Second Station: It is a summary about the proof of oneness from the point of the Greatest Name.
[The Second Station proves Divine Unity at the level of the Greatest Name, briefly and in summary form.]
THE FIRST PHRASE: ‘There is no god but Allah.’
In this phrase is an affirmation of the Unity of the Godhead and of the True Object of Worship. An extremely powerful proof of this degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity is as follows:
A most orderly activity is apparent on the face of the universe, especially on the page of the earth. And we observe there a most wise creativity. And we clearly see a most systematic unfolding; that is, the opening up and giving of an appropriate shape and form to everything. Furthermore, we see a most compassionate, generous, and merciful munificence and bountifulness. Since this is so, it of necessity proves, indeed provokes awareness of, the necessary existence and Unity of an Active, Creative, Opening, Munificent Possessor of Glory.
Indeed, the constant disappearance and renewal of beings demonstrate that those beings are the manifestations of the sacred Names of an All-Powerful Maker, and are shadows of the lights of His Names; that they are works of art resulting from His actions, and impressions and pages inscribed by the pen of Divine Determining and power; that they are mirrors reflecting the beauty of His perfection.
Just as the Owner of the universe proves this mighty truth and exalted degree in the affirmation of His Unity with all the scriptures and sacred books which He has revealed, so have all the people of truth and the perfected members of the human race proved this same degree through all their investigations and discoveries. The universe too points to this same degree through the unceasing witnessing of the miracles of art, wonders of power, and treasuries of wealth that it displays, despite its impotence and poverty. That is to say, the scriptures and books of the Pre-Eternal Witness, and the investigations and unveilings of the people of witnessing, and the orderly states and wise and purposeful functions of the Manifest World are united in their agreement on this degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity.
Those who do not accept the Single One of Unity, therefore, must either accept innumerable gods, or else like the foolish Sophists, deny both their own existence and that of the universe.
THE SECOND PHRASE: ‘He is One.’
This phrase demonstrates an explicit degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity. A convincing and comprehensive argument proving it is as follows:
When we open our eyes, when the universe fastens our gaze on its face, the first thing to attract our attention is a universal and perfect order; we see that there is a comprehensive and sensitive equilibrium; everything exists within a precise order and delicate balance and measure.
When we look a little more carefully, a continual ordering and balancing strike our eye. That is to say, someone is changing the order with regularity and renewing the balance with measuredness. Everything is a model and is clothed in a great many well-ordered and balanced forms.
When we study it even more closely, a wisdom and justice appear behind the ordering and balancing. A purpose and benefit are considered, a truth, a usefulness are followed in the motion of everything, even the minutest particles.
When we study it with even greater attention, what strikes the gaze of our consciousness is the demonstration of a power within an extremely wise activity, and the manifestation of a most comprehensive knowledge which encompasses all things together with all their attributes.
That is to say, this order and balance which are in all beings show us plainly a universal ordering and balancing, and the ordering and balancing show us a universal wisdom and justice; and the wisdom and justice in turn show us a power and knowledge. That is, it is apparent that behind these veils is One Powerful over all things Who has Knowledge of all things.
Furthermore, we look to the beginning and end of all things, and we see, particularly in animate creatures, that their beginnings, origins, and roots are such that it is as if their seeds contain all the systems and members of those creatures, each in the form of an instruction sheet and timetable. And again, their fruits and results are such that the meanings of those animate creatures are filtered and concentrated in them; they bequeath their life histories to them. It is as if their seeds are collections of the principles according to which they are created, and their fruits and results a sort of index of the commands of their creation. Then we look to the outer and inner faces of those animate creatures: the free disposal of an utterly wise power and the fashioning and ordering of an utterly effective will are apparent. That is, a strength and power create; a command and will clothe with form.
Thus, when we study all beings carefully, we observe that their beginnings are instruction sheets prepared by One Possessing Knowledge, and that their ends are plans and manifestos of a Maker; that their outer faces are skilful and beautifully proportioned dresses of artistry devised by One Who Chooses and Wills, and their inner faces, most well-designed machines of an All-Powerful One.
This situation, therefore, necessarily and self-evidently proclaims that no time and no place, absolutely nothing, can be outside the grip of power of one single Glorious Maker. Each thing and all things, together with all of their attributes, are organized and directed within the grip of power of an All-Powerful Possessor of Will; they are made beautiful through the ordering and graciousness of a Merciful and Compassionate One; and they are embellished with the adorning of a Loving Benefactor.
Indeed, for anyone who is intelligent and has eyes in his head, the order and equilibrium, and ordering and adorning that there are in the universe and in the beings within it demonstrate, at the degree of Unity, One Who is Single, Sole, Solitary, Unique, All-Powerful, Possessing of Will, All-Knowing, and All-Wise.
Assuredly, there is a unity in everything, and as for unity, it points to one. For example, the whole world is illuminated by one lamp, the sun; in which case, the Owner of the world is One. And, for example, all the animate creatures on the earth are served by air, fire, and water, which are the same. Since this is so, the One Who employs them and subjugates them to us is also One.
THE THIRD PHRASE: ‘He has no partner.’
Since the First Station of the Thirty-Second Word has proved this phrase in a most cogent and brilliant fashion, we refer you to that. It cannot be more clearly elucidated; there is no need for further explanation.
THE FOURTH PHRASE: ‘His is the dominion.’
That is, every creature from the face of the earth to the Divine Throne, from the ground to the Pleiades, from the minutest particles to the heavenly bodies, everything from pre-eternity to post-eternity, the heavens and the earth, this world and the hereafter, belongs to Him. His is the highest degree of ownership in the form of the greatest affirmation of Divine Unity. A mighty proof of this highest degree of ownership in the form of the greatest affirmation of Divine Unity was imparted to this powerless one’s mind in Arabic at a pleasant time and in pleasant circumstances. For the sake of that pleasant memory we shall note down those same phrases and then write their meanings:
His is the dominion because: the macrocosm is similar to the microcosm; what is fashioned by His power is a missive expressing His determining; His creating the macrocosm makes it as a place of prostration, while His giving of existence to the microcosm makes it as prostrating; His bringing the former into being makes it as a property, while His giving of existence to the latter makes it as owned; His art in the former displays it as a book, while His colouring in the latter shines through speech; His power in the former reveals His majesty, while His mercy in the latter arrays His bounty; His majesty in the former testifies that He is One, while His bounty in the latter proclaims that He is Single, Undivided; His stamp on the former is on all things, universal and particular, while His seal on the latter is on the body and on the limbs.
F i r s t S e c t i o n : ‘The macrocosm is similar to the microcosm; what is fashioned by His power is a missive expressing His determining.’ That is, the macrocosm, which is called the universe, and the microcosm, which is its miniature specimen and is called man, point to evidences of Divine Unity, both within man’s self and without it, that are written by the pens of Divine Power and Divine Determining.
There is within man the sample, on a very small scale, of the orderly art which is in the universe. And as the art which is in the vast sphere testifies to the Single Maker, so the microscopic art which is on a tiny scale in man points to the Maker and demonstrates His Unity. Moreover, as man is a meaningful missive inscribed by his Sustainer, and a well-composed ode written by Divine Determining, so is the universe a well-composed ode of Divine Determining written by that same pen, but on a vast scale.
Is it at all possible that anything other than the Single One of Unity could have a hand in placing the stamp of uniqueness on men’s faces, which, although they resemble one another, all have their distinguishing marks; and have a hand in setting the seal of Unity on the universe, all of whose creatures co-operate, helping and supporting one another? Could anything interfere in this?
S e c o n d S e c t i o n : ‘His creating the macrocosm makes it as a place of prostration, while His giving of existence to the microcosm makes it as prostrating.’ It has this meaning: the All-Wise Maker created the macrocosm in such a novel, wonderful form, inscribing on it the signs of His grandeur, that He transformed it into a mighty mosque. And He created man in this way: giving him intellect and causing him to prostrate in wonderment with it at those miracles of His art and at His wondrous power, He caused him to read the signs of His grandeur. Thus girding him ready for worship in that mighty mosque, He created him as a prostrating slave.
Is it at all possible that the true object of worship of those prostrating worshippers in this mighty mosque could be other than the Maker, the One of Unity and Oneness?
T h i r d S e c t i o n : ‘His bringing the former into being makes it as a property, while His giving of existence to the latter makes it as owned.’ It has this meaning: the Glorious Lord of All Dominion created the macrocosm, and especially the face of the earth, in such a form that it is like countless concentric circles or spheres. Every sphere is like an arable field where, minute by minute, season by season, century by century, He sows, reaps, and harvests crops. He continuously administers His property, causing it to work.
He has made the world of minute particles, the largest sphere, into a field. With His power and with His wisdom, He unceasingly sows crops in it to the extent of the universe, and reaps and harvests them. He despatches them from the Manifest World to the World of the Unseen; from the sphere of power to the sphere of knowledge.
Next He has made the face of the earth, which is a medium sphere, a place of cultivation in exactly the same way, where, season by season, He plants worlds, species, and reaps and harvests them. His immaterial crops too He sends to the immaterial worlds, to the Worlds of the Unseen, and the hereafter, and the World of Similitudes.
A garden, too, which is a smaller sphere, He fills hundreds and thousands of times with power and empties with wisdom. And from the even smaller sphere of an animate creature, a tree or a human being, for example, He harvests crops which are a hundred times greater than the being itself. That is to say, the Glorious Lord of All Dominion creates all things, great and small, universal and particular, as a model, and clothes them in hundreds of ways in the weavings of His art, which are embroidered with continuously renewed inscriptions; He displays the manifestations of His Names, the miracles of His power. He has created everything in His property as a page; He writes meaningful letters in hundreds of ways on each page; He displays His wisdom, His signs, and He invites intelligent creatures to read them.
Together with bringing the macrocosm into being in the form of a cultivated property, He has created man and has given him such tools and abilities, senses, feelings, and especially such a soul, such desires, needs, appetities, greed and claims, that in that extensive property He made him like a creature totally owned and needy for the property.
Is it therefore at all possible that anything apart from the Glorious Lord of All Dominion Who makes everything, from the vast world of minute particles to a fly, as a field and cultivated property, and makes insignificant man a spectator, an inspector, a tiller, a merchant, a herald, a worshipper, and a slave in that vast property and takes him as an honoured guest and beloved addressee of Himself-could anything apart from Him have free disposal over the property and be lord over the totally owned slave?
F o u r t h S e c t i o n : ‘His art in the former displays it as a book, while His colouring in the latter shines through speech.’ Its meaning is this: the Glorious Maker’s art in the macrocosm is so meaningful that because it is manifested in the form of a book, thus making the universe like a huge volume, the human intellect has extracted the library of true natural science and philosophy from it and has written the library according to it. And that book of wisdom is bound to reality and draws assistance from reality to such a degree that it has been proclaimed in the form of the All-Wise Qur’an, which is a copy of that huge manifested book.
Moreover, just as His art in the universe is in the form of a book, describing its perfect orderedness, so His colouring and the inscription of His wisdom in man has opened the flower of speech. That is, the art is so meaningful, sensitive, and beautiful that it has caused the components of that animate machine to speak, as though they were gramophones. While the art has given man such a dominical colouring in his ‘fairest of forms’ that the flower of speech and expression, which is immaterial, insubstantial and living, has opened in his material, corporeal and solid head. And it has equipped the power of speech and expression, which is situated in man’s head, with such exalted tools and abilities that it has caused it to develop and progress to a degree where man becomes the addressee of the Pre-Eternal Monarch. That is, the dominical colouring in man’s essential nature has opened the flower of Divine address.
Is it at all possible that anything other than the Single One of Unity could interfere in the fashioning of that art in creatures, which is in the form of a book, and in that colouring in man whereby he attains to the station of speech and address? God forbid!
F i f t h S e c t i o n : ‘His power in the former reveals His majesty, while His mercy in the latter arrays His bounty.’ It has this meaning: Divine power in the macrocosm demonstrates the majesty of His dominicality, whereas dominical mercy arrays His bounties in man, who is the microcosm. That is, the Maker’s power, at the degree of grandeur and Glory, creates the universe in the form of a palace so magnificent that its sun is a mighty electric light, its moon, a lamp, and its stars, candles, gilded fruits and scattered lights. While the face of the earth is a laden table, an arable field, a garden, a carpet; and its mountains, each a storehouse, a mast, a fortress; and so on.
One the one hand He demonstrates the majesty of His dominicality in brilliant fashion by, on a vast scale, making all things into the huge palace’s necessities; and on the other, His mercy at the degree of Beauty bestows on all creatures with spirits, and even on the minutest animate beings, the different varieties of His bounties, ordering their beings with these. He adorns them from head to toe with these bounties, embellishing them with benevolence and generosity. He has counterpoised the Beauty of His mercy and that Glorious majesty, those microscopic tongues and that vast tongue.
That is, while the huge heavenly bodies like the suns and constellations are saying with the tongue of majesty: “O Glorious One! O Mighty One! O August One!”, those tiny animate creatures, like flies and fishes, are declaring, but with the tongue of mercy: “O Beautiful One! O Compassionate One! O Generous One!”; they are adding their gentle songs to that great orchestra, sweetening it.
Is it at all possible that anything other than the All-Glorious One of Beauty and All-Beauteous One of Glory could have any part in the creation of the macrocosm and microcosm? God forbid!
S i x t h S e c t i o n : ‘His majesty in the former testifies that He is One, while His bounty in the latter proclaims that he is Single, Undivided.’ Its meaning is this: just as the majesty of dominicality, which is manifested in the totality of the universe, proves and demonstrates Divine Unity, so dominical bounty, which bestows on the members of animate creatures their regular provisions, proves and demonstrates Divine Oneness.
As for Unity, it is to say that all those creatures belong to One and they look to One and they are the creation of One. Whereas by Oneness is meant that most of the Names of the Creator of all things are manifested in all beings. For example, the light of the sun may be seen as analogous to Unity by reason of its comprehending the face of the earth While the fact that its light and heat, the seven colours in its light and some sort of shadow of it are found in all transparent objects and drops of water makes them analogous to Oneness. And the fact that most of the Maker’s Names are manifested in each single thing, especially in each animate creature, and above all in man, points to Oneness.
Thus, this section indicates that the majesty of dominicality, which has total disposal over the universe, makes the huge sun as a servant, a lamp, and a stove for animate creatures on the face of the earth; and makes the mighty earth a cradle, a hostel, and place of trade for them; and fire, a cook and friend present everywhere; and clouds, strainers and wet-nurses; and mountains, storehouses and treasuries; and the air, a fan for animate creatures, for breathing in and out; and water, a nurse who suckles new arrivals to life and a seller of sweet drinks who supplies animals with the water of life; this Divine dominicality demonstrates Divine Unity in a most lucid manner.
Indeed, who other than the One Creator could subjugate the sun so that it is a servant to the inhabitants of the earth? And who other than the Single One of Unity could take the wind in His hand entrusting it with a great many duties and employing it as a swift and agile servant on the face of the earth? And who apart from the Single One of Unity would dare to make fire a cook, and to cause a tiny flame the size of a match-head to consume thousands of tons of goods? And so on. Every single thing, every single element, every single heavenly body, points to the All-Glorious One of Unity, at the degree of the majesty of dominicality.
Thus, as Divine Unity is apparent in the degree of Glory and majesty, so bounty and munificence proclaim Divine Oneness at the degree of Beauty and mercy. This is because, within this all-embracing art, there are in animate creatures and especially in man, faculties and abilities with which to understand, accept, and desire infinite varieties of bounties, and which reflect all the Divine Names manifested in the whole universe. Simply, like a point of focus, man displays all the Beautiful Names together by means of the mirror of his essence, and through it, proclaims Allah’s Oneness.
S e v e n t h S e c t i o n : ‘His stamp on the former is on all things, universal and particular, while His seal on the latter is on the body and on the limbs.’ Its meaning is this: just as the Glorious Maker has a mighty stamp on the macrocosm as a whole, so He has put a stamp of Unity on each of its parts and species. And, just as he has set the seal of Unity on the face and body of each human being, the microcosm, so on each of their limbs is a seal of His Unity.
Indeed, the All-Powerful One of Glory has placed on everything, on universals and on particulars, on stars and on particles, a stamp of Unity which bears witness to Him. On each he has set a seal of Unity which points to Him. Since this greatest of truths has been elucidated and proved in most brilliant and decisive fashion in the Twenty-Second Word, the Thirty-Second Word, and the Thirty-Three Windows of the Thirty-Third Letter, we refer you to those, and cutting short the discussion, conclude it here.
THE FIFTH PHRASE: ‘His is the praise.’
Since the perfections found in all beings which are the cause of acclaim and tribute are His, praise too belongs to Him. Acclaim and laudation, from whomever to whomever it has come and will come, from pre-eternity to post-eternity, all of it belongs to Him. For bounty and munificence, which are the causes of acclaim, and all things, which are perfection and beauty and the means of praise, are His, they pertain to Him. Indeed, as the Qur’an indicates, praise is worship, glorification, prostration, supplication, and acclaim; it comes from all beings, rising continuously, unceasingly, to the Divine Court. The following is a comprehensive proof which sets forth this truth affirming Divine Unity.
When we look at the universe, it appears to us in the form of a park set with gardens, its roof gilded with lofty stars, its ground inhabited by ornamented beings. When we see it thus, we see that the orderly, luminous, lofty heavenly bodies and purposive, ornamented earthly beings in this park are all saying, each in its particular tongue: “We are the miracles of power of an All-Powerful One of Glory; we testify to the Unity of an All-Wise Creator, an All-Powerful Maker.”
Then we look at the globe of the earth within the park of the universe and we see it in the form of a garden in which hundreds of thousands of varieties of multicoloured and beautifully adorned flowering plants have been laid out and through which hundreds of thousands of different species of animals have been scattered. And in this garden of the earth, all these adorned plants and decorated animals proclaim through their well-ordered forms and balanced shapes: “We are each of us a miracle, a wonder of art, created by a Single All-Wise Maker, and each of us is a herald, a witness, to his Unity.”
Moreover, looking at the trees in the garden, we see fruits and flowers in various forms which have been made knowingly, wisely, generously, subtly, and beautifully to the utmost degree. And these are all proclaiming with one tongue: “We are the miraculous gifts of a Compassionate One of Beauty, a Merciful One of Perfection; we are wondrous bounties.”
And so, the heavenly bodies and beings in the park of the universe, and the plants and animals in the garden of the earth, and the blossom and fruits on its trees and plants, testify and proclaim with an infinitely resounding voice: “Our Creator and Fashioner, the All-Powerful One of Beauty, the Peerless All-Wise One, the All-Generous Granter of Favours, Who bestowed us as gifts, is powerful over all things. Nothing at all is difficult for Him. Nothing at all is outside the sphere of His power. In relation to His power minute particles and stars are equal. A universal is as simple as a particular, while a particular is as valuable as a universal. The largest is as easy as the smallest in relation to His power, and the small is as full of art as the large; indeed, as far as art is concerned, the small is greater than the large.
“All the occurrences of the past, which are wonders of His power, testify that the Absolutely Powerful One is also powerful over the wonders of the future, and its contingencies. As the one who brought about yesterday will bring about tomorrow, the All-Powerful One Who created the past will also create the future. The All-Wise Maker Who made this world, will also make the hereafter.
“Indeed, the only one truly deserving of worship is the All-Powerful One of Glory; the one deserving of praise is again Him. As worship is exclusively His, so are praise and laudation His alone.”
Is it at all possible that an All-Wise Maker Who created the heavens and the earth would leave without purpose human beings, who are the most important result of the heavens and the earth and the most perfect fruit of the universe? Is it at all possible that He would hand them over to causes and chance, that He would transform His self-evident wisdom into futility? God forbid! And is it at all possible that the One Who is All-Wise and All-Knowing, having planned and then formed a tree, giving it the utmost importance, and having administered it and sustained it with the greatest wisdom, would ignore its fruits, which are its aim and purpose? Is it all possible that He would attach no importance to them; that He would leave them either to the hands of thieves or to rot scattered on the ground? Of course, it could not be that He would ignore them or attach no importance to them. It is because of the fruit that importance is given to the tree.
The intelligent being of the universe, therefore, and its most perfect fruit, result, and aim is man. Is it possible that the All-Wise Maker of the universe would give to others the praise and worship, thanks and love, which are the fruits of those intelligent and conscious fruits, thus causing His self-evident wisdom to be nullified, His absolute power transformed into impotence, and His all-encompassing knowledge converted into ignorance? God forbid! A hundred thousand times!
Since intelligent beings are the pivot of the dominical aims of the palace of the universe, and man is the most eminent of intelligent beings, is it at all possible that the thanks and worship he offers in response to the bounties he receives should go to one other than the Maker of the palace, and that the Glorious Maker would permit the thanks and worship due to Him, which are the ultimate aim of man’s creation, to go to another?
Moreover, is it at all possible that He would make Himself loved by intelligent beings through the endless varieties of His bounties, and that He would make Himself known to them through the innumerable miracles of His art, and then, attaching no importance to them, abandon to causes and Nature their thanks and worship, their praise and love, their recognition and gratitude. Is it at all possible that He would make His absolute wisdom denied and the sovereignty of His dominicality nullified? God forbid! A hundred thousand times, God forbid!
Is it at all possible that one who cannot create a spring, and cannot create all fruits, and cannot create all the apples on earth, the stamp on which is the same, could create one apple, which is a miniature specimen of all of them, and give it to someone to eat as a bounty? Is it possible that he should claim thanks for it, and thus share in the praise due to one absolutely deserving of praise? God forbid! For whoever creates one apple is the one who creates all the apples produced in the whole world; for their stamp is the same.
Moreover, whoever creates all the apples is again the one who creates all the seeds and fruits in the whole world, which are the means of food. That is to say, the one who gives a most insignificant bounty to a most insignificant animate creature is directly the Creator of the universe and its Glorious Provider. Since this is so, thanks and praise belong directly to Him. And since this is so, the reality of the universe says unceasingly with the tongue of truth: “His is the praise from every single being from pre-eternity to post-eternity.”
THE SIXTH PHRASE: ‘He grants life.’
That is, the one who gives life is He alone, in which case, it is also He alone Who creates all things. For the spirit, light, leaven, foundation, result, and summary of the universe is life, so whoever grants life must also be the Creator of the whole universe. The one who grants life, then, is certainly He; it is the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. We therefore point out the mighty proof of this degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity as follows.
As has been explained and proved in another part of the Risale-i Nur, we see before us the magnificent army of animate beings with their tents pitched on the plain of the face of the earth. Every spring we see a new army emerging from the World of the Unseen, freshly mobilized; one of the innumerable armies of the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. Looking at this army, we see within it more than two hundred thousand different nations from the plant families, and again more than one hundred thousand from the animal tribes. Although the uniforms of each tribe and family, as well as their provisions, drill, discharge, arms, and period of service are all different, anyone who has eyes in his head will see, and having seen will be unable to deny, that a commander-in-chief provides all these different needs with perfect orderliness and precise balance at exactly the right time; and he does this through his infinite power and wisdom, his boundless knowledge and will, his unending mercy, his inexhaustible treasuries, without forgetting a single one of them, or confusing or mixing-up or delaying any of them.
Is it at all possible, then, that anything could meddle, interfere, and have a share in this giving of life and administering, in this nurturing and sustaining, other than one who has a comprehensive knowledge which encompasses the army together with all of its functions, and an absolute power with which to run it in addition to providing all its necessities? God forbid! A hundred thousand times!
It is obvious that if there are ten tribes in one battalion, because the difficulty in equipping them all separately would amount to the difficulty of equipping ten battalions, impotent human beings would be compelled to equip them in a single fashion. Whereas the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One provides the equipment necessary for the lives of the more than three hundred thousand different tribes within that magnificent army. Moreover, He does this with no trouble or difficulty, in a light and easy manner, most wisely and maintaining orderliness. He causes the mighty army to declare with one tongue: “It is He Who gives life,”1 and the vast congregation in the mosque of the universe to recite:
Allah, there is no god save Him, the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, except by His leave? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of His knowledge save that which He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no weariness in preserving them. And He alone is Truly Exalted, Tremendous.2
THE SEVENTH PHRASE: ‘And deals death.’
That is, the one who gives death is He. It is He Who grants life, so the one who takes life and grants death is also He. Indeed, death is not only destruction and extinction that it can be attributed to causes or Nature. Just as a seed superficially dies and rots while inside it a shoot is being kneaded and is coming to life, that is, it is passing from the particular life of a seed to the universal life of a shoot, so too although death is apparently disintegration and banishment, in reality, for human beings it is the title, introduction, and starting point of perpetual life. In which case, the Absolutely Powerful One Who grants and administers life must certainly be the One Who creates death. The following points to a mighty proof of this the greatest degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity, contained in this phrase.
As is explained in the Twenty-Fourth Window of the Thirty-Third Letter, through Divine will, all beings are flowing. At its Sustainer’s command, the universe is in continuous motion. With Divine permission, all creatures are unceasingly flowing in the river of time; they are being sent from the World of the Unseen; they are being clothed with external existence in the Manifest world; then they are being poured in orderly fashion into the World of the Unseen, and it is there that they alight. At their Sustainer’s command, they continuously come from the future, stop by in passing pausing for a breath, and are poured into the past.
This flood of creatures is being made from top to bottom with instances of wisdom, benefits, results, and aims within the sphere of the most wise mercy and munificence; as is this constant travelling, within the sphere of the most knowledgeable wisdom and orderliness; and this current, within the sphere of the most compassionate solicitude and equilibrium. That is to say, an All-Powerful One of Glory, an All-Wise One of Perfection, is continuously giving life to and employing the families of beings, and the individuals within each family, and the worlds which those families form. Then, with His wisdom He discharges them, manifests death and despatches them to the World of the Unseen. He transfers them from the sphere of power to the sphere of knowledge.
Is it then at all possible that one who does not have the ability to administer the universe in its totality, whose authority does not stretch throughout time, whose power is not sufficient to make the world manifest life and death like a single individual, who cannot bestow life on the spring as though it was a single flower, attach it to the face of the earth and then pluck it from it with death and gather it up, could such a one be the owner of death and the granter of death? Yes, the death of the most insignificant animate being, even, like its life, must necessarily occur according to the law of One of Glory in Whose hand are all the truths of life and varieties of death, and with His permission, and at His command, and through His power, and with His knowledge.
THE EIGHTH PHRASE: ‘And He is living and dies not.’
That is, His life is perpetual, it is pre-eternal and post-eternal. Death and evanescence, non-existence and cessation, cannot befall Him. He Who is pre-eternal must certainly be post-eternal. He Who is sempiternal must certainly be eternally enduring. He Who is necessarily existent, must certainly be without beginning or end. How could non-existence touch a Life of which all existence, in all its varieties, is Its shadow? Non-existence and ephemerality and cessation could in no way encroach on a Life through the manifestation of which all lives continuously come into being, and on which all the stable truths of the universe are dependent, and through which they subsist.
Indeed, one flash of the manifestation of that Life accords a unity to the multiplicity of things, all of which are subject to ephemerality and decease, and makes them display permanence; it saves them from dispersal, preserves their existence, manifests in them a sort of continuance. That is, life accords a unity to mulitiplicity; it makes it permanent. If life departs, the unity disintegrates, it ceases. Most certainly, ephemerality and transience cannot approach that necessary Life, one manifestation of which are all those innumerable flashes of life.
Decisive witnesses to this truth are the transience and ephemerality of the universe. That is, through their existence and lives,3 beings bear witness to and point to the Life of the Undying Ever-Living One and to the necessary existence of His Life, and through their deaths and their ephemerality they bear witness to and point to the perpetuity of His Life and its eternity. For the fact that after beings have perished, others follow after them, manifesting life like them and taking their places, demonstrates that there is an unceasingly living being who continuously renews the manifestation of life.
Bubbles on the surface of a flowing river sparkle in the sun and disappear. Troop after troop of bubbles appear, following on one after another. They display the same sparkle, are extinguished and disappear. Through this state of sparkling and extinction, they point to the continuance of an elevated and enduring sun. In the same way, the alternation of life and death in these constantly moving beings testifies to the continuance and perpetualness of an Ever-Living Ever-Enduring One.
These beings are mirrors. As darkness is the mirror to light, and however intense the darkness is, to that degree it will display the brilliance of the light, so these beings act as mirrors in many respects by reason of the contrast of opposites. For example, beings act as mirrors to the Maker’s power through their impotence and to His riches through their poverty; similarly they act as mirrors to His everlastingness through their ephemerality. The poverty of trees and the face of the earth itself in wintertime and their glittering wealth and riches in springtime act as mirrors in most unequivocal fashion to the power and mercy of an Absolutely Powerful One, the One of Absolute Riches. It is as though all beings are making supplication with Uvays al-Qarani through their tongues of disposition, and are saying:
“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 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!...” And so on.
Every creature, universal and particular, is, like Uvays al-Qarani, a mirror, in a form that has the meaning of supplication. All proclaim the Divine power and perfection through their impotence and poverty and deficiency.
THE NINTH PHRASE: ‘All good is in His hand.’
That is, all good things are in His hand, all good deeds are in His account book, all beneficence is in His treasury. Since this is so, those desiring good must seek it from Him, those wishing for what is best must beseech Him. In order to demonstrate the truth of this phrase in a conclusive fashion, we shall point to the signs and flashes of one of many far-reaching evidences of Divine knowledge, as follows:
The Maker Who controls and creates with actions which are to be seen in the universe has an all-encompassing knowledge, and such knowledge is His particular, inherent and necessary quality. Its separation from Him is impossible. In the same way that it is not possible for the sun to exist but for its light not to exist, it is also not possible, though thousands of times more so, for the knowledge of the Being Who creates these well-ordered beings to be separated from Him.
Like this all-comprehending knowledge is necessary to that Being, so is it also necessary to all things from the point of view of their being connected to Him. That is to say, it is not possible for anything to be hidden from Him. Just as it is not possible for objects on the face of the earth to face the sun with no barrier and not see it, so is it a thousand times less possible, it is impossible, for things to be hidden in the face of the light of the All-Knowing One of Glory’s knowledge. This is because they are in his presence. That is, everything is within the range of His sight, is facing Him, is within the compass of His witnessing; He penetrates into all things.
If possessors of light, like the inanimate sun, impotent man, and unconscious X-rays, can see and penetrate everything that faces them, although they are contingent, defective and accidental, surely nothing at all can remain hidden from or beyond the light of the pre-eternal knowledge, which is necessary, all-encompassing, and essential. The universe has incalculable signs and marks pointing to this truth, as may be seen in the following examples:
All the instances of wisdom apparent in all beings point to such knowledge. For He Who performs His works kindly and graciously must know; He must know what He is doing. And all well-ordered beings, each within a balance, and all finely balanced and measured shapes and forms, each within an order, also indicate to such all-encompassing knowledge. For to carry out work with wisdom means to do it with knowledge. And all favour and adornment point to such knowledge. He who works skilfully and with measure and balance is surely relying on a powerful knowledge. And the well-ordered measuredness apparent in all beings, their shapes cut out in accordance with purpose and benefits, and the fruitful situations and assemblages as though arranged according the principles of Divine Decree and the compasses of Divine Determining, all demonstrate an all-embracing knowledge. Certainly, the giving of ordered and different forms to everything, as well as a particular shape that is appropriate and beneficial to the life and existence of each, occurs through an all-encompassing knowledge; it could not occur any other way.
Also, it is only through an all-embracing knowledge that the sustenance of animate creatures is provided in a suitable form, at the appropriate time, in unexpected places. Because, since the One Who sends the sustenance knows and recognizes those who are in need of it, and the appropriate time to send it, and perceives their need, He is able to provide their sustenance in a suitable form.
Also, the appointed hour of death of all animate creatures, which is tied to a law of determination, although it is not clear to the creatures themselves, demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge. Because, although the hour of death for all groups and individuals does not appear to be determined, in fact each group’s death is appointed within a period of time restricted by two limits. At that appointed hour, the preservation of its seeds, fruits and results, which will continue the duty of the thing after it and are the means of its transformation into a new life, demonstrate an all-encompassing knowledge.
Also, mercy’s benevolence, which encompasses all beings and is in a form appropriate to each of them, demonstrates an all-embracing knowledge within a vast mercy. Because, for example, the One Who feeds the offspring of animate creatures with milk and assists the plants of the earth needy for water with rain, most certainly knows the young and their needs, and sees the plants, perceives how necessary rain is for them and then sends it; and so on. All the manifestations of wise kindly mercy demonstrate an all-comprehensive knowledge.
Also, the care and attention, the artistic fashioning, and the skilful decoration present in the art in all things demonstrate an all-embracing knowledge. For choosing an orderly, adorned, artistic, and purposeful state from among thousands of possible states can only occur through a profound knowledge. This choice apparent in all beings demonstrates an all-encompassing knowledge.
Also, the complete ease in the creation and origination of things points to a most perfect knowledge. For the ease and facility in achieving a certain situation is commensurate with the degree of knowledge and skill. To whatever degree a thing is known, to that degree it will be carried out with ease. Thus, in consequence of this fact, we see from beings, every one of which is a miracle of art, that they are being created with ease and facility, without trouble or confusion, in a short period of time, in a wondrous, indeed a miraculous, fashion. That is to say, there is a boundless knowledge which is expressed with boundless ease; and so on.
There are thousands of veracious signs like those mentioned in the examples above to the fact that the Being Who has free disposal over the universe has an all-encompassing knowledge; that He knows all the attributes of all beings, and then he acts. Since the universe’s Owner has such a knowledge, for sure He sees human beings and their actions, and He knows what human beings deserve and what is appropriate for them. And He deals with them and will deal with them in accordance with the requirements of wisdom and mercy.
O man! Come to your senses! Think carefully of just what sort of Being it is Who knows you and watches you; think of it and pull yourself together!
I f i t i s s a i d : Knowledge alone is not sufficient; will is also necessary. If will was not present, knowledge would not be sufficient, would it?
T h e A n s w e r : All beings both indicate and testify to an all-encompassing knowledge, and they point to the comprehensive will of the owner of that all-encompassing knowledge. It is as follows:
The fact that, while hesitating among great numbers of possibilities, an ordered individuality is given to all things, especially to all animate beings, through a determined probability from among a great host of muddled probabilities, and through a result-yielding way from among a great many fruitless ways, demonstrates a universal will of many facets.
Measured shapes and well-ordered identities have been given to all things in a most sensitive and delicate measure and with a most fine and subtle order. They have been given these from among the inanimate elements which flow without balance in confused and monotonous floods, and from among the barren and fruitless paths and endless possibilities that surround all beings. This necessarily and self-evidently demonstrates that they are the works of a comprehensive will. For choosing innumerable states occurs by means of a designation, a choice, a purpose, and a will. It is specified by a deliberate intention and desire. For sure, specifying requires a specifier and choice requires a chooser. And that specifier and chooser is will.
For example, the creation of a being like man, who is like a machine assembled from hundreds of different components and systems, from a drop of water; and the creation of a bird, which has hundreds of different members, out of a simple egg; and that of a tree, which is separated into hundreds of different parts, out of simple seed-the creation of these testify to power and knowledge, just as they indicate to the universal will of their Maker in a most decisive and necessary fashion. And with that will He gives a different and particular shape to every component, every member, every part. He clothes them in a chosen state.
I n S h o r t : The fact that there are between different things many resemblances and coincidences with regard to their essentials and results; for example, between the major members and organs of animals’ bodies, and the fact that they display a single stamp of Unity, indicate in decisive fashion that the Maker of all animals is the same; He is One, He is Single, He possesses Unity. And the fact that these animals have different identities and distinct features, all determined by wisdom and purpose, indicates that their Single Maker is One Who acts with choice and will. He does what He wishes to do, He does not do what He does not wish to do; He acts with intention and will.
There are as many indications and attestations to Divine knowledge and dominical will as there are beings, indeed as the beings’ attributes and qualities. Therefore, some philosophers denying Divine will, and some of those who favour innovation denying Divine Determining, and some of the people of misguidance claiming that Allah is not concerned with minor matters, and the Naturalists attributing certain beings to Nature and causes, are lies multiplied to the number of beings and a lunacy of misguidance compounded to the number of those beings’ attributes. For whoever denies the innumerable instances of veracious witnessing is telling a lie of infinite proportions.
So, you can see for yourself just how mistaken and contrary to the truth it is to say of events, all of which come into existence through Divine will, “Naturally, naturally,” instead of, “If Allah wills it so, if Allah wills it so.”
THE TENTH PHRASE: ‘And He is powerful over all things.’
That is to say, absolutely nothing at all is difficult for Him. However many things there are in the sphere of contingency, He is able to clothe all of them with existence most easily. It is so simple and easy for Him that according to the meaning of,
His command is only, when He wills a thing to be, He but says to it, “Be!” and it is,4
it is as if He only has to command and it is done.
As soon as a skilful artist puts his hand to his work, he functions easily like a machine. In order to express his speed and skill, one could say that the work and art is under his control to such a degree that it is as if at his command, at his touch, the pieces appear, the works of art come into existence. In the same way, this verse states:
His command is only, when He wills a thing to be, He but says to it “Be!”, and it is,
alluding to the absolute subjugation and obedience of all things to the power of the All-Powerful One of Glory, and the absolute ease and lack of trouble with which His power functions. We shall elucidate in Five Points five of the innumerable mysteries contained in this mighty truth.
In relation to Divine power the greatest thing is as easy as the smallest. The creation of a species with all of its individuals is as easy and trouble-free as the creation of one individual. It is as easy to create Paradise as the spring and it is as easy to create the spring as a flower.
This mystery has been explained and proved through the six comparisons -the Mystery of Luminosity, the Mystery of Transparency, the Mystery of Reciprocity, the Mystery of Balance, the Mystery of Order, the Mystery of Obedience, and the Mystery of Disengagedness- at the end of the Tenth Word, which is about the resurrection of the dead, and in the discussion also about the resurrection of the dead in the Second Aim of the Twenty-Ninth Word, which is about the angels, the immortality of man’s spirit, and the resurrection. It has been demonstrated in these that in relation to Divine power the stars are as easy as atoms and that innumerable individuals are created as easily as one individual. Since these mysteries have been proved in those two Words, we refer you to them and cut short the discussion here.
A decisive and self-evident proof that everything is equal in relation to Divine power is this: we see with our own eyes in the creation of animals and plants the highest degree of mastery and exquisiteness of art within an infinite multiplicity and liberality; and the greatest distinction and differentiation within the utmost confusion and intermingling; and the highest worth as regards art and the most supreme beauty as regards creation within the greatest abundance and profusion. While needing much equipment and much time, they are created with the utmost ease and speed with the greatest art. Simply, those miracles of art come into existence suddenly and out of nothing.
Thus, by observing this activity of power every season on the face of the earth, we see that it establishes irrefutably that the greatest thing is as easy as the smallest in relation to the power that is the source of those actions, and that the creation and administration of innumerable individuals is as easy as the creation and administration of a single individual.
The greatest universal is as easy as the smallest particular in relation to the power of the All-Powerful Maker Who rules in the universe with actions, direction, and disposal that are clearly to be seen. The creation of a universal consisting of a multiplicity of individuals is as easy as the creation of a single particular, and in an insignificant particular art of the highest worth may be displayed. This mystery and the wisdom in it arise from three sources:
Firstly: from the assistance of Unity.
Secondly: from the facility of Unity.
Thirdly: from the manifestation of Oneness.
The Assistance of Unity, which is the first source: That is, if all things are the property of a single being, then as a result of unity, he can concentrate the power of all things behind any single thing, and all things can be administered as easily as a single thing. We shall explain this mystery with a comparison in order to make it easier to understand:
For example, if there was a single monarch of a country, by reason of the law of his unity of sovereignty, he would be able to mobilize the moral strength of a whole army behind every single soldier. And because he would be able to do so, a single soldier would be able to capture a king and have command over him in the name of his monarch. Furthermore, just as the monarch would employ and direct a single soldier and a single official, by reason of the mystery of the unity of sovereignty, he would be able to direct the whole army and all his officials. It is as if, by reason of the mystery of the unity of sovereignty, he would be able to send everyone, everything, to the assistance of one individual.
Every single individual, therefore, would rely on a strength as great as that of all the individuals; that is, he would receive assistance from them. If the rope of the unity of sovereignty were to be unfastened and they became irregular soldiers, then each soldier, suddenly losing a boundless strength, would fall from a high position of influence to that of a common man. And to direct and employ them would beget difficulties to the number of individuals.
In exactly the same way, And Allah’s is the highest similitude,5 since the Maker of the universe is One, He assembles His Names, which look to all things, before each single thing, and He creates with infinite art, in a valuable form. If there is need for it, He looks to a single thing by means of all things, He causes them to look to it; He gives assistance and strengthens it. Also, by reason of the mystery of Unity, He creates, disposes, and administers all things as though they were a single thing.
It is due to the mystery of this assistance of Unity that in the universe a certain quality is apparent which is exalted and sublime to the utmost degree as regards its art and value, and this within the utmost abundance and profusion.
The Facility of Unity, which is the second source: That is, matters which occur according to the principles of Unity, in one centre, from one hand, according to one law, occur with the greatest ease. If they are scattered between numerous centres, numerous laws, and numerous hands, it engenders difficulties.
For example, if the equipment of all the soldiers of an army is manufactured in one centre, according to one law, and at the command of one commander-in-chief, it is as easy as equipping one soldier. If on the other hand, all their equipment is made in different factories, in different centres, then all the military factories necessary to equip an army are necessary to equip one soldier. That is to say, if Unity is relied upon, an army is as easy as one soldier. Whereas, if there is no unity, as many difficulties will arise in equipping one soldier as in equipping an army.
Furthermore, if with regard to Unity, the elements necessary for life are given to the fruits of a tree, relying on one centre, one law, and one root, thousands of fruits are as easy as a single fruit. If, on the other hand, each fruit is bound to a different centre, and if all their vital necessities are sent to them separately, each fruit will engender as many difficulties as the whole tree. For the elements necessary for the life of the whole tree will also be necessary for each fruit.
Thus, like these two comparisons, And Allah’s is the highest similitude, because the Maker of the universe is the Single One of Unity, He acts with Unity, and because He acts with Unity all things are as easy as one thing. Moreover, He is able to make a single thing as valuable as all things as regards its art. And creating innumerable individuals in a most valuable form, He demonstrates absolute liberality through the tongue of the limitless abundance and endless profusion of beings, and He manifests boundless generosity and infinite creativity.
The Manifestation of Oneness, which is the third source: that is, since the All-Glorious Maker is not physical or corporal, time and space cannot restrict Him, creation and place cannot obtrude on His presence and witnessing, means and mass cannot veil His actions. There is no fragmentation or division in His regarding and acting towards creation. One thing cannot be an obstacle to another. He performs innumerable acts as though they were one act. It is for this reason that in the same way that, as far as its meaning is concerned, a huge tree can be encapsulated in a seed, a world also can be contained within a single individual, and the whole world may be encompassed by the Hand of Power.
We have explained this mystery in others of the Words like this: the sun is to some degree unrestricted with regard to its luminosity, so its image is reflected in every burnished and shining object. If thousands and millions of mirrors are exposed to its light, then the manifestation of its likeness will be found in each one of them without being divided, as though they were a single mirror. If the capacities of the mirrors were such, the sun would be able to demonstrate its effects in them in all their magnitude. One thing cannot be an obstacle to another. Thousands of things enter thousands of places with the ease of one thing entering one place. Each place displays the sun’s manifestation as much as thousands of places display it.
Thus, And Allah’s is the highest similitude, the manifestation of the All-Glorious Maker of the universe is such, with all His attributes which are light and with all His Names which are luminous, that through the mystery of the regard of Oneness, although He is not in any place, He is all-present and all-seeing in all places. There is no division in His regard regarding and acting towards the creation. He performs every task at the same time, in all places, without difficulty, without hindrance.
Thus, it is through these mysteries of the assistance of Unity, facility of Unity, and manifestation of Oneness, that when all beings are attributed to a single Maker, the creation of all of them becomes as simple and easy as that of a single being. And each being can be as valuable as all beings as regard the fineness of its art. This truth is demonstrated by the fact that within the boundless plenitude of beings, there are endless subtleties of art in every individual. If the beings are not attributed directly to a single Maker, then each becomes as problematical as all beings and the value of all of them decreases, it falls to that of a single being. Should this be the case, either nothing would come into existence, or if it did, it would be without value, worthless.
This mystery led the Sophists, who were the most advanced of the people of philosophy, to realize that the path of associating partners with Allah was hundreds of thousands of times more difficult than the way of Truth and path of affirming Divine Unity; that it was irrational to the utmost degree. So, because they had averted their faces from the way of Truth and looked to that of unbelief and misguidance, they were compelled to renounce their reasons and deny the existence of everything.
The creation of Paradise is as easy as that of the spring in relation to the power of the All-Powerful One Who administers the universe with actions that are plain to see. The creation of spring is as easy as that of a flower. The loveliness in the art of a flower and the fineness in its creation may be as lovely and valuable as a spring. The mystery of this truth is threefold:
First: the necessity and total detachment of the Maker.
Second: the complete otherness of His essence and His unrestrictedness.
Third: His not being bound by space and His indivisibility.
First Mystery: The fact that necessity and total detachment cause infinite ease and facility is an extremely profound mystery. We shall facilitate understanding of it with the following comparison:
The degrees of existence are different. And the worlds of existence are all different. Because they are all different, a particle from a level of existence which is deeply rooted in existence is as great as a mountain from a level of existence that is less substantial than its level; it contains the mountain.
For example, the faculty of memory, which is the size of a mustard-seed in a head from the Manifest World, takes on an existence the size of a library from the World of Meaning. And a mirror the size of a fingernail from the external world encompasses a mighty city from the level of the World of Similitudes. If the memory and the mirror from the external world had possessed consciousness and creative power, they would have been able to bring about endless transformations and activity in the Worlds of Meaning and Similitudes through the power of their minute existences in the external world. That is to say, when existence is firmly established, power increases; what is only a little becomes like much. Especially after existence has attained to complete stability, if it is disengaged and detached from materiality and is not restricted, then only a partial manifestation of it will be able to transform many worlds of other less substantial levels of existence.
Thus, And Allah’s is the highest similitude, the Glorious Maker of the universe is Necessarily Existent. That is, His existence is essential, it is pre-eternal, it is post-eternal, its non-existence is impossible, its cessation is impossible; it is the most firmly rooted, the most sound, the strongest, and the most perfect of the levels of existence. In relation to His existence, the other levels of existence are like extremely pale shadows.
The degree of Necessary Existence is so stable and real, and contingent existence is so insubstantial and pale that many of those who have investigated creation, like Muhyi al-Din al-‘Arabi, have reduced the other levels of existence to the level of delusion and imagination; they said: “There is no existent save Him.” That is, it must not be said of other things that they have existence in relation to the Necessary Existence. They stated that they are not worthy of the title of existence.
And so, for the Necessarily Existent One’s power, which is both necessary and essential, contingent beings’ both created and accidental existences and both unstable and powerless realities are infinitely easy and simple. To raise all human beings to life and then judge them at the Great Gathering is as easy as the leaves, flowers and fruits which He resurrects in the spring, indeed, in a garden, or on a tree.
Second Mystery: The reason for easiness in regard to the complete otherness of His Essence and His unrestrictedness is this: most certainly, the Maker of the universe is not of the same kind as the universe. His Essence resembles no other essence at all. Since this is so, the obstacles and restraints within the sphere of the universe cannot hinder Him, they cannot restrict His actions. He has complete disposal over the whole universe and is able to transform all of it at the same time. If the disposal and actions that are apparent in the universe were to be attributed to it, it would cause so many difficulties and so much confusion that neither would any order remain nor would anything continue to exist; indeed, nothing would be able to come into existence.
For example, if the masterly art in vaulted domes is attributed to the stones of the domes, and if the command of a battalion, which properly belongs to its officer, is left to the soldiers, either neither of them would ever come into existence, or with great difficulty and confusion they would achieve a state completely lacking in order. Whereas, if in order for the situation of the stones in the dome to be achieved, it is accorded to a master who is not a stone himself, and if the command of the soldiers in the regiment is referred to an officer who possesses the essential quality of officership, both the art is easy and command and organization are easy. This is because, while the stones and the soldiers are obstacles to each other, the master and the officer can look from every angle, they command without obstacle.
Thus, And Allah’s is the highest similitude, the sacred Essence of the Necessarily Existent One is not of the same kind as contingent beings’ essences. Rather, all the truths of the universe are rays from the Name of Truth, which is one of the Beautiful Names of His Essence. Since His sacred Essence is Necessarily Existent and completely detached from materiality and different from all other essences, it has no like, no equivalent, no equal. So, most certainly, the administration and sustaining of the whole universe in relation to the pre-eternal power of that All-Glorious One is as easy as that of the spring, indeed, of a tree. And the creation of the resurrection of the dead, the realm of the hereafter, and Paradise and Hell, is as easy as the resurrection in spring of a tree which had died the previous autumn.
Third Mystery: The fact that indivisibility and not being bound by space result in the utmost facility has this meaning: since the All-Powerful Maker is free of the restrictions of space, He may be thought of as present in every place through His power. And since there is no division or fragmentation in regard to His Essence, He can regard and act towards all things with all of His Names. And since He is present everywhere and acts towards everything, beings and intermediaries and mass cannot hinder and prevent His actions, indeed there is no necessity at all for them to do so.
Let us suppose there was some necessity, then things like electric wires, the branches of trees, and veins in human beings, would be like the means for facilitation, for the arrival of life, and the cause of swiftness in actions. So, let us ignore the idea of hindering, restricting, preventing, and intervening, and say that they are means of facilitating, expediting, and uniting. That is to say, from the point of view of the obedience and submission of all things to the domination of the All-Powerful and Glorious One’s power, there is no need for them. If there was some need for them, it would be as a means to facility.
I n S h o r t : The All-Powerful Maker creates everything in an appropriate form without trouble, without undergoing any process, swiftly and easily. He creates universals as easily as particulars. He creates particulars as full of art as He does universals. Indeed, whoever creates universals and the heavens and the earth must necessarily be the one who creates the particulars and animate individuals contained in the heavens and earth; it could not be anything other than him. For those tiny particulars are the fruits, seeds, and the miniature specimens of universals.
Furthermore, whoever creates the particulars must also be the one who creates the elements and heavens and earth, which encompass the particulars. For we see that particulars are each like a seed and tiny copy in relation to universals. Since this is so, the universal elements and the heavens and earth must be in the Being’s hand Who creates those particulars so that, according to the principles of His wisdom and the balances of His knowledge, He might insert the gist, the meanings, the samples, of those universal and all-encompassing beings in those particulars, which are like their miniature specimens.
Indeed, from the point of view of the wonders of art and marvels of creativeness, particulars are not behind universals; neither are flowers lower than the stars, nor seeds inferior to trees. Indeed, the tree’s meaning, which is the inscription of Divine Determining and is in the seed, is more wonderful than the physical tree, which is the weaving of Divine power and is in the garden. And the creation of man is more wonderful than the creation of the universe. If a Qur’an of Wisdom was written in particles of ether on an atom, it would far surpass in value a Qur’an of Grandeur written in stars on the face of the heavens. Similarly there are minute particulars which are superior to universals as regards the miraculousness of their art.
We have demonstrated to some degree in our explanations above, the infinite ease, utmost speed, extreme swiftnesss of actions, and boundless facility apparent in the creation of beings, together with the mysteries and instances of wisdom in their creation. The existence of things with this utmost speed and utter facility, therefore, has engendered in the people of guidance the following firm conviction, that in relation to the power of the One Who creates beings, Paradises are as easy as the spring, the spring as easy as gardens, and gardens as easy as flowers.
According to the meaning of,
The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all is but like that of a single soul,6
the resurrection of all humankind is as easy as causing one person to die and raising him to life again. And according to the explicit statement of,
Nothing will there have been but one single blast, and lo! before Us will all of them be arraigned,7
to raise to life all human beings at the resurrection is as easy as calling together with the sound of a bugle an army which has dispersed to rest.
Thus, although this infinite speed and boundless ease are decisive proofs and cogent arguments for the self-evident perfection of the Maker’s power and for everything being easy in relation to Him, in the view of the people of misguidance, the formation and creation of things by the Maker’s power, which is easy to the degree of necessity, gave rise to the notion that things form themselves, which is utterly impossible, and thus became the cause of confusion. That is to say, because they see that some ordinary things come into existence very easily, they imagine the formation of them to be self-formation. That is, they are not being created, but rather come into existence of their own accord.
There, look at this sheer stupidity! They make what is the proof of an absolute power, the proof of its non-existence; they open the door to innumerable impossibilities. Because if it was the case, it would be necessary for the attributes of perfection, like infinite power and all-encompassing knowledge, which are necessary to the Maker of the universe, to be attributed to every particle of every creature so that it would be able to form itself.
THE ELEVENTH PHRASE: ‘And with Him all things have their end.’
That is, everything will return to the realm of permanence from the transient realm, and will go to the seat of post-eternal sovereignty of the Sempiternal Ever-Enduring One. They will go from the multiplicity of causes to the sphere of power of the All-Glorious One of Unity, and will be transferred from this world to the hereafter. Your place of recourse is His Court, therefore, and your place of refuge, His mercy. And so on.
There are a great many truths which this phrase and those like it state. The one which states that you will return to eternal bliss and Paradise has been proved so decisively by the irrefutable certainty of the twelve arguments of the Tenth Word, and by the six Principles which comprise the numerous cogent proofs of the Twenty-Ninth Word, that no need remains for further explanation. Those two Words have proved, with the certainty of the sun rising on the following morning after setting the previous day, that life too which has the meaning of the sun in this world, will rise in an enduring form in the morning of the resurrection after its setting with the destruction of the world. Since the Tenth and Twenty-Ninth Words have proved this truth to perfection, we refer you to them and here only say this:
Further to what has been proved decisively in the above explanation, the All-Wise Maker of the universe, Who possesses boundless all-embracing power, limitless universal will, and infinite all-encompassing knowlege, the all-Merciful Creator of human beings, has promised with all His heavenly Books and decrees Paradise and eternal bliss to those of mankind who believe in Him. Since He has promised, He will most certainly bring it about, because it is impossible for Him to break His promise. And because, not to carry out a promise is a most ugly fault, and the One of Absolute Perfection is totally exempt and free from all fault. Failure to perform a promise arises either from ignorance or from impotence. However, since it is impossible for there to be any ignorance or impotence pertaining to that Absolutely Powerful One, the One Knowing of All Things, His breaking of a promise is also impossible.
Moreover, first and foremost the Pride of the Worlds (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and all the prophets, saints, purified scholars, and people of belief, continuously request and implore, desire and beseech the All-Generous and Compassionate One for the eternal bliss they have been promised. They beseech it through all His Most Beautiful Names. For foremost His compassion and mercy, and justice and wisdom, His Names of All-Merciful and Compassionate, and All-Just and Wise, and His dominicality and sovereignty, and most of His Names including Sustainer and Allah, require and necessitate the realm of the hereafter and eternal happiness, and they testify and point to its realization. Indeed, all beings with all of their truths point to the hereafter.
The All-Wise Qur’an, the greatest of the revealed Books, also demonstrates and teaches this truth with thousands of its verses; with clear evidences and conclusive, veracious proofs.
The Most Noble Beloved One, too, who is the cause of pride for the human race, relying on thousands of dazzling miracles taught this truth throughout his life, with all his strength; he proved it, proclaimed it, saw it, and demonstrated it.
O Allah, grant blessings and peace and benedictions to him and to his Family and Companions to the number of the breaths of the people of Paradise; and resurrect us and resurrect him and his friends and Companions to bliss, and our parents and brothers and sisters under his banner, and grant us his intercession, and enter us into Paradise with his Family and Companions, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amen. Amen.
O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong.8
O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts swerve from the truth after You have guided us; and bestow upon us the gift of Your mercy; indeed, You are the Giver of Gifts.9
O my Sustainer! Open up my heart * And make my task easy for me * And loosen the knot from my tongue * That they might fully understand my speech.10
O our Sustainer! Accept this from us, indeed You are All-Seeing, All-Knowing. And forgive us, indeed You are the Accepter of Repentance, the Compassionate.
All glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.11
1. Qur’an, 23:80; 40:68.
2. Qur’an, 2:255.
3. When the Prophet Abraham (Upon whom be peace) referred the subject of the rising and setting of the sun in his debate with Nimrod to life and death,* it was a transition and progress from a particular meaning of the giving of life and death to a universal meaning. It demonstrates the most illuminating and widest sphere of the proof, and does not, as some commentators on the Qur’an have asserted, abandon the hidden proof for the obvious one. * See, Qur’an, 2:258.
4. Qur’an, 36:82.
5. Qur’an, 16:60.
6. Qur’an, 31:28.
7. Qur’an, 36:53.
8. Qur’an, 2:286.
9. Qur’an, 3:8.
10. Qur’an, 20:25-28.
11. Qur’an, 2:32.