How can we reconcile God's being the All-Compassionate, The All-Wise and
The All-Loving, with decay in the world, with death, separations, misfortunes
Through Five Symbols that demonstrate the motive and necessary cause for,
and Five Signs which show the purposes and benefits behind, the decay and death
of living creatures, we will try to catch a glimpse of this profound and sublime
Whatever God does is good and His is the kingdom of everything: He does
whatever He wishes in His kingdom
A skilful clothes designer employs an ordinary man as a model to make a jeweled
and artistically fashioned garment in return for wages. In order to display
his skill and artistic ability, he gives a shape to the garment on that man
and so makes him sit and stand. I wonder, then, if the man will have a right
to object to the designer, saying, ‘Why do you continually change the shape
of this garment, which makes me look good, and give me trouble by making me
sit and stand?’ In the same way, the Majestic Creator takes each species of
creatures as a model and, in order to display the manifestations of His Names
and the perfection of His art, causes everything, especially the living creatures,
to put on a garment of existence bejeweled with senses, and embellishes it with
the Pen of Destiny and Decree. He gives, in return, to each being, as wages
particular to it, a certain perfection and pleasure and bounteous gifts. That
being the case, has anything the right to object to the Majestic Maker, the
Owner of the Kingdom, Who has free disposal of everything in His Kingdom in
whatever way He wills, saying, ‘You are giving me trouble and disturbing me!’?
The creatures can make no claim to any rights against the Necessarily-Existent
Being; rather, if they have a ‘right’, it is to fulfill the duty of thanksgiving
for the level of existence that God has conferred on them. For all the levels
of existence conferred are actual, concrete realities dependent on a necessary
cause, whereas the levels not conferred are only possibilities. A possibility
does not have an actual, external existence, and there are possibilities of
infinite number for a thing to have existence. Besides, there is no necessary
cause whereby something infinitely possible should attain existence.
It is an ingratitude to complain about God, as He is He Who has given existence
to anything that exists
For example, minerals cannot complain, saying, ‘Why were we not created as
plants?’ For there were possibilities of infinite number for them to have any
level of existence, whether inferior or superior. So, what they must do is to
thank their Creator for the mineral existence with which they were favored.
Nor do the plants and animals have a right to complain to God why they were
not granted a level of existence superior to theirs; rather, they must thank
God, the plants for being favored with existence and life; the animals for being
granted a precious ore of spirit as well as life and existence. As for you,
O man of complaint! You were not left non-existent; you were favored with the
garment of existence and experienced the pleasures of life. Further, you were
made neither an inanimate object nor a plant nor an animal. You enjoy a healthful
human existence. O man of belief, you were additionally favored, without being
left in misguidance, with the blessing of Islam. And so on.
It is, then, an ingratitude to complain about God – when you should be grateful
to Him for the level of existence He bestowed on you as a pure blessing – that
He did not favor you with still greater blessings to which you aspire passionately,
though wrongly, since they are of the order of possibilities and so non-existent.
Suppose a man elevated to a very high position – say, one made to climb a
minaret as far as its pinnacle, and favored with a particular blessing at each
step – were to complain that he had not been elevated still higher: would not
even the most foolish people see that this is an attitude of great ingratitude
and injustice on the part of that man?
O man of complaints, if you act in a greedy way, heedless of contentment
and thrift, know for a certainty that contentment is a profitable thanksgiving,
while greed is an ingratitude causing loss. Thrift shows a beneficial respect
for bounties received, whereas extravagance means to make light of bounties
in a harmful and shameless way. If, then, you are a sensible man, try to be
content with, and show consent to, what you have. If you are suffering poverty
impossible to endure, turn to the All-Patient One, and try to acquire a becoming
patience, and do so without uttering complaints.
If you want, in any case, to have someone to find fault with, it is your
carnal self, so complain to God Almighty about that.
Every creature is active because it has the yearning for, and
takes pleasure in, activity. Further, in every activity lies a kind of pleasure;
it may even be that activity itself is a pleasure.
One of the Divine purposes for the Majestic Creator’s continuous renewal
and re-creation of beings through the awesome activities of His Lordship is
Every creature is active because it has the yearning for, and takes pleasure
in, activity. Further, in every activity lies a kind of pleasure; it may even
be that activity itself is a pleasure. Pleasure points to a perfection, indeed,
is itself a kind of perfection. Since, then, activity points to perfection,
pleasure and beauty, and again since the Necessarily-Existent Being, Who is
the Perfect One of Majesty, has all kinds of perfection in His Being, Attributes
and Acts, then He will certainly feel, in a manner fitting to His Necessary
Existence and Holiness, that is, in accordance with His essential independence
of the whole of the creation, and with His absolute Perfection and being free
from deficiencies and any sort of likeness to any creatures, infinite sacred
affection and infinite sacred love. This sacred affection and love are the cause
of an infinite sacred enthusiasm, which is the origin of an infinite, sacred
joy, in turn the source of infinite sacred pleasure. God, the All-Merciful,
the All-Compassionate, because of this pleasure as well as of His Compassion,
feels infinite sacred gladness and infinite sacred pride for His creatures’
realization of their full potentials and attainment of their relative perfections
through their deeds by His Power. It is thus this sacred gladness and sacred
pride that require the incessant, infinite whirl of creation which, in turn,
demands an incessant changing, renewal and transformation in the universe. Finally,
this incessant changing, renewal and transformation call for decay, death and
The comprehensive purposes for the creation of beings
Once in the past, the motives and causes set forth by human philosophies
for the creation and life of beings seemed very insignificant to me. I inferred
from this why such philosophies would inevitably result in the absurdity which
leads prominent figures in philosophy either to the misguidance of naturalism
or sophistry, or even to the denial of the Will and Knowledge of the Maker or
to regard the Creator as self-compelled (to do what He does).
Just at that point, the Divine Compassion came to my aid with the Divine
Name, the All-Wise, and showed me the comprehensive purposes for the creation
of beings. Each creature is a Divine missive, such that all conscious beings
study it. I remained content for one year with discovering this purpose, but
later began to seek for some other great purposes. First, the wonder of Divine
Art in beings became manifest to me and, afterwards, another great purpose showed
itself: namely, the greatest of the purposes for the life and creation of beings
are related to the Maker. I perceived that they present to Himself, in the manner
of a mirror reflecting His Beauty and Perfection, the perfection of His art,
the embellishment of His Names, the jewels of His Wisdom and the gifts of His
Compassion. After a long while, I noticed the miracles of God’s Power and the
functions of His Lordship in a very rapid change and renewal brought about through
the amazing acts of His creativity. After that, not content with all those purposes,
I thought that there should be another still greater purpose for the life of
creatures, and the motives and purposes which have already been partly explained
in the foregoing Symbol and which will come below became obvious to me. I knew
for certainty that the actions of Divine Power in the universe and the incessant
flux of things are so meaningful that, through that flux, the All-Wise Maker
causes all the kinds of beings to speak. It is as if the individual active creatures
in heavens and on the earth, and their actions are the words of the speeches
of those kinds of beings, and each movement is an act of speech. That is, all
creatures glorify God through their movements, including their birth and death.
Things do not go into absolute non-existence through death,
rather they are transferred from the sphere of Power to the sphere of Knowledge,
from the visible, material world, the world of changing and mortality, to the
World of the Unseen, which is the world of light and permanence
Things do not go into absolute non-existence, rather they are transferred
from the sphere of Power to the sphere of Knowledge, from the visible, material
world, the world of changing and mortality, to the World of the Unseen, which
is the world of light and permanence.
The beauty and perfection in things belong, in reality, to the Divine Names,
being the manifestations of those Names. Since those Names are permanent with
their never-ending manifestations, their inscriptions will almost certainly
be renewed, freshened and become more and more beautiful. Not going into absolute
non-existence, only their relative forms of existence change, with their real
nature and identity, which are the source of beauty and the object of enlightenment
and perfection, remaining permanently.
The inanimate beings owe their beauty to the Divine Names, so the admiration
and love felt for them, belong to those Names, and their changing (since they
are mirrors reflecting Divine Names) does not detract from the Names. As for
the animate beings, the death of those without intelligence is not complete
annihilation; rather, through death, they are freed from the corporeal body
and the turbulence of life, and transfer the fruits of their duty to their permanent
spirit, which, depending on a Divine Name, attains some kind of happiness peculiar
to itself. The death of intelligent beings is a journey, through the All-Wise
Maker’s stations of the Intermediate World of the grave and the worlds of ideas
and spirits, which are more beautiful and illumined than this world, to the
World of Permanence where eternal happiness and material and spiritual perfections
In short: Since the Majestic Maker exists and is permanent with His Attributes
and Names, the inscriptions and manifestations of those Names are constantly
renewed in spiritual permanence; they are not subject to absolute non-existence.
As is well-known, man is, on account of his humanity, connected to most of
the creatures. He derives pleasure from their happiness and grieves about their
misfortunes. He rejoices especially over the happiness of animate beings, particularly
over that of human beings and most particularly of the men of perfection whom
he approves and loves, and shares their grieves. Moreover, like an affectionate
mother, he may go so far as to sacrifice his own rest and happiness for their
welfare. Thus, every believer may, according to the degree of his belief and
through the light of the Qur’an and belief, be happy with the happiness and
permanence of creatures, and their being saved from nothingness and their being
valuable missives of the Lord, and thereby he may acquire so comprehensive a
light as to fill the entire world. Everybody benefits from this light according
to his capacity. But a man of misguidance who regards death as absolute annihilation,
falls to despair and depression, and suffers pessimism due to the misfortunes
and death of all creatures; he is obsessed, because of his unbelief, by fear
of going to absolute non-existence, and suffers hellish torment even before
he goes to Hell.
The Names of God Almighty have innumerable kinds of manifestation.
Just as there are many departments of a king’s government representing his
functions as the supreme ruler, supreme judge, supreme commander and the supreme
head of the religious office etc., so too, the Names of God Almighty have innumerable
kinds of manifestation. The variety and difference of creatures result from
the variety of those manifestations. Since every possessor of perfection and
grace tends to see and show his perfection and grace, the various Names of God,
too, would like, because permanent, to manifest themselves on behalf of the
Most Sacred Being. That is, they desire to behold their inscriptions; they want
to see and show the reflections of their perfection and grace in the mirrors
of their inscriptions, and therefore they tend to renew or re-write in a most
meaningful way, moment by moment, the great book of the universe and the various
missives of creatures, or to write thousands of different letters on a single
page and present it for the viewing of the Most Holy Being, as well as for the
viewing of conscious beings to read and ponder. Look at the following stanza
of truth, which expresses this point:
The sheets of the book of the universe are of innumerable kinds,
Its individual letters and words are also countless.
‘Written’ in the ‘printing house’ of the Guarded Tablet of Truth,
Each creature in the universe is a meaningful word.
Consider the lines of the books of the universe, for they are
missives to you from the Highest Abode.
Since God exists, everything exists. Since everything is connected to God,
each single thing is connected to everything.
Since God exists, everything exists. Since everything is connected to God,
each single thing is connected to everything. For each thing has, through its
connection to God, a connection to everything because of God’s Unity. And through
this connection, each thing can be an object of the infinite light of existence.
Decays and separations cannot impede this reality, so one can receive an infinite
light of existence by living even for a moment in consciousness of this connection.
If, on the other hand, this connection cannot be established or is ignored,
one becomes the object of infinite separation and non-existence, for one will
then experience endless despair and depression because of the decay and death
of each creature to which one feels a connection. If one were to live, in this
state, even for a million years, he would not be able to taste the true pleasure
of a moment’s life lived in connection to God. It is for this reason that men
of truth have concluded: a moment of life enlightened through connection to
God is preferable to a million years of life devoid of such light. It is for
the same reason that men of truth have drawn the conclusion that receiving the
light of existence is only possible through recognition of the Necessarily-Existent
In view of the one who recognizes God, the universe is, in the
light of existence, filled with angels and other beings of spirituality and
consciousness. But the one who does not recognize God sees the universe as a
vast, dark, and desolate place where beings are waiting for death and separations.
In view of the one who recognizes God, the universe is, in the light of existence,
filled with angels and other beings of spirituality and consciousness. But the
one who does not recognize God sees the universe as a vast, dark, and desolate
place where beings are waiting for death and separations. It is indeed so: consider
the fact that each fruit on a tree has a connection to all the other fruits
on that tree and thereby has as many kinds of secondary existence as the number
of the other fruits, and that when it is picked, it is in fact separated from
all the other fruits and enveloped by a darkness of non-existence. It is for
this reason that, due to the connection to the Power of the One Eternally-Besought,
for each being or thing everything has an actual existence; otherwise there
are as many types of non-existence as the number of things.
Thus, through the telescope of this reality, consider how comprehensive is
the light of faith and how frightful is the darkness of misguidance. What we
call faith is, in fact, the essence of the sublime truth explained in this Symbol.
Where there is no faith, everything means non-existence for an unbeliever, just
as nothing exists for a person without senses.
There are three facets of the world and things:
- The facet turning to the Divine Names. Being the mirrors of those Names,
this facet does not experience any decay and separation but is continually
refreshed and renewed.
- The facet turning to the Hereafter – the world of permanence. Being like
a field sown with the seeds of the Hereafter to grow into permanent trees
with permanent fruits, this facet of the world is in the service of the World
of Permanence; it causes transient things to acquire permanence. It is again
not decay and death, but life and permanence, which are manifested in this
- The facet turning to us who are transient beings. People of desires and
fancies love this facet of the world, which is, on the other hand, the market-place
of sensible conscious persons and the stage of trial for the duty-bound. This
facet is apparently the object of decay and death. However, there are, in
its inward dimension, the manifestations of life and permanence to heal the
sorrows coming from death, decay and separations.
Those streams of beings, that flux of creatures, are moving
objects and ever-changing and renewed mirrors to renew and make more bright
the lights of existence and creation of the Necessarily-Existent Being.