Though Moses (PBUH) heard a thousand words in a thousand languages, this mystery was given over to Muhammad (PBUH) in the seclusion of Or closer [53:9] on the carpet of expansiveness: “Alif.”
Those thousands of words came to Moses (PBUH), but the veil stayed in place. This mystery came to Muhammad (PBUH) at the moment of face-to-face vision. Moses (PBUH) heard the words but did not see the Speaker, Muhammad (PBUH) heard the mystery while gazing on the Keeper of the Mystery. Moses (PBUH) in seeking was delighted with the seeking; Muhammad (PBUH) in the Presence was delighted with the Friend. Moses (PBUH) had not found the pleasure of contemplation, so he did not know its taste. He had not gone beyond listening and remembering; his repose was in hearing, which is why He spoke so much to him. But Muhammad (PBUH) had gone beyond the limit of hearing to the center point of togetherness. The memory of the Remembered did not leave him in the remembrance and the wave of light lifted him up from love, so remembrance became lost in the Remembered and love in the Light. The spirit was lost in face-to-face vision, and face-to-face vision is far from explication. When a heart finds delight in His grasp and is inundated by face-to-face vision, what will it do with reports? When the spirit rests in the embrace, why should it busy itself with much remembrance?
Alif lām mīm caresses the paragon of the world in the tongue of allusion. It means, “Isolate [afrid] your secret core for Me, loosen [layyin] your limbs in My service, and stand [aqim] with Me, effacing your own traces and gaining proximity to Me!” O Master, pass all at once beyond the curtain of Gabriel’s intermediacy so that the attribute of passion may pull off the mask of inaccessibility and show you the wonders of the Treasuries and the pearls of the Unseen that He has prepared for you.
It has been said that alif is an allusion to “I” [ana], lām to “My” [lī], and mīm to “from Me” [minnī].
I: It is I who am the Lord, I who join with the servant in love. I am the light of the name and the light of the message. I am the repose and ease [56:89] of hearts, I am the closeness and rest of spirits.
My: Whatever was, is, and will be is all My kingdom and property, decreed by My prescription and subjugated to My determination. That which overpowers it is My command, that which penetrates into it is My will. It has its being by My keeping, it is preserved by My help.
From Me: Whatever has come has come from My power, whatever has gone forth has gone forth from My knowledge, whatever has been having been from My decree.
You should dismiss your own intellect and knowledge so that you may reap the fruit. Leave the work to Me so that you may take a portion. Keep your service limpid so that you may gain access. Take veneration as your companion so that you may be worthy of the gateway. Sit upon the mount of love so that you may quickly reach the Presence. Keep your aspiration one-pointed so that you may look first upon the Creator.
“Alif is the imam of the letters and is well-known among the letters. Alif does not join with the other letters, but the other letters join with alif. Alif has no need of the other letters, but all the other letters need alif. Alif is straight. At first, it is one and at last one. It has one color, but words are many-colored. Alif is the cause of recognition, but its straightness does not accept any cause. In the place where it finds a place, no other letter finds a place, but each letter has a known station in the tablet. In reality, it is together, but in gazing it is separate. It descends into each of the stations of the one, so all are one, and duality is unreal.”
Each letter is a lamp lit from the Greatest Light. Each is a sun rising from the east of the Reality that has advanced to Heaven. All the attributes of the creatures and the opacities of mortal man are the veil of that light. As long as the veil is in place, hoping to find the light is an error.