بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
اَللّٰهُ لاَ اِلهَ اِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ ٭ اِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ اْلاِسْلاَمُ1
O, Brother! If you want to understand a little about the hikmah of the ‘âlam’s enigma and the riddle of man's creation and the mystery of the haqiqah of salâh, look to this short story which is in the form of a comparison together with my nafs.
One time there was a sultân; with concern to wealth, he had numerous treasuries. Also, in those treasuries, every kind of jewel, diamond, emerald were to be found. He also had extremely wondrous hidden treasuries. Also, with concern in attainment, he had numerous skills in strange arts. He also had talent and comprehension in innumerable wondrous sciences. He also had the knowledge and acquired infinite wonderful ‘ilm. According to the mystery of: “Every possessor of beauty and perfection wants to see and display his own beauty and perfection”, that glorious sultân too wanted to open an exhibition and set out displays within it, so that he may manifest and display both the glory of his sovereignty, the splendour of his wealth, the wonders of his art and the marvels of his knowledge in the view of people. So that he may behold his ma’nawî beauty and perfection in two ways:
The First Way: He himself may behold with his view which knows and is cognizant to the subtle and abstruse things.
The Other: He may look through the view of others.
In consequence of this hikmah, he started to construct an immense, vast and splendid palace. He magnificently divided it into suites and residences, and embellished it with various sorts of jewels of his treasuries, and adorned it with the subtlest and most beautiful works of art of his own possession, and ordered by arranging it with the most fineness of the sciences of his hikmah, equipped with the miraculous works of his ‘ilm and completed it, then in the palace, he set up tables containing the most delicious of every sort of food and ni’mah of his. He appointed a table suitable for each group. He munificently and artistically presented such a public banquet that it was as though he spread out the infinite precious ni’mahs as though they had come into existence through the works of a hundred subtle arts. Then he invited his subjects and inhabitants from all the regions of his dominion to see and for excursion and feast. Then, he made the hikmahs of the palace and the meanings of its contents known by his most honourable adjutant, and he appointed him as a master and describer. So that he may describe the palace’s Sâni’ with the palace’s contents to the people, and he may make the enigmatic signs of the palace's embroideries known, and teach the indications of arts within it, and describe to those who entered that palace what the well-arranged jewels and the well-proportioned embroideries in the inner of the palace were, and in what way they indicate the perfections and arts of the palace's owner, and inform them of the âdâb in entering and the ceremony of beholding the palace, and describe the honouring ceremonials before the unseen sultân, in the sphere of his approval. Thus, an assistant of that instructive master was to be found in each sphere. He himself stands in the largest sphere among his students and makes the following proclamation to all the spectators. He says:
“O, people! By displaying these things and making this palace, our Sayyîd, Who is the sovereign of the palace, wants to make Himself known to you. You too, recognize Him and work to know Him well. Also, through these adornments, He wants to make Himself loved by you. You too, make yourself loved by Him by appreciating His art and admiring His works. Also, he shows His love for you through these bounties that you see. You too, love Him through obedience. Also, through the bestowal of ni’mahs and gifts which are to be seen, He shows his compassion and mercy to you. You too, show reverence to Him by offering shukr. Also, through these works of His perfection, He wants to show His ma’nawî beauty to you. You too, show your ardent desire to see Him and gain His favourable inclination. And through placing a special stamp and peculiar seal and an inimitable mark on these works of art and adornments that you see, He wants to show that everything is peculiar to Him, and is the work of His own hand and that He is single and unique and possesses absolute independence and singleness. You too, know and accept that He is single and sole and matchless, unequalled, unique.” He said further words like these that are appropriate for Him and for that matter to the spectators. Then the people who had entered the palace separated into two groups.
The First Group: Since they had known themselves and were in their right mind and their hearts were in the right place, when they looked at the wonders inside the palace, they said: "There is a great mystery herein!" They also understood that it was not futile or not a valueless ordinary plaything. Therefore, they were curious. While thinking, "We wonder what is its enigma and what's inside?" they suddenly heard the speech that the instructive master was declaring. They understood that the keys of all the mysteries were with him. They went toward him and said: "Assalâmu alayka yâ Ayyuhal Ustadh! By right, a loyal and minutely investigating instructor like you is necessary for such a splendid palace. Please make us know what our Sayyîd taught you!" As for the master, he said the previous speeches to them. They listened well, accepted thoroughly and benefited completely. They acted in the sphere of the approval of the sultân. Since the sultân was pleased with their modest conduct and state, he invited them to another private, exalted, indescribable palace, and bestowed to them. Also, he bestowed them in a manner worthy of such a Jawwâd Who is Malik, and suitable for such obedient inhabitants, and appropriate for such well-behaved guests, and worthy of such an exalted palace, He permanently made them happy.
As for the Second Group, since their minds were corrupted and their hearts extinguished, when they entered the palace, being defeated by their nafs they took notice of nothing apart from the delicious foods; they closed their eyes to all those beauties and virtues and closed their ears to the guidance of the master and the warnings of his students. By eating like animals, they sank into sleep. They drunk undrinkable elixirs which had been prepared for certain things. They became drunk, shouted and made so much trouble; they disturbed the other spectating guests a lot. They were ill-behaved in the face of the Glorious Sâni's rules. So the soldiers of the palace's owner arrested them and cast them into a prison worthy of such ill-behaved people.
O friend who is listening to this story with me! Of course, you have understood that the Glorious Hâkim built this palace for the afore-mentioned purposes. The attainment of those purposes is contingent on two things:
The first is the existence of the master whom we saw and whose speech we heard. Because if it is not for him, all these purposes would be futile. For if an incomprehensible book has no teacher, it will remain consisting only of meaningless paper.
The second is the people's acceptance of that master’s words and obeying them. That is to say, the existence of the master is the cause of the existence of the palace, and hearing and obedience of the people are the causes of the permanency of the palace. So it can be said that if it were not for the master, that Glorious Malik would not have built this palace. Also again it may be said that when the inhabitants do not obey the instructions of the master certainly the palace will be transformed and changed.
O, friend! The story ends here. If you have understood the mystery of the comparison, see the face of the haqiqah as well.
Thus, the palace is this ‘âlam; its roof is the face of the skies illuminated with smiling stars. And as for its floor, it is the face of the earth adorned with various sorts of flowers from east to west. As for that Malik, He is the Holy One Who is the Sultân of the past and future eternity, Whom the seven samâwât and the earth and everything within them declare that He is purified and free from all faults and exalted above all deficiencies (taqdîs) and perform tasbîh with their particular tongue. He is such a Qadîr Malik that creating the samâwât and earth in six days, abiding on the ‘arsh of His rubûbiyyah, turning one after another the night and the day like two lines one white and one black, writes His âyahs on the page of the universe; and He is the possessor of qoudrah and majesty Whom the sun, moon and stars are subjugated to His command. As for the residences of that palace, they are the eighteen thousand ‘âlams of which each have been ornated and ordered in a fashion worthy of itself. As for the strange arts you saw in the palace, they are the miracles of qoudrah of Allah seen in this ‘âlam. And, as for the foods you saw there, they are the indications of the wonderous fruits of the rahmah of Allah in this ‘âlam, especially in summer, and especially in the gardens of Barla. And, as for the stove and kitchen there, they are the earth and the face of the earth here, which has fire in its heart. And, as for the jewels of the hidden treasures you saw in the comparison, in this haqiqah, they are the similitudes of the manifestations of the sacred Names of Allah. And, as for the embroideries we saw in the comparison and the allusions of those embroideries, they are the well-ordered works with art and the harmonious embroideries of the pen of Qoudrah adorning this ‘âlam that indicate the Names of Al-Qadîr Zuljalâl.
And, as for the master, he is our Sayyîd Muhammad ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm. As for his assistants, they are the prophets ‘Alayhimussalâm, and as for his students, they are the awliyâ and asfiyâ. As for the ruler's servants in the palace, they indicate the Malâikah ‘Alayhimussalâm in this ‘âlam. And as for the guests invited to the banquet and to spectating in the comparison, they are the jinn and mankind in this guest-house of the world, and the animals, who are the servants of mankind.
As for the two groups, here one of them is the people of îmân, they are the students of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, the mufassir of the âyahs of the book of the universe. As for the other group, they are the people of kufr and rebellion, it is the group of the dhâllîn2 who are deaf and dumb, who follow shaytan and the nafs, and know only the worldly life, who are like animals or even lower.
As for the first group who are blessed and righteous, they listened to the master who is the possessor of two wings (Zuljanâhayn). That master is both the ‘abd; in point of ‘ubûdiyyah, he describes and makes known his Rabb; he is the envoy of his ummah at the Court of Janâb-i Haqq. He is also a rasûl; in point of messengership, he conveys (tablîgh) his Rabb’s decree to the jinn and men by means of the Qur’an.
This fortunate jamâ’ah listened to the rasûl and heeded the Qur'an. They saw themselves within various sublime stations wearing very subtle duties through the salâh which is the index of varieties of ‘ibâdah. Yes, they saw in detail the duties and stations which the salâh indicates with its various kinds of dhikr and actions. It is as follows:
Firstly: Since they saw themselves in the station of being spectators of the beauties of the sovereignty of rubûbiyyah, by beholding the works of art in the form of a relation with the producer of the work, without seeing him, they performed the duty of takbîr and tasbîh, and said: "Allahu Akbar!"
Secondly: Through being seen in the station of the proclaimer of His unique beautiful embellishments and brilliant works, which are the manifestations of the sacred Names of Allah, and saying: "Subhânallah! Walhamdulillah!", they performed the duty of declaring He is pure and free of all faults and exalted above any deficiencies and the duty of hamd.
Thirdly: In the station of perceiving and understanding with their inner and outer senses the ni’mahs that stored up in the treasuries of the rahmah of Allah, they began to perform the duty of shukr and praise.
Fourthly: In the station of knowing the jewels in the treasuries of the Names of Allah by weighing them up with the measures of the ma’nawî faculties, they began the duty of praise and declaring and believing Allah to be free from all defects.
Fifthly: In the station of studying the Rabbânî letters, written with the pen of His Qoudrah on the ruler of Qadar, they began the duty of tafakkur and admiration.
Sixthly: In the station declaring and believing Allah to be free from all defects, they took the duty of love and yearning for their Fâtir Zuljalâl, Sâni’ Zuljamâl through beholding the subtle finenesses and delicate beauties in the creation of things and in the art in beings created with art. That means, after looking at the universe and works and performing the afore-mentioned duties in the afore-mentioned stations through ‘ubûdiyyah in the form of a relation with the producer of the work, without seeing him, they rose to the degree of also beholding the treatments and acts of As-Sâni’ Who is Hakîm that in the form of a relation as though being in front of His presence, they, first of all, responded with a ma’rifat, within amazement, in the face of Al-Khâliq Zuljalâl's making Himself known to conscious beings through the miracles of His art, and they said: 3 سُبْحَانَكَ مَا عَرَفْنَاكَ حَقَّ مَعْرِفَتِكَ “What makes You known are Your miracles in all Your works with art!" Then, they responded with love and ‘ashq in the face of that Rahmân making Himself loved through the beautiful fruits of His rahmah, and they said: اِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَ اِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ4 Then, they responded with shukr and hamd in the face of the True Mun’im's showing His mercy and compassion through His sweet ni’mahs, and they said: 5 سُبْحَانَكَ وَبِحَمْدِكَ “How can we perform shukr as is Your due? You, the One Whose shukr is offered to by all beings, are worthy of such shukr that all Your bounties spread, through all the universe recite Your shukr and praise through the explicit language of their beings. They also declare Your hamd and praise through the proclamation of ni’mahs lined up in the market of the ‘âlam and scattered over the face of the earth. Also, through testifying to Your munificence and generosity, all the well-ordered and well-proportioned fruits of Your rahmah and ni’mah offer Your shukr before the gazes of creatures."
Then, in the face of His beauty (Jamâl), glory (Jalâl), perfection (Kamâl) and consummate greatness manifesting on the mirrors of beings changing on the faces of the universe, they responded by saying: اَللّٰهُ اَكْبَرُ"Allahu Akbar!", and bowing into rukû’ with impotence within the proclamation of His ineffable greatness (ta’dhîm), and performing sajda with a love and amazement within humility.
Then, in the face of The Absolute Ghanî displaying the abundance of His wealth and wideness of His rahmah, they said: 6 وَ اِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُby responding with displaying their poverty and need, and offering duâ’ and asking.
Then, in the face of As-Sâni’ Zuljalâl displaying the subtle, wonderous and antique ones among His own art in the exhibition of all creatures, they responded with saying 7 مَاشَاءَ اللّٰهُ through appreciating, and with saying "How beautifully they have been made!" through admiring, beholding through saying 8 بَارَكَ اللّٰهُ, witnessing through saying آمَنَّا9 , holding everyone as witnesses through saying 10 حَىَّ عَلَى الْفَلاَحِ"Come, look!" due to being amazed.
Also, in the face of As-Sultân Who is eternal in the past and future proclaiming the sovereignty of His rubûbiyyah and manifesting His wahdâniyyah in all sides of the universe, they responded with submission and obedience through tawhîd and affirmation, saying 11 سَمِعْنَا وَ اَطَعْنَا.
Then, in the face of the manifestation of the Ulûhiyyah of Ar-Rabb al-‘Âlamin12, they responded with ‘ubûdiyyah, which consists of proclaiming their poverty within need, and their impotence within weakness, and with the salâh, which is the summary of ‘ubûdiyyah. Thus, through various duties of ‘ubûdiyyah like these, in the mighty mosque called the world, they performed the obligations and duties of their lives, and took up the form of Ahsan Taqwîm. They rose to a rank above all creatures that they became a trustworthy khalîfah on the Earth equipped with the safety and the Trust, through the prosperity of îmân. And after this arena of trial and work-shop of examination, their Rabb Who is Karîm invited them to eternal happiness as a reward for their îmân, and to the abode of Salâm (Dârussalâm) as a wage for their Islam, and in such a manner He bestowed and bestows on them, and He made them a place of manifestation for His rahmah in a radiant manner to a degree no eye has seen of, nor ear heard of, nor have they occurred to the heart of man, and He gave them eternity and permanency. For the spectators filled with desire and mirror-like lovers of an eternal and enduring beauty will certainly be eternal, and will go to eternity. Here, the end of the Qur'an's students is thus. May Janâb-i Haqq include us among them, Amîn!
As for the other group, who are the sinners and the wicked, when they entered the palace of this ‘âlam with the age of discretion, before all the evidences of wahdâniyyah, they responded with kufr, and before all the ni’mahs, they responded with denial, and they insulted all beings with the accusation of being valueless in a manner of denial, and since they responded with rejection and denial in the face of all the manifestations of the Names of Allah, they committed an infinite crime in a short time and became deserving of endless torment. Yes, the capital of life and the faculties of man were given to man for the aforementioned duties.
O my foolish nafs and O my desireful friend! I wonder, do you suppose that your life's duty is restricted to only protecting your nafs nicely through the tarbiyyah of civilization, and, if you will excuse the expression, is restricted to serving to the abdomen and perineum? Or do you suppose that the sole aim of the delicate subtle senses and your ma’nawî being, the sensitive members and organs, the well-ordered limbs and faculties, the diligently inquisitive feelings and senses included in the machine of your life are restricted to satisfying the low desires of the vile nafs in this transient life? Hâsha and Kallâ!13 Indeed, there are two principles of their creation in your being and the purpose of their insertion into your fitrah:
The First consists of causing you to offer shukr by making perceived each of the varieties of the Almighty True Mun’im's ni’mahs to you. You, too, should offer its shukr and perform its ‘ibâdah through perceiving.
The Second is to make all the sorts of the manifestations of the sacred Ilahî Names, which manifest to the ‘âlam, by means of those faculties, one by one known and felt by you. You, too, by recognizing through experiencing them, should come to îmân.
Thus, the perfection of man develops and grows onto these two principles. Man becomes a human being through this.
Through the mystery of the following comparison, look to the fact that the faculties of humanity were not being given to gain worldly life like an animal.
For example, a person gave one of his servants twenty gold pieces so that he may buy a complete set of clothing out of a particular fabric. The servant went and got himself a perfect cloth out of the highest grade of that fabric, and wore it. Then he saw that that person had given another of his servants a thousand gold pieces, and put a piece of paper with some things written on it in the servant's pocket, and had sent him to trade. Now, any mindful man would know that the capital was not for buying a set of clothing. For, since the first servant had bought a complete set of clothing out of the highest grade of the fabric with twenty gold pieces, certainly the thousand gold pieces are not spent on that. Not reading the paper put in his pocket, rather looking at the first servant, if the second servant gives all the money to a shopkeeper for a set of clothing, and buys the most flimsy fabric and clothing fifty times lower than his friend's, he will be severely punished and angrily chastised due to his utter stupidity.
O my nafs and O my friend! Come to your senses! Do not spend the capital and potentialities of your life on the material pleasures and this transient life like an animal, or even lower than the animal. Otherwise, although you are fifty times higher concerning capital than the highest animal, you will fall fifty times lower than the lowest of them.
O my ghâfil nafs! If you want to understand to a degree the aim of your life and the essence of your life, and the form of your life, and the mystery of your life’s haqiqah, and your life’s perfect happiness, look! The summary of the aims of your life are nine matters:
The First is this: To weigh up the ni’mahs stored up in the treasuries of Ilahî rahmah on the scales of the senses put in your being, and to offer universal shukr.
The Second: It is to open the hidden treasuries of the sacred Names of Allah with the keys of the faculties placed in your fitrah, and to know the Most Pure and Holy Essence (Zhât Al-Aqdas) through those Names.
The Third: In this exhibition of the world and in the view of the creatures, by knowing the wondrous arts the Names of Allah attached to you and their subtle manifestations, it is to display and manifest them through your life.
The Fourth: It is to proclaim your ‘ubûdiyyah to the Court of the rubûbiyyah of Al-Khâliq through the language of your being and by words.
The Fifth: Just as wearing various decorations he has received from his sultân and through appearing before his view in the official occasions, a soldier displays the signs of his favours, you too, it is to appear in the witnessing view and testification of Past-Eternal Shâhid through knowingly adorning yourself with the adornments of the subtle faculties of man which the manifestations of the Names of Allah have given you.
The Sixth: It is to knowingly behold the tahiyyahs of living beings to their Khâliq, called the manifestations of life, and their tasbîhât to their Sâni’, called the signs of life, and their offering ‘ubûdiyyah to the Bestower of Life, called the aims and fruits of life, and to see them through tafakkur, and to display them through testifying.
The Seventh: Through taking as units of measure the small samples amongst the attributes and states like the particular knowledge (‘ilm), power (qoudrah) and will (irâdah) given to your life, it is to know the absolute attributes and sacred shuûn of the Al-Khâliq Zuljalâl, by those measures. For example, since you have made this house in a well-ordered manner through your partial power, partial knowledge (‘ilm) and partial will (irâdah), to the degree this palace of the ‘âlam is greater than your house, it is necessary to know the Master of the ‘âlam is Qadîr, ‘Alîm, Hakîm and Mudabbir according to the comparison.
The Eighth: It is to understand the ma’nawî words with a particular tongue of each being in the ‘âlam, concerning the wahdâniyyah of Al-Khâliq and rubûbiyyah of As-Sâni’.
The Ninth: Through the scale of impotence and weakness, poverty and need, it is to understand the degrees of manifestation of the Ilahî qoudrah and Rabbânî riches. Just as the varieties and degrees and pleasure of food are understood in relation to the degrees of hunger and in proportion to the varieties of need, so you too should understand the degrees of the infinite riches and qoudrah of Allah through your infinite impotence and poverty. Thus, the aims of your life briefly are matters like these.
Now look to the essence of your own life; the summary of that essence of yours is this:
It is an index of wonders of the Names of Allah, also a measure of the attributes and shuûn of Allah, also a scale of the ‘âlams within the universe, also a list of this immense ‘âlam, also a map of this universe, also a summary of this immense book, also a mass of keys with which will open the hidden treasuries of Qoudrah and also the Ahsan Taqwîm of the perfections scattered over beings and attached to time. Thus, the essence of your life is matters like these.
Now, the form of your life and the manner of its duty is this: your life is a written word. It is a word written by the pen of Qoudrah which displays hikmah. Through being seen and heard, it indicates Al-Asmâ Al-Husnâ. Thus, the form of your life is matters like these.
Now the mystery of your life’s haqiqah is this: It is to be a mirror to the manifestation of Ahadiyyah and Samadiyyah. That is to say, it is being a mirror to One Who is Ahad and Samad with a comprehensiveness as though being the point of focus for the Names which manifest over all the âlam.
Now, as for the perfection of your life within happiness, it is to perceive the nûrs of the Sun eternal in the past, which appear in the mirror of your life, and to love them. It is to display an ardent yearning for Him as a conscious being. It is to pass beyond one’s self with love for Him. It is to place the reflection of His nûr in the pupil of the heart. Thus, it is due to this mystery that the noble meaning of a Hadith Qudsi, which raises you to a’lâ ‘illiyyin, is said:
مَنْ نَه گُنْجَمْ دَرْ سَمٰوَات و زَمِينْ ٭ اَزْ عَجَبْ گُنْجَمْ بَقَلْبِ مُؤْمِنِينْ14
Thus o, my nafs! Although your life is turned towards such elevated aims and contains such precious treasuries, is it at all worthy of the mind and fairness that you lost by spending on temporary gratification of the nafs and transient worldly pleasures, which are trifle within nothingness. If you want not to lose, think of the oath and think of the response of the oath in this Surah,
15 وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَيهَا ٭ وَالْقَمَرِ اِذَا تَلَيهَا ٭ وَالنَّهَارِ اِذَا جَلَّيهَا ٭ وَ الَّيْلِ اِذَا يَغْشَيهَا ٭ وَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَيهَا ٭ وَ اْلاَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَيهَا ٭ وَ نَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّيهَا ٭ فَاَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَ تَقْوَيهَا ٭ قَدْ اَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّيهَا ٭ وَ قَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّيهَا
which allude to the aforementioned comparison and haqiqah, and act accordingly.
16 اللّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلَى شَمْسِ سَمَاءِ الرِّسَالَةِ وَ قَمَرِ بُرْجِ النُّبُوَّةِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ اَصْحَابِهِ نُجُومِ الْهِدَايَةِ وَ ارْحَمْنَا وَ ارْحَمِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ آمِينَ آمِينَ آمِينَ
1 (By the sun and its brightness; * by the moon as it follows it; * by the day, which shows its splendour; * by the night, which draws a veil over it; * by the samâ and Him Who built it; * by the earth and Him Who spread it; * by the nafs and Him Who perfectly fashioned it.)
3 (O our Rabb! We declare and believe You are free from all defects. We cannot truly know you.)
6 (You Alone we call on for help.)
7 (Mâshâ’Allah - What Allah has willed!)
8 (Bârakallah - What blessings Allah has bestowed!)
9 (We believe)
10 (Hasten to the salvation!)
11 (We hear and we obey!)
13(Allah forbid, Certainly not!)
15 (By the sun and its brightness; * by the moon as it follows it; * by the day, which shows its splendour; * by the night, which draws a veil over it; * by the samâ and Him Who built it; * by the earth and Him Who spread it; * by the nafs and Him Who perfectly fashioned it; * and inspired it (Ilham) with knowledge of what is wrong for it (fujûr) and what is right for it (Taqwâ). * Indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure (Tazkiyyah), * And indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!)