The Twentieth Word

[This Word consists of Two Stations]

First Station

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

And when We told the angels: Prostrate before Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis.1 God commands that you sacrifice a cow.2 And yet after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks or even harder.3

One day while reading these verses, three points were imparted to me from the effulgence of the Qur’an against the promptings of Satan. His suggestions took this form:

He said: “You say the Qur’an is a miracle, and of infinite eloquence, and that it is guidance for everyone at all times. So what is the meaning in its persistently repeating in historical form certain minor events like the following: how is it appropriate to mention an insignificant event like the slaughtering of a cow as though it were something significant, and even naming that important Sura, The Cow? Also the event of ‘prostrating before Adam;’ it occurred in the realm of the Unseen and cannot be understood rationally. It may be submitted to and accepted with certainty only after a strong belief has been attained. Whereas the Qur’an instructs those who use their reasons; in many places it says: So will you not think?, and refers what it says to the reason. Also, how is it guidance to show certain natural conditions of rocks to be important which are the results of chance?”

The Points with which I was inspired took this form:


In the All-Wise Qur’an are numerous minor events behind which are concealed universal principles, and which are shown as the tips of general laws. For example,

He taught Adam the Names, all of them.4

This is the ‘teaching of the Names,’ which was a miracle of Adam before the angels because of his ability to be vicegerent of the earth, and was a minor event. But it forms the tip of a universal principle which is as follows: it was the teaching, due to man’s comprehensive disposition, of countless sciences, and numerous all-embracing branches of knowledge about the universe, and extensive learning about the Creator’s attributes and qualities, which afforded man superiority over not only the angels but also the heavens and earth and mountains in the question of the bearing of the Supreme Trust. And like the Qur’an states that through his comprehensive disposition, man is a spiritual vicegerent of the earth, so the minor event in the Unseen of the angels prostrating before Adam and Satan not prostrating is the tip of a broad and universal observed principle; these hint at an extensive truth which is as follows:

By mentioning the angels’ obedience and submission before the person of Adam, and Satan’s pride and refusal, the Qur’an makes understood that most of the physical beings in the universe and their non-physical representatives and appointed beings are subjugated to man, and that man’s senses are predisposed and amenable to benefiting from all of them. And pointing out what a fearsome enemy and serious obstacle in the path of man’s progress are evil matter and its representatives and evil indwelling spirits, which corrupt man’s nature and drive him down wrong paths, the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, while speaking of a minor matter with Adam (Peace be upon him), converses in elevated fashion with the whole universe and all mankind.


Although the Land of Egypt is a part of the Greater Sahara Desert, through the blessing of the Nile, it has become like an extremely fertile arable field. Such a blessed heavenly place being found adjacent to the hellish Sahara has made its agriculture highly sought after by its people and has so fixed it in their characters that for them it has become sacred, and the cow and the bull, the means of agriculture, have also become sacred, and even objects of worship. The people of Egypt of that time considered the cow and bull to be so holy they worshipped them. Thus, it is understood from the question of ‘the Calf’ that the Children of Israel of that time, who grew up in Egypt, had come to have a share of that custom.

Thus, the All-Wise Qur’an makes understood through the sacrifice of a cow that through his messengership, Moses excised and destroyed the concept of cow-worship, which had become a part of that nation’s character and worked in their very natures.

Thus, through this minor incident, it expounds with an elevated miraculousness a universal principle which is essential instruction in wisdom for everyone at all times.

Making an analogy with this, you may understand that certain minor incidents in the Qur’an which are mentioned in the form of historical events, are the tips of universal principles. Even, in Lemeat, in the section on the Miraculousness of the Qur’an, taking the seven sentences of the Story of Moses, which is mentioned and repeated in many Suras, we have explained how each part of those particular sentences comprises an important universal principle. If you wish, you may refer to that treatise.


And yet, after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder: for, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth; and, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues; and there are some that fall down for awe of God. And God is not unmindful of what you do.1

While reading the above verse, the Whisperer said: “What meaning is there in discussing and explaining as though they were the most important and significant of matters, certain natural states of rocks which are commonplace and everyone knows about? How is it fitting, and what need is there?”

In the face of this suggestion, the following point was imparted to me from the effulgence of the Qur’an:

Yes, it is fitting and there is need for it. And it is so fitting and there is a meaning so significant and truth so enormous and necessary that only through the Qur’an’s miraculous conciseness and guiding grace has it been simplified to a degree, and summarized. Yes, conciseness, one foundation of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, and guiding grace and fitting instruction, which are one light of its guidance, require that in the face of ordinary people, who form the majority of those whom the Qur’an addresses, universal truths and profound and general principles are shown in familiar and particular forms, and that, due to their simple minds, only the tips of vast truths are shown, and in a simple form, and, moreover, that the Divine disposals, which are wondrous and extraordinary beneath the veil of the commonplace and under the earth, are shown briefly. Thus, it is due to this mystery that the All-Wise Qur’an says the following with the above verse:

O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What has happened to you that your hearts have become harder and more lifeless than stone?

For do you not see that those extremely hard, lifeless, huge rocks formed in vast strata under the earth are so obedient and subjugated before the Divine commands and so soft and tractable under the dominical works that to whatever degree the Divine disposals occur without resistance in the formation of trees in the air, orderly water channels and veins, like the circulation of blood in veins, occur with the same ease and order and with perfect wisdom in those hard, deaf rocks under the earth.(*)

{(*) Yes, it is only fitting that the Qur'an should explain the three important duties of the rock strata, the foundation stone of the majestic travelling palace known as the earth, which are entrusted to it by the All-Glorious Creator.

Their First Duty: Just as earth acts as a mother to plants and raises them through dominical power, so through Divine power, the rocks act as a nurse to the earth and raise it.

Their Second Duty: They serve the orderly circulation of waters in the body of the earth, like the circulation of the blood.

Their Third Duty: This is to act as treasurer to the rising and continuous flow with regular balance of the springs and rivers, sources and streams. Indeed, the evidences of Divine unity which the rocks make flow with all their strength in mouthfuls in the form of the water of life, they write and sprinkle over the face of the earth.}

And like the way the branches of trees and plants spread in the air with ease encountering no obstacles, the delicate veins of roots spread with the same ease in the rocks under the earth. The Qur’an indicates this and teaches an extensive truth with the verse, and thus by allusion says the following to the hard-hearted:

O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What sort of heart do you bear within your weakness and impotence so that with its hardness it resists the command of such a One? Whereas how perfectly and obediently the huge strata of hard rocks carry out their delicate duties in the darkness before His commands. They display no disobedience. Indeed, those rocks act as treasurers for the water of life and other means of life of all the living creatures above the earth, and are the means for their division and distribution. They do this with such wisdom and justice that they are soft like wax or air in the hand of power of the All-Wise One of Glory; offering no resistance, they prostrate before His mighty power. For just like well-ordered creatures and wise and gracious Divine disposals occur on top of the earth, which we observe, the same occur beneath it. Indeed, Divine wisdom and favour are manifest there in a more wondrous and strange way in regard to wisdom and order. See how like wax those hard, unfeeling mighty rocks display a softness towards the creational commands, and how they offer no resistance or hardness to the delicate waters, the fine roots, and silken veins, which are Divine officials. As though like a lover, the rock’s heart melts at the touch of those delicate, beautiful things, and becomes earth in their path.

And, through,

And, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God,

the Qur’an shows the tip of a vast truth which is like this: like in the event of ‘Moses asking for the vision of God’ and the famous mountain crumbling at the Divine manifestation and the rocks being scattered, through the manifestations of Divine glory in the form of earthquakes and the mountains shaking, most of which are like great monoliths formed of solidified liquid, and certain other geological occurrences – through such awesome manifestations of glory, the rocks fall from the high summits of the mountains and are broken up. Some of these crumble and being transformed into earth, become the source of plants. Others remain as rocks, and rolling down to the valleys and plains, are scattered. They serve many purposes in the works of the earth’s inhabitants; by being utilized in their houses for example, and prostrating in submission before Divine wisdom and power for certain hidden instances of wisdom and benefits, they take on the form of being at the command of the principles of Divine wisdom. The evidence that their leaving their high places out of awe, choosing lower places in humble fashion, and being the means of those significant benefits, and that they are neither futile, nor acting of their own accord, nor are objects of chance, but that within the disorder, through the wise disposals of One All-Wise and All-Powerful they are within a wise order not apparent to the superficial eye –the evidence for this are the purposes and benefits attached to the rocks, and the perfect order and fine art of the shirts adorned and embossed with the jewels of fruits and flowers with which the bodies of the mountains down which they roll are clothed. These testify in a decisive fashion which cannot be doubted.

Thus, you have seen how valuable these three parts of the verse are from the point of view of wisdom. Now see the Qur’an’s subtle manner of exposition and miraculous eloquence. See how it shows through the three famous and observed events in the three parts of the verse, the tips of the above-mentioned extensive and important truths, and through recalling three further events, which are a warning lesson, it offers subtle guidance; its restrains in a way that cannot be resisted.

For example, in the second part of the verse, it says:

And, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues;

By alluding through this sentence to the rock which split with perfect eagerness under the Staff of Moses (Peace be upon him) and poured forth twelve streams from twelve sources, it imparts the following meaning: O Children of Israel! Great rocks become soft and crumble before a single miracle of Moses (PUH). They shed tears in floods, pouring forth out of either awe or joy. How is it you are so unfair you are obstinate in the face of all Moses’ miracles, and not weeping, your eyes are lifeless and your hearts, hard?

And in the third part, it says:

And, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God.

Through calling to mind with this part the famous event of the huge mountain crumbling and being scattered out of awe at the manifestation of Divine glory, which occurred on Mount Sinai at the supplications of Moses (Peace be upon him), and the rocks rolling down all round out again in awe, it teaches this meaning: O people of Moses (PUH)! How is it you do not fear God when the mountains which are composed of rocks are crushed and scattered out of awe of Him? Although you know that Moses climbed Mount Sinai above you in order to receive the Covenant, and that on his seeking the vision of God, the mountain crumbled, and you saw it, how is it you are so bold you do not tremble out of fear of God, and you make your hearts hard and unfeeling?

And, in the first part, it says:

For, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth;

Through recalling with this part rivers like the blessed Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates, which gush up out of mountains, the Qur’an makes understood the miraculous fashion rocks receive the creational commands and are subjugated to them. It infers the following meaning to vigilant hearts: it is certainly not possible that the mountains could be the actual source of such mighty rivers. For let us suppose the water was cut completely and the mountains each became a conical reservoir, they would only persist a few months before losing the balance to the swift and abundant flow of those large rivers. And the rain, which penetrates only about a metre into the earth, would not be sufficient income for that high expenditure. This means that the springs of these rivers are not something ordinary and natural arising from chance, but that the All-Glorious Creator makes them flow forth from an unseen treasury in truly marvellous fashion.

Thus, alluding to this mystery and stating this meaning, it is narrated in a Hadith: “Each of those three rivers is a drop from Paradise which continuously issues forth from Paradise, as a result of which they are sources of abundance.”1 And in another it is said: “The source of these three rivers is from Paradise.”2 The truth of these narrations is this: since physical causes are not capable of producing their abundant flow, their sources must be in an unseen world and must arise from a treasury of mercy; the equilibrium between their incomings and outgoings is maintained in this way.

Thus, through inferring this meaning, the All-Wise Qur’an gives the following instruction: O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! With your hardness of heart, unfeelingness, and heedlessness you disobey and close your eyes to the commands and light of knowledge of the Pre-Eternal Sun, One so Glorious that He makes flow forth from the mouths of common, lifeless rocks mighty rivers like the blessed Nile, which transforms Egypt into a paradise and produces witnesses to His unity for the universe’s heart and earth’s mind as eloquent as the force, appearance, and abundant flow of those mighty rivers, and makes them flow to the hearts and minds of jinn and men.

How is it that while some unfeeling, lifeless rocks manifest the miracles of His power in such wondrous fashion,

{(*)The blessed Nile rises in the Mountains of the Moon, the main stream of the River Tigris in a cave in the district of Müküs in the province of Van, and the main branch of the Euphrates, in the foothills of a mountain in the region of Diyadin. It is established by science that the origins of mountains are rocks solidified from liquid matter. One of the Prophet (PBUH)'s glorifications, Glory be to the One Who spread out the earth on solidified liquid is decisive evidence that the original creation of the earth was as follows: some liquid matter solidified at the Divine command and became rock. With Divine leave, the rock became earth. The word Earth (arz) in the glorification, means earth (soil). That is to say, the liquid matter was too soft to support anything, and the rock was too hard to be benefited from. Therefore, the All-Wise and Compassionate One spread the earth over the rock and made it the place of habitation for living beings.}

showing the All-Glorious Creator as the sunlight shows the sun, you are blind before the light of His knowledge, and do not see it?

So see what eloquence has been clothed on these three truths, and note carefully the eloquent guidance. What hardness of heart can withstand without melting the heat of this eloquent guidance?

If you have understood this from the beginning to here, behold one flash of the All-Wise Qur’an’s miraculous guidance, and offer thanks to Almighty God!

Glory be unto to You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.2

O God! Grant us understanding of the mysteries of the Qur’an as You love and is pleasing to You, and grant us success in the service of it. Amen. Through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!

O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one to whom the All-Wise Qur’an was revealed, and to all his Family and Companions.