A Commentary on the Hamd Surah - Part 16
An illuminative notice and a gnostic illumination
Do know, you who are in quest of Allah and truth, that when Allah, the Exalted, created the system of the existence and the demonstration of the invisible and the visible, owing to His Essential love to be know in the Names and Attributes, according to the noble hadith: “I was a Hidden Treasure, then I liked to be known, so I created the creatures to become known,” He devised a natural love and innovated an inborn longing in the dispositions of all beings, so that by that divine attraction and godly fire of love they may be driven to go in quest of the Absolute Perfection and to long for the Absolute Beautiful. For each one of them He assigned a divine inborn light with which they may find the way to the destination and the objective. These fire and light, the one is the rafrah of arrival, and the other the buraq of ascension” both were heavenly mounts of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Perhaps the “buraq” and the “rafraf” of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) were the means of this grace [latifah] and the corresponding wordly image of this truth, and that is why they were sent down from Paradise, which is the unterior, core of this world.
As the beings have descended in ranks of individuations and have been veiled from the Beautiful Beauty of the Beloved, Glorified His Greatness, Allah, the Exalted, takes them out of the dark veils of individuations and the luminous I-nesses, by the said fire and light and by the blessed name of “the Guide,” which is the reality of these means, so that they may reach the proximity of their Beloved, their Real Objective, through the shortest way. Thus, that light is “the guidance” of Allah, the Exalted, and that fire is the divine “assistance” and the journey is on the shortest path, which is the “straight path” since Allah, the Exalted, is on that “straight path.”
It is probably a reference to this guidance, journey and destination that the verse says: “There is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock, surely my Lord is on the straight path,”1 as it is clear to the people of knowledge.
It must be noted that every being has its own path, light and guidance: “The ways to Allah are as many as the breaths of the creatures.” And, as in every individuation there is a veil of darkness, and in every being and I-ness there is a luminous veil, and as Man is the meeting place of the phenomena and the collector of entities, he is the most veiled of the beings from Allah, the Exalted. The noble ayah: “Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low”3 is probably a reference to this point. For this reason, the path of humankind is the longest and darkest of all paths. And, as man’s “Lord” is the greatest name of Allah, to Whom the external, the internal, the first, the last, mercy, might, and generally, the counter names, all are the same, Man, himself, has to go through the big isthmus stage at the end of his himself, has to go through the big isthmus stage at the end of his journey, and this is the reason why his “path” is the most delicate of all paths.
A faithful notice
As has been said and is known, there are stages and degrees for guidance in respect of the kinds of the journeys of the travelers to Allah and the stages of the conducts of the wayfarer. We shall briefly refer to some of those stages, so that, meanwhile, the “straight path,” the “path of the immoderate” and the “path of the extravagant”, who are those who have been “inflicted by wrath” and those who have “gone astray,” can be distinguished according to each one of the stages.
First is that the light of guidance is inherent, as has already been said in the former “notice.” In this stage of guidance, the “straight path” is the conduct to Allah without there being any visible or invisible veil, or it is the conduct to Allah without being veiled with body or heart sins, or it is the conduct to Allah without extravagance [ghuluww] or negligence, or it is the conduct to Allah without being veiled with luminous or dark veils, or it is the suluk to Allah without the veils of unity or multiplicity. Probably the ayah: “He causes whom He wills to go astray, and guides whom He wills”1 is a hint at this stage of guidance and veiling ordained in the Fate, which, to us, is the stage of unity manifested in the immutable essences. Yet, to expand upon this subject is out of the scope of this paper, or it is even beyond the limits of writing it down: “It is one os Allah’s secrets and one of Allah’s covers.”
Second is guidance by the light of the Qur’an, and on its counter side is extravagance or negligence in knowing it, or stopping at its exterior or its interior, as some of the formalists believe that the Qur’anic sciences are the very conventional and common meanings and the vulgar and positive concepts, and, on the basis of this belief, they do not meditate upon the Qur’an or contemplate it. Their advantage from this luminous Book”” which undertakes man’s spiritual, bodily, heart and formal happinesses””is confined only to its formal and external instructions. They disregard all those ayahs which enjoin, or recommend, contemplating and remembering the Qur’an and
making use of the light of it, by which many doors of knowledge can be opened. It seems as if the Qur’an has been revealed only to invite to the wordly pleasures and animal needs, and just to confirm the station of bestial desires.
Some of the esoterics think that they should turn away from the external meaning of the Qur’an and its formal calls””which are the instructions of observing the disciplines of being in the divine presence and how to travel to Allah, of which they are unaware. They deviate from the exterior of the Qur’an, deceived by the tricks of the accursed Iblis and the evil-commanding soul, believing themselves to be adherent to its internal sciences, despite the fact that the way to the internal passes through observing the disciplines of the external.
These two groups are, at any rate, out of moderation and are deprived of the light of guidance to the Qur’anic straight path, and are ascribed to extremism on both sides. The researching scholars and the learned scrutinizers should both the exterior and the interior and observe the formal and the spiritual disciplines, lighting the external with the light of the Qur’an, and the internal with the lights of knowledge, monotheism and abstraction. Let the people of literalism know that to confine the Qur’an to the disciplines of the external forms and a handful of practical moral instructions and common beliefs about tawhid, names and attributes, is unobserving the Qur’an’s due respect, and regarding the Shari‘ah of the Seal of the Prophets (PBUH) as imperfect, whereas no Shari‘ah should be thought to be more perfect than that, as otherwise being the “Seal” would be impossible according to the criterion of justice. So, as the Islamic Law is the Seal of the divine Laws, and as the Qur’an is the Seal of the revealed Books, and the last connection between the Creator and the creatures, the facts of tawhid, abstraction and divine knowledge, which are the original objective and the essential aim of the divine religions, laws and the revealed Books, should represent the last of the stages and the utmost peak of perfection, or else, there must necessarily be a shortcoming in the Law, in which case, it would be contrary to the divine justness and the Lord’s kindness, which in itself, is a dishonorable impossibility and an ugly disgrace, which cannot be washed off the true religions by the seven seas””we take refuge in Allah from that!
Let the Esoterics know that to reach the original objective, the real end, is nothing but purifying the outside and the inside, and without holding to the outer form and the outside one cannot get to the inside. Without wearing the apparel of the outer form of the Shari‘ah, the way to the inside cannot be found. So, neglecting the outside means invalidating both the outside and the inside of the divine Law. This is one of the tricks of the Satans of the Jinn and Ins. We have explained some aspects of this point in our book “Explanations of Forty Hadiths,” as said before.
Third is guidance by the light of the Shari‘ah.
Fourth is guidance by the light of Islam.
Fifth is guidance by the light of faith.
Sixth is guidance by the light of certainty.
Seventh is guidance by the light knowledge.
Eighth is guidance by the light of love.
Ninth is guidance by the light of guardianship.
Tenth is guidance by the light of abstraction and monotheism. Each one of these has the extremes of excessiveness and shortcomings, exaggeration [ghuluww] and negligence. To go into details would make it lengthy. The noble hadith in al-Kafi may be a hint at a part, or all, of it. It says: “… We, the offspring of Muhammad, are the moderate type. The extremist would not perceive us, and the follower would not outstrip us.” In a hadith from the Prophet (PBUH), it is said: The best of this Ummah is the moderate type, with whom the followers catch up, and to whom the extremists return.
Adapted from: "A Commentary on the Chapter of ‘Praise’" by: "Ayatullah Khomeini (R.A)"
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