KNOW, O FRIEND, that the point we have so far discussed is like a center around which we have drawn a circle through our arguments. Each point looks toward the center. Between each point is a solidarity that removes those that are weak. The entire argument produces a conviction that adds to the light of Islam, contributes to submission to Prophethood, and then to belief. The various arguments are sources from which this conviction originates.
However, it is not logical to expect each argument to be as forceful and convincing as the entire argument, and such an attitude only paves the way for denial or unbelief. May God save us from it. To avoid such a result, we should refer to the entire argument if one argument causes doubt to arise, and consider it from the viewpoint of the result to be derived from it.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that as some individual arguments are like water, air, or light, we should consider them comprehensively and carefully so they do not slip through our fingers.
Two types of viewpoints
KNOW, O FRIEND, that to acquire knowledge of an elaborate, fruit-bearing tree’s life, benefit, and strength, people look at it in two ways: from its roots upward, and from its fruits downward. The first way is better and leads to correct conclusions, while the second is defective and leads to misconceptions [especially as a tree may not yield good fruits every year]. In the same way, the tree of Islam is rooted in the heavens, while its branches spread throughout the World of Multiplicity. To acquire knowledge of it, we can approach it from two viewpoints. In addition, there are two ways into its sphere.
The first viewpoint is from its roots. If we do this successfully, we will see that it originates in a massive pool whose source is perfectly pure: Divine Revelation. This pool continuously increases (in “water”) through the “signs” joining it from the outer world and each person’s inner world. Its fruits derive their “nourishment” from this “pool.” To prove the life of a single fruit, it is enough to establish the tree’s fruitfulness and vigor, as there is a basic connection between the roots and each fruit. However, the disappearance of one fruit does not mean that the tree is unproductive. The source from which the tree derives its vigor is a guarantee of its continued life. If those holding this viewpoint see one dead fruit in the tree, they will attribute it to external factors. This is the sound and correct viewpoint. May God provide us with it and hold us firmly to it.
The second viewpoint is the origin of misguidance and difficulty. People with this view look at the tree from its fruits and with the intention of criticizing it. Since the same connection among the fruits as that between the tree’s roots and each of its fruits does not exist, they examine and taste the fruits one by one to judge the tree. Also, they cannot see how the roots carry life to the fruits. If they see a dead fruit, they might conclude that the whole tree is dead. May God save us from holding such a viewpoint.