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Ankara is Not That Bad

October 9, 2010

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I know the title of this site prominently includes “Istanbul,” but I think Turkey’s second largest city deserves a little bit of a shoutout, and certainly more attention in general than it generally gets. Yes, Ankara is a bit of a whipping boy for Istanbullus – mention you spent time there, and the response is rarely far from, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”

Well, I’m not. Ankara is a great city, with a decent amount going on. While it’s not comparable to Istanbul in some ways because of Istanbul’s sheer size, history, and position as a regional business hub, it manages a very nice social scene, great restaurants, nice parks, and a small-but-growing contingent of art galleries and museums. And, to top it off, its Indian restaurant is better than Istanbul’s. My year-and-a-half as an Ankarali was generally fantastic.

I was recently back in town briefly, and as I hopped off the metro in Kizilay a short 15 minutes after getting in to ASTI, the bus station, I realized that a similar journey in Istanbul, from the main bus station to, say, Taksim, would have involved either a subway line, tramline, and funicular or a very inconvenient and infrequent bus. It would have taken at least an hour. Easily.

As I tell people frequently here in Istanbul, although I really enjoy living in Istanbul, it’s a city you can never fully experience – Istanbullus all have their own certain areas of the city, often overlapping, but it’s just physically impossible to really live and move throughout the whole city. In Ankara, conversely, it’s possible to do just that – meet up with friends in Cayyolu, stop by ODTU, go out in Bahcelievler, go shopping on Tunali Hilmi, catch a football match in Ulus, and end up in Kizilay, all in theory possible in a day. I also like to say (I say a lot of things about Ankara) that Ankara is the Boston to Istanbul’s New York City. Sure, all the non-Americans I meet here have been to NYC, but I loved living in Boston. It’s still a large city (5-7 million in Ankara, depending on who’s counting), but it’s manageable.

In the interest of saving space and not having to worry about paragraph transitions, the following is a motley collection of things you should know about Ankara/reasons Ankara is pretty darn sweet:

• The Boston analogy, extended a bit: Ankara is home to many universities, so the student population is vibrant (and the student bars are numerous). ODTU and Bilkent are the obvious ones, but there’s also Gazi, Ankara, TOBB, Baskent, and several others.

• Location: Want to see Cappadocia? Four hours by bus. Have your sights set Eastward? It’s seven hours shorter from Ankara than from Istanbul. THY flies from Ankara’s absurdly large airport around the country as well for fairly darn cheap. And for Istanbul-departing international flights it’s easy to hop a plane, train (high-speed half-way, so reasonably short), or bus to Istanbul.

• The expat scene: Not really like the Istanbul scene at all. But then, there’s something like 4,000 Brits alone living in Istanbul. The expat community is cozier in Ankara, because there are far fewer, and most are at embassies, NGOs, or teaching, but because of that, people are more likely to reach out. I really enjoyed the community (-ies?) I found in Ankara, from trivia nights and BLTs at the British Embassy’s pub to the debate club at ODTU, and from ARIT events to the Ankara Refugee Support Group.

• Sports: I know, it seems odd. But there are some great sports opportunities in Ankara that Istanbul is really missing out on, both to watch and play. First, of course, is football – my Ankara experience definitely benefited from the Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi matches I went to with the folks over at The Round Ball in Ankara. If you’re in the city on a football-season weekend, definitely catch a match with them. Unlike Istanbul, tickets are sometimes as low as 50 kurus, and the matches are a lot more exciting because the home team isn’t a near-guaranteed win. The teams have very different fan bases and a lot of hometown pride. Related (in a blog sense I guess) is cricket – if you want to play cricket in Turkey, Ankara is the place to be. They have several teams, a league, and recently formed Turkey’s very first national cricket team, competing in Greece (where they recorded Turkish cricket’s first international-level win). And finally on the sports front, if you happen to be a hockey fan (Everybody should be a hockey fan. What sport is better than hockey?), Turkey’s nascent hockey leagues are centered in Ankara. You can watch a game or maybe even play (they’re definitely still developing the sport in-country, but there seems to be some good enthusiasm).

• Ulus: While Ulus in Istanbul is a well-off district of the city, Ankara’s Ulus is the original city, with crooked narrow streets, steep hills, jury-rigged electricity connections, and the occasional sheep. It’s a wonderfully interesting place to explore, and it’s topped off by the Ankara Citadel. One of my favorite things to do in Turkey is to climb up to the top of the Citadel on a warm day to listen to the call to prayer, coming in waves from all around. It’s wonderful.

• Anitkabir: If you’re a tourist coming to Ankara, it’s probably for either the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations or for Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum. I love this place, for its over-the-top-ness. It’s also a very useful place to take visitors to explain the founding of the republic, they have lots of handy maps and recreated battle scenes in their museum. The museum, incidentally, really drives home how revered Ataturk is in this country. They saved everything of his – his cars and boats are there (clearly not one of his larger boats, whoops), as are his pajamas, his rowing machine, even his dog. Yes, they stuffed Ataturk’s dog after he died and put the taxidermied figure in the museum. If you’re really into early Republican history, there’s a treasure trove of quotes and photographs from various areas of the forming-the-new-country process.

• The aforementioned Indian food: It is possible to find decent Indian food in Istanbul. There are a few places, they do decent Indian food. But my vote for best Indian food in Turkey would have to go to Spice in Ankara – it’s quite good, their chefs know what they’re doing, and they can do spicy. I’m a fan of most of their menu, but definitely their lunch special. I’d almost consider taking a day trip to Ankara just for that (almost – consecutive six-hour bus trips are less fun than they might seem).

• Language: It can be frustrating in Istanbul, depending on which part of the city you’re in, to try and speak/learn Turkish. Often people peg you as a foreigner and just speak English with you, and occasionally people automatically assume you don’t speak Turkish and refuse to believe that you’re speaking Turkish (I’m fairly certain that’s not pronunciation issues, as often other Turks nearby are perfectly able to understand and will at times intercede on your behalf). Neither of these happens often at all in Ankara. You also get a lot more kudos for your Turkish skills – every cab driver I’ve spoken with in Ankara has told me how guzel my Turkish is, while in Istanbul my experience varies wildly. You might, though, pick up the Ankarali accent, a nice little lisp at the end of words terminating with –r.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Spine permalink
    October 11, 2010 1:27 pm

    Bless You for saying this. Ankara is also

    – Significantly cheaper
    – Relatively less prone to earthquakes
    – Fractionally more polite
    – Less up itself and solipsistic

    than Istanbul.

    Yes. Ankara. With added diplomatic cocktails and the seat of government and all power.

    • October 11, 2010 5:50 pm

      Living across from the president briefly was a cool part of my Ankara experience for sure. And the earthquake thing is definitely a plus. Also better traffic, police closing things off due to protests way less frequently, few if any tourist touts, and of course awesome people. Why did I ever move???
      I will say the one thing I wish Ankara had is a large central body of water. Lake Eymir’s nice, but falls pretty flat compared to the Bosporus.

      • Asher permalink*
        October 13, 2010 6:11 pm

        I know this blog is dead and all, but please tell me you meant the “lake falls flat” witticism.

  2. lisa jane permalink
    November 22, 2010 10:28 am

    Turkey is no doubt a country with rich history and lots of things to see. I travel back and forth from England to Turkey work related and unfortunately haven’t had the time to enjoy it but I’m considering going there on a vacation so the info was very useful. I have only been to Istanbul so far and it’s extremely interesting city. The only thing I don’t like about it is how often I have problems with bookings. It’s not a nice experience to be searching for a place in the middle of the night therefore now I always call to confirm my reservation. It might be pricey so I use a call service which provides cheap calls to Turkey Its fast, cheap and easy to use. And be careful for the ‘nazar boncuk’ or ‘evil eye’ 🙂
    Lisa

  3. March 13, 2011 5:38 am
    The Thirty-First Word This, the Thirty-First Word, is about the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace). [NOTE: The Ascension is a question that results from the essentials and pillars of belief, and follows on after them, a light that draws strength from the lights of the pillars of belief. For sure, the Ascension cannot be proved independently to irreligious atheists who do not accept the pillars of belief, because it cannot be discussed with those who neither know God, nor recognize the Prophet, nor accept the angels, and who deny the existence of the heavens. Firstly those pillars must be proved. Since this is the case, we shall address the discussion to a believer who, since he considers it unlikely, has misgivings about the Ascension and we shall explain it to him. However, from time to time we shall take into account the atheist who is the position of listener and shall set forth the matter to him. Some flashes of the truth of the Ascension have been mentioned in some of the other Words. At the insistence of my brothers we seek the grace from Almighty God to unite all those different flashes with the essence of the truth, and with all of them to form a mirror to the beauty of the perfections of Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace).] In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Limitless in His glory is He Who transported His servant by night from the Inviolable House of Worship to the Remote House of Worship, the environs of which We had blessed, so that We might show him some of Our signs: for, indeed, He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.1 It is no less than inspiration sent down to him; * He was taught by one mighty in power, * Endued with wisdom: for he appeared in [stately form] * While he was in the horizon’s loftiest part. * Then he approached and came closer, * And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or [even] nearer; * And thus did [God] reveal unto His servant whatever He revealed. * The [servant’s] heart in no way falsified what it saw. * Will you, then, dispute with him as to what he saw? * For, indeed, he saw him at a second descent, * Near the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, * Near it is to the Garden of Abode. * Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded in mystery unspeakable. * [His] eye did not waver, nor yet did it stray. * Truly did he see some of the most profound of his Sustainer’s signs.2 As was explained in the discussion on the miraculousness of the Qur’an, we shall describe here also two allusions from the vast treasury of the first mighty verse above concerning only the pronoun contained in the phrase for indeed He which are based on principles of rhetoric, since they are related to the present question. After mentioning the journey of the Most Noble Beloved One (Upon whom be the best of blessings and most perfect peace) from the mosque at Mecca to the mosque in Jerusalem, which was the beginning of his Ascension, the All-Wise Qur’an says: He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. This phrase, together with the pronoun in the phrase, for indeed He, which alludes to the furthest point of the Ascension indicated to by the verses from Sura an-Najm [Sura 53], refers either to Almighty God or to the Prophet (PBUH). If it refers to the Prophet (PBUH), the rule of rhetoric and the relationship of the sequence of the words states the following: there is, within this particular journey a general one and a universal ascent during which the Prophet (PBUH) heard and saw the Dominical signs and wonders of Divine art that encountered his eyes and ears within the universal degrees of the Divine Names as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the distance of two bow-lengths. It indicates that his insignificant and particular journey is like a key to a journey that is both universal and an exhibition of marvels. If the pronoun refers to Almighty God, it is thus: in order to invite one of His servants on a journey to His presence and to entrust him with a duty, after sending him from the Mosque in Mecca to that in Jerusalem, which is where the prophets gather, and causing him to meet with them and demonstrating that he was the sole heir of the principles of the religions of all the prophets, He made him journey through both the external face of the world of existence and the face that looks to its Creator as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the distance of two bow-lengths. For sure, he was a servant and the journey was a particular Ascension, but he had been accorded a Trust that was connected to the whole universe and had been accorded a light that would change the colour of the universe. Moreover, since he had been accorded a key that would open the door to eternal happiness, God Almighty bestowed on him the attribute of ‘seeing and hearing all things’ in order to demonstrate the world-embracing comprehensive wisdom of the Trust, light, and key – wisdom and purposes which encompassed the whole universe and embraced all creatures. This profound truth contains four Principles. The First: Why was the Ascension necessary? The Second: What was the reality of the Ascension? The Third: What was the wisdom and purpose of the Ascension? The Fourth: What are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension? First Principle The reason for the Ascension’s necessity. It is said, for example, that Almighty God is closer to him than his jugular vein.3 He is closer to everything than anything else. He is free of and beyond corporeality and space. However, all the saints are able to converse with Him in their hearts. Why, then, was the Saint, Muhammed (PBUH), successful in holding an inward conversation with God that any saint may do in his heart only after and as a result of a long journey like the Ascension? The Answer: We shall make this profound mystery easier to understand by means of two comparisons. Consider these two comparisons from the Twelfth Word which concern the mystery of the miraculousness of the Qur’an and the mystery of the Ascension. First Comparison: A king has two sorts of interviewing, conversation, and discussion at his disposal, and two modes of address and favour. The first is to converse with a common subject about a particular matter and special need by means of a private telephone. The second, under the title of august sovereignty, in the name of supreme kingship, with the dignity of universal rule, and with the aim of publishing and promulgating his commands, is to converse and speak through an envoy connected to those matters or by means of a high official related to those commands. It is also to speak through an illustrious edict that proclaims his majesty. Thus, and God’s is the highest similitude,4 like this comparison, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of all things with their apparent and inner faces, the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, has two modes of conversing, speaking, and favouring. The first is particular and private, the other universal and general. And thus the Ascension was a manifestation of the Sainthood of Muhammed (PBUH) in the form of a universality and exaltedness superior to all other sainthood. It was being honoured by God Almighty’s conversation and address through His Name of Sustainer of All the Universe and title of Creator of All Beings. Second Comparison: A man holds up to the sun a mirror that he has in his hand. According to its capacity, the mirror receives light from the sun, which contains the seven colours, and a reflection. The man becomes connected with the sun and converses with it in relation to these. And if he directs the luminous mirror towards his dark house or his tiny, private garden, which is covered by a roof, he cannot benefit in relation to the sun’s value, but only according to the capacity of the mirror. A second man, however, puts down the mirror, faces the sun directly, and sees its majesty and understands its grandeur. Then he climbs a very high mountain, sees the brilliance of the sun’s broad dominion and converses with it in person and without veil. Then he returns and makes large windows in his house and in the roof over his garden, and opens up ways to the sun in the sky and speaks and converses with the constant light of the actual sun. And he is able to speak to it gratefully as follows: “O amiable sun, who is the beauty of the world and pet of the skies, who gilds the face of the earth with its light and makes it and the faces of all flowers smile! You have heated and illuminated my little house and garden in the same way that you have illuminated the whole world and warmed the face of the earth.” The first man with the mirror, however, cannot say that, for the sun’s reflection and traces are limited and restricted by the mirror, and are in accordance with the restriction. Thus, the manifestation of the Single and Eternally Besought One, Who is the Pre-Eternal Sun and Post-Eternal Sovereign, appears in the human essence in two forms, which comprise innumerable degrees. The First: This is the manifestation by means of a Dominical relationship that is extended to the mirror of the heart. Through it everyone may receive the particular and universal manifestation of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s light, discourse, and conversation in relation to his capacity and in the relation to the manifestation of the Divine Names and attributes in the traversing the degrees of his spiritual journeying. The degrees of sainthood, which proceed under the shadow on most of the Names and attributes, arise from this sort. The Second: Since man possesses comprehensiveness and is the most enlightened fruit of the tree of the universe, and since he is able to display all at once in the mirror of his spirit all the Divine Names manifested in the universe, Almighty God displayed, through the manifestation of His Essence and at the greatest level of the Most Beautiful Names, the greatest manifestation of those Names in the member of the human race who reflected them most comprehensively. This display and manifestation is the meaning of the Ascension of Muhammed (PBUH), through which his sainthood became the source of his prophethood. Sainthood proceeds through shadow and resembles the first man in the Second Comparison. While in prophethood there is no shadow, it looks directly to the Oneness of the All-Glorious One and resembles the second man in the Second Comparison. As for the Ascension, since it was the greatest wonder of Muhammed’s Sainthood and also its highest degree, it was transformed into the degree of prophethood. The inner face of the Ascension was sainthood, it went from creation to Creator. While its apparent face was prophethood, it came from Creator to creation. Sainthood is spiritual journeying in the levels close to God; it needs a certain amount of time and many degrees must be traversed. While prophethood, whose light is greatest, looks to the mystery of uncovering Divine immediacy, for which the passing instant is sufficient. It was for this reason that it is said in the Hadith: “He went and returned in an instant.” And now we say to the atheist who is in the position of listener: “Since the universe is like a most orderly country, magnificent city, and adorned palace, it surely must have a ruler, owner, and builder. And since there is such a magnificent, All-Glorious Owner, All-Perfect Ruler, and All – Beauteous Maker; and since there was a human being whose view was universal and who demonstrated a relationship with the entire world, country, city, and palace and was connected to all of them through his senses and faculties of perception, certainly, the Magnificent Maker would have an elevated relationship to the fullest degree with that human being, whose view was universal and consciousness comprehensive, and would favour him with an exalted and sacred address. And among those who manifested this relationship from the time of Adam (Upon whom be peace) up to now, according to the testimony of his achievements, Muhammed the Arabian (Upon whom be blessings and peace) demonstrated it at the very fullest degree, that is, the testimony of his having taken half the globe of the earth and a fifth of mankind under this direction and control and having transformed and illuminated the spiritual shape of the universe. Since this is the case, the Ascension, which comprised the very fullest degree of that relationship, is most worthy and suitable for him. Second Principle What was the reality of the Ascension? The Answer: It consisted of the journeying of the person of Muhammed (PBUH) through the degrees of perfection. That is, through the different Names and titles He makes manifest in the disposition of creatures, God Almighty showed that special servant all the works of His Dominicality which He displays in the spheres, creation, and regulation within the sovereignty of His Dominicality, and in the levels of the heavens within those spheres, each of which is the means to a seat of Dominicality and centre for the disposal of power. And in order to make that servant both embrace all human perfections, and display all the Divine manifestations, and view all the levels of the universe, and to make him the herald of the sovereignty of Dominicality and the proclaimer of those things pleasing to God and the solver of the talisman of the universe, He mounted him on Buraq, caused him to flash through the heavens like lightening traversing all its levels, observe Divine Dominicality from mansion to mansion, like the moon, and from sphere to sphere, and showing him each of the prophets, his brothers, whose abodes are in the heavens of those spheres, He raised him to the station of a distance of two bow-lengths and displayed to him His Oneness and His Word and the vision of Himself. This exalted truth may be examined through the telescope of two comparisons. First Comparison: As is explained in the Twenty-Fourth Word, a king has different titles in the different spheres and offices of his government, different qualities and attributes in the different classes of his subjects, and different names and marks in the different degrees of his sovereignty. For example, Wise Judge in the Ministry of Justice, Sovereign in the civil service, Commander-in-Chief in the army, Caliph in the learned establishment, and so on; it is the same with the rest of his names and titles. In each sphere he has a seat or chair, which has the meaning of a throne. The single king is able to have a thousand names and titles in those spheres of sovereignty and levels of government. He is able to have a thousand thrones of sovereignty one within the other. It is as if the ruler is present and knowing in every sphere through his corporate personality and through his telephone; and sees and is seen in every class through his law, regulation, and representatives; and administers and observes from behind the veil in every level through his command, knowledge, and power; and has a different centre and headquarters in every sphere. His decrees are all different from one another, and his levels are all different from one another. Thus, a king such as this may allow a person of his choosing to visit all his different spheres and offices and may show him the imperial dominion and sovereign commands special to each. He may cause him to travel from sphere to sphere and from level to level until he brings him to his presence. Then he will entrust him with certain universal and general commands concerning all those spheres and will send him back. And so, like this comparison, the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who is the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, has functions and attributes in the levels of His Dominicality that are all different but that look to one another, and Names and signs in the spheres of His Divinity that are all different but appear one within the other, and manifestations and revelations in the performance of His splendid deeds which are all different but resemble each other, and titles in the disposal of His power that are all different, but that hint of one another. And He has sacred appearances in the manifestation of His attributes that are all different but that all point to each other, and acts of disposal in the manifestation of His actions that are all different but complete one another, and He has a majestic Dominicality in His multicoloured art and creatures whose aspects are all different but which gaze on one another. Thus, as a consequence of this vast mystery, He ordered the universe and arranged it in an amazing and wonderful fashion with different formations one on top of the other from particles, which are the tiniest level of creatures, to the heavens, and from the first level of the heavens to the Sublime Throne, each heaven being like the roof of a different world, a throne for Dominicality, and centre for Divine disposal. For sure, with regard to Divine Oneness, all the Divine Names may be found in those spheres and levels, they are manifested together with the titles, but just as in the Ministry of Justice the title of Wise Judge was fundamental and dominant and there the rest of the king’s titles looked to its command and were dependent on it, so too in each level of creatures, in each heaven, one Name, one Divine title, is dominant, and the other titles look to it. For example, in whichever sphere of the heavens the Prophet Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace) met with Jesus (Upon whom be peace), who manifested the Name of All-Powerful, in that sphere God Almighty Himself was manifested with title of All-Powerful. And, for example, the most predominant in the sphere of the heavens which is Moses’ (Upon whom be peace) seat is the title of Speaker, which he manifested. And so on. Thus, since the person of Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace) manifested the Greatest Name, and all the Divine Names, and since his prophethood was universal, then, certainly, he was connected with all the spheres of Dominicality. And, certainly, to meet with the prophets whose seats are in those spheres and to pass through all those levels necessitates the fact of the Ascension. Second Comparison: The title of Commander-in-Chief, which is one of the titles of a king, is manifested and makes an appearance in every sphere of the army from that of the commander-in-chief, which is a broad and universal sphere, to that of a corporal, which is special and particular. For example, a private sees in the person of his corporal a sample of the imposing title of Commander-in-Chief, he looks to it and takes his orders from it. On becoming a corporal, the manifestation of the title in the sergeant’s sphere will command his attention and it will be that that he looks to. Then, if he is promoted to the rank of sergeant, he will see a sample of the title of Commander-in-Chief and a manifestation of it in the lieutenant’s sphere. It will be present together with a seat peculiar to it at that rank. And so on. He will see the title in each of the spheres of captain, major, general, and field-marshal in relation to the smallness or largeness of the sphere. Now, if the Commander-in-Chief wishes to entrust a private with a duty that concerns all the spheres of the army, if he wishes to promote him to a rank where he can observe each sphere like an inspector and himself be observed, then, for sure, he will cause him to make a tour of inspection of the spheres, from that of the corporal to the largest, and will also allow him to be seen. Then he will receive him into his presence and honouring him with conversation and conferring on him a decoration and a decree, will send him back whence he came in an instant. The following point must be noted in this comparison: if the king is not in any way powerless and if he has spiritual power, in the same way that he has material power, then he will not appoint persons like the general, field-marshal and lieutenant as his representatives but will himself be present everywhere in person. He will give his orders directly, merely from behind certain veils and individuals, themselves of rank. In fact, there are narrations relating that certain kings who were saints of the highest level executed their affairs in many spheres in the form of different individuals. As far as the truth we looked at in this comparison is concerned, since the Commander-in-Chief was in no way impotent, the order and command came directly from him in every sphere. Affairs were executed through his command, will, and power. And so, like this comparison, the commands and commanding functions of the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, Who is the Ruler of the heavens and the earth, Owner of the command of Be! and it is,5 and the Absolute Commander, are in force in all the levels of creatures and are conformed to with perfect obedience and order. Each appears as a sphere of Dominicality, a level of rulership in the levels of creatures and classes of beings, which stretch from particles to the planets and from flies to the heavens, and which, although great and small, particular and universal, are all different and are such that they look one to the other. Now, the way to understand the exalted aims and mighty results of the entire universe and to see all the different duties of worship of all its levels, and, through observing the sovereignty of Dominicality of the One of Grandeur and the splendour of His rule, to understand what is pleasing to Him, and to be the herald of His sovereignty, is to make a journey through all those levels and spheres until the Sublime Throne, which is the title of the greatest sphere, is reached; until the distance of two bow-lengths. It is to meet there with the All-Glorious and Beauteous One. And this journey is the reality of the Ascension. Like ordinary human beings travel in the mind with the speed of imagination, and saints journey in the heart with the speed of lightening, like angels, which are luminous bodies, circulate with the speed of spirit from the Throne to the Earth and from the Earth to the Throne, and like the people of Paradise will rise to Paradise from the Resurrection with the speed of Buraq through a distance greater than five hundred years, of a certainty, the body of Muhammed (PBUH) will go together with his elevated spirit as far as The Divine Throne. For the body of Muhammed (PBUH) is the treasury of the faculties of the spirit of Muhammed (PBUH), and the means for the performance of its duties, which is light and has the characteristics of light, is subtler than the hearts of the saints, more insubstantial than the spirits of the dead and the bodies of the angels, and more ethereal than the bodies of stars and those of the World of Similitudes. Now we consider the atheist who is listening. It comes to mind that he would think of saying: “I do not recognize God and I do not know the Prophet (PBUH), how should I believe in the Ascension?” To which we would answer as follows. Since the universe and beings exist, and within them are acts and creation; and since an orderly act cannot occur without an author, a meaningful book cannot be without a scribe, and a skilful embroidery be without an embroiderer, for sure, the purposeful acts which fill the universe have an author and the meaningful letters and amazing embroideries which cover the face of the earth and are renewed from season to season have a scribe and an embroiderer. And since when two governors direct the same matter it results in the order in that matter being spoilt; and since from a fly’s wing to the lamps in the heavens there is perfect order in the universe, there is, then, only one governor, one ruler. For the art and wisdom in everything is so wonderful that it necessitates that the Maker of each thing is absolutely powerful to a degree that He knows every matter, and that everything is within His power. Since this is so, if He was not One, there would have to be gods to the number of beings. These would be both opposed to and similar to one another, and so it would be a hundred thousand times impossible for this wonderful order not to be broken. Furthermore, since, as is self-evidently apparent, the classes of beings are, at a command, in motion in a fashion a thousand times more well-ordered than that of an army, each group, from the stars, sun and moon and their motions to the flowers of the almond, displaying the decorations and uniforms the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One has conferred on it, and the motion He has determined, in a way a thousand times more regular and perfect than that of an army – since this is so, the universe has an Absolute Ruler behind the veil of the Unseen, and its beings look to and conform to His command. And since that Ruler is an All-Glorious Sovereign according to the testimony of all the wise matters He carries out and splendid works He displays; and since He is a most Compassionate Sustainer according to the bounties He demonstrates, and a Maker Who loves His art according to the beautiful examples of it He exhibits; and since He is an All-Wise Creator Who wishes to attract to His works of art the admiring gazes of conscious beings through the adornments and skills He demonstrates; and since it may be understood that He wishes to make known to conscious beings the meaning of the adornments, which astound the mind, that He displays in the creation of the world and to inform them through the wisdom of His Dominicality about where creatures come from and where they are going, most certainly, this All-Wise Ruler and All-Knowing Maker wishes to demonstrate His Dominicality. And since he wishes to make Himself known and loved by conscious creatures through the great many works of benevolence and mercy and wonders of art He displays, He will surely make known to them by means of a herald what He desires of them and what those things are that please Him, and concern them. Since this is so, He will appoint one of the conscious beings and will proclaim His Dominicality through him. He will honour a herald with the proximity of His presence and make him the means of exhibiting the art which He loves. And He will appoint one of them as a teacher in order to inform other conscious beings of those exalted aims and to display His perfections. And He will certainly appoint a guide so that the talisman contained in the universe and the riddle of Dominicality He has concealed within beings will not remain meaningless. And He will appoint a guide who will teach the purposes contained in the beauties of art He displays and publishes as a spectacle for all to gaze on so that they do not remain useless and vain. Moreover, in order to announce the things that please Him to conscious beings, He will raise one of them to a rank above the others, and will inform him of those things and send him to them. Since reality and wisdom require it to be thus and the one most worthy to perform this duty was the Prophet Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace), because he actually performed those duties most perfectly, to which fact the world of Islam which he founded and the light of Islam which he showed are truthful and just witnesses, then this necessitates that he should have directly risen above all the rest of the universe, surpassed all beings, and attained to a rank at which he held a universal, elevated, and all-embracing conversation with the Creator of all beings. Thus, the Ascension expresses this truth as well. In Short: Since He has formed, arranged, and adorned the vast universe in this way for mighty purposes and great aims such as those mentioned above; and since among beings there is mankind to see this universal Dominicality together with all its subtleties and this mighty Divine sovereignty together with all its truths, most certainly, that Absolute Ruler will speak with man, He will inform him of His purposes. Since everyone cannot free themselves from particular, insignificant, and base matters and rise to the highest and universal position, and therefore cannot themselves receive the Ruler’s universal address, for sure, certain special individuals from among human beings will be appointed to that duty so that it may be related to in two respects. First, in order to teach human beings, he must be a human being himself. And also in order to be able to receive the address directly, he must be extremely exalted spiritually. And so, since among human beings the one who made known the purposes of the universe’s Maker most perfectly, disclosed the talisman of the universe and solved the riddle of creation, and who heralded the excellence of the sovereignty of Dominicality in the best way was Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace), certainly, of all human beings he would make a spiritual journey that would be an Ascension in the form of touring the corporeal world. He would traverse all the levels to beyond the intermediate world of the Divine Names, the manifestation of the Divine attributes and acts, and the levels of beings, all of which are known as the seventy thousand veils. And the Ascension was this. Again the following comes to mind: O listener! You are thinking of asking: “How should I believe it? What does it mean to traverse a distance of thousands of years to a Sustainer Who is closer than anything else and to meet with Him after passing through seventy thousand veils?” To which we reply as follows: God Almighty is closer to everything than anything else. But everything is infinitely distant from Him. For example, if the sun possessed consciousness and the power of speech, it would be able to converse with you by means of a mirror held in your hand. It would have power of disposal over you as it wished. Rather, although it would be closer to you than the pupil of your eye, which is like a mirror, you would be approximately four thousand years’ distance from it and could in no way draw closer to it. If you progressed and rose to the position of the moon and came to the point of being face to face with it, you would still only be able to be a sort of mirror to it. In the same way although the All-Glorious One, Who is the Sun of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, is closer to everything than anything else, everything is infinitely distant from Him. Only one who traverses all beings, rises above particularity and gradually passes through the thousands of veils in the degrees of universality till he approaches a Divine Name which encompasses all beings, and then traverses the many degrees beyond it will be honoured by a sort of Divine proximity. And, for example, a private is far beneath the rank of the commander-in-chief. He looks to his commander through the small sample of his commander’s rank he sees in his corporal at a great distance and beyond many veils, as it were. To attain to true proximity to his rank through his corporate personality the private has to pass through many universal degrees or ranks, like that of lieutenant, captain, and major. Whereas the commander-in-chief can be present with the private, and seeing, in person as well as in meaning, through his commands, regulations, view, decree, and knowledge. Since this truth has been decisively proved in the Sixteenth Word, we consider that to be sufficient and cut short the discussion here. Again it comes to mind that you are thinking of asking: “I deny the existence of the heavens and I do not believe in the angels, so how should I believe in someone travelling in the heavens and meeting with the angels?” Yes, of course, it is difficult to demonstrate something and convince someone like you over whose eyes a veil has been drawn and who sees only what is immediately apparent to them. But the truth is so brilliant that even the blind can see it, so we also say what is unanimously agreed, that the depths of space are full of matter called ‘ether’. Subtle energies like light, electricity, and heat point to the existence of some subtle matter which fills space. For just as fruits clearly demonstrate the existence of the tree that bore them, flowers their flower-bed, shoots their seed-bed, and fishes the sea, the stars, also, thrust before the mind’s eye the necessity of the existence of their source, seed-bed, sea, and flower-bed. Since there are different formations in the world above us and different rules are seen to be in force under different conditions, the heavens which are the source of those rules are also different. And since just as in man there are immaterial faculties apart from his body, like the mind, heart, spirit, imagination, and memory, of a certainty, in the world, which is the macroanthropos, and in the universe, which is the tree of which man is the fruit, there are other worlds apart from the corporeal world. And also there are heavens to each world, from the world of the earth to the world of Paradise. As far as the angels are concerned, we say this: on the globe of the earth, which is medium-sized among the planets and insignificant and dense among the stars, animate and conscious beings, the most valuable and luminous among beings, are to be found in countless numbers. So, of a certainty, the stars, which are like embellished castles and fine palaces compared to the earth, which is like a dark house, and the skies, which are like the seas of the stars, will be the dwelling-places of angels and spirit beings,which are conscious, animate, extremely numerous, and of different sorts. Since in my commentary on the Holy Qur’an, called ‘Signs of Miraculousness’, both the existence and plurality of the heavens have been proved conclusively in the section on the verse, Then He applied His design to the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens,6 and since we proved the existence of angels with the finality of two plus two equals four in the Twenty-Ninth Word, we consider those to be sufficient and cut short the discussion here. In Short: It is required by wisdom and by reason that the heavens are formed of ether, that they are the source of subtle energies like electricity, light, heat, and gravity, and that, in accordance with the Hadith, The heavens are waves held back, they are favourable for the motion of stars and planets. It is further required that from the Milky Way to the closest planet they should consist of seven levels in different states and formations, and that each level, each world, from the world of the earth to the Intermediate World and World of Similitudes to the World of the Hereafter, should a heaven like a roof. And the following comes to mind: O atheist! You say: “Man is only able to ascend to a height of one or two kilometres with a thousand difficulties by means of the aeroplane.7 How then could someone come and go bodily within a few minutes covering a distance that would normally take thousands of years?” To which we reply: According to your science, a heavy body like the earth with its annual rotation cuts a distance of approximately one hundred and eighty-eight hours in one minute. In one year it covers a distance of approximately twenty-five thousand years. Should an All-Powerful and Glorious One, then, Who causes its regular motion and revolves it like a stone in a sling be unable to convey a human being to His Throne? Should a wisdom that causes the body of the earth, which is extremely heavy, to travel around the sun like a Mevlevi dervish through a Dominical law known the sun’s gravity be unable to raise a human body like lightening to the Throne of the All-Merciful One through the gravity of that All-Merciful One’s mercy and the attraction of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s love? Again it comes to mind that you would say: “All right, then, so he could ascend there, but why did he and why should he? Would it not have been enough if he had gone just in heart and spirit like the saints?” To which we would reply: Since the All-Glorious Maker wished to display His wondrous signs which lie in both the outer aspects of things and in their aspects that look directly to Himself, and to make the workshops and sources of the universe spectacles to be gazed upon, and to point out the results of man’s actions in the hereafter, it was necessary to take together with his heart and spirit as far as His Throne Muhammed’s (PBUH) eyes, which were like the key to the world of visible objects, and his ears, which perceived the signs in the world of sound. And furthermore, it is required by wisdom and reason that the All-Glorious Maker should have taken as far as His Throne his blessed body, which was like the machine of his spirit comprising different members and components, by means of which be performed his duties. Just as in Paradise Divine wisdom makes the body companion to the spirit, because it is the body that is the means by which the duties of worship are performed and the means of innumerable pleasures and pains, so also will that blessed body be the companion to the spirit. Since the body goes to Paradise together with the spirit, it is pure wisdom that He should have made the blessed body of Muhammed (PBUH) accompany his self, which ascended to the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, which is the trunk of the home of Paradise. Again it comes to mind that you would say: “According to reason, is it not impossible to traverse a distance of thousands of years in several minutes?” To which we would reply: The motion in the different works of the All-Glorious Maker’s art varies to the utmost degree. For example, it is well-known how different are the speeds of light, electricity, spirit, and imagination, and that of sound. And, as has been established by science, the speeds of the motion of different planets are so different that it astounds the mind. How then should the motion at the speed of spirit of his subtle body, which followed his exalted spirit during the Ascension, seem contrary to reason? Furthermore, it sometimes happens that on sleeping for ten minutes you are subject to a year’s-worth of different states. And even, if the words spoken and heard during a dream lasting one minute were collected together, for them to be spoken and heard in the waking world, a day or even longer, would be necessary. That means a single period of time is relative; it may seem like one say to one person and like a year to another. Consider the meaning of this by means of a comparison. Let us imagine a clock which measures the speed of the movement displayed by man, cannon-balls, sound, light, electricity, spirit, and imagination. The clock has ten hands. One shows the hours while another counts the minutes in a sphere sixty times greater. And another hand counts the seconds in a sphere sixty times greater than the previous one, and yet others each count regularly decreasing fractions to a tenth of a second in vast spheres that regularly increase sixty times. Let us suppose the circles described by the hand counting hours was the size of our clock, so that of the hand counting tenths of a second would have to be the size of the annual orbit of the earth, or even larger. Now, let us suppose there are two people. One of them is as though mounted on the hour-hand and observes according to its motion while the other is on the hand counting tenths of a second. There will be an enormous difference, as great as the relation between our clock and the annual orbit of the earth, as regards the things observed by these two individuals in the same period of time. Thus, since time is like a hue, shade, or ribbon of motion, a rule that is in force in motion is also in force in time. And so, although the things we observe in the period of one hour would be equalled in amount by the conscious individual mounted on the hour-hand of the clock, like the one mounted on the hand counting tenths of a second, the Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) mounted Buraq of Divine Assistance and in the same space of time, in that specified hour, like lightening traversed the entire sphere of contingency, saw the wonders of the outer aspects of things and the aspects which look to their Creator, ascended to the point of the sphere of necessity, was honoured with Divine converse and favoured with the vision of Divine beauty, received his decree, and returned to his duty. It was possible for this to happen, and it did happen. And again it comes to mind that you would say: “Yes, so it could happen, it is possible. But everything possible does not occur, does it? Is there anything else similar to this so that it can be accepted? How can the occurrence of something to which there are no similar cases be posited through only probability.” To which we would reply: There are so many similar cases to it that they cannot be enumerated. For example, anyone who possesses sight can ascend with his eyes from the ground to the planet Neptune in a second. Anyone who has knowledge can mount the laws of astronomy with his intellect and travel beyond the stars in a minute. Anyone who has belief can, by mounting his thought on the action and pillars of the obligatory prayers, through a sort of Ascension, leave the universe behind and go as far as the Divine presence. Anyone who sees with his heart and any saint of perfection can, through his spiritual journeying, traverse in forty days the Divine Throne and the sphere of the Divine Names and attributes. And certain persons, even, like Shaykh Geylani and Imam-i Rabbani, truthfully recorded their spiritual ascensions as far as the Throne, which lasted a minute. Furthermore, there is the coming and going of the angels, which are luminous bodies, from the Divine Throne to the Earth and from the Earth to the Throne in a short period of time. And the people of Paradise ascend to the gardens of Paradise from the plain of resurrection in a short space of time. Of course, this many examples demonstrate that it is pure wisdom, completely rational, and an occurrence about which there can be no doubt that the person of Muhammed (PBUH), who is the Lord of all the saints, the leader of all the believers, the head of the people of Paradise, and is accepted by all the angels, will have an ascension which is the means of spiritual journeying, and that it will be in a form appropriate to his rank. Third Principle What was the wisdom and purpose of the Ascension? The Answer: The wisdom of the Ascension is so exalted that human thought cannot comprehend it. It is so profound that human thought cannot reach it, and so subtle and fine that the intellect cannot see it by itself. But even if the reality of the instances of wisdom in the Ascension cannot be comprehended, their existence may be made known through certain indications. For example, as follows. In order to demonstrate the light of His Unity and the manifestation of His Oneness in these levels of multiplicity, the Creator of the universe took an eminent individual as representing all creatures from the furthest levels of multiplicity to the source of Unity by means of an Ascension that was like a link. And there, addressing him as representing all conscious beings, He explained to him the Divine purposes and made them known through him, and observed through his gaze the beauty of His art and perfection of His Dominicality in the mirrors of His creatures, and caused him to observe them. Moreover, according to the testimony of His works, the Maker of the world possesses infinite beauty and perfection. The two of them, both beauty and perfection, are loved for themselves. Since this is so, the Possessor of that beauty and perfection has an infinite love for His beauty and perfection. That infinite love of His is manifest in many different ways in His works of art. He loves His works of art because He sees His beauty and perfection within them. The most lovable and elevated among the works of art are animate beings. And the most lovable and elevated among animate beings are conscious beings. And by reason of their comprehensiveness, the most lovable among conscious beings are to be found among human beings. The most lovable individual among human beings is the one who has most fully developed his potentiality and displayed the samples within it of the perfections manifested in all creatures, and spread among them. Thus, in order to see at one point and in one mirror all the varieties of His love spread through all creatures and to display, through the mystery of His Oneness, all the varieties of His beauty, the Maker of beings will take a person who is at the degree of being a luminous fruit of the tree of creation and whose heart is like a seed containing the essential truths of that tree, and will demonstrate the belovedness of that individual, who represents the universe, through an Ascension that is like a thread linking the seed, which is the origin, with the fruit, which is the end. He will draw him to His presence and honour him with the beauty of the vision of Himself. And, in order to cause him to spread that sacred state to others, He will favour him with His Word and entrust him with His Decree. In order to look at this exalted wisdom, we shall observe it through the telescope of two comparisons. First Comparison: As is explained in detail in the story-comparison in the Eleventh Word, there was an illustrious king who had vast treasuries and in those treasuries many varieties of jewels were to be found. He had much skill in strange crafts, comprehensive knowledge of innumerable curious arts, and erudition and learning in numberless wondrous sciences. And, in accordance with the mystery that every possessor of beauty and perfection wants both to see and display his beauty and perfection, of course, that skilful king, too, wished to open an exhibition and to set up displays within it in order to reveal to the people’s gazes the majesty of his sovereignty, and to manifest both the glitter of his wealth and the wonders of his art and the marvels of his knowledge. He wished to do this so that he might observe his own transcendent beauty and perfection in two respects. The first was so that he himself might see with his own eyes, which were congnizant of reality, while the other was so that he might look through the gaze of others. As a consequence of this wisdom, he began to build a huge, splendid, extensive palace. It was magnificently divided into apartments and mansions. He adorned it with every sort of bejewelled treasure from his coffers, and decorated it with the finest and most gorgeous arts of his own handiwork. He ordered it with the greatest refinements of his knowledge and science, and decked it out and completed it with the miraculous works of his learning. Next, he spread tables with varieties of bounties and the most delicious of foods worthy for each group and prepared a general banquet. Then, in order to display his perfections to his subjects, he invited them to the banquet and to behold the perfections. Then he appointed one of them as the highest ranking general, invited him up from the lower levels and mansions to tour sphere after sphere in the levels rising one after the other. And, showing him the successive machinery and workshops of his wonderful art and the storehouses for the produce coming from below, he brought him to his own particular sphere and private apartment. There, he honoured him through showing him the blessed person that was the source of all those perfections and taking him into his presence. He informed him of the true nature of the palace and of his own perfections. He appointed him as guide to the other spectators and sent him back to describe to the people the palace’s Maker by means of its contents, inscriptions, and wonders, so that he should inform those who entered the palace of the allusive meanings of the inscriptions within it, what the works of art signified, and what the harmonious and well-proportioned inscriptions and works of art in its interior were, and how they pointed to the perfections and skills of the palace’s owner. And so that he should teach them the correct behaviour and formalities in seeing the exhibition and describe the protocol and ceremonies which were in accordance with the pleasure and desires of the learned and skilful king, who did not appear. And in exactly the same way, and God’s is the highest similitude, the All-Glorious Maker, Who is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, desired to behold and display His infinite perfections and boundless beauty. So He made this world in such a fashion that each being utters His perfections with numerous tongues and points to His beauty with many signs. The universe shows through all its beings how many hidden immaterial treasures there are in each of His Most Beautiful Names and how many veiled subtleties in each of His sacred titles. And it shows this in such a way that, since the time of Adam, all sciences together with all of their laws have studied this Book of the Universe. But of that book only a tiny proportion of the meanings and signs which state and point to the Divine Names and perfections have been read. Thus, the wisdom of the All-Glorious One of Beauty, the All-Beauteous One of Glory, the Maker Possessing Perfection, Who opens the palace of the world as though it was an exhibition in order to see and display His own transcendent beauty and perfections, requires that He should inform someone of the meaning of the palace’s signs so that they do not remain vain and without benefit for conscious beings on the earth. His wisdom requires that He should cause one of them to travel in the higher worlds, which are the sources of the wonders in the palace and are the treasuries of their results; that He should elevate him above all others, honour him with His close presence and cause him to tour the worlds of the hereafter, and entrust him with numerous duties, such as teacher to all His servants, herald of the sovereignty of His Dominicality, announcer of those things pleasing to Himself, and expounder of the signs of creation in the palace of the world; that He should mark out his pre-eminence by conferring on him the decorations of miracles, and should make known through a decree like the Qur’an that that person is the truthful personal interpreter of the All-Glorious One. And so, by way of example, we have demonstrated through the telescope of this comparison one or two of the many instances of wisdom in the Ascension. Others may be thought of in the same way. Second Comparison: If a knowledgeable and skilful person was to compose and write a miraculous book, and on each page of the book were as many truths as would fill a hundred books, and in each of its lines as many subtle meanings as would fill a hundred pages, and in each of its words as many truths as would fill a hundred lines, and in each of its letters as many meanings as would fill a hundred words, and if each of the meanings and truths of the book were to look to and point to the transcendent perfections of its miracle-displaying writer, he most certainly would not leave such an inexhaustible treasury closed and thus worthless. He would would surely teach it to some others so that such a valuable book would not remain meaningless and vain; and so that his own hidden perfections become apparent and find their perfection, and his transcendent beauty be seen; and so that he too should be pleased, and that he should make himself loved. Moreover, he would cause someone to go through that wonderful book from the first page to the last and teach him all its meanings and truths so that the person would then teach them to others. And in exactly the same way, in order to display His perfections, His beauty, and the truths of His Names, the Pre-Eternal Inscriber has written the universe in such a way that all beings set forth and state His infinite perfections, Names, and attributes together with their innumerable facets and aspects. Of course, if a book’s meaning remains unknown, its value is reduced to nothing. But a book such as the universe each word of which contains thousands of meanings cannot lose its value or be made to do so. Since this so, the book’s Writer will certainly make it known and explain a part of it to each group according to their capacity. And He will instruct in all the contents of the book the individual who has the broadest and most comprehensive view, the most universal consciousness, and the greatest ability. Wisdom requires that He should take the individual on a most elevated journey in order to teach him all the contents of such a book and its universal truths. That is, He should cause him to travel from the furthest extreme of the levels of multiplicity, which is the first page, to the sphere of Divine Oneness, which is the final page. Thus, through this comparison, to a degree you can look at the exalted instances of wisdom in the Ascension. Now, we shall consider the atheist who is listening, and, listening to his heart, we shall learn what state it is in. And so it comes to mind that his heart would say: “I have begun to believe in it now, but I still cannot understand it very well. I have three more important difficulties. “The First: Why is this mighty Ascension special to Muhammed the Arabian (Upon whom be blessings and peace)? “The Second: How is he the seed of the universe? And you say that the universe was created from his Light, and also that he is its farthest and most illumined fruit. What does that mean? “The Third: In your explanations above you say that he made his Ascension in order to rise to the celestial realm and to see the machinery and workshops of the works of art to be found in the realm of the earth and the treasuries of their results. What does this mean?” The Answer: Your First Difficulty: It has been analysed in detail in the first thirty Words. So here we shall set out a concise list briefly indicating to the perfections of Muhammed (PBUH), to the signs of his prophethood, and to the fact that he was the most worthy to make the Ascension. It is as follows. Firstly: Despite numerous corruptions in the texts of Holy Scriptures like the Torah, Gospels, and Psalms, in recent times even, an exacting scholar like Husayn Jisri extracted one hundred and fourteen good tidings indicating the prophethood of Muhammed (PBUH), which he set forth in his Risale-i Hamidiya. Secondly: It has been proved historically that there were many predictions accurately forecasting the prophethood of Muhammed (PBUH), like those of the two soothsayers Shiqq and Satih, which, a while previously to his prophethood, gave news of it and the fact that he was to be the final prophet. Thirdly: There were hundreds of extraordinary happenings, famous in history, called irhasat, that is, signs forewarning men of a coming prophet, like, for example, on the night of Muhammed’s (PBUH) birth, the idols in the Ka’ba fell from their places and the famous palace of Khosroes the Persian was rent asunder. Fourthly: History and the Prophet’s biographies show that he satisfied the thirst of an army with water flowing from his fingers, that in the presence of a large congregation in the mosque, the dry wooden support against which Muhammed (PBUH) was leaning moaned like a camel and wept on being separated from him when he ascended the pulpit, and that he was distinguished by close on a thousand miracles attested to by the verses of the Qur’an, such as, And the moon split,8 referring to the splitting of the moon, and verified by those who investigated them. Fifthly: Anyone who considers the facts and is fair and just cannot hesitate to agree that, as is unanimously agreed by friend and foe alike, good moral qualities were to be found at the highest degree in his personality, and that, in accordance with the testimony of all his dealings and actions, attributes and character of the greatest excellence were apparent in the way he performed his duties and proclaimed Islam, and, in accordance with the fine qualities and conduct enjoined by the religion of Islam, laudable virtues of the highest order were to be found in the law he brought. Sixthly: As is alluded to in the Second Indication of the Tenth Word, it is a requirement of wisdom that Divinity be manifested. And this desire of Divinity to be manifested is met at the greatest level and in the most brilliant fashion by the comprehensive worship performed by Muhammed (PBUH) in the practice of his religion. Also, wisdom and truth require that the Creator of the world displays His beauty in its utter perfection through some means. And the one who met that wish, and displayed and described His beauty in the most perfect fashion was self-evidently the person of Muhammed (PBUH). And it was also clearly Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the world’s Maker to exhibit and attract attentive gazes towards His perfect art within infinite beauty, heralded that art with the loudest voice. And again it was necessarily Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the Sustainer of All the Worlds to proclaim His Unity in the levels of multiplicity, announced all the degrees of Unity, each at the greatest level of Unity. And, as is indicated by the utter beauty in beings and as is required by truth and wisdom, the world’s Owner desires to see and display in mirrors, His infinite essential beauty and the subtleties and qualities of His exquisiteness. And again it was self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to that desire, acted as a mirror and displayed that beauty in the most radiant fashion, and loved it and made others love it. And, in response to the desire of the Maker of the palace of this world to exhibit and display His hidden treasuries, which are filled with the most wonderful miracles and priceless jewels, and through them to describe and make known His perfections, it was again self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who exhibited, described, and displayed them in the most comprehensive fashion. And, since the Maker of the universe has made it in such a way that He adorns it with different varieties of wonders and embellishments and has included conscious creatures in it so that they mighty make tours and excursions and ponder over it and take lessons, wisdom requires that He should desire to make known the meanings and value of the works of art to those who observe and ponder over them. And it was again self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the universe’s Maker, by means of the All-Wise Qur’an, acted as a guide in the most comprehensive fashion to jinn and man, indeed, to spirit beings and angels. Also, the All-Wise Ruler of the universe wishes, by means of an envoy, to cause all conscious beings to unravel the obscure talisman containing the aim and purpose of the change and transformations in the universe and to solve the riddle of the three perplexing questions: “Where do beings come form?”, “Where are they going?”, and, “What are they?” And again it was self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to this wish of the All-Wise Ruler, by means of the truths of the Qur’an, unravelled the talisman and solved the riddle in the clearest and most comprehensive fashion. Also, the All-Glorious Maker of the universe desires to make Himself known to conscious beings by means of all His fine artefacts and to make them love Him through all His precious bounties, and, most certainly, to make known to them by means of an envoy the Divine wishes and what will please Him in return for those bounties. And again it is self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the All-Glorious Maker, by means of the Qur’an, expounded those wishes and things that please Him by word and deed in the most exalted and perfect fashion. Also, since the Sustainer of All the Worlds has given to man, who is the fruit of the universe, a comprehensive disposition which encompasses the universe and has prepared him for universal worship, and since, because of his faculties and senses, multiplicity and the world afflict man, the Sustainer desires to turn man’s face from multiplicity to Unity, from transience to permanence. And again it is self-evidently Muhammed (PBUH) who, in response to this desire, by means of the Qur’an, acted as a guide in the most comprehensive and complete fashion, and in the best way, and carried out the duty of prophethood in the most perfect manner. Thus, among beings the most superior are animate beings, and among animate beings the most superior are conscious beings, and among conscious beings the most superior are true human beings, and among true human beings the one who carried out the above-mentioned duties at the most comprehensive level and in the most perfect form, would, of a certainty, rise through an all-embracing Ascension to the distance of two bow-lengths, knock at the door of eternal happiness, open the treasury of Mercy, and see the hidden truths of belief. Again it would be him. Seventhly: As is plain to see, beings are made beautiful with the utmost degree of fine embellishment and adornment. And such an embellishment and adornment clearly demonstrate that their Maker possesses an extremely strong will to make beautiful and intention to adorn. And the will to make beautiful and adorn demonstrates that the Maker necessarily possesses a strong desire and holy love towards His art. And among beings the one who displayed altogether in himself the most comprehensive and subtle wonders of art, and knew them and made them known and himself loved, and who appreciated the beauties to be found in other beings, declaring: “What wonders God has willed!”, and was most beloved in the sight of his Maker, Who nurtures and loves His art, would most certainly be him. Thus, the one who, declaring: “All glory be to God! What wonders God has willed! God is most Great!” in the face of the fine and exquisite qualities that gild beings and the subtle perfections that illuminate them, causes the heavens to ring out, and who, through the strains of the Qur’an, causes the universe to reverberate, and through his admiration and appreciation, his contemplation and display, and his mentioning of the Divine Names and affirmation of Divine Unity, brings land and sea to a state of ecstasy, is again self-evidently that one (PBUH). And so, according to the meaning of ‘the cause is like the doer’, it is pure truth and sheer wisdom that the one in whose scales shall be found the equivalent of all the good deeds performed by his community, and whose spiritual perfections draw strength from the benedictions of all his community, and who, as a result of the duties he discharged in his prophethood, received immaterial recompense and boundless emanations of Divine Mercy and love, should advance by the stairway of the Ascension as far as Paradise, the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, the Divine Throne, and the distance of two bow-lengths. Your Second Difficulty: O you who is listening! This second truth that you make difficult is so profound and exalted that the mind can neither reach it nor draw close to it. It may only be seen with the light of belief. However, the fact that this truth exists may be brought close to the understanding by means of allegory and comparison. In which case, we shall attempt to do that to some small degree. Thus, when the universe is considered from the point of view of wisdom, it is seen to bear the meaning of a mighty tree. For just as a tree has branches, leaves, blossom and fruit, so too in this lower world, which is one part of the tree of creation, there are elements, which are like its branches; plants and trees, which are like its leaves; animals, which are like its flowers; and man, which is like the fruit. Furthermore, the Divine Name of All-Wise requires that a law of the All-Glorious Maker that is in force in trees generally will also be in force in the mighty tree of creation. Since this is so, wisdom requires that the tree of creation also, be formed from a seed. And such a seed that contains the essentials and principles of other worlds besides the corporeal world. For the fundamental and original seed of the universe, which comprises thousands of different worlds, cannot be a scrap of desiccated matter. Since before the tree of the universe there was no tree of the same kind, it is also a requirement of the Name of All-Wise that meaning and light, which are like a source and seed to it, should be clothed with the garment of a fruit on the tree of the universe. For a seed cannot remain permanently unclothed. And since at the beginning of creation it was not clothed in the garment of a fruit, it would surely be clothed in it at the end. And since that fruit is mankind. And since, as was proved above, the most famous fruit and sublime result from among mankind, who attracted the attention of all and confined to himself the gaze of a fifth of mankind, and with his moral and spiritual qualities caused the world to consider him with either feelings of love or of wonder, is the Person of Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace), most certainly, light, which was the seed f

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