Addendum to the tenth phrase
In His Name, glory be to Him.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with His praise.
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. Behold, it is only in (constant) remembrance of God that hearts are at rest. (13:28)
God gives a parable: A man who is shared by many masters, each pulling him to himself. (39:29)
QUESTION: You proclaim infinite ease in unity and endless difficulty in multiplicity and associating partners with God. Thus it can be said that the ease in unity makes the existence of something necessary, while the difficulty in multiplicity makes it almost impossible. However, the difficulties and impossibilities you cite seem to be present with unity.
For example, [with respect to the existence of the universe] you say that if particles were not under the One God’s command, each particle would require an all-encompassing knowledge and absolute power, or would have to be able to command innumerable conceptual operations. But even if God controls all of them, do they not still have to have the same qualities to accomplish their infinitely orderly duties?
ANSWER: We put forward three brief allegories to reassure the soul and the mind about this truth, as follows:
FIRST ALLEGORY: In its own right, a tiny transparent and glistening speck cannot contain a light larger than its own dimensions and mass. However, if that speck is open to the sun’s manifestation, it can comprehend that immense sun, its (seven-colored) light and heat, and so display a most comprehensive manifestation of it. On its own, a speck’s functioning is limited by its dimensions. But if it connects to the sun by facing it and serving as a mirror, it can display examples of the sun’s functioning to some degree.
Thus if each being’s or particle’s existence is attributed to nature, causes, or itself, each one must have the all-encompassing knowledge and absolute power or countless operative devices needed to perform its wonderful duties. But if existence is attributed to a Single One of Unity, each particle becomes His officer through the resulting connection. This enables it to manifest Him somehow and, along with being an object of His manifestation, depend on His Infinite Knowledge and Power. This relationship with the Creator’s Power allows it to perform functions and duties far beyond its own power.
SECOND ALLEGORY: Imagine two people, one brave but self-dependent and the other patriotic and devoted to the country. When war breaks out, the first one wants to act independently of the state, and so carries the necessary equipment and ammunition on his back. Given his strength, he can engage only one enemy corporal in combat.
The second one, realizing his powerlessness, enlists in the army and becomes connected with the monarch. This connection enables the army to support him, and so he fights with the army’s strength behind him. Encountering a enemy field marshal of the defeated army’s king, he captures him in his own monarch’s name. The first soldier must carry his equipment and sources of strength himself, and so can offer only an extremely insignificant service. The second soldier allows the army and the monarch to carry these. Just as though he were connecting his receiver through a tiny wire to the existing telecommunication network, this connection connects the second soldier to an infinite power.
If all creatures and particles are attributed and submitted directly to the Single One of Unity, they can use the resulting power and strength to achieve great feats. For example, an ant destroyed Pharaoh’s palace, and a fly sent Nimrod to Hell.337 In addition, a microbe can send an unjust tyrant to his or her grave, a wheat-grain-sized seed can produce a huge pine tree, and an air particle can enter all flowers and fruits in an orderly fashion. Such ease arises from that submission and being an officer. If everything is left to itself and, associating partners with God, attributes each creature’s existence and operation to independent causes or to itself, then each creature’s functioning is restricted to its own body and consciousness.
THIRD ALLEGORY: Imagine two friends who want to use statistical data to write a geographical work on a country they have never visited. One friend forms an intimate connection with that country’s government. Entering the national telecommunication center and connecting his receiver to the state lines by a cheap piece of wire, he connects his telephone, communicates with every place and receives information, and writes an accurate and well researched book. The second friend [depending upon himself] would have to travel continuously for 50 years to see every place and obtain all the necessary information. Or, spending a great amount of money, he would have to set up his own comprehensive telegraph and telephone system.
If countless things and creatures are attributed to the Single One of Unity, each connection becomes an object through which the “Eternal Sun” manifests Himself. This enables it to be connected with His Wisdom’s laws, His Knowledge’s principles, and His Power’s laws. Through Divine Strength and Power, it rises to the rank of displaying a certain manifestation of the Lord and acquires an all-seeing eye, an all-looking face, and (all-important) words that have weight in all matters. Severing this connection reduces it to its own mass, for the universe is an organism composed of interrelated parts, and means that it would have to have absolute divinity to perform the functions described above.
The way of unity and belief represents such infinite ease that the existence of things becomes necessary and inevitable, while that of associating partners with God has insurmountable difficulties. One being may arrange many things with great ease and in a particular way to obtain a certain result. However, this is beyond the ability of the things themselves. According to The Third Letter, ascribing the fine spectacles made by planets under the sun’s “command,” and Earth’s yearly and daily movements that cause seasonal, diurnal and nocturnal cycles, to One Eternal Sovereign makes it easy for Him to use a “soldier” (Earth) to achieve this splendid result. Being told to “Move!” Earth rises with joy, whirls like a Mawlawi dervish in glorification of its Lord’s Names, and the desired result is obtained easily and with perfect orderliness. If heavenly bodies tell Earth to move, the only possible result is chaos, even if millions of far larger stars set themselves in motion.
In conclusion, the Qur’an and believers attribute all creatures to One Maker and ascribe every affair directly to Him. Their way is so easy to follow that every creature’s existence and every event become necessary. But those who ascribe one thing to innumerable causes follow such a difficult way that it becomes impossible. What is necessary for the coming into existence of one creature in the explanation of the misguided is sufficient for the creation of the whole universe in the explanation of the believer in the Qur’an. It is far easier for all things to issue by one command than for one thing to issue by innumerable commands. For example, an officer can command 1,000 soldiers as easily as one soldier, while 1,000 soldiers commanding one soldier would cause chaos, for it would be like commanding 1,000 soldiers separately.
This magnificent verse hurls this truth at those who associate partners with God:
God gives a parable: A man who is shared by many masters, each pulling him to himself; and a man who belongs only to one master. Can the two be equal in comparison? Praise be to God! Nay, but most of them do not know. (39:29)
Glory be to You. We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. O God, bestow blessings and peace on our master Muhammad to the number of particles in the universe, and on his Family and Companions. Amen. All praise be to God, Lord of the worlds.
O God, O Unique One, O Single One, O Besought-of-All. O He other than Whom there is no other god but Himself alone, Who has no partner. O He Whose is the Sovereignty, and Whose is all praise. O He Who gives life and causes to die. O He in Whose Hand is all good. O He Who is powerful over everything. O He to Whom is the homecoming. For the sake of the mysteries contained in these phrases, join the publishers (and translator) of this treatise, their friends, and its author Said with the perfected affirmers of God’s Unity; the truthful, meticulous researchers; and God-conscious believers. Amen.
O God. For the sake of Your Oneness’ mystery, make the publishers (ahd translator) of this book spread the mysteries of Your Unity. Fill their hearts with the lights of belief and make their tongues speak the Qur’an’s truths. Amen. Amen. Amen.
337 This refers to the mosquito that entered through one of Nimrod’s nostrils, thus causing the death of this tyrant who had cast Prophet Abraham into the fire. (Tr.)