Third Stopping-Place

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.1


According to the meaning of And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise, everything has numerous aspects that give onto God Almighty like windows.

The realities of all beings and of the universe are based on the Divine Names. Each being’s reality is based on one Name or on many. The attributes of things and the arts they display are also based on and rely upon a Name. True natural science is based on the Name of All-Wise, true medicine on the Name of Healer, and geometry on the Name of Determiner, and so on. In the same way that all the sciences are based on and come to an end in a Name, the realities of all arts and sciences, and of all human attainments, are based on the Divine Names. Indeed, one group of the most learned of the saints stated that the Divine Names constitute the true reality of things, while the essences of things are only shadows of that reality. They said too that even only apparently as many as twenty manifestations and impresses of the Divine Names may be seen on a single living creature. We shall try to make this subtle yet vast truth easier to understand by means of a comparison, and shall analyze it by passing it through a sieve two or three times as it were. However long our discussion, it would still be short, but one should not become bored.

When a skilful portraitist or sculptor wishes to paint a picture of a beautiful flower or to sculpt a great beauty belonging to mankind’s fair sex, firstly he determines the general shapes of those two objects with a few lines. He determines these by ordering and adjusting them, by estimating and measuring them. And this he does according to rules and limits defined by geometry.

It is clear that this ordering and measuring is carried out with knowledge and wisdom or purpose. That is to say, the acts of ordering and limiting turn on the compasses of knowledge and wisdom. In which case, the meanings of knowledge and wisdom govern behind the ordering and limiting. The compasses of knowledge and wisdom, then, point to themselves and they demon strate that, within those limits, they have begun the portrayal of small particulars like the eyes, ears, nose, leaves, and stamens.

Now we see that the members determined by the motion of those inner compasses are taking shape artistically and carefully. Since this is so, the one who turns these knowledge and wisdom compasses possesses meanings of craftsmanship and care; it is they who command and then display themselves.

Thus, it may be understood from this that they point to inherent qualities of beauty and adornment. Since this is so, what makes the craftsmanship and care function is the will to beautify and the intention to decorate. In which case, it is at their command that the artist begins to adorn and illuminate. He gives a smiling and living form to the statue and flower. And what makes this meaning of beautifying and illuminating function is surely the meaning of favouring and munificence.

Yes, these two meanings govern him to such a degree that, quite simply, the flower is an embodied favour, and the statue, embodied munificence. So now it is the meanings of making loved and known that impel the meanings of favouring and munificence and make them work. That is, behind the latter two meanings, the meanings of making himself known through his art and making people love him govern.

This making loved and known, without a doubt arise from an inclination toward being merciful and the will to bestow bounties. So, since mercy and the will to bestow bounties are governing behind them, he will adorn the statue with all sorts of bounties and also bestow the form of the flower as a present. Thus, he fills the statue’s hands and pockets with precious bounties and bestows the form of the flower as jewels. That is to say, what makes his mercy and will to bestow function is a feeling of gentleness and pity. That is, the meaning of pity and gentleness impels the mercy and bounty.

Furthermore, what impels and makes manifest the meaning of pity and gentleness within that person, who is self-sufficient and needs no one, are the meanings of beauty and perfection. These desire to be manifested. And as for love and mercy, which are the sweetest and most delightful parts of that beauty, they desire to be seen in the mirror of art and to see themselves through the eyes of yearning admirers.

That is to say, since beauty and perfection are loved for themselves, they love themselves above everything. They are also both loveliness and love. The union of beauty and love stems from this point. Since beauty loves itself, it desires to see itself in mirrors. Thus all the lovable bounties and beautiful fruits which were set on the statue and on the picture bear the flashes, each according to its capacity, of that meaning of beauty. They display those flashes both to the owner of the beauty and to others.

In exactly the same way, the All-Wise Maker delimits, orders and gives determined proportions and shapes to all things, particular and universal, through the manifestation of His Names; to Paradise and this world, the heavens and the earth, plants and animals, men and jinn, angels and spirit beings. By doing this, He causes them to recite His Names of Determiner, Orderer, and Giver of Form.

He determines the limits of their general shapes in such a manner that He displays His Names of All-Knowing and All-Wise. Then, through the definition of knowledge and wisdom, He begins to form them within those limits. He does this in such a way that He displays the meanings of craftsmanship and care and His Names of Maker and Munificent.

Next, with the miraculous hand of art and the brush of munificence He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to the members of that form, whether a single human being or a single flower, like the eyes, ears, leaves, and stamens. If it is the earth, He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to its minerals, plants and animals. If it is Paradise, He gives the colours of beauty and adornment to its gardens, palaces, and houris. And so on. You can make analogies for the rest, too.

Furthermore, He adorns and illuminates in such a fashion that the meanings of favouring and munificence are predominant in those objects. They govern to a degree where those adorned beings, those illuminated artefacts, become like embodied favours and incarnate munificence. They mention the Names of Gracious and Munificent.

Next, what impels the favouring and munificence to manifest are clearly the actions of making loved and known. That is, the qualities of making Himself loved by animate creatures and known by conscious ones. They cause animate and conscious beings to recite the Names of Loving and Known One behind the Names of Gracious and Munificent, and for this recitation, which is performed by the very mode of their beings, to be heard.

Then, embellishing those adorned and beautiful creatures with delicious fruits and lovable results, He turns from adorning to bestowing bounties, from graciousness to compassionateness. He causes them to recite the Names of Bestower and Compassionate and displays the manifestation of those two Names behind the outer veils.

Next, what impels that One, Who is absolutely without need, to manifest these Names of Compassionate and Munificent are the qualities of mercy and gentleness, which display the Names of Gentle and Merciful and cause them to be recited.

And what impels the meanings of mercifulness and gentleness to manifest are doubtless, an essential beauty and perfection which desire to become evident; they cause the Name of Beautiful, and the Names of Loving and Compassionate, which are within the Name of Beautiful, to be recited. For beauty is loved for itself. Beauty and one possessing beauty love themselves. Moreover, it is both loveliness and love.

Perfection, also, is loved for itself; no other cause is necessary. It is both lover and beloved. Since a beauty that is at the utmost degree of perfection and a perfection that is at the utmost degree of beauty are loved and are worthy of love to the utmost degree, most certainly will they desire to see and to exhibit themselves through displaying their flashes and manifestations in mirrors, in accordance with the capacity of the mirrors.

That is to say, the beauty and perfection essential to the All-Glorious Maker, the All-Wise One of Beauty, the All-Powerful One of Perfection, require the qualities of mercy and gentleness, and impel the Names of Merciful and Gentle to be manifested.

As for mercy and gentleness, through displaying compassion and bounty, they impel the manifestation of the Names of Compassionate and Bestower.

And compassionateness and bestowal require the qualities of making known and loved and impel the Names of Loving and Known One to be manifested.

Making known and loved impel the meanings of favouring and munificence and display them on some of the facets of those artefacts; they cause the Names of Gracious and Munificent to be recited amongst them.

As for the qualities of graciousness and munificence, they impel the acts of adorning and illuminating. They cause the Names of Adorner and Illuminer to be recited by the tongues of the artefacts’ beauty and luminosity.

And the qualities of adorning and beautifying require the meanings of craftsmanship and care. They cause the Names of Maker and Bountiful to be recited by the beautiful features of the artefacts.

As for craftsmanship and care, they require knowledge and wisdom, and they cause the Names of All-Wise and All-Knowing to be recited by their well-ordered, wise, and purposeful members.

And knowledge and wisdom require the acts of ordering, forming, and shaping. They display the Names of Determiner and Giver of Form, causing them to be recited by the artefact in its entirety, through its form.

Thus, the All-Glorious Maker has made all His creatures or artefacts in such a way that He causes most of them, and especially animate beings, to recite numerous Divine Names. It is as if He has dressed each creature in twenty different shirts, one on top of another or has enfolded them in twenty veils, and on each shirt or veil He has inscribed different Names.

For example, as was demonstrated in the comparison, there are many pages in what is only apparent in the creation of a beautiful member of mankind’s fair sex or of a beautiful flower. From these two small and particular examples you can draw analogies with other large and universal creatures.

The First Page: It is the state which demonstrates the general shape and proportion. It mentions the Names of O Giver of Form! O Determiner! O Orderer!

The Second Page: This is the plain and unadorned state of the human being and flower in the comparison, which occurs with the disclosure of the forms of all the different members of those two creatures. Many Names, like All-Knowing and All-Wise, for example, are written on this page.

The Third Page: Through bestowing a different beauty and adornment on all the different members of those two creatures, many Names like Maker and Designer, for example, are written on this page.

The Fourth Page: Such a beauty and adornment are given to those two artefacts it is as though they have become embodied favours and munificence. This page mentions and recites numerous Names, like for example, O Gracious One! O Munificent One!

The Fifth Page: Through attaching delicious fruits to the flower and lovable children and a fine character to the beautiful woman, this page recites Names like O Loving One! O Compassionate One! O Bestower of Bounties!

The Sixth Page: On this page of bestowal and bounties, Names like O Merciful One! O Gentle One! are recited.

The Seventh Page: Flashes of such beauty are apparent in these bounties and results that they are worthy of a sincere gratitude and pure love which have been kneaded with true desire and compassion. On this page, the Names of O Beauteous One of Perfection! O Perfect One of Beauty! are inscribed and recited.

Thus, if the beautiful flower and human being display this number of Names, and that only in material and apparent form, you can conclude what exalted and universal Names all flowers and animate creatures, as well as vast, universal beings, cause to be recited.

You can also conclude how many luminous, sacred Names, like Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, and Giver of Life, man recites and causes to be recited by reason of his spirit, heart, mind, and through the pages of life and other subtle qualities.

Thus, Paradise is a flower. The company of houris is also a flower. The face of the earth is a flower. The spring is a flower. The heavens are a flower, while the stars are their gilded embroideries. And the sun is a flower, while the seven colours in its light are the flower’s embroidered colours.

The universe is a beautiful and huge human being, in the same way that each human being is a miniature universe. The company of houris, the assembly of spirit beings, the realm of angels, the congregation of jinn, and human kind, have all been formed, ordered, and created as if they were beautiful individuals. Just as they all display the Beauteous Maker’s Names through their universality, as does each individual singly, so are they all different mirrors to His beauty and perfection, mercy and love. All are truthful witnesses to His infinite beauty and perfection, mercy and love. All are signs and tokens of that beauty and perfection, mercy and love.

Thus, this infinite number of different sorts of perfections occurs within the sphere of Divine unity and oneness. That is to say, what are imagined to be perfections outside that sphere are not perfections at all.

Understand therefore that the reality of beings is based on and relies on the Divine Names; rather, that their true realities are the manifestations of those Names; and that everything mentions and glorifies its Maker with numerous tongues in numerous ways.

And understand one meaning of the verse:

And there is not a single thing but extols His glory and praise.1

Say, “Glory be to Him Who is hidden in the intensity of His manifestation.” And understand one reason why phrases like the following are repeatedly mentioned at the end of the Qur’an’s verses:

And He is the Mighty, the Wise.2 And He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.3 And He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.4

If you are unable to read the Names in a flower and cannot see them clearly, look at Paradise, study the spring, watch the face of the earth. You will be able to read clearly the Names written there, for they are the huge flowers of mercy. You will be able to see and understand their impresses and manifestations.