The Tenth Word

Four indications and twelve truths

FIRST INDICATION: The two people mentioned above correspond to three other pairs:

• My instinct-driven soul and the heart [the seat of spiritual intellect].

• Students of philosophy and students of the wise Qur’an.

• Unbelievers and the community of believers [Muslims].

The worst error and misguidance of the instinct-driven soul, students of philosophy, and unbelievers lies in not recognizing God. Whereas the believer in our parable said: “There can be no letter without a scribe, no law without a legislator.” We say as follows: How can a book, particularly one in whose every word another book is written with a miniature pen, and in each letter of which a magnificent ode is composed with a fine pen, lack an author? This universe likewise must have its Author, for it is such a book that each of its pages includes many other books, every word of its contains a book, and every letter, an ode. The earth’s surface is one of its pages, which comprises innumerable other books. Every tree is a word, every fruit a letter, and every seed a dot containing an elaborate tree’s index. Such a book could have been inscribed only by the mighty pen of a Majestic One, Who is qualified by the Attributes of Majesty and Grace, and Who has infinite Power and Wisdom. So, affirming the statement of the believer in the parable flows necessarily from observing this world, unless one is sunk in delusion.

Also, a house must have an architect, particularly one displaying such astounding artistry, design, and subtle ornament. There is more art in one of its stones than in a whole palace. How could it not have an architect? Its rooms are reshaped and altered hourly, as easily and orderly as changing clothes, or shifting one scene to another on a movie screen. In addition, numerous little rooms are continually created in each scene.

In like manner, the universe’s very existence requires an infinitely wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful maker, for it is a palace whose lamps are the sun and the moon, whose candles are the stars. Time is like a suspended rope upon which the All-Majestic Maker threads a new world annually. He renews the world’s form or appearance daily with absolute orderliness and wisdom. He makes the earth’s surface a bountiful spread that, adorned each spring with countless plant and animal species, is filled with uncountable varieties of generous gifts. Despite their vast abundance and being intermingled, each creature is distinctly individualized. Is it then possible to miss the existence of the Maker of such a palace?

How can you deny the sun’s existence at noon on a cloudless day, when its presence is reflected in every bubble on the surface of the sea, and in all transparent objects on the earth? To do so means you believe that each bubble and transparent object contains a miniature, real, and existent sun; that each minute particle contains a massive sun, although that particle has room enough only for itself. Similarly, it would be greater lunacy not to affirm the existence of the All-Majestic Creator with His Attributes of perfection while witnessing this orderly universe, which continually changes in systematic, purposive ways and is ceaselessly renewed in an orderly manner. Denying Him means believing that every existent thing has absolute divinity.

For example, an atom of air easily enters and works in a flower, a fruit, or a leaf. The denial of this atom being employed by someone other comes to mean that it knows the structure and form of all objects it penetrates and affects. It must have an all-encompassing power and knowledge.  Or, a soil atom enables countless different seeds to grow. If it is not acting under command, it must have the means and instruments appropriate to all trees and plants, or it must have such knowledge and power that it knows the structure and all forms of each plant and fashions those forms? This also is true for all other levels and realms of creation. From this you can understand that there are numerous clear evidences of God’s Unity in all things. To create everything from one thing, and to make everything into one thing, is peculiar only to the Creator of all. Pay heed: There is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise (17:44). If you reject God, the One and Unique, you must accept as many gods as there are created beings.

SECOND INDICATION: Our parable mentioned a most noble commander. We pointed out that those who see his decorations and medals must know that he is the king’s favored servant who acts according to the king’s commands. This commander is God’s Most Noble Messenger. The All-Holy, the Creator of so beautiful a universe, must send a noble Messenger, just as the sun must emit light. The sun cannot exist without emitting light, and Divinity cannot be without revealing itself by sending Prophets.

Could an absolute, perfect beauty not will to present itself through one who will demonstrate and display it? Could a perfectly beautiful artistry not will to make itself known through one who will draw our attention to it? Could the universal dominion of an all-embracing Lordship not will to make known its being One and the Eternally Besought to all levels of multiplicity and particularity through an envoy ennobled by his double authority? That is, the universality of that his worship makes him the Realm of Multiplicity’s envoy to the Divine Court, and his nearness to God and his being entrusted with His Message make him the Divine Court’s envoy to that realm.

Could the One of infinite essential Beauty not will to behold, and have others behold, in numerous mirrors, His Beauty’s aspects and His Grace’s dimensions? Could He not do so by means of a beloved Messenger, who both makes himself loved by Him through his worship, and holds up a mirror to Him, making Him beloved by His creatures and demonstrating the beauty of His Names.

Could the Owner of treasuries filled with extraordinary miracles and priceless goods not will to show His hidden perfections to an appreciative humanity via an expert master “jeweler,” an eloquent describer? Could the One Who has adorned the universe with His artifacts that display His Names’ perfections and so made it resemble a palace decorated with every variety of subtle, miraculous artistry not appoint a teacher and guide who will make those perfections known and teach people how to live in such a palace?

Could the Owner of the universe not resolve, by means of a messenger, our bewilderment over why there is constant change in the universe, and answer the questions in everyone’s mind: What is our origin? Where are we headed? What is our purpose [here]? Could the All-Majestic Maker, Who makes Himself known to conscious beings through His fair creation and loved through His precious gifts, not send a messenger to convey to them what His Will demands from them in exchange? Could He create us with a disposition to suffer from multiplicity (this world and its charms) alongside an ability to engage in universal worship, without simultaneously wanting us to turn away from multiplicity and toward Unity by means of a teacher and guide?

Prophethood has many other functions, each of which is a decisive argument that Divinity necessarily implies Messengership. Has there ever been a person more worthy and qualified to fulfill these functions, more fitted to the rank of Messenger, more suited to the task of conveying God’s Message, than Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings? No. He is the master of Messengers, the foremost of Prophets, the leader of purified scholars, the nearest to God of those who have drawn near to Him, the most perfect of creatures, and the master of those who guide to righteousness.

Apart from the countless indications of his Prophethood, including his almost one thousand miracles such as splitting the moon with a gesture of his finger and the flowing of water from his hands, which have been unanimously confirmed by all scholars, the supreme miracle of the glorious Qur’an—an ocean of truths and a miraculous book in forty different aspects—alone establishes his Prophethood. Since we have discussed these aspects elsewhere in some other treatises, particularly The 25th Word, we limit our discussion here.

THIRD INDICATION: It should not be thought that we are too insignificant for this vast world to be replaced with a new one so that we may be brought to account for our deeds. For by virtue of its comprehensive nature, humanity is the master of all creatures and has been endowed with the capacity to herald God’s Dominion and offer Him universal worship. Given this, we are the most important being in creation.

Nor should it be asked how such a transient being can deserve eternal punishment. For unbelief is an insult to the whole existence as it seeks to make creation, which is invaluable and exalted as a letter of God, meaningless and pointless. It also means the rejection of the manifestations, imprints, and inscriptions of God’s Holy Names, which are evident in all that is, and the denial of the infinite proofs showing the truth of God. In short, unbelief is a crime of infinite proportions deserving infinite punishment.

FOURTH INDICATION: The parable in the Twelve Pictures argued that a king who had the attributes discussed had and controlled a realm like this transient world necessarily must have another, an eternal realm where the majesty and sublimity of his being king are properly displayed. So, it is inconceivable that the Eternal Creator of this transient world would not create an eternal realm; that the Everlasting Maker of this beautiful but mutable universe would not create another permanent and everlasting one; that the All-Wise, All-Powerful, All-Compassionate Creator of this world, which is an arena of trial and exhibition, would not create the Hereafter, in which His purposes for creation will be manifested wholly.

The way into this truth consists of twelve gates that can be unlocked via twelve truths. We begin with the shortest and simplest one.

FIRST TRUTH: The gate of Lordship and Sovereignty, the manifestation of His Name the Lord. Would the Glory of God’s being the Lord and Divine Sovereign create this temporary universe to display His perfections, with such noble aims and purposes, without also establishing a reward for believers who, by belief and worship, seek to satisfy them? Should He not punish those misguided people who scornfully reject His purposes?

SECOND TRUTH: The gate of Munificence and Mercy, the manifestations of His Names the All-Munificent and the All-Compassionate. Would the Lord of this world, Who demonstrates infinite munificence, mercy, dignity, and glory through His works, recompense according to His Munificence and Mercy and punish according to His Dignity and Glory?

Consider the following: All animate beings are given some form of appropriate sustenance.21 Indeed, the weakest and most powerless receive the best sustenance; every troubled one finds its remedy almost on hand. Such bountiful largesse given with such noble magnanimity betokens a giving hand of Infinite Munificence. During spring, for instance, all trees are dressed in silk-like finery, covered with blossoms and fruits as if bejeweled, and made to offer many varieties of the choicest fruits on their branches, stretched forward like a servant’s arms. We receive sweet and wholesome honey from a stinging honeybee, dress in the finest and softest cloth woven by a handless silkworm, and find a great treasure of Mercy stored for us in tiny seeds. Who but One having the most perfect Munificence, the finest and most subtle Mercy, can do such things?

Except for humanity [and jinn] and certain wild animals, all creatures—from the sun, the moon, and the earth down to the minutest ones— perform their tasks with complete exactitude, do not overstep their bounds, and are perfectly obedient in an atmosphere of solemn awe. This shows that they function by the command of One having Supreme Majesty and Authority. Similarly, the way all mothers in the vegetable, animal, and human realms support their helpless infants by tenderly and compassionately nurturing their growth with milk shows the all-embracing Mercy.22

Since the Lord and Ruler of this world has such infinite Munificence and Mercy, and such infinite Majesty and Dignity, for sure, His Munificence requires infinite giving, His Mercy requires favoring worthy of Itself, and His Majesty and Dignity require chastising those who disrespect them. As only a minute fraction of such Attributes are established and manifested in this impermanent world and passing life, there must be a blessed realm that can fulfill these duties. Denying such a realm means denying the Mercy so evident to us, which would be like denying the sun whose existence lightens every day. Death without resurrection would turn compassion into torment, love into the affliction of separation, blessing into a vengeful curse, reason into an instrument of wretchedness, and pleasure into pain. Such events would mean the vanishing of Divine Mercy, which is absolutely impossible and inconceivable.

There also must be a realm of punishment suitable for the Almighty’s Majesty and Dignity. This world’s oppressors generally die with their oppressive power intact, while the oppressed die still subjected to humiliation. Such wrongs necessarily are deferred to a supreme tribunal; they are never ignored. Indeed, punishment is sometimes enacted even in this world. The torments endured by earlier disobedient and rebellious peoples show that we cannot escape whatever correction God Almighty’s Glory and Majesty chooses to apply.

Why should humanity refuse to recognize Him and respond to Him in belief, for we have the highest duty in creation and so are blessed with the most important capacities? In addition, our Lord and Sustainer reveals Himself through His orderly works. Why should humanity not respond to Him by making ourselves beloved of God through worship, for He makes Himself loved by us for the numerous, adorned gifts of His Mercy? Why should humanity not respond to Him with reverent thanks and praise, for He shows His Love and Mercy to us through the gifts of His Grace?

Does it make sense that we should remain unrecompensed and unanswerable, that the All-Majestic One of Dignity and Glory should not prepare a realm of requital for us? Does it make sense23 that the All-Merciful and the All-Compassionate One would not prepare a realm of permanent reward and bliss for believers who respond to His making Himself known by recognizing Him in belief, to His making Himself beloved by loving Him in worship, and to His Mercy by offering reverent thanks and praise?

THIRD TRUTH: The gate of Wisdom and Justice, the manifestations of His Names the All-Wise and All-Just. Would the Majestic Being, Who manifests the sovereignty of His being Lord in the universe’s order, purposiveness, jus­tice, and balance, not show His favor to believers who seek the protection of His being their Lord and Sovereign, who believe in His Wisdom and Justice, and act in conformity with them through worship? Would He not chastise those who, denying His Wisdom and Justice, rebel against Him? Since only a minute amount of His Wisdom and Justice with respect to humanity is established in this impermanent world, they must be deferred. Most of the misguided die unpunished, and most of the guided die unrewarded. Such affairs certainly are deferred to a supreme tribunal, an ultimate contentment.

The One Who administers this world does so in accordance with an infinite wisdom. We can see this in how all things are used and benefit others. Have you not seen how many wise purposes are served by each human limb, bone, and vein, as well as by every brain cell and every cell atom in your body? Indeed, the purposes every limb of a tree serves are as numerous as its fruits. All this confirms that everything is arranged in accordance with infinite wisdom. A further proof is the absolute orderliness in which everything is fashioned.

The miniaturization of the whole, exact program of a flower’s growth in a tiny seed, as well as the Pen of Destiny’s making a large tree’s seed the index of its life-history and all its parts, show that an absolute wisdom moves that Pen. The perfection of subtle artistry in all things proves an infinitely Wise Artist’s impress. Including an index of the whole universe within a small human body, as well as the keys to Mercy’s treasuries and mirrors to reflect all Divine Names, further shows the wisdom within that infinitely subtle artistry. Could this Wisdom, Which so permeates the workings of Lordship, not want to favor those who eternally seek refuge in that Lordship’s protection and who offer obedience in belief?

Do you need convincing that everything is done with justice and balance? The fact that all things are given being and form, and then placed according to a precise equilibrium and measure, is enough proof for you. The fact that everything is given its due according to its capacity, that is, everything receives whatever it needs for its existence and maintenance in the most fitting form shows the hand of an infinite justice. Also, every petition and plea offered in the tongue of disposition, of natural need, or absolute necessity, also demonstrates infinite justice and wisdom.

Is it then conceivable that the Justice and Wisdom Which hasten to meet the pettiest need of the smallest of creation would not provide the greatest need (immortality) of creation’s most important member (humanity)? Is it conceivable that they would fail to respond to our greatest plea and cry for help, and that they would preserve the dignity of God’s being Lord by rewarding His servants? However, we cannot experience the true essence of this Justice in this transient world in a short life. Thus the affair is deferred to a supreme tribunal.

The true justice requires that we be rewarded and punished not according to our apparent insignificance, but according to the greatness of our wrong, the significance of our true nature, and the importance of our function. Since this transient world cannot manifest such an amount of wisdom and justice in respect of humanity, which is created for eternity, there must be an eternal Hell and an everlasting Paradise of that All-Majestic One of Grace and All-Gracious One of Majesty to befit His Justice and Wisdom.

FOURTH TRUTH: The gate of Generosity and Beauty, the manifestation of the Names the All-Generous and the All-Beautiful. Would unlimited generosity and liberality, inexhaustible riches and treasures, unequalled eternal beauty and grace, as well as everlasting perfection, not demand the existence of grateful supplicants, along with amazed and yearning onlookers, destined to dwell permanently in an abode of blissful repose? Adorning the world with so many beautiful objects, making the sun and moon its lamps, filling the planet’s surface with the finest varieties of sustenance and mak­ing it into an overflowing feast of plenty, and making fruit-bearing trees into dishes and renewing them several times each season— all of this shows the existence of an unlimited generosity and liberality.

Such inexhaustible treasures of Mercy require an everlasting abode of blissful repose that contains all desirable objects. They also require that those who enjoy it should dwell there eternally, without suffering the pain of cessation and separation. For the end of pain is a sort of pleasure, and the end of pleasure is a sort of pain. As unlimited generosity cannot allow such a thing, it requires the existence of an eternal paradise and of supplicants to abide therein eternally. Unlimited generosity and liberality desire to bestow infinite bounty and kindness, which require infinite gratitude. Thus, those who are to receive this bounty and give continual thanks in turn must live forever. A slight contentment, spoiled by its brevity or cessation, is incompatible with unlimited generosity and liberality.

Also, reflect upon the world’s different regions, how each exhibits God’s handiwork and proclaims His being Lord in the diversity of all plants and animals.24 Listen to the Prophets and saints who proclaim His Lordship’s beauties. See how they point to the All-Majestic Maker’s flawless perfections and demonstrate His miraculous arts, thereby inviting our admiration.

The Maker of this world has very important, amazing, and hidden perfections, which He wills to display via His miraculous arts. Hidden perfections long to be known by those who will gaze upon it with admiration and appreciation. Eternal perfection requires eternal manifestation, which in turn requires the eternal existence of those who will appreciate and admire it. The value of perfection diminishes in the view of its admirer if the latter is not eternal.25

Those brilliant, beautiful, artistic, and adorned creatures that cover the face of the universe demonstrate the dimensions of an unequaled transcendent Grace and point to the subtle aspects of a hidden Beauty, just as sun light testifies to the sun’s existence.26 Every manifestation of that transcendent Beauty, that holy Grace, points to the existence of innumerable unseen treasures in each of God’s Names. So exalted, peerless, and hidden a Beauty wills to behold Itself in a mirror, to see Its degrees and measures reflected in animate beings, and to become manifest so that It may look upon Itself through the eyes of others. In short, Beauty wills to see Itself both in mirrors of different colors and through the eyes of Its yearning lovers and dazzled admirers. So, since Divine Beauty and Grace are eternal and everlasting, they require the everlasting existence of their lovers and admirers, for Eternal Beauty can never be content with transient admirers. The love of an admirer condemned to permanent separation will turn to hatred once the thought of separation takes hold. Admiration yields to an ill opinion, and respect yields to contempt. For selfish people may be enemies of what they do not know, are be opposed to what lies beyond their reach. A finite love responds to a beauty that deserves infinite admiration with tacit hostility, hatred, and rejection. This is a profound reason for why unbelievers hate God.

So unlimited generosity and liberality, unequalled beauty and absolute perfection require the existence of supplicants and admirers with eternal longing and gratitude. But this temporary world’s inhabitants depart having tasted that generosity only long enough to whet their appetites. Seeing only a dim shadow of beauty and perfection’s light, they are not fully content. Thus we can be sure that we are traveling to a place of eternal joy where we will be fully content. In short, just as this world and its creatures prove the All-Majestic Creator’s Existence, His holy Attributes and Names point to and necessitate the Hereafter’s existence.

FIFTH TRUTH: The gate of Compassion and the Prophet’s worship and servanthood, the manifestation of the Names the Answerer of Prayer and the All-Compassionate. Is it conceivable that a Lord of infinite compassion and mercy, Who most compassionately fulfills the least need of His lowliest creatures in the most unexpected fashion, Who answers the faintest cry of help of His most obscure creature, and Who responds to all petitions, would ignore the greatest petition of His foremost servant, his most beloved creature, by not granting his most exalted prayer? The tender solicitude manifested in nurturing weak, young animals show that the Sovereign Lord of the universe exercises His being Lord with infinite mercy. Is it conceivable that such compassion and mercy in the exercise of Lordship would refuse the prayer of the most virtuous and beautiful of all creation?27 This truth is explained in The Nineteenth Word, but we reiterate the argument here.

We mentioned in the parable a meeting held in a certain land, at which a most noble commander spoke. To discover this parable’s truth, imagine that we go back to the Arabian Peninsula during the blessed age of the Prophet, and visit and watch him perform his duties and worship. Just as through his Messengership and guidance he is the means for the attainment of eternal happiness, he is also the reason for that happiness’ creation—the creation of Paradise—through his worship and prayer.

See how he is praying for eternal happiness with such perfect supplication and sublime worship. It is as if the peninsula, indeed the whole world, were praying and supplicating with him, for his worship contains his community’s worship, as well as the essentials of all other Prophets’ worship, for they all obeyed the same One Lord. He offers his supreme prayer and supplications amid so many beings that it is as if all illustrious and perfect people, from the time of Adam to the present, were following him in prayer and saying “Amin” to his petition.28 He is petitioning for so universal a need—immortality—that all inhabitants of creation share in it and silently affirm: “Accept his prayer, O Lord, because we also desire it.” He pleads for everlasting happiness so plaintively, with such yearning and longing, that creation is moved to tears and shares in his plea.

See he prays for such a goal and purpose that it raises all creatures from the abyss of utter annihilation, worthless and aimless futility, to the summit of worth, exalted purpose, eternal permanence, and being a missive of the Eternally Besought One. His petition is so noble, an asking for mercy so sweet, that it is as if he inspired all beings, the heavens, and the Divine Throne to hear and echo his words with ecstatic cries of “Amin, O Lord, Amin!”29

He asks for eternal happiness from such an All-Hearing, All-Munificent Powerful One, such an All-Seeing, All-Compassionate Knowing One, that He visibly sees, hears, accepts, and pities the most hidden wish and least desire of His most obscure creature. He answers all pleas and bestows His favors in so wise, insightful and compassionate way that no one can doubt that the one who does these is the One All-Hearing and All-Seeing, All-Munificent and All-Compassionate.

For what is the pride of all being petitioning? He is humanity’s fountain of honor, the unique individual who stands on this earth with all humanity behind him and with his hands opened toward God’s Throne and prays. In reality, his worship and servanthood to God includes the worship of all humankind and is the essence of it. He asks for eternal happiness for himself and all believers, for eternity and Paradise. He petitions through and with all sacred Divine Names, Whose beauty is reflected in all created beings. Surely you see that he is seeking intercession from those Names. Even if there were not innumerable other reasons and causes for it, a single prayer of his would suffice for creating Paradise, a task as easy for the All­Merciful’s Power as creating spring.

How could creating Paradise be difficult for One All-Powerful, Who each spring makes the earth’s surface a vast field of revival and brings forth countless resurrections? Just as the Prophet’s being the Messenger was the reason for establishing this realm of trial—But for you, I would not have created the worlds is an indication of this—his worship was the cause for establishing the abode of eternal happiness.

Would the perfect artistry and unequalled beauty of God’s being Lord, manifested in creation’s amazing orderliness and comprehensive mercy, refuse the Prophet’s prayer and thereby allow extreme ugliness, pitilessness, and discord? Would the All-Sustaining Lord hear and grant the most insignificant desire but refuse the greatest and most important desire as worthless? No, He would not! Such Beauty could never countenance such ugliness and thereby make Itself ugly. Just as the Prophet opened this world’s gates by being God’s Messenger, he opens the Hereafter’s gates by worshipping Him.

Upon him be the blessings of the All-Merciful One, to the extent of that which fills this world and the abode of Gardens—Paradise. O God, bestow blessings and peace on Your servant and Messenger, that beloved one who is the master of both realms, the pride of all worlds, the source of life in both worlds, the means for attaining happiness here and in the Hereafter, one who combines Prophethood and Messengership in himself, who preached the principles of a happy life in this world and the next, who is the Messenger sent to both humanity and jinn—on him, his Family, all his Companions, as well as his fellow Prophets and Messengers. Amin.

SIXTH TRUTH: The gate of Majesty and Eternity, the manifestation of the Names the All-Majestic and the All-Permanent. Is it conceivable that the majesty in His being the Lord, to Whose command all beings from suns and trees to atoms are subdued like obedient soldiers, should focus entirely upon the transient beings in this temporary world, and not create a permanent sphere of majesty and an exalted abode of Lordship? The majestic operations like the change of seasons, the awesome, speedy motions of gigantic planets, the amazing instances of subjugation such as making the earth our cradle and the sun our lamp, and such vast transformations as reviving and adorning a dry, dead earth—all of these show that a sublime Lordship rules with a splendid sovereignty behind the veil of what is seen.

That infinite, glorious sovereignty of Lordship requires subjects worthy of itself, as well as a fitting vehicle for its manifestation. But humanity, the world’s most important inhabitant and blessed with the most comprehensive functions, is gathered to stay here only for a limited while and is in a pitiable state. The world is filled and emptied daily, as well as transformed hourly, and we stay only temporarily to be tested in service. All of the Sovereign’s subjects are like would-be buyers who come for a while to view samples of the precious gifts bestowed by the All-Majestic Maker, His miraculous works of art in the showcase of this world. They soon leave, while the spectacle changes every minute. Whoever departs never returns, and whoever comes eventually departs. Such a reality argues that behind and beyond this world and its activities is a perma­nent, eternal abode that fully manifests God’s everlasting Sovereignty—everlasting palaces and mansions, and gardens and treasure houses stocked with the pure and perfect originals of the forms and copies we see here. We strive here for what awaits us there. We labor here and are rewarded there. Bliss awaits all, provided that they are not among the losers, and is enjoyed according to each person’s capacity. Indeed, an Eternal Sovereignty cannot focus exclusively upon a realm whose transience makes it wretched.

Consider this analogy: While travelling, you see a caravanserai built by a great person for those coming to visit him. Decorated at the greatest expense, it delights and instructs the guests during their night’s stay. But they see only a little of those decorations, and only for a very short time. Having briefly tasted the joys of what is offered, they continue on their journey unsatisfied. However, each guest photographs the objects in the caravanserai, while the great person’s servants record every guest’s conduct and preserve the record. The guests notice that most of the wonderful decorations are replaced daily with fresh ones for newly arriving guests.

Having seen all this, will you doubt that the person who built this caravanserai must have permanent exalted dwellings, inexhaustible and precious treasures, and an uninterrupted flow of unlimited generosity? He shows his generosity in the caravanserai to arouse his guests’ appetite for what he keeps in his immediate presence, and to awaken their desire for the gifts prepared for them.

If you reflect upon this world with an unclouded concentration, you will understand the Nine Principles explained below:

First principle: This world (the caravanserai) neither exists nor assumed this shape by itself. Rather, it is a well-constructed hostelry, wisely designed to receive the caravan of beings that constantly arrive, stay for a while, and then leave.

Second principle: We are guests here, invited to the Abode of Peace by our All-Generous Lord.

Third principle: You will understand that this world’s adornments are not merely for the sake of enjoyment. As they are temporary, like your life being short, they give pain upon separation; they give you a taste, rouse your appetite, but never satisfy you. So, they are here only to instruct in wisdom,30 to arouse gratitude, and to encourage us to seek the permanent originals of which they are copies. In short, they are for exalted goals far beyond themselves.

Fourth principle: The world’s adornments are like samples and forms of the blessings stored in Paradise by the All-Merciful’s Mercy for people of belief.31


Fifth principle: All transient things were created not to go into annihilation after a brief appearance but to exist briefly to acquire their requisite forms so that they can be recorded, their images taken, their meanings understood, and their consequences preserved. This is so that, for example, everlasting spectacles might be wrought from them for the people of eternity, and serve many other purposes in the Realm of Permanence.

Things are created for eternity not for utter annihilation. Apparent annihilation marks a completion of duty and a release from service, for while every transient thing progresses to annihilation in one aspect, it remains eternally in numerous other aspects. Consider a flower, a word of God’s Power. It smiles upon us for a while and then hides behind the veil of annihilation. Like a spoken word which goes but entrusts its thousands of copies to ears, and whose meaning remains in the minds of those who heard it, the flower disappears, but it leaves its visible form in the memory of those who saw it and its inner essence in its seeds. It is as if each memory and seed were a device to record the flower’s adornment or a means for its perpetuation.

As this is true for such a simple living entity, we can see how much closer we are attached to eternity, given that we are life’s highest form and have an imperishable soul. Again, from the fact that the laws, which resemble spirit in one respect and according to which flowering and fruit-bearing plants are formed,32 and the representations of their forms are preserved and perpetuated in the most orderly manner in tiny seeds through all tempestuous changes [of weather, seasons, and the like], we can understand easily how closely human spirit is attached and related to eternity. The spirit, which gives each person a most exalted and comprehensive nature, is like a conscious and luminous law issuing from the Divine Command and clothed in external, sensible existence.

• Sixth principle: We have not been left to wander at will, like a loosely tethered animal pasturing where it pleases. Our deeds are “photographed” and recorded, with their consequences being preserved for the Day when we will have to account for them.

• Seventh principle: The wholesale death of spring and summer creatures during autumn is not an annihilation, but a dismissal after the duty’s completion, an emptying that makes way for new creatures to come next spring and assume their functions.33 It is a Divine warning to rouse conscious beings from their forgetfulness, to shake them out of the torpor that causes them to neglect their duty to give thanks.

• Eighth principle: This transient world’s Eternal Maker has an eternal world toward which He urges and impels His servants.


• Ninth principle: In that world, One so Merciful will give His chosen servants gifts that are so far beyond our knowledge that we cannot imagine them. In this we believe.

SEVENTH TRUTH: The gate of Recording and Preservation, the manifestation of the Names the All-Preserving and the All-Watchful. Is it conceivable that an attribute of preservation, which preserves within absolute orderliness and equilibrium everything that exists, and sifts their consequences to call to account, would allow the acts of His noble vicegerent, who bears the Supreme Trust, to go unrecorded, unsifted and unaccounted, unweighed in the balance of justice, unpunished or unrewarded fittingly, even though his acts relate so closely to God’s universal Lordship?34 No, it is not.

The Being Who administers this cosmos preserves all things in an order and balance, which manifest His Knowledge and Wisdom, Will and Power. For we see that everything is created in perfect proportions, and all its subsequent individual forms are fashioned in perfect, pleasing, symmetrical orderliness. Moreover, the All-Preserving of Majesty preserves many forms of things that perish after finishing their duties, in people’s memories, which are like a Supreme Preserved Tablet, and in mirrors belonging to the Realm of Ideal Forms.35 He inscribes a compact life-history in a seed (that life’s issue and outcome). Thus He causes all things to be preserved in mirrors corresponding to outer and inner worlds. Human memories, a tree’s fruit, a fruit’s kernel, a flower’s seed—all manifest the law of preservation’s universality and inclusiveness.

Have you not seen how the records of the deeds of all spring flowers and fruits, laws of their formation, and images of their forms are all inscribed within minute seeds and there preserved? The following spring, those records are opened—a bringing to account appropriate to them—and another vast world of spring emerges with absolute orderliness and wisdom. This shows the powerful and comprehensive exercise of the Divine Attribute of Preservation. Considering that the issue of such transient, commonplace, and insignificant things is preserved, how could our deeds, which from the viewpoint of universal Lordship yield important fruit in the Unseen world, the Hereafter, and the World of Spirits, not be preserved and recorded as a matter of high significance?

This comprehensive preserving shows us what great care the Master of creation devotes to the orderliness of everything that occurs under His Rule. He is also absolutely attentive to the task of His Sovereignty and His Lordship’s authority. Therefore He records, or causes to be recorded, the least event and smallest service and preserves everything’s form in numerous records. This Attribute of Preservation indicates that the records of our deeds will be laid open and, as the deeds of the noblest and the most honored and significant of creation, closely scrutinized and weighed.

Ennobled with God’s vicegerency and Trust, we are witnesses to the universality of His being Lord and proclaim His Unity in this Realm of Multiplicity. Thus we act as controllers of and witnesses to the worship of most beings. How can then we be consigned to an endless sleep in the grave, never to be roused and questioned about what we did? Without a doubt, we will travel to the Plain of Resurrection or Supreme Gathering and be tried at the Supreme Tribunal.

How can we flee and hide in nothingness under the ground from the All-Powerful One of Majesty, the miracles of Whose Power in the past— all past events—bear decisive witness to the fact that He can do whatever He wills in the future and Who every year creates spring and winter, which resemble the Resurrection?36 Since we are not called to account and judged in this world suited to that Power, we must proceed to a Supreme Tribunal and happiness in another.

EIGHTH TRUTH: The gate of Promise and Threat, the manifestation of the Names the Beautiful and the Majestic. Would the Maker of this world, Who has Absolute Knowledge and Absolute Power, not fulfill the oft-repeated promise and threat affirmed by all Prophets, truth seekers, and saints? Not doing so would display impotence or ignorance. His Power can realize His promise and threat as easily as He brings back in spring the innumerable beings of the spring before, some identical (the roots of trees and grass) and some similar (leaves and fruits). Our need for everything, and the requirement of His being Sovereign and Lord, means that He will fulfill His promise. Not doing so would contradict His Power’s dignity and authority as well as His Knowledge’s comprehensiveness.

If you deny such facts, in reality you are following your own lying fancy, capricious intellect, and deceiving soul. You call Him a liar, though He never breaks His promise, for His Glory and Dignity make this impossible for Him. Moreover, His truthfulness is attested to by everything you see. Despite your insignificance, your error is infinite and thus deserving of a great and eternal punishment. The fact that according to certain Traditions, a tooth of some people of Hell will be as large as a mountain points to this truth.37 Those who deny resemble travelers who close their eyes to sunlight and turn to the light of their own fantasies, although it is no stronger than a glowworm’s, to light the awful road ahead. The Almighty will certainly do what He promises; all of the creatures are His truthful words, and all events in the universe, His eloquent signs. So He will establish a Supreme Tribunal and bestow supreme happiness.

NINTH TRUTH: The gate of reviving and causing death, the manifestation of the Names the All-Living and the Self-Subsistent, and the All-Reviving and the One Who Causes To Die. God revives this vast earth when it is dead and dry, thereby displaying His Power via resurrecting countless species of creation, each as extraordinary as the promised resurrection of humanity. He shows His all-embracing Knowledge in these creatures’ infinite distinctions and differentiations within their complex intermingling. Also, He turns His servants’ attention toward eternal happiness by promising their resurrection in His heavenly decrees, and displays the splendor of His Lordship by causing all His creatures to help and cooperate with each other and directing them within the orbit of His Command and Will. Furthermore, He shows the value His gives to us by creating us as the Tree of Creation’s most comprehensive, subtle, worthiest, and most valued, fruit; by addressing us directly; and by subjugating all things to us. So, Could an All-Powerful and Compassionate, the All-Knowing and Wise, One Who does all these, not (or be unable to) bring about the Resurrection? Could He not institute His Supreme Court and create Paradise and Hell? Such ideas are inconceivable.

Indeed, the Almighty Disposer of this world’s affairs continually creates on this finite, transient earth numerous signs, examples, and indications of the Supreme Gathering and the Plain of Resurrection. Each spring we see countless animal and plant species resurrected in a few days. All tree and plant roots, as well as certain animals, are revived and restored exactly as they were. Other animals are recreated in nearly identical forms. Seeds that appear so alike quickly grow into distinct and differentiated entities, after being brought to full vigor with extraordinary rapidity and ease, in absolute orderliness and harmony. How could anything be difficult for the One Who does this? How could He create the heavens and the earth in 6 days and yet be unable to resurrect humanity with a single blast?

Suppose a gifted writer could rewrite in an hour countless books whose letters were confused or effaced on a sheet of paper without error or omission, fully and in the best style. If someone then told you that he could rewrite in a minute from memory a book which he had written and had fallen into water, how could you say that he could not do so? Or think of a king who, to show his power or warn or for recreation, removes mountains with a command, turns his kingdom about, and transforms the sea into dry land. Then you see that a great boulder blocks the path of guests going to his reception. If someone says that the king will remove the boulder with a command, would you say that he could not do so? Or imagine someone assembles a great army in a day, and you are told that he will reassemble it in battalions by a trumpet blast after dismissing them to rest, would you respond with disbelief? If you did, your error would be enormous.

Now, see how the Eternal Designer closes winter’s white page and opens spring’s and summer’s green pages before our eyes. With the Pen of Power and Destiny, He inscribes infinite species on the page of the earth in a most beautiful style. They are all intermingled but he inscribes them without confusion and error, giving each its distinct form. Inscribing one does not hinder the inscription of another. Is it reasonable to ask concerning the All-Wise and All-Preserving, Who compacts a great tree’s being into a dot-sized seed, how He preserves the spirits of those who die; how the All-Powerful One, Who spins the earth like a pebble in a sling, will remove the earth from the path of His guests travelling to the Hereafter?

Is it reasonable to ask concerning the All-Majestic One, Who installs the atoms of all living beings in their respective bodies with perfect orderliness with the command of Be! and it is, and thus creates disciplined, well-organized armies—is it reasonable to ask how He can reassemble these atoms and bodily members, which have already known each other in perfectly organized battalions of bodies, after they have dispersed?

You see with your own eyes the numerous designs made by God as signs, similitudes, and analogies of the Resurrection. He displays them in every era, the alternation of day and night, even in the coming and going of clouds. If you imagine yourself a thousand years in the past and then compare past and future, you will see as many examples and analogies of the Resurrection as there are centuries and days past. If, after this, you still consider bodily Resurrection improbable and unacceptable to reason, there is something seriously wrong with your powers of reasoning.

Concerning this truth, the Supreme Decree says: Look upon the imprints of God’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. He it is Who will revive the dead [in a similar way]. He has full power over everything (30:50). In short, there is nothing which makes the Resurrection impossible, and there is much necessitates it.

The glorious and eternal Lordship, the all-mighty and all-embracing Sovereignty, of the One Who gives life and death to this wide and wonderful earth as if it were a single organism; Who has made it as a pleasing cradle and handsome craft for humanity and animals; Who has made the sun a lamp that gives it both its light and heat; Who has made the planets transports for His angels—such Lordship and Sovereignty cannot be confined to a mutable, transitory, unstable, slight, and imperfect world. Thus there is another realm, one worthy of Him, immutable, permanent, stable, great, and perfect. He causes us to work for this realm and summons us to it. Those who have penetrated from outward appearances to truth, who have been ennobled by proximity to the Divine Presence, all spiritual “poles” endowed with light-filled hearts, and those with enlightened minds, testify that He will transfer us to that other kingdom. They teach us that He has prepared a reward and a requital for us there, and that He gives us His firm promises and stern warnings thereof.

Breaking a promise is base humiliation and therefore irreconcilable with His Sanctity’s glory. Failure to carry out a threat can arise either from forgiveness or impotence (ignorance). Unbelief is an unforgivable crime.38 The All-Powerful is exempt from and far above all impotence. All who teach this and bear witness to it are all agreed on this fundamental, even though they follow different paths of thought and approach. Their testimony has the authority of learned consensus. Each of them is a guiding light of humanity, the cherished one of a people and the object of their veneration. In importance, each is an expert and authority on this matter. In any art or science, two experts are preferred to thousands of non-experts, and two positive affirmers are preferred to thousands of negators in a report’s transmission. For example, the testimony of two competent men that they have sighted the crescent moon marking the beginning of Ramadan nullifies the negation of thousands of deniers.

In short, this world contains no truer report, firmer claim, or more evident truth than this. The world is a field, and the Resurrection is a threshing-floor, a harvesting-ground for grain that will be stored in Paradise or Hell.

TENTH TRUTH: The gate of Wisdom, Grace, Mercy, and Justice, the man­ifestation of the Names the All-Wise, the All-Munificent, the All-Just, and the All-Merciful. The Majestic Owner of all existence displays such manifest wisdom, evident grace, overwhelming justice, and comprehensive mercy in this impermanent world, transitory testing ground, and unstable display hall of the earth. Is it conceivable that He would not have permanent abodes with immortal inhabitants residing in everlasting stations in His visible and invisible, corporeal and incorporeal realms ad so He would allow that all these realities of wisdom, grace, mercy, and justice to decline into nothingness?

Would the All-Wise choose us to receive His direct and universal address; make us a comprehensive mirror to Himself; let us taste, measure, and get to know the contents of His treasuries of Mercy; make Himself known to us with all His Names; love us and make Himself beloved by us—and then not send us to an eternal realm, an abode of permanent bliss, and make us happy therein? Would He lay on every being, even a seed, a burden as heavy as a tree, charge it with duties as numerous as flowers, and appoint to it beneficial consequences as numerous as fruits, while assigning to them purposes that are relevant only here? Why would He restrict His purpose to this worldly life, something less valuable than a grain of a mustard seed? Would it not be more reasonable for Him to make beings in this world as seeds for the immaterial world of meanings and essences, where the true meanings of everything here will be manifested, and as a tillage for the Hereafter, where they will yield their true and worthy produce? Would He really allow such significant parades and performances (as we witness) to be purposeless, void, and futile? Why would He not employ them for the sake of eternity in the Eternal, Immaterial World of Meanings and Essences, so that they might reveal their true purposes and fitting results there?

Is it conceivable that by causing things to contradict their own nature by not building the eternal realm, He would show Himself to be characterized by the opposites of wisdom, munificence, justice and mercy—which are among His essential Attributes? How could He deny the true essences of all beings that indicate His Wisdom, Munificence, Justice, and Mercy, and rebut all things’ testimony to Him? Could reason agree that He would charge our heads and all the senses and faculties in it with innumerable duties, and then give us only a worldly reward worth less than a hair, and so act absurdly, in a way to contradict His true Justice and true Wisdom?

God shows Himself to be absolutely All-Wise in attaching infinite purposes and benefits to every living being, to each of its members, to each creature. Given this, is it conceivable that by not bestowing on us meeting with Him and eternal happiness in an eternal realm—which are the greatest of purposes, and the most significant and necessary of beneficial results, and which make wisdom, blessings, and mercy into what they are, and are the origin and goal of all purposes, blessings, instances of mercy and beneficial results, He would allow all His acts to be marked by pointlessness? That He would cause Himself to resemble a builder who built a palace consisting of stones bearing thousands of designs, corners holding thousands of adornments, and parts providing thousands of valuable tools and instruments—but forgot to cover it with a roof, so that everything therein rotted and became useless. God forbid such a thought! From absolute Goodness comes forth only goodness, and from the absolutely Beautiful One comes forth only beauty, and nothing in vain or purposeless comes forth from the absolutely Wise One.

Whoever travels back to history in mind sees stages, places, exhibitions, and worlds, as many as the years that have passed and each like this present world. Although different from each other in form and quality, they resemble each other in their perfect arrangement, exquisiteness, and how they display the Maker’s Power and Wisdom. In those impermanent halting-places, transient arenas, and fleeting places of exhibition, we see well-arranged works of manifest wisdom, signs of evident favoring, indications of overwhelming justice, and fruits of comprehensive mercy. Those with any perception understand that there cannot be a more perfect wisdom, gracious favoring, glorious justice, and comprehensive mercy.

If there were no permanent abodes, elevated places, everlasting residences, eternal mansions, eternal residents, blissful servants in the Eternal Sovereign’s realm, Who does all those things and continuously changes those hostelries and their guests, we would have to reject the true essences of Wisdom, Justice, Favoring, and Mercy—which are universal, substantial and as manifest as the four universal elements, namely light, air, water, and soil. For this fleeting world and its contents cannot manifest their true essences fully. Therefore, if there were no other place wherein they could be manifested fully, we would have to deny the wisdom apparent in what we see, the favoring we observe manifested on us and all other things, the justice39 indicated by its signs that appear so effectively, and the mercy we witness everywhere. We also would have to regard the One Who is the unique source of all wise processes, munificent deeds, and merciful gifts that we see in the universe, as a foolish trickster and a pitiless tyrant. God forbid that this should be so; it is a totally inconceivable reversal of the truth. Even Sophists who deny the existence of everything, including their own selves, would not readily contemplate such a proposition.

In short, the world’s universal fusions of life and swift separations of death, imposing gatherings and rapid dispersions, splendid parades, performances, and mighty manifestations are irreconcilable with their negligible results and insignificant, temporary purposes in this fleeting world. [If there were no Hereafter], this would mean giving a great mountain a purpose as insignificant as a small stone. This is utterly unreasonable and pointless.

Such a large disparity between beings and those affairs on the one hand, and the purposes they serve in this world on the other, testifies that they basically work on behalf of the Immaterial World of Meanings, where their true meanings and results will be manifested fully. They relate to the Sacred Divine Names. Implanted in this world’s soil, they flourish in the World of Ideal Forms or Representations. According to our capacity, we sow and are sown here to harvest in the Hereafter. If you look at the aspects of things pertaining to the Divine Names and the Hereafter, you will see that each seed (a miracle of Power) has aims as vast as a tree, that each blossom40 (a word of Divine Wisdom) has as many meanings as a tree’s blossoms. Each fruit, a marvel of Divine Art and a composition of Divine Mercy, has as many purposes as a tree’s fruits. Serving us as foods is only one of its countless purposes. After it fulfills that service and expresses its meaning, it dies and is “buried” in our stomachs.

Seeing that these transient things yield everlasting fruits in another place, where they leave permanent forms of themselves, express eternal meanings of different aspects, and constantly glorify God, we can attain true humanity by approaching things from these aspects and thereby find a way to eternity through this ephemeral world. Since this is true, all these creatures that move between life and death, that are first integrated and gathered together and then dispersed and dissolved, must serve some other purposes.

This state of affairs resembles arrangements made for imitation and representation. Brief gatherings and dispersions are arranged, at great expense, so that pictures can be taken and shown later continuously on screens. Similarly, one reason for our brief individual and social lives is that pictures may be taken and the results of our deeds recorded and preserved. They then will be judged in a vast place of gathering and shown in a great place of exhibition, so that all may understand that they have the potential to yield supreme happiness. The Prophet expressed this: “This world is the tillage for the Hereafter.”

Since the world exists, and since Wisdom, Favoring, Mercy, and Justice prevail therein with their imprints, the Hereafter also exists. Since all worldly things are mainly turned toward that world, they are headed for it. To deny the Hereafter amounts to denying this world and its contents. Just as the appointed hour and the grave await us, so do Paradise and Hell anxiously await our arrival.

ELEVENTH TRUTH: The gate of humanity, the manifestation of the Name the Ultimate Truth. Could the Almighty Truth, the only One worthy of worship, make us the most important servant to His absolute, universal Lordship, and then deny us the Eternal Abode for which we are fitted and longing? Could He make us a most comprehensive mirror in which to manifest His Names, choose us as the most thoughtful one to address, and then deny us the Eternal Abode?

Could He create us as His Power’s most beautiful miracle and in the fairest form, so that we might receive His Greatest Name’s manifestation as well as the greatest manifestations of all His Names, and then deny us the Eternal Abode? Could He create us as investigators equipped, more than any other creature, with measuring instruments and systems to assess and per­ceive the contents of Divine Mercy’s treasuries, and then deny us the Eternal Abode? Could He make us more needy of His infinite bounties than all other beings, more afflicted by mortality and most desirous of eternity, and then deny us the Eternal Abode?

Could He create us as the most delicate and destitute animate being, the most wretched and susceptible to pain in worldly life but the most developed in capacity and structure, and then deny us the Eternal Abode? How could the Almighty Truth create us with all such qualities and then not send us to the Eternal Abode, for which we are fitted and longing? Could He so nullify our essence, act so totally contrary to His being the Absolute Truth, and commit an injustice that truth must condemn as ugly?

Could the All-Just Ruler, the absolutely Compassionate One, give us the potential to bear the Supreme Trust, from which the heavens and mountains shrank, and then deny us eternal happiness? Could He enable us to measure and know, with our slight and partial measures and accomplishments, our Creator’s all-encompassing Attributes, universal acts, and infinite manifestations, and then deny us eternal happiness? Could He create us as the most delicate, vulnerable, impotent, and weakest beings, task us with ordering the earth’s vegetable and animal life and let us interfere with their forms of wor­ship and glorification of God, and then deny us eternal happiness?

Could He cause us to represent His universal operations on a miniature scale, thereby declaring through us His glorious Lordship throughout the universe in word and deed, and then deny us eternal happiness? Could He prefer us over His angels and give us the rank of vicegerent,41 and then deny us eternal happiness, which is the purpose, result, and fruit of all these duties? Could He reduce us to being the most wretched, ill-fortuned, suffering, and humiliated creature, and make reason or intellect, a gift of His Wisdom and a most blessed and light-diffusing means of finding happiness, a tool of tor­ment for us? As a result, could He be act totally contrary to His absolute Wisdom and Mercy? No, never!

Remember that in the parable we looked at an officer’s identity card and register. We saw that his rank, duty, salary, instructions, and supplies meant for a permanent realm and he exerted himself for its sake. Like this, as all exacting scholars and purified ones able to unveil hidden truths agree, all the faculties in the registers of our hearts, and the senses and capacities in the notebooks of our intellect have been given to us to obtain eternal happiness. For example, if the faculty of imagination (a servant of the intellect forming conceptions) were told that it would live for a million years amidst royal pomp and pleasure and then undergo eternal annihilation, it would have a deep sigh of sorrow, unless deceived by vain fancy and the carnal soul.

This means that the greatest temporary worldly pleasure cannot satisfy our smallest faculty. So, as our character and disposition—ambitions extending to eternity, thoughts embracing all creation, and desires felt for all varieties of eternal happiness—show, we were created for and will pro­ceed to eternity. This world is like a waiting room for the Hereafter.

TWELFTH TRUTH: The gate of Messengership and Revelation, the manifestation of In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. Could groundless fancies, wandering doubts, and illusions, all weaker than a gnat’s wing, close the path to the Hereafter and the gate to Paradise? These have been opened by thousands of decisive Qur’anic verses, miraculous in forty ways, and the noble Messenger of God, relying on the power of his almost a thousand established miracles. This is the same Messenger whose words are affirmed by all Prophets, based on their miracles; whose claim is confirmed by saints, based on their visions and spiritual experiences and discoveries; and whose truthful­ness is testified to by all purified, exacting scholars relying on their investigations.

These twelve truths show that the Resurrection is a firmly rooted truth that cannot be shaken. God Almighty established it as a requirement of His Names and Attributes; His Messenger affirms it with the strength of his mir­acles and the proofs of his Prophethood; the Qur’an proves it with its truths and verses; and the universe testifies to it with all its phenomena and pur­poseful events taking place therein. How could the Resurrection, upon which the Necessarily Existent Being and creation (except unbelievers) agree, and whose truth is as mighty and firmly rooted as mountains, be shak­en by doubts feebler than a hair and satanic whisperings?

These are not the only arguments for the Resurrection, for the Qur’an alone, which instructs us in these Twelve Truths, points to thousands of other aspects of this issue. And each aspect is a clear sign that our Creator will transfer us from this transient abode to an eternal one. Also, the Divine Names requiring the Resurrection are not limited to those men­tioned: All-Wise, All-Munificent, All-Compassionate, All-Just, and All-Recording and Preserving. In reality, all Divine Names manifested in the universe’s ordering and administration require the Resurrection.

The “natural” phenomena pointing to the Resurrection are not restricted to those we have discussed. Most things in the universe have aspects and properties resembling curtains opening to the right and the left. One aspect testifies to the Maker, and the other indicates the Resurrection. For example, while our creation in the fairest form demonstrates the Maker, together with the comprehensive abilities lodged in that fairest form, our rapid decline points to the Resurrection.

If we look at the same aspect in two ways, we sometimes notice that it indicates both the Maker and the Resurrection. For example, the wise ordering and arrangement, gracious decoration, just balance and measurement, and merciful favoring seen in most things show that they proceed from the hand of the Power of an All-Wise, All-Munificent, All-Just and All-Compassionate Maker. But despite the power and infinitude of these Names and their manifestations, if we look at the brief and insignificant life of those transient beings receiving their manifestations, the Hereafter appears. Thus, in the tongue of their being and life, all things recite and lead others to recite: “I believe in God and the Last Day.”

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

21 All allowed nourishment is obtained through neediness. The decisive argument for this is how powerless infants enjoy the best livelihood, while strong, wild beasts suffer all kinds of want; how unintelligent fish grow fat, while cunning foxes and monkeys grow thin, in quest of their livelihood. There appears to be an inverse relationship between sustenance received on the one hand, and force and will on the other. The more one relies on force and will, the greater difficulty he or she will have in obtaining sustenance.

22 A hungry lion can prefer its offspring to itself and let it eat the meat that normally it would have eaten. A timid hen can challenge a dog to protect its chicks. A fig tree contents itself with mud while feeding its offspring (its fruit) on pure “milk.” Thus they obey the One of Infinite Mercy, Munificence, and Solicitousness. Likewise, the fact that unconscious plants and beasts act in the most purposive and conscious manner shows irrefutably that One All-Knowing and All-Wise has set them to their tasks, and that they act in His Name.

23 In this and other arguments, such interrogative words and phrases as could, would, is it conceivable, and does it make sense are reiterated to point to a very significant truth: Misguidance and unbelief often arise from the habit of imagining things to be impossible or beyond sense and then denying them. In our discussion of the Resurrection, we argued emphatically that the real impossibility, absurdity, and irrationality come along the path of unbelief and misguidance, whereas real possibility, facility, and rationality are characteristics of the broad highway of belief (Islam). In sum, materialist and naturalist philosophers veer into unbelief by regarding possibilities as impossible, whereas The Tenth Word, by using such words as mentioned above, points to where the impossibility really is.

24 A brilliantly shaped and dazzlingly adorned flower, and a most artfully wrought jewel-like fruit on a twig as fine as wire and attached to a tree as rigid as bone—such things proclaim the fine artistry of a most skilled, wise, and miraculous Fashioner to all animate beings. The same is true of the animal and vegetable realms.

25 A celebrated beauty once rejected a common man who had become infatuated with her. To console himself, the man said: “How ugly she is!” and so denied her beauty. A bear once stood beneath a vine trellis and longed to eat the grapes upon it. Unable to reach the grapes or to climb the trellis, it said to itself, by way of consolation: “The grapes must be sour,” and went on its way growling.

26 While all beings that act as mirrors for Divine Beauty continually depart and disappear, others succeed them, manifesting in their forms and features the same Beauty. This shows that such Beauty does not belong to them; rather, the visible instances of beauty are the signs and indications of a transcendent, holy Beauty.

27 Namely, the Prophet, who has ruled for fourteen centuries over billions of subjects, who daily renew their allegiance to him, continually bear witness to his perfections, and  obey his commands. His spiritual temperament has shaped one-half of the globe and one-fourth of humanity. He is the beloved of their hearts, the guide of their souls, and the greatest servant of the Lord of the worlds. Since most of the realms of created beings applaud the duty and role entrusted to him through each bearing the fruit of his miracles, he is the most beloved creature of the Creator of all. Further, the desire for permanence and continuance implanted in our nature, which lifts us from the lowest to the highest rank, is the greatest desire and petition, and is presented to the Provider of all needs by His greatest servant.

28 From the Prophet’s first petition until now, all invocations upon him of peace and blessings resemble a continual “Amin” after his prayer, a universal participation. Also, each such invocation during one’s Prayers, and the prayer of the followers of the Shafi’i school for him after the second call to worship during the Prescribed Prayers, is a powerful and universal “Amin” to his plea for eternal happiness. The eternity and everlasting happiness so strongly desired by humanity, in accord with its essential nature, is desired for them by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and the illustrious segment of humanity says after him: “Amin!” Could such a universal petition not be granted?

29 Could the Master of this world, all of Whose acts are self-evidently based on His absolute Awareness, Knowledge, and Wisdom, be unaware and uninformed of his foremost creature’s deeds and prayers, remain indifferent to them, or consider them unimportant? Being aware and not indifferent, could the All-Powerful and All-Merciful Sovereign of the world not accept his prayers? The light of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, has changed the world’s form. The true essence of humanity and of all beings in the universe became apparent through that light; namely, that each is a missive of the Eternally Besought One proclaiming the Divine Names; a valued, meaningful being with God-given functions and destined for eternity. Were it not for that light, beings would be condemned to utter annihilation; without worth, meaning, or use; bewildered effects of blind chance and lost in the blackness of illusion. That is why just as humanity says “Amin” to the Prophet’s prayer, all other beings from the earth’s surface to the Divine Throne, from underground to above the stars, take pride in his light and proclaim their connection with him. The very spirit of the Prophet’s worship and servanthood is prayer. All of the universe’s motions and workings are in essence prayer, just as, for example, a seed’s growth until it becomes a tree is a form of prayer to its Creator.

30 The lifespan of all worldly things is short, whereas their worth and the subtleties in their fashioning are most exalted and beautiful. This implies that everything is only a sample to draw the viewer’s gaze to its authentic original. Given this, we may say that this world’s diverse adornments are samples of Paradise’s bounties, made ready by the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate for His beloved servants.

31 Everything exists for many purposes, and numerous effects result from it. These purposes and effects are not, as the misguided suppose, related only to this world and to their own selves; rather, they relate to these three categories: The first and the most exalted pertains to the Creator, namely, to present to the Pre-Eternal Witness’ view the splendidly adorned wonders He has attached to each thing, as if for a military parade. The most fleeting existence suffices for the realization of this purpose. Indeed, the mere potentiality for existence suffices. This purpose is fully realized, for example, by fragile creatures that swiftly perish, and by seeds and kernels, each a masterpiece, that never flower or bear fruit. Their existence is never tainted by vanity and futility. This means, the primary purpose of all things is to display, by their very being, the miracles of their Maker’s Power and works of His Art, presenting them to His view.

The second category pertains to conscious beings. Everything is like a truth-bearing missive, or artistic poem, or a wise word of the All-Majestic Maker offered to angels and jinn, humanity and animals, inviting them to “read” them. Everything is an object for the contemplation and instruction of every conscious being that looks upon it.

The third category relates to the things’ themselves, and consists of such minor effects as the experience of pleasure and joy, of abiding with some degree of permanence and comfort. If we consider the functions of a steersman employed on a royal yacht, we see that only 1% of those functions actually relate to the steersman (e.g., his wages); the other 99% relate to the king who owns the yacht. A similar proportion obtains between the things’ purposes related to its self and worldly existence and those related to its Maker.

Given this multiplicity of purposes, we can explain the ultimate correlation between Divine Wisdom and economy, as well as Divine Liberality and Generosity (which are in reality unlimited), even though they seem to contradict each other. In one respect, liberality and generosity predominate and the Name the All-Generous is manifested. For example, fruits and grains are beyond reckoning and manifest this Name. But in the universal purposes things are made to serve, the Name the All-Wise is manifested. It may be said that a fruit of a tree has as many purposes as the number of the fruits. These purposes can be divided into the three categories just mentioned.

These universal purposes demonstrate an infinite wisdom and economy. Infinite wisdom and infinite generosity are thus correlated, despite their apparent opposition. For example, one purpose for raising an army is to maintain order. The troops already available may be enough to achieve this. However, the whole army may be barely enough for such other purposes as protecting national frontiers and repelling enemies. Wisdom and multiplicity are thus correlated, just as the purpose of a government’s existence never contradicts its splendor.

32 These laws have the same meaning for the life and existence of plants as a spirit has for the individual human being. (Tr.)

33 It is fitting that a tree’s leaves, flowers, and fruits, which are Mercy’s treasures of sustenance, depart when they have grown old and their duties ended. Otherwise the gate open to those to follow would be closed and the expansion of mercy and the services to be performed by newcomers be blocked. In addition, they themselves become wretched due to their old age. Similarly, spring is like a fruit-bearing tree indicating the vast Plain of Resurrection. In every age the world of humanity is like a tree full of lessons; the earth is a tree of Power full of wonders; the world is another, amazing tree whose fruits are sent ahead to the market of the Hereafter.

34 God’s vicegerency means that humanity is the “means” God “uses” to execute His commands on the earth and that we rule it according to His laws. The Supreme Trust is our selfhood or essential nature, which has been equipped, relatively, with all manifestations of Divine Names and Attributes, particularly with will-power. Also, see The Thirtieth Word. (Tr.)

35 See footnote 18. (Tr.)

36 The past consists of happenings. Every day, year, and century that came into being is a line, a page, and a book inscribed by the Pen of Destiny. Divine Power inscribes Its miraculous works in it in perfect wisdom and orderliness. While the future, from now until the Resurrection, Paradise, and eternity, consists entirely of contingencies. Comparing these two, we understand with certainty that the Being Who created yesterday and its creatures can create tomorrow and its creatures. As past wonders are the miraculous works of a Powerful and Majestic One, they affirm that He can create the future and its contingencies and show His wonders.

The One Who is supposed to create an apple certainly must be able to create all apples and bring spring into being. One who cannot create spring cannot create a single apple, for they are made at the same workbench. Each apple is a miniature example of a tree, a garden, or a cosmos. Its seed carries within itself the tree’s life-history, and displays such perfect artistry that it is a miracle created by the One Who can do anything. Likewise, the One Who creates today can create the Day of Resurrection, and only He Who is able to create the Resurrection can create spring. The One Who threads and displays all past events on the ribbon of time in perfect wisdom and order can attach another universe to the ribbon of the future and display them there. In several treatises of The Words, we proved that the One Who can create one thing can create everything. Also, if everything’s creation is attributed to a Single Being, their creation becomes as easy as creating one thing. But if creation is attributed to multiple agents or causes, the creation of one thing is as hard as creating everything and therefore it borders on the impossible.

37 Muslim, “Jannah” 44; at-Tirmidhi, “Sifatu Jahannam” 3.

38 Unbelief is an insult to the whole creation as it degrades it, alleging it to be with no meaning and worth. It is also a disrespect to the Divine Names because it denies their manifestations in the mirrors of creatures. It also rejects the witness borne to the Unity of God by all beings, and so gives them the lies. Therefore, unbelief so corrupts our potentialities that we cannot reform and become unreceptive to good. It is also an act of absolute injustice, a transgression against the rights of God’s Names and creation. The defense of those rights, and an unbeliever’s irredeemable state, require that unbelief be unpardonable. The Divine declaration, Associating partners with God is truly a tremendous wrong (31:13), expresses this.

39 There are two forms of justice, one positive and the other negative. The positive one consists in giving the right to the one who deserves it. [Except for the injustices we commit in the realm where our free wills have a part], this form of justice is clearly observed throughout the world. For, as discussed in the Third Truth, the All-Majestic Originator gives in definite measures and according to definite criteria everything that is asked for in the tongues of natural need and absolute necessity. In other words, He meets all the requirements of everything’s life and existence. Therefore, this form of justice is as certain as existence and life.

The negative form of justice involves punishing the unjust, and so giving the wrong­doers their due via requital and chastisement. Even though this form is not manifested fully here, countless signs suggest its existence. For example, the blows of punishment striking the rebellious peoples from ‘Ad and Thamud in the past to those of the present age show that a very exalted justice dominates the world.

40 I choose examples chiefly among seeds, flowers, and fruits because they are the most marvelous and delicate miracles of Divine Power. Despite this, since misguided naturalists and scientists cannot “read” the subtle designs inscribed in them by the Pen of the Divine Destiny and Power, they have drowned in them and fallen into the swamp of naturalism.

41 God Almighty has distinguished us with knowledge, speech, and free will. Although He allows us to act on our own according to our free will, He wants us to rule here according to His Commandments so that the world might be integrated with other parts of the universe in peace, harmony, and tranquility, and so that we can find the happiness in both worlds for which we long. Being vicegerent means having the authority to rule on Earth in His name, but with the responsibility of following His Commandments sent through His Prophets. (Tr.)