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Food Crush: Cig Kofte

October 6, 2010

I’m not one of those food thrill-seekers. I didn’t particularly like kokorec, I already wimped away from kelle once, and it’d take a lot for me to go for iskembe or paca. I suppose I’m missing great culinary treats here…I just can’t get myself to eat these things. My stomach turns. I’m a wimp, I guess.

But there is one thing I have a weakness for that makes others’ stomachs go weak. It’s Cig Kofte (embarrassingly – but effectively – transliterated on wikipedia), and its raw ground meat mixed with awesome spices, served in a lavash with some combination of lettuce, mint, parsley, arugula, lemon juice, and spicy sauce.

We’d have to invent “NOM!” if some cats didn’t beat us to it

Istanbul Eats has already been there and done that, as you can expect. And Portakal Agaci, the best Turkish food blog out there, makes a mean recipe.

Cig Kofte, when done well, is a fantastic mix of freshness, spiciness, and substantiality, and never for more than 4 TL. The greens have a snap and damper pure heat, which the aci provides. The kofte itself is different everywhere, of course. But the best has this subtle, smokey, taste that’s redolent of really good chili. Many places go etsiz, or meatless, and honestly there’s very little difference: the best etsiz are on par with the best elsewhere.

So there are three places I frequent, and I’mma go ahead and tell you about all three.

My favorite is in Besiktas, right at the eagle statue. He’s a great man that does a combination waffle/cig kofte joint, so you can go with friends and everyone is happy. It’s meatless and 3.5, which is the most expensive on this list. And I don’t get how its meatless, because it’s some juicy stuff. Incredible mouthfeel here.

The second favorite? That’d be the cigci over below the Galata Tower. You’ll see a dangerously obese kid selling sweets, then a fasulye/pilavci, then the cigci all in a row. It’s 2.5 TL and worth each kurus. Get ayran from the pilavci to wash it down, they have the best ayran in the city there.

And I went to Cig Koftem last night. At 3TL, its not too bad. It’s location is great: just across the street from Taksim Meydani, down Tarlebasi from Simit Sarayi. And he pulls absurd hours. Good stuff, and the most real-sit-down restaurant of the sort. But who wants that?

Cig Kofte here is like the best burger joint in the states. Largely up to the reviewer’s personal taste, and the grungier, the better. So I highly advise you to go out into this city and find your favorite guys. It should be noted, of course, that my cigciler are the ones that ply their trade along the streets I tend to frequent. So find your neighborhood’s best! And here’s a hint: the Hisarustu guy, though I haven’t been in ages, would be my favorite if I hit him up more often.

Or, if you’re really lucky, on an afternoon on Imam Adnan or Mis Sokaklar, you’ll hear the clarion call of the roving vendor. With a big smile and an eye for his best customers, he’s your only chance to have a beer and some cig kofte. Find him and prosper.

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  1. March 13, 2011 5:28 am
    The Twenty-Fourth Word [This Word consists of Five Branches. Study the Fourth Branch carefully. And hold on to the Fifth Branch and climb it, then pluck its fruits!] In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.God, there is no god but He; His are the Most Beautiful Names.We shall indicate five branches of one of the many truths from the luminous tree of this glorious verse. FIRST BRANCH A sultan has different titles in the spheres of his government, and different styles and attributes among the classes of his subjects, and different names and signs in the levels of his rule, for example, Just Judge in the judiciary, Sultan in the civil service, Commander-in-Chief in the army, and Caliph in the learned establishment. If, making an analogy with these, you know the rest of his names and titles, you will understand that a single sultan may possess a thousand names and titles in the spheres of his rule and levels of government. It is as if, through his corporate personality and telephone, the ruler is present and knowing in every sphere; and through his laws and regulations and representatives, sees and is seen; and behind the veil in every degree, disposes and sees, governs and observes through his decree, knowledge, and power. And it is exactly the same for the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity; in the degrees of His Dominicality He has attributes and designations which are all different but which look to each other; and in the spheres of His Godhead He has names and marks which are all different but which are one within the other; and in His magnificent activities He has representations and appellations which are all different but which resemble each other; and in the disposals of His power He has titles which are all different but which hint of one another; and in the manifestations of His attributes He has sacred appearances which are all different but which show one another; and in the displays of His acts He has wise disposals which are of numerous sorts but which complete one another; and in His multicoloured art and varieties of creatures, He has magnificent aspects of Dominicality which are all different but which look to one another. And together with this, in every world, in every realm of beings, the title of one of the Most Beautiful Names is manifested. In each sphere one Name is dominant and the other Names are subordinate to it, rather, they are there on account of it.Furthermore, in every level of beings, many or few, great or small, particular or general, He has an appearance through a particular manifestation, a particular Dominicality, a particular Name. That is to say, although the Name in question is general and encompasses everything, it is turned towards a thing with such intention and importance that it is as if it is special to that thing alone. And moreover, although the All-Glorious Creator is close to everything, there are almost seventy thousand luminous veils. You can compare how many veils there are from the particular degree of creativity of the Name of Creator which is manifested on you to the greatest degree and supreme title which is Creator of all the universe. That means, on condition you leave the whole universe behind you, from the door of creativity you may reach the limits of the Name of Creator and draw close to the sphere of attributes.Since the veils have windows which look to one another, and the Names appear one within the other, and the acts look to one another, and the similitudes enter one within the other, and the titles hint of one another, and the manifestations resemble each other, and the disposals assist and complete one another, and the various dispositions of Dominicality help and assist one another, it surely necessitates not denying the other titles, acts, and degrees of Dominicality when Almighty God is known through one of His Names, titles, or degrees of Dominicality. Indeed, if a transition is not made from the manifestation of any one Name to the other Names, it is harmful. For example, if the works of the Names, All-Powerful and Creator are seen, and not the Name of All-Knowing, a person may fall into heedlessness and the misguidance of Nature. He should always keep in view and recite: He!” and:”He is God!” He should listen, and hear from everything:”Say, He is God, the One!” His tongue should utter and proclaim: “All the world declares: there is no god but He!” Thus, through the decree of, God, there is no god but He; His are the Most Beautiful Names, the Qur’an points to these truths that we have mentioned.If you want to observe these elevated truths from close to, go and ask a stormy sea or the quaking earth: “What are you saying?” You will hear that they are saying: “O Glorious One! O Glorious One! O One of Might, All-Compelling!” Then ask the small animals and their young being raised with kindness and compassion in the sea and on the land: “What are you saying?” For sure they will say: “O Beauteous One! O Beauteous One! O Most Compassionate and Merciful One!”2 Then listen to the skies; they say: “O Glorious One of Beauty!” And give your ear to the earth; it says: “O Beauteous One of Glory!” Listen carefully to the animals; they are saying: “O Most Merciful One! O Provider!” And ask the spring; you will hear many Names like: “O Gentle One! O Most Merciful One! O Most Compassionate One! O Most Generous One! O Gracious One! O Benevolent One! O Giver of Forms! O Giver of Light! O Bestower! O Adorner!” And ask a human being who is a true human, and see how he recites all the Most Beautiful Names and how they are written on his forehead. If you look carefully, you too may read them. It is as if the universe is a huge orchestra celebrating the Divine Names. By mixing the tiniest song with the most powerful refrains, it produces a sublime and subtle harmony. You may make further analogies in the same way.For sure, man is the place of manifestation of all the Names, but the Names being various, which has resulted in the universe’s variety and the differences in the angels’ worship, has also caused variety to a degree among men. The different laws of the Prophets, the different ways of the saints, and the different paths of the purified scholars has arisen from this mystery. For example, together with the other Names, the Name of All-Powerful was predominant in Jesus (Upon whom be peace). And in those who follow the path of love, the Name of Loving One prevails, and in those who follow the path of contemplation and reflection, the Name of All-Wise.Thus, if someone is both a teacher, and a policeman, and a clerk of the court, and an inspector in the civil service, in each office he has both relations, and duties, and obligations, and salaries, and responsibilities, and promotion, and enemies and rivals who are the cause of his failures. And he appears before the king, and he sees the king, with many titles. And he seeks help from him with many tongues. And he has recourse to many of the ruler’s titles, and seeks his help in many forms in order to be saved from the evil of his enemies.In just the same way, man, who manifests many Names and is charged with many duties and afflicted with many enemies, invokes many of the Names in his prayers and supplications. Like Muhammed the Arabian (Blessings and peace be upon him), the cause of pride of mankind and truly the most perfect man, supplicated with a thousand and one Names in his prayer, Jaushan al-Kabir. And so, it is due to this mystery that the Sura,Say, I seek refuge with the Sustainer and Cherisher of men, * The Sovereign of men, * The God of men, * From the evil of the whispering, elusive tempter3commands that we take refuge with God through three titles, and,In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionateshows the seeking of help through three Names. SECOND BRANCH This explains two mysteries which comprise the keys to many further mysteries. FIRST MYSTERY: “Why do the saints differ greatly in their visions and illuminations although they are unanimous on the principles of belief? Why are their illuminations, which are at the degree of witnessing, sometime opposed to reality and contrary to the truth? And why in their ideas which they consider to be the the truth, establishing them through decisive proofs, do thinkers and scholars see and show reality in a way that contradicts one another? Why does one truth take on numerous colours?” SECOND MYSTERY: “Why did the early Prophets leave some of the pillars of belief like bodily resurrection in brief form to a degree and not explain them in detail like the Qur’an, so that in the future some of their communities went as far as denying some of those concise pillars? Also, why did some of the saints only advance in the affirmation of Divine Unity, and although they even progressed as far as the degree of ‘absolute certainty’ in Divine Unity, some of the pillars of belief appear in their paths very little and in summary form? And as a result, those who followed them in the future did not give the necessary importance to the pillars of belief, and some of them even fell into error? Since true perfection is found through the unfolding of all the pillars of belief, why did some of the mystics advance greatly in them, while some remained very backward, whereas the Most Noble Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him), who manifested all the Divine Names at their maximum degree and was the chief of the Prophets, and the All-Wise Qur’an, which is the luminous chief of all the Sacred Scriptures, described in detail all the pillars of belief, clearly, and in most serious manner and deliberate way?”Because in reality the most true and complete perfection is thus. Yes, the wisdom in these mysteries is this: for sure man is the place of manifestation of all the Names, but since his power is slight, his will partial, his abilities various, and desires, different, he searches for reality among thousands of veils and barriers. And so, in uncovering reality and witnessing the truth, barriers intervene. Some people cannot by-pass the barriers. Their abilities are all different. The abilities of some cannot support the unfolding of some of the truths of belief. Moreover, the colours of the manifestations of the Names vary according to the place where they are manifested; they become all different. Some people who manifest them cannot be the means to the complete manifestation of a Name. Also, the manifestation of the Names takes on different forms in respect of universality, particularity, shadow, or originality. Some capacities cannot transcend particularity. And some cannot emerge from the shadow. And according to some capacities, sometimes one Name is predominant, and it carries out its word and rules in that capacity. And so now we shall make a few indications to this profound mystery and this extensive wisdom with an enigmatical, comprehensive, true, but somewhat complex, comparison.For example, let us suppose an adorned flower, a living droplet enamoured of the Moon, and a translucent atom which looks to the Sun. Each of these possesses consciousness and some perfection, and each has a yearning for that perfection. Together with indicating many truths, these three things also allude to the spiritual voyaging of the soul, the mind, and the heart. And they also correspond to three levels of those who investigate reality. The First indicates those who follow the path of reflection; those who follow the path of sainthood; and those who follow the path of prophethood. The Second corresponds to those who approach reality by striving for perfection through the bodily systems; and those who approach it by striving through employing the mind and refining the soul; and those who approach it through belief, submission, and purifying the heart. The Third is the comparison of those who do not give up egotism, are plunged in works, and approach reality through deduction and reasoning only; and of those who search for reality through knowledge and science, reason and learning; and those who approach reality swiftly through belief and the Qur’an, poverty and worship. These comparisons point to the wisdom in the differences between the three groups, whose capacities are also different.Thus, under the titles of Flower, Droplet, and Atom, we shall show by means of a comparison the mystery and extensive wisdom in the progress of the three groups. For example, through its Creator’s permission and at His command, the Sun has three sorts of manifestation, reflection and radiance: one is its reflection on flowers, one its reflection on the Moon and the planets, and one its reflection on shining objects like glass and water. The First is in three ways: One is a universal and general manifestation and reflection whereby its radiance encompasses all flowers at once. Another is a special manifestation whereby it has a special reflection for each species. Another is a particular manifestation whereby its effulgence is in accordance with the individuality of each flower. This comparison of ours is according to an assertion which is this: the adorned colours of flowers arises from the changing reflections of the seven colours in the Sun’s light. And according to this assertion, flowers too are sorts of mirrors to the Sun. The Second is the light and effulgence which, with the All-Wise Creator’s permission, the Sun gives to the Moon and planets. After this universal and extensive light and effulgence, the Moon, whose light is like a shadow of that light, profits from the Sun in a universal fashion. Then is its radiance and effulgence in a special way on the seas and air and shining earth, and in a particular form on the bubbles on the sea and translucent particles of the earth and the molecules of the air. The Third: Making the air and the surface of the seas into mirrors, through the Divine command, it is a reflection of the Sun which is pure, universal, and without shadow. Then the Sun gives to each of the bubbles on the sea, the droplets of water, molecules of air, and snow-flakes, a particular reflection and tiny image of itself. Thus, in the face of every flower, the Moon, and all droplets and atoms the Sun has an effulgence and favouring in the three forms mentioned above. And these in turn are each in two ways: The First Way is direct, and without barrier or veil. This way represents the way of Prophethood. The Second Way: In this, barriers intervene. The capacities of the mirrors and places of manifestation add colour to the Sun’s manifestations. This way represents the way of sainthood.Thus, on the First Way, ‘Flower’, ‘Droplet’, and ‘Atom’ can each say: “I am a mirror to the Sun of all the world.” But on the Second Way they cannot say that; they can rather say: “I am the mirror to my own Sun, or the mirror to the Sun which is manifested in my species.” For that is the manner in which they know the Sun. They cannot see a Sun which looks to the whole world. Whereas the Sun of that individual or species or genus appears to it within narrow confines and under limiting restrictions. And it cannot ascribe to that restricted Sun the works of the unrestricted, unconfined, absolute Sun. For it cannot attribute to the Sun within those narrow restrictions and limited confines with the certain witnessing of the heart its majestic works like furnishing the whole face of the earth with light and heat, stirring the lives of all plants and animals, and making the planets revolve around it. Indeed, even if those three things, which we suppose to have consciousness, ascribe those wondrous works to the Sun which they see under those restrictions, they can only do so with the mind and through belief, and through submitting to the fact that that restricted thing is absolute. Whereas these judgements of ‘Flower’, ‘Droplet’, and ‘Atom’, which we suppose to possess reason like a human being, that is, their ascribing mighty works to the Sun, is through the mind and reason, it is not through illumination. Indeed, sometimes their judgements concerning belief clash with their illuminations concerning the cosmos. They can only believe them with great difficulty.Now the three of us must enter into this comparison, which is narrow for reality and in some of the corners of which the members of reality are to be seen and which is mixed with reality. The three of us shall suppose ourselves to be ‘Flower’, ‘Droplet’, and ‘Atom’. For the consciousness which we suppose to be in them is insufficient. We must add our reasons to their’s. That is to say, just as they receive effulgence from their physical Sun, we too shall receive effulgence from our immaterial Sun, and must understand it.And so, my friend, who has not forgotten the world, is preoccupied with materiality, and whose soul is dense! You be ‘Flower’. ‘Flower’ takes on a colour dissolved from the Sun’s light, and it mixes the Sun’s image within that colour and clothes itself in an adorned form. For your capacity resembles it as well. Then let this philosopher who has studied secular science and is plunged in causes like the Old Said be ‘Droplet’, which is enamoured of the Moon. For the Moon affords him the shadow of light it has received from the Sun, and it gives a light to the pupil of his eye. And ‘Droplet’ too shines with the light, but he can only see the Moon with it, he cannot see the Sun. Rather, he can only see it through his belief. Then, let this poor man be ‘Atom’, who knows everything to be directly from Almighty God and considers causes to be a veil. He is such an ‘Atom’ that knows himself to be poor in his own self. He has nothing on which to depend so as to rely on himself like ‘Flower’. He possesses no colour that he should appear through it. And he does not recognize other things that he should turn towards them. He has a sheer purity by which he holds the Sun’s image directly in the pupil of his eye. Now, since we have taken the place of these three things, we must consider ourselves. What do we have? What must we do?Thus, we look and see that through his favours a Most Munificent One is adorning, illuminating, and nurturing us. And as for man, he worships one who bestows favours on him. And he wants to be close to one worthy of being worshipped, and desires to see him. In which case, in accordance with our capacities, each of us journeys through the attraction of that love. You who is like ‘Flower’, you are going, but go as a flower. See, you have gone. You have advanced and advanced till you have reached a universal degree, as though you have become like all flowers. But ‘Flower’ is a dense mirror; it dissolves and refracts the seven colours in light; it conceals the Sun’s reflection. You will not be successful in seeing the face of the Sun which you love, for the colours and characteristics, which are restricted, disperse it, draw a veil over it and obscure it. In this situation, you cannot be saved from the separation which arises with the interposing of barriers. However, you can be saved on one condition, which is that you raise your head which is sunk in love of your own soul, and withdraw your gaze which glories and takes pleasure in its own merits, and cast it at the face of the Sun in the sky. And on condition you turn your face looking down to the earth to gain your livelihood, up to the Sun. For you are its mirror. Your duty is to act as a mirror to it. Whether you know it or not, your sustenance will come from the earth, the door to the treasury of mercy. Yes, a flower is a miniscule mirror to the Sun, and the Sun too is merely a drop-like flash manifesting in the seas of the skies the Name of Light of the Pre-Eternal Sun.O heart of man! Know from this of what a Sun you are the mirror. After fulfilling this condition, you will find your perfection. But just as in actual reality you cannot see the Sun in that way, so also you cannot understand this truth naked. Rather, the colours of your attributes give it a colour and your cloudy telescope attaches a form to it, and your limited capacity restricts it.And now, wise philosopher who has entered into ‘Droplet’! You have advanced as far as the Moon with the telescope of your droplet of thought and by the stairway of philosophy. You have entered the Moon. Look, of itself the Moon is dense and dark; it has neither light nor life. Your endeavour has all been in vain, and your knowledge has proved to be profitless. You can only be saved from the darkness of despair, the desolation of loneliness, the pestering of evil spirits, and the horrors of that bleakness through these conditions: that you give up the night of Nature and turn to the Sun of reality, and you believe with complete certainty that the light of this night are the shadows of the lights of Sun of daytime. After fulfilling these conditions, you will find your perfection. You will find the majestic Sun in place of the poor and darksome Moon. But like your previous friend, you will not be able to see the Sun clearly. You will rather see it beyond the veils with which your reason and your philosophy are familiar and conversant, and behind the screens woven by science and learning, and within a colour conferred by your capacity.And now our Atom-like third friend, who is both poor and colourless. He swiftly evaporates in the Sun’s heat, abandons his egotism, mounts the steam, and rises into the air. The dense matter within him takes fire with the flame of love and is transformed into light and radiance. He adheres to a ray proceeding from the manifestations of that light, and draws close to it. O you who resembles ‘Atom’! Since you act as a direct mirror to the Sun, at whatever degree you are, you will find an opening, a window, looking purely at the Sun itself in a fashion that affords absolute certainty. And you will experience no difficulty in attributing to the Sun its wondrous works. Without hesitation you will be able to ascribe to it the majestic attributes of which it is worthy. Nothing will be able to take you by the hand and make you forego ascribing to it the awesome works of its essential sovereignty. Neither the constriction of barriers, nor the limitations of your capacity, nor the smallness of mirrors will confuse you, nor impel you contrary to the truth. Because, since you look at it purely, sincerely, and directly, you have understood that what appears in the places of manifestation and is observed in the mirrors, is not the Sun, but manifestations of it of a sort, and coloured reflections of it of a sort. For sure those reflections are its titles, but they do not display all the works of its splendour.Thus, in this comparison, which is mixed with reality, perfection is reached by means of three ways which are all different, and which are different in the virtues of those perfections and in the details of the degrees of witnessing. But in conclusion and in submitting to the Truth and confirming the reality, they are in agreement. Just as a man of the night who has never seen the Sun and has only seen its shadow in the mirror of the Moon, cannot squeeze into his mind the resplendent light and awesome gravity particular to the Sun, and rather submits to those who have seen it and imitates them, in the same way, one who cannot attain to the maximum degrees of Names like All-Powerful and Giver of Life through the legacy of Muhammed (PBUH), accepts the Resurrection of the Dead and Great Gathering imitatively, and declares that it is not a matter that can be understood through the reason. For the reality of the Resurrection and Last Judgement is the manifestation of the Greatest Name and of the supreme degree of certain other Names. Whose-ever gaze cannot rise there is compelled to believe it by way of imitation. While whose-ever mind can enter there, sees the Resurrection and Last Judgement as easily as day and night, and spring and winter, and accepts it with ease of mind.Thus, it is due to this mystery that the Qur’an speaks of the Resurrection and Great Gathering at the highest level and in the most perfect detailed manner, and our Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him), who manifested the Greatest Name, taught it thus. And as required by the wisdom of guidance, the former Prophets did not teach their communities, which were at a somewhat simple and primitive level, about the Resurrection of the Dead at the highest level and with the most extensive details. And it is also due to this mystery that some of those who followed the path of sainthood did not see or could not demonstrate some of the truths of belief at the greatest degree. And it is also due to this mystery that there are great differences in the degrees of those who have knowledge of God. And numerous other mysteries like these unfold from this truth. Now, since both this comparison hints at the truth a little, and the truth is extremely extensive and profound, we also shall content ourselves with the comparison, and not attempt mysteries which are beyond our limit and capacity. THIRD BRANCHSince the Hadiths that speak of the signs of the Last Day, the events at the end of time, and the merits and rewards of certain actions have not been well understood, some scholars who rely on their reason have pronounced some of them to be either weak or false. And some of the scholars whose belief was weak but whose egotism was strong have gone as far as denying them. For now we shall not attempt any detailed discussion, but shall only explain ‘Twelve Principles’. FIRST PRINCIPLE: This is a matter which we have explained in the question and answer at the end of the Twentieth Word. Its summary is this: Religion is an examination, a test, which distinguishes elevated spirits from base ones. It therefore speaks of matters that everyone shall see with their eyes in the future in such a way that they remain neither altogether unknown, nor self-evident so that everyone would be compelled to confirm them. They open the door to the reason but do not take the will from the hand. Because if a sign of the Last Day appeared completely self-evidently and everyone was compelled to affirm it, then a disposition like coal would remain equal to one like diamonds. The mystery of obligation and results of examination would be lost. Thus, it is because of this that there has been much dispute over many matters like that of the Mehdi and Sufyan. Also, the narrations differ greatly; they have become pronouncements which contradict one another. SECOND PRINCIPLE: There are levels in the matters of Islam. If one requires certain proof, for another the prevailing opinion is sufficient. While others require merely assent and acceptance and not to be rejected. In which case, secondary matters or particular events in time which are not among the bases of belief do not require certain compliance and definite proof, rather, just not to be rejected and to be submitted to, and not to be interfered with. THIRD PRINCIPLE: In the time of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) most of the Jewish and Christian scholars entered Islam, and their former knowledge became Muslim together with them. Some of their former knowledge which was contrary to the truth was imagined to belong to Islam. FOURTH PRINCIPLE: Some of the words of the narrators of Hadith or the meanings they deduced were considered to be part of the texts of the Hadiths. However, since man cannot be free of fault, some of the deductions or words which were contrary to the truth were supposed to be Hadiths and were pronounced to be weak. FIFTH PRINCIPLE: According to the meaning of: Among my community are transmitters of Hadiths, that is, meaning, who are inspired, some of the meanings which were obtained through the inspirations of scholars of related Hadiths who followed the path of illumination and sainthood were supposed to be Hadiths. Whereas, due to certain obstructions, the inspiration of saints may be in error. Thus, some that are contrary to the truth may arise from this. SIXTH PRINCIPLE: There are certain stories which, having become universally known, have become like proverbs. Their true meanings are not considered. For whatever purpose they were spread, that is what is considered. Thus, some stories and fables which have become well-known among people in this way, the Most Noble Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) told in the form of comparisons and metaphors for the purpose of guidance. If there is any error in the true meanings of this sort of matters, it pertains to the customs and traditions of the people, and the way they have been passed among them. SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: There are many similes and parables that with the passage of time or with passing from the hand of learning to the hand of ignorance have been supposed to be physical fact, and have become mistaken. For example, two angels of God in the World of Similitudes called ‘The Ox’ and ‘The Fish’, who are among the supervisors of the animals of the land and the sea and are represented as an ox and fish, were imagined to be huge ox and a physical fish, and the Hadith was wrongly interpreted. And for example, one time in the presence of the Prophet a deep rumbling was heard. The Most Noble Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) decreed: “That is the sound of a rock that has been rolling down for seventy years and only now has hit the bottom of Hell.” Thus, someone hearing this Hadith who has not arrived at the truth may deviate into denial. But then, twenty minutes after the Hadith was spoken, it was definitely established, for someone came and told the Most Noble Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him): “The famous dissembler died twenty minutes ago.” The Most Noble Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) had described most eloquently that the whole life of the dissembler, who was seventy years old, had been as a stone of Hell descending continuously to the lowest of the low in unbelief. And Almighty God had made that rumbling heard at the moment of his death and given him a sign. EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: In this arena of trial and realm of examination, Almighty God, the Absolutely Wise One, conceals most important things in the midst of numerous others, and that concealment is tied to many purposes, benefits, and instances of wisdom. For example, He has hidden the Night of Power in the whole of Ramadan, and the hour when prayers are answered in the whole of Friday, and well-accepted saints among the people generally, and the appointed hour in a person’s whole life-time, and the time of Doomsday in the life of the world. For if the time of man’s death had been specified, the first half of his life would be passed in absolute heedlessness and the second, in terror, like going step by step to the gallows. Whereas the benefit of preserving the balance of this world and the hereafter, and all the time remaining between hope and fear, requires that living and dying are possible every moment. In which case, twenty years of life which is uncertain is preferable to a thousand years of life that is specified. Thus, the Last Day is the appointed hour of the world, the macroanthropos. If the time had been specified, all the early and middle ages would have been plunged into absolute heedlessness, and the latter centuries, into terror. Just as in his personal life man is connected with the continuation of his home and his village, so too in his social life and as a member of mankind he is connected with the continued existence of the earth and the world. The Qur’an says,The Hour has drawn nigh.5That is, Doomsday is near. It still not having come after a thousand or this many years does not injure its closeness. Because Doomsday is the appointed hour of the world, and in relation to the life of the world one or two thousand years are like one or two minutes in relation to a year. The Hour of Doomsday is not only the appointed hour of mankind that it should be related to it and seen as distant. Thus, it is because of this that the Absolutely Wise One conceals Doomsday in His knowledge among the ‘Five Hidden Things’. Thus, it is due to the mystery of this vagueness that every age including the Age of the Bliss, the Age of the Prophet, they have always been frightened of the end of the world. Some of them even said that the conditions had all but appeared.Thus, unfair people who do not know this truth say: “Why did the Companions of the Prophet with their vigilant hearts and keen sight, who had been taught all the details of the hereafter, suppose a fact that would occur one thousand four hundred years later to be close to their century, as though their ideas had fallen a thousand years from the truth?”The Answer: Because, through the effulgence of the Prophet’s conversation, the Companions thought of the hereafter more than anyone, and knowing the transience of the world and understanding the Divine wisdom in the hour of Doomsday being vague, they assumed a position of always awaiting the world’s appointed hour and worked seriously for the hereafter. The Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) repeating: “Expect Doomsday. Wait for it” was Prophetic guidance arising from this wisdom, it was not a pronouncement of Revelation concerning the specific time of its occurrence and far from the truth. The cause is one thing and the wisdom is another. Thus, these sort of sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) arise from the wisdom in certain things being indefinite. It is also due to this mystery that they expected the individuals who will come at the end of time like the Mehdi and Sufyan long beforehand, and even in the time of the generation succeeding the Prophet, and hoped to live long enough to see them. Some of the saints, even, said that they had passed. Like the end of the world, Divine wisdom requires that the times of these individuals are not specified either. Because every age is in need of the meaning of the Mehdi, who will strengthen their morale and save them from despair. Each century has to have a share of this meaning. And so that people should not heedlessly conform to evil things and the reins of the soul should not be left free in indifference, every century the fearsome individuals who come to lead strife must be shrunk from and feared. If they had been specified, the benefits of general guidance would have been lost.Now, the difference in the narrations about individuals like the Mehdi, and their meaning, is this: those who expounded Hadiths applied the text of the Hadiths to their own deductions and commentaries. For example, since the centre of power at that time was Damascus or Medina, they imagined the events connected with the Mehdi and Sufyan in places like Basra, Kufa, and Syria, which were in the region of those centres, and expounded them accordingly. Moreover, they imagined the mighty works pertaining to the collective identity or community which those individuals represent to be in their persons and expounded them in that way, so that they ascribed a form to them whereby when those extraordinary individuals appear, everyone will recognize them. However, as we said, this world is an arena of trial. The door is opened to the reason, but the will is not taken from the hand. So, when those individuals, and even the terrible Dajjal, appear, many people and himself even will not know to start with that he is the Dajjal. Rather, those individuals of the end of time will be known through the insight of the light of belief.It is narrated in a Hadith about the Dajjal, who is one of the signs of the end of time: “His first day is like a year, his second day like a month, his third day like a week, and his fourth day like other days. When he appears the world will hear. He will travel the world in forty days.” Some unfair people have said about this narration that it is impossible, God forbid, and have gone as far as denying and declaring it null. Whereas, And the knowledge of it is with God, the reality of it must be this:It indicates to the appearance of an individual from the North who will pass to the head of a great current issuing forth from the Godless ideas of Naturalism, in the North, where the world of unbelief is at its densest, and who will be atheist. And within this indication is a sign of wisdom, for in the latitudes close to the North Pole, the whole year is one day and one night; there are six months of night and six months of day. “One day of the Dajjal is a year” alludes to his appearance close to those latitudes. What is meant from “His second day is a month” is that passing in this direction from the North, it sometimes happens that for a month in the summer the sun does not set. And this indicates that the Dajjal will emerge in the North and invade southwards towards the civilized world. By attributing the day to the Dajjal, it points to this. The further he comes in this direction, the sun does not set for a week, and so it continues until there are three hours between its rising and setting. While being held as a prisoner-of-war in Russia, I was in such a place. Close to us was a place where the sun did not set for a week. They used to go there to watch it. And as for the part, “When the Dajjal appears, all the world will hear of it,” the telegraph and radio have solved this. And his travelling in forty days, the railway and aeroplane, which are his mounts, have solved. Deniers who formerly considered these two statements to be impossible, now see them as commonplace!Since in a treatise I have written in detail to a degree about Gog and Magog and the Barrier, which are among the signs of the end of the world, I refer readers to those, and here only say this: there are narrations stating that the tribes known as the Manchurians and Mongols, who threw human society into chaos and were the cause of the building of the Great Wall of China, will again overturn human civilization close to Doomsday with an idea like anarchy.Some atheists say: “Where are the tribes that perform these extraordinary acts and that will perform them?”The Answer: A calamity like locusts appear in one season in enormous numbers, then on the change of the seasons, those numerous tribes which disrupt the country hide their reality in a few limited individuals. And again when the time comes, at the Divine command, great numbers from those limited individuals start the same corruption. As though the reality of their national identity is fined down, but not broken, and when the time arrives, it reemerges. In just the same way, those same tribes which overturned the world at one time will when the time comes again overturn human civilization with Divine permission. But what impels them will appear in different form.None knows the Unseen save God. NINTH PRINCIPLE: The results of some of the questions of belief look to this restricted and narrow world, while others look to the world of the hereafter, which is broad and absolute. In order to give the appropriate effect of either encouraging or restraining, some Hadiths about the merits and rewards of actions are in an eloquent style, and some unthinking people have supposed them to be exaggerated. However, since they are all pure truth and reality, there is no exaggeration or overstatement in them. For instance, there is this Hadith which has worried the heads of the unfair more than any. Its meaning is: “If the world had as much value as a fly’s wing for Almighty God, the unbelievers would not have had so much as a mouthful of water from it.” The reality of it is this: the phrase for Almighty God refers to the eternal realm. Yes, since a light from the eternal realm to the extent of a fly’s wing is everlasting, it is greater than a temporary light that fills the face of the earth. That means it is not to say that the huge world is equal to a fly’s wing, but that everyone’s private world which is situated within their short lives is not equal to an everlasting Divine effulgence and bounty to the extent of a fly’s wing from the eternal realm. Furthermore, the world has two faces, indeed, three faces. One is the mirrors to Almighty God’s Names, another looks to the hereafter and is its arable field, and the third looks to transience and non-existence. This is the world of the people of misguidance which is not in accordance with the things that please God that we know. That is to say, it indicates that not the huge world which is the mirror to the Most Beautiful Names, and missives of the Eternally Besought One, and the tillage of the hereafter, but the world of those who worship the world, which is opposed to the hereafter and source of all wrongs and spring of calamities, is not worth one everlasting particle which will be given to the believers in the hereafter. Thus, how can the meaning understood by the unfair atheists be compared with this most true and serious truth? What has the meaning which those atheists supposed to be the most exaggerated and overstated to do with this?And, for example, others which the unfair atheists supposed to be exaggeration and even impossible exaggeration and overstatement are narrations about the reward for actions and merits of some of the Qur’an’s Suras. For example, there are narrations that, “The merit of Sura al-Fatiha is equal to that of the Qur’an.” And, “Sura al-Ikhlas equals a third of the Qur’an”, “Sura al-Zilzal, a quarter”, “Sura al-Kafirun, a quarter”, “Sura Ya Sin, ten times the Qur’an.” Unjust and unthinking people have said that these are impossible because within the Qur’an are Sura Ya Sin and the other meritorious Suras, which makes it meaningless.The Answer: The reality of it is this: for each of the All-Wise Qur’an’s letters is a merit. Each is a good deed. Out of Divine grace the merits of those letters sprout and sometimes yield ten, sometimes, seventy, and sometimes, seven hundred, merits, like the letters of Ayat al-Kursi. And sometimes they yield one thousand five hundred, like the letters of Sura al-Ikhlas, and sometimes ten thousand, like verses recited on Leyla al-Beraet and those that coincide with other acceptable times. And sometimes they yield thirty thousand, like verses recited on the Night of Power, which are like poppy seeds in their multiplicity. And it is understood from the indication that that night is the equivalent to a thousand months, that on that night one letter has thirty thousand merits. For example, let us suppose a field planted with maize, one thousand plants of it. If we suppose that some seeds produce seven shoots, and from each shoot a hundred grains, then a single seed becomes the equivalent of two thirds of the whole field. For example, if one seed produces ten shoots, and each yields two hundred grains, then a single seed is the equivalent of twice the original field. You can make further analogies in the same way.Now, let us imagine the All-Wise Qur’an to be a luminous, sacred, heavenly field. Each of its letters together with its original merit is like a seed. Their shoots will not be taken into consideration. They may be compared with the Suras and verses about which are narrations concerning other Suras like Ya Sin, Ikhlas, Fatiha, Kafirun, Zilzal, and their merits. For example, since the Qur’an has three hundred thousand six hundred and twenty letters, Sura al-Ikhlas together with Bismillah is sixty-nine. Three times sixty nine is two hundred and seven letters. Thus, if Sura Ya Sin’s letters are reckoned and compared with all the letters of the All-Wise Qur’an, and then multiplied ten times, it produces the following result: each letter of Sura Ya Sin has close on five hundred merits. That is, that many good deeds may be reckoned. And so, if you apply the others to this, you will understand what a subtle, fine, true, and unexaggerated truth it is. TENTH PRINCIPLE: Like in most of the other sorts of creatures, in mankind are certain individuals who are extraordinary in regard to acts and deeds. If those individuals have advanced in good deeds, they have been the cause of pride of mankind. Otherwise, they have been the cause of their shame. Also, they are hidden. It is as though each becomes a collective identity, an imaginary goal. Other individuals try to be them, and it is possible. That means a perfect extraordinary individual such as those being absolute and indefinite and present everywhere is possible. In regard to this indefiniteness, according to logic, his universality may be posited in the form of a possible proposition. That is, each act producing the following such result is possible: for example, “Whoever performs two rak’ats of prayers at such and such a time has performed the equivalent of the Hajj.” Thus, it is the truth that at certain times two rak’ats of prayers are the equivalent of a Hajj. Through universality, this meaning is possible in all prayers of two rak’ats. That means the occurrence of what narrations of this sort refer to is not in fact continuous and universal. Because since there are conditions of acceptance, it disallows it being continuous and universal. Rather, it is either in fact temporary and absolute or possible and universal. That is to say, the universality in this sort of Hadith is in regard to possibility. For example, “Backbiting is like murder.” That means that in backbiting exists an individual who is more harmful than deadly poison, like a killer. And for example, “A good word takes the place of a good deed of large proportions like freeing a slave.”Now, through showing for the purpose of encouragement and restraining the possibility of that indefinite perfect individual being present everywhere in absolute form as though it is actually the case, it arouses eagerness for good and disgust for evil. Furthermore, the things of the eternal world cannot be measured with the scale of this world. The greatest thing of here cannot equal to the least thing of there. Because the merits of actions look to that world, our worldly view is narrow for them. We cannot fit them into our minds. For example, Whoever reads this is given the reward of Moses and Aaron. That is to say:All praise be to God, Sustainer of the heavens and Sustainer of the earth * Sustainer of all the worlds, His is the might in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. * All praise be to God, Sustainer of the heavens and Sustainer of the earths, * Sustainer of all the worlds, and His is the sublimity in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. * And His is the dominion, Sustainer of the heavens, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. *What has most attracted the attention of the unfair and the unthinking is narrations like these. The reality of the matter is this:With our narrow views and short minds in this world we know how much we imagine to be the the rewards of Moses and Aaron (Upon whom be peace). The reality of the reward the Absolutely Compassionate One will give to a servant of His in infinite need, in the world of eternity and everlasting happiness, in return for a single invocation may be equal to the reward of those two, but equal to the rewards which enter the sphere of our knowledge and conjecture. For example, there is a primitive, uncouth man who has never seen the king and who does not know the majesty of his rule. However he imagines a lord in a village, with his limited ideas, he thinks of the king as a greater version of the lord. Long ago with us even there was a simple-minded tribe who used to say: “Our lord knows what the Sultan does as he cooks his bulgur soup on his own stove in a saucepan.” That is to say, they imagined the Sultan in such a narrow situation and so common a form that he cooked his own wheat soup; they supposed him to have the majesty of a captain. Now, if someone was to say to one of that tribe: “If you do this work for me today, I’ll give you as much majesty as you think the Sultan has, and give you a rank as high as a captain.” To say that is right, because, of the majesty of kingship, what enters the narrow sphere of his ideas is only the majesty of a captain.Thus, with our worldly views and narrow minds, we cannot think as much as that primitive man of the true rewards turned to the hereafter. It is not the equivalent of the true rewards of Moses and Aaron (Peace be upon them), for according to the rule of similes and comparisons, the unknown is compared to the known, rather, the true reward, which is unknown, for an invocation of a believing servant of God is compared with the rewards that we know and that we surmise. Moreover, the surface of the sea and the heart of a droplet are equal is holding the complete reflection of the sun. The difference is only in regard to quality. The nature of the reward reflected in the mirrors of the ocean-like spirits of Moses and Aaron (Peace be upon them) is of exactly the same nature as the reward that a believing servant, who is like a droplet, receives from a Qur’anic verse. They are the same as regards nature and quantity, while their quality is dependent on capacity. Also, it sometimes happens that a single word, a single glorification, opens such a treasury of happiness that has not opened with sixty years of service. That is to say, it sometimes happens that a single verse may afford as much advantage as the Qur’an. Also, the Divine effulgence which the Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who manifested the Greatest Name, received in a single verse, may have been as much as the whole effulgence one of the other Prophets received. If it is said that a believer, who through the legacy of Prophethood manifests the shadow of the Greatest Name, receives, in regard to his own capacity and in regard to quantity, a reward as great as a Prophet’s effulgence, it would not be contrary to the truth. Furthermore, reward and merit are from the world of light, and one world from that world may be contained in a speck. Just as the heavens and all its stars may appear in a tiny fragment of glass, so too luminous reward and merit like the heavens may be situated in an invocation or verse which acquires transparency through pure intention.Conclusion: O unfair, unthinking, self-centred, cavilling man whose belief is weak and philosophy, strong! Consider these Ten Principles, then do not make a narration you thought to be contrary to the truth and definitely opposed to reality the pretext, and point the finger of objection at Hadiths thus indirectly slighting the degree of purity of the Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace)! Because, firstly, the ten spheres of these Ten Principles will make you forego denial; they say: “If there is a real fault, it is our’s,” it may not be referred to the Hadiths. And they say: “If the fault is not real, it pertains to your misunderstanding.” In short; if denial and rejection are embarked on, these Ten Principles have first to be denied and shown to be false. Now, if you are fair, after pondering over these Ten Principles with complete attention, do not attempt to deny a Hadith your reason sees as being contrary to the truth! Say, “There is either an explanation, or an interpretation, or an exegesis of this”, and do not criticize it. ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Just as the Qur’an has obscure verses which are in need of interpretation or else require absolute submission, Hadiths also have difficulties like the obscurities of the Qur’an. They are sometimes in need of extremely careful expounding and interpretation. The above examples may be sufficient for you.Indeed, just as someone who is awake interprets the dream of another who is sleeping, so too, sometimes one who is sleeping hears the words spoken by those near him who are awake, but he gives them a meaning and interprets them in a way that applies to his own world of sleep. And so, O man stupified in the sleep of heedlessness and philosophy! Do not deny in your dream what One saw, who manifested the meaning of, His eye never wavered nor did it swerve, and My eye sleeps, but my heart sleeps not, and who was truly awake and aware, interpret it. Yes, if a mosquito bites someone who is asleep, he sometimes dreams, which has a reality in sleep, that he has received terrible wounds in war. If he was to be questioned, he would say: “Truly I have been wounded. Guns and rifles were fired at me.” Those sitting by him laugh at his anguish in sleep. Thus, the sleep-stained view of heedlessness and thought of philosophy certainly cannot be the criterion for the truths of Prophethood. TWELFTH PRINCIPLE: Since the view of Prophethood, the affirmation of Divine Unity, and belief look to Unity, the hereafter, and Divinity, they see truth and reality in accordance with those. While the view of philosophers and scientists looks to multiplicity, causes, and Nature, and sees in accordance with them. Their points of view are extremely distant from one another. The greatest aim of the people of philosophy is small and insignificant to the degree of being imperceptible among the aims of the scholars of religion and theology.Thus, it is because of this that scientists have advanced greatly in detailed explanation of the nature of beings and their minutest states, but they are so far behind the exalted Divine sciences and sciences concerned with the hereafter, which are true wisdom and knowledge, that they are more backward than a simple believer. Those who do not understand this mystery suppose the scholars of Islam to be relatively backward to the philosophers. But how can those whose minds see no further than their eyes and who are submerged in multiplicity reach those who attain to elevated sacred aims through the legacy of Prophethood?Furthermore, when anything is looked at with the two views, they show two different truths. And both of them may be the truth. No certain fact of science can touch the sacred truths of the Qur’an. The short hand of science cannot reach up to its pure sublimity. We shall mention an example to illustrate this: For example, if the globe of the earth is considered with the view of the people of science, its reality is this: as a middle-sized planet, it revolves around the sun among countless stars; it is a small creature in relation to the stars. But if it is considered with the view of the people of the Qur’an, as is explained in the Fifteenth Word, its reality is this: since man, the fruit of the world, is a most comprehensive, most wondrous, most impotent, most weak, and most subtle miracle of Power, despite its smallness and lowliness in relation to the heavens, the earth, his cradle and dwelling-place, is in regard to meaning and art, the universe’s heart and centre; it is the display and exhibition of all the miracles of Divine art; the place of reflection and point of focus of all manifestations of all the Divine Names; the place of display and reflection of infinite Dominical activity; the means and market of boundless Divine creativity and especially the munificent creation of the numerous species of plants and small animals; and the place in small measure of samples of the creatures of the most broad worlds of the hereafter; the rapidly working loom weaving everlasting textiles; the swiftly changing place producing views for eternal panoramas; and the narrow and temporary arable field and seed-bed producing at speed the seeds for everlasting gardens.Thus, it is because of this vastness of meaning and importance of art of the earth that the All-Wise Qur’an holds it – like a tiny fruit of the vast tree of the heavens – equal to all the heavens, like holding a tiny heart equivalent to a huge body. It places it in one pan of a scales and places all the heavens in the other, and repeatedly says: Sustainer of the heavens and the earth. And so, compare other matters with this and understand that the soulless, dim truths of philosophy cannot clash with the brilliant, living truths of the Qur’an. Since the point of view is different, they appear differently. FOURTH BRANCH Are you not aware that before God prostrate themselves all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth – the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are such as are fit for punishment; and such as God shall disgrace, none can raise to honour; for, verily, God does what He wills. We shall point out only a single jewel from the treasure of this extensive and mighty verse. It is as follows:The All-Wise Qur’an states clearly that everything, from the heavens to the earth, from the stars to flies, from angels to fishes, and from planets to particles, prostrates, worships, praises and glorifies Almighty God. But their worship varies according to their capacities and the Divine Names that they manifest; it is all different. We shall explain one of the varieties of their worship with a comparison.For example, And God’s is the highest similitude, when a mighty lord of all dominion builds a city or splendid palace, he employs four categories of workers. THE FIRST CATEGORY are his slaves and bondsmen. This sort receive no wage or remuneration, but, for each item of work that they carry out through their lord’s command, they experience a most subtle pleasure and pleasant eagerness. Whatever they utter by way of praise and description of their lord increases their pleasure and eagerness. Knowing their connection with their holy lord to be a great honour, they content themselves with that. Also they find pleasure from looking to their work with the view of their lord, and for his sake and in his name. They are not in need of a wage, or rank, or remuneration. THE SECOND CATEGORY are ordinary servants. They do not know why they are working, indeed, they are being employed by the glorious lord. He causes them to work through his own ideas and knowledge and gives them an appropriate and small wage. These servants are unaware of what various and comprehensive aims and exalted matters result as a consequence of their work. And some of them even imagine that their work concerns themselves only and has no aim besides that wage. THE THIRD CATEGORY: the lord of all dominion has some animals and he employs them in different work in the construction of the city and palace. He only gives them fodder. And, their working in jobs that are suitable for their abilities gives them pleasure. For, if a potentiality and ability are realized in action and work, there is a breathing in and expansion and this results in pleasure. The pleasure to be had from all activity stems from this. The wage and remuneration of this sort of servant, then, is only fodder and that pleasure. THE FOURTH CATEGORY are such workers that know what they are doing, and why and for whom they are working, and why the other workers are working, and what the purpose of the lord of all dominion is, and why he is causing them to work. Thus, workers of this category are bosses and supervisors of a sort over the other workers. They receive remuneration that is graded according to their rank and degree.In exactly the same way, the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is the All-Glorious Lord of the heavens and the earth and the All-Beauteous Builder of this world and the hereafter, employs both angels, and animals, and inanimate beings and plants, and human beings in the palace of this world, in this realm of causality. He employs them not out of need, for the Creator of everything is He, but for certain instances of wisdom, like the functioning of His might, sublimity, and Dominicality. He causes them to worship and has charged these four categories with different duties of worship. The First Category is the angels who are represented in the comparison by the slaves. And with the angels there is no endeavour and progress, rather, each of them has a fixed station and determined rank, but receives a particular pleasure from the work itself and an emanation from the worship. That is to say, the reward of these servants is found within their duties. Just as man is nourished by air, water, light, and food, and receives pleasure from them, so are the angels nourished by the varieties of remembrance, glorification, praise, worship, knowledge, and love of God, and take pleasure in them. For, since they are created out of light, light is sufficient for their sustenance. Fragrant scents, even, which are close to light, are a sort of nourishment for them which they enjoy. Indeed, good spirits take pleasure at sweet smells. Furthermore, there is in the tasks that the angels perform at the command of the One Whom they worship, in the work they accomplish for His sake, in the service they discharge in His name, in the supervision they execute through His favour, in the honour they gain through their connection with Him, in the immaculateness they attain through studying His dominion in both its outer face and its face which looks to Him, and in the ease they find through beholding the manifestations of His Beauty and Glory, such sublime bliss that the human mind cannot comprehend it, and one who is not an angel cannot perceive it. One sort of angels are worshippers, and the worship of another sort is in work. Of the angels of the earth, the sort that are workers have a kind of human occupation. If one may say so, one type are like shepherds and another type are like farmers. That is to say, the face of the earth is like a general farm and an appointed angel supervises all the species of animals within it through the command of the All-Glorious Creator, and with His permission, for His sake and through His power and strength. And for each species of animal there is a lesser angel who is is appointed to act as a special shepherd. The face of the earth is also a place of cultivation; all plants are sown in it. There is an angel charged with supervising all of them in the name of God Almighty and through His power, and there are angels who are lesser than him and who worship and glorify God each by supervising a particular species. The Archangel Michael (Upon whom be peace), who is one of the bearers of the throne of sustenance, is the most important overseer of these. The angels who are in the position of shepherd and farmer do not bear any resemblance to human beings, for their supervision is purely for the sake of Almighty God, and in His name and through His power and command. Rather, their supervision of animals only consists of beholding the manifestations of Dominicality in the species where he is employed; studying the manifestations of power and mercy in it; making known to that species the Divine commands by way of a sort of inspiration; and in some way ordering the voluntary actions of the species. Their supervision of the plants in the field of the earth in particular consists of representing the plants’ glorification in the angelic tongue; proclaiming in the angelic tongue the salutations the plants offer to the All-Glorious Creator through their lives; and employing the faculties given to plants correctly and directing them towards certain aims and ordering them to some extent. These duties of the angels are meritorious actions of a sort by reason of the angels’ faculty of will. Indeed, they are a kind of worship and adoration. But the angels have no real power of disposal, for on everything is a stamp peculiar to the Creator of all things. Another’s hand cannot interfere in creation. That is to say, this sort of work of the angels forms their worship. It is not a custom like with human beings. The Second Category of workers in this palace of the universe are animals. Since animals also have an appetitive soul and faculty of will, their work is not ‘purely for the sake of God’; to some extent, they take a share for their souls. Therefore, since the Glorious and Munificent Lord of All Dominion is all-generous, He bestows a wage on them during their work in order to give a share to their souls. For example, the All-Wise Creator employs the famous nightingale,8 renowned for his love of the rose, for five aims. First Aim: It is the official employed to proclaim in the name of the animal species the intense relationship that exists between them and the plant species. Second Aim: It is a Dominical orator from among the animals, who are like guests of the All-Merciful One needy for sustenance, employed to acclaim the gifts sent by the All-Generous Provider and to announce their joy. Third Aim: It is to announce to everyone the welcome offered to plants, which are sent as a succour to his fellow animals. Fourth Aim: It is to announce, over the blessed heads and to the beautiful faces of plants, the intense need of the animal species for them, which reaches the degree of love and passion.Fifth Aim: It is to present with a most acute yearning a most graceful glorification inspired by a most delicate face like a rose to the Court of Mercy of the All-Glorious and Beauteous and Munificent Lord of All Dominion. There are further meanings similar to these five aims. These meanings and aims are the aims of the deeds that the nightingale performs for the sake of the Truth (All glory be unto Him and may He be exalted). The nightingale speaks in his own tongue and we understand these meanings from his plaintive words. If he himself does not altogether know the meaning of his ow
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