89:3 By the even and the odd!
By the even! By all the creatures of the cosmos! For He created them all in pairs, two by two, whether linked to each other or opposed to each other, like male and female, day and night, light and darkness, heaven and earth, ocean and land, sun and moon, jinn and mankind, obedience and disobedience, felicity and wretchedness, exaltation and abasement, power and incapacity, strength and weakness, knowledge and ignorance, life and death.
He created the attributes of creatures like this—opposed to each other or paired with each other—so that they would not resemble the attributes of the Creator, for His exaltation has no abasement, His power no incapacity, His strength no weakness, His knowledge no ignorance, His life no death, and His subsistence no annihilation. Hence, He is the odd: alone and unique. The rest are all the even: paired with each other.
Some of the scholars have said that the even are Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, and the odd is the Kaabah. The even are Holy Mosque and the mosque of Medina, and the odd is the Aqsa Mosque. The even are day and night, paired with each other, and the odd is the Day of Resurrection, which has no day and night. The even are the soul and spirit, which are linked today, and the odd is the spirit tomorrow when it is separate from the frame. The even are desire and intention, and the odd is an aspiration, a stranger without anyone. They even are the renouncer and the worshiper, each other’s comrades, and the odd is the desirer, who travels alone, without comrade and companion.
Isolated from friends in every land—
the greater the sought, the fewer the helpers.
Abraham claimed to be a desirer and said, “And I will withdraw from you and what you call upon apart from God [19:48]. Surely they are an enemy to me, save the Lord of the Worlds [26:77]. Surely I have turned my face toward Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, unswerving [6:79].” Wherever in the world, there was a link or a joining, he disowned it. He raised up his voice: “Surely I am going to my Lord; He will guide me” [37:99]. A little something remained with him, but he did not know it. “The ransomed slave stays a slave so long as a dirham is owed.” The corner of his heart was preoccupied with his child. The command came, “Make him a sacrifice for Me! O Abraham, if you claim to be a desirer, a desirer must be odd, without any links; he must be alone and travel alone. This child is your link. Remove him from your heart! Make him a sacrifice so that you will be a truthful desirer.”
It has been said that the sign of truthfulness in desire is that one rises up from himself and considers his own being as nonbeing, as it is said: “O God, my being is my loss—shine Your being on me once! O God, my disobedience is heavy on me—rain down the river of Your munificence on me! O God, my sins are concealed beneath Your clemency—spread the curtain of Your pardon over me!” It has also been said that the desirer’s desire is his want in taking up the road.
A man’s desire arises from his rising up, and his rising up arises from his recognition. As long as he does not recognize, he does not rise up; as long as he does not rise up, he does not want; and as long as he does not want, he does not seek. All of these are way stations of servanthood and stages of worship. When the desirer traverses these way stations, the object he seeks turns into his seeker. From the Unseen this call reaches his spirit:
89:27-28 O serene soul, return to thy Lord, approving, approved!
Three hundred sixty gazes come from the Holy Dominion and with each gaze the request, “Return!: Is it not yet time to come back to Me and make do with Me? Is it not yet time to be Mine?“
“And beware! When you come, do not come by way of this world, lest your feet sink in the mud, and do not come by way of the soul, lest you not reach Us. The heart has access to Our Threshold, and nothing else has any road or access.”
A great man was asked, “What is the road to the Real?” He said, “It is not stepped by step, rather heart by heart, and spirit by spirit. Go by the spirit to reach the Threshold, go by the heart to reach the Gate.”
The blood of the sincerely truthful was purified and made into a road—
unless the spirit takes a step in this road, you will have no access.
Happy will be the day when they break this cage and call back the captive bird, removing the customs of dust-dwellers from the road of those given proximity. The satan concealed in the form of Adamic nature will leave and the angelic substance will show the face of its beauty. The enemy will be separated from friend. My dear, do not suppose that Azrael has been sent to turn you away from what you are. He pulls the wrap of human nature away from the heart’s face and looks at the heart’s scars. If he sees the mark of recognition in the scars of servanthood, he goes back with respect and says, “I cannot intervene in this quarry, for these goods belong to the Real.” He says, “O Exalted Lord! I do not have the gall to intervene there.” Such a man is one of those concerning whom the Splendorous Qur’an reports, “God takes the souls at the time of their death” [39:42]. My dear, be careful not to be one of those whose souls Azrael is ashamed to take. Rather, be one of those into the presence of whose spirit Azrael does not dare to enter.
A great man was asked, “How is it with the spirits in the road of the Real at the time of extraction?” He said, “They are like prey caught in a trap, with the hunter just arrived, knife in hand.” He was asked, “How are they when they reach the Real?” He said, “As prey hung from saddle-straps.”
O dervish! If one day you become the prey of His trap and are killed by Him, by the exaltation of the Exalted, you will not be tied to any other than the battlements of the Throne. “When someone loves Me, I kill him, and when I kill him, I am his wergild.” Have you ever seen a king who takes the hand of a poor man, caresses him and takes him in his embrace, then makes him his agent and the general of his army, then kills him and sets forth his corpse?