29:19 Have they not seen how God originates creation, then makes it return?
In terms of outwardness, originating creation and making it return is this world and the next world. In terms of inwardness, these allude to the changing of the moments and the recurrence of states for the possessors of hearts. Sometimes they are in contraction, sometimes expansion, sometimes awe, sometimes intimacy. For a time absence dominates over them, for a time presence; for a time intoxication, for time sobriety; for a time subsistence, for a time annihilation. When the servant is in contraction and awe, he manifests servanthood by craving forgiveness and fearing punishment, just as the Exalted Lord said: “They were supplicating Us in eagerness and dread” [21:90].
Then, when he steps into the world of expansion, he sees the marks bearing witness to closeness. He is freed from his own power and strength and disengaged from his own desires and aims. He lives in the opening of disengagement and his aspiration’s goal and kiblah become desiring His face [6:52]. In this state, his soul will be like what Shiblī said because of selflessness: “At the resurrection, everyone will have an antagonist, and I will be Adam’s. Why did he make my road steep so that I was held back by the mud?” When he was in expansion he spoke like that, and when he was in contraction he used to say, “My abasement suspends the abasement of the Jews.” Once again he would be given over to expansion and intimacy such that he said, “Where are the heavens and the earth that I may carry them on one of my eyelashes?” This then is the meaning of the recurrence of the states alluded to by originating and making a return.
The proof text of this in the exalted Qur’an is His words, “You shall surely ride stage after stage” [84:19], that is, state after state. Part of the conduct and traveling of Muṣṭafā was that one day he would say, “I am the master of Adam’s children.” Then in the state of contraction, he would say, “I do not know what He will do with me or with you. Would that Muḥammad’s Lord had not created Muḥammad!” Again, in the state of intimacy, he would say, “I am not like any of you—I spend the night at my Lord; He gives me to eat and drink.”
29:21 He chastises whom He will and has mercy on whom He will.
When He wants He acts with justice toward someone and drives him away from His kindness, and when He wants He acts with bounty toward him and calls him to His gentleness. All are tied to His beginningless will, and He issues the decree without any cause. It is not that He shows bounty toward someone because of his obedience, nor that He acts with justice toward someone because of his disobedience. That is a work that was taken care of in the Beginningless, a decree that went out as God wanted.
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “Alas for the apportioning that has gone before me! Alack for the words spoken by the Self-Seer! What profit if I live happily or distraught? I fear what the Powerful said in the Beginningless.”
He chastises whom He will through abandonment and He has mercy upon whom He will through giving the success of beautiful doing. He chastises whom He will through ingratitude and He has mercy upon whom He will through faith. He chastises whom He will through the dispersion of the heart and He has mercy upon whom He will through the togetherness of aspiration.
He chastises whom He will by casting him into the darkness of self-governance and He has mercy upon whom He will by giving him to witness the flow of predetermination. He chastises whom He will by his love for this world and being held back from it and He has mercy upon whom He will by his renunciation of it and its expansion for him. He chastises whom He will by His turning away from him and He has mercy upon whom He will by His turning toward him.
29:22 You will not be disablers in earth or in heaven, and you have no friend or helper apart from God.
You will not be disablers on earth or in heaven. On the contrary, everything turns around in His grasp, and He brings to pass for them the decrees of His predetermination—whether they deny or voice His tawḥīd, whether they turn toward Him or away from Him.
29:23 And those who disbelieve in the signs of God and the encounter with Him—they have lost hope in My mercy.
In this world, the punishment of the unbelievers is completed when they lose hope in God’s mercy. To the faithful, He says, “No matter how many foolish things you have done and how much you have sinned, despair not of God’s mercy [39:53].” Know that the influence of God’s mercy for the servants is greater than the influence of His wrath. In the Qur’an, there are more mentions of the attributes of mercy than the attributes of wrath. In the report has come, “My mercy takes precedence over My wrath.”Mercy and wrath are both attributes of the Real, and it is not permissible for you to say that one is before and the other after, or that one is more and the other less. If you say that one is more, then the other must be decreased; if you say one is before then the other must newly arrive.
Hence, what is meant by this is mercy’s influence. In other words: “The influence of My mercy overtakes the influence of My wrath.” It is because of the influence of His wrath that the unbelievers have despaired of His mercy, such that He says, “They have lost hope in His mercy.” It is because of the influence of His mercy that the faithful hope for His forgiveness and place their hearts on His mercy, such that He says, “They hope for God’s mercy” [2:218].
The unbeliever who has despaired of God’s mercy with his idol before him is like a spider who builds a house, frail and without outcome. It has no foundation to keep it in place, walls for refuge, or roof to cover it. It is of no use in cold or in heat. It is so frail and weak that with the slightest wind it moves up and down and is ruined. This is the likeness of the idol-worshipper. He fancies that he is doing something or that he has a refuge: They were reckoning that they were doing beautiful artisanry [18:104]. They reckon that they are on to something [58:18]. “He who hopes that the mirage is water will only remain long enough to know that it was an imagining.”