30:4-5 To God belongs the command, before and after. And on that day the faithful will rejoice in God’s help.
Here before is the Beginningless, and after is the Endless. The meaning is that the beginningless command belongs to God and the endless command belongs to God because the beginningless Lord and the endless Master is God. In the Beginningless and the Endless, it is God who is one and unique. In the command He is without end, in the knowledge He is without limit, and in the decree, He is without why. He is before when and in place before place. Before us, He was there for Us in the Beginningless, and without us, He will be our portion in the Endless. This is the intimation that He voiced to the paragon of the world on the night of the miʿrāj: “O Muḥammad, be for Me as if you were not, and I will be for you as I have always been.”
Look at proximity so that intimacy may be born, look at tremendousness so that veneration may increase. Wait and see between this and that what indeed will be displayed by the precedent solicitude. To God belongs the command, before and after. In another place He says, “Surely His are the creation and the command” [7:54]. The world of the creation comes to an end, but the world of the command has no end. It is permissible for the world of the creation to disappear, but the world of the command is necessarily permanent. As long as a man does not pass beyond the world of the creation, he is not allowed to enter the world of the command.
If you want to pass into the world of the command, to rise up from your ungrateful makeup, and to cut away from your ascription to great wrongdoing and deep ignorance, you can only do so by lingering and passing time. Just as you must linger in coming, so also you must linger in leaving. Just as the sperm-drop is held back for a while before it becomes a clot—and so on with the clot, until it becomes bones, the bones until it becomes flesh, which is then kept for a time until it comes into movement—so also in the measure that a man comes up from under his own hand he becomes familiar with the command of the Real. When he passes beyond all of his own attributes, he becomes worthy of the command and reaches the maturity that is manliness. At that point this inscription will be written for him: “Among the faithful are men” [33:23]. And on that day the faithful will rejoice in God’s help. Today is distress, tomorrow rejoicing; today is heedfulness, tomorrow bewilderment; today is regret, tomorrow gentleness; today is weeping, tomorrow encounter.
When that minor slip went forth from David the prophet and he was rebuked by the Real, he never lifted his head to heaven as long as he was alive, nor did he stop pleading for one hour. With all this, he was saying happily, “O God, what a sweet confection this is, what a sweet pain this is! O God place a seed from this weeping and grief in my breast so that I may never be empty of this pain.”
30:20 And of His signs is that He created you of dust, and then you were mortal man, spreading about.
O child of Adam! If you want to know the signs and banners of God’s Unity and recognize the marks of His Solitariness, open the eye of heedfulness, open up the insight of intellect, roam the world of your own soul, and gaze on the root of your own creation. You were a handful of dust, a dark makeup stuck in the darkness of your own unknowing, bewildered by the darkness of attributes. Then the rain of lights began to fall from the heaven of mysteries: “Then He sprinkled them with some of His light.”
The dust turned into jasmine and the stone became pearls. The dense makeup became exalted by this subtle link. The dust became pure, the darkness became light. Yes, it is We who adorn and paint. We adorn whom We will with Our light. We adorn the Garden with Our friends,
We adorn Our friends with the heart, and We adorn the heart with Our light. We do this so that if they do not reach the pavilions of Our exaltedness through the carcass of their misery, they will reach Us through the ray of the prosperity of Our majesty’s light. “By day he is with the people in good character and by night with the Real in the footing of truthfulness [10:2].”