a love for finely made objects. Sometimes they are loved as being titles of the Divine perfections. Sometimes, man is needy and desirous of the Names by reason of the comprehensiveness of his true nature together with his having endless needs. It is through those needs that he loves.
For example, if someone was to come forward and do a kindness to all your relations, and the poor, the weak and the needy, for all of whom you feel sympathy although you are powerless to meet their need for help, how that person’s favour-granting title and generous name would please you, how you would love that person through that title.
So too, think only of Allah Almighty’s Names of All-Merciful and Compassionate. They make happy all the believing fathers and forefathers, relations and friends whom you love and feel sympathy for, in this world by means of all kinds of bounties, and in Paradise by means of all kinds of delights. They cause happiness by showing you in eternal bliss to them, and them in eternal bliss to you. So how deserving of being loved is the Name of All-Merciful and the title of All-Compassionate. And you can see for yourself just how needy for those two Names is the human spirit. And you can understand just how appropriate is the phrase, ‘Praise be to Allah for His mercifulness and His compassionateness.’
You are connected to the world and as a result are afflicted by its wretchedness, so if you consider carefully, you may understand just how needy and desirous is your spirit for the Name of All-Wise and for the title of Nurturer. For the Owner of those Names orders, regulates and sustains with perfect wisdom the world, which is like a sort of house for you, and the creatures within it, which are its familiar furniture and lovable decorations.
And you are altogether connected to other human beings and grieve when they die. So, if you consider carefully, you may understand just how needy is your spirit for the Names of Inheritor and Resurrector, and for the titles Eternal, All-Generous, Giver of Life, and Munificent. For the Owner of these Names saves human beings at the time of their death from the darkness of non-existence and establishes them in a far finer place than this world.
Thus, since man’s nature is exalted and his disposition comprehensive, he is, by his very nature, needy with thousands of different sorts of needs for the innumerable Divine Names, each of which has many degrees. Intensified need is longing. Intensified longing is love. And intensified love is passion. As the spirit is perfected, the degrees of love unfold according to the degrees of the Names. Furthermore, since the Names are the titles and manifestations of the One of Glory, love of them will be transformed into love of the Divine Essence.
Now, just as an example, we shall explain one of the innumerable degrees of the Names of All-Just, All-Wise, Truth, and All-Merciful. If you wish to see the Names of All-Merciful and Compassionate, and Truth within wisdom and justice to the utmost extent, consider the following comparison.
Let us suppose there is an army in which there are four hundred different sections. And the uniforms that each section prefers are different, the provisions that please them, the weapons they will carry with ease and the medicines to cure their particular ills are all different. Furthermore, rather than being separated into squads and companies, they are all intermingled.
If the peerless and single king, then, out of perfect compassion and solicitude, wonderful power, miraculous all-embracing knowledge and extraordinary justice and wisdom, without confusing or forgetting any of them were himself, in person, without helper, to give all of them their completely different though appropriate uniforms, provisions, medicines and weapons, would you not see what a powerful, solicitous, just and generous personage that king was. Because, if there were individuals from ten nations in one battalion, it would be extremely difficult to clothe and equip them all differently. Whatever people they were from they would of necessity have to be fitted out in the same way.
Similarly, if you wish to see the manifestation of the Names of Truth and All-Merciful and Compassionate within the justice and wisdom of Allah Almighty, look at the plant and animal armies comprising four hundred thousand magnificent nations with their tents pitched on the face of the earth in springtime. For those groups and sections are all one within the other. And the uniform of each one is different, and the provisions, weapons, way of life, drill and demobilization are all different. Furthermore, they do not have the power to provide for those needs and the tongues to ask for those wishes. So, watch and see the titles of Truth, All-Merciful, Provider, Compassionate and Generous together with order and equilibrium within the sphere of wisdom and justice. See how, without confusing, obscuring or forgetting any of them, He sustains, regulates and administers them all.
Could another hand, therefore, interfere in a matter performed with such amazing and all-encompassing order and balance? What, apart from the One Who is Single and Unique, Absolutely Wise, and Powerful over all things, could even stretch out its hand towards this art, this organizing, this sustaining, this administering? What cause could interfere?
You ask: “So long as they are in the form that the Qur’an commands, what are the results and benefits of all my different and various loves? That is, my love for food, myself, my wife, parents and children, my friends, the saints, the prophets, beautiful things, the spring and this world?”
The Answer: It would be necessary to write a thick book in order to explain all the results. For now only one or two results will be briefly alluded to. Firstly, the immediate results in this world will be explained, then those that will become apparent in the hereafter will be mentioned.
As was explained above, loves such as those of the people of neglect and those attached to this world, that are for the sake of the evil-commanding soul, bring many tribulations, and much pain and suffering in this world. While the ease, pleasures and enjoyment they bring are little and few.
For example, compassion becomes a painful calamity on account of impotence. Love becomes a calamitous misfortune on account of separation. Pleasure becomes a poisoned cup on account of its transience. And in the hereafter, because they were not for Allah Almighty’s sake, they will either be without benefit or will be torment. (If they were illicit.)
Question: How might love for the prophets and saints be without benefit?
The Answer: In the same way that the love of the Christians for Jesus (Peace be upon him), and the heretics for ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) remain without benefit. If that love is in the form that the Qur’an directs, for Allah Almighty’s sake and in the name of the All-Merciful One’s love, then it has favourable results both in this world and in the hereafter.
Now, to return to our subject, the results in this world of your love for delicious foods and luscious fruits will be that they are a pain-free bounty and a pleasure that is the essence of gratitude.
Your love of your instinctual soul. The result will be pity it, to train it, and to prevent harmful desires. Then the soul will not ride you, it will not make you a prisoner of its desires, rather, you will ride it. You will drive your soul, not to whims and fancies, but to right-guidance.
Your love for your wife. Since it will be built on her being a mine of tenderness, a gift of compassion and on her fineness of character, if you have sincere love and affection for her, she too will have earnest love and respect for you. As the two of you approach old age these sentiments will increase, you will pass your life happily. But if it is otherwise, if it is love of a pretty face and for the sake of the instinctual soul, then that love will be quickly destroyed and so too will be good relations.
Your love for your father and mother. Since it will be for Allah Almighty’s sake, it will be both worship and the older they grow the more your love and respect for them will increase. If you earnestly desire and pray, with the noblest of sentiments and most manly zeal, that they will live far into old age, and even kiss their hands with sincere respect and say, “Let me gain even more reward on their account”, it will obtain for you a most elevated pleasure of the spirit. But if it is otherwise, and for the sake of the soul and this world, when they grow old and approach the time of becoming a burden for you, if you show them, with the most base and despicable sentiment, that they are a nuisance and then wish for the deaths of those respected people, who were the cause of your life, it will be savage and grievous pain for the spirit.
Your love for your children. As for love for those lovable, friendly creatures whom Allah Almighty entrusts to your supervision and upbringing, it will be a most happy love, a most happy bounty. Neither shall you suffer too much pain at their misfortunes, nor shall you cry out with despair at their deaths. As was stated above you will say, “Since their Creator is both All-Wise and Compassionate, as far as they are concerned, that death is happiness.” Moreover, concerning yourself, you will think of the mercifulness of the One Who gave them to you and you will be saved from the pain of separation.
Your love for your friends. Since it is for Allah’s sake, because separation from those friends, and even their deaths, will not be an obstacle to your conversing and your brotherhood, you will benefit from that immaterial love and relation of the spirit. And the pleasure of meeting will be permanent. If it is not for the sake of Allah, the pleasure of one day’s meeting will result in the pain of a hundred days’ separation.11
Your love for the prophets and saints. Since the intermediate realm, which seems to the people of neglect to be a dark, lonely and desolate place, appears to you as a stopping-place illuminated by the presence of those luminous beings, the fact that you will go there will not induce terror and fright, but, on the contrary, an inclination towards it and a feeling of longing; it will not drive away the pleasure of worldly life.
But if it is otherwise, if love for the prophets and saints is of the same sort as the love of the subscribers to modern culture for their idols and heroes, on thinking of the death and disappearance of those perfect human beings and of their rotting in that mighty grave known as the past, it will add one more sorrow to lives that are already painful. That is to say, each will say to himself, “I too will end up in the grave, which rots even such perfect men.”
Whereas, when they are seen from the first point of view, they are thought of with complete ease of mind, for they have discarded the clothes of their bodies in the past and now their dwelling-place is the intermediate realm, which is the waiting-room for the future. And the graveyard will be seen as having a familiarity and friendliness.
Your love for beautiful things. Since it is for the sake of the One Who fashioned them, it will be in the manner of, “How beautifully they have been made.” This love is pleasurable thought and it causes the gaze of beauty-worshipping delight to see the more elevated and holy and thousand times more beautiful treasures of the degrees of Allah’s beauty. This love opens up a way to these treasures because it transfers the eye from those beautiful works to the beauty of the Divine actions. And it opens a way from them to the beauty of the Names, and from them to the beauty of the attributes, and from them to the One of Glory’s peerless beauty; it opens a way to the heart. Thus, if this love is in this form, it is both pleasurable, and it is worship, and it is thought.
Your love of youth. Since you have loved it as a beautiful bounty of Allah Almighty, you have, of course, done so in worship, you have not drowned it in dissipation and destroyed it. Since this is the case, the worship you have gained during your youth is the undying fruit of that transient state. As you grow older, because you will have obtained the enduring fruits that are the positive aspect of youth, you will have been saved from its harm and excesses.
Also, in old age you will see that you have achieved success in performing more worship, and so will be more worthy to receive Divine mercy. Unlike the people of neglect, you will not feel sadness for the pleasures of youth that lasted five or ten years, then wail for fifty years, “Alas, my youth has fled!” Neither will you be like one of them who said, “If only my youth would return one day, I would tell it of the woes old age has brought me.”
Your love for finely adorned exhibitions like the spring. Since it is in the form of contemplating Divine artistry, when the spring ends the pleasure of the spectacle does not fade. For the meanings that the spring delivers, like a gilded missive, may be contemplated all the time. Both your imagination and time are like films in the cinema, they both cause the pleasure of that contemplation to continue for you, and they renew the spring’s meanings and beauties. Your love, therefore, cannot be temporary and full of regret and pain. Rather, it will be full of pleasure and enjoyment.
Your love of this world. Since it is in the name of Allah Almighty, the formidable creatures of this world will be like familiar friends for you. Since you love it as the tillage for the hereafter, you will be able to find in everything capital or a fruit that will produce benefits in the hereafter. Neither will its disasters frighten you, nor will its transience and ephemerality trouble you. You will pass your sojourn in this guest-house with the greatest of ease. But should you love it as the people of neglect do, then as we have told you a hundred times, you will drown and perish in a fruitless love, condemned to a depressing, crushing and suffocating transitoriness.
Thus we have shown only one subtle point out of hundreds from each of the loves you enumerated, when they are in the form that the Qur’an directs. We indicated too one hundredth of the harm they cause if they are not in this way. Now, if you want to hear and understand the results of these loves in the eternal realm, in the world of the hereafter, the results to which the All-Wise Qur’an points with its clear and distinct verses, then we shall show briefly by means of an Introduction and nine Indications the results and one hundredth of the benefits of those various licit loves in the hereafter.
Allah Almighty, with His glorious Divinity, His beautiful mercy, His mighty dominicality, His generous benevolence, His immense power, and His subtle wisdom, has equipped and adorned tiny man with many senses and feelings, limbs and systems, members and faculties, and subtle and immaterial aspects so that through them He might cause man to perceive, know, taste and recognize the limitless varieties and levels of His bounty, munificence and mercy; and so that, through these tools, He might cause man to ponder over, know and love the endless kinds of manifestations of His thousand and one Names. Just as each of man’s great many members and faculties performs a completely different service and worship, so too does each of them have completely different pleasures, pains, duties and rewards.
For example, the eye beholds the beauty of forms and the varieties of the beautiful miracles of power in the world of things seen. Its duty, taking its lesson from these, is gratitude to its Maker. The pleasures and pains peculiar to sight are known, there is no need to enlarge upon them.
And, for example, the ear perceives the various sorts of sounds and their melodious songs, and the subtle instances of Allah Almighty’s mercy in the world of things heard. Its worship, pleasures and rewards are all different.
And, for example, the sense of smell perceives the subtle instances of mercy within the realm of scents. It has a duty of gratitude and pleasure peculiar to itself. And, of course, it has a reward, too.
And, for example, the sense of taste, in the tongue; through appreciating all the tastes of foods, it performs its duty with a truly diverse thankfulness; and so on. All man’s faculties, including his important subtle aspects such as the heart, intellect and spirit, have quite distinct duties, pleasures and pains.
Thus, Allah Almighty, the Possessor of Absolute Wisdom, will certainly give suitable recompense to each one of those faculties, which He employs in human beings. Everyone may perceive with his conscience the immediate results in this world of those numerous varieties of love, as was explained above, and they may be confirmed through experience.
As for the results in the hereafter, their existence and reality have been conclusively, through briefly, proved by the decisively clear Twelve Truths of the Tenth Word, and by the six self-evident Fundamental Points of the Twenty-Ninth Word. They are also clearly demonstrated in detail by the distinct verses and the explanations, allusions, symbols and indications of the All-Wise Qur’an, which is, ‘The most truthful of all words, most eloquent in its order, the Word of Allah - The Lord, The Mighty, The All-Knowing.’ There is no need to present more extensive proofs. In any case, there are further proofs in other Words: in the Second Station of the Twenty-Eighth Word, which is about Paradise and is in Arabic, and in the Twenty-Ninth Word.
According to the Qur’an, the result in the hereafter of licit and thankful love for delicious foods and fruits is again delicious food and fruit, but in a form appropriate for Paradise. This licit love desires those foods and fruits of the hereafter. So much so that when you utter the phrase ‘Praise be to Allah’ over the fruit you eat in this world, it will be embodied as a fruit of Paradise and presented to you there. Here you eat fruit, while there you will eat ‘Praise be to Allah’.
Since you see Divine munificence and the All-Merciful One’s favours in bounty and food, as is established by Hadith, the indications of the Qur’an, and the requirements of wisdom and mercy that that pleasurable gratitude will be given to you in Paradise in the form of a truly delicious food.12
Licit love for your instinctual soul in this world is not a love built on its good qualities, but rather one that sees its short-comings and trains it with a compassion that seeks to perfect it, and that impels it towards good. This love results in giving to the soul objects of love worthy of it in Paradise.
As is explicitly stated and proved by a great number of verses in the Qur’an, when the soul utilises its desires and wishes correctly and employs its faculties and senses in the best way in this world, that is, in the way of Allah Almighty, as a result of this licit and worshipful love the Absolutely Generous One will bestow on it houris in Paradise, the everlasting realm. He will clothe these houris in seventy varieties of the finery of Paradise. He will adorn their beings with seventy kinds of beauty that will caress and gratify all the senses of the soul. Each houri will be like a miniature animated Paradise.
Furthermore, your love of youth in this world, that is, the result of expending the power of youth in worship, will be eternal youth in the realm of bliss.
Licit love for your wife in this world is sincere love in consequence of her delicate tenderness, fine virtues and good character, together with your protecting her from disobeying Allah obstinately and sinning. The Absolutely Merciful One has promised that as a result of this licit love your wife shall be given to you as an eternal wife in the hereafter, the realm of bliss. She will be in a form more beautifully adorned and attractive than the Houris. You will relate to one another in delight your former adventures in the world, bringing to mind old memories. She will be an intimate, gracious and eternal friend, who loves and is beloved. And, most certainly, that which He promises shall definitely be given.
The result of licit love for parents and children is this. According to the Qur’an, the Most Merciful of the Merciful will bestow on that happy family, even though their stations may be quite different, the pure pleasure of each other’s company in the everlasting realm.
He will return children who die before reaching the age of fifteen years, that is, the age of puberty, once more to the embrace of their fathers and mothers, in a manner appropriate to Paradise. They will be most beautifully adorned and lovable, in the form of the children of Paradise, who are known as immortal youths.13 He will gratify their child-cherishing sentiments and will give them that pleasure and delight eternally. Since those children had not reached the age of responsibility, they will remain eternally as lovable and sweet children.
Every pleasurable thing in this world will be found in its highest form in Paradise. Some people surmise that since Paradise is not appropriate for reproduction, there will be none of this cherishing of children, which is so sweet, that is, the pleasure of loving and caressing them. But it will be there too and in the most delightful and sweet form. This then is good news for those whose children die before puberty.
The result of love for righteous friends in this world, according to the decree of, ‘Love for Allah’s sake’ is, as the Qur’an states, Facing one another on thrones of happiness.14 Allah Almighty will seat them on the chairs of Heaven facing one another. He will cause them to meet with their friends, pleasantly, agreeably and sweetly. They will enjoy themselves recounting their old memories and adventures in this world, with a pure love and companionship that will not be subject to separation.
The result of love for the prophets and saints is as the Qur’an explains. That is, it will be both to benefit in the intermediate world and at the resurrection from the intercession of the prophets and saints, and also to profit abundantly, through that love, from the station and blessings that befit them.
Indeed, according to the meaning of ‘a person will be together with whom he loves,’15 an ordinary man may approach the highest station by following an exalted person whom he loves.
The result of licit love for beautiful things and the spring. That is, to see with the eye of, ‘how beautifully they have been made,’ and to love the beauty and order of the acts, which lie behind those works of art. To love the manifestations of the Beautiful Names, which lie behind the order and harmony of the actions, and to love the manifestations of the attributes behind those Beautiful Names. And so on.
The result will be to see in Paradise, the everlasting realm, the manifestation of the Names, and the beauty and attributes within the Names, in a form a thousand times more beautiful than the beautiful creatures to be seen here.
More than this even, Imam-i Rabbani (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “The subtle exquisiteness of Paradise will be the similitude of the manifestation of Allah’s Names.”16Just think of it!
The result in the hereafter of thoughtful love in this world for the two beautiful faces of the world, which are the tillage for the hereafter and the mirror of the Divine Names. An everlasting Paradise will be given that is as large as the world but is not ephemeral and transient like this world. And the Names, only pale shadows of which are shown in this world, will be displayed in the mirror of Paradise in a most brilliant form.
Moreover, the result of loving the world as being the tillage of the hereafter is as follows. When the world is seen thus, that is, as a seed-bed or small place of cultivation that produces only shoots, it results in a Paradise where those shoots burgeon and blossom. For in this world man’s senses and faculties are tiny shoots and in Paradise they will unfold in the most perfect form. And his abilities, which are here like tiny seeds, will be given to him there in a form that will blossom with all sorts of delights and perfections. This is proved by the indications of the Qur’an and by Hadith, and is necessitated by mercy and wisdom.
For it is not blameworthy love of the world, which is the source of every fault, but love of its two faces that look to Allah’s Names and to the hereafter, and is for the sake of the Names and the hereafter. It is to cultivate those faces with thoughtful worship, as if taking the whole world as the means for worship. It is, therefore, most definitely necessitated by mercy and wisdom that a reward should be given that is as large as the world. And, one who through love of the hereafter, has loved its seed-bed, and through love of Almighty Allah, has loved the mirror of His Names, will most certainly desire a beloved like the world, and that too will be a Paradise as great as the world.
Question: What is the use of such a vast and empty Paradise?
Answer: If it was possible for you to travel with speed of imagination round all the regions of the earth and most of the stars, you would be able to say, “The whole universe is mine.” The fact that the angels, other human beings and the animals share the world with you would not quash your claim. In the same way, if Paradise is thus full, you would be able to say, “Paradise is mine.” The meaning of the Hadith, “A five hundred year Paradise will be given to some of those in Paradise,” has been explained in the Twenty-Eighth Word and the Twentieth Flash, the Treatise on Sincerity.
The result of faith and love of Allah. It is proved by the consensus of the people of unveiling and verification, by certain Hadith,17 and by the Qur’an that a thousand years of happy life in this world is not worth one hour of life in Paradise, and that a thousand years of heavenly life is not worth one hour’s vision and contemplation of the All-Glorious One, Who possesses incomparable beauty and perfection.
Everyone may perceive in his conscience a great longing for the vision of a personage famous for his magnificence and perfection, like the Prophet Solomon (Peace be upon him), and a great yearning to behold a personage distinguished by his beauty, like the Prophet Joseph (Peace be upon him). And so, if you can, compare how longed-for, sought after, and desire-arousing is the vision of One, one manifestation of Whose beauty and perfection are all the virtues and perfections of Paradise, which are thousands of times more elevated than all the virtues and perfections of this world.
O Allah, bestow upon us in this world love for You and love for that which will draw us closer to You, and the right-guidedness that You have commanded, and, in the next world Your mercy and the vision of You.
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; You are indeed All-Knowing, All-Wise.18
O Allah, grant blessings and peace to the one whom You sent as a mercy to all the worlds, and to all his Family and Companions. Amen.
Do not consider over-lengthy the detailed explanations in the last section of this Word; they are short in relation to their importance and require further explanation.
It is not I who speaks in any of the Words; it is reality in the name of ‘INDICATIONS FROM THE QUR’AN.’ As for reality, it speaks the truth. Should you see anything incorrect, then you can be certain that without my being aware of it my own ideas interfered and caused the error.
O Allah! When a man knocks on the door of a grand palace and it is not opened to him, he knocks on it and calls out in the voice of someone who is familiar to the palace, so that it may be opened. And so this wretched one knocks on the door of the Court of Your Mercy crying out in the voice of Your well-loved servant Uveysu'l-Qarani and with his supplication. Open that Court of Yours to me, as you opened it to him! I cry out as he did:
O Allah! You are our Sustainer, for we are mere slaves; we are powerless to sustain and raise ourselves. That is to say, the One Who sustains us is You! And it is You Who is the Creator, for we are creatures, we are being made! And it is You Who is the Provider, for we are in need of provision, we have no power! That is to say, the One One Who creates us and bestows on us our provisions is You! And it is You Who is the Owner, because we are totally owned property; someone other than us has power of disposal over us. That is to say, it is You Who is our Owner! And You, You are Mighty! You possess grandeur and sublimity! As for us we look to our baseness and see that there are manifestations of a mightiness on us. That is to say, we are mirrors to Your mightiness! And it is You Who is the Possessor of Absolute Riches, because we are utterly wanting, and riches are bestowed on us that our indigent hands could not obtain. That is to say, it is You Who is rich, the One Who gives is You! And You, You are the Ever-Living, Ever-Enduring One, because we, we are dying, and in our dying and in our being resurrected we see the manifestation of a perpetual giver of life! And You, You are Ever-Enduring, because we see Your continuation and perpetualness in our demise and transience! And the One Who responds to us and answers us, the Granter of Gifts is You. For all of us beings, we are ever crying out and requesting, entreating, imploring by tongue and by state. And our desires are brought about, our aims are achieved. In other words, the One Who answers us is You!...
So forgive me my sins and bear with me and heal my ills, O my Allah! O All-Sufficing One! O Sustainer! O Faithful One! O Most Compassionate One! O Healer! O Munificent One! O Forgiving One! Pardon all my sins, and grant me health from all sicknesses, and be pleased with me for all eternity! Through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!
And the close of their prayer will be: All praise be to Allah, the Sustainer of All the Worlds!
1. Qur'an, 17:44
2. Qur'an, 17:44
3. Qur'an, 3:62, etc.
4. Qur'an, 42:5, etc.
5. Qur'an, 30:54, etc.
6. Qur'an, 95:4-6.
7. Qur'an, 44:29.
8. Qur'an, 17:23.
9. Kanz'al-Ummal, i, 195, Waliuddin Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih, i, 762.
10. Once two tribal chiefs entered the presence of a king. They were in exactly the same situation as is described here.
11. Once second's meeting for Allah's sake is a year. Whereas, if it is for the sake of this world, a year is second.
12. Baghawi, Masabih al-Sunna, iii, 197; Musnad,iii, 439; Ibn Maja, ii, 1093, no:3285
13. Qur'an, 76:19, 56:17.
14. Qur'an, 15:47, 37:44
15. See, page 515, footnote 4.
16. Suyuti, al Fath al-Kabir, iii, 62; al-Manawi,Fayd al-Qadir, v, 373.
17.Included in the Hadith is the following: "That vision far surpasses all the other delights of Paradise, so much sot that it causes them to be forgotten. ;And after the vision the loveliness and beauty of those who experience it will have increased to such a degree that when they return, it will be only with difficulty and scrutiny that their families in their mansions will recognize them."*
*al-Munzuri, al-Targhib wa'l-Tarhib, iv, 541, 556.
18. Qur'an, 2:32.
Please click on the following link to continue reading;
- First Fruit: The place of love in the realm of beings; the targets where love and fear should be directed at. What is the fear of Allah? How is it achieved?
- What does it mean to love ones child, a friend, and parents for the sake of Allah? What are the criteria of loving for the sake of Allah?
- First Branch: The manifestation of different names of Allah on various creatures and levels of living beings.
- Third Aim: The explanation of verses such as “The Best of Creators” and “The Most Compassionate of the Compassionate” and the answer to the question about the perfection of the Creator of all the worlds.
- Al-Latif (The Gracious)
- The Second Addendum to the Twenty-Fourth Letter: It is a short explanation about the Ascension (Miraj) of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) and his Birth. The meaning of Mawlid and the necessity of reciting Mawlid.
- How can I increase my love of Allah and the Prophet in me? I want my love toward them to be bigger.
- The Eighteenth Word: First Point: The share of the human soul in achievements; conceit and thanking
- Is it permissible for a man to buy a present for his wife on Valentine’s Day?
- The Fourth Question shows the way of accessing true love from metaphorical love.