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Neighborhood Guide: Hisarustu

September 13, 2010

When I first came to Istanbul, I didn’t do a great job of it. I took a taxi all the way from the airport to the wrong Boğaziçi campus, and I came in the first day of Ramadan. As I said, poor execution. And it took another couple weeks to find out how to get laundry done and where to find some cheap food.

And sure, most of the fun of study abroad, or travel in general, is exploring and finding things out through trial-and-error. At the same time, if you have any knowledge of how the city works beforehand, you can impress your new-found friends. This knowledge can be found right easily by reading our website. And if you have any questions, just e-mail us (that link is spam-proofed, but you should be able to figure it out).

As far as getting to Hisarüstü (the neighborhood where you will be staying if you are at Boğaziçi (pronounced Boh-ah-zee-chee) University, here’s how from Ataturk International Airport:

  1. If you don’t have many bags, or don’t mind carrying them a bit, the cheapest option is the Metro. Follow the blue-white-red sign at the airport for a bit of a walk and some escalators. You will need to buy “Jetons” or tokens for your ride at 1.50 TL each. Buy two, because you will need to transfer. Hope on the line and take it up to Zeytinburnu stop. There, take your bags and switch over to the stop going to Kabataş. You will need to pay for a transfer here. Take this line all the way up and gawk at the prettiness as you go. At Kabataş, get on the 43R bus to Hisarüstü. Take this bus to the Nispetiye stop well close to the end. You can walk to the Superdorm (or wherever you are staying) from there.
  2. If you have considerable baggage, do the following. At the airport, ask around or find the Havaş bus terminal. From here, you can get a bus on the half-hour to Taksim square for 10TL. From Taksim, go to the bus terminal with all the blue-green buses. Get on bus 559R to Hisarüstü. Take this bus to the Nispetiye stop well close to the end. You can walk to the Superdorm (or wherever you are staying) from there.
  3. If you want to spend a lot of money on a taxi, do the following. Get a taxi from the airport. Tell them you are going to Etiler (pronounced: Eh-tee-lehr). Make chitchat for a while. You will go down Nispetiye Caddesi, and tell them to make a left (“Sohl”) at the end of the road, down Cengiz Topel Caddesi. Tell them to stop once you get to the end of the stadium/field/whatchamacallit. The same Superdorm map as above.

So that’s how you get to your new home. Follow us below the jump as we say what to do once you get there. But I should say: there are LOTS of pictures, so beware, if your computer loads slow. And the pictures were all taken on a rainy day in the middle of Ramazan, so you will notice that there are many more people when you are there then there were when I was.

First: Housing. You’re probably scheduled to stay in Superdorm. Superdorm is nice and easy and there are cleaning ladies. All of this is good. But you can’t have guests, and if you care to smoke and/or drink, you’ll run into problems. So I’d honestly recommend finding an apartment off-campus, preferably with Turks so as to better pick up the language. You can either look for ads when you get there, or you can scoop up Craig’s List before-hand. I’d recommend CL, be on the look out for places in Hisarüstü, then you’ll be by your classes and around the other students.

Second: Orientation. Hisarüstü is laid out very conveniently in numbered streets. Going down from Superdorm towards campus, you will come upon 6, 5, 4 streets in order. And the street signs look like this:Altinci Sokagi, right at the main circle

Third: no matter where you live, you will likely not have a laundry machine. If you’re from the US, you are probably very much used to doing your own laundry. That will not occur here. Thankfully, there are two places that do laundry, and they both do a good job and speak decent enough English to get you to understand them. The first Camşirhane is down 6. Sk. a ways:

…and the second, Double White, is a bit better but a bit farther down, on 5.Sokagi. They used to deliver, I’m not sure if they still do.

There are also a few other necessities you ought to be on the look out for. You will probably be told to pick up a copy-packet of readings for classes from Doğa Kopi. It is a bit downhill on 6. Sk., and looks like this:

Right next to Doğa Kopi is a Telephone store with a big Turkcell sign. If you show up with your passport for them to make a copy, you can get a pay-as-you-go cell phone. Its a pretty easy system, and you’re going to need a cell phone. It helps to go with a Turk, if you can find a friend, to ease the process.

A little bit farther down, on the main road, you will see a store to refill your Akbil. An Akbil allows you to ride discounted on Istanbul public transportation and is pretty necessary. Unfortunately, you can only buy it at transportation hubs like Kabataş, Taksim, and Beşiktaş. But it only costs 6 TL, and can be reloaded anywhere with a “Akbil Dolumu Yapılır” sign. Here’s the closest one to you:

It warrants mentioning that this is also a tekel, or a place where you can buy alcohol. So if that’s your sort of thing, this is your place:

And finally getting to the most important things: food. There are a few good grocery stores, but the cheapest is BIM around 3. Sokağı. It’s the cheapest and has a solid selection, if a bit weak on produce:

You will eventually be dragged willingly into the custom of a Turkish breakfast. Long, calorie-filled and tea-fueled, its the best part of a Sunday. Eventually, you’ll be wanting to throw your own. The best place to find breakfast supplies is, not-so-shockingly, Kahvaltı Dünyası, or Breakfast World, along the main road also around 3. Sokağı.

The best bakery is Hisar Unlu Mamülleri. They have cakes, sweets, and breads and all for awfully cheap. And all awfully delicious. They are in a huge building with an attached cafe on 6. Sk.

The best desserts, if you ask me, are at Poğacaçı. They are open absurd hours and do a great job. Check them out on the corner of 5.Sk. Also visible in this picture is the only bar in the area. It’s not the sort of bar you’re expecting or you’d like, though. It’s more for chain-smoking old men than the college crowd. A woman will likely feel uncomfortable there. Honestly, as would any foreigner…it’s simply not that sort of place. That said, its Efes, and they have a decent grill usta as well.

You’ll see a lot of students hang out at Simit Sarayı and the Börekçi right on the main circle. They’re cheap, delicious, and a good place to study or just for a study break. You can’t really get a meal there, but you can get tea and pastries and hang out for hours. They also are open near all the time. I’d highly recommend them, but you really don’t even need me saying that. Everyone goes there, and you will, too.

In terms of restaurants, the best in the neighborhood is Urfam Ocakbaşı, which serves kebabs and is a bit nicer of a place than most college haunts. Urfam Pide ve Lahmacun is right across the street, and is owned by the same people. Their food is a bit cheaper but is made from the same quality. You can’t get a drink at either place, but you will be fine doing without. It’s great meat and plenty of vegetarian options. They are located off of 6.Sk. After going down 6.Sk., take your first left and you’ll see them after 50 meters or so.

If you want to get real cheap, walk all the way down the street to 2.Sk. and Hisar Pilav Üstü. For about 2 TL, you can get rice, chickpeas, and chicken. Filling and cheap, I’m not sure what else you could ask for. Besides variety, I guess, because you won’t get it there.

So that’s it for Hisarüstü. But when you walk through the front gates and all the way down the hill, you get to Bebek. Bebek has mostly incredibly expensive restaurants and clubs, but there is certainly some stuff there to check out. I’d generally recommend just wandering around the place, but there are too many bad, expensive places to truly wander. This is what Istanbul Eats is for. My own two cents are a little bit more pedestrian. You can walk down the shore and get either Istanbul’s best burger at Dükkan, or sample any of the fine waffle vendors. A waffle, here, is just a vessel for chocolate sauce and any number of dessert fruits, so you know its good.

These places are all right next to each other, and give you an idea of what to expect in Bebek.

Now with all of that over, go explore! Hisarüstü is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Istanbul because of the student population. So meet people, get lost, and do all of that fun stuff that you came here to do. And don’t forget to send an e-mail if you have any questions or want any more information. So spread the word and explore Istanbul!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Benazir permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:50 pm

    You forgot to include the 2 ytl place in Babek for ice cream 🙂

  2. March 13, 2011 5:40 am
    The Thirty-Second Word [This Word consists of three Stopping-Places. It is an addendum explaining the Eighth Flash of the Twenty-Second Word, and is also a commentary on the first of the fifty-five tongues with which all the beings in the universe testify to Divine Unity. These tongues have been alluded to in a treatise called Katre (A Droplet). And it is one truth, which has been clothed in the garment of comparison, of many truths pertaining to the verse: Had there been in heaven or on earth any deities other than God, there surely would have been confusion in both.1] First Stopping-Place In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Had there been in heaven or on earth any deities other than God, there surely would have been confusion in both. There is no god but God, He is One, He has no partner; His is the dominion and His is the praise; He grants life and deals death, and is living and dies not; all good is in His hand; He is powerful over all things, and with Him all things have their end. One night in Ramadan, I said that the above sentence affirming Divine Unity consists of eleven phrases, and that in each of them is a degree expressing that Unity and some good news. But of those degrees I only discussed the meaning and significance of He has no partner. And that, in the manner of an allegorical conversation and imaginary debate that would be accessible to ordinary people. I am now writing down that conversation at the request and desire of my much-valued brothers who assist me and my friends from the mosque. It is as follows. Let us suppose one person represents all those things set up as partners to God that all the different varieties of idolators imagine to exist. These idolators are the people of unbelief and misguidance, who worship Nature and causes, for example, and assign partners to God. The fictitious person wants to have mastery over one of the beings in the universe, and so claims to be their true owner. Firstly, that maker of false claims encountered a particle, which is the smallest of those beings, and he spoke to it in the language of Naturalism and philosophy saying that he was to be its master and true owner. But the particle replied to him with the tongue of truth and Dominical wisdom, saying: “I perform innumerable duties. Entering many creatures which are all different I do my work in them. And there are, from among countless particles like me, those that move from place to place2 and work with me. If you have the knowledge and power to employ me in all those duties, and the authority and ability to employ and have at your command all those others as well, and if you are able to be the true owner of and to have total control over the beings of which I become a part in complete order, for example, over red blood-corpuscles, then you can claim to be master over me and ascribe me to something other than God Almighty. But if you cannot do all these things, be silent! “And in the same way that you cannot have mastery over me, you also cannot interfere in any way. For there is such complete orderliness in our duties and motion that one who does not have infinite wisdom and all-encompassing knowledge cannot meddle with us. If he did, it would cause chaos. However, a person like you who is thick, impotent, and unseeing, and is in the clutches of blind chance and Nature, could not even begin to stretch out a finger to interfere.” So, just like the Materialists, the one making these claims said: “In that case, own yourself. Why do you say you are working on someone else’s account?” To which the particle replied: “If I had a brain like the sun, and all-embracing knowledge like its light, and all-encompassing power like its heat, and comprehensive senses like the seven colours in its light, and if I had a face that looked to all the places in which I travel and all the beings in which I work, and an eye that looked to them and words that carried authority with them, then, perhaps, I would indulge in foolishness like you and claim to own myself. Get out! Go away! You won’t get anything out of me!” So, when the representative of those things held to be God’s partners despaired of the particle, he hoped to pursue the matter with a red blood – corpuscle. And coming across one he said to it on behalf of causes and in the language of Nature and philosophy: “I am your master and owner.” And the red corpuscle replied to him through the tongue of truth and Divine wisdom: “I am not alone. If you are able to own all my fellows in the army of blood whose stamp, nature as officials, and order is the same, and if you have subtle wisdom and mighty power enough to own all the cells of the body in which we travel and are employed with perfect wisdom, and if you can demonstrate this to be the case, then, perhaps, some meaning might be found in your claim. “But someone stupified like yourself cannot be owner with your only support being deaf Nature and blind force; indeed, you are unable to interfere in so much as an atom. For the order with which we function is so perfect that only one who sees, hears, knows, and does everything can have authority over us.” And saying: “So, be silent! My duty is so important and the order so perfect that I have no time to answer garbelled rubbish such as yours,” it repelled him. Then, since he was unable to mislead it, the representative left and next came across the little house known as a cell of the body. He said to it in the language of philosophy and Nature: “I could not persuade the particle and red corpuscle but perhaps you will be reasonable. Since you have been made of several substances just like a minute house, I am able to make you. You will be my artefact and true property.” The cell responded to him through the tongue of wisdom and truth, saying: “I am only a minute little thing but I have very important duties and very sensitive relations; I am connected to the body as a whole as well as to all its cells. For example, I perform complex and faultless duties in the veins, and in regard to the arteries, the sensory and motor nerves, the powers of attraction and repulsion and procreation, and the imaginative faculty. If you have the knowledge and power to form, arrange, and employ the whole body and all its blood-vessels, nerves and faculties, and if you have comprehensive wisdom and penetrating power with which to control all the body’s cells, which are like me, as regards qualities and artistry we are brothers, demonstrate it. Only then can you claim to be able to make me. If you cannot, then off with you! “The red corpuscles bring my food, while the white ones combat illnesses which attack me. I have work to do, do not distract me! Anyway, an impotent, lifeless, deaf and blind thing like you cannot in any way interfere with us. For we have such an exact, subtle and faultless order3 that if the one who has authority over us was not Absolutely Wise, Absolutely Powerful and Absolutely Knowing, our order would be broken and our regularity spoilt.” Then the one making the claims despaired of it, too. He encountered the body of a human being and said to it, once again as the Naturalists say, in the language of blind Nature and aimless philosophy: “You are mine, it is I who made you; or anyway I have a share in you.” The human body answered with the tongue of reality and wisdom and through the eloquence of its order: “If you possess the power and knowledge to have actual control over the bodies of all human beings, who are the same as me and on whose faces are the stamp of power and seal of creation which are the same, and if you have the wealth and jurisdiction to own, from water and air to plants and animals, the treasuries of my sustenance, and if you have infinite power and boundless wisdom with which to employ me with perfect wisdom and cause me to perform my worship, and the power and wisdom to lodge in a narrow, lowly vessel like me immaterial and subtle faculties like the spirit, heart, and intellect, which are extremely vast and exalted and for which I am merely the sheath, then demonstrate all these and afterwards say that you made me. Otherwise, be silent! “Moreover, according to the testimony of the perfect order in my body and the indication of the stamp of Unity on my face, my Maker is One Who is powerful over all things, knows all things, and sees and hears all things. Someone aimless and impotent like you cannot meddle in his art. You cannot interfere in so much as an atom.” The representative of the things imagined to be God’s partners could find no way in which to interfere in the body so he went off. Next, he encountered the human race and said to himself “This is a disorganized and unruly group. Perhaps, like Satan interferes in their individual and social actions which they perform through the exercise of their wills, I’ll be able to find some way to interfere in the functioning of their bodies and natures. And then, finding some way, I’ll be able to exercise control over the body and the body’s cell which sent me packing.” So, he said to the human race, once again in the language of deaf Nature and aimless philosophy: “You seem to be to be in great confusion. I am your master and owner, or at least I partly own you.” To which the human race answered through the tongue of truth and reality, wisdom and order: “If you possess the power and wisdom to make the shirt that clothes the whole globe of the earth and is woven and sewn with perfect wisdom from the multicoloured threads of all the hundreds of thousands of animal and plant species, of which we are one, and to make the carpet which is spread over the face of the earth and is woven from the hundreds of thousands of species of animate beings and is created in an extremely fine and ornamented fashion, and to continuously renew and refurbish it, and if you possess comprehensive power and all-embracing wisdom with which to have free disposal over the globe of the earth of which we are the fruit, and over the universe of which we are the seed, and to send us our vital necessities from all the regions of the cosmos with the balance of wisdom, and if you have the ability to create all those like us who have gone before us and those who will come after us, on whose faces the stamp of power is the same, then, perhaps, you can claim to have mastery over me. “But if you cannot, be silent! Do not say that, seeing confusion in my species, you will be able to interfere in some way, because the order is faultless. The conditions you imagine to be confused and disorderly are transcribed with perfect order according to the book of power and Divine Determining. For the perfect order in animals and plants, which are far inferior to us and are under our supervision, demonstrates that this seeming disorder in us is but a sort of writing. “Is it at all possible that the one who artistically positions one thread running through a whole carpet should be other than the master designer of the carpet? And that the one who creates a fruit should be other than the creator of the tree that bore it? And that the one who creates the seed should be other than the fashioner of the being that produced the seed? “Also your eyes are blind: you do not see the miracles of power on my face, the wonders of creation in my being. If you did see them, you would understand that my Maker is such that nothing at all can withstand Him or be difficult for Him. The stars are as easy for Him as particles. He creates the spring with as much ease as a flower. He is One Who includes the index of the vast universe in my being with perfect order. Could a lifeless, impotent, blind and deaf thing like you interfere in any way in the art of such a Being? So, be silent!” And saying: “Off with you! Go away!”, he drove him away. Next the one making these claims went and addressed the broad carpet covering the face of the earth and the lavishly decorated and embroidered shirt clothing it on behalf of causes and in the language of Nature and philosophy, claiming: “I can have control over you and be your owner, or at least have a share in you.” So the shirt, the carpet,4 said to him on behalf of truth and reality and through the tongue of wisdom: “If you have the power and art to weave and create all the well-ordered and purposeful shirts and carpets, whose embroideries are all different, which have clothed the earth to the number of years and centuries, then have been removed in an orderly fashion and strung on the line of past time, and will clothe the earth again, carpets and shirts whose programmes and forms have been drawn and specified in the sphere of Divine Determining, and which will be attached to the ribbon of future time, and if you have two wise and powerful hands with which to reach from the creation of the world to its destruction, indeed, from pre-eternity to post-eternity, and if you have the wisdom and ability to create every one of all my threads and to repair and renew them with perfect order and wisdom, and if you are able to hold in your hand and create the globe of the earth, which is our model, is wearing us, and makes us its veil and outer garment, then you can claim to have mastery over me. If you cannot, then away with you! There is no place for you here! “Moreover, there is on us such a stamp of Unity and seal of Oneness that one who does not have the whole universe within the grasp of his power, and who cannot see at one time all things with all their functions, and cannot do innumerable things at the same time, who is not all-present and all-seeing everywhere, who is not unconfined by space, and who does not possess infinite wisdom, knowledge, and power, such a one cannot own us, neither could he interfere.” So the representative went off, saying: “Perhaps I will be able to persuade the globe of the earth and find something going for me there.” So he went and said to the globe of the earth,5 once again on behalf of causes and in the language of Nature: “Since you travel in such an aimless manner, you demonstrate that you have no owner. In which case, you can be mine.” To which the earth replied in a thunderous voice, in the name of truth and with the tongue of reality: “Do not talk such utter nonsense! How could I be just aimless and without an owner? Have you found my garments or even the tiniest point or thread in them to be in disarray, without order, and have you seen them to be without wisdom, purpose and art that you tell me I am ownerless an aimless? “If you can really own my vast orbit round which I travel in one year, a distance that should take approximately twenty-five thousand years,6 where I perform my duty of service with perfect balance and wisdom, and own the ten planets, which are my brothers and are charged with duties like myself, together with the space through which they travel, and if you have infinite wisdom and power with which to create and position the sun, which is our leader and to which we are bound and attached by a compassionate attraction, and to fasten me and the other planets to it like stones in a sling, and to employ us and cause us to revolve with perfect order and wisdom, then you can claim to have mastery over me. But if you cannot, get out! Go to Hell! I’ve got work to do, my duty to perform. “Moreover, our magnificent order, awesome movement, and purposeful subjugation demonstrate that our Master is such that all beings from minute particles to the stars and galaxies are obedient and subjugated to him like soldiers under orders. He is an All-Wise Possessor of Glory, a Possessor of Absolute Sovereignty Who arrays the sun with planets as easily as He arrays and ornaments a tree with its fruit.” Since the claimer could find nothing for himself on the earth, he went off and said to himself about the sun: “This a huge great thing. Perhaps I’ll be able to find a hole in it and open up a way in; then maybe I’ll be able to subjugate it as well as the earth.” So he said to the sun, as the fire-worshippers speak, in the name of idolatry and in the language of the philosophy that is the mouthpiece of the Devil: “You are a ruler, you own yourself; you dispose of matters freely, as you wish.” But the sun replied to him in the name of truth and through the tongue of reality and Divine wisdom, saying: “God forbid! A hundred thousand times, God forbid! I am a subservient official. I am a candelabrum in my Lord’s guest-house. I am not the true owner of a fly, or even of a fly’s wing. For in the fly’s being there are immaterial jewels and antique works of art, like eyes and ears, such as are not in my shop. They are outside the sphere of my power,” thus reprimanding him. So the one making the claims changed his approach and said with the tongue of devilish philosophy: “Since you do not own yourself, you are a servant; I claim you on behalf of causes.” To which the sun replied, speaking for truth and reality and with the tongue of worship: “I can only belong to one who is able to create all the lofty stars, which are my fellows, to place them in the heavens with faultless wisdom, make them revolve with utter magnificence and to adorn them with exquisite finery.” Next the claimer said to himself: “The stars are a great multitude, and they seem to be all scattered and in disorder. Perhaps I will be able to gain something out of them on behalf of my clients.” So he went in among them and said to them on behalf of causes and those things ascribed to God as partners, in the language of rebellious philosophy and as the Sabean star-worshippers said: “Since you are so scattered, you are all under the jurisdiction of different rulers.” To which one star replied, speaking for all the others: “Just how stunned, brainless, stupid and blind you are not to see and understand the stamp of Unity and seal of Oneness on us, and not to recognize our lofty order and regularity and the laws of our worship. You imagine us to be without order. Whereas, we are the works of art and servants of a Single and Unique One Who holds in the grasp of His power the heavens, which are our seas, the cosmos, which is our tree, and infinite space, which is where we make our excursions. “We are like electric illuminations and resplendent witnesses displaying the perfection of His Dominicality. We are radiant proofs proclaiming the sovereignty of His Dominicality. With all our different sorts, we are luminous servants in the sphere of His sovereignty which give light and display the majesty of that sovereignty in the lofty dwellings and in the lowly ones, in the dwellings of this world, the Intermediate World and the Hereafter. “Indeed, each one of us is a miracle of the Single and Unique One’s power, a well-ordered fruit of the tree of creation, an illuminated proof of Unity; each of us is a dwelling place, aeroplane and mosque for the angels, and a lamp and sun for the lofty worlds, and a witness to the sovereignty of Dominicality; and each of us is an ornament, palace, and flower of space, and a shining fish in the heavenly seas, and a beautiful eye in the face of the sky.7 “Furthermore, there is throughout us as a whole a silence within tranquillity, a motion within wisdom, an adornment within majesty, a beauty of creation within order, and a perfection of art within symmetry. “And although we are thus and proclaim our Glorious Maker and His Unity, Oneness, Eternal Besoughtedness, and His attributes of beauty, glory and perfection to the whole universe with innumerable tongues, you still accuse us utterly pure, clean, obedient and subservient servants of being confused, disorderly, and without duties, and even of being without an owner. You therefore deserve a truly punishing slap.” And one star, like the stone hurled at Satan, delivered such a mighty slap at the claimer’s face that it flung him from the stars to the very pit of Hell. And it cast Nature,8 which was together with him, into the valleys of delusion, and chance into the chasm of non-existence, and those things ascribed to God as partners into the darkness of impossibility, and the philosophy that is hostile to religion down to the lowest of the low. All the stars recited this sacred decree together with that star: Had there been in heaven or earth any deities other than God, there surely would have been confusion in both.9 And they proclaimed: “There is nothing, from a fly’s wing to the lamps in the heavens, nothing, even the size of a fly’s wing, in which those things ascribed to God as partners could interfere.” Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise! 10 O God! Grant blessings and peace to our master Muhammed, the Lamp of Your Unity in the multiplicity of Your creatures, and the Herald of Your Oneness in the exhibition of Your creation, and to all his Family and Companions. * * * In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Look, then, to the signs of God’s mercy, how He restores to life the earth after its death.11 The following section12 alludes to one flower from the pre-eternal garden of the above verse. It is as if each blossoming tree is a beautifully composed ode speaking poetically through the tongue of its disposition reciting the manifest praises of the Glorious Creator. Or, it is as if each blossoming tree has opened thousands of gazing eyes and has caused thousands of others to open in order to behold, not with one or two eyes but with thousands, the Glorious Fashioner’s wonders of art which are being broadcast and exhibited, and so that attentive people will gaze on them, too. Or, it is as if each blossoming tree has beautified its verdant limbs with the finest adornment for the moment of its parade and for its own particular festival in the general festival of spring, so that its Glorious Monarch will contemplate the gifts, subtle wonders, and resplendent works of art He has bestowed upon it; and so that He will present to creation’s gaze the bejewelled instances of His mercy, in springtime, and on the face of the earth, which is the exhibition of Divine art; and so that He will proclaim to mankind the wisdom in the creation of the tree. He demonstrates the perfection of Divine Power through showing what important treasure there is in its delicate branches and what significant wealth there is in the fruits of His merciful bounties. The imagination sees heavenly angels embodied from these trees With thousands of flutes. From these flutes the consciousness hears The praises of the Ever-Living One. Their leaves have tongues, each reciting the words, It is He! It is He! Meaning, O Ever-Living One! O Ever-Living One! Since all things chant in unison, There is no god but He, And they are seeking Truth, From beginning to end they recite, O Ever-Living One! They are chanting in unison, O God! And We send down from the skies water rich in blessings.13 A Short Addendum to the First Stopping-Place Listen to the verse: Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? 14 Then look at the face of the heavens, you see how it is silent in its tranquillity; how it is in motion with wisdom, how it is radiant with majesty, how it smiles with its adornment. An unending and infinite sovereignty is proclaimed to those who think by the order in its creation, by the symmetry in its art, by its shining lamps, its brilliant lanterns, its glittering stars. Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? The following explains the above passage, Then look at the face of the heavens, etc., which in turn is an explanation of the verse quoted. Firstly, the phrase: How it is silent in its tranquillity. The verse directs an attentive gaze to the beautifully adorned face of the heavens so that the one beholding it may become aware of the silence there which is within a vast tranquillity. And so that he may understand that it is thus through the command and subjugation of One Possessing Absolute Power. For if they had been independent and unrestrained, those huge globes, all in close proximity to each other, those infinite, awesome heavenly bodies, would have caused such an uproar with their enormously swift revolutions that they would have deafened the cosmos. And there would have been such confusion in that tumultuous commotion that it would have scattered the universe. It is well-known what a commotion and uproar it causes if twenty water-buffalo work on top of each other. Whereas, we know that there are among the stars some which are thousands of times larger than the earth and which revolve at a speed seventy times faster than that of a cannon-ball. So the degree of power and subjugation of the Glorious Maker and All-Powerful One of Perfection may be understood from this, together with the degree of obedience and submission to Him of the stars. Secondly, the phrase: How it is in motion with wisdom. The verse commands us to look at the motion on the face of the heavens, which is with wisdom and purpose. Indeed, that mighty, wondrous motion occurs within a precise and comprehensive wisdom. For example, a craftsman who operates a factory’s machinery with wisdom and purpose demonstrates the degree of his skill and craftsmanship in proportion to the degree of the order and grandeur of the factory. And so too, when we look at it this way, do the degree of power and wisdom of the All-Powerful One of Glory become apparent to us. For He makes the mighty sun like a factory, and its planets, those awesome, immense globes, like the factory’s machinery, which He spins and revolves like stones in a sling. Thirdly, How it is radiant with majesty, how it smiles with its adornment. It has this meaning: the radiant majesty and smiling adornment on the face of the heavens are such that they demonstrate just how sublime is the Glorious Maker’s sovereignty and how exquisite His artistry. As the myriad electric lamps hung about on festival days demonstrate the degree of the king’s majesty and perfection in material progress, the vast heavens, too, with their majestic and adorned stars demonstrate to attentive gazes the sublime sovereignty and exquisite artistry of the Glorious Maker. Fourthly, By the order in its creation, by the symmetry in its art. This phrase says the following: look at the order of the creatures on the face of the heavens and see their symmetry and precise balance, then understand just how Powerful and Wise is their Maker. Indeed, the vast heavens demonstrate the degree of power and wisdom of the One Who transforms various and tiny creatures or animals, thus preparing them for their duties, and Who impels each of them on a determined way by means of its particular balance, and the degree of their obedience and subjugation to Him. And so too do those vast heavens demonstrate to attentive gazes through their awesome vastness and innumerable stars, and the stars, through their imposing hugeness and speedy revolutions and the fact that they do not exceed their bounds by an iota, even for a second, or neglect their duties for a tenth of a second, with just how fine and particular a balance the Glorious Maker carries out His Dominicality. Fifthly, An unending and infinite sovereignty is proclaimed to those who think by its shining lamps, its brilliant lanterns, its glittering stars. This phrase states clearly what is alluded to in the above verse, and in many similar to it, which mention the subjugation of the sun, moon, and stars. That is to say, to attach the heat and light-giving lamp of the sun to the embellished ceiling of the skies, and to make it like the ink-pot for writing the letters of the Eternally Besought One in lines of day and night on the pages of summer and winter, and to make the moon, like the hour-hands which shines on the large clocks on minarets and towers, an hour-hand of time’s mighty clock on the dome of the heavens, and to make it move through its mansions with precise balance and perfect measure in the form of many varying crescents so that it is as if it leaves one crescent one night and then later returns to collect it, and to adorn the beautiful face of the sky with stars that twinkle and smile in the dome of the heavens, all these are signs of the unlimited sovereignty of a sustaining Dominicality. They are indications of a majestic Divinity which makes Itself known to conscious creatures. They invite those who think to believe and to affirm Divine Unity. Look upon the coloured page of the book of the universe; See what forms the golden pen of power has traced. No dark point remains for the gaze of the heart’s eye; It is as if God as inscribed His signs with light. Look! What a miracle of wisdom is the amazing universe! Look! What a wondrous spectacle is the vastness of space! Then listen to the stars, listen to their harmonious address! See what wisdom has emblazed on the decree of its light. Altogether they start to speak with the tongue of truth, They address the majesty of the All-Powerful, All-Glorious One’s sovereignty: We are each of us light-scattering proofs of the existence of our Maker, We are witnesses both to His Unity and His Power, We are subtle miracles gilding the face of the skies for the angels to gaze upon. We are the innumerable attentive eyes of the heavens which watch the earth, which study Paradise. We are the innumerable exquisite fruits which the hand of wisdom of the All-Glorious and Beauteous One has fastened To the celestial portion of the tree of creation, to all the branches of the Milky Way. For the inhabitants of the heavens, we are each of us a travelling mosque, a spinning house, a lofty home, Each is an illumining lamp, a mighty ship, an aeroplane. We are each of us a miracle of power, a wonder of creative art Created by the Powerful One of Perfection, the All-Wise One of Glory; A rarity of His wisdom, a marvel of His creation, a world of light. We demonstrated to mankind innumerable proofs, We made them hear with these innumerable tongues of ours; But their accursed unseeing, unbelieving eyes did not see our faces, They did not hear our words. And we are signs that speak the truth: Our stamp is one, our seal is one, We are mastered by our Sustainer, We glorify Him through our subjugation, We recite His Names, We are each of us in ecstasy, A member of the mighty circle of the Milky Way. * * * Second Stopping-Place In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say: He is God, the One and Only. God, the Eternally Besought One.15 This Stopping-Place consists of three Aims. THE FIRST AIM The representative of the people of misguidance and those who assign partners to God fell to earth at the slap he received from a star, as was described at the end of the First Stopping-Place. So, because he could find nothing going for him anywhere from the particles to the stars, he gave up laying claim to them in that way and instead tried to induce doubts in believers’ minds about Divine Unity and Oneness by means of Three Important Questions. The First Question: He said in the manner of atheists: “O you who believe in One God! Looking on behalf of my clients, I could find nothing, nor get anything at all out of the beings in the universe; I could not substantiate my claims. But then, how do you prove the existence of One Who is Single and Unique and possesses infinite power? Why do you not think it possible for others to interfere and to share in His power?” The Answer: It is decisively proved in the Twenty-Second Word that each creature, each particle, each star, is an illuminating argument for the Necessarily Existent and Absolutely Powerful One. And each link in the chains of beings in the universe is a clear evidence for His Unity. The All-Wise Qur’an proves this with its innumerable proofs and also mentions most frequently those proofs that are clearest in the view of people generally. For example: If you ask them, who is it that created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say, ‘God’. 16 And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and colours.17 With these and many verses like them, the All-Wise Qur’an presents the creation of the heavens and earth as self-evident proofs of Divine Unity. And so, whether they like it or not, because of the way the heavens and earth have been created, anyone who is conscious and intelligent will be compelled to affirm the Glorious Creator. As the Qur’an says: They will certainly say, ‘God’. In the First Stopping-Place we started with a particle and demonstrated the stamp of Unity on beings until the stars and the heavens. The Quran, too, repels the ascribing of partners to God from the stars and heavens down to particles with verses like these. It alludes to this in the following way. The Possessor of Absolute Power Who creates the heavens and earth with such order and balance, of course also creates the solar system, which is a region of it. The solar system is self-evidently within His controlling and directing grasp. Since that Absolutely Powerful One holds the sun and its planets within His grasp, and orders, subjugates, and directs them, certainly, the earth too which is a member of the solar system and is tied to the sun, is also within His regulating and controlling grasp. And since this is so, the beings that are created and inscribed on the face of the earth and are like its aims and fruits are also within His sustaining and perfecting grasp. And since all the creatures spread and scattered over the earth, which gild and adorn its face, are continuously renewed, coming and going, filling the earth and being emptied from it, they are all of them within the grasp of His knowledge and power, and since they are measured and ordered on the scales of justice and wisdom, and since all the species of animate beings are within the grasp of His power, certainly, all the well-ordered and faultless members of those species, which are like miniature specimens of the cosmos, balance-sheets of its species, and tiny indexes of the book of the universe, must also be within His creating, sustaining, directing, and perfecting grasp. And since this is so, the cells, blood-corpuscles, limbs and muscles which comprise those animate creatures’ bodies are also self-evidently within the grasp of His knowledge and power. And since every cell and corpuscle is under His command and within His grasp, and since they are in motion according to His laws, for sure, the particles from which they are formed and which are like shuttles weaving the embroideries of art which clothe them, are also necessarily within the grasp of His power and the sphere of His knowledge. For they are in motion in orderly fashion faultlessly performing duties at His command, with His permission, and through His power. And since this is so, the identifying features and distinguishing marks to be found on everyone, all the differences in faces, voices and languages, of necessity also occur through His knowledge and wisdom. So now look again at the verse which mentions and indicates the beginning and end of this chain: And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: indeed, in that are signs for those who know. Therefore, we say now: O representative of the unbelievers! You can see, these arguments as strong as the chains of the universe prove the path of affirming Divine Unity. And they demonstrate a Possessor of Absolute Power. Since the creation of the heavens and the earth demonstrates an All-Powerful Maker, and the infinite power of that All-Powerful Maker, and that that infinite power is at the point of infinite perfection, there is, therefore, an absolute lack of need for partners. That is to say, He in no way needs any associates. So, since He has no need, why do you take that dark path? Why is it you feel constrained to take it? Moreover, since both He, and beings, are in absolutely no need of partners, just as it is impossible for there to be any partners in His Divinity, so also is it impossible for there to be any in His creation and sustaining of beings. Their existence is impossible. The reason for this is as follows: We proved that the power of the Maker of the heavens and the earth is both infinite and at the point of infinite perfection. If there was any partner, it would mean that, although His power is infinite, another finite power would threaten and overcome that infinite and perfect power and would take possession of a certain area. It would then be necessary, without there being any compulsion, for something finite to make something infinite finite and limited, and for itself to become infinite for a time. This is a manifold and most irrational impossibility. Also, since there is no need for partners, and, since their existence is impossible, to claim otherwise is purely arbitrary. That is, since there is no cause that could induce such a claim, rationally or logically, it would be meaningless. According to the science of jurisprudence, such a claim is designated ‘arbitrary’. That is, it is a meaningless ‘abstract claim’. A principle of the sciences of theology and jurisprudence is this, that a probability not originating from an indication or a sign has no importance; it cannot induce doubt in a matter that is definite. It cannot shake the certainty that is based on sound judgement. For example, it is possible that Barla or E¤ridir Lake consists of grape-molasses or that it has been transformed into oil. But since that possibility does not originate from any indication, it does not affect our certain knowledge, or induce doubt in the fact that it consists of water. Therefore, we questioned every sort of creature from every corner of the cosmos and whatever was questioned, from the particles to the stars in the First Stopping-Place, and from the creation of the heavens and the earth to the individual features in faces in the Second Stopping-Place, everything demonstrated through the tongue of its being the seal of Unity; everything testified that God is One. You saw this for yourself. So, there is no indication in any of the creatures in the universe on which the possibility of God having any partners could be constructed. That is to say, since to claim that God does have partners is purely arbitrary and meaningless and is an ‘abstract claim’, it is pure ignorance and unqualified stupidity. Thus, nothing remained for the representative of the people of misguidance to say in the face of this. The only thing he could say was: “The indication to God’s having partners is the configuration of causes in the cosmos. It is that everything is tied to a cause. So that means that causes have an actual effect, and if they have an effect, are not they able to be God’s partners?” The Answer: Effects have been tied to causes because Divine will and wisdom require them to be so, and so that great numbers of the Divine Names may be manifested. Everything has been tied to a cause, but we have decisively proved in numerous different places, including many of the Words, that ’causes have no actual power with which to create their effects’. So, for now we shall just say this: Among causes human beings are self-evidently the most superior, and have the greatest power of choice and the most extensive ability to control and direct other causes. And among the most obvious of man’s actions over which he exercises choice are eating and the powers of speech and thought. Furthermore, each of these abilities is a most well-ordered, wonderful, and purposeful chain. But of the hundred links in these chains only one is subject to man’s power of choice. For example, in the chain of actions concerning food, which stretches from the nourishment of the body’s cells to the forming of fruit, only moving the jaw and chewing the food is subject to man’s choice. And in the chain of speech, only exhaling air and blowing it into the mould of articulated letters. And while a word in the mouth is a seed, it becomes like a tree. In the air it yields the fruits of millions of the same word and enters the ears of listeners along with millions of others. Man’s imagination can barely reach this metaphorical shoot, so how should the short arm of choice reach it? Since among causes man is the most superior and has the greatest power of choice and yet his hands are thus tied from real creation, how should other causes, such as inanimate creatures, animals, the elements, and Nature have any real power of disposal over other causes? Each of those causes is only a container; a cover for the Dominical works; a tray-bearer for the gifts of the Compassionate One. Of course, the receptable for a king’s gift, or the handkerchief in which it is wrapped, or the individual who brings the gift, which is placed in his hand, can in no way be partners in the king’s sovereignty. Anyone who supposes that they are partners is imagining nonsensical absurdities. In the same way, apparent causes and intermediaries can have absolutely no share in God’s sustaining of His creatures. Their lot is only to perform a service of worship. THE SECOND AIM The representative of those who ascribe partners to God could in no respect prove that way, and so, although despairing, since he wanted to destroy the way of those who affirm Divine Unity, he tried to sow doubts in their minds by asking the following question: The Second Question: “O people of Unity! You say, ‘Say: He is God, the One and Only. God, the Eternally Besought One.’18 That the Creator of the universe is one, He is single, He is eternally besought by all creatures. And that the Creator of everything is He. That He is one in essence and at the same time the reins of everything are directly in His hand, the key to everything is in His grasp; one thing cannot be an obstacle to another. And you say that at the same instant He has total disposal over all things and all their states. How can such a far-fetched fact be believed? How can a single individual be in innumerable places and do innumerable things at the same time with no difficulty?” The Answer: This question may be answered through explaining an extremely profound, subtle, elevated, and comprehensive mystery concerning Divine Oneness and Eternal Besoughtedness. Man’s mind can only look at this mystery through the telescope and observatory of comparison and allegory. While there is nothing similar or analogous to God Almighty’s Essence and attributes, the functions of His attributes may be looked at to a degree by means of comparison and allegory. And so, we too shall point to that mystery through comparisons of a material nature. First Comparison: As is proved in the Sixteenth Word, a single individual may attain universality or comprehensiveness through the means of different mirrors. While actually being a particular or part of something greater than itself, it is as though it becomes a universal with numerous qualities and functions. Indeed, matter like glass and water may be a mirror to physical objects, and one such object may attain universality in such a mirror. In the same way, air, ether, and some creatures from the World of Similitudes are like mirrors to lucent objects and spirit beings. Each of those mirror-like creatures passes with the speed of lightening or imagination to the form of being a means of travel and spectating, so that the lucent and spirit beings travel with the speed of imagination in those spotless mirrors, those subtle dwellings. In the space of a single instant the spirit beings can enter thousands of places. And because they are lucent and because their reflections are the same as them and have their qualities, they are as though present in person in every mirror, everywhere, as is contrary to the case with physical beings. The reflections and likenesses of dense corporeal beings are not identical to the corporeality of those beings; they do not possess their qualities and may be thought of as dead. For example, although the sun is a particular and a single individual, it becomes like a universal by means of shining objects. It reflects its image, a sun like itself, in all shining objects, drops of water, and fragments of glass on the face of the earth, according to their capacity. The sun’s heat, light, and the seven colours in its light, a sort of likeness of the essential sun, is found in all shining physical objects. Let us suppose the sun had knowledge and consciousness, then every mirror would be like a sort of dwelling-place or seat or chair for it, it would be in contact with everything in person. It would be able to communicate with every conscious creature by means of mirrors, with the pupil of every eye, even, each of which would be like a telephone. One thing would not be an obstacle to another. Communicating with one thing would not be a barrier to communicating with another. While being present everywhere, it would be present nowhere. If the sun, which is like a material, partial, and inanimate mirror to only the Divine Name of LIGHT out of innumerable Names, can therefore display universal activity in an unlimited number of places while being a single individual, should the All-Glorious One, with the Oneness of His Essence, not be able to perform innumerable actions at the same time? Second Comparison: Since the cosmos is like a tree, each tree may be likened to the truths of the universe. So we shall take the mighty and majestic plane-tree facing this room as a miniature example of the universe and demonstrate with it the manifestation of Divine Oneness in the universe. This tree has at least ten thousand fruits and each fruit has at least a hundred winged seeds. At one instant of time the ten thousand fruits and million seeds display altogether one art and creativity. While the centre of the laws of the tree’s formation is present in its roots and trunk, through a manifestation of Divine will and a condensing of the Dominical command, which may be described as particular, individuated, and a knot of life, they are also present at the ends of all its branches, within every fruit and every seed. No part of any member of the tree is lacking them, they are not obstacles to one another; the tree is formed through them. And that single manifestation of will and that law issuing from a command are not transmitted and radiated like light, heat, and air. For they leave no trace nor may any hint of them be perceived in the long distances and various beings between the places they go. If the fact that they are present in each fruit and seed had occurred through their being transmitted and radiated, some trace or hint of them would be perceived. Rather, they are present in each of those places without being fragmented or radiated. Those universal and general actions are not incompatible with His Oneness and individuality. It may even be said that while the manifestation of will, and the law and knot of life are present in each of the places, they are present in none of them. It is as if the law has as many eyes and ears as there are fruits and seeds of the majestic tree. Indeed, each part of the tree is like a centre of the senses of the law, so that their long intermediaries are not a veil and do not form a barrier. Rather, like telephone wires, they are a means of facilitating and bringing things closer. The farthest is like the nearest. Since, as is clear from observation, through a single partial manifestation of an attribute of the Single and Eternally Besought One like will, millions of events occur in millions of places without intermediary, it is necessary to be certain, with complete certainty, that the All-Glorious One can have total disposal over the tree of the universe, together with all its parts and particles, through the manifestation of His power and will. As is proved and explained in the Sixteenth Word, impotent and subjugated creatures like the sun, and semi-luminous creatures like spirit-beings, which are restricted by matter, and the laws issuing from a command and the manifestations of will which are the knot of life and centre of direction of this plane tree, these in turn being like its light and spirit, while being in one place and being particulars identifiable as single, according to the mystery of luminosity, they are clearly present in numerous places and in numerous events. And while being particulars restricted by matter, it is as though they take on an absolute universality. And in the space of one second they may demonstrably do a great number of things through the power of choice. You see for yourself and you will not be able to deny it. The Single and Most Pure and Holy Essence, Whose attributes are all-comprehending and functions, universal, is far beyond and exalted above matter, and is utterly remote and free from any restriction and the darkness of density. All these lights and luminous beings are but obscure shadows of His Sacred Names; and all existence and life and the World of Spirits, the Intermediate Realm, and the World of Similitudes, semi-transparent mirrors reflecting His beauty. What being can be hidden in the face of His Oneness, which is within the manifestation of His attributes and actions, which in turn are evident through His universal will, absolute power, and all-embracing knowledge? What matter can be difficult for Him? What place can be concealed from Him? What object can remain distant from Him? What individual can draw close to Him without acquiring universality? Can anything at all be hidden from Him? Can any matter at all be an obstacle to another? Can any place at all be empty of His presence? Ibn al-Abbas (May God be pleased with him) said: “There is an immaterial eye that sees and ear that hears in every being.” Is this not so? Are the chains of beings not each like a wire or vein for the swift flowing of His commands and laws? Are obstacles and difficulties not means and intermediaries in His disposal of beings? Are causes and intermediaries not merely an apparent veil? While He is present nowhere, is He not present everywhere? Does He need at all to be located in a place or situation? Can the veils of distance, smallness, and the degrees of existence be obstacles to His proximity, power of disposal, and witnessing? Moreover, could the qualities pertaining to material, contingent, dense, numerous, restricted, and limited beings, and the states of change, transformation, division, and occupying space, which are their particular and confined necessary consequences, in any way touch the Most Pure and Holy Essence Who is far beyond matter, is Necessarily Existent, the Light of Lights, and is Single, One, and is free from any restriction or limitation and exalted above and pure of any fault or deficiency? Could impotence in any way be fitting for Him? Could any defect approach the skirt of His splendour and glory? CONCLUSION TO THE SECOND AIM Once, when I was reflecting on Divine Oneness, I looked at the fruits on the plane-tree outside my room. A chain of thought came to me as inspiration, and I write it here in Arabic exactly as it came to me.19 All these fruits and the seeds within them are each a miracle of Dominical wisdom, a wonder of Divine art, a gift of Divine mercy, a material proof of Divine Unity, a bearer of the good news that Divine favours will be granted in the hereafter. Just as they are all truthful witnesses to His all-embracing power and knowledge, each of them is also a mirror confirming His Unity in all the corners of the world of multiplicity and in all the parts of the world of this tree, a world that has become multiple. They turn the gaze from multiplicity to Unity. Each of them says through the tongue of its being: “Do not let your glance wander all over this mighty spreading tree lest you become distracted, for the whole tree is within us. Its multiplicity is contained within our unity.” And even, while each seed, which is like the heart of the fruit, is a material mirror confirming Divine Unity, it also mentions and recites in the silent prayer of its heart those of the Divine Names that the mighty tree recites in its audible prayer. Furthermore, while these fruits and seeds are mirrors professing Divine Unity, they are also the visible signs of Divine Determining and embodied tokens of Divine Power. Divine Determining indicates through them and Power hints through those words, saying: “The many branches and twigs of this tree came from a single seed and demonstrate the Unity of the tree’s Artist in creating it and giving it form. Then, after increasing and spreading its branches, it gathered together all its truths in a single fruit. It included its whole meaning in a single seed, and through it demonstrates the wisdom in the Glorious Creator’s creation and planning.” In the same way, the tree of the universe takes its existence from a source of Unity and is sustained by it. And man, who is the fruit of the universe, demonstrates Unity within this multiplicity of beings, and his heart also sees the mystery of Unity within multiplicity with the eye of faith. Moreover, the fruits and seeds are allusions of Dominical wisdom. Wisdom says the following with them to those who are aware: “The comprehensive regard and planning directed towards this tree look to a single fruit, because of its comprehensiveness and universality. For the fruit is a miniature specimen of the tree. It is what is aimed at by the tree. Also, the comprehensive regard and planning look to each seed within the fruit. For the seed bears the meaning or index of the whole tree. That is to say, the One Who plans the tree regards each fruit with all His Names connected to the planning, the fruit being the aim and purpose of the tree’s existence and creation. Moreover, the mighty tree is sometimes pruned and trimmed for the sake of the tiny fruit; some parts of it are destroyed so that it may be renewed. It is grafted in order to produce even better, permanent fruit.” In the same way, man, who is the fruit of the tree of the universe, is the purpose of its creation and existence and the aim of the creation of beings. And man’s heart, which is the seed of the fruit, is a most brilliant and comprehensive mirror to the universe’s Maker. And so it follows on from this wisdom that tiny man will be the cause of the destruction and transformation of the universe. He will be the point of momentous revolutions like the Day of Resurrection. It will be for his judgement that the door of this world will be closed and that of the hereafter opened. Since we have arrived at a discussion of resurrection, it is appropriate to explain one point concerning its reality which demonstrates the clarity and strength with which the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition illuminates and proves resurrection. The result yielded by this sequence of thought shows that if it is necessary for man’s judgement and his gaining eternal happiness, the whole universe will be destroyed and that a power capable of destroying and transforming the universe shows itself and exists. But resurrection has many degrees. It is obligatory to believe in some of them; they must be acknowledged. Whereas others become apparent according to levels in spiritual and intellectual development, and for these knowledge pertaining to both are necessary. In order to present cogent and strong proofs for the simplest and easiest level, the All-Wise Qur’an points out a power capable of opening up a truly vast realm of resurrection. So, the degree of resurrection in which it is necessary for all to believe is this: After human beings die, their spirits depart for another realm. And their bodies rot except for a minute cell from the base of the spine which will act as a seed. It remains intact, and on the Day of Resurrection God Almighty will create the human body out of it and return its spirit to it. This degree is so simple, then, that it may be seen every spring through millions of examples. Sometimes in order to prove this degree, the verses of the Qur’an point out the unlimited activity of a power capable of raising to life all particles, and sometimes the traces of a power and wisdom capable of sending all creatures to extinction and then recalling them. Then they point to the activity and traces of a power and wisdom able to scatter the stars and shatter the heavens, and sometimes to the activity and manifestations of a power and wisdom capable of causing all animate creatures to die and then raising them to life again all at once at a single trumpet-blast. Sometimes the verses demonstrate the manifestations of a power and wisdom that will raise to life the face of the earth and animate creatures all separately. And sometimes they demonstrate the traces of a power and wisdom that, lopping off its mountains, will cause the globe of the earth to disintegrate completely, and then restoring it will transform it into an even more excellent form. That is to say, apart from the Day of Resurrection, in which it is obligatory for everyone to believe and to acknowledge, through that power and wisdom, God Almighty can also create numerous other degrees and resurrections. And what is more, Dominical wisdom requires that besides certainly bringing about mankind’s resurrection, He shall bring about all those other degrees or create certain other important matters. A Question: You say: “You make much use of analogies in the form of comparisons or parables in the Words. Whereas according to the science of logic, this form of analogy does not afford certainty. A logical proof is required for matters of certain knowledge. Analogy in the form of comparison and parable is utilised by scholars of canon law in matters in which the prevailing opinion is sufficient. Also, you present comparisons in the form of certain stories; the stories are imaginary and cannot be true. Is this not contrary to reality?” The Answer: It has often been stated in the science of logic that analogies in the form of comparisons and parable do not afford certain knowledge. However, there is a certain type of this form of analogy that forms a more powerful proof than those proofs consisting of certain knowledge used in logic. Also, it is more certain than that sort of deduction. This type of analogy is as follows. It demonstrates the tip of a universal truth by means of a partial comparison and constructs its judgement on that truth. It demonstrates the truth’s law in a particular matter, so that that vast truth may be known and particular matters may be ascribed to it. For example, although the sun is a single being, by means of luminosity it is present in every shining object. A law of a truth is demonstrated by means of this comparison which states that light and luminosity cannot be restricted: for them, distance and proximity are the same, many and few are equal, and space cannot conquer them. And this is another example: a tree’s fruits and leaves are all shaped and formed at the same time, in the same fashion, easily and perfectly, in a single centre and through a law issuing from a command. This is a comparison or parable demonstrating the tip of a mighty truth and universal law. It proves that truth and that truth’s law in a truly decisive form, so that, like the tree, the mighty universe, too, displays and is the field of operation of that law of truth and mystery of Divine Oneness. Thus, the analogies, comparisons, and parables employed in all the Words are in this form and are more powerful and afford more certainty than the categorical proofs of logic. Answer to the second part of the question: It is a well-known fact that in the art of composition, when the true meaning of a word or phrase is used solely as the means to perceive another meaning, it is called an ‘allusive expression’. The essential meaning of a phrase defined as ‘allusive’ is not the means of either truth or falsehood, rather, it is its allusive meaning that is such. If the allusive meaning is correct then the phrase is true. Even if its essential meaning is false, it does not damage that veracity. If the allusive meaning is not correct while its essential meaning is, then the phrase is false. For example, “So-and-so’s salvation is of great length.” That is, “His sword-belt is very long.” This phrase alludes to the man’s tall stature. If he was tall but did not have a sword and belt, the phrase would still be correct and true. If he was not tall but had a long sword and belt, then the phrase would be false, since it is not its essential meaning that is intended. So, the stories or parables in the Words, like for example, those in the Tenth and Twenty-Second Words, are sorts of allusions. The truths at the end of the stories are extremely correct, extremely true and conformable to reality; they are the allusive meanings of the stories. Their essential meanings are comparisons that bring distant objects close like a telescope and however they may be it does not damage their veracity and truthfulness. Moreover, each of those stories is a comparison or parable. Purely to enable people in general to understand, what is properly communicated without words is put into words, and immaterial and abstract matters are represented in material form. THIRD AIM After receiving this decisive and convincing answer to his second question,20 the representative of all the people of misguidance was reduced to silence, but then asked the following third question. “Phrases in the Qur’an like The Best of Creators,21 and,The Most Compassionate of the Compassionate,22 suggest that there are other creators and compassionate ones. And you also say, ‘the Creator of all the worlds possesses endless perfections. United in Him are the utmost levels of every kind of perfection. Whereas, the perfections of beings are known through their opposites: if there was no pain, pleasure would not be a sort of perfection; if there was no darkness, light could not be proved to exist; if there was no separation, there would be no pleasure in union, and so on, would there?” The Answer: We shall answer the first part of the question in five Indications. FIRST INDICATION: From beginning to end, the Qur’an demonstrates Divine Unity; this is a clear indication that those sort of phrases in the Qur’an are not as you understand them. Rather, The Best of Creators is to say, “He is at the highest and best rank of creativity,” which in no way indicates that there is another creator. Like the other attributes, creativity has many degrees or ranks. The Best of Creators means, “He is a Glorious Creator at the furthest and most excellent degree of creativity.” SECOND INDICATION: Terms like, The Best of Creators do not look to a plurality of creators, but to the varieties of the state of being creature. That is, “He is a Creator Who creates everything in an appropriate form, at the most faultless degree.” Verses like, Who makes most excellent everything He creates, 23 express this meaning. THIRD INDICATION: The comparison suggested by terms like, The Best of Creators, God is Most Great, The Best Judge between truth and falsehood,24 and The Most Bountiful are not comparative and superlative adjectives comparing God Almighty’s attributes and actions, which are actual, with others who possess samples of those attributes and actions. For all the perfections in the universe, and in jinn, men, and angels are but pale shadows in relation to His perfection. How should any comparison be possible? It is rather human beings, and particularly the people of neglect, who see perfection in terms of comparison. For example a private shows complete obedience and respect to his corporal. It seems to him that all benefits come from him and he thinks little of the king. Even if he does think of him, it is still to the corporal that he shows his gratitude. So it is said to such a private: “See here! The king is much greater than your corporal, it is only him that you should thank.” Now this sentence does not compare the king’s imperial commandership, which is actual, with that of the corporal, which is partial and only apparent; because to do so would be meaningless. Rather, it is a result of what the private considers to be important, of how he sees his relations with the corporal that he prefers him and loves and thanks only him. Thus, in the same way, when apparent causes are imagined to be the creator and bestower of bounties in the view of the people of neglect, they become a veil to the True Bestower of Bounties. These neglectful people cling onto causes and think that bounties and favours are from them; they praise and accla


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