In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
We shall show them Our signs in the whole of the outer world and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that it is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over all things? (41:53)
A parable to set out to reach God
Supposing a miracle-displaying man wants to build a big palace, first he lays its foundations firmly according to his purpose for building it. Next, he divides it skillfully into apartments and rooms. Then, he furnishes those apartments and rooms, and decorates them. After that, he illuminates the palace with electric lights. Further, in order to show other skills of his and demonstrate his continual bounty, he makes additions, changes and transformations in every wing and apartment of the palace. Also, he establishes a system to communicate with every apartment and room, and opening a window in each room, he ensures that he can be seen in his names and attributes.
Similarly—And God’s is the highest comparison—the Creator Who is beyond compare and called by one thousand and one holy Names like the Wise Ruler and the Just Judge, willed to make that palace of the universe, that tree of creation, which is the macrocosm. He laid in six days the foundations of that palace, that tree, and built the main body, with the principles of His Wisdom and rules of His eternal Knowledge. Dividing it into higher and lower levels and branches, He ramified and elaborated it with the principles of His Decree and Destiny. Then He formed and organized creatures in groups, families and species and ordered the life of each with the principles of His Art and Favoring. After that, He adorned each thing and each world in a way particular to it; for example, He adorned the sky with stars, and the earth with flowers. He manifested His Names in those vast arenas where His universal laws and all-inclusive principles are in force, and illuminated them. Following that, with the manifestations of His Names the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate, He came to the special aid of man who cried at the pressure of those universal laws. That means, within His universal and all-inclusive principles, He has special favors and help and particular manifestations which encourage every being to turn to Him any time it desires and ask Him for help for any of its needs. Also, in order that His existence and Unity may be evident to beings, He opened windows on Himself from all apartments, all levels of creation and worlds, all groups of existence and all individuals, and all things, and left a telephone in every heart.
Now, referring those innumerable windows to the all-comprehensive Divine Knowledge, the discussion of all of which is beyond our capacity, in a happy correspondence with the thirty-three repetitions of the phrases of glorifying and praising God and that of affirming His Greatness after each prescribed prayer, we shall be content with a brief allusion to thirty-three of them, which originate from the verses of the Koran.
The needs and demands of every thing are properly met in due time from somewhere unknown and unexpected
We are clearly witnessing that all things, the living ones particularly, have numerous different needs and multi-form demands. Those needs and demands of theirs are properly met in due time from somewhere unknown and unexpected, which it is impossible for them to reach by themselves. They are unable themselves to meet even the least of those needs. For an example, consider yourself: consider the many needs you have to satisfy your external and inner senses and organs which you are unable to procure. You may compare all other living beings to yourself.
Thus, all those needs and demands and their gratification point, individually and as a whole, to the existence of an Absolutely Necessary Being behind the veil of the Unseen and His Unity, and show Him to the mind with His Names the All-Munificent, the Most Compassionate, the Trainer and Upbringer, and the Provider and Organizer.
A countenance proves itself to be an extremely brilliant stamp of Divine Oneness
While with respect to actual existence and individualization, things have an infinite variety of potential forms, each is given, all at once and wisely, a particular and extremely well-ordered countenance equipped with external and inner senses with perfect wisdom, which bears a special mark distinguishing the individual from all the other members of its species. The countenance therefore proves itself to be an extremely brilliant stamp of Divine Oneness. Like each face bearing witness in hundreds of ways to the existence of an All-Wise Maker and pointing to His Unity, that stamp of Unity which the faces display as a whole, shows to the eye of the mind that it is a seal belonging to the Creator of all things.
Every things is given a particular form with perfect measure and order
The huge army of plants and animals on the earth, which have hundreds of thousands of species (Among those species are some whose numbers in a year exceed the whole of the members of mankind from the time of Adam to the end of the world) are each given with perfect measure and order and without any confusion and forgetting, a particular form and garment and particular provision and ‘weaponry’, and each is trained and demobilized in a way particular to itself. This is a stamp of the One of Unity, a stamp as brilliant as the sun, about which there can be no doubt. Who other than the One with limitless Power, an all-encompassing Knowledge, and an infinite Wisdom, can dare to have a hand in that administration, which is infinitely wonderful? For if one unable to administer and train the whole of those species and races all together, which exist one mixed with the other, were to interfere with one of them, he would certainly cause a confusion. Whereas, as is stated in the verse, Turn your gaze again, do you see any fissure? (67:3), there is no sign of any void or confusion. That means no one is able to have a hand in His creation.
The prayers of every thing especially done in the tongue of potential and disposition are answered
The prayers which all seeds utter in the tongue of their disposition and potentiality, all animals, in the tongue of their natural needs, and all those compelled, in the tongue of compulsion, are all answered.
As each of those innumerable prayers, all evidently answered, bears witness to and points to the necessary existence and Unity of God, all of them evidently point to an All-Compassionate, All-Munificent and All-Answering Creator as a whole and on a larger scale.
Despite coming into existence as if all of a sudden every being is given perfectly beautiful and all the equipment necessary for living
We see that things, especially living ones, come into existence as if all of a sudden. While things coming into existence all of a sudden out of a simple substance should be simple and coarse and without any art, they are created so finely as requiring many skills, and embellished so carefully and delicately as demanding a long time, and ornamented so artistically as needing numerous tools, and made so elaborately as necessitating lots of materials.
So, the beautiful form given to each and all things all at once and the wonderful artistry manifested on them testify to the necessary existence of an All-Wise Maker and point to the Unity of His Lordship. Also, through their form and the artistry they display, things as a whole point in a most brilliant way to a Necessarily Existent Being Who is infinitely powerful and wise.
In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the benefit of mankind; in the water which God sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death, and dispersing over it all kinds of beasts; in the ordinance of the winds and clouds that are driven between earth and sky: are signs for people who have sense. (2:164)
This verse, which demonstrates the necessary existence of God and His Unity, is an extremely large window through which one of God’s Greatest Names is seen.
The following is what the verse means in brief.
- All of the worlds situated at the higher and lower levels of the universe point to the same result in different tongues: it is the Lordship of a single Wise Maker.
- Just as the well-organized and systematic movements in the heavens ending in great results demonstrate the existence and Unity of a Majestic All-Powerful One and the perfection of His Lordship, so also the tremendous changes on the earth such as those witnessed in seasons, resulting in great, comprehensive benefits, show the necessity of that Majestic All-Powerful One’s Unity and the perfection of His Lordship.
- All the animals on land and sea are fed through perfect mercy, and given various forms with perfect wisdom, and they are equipped with multi-form senses and faculties with perfect Lordship. As each testifies to the existence of that Majestic All-Powerful One and points to His Unity, so also as a whole they demonstrate on a large scale the grandeur of His Divinity and the perfection of His Lordship.
- Similarly, the well-formed plants in gardens and orchards and the ornate flowers they produce, and the well-proportioned fruits replacing the flowers and the rich embellishments the fruits display, all bear witness to the existence of that All-Wise Maker and point to His Unity individually, and they show in a splendid way the grace of His Mercy and the perfection of His Lordship collectively.
- Again, just as the drops sent from the atmosphere and charged with important purposes, necessary consequences and benefits, demonstrate to their number the necessary existence of that All-Wise Maker and His Unity and the perfection of His Lordship, so also all the mountains on the earth and the various minerals deposited in them for various purposes show, as firmly as the mountains, the existence and Unity of that Wise Maker and the perfection of His Lordship.
- Also, just as the various, beautiful flowers decorating hills and plains individually attest the necessary existence of an All-Wise Maker and point to His Unity and collectively show the majesty of His Sovereignty and the perfection of His Lordship, so too, the well-proportioned shapes and positions of the leaves on trees and herbs and their rapturous, systematic movements demonstrate to their number the necessary existence and Unity of that All-Wise Maker and the perfection of His Lordship.
- All growing bodies, which have innately been equipped with various members and systems to grow, begin to move in an ordered manner at the time of growth and are directed toward yielding fruits. As each of them testifies to the necessity of that All-Wise Maker’s existence and points to His Unity, so also as a whole they demonstrate on a very large scale the comprehensiveness of His Power, the inclusiveness of His Wisdom, the beauty of His Art, and the perfection of His Lordship. Also, to establish in animal bodies their souls and spirits with perfect wisdom, and to equip them with various systems with perfect order, and to mobilize them for various services and purposes with perfect wisdom—all this bears witness and points to the necessity of that All-Wise Maker’s existence and His Unity to the number of animals or even of their members and systems. Collectively, all those acts show His Mercy and the perfection of His Lordship in a most brilliant way.
- All Divine inspirations coming to man to instruct him in all kinds of knowledge and truths, and to animals to teach them how to procure their needs, suggest the existence of a Most Compassionate Lord and point to His Lordship. Also, like the rays of light coming forth from the eye and collecting all visible objects into it, all the external and inner senses function each as a key to a different world. This too demonstrates, as brightly as the sun, the necessity of the existence of that All-Wise Maker, the All-Knowing Originator, the Most Compassionate Creator, the All-Munificent Provider, and His Unity and the perfection of His Lordship.
Thus, the huge window consisting of twelve openings in twelve places shows through a light of truth of twelve colors the Oneness and Singleness of Almighty God and the perfection of His Lordship.
Although of various kinds and species, creatures resemble one another in many ways
Creatures come into existence easily and, although of various kinds and species, resemble one another in many ways. They are spread out on the earth with perfect order and display a perfect proportion and equipment. As this demonstrates on a broad scale the necessity of an All-Wise Maker’s existence and His Unity and the perfection of His Power, the creation of innumerable, different well-composed compound beings out of simple lifeless elements also testifies, to the number of those beings, to the necessity of that All-Wise Maker’s existence and points to His Unity, and those beings show as a whole the perfection of His Power and His Unity in a most brilliant way.
Also, there is an infinite degree of differentiation and compounding within infinite profusion. For example, while seeds and roots exist under earth in extremely confused position, they are amazingly distinguished in growth, and like the particles of food entering the body in confusion being separated and shared out among organs and tissues with perfect measure and wisdom, the particles going into trees in confusion are distinguished and distributed among leaves, flowers and fruits. This shows the necessity of the existence of that absolutely Wise, Knowing and Powerful One and His Unity and the perfection of His Power. Also, it demonstrates the grandeur and perfection of His Lordship that, making the world of particles into a boundless, vast field, He sows and harvests it every moment with perfect wisdom and obtains fresh crops of different worlds from it, and causes those unconscious, powerless and ignorant particles to perform innumerable, systematic functions just as if they were extremely learned, conscious and capable.
Thus a large window is opened onto knowledge of God through these four ways, and they display the All-Wise Maker to the mind on a large scale.
The Testimony of all the Prophets
The testimony of all the Prophets, upon them be peace, who are those with luminous spirit among mankind, based on their manifest and evident miracles, the testimony of all the saints, who are those distinguished with their illumined hearts, relying on their wonder-making and spiritual discoveries, and the testimony of all the purified scholars, who with their enlightened minds rely on their researches and quests for truth, to the necessary existence and Unity of One, the Creator of All Things, and the perfection of His Power, form a truly vast and enlightening window, through which the position of His Lordship shows itself continually.
The worship performed by beings in the universe
The worship performed by all beings in the universe evidently demonstrates an Absolutely-Worshipped One. Those who penetrate the world of spirits and the inner dimension of things and meet with the angels and spirit beings, testify that all spirit beings and angels worship an Eternally-Worshipped One in perfect obedience, and all living beings are observed to be performing duties in perfect order in a manner resembling worship, and all inanimate things evidently render services with perfect submission in a like manner. As all this shows the necessary existence and Unity of a True Object of Worship, so too the true knowledge of all saints, which bears the weight of consensus, and the fruitful thanks of all the thankful, and the blessed recitations of all those who recite God’s Names, and the praises, which cause the increase of Divine bounties, of all those who praise God, and the pronouncements and descriptions of Divine Unity, based on decisive proofs, of all those who believe in it, and the true love of all lovers of God, and the true will and desires of all those who seek Him, and the earnest searching and inclinations of all those who turn to Him, all demonstrate the necessary existence and Unity of that Eternally-Worshipped One, the One Who is Recognized, Mentioned, Praised, One Beloved, Desired and Sought, and the perfection of His Lordship.
Also, the acceptable worship and supplications of perfected people, and the spiritual radiance, visions and illuminations resulting from them, again demonstrate the necessary existence and Unity of that Everlasting and Eternally-Worshipped One and the perfection of His Lordship.
Thus these three aspects open up a broad, light-giving window onto Divine Unity.
The mutual helping and solidarity of beings in the universe
And He sends down water from the heaven and brings forth with it crops and fruits as provision for you, and He has made subject to you the ships so that they sail through the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subject to you; and He has made subject to you the sun and the moon, both pursuing their courses, and He has made subject to you the night and the day; and He gives you of all that you ask Him. If you were to count God’s bounties, you could not enumerate them. (14:32–4)
The mutual helping and solidarity of beings in the universe and the fact that they respond to one another’s call for assistance show that all creatures are trained by a single Instructor, are administered by a single Director, are at the disposal of a single Disposer, and are the servants of a single Master. For through a universal law of mutual helping, the sun cooks the things necessary for the lives of living beings on the earth by the command of the Lord, and the moon acts as a calendar, and light, air, water and sustenance hasten to the assistance of animate beings, and plants hasten to the assistance of animals, and animals and plants together hasten to the assistance of human beings, and even the members of the body hasten to the assistance of one another, and the particles of provision hasten to the assistance of the cells of the body. This most wise and generous mutual assistance among those unconscious beings, and their responding to one another’s needs and their supporting one another under a law of munificence and grace, a law of compassion and care and a principle of mercy, demonstrate, clearly and evidently, that they are the servants, officers, and creatures of a unique One of Unity, a peerless, Eternally-Besought-of-All, an Absolutely Powerful, Absolutely Knowledgeable, Absolutely Compassionate, Absolutely Munificent, Necessarily-Existent One.
Beware, only in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest. (13:28)
Only through recognizing their One Creator can all spirits and hearts be delivered from the distress and confusion arising from misguidance, and the spiritual pains arising from that distress. They can be saved by attributing all beings to a Maker of Unity and find rest in remembrance of One God. For, as is proved in the Twenty-Second Word, if all those innumerable creatures are not attributed to a single being, it becomes necessary to ascribe a single thing to numberless causes, and then to explain the existence of a single thing becomes as difficult as all creatures. For if ascribed to God, innumerable things are attributed to a Single Being, and if they are not ascribed to Him, then it becomes necessary to attribute every single thing to numberless causes. Then a single fruit becomes as difficult as the universe. For, just as if a single soldier is put under the command of a hundred different officers, a hundred difficulties will arise, and if the commandment of a hundred soldiers is given to a single officer, they will be as easy to command as a single soldier, so too the coincidence of numerous different causes in the creation of a single thing is difficult to the hundredth degree. If, by contrast, the creation of numerous things is given to a single being, then it becomes easy to the hundredth degree. Therefore it is only belief in the Unity of the Creator and Knowledge of God which will deliver man from the endless distresses arising from the curiosity and desire to find the truth inherent in his (man’s) nature.
There are endless difficulties and pains in the way of unbelief and associating partners with God, so that that way is manifestly impossible and contains no truth. By contrast, in conformity with the ease of the creation of beings and their multiplicity and the subtle art they have, there is infinite ease in giving their existence and administration to One God only. That way is certainly necessary and the truth itself.
Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High, Who has created and made well-proportioned and orderly; and Who has determined (the shape, life-span and nature of all things) and guided (them each towards its own way). (87:1-3)
All things, and especially living ones, have a form and well- measured proportions according to the functions they are to perform in the world, as though they emerged from a mould of wisdom. Each has been given distinct, definite, certain shape with curves and twists according to the benefits and uses expected of them. The changes, outward and inward, they undergo throughout their lives are again according to certain measures and purposes determined for their lives. All this shows clearly that those innumerable creatures, whose shapes and proportions have been planned in the sphere of determining of an All-Powerful One of Majesty, an All-Wise One of Perfection, and who have been given forms and bodies in the workshop of Divine Power, point to the necessity of His existence and bear witness in endless tongues to His Unity and the perfection of His Power .
Look at your own body and its members and ponder over the uses and benefits of the curves and twists in the shape of each, and see the perfection of the power embedded in perfect wisdom!
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise. (17:44)
The testimony of disposition or nature is not rejected.
All things mention and glorify their Creator each in its own tongue. The glorifications that all creatures do either vocally or in the tongue of their lives and dispositions show the existence of a single Holy One.
The testimony of disposition or nature is not rejected. As for the proof produced by practical life, especially when it issues from many aspects of that life, it cannot provoke doubt. See! how each of the well-ordered forms of those creatures which testify through their innate dispositions and bear witness in innumerable ways in the language of their lives and manners, and which all turn to a single center like concentric circles, is an expressive tongue. Their well-proportioned structures and organizations are each a tongue of testimony, and their well-organized lives are tongues of glorification. As is persuasively argued in the Twenty-fourth Word, their glorifications and exaltations expressed in all these tongues are testimony to a single Most Holy Being and demonstrate His necessary existence, as certainly as light shows the sun, and point to the perfection of His Divinity.
Say: in whose hand is the dominion of all things? (23:88) There is nothing but its treasuries are with us. (15:21) There is not a moving creature but He has grasp of its forelock. (11:56) Surely my Lord records and preserves all things. (11:27)
The verses above state that:
- In all circumstances and aspects of its life and existence, everything needs a single Creator of Majesty. We look at creatures in the universe and see that an absolute force is manifested within absolute weakness, and there are the impressions and inscriptions of an absolute power in absolute impotence. For example, the awakening of the life-force in the seeds and roots of plants is strikingly extraordinary.
- Then, there are manifestations of an absolute wealth within absolute poverty and sterility, like the poverty of earth and trees in winter and their glittering profusion in spring.
- Again, the sparks of an absolute life are observed in absolutely lifeless matter, for instance in the transformation of mineral elements into living entities.
- Or again, the manifestations of an all-encompassing consciousness in absolute ignorance, as in the manner that everything, from particles to stars, acts as if consciously conforming with the order of the universe and the principles of life and the demands of wisdom.
- Thus, this power within impotence, and strength within weakness, and wealth within poverty, and flowing life and consciousness within solidity and ignorance, necessarily and evidently open up windows on every side onto the necessary existence and Unity of One Absolutely Powerful, Absolutely Strong, Absolutely Rich, Absolutely Knowing and Living and Self-Subsistent. In their totality they point to a luminous highway on a large scale.
He has created everything in the best way. (32:7)
Everything is clothed in a form tailored to the receptivity of its nature with perfect measure and order, and assembled with the finest art, by the most direct method, in the best shape and the easiest manner, and in most practicable structure. Look at the ‘dress’ of birds, for example: see how easily they can ruffle or set their feathers and yet use them continually. Giving things bodies and dressing them in forms in a wise manner with no waste and nothing in vain, bears witness, to the number of those things, to the necessary existence of an All-Wise Maker and points to an Absolutely Powerful and Knowing One.
Universal purposiveness and wisdom
The order and organization in creation and management of creatures, which are recruited season by season on the earth, manifest a universal purposiveness and wisdom. Since an attribute cannot be without the one it qualifies, that universal wisdom necessarily shows a Wise One. The wonderful adornment within that veil of wisdom evidently shows an all-embracing grace. That all-embracing grace necessarily shows a Gracious, Munificent Creator. The all-encompassing favoring and benevolence within the veil of the grace show evidently an all-encompassing mercy. That all-encompassing mercy necessarily shows an All-Merciful, All-Compassionate One. The sustenance and provision of all living creatures on that veil of mercy, all perfectly and appropriately for their needs, show clearly an upbringing and training providence and a compassionate Lordship. That training and administering necessarily show an All-Munificent Provider.
Each of the creatures on the earth, thus raised with perfect wisdom, adorned with perfect graciousness, favored with perfect mercy, and nurtured with perfect caring and compassion, bears witness to the necessary existence of an All-Wise, Munificent, Compassionate, Providing Maker, and points to His Unity. So also consider all together the all-encompassing wisdom which is manifest on the earth as a whole with everything on it—it shows clearly a purpose and will; and the perfect grace encompassing all creatures in accordance with the wisdom; and the all-embracing mercy which comprises both the grace and wisdom and touches all creatures; and the most generous sustaining and nurturing which comprises the mercy, wisdom and grace and touches all living creatures. Just as the seven colors form the light which illuminates the earth undoubtedly shows the sun, so too that grace within wisdom, and mercy within grace, and sustaining and nurturing within mercy, show brilliantly and on a vast scale and at a high degree, the Unity and Lordship of a Most Wise, Munificent, Compassionate, Providing Necessarily-Existent One.
Surely in the heavens and the earth are signs for the believers. (45:3)
Absolute order despite infinite liberality; absolute balance despite absolute speed in creation; absolute beauty despite absolute multiplicity and variety; absolute artistry despite absolute ease in creation; absolute correspondence despite very great distances; perfect differentiation despite utter intermingling; absolute value despite absolute abundance.
- On observing the face of the earth in summertime, we see that an infinite generosity and absolute liberality, which could be expected to cause disorder and confusion, are apparent within an infinite order and harmony. See all the plants which adorn the face of the earth.
- Also, the absolute speed in creation of things, which would normally result in imbalance and loss of decorum, is observed within a perfect equilibrium. See all the fruits which adorn the face of the earth.
- Also, the absolute multiplicity and variety, which would normally bring about triviality, indeed, ugliness, is apparent within perfect beauty of art. See all the flowers which gild the face of the earth.
- Also, the absolute ease in creation of things, which would normally cause simplicity and lack of art, is seen within an art, skill and attention of infinite degree. See all the seeds, which are like the tiny containers and programs of the members of plants and trees on the earth and the small cases containing their life-histories.
- Also, the great distances, which would normally necessitate difference and diversity, appear within an absolute correspondence and conformity. See all the varieties of cereal grains sown in all parts of the earth.
- Also, the utter intermingling, which would normally cause confusion and mess, is on the contrary to be seen within perfect differentiation and separation. Consider how seeds, which are cast into the earth all mixed-up together and resemble one another with regard to their substance, are perfectly differentiated when they are about to sprout, and how the various substances entering trees are separated out perfectly for the leaves, flowers, and fruits, and how the various foods which enter the stomach all mixed-up together are separated out perfectly for the various members and cells of the body. Consider all this and see the perfect power within perfect wisdom.
- Also, the infinite abundance and profusion, which would normally cause triviality and worthlessness, are seen to be most valuable and most worthwhile in regard to the creatures and art on the earth. Consider among all those innumerable wonders of art only the varieties of mulberry, those sweets of Divine Power, on the table of the All-Merciful One on the earth, and observe the perfect mercy combined with the perfect art.
So, just as daytime shows the light, and the light, the sun, the great value together with or despite the infinite profusion; and within the infinite profusion, the infinite differentiation and separation together with or despite the boundless intermingling; and within the infinite differentiation and separation, the infinite conformity and resemblance together with or despite the great distances; and within infinite resemblance, the infinite care and attention in the making alongside or despite the infinite ease and facility; and within the most beautiful making, the infinite equilibrium, balance, and lack of waste along with or despite the absolute speed and rapidity; and within utmost lack of of waste, the highest degree of beauty of art together with or despite the utmost abundance and multiplicity; and within the highest degree of art, the absolute order and harmony together with the utmost liberality—all bear witness to the necessary existence, Unity and Oneness of an All-Powerful One of Majesty, an All-Wise One of Perfection, an All-Compassionate One of Grace and Beauty, and the perfection of His Power and the grace and beauty of His Lordship. They demonstrate the meaning of the verse, His are the Most Beautiful Names (20:8).
Have they not considered the truth contained in the inner dimension of the heavens and the earth? (7:185)
Perfection in structure and composition
A perfect, well-designed and artistic construction like a palace evidently points to a perfect act—that is, a building points to an act of construction. A perfect, well-performed act necessarily points to a perfect ‘actor’, to a skilful master-builder. The title of a skilful master-builder clearly points to a perfect attribute, to an artistic ability. A perfect attribute, a perfect competence in an art evidently points to the existence of a perfect capacity. A perfect capacity or potentiality points to the existence of a noble spirit, an exalted being.
So, likewise, the ever-renewed, refreshed and replaced works filling the face of the earth, indeed the universe, evidently show acts of perfect degree. Those acts taking place in an infinitely wise and well-ordered system clearly show an agent or ‘actor’ with perfect titles and names. For, as everybody knows, well-arranged and wise acts cannot be without someone doing them, the infinitely perfect titles point to the infinitely perfect attributes of that agent. For just as according to grammar, the active participles and the nouns denoting one who does something— like doer, actor, and speaker etc.—are derived from verbs, so also the origins of nouns in Arabic are adjectives. The perfect attributes point to perfect personal potentialities, and those perfect potentialities point most certainly to the one with a limitless degree of perfection.
Thus, since the works of art and creatures in the whole of the universe are each a perfect work, and since each bears witness to an act, and the act to a name, and the name to an attribute, the attribute to a potentiality, and the potentiality to a being, then—as well as testifying to their number to the necessary existence and Unity of a single Maker of Majesty—they constitute as a whole a ‘stairway’ of knowledge of God leading to Him in a form as strong as the chain of creatures, and a proof of truth in series which is indubitable in all aspects.
So, O poor, heedless unbeliever! With what can you break this proof as strong as the chain of beings? With what can you shut up this window which has innumerable openings to show the rays of truth to the number of creatures. What veil of heedlessness can you draw across it?
The seven heavens and the earth and all in them glorify Him. There is nothing that does not glorify Him. (17:44)
Innumerable instances of wisdom attached to heavenly objects and earthly things
According to the meaning of the verses above, the Majestic Maker has attached to the heavenly bodies so many instances of wisdom and meanings that, as if to express His Majesty and Grace, He has adorned the heavens with suns, moons, and stars. He has also attached to the creatures in the atmosphere such instances of wisdom and meanings that it is as if He was making the atmosphere speak in words like lightnings, thunder, and drops of rain. He also teaches His perfect Wisdom and the beauty of His Mercy.
Also, just as He makes the earth speak in its meaningful words like plants and animals and thereby shows the perfection of His Art to the whole of the universe, so too, by making plants and trees speak in their words of leaves, flowers, and fruits, He again demonstrates the perfection of His Art and the beauty of His Mercy; and by making flowers and fruits speak in words of seeds and pollen, He teaches the subtleties of His Art and the perfection of His Lordship to conscious beings.
Among these countless words of glorification, we shall consider the manner in which a flower or an ear of wheat expresses its glorification and we shall find out how it bears witness.
Each plant and tree demonstrates its Maker in numerous tongues in such a way that it amazes careful observers, and causes them to utter, ‘All glory be to God! How excellently it bears witness!’
Indeed, the glorifications of each plant at the time of its blossoming and growing ears or spikes—the time when it speaks in smiles—are beautiful like itself and evident. For the order or system displaying the wisdom or purposiveness expressed in the speaking of all flowers and in the tongues of well-formed spikes or ears and in the words of well-proportioned seeds and well-made grains, is in a certain measure which visibly points to knowledge. The measure is in the design of an art which shows skill. The design of the art is in an adornment which demonstrates grace and munificence. The adornment is in agreeable fragrances which show mercy and benevolence. These meaningful states of things one within the other form such a tongue of testimony that they both define their Majestic Maker with His Names and describe Him with His Attributes and exemplify the manifestations of His Names and express His being loved and recognized.
So, hearing such a testimony as this from a single flower, if you are able to give ear to the voices of all flowers in all the gardens of the Lord on the face of the earth and hear how powerfully they announce the necessary existence and Unity of the Majestic Maker, will you still have any questions and doubts and hesitations?
Now come and look at a tree carefully! With its leaves appearing in spring all regularly and its flowers opening all proportionately and its fruits growing and ripening in wisdom and mercy and itself dancing with the blowing of breezes, consider its fine expressiveness. Then consider the exact balance in the wise order illustrated with the words of fruits smiling with a manifestation of mercy and in the tongue of blossoms smiling with a joy of grace and the leaves becoming green with a hand of munificence. Also, consider the delicate arts and designs in the balance showing justice and exact measure, and the various beautiful sweet smells showing mercy and benevolence in skillfully-made designs and ornaments, and the seeds and stones that are each a miracle of Power in sweet tastes. All this demonstrates in an extremely manifest way the necessary existence and Unity of an All-Wise Maker, All-Munificent, All-Compassion-ate, All-Benevolent, Bestower of Bounties, All-Beautifying, One Making Excellent, and the beauty of His Mercy and the perfection of His Lordship. If you can hear all together the tongues of the dispositions of all trees on the earth, you will see what beautiful gems there are in the treasury of Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies God.
Glory be to Him in Whose hand is the dominion of all things. (36:83) There is nothing but its treasuries are with Us and We send it not down but with a known, determined measure. We loose the winds as fertilizers drivers of clouds to make an electric current between them and send down from the sky blessed water and provide you with it; you are not the ones who store it. (15:21–2)
The wisdom and art displayed by universal elements
Just as a perfect wisdom and grace and beauty of art are apparent in particulars, results and details, so also the universal elements, which seem to be in confusion and are fancied to be random and coincidental, take up positions dictated by wisdom and art. Thus, as is pointed out by its other wise services, light radiates so as to show and expose to view the creatures of God on the earth by the leave of the Lord. This means light is employed by an All-Wise Maker Who makes visible by it His unique arts in the exhibitions in the market of the world.
Now consider the winds: as is pointed to by the other benefits they provide, and the functions they perform wisely and generously, they hasten to carry out extremely numerous and important duties. This means that that movement of theirs in waves is a being employed, a being dispatched, a being utilized by an All-Wise Maker. That movement is a speedy endeavoring to carry out the orders of the Lord.
Now consider springs, streams, and rivers! Their welling up out of the earth and out of mountains is not by chance. For as is testified to by their benefits and uses, the results of Divine Mercy, and as is demonstrated by their being stored up in mountains according to a measure of need, and by their being sent according to a measure of wisdom, they are subjugated and stored up by an All-Wise Lord, and they well up in ardent obedience to His commands.
Now consider all the varieties of stones and jewels and minerals in the earth! The purposes and the benefits connected to them and their being prepared and arranged appropriately to the needs and necessities of human and animal life show that their decorativeness and beneficial properties are by the decoration, arrangement, organization, and fashioning of an All-Wise Maker.
Now consider the flowers and fruits! Their smiles, tastes, beauties, embroideries, and scents are each like an invitation and menu on the table of an All-Munificent Maker, a Compassionate Bestower of Bounties; they are given as various invitations and menus to each species of beings through their different colors, scents and tastes.
Now consider the birds! A certain indication that their twittering and chirruping is an All-Wise Maker’s enabling them to vocalize is the amazing way in which they communicate their feelings to one another with those sounds, and express their intentions.
Now consider the clouds! A certain indication that the pattering of the rain is not a meaningless sound and that the crashing of thunder and lightning is not a futile noise is that such strange atmospheric events as those are made to happen in vast space and that drops of rain are milked out of them with which to feed the living creatures on the earth so needy and longing for them. All show that that pattering and crashing are most meaningful and full of purposive wisdom. For at the command of an All-Munificent Lord, the rain calls out to those longing for it: ‘Good news for you! I am coming!’
Now look at the sky and consider carefully only the moon out of innumerable bodies in it! The important instances of wisdom attached to it in connection with the earth demonstrate that its motion is by the command of an All-Powerful and Wise One.
Thus, the universal elements we have mentioned from the light to the moon open in large measure a most broad window. They proclaim and show the Unity of a Necessarily Existent One, and the perfection of His Power, and grandeur of His Sovereignty.
The truth contained in this Window occurred to me on one occasion in verse as follows:
The radiance of light is through Your illuminating and making things known through it;
The succession of ages like waves is through Your dispatching and employing them.
Glory be to You, how mighty is Your rule!
The gushing out and flowing forth of rivers is through Your storing them up and subjugating them.
The formation and decoration of stones is through Your arranging and fashioning them.
Glory be to You, how unique and splendid is Your Wisdom!
The smiling of flowers is through Your adorning and beautifying them.
The emergence of fruits in splendor is through Your bestowal and favoring.
Glory be to You, how beautiful is Your Art!
The singing of birds is through Your making them speak and communicate with one another.
The hymning of rain is through Your sending it down, Your bestowal.
Glory be to You, how vast is Your Mercy!
The motion of moons is through Your determining, Your arrangement, Your directing, Your illuminating.
Glory be to You, how brilliant Your proofs, how clear Your evidences!
The sun runs its course to its place destined, that is the determining of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. (36:38)
The sun, the lamp of the universe, constitutes a window onto the existence and Unity of the Maker of the universe, which is as brilliant and radiant as the sun itself. Indeed, despite their great differences with regard to size, position, and speed, the twelve planets including the earth, known as the solar system, move—revolve—with perfect order and wisdom and perfect balance without even a second’s confusion, and are bound to the sun through a Divine law known as gravity, that is, they follow their leader. This demonstrates on a large scale the grandeur of Divine Power and the Unity of the Lord. For you may compare how tremendous a Power and Wisdom are engaged in having those lifeless bodies, those vast, unconscious masses, rotate as they do, and in employing them with infinitely perfect order and balance in various ways and over varying distances and in varying motions. If chance were to interfere in this vast and complex event to the slightest degree, it would cause an explosion so great as it would scatter the universe. If it were to stop the motion of one of them for a minute, it would cause it to leave its orbit and collide with another planet. You can imagine how awesome would be the collusion of bodies thousands of times bigger than the earth.
Referring to the All-Encompassing Knowledge of God the wonders of the solar system, that is, the twelve planets, which are the followers and fruits of the sun, we shall only consider the earth, our planet, which is here before our eyes. We see that this planet of ours is made to travel on a long journey around the sun by a command of the Lord to carry out a most important duty—as is described in The Third Letter—in a way to demonstrate the grandeur of the Lord’s imperial Power and Majesty and the loftiness of Divine Sovereignty and the perfection of His Mercy and Wisdom. Like a ship under the command of the Lord, it has been filled with God’s wonderful creatures and made like a moving place of recreation for His conscious servants. The moon has been ‘attached’ to it with precise reckoning for mighty instances of wisdom, like being an hour-hand telling the time, and given various mansions through which to journey. Thus, these aspects of this blessed planet of ours prove the necessary existence of an All-Powerful One and His Unity with a testimony as strong as the earth itself. You can make an analogy with the rest of the solar system from this.
Furthermore, the sun is made to turn on its own axis like a spinning-wheel, in order to wind into a ball the immaterial threads called gravity and tie the planets with them and set them in order. The sun is also impelled together with its planets at a huge speed towards, according to one theory, the constellation Lyra or the ‘sun of suns’. This most certainly occurs by the Power and at the command of the All-Majestic One, the Monarch of Eternity. It is as if He makes the solar system perform a maneuver like an army composed of His soldiers under orders, and so demonstrates the majesty of His Lordship.
Have We not made the earth a cradle, and the mountains masts? We have created you as pairs. (78:6-8) Look at the works of God’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death! (30:50)
- The earth is like a head which has hundreds of thousands of mouths. In each mouth are hundreds of thousands of tongues and each tongue has hundreds of thousands of proofs, each of which testifies in numerous ways to the necessary existence and Unity of an All-Majestic One Who is powerful over all things and knows everything, and His sacred Attributes and Beautiful Names.
- Considering the beginning of the creation of the earth, a liquid matter was made into rock and out of rock, earth was created. Had it remained as fluid, it could not have been habitable. If it had remained as rock, hard like iron, it would not have been suitable for use. So it is certain that the Wisdom of an All-Wise Maker, Who is aware of the needs of the earth’s inhabitants, gave it its present form.
- Also, the stratum of earth was laid over the feet of the masts of mountains so that the earth could find an outlet through them from its internal quakes and continue its duty and movements without any diversion. Mountains also save the face of the earth from the invasion of seas. Additionally, they serve as treasuries for the vital necessities of living creatures, and combing out the air, they purify it of harmful gasses. Furthermore, they store up waters, and are sources of other minerals necessary for living beings.
- Thus, with all these and other duties and aspects of theirs, mountains decisively and strongly testify to the necessary existence and Unity of an Absolutely Powerful and All-Wise, Compassionate One.
- Also, consider the wonderful kinds of art on the face of the earth! How wisely elements have been charged with duties! How beautifully they look after the All-Merciful One’s guests on the earth at the command of a Powerful, Wise One, and hasten to serve them!
- Also, among unique and wonderful works of art, consider those lines of embroidery on the multi-colored face of the earth displaying striking instances of wisdom, and see how He has made brooks and streams, seas and rivers, mountains and hills serve as both a dwelling and a means of transport appropriate to certain varieties of His creatures and servants. Then, populating the earth with hundreds of thousands of species of plants and animals with perfect wisdom and order and causing it to prosper with life, and after discharging those inhabitants in regular cycles from their duties through death, re-filling it again regularly in the form of ‘revival after death’, testify to the necessary existence and Unity of an All-Powerful One of Majesty, an All-Wise One of Perfection, in hundreds of thousands of tongues.
- In short: since the earth, whose face is a place of exhibition of wonders of art and an assembly arena of exquisite creatures and a thoroughfare for the troops of creatures and a place of worship and dwelling for the ranks of His servants, is like the heart of the whole of the universe, it shows a light of Divine Unity as broad as the universe.
He has created death and life. (67:2)
Life as a most brilliant miracle of God
- Life is the most luminous and most beautiful of the miracles of Divine Power and the most brilliant and strongest of the proofs of Divine Unity. It is also the most comprehensive and most polished of the mirrors to the manifestations of the Eternally Besought-of-All.
- Life makes known by itself the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One with all His Names and qualities. For life is a light compounded of the manifestations of many of the Divine Attributes together. Just as the seven colors are present compounded in light and various medicinal substances in natural confections, so too life is a reality compounded of many Divine Attributes. Some of those attributes develop through feelings and become distinct, while most of them make themselves felt through sentiments and emotions. They make themselves known by ‘boiling’ in life.
- Life also comprises providence, mercy, grace and wisdom, which are the most substantial elements in the maintenance and administration of the universe. It is as if life brings them along with itself wherever it goes. For example, when life enters a body, the Names the All-Wise also manifests itself therein, and builds and arranges that ‘nest’ of life with wisdom appropriately. The Name the All-Munificent and the All-Compassionate manifest themselves at the same instant and furnish and decorate that dwelling of life in accordance with its needs and bestow on it all kinds of favors for the continuation and perfection of life respectively. Further, the Name the Provider is also observed to manifest Itself in supplying life with all material and spiritual nourishment necessary for its maintenance and flourishing, and It stores up a certain amount of that nourishment in its body. This means that life is like a focus where various Names or Attributes meet or, rather, are united into one another to form a single entity. It is as if life is entirely knowledge; yet it is power at the same time, as it is also wisdom and mercy, etc. So, on account of its so comprehensive nature, life is a mirror to the Eternally Besought-of-All reflecting the qualities of the Essence of the Divine Being. It is because of this that the Necessarily-Existent One, Who is the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent, creates life in the greatest profusion and abundance and exhibits it. He also concentrates all things around life to make them serve it, for life has a very great, important duty.
- Indeed, it is not something easy and an ordinary duty to be a mirror to God as the Eternally Besought-of-All. The innumerable new lives and spirits, the essences or identities of lives, which we constantly witness being brought into existence all instantly from nothing, show the necessary existence, sacred Attributes and Beautiful Names of the Necessarily-Existent, Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, as rays of light show the sun. Just as if one did not recognize the sun and admit its existence, one would have to deny the light pervading daytime, so too the one who does not recognize the Sun of Oneness, Who is the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent, and the Giver of Life and the One Causing to Die, should deny the existence of the living beings filling the face of the earth from the beginning of time to its end. One should therefore admit himself to be like an unconscious, most ignorant being.
There is no god but He. All things are perishing except His “Face;” His is the sovereignty and unto Him you are being returned. (28:88)
Death as a strong evidence of God’s Oneness and Permanence
Death is a proof of Divine Lordship to the degree of life and an extremely strong evidence of His Oneness.
According to the meaning of the verse, He has created death and life (67:2), death is not total non-existence or extinction, nor absolute annihilation or decay without one who authors it, rather as is pointed out in The First Letter, it is a discharge from worldly services by an All-Wise Author, and a change of place and renewal of body, and being freed from duties and a release from the prison of the body, and a pre-determined and well-ordered work of wisdom.
Just as the lively face of the earth and creatures and animate beings on it testify to the necessity of an All-Wise Maker’s existence and His Unity, so too, those living creatures bear witness through their death to the Oneness and Eternity of an Ever-Living, Permanent One.
Living beings testify through their lives to the existence of a Necessarily-Existent One and through their death they bear witness to the Eternity and Oneness of an Ever-Living Permanent One. For example, the face of the earth is a living thing and shows the Maker through all its features and orderliness. When it dies, that is, when winter covers that dead face with its white shroud, it distracts the views of mankind from the earth. Or, attention is diverted through this wintry corpse of spring into the past and a broader spectacle appears to the eye. That is, all the past springs, each of which was a miracle of Divine Power covering the face of the earth, urge the conviction that a new spring will come and the face of the earth will be revived and filled with living creatures once more. All the springs past and the face of the earth (which has been experiencing the cycles of life and death for millions of years) bear witness to the necessary existence, Unity, Permanence and Eternity of an All-Majestic Maker, an All-Powerful One of Perfection, a Self-Subsistent, Permanent One, so brilliantly, so strongly, and on so vast a scale, and present proofs so clear, that one could not help but proclaim: I have believed in God, the One, the Single.
In short: According to the meaning of He revives the earth after its death, as this lively earth testifies to the Maker through spring, it attracts attention through its death to the miracles of Divine Power arranged on the two wings of time, the past and future. In place of a single spring, it shows thousands, and points to thousands of miracles of Power in place of a single one. The testimony of all of those springs is more decisive than that of this present one. For the springs that have passed away into the past have gone together with their apparent causes, and been replaced by new ones like themselves. This means that the apparent causes mean nothing. An All-Powerful One of Majesty creates them and dispatches them. However, He makes them dependent on certain causes due to His Wisdom. As for the lively faces of the earth arranged in sequence in time to come, they bear witness more forcefully. For, while there is yet no sign of them, yet they will be made, each originally and, after being sent to perform definite duties, each will be removed.
Just as relativity shows absoluteness, so does contingency shows necessity
A beaten one points to the one who beat. A work of art necessarily shows an artist. Something born requires the existence of something giving birth. Being below implies being above. And so on. Like all relative things or qualities in pairs such as these which exist in relation to each other and require the existence of each other, the contingency in the particulars of the universe as well as in it as a whole—that is, it is equally possible for something to come into existence or not—shows necessity. The being or becoming or the being acted upon observed in the particulars and in the universe as a whole show activity. Their being created shows the activity of creating. Multiplicity and composition observed in all of them necessitates unity. Necessity, acting, doing, creating and unity necessarily and evidently demand the attributes necessary, active, creative and one, which are not contingent, passive, multiple, composed and created. That being so, all contingencies, actions and formations, creations, and all multiplicities and compositions in the universe testify of a certainty to a Necessarily-Existent One, One doing whatever He wills, the Creator of all things, One and Single.
In short: Just as contingency shows necessity, and being or becoming evidently points to an act of doing or making, and multiplicity to unity, so too, being created and provided as observed in existence certainly point to the existence of the acts of making, creating and providing. These of a necessity and evidently point to the existence of a Compassionate Maker, Who is the Creator and Provider. This means that through the tongues of the hundreds of attributes it has, each creature bears witness to hundreds of Beautiful Names of the Necessarily-Existent Being. If these testimonies are not admitted, then all such qualities must also be denied.
Beauties being refreshed and renewed after their disappearance show the Eternal Beauty
The beauties and comeliness observed on the faces of creatures for a fixed period and then renewed and refreshed after their disappearance, show that they are the reflections of some kind of the manifestations of an Eternal Beauty. Just as the sparkling of the troops of bubbles on the surface of a river one after the other under the sun shows that the bubbles are the mirrors of the rays of a perpetual sun, so also the rays of beauty glittering on the creatures traveling in the flowing river of time point to a Permanent Beauty. They are the signs of some kind of that Beauty.
Also, the earnest love inherent in the heart of the universe shows a Never-Ending Beloved One. As is pointed out by the fact that something that does not exist in the nature of a tree has no place in its fruits, the solemn, transcendent love existing in man who is the most sensitive and delicate fruit of the tree of creation shows that in the whole of the universe there is true love, though in different forms and of different kinds. So, that true love in the heart of the universe shows an Eternal, Beloved One.
Also, the attractiveness and attractions and attachments manifesting themselves in the bosom of the universe in many different forms show the hearts alerted and aware that they all issue from the attractiveness of an attractive, eternal truth.
Also, relying on their illuminations and visions, saintly people and those capable of unveiling hidden truths in creation, who form the most sensitive and enlightened group of beings, unanimously report that they receive the manifestations of an All-Beautiful One of Majesty and are aware through their illuminations and visions that that majestic, Beautiful One makes Himself known and loved. This decisively testifies to the existence of a Necessarily-Existent One, Beautiful One of Majesty, and to His making Himself known by human beings.
Also, the pen of beautification and decoration working on the face of the universe and creatures, manifestly shows the beauty of the Names of that pen’s Owner.
Thus, with the beauty on its face, the love in its heart, the attraction in its bosom, the illumination and vision in its eyes and the decoration and loveliness in it as a whole, the universe opens up a pleasant, clear window through which it shows intellects and hearts, alerted and awake, a Beautiful One of Majesty, a Never-Ending Beloved One, an Eternal Object of Worship, all of Whose Names are Beautiful.
God is the Creator of all things, and He is a Guardian, a Watcher over all things. (39:62)
Causality is only a veil
Looking at visible things, ‘causes and effects’ in the universe, we see that even the greatest cause by itself is not enough for the existence of even the most insignificant thing. This means that causes are only a veil; there is one who brings ‘effects’—things—into existence. Out of innumerable creatures, we consider as a simple example the faculty of memory situated in a place the size of a grain of mustard seed in the head of man, and see that it is so comprehensive a book or, rather, library, that the whole of his life-history is recorded in it.
What cause can you put forward as the origin of that miracle of Divine Power? The entangled nerves of the brain? Or simple, unconscious parts of cells? Or the winds of chance? Whereas, that miracle of art can be the work of such a One, a Wise Maker, that in order to remind man in the Place of Gathering in the Hereafter of all he did while in the world, He makes a copy of the register of his deeds and gives it to the hand of his intellect.
Compare to man’s faculty of memory all eggs, seeds and fruit stones and also compare to these tiny miracles of Power all other effects. Whatever effect or thing you look at, you will see that it contains such a wonderful artistry that if, let alone its ordinary, particular cause, all causes were gathered together, they would display their impotence in front of it. For example, supposing the sun, which is described by some as a huge cause or agent, to be conscious and possessed of will-power. If you were to ask it whether it could make the body of a fly, it would evidently answer: ‘Thanks to my Creator’s grace, there is much light and heat and a lot of colors in my shop. But in the body of a fly are things such as eyes and ears and life which do not exist in my shop, nor are within my capacity.’
Also, just as the extraordinary art and decorations contained in a thing refuse causes (as accounting for its creation) and point to the Necessarily-Existent Being, Who is the Producer of All Causes—according to the meaning of Unto Him is returned the whole of the affair (Hud, 11.123)—and acknowledge Him as the true originator of all things and events, so too, the results, purposes and benefits connected to things evidently show that they are the products (of the acts) of an All-Munificent Lord, a Compassionate Wise One, Who is acting behind the veil of causes. For it is evident that unconscious causes cannot work in pursuit of a purpose. Whereas we see that every creature comes into existence not for a single purpose but for many definite purposes and benefits and according to many instances of wisdom. This means that an All-Wise and All-Munificent Lord brings them into existence. He makes those benefits the reason for their existence.
For example, rain comes. Everybody knows that the apparent causes of rain are infinitely for from having any consideration or concern for animals. Therefore, rain is sent to the aid of animals through the Wisdom of a Compassionate Creator, Who creates animals and undertakes their provision. Rain is called ‘mercy’. Since it bears numerous results of mercy and brings many benefits, it is as if mercy has been embodied in rain, in drops, and is falling in drops.
Also, the show and embellishment in all adorned plants and animals, which smile at all creatures, evidently point to the necessary existence and Unity of a Majestic Being, Who, behind the veil of the Unseen, wants to make Himself known and loved through that art of adornment and embellishment. That is, the adornment, show and beauty of things certainly point to the qualities of making oneself known and loved, which, in turn, testify evidently to the necessary existence and Unity of a Known, All-Loving and All-Powerful Maker.
In short: Since causes are infinitely ordinary and impotent when compared to the effects—things—which are extremely full of art and valuable, they can have no real part in creation. Also, the benefits of things and purposes pursued through them and for them deny causes any real role in creation and attribute their existence to an All-Wise Maker absolutely. Furthermore, the decorations they have and the skills apparent in their coming into existence point to an All-Wise Maker, Who wants to make known His Power to conscious beings and Who desires to be loved.
O helpless one who ‘deifies’ causes! With what can you explain these important realities? How can you deceive yourself? If you are rational enough, rent the veil of causes apart, and proclaiming, He is One, there is no partner with Him, be saved from innumerable illusions.
Among His signs are His creation of the heavens and the earth and the difference of your tongues and colors. Surely in this are signs for those who know, for scientists. (30:22)
Looking at the universe, we see an all-inclusive wisdom and ordering from the cells of the body to the world as a whole. On looking at the cells of the body, we see a significant organization and arrangement in them by the command and law of the One Who sees and governs all the functions and needs of the body. Just as some nourishment is stored up in the body in the form of fat to use in case of need, so too there is the same kind of storage facility in the cells.
When we look at plants, we see an extremely wise organization, cultivation and nursery, and when looking at animals, we observe an extremely generous subsistence and breeding. We look at the pillar-like parts of the universe and witness a majestic management and illumination for important purposes. On looking at the world in its entirety, we see it has been perfectly planned and ordered as a country or a city or a palace for certain sublime instances of wisdom and exalted purposes. As is explained and argued in the First Station of the Twenty-second Word, this leaves no room for associating partners with God in any part of the universe from the tiniest particles to the largest stars. They are intertwined and interrelated with one another in such a way that the one who does not subjugate and manage stars cannot dominate over even a single particle. In order to truly be a lord over a particle, one has to own and control all of the stars. Also, as is explained and argued in the Second Station of The Twenty-second Word, the one who is not able to create the heavens and put them in an exact order, cannot give anyone his individual, particular countenance. That is, the one who is unable to be a lord over all the heavens, cannot inscribe the heavenly mark on the face of an individual which forms his distinguishing feature.
All this forms a window as large as the universe so that, if we look through it, we can see clearly and also with the eye of the mind that the verses, God is the Creator of all things and He is a Guardian, a Watcher, over all things. His are the keys of the heavens and the earth... (al-Zumar, 39. 62–3) are inscribed on the pages of the universe in capital letters. Since this is so, the one who does not see them has neither eyes nor a heart, or is human only in appearance.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise. (17:44)
One who is unable to make all things cannot create a single thing.
Once in a springtime I was traveling amid thoughts and feelings of loneliness. While walking along the foot of a hill, I caught sight of a wild, yellow flower. It reminded me of the flowers of the same kind which I had seen in the past in my home-town and other places. It then struck me Whose stamp that flower bore, Whose seal and inscription it carried. All the flowers of the same sort on the face of the earth are evidently His stamps and seals.
Thinking of that brought to my mind the notion that as the seal on a letter tells of the one who wrote and sent the letter, so also that flower is a seal of the All-Merciful One, and that hill too, which has been worked with such sorts of inscriptions as those and the ‘lines’ of meaningful plants, are a letter of that flower’s Maker. Further, that hill is itself a seal with that plain ahead of it being a letter of the All-Merciful One.
These thoughts caused the following truth to occur to me: being like a seal of the Lord, each thing attributes all things to its Creator, and prove that they are the letters of its Author. So, each thing forms such a window onto the Divine Unity that it submits all things to the ownership of a Single One of Unity. That is, each thing, each living thing especially, contains such a wonderful design, such a miraculous art, that the One Who makes it so and designs it so meaningfully, is also able to make all things and it will certainly be He Who has made all things. The one who is unable to make all things cannot create a single thing.
O you who are unaware of the reality of things! Look at the face of this universe! Who can deny the testimony of the pages of creatures that are like the innumerable letters of the Eternally-Besought-of-All, one within the other, and these seals put on them are the seals of Divine Unity? What power can silence them? If you listen to any of them with the ears of the heart, you will hear it pronounce, I bear witness that there is no god but God.
Had there been gods in them (the heavens and the earth) save God, they would surely go into disorder. (21:22) All things perish except His “Face.” His is the kingdom and unto Him you are returning. (28:88)
Authority and sovereignty do not accept rivalry and reject partnership and interference
This window is the one pertaining to all the theologians who have based their arguments on the facts that all things are contingent—that is, it is equally possible for them to come into existence or not; their existence is not absolutely necessary—and that they have come into existence in the course of time. It is the highway they follow in proving the existence of the Necessarily Existent One. Referring their detailed explanation to voluminous books of exacting scholars such as Sharh al-Mawaqif and Sharh al-Maqasid, we will only try to reflect a few rays coming to the soul from the light of the Koran through that window:
Authority and sovereignty do not accept rivalry and reject partnership and interference. It is because of this that, if there were two headmen in a small village, they would destroy the order and peace in it. Likewise, were there to be two governors in a district or town, they would cause great confusion there. Two kings in a country would cause turmoil. Since a pale shadow and a petty sample of the shadow of absolute authority and sovereignty enjoyed by powerless men in need of assistance categorically rejects rivalry and the intervention of its opposite, you may compare to what degree and how substantially sovereignty in the form of supreme, absolute kingdom and authority at the degree of Divine Lordship enjoyed by an Absolutely Powerful One rejects interference and partnership. That is, the most indispensable and constant requirement of Divinity and Lordship is Oneness and Singleness with no partners. The perfect order and most beautiful harmony in the universe are a most clear proof and certain testimony of this. From the wing of a fly to the lamps of the heavens, such an order prevails in the universe that in the face of it the mind cannot help but exclaim in amazement and admiration, Glory be to God! What wonders God has willed! God bless it!, and fall prostrate. Had there been the slightest room for associating partners with God to interfere with Him, according to the meaning of the verse, Had there been gods in them save God, they would surely go into disorder, order would be destroyed and the form and shape of the universe would change. Whereas, as is stated in the verses, Turn your sight (to the heavens) whether you can see any flaw and fissure. Turn again your sight a second time so that your sight will return to you dimmed and dazzled, in a state worn out (67:3-4), however hard man’s sight strives to see a flaw in creation, it will come back to the eye in utter exhaustion and say to the fault-finding reason: ‘I have been exhausted in vain, there is no flaw.’ This shows that the order is most perfect. This means that this perfect order is a decisive testimony to God’s Oneness.
As for the fact that the universe came into existence in the course of time and therefore it is not eternal, theologians argue:
The world is subject to change. Anything subject to change has a beginning, it came into existence at a point in time. Anything which came into existence at a point in time has someone who brought it into existence. That being the reality, this universe has an Eternal Creator.
We say: The universe certainly has a beginning; it came into existence in the course of time. It is because we see that in every century, rather, in every year, in every season even, a world goes and a new one comes. This means that there is an All-Powerful One of Majesty, Who invents, creates, a new world every year, rather, in every season or every day even, and after showing it to conscious beings, He replaces it with a newer one. He makes these’ worlds’ succeed one another, attaching them to the string of time in a series. It is certainly the Power of an All-Powerful One that creates the worlds in this way one after the other in succeeding seasons of spring, each of which is itself a renewed world. Most evidently, the One Who creates continuously worlds within the world and exchanges them with new ones, has created this universe, too. He has made this universe and the face of the earth a ‘guest-house’ for those mighty guests.
As for the issue of contingency, theologians argue:
Contingency means equality between two possibilities. That is, if it is equally possible for something to come into existence or not, there must be one who will prefer either possibility, one who will create in case of his preference of existence. For contingent beings cannot create each other to continue in succession. Nor can they go back to eternity in cycles with the former having created the latter. Since this is so, there is a Necessarily Existent Being Who creates all. Theologians have rendered null and void the chain of creative cause and effect or the notion of successive creators with twelve decisive arguments, some of which they call ‘argument in ascension’ and ‘argument is steps’, and breaking the chain of cause and effect, proved the existence of the Necessarily Existent Being.
We say: Rather than demonstrating the impossibility of the chain of cause and effect in creation or the cycle of successive creators to prove the necessary existence of a Creator Who has no beginning and has created all things, it is better and easier to show the stamp on everything belonging to the Creator of All Things. Through the enlightenment of the Koran, all the Windows and all the other Words follow this principle. The subject of contingency embraces a very broad range of arguments to demonstrate the existence of the Necessarily Existent Being in innumerable ways. However, the subject need not be restricted to the way theologians treat it—however broad that way is—namely, that the cycle or the chain of cause and effect must stop at one point, where the realm of Divine Creativity must begin. Rather, it opens up innumerable ways to knowledge of the Necessarily Existent Being. For example:
While with respect to its being, features, qualities and life-span, each thing hesitates over which of numerous possible ways it could follow, we see that it chooses a well-ordered, well-established way to have a definite, most appropriate body. It is equipped with qualities exactly suitable to its existence and all the states and conditions it undergoes and the features it adopts during its life-span are cut out specially for itself. This is obviously through the will of One Who assigns to everything its specialties, through the choice of One Who chooses, through the creation of a wise Creator Who directs it for wise purposes along a particular way among countless others. He clothes it in features and qualities befitting it and makes it a part of a composite entity. This causes the possibilities before it to increase, for it is equally possible for it to have a place in that entity in any of thousands of ways. However, it is positioned in a way just appropriate for it so that it should perform the fruitful and purposeful duties expected of it in that entity. Subsequently, that entity is made a part of another larger entity. This multiplies possibilities still further for it may have a place in it in any of even more thousands of ways. It is positioned in any of those ways and made to carry out important duties. And so on. All this demonstrates the necessary existence of an All-Wise Director more and more accurately and decisively and explains that things are directed through the command of an All-Knowing Authority.
A private has certain duties and specially determined services to perform in relation to his squad, company, battalion, regiment, army-corps and army, and wisely arranged relations particular to each. Likewise, a cell in the pupil of your eye has a certain relation to your eye, then to your head, and then to your veins and nervous system and finally to your body as a whole, and it also has duties apportioned to it wisely in relation to each. Were it to fail the least in doing its duties, you would become ill, the body would suffer. So, just as through its being and features, and through the body it is clothed in, and the form and attributes it is given out of numerous possible ones, each creature in the universe testifies to a Necessarily Existent One, so also it proclaims its Maker in other tongues when it is positioned in different composite entities. With respect to its services and duties in each of those entities up to the largest one, it bears witness to the necessary existence, Will and Choice of the All-Wise Maker. For it can only be the Creator of all those composite entities, Who positions a thing in them in a way to maintain all the wise relations between them. This means that a single thing has a position where it will testify to Him in thousands of tongues. Thus, testimonies to the existence of the Necessarily Existent Being accumulate not to the number of the creatures of the universe themselves, but to the number of the possibilities for them to have each of their qualities, features, forms and positions, and the duties assigned to each, and the relations they maintain in the composite entities in which they are.
Surely, We have created man in the fairest creation and in the best pattern.(95:4) In the earth are signs for the people of certainty, and in your selves; will you still not have insight? (51:20-21)
Humanity and its inner world
This window is that of man and concerns his inner world. Referring its detailed explanation to thousands of voluminous books of truth-seeking saintly scholars, we will only mention a few fundamentals we have obtained from the enlightenment of the Koran.
Man is such a comprehensive copy (of existence) that Almighty God makes all His Names perceived by him through his self. We will discuss the following points:
● Man is a mirror to the Divine Names with regard to three aspects:
- In the same way as darkness at night suggests light, man points, through his weakness and impotence, destitution and neediness, and imperfection and defects, to the Power, Force, Wealth and Mercy, etc of an All-Powerful One of Majesty, thus becoming a mirror to many Attributes of God. In search of a point of support against innumerable obstacles and enemies in his infinite weakness and impotence, his conscience is always turned toward the Necessarily Existent Being. Also, since in infinite destitution and neediness, he feels constrained to look for a point of assistance to realize his innumerable aims, his conscience always tends to receive support from the Court of a Compassionate, Wealthy One and man petitions Him for his needs. This means that with respect to his need for a point of support and a point of assistance, two small windows are opened up from the conscience of everyone onto the Court of Mercy of a Compassionate All-Powerful One, through which everyone can look to Him.
- Through the particular knowledge, power, sight, hearing, ownership and sovereignty accorded to him, man functions as a mirror to the Absolute Knowledge, Power, Sight, Hearing and Ownership of the Owner of the universe and the Sovereignty of His Lordship. He understands them and makes them known. For example, he says: ‘Just as I have built this house and know how to build it and I am its owner and I see and administer it, so too this huge palace of the universe must have a builder who knows and sees it and administers it.
- Man functions as a mirror to the Divine Names Whose inscription are seen on him. As is briefly explained at the beginning of the Third Station of the Thirty-second Word, there are more than seventy Divine Names Whose inscriptions are apparent in the comprehensive nature of man. For example, through his constructions he manifests the Names the Maker, the Creator and the Giver of Form, etc, through his being the best pattern and of the fairest of creation, he demonstrates the Names the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate, and through his good sustenance and upbringing, he shows the Names the All-Munificent and the All-Gracious, etc. And so on. Through all his systems and parts, all his members and organs, all his faculties and features, and all his senses and feelings, he displays different inscriptions of different Divine Names. In the same way as there is the Greatest One among the Names, so too among the inscriptions of the Names the greatest one is man.
● This relates to a significant mystery of God’s Oneness, which is as follows:
Man’s spirit has a unifying function in regard to his body, namely, it causes all the body’s members and parts to help one another. That is, man’s spirit, which is a conscious law of Divine Command issuing from Divine Will and a faculty breathed into him by God and clothed in a perceptible existence, is not confused by receiving the signals of all the different bodily elements; rather, it meets their needs all at the same instant. In relation to the spirit, the distant is the same as the near, and the organs do not prevent one another from communicating with it. In case of need, the spirit can send most of the bodily elements to the assistance of a single one, and it can move all the parts of the body at the same moment. It can know, perceive and govern through any of them. If it has been able to refine, to purify, itself and acquire enough luminosity, it can see and hear through any part of the body, no matter how small it is.
Similarly—and God’s is the highest comparison—seeing that the spirit, which is a law of Divine Command [that is, which has the same meaning for the body as, for example, the law of growth for a tree, except that the spirit, by contrast to any of the Divine laws related to the creation and operation of the universe, is alive and conscious and has a perceptible existence], displays such abilities in man’s body, most certainly, countless actions, innumerable sounds and voices, boundless invocations and endless deeds can in no way confuse the Necessarily Existent Being; His universal Will and absolute Power can deal with all of them at the same time, without any confusion. The Majestic Creator is never confused by them; He sees all things, hears all sounds and voices. Distances have nothing to do with Him. If He wills, He can send all other things to the help of a single thing.
● Life has a very significant nature and an important duty. Since this has been explained in detail in the Window concerning life, we will recall here only the following point:
The complex and complicated feelings boiling in life point to many Names and Attributes of God. They function as clear mirrors to the essential qualities and acts of the Ever-Living, Self-Subsistent One. Since it is not yet the time to discuss this matter before those who do not recognize God and affirm Him with due conviction, we will not go further.
He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion in order to make it triumphant over all other religions. God is sufficient as a witness. (48:28) Say: ‘O mankind! I am the Messenger of God to you all, for Whom is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; there is no god but He. He gives life and causes to die’. (7:158)
Prophet Muhammad as one of the two greatest evidences of God
This Window is the one formed of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who is the sun of the heaven of Messengership. Referring the detailed explanation of this most broad and brilliant and resplendent Window to the Thirty-first Word, which is the Treatise of Ascension, and the Nineteenth Word—the Treatise of the Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and the Nineteenth Letter with nineteen Signs, we will be content with the following point:
On the wings of Messengership and sainthood, that is, equipped with a power formed of the absolute consensus of all the Prophets preceding him and the unanimous agreement of all the saints and pure scholars to come after him, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who is himself an articulate proof of Divine Unity, proclaimed and demonstrated Divine Unity throughout his life with all his strength. He opened up onto knowledge of God a broad and radiant window, namely the Muslim world. Thousands of pure, truth-seeking and truthful scholars like Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Muhy al-Din al-‘Arabi, and ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani look through this window and point others to knowledge of God. Is there a veil to draw across such a window? Can he be a sensible one who criticizes this window and does not look through it? You give the answer.
All praise be to God, Who has sent down to his servant the Book and has allowed therein no crookedness. (18:1) Alif Lam Mim Ra. A Book which We have sent to you so that you may bring men forth from darkness to light. (14:1)
The Koran as another of the two greatest evidences of God
Consider that all the previous Windows are a few drops from the ocean of the Koran and try to understand how many lights of Divine Unity, like water of life, there are in the Koran. Even if you have a simple, superficial look at the Koran, which is the source and mine of all those previous Windows, still it is a most shining, luminous, comprehensive Window. To understand how brilliant and luminous that Window is, you may refer to the Treatise of the Koran’s Miraculousness, which is the Twenty-fifth Word and the Eighteenth Sign of the Nineteenth Letter. Supplicating the Throne of Mercy of the Majestic Being, Who sent us the Koran, we say:
Our Lord! Do not call us to account if we have forgotten or made errors! Our Lord! Do not cause our hearts to swerve after You have guided us! Our Lord! Accept from us, surely You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. Accept our penitence, surely You are the Oft-Relenting, the All-Merciful.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.