A Commentary on the Hamd Surah - Part 17
A gnostic notice
Know that for every being of the invisible and visible worlds, and of this world and the Hereafter, there is a beginning and a destination. Although the divine Ipseity is the beginning and the destination of all, the Holy Essence of Allah, the Most High, as He is, would not manifest to the high and low beings without the veil of Names. According to this state, which is a no-state that has no name and no form, and is not qualified with the Names of Essence, of Attributes and of Acts, no creature has any relation with Him, nor any connection and mixing: “How can there be any comparison between dust and the Lord of the Lords!” the details of this have been mentioned in our Misbah al-Hidayah. So, the firstness and the originality [masdariyyat] of His Sacred Essence are in the veils of Names, and as the Name is the very Named itself, it is, at the same time, its veil, too. Therefore, manifestation in the invisible and visible worlds is according to the Names and is veiled by them. For this reason, His Sacred Essence has, in the display of the Names and Attributes, manifestation in His Knowledge, whose individuals the people of knowledge call “the fixed entities” (figures emblematic of the Names of Allah. Consequently, each nominal manifestation in His Knowledge requires a fixed entity, and each Name has, by the determination of His Knowledge, in the outer world, and appearance whose origin and end are the same Name which is suitable for it; and the return of every being from the world of multiplicity to the invisibility of the Name which is its origin and beginning, is its “straight path.” So, every one has a special journey and a special path, as well as a predestined beginning and end, in His Knowledge, willingly or unwillingly. The difference of the appearances and paths is due to the difference of the apparent and the Names.
It must be noted that man’s “stature” in the highest of the high is the collection of Names. For this reason, he is reduced to the lowest of the low, and his “path” starts from the lowest of the low and ends up in the highest of the high.
It is the path of those who are favored by Allah with an absolute favor, the favor of the perfect collection of the Names, which is the highest of the divine favors. Other paths, whether the paths of the happy and the “favored ones”, or the paths of the wretched, stand at either end of extravagance or negligence, in proportion to how much they lack of the emanation of the Absolute Favor. So, the path of the perfect man alone is that of those who have been absolutely favored. This path originally is assigned to the holy person of the Seal of the Prophets (PBUH), and, concomitantly, it is confirmed for other holy men [awliya] and prophets. To understand this talk, and the fact that the generous prophet is the Last Prophet, one needs the understanding of the “Names” and the “Entities”, explained in the book Misbah al-Hidayah. Allah is the guide to the way of uprightness.
Quoting for further information
The dignified Shaykh Bahai (may Allah sanctify his soul), in his al-‘Urwat al-Wuthqa, says: “Although the favors of Allah are too numerous to be numbered by counting as Allah says: “And if you count Allah’s favor, you will not be able to number them,” Yet, they are of two kinds: the mundane favors and the favors of the Hereafter. Each one of them is either natural or acquired, and each one of them is either spiritual or corporeal. So, they are, overall, eight kinds:
First: mundane, natural and spiritual, such as the blowing of the spirit and the emanation of the intellect and comprehension.
Second: mundane, natural and corporeal, such as the creation of the organs and their powers.
Third: mundane, acquired and spiritual, such as emptying the self from low affairs, and adorning it with pure morals and high faculties.
Fourth: mundane, acquired and corporeal, such as decorating with laudable forms and good ornaments.
Fifth: of the Hereafter, natural and spiritual, such as His. Forgiving the sins of us, and His being pleased with those of us who have already repented. This is the exact text of the Shaykh in this example. It seems that it is a mistake on the part of the copier. Probably he meant to say that Allah, the Exalted, may forgive us without first repenting. Refer to it.
Sixth: of the Hereafter, natural and corporeal, such as rivers of milk and honey.
Seventh: of the Hereafter, acquired and spiritual, such as forgiveness and pleasure [of Allah] preceded by repentance, and as the spiritual pleasure which is concomitant to acts of worship. Eighth: of the Hereafter, acquired and corporeal, such as the bodily pleasures which are obtained by the acts of worship.
The intended favor here is the last four kinds, and the things that are the means of attaining to these kinds from the first four kinds.” (The end of the Shaykh’s talk, may Allah sanctify his soul).
Nice as these divisions of the Shaykh are, the most important one of the divine favors, the greatest objective of the noble divine Book, has slipped off the Shaykh’s pen. He has satisfied himself with the favors of the imperfect or the medium class. Although in his talk he refers to “spiritual pleasure,” yet the spiritual pleasure of the Hereafter which is obtained by the acts of worship is the share of the middle class, if not the share of the imperfect.
Generally, apart from what the Shaykh has said concerning the animal pleasure and the shares of the soul, there are other favors of which three are important:
One is the favor of knowing the Essence and the Unity of Essence, whose principle is the suluk to Allah, and its result is the paradise of meeting [Allah]. But if the salik’s attention is directed to the result, there can be a default in his suluk because this is the state of abandoning oneself and its pleasures, whereas caring for the result is caring for oneself, and this is worshipping oneself, not Allah. It is multiplication, not unification. It is a [Satanic] disguise, not abstraction.
Another one is the favor of knowing the Names” a favor which is ramified in as many branches as the multiplicity of the Names. If its items are individually counted, they will amount to a thousand, and if it is taken in its two-name or multi-name compounds, it will be uncountable. “And if you count Allah’s, you will not be able to number them.”1 The unification of Names, in this state, is the favor of knowing the Greatest Name, which is the state of the “Collective Oneness of the Names”. The result of knowing the Names is the paradise of Names, [for] each person in proportion to knowing a single Name or many Names, individually or collectively.
The third is the favor of knowing the Acts, which also has infinitely many branches. The state of tawhid in this stage is the Collective Oneness of the manifestation of Acts, which is the state of the “Holy Emanation” and the state of the “Absolute Guardianship.” And its result is the paradise of the Acts, which is the manifestations of Allah’s Acts in the heart of the salik. The manifestation that happened to Moses, the son of ‘Imran, when he said: “I see a fire,”1 was probably a Manifestation of Acts, and the saying of Allah, the Exalted: “And when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain, He made it crumble to dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon,”2 was a Manifestation of Names or of Essence.
Therefore, the path of those “upon whom favor is bestowed,” is, in the first place, “the path” of the journey to the Essence of Allah, and the “favor” in that instance is the Manifestation of the Essence. And, in the second place, “the path” is the conducts to the Names of Allah, and the “favor” in that instance is the Manifestation of the Names. And in the third place, the journey is to the Act of Allah, and its “favor” is the Manifestation of the Acts. The people of these states do not seek the common paradises and pleasures, whether spiritual or corporeal. These states, according to some narratives, are confirmed for some believers.
Adapted from: "A Commentary on the Chapter of ‘Praise’" by: "Ayatullah Khomeini (R.A)"
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