In the name an exalted one whose cloak is His magnificence, whose brilliance is His elevation, whose elevation is His splendor, whose majesty is His beauty, whose beauty is His majesty; customary for Him is His gentleness, familiar from Him is His compassion, however, He may apportion for the servant. For the servant is His servant. If He takes him far away, the decree is His decree. If He brings him near, the command is His command.
In speaking this name, the faithful are two sorts: The gaze of one group falls on the beauty of gentleness and generosity, and they become joyful. The gaze of the other group falls on the majesty of magnificence and eternity, and they lament. The joy of the former is in hope for union and the lamentation of the latter is in fear of separation. “When they look at the majesty, they lose their wits, and when they look at the beauty, they delight in life.”
O indigent man! You hear His name and are unaware of His majesty and recognize no trace of His beauty. But the Real says to you, “Begin your work today in My name so that tomorrow I may end your work according to your pleasure.” This is a name that is the intimate of the hearts of the exiles and the support and shelter of the disobedient. It is a name that brings the hearts of the recognizers to boil and the tongues of the disobedient to wailing and shouting. It is a name that in the two worlds exalts everyone who exalts it.
Bishr Ḥāfī was traveling on a highway. He found a piece of paper on which was written the name, God. He picked it up and perfumed it with a scent. On that very night, it was said to him, “You made My name sweet-smelling. I also will make your name sweet-smelling in the two worlds.”
84:1 When heaven is split open.
84:6 “O Man! Thou art toiling to thy Lord with toil, and thou shalt encounter Him.”
Some commentators have said that there is a transposition here, so the meaning is this: O Man! Thou art toiling to thy Lord with toil, and thou shalt encounter Him when heaven is split open.” In other words, “O child of Adam! The Day of Resurrection is the day of uprising and upstirring, the day of decision and judgment. God’s awesomeness and harshness and the resurrection’s hardness and tremendousness will split open the heavens. In humility and submissiveness, the heavens will come under and acquiesce to the Real’s command, and so also the earth. On that day, O Adamite, you will see whatever you did in this world—the troubles you took and the good and the evil you stored away—and you will find a recompense appropriate to your own doing and speaking.”
O indigent man! If you want not to have wasted your life and not to be disgraced before witnesses tomorrow at the greatest gathering place and most tremendous courtyard, then put into practice today the advice that the Pir of the Tariqah used to give to his disciples: “Yesterday passed you by in your ignorance, and you cannot know what you will find tomorrow. Take advantage of today, for this is where you are and where you can act. Then tomorrow there will be no regrets.”
A man must be the owner of the present moment. The owner of the present moment is someone whose occupation at the moment goes by with neither thought of the past nor reflection on the future. Reflecting on days past and pondering days future are to waste the moment. Anyone who recognizes his own present moment and accepts his moment will at once keep himself so busy with the religion that he will have no concern for yesterday and tomorrow. The great ones have said, “The Sufi is the child of the moment.” The man who is a Sufi, that is, in a state of “limpidness” [ṣafāʾ], is the child of his own moment, far from everything familiar to his nature.
Ḥasan Baṣrī said, “I have found people who were chevaliers and generous with this world. They would give away the whole world without reminding anyone of the favor, but with their own present moments they were so stingy that they would not give one breath of their own days to their fathers or children.” This is the same as those words spoken by the paragon of the world, the master of Adam’s children: “I have a moment with God embraced by no proximate angel, nor any sent prophet.”
One of the jurists of the community during the first period was preparing a composition to explain Shariah and issues of jurisprudence. He was thinking about this when he heard the call of a bird, which interrupted his work. He said, “May its throat be cut!” At once the bird fell dead out of the sky. Sometimes images intrude on the state of the lords of the heart, and sometimes even if the whole world were to fall apart, they in their present moment would have no awareness whatsoever.
The Shaykh al-Islām Anṣārī said, “The present moment is that within which no one fits but the Real. In it the men are three: The present moment of one is quick like lightning, the present moment of another enduring, the present moment of a third overpowering. “The one like lightning washes and cleans, the enduring distracts and keeps busy, the overpowering slaughters and kills. The one like lightning is born from thought, the enduring comes from the pleasure of remembrance, the overpowering arises from hearing and gazing.
“The one that is lightning forgets this world such that the remembrance of the next world becomes clear. The enduring keep preoccupied from the next world so that the Real is seen face to face. The overpowering effaces the descriptions of human nature such that nothing remains but the Real.”
O Man! Thou art toiling to thy Lord with toil, and thou shalt encounter Him. Once Pir Bū ʿAlī Siyāh was walking in the bazaar. A beggar was saying, “By the rightful due of the Great Day, give me something!” The Pir fell down unconscious. When he came back to his senses, he was asked, “O Shaykh! What appeared to you at that time?” He said, “The awe and tremendousness of the Great Day.” Then he said, “Oh my sorrow at the lack of sorrow! Oh, my remorse at the lack of remorse! A world is busy with the vestiges and traces and has put aside the Presence of the Living, the Self-Standing. No one whatsoever is thinking about this verse: Thou art toiling to thy Lord with toil, and thou shalt encounter Him.”
Someone sits himself down in front of the bride of nature and busies himself with gold and ornaments, color, and scent. Then he wants the sultans of the Shariah and the kings of the Haqiqah to give him access to the pavilions of the secret and the tent of piety. What an idea! Someone puts on the shirt of disloyalty and pulls out the blade of caprice and then wants to join the chevaliers of the Tariqah in the row of limpidness and the dome of subsistence! No, never!
How will your inwardness travel with the steeds of kings?
Not until your thoughts mount on the steed of aspiration.
How long will you sit like a woman in hope of color and scent?
Fix your aspiration on the road and set out like a man! [DS 205]
If you want your eyes to be anointed tomorrow with the collyrium of the gentle subtlety of Faces that day will be radiant [75:22], anoint the eye of your intellect today with the collyrium of the dust under the hooves of the Burāq of the Shariah and do not pull your feet out of the shackles and snare of Muḥammad, God’s messenger. Watch over your own states, persevere in performing the obligatory and supererogatory acts, demand of your feet that they discharge what is rightfully due to the Real, and take an accounting of your own soul, speck by speck and grain by grain in keeping with caution in the road of the religion. Then tomorrow the realities of this verse will be unveiled to you:
84:8-9 He shall surely be called to account with an easy accounting and he shall return joyfully to his folk.
The unseen subtleties will appear to you from behind this curtain:
84:19 You shall surely ride stage after stage.
You will be taken to this elevated place:
84:25 They shall have a reward unfailing.
A reward that is not cut off and not curtailed. It has also been said that you shall surely ride stage after stage alludes to the stations of Muṣṭafā. Before the Exalted Lord placed his pure and luminous spirit in the oyster of dust, He kept him in three stations: the station of proximity so that he would find familiarity, the station of gentleness so that he would find expansiveness, and the station of awe so that he would find courtesy. He took care of his business with His gentleness, He caressed him with His proximity. Then, when he came into the world, whoever gazed upon him found fear from his station of awe, hope from his station of familiarity, and love from his station of proximity.
Some of the commentators have said that stage after stage alludes to the degrees and way stations of his elevation and proximity on the night of the miʿrāj. The Real attracted his secret core, his secret core attracted his spirit, his spirit attracted his heart, and his heart attracted his soul. The engendered being began to seek the soul, the soul began to seek the heart, the heart began to seek the spirit, the spirit began to seek the secret core, the secret core began to seek the contemplation of the Real. The engendered being shouted out, “Where is the soul? I have no rest without the soul.” The soul began to shout, “Where is the heart? I have no rest without the heart.” The heart began to shout, “Where is the spirit? I have no rest without the spirit.” The spirit began to shout, “Where is the secret core? I have no rest without the secret core.” The secret core began to shout, “Where is the contemplation of the Real? I have no rest without the contemplation of the Real.” Then he drew close in his soul, and he came down in his heart until he was two-bows’ length away in his spirit or closer [53:8-9] in his secret core. This is the meaning of His words, “You shall surely ride stage after stage.”