28:23 When he entered upon the water of Midian.
He entered the water of Midian with his outwardness, and he entered the influxes of intimacy with his heart. The influxes of intimacy are the courtyards of tawḥīd. When the servant enters the courtyards of tawḥīd, the lights of contemplation are unveiled for him and he becomes absent from his senses in his soul. Rulership then belongs to God alone, for there is no soul, no sense perception, no heart, no intimacy. This is dissolution in self-sufficiency and total annihilation. When the servant reaches the courtyards of tawḥīd, he is drowned in the light of contemplation, absent from himself, and present with the Real. Seeking ceases to be in the Found, recognition ceases to be in the Recognized, and seeing ceases to be in the Seen—attachments cut, causes dissolved, traces nullified, limits come to nothing, allusions and expressions negated. When rain arrives at the ocean, it arrives. Stars disappear in the daytime. He who arrives at the Patron arrives at himself.
O Found and Findable! What mark is given of a drunkard but selflessness? Everyone’s tribulation is because of distance, but this poor wretch’s because of nearness. Everyone is thirsty from not finding water, but I from being quenched. What business have I to meddle and make claims?”
28:56 Surely thou dost not guide whom thou lovest, but God guides whomsoever He will.
“O Muḥammad, guidance is one of the characteristics of Lordhood, so it is not proper for anyone described by mortal nature.”
Giving the success of felicity and the realization of guidance is a characteristic of Lordhood. Human nature has no access to it, and no one is suited for this attribute other than the majestic Unity. “O Muḥammad, you have the eminence of prophethood, the rank of messenger hood, the beauty of mediation, the praiseworthy station [17:79], and the Visited Pool. You are the Seal of the Prophets, the master of the messengers, the interceder for the sinners, and the candle of earth and heaven. The reins of your steed have passed beyond the heavens, and the courtyard of the Splendorous Throne was made the place for the soles of your feet. But guiding the servants and showing them the road to faith is not your work, nor is it in your hands.
Surely thou dost not guide whom thou lovest. We drive those We want into the desert of bewilderment and We drag those We want by the chain of severity. In the beginninglessness beginning and in what preceded all precedents, We placed the crown of felicity on the heads of the folk of good fortune, and We beat this drum: ‘These are in the Garden, and I don’t care.’ We wrote the inscription of wretchedness on the foreheads of another group, and We struck this knocker: ‘These are in the Fire, and I don’t care.’”
No attribute of God inflicts more pain than the attribute of “I don’t care.” When the Prophet said, “Would that Muḥammad’s Lord had not created Muḥammad,” he was wailing in fear of these words. What was said by Abū Bakr—“Would that I was a tree to be lopped”—is the pain of this talk.
What does the work is not that someone has indolence and someone else has deeds? What does the work is that someone is unworthy in the Beginningless? The greatest of the abandoned ones, called Iblis, was busy in the workshop of deeds for many years. The folk of the Dominion was all beating the drum of his good fortune. They did not know that a garment of a different color had been woven for him in the workshop of the Beginningless. In the workshop of his deeds they saw scissors and silk, but from the workshop of the Beginningless appeared a black kilim: ‘And he was one of the unbelievers’ [2:34].”
28:83 That is the abode of the next world—We appoint it for those who do not desire elevation in the earth, nor corruption.
Tomorrow in the house of the afterworld, those residing in the seat of truthfulness [54:55] and those in proximity with the All-Compelling Presence will be a group who in this world did not seek to be higher and greater than others. Here they considered themselves lesser and smaller than others and never looked upon themselves with the eye of approval. Thus that chevalier of the Tariqah was returning from the halting-place of Arafat. It was said to him, “How did you see the folk of the standing place?”
He replied, “I saw a people whom I would have hoped, had it not been for the fact that I was among them, God would forgive.”
Do not look at yourself with the eye of approval! Do not go into the road of “I,” for no one has ever seen any benefit from I-ness. What happened to Iblis happened because of I-ness, for he said, “I am better” [38:76]. One of the great ones of the religion saw Iblis. He said, “Give me some advice.”He said, “Do not say I, lest you become like me.” This indeed is the road of the wayfarers on the Tariqah and the chevaliers of the Haqiqah. Nonetheless, it is not permissible to throw away I-ness in the road of the Shariah, because things in the Shariah have been turned over to you, and that continues.
Shaykh Abū ʿAbdallāh Khafīf said, “Throwing away I-ness in the Shariah is heresy, and affirming I-ness in the Haqiqah is associationism. When you are in the station of the Shariah, say I. When you are on the road of the Haqiqah, says He. Indeed, all is He. The Shariah is the act, the Haqiqah the states. The acts abide through you, the states are arranged by Him.”