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Istanbul’s expats sure know how to eat, drink, be merry

July 31, 2010

As you may have heard, last Tuesday saw your plucky correspondents hobnobbing with half the expats in town at one of our favorite kinds of events – those involving free (delicious!) food, free drinks, and awesome people (In a sort of Where’s Waldo activity, we both appear in the Facebook album of the event). However you measure it, the IstanbulEats book launch was a resounding success. Kudos to the guys behind the project.

However, with the publication of the book and the added publicity for IstanbulEats.com, one of my dirty little Istanbul secrets is becoming more exposed: I’m not actually that hip, I just know where to go for excellent restaurant recommendations. Over my time in the city I’ve been able to find a few hole-in-the-wall, back-street gems. Usually though, when I check IstanbulEats, they’ve already been there, reviewed that, interviewed the owner. And now, they’ve probably written about it in their presumably excellent book (the police broke up the book launch before I had a chance to buy a copy; these things do happen in Istanbul) to boot.

Not that I’m complaining – thanks to IstanbulEats I’ve found my favorite Hatay cuisine in the city. I also closely followed their burger-seeking series, because sometimes an American expat just needs an American hamburger (add a legit chocolate malt and I’d pay almost any price, but one can’t have everything). They write about the places you actually want to eat at, and will actually have a good time going to. And when people ask me for recommendations, in the unfounded assumption that I know what I’m doing in this city, I can surf on over and find a few likely options. This is in part why my erstwhile coworkers thought I was some sort of city savant.

If you’ve not checked out IstanbulEats yet (and I’ve linked the heck out of it above, so why on earth haven’t you?), hie yourself over there and read their mouthwatering, in-depth reviews. They have my favorite manti place listed, as well as my Sultanahmet dinner joint of choice. They now have drinks reviews as well. I will say I tried to get to one of the breakfast street food spots they recommended, only to be led in circles by well-meaning locals and end up hot, tired, and hungry, with nary a breakfast chickpea wrap in sight. You win some, you lose some. And I’d’ve never known chickpea wraps were a nearby breakfast possibility otherwise.

Basically, if you want to know where to eat in the city, your first stop should probably be IstanbulEats. You’ll end up having many great meals and a reputation, whether fairly or otherwise, as someone who knows where their towel is.

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  1. March 13, 2011 5:30 am
    The Twenty-Fifth Word The Miraculousness of The Qur’an “While there is a perpetual miracle like the Qur’an, searching for further proof appears to my mind as superfluous; “While there is a proof of reality like the Qur’an, would silencing those who deny it weigh heavily on my heaff?” A REMINDER [At the start, we intended to write this Word as Five Lights, but at the end of the First Light, we were compelled to write extremely fast in order to print it in the old [Ottoman] script. On some days even we wrote twenty to thirty pages in two or three hours. Therefore, writing three Lights in a brief and concise manner, we have for now abandoned the last two. I hope that my brothers will look fairly and with tolerance at the faults and defects, difficulties and mistakes, which may be attributed to me.] Most of the verses in this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur’an have either been the cause of criticism by atheists, or have been objected to by scientists, or have been the subject of doubt and misgiving by satans among jinn and men. Thus, this Twenty-Fifth Word has explained the truths and fine points of those verses in such a way that the points which the atheists and scientists imagined to be faults have been proved according to scholarly principles to be flashes of miraculousness and the sources of the perfections of the Quaur’ans eloquence. In order not to cause aversion, decisive answers have been given without mentioning their doubts. Only, in the first Station of the Twentieth Word, their doubts have been stated concerning three or four verses, like, And the mountains [its] pegs[l], and, And the sun runs its course.[2] [1] Qur¹an, 78:7. [2] Our’an, 36:38. Also, although this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur’an was written very concisely and with great speed, with regard to the science of rhetoric and sciences of Arabic, it is explained in a way so learned and pro- found and powerful that it has caused wonder to scholars. Although every- one who studies it will not understand all the matters discussed, there is a significant share for everyone in this garden. In spite of the defects in the phraseology and manner of expression due to its being written very fast and under confused conditions, it explains the truth and reality of most important matters. Said Nursi The Miraculousness of The Qur’an In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say: If all mankind and all jinn were to come together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to help and support each other.[3] [Of the innumerable aspects of the miraculousness of the All- Wise Qurtan of Miraculous Exposition – the treasury of miracles and greatest miracle of Muhammed (Peace and blessings be upon him), I have pointed out close on forty in my Arabic treatises, in the Arabic Risale-i Nur, in my Qur’anic commentary called Signs of Miraculousness, and in the preceding twenty-four Words. Now I shall explain to a degree only five of those aspects and include within them briefly the other aspects, and with an Introduction, give a definition of the Qur’an and point to its nature.] [3] Qur’an 17:88 INTRODUCTION The Introduction consists of Three Parts. FIRST PART: WHAT IS THE QUR’AN? How is it defined? Answer: As is explained in the Nineteenth Word and proved in other Words, THE QUR’AN is the pre-eternal translator of the mighty Book of the Universe, and the post-eternal interpreter of the various tongues reciting the verses of creation, and the commentator of the book of the Worlds of the Seen and the Unseen, and the revealer of the treasuries of the Divine Names hidden in the heavens and on the earth, and the key to the truths concealed beneath the lines of events, and the tongue of the Unseen World in the Manifest World, and the treasury of the post-eternal favor of Divine Mercy and of the pre-eternal addresses of Divine Glory, which come from the World of the Unseen beyond the veil of this Manifest World; it is the sun, foundation, and plan of the immaterial world of Islam, and the sacred map of the worlds of the hereafter, and the expounding word, lucid exposition, decisive proof, and clear interpreter of the Divine Essence, Attributes, Names, and functions; it is the instructor of the world of humanity, and the light and water of Islam – the macroanthropos, and the true wisdom of mankind, and the true guide and leader urging humanity to prosperity and happiness, and it is a both a book of law, and a book of prayer, and a book of wisdom, and a book of worship, and a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation, and a book of thought, and a unique, comprehensive Sacred Book, comprising many books, to which recourse may be had for all the needs of all mankind. And it is a Revealed Scripture like a sacred library offering treatises suitable for all the various ways and different paths of the all the saints and the veracious ones and the wise and the learned, which is appropriate for the illuminations of each way and enlightens it, and is suitable for the course of each path and depicts it. SECOND PART and complement to the definition: As is explained and proved in the Twelfth Word, since THE QUR’AN has come from the Sublime Throne, and the Greatest Name, and from the highest degree of each Name, it is God’s Word in regard to the Sustainer of All The Worlds. And it is God’s decree through the title of God of All Beings. And it is an address in the name of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. And it is a conversation in respect of Absolute Dominicality. And it is a pre-eternal discourse on account of universal Divine Sovereignty. And it is a notebook of the favors of the Most Merciful One in regard to all- embracing, all-encompassing Divine Mercy. And it is a collection of ad- dresses at the start of which are certain ciphers in respect of the tremendous- ness of Divine Majesty. And through its descent from the comprehensive- ness of the Greatest Name, it is a Sacred Book full of wisdom which looks to and inspects all sides of the Sublime Throne. It is because of this mystery that with complete fitness the title of The Word of God has been given to the Qur’an, and is always given. After the Qurtan comes the level of the Books and Scriptures of the other prophets. But the other innumerable Divine Words are each in the form of inspiration made manifest through a special regard, a partial title, a particular manifestation, a particular Name, a special Dominicality, a particular sovereignty, a special Mercy. The inspirations of the angels and man and the animals vary greatly with regard to universality and particularity. THIRD PART: THE QUR’AN is a Revealed Scripture which comprises in summary the Books of al1 the prophets, whose times were al1 different the writings of all the saints, whose paths are all different, and the works of all the purified scholars, whose ways are all different. Its six aspects are all brilliant and refined of the darkness of doubts and scepticism; its point of support is certain heavenly revelation and the pre-eternal Word; its aim and goal is self-evidently eternal happiness; its inner aspect is clearly pure guidance; its upper aspect is necessarily the lights of belief; its lower aspect is undeniably evidence and proof; its right aspect is evidently the surrender of the heart and conscience; its left aspect is manifestly the subjugation of the reason and intellect; its fruit is indisputably the Mercy of the Most Merciful One and the realm of Paradise; and its rank and desirability are assuredly accepted by the angels and man and the jinn. Each of the attributes in these Three Parts concerning the Qurtan’s definition have been proved decisively in other places, or they will be proved. Our claims are not isolated; each may be proved with clear Proofs. FIRST LIGHT This Light consists of Three Rays. FIRST RAY: This is the eloquence of the Qurtan, which is at the degree of miraculousness. Its eloquence is a wonderful eloquence born of the beauty of its word order, the perfection of its conciseness, the marvels of its style, its singularity and pleasantness, the excellence of its expression, its superiority and clarity, the power and truth of its meanings, and from the purity and fluency of its language, which for one thousand three hundred years has challenged the most brilliant men of letters of mankind, their most celebrated orators, and the most profoundly learned of them, and invited them to dispute it. It has provoked them intensely. And although it has invited them to dispute it, those geniuses, whose heads touch the skies in their pride and conceit, have been unable to so much as open their mouths to do so, and have bowed their heads utterly put down. Thus, we shall point to the miraculousness in its eloquence in Two Aspects. First Aspect: It possesses miraculousness and its miraculousness exists for the following reasons. The great majority of the people of the Arabian Peninsula at that time were illiterate. Due to this, in place of in writing, they preserved the sources of their pride, historical events, and stories which assisted good morality, by means of poetry and eloquence. Through the at- traction of poetry and eloquence, meaningful sayings would remain in people’s memories and be passed down the generations. And so, in consequence of this innate need, the goods most in demand in the immaterial market of that people was eloquence. An eloquent literary figure of a tribe, even, was like its greatest national hero. It was through him that they gained their greatest pride. Thus, that intelligent people who ruled the world through their intelligence after the establishment of Islam were, among the peoples of the world, at the highest and most advanced degree of eloquence. It was the thing most in demand among them, was their cause of pride, and the thing for which they had greatest need. Eloquence had such high value that two tribes would do battle at the word of a literary figure, and they would make peace at his word. They even wrote in gold on the walls of the Ka’ba the seven qasidas of seven poets called the Muallaqat-i Sebta, and took great pride in them. Thus, it was at such a time when eloquence was the thing most sought after that the Qurtan was revealed. Just as at the time of Moses (Peace be upon him) it was magic that was most sought after and at the time of Jesus (Peace be upon him), it was medicine. The most important of their miracles were in those fields. And so, the Qur’an invited the Arabian orators of that time to reply to even one of the shortest of the Suras. It challenged them with the decree of: And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a Sura resembling it.[4] And it also said: “If you do not believe, you shall be damned and shall go to Hell.” It provoked them intensely. It smashed their pride in a fearsome manner. It was contemptuous of their arrogant minds. It condemned them firstly to eternal extinction and then to eternal extinction in Hell, as well as to worldly extinction. It said: “Either dispute me, or you and your property shall perish.” 4. Qur’an, 2:23. Thus, if it had been possible to dispute it, is it at all possible that, while there was an easy solution like disputing the Qur’an with one or two lines and nullifying the claim, they should have chosen the most dangerous and most difficult, the way of war? Yes, is it at al1 possible that that clever people, that politically-minded nation, who at one time were to govern the world through politics, should have abandoned the shortest, easiest, and most light way, and chosen the most dangerous, which was going to cast their lives and ail their property into peril? For if their literary figures had been able to dispute it with a few words, the Qurtan would have given up its claim, and they would have been saved from material and moral disaster. Whereas they chose a fearsome and long road like war That means it was not possible to dispute in by word; it was impossible. Therefore they were compelled to fight it with the sword. Furthermore, there are two most compelling reasons for the Qur’an being imitated. The first is its enemies’ ambition to dispute it, the other, its friends’ pleasure at imitating it. Through these two impelling causes, millions of books in Arabic have been written, but not one of them resembles the Qur’an. Whether learned or ignorant, whoever looks at it and at them most certainly says: “The Qur’an does not resemble these. Not one of them has been able to imitate it.” Therefore, the Qur’an is either inferior to all of them, and according to the consensus of friend and foe alike, this is completely non-valid and impossible, or the Qur’an is superior to all of them. If you say: “How do you know that no one has tried to dispute it, and that no one has had sufficient confidence to challenge it, and that no one’s help for anyone else was of any avail?” The Answer: If it had been possible to dispute it, most certainly it would have been attempted. For it was a question of honor and pride, and life and property were at risk. And if it had been attempted, most certainly there would have been many to support such an attempt. For those who obstinately oppose the truth have always been many. And if it had had many supporters, they surely would have found fame. For insignificant contests, even, attract the wonder of people and find fame in stories and tales. So an extraordinary contest and event such as that could not have remained secret. The most ugly and infamous things against Islam have been related and become famous. Whereas, apart from one or two stories about Museylima the Liar, nothing has been related. Museylima was very eloquent, but when compared with the exposition of the Qurtan, which possesses infinite beauty, his words passed in the chronicles as nonsense. Thus, the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s eloquence exists as certainly as twice two equals four; the matter is thus. S e c o n d A s p e c t: We shall now explain in Five Points the wisdom of the Qur’an’s miraculousness contained in its eloquence. First Point: There is a wonderful eloquence and purity of style in the Qur’an’s word order. From beginning to end, Signs of Miraculousness demonstrates this eloquence and conciseness in the word order. The way the second, minute, and hour hands of a clock each complete the order of the others, that is the way the entire work explains the order in each sentence and passage of the All-Wise Qur’an, and in each of its words, and in the or- der in the relationships between the sentences. Whoever wishes may look at that and see this wonderful eloquence in the word order. Here, we shall mention one or two examples in order to demonstrate the word order in the parts of a sentence as a whole. For example: But if a breath of your Sustainer’s punishment touches them.[5] [5] Our’an. 21:46. In this sentence, it wants to point out the punishment as terrible through showing the severity of the least amount. That is to say, it expresses little- ness or fewness, and all the parts of the sentence look also to this littleness Or fewness and reinforce it. Thus, the words, But if signify doubt, and doubt looks to littleness or fewness. The word touches means to touch lightly and expresses a small amount. And just as the word a breath is merely a whiff, so too is it in the singular form. Grammatically it is a masdar-i merre and signifies once. Also the tenvin indicating indefiniteness in a breathe expresses littleness or fewness and means it is so insignificant that it can scarcely be known. The word of signifies division or a part; it means a bit and indicates paucity. The word punishment points to a light sort of punishment in relation to chastisement (nekal) or penalty (i’qab), and suggests a small amount. And by alluding to compassion and being used in place of Subduer, All-Compelling, or Avenger, the word Sustainer indicates to little- ness or fewness. It says, if the small amount of punishment suggested in all this paucity has such an effect, you can compare how dreadful Divine chastisement would be. How much then do the small parts of this sentence look to one another and assist one another. How each reinforces the aim of the whole. This example looks to the words and aim in one degree. Second Example: And spend [in God’s way] out of what We have bestowed on them as sustenance.[6] [6] Qur’an, 2:3. The parts of this sentence point out five of the conditions which make alms- giving aeceptable. First Condition: This is to give only so much alms as will not cause the giver to be in need of receiving alms himself. It states this condition through the division or parts signified by out of in the words out of what. Second Condition: It is not to take from Ali and give to Vali, but to give out of a person’s own property. The words We have bestowed on them as sustenance express this condition. It means: “Give out of the sustenance that is yours.” Third Condition: This is not to place an obligation on the recipient. The word We in We have bestowed on them as sustenance states this condition. That is to say: “I give you the sustenance. When you give some of My pro- perty to My servant, you cannot place them under an obligation.” Fourth Condition: You should give it to a person who will spend it on his livelihood, for alms given to those who will squander it idly is-not acceptable. The word spend points to this condition. Fifth Condition: This is to give in God’s name. The words We bestow on them as sustenance states this. That is to say: “The property is Mine; you should give it in My name.” These conditions may be extended. That is, what form should almsgiving take, with what goods. It may be given as learning and knowledge. It may be given as words, or as acts, or as advice. The word what in out of what indicates to these various sorts through its generality. Furthermore, it indicates to them itself in this sentence, because it is absolute, it expresses universality. Thus, in this short sentence describing almsgiving it opens up to the mind a broad sphere with these five conditions, and grants it to it through its parts. And so, in the sentence as a whole the word order has many aspects. In the same way, between words the word order is within a broad sphere and has many aspects. And between phrases. For example, in, Say: He is God, the One[7] there are six sentences. Three of them are positive and three negative. It proves six degrees of Divine Unity and at the same time refutes six ways of associating partners with God. Each sentence is both the proof of the other sentences and the result. For each sentence has two meanings. Through one meaning it is the result, and through the other the proof. That is to say, within Sura al-lkhlas there are thirty suras composed of proofs demonstrating one another as well-ordered as Sura al-lkhlas. For example: Say, He is God, because He is One, because He is the Eternally Besought, because He begets not, because He is not begotten, because there is none that is equal to Him. And: And there is none that is equal to Him, because He is not begotten, be- cause He begets not, because He is Eternally Besought, because He is One, because He is God And: He is God, so He is One, so He is the Eternally Besought, so He be- gets not, so He is not begotten, so there is none that is equal to Him. You can continue in the same way. A further example: Alif. Lam. Mim. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who fear God. [8] [7]Qur’an. 112:1 [8] Qur’an2:1-2 Each of these four phrases has two meanings. With one meaning it is a proof of the other phrases, with the other, it is their result. From the sixteen threads of their relationships, a miraculous word order embroidery is produced. It is described in that way in Signs of Miraculousness. Also, as is explained in the Thirteenth Word, it is as though each of the verses of the Qur’an has an eye that sees most of the other verses and a face that looks to them, so that each extends to the others the immaterial threads of relationship. Each weaves a miraculous embroidery. Signs of Miraculousness expounds this beauty and eloquence of the word order from beginning to end. Second Point: This is the wonderful eloquence in its meaning. Consider this example, which is explained in the Thirteenth Word. For example, if you want to taste the eloquence of the verse, All that is in the heavens and on the earth extols and glorifies God, for He is the Tremendous, the Wise,[9] imagine yourself in the Age of Ignorance in the deserts of barbarism before the Light of the Qurtan. Then, at a moment everything is swathed in the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness and enveloped in the lifeless veils of nature, you hear verses from the heavenly tongue of the Qurtan like: All that is in the heavens and on the earth extols and glorifies God, or, The heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him.[10] Now look! See how the dead or sleeping creatures in the world are raised to life in the minds of listeners at the sound of extols and glorifies Him; how they become conscious, and rise up and recite God’s Names. And how at the cry and light of extols and glorifies Him the stars, which had been lifeless lumps of fire in the black skies, each appear in the view of those who hear it as a wisdom-displaying word in the mouth of the sky and a truth – pronouncing light, and in place of desolation the earth is seen to be a head with the land and sea each as tongues and animals and plants each as words of glorification and praise. And now consider this example, which is proved in the Fifteenth Word. Listen to these verses. What do they say? Oh you company of jinn and men! If you can pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, pass beyond them! But you will not be able to pass beyond them save with authority [given by God]. * Which then, of the blessings of your Sustainer do you deny? * A flash of fire, and smoke, will be sent on you, and no succour shall you have. * Which then of the blessings of your Sustainer do you deny? [11 ] And We have adorned the skies nearest the earth with lamps, and made them missiles to drive away the evil ones. [12] [9]Qur’an, 57:1; 59:1; 61:1. [10] Qur’an, 17:44. [11] Qur’an, 55:33-6. [12] Our’an. 67:5. These verses say: “Oh men and jinn, arrogant and refractory in your impotence and baseness, and rebellious and obstinate in your weakness and poverty! If you do not obey My commands, pass beyond the boundaries of My dominions – if it is in your power to do so! How can you dare to oppose the commands of a Monarch Whose commands the stars, moons, and suns obey as though they were soldiers bearing orders? In your rebelliousness you oppose an All-Wise and Glonous One Who has obedient soldiers which are thus awesome. Suppose your satans were to resist, these soldiers could rain down stones on them like cannonballs. And in your godlessness you revolt in the lands of an All-Glorious Sovereign Who is such that among His forces are those who, it is not insignificant powerless creatures like you, but supposing the impossible you were each infidel enemies the size of mountains or the globe of the earth, they could hurl down stars and flaming missiles that size on you and rout you. And you infringe a law to which beings such as those are bound; if it was necessary, they could hurl the globe of the earth in your face and rain down on you stars and heavenly bodies as though they were missiles, with God’s permission.” You can compare the power, eloquence, and elevated manner of expression of the meanings of other verses with these. Third Point: This is the wonderful uniqueness of its style. Indeed, the Qur’an’s style is both strange, and original, and wonderful, and convincing. It has imitated nothing and no one. And no one has been able to imitate it. Its style has always preserved the freshness, youth, and singularity it possessed when first revealed and continues to preserve it. For instance, the unique style of the cipher-like muqatta’at, the ‘disjointed letters’, like, Alif: Lam. Mim., Alif: Lam. Ra., Ta. Ha., Ya. Sin., Ha. Mim. ‘Ayn. Sin. Qaf:, at the beginning of some of the Suras. We have described five or six of the flashes of miraculousness they comprise in Signs of Miraculousness. For example, these letters at the start of certain Suras have taken half of each category of the many well-known categories of letters, like the emphatic letters (Alif; jim, dal, ta, ba), the sibilants, the stressed letters, the soft letters, the labiolinguals, and kalkale letters (qaf; ta, dal, jim, ba). Taking more than half from the light letters and less than half from the heavy letters, neither of which are divisible, it has halved every category. Although the human mind would be capable of it, halving all those categories overlapping one within the other, hesitant among two hundred possibilities, in the only way possible, which was hidden to the human mind and unknown to it, and organizing all the letters on that way, over that broad distance, was not the work of the human mind. And chance could not have interfered in it. Thus, in addition to these letters at the beginning of the Suras – Divine ciphers – displaying five or six further flashes of miraculousness like this, scholars versed in the mysteries of the science of letters and the authorities from among the saints have deduced many secrets from these muqe~tta’at. They have discovered such truths that according to them, on their own these letters form a most brilliant miracle. Since we are not party to their secrets and also we cannot provide proofs that all eyes can see, we cannot open that door. So we shall make do with referring readers to the five or six flashes of miraculousness explained concerning them in Signs of Miraculousness. Now we shall point out the Qur¹anic styles with regard to Sura, aim, verse, phrase, and word. For example, if the Sura, About what are they disputing?[l3] is studied carefully, it shows the conditions of the Hereafter, the Resurrection of the Dead, and Paradise and Hell with such a wonderful and unique style that it proves the Divine acts and Dominical works in this world as though looking at each of those aspects of the Hereafter, and convinces the heart. To ex- pound the style of this Sura fully would be lengthy, so we shall just indicate to one or two points. As follows: At the start of the Sura, to prove the Resurrection, it says: “We have made the earth a beautifully decked-out cradle for you, and the mountains masts and poles full of treasure for your house and your lives. And We have made you as couples, loving and close to one another. And We have made the night a coverlet for the sleep of your comfort, the daytime the arena in which to gain your livelihood, the sun a light-giving, heat-supplying lamp, and from the clouds We pour down water as though they were a spring producing the water of life. And We create easily and quickly from the simple water the various flower-bearing and fruit-bearing things which bear all your sustenance. Since this is so, the Day of Resurrection, the Day of Separating Good and Evil, awaits you. It is not difficult for Us to bring about that Day.” Thus, it points in a veiled way to proofs that after this at the Resurrection, the mountains will be dispersed, the skies shattered, Hell readied, and the people of Paradise given gardens and orchards. It says in effect: “Since He does these things in regard to the mountains and the earth in front of your eyes, He shall do things resembling these in the Hereafter also.” That is to say, the ‘mountain’ at the beginning of the Sura looks to the state of the mountains at the Resurrection, and the garden to the gardens and paradises in the Hereafter. Thus, you may compare other points to this and see what a beautiful and elevated style it has. And, for example: Say: Oh God, Holder of All Power! You grant dominion to whomever You wish and You remove dominion from whomever You wish. You exalt whomever You wish and You bring low whomever You wish. In Your hand is all good. Indeed, You are Powerful over all things. * You enter the night into the day and enter the day into the night, and You bring forth the living from the dead and bring forth the dead from the living, and You grant sustenance to whomever You wish without measure. 14 [13] The Great News, Sura 78. [14] Qur¹an, 3:26-7. These verses describe the Divine acts in human kind, and the Divine manifestations in the revolutions of night and day, and the Dominical acts of disposal in the seasons of the year, and the Dominical deeds in life and death on the face of the earth and in the resurrections in this world in a style so elevated that it captivates the minds of the attentive. As its brilliant, elevated, and wide-reaching style is clear with little study, we shall not open that treasury for now. And for example, When the sky is rent asunder * Heeding [the command of,7 its Sustainer, as in truth it must. * And when the earth is levelled * And casts out what is within it and becomes empty * And it heeds [the command of] its Sustainer, as in truth it must.[l5] This explains the degree of submission and obedience of the skies and the earth to Almighty God’s command in a most elevated style as follows: just as a commander-in-chief forms and opens two offices to accommodate the matters necessary for fighting, like one for strategy and one for the enroll- ment of soldiers, and when those matters and the fighting are over, he ad- dresses himself to those two offices in order to transform them into some- thing else and use them for some other business, each of those offices says, either through the tongues of those employed in it or through its own tongues: “Oh Chief! Give us a short respite so that we can clean up the bits and pieces of the former business and throw them out, then you honour us with your presence. There, we have thrown them out, we await your command. Order what you wish. We obey your command. Everything you do is true, good, and beneficial.” In the same way, the heavens and the earth were opened as two arenas of obligation, trial, and examination. After the allotted period is finished, they will put aside the things pertaining to the arena of trial and say: “Oh our Sustainer! The command is Yours, employ us now in whatever You wish. Our right is to obey You. Everything You do is right.” Look at and consider carefully the majesty of the style in those sentences! And for example, Then the word went forth: ‘Oh earth, swallow up your water! And oh sky withhold [your rain]!’ And the water abated and the matter was ended. The ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word wentforth: ‘Away with all those who do wrong!\'[l6] [15] Qur’an, 84:1-5. [16] Our’an, 11:44. In order to point to a mere drop from the sea of eloquence of this verse, we shall display an aspect of its style in the mirror of a comparison. On the victory being won in a great war, the commander says, “Cease fire!’ to one firing army and, “Halt!” to another, assaulting, army. He gives the com- mand, and at that moment the firing ceases and the assault is halted. He says: “It is finished, we have beaten them. Our flag is planted at the top of the high citadel at the enemies’ centre. Those mannerless tyrants have met with their reward and fallen to the lowest of the low.” In just the same way, the Peerless Sovereign gave the command to the heavens and the earth to annihilate the people of Noah. When they had carried out their duty, He decreed: “Drink up your water, oh earth! Cease from your work, oh skies. It is finished. Now the waters are receding. The Ark, which is a Divine official performing its duty as a tent, is settled on the top of the mountain. The wrongdoers have met with their reward.” Thus, the style here alludes to the fact that the universe becomes angry at man’s rebellion. The heavens and the earth become incensed. And through this allusion it says: “One Whose commands the skies and the earth obey like two obedient soldiers may not be rebelled against”, restraining in a most awesome fashion. Thus, it describes a universal event like the Flood with all its consequences and truths in a few sentences in a concise, miraculous, beautiful, and succinct manner. You can compare this drop with other drops from this ocean. Now consider the style displayed by the window of the words. For example, consider the words like an old date-stalk, withered and curved in, And the moon We have determined mansions for till it returns like an old date-stalk, withered and curved;[l7] see what a subtle style it displays. It is like this: one of the moon’s mansions is in the Pleiades. The Qur’an likens the moon when it is a crescent to a withered and whitened old date-stalk. It shows through this simile to the eye of the imagination that it is as though there is a tree behind the green veil of the skies, and one of its white, curved, luminous branches has rent the veil and raised its head, and that the Pleiades are like a bunch of grapes on the branch and the other stars are each luminous fruits of that hidden tree of creation. If you have any discernment, you will understand what an appropriate, graceful, subtle, and elevated style and manner of expression this is in the view of the desert-dwellers for whom the date-palm is the most important means of livelihood. And for example, as is proven at the end of the Nineteenth Word, the words runs its course in, And the sun runs its course to a place appointed l[18] [17] Qur’an, 36:39. [18] Our’an. 36:38. opens a window onto an elevated style, as follows: through the words runs its course, that is, ‘the sun revolves’, it makes known the Maker’s tremendousness through bringing to mind the well-ordered disposals of Divine Power in the revolutions of winter and summer and day and night, and turns the gaze to the letters of the Eternally Besought One written by the pen of Power on the pages of the seasons. It proclaims the wisdom of the All- Glorious Creator. And through the word lamp in, And set the sun as a lamp,[l9 ] it opens a window on the style like this: by making known the Maker’s majesty and Creator’s bounty through recalling that the world is a palace and the things within it are adornments and food and necessities prepared for man and living creatures and that the sun also is a subservient candle, it shows that the sun is an evidence of God’s Unity, that the idolators’ most important, most brilliant object of worship is a subservient lamp, an inanimate creature. That is to say, the word lamp brings to mind the Creator’s Mercy within the grandeur of His Dominicality. It makes known the Divine favour within the breadth of Mercy, and in so doing informs of the munificence within the majesty of His sovereignty, thereby proclaiming Divine Unity, and in effect saying: “An inanimate and subservient lamp is in no way fit to be worshipped.” And in the course of runs its course it calls to mind the wondrous orderly disposals of Divine power in the revolutions of night and day and winter and summer, and in so doing makes known the grandeur of a single Maker’s Power in His Dominicality. That is to say, it turns man’s mind from the points of the sun and moon to the pages of night and day and winter and summer, and draws his attention to the lines of events written on those pages. Indeed, the Qur’an does not speak of the sun for the sake of the sun, but for the One Who illuminates it. Also, it does not speak of the nature of the sun, of which man is not in need, but of the sun’s duty, which is that of a spring for the order of Dominical art, and a center for the order of Dominical creativity, and a shuttle for the harmony and order of Dominical art in the things the Pre-Eternal Inscriber weaves with the threads of day and night. You can compare other words of the Qur’an with these. While each is a simple, ordinary word, it performs the duty of a key to treasuries of subtle meanings. Thus, it is because the Qur’an’s style is for the greater part elevated and brilliant in the ways described that on occasion an Arab nomad was captivated by a single phrase, and without being a Muslim would prostrate. One nomad prostrated on hearing the phrase: Therefore proclaim openly what you are commanded 20 [19]. Qur’an, 71:16. [20]. Qur’an, 15:94. When asked: “Have you become a Muslim?”, he replied: “No. I am prostrating at the eloquence of these words.” Fourth Point: This is the wonderful eloquence in its wording, that is, in the words employed. Indeed, just as the Qur’an is extraordinarily eloquent in regard to its style and manner of exposition, so too is there a most fluent eloquence in its wording. Clear evidence to the existence of this eloquence is the fact that it does not bore or cause weariness, and the testimony of the brilliant scholars of the sciences of rhetoric forms a decisive proof of the wisdom of the eloquence. Indeed, it does not weary even if repeated thousands of times; it gives pleasure rather. It is not burdensome for the memory of a small and simple child; children can memorize it easily. It is not unpleasant to the ear, pained by the slightest word, of someone extremely ill; it is easy on it. It is like sherbet to the palate of one in the throes of death. The recitation of the Qur¹an gives sweet pleasure to the ear and mind of such a person just like Zamzam water to his mouth and palate. The reason for its not causing boredom, and the wisdom of it, is this: the Qur’an does not cause weariness because it is food and sustenance for the heart, strength and wealth for the mind, water and light for the spirit, and the cure and remedy for the soul. Everyday we eat bread, yet we do not tire of it. But if we eat the choicest fruit every day, it does cause boredom. That means it is because the Qur¹an is truth and reality and truthfulness and guidance and wonderfully eloquent that it does not cause weariness and preserves its freshness and agreeableness as though preserving a perpetual youth. One of the Qurayshi leaders even – an expert orator – was sent by the idolators to listen to the Qur¹an. He went and listened to it, then returned and said to them: “These words have such a sweetness and freshness that they do not resemble those of men. I know the poets and soothsayers; these words do not resemble theirs. The best we can do in order to deceive our followers is to say it is magic.” Thus, even the All-Wise Qur’an’s most obdurate enemies were amazed at its eloquence. It would be most lengthy to explain the sources of the All-Wise Qur’an’s eloquence in its verses and words and sentences, therefore we shall keep the explanation brief and show by way of example the fluency and eloquence of the wording in one sentence obtained through the portion of the letters and a single flash of miraculousness that shines forth from that positioning. Take the verse: Then after the distress He sent down on you a feeling of peace and drowsiness, which overcame a group of you….21 [to the end of the verse] [21]. Qur’an, 3:154. In this verse, all the letters of the alphabet are present. But, see, although all the categories of emphatic letters are together, it has not spoiled the on smoothness of style. Indeed, it has added a brilliance and harmonious, congruent melody of eloquence issuing from varied strings. Also, note carefully the following flash of eloquence: of the letters of the alphabet, Alif and Ya, since they are the lightest and have been transposed with one another like sisters, they have each been repeated twenty-one times. And since Mim and Nun 22 are sisters and have changed places, they have each been mentioned thirty-three times. And since Shin, Sin, and Sad are sisters in regard to articulation, quality, and sound, each has been mentioned three times. And although ‘Ayn and Ghayn are sisters, since ‘Ayn is lighter, it is mentioned six times, while because Ghayn is harsher, it is mentioned half as many, three times. And since Zay, Dhal, Za, and Ta are sisters in regard to articulation, quality, and sound, each is mentioned twice, while Lam and Alif in the form of LA have united and Alif ‘s share in the form of LA is half that of Lam, Lam is mentioned forty-two times and as a half of it Alif twenty-one times. Since Hamza and Ha are sisters in regard to articulation, Hamza 23 is mentioned thirteen times and being a degree lighter Ha is mentioned fourteen times. And Kaf, Fa and Qaf are sisters; since Qaf has an additional point, it is mentioned ten times, Fa, nine times, Kaf nine times, Ba nine times, and Ta twelve times. Since Ta comes third, it is mentioned twelve times. Ra is Lam’s sister, but according to their numerical value, Ra is two hundred, and Lam thirty. Since it has risen six times more, it has fallen six. Also, since Ra is repeated on pronunciation, it becomes emphatic and is only mentioned six times. And because Dad, Tha, Ha, and Kha are emphatic and possess certain qualities in connection with other letters, they have each been mentioned only once. Since Vav is lighter than Ha and Hamza, and heavier than Ya and Alif, it is mentioned seventeen times, four times more than heavy Hamza and four times less than light Alif. Thus, the extraordinary positioning of the letters in the passage mentioned here and their hidden relationships, and the beautiful order and fine and subtle regularity and harmony show as clearly as twice two equals four that it would not be within the limits of human thought to have composed it. As for chance and coincidence, it is impossible that it should have interfered. And so, just as the strange and wonderful order and regularity in the position of these letters is the means to a fluency and eloquence in the words, so also may there be many other secret instances of wisdom. Since an order such as this has been observed in the letters, for sure, in the words, sentences and meanings such a mysterious order, such a luminous harmony has been observed that should the eye see it, it would declare: Ma’shallah!, and should the reason comprehend it, it would exclaim: Barekallah! [22]. Tanvin is also a Nun. [23]. Pronounced and unpronounced, Hamza is twenty-five, and three more than Hamza’s silent sister Alif, because its points are three. Fifth PointThis is the excellence in its manner of exposition. That is to say, the superiority, conciseness, and grandeur. Just as there is eloquence in the word order, the wording, and the meaning, and a uniqueness in its style, so too in its manner of exposition is there a superiority and excellence. Indeed, all the categories and levels of speech and address, like encouragement and deterring, praise and censure, demonstration and guidance, explaining and silencing in argument, are at the highest degree in the Qur’an’s exposition. Of the innumerable examples of its manner of exposition 24 in the category of encouragement and urging is that in Sura, Has there not been over man a long period of time when he was nothing – [not even] mentioned?;25 this is as sweet as the water of Kauthar and flows with the fluency of the spring of Selsebil, it is as fine as the raiment of the Houris. Of the numerous examples in the category of deterring and threatening is the start of Sura, Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming Event? 26 Here the Qur’an’s exposition has an effect like lead boiling in the ears of the people of misguidance, and fire burning in their brains, and zaqqum scalding their palates, and Hell assaulting their faces, and like a bitter thorny tree in their stomachs. For sure, an official like Hell charged by someone with torment and torture in order to demonstrate his threats, and its splitting apart with rage and wrath, and its saying: well-nigh bursting with fury 27 show how awesome and dreadful that person’s threats are. Of the thousands of examples in the category of praise, the Qur’an’s manner of exposition in the five Suras starting Alhamdulillalh is brilliant like the sun,25 adorned like the stars, majestic like the heavens and the earth, lovable like the angels, compassionate like tenderness towards young in this world, and beautiful like Paradise in the Hereafter. Of the thousands of examples in the category of censure and restraint, in the verse, Would any among you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother,29 it censures six times, even. It restrains from backbiting forcibly six times over. It is like this: as is known, the Hamza at the beginning of the verse is interrogative. This passes to all the words in the verse like water. Thus, with the first Hamza it asks: Have you no reason, the seat of question and answer, that you do not understand how ugly a thing this is? With the second, it asks with the word like: Is your heart, the seat of love and hate, so corrupted that it loves the most despicable thing? [24]. The style here has slipped into the clothes of this Sura’s meaning. [25], Qur’an, 76:1. [26]. Qur’an. 88:1. [27]. Qur’an, 67:8. [28]. In these phrases is an allusion to the matters discussed in these Suras. [29]. Qur’an, 49:12. With the third, it asks with the words one of you: What has happened to your social life and civilization, which takes its life from the community, that it finds acceptable an act which thus poisons your life? With the fourth, it asks with the words to eat the flesh: What has happened to your humanity that you tear apart your friend like a savage beast? With the fifth, it asks with the words your brother: Have you no compassion and fellow-feeling that you unjustly tear with your teeth at the character of one injured who is your brother in thus many respects? Have you no reaction that you bite a your own limbs like a madman? And with the sixth it asks with the word dead: Where is your conscience? Is your nature so corrupted that you do the most repulsive thing to the most respected person, your brother, like eating his flesh? That is to say, backbiting is censured and despised by the reason, the heart, humanity, the conscience, human nature, and social and national solidarity. So see! How this verse restrains from this crime in six concise degrees, in six miraculous levels! Of the thousands of examples of the category of proof and demonstration, in the verse: So consider the signs of God’s Mercy; how He gives life to the earth after its death. Indeed, it is He Who gives life to the dead, for He is powerful over all things,30 its exposition is such that in order to prove resurrection and remove doubts, it could not be more clearly demonstrated. It is like this: it says that, as is demonstrated and explained in the Ninth Truth of the Tenth Word and in the Fifth Flash of the Twenty-Second Word, since every spring examples of resurrection are provided in three hundred thousand ways in the manner of the earth being raised to life, with the utmost order and differentiation despite those innumerable species being all mixed up together in total confusion, it is clear to human observation that the Resurrection of the Dead would not be difficult for the One who does this. Also, to write without fault or error with the pen of Power hundreds of thousands of species on the page of the earth, all together and one within the other, is the seal of the Single One of Unity; so together with demonstrating Divine Unity as the clearly as the sun, it proves with this verse the Resurrection of the Dead as easily and decisively as the rising and setting of the sun. Thus, the Qur’an demonstrates this truth in regard to manner, as described by the word how, just as it mentions it in detail in many Suras. And for example, in Sura, Qaf. By the Glorious Qur’an,31 it proves Resurrection in such a brilliant, fine, sweet, and exalted manner that it convinces as certainly as the coming of spring. Look: in answer to the unbelievers denying the raising to life of decomposed bones and saying: “This is extraordinary; it could not be!”, it decrees: [30]. Qur’an, 30:50 [31]. Qur’an, 50:1. Do they not look to the skies above them; how we have made them and adorned them and how there is no flaw in them…. until: … and thus will be the Resurrection.32 The manner of its exposition flows like water, and shines like the stars. It gives both pleasure and delight to the heart like dates. And it is sustenance. And in one of the most subtle examples of the category of demonstration, it says: Ya. Sin.* By the All-Wise Qur’an * Indeed you are one of the Messengers.33 That is, “I swear by the Wise Qur’an that you are one of the Prophets.” This oath indicates that the proof of Prophethood is so certain and true, and in justice has risen to the rank of honour and respect, that it is sworn by. Thus through indicating this, it says: “You are the Prophet, because in your hand is the Qur’an. As for the Qur’an, it the truth and it is the word of Truth. For in it is true wisdom, on it is the seal of miraculousness.” And one of the concise and miraculous examples of the category of proof and demonstration is this: He says: Who will raise to life these bones when they are rotted? * Say: He will raise them Who created them in the first instance, for He has full knowledge of every kind of creation. [Qur’an, 36:78-79] That is, man asks: “Who will resurrect decayed bones?” You say: “Whoever made them in the first place and gave them life, He will resurrect them.” As was depicted in the third comparison of the Ninth Truth in the Tenth Word, if someone re-forms a large army in one day before your eyes, and someone else says: “This person gathered together at the sound of a bugle the members of a battalion who had dispersed to rest; he is able to bring the battalion under order”, and you say, oh man: “I do not believe it”, you can see what a foolish denial it would be. In just the same way, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing One enrolls and unites anew with the command of ‘Be!’ and it is, and with perfect order and the balance of wisdom, the particles and subtle faculties of the battalion-like bodies of all the animals – which are like an army – and other living creatures, and creates every century, and every spring even, all the hundreds of thousands of army-like species and sorts of living creatures on the face of the earth. Can it be questioned then how He can gather together at one blast of Israfil’s trumpet the fundamental parts and particles of a battalion-like body, which are already familiar with one another, through taking them under order? Can it be considered unlikely? If it is considered unlikely, that is a mindless foolishness. In the category of guidance, the Qur’an’s manner of exposition is so moving and tender, and familiar and gentle that it fills the spirit with ardour, the heart with delight, the mind with interest, and the eyes with tears. Of thousands of examples is this verse: And yet after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder… to the end of the verse. [Qur’an, 2:74] As is proved and explained in the discussion of the third verse in the First Station of the Twentieth Word, it says to the Children of Israel: “What has happened to you that although hard rock shed tears from twelve springs like eyes before a miracle like the Staff of Moses (Upon whom be peace), you remain indifferent in the face of all his miracles, with your eyes dry and tearless and your hearts hard and without fervour?” Since this meaning of guidance is explained there, we refer you to that Word, and cut this short here. Of thousands of examples in the category of making understood and silencing in argument, consider only the following two: If you have doubts about the Qur’an We have revealed to Our servant Muhammed, then produce a Sura similar to it. And call upon all your helpers besides God to bear witness for you, if what you say is true. [Qur’an, 2:23] That is, “If you have any doubts, summon all your elders and supporters to help you and testify for you, then compose the like of a single Sura.” Since this has been explained and proved in Signs of Miraculousness, here we shall only point out a brief summary of it. It is as follows: The Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition says: “Oh men and jinn! If you have any doubts that the Qur’an is the Word of God and imagine it to be man’s word, then come on, here it is, let’s see! You bring a book like this Qur’an from someone unlettered, who does not know how to read and write like the one you call Muhammed the Trustworthy, and get him to compose it! If you cannot do this, then he need not be untaught, let him be a famous man of letters and learned. And if you are not able to do this, alright, not on his own, take all the finest works of all your orators and men of eloquence, and indeed of all the literary geniuses of the past and all those of the future, and the assistance of all your gods. Work with all your strength, compose the like of this Qur’an. And if you cannot do this, leave aside the Truths of the Qur’an and its many miraculous aspects, which it is not possible to imitate, and compose a work which is its equal in only the eloquence of its word order!” Through the silencing words of Bring then ten Suras forged, like it, [Qur’an, 11:13] it says: “Come on, I do not want its true meaning from you, let it be fabrications and lies and false tales. And you will not be able to do this. So it need not be as much as the whole Qur’an, just bring ten Suras like it. And you will not be able to do this either, so bring a single Sura. This will be too much as well. So alright, make it the equivalent of a short Sura. And you will not be able to do this either, although the need for you to do so is so great. For your honour and self-respect, your dignity and religion, your tribal honour and pride, your life and property, and your lives in this world and the next will all be saved by producing the like of it. Otherwise in this world you will remain in abasement, without honour, dignity, religion, or pride, and your lives and property will be destroyed and will perish, and in the hereafter, as is indicated by the verse, Then give heed to Hell-fire, whose fuel is men and stones, [Qur’an, 2:24}] you will be condemned to everlasting incarceration in Hell; together with your idols you will be fuel to its fires. Since your need is thus great, and since you have now understood your impotence in eight degrees, for sure, you should know eight times over that the Qur’an is a miracle. So either believe in it, or be silent and go to Hell!” And so, see the way the Qur’an forces them to accept the argument in this category of silencing in argument which is within that of making understood, and say: “There is no manner of exposition better than that of the Qur’an!” Indeed, no need remains for further exposition after that of the Qur’an. Here is a second example: Exhort then [Oh Prophet], for by your Sustainer’s grace you are neither a soothsayer nor a madman * Or do they say: A poet! – let us wait and see what time will do! * Say: Wait then, I too shall wait with you. * Is it that their faculties of understanding urge them to this, or are they but a people transgressing all bounds. * Or do they say: He fabricated this [Message]? Nay, they do not believe. * Let them then produce a recital like unto it – if they speak the truth. * Or were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators? * Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief. * Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them, or are they the managers [of affairs]? * Or have they a ladder by which they can [climb up to heaven and] listen [to its secrets]? Then let [such a] listener of theirs produce a manifest proof. * Or has He only daughters and you have sons? * Or is it that you ask for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt? * Or that the Unseen is in their hands, and they write it down? * Or do they intend a plot [against you]? But those who defy God are themselves involved in a plot! * Or have they a god other than God? Exalted is God far above the things they associate with them. [Qur’an, 52:29-43] Here we shall explain only one of the thousands of truths of these verses as a further example of the category of silencing in argument. It is as follows: with the word, Or….Or…, it silences every group of the people of misguidance with a rhetorical question expressing surprise and stops up all the sources of their doubts. It leaves no satanic chink through which doubts might enter and hide themselves; it closes them all. It leaves no veil of misguidance under which they might creep and lurk; it rends all of them. It leaves not one of their lies; it crushes them. In each sentence it either demolishes the essence of the blasphemous ideas of one group with a short phrase, or since the falsity is obvious, it exposes it by silence, or since it is refuted in detail in other verses, it here alludes to it briefly. For example, the first sentence alludes to the verse: And We have not instructed him poetry, nor is it meet for him. [Qur’an, 36:69] While the fifteenth sentence points to the verse: Were there gods other than God in the heavens and earth, there surely would have been confusion in both. [Qur’an, 21:22] You can make further examples from the other sentences like these. It is like this: it says at the start: Announce the Divine decrees. You are not a soothsayer, for the words of soothsayers are confused and conjectural, while yours are true and certain. And you are not mad; your enemies even attest to your perfect sanity. Or do they say: A poet – let us wait and see what time will do! [Qur’an, 52:30] Do they call you a poet, like the unreasoning, common infidels? Are they waiting for you to perish? You say to them: “Wait! I shall wait with you!” Your vast and brilliant truths are free of the imaginings of poetry and independent of their fancies. Or is it that their faculties of understanding urge them to this? [Qur’an, 52:32] Or like unreasoning philosophers who rely on their reasons, do they hold back from following you, saying: “Our faculties of reason are sufficient.” Whereas, reason commands that you are followed, because everything you say is reasonable. But again the reason on its own cannot reach it. Or are they but a people transgressing all bounds? [Qur’an, 52:32] Or is the reason for their denial their not submitting to Almighty God like wicked tyrants? But the ends of the Pharaohs and Nimrods, who were the leaders of arrogant oppressors, are known. Or do they say: He fabricated this [Message]? Nay, they do not believe. [Qur’an, 52:33] Or like lying dissemblers without conscience do they accuse you saying: “You have made up the Qur’an!”? But up to this time they have known you to be the most truthful among them and have called you Muhammed the Trustworthy. It means that they have no intention to believe. Otherwise let them find the like of the Qur’an among the works of men. Or were they created of nothing? [Qur’an, 52:35] Or like the absurd philosophers who believed the universe to be without purpose and in vain, do they suppose themselves to be aimless and without wisdom, purpose, duty, or Creator? Have they become blind that they do not see that the universe is adorned from top to bottom with instances of wisdom and bears the fruit of aims, and that beings from particles to the suns are charged with duties and are subjugated to the Divine commands? Or were they themselves the creators? [Qur’an, 52:35] Or do they imagine like the pharaoh-like Materialists that “They came into being by themselves, feed themselves, and themselves create everything they need”, so that they hold back from believing and worship? That means that each of them supposes himself to be the Creator. Whereas, the Creator of one thing has to be the Creator of everything. That is to say, their pride and conceit have made them so utterly stupid that they imagine to be a Possessor of Absolute Power one who is absolutely impotent and may be defeated by a fly or a microbe. Since they have abdicated their reason and humanity to this degree and have descended lower than the animals and even inanimate beings, do not be saddened at their denial. Consider them to be a variety of harmful animal and filthy matter! Ignore them and give them no importance! Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief! [Qur’an, 52:36] Or, like the mindless, confused Mu’tazilites, who denied God all attributes and denied the Creator, do they deny God and not heed the Qur’an? In which case, let them deny the existence of the heavens and the earth, or let them say: “We created them!” Let them lose their minds altogether and begin uttering the frenzied ravings of lunacy. For in the heavens as many proofs of Divine Unity are apparent and are recited as the stars, and on the earth as many as the flowers. That means they have no intention to obtain certain knowledge and find the truth. Otherwise how do they suppose to be without inscriber the Book of the Universe, in one word of which is written a whole book, although they know that a letter cannot exist without the one who wrote it. Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them? [Qur’an, 52:37] Or, like one group of misguided philosophers who denied Almighty God the power of choice, or like the Brahmans, do they deny the source of prophethood so that they do not come to believe in you? In which case, let them deny all the traces of wisdom and purpose, all the order and fruits which are apparent in all beings and demonstrate will and choice, let them deny all the works of mercy and grace, and all the miracles of all the prophets! Or let them say: “All the treasuries of the bounties given to creatures are with us and under our control.” Let them prove they are not fit to be addressed! And do not be grieved at their denial, say: “God’s unreasoning animals are many!” Or are they the managers [of affairs]? [Qur’an, 52:37] Or, like the arrogant Mu’tazilites, who made the reason dominant, do they imagine themselves to be rivals to and inspectors of the Creator’s works, and want to hold the All-Glorious Creator responsible? Beware, do not lose heart! Nothing can come of the denials of self-centred people like that! You do not be deceived either! Or have they a ladder by which they can [climb up to heaven and] listen [to its secrets]? Then let [such a] listener of theirs produce a manifest proof! [Qur’an, 52:38] Or, like the spiritualists and phony soothsayers, do they follow Satan and the jinn and suppose they have found another way to the World of the Unseen? In which case, have they a ladder by which to ascend to the heavens which are closed to the satans? Do they imagine that they can give the lie to your news from the heavens? The denials of such charlatans is worth nothing! Or has He only daughters and you have sons? [Qur’an, 52:39] Or, like the polytheist philosophers who ascribed partners to God under the name of ‘the ten intellects’ and ‘the masters of the species’, and the Sabeans, who attributed a sort of godhead to the stars and the angels, do they ascribe offspring to Almighty God? Like the heretics and misguided, do they ascribe a son to Him, which is contrary to the necessary existence, Unity, eternity, and absolute self-sufficiency of the Single and Eternally Besought One? Do they ascribe femininity to that offspring, which is opposed to the angels’ worship, purity, and kind? Do they suppose it to be an intercessor for them, so that they do not follow you? Generation is the means of multiplying, mutual assistance, perpetuation, and life for creatures like man, who is contingent, transitory, and in need of perpetuating the species, is corporeal and divisible, capable of multiplying, impotent and needy for an heir to help him. So to ascribe offspring – and a sort of offspring that those impotent, contingent, wretched men did not themselves like and could not equate with their arrogant pride, that is, female offspring – to the All-Glorious One, Whose existence is necessary and perpetual, Who endures from pre-eternity to post-eternity, Whose essence is utterly remote from and exalted above corporality, Whose being is free of and exempt from division and multiplication, and Whose Power is far above and beyond all impotence, is indeed such a delirium, such a lunatic raving that the lies and denials of those wretches who subscribe to such an idea are worth nothing. You must not be deceived. The scatter-brained nonsense, the delirious ravings of every crazy lunatic should not be heeded! Or is it that you ask for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt? [Qur’an, 52:40] Or, like the rebellious, overweening worshippers of this world, who have made a habit of greed and miserliness, do t

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