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17:70 We indeed honored the children of Adam, and We carried them on land and sea, and We provided them with goodly things, and We made them much more excellent than many of those We created.

It was a great felicitation, a complete bestowal of eminence, and a tremendous honor that God gave to the faithful children of Adam. On the Day of the Compact, at the outset of the work and the commencement of existence, He gave them a place in the grasp of His attributes and addressed them with the quality of gentleness, binding them to the covenant and compact of friendship. Then, when they came into this world, He gave them a beautiful form, a lovely shape, and a complete robe of honor, adorning them with knowledge, intellect, speech, understanding, and excellence. He did not hold them back from the outward success of struggle or the inner realization of contemplation and recognition. He opened the door of His mercy and generosity to them, and He kept them on the carpet of whispered prayer. Whenever they want, they call upon Him, ask from Him, and tell Him their secrets. It has been transmitted in one of the traditions that God said, “My servants, confide your secrets in Me. If you will not, then whisper and speak to Me. If you will not, then listen to Me. If you will not, then gaze upon Me. If you will not, then be at My door and lift up your needs before Me, for I am the most generous of the generous.” 

Part of the honor is that He bestowed before they asked and He forgave before they begged forgiveness, as has come in the report: “I bestowed upon you before you asked from Me, and I forgave you before you asked Me to forgive you.”Part of the honor is that among all the created things, He specified them for affection and love. That which He did not bestow on the angels and did not say about the cherubim and the spirituals of heaven, He said about them: “He loves them, and they love Him [5:54]. God approves of them and they approve of Him [9:100]. Those who have faith are more intense in love for God [2:165]. So remember Me; I will remember you [2:152].” Remember Me is the rivulet of your remembrance, and I will remember you is the ocean of the Real’s remembrance. When the rivulet of the servant’s remembrance reaches the ocean of the Real’s remembrance, the water of the ocean of I will remember you enter the rivulet of Remember Me, and all of it becomes the ocean’s water. Nothing remains of the rivulet. When someone falls into the Real’s grasp, he burns, and then the Real is his successor.

“O God, You are the meaning of the call of the truthful, You light up the souls of the friends, You are the repose of the hearts of the exiles! You are present in the midst of the spirit, so it is with my lost heart that I say, “Where are You?” You are the life of the spirit and the mirror of the tongue. You Yourself are the spokesman for Yourself. By Your rightful due against Yourself, do not seat us in the shadow of delusion! Convey us to union with You! He said, “We indeed honored the children of Adam.” He did not say “the faithful,” or “the worshipers,” or “the strugglers.” Thus He declared this honoring pure of being the counterpart of activity, or being caused by conformity with something, or being the result of worthiness in some respect.

The reason He did not tie His generosity and gentleness toward the servants to their deeds or struggle is so that you would know that His caressing has no cause and His honoring is not compensation. He caresses because He wants to, not because of the servants’ obedience. He bestows because of His bounty, not because of their effort. The servant who finds the Real’s generosity does not find it because of his obedience. Rather, he has obedience because he has found the Real’s generosity. It is not the servant’s supplication that led to the response of the Real; rather, it is the Real’s response that has led the servant to supplicate. The servant who finds the Real does not find from seeking; rather, he finds seeking from finding. Being carried is the act of him who was not; carrying is the bounty of Him who always was.

And We carried them on land and sea. The mounts of the common people on land and sea are one thing, and the mounts of the elect something else. Concerning the mounts of the common people He says, “He appointed for you, from ships and cattle, what you mount upon so that you may sit on their backs” [43:12-13]. In these friend and enemy, familiar and stranger, are all the same. Concerning the mounts of the elect on the sea He says, “And the wind was Solomon’s, its morning course a month and its evening course a month” [34:12]. About Muṣṭafā He said, “Who took His servant by night” [17:1]. Solomon had the wind and Muṣṭafā had Burāq.

In the afterworld, the mounts of the friends and the near ones will be what He says: “We shall muster the Godwary to the All-Merciful in droves” [19:85]. Concerning this verse, God’s Messenger said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul! When they emerge from their graves, they will be welcomed by white she-camels with wings, upon which are saddles of gold and each of whose strides is the length of eyesight. They will take them as far as the gate of the Garden.” He also said, “Make your sacrificial animals large and fat, for they will be your mounts on the Narrow Path.” Among them is he who says, “Everyone will mount upon the deeds he did in this world and upon which he died.” And among them is he who says, “No one will pass over the Narrow Path except with the light of recognition.”

And We provided them with goodly things. Goodly provision is that which is in remembrance of the Provider. When someone is not absent in his heart or heedless of his Lord, his every provision is goodly,  for when encountering the Beloved colocynth is honey, and when the Beloved is absent honey is colocynth. Yaḥyā ibn Muʿādh said, “Goodly provision is what is opened to a man without his asking or looking for it.”

And We made them much more excellent than many of those We created: With knowledge of God and His rulings We made the knowers more excellent than the ignorant, and with recognition, We made the friends more excellent than all creatures.

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