God is absolutely other than His creation. The Creator cannot by any means be the same kind of being as that which He created. Although this is self-evident to sense and reason, some people still ask why we cannot directly see God.
But direct vision is very limited and could never be an appropriate way of seeking the Unlimited. Let us explain:
There are innumerable bacteria in the human body, indeed innumerable bacteria in so small a space as a human tooth. These creatures are quite unaware of the tooth in which they live. To become aware of it, they would have to somehow situate themselves out of the tooth, and then, through the use of artificial means (telescopes and microscopes and the like) they might, conceivably, obtain some very approximate notion of the dimensions of the tooth, and then, perhaps, of the larger body to which the tooth is attached. Only through such an effort, which is scarcely imaginable, could the bacteria become aware of the human body which makes up the large ground or sustaining environment of their life. And this scarcely imaginable awareness is itself an immeasurable distance away from anything remotely resembling what we would call understanding.
Though on a very different scale, the sense-awareness of human beings is similarly limited. It may indeed be that, with the assistance of telescopes and other instruments, we can ‘see’ across distances of millions of light years. But all that we ‘see’ in this way is insignificant compared to the dimensions of the whole of which it is a minute fragment. In fact, allowing for the difference in scale, what human beings can ‘see’ is as insignificant as the bacteria’s awareness of the living tissue within which they exist and perish, when compared to the dimensions of the body of which that tissue is a minute fragment.
Further, if we consider the matter closely, we soon realize that our ‘seeing’ (or hearing or any other mode of perception) is conditional upon our understanding. We need to have some general ideas about what we ‘see’ in order to distinguish it and recognize it. If we did not have some idea, however vague at first, of what, for example, a tree is, we should be literally unable to ‘make sense’ of that object before our eyes which we know as a tree. If our ‘seeing’ is as limited as it is, and if—even for the objects within creation, and within the reach of our ‘seeing’ or our ‘seeing’ instruments—we need some general understanding so that we can ‘make sense’ of what we ‘see’, how improper a demand it is, how absurd a demand, to ask why we cannot directly ‘see’ or directly ‘know’ the Creator of the whole.
We are created beings, that is, finite, limited in our possibilities and our capacities. Only the Creator, God, is Infinite.
We are created beings, that is, finite, limited in our possibilities and our capacities. Only the Creator, God, is Infinite. By His Mercy, the Creation is available to us as the ground or environment within which we exist and perish, strive for understanding and virtue, and seek our salvation. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: Compared with the Seat of Honor (kursi), the whole universe is as little as a ring thrown upon a desert. Similarly, compared with the Throne (‘arsh), the kursi is as little as a ring thrown upon the desert (Tabari, Tafsir, 3.77). From that comparison we gain some understanding of how far the Infinitude of the Creator exceeds our power of apprehending it. How can we even begin to conceive of the reality of the kursi and ‘arsh from which the All-Mighty in His Infinite Majesty sends out His Will and Command and sustains His Creation, let alone begin to conceive of God Himself?
As for God’s Essence and Attributes:
God Almighty should be considered from five perspectives:
- One is His Essence as Divine Being―Zāt, in Islamic terminology. His Essence cannot be known by anyone except God Himself. A Prophetic Tradition says: Do not reflect on God’s Essence, instead, reflect on His works and acts. For God has no partners, likes and resemblance, which is pointed to by the verse: There is nothing like or compared unto Him.
- The second perspective is God’s Essential, “Innate” Qualities as being God. These are the source of the Attributes.
- The third perspective is His Attributes. The Attributes have three kinds: one is His Essential Attributes, which are: Existence, Having No Beginning, Eternal Permanence, Being Unlike the Created, Self-Subsistence. The second is the Positive Attributes, which are: Life, Knowledge, Power, Speech, Will, Hearing, Seeing, Creating. The third is the “Negative” Attributes. The Negative Attributes are innumerable but can be summed up in a definition: God is absolutely free from any defective and shortcoming. The Attributes are the sources of Names. Life gives rise to the All-Living, Knowledge to All-Knowing, Power to All-Powerful, etc.
- God has many Names, about one thousand of which are known by human beings. The Names are the sources of the Acts. For example, giving life has its source in the All-Living; knowing everything down to the smallest originates in the All-Knowing, etc.
- God is “known” by His acts, Names and Attributes. Whatever exists in the universe, in the worlds, material and immaterial, is the result of the manifestation of God’s Names and Attributes. For example, the universal and individual provision points to His Name, the All-Providing; the All-Healing is the source of remedies and patients’ recovering from illnesses. Philosophy has its source in Wisdom, etc. The acts, Names and Attributes are the “links” between God and the created, or the “reflectors” with which to have knowledge of God.
Although we try to know or recognize God by His acts, Names and Attributes, since there is nothing resembling Him, we must refrain to think about Him in the terms associating likeness or comparison unto Him. First of all, He is absolutely One, Single, that is, He is God without any resemblance what or howsoever. In this sense, His Oneness is not in terms of number. However, He has also Unity. He has relations with the created. In order to have some knowledge of Him through His acts, Names and Attributes, some comparisons are permissible. This is pointed to in the verse: For God is the highest comparison. For example, using the Sun as a unit of comparison to understand God’s acts, Names and Attributes should be considered from this perspective.
Why Can’t We See God?
The Koran teaches: Vision comprehends Him not, but He comprehends all vision (al-An’am, 6.103).
After the Prophet’s ascent to the heavens, peace be upon him, his Companions asked him if he had seen God. It is reported on the authority of Abu Dharr that, on one occasion, he answered: He is the Light. How do I see Him? (Sahih al-Muslim, ‘Iman,’ 291; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 5, 147). And on another occasion, he answered: I have seen a Light. (Muslim, Iman, 292). These statements clarify the well-known saying, The light is the limit or veil of God (Muslim, ‘Iman,’ 293; Sunan Ibn Ma’ja, ‘Muqaddima,’ 13; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 4, 13). Between us and God is the light which He created. All that we see we see by that light, within that light—the light is the ground and environment and the limit of our seeing, and that light shields or veils us from God. In fact, we see but a part of that light of creation, we see but a part of what veils Him.
Let us consider the matter from another direction. Ibrahim Haqqi says: ‘In the whole universe of creation there is nothing that is either the like or the equal or the contrary of God. God is Exalted above all form, indeed immune to and free from form.’
It is only because existing things have a like or an equal or a contrary that we are able to distinguish them and perceive them. We know what is ‘long’ only against what is ‘short’ by comparison or contrast; similarly, we know ‘light’ only against what is ‘dark’. How then should we distinguish or perceive One who has neither like, nor equal, nor contrary? This is the meaning of the statement that God is Exalted above form.
Whatever conception of God we form in our minds, He is other than it.
The reader will certainly have understood that the question of those who ask to directly perceive God is but an image of the question of those who ask to directly ‘think’ or ‘know’ His Being. But, in truth, we can no more ‘think’ or ‘know’ His Being, than we can ‘see’ Him. Just as He is beyond all measures of form or quality or quantity, He is also beyond all our powers of conception or reasoning. As the Muslims learned in kalam (theology) put it: ‘Whatever conception of God we form in our minds, He is other than it.’ And the Sufis say: ‘God is beyond; and beyond all our conceptions; and we are surrounded by thousands of veils.’
Men of wisdom have said that God exists and He cannot be comprehended by human reason, nor perceived by human senses. The only means to knowledge of Him is through the prophets, that is, the men whom God appointed as bearers of His Revelation. Where perception and reason have no access, we need to, indeed we must, accept the guidance of Revelation.
Imagine that we are in a closed room and hear a knocking at the door of that room. We may well form some vague impressions about who is knocking, but we can no more than guess at his attributes. We know for certain only that there is knocking at the door, and that we are free to go to the door and, on opening it, ask the person to make himself known to us so that we obtain thereby a more secure knowledge of his true attributes.
This poor analogy may help us to more usefully approach the question of how to seek God. The fact of Creation, the immensity of it combined with an essential unity of form, the sheer beauty and harmony of it, and its usefulness to us as well as its demands upon our labor and our understanding, all make us aware of the existence of the Creator. In just the same way as we deduce from the manufacture of a wonderful diversity of fabrics out of a single material that there is certainly an agent who spins and mixes and dyes and weaves and otherwise prepares the final product, so we deduce from the stunning evidence of the Creation that there is a Creator. While a manufacturer of fabrics can be got hold of and may be persuaded to make himself known to us, no such impertinent curiosity can be addressed to the Creator. Indeed, it would be most incorrect to do so—as well as being impossible—just as impossible as it would be for the fabric to address such curiosity to the fabric-maker. Thus, without assistance from the Creator himself, we can get no further than when, hearing the first knocking on the door, we began to indulge hopelessly vague surmises about who was knocking.
But the reality is that, by the Mercy of God, the Creation of mankind was accompanied by Revelation. Through God’s Revelation to the prophets and their teaching, the door is held open for us. We are enabled to respond to the Creation around us as signs manifesting not only the fact of the Creator’s existence but also His Attributes. Through the prophets we learn to contemplate His Attributes and to call them—the One, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate, the All Knowing, the All-Powerful, and so on. A true understanding of these Attributes requires inward experience and contemplation, which are achieved only after sincere and total observance of the Divine decrees, objective study and long, profound meditation, according to the pattern of the prophets. Only if a person has developed the inward faculties will he be able to grasp the meaning of the Divine works, that is, the Creation, and then rise to contemplation of the Divine Attributes manifested in it.
His Names are known, His Attributes are comprehended, and His Essence exists
Even then, it is by no means possible for any person to comprehend the Divine Essence. That is why it is said—‘His Names are known, His Attributes are comprehended, and His Essence exists.’ In the words of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him: To comprehend His Essence means to confess that His Essence can not be comprehended.
What falls to us is to remain committed to our covenant with God, and to beseech Him in this way: ‘O You, who alone are worshipped! It needs no saying that we are unable to attain to true knowledge of You. Yet we believe that You are indeed nearer to us than our neck-veins. We feel Your existence and nearness in the depths of our hearts through the universe which You have created and opened to us like a book, and through the wonderful harmony of form between the least and the largest of what You have brought into being. We come to perceive that we are integrated into the whole realm of Your theophanies, and by that perception our souls are rested and consoled, and our hearts find serenity.’
But there are some who do not seek any such serenity or indeed any inward life at all. They are of a mechanical turn of mind and readily fall into a mechanical kind of sophistry which entraps and paralyses their reason. They ask:
Given That God Created Everything, Who Created God?
When I first heard this question, I straightaway confessed again ‘and Muhammad is His Messenger’, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, predicted that this question would be raised. Indeed, he predicted a great many future events of importance—all have come true and will continue to do so as time unfolds. On one occasion he said: A day will certainly come when some people will sit with their legs crossed and ask: ‘Given that God created everything, who created God?’ (Bukhari, ‘I‘tisam,’ 3).
Of course, those who put such questions are atheists or inclined to atheism and seek to lead others astray also. The purpose of their question is to avoid the responsibility owed by a creature to the Creator, to avoid belief and worship. At best, the question is derived from the observation of (what are taken to be) ‘cause and effect’ relationships. Every circumstance can be thought of as an ‘effect’ and attributed to an antecedent circumstance or ‘cause’ which, in turn, is attributed to some circumstance antecedent to it, and so on. In the first place, it is obvious to anyone who reasons objectively that the notion of ‘cause’ is only an hypothesis, it has no objective existence: all that objectively exists is a particular, often (but not always) repeated sequence of circumstances. Secondly, if this hypothesis is applied to existence as a whole, we cannot find a creator of it because each creator must have a creator before that creator, in a never-ending chain. (In fact, the futile notion of a never-ending chain of creators was one of the arguments used by Muslim theologians to explain the necessity of believing in God.)
It is self-evident that the Creator must be Self-Subsistent and One, without like or equal. If any created being can be said to ‘cause’ anything, that capacity to ‘cause’ was itself created within that being. Thus, no being in the universe can be said to be self-existent; rather, it owes its existence to the Creator who alone is Self-Existent as well as Self-Subsistent.
It is self-evident that the Creator must be Self-Subsistent and One, without like or equal. If any created being can be said to ‘cause’ anything, that capacity to ‘cause’ was itself created within that being. Thus, no being in the universe can be said to be self-existent; rather, it owes its existence to the Creator who alone is Self-Existent as well as Self-Subsistent. It follows from the fact that the Creator alone truly creates that for each and every being He has determined all possible ‘causes’ and ‘effects’, all things whatever that come before or after it. Therefore, we speak of God as the Sustainer, who holds and gives life to His Creation from first to last. All ‘causes’ have their beginning in Him, and all ‘effects’ find their ending in Him. In truth, created things are no more than so many ciphers or zeros which, no matter how many we put in a series, add up to nothing, unless a positive ‘one’ is placed before the series to give it value. In just this way, the creation could have no real existence, nor any value, except by God.
What we call ‘causes’ have no direct or independent influence in existence, no direct or independent ‘effects’. It may be that we need to speak of ‘causes and effects’ in order to understand how, in a short space and over a little period of time, some part of the Creation is made (by the Mercy of God) intelligible to us and available to us for our use. But even this but confirms our dependence upon God and our answerability before Him. It is not God who needs ‘causes and effects’ to create; rather it is we who need ‘causes and effects’ to understand what He has created. He alone is the First and the Last, the Eternal, the Initiator and the Determiner—and all our busy little efforts after cause and effect are but veils between ourselves and His Majesty.
Let us then affirm once more: He, God, is One; God, the Self-Subsistent, Eternally-Besought-of-All; He neither begets nor was begotten; and nothing whatever is like unto Him.
O you who believe in the Unity of God! I have not been able find any evidence in the universe to prove my cause. But how can you prove the existence of a single One Who has infinite power? What are your grounds for rejecting the interference of other hands in the creation and operation of the universe besides His Power?
All of the creatures from particles to stars are each a clear proof for the necessary existence of the Necessarily Existent Being, the Absolutely Powerful One. Each link in the chain of the creation is a decisive evidence for His Unity. Among the numerous arguments which the Koran sets forth for the attention of all people, particularly in verses like,
If you ask them who has created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say: God. (39:38)
Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. (30:22)
it presents the creation of the heavens and the earth as an evident proof for God’s existence and Unity. A conscious man who considers the creation of the heavens and the earth will be compelled to confirm the existence of the Majestic Creator and when asked who their creator is, he will answer: God.
The Koran rejects any kind of partnership with God in the whole of the universe, from the stars and heavens down to particles. It means:
(Since like a human being the universe is an organism all parts of which work together and are interrelated with one another), the Absolutely Powerful One, Who has created the heavens and the earth in such perfect order, must be holding in His grasp of Power the solar system which is an amazing system.
Since that absolutely All-Powerful One holds the sun together with its planets in His grasp of Power, managing it and regulating its movements, the earth, which is a part of the solar system, moving in orbit round the sun, must be in His grasp of Power and management. Since the earth is in His grasp of Power and management, evidently, all of the creatures, which are created on it as its fruits and may be regarded as the goal of its existence, are in His grasp of Lordship (raising, administering and sustaining). Since all of the creatures, which are spread one by one or group by group successively over the whole face of the earth, and after adorning it for some time, are replaced by new ones, filling and then emptying the earth in a continuous cycle, are in His grasp of Power and Knowledge and are managed and arranged according to the measure of His Justice and Wisdom, then certainly, all the individual members of their species, which are each a well-designed and perfectly formed miniature of the universe, a pattern or specimen of its species, and a tiny index of the book of the universe, are in His grasp of Lordship, invention, raising and management. Since each living being is in His grasp of management and upbringing, then certainly the cells and blood corpuscles, and the limbs and nerves, which form the body of that living being, are under His command and at His disposal, and they move according to His laws. Lastly, the particles or atoms, which are essential building blocks constituting all those creatures and their parts and the means for their design and formation, will mostly certainly and necessarily be in His grasp of Power and in the sphere of His Knowledge, and will be moving most regularly and performing perfect duties by His command, permission and strength.
Since every particle moves and functions by His law, permission and command, certainly it is by His Knowledge and Wisdom that the face of each individual has special marks to distinguish that one from the others and like the faces, the sounds and tongues are all different from one another. Consider this verse which, in mentioning only the first and most universal link and the last and most individualized one, points to this chain of creation and the series of His signs in creation:
Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Indeed, in this are signs for those who know. (30:22)
Now we say: O representative of the people who associate partners with God! These are evidences as strong as the chains of creation, which point to an Absolutely Powerful One, and prove His Unity.
Since the creation of the heavens and the earth demonstrates an All-Powerful Maker and His boundless and infinitely perfect Power, most certainly He will be absolutely independent of partners. That is, He does not need partners in any way. While He has no need for them, why on earth do you follow this dark way of associating partners with Him? As He has no partners in His Divinity, so also any kind of partnership in His Lordship and creativity is impossible. For the Power of the Maker of the universe and the earth is boundless and infinitely perfect, before which the big or small, the universal or particular, the whole or the part, are equal. Supposing there were a partner, then this would require that a limited power should defeat boundless and infinitely perfect power or put a limit to it and infect it with incapacity. This is the most unreasonable of impossibilities and the most manifest inconceivability.
While there is no need for partners and the existence of any is inconceivable, it is merely a forced and arbitrary judgment to claim partnership with God. That is, since there is no justification whatever, either logical or reasonable or practical, for associating partners with God, it is a mere, insubstantial claim to make such a nonsensical assertion.
Any probability or possibility which does not arise from evidence is not to be considered, and does not injure conviction or certainty based on knowledge.
It is one of the principles of theology and methodology that any probability or possibility which does not arise from evidence is not to be considered, and does not injure conviction or certainty based on knowledge. For example, it is theoretically conceivable that Lake Van might change into oil or grape juice boiled to a heavy syrup. But since this is a mere possibility raised on the basis of no circumstantial evidence, it does not harm our certainty that it is water.
Similarly, we have inquired of all the parts of the universe: from particles to stars, and from the creation of the heavens and the earth to the individual differences of faces in the Second, whichever part we have asked of, it has testified to God’s Oneness and shown the stamp of His Unity. Since this is so, there is no circumstantial sign in the creatures of the universe, that any possibility or partnership with God could be founded on it. Therefore, since it is a mere, forced, meaningless and insubstantial claim to ascribe partners to God, any such claim is clear nonsense and pure ignorance.
Everything depends on a cause in the universe and takes place according to the cycle of cause and effect. since causality is apparent through the universe, it means that causes have an actual part in the creation and operation of things. if they have a part, they may be partners.
As is required by the Divine Will and Wisdom and as the Divine Names tend to manifest themselves, the results have been made dependent on causes. However, as is convincingly argued in many places, causes have no creative effect in the universe. In addition to what we have already said in other places concerning the subject, we say here only this:
Among conscious beings who may be regarded as most effective causes in bringing about effects, man is evidently the most elevated among them with a free, most comprehensive will-power which has a vast field of operation. Speaking, thinking and eating are the most apparent among the acts arising from his free will. All these three acts include well-ordered chains of events, but only one is directly connected to man’s free will. For example, among the series of events related to eating, from the formation of fruits and growth and ripening of grains to their becoming sustenance for the cells of the human body, only chewing them depends on man’s free will. As hunger, thirst and appetite are outside the field of man’s will, so also does his body work independently of him. What he does from among the actions related to speaking is only to take the air in and out of the vocal organs where sounds are produced. Whereas, while being like a seed in the mouth, a word becomes like a tree in the air when uttered. That tree produces millions of fruits of the kind of that single word. It goes into the ears of millions of listeners. A man can only imagine this multiplication. After uttering the word, he has nothing more to do with it of his free will.
If man, the most honored among causes, even agents, and the most free in using will, has nothing to do with creation to that degree, how can inanimate objects, elements, plants and animals, which constitute nature, have any real effect or part in creation? How can things, called ‘natural laws’, which have no consciousness, will and knowledge, and which have only nominal existence, be the originators of a miraculous system—the universe—the creation and operation of which require infinite knowledge, will and power, and of a miraculous living, conscious, speaking, reasoning, thinking, and learning organism like man? Nature is only an envelope for the Lord’s creatures and a tray or a cauldron for the gifts of the All-Merciful One. Certainly, neither the tray on which they offer you a gift of the king, nor the piece of cloth in which the gift is wrapped, nor even the private who brings it to you, can be a partner of the king in his sovereignty. The one who imagines him to be a partner, is suffering delirium. In the same way, neither the apparent causes nor means can have any part in the Divine Lordship in any way. What falls to their lot is only the duty of worship.
O people who believe in the Unity of God! You argue that the Creator of the universe is absolutely One, and Eternally Besought-of-All. He is Single, yet He has absolute and free disposition of everything. He is able to exercise His absolute authority over all things all at the same time, no one act of His preventing Him from doing the others. How should we believe in such a bewildering assertion. How can a single one do countless things in countless places at the same instant without any difficulty?’
The answer to this question requires the analysis of an extremely profound and subtle and extremely elevated and comprehensive mystery of God’s being One and the Eternally Besought-of-All. The mind can discern that mystery only through the telescope of a comparison. God’s Essence and Attributes have no likes and equals, and are not comparable, but His acts may be considered by means of comparison.
A single person can acquire universality through various mirrors; while being particular in essence, he can be universal in having numerous aspects at the same time. Just as things like glass and water become universal in those mirrors, so too, more refined and transparent matters like air and ether and certain objects from the world of symbols and immaterial forms become like mirrors to bodies of light and spirit beings, functioning as means of travel and transportation for them with the speed of lightning and imagination. Seated on them, those bodies of light and spirit beings travel with the speed of imagination in those clear realms like the world of immaterial forms and can be present in thousands of places at the same moment. By virtue of being of light, and since their reflections are identical with themselves, having exactly the same qualities, they act in every place as if they were present in each personally. While the reflections of solid, corporeal bodies are not identical with themselves and since they do not have the same qualities as themselves, they are lifeless.
For example, despite being a concrete particular object, the sun acquires universality by means of shining transparent objects. It lends its reflections and images to all shining things on the earth according to the capacity of each; even a single drop of water and a piece of glass has an image of the sun. It is present everywhere on the earth through either its light or heat or image or the seven colors in its light. Were the sun to have knowledge and consciousness, each object, especially the shining, transparent ones, would be like a seat or chair for it through which it could contact everything, and it could communicate with all conscious beings through mirrors or even through the eye of each one, without being prevented from communicating with others. While it would be present and acting everywhere on the earth through its knowledge, power and other attributes, it would be nowhere in person.
The sun is only like a solid, particular and lifeless mirror to the Name the Light out of the thousand and one Names of the Majestic Being. While the sun is being honored with such universal functions, why, despite His Being Single in Essence, should the Majestic Being not be able to do countless things at the same time?
Since the universe is like a tree, each tree may be an example of the realities of the universe. Taking that huge tree in front of my room as a tiny specimen of the universe, we shall demonstrate through it the manifestation of Divine Singleness in the universe.
That tree has at least one thousand fruits and each fruit has at least one hundred seeds. All those one thousand fruits and a hundred thousand seeds have all been created at the same time. However, that tree has the same single node of nucleus of life in its original seed, roots and trunk, which contains all the laws of its formation issuing from the Divine Will and Command, and it has permeated through all parts of the tree, being present in each fruit and seed. Unlike light, heat and air, that nucleus of life, which itself comprises a single manifestation of Divine Will and a law of Divine Command, does not dissipate. Without disintegration or diffusion, it is present in every part. Its manifold actions are not contrary to its singleness. It may even be said that that manifestation of Divine Will, that law of Divine Command, that nucleus of life, may be present both in every part and nowhere at the same time. It is as if that law of Divine Command had eyes and ears to the number of the fruits and seeds of that magnificent tree. Or it is as if in each part of the tree there was a control center for the ‘senses and feelings’ of that law of Divine Command. The veins and parts of the tree such as the branches are like telephone wires in facilitating the operation or functioning of that law.
Since, then, a single particular manifestation of God’s Attribute of Will observably functions to be the means of millions of acts in millions of places at the same time, we should certainly have as strong a conviction about it as if we were seeing it with the naked eye, that the Majestic Being is able to dispose the tree of creation with all its parts and particles through the manifestation of His Power and Will.
The Sacred Being is absolutely free of matter and exempt from any restrictions and the darkness of densities
Despite being single and in a fixed place, helpless luminaries like the sun which are restricted by matter and move according to certain laws of God, and the laws of God’s Command and manifestations of His Will such as comprise the nucleus of that tree’s life, can observably be in many places doing numerous actions at the same time, and although each is a particular thing restricted by matter, it becomes like a universal thing and can accomplish many different things at the same moment. You see this with your eyes, therefore you cannot deny it. However, the Sacred Being is absolutely free of matter and exempt from any restrictions and the darkness of densities. All those—lights, luminaries and all creatures of pure light—are a single shadow of the lights of His Sacred Names, and all existence and life, and the worlds of spirits, and immaterial forms and symbols, and the intermediary world of the grave, are each a semi-transparent mirror of His Beauty and Grace. Also, His Attributes are all-encompassing and His acts, universal. I wonder, then, what thing can be hidden from Him, Who is Single manifesting His Attributes and acting through His universal Will, absolute Power and all-encompassing Knowledge. What thing can be difficult for Him to do? What place can be concealed from Him? What individual can remain distant from Him? What person can draw near Him without acquiring universality? What thing can prevent Him from doing another? As Ibn ‘Abbas pointed out, why should He not have immaterial ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ each looking at and hearing a creature? Why should chains of things not be like veins or wires in conducting His laws and commands speedily? Why should things you regard as obstacles and impediments, not be the means of His free disposition of the creation? Why should causes and means not be only apparent veils (to His direct disposition of the universe and free operations)? Why should He not be present everywhere while He is not contained by any place? Why should He need to take up an abode in a place? Why should distances or small size of things or the veils of the levels of existence constitute obstacles to His nearness to things and seeing them and disposing them as He wishes? Why should change, alteration, containment by space, and division, which are all the intrinsic qualities of physical, restricted, contingent, solid and multiplying beings, be accidental or necessary to the Sacred Being, the Light of Lights, the Single One of Unity, the Necessarily Existent One, Who is absolutely free of matter and any restrictions, and exempt from any defect and fault? Does impotence ever befit Him, and defect ever happen to His Honor and Dignity?
You frequently use analogies. Whereas according to logic, an analogy does not offer certainty, and the issues which require conviction to be believed in need to be based on logical proofs. Analogy is used by the scholars of jurisprudence for the propositions for the solution of which a fairly certain presumption is enough. Furthermore, you set forth the analogies and comparisons in the form of parables. Whereas parables are imaginary—not real.
Although according to logic analogies do not offer certainty, among the sorts of analogies there is one that it is stronger than logical proofs and gives greater certainty than deductions. It is as follows.
Through a particular analogy you point to the tip of a universal truth and base your conclusion on that truth. In order to teach that mighty truth and deal with particular incidents and realities in accordance with it, you show the general or universal law on which the truth is based in a certain, particular object.
For example, through the analogy that even though the sun is a single body, it is, by virtue of being a light-emitting body, present in all shining objects at the same time, we are showing the law of a truth that there are no restrictions to light and things of light. Whether long or short, distances are the same for them; whether small or great, amounts make no difference for them, and they cannot be contained in space.
Again, for example, the leaves and fruits of a tree are formed easily and perfectly at the same time in the same center through a law of Divine Command. This shows the tip of a mighty truth and a universal law and proves that truth and law decisively. Like a tree, this vast universe is also the result of that law and the manifestation of oneness.
All the analogies and comparisons in The Words are of this kind. They offer greater conviction and certainty than logical proofs.
As for the second part of the question, as you know, according to the science of eloquence, if a word or phrase is used to suggest or express a meaning other than its original one, it is called a metaphor. In such statements, not the original, but the metaphorical meaning is considered. If the metaphorical meaning conforms to the reality, you are saying the truth; otherwise not.
For example, in order to express that somebody is tall, people say: ‘The sheath of so-and-so’s sword is long’. If that man is tall, this statement is true, even if he does not have a sword. If the man is not tall, you are telling a lie even if he has a sword with a long sheath, because the saying is only figurative in meaning.
The Koranic expressions like ‘the Best of the Creators’, ‘the Most Merciful of the Merciful’ suggest the existence of other creators and merciful ones.
- Being a book which throughout emphasizes the Divine Unity most strongly, the Koran cannot have used those phrases in the meaning you imagine. Rather, ‘the Best of the creators’ means the Creator is of the highest rank of creativity’. This does not by any means suggest the existence of other creators. Like other Attributes, creativity has also ranks of manifestation. Therefore, ‘the Best of the Creators’ means He is a Majestic Creator Who is of the ultimate rank of creativity.
- Phrases like ‘the Best of the Creators’ are not to suggest that there is a plurality of creators; rather they relate to the species of beings and are used to mean that He is a Creator Who creates everything in the best and most apt fashion. Verses like He creates everything in the best form (32:7), are of the same meaning.
- Phrases like ‘the Best of the Creators’, ‘God is the Greatest’, ‘the Best of the Judges’, and ‘the Best of the Benevolent’, are not meant to compare those acts and Attributes of God which are manifested in the universe, with those acts and attributes of the creatures who manifest only their shadowy reflections. For whatever beings have is a gift of God lent to them. We see because God is the All-Seeing, and we hear because He is the All-Hearing. All the perfections in the universe shared by all men, angels and jinn are only an indistinct shadow in relation to His, which is beyond compare.
However, people, especially the misguided ones, are unable to measure God with due measure and are usually forgetful of Him. For example, a private is respectful to his corporal; in oblivion of the king he thanks him for what he enjoys because he takes it from his hand. A private such as that should be warned: ‘Look, the king is greater than your corporal. So it is the king whom you must thank’. Such a warning is not to compare the actual, magnificent command of the king with that of the corporal, for such a comparison is meaningless. Although there is a comparison in the warning, it is for the sake of the private who prefers his corporal in gratitude and forgets the king.
Similarly, the means, nature and causes make heedless people blind to the True Bestower of Bounties. They attribute to nature and to causes creativity, and tend to consider them as the actual sources of the bounties which they receive passively. This is one of the most important reasons leading to associating partners with God. This is why the Koran warns them: ‘Almighty God is much greater, and a far better Creator and Benefactor. Regard Him and thank Him.’
- Just as between actually existent things, comparisons may be made between possible, and even between imagined things. People may imagine infinite grades in the essence of the Divine Names and Attributes. Almighty God is, however, of the highest, most perfect and most beautiful of all the grades which His Names and Attributes are imagined to have. The whole of the universe bears witness to this. His description of all His Names as the best or most beautiful as in the verse, His are the Most Beautiful Names (20:8), points to this fact.
- The phrases of apparent comparison such as those mentioned should also be considered from the following viewpoint.
Almighty God has two kinds of Attributes and ways of manifestations.
- The first is that, in the form of an all-encompassing law, He manifests all of His Names throughout the universe from behind apparent means and causes.
- The second is that He concentrates His manifestations on a single being without any means or veils. His kindness, creation and grandeur manifested in this second way are brighter, more beautiful and more splendid than their manifestations in the first way.
Suppose there is a saintly king who is able to execute his authority directly without the actual mediation of officials, commanders and governors. That king will execute his authority in two ways. Either he will exercise his rule through some general laws he has established and by employing officials and governors in every office, or he will govern the country directly by being present everywhere at the same time in different forms without the means of any officials. It may be said that this second way of his rule will be better and more excellent.
Similarly, although the Creator of the universe, Who is the Eternal King, has made means and causes veils to His rule and chosen this way to demonstrate the majesty of His Lordship in this life, He has installed a ‘private telephone’ in the hearts of His servants so that leaving all the means and causes behind, they could contact Him each as a private servant and declare: ‘You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help.’ Phrases like ‘the Best of the Creators’, ‘the Most Merciful of the Merciful’, and ‘God is the Greatest’, are also meant to underline this fact.
You assert that the Creator of the universe has infinite perfections: He encompasses the highest degrees of all the kinds of perfections. Whereas the perfections are judged by way of contrast. Without pains, the perfection of pleasures cannot be perceived; without darkness, you cannot recognize light, and without separations, union does not give pleasure, etc.
Consider the following points:
- The one who asks a question such as this is not aware of true perfection. He imagines relative perfections to be true. Whereas any virtue or perfection or superiority which manifests itself in comparison or contrast with others is not true but of relative value and significance. When its opposites are lacking, it loses all its value. For example, heat is desired in comparison with the severity of cold. A food is delicious in proportion to the severity of hunger. Were it not for hunger and cold, neither food nor heat would have any value. Whereas true pleasure or love or perfection or virtue is such that it does not manifest itself in comparison with others or in proportion to the degree of its opposites, but it is by itself, of itself and a reality established of itself. In life there are some realities which do not need comparison or opposites to perceive or appreciate. For example, the pleasure of being existent, and the pleasures of life, mercy, and compassion, and the pleasures of belief, love, knowledge and continuance of life, and the beauty of light, and the delight and beauty of having powers of seeing and speaking, and the beauty of moral virtues and good conduct, and the perfection of Divine Essence, Attributes and acts, do not change. With or without opposite, they are virtues and perfections in themselves.
Thus, all the perfections of the Majestic Maker, the Author of Grace and Beauty, the Creator of Perfection, are true in and of themselves. The perfections in the creation are their reflections according to the capacity of each being.
God is loved because He is perfect, and perfection is loved because of itself.
- In Sharh al-Mawaqif, Sayed Sharif al-Jurjani writes: ‘The cause of love is either pleasure or benefit or sexual or natural inclination or perfection. Perfection is loved because of itself.’ That is, you love something or someone because of either the pleasure it gives or the benefit it brings or the sexual or natural (fatherly, motherly or filial, etc.) inclination you feel towards it or the perfection it has. If it is perfection which arouses love, there is no need to search for another cause to love. For example, people tend to love men of perfections, of perfect virtues, although they have no relations to them whatever.
So, by virtue of being true, indisputable and infinite, all the perfections of Almighty God and all His Most Beautiful Names are loved because of themselves. The Majestic Being, Who is absolutely worthy of love and the True Beloved One, loves His perfections and the beauties of His Names and Attributes, which are all true, in a manner fitted for Him. He also loves the works of His Art, which are the mirrors to His Perfections, and the beauties of His creatures. He loves His Prophets and saints, and particularly His noble beloved, who is the lord of the Messengers and the master of the saints. Because of His love for His Own Beauty, He loves His beloved, who is the mirror to that Beauty. Because of His love for His Own Names, He loves His beloved, who manifests those Names in a most comprehensive way, and his brothers—the other Prophets—and Companions. Because of His love for His art, He loves His beloved, who displays that art, and those who are like him, that is the rest of the Prophets. Because of His love for His creatures, He loves His beloved, who welcomes those creatures with due appreciation and applause, saying: ‘What wonders God has willed! God bless them! How beautifully they have been created!’, and those who follow him. Because of His love for the beauties of His creatures, He loves His beloved, who is the most comprehensive embodiment of all those beauties and all moral virtues shared by them, and his brothers and followers.
All of the perfections in the whole of the universe are the signs of a Majestic One’s perfections and indications of His Beauty. In relation to His perfection, all the beauty and perfection in the universe are an indistinct shadow. The following is a brief pointer to five of the evidences of this reality.
- A splendid, perfectly built and decorated palace evidently points to perfect engineering, architecture and joinery, and shows that its builder is a perfect engineer, architect, decorator and joiner. All those names and skills demonstrate the perfection of the builder’s artistry and competence. The perfection of the competence necessarily shows that the builder is a perfect one of most sublime nature.
Similarly, the palace of the world, that perfectly built and decorated work, evidently points to the perfection of acts. For the perfection of a work results from the perfection of acts. The perfection of acts necessarily points to the perfection of the Names like the Organizer, the Fashioner, the Wise, the Decorator, the Builder, which are involved in the building of that place. The perfection of the Names and Titles undoubtedly shows the perfection of the qualities or Attributes. For if the attributes are not perfect, the names originating from them cannot be perfect. The perfection of the Attributes evidently demonstrates the perfection of the competence. The perfection of the competence shows of a certainty that the One Who has built that palace is absolutely perfect, for although His perfection has manifested itself through the veils of Attributes, Names, acts and works, still it reveals such faultless perfection and beauty so far as can be observed in the universe.
After you see that infinite perfection originating in the Essence of the One Who has it, you may understand how much the relative perfections manifested in comparison to others or by way of contrast signify.
- When viewed with attentive eyes and considered reflectively, the universe reveals to the heart and sound conscience that the One Who has made it so beautiful and decked it out with such varieties of adornment has such infinite beauty and perfection that He has made it so.
- As you know, perfect and well-proportioned works of art depend on perfect planning. Perfect planning is based on comprehensive knowledge, perfect mind, intellectual refinement and spiritual purity. The purity of the spirit manifests itself in the work through knowledge. So, with all its material beauties, this universe consists in the drops issuing from an infinite knowledge belonging to One Who has infinite beauty and perfection.
- As you know, one of light diffuses light and illuminates, and benevolence proceeds from wealth and grace originates from a gracious one. Since this is so, like light pointing to the sun, all the beauty and perfection observed in the universe point to a perpetual beauty.
Like a mighty river glittering with the reflections of the sun’s light, the creatures flow over the face of the earth glittering with the reflections of beauty and perfection. Just as the reflections of light in the bubbles on the surface of the river do not originate from the river itself, so too, the beauties and perfections glittering temporarily on the flood of creatures do not belong to the creatures themselves; rather they are the reflections of the lights of the Names of an Eternal Sun.
The disappearance of the mirrors and death of the creatures in contrast to the perpetuity of the reflections in them of the inseparable grace and beauty are among the most manifest proofs that the apparent beauty does not belong to those reflecting them, and that there is One with an ideal beauty and an ever-manifested kindness and grace, One Whose existence is absolutely necessary, Who is Eternal and All-Loving.
- As is known, if three or four people coming from the same place through different ways report the same event, it gives certainty as to the occurrence of that event.
In the same way, all the people who are able to uncover the hidden truths and have as certain knowledge of them as seeing them with the naked eye, who belong to either the different classes of truth-seeking, purified scholars or the different ways of the saints or the different schools of the sages, all differing from one another in time, place, method, temperament, and capacity, have all unanimously agreed that the beauties and perfections observed in the mirrors of creatures in the universe are the reflections of the Perfection of a Single Necessarily Existent One and the manifestations of the beauty of His Names, their consensus is an unshakeable decisive testimony.
- The pleasure, beauty and grace a person or a thing has are judged according rather to those that receive and manifest them, than to their opposites. For example, generosity is a beautiful and praiseworthy virtue. A generous person receives pleasure from the happiness of those whom he has favored a thousand times greater than that he receives from his superiority to the others in generosity. Also, a caring and compassionate one feels greater pleasure in proportion to the comfort of those for whom he feels compassion. For example, the pleasure which a mother receives from the happiness and well-being of her children because of her compassion for them is so great and strong that she nearly sacrifices her life for them. The pleasure of that compassion causes a hen to attack a dog to protect her young.
Since the true pleasure, beauty and perfection of laudable virtues and praiseworthy qualities are judged according rather to those that they are related with than to their likes or opposites, for sure, the Beauty of the Mercy of the Perfect and All-Gracious One, Who is the All-Living, the Self-Subsistent, the All-Benevolent, the All-Caring, the All-Merciful and the All-Compassion-ate, should be considered in view of the beings He has mercy for. According to the degree of the happiness and well-being of those whom He favors with His Mercy, and particularly of their enjoyment of His bounties in Paradise, the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate One feels what we call sacred love, sacred pleasure, sacred exhilaration and sacred joy, which are in accordance with His Holy, Transcendent Being, and are infinitely greater, more sacred, more elevated and more refined than their counterparts existing in the creation. You may look at a single manifestation of the comprehensive meaning of this mighty truth by means of the telescope of the following comparison.
The Almighty “feels” sacred love and pleasure because of the happiness and well-being of His servants
Suppose there is a kind, compassionate and generous man. In order to feed some people who are extremely poor, hungry and destitute, he prepares a banquet on his fine ship traveling in the sea. While they are eating, he watches them from above. You may understand to what extent their enjoyment of the food and happiness, and the gratitude they feel in return, please and exhilarate that noble and generous one.
Similarly, the All-Merciful and Compassionate One has spread out a vast table on which are all varieties of food on the face of the earth which He causes to travel in the space with all the beings—men, jinn and animals—on it. Together with feeding all those beings here in the world on the foods on that table, He invites those innumerable servants of His who are infinitely hungry and destitute, to the everlasting gardens of Paradise each of which He prepares as if a magnificent table laid out with all kinds of food and drink which are of pure pleasure and delight.
Now, considering the pleasure and happiness which the generous one mentioned in the comparison above feels at the enjoyment of his guests, although he is only like an officer charged with delivering God’s bounties, not the true owner of the foods he offers, you may compare the sacred love and pleasure which the All-Merciful One feels, which we are unable to describe.
To cite another example, if a skilful technician invents something like a phonograph and displays through it the results he wants to obtain, you may understand how he will be pleased and say, ‘What wonders God has willed!’.
A man is pleased with the working of a simple instrument like a phonograph. Whereas the Majestic Maker has invented the vast universe like a phonograph or a unique composition of music. He has made the earth in general and all the creatures in it in particular, and especially the head of man, each like a Divine phonograph or a piece of Divine music, that sciences should be lost in admiration of it. Thus, since all those creatures display the results expected of them to the utmost degree and in a extremely beautiful way, their obedience to God’s laws of the creation and operation of the universe, which comprise their sort of worship and glorification and their specific praise and exaltation of God, and the attainment of Divine purposes for their lives, please God to the extent that, even if united into a single intellect, all mankind could not comprehend it.
Still as another example, a just judge who receives great pleasure from doing and establishing justice, becomes extremely happy with restoring the rights of the oppressed against oppressors. Likewise, you may compare with this the sacred meanings arising from the reality that the Absolutely Just Ruler, the Majestic Overwhelming One, gives all creatures the right of existence and animate beings the right of living, and protects and maintains their existence and lives against all kinds of aggressions. He also restores all the rights in the universe and acts in absolute justice, and especially He will judge in the Hereafter all men and jinn and establish absolute justice.
The essence of the universe is love. All creatures move with the motive of love. All the laws of attraction, rapture and gravity originate in love
As in the examples above, in each of one thousand and one Divine Names there are numerous sorts of beauty, grace and perfection, and an abundance of levels of love, pride, honor and grandeur. It is for this reason that the exacting saintly scholars who are the objects of the manifestation of the Divine Name the All-Loving, have concluded: ‘The essence of the universe is love. All creatures move with the motive of love. All the laws of attraction, rapture and gravity originate in love.’ One of them even said:
The spheres are intoxicated, angels are intoxicated, so are stars.
The heavens, the sun, the moon, and the earth are intoxicated.
Intoxicated are the elements and plants and trees and human beings.
All the animate beings are intoxicated, and so are all particles of the creation.
That is, every creature is intoxicated with the ‘wine’ of Divine love, according to its capacity. As is known, every soul loves the one who does him kindness and loves true perfection and transcendent beauty. He also loves the one who does kindness to those whom he loves and for whom he has mercy. Should it not be understood from this that the Majestic and Beautiful, the Most Beloved of Perfection, in each of Whose Names are innumerable treasuries of kindness, Who makes all those whom we love happy with His favors and is the source of countless perfections and levels of beauty and grace, is worthy of infinite love and the intoxication of the whole of the creation with His love? It is because of this that some saints who have manifested the Divine Name the All-Loving have said: ‘We do not even want Paradise. A gleam of the Divine love is eternally sufficient for us.’ It is also because of this that, as the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, said: ‘A single minute spent in beholding the Divine Beauty in Paradise excels all the bounties of Paradise’.
So, all perfections of love are produced within the spheres of the Divine manifestations of Unity and Singleness from the Names and creatures of the Majestic Being. The perfections imagined outside those spheres are not true.
In religion the world is condemned and described as flesh. Also, all the people of truth and sainthood deplore the world and regard it as evil and foul. Whereas you show it to be the means for the manifestations of all Divine perfections and speak of it like a lover.
The world has three facets.
- The first facet is concerned with the Names of Almighty God. It shows their inscriptions and functions as mirrors to them. This facet is the collection of the innumerable ‘letters’ of the Eternally Besought-of-All. Therefore it is extremely beautiful and worthy of love, not of dislike.
- The second facet of the world is related to the Hereafter. It is the field to sow for the Hereafter, the tillage of Paradise. It is the flower-bed of Divine Mercy. Like the first one, this facet too, is beautiful, and worthy of love, not condemnation.
- The third facet is a veil of heedlessness and a plaything which concerns the fancies and desires of man. This facet is ugly because it is mortal, painful and deceptive. It is this facet of the world which the Traditions condemn and the people of truth dislike.
The Wise Koran praises the creation and attaches importance to it on account of its first two facets. The Companions sought after these two facets, as have the other saints.
Four groups of people condemn the world and deplore it.
- The first group is those having knowledge of God. Since the world builds a barrier before the knowledge, love and worship of Almighty God, they condemn the world.
- The second group are those who aim solely at the life of the Hereafter. Either because worldly affairs and occupations prevent them from striving for the Hereafter seriously or because their firm belief and conviction show them the world to be very ugly in comparison with the beauties and perfections of Paradise, they abhor the world. Just as a man, however handsome, is ugly when compared with the Prophet Joseph, upon him be peace, so too, all the beauties and charms of the world mean nothing in comparison with the beauties of Paradise.
- The third group condemns the world because they are unable to ‘conquer’ it. This condemnation arises from the love of the world, not from dislike of it.
- The fourth group condemns the world because when they seize something of the world, it slips out of their grasp. They become angry and in order to console themselves, say: the world is ugly. This kind of condemnation, too, arises from love of the world. Whereas the agreeable condemnation is that which comes from the love of the Hereafter and knowledge of God.
For the sake of the Master of the Messengers, may Almighty God include us among the first two groups. Amen.
Question revealing the real reason of atheism in most of the atheists
Since I seek the pleasure and happiness of the worldly life, advancement in civilization and perfection of art in denial of God, not heeding the Hereafter, love of the world, being free to live however I wish and self-assertiveness, I have drawn most people onto this path, and continue to do so.’
Two paths before humanity
O helpless man! Come to yourself! Do not listen to the representative of the misguided. If you listen to him, you will suffer such a great loss that imagining it causes the spirit, mind and heart to shudder. There are two paths before you:
- One is the path to which the representative of the misguided points and it is a path full of dangers.
- The other is the one which the wise Koran describes and it is a path that brings happiness.
The path of misguidance
The path of misguidance, and associating partners with God and of dissipation and transgression of Divine Commands, causes man to fall to bottomless depths of degradation, and loads an unbearable burden onto his weak back and his heart with boundless sorrows. For if a man does not recognize Almighty God and put his trust in Him, he becomes like an extremely weak and impotent and an infinitely poor and destitute animal, a mortal afflicted with pains and grieves and subject to countless calamities. Throughout his life he suffers incessantly from separations from the things which he loves and has had connections with, and leaving his friends and relatives remaining in life in pains of separation, he enters into the dark depths of the grave alone.
Also, he struggles in vain, with a limited will, little power, a short life-span and a dull mind, against infinite pains and ambitions. He strives to realize his countless desires and goals without any considerable result. While he is unable to bear the burden of his own being, he loads his miserable mind and back with the tremendous burden of the world. Before going to Hell, he suffers the torments of Hell.
In order to be able to endure that sort of painful spiritual torment, a misguided one leads himself to the drunkenness of heedlessness as some sort of anesthesia. However, when he has approached the grave, he begins to feel it most acutely. For since he has refused to become a true servant to Almighty God, he supposes himself to be the owner of his self. Whereas he is unable to govern his being in this tumultuous world with his limited free will and insignificant power and encounters numerous enemies from harmful microbes to earthquakes ready to attack him. In painful fear and terror he looks to the door of the grave, which always appears terrifying to him.
Furthermore, on account of being human, he is related to humankind and the whole of the world. But since he does not believe the world and mankind to be at the disposal of the One Who is All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Compassion-ate, and All-Munificent, and attributes their existence and lives to chance and nature, the fearful events of the world and the conditions and experiences of mankind always trouble him. Together with his own pains, he also suffers from the troubles of other creatures. The convulsions, earthquakes, plagues, calamities, deaths and famines, which visit the world, inflict upon him unbearable torments.
A man in this position does not deserve mercy and affection for it is himself who throws himself into such a terrible state. If a man who, not content with an agreeable and lawful enjoyment and entertainment in a fine banquet among honest friends in a beautiful garden, has become drunk with foul wine for the sake of a disagreeable pleasure, imagines himself to be surrounded by wild beasts in a dirty place on a winter day and begins to tremble and cry in fear, he will not deserve pity. For he is imagining his honest friends to be wild beasts and insulting them, and supposing the delicious foods as foul and the clean, fine plates and bowls as worthless, dirty stones, is breaking whatever he touches, and judging the invaluable meaningful books which have been brought to read and study to be ordinary meaningless collections of sheets, is tearing them up and throwing them around. Rather than compassion and pity, such a man deserves punishment.
Similarly, since through the drunkenness of unbelief and insanity of misguidance arising from the abuse of will-power, a man asserts that the All-Wise Maker’s guest-house of the world is a plaything of chance and nature, and that the transference of beings to the world of the Unseen after each has completed its duty of refreshing the manifestations of the Divine Names is going into absolute non-existence; since he judges the glorifications of beings and their recitations of the Divine Names to be outcries of deaths and eternal separations, and those sheets of creatures which are each a missive of the Eternally Besought-of-All to be confused, meaningless collections; since he sees the door of the grave, which is opened on the world of mercy, as the opening of a dark world of non-existence and death (while it is in fact an invitation to re-union with friends and beloved ones), as absolute separation from all friends and beloved ones; he makes himself subject to alterable and painful torment, and since he denies, rejects and insults both creatures and the Divine Names and His inscriptions and missives, he in no way deserves pity and compassion, rather he deserves a severe punishment.
Which progress, which science, which technology can compensate for death?
So, O unfortunate people of misguidance and dissipation! Which progress and evolution of yours and which sciences, which technology and civilization of yours can compensate for such a terrible loss and collapse and crushing hopelessness? Where can you find the true consolation which the human spirit needs first of all and most urgently? What nature, what causality and whatever else on which you rely and to which you attribute the works of God and His bounties and favors, and what discoveries and inventions of yours and what idols and fetishes, can save you from the darkness of death, which you suppose to be eternal extinction, and take you across the boundaries of the intermediate world of the grave and the place of the Resurrection and Gathering and over the Bridge to the Abode of Eternal Happiness?
Whereas, since you are unable to close the door of the grave, you are bound to traverse, to tread this way which reaches the One under Whose command and at Whose disposal are all those worlds and abodes.
Also, O unfortunate, misguided and heedless people! Since you use unlawfully in love of your selves and the world, the potential of loving and knowing which was given to you to know and love God and His Attributes and Names, and your body and faculties granted to you to worship and thank Him, you are suffering the punishment which you deserve. Since you assign to your selves the love which must be felt for Almighty God, you are suffering the troubles which your selves cause you. You do not provide a true peace and happiness for that object of your adoration, which is your carnal self. Since you do not submit it to the Absolutely Powerful One, the True Beloved One, with utmost trust in Him, you always suffer pains. Since you assign to the world the love belonging to the Names and Attributes of Almighty God, and attribute the works of His art to causality and nature, you are getting your deserts. The things among which you share out your love either leave you without saying good-bye or do not recognize you. Even if they recognize you, they do not love you. Even if they love you, they give you no benefit. You suffer from incessant separations and deaths without hope of re-union.
This is the reality of what the misguided call happiness of life and human perfection and beauties of civilization and pleasures of freedom. Dissipation and drunkenness are a veil which may temporarily keep them from feeling those sufferings and pains.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.