FIRST TRUTH
The Gate of Dominicality and Sovereignty,
the Manifestation of the Name of Sustainer
Is it at all possible that the glory of God’s dominicality and His Divine sovereignty should create a cosmos such as this, in order to display His perfections, with such lofty aims and elevated purposes, without establishing a reward for those believers who through faith and worship respond to these aims and purposes? Or that He should not punish those misguided ones who treat His purposes with rejection and scorn?

SECOND TRUTH
The Gate of Generosity and Mercy,
the Manifestation of the Names of Generous and Merciful
Is it at all possible that the Lord of this world, Who in His works demonstrates infinite generosity, infinite mercy, infinite splendour and infinite glory, should not give reward in a manner befitting His generosity and mercy, and not punish in a manner befitting His splendour and glory? If one looks at the disposition of affairs in this world, one sees that all animate beings -from the weakest to the most powerful- are given some fitting form of sustenance.7 Indeed, the weakest and most powerless are given the best form of sustenance. This largesse and bounty is distributed with such lofty generosity that a hand of infinite generosity is manifestly at work.
For example, in the spring, all the trees are garbed in clothes as fine as silk, just like the houris in Paradise; they are encrusted with flowers and fruits, as if with jewels, and caused to offer us numerous varieties of the choicest fruits, on branches delicately outstretched like the hands of a servant. Similarly, we are given wholesome and sweet honey to eat, from the hand of the bee with its sting; we are clothed in the finest and softest of clothes by means of an insect that has no hands; and within a small seed a great treasure of mercy is preserved for us. It is self-evident that all of this is the effect of a most beauteous generosity, a most delicate sense of mercy.

Then, too, the fact that, with the exception of man and certain wild animals, all things, from the sun, the moon and earth to the smallest of creatures, perform their functions with the utmost exactitude, do not overstep their bounds by an inch, and observe a universal obedience in a spirit of great awe - this shows that they act by the command of a Possessor of great glory and dignity. It is also apparent that the fashion in which all mothers, in the vegetable, animal and human realms, succour their weak and powerless infants with the delicate nurture of milk, in tender compassion, is a manifestation of God’s all-embracing mercy.8

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7. All licit nourishment is obtained not through the exercise of strength, but through the existence of need. The decisive proof of this is that powerless infants enjoy the finest of livelihoods, while strong wild beasts suffer from all kinds of deficiency, and that fish, for all their lack of intelligence, wax fat, while the cunning fox and monkey remain thin in their quest for livelihood. There is, therefore, an inverse relationship between sustenance on the one hand and strength and will power on the other. The more one relies on strength and will power the more difficult it will be to sustain one's livelihood.

8. The fact that a hungry lion will prefer its offspring to itself, and give to it a piece of meat it would otherwise have eaten; that the cowardly rabbit will attack a lion in order to protect its young; that the fig-tree contents itself with mud while giving pure milk to its offspring, the fruit - this shows to anyone not blind that they act in accordance with the commands of a Being infinitely merciful, generous and solicitous. Again, the fact that even unconscious plants and beasts function in the wisest and most conscious of fashions demostrates irrefutably that One Utterly Knowing and All- Wise has set them to work, and that they are acting in His name.


Since the master of this world has, then, such infinite generosity, mercy, splendour and glory, it follows that His infinite glory and splendour require the chastisement of the discourteous; that His infinite generosity requires infinite bounty, and His infinite mercy requires a bestowal of favour worthy of itself. Now in this transitory world and brief life, only a millionth part of all this, like one drop from the ocean, establishes and manifests itself. There must therefore be a realm of blessedness appropriate to that generosity and worthy of that mercy. One would otherwise have to deny the existence of the mercy that is visible to us, and this would be like denying the existence of the sun that fills every day with its light. For irrevocable death would transform compassion into disaster, love into affliction, blessing into vengeance, intellect into a tool of misery, and pleasure into pain, so that the very essence of God’s mercy would vanish.
There must in addition be a realm of punishment appropriate to God’s glory and dignity. For generally the oppressor leaves this world while still in possession of his might, and the oppressed while still subjected to humiliation. These matters are therefore deferred for the attention of a supreme tribunal; it is not that they are neglected. It sometimes happens too that punishment is enacted in this world. The torments suffered by disobedient and rebellious peoples in previous centuries show that man is not left to his own devices, and that he is always subject to the blows that God’s splendour and majesty may choose to inflict on him.
Is it at all possible that man should have the most important duty in all of creation and be endowed with the most important capacities; that man’s Sustainer should make Himself known to him with all His well-ordered works, and man should then fail to recognize Him in return by way of worship - or that God should make Himself beloved of men through the numerous adorned fruits of His mercy, and man should then fail to make himself beloved of God through worship - or that God should demonstrate His love and mercy to man through His variegated bounties and man should then fail to respect Him with thanks and with praise - is it at all possible that man should remain unpunished, left to his own devices, or that that powerful Possessor of splendour and glory should not make ready for him a realm of requital?
Is it at all possible, on the other hand, that He should not prepare a realm of reward and eternal bliss for those believers who respond to the Merciful and Compassionate One’s making Himself known by recognizing Him in faith; to His making Himself beloved by loving Him in worship; and to His mercy by offering thanks and veneration?

THIRD TRUTH
The Gate of Wisdom and Justice,
the Manifestation of the Names of Wise and Just
Is it at all possible9 that the Lord of Glory, Who demonstrates His dominical sovereignty in the wisdom and order, the justice and equilibrium that pervade all things, from the atom to the sun, should not bestow favour on those believers who seek refuge beneath the protective wing of His dominicality, who believe in His Wisdom and Justice, and whose acts are for the purpose of worshipping Him?
Again, is it possible that He should not chastise those rude and discourteous men who disbelieve in His wisdom and justice, and rebel against Him in insolence? Now not even a thousandth part of that wisdom and justice is exercised with respect to man, in this transient world; it is rather deferred. Most of the people of misguidance leave this world unpunished, and most of the people of guidance leave it unrewarded. All things are, then, postponed for a supreme tribunal, an ultimate bliss.
Yes, it is apparent that the Being Who controls this world does so in accordance with an infinite wisdom. Do you require a proof? It is the preservation of interest and benefit in all things. Do you not see that numerous wise benefits are intended in all the limbs, bones and veins of man, even in the cells of his brain and in every particle of his body? Do you not see that from certain limbs wise benefits are to be had as numerous as the fruits of a tree? All of this shows that matters are done in accordance with infinite wisdom. The existence of the utmost regularity in the making of all things is a proof of the same truth.
The compression of the exact programme of development of a beautiful flower into a minute seed, the inscription on a small seed by the pen of destiny of the scroll of deeds of a tree, its life-history and list of equipment, show that a pen of utmost wisdom is at work.
The existence of a high degree of fine artistry in all things proves that there exists also the impress of an infinitely Wise Maker. Further, the
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9. The sentence "is it at all possible?" is indeed repeated many times, because it expresses a most significant mystery. Misguidance and lack of belief generally spring from the habit of imagining things to be impossible, far removed from the realm of reason, and therefore denying them. Now in this discussion of resurrection it has been decisively demonstrated that true impossiblity, absurdity and irrationality pertain to the path of misbelief and the road of misguidance, whereas true possibility, facility and rationality are characteristics of the path of faith and highway of Islam.

In short, the philosophers tend to unbelief on account of their regarding things as impossible, whereas the Tenth Word (discussion of resurrection), by means of the repeated sentence, "is it at all possible?" shows where impossibility lies, and thus deals them a blow in the mouth.


inclusion within the minute body of man of an index of all being, of the keys to all the treasuries of mercy, and of the mirrors of all the Divine Names, demonstrates the existence of wisdom within that infinitely fine artistry. Now is it at all possible that the wisdom that thus permeates the workings of dominicality should not wish eternally to favour those who seek refuge beneath the wing of dominicality and who offer obedience in faith?
Do you wish for a proof that all things are done with justice and balance? The fact that all things are endowed with being, given shape and put in their appropriate place in accordance with precise equilibrium and in appropriate measure, shows that all matters are done in accordance with infinite justice and balance.
Similarly, the fact that all things are given their rights in accordance with their disposition, that they receive all the necessities of their being and all the requirements of life in the most fitting form - this too is the sign left by a hand of infinite justice.
Again, the fact that answer is always given to every petition and request made by the tongue of disposition, and of natural need or necessity, demonstrates the existence of infinite justice and wisdom.
Now is it at all possible that the justice and wisdom that hasten to relieve the pettiest need of the smallest of creation should fail to provide immortality, the greatest need of man, the greatest of creatures? That it should fail to respond to his greatest plea and cry for assistance? Or that it should not preserve the dignity of God’s dominicality by preserving the rights of His servants? Man, whose life is so brief, cannot experience the true essence of justice in this transient world; it is for this reason that matters are postponed for a supreme tribunal. For true justice requires that man, this apparently petty creature, should be rewarded and punished, not in accordance with his pettiness, but in accordance with the magnitude of his crime, the importance of his nature and the greatness of his function. Since this passing and transient world is far from manifesting such wisdom and justice for man, who is created for eternity, of necessity there will be an eternal Hell and everlasting Paradise of that Just and Awesome Possessor of Beauty, that Wise and Beauteous Possessor of Awe.


FOURTH TRUTH
The Gate of Generosity and Beauty,
the Manifestation of the Names of Generous and Beautiful
Is it at all possible that infinite generosity and liberality, inexhaustible riches, unending treasures, peerless and eternal beauty, flawless and everlasting perfection, should not require the existence of grateful supplicants,

yearning spectators and astounded onlookers, all destined to stay an eternity in an abode of bliss, a place of repose? Yes, adorning the face of the world with all these objects of beauty, creating the moon and the sun as its lamps, filling the surface of the earth with the finest varieties of sustenance and thus making it a banquet of bounty, making fruit-trees into so many dishes, and renewing them several times each season - all this shows the existence of infinite generosity and liberality. Such unending liberality and generosity, such inexhaustible treasures of mercy, require the existence of an abode of repose, a place of bliss, that shall be everlasting and contain all desirable objects within it. They also require that those who enjoy such bliss should remain in that abode of repose eternally, without suffering the pain of cessation and separation. For just as the cessation of pain is a form of pleasure, so too the cessation of pleasure is a form of pain, one that such infinite generosity is unwilling to countenance. It requires, then, the existence both of an eternal paradise and of supplicants to abide in it eternally.
Infinite generosity and liberality desire to bestow infinite bounty and infinite kindness. The bestowal of infinite bounty and infinite kindness require in turn infinite gratitude. This necessitates the perpetual existence of those who receive all the kindness so that they can demonstrate their thanks and gratitude for that perpetual bestowal and constant bounty. A petty enjoyment, made bitter by cessation, and lasting for only a brief time, is not compatible with the requirements of generosity and liberality.
Look too at the different regions of the world, each like an exhibition where God’s crafts are displayed. Pay attention to the dominical proclamations in the hands of all the plants and animals on the face of the earth10 and listen to the prophets and the saints, the heralds of the beauties of dominicality. They unanimously display the flawless perfections of the Glorious Maker by demonstrating His miraculous arts, and thus invite the gazes of men.
The Maker of this world has, then, most important, astounding and secret perfections. It is these He wishes to display by means of His miraculous arts. For secret, flawless perfection wishes to be manifested to those who will appreciate, admire and wonderingly gaze at it. Eternal perfection requires eternal manifestation. Such eternal manifestation in turn requires the perpetual existence of those who are to appreciate and admire it. The value of perfection will always sink in the view of its admirer if he is devoid of perpetual existence.11 Again, the beauteous, artistic, brilliant and adorned creatures
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10. The existence of a brightly designed and brilliantly adorned flower, a most artfully conceived and bejewelled fruit on a twig as thin as a wire, affixed to a dry, bonelike tree - this is without doubt a proclamation to all animate beings of the fine arts produced by a most skilled, wise and
miraculous maker. This holds true not only of the vegetable kingdom, but also of the animal realm.

11. There is a proverbial occurrence pertaining to this point. A celebrated beauty once expelled from her presence a common man who had become infatuated with her. In order to console himself, he said, "how ugly she is!", thus denying her beauty.
Once a bear stood beneath a vine trellis, and wished to eat the grapes. But he was unable to reach out for the grapes, or to climb up the trellis. So he said to himself, by way of consolation, "the grapes must be sour," and growling went on his way.

that cover the face of the globe, bear witness to the fairness of a peerless, transcendent beauty, and indicate the subtle charms of an unparalleled, hidden pulchritude, just as sunlight bears witness to the sun.12 Each manifestation of that sacred, transcendent beauty, indicates the existence of countless hidden treasures in each of God’s Names. Now so exalted, peerless and hidden a beauty, just as it desires to view its own fairness in a mirror and to behold the degrees and measures of its beauty in an animate reflection, desires also to become manifest, in order to look on its own beauty through the eyes of others. That is, it wishes to look at its own beauty in two ways; firstly, by beholding itself in mirrors of variegated colour; secondly, through the gaze of yearning witnesses to itself, of bewildered admirers of its beauty.
In short, beauty and fairness desire to see and be seen. Both of these require the existence of yearning witnesses and bewildered admirers. And since beauty and fairness are eternal and everlasting, their witnesses and admirers must have perpetual life. An eternal beauty can never be satisfied with transient admirers. An admirer condemned to irreversible separation will find his love turning to enmity once he conceives of separation. His admiration will yield to ridicule, his respect to contempt. For just as obstinate man is an enemy to what is unknown to him, so too he is opposed to all that lies beyond his reach, and love that is not infinite will respond to a beauty that deserves unending admiration with implicit enmity, hatred and rejection. From this we understand the profound reason for the unbeliever’s enmity to God.
So endless generosity and liberality, peerless fairness and beauty, flawless perfection - all these require the existence of eternally grateful and longing supplicants and admirers. But we see in this hospice of the world that everyone quickly leaves and vanishes, having had only a taste of that generosity, enough to whet his appetite but not to satiate him, and having seen only a dim light coming from the perfection, or rather a faint shadow of its light, without in any way being fully satisfied. It follows, then, that men are going toward a place of eternal joy where all will be bestowed on them in full measure.
In short, just as this world, with all its creatures, decisively demonstrates the existence of the Glorious Maker, so too do His sacred attributes and Names indicate, show and logically require, the existence of the hereafter.
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12. Although all beings that act as mirrors for God's beauty constantly vanish and disappear, those that succeed them display and manifest in their forms and features the same beauty and fairness. This shows that the beauty in question does not belong to them; the visible instances of beauty are rather the signs and indications of a transcendent and sacred beauty.
FIFTH TRUTH
The gate of Compassion and Muhammadan Worship,
the Manifestation of the Names of
Answerer of Prayer and Compassionate
Is it at all possible that a Lord possessing infinite compassion and mercy, Who most compassionately fulfils the smallest need of His lowliest creatures in the most unexpected fashion, Who heeds the muffled plea for help of His most obscure creature, and Who responds to all the petitions He hears, whether vocal or mute - is it at all possible that such a Lord should not pay heed to the greatest petition of the foremost among His servants, the most beloved among his creatures, that He should not hear and grant his most exalted prayer? The kindness and ease manifested in the feeding and nurturing of weak and young animals show that the Monarch of the cosmos exercises his dominicality with infinite mercy.
Is it at all possible that a compassion merciful to this degree in the exercise of dominicality should not accept the prayer of the most virtuous and beautiful of all creation?13 This truth is explained in the Nineteenth Word, but let us repeat our statement of the matter here:
O friend listening to these words together with my own soul! We said in the comparison that a meeting took place on a certain island, and a most noble commander delivered a speech there. In order to find out the truth indicated in the comparison, come, let us depart from this age, and in our mind and imagination travel to the Arabian Peninsula in the blessed age of the Prophet, in order to visit and watch him while he is performing his duties and engaging in worship. See, just as he is the means for the attainment of eternal bliss, by means of his messengerhood and guidance, so too he is the cause for the existence of that bliss and the means for the creation of Paradise, by means of his worship and prayer.
Now see! That being is praying for eternal bliss in such supreme supplication, with such sublime worship, that it is as if this island, or even the whole world, were praying and supplicating together with him. For the worship he performs contains within itself not only the worship of the community tha
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13. He whose kingdom has lasted one thousand three hundred and fifty years, who has generally had more than three hundred and fifty million subjects, to whom his subjects daily renew their pledge of allegiance and to whose perfections they continually bear witness, whose commands are obeyed in perfect submission, whose spiritual hue has colored half of the globe and a fifth of mankind, who is the beloved of men's hearts and the educator of their spirits - such a being is without doubt the greatest servant of the Lord Who holds sway over the universe. Also, since most of the realms of beings applauded that being's function and duty through each bearing the fruit of his miracles, he is for sure the most beloved creature of the Fashioner of the cosmos. Similarly, the desire for perpetuity existing in all men by virtue of their very nature, a desire that lifts men from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, is the greatest of all desires and petitions, fit to be presented to the Provider of all Needs only by the greatest among His servants.
follows him, but also that of all the other prophets, in its essential form, by virtue of the correspondence existing between him and them. Moreover, he performs his supreme prayer and offers his supplications in such a vast congregation that it is as if all luminous and perfect men, from the time of Adam down to the present, were following him in prayer and saying “amen” to his supplications!14 He is praying for so universal a need -immortality- that not merely the people of this earth, but also the inhabitants of the heavens and the entirety of creation are participating in his supplications and silently proclaiming, “yes, o Lord! Grant his prayer; we too desire it.” He petitions for everlasting bliss with such touching sadness, in so yearning, so longing, and so pleading a fashion, that he causes the whole of the cosmos to weep and thus to share in his prayer.
See, he desires and prays for bliss, for such a purpose and goal that he elevates man and all creatures from captivity in the abysmal state of utter annihilation, from worthlessness, uselessness, and purposelessness to the apex of preciousness, eternity, exalted function, and the rank of being a script penned by God.
See, he makes his petition with such elevated plea for succour, makes his supplication with so sweet a request for mercy, that it is as if he caused all beings, the heavens and God’s throne itself to listen, and to echo his prayer ecstatically with cries of “amen, o Lord, amen!”15
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14. From the time that the Prophet - peace and blessings be upon him - first made his supplication down to the present, all the invocations upon him of peace and blessings made by his community are a kind of eternal amen to his prayer, a form of universal participation in it. Every invocation of peace and blessings upon him by every member of the Muslim community in the course of his prayer, as well as the prayer for him uttered after the second call to prayer according to the Shafi'i school - this too is a powerful and universal amen to his supplication for eternal bliss. So the eternity and everlasting bliss desired by all men with all of their strength, in accordance with their primordial disposition, is requested in the name of humanity by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and the luminous segment of humanity says "amen" after him. Is it at all possible that such a prayer should not be accepted?

15. Indeed, it is not at all possible that the Master of this world, all of Whose doings are self-evidently inspired by consciousness, knowledge and wisdom, should be unaware and uninformed of the acts of the foremost among all of His creatures. Again, it is not at all possible that the All-Knowing Master should remain indifferent to the deeds and prayers of that foremost among His creatures, and deem them unimportant despite being aware of them. It is further impossible that the Powerful and Merciful Master of the World should not accept his prayers, having not remained indifferent to them. Yes, through the light of the Muhammedan Being the form of the world has changed. The true essence of men and all beings in the cosmos became apparent through that light; it became clear that they are each missives of the Eternally Besought One proclaiming the Divine Names, precious and profound beings with God-given functions and destined to manifest eternity. Were it not for that light, beings would be condemned to utter annihilation, they would be valueless, meaningless, useless, confused, the result of blind chance, sunk in the darkness of illusion. It is for this reason that just as men say "amen" to the prayer of the Prophet, so too all other beings, from the face of the earth up to God's throne, from the soil to the stars, all take pride in his light, and proclaim their connection with him. The very spirit of the worship of the Prophet is indeed none other than this prayer. Again, all the motions and workings of the cosmos are in their essence prayer. For example, the progress of a seed until it becomes a tree is a form of prayer to the Creator.

See, he requests bliss and eternity from a Being, One so All-Hearing, Generous and Powerful, so All-Seeing, Merciful and Knowledgeable that He sees, hears, accepts and takes pity upon the most secret wish, the slightest desire of the most obscure of his creatures, this, in observable form. He answers all pleas even if they are silently proffered. He bestows all things and answers all pleas in so wise, percipient and merciful a fashion that no doubt remains that all that nurturing and regulating can derive only from One All-Hearing and All-Seeing, One Generous and Merciful.
Let us listen to what the Pride of All Being is requesting, that source of honour for all of mankind, that one unique in all of creation, who bears on his back the burden of all men, who standing on this earth lifts up his hands towards God’s throne and offers up a prayer which in its reality contains the essence of the worship of all of mankind. See, he is asking for eternal bliss for himself and for his community. He is asking for eternity and Paradise. He is making his plea together with all the Divine Sacred Names that display their beauty in the mirrors of all created being. You can see, indeed, that he is seeking intercession from those Names.
If there were not countless reasons and causes for the existence of the hereafter, a single prayer of that exalted being would be enough for the creation of Paradise, a task as easy for the power of the Merciful Creator as the creation of spring.16
Indeed, how could the creation of spring be difficult for the Possessor of Absolute Power Who each spring makes the face of the world into a plain of resurrection, and brings forth there a hundred thousand examples of resurrection? In just the same way that the messengerhood of the Prophet was the reason for the foundation of this realm of trial -the saying “were it not for thee, were it not for thee, I would not have created the spheres”17 being an indication of this- so too the worship he performed was the cause for the foundation of the abode of bliss.
Is it at all possible that the flawless perfection of artistry, the peerless beauty of dominicality expressed in the order of the world and the comprehensive mercy that reduce all to bewilderment, should not answer his prayer, and thus tolerate an extreme form of ugliness, cruelty and disorder? Is it possible that it would listen to the most petty and insignificant desires and grant them, but dismiss significant and important desires as worthless, and fail to
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16. To display wondrous samples of art, and examples of resurrection on the face of the earth that, compared with the hereafter is like a narrow page, to inscribe and include on that single page, in perfect order, all the different species of creation, that resemble three hundred thousand separate books, is certainly more difficult than building and creating the delicate and symmetrical structure of Paradise in the broad realm of eternity. Indeed, it may be said that to whatever degree Paradise is more elevated than the spring, to that degree the creation of the gardens of spring is more difficult and wondrous than the creation of Paradise.
17. 'Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa, i, al-Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa, ii, 164

fulfil them? No, a thousand times no! Such beauty can never accept such ugliness and itself become ugly.18
So just as the Prophet opened the gates of this world with his messengerhood, he opens the gates of the hereafter with his worship.
May the blessings of the Compassionate One be upon him, to the extent of all that this world and paradise contain. O God, grant blessings and peace to Your servant and Messenger, that Beloved One who is the Master of both Realms, the Pride of all the Worlds, the source of life in both spheres, the means for the attainment of happiness here and in the hereafter, he who flies on two wings, who is the messenger to both men and jinn - to him, and to his Family, and all of his Companions, as well as his brethren from among the prophets and messengers. Amen.