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The Thirtieth Word


[This Word explains the talisman of creation by solving an important talisman of the All-Wise Qur'an. It is an explanation of 'Ana'1 and 'Dharra'2 to the extent of an 'Alif'3 and a 'Point'.4 It consists of two Aims. The first of these concerns the nature and result of the human 'I', and the second, the motion and duties of minute particles.]


First Aim


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.


We did indeed offer the Trust to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it being afraid thereof. But man assumed it; indeed, he is most unjust, most foolish.5


We shall indicate a single jewel from the great treasure of this verse, as follows.


The 'I' is one component, one aspect, of the numerous aspects of the 'Trust', from the bearing of which the sky, earth, and mountains shrank, and of which they were frightened. Indeed, from the time of Adam until now, the 'I' has been the seed of a terrible tree of Zaqqum6 and at the same time, of a luminous tree of Tuba,7 which shoot out branches around the world of mankind. Before attempting to elucidate this vast truth, we shall give an explanation by way of an introduction which will facilitate the understanding of it.


As the key to the Divine Names, which are hidden treasures, the 'I' is also the key to the locked talisman of creation; it is a problem-solving riddle, a wondrous talisman. When its nature is known, the 'I', that strange riddle, that amazing talisman, is disclosed, and it also discloses the talisman of the universe and the treasures of the Necessary World. We have discussed this problem as follows in my Arabic treatise called _emme (Intimations).


The key to the world is in the hand of man and is attached to his self. For while being apparently open, the doors of the universe are in fact closed. God Almighty has given to man, by way of a Trust, a key, called the 'I', that is such that it opens all the doors of the world; He has given him an enigmatic 'I' with which he may discover the hidden treasures of the Creator of the Universe. But the 'I' is also an extremely complicated riddle and a talisman that is difficult to solve. When its true nature and the purpose of its creation are known, as it is itself solved, so too will be the universe.


The All-Wise Maker gave to man as a Trust an 'I' which comprises indications and samples that show and cause to recognize the truths of the attributes and functions of His Dominicality, so that the 'I' might be a unit of measurement and the attributes of Dominicality and functions of Divinity might be known. However, it is not necessary for a unit of measurement to have actual existence. Rather, like hypothetical lines in geometry, a unit of measurement may be formed by hypothesis and supposition. It is not necessary for its actual existence to be established by concrete knowledge and proofs.


Question: Why is knowledge of the attributes and Names of God Almighty connected to the 'I'?


The Answer: Since an absolute and all-encompassing thing has no limits or end, neither may a shape be given to it, nor may a form be conferred on it, nor may it be determined; what its quiddity is may not be comprehended. For example, an endless light without darkness may not be known or perceived. But if a line of real or imaginary darkness is drawn, then it becomes known. Thus, since God Almighty's attributes, like knowledge and power, and Names, like All-Wise and All-Compassionate, are all-encompassing, limitless, and without like, they may not be determined, and what they are may not be known or perceived. Therefore, since they do not have limits or an actual end, it is necessary to draw a hypothetical and imaginary limit. The 'I' does this. It imagines in itself a fictitious dominicality, ownership, power, and knowledge: it draws a line. By doing this it places an imaginary limit on the all-encompassing attributes, saying, "Up to here, mine, after that, His"; it makes a division. With the tiny units of measurement in itself, it slowly understands the true nature of the attributes.


For example, with its imagined dominicality over what it owns, the 'I' may understand the Dominicality of its Creator over contingent creation. And with its apparent ownership, it may understand the true ownership of its Creator, saying: "Like I am the owner of this house, so too is the Creator the owner of the universe." And with its partial knowledge, it may understand His knowledge, and with its small amount of acquired art, it may understand the originative art of the Glorious Maker. For example, the 'I' says: "As I made this house and arranged it, so someone must have made the universe and arranged it," and so on. Thousands of mysterious states, attributes, and perceptions which make known and show to a degree all the Divine attributes and functions are contained with the 'I'. That is to say, the 'I' is mirror-like, and, like a unit of measurement and tool for discovery, it has an indicative meaning; having no meaning in itself, it shows the meaning of others. It is a conscious strand from the thick rope of the human being, a fine thread from the raiment of the essence of humanity, it is an Alif from the book of the character of mankind, and it has two faces.


The first of these faces looks towards good and existence. With this face it is capable of only receiving favour; it accepts what is given, itself it cannot create. This face is not active, it does not have the ability to create. Its other face looks towards evil and goes to non-existence. That face is active, it has the power to act. Furthermore, the real nature of the 'I' is indicative; it shows the meaning of things other than itself. Its dominicality is imaginary. Its existence is so weak and insubstantial that in itself it cannot bear or support anything at all. Rather, it is a sort of scale or measure, like a thermometer or barometer, that indicates the degrees and amounts of things; it is a measure that makes known the absolute, all-encompassing and limitless attributes of the Necessary Being.


Thus, he who knows his own self in this way, and realizes and acts according to it, is included in the good news of,


Truly he succeeds who purifies it.8


He truly carries out the Trust, and through the telescope of his 'I', he sees what the universe is and what duties it is performing. And when he obtains information about the universe, he sees that his 'I' confirms it. This knowledge will remain as light and wisdom for him, and will not be transformed into darkness and futility. When the 'I' fulfils its duty in this way, it abandons its imaginary dominicality and supposed ownership, which are the units of measurement, and it says: "His is the sovereignty and to Him is due all praise; His is the judgement and to Him will you all be brought back." It achieves true worship. It attains the rank of 'the Most Excellent of Patterns'.9


But if, forgetting the wisdom of its creation and abandoning the duty of its nature, the 'I' views itself solely in the light of its nominal and apparent meaning, if it believes that it owns itself, then it betrays the Trust, and it comes under the category of,


And he fails who corrupts its.10


It was of this aspect of the Trust, therefore, which gives rise to all ascribing of partners to God, evil, and misguidance, that the heavens, earth, and mountains were terrified; they were frightened of associating hypothetical partners with God.


Indeed, if the 'I' is not known for what it is, an insubstantial Alif, a thread, a hypothetical line, it may burgeon in concealment under the ground, gradually swelling. It will permeate all parts of a human being. Like a gigantic dragon it will swallow up the human being; that entire person with all his faculties will, quite simply, become pure 'I'. Then too, the 'I-ness' of the human race gives strength to the individual 'I-ness' by means of human racialism and national racialism, and the 'I', gaining support from the 'I-ness' of the human race, contests the commands of the Glorious Maker, like Satan. Then, using itself as a yardstick, it compares everyone, everything even, with itself; it divides God Almighty's sovereignty between them and other causes. It falls into ascribing partners to God on a vast scale, indicating the meaning of:


To assign partners to God is verily a great transgression.11


Indeed, it is just like a man who steals a brass coin from the public treasury; he can only justify his action by agreeing to take a silver coin for each of his friends who is present. So the man who says: "I own myself," must believe and say: "Everything owns itself."


Thus, while in this treacherous position, the 'I' is in absolute ignorance. Even if it knows thousands of branches of science, with compounded ignorance it is most ignorant. For when its senses and thoughts yield the lights of knowledge of the universe, those lights are extinguished because such an 'I' does not find any material within itself with which to confirm, illuminate, and perpetuate them. Whatever it encounters is dyed with the colours that are within it. Even if it encounters pure wisdom, the wisdom takes the form, within that 'I' , of absolute futility. For the colour of an 'I' that is in this condition is atheism and ascribing partners to God, it is denial of God Almighty. If the whole universe is full of shining signs, a dark point in the 'I' hides them from view, as though extinguished.


The nature of man and the 'I' within his nature have been explained clearly and in detail in the Eleventh Word, as indicating something other than themselves. They are shown to be a most sensitive scale and accurate measure, an encompassing index and perfect map, a comprehensive mirror, and a fitting calendar and diary for the universe. Since we consider the explanation in that Word to be sufficient and it may be referred to, we cut short and end the introduction here. If you have understood the introduction, come, let us enter upon the truth.


* * *


Consider this: in the world of humanity, from the time of Adam up to now, two great currents, two lines of thought, have always been and will so continue. Like two mighty trees, they have spread out their branches in all directions and in every class of humanity. One of them is the line of prophethood and religion, the other that of philosophy in its various forms. Whenever those two lines have been in agreement and united, that is to say, if the line of philosophy, having joined the line of religion, has been obedient and of service to it, the world of humanity has experienced a brilliant happiness and social life. Whereas, when they have become separated, goodness and light have been drawn to the side of the line of prophethood and religion, and evil and misguidance to the side of the line of philosophy. And now let us find the origin and foundations of those two lines.


The line of philosophy that does not obey the line of religion, taking the form of a tree of Zaqqum, scatters the darkness of ascribing partners to God and misguidance on all sides. In the branch of the power of intellect, even, it produces the fruit of atheism, Materialism, and Naturalism for the consumption of the human intellect. And in the realm of the power of passion, it pours the tyrannies of Nimrod, Pharaoh, and Shaddad on mankind.12 And in the realm of the power of animal appetites, it nurtures and bears the fruit of goddesses, idols, and those who claim divinity.


The origin of the tree of Zaqqum together with that of the line of prophethood, which is like the tree of Tuba of worship, are in the two faces of the 'I'. The blessed branches of the line of prophethood in the garden of the globe of the earth are the following: in the branch of the power of intellect, it has nurtured the fruits of the prophets, the messengers, and the saints. In the branch of the power of repulsion, it has resulted in angelic kings and just rulers. And in the branch of the power of attraction, it has resulted in people of good character and modest and beautiful manner, both generous and gracious. So the line of prophethood has shown how mankind is the most perfect fruit of the universe. We shall explain the two faces of the 'I' as the root and pivot and as a principal seed of those two trees. That is to say, prophethood takes hold of one face of the 'I', and philosophy takes hold of the other, causing them to diverge.


The First Face, which is the face of prophethood: It is the origin of sheer worship. That is to say, the 'I' knows itself to be a bondsman. It realizes that it serves one other than itself. Its essence has only an indicative meaning. That is, it understands that it carries the meaning of another. Its existence is dependent; that is, it believes that its existence is due only to the existence of another, and that the continuance of its existence is due solely to the creativity of that other. Its ownership is illusory; that is, it knows that with the permission of its owner it has an apparent and temporary ownership. Its reality is shadow-like; that is, a contingent and insignificant shadow that displays the manifestation of a true and necessary reality. As to its function, being a measure and balance for the attributes and functions of its Creator, it is conscious service.


It is in this way that the prophets, and the pure ones and saints who were from the line of the prophets, regarded the 'I', they saw it in this regard, and understood the truth. They handed over the sovereignty to the Lord of All Sovereignty and concluded that that Lord of All Glory has no partner or like, neither in His sovereignty, nor in His Dominicality, nor in His Divinity. He has no need of assistant or deputy. The key to all things is in His hand. He has absolute Power over all things. They also concluded that causes are but an apparent veil; Nature is the set of rules of His creation, a collection of His laws, and the way in which He demonstrates His power.


Thus, this shining, luminous, beautiful face is like a living and meaningful seed out of which the Glorious Creator has created a Tuba-tree of worship, the blessed branches of which have adorned with luminous fruits all parts of the world of humanity. By scattering the darkness of all the past, it shows that that long past time is not a place of non-existence and a vast graveyard as philosophy would have it, but is rather a radiant garden and a place of light for the luminous souls who have departed this world, who have cast off their heavy loads and remain free. It is a luminous, many-runged ascent and an orbit of lights for passing souls in order that they may jump to the future and eternal felicity.


As for the second face, it is represented by philosophy. And as for philosophy, it regards the 'I' as carrying no meaning other than its own. That is to say, it declares that the 'I' points only to itself, that its meaning is in itself. It considers that the 'I' works purely on its own account. It regards its existence as necessary and essential, that is, it says that it exists in itself and of itself. It falsely assumes that the 'I' owns its own life and is the real master in its sphere of disposal. It supposes it to be a constant reality. And it considers the 'I's' duty to be perfection of self, which originates from love of self, and likewise, philosophies have constructed their modes of thought on many such corrupt foundations. We have given definite proof in our other treatises, especially in the Words, and more particularly in the Twelfth and Twenty-Fifth Words, of how baseless and rotten these foundations are.


Even men like Plato and Aristotle, Ibn-i Sina and Farabi, who were the most illustrious representatives and authorities of the line of philosophy, said that the ultimate aim of humanity is to liken themselves to the Necessary Being, that is to say, to actually resemble Him. They thus delivered judgement in the manner of Pharaoh, and, by whipping up 'I-ness' and allowing polytheism to run free in the valleys, opened the way to numerous different ways of associating partners with God, like worship of causes, idols, Nature, and the stars. They closed the doors of impotence and weakness, poverty and need, deficiency and imperfection, which are intrinsic to human beings, and thus obstructed the road to worship. Being immersed in Naturalism and being completely incapable of emerging from associating partners with God, they were unable to find the broad gate of thanks.


On the other hand, the line of prophethood considered, in the manner of a worshipper, that the aim of humanity and duty of human beings is to be molded by God-given ethics and good character, and, by knowing their impotence to seek refuge with Divine power, by seeing their weakness to rely on Divine strength, by realizing their poverty to trust in Divine mercy, by perceiving their need to seek help from Divine riches, by seeing their faults to ask for pardon through Divine forgiveness, and by realizing their deficiency to be glorifies of Divine perfection.


So, it is because the philosophy which does not obey the line of religion thus lost its way, that the 'I' took the reins into its own hands and ran into all sorts of misguidance. And out of the 'I' that was in this position, a tree of Zaqqum sprang forth and engulfed more than half of mankind.


Thus, in the branch of power of animal appetites of that tree, the fruits it has presented to mankind are idols and goddesses. Because, according to the principles of philosophy, power is approved. 'Might is right' is the norm, even. It says, "All power to the strongest." "The winner takes all," and, "In power there is right."13 It has given moral support to tyranny, encouraged despots, and urged oppressors to claim divinity.


Also, by appropriating the beauty in works of art and the fineness in the decoration and attributing them to the works of art themselves and their decoration, and by not relating them to the manifestation of the sacred and sheer beauty of the Maker and Fashioner, it says: "How beautiful it is," instead of, "How beautifully made it is," thus regarding each as an idol worthy of worship. Moreover, because it admires a fraudulent, boasting, ostentatious, hypocritical beauty that may be sold to anyone, it has acclaimed the hypocrites, and has made idol-like people monuments for its own worshippers.14 In the branch of power of passion of that tree, it has nurtured the fruits of greater and lesser Nimrods, Pharaohs, and Shaddads ruling over unfortunate mankind. In the branch of power of intellect, it has produced fruits like atheism, Materialism, and Naturalism in the mind of humanity, and has thrown it into confusion.


Now, in order to illuminate this truth, we shall compare the results which are born of the sound foundations of the line of prophethood with those originating from the rotten foundations of the way of philosophy, and shall mention three or four examples.


First Example: According to the rule of: Be molded by God-given ethics, which is one of the principles of the line of prophethood concerning individual life, there is the instruction: "Be distinguished by God-given morals and turn towards God Almighty with humility recognizing your impotence, poverty, and defectiveness, and so be a slave in His presence." Whereas, the self-seeking rule of philosophy, "Try to imitate the Necessarily Existent One" is mankind's aim for perfection. No, indeed, the essence of humanity has been kneaded with infinite impotence, weakness, poverty, and need, while the essence of the Necessarily Existent One is infinitely omnipotent, powerful, self-sufficient, and without need.


Second Example: Among the principles of the line of prophethood concerning social life are those of mutual assistance, magnanimity, and generosity. These have been harnessed for the help and assistance of all things from the sun and moon down to even plants. For the assistance of animals, for example, and the help of animals for human beings, and even that of particles of food for the cells of the body. Whereas, among the principles of the line of philosophy concerning social life is that of conflict, which springs from the misuse of their inborn dispositions by a number of tyrants, brutish men, and savage beasts. Indeed, they have accepted this principle at so fundamental a level and at such a general one that they have idiotically declared: "Life is a conflict."


Third Example: One of the valuable results and exalted principles of the line of prophethood concerning Divine Unity is: "If a thing has unity, it must proceed from only one." That is, "Since each thing in itself and all things collectively have unity, they therefore must be the creation of one single being." Whereas, one of the beliefs of ancient philosophy is: "From one, one proceeds." That is, "From one person, only one single thing can proceed. Everything else proceeds from him by means of intermediaries."


This misleading principle of philosophy which is stained by associating partners with God presents the Absolutely Self-Sufficient and Omnipotent One as being in need of impotent intermediaries, and gives all causes and intermediaries a sort of partnership in His Dominicality. It attributes to the Glorious Creator the title of 'Prime Mover', which in fact indicates the status of creature. And, moreover, it allots the rest of His sovereignty to causes and intermediaries, and thus opens the way to associating partners with Him in a most comprehensive manner. If the Illuminists (Ishraqiyyun), who were pre-eminent philosophers, uttered nonsense like this, you can imagine how much more absurd will be what inferior philosophers, like the Materialists and Naturalists, say.


Fourth Example: According to the meaning of,


There is nothing but extols His limitless glory and praise,15


which is one of the wise principles of prophethood, "If the purpose and wisdom of everything, in particular every living being, has one aspect which looks to the being itself, then the purposes which concern its Maker and the instances of wisdom which look to its Creator must be myriad. Each thing, a single fruit, for example, has as much wisdom and as many purposes as all the fruits of a tree." This principle, which is pure truth, results from the joining of one of the forms of philosophy with the line of prophethood.


Whereas, the nonsensical principles of a deceiving philosophy that has not joined this line says: "The purpose of every living being looks to itself or is connected with benefits for mankind," thus considering in it an extremely senseless futility and attaching a purpose, a tiny fruit, to a tree as huge as a mountain. Because this truth has been explained to some extent in the Tenth Truth of the Tenth Word and some parts have been mentioned in a treatise called Lemeât (Gleams), we have cut it short here. However, you can extend these four example to thousands.


It is because of these rotten foundations and disastrous results of philosophy that geniuses from among the Muslim philosophers like Ibn-i Sina and Farabi were charmed by its apparent glitter and were deceived into taking this way, and thus attained only the rank of an ordinary believer. Hujjat al-Islam al-Ghazzali did not accord them that rank, even.


Also, the foremost of the Mu'tazilites, who were among the most learned scholars of Islamic theology, being fascinated by the apparent glamour of the way of philosophy and being closely involved with it, assumed intellect to be self-sufficient. Because of this they could attain only the rank of a deviating, novice believer. Moreover, because those famous literary figures of Islam, like Abu al-'Ala al-Ma'arri, who was renowned for his pessimism, and 'Umar Khayyam, who was characterized by his pitiful weeping, took pleasure at the line of philosophy's caressing their evil-commanding souls, they received contemptuous and condemnatory rebuffs and restraining and chastening slaps from the people of truth and perfection, who said: "You are being insolent, you are approaching heresy, and you are disseminating heresy."


A further result of the rotten foundations of the line of philosophy is that although the 'I' has, in itself, an essence as insubstantial as air, because the inauspicious attitude of philosophy regards it as relating only to itself, it is as if that vapour-like 'I' becomes liquid; and then, because of its familiarity and preoccupation with materialism, it hardens. Next, through neglect and denial, that 'I-ness' freezes. Then, through rebelliousness it becomes opaque, losing its transparency. Then, it gradually becomes denser and envelops its owner. It becomes distended with the thoughts of mankind. Next, supposing the rest of humanity, and even causes, to be like itself, although they do not accept this and disclaim it, it gives to each of them the status of a Pharaoh. Then at this point it takes up its position contesting the commands of the Glorious Creator, it says:


Who could give life to bones that have crumbled to dust? 16


and, as a challenge, accuses the Absolutely Omnipotent One of impotence. It even debases the attributes of the Glorious Creator. It either rejects or denies or distorts what does not suit its interests and does not please its Pharaoh-like evil-commanding soul.


One group of philosophers, by calling Almighty God 'Self-Necessitating', denied Him choice. They rejected the endless testimony of all creation, which proves that He has choice. Glory be to God! Although all the beings in the universe from the smallest particles to the sun show that the Creator has choice, each with its own appointed individuality, order, wisdom, and measure, this blind philosophy refused to see it. Moreover, another group of philosophers said: "Divine knowledge is not concerned with insignificant matters," and denied its awesome comprehensiveness, and thus rejected the veracious witnessing of all beings.


Furthermore, by attributing effects to causes, philosophy has given Nature the power to create. As has been definitely proved in the Twenty-Second Word, since philosophy does not see the evident stamp on everything as signifying the Creator of All Things, and assumes Nature to be the originator, which is impotent, inanimate, unconscious, and blind, and whose apparent power is in the hands of chance and force which are also blind, it attributes to Nature certain beings, each of which expresses thousands of instances of exalted wisdom and is like a missive from the Eternally Besought One.


In addition, the philosophers did not find the door to resurrection and the hereafter, which, as is proved in the Tenth Word, God Almighty with all of His Names, and the universe with all of its truths, and the line of prophethood with all of its verifications, and the revealed books with all of their verses demonstrate. They therefore denied the resurrection and ascribed pre-eternity to souls. You can deduce from these superstitions what their views on other matters would be. Indeed, the powers of evil have raised up the minds of atheistic philosophers as though with the beaks and talons of their 'I's' and have dropped them in the valleys of misguidance. Thus, IN THE MICROCOSM, THE 'I' IS THE IDOL, LIKE THOSE IN THE MACROCOSM SUCH AS NATURE.


Hence, he who rejects idols and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.17


It is appropriate to mention here the meaning of a fictitious event that I described in semi-verse in Lemeât as an imaginary journey, which will illuminate the aforementioned truth.


Eight years before writing this treatise, in Istanbul during the month of Ramadan, when the Old Said, who was concerned with the study of philosophy, was about to be transformed into the New Said, while pondering over the three ways that are indicated at the end of Sura al-Fatiha,


The way of those upon whom You have bestowed Your grace, not those who have received Your wrath, nor those who go astray,18


I saw something resembling a dream or vision, an imaginary event, which was as follows.


I saw myself in a vast desert. A layer of murky, dispiriting, and suffocating cloud had covered the whole face of the earth. There was neither breeze, nor light, nor water, none of these was to be found. I imagined that everywhere was full of monsters, dangerous and dreadful creatures. It occurred to me that through on the other side of this land there should be light, breeze, and water. It was necessary to get there. I realized that I was being driven on involuntarily. Under the earth I wormed my way into a tunnel-like cave and gradually travelled through the earth. I saw that many people had passed along this subterranean way before me, on all sides they were submerged. I saw their footprints, and once I heard some of their voices, then later they ceased.


O my friend who is accompanying me on my imaginary journey! That land is Nature and the philosophy of Naturalism. And the tunnel is the way that the philosophers have opened up with their thought in order to reach the truth. The footprints I saw were those of famous philosophers like Plato and Aristotle,19 and the voices I heard those of geniuses like Ibn-i Sina and Farabi. Indeed, I saw in various books some of the things Ibn-i Sina had said and some of his principles, but he had become stuck, he could go no further, he was submerged before reaching the truth. Anyhow, in order to save you from anxiety, I showed you a small part of truth. Now I return to my journey.


Gradually I realized that I had been given two things to use. One was a torch, it would scatter the darkness of that subterranean Nature. The other was a device, which, by smashing mighty boulders and huge rocks, would open a way for me. I was told: "This torch and device have been given to you from the treasury of the Qur'an." So, I carried on for a long time in this way. Then suddenly I realized that I had come out on the other side. I saw a world where everywhere there was rejoicing, bright sunshine in a most beautiful springtime and an invigorating breeze and delicious life-giving water. I said: "All praise be to God!"


Then I realized that I did not own myself, someone was testing me. As in the first part of the journey, I found myself in that vast desert under the suffocating cloud. And, though now on another way, still someone was driving me on. This time it was not under the earth, rather, I was making this long journey on the face of the earth in order to reach the other side. I saw such strange and curious things in this part of my journey that they cannot be described: the sea was raging, storms threatened me, everything caused difficulties for me. But once again, with the means of travel that had been given to me from the Qur'an, I overcame them and passed on. On the way I saw that there were corpses of travellers everywhere. Those who had completed the journey were one in a thousand. At any rate, having been saved from the cloud I had reached the other side of the earth and had come out in full view of the dazzling sun. Breathing in the invigorating breeze, I said: "All praise be to God!"


I started looking round that heaven-like world. Then I saw that there was someone who would not let me stay there. In an instant he took me to that vast desert as though to show me another way. There I saw different sorts of things, some like aeroplanes, some like cars, some like hoists, which had descended exactly like lifts. Whoever, according to his power and capacity, jumped onto them was taken up. I, too, jumped onto one of them, and in a very short space of time it took me up above the cloud. I came out among the most beautiful green and spectacular mountain-tops. The layer of cloud came no more than half-way up the mountains. Everywhere was the gentlest of breezes, the most delicious water, and the softest of lights. I saw that everywhere were these lift-like allegorical vehicles. Even though I had seen them in the first two parts of my journey and on the other face of the earth, I had not understood what they were. Now I realized that they were manifestations of verses of the All-Wise Qur'an.


Thus, the first way, which is indicated by, Nor those who go astray, is that of those who are submerged in Nature and those who are followers of the philosophy of Naturalism. You have seen in this first way how many difficulties there are in passing to the truth and the light. The second way, which is indicated by, Nor those who have received Your wrath, is that of those who worship causes and those who give the power to create and the effect to intermediaries, like the Peripatetic philosophers. These tried to open the way to the ultimate truth and knowledge of the Necessarily Existent One by means of the intellect and reason alone. As for the third way, which is indicated by, Those upon whom You have bestowed Your grace, it is the luminous highway of the people of the Qur'an, who are the people of the straight path. This luminous highway is a brilliant way revealed and bestowed by the Most Merciful One. It is the shortest, the easiest, the safest way, and it is open to everyone.


* * *


Second Aim


[The Second Aim indicates a single gem from the treasure of the following verse, and concerns the transformation of minute particles.]


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.


And yet, the unbelievers assert, "Never will the Hour come upon us!" Say, "Nay! But most surely, by my Sustainer, it will come upon you - by Him Who knows the Unseen, - from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on the earth, nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but it is in the Clear Book.20


[This Second Aim points out a mere atom's weight from the great treasure of this verse; that is, some jewels from the caskets that are particles, and it discusses to some small degree their motion and duty. It consists of an Introduction and three Points.]




The transformation of particles are the vibrations and wanderings that occur while the signs of creation are being written in the Book of the Universe by the pen of power of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber. They are not games of chance and jumbled meaningless motion like the Materialists and Naturalists fancy. Because, like all beings, each particle says "In the Name of God" at the start of its motion, and it raises loads infinitely exceeding its strength. For example, a seed the size of a grain of wheat shoulders a load the size of a huge pine tree. And on completion of its duty, it says "All praise be to God." For by exhibiting an art that is beautiful and full of purpose and a decoration that is fine and full of benefits which astound all minds, it displays a work of art like an ode in praise of the Glorious Maker. Look carefully at pomegranates and ears of corn, for example.


Indeed, the transformations of particles are the motion and meaningful vibrations that proceed according to the dictation and principles of 'The Clear Record', which is a title of Divine Knowledge and Command and is the arrangement of the past origin and future progeny of everything in the World of the Unseen. They proceed by means of transcription from 'The Clear Book', which is a title for Divine Power and Will and is formed of present and the Manifest World and consists of the free disposal of that power and will in the creation of things. Thus, this motion and meaningful vibration proceed from the writing and drawing of the words of Power in 'The Tablet of Effacement and Reaffirmation', which is a metaphorical page, and the reality of the stream of time.21




The First Point discusses two Matters.


FIRST MATTER: In every facet of the motion of the every particle the light of Divine Unity shines like the sun. Because, as is proved briefly in the First Indication of the Tenth Word, and in detail in the Twenty-Second Word, if every particle is not an official of God acting with His permission and under His authority, and if it is not undergoing change within His knowledge and power, then every particle must have infinite knowledge and limitless power, it must have eyes that see everything, a face that looks to all things, and authority over all things. For each particle of the elements acts, or can act, in an orderly fashion in all animate beings. But the order within things and laws according to which they are formed differ from one thing to the next. If their order was not known to the particles, the particles could not act, or even if they could act, they could not act without error. In which case, the particles which are performing their duties in beings are either acting with the permission and at the command, and within the knowledge and at the will, of the owner of an all-encompassing knowledge, or they themselves must have such an all-encompassing knowledge and power.


Indeed, all particles of air can enter the bodies of all animate beings, the fruits of all flowers, and the structures of all leaves. They can act within them, although the way they are formed is all different and their order and systems quite distinct. As though the factory of a fig was a loom for weaving cloth and the factory of a pomegranate, a machine for producing sugar, and so on; the programmes of their structures and bodies all differ from each other. A particle of air, then, enters or can enter all of them. It takes up its position and acts in a wise and masterly fashion without error. And on completion of its duty it departs. A mobile particle of mobile air, therefore, either must know the forms, shapes, measures, and formations with which plants and animals, and even fruits and flowers, are clothed, or else it must be an official acting under the command and will of one who does know.


And so too with a stationary particle of stationary earth. Since it has the ability to be the means and place of cultivation for all the seeds of all flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees, either there must be in the particle itself or in the handful of soil that is its little house immaterial machinery and factories in good working order to the number of the varieties of the trees and plants, and flowers and fruits - in fact, it is in every single particle that there must be a factory peculiar to it and all the equipment and machinery necessary for the running of that factory - or else it must have a miraculous knowledge that knows all things about all things and a miracle-working power that creates everything from nothing. Or, those duties are performed at the command and with the permission of One Who is Knowing of All Things, and through the power and might of One Who is Absolutely Powerful over All Things.


Indeed, if an untrained and inexperienced, common, ordinary, and blind man was to go to Europe and in all the factories there to work at all the trades and crafts in perfect and masterly fashion, and if he was to display a wise and artistic skill to such a degree that it left everyone speechless with amazement, anyone with a grain of consciousness would know that the man was not acting on his own initiative, but that a master of all trades was teaching him and causing him to work.


And, if there was a blind and impotent man who lived in a simple little house and was unable even to rise from his place, and if small fragments of stone, and bits and pieces of material like bone and cotton were to enter his little house and then sacks of sugar, bales of cloth, crates of jewelry, finely-made clothes encrusted with jewels, and delicious foods were to emerge, would anyone with a grain of intelligence not say: "That man is a wretched doorkeeper or merely a latch on the door of the factory of a wondrous miracle-working being, which is the source of his miracles."


In exactly the same way, the motion and duties of particles of air in plants and trees, and blossom and fruit, each of which is a missive of the Eternally Besought One, an antique Dominical work of art, a miracle of power, a wonder of wisdom, indicate that the particles are acting under the command and at the will of an All-Wise and Glorious Maker, an All-Generous and Beauteous Creator.


And particles of earth, also, since they are the source and means for the shoots and plants produced by seeds each of which is a different factory and workbench, a different printing-press, treasury, and antique, a different manifesto proclaiming the Glorious Maker's Names and ode hymning His perfections, it is as definite as two plus two equalling four that they are acting at the command, with the permission, and through the will and power of an All-Glorious Maker Who is Lord of the command of Be! and it is,22 and to Whose command everything is subjugated. In this we believe.


SECOND MATTER: The Second Matter is a brief indication to the duties and instances of wisdom in the motion of particles.


The Materialists, whose use of their reasons is limited to what is immediately apparent to them, have, in their nonsensical philosophies which are based on foundations of futility, taken the transformations of particles, which they regard as the results of coincidence, as the fundamental basis of all their principles and shown that the Divine works and creatures result from those transformations. Anyone with a grain of intelligence would know how contrary to reason is their attributing creatures adorned with infinite instances of wisdom to something based on purposeless, meaningless coincidence, which is quite without order.


Whereas, from the point of view of the wisdom of the All-Wise Qur'an, the transformations of particles have many purposes and duties, and demonstrate many instances of wisdom. The Qur'an points to these duties and instances of wisdom with many of its verses, such as:


And there is nothing but extols His limitless glory and praise.23


We shall mention several of these by way of examples.


The First: Renewing and refreshing the manifestations of His act of creation, the Necessarily Existent and Glorious Creator causes particles to move and employs them through His power, by taking each spirit as a model in order to every year clothe it in a fresh body through miracles of His power, to transcribe with His wisdom from each book thousands and thousands of different books, and to demonstrate a single truth in ever-differing forms, and also in order to prepare the ground to make way for the beings, worlds and universes, which follow on one after the other, group by group.


The Second: The Glorious Lord of All Dominion created this world, and especially the field of the face of the earth, in the form of a cultivated property. That is to say, He prepared it in such a way that it would flourish and produce ever-fresh crops so that He might sow and reap the numberless miracles of His power. Thus, by causing the motion of particles with wisdom and employing them in an orderly fashion in His field of the face of the earth, He displays every age, every season, every month, indeed every day, and every hour, endless beings through miracles of His power, each of which is a cosmos, and causes His field to produce ever-differing crops. He demonstrates through the motion of particles, gifts from the infinite treasury of His mercy and samples of His endless power.


The Third: The Pre-Eternal Inscriber caused the motion of particles with perfect wisdom and employed them with perfect order so that, through displaying the embroideries of the endless manifestations of the Divine Names, He might exhibit the endless embroideries in a limited field, in order to set forth the manifestations of the Names, and so that He might write the infinite signs, which will point to infinite meanings, on a small page.


Indeed, in essence this year's crops are like those of last year, but their meanings are different. Since the relative determinations are being changed, their meanings change and increase. And although the relative determinations and transient embodiments are being replaced and are apparently ephemeral, their beautiful meanings are preserved and are constant and permanent.


Since the leaves, flowers, and fruits of last spring's tree do not have spirits, they are in reality the same as those of this spring. But the relative embodiments differ. And, the relative embodiments of this spring replace those of last spring with different embodiments in order to set forth the meanings of the functions of the Divine Names, whose manifestations are being constantly renewed.


The Fourth: The All-Wise and Glorious One causes the motion of particles in the narrow tillage of this world, in the workshop and field of the face of the earth, thus making the cosmos as flowing and beings as travelling, in order to grow things like crops or things for decoration or provision suitable for the most broad World of the Inner Dimensions of Things, and endless other worlds of the hereafter, like the infinite World of Similitudes. He thus grows in this small world vast quantities of crops appropriate for those vast worlds. He causes an endless flood to flow through the world from the infinite treasury of His power and to pour into the World of the Unseen, and some of it into the worlds of the hereafter.


The Fifth: By causing the motion of particles with perfect wisdom through His power and employing them with perfect order in order to display infinite Divine perfections, endless manifestations of beauty and glory, and countless Dominical glorifications in this narrow and limited field and finite and short time, He causes endless glorification in finite time and in a limited field. He displays infinite manifestations of His beauty and glory and perfection. He creates many truths concerning the Unseen, many fruits for the hereafter, and a great many embroideries and meaningful weavings from the enduring selfhood and forms of ephemeral creatures appropriate for the World of Similitudes and the Tablet. Therefore, the One Who causes the motion of particles is the One Who displays these grand purposes and mighty instances of wisdom. If it was otherwise, there would have to be a brain as huge as the sun in every particle.


Those brainless philosophers suppose to be purposeless the transformations of particles, which occur with wisdom not limited to the five above examples, but with infinite wisdom. They fancy the particles, which revolve like Mevlevi dervishes glorifying God and reciting His Names in two ecstatic movements, one turning on their own axes, the other describing circles, to be reeling around as though stunned and aimless. It may be understood from this, then, that their knowledge is not knowledge, it is ignorance, and their philosophy, futility.


(A sixth and lengthy example will be discussed in the Third Point.)




In every particle there are two truthful evidences to the existence and Unity of the Necessarily Existent One. Indeed, by carrying out its important duties consciously and by raising mighty loads despite being powerless and lifeless, a particle bear decisive witness to the existence of the Necessarily Existent One. And by conforming to the universal order peculiar to each place it enters, and by settling anywhere as though it was its homeland, it testifies to the Unity of the Necessarily Existent One and to the Oneness of that Being Who is the Owner of all things, with their apparent faces and their inner aspects which look to Him. That is to say, whoever owns the particles must also own all the places it enters.


Thus, since its loads are extremely heavy and its duties endless, the particle demonstrates that it is mobile and acting at the command of One Possessing Absolute Power and in His name. And, the fact that it conforms as though knowingly to the universal order of the cosmos and enters each place without obstacle shows that it acts through the power and wisdom of a single Being Possessing Absolute Knowledge.


Indeed, a private soldier has a connection with his squad, his company, his battalion, his regiment, and his division, and so on, and has duties according to each of those connections. And since he knows each of those connections and duties, he will act in conformity with them. For, having undergone training and instruction under military discipline, he complies with the rules and regulations of a single supreme commander who commands all those sections.


And in the same way, since every particle is suitably placed in each of numerous concentric spheres and with each has a different beneficial connection and a well-regulated duty that yields wise results, most certainly, it can only be a being in the grasp of whose power is the whole universe who places that particle in such a way that it will preserve all the connections and duties in those spheres and will not spoil the wise results.


For example, a particle located in Tevfik's24 eye is suitably placed with regard to the blood-vessels like the arteries and veins, and the motor and sensory nerves, and with perfect wisdom has a relationship with the face, and then with the head, the trunk, and with the entire human body, and has beneficial duties in regard to each. This demonstrates that only one who creates all the members of the whole body will be able to place the particle in that position.


Particles entering the body as sustenance in the caravan of food, in particular, make their journey with astonishing order and wisdom. On their way, they pass through modes and stages in an orderly manner, and progressing consciously without confusion they carry on till they are strained through the four filters in the bodies of animate beings. They are then loaded onto the red blood-corpuscles in order to come to the assistance of the members and cells which are in need of sustenance, rendering this assistance according to a law of generosity. It may be clearly understood from this that the One Who drives these particles and causes them to pass through thousands of different states must of necessity be a Generous Sustainer, a Compassionate Creator, in regard to Whose power particles and stars are equal.


Moreover, all particles act within embroideries of the greatest art and have connections with all the other particles therein. Since each is in a position of both dominance and subjection to all the rest, both to each individually and to all of them generally, it either knows and creates that wonderfully skilful embroidery and wisdom-displaying ornamented art, which is a thousand times impossible, or each of them is a point assigned to that motion, which proceeds from the law of Divine Determining and pen of power of the All-Wise Maker.


For example, if the stones of the dome of Aya Sophia are not dependent on the command and skill of its architect, each stone must have a skill in the art of building like that of the architect Sinan, and must be either subject to, or dominant over, the rest of the stones. That is, it must have the power to say: "Come, we shall stand shoulder to shoulder in order not to fall and collapse."


And, in the same way, if the particles in creatures, which are thousands of times more skilfully fashioned, wonderful, and full of wisdom than the dome of Aya Sophia, are not dependent on the command of the master-builder of the universe, to each of them must the ascribed as many attributes of perfection as those of the universe's Maker.


Glory be to God! Since the unbelievers do not accept a Necessarily Existent One, they are compelled according to their beliefs to accept as many false gods as there are particles. Thus, no matter how illustrious a philosopher or scholar he may be, an unbeliever is in profound ignorance to the utmost degree.




This Point is an indication to the sixth example of the mighty instances of wisdom in the motion of particles, which was promised at the end of the First Point.


As was stated in the footnote of the Answer to the Second Question in the Twenty-Eighth Word, a further instance of wisdom of the thousands contained in the transformations of particles and their motion in the bodies of animate beings is to illuminate the particles and to make them alive and meaningful in order to be fitting for the construction of the world of the hereafter. It is as if the bodies of animals and humans, and even plants, are like guest-houses, barracks, and schools for those who enter in order to take lessons and be trained; inanimate particles enter them and are illuminated. Simply, the particles receive training and instruction and acquire a fineness. By fulfilling different duties, they become worthy to be particles in the world of permanence and the realm of the hereafter, which is alive with all of its elements.




How is it known that there is this wisdom in the motion of particles?




Firstly: It is known through the wisdom of the Maker, which is proved by all the instances of wisdom and the order in all creatures. For a wisdom that attaches universal wisdom to the most particular thing would not leave without wisdom and purpose the motion of particles, which demonstrate the greatest activity in the flood of the universe and are the means for embroideries full of wisdom. Also, a wisdom and sovereignty which does not leave the smallest creature without a wage, recompense, and perfection in its duties, would not leave its most numerous officials and principal servants without light, without a wage.


Secondly: By causing the motion of the elements and employing them, the All-Wise Maker raises them to the degree of minerals as though it was a wage of perfection, and instructs them in the glorification peculiar to minerals. And through causing the motion of minerals and employing them, He confers on them the rank of the degree of vegetable life. And by presenting vegetable life in the form of sustenance, He grants it, through its motion and employment, the degree of fineness of animal life. And through employing the particles in animals, He raises them by way of being sustenance to the degree of human life. And by purifying the particles in a human body through repeated filtering, and by favouring them, He promotes them to the most delicate and subtle places, which are the brain and the heart. From all this it may be understood that the motion of particles is not without wisdom, but, rather, the particles are made to hasten to a sort of perfection worthy of themselves.


Thirdly: Among the particles in animate beings, some, like those in pips and seeds, receive such a light, fineness, and quality that they are like a spirit or a king to the rest of the particles, to a mighty tree, for example. Thus, since among all the particles of a mighty tree some rise to this rank through fulfilling their delicate duties and passing through the many stages in the life of the tree, it demonstrates that through the command of the All-Wise Maker these particles receive a fineness, light, rank, and instruction on account of and in honour of the Divine Names manifested on them in accordance with the sorts of motion that are the functions of their natures, and in honour of them.


TO CONCLUDE: Since25 the All-Wise Maker has specified for everything a suitable point of perfection and an appropriate level of the effulgence of existence, by giving everything a disposition that will strive to reach that point of perfection, He drives them towards it. This 'Law of Dominicality' is in force in all plants and animals, as it is in inanimate beings, in which it promotes plain earth to the rank of diamonds and to the level of priceless jewels. And within this truth, the tip of mighty 'Law of Dominicality' is apparent.


And since the All-Generous Creator bestows as payment to the animals He employs in the mighty law of generation a particular pleasure as a sort of wage. And He gives a wage of perfection to the animals employed in other Dominical functions, like bees and nightingales, for example. He confers on each a level that is the means of eagerness and pleasure. And within this the tip of a mighty 'Law of Generosity' is apparent.


And since the reality of everything looks to the manifestation of one of God Almighty's Names, and is bound to it, and is a mirror to it; whatever beauty is apparent in each, it is due to the Name; the Name requires it to be thus. Whether or not the thing is aware of it, in the view of reality the beauty is demanded. And from this truth, the tip of a most mighty 'Law of Beauty and Making Beautiful' is apparent.


And since, as is necessitated by His law of generosity, when the life of a thing ends, the Generous Creator does not take back the rank and perfection He has bestowed on it, He rather makes permanent the fruits, results, and real meaning and identity of that bearer of perfection, and, if it has a spirit, its spirit. For example, He makes permanent the meanings and fruits of the perfections He has made manifest on man in this world. He will even return to a thankful believer the embodiment of the thanks and praise for the transient fruits that he has eaten in the form of a fruit of Paradise. And in this truth, the tip of a mighty 'Law of Mercy' is apparent.


And since the Peerless Creator wastes nothing, He does nothing in vain. He even utilizes in the creatures of springtime the material débris of those of the previous autumn, who, having accomplished their duties, have died; including them in their construction. For sure, according to the meaning of,


On the Day the earth will be changed into another earth,26


and the indication of,


But, indeed, the life of the hereafter, that is the true life,27


it is indeed a requirement of wisdom that the particles of the earth, which are inanimate and unconscious yet perform important duties in this world, should be utilized and included in some of the constructions of the hereafter, the stones, the trees, and all things of which will most certainly be animate and conscious. For to leave in the world the particles of the world when it has been destroyed or to cast them into non-existence would be wasteful. And from this truth, the tip of truly mighty 'Law of Wisdom' is apparent.


And since the many results, meanings, and fruits of this world, and the woven pages of the acts and deeds, and the spirits and bodies, of those like jinn and human beings who are charged with the Trust are sent to the market of the hereafter. Certainly, it is a requirement of justice and wisdom that after receiving their particular perfection in accordance with the performance of their duties, the particles of the earth, which accompany and serve those fruits and meanings, will be included in the construction of the hereafter. That is, they will be included in it together with the débris of this world, which will be destroyed, after many times serving and receiving the light of life, and after being the means for the glorifications of animate creatures. And from this truth, the tip of a truly mighty 'Law of Justice' is apparent.


And since, just as the spirit is dominant over the body, so too the commands that bring things into existence, which are written by Divine Determining, are dominant over inanimate matter. Inanimate matter is able to assume a position and an order due to the immaterial writing of Divine Determining. For example, in all kinds of eggs and sperm, and varieties of seeds and grains, matter obtains different ranks and lights according to the commands that bring things into existence, which are all written differently by Divine Determining. The inanimate matter of seeds, which is all the same in regard to its substance,28 becomes the source of innumerable different beings. It obtains ranks and lights which are all different. Most certainly, then, it is the requirement of an all-encompassing knowledge that if a particle has been repeatedly in the service of life and of the Dominical glorifications that are in life, the wisdom of those meanings will be recorded on the immaterial forehead of the particle by the pen of Divine Determining, which neglects nothing at all. And in this, the tip of a truly mighty 'Law of All-Encompassing Knowledge' is apparent.


Since this is the case, particles are not without purpose.29


IN SHORT: Beyond the visible tips of each of the seven above-mentioned laws, that is, 'The Law of Dominicality', 'The Law of Generosity', 'the Law of Beauty', 'the Law of Mercy', 'The Law of Wisdom', 'The Law of Justice', and 'The Law of All-Encompassing Knowledge', and of a great many other vast laws, a Greatest Name and the greatest manifestation of that Greatest Name is pointed to. And it may be understood from that manifestation that, like the rest of the creatures, the transformations of particles in this world are occurring with a sensitive balance measured with knowledge, according to the commands given by Power that bring things into existence, on the limits drawn by Divine Determining, for most exalted instances of wisdom. Simply, they are being prepared to go to another higher world.30 In which case, the bodies of animate beings are each like school, a barracks, and a guest-house for the instruction of those travelling particles. It may be stated with certainty that it is so.




As is stated and proved in the First Word, all things say: "In the Name of God." And so, like all beings, all particles and all groups and particular assemblages of particles say: "In the Name of God" with the tongue of disposition, and they are in motion.


Indeed, according to the meaning of the previous three Points, all particles say: "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" with the tongue of disposition at the beginning of their motion. That is, "I am moving in the name of God, for His sake, with His permission, and through His power." Then, like all creatures, at the end of their motion, all particles and all groups of particles say with the tongue of disposition: "All praise be God, Sustainer of All the Worlds," each thus showing itself to be like the tip of a tiny pen of power tracing the embroideries of the skilfully-worked creatures, which are like odes of praise. Indeed, each of them shows itself to be like the point of a needle turning on creatures, each of which is like the record of a mighty, immaterial, Dominical gramophone with innumerable arms; they cause those creatures to recite odes glorifying their Sustainer and to hymn praises to God.


They will cry out therein, "All Glory be unto You, O God!" And "Peace" will be their greeting therein. And their call will close with, "All praise is due to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds!"31


All glory by unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us, indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise! 32


O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts swerve from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us the gift of Your grace; for, indeed, You are the Giver of Gifts.33


O God! Grant blessings to our master Muhammed that will be pleasing to You and that will be fulfilment to his truth, and to his Family, his Companions, and his brothers, and grant them peace. And protect us and protect our religion. Amen. O Sustainer of All the Worlds!


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