24:36 In houses that God has permitted to be raised up and in which His name is mentioned, glorifying Him therein.
One view is that these are houses in which needs are raised up to God. These are mosques in which the servants supplicate Him to lift up the story of their needs to God and display their requirements. It is not beautiful for servants to debase themselves before the wishes of just anyone, for the Real Himself has assured for them what they need and what they must have.
Bishr Ḥāfī said, “I saw the Commander of the Faithful ʿAlī in a dream and asked him for advice. He said, ‘How beautiful it is for the rich to be compassionate toward the poor in seeking God’s reward! And more beautiful than that is for the poor to be haughty toward the rich by relying on God.’” How beautiful is the tenderness of the rich toward the poor hoping for a reward! And more beautiful than that is the pride of the poor toward the rich by relying on the generosity of the Real.
Glorifying Him therein. That is, in the mosques, for the mosques are the houses of worship, just as the hearts are the houses of desire. Through his worship, the worshiper reaches God’s reward, and through his desire the desirer reaches God. It has also been said that the hearts are the houses of recognition, the spirits the places of witnessing love, and the secret cores the loci of self-disclosure.
24:37 Men whom neither trade nor buy diverts from the remembrance of God.
He does not say that they do not trade and they do not buy. He says, “whom neither trade nor buying diverts from the remembrance of God.” If it is possible to combine the two, there is no objection, but this is like something that cannot be done, except for the great ones, over whom affairs flow while they have been taken from them.
This is the attribute of men whose outward occupation does not hold them back from remembering God. Their outwardness is with people while their inwardness is witnessing the names and attributes of the Real. They are men whose seeking is equitable, whose remembrance is the evidence, and whose love is the path. In their eyes this world is small. They are men whose watchword is the remembrance of God, whose blanket is God’s love, whose place and settledness is the threshold of God’s gentleness, whose aspirations are free from any others. They are the beauty of Firdaws, the ornament of the Abode of Settledness, begrudged by the Emigrants and envied by the Helpers, and they walk on the earth while it boasts of them.
Men. These are men who have no crown or hat on their heads, and there is nothing in their hearts but God’s friendship. In the street of the Friend, they have no friends or companions. “When the sought is great, assistants are few.” What harm to them if in this world they are the specious coin of the bazaars? Their hearts are all hard cash. They are faulted by noblemen and rejected by neighbors, but their names are in the register of the friends. They are lifted up by gentleness, they are caressed by the All-Merciful, and their hearts are always gazing at the Real. They sit on the dust, they sleep on the earth, their hands are their pillow, the mosque is their house. What harm to them are this poverty and indigence? With one allusion of their eye, they bring rain for the world’s folk; with one gaze of their heart, they rout the unbelievers; with one sorrow of their heart, they bring Gabriel into the road. And let not thine eyes turn away from them [18:28].
Dhu’l-Nūn Miṣrī said, “There was a time when the rain did not come and the people were suffering terribly because of the drought. A group went outside the city to pray for rain, and I went along with them. I saw Saʿdūn Majnūn and said to him, ‘All these people that you see gathered here, hands raised in their need—what would it matter if you were to make an allusion?’
“He turned his face to heaven and said these words: ‘By the rightful due of what happened last night!’ He had still not finished the words when the rain began to pour.” Thus you come to know that the allusion of a friend is dear to the Friend.