An addendum to the addendum
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
All praise be to God, the Merciful, among the greatest fruits of the sacred tree of Whose Mercy are our master Muhammad and Paradise, both hanging down to this world and the next. He is the All-Powerful One. All these ever-renewed, spectacular creatures and heavenly objects are witnesses of His Lordship. These multicolored plants and diverse animals in the garden of Earth are marvels of His Art and evidence of His Divinity. These lustrous flowers and, with all their leaves, blossoms and fruits, these fruit-bearing trees are miracles of His Power and proofs of His Mercy. All testify that He is powerful over all things.
Past events are miracles of His Power indicating that He can make their likes in the future. Nothing that has happened or will happen is beyond His Power’s decree. In relation to Him, the tiniest particles and the largest suns are the same. He is the Evident Truth, One, Single. In their various tongues, the universe’s particles and components point to His absolute Beauty and say:
Though we differ in expressing, You have the same Beauty;
Whatever exists [in the universe] points to that Beauty.
With all its chapters, sections, paragraphs, sentences, words, and letters, the Book of the Universe reads the signs of His absolute necessary Existence and Unity, and its lines announce:
Ponder the lines of the universe,
For they are messages to you from the highest abode.
Peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad
and on all his Family and Companions.
O REBELLIOUS SAID, look at yourself instead of what is not for you. What are you? What is your value? What do you rely on? You are an embodiment of impotence and neediness, for whatever you have is conferred on you by God. And yet you sleep and believe yourself to be awake.
Your body is impotent, and your need is its spirit that incites it to move. With all that you have, you are an embodiment of God’s favoring. Your life passes in sleep. Alas! I have drowned in a drop that has become an ocean swallowing me. I am lost in a moment that has become like an eternity for me. I imagine that this flash of life is a shining sun that will never set.
O WRETCHED SAID, your capital is only about $60, of which you have already spent $45 to satisfy your worldly needs.66 You have forgotten and neglected your “house,” and your property has become a debt for you to pay and a fire. As for the remaining $15, it is doubtful whether you will be able to spend a part of it, or any of it at all. Whatever you spend of it, spend it on your permanent house. Let one third of it, at least, be a light for you. Your ignorance and loss are great, for you have spent most of your capital on this passing life, and so what remains for your eternal abode is insignificant. You are a heedless traveler, for you have departed already from your home and town and are about to step out of this transient world.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that those who say: “Things are formed by themselves,” “Causes have brought it about,” or “Nature requires it [to be so]” cause much confusion, for such statements are false. You exist. So, according to the first statement, you are your own creature. According to the second one, [material] causes have brought you about. According to the last one, some unconscious, deaf, and blind laws or forces [attributed to nature] or lifeless things called “nature” required your existence. But the truth is that you are a creature of God, the Almighty.
As for the first statement, things cannot be formed by themselves, because each particle or atom forming your body would have to have an eye to see your whole body and all of creation, as well as consciousness [to be aware of all requirements of life and existence]. Your perfect composition, the perfection of art in you, requires this, for all particles of existence are in vital and substantial relations with each other and with all creation.
To print a book, a printing house must have as many iron letters or keys as needed to print it. If you made yourself, you must contain as many molds as the number of atoms in you, for they are in conscious relation and communication with each other. Your composition is uniform, meaning that all parts are in close interrelation with each other. Therefore, like the stones forming an arch or a dome, all your atoms or building blocks should be both dominant over and dominated by each other. They also should be like the manifestations of the Names and Attributes of the One Who rolls up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books—both opposite and complementary to each other.
Causes cannot create anything by themselves. For example, if bottles containing medical ingredients fall off the shelf and become mixed on the floor, would the desired medicine be produced? Using the same analogy, could you be formed by chance or random causes? How could innumerable deaf, blind, and unconscious causes come together and create something that has perfect order? By coming together they only increase in deafness and blindness. Each human being is a perfect work of art [intelligent, conscious, and equipped with endless and extremely complex feelings, senses, and faculties, and feeling infinite need]. How can that which is deaf, blind, and unconscious bestow hearing, sight, and consciousness on something else?
Assume that innumerable causes come together in a most orderly fashion and in exact measure to create a cell in your eye. With the same amount of effort, then, the universe’s basic parts or elements, including huge heavenly objects, should be able to assemble themselves in your palm or in each of your cells. Why? Because if you work in a house, this means the house contains you. All of the universe’s parts and contents are related to humanity. So if causes created you, the entire universe should be able to operate within each of your body’s parts and be contained by one of your cells. This is a most inconceivable sophistry.
Nature cannot create because it is something supposed to exist, a name bestowed by those who do not know the real facts of the matter. However, in its true meaning, it is a Divine art, a painting by the All-Merciful.
“Natural forces” are only manifestations of the Power of the All-Merciful, All-Knowing, All-Aware, All-Willing. “Chance” is only a mistaken supposition put forward by those who are unaware of or deny the Single Maker. In many of my treatises included in this book, I have argued that this wonderful art [that constitutes the essence of what they call nature] is really the work of the Power of the All-Aware, All-Seeing, having all the attributes of Perfection.
Could something restricted, solid, inanimate, whose existence or nonexistence is equally possible (meaning that one must prefer its existence and create it), have woven the universe’s garment? Could a gnat have participated in weaving these perfectly designed and adorned garments in which those words are dressed? The only explanation for your existence and that of creation is that everything that has been created is a creature of an Eternal Maker, and that they all testify to this fact. Among these witnesses is the visible, corporeal universe, with all its particles and compounds, that testifies to Him in 55 tongues (explained in The Fourth Treatise.)
There are other witnesses: the Qur’an and all other revealed books; the writings of saints and believers in God’s existence and Unity; all that exists and happens in the universe; the lord of creation and all other Prophets, saints, and angels; Prophet Muhammad; humanity and jinn with all their “natural” needs; and God—all of these testify that there is no god but He (3:18).
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the falsehood of attributing creation to things themselves, nature, or causes can be explained through the example of a fruit-bearing tree. If you attribute this tree to God, the One and Single, you attribute it to its seed and to the laws of germination, creation, and growth issuing from the Necessarily Existent Being, the One and Single, and on which that seed depends. The tree is dependent on the laws issuing from a Single Creator because of the ease coming from the Oneness of Him Who governs its germination, growth, and life. It is just as easy for that Single Creator to grow that seed into a large coconut palm bearing countless fruits or into a very small one with only a few fruits.
But if you attribute a tree to itself, causes, or nature, then each fruit, blossom, leaf, branch, and twig on it would need whatever the whole tree does, for each part is an epitome of a whole. Thus, whatever is needed by the whole is needed by each part.
Consider these two alternatives. The first one, which is done by God with perfect ease, makes creation necessary and inevitable, whereas the second one is so unbelievably difficult that it renders the creation of anything inconceivable.
IN SHORT: If you attribute creation to things themselves, you must accept that every cell of your body can encompass the universe. If you attribute creation to material causes, you must affirm that every cell is like a room in which all causes operating in the universe are included, for all cells are the same and display the same structure. This uniformity leads you to unity in diversity, to the interrelatedness seen in the universe, and therefore to the Maker’s unity. Something unified, displaying uniformity, and composed of countless interrelated parts in a basic relationship with each other could not have been created by more than one Creator. How can a cell in which even a gnat’s two wings cannot be included contain the many material, bodily causes needed for it to function?
Something having external, material existence is more established, stable, and fixed than something having only an ideal, immaterial existence. A tiny particle of the former can contain a mountain of the latter. [For example, a mountain’s reflection can fit into a small mirror. Since whatever exists is contingent, its existence or non-existence was equally possible. Its coming into existence was the result of a preference by One having the absolute authority of preference, the One with an absolutely necessary existence without which nothing could exist. Therefore,] that necessary existence is more established, stable, and fixed than all material existence. It is the Real Existence, and so cannot be contained by contingent existence.
Contingent things—whatever exists other than the Necessarily Existent One—are reflected in the mirror of the Eternal, all-encompassing Knowledge, while their real existence consists in their existence in that Knowledge [as meaning]. They come into material existence through the manifestation of the lights of Necessary Existence, and thus show the Necessarily Existent One’s existence. Their material existence in the corporeal world, the result of their transference from the all-encompassing sphere of Knowledge, can never be of the same essence and quality, or of the same existential degree, as that of Real Existence.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that solid, material, and corporeal things are acted on and affected by immaterial things or things of light. Look at sunlight and a mountain. The former comes from the sky and operates on Earth freely, while the latter, despite its huge size, can do nothing and has no effect on its environment. The subtler and more composed of light something is, the more effective and active it is; the more material and solid something is, the more susceptible it is to being acted upon and affected. We can conclude from this that the Creator of causes and effects is He Who is the Light of Lights: Nothing is like Him, He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing (42:11). Vision comprehends Him not, but He comprehends all vision. He is All-Subtle, All-Aware (6:103).
KNOW, O FRIEND, that reflecting [on creation and God’s signs in the universe] is like light, for it removes or melts your frozen heedlessness to and unawareness of [God]. Being careful and attentive is like fire, for it burns your “dried rubbish” of doubt and suspicion [about Him]. However, when you reflect on yourself (and on your inner world, feelings, emotions, faculties, and conscience), reflect deeply, as the Divine Name “the Inward” wants you to do so. The perfection of art is seen in its details and ramifications.
When you reflect on the outer world, do so briefly and superficially, for you only need to understand the foundations upon which it is based. This is what the Name “the Outward” requires, for the splendor of art becomes more evident and more dazzling when looked on and examined as a whole. The outer world is very spacious and has no shores. If you dive into it, you may drown.
If you go deep in your inner world but make a brief and fast journey in the outer world, you can approach unity. Individual parts acquire wholeness, compounds become composites, and composites become unified. From this unity issues the light of conviction of unity. If you only make a brief and superficial examination of your inner world while going into detail during your travels in the outer world, the diversity of things will engender confusion and doubt. This will strengthen your ego and ingrain heedlessness in you, developments that will make you incline to naturalism and, eventually, away from the diversity of things and to misguidance. O God, do not include us among the misguided! Amen.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that it is narrated that when people move [with greed], their providence stops. When they stop [showing greed], their providence moves. This explains a profound truth. Trees do not move, and their providence comes to them. Animals move with greed, and their providence is motionless on the stems of plants. With its diverse colors and smells, a plant invites hungry animals to itself and rouses them to move toward it.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that human beings are strange creatures. They heedlessly abandon a great good if they think it might harm them even in a small way. But when it comes to true guidance proven by thousands of proofs, they abandon it due to a slight doubt and embrace misguidance. If we are so cautious that we abandon a thing that might harm us only marginally, why do we embrace that which will cause us great harm in the Hereafter?
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the human soul has endless need and suffers endless pain. It has an appetite for endless pleasure and nourishes endless ambition. Even compassion may cause endless pain for a misguided soul [because of its unbelief in God and its distrust in His Destiny and true Compassion]. So you cannot ask: “Am I so valuable and worth so much that God will destroy this world and then rebuild it to judge me therein?”
O MISGUIDED, DOUBTFUL ONE! Do not be deceived here. The pleasure you find in this world depends on a misleading argument. Those who doubt the afterlife’s existence, who fear being mortal and facing eternal extinction, may seek relief in the probability that there is eternal happiness in the other world. However, when they feel obliged to do religious duties, they seek relief in the probability that there is no other world and that they will not be called to account for what they did in this world. Through such ways they seek to escape both kinds of pain. But soon the problem is solved and the truth unveiled: The first alternative throws them immediately into accumulated pain, and the second alternative causes them to encounter Hell’s torments.
They try to console themselves by thinking: “The coming calamity [death and the punishment to follow] will embrace most people. Since I will be like everyone else, why should I care?” However when death approaches, their pain increases proportionally to the number of the afflicted. In addition to their own pain, they feel that of their relatives and friends. Since people feel innate relations with other people, the misfortune’s generality causes their own pain to increase.
Do not think that what you taste in heedlessness and doubt is real pleasure, for in reality they contain severe and accumulated pain that will attack you all at once and appear as the torments of Hell. If you want this pain to be transformed into renewed pleasure, and that fire into light, give up conceit and prostrate before God in humility five times a day. Be so humble before God that the “table” of the Qur’an should descend with the light and gifts of belief. Continue to reflect on its verses and “natural” phenomena, and engage in regular worship, so that the veil of doubt and heedlessness may burn away, the sweet taste of being saved from the bitterness of misguidance may emerge, and the pleasure of supplicating to God Almighty arise.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that servanthood to God Almighty requires submission. You cannot test God [whether He will fulfill His promise]. The Lord has the right to test His servant, not the servant his Lord.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the spheres of the Divine Names “the Inward” and “the Outward” are both within and face each other. Those who limit themselves to the latter, seeking Him only in nature, eventually associate partners with God by attributing creativity and creative effect to causes and nature. Those seeking to reach Him only in the light of the former eventually attribute division and union [with certain human beings] to God.
The sun’s images in transparent things carry the sun’s attributes, and thus may lead one who cannot distinguish between the real and the reflected image to consider each image as the sun itself. Similarly, one seeking to reach God only in the light of the Divine Name “the Inward” may confuse God’s manifestations in oneself, heart, and other inner senses and faculties with God Himself. This may lead people to see themselves as incarnations of God.
Those who limit themselves to the Name “the Outward” and those who restrict themselves to the Name “the Inward” are like those who, respectively, follow a superficial interpretation of the Qur’an and reject the Sunna, and those who follow only an esoteric interpretation of Islam. They forget that Islam is the middle, straight way.
O Revealer of the Qur’an, for the sake of the Qur’an, guide us to the middle, straight way. Amen. Amen. Amen.
- Humanity is the fruit of the Tree of Creation, and therefore its most perfect and comprehensive part.
- Everyone has a particular world within this world. In its center is the individual who “owns” it.
- My struggle against my ego and nature in the outer world.
- Nine things of which the ego is unaware.
- When Destiny allows misfortune to reach you, you are like a sheep that must be prevented from entering a public pasture.
- Your heart was not created to be preoccupied with worldly affairs.
- The Qur’an can satisfy everyone’s intellectual appetite.
- Everything that will happen to you has been predetermined by Destiny.
- If you were responsible for maintaining this material domain, you would be so distressed that you hardly could benefit from it.
- A minute transparent particle contains the sun’s image, even though it cannot hold two particles of its own size and nature. Similarly, all constituent particles and compounds in the universe receive manifestations of the luminous, absolute Divine Power, accompanied by Divine Knowledge and Will.
- Glory be to God implies the servant’s contingent nature and distance from God. Praise be to God implies God’s nearness to the servant and His creatures with His Mercy and Grace.
- God, from His Mercy and Favor, buys the property He has entrusted to us for a high price so that it may be preserved permanently.
- Sins, especially frequent ones, contain seeds of unbelief.
- The miraculousness of the Qur’an has about 40 different radiations.
- The Eternal One does not let that which is considered essential pass into absolute non-existence.
- The grave is a door. On this side are suffering and wretchedness; on the other side are mercy and happiness.
- Your sins and evil harm only you, not God.
- Whoever relies on God, God is enough for him or her.
- Do not rejoice at or grieve over, or be angry at or complain about, what you gain or lose in this transitory world.
- If you turn to the Almighty supposing that He is One known and recognized, He will become unknown and unrecognized. If you turn to Him accepting that He is One, existent but unknown, the rays of true knowledge of Him will be revealed to you.
- The fact that you have a Master, an Owner, One powerful over all things, is a source of limitless pride.
- Like light containing seven colors, Divine Beautiful Names contain and imply one another.
- A supplication.
- Each spiritual station has specific conditions attached to it.
- An aspect of the Qur’an’s greatness and the most truthful evidence of its truth.
- Your ego may be one cause of your perishing, deviation, and humiliation.
- A reflected image is not identical with that thing itself, but it also is not something other than that thing.
- Many worlds are situated in existence. One does not prevent the other.
- There is no collision and repulsion between the worlds of light, heat, air, electricity, and gravitation and also those of ether, ideas or immaterial forms, and the intermediate world of the grave.
- Just as Qur’anic verses interpret each other, the parts of the Book of the
- Universe interpret each other.
- Each person is like a species of other beings.
- The Qur’an’s recitation assumes, for each of its melodies, a new attitude and mood according its audience’s intellectual and spiritual level.
- Your share in your consciousness and knowledge is proportional to your share in your existence.
- Between God’s acts there is a proportion, and between His works there is a similarity. Each Name and Attribute has a particular way of manifestation, with the others dependent on and subordinate to it.
- There is no force and strength save with God has a relation or concern with each stage of your creation.
- Subtleties of the Qur’an’s miraculousness and evidence that it is an all-encompassing mercy for creation.
- Look at yourself. What are you? What is your value? What do you rely on?
- The meaning of such false assertions as: “Things are formed by themselves,” “Causes have brought it about,” and “Nature requires it [to be so].”
- Why attributing creation to things themselves, nature, or causes is mistaken.
- Reflection removes your indifference to and unawareness of [God]. When you reflect on your inner world, do so deeply. When you reflect on the outer world, do so briefly and superficially.
- When you move [with greed], your providence stops. When you stop [showing greed], your providence moves.
- You abandon a great good out of fear that it may harm you in a very small way. You also abandon true guidance, although there are thousands of proofs for its truth, because of a slight doubt.
- The spheres of the Divine Names “the Inward” and “the Outward” are both within and face each other. Those who limit themselves to the latter eventually associate partners with God, while those seeking to reach Him only in the light of the former eventually attribute division and union [with certain human beings] to God.
66 The author uses $60 to refer to a person’s normal lifespan, and $45 to refer to his age when he wrote this book. (Tr.)