Unfolding the Rose

>> Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This little story was given to me by a friend (an older sister from the MSA who shared it with the rest of us to be exact). It was a great eye opener and really showed the limitations of human beings and how much we depend on Allah.

In The Words of My Friend

A young (ustadh) teacher was walking with an older (ustadh) teacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what Allah (SubhanahuwatAllah)
had for him to do, he was asking the older ustadh for some advice.

The older ustadh walked up to a rosebush and handed the young ustadh a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young ustadh looked
in disbelief at the older ustadh and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the Will of Allah for his life.

But because of his great respect for the older ustadh, he proceeded to try to infold the rose, while keeping every petal intact...It wasn't long before he realized
how impossible this was to do. Noticing the younger ustadh's inability to infold the rosebud wothout tearing it, the older ustadh began to recite the following poem:

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of Allah's design;
But I can not unfold the petals
with these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding a flower
is not known to such as I.
Allah opens this flower so sweetly,
then in my hands they die.
If I can not unfold a rosebud,
this flower of Allah's design,
then how can I have the wisdom
to unfold this life of mine?
So i'll trust in Allah for leading
each moment of my day.
I'll look to Allah for His guidance
every step of the way.
The pathawy that lies before me,
only Allah knows,
I'l trust Him to unfold the moments,
just as He unfolds the rose.

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Shot at 2008-09-30


How to find a good Teacher - Part 9 (Finale): Signs of the learned men of the hereafter

>> Monday, September 29, 2008

This is the last sign of the learned men and the last part of this series. I hope it helped you all in determining who is knowledgeable and who you want to study under.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

(12) Twelfth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he saves himself from innovations even though the people are unanimous on innovations and novelties. He is rather diligent in studying the conditions of the companions, their conduct and character and their deeds. They spent their lives in jihad, meditation, avoidance of major and minor sins, observation of their outer conduct and inner self. But the great object of thought of the learned men of the present time is to teach, compose books, to make argumentation, to give Fatwa, to become mutawalli of Waqf estates, enjoy the properties, of orphans, frequent the rulers and enjoy their company.

Hazrat Ali said: The best of us is one who follows this religion. In short if you follow the companions of the Apostle of God, no blame will attach you even if you act in opposition to the people of this age. Hazrat Hasan Basri said: Two innovators have appeared in Islam, a man of bad judgment who holds that paradise is for those whose judgment is like mine, and a rich man who loves this world and searches it. Reject these two. God saved the learned man of the next world from these two kinds of persons. The Prophet said: Word and guidance act two matters. The best word is the word of God and the best guidance is the guidance of the Prophet. Beware of innovation, because it is the worst thing. Every innovation is heresy and every heresy is sin. Beware don't think that the end will be delayed. Your hearts may become hard. Whatever is ordained is impending. Beware, what has passed will not return. The Prophet said in a sermon: Blessed is he whose concern for his own faults keeps him away of finding faults of others, who spends out of his lawful earning, keeps company with theologians and the wise and spurns the sinners and the wicked people. Blessed is he who humbles himself, makes his conduct refined, heart good and does not do harm to the people. Blessed is he who acts up to his knowledge, spends his surplus wealth, abstains from superfluous talks, follows sunned and does not introduce innovations.

lbn Masud said: In latter days, good guidance will be better than many actions. He also said: You are now in an age when the best of you is one who is quick in doing good deeds, but soon there will come an age when the best of you will be one who will be firm in faith and remain silent toward doubt. Hazrat Huzaifa said a more wonderful saying : your good deeds of this age are the evil deeds of the past age and the evil deeds of this age will be considered as good deeds of the next age. You will be in good deeds till you know the truth. The learned man among you will not conceal truth. He said the truth, because most of the good deeds of this age were reprehensible at the time of the companions. The good deeds of our age is the embellishment of mosques, excess in ablution and bath, huge expenses in the construction of buildings for mosques, spreading of soft and fine rugs in mosques etc. The early Muslims seldom placed anything for their prayer. Hazrat Ibn Mas'ud truly said: You are living in an age when passion is harnessed by knowledge, but soon there will come over you a time wherein passion will have priority over knowledge. Imam Ahmad-b-Hanbal used to say: People have discarded knowledge and followed strange things. How little is their learning. God is our helper. Imam Malik said: In past times people were not in the habit of questioning as they do nowadays and their learned men did never say that such a thing is lawful and such a thing is unlawful and the question of unlawfulness never arose, as their condemnation of unlawful thing was open.

Abu Sulaiman Darani said: Nobody who gets any inspiration for something good should attempt to do it unless it is confirmed by a tradition. Let him then praise God for he has got what was in his mind. When the Caliph Marwan introduced the custom of a pulpit in the 'Id prayer, Hazrat Abu Sayeed Khudri said to him: 0 Marwan, is it not innovation? He said: It is not innovation. It is better than what you know. Many people assemble here. I wish that my sound should reach them. He said: By God, you don't know better than what I know. By God, I will not pray today behind you. He declined to pray behind him saying that he Prophet used to stand with a stick in his hand at the time of 'Id prayer and deliver sermon.

There is a well known Hadis: Whoever introduces such an innovation in our religion which is not there is an evil man. There is in another Hadis: The curse of God, angels and all people is upon one who deceives our people. He was asked: 0 Prophet of God, what is the deception of your people? He said: God has an angel who proclaims every day saying: He who oppresses the religion by introducing an innovation in opposition to the usages of Prophet in relation to one who commits it, is like a man who changes the reign of a king in relation to one who opposes his particular order. The latter crime can be forgiven but there is no pardon of one who changes the regime. A certain learned man said: Truth is heavy. He who increases it transgresses and he who decreases it fails and he who keeps attached to it is satisfied. The Prophet said: Adopt the middle course. He who goes in advance retards it and he who remains behind advances. God says: Avoid those who make their religion a sport and pastime (6 : 69). God says: Have you seen one who considers his evil as good and it appears to him alright? What has been introduced as innovation after the companions and what is unnecessary appertain to sport and pastime.

These are the twelve signs of the learned men of the next world any every quality was found in the learned men of early ages. Be therefore one of the two. Either be imbued with these attributes or he repentant after admitting your sins and faults. But never be the third one, as in that case doubt will arise in your mind. If you take the weapons of the world in lieu of religion, follow the conduct of the transgressors and if you take to ignorance, and refusal of faith, you will reside with those who are doomed to destruction and despair.


How to find a good Teacher - Part 8: Signs of the learned men of the hereafter

>> Sunday, September 28, 2008

InshAllah this one is extra long, has 3 signs. InshAllah this will be the 2nd to last post on this topic (Hence I made it long.) This one is specially important (specifically sign 11)

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

(9) Ninth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he becomes humble and adopts silence. The effect of God-fear appears on his body, dress, character, movements, speech and silence. If any man looks at him, it reminds him of God and his nature and character are proofs of his actions. His eyes are a mirror of his mind. The signs of the learned man of the hereafter are recognised in his face, tranquility, modesty and freedom from pride and vanity. A certain wise man said: God has not given a man a garment better than the garment of God-fear. It is the garment of the Prophets, Siddiqs, Pirs and the learned men. The sage Sahal Tastari divided the learned into three classes. (1) One class are those who are well acquainted with the commands of God but not punishment of God has not given a man a garment better than the kind of learning is God-fear which cannot be inherited. (2) Another class are those who have got knowledge of the commands of God and His punishments and they are the ordinary believers. (3) Another class are those who have knowledge of God, His commands and punishment. They are Side's , and God-fear and humility become strong in their minds. Hadrat Oman said: Acquire knowledge and therefore acquire tranquility, gravity and patience. Humble yourselves before your teacher and let your students do the same before you. Be not among the proud learned men lest your knowledge encourages ignorance. There is in a tradition: There are such good men among my followers who rejoice getting the mercy of God and weep secretly for fear of His punishment. Their soul is in the earth but their wisdom is in the hereafter. They walk with modesty and Come close to God through the means of his grace. Hadrat Hassan al Basra said: Patience is the vizier of knowledge, kindness its father and humility its garment, Bashir-b-Hares said: If a man seeks to rule by knowledge, the nearness of God keeps enmity with him, as he is detested both in heaven and earth. There is a stony that a certain wise man of Bans Israil composed 360 books on wisdom for which he was called Hakim (wise). God then revealed to his Prophet: Tell so and so, the earth has become full of your hypocrisy and you have not sought My pleasure therein. So I accept nothing of it. The man became repentant and gave it up. He began to mix with the people and roamed in the streets befriending all the children of Israil and he humiliated himself. God then revealed to their Prophet: Tell him: You have now carved My pleasure.
It has been narrated that the Prophet was asked: 0 Prophet of God, which action is best? He replied: To avoid evil and to make your tongue wet with the remembrance of God. He was asked: Which companion is best? He replied: The companion who helps you when you remember God and reminds you when you forget. He was asked: Which companion is worst? He replied: The companion who does not remind you when you forget. If you remember, he does not help you. He was asked: Who is the most learned man among the people? He replied: The most learned man among them is he who fears God most.
He was asked: Inform us about the best men among us, so that we may keep company with them. The Prophet said: Those who remind you of God whenever they are seen. He was asked: Who are the worst among men? He said: 0 God, I seek Thy pardon. They said: Tell us, 0 Apostle of God. He said: The corrupt learned men. The Prophet said: Those who have been the most God fearing in the world will be the most secure in the hereafter. Those who have wept much in the world will laugh most in the hereafter. Those who have suffered most in the world will be happiest in the hereafter.
Hazrat Ali said in his sermon: This is my responsibility and I am pledged for the following: The crops of nobody will wither if they were planted with piety. The roots of no tree will get thirsty if they were raised with righteousness. The most ignorant man is he who knows not the honour of God-fear. The worst man to God is one who gathers knowledge from every quarter and yet remains covered in the darkness of trials. The worst man calls such a man a learned man, while he has not lived a single day in learning. He gets up in the morning from sleep and searches for increase of wealth. He goes after greater knowledge little knowing that a little knowledge of right kind is better than a great deal of knowledge which detracts man from God. He lives in doubts and scepticism like living in the spider's web and does never know whether he committed mistake or not.
Hazrat Ali said: When you hear the word of knowledge, remain silent and don't mix it with frivolous talks. It will yield no fruit. Someone said: If a teacher possesses three qualities, gifts become perfect on a student, patience, humility and good conduct. When a student possesses three qualities gifts become perfect on a teacher, intelligence, good manners and keen understanding. In short the qualities which the Quran mentions are found in the learned men of the hereafter as they learn the Quran for actions and not to acquire name, fame, power and prestige. A certain wise man said: Five qualities inferred from five verses of the Quran are the signs of the learned men of the hereafter, God-fear, humility, modesty, good conduct and love of the hereafter more than that of the following verse: Of His servants, the learned fear God most 35:25). Humility is based on the following verse: They are humble to God and they barter not His verses for a small price (3:198). Modesty is based on the following verse: And lower your wing for the believers (15 : 88). Good conduct is based on the following verse: You have become gentle to them on account of the mercy of God (3 : 153). Asceticism' is based on the following verse: But they to whom knowledge has been given said: Woe to you, the reward of God is better for one who believes and does good deeds (28 : 80). When the Prophet read this verse: If God wishes to guide anyone, He expands his breast for Islam (6 : 125), he was asked as to the meaning of expansion of breast and he said: This is light. When it is cast into heart, it expands. He was asked: Has it got any sign?
The Prophet replied: Yes, to be separate from this world of deceit, to turn to the hereafter and to prepare for death before it actually comes.
(10) Tenth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the hereafter is that he studies the learning of practice and avoids such learnings as destroy actions, keep mind anxious and provoke evils. The root of religion is to be careful of evil deeds. For this reason, a poet said:
I have not known evil for evil's sake,
I have not known it but to live.
He who is ignorant of the evil of men,
Falls unto it although he is wise.
Hasan Basri was the man whose words has the greatest similarly to those of the Prophet and whose ways of life nearest to those of the companions. He was asked: 0 Abu Sayeed, you utter such words which nobody knows except you. Wherefrom have you got them? He said: From Huzaifah. Huzaifah was asked: You utter such words which no companion heard except you. Wherefrom have you go them? He said: From the Messenger of God. He was always asked about good deeds but I used to ask him about evil deeds, so that I may not fall therein. The companions were wont to ask the Prophet: 0 Apostle of God, what are the rewards of one who does such and such good deeds? I used to ask him: 0 Apostle of God, what corrupts the deeds? So Hazrat Huzaifah had special knowledge about hypocrisy, hypocrites and subtleties of dangers and difficulties.
The natural way of the actions of the learned men of the hereafter is to make efforts about the different conditions of heart but this knowledge is now rare. When ever anything of it is presented to a learned man, he expresses wonder at it and says that it is the deception of one who believes sermons. A poet said:
The true path is one out of many paths.
Very few are sojourners to this path.
Their goal is obscure, they are unknown.
Slowly and steadily they march to their destination.
People are indifferent to their goal.
Ignorant also are they of the true path.
It has been said that at Basra there were 120 men of scholastic theology regarding speech and Zikr but there were only three men regarding the knowledge of Yeqin or certain faith and the conditions of soul and secret attributes. They were Saha! Tastari, Shu'bi and Abdur Rahman.
(11) Eleventh sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he relies on his insight and knowledge which enlighten his heart and not on books and what he learns from others. His object of following is what the law giver said and enjoined. The companions believed blindly what they beard from the Prophet and they put it into practice. He from whose soul screen has been removed and whose soul has been illumined with the light of guidance is an object to be followed and he should not follow others besides him. For this reason, Ibn Abbas said. There is nobody except the Apostle of God whose knowledge is not sometimes followed and sometimes rejected. One sage said: We placed in our hearts and in our eyes what we received from the Prophet. We accepted something of what came from the companions and rejected something. Their successors were mere men like ourselves. The companions were superior, because they Now the circumstances under which the Prophet had lived and saw with their own eyes the revelation of the Quran and hence their rank is higher as their minds were imbued with it. The light of Prophethood was so strong on them that it saved them from many sins. They were not satisfied with the words of others. Their minds were distant from books and manuscripts which were not in vogue In their times, nor in the time of their successors. These books were compiled first in about 120 Hijra after the death of the companions and some of their successors specially after the death Hazrat Sayeed-b-Masayyeb, Hasan Basri and other pious successors. Hazrat Abu Bakr and one party of the companions did not like to collect even the Quran in a book form for fear that the people, would not commit the Quran to memory and lest the people depend only on this. Then Hazrat Umar and some companions gave advice to put into writing. Thus Hazrat Abu Bakr had the Quran collected in one book. Ahmed b-Hanbal was critical of Malik for his composition of Al-Muatta and said: He has done what the companions did not do.
It has been said that the first book in Islam was written by Ibn-Juray on dialects of the Quran and historical sayings based on what he heard from Mujahid, Ata and the students of Ibn-Abbas at Mecca. Then Muammer-b-Rashed composed a book in Yemen on traditions and practices of the Prophet. Then came the book Muatta of Iman Malik and the Jami of Sufiyan Saori. Then in the fourth century many books on scholastic theology and argumentation were written::. When the people were inclined to these books, Yeqin or certain belief began to diminish. Thereafter the science of heart, research into the qualities of soul and the learning of safety from the stratagem of the devil began to disappear. Thus it became the custom to call the scholastic theologians and storytellers who embellished their words with ornamentation and rhymed prose. Thus the learnings of the next world began to decrease.


How to find a good Teacher - Part 7: Signs of the learned men of the hereafter

>> Saturday, September 27, 2008

I am now continuing the signs of the learned men of the hereafter. Alhamdulliah I got a new scanner and inshAllah it'll work better than my last and hence there will be less typos inshAllah. Also everyone please make du'a for my knee.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

Eighth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he is sincere and upright for making his faith firm and strong as firm faith is the root of religion. The Prophet said: Sure faith is belief in its entirety of perfect faith. So it is necessary to learn the learning of faith, after which the path of the heart will be opened. For this reason the Prophet said: Learn sure faith. In other words, keep company with those who have firm faith, hear from them the learning of sure faith, follow them always, so that your faith may become firm as their faith became firm. A little sure faith is better than many actions. When two persons, one of whose sure faith was good but whose sins more and another whose actions were more and faith little, were mentioned to the Prophet, he said: There is no man without sin. One whose intellect is short and faith sure cannot be injured by sin, because whenever he commits sin, he repents and seeks forgiveness. Thus his sins are expiated and his virtues remain intact and he enters paradise. For this reason, the Prophet said: Among the things you have been given, the least is firm faith and determination for patience. Whoever is given a special share of these two, has got faith even if he misses prayer at night and fasting by day. Luqman advised his son: 0 dear son, action is not possible except through firm faith in religion. A man cannot act except in proportion to his sure faith and his action does nut decrease except when his sure faith decreases. lhya Ibn Mu'az said: Tauhid (monotheism) has got light and Shirk (polytheism) fire. The light of Tauhid for the sins of monotheism is more warm than the fire of polytheists for their virtues. Here light means sure faith. God referred to those who have sure faith several times in the Quran and pointed out also that through faith they receive His blessings. The reply to the question - What is meant by Yeqin or sure faith is as follows. The philosophers and the scholastic theologians say that its meaning is faith in objects beyond doubt. There are four states of a person when he is eager to know the truth of a thing Firstly, when truth and falsehood are equal in the mind of a person Such a state is called doubt. Secondly, if mind inclines more to a thing out of the two states and if mind knows that it may be otherwise, the first state will be stronger. For instance, if you are asked about a man who is in your sight pious and God-fearing, whether he will be punished or not, your mind inclines more to his not being punished as there are outward signs of his piety. Nevertheless you admit the possibility that something which requires punishment has been concealed in his secret life. This admission is mixed with your first inclination and creates in your mind conjecture. The third state is that the mind is strongly inclined to a thing and opinion adverse to it cannot come to it. This is called I'tiqad or belief approaching certainty. This is the conjecture of the general public about religious matters.

The fourth state is sure or certain faith in a matter without the least doubt in it. This is called `Yeqin'. For instance, when a wise man is asked: "Is there anything eternal in existence" he cannot suddenly reply to it as the eternal thing is not subject to conjecture or perceived by the senses and it is not like the sun and the moon of which the truth can be perceived by eyes. So the existence of an eternal thing cannot suddenly be said to be true without thought. The truth of an eternal thing is not such as the truth that two is greater than one or as the truth that nothing can occur without a cause. Knowledge of these things come out spontaneously without the necessity of any thought. So true belief in the truth of an eternal thing does not come spontaneously in the mind. Those who have knowledge of an eternal thing tell the people of it and the people believe it and stand on it. This is called I'tiqad or faith. This is the state of all common people. But there are such men who establish the truth of an eternal matter by such proof as follows. If there be no existence of an eternal thing, then all things are originated or created. If all the things are created, they come without cause or some of them come to existence without cause. This is impossible and that which leads to impossibility is itself impossible. Therefore the mind is compelled to believe in the existence of something eternal. All fall under one of the three categories. (1) All existing things

thing are eternal (2) or all existing things are originated or created. (3) or somethings are eternal and somethings are originated. If all things are eternal, the object is attained as the truth of eternal things has been established by proof. But if all things are created, it becomes impossible as the existence of a thing becomes without a cause. In that case, either the first or the third position is established. The knowledge thus obtained through reasoning such as above or through the mind instinctively as the impossibility of any created thing coming into existence without a cause or through traditions as the knowledge that there is existence of Mecca, or through experimentation such as our knowledge that cooked scammony is purgative, or through some evidences as we have already stated, is called Yeqin or certain faith. 'The ordinary meaning of Yeqin is belief without doubt.

The second meaning of Yeqin is that of the jurists, sufis and most of the Darned men. It is not to look at a thing with conjecture or doubt. For instance, it is said that so and so has got weak faith about death, although there is no doubt in it. Another instance is that so and so has firm faith in earning wealth, although a time comes when he cannot even earn his livelihood. Thus whenever anything prevails over the mind and enjoins one to do and prohibits him not to do is called Yeqin or certain faith. All people believe firmly about death and it is free from doubt, but there are men who do not turn their attention to it and there are men who engage all their thoughts towards preparation for death. Such men are called men of strong faith. For this reason, some one said: I have seen nothing so certain and at the same time completely unheeded as death. According to this, faith may be described either with strength or with weakness. What I wish to impress is that the object of the learned man of the hereafter is to make his faith strong, certain and firm as it is a medicine of doubt, so that it becomes so strong in his mind that it can rule over him. Thus it is clear from what has been described above that Yeqin can be described in three meanings-as to strength and weakness, increase and decrease and clearness and vagueness. What the Prophets said from the first to the last is a subject of certain faith. Yeqin is a work of special Marfat. These matters appertain to Shariat and I am mentioning some of these matters which are the roots of certain faith.

(1) Tauhid. This is to believe firmly that all things come from the Cause of all causes, with no attention to the secondary causes-but to the First Cause. It is not to look to the means or intermediaries but to the original and primary cause. It is that all causes come from Him and that everything is within His control and power. It is that everything is subject to His will and nothing has got any will of its own. If one has got sure faith in this Tauhid, his wrath on others, hatred for others and jealousy for others vanish away and His will remains supreme in his mind. Then to him, the means or intermediaries become like hand and pen. He does not express gratefulness to hand and pen as he considers them as weapons and means. This certain faith is highest in rank. Then he understands that Lie sun, moon, stars, animals, plants and all creatures are subject to His order, that the pen moves under the control of the writer who moves them. (2) From this, his faith that God provides every man with subsistences grows strong. God says: There is no moving animal in the earth whose provision is not upon God - 9 : 8 . He believes that what has been preordained for him must come to pass. The result of this certain faith is that he will not regret for anything he loses. (3) Then he believes firmly in the following: Whoever does an atom weight of good will find it and whoever does an atom weight of evil will find it -99 : 7. That is a faith of reward and punishment. As there is connection of bread with satisfaction of stomach and punishment with sins or poison with loss of life, so he finds connection of good deeds with rewards and of evil deeds with punishment. As there is greed to satisfy hunger whether its quantity is large or small, so he strives to do all acts of worship, whether few or many. Just as a man avoids poison regardless of quantity, so a man avoids sins, major or minor. Belief in its first meaning is found among all believers, while certain belief of the second meaning is found only in the favourites of God. The stronger the faith, the stronger is carefulness and the more are the religious actions.

Fourthly, he believes that God watches him in all circumstances and sees his currents of thoughts in mind and machinations of the devil. This certain faith is in accordance with the first interpretation. The object is noble according to the second interpretation as it is the faith of a Siddiq. In this case, he observes all the etiquettes in loneliness as he observes them before an emperor. For this reason, he makes his heart more pure and clean than his body. In this condition, shame, fear, humility, peace, modesty and all other praiseworthy qualities appear in him. So certain faith is the root and its branches are many.


The 1st Word - Bismillahirahmaniraheem

>> Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm taking a break from the signs of the learned men, (just like I did last post.) but this time I am also taking a break from Imam Ghazzali. Today I would like to bring you the 1st word from The Words by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi from his masterwork Risale-i Nur. The 1st word is what I actually start ALL my posts with and that is Bismillahirahmaniraheem.

In the Words of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi



And from Him do we seek help
All praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds,
and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammed,
and on all his Family and Companions.

[Brother! You wanted a few words of advice from me. So listen to a few truths included in eight short stories, which since you are a soldier, are in the form of comparisons of a military nature. I con­sider my own soul to need advice more than anyone, and at one time I addressed my soul at some length with Eight Words inspired by eight verses of the Qur'an from which I had benefited. Now I shall address my soul with these same Words, but briefly and in the language of ordinary people. Whoever wishes may listen to­gether with me.]

The First Word

Bismillah, In the Name of God, is the start of all things good. We too shall start with it. Know, 0 my soul! Just as this blessed phrase is a mark of Islam, so to it is constantly recited by all beings through their tongues of disposition. f you want to know what an inexhaustible strength, what an un-ending source of bounty is Bismillah, listen to the following story which is in lie form of a comparison. It goes like this: Someone who makes a journey through the deserts of Arabia has to travel in the name of a tribal chief and enter under his protection, for in this way he may he saved from the assaults of bandits and secure his needs. On his own he will perish in the face of innumerable enemies and needs. And so, two men went on such a journey and entered the desert. One of them was modest and humble, the other proud and conceited. The humble man assumed the name of a tribal chief, while the proud man did not. The first travelled safe­ly wherever he went. If he encountered bandits, he said: "I am travelling in the name of such-and-such tribal leader," and they would not molest him. If he came to some tents, he would be treated respectfully due to the name. But the proud man suffered such calamities throughout his journey that they can­not be described. He both trembled before everything and begged from everything. He was abased and became an object of scorn.

And so, my proud soul! You are the traveller, and this world is a desert. Your impotence and poverty have no limit, and your enemies and needs are endless. Since it is thus, take the name of the Pre-Eternal Ruler and Post-Eternal Lord of the desert and be saved from begging before the whole uni­verse and trembling before every event.

Indeed, this phrase is a treasury so blessed that your infinite impotence and want hind you to an infinite power and mercy; it makes that impotence and want a most acceptable intercessor at the Court of One All-Powerful and Compassionate. The person who acts saying, "In the Name of God," re­sembles someone who enrolls in the army. He acts in the name of the gov­ernment; he has fear of no one; he speaks, performs every matter, and with­stands everything in the name of the law and the name of the government. At the beginning we said that all beings say, "In the Name of God" through the tongue of disposition. Is that so? Indeed, it is so. If you were to see that a single person had come and had driven all the inhabitants of a town to a place by force and compelled them to work, you would be certain that he had not acted in his own name and through his own power, but that he was a soldier, acting in the name of the government and relying on the power of a king. In the same way, all things act in the name of Almighty God, for minute things like seeds and grains bear huge trees on their heads; they raise loads like mountains. That means all trees say: "In the Name of God," fill their hands from the treasury of Mercy, and offer them to us. All gardens say: "In the Name of God," and become cauldrons from the kitchens of Divine Pow­er in which are cooked numerous varieties of different foods. All blessed an­imals like cows, camels, sheep, and goats, say: "In the Name of God," and become fountains of milk from the abundance of Mercy, offering us a most delicate and pure food like the water of life in the name of the Provider. The roots and rootlets, soft as silk, of all plants, trees, and grasses, say: "In the Name of God," and pierce and pass through hard rock and earth. Mentioning the name of God, the name of the Most Merciful, everything becomes sub­jected to them.

Indeed, the roots spreading through hard rock and earth and producing fruits as easily as the branches spread through the air and produce fruits, and the delicate green leaves retaining their moisture for months in the face of extreme heat, deal a slap in the mouths of Naturalists and jab a finger in their blind eyes, saying: "Even heat and hardness, in which you most trust, are under a command. For, like the Staff of Moses, each of those silken root­lets conform to the command of, And We said, 0 Moses, strike the rock with your staff,' and split the rock. And the delicate leaves fine as cigarette paper recite the verse, 0 fire be coolness and peace2 against the heat of the fire, each like the members of Abraham (UWP).

Since all things say, "In the Name of God," and bearing God's bounties in God's name, give them to us, we too should say, "In the Name of God." We should give in the name of God, and take in the name of God. And we should not take from heedless people who neglect to give in God's name.

Question: We give a price to people, who are like tray-bearers. So what price does God want, Who is the true owner?

The Answer: Yes, the price the True Bestower of Bounties wants in re­turn for those valuable bounties and goods is three things: one is remem­brance, one is thanks, and one is reflection. Saying, "In the Name of God" at the start is remembrance, and, "All praise be to God" at the end is thanks. And perceiving and thinking of those bounties, which are valuable wonders of art, being miracles of power of the Unique and Eternally Besought One and gifts of His mercy, is reflection. However foolish it is to kiss the foot of a lowly man who conveys to you the valuable gift of a king and not to rec­ognize the gift's owner, to praise and love the apparent source of bounties and forget the True Bestower of Bounties is a thousand times more foolish.

O my soul! If you do not wish to be foolish in that way, give in God's name, take in God's name, begin in God's name, and act in God's name.