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NEWSPRESS: LESSON IN THE CATTLE

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16:66 And surely in the cattle there is a lesson for you: We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, between feces and blood, pure milk, delicious for the drinkers.

Two impurities came together, one feces and the other blood. God with His power made pure milk appear between the two. In the same way, two drops came together in the womb. God’s determination and form-giving made a form of such beauty appear from the two! He formed you, so He made your forms beautiful [40:64]. He brings together two difficult tasks for the servant, one the burden of disobedience, the other shortcoming in obedience. Then God’s bounty makes mercy and forgiveness appear between the two: He will make your deeds wholesome for you and forgive you your sins [33:71].

In what preceded all precedents and began all beginnings, the Pen wrote in the Tablet that the candle of the Shariah and the lamp of faith and certainty would light up in someone’s breast. It does not matter if he falls asleep. When he wakes up he will see the lit candle next to his pillow.

By way of allusion, God is saying, “I took milk, which is your nourishment and your share, and passed it over feces and blood, preserving it from both. As for tawḥīd, it is My rightful due, so it is much more deserving of being preserved by Me. It will pass over this world and the afterworld and not receive any trace. Were the trace of this world or the afterworld to sit on tawḥīd, it would not be worthy of Me. Tawḥīd is pure of this world and the afterworld. The light of tawḥīd is the destruction of water and dust. Turning the eye of the heart away from self is to perceive the finding of tawḥīd.”

16:71 And God has given more bounty in provision to some of you than others.

The provision of the soul is one thing, the provision of the heart another, and the provision of the spirit still another. For some, the provision of the soul is the success of obedience and for some, it is abandonment to disobedience. For some, the provision of the heart is the heart’s presence with constant remembrance and for some, it is the attribute of heedlessness with constant hardness.

For some, the provision of the spirit is the perfection of recognition and the limpidness of love and for some, it is love for this world and occupation with attachments.

Fuḍayl said, “The greatest thing provided to man is deeds that will lead him to rectitude and recognition that will bequeath on him contemplation of his Lord.”

The Prophet said, “I spend the night at my Lord; He gives me to eat and drink.”

16:83 They recognize God’s blessings, then they deny them.

Some people say that this concerns Muslims. For a time they occupy themselves with obedience and undertake the path of discipline and struggle according to the Shariah. But in the end, self-admiration comes and ambushes them, destroying their obedience. Their self-admiration is that they consider their obedience and worship as service pleasing to God, and this brings them to exultation and happiness: “This is my attribute and my strength.” They remain heedless that it is God’s blessings and bounty toward them. Then they do not fear the disappearance of the blessings and they go forth feeling secure.

Muṣṭafā said, “A man’s destruction lies in three things: One is niggardliness that he obeys, another is the soul’s caprice that he follows, and the third is admiring himself.” One of the great ones of the religion said, “If I sleep all night and in the morning feel broken and fearful, I like that more than spending the night in prayer and admiring myself in the morning.”

ʿAbdallāh ibn Masʿūd said, “The destruction of a man’s religion lies in two things: self-admiration and despair.” He said this because anyone who loses hope will stop seeking and be overcome by lassitude, so he will not worship. So also, anyone who admires himself will fancy that he does not need to seek, for his work is right and he has been forgiven.

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