(This station is a brief proof of Divine Unity at the level of God’s Greatest Name.)
FIRST PHRASE: There is no god but God. This affirms God’s Oneness in His Divinity and His being the Sole Object of Worship. The following is a very strong proof of the Divine Unity at this level.
The universe, and especially Earth’s surface, display a most orderly activity. We observe a most wise creativity and a most systematic unfolding, for everything is given the most proper shape and form. We also witness a most affectionate, generous, and merciful provision and bountifulness. Such factors display the necessary Existence and Oneness of an Active, Creative, Opening, Shaping, and Bestowing One of Majesty.
The continual decay and renewal of all all things that exist show that they manifest an All-Powerful Maker’s sacred Names and reflect Its lights; are works of that Maker’s creative activity, and inscriptions of the Pen of His Destiny and Power; and are mirrors reflecting His Perfection’s grace.
Just as the universe’s Owner proves this greatest truth and most exalted degree of His Oneness’ manifestation through all the Scriptures and holy Pages He revealed, all people of truth and perfection prove this same degree through their investigations and spiritual discoveries. Creation also points to this by displaying miracles of artistry, wonders of power, and treasuries of wealth despite its helplessness and poverty. Those who deny that Single One of Unity must accept innumerable deities or, like the Sophists, deny both their own existence and that of the universe.330
SECOND PHRASE: (He is) One states God’s Oneness at the level of His Unity’s explicit manifestation. The following proves this level decisively. When we gaze upon the universe, the first thing we notice is the perfect order and sensitive balance prevalent throughout it. Everything exists within a precise order and a delicate balance and measure. Looking closer, we notice a continuous ordering and balancing. Someone continually revitalizes this order with perfect regularity and precise measurements. Everything is, as it were, a model to be dressed in countless well-ordered and balanced forms.
Studying it even closer, we notice a wisdom and justice behind that ordering and balancing. Every event has a purpose, and each one provides a benefit. A still-closer look indicates the existence of a Power behind the wholly wise activity in all that we see, as well as a comprehensive Knowledge encompassing everything with all its aspects and functions. Taken together, these reveal that an All-Powerful and All-Knowing One operates behind veils of order and balance, One Who orders everything according to a most sensitive balance and for a universal purpose and justice.
When we analyze the beginning and end of all things, especially of living creatures, we observe that their seeds appear to contain all of those creatures’ parts and structures. Their fruits hold the creatures’ meanings, as well as their recorded life-histories, in a filtered and concentrated form. The seeds might even be said to be coded collections of the principles according to which they are created; their fruits an index of the commands of their creation and growth.
When we look into the outer and inner faces of living creatures, we easily see an extremely wise Power’s free control and an effective Will’s fashioning and ordering. The Power creates, and the Will designs and fashions. All of them display, on account of their beginning, a Knowledge’s instructions; on account of their end, a Maker’s plan and declaration; on account of their outer forms, an artistic, well-made garment that the One Who does whatever He wills tells them to wear; and, on account of their inner forms, an All-Powerful One’s well-ordered machinery.
Given this, no time, place, or thing is beyond the grasp of the One Majestic Maker’s Power. The Power of an All-Powerful Possessor of Will organizes and directs all things and their functions. The ordering and grace of One All-Merciful and All-Compassionate makes them beautiful, and the One All-Affectionate and All-Bounteous embellishes them with ornaments. Those who are alert can see the order and balance, and the clearly visible acts of ordering and balancing, all of which demonstrate, together with His absolute Unity, One Who is Single, Unique, Sole, All-Powerful, Possessing of Will, All-Knowing, and All-Wise.
Everything contains an aspect of unity, and unity points to One. For example, the world is illuminated by one lamp (the sun), and so the world’s Owner is One. All of Earth’s living creatures are served with air, fire, and water, each of which is one and simple (not compound). That being so, the One Who employs and subjugates them to us is also One.
THIRD PHRASE: He has no partner. Since this is proven in the Twenty-second Word’s First Station, we refer readers to it.331
FOURTH PHRASE: His is the Sovereignty means that He owns everything— from Earth to God’s Throne, the ground to the sky, the minutest particles to all heavenly bodies, as well as everything within both past and future eternity and within this world and the Hereafter.332 He has the highest and most comprehensive degree of ownership, and the greatest manifestation of Divine Unity. A very strong proof for these truths once occurred to me in Arabic. For the sake of that pleasant memory, I expound upon those phrases below:
His is the Sovereignty because the macrocosm is like the microcosm both are works of His Power and missives of His Destiny.• He invented the macrocosm, making it a place of prostration and worship, and created the microcosm, causing it to prostrate.• He built the former and made it His property, and invented the latter, making it a servant.• His art in the former was manifested as a book, and His fashioning and “coloring” in the latter exhibited itself through speech.• His Power in the former reveals His Majesty, and His Mercy in the latter organizes His bounties.• His Majesty in the former bears witness to His Unity, and His bounty in the latter proclaims that He is One and Unique.• His stamp on the former is on all things having totality, and His seal on the latter is on each particular body and limb.
FIRST SECTION: As both the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (humanity) are His Power’s works and His Destiny’s missives, they both display the proofs of His Oneness written with the Pen of Divine Power and Destiny.
Humanity displays, albeit on a small scale, the same well-ordered art seen in the universe. Just as the universe’s art points to the Single Maker, humanity’s microscopic art testifies to that Maker and demonstrates His Oneness. Just as humanity is a meaningful missive of the Lord, a well-composed ode of His Destiny, the universe is another well-composed ode written by the same Pen of Destiny but on a vast scale. Given this, how could anything or anyone other than the Single One of Unity place His stamp on people’s faces, thereby giving them the same structure and appearance but making each one unique, or set His seal of Unity on the universe, all of whose creatures work with each other so closely?
SECOND SECTION: He invented the macrocosm and made it a place of prostration and worship. The All-Wise Maker created the macrocosm in a novel and wonderful form, and inscribed His Grandeur’s signs upon it to make it a huge mosque. Within it, He created men and women as intellectual beings to read those signs, and with a disposition to bow before Him in worship and prostrate in wonder at His miraculous art and wonderful, originative Power. Given this, how can humanity worship something other than that Single Maker of Unity?
THIRD SECTION: He created the microcosm, causing it to prostrate. He owns the former and makes the latter His servant. The Majestic Master of Sovereignty made the macrocosm, especially Earth, in the form of countless concentric spheres, each one being an arable field in which He sows, reaps, and harvests crops throughout eternity. He unceasingly administers His property and causes it to work. He made the world of particles or atoms (the largest sphere) a field in which He sows and harvests the universe’s crops with His Power and Wisdom, and then dispatches them to the invisible world, from the sphere of Power to the sphere of Knowledge. Earth (a medium sphere) is another place of cultivation in which He plants species every season and then reaps and harvests them. He sends its immaterial crops (results of every thing’s life) to the immaterial world of the Unseen.
He constantly fills each garden (a smaller sphere) with Power and empties it with Wisdom. He causes all animate creatures (an even smaller sphere) to yield crops far greater than themselves. In short, that Majestic Master of Sovereignty makes all things as models and dresses them in ever different ways.
Using His art’s weavings, He embellishes them with ever-new inscriptions to manifest His Names and His Power’s miracles. Everything is a page on which He inscribes in countless ways His meaningful missives, displays His Wisdom’s signs, and has conscious beings to read them. Having made the macrocosm a cultivated property, He created and endowed humanity with structures and organs, senses and emotions, and especially with a soul. He then implanted such desires, appetites, drives, and demands that each person is in infinite need of the whole of that vast property.
Given this, who or what thing or being could have free control over that property and be lord of its servants other than that Majestic Master of Sovereignty, Who made everything a cultivated property; Who appointed humanity (despite its physical insignificance) as a superintendent, inspector, tiller, merchant, herald, and worshipper in that vast property; and Who took men and women as His honored guests and beloved addressees?
FOURTH SECTION: His art in the former was manifested as a book, and His fashioning and “coloring” in the latter exhibited itself through speech. The Majestic Maker manifests His meaningful art in the macrocosm as a book, thus making the universe intelligible. As a result, people acquire all true scientific knowledge from it and write all scientific treatises according to it. This universal book of wisdom, based on absolute truth, is proclaimed in the form of the Qur’an, a copy of that vast manifest book.
Just as His perfect art is manifested as above, His coloring and His Wisdom’s inscriptions in humanity open the flower of speech. In other words, His art is so meaningful, delicate, and beautiful that it causes the components of that animate being to speak.
That Divine art so colored humanity (the “fairest of forms”), that an immaterial, incorporeal, and yet organic thing—the flower of speech—opens within each person’s material, corporeal, and solid head. Further, that Divine art equipped the power of speech and expression with the developed tools and elaborate abilities and faculties needed for it to evolve into the Eternal Sovereign’s addressee. Thus the Divine coloring in humanity’s essential nature opened the flower of Divine speech. Who or what else, other than the Single One of Unity, can do such a miraculous thing?
FIFTH SECTION: His Power in the former reveals His Majesty; His Mercy in the latter organizes His bounties. The Maker’s Power, manifesting Itself through grandeur and majesty, creates the universe as a magnificent palace adorned and illuminated with the sun (its electric light), the moon (its lamp), and stars (candles). He makes Earth a laden table, an arable field and garden, and each mountain a storehouse, a peg, a fortress. He provides all things on a vast scale and in the form of that palace’s necessities, thereby demonstrating His Lordship’s majesty in a most dazzling manner.
Similarly, He manifests His Mercy in the form of graciousness by bestowing His bounties on every living creature. As He sustains them through His Bountifulness, He adorns them with manifestations of His Kindness and Munificence. And so He causes huge bodies like the sun to proclaim His Majesty through His Names the All-Gracious, All-Great, reciting: “O Majestic One, O Great One, O Mighty One,” while tiny animate creatures like flies and fish proclaim His Mercy, reciting: “O Gracious One, O Compassionate One, O Munificent One.” Who or what else, other than the Gracious One of Majesty, the Majestic One of Grace, can interfere in this macrocosm’s creation?
SIXTH SECTION: His Majesty in the former bears witness to His Unity; His bounty in the latter proclaims that He is One and Unique. Just as His Lordship’s Majesty manifested throughout the universe proves and demonstrates God’s Unity manifested with all His Names, His Lordship’s Bounty, which dispatches every living creature’s regular provision, proves and demonstrates His Oneness or Uniqueness manifested with some of His Names on parts or particulars.
God is Wahid: all creatures belong to, look to, and are created by One God. God is Ahad: most of the Creator’s Names are manifested in every individual thing.333 For example, sunlight’s reflection on Earth may be seen as analogous to Unity (Wahidiya), whereas the sun manifesting itself in each transparent object and water drop simultaneously (by its light, heat, and the seven colors within its light) may offer an analogy to Oneness (Ahadiya). In the same way, the manifestation of most Divine Names in each thing, especially in each living creature and above all in each person, points to Oneness.
Thus this section indicates that the Lordship’s Majesty, which controls the universe, makes that huge sun a servant, a lamp, and a furnace for Earth’s living creatures; the mighty Earth a cradle, mansion, and place of trade; fire as a cook and friend; clouds as water filters and a means of nourishment; mountains as storehouses and treasuries; air as a fan for living creatures, all of which breathe; and water as a nurse to newcomers to life, a distributor of sweet drink supplying animate beings with the moisture necessary for existence. This Divine Lordship clearly demonstrates Divine Unity.
Who but the One Creator can make the sun serve Earth’s inhabitants? Who but the Single One of Unity can arrange the air and use it as a swift servant with many Earth-related duties? Who but the Single One of Unity can make fire a cook, and cause a tiny flame to consume thousands of tons of things? Everything, element, and heavenly body points to the All-Majestic One by manifesting Its Lordship’s Majesty.
Just as Unity is apparent on the horizon of Grace and Majesty, Bounty and Benevolence proclaim Divine Oneness on the horizon of Grace and Mercy. Each living creature, especially men and women, are among the highest works of the all-embracing Divine artistry, and contain developed structures and organs that recognize and appreciate, desire and accept, innumerably different bounties. In particular, humanity absorbs the reflections of all Divine Names manifested in the universe. Like a focal point, all people display most of God’s Beautiful Names and proclaim His Oneness together through the mirror of their essential nature.
SEVENTH SECTION: His stamp on the former is on all things having totality; His seal on the latter is on each particular body and limb. Just as the Majestic Maker’s greatest stamp is on the macrocosm as a whole, His stamp of Oneness is on each of its parts and species. Each person’s (the microcosm) face and body demonstrates that God is One, so does each limb. In short, the All-Powerful One of Majesty places on all things a stamp of Oneness bearing witness to Him, and on each a seal of Unity pointing to Him.
FIFTH PHRASE: To Him belongs all praise. Since the perfections observed in all creatures (occasions of giving praise and paying tribute) are His, all praise belongs to Him. All odes and acclaims, regardless of origin and time, are addressed to Him, for praise is caused by bounty and beneficence, perfection and grace, and because everything leading to praise belongs to Him. Indeed, the Qur’an points out that whatever a creature does or is seen to do is, in reality, its worship, glorification, prostration, supplication, and praise— all of which rise continuously to the Divine Court. The following comparison shows this truth affirming God’s Unity.
We see the universe as a huge enclosed park, its roof gilded with lofty stars and its ground inhabited by ornamented creatures. In this form, we see its well-ordered, luminous heavenly bodies and purposeful and ornamented earthly creatures pronounce, simultaneously and in their particular tongues: “We are miracles of an All-Powerful One of Majesty’s Power. We bear witness to the Unity of an All-Wise Creator, an All-Powerful Maker.”
Viewing Earth as a garden containing countless varieties of multicolored and beautifully ordered flowering plants and through which innumerable animal species are scattered, we see them proclaim, through their well ordered structures and well-proportioned forms: “Each of us is a miracle, a wonder of art created by a Single All-Wise Maker, a herald and witness to His Unity.”
Looking at the upper parts of that garden’s trees, we see knowingly, wisely, generously, and beautifully made fruits and blossoms. They proclaim with one tongue: “We are miraculous gifts and wondrous bounties of an All-Merciful One of Grace and an All-Compassionate One of Perfection.”
Thus the park’s heavenly bodies and beings, the garden’s plants and bushes, and its trees’ and vegetation’s blossoms and fruits testify and proclaim: “Our Creator and Fashioner, Who has granted us such gifts, controls all things. Nothing is difficult for Him or beyond His Power, in relation to which everything is equal and has the same value. The largest is as easy as the smallest in relation to His Power; and the small is as full of artistry as the large. In fact, the artistry in the smaller is greater than in the larger.”
All past events, which are wonders of His Power, bear witness that the Absolutely Powerful One brings into effect and existence all wonders of the future’s contingencies. The One Who brought about yesterday will bring about tomorrow, the All-Powerful Being Who created the past will create the future, and the All-Wise Maker Who made this world will make the Hereafter. So, just as the All-Powerful One of Majesty is the true object of worship, He also is the only one worthy of such praise. As He is the exclusively Worshipped One, all praise and glory belong to Him.
Would the All-Wise Maker Who created the heavens and Earth leave people to themselves and without purpose, even though they are the Tree of Creation’s most significant and perfect fruit? Would He abandon them to random cause and effect, thereby reducing His profound Wisdom to futility? Would a wise and knowledgeable being plant and care for a tree in order to prepare it for important purposes, only to leave its fruits to rot or for thieves to sack? Of course not, for the whole point is to produce fruit.
Humanity is the universe’s conscious being, most perfect fruit, result, and aim. Given this, why would the universe’s All-Wise Maker give humanity’s fruits—praise and worship, thanks and love—to others? Doing so would nullify Divine Wisdom and the purpose for creating humanity, stain His Power with impotence, and convert His All-Encompassing Knowledge into ignorance.
Since conscious beings are the pivot of the Divine aims behind creating the universe, their thanks and worship given for the bounties they receive can be directed only to the Maker. One who cannot create spring or all fruits (which bear the same stamp) cannot create an apple, give it to someone as a bounty and grace, and then receive that person’s thanks (sharing in the praise due to the only One Who deserves it).
Given this, the universe’s Creator and Majestic Provider, Who sustains all creatures and makes Himself loved by conscious beings through His art’s innumerable miracles, will not abandon their thanks and worship, praise and love, recognition and gratitude to nature and causes. Doing so would deny His Absolute Wisdom and nullify His Lordship’s Sovereignty. All thanks and praise belong to Him alone, for the universe’s reality unceasingly proclaims with the tongue of truth: “Every being, from past eternity to future eternity, praises Him.”
SIXTH PHRASE: He alone gives life means that as only He can give life, only He can create anything, for the universe’s spirit, light, essence, result, and cream is life. Thus the giver of life must be the universe’s Creator and the One Who is Himself Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent. The comparison below proves God’s Unity at this level of His manifestation.
We see the magnificent and innumerable armies of living creatures with their tents pitched on Earth’s surface. Out of these armies, the Ever-Living, Self-Subsistent One sends a new and freshly mobilized army every spring from the Unseen world. This army comprises countless unique vegetable and animal nations. Although each one’s uniform, provisions, instructions, discharge, and period of service differ, a single Commander-in-Chief meets all their needs through His infinite Power and Wisdom, boundless Knowledge and Will, infinite Mercy and inexhaustible treasuries. There is no forgetting, confusion, or delay—only perfect orderliness and balance. He trains and demobilizes each according to its specific service and character.
Only the One with all-encompassing knowledge can know all particulars about that army. Only the One with absolute power can administer it and its necessities. Who or what else could interfere and share in this annual mobilization displaying resurrection and precise administration, in this training and sustaining?
Our [inherent] incapacity allows us only to equip a battalion in a single fashion, even if it consists of ten different tribes. But the Ever-Living, Self-Subsistent One easily provides each of His magnificent army’s countless tribes with the equipment necessary for their life and does so in a most wise and exact order. He causes that mighty army to pronounce with one tongue: “He is the One Who brings to life,” and causes that vast congregation in the mosque of the universe to recite:
God! There is no god but He—the Living, Self-Subsistent, Eternal. No slumber or sleep seizes Him. He owns what is in the heavens and on Earth. Who can intercede with Him unless He permits it? He knows what is before and behind them, while they encompass of His knowledge only that which He wills. His Throne embraces the heavens and Earth, and it does not tire Him to uphold them both. He is the Most High, the Supreme. (2:255)
SEVENTH PHRASE: He causes to die. He gives and withdraws life. Death is not a destruction or extinction to be attributed to nature and causes. Rather, just as a seed outwardly dies and rots while inwardly growing into a new and more elaborate living plant, death is the beginning of eternal life. Thus the Absolutely Powerful One Who creates death grants and administers life. We point to a mighty proof of this manifestation of Divine Unity below.
Divine Will causes all existence to move in a continuous flow. For example, the universe moves incessantly by its Lord’s Command. All creatures, by God’s leave, flow unceasingly in the stream of time. Sent from the Unseen World, they are dressed in external (material) existence here and then orderly poured into the other world. By the Lord’s Command, they continually come from the future, pause at the present, and then are poured into the past.
This ordered flow is carried out with the wisest mercy and benevolence. The consistent movement is done by a most knowledgeable wisdom and orderliness. The flow’s current is managed with solicitude and equilibrium. Everything is done for definite purposes, benefits, and aims. In other words, an All-Powerful One of Majesty, an All-Wise One of Perfection continually gives life to and employs the families of beings, from their individual members to the worlds they form, and then discharges them for a purpose. He makes them die, sends them to the other world, and transfers them from the sphere of Power to the sphere of Knowledge.
One who cannot administer this universe and time, give life to diverse creatures and call them to death as single individuals, create spring as easily as a flower and plant it and then pluck it through death, cannot claim to create death and make living things die. A most insignificant living thing’s life and death must occur according to the Law of an All-Majestic Being in Whose Hand are all truths of life and varieties of death, and by His permission, Command, Power, and Knowledge.
EIGHTH PHRASE: He is ever-living and dies not. His life is perpetual and eternal, without beginning or end. Death and non-existence are meaningless to Him, because life originates in His Essence and is indispensable to it. He Who has no beginning has no end. He Who is Necessarily Existent is eternally enduring. How could non-existence befall a Life that renders all of existence its shadow? Non-existence and perishing cannot touch a Life that requires and is required by necessary existence. Cessation and extinction cannot affect a Life through Whose manifestation all lives come into being, on which the universe’s permanent truths depend, and through which they subsist.
One of Life’s manifestations gives uniformity to that which is subject to extinction and decrease in this world of multiplicity. Saving them from disintegration, it gives them a sort of permanence. In other words, life [in the universe, which is a manifestation of the Eternal Life,] gives a sort of unity to multiplicity and a form of permanence to existent forms [either through a species’ life, seed, offspring or in other beings’ memories.] As a result, ephemerality and transience have nothing to do with this Necessary Life, one manifestation of which causes innumerable instances of life.
The universe’s transience and decrease bear witness to this truth. Just as existents bear witness and point to the Ever-Living and Necessarily Existent One’s Life through their own existence and lives, they testify and point to that Life’s permanence and eternity through their decay and death.334 The appearance of new beings after their predecessor’s deaths shows that an Ever-Living One unceasingly renews life’s manifestation. Bubbles on a flowing river come in great numbers, display the sparkle of the one and same sun, and disappear, while the new, succeeding ones display the images of the sun. This points to a high and enduring sun’s permanence. In the same way, the alternation of life and death in those constantly moving existents bears witness to an Ever-Living, Everlasting’s permanence.
These beings are mirrors. As darkness is the mirror to light and the more intense the darkness the more brilliantly it displays the light, so do these beings act as mirrors to God’s Names and Attributes through the contrast of opposites. For example, just as beings act as mirrors to the Maker’s Power through their impotence and to His Riches through their poverty, they act as mirrors to His Permanence through their transience. In particular, soil and trees clearly reflect the Power and Mercy of One Absolutely Powerful and Absolutely Wealthy through their poverty during winter and their dazzling pomp and riches during spring. It is as if all beings supplicate in the language of their being, like Uways al-Qarani:335
Our God! You are our Lord because we see that we are mere servants. We cannot train ourselves, so train us. You are the Creator, because we are created and being made. You are the Provider, because we need provision and cannot provide for ourselves. Thus You make and provide for us. You are the true Owner, because we are owned. We do not have total control over ourselves, so You are the Owner.
You are the Mighty, having dignity and grandeur. Looking at ourselves, we see a mightiness manifested through us despite our poverty and helplessness. So we are mirrors to Your Sublimity and Might. You are the Absolutely Wealthy, and we are poor but granted riches that we cannot obtain by ourselves. Thus You are the Wealthy, the Giver.
You are Ever-Living, Everlasting, because we are born and die and thereby see the manifestation of a perpetual Giver of Life. You are Everlasting, because we see Your continuation and permanence in our demise and transience. You answer us and grant us gifts because we, all creatures, always call out and request, either through words or in the language of our ways of being. All our desires are satisfied, our aims achieved. Thus You answer our pleas.
Every creature is a mirror having the meaning of supplication and reflecting Divine Power and Perfection through its helplessness, poverty, and deficiency.
NINTH PHRASE: In His Hand is all good means that all good deeds are in His Book and all benevolence is in His Treasury. Given this, those who desire good must seek it from Him, and those who desire what is best must entreat Him. To demonstrate this truth, we present the following instance of Divine Knowledge:
The Maker Who creates and exerts authority in this universe, as observed through His acts, has an All-Encompassing Knowledge inherent to His Essence. Just as this All-Encompassing Knowledge is indispensable to that Being—as the sun cannot be thought of without its light—it is essential to all things because it envelopes their being. Just as objects on Earth’s surface see the sun, nothing can be hidden from the light of that Knowledge, Which encompasses and penetrates all things.
If that solid sun, those unconscious X-rays, and whatever else which is a source of light, as well as helpless humanity, can see and penetrate whatever faces them, despite being contingent, defective, and accidental, how can anything be hidden from the light of that necessarily all-encompassing and essential Eternal Knowledge? Countless signs point to this truth, as seen below:
All wisdom witnessed in all beings points to that Knowledge, for He Who acts out of kindness and graciousness does so because He knows. All well-ordered creatures, each of which has a precise balance, a balanced and measured form, and a perfect order, point to that All-Encompassing Knowledge, for order requires knowledge. All graces and adornments show knowledge. The artist who works according to a strict measure and balance relies on a powerful knowledge. Each creature’s precise proportions, its shape determined according to its purpose and benefits, and its fruitful conditions and compositions indicate that they are made according to the principles of Divine Decree and the compasses of Divine Destiny or Determination. They all demonstrate His All-Encompassing Knowledge.
Only One with an all-encompassing Knowledge can give each thing a unique yet well-ordered form appropriate to and relevant for its life and existence. Only One with an all-encompassing Knowledge can meet all living creatures’ needs in a suitable way, at the appropriate time, and from unexpected places. Only the One Who knows each thing’s needs can meet them.
As each creature will die, its ignorance of when this will occur shows that death depends on Destiny or a law of determination and displays an all-encompassing Knowledge. Although it does not appear so at first sight, everything—particularly plants—will die at an appointed time. These things’ seeds and offspring are preserved to continue their duties or functions, to be the means of transformation into new lives. This also demonstrates an all-encompassing Knowledge.
Each being is gratified by Mercy, Which encompasses all beings, for the One Who feeds sentient creatures’ offspring with milk and sustains Earth’s vegetation with water and rain must know the needs of all infants and vegetation. This points to a comprehensive Knowledge. The care seen in making all creatures, as well as their artistic design and skillful adornment, displays an all-encompassing Knowledge, for only such Knowledge can choose an orderly, adorned, artistic, and purposeful state from countless possible states.
The perfect ease in creating and originating things points to perfect Knowledge, for ease and facility of achievement are directly proportional to the degree of knowledge and skill. The more one knows about something, the more easily one accomplishes it. We can see how all things, each a miracle of art, are created quickly and miraculously with astonishing ease and facility.
In addition, thousands of other true signs show that the One Who controls the universe has an all-encompassing Knowledge. He knows all things’ qualities and functions, and then acts. Since the universe’s Owner has such Knowledge, He sees us and our actions and rewards and punishes us accordingly. He deals—and will deal—with us according to the requirements of His Wisdom and Mercy. So be sensible! Think carefully of this Being Who knows and watches you. Realize these truths and pull yourself together.
A POSSIBLE OBJECTION: If you say that Knowledge alone is not sufficient, for Will is also necessary, I reply: All creatures bear witness to Divine All-Encompassing Knowledge, and point to the universal Will of the One with that Knowledge.
A universal Will is demonstrated in many ways: Each creature, especially sentient beings, hesitates among many possibilities and yet receives a most well-ordered and specific identity through one probability determined from many, and through a certain way leading to one result out of many fruitless ways. This well-ordered identity, measure, and form are given according to a most sensitive scale and subtle organization, and are cut from solid elements flowing randomly in endless possibilities and fruitless ways. This shows that they are the works of a universal Will, for choice happens only through designation, preference, purpose and will, specification, deliberate intention and desire. Specifying requires one who specifies, and preference requires one who prefers. Only the Will specifies and prefers.
For example, a person resembles a machine composed of hundreds of systems and components, although he or she is created from a drop of water. A bird and a tree, both of which have hundreds of parts, are created from a simple egg and a simple seed, respectively. Such things testify to Power and Knowledge and indicate their Maker’s universal Will, with which He specifies each being’s members, parts, and unique shape.
In short, just as the resemblance and correspondence between an animal’s major bodily parts with respect to their basic aspects and results indicate their Maker’s Oneness, their unique identities and faces prove that their Maker of Unity has Will and absolute freedom in His acts. He does only what He wills to do, acts independently of the universe, and has an absolute, universal Will. Thus each creature, or each function of each creature, testifies to Divine Knowledge and Will. Given this, those who deny Divine Destiny, who claim that Divine Knowledge does not comprehend all particulars or that the existence of some creatures is due to natural cause and effect, are seriously mistaken and deluded. Their denial is a lie of infinite dimensions. So, consider how mistaken and contrary to the truth it is to say “naturally” of any event, for all occur through Divine Will. Rather, say: “If God wills.”
TENTH PHRASE: He is powerful over everything. As everything is easy for Him, He easily clothes everything with existence and creates everything by saying: “Be.”
If a very skillful artist only has to stretch out a hand to make something and everything operate as he wills, we may express such speed and skill by saying that the artist controls that work to such a degree that it seems to come into existence by a single touch or command. His command when He wills a thing, is only to say to it “Be” and it is (36:82) declares that the Power of the All-Powerful One of Majesty controls everything and operates with utmost ease. The following five points explain five of this comprehensive truth’s countless mysteries.
FIRST POINT: The greatest and the smallest thing are equal for Divine Power. Creating a species is as simple as creating an individual, creating Paradise is as easy as creating spring, and creating spring is as easy as creating a flower. This mystery has been explained in The Tenth Word and The Twenty-ninth Word, which prove that Divine Power creates stars, particles, and all individuals as easily as one individual.336
SECOND POINT: Animals and vegetation, which contain infinite multiplicity and liberality, display the highest degree of mastery and artistry, the greatest degree of distinction and differentiation within utmost profusion and intermingling, and the highest degree of artistry and beauty of creation with the greatest abundance and profusion. Furthermore, although their creation seems to require vast amounts of machinery and time, they are made with utmost ease and speed, as if suddenly and out of nothing. This seasonal activity proves that size and number do not affect Power’s ability to create.
THIRD POINT: The All-Powerful Maker’s Power creates the highest universal as easily as the smallest particular, and with the same artistic value, due to the assistance coming from Divine Unity, the facility originating in the unity of the center governing the universe, and the manifestation of Divine Uniqueness or Oneness.
The assistance coming from Divine Unity—God’s universal disposal through the overall manifestation of His Names: If one being owns and commands all things, such oneness enables him to concentrate the power of all things behind one thing and so manage all things as easily as one thing. Consider the following comparison:
A monarch, being the country’s sole authority, can mobilize the army’s moral strength behind every soldier. This enables a soldier to capture another king and command him in the monarch’s name. Being the sole sovereign, that monarch also can manage the army and officials as easily as he uses one soldier and administers one official. As administrative power belongs to him alone, he can send everyone to aid one soldier, which allows each soldier to rely on all soldiers. But if his unique sovereignty and authority are nullified, each soldier would lose his limitless strength and become a weak, ordinary individual. And, administering them would cause as many difficulties as the number of soldiers.
Similarly, the Oneness of the universe’s Maker allows Him to concentrate the manifestation of all His Names operating on all things together upon one thing, thereby creating it with infinite and valuable art. He causes all things to help, thereby strengthening other things when necessary. Through His Unity, He also creates, controls, and administers all things as if they were one thing. This Divine Unity ensures that the universe contains the highest degree of art and value within utmost abundance and variety.
The facility originating in the unity of the center: Everything becomes easy if things are managed from one center, by one hand and one law. For example, applying this to equipping an army, it becomes as easy to equip all soldiers as it is to equip one soldier. Otherwise, equipping one soldier is as difficult as equipping an army. Also, thousands of fruits easily grow on a tree that depends on one law and one root. But if only one fruit could be grown on each tree, it would be as hard to produce a fruit as it is to grow a tree. It also would require the presence of all elements necessary for the tree to live.
Thus, because the universe’s Maker is Single and One, He acts through Unity. Given this, all things are as easy for Him as one thing, and He makes one thing as artistically valuable as all things. Furthermore, by creating a limitless profusion of valuable individuals, through the tongue of boundless abundance, He displays His absolute liberality and manifests His infinite generosity and creativity.
The manifestation of Divine Uniqueness or Oneness: As the Majestic Maker is not physical or corporeal, time and place cannot restrict Him; nor can space interfere with His encompassing all things at the same time and witnessing all events; and means and mass cannot veil His acts. Both He and His acts are free of fragmentation or division. His acts do not impede one another, and so He performs innumerable acts as if they were one act. Thus He makes an individual contain a world, just as He encapsulates a huge tree in its seed, and directs and controls creation as if it were one individual.
The sun’s image is reflected in every burnished and shining object, for its luminosity makes it somewhat non-restrictable. Regardless of how many mirrors are held toward it, each one contains its complete, non-refracted image, without one preventing the other. If it were possible for everything to directly receive the manifestations of the sun—its image, seven-colored light, and heat—the sun could demonstrate its effects in each and every thing in all of its magnitude, and enter many places simultaneously as easily as one place. Similarly—for God’s is the highest similitude—the Majestic Maker of the universe has, due to His Uniqueness, such a manifestation through all of His Attributes (which are pure light) and Names (which are luminous) that He is ever-present and witnessing everywhere, although He is nowhere. He does every act at the same time, in all places, and without any difficulty or obstruction.
It is due to these three means, namely, the assistance coming from Divine Unity, the facility originating in the unity of the center, and the manifestation of Divine Uniqueness or Oneness, that if creating and administering all creatures is attributed to One Maker, then they become as easy to create and administer as one thing only. Also, a single thing becomes as valuable in art as all things together. This truth is demonstrated by each individual’s innumerable subtleties of art in the midst of creatures’ endless abundance. If creation is not directly attributed to a single Creator, then creating each creature is as hard as creating all creatures, and the value of all creatures falls to that of a single creature.
This is why the Sophists, the most advanced in using reason among the philosophers, felt compelled to “renounce their intellects” and deny everything’s existence. Realizing that the path of associating partners with God is infinitely harder to follow than that of the truth and affirming God’s Unity and, because they already rejected the latter path, they fell into denial.
FOURTH POINT: Creating Paradise is as easy as creating spring for the Power of the All-Powerful One Who administers the universe with readily observable acts. Likewise, a flower can be as delicate, beautiful, and valuable as a whole spring. This truth comes from three sources: the Creator’s necessary Existence and total detachment from creation, the complete otherness of His Essence and His unrestricted Being, and His not being bound by space and His indivisibility.
First source: The Creator’s necessary Existence and total detachment from creation cause infinite ease and facility. Consider the following allegory: Existence has varying degrees and levels, and so the worlds of existence are not the same. Thus a particle from one level deeply rooted in existence can contain a mountain from a less substantial level. For example, the mustard-seed-sized faculty of memory in a head belonging to the manifest corporeal world can hold as much as a library in the World of Meanings. Through reflection, a huge city is encompassed by a fingernail-sized mirror belonging to the external world.
If that memory and mirror had consciousness and creative power, they could use the power of their minute existence in the external world to be endlessly operative and bring about endless transformations in the worlds of meaning and reflection. In other words, an existent’s power is directly proportional to the firmness of its establishment in existence. If existence attains complete firmness and stability, and thus complete detachment from corporeality and is therefore unrestricted, even its partial manifestation can direct many worlds belonging to less substantial levels of existence.
The universe’s Majestic Maker is Necessarily Existent. His Existence is indispensable to His Essence and is eternal, for His non-existence is inconceivable and the cessation of His Existence is impossible. As His Existence is the most firmly established, fundamental, strongest, and perfect level of existence, all other levels are like pale shadows. His Necessary Existence is so deeply rooted and real, and the existence of all other beings (which are contingent) is so pale and insubstantial, that such discerning researchers as Muhiy al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi conclude that only He really exists. Thus they reduce other levels of existence to illusion or the imaginary.
Given this, the Necessarily Existent Being’s Power, which is both indispensable and substantially related to His Essence, creates the accidental, weak, and relatively stable existence of contingent beings with infinite ease. To resurrect the dead for the Supreme Mustering and then judge them is as easy for Him as returning a tree to life every spring and causing it to yield leaves, blossoms, and fruit.
Second source: The complete uniqueness of His Essence and His unrestricted Being makes everything easy for him, for the universe’s Maker differs from the universe. As His Essence is unique, no obstacle or restraint impedes Him or constrains His acts. He has complete and free control over everything. If managing the universe and its events were attributed to the universe itself, the resulting difficulty and confusion would prevent any form of existence and destroy all order and harmony.
For example, could the stones of a fine, vaulted dome fashion and arrange themselves, or a battalion be commanded effectively by the soldiers themselves? Even if such things were possible, everything would be in chaos. If the stones’ arrangement is attributed to an artisan, and the battalion’s command to an officer, both the artistic arrangement and the command are easy, for while the stones and soldiers block each other, the artisan and officer can deal with them from all sides and give orders without obstacle.
Thus the Necessarily Existent Being’s sacred Essence differs from the essence of contingent beings. Rather, all truths are rays from the Truth, one of that Essence’s Beautiful Names. Since His sacred Essence is necessarily existent, completely detached from materiality, and totally unique, that All-Majestic Being’s Eternal Power easily sustains and administers the universe as if it were springtime or a single tree. Also, creating the other world, Paradise, Hell, and the Resurrection are as easy as resurrecting a tree that died last autumn.
Third source: The All-Powerful Maker’s transcendence of space allows Him to be omnipresent through His Power. Being indivisible, He has total control over everything through His Names. As a result, His acts cannot be hindered by existent beings, means, and masses, for they have no need to do so. If there were some such need, then, like electric wires, tree branches, and veins, things would make His control easier, conduct life, and make His acts more prompt and speedy, rather than restricting, obstructing, and impeding such events. In essence, everything obeys and submits to the Majestic All-Powerful One’s Power.
In conclusion, the All-Powerful Maker creates everything in an appropriate form without trouble, swiftly and easily, and without any process. He creates universals as easily as particulars, and particulars as artistically as universals. The Creator of universals and of the heaven and Earth is the Creator of particulars and the animate individuals contained therein, for those tiny particulars are the universals’ fruits, seeds, and miniature specimens.
As particulars are like seeds and tiny copies of universals, He Who creates particulars must be the Creator and Controller of the universal elements and the heavens and Earth. If this were not so, how could He, in accordance with His Wisdom’s principles and His Knowledge’s balances, make particulars encapsulate the contents, meanings, and samples of universal, all-encompassing entities?
As regards their wondrous art or the marvelous creativity they display, particulars are not inferior to universals. Flowers are not lower than stars, and seeds are not inferior to trees. Rather, the meaning of a tree inscribed in the seed by Divine Destiny is more wonderful than the actual, fully grown tree woven by Divine Power. Likewise, creating humanity is more wonderful than creating the universe. If a Qur’an of wisdom were inscribed on an atom in some ethereal substance’s particles, its value would surpass a Qur’an of grandeur written in the heavens’ stars. Moreover, many particulars are superior to universals with respect to their miraculous art.
FIFTH POINT: The infinite ease and utmost speed in creating beings gives this firm conviction to the people of guidance: In relation to the Power of the One Who creates beings, it is as easy to create paradises, springs, and gardens as it is to create spring, gardens, and flowers, respectively. Also, as: Your creation and your upraising are as but a single soul (31:28) states, resurrecting humanity is as easy as making one person die and then live again. As stated explicitly in: It will have been only one cry, then behold, they are all arranged before Us (36:53), resurrecting humanity for the Supreme Mustering is as easy as assembling a dispersed army with one trumpet blast.
Although this utmost speed and ease prove the Maker’s perfect Power, they have led the misguided to attribute the creation of things to the things themselves. Seeing that some ordinary things come into existence very easily, they mistakenly assume that they are self-created. They take what proves an infinite Power’s existence for proof of Its non-existence! Through this mistaken attribution of perfection (e.g., infinite power and all-encompassing knowledge) to each particle, for all perfections are essential attributes only of the universe’s Maker, they open the door to boundless impossibility.
ELEVENTH PHRASE: And unto Him is the homecoming. Everything will return from the realm of transience to the Abode of Permanence and go to the Seat of the Everlasting One’s Eternal Sovereignty. Everything will transfer from the world of multiple causes to the Sphere of the Majestic One of Unity’s Power, [where His Power operates without the veil of cause and effect]. Thus your place of recourse is His Court, and your place of refuge is His Mercy.
This eleventh phrase contains many more truths. Among them, the truth concerned with eternal happiness and Paradise is explained so clearly in the Tenth and Twenty-ninth Words that no need remains for further explanation. Those two Words convince the reader that, just as the sun that sets will rise again the following morning, life, this world’s “immaterial sun,” will rise to shine permanently on the morning of the Resurrection after it sets with the world’s destruction. At that time, some jinn and human beings will be rewarded with eternal bliss, while the rest will be condemned to eternal torment.
Indeed, the universe’s All-Wise Maker, Who has boundless All-Encompassing Knowledge, limitless universal Will and infinite All-Enveloping Power, the All-Compassionate Creator of human beings, promises in His Scriptures and decrees that believers will enjoy Paradise and eternal happiness. And so it will happen, for He does not break His promises, as doing so is a most ugly fault arising from either ignorance or incompetence. Since the One of Absolute Perfection cannot be sullied by any fault, or the Absolutely Powerful, the All-Knowing One by ignorance and impotence, breaking a promise is inconceivable.
Moreover, all Prophets, saints, scholars, and believers—above all the Prophet—continually request and entreat the All-Compassionate and Munificent One for His promised eternal bliss through His Beautiful Names. Also, His Mercy, Compassion, Justice, and Wisdom (His Names: the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate, the All-Just, and the All-Wise), as well as most of His other Beautiful Names (e.g., Lord and God) and Attributes (e.g., Lordship and Sovereignty), require the Hereafter and eternal happiness and testify to their reality. The Qur’an, His greatest Revelation, shows and teaches this truth, and Prophet Muhammad, His most beloved, taught it throughout his life and proved it through countless miracles.
O God, bestow blessings and peace and benedictions upon him, his Family and Companions, to the number of the breaths belonging to the people of Paradise in Paradise. Resurrect us and the publishers (and translators) of this treatise, together with our friends, our companion Said, and our parents and brothers and sisters, under his banner. Grant us his intercession through Your Mercy, and cause us to enter Paradise in the company of his Family and Companions, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amen. Amen.
Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or err. Our Lord, do not make our hearts swerve after You have guided us. Bestow on us the gift of Your Mercy, for You are the Bestower of gifts. My Lord, open my heart and ease my task. Loosen a knot from my tongue so that people may understand my words. Our Lord, turn toward us in forgiveness, for You are the Acceptor of Repentance, the Compassionate. Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
330 Particularly in the eyes of Plato, anyone who looks for the truth in phenomena alone, whether he interprets it subjectively or relativistically, cannot hope to find it there; and his persistence in turning away from the right direction virtually amounts to a rejection of philosophy and of the search for truth. Many a subsequent thinker for whom metaphysics, or the investigation of the deepest nature of reality, was the crowning achievement of philosophy has felt with Plato that the Sophists were so anti-metaphysical that they have no claim to rank as philosophers. But in a period when, for many philosophers, metaphysics is no longer the most important part of philosophy and is even for some no part at all, there is growing appreciation of a number of problems and doctrines recurring in the discussions of the Sophists in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. In the 18th and early 19th centuries the Sophists were considered charlatans. Their intellectual honesty was impugned, and their doctrines were blamed for weakening the moral fiber of Greece. The charge was based on two contentions, both correct: first, that many of the Sophists attacked the traditionally accepted moral code; and second, that they explored and even commended alternative approaches to morality that would condone or allow behavior of a kind inadmissible under the stricter traditional code. (Ed.)
331 Said Nursi, The Words.
332 Past eternity (azal) is not just the starting-point of time and therefore essential for the existence of things. In reality, it is like a mirror reflecting all past, present, and future time. People tend to imagine a limit for past time, which extends through a chain of things, and call it past eternity. But this is incorrect, as the following example shows: Imagine yourself holding a mirror that reflects the past on the right and the future on the left. The mirror can reflect only one direction at a time, for to show both simultaneously you would have to rise high above your original position and reach a point where both right and left unite, thereby making it impossible to call anything first or last, beginning or end.
333 It is very difficult to render God’s two kinds of manifestations, namely Wahidiya and Ahadiya, in another language. Wahidiya, usually translated in this book as Unity, means God’s overall manifestation throughout the universe or on wholes with almost all of His Names. Ahadiya, usually translated as Oneness and/or Uniqueness, means God’s particular manifestation of one or a few of His Names on particular things or on parts. This kind of manifestation gives each thing or being its own nature and identity, and causes distinction among creatures. (Tr.)
334 While proving God’s Existence, Unity, and absolute Sovereignty over the universe to Nimrod, Prophet Abraham argues that God gives life and causes death, and then mentions that He causes the sun to rise in the east and set in the west (2:258). This transition from a particular to a universal meaning of giving life and death demonstrates that proof’s most illuminating and widest sphere. It is not, as some interpreters of the Qur’an assert, a transition from an implicit to an explicit proof.
335 Uways al-Qarani is generally regarded as the greatest Tabi‘un [member of the first post Companion generation]. Although old enough to have seen the Prophet, he had no opportunity to do so. One day while sitting with his Companions, the Messenger advised them: “If you see Uways al-Qarani, ask him to pray for you.” Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 223-24. (Tr.)
336 Said Nursi, The Words. The Tenth Word deals with the Resurrection, while The Twenty-ninth Word explains the mystery of creation’s ease through luminosity, transparency, reciprocity, balance, orderliness, obedience, and abstraction. (Ed.)