IMPORTANT, SUBTLE MATTER
PROPHETHOOD AND SAINTHOOD
do saints differ greatly in their visions and discoveries of some hidden truths
although they are all agreed upon the principles of faith? Why do their
discoveries mainly based on (direct) witnessing or observation, sometimes turn
out to be opposed to reality and contrary to the truth?
why in their opinions, which they consider to be as true as if they are based on
decisive proofs, do thinkers and scholars draw contradictory conclusions in
searching for the truth? Why does a truth appear in different colors?
did the early Prophets not concentrate on some pillars of faith like bodily
resurrection and elaborate them as much as the Quran, being content with
brief exposition, so that in later times some among their followers went so far
as to deny them?
why among the saints who have been well-versed in the knowledge of God have some
advanced only in the affirmation of Divine Unity; and, although they have even
attained in the truths of belief the absolute certainty coming from direct
experience, why do some of the pillars of faith appear in their paths to have
been relatively neglected? Because of this, those coming in later times in their
footsteps have not given the necessary importance to those pillars, resulting in
the deviation of some among them. Although true perfection is attained through
full development in all the pillars of faith, why have the people of truth
advanced greatly in some of them, while remaining very backward in others?
Whereas the noble Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, who was
endowed with the manifestations of all the Divine Names to the greatest degree,
and who was the prince of the Prophets, and the wise Quran, which is the most
luminous chief of all the sacred Divine Scriptures, described in detail all the
pillars of faith, clearly, and in a most serious and concentrated form and
The reason for those
undeniable facts is this:
Man is the object of the
manifestations of all the Divine Names and has a capacity for all the
perfections. However, although he has a partial will and power, and various
abilities and different desires, he searches for truth amid thousands of veils
and barriers. So, in discovering the reality and witnessing the truth, barriers
intervene. Some people cannot pass over the barriers. Abilities differ, and some
are unable to understand some of the pillars of faith fully. Moreover, the
manifestations of the Names take on different colors according to people who
receive them. Some people cannot receive the full manifestation of a Name. Also,
while some succeed in receiving the manifestation in its universality and
originality, the others can receive it only partially and in shadowy form. In
some, only one Name becomes predominant and prevails exclusively over the
In order to understand
this profound, subtle matter and reality having universal purposes, heed the
following comprehensive and true, but enigmatic and somewhat complex,
Let us suppose three
things-a luxuriant flower, a living drop of water in love with the moon, and a
simple dew drop which looks to the sun, each of which has consciousness and some
goal of perfection to attain. Together with pointing to many truths, these three
things also allude to the journeying of the soul, the mind, and the heart in the
way of truth. They also correspond to the three groups of those who search for
searching for the truth
The first group
consists of the thinkers, or those who pursue the truth by striving for
their particular level of perfection only through the physical senses and
intellectual faculties, or those who, without forsaking egotism, are
plunged in the multiplicity of things in the material world, and try to
reach the truth through deduction and reasoning only.
The second group
comprises the saints or saintly scholars or those who pursue the truth by
striving through employing the mind and refining the soul, or those who
search for the truth through science, reason and learning and by acquiring
knowledge of God.
The third group
comprises the Prophets or those who pursue the truth through belief,
submission, and purifying the heart, or those who reach the truth swiftly
through faith and the Qur‘an, and worship and acknowledgement of one’s
poverty before God.
Now under the titles of Flower,
Drop and Dew Drop, I will try to point out by means
of a comparison how and why these three groups progress [to reach the truth] in
the way particular to each.
kinds of manifestation of the Sun
For example, by its
Creator‘s leave and at His command, the sun has three kinds of manifestation,
reflection, and radiance:
on the moon and the planets,
and imaging itself in shining objects like glass and water.
If, according to
the theory that flowers receive their colors from the changing reflections
of the seven colors in the sun‘s light, the sun’s reflection on
flowers has also three types: one is a universal and general manifestation
and reflection whereby the sun encompasses flowers all at the same time.
The second is a special manifestation whereby it encompasses each species
with a special reflection. The third is a particular manifestation whereby
it is reflected in a certain flower according to its individual character.
The second is
the light which, by the leave of the Wise Creator, the sun gives to the
moon and planets. The moon sends out its light, which comes from the sun
and is therefore a shadow of the sun‘s light, onto the seas, air, and
reflective earth, and, in a particular form, onto the bubbles on the sea
and translucent parts of earth and the molecules of air.
The third is
that under God‘s command the sun has a pure, universal, and direct
reflection or self-imaging in the atmosphere and the surface of the seas,
which it makes into mirrors. Besides, the sun gives to each of the bubbles
on the sea, and the drops of water, and the molecules of the air and the
snow-flakes, a particular reflection and tiny image of itself.
of Prophethood and the way of sainthood
Thus, the sun reflects or
images itself on every flower, and in every drop of water and dew drop in two
ways in each of the three kinds mentioned above:
or manifestation representing the way of Prophethood. This is direct, and
without barrier and veil.
or manifestation representing the way of sainthood. The second way is that
in which barriers intervene. The capacities of the mirror, of the objects
receiving the images or reflections, add color to the manifestations of
the sun. This way represents the way of
Thus, on the first way
the Flower, Drop and Dew Drop can each say: ‘I am a mirror to the sun of all
the world’. But on the second way they cannot say that; they can rather say:
‘I am the mirror to my own sun, or the mirror to the sun which is manifested
in my species.’ For that is the way in which they know the sun. They cannot
see the sun in its direct, universal manifestation. The sun appears to each of
them or to its species from behind barriers and under restrictions. For this
reason, it cannot attribute to that ‘particular, restricted sun’ the works
of the unrestricted, unconfined, absolute sun. For it cannot ascribe in full
conviction to a sun which it sees within narrow confines and restrictions the
majestic works like heating and illuminating the whole face of the earth,
stirring the plants and animals to life, and making the planets revolve around
it. Indeed, even if those three things (which we suppose to have consciousness)
attribute those wonderful works to the sun which they see under restrictions,
they can only do so, not through conviction and submission of the heart, but
through superficial reasoning and belief-through a superficial submission to the
fact that that restricted thing is the majestic absolute sun. Therefore, this
judgment of Flower, Drop and Dew Drop (which we suppose to be intelligent like a
human being) depends on or arises from reasoning, it does not arise out of
thorough enlightenment coming from direct witnessing and observation. It may
even sometimes occur that their conclusion depending on belief conflicts with
what they witness or observe in the outer world. So they can believe with much
difficulty in what they are told or they themselves reason concerning the
reality of the sun.
ourselves to be the Flower, Drop and Dew Drop
In order to be able to
have a better understanding of the matter we should ourselves be a part of the
comparison, supposing ourselves to be Flower, Drop and Dew Drop. Because we
receive enlightenment from our immaterial sun in the way they receive from their
So my friend, who has not
been able to renounce the world and is preoccupied with physical subjects, and
whose soul is dense! You be ‘Flower’. Flower takes on a color as an effect
produced by a ray of the sun’s light of a particular wavelength and makes of
it an adorned form to be clothed in. You may suppose yourself to have the same
capacity as it has.
Let that philosopher who
has studied secular science and therefore explains everything in terms of cause
and effect like the Old Said be ‘Drop’, which is in love with the moon. The
moon sends to a drop the shadowy light which it receives from the sun, and the
drop shines with that light, through which it can only see the moon. It cannot
see the sun; it can only believe in its existence.
Then, let that poor
fellow be ‘Dew Drop‘, who knows everything to be directly from Almighty God
and considers cause and effect to be a veil only. Such a Dew Drop it is that it
is poor in itself; it has nothing to depend on so that it could rely on itself
as Flower does. Nor has it any color through which to make a display of itself.
Neither has it anything else that it should feel an inclination towards it; all
that it has is a sheer purity and simplicity of heart by which it holds the
image of the sun in the ‘pupil of its eye’.
Now that we have taken
the place of these three things, we must consider ourselves: What do we have?
What must we do?
that through His favors a Most Munificent One is adorning, enlightening,
nurturing, and bringing us up.
We see that through His
favors a Most Munificent One is adorning, enlightening, nurturing, and bringing
us up. Man has an inborn tendency to adore one who favors him. He wants to be
close to one worthy of adoration, and desires to see him. That being so, in
accordance with our capacities, each of us will journey through the attraction
are like ‘Flower’
You who are like ‘Flower’,
you are advancing, so advance as if a flower. See, you have advanced until you
have reached a universal rank, as if a universal flower to represent all
flowers. However, Flower is a dense mirror, where light is refracted and the
seven colors in it dissolve. Therefore it veils the reflection of the sun. You
will not be able to see the face of the Sun that you love, for the colors and
qualities, which are restricted, draw a veil over It and obscure It. Therefore,
you cannot be freed from the separation caused by the barriers interposing.
However, you can be freed on condition that you raise your head that is sunk in
the love of your selfhood, and withdraw your gaze fixed on the merits you
ascribe to your selfhood, and direct it to the face of the Sun in ‘heaven’.
Further, you should turn your face, looking down to the earth to attract your
sustenance, up to the Sun. For you are a mirror of It, your duty is to act as a
mirror to It. Whether you know It or not, your sustenance will come to you from
the earth, which is the door to the treasury of Mercy.
Just as a flower is a
tiny mirror to the sun, so also the huge sun is a drop-like mirror to a gleam
from the Name of Light of the Eternal Sun.
O heart of man! Know from
this to what a Sun you are a mirror. Only after you become conscious of this,
will you attain the level of perfection assigned for you. However, you cannot
see that Sun in Its essential identity; nor can you grasp Its truth in Its naked
form; rather, your attributes give It a color and your cloudy telescope attaches
a form to It, and your limited capacity restricts It.
thinker who represents the Drop!
Now, you O wise thinker
who represent the Drop! Through the telescope of your intellect and by the
ladder of science and philosophy, you have advanced as far as the moon and
landed on it. Look, of itself the moon is dense and dark; it has neither light
nor life. Your endeavor has all been in vain, and your knowledge has proved to
be profitless. You can only be saved from the darkness of hopelessness, the
desolation of loneliness, the pestering of evil spirits, and the terror of that
frightening solitude on condition that you abandon the night of naturalism and
turn toward the Sun of Truth, and believe with certainty that the lights of that
night are but the shadowy reflections of the lights of the ‘Sun of Daytime’.
When you fulfill this condition, you will attain to perfection and find the
tremendous Sun in place of the poor and lightless moon. However, like your
previous friend, you will not be able to see the Sun clearly. You will rather
see it beyond the veils with which your reason and philosophy are familiar, and
behind the screens woven by science and learning, and in a color produced by
Dew Drop, our third friend, who is both poor and colorless
As for Dew Drop, our
third friend, who is both poor and colorless: the dew drop swiftly evaporates in
the sun’s heat and, free from egotism, rises into the air. The dense matter in
its structure burns in the flames of love and changes into light. It holds on to
a ray from that light and draws close to the sun.
O friend resembling Dew
Drop! Since you act as a direct mirror to the Sun, whatever your rank, you can
find a window through which you can look at the Sun without any barriers. You
will not experience any difficulty in ascribing to the Sun Its amazing works.
Without hesitation you will be able to attribute to It the majestic attributes
It deserves. Nothing will be able to withhold you from attributing to It the
awesome actions of Its essential sovereignty. No negative factor like the
thickness of barriers or the limitation of capacities or the smallness of
mirrors will confuse you, nor drive you to the opposite of truth. Because, since
you are turned directly towards It with pure heart and sincerity of intention,
you have understood that what appears in the objects and is observed in the
mirrors, is not the Sun Itself but manifestations or colored reflections of It
of some sort. However, although those reflections belong to Its titles, they
cannot display all the works of Its majesty in their proper splendor.
comparison bearing the color of reality, there are three different ways to
Thus, in this comparison
bearing the color of reality, there are three different ways to perfection. They
differ greatly in the merits of the perfections they lead to and in the details
of the rank of certainty reached in the end. But in conclusion and in submitting
to truth and affirming the reality, they are in agreement. Consider a man of the
night who has never seen the sun and only sees its shadow in the mirror of the
moon. He cannot comprehend the splendid light and awesome gravity particular to
the sun, and only submits to those who have seen it and imitates them. In just
the same way, one who cannot attain to the most comprehensive rank of the Names
like the All-Powerful and Life-Giver through succession to the mission of
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, accepts the resurrection of the dead
and Great Gathering imitatively, declaring that it is not a matter that can be
understood through the reason. For the Resurrection and the Last Judgment will
take place as a result of the most comprehensive manifestation of God’s
Greatest Name and certain other Names. Whoever cannot comprehend it is compelled
to believe in it by way of imitation. Whoever, by contrast, can understand it
fully, sees the destruction of the world and the resurrection of the dead
together with the building of a new world as happening as easily as the
alternation of night and day, and of winter and spring, and accepts it with full
conviction of the heart.
A basic difference
between the Qur’an and other Scriptures and the Prophet Muhammad and other
It is because of the fact
mentioned that the Qur‘an speaks of the Resurrection and Great Gathering with
full emphasis and in the most perfect, detailed manner, and our Prophet, upon
him be peace and blessings, who was endowed with the Greatest Name of God,
taught it. As for the other Prophets, as required by the wisdom in their mission
of guiding people to Divine truths, they did not instruct their communities,
which were at a somewhat simple and primitive level, in the resurrection of the
dead at the same level and in the same extensive details as the Qur’an and our
Prophet did. It is also due to the same fact that some saintly people have not
seen or could not demonstrate some of the pillars of faith to the greatest
degree. It is again owing to the same fact that there are great differences in
the degrees of those who have knowledge of God. Numerous other matters of
consequence arise from this fact. However, since this comparison contains some
aspects of the reality, and the reality is extremely extensive and profound, I
will content myself with the comparison, and not attempt to explain the other
matters which are beyond my limit and capacity.